What is a Cult?
Cult is defined as:
1 : formal religious veneration : WORSHIP
2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
4 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults>
5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion
Background: This church started in California. In 1993 Bro. Mears decided that the church and its members, approx. 400 people at that time, needed to relocate to White House, TN. We were told that California was going to be the beginning of the end for us. He said that all the signs were there. He talked about how everyone came to CA to find stardom and that the people are full of sin and had no morals and that we did not need to be a part of that any longer. We needed to get out before God judged them. We heard things like CA could fall into the ocean one day. So 99% of the churched packed everything up and moved here to White House Tn. The ones who stayed were told that they were not listening to what God had told Bro. Mears and that they would be judged for not listening to God just as the people did not listen to Noah. Below is a brief summary of what goes on in all these churches. I can swear that everything that is written is something that I have personally experienced or seen. Bro. Mears is no longer the minister but the church is still ran under his guidelines and the pastor is his son-in-law Steve Farmer.
1. Lack of Grace: If someone was to have one of their sins made public then there was limited amount of forgiveness given to them by the church. The bible says that we only need to ask God for forgiveness. That was taught but never really practiced. Even though God had forgiven you the Church still had to pass out its own judgment. i.e.: if you became pregnant out of wedlock people were told not to attend your baby shower, if you had premarital sex people were told over the pulpit not to attend your wedding, If you disagreed with the pastor then your only option was to leave the church. This was the churches' way to try and teach the people what would happen to you if you sinned. They would say that was God dealing with the situation but in fact it was man.
2. Standards or man made law: The ministry makes the law not God. We must obey, unquestioned or we are told we are working against the "True Body of Christ” and people are told to disfellowship with you.
3. Unreasonable burdens placed on women: The women are responsible to keep the men holy. Women are taught that men are weak and so it is up to them not to tempt them. The women are held to a strict dress code because they fear a man cannot control himself if a women is presented in any other way other than Frumpy. If a women is to wear pants or form fitting clothing then they are responsible for causing that man to lust in their hearts. How a women dresses shows her subjection to the ministry. If she does not dress the way the minister has requested he will preach about her over the pulpit and compare her to the common whore on the street. As done by Steve Farmer prior to a camp meeting. When he was clearly referring to two specific girls in the Church. The entire assembly knew who he was talking about.
4. Judgementalism: The mandatory dress code set up the ones who chose to obey to stand in judgment of those who did not.
5. Love and Charity: You hear very little preached on this, but you see even less of it being practiced by the people. You should love your Church and the ministry but above all your pastor. Everyone else is disposable or invaluable.
6. Church family vs. natural family: You are told to disfellowship with any and all non-believers including your natural family. If you have children who have left the church you have nothing to do with them other than to pray that God will bring them back to where they belong, in the "Body". You are to separate yourself from them because they are considered Worldly and Ungodly even if they have left the church because they found another Church to attend. Anyone who does not go to a GAC church is not a true member of Gods church.
7. Unreasonable Value Placed on Doctrine: It has its place but it is valued much more highly than the teachings on character, grace, mercy, how to love one another, and a Godly lifestyle. Few of the ministers in the GAC actually agree on doctrine but all the people that are under each individual minister believes their minister is teaching the "Truth" and they all use the same scripture to prove their opposing views. But even with the differences as long as you go to one of the Body churches you still have hope. If you go to a church outside that you are lost. I have heard it said by ministers that they would rather someone not go to church at all then to go to a church outside the GAC movement.
8. Exclusivity: GAC teaches that they are the Body of Christ and all men must come to them in order to be saved. All other Christians are considered Babylonians or Harlots, subject to being ignored or even plundered by God's People and are to be avoided. The GAC system generally believes that they are the only place you can go to hear Gods word. You grow up hearing they have the "truth" and that they alone are the "Body of Christ". The name itself implies that message. ..
9. Man Worship: Men are highly placed and valued whether it is in the church, home, marriage, to the disparagement and devaluation of the women. The bible has set up a healthy order, but such an order had been destroyed and warped. This also refers to the man (minister) who's the head of the women (the church) takes an extraordinary amount of privileges, power, authority, to himself and demands respect to the point of being worshiped. Giving over your power to a man is Idolatry!
