Controversial religious group in Aberdeen, Scotland. Led by 'Pastor' Jim Addison. Formerly operated under the name "Word of Life (International)."
Judging by reports in the press, this group has various aberrant
and unbiblical teachings and practices.
Sheila Murdoch became a member
of the Word of Life church when she was just 15 ... and regrets her involvement to this day.
She was spurred into speaking about her links with the group after reading recent Evening Express articles about it.
Sheila, a Mastrick mum-of-three, claimed she left the group after four years, poverty-stricken and suffering panic attacks.
"Even talking about it now makes me feel jittery and panicky," she claimed.
She alleged harrowing practices at the church included "deliverance" - a ceremony which involved vomiting to rid the body of evil - and spiritual warfare
, praying while "roaring" or screaming and simulating stabbing the Devil with a sword.
"I screamed so hard I burst blood vessels on my face," she claimed.
Sheila alleged members were not allowed to make contact with anyone outside the group in case they became "contaminated".
She also claimed no one was allowed to watch TV, read newspapers, listen to music or be alone with those of the opposite sex.
According to Mrs Murdoch, she also had to pay 10 of her wages to the church. "I began questioning the whole concept and I was very confused."
She attended her first prayer meeting in Elgin Town Hall and began going to regular sessions.
She moved to Aberdeen after leaders advised her to enrol at the city's fee-paying Bible school.
Classes were held at Pastor Jim Addison's former home on Clifton Road, she claimed.
The mum claimed she finally left on her doctor's advice after she began suffering major panic attacks and fainting.
She collected her things under cover of darkness and went to live with her aunt in Northfield before moving back to Elgin.
Sheila's adoptive mother Norma Calder said she felt her daughter had been brainwashed.
"The cult ruled her," she claimed. "I wouldn't want anyone else to go through what our family has."
Source: Ex-member tells of torment, This is North Scotland, Aug. 8, 2003
The Leader of a controversial religious group today broke his silence over a bid to evict it from its Aberdeen base.
Pastor Jim Addison spoke out as landlord Aran Handa launched a legal action to oust Destiny House - formerly Word of Life (International) - from the Meridian Hotel on the city's Lang Stracht.
He is also seeking to recover money he claims is owed to him by Word of Life - which folded three years ago after running up debts totalling £160,000.
The landlord - who also runs the city's Station Hotel - alleges the group had not paid rent since putting down a deposit to buy the building in 1995.
And he claims it is allowing other groups to also use the building.
But Pastor Addison denied the claims.
And at the same time he broke his silence - which spans more than three years - over alleged cult practices in which Word of Life members engaged in vomiting and screaming sessions to rid themselves of evil and were denied contact with anyone outside the group.
Members of the Destiny House had previously refused to put the Evening Express in touch with Mr Addison, and several attempts to contact him by letter at the Meridian Hotel failed.
We finally tracked him down at an isolated bungalow close to Hatton, in the Peterhead area.
Two cars, including a BMW, were parked outside.
When we knocked on the door, Mr Addison's wife, Irene, answered.
After some persuasion, she agreed to ask if he would speak to us.
A few minutes later, he appeared, smiling, dressed in a casual short-sleeved shirt and jeans.
Leaning casually against the door frame of his home, Mr Addison said: "Our group is not a cult.
"I have never seen anyone vomiting during meetings and it's just rubbish if people are saying this is what happens.
"There are no rituals at Destiny House Church.
"It is nonsense to say that any members are involved in screaming during meetings."
Mr Addison also dismissed allegations that members were forbidden to watch TV, read newspapers or make contact with people outwith the group.
"We are born-again Christians and we preach the gospel of Jesus," he said.
"Every person is free and life should be about choice.
"I am amazed to hear that people could say they did not feel free if they were a member of our group, because we teach people to make decisions."
And he added: "I have never had a letter saying anything about the group being evicted from the premises, and Mr Handa has never said anything about it.
"I had received nothing from a lawyer."
We referred to Mr Handa's allegations that a number of groups were operating from the hotel building.
"There is only one group using the building, and I am not prepared to say anything about different groups," he said.
Mr Addison said he had not wished to make comment previously as he feared the truth would be twisted.
When we asked how the transition had been made from the former Word of Life group to the current Destiny House Church organisation, Mr Addison said: "They are not the same things. You will just have to find out yourself what we are about."
He added: "People love gossip. The more bizarre something is, the more they like it.
"But the truth is, lots of good things happen at the church."
Source: "I do not run a cult!", This is North Scotland, Aug. 8, 2003