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Monday, January 25, 2016
I too am a child survivor of Herbert W. Armstrong's church from 1960 on...
A reader here shares his/her story:
I believe my mother was drawn to the Radio Church of God broadcast because she was so emotionally unstable and unhappy. I think like all cults, it drew folk with deep emotional/spiritual voids. And folk with mental health issues. I remember being abused physically by my mother in the guise of "discipline" as taught by the church when it actually became a physical church that she could attend - the World Wide Church of God. The "discipline" progressed to a 2 by 4 board. I can't blame the church on all the abuse suffered at the hands of my mother, given she had begun the abuse years prior to her discovering the Radio Church of God. Both my parents came to the marriage with lots of unresolved baggage. Within three years, my mother had three children and a husband who worked late most nights. And she was Jewish, he Methodist. She raised in a pampered creative, city family life. He from a sheltered, poor farm upbringing.
I know I was damaged even before my mother started going to Armstrong's church. But her becoming part of it all, was devastating to us kids and my father. Before she joined the church, we had Chanukah and Christmas and of course all the other holidays and festivities that are considered traditional. I remember the day the men in dark suits came to our house. My Dad was at work. From that day forward, she stopped smoking, never wore makeup again and life was never the same in our house. No more birthdays, nothing. I was about 9, my younger brother 7 and my older brother 10. No explanation, nothing, Just all of a sudden everything changed. It further put a wedge between my parents and he recognized quickly that her church was "nuts". His response was to delve deeper into his job. To be abused at home and have such a volatile mother and then have to attend long church services with her and sermons about 'the Lake of Fire" and kids are sinful and need to receive the rod and the never ending sermons on the Book of Revelation and the tribulation and the end of the world - it was frightening to me. I had nightmares throughout my childhood. Even after her church became more mainstream and "normalized", she still hung on to some of the old teachings esp. regarding the world coming to an end. The last words I ever heard from her, at my last visit a few months before her death she said" It's only going to get worse". and I knew she was referencing the end times. For supposedly loving the Lord and being born again, she was miserable. And her minister never wanted to address the issues in our house and help with it.
Anyway, I joined the army just to get out of the house, after I graduated high school. It took me years to be comfortable celebrating birthdays and holidays. Now, I love to celebrate those. I do believe her religion greatly affected my spiritual path which has led me to atheism. It has been an agonizing path. Living a human life without religion and all the camaraderie a church can provide, has been lonely indeed. My trust in people has been damaged. I do feel I am the victim of religious abuse. even hearing the word God triggers my PTSD. I have had to pay quite a bit of money over the years for psychotherapy. I'd have loved to have sent that bill to H. Armstrong.
You have my permission to print this