Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Christian to Atheist Pt. 2

The church that my friend Michael had taken me to was called 'The New Testament Church' and I immediately took a liking to it, the people were of various ethnic backgrounds and cultures and they were all in all very warm and friendly. My first day there was when I met what at the time I thought was the most amazing man I have ever met, his name was brother Carland and he was the pastor of the church. This man lived, ate, and slept Jesus and it was quite evident to anyone who met him that he was completely devoted to his church and his ministry. I remember on those nights when I would miss service he would either call me the next day or show up by surprise to see why I had not attended the service of the previous evening. Another thing he did was that if you were having troubles at home it did not matter what day or time you called him he would go out of his way to come see you and pray with you and your family if necessary.

I recall that about the second week of my attending that church there was one particular night when the Holy Spirit seem to be overflowing and God seemed to be pouring out his Spirit and gifts to those that did not previously have them. The church was in literal pandemonium as people danced in the Spirit, spoke new tongues for the first time, received new gifts from the Lord, and those that were bound by dark forces were apparently being set free in masses. The pastor called me up to the altar and said to me that God had told him that I was going to be used greatly and that I would be a powerhouse for the Lord and that God wanted him to baptize me that very night! After the service they took me upstairs to the "faith home" this is where all the senior ministers that were single lived along with the pastor, they brought a couple of witnesses from the service and they filled a bath tub with water and baptized me on the spot! I remember that when I ascended towards the surface of the water and broke through I felt like I was floating on air. I was euphoric for about two hours and could not stop speaking in tongues for about one hour, I was allowed to spend that night but I could not sleep. I spent the night silently praying and praising the Lord for all the blessings I had received on that night.

After that series of events I began to have a recurring dream that often came as I was between half awake and half asleep and my mind at these times could not differentiate from what was real and what was imaginary. I dreamed that I saw Jesus floating down into my room and he always appeared with snakes at his feet, I asked him what should I do? And he said "rebuke them in my name" and when I did they would always disappear. During those days I prayed and fasted often and was completely devoted to being as useful to the Lord as I could possibly be. I also had dreams where I saw myself ascending to heaven and every time I had this dream I was moving higher and higher than on the previous dreams. I began to experience new things spiritually and it was not long before I was displaying new gifts of the spirit in my own evangelical ministry. The new gifts came in the following order: first was the gifts of diverse tongues, the gift of faith, the gift of discerning of spirits, and finally the gift of prophecy. I was still a very young Christian and was growing at a fast pace. I was as fanatical as you can imagine, I knew most of the bible by rote and took it quite literally. By this time I had learned what I termed "power scriptures" that reaffirmed a believers authority in Christ. I employed the bible verses in the many exorcisms I performed during the early part of my ministry.

Our exorcisms were quite different from the practice of the Catholics, we believed in using the spoken word in an authoritative manner and employing the bible verses as the sword of the Spirit as commanded in the scriptures. I personally was on a mission to duplicate or if even possible supersede the miracles that supposedly took place in the New Testament. I followed Ephesians 6: 10-20 literally in my ministry and it always seemed to work. This was the first time I was in church because after about two years I back slid into apostasy, but even then I retained my fear of the Lord and he was as real to me then as when I was devoted to his cause.


  1. just reading through this now. I was a SDA and they teach all this is from the devil. It seems to be quite powerful and seductive. Perhaps you have written about it elsewhere and please point me there if you have, but I would like to know as an atheist how do you view this? Was it mass hysteria? or what would you attribute it to?
    I did leave the SDA and joined a very small group. They were more open to this speaking in tongues. When my marriage fell apart and I drove my kids and ex-wife a thousand miles away and I came back to my empty house I fell down and "spoke in tongues". I was so overwhelmed I just couldn't deal with it mentally. I guess it was similar to a nervous breakdown. Very painful. It was over religion that we split. At least that was the external reason.

  2. " was in literal pandemonium as people danced in the Spirit..." That would be far more interesting than the stodgy Missouri Synod Lutheran services of the church I grew up in.