*WARNING: This contains material which may be triggering to some*
After much discussion with her new best friend, Mom decides that the conditions in our church can no longer be tolerated. We still go there ‘officially’, but start visiting other churches who have services on nights that our church doesn’t. One that we visited was an ultra-conservative Apostolic church that’s not affiliated with the UPC (United Pentecostal Church). The rules at this church are much stricter than the UPC rules even though their basic theology is the same. They viewed the UPC as too liberal.
At this point, we’re going to church at our ‘home church’ on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. We’re going to the Apostolic church on Saturday nights, and a nearby UPC on Thursday nights. (The nearby UPC church is the one that Mom’s best friend went to before they started coming to our church.) Mom and this family decide that it’s time for them to start taking action against the demons infiltrating their churches. They “cast out a demon” from the preacher’s daughter’s boyfriend at the nearby UPC church when he comes up to pray during an alter call. The teenage guy shakes all over like a leaf and this is touted as evidence of the ‘demon coming out’. About 60% of the church members stand back in disbelief and disapproval of what is happening. Mom and her friend do another “casting out” in our home church to a visitor.
They receive some sort of ministerial censure for this, but I do not know the details. It resulted in the other family breaking away and starting their own Apostolic church. It begins as a tent revival in their back yard. Also during this time, Mom decides to stop homeschooling me, and to send me to the christian school at the ultra-con Apostolic church that I mentioned previously.
The Apostolic church disapproves of Mom’s best friend and her family (believes they are demon possessed and still Satanists), and also of women preachers in general. Mom goes there and keeps quiet in order to be able to send us to the school, and goes to the other family’s church and preaches as a guest speaker the rest of the time. The result of this is that we go to church 6 times per week.
At this school, I remember getting in trouble several times. Once, because I went to school in a shirt with sleeves above my elbows. Another time, because I wore a hair barrette (jewelry). Another time, I didn’t want to testify during chapel when called on. When we got in trouble for things like this, we had to be prayed for at the altar until we were ready to confess our sin. If that took all day and no schoolwork got done, so be it. Another thing that we were punished for was “not working at our full potential”. I once got an 80% on a math test that the principal believed I was capable of making 100% on. He informed me that he was giving it to me again and if I didn’t get 100%, was was getting 10 swats. I got 85%. Fortunately, he was called out on an emergency while it was still being graded, and didn’t mention this again the next day.
During my time in this school, the ‘tent revival’ continued. One night, Mom and her best friend came to me and informed me that I needed to take all the children out of the tent and into the house and babysit them. I asked why and was told not to question, just do as I was told. So I did. I didn’t mind getting out of there. I had no idea that the events I was removed from that night would soon affect me in a devastating way.