Beatings in The Coat Closet

Sometimes as kids, we would hide in the coat closet in the auditorium when the church was located in Smithton. It was a fairly large closet with upper and lower racks, creating a great place to hide while sitting between the packed layers of coats.

We would do this to hide from our parents or get a break from the exhausting non-stop forced “intercession” that children were made to do from 10:00PM into the morning hours (wrist shaking , rocking back and forth, and mumbling in tongues) to assist the adults who were the “prayer warriors”.

In the early days of our newly discovered hiding spot, a father brought their son into the closet. They were both known to us. The father said, “when I say pray, I mean pray. I don’t want to see you talking with your friends! It’s time to pray and do intercession. You were warned”.

He removed his belt and made the son lean over against the wall. He used his full force to hit the child across his legs and bottom repeatedly.

It was so loud in church that maybe others couldn’t hear the boy’s screams, or the screams blended in with the other frequent wails / yelps / screams common at charismatic revivals. That was just the first time we witnessed this in the closet, and soon realized more than one parent used the closet to hit their child during the loud roars of the altar calls.

We only took a couple 5-10 minute breaks hiding in the closet every couple nights (meetings were 6 times a week and we were there from 6pm-12am on Revival nights) because it was risky to possibly be missed by a intercession monitor or parent. But also, it was so nice to have a break from watchful eyes that the risk was worth it.

One night, a mother dragged her son into the closet and punched him in the head and slapped his ears while screaming in tongues at him. We had seen this same mother also do this to her children in the church parking lot. The children we saw hit at church were hit because they did not measure up to the extreme expectations outlined in children’s teachings – there is no “junior Holy Spirit” and therefore, children over 5 were held to adult expectations, absolutely inappropriate for the attention spans or capabilities of their small bodies and developing brains.

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