[If you haven’t yet read the earlier posts of Stephanie’s story, here are the links – Part 1, Part 2]
Stephanie’s pastor and his wife continued to make excuses for her abuser’s wickedness. Now Stephanie tells us how they stepped up that pressure. We will include some of the actual emails and letters that the pastor sent her in the next installment (Part 4). They are like letters from the kingdom of darkness.
Stephanie continues now with her story:
The pastor had ordered us that no marital issues or concerns, or any questions we (mostly aimed at me) might have were not to be discussed with family members or church friends. Nothing could be discussed concerning our marriage and life outside the house.
I would check the church prayer list every week, and now I was wondering if I would find that the church had removed me from it. I had sent a letter to the church to be released from membership. What I did find listed on the prayer list was this: “That the Lord would grant her [ie, ME] repentence and grace to fight for her marriage.” There was no added prayer request for my husband!
After the meeting with the pastor and the counselors, I was still receiving daily texts from the pastor asking me what my plans were, when I was planning to come to more counseling, and telling me that divorce is not allowed and that “you don’t have grounds for it.” These texts went on for three months until I filed the papers for divorce.
I was tired of being harassed by the pastor, so I sent in my letter of resignation to the church on January 21. I received an email Jan 30 from the pastor stating that I was a candidate for church discipline. My sins?
- Because you are refusing to counsel with me.
- Deliberately considering a unbiblical divorce.
He also said that the church will have to vote to consider my resignation letter.
However, when I checked the church constitution, I found that it says that once a letter is received, the church is to immediately release the member no questions asked. Nevertheless, on February 13 I received an email stating that the church voted to enact church discipline against me.
I heard nothing more from the church until June 19, 2019, when I received the excommunication letter in the mail. This was of course very hurtful to me and it continues to hurt me even now. All the while my husband runs free from any discipline or punishment.
By August I had no access to the prayer list. I hope that means I am off of it. I came into this marriage debt free, had a job, and a paid off car. Now after leaving this marriage I am in debt, I have no job and no car! But as of August 27, 2019, I was officially divorced and FREE out of bondage from enslavement to a wicked man and a wicked church.
[In Part 4 we will publish the communications Stephanie received from her ex pastor and church].