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Our Stories - The Testimony of Jennifer Collins

04/27/2012 My childhood was golden. I have no complaints. My family was "in the Message" before I was even born. We stuck completely with the tapes, with a few short exceptions when we would attend a small local church.

The one suggestion I have for people who wonder what my parents should have done differently is this: If you want your children to continue believing the Message for life, DON'T teach them about Jesus or the Bible. You see, once God enters the life of your child, it may be only a matter of time until His truth sheds light on the fiction you want them to follow.

My parents were very devout Message believers. There was no television in our home, and it was in the days before Internet and video games. (just gave you insight as to my ancient age, didn't I?). We would listen to hymns and praise music on Christian radio, and Christian programs like "Adventures in Odyssey," "Children's Bible Hour," "Ranger Bill," and the "Sugar Creek Gang." I loved it all, and I learned to love the Lord Jesus. I still remember the day I prayed and told the Lord Jesus I was sorry for my sins and I wanted Him in my life, living in my heart, and to serve Him for the rest of my life. I started to tell everyone I was a Christian and to testify to my little brothers, crying and praying for them to be converted as well. My daddy started to get a little concerned, and wanted to make sure everything was "legitimate." He made sure I knew what repentance was, and taught me about baptism. We had a little baptismal in the creek that bordered our property.

A year or two later, I had a rough day at the Amish school I was attending. We had been playing a snowball fight and I found myself face down in the snow, being attacked by some schoolmates. I came up angry, red-faced and wanting to hurt someone. This sinful response saddened me, and at a revival meeting in a local Message church I went through a prayer line, praying for the Lord to give me patience. I remember the evangelist talking about my barrette heating up from the Power of God. I couldn't tell you whether that was right or not, but I know the Lord did a work in my life and from that day on I did not have that angry violent response in times of trouble.

I remember that it was very important to my parents that their children grow up and continue to follow the Lord. They had some friends whose teens turned prodigal, and they wanted to do their best to make sure they raised their children right. That is the reason they sent us to an Amish school, even though the school officials in the public district took them to court over it for several years. Then later they homeschooled us when I was in high school. Once I had children of my own, I could really understand that desire, and it became the biggest desire for my own family, too.

In my teens, I began to realize that WMB taught a different type of Holy Ghost experience. He kept saying you should be able to say the day you received the Holy Ghost, because nobody was ever born and didn't know it. I was rebaptized on an Easter trip to Jeffersonville, just to make sure everything was "just right." I started to seek after speaking with tongues, because WMB taught that if you asked the Lord, He would give you that. He even talked about a lady who already had the Holy Ghost, but when she went through the prayer line, he prayed that she would speak with tongues so she would realize what she already had. The Lord granted that request, and once in prayer alone I spoke with a heavenly language.

Then I started to hear the tapes talk about the Bride having an even different Holy Ghost anointing, not just in their heart, or on their spirit, but "On the Inside of the Inside." So I started seeking that experience, a few years before my family moved to Jeffersonville. I went on seeking that experience for seven years. Near the end of that time, God brought a wonderful Christian young man into my life, just about the time I thought I was destined to be a single sister serving the Lord like those Paul spoke about. We married, and I went on seeking, all the while I was finishing college and working full time to help pay for our little apartment. Finally around the time our oldest son was born, I began to feel the Lord was calling me to "live my testimony," so I just went about my business, serving God, my little family, and everyone around me who seemed to need me.

I won't talk about the lust issue in my husband's life in detail- he's done a great job of being transparent about that. I am sure there are people wondering what that was like for me, but I have to say he actually kept it hidden from me completely 99.5% of the time. I have said HE is in charge of keeping tabs on our sons when they enter those years of puberty and temptation, because obviously I am way too easy to fool. There were a few nights when I would pace up and down our sidewalk with "And the Thunder Rolls" playing in my mind. Thank the Lord that was only a few times, toward the end of that trial. To those who wondered if my husband was gay- no, most definitely not.

Finally, last Labor Day, John revealed to me that he had serious questions about the Message and WMB. I told him to go ahead and research, and I would help him, because I was so sure "Truth will stand up under scrutiny." I still believe that Truth will. John was reading about the Cloud hoax, and I was actually willing to accept that as true, because WMB originally said it took place "a week before or after we were there." I thought it did not matter if a missile test caused it, since in my mind God used it to confirm His truth. That was before I realized WMB manufactured mist, a white circle coming up from the ground, and even Angels meeting him in Arizona AFTER he saw the Life magazine article. Up to that point he had only mentioned the original vision from 1962 with birds and angels, a King's Sword in Sabino canyon, and a "blast" on Sunset Mountain, when the Lord (or his accompanying Angel, WMB always seemed to get those two mixed up) told him to go East and the Angels would meet him one by one in his study.

