Friday, December 9, 2016

Why Do People Remain in Abusive Churches?


By Don Enevoldsen
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’” (Genesis 2:18)
Who would have thought that the first thing God identified as not good would become the strongest tool of control and abuse in history? Human beings recognize how undesirable isolation is, and they prove it by their willingness to do anything to avoid being alone. That fact explains a wide range of dysfunctional behavior, from the tendency to stay in unhealthy relationships to a fanatical devotion to abusive churches and church leaders.
I was recently asked why people stay in abusive churches, not only refusing to leave, but actively defending the system, even when there is overwhelming evidence of hypocrisy, deception and unethical behaviors. A variety of factors combine to produce this state, and while motives can be complex, they generally revolve around the fear of losing connection with the community. Instinctively, most people prefer the familiarity of an unhealthy community to abandonment by the community. Better to belong to something, even if it’s bad, than to be alone.
The threat of being ostracized hangs over every part of abusive church systems. It has always been this way. Recall the parents of the blind man Jesus healed. They avoided defending their own son out of this fear of being cast out.
“His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9:22)
All their son did was tell the truth. Their fear prompted them to distance themselves from his defense, even though they were his parents and they saw for themselves that he’d been healed.
Why is this drive so strong? Why is being alone so terrifying? There might be many reasons, but the one that dominates my experience can be seen by examining what causes members of an abusive church their greatest anxiety. Having spent many years in a church where the pastors understood how to push all the right buttons to keep people in line, I’ve had considerable opportunity to observe abuse at its most subtle and its most effective.
For many years I worked very hard at this church. I was head of the drama department, writing and directing plays, Easter pageants, Christmas musicals, and helping to create illustrated sermons. I taught Sunday School classes, did the midweek service for many years, acted as church liaison for many community and political events, and did hospital visitation.
Significantly I had most of those responsibilities before I was on the church staff. Like most volunteers, I sat on the edge of my seat every time the pastor talked about something I was involved in, hoping to hear my name mentioned, even if it was only in passing.
People work incredibly hard for the smallest pat on the back, in the form of some sort of public mention or a title or a small, inexpensive thank you gift. Anything to feel that our efforts were noticed. We see it as an acknowledgement that we have earned a position in the organization. We belong to something bigger than ourselves.
Conversely, we are terrified of what might happen if we do not perform well enough or if we make a mistake. Someone else might replace us and we will suddenly be on the outside looking in. We can’t conceive of not being part of the group. Our sense of who we are becomes so enmeshed in the organization that being kicked out would confirm our worst fears that we might not have much value. No identity and no connection. Alone and forgotten.
It’s not hard to manipulate such people. My pastor often said that they were the best employees because they worked so hard. They are often thought of as people pleasers, but it needs to be understood that the reason for people pleasing is the fear of being sent away. A pat on the back, balanced with the hint that failure to be good enough will result in removal of all approval, and such people will do almost anything. I can assure you that in those days, I would. And I saw it in many others.
Add to that a steady diet of sermons about obeying leaders and submitting to authority if you don’t want God to be displeased with you, and the result will be a loyal, devoted fanatic, for whom no amount of rational argument will be adequate to break the hold of the abusive system. They will defend the pastor and the church against all comers. Note the reaction of Creflo Dollar’s congregation as detailed in Part 13 of this series. The facts of the case don’t matter.
It is in our nature to seek community. A healthy community thrives on the diverse contributions of healthy individuals. Members of the group are encouraged to grow, to express themselves, to find their individual, unique identity and to discover their purpose in life—for the good of themselves and for the benefit of other members.
An unhealthy community thrives on hierarchical control that forces its members into subservient roles—for the good of the organization, not the good of the members within the organization.
It is in our nature to seek community, but it is also in our nature to seek individuality within the community. We must express our unique identity to ever find genuine contentment. Express yourself in an abusive community, however, and they won’t allow you to hang around. You are a threat to the power structure. Until you start questioning the authority, you might never see the overt hostility. Question leaders, however, and you are guaranteed to see it firsthand. Abusive leaders never react nicely.
Where you fit into this dynamic says a lot about you. People stay in abusive systems because the desire for community has overwhelmed all other needs. Fear of abandonment has obscured the necessity for individual expression. Fear of not being good enough has twisted commitment to the community into a self-destructive duty, devoid of personal fulfillment or satisfaction.
Why do people stay in abusive churches? Because they have been taught that disapproval by the church or by the leadership equals rejection by God. And if you’re rejected by God, where can you go? That kind of fear is not easily overcome.
Though difficult to understand or accept when you have been indoctrinated in an abusive church, churches that foster genuine community do exist. Healthy people are never alone for long. They find other healthy people and they form healthy communities. The irony is that until you risk being alone, you will likely never notice those people.

