"I experienced and noticed the wrong that went on in Victory Chapel. I was in a youth group and always called a 'backslider' every time I turned around! I was afraid that I would go to hell if I blinked. Yes, I gained a lot of things from the church, but never could get past all the hell and damnation preaching...I am glad to see another person who refused to be brainwashed by these turkeys. They are responsible for a lot of divorces. This church has had divisions and they have turned many people away from God because of their un-Christian ways."
"The Potter's House destroyed my life in many ways. I am still recovering from that experience of eight years, some years later. I went months of therapy with a reputable Christian counselor, whom I cannot thank God for enough. Family? Education? You cannot ever recover from them taking your youth and dreams."
"I recently left the Potter's House and it was the scariest thing I've ever had to do.We were members for nearly nine years. I cant believe what we have had to endure since leaving. Its simply not normal.Total excommunication by all members, even people that were our best friends.My eldest child has experienced nightmares and depression."
"I was a part of Victory Chapel for about three years. I received Jesus into my heart and I was changed by Him. As I continued to attend the church though, my wife became suspicious of their motives. Were we serving Jesus or the organization? I felt spiritually weak, condemned for every thought and nobody there to encouraged me. The members could see that I was fighting to stay on the right path, but their only concern was the church. Why were we not attending? My family and I now attend another church and are happy. Our former 'friends' from Victory Chapel don't talk to us anymore. We realize that we can serve God without feeling weak and discouraged."
"My husband went to the Potter's House for a little over a year, but it was enough time to see what went on. We were both active duty military and regular targets of evangelism. The church seems to feel that the military is perfect for recruiting because they have no family around and everyone wants to be loved. My husband and I met and were engaged with the pastor's permission. The pastor's wife chose our wedding music. We were not allowed to miss services or outreaches and if we did, we were called that evening to find out why. My husband and I would both rush from work to whatever event was going on that night. When we made the decision one night to stay home we were reprimanded. We loved everyone in the church and they truly had become our family. When we disagreed with leadership they said that was 'refusing to submit to God.' I was very ill after a miscarriage and my husband decided to stay home with me one night to take care of me. When the service was over the pastor called and asked why we weren't at church. I said that I was sick. He said, "Yeah, but is your husband sick"? That was a real red flag and I realized that something was not right. My sister did some research and found your website and told me about it. At first I was mad at her for even suggesting something might be wrong, but decided to look. I couldn't believe that I was reading experiences just like mine. I printed shared the information with my husband. After much prayer and discussion, we felt God wanted us to move on. After we left our 'family' no longer wanted anything to do with us. They loved us as long as we did what they wanted. We were too hurt to try and become part of a church family. So, until recently we didn't. But then we realized that the hurt we felt was not from God, that He didn't do this to us, the 'church' did. Many others left after we did. I am thankful that God opened our eyes. We are in an awesome church now. I hope this will help someone else, the way we were helped. The Potter's House is a very controlling, legalistic, slightly 'cultic' church."
"I am the mother of two sons who attend the Victory Chapel. At first I thought this was wonderful, when they announced that they had quit using drugs and alcohol and that they had become Christians. It was a dream come true to see them change their lifestyles. I had been praying for this to happen for quite some time. At first, I saw the positive behavioral changes, but now I am seeing personality changes that concern me a great deal. I was always able to talk to my sons about anything. Now they have little respect, not only for me as their mother, but for women in general. They are totally consumed with "God's will/Victory Chapel's will' for their lives."
"I was a member of The Potter's House for two years. During that time I left once, but went back after a couple of months of being 'backslid' only to have things get worse. My husband was studying to become a pastor. But he was physically abusive and sexually abusing our daughter. When I went to the pastor for counseling he told me to keep my mouth shut because God was working on my husband. When I went to him about the abuse of my daughter he called the police, but said that I should remain with my husband and that with counseling we could remain a family. I decided to divorce and then became unwelcome in church. Friends were told not to talk to me, even children were told that they could not be friends with my kids. It was really sick. My Christian support system was only there when I did what they wanted me to. I have been out of the Potter's House for three years, but still feel sick about what was done in the 'Name of God.' Since then I have found a real church community that make me feel at home, has restored my faith in God and people."
