Welcome to Grim Yelp Reviews, a new regular feature where we share people’s worst experiences at the worst places. This week: the house(s) of God(s).

God is everywhere. Well, not everywhere, I hope, because none of us needs that much company in the restroom. But the God or gods of your choosing are surely present in all of the earth’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, shrines, and every other house of worship. But so too are God’s iffiest creations, human beings. And for them, the Lord’s house is, like, two stars at best. So much incense! And what’s with this music? This cracker is stale and this man in a backwards dress is making me feel really judged right now.

In general, people tend to write very nice Yelp reviews of houses of worship, especially places they attend on a regular basis. But not always. And when things get grim, they get really, really grim. Some very serious accusations are made: about the godliness of the holy place in question, about the hygiene of the people who go there, and even whether they’re worshipping the right god(s) in the right way. Because what better place for serious theological discussion than the website I use to find a good pedicure?

As always, to protect the names of the innocent and not-so-innocent alike, we’ve redacted the names of the businesses, as well as the identities of the Yelpers who wrote the reviews. We realize you can probably find out all of that information by employing five seconds of Google magic.

Insufficient Godliness:

This first one, from someone who’s sorry to see his favorite pastor go:

[Redacted] became less of a church after Pastor [Redacted]. He was an awesome pastor with great style. Too bad he had to be an alleged pervert.

This gentleman enjoys the “Lordsgospel,” he just wishes it didn’t come with all that talking about loving the stranger as yourself:

When I picture this preacher trying to force the Holy Ghost into people, I picture one of those clown punching bags:

I want to warn you about that “church.” Pastor [Redacted] preaches prosperity gospel messages (“What can God do for me?” rather than “What can I do for God?”).He also PUSHES people down during prayer and beats on their chests, claiming they are being “slain in the Spirit.” AND he gets frustrated when they brace themselves and refuse to fall down because they are “not submitting to the Spirit,” when really they are making him look like a fool.The staff are very stuck up and not accepting of those who don’t fit into their cookie-cutter mold.

This next one is from a lengthy review complaining that a church seems “obsessed with porn stars,” and that the pastor is a tad too eager to talk about them during his sermons. Not to be a stickler here or anything, but Jesus did spend a lot of time with prostitutes and winos:

When I go to church, I go to be enlightened and learn how to be more Christ-like. I don’t know what to say, it just felt uncomfortable, hell, it was uncomfortable. There’s a way to get your message across without turning people off, and I think these guys have gotten a bit big for their britches and overcome by another sin, too much personal “pride.” Somehow I don’t think Jesus was cocky and letting his ego run the show. I might be wrong, but I don’t see him running through the streets screaming “I love prostitutes!” and getting defensive when someone questioned him... egads...

I especially like the last sentence of this one. It’s kind of a logic puzzle:

They also support gay marriages...are you kidding me? The Bible specifically says that God does not want His people to practice homosexuality!!! It’s not a sin to be gay, but you cannot practice homosexuality - and we all know that the Bible says that. Please - this church just wants more members. I have plenty of Christian gay friends who do not practice homosexuality.

An excerpt from a lady who had a very bad, very gay Christmas at a mega-church in the Northeast:

FINALLY they said we were going to light the candles and sing, the candles where lit for 65 seconds (literally) and on the way out the door they sang “Silent night” (a few lines not even the whole song) in EVERY language BUT ENGLISH (korean, german and spanish). Not only did I not feel God or anything here, God is VOID here, it’s a MEAT market and hook-up place for anyone and anybody. Lot’s of flamboyant gay men and women, and even people in drag. This church is trying WAY to HARD for ALL THE WRONG REASONS. It’s ASTOUNDING how bad this “church” is. WE left CHURCH on CHRISTMAS eve feeling terrible. What a waste of Christmas eve because we DIDNT EVEN PRAISE GOD. How sad is that?

And finally, from someone who definitely doesn’t seem like he has an axe to grind:

Worldly Concerns:

This is a review of a synagogue.

We’ve been going to their Thursday night BINGO on and off for the past several years. You’d think that by now, the folks that run the BINGO program have worked out the kinks. It seems that there is usually a glitch here and there with the equipment ... for example: a # has not been registered in the system, so they cannot verify the cards of people that have called BINGO. Once I was there, and a # that had already been called came up again ... boy, I thought those seniors were gonna storm the caller! And not sure why ... but it always seems that the same people are winning. I don’t think I’ve ever hit a BINGO here. Oh, and let’s not forget the ‘niner’ guy. Every # that comes up that has a ‘9’ in it, he has to say ‘niner’ ... ANNOYING! and the people that toot their train whistles for ‘22’ ... there’s probably about 10 of them now! Ugh!Oh ... and they LOVE to play little extra side games ... but they don’t like to explain them. Then when you ask one of their runners, they have not idea how the game is played .. are you kidding me?!This place claims to be the “friendliest BINGO game in town” ... I don’t think so!I think I’m moving on to a new BINGO spot!

I would actually be pretty pissed about this one too:

The daycare lost my friends child!! They try to have a good professional system here but anyone can walk in and out of the daycare here. For such a huge church you want to feel like you can leave your child and feel that no harm will come to them. They had no idea where a 15month old was and found her locked in a bathroom when she is not even potty trained yet! Do not leave your child here!

And this one, also from a church, is genuinely fucking awful:

Someone grabbed my butt here as a child while standing in a cramped elevator. I don’t know if I can ever go back...

Being the Westboro Baptist Church

Usually we redact the names of the businesses featured in Grim Yelp, but when it comes to the WBC, why fucking bother, right? You will not be surprised to learn that this church and merry little band of hateful trolls has a resounding one-star rating on Yelp. There are plenty of good ones, but we’ll just give you a taste:

I went to this church after my car broke down and they were very cordial, helped me call a tow truck, gave me water while I waited, everyone was perfectly nice.While in the bathroom an elderly gentleman asked if I needed any help? I said no, assuming he was on the other side of the door. As he swung the shower curtain opened I realized he’d been watching me the whole time; his semi-hard phallus flapping angrily in his hands, stubbornly refusing its attempts at arousal.I refused the man, who begged and offered me money to allow him to replace the toilet I’d been using. I excused myself and left the church.The 1 star is because they said they wouldn’t send spam to my email and they totally did.

I’m going to leave the Yelper’s name in this next one, because Anthony R. from San Diego deserves a round of applause:

As a bonus, here is a four-star review of Phelps Chartered, the law firm associated with the WBC (that mostly focuses on suing people on behalf of the church:)

The sex was great. They laid his dead body out on the floor, and after I paid them $100, I was able to do my thing Obviously, this isn’t a law firm. But everybody needs to fulfill their desires, and this is the perfect place to do it. Highly recommend.

Pretty grim! Until next time, maybe just reach out to your deity of choice from the safety of your home. Fred Phelps is definitely not in your home.

Illustration by Jim Cooke, photo via Shutterstock


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.

Public PGP key
PGP fingerprint: 67B5 5767 9D6F 652E 8EFD 76F5 3CF0 DAF2 79E5 1FB6