From Bondage to the Desert – 1.3 Role of the Secret Police – 3

1.3.3 Recruiting Church Members as Informers

Communists do not trust people; even their own. This is why in any given community there was always more than one informer. So, even if the pastor of a church was working for the secret police, either as an undercover officer or as a collaborator, the police also recruited lay church members in order to check up on the information received from the leader. In order to recruit them the secret police used the same means as for the recruitment of church leaders. The officers frequently exploited the naïveté of the people they approached.

When they make contact with potential informers, secret police officers instruct them very firmly not to tell anyone, even their family members, about having been contacted. The effectiveness of their attempt unquestionably depends on the acceptance of this secrecy.

Suggestion – The best protection for someone who is targeted by the secret police to become an informer or who is simply called in for interrogation is to ignore the warning received and to tell everyone, including family and church members, in such a way that this will reach the ears of the secret police. You will quite definitely not be contacted again. Of course, there is a risk in doing this, but not doing so carries with it a much greater risk that one should avoid at all costs. And be sure to pray earnestly about the situation and have others pray for you.

The recruitment of an informer is always confirmed by a written agreement that is really like a pact with the devil. At this point the informer also receives a secret code name that will be used in all information reports. These reports will be kept in the personal files of the informer and of the people they have informed on.

Those who agree to this compromise sometimes think that their failure will always remain a secret. However, after the fall of communism the secret police files in many countries were opened and the written agreements and reports of the secret police informers in churches became known to the public, to the shame of those guilty of this great sin.

This request from the officer becomes a definite order accompanied by real threats if the person signs the agreement, but even in this case there is a way out. The solution is to refuse to write any reports. If someone who has signed a collaboration agreement starts writing reports, it will be even more dangerous to refuse cooperation later on. Some collaborators who tried to withdraw after years of cooperation when the Lord convicted them of their sin were killed by the secret police. Certainly, people like these died as martyrs, but their families still have to live with the shame of their life of compromise before they were killed.

Suggestion – If you know anyone who has become a collaborator with the secret police, try to convince them gently to come out into the open as soon as possible and to save their soul. With confession, there will be forgiveness before God and the Christian community.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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