"I have attended a few services at the Potter's House in Prescott, mainly through their revival or conference. I was raised in a Christian home and am a born-again Christian. It is my understanding that when there is a message in tongues there should be an interpretation. But at the Potters House they all speak in tongues and there never was one. God gives us the internal insight to say, 'Hey something is not right here.' I find it sad that I have family so absorbed in this denomination. From the very first time I attended a service there it felt like something was just not right. My husband totally freaked out and wanted to know what was going on. It scared our kids tremendously."
"I spent most of my childhood in The Door Christian Fellowship Church. But after convincing my mother and stepfather to boot me out of the house, I attended church with my grandma.It was a mind awakening for me. Her church was normal, with real compassion and you were free there. Freedom was something I lost during those wasted years within The Door. Things happened there I don't even tell trusted friends. I commend you for this site, though you have not discussed in depth the issue of child discipline at The Door. This is a very serious and grave issue. Child abuse is rampant there. I know because of the irrevocable damage done in my own life. Others should know about the spankings and extreme control children experience there. I was raised to be anti-social and to this day have trouble in crowds and with people in general."
"My husband and I are former members of the Potter's House Christian Fellowship Church, also known as Cornerstone Fellowship. We left after five years. We witnessed inconsistent doctrine and also the controlling of members through fear of damnation. Even if you were doing all that you should or could, you still felt condemned. We both are so thankful to God that we escaped. We are happily married and serving God at a different church, under a Pastor who has a very genuine love for people. We both thank you for your website. It is very helpful and evoked a lot of memories. We hope that others will be able to find answers to questions that have been nagging them in the back of their minds about the Potter's House. We are sorry for those still there and pray that they will be delivered from the tyrannical pastor."
"I attended the Potter's House for five years. I cannot believe that I stayed there for so long. But as other ex-members have said, they have a knack for slowly tightening the chains and kind of feeding you bite size pieces of their false doctrine, until you're too 'brainwashed' and unable to think for yourself to fight back. The bible clearly disagreed with many of their teachings, but it was never an option to question the almighty pastor. Now I am in a wonderful church where people are totally accepted. It's important not to give up on God after you give up on the Potter's House. God's church is nothing like them, so don't 'throw the baby out with the bathwater!'"
"My husband and I have been attending the Potter's House for years, but felt something wasn't quite right. However, we just pushed it down, thinking it was the devil attacking our mind. The church is very controlling and legalistic. They say that God comes first and then the family. But the way they preach the church comes first. If you say yes to everything you are OK, but once you say no or question them, problems start to arise. We will be looked down upon for leaving. They will say we are in 'rebellion,' 'backslidden' and that I am a 'Jezebel.' I have heard it before when other couples left. We don't want to leave bitter. We still love each and every person in that place. Thank you for your web site, which we were told was wrong and that it would 'poison' our minds. I thank God my eyes have been opened."
"I've been reading the comments regarding Potter's House on your website and am thankful that you have provided a place where people can get the real scoop from former members. I was a member more than twenty years, married in the church. My husband was a pastor. We left the fellowship after years of difficulty regarding the legalistic viewpoints of Mitchell and his followers. Many people recently left including more than a hundred pastors. Mitchell referred to people who left as the 'floaties that are left in the toilet after you flush.' Anyone in the fellowship now that has contact with these people is required to publicly renounce them. This includes Sharon Mastin, Mitchell's own daughter. Mitchell and the fellowship are becoming more and more controlling of people's lives.There have been many divorces. It took my husband and I years of counseling to get over the damage the fellowship caused. They think that they can mandate righteousness, but you can't. Legalism only causes shame and rebellion in the heart of the believer. The Bible tells us to work out our own salvation. I hope many more people log onto your website and see for themselves what a dangerous movement this is."
