Fraud Through the Church

18 Comments » July 26th, 2009 posted by // Categories: General Articles



Fraud Through the Church

        My Nigerian husband and I worship at different churches. Why, I will tell you. I am an Evangelist, and my husband’s church (where he is an Evangelist), is the Celestrial Church of Christ; and it has standards that I, as a recently called minister, cannot abide by. The Celestrial Church of Christ’s standards do not recognize nor allow women to preach in their pulpits in the sanctuary. Matter fact, there are some geographical locations within the sanctuary where women are “not” allowed to walk, women cannot make church announcements, women cannot read bible scriptures in front of the congregation in the sanctuary, women cannot come to church for seven days during their menstruation— they must go through a sanctification ritual after their menstruation goes off by kneeing down before one of the male ministers in the church and then go home and wash with the sanctified water before returning to church for service;  women cannot come to church 40 days after giving birth, and women must sit on one side of the church  together (usually the left side upon entering) with their heads completely wrapped up. Males sit on the right side of the church. The only exception to women sitting in another location, other than the left side of the church upon entering the sanctuary, is if she is on the choir and sings during the service. You do not sit together as a family (husband, wife, and children) in a Celestrial Church of Christ. In essence, the Celestrial Church of Christ, in my opinion and through my brief four (4) month’s (too long) experience of “trying” to worship there with my husband, is that it is male dominated and degrading to women! 

 The Celestrial Church of Christ practices an Old Testament ritualistic way of worship.  The worship service consist mainly of kneeling down and doing many (I mean many) prayers that are read out of a book by the male who is presiding over the service. Males wave incense throughout the sanctuary before service begins, which to me, makes it hard to breathe in fresh air, for they use a piece of charcoal that is heated, placed in an incense holder, and water is sprinkled on it to give off smoke (much smoke).  I hated the way the charcoal smelled (not a pleasant aroma), and I personally do not think it is healthy breathing in those fumes in a closed sanctuary where no fresh air can circulate throughout. There is also an altar that is positioned at the front of the church with candles on it, and only a male can light the candles during the service. I often wondered during the services when I attended with my husband if the Celestrials realized that Jesus Christ had come and died, and that having a geographical separation between the altar and its female members had been done away with on the “cross” a long time ago! What surprised me the most was that the African women accepted the male domination, and they seemed to be content to just come to church every Sunday (if they were not menstruating or giving birth) and simply look and listen—without ever being an active participant in its service. After four months of trying to fit into my husband’s church, I left seeking God’s direction for a church where I could worship freely and fulfill the calling of God on my life. By the way, since I left my husband’s church, as a way of compromising, he worships with me at my church on the 4th Sunday of every month. 

I said all of the above before I want to talk about Fraud Through the Church in order to give you a background of my experience with the Celestrial Church of Christ, which I had never heard of before I married my husband. 

After my husband joined me in the United States on June 19, 2008 (after 17 months of going through the immigration process), he sought employment in his field without much success. My husband was a Chief Environment Health Officer in Lagos, Nigeria; and he supervised about 35 people. Having completed a three year degree in Nigeria, he was recruited into the Environment Ministry in Lagos—being elevated to a higher rank over the past 20 years. However, he discovered when he came to the United States, which I explained to him prior to coming, that his degree from Africa would not be accepted here, and therefore, he would have to go back to college to work in the environmental field here.  In addition to not being able to find, what he felt was an honorable job, he wanted to relocate to the closest state that had a Celestrial Church of Christ in it, for he felt that his world wide church would be a support to him. The small town where I lived did not have an African store, and we had to travel over an hour (one way) to purchase his African food. In addition, there were very few Africans there—hardy any in fact. My husband was unhappy where we lived for several reasons, and he decided we should relocate to a better area.

 My husband, therefore, was assisted with our relocation process by the shepherd (which is what the pastors are called in the Celestrial Church of Christ) in North Carolina. Because my husband had been in the Celestrial Church of Christ in Lagos since 1974, he was happy to worship in the style in which he was accustomed to. In addition, there are many Nigerians who live here and several African stores where we can quickly drive to and purchase his African food that he eats (he does not eat American food). 

Let me give you our timeline. My husband joined me on June 19, 2008, and we resided in South Carolina. My husband moved to our present location (in North Carolina) at the end of September 2008, and I joined him there at the end of October 2008—having made two visits prior to my move. 

