Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PTSD In The Churches of God?

A reader here sent this in last night.  It is from the Ambassador Report 33

***Just as Vietnam veterans may become "action junkies," former members of the WCG often become "movement junkies" - obsessed with obscure religious movements or other kinds of groups, continuing their quest for "The Truth" and/or for the satisfaction of considering themselves "in the know" within another self-described "select" group.

 "Such individuals view the mainstream social and religious institutions with continuing distrust, scorning the very real strength and benefit that might be found in a careful and rational acceptance of those institutions, however flawed. One former member writes: "Psychologists themselves (all I ever knew), and ministers (ha!) - those guys? Who wants those devil's advice? They're the ones who need it."

"Another writes, "We welcomed the 'comfort' of Jehovah's Witnesses. At the time we would never have withstood the 'transition' without them. We were like members until last year when we realized the danger of a repetition of the WCG. Fortunately, we never took that fated step of baptism. Now I thank God we realized just in time.... Now I can say, 'That's it. No more churches.' We pray and read the Bible every day. We accept Dr. Martin's literature still and are Christians. But we don't need churches."

"Other former members of the WCG have established their own churches, literature, and tract ministries, etc. Many of these are virtually unknown and show every indication of remaining so. Others have achieved varying degrees of notoriety, mostly among former WCG members, but have a tendency to dissension and schism. Their participants part company and continue to pursue "The Truth" that has eluded them once again, or the sense of cosmic purpose which they originally felt during their time in the WCG.

"Some former members, such as D., experience a series of failed relationships. Others suffer from depression and thoughts of suicide. One man I know was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital after his exit from WCG. It may be impossible to know how many successful suicides have been brought about by stress disorder directly related to the victims' time in the Worldwide church.

"Former members of WCG may find it difficult to return to interests and projects that had been important to them before involvement in Worldwide. Old religious affiliations are often difficult to resume.

"Several former members have experienced flashbacks to their WCG days. More than two years after my exiting WCG, I was listening to a representative from a small seminary describe his campus, the graduate program there, and the students. Although he didn't realize the effect he was having on me, I became more and more agitated as he described his seminary in words and phrases almost identical to those used to describe Ambassador College. After some minutes of this, I burst into wracking sobs, totally embarrassing myself and totally surprising the representative. Before this incident, I had thought myself quite "cured" of the effects of my time in the WCG and AC. In talking with other former members, I find that such experiences are not uncommon.

"If the effects of an experience like Worldwide on adults can be severe, the effects on children may be much more profound. A., whose story appeared above, attributes two of her sons' legal difficulties to the years that the family spent in WCG. Children have not only one authority imposing itself upon them (as the WCG is the sole authority over adult members), but they also have the authority of their parents, whose attitudes toward and treatment of children may be greatly affected by doctrines and directives from the WCG. Thus, children may doubly be victims of the damaging aspects of involvement in the WCG."

 Article in AR 33 by Brenda Denzler


Douglas Becker said...

This is also covered in PTSD

There are those, however, who don't believe that those in Armstrongism really have had PTSD -- but that is an opinion of a known narcissist.

Byker Bob said...

Current adherents to Armstrongism may tend to doubt and deny this, but PTSD is real, and relates directly to the Armstrong experience. The intensity of the symptoms can vary widely, with some not experiencing any symptoms at all.

When I first heard about it while reading accounts of the experiences of returning Viet Nam veterans, I recognized some of the symptoms in myself but resulting from being a different kind of veteran. I did seek out therapy, and obtained relief from some of the worse symptoms, but the symptoms described in the categories of action or adrenaline junkie, and relationship or love junkie continued to play a major role in my life up to about five or six years ago.

I'd recommend that anyone suffering from the lingering effects of Armstrongism, if needed or appropriate, find a therapy and or therapist who is a good fit with your personality type, and whom you can trust, and most definitely watch the film "A Beautiful Mind". The damage doesn't need to be catastrophically permanent, and we can utilize our own intelligence to a certain degree to overcome much of it. I've personally found God to be effective as well as that final ingredient, and this is often overlooked, but as the commercial says, your own mileage may vary.


Silence said...

Speaking personally about COG-related PTSD, yes, it does exist.

DennisCDiehl said...


Post Theological Stress Disorder

Byker Bob said...

One more thing. ACOG people could be tempted to succumb to a very simplistic and dismissive answer to this very real problem. You may here something like: "PTSD???? Why no!!! That's actually Satan, and the problem will not go away or get better until you repent and return to God's True Church!!!" (bellowed in an authoritarian and booming voice).

That, of course, is suggesting that you place yourself back in the midst of the factors which caused the PTSD. I would recommend that one journal all of the causative stress factors, and carefully examine them to determine whether those factors existed for Christians in the Bible. Also, get to know some people who do not have PTSD, and you will probably need to look outside of your church group, amongst your family, colleagues, or neighbors to find such people.


DennisCDiehl said...

compassion is the key

Anonymous said...

When you put your heart and soul and your whole life into the church--like we were always told--and then find out it was a pack of lies you are probably going to have PTSD.

The people who didn't experience PTSD were perhaps not in it very long, or perhaps they didn't put their whole heart into it.

Maybe it's why some insensitive people can just say "get over it". Maybe they were just there to save their own back-ends from the tribulation.

Poppy Le Touzel said...

I was a member of WWCG from 1968 - 1999 and raised four children in it -- poor things. My husband and I interpreted literally the teachings of HWA which was very hard for the children as they had to attend public schools where the traditional holidays and birthdays were celebrated and pork and shellfish were allowed and one was not threatened with disfellowshipment if one worked on Saturday, etc. My oldest child ran away from home alot in her teens and subsequently descended into mental illness; her younger sister, descended into mental illness as well. Their two younger brothers got into crime. I'm not saying this is all the fault of the teachings of WWCG, but I am sure it had a lot to do with it. I wish I had never gotten involved with WWCG!

Poppy Le Touzel said...

I was a member of WWCG from 1968 to 1999 and my husband and I raised four children in WWCG. It affected the children worst of all. Two are mentally ill and cannot work and two have gotten into crime. I believe this to be in large measure due to the teachings of HWA and also to my husband's and my intrepation and application to our children. I wish I had never heard GTA on the World Tomorrow radio program out of Corpus Christi in January 1963.

Anonymous said...

Gerald Flurry is mentally sick.