Intentional Observation: Mennonites in flip-flops

“A little bit of dissonance is really required to have something
that will hold our attention for a longer period of time.”

– Pete Pinnell

Two things in the past few months prompted me to ponder the idea of contrast.

First off, I’ve taken note this year of the mennonites (at least that’s what we assume they are) shopping at our local Walmart. I’ve long had a fascination with Amish (and old order Mennonite, thus) cultures, probably in large part because of what seems to be their slower paced, more relationship and community based lifestyles. Another part of my interest almost certainly stems from the culture’s seeming affirmation of working with your hands.

There are two observations I’ve made with respect to contrast in observing the local mennonites. First of all, the men dress in such a way that you can’t pick them out of a crowd: Boots, jeans and t-shirts, but you know they are mennonite because of the lady on their arm donning a modest handmade dress, with a bonnet or cap in her hair.

Secondly, the women’s more conservative dress is often at odds with their footwear. I’ve seen them wearing tennis shoes for years now, but it was only a few months ago I saw some of them wearing flip-flops for the first time. This wonderfully jarring discrepancy scrawled a grin on my face that lasted all the way into the parking lot. The nearly neon flip-flops next to pale blue, floral, handmade dresses worked for me in light of Pinnell’s quote at the top of this post, and apparently work for mennonites too. Brightly colored synthetic footwear is simply at odds with the common (mis)conceptions harbored by those of us not immersed in that culture.

Mennonites in flip flops

I wanted to take a picture with my cameraphone, but abstained from bothering the young ladies. Instead I searched through Flickr and found the fantastic image above, taken by Jizzon, showing a group of mennonite women, some in bright colored flip-flops (click on the image to go to the Flickr page where you can enlarge it). The clothing contrast in Jizzon’s photograph isn’t as stark as it usually is in the Siloam Springs’ Walmart. The girls in his capture are wearing much brighter handmade dresses than I’ve ever seen the group in Northwest Arkansas don.

If you’re craving even more paradox, look at this image of two mennonites in dresses and bonnets on a jet ski.

Secondly, after looking through an album posted by a photographer friend, Aus10, on Facebook I commented as follows:

    Interesting to me how so much portraiture (including wedding photography) in the past five years or so has been about creating contrast — or so it seems to me as an observer. The well-groomed subjects are placed in rough and rustic environments: Against decrepit buildings with peeling paint, along derelict railway tracks covered in weeds etc. Seems to me this is a new trend for the media, and one that I like (unlike this everybody jump up in the air phenomenon). Is my observation correct in your professional opinion? And can you talk about why you think this is the case, if you think my assessment is correct?

The photographer’s reply was more or less to say that the high school seniors, in the case of the album I responded to, see their friends’ photos or advertisements for Urban Outfitters and want the same thing. Regardless of these teen’s, um, less than intellectual desire for this aesthetic, I must reiterate that I think it works and works well.

My own senior picture was from one of those gimmicky old-time photo rooms (which is what I wanted it to be, although mom had me submit a color image from a $10 Sears sitting for the actual yearbook.) However, I would have liked something akin to this popular contrasty style if I would have thought it was worth it for my parents to spend $400 (I’m sure it’s much more nowadays) for proper senior photographs.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

269 Responses to Intentional Observation: Mennonites in flip-flops

  1. Just a quick note before I explore the rest of your site…

    There are MANY different types of Mennonites ranging in style of women’s dress from jeans and a little covering to cape plain dress, black socks and dark shoes. Flip flops would be more common among some liberal conservative groups. Amish women often don’t wear shoes at all. I see bright dresses like these pretty often, usually among ‘Pilgrim Mennonite’ or ‘Mid-Atlantic Mennonite’ women.

    Yes, some Menno men look like ‘everyone else’ but some are quite conservative. It all depends on their church. You usually can tell what type they are if you know what to look for.

    • pcNielsen says:

      I don’t pretend to have knowledge of such, but acknowledge the wide variety of subcultures within the Mennonite culture. My wife’s dad actually pastored a couple of general conference Mennonite churches, neither of which were nearly as conservative as the ones I’m referring to here. Neither of which actually went very well either; her dad was, well, much too evangelistic and outgoing for the liking of the congregations he shortly shepherded.

      Point of my posts titled Intentional Observation are simply to encourage people to, if I can use a cliche, stop and smell the roses in the midst of our harried culture. Not making cultural commentary here, or not meaning to in any concerted manner.

    • cj says:

      I respect and know mennonites. and not to confuse anyone but there are some variation of beliefs. the girls on the jet ski seems to be some that are liberal on the action but conservative on the dress. I do not think they are holdeman mennonites. the girls and boy in the top photo of this site seem to be the holdeman mennonites. they live in moderate homes and have the average america additude. their church has a web site you can look and read about them at .. {}

      • The Mennonites you have photographed in this post are most likely Holdeman (or Church of God in Christ) Mennonites (and I am likely related to them as my family is Holdeman and there are not a very large number). The Elders of the different church congregations will often change the rules about certain elements of dress. Some families within the church will also make certain allowances.

        I would like to point out that the Amish broke off from the Mennonite church in the 1600’s while the Holdeman’s broke off in the 1800’s. Both groups are fundamentalists of sorts, believing the original church had become too modern.

        • emily says:

          umm, ya, you cant be a holdeman cuz i am and theres no such thing as “elders”. my amish cousins have “elders” and there is a bigger amount of us than you obviously think. thankyou

        • Brad Koehn says:

          I was thinking they looked very very familiar. They look a lot like my cousins.
          Emily just because he mentions elders doesn’t mean he isn’t related to mennonites. That’s my relationship, I am related. Most of my cousins.. my sister all of my ancestry (mother and father) which my sister and I have tracked back to the beginning to mid 17th century are all mennonites.
          But I couldn’t tell ya if they have elders or not.
          I will tell you I am of the first of my tribe not to be mennonite.. haha

  2. Nancy says:

    The group of Mennonnites with the black benie cap called a “tie down” is the Holdemans, officially known as the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. The hair is folded, not rolled into a bun, and the tie down is pinned into place. The actual covering is almost triangular in shape, but has some curavature at the top, the longest side. A most unnatural covering, and dissimillar as compaired to the general population of covering Mennonites. Up until the 1920s a shall was worn, but slowly this particular style of day ware headcovering took root. The Church body has considered other styles, but this particular style has remained in favor, a general vote takes place. One should note, that Holdeman women have the right to vote unlike some of the Fellowship Mennonites that split from General Conference in the 1950s where only men vote. This group of Mennonites were in Russia and the black style is from that region. There are Old Colony Mennonites that ended up in Mexico, that wear a triangular scarf that hangs in the back that covers the hair; this group origionally from Canada was from the same region in Russian. Both having migrated in the 1860-70s.

    • This “tie down” you speak of is actually called a dakj (pronounced “doke)… and there are no real church rules about how the hair is placed under it. Different “fashions” can be found in different regions… Canada, the Midwest, the Southeast, etc.

      • emily says:

        shes talking about the the holdeman mennonites. all the holdemans have the same coverings so you must be confused cuz we dont call it that name, whatever it means. that must be some other kind of mennonite, like, old order or something!

        • Brian Peachey says:

          Hey emily I’m kinda curious as to who you are. I am a mennonite and have many holdeman cousins and friends and a few amish cousins. I used to live in Belleville, Pa

        • Emily says:

          well, um.. My name is Emily Kramer. and im from Jamesport, MO. All of my cousins are amish cept two from my moms side.

        • Emily says:

          ok i just wanted to say im sorry for lying. i lied about my name an where im from cuz i wasnt really comfortable giving it out. im really sorry i lied but i just dont think i shuld tell yu. =( emily is a fake name. sorry

        • Brad Koehn says:

          Hmm We always just referred to them as “coverings.”

        • Brad Koehn says:

          Brian Peachey.. I have a cousin who married an ex amish gentleman from belleville, pa any relation? My cousin is a holdeman and they now reside in Moundridge, ks.
          His name is Seal peachey, but i’m not sure i’m spelling his name right.. I’ve never actually seen it in writing.. haha

    • Asena says:

      Actually the black “Bennie cap” as you cal it is called a Head Covering. We do wear a “Tie Down” but it is only to church and it looks like a big handkerchief tied under a girls chin. ;))

  3. Mary says:

    I am a former member of the Holdeman Mennonites. This picture is very true to what the YOUNG women wear. Older women do not wear flip flops in public nor do the men wear sandals. I was a baptized member of the Church in God Mennonite for almost ten years. The colors and patterns of the dresses are becoming much bolder (among the young women) as the “church” becomes more lax in areas of technology bans: computers, cell phones and digital photo sharing. It is true the men wear “boughten” clothes from the store while women MUST make their own by acceptable patterns. The headcovering is only called a tie down if it is the one worn for church services. It is a babushka like scarf tied down over the ears. The young girls go to great lengths to get the hair that is showing to look as flattering as is possible and still stay in the boundaries. In the Holdeman Mennonites boys prefer the pretty girls that are slim and the girls go for looks and money. Same as the world. But they don’t date. They like a boy and if he likes her he goes to his parents who go to her parents and they go to the minister. If she does not want him she says no.

    • susan funk says:

      If the holdeman mennonites don’t date, how do they know who to marry? Do they pray to God and then God shows them who to marry or do they have to figure it out on their own without dating? Please email me a response. Thank You.

      • Varenikje says:

        Well, often the young people do meet and may be involved in the same youth group, so in that way, the young people may get to know each other. If they are from far away from each other, like if one or the other of them is visiting in a congregation that is far from their home, they still may meet or talk to each other, or they may not (it just depends on if there is opportunity or if either of them wants to meet new people where they are visiting). Usually, the young people do pray about such a situation. In that way, one would say that God may lead them into marriage. On the other hand, if God doesn’t lead them into marriage, then perhaps they will stay single. On the other other hand, possibly God will lead them to be married later in their lives.

      • Holdemen congregations are very small, Susan. These boys and girls very often grow up together or work closely together doing mission-type work if they are from different regions. They also DO have social lives… groups of kids play games, hang out, have parties… it’s not like arranged marriages or something of that sort. It is far more conventional that it might seem.

        • emily says:

          actually, lots of congregations are big. especially the ones in kansas that have been there longer. we have “youth deals” where we play volleyball or baseball with our youth leaders. and we meet people through weddings and stuff like that.

    • emily says:

      im a 15 year old in the church. and no one i know is married to a rich person. its all about love. also, it depends on the persons character if they wear sandals or flip flops. my dad wears sandals sometimes, but my mom isnt a flip flop wearing person. so its not like a rule that all the adults wear just shoes. you should know that if you were part of the church for 10 years. thank you.

    • emily says:

      im a 15 year old in the church. and no one i know is married to a rich person. its all about love. also, it depends on the persons character if they wear sandals or flip flops. my dad wears sandals sometimes, but my mom isnt a flip flop wearing person. so its not like a rule that all the adults wear just shoes. also, everyones had cell phones since they came out. you should know that if you were part of the church for 10 years. thank you. sorry if i sound mad. im not, just trying to make my point.

    • emily says:

      im a 15 year old in the church. and no one i know is married to a rich person. its all about love. also, it depends on the persons character if they wear sandals or flip flops. my dad wears sandals sometimes, but my mom isnt a flip flop wearing person. so its not like a rule that all the adults wear just shoes. also, everyones had cell phones since they came out. thank you. sorry if i sound mad. im not, just trying to make my point.

      • emily says:

        oh my goodness im so sorry! i didnt mean to post it that many times! oops!

      • lauren says:

        well perhaps you should come across more lovingly and kind, you are not being a very good witness for pacifism and peaceable behavior.

        • Brad Koehn says:

          I’m not trying to be an a–hole, but the mennonites never come across loving and kind to the ones on the outside. My aunts all have their head held up so high I don’t know how the hell they walk. They pass judgement on people more then any other group I’ve ever seen. Walk into Lone Tree Church (between Galva, ks and Moundridge, ks) sometime during chuch services. You’ll be stared down by every single member, and many of them will not dare look away. One of the many reasons I don’t abide by that faith anymore. I am a christian, but I am not a mennonite.

        • LG says:

          Lol! How true! If I have to endure a function due to family respect, I have started to wave and have a huge smile for those that stare;) Then laugh to myself as they turn and start whispering.

        • tara thiessen says:

          that is exactly what i was thinking, lauren. i am from a holdeman family, left the “church” when i was 19. and young emily is certainly proving that being raised that way does not give one a a proverbial “leg up” when it comes to manners.

  4. Mary says:

    Holdeman Mennonites do not vote. When they elect a new minister yes the women vote. But politics is a no no.

  5. Mary says:

    One more thing, very important: Holdeman Mennonites are NOT a cult. They are a religious order that requires a life commitment no different than Dominican’s, Franciscan’s, etc except they can marry. And of course they are not Catholic but Anabaptists which are called the third arm of the reformation. Too many lies online about the Holdeman’s being a cult. Not true. They are very sincere, consecrated Christians, more Christian that the ones calling them a cult. I was a Evangelical when I went to the Holdemans and they the Holdeman’s-are the real deal. It’s the Evangelical’s that can learn a few things about living a Christian life from the Holdeman’s.

    • pcNielsen says:

      Thanks for the comments. They’ve been enlightening.

      But I have to take issue any time someone talks about levels of Christianity. There’s just something inherently wrong with that, assigning levels of spirituality within the Body of Christ. Some of us are younger than others in the faith, yes, but the faith is still in the same God and same salvation.

    • katieanne3 says:

      Thank you. My best friends are Holdeman Mennonite. It’s good to read positive things for a change. Just came upon this site. Thanks.

    • Sophia says:

      Mary – have you voted to expel anybody from our congregation yet in a member’s meeting? And if so – have you shunned them? Because that is absolutely a requirement of Holdeman Mennonites when somebody leaves the fold. Families are torn apart. Friends shun friends. Parents shun children. Children shun parents. And the fear of BEING expelled and shunned keeps members in line – and the only way members are wearing a certain style of dress (the current pattern of the decade) or flip-flops – is if the ministers have not cracked down on it. NOBODY goes against the ministers and lasts within that church.

      You might look up the criteria of what makes up a cult. The Holdeman Mennonites meet 90% of the criteria. And as an outsider who joined – you are the most in danger of getting in trouble with the ministers or CCC and getting ex’d…and then shunned. If you have children who join and then leave – you must shun them. If you leave – and your children stay – they must shun you. Sounds decidedly non-Christian behavior to me – and feels like it too – especially for children who don’t understand why their grandparents are suddenly angry at their parents and shunning them.

      I’ll take an evangelical over a Holdeman anyday. And yes – I know what I speak of. My grandpas were both ministers in the Holdeman church – born and raised. My parents were expelled – along with an entire congregation – in 1976. Why? For believing that justification by faith was the real deal rather than worrying about how people dressed or whether they had tape recorders (a big sin in the 1970’s) and meeting for in-home bible studies (yes – those were against the rules then too). They were – in the words of the church – ‘consigned to Satan’. Were they shunned? Yup – to the point that we have no relationship left with many family members. Christ-like? No.

      I have relatives I dearly love among the Holdemans. But I will never support what that church does to those it expels – nor those it keeps under its control – and I hold every minister within that church responsible as they dictate religious beliefs with fear. And yes – my holding ministers responsible includes my two uncles.

      Why do they do these things? Because their Bible Doctrine and Practices states that they are the One True Visible Church. Yes – that means that all those others reading here who believe you are Christians? The Holdemans question whether you will ever make it to heaven. No matter whether you know that you’re saved or not. 😉 And if you EVER join – and then leave – you are absolutely hell bound in their theology and doctrine. Because you know better.

      Poor Emily – she’s a smart girl. At 15 – she knows not to use her real name. Because she would risk trouble if somebody were to see it and report it to the wrong person. But living in that fear – that is not living in Christ. Living in Christ is a fear-free gift.

      • Joel says:

        most modern people dont know what a spanking is. but administered properly it brings pain both to the reciever And the giver. the fear of spanking has kept many children in times of temptation. but in a loving home it does not separate the parent and child but rather draws them together. as the child learns to submit to what he is taught he no longer lives in fear because he knows how he is expected to act and it comes natural to him.
        the holdeman church does the same to its members. if it is obvious someone is not submitting to God they are expelled. fear of this keeps us in dark moments. but when we are living in Gods will there is no fear.
        without discipline there would soon be much confusion. Imagine your country without the law enforcement. there would be much more crime. but when you are living above the law there is no fear of the police.
        discipline is fun for no one but we need it to keep us in line.

        • snowbird says:

          Joel- I understand the reason for discipline. How does the holdeman church determine when a member is not in submission to God? I have been a member of a church where they have never expelled a member. I feel a little fear when I think about how a group of people can decide if I am in submission to God. I feel it is a very personal issue. In saying that I long for a fellowship that is closer to God and a church that follows the Bible.

        • Joel says:

          For a lot of people it has to do with the “Death Sins” listed in Galatians 5:19-21. For example one act of adultery is grounds for excommunication. Some of them such as envyings don’t have such a clear dividing line, and have to be determined by the Staff and congregation.

          For me I was trying to start a movement in the congregation that would turn people against the staff, and the devil had it so cleverly concealed as a worthy thing to do that I was blind to what it looked like to other people. But others that still followed God could see what the outside of my “Box” really looked like. Only after I repented could i understand what a fool I made of myself. That is why it is so hard to repent, and many don’t. Until I realized I was headed for Hell and begged God to save me I couldn’t even see how wrong I was!

          Just like any parent with their children, not everything can be done perfectly in everyone`s opinion all the time. But if we`re humble like a little child, we see daddy as a figure of security and try to please him

          I have been open with others about participating in this blog, and have been warned about the dangers, and how many have picked up false ideas and fallen away. I feel too now that it is not appropriate for me to participate any more. If you are a true seeker feel free to visit the website for Church of God in Christ, Mennonite.

        • Sophia says:

          Joel – so if you had died while you were expelled – you would have automatically gone to hell? Trying to understand this statement:

          “Until I realized I was headed for Hell and begged God to save me I couldn’t even see how wrong I was!”

          This wasn’t BEFORE you became a Christian. This was after God made clear his salvation plan – you recognized it – were baptized as a Christian – correct? So why did God have to save you again? Is this part of the ‘if you’re not in the church – you’re going to hell’ bit of theology that your church teaches?

        • Joel says:

          We do not believe “once saved, always saved.” Being expelled is an outward symbol of what happened in the heart. If i had already repented when I died i would not go to hell even if I hadn’t been reaccepted yet. Christian life is a daily observation. That comment Until I realized…..should have been; till i accepted what the church was telling me they saw in me…I was headed for hell. when i accepted that they could see better than I could what the devil had done to me, then I began to see also how i had been led astray.

          I am leaving this site now. if you have any more questions refer to the websight Church of God in Christ Mennonite.

        • Sophia says:

          Thanks for your honesty Joel. You have confirmed what I wanted you to confirm. That
          A. the coG truly believe they are the OTVC (one true visible church) on this earth and that they are the only ones who can really ‘hope’ for salvation (ironic – because most of us Christians KNOW we are saved – did you know that? 🙂 )
          B. The fear of reprisal and ‘getting in trouble’ is enough for a person who is only using their first name – and who knows if it’s a real first name – on a website – to suddenly stop talking with those he would consider ‘lost and unsaved’ – and run back to the mother church for direction. Faith? No. That’s fear.
          C. you have shown the true heart of a member of the church of God in Christ Mennonite. It smacks of cultism – and I will continue my prayers that every single member of that church may one day be free from the ‘church’ – and living free in their walk with Christ.


        • Sophia says:

          By the way – if you – or others – ever find yourself on the outs with this church and being expelled and shunned and cut off from a support system – there is a great support system on facebook. Check out shunned ex-mennonites if you’re hurting from what’s been done to you by this church – or by family/friends still in this church. People DO care!! 🙂

        • Name withheld says:

          Who are you or anyone else can read the heart like the Lord? Shaming “spanking” adults is love? Keeping the church rules keeps one out of trouble, Listen to yourself saying it is obvious one is not submitting to God. That is critical like the Pharisee, and Jesus called them vipers and snakes!!! Pious, I am ashamed to say I thought like you did until God removed the scales from my eyes, and so the conditional treatment, sometimes treated less than human. I know I experienced it. The emotional pain is terrible and it keeps ones from leaving due to fear.

      • John Holdeman says:

        To Sophia I see you mentioned consigning to Satan when we excommunicate erring members. To clarify this we do this, but we have sound scriptural backing for it. We believe that if we turn the sinning soul over to Satan to have his way with them,they are more likely to hit bottom spiritually, where God and the church is able to work a work of redemption in their heart and life. Also, fear is a good motivator if nothing else works, so we can all kneel at the cross, and find grace in time of need, and obtain the gift of salvation.