10. Accountability: No minister is accountable on any level worth mentioning. They do what they see fit with your tithes and offerings, they with hold information in regards to crimes being committed against the children, but they demand accountability from you. He wants absolute power over your life and your families.
11. Dictatorship: You cannot question the minister. If you do you are called unfaithful and rebellious. If you believe a situation to be unfair or abusive then your only option is to leave. Once you make the choice to leave you are disfellowshiped with and you are preached against over the pulpit as someone working against a man of God.
12. Unbelievable Arrogance: We are the ONLY church!!!! We are IT!!!! We have the "Truth"; God will bring them to us to be saved. Many ministers are power mongers seeking power over others, praise and unquestioned obedience.
13. Control: They make your decisions for you. Can you take a vacation, have a baby shower, can your child play sports, how many people can be in your wedding and the list of the people in it has to be approved, can you cut your hair, the list goes on but the biggest that we can not leave out is when a minister tells you to pack up everything and move cross country you do it. If you do not turn over this control to them they view you as having no faith in a man of God. Who is God going to talk to? You or are faithful servant? You are taught to believe that you will lose your soul if you do not submit to your minister. They don't want you to develop a personal relationship with God because if you do that you will figure out that God needs to be in control of your life and not a man.
14. Prayer: We are taught to come to the minister for his guidance. He will say lets pray about it and talk later but what he really means is I will let you know what God tells me you should do and you better do it or you are going against GOD! We are not taught to listen to God for ourselves. The reason for this is because if we were to be taught to seek out God for ourselves then the minister will loose control over us. We are conditioned to be dependent on the minister to go to God on our behalf. If we do not follow what the minister tells us Gods will is then we are going against God and if we do go out on our own and do what we believe is right and it does not turn out to be the best thing then we get a big fat I TOLD YOU SO! If you had only listened when God spoke to me you wouldn't be in this trouble. We believe and follow the minister out of fear not faith.
15. Moving up the Church Ladder: There are 3 ways to earn a seat on the platform where you can sit shoulder to shoulder with the most respected men of God. (a). You must be male, turn over control, talk the talk, and financially help support the church (b) be a self proclaimed minister (or known to be one) which automatically earns you a seat even if you are a known child molester, rapist, adulterer, or abusive husband, and (c) you share the last name of the minister.
16. Personal Relationship with God: You don't have one. The ministry stands between man and God. As long as you stay true to him you will make it.
17. Unreasonable Goals: Denying Grace, we are required to be perfect, totally sinless as Jesus. This is an impossible requirement but for them as long as you do as you are told and with the help of the holy ghost you will make it. I have yet to meet one person in all my 20 + years going there that believe that they will make it to heaven. Even though they have dedicated their lives to serving God. They are counting on the resurrection.
18. Cover Ups: Years of abuse to women and children go on there and it is covered up after all, most of the victims are merely young females. They are a much lowered priority then the men who abuse them, or the image of the church, and certainly much lower than the minister who is sexually abusing or having affairs. This has gone on for years and years. Who is going to stand up to them? Every man at the Mt. Carmel meeting got a loud message from Bro. Raider that if a minister makes a big deal out of pedophilia, they are over reacting like a women would do. I guess for them the worse insult is to be accused of acting like a women. I can give examples of 5 cases that I know for a fact were covered up, Jennifer Meier, (names withheld). These are just examples of some in our assembly. This does not include the ones from other Gospel Assembly Churches. If you would like more examples go to http://www.gospelassemblyfree.com
19. Respect for Law of Man: Do they report sexual abuse, No. Do they report money laundering, No. Do they report tax fraud to the IRS, No. Do they use church funds to bail child molesters out of jail, Yes, Do they cover all this up, YES!!!!!
