I am writing this to inform others of my husband and my observations and direct involvement with the abuse that was/is going on at Mt Pleasant Grace Church. For us this started when our daughter was going to CMU. She started going to Young church/ Grace church in her junior year, and attended for greater than 10 years. I was excited for her. I could see she was growing in her faith. We attended several times. Each time however, I would feel a check in my spirit, thinking of the messages. Most of the time the messages were given by others. They were not trained, they didn’t have any seminary training. I would come away thinking that didn’t quite make sense. I asked, why isn’t BF doing the sermons? He was there. The messages didn’t quite measure up to scripture. We heard BF on many occasions as well, with the same confusion. His messages seemed so condemning. They were lacking in substance, or the message just seemed to ramble on. I can’t remember exactly because it was so long ago, but we were confused many times by the teaching. (My husband and I are both active Christians in our local church. Both of us have had many leadership positions in our local church over the years.)
Our daughter started to get very involved in the church, coming home less and less. She missed many family gatherings. One time at Christmas she said, I might not be coming home for Christmas as I have a new family, my church family. Also there was a family reunion, where we knew it would be her grandfather’s last time there, as he was sick. She had to work at the Labor Day new recruitment of freshman . There was no way she could get off. She was becoming very radical, overboard in her beliefs. She was involved in many of the ministries, all at once. She couldn’t take a Sunday off. She seemed judgmental and would make remarks of other people’s lack of faith commitments. The church made her and her boyfriend breakup. There was no reason for it. They had only been going out for a few months. They said her boyfriend had issues he needed to work on, as he was forgetting to do things for ministry so he was distracted by this relationship. After the meeting where they encouraged them to break up, my daughter had to take her praxis exam to get her certification to be a therapist. She did not pass as she was unable to concentrate due to crying for hours and the anxiety this caused. Almost a full year went by. Then when they got back together, they were told they could not marry until their college debt was paid. (They have been happily married now for almost 12 years. ) We were very worried. Things were just not right.
We questioned the kids often about certain things we observed, but we didn’t want to alienate them. So we had to be careful. I wanted to write to BF many times. I rehearsed what I would say to him, if I had the chance. My husbands observation was whenever he would speak with B, B would never look him in the eye. He would seem uncomfortable. The only thing we could do was pray. We prayed for years that whatever was going on there, God would reveal it. We prayed for our kids to get away from that church, even it it meant moving. They finally started questioning things. They said they had, had certain discussions with leadership. Long story short.. they moved. They told us they felt compelled to flee. God opened the doors. The veil was removed. They were free. We could steadily see a direct improvement in their behavior. Praise God. He gets the glory.
Now I read all the posts of similar situations of people, people that have left, and are free now. The abuse that has been permitted at that church is criminal. It just breaks my heart. Through this letter I have shed some tears. Tears how this could have turned so ugly for our family. I have seen first hand how it has turned ugly for another family. We have prayed for that family also for years. My continued prayer is for the church leadership to be exposed and the eyes of the congregation and community be opened, before anyone else is held hostage to this type of abuse. This is very serious and has been going on for years. It needs to stop! A healthy church body requires strong accountability measures for the pastor and the elders. A healthy elder board requires a rotation of new elder members, every few years. Through the grace of God our story has ended well, however after reading all these 100s of posts, I am deeply grieved. All the damage Grace Church has caused to so many individuals and families is truly tragic. Everyone needs to be in serious prayer over this.