My life in the New Apostolic Church – A life between heaven and hell, only an exit could help, my report of what it was like to be New Apostolic.
I am Gabriele Tozzani (32) and I belonged to the New Apostolic Church for about 6 years. I was not born into it, but came to it later, and to this day I never thought I would leave this “work of God”. In the beginning, everything was blessed.
How it all began
Then when I was sealed, 6 years ago, it was all over. From then on, I had to earn everything. It started when I was in a church and a minister said to me, “But the service doesn’t start until 7:30!” Then I thought, what is this? But I did not give up and attended the church services there. Before I was sealed I was still told, “You must be sealed or you will not be a child of God! Other churches don’t have that!” That scared me, so I had myself sealed. After I was sealed, hardly anyone wanted anything to do with me. I realized that the day I was sealed. When I wanted to get help from the overseer, I was always told, “You need to work on yourself and pray more … “.
A new community
After some time, I moved to another district, hoping to find peace of mind there. That’s how it was in the beginning, I tried to sing in the choir again. But one evening the overseer came up to me and said, “Gabriele, we have a youth choir singing on Sunday and would like to ask you not to sing there because we are enough there!” I was completely shocked. He didn’t even apologize for the way he’d treated me.
Well then, it had to go on. After a long time I wanted to belong to this congregation and asked the first congregation to transfer me to the congregation in W.. But nothing happened.
I had to ask the apostle to make the transfer first.
But to belong? I didn’t really feel like I belonged. The overseer also did not introduce me to the congregation as was done with everyone else. I was a bit surprised. I was able to participate in some church activities, but the overseer tried to find fault with me every time.
My stay at the clinic
I had to go to the clinic again after a long time, but I was allowed to leave the clinic in between because I wanted to be at the Christmas party. But when the foreman saw me, he just said, “Gabriele, you’re in the hospital, what are you doing here?” I was totally devastated, couldn’t he have said: “Good that you’re here!” I felt so bad after that that I had to be driven back to the hospital.
After some time I could leave the clinic again. I tried to continue attending services despite everything. I wondered why the leader was always hugging brothers and sisters, whereas with me it was just a ‘hello’ and a ‘goodbye’!
To get a little distance from the NAC, I attended a free church where I was really welcomed. I was able to put myself out there without reproach or problems. Now I longed to return to the New Apostolic Church after all. I hoped they’d be happy to have me back. But far from it. As we were saying goodbye, the overseer said to me, “You are not to build any other wells for yourself. You’ll only find blessings here!” He always had something. When a young brother in our faith had gone home, I wanted to find out from the head of the congregation when the funeral service would be. The answer was: “Gabriele, you shouldn’t be there!” He didn’t tell me the reasons, which I found really sad.
They wanted to get rid of me now
When I was on vacation in another church, I was to give greetings to our overseer, which I gladly did. But our overseer replied to the greetings that had been conveyed, “Gabriele, go where you want, I can’t hold you after all.”“What is this again?” I thought! I didn’t do anything wrong! He treated me like I’d done something bad…
After a service, a sister in the faith had invited me for ice cream, she had also overheard the situations, how the overseer dealt with me and asked: “What has the overseer got against you?” I said: “I don’t know!” To which the nurse replied: “Don’t you have a house priest like me you can talk to?” No, I had not. No one was assigned to me, I was alone.
After a long time, I informed the overseer that I was leaving the New Apostolic Church. But the headman, quite nonchalantly, “Well, then, you’ll have to go!” As if he had been waiting for this for a long time. After my parents called his house, nothing was said other than, “I’ve known Gabriele for so long … !” That long? Since I was at the end of my strength, I looked at a neighboring community to get some rest first. When I went back to the previous church, the overseer told me, “Now you should say goodbye here!” So after the motto: “Go already”! But the neighboring church was too big for me, so I went to a smaller church.
A third community
I was now visiting a local church. At first, it looked like I might do well here. For example, I was invited to join the flute choir. But here, too, the fellowship waned. One day I had an altercation with the foreman. Everything I said, the foreman blocked. I asked him why I was being treated like this, he said he didn’t know himself.
Since I suffered from a severe disability, I always had to get up and go outside the door during church services, but they didn’t want to understand that. Instead of asking me, “What’s wrong with you?”… Instead of asking me: “What’s wrong with you?”, I was told: “Why is it always like this? Although they all had time to sing at the retirement home and make visits there, no one was with me!