42 comments:

Connie Schmidt said...

Control is always based on NEED. The answer is to need little, and to find self actualization outside of human interactions. This does not mean having to be a loner, but to never allow oneself to be dependent.

DennisCDiehl said...

Absolutely right Connie...

DennisCDiehl said...

I recall as a student finding Maslow's "self actualization" fascinating and helpful. Garner Ted got wind of it and went on a tirade against it . He didn't change me or convince me

Maslow's self-actualizing characteristics
Efficient perceptions of reality. Self-actualizers are able to judge situations correctly and honestly.

They are very sensitive to the fake and dishonest, and are free to see reality 'as it is'.

Comfortable acceptance of self, others and nature.

Self-actualizers accept their own human nature with all its flaws. The shortcomings of others and the contradictions of the human condition are accepted with humor and tolerance.

Reliant on own experiences and judgement. Independent, not reliant on culture and environment to form opinions and views.

Spontaneous and natural. True to oneself, rather than being how others want.

Task centering. Most of Maslow's subjects had a mission to fulfill in life or some task or problem 'beyond' themselves (instead of outside of themselves) to pursue.

Humanitarians such as Albert Schweitzer are considered to have possessed this quality.[citation needed]

Autonomy. Self-actualizers are free from reliance on external authorities or other people. They tend to be resourceful and independent.

Continued freshness of appreciation. The self-actualizer seems to constantly renew appreciation of life's basic goods. A sunset or a flower will be experienced as intensely time after time as it was at first. There is an "innocence of vision", like that of an artist or child.

Profound interpersonal relationships. The interpersonal relationships of self-actualizers are marked by deep loving bonds.

Comfort with solitude. Despite their satisfying relationships with others, self-actualizing people value solitude and are comfortable being alone.[19]

Non-hostile sense of humor. This refers to the ability to laugh at oneself.

Peak experiences. All of Maslow's subjects reported the frequent occurrence of peak experiences (temporary moments of self-actualization). These occasions were marked by feelings of ecstasy, harmony, and deep meaning. Self-actualizers reported feeling at one with the universe, stronger and calmer than ever before, filled with light, beauty, goodness, and so forth.

Socially compassionate. Possessing humanity.

Few friends. Few close intimate friends rather than many superficial relationships.[20]

Byker Bob said...

I had met Don, probably about twenty years ago, in my professional capacity. He was running a school district print shop with vocational skills training classes for the students. During our conversations he impressed me with the depth of his insights, enough that when I saw his name here, I immediately remembered our dealings.

Digital print equipment (copier-based) has largely replaced the analog offset printing processes which were once taught in high school as a trade.

Good to see that a great human being is still out and about, using his knowledge and people skills to help others make sense of life.

BB

Steve D said...

Once a cult has cut you off from friends outside the group; and you are a dependent personality type, have been taught that all other churches are in deep error, and you are fearful of being "lost", one might have to ask, "Where else would I go if I left this abusive church?" Staying is painful, but leaving is even more so. If the scales tip in the other direction, being more painful to stay than to leave, they might leave.

Anonymous said...

Herbies church was never about self actualisation. It was into the exact opposite. The ministers were, and presently are, into beating down and tearing down members in order to gain power and superiority them. The ministers are the foxes guarding the henhouse. So of course ministers will go into a tirade against any book that helps members grow.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't easy. I was scared to the extreme. At the same time, I was determined that I would be the master of my own life and certainly wasn't going to knuckle under to what I could see was an irretrievably corrupt organization. Once I began to see through the deceit and the hypocrisy, there was only one way to go -- out. Did I miss the former camaraderie? Of course. But, I knew I could build a new life, and I did. An old ranch kid, especially with my ornery independent nature, wasn't going to bow down to any more of what was clearly pure bullshit (I'd pitched a lot of the real thing and knew it was valurable for only one thing, certainly not the direction of my life).

