The story of Kathi Browne
My ICC Experience in Dayton, Ohio.
We got along great, and during the day she asked if my husband and I would like to come over and have Bible study together yet that week. We accepted, excited to meet another young, friendly family with a religious foundation. That night was very fun. We talked about family values, sipped gourmet coffee, and laughed about our dating experiences. My husband and I really thought we’d found a couple we clicked with. We invited them to our house for another Bible study.
That Bible study was just as energetic. Introductions now out of the way, we began to share our faith. We had some differences, including the interpretation of baptism, but really enjoyed having our tried and true beliefs challenged . We agreed to research this topic on our own time and get back together (of course, they insisted immediately).
The next day, I got a call from the woman, inviting me to get together with a friend of hers. We all had kids and stayed home during the day, so it sounded like a good time. I accepted and showed up the next day. I thought it was strange that this new friend, who had 3 or 4 young children, had none of them home when I got there. She explained they were all at various activities, and so we sat down to a cup of iced tea and chatted. The conversation was a little too smothering (all about religion) but she was a really nice woman with similar interests.
They invited us to their weekday worship service later that week, explaining that they met in an apartment party house because there was no physical church (the nearest one was in Cincinnati). It wasn’t on a Sunday and we weren’t going to miss our own church, so we thought “why not?” We had a great time! The music was upbeat, the people seemed genuinely glad to be there, and the mini-sermon was inspiring. My husband and I talked on the way home and decided that we really liked this new couple and wanted to build a friendship, but needed to space out our time together. We didn’t want to overdo it and we were started to miss our old friends. We had already scheduled another Bible study with them in just a few days (to discuss baptism), as well as breakfast later in the week.
The next Bible study was a little uncomfortable. Another couple showed up, along with a babysitter for the children. That wasn’t the odd part. We divided into men and women and went into separate areas. I immediately clarified that my husband and I were more interested in growing in our faith together. I was assured we would be getting back together shortly. As we sat down, the door closed and I was handed a piece of paper. I was asked to write down my sins. I laughed loudly! Quickly, both women began telling of their sexual sins that they had asked forgiveness for. I congratulated them and then explained that when God forgives, your sins are erased. There is no need to declare them further. That only made them more aggressive, and they took on a tone of superiority, asking me about specific sins. I don’t remember the rest of the discussion, because I was so disturbed by the religious spanking they had just given me.
That night, my husband and I discussed our alarm. He called his co-worker (who he highly respects when it comes to religion) to get some guidance on the baptism issue and some other issues we seemed in disagreement about. His friend suggested we research the church beliefs on the internet (he knew more than he lead on). We were up until the early AM, reading testimony that was frightening. We could only describe the feeling as being religiously “raped.” We were shaking and angry.. and facing the fact that the woman was coming over that morning for coffee.
That morning, I calmly greeted the woman and her children and asked the children to go upstairs to play. I immediately told her that we were disturbed by the last bible study and had been up researching all night. I then said “We would still like to be friends, but we WILL NOT discuss the Bible or religious issues with you any further.” She started attacking my beliefs, telling me her church was the only way to salvation, and quoting the Bible. I cut her off and repeated my statement (I lost count how many times). When she started listing the sins of the previous church leaders who strayed away, I lost my temper and in a rage told her that someone else’s sins was none of her business. She left, very upset, and her friend called me on the telephone to explain how I had hurt others. The rest is not as eventful, because by that time my husband and I understood the manipulation that had taken place. It has taken me almost a year to realize the ICC minister and wife really didn’t believe they were manipulating. The woman felt just as hurt as I did and I’m pretty sure the “friend” of hers was her disciple (superior) who probably told her I had “closed my heart.” The minister had never been to seminary school; he received all of his training from ICC. How did he know differently? To him, this is normal.
To anyone who was found the wisdom to research this group, I say immediately cut off all contact, do NOT have further discussions, and don’t look back! This story I shared with you all took place within a month’s time.