An ex-charismatic reveals how the Charismatic movement severely affected her mental health & led her to suicidal thoughts.
Hello Ex-Charismatics! I saw you were asking for testimonies and thought I’d send mine in with the hope that I might reach someone caught up in what I believe is nothing more than demonic occultism disguised as Acts Christianity.
I would first like to say that my Pentecostal experience was not as bad as some. There were good people in both churches I attended and the ones we were affiliated with who were very devout in their faith and loved God and each other. I still think about and pray that they would be reached with the truth before it’s too late.
I gave my life to Christ in September of 2013. I had grown up attending a Free Methodist church off and on as a kid so I knew some things about scripture and the Christian faith. I had even begun to read the Bible in 8th grade but got bored somewhere in Leviticus or Deuteronomy and quit.
I started attending a small Pentecostal Church that was pastored by a cousin and her husband. They had come out of the Church of God of Cleveland, TN after their congregation split and they were asked to leave by the pastor because he felt that my cousin’s husband was a threat to the control he had over the congregation. I learned some things in that church but after a while I wasn’t growing in my faith the way I should have. Because of their church history the pastors were very lax and people started to leave the church. It closed back in March because the congregation kept shrinking.
A friend from the old church asked me to go to another church like ours on the other side of town that was in the Assemblies of God. Still being very much entrenched in Pentecostalism I agreed. I enjoyed the service and was able to focus in a way I never did in the other church, it was almost hypnotic. The preacher knew his teachings, the pastoral staff was fresh from down South and everyone seemed nice so I began membership classes.
Despite how wonderful this story seems, there is a very dark side to all of it. The entire time I was in the Pentecostal church, I was a nervous wreck and stared to turn into someone I didn’t recognize. Rather than having the marks of a true Christian such as peace, joy and love, I became angry, judgmental, fanatical and twisted scripture. I was “spirit baptized” and had my first experience speaking in tongues around Christmas 2014. Around that time is when things started going downhill for me. I started to have more panic attacks, mood shifts similar to those of someone with moderate bipolar disorder or Borderline personality disorder, paranoia episodes where I dissociated, and became so angry and fanatical that I was tearing my family apart and was almost kicked out of my parents’ house. I was desperate to find an escape route from Christianity because I saw God as an evil monster who had brought this on my life just to torture me and when I wasn’t terrified of Him I hated Him.
There was some legalism and fanaticism in the new church. All though it was never stated outright, they had an unspoken expectation that you would be in church every time the doors were open for whatever they wanted to do (which was almost every night, many unnerving “revival” services that were chaotic and emotionally charged) and you were lukewarm if you weren’t completely commuted and sold out to them and their doctrine. The more mental health spiralled out of control, the more desperate I was to leave, whether my escape was by disappearing or by suicide.
I finally made a break in mid April of 2015. I couldn’t take it anymore. I started going to a non-denominational non-Pentecostal Church near my school’s campus after a cousin and my best friend invited me. I felt safe there, but was still having issues from the other church. I dove into a period of rebellion where I did everything I felt like I wanted because I didn’t care. Leaving that church was like waking up from being knocked out, kidnapped and repeatedly drugged to be kept in said state. I had PTSD and hated God to the point where I almost walked away from Christianity.
Yet in this whole journey, I saw Christians who were so in love with God and happy following Him and deep down I wanted that so badly. I didn’t see God as the loving Father depicted in the scriptures and wanted to keep as safe of a distance as possible while still being safe from going to hell. I wanted a second chance and a new start and to love God the way those other Christians did but didn’t know how I was going to get back to Him. It was exhausting to think about all of the work I was going to have to do, or so I thought.
August 9, 2015 was the day I was baptized in my new church for membership. As I stood in the pool, I was having an intense anxiety episode and mood swings, yet silently begging God not to be angry at me and to give me a new start. After I was submerged and brought up out of the water, I had an intense rush of adrenaline hit me and was shaking so badly I almost couldn’t walk out of the baptismal tub. When it passed about 15 minutes later I felt complete, overwhelming peace and I cried for the next two days. For the first time in my almost two years as a Christian I saw the truth about God and felt safe. I had peace, hope and joy and all of the issues from Charismania were completely gone. Today I am healthy and emotionally stable and have been ever since that day. I’m growing like a weed in my walk with Christ, and the more I study scripture the more evidence I see for cessationism. I have very little doubt in my mind that what came off of me at baptism was demonic oppression or even a driving out of demons themselves (John 8:32 – ” And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
Though there are good people and churches in this movement, I believe it is demonic and an open door for so much evil to come into your life. Satan has direct access to people who open themselves up to this stuff without questioning the scriptures and who go to church for an emotional buzz rather than sound scriptural teaching. I believe God has used this to show me just how much deception is in the church today and is calling me to reach out to my Pentecostal/Charismatic friends and get them out of churches like that. In fact even now I am begging, pleading with and praying for a friend who is very quickly being sucked in to attending a Charismatic church in the area that is a known dangerous cult by even non Christians and has a history of scandal. She is being influenced by two people she knows who go there and I wonder if members of that church haven’t been taught how to brainwash people to get them in so the church can have their money and when they die, their entire estate.