Posts Tagged ‘Elder Howard Turner’

Specious:  having a false look of truth or genuineness
                :  falsely appearing to be fair, just, or right

When I was still new to United Fellowship House of Praise, aka the cult, and still in the San Diego area, I recall one evening being at Monica’s house with my mom, Elder Turner, aka cult leader, and possibly some others. I was excusing myself because I had an arrangement to meet up with my dad to go see a movie. Elder Turner had a stern talk with me about how the word of God is more important and should be priority over anything else, even one’s own appointment with their dad.


It hurt to call my dad and tell him I wouldn’t be meeting up with him. It hurt even more when I heard the disappointment in his voice.


Though I’d been raised since I could remember to put the work of the Lord above all else and though pleasing God was my top priority it wasn’t the only reason I canceled the father daughter date. The other reason was because I was a gutless wonder. Elder Turner had God on his side, so to speak, so he had the upper hand and I really didn’t know how to stand up to him. I totally wimped out. I have no doubt Howard Turner, his first name isn’t Elder, knew exactly what he was doing and fed off intimidating people.


But was it entirely all my fault? Maybe not. Maybe my dad was actually getting a taste of his own medicine. Not something I would ever want to dish out, but it happened. My dad had applied the same pressure Elder Turner did on many occasions. I grew up with this type of life, I was conditioned by my dad and mom, and also by my sister. They each had their own twist to using manipulation. When in the past I tested the waters of standing up for myself I would get knocked down so hard with no room to try again. The same thing happened in the cult. Except in my family I don’t really recall them telling me to stand up for myself and to speak up and all. But, the cult did, I was told to do those things but when I did I was rebuked harshly and used as an example for months afterward.


And here’s the thing about people gettin it back, how often do they actually realize that’s what happened. I’m pretty sure when I talked with my dad that night on the phone the times he used his “god given” status to control me in a situation most likely didn’t come to mind. We joke and say, “Karma’s a bitch,” but if we really think about it, the jokes on us because when what goes around comes around, the person getting what they dished out usually has no idea, they don’t connect the dots and they are the down and out victim.


Sure, I still wish I had told Elder Turner to suck it, walked out the door, watched the movie with my dad, married Ray, moved to the Midwest and lived happily ever after. (Okay, I was going way back there to pre Turner times.) But, that’s not what happens to people who are conditioned to be the low down servant who does as she’s told and will be put in her place wither she ever left that place or not. Oh, and to add insult to injury, any potential relationships were scared off by my parents and later by my pastor. Well, that is until one came along that the pastor was able to manipulate. There wasn’t mental freedom for people like me, and in many cases there isn’t physical freedom either. 


I also wish I could still go see movies with my dad, and be able to tell him that I disagree about a lot of things, but that I love him and respect him no matter what.


You see, that’s the thing about cults that you can never really get over. It’s the things that were stolen from you. The precious treasures, the little moments of time, or even big moments of time, taken, gone, unrecoverable, and no amount of religion is gonna fix it, because it’s gone. Things that didn’t actually have to be, but were. Things that should have been, but weren’t.  

time fleating


Pity, prayer, this god or that saviour, positive thinking, etcetera, those things may provide some comfort for some people temporarily, but the painful memories caused by being in a cult and then getting out come in waves. Once a person gets through the initial shock and all luggage that attaches itself to them, the mental pain comes and goes. Over time the pain can become less intense. Though there may be times it gets stronger. What really helps is being in touch with people who are going through the same thing. Unless they have reattached themselves and are trying to get others to attach to their old or new cult. But understanding that like the waves of the sea, the feeling will come and go. It’s just nice to know even that, as simple as it sounds. It also helps to understand that it’s okay to get mental and medical help. I was taught that therapists were bad, even Christian ones, and that meds for depression would open one’s mind up to demonic oppression and possession. Even though a person my know that those things are not true they still may have a mental block and need help facing it.

waves hawaii oahu lorenakoran


There’s more, but I’ll stop for now, because I could go on for pages and pages and….


If you are in need of a non judgmental ear, or you know someone who is in need, I recommend contacting Recovering From Religion (RR).  It’s a hotline for folks who are questioning their beliefs, and have other issues about one’s faith or lack thereof and need a non bias person to talk to. They are not there to talk you out of your beliefs, they are just there to listen and be supportive and understanding. The hotline number is 1-844-368-2848.


Also, I know of quite a few groups and I may be able to help you find a meetup group or a support type group online if you need it. I certainly would try anyway.

Here is the web page for RR with the hotline phone number, email and other information and resources.


recovering from religion




Read Full Post »

I was a loyal member of United Fellowship House of Praise from 1989 to 2008.

During that time I had dreams that occasionally that really stood out to me. I remember dreams of being in very dark foreboding rough waters and dreams of flying across country only to have the flying dream turn into a nightmare night paralysis. I don’t remember all my dreams, but those two were reoccurring and unforgettable.

