Tuesday, May 17, 2016

UCG/COG Suicides

The Philadelphia Church of God is not the only Church of God group that is having suicides because of church actions.  The United Church of God is also dealing with suicides of youth and younger members.

From an earlier thread related to PCG recent suicide.

Since the young man was cut off from most friends and family, we'll never get a 100 percent accurate picture of what happened. But we've seen enough similarly tragic stories in COG groups to connect the dots fairly well. In 2014, 30-year-old Janet Privratsky committed suicide after PCG's no-contact policy cut her off from her family. Last year, a 27-year-old David Ekama – a member of the United Church of God – took his own life. We have personal knowledge of another UCG teen who ran away and left his parents a suicide note after being pressured by tent-mates at UCG summer camp around the time of the UCG-COGWA split. What were they pressuring him to do? Leave UCG for a more conservative splinter that kept the law and Sabbath closer to the way WCG founder Herbert W Armstrong taught. Thankfully, his story had a happier ending. But the pattern is clear.

Suicides have been another sad legacy of the Church of God movement over the 8 decades of its existence.  From church members to college students and to the son of a "popular" evangelist the sickening trend has seen no end.  When the message offered has no hope attached to it because of heretical and deviate teachings of church leaders, its no wonder people have no hope.  When the message is totally devoid of Jesus and focused upon a "stronghand from someplace" that is ready to beat the crap out of humanity, where is there hope?


Anonymous said...

Legalism tends to be shaming. Putting that in simple terms, it tends to make us feel like a pile of crap. Even in the UCG, which some would argue has a watered-down form of legalism, the effect is a lot of emotional damage done to the members.
There tends to be a contradictory message taught by the UCG. They believe that yes indeed we are not saved by the law but by grace but we can lose our salvation if we brake the laws of God. Excuse me. How is this any different then some of the more hard line Armstrongite churches like the LCG, and the PCG? Could it be that the confusing theology of the UCG might in some ways have a more negative effect on its members then then some of the other splinter groups?

Anonymous said...

The Church has never caused suicides. A faithful member would never think of doing such a selfish damnable thing. Those that do commit suicide have turned their backs on God and are of a reprobate mind which allows Satan to warp their thinking. When you turn you back on the Truth and the Law of God there is no hope left for you. The Lake of Fire is the sure destination of all those who turn from God, even those who commit suicide.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous:

You're pretty judgemental aren't you?

Do you KNOW how badly a person has to feel to take their own life? Not Natural! Are we so $%&*&^%$##$%^ SURE of ourselves in the Church that we're totally innocent?!?!?

I'm a long time Church member who loves God and the Truth


I have witnessed cruel things said by VERY VERY Misguided(I want to say more!)people that beat down a another Brother or Sister in Christ!!

How about telling a Widow that "God took their husband it was the widow's fault"

How about telling the Church at a Feast Site that
"All of you sick and dying in the Church deserve this..?"

No, I don't blame the Church. We have many wonderful, caring godly members...


Some People are weak or stupid or cruel, and hurt others terribly..and some of these people may even be in authority.

So anonymous, Grow up! And take your arrogant judgemental attitute with you..

And YOU are going to comfort the afflicted after the Tribulation??? Really??

Anonymous said...

thank you 1:50 PM; That was real helpful, now that we have your very inspiring encouragement, I am sure your god is very proud of his loyal spokesperson.
I wonder about the sad and depressed folks out there, putting the pain killer bottle back on the shelf. Your church offers soooo much hope in time of need !

If that was "tongue n cheek" You got me!!!

Anonymous said...

May 17, 2016 at 1:50 PM
"Those that do commit suicide have turned their backs on God..."

Amazingly, why didn't these people of a reprobate mind commit suicide before they joined the "true church"? Did God call them to the fold? They believed that you new the Way, but you don't. They didn't turn their backs to God, you who claim to be the very elect have turned your backs to them! Your misplaced concretism has hardened your heart. While desperately trying to aim it with infinite precision, you are still just a rocketship forever stuck to the lauch pad.
No matter how much blind faith you think you have you are going nowhere.
Love can never be learned or guaranteed through entitlements or privledge!
Love can only be learned through experiences.