        • snowbird says:

          John Holdeman or Joel- I am confused. It sounds kind of harsh to hand someone over to Satan. Almost like a curse. I have talked with holdemans and they have never mentioned this to me. They tell me they follow the Bible and Jesus. I have a longing to fellowship with a true Bible teaching group of believers.
          Joel – I read through the website and I can not find any references to shunning.

        • John Holdeman says:

          Snobird we do this to make it easier for our members to carry out the shunning. Its much easyer to shun when we know that the sinner is the property of Satan. I’m sure if you ask members of our church, they will confirm this, though it is always done in a members only meetig. This is how we keep our church pure and free from sin, the spotless bride of Christ.

        • pcNielsen says:

          From an evangelic and non-Mennonite point of view: Fear is a good motivator but not a good reason to fear (stand in awe and reverence of) God. It’s cat theology instead of dog theology:

        • Snowbird says:

          Joel suggested that I read the website of the Church of God in Christ Mennonite. I found this in regards to discipline.
          A few questions. Is avoidance the same as shunning? Can the excomunication be lifted if the member repents? How is the shunning or avoidance administered? Spiritual and temporal are quite broad definitions.

          “21. Church Discipline

          The church is the bride of Christ and must be kept pure and spotless. Christ has made provision for the government and preservation of His visible church. He has given her authority through the Holy Spirit to interpret the Scriptures and discipline unfaithful members by excommunicating those who fail to accept admonition, become willfully sinful, or teach false doctrine.

          Those excommunicated should be avoided in spiritual and temporal fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, eating together, and the Holy Kiss. The avoidance prevents spiritual defilement in the church and is intended to urge the sinner to repent so he can be restored to fellowship with Christ and His church. We believe this doctrine should be kept in love and compassion.”

        • Name withheld says:

          Don’t need a group of people, just the Holy Spirit.

        • Ethan says:

          I don’t have much to say, and may never say anything here again… I am a young Mennonite, so I don’t really know so much. But as to excommunication: I have family members who are expelled. It’s an act of love. We reach out to them. We show them the love of Christ. We try to offer them a way back. We give them, it’s true, a wide berth when it comes to spiritual fellowship, and avoid very close friendship. We want them to feel that. We feel they need to see that they are no longer one with the church.
          As concerns the one true church doctrine: we do believe we are the one true church. We believe that, by the grace of God, we are following Him as closely as He leads us to follow through the Bible, through heartfelt conviction, and through the leading of the Spirit. We don’t, however, feel that everybody else is lost. The Bible says, “Other sheep have I, which are not of this fold, but in the end (after Judgement?) there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.”
          I know many people of other religions. Many of them are saved. One man I know believes in eternal security, or the doctrine of “once saved, always saved”. We disagree on this, and on many other things. But I know for a fact that if he is following God as closely as the Spirit is leading him to, he WILL be saved. When one strays from the leading of God, whether that’s in the way he leads his life or the church he goes to, only then is he lost.
          Sophia. I see how you feel about Mennonites. Please, don’t hate us. I can’t offer you consolation. But I can tell you this. If you turn your anger at Mennonites over to God, and let Him do with it what he will, all will be clear, whichever way the tree falls. But read. Pray. Don’t just think. I think you believe too that God’s ways are higher than ours, and if, after earnest, continual seeking, He leads you another way, then I only hope that you hear Him aright. I really want to meet you in Heaven someday. And who knows, maybe God will decide that He wants you with us. We’d be glad to have you.
          Only follow the Spirit. “For the Spirit warreth against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit.”

    • Name withheld says:

      Mary, they are a cult. If one leaves, they are no longer considered a Christian, they are going to hell, unless repent and it is decided if God forgave them and passed the ministers approval and church vote. People do not decide who is saved. They split families when there is expelled. An expelled person has to sit aside by themselves in shame. I have been sat in another room by myself while the rest of the company laughed and ignored me. I have children that have dropped me from their life because I have chosen never to agree to punish and shame someone who is expelled. The hurt is emotional abuse. There is nothing Christian about the conditional love they profess. Just leave and see what happens. You are no longer respected and never good enough. Sorry, but my Jesus would never treat anyone that way. Gossip is sin and guess what? If someone is expelled the phones are ringing across the United States telling what and who. Yet it is supposed to STAY in the congregation. There is so much hypocritsy. Not all Mennonites are cults, but Holdeman believe they are God’s true church and if one is no longer a member , they consider that you have left God,

  6. Varenikje says:

    I agree that Holdeman Mennonites are not a cult and also that we can all learn a lot from these “very sincere consecrated Christians.”

    I think what one is seeing here is that young people dress like…er…young people. They will experiment with things and try things. And it would seem that a wise parent will stand by their child and 1) tell them the truth and 2) allow them to make mistakes. Sometimes one learns more from making a mistake than from doing what is right all of the time, don’t you think?

  7. Jodi says:

    Please note that if this church was about rules, there would be nothing to hang it together. Each person dresses according to their personal taste and interpretation of the scriptures teaching on modesty and simplicity.

    • John Holdeman says:

      That is very inaccurate, Jodi. We as a people maintain unity. This includes requirements on how our people dress. We do not leave out detail on these requirements. We have measurements on the allowable height of our sister’s shoe heels, and our home sewn dresses must be made in a pattern that has been approved.. We do not leave these things for the average person to decide, as that would lead to disunity. Perfect unity as a people is what the scriptures teach us.

      • Joel says:

        John I think you better take a look at your Bible. It never says anything about heel heights and clothing that should or shouldn’t be worn. we as holdemans seek to maintain unity of Spirit, not unity in physical things. we elect a minister with unity of spirit. then we support him with unity to meet other ministers and deacons to discuss the welfare of the church. as they meet and unite in spirit they are inspired to lead the church in certain ways. we supported him all the way so far. do we not now feel that to maintain unity with them we must do like they decided in the meeting? sometimes it has to do with heel heights, and sometimes it seems weird, but God has a special way of accomplishing his will that we cant comprehend. I choose to use my real name because if I.m wrong I stand to be corrected

        • Sophia says:

          So what happens if you disagree with a minister? What happens if you believe that God has spoken to you and the direction God is giving you is different than what the minister is giving you? How is having to have your God’s words ‘proven’ through a minister any different than the church your ancestors broke away from – the Roman Catholic – relying on a priest to tell them what God said or meant?

          My God? My God is big enough that he can – and does – speak to and guide each and every one of his children personally. God first. No minister required. How big is your God?

        • Joel says:

          I did think my light was better than the ministers. I felt they were not following the spirit themselves and couldnt trust them with a problem they were trying to help me with. I got expelled. That does not have to be permanent. They forgive when I repent. We need the Church for support. If I have a varying opinion, I am free to share it. But if there is no support from others it is sin to try and promote it. If my conviction is really from the Lord, others will soon be convicted the same way. But if I push my point I am interfering with God.s work. That is where the devil traps many. The Lord sends a conviction to a good Christian and he feels so compelled to promote it that he falls in pride.

          My God is big enough to hold the planets and stars in their places and small enough to make a complex human cell. He can give me conviction but I will never be able to see the outside of my box the way others see it and thus need others to help me.

          I personally felt the power of the devil while being out of the church and know that I couldnt stand without the church…thus to humble myself and live peaceably with people who seemingly had less conviction than I seemed like a small thing in contrast to hell. As I gave myself to that I found that others had conviction too and that we are all sinfull people in need of teaching

        • John Holdeman says:

          Joel, most of our rules are not actually from the bible. Unity of Spirit shows when we all dress the same, and our manner of dress separates us from the world as a people. We are to live as pilgrims and strangers, which is why we as a people are not wealthy and don’t live in lavish homes. Our leaders are anointed by God to lead us, and it is a sign of an independent spirit when we desire to search for our own spiritual guidance.

        • Joel says:

          You have touched on an area that is tugging at our church and trying to pull it apart. I.m not here to say wrong. I cannot understand it fully but our teachings are All Bible based. They should be anyhow. When there is a decision made that is just someone.s idea it makes it hard to trust the ministers. When they dont have support they cant effectively make decisions. It is a downward spiral. Your idea of obeying the minister as our spiritual guidance sounds shallow. If we do not get conviction ourselves from the Lord that parallels with what we are taught then we need to talk about it. If we go to the bretheren as honest seekers it will become clear wether we are wrong or wether there was something unsound about a decision.then the unity is restored AND you have personal conviction on the matter. On judgement day the minister wont be there to speak for you.
          if you go to Philippines or Nigeria the people of our church dress much different eg.going to church in sandals. yet the Spirit is the same. the main thing is the bible based teaching of what is modest and simple in the area we live in, in the era we live. that is why some decisions are made on a conference level, some are made in an area, some are made in a congregation, and many little ones are made in our own hearts with the conviction that comes as we need it.

        • John Holdeman says:

          Joel, that is also an error. We ask our converts in other countries to wear the same kind of dresses that we do. Also, you are right in that our church is being pulled apart today. This is why at our annual meeting recently we addressed justification by faith. Justification by faith is defined for us that when we are meek and humble, and contrite in spirit, we are willing to lay down our own will, and allow the ministry to guide us. What you stated about having individual leading is what our ministers discussed at length this year, and they feel that individuals following their own convictions is apostasy. I personally gave that aspect of my life over to the ministers, and I live a carefree life knowing that they will guide me and my family. If I ever questioned that, where would I be? Everyone I know who questioned the ministry is excommunicated, so trying to have a personal relationship with God like you are saying is quite futile. The real truth is, being a Holdeman is a blessed life because we have ministers to guide us, and sort out for us the treacherous world today.

        • Joel says:

          Together with church teaching and discussion with another brother, it has also become my conviction to abandon this site. Read the end of page 126 in Bible Doctrine & Practice..Obedience. Been nice chatting. Take care.

        • Mother Teressa says:

          John Holdeman, I’m glad you decided to open up and tell how you and your people really think. Revolting as it sounds, truth is a powerful thing. Next time someone gets kicked out of your church, I’ll be more likely now to lend them a hand. With all due respect, you seem extremely arrogant. Do you understand the definition of arrogance?

      • Name withheld says:

        Holdemans teach not to have courtship. But, there is plently and if it means Keeping someone is the church and look the other way. Stay up all night on cellphone and members know it. Underage children decide not to obey expelled parents and be rebellious are backed by Church members and have boyfriend over and members know it. Come on. What happened to honor thy Father and Mother? Yet the expelled Mother cries because her child is brainwashed to stay without the permission of the parent. Sickening. Separating the child from parents under the guise of lies. It is against the law to keep underage child without parents permission, but Holdeman make excuse. They are above the law. I have seen many children alienated from expelled parents and that is abuse. You can never challenge what they beiieve because they think they are right and everyone else has not come to true light. Keep your children away. It looks so innocent, they smile, to your face and gossip behind your back and plot to get children away from parents who have left the church. The child is told “isn’t it a shame how your mother or father is living or doing. Sly manipulating comments, to alienate the bond of child and parents. They need to be exposed for they abuse.

        • Tray says:

          A little clarification here. John, I would guess that you’re old order. Approaching Amish. The girls in this picture are from a group I know well, and they don’t have any such heel height rules, or dress patterns, or so on, as far as I know. If they do, fine. But seriously, a little love, a little humility can’t hurt you any. Check it out.

  8. katieanne3 says:

    The problem is the many women and girls haven’t been taught modesty and what Chritian Womanhood is.

  9. miranda says:

    Thanks for the comment that Holdemans are not a cult. All those cult comments are from ex- Holdemans (if that tells you anything.) I have been Holdeman and exHoldman and even if you leave their faith they stay close and good friends!

    • Name withheld says:

      Maybe because ex Holdemans know the truth and are willing to tell. Just listen to yourself as you put ex Holdemans down. It takes a strong healthy person to stay up for truth walk away, but God is with the ones that have a relationship with the Lord and no church, or people can ever take that away. The Holdemans pretend to be your friend, but if you speak the truth, see what happens.

  10. emily says:

    i just wanted to say this, ” I HAD NO CLUE THAT WHEN WE WEAR FLIP FLOPS IT SHOCKS PEOPLE.” the town where im from is so small that the townspeople are used to us so i thot it was pretty funny when i read that article. i mean, i go to walmart in flipflops all the time!

    • The reason u don’t think anything of it is because u r 15…as the yrs pass it has become more acceptable just like many other things

    • tlee says:

      emily, i think it depends where you are from. i am no longer a member, but was raised in one of the more liberal congregations, if you will. i remember so well going shopping (while visiting in kansas) in dodge city kansas, in 100 degree summer weather, dressed sensibly in sandals, and being given the incredibly obvious “stink-eye” from women from neighboring congregations. the lack of chrisitan acceptance and love from these women, who profess to be true examples, stays with me today; they would literally look you up and down, and turn their heads away as you walked by, with out so much as a hello.

  11. ImOnMyWay says:

    Interesting article. I know some congregations of my church who have problems with us wearing sandals or flip-flops. I didn’t grow up ever being taught that it would be more modest not to wear them, but I was brought up simply way out on a farm, and no-one ever told me as a youth that someone could be turned on by my bare toes. Or isn’t modesty the issue here? What do people who don’t know my church think when they see this? Do they see immodesty, or is this sight just different to what they expected to see? We don’t wish to be immodest. Phillipians 4:8 is a verse in the Bible that’s an inspiration to me!

  12. Christina says:

    The ladies in the blue dresses on the right are older, most likely mothers or a mom and an older youth girl. The girls on the left are younger, maybe not even out of school yet. My girls wear sneakers out when they play and dress shoes when they go to church, they have play dresses and church dresses and going to town dresses. I am a Mennonite from the Church of God In Christ Mennonite, or a Holdeman Mennonite. I don’t wear flip flops, but that is because I think they are bad for the feet. Emily is almost old enough to join the youth, and has probably graduated from school already at fifteen. I wonder if her family knows that she is on the internet and giving out personal information, our church does not promote free use of the internet for the young or the old. It is not safe to do that Emily, please be careful.

    • Emily says:

      yes thank yu. i actually have regretted posting on here and wish i could erase it. i apologize to everyone.

      • Jesse James says:

        Emily, You must stand for something or fall for anything, and by the looks of things you have fell for the wrong things! Get out of that church and quick! It will drag you to hell!

      • another follower says:

        Emily, did it occur to you that the one picking on you and putting you down for being on here, that SHE was no different? Chiristina, please dont push your silliness off on innocent young people

      • Name withheld says:

        Be careful Emily, you are not allowed to be free. You have to sneak or else find yourself in the room with the ministers and wives, judging you, while you cry your eyes out!!

    • Sophia says:

      And there it is. ‘Emily’ – who was forced to leave school after 8 grades – whether she wanted more school or not – unless she got permission from a minister – has now been admonished by a member of her church.

      Emily – trust in the Holy Spirit before you worry about what any church or human tells you. 🙂 HE will not guide you astray. And HE does not need an interpretor – despite what the last minister’s annual meeting agenda said. HE has been reaching people for thousands of years and requires no priest – minister – or human – to say what HE really meant. Trust Him, child. Blessings.

    • another follower says:

      Christina, you are just as wrong

  13. Steve says:

    Yes they are a cult, in that the belief they are the ONE church. If you are baptized and join the church but leave it you will be shunned and and have fallen out of grace, lost salvation. There are many rules that could be traditions but are not of scripture that can get you excomunicated

    • Name withheld says:

      Like having a two toned car, son had to sand his red truck because it was not allowed. Too wordly. But shunning a person, like they are dirt is okay? Splitting families okay?

  14. LG says:

    I find it interesting that most of the positive comments are coming from individuals that admire the Holdeman Mennonites from a defined distance or are members themselves. There are many great Holdemans, just like any other group of people. Their tradition based religion really has nothing to do with it. If they are not a cult, they come the closest I have ever seen without being defined as one. When you put the church, staff, or other members above your own family, IE: when your child is being sexually abused by an adult church member and you turn a blind eye just so you can remain in good standing with the church? What is that, if not a cult? They refuse an education higher than the eighth grade? What is that if not a cult? Yes, I am expelled and I choose to leave. One of the best decisions I ever made. Emily honey, you seem very confused. I know the feeling and wish you the best.

    • Name withheld says:

      LG, well said. It is not easy to walk away from family and what we thought were friends. There is racial prejudice in the church. When a white young man fell in love with a black female member the wedding didn’t happen because of race. Not all are like that but I challenge a man who was prejudiced and told him it was hate and hate does not go to Heaven. I said look up in dictionary that prejudice is hate. It was.
      The minsters decide if one can come back to church or not and can hold someone out expelled or on repentance and they decide if the Lord forgave them. Then the church votes if they PASSED. Everyone knows and labeled as one IN THE CHURCH or NOT. IN THE CHURCH thumbs up. If not criticized.

  15. timhold1 says:

    To some of the expeld here if any.There has been alot of feelings here but not too much bible teaching. To us that r members. We need to live like we say we do. Not just like people think we do or look like in town. Plain dresses and all. But now days I don’t see that anymore. I believe we should be good keepers of our homes , not messy. Greet people in town with a smile. And be on time to events and the like. These cell phones…….oh my we r know different then any1 else….and for some reason if ur the ownly 1 in ur family in ur congregation it’s a lonely world. This is to ALL of the Mennonite Members ….I like this site…but lets not sugar coat it. Lets be truthful here. Because that is how other people see us. God bless evry1
    Timothy L Holdeman

  16. LG says:

    Tim, what exactly are you trying to say?

    As for the expelled, I have found great support in the Facebook Ex-Mennonites group, The Shunned.

  17. Mrs. Houtrouw says:

    If you google long enough, maybe you will find a picture of Jesus in sandles, but I guess that wouldn’t have enough dissonance for you, would it?

    • pcNielsen says:

      Do you mean to say that you’re offended by my simple observation (now four years in the past), or that you are you not in agreement with Mr. Pinnell’s quote?

      Whatever the case, Jesus in flip flops could be a very interesting juxtaposition, and I imagine you’re right: Someone’s probably already cobbled that imagery together and posted it somewhere on the interwebs.

      • Mrs. Houtrouw says:

        Don’t forget the purple robe while you’re at it…I’m not offended and I’m more than 100% in agreement with the quote.

        • Tabkoehn says:

          Jesus reads our hearts…. I don’t think he is really that interested what kind of clothes or shoes we wear! As long as we are modest and dress according to his standard. If we dress really PLAIN doesn’t mean we are saved! Out of our heart our actions show! We have to seek Him first and he will show us His will. A true Christian will not Judge someone by their dress but if our dress is not in step with the spirit it will show. I Have seen a very concecrated(mennonite) Christian man in flip flops. It was HOT and made since to me….

  18. Tabkoehn says:

    I have a question it seems to me like the holdemans are leaving some of the principles that they once held dear.. for they say photos are wrong because they can become a god to you? But its ok to have a smart phone and use the camera on it to promote their business? What about faith in God and trusting Him to supply their needs?! I wonder will this church stand if they don’t stand up for what they say is biblical? Are they making excuses for to justify their actions? And are they really different than the nominal christian of today? the confused christian

    • Anonymous says:

      To answer your question, the Holdemans do not shun technology, as long as you use it constructively, such as e-mailing your peers, making business plans, etc. To add to the whole smart phone thing, Holdemans also watch educational and constructional documentaries when needed. The bad thing Holdemans see in technology is improper use such as for entertainment, etc., which can detract a person from spiritual growth. So, does taking a picture of a farm tractor, or a building detracting someone from spiritual growth if they want to show their friends what they do? No.
      The Holdemans are not ignorant and they realize that they must also grow with the world, and have found that technology could HELP them stay in touch with friends and family.
      Although, you may argue that they could also be susceptible to “worldly” possessions, and this is true. However, the Holy Spirit and self-control is what guides them from determining what is right and wrong.
      The main point of technology use is to determine whether usage can detract spiritual growth or not.
      I hope this makes sense to you.

      • Joel says:

        I am a Holdeman and agree. 200 Years ago it seems like there was fewer temptations. There may or may not have been. The problem now, is that there are constantly new things to buy and places to go. That is what increases the challenge of our day. The smart phone becomes available. Should we or not… It has many good uses, but does the bad outway the good? Too many young people were ensnared by the evils of social media and was basically prohibited by the church. Now many young people use seemingly harmless forms such as Whatsapp. Is this a falling backwards, or is it a slower approach so we aren’t overwhelmed by the dangers as we face one at a time?
        When I buy any item, there are many things I can’t understand. But God can, and through the Holy Spirit, he gives direction with quiet nudges. I was looking at a pickup a while back that I thought was too fancy for me and would make me proud. But for some reason it seemed like the right truck to buy. Eventually I bought it, and it actually humbled me to drive it because i felt unworthy to have something that nice. If I drive through a distant town where noone knows me, they might think a proud person drives that truck. But I believe that in my home town, if my attitude is truly right, the people looking on will not see a fancy truck, but a gentleman.