I wrote to the District Apostle, but he only said, “You must never question or despair about anything. That weakens the faith!” That was all I got in reply.
I had to get tickets for the youth day somewhere else, because my own church didn’t want me to be there, although even older youths were allowed to be there.
The apostle threatens!
Since the overseer treated me so impossibly, I wanted to have a talk with the District Apostle. My concerns were cited, but it was all swept under the rug. So another visit to the administration took place together with the provost. I took an alumnus from the New Apostolic Church with me so I wouldn’t be alone. When the head also arrived in the administration, he said to us briefly: “Good day” and disappeared with the secretary. This time only the Apostle was present, not the District Apostle. But the overseer talked everything up and he acted as if nothing had ever happened. I stood there like I’d done something bad. The apostle even said, when I ask, “Why are they treating me so badly?”, “Watch what you’re saying!“
So those who call themselves apostles can also become aggressive!
They want to get rid of me again
The hope that things would get better after this conversation was dashed. I was treated as before, and the overseer asked, as he had many times before, “Why don’t you go to another church?” I asked, “What’s the point again?” He said, “I don’t know, I’m overwhelmed!” He hadn’t taken me in either. He always called me, but not out of charity, but because the bosses demanded it. To the upcoming youth service, they did not take me, I had to go to church at that time.
It was said from the altar, “If you don’t attend services for a long time, you may be lost!” That annoyed me! After the service, a sister in the faith approached me and asked, “Are you wearing a bra, can I see?” I turned her down, then she talked about me to others and badmouthed me. Afterwards, when the overseer came, I told him about it, but he merely said, “Well, that’s just the way it is.” Instead of helping me and trying to have the conversation, he blocked again.
After the overseer had asked me again why I didn’t go to another church, I couldn’t stand it any longer and left.
You can see from my report that I had tried to get involved in some churches. So, as the Chief Apostle always likes to say, “We need strong members, get involved … !” But who is meant by that? The ones with higher rank or more money? I even got teased for my looks.
I continued to be ostracized
There was a special service for the severely disabled. I also have a severe disability, but instead of being treated with love, I was only marginalized and reluctantly taken to services for brothers and sisters with disabilities. Not even to the EJT09 (European Youth Day 2009). It was the same at the last church, I was teased by younger church members. The headman took in everyone else but me. He said never a word to me. I wasn’t taken to any events, I was alone! They didn’t even call on my special day, although they could have.
I now attend the Evangelical Lutheran churches, sing in the choir there, have my freedom there and I like to be seen there. I was even taken to the Protestant Church Congress. The New Apostolic ministers tried to bring me back again and again. But I now reject that outright.
My last try
After having been in the Evangelical Church for a long time, I wanted to try the New Apostolic Church again. But when I appeared there, a sister of the faith asked me how I was. I said: “I’m not feeling well.” The Sister of Faith’s response was: “It’s clear that you’re not doing well if you attend the Evangelical Church. You have to go where apostles are, and you won’t find that anywhere else, but only here!” I asked: “Where is that in the Bible?” There was no answer to that. That was my last visit to the NAC.
I wrote to the Apostle again and told him about my problems and that I would now leave the New Apostolic Church. To which I received the following reply: “We regret your decision, but you should reconsider. In any case, you are always welcome back!” What little consolation. Then after I left, there were phone calls from the officers to get me back. But I declined every invitation. Most of all, they wanted to come and see me all at once. Rejected! I had asked my parents to call the headmaster about the unsolicited phone calls so that peace would finally come. They did and to this day there is silence.
In the meantime, I have also found dropout forums where former NAC members are speaking out. It can really make your hair stand on end when you read this. Above all, it reflects a lot of what I experienced.
I hope I was able to clarify my experience in excerpts.
I want to encourage: Jesus Christ is the only way. New Apostolic sealing is unbiblical. It is not legitimized by the Bible. These are only ways of thinking of the New Apostolic Church. Instead of cleaning up their own community, they recruit new members. But I guess I wasn’t good enough for them.
I did the right thing, I left!
*The names and places have been changed!
We recommend the translation of the Bible by Franz Eugen Schlachter in the 2000 version