Why don't these people, the very same ones that decided that you have the answers, matter to you?

Redfox712 said...

What terrible news. Those in the COGs desperate need to educate themselves about suicide to make it less likely that such things happen.

Anonymous said...

1.50PM torture victims often beg to be put to death by their captors. It's not as simply as you claim.

Anonymous said...

wow,you are a very heartless knucklehead aren't you? doesn't mercy triumphed over judgement?

Anonymous said...

LCG has very few suicides, but one of them is a big one: Terry Ratzmann, whose murder/suicide showed LCG members that they weren't getting any special protection from their God.

One reason why LCG hasn't had suicides in recent years is that from Rod Meredith on down, almost nobody in LCG really believes what LCG teaches anymore. Almost all of them are play-acting. They know they aren't living up to LCG's teachings, but they don't care. LCG members simply put up a public act so they can stay together with friends or get position or even get paid for their church activities. In private they do what they like. They are literally hypocrites, almost all of them.

NO2HWA said...

I left that comment above because this is a good example of everything we were all brought up with and shows us everything that is wrong with Armsteongism.

Anonymous said...

I thought I cross-posted it to another thread.

Anonymous said...

Suicide is far too common in society in general. But Im guessing that the rate of suicide is much higher in the Armstrongite groups. Look at the fruit. Is this the fruit of a healthy religion? Is this the fruit of Gods true religion, if there is such a religion. One would think that if this was Gods true religion the suicide rate would be much lower then society in general. Again look at the fruit!

Steve D said...

The military is having a difficult time getting on top of this issue. In my military career I used to give briefings each year on suicide prevention. Yes, the C of G have a problem, but, is the rate of suicides higher than the general public? Since we don't have figures of membership and suicides in these churches, we can't say whether the rate is higher than the general public.

Martha said...

Classy, 1:50. Once again, Armstrongism makes it about weak man falling short. Thanks for proving our point for us.

Lurkers, please take note. Ex-Armstrongists who work to draw attention to issues like this are not just making things up. We are not just bitter mockers with a bone to pick. We once were you, and we are concerned for you.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that COG members always pop on theses groups and claim that suicide is also happening in society and other churches and that this is not really a COG issue? That fact that even ONE suicide happens in a church that claims to be the restored true church with the true gospel is appalling. If this were the one true church with the one true gospel then no one will be killing themselves. People who say this devalue the person who died and their family. It also points directly back the same comment mentioned earlier where people who kill themselves have reprobate minds. They want to eliminate any responsibility of the church and leadership.

Anonymous said...

May 17, 2016 at 5:00 PM


NJ senior citizen said...

Jesus has left us anonymous 1:50 to judge everyone!
He will personally tell us who will go into the lake of fire!
I remember an elder in Kenilworth PCG telling thw congregation that he personally knew who would be going to a place of safety and who wouldn't be!

legalism leads to self righteousness and judging and accusing brethren.
The fruits are plain.
Yes, no hope in the Church of God at all. You are always on the verge of losing out and for those who are hurt, weak, upset it can be all that is needed to tip them towards deep depression.

Calvinism has the same effect. Calvin taught that some are saved and some are damned from the beginning. The husband of Lucy Maude Montgomery, writer of the Anne of Green Gables series was a Calvinist preach who went insane when he began to believe he might not be really one of the saved!

Religion in the wrong hands is an ugly thing.
The Church of God produced booklet after booklet in an attempt to 'guide' your view of the bible or, rather, guide you into 'their' view of the bible.
You'd hear them say, "well, that scripture doesn't really mean that. It's real meaning is ...."

The constant use of the tribulation was what is called trauma based mind control.
No, it was all bad stuff and now the fruits are being reaped.
Certainly no CEO breaks apart a going concern. You disband bad enterprises and that is what happened to the WWCG. It broke into a million shards because it was a house built on sand and could not stand.
As Gamaliel said, it came to nothing.

Anonymous said...

7.18 PM. Ultimately, people are free moral agents that have to make their own choices, church or no church.

Anonymous said...

Whether you look at a satanic cult like the PCG, or a godless cult like the UCG, ALL the problems in them are the result of wicked people disobeying the laws of God.

