In 2003 a disciple in the “higher ups” from the London Church of Christ named Henry Kriete wrote a letter. An open letter. And the internet being what it was becoming, this letter fell into all of our hands and rocked our worlds.
You can read the original letter here: Honest to God Revolution through repentance and freedom in Christ.
At the Boise Christian Church, all of us were very excited. Alarmed, but excited. Because someone who the leaders would listen to was speaking up about the things we had seen for years.
Things like, hierarchy, patriarchy, rules and regulations, unfair legalism, emotional manipulation, control, money malpractice, and other popular forms of spiritual abuse.
I remember my husband and our best friends being so wide-eyed and breathless with anticipation. Things were going to change! And we would be a part of it!
At this time, we had no desire or plan to leave the church. After all, leaving the church was akin to leaving God – that had forever been ingrained in us and in our thinking. We weren’t going to abandon ship. No, we were going to ride it all the way into glory, waving victoriously.
The leaders at our church location had heard the murmurings too and knew they probably had to address the shocking allegations that Kriete had made.
I imagine they did this with a lot less excitement than we had!
It was decided and made known that during the next midweek service (midweeks were not attended by visitors, only disciples) that the subject could be broached and grievances could be aired.
With some caveats.
You had three minutes to speak from your seat in the pew and those minutes would be timed. Then you must sit down. No exceptions. At the end of ninety minutes, the meeting would end.
And that would basically be the whole reckoning. After that, the subject would be closed.
The air was positively humming with electricity that night. I think we were all sweaty and nervous but so desperate to share things that before had always been swallowed up. But how do you do that in three minutes??
There were a lot of tears that night as people shared their (albeit ridiculously short) stories. We came away feeling like things were at a precipice. This was a historic moment.
But … it wasn’t. Nothing changed. At least not at our Idaho location. Our leader at the time was calmly furious. When we asked to see how much he made as his salary, not to mention his wife as the Women’s Leader, he resigned.
The thing was, the books had always been open, or so we had been told. Yet no one thought to look?
I’m not sure what that says about people, except that perhaps they are sheep in people’s clothing.
Our church was a congregation of about 150. Our pastor was making… a lot of money. So was his wife, who truth be told, I was always annoyed at because she always confused me with someone else and was constantly calling me Rebecca.
I get that 75 women might be a lot to remember names of, but then again, not really. I knew every woman in that church by name.
They left in a swirl of indignant anger to pursue a career in real estate.
Now we were left knowing that things were not going to change. Not now. Maybe not ever.
We were so dreadfully tired. So very, very exhausted. We had been so busy for so many years, and now we were spiritually and emotionally and physically defeated.
And that’s when, with very little fanfare, with two little girls and two dogs, we decided to leave.
More Information on the ICOC Cult
For more information on the toppling of “God’s modern day movement” and the history of the rise and fall of the ICOC in MY day, check out the Triumphing Over London Cults website.