"My brother and his wife are members of 'The Door.' Though my mother was the main influence in our lives and introduced us to Jesus, he thinks she is 'damned to hell,' as well as every other member of our family. He says Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa, Billy Graham and all other religious leaders are 'going to hell.' That only being saved through his church proves you are really saved. He verbally abuses his wife if she doesn't 'submit' like the bible says. He doesn't own a TV, but when at my house, all he does is watch TV. I know in my heart he needs to get out of this church. He is a scary man."
"I was involved with 'The Potter's House' headed by Wayman Mitchell. I was in the line coming from Harold Warner's church in Tucson, Arizona. I saw that you had the names 'Potter's House,' 'The Door,' 'La Puerta' and 'Victory Chapel.' I didn't know if you were aware that there is a line also called 'The Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Churches.' They are a downline from Tucson. They have churches with this name on the West Coast and in Africa. Their people used to come to our conferences in Tucson. I hope this helps in your research."
"My daughter was invited to the 'Potters House.' I did not know anything about this place. She was invited by a friend at school who took her to a 'dance' at the church. Then the friend wanted to take her to a bible study. I told my daughter to come home. Later she told me about the strange service she attended and the pressure she had been under to join the church. My daughter has a pretty good head on her shoulders and realized just how strange this group was. I became aware of just how vulnerable 14-year-olds seem to be. Thanks for your website, it is excellent."
"'The Potter's House' or 'The Door' organization, with its mother church in Prescott led by Wayman Mitchell, has had a falling out with the church in Yuma. Now the 'Christian Fellowship Churches' is using new names related to 'The Fire,' such as Yuma now known as 'The Dessert Fire' and Tampa has become 'The Bay Fire' and so on. So now the organization has another new name. These are the same churches, but they are changing their names again."
"I left the 'church' in England, but about half a year later, in another part of England, I came across them evangelizing. One of their number recognized me, and asked why I had left. He became very aggressive and said, 'Satan has a hold on your life, and has pulled you out of God's church.' It was sad. When I was in the Potter's House he was much different ; friendly, caring etc. But now I was no longer locked in so he treated me differently, as if I was not a true Christian. Of course, I believe God brought me OUT of the Potter's House. Be very cautious when dealing with this group. There are good and sincere folk in there, but it seemed that that there was something very wrong, even sinister, lurking somewhere behind it all."
"We have attended a Potter's House for five years and I feel dead now. One thing I know is that I am afraid of them. My wife still attends, but I know we have to sever our ties. We have been to Prescott twice for conferences. Thanks for being there."
"I was in a "Potter's House" in Australia for over 11 years. I have now been saved from their rules and realized I was dead in religion for years. Now I can watch TV without fear and am learning to know who God really is. I thank God for getting me out. This is all a new beginning."
"My husband and I attended a Potter's House in the Pacific Northwest from about 1985 to 1995. We met, married and had children while in this Christian Fellowship church. I do agree that some of the doctrine promoted by the fellowship is legalistic and controlling, but I wanted to share a message with those who have left the fellowship that God is always faithful even when God's people are not. To use a phrase quoted in the fellowship, it is possible to be very sincere and yet be sincerely wrong. I do believe that the pastor, his family and members of the congregation were very sincere about fulfilling the will of God and could not always see the harm that resulted from promoting certain teachings. For instance, higher education was discouraged (since the men were to be discipled and trained to pastor and the women were to remain at home). Thus, many families within our church were barely making it and were told to 'believe God' for financial blessing. I am now completing the college degree that I postponed when I first joined to secure a better future for my family. My husband and I still struggle with finding a church we can truly call home--we are a little battered from our experiences, but we do love God and are trying to build a healthy relationship with Him and His people. There is hope and life after Potter's House!"
"We ran with Wayman Mitchell and the boys and our church was under him, but we were called 'Praise Chapel.' Then the split happened and we went on our merry way, but still acted the same as 'Potter's House.' I pastored within the 'Fellowship,' but later left. They are only interested in the bottom line. That is, how much money, effort and time you can give them, regardless of what it costs you or your family. There are many casualties. My church now is an Assembly of God church, which has droves of them [former fellowship members] and most are screwed up. Please know that there are a lot of folks who really love Jesus, but got hooked up in this stuff and could not get out. It's hard to explain if you have never experienced it. And regardless of what anyone says, I consider all of those churches cults. They run your life, make your decisions and excommunicate folks who do not agree with them."
