Did The Nick Gwyck Haitian Body of Christ (BOC) Church Betray My Father? And is it a CULT?
I was introduced to Christianity by my parents. GOD was a very prominent theme in our lives and naturally, despite being not religious (and mainly spiritual) nowadays, you’ll probably hear me mention God at least several times a day. But, as a child, beyond the mention of GOD, there was a Church group to which my parents had become acquainted even prior to me being born, which became an active part of my life. This church group was called the “Body of Christ (BOC)”, and it was mainly run through a group called “Haiti Mission Services” if I can recall well.
Some verses were heavily used if not abused:
1 Corinthians 12:27
All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it.
Ephesians 4:10, 12
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (BOC)
Like many Black and poor nations, Haiti did not lack its share of White missionaries who went there to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which encourages forgiveness, and fosters redemption and the forgiveness of sins via the Cross (death of Jesus Christ as the Messiah to cleanse one from Sins via accepting Him as a personal savior to be saved by GRACE). However, the group to which my parents were associated was unique. There was this skinny young White Man, who was dressed like the Mormons do, who came to Haiti with a message to gather the “BOC”, the only people that will be saved. The group believed that only 144,000 perfect overcomers will be saved and its members are fighting to be part of that minority group (that number always perplexed me as I felt that God would not have been SO LIMITING) and in order to do so, they have to “kill the flesh and suppress all their carnal desires”… needless to say, my life as a child and particularly when I was going through puberty was nothing short of adventurous. The latter culminated into me getting married prematurely in order not to participate into “fornication” etc.
As a child, I always asked myself the following questions:
What if the doctrine were false?
How do I authenticate their claims?
How do I stop myself from doubting it all?
This group seems to proclaim that based on the teachings of this White man (Nick Gwyck) that they seem to worship as a God, one can only go to heaven not only by being a member of the BOC, but also by having a pastor/Sheperd who is responsible for his/ her soul. Needless to say, there have been lots of abuses that have happened with many of such “soul keepers” (e.g., thefts, molestation etc.)
My father was among some of those who held a solid reputation (e.g., integrity, one wife for his lifetime, fiscal responsibility, no salary). Yet, he was very stern and strict during his pastoral years. Until recently, upon visiting his Church, male and female parishioners had to sit on different sides of the Church. In addition, men and women could not date without the pastor’s approval and those that were caught were severely punished if not kicked out of the church altogether. Such was the case for most pastors in the BOC.
I remember challenging many of the rules when I was an active member of the BOC Church in NYC. I attended all youth meetings, and church services (of which there were at least three or four per week.) Of course, I was indoctrinated. I was born in it and thus going to multiple fellowships a month in New York was normal, since I had to do it as a child with my parents as well.
However, upon starting college, my eyes opened up. They weren't encouraging education. Rather they discouraged it. I realized that I couldn’t create enough time between work, my studies and Church and the pastors tended to preach for at least a few hours. Often, students would be stuck at the church ‘til after midnight. Needless to say, many of them didn’t seem to have performed that well academically or professionally.
The Church Boasts Disorganization as Distinguishing Factor
The Haitian BOC church seems to be proud of its disorganization… the pastors often will assert that they have no rules (except their so called “Divine Rules”), that unlike organized religions, they only respond to God.
They believe that the Catholic Church represents THE BEAST (“666”), and that the only way to go to Heaven is by becoming a BOC member. The pastor appears to control everything. There are no national or international overseers, no pension plans… in fact, on that premise everything is done in an AD HOC manner. Needless to say, among Haitians who are known to be unstructured and untimely, this approach is a formula for disaster.
The BOC church preaches about four major doctrines: (1) the doctrine of baptism; (2) the doctrine of the laying of the hands; (3) the doctrine of the raising of the dead; and (4) the doctrine of eternal judgement.
They seem to believe that the human being can become “PERFECT” on Earth if he goes against every carnal/fleshly nature (and will be lifted into the heavens like Etienne did once that happened), and also believe in the Holy Ghost just like Pentecostals… the latter is more refreshing to me since we’re all Body, Mind and Spirit, thus understand how the presence of God can overwhelm us if we focus on the spiritual aspect of our being (which should take us closer to GOD (the Ultimate Spirit).
However, I don’t get the strict rules, and hypocrisy behind a message of love that seems to have ruined too many lives.
Ruined Lives and Loveless Love
Over the past few decades, I have personally witnessed pastors marry people into loveless marriages in the BOC. I have also witnessed pastors breaking the very rules that they established to give themselves breaks when its in their favors. So many lives have been tarnished and torn apart due to the BOC’s lack of organization. I recall that when my Father became ordained over 35 years ago, he wanted my mother to come to Church with him (at his own Church), yet their former Pastor continued to pick up my beautiful mother every morning against my Father’s will (I think he had a thing for my gorgeous Mother, I can't fault him). Needless to say, one day my Father was so angry that he stopped in front of his Church van (in Haiti) and demanded that his wife join him to Church. Subsequently, my Mother did and learned to enjoy my Dad’s new church which she helped him pastor for nearly 35+ years, but her pastor had never encouraged her to do so. I have met so many people whose lives my Mother touched. She was the most giving person in the World!
I also recalled several periods of fights/disagreements between my Father (who was the top assistant pastor and treasurer) at his former church because of his reputation of being fiscally responsible and honest at his previous church) and the head pastor. Despite the fact that my Dad had served more than most, it seemed that my Father’s zeal might have been resented at times. My father was a tall, proud, dark man who was always highly respected both inside and outside the church and he demanded respect wherever he was, and on the rare occasion that he did not get it, he did boycott the Church. However, he always seemed to have gravitated back to it, until he was offered to pastor his own Church, which he did until he retired.