        This is a little of how the spirit works. And thats why people looking on are confused with the way we dress and conduct ourselves.

        Also we are sinners just like everyone else. And God takes time to work with each person individually. So we are making mistakes, but that is the purpose of God and the Church, to work with those wrongs and improve.

  19. John Holdeman says:

    To all of you who think you know so much about the holdeman mennonites, you really don’t know anything except what we want you to see. We have meetings that are closed to all but members, and that’s where we make the rules about what is acceptable to God..Join us, and your view of our quaintness will be replaced by the understanding that we are the One True Church.

    • LG says:

      I did. I was in those meetings. I know exactly what you believe. Your post reeks of arrogance. Show me where in the Bible it says Holdeman Mennonites are the “One True Church” or where it is God’s will to hide your talents and not to critically think.

      • Ken says:

        Exactly, LG. If this was FB I would ‘like’ your post. Sorry, ‘John’, you sound like the proverbial arrogant a$$. Change your attitude before you preach, bud.

    • Ray says:

      You realize you just admitted to being a secret society? Something your church so adamantly condemns? ‘The world sees only what you want them to see’, ‘meetings closed to all but members where the rules are made’ … Those phrases just reek of secret society. Where in the Bible does it say that the truth must be hidden and protected from the world to see? If your way is the only true way isn’t it your responsibility to proclaim so all the world can be saved and not hide it in your ‘closed’ meetings?

    • another follower says:

      Ha! John, you talk about following the ministers and they will guide you. The Bible talks about following the Spirit. The preachers are not God. They are an instrument of God and should be respected as so, but a relationship with God is imperitive. You portray your Church as a group of people who follow a set of man made rules and place salvation in following what the preachers say. That, friend, will not save you.

    • tlee says:

      quite honestly, mr holdeman, as a former member, i think you are a little off-base. in any event, the household/congregation i grew up in was less concerned about ‘rules’ and more concerned about the actual basis of christianity.

  20. Snowbird says:

    I want to join the holdemans. What is required of me to become a member.

    • been there says:

      Snowbird. If you are a male, you will need to cut off your testicles and hand them over to the preacher.

    • Ray says:

      I will assume you are somewhat unfamiliar with Holdemanism just because you asked the question. I will take a stab at answering this although the ministers are the ones who will decide in the end if you are worthy or not.

      If you are comfortable being dishonest there should be no problems, but you will need to add a little conniving to that so if this description fits you you can follow this plan. As long as you say and convincingly pretend that you adore the Holdeman lifestyle things should be easy for you. You will also need to come up with some kind of ‘experience’ to tell others that you have come to the knowledge that this way is the only way to end up in Heaven. I will not take a lot of space here instructing how to draft up an experience like that but if you are serious that can be discussed yet. In this scenario you do not have to actually believe like them but as long as you can make them think you believe this way you are in. Remember though that it is tough to live deceitfully for long unless that is part of your personality.

      I will add this, too, but place it in another paragraph since it applies to all options for joining them. You will need to outwardly submit to everything the preachers tell you to do, especially if it doesn’t make sense to you.

      The ‘honest’ option may be somewhat more difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with the teachings which I assume you are by the nature of your question. With this, you will actually have to believe everything they say, even if they are outright lies. Even that the Holy Spirit must not rank higher than the church and that He is not knowledgable enough to lead you personally. They may even use lies as a means to test if you are truly submissive to them. This option may be more difficult to get to the place of joining but is necessary if you want any semblance of a free life. If you are honest by nature and disagree with any of their teachings you will be banned until you get over that, either by somehow changing your beliefs or turning to the dishonest option.

      The reason I say a lot about honesty and dishonesty is because I was expelled from this church because I was honest in my convictions. I could have easily lied and stayed in or I could lie now and get back in but since I can’t live dishonestly like that I have lost many friends and some family. Somebody earlier in this discussion stated that they stay close even after a person is expelled. As a generality that is a lie, but it is true in certain circumstances. This is also how I believed it would be during the early stages of my plans to leave. It seems that generally speaking when this is the case, the expelled person still believes they are the one true church but just doesn’t want to follow the rules. They have a good chance at drawing these people back. But if a person leaves for conscience sake, they are generally shunned to the highest degree. In the 8 or 9 years I’ve been gone from that church, I have been contacted I think 3 times by non-family members. During the 3 month period between leaving and getting expelled I also had 2 other contacts other that the staff visits which were to figure out how they could expel me. The dishonest aspect also goes into my excommunication. Most members will not believe what I have said here is true but that is understandable because they have been told a lie. I was not at the meeting when I was expelled but when I was informed afterward as to what was finally decided I was shocked. I could not make a link between what I was told I had done wrong and what the congregation was told I had done wrong so I was expelled based on a lie (but just to comment, I am very thankful as it was an easy way out).

  21. Snowbird says:

    to Ray-The holdemans I am in contact with sure don’t seem to dishonest. They work hard and I have attended their church for special occasions like Christmas programs and school programs. I understand you are now expelled. I am surprised that you would accuse them of lying about you. Why would they do something like that.

    • Ray says:

      I understand when you say they ‘seem’ honest. You will not see dishonesty until you are a part of them. That’s just the way they work and you will find many people who would agree with me – even agree with me more than I agree with myself – meaning that other people have experienced this to a much greater degree than I have.

      The term ‘accuse them of lying about me’ seems slightly off in this situation but I can’t place a finger on the problem so maybe that is the case. I do want to clarify that what they told the congregation about me seems to be different than what they told me. And again, from personal experience, i could have lied, or i could lie now and be in their graces so that tells me that they despise honesty and support dishonesty as long as it supports their agenda and makes them look good. other people will have different experiences but generally they will do anything necessary to make themselves appear good and to hide anything that will make them look bad – after all they need to do everything possible to uphold the one true church image and if faults are apparent that image will be tarnished.

      They used Bible verses against me that I hold dear and had never before had them used against me. That is what was so shocking to me. They may have said some things in church that they had told me but that never came up in our conversation as to why they finally expelled me. I suppose a reason they may have fudged the truth was because they told me I had to be expelled because I had observed the death sin of remembering Christs death (communion) and since there is no scripture to support that (on the contrary commands it) they had to come up with some other charge that they could attach scripture to but didn’t tell me those charges before hand and I fully agree with the scriptures that were using against me. This makes me seriously wonder how many people I supported expelling because the preachers were deceiptful and didn’t disclose all information that would have gone against their agenda.

      I also wanted to add before but was in a hurry … you may have noticed how they pride themselves on unity but even in this short discussion you can see that the Holdemans here are condemning each other for lying about how things are done. The reason they do this is that there are so many different experiences and practises throughout the conference that the unity issue is a joke, yet the ‘proof’ that they are the sole holders of truth is because they are so unified. This was one issue that helped open my eyes to their true practises. I grew up in an area ‘that allowed flip-flops’ so to speak (was quite liberal) and I couldn’t get myself to condemn and shun others because they were doing things that I was allowed to do with a clear conscience.

      I just want to warn you that if you want to live even a seemingly happy life with them you must be absolutely 100% submitted to them – even to the point of placing God in a lower position if they require that of you. A leader in that church told me that even if he was totally sure God was asking something of him he would not do it without the church’s permission first. I consider him to be a fairly reasonable leader compared to many I have heard of. From what I have heard, if you are not of Holdeman heritage they will be so thrilled to suck you into it and do everything possible to make it appealing but will keep a very close eye on you after you join and be extremely quick to point out your faults in following the Holdeman tradition and use you as a scapegoat if necessary. If you can fully submit to them, though, it would probably be a good life for you. I do hope you will place God in absolute first place though whatever you decide.

  22. ~Chris says:

    Snowbird, Ray is telling you the truth. While yes these people are very hardworking…hard work is not proof of honesty in all areas. While yes many of them are “sincere” sincerity does not mean one has not been deceived or that one is not part of a cult. “Cult” for many has the connotation of devil worship and that makes it hard to see the “cult” aspect of the religion, that part of having to obey everything you are told by their hierarchy rather than the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. To call the religion a “cult” is not to say it has no good qualities or that all the people are bad demonic people or lazy or shiftless. There are many aspects of the religion that are commendable… but that does not make it less than a cult. When they mix lies with the truth that is the danger area. Of course they will support their own philosophy and beliefs…they have to to remain a part of the group. Does that make everything they say and or do right ? No…neither does it make everything they say and do wrong. In my 40 plus years of observation and being a member I see a distinct separation between “the religion” which I do consider a cult and “the people” which I see as very sincere, albeit ignorant of the truth at times, and trying to serve God to the best of their limited knowledge and ability. The limiting factor being having to run what they do through the sieve of the staff before they are OK with it. The fact of their closed door meetings to me is proof enough of wrong doing. Jesus did not work in the dark behind closed doors as it where. One could argue that point but if you search the scriptures while you find cases of Him working at night (John 3 Nicodemus) you will find that He promotes openness and being visible to all. As to their theory of “the One True Visible Church” I have never yet met a true Christian who was invisible regardless what “denomination” he attended. I have been to many different denominations in the course of my years and have found sincere people in all of them as well as those who only gave lip service to their religion. In that respect “Holdeman’s” (as they are known) are no different. To join you will find a testimony in action, to the words of Jesus to the Pharisees and that is the point of washing the outside of the cup so it looks good to those looking on while the inside is vile. (when I say the inside is vile I do not say everyone or everything that is done is filthy or wrong only that it isn’t what you would expect) There is a much larger than they want to admit portion of their members on mental health meds due to the pressure imposed on them to conform and comply (they will probably tell you it’s because those people are not in the will of God but what they really mean is not in the will of the church or the ministry) The fact that many of the ministers are on the same drugs should give cause for concern and warning. These things will be denied if you ask them, either ignorantly or deliberately, not all those who tell you something contrary to the truth do so maliciously many of them actually believe what they tell you whether it’s the truth or not simply because that is how they were taught from childhood and they keep their mind closed to anything contrary to their pet doctrines. You can’t believe everything you see or hear but if you should ever join their ranks you would soon know the truth of what has been said. Yes there are those who are excommunicated that are bitter and that doesn’t make the attitude right but neither does it justify those who “hold the avoidance” of their wrong doing. People justify their actions through misinterpretation of the scriptures all the time. If you look closely you will find that even Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness through misinterpretation of the scriptures. These people read their bibles with blinders on and if their “Bible Doctrine and Practice Handbook” or the preachers don’t approve of what should be plain in the bible then it must be wrong so their word carries more weight than the words of Jesus whom they claim to follow. It just doesn’t come out when you weigh it all up. I too had all the mental issues while I was a part of their religion. Due to that they actually annulled my membership which is unheard of. Amazingly the mental health issue’s have cleared up now that the pressure to conform is gone. Do I love the people ? Absolutely !! Do I agree with their teachings and doctrine ? Absolutely Not !! What is being shoved down the people’s throats at this time is absolute heresy and apostasy in my opinion.
    What has been said about the Holy Spirit being quite capable of teaching any of us the truth and guiding us without the intervention of their rules is absolutely the truth. That does not mean that all of their rules are contrary to scriptural truth. But it does mean we need to as individuals search the scriptures with an honest heart to make sure what is being taught is the truth and then to be willing to leave all if we really want to follow Christ. For me that meant being willing to leave my friends and family and that religion. God does make a way for His children and membership in the Holdeman religion is not “proof” of being one of God’s children, neither is approval by “the staff” or “the church” proof that you are in the will of God. I find it rather ironic that often the very ministers that expell people are themselves expelled later. That raises the question of “who” holds the “truth” ? And if one is found guilty later how can their “work” be proven as “Spirit led” in the time before those preachers were dealt with ? But God’s Spirit will not lead us astray ! As we follow the scriptures we will find the truth if we really want it.
    I wish all God’s blessing whether you’re a Holdeman or not.


    • Will says:

      I really like your insight as I know some Holdemans, but am not a member. Is there any way I can get a hold of you? I find this topic very interesting!

      • Me says:

        I think this John Holdeman is a fake! Either that or extremely naive cause most of his posts are contradictory. The Holdemans consider themselves the one true church because they are the only church that lives the whole bible. Whole being the key word! That doesn’t mean there aren’t true Christians outside their church. There are many! But they are not arrogant about their one true church doctrine. I’ve never heard any of them bring it up. The only ones that do are people that have chose to leave God and therefore his church.

        • Sophia says:

          ‘ME’ says somebody else posting is a fake. That’s hilarious!

          “His posts are contradictory.” Followed by ‘they are the only church that lives the whole bible” …followed by …’that doesn’t mean there aren’t true Christians outside their church….followed by….the only ones that do are people that have chose to leave God and therefore his church. Okay – so first of all – 8th grade English skills aside – your BD&P (doctrine and practices) DOES state that your church believes that it is the one true visible church. Otherwise your church wouldn’t shun. Secondly – nobody can ‘leave God and therefore his church’. This is the biggest fallacy of the CGCM – that it – and God – are one and the same. Speaking of the definition of arrogance! Dictionary – meet ‘me’.

          If they’re not arrogant about their one true church doctrine – they would not shun. Shunning is BECAUSE they are arrogant enough to believe that they are right – everybody else is wrong – and that leaving means they are consigned to Satan and going to hell.

          Don’t try to soft-sell it.

    • Me says:

      One small error Chris. The ministers don’t expell members! If there is a member that has open sin in his life and not willing to deal with it he may eventually be expelled by the congregation. This is not somthing the church takes lightly either! The person is given every chance to make ammends with God but he bible says that some sins must be taken outside the church before forgiveness can be found. But my point is the ministers do NOT expell members the congregation does.

      • Sophia says:

        Dare you to go against the minister’s decision to expel the next member and speak out! Come on – I dare ya! 😉

        Oh wait – don’t want to be in church work yourself? Because that would have you leaving the one true church? The congregation may stand in agreement – but try NOT standing. Keep your tush seated the next few times and see who has the next action. Then you’ll understand the power these ministers wield.

        • Me says:

          I haven’t always stood when the congregation was asked to make their decision. There is not a minister on earth that I am afraid of! But I do fear Gods judgement on sin. Thats the reason I’m a member of his church. That’s what he asks of me so how do I get around that one scoffers?!

        • Me says:

          I disagree with your thinking on the avoidance. The bible says to avoid unbelievers so if sin is evident in someone’s life and it can be. Duh!! Than the bible says what it says ok! What are you doing if you still carry on a casual relationship with that person. I know your going to say that it’s not up to man to judge sin and that’s true but since God isn’t coming around and doing it he uses man to do it. Paul did that often times in the bible, do you find fault with him? It sounds like you just got it in for the mennos. Did they offend your righteous feelings or what. Life ain’t a cake walk you know! Gods way isn’t the easy way always either. But wait till its all over and see what way you think is the best!!! Nobody said the Holdemans are perfect, they are trying to live the way God asks though.

        • TAK says:

          Oh, my it seems like someone is trying to make a point and not really promote the gospel! No the bible says nothing about the cgcm church being the one true church…. but it does say Christ came for to seek and save that which is lost. The Bible is the Christian’s hand book and it does talk about having leaders and elders so. That being said every minister I have known are always reluctant to expel. The Bible list the death sins and Jesus talks about holding the avoidance. Not shunning!! The Church is perfect ( as in the Bible way) but the people are not. But are all the people in your church that u attend perfect? If you allow for sin to stay in the camp the bride of Christ is marred..And soon all that is left is a bunch of pretenders! And then anything goes “all in the name of love of Christ” that is in our hearts.. So come lets worship together all of you even the ones living in a death sin! No that was not what God had in mind for His Church,Yes Jesus set and ate with sinners but it was to in hopes to save them and show them a better way. btw I have sat in a council where the minister was challenged about expelling the one for drunkenness . The staff was willing. It was decided to leave it for awhile. It all came out in the wash.. And I know that there are things that happen that are not right but the Bible is truth… And the Truth will make you Free! p.s. If you are not a member why do you know so much? And respectfully speaking why should you care because your statements are only being made to support your opinions..

        • Sophia says:

          There’s so much to speak to in what you had to say – but I’ll just address a couple of things.

          1. And respectfully speaking why should you care because your statements are only being made to support your opinions..

          Um – and aren’t you too? 😉 What you share is your opinions and beliefs -which is fine – but we all have the right to do so.

          2. p.s. If you are not a member why do you know so much?

          Because my parents were expelled from your church when I was 8 years old (because they followed God’s leading and the Holy Spirit in their life – rather than telling God ‘no’ -and the church ‘yes’ – they instead chose God) – and in shunning my family – your church has managed to shun me as well. I am the product of what happens when a church that believes the OTVC doctrine (and you DO – or you would not shun those who leave your church because of God’s leading) – shuns ex members AND their families and young children. Keep that in mind next time you set ex members at a separate table – along with their young children. I am that young child – now grown up with a voice. My grandparents were both ministers of the CGCM – (yes – one of them was VERY willing to expel – and shun – the other loved us as Christ loves and refused to shun any of his family that left his church and sought to serve Christ in other congregations/churches/denominations) so yes – I know a lot. And will continue speaking out against the un-Christian like practices of shunning.

          3. Your name. What is it? How willing are you to put your name to what you say and how you support your church to the world at large? TAK means nothing. No more than ‘me’. What are you hiding from with your unwillingness – along with all other members posting here – to share your name?

          4. You’re right. I’m here to promote a point – not the gospel. My point? That the CGCM does not promote the gospel. Ironical eh? 😉

          5. Death sin? Oh – you mean like the two thieves crucified with Jesus – a sin that would bring eternal damnation? Oh but wait. They DIDN’T. So who are you – or your church – to say what is a death sin – or what the state of a believer is? I submit that you are in fact (your church – its doctrines – your ministers – and the members when they stand in support of such actions) – attempting to usurp GOD’S role as He is the only one who should be judging – or – as He chose to do by sending his Son – offering forgiveness – for each and every sin – without a requirement to have your name in the membership logs of a church that wasn’t founded until a heretical John Holdeman decided he didn’t like that the church he attended found HIS premarital sex and child to be born out of wedlock except for the shotgun wedding – determined his actions did not fit with them. Maybe here I AM wanting to promote the gospel along with make a point. 🙂 I want YOU to know that there is no sin that you can commit that is a ‘death sin’. There is NO sin so big that my God – your Creator – your Savior – cannot forgive. Find freedom in serving Christ outside of the rules and regulations – and shunning of family members – that the CGCM requires of you. There IS freedom. In Him.


          Sophia (Wiggers) Koehn (yup! full name! I have NOTHING to be ashamed of in my opinions or beliefs – how about ‘me’ and ‘tak’ and the other members posting here?

  23. Sophia says:

    “Me” – your responses confirm my position on whether CGCM is biblical or not. Thank you.

    My hope and prayer is that one day you will find the joy of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that affords you an absolute knowledge of your salvation rather than a ‘hope’ that belonging to the right church or congregation on this earth has anything to do with the gift that was so freely given. There is no need to fear God when you recognize fully the gift of salvation. Blessings…

    • Me says:

      Sophia you are as naive as my 2 year old!! You twist everything I say to fit your deceived mind. The fact of the mater is you are offended and won’t accept it. I was expelled once too and I did get a little offended but I knew I was justly expelled and God helped me to accept that. But you act like a typical offended Holdeman!!! You mock our education make fun of our doctrines etc… You know what you need to do and are rebelling against it. Your life is miserable so change!!!

      • Sophia says:

        🙂 I’ll leave it to the readers here to judge who sounds offended. For your information – I’ve never been a member OR expelled. I would say that your behavior right now IS very offensive – and if I knew you personally I might be offended by it. But since you’re still just ‘me’ – on the internet with non-business related matters which is against your church’s teaching – I’m finding that I am in fact, not offended.


    • Ab says:

      Just a thot here on the name… Have you ever heard of privacy? Not leaving your whole name is a safety measure not a matter of being ashamed.
      And yes there are such things as death sins if you read your Bible you will know that. You can sin away all grace and need to come to a full repentance before God.
      Why do you think it is your personal mission to pick apart this church and it’s people? Why not the Baptist for preaching false teachings? Or the Methodist for allowing adultery in their staff? Or the Catholics for allowing child molestations? Or any denomination for allowing same sex relationships and even allowing those people to be leaders and preach the ” Bible”..
      I was taught the way to eternal life was to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus. I was also, taught that to allow any and everything to “go” would mar the bride of Christ.. How can the live and let live philosophy keep the bride of Christ pure? Never passing judgement on sin is not Biblical. If parents never disciplined their children how would that work? Training them and sometimes punishing them for deliberate disobedience. Or live and let live?
      Another point brought up.. Cult? If the cgcm is a cult why hasn’t the government got involved?