"Fourteen years ago my marriage came to an end when my husband joined a so-called church, that goes by the name of the 'Potter's House.' After watching an episode of '48 Hours' on CBS I was able to locate you for your help. You returned my call and we had a long conversation. You gave me the information I needed to make a clear and rational decision. My husband allowed this church to pull him into a world of illusion. He made ultimatums, which I could not possibly fulfill, such as join the church or we could no longer be married. I filed for divorce. I discovered your website while surfing the Internet and decided to drop a little note to thank you. I am now happy and free. Hopefully, you are still helping kids out of organizations that destroy their minds. Again, thank you."
"I spent over ten years of my young life growing up within 'The Door.' My mother and father went to the church. But my parents got divorced when my father left or 'backslided' as they say. My mother got married again to another member after a relationship of only two weeks. This man turned out to be very abusive physically and mentally. Everyone in the church knew it, but no one helped. My mother eventually left both the church and her new husband. We have since recovered. But this church will continue to have long term effects upon my life. I will forever fear God and leaving the church. My sisters feel the same way. Being a child I was very open to their ideas and often terrified. What scares me now is to learn what happened to my peers after my family left the church. I may not have all the answers, but know when something is wrong. Thank you for your Web site. I may now bring closure to this chapter of my life."
"As a former member I want everyone to know that there is joy beyond the 'Potter's House.' Leaving was the best thing that ever happened to in my life. It made me take a good look at the bible for myself. People should never believe something because a pastor said it, but instead look in the bible for yourself. The Lord said, 'Come let us reason together.' Jesus showed me He chose me, loves me and that He died in my place! What a awesome God I serve. I can't begin to fathom my life would have been if I had not left. Today my life in Christ is happiness beyond my wildest dreams! An awesome husband who loves me, a Godly functional family and great friends in Christ who love unconditionally! My pastors encourage me to grow and support me in my walk with Christ. Yes, there is life beyond Christian Fellowship Churches!"
"My husband and I were members of the Christian Fellowship Churches for 23 years. This began what I can only describe as 23 years of hell. When I left the church I began to have nightmares and was in fear of going to hell. I went through secular counseling, which helped me to understand that God can speak to me, without the help of a pastor. Not all of my experiences with 'Potter's House' were bad, but the years of brainwashing and terror tactics took their toll. Since we left, we've been ignored by everyone, but one person and she was told to stay away from us because we are 'poison.' You're discouraged from attending college (I was told I would backslide if I continued my education). If you're sick, you've obviously got some 'hidden sin.' We've even sat through an evangelist 'pulling' an offering for over an hour until we gave our life's savings. The guilt trips are the worst. You cannot mandate righteousness. I just wanted to share with you what we've gone through."
"I just wanted to write to say that I used to go to a Potter's House church and your website helped me to realize that it was a cult [sic]. It's really hard for me to realize that I used to be there, but God has brought me into the light and shown me His Truth and I am so thankful for that."
"I've been reading your website about the Christian Fellowship Churches for two days now. I must say that I am thoroughly impressed. I too am a former member of this group. In fact, my current Pastor was a Pastor in that fellowship for many years before he and his wife left in 1991 (along with approx. 75 other Pastors). It was a horrible experience for them, but today he and his wife, along with those of us who left with him are healthier, happier, and more in love with Jesus than ever. I do not believe the Christian Fellowship Church is a cult. It does has some cultic aspects, but they do follow the basic tenets of Christianity. The problem comes out of their elitist attitude, and strong stand on compliance to their interpretation of what God's word says. Those of us who were Christians before we got involved don't have such a difficult time because we already understand that it is Jesus we follow and not pastors. The difficulty for us is in learning to think for ourselves again and hearing and following the Holy Spirit instead of a man, or group of men. A true pastor would rather his people not follow him, but instead keep their eyes on Jesus and follow Him. It's unfortunate that people like Mitchell have so much influence. Jesus came to bring the 'Good News.'"