Allen C. Dexter

Anonymous said...

Your words are so true I left cogdom less than a year and it is tough coping with the new reality of no friends being alone, a few that see the abuses and brainwashing stay because as they say where else can they go, I heard a member of Lcg once said to me it is a fearful thing to be put out of God's Church with that mindset leaving would be the equivalent to ripping a very old band aid from the skin of a naked brain. Many of those minister's are masters of manipulation and psychological control of the hearts and brains of their congregations.

Byker Bob said...

I believe that people generally find belief systems that suit their genetic makeup and personalities. That, of course, presumes that they weren't trapped in a cult early in life by their parents.

Look at your typical classic WCG member from the golden era, as an example. If you want a reminder, or example of the personality type that were attracted to Armstrongism back then, basically you can look at the Kitchen clan, Tom Mahon, Rod McNair, Bob Thiel, and others to whom we are exposed on the blogs. Those people are not at all gauche by classic Armstrongite standards. That's just the way most of the brethren were back in the day.

When people leave the cult, generally they look for solutions to the Armstrong problem, new answers, and equilibrium, all consistent with their personalities or identities. No mystery there. And, people sometimes proselytize, and others seek validation. Again, most people do not want to feel alone.

BB

Anonymous said...

Some including me believe that all religions are cults. The belief that a person needs to belong to a group to be approved by God is a cultic belief. Also the belief that a person needs to change his or her beliefs to conform to the beliefs of the group is also cultic.

Many ministers and priests are well meaning but well meaning or not the "churched" people tend to view them as having spiritual authority over their lives. The truth is no one has authority over your spiritual life but yourself.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Or... it could be that it's the alcohol. Few other churches have alcohol as the center of... well... everything. Alcoholic boozing Apostles, leading alcoholic boozing evangelists, leading alcoholic boozing pastors. It's a drinking party, with the Feast of Tabernacles the pinnacle of boozing alcoholic celebration. As Garner Ted Armstrong said so often at the Feasts, "That's Booze Brethren!"

Of course, this is an invisible plague which everyone denies, but still, when Dale Hampton came through Seattle in the 1970s, he said that 18% of the congregation were alcoholics. Some of us behind the scenes knew it was much higher than that.

The way it works is that you have boozing alcoholics in a social group who reinforce one another. In Spokane, in the late 1960s and the 1970s, the whole church was pretty much dominated by a boozing alcoholic former Marine, along with his two drinking buddies -- he was very much the center of the church with big ideas, weekend boozing dinners before Spokesman Club (at which he was the President until the over all evaluator, Valden White deposed him for drinking on the job as he gave his attack speech and left very little of the lectern left).

Oh, sure, yuck it up. Deny it. But during the 1970s, there was quite the cottage industry of beer and wine making with a few making their own distilled entrees (which included dried plums soaked in 160 proof brandy, giving new meaning to stewed prunes!).

The thing is, if any of you have the wit to read both of Dr. James Milam's books on the topic of alcoholism, you would recognize immediately what having hypoglycemia really means and what it meant for over 50% of a congregation with the malady claiming it was just a sugar imbalance when it was really something else quite deadly.

It has been the observation of many that those who continue to be boozing alcoholics remain in Armstrongism and don't leave until they go sober. That's probably because the drunks are so comfortable around each other. And hey, when you're more than 5 sheets to the wind, the abuse you get from the ministry and those in 'authority' is muted by the bleary-eyed perception of the world, giving rise to the happy hour that lasts from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.

And it's OK to drink yourself blind and destroy your liver.

It is, that is, if you don't cause injury and death to others -- incidents which are not at all well reported in The Journal.

In fact, nobody wants to talk about it at all, because so many are guilty of it and it would just absolutely ruin everything to talk about it.

Anonymous said...

2.33PM when I attended services, I noticed that most of the deception is at a emotional rather than intellectual level. For instance, they don't say 'allow yourself to be lorded over by your minister.' Rather, every third sermon is on 'obedience' with members knowing that its a code word for being dominated. This unrelenting brainwashing twists members sense of normalcy and crashes their mental barriers. Treating members like children, rather than claiming that they are children, is another example.
This mind twisting is cold blooded murder.

