"Well, I'm just a regular guy with a past I can't explain. With all this judging going on, I would be afraid to tell yall christians my real life story. All I can say is that the Bishop tells it straight. He got me thinking about life in a different way and now I am away from drugs and hustling. It's real rough but he's been straight with me. I don't care about all this junk folk keep saying about the bishop. I don't have money and he has never put me on the spot like yall keep saying.
Listen, I'm just trying to make it. If the bishop aint for real, he sure is telling me what i need to know to get right. I know what its like to be dogged out so I won;t go there with the bishop. Anybody without sin needs to shut up. Thats what my grandmoma used to say."
Get Right Church 11/11/2010
"I have been following this site for over three weeks and I have been thoroughly entertained and appalled by this particular page. As an OUTSIDER it is very clear that there have been posts by two distinctive sides: the faithful current members and the wounded ex-members/member on the fence. As an OUTSIDER I would expect the faithful current members to DEFEND and SUPPORT the leaders and ministry to the bitter end. I also expect the faithful member to disagree and dispute anything negative about the leaders and ministry because they can see no wrong because they DON’T want to see it. It’s very similar to the Jim Jones’ cult; members of this cult could see no wrong in their leader. I have studied the Jim Jones cult and there are similarities.
These are some FACTS AND TRUTHS ABOUT JIM JONES AND HIS CULT (MINISTRY).
• Jim Jones began his ministry in 1953 as an independent minister in Indianapolis
• Jim Jones held degrees from Indiana University and Butler University.
• The Peoples Temple peaked during the 70s to include perhaps as many as 8,000 members. Though racially diverse, most of Jones followers were African Americans.
• Negative press reports of church beatings and financial abuses began to surface about Jim Jones in the summer of 1977. After an expose during the mid 1970's in the magazine New West raised suspicions of illegal activities within the Temple, he moved some of the Temple membership to Jonestown, Guyana, about 1,000 core supporters gathered at an isolated retreat there, which was later officially named "Jonestown."
• Where did the money come from? Jones was a phony faith healer, and much of his money came in mail-order donations from the desperate. Elderly members handed over their Social Security checks, working adults gave 25 percent of their wages to the church and some signed over all their property.
• As in most high-intensity religious groups, there was a considerable flow of people joining and leaving the group. Tim Stoen, the Temple attorney and right-hand man to Jones left to form a group called Concerned Relatives. They claimed that Jonestown was being run like a concentration camp, and that people were being held there against their will.
• Complaints from EX-MEMBERS and relatives of cult members soon grew concerned and requested that the U.S. government rescue what they believed to be brainwashed victims living in concentration camp-like conditions under Jones's power.
• These concerns motivated Leo Ryan, a Congressman, to visit Jonestown in November 1978 for a personal inspection. At first, the visit went well. Later, on NOV-18, after reportedly having his life threatened by a Temple member during the first day of his visit, Ryan decided to cut his trip short and return to the U.S. and about 16 Temple members decided that they wanted to leave Jonestown with the visitors. This came as quite a blow to both Jones and the rest of the project.
• While Ryan and the others were waiting at Port Kiatuma airfield, the local airstrip, some heavily armed members of the Temple's security guards arrived and started shooting. Congressman Ryan and four others were killed; three were members of the press; the other was a person from Jonestown who wanted to leave. 11 were wounded.
•but most willingly participated in what Jones said was an act of "revolutionary suicide."
•Some members of Ryan's party escaped, however. Upon learning this, Jones told his followers that Ryan's murder would make it impossible for their commune to continue functioning. Rather than return to the United States, the People's Temple would preserve their church by making the ultimate sacrifice: their own lives.
• On November 18, 1978 912 followers of American cult leader Jim Jones ("Peoples Temple") died in a remote South American jungle compound called "Jonestown" in British Guyana. Some members were shot, others were forced to drink poison, a deadly concoction of a purple drink mixed with cyanide, sedatives, and tranquilizers. Jones apparently shot himself in the head.
Even Jim Jones son (Jim Jones, Jr), said on the Oprah Winfrey Show “Toward the end, when other members of the Peoples Temple said Jones was getting sicker, Jim says he didn't see it. ”I didn't want to see it," he says. "I always thought the ends justify the means. What I didn't understand is that if the means become the foggiest, that changes the ends." Jim, Jr. said that on the day of the massacre, people were manipulated into believing they needed to lay down their lives in protection.
Despite [Jim] Jones' wrongdoings, Jim,[Jr.] says he has forgiven his father. "The mental illness was exacerbated by the drug abuse and the absolute power where no one challenged him.