When I told the church leader, Elder Howard Turner, about my dreams he would look hesitant and either dismiss it as one of my silly dreams or say he’d think about it. I believed him since I heard him tell others he would think about it and then get back to them, but he never got back to me on any of them. Eventually he dismissed all my “stand out” dreams as silly and I obviously was one who was not “gifted” with dreams that held any meaning.

I didn’t buy into that…completely. Sadly I did buy into it somewhat. Part of me still felt there was something to some of my dreams but since I didn’t know what, I would let it go or I would file it. Another part of me surrendered to the idea that my dreams meant absolutely nothing.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t learn to appreciate the horrifying ones like the sleep paralysis. I learned a great deal from those and learned to control some of my time in a dream. Though I rarely ever have them now I still find myself aware I am dreaming from time to time and am able to often take control of the dream.

I have a book that lists dream topics and their interpretation like a dictionary. I won’t say everything in the book is correct, or incorrect. I like to look things up and make that judgment by what adds up or at least file it till I learn more.

I looked up dark waters and flying. I was not surprised to read that dark waters are a warning but I was surprised to see that a young lady flying across country is followed by a warning. I shouldn’t have been cause those dreams always ended up in terror. I love flying and have always wished I could fly like super man so it frustrated me that I couldn’t enjoy my flight in a dream. Now I understand. The last time I can recall flying in a dream I was aware of the pending doom and took control of the dream and did not allow the paralysis or nightmare to happen. This happened after getting out of UFHOP.

I can see why Elder Turner and the others so readily dismissed my dreams now. Elder Turner and other church members took over my life and took all decisions away from me and worked daily to shackle my personality making sure I was constantly aware I wasn’t spiritual enough and so on. Elder Turner is a man who can read people and circumstances and even dreams. This made him a great leader of the dictatorship cult type. He had to dismiss and make my dreams seem silly cause they were warnings about him and the church. Very obvious warnings.

I was a gentle soul that was raised to be manipulated and week. Though my family didn’t shackle my personality, they did program me how to think. I think of that expression going around that says, “Teach your children how to think, not what to think”. I was taught how and what to think. So when the Turners and church came along I was an easy target.

I wasn’t loaded with money but I did have time that was used by Elder Turner. When I expressed my desire to take collage seriously he told me not to but rather to go with him on the road and he would teach me. I did just that cause I believed it would be in the service of the Lord and I loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart.

I found it annoying and prideful when the other ladies would complain they weren’t getting a chance to teach and such. The ones who were on the wealthier side would then be given a time to teach and told they were filled with the Holy Ghost. When they weren’t in the room Elder Turner would talk about them and say they weren’t actually filled but that he would say that to them so they didn’t quit and was doing it for their soul.

I see it as ironic now that this “great teacher” never felt I was good enough or spiritual enough to teach or lead anything. At first he allowed me to lead a children’s bible study. When we all moved to Arkansas I would try to start a kids group up but he would end up walking in and preaching to the adults in the middle of it. Several members told me they wished I would lead the worship service because I not only knew all the word and could carry a tone but I sang in a key that everyone was comfortable with. I also sang to the Lord from my heart. But I was only allowed to lead the singing on occasion and never when Elder Turner walked in the room. He would always abruptly interrupt and have a lecture to give out in a very irritable way. Usually Sister Turner led the “worship” or another lady or minister who either wanted to be seen or who Elder Turner wanted to impress. Though I enjoyed leading the worship service the few time I was allowed to and I had plenty to say and teach, I didn’t believe promoting myself was the right thing to do. I believed such things came from God and left it in his hands. As far as Elder Turner’s promise to train me rather than me going to collage… well, I think I covered that enough.

I don’t know of anyone in that church that he didn’t take about behind their back and verbally tear them to pieces using them as an example. Even my sister who is still with him to this day and likely has no idea the things he has said about her.

I got out of the church before my then husband. He stayed for a little while longer. Fiances got tight so he couldn’t continue to send them the $700 in tithes and to give them more offering for what ever Elder Turner would call and tell him was needed. At that time the Turners were living in our home while we were away. We did not charge them any rent but they did agree to pay for utilities. Often my then husband would send them more to help with the utilities. When he started cutting back the Turners suddenly stopped taking to him.

Elder Turner had a conference phone call he would make sometimes daily or weekly where he said he would have guests speakers come on and teach but he would end up either taking over, not having the guest at all or preach at the end of their sermon or teaching. When I was still calling in to listen he ended up spending the whole hour verbally tearing up other preachers or church members. He always told us to get people on their phones to listen and be ministered to. I was so glad that all the people I tried to get to listen never did. One lady actually tried a few times but couldn’t get the connection. Phew!

After my then husband cut the fiances he still considered UFHOP his church and the Turners family along with the other members. I have to add that at that time we got separated and he needed his virtual family more than ever. But instead when he would get off work and call in to hear the teaching he would hear Elder Turner talking about him instead. He would hear Elder Turner telling folks that he had lied and wasn’t paying his utilities for the house and that they were having all kinds of trouble because of the predicament he was putting them in. And for a while there my then husband got blamed for them having to move to an apartment. He had his own awaking and it wasn’t any prettier than mine.

