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Blaze Poll: Have You Ever Been Hurt By Your Church?

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"I completely stopped going to church."

Be sure to take our poll about your church own experience at the end of the story:

Churches are known for being collective localities where worshippers can come together to observe the Almighty, while serving as a support system for people in need.

In practice, this ideal offers those facing seemingly insurmountable challenges with a framework comprised of fellow believers willing to pray for them and assist them in their hours of greatest need. But what happens when churches fail in this area?

While millions of Americans enjoy their church experiences, some have had less-than-favorable encounters with fellow parishioners. These people have been so hurt by their pastors and others in their churches that they've abandoned houses of worship all together. This week, Lifetree Cafe, the Christian event series, is exploring this tragic phenomenon in an effort to ignite discussion about this important subject.

Here's a recap of this week's Lifetree Cafe discussion:

In an exclusive clip provided to The Blaze, one woman shares the story that led her to abandon her church. She describes her pastor's alleged reaction to her first son's (Seth) birth defects. The faith leader blamed the boy's special needs (he was born with Down Syndrome and other complications) on the woman's sins. Here's how she explains her dialogue with him:

"[My pastor said] 'you need to ask forgiveness.' I said 'for what?' because I thought he knew that I was frustrated with God and was anxious. And he said, 'cause Seth has this abnormality because of something you did.' And being taught that forgiveness is complete and it's washed away...what could I have done? And I kept running through everything."

This assertion -- that she was responsible for her son's Down Syndrome -- caused her so much angst and pain that she decided to leave the church.

"I completely stopped going to church," she explains. "The only way to get through that was to get out."

Watch her share her story, below:

Lifetree is a weekly, coffee shop-like environment and event series in which individuals come together to explore issues related to God and culture. These events are planned at locations — mainly churches — around the nation and sometimes feature pre-taped videos. Here's more about this unique program:

Have you had a similar experience? Take our poll, below:

Have you been hurt by church?

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