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Posts Tagged ‘UFHOP’

I want to set the record straight.
I do not hate or hold bitterness toward Howard Turner or his wife Marcia Turner or anyone else who lorded over me while I was in the cult called United Fellowship House of Praise.
I also do not forgive them, not because I hold issues with them, but because I chose to let them go rather then to hold on to them through forgiveness. If I cared about them I would work toward forgiveness, but, they are a memory that I have used to make myself a better person, other then that, they mean nothing to me anymore. Not feeling anything towards ones old enemy is a very freeing feeling. For me this is more appropriate.

 

I also want to set the record straight that the Turners and others from that group were not the reason for my departure from Christianity or my reason for becoming wiccan, pagan, and then atheist. I have never been the kind of person that chooses a life path because of peer pressure or rebellion. Every now and then I get to learn about someone I thought knew me but never really did. Because if they did they would never assume this, they would know I have always lived an authentic life. Though I may have chosen life paths because of misinformation, it was still something I personally believed until I learned otherwise. When I was a Christian I was whole heatedly a Christian. No mater what other Christians did I was a believer in what Christ did, not humans. As a Wiccan I found a religion that promoted peace and love which was what I needed at the time. As a pagan I found a system of acceptance, not just people accepting me, which is nice, but people accepting each other from all walks of life. As an atheist I found what actually makes sense and adds up. It’s not always a world of love and peace, but I have noticed lately that more and more atheist are on a more humanistic path then the stereo type angry atheist of the past. But still, I’m not in it for love, peace or acceptance, but for what makes sense to me. Love, peace and acceptance are not dictated by religion or belief system, those attributes can be found anywhere and can only really be spotted once they personally start to grow inside the individual without religion, a group or another person dictating how, what or when it should grow. Not that religion, groups and other people can’t help, but as much as one may see how it has helped there is just as many who have seen how it can harm. When it’s growing inside you personally it grows from purity and it’s yours and it can not be taken away no matter what truth you uncover or where you go.

 

Also, if you think I blame God for past hurts then I suggest you look up the definition of atheist, you silly goose you!

 

One more thing to add. If you think I am personally writing about you I’m sorry to inform you I am not. I would not feel the need to set the record straight when I could just let you know what is really going on personally. I chose to blog about this because I have had many comments from various people about this subject. If you were or are a part of UFHOP I am not necessarily talking about you either. There were a few folks there who were not a part of using me or my family and some who may not have really been aware of what was actually going on. I do wish those people would take my word for it because I am not of the nature to lie about things and like I said before, “if you really knew me…” There are some folks I have intentionally forgiven because they have either asked for it or they have continued to be a part of my life in a positive way.

 

I understand some folks will disagree with me about the word forgiveness. It’s not just about dictionary definitions all the time, often it’s about how we feel about the word. Some of you may see my letting go as forgiveness and if that’s how you want to see it then that’s your business.

 

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Ok ok! I can’t say “let it go” without hearing Idina Menzel sing and Elsa spinning about just so so here! Happy Day to you!

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Last night I dreamed of several folks from my past. Two of which passed away a while ago.

One was Doug Young. I wish I could remember everything but all that comes back to my mind was something to do with him fixing stuff and he was very cheerful.

youngs(Doug and family)

I also dreamed of the Turners, my old church leaders from UFHOP who I consider cult leaders. I don’t remember the details of the dream but I do recall that in it they were “back” and they were starting up a service and ushering everyone inside the room where the service was being held, except me. They knew I wouldn’t be a part of it and they were right.

ufhop turners(Old photo of members and leader (Elder Howard Turner) of United Fellowship House of Praise)

The last part of the dream my mom and dad were in. My dad is the other person who passed away a while back. I don’t recall anymore then that they were in the end part of the dream and it left me with a positive feeling.

Bob and Joan - Copy(My mom and dad, Bob and Joan.)

When I dream of the Turners I label the dream a nightmare. I could handle night paralysis better then dreaming of them. To me they were the real nightmare. However, this time it didn’t bother me. I didn’t exactly enjoy it and in the dream I wasn’t too happy about all the people they still had fooled and were under their influence but I also didn’t let it get to me. Upon waking it didn’t haunt my mind like dreaming of them usually does.

The Turners 001(The Turners at the HDC where I used to work.)