Jim [Jr.] says he shared his past with his children by telling them the good stories about their grandfather. "Stories of playing ball together, or different trips we went on," he says. "So they have a foundation of just hearing about grandpa Jim. "
How does this compare to what has been posted about PILGRIM CATHEDRAL OF ATLANTA?
• Jim Jones was in ministry over 25 years by the time of the suicide massacre. According to the Pilgrim Cathedral of Atlanta website Bishop Kent Branch has been in ministry over 25 years.
• Both men have degrees from Universities.
• Most of Jim Jones members were African-Americans and I would guess that it’s the same for Pilgrim Cathedral of Atlanta.
• Jim Jones had negative press about beatings and financial abuse. According to the posts there has been abuse of authority and financial abuse at Pilgrim Cathedral of Atlanta.
• Just as the current faithful members are attacking the ex-members/members on the fence on this post that is very similar to the attack/death that the faithful members of Jamestown did on the members that attempted to leave on the airstrip.
• It appears that in both ministries members could not voice any disagreements with leadership.
• It appears that both leaders used MANIPULATION to control their members.
• Both ministries appear to have required a lot of financial giving to the ‘cause’. FREE WILL GIVING.
• In both ministries there appear to be there was a considerable flow of people joining and leaving the group.
• At the Peoples Temple/Jonestown the current faithful members lost their lives - a physical death – at Pilgrim Cathedral/Branchtown the ex-members lost something too and experienced a psychological/emotional death. Being betrayed, manipulated by someone you trust and believe will cause something inside of you to DIE.
Even though Jim Jones Jr can share good stories about his father, he does not deny what his father DID and it does not take away from the fact that over 900 people lost their lives for following his dad’s leadership and that there were some VALID COMPLAINTS about the cult/ministry. Now if the son of an international cult leader can admit that his father did some wrong while yet acknowledging the good things, why can’t the current faithful members acknowledge and respect the ex-member’s complaints?
Now I am sure I offended the faithful current members by comparing your ministry to the Jim Jones’ cult/ministry but I just used the information that has been provided by BOTH SIDES. And I am fairly certain that there will be more posts.
One last observation or concern, do all of the current faithful members consider themselves spiritual daughters or sons? Do you refer to your bishop as your Spiritual father? Isn’t that the same terminology that was used in the civil suits against Bishop Long?
The Outsider - 11/11/2010
"I appreciate all of the post that support me and even the ones that are attacking me because it further prove the many points that has been made about how PCA.
-There was a special prayer for the "new members".
-Members were told that we would have to give our social security numbers for any financial help from the church.
Thanks to The Outsider for being objective and for the cult insight."
member on the fence 11/11/2010
"I've been watching how the members of Pilgrim and how the Bishop & Pastor Di have been handling all the comments & articles and I'm shocked. For Pilgrim and the Branchs claim to be a loving church but yet they're not showing love. Everyone is so busy trying to figure out WHO is posting comments instead of self reflecting and trying to change things so others will not have the same complaints. In church both Bishop Branch and Pastor Di stood in pulpit and told congregation if you don't want to be here than just leave. What kind of pastor or Christian does that? If a member is hurt why not find out why and offer healing. Why not change your ways because obviously if several people are saying the same thing perhaps its true.
And then Pastor Di is on Facebook saying Happy Thanksgiving to all those who love me and those who hate me. What First Lady does that? You would never find First Lady Jakes or First Lady Long doing that. They are First Ladies of CLASS! And besides no one said anything about hating her or the ministry. Current and former members and even strangers are just speaking about the choices that have been made towards members and the church. Sure they can preach and even have a good word but they have mistreated people and PIMPED members and taken people for granted and taken advantage of people and the system (mismanagement of Pilgrim Christian Academy, employees, payroll, etc).
Instead of bullying members, trying to intimidate members, isolating members try REALLY loving people the godly way.
My heart goes out to the member on the fence...and now I join them on the fence. I've been talking to selective members and there are others. Members especially new members are seeing the Branch's true colors as well as the clique members true colors."
another member on fence 11/27/2010
"Shame shame shame!!! God have mercy."