    • Ab says:

      to whom it may concern~
      It seems very foolish to judge the entire CGCM church by some hurt you are carrying..
      Do you judge black people by some crime someone has committed? Or Indians because some have a problem with alcohol? Or white people because their children shoot others in schools? My point is there are some people in the CGCM church who are saved and living for the Lord. So be careful of the stones that you throw.
      And to be very blunt.. when little things become big things?.. well, let’s just say do you really know hardship? Or do you have a little hurt that has festered and you think that you must lance it? My very blunt Baptist raised mother and granddaddy would say get over IT and be thankful!! Quit letting your opinions override the fact that life could be worse than getting ” shunned”.
      Which btw Mennonites don’t do! They do not eat with an expelled member yes ( which is Biblical) but they do not shun! Amish do though.

    • another follower says:

      Then why can you eat with a *gasp* “worldly person” but not with an ex Mennonite? Are they worse?

  24. A.j. Schmidt says:

    Okay I usually don’t post that much on these forums but this time I have to. Me you say that cgcm is the one true church and follows the whole Bible. You talk about shunning ex-members as being the way that God wants it and how the Bible teaches however you do not do the same with people from the “world” as your church calls them. So what is the difference. If cgcm is the one true church then everyone else would be of sin and you would have to practice shunning with all of them.

    Also you talk about following the whole Bible. Where in the Bible does it teach to condescend on children who are sexually or physically abused by others when it is reported to your “staff” who in turn violates numerous laws by covering up the abuse. There is case after case where this has happened and the victim is booted out of your church and the offender is ‘forgiven.” This goes so far as having victims and their families threatened with being booted out if they dare to speak out about the abuse. You talk about God not judging peoples sins and having man do it. That is directly contradictory to the Bible.

    I would suggest if you feel you are living and following the whole Bible that you study it and know what is in it before you post something that can be disproved within minutes.

    You can talk about being bitter ect. I am not bitter at all about being booted from your cult. I asked to be booted. I am bitter and offended about how your “wonderful” church treats victims of these abuses as well as the vast physical and sexual abuse against the female spouses in your church.

    All I can say is thank God I got away from your group and now can have a real relationship with God and not have to worship a church instead of God. I will continue to pray that others will continue to see what is really going on.

    • Me says:

      I don’t know we’re you are from but I’m from Michigan and that crazy stuff does not happen here!! Never has that I know of. If any of that’s true at a different congregation there is no sense in us arguing about it because I am just as against that as you are. Actually I’m on vacation right now so il continue the conversation in a few days. PS I don’t usually even go to these sites let alone say anything so I’m with you on that one, lol…

  25. A.j. Schmidt says:

    Me first off I would commend you on being against that kind of atrocities. However I would challenge you on the fact about that not happening there. I am not saying that you condone it or that you would put up with it if you were aware of it. How many times have you been at a members meeting where someone is being expelled or other type of sanction for an unclean spirit, lasciviousness, or any other group of things. Have you ever stopped before casting your vote and said what did this person do that qualifies as any of these. How many times have you just voted after being told that by your staff.

    I am not saying that every staff member is bad person, but I have personal knowledge of victims and their families being told by staff that because somehow law enforcement found out about the abuse they were non-resistant. How long does it take one of your members to call law enforcement when someone breaks into their house and steals things, steals their car, cattle ect? Then when there is an abuse situation and law enforcement finds out about it all of a sudden people are told that if they tell law enforcement about it they are going to be booted for not being non-resistant.

    I have absolutely no doubt that sexual and physical abuse is happening there as well as everywhere else. When there is a culture that will not allow their members to pursue resolution through the criminal justice system it creates a fertile area for these types of abuse. A person who does this without any chance of being held accountable in this life will not stop. To a person who does this and they know the worst that will happen to them is to get booted then all they have to do is say how sorry they are for what happened will not stop.

    I challenge you to start looking at things from a different aspect and next time you hear about a child or teen being “wild” or not following what he cgcm interprets the Spirit of God that you ask yourself what is the underlying cause that is making the person do that. I also challenge you to not follow along blindly with what the staff brings as being the need to expel or do other church work with on someone and stand up and ask what actually happened and not just go with the flow. I know you would be sticking your neck out and may pay for it dearly, but some of these people that your group is booting out are being exed just because they were victims and brought out the abuse or they are acting out because of the abuse.

    I hope you enjoy your vacation and am looking forward to continuing this conversation with you.

    By the way I am not just speaking out of my butt with what I am saying. I am speaking from direct knowledge that I have about these horrible atrocities.

    • Ab says:

      Dear A J~
      I am sorry you suffered.. And I know your sister and know there was an abusive relationship involving her and her spouse. But I think you know in your heart of hearts that was an exception not the rule.
      How many of these situations do you know of personally? 1 or 10? And abuse? Child abuse as in spanking or actual beatings and child endangerment? Spousal abuse is wrong and no one would blame a person for leaving especially if children and safety are a factor! You can lose your children if you don’t leave! Most esp. in the case of sexual abuse. I think it is important that the Mennonite people need to know that the laws of the land are to be obeyed!
      Am I to assume you have a Uncle at Montezuma , Kansas?

  26. Sophia says:

    Well said AJ

  27. J.G. says:

    Hello Sophia, A.J., Me, and Ab,

    First of all, I am not a member of the Holdeman church. I do, however, know many members of the church, and members who have been expelled. I would just like to give you guys MY input in the “one true visible church” doctrine, as I have heard from both sides and because I am not a member, I can MAYBE provide a LESS (not non-existing) biased point of view.

    Yes, I understand that you guys pointed out the sexual abuse that goes around in the church. What you guys need to understand is that people in the church are not perfect. Yes, there are members who have been sexually abused, but I do not doubt that sexual abuse is also present in other church denominations as well. It seems as if you guys believe that the Holdemans believe they live in a Christian utopia, when in reality they are not. We, as humans, are constant trying to seek happiness–whether you are Christian or not. Like all other Christians out there, the Holdemans are merely trying to live their lives as close to God’s will as possible. And what is God’s will? That is different for everyone–but the laws of the bible will always be constant eg. murdering is a sin, etc.
    So in summary, there are good and bad Holdemans out there–just like there are good and bad people in the world, no matter what religious background. But as human beings, we are constantly trying to live our lives to the fullest and seek happiness for ourselves, others, and loved ones. That is just in our human nature. Can you solely point out one bad thing a Holdeman does? Not really, because it’s just not fair. I don’t see any of you posting things about the GOOD Holdemans out there–there are many!

    The “one true visible church” doctrine is as follows: the one true church applies to all the Christians out there who call their church homes, no matter what denomination you are from. So if you are a Protestant, a Protestant church is YOUR one true church. And if you are a Catholic, the Catholic church is YOUR one true church.
    Do they believe you must be a Holdeman to be saved? No. As long as you are following God’s will. God speaks to all of us differently and maybe for you as an individual, He asks you to be a Holdeman church; or maybe He asks you to be a Protestant, etc.
    The only thing that the Holdemans asks for all Christians who are willing, is to pray and ask God Himself where He wants you to be. It is only when you DENY His will to join a church that He didn’t call you to, you will not be saved. As all Christians know, that when you deny the Lord’s will, you will not be saved.
    I, too, was very skeptic about this doctrine until I have questioned many of them about it. Yes, all of what you all stated above is true, HOWEVER they have changed that doctrine a slight bit as of recently. Everything that I said above is what they have told me, and it is a respectable way of living.
    In summary, the one true church is the church God calls you to be in. Maybe God wants you to be a Holdeman, or a Protestant, or a Catholic, etc, as long as you don’t deny His will, that will be YOUR own personal one true visible church.

    In regards to the practice of shunning. They do not view it as “excommunicating” or “shunning”, merely a practice to protect themselves.
    First, it is an attempt to keep the church as pure as possible. But don’t misinterpret that, it is not to say that they do not have sin in their church, but when it becomes obvious, it is usually dealt with the ministers/friends/families talking to the person who they believe is straying away from God’s path. Any church that is willing to condone sinful acts cannot be recognized as a church.
    Second, a separation of the expelled people is meant of the safety of the Christians in the church–as we are supposed to keep a separation from all sinners who are not willing to repent. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17)
    Third, this separation acts as an warning of eternal separation (after death) when one is not willing to repent on judgement day. “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:20)

    Someone mentioned something about death as a punishment of death. This is actually not true, I don’t think. Sin was punishable by physical death back in the Old Testament, but now that we are in the New Testament, sin results in spiritual death.

    If you guys have any questions, or if I have made myself unclear, feel free to comment/reply on this post. Also, if you guys would like to talk to me personally about my views, feel free to leave your e-mail as well.

    • Brad Koehn says:

      Hey, you are wrong. I honestly didn’t read your whole post, because you were so wrong. My ancestry goes back almost if not to the beginning of the mennonite church. Before i was 20 I had been surrounded by it every waking second of my life, and all my heritage was lived this way. I can tell you with complete confidence they do believe you must be a holdamen to go to heaven. It was taught to me every day for 8 years when I was in mennonite school. It became such second nature to believe that way that I felt I was going to hell for going to high school and not becoming a mennonite myself like my sister and my relatives. I lived with the guilt/idea for a very long time until I realized that they were very wrong.
      My parents were kicked out of the church because my dad was found drunk passed out in the front yard of are house the night after my grandpa passed away. He had never had a close relationship with his dad until the last few years of his life, and the regret and loss of not having any more chances to be with him overtook him. He was not akin to drinking like that.
      My mom was booted a couple years later for living in sin i.e. sleeping in the same bed as my dad. They spoke to her many times about not having anything to do with him something I will never understand since marriage is sacred to God.
      My relatives used the words “expelled”, “shunned”, and “excommunicated” regularly. They had to sit at separate tables when we would have get togethers.
      Now, this happened before I was born, and so I never once was able to eat at the same table as my parents when we were out with the relatives. My grandma passed away in 2005, so that’s almost 30 years of being excommunicated.
      I’m not sure where you found your information but it was very very wrong.
      I have heard that some pastors at United Center in Galva at least are starting to change the only church thing, but that’s recent.
      In school I was told there were 2 types of people that would be let into the gates of heaven–holdamen mennonites and children (because they are innocent).

      Have a good day!
      God loves you even if you are a mennonite!

      • J.G. says:

        Hello Brad,

        Please just take the time to read my entire post so you understand where I am coming from. I am not trying to protect the so-called “bad” Holdemans out there, but I am merely trying to shine light on those who are genuinely good people.
        If you read the 3rd last paragraph, you might understand why your parents were “booted” out of the church. I am sorry for what happened to your family. However it is important to note that even though it is tempting to sin when times are bad (your grandfather’s passing), one must not succumb to it. As the bible says:
        “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18).

        My previous post states that excommunicating is a means of protecting people who are already in the church. You didn’t state this in your post, however IF your dad did not repent for his sin (getting drunk), the church was only trying to protect your mom from his future influences (again, if he did not repent).
        Was this the best way to deal with the situation? I don’t know, it depends on where you are coming from. But the church was only trying to protect your mother, and it is the HEART and INTENTIONS that count.

        Excommunication is more of a symbol of showing that one is SPIRITUALLY separated from a member.

        In regards to the school. I know quite a few women who teach in their private schools–and they absolutely do not teach that you must be a Holdeman to be saved anymore. Even though it is a school run by Holdemans, they also accept non-Holdeman members as well– I can assure you that.

        I am by no means trying to deny what HAD happened to you and your family, however I believe things have changed since then. I believe they have changed the way they view non-Holdeman members and I encourage you to open your heart and forgive what they have done in the past.

        God bless you and remember, try to have a forgiving heart.

    • Sophia says:

      You are sadly mistaken. 😦

      First – I would recommend that you read the BD&P published by the Church. I think you will clearly see what their doctrine is and that while there may be individuals within the church who believe differently – when it comes down to it – they DO believe they are the OTVC. Plain and simple.

      If your delusional (not saying YOU are delusional – but your beliefs of the church clearly are) points were correct – then my parents would not be shunned.

      My parents left the CGCM in 1976 because they were absolutely convinced that the Lord wished them to do so. They didn’t go out partying or ‘sinning’ in any way that those Christians you claim are all Christians would consider an issue. Nope – they joined the general conference Mennonites and worshipped with them for two decades – and then after I had begun attending a Presbyterian church in town – they felt called to join us at our church and my father is in fact now an elder. Beautiful, upstanding, Christian folk. And yet they are shunned by the Holdeman family and current members. Why would that be if – as you say – the Holdemans believe that they are just one of many Christian denominations and the real key is in following God’s personal command for your life? That’s precisely what my parents – and others from the congregation here in Greeley – did. And yet – 30 years later – after years of living a Christian life – they are shunned.

      I’m glad you are not a member of the CGCM – I would advise you against it as it is a decision that should you leave in the future – you WILL be shunned. Even if God calls you to attend a different Christian church and you continue living a Christian life. It’s just the facts, sir.

      However – you are – I think – an adult. And I have no problem with an adult making a decision to join that church and live with the consequences of their actions. I DO have a problem with the indoctrination of 8-16 year olds to join as members – and then should God call them to follow a spouse to another church in the future – or simply to leave on their own and go to another church – they are IMMEDIATELY expelled for heresy and/or leaving the ‘communion of the saints’.

      We’re right on this. You are wrong. But there’s a reason they want you to not know all of this ugly truth. They hope you will join – and then you are caught. If you raise children in the church and they stay and God calls you out – your children will be expected to shun you. It’s an awful, abusive practice.

      I FULLY support good boundaries and keeping people who are living immoral lives away from us and/or our children by refusing to have a relationship with them. FULLY support that. But Holdemands shun CHRISTIANS – simply because they go to a different church. That I will never support. That I will continue to speak out against as UN-Christian behavior.



      • J.G. says:


        I do appreciate your input on this. I am very sorry for what had happened to you and your parents. However, I do ask that you forgive what they did to your family. Perhaps the church itself is not the PERFECT church, but which one is? All churches are solely trying to be the best it can be.

        I would also like to point out that I, myself, told them that I have many Protestant friends, and do not currently go to a church as I am trying to find a church by speaking to God through prayers, and letting Him point me in that direction. They seemed perfectly fine with that and has NEVER encouraged me or suggested that I should join the Holdeman church. The only reason why I believe I know about them is because I ask them about their doctrines–otherwise they would have never brought it up if I hadn’t.
        I know many live among many other Christian groups such as different Amish groups, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they seem perfectly fine with interacting and living amongst them.

        Again, I am sorry that your parents were excommunicated. Many of the Holdemans I’ve talked to are actually a little ashamed of this practice. However, this is what they believe to be correct, no matter how hard it is to accept.

        I just want to stress the fact that, I don’t think it is fair to judge and categorize the Holdemans as BAD PEOPLE, and many of them are genuinely very good Christians.
        It is like saying that all the Anabaptist should hate on groups that practice infant baptism, just because they practice Christianity differently. This is definitely not correct!

        God bless you and your family. And again, I ask that you forgive.

        • Brad Koehn says:

          Maybe I should back up here a bit. I am not angry at the mennonites and i’m actually rather proud of my heritage. We brought the wheat to Kansas ya know! I, also, believe that the people that make up the holdamen church are good people.

          On to the meat….
          So let me get this right, my mom should have divorced my dad?? She would have been kicked out for that too!
          How does having your child sit at a separate table until the day you die because he got drunk when your husband died protect you from anything?
          You want me to say something good about the mennonites?? I have many! Some of the most respectable, upstanding truthful people I have ever been around.
          Your use of the “bad mennonites” made me laugh, because where I grew up was the mecca of the mennonites. John Holdamen is buried 3 miles from where I grew up I would hope the starting location of the faith was not filled with bad ones, but I couldn’t tell ya much beyond the scope of central kansas.

          The bottom line is though, they taught us all that it was the only church, and everyone else was going to hell. My sister is still a mennonite, and they still preach the same dang way, and it’s wrong. No one can say where anyone is going the Bible makes that abundantly clear.
          So shunning or whatever you want to call it maybe not be so bad, but when you tell them that you are kicking them out and they are going to hell if you aren’t in the church, now that’s another thing. Plus, it doesn’t help. My dad would have most likely stayed in the church the rest of his life, and maybe he wouldn’t have been such a prick, but he never became a mennonite again, because he was angry at the church. Why wouldn’t he be? Instead of helping someone you boot them?
          I had a close friend in menno school who was a mennonite. He was kicked out and the last time I seen him was main street mcpherson in the dead of night sitting on the side walk hopped up on drugs. Yeah, shunning helps people.
          I’m not angry at them though. Like my dad was with his dad, we are not close. What happened to him doesn’t really hit me on a personal level so much, but I will add that almost called, recently the minister that booted my parents. I just wanted to know how many people came back after he expelled them, and how many people never did, and I really really want to know what he thinks God will say to him about those people when dies.

          Brad Koehn

        • J.G. says:


          I think what your dad should have done was to just repent and understood that getting drunk was bad at a religious and physiological level. However, lets put that all behind us as that is already the past.
          I hope you don’t use the sole reason of the Holdemans believing they are the one true visible church therefore shunning those who aren’t in it, the only reason of not liking the church. As I have stated earlier, it’s like the Anabaptist hating groups that practice infant baptism.

          Brad, I would also like to ask, who is this sister of yours? Do you happen to have a relative named Cheyenne?

        • Sophia says:

          Good luck J.G. You’ve been informed of what you’re potentially walking into – and should you find yourself in the church and finding out what their true doctrines are – not according to a couple people you’ve talked to – but their documented beliefs that go back to John Holdeman – you will then get to shun my parents as well! 🙂 In fact you will be EXPECTED to do so – and if you don’t – you may find yourself in church work. How ironic is that?

          And if one day you get fed up with the unChristian doctrine – and find yourself out of the church and shunned – know that there is an excellent support forum on facebook for ex-members working to heal and move on with their lives.

          There are GREAT people in the H church – some of my relatives included. I stand by my allegation that the practice of making young children make a lifelong decision that can then have them shunned and cut off from their entire culture, family and friends just a few short years later when they’re an adult and make a new decision is WRONG. And I will continue to speak out against wrong. I like this quote.

          “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”

          ― Albert Einstein

          I will not stand by and do nothing.

          All the best.


        • JRL says:

          Sofia- There is a spirit world all around us. With two sides. Both the devil and God have spirits available at our request. When we welcome them, they come in and help us. You have held a hurt spirit for years, and the devil has made sure that he helps you to feel comfortable with it, and gives you the feeling that you are pretty important. As I have read over all the posts, it looks to me like you are standing alone. The big Sofia against the world. Thats a big burden on your shoulder…trying to work in peoples hearts and try to save them. Thats for the Lord. Thats why Jesus died on the cross. So we wouldn’t have to bear that burden. I tried bearing a burden just like that. It seemed like so many people needed help. I got wore out. When I finally gave it all over to God, He still had some things for me to do, but He bore the burden, and I had happiness like I didn’t know existed.

          I invite you to join me on the all-powerful shoulder of God where there is rest and happiness, nothing to prove, and no “me” to promote, because God promotes us himself…..The only requirement (a big one as i found it) was to let go of our own stubborn ideas which is repenting, and let the Lord be in control

      • JRL says:

        Sophia- There is a spirit world all around us. With two sides. Both the devil and God have spirits available at our request. When we welcome them, they come in and help us. You have held a hurt spirit for years, and the devil has made sure that he helps you to feel comfortable with it, and gives you the feeling that you are pretty important. As I have read over all the posts, it looks to me like you are standing alone. The big Sophia against the world. Thats a big burden on your shoulder…trying to work in peoples hearts and try to save them. Thats for the Lord. Thats why Jesus died on the cross. So we wouldn’t have to bear that burden. I tried bearing a burden just like that. It seemed like so many people needed help. I got wore out. When I finally gave it all over to God, He still had some things for me to do, but He bore the burden, and I had happiness like I didn’t know existed.

