(Permission has been granted to post this story)
I have a story I'd like to get out there.
In '97, I had an epiphany...it hit me like a ton of bricks that I grew up in a cult, I was abused in the name of god, I didn't have nice things when I was a kid because of tithes.
Basically, I realized my whole life had been a lie. I grew bitter and angry. I stopped talking to my parents, and when I did talk, it was angry talk. Not violent...just very angry.
Behind my back, my mom went and got a petition to involuntarily institutionalize me, on the basis that I was a danger to myself (another lie). So, one morning, a white van showed up and two guys got out to take me. I was scared. But one of the guys was none other than Mark Johnson, who grew up in WWCG. He was very comforting and let me smoke a cigarette before we went in the building. He also happens to be black. He asked me what was going on in my life. I explained to him that I was not suicidal, just bitter about my whole upbringing.
I found out that day what damage that "church" did to him as well. At church dances, when he'd dance with a white girl, he was made to stop. I've heard many of these stories in the groups. He also blamed that "church" for the overdose death of another friend. Mark told me I shouldn't be there, but my parents should. That seemed to be the consensus. While I was there in the psych ward for 3 days, the doctor and nurses told me there was nothing wrong with me and I had every right to be angry. Of course, when this was relayed to my parents, my mom decided "the doctor didn't know what he was talking about." So, what it all boiled down to, my mom was punishing me for being angry with her, realizing they couldn't control me anymore.
My parents have apologized for a lot of the abuse, but they still revere "Mr. Armstrong." So, it's kind of hard to forgive them. But I do love them and I am trying to forgive. It's just easier said than done.