Bob League, the right hand henchman of Rod Meredith recently died. On various Facebook groups the legacy of League has been talked about by people who suffered under his role as their minister. While LCG members slobber and heap praises upon him, a darker side is revealed by these ex-members. The story related below (by permission) is about one of Bob Leagues sermons on sex and life in the church growing up as a child.
I was born into the Armstrong Cult during the Summer of Love. I spent what was, in retrospect, the relatively innocent period of the 1970's Petra-fied (insiders will get it) by the apocalyptic visions of HWA and his minions.
Many of the cultural oddities inflicted on my family and friends came down from on high (dictation of hair --and skirt-- length and style, carob good - chocolate bad, instructions on how a woman was to bend over to retrieve dropped items without overly exciting the men, prohibitions on everything from rock music to makeup) were minor lifestyle irritants relayed to us on a weekly basis by a minister who delighted in controlling and dictating the everyday details of our lives. We realized that most of these things were coming straight down from on high at the whim of headquarters. God was leading Mr. Armstrong (snigger), and with a very firm hand, Mr. Armstrong made it clear to us that he was leading "his ministers," who would in turn lead us lesser sheeple. To defy or question the judgment of the minister therefore was to defy and question God.
I don't know why I therefore thought that Bob League's infamous Donkey Sex sermon was an exception to this rule. A ministerial aberration. The Donkey Sex sermon wasn't his first sermon on sexual deviance, and it certainly wouldn't be his last. I confess to being somewhat surprised to later learn that similar sermons alerting the membership to the very real and present danger of bestiality had been a relatively widespread WCG phenomenon. I should have known. One ex-member suggested that perhaps this sermon had been prompted by someone at HQ who attended a certain...ahem..."donkey show" in Tijuana. Now there's something that bears contemplating.
I can't have been more than four or five when I first learned --from the pulpit -- about the improper usage of donkeys by the vile, sinful female sex. I know I was that young because I was still relegated (for the duration of a weekly 2-hour sermon) to a blanket on the cold concrete floor of a drafty high school auditorium, along with the rest of my generation. I remember staring at the green, orange and white pattern of my baby quilt and thinking to myself that young though I may be, I did not think what our minister was describing was suitable subject matter for the mixed company represented by our 700+ congregation of young and old.
With the benefit of age and wisdom, I actually have to chuckle when I think of the horrified squirming of a captive audience of elderly men and women as they listened to the painfully graphic descriptions of what not to do with a donkey. Is it funny? I don't know. I just know if you don't laugh, you'll cry.
Armstrongism has always had a deep fascination with sex. Like in most cults, sex prohibitions played a major role in keeping the members in check. Herbert Armstrong, reacting to the free love hippies and the frigidness of Loma, lashed out at the membership with "God Speaks Out on the New Morality." Reaching into the bedroom to control members sex lives apparently did not bother any ministers or evangelists.
Church of God ministers regularly pried into the sex lives of members and youth of the church. Top COG leaders in Pasadena. Big Sandy and Bricket Wood probed deeply into the sexual habits of students with some of these men sitting there getting sexually aroused by what they were hearing.
Rod Meredith wrote countless articles on how much he hated homosexuals and on how to be a REAL man. To this day he cannot stop talking about gays and their white socks and pink shirts. Wimpy prissy men revolted him. He much preferred macho, sweaty, muscle bulging, vein popping masculine, men.
Many COG leaders and ministers were walking philandering sex machines, ready to find new victims. Garner Ted was famously associated with bedding over 200 coeds during his years in Pasadena. Many of those women went on to be wives of evangelists,ministers and regional directors. The church went out of its way in prohibiting members from having any forms of illicit sex while they were breeding like rabbits hopping from one sex partner to the next.
It should come as no shock to see that this silliness carried on into the "ministry" of Bob League.