"Thanks--this is an awesome site. My spouse & I have left 'The Door'--the control there was outrageous. We couldn't think or express our thoughts--because somehow it was 'the devil.' The Door church council had no say--instead the pastor said, 'This is MY CHURCH and I run it the way I want.' That church was run by man not God, which is the problem there. I observed so much I just wanted out, but it still hurts because I will always love many of the people there. Since leaving we have joined an Assemblies of God church and we like it. The Pastor is so nice and the church council is a real council. At our new church people seem to rely on God not man. It's a new spiritual start for us--something we couldn't have done at 'The Door.'"
"I am a Potter's House survivor. When I was first involved with them I quit university--because church leaders told me it was 'God's will.' I ended up in a retail job sometimes giving my entire paycheck in the offering so 'God would bless my faith.' After about a year I married an otherwise unlikely choice for a husband because he was 'saved' and this was sanctioned by the church. Over the six years I was there I became involved in church ministry, played in a band, organized the church nursery and taught sunday school. And though our pastor admonished band members to smile and 'look happy'--I was quite miserable. Finally I realized that God gives us LIBERTY, what I was involved in was not liberating and that I had the right to leave. I divorced my abusive and chronically unemployed husband, returned to university and finished my degree. I am now happy, married again, the mother of two and developing a great career. It has taken me about five years to reverse the damage of six spent in the Potter's House. It was not the basic beliefs of this group that hurt me, but their behavior. My family and friends are very glad to have me back and our relationships are even richer than before."
"I was a member of The Door. Every Sunday, the pastors sermons would 'bind me up in chains' emotionally. I finally ran across the Bible verse: the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM. II Cor. 3:17. This verse made me wake up and leave."
"I have read all your info on the potter's house, etc., and I agree with everything. When I was younger I was a member and have had some very bad experiences with this group. Keep up the good work on exposing this group for what they are."
"I was a member of a Victory Church located in Massachusetts. I saw your Web site and I loved it. I experienced a lot of the pain that a lot of ex-cult members feel. I pray to God that people will continue to be helped by your efforts. I have myself returned to the church of my youth and I am very happy. Paul Campo, the pastor of that Cape Cod [Victory] "church" is one of the most arrogant men alive today. I am amazed at how people just blindly follow him. Thanks and keep up the good work."
"There is a Victory Chapel on Guam and the same thing is happening here. My sister left the church finally realizing that it was mind control, and brain washing. I would like to say thank you for being out there to let people know what is really going on."
"Thank you for this site because at one time I thought that I was the crazy one and now I know that I am not alone. I lost my marriage because of my decision not to follow [Christian Fellowship Churches]. The people in the church believe--I am now a 'non-believer'. I am glad that I finally made the decision to leave, but I truly loved my husband. I hope that you can help others like my former husband."
"My wife and I have been attending the Christian Fellowship. I read through many of the articles on Potter's House and Wayman Mitchell--it was as though I was reading transcripts of conversations I've had about the church or reading a play about things we've seen. From the very beginning there were flags shooting up warning me, but I waited to give the church a chance to prove itself. But, after attending the July 1998 conference in Prescott--my suspicions only became stronger. Now after reading the stories of others who unfortunately stayed in way too long--my feelings and suspicions have been confirmed.
Most of the people in our congregation are completely indoctrinated. They all express that same belief that any church besides a Potter's House is full of backsliders and lukewarm Christians. I believe it is a great service that you are providing exposing organizations such as Wayman Mitchell and his Potter's House".
"I agree 100% with what is written about Wayman Mitchell and 'The Door' church. We had an employee/friend who became involved in The Door about two years ago. They 'love bombed' him as soon as he walked through the door. We visited the church with him, at his request, to see what we thought of it. To give it a fair chance my husband and I visited it.
Each time I asked for a Statement of Faith, Doctrinal Statement, or anything that would show us their beliefs. They had nothing, and were not happy when I asked to see them. Our friend then accused me of attacking his church. His pastor has told him to stay away from us. I have seen a kind, loving person fill with hate and contempt towards anyone who is not a member of 'his' church. He is angry and bitter all the time. I hope you can get the word out on this 'church' before it destroys any more families".
