I remember looking up to my pastors so much, and having such respect and admiration for them, with tears in my eyes I sent them a message through WhatsApp, thanking them for their “covering”, “teaching “, and “leadership”. I was one of those guys who wouldn’t ever leave church, no matter what! I looked down on those who did, I believed there was no legitimate reason to leave church. I believed nearly everyone who attended The Door would one day enter heaven, and Christians from other churches might not meet the same fate. I believed it was a sin to even look at a bottle of alcohol too long, let alone touch it. I saw the world in black and white, and most of it was black. The Door, in my eyes, was a flickering light in the darkness; and my pastors were the ones leading me into the light. If I did what my pastors said, I would definitely enter heaven one day.
Most of those who still attend The Door would immediately be dismissive of what I just wrote. When it comes to The Door, people either believe it’s the greatest church on Earth, or that it’s a flaming cult; there is no neutral zone. It’s scary that so many current members agree with each other on most issues; which political party to vote for, their stance on the BLM movement, whether climate change is an issue, if we should live in fear when it comes to COVID-19, and whether The Door is a cult or not. Many would argue that what I’m writing in this post was in no way based on teachings from my pastors. But it was! In The Door I was taught to respect the pastors, they gave up their life for the gospel, and deserved my respect. I was to call them by their title, even if they were my peers, and especially in front of their “disciples”. I was taught no other church was as great as ours, other churches or denominations were often ridiculed from the pulpit. And The Door preaches the placement doctrine, “you got saved in The Door, God wants you to attend church there”.
I never had any friends outside The Door, I didn’t know how to make friends. On rare occasions I got invited to a party by a colleague or classmate, but I couldn’t go, they were just gonna drink alcohol anyways. I took pride in the fact all my “friends” were from The Door. One day a new convert came to church, we started talking and soon became friends. He still had friends outside The Door, and wouldn’t give them up. Being the good disciple that I was, I blamed his friends for everything that went wrong, and said “I told you so” each time his friends let him down. One day he got into a fight with his friends and listened to me when I told him to let his friends go, “we’re your friends now”. I felt so great now he was isolated from the worldly influences that were his friends.
I believe one of the biggest issues in The Door is the generational gap. Parents remember when the current pastors got saved, they remember their imperfections, and their humanity. Children just see a man of God, a modern day prophet if you will, someone who is perfect, and deserves our utmost respect. They are taught to trust the vision of pastor Mitchell rather than to follow Jesus. They don’t know God has a different plan for everyone’s life, not everyone is gonna be a pastor or pastor’s wife. Many young folks stay in The Door because they’re afraid to lose their salvation, but are they even saved if they’re dependent on their church and their pastors? They’re kept busy with so many activities, they have no time to spend with God, and read His word. They’ve become religious, and uphold the traditions and rituals of The Door, and they don’t even realize it. Their narrative for not leaving The Door is often: “No church is perfect.” But most churches don’t have a pastor with such a position of power, who can manipulate you into doing as they please. If they sin, they’re kicked out of church? What’s that about? They need Jesus the most!
In conclusion, The Door either has a radicalized group who won’t stand for criticism, current members who won’t hesitate to resort to name calling and threatening. And on the other side there is a group of individuals calling that place a flaming cult, who want nothing more than to close the organization down. This is common for most cults or cultish groups, not a single current member would ever admit this was a cult, but a multitude of ex-members agree that it is a cult. Of course you can find many religious groups with some ex-members who call it a cult, but when ex-members collectively agree it’s a cult, it makes you wonder.