My husband’s shepherd (pastor) of the Celestrial Church of Christ where we reside suggested that the church open a bank account for my husband solely in my husband’s name during the period when I had not yet joined him. The amount of the money placed in the bank account was below $100.00, but in addition to the checking account, a “credit card” was issued to my husband in his name—having a new social security number, it was easy for him to get the card. Now my husband told me about the checking account, however, he did not tell me about the credit card. My husband and I had already talked about how he must be very careful not to mess up his credit by making wise and careful financial decisions, and we should make all financial decisions together. Yet, because my husband had been in the Celestrial Church of Christ since 1974 (in Africa), he (foolishly) trusted this African shepherd of the Celestrial Church of Christ in North Carolina. 

One day after my husband received his credit card (now remember I did not know he had a credit card, for he kept it a secret from me), the shepherd approached my husband in front of another church member and asked if he could use it. My husband, feeling obligated and grateful that the shepherd was assisting us in the relocation process, gave him his credit card and the pin number that was assigned with it. The shepherd charged over $2,000.00 between the dates of October 9 and October 21st (prior to me joining my husband permanently at our North Carolina residence). I do not know what my husband was thinking, for he “never” asked his shepherd what he wanted to do with the card, and he “never” asked him how much he was wanted to use on his card. The card had a $1,000 limit with an overdraft on it. Amazingly, the shepherd never told my husband he used the credit card nor the amount he charged against the card. This month (July 2009), the Solutions Department of the bank called my husband (I do not know why it took them that long to call him), and they demanded that the balance be paid or arrangements be made to pay the owed amount. Now this is the FIRST TIME I heard about my husband had a credit card—other than the credit card we have together through our joint bank account. Needless to say I was furious with my husband and especially at the shepherd of the Celestrial Church of Christ, which had charged that money on my husband’s card. The shepherd did not tell my husband he made those charges on his credit card, and more damaging; the shepherd did not pay one PENNY towards the charges he made on my husband’s credit card.   The shepherd was very cunning in that he made the charges on my husband’s credit card prior to my joining him in North Carolina, which made my husband like a trusting lamb before a cunning religious wolf!

For the past two days, I must admit, I have had pure rage pouring out of me to the point where it was on the borderline of hatred! I know an Evangelist should not feel this way, but I do. Only yesterday I broke down crying before God asking him to take this “hate” away and create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. This supposedly man of God, using the umbrella of the Celestrial Church of Christ scammed my husband.

I had explained the importance of establishing and maintaining a good credit record to my husband when he came to America (even before he got here), and I told him about the importance of protecting his social security number and any pin numbers associated with our joint bank accounts we would get together. I did not, however, warn him against his own beloved Celestrial Church of Christ’s fraudulent practices! I did not think there was a need to make such an explanation, for I, myself, have never been scammed by a church. Now I know!

The shepherd, however, first denied making the charges until the list was presented to him with the dates, places, and amounts. The shepherd rented cars with my husband’s credit card and did much more . . .!  At the time my husband moved here, he did not have a job at first; so the shepherd knew my husband was unable to pay towards any charge he made on my husband’s credit card—yet he charged an amount over $2,000.00 and did not even mention what he had done—nor did he pay for what he charged!

Immigrants and non-immigrants BEWARE . . . .your new social security numbers and unspotted credit history is an opportunity to scam you when you come to the United States . . . . . . . .Protect yourself—EVEN FROM YOUR OWN CHURCH (pastor and members alike)!

Needless to say, my experience with the Celestrial Church of Christ has not been a positive one! Being defrauded through a church hurts worse to me! My husband’s messed up credit hurts us both when trying to make future purchases. His credit must be fixed now. Although I am my husband’s sponsor until he becomes an American citizen (he is a permanent resident now), the bank account that the Celestrial Church of Christ gave my husband money to open is solely in my husband’s name; therefore, my hands (from what I have been told) are legally tied from prosecuting the shepherd. Prayerfully, the shepherd will make financial restitution for what he has done and having been caught with “his pants down” or “in the cookie jar” as the phrases go! 

I get my emotions out through words, so here are my words!

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18 Responses to “Fraud Through the Church”

  1. Cornelius Ewuoso says:

    Well, it’s pity you had to go through that, particularly in the hands of the one who calls himself a man of God. But you should not at this point concentrate on the damage that has been done. it is needless to cry over spilt milk. Concentrate on healing yourselve and on forgiving those who wronged, this is a the secret to a healthy living. Be rest assured that there are many other good men of God out there, so why cry over this ‘one’ bad man of God, God bless you dear.

    • Elwe says:

      The fact is the smartest career these days remains owning a church.