The problems in the PCG were NOT the result of people obeying the laws of God. ALL the problems in the PCG were the result of people disobeying God's laws. The old sex perverts--some of whom had been fucking around (and I do mean fucking around) all their lives in the Roman Catholic church, Pentecostal church, with GTA, etc. before joining the PCG--certainly were not obeying the laws of God. The malicious lies they would tell to try to harm their victims were certainly not a case of obeying the laws of God. ALL the evils in the PCG were the result of wicked people disobeying the laws of God.

Gerald Flurry's infamous no-contact law causes people to cut off all contact with their parents who did not follow That False Prophet, in direct contrast to God's law that said to honor your parents. PCG members always just do whatever selfish and evil thing they please and then call whatever their shameful lusts cause them to do “obeying God's laws.” The PCG deliberately tricked and fooled a lot of people by using HWA's name and photograph to try to attract former WCG members. The problem is that the whole purpose of the PCG impostor cult was to utterly pervert everything in the most satanic way to try to make HWA and God look unreasonable and bad. In the end, it will turn out that it was the ignorant and wicked PCG members who were unreasonable and bad.

Remember that when no WCG ministers went with Gerald Flurry, he set up whatever unqualified and incompetent, but power-hungry, perverts wanted to pass themselves off as PCG “ministers.” This is the real reason why those fake PCG “ministers” act so utterly immoral and cannot get anything right. Never let a drunken runt pretend to be a prophet and scam you with all his disgusting lies.

Likewise, the problems in the UCG were NOT the result of people obeying the laws of God. ALL the problems in the UCG were the result of people disobeying the laws of God. Like the perverts in the PCG, the perverts in the UCG are also malicious liars. Again, this is a case of people disobeying the laws of God. Some of them are actually godless GCI apostates who reject God's laws but who also hang out at the UCG meetings since the GCI groups have shrunk so small. The UCG is where all sorts of unconverted non-members go to practice abject godlessness while playing church so they can get an audience for their own weird doctrinal ideas and slander campaigns.

As the compromised UCG ministers age, they are “credentialing” and setting up as “ministers” a new batch of godless, but power-hungry, perverts who want to pass themselves off as “ministers.” This is the real reason why they act so immoral and cannot get anything right. Don't be fooled by those hypocrites.

For sure, there are serious problems in both satanic cults like the PCG and in godless cults like the UCG, but NONE of these problems have anything whatsoever to do with people obeying the laws of God. Every single evil that I am aware of was the result of wicked people disobeying the laws of God.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:50PM - Being currently a COG member (LCG), I find your message disgusting. Even though suicide is a "sin" (murder), we must always have (real) compassion and mercy to those who commit suicide and to their family. Are you sinless? Remember that a sin is a sin in God's eyes. Stealing a pen or commit suicide is the same to Him: it's a sin. In a Church or in the World, suicide is always a tragedy.

Anonymous said...

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

Cindy said...

Fuck you, buddy. Reprobate mind, my ass! It is people like you who divide families; who convince yourselves and others that only *you* are the special, called out ones, and if a child (who, by the way, isn't supposed to be perfect) doesn't obtain *your personal standard* of perfection, and are so crushed when they are shunned by the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally, but who choose religion over family, YOU are the ones who hurt these kids so much that the kids feel they have no choice but to suicide. This isn't a thoughtless choice - these people are struggling with cult groupthink and trying to face their life with no help, no backup, and without everyone and everything they've ever known. It is you, and people like you, who are the selfish, arrogant, egocentric, narcissistic, and hateful breed who destroy families and lives. It is because of people like you that kids kill themselves. You should fall on your knees and beg forgiveness for your actions and attitudes - their blood is on YOUR hands!

Sweetblood777 said...

"The Church has never caused suicides. A faithful member would never think of doing such a selfish damnable thing. Those that do commit suicide have turned their backs on God and are of a reprobate mind..."

Ann.1:50 What a judgement! These words are filled with hate and not love. These words sound as if they came from a sermon and not from a thinking mind. To mouth or write these words, plainly shows that whoever said them, have no clue of what drove this person to commit this act of desperation.

