The Story of Jill Honeycutt,
a former member of the International Churches of Christ
My name is Jill and I was a member of the ICC.
It all started when my Mom and I moved from Charlotte, NC to Orlando, Fl in the summer of ’94, we met our really nice next door neighbors and they invited us to dinner, after dinner they invited us to come over their church, but would we like to go to a “party” that night (we have only lived there 1 full day and they were already at us) so we went to the “party” and they had these games and they all seemed so friendly and nice. So we went to church with them on Sunday morning and the very second that we got there I was whisked away from my Mom and met these great women who seemed to really like me (my greatest fear in moving was that I wouldn’t have any friends once I moved, and here are all of these pretty sharp woman that want to be my friend), and they invited me out for lunch and later that night to go dancing because that was without a doubt my most favorite thing to do. The main person (who baptized me later was my best friend, so I thought) invited me over to her house to get ready and once I got over there they sprung a trap on me, they said before we go out we are going to study the bible. I wanted to go dancing so I said “sure” and that how it all began, I wanted new friends and I was just going along for the ride, later I really got into the study’s and I wanted to be baptized so I could be a member of this church because they pound the one thing into your head that this is the one and only Church of Christ and if you’re not a member you’re going to go to hell, so I wanted to be a member and therefore I wanted to get baptized.
Everything was hunky dory in the church, sure I got discipled in the church but nothing severe, I even liked a guy and he liked me so we were dating once a month( you can only date a brother once a month so that you will not think about that person all of the time, you are not allowed to talk on the phone for more than 30 minutes at a time so that you will not focus on the guy that you like, your to focus on God) and that’s when I happened, my Mom who became a member the same time I did left the church. I was crushed and thought “how could she do this to God?” I didn’t think that all of this discipling is driving her crazy, they would call meetings at 10:30 at night and you didn’t have a choice of going you had to come or you would get heavily discipled. If you didn’t go to a meeting because you didn’t feel like it you got discipled (which is them opening to a scripture in the bible and reading it so that they are right and you are wrong by finding a vague scripture, anybody can make the bible portray what they want it to do) so you felt bad and “broken” , sometimes they would do such a guilt job that I was in tears but overall I was happy, I had friends.
After three and a half years being in the church I was a Kingdom Kids Co-ordinator for the SE singles sector and I was the helper for my bible talk, I lived with my three roomates in a two bedroom apartment, I had a great job which I made a decent living. My contribution (my tithe) was by far over my limit, when I was a disciple for a year and a half they put a set contribution for all of the singles in my sector, it was to be at $37.00 a week. Now I was a hostess in a chinese restaurant and I didn’t make anywhere near $370.00 dollars a week but they discipled me and made me think that my heart is hard and that I just need to see if my heart is soft then I would be willing to give this money to God. So like a weak willed person I am I gave into their plan even tough I couldn’t afford it. By the time I was into the church for three years my contribution was up to $50.00 dollars a week because they hold these “devos” and they plead you into giving more by raising up you contribution up by a dollar or two, it starts to add up over the years.
Special Mission Contribution was coming up so I got a second job to pay my part of the “set goal” they set for you, this year it was 16x your contribution, $800.00 was my goal and I used my tax money to put a down payment on a car (they told me I was in sin because that was God’s money). Once I started working at my second job I was totally exhausted because I would wake up at 6am and have my quiet time, get ready and go to work, work and 8 hour day and then go to my second job which was from 5pm to 11pm, then I would come home and my roomates would question me on what I did that day, if I got any attitude about me being tired they would disciple me sometimes until 2am about me having a soft heart. One of my roomates who said she couldn’t work because she had serosis of the liver and plus she couldn’t sleep a night so she would have to sleep in the day and didn’t work so we had to pay for everything of hers that she wanted, her parents lived five miles down the road but we had to pay for everything, and the church didn’t help out and they even made her pay contribution which was only a dollar a week but it was our dollar.
My bible talk told me to quit my second job because it was taking me away from the body and that my spirituality was at stake, but I needed the money to make special mission contribution. That’t when it really started to fall into place, I didn’t have the money, because I couldn’t save any because all of my money was going out to my bills and the church, sometimes I wouldn’t eat for three days because I couldn’t afford food. So I was getting heavily discipled by my roomates, it would be a nightly thing to get discipled until 2am (I was so very very tired) until I would do anything, yes I mean anything they told me to do because I wanted to go to sleep. I would agree to what they wanted I would call myself a looser and a selfish person, they even told me that I was “the most selfish person that they had ever met in their lives” so by this time I was severally depressed and just beaten down, until they told me that I had to sell my family airloom ring for the special mission contribution, now anything else I probably would of sold but this ring has been passed down through each generation of women in my family and I earned it by staying single until I reached the age of 25. The ring is worth about $3,500.00 it has the engagement diamond from each of my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother, it may have a value price but to me it’s priceless. That was the straw that broke the camels back so the next morning I packed my bags with all three of my roomates watching me and telling me that I was going to hell.
Since that wonderful morning, which I call my independence day, every single so-called friend I had in that church had droped me like a hot potato, except for my best friend, my momma clown (in the church they taught classes to select people who had outgoing personalities that wanted to become a clown so I became Poohya the clown and my momma clown’s name is Honey Hugs), who by far is my truest friend. She left the church three weeks after I did. We are both very happy to be away from that controlling cult.
I now live in North Carolina and I very happy, dating one of my best friends of ten years (whom became a member of the church because I got him involved into the church but once he herd my story about the church, he left the church too). We stated dating in January and I left in June of ’98 and he left in October of ’98 so I wasn’t after him to leave the church, I just told him my story and I brought us closer because we had both been through the same things. I’m very happy that I can live my life and if I can save one person from going through what I went through by all means let me tell them through word of mouth or published.
Thank you for reading my story,
Jill N Honeycutt
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