20. Ministers Family: Value being placed on the minister’s family based solely on birthright, not because of his life, character, and love for people, ministerial abilities or spirituality. If you have the right blood line that's all you need. Example, Connie Mears a minister (son), Steve Farmer assistant pastor (son in law) Becky Farmer is over the worship (daughter) Terry Mears was over the finances (son) Paul Mears (brother) pastor . We now all know the he was a known child molester way before ever going to Phoenix and had affairs or went after women to run off with him who had small female children. We all know what kind of husband Connie was to (name withheld) and he married (name withheld) the day after his Divorce was final (one would think he was dating her while he was still married) but now he is a minister???? Terry who has never been a faithful member and whom is also divorced has been over our money since California and making decisions for the Church without the knowledge of its members, Sis Mears is also divorced. There are a lot of divorces going on in that family yet they are not held to the same standards as other members who have been divorced. They seemed to be able to hold positions of leadership yet others who get divorced are frowned upon on and treated unfairly by the leadership and held to a much greater standard then the family of the minister.
21. Tithes: For years there was no accountability for our money. They used church funds to bail out child molesters from jail. It has surfaced that Bro. Mears was paying Paul Mears' (his brother) salary while in Phoenix (but claims to have not sent him) He funded or bailed out Connie on several business' gone bad with Church funds and he invested in property with church funds for personal gain. Yes, he did give back to the Church but he and his family profited off of those investments.
22. No Community Outreach: There is no care for the lost souls out there. They believe that God will bring them to the Church. They refuse to reach out into the community as a Church. They don't want to be linked with Worldly Christians. They are way above those people.
23. God of Anger and Vengeance: This is a nature of God that is more implied and not taught. We did hear and sing about his love but it was limited to how we lived our lives. If you did not follow the rules set fourth by the Church you were going to be sentenced to a life in the grave. They scared you into staying. You were afraid to leave because you were taught that if you leave God will bring you to your knees. We lived under fear. We were told God is only in the Gospel Assembly Churches and when you are raised with that you believe it. When you start to question it fear keeps you there. Only God can call you out of that Toxic place. You eventually learn that God is a loving God. It takes a lifetime to fully undo what you are brain washed from birth to believe.
24. The Great Lie: All other Churches believe that once saved always saved. They tell you that if you don't go to a church that teaches perfection you are looking for an easy way out. They tell you that other Churches' believe that you can live how ever you want and still make it to Heaven as long as you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior. What a LIE!!! They teach that if you seek out God you will want to be like God. They believe life is a journey and that every time you get a little bit higher God wants you to keep growing. They believe that God never stops wanting more from you and that you are always trying to get to the next level of closeness with the Lord. And you can only achieve that by living a life like Christ. Never have I heard the once saved always saved message.
25.No Value for other Christians: This is the saddest element for me. There is no value for any other Christians. We are taught they are spiritual whore mongers who are lost and ignorant. They just say they are lost and are looking for an easy way to heaven. They say they are the ones out at the bar on Sat night and in Church Sun morning. It is sad to me that you don't know how much bigger your God is. The God I serve is much bigger and greater than just in your "Body of Christ"
26. No Joy: When you are beaten down with guilt, told that God wants you to suffer, trying to live up to the impossible burden of being perfect in order to make it to heaven, forced to sit in subjection to a demanding minister who controls you, then it is impossible to have joy in your salvation. It was more like Hell on earth. It's like having a parent you can never please; you can never be good enough. You have to earn their love and approval, but no matter what you do, you fail. Grace is not practiced so you just have to earn your way to God by doing exactly what you are told to do by your minister.
27. Isolation From Everyone: Growing up we were not allowed to join any sports activities because you would be around worldly people. I asked my mom if I could join Brownies and I was told I had to call Bro. Mears and ask him. I called and he said no. So that was that. I could not join. 99% of the us were pulled out of public schools and home schooled. They said they did not want the world to influence us. Still to this day 99% of the children are home schooled. The parents that decided to send their children to public school were made to feel like they loved their children less for sending them into such an environment. The home school program has improved. The children are receiving an education but the majority of children are being sheltered from any other points of view so that they will stay in that church once they are adults. They do not want them exposed to anything other than what they believe.
I believe that God is unconditional. I believe that he hurts for everyone who is still buying into this Toxic system. He grieves for all who are still bound by those chains of teaching. I serve a GREAT and MIGHTY God!!! My God is not limited to your 4 walls or what you cal "The Body of Christ". I know I am where God wants me to be and his heart is no longer breaking for me. I finally get what Jesus did for me by dying on the cross for me and for you. I clearly do not serve the same God that I use to and I am so blessed to be where I am at today.