Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer:
I have been a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ever since I was born, as my family, all my relatives from the mother's side up to my grandparents, are all INC. My mother, father, brothers and sisters all hold church duties so it can be said that our family members were devout in faith. It was all okay for me until a few years ago.
The new church administration always plays the scare game: If you don't obey, you will be excommunicated and will face the lake of fire at judgement day.
First, it seems that this leads to some ministers asking more than what someone can wholeheartedly give by scaring them when it comes to their faith.
Next is the way the sermons are being constructed, as to denote that if you face difficulties in your life, you must just bear with it or ignore it for your faith.
Nowadays (just this 2015), it is made worse by pointing out in sermons that the reason you are still poor, still suffering is because you do not obey the teachings of the Church.
And in just the last sermon before this writing, the topic was about ignoring everything unrelated to church activities because God will still help. It stressed that things are better now compared to Noah's time – he didn’t complain, so neither must you.
There has been a drastic change since the past executive minister and I want to break from this as soon as I can.
I am still able to tolerate the teachings when I go to church but I fear there will be a time when I will be brainwashed by this mentality and be metaphorically turned into "zombies" of the faith. Also, some excommunicated church members are announced in the worship service in the week they are excommunicated, and we are told "not to even talk to them.”
And so my dilemma goes... I need advice about leaving this church even if the repercussions would be to be ultimately shunned by my whole clan, all my INC friends and worse, to be kicked out of the house and to be forced to live alone. I am sorry for the long letter. I wish for anonymity for the situation I am in… hope you understand
Thank you and I hope you can help me with my dilemma.