        I invite you to join me on the all-powerful shoulder of God where there is rest and happiness, nothing to prove, and no “me” to promote, because God promotes us himself…..The only requirement (a big one as i found it) was to let go of our own stubborn ideas which is repenting, and let the Lord be in control

  28. kayla says:

    does nobody wunna talk to me errrr wutt??? im not scarry ya no………

  29. Matt says:

    I am a former Holdeman Mennonite, the girls shown in the first picture are for sure from that group.I see there are a lot here that defend them,thats actually pretty normal for ex members.I can tell you there are many things that go on in that group that are beyond evil and you will not likely hear much about them and those that do speak out about what they know are called lyers and many other things.The staff is very good at keeping certain things from ever getting out and are often the very ones involved themselves.There are many fine loving members also, but most of those are what i would called brainwashed, they completely believe anything they are told by the “church” and will dismiss anything that comes from outside . Total waste of time even trying.There ARE many that would like to leave, but that usually means leaving everything they have ever know, all the family with they were brought up being taught as very important, they usually would have no way to make a living and do not know how to interact socially outside of their church making it almost impossible to make it on the outside.And for most wanting to leave, no matter how much they have seen, or home much their hearts tell them that the church is not right or what they were taught their whole lives to believe, there will always remain a fear in them that they will go to hell for leaving the ‘one true church’.My mom, who i have seen one time in the last 15 years or so, i can tell would like out if she could.In fact i dont believe she ever felt they were real but was forced to go along with it by my dad.I can only hope that i live long enough to see my dads death so my mom can come back to me. I know that sounds awfull but i have watched her suffer for many years by a man that himself does not believe but forces her into submission.

  30. kayla says:

    ahh i hate that 4 u!! but i agree with you:)

  31. kayla says:

    so matt….howcome did you leave the church? nt tryin to b nosy jis curious;)

  32. kayla says:

    hey this is to everybody…i just have a question! how do we know that being a mennonite is right?? we think we are right…buttt…mabe we’re not! you see..the amish think there right and we think they are’nt…the pentecostles and baptists and muslims think we’re wrong..wut if we r and there right!? and hey im not sayin that i think that there right and we are wrong atall…sumtimes i just wunder:)

  33. teendreamer says:

    hi!i’m also a holdeman Mennonite.I don’t like what some of the people on here have said referring to us shunning people etc. etc.There may be some people who do that just a bit,but I will tell you that a lot of that has changed.Also sometimes there is just the curiousity thing involved…like who is that person?and naturally some may stare a bit!We do NOT say that you can’t be saved unless you are in our church…that is VERY twisted!We do believe that once you have been a member of our church ,you very likely will not be saved unless you rejoin, as you do know better how God would like you to live.But ,I’m not saying that no one who has once been a member of our church ,has never been saved outside of it.Also kayla, I feel that if you are in a church you feel is right,then you must be at the right place.If you are not happy with your church ,then it is not the place for you. I know for a fact that there are Amish who are just as saved as you or I ,although they are a lot stricter than we are. And same with pentecostles and baptist etc. etc.It also has a lot to do with how you’ve been raised. I was raised holdeman ,and really can’t see myself in any other church!I can say I am very happy in my church ,and although it is a bit hard to be “different” and also quite criticized at times, I can honestly say I know this is where God wants me to be.For you, He may have a different plan, that’s not for me to worry about ,that’s between you and God.So hope this straightens out what some of you may be thinking. Have a great day!

  34. teendreamer says:

    oh, and matt I really have know clue what you’re talking about! and I’m being completely honest here! I guess if what goes on is beyond evil(and by that I have NO clue what you’re talking about)then I wonder why I’m so content and happy?I really honestly am! Although you may have chanced to be born into an unhappy home you are going to run into that anywhere.Mennonites are very human ,and we all have some issue or other we have to deal with.I’m really sorry to hear about your Mom…,but I really know no one who is unhappy and being forced into submission by their husband.I can assure you that something would definitely be done about it!That sounds a lot like Amish to me.(Although I’m not meaning to bash them!)That is pretty much what we try to get away from!We believe the husband should still be the head of the home ,but I can assure you my Mom definitely makes plenty of decisions!In the important things ,such as money matters and worship ,my Dad would make most of the decisions ,but with my Mom’s help. But in running the household, what she wears etc. she makes the decisions.He doesn’t even really care I don’t think:) But not every household is like mine, some are probably a bit more traditional, it totally depends on peoples personalities. e.g. my Mom is high strung and a bit more hyper while my Dad is quite laid back. Therefore in a lot of areas my Mom probably “wears the pants” a bit more.

  35. Matt says:

    Maybe i came across too harsh and i left the wrong idea about what i meant. I am not good at putting my thoughts to words especially typing.Most of the holdemans are great people and truely believethat they are following god.However , unfortunatly they have a hard time seeing the difference between good and the ‘church’.The child abuse, and sexual abuse is what i was refering to as the evil.It goes on way more than most know about and is closely guarded.Like someone already mentioned,,have you ever questioned when someone was brought up in ‘church work’ as laciviousness or lustful or whatever? I was personally involved with several cases where i went to the police because of some of those things when they came to ask my help.Several of those kids were removed from their home because of it and i even had leagle custody for a short time till non mennonite family were able to come get them.At first i was threatened by the staff and when that did not work 3 men called and wanted to meet me in a parking lot in town to talk about it. One was a decon and the other two just members he brought along.I was told if i dropped the matter and did not talk about it that they would pay my rent, buy my groceries and pay all my bills.Lol, i have no idea how long they thought they were going to do that, i guess till they could come up with a way for me to disapear.I know of two other cases in the congregation i came from where teenage kids were beatin, and i mean beat, for not going along with what the church wanted.One of those called me and asked for my help and her dad sent two of the girls uncles to kidnap her.Yes, she was 18 years old so forciblly dragging her and locking her up at home is considered kidnapping by law.And just so everyone knows, she was not my girlfriend or anything like that.There are probobly people here that would know who i am or at least who my parents are and i have no dought it would be said that i have mental problems and not to listen to me,lol, thats a standard way of discreditting any of us that speak out.I know many more stories just like these and the point is that the staff always covers up this type of thing if there is any way possible and often the staff are involved in these things.There are many sincier people in the holdeman church, but there is a lot of bad things happening that most of the members are never aware of and the staff will go to any means to cover up at the expense of the victims.I cant even remember what reason was givin when i was expelled.I was there when it was done and i even got up and spoke.Afterwards several men came to me and told me that what i had said made them feel as bad as they have ever felt.There were several people that would not stand when they voted to kick me out and my mom was one of them.Also,,they only brought me up to be expelled because i had first went to the staff and told them i was through and could not go along with the things i saw.That was over 25 years ago and they have never came to me trying to get me to repent or come back even though i live close to a holdeman community.I guess they want no part of me.As far as you not being aware of any being unhappy or wanting out,,of coarse you wouldnt,,that would get them in instant trouble, but they sure dont have a problem talking to me about it.

  36. Matt says:

    Also some of you talk about how you are to trust the staff that they are following the holy spirit.Well then, why did they not see that when i joined as a young teen that i was just going along with the flow? I wasnt intentionally being deceptive, i simply was just going along with what i though was expected of me, i for sure had no ‘experiance’ with god at that time.And accordingly i should never have been expelled but rather annulled, but again they didnt percieve that either.Teendreamer, i am not mocking you in any way and mean no disrespect but your reactions to some of what i say is so familiar to me i can almost hear your voice and see your face.I know that you really believe in your church and i can totally understand why you feel like you do but at the same time i feel so sorry for you in a way.There was a time i completely believed in them too until i saw the uglyness and things going on by the staff and the cover ups.Sadly, even if i had video and recordings of what i saw happen and were to name names, most would still refuse to accept it because it would threaten everything you have ever belived in.

  37. Matt says:

    Teendreamer, what you said about believing that others in different churches being saved Is sort of what they would say when talking to other people, but they really dont believe that at all.What they do say is that if there are others that are saved in other churchs that god will eventually lead them to the Holdemans.The way you put it, if the staff saw what you wrote would be calling on you soon for a talk unless things have changed a lot from when i was with them.And Kayla’s doughts she shared above would shurely get you brought up in church work.Even being on a site like this talking with non members would have gotten you into some deep trouble though there was no internet yet back when i was with them. Its hard for me to understand how they can allow yall to even be on the internet or how they could stop anyone with the smart phones now days. Im glad yall are here and talking and think that its a good thing to be able to think outside of what only the church says , its just hard for me to get my head around this because it for sure would not have been allowed back when i was with them.

  38. kayla says:

    matt…i can see wut you mean by just goin with the pretty sure thats wut alot of people do so tht they can be accepted…and i also know tht alot of mennonites do judge the ex mennos..its stupid because that makes them not want to join. sometimes i feel very twisted around myself! like..y do we have this rule and that rule ect. but i know that im just being rebellious…i have a major ploblem with having a carnile spirit..(or however you spell that)…but i know that if i left the mennonites i would feel guilty bcuz i know that i need the church.

    • JRL says:

      Kayla you maybe think you have a carnal spirit, but you seem to have a good atitude, especially toward ex-mennos. You know not to judge them, and you know that many mennos do treat them badly. As many other writers in this blog brought out, it will not work to speak out against that, but in the quiet way of the spirit, you may be able to be an example to others in your church.
      That is good you would feel guilty leaving the church. it effectively helps you control your carnal attitude. Not for fear of mennonites, but a healthy fear of God.
      Matt has talked of bad situations and that is what he dwells on. Life would seem pretty dark. Don’t forget all the people in your life that have loved you and done good things for you. That is the part God wants you to remember.

  39. Matt says:

    Kayla,I wont tell you that you need to leave the church, that is between you and god weather you need to be there or not. But dont be confused because that is NOT of god. Also you need to be at peace and have direction from god to understand what is right or wrong, not just submit to the church even if it does not make sense to you.You CAN stay in the church or NOT, but whatever you do you still must have direction from god and not from man or a church first and formost or you will always be confussed and unhappy.Unfortunatly the holdeman church makes that impossible for most people unless you are able to follow your OWN convictions and keep a lot of things to yourself and not openly question them.To leave the church is also almost impossible for most members at least for any length of time because for one, they have put a fear in everyone that if they dont submit or they leave the church that they are going agaist god. Also it means you will be leaving most or all of your family and the only people you know. Also most Mennonites do not know how to fit in socially outside of the church and are in fact sort of taught that everyone in the world are lost, out to get you or lead you astray and decieve you.Most holdemans do not have an edjucation that will support them financially.Most younger people will end up in trouble very soon after leaving for several reasons, they may be frustrated and hurt so bad that by the time they get away they just let loose.Because they find it hard to fit in they end up with other people that are misfits and not good company.I hate to tell you but this is all by design by the church, they say they are protecting but the real reason is to control. They know if the members had a normal edjucation, were allowed to be around the ‘worldly’, and being excommunicated so that they are more or less disowned by all family and friends, plus the fear they have put in everyones mind from birth onward,,, this is all about control and is also the exact definistion of a cult group.If you do a search on the internet there is a gov cult site that lists all known cult groups and the church of god in christ mennonite is listed there. You are also told all the time at church how unhappy us ex’s are and how we all secretly long to come back to the fold. That is far from the truth.I do know one ex that has been out for years that has always been unhappy though, because it was so hammered into her head that she is lost and doomed to hell that there is no future for her and no matter what she does she will just end up in hell anyway.Her life has pretty much been a mess because of that.She could go back any time she wants but is still out on her own, despized by her own family, mostly because she is an embarrisment to her parents.Her Dad in particuler is a very vain , proud man. This girls parent took their children to mexico as missionaries, i think the girl was 10 years old.At 14 a mexican boy talked her into leaving with him. She did not understand that in their culture that was an excepted way to marry a girl. When she refussed his sexual advances he got angry and turned her over to his uncles and she was raped by the boy i think by the uncles too. When her parent hunted her down and got her back they came back to the states. The church determined that she was not at fault but decided she should be expelled as an example to the other kids.Her dad went along with this i guess because he though it would ease the damage to his image.So you can see that this poor girl is torn in her mind, taught that the church is god , yet betrayed by them. So she has nowhere she can turn to trust. So to this day she is still damaged goods.The reason i know all of this,,she was my wife for 13 years.But she was so messed up and could not shake the damage done by the church,that she could not be a mother to her kids nor a wife to me. Was impossible to live with and no one could make her happy.

    • JRL says:

      Matt you have some pretty good thoughts…like not leaving the church for rebellious reasons…
      It never helps to do anyting for rebellion’s sake. Its ok to have our personalities and sometimes be a little different, but if it makes us feel rebellious in doing it thats wrong.
      Life has many things that happen that are not fair. Its the power to deal with them that shows our relationship with God. If your wife had had the power of the Spirit in her life, and a husband that had God’s grace, the marriage would have worked against terrible odds.
      I know because of the hopelessness of the situation i was in about 2 years ago, and the change that took place as i rested in the arms of God. I had made a terrible mistake. I lost my connection with God and told some people some things in a wrong way. It cost me everything except some of my immediate family. It felt like hell. I was struggling for mental, physical, and spiritual health, and I was nearly alone in all that. The community turned against me, and i had to move and go through that stress on top of everything else. Hate for the community I came from and hate for my life nearly overwhelmed me. It seemed everything went wrong for a while. I had every reason to hate God, but i couldn’t help but feel him taking care of me.
      I don’t even know how it happened but now i can go back to that community and love the people and feel love from them. I can still remember some of the things that they did to me, but the pain is GONE. I still have some mental scars that i believe God will continue to heal, and though it may affect me for years, the Lord will help me live above it.
      I believe your wife could have found that same rest.

  40. Matt says:

    I guess what im trying to say is, dont leave the church just so you can do what you want or are rebelous, you prolly wont make it. But at the same time,if you stay in the church, do not blindly submit yourself to the church if you dont really feel that god is wanting you to do something. God and the church are NOT the same thing, though they will try and tell you that.They will tell you that blindly submitting to the church is the same as submitting yourself to god.You need to follow the holy spirit not the church or its staff.They will tell you though, that that is having a rebelous spirit.If the church and its staff are the same thing, then why do so many young people join up by just going along with the flow and they can not see that? It happens all the time.They have ways of twisting things like that up if you ask them about it though.If you watch you will see many things like that. Years ago there was a teen that suppossedly was kidnapped, was missing for a long time. Then she ‘got away’ from her captors and the story was all over every congrgation i think. Preachers talked about it in church, how god took care of her and watched over her because she was one of gods children. Then it was found out she has lied, had just ran off, of coarse she was kicked out for it but that was a big embarrisment to the church because she so easily fooled them.Ever notice that when a church member dies that they say that god called them home to be with him? But when a EX member dies or is killed, then it is gods punishment for his sins.If you were to ask in the church about me, you would be told that i have mental problems and not to listen to me. Every little detail of every little bit of gossip they think they know about me or my kids would be passed on even thogh no one could know much about me accuratly because they never even talk to me or come around. And even if any of it were true, then why hasnt their love of god and for my soul, brought them to see me or help me? I have been out of the church for over 30 years now and i am doing fine.Life has been hard in some ways, i have never had much money, had to learn how to fit in.I have no fear of dieing and in fact look forward to it. I had surgery once several years ago and had complications.I heard the doctors and nurses talking about me in the recovery room as they worked on me for 12 hours trying to get me stabilized enough to move me to intensive care.I finally heard one of the doctors tell a nurse that she could stop, that there was nothing more that they could do for me.It wasnt scary at all, i couldnt talk but i was almost laughing in my mind thinking, im not dieing, i feel fine! The doctors walked out but the nurse did not stop.Everything was going black but i kept thinking, my wife is really going to be upset if they dont let her back here with me pretty soon. I knew my wife and kids needed me still.Not long after that my blood presure came back up and i recovered enough to move to a room.I have met death face to face and its not like many people think.

  41. teendreamer says:

    matt, I’m gonna have to say you’re a bit confusing!First you say that most of the people in the church are good people ,then you say that there is a bunch of child abuse going on!I’m thinking those two aren’t really mixing all that well!And I can assure you that I would NOT be put in church work for saying that other people are saved besides us!I’ve heard the minister himself say that!I work in a restaurant and people often ask me how we believe ,and I always tell them that.I will say though,that the church has changed a lot in the last few years.30 years ago ,people may have been a bit more that way,but no more!Once again I’m sorry you feel the way you do ,but to be honest you sound quite offended to me.

  42. Matt says:

    Are you saying god changed in the past 30 years?

  43. Matt says:

    Oh,,and i didnt make myself clear i guess. I think there are a lot of members that are fine people. I think the real bads ones are only a small few out of them all. What bothers me is the way the staff will cover up for them and often even the victims themselves are punished. I feel like the main problem is not the people as a whols, as any group of people will have a percentage of bad people in it. But i do feel like the leadership is pure evil disguesed very well. Like a bunch of sheep guarded by wolves.I have delt with staff up close and personal and on several occaions it was like looking satan himself in the face. One particuler Minister that was always talked about as being so layed back and loving i saw give me a look so filled with hate that it made my skin crawl. Maybe you know him, he has been dead a long time now, but his name was John Waddel. Not sure if thats spelled right as i am not good at spelling.Anyone that knew this man would flat out not believe this of him, but he turned into the most evil thing i have ever incountered in my life time and even threatened me.He was all cool until i was able to calmly look him in the eyes and no longer look up to him as gods authority and he instantly changed.Another bad one is Arlo Johnson. He never showed his true self to me but he was the type to go behind your back and get others to carry out his deads. He is/was a decon.Unlike John Waddel he was unliked by a lot of members back then for the same reasons, he went about his thing in a cowardly manor behind peoples back.He was one of the men that tried to pay me off to keep quiet.If like you say, things have changed so much in the last 30 years, why havnt i heard about them making right a lot of bad things that were done to people in the past?There were more than a few that were aware of wrong doings when i left and even came to me and told me i was doing the right thing. I have never so much as got a single letter from them.It really does not matter as far as for me, but i cant help but fear for how many others lives have and are being destroyed that most of the members are fooled into thinking the victim was at fault when it was really a cover up.And that so many members that ARE good people and have nothing but good intentions are fooled into following leaders of an organization that is evil.I know you dont think it is evil,,but it wouldnt fool anyone if the leaders all looked like demons with hate filled glowing red eyes.

  44. Matt says:

    And the comments about me double talking and being offended, do you know how many times i have heard that from mennonites? Thats the standard thing to do when confronted by things against the church, turn the guilt around and put it on the other person.If you cant sway a person to your way of thinking then you try and turn things around and get critical even though you were not there. Like i said before, there is no way to reason or have a discussion with someone brainwashed this bad.

  45. Matt says:

    You might want to read this site. Its just a few cases but like it says,, it happens a lot and the biggest thing is that the staff covers it up.

  46. Matt says:

    You might also be interested to know that most congregations has several if not more members that are quite wealthy, multi millionairs in some cases, not as unusual as you may think.Think about what land prices are and how many acres some own that has been passed from father to son and paid for long ago. Many of you are so used to things the way they are that you dont even realize that in most groups percentage wise you are far more wealthy percentage wise than the rest of the people in this country.And,, because of this some members have very large amounts of money in bank accounts that they are not allowed to draw intrest on. This leaves banks and and the local community very much in debt to the churches.This gives the staff consideral political pull in a round about way with the local town government that most church members are not aware of. This makes it easy to hush certain things up or cover up. I know for a fact that this goes on in the area i live in right now.

    • JRL says:

      Matt why don’t you tell us what all else is wrong with everybody. you seem to get satisfaction out of complaining about people’s faults. Everyone has problems.
      Resentment is like eating poison and waiting for the other person to die.

  47. kayla says:

    hmm sounds like somebody has negative thoughts against the mennos…not good!!

  48. J.G. says:

    Hello Matt, Kayla, teendreamer, and JRL,

    I’ve been lurking around this site hoping to get more input from people who have had experience with the Holdemans.
    If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I am not a member of the Holdeman church, but am very good friends with a couple of members. They speak to me with, what I believe to be, what they believe to be the truth and how to think of the church. They, for one, do not believe that the church is perfect. eg, they have had experiences where the ministers excommunicated a member just because he did not like the member. They also believe what teendreamer said about not having to be in the Holdeman church to be saved. They believe that God calls and speaks to everyone differently. For some people, He will call them to be a Holdeman, and for others, He will call them to be Catholic, or Protestant, etc. It is where He wants you to be, and you will not be forgiven if you deny His will. And how does one know where he/she belongs? By praying, and asking the Lord where He wants them to live his/her life.
    Keep in mind I am friends with Holdemans who are roughly aged 19-21, so their beliefs will be different than those of the elders. Judging by the way teendreamer types, I assume that he/she is a youth as well.

