No church is perfect, I know. No person is perfect, that’s for sure and I am the first to admit my own imperfections.

It has taken me many years to get to this point in my life to realize that I was not to blame for the wrongs done to me at the hands of my spiritual leaders. I know so many people who have experienced the same as I, so I feel that this all needs to be said. Maybe my experiences might help others.

Having said that, here is my first entry on the painful subject of spiritual abuse.

It was always an unspoken rule. -Those who left “CCC” were to never be spoken to again or considered truly ‘saved’. They had left the flock and gone astray, so snubbing a former member of “CCC” was second nature. I didn’t quite catch on to this so-called rule, but understood it fully. I would never be one of those who had ‘fallen away’.

I was the perfect child in church. As mentioned earlier, I began attending the adult services at “CCC” when my contemporaries were still attending children’s church. I was learned in the ways of the Lord, so I understood all that was taught. I sat quietly in service, paying attention as well as I could since the pastor was not always very concise or even interesting.

By the time I turned 12, I joined the adult choir. I had to try-out since the director didn’t know how a child could sing and I passed the test. I have always been talented in music, teaching myself how to read music and play piano. I was a full-fledge member and attended practice religiously. Always on time and willing to take direction, I absorbed every vocal technique our director taught. I soon began singing special music on Sunday nights and I faithfully tried out for solos.

Within a short time, the director saw that I was sensitive emotionally. (Hey, I’m artsy and I was so young) “E”, the director, began an attack on my psyche that nearly drove me to suicide.

It started out with bizarre ‘prayers’ with me while “E” was teaching me vocal exercises. She would say incredibly hurtful things to me, such as, “You have a good voice, but you’re not pretty”, or she would “prophesy” strange messages over me. This happened on a weekly basis for approximately 5 years. The recurring theme of her speeches to me were always about me not being pretty, or that I wasn’t that talented. -I knew I wasn’t the classic picture of beauty, but I knew I could really sing.

I was invited to many secular events to sing, because despite what “E” said, everyone else knew I had great talent.

By the time I was 16, I tried out for the worship team, because that was where my heart was. I hated to perform, but loved to worship God and point people to Him. Again, I was not beautiful enough. Just a side note: If I had been a hideous teenager, maybe I could accept the harsh and hurtful things constantly being said to me by “E”. However, I was not ugly. At the time, I did think I was ugly, but when I look back at my pictures, I see I was far from ugly. I was pretty, but not blonde, tall and skinny.

At the age of 18, I traveled to Hong Kong to attend a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). I lived in Hong Kong for 3 months and had a 2 month outreach to mainland China.

In the first 2 weeks of my DTS, I was asked to sing on the worship team. I was shocked. By this time, after years of continual abuse from “E”, I had convinced myself I was ugly and untalented. The staff at the DTS thought I was very, very talented. I was the first student allowed to help with leading worship. -So I was talented after all.

After my 5 months, I reluctantly returned to New Mexico and the abuse once more.

I was happy and for the first time in my life I had confidence in my talent and I felt on top of the world. I braved my fears and attended a choir rehearsal at “CCC”. I had no clue that I was going to become a lost sheep.

Practice was about to begin, and a member said a prayer. All of a sudden, “E” said she had a prophecy. My heart sank. I knew it was going to be directed toward me.

She began spewing hatred and cruelty in the name of God toward me. She continued her “prophecy” for 3 minutes or so and I couldn’t take the humiliation any longer. Although there were over 30 choir members in attendance, they let her continue her hurtful barrage. A friend helped me out of the sanctuary as I was sobbing.

I was in total disbelief that “E” could attack me under the guise of a “word” from the Lord. I was shocked that not one person had the nerve to stand up to her. But they were sheep….they were fearful to become lost sheep. Afraid to be shunned by the all-powerful leaders of “CCC”.

I left. I washed my hands of singing in the choir…

To be continued….

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