When members of any "one true church" cult desire to leave, they receive scare tactics. These are the most common scare tactics used in the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite:
1. You're leaning on your own light and not being submissive, yielded, and teachable.
Are we to submit to someone simply because they demand it? Then I should equally submit to the Catholic pope or the Mormon missionary. You say I must not submit to them because they do not teach the truth. In saying this, you have set me a precedent and I must evaluate your teachings in the same manner. To guard myself against false teachers, I must choose to whom I will submit based on searching the Scriptures daily to see whether the teaching is true.
2. You just want the world.
The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a lawbreaker because he broke their manmade commandments. If I break yours, I am no more guilty of worldliness than my Lord was. Jesus commands me to "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." I shall obey Him.
3. You are offended and angry
Jesus looked on the Pharisees with anger toward their deception. Jesus also told Peter once, "Thou art an offence to me." In the same way, the deception of Holdemanism is offensive, not only to God, but to all who love the truth. I love you as people and forgive your being deceived, but following my Lord's example against the Pharisees, I stand squarely and boldly opposed to the false doctrine of this group.
4. You have a spirit of rebellion, independence, pride, self-will, defiance, insubmission, etc. etc.
Like the rest of humanity, I have in my old sin nature all of the potential bad attitudes of mankind, and sometimes I need to repent and confess to my Lord when I slip into one. But your invention of "spirits" is merely a convenient label to describe anyone who disagrees with your doctrine. Be very careful that you do not commit what Jesus called the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by calling that precious Spirit within me "foreign" or "evil."
5. You took a vow and will you break it?
You would not insist a Mormon keep his temple vows when he converts to your church, and neither would you have faulted the Apostle Paul for breaking his vow to kill Christians. However, I vowed to be faithful to God and His church forever. I will keep that vow toward God and His true church (every born-again believer).
6. You'll get a divorce and go far into sin if you leave!
The greatest group that leaves CGCM are the outside converts, 95% of whom eventually leave. If this supposed "curse" were true, divorce would be rampant among this group. But it is extremely rare for converts who come in to CGCM as a couple to divorce after they leave. Divorces do sometimes happen, however, among the almost-arranged marriages of the lifelong Holdemans, but they usually are only making public the disharmony that was hidden while they were Holdemans. Because Holdemans are forbidden to divorce does not mean their marriages are happy.
It's true that many ex-Holdemans fail because they cannot function in real life outside the artificially cloistered existence. Legalism breeds spiritual weakness. Like white rabbits released from a cage, they have never been taught to survive true spiritual warfare by relying on the Holy Spirit--or they never had spiritual life to begin with! It is not freedom that kills, but the former life of being raised weak and helpless in a cage. Likewise, snip a puppet's strings and it falls in a heap because it was only a puppet.
But any Christian who relies on the Holy Spirit for strength and follows Jesus Christ will heal, recover, and have the victory.
7. Your kids will go wild if you leave!
Do you mean they won't wear Holdeman costumes any more and they will take piano lessons or play football? Refer to answer # 2
8. Where can you find a church that's closer?
Closer to what? Closer to Phariseeism, self-idolatry, labeling the Holy Spirit in others "evil," rejecting the true bride of Christ, teaching another Jesus and another gospel, turning men away from the truth of the gospel with legalism, usurping the authority of the Holy Spirit in believer's lives, and tearing families and marriages apart with unscriptural application of the avoidance?
9.You'll just keep going from church to church.
Yes, if I continue evaluating other Christians with Pharisee standards, I will never see their true spirituality. If I don't allow the Word of God to deprogram all the legalism I embraced while a Holdeman, I will always criticize the bride of Christ. If I keep looking for something Jesus never promised--a pure pile of wheat without any tares--I will probably fall into the clutches of yet another "one true church." And when I leave that, I will probably keep searching, searching, searching--alone, without fellowship, and spiritually unbalanced.
But if I allow the Word of God to cleanse me of my own Phariseeism, I will follow God's leading to a body of Bible-believing Christians with which I can best work and worship.
I will learn that though the true spiritual body of Christ is made up only of genuine born-again believers, in any religious assemby Jesus said there will be of wise virgins and foolish, good fish and bad, wheat and tares. I will stop looking for what will only be enjoyed in the new earth and new heavens--the absolutely true bride of Christ, cleansed without spot and blemish. I will stop trying to force the church on earth to fit that description. I will stop being attracted to groups who only deceptively mask this mix with homogenized behavior and costume.
I will cease to be affronted when I see among the dedicated Christians others attending church who are not saved but want to be, some who aren't saved but think they are, and others who are lukewarm. And finally, I will put my shoulders to the work, lovingly accepting my Christian brothers and sisters in the local Bible-teaching church, being ready to "warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men"
And throughout my Christian lifetime, God may lead me to feed in different corners of His pasture according to my needs at the time, but I will understand I am feeding in the same huge pasture as other Christians, all of us under the same Shepherd. And never again will I rope off a tiny corner of that abundant pasture and say to the other sheep, "This is the one true pasture!"
10. You'll never be happy again, but always yearn to return
Added to the normal longing for familiarity, the collateral damage of any of the "one true church" cults on the emotions of it's ex-members is overwhelmingly immense. That's why they call it brainwashing. Ex-Mormons, ex-JW's, ex-Cooneyites equally suffer doubts and turmoil because of the strength of their early childhood indoctrination. Does this turmoil mean God is calling them back to their particular cult? Neither does the turmoil of ex-Holdemans mean God is calling them back to that cult. The only remedy for an ex-member of a cult is to focus on Jesus Christ and Him crucified, to grasp the beauty of salvation by grace alone through faith in His shed blood, and to cling to the Word of God like a drowning man.
Love letter to the Holdemans:
Whether it be of God and No Proselytes in Zion--a Re-examination: (this is the original pamphlet sent to 2,000 members of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite)
NOTE: If your computer doesn't already have RealPlayer®, download it here for free.