    That being said, I would like to comment on what Matt had said:
    I am very sorry for what had happened to you and your family in the past, and as you have mentioned, this happened many years ago. I will not deny what had happened, and I know it is most likely the truth that’s coming out of your words, however you must keep in mind that things have changed, and it has changed for the better. Yes, there were probably several cases of rape and what-not but you must remember that the Holdeman church is not perfect. Just like the world, there are small percentages that are heavily misguided and have fallen into the trap of Satan. Must the church be blamed for that? No. But should the individual who have sinned be blame? Yes.
    It seems like you are making a heavy cynical judgement on the church based on the individuals who have sinned and not owned up to it, but left no credit to the Holdemans who are genuinely good and trying to live their lives to worship the Lord. You don’t need to keep what had happened in the past bottled up inside you. If you declare yourself as a Christian, I ask for you to forgive these people. If these people did not repent, you will be sure that God will judge them when they die and I will promise you that He will put these people in their right places. Just have a forgiving heart.
    You have also made a comment about the use of technology in the Holdeman church and how the current ones who are posting here would be punished if they were caught. I believe that the Holdeman church judges technology in the following way: whether it detracts the individual from spiritual growth or not. The Holdemans that are currently posting here, I believe, are speaking the word of God and sharing their beliefs and experiences with the church. I see no harm in that. It is only when technology begins to detract them from spiritual growth, they see it needs to be reevaluated and taken away.
    You are also contradicting yourself when you made the comment that the Holdemans are not allowed to pursue anything beyond a certain grade level, and how it has hindered their lives financially. Then you made the comment about how they are wealthy enough to own acres of land. What is your point here? I know for a fact that MANY, not all, Holdemans are in the middle to middle upper class. The reason being for their thrifty, modest way of living. And of course the many acres of land they own. They believe that they must work hard to live a comfortable life, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with me when I say the Holdemans are extremely hard working. In addition, I know a couple who have pursued college degrees to work in healthcare industries.

    Again, Matt I ask that you forgive these people who have harmed you and leave your life and these people to the hands of God. He will award those who have obeyed Him, and He will punish those who have denied Him.

    Also, as stated above, the Holdemans I am good friends with are 19-21 years old. I see a difference in their beliefs compared to the elders. However, their beliefs do not detract them from spiritual growth, they are just a little “less conservative”. When the time comes, these young people will eventually be the leaders of the church, and I have high hopes and promises that the church will have less conflicts (referring to the conflicts Matt experienced) in the future.

  49. kayla says:

    everybody has faults and problems..we are human..matt im sure that you have faults just like everybody not trying to be mean but remember this…….before you assume, learn the facts..before you judge, understand why..before you hurt someone, feel..before you speak, think…that saying helps me out alot! im bad about talking about others!

  50. kayla says:

    and J.G….may i ask who you are? im jis curious like always;)

    • J.G. says:

      Hi Kayla,

      I doubt you know who I am. I am just a boy who have worked with many Holdemans who come to my area to do work. I won’t reveal where I’m from because that will just reveal the Holdemans who have told me what I’ve listed above, and I am in no position to determine whether they want their identities revealed or not.
      However, if you tell me the congregation you’re from I might tell you… It all depends.
      Feel free to e-mail me at:
      If you would like to discuss this privately.

      • J.G. says:

        By the way, it is a public e-mail I use for internet/forum purposes. It is not my personal e-mail.

        Just so you know.

    • JRL says:

      That’s a scary question to ask. J.G.’s reply gives you the freedom to discuss privately with him. He may not have any evil intentions, and this is not like putting you in a room with him by yourself, but out of the public eye temptations become especially strong. If you are a Holdeman Mennonite member and he is not BEWARE. No matter how nice of a man, or how great his spirituaity, it will just cause sorrow and disappointment if you join forces, either spiritually or emotionally, with a man that does not belong to the same church.

      When i saw J.G.’s referral to the age group of people he had to do with, I right away wondered if that was an invitation of some sort. Sure enough you fell for it.

      I’m not an all-wise all-knowing like i wish i was, but i’ve seen a lot of sorrow in my day. And something looked wrong in this situation. Wish you the best

      • J.G. says:

        JRL is correct when he mentioned the differences among non-Holdeman and Holdeman members and how it COULD cause disappointment because of different views. It has not happened to me with the Holdemans I’ve met personally, but I could see it happening.

        However, I did not mention the age group of the people I have relation with to “lure” people in. I mentioned the age to portray a generation gap between the Holdemans I know and the elders of the church. I was merely explaining how some ideas and beliefs are different between the youth and the elders, and how most of the people who have suffered in this forum have suffered in the era of the current elders of the church. I was presenting hope for the future of the church because of the ideas the younger generation holds.
        I, also, fall in the age category of 19-21 mentioned above.

        But yes, if you have any suspicions, do not contact me privately. The internet is a dangerous place to reveal your identity, which is why I have a separate e-mail for strangers I meet on the net.

  51. Matt says:

    JG Not having a higher edjucation does not hinder anyone among the Holdemans unless you decide not to stay with them.I Meant that a low edjucation is used as one more way to intrap people and make it hard to survive if you dont submit to them.As far as their schooling goes they learn more than enough to do well if they stay among the church. And i did not mean that there is anything at all wrong with being wealthy.I was simply pointing out that because of certain ones wealth and the way they have to deal with banks, it can give them a lot of pull or influence with the local political structure in the small towns where most holdeman groups live.I say this because i know of certain things that have been done this way. It does have many advantages, good ones, in that they do help each other out so that they dont have to get as involved in the traps that the normal financially world has.It can be used for good or bad like many or most other things.What i was refering to about the money was that it has been used to influence the law comeing down on the church in some cases like child abuse or sex crimes.
    Several here have said that i am just offended or critical.Yes, i am, and you should be too.Those that have done the things i have talked about should be held accountable along with those that helped cover it up.If i have a problem with things i know are wrong, im critical and offended but at the same time when members are brought before the church for whatever reason, what they say is not critical or offensive,lol. As far me letting it go,,i had to think real hard to even remember the names of certain ones that were involved.You say that not everyone is perfect and thats true, i understand that. But if i or any other ex member want to come back to the church, we have to repent and try to make right whatever we have done wrong. Yet, if the church made a wrong decision they dont?Even if a staff member that was involved in wrong doing in a serious matter like a sex crime or child abuse or helping cover it up and was later held accountable for it, does the church go around and try to undo the damage that was done? I have never seen it or heard of that happening.Several people here keep trying to put words in my mouth that i am angry at all mennonites because of what i saw and had done to me but thats not true at all. There are certain ones that i know are bad people, no question about it. There are many more that i know are great people, no question about it. But i have nothing good to say about the church as an organization. It is used as a way to control people, and i feel that the majority of the leadership are either evil or blindly helping and going along with it.I also find it comical yet sad at the same time, how members when confronted with things against the church always get defensive and try to turn things around.I also know that what some are saying about how they believe on the one true church thing is simply not true. They have one answer when talking to outsiders but how things are handled in reality is very much different.

    • J.G. says:

      Hi Matt,

      I understand where you are coming and I do not doubt at all that these things have happened. As stated in my last post, they are most likely true. Sex crimes and child abuse do happen no matter what community and society you are in. Those who are caught will be punished, by the law and/or God.

      Perhaps we come from different areas of the world but in my society, it is an honour to share your wealth amongst those who need it. So, donating money to a church or a charity organization is good. I don’t quite understand what you mean by money influencing law-making in child abuse or sex crime, could you elaborate please? Are you saying that those who are wealthier in the church can get away with these crimes?
      Again, I would like to point out that you are making a cynical judgement of the whole church based on a small percentage of individuals who give the Holdeman church a bad name. Please give credit to those who are genuinely worshiping God. Because there are more of those people than there are ones who are considered “bad”.

      I am not offended of the criticism and flaws you are pointing out in the Holdeman church, I am just concerned that you are dwelling on those negative thoughts and not allowing God to handle the situation. None of us are in the position to judge whether the Holdeman church is good or bad, that is for God to decide. We just know that there are many people who find the Holdeman church their home to worship God with their brothers and sisters–that is something that God will reward them for.

      I am not asking you to forget what had happened, all I’m asking you is to forgive. A forgiving heart is one of the many key aspects of Christianity.
      I ask, if you trust God, to leave these matters to Him.

      Also, I am not a member of the Holdeman church. I am giving credit to those who deserve it–those who are worship God in the Holdeman church. I am not denying what had happened to you in the past. I am just trying to speak of this matter in a Christian point of view.

  52. teendreamer says:

    Matt, I’m answering you a bit late ,but no, God has not changed in the past 30 years. But the way we believe has changed with the times. And thanks JG I appreciate what you said.My parents believe the same way I do in most areas ,but some of the very old people ,like 70 and above maybe wouldn’t agree about some things.Oh and Matt, every thought about it that maybe the reason people are always telling you you’re offended is because you are?Sorry ,I can be a bit sassy at times ,and it’s definitely coming out right now=/

  53. Matt says:

    Ever think that maybe i have a good reason to be? I tried answering some of the questions but its storming here so bad i lost several long posts already so i wont try too much until this storm passes. I will say this,,even if i am offended, rebelious, critical , bitter, or whatever else you want to add, does not change the wrongs that i saw and the things that were done to me. No one has came to me and asked my forgivness or even acknologed that anything wrong was done.Have never even heard from those that did stand with me and told me that they agreed with me and also said that i had been wronged.No, i dont let it affect my life anymore, got over that years ago and am very gratefull that i was able to get away.I seldom even think about it.For a long time i was angry that god allowed certain things to happen to people , especially little kids, but i finally just accepted that i will never understand why in this life and thats ok.But i for sure will not ever turn a blind eye when i see wrong being done to someone or help cover it up, or make excusses for it.

  54. kayla says:

    i appreciate you guys’s concern!! and no i wont chat with him priately..i no better;))

  55. Matt says:

    Yes, god forbid you let anyone that already has questions, talk to anyone that is exposing what goes on. Just another example of an attempt to cover up the churches wrong doings, by discrediting, trying to turn the guilt around, and put blame on others.Not so much has changed i see.

  56. J.G. says:

    Matt, thanks for the “i finally just accepted that i will never understand why in this life and thats ok”. As long as you trust God, you would have done your best in your part. Again, I am not trying to deny the facts you have presented but for future references, I encourage you to present them with a more forgiving tone, than an offended tone. Or, present them more objectively than subjectively.
    Just consider all the genuine Christians that are part of the Holdeman church, and when they read your comment, you might discourage them from worshiping God.

    Also, if kayla picked up on Matt’s sarcasm, the choice is hers. I don’t think it’s an attempt of covering up, it’s just the need of protecting one’s identity.
    I believe the current Holdemans that I know have already proven to me their sincerity to worshiping God. Much will change, Matt.

  57. Matt says:

    There are many support groups on the web and some on facebook for ex mennonites. A few simple searches will be a start if anyone needs help talking with others and there are people there from all age groups. They can help you in ways that i cant and at those you wont have to worry about other church members seeing what you say or questions you have and no worries about it getting back to the wrong people and getting you in trouble.Most of them use their real full names and where they are from too.

  58. teendreamer says:

    And Matt, once again,I’ve been reading more of your posts…just kinda skipped through them before since they we’re so long…Saw that you wrote it wasn’t worth it to have a convo with someone as brainwashed as I am…well, I think you’re brainwashed so I guess we should both agree to disagree:)

  59. Matt says:

    That sounds kind of offended there doesnt it?

  60. teendreamer says:

    Haha! you’re good with the “using people’s words against them” thing too, aren’t you:) If anything I guess you’ve still got a teeny bit of humor ,don’t you?:)Sorry,I just found that a bit amusing:)

  61. teendreamer says:

    But no I’m not offended:) But, I do feel sorry for you…Oh well, pry shouldn’t have said that should’ve I? That would annoy me if someone said that to me ,but I’m posting it anyway…Don’t really know why I ever posted on here in the first place…Nobody is really getting anywhere!Guess I just can’t pass up a debate…it’s kinda my thing:)

    • JRL says:

      You might not think anyone is getting anywhere. I used to be in Matt’s position. Finally when enough people told me i was messed up i actually caught on. Oh no I wouldn’t have admitted it right away, but when i accepted my problems and began to work with them, it suddenly became more enjoyable to talk of positive things and just forgive the people that wronged me. I actually became very embarrassed of all the things i had said and attitudes i had had because i could see them as others did.
      Anyway if there is only a small chance that Matt or others will see their error, a bit of time spent on there behalf is never wasted.
      JG had more patience than i would have had to plead with him. I guess we all have our own unique spot God has us to fill

  62. Matt says:

    Yea i am pretty well known for my sense of humor,lol.And outspoken people never bother me so no worries there.No need to feel sorry for me though,the things done to me are in the past.Sure there are some things i wish could be different but im sure thats true for most everyone.There are things that can happen to you that you never get over,, at best you just learn to live with them. One of the best ways i have found to help withb things like that is to help others so that they dont have to go through the same things.Often when trying to help someone out or giving advice, you suddenly think, hey,,that advice fits me too! Its like, where did that come from?lol.Like i said, i am not good at words while typing and have a hard time trying to get across what im trying to say.I also have a bad problem of seeing everything too much in black and white and i know not everything is in black and white.

    • JRL says:

      Hey matt
      I sent my last post before i read your last one. I think you’re really on to something!!! Can you see the difference like I can? Keep it up!

  63. Matt says:

    Not black and white i meant to say.

  64. Matt says:

    I could say a lot more about the church leaders and i have already named a few of them that was prolly a mistake because there is a good chance some in here are related to them. After all, most holdemans are related to each other,lol. But just to be fair, i will name a few holdemans that are great people and played a hugr part in my teen years and i feel like played a big part in anything good in me today. One is a family, Chris Gericht (sp) and his wife.They treated me better than my own family and as an equal to their own family.I know i must have frustrated them many times because i was a troubled teen, but they always did me right. I love them to death.Another is Dean Giesbrect. Was my 7th grade teacher and gave me the desire to learn and also later was always someone i looked up to as a roll model.He was also a voice of reason when i left the church and i knew he supported me in many ways, i am so glad that he was in my life back then.I has a strange relationship with the other kids my age but always had friends, though from what i hear, many of them are no longer church members either.

    • JRL says:

      why don’t you look up Dean Giesbrect. I had a family like that too. At times I was so embarrassed of myself I couldn’t hardly accept their love, but i learned to thrive off our times together.
      I’m not trying to connect you with the church you left, but to remember the ones you love and to accept their love.

  65. J.G. says:

    Matt, I hope that you have forgiven the members in the past and I hope that you move on to focus on the greater things in life. God will reveal His plans for you if you ask Him with an open heart. The only thing that could have possibly hindered that is the hatred for other people, whether they were Holdeman or not.
    Thanks for giving credit to the Holdemans that have showed you their hospitality, and I hope you continue to be blessed with their love.
    However, in the future try not to mention names without the person’s permission, some people don’t want their identities revealed no matter what good things they have done. But nonetheless,
    may God bless you with a forgiving heart and a journey of life with Him in it!

    • JRL says:

      If you live close to the Holdemans, interact with them, believe a lot the same as they do, and appreciate them (you sure talk good of them) then wouldn’t you have a desire to be part of them?
      I have found it interesting that you seem to have chosen to remain separate. Is there something you can’t agree with…?

      • J.G. says:

        Yes, I do have the desire to be a member of the Holdeman church. When it comes to the convictions members must make, I am fine with them. So no, there isn’t much I don’t agree with, there are just some areas where I feel I’m indifferent to, but willing to follow.
        The reason why I’m not part of the church is mainly because of selfish reasons on my part. I live in a non-Christian household and my parents would be very upset if they find me driving 100km out of the city to participate in church events. Also, social anxiety issues of meeting large groups of people… I have accepted Christ into my life, and will declare that to my family sooner or later. Perhaps moving out when I have my career in place is the next step of this path, where I know I will have a place to stay even if my parents disown me for my faith. Currently, I am working on removing these selfish desires so I can worship God to my fullest potential.

  66. teendreamer says:

    Hey well I think I’ll get on with my business ,but will say It’s been interesting chatting with all of you! Matt, hope you can get some of your problems straightened out…and God bless!

  67. teendreamer says:

    And JG I just read your last post…Hope you join us someday!It’s really a great place to be ,but I can totally understand why you wouldn’t want to join now…I think if my parents weren’t Christian ,it would be hard for me to join a church like this…But God will provide a way if it is His will…so good luck!

    • J.G. says:

      Hey, thank you very much! I hope I will join your people one day as well. The acceptance of the current Holdemans I know have given me a lot of promise of the path I will take in the near future. My parents will not pose much of an issue to my faith after I move out one day. I trust He will put me where I belong when the time comes.
      God bless you.

  68. Dale says:

    I read here that the holdemans have changed their beliefs in the last 30 years. Until they change the official church writings and communicate this to all of their members they have not changed.
    The last annual meeting ministers and deacons council minutes are also proof they are not changing. Do yourselves a favour and read them.
    I was excommunicated and have been shunned ever since for being a social christian. I see my friends who continue to be holdemans doing the same things I am doing and are not excommunicated. Very hypocritical.

    • JRL says:

      I see a bit of a trend here in the posts of the expelled members of the holdemans. They seem to be looking at “things.”

      Dale, you see what your friends are doing, and compare yourself among them. For some reason God picked you out and chose to deal with you. It might not even have to do with exactly what you are doing, but what is God trying to tell you?

      Even if everyone that expelled you has problems, and maybe even a bad attitude against you, if you feed on that, it will blind you from the real point God wants to get across.

      Jesus reproved his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “could you not wait with me but one hour?” Would if you would follow those rules for a while and see what happens. Maybe with a bit of time something very wonderful would take place and you could again fellowship with your people….Would not all those “things” melt away when your hearts were knit in Christian love…? Wouldn’t it make a few months of denying yourself worth it?

  69. kayla says:

    i was just like to say that i knew matt was being sarcastic but ya..i wasnt guna chat privately with J.G. anyways!=p sorry i havn’t been talking with ya’ll..been sorta busy lately! i am a mennonite. i know that there is things that should not go on like sexual abuse and others abuses..i know they should’nt go on so i don’t take part in it….also there is a lot of mennonites that avoid and talk bad about the makes me really upset when i see that. one time i was up in kansas and i was staying at one of my friends house..there was a guy that came to our youth-deal that had been put on repentance several times and expelled once..anyways she was i hate it when those kinna people come to our youth-deals! they ruin everything by just bein there ad knowing what all they’ve done! i emmediatley backed her down…i said;” excuse me! you think they should’nt be here because of having some struggles and mess ups? and you think you have the right to judge? i’m very sorry sister but you are wrong! if you have any comments of people like that keep them to yourself till i leave thank you.” trust me that girl never said another word after that! then later on she was like; “i don’t see why you accept the ex mennonites…you need to avoid them so that they know that there wrong and that we won;t accept them till they change!!!” i said; im sorry but that’s not the way it works! LOVE will make them change..not hatred!;))

  70. Matt says:

    Kayla, that girl with the attatude,, there are people like that everywhere, even among groups that have nothing to do with religion.Its sad because they dont realize it but that kind of attatude almost is like inviting or opening up yourself for your own weakness to be attacted.I have seen many people that talk about and run down someone that has a drinking problem and then later themself have a precription drug problem witch is really the same thing.Almost all drunks know that its not good but the ones addicted to prescription pain meds absolutly will not except they have a problem. There are countless different examples of things like this. When i see a drunk, or a drugie or whatever, i just tell try to be thankful that its not a weakness that i have to deal with,i have plenty other things i have to deal with.Givin the right situation i could have been a drunk or whatever too.However there are other things that are not just a weakness, things that a person just choses to do that not only harms themself but victimizes others even innocents.Physical abuse,verbal abuse,sexual abuse,things like that are a far different thing.I have personally seen this up close,and have been a victim of it myself. I watched others come into hospitals where i was being treated and listened to them talk, tell their stories, seen the effects.I can spot another victim of these things from across a room. There are certain signs that are unmistakable.Another sad thing is that more often than not, those same victims if not helped will often go on later in life to do the same things themself.Seems odd but thats how it works.Because it is such a shamefull crime, it is often covered up by the person that did it, and their families and whatever.Many times the guilt is put off on the victim too.When you sit and listen to victims in the hospital have group discutions it becomes clear that the people that do these things to others sound like they all went to the same school to learn the tricks of how to get started, how to go about it, and how to cover it up and blame it on the victim.After a while you begin to see a pattern, one that can only come from the same place,,a demon.And,,in any organized group sooner or later there becomes a seperate organized group of these people that work together to a certain degree, and help each other in setting up victims, and in covering it up.I am pretty sure that like i can spot another victim across a room,,the other abusers can also spot each other from a distance.Of coarse these people that organize within a group like to include the leaders, witch is why i often find that in say a certain congregation, that its often several of the staff themself that are involved.The demon that leads the small group within the group likes to go straight to the top.That is one reason why i come across so strong on my feelings about the church. I have seen first hand that very thing happening.And because i do have a problem seeing things in black and white with no grey,,it causes me to come across rather harsh.

