My Testimony (so far)
When I was 5 my parents decided to profess. We lived in Paradise, Newfoundland and 2 young men my dad had known his entire life had died in a drowning accident. Several people in my parents’ generation professed and I grew up hearing and loving the stories of Paradise—7 meetings on one road and you could hear the singing from one meeting to the next.
When I was 11, I professed and even though I didn’t understand what that meant, I loved everything about professing. Less than 2 years later my parents stopped coming to meeting and a few months later I stopped.
I professed again for a little over a year when I was 15. Exclusivity definitely had me in its grips even when I wasn’t going to meeting. I heard my mom say on several occasions that she knew what was right and if she was willing she would be doing it.
When I stopped professing the 2nd time, I started making some bad choices. Not terrible but I was definitely headed down a wrong path. At 19 I decided I was going to go back to meeting. I spent the weekend at my best friend’s house in a neighbouring field and attended gospel meeting with them.
I had a little conversation with God and told him I wanted to commit my life to him and I felt so bad I had ”failed” in losing out twice. I told God that I would like to profess to hymn 132 which is “I have made my choice forever”. But I also said I just wanted that to be my testimony and I would profess at the first opportunity regardless of what hymn was sung.
The workers were having meetings in my city and I went to the midweek meeting. I did not know the workers—I’d met them both but the worker I knew was in the hospital. The worker started the meeting with hymn 132, and then gave the opportunity to profess at the end of the meeting with hymn 132. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that before or since.
When I professed, the course of my life changed. I stopped some destructive behaviour and embraced myself in professing. I met a wonderful man and we got married and had 3 children. Our children professed when they were very young and 2 of our children were baptized in their teens.
Over the years I had some doubts—how was I loving my neighbour when I knew we didn’t accept people from the LGBTQ community? How could our little group be the only way to heaven? Why did it matter how I dressed, or whether I cut my hair. Why were we so judgmental of people who are divorced and remarried? But always I would pack away these questions and think I need to leave that with God. It’s not my place to judge.
During the pandemic I was saddened by what seemed like a lack of care toward our brothers and sisters but God was so good and with my family we had beautiful fellowship. The story of how I professed was like a memorial stone to me. Something to go back to—to remind me I had been called.
In 2022, the questions kept coming to the surface. It was causing me to question how I could keep going if I felt like a hypocrite but the grip of exclusivity is tight and I kept struggling
In 2023, we heard about Dean Bruer and what he had done. The number of perpetrators grew and those questions would not stay packed away. Instead more and more questions kept coming. I was saddened by the silence from our workers as it felt like a distinct lack of care. Equally concerning were the stories coming out about bullying and abuse in the ministry.
Over the past few months I’ve read and prayed more than ever and finally came to the conclusion that I could not continue in this fellowship any longer. This was not an easy decision. And I kept going back to the story of the night I professed.
I’ve made peace with that story and realized I did have a calling to profess. I will never doubt that it was a clear calling from God. I realize God needed to interrupt the course of my life and He met me where I was. It is not a testimony to the rightness of this way—it’s a testament to the power and awesomeness of God.
These days I’m experiencing a peace I’ve not known before. I’m confident in the sacrifice of my Saviour, and I love getting to know Him better. My husband is going to meeting by himself. God continues to bless me and I am feeling freed from blind traditions chains.
I will always be thankful for the years I had in this fellowship—for all the ways God has kept me and fed me. At the same time I grieve for those for whom this wasn’t their experience. I’m thankful for Jesus who can reach and heal every broken heart.
Teena (Gosse) Daize
Clarington, Ontario, Canada
November 15, 2023