Anonymous said...

The holy spirit told me to stop attending church services in 1990. I never would have matured as a adult had I kept attending. The church mentally cripples you, and keeps mentally crippling you, for their self serving ends.

Anonymous said...

2:33. You're at the most difficult part right now. I at least had contact with several others in the same boat there in Pasadena. Forget about those still on the inside. To most of them, I was a pariah. What eventually pulled me out was getting out into "worldly" organizations like Parents Without Partners (my wife had left me) and into square dancing. That built a new social life for me with new friends. It took time, and it will for you too, but you can and I hope will find your way.

Allen C. Dexter

DennisCDiehl said...

BB noted: "basically you can look at the Kitchen clan, Tom Mahon, Rod McNair, Bob Thiel, and others to whom we are exposed on the blogs. Those people are not at all gauche by classic Armstrongite standards. That's just the way most of the brethren were back in the day. "

That is not my experience with the average member in all of the 14 congregations I pastored. Some few were the zealots and noticeably unbalanced in their devotion to personalities. Most were very stable, fine and hopeful members who worked hard and had the hope in them they found in the scriptures as presented by the church as a whole. Those you mention were not the template for those I knew or pastored. This is just my experience and it's unfair in my view to say "most " were like those you mention. They were not.

Byker Bob said...

Come on, Dennis! You were a minister, even if you were one of the very few good ones! Members were bred to suck up to you! How could you possibly have an objective opinion of them? Basically you saw the acts or portrayals that members learned to present to an authority figure in a totalitarian church.

As long as we're putting all the cards on the table, I admit that I probably have a skewed view also, because to a rebel type, all the members appeared to be either cold hearted zealots, or rats whom you couldn't trust. You mentioned the late Wayne Pyle as being one of your friends. He certainly was a zealot type who gave my brothers an Armstrongish ration of crap at the apartment he managed. We called him "Wang Piles" because he imposed HWAcaca standards on the tenants of that apartment building.

Tom Mahon and the Kitchens would probably have been chosen by the faculty to be student body officers if they had ever attended AC.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Healthy people are never alone for long. They find other healthy people and they form healthy communities. The irony is that until you risk being alone, you will likely never notice those people." Don Enevoldsen

Healthy children grow up to be healthy parents who can raise healthy families. If only that were to continually happen within each generation things could get real nice down here. But that is where cultmembers are found most lacking, both in experience and skill. Cultmembers need to grow up, spiritually. They feel so lost and are desperately seeking a stable home where they can be continually provided for and the parents will always be in charge and in control. So, what happens when the parents die?
Chaos.
The Wrong Way Home.

DBP

Anonymous said...

responding to December 9, 2016 at 2:33 PM, and others who have felt the same.

the mad hatter

Guy said...

It's much more complicated when the sanity of someone you love is still tied to the church while you are trying to walk away. It sounds simple but it's hard to justify tearing apart the mental state of loved ones. Yes, I didn't put them in that position but I still care.

Anonymous said...

"It's much more complicated when the sanity of someone you love is still tied to the church while you are trying to walk away"

You are right, it is harder. You still love them but they are no longer allowed to love you back by the cult "authority". Maybe the only thing you can do is to be ready for them when they do come out.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, the old cult was fascist to the core. All religions are. You tow the line or you get eliminated, sometimes violently. There are no beheadings in our society, but just show any push back and you'll be ostracized just as violently as can be arranged. Christianity was invented by a fascist imperial government, and although there are degrees among organizations, it still is basically fascist. Even the choice of Worldwide's name was an attempt to replace the Catholic Church with a new universal religion. It was the religious bent of so much of our nation that has put a would be fascist dictator at the helm of our nation, and I have great misgivings about that. I just finished reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and the parallels with Hitler's take over are terrifying.

Allen C. Dexter

Black Ops Mikey said...

"It's much more complicated when the sanity of someone you love is still tied to the church while you are trying to walk away."

Amen to that.