O. in California - 11/27/2010
"It is so funny that she sees herself as the VICTIM when so many people have been victimized by this ministry. I too found it ironic that she would find time in her busy schedule to display once again on Facebook the need to defend herself. As a prayer warrior at what point are you going to let God fight your battles and not use Facebook to defend what has been called LIES. As a member I have closed my eyes to so many things that I knew was wrong for fear of rocking the boat or being removed from my post. I am a leader of leaders and serve on several key ministries in the church. I applaud this site for giving us a voice. I have been silent for to long. While many of us started out loving the ministry over time (years) many of us saw the hunger and passion for souls diminished, and replaced with materialism and greed. They can call it attacks, lies and untruth but deep down they know that they have dealt with God’s people treacherously. This blog isn’t trying to defame or discredit the man or woman of God but a cry for them to CHANGE please.
Ser vj - 11/29/2010
"With all the comments being posted pretty soon if he hasn't done it already Bishop Branch is going to silence his member. This is the only church I know where a pastor tells his members they cannot talk to each other and the members obey because of the control he has over them. Not to mention the respect of person. There has been so many women publicly embarrassed in the church for their sexual indiscretions by having Bishop Branch expose it to entire church and also told the members not to talk to the 'scorned' woman but certain male ministers affairs and sexual indiscretions were covered and never exposed. Just so messy. I know one of these exposed ladies and her life has never been the same. It's hard enough being single and struggling with fornication without being publicly humiliated and ostracized in the one place where you're suppose to get love, understanding and help."
glad to be gone - 11/29/2010
"One word: RIDICULOUS! Pastor Di who is Bishop Branch's wife, first lady and assistant pastor is STILL playing the victim when the two of them have been victimizing members for years. She uses Facebook as her "pulpit" desperately seeking attention, accolades from unknowing followers. She needs it I think to make herself feel good and to overcompensate for her low self-image. She doesn't feel good about her physical body image and all the praise she gets on her wall is her addiction. In these trying economic times and during this holiday season the Branchs are REQUIRING us to sell at least five of Bishop Branch's book. We either have to sell or buy the books - $20 each = $100.00. I guess we know the Branchs will have a good Christmas at their members expense. Sure they will give our token gifts to a few selective members but they will receive or take far more than they give or deserve. RIDICULOUS."
getting frustrated - 12/10/2010
"Response to Dr. Joyce J. Dorsey (below). What is wrong with calling it as it is, Doctor? Since I've found this site, I've begun sharing it with several others, because it's a mockery to what should be "the Body." Now I understand with clarity why the world laughs at this foolishness. But be not deceived for God is not mocked. Either you are for Him (righteousness) or you're opposed. Either you hate that which He hates and love that which he loves or jump ship.
It's all church politics which Jesus, according to the scriptures, had no dealings with. So sad.
I remember the day I walked away from what the Bible clearly declares "apostate Christianity," because I got tired of Pastor's Appreciation Day, Honor's Day, Church Anniversary, Secretary Day etc., all of which certainly isn't in the name of the Lord I know according to the truth. And then when I didn't show up at every meeting, I wasn't faithful. All these meetings and no substance of truth whatsoever. All the hoopin' and hollerin' feeling deep but shallow when it came to the truth.
So I say to the owners of this website, you keep on exposing, because ain't nothing wrong with it. Let the truth be truth and let's cast down and expose every lie that the enemy (pimp preachers) are feeding."
CD - 12/10/2010
" It's not my intent to defend any ministers, for they can do that themselves. I decry the public demeaning of anyone and simply pray for peace. There is nothing wrong with taking your complaints directly to the source. What can possibly be harmful in that? I personally attend several churches and find that there are flaws everywhere. Since I am not perfect either, I do not care to castigate anyone publicly, knowing that I, too have flaws, sins, imperfections and the rest.
There is no pressure upon me to confront Pilgrim leaders, and all I see is warmth and smiles coming from the members when I do attend. If there is dissatisfaction, it behooves one to air that, but do it properly. I see no good end in trying to profane anyone, including any of you. The concern we have for correcting anyone's wrong-doing should be done so boldly and with the armor of truth, complaining either face to face or by letter.
The simple truth is, no one on this page is willing to come clean and speak from their real identity. That there, is an example or what looks like ill intent. If the Bishop and his wife are wrong in their pastorate, God is the judge, but this is not the way. What do you want from me? I don't even know who you, or these people areI Should I expect castigation because I don't agree with your methods? Will I too be paralleled?
Is there a biblical basis for this arguing on a blog? Our prayers should be that ministers speak more about eternity and what we should be doing to please God. Simply put, it is a waste of time to vainly babble about the faults of one another. Simply walk away in peace and shake the dust from your feet. That way, you leave the problem in God's hand and don't have to bear the lifetime conscious-biting burden or reputation of trying to bring a church or human being down. No matter how corrupt you, I or the pastors mentioned on this page maybe, we are sinners, ourselves - and not pious enough to cast stones at one another.
