Sunday, June 19, 2016

Eric's Life in the Worldwide Church of God and His Journey Out


anonymous Coward said...

Kids were never required to fast on Atonement. Thats baloney and his parents sound hyper anyway.
Most of us fed our kids on atonement. We fed our pets, farm animals, etc as it had nothing to do with them at all.

Senseless to make people fast if they have no idea what they are doing.
Jews don't require diabetics, pregnant women or sick people or children under late teen ages to fast at all.
This guys story is interesting and Armstrongism is full of problems but it is clear this guy had no clue about the beliefs of the church.
Only the extreme weirdos in the church, and we had plenty, didn't feed children!
Be that as it may, Atonement was conpletely fulfilled by Christ.

Byker Bob said...

11:21, I don't know where you attended, or what the time frame was, but during the '50s and '60s, those of us who were kids growing up in the old "Radio Church of God" were most definitely required to fast, not only on Atonement, but also when we got colds or flu (water was allowed for health fasts), and occasionally for attitude or spiritual reasons.

It was just another one of those stupid cult things. In fairness, there were other gurus that made their followers do things they thought were good for them. Back in the '70s when I occasionally did work for the Synanon Center in the L.A area, Chuck Dederich took all the residents off of white sugar on one occasion, and on another, made all of the residents (men and women) get crew cuts. Hare Krishna people are known to use cow dung for purification purposes. And, Scientology auditors grill their members to depths that even the most extreme teachers of the HWAcaca would not probe.

The problem, is that these myrmidons all have one method in common. They prey on people who are not philosophically well-grounded, and are therefore insecure. They are often too crippled inside to ask their teachers the penetrating, hardball questions which the teachers cannot answer or explain through their philosophy. And, if the occasional rare one ever did, the teachers responded with threats and anger.


Kathleen said...

I grew up in the Radio/Worldwide Church of God in Portland, Oregon and then Seattle, Washington. These were urban congregations with hundreds of members. Parents did indeed make their children fast--even from water--on the Day of Atonement. When I was pregnant with our children, nothing was said to exempt those of us who were pregnant from fasting on the Day of Atonement. Children were still fasting on Atonement when we were raising our girls, although later that was moderated to having them miss a meal.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anoymous coward post children where not forced to fast. I'm second generation and I was never forced to fast. Atonement was explained and only if you wanted to did you fast even then as a older child, teenager you could do half a day fast. But it was never forced at all. I realize the was and is wackos in the church but alot weren't and that doesn't get heard much. All you hear about are the bad stuff, the kids that had it bad but the was still parents who were balanced and fair with their kids. They got it and didn't beat the crap out of their kids nor starve them on atonement.

Anonymous Coward said...

I see. thank you for clarification Byker Bob.

Silenced said...

Grew up in WCG and UCG in the 1990's. We were definitely required to fast as children.

NO2HWA said...

Absolutely children were required to fast. When my mother joined we were told that as elementary school kids, (1st grade and up) we were not allowed to drink water, even after PE class after 12:00 noon on the eve of Atonement. So little kids who had PE in the hot Ohio afternoons could NOT drink water.

I remember my mother sending that question up to the minister on Bible Study night, and then seeing the self righteous prick sit there and laugh at her question and state very specifically that children and adults should have their last meal at noon on the eve of Atonement The whole idea was to make sure your stomach was empty when the start of Atonement started.

The three ministers that carried on this child abuse were Carn Catherwood, James Young and James Doak. Catherwood eventually apologized for his legalistic bullshit, but I have heard nothing about the others.

NO2HWA said...

Oh, and water was strictly forbidden on Atonement. Children, pregnant women, and diabetics were not allowed to drink water. Many a time we had a man who was a diabetic go into a seizure because of the fasting dogma. I remember someone once gave him an orange to get some sugar in him and other members got highly offended and said he lacked faith.

Little did member know that Herbert drank orange juice, water and coffee on Atonement, while we as little kids were forbidden water after 12 noon.

Byker Bob said...