It is plainly obvious that no one gave this person any help or comfort. Obviously the accuser didn't help, for they were too busy throwing stones. When your time of judgement arrives, you better pray that you don't receive the same level of judgement that you cased upon this poor sheep.

Connie Schmidt said...

I can't help but think that MALM posts here anonymously on occasion. Anon at 9:12PM sure does have the rhythm , cadence, issues and rap that Malm does.

Anonymous said...

1:50 and people like him/her are one of the primary reasons I disassociated myself from churches in general. That attitude is the epitome of reprehensible, and is one significant reason Gary needs to continue this blog.

Steve D said...

Anon 7:18, I am not an apologist for the C of G. I left them forty years ago. I'm just making the point that the suicide problem in not unique to the cults. BTW, the state with the highest rate of antidepressant use is Utah. No surprise there. Like the Churches of God, one can't admit to having struggles. Plus, people are always told how sinful they are and how much spiritual danger they are in. Mormonism won't allow the use of alcohol, but other mood altering drugs are OK. Churches of God, discouraging prescription drug use, but allowing for the use of alcohol. If valid statistics were available, I would guess that the Churches of God have a higher rate of alcoholism than the general public.

Byker Bob said...

The reason the ACOGs consider suicide to be a TLoF offense is that killing ones self is an act (sin) that one cannot repent of after it has been accomplished. But, I believe God considers the attitude and debillitated state of mind of the individual who felt everything hopeless, and sought relief.

Obviously, there are more constructive solutions, but these don't often occur to the percentage of despondent ones who actually complete the act.

It is also a natural human tendency for everyone surrounding such a person to examine their last interactions with him or her, and to feel at least some twinges of guilt. The fact that the ACOGs either do not participate in that process, or arrogantly assert that they had nothing to do with it, defies our innate concept of humanity. And quite honestly, that isn't the only area in which they defy this humanity. As members, we had to learn to override our humanity in quite a number of ways. Most people would call this dehumanization, searing of the conscience, or desensitization. But, that is what Armstrongism did.

Wouldn't have been nice if the ministry had preached, "Brethren, we failed so and so! We let him down! How many of us actually took the time to get to know him to the point where any of us realized something was wrong? As God's people we need to do better than this! Don't always blame demons for unusual things that you see in people. Realize that there are some problems for which there are physical solutions, ways in which you can diminish your brother's burden."

The problem is, too much time and effort are spent in spinning negative events, or taking a public relations or damage control stance with regard to the church, rather than in exercising any kind of real humanity. They don't want to admit that their precious church is not the all-purpose silver bullet which they have preached that it is. So victims get 100% of the blame.


Anonymous said...

If MALM or anyone else posts here anonymously, I would respect their decision, and not try to expose them. Anonymity is a right. But the churches reject rights since only ministers have rights, so the lack of understanding is understandable.

Anonymous said...

What in the hell are you smoking... that is the biggest horse shit story i have ever heard in my life. Some Churches turn their back on the people .. my wife was sexually assaulted by a church member and the church kicked her out for pressing charges on him...

Anonymous said...

U are dumb as a box of rocks God will not tell you who is going to hell and who is not going to hell.

Anonymous said...

The "leave this church and your family and friends will treat you like a leper, for your own good of course," is the equivalent of the iron curtain in the cold war commie days. Put up mental walls to keep the sheeple, and their tithe money, in the 'true' church.

Anonymous said...

So true 1.28 PM. But often it's obvious that people have waved the white flag, and have given up trying to live by Gods laws. I knew many such people when I attended services.

Anonymous said...

Cindy said:"YOU are the ones who hurt these kids so much that the kids feel they have no choice but to suicide."

In some ways, it is the last act of obedience towards a fucked-up system. The powers that be have so negated and neglected them, that the successful suicides happened to agree with them with their one final act. The only thing that matters to people like May 17, 2016 at 1:50 PM, is themselves. And that is why YOUR WAYS are like cancer to the original positive intention of this thing called religion. Which is, to start looking beyond yourselves.


Martha said...

Since the topic of "living by God's laws" keeps coming up, I am wondering if some may find it helpful to read and consider the original point about the law:


Anonymous said...

