I was surprised with what I have found out. I have discovered the secrets that the INC is hiding – the filth behind the administration of Manalo hidden from us members especially in the provinces
I was baptized in the Members Church of God International on July 22, 2005 at the ADD Convention Center. I am from Mindoro Oriental but I was indoctrinated in Molino, Cavite.
I was a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo and I have spent eight years of my life in that church in my belief that it was the true religion. I was a diligent choir member. I have spent many sacrifices, time and money in that congregation.
There have been so many changes in my life then. I have felt pagiging mataas (the sense of being superior) because of a teaching to us that it is only us who will be saved. I belittled those who are not members of our church. I became prone to temptations and committing sins. If there were special celebrations, even we girls drank wines and liquors.
In addition to this, one thing that I came to notice in the Iglesia ni Cristo is that the choir members and the president often argue. I never felt the love between the members, but instead, selfishness.
The deacons in the INC would line up outside the chapel while the service has not started. All of them would be smoking cigarettes. If they have heard news that someone is creating trouble in the nearby locale, they would all go there, headed by the minister, and armed with guns or other weapons.
Every time that there is ‘handugan’ (offering) ‘abuluyan’ (contribution) or ‘lagak’ (deposit) in the locale, everyone should give, including one’s share for the payment for the land where the chapel is constructed (if it was newly built). I have experienced joining reaping of ‘palay’ (rice) and our share would then be put in the box for Malakihang paghahandog (grand offerings). Every time someone from Diliman comes, there is Marangyang paghahanda (grand preparation) and he will also have cavans of rice to be brought to the INC Central Office.
When the yearly thanksgiving would come, it is a must that all should wear new clothes, and the ‘handog pasalamat’ or money offering should be greater than your ‘handog’ the previous year. This is what they called ‘sulong’ (upgrading).
During the years I have spent inside the congregation, several times I have noticed that the topics or texto were just a repetition of what were discussed before. A text message was also sent to us that Bro. Daniel Razon was angry because he was removed from GMA7. I didn’t know who Bro. Daniel was and I wondered who he was.
I have also seen the pornographic comics that depicted a character looking like Bro. Soriano in supposed sodomy that my cousin brought. My cousin is a head of the choir. After our worship service, I have even read that comics but I didn’t pay much attention to it. There was also a time when all of the members were required to tune in their television sets to Net 25 every four o’clock in the afternoon so that non-members will hear the program.
I have INC relatives until now. Their hearts are inclined to material things and riches, are fault-finders and don’t have love for their fellowmen. When I went to visit their locale, I could see the locale’s administration troubled because of the arrogance of the ones administering the locale.
I was lucky enough to go to Taiwan. I had a stable job and a kind employer then. But they changed when I asked them to permit me to attend the worship service and the yearly thanksgiving of the INC. I asked permission through a letter because I was afraid that my employer would get angry.
After he had read my letter, he called for me. He was very angry. His eyes rolled and told me that as though he had a wound on his knee and that as though I was all the more pounding on it to give him more pain. He also said, “I only believe in myself and I don’t believe in GOD.” I could not do anything but to apologize while I was crying. I entered my room and prayed; I almost lost my breath while crying.
As my story continued, something unusual happened. My friends and elders in the INC pushed me to marry one of my co-choir members. Because of gratitude, I agreed.
I thought it was just that easy, even if I knew that I did not love him. I never stopped crying in the day of our wedding because I know that I am lying to myself and in my heart. I even asked someone before the wedding if I can back out, but he said that I will be excommunicated from the INC.
Our ‘marriage’ was troublesome. I was always afraid every time the night came. I felt that I would be eaten by a monster. I felt like a bird in a cage. I wanted to be free. I wanted to escape. My ‘husband’ almost was raping me. It was a moment in my life that I deeply regretted.
That one year of our ‘marriage’ was very chaotic. Then he reported me to the locale minister. I was summoned to his office and then I heard painful and shameful words that were hard to bear.
On that day that he reported me to the minister, I decided to leave him and told him that I am leaving INC, although I didn’t mean what I said. I still believed then that the INC is the true religion. We separated for about six months.
However, he visited me in Laguna where I was working and forced me to come with him. He said that I will be excommunicated if I did not go home and live with him. The INC minister talked to me and because of my faith then, I accepted him. After four months, we finally decided to separate. We often had fights as he was often drunk.
I did not know where I was going. My mind was cluttered and I didn’t even have anything that I needed. I came to Manila from Mindoro. I still continued attending INC worship service and I felt that I was filled with sin and I was lost.
I simply wished for myself to be able to see a pastor or a preacher to whom I could tell all my complaints and ask advice and prayers for the forgiveness of my sins. Even as I thought about these things, I never planned to go to Manalo although I can easily go to the INC Central Office in Diliman.
I have known Manalo as somebody in the highest place and not anyone can just face him. I remember once when I wanted to see Manalo and shake his hands. I came with my overseas-returning cousin who was being entertained by Manalo. His son was the one who welcomed us – he who is like a celebrity with many bodyguards and video cameras following him while we were falling in line to shake his hands.
Then I remembered one of my friends in Cavite. I texted her and asked her if she can help me find a job. She asked me to come and stay with her for the moment.
She was a member of the Church of God and she convinced me to come with her when she would attend their Church gatherings even though I was still attending INC gatherings. She told me that she will not force me to join the congregation if I didn’t want to. She just encouraged me to listen to the preaching in their gatherings.
I was surprised with what I have found out. I have discovered the secrets that the INC is hiding – the filth behind the administration of Manalo hidden from us members especially in the provinces. Without hesitation, I decided to continue attending the Church of God’s gatherings and even indoctrination sessions. I also attended the Saturday Thanksgivings in Apalit, Pampanga.
I was very happy when I saw Bro. Eli Soriano, whom I thought was a false preacher and a fool as what the INC ministers had been telling us. Only then did I realize that the video that I have been seeing on TV were edited versions of the INC!
I have discovered so many things that I have not learned in the INC. I have felt that peace and meekness that I have never felt in my former religion. Very soon, the aides in the INC contacted me, asking where I was but I told them that I was voluntarily expelling myself from the INC. I told them that I will never come back to INC because I have learned so many teachings and doctrines that I have never understood in the INC.
Then I accepted the true baptism. My body shivered and I cried a lot when I was in the baptistery.
Some very important words that I have learned in the Church of God: “Thanks be to God!”
I have felt that God has answered my prayers. Through Bro. Eli, I have learned to love my fellowmen, have compassion and feed even the enemy. To do good unto all men as long as there is opportunity, and to remain humble and meek.
I also felt that in times that I have sinned, the Holy Spirit guides me to feel repentance and continue to walk with God.
Thanks be to God for His sent preachers that introduced me to the real Jesus Christ and to the Living God who wanted all people to be saved.
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!
by Nelsie Villanueva