Up until recently they were the only people I refused to forgive. In all scary honesty, I felt the only way I would feel relieved of them was to stab them in the heart and watch the life drain from their eyes. I would never actually do that but it was the only way my mind wanted to virtually deal with them. I’ve never felt that way about anyone else I know in my life, just them. I understand that not forgiving is like shackling ones self to the person you don’t forgive. But, I just couldn’t handle the idea of letting them get away with taking away the majority of my life.  I was under their command from the age of 19 to 38. That’s all of my twenties and most of my thirties and I could never get those years back.

79349-34-e1379909642611(Some folks will “get” this pic.)

I’ve been reading The Secret and about a week or so ago something in there clicked and made me face the fact that I need to let my resentment toward the Turners go. I mean, I already knew that at the front of my head but I hadn’t let the knowledge sink in and be acted on. I often psychoanalyze myself, it’s kind of a habit. So, looking inside I would have to say it’s likely I felt they need to be punished and as many bad things that have happened to them they haven’t changed, they keep going along the same psychopathic path and somehow fooling people as they go. But then again, that’s what psychopaths do. Oh, they’ve “repented” for stuff and pointed out their wrong doing as long as it was for their benefit in the long run. But, if you keep listening and become a fly on the wall you will eventually hear them explain why what they repented for wasn’t actually wrong but that they needed to repent out loud so certain people wouldn’t leave the church cause their souls were at stake. Oh my goodness! I’ve heard them say this type of things so very many times.

When looking through the first half of The Secret for what ever it was I read about forgiveness that found a way through my brain I couldn’t find it. But as I was skip reading I did find the chapter that focused on the extreme positive emotion called Love. I think that actually was what got through to me. I do remember thinking, “I’m not ready to love them, but it’s about time I forgive and let it go.” I wasn’t sure exactly how effective that thought was but it seems from my dream last night that it was indeed effective after all. In the dream I was a little disappointed that friends were still being fooled by them but not enough to ruin my emotions and qualify as a nightmare. I saw it for what it was and moved on. And really, I am very grateful it’s not me that’s included in the group of fools. I’m thankful I didn’t feel the need to fit in and join them and not feel left out, obligated, or afraid. I’ve come to far, suffered to much and gained too much wisdom to back peddle. And that’s a good thing!

Our sleeping dream world is a place without limits for us to work out ideas and issues as well as sort through things. It’s also a place where we can take our virtual temperature and find out how we really are doing. In all it’s strange surrealness it can show us reality. Last night, my temp was pretty good! 

winter_dreaming(Josephine Wall’s Winter Dreaming)  

I may have bothered some with my extreme honesty about how I used to feel about the Turners. In my opinion, how can I expect to help others if I am afraid of what people will think of me and hide dirty little details in order to make others think I’m this awesome perfect non-human person. No thank you! I prefer to remain real, honest and an open book.  Just like one must love and forgive others to be free and move on, one must also love and forgive ones self in order to be free and move on as well.

Today is the day before Halloween and soon it will be Samhain. For many pagans this is the time the veil between dimensions is thinnest and one can communicate with loved ones who have passed on. Some don’t feel the need to communicate but to just remember and appreciate loved ones who have died.  As I was writing this and looking through old pictures I found one with the old church group and in it was my dad, Doug and Diane, all friends who have passed on some time back. They’re loved ones i am happy to have known and happy to remember and appreciate.  I understand many of my atheist friends think it’s silly and annoying to think that loved ones who have passed away may be watching over us and helping us, but the odd thing is, the Christian faith i was raised in felt the same way. Except instead of believing they ceased to exist we were taught they went on to either heaven or hell and  that’s it. Any watching over us was done by Jesus or the angels or if something was wrong then demons.  It seems when people become radical they often end up in the same boat. I am happy to have room in my brain to believe it is possible that loved ones who have passed on may possibly be able to assist us who are considered living.  Wither it’s true or not, it’s not a sin, it’s a comforting thought and for some it’s gets them by day by day.

If you’re interested in learning more about the truth behind Samhian besides not reading about it from Christian sources cause they are often full of propaganda I suggest you check out this simple link – http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/samhainoctober31/p/Samhain_History.htm.

67056_570320059683613_589377180_n(I don’t know who wrote this Samhain prayer but i thought it was lovely. I found it on Facebook.)

