My name is David McMillian and I would like to share my Experience in the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult.
The Abused becomes the Abuser:
My story begins with my horrific childhood. My childhood was the epitome of dysfunction and chaos. My mom was married four times and I was subjected to horrific abuse at the hands of my step-dads and others. I was molested three times and quit school at the ages of 8, 10 and 13 because everyone picked on me. Needless to say, I had no clue what a normal loving family was like. I wound up being shipped off to three different children’s homes, the last being a Christian home up in Virginia. That was my first introduction into the world of the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult.
The home made us go to a strict Independent Fundamental Baptist church and, at the home, we were not allowed to do anything without it being a sin. My entire life in the home and church for the whole five years I was there, revolved around keeping the many ridiculous rules that they enforced. Around my Junior year in high school, we had a new set of house parents. They were fresh out of Bob Jones University. For some unknown reason, they took a particular interest in me and pressured me to go to Bob Jones University (as a Christian school we would have different colleges and universities come and scope out the senior class).
After graduation, I decided to attend BJU and was taken by my house parents to Greenville, SC. It was there that I met my wonderful wife. At this point in my life, I desperately wanted to have a Godly home that resembled nothing like what I had experienced growing up. However, I had no input on how to accomplish that desire. Bible college, I thought, would offer me the “know how” on how to have the Godly home that I desired. It was the second semester of college that I met my soul-mate and my future wife. We dated about a year before I left the University for good and transferred to a small Bible college across town named Tabernacle Baptist Bible College.
I remember at BJU, our relationship was good and I was sweet and very kind back then (I hadn’t been indoctrinated yet into the extreme fringe of Fundamentalism). I wanted to please my fiance’ and serve her with all I had. All that changed, however, when I started going to Tabernacle Baptist Bible College. I now feel that there is a demonic, toxic spirit there about the role and place of a woman. They teach and preach (or at least have special speakers come in that teach this trash) that:
* Women are to be in complete and total submission to men, especially to their husbands.
* A woman has no rights, no opinion of her own, and is to never question the authority of her husband, her pastor or her father, in that order.
Why my fiancé at this point, didn’t leave me, I don’t know, because I evolved into a jerk and a down right asshole. One of my mentors, and favorite guest speakers, was an idiot, loud-mouth, crazy preacher named Phil Kidd. I loved to listen to him so much that at one time I had about 200 or more of his tapes and would go anywhere to hear him preach. I almost worshiped the man. Let’s review for a moment: Remember my past? Remember me wanting to be a Godly husband and have a Godly home? Well, now I was being “indoctrinated” and began to believe this was the way to be a Godly husband.
Funny thing about this kind of mentality is that you never hear messages about how the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved His church. (Interesting note: the famous passage out of Ephesians Chapter 5 about wives being in submission to their husbands, there are only three verses that even talk about a wife’s relationship to her husband but, a whole NINE verses that deal with a man’s responsibility to love his wife! HMMMMM?? Now, why isn’t that preached, but I digress). I have actually heard Phil Kidd say stuff like this, (Screaming the whole time so my caps are for illustrational purposes only) “BLESS GOD IF I HAD A FAT, HAG, SHORT HAIRED, LIZARD TOUNGED JEZEBEL WIFE LIKE YOU, LET ME TO TELL YOU WHAT I WOULD DO, I WOULD BEAT THE LIVING DEVIL OUT OF YOU… SOME OF YOU MEN ARE SO HENPECKED THAT YOUR WIFE’S NOT HERE AND YOU STILL WON’T SHOUT!!!!!” That is the input I was getting and I believed it hook, line and sinker.
My wife and I were married in 1990, and things were about to really get interesting. After being at Tabernacle about two years, I dropped out (so I never graduated from any Fundy land college or university) and moved to another (even worse) IFB cult church. The Church? Pleasant View Baptist, Larry K. Raines, Pastor. This was a cult in every sense of the word. This place is where I got most of my convictions against almost everything and, I believed like Phil Kidd, if it’s fun, it’s wrong, bless God!!!!
Back on the home front, things were not going well at all. My wife was not going to be bullied and pushed around like that and that caused so many unpleasant fights. I never got physical, but I did eventually break her spirit and will – which is actually taught in these circles, that your job as husband is to coral your wife’s stubborn will, which all women have. But, there were also times I used my authority to throw my weight around. I controlled what she wore. We had no TV in our house. We both never wore shorts and, she was not permitted to wear pants under any circumstances. We would have camp meetings at our church, and guess who they always picked for the Guest speaker every year? You guessed, it Phil Kidd. I couldn’t get away from this guy (at the time I didn’t want to.)