    • JRL says:

      You have a lot of insight, and understand the effects of abuse. It maybe has scarred your life, but you have understanding that lots don’t. There are lots of other abuse cases out there even in the Holdemans like you say that need the support of someone who understands, so they don’t go on to do the same thing.
      You are a walking talent that God can use. You can’t change the world, but if you would rejoin the Holdemans you could be an example for those that you see have problems….Not an “I’m gonna change the Holdemans” attitude, but a Christ-like attitude willing to say or do as God gives opportunity on a day to day basis.
      Even as we observed a change in your attitude on this blog, i’m sure the Holdemans would see if you were truly changed despite your supposed tendency to come across sharply.

    • kayla says:

      yes matt..your attitude is very much aprreciated!;)

  71. kayla says:

    hmm yea i totally agree with you!!

  72. Dale says:

    JRL- Your very naive. I laughed when I read your response. When you refer to “your people” I will remind you my people are my family. My family thanks us often for leaving the holdeman cult and freeing them from a life of bondage.
    “Things” are not important to me. What is important is being free and living life to the fullest and having no regrets. It is not always easy but it is rewarding.

    • JRL says:

      I read a story once about a young boy that got angry with his mother and packed a bag and left home. He got to the end of the driveway, and stopped to consider his situation. He soon realized that continuing on didn’t hold much promise. So he opted for saying sorry to his mother.
      The little boy really had no option. You are a man and capable of taking the world on by yourself. You headed out on the road and made a go of things. Feeding off hurts and offences from the past, you can feel fairly “in control.” I know that from experience.
      I could make a pretty good guess that if you let God take care of all that hate agianst the Holdemans thats built a wall in your mind, you would realize what “Living life to the fullest and having no regrets” really means.
      You might never go back to the Holdemans, but at least you could be happy.

      But maybe I don’t understand. What happened that made them expell you?

  73. Dale says:

    JRL- You need to stop making assumptions my friend. Saying I have hate in my heart is the furthest thing from the truth. I can see why you say that because I walked in your shoes for years and thought there was no life outside the holdeman church and anyone who left was bitter and unhappy. I was wrong and the only reason I thought that way was it was taught to me from childhood on.
    I wrote a letter to the local h church that expelled me a year or so later. I thanked them for the good they had done for me and told them I had nothing against them. It was good for me to write this letter and interestingly enough it was never acknowledged. I sent it to the minister in charge and requested it be read to the congregation.
    And by the way I am happy. You can ask my family or my close friends and colleagues if you do not believe me.
    I don’t know why I was expelled. I heard something about being a social christian however I was not given anything in writing which by their own rules they are required to give each person that is expelled.

    • JRL says:

      Apparently I need to back up. Thats ok my reverse works too. I do make assumptions. I often come across very bluntly whether i’m giving compliments or opposite. When I’m wrong, thats okay too.
      So what was your intent of your first post here. Was it simply to warn us of the dangers of getting too close to the Mennonites?

      • Dale says:

        My post was to clarify the true teaching of the Holdemans and for anyone who is thinking of joining them to be aware of what they are getting into.
        Anyone who plans to be baptized into the h church should read the Bible Doctrine book published by the h church to understand the doctrines they teach.

  74. Matt says:

    JRL, you are very quick to point out faults in others, especially when anyone first points one out in the H. church. I understand where that comes from because Holdemand have a very hard time seeing the difference in their organization and god himself. Like Dale, not one time in all the years i have been away have i ever looked back and wished i had not left or intertained going back. In fact, very much the opposite.I am very happy where im at.As most anyone that was formally in the church knows, a lot of the things said here we know are simply not true.Not saying anyone is lying, its just that there are some beliefs that you have that can and are interpreted diffrently to fit the situation. Such as the one true church doctorin .You say one thing to some people but to the members another and in action for sure bares that out.Also i never made this clear,,,i was not first expelled.I actually went to the staff and told them i could no longer go along with certain things and that i was gone. Of coarse they then brought my case before the church and expelled me. Seemed very much like they were just saving face.Also, none of the issues with the church that i left over have ever been addressed that i have ever heard of.There are many more things about the church that i do not agree with but the main one is that people are taught and expected to follow the church before even the holy spirit even though i am pretty sure you would say that is not true. But it is, i saw it every day when with them and i still do.Despite the fact that i was turned over to the devil and that except for a very short times after leaving, i have not set one foot in a holdeman church or any other church.I did not become a terrible person, end up in prison,whatever,,,im just an every day nobody.I still dont wear fancy clothes,,i just wear whatever i find at goodwill or garage sales mostly, i buy what cars i can afford and dont give much thought about what they look like to anyone,i dont have a stylish hair doo,lol,in fact my hair is prolly longer than most of your women, because that is what my real family culture feels is proper.I lead songs for my people around a fire in the woods at night until the sun rises in my native tongue, (gasp). We follow and teach what has been passed down for 1000’s of years but its not a religion.There are few rules and no judgment toward anyone that disagrees or doesnt follow it.It has worked fine for 1000’s of years.We dont use a bible but at the same time nothing we do is against anything in the bible and in fact is the same, just in a way that fits our particuler culture.Anyone can join in with us but we dont feel any need to look for anyone to join us.We dont call ourselves christians and dont call ourselves really much of anything but humans.I am very much where i belong and am very much at peace with it.

    • JRL says:

      You pointed out quite quickly that you think i’m a holdeman. Do you think that because i’m protecting their church? My main intent is that people are happy. I tried making distance between me and my problems one time and that worked for a time, but in the end I found happiness by dealing with them so they were actually gone, instead of just hidden. That’s why I tend to think a person should go back to some of those things and try to make amends.

  75. kayla says:

    wow are a totally different guy than i thought you where! hope your happy the way your living. ;)))

  76. J.G. says:

    From what I’m reading from your posts, Dale, your opinions of the Holdemans will never change no matter how much one pleads to you. Although I’m not a member, I have read the Bible Doctrine book and I seem to agree with most of the doctrines, and feel indifferent to very few–there are none that I don’t agree with.
    I’m not here trying to change your opinions of the Holdemans, Dale, but I hope you don’t just point out the flaws of the church but also present some of the good points of the church. Many people are genuinely trying to worship God in that church and negative comments may discourage them, thus discouraging their relationship with God, and who wants that?
    I know you’ve been treated poorly in the past by some of the members of the church and I’m sorry for that, but I ask that you forgive the individuals who have hurt you and leave them to the hands of God, as they will be punished if they have truly sinned and have not repented–the only being who can judge is God Himself.

  77. Matt says:

    If the only being who can judge is god himself,, then who was it that judged that Dale was lost and excommunicated him?

    • JRL says:

      God Himself judged, through his Bride (the Church). It wasn’t any individual member, but the Body, which is the body of Christ, who is the Head.

      • Matt says:

        JRL,,there again you are saying that the church and god are the same thing,, yet the church has made mistakes too,,like kids that join but are later found out that their ‘conversion’ was not what the church thought.And you say that is was the whole church that decides and votes on when someone should be expelled but most of the time those voteing only have a very vauge idea of the reason. I know many times i sat through those type of things and never had a clue what the person was suppossed to have done. And truth is,,almost all the congrgation is so bamboozaled that they are going to vote yes even when they have no clue either. Its a dog and pony show from start to finish.

  78. JRL says:

    I maybe shouldn’t try to disclaim being a holdeman. It seems that right away many people shut their minds off when they hear that word, but I guess I act too much like who I really am.
    I have often questioned the “One True Church” doctrine. It seems like any church could be just as good, because I know that we have many problems. As I read up on the doctrine last night in BD&P a feeling of peace and acceptance came over me. Despite how human reasoning wants to make us question stuff, that feeling is unmistakable, unfelt by those without the Church. There are many Christians outside our church, but to feel the full potential of God’s love to his Bride (the Church) and feel the fellowship with the other members of His Body (also the Church) you must be a member. Believe me, i was expelled for a time and even after i had repented, the full power did not come back to me untill I was reaccepted.

    Matt & Dale
    The part that concerns me most about you after all you’ve said is that you have no feelings of regret or of sin. If this is true, the Spirit has left you completely alone, which is what you wanted when you left the church. Whom the Lord loves, He chasteneth. Many days I feel my sin, and it hurts. But the beautiful part is, that stronger than that feeling of sin, is the power of God overcoming the sin.
    We could argue all day over doctrines and whats wrong and right, but the feeling of Christ in our life is a private and wonderful thing that gives us the hope of Heaven. I take it you would rather live completely free from sin on earth (when the spirit leaves you no longer feel it anyway) and go to hell for eternity.

    You are trying to live right and I.m sure God will bless you for it. I just want to encourage you that it gets just a bit more special yet when you can actually be part of a body of people that all believe much the same.

    • Dale says:

      JRL- Your so blessed. I wish I could have the warmth you feel when you read the Bible Doctrine book of Holdemanism.

  79. Matt says:

    Kayla, i have no idea what kind of a person you thought i was or what kind of person you think i am now but i am pretty sure you still dont have a clue,lol. I am just a half breed indian,very spiritual but it is prolly so far past anything a holdeman can imagine since you have not ever been around that type of thing that im sure i have you shaking your head,lol.If you have figured out who my father is yet,the man that raised me, then you would really be confussed. He is not anything like me.I am sure you know him though. He travels some to different congregations giving talks and has some sort of bio-feedback gizmo stuff that is suppossed to help people with who knows what.If you knew him like i do,,you would run,,fast.

  80. Matt says:

    JRL, i knew from the start you was a holdeman, why so deceptive about it? You do know that being deceptive is the same as a lie dont you? I am not 100percent certain that JG is being honest about it either.There has been several other sites i have been to where there were holdemans that were in discusions that at first out right lied about being in the H church too.Its such a problem in fact, that several private support groups for ex holdemans, you have to agree to sort of an oath in order to join because of problems with Holdeman members lieing in order to infiltrate the support groups.I would think if you were trying to be just a witness for your church then yall would even be useing your full names but i dont think i have ever seen that anywhere yet.

    • JRL says:

      I know many Holdeman people flaunt the fact they’re members and think that should give them some sort of authority. I didn’t want to leave the impression i put a lot of stock in that. That is why i didn’t feel like saying who I really was. I put stock in my relationship with God, and the church is a safe haven for me.
      The people in the church treated me badly, and I’m still suffering emotionally from it, but there’s no other place I’d rather be.

      • Sonika says:

        That’s like saying I’ve been abuse and kicked when I’ve been down, and I’ll gladly come back for more abuse because I don’t believe that I deserve to be treated any better. You have some logical dilemmas right there, but Holdemans are not taught critical thinking skills. Logic dilemmas are explained away as the expelled member being hurt, bitter, and offended as people check their brains at the church door.

        I’ve seen the same things that Matt has, although not in the same detail, and I know that Matt is telling the truth, and not just his version of the facts. It’s no wonder that Mennonite women, not just Holdemans, are so clinically depressed and highly medicated, and this was stated to me by several mental health professionals who practice in a community with a high concentration of Mennonites. The lack of joy on the faces of the Mennonites whom I see is so telling. Where is the drawing to the faith there that the Mennonites themselves are so fond of thinking that they possess?

        I was a Mennonite for most of my adult life, and a Holdeman for 10 years, having joined as an adult. Reading the bible, yes the BIBLE, and the following book was finally enough to completely open my eyes to the incongruity of what you are trying to accommodate. Some of you have listened to words long enough, and they’ve empowered a lie, and when you believe a lie long enough it empowers it to become a truth in your life, whether it’s in listening to man’s opinions about other people and their (supposed or real) sin or false doctrine. I can only pray that your eyes will be opened as well.

        2 Cor. 10:3-5 Galatians 3-1-29

        God’s people were warned that a little leaven leavens a whole lump. In pointing to the “good” Holdemans as a reason to stay in the OTV Church, Inc., you are allowing the leaven to take hold in your own lives and in turn, you enter into and share in the deception.

        Thankful that I quit drinking the Kool-Aid!!

  81. kayla says:

    LOL matt your hilarious! sounds like we would get along pretty good!! nahh you sound purty cool…and if your wundering what i look like and what my personality is i’ll tell ya!! and yes i would prolly be hammer down if i saw your dad.! haha;)

  82. Matt says:

    You also state that we have no feelings of sin? Where do you get that idea from? That is far from the truth.I guess you are refering to me being expelled.You seem to think no one can have an experiance with god outside of your church,, again you are wrong. You dont seem to understand that i and many other never had a true experiance when we were in the church. All i ever knew whs what i saw and copied or what i thought was expected of me. I certainly never had any experiance with god when i was so called converted and joined the church.I didnt lie about it,,i just did not understand and i basically followed what i thought everyone else was doing. You seem to think that just because your church says something that its the way it is. Its not. How many young kids did the same as i when joining? A lot i figure. How many were expelled that should not have been? A lot i am sure. Yet you are so quick to judge people and send them to hell based souly on what your church did or desides even though most of the time you really dont even know why.I have sat through many church meeting while people were expelled and the reasons givin where so vauge i really had no clue what it was that the person did.Thats what i call blindly following others,has not one thing to do with any true conviction or decernment.I have even seen where one week a minister got up and presented someone for being expelled and a month later that same minister himself was expelled for something he has supossedly been involve with,You see, this is the main thing i have ahainst the holdemans, you cant seem to make a difference between your church(organization) and god or the holy spirit.That idea is so twisted up in your minds that you can find fault and judge people by expelling and so called turning them over to satan but yet have all manor of excusses for failings and being completely wrong about things in some cases, or at times even out right bad things in your own church.You have this idea that because we dont come back on bended knees that we have lost our our feelings or communication with god when in fact its so easy for us to see how twisted up your minds are, how much in bondage they have you in the head.If you only knew what it feels like to be free of that. I know you will say thats because we have been decieved, but i am very sure its the other way around.

  83. kayla says:

    and matt…some people do like privacy;) ;p thats why some don’t give full names..i mean like that’s a duh…!!

  84. Matt says:

    Lol, Kayla, if most mennonite gave their whole name it would mean much to most people even if they did a good search,if your last name was Koehn,or however you spell it, there are only thousands of them.Other mennonites may be able to figure out who you are but thats about it.The picture at the top with the girls in flip flops,,,now that makes it a lot easier,lol.Matt is my real name by the way, and my last name is Loomis,,that one is very easy because there are not a lot of those in the church.So now you have a name to ask about and i am sure that you will get a lot of “oh My’s” out of that,lol.There was and are some of the wildest most far out gossip that went on when i left the church that it was comical. The internet is pretty good at searching and finding out stuff, but not anything compared to mennonite gossip. There used to be a saying. There are three ways of communication,, telegraph,,,,telephone,,,,and tell a mennonite.I am sure that now that mennonites have the internet that there is some kind of 4th one added to the list,lol.

    • Dale says:

      Hi Matt- My parents who are elderly spoke of a man named Loomis. They listened to his lectures via a phone a few years ago. They seemed very impressed by his credentials (NASA scientist) and his testimony of becoming a believer in holdemanism. Are you related?

      • Matt says:

        Dale, that is my Father.You do know that NASA is not all about the space program right?Do a Google on NASA /mind control programs or something like that.You wont like what you find and i am pretty sure you wouldnt want his bio-feed back thing he is pushing around the church right now. Other places to look would be the mkultra experiments and it history and roots to the nazi germain scientists that worked at NASA personally with my father.That is the reason he speaks germain, he has no german back ground other than working with those guys at NASA. Ask yourself why he suddenly left his job and joined the holdemans the same year that the CIA shredded their records and scattered their scientists durring a senate investigation into the mkultra mind control program that was being performed on unwilling victims A program that includded thousands of mostly children many of who died.It was a trauma bases mind control system that was cruel beyond imagination and totally inhuman.Why did he have a contract with the airforce after he was in the church building a device that had to do with sound, something still connected to the old program,and why has he always had a ‘shop’ where he spends most of his time behind locked doors and when us kids were still at home he even had the house wired for sound so he could hear everything in the house? I am told he still has a room that he works in that he locks as he leaves. When anyone asks him what he does in there its always,,you wouldnt understand if i told you.I have spent many years reserching the mkultra program, i have personally met others that were victims of it and been in contact with many more online. I talked to one military guard from the Redstone Arsenal that saw part of what was done to children there. My father was also on the arsenal off and on as that is part of NASA.Look up on the web the place he worked at in Huntsville,,,Brown Teledyne Engineering, it is a high level military contractor, obviuosly not space program.After all the years he has been in the church he is still pretty much a mystery yet he is looked up to i guess and is apparently carrying on his former work among the church.Ask him about why he told Arlo Johnson that he was not my real father and where did i come from then? Obviously He confided things that other do not know with Arlo.Makes me really wonder hom much or who all in the church is connected to those things.It would fit in with many strange things that happened durring the time i left the church.This is all a good bit of why i came across so very strong from the beggining.My family would prolly tell you that i talk this way because i have a serious menal issue. Well that was discounted years ago by doctors and i have an official diagnosis of post traumat stress with MPD or what is know now as DID,disasociative identity disorder. In other words i was traumatized so bad that my mind had to disasociate in order to survive,,it was more than my mind could handle. I have been told by every doctor that i have been to that i had every sign of someone that had been repeatedly sexually and pyhsically abussed though i dont have much memory of it other than bits and pieces.I was always a shame to my father for some reason,,i guess partly because i prefered to live in the woods like an animal rather than conform to others around me.By his own words i was never a problem child at home except maybe around the time i was 14 and he threw a total out of control temper fit over something he THOUGHT i did and tried to beat me with a belt and i stood up to him, followed by my leaving and living in the woods and old barns until someone took me in.Yes, he had a temper where he almost seemed possesed and few if anyone outside our home ever knew that.And yes he was a mennonite at that time.As about my cousin that came to live with us and what happened while she was there that was so bad that it almost caused my parents to seperate over it?I could go on for hours but the point is,,,we are suppossed to forget even though not a word has been said about these things and just come back like we are the bad ones and suck it up.Us knowing full well that there are members doing who knows what all that walk among them with no accountablity. Why does the staff look away? Only answe i can come up with is that in some way they too are involved.

  85. kayla says:

    lol ya your crazy!!! and i agree mennons DO TALK!!

  86. kayla says:

    im actually part indian myself;)

  87. Matt says:

    Dale, your email link will not work for some reason but here is mine.

  88. J.G. says:

    Matt, I read your post about your father and truly, I feel disgusted inside. I will be praying for his sake, and the people that he has affected (that includes you). I’m also sorry for him abusing you when you were still young.
    Although sometimes we don’t know why these events happen, we must accept that God has allowed it for a reason. We must leave all these negative events to Him and know that He will be there for us. We also have to realize that sometimes, we are not blessed with certain things. In the end, we must accept that life is not always fair, but God will always be fair and just. We must interpret these difficulties in a way that we are thankful that God has given us the strength to deal with these adversities, and how He will always be by our sides to overcome them.
    And Matt, I can assure you, as much as I would like to be, that I am not a member of the Holdeman church, nor have I ever been. I hope you will take my word for it, as I have no other way to prove it to you.

    JRL, thanks for your encouragement. I wish I could be a part of the church right now but I have mentioned the restrictions I have above. I wish I could be baptized one day to the Holdeman church and live my life devoted to God, worshiping with my brothers and sisters in the church. I hope you will include me in your prayers for me to overcome my restrictions.

    • JRL says:

      I wish we could meet some day because it has been good chatting with you, but I guess thats not too likely.
      Even some of the questions dale and matt ask and challenge, i ask myself some days.
      Like why do I love the Church when I’ve been so mistreated?
      Can people who have been part of the church ever find any rest unless the devil takes over completely
      God Himself holds all these answers, and He will judge as he sees fit.

      One little thought I could leave with you: in my area anyway, it is easy enough to get a job with the Holdemans, often without any certifications or any defined career. If you wanted to overcome your restrictions there might be an easier route than you imagined. But there’s no hurry either.

  89. Sally says:

    Throughout this entire thread is one outstanding observation! The ones who the church has consigned or given over to THE DEVIL are being told to “forgive”. I’m mystified how they expect someone who is WICKED and devilish to be capable of forgiving. Forgiveness is CHRIST-like. So, in demanding they forgive, you are now labelling them CHRIST-like. Which is probably accurate. The church members have shown arrogance and made offensive comments, ran and hid when they weren’t viewed as “BETTER” than the rest of the posters, so logically sorting things out here, it adds up to:

    “Church Member=Offender” and “Non-Church Member=Forgiver”.

    So, who then portrays CHRIST and the spirit of forgiveness? One hint, it is not a church member.