And it should be no great surprise that Armstrongism is definitely NOT a sane environment. In fact, it promotes insanity at all turns. It is the center of distorted perceptions, fantasies and outright lies -- lies which have to be embraced if you ever want to have any sort of relationship with those in the cult.

Of course, why would any one want to have a relationship with anyone in a cult unless they absolutely had to? They are all quite daft to one degree or another and it is not mentally healthy to remain with them to be subsumed by madness.

DennisCDiehl said...

I think I'm perceptive enough Bob to to tell the difference between a suck up and good folks in the people i knew for years on end

DennisCDiehl said...

Please don't project your experience onto mine or myself

Byker Bob said...

To really know if we're watching "typical" or "zealot anomalies" all you have to ask is whether they shun, and how they treat ex-members. From the answers that emerge, it's an easy leap to the tapdances members do on ex-members' graves.

Look at the testimonies of the people who are even today leaving for a more sane and real lifestyle. They tell us that they are lonely because they lost all of the people whom they had considered to be their closest friends. These people who had turned on them, in a forest-trees situation, had never been seen as zealots, but as typical church members.

What I'd like to hear is reports that someone left LCG, and the members ignored the shunning edicts and insisted on maintaining the friendships. Or that a church member attended the funeral of an ex member, put aside his or her own agendas, and was right there comforting the bereaved family of the deceased. Not, "Ha Ha Ha, you've blasphemed God's Apostle and now you've died of cancer!"

Let's face it. Members of toxic cults only know to exhibit toxic, repugnant behavior. The system produced the zealotry. Let's call it what it is! I don't care whether Hitler loved puppies, or whether a racist gives to United Way. It's whether the main thrust produces good fruits or evil ones.

BB

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dennis that most members were sincere people, just trying to live a godly life based on what they believed. I lived in Pasadena, Big Sandy and half a dozen other cities and every WCG congregation I ever attended was made up mostly of good people.

I also knew ministers who were blind to the suck-ups as well as ministers who could identify them and keep them at arm's length. I can easily believe that Dennis was one of the latter.

Byker Bob said...

Did you leave? Were you shunned? Did your "friends" suddenly trash you, and speak evil of you? Those are acquired behavioral patterns, resultng from brainwashing.

Now, I realize there were also people who would say that those who left and died were never converted (not too nice a thing to say either) and would come up in the second rez, but that is also amazingly arrogant, condescending, and totally a function of Armstongist brainwashing.

I have tremendous respect for Dennis. But the Dennis of today may have grown exponentially (hopefully we all have) from the Dennis who survived for multiple decades as a WCG administrator and minister.

Are members innocents? Or are they collaborators in a false and toxic system, and enablers? One thing is certain: the system could not exist withot them and their financial support.

BB

Anonymous said...

I agree with BB on this one. Most church members wore the proverbial 'Sabbath mask,' which they presented to the ministers. Many members were noticeably different when a group went to a restaurant after services. Most people can't tell the difference between a suck up and a good person in the near term. The reason is that people become experts at wearing their sheeps clothing. Practise makes perfect.
Ministers did not deal with authentic people. You see this same phenomenon with work bosses and those under them.
I recall a minister telling a group of members that women in the church repent if rebuked, but that women on the outside don't, expecting others to tolerate their abuse. To me, this was laughable. I felt like telling him that my experience is the exact opposite. And within ten years, half the church members were no longer attending, after Joe T took charge. Surprise, surprise. So much for repented members.

At the minimum, people hide the worst of what they are from ministers and authority figures. l've noticed that when bosses lose their jobs, they struggle to deal with people in everyday life, since people are now 'real.'
Dennis must experience this in his new career.

DennisCDiehl said...

Well if it helps bob, my parents elder\deaconess , met disfellowshipped folk for years for lunch and kept them as friends for years. These folk were dismembered by Pack who was my parents pastor at time and for whom my parents had little regard.

Byker Bob said...

For those who suddenly feel blindsided by this, and wonder where it is coming from, let me shed some light. Both Bob Thiel and Tom Mahon have expressed some opinions regarding our esteemed colleague, Gavin Rumney, who, for those who do not know, is in hospice right now.

I was wracking my brain, searching for a reason as to how a member of the human race could even have some attitudes such as these two expressed, let alone make them part of the permanent internet record as part of their legacies.