I know Elder Turner has said plenty about me. It’s how he rolls. He will use the same person and the same experience for years as an example for others. I know he has told my sister, nieces, and the others how I think and what I will do and what will happen to me. I just wish my sister and my nieces wouldn’t buy into his lies and believe what he says about me. I guess if it wasn’t for her and my nieces I really wouldn’t care.

As it is, I don’t hate him anymore. I would be fine if I saw him. I used to have nightmares about him and my mom trying to control me again. The other night I actually had a dream and in it I was talking with him and his wife. It was a peaceful dream. I wasn’t following them or afraid of them or even bothered by them. It was a short chat and then the dream went on to something else.

I forgive the others too. I actually don’t give them much thought really. But truth be told many of them were as involved as the leader. Many of them lorded over me and put me in my place, which was way under them. They would even get to me before Elder Turner to tell me I was just touched but not filled with the Holy Ghost, that my tongues wasn’t real, my ideas were carnal and so on. I would always back off and let them have the floor but it really didn’t add up to me even then. Besides, I knew what Elder Turner was saying about them behind their backs. After leaving what I call the cult, one of the former members balled me out trying to get me to follow him, to replace Elder Turner with him. How absurd! It was horrible then and I completely cut communications with him at that time but now it makes me chuckle cause it’s so ridicules.

I would be fine seeing him now too. I’m fine with seeing him or the Turners or whoever cause I am not afraid of them at all. They can know the truth about me, if it’s even possible for them to recognize truth, and I am fine with that too. I have nothing to hide. I am confident and happy with who I have made myself to be. And I am aware I can love someone and still recognize that they have serious mental issues.

So, I woke up, I grew some feet, even some wings that don’t lead to disaster. My soul may not be as gentle as it was but at least it is no longer week. Gentleness requires balance like everything else so that is a good thing.


This is a picture of me and the late Diane Emihl. Elder Turner told the church that it was God’s will we all move from San Diego, California to Camden, Arkansas. Diane’s husband was in the military and instead of trying to find a way to move his family to the South he wanted to get stationed in Hawaii and move his family there. They ended up losing their hopes of Hawaii because Diane got a tumor on her brain and the doctors botched the operation letting air in and damaging her brain. Elder Turner used this tragedy as an example of what happens when one disobeys the Lord.  Thankfully the Emihls stayed in San Diego for a while longer and did not reconnect with UFHOP. I have always wished I had stayed in better touch with them. However, I now understand I was still in the frame of mind controlled by the church and may have been an avenue of more pain for their precious family. I am thankful to now be in touch with some of them on FaceBook and I believe Diane knows I love her, I have no doubt she loves me.

This is a picture of one of the ladies Elder Turner favored to her face leading the children in song at the Turners wedding. Normally I was the only one working with the children and doing Bible study and choir for them. However, at events, such as this one, I was pushed aside and those who wanted a name for themselves or who the Turners wanted to empress would be given the task. I never have like seeing children used which is what was actually happening.

This is a picture of my daughter Hannah. At about this age things changed for her. When she was a baby that couldn’t crawl yet she was very quiet and easy going. That changed sometime near the crawling age and she became a frustrated defiant screamer. Elder Turner wondered what I had done and declared Hannah demon possessed. Sister Turner would often take control and whip Hannah. Though I never believed she was actually demon possessed I have terribly regretted letting Sister Marcia punish my child. If I could go back in time I would not only not allow her to touch my child but I would turn her in for beating other church children. I remember some preteens she would whoop. She would get a switch or object and start wailing on their back side and not stop for one to three minutes or even more. Hannah didn’t get beat like that but it still wasn’t right. I can’t go back but I have been open and honest with my daughter and apologized and she is well aware I will do what ever I can to protect her. I desire that my children not be governed by fear and not be afraid to go to church and such. Hannah still has issues with being terrified of church. She has had some good church experiences but the fear they instilled in her runs deep. I do believe one day she will get through it, in her own time. By the way, Elder Turner lets people know he is a prophet. Funny that he labeled her demon possessed rather than what she actually has which is Aspergers. humm

This is a picture taken where I worked, The Hotel del Coronado, with church members and the leaders brother and his wife. I am the one in blue jeans to the right. That was early on, not much later I would no longer be allowed to wear pants but only long skirts or dresses. Jewelry was ok but not makeup or short haircuts for women. TV and videos were fine when Elder Turner was into them but when he wasn’t were would get lectured about being carnal and not spiritual enough if we continues to watch shows until he was back in the habit again. The other ladies in the church could wear dresses and shirts with no selves but I wasn’t allowed to.

The Turners, a fellow preacher, Monica Ammen and me (on the left) on the Hotel del Coronado Promenade deck.I was often referred to as the churches photographer and cook.

The church along with Janette Tansons parents and the Moecks grandsons.You can see some of my face on the right hand side part way up.

Some of the church members at a youth basket ball fund raiser Valentine dinner. I am all the way to the left.

At the San Diego Wild Animal park with the kids. I have the red hat on.

Read Full Post »