"My husband and I pastor a new church and it is called 'Praise Chapel'. I read the information at your Web site about the Potter's House, [member of Christian Fellowship Churches]. But if I may correct one thing please. My husband and I used to be in the Potter's House. And NO WAY is that organization and ours alike! I am so very glad that I have been set free from Potter's House. I would appreciate it if you took Praise Chapel's off from being affiliated with Potter's House. As we have nothing to do with them." (Read the full commentary from this visitor)
"We have been out about 10 years after spending 11 years of my life in that place. It was indeed rough going for a long time. Fortunately for us, we got right into a good church that helped us through the hard times. We did experience a lot of the same things talked about by other former members".
"A loved one of mine is involved in Praise Chapel--once associated with Potter's House. I personally don't believe they are a 'cult', but they do have a disproportionate number of the signs. They have the attitude that if you leave the church, there is something wrong with you.
A week or two ago, an article in the LA Times appeared about Victory Outreach, and how they were accused of illegally exploiting their members for money. As I read the article, I was sickened to think of how alarmingly similar their practices are to Praise Chapel's".
"I was looking for some information on the Christian Fellowship Churches (Potter's House, etc.) and came across your web site. My husband and I attended the Potter's House for a number of years--met and married in the church. We left in 1995 after almost ten years and experienced much hurt, isolation, loss [and] rejection. I know that the fellowship was (and probably still is) very controlling [and] extremely legalistic in their doctrine. It is very hard to go on and pick up the pieces of your Christianity after an experience like that. [However], though man is not always faithful--God has shown Himself to be faithful [and] in heaven there will be no fellowships and denominations--only people who love the Lord."
"The Potter's House is a church that is emotionally unsafe. If you need healing, this is not the place. They are spiritually arrogant. They claim it is hard to serve God and we're all just a "bunch of bozos" and the sheep are stupid. But my bible says, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light". My God is a God of new beginnings many times over who is faithful and true--"even when we are faithless he remains faithful, because He cannot deny Himself".
"I am currently a member of the Potter's House Christian Church. First of all I apologize--I think that much of what I was told about you was greatly unfounded. I still am not sure that these guys are a cult per say, but I do know though, that I am not happy with the blind way people follow the Pastor."
"I Know Wayman and Nelda Mitchell very well. I was there in Prescott for years at the beginning. Also know Ronny Jones and Harold Warner and many other [Christian Fellowship] pastors. God told me to leave in mid-70s. I still know many bound [within that fellowship who experience] great fear."
"I joined the church during a vulnerable time. I was on the verge of a divorce (or so I thought). That was three years ago and I was only a member for 364 days. My husband just put up with my decision and never joined the church. Since I've left The Door, I am no longer afraid of death. I chose to leave because I felt as though the pastor was acting like God in that he would tell people whether they could move to another city, or if they could miss church for another obligation--the list goes on and on. He even told someone to bring their dog, which was having seizures, to church with them just so they wouldn't miss church! When I finally left The Door, the pastor yelled at me and made it very clear that I betrayed my family (the church) and that I would backslide and go to hell. Then, nobody in the church was allowed to talk to me. Oh well, my life is so much better now anyway. I can't believe I fell for that garbage."
"I was involved in the Potters House in Norwich England in 1988/89. After 8 months I got out. It definitely is cult like. I am still a Christian and think your site does very good work in exposing the Potters House. It is very much a 'wolf in sheep's clothing.'"
"Thank you for having the guts to stand up for what is right in providing this information to the public! My child is in the Marine Corps and a member of the 'Potter's House' church. I have read through the articles about the church and they ALL ring very true. My wife and I are Christians, but we don't subscribe to the hogwash that their 'Pastor' is telling them. This Pastor is actually quite controlling about how the church and its congregation conforms to his rules. I am appalled that he was not required to go to a formal bible college or a seminary like Fuller. The Chaplain on base said that he is aware of the church and has had complaints."