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Author Topic: Huntington Beach, circa 1989 -- 1991  (Read 4503 times)

« on: July 15, 2003, 05:03:37 pm »

My name is Amy Russ Cahill and I was in fellowship at the Huntington Beach assembly for a couple of years.  I would love to talk to anyone else who happens to know me.

I have no idea what they said about me when I left in 1991, or, rather, escaped.  Ironically, I really DID have incipient mental illness (it later became full-blown bipolar disorder).  That illness saved me, actually.  While my outsides were trying to go 100% with the group, my insides were rebelling.  Consequently, I dropped in and out.  Finally, the leading brothers put me under discipline for this inconsistent attendance.  To give them SOME credit, they did realize that there was something wrong with me and allowed me to see a psychiatric nurse.  I couldn't get better medical attention because "the church suffices for everything," a Brother George doctrine.  I also remember when everybody was trained in the Dr. Charles Solomon charts that were supposed to teach us how to bring our old man to the cross and leave him there, preferably dead.  For some reason, I had the audacity to call Dr. Solomon and speak to him myself, a privilege probably reserved only for George.  I was rebuked, of course.  I find it kinda funny, though, looking back on it.

I was not allowed to move into a sister's home, which was probably a blessing, although I made friends with a particular sister's home (and they were very dear to me.  I know that use of the term "dear" is Assembly-speak, but it happens to fit here, so I'm using it anyway.)  I also didn't marry in fellowship, for which I have nothing but praise to God for.  My husband has spent many years convincing me I am his equal, in spite of the fact that one of my ex-friends in the fellowship helpfully mailed me "On The Other Side of the Garden."

I still wasn't going to leave fellowship when I left, even though I had lost my job, stopped paying my bills (and rent), and was sleeping large amounts of time because I was so horrendously depressed.  I was living with Christian roommates who attended Calvary Chapel, and they bought me a plane ticket one day and sent me home to my parents.  It reads like a classic rescue out of a cult situation, but that is what really happened.  And I truly would not have left any other way even though it was destroying me.

It took YEARS to get over what had happened.  I'd join a church, try to walk with God, and then the church would screw up (all churches screw up to some degree or another) and it would be like they broke my legs or something.  I was so sensitive, so hurt.  I couldn't tolerate anything.  I also had a hard time admitting to myself that what happened to me was anything other than my fault until one day I happened upon Enroth's book, "Churches that Abuse" and found the Assembly in it.  I nearly fell over.  It felt SO good to find out that just MAYBE it hadn't been me.

I need to give the Huntington Beach assembly some credit, though.  In 1997, the summer before my Christmas wedding, I decided to take a solitary trip back to Huntington Beach to confront them, to face my demons.  And they welcomed me back with open arms.  Perhaps a few didn't want to see me, but most of them were glad I was there (or at least acted so very convincingly!  Smiley)  When I left, they told me I was welcome back anytime and in the years that passed, they never withdrew that invitation.  I kept in touch with my best friend there and she reported that more and more people left that assembly, but many apparently on good terms (at least publicly) with the exception of a leading brother who "dissed" George (of course, THAT was not acceptable.)  So I honestly don't know if Huntington Beach was an exception or not in that regard.  But that's what I experienced and I feel it's only fair to report the good as well as the bad.

Since the collapse of the Assembly system I have not been able to reach anyone that I knew there.  I invite anyone who would like to talk to me about things to write me here on this board.  

God bless,
Amy Russ Cahill

« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2003, 01:55:08 am »

Hi Amy, glad to hear that you are doing well.   Will shot you an email.

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