      “My Ministry”

      …direct debits, charities, establishment of foundations, tax relief,

      The only person you are accountable to is God in His Mightiness, and NEVER to the congregation / brethren that are being ripped off. While millions are being collected from the church members , they are daft enough never to demand for how the money is spent !!!

      You know the funny side of the story, churches, Penticostal especially demand for their bank statements from their banks. However, they must trust their man of God enough without accountability being rendered.

      Its sickeneing, and indeed too.

    • Elwe says:

      The fact is the smartest career these days remains owning a church.

      “My Ministry”

      …direct debits, charities, establishment of foundations, tax relief,

      The only person you are accountable to is God in His Mightiness, and NEVER to the congregation / brethren that are being ripped off. While millions are being collected from the church members , they are daft enough never to demand for how the money is spent !!!

      You know the funny side of the story, churches, Penticostal especially demand for their bank statements from their banks. However, they must trust their man of God enough without accountability being rendered.

      Its sickeneing, and indeed too.

      • Eyitayo says:

        Oh my experience lately as to how manipulative some of this celestial pastors can be, you sort for spiritual help they turn you to there bank…. I am still praying to God to intervene for someone I love who is still blind right now…. Celestial Church? Never again

  2. Patricia Daboh says:

    Thanks. We have moved on with God’s presence in our hearts. We say we want to grow in God, and when things come to make us go up higher, we resist what it takes to make that happen. The rage is gone now. My pastor preached about how God takes care of the men and women of God when they do something wrong, so turn them over to him–and do not seek revenge (he used David and Saul as an example)–and I did not even talk to my pastor about it. God was confirming that he wil handle him for what he did. Thanks for the encouraging word!

  3. Beauty says:

    We have seen all of this before in the UK & USA, all in Jesus name.

  4. NOSA says:

    Sorry lady for bringing your dirty laundry to the world wide web. I don’t know you, your husband that’s scared to tell you the truth, or the shepherd and the church you are talking about. It sounds like you are having problem with the mode of worship in the church. The church itself have its own rules and tenants, and they shouldn’t break it just to accomodate you. I know of Celestial Church of Christ and everything done in it is according to the holy spirit of God. From all your complaints I can tell that you are still a baby christian. I don’t think your husband have problem with the church, it’s just you. It’s not nice to make accusations like that against a church for something that an individual did in a church. These are personal matters which you treated as such. If you are not ready to worship God truthfully yet, it’s okay and I don’t think your husband will force to. But please dear evangelist “hopefully” of Christ Jesus, don’t be trying to smear the name of a church for an individual doing. God is watching.

    • Patricia Daboh says:

      I am a writer, Nosa, and that is what writers do–“Write”. We share our experiences, knowledge, and words to those who first of all read them voluntarily (as you did I believe), and for those who care to learn. I am not a baby Christian, for I am an Evangelist and have been saved many years–yet that does not mean I have arrived and have nothing more to learn–for I certainly do. I am learning daily. I also learned, through this experience, about the Celestrial Church (not good one either). So if you feel this information should have been left in the dark, I can assure you there are many others that appreciate the experience I shared with them; for it puts them on alert. We should be wise as Christians–not open to any scam, manipulation, and fraudulent trick out there.

      You are entitled to your opinion, Nosa, and I am entitled to write and share my experience. If you think my husband was HAPPY to be scammed by his pastor, and supposedly friend, you are mistaken! The church is not one particular building or denomination, for if that was the case; then we would all (all over the world) have to push our way to that geographical church location in order to be considered “in the church”. But the church are those believers who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives from all races, ethnic groups, and geographical locations, Nosa. I just want to make people aware and not foolishly allow someone to scam them JUST BECUASE THEY HAVE A TITLE AS SHEPHERD, PASTOR, BROTHER, OR SISTER. This could have occurred at any church, but it did not–it happened at the Celestrial Church of Christ where I attended.

      If you are into male domination and not having a voice during the worship service, then that is your choice, Nosa. I, Patricia Machele Daboh, will not allow any man, religion, or entity to tell me what I cannot achieve or be simply because I am equipped with female anatomy.

      For those who care to learn from reading my experience and file the knowledge somewhere in your mind in case you get approached in the name of whatever church you attend or visit to allow you to trust them to the point of turning over your credit card or personal information–BEWARE.

