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Review for Temple of the Sacred Gift ATC, Memphis, TN, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

I left Temple of the Sacred Gift when they "accepted the resignation of" (read: fired - no resignation was ever submitted) two clergy for nothing more than disagreeing with the High Priestess, Rev. Sonya Miller. In the four years this church has been around they have lost no less than five clergy to firings or resignations, all resulting from conflict with the HPS. I have seen her behave badly at events she is invited to, including verbal abuse of event staff and vandalism of a rented site. She has also given grievous disrespect to community elders.

TSG expects a whopping amount of financial support from all members. In addition to their $120/year "dues" (compared to no dues asked from members of Neshoba Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and $25/year asked -- but, at this time, not required -- from members of Summerland Grove) TSG holds a fundraising event nearly every week. Even those contributing their time and skills to present a workshop or energy share at these events are expected to pay for the privilege, something I have never seen from any other Pagan or Wiccan organization anywhere.

TSG is run on the "coven model" -- all final say is vested in the High Priestess. TSG, at least during the time I was a member, tried to cover this up by having clergy councils and member representatives, all for show as their decisions could be (and were) overridden by Sonya. This is not a healthy model for a church and not one that I support. Once I found out that I had been deceived about the locus of control, I was no longer willing to be a part. Worryingly, the church rewrites its own history every time clergy leave or are fired: names of founders removed from the church history, long-time clergy being told they were never clergy once they quit even though evidence exists that they were previously listed as clergy on TSG sites. This behavior reminds me of another problematic church -- Scientology.

The Mid-South Pagan community is vast, but you wouldn't know it from asking TSG, which likes to pretend it's the only game in town. Please, before deciding to involve yourself with this money-focused and problematic organization, research and see what other options the community holds for you. Find a group that will value you as more than a pocketbook and sycophant. Don't get burned.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get rid of the High Priest and High Priestess, which unfortunately the charter does not allow. As long as the Millers are running this church, it will continue to be a problematic organization.

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Role:  General Member of the Public