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“Had a decent day doing the last day of my garage sale. I still didn’t get the garage sold  😉  but I did get some items sold. There were a lot of Mexican families that came by today. One man talked with me for a bit while his wife looked around. Turned out he’s from TJ and not only that but more specifically from San Quinton. I told him I had gone there with a church to bring food, clothes and stuff a long time ago. He said there was only one place like that there and when he was a boy he and his friends would all go there together for aid and a meal. It’s so fun when you meet someone who had taken some of or many of the same paths you have taken.”

That was my FaceBook post yesterday. Though I meant what I said about it being fun to meet people who have traveled the same path I also had  memories come to the surface that weren’t so fun.

The same man also told me how when he was young he would see the giant beautiful homes along the beach and wonder who lived in them. He thought living so close to the beach was scary. People would tell him it was Americans who lived there.

I remembered going to not just San Quinton, (I only did that once) but many many times to various places in TJ with Sister Stamps from Imperial Beach to bring the food and clothes she collected for the TJ poor and to join the services being held at the churches she started there. I remember passing out the food and wishing I could take a bite or the clothes and seeing things I really needed. I was ok with not having any of those items or food cause I knew these people really needed it, but then again so did I.  I had been brought up that no matter how poor or how much pain you are in there is always someone who is worse off. I was brought up to give, not receive. What annoyed me then was the attitude of many of the children and adults we were helping. They often made it clear they knew we were rich and we owed them. Not all of them, but many of them. That’s where it stung.

I am starting to understand now that they were in an environment that fed that mentality. People are more pron to group mentality then they usually know.  I wondered about the man I talked with at my garage sale. I wondered if he had that mentality and if he got out of it or still felt the same way. I didn’t have time to ask him, but I am curious.

I had my own warped mentality as well. What slightly changed me was this one day on the way up to Julian with my then Church (UFHOP), we stopped off at a buffet to eat. I had been well programed to believe my church leader who we called Elder Turner and his wife, Sister Turner, and kids were poor and the ones in need. It’s a common way for ministers to get money, I’m sure you know. But at that time I bought into it heart and soul. I had a job and did all I could to help them and others. So when they told me they were paying for my meal I just wouldn’t accept it, it just couldn’t be. Sister Turner took me aside and told me that when you give you receive blessings and by not allowing them to bless me by paying for my meal I was not allowing them to be blessed by giving. It made sense so I gave in and let them pay for my meal. It was still very uncomfortable but it didn’t kill me after all.

I can’t say that I was cured of being able to take not just receive but I was a step better. I think there was more to it then the way I was raised, I think I was also that way cause I saw too many people with the taker attitude, the “you owe me” one and it repelled me making me go the opposite way.

The “you owe me” thing was in play real heavy when I lived in Camden, Arkansas. Still with UFHOP and Elder Turner and his second wife, also called Sister Turner,  and not only with them but they were in charge of my life, I got a lot of that attitude aimed at me. The Turners didn’t use that attitude, well not in the same way anyways. Theirs was you owe God so you have to pay us tithes and offerings and what ever else our whim and fancy need wither it be your time, your money and your home for.  When someone visited or was new they usually were put in my home. Some of those people had that ugly attitude and even Elder Turner would notice it. He would point it out and preach about it after they left and after they took advantage of me and anyone else they could take from. But there were members who did the same thing. One  was a lady who I considered a friend who we called Sister Alice. Because I considered her a good freind I was ignored her attitude of me owing her cause I was a rich white lady. She was around enough to know I barley had enough for my own family but her cognative defanence kept her from really understanding that. Many of the African Americans living in the Camden area of Arkansas have the mentality that if you are white then you are rich and you owe them.  She was certainly a product of her environment.  It wasn’t about money as much as helping her. I was happy to watch her daughter around the clock on a regular basis but I found it odd that when she watched mine for over an hour (happened vary rarely) she would complain that I was taking advantage of her.  And other things like that. I didn’t want to believe back then how she really saw me. But it really was obvious and in my face.

Though I am still not good at asking for aid I am better at speaking out when there is an injustice not just to others but to myself as well.  And when I do ask and receive I usually have mentally lectured myself first. It helps!

I feel like I am missing something I wanted to say, but it’s summer vacation and I have a house full of children and noise so that will have to do for now.

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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.

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