      If ministers in the bible, such as Paul, Peter, etc., did not talk against the, then ritualistic church of that day, we would not have a New Testament. If I become your enemy bec ause I tell you the truth, then so be it. I am not saying the Celestrial Church of Christ is evil or ungodly because one man did not practice what he preaches. I am saying, however, I believe that the Celestrial Church of Christ does not fully follow the teachings of Jesus Christ by insisting on embracing and holding onto the Old Testament , ritualistic way of worship, which could not save anyone–for the people had to come back year after year before the priests for the same sins. When Jesus Christ wrapped himself up in human flesh, died on the cross, and rose again, he died ONCE for the salvation of the entire world. So, I, Patricia Machele Daboh, do not need to kneel down in front of a man who holds the title of Shepherd or Evangelist in a white robe for prayer or sanctification over and over again. I have a right to go directly to God and take my petitions to him, ask for forgiveness of sins, and get deliverance–so I do not have to be defeated by the same sins over-and-over again. Now overcoming sin and reaching perfection is a lifetime change, but there should be a change (at some point in one’s life) if one is claiming to know Jesus in the pardon of their sins.

      Am I saying Celestrials are not Christians–let me make it absolutely clear I AM NOT SAYING THAT! I am saying I KNOW I do not have to be dominated by a male and follow ritualistic practices to go to heaven, for my life and failures are under the blood of Jesus (according to the New Testament). The pastor intentionally, and knowingly, did what he did. And as of today, he has “not” apologized for what he did.

      To me, the Celestrial Church of Christ is like taking a STEP BACKWARDS, when Jesus Christ said, “Go forward; for I have made it possible for you to do so!”.

      Take it or leave it, Nosa, or twist my words around and continue to aruge your points. I have a right to write and share my words, and you have a right to NOT agree. God bless you and your family.

      • Nosa says:

        In reply to your comment and this is probably the last time I will do this. As a writer, you are suppossed to write the truth about your experiences or others\’ as it occurs. You wrote as if the church scammed you when in your article it was just an individual. Secondly, during the times you attended the church, I am sure the shepherd should have been able to answer all your questions about the doctrines of the church if you had asked. Better yet, your husband should be able to answer those for you considering the lenght of time he\’s been a member of that church. As a church \”Celestial Church of Christ\” is not a worldy church that was founded because a man wanted start a church.But it is a church descended from heaven by the holy spirit through a prophet of God. All things done there are supported by the scriptures and they/we do believe in the whole bible. Since you had opportunity to fellowship with them you must have realized that they read from the old and new testament on all Sunday services. Just like you said in your own writing that a church is not an individual, we all make up the church. So you can see why I responded to your article the way I did. I felt insulted when you wrote in your article that Celestial Church of Christ scammed you and your husband. You are accusing the whole church for something you claimed was done by one person.Celestial Church did not scam you or your husband. Just because you are a writer doesn\’t give you the right to write non-sense especially as a christian. Don\’t you know that you are writing against you \”The Church\”? You would have known for the amount of time you worshipped with them why God Almighty is worshippped reverently the way Celestians do but you were so worried about how it\’s a man\’s world in there than for you to open your mind to true worship. The mans\’ world thing you\’re talking about is an African thing. Welcome to your new world. Please read these scriptures when you can: Rev 4, 1st Timothy 2:11 And for the reason why women cannot come in while under their menstruation, read Lev12:2-3, Lev 15:4-9. For the incense you complained about, read Rev 5:8, Rev 8:3-5, Luke 1:9-11. I know you referenced the apostle Paul, read what he said about you preaching in front of the congregation in 1st Corinthians 14:33-35. and by the way, these are from the new testament. I want you to take the bitterness out of you and focus on Jesus Christ. If someone did you wrong, you should settle your differences with that person instead of trying to stain the name of the church. Hope your reply to this is less bitter . Be a christian and may the peace of Christ Jesus be with you.

    • Eyitayo says:

      Well you may be right, but if you know what some sheperds are capable of, you won’t bother defending anyone

  5. ahmed ibitoye kareem says:

    sorry mam, it is now crystal clear that this people being called men of God are complete fraudsters, Take for instance here in Nigeria the case of the fake, fraudulent, deceptive etc. pastor fatai balogun, popularly referred to as T.B Joshua. who used all false pretense in showing to the entire world he is a man of God. But is now clear that the man of God has engaged in all forms of deceit. i am convinced that, in dealing with men of God, we must all be careful.

  6. Patricia Daboh says:

    @Nosa

    I know I am not condemning the entire Celestrial Church of Christ’s organization, which it seems you are a faithful member of–but I repeat, again, I was writing about our isolated experience with one Celestrial Church of Christ. As far as my husband’s culutre goes, I am embracing SOME aspects of his culutre, and he is embracing SOME aspects of mine. I am not African but African Americ an, and he is not African American but African. I enjoy being who I am, and he enjoys being who he is. I do not have to accept all of the African practices because my huband is African, and he does not have to accept all of the African American practices because he is married to an African American woman. Should we both just forget who we are and how we were raised–NO! In addition, it is not just the wife’s responsibility to adopt her husband’s culture if the actions are not recipricated by him also.

