My Release From the Mind Control of Remnant Fellowship
by Kathy Patterson
- I became involved with Remnant Fellowship in October 2001 through a Weigh Down Advanced class and a Rebuilding the Wall Tour event, through a trusted long-time Christian friend at a time when I began to doubt my own ability to fully discern Scriptural truth. Due to information overload and then information and time control from the group, I fell under the influence of mind control from the group’s leader Gwen Shamblin and her devoted followers.
- Before I began worshipping with Remnant, I thought Remnant was just another Christian church which was separate from the Weigh Down classes I attended, although both had been established by Gwen Shamblin.
- While involved with Remnant, I came to believe the Weigh Down classes were an opportunity for those outside of Remnant to hear the "truth" that God had revealed to Gwen Shamblin. Mrs. Shamblin claimed to be under the leadership of the men in Remnant yet also allowed Remnant leadership to refer to her as a "prophet" who had been able to stop sinning.
- After I left Remnant, I realized that Remnant used Weigh Down classes and products as well as Rebuilding the Wall Tour events to recruit more members to their church and to help fund their church, although Remnant claimed not to be concerned with the size of their church membership or with money. Over time I came to realize that Gwen Shamblin was the real leader and only authority of Remnant because all of the church "leadership" submitted to her final authority. As the owner of the Weigh Down Workshop company, Gwen Shamblin seemed to be the recipient of all the profits from Weigh Down and the one who determined when and how much to finance the growth of her Remnant church and to financially "bless" its members with apparent selective generosity. Although Gwen Shamblin had claimed her husband David Shamblin was one of the original 8 founders and a leader in Remnant, I learned he had only occasionally attended Remnant and was NOT one of the leaders nor even considered a member of Remnant. I also learned that there were many others who had been forced to leave Remnant or had not been allowed to join Remnant due to one "sin" or another, and I learned that there were many families which had been torn apart due to the Remnant teaching to "come out and be separate" in order for its membership to avoid all sin, with an increasing number of members relocating to the area of Remnant headquarters in TN. The "sin" was defined by Gwen Shamblin and was not necessarily found in the Bible as Remnant members were led to believe.
- During my time in Remnant Gwen Shamblin continued to redefine what was "sin," and we were kept busy adjusting our lives as she repeatedly "raised the bar" of what was expected in order for us to please God. We initially began our focus on loving God which would help us to obey Him, and then our focus was switched to obeying God so He would love us. However, I observed that Remnant members were NOT "sinless" as they continued to claim (including Gwen Shamblin who did NOT completely "practice what she preached") and were overcritical of others outside as well as inside of their church. Yet Remnant members seemed to deny the reality I was observing, which kept me confused as I continued to focus on "laying down" all of my own sin.
- Over several months I eventually became convinced through "correction," which came in the form of condemnation by our local group (as instructed by Remnant leadership), of the "danger" of referring to the speaking or the writing or the music of other non-Remnant Christians or of even referring to Bible translations other than the NIV which Remnant claimed was "the most accurate" and thus used to prove their beliefs. I was warned not to ask any questions in Remnant which might be considered as "resisting the authority" which God had placed over us, and to avoid spending time with those outside of Remnant (especially our family and friends or anyone critical of Remnant beliefs), as only those in Remnant were now our "real family" and the only ones who really cared about God or about us. I became convinced that to leave Remnant would mean facing God’s wrath, as I learned a primary theme of Remnant is that Remnant is the ONLY "true" and "safe" fellowship.
- I had become convinced by Remnant that my love for my non-Remnant family was a "sin" of loving them more than I loved God, and I had been manipulated into asking Remnant leadership for permission to attend the upcoming wedding of my non-Remnant son in what they viewed as his "counterfeit" church. Although I knew my marriage was being threatened, I was finally "broken" and thus permission was eventually granted for me to attend his wedding as an invited guest, yet I was instructed to miss other wedding-related events deemed to be "greedy" or "sinful" as defined by Gwen Shamblin.
- Although Remnant members claimed to be following the "example" of Christ’s obedience, I observed that they did not treat others outside or even within their group in the same way that Christ did, especially the way He showed love and forgiveness to everyone including to those who disagreed with Him and even to His enemies. However, it was not until I heard Gwen Shamblin refer to the eternal Christ as "created" which I knew to be a "false gospel" that I realized Gwen Shamblin might be wrong about other things as well. Gwen Shamblin claimed that Remnant beliefs were based on the Scriptures which I trusted, and I had been convinced we were reading them in context. However, upon taking enough time to carefully look at them again for myself, I began realizing that they had been taken out of context and twisted by Gwen Shamblin.
- After I overcame my fear of finally searching the internet for more information about Gwen Shamblin, I learned that there were other sincere people like me who had not even been allowed to join Remnant just because they had questions about some of Gwen Shamblin’s teachings. I also discovered information on how cult groups used "love-bombing" and other mind control techniques to recruit and then keep their membership, and to eventually gain control over their lives and their money using guilt and fear. I learned that I could be affected by mind control even though I was living in my own home with my own family and proceeding with normal activities of work and community and home life. By my allowing others to control the information to which I was exposed, I realized they could actually alter my thinking. Once I realized that I was involved in a cultic group, I "ran away" not only in fear of the group but also in fear I might be making a mistake to leave, yet with the hope that I might regain my ability to think clearly for myself. Although I have been recovering from the damage caused by this group to my health (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical) and have tried to reach out in love to my Remnant friends and even made attempts to explain what I can now clearly see, I have been accused by those in Remnant of turning away from God and I am shunned and condemned by them as evil and hopelessly lost.
- As a result of my experience with Weigh Down and Remnant and Gwen Shamblin, my faith in Christ has actually been strengthened and my heart has become even more loving and forgiving towards others. Although I have had difficulty finding a local church where I feel "safe" to worship regularly again with other Christians, I enjoy a close relationship with God through Christ Who fills me with His love and peace. I have learned a lot about how cultic groups work, and I am in frequent contact with many others who have been involved with abusive religious groups. I have even had opportunities to minister to others who have been negatively affected by Remnant.
- Although many others have been forced to leave Remnant or have left on their own, I am not sure why those still involved with Remnant remain in the group. Perhaps it is because the members may be unable or unwilling to consider the reality around them due to the mind control of Remnant leadership, and their children are also forced to listen to Remnant teachings until they are able to accept them. After all, similar to the leaders of many other dangerous religious groups, Gwen Shamblin uses a large amount of Scriptural truth mixed in with her own false interpretations, and she keeps the members busy listening only to her or to others in the group who only repeat what she says. Using fear and guilt, Remnant members are repeatedly instructed by its leadership not to listen to anyone who might criticize Gwen Shamblin’s teachings, especially their own non-Remnant families with whom they have increasingly less and less contact. Although Remnant members claim they are the only church "totally obedient" to God, Gwen Shamblin apparently continues to instruct them on how to become more and more "pure and holy" as none seem to be as sinless and as close to God as she allows her followers to believe she has become.
If you need help and support dealing with the negative effects of Remnant Fellowship and Weigh Down Workshop, please send an E-mail to email@example.com.
Former member of Remnant Fellowship
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