I am a 26 year old married male with a sweet baby girl on the way, 08/25/2014! I was raised a Baptist until I was 21 years old at that point due to SEVERAL issues and my church splitting I left. One of my friends, who was a Apostolic Pentecostal invited me to visit her church. I knew most of the people who went to the church since we are from a small town and the pastor's wife had been one of my teachers at the Christian High School I attended. So I went, knowing that this was a very conservative church, sleeves had to be halfway between elbow and wrist, no shorts for guys, girls skirts to the floor, no jewlry including wedding rings, but I had NO CLUE how much worse it was! The service was good, nothing like if ever seen but I had several friends there and they welcomed me so I stayed. After about 6 months of weekly Bible studies with the pastor I started helping with the youth group. Then about 6 months later the youth leader left, so I took over teaching their Sunday school class, coaching the Bible quizzing team, and doing countless activities with them. Youth ministry has always been a passion of mine so I was glad to do all this. Well although I never agreed with any of the standards the church taught, I complied out of fear for 2.5 years, followed their rule book exactly! Well that brings us to last summer, it was extremely hot out and I was going on a date with my now wife who was from a UPC church in another town, to our local fair in my hometown. I wore blue jeans and a short sleeve polo shirt...and ran into my pastor. He never said anything to me about it until the following Sunday I showed up prepared to teach my class only to find someone else was there to teach that day? So I asked the pastor why I had not been made aware of this guest teacher as I thought it was. He said he felt like God was telling him I was not a good influence on our youth. Let me tell you a little bit about myself, by the age of 19 I had my first college degree, at 20 I started working as an Engineering Technician for the US Federal Government, got my bachelors degree at 22, and then became an Engineer for the government, never even tasted alcohol, I've slept with one woman(my wife) and attended at least 3 church services per week my whole life. So when I mentioned those things and asked the pastor how that equates to me being a bad influence, he told me that it was because I did not follow everything he preached and that he could not allow me to continue in a position of ministry because that would show the youth that it was ok for them to question the things he preached. (Can you say cult?) this church was so strict that he frequently preached that people in the upc were going to hell for being in such a liberal religion. So since I had been sat down from working in the youth, when it came time for my engagement, I bought my wife an engagement ring. The first time she wore it to my church, the very first person to see it said "so you guys are not going to go here anymore?" To which I said no and walked out. Since then we have attended a non-denominational church pastured by a husband and wife who are both former Pentecostal and we love it there. We dress how we want and nobody judges! My wife cuts her hair, wears jeans, makeup and jewelry. Most of the friends that we had in the Pentecostal church will not associate with us, but ya know what, we have made new friends and life goes on! I'm so much happier and proud to call myself an EX PENTECOSTAL!!!