Way back in 2010, I wrote a blog post about the Brisbane Christian Fellowship, a pernicious group of power-hungry, quasi-religious zealots headed by ‘supreme leader’, Vic Hall.
From time to time I get emails from people who have managed to extract themselves from the BCF, due, in part, to reading Helen Pomeroy’s brave testimony about her experience – an experience that nearly killed her.
At the time, Helen was involved in the Streetcar Forum which I’m pleased to see is still up and answering questions for survivors of Hall’s Christian Fellowship cults.
BCF has a ‘sister’ organisation, the MCF – Melbourne Christian Fellowship – also under the auspices of Mr Hall. I recently heard from Paul Kovaks (a pseudonym) who left the cult in 2016. Paul has started a WordPress Blog, MCFExposed, also with the aim of informing and supporting those who are within the grip, or trying to escape from, the psychological and spiritual abuse inflicted by Hall and his group of elders.
“The carnage of destruction from Vic’s messenger word is horrific in scale and nature. People locked up. Families separated. Financial ruins. Children lost. Divorces justified. Men! Women! Wake up. “
It’s important to say that both Helen (at least when I knew her many years ago) and Paul did not abandon their Christian faith – they simply came to realise that the kind of ‘faith’ being peddled by Hall and his cronies was a perverted and abusive form of psychological slavery, completely at odds with the doctrine of the Christian Bible.
I am not a Christian. I don’t believe in God or Hell or eternal damnation and I live a happy, contented and ethical life. People in cults are led to believe that if they do not follow the doctrine of their religious leader, they may as well be atheists for they have abandoned God. This is clearly untrue. People who leave cults can decide to abandon their faith (and, I guarantee, they will not suffer for doing so), but, more often, they retain their faith in God and come to realise that their sincere desire to please God was cruelly exploited by men (and sometimes women) with no authority from the Creator.
For those of us without faith, our aim in exposing cults is not to encourage people to walk away from their religious beliefs, but to walk away from an organization which is preaching a corrupted version of those beliefs and which is causing them pain and psychological damage. As an atheist, I am not in the business of de-converting anyone. And, when people of faith like Helen and Paul tell me their stories, my only aim is to help amplify their voice, not argue with them about religion.
With no authority, other than that which they claim for themselves, Hall and Co. demand that their followers abandon their own hopes, dreams, wishes and personal judgement. They demand that followers forego (what they see as) their personal relationship with Christ, and to have that relationship wholly mediated through the authority of the elders.
Roger Williams, another MCF escapee writes on his blog:
“Most of the time throughout my years in attendance it was publicly and privately expressed and implied that these people as leaders, were the voice and messenger of God, and that to disobey that voice and messenger was to disobey God Himself.”
Williams speaks of:
“A perverted concept of unity, which in reality translated itself into almost total and unquestioned obedience to the leadership. “
That is not a religion – it’s a cult.
According to Paul, those who do not obey the elders are told they are marked for Hell. That is a frightening prospect for someone who believes in such things and whose mental health has been worn down with years of religious/psychological abuse from church ‘authorities’.
No religion should be based on fear. When people fear the consequences of not obeying their leaders, they fear their leaders. When they fear their leaders, they fear each other – they dare not confide their doubts to others lest all hell (literally) breaks loose. And as everyone stays silent, the leaders gain more and more power, and the victims become more and more isolated, worn down and fearful. It is a vicious circle.
“I frequently discerned in my spirit that I was being analyzed as I spoke privately with 2 or 3 of the local Sunbury leaders. Rarely in my 7 years there, did it feel like we were having a normal conversation expressing the freedom and liberty of the Holy Spirit, as according to 2 Corinthians 3:17. It was as though they were trying to hunt out sin in my life!”
Under these circumstances, people – people who are supposed to have been made in the image of God – are reduced to little more than vegetative, tithe-paying, cattle. As Paul says on his MCFExposed blog:
“Today I consider MCF to be the ‘Satanic Church of the Vegetative State‘ because nobody there is allowed to do . . anything. Zero initiative allowed. It’s full on Satanic. A waste of human life.”
I thank Paul for contacting me about his escape from the Melbourne Christian Fellowship and his blog. He is trying to get traffic to his blog so that people associated with the MCF will be able to find it through a Google search.
You can find it here:
Hi Chrys, Thanks for info. Mick (atheist).
On Tue, 12 Nov 2019 at 10:01, Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear wrote:
> thatsmyphilosophy posted: “Way back in 2010, I wrote a blog post about the > Brisbane Christian Fellowship, a pernicious group of power-hungry, > quasi-religious zealots headed by ‘supreme leader’, Vic Hall. From time to > time I get emails from people who have managed to extract themse” >
Thank you for posting this article, Chrys. These religious fanatics sound as if they have multiple personality and mental health conditions. They seek to dominate & control people, rather than affirming & supporting them, or simply listening politely to what others think. These fanatics need to seek therapy, rather than Bible-bashing & tongue lashing those who do not want to listen to their ranting & raving. It is all about power & control.
Thank you for sharing this article. Good read.
I used to fellowship with BCF and honestly wish I’d gone to BCF Boating Camping Fishing store instead in my weekends.
It’s full of sycophants and nepotism, meaning only family members getting the opportunity to rule the roost. You would almost get knocked down in the rush when an elder walks through the door!!
Elders would strongly encourage you to not fellowship with poor attendance types and anyone who might speak their own mind on things wrong there.
When I left nobody contacted me.
I believe the church leadership was rife with corruption and control. I know of one person who was threatened physically when he spoke out.
The elders would be driving around in expensive cars and kept in an affluent lifestyle while they watched the poor suffer
One congregation member nearly went to jail after his pyramid scheme sent members bankrupt losing their houses and life savings.
The congregation also looked down on lowly uneducated people in the church and always strived for a higher level of snobbery and power over others.
There is a culture of unfriendliness and non acceptance of childless couples.
The holiday weekends and Christmas, Easter and public holidays were always used for bible studies and failure to attend was considered back sliding or having no commitment. I applauded the families who went away at these times.
The whole WORD was centred on LOVING ONE ANOTHER.
The furthest thing from this church was loving one another. It was more about getting higher in the ranks of the leaders.
It was also very common, week after week, to hear that you’re a sinner and failing at love of each other and God.
One elder claimed to have a gift for healing but only on Sunday as he was never available to heal during the week. Jesus went out to the people. At BCF the people go out to the elders and heaven forbid should you council a brother if you’re not appointed to do so.
BCF is a cruel to the bone, dishing out tough love unto perfection.
Hello Ian, I’m sorry you had such a terrible time with this group. I am glad you left. My husband went to this group in NSW, and it’s the same cruelty and distorted theology here. He has spent the last few years needing alot of mental health support to recover. We wish you well