I had a family member commit suicide after being kicked out of WCG in 1988. Since then, I've become fully convinced that those who place a stumbling block (the 'church' authorities) in front of the least of these, it'd be better if they tied a millstone around their necks and drowned themselves in the sea than to face God on judgement day.
So, good luck to all the COG 'authorities'. Live it up now, because God's wrath is what they have to look forward to.

Silenced said...

Knew David Ekama and his family. David's death was devastating. He grew up struggling with a difficult condition. In addition, being the child of a mixed race couple, he endured the countless arrows of persecution fired at his family that surely added to his considerable emotional distress over the years. It was sadly not a surprise that he ended his own life. It seemed very tough, even from a distance.

The church, of course, is monumentally useless in helping the mentally and emotionally distressed receive the help and care they need.

In another case, which fortunately did not end in a death (yet), a mess of COGWA ministers had to hold a little conclave to determine that an obvious paranoid schizophrenic was not, in fact, possessed by demons. It took 8 months and multiple police calls where the member in question was a danger to themselves and others for the ministers to finally arrive at this decision. During that whole time, the church fed into the family's paranoia about demons and Satan and tried exorcisms and anointments and prayer during a severe mental health crisis that could have ended so much worse. The family only considered medical options following ministerial advice to do so and after yet another police call. After being committed and given the proper medication, the person in question is in much better shape. But the COG, once again, didn't take the lead on anything and let people susceptible to the superstition the church peddles to risk the life of a loved one while they reenacted Bible stories.

Byker Bob said...

Since 1955, teenagers have driven a lot of things. In many ways, that's fitting, because they're the ones we conscript to fight our wars. Armstrongism has always rejected and suppressed their influence and trends in favor of the influence of the middle aged and seniors. If you are into emerging youth trends, you are seen as being immature, carnal, or worldly in ACOG circles.

Youth is also a time of relating to peers, flexibility, and social activity. These are other factors and activities which are curtailed or modified by "the church". I've known a number of young people who follow their friends off the deep end, into excess. In recovering, if they cannot separate themselves from their peers, the social aspects of their lives are so strong, that they will draw them back, time and again, into those excesses. Kids in the church are often lonely and filled with angst as a result of being separated from and therefore unable to interact with or deal with peers. The new peers at church are often very uncool, and spy and rat, just as their parents do. It can be a tough world in which to function, difficult to find that balance or equillibrium.


Byker Bob said...

Martha, that means that the leaders and ministers from the Armstrong movement are not spiritual guides. They are spiritual rodefs (legal term from the Babylonian Talmud). The extent of our responsibility is to warn others about the rodefs. The onus is then on potential victims to do their due diligence, and the rest is up to God, as the judge.


Anonymous said...

A few years ago when Brian Weeks was still a minister, that is, before he was "fired" from the ministry because we weren't tithing enough. Wayne Turgeon and Brian Weeks came up to a group of us adults and confronted a married couple about their young daughter that attended Imperial Academy. They told the parents that their daughter had spoke out at school that she "didn't want to live anymore" and that she was suicidal. We were all so horribly heart broken and shocked! All of us felt as though in some way we had failed this young girl. Yet!!!! The ministry sat on this information that they had witnessed earlier in the week and held onto it until Sabbath when they could "showboat"! The ministry didn't seem the least bit concerned that this young girl could've ended her life or the misery she was feeling!
Just another way for Turgeon to power trip at services!

Martha said...

Oh, agreed Bob. They absolutely are blind guides, if they are guides at all. I am talking to the lay member who knows, on a gut level, that something isn't right. Not appealing to the leaders by any means.

Anonymous said...

BB the reason youth have driven many things since 1955 is money. They buy the movie tickets, hence the sex and gratuitous violence. They buy the music records/ CDs, they buy the clothes. In a market economy, the consumer is king, not some privileged old people. This is another example why church leaders hate and reject trade. They want to be in the driver's seat, not the buying public. Notice how the elderly ministers have hijacked church culture, having all the men wearing "old people's clothes." And Jelly with that guy with a hat, yes a hat of all things. The 1950s is home sweet home.

Cheers TradingGuy

Anonymous said...

And here I thought they rejected it just out of annoyance at you bringing it up daily.