Anyway, suddenly countless situations flooded my brain from the 1950s thru '70s, and dozens of similar remarks that had been made by ministers and church brethren alike, forcing me to remember long-forgotten stereotypes, attitudes held by a people who were convinced that they alone had "the truth", and were instructed spiritually by the end times apostle. At that point, as I realized that Bob and Tom were no different from these church members back then, I had to shake my head and sigh in sadness. I had come to believe that only people of the ilk of Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, Rod Meredith, and others who have recently been quoted right here would be capable of making such calloused, ignorant, and egotistical-condescending remarks.

But the fact is, members are prone to pick up the cliches coined by their ministers. Even back in the day, if HWA stated that the extent of his drinking activity was to drink half a "Baby Oly" on a hot day, and to pour the rest down the drain, soon all of the members would be repeating that as their own drinking paradigm, and you'd see them smilingly picking up their Baby Olys at El Rancho or Ralphs on Lake Ave. Yes, this is laughable, considering what we now know, but it was part of the man's illusion, and prima faciae evidence of the control and influence he wielded.

Bob and Tom didn't say anything particularly gauche or out of character for an ACOG member on the occasion of an ex-member's demise. It's just that the decades had caused me to forget the depth of cruelty that Armstrongism presented as being "True Christianity". I can't wait for the day when this type of thinking will be upgraded by the only One whose authority they will be compelled to take seriously.

BB

Anonymous said...

So, everyone agrees that Armstrongism is one hell of a dysfunctional and haunted home. An epic failure that probably created more atheists when people left it behind. This is in stark contrast with other religions when most of the time, it seems that people will just leave one religion for another or just backslide and still believe in it to some degree. But not Armstrongism and here is why in my humble opinion. You see Armstrongism is the Superiour Christianity, or that is at least what I thought when I got into Armstrong-lite(GTA, RLD). I think we were inoculated against all the other inferior religions so, when the time came and you discovered who was behind that curtain, it kind of made you immune to all organized religion. Which I believe can be a good thing. "New boss is the same as the old boss, we won't get fooled again!" But as an individual, you can and should be the boss of your own home. Now it depends solely on you and what you want it to be.

Anonymous said...

Home - John Popper
What if I could tell the world I see you?
What if I could make them understand?
And if I could show those fools they need you
It wouldn't change the fact that you need them

And if you find yourself in great transition
And you think perhaps you lost your way
On the edge and fragile, your position
Then there's only one thing I can say

Welcome home
Yeah, 'cause it's your home

If a tree falls and nobody's listening
If a party's thrown and no one shows
And you dream about what you are missing
When the wind in February blows

Welcome home
'Cause it's your home

If you hide amongst the darkness
Let me offer you a light
And if you stay, by the light of day
Fearful when the sun goes down
Come out with me tonight

What if I could make the world beseech you?
What if I could make you understand?
That from the highest branch no one could reach you
But should the bough break, you can take my hand


(Looking for the signs that April's coming)
I know that really letting go
In spite of falling to and fro
It's not no simple thing
Not no ordinary stunt to try

(Can hurt worse than any ache you feel)
But I can see it's on your mind
And whatever you will find
Whatever hope will bring
I can see it in your eye

(Forcing words into that tune you're humming)
Will bring release
Perhaps a modicum of peace
Perchance to dream
Perchance to bust out at the seam

(Which did I make up and which were real?)
And the mere chance
Sustains as bravely I advance
But it don't matter what I do
Without someone to bring it to

Welcome home, come home
Make it home, go home
Leave home, find a home
Build a home and feel at home
'Cause it's your home

nck said...

I am a hundred procent with Dennis and the others of the same opinion on this one.

BB however aptly describes how a system functions.

Many people differ on the likes of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

Some hail them as liberators against the system, others would condemn them to eternal death on the wired chair as an attack on their acquired system and the safety that it supposedly provides for their limited constituency.

But all in all a great bunch of loving people in wcg besides the many legalistic loser types. (you know who you are)

nck

nck said...

BTW Thanks Bob for explaining where you were coming from, I ve seen the condescending remarks versus a dying man.

On the other hand, because of duties to kin, I now and then meet with the administrators of one the off shoots that is branded as one of the worst. And I know it is bad.

