Gospel Assembly Church

Kim "Nort's" Statement

(Webmaster's note: It is important for the reader to understand that the Kingsport Gospel Assembly Church has been part of the Goodwin organization for years.)

It is hard for me to really explain how I feel and what I went through as a child growing up in the Kingsport, Tennessee Gospel Assembly Church (GAC). I am a former member of this church and I will never step another foot back into this cult. I will never allow my children to go through what I went through.

I was born and raised in this church for fourteen years. To some, my experiences are not a big deal, but to a child, growing up in a cult type church can be very traumatic.

As a kid, I can remember all the little rules and how they made me feel. The pastor, school principal, the spies, and the mind controllers in general made me feel like if I did anything against what they said, I would be judged, fall from the grace of God, and go to hell! This is how they had so much mind control. Every day of my life I would walk in fear; After awhile it just becomes a way of life. I just got used to it, and didn't think anything about it.

They made us feel like this church was so special and that anyone or anything outside this church (cult) was of the devil. I could not have any friends outside this church or school. This is heavy stuff for a child to deal with. No one was allowed to ask "WHY" or any other kind of questions. This was just something we all learned to deal with. Today when I look back on how I was brought up in GAC, I believe that I was robbed of my youth, meaning, I did not have a normal childhood like most other kids. It would have been nice to do normal things. We were never allowed to see movies, go to theme parks, go swimming, or even play miniature golf! The list goes on and on. It was a huge SIN to do anything pertaining to personal enjoyment or just good ole' family "Fun". We were taught that "those things" were to worldly for us; Only the un-godly should do stuff like that.

As a young girl I could never wear pants, make-up, or short sleeves. At the age of 13, I had to wear my hair up on top of my head. NEVER could I cut my hair. I could never talk to boys unless given permission by the pastor, and even then, we were watched constantly by his spies. Sure there were always those rebellious ones that did some of these things but if (when) they got caught, which 99% of the time, they got a tongue lashing and a personal rebuke from the pulpit. The pastor did not do this in a gentle way. He always raised his voice and would pound you over the head with his words. So we all lived in fear of a MAN!

One of the worst experiences of my life is the day the church made my parents remove us kids from public schools and put us in the church's school (prison). Before we were put in the "christian" school, we attended a public school with a lot of other kids since GAC did not have a church school yet. During this time when we were going to GAC and to the public school, we were not allowed to participate in music, sports, any kind of 4-H, girl scouts, etc. We could not even associate with other kids, so in turn, we were made fun of by them. As I write this I feel very sad and heart broken because I always wanted to be apart of these things, especially the Girl Scouts.

Yes, I am grown now, but what happened to me when I was a child goes with me every day I live.

I remember the school being a nightmare. The girls and boys could not play games together. We were watched constantly. I lived in fear not knowing if my next move would get me in trouble or not. When my parents finally left GAC when I was 14, it was very hard learning how to fit in in the world.

GAC pretty much told us who we could and could not talk to, much less date! They told us who we should marry. Love was never taken into consideration. Most marriages were arranged. No outside marriages were allowed. Today the divorce rate in this church is unbelievable. Only God knows how many affairs have taken place because of this cult.

When I was a young girl I remember (like it was yesterday) staying one night with my friend at her house. It was very late and the pastor of our church came to visit this single mother's house by himself. She (my friend) said later that he did this quite often. At this time he was still married. This was something we did not talk about because if we did, we would have been ousted from the church and made to look like fools.

In my opinion, no pastor has any business visiting a single woman late at night without his wife or someone accompanying him. He (the pastor) later married this woman after his wife passed away.

It all has worked out but I will never forget what I went through in that place. Even to this day I catch myself wondering "will I be judged for doing this?" This is a cult and it is still going strong today. Oh, the name may have changed a little bit, and the people may have a little more freedom and liberties, but underneath all of that the control is still there. The freedom and liberties is just a cover up. All the mind control and power is still there in the hands of a man.

People may ask, "why not just walk away from all of this and be glad you are no longer apart of that church?" The mind control and fear they put in me and my family's heads over a period of time kept us from leaving. I admire my parents now and appreciate them taking me, my brother, and my sister out of this church and school. I hope other former members of the Kingsport church and maybe the one's that are still in GACs around the country that feel trapped can come out and experience "true freedom in Christ" .

Please feel free to tell us your stories. You will have plenty of support from others and your healing will begin.

God Bless,
Kim "Nort"

(Note: to send your story to this website: email us)

Go back to the personal experiences section

Go back to the main page