The message of the BOC created a lot of loveless marriages and a lot of women who remained single until they died and usually the latter were those who did not want to settle for the kind of men that was in the Church, yet had fallen in love with the message of Nick Gwyck.
LOVE was being preached, yet so many didn’t seem to truly love each other. Just like in many organized churches, so many people gossiped and induced undue harms on each other. It was pitiful. Some even induced political coups against pastors so that their own folks would in turn get to pastor the Church over silliness that happened years ago.
As my Father aged, and couldn’t preach with the same zeal that he used to preach, many of his own friends mocked him, and it did hurt me. My father was a very trusting man when it comes to his friends (I ain't that trusting if at all), and I did witness those very folks come to visit him while pretending to be loyal in front of him, while they were the most disloyal bastards behind his back.
The message of love was seemingly one-sided. For the few that truly gave a damn, those that did not truly love believe that their possessions are BOC possessions and thus available to them. However, it was rarely mutually reciprocated.
NO PENSION FOR PASTORS
My Father is the most self-less human-being I have ever known. He helped take care of at least 60 orphans over his career as an orphanage director and owner, and along with my Mother they ensured that young orphan girls became educated and most of the ended up graduating from college and some even helped my parents in the States when they got ill. My late Mother taught them her trades and etiquette and self respect, and acted as a role model for them. I could not have had better parents.
I recall my mother telling me how my Father as a newlywed went to Martinique to work for a year and by the time he walked through the streets of Port-au-Prince, he had shared more than 50% of his earnings with other Haitians particularly those in the BOC. I seem to do the same with Black Americans here… Needless to say, my Mother probably wondered why she was left alone for a year to begin with when my Dad nearly shared all of his earnings. Anyhow, he would have continued to serve Haitians of all walks of life for his entire adult life, particularly those in the BOC (free of charge).
He was always at the mercy of those who were grateful enough to do gestures to him, but he never asked them for anything in return for his service as it was the way through which he showed his BOC Love. Unlike other pastors who kept begging for money, my father never asked for any money neither from his Church nor other BOC churches. In fact, he would rather write books that he would sell to earn voluntary donations than to ask for money from the BOC Churches. Many bought the books and never paid him. Often, he would even do legal transactions for others and even once drove a CAB to help the Church, and when he travelled, he would use his own money to buy instruments and other things for the Church and its members.
Yet, the Church Offered him No Pensions.
In fact, recently after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, the same people that “USED” him for years never even bothered to come see him while he was admitted in a hospital for more than two weeks. Moreover, after working hard to build 2 properties and a school, his properties are being inhabited by others that almost faulted me for demanding their evictions in order to assist my Dad along as I have my own financial responsibilities to my Children and myself, and am being forced to plan to take care of my Father financially after he worked so hard for so many years to take care of FREE LOADERS, only to have been used by SO MANY LOVELESS PEOPLE.
I must assert that there are also WHITE BOC CHURCHES and quite amazingly and to my knowledge they are more properly run than the Haitian ones. And quite often, when confusions arise among the Haitians, they end up calling the White pastors to restore order. It’s rather embarrassing and a testament of what I called “niggeritits” in one of my recent articles.
One will know a GOOD TREE by its FRUITS… I am writing this article to ask this question…
If this Church truly represents the BOC, why are its fruits so meek and ineffective?
HISTORY OF NON-PROGRESS
To this day, the BOC Church which preaches against television and against many university teachings has…
No Day Care Centers
No Major Companies that Hire Members
No Payroll System
No Trade Schools
No plans to build programs to enhance the lives of others beyond their strictly religious teachings.
ANTI-RELIGION STANCE & DISORGANIZATION
The BOC church boasts that it’s the only non-religious church in the World. Yet, in so many ways it represents the most religious Church in the World without the same sense of responsibility or order.
There is always an air of uncertainty. There is never a fixed time to end a service. As I got older, I resented going to Church and the same thing occurred to countless others including my own son. It appears to me that the only thing that remains constant and religiously maintained is a strong pride associated with being DISORGANIZED. There have been many pastors who had left the Church and adopted principles from Judaism and Adventist churches, and many who have called it a SHAM/CULT. I am not willing to call it that yet, but I’m willing to pose the question in this article.
Unlike organized religions, there are only 7 elders that are only called in major cases, but really hold no main authorities. To this day, not one of these elders has called me to ask me how my Father is doing. I only heard of one who might have visited my Dad at the last minute, and although he appears to have a sense of responsibility, he promised to contact me after talking to the others, and it’s been more than a month now, no luck.
I just want to know what the Haitian BOC Church which exists nearly worldwide now will do for my Father. I want to know if it a Church or a Cult?
A misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing… The latter seems to apply to the BOC pastors' excessive admiration for Pastor Nick Gwyck, whom I believe was a poor eater who died of malnutrition due to his inability to take good care of himself. While I appreciate the fact that they are grateful for his message, it seems that after his death, they haven’t developed much of their own message or even applied half of this message for their own people as demonstrated by their lack of progress.
Of course there are exceptions as in everything else. But I remain unimpressed about the majority of its members and I find it hard to believe that God would be impressed as well.
At this point, I am thinking of either effectuating a LAWSUIT or an INVESTIGATION into the Church of the BOC so that I can reach a DECLARATIVE JUDGEMENT to declare them as a SHAM/CULT unless they make my Father whole.
I still miss some of the good people (e.g., Pastors Lyonel Joseph, Desrivieres, Edva Thevenin, Wooly Doriscar among a few handful other pastors and friends including Pastor Paul of Central Florida) that I met during my years in the BOC Church. My Children were also born in the BOC Churches… I will also miss hearing so many of the hymns that I used to sing as a child. However, after experiencing their ineptitude, I need to further distance myself from the BOC folks at least for now.
Here are some samples of BOC Services: