That Sunday morning, I moved from my usual place to the other side of the sanctuary to avoid the man who was giving me the creeps. I told some people around me what was happening and why I’d moved, but was still agitated and distracted in service, I’m sure.
During the service, Edwin Young mentioned the out of town service where the preacher had called the women things. He was mad that the women hadn’t shouted when he “got on them”. The woman next to me got my attention and gestured to ask what he was talking about. I whispered “He said ‘he that desireth a wife desireth a good thing. He called us things. That’s why we weren’t shouting,” or something very similar and about the same length. Before I finished, Edwin was yelling “I’ll do the preaching around here. You don’t need to tell her what I just said! Excuse me. I’ll tell you what I just said. Excuse me! Quit running your mouth while I’m preaching!! She still hasn’t… she still don’t know I’m talking to her. I hope…”
Wait. He hoped I didn’t know he was talking to me? Then why did he go on for nearly ten minutes, pacing in front of my section, looking right at me, preaching about about women’s lib and loud mouthed women who didn’t want the pastor telling them what to do. Yes, I knew he was talking to me, though it may not have looked like it. When he started that morning, though I was still there watching the whole thing and hearing every word, it was as though I was watching from a different vantage point. When he finally went on to something else, I put my head down and sobbed.
I wasn’t crying that morning because he had upset me so much, but because I had promised if he did something like he’d just done again after the two incidents in the office that I would leave. That morning I cried because I knew I was leaving, was terrified that God didn’t answer my prayer that He would fix the situation and let me stay, and had no idea how to leave or where to go. I wept through altar call and couldn’t stop even after I left the building. Others said it was ok, I shouldn’t let it bother me, he didn’t mean it, and I was “tougher than this”. But it wasn’t ok. He had not only jumped me again for something I hadn’t done, harshly and cruelly, but he’d gone from doing so privately, to doing so in front of one or two others, to doing so in front of the entire church. His bullying was intensifying, and just as I would not allow a man to repeatedly beat me, I would not allow this man to verbally insult or abuse me either. I’d promised, and I would keep my promise. I was leaving.
But when? How? Where would I go? That was something that wasn’t answered for another five months or so.
After some debate and after trying to get some other people to buy the CD for me so that Edwin Young wouldn’t be mad that I’d gotten it, I purchased the CD for myself. Originally I got it to show whoever my next pastor was that things really had been wrong in Faith Tabernacle. I never played it to any pastor, however. I think I tried to play it once, but was deeply disturbed by it. I put the CD away, and only got it out again months later.
For a full audio of Edwin’s attack that morning, go here starting at 4:17 and then here. CD audios were broken into parts in the tape room much like music CDs would be, so that we could skip forward or backward in them. In this case it was broken in the middle of the tirade.
For the next chapter, click here.