  90. Dale says:

    Good observation Sally. You do realize that the Church of God in Christ Mennonite Incorporated (Kansas Corporation) is the highest spiritual authority on planet earth. When they expel you its the same as God condemning you. So we expelled need to humble ourselves and submit. All we need to do is say we were rightfully expelled grow a beard or don a black head covering and we are welcome back into the household of saints.

  91. Matt says:

    does anyone know why the CGCM is incorporated and why each individual congregation is too?I would like to hear others thoughts on that.

  92. Bryon says:

    Matt, This was done around the time that the Catholic Church was being sued for its sex scandal coverups. The reason I was told was so that if someone sued the Holdeman Church, by it being incorporated on a local level whoever sued could not get their hands on the millions held by the Holdeman Church at large. My understanding of why the CGCM is incorporated was so that they had access to the Showalter Foundation money.

  93. Matt says:

    Thanks Byron, i thought is was something like that. So the holdeman church must have has so large law suites brought against them already. I wonder if anyone knows how often or what the total amount of money was awarded? Why would the Holdeman church need funding from an outside entity? And what exactly is the showalter foundation?

  94. Bryon says:

    Here’s what Wikipedia has on The Showalter Foundation:

  95. Matt says:

    Well it looks like the Holdemans have left the blog. I guess they cant stand the heat especially with members that had doubts and questions themselves. I would guess that the word has been put out that this place is not a safe place to come to.That is what usually happens at any blog or site where the Holdemans are being discussed.

    • J.G. says:

      I don’t think so. I just think they have said all that needed to be said, and the discussions seems to be going in a vicious cycle. eg. forgive the people who have wronged you, Holdeman doctrines are bad, forgive the people who have wronged you, Holdeman doctrines are bad, and on and on…–these discussions are going nowhere.

      I’m sure if you guys post a NEW thought-provoking comment, some of them will continue commenting.

  96. Sally says:

    Matt, they haven’t left! They just have nothing more to say. Their only defense is “you are bitter and offended”. Other intelligent dialogue of beliefs is out of their comfort zone! One, they don’t know what their personal belief is, (usually their convictions just ‘happen’ to be whatever the church believes); two, they know the church’s practices can’t stand up to scrutiny; three, they have questions themselves and have no answers; four, they have been under the brainwashing since conception and really don’t have rational thought processes any more. If your entire world is filtered, you can only see what the filter allows. How CAN they think outside the box? Impossible unless they leave, and that suggestion has them running back inside their cozy little box… Just like a hamster on a wheel, they think they are open minded, but they are never allowed to look out the window!

    So, here’s a new thought provoking comment: Does the holdeman church have rules?

    • J.G. says:

      Yes, they have rules and convictions.

      However, I ask that you have an open mind as I can already see you have a presupposition of the Holdemans being bad. There is no point pleading to you if you are not willing to accept new points of views.
      It will become a vicious cycle where we will state our points over and over and over again….

      I’m sorry that they have mistreated you, but you must know that there are many members of the church who are trying their best to worship God, thus trying their best to be a good person.

  97. Matt says:

    Ok,, im still scratching my head here, i dont understand. I am supossed to forgive the church or people in the church that have hurt me, wronged me or offended me. No one has ever asked for me to forgive them. No one has even acknolaged they have wronged me. No one has even asked me how i feel i was wronged from the congregation i came from. And certainly no one from their has ever forgivin me for anything they think i may have done. All i have ever heard about are the rumors that i am crazy, insane, dangerous, mentally ill, and so on. All of witch are basically lies or out right lies.From things i hear i am even supossed to be simple minded and almost retarded.Its amazing i am even functional, lol.I have had firearms most of my life, i am usual feet from a pistol most anywhere im at. I even carry a pocket knife,lol. Al leagly on top of that. Somehow i have never shot anyone yet, not even cut anyone. I guess it could be that im so simple minded that my family has replaced my pistols with cap guns and i didnt notice.I understand that my parents say i have delusions of having worked for law enforcment, I guess my wife must also be delusional and simple minded too,lol. Or , maybe it could just all be that the holdemans want everyone to think all of this so no one will believe anything i say, to discredit me.Thats all ok though, i think its all rather funny except for my mom saying some of those things, that kind of hurts comeing from her, especially after she did so little to protect me when i was a child.Hurts kind of like when she talked me into going to the mental hospital when i was having emotional troubles, for very good reasons, at 18. After she told me what the hospital would be like, a nice safe place with people that were waiting to help me. And when we walked in and i saw what it was, and heard the bars on the cell door clang shut behind me, i turned and looked at her and she would not even look me in the eyes, she just turned and walked away.I had done not one thing wrong, and she had lied to me. I was also told before i went not to worry about my bills that needed to be paid, that all of that would be takin care of.When i got out a month later my bills were not takin care of, and i had many very upset people in town about it with no job anymore. I wonder who talked my mom into that little trip,,,Arlo,, you wouldnt have been behind that would you? Of coarse you was! Hey, im not the only church member these type things have happened to. I hear stories like this all the time! You should all hear the stories about them busting up husbands and wives and their children. God forbid any of us are offended, feel wronged, or are angry. If they come to me and admit i was wronged and say they are sorry, then i would except that. Just forgive them like nothing happened even when they dont acknolage any wrong?, i dont think so.I dont sit around fretting about it, life goes on. But i sure pity them because weather they except any wrong doing or not wont change what they will face on the other side.It is a shame that they continue to do the same and much worse to others even now. Yet there is one young man here that thinks they are cool and wants to be part of them. I am not just taking about things some bad apple did and does, i am talking about staff member, thought out premeditated wrong done by the very leadership of the holdemans.How anyone could even consider wanting to be part of a church that practices and condones such behaviour is far beyond my understanding.Do you thing you can be like an ostritch and hide with your head in a hole and it wont exist? I sure hope you dont end up married to one of their girls and find that you can no longer go alone with the things you see around you in the holdeman church and they talk your wife into leaving you with your children and hideing them from you.Yes that happens a lot too.

    • J.G. says:

      Hi Matt,
      Again, I’m sorry for what had happened to you. The members who have mistreated you are misguided and blatant sinners–there are misguided people in EVERY society/group. I believe you must be the bigger man and forgive what they have done to you and not expect to receive an apology from them–I’m sure God will reward you for your efforts as that is very difficult for anyone to do.
      I also believe it is not very fair of you to categorize the entire Holdeman church to be bad. Yes, the members that have mistreated are bad, but there are genuine Christians in that church that are trying their best to live a good life.
      This is the vicious cycle I’m talking about: no matter how much I plead, your beliefs of the Holdemans will never change, and this is the reason why many members have stopped posting. eg. forgive the Holdemans, the Holdeman church is bad, forgive the Holdemans, the Holdeman church is bad, and on and on and on…. It is simply getting no where.

  98. Matt says:

    JG, what you do not seem to understand is, the wrongs i and others have pointed out were not intended to point a few people and blame them. The whole point was that it was the WHOLE church that that that backs those very people and we were the ones shunned.You at one hand seem to know the Holdemans very well but on another you dont seem to understand how their organization works in the slightest.

  99. Dale says:

    My belief is that the way the holdemans expell and shun or avoid the expelled is religious discrimination.
    Please explain to me how this isnt discrimination without using the one true church argument.


  100. ochun says:

    No, i just thought it was an interesting blog

    • Dale says:

      It is interesting. I wonder who Hiram is.
      Do the holdemans read that blog? They might find it very interesting.

  101. Matt says:

    From what i have read so far it almost sounds like Hiram may have been a Holdeman preacher himself at one time. The way he knows scriptures leads me to think so. I dont know if any of the people that post there are members or not i cant tell. It is very interesting anyway. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Dale says:

      Matt- The way Hiram knows scripture doesnt really mean he is a holdeman preacher. Most h preachers are grade 8 educated men who have never studied any theology other than their own cult books. I know there are some who are very well read and have studied much. It would seem like hiram is for sure a holdeman and has connections in the ministry. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if there are more than one holdeman involved in that website. It must really piss of the holdemans to see their ministers being scolded like that. haha

  102. Matt says:

    Really? And what is wrong with a 10 year old? I thought it was good to be child like. Really,, is that the best you can do?

    • Me says:

      Your 40s though! Anytime a grown man goes out in public and complains and whines about the way he deserves so much better its an embarrassment!! That’s you so shove it! You’re no asset at all to this site

  103. Sally says:

    Spoken like a true holdeman. “Me”, remember that by your words will those reading this blog be convinced of the state of your heart. So far, it wouldn’t lead any one to Christ. But then maybe, that’s not important to you. I didn’t see where Matt posted any thing that appeared to be from a ‘loser’. The one who screams ‘loser’ usually is afraid he himself is one. But on a public forum, no one knows who you really are and you will never have to stand behind what you say. When Matt replies with a cool, clear answer, you will read, but refrain from posting, thinking you had the last word. Really? I believe God will have the last word with you and it is bad forum (or blog) etiquette to use terms that indicate your personal weakness. Be assured, many more people are persuaded by clear logic, than one word put-downs. We all SHOULD take responsibility for our actions, but the holdeman church takes away personal responsibility. They act collectively and eliminate the personal responsibility in many ways. They hide behind “the church” and really don’t consider it important to have a PERSONAL faith. I told another holdeman recently, that unless he had a personal faith, he wouldn’t have the respect of his wife and children. That’s the bottom line, personal faith or corporate faith. Which one testifies of peace of mind on a public forum???? Personal. Faith and belief that I’m doing the best I can, and as I am exposed to public and private information, I process that and allow God to mold my faith in a personal way. It’s a wonderful way to live. I suggest you examine it.

  104. Matt says:

    Me,i am sure that to you i am a loser and that does not bother me at all. What anyone thinks of me is not a worry to me at all.And i am not in my 40’s, actually i am 54,lol. Another thing,,do you really know what the term “shove it” means? The whole term is “shove it up your ass”. I wasnt aware that Holdemans used language like that.

  105. Dale says:

    Hey “mini me holdeman” do yourself a favor and study the writings of your religions founder Mr. John Holdeman.
    The real losers are the poor people who have been duped by a false prophet.

  106. Matt says:

    I am embarrissed though,,im embarressed that when i was a member that i blindly stood with everyone else to vote people to be expelled without even knowing what they were accussed of. Things like a foriegn spirit,,what is that? Gross lacsiviousness, again what is that? Those were two very common reasons givin for expelling.The first one i now know meant they had their eyes opened and were qustioning things like church rules or doctrins or even just not agreeing with the staff. The second one,,,,i dont think that can even be discussed in an open forum that may have young people or ladies reading. That would fall into the barnyard catagory im affraid.

    • Me says:

      There are some awful sensitive people on this forum!! Whoever these Holdemans are they have obviously really pissed you all off. Sounds like a hate group if you ask me. The ironic thing is that the haters all claim to have a real true relationship with God. It don’t make a bit of sense to me!!! I wonder how you shut this forum down cause it really sucks! Somebody makes a comment on here and then there’s about 3 of you on here that dissect it and than remind everybody how they’ve been mistreated etc by these Holdeman people. Can’t believe I watch this junk but I’ve never saw this much hate on a forum of this kind!!

  107. Matt says:

    “Me” ,, we ARE very sensitive about it,,,because we know first hand the abuse dished out to members that wont bow down to their organazation. We have felt first hand what having our families torn apart. We know first hand how it feels to have lies told about us to discredit us, very hurtfull things.We see the same things do to many others.Yes it really pissses us off to see these things and more done to others and all in the name of their god.I can also understand why you would want this forum shut down, because the truth hurts.But unless you being here reading “all this junk”, is your asigned job givin to you by the holdeman church, i sure dont know why you stay and read it.

    • Me says:

      Hahahaha your hilarious! No I don’t work for any church. Maybe you hit the nail on the head when you said the truth hurts. I’m outa here there’s better reading elsewhere. Seeya!!!

  108. Been There. Not Anymore :) says:

    Some may find the following link interesting. If you go to this and then click on The Conference Counseling Committee link it is very enlightening.

  109. Matt says:

    AUGUST 2013

    Dear Ministers and Deacons:
    Since the 2013 Minister’s and Deacon’s Council at Wichita, Ks, the Conference Counseling Committee has met twice to try to determine a course of action to fulfill the mandate of the Minister’s and Deacon’s Council. The second meeting included seven former CCC members, the Ministers and Deacon’s Council chairmen, and several other brethren. The enclosed directives are the result of those meetings. We prayerfully share them with you, hoping they will inspire and give direction for congregational and revival work. Teaching and discipline will be needed to bring about the needed change and greater unity that we all desire.


    1. Where weakness in doctrine and practice is already apparent in a congregation, it should be urged to start addressing those needs before revivals. Points of concern should be identified and teaching sought to help correct the course. Where evangelists are already involved, they could help identify the need.

    2. The CCC is to make contact with revival brethren to discuss the evident needs in these congregations.

    3. A sincere effort should be made to share with the staff in these congregations to help them understand the seriousness of their congregation’s doctrinal weakness or lack of sound doctrine.

    4. Doctrinal points of particular concern:
    A. One true,undivided church of God
    1. The foundation of why she is the church
    2. Church authority in defining practice etc.
    3. The place of leadership, their authority and respect for the same.
    B. Church discipline
    1. It’s purpose and use
    2. The need to help those disciplined through to true repentance and amendment of life.
    3. Special emphasis on the consistent keeping of the avoidance. To not do so is a deviation from sound doctrine.
    C. Justification by faith and the fruits of that faith.
    D. Nonconformity to the world modesty and simplicity
    Due to the continuing pressure of the world toward self-indulgence and the affluence of our times, we need to give diligent heed to the words of Jesus: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt. 16:34). Also 1 Peter 2:11: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
    1. The church sets the standards through the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit.
    2. General guidelines are found in the 1986 General Conference Article 17, and numerous Conferences and Ministers’ and Deacons’ Councils since. Present day concerns needing attention for sisters: sensual and tight fitting, revealing clothes, low or open necklines, many patterns, immodest colors and dress lengths, large floral prints, use of jeans and inconsistent footwear. For brethren, tight-fitting, low cut trousers that are sensual, hairstyles that follow the trends of the world. (These items are mentioned so we know what we are talking these about, not as a comprehensive list.) 1 John 2:15-17.
    3. The devotional head covering is a sign of submission to God’s order. Small head coverings with the accompanying hair cutting indicates a lack of submission or a lack of understanding.
    4. The beard is by order of creation. It needs to be allowed to grow in its natural form with moderate trimming for neatness. The marring as seen in present trends is not in keeping with sound doctrine.
    5. Careful attention needs to be given to technology issues as defined by the Conference and the guidelines set out by the Technology Committee. There is too much disparity in these matters. (e.g.: What is ignored or overlooked in one congregation is a Communion issue in another.)
    6. Sports and recreation of gods of this world and a peril of the last days. Specific attention needs to be given to the large sums of money being spent for sports and recreation equipment, time spent, the unrestrained appetitie for the same, extreme sports. Etc.
    E. Materialism, covetousness, and the resulting affluence.
    Large businesses and operations have lost sight of modesty and simplicity and bring with them independence that finds difficulty in submitting to the church. Much thought and time given to these matters result in choking out the spiritual. The Conference Counseling Committee letters of 2011 and 2012, as well as the 2013 Ministers’ and Deacon’s Council discourse show how serious this concern is. If this is not dealt with, it becomes a leaven.
    F. The holy kiss or salutation
    To leave this doctrine unpracticed is not sound doctrine.
    G. Giving and taking reproof.
    Both items F and G are related to our love. These will be faithfully adhered to as our love to God and each other is renewed.
    5. When teaching isdone, it should be made clear tht hte purpose is to bring us back to the “old Paths” with a renewing of vision to practice the faith once delivered to the saints.
    6. An effort should be made to have more than one CCC member at each area meeting this summer and fall, providing opportunity to share concerns as well as to listen to others share their concerns.
    7. To all minister brethren:
    8. Due to the acute need for revival help and the deeper revial the church is seeking, we encourage those brethren whose family and congregational circumstances permit to take more than two revival calls per year. Furthermore, that a sincer effort be made to keep the Revival Hotline up to date to facilitate congregations in finding revival help.

    Your CCC brethren

  110. Dale says:

    The CCC is getting serious…..whats the ph number for the reeevival hotline??

  111. Freedomman says:

    Reading this whole column, I have to wonder, is there any way, any way at all, to access reality in the consciousness of one who is still under the black cloud of holdemanism? Could God himself find it in his heart to reach out to a group who has turned their back on him so fully? The holdeman church as a whole worships the holdeman church. Those of you who claim to not be holdeman, yet support the church, need to go one step further and read the holdeman literature. Not what they would hand you with a smile, hoping you’ll not ask for the real thing. Listen to a sermon. Not a sermon from 30 yrs ago in your memory, listen to them preach today. Most of them have a number you can call and listen to the gospel being preached.

    Gospel…What is the definition of the word? The sermons today rarely mention Jesus Christ, and the plan of salvation. Some hour long sermons never mention JC at all. He has been replaced by terms such as, “We” “Our People” “We as The Staff” “Us as Brethren” and terms like,”Surrender it all, for the church” “Love for the church” “Give up your will”,(to whom, as Jesus and God have been driven out like vagrants, long ago.)

    It behooves a thinking person to ask oneself, how does a professing Christian group find themselves doing any business with Satan. It seems that Christ thought he died for all, he bled on the cross with the hope that his pain and suffering would save all the sinners ever born. Little did he know that a One True Church would spring up, and nullify the shedding of his blood to the select few who found themselves on the outside of “The Church”. Sad. Perhaps the church isn’t more powerful than Jesus Christ. Perhaps this is what a group of men want you to think. Perhaps you have been duped so badly that you no longer want to know the truth. The bible does say that in the end times, people will choose to believe a lie.

  112. Linda Mae says:

    My children were sexually molested in the Holdeman church and the older children that molested my young children had been molested by older teens themselves. The staff doesn’t allow “OUTSIDE” counselling, they say just keep quiet and no one will find out. Outside counselling is considered to be from anyone not a member of the church. So, they told us just to forgive and keep silent. I’m curious what you other church members would recommend? I have no one to talk to, and feel very alone. I’m shocked that the staff enjoys hearing about the molestation, like they have a insatiable curiosity for hearing what happened and who did what to who. In staff visits they leer at me and I feel as though they are mentally undressing me. Right in front of my husband. It is hard to figure out just what I am supposed to believe when they give advice and ask me to keep these things quiet. It feels very oppressive and threatening. To be called into a room full of ministers all in dark suits is very intimidating to a woman. Especially when your husband isn’t able to be there. Is this a common practice in other congregations? What are they trying to accomplish in threatening me? If I seek counselling for my young children they say I will need to be expelled because I am not “forgiving”. Yes, there are “BACK ROOM” secret meetings and I’ve been in them too many times. Its very intimidating and frightening. They have power and they know how to use it. If this new wave of “SURRENDER” comes to pass, it will probably send me into a complete mental breakdown. I heard that’s what they secretly LIKE. They enjoy watching us women break down and submit to them. Some one told me once it was all about sexual fantasies. That the preachers actually get turned on sexually by a woman’s submission. But I suppose that person was just bitter and offended like all the other expelled. Any suggestions??

    • InDi says:

      Hi Linda,
      I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. I can first confirm that what you are saying about if this happens to other congregations is true. It is also true that you must forgive them, but I believe that you are allowed to forgive them AND seek treatment. Being molested is not a case that should be taken lightly as it will affect the victims in the future. What you say about the ministers being “sexually aroused” by submissive women, however, I don’t know if that is true–it may be, but that is not important. The important thing is to first get the victims counseling or some form of treatment. I am not a qualified counselor yet, but I am currently taking clinical psychology courses, working very closely with psychologists who help people with mental illnesses, and I also have spoken to people who have been sexually and physically abuse–so I have experience.
      E-mail me at if you and your children would like someone to talk to, and I will promise to keep everything confidential. Even if you don’t want to talk to me, please find someone who you can trust and talk to them, OR some form of counseling–if you know what’s best for your children’s future. I’ve seen too many people who have been abused in the past, ending up with some sort of mental illness or develop PTSD because they were reluctant to find treatment. I can help.
      I will be praying for you, and I pray that you will find someone to talk to, whether it’s me or a friend or a professional.

      God bless.

  113. r.k says:

    all I have to say is, if everybody would just focus on their own lives and truly search their hearts and live FULLY for God, everything would be so much more easier. Instead we sit and point fingers instead of loving each other as God intended. Who are we to throw the first stone when none of us are even close to perfect? Life is too short to just throw it all away. So just keep looking towards God. That is all.

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