The following was pulled from several websites I found in which people seem to have felt safe enough to write from their hearts regarding the abuse they suffered and/or witnessed at MHC.
. Jennifer // Jan 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm
I am a former member of Mars Hill church. My opinion is that if you stay on the outer edges, it’s not a terrible place. You’ll meet some very nice people. But, once you get in a bit further, it gets VERY controlling. Women are expected to stay home and not work; women in college are told they are “stealing from their future husband” if they take out student loans, since the future husband is just going to have to pay the loan back when she’s staying home pushing out babies.
· 17 SeattleSpy // Jan 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm
Women are NOT chastised for going to school. Many of the pastors of MH including Mark have college funds set away for their daughters.
· 18 Jennifer // Jan 10, 2009 at 3:21 pm
Correct. They are not chastised for going to school if their parents will pay for it, or if they pay for it themselves. But, they are told they are “in sin” if they take out a loan that their future husband will just have to pay back.
· 82 Bella // Jan 13, 2009 at 11:56 am
Wow….I don’t even know where to start.
First off, that’s a great article by the NYT [New York Times, Molly Worthen’s, Who Would Jesus Slap Down?]. Calm down, as an organized group, you’re going to get criticized. You say yourselves that you are humble, why do you cringe when people don’t completely agree with you? Come on now. Open your eyes for a half a second and realize that no institution is going to be 100% perfect. We won’t know all the answers till we die – and I say this to everyone.
In transition, I was a member at MH for a long 4 years. At first I was on board because I was new to Seattle, could meet some nice people. Whatever.
I got deeper and very involved. (I swear I’m trying to keep it short) I met a man there, wanted to get married, but my past is messy. My “community group” – that’s what they call their Bible studies- forced me to go to counseling for the things I did in the past because I didn’t believe what I did was sinful. I didn’t feel bad enough for the “sins” of my past and God/Jesus wouldn’t be able to forgive me…..because I wasn’t repentant. Follow?
I didn’t agree, but I went in “obedience.” Maybe they were right? So I genuinely tried. I passed although still didn’t agree, then married. He’s a good man, but with principles like that to build a marriage on (a woman is to stop and drop everything once she meets her husband, then join him on his path…. closely paraphrased from an actual sermon, and that’s just scratching the surface), it was simply not working.
Not surprisingly, he was too dominating, and I’m just not submissive. That doesn’t fly at alllllll at the church, and you Mars Hillians know that.
After agonizing efforts by both of us to make it work, I knew I had to leave my husband, or at least separate….I discussed at length with my girlfriends, pastors, anyone, to convince them that I was miserable and that it wasn’t healthy to be in such a relationship. Time after time, they told me if I had enough faith God would save it. I wasn’t allowed to leave under any circumstances, and my protests for my own life were just plain wrong and sinful. Obviously, I got very depressed and alone.
So in an effort to protect any sanity that remained, I left anyway. I DO have a mind, I knew that the teachings were wrong, and the church’s response became a nightmare from hell. When I left, the church issued an email to everyone that I knew, urging them never to speak with me because I was living in sin. Being in contact with me would be disobedient to God.
Well, they followed without question, and with the exception of one person, no one I had met over half a decade would speak with me.
My point is that the author of the article is entirely correct – submit, or be excommunicated. That’s a cult.
Mars Hill is a very dangerous place, especially for women…
This post has gotten way to long, but what I want everyone to know is that the rumors are true – I repeat, MH is very dangerous if you get involved. In example, read their posts! They speak the same….just rattle off what they heard in church and cling to it in fear. If we disagree with them, they have their cult to run back to who will back them up and fire them up. And like any massive organization, nothing is going to change the mind of a mob.
MH operates on fear and bullying. Jesus’ entire life was to teach us about love. Unconditional, accepting, tolerant, faithful, LOVE.
· Tess // Jan 23, 2009 at 10:33 am
I went to Mars Hill for a year, then a Mars Hill plant for another year.
I thought it was great at first…but then I started to LISTEN. Yep. Women really need to keep their eyes on the ball and not waste time at college…after all babies are the goal. I believe I heard Driscoll say once that all a man needs is Forty in one hand and a naked woman in the other. Nice. Plus, I don’t even want to get started on the comments about Catholics I heard at the plant. This is absolutely a misogynistic personality cult. STAY AWAY LADIES. WE HAVEN’T FOUGHT THIS HARD TO GO BACK IN TIME.
· Bdouble // Jan 23, 2009 at 1:06 pm
Hey Tess,I’m not a woman, but I know exactly what you mean: It seems nice at first, then once you start to get past the superficial stuff (lights, music, laid back attire, etc) and start to LISTEN, it is actually scary that people eat this stuff up, especially women. I’m sorry to the ladies that actually still go to church here, but no matter how many ways you slice it, this belief system at Mars Hill is set up to keep the women as inferior to men. To deny this, is ignorance.
Being a member of Mars Hill and attending about 2 years I can’t say the main “serious” thing I notice is the ‘feminist issues’. It did rub me the wrong way when I first attended if you listen just once or twice but when you get the full text of what he meant to say, it’s really not the issue … he’s talking about the nature of women and how God design it to be ideally and giving grace to women to be themselves.
To know the real issues at hand I think you’d have to be a member for some time. I think the church in general has good intentions but things get a little out of hand and become cult like behaviors. I’m not saying the doctrine is cult like but the actions they portray.
Examples: unwritten rules of dating that are highly suggested to follow and getting extreme isolation if you don’t, over possesses elders in several areas to monitor you and inappropriate questions during church discipline, idolizing the Pastor, shallow relationships among peers, men seriously thinking if you drink it makes you a man because the Pastor talks about it a lot, pressures couples to marry quickly in about 3 months of ‘courting’ (and that topic goes on and on), poor leadership ratio to those extremely in need and depressed with thoughts of suicide (on a several occasion of people I know of personally who tried reaching out to leadership), excessive drinking at most gatherings, “being one of US” treatment and exclusion of those who are not members or disagree, controlling or stopping your freedom of speech about concerns on member blogging forms, letting predators of women be ushers and teachers, friends will shun you if you don’t follow the ‘rules’ and worship although very trendy the only time I experienced real worship (where you felt Gods presence ) was at a pastors conference they held.
Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church: Member Abuse on Parade (Preface)
On November 4 & 11, 2007, Mark Driscoll delivered sermons loaded with classic examples of authoritarian abuse. The topic was “Humility” : and they were preached about 5 weeks after Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were fired, shortly after the Starchamber/Kangaroo Court that tried Paul Petry, and 2 days after the 145 page Elders Response Document was published. A number of Mars Hill Members had recently been suspended for questioning the firings and trial procedures. Many of those who remained remember walking out of this one mid-sermon, or not participating in communion because this sermon was so out of line that their attitudes were out of joint. Some guy/gal on youtube called ReallySad1 (again, not PH!) has pulled out some of the more priceless sections, which merit exposure and discussion. Stay tuned for the upcoming series: Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church: Member Abuse on Parade.
“kindness that brings repentance”
Bad: This place is a cult and I am saying this from years of experience with Mars Hill as a member who used to love this place, follow them blindly and function as a “serving member” if you are a baby C.
pulled March ’09