An excerpt from the journal of The Peaceful Black Warrior:
What I know now about prayer is quite different than what I thought I knew about it during that time in my life just before bootcamp when I asked The Creator to help me through the scary events I felt were waiting for me in adult life. As you ponder the title, keep in mind that as I write this I am at my parent’s house & we just received news that my father has lung cancer that has progressed beyond the point that the doctors are able to do anything to help him. Just as my wife’s father spent his last days, my father mainly lies resting with his oxygen mask irritated most of the time while the rest of the family is doing whatever we can to ease my mom’s burden. My job has just laid me off due to lack of available work. These hard economic times have negatively affected my business as well. My clients, who are business owners as well, agree that these are tight times and many are unable to pay me right now.
All this doesn’t even make up half of the attack on my mind. The noise is very loud at this moment in time and the answers seem to be out of reach. Having nothing to fall back on but the religious training of my earlier lifetime, the question seemed appropriate.
In order to truly understand the question, We need to go back….Way back.
Not just back in time but back in the recesses of my mind to memories that for many years I have repressed.
As you read this, you are reading me and my life becomes an open book to you. This is my testimony. It is my prayer that this testimony will minister to someone going through similar attacks so they can continue to survive on the mind’s battlefield. My other benefit is the fact that this is part of a healing process for me.
….And this is how I keep it real.
“How can a man of God with such an in depth knowledge and understanding use God’s word to destroy the lives of so many people who were just seeking to please God and live better?”
I have struggled with that question for 16 years. I have finally come to this conclusion: THAT WAS NO MAN OF GOD. That’s a simple answer that has taken nearly half of my lifetime to reach. Much of this is just now coming to me after finally learning that the man I speak of paid for what he did in the end. (see www.abusivechurches.org) I knew Lloyd R. Davis (now deceased) quite well. I respected him as my bishop for over three years. From what I gather, he denied ever committing the sick acts he was accused of all the way to the grave. If that’s so, then that is one person that I know for sure (according to what he taught) will be going to hell. I have witnessed first hand with my own eyes and physical body some of the ungodly actions of this so-called bishop. Much of what I witnessed has been repressed for about 16 years and for good reason. Just about everything having to do with his ministry I have repressed. It wasn’t until running into my friend, Tony in 2007 that it all started coming back. Tony knew exactly why I was feeling very nervous when we happened to run into each other and let me know that there were others who confessed to what I knew to be true. He is the one who gave me the website with all the court details.. It felt like a life-long exhale for me.
For years I’ve remained fairly silent about the things I witnessed while a member of the Church. I’ve only shared this story with a few close family members and friends and never as detailed as I am sharing it here. Part of the reason for my silence is, first of all, the thought of no one believing me and accusing me of being a heretic bent on wrecking an innocent ministry. The biggest reason for my silence would be my own participation in those events and the guilt of a part of me that enjoyed it. This reason is probably only understood by those who have been victims of such sexual misconduct. In my case, even the use of the term “sexual misconduct” does not describe my experience. For lack of a better description, let me just say it was just plain nasty! I am sure the others who I have learned were victimized by this man will agree. On top of all that, there are yet many more who have been victimized by the ministry and others that may be still following that ministry unaware of what they’re really involved in. I write for us all.
I know now that it wasn’t coincidental that the first thing that Christ said when asked about signs of the end was “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4) and that many shall be deceived. He didn’t say that many shall TRY to deceive many. That means there are going to be MANY that are deceived. We all like to think that “it’s not going to be me.” Myself and many others thought the same thing and yet I followed and supported this church for over 3 years, faithfully. What I’m trying to say is deception doesn’t come in a bright red box marked “trick” It comes disguised as a dedicated, on-fire, active ministry that gets darker the deeper you get into it. On the surface, everything appears perfect and everyone seems overjoyed. Your first few visits, you may not notice anything out of the ordinary. My advice, “look around, look around” and ask questions. Be diligent in your OWN Spiritual journey above and beyond what any church is feeding you (2 Timothy 2:15) Finally, talk to God constantly. Confess your faults and struggles to God first and foremost. The Lord has a way of giving a true seeker of God the answers he or she needs without having to tell any man your personal confessions and only God can forgive you for any of your sins. That being said, let me begin my story and how I learned these things the hard way.