The second problem I investigated was the story of the critic in Windsor who put false illnesses on his prayer card. As I sifted carefully through those testimonies in WMB's messages, I became more and more distraught. Although WMB clearly remembered the man's red tie and gray suit, he was telling SEVERAL different stories about what happened to the man. Once he'd say he ran out screaming, the next time he'd be paralyzed on the platform, then he'd be dead since six weeks later, then one month after that he'd say he was still in a serious condition. After I realized he was lying about the man's fate, I started to be very upset that he didn't even express remorse that the man was struck! How sobering that should have been, had it been real.

It was very distressing to imagine that both our families had been wrong. The idea that we had spent our lives following something false was mortifying. Even so, there were times I was tempted to pretend I did not know it was false. John did not even give me one ounce of pressure to move any direction. He was on his own journey, and allowed me to take my own. How easy it would have been to go on following the flow, at peace with our family and friends, cradled in the safety of the church where I'd attended for twenty years. Our children could go on as upstanding members of YF and our homeschool group. They could attend Still Waters camp, and one day marry sweet, pure "Message" girls and have pretty little "Message" babies. Why did I think only "Message" girls were sweet and pure? Well, I have to think that was the result of brainwashing by the tapes.

In the midst of all this mental turmoil, my soul and spirit were granted a peace that seems almost supernatural. I knew that God had everything under control, and I could rest "in the shadow of the Almighty."

I began to suspect there was a lot more wrong about what I had been taught. The only refuge I had was in the arms of Jesus and between the pages of the Bible. We knew we needed to get into church, a real church that taught the Bible. We spent hours and days investigating different churches and their statements of faith. Our biggest requirement was a full commitment to the truth of God's Word the Bible. Finally, we decided the only thing we could do was try one service and see how the Lord would lead. We walked into our new church on January first of this year, and we have never looked back. Every service we learn something new from the Bible, and all week in between we have a hunger to study the Bible, excited that the WMB glasses being removed makes it easy to understand. It was humbling to realize that even simple Bible stories like the visitation of Mary to the mother of John the Baptist and the conversion of the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus had been tainted by lies in WMB's telling.

As far as our lifestyle goes, "leaving the Message" has not resulted in a drastic change. I began attending water aerobics classes at the local YMCA wearing a skirted suit. My son was allowed to wear shorts to play basketball. I bought a few pairs of longer shorts for my young sons to wear playing outside this summer. Ironically, avoiding wearing shorts on my sons was something I did myself, different from other local MSG people because I could not stomach dressing my sons "like a sissy." Now that I don't follow someone who calls shorts a sissy garment, I can let my sons be comfortable like the other boys their age.

I am thankful to my family, friends and acquaintances who have refused to act like cult members losing a fellow member. It is a demonstration of true Christian love when you are willing to be seen talking to someone or welcoming into your home someone the local church has "taken out from under the blood of the Lord Jesus." I have to admit it was shocking to be told second hand that this was done to me, with no warning. When the pastor read the story of Ananias and Sapphira, I wonder what was going through his mind? Did he believe God would strike John and me dead for comparing the Message to the Bible and choosing the Bible when they did not match up?

In our hearts, there is only love for those who still cling to the Message we followed so long. Even though we wonder about some motivations, still in our hearts love reigns. We pray daily that the Lord will find each of His own and reveal the truth to them.

I still remember the cold chill that went down my spine the first time someone said, "That's sort of like idolatry, isn't it?" I had never considered the possibility, but once the words were spoken, I knew it was true. When I found words of WMB saying that the Elijah of Malachi 4 is the Lord Jesus Christ, not a man, God, I realized he led the people to idolatry himself, all the while protesting that he was not doing that. No wonder people believe his ministry was the second coming of Christ. That's where the danger lies, and the reason I must break my silence and no longer be "part of the problem."

Just please be sure you KNOW who Jesus is: Creator God from the first breath he breathed lying in a manger to the last breath on Calvary, not just from the time of His baptism till He prayed in Gethsemane. He had power to lay down His Life and take it up again. I can honestly say I have believed that very thing about Jesus from the time I was a little girl. Even when I did not even know what "the Trinity" was, I knew what the Bible taught about our Lord Jesus Christ. Equally important, be sure you KNOW who Jesus is not: Regardless of anything WMB said about himself, he was not merely a mouthpiece for the Lord Jesus Christ. Many people believe WMB=Elijah of Malachi 4. WMB says Elijah of Malachi 4= The Lord Jesus Christ. Not a man, God! That is a very dangerous approach to idolatry.