I should have paid more attention to the stuff at that church that was happening! Many things were not quite right; for instance, the shaming of people from the pulpit in a harsh manner over some of the stupidest stuff I can imagine. We would also have worship services praising the pastor and his church. The testimony time would sound something like this, (and it would last the entire service, person after person) “Pastor, I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for you, your hard preaching and this church, you have saved my home, my life, and I just want to say I love you and I thank God for you and your Godly example”. But there was one instance that finally broke through the façade and made me think for the first time, “Okay, something is wrong here”.
Because of my past that I hadn’t dealt with yet, I had severe panic attacks, and sometimes they were during church, so I would sit in the back and if I felt one of them coming on I would graciously slip out the back into the foyer and go to the bathroom. One particular Sunday, I was sitting in my spot in the back as I felt one of those monster attacks coming on, so I did my usual routine and slipped quietly out the back so as not to disturb the service. Upon my return, the pastor stopped mid sentence in his preaching and pointed at me and said “David, If you would sit still long enough to hear anything I say then you wouldn’t be so up and down, so cold and hot in your Christian life!” I was still so engrossed in this crap that, I was upset, but figured that God had told him to tell me that.
The next Sunday, he “assigned” me a seat up near the front where he could keep an eye on me. Needless to say, I had such a bad panic attack that I almost passed out from hyperventilation. That should have shocked me into reality, but I was so indoctrinated that I believed that if I left that I was walking away from God and, would be severely punished by God and shunned by the church and its members.
Not long after this last event, I got a wake up call and I had had enough and I left. This is what happened: Every Sunday morning we would all meet in the foyer and have a men’s prayer meeting before the service. This particular Sunday was the beginning of our summer camp meeting. I was standing there with some of my friends when the pastor walked up to me and said, “During this camp meeting I want you to stay seated and keep your mouth shut, are we clear??” I thought this was kind of weird because we were a church known for shouting and running the isles, so I was a little confused and, mortified. After the prayer room was over, I grabbed my wife, stormed out as fast as I could before the service started, and never looked back!!
I wish I could say that after leaving all was okay and that I treated my precious wife with the love and dignity that she so desperately deserved, but that wasn’t the case. The poison spewing forth from the filthy mouths of these reprobates that push themselves off as ministers of the Gospel is toxic to the male ego. As if we men don’t have enough of an ego problem to begin with from the fall of Adam, this just boosts it up to a level the size of Texas and California combined. Because of what they taught me, my wife’s opinion didn’t matter to me because it was different than mine and I was always right. I never sought out her opinion or her say on any decision or anything for that matter. Can you imagine how this made her feel?. . . like she didn’t even matter to me and, in a way, she didn’t.
It’s taken me almost 20 years to detox my mind and spirit from this poison, but, I can say that I am free from the mentality that I always have to do it MY way. This is such an opposite extreme to the mentality and thinking the IFB instilled in me. The IFB taught me that it was my way or the highway.
What I think drew me into the IFB cult was that I was a wounded little boy inside looking for that father figure I never had (my father abandoned us when I was small). I was searching for meaning to my tragic past. The IFB initially fit the bill perfectly. It was a male-dominated church system and I needed an authority figure, and boy that’s what I got and more. I have since (last year) found real freedom in Christ and my past has been forgiven and forgotten. My precious wife and I are just now learning what it really means to love each other the way God intended. I no longer hold that I’m the boss over her head anymore. I have a ways to go to win her trust and to show her how beautiful she is to me and to God. During what I call the dark ages, I never complimented her on anything, so, now she doesn’t know how to take a compliment. I now lead my home by example, not dictatorship, and it sure makes for a happier and more peaceful home. This is why I wanted to share my journey, to expose the toxic teaching of the IFB cult in every area but especially in their mistreatment of women. I feel sorry for the leaders because they are just spewing what they were taught and propagating the abuse within the lives of their congregants. I HATE the teaching and the preaching that demoralizes women to a subhuman level. I pray for anyone still trapped in the IFB cult, and if you are reading this, I only have one piece of advice for you GET OUT NOW!!! To men, love your wife as you love yourself. I think maybe the reason we treat them so bad is because we haven’t learned to love ourselves first (which is a BIG no no in IFB circles). I love who I am and who I have become and NONE of it would have been possible without the love and support of my wonderful, beautiful precious wife. Thank you dear for not giving up on me when I was such a jerk, you have the patience and love of God, because I would have left ME a long time ago. God bless and thanks for reading.
From Victom to Victory,
David McMillian Gal. 2:20