Bootcamp was an experience that sparked my communication with God. I was born and raised in the Church of God in Christ but until then, a true real conversation with the Lord had not taken place. In bootcamp God was my only true friend. I didn’t know much about being saved then but I did know Romans 10:9 So I gave my life to the Lord while in bootcamp and then did the best I could to live a Holy Life amongst my “anything but Holy” counterparts or “shipmates” as we called each other. We had an appointed chaplain who led us in prayer and supposedly provided spiritual guidance. He later lost his whole bootcamp savings (somewhere around $800) by purchasing the services of a prostitute who took off with his wallet. Then there was Sunday morning services which was more an excuse to get out of the stuffy barracks. They had to cater to all religions, Christian, Catholic, Muslim, etc. so it was really just a lot of confusion and people making a lot of noise trying to release tension. I was allowed a little pocket-sized New Testament Bible so I just read and read and conversed with The Spirit I felt inside my heart.
I was so-called “saved” with absolutely no power over my struggles or temptations. I just told myself that I would be delivered and find real answers once I got out of bootcamp and got in a REAL church, got baptized and all that. I also promised God I would search for a church when I got out. I fabricated this excuse to temporarily “backslide” and join in on some of the ungodly activities going on around me. It was a familiar place for me. Needless to say, when I graduated from bootcamp, looking for a church was the last thing on my mind. One thing that managed to stay in the back of my mind was a promise I made to God that if he got me through bootcamp, I would serve him with all my heart. I’ve learned in situations like bootcamp or jail (and I’ve experienced both) we tend to make a lot of sincere promises that we somehow forget once we get out. Something would not let me push this promise completely out of my mind. It just kept popping up! So I reasoned that the church was in my heart and I began to read my Bible, fast and pray regularly-ALONE….
During my school and training period, I had a roommate that was attending this church, I began to take notice that he was involved in some form of church activities 7 days a week (religiously) I was intrigued and was ready to go see this church when he invited me. It was on a Tuesday and they were having Bible studies and fellowship in the activity center the church had directly across the street from the base. (a strategy they used to recruit young naive men like myself) I never saw one female at that center ever. (first red flag)
They had food, games and original Christian music that the music department had recorded in the studio. I was very interested in knowing and doing more in ministry.
After a few intense Bible studies on the importance of Baptism, I got baptized right at the center which was equipped with a baptismal tank. I joined the church and was on-fire and active in the ministry every free hour of every day I had. I was in at least 4-5 Bible studies a day, witnessing, “soul winning” and attending various church functions and events. If I wasn’t doing those things, I was working on my “Holy Hip-Hop” with the music department or working and going to school.
Before long, I moved into the house the church had bought for the men to stay in. I was living on about $50 a month with the rest of my military pay going to the “ministry” I had no rent or obligations and I ate at the church or community center if I wasn’t fasting which I did a minimum of 3 days each week. At the time, the absence and often avoidance of female interaction still did not throw up any red flags for me. I had no time for such distractions anyway, however there was always a battle within my body which was used to plenty of the female attention I received from my previous lifestyle. I often confided in L.R. Davis about this battle in which he would tell me he would, in time, help me with.
HIS VERSION OF HELP WAS NOT WHAT I PICTURED IN MY MIND.
Now, the picture of what actually happened that day I was called to the pastor’s office to finally get that help will never leave my mind. I vividly remember all of it. As I walked to that office, visions of Heaven opening up and the power of God descending down upon me filled me with trembling anticipation. As I reached for the door, I remember my hands feeling like they had lost circulation. When I opened the door, every good feeling and wonderful thought vanished instantly. My feelings about religion would be forever changed.
In the end I have learned and truly believe in the deepest of my heart that it was truly The Great Architect of The Universe that answered my prayers in such a way through such an experience that would teach me that regardless of what may be written in any sacred script, no matter what so-called miracles may be witnessed and recorded, in spite of how much knowledge, wisdom and understanding one may possess….
The True Kingdom of Heaven has always been within me. I guess I had to see all the mess going on in the world outside of me to begin to see Truth inside of me.
written by T. Hicks
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