Dennis, Sheila

I was in the “Truth” for 15+ years. My first encounter was when I was in junior high. I got to know a girl whose family professed. We became quite close and I was invited to her home to spend the night. I was impressed by her family. The quiet, peaceful tone they used when speaking to one another. My home was very different. It was always noisy and definitely not peaceful. We grew up and grew apart. Years later she married an old friend of my husband’s family so we started spending time together again.

It was the early 1970’s and we read a book by the name of The Late Great Planet Earth. We both feared the end of the world and being left, should the rapture happen. We started to go to Gospel Meetings in 1973. We attended every meeting and both professed at the last one. The workers at that time were David Kennedy and Claire Bone. They visited me daily for several months. I learned how to fit in and did my best as I feared the wrath of God if I were found unworthy. My husband professed 6 years later. They successfully separated us from our family and any previous friends we may have had.

The Truth is definitely a cult. If I wrote all the questionable things that happened to me and my family during those years, I could write a book. To start with the women workers were always very strict and overbearing to the women friends. They were very nice and understanding to the men friends. I remember when my husband professed the worker told him he could not be baptized until they were sure we did not have a TV in our home. What does that have to do with salvation?

I know friends we hiked with for years, the women would wear shorts when we hiked without the workers but when the workers were with us they wore a skirt. I can remember one friend, when seeing the workers coming to the door, ran to her bedroom to change her sweat pants to a skirt so they would not see her in pants. HELLO? Didn’t God already see you? Who are we serving–man or God? They always told us it was God but when you consider this example it would appear that the Workers or man is who was being served. Peer pressure. That is the name of the game.

At Convention, I remember the young girls competing by wearing the most eye-catching shoes they could find because everything else they had to wear was so plain. If someone wore mascara or trimmed their hair people would talk behind their back something awful.

I still love some of the workers and some of the friends. Although I know they look down on me and my family because we no longer profess. All that preaching does not wear off easily. I still do have fear. It was fear that brought me and it was fear that kept me. Now I can’t get rid of it.

The main reason we are no longer in the Truth is because of what workers said to me after my son died in an accident in 1986. She made me question my son’s salvation. I said if he isn’t going to heaven then I don’t think I want to be there either. When I failed to go to meetings, who cares about my grief, right, she said the devil was in control of my life. This was the clincher. I felt I could not go back.

I did go to one Gospel Meeting a year or so later but just to see some of the friends. My belief in that loving relationship was diminished if not destroyed by that worker. After that we were shunned by the so called “friends” who before that could not stay out of our lives, now they wouldn’t speak to us. What did Jesus say, β€œHe who is among you without sin cast the first stone.” Yes, there were a lot of stones thrown at us during those years. We have learned to live with it but the fear is still there in some measure. My husband has lost all faith. Our children have the fear but do not attend any church. We are all scarred because of the “Truth.”

If this message can help even one person to see the real truth it will not be in vain. To others with similar experiences let us stick together and “Fear Not” because “Love” is what it is all about!

Sheila Dennis
April 11, 2000

P.S. Since writing the above I’ve received some wonderful news about God’s plan of salvation. It is what I hadn’t understood all my professing days and all the years since I’ve been out. I am sitting here thanking God. I have just learned about God’s grace and as a result, a great sense of relief has come over me and I burst out in tears. I am finally, after 13 years, understanding the feelings I have been living with. I am so happy to find out at last and to know that Jesus did it all for us. He only wants our love and our trust in what he has done for us.

I remember so many times being told by the workers that if you put Jesus on the cross then we are putting ourselves on the throne. So, we need to put him on the throne and ourselves on the cross. I have bore that cross all these years even though I have not been an active participant in the truth, it has still lived on in me. I thought it was up to ME! I didn’t consider the sacrifice of Jesus. How could I ever be worthy of heaven? I used to see posters and stickers that said “God don’t make no junk.” I could never understand that because I felt like I was junk. I am beginning to feel a freedom within myself now that I have never known. I know it will grow and I will be able to worship again. This time I will learn to love myself as a creation of God. I deserve to know how to accept his love and love him in return with NO FEAR!