Here is a dream I had about the church system at the beginning of this year. It disturbed me for weeks afterwards.
I was visiting a church, not because I really wanted to take part in it, but it was where I was. The church was modern, with lots of people and activity. As I was walking into it, I heard one or two concerned members whisper that there was possibly abuse taking place in the church. I was very concerned. Seems there were a few people there with me, who had come with me or whom I'd met there and they had the same leading and call from God, and we started working together regarding the church.
We learned that the possible abuse was supposedly taking place among a more core group of the church: faithful and devoted members. We learned of a weekend or slightly longer conference being held in a separate building where these more committed members would be attending. We joined ourselves to a group of these more-committed ones, and went to the conference building with them. Though we melted into the group as best we could, we were on our guard that we might be found out as not the gullible, committed members they were.
For a while, all the conference go-ers had a fellowship time in a large hall. Food was being prepared and we would have dinner later. The leader/pastor wasn't in our room, but his presence was felt. Later, probably at meal time, he would come into the main room with us and officially welcome everyone and the conference would begin.
I went to explore the building. A sweet old woman came and stopped me and told me firmly that I needed to stay with the group and not wander off. She stayed in the large hall and kept an eye on everyone, though she was trying to appear to be there to be helpful. It was obvious to me and my little group that she was a guard, and would call for assistance if anyone got too nosy or began to question anything going on. She was a respected missionary or Sunday school teacher of long standing.
After a while, people sort of settled down and many took naps in their chairs in this hall. We'd had a long day already before even arriving. Some talked quietly among themselves. The sweet old lady was chatting with some people. I was standing in front of some closed, wooden sliding doors, which closed off another room. I smelled a burning smell, but others seemed unaware of it. With one or two of my group, I carefully and quickly went into the room behind the doors, while the lady was distracted.
Here were more of the very committed members of the church, who were farther along in their submission to the leaders. They were talking with each other and seemed strangely ecstatic and excited. (After considering the dream, I felt that they were all thrilled at being among the inner elite of the church.)
Over to the left, close to the back wall (not a very deep or wide room), was a large crib. The smoke I'd smelled came from something going on behind it. I saw directly behind it a small group, maybe 2-3, of people wearing white coats. They had just used something attached by wires to a machine and whatever they did caused the smoke and acrid smell. It looked like they may have used the equipment on a man who was beside them, who was being supported by what seemed to be two family members. They all three looked over at me and my comrade(s) with very haggard, haunted, desperate looks on their faces, like prisoners but who had no hope of ever getting freedom.
The one they supported was a middle-aged man, maybe mid 50's, barely alive, his head bloodied and his face and arms bruised and grayish, with sunken eyes. The crib hid all but his upper body.
In the crib was a pillow, with a crown of thorns on it, and blood on the crown and the pillow, and the pillow was indented where someone's head had lain. I recalled then that part of the rumors of abuse I'd heard was that people maybe were being forced to wear a crown of thorns that was pushed into their heads.
I tried to mingle in with the group in this room, so as not to stand out as an outsider, and then we realized that we (my little group) needed to get back into the large hall because dinner was about to be served, and we might be missed. I looked once more over at the crib area and now saw that the man who was being supported by his family was back in the crib. He was ONLY a torso, arms and head. The leaders (including those in the white coats) had amputated his lower body and he was one they would regularly force to put his head down on the crown of thorns. He and his family seemed to still be mostly under the compulsion to do what they were told. Maybe the crown of thorns represented that they were made to feel that they must submit to all this in order to "be like Jesus." I understood that all the others in this little room, the most committed, likely would be going through this same torture themselves, and they were all waiting and ready to do it in order to be good members of the church.
I was utterly shocked at the sight of the tortured partial body of the man, and was almost paralyzed when I saw him. But then we slipped back into the large hall, quietly. The pastor/leader was coming out as they brought out the meal, and all the people were very excited to have the leader finally come out. There was a powerful aura about him, and he commanded everyone's attention as he finally did come out when the servers brought out the meal.
After the dream, I realized that the ultimate end of everyone of the committed members was most likely to end up tortured and useless, with no spiritual walk and fruitless, and bewildered. The leaders felt it was their right to command the people and do with them what they wanted because they belonged to them. They were there to serve the higher ambitions of the leaders.