In my dealings I receive nothing but respect and interest.
But of course I am a complete outsider, not antagonistic at all, liberal toward their rights, a backpack full of real life wisdom and experience, which they certainly lack.
And most of all as a signature of experience, I saw Herbie speak a couple of times, an experience their idolaters lack since, well even some of their chief administrators were born after Herbie died.

Just being a greek unto the greek and a jew unto the jew and never afraid to speak that which is of universal truth. But I admit I learned those traits from my family. What a greek and jew constituted I learned through wcg.

nck

Anonymous said...

"All generalizations are false, over time, including this one." Mark Twain

I like the idea of remembering that there are somethings that are better left forgotten, especially when I have already taken the detour. Rubbernecking doesn't help.

BB:"I can't wait for the day when this type of thinking will be upgraded by the only One whose authority they will be compelled to take seriously."

It won't get upgraded by authority but only learning through our own experiences, and even vicariously from others if we choose to listen to theirs. Waiting for some future 'authority' figure who will hold the scapegoaters accountable won't teach you anything worthwhile now, especially if you keep waiting and waiting and waiting.....God isn't compelling us now. So, why would He wait?
Maybe He is just stuck in a traffic jam.

DBP

Byker Bob said...

I'm not waiting myself. I am learning. All I'm saying is that that is the only way most Armstrongites could be educated from their current mindset. And, believe me, I fully expect some of them to argue with Jesus, telling Him, "But Mr. Armstrong says......"

BB

Anonymous said...

Nck,
'great bunch of loving people in WCG???' If that was the case, you would not be getting the endless church splintering.
Your legalistic loser types were those who were constantly trying to remove the specks from others eyes. Pathological fault finders.

Byker Bob said...

nck, it was just disappointing, that's all. Because of the great conversations we'd shared with Ian Boyne, who at this point is most definitely one of the contemporary leaders in the Armstrong movement, I had become optimistic that perhaps the movement was finally transitioning to the next level, a state of higher spiritual development, more orientated towards the big picture of humanity, and above all things, exuding more Christ-like compassion. For any of us who have family still in the movement, are concerned for their safety and well-being, and who want the best for them, that was an encouraging thought. And, then, we suddenly find ourselves being yanked back to the traditional cultic realities of Armstrongism by the savagery of Tom Mahon and Bob Thiel. It was the proverbial rude awakening to what had been a pleasant dream.

Oh well, let those guys have their cities that they rule over with their rods of iron, if that's what they really want and if it isn't just HWA thought implantation. I'd like to think they have a lot to learn before God would ever give them that magnitude of authority and responsibility. Hopefully the rest of us independent types will have our places exercising stewardship over our own little farms, and patches of land back in the woods. Many mansions could include country villas.


BB

Anonymous said...

"But Mr. Armstrong says......"

Like the rest of us at one time or another, thought that HWA spoke for God. Most of us have learned that no single person can speak as a God or for a Go. Except maybe, for those who feel that God is talking to them personally, which is fine with me. I have no problem with that but powermad lunatics like Dave do.

DBP

nck said...

Well indeed,

If favor would have it so, I would not mind being assigned the tiny Island of Jamaica when Ian would be promoted to rule over one of the more significant Nebula's and StarClusters out there.

I would invite my fellow farmer for a ride with his electrical (I'm sorry it is the WTM after all) bike.

Unfortunately, the powers that be will soon find out that I am ill equipped to run a farm and would turn any caribean island under my jurisdiction into a tax haven with free rum for all visiting "rulers of the universe" on their scheduled refresher program.

nck

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this, in my own experiences i have found from dealing with brethren alot of them to be kind, hard working,not seeking their own, humble godly individuals who love God and want to do the right thing. I have found the powerful people to be the troubled souls, very jealous, cruel streaks, mocking anything and arrogant to the core.

Anonymous said...

This explains why the church made sure that there was a division created between those in COG and co-workers, family, and those that were disfellowshipped. If you were to leave you had nobody outside of the church. Co-workers thought you were weird, family had disowned you because you didn't celebrate Christmas and Birthdays anymore. And the ones that had left didn't want to talk to you because you had shunned them.