I sincerely love every human being I have ever met on this earth. Those with whom I have strived, I have removed myself from their presence. Until I feel offended by a member or the leadership of Pilgrim, I will not join an effort to destroy the house of God, or another's ministry. God does want the best from us. We should approach our disgruntled feelings honestly in order to at least proclaim that " I attempted to be a part of the solution" . No minister is perfect and we should not exalt them anyway. That way, we won't bear the pain of disillusionment or pain of any sort. We can walk away in peace!
Hey! I feel that no matter what I say it won't matter. There are contributors to this blog who are calling Pilgrim a cult with an intent to belittle my intelligence and that of anyone else attending that church. Far from it, Pilgrim Cathedral is not a cult. Some one also wants me to denounce another human being, Bishop Branch. That, I won't do. It's easy to see that someone in this blog arena needs healing, kind words and assurance that God hears you. But the Branches are people too! We can pick apart the things any leader does that is contrary to the ideals of followers. Does that mean they are bad, corrupt or need to be sent into utter disgrace? Is the repercussion you seem to be seeking equal to the pain you feel? Is this what God wants? Will you feel better once you have caused their demise or discredit amongst members of Pilgrim, Peer Preachers or the public at large?
We all fall short of God's Glory. We all feel pain from family, friends and loved ones. If you and I pursue life in faith that God is in control, we will let God Be God in this. Pardon my slanted patronization, I just don't know enough about you, your motives or deep disdain. It's just that there has been no expression of an attempt to resolve any of the raw feelings or spiritual anger directly with the leaders. That's where the unfairness exists. My spiritual depth tells me that many people are hurt, But I won't abandon the church. I'll try to help them get it right. If it;s not right, I'll continue to ask for God's intervention ...... to what, I;m still not sure. Am I defending Pilgrim or Bishop Branch? Maybe! I think I should! Having never witnessed what is being claimed, how can I attack anyone?
In the name of Jesus and on the word of God, it will be my countenance and prayer for reconciliation for each parishioner, aggrieved ex-member, and minister. It will be my prayer that God intervenes with his mercy, justice and correction. It will be my faith that anything crooked will be made straight and just as we ask for forgiveness, we will each be forgiven. It is no longer rare to err, for we sin daily and must die daily. That goes for you, me, the pastors and members of Pilgrim and every church - whether mentioned or not mentioned on this site. My final plea is that God examines my writing here and forgives me if there has been any vengeance or misgivings on my part. All I want is peace in the house of God. That should not be too much to ask. Grace and Peace br yours!
Dr. Joyce J. Dorsey - 12/10/2010
"I am a former member of PCA. Although there is a bit of truth, there is an overwhelming amount of venom in the comments made about and towards the Branch's. My wife and I left PCA over ten years ago due to the huge demand we felt it required of our time. We did not leave angry or bitter, we made a decision for what we felt was good for our family. My wife and I still have an enormous amount of respect for the Branch's. I am very saddened to see that someone would be so cruel to make such mean comments about the first lady and her self image. I have always found her to be a very quiet and graceful first lady that minded her own business. She helped my wife a whole lot and was mainly seen just taking care of her children. I never saw her trying to run the church or being rude to people - she was very sweet and loved the Lord. We've been gone for a while, but have considered returning. Although not a perfect church, they were never involved in the type of scandal we've witnessed lately in our current church. Bishop Branch can be a little showy and hard with his words, but nothing scandalous. He is definitely a high achiever and will let you know it. But he's also taken a lot of people on the journey with him. Our friends still attend there, and they live and do very well. Our friends are good down to earth people. We visit occasionally, and I must say that a lot has changed for the better. I can't believe they only have one service on Sunday now. Once upon a time I aspired to be a Pastor, I have completley changed my mind. I do know that as a new Pastor, people are subjected to our errors and learning curve - and folks can be very unforgiving. The Branch's have not been scandalous, they've just had lessons to learn about pastoring folk (namely black folk). I'm sure that with your help PCA will become the great church it is destined to be. Peace to you all!"
truthinlove - 12/13/2010
"Amen, Doctor Dorsey. You got to leave this in the hands of God. I could see it if the Bishop committed a crime. If the members don't want to give money to the church, that's their choice. I don't have money and nobody tries to make me go to activities or make me feel bad about it. I am my own man and can't see why anybody would spend so much time whining about something when they have already left Pilgrim. This is some negative stuff, man. But I'm here to stay. Amen."
Get Right Church - 12/13/2010