    The shepherd and my husband explained how the Celestrial Church of Christ started and adopted such a worship style where women do practically nothing in the service except bring their “listening ears” to the church (which was something I cannot and will not accept or abide by). I am a minister, so how can I minister in such a denomination that does not recognize, believe, or accept women ministers! My calling from God must be fulfilled and will be fulfilled. Ironically, the shepherd does not believe God can use or calls a woman to ministry, and my husband believes God does use and calls women in minisrtry. It does not matter to me what either of them (the shepherd or my husband) believe or think in that area, for I KNOW God has called me, and I cannot deny who GOD SAID I AM to accomodate the male dominated, Celestrial Churh of Christ’s style of worship (no way!)

    I am quite aware of the old testament scriptures concerning menstruation and when a woman gives birth, but that is the OLD TESTAMENT, which was handed down to Israelites. (God’s choosen people). Are Celestrial Church of Christ members Israelites, Nosa? Why are they embracing a tradition that was not even handed down to them in the first place? Show me a New Testament scripture where a menstruating woman must stay home 7 days every month or stay home 40 days after giving birth. When Jesus died on the cross, he gave no such mandates. Those things were written for the Old Testament times to Israelites. Jesus Christ did not tell his New Testament church to continue with these practices. If the Old Testament traditions were good enough to continue with, then Jesus Christ did not need to wrap himself up in human flesh, come down to earth, and die on the cross for the “sins” of the world. I believe (just my personal belief) that the Celestrial Churhc of Christ embraces this style of worship, for it allows males to dominate females. Come to America, Nosa, and see if African males dominate wives to that degree–not so. Yes, the man is the head of the house, but God told a husband to use wisdom in dealing with his wife. A wise man will take his wife’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, and concerns into consideration and not just merely make every decision by himself–caring less of what his wife thinks, feels, or believes. If a disagreement concerning an issue arises, then we wives “should” be submissive and allow the man’s final decision to stand. My hsuband does not want me to worship at a place where he knows I, first of all, do not agree with, believe in, and am not happy at. He knows I cannot fulfill my purpose at his church, and he even supports me by visiting me at my church on a regular basis.

    I am not bitter at all, Nosa, but I am very direct, which is a part of my African American heritage. I express myself directly–such as you did. Should I be more gentle witth you because I am a woman, and I believe you are a man? We African American women are breed to be strong, independent (perhaps too much so), and self-assured. Perhaps my directness bothers you. However, I cannot apologzie for it, for that is who I am. I did not insult you directly, or attack you, but you and I are having an intelligent conversation, which is something that you may not be use to in a woman.

    • Sir K says:

      Patricia
      Dont mind them jare, they are all the same, i am sure that Nosa MAN is part of them 2…….. My advise is MOVE ON GIRL!! its not worth the hassle
      GOD IS GOOD………ALL THE TIME, IF YOU ABIDE IN HIM AND HE ABIDES IN YOU THEN U SHALL HAVE ASK ALL U WANT AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN TO YOU!

    • jeff says:

      your a fraud ISRAELITES are not gods chosen peopl read 1 king 12 vs 16 and then read jeremiah 26 through 35 among several other old testimate chapters like ezekiel 6 ezekiel 11 ezekiel 33 jeremiah 5 jeremiah 18 jeremiah 19.

  7. pmdaboh says:

    I find it amazing that some people have nothing better to do with their time than to read an article I write and report what I write back to my husband. Usually, I tell my husband when I am working on another article, but this time I did not considering the sensitivity of the issue. I was who I was prior to meeting and marrying my husband, and I will always be a writer; for that is a gift and talent from God which he gave me (though it may be debatably by some). I do not need my husband’s permission to write any article, and I know the difference between portraying my husband as a victim (as he certainly was in this case) than from degrading him, which I did not do. We ALL make foolish mistakes from time to time, but that does not mean we are a fool when we do it. It means we just did not use wisdom in a particular situation

  8. Jason Lesley says:

    I personally think that the biggest issue in regards to financial problems is deeper than what appears the surface. I believe the problem is actually as much emotional as it is financially. Where there is overspending, not only is there a monetary gap, but an emotional one as well that needs to be looked at Something to think about anyway

  9. Thanks for some other excellent post. Where else may just anyone get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.

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