No problem, AC. The reason why I responded as I did was that over the years, I've encountered posters who did not experience the full brunt of the bad fruits which we often document on these sites. In some of the outlying rural church areas there were some ministers who were more or less off the grid. They didn't indulge in the heavy-handed enforcement activities that often happened in the big city congregations. Some AC grads learned to suppress their innate humanity, and became very cruel and uncaring, carried away in their ministries by their own authority. Others occasionally did not succumb to the Kool Aid, and are loved and respected even today, by current and ex-members. As I said, it all depends on where and when you attended.


RSK said...

Most of my (relatively short) time in WCG was spent in the 1980s. I don't remember when I first fasted for Atonement exactly... I specifically remember doing so the year I started third grade, so I must have been 8 years old. But that may not have been the first time. I don't recall if that was my parents' doing or an age-related degree by the "ministurd" now.

Anonymous said...

This is outrageous. I'm very saddened that many parents lacked common sense in forcing their children to fast. Maybe I was the only child not forced but I wasn't forced to fast. I remember a pastor saying how if you need to take medicine then don't stop taking it. He encouraged brethren to try and take the medicine with no or very little water.

Ed said...

I do not believe that there is a "hell". It doesn't make any sense to me that a merciful God would allow a place like "hell" to even exist. A merciful God would never send anyone to a place where they would have to experience horrible pain for all eternity. I also don't believe in the "lake of fire". Although the "lake of fire" would be much more humane, it doesn't make sense that God would punish anyone for being imperfect, after all he created us imperfect. I don't believe in any kind of Godly punishment. I believe we punish ourselves if we make bad decisions and there is no need for "Godly" punishment.

RSK said...

I don't remember the noon rule myself, but it sounds like something WCG would dream up. Due to their emphasis on "stop breaking gods laws", people at all levels of the organization were sometimes known to try to outdo others in their visible adherences.

Anonymous said...

"This is outrageous. I'm very saddened that many parents lacked common sense in forcing their children to fast."

Unfortunately, proceeding with "agreed-upon strategies" and "solutions" which lack common sense is fairly common among cult members.

There's something about being brainwashed that's beyond how most people think of the concept.

Byker Bob said...

It ran even deeper than brainwashing. There were those who believed that making children fast was pleasing to God. Others did it out of fear of the Lake of Fire, or missing out on the place of safety. The leveraging was extreme. In fact Armstrongism was known for taking the most extreme positions possible. This was called "being Philadelphian" And yet they somehow managed to laugh at Jesuits for practicing self-flagelation, or for doing penance by bloodying up their knees crawling on sharp rock to holy places. Fanaticism is fanaticism. It is a mental disorder.


Anonymous said...

PCG minister Charles Wire requires that their members start their fast after breakfast Atonement Eve. I was shocked by this ruling since it isn't taught at PCG HQs.
At HQs at Edmond, we're required to fast regardless of health problems, one lady isn't even allowed to use her insulin because that is a lack of faith, whereas an excessively overweight church employee is allowed to use her automatic insulin pump. Makes no sense.
And yes, growing up in the WCG in the sixties and seventies we were required to fast at very young ages. My siblings and I started fasting at age 8, it was rediculous looking back now. It was vanity on my parents parts and us kids were quite proud of ourselves that we could fast all day.
Now, I see it as part of the Stockholm Syndrome we all participated in.
Start the abuse when their young and they'll never know any different-HWA

Anonymous said...

I really don't see why "fasting" should have the exclusion of drinking water.

I remember being allowed to go to a water fountain but the WCG rule was to only swish it around and spit it out to make the mouth less dry.
Once, I took a tiny gulp at a water fountain, and the guilt set in.

Now, when I read about people not taking medications because of "obeying God's laws", it pisses me off. Screw that Herbie crap.

Anonymous said...

I just looked up "Stockholm syndrome" and read about it.
Yes, it's a good descriptor of what many of us in Radio/Worldwide dealt with.

That experience, looking back on it, was quite a crazy thing.

Byker Bob said...

I used to tell people that I was raised in a cult, but as experience taught me how badly that freaks people out, I began instead telling any who asked that I was raised as a Messianic Jew.

While that is probably a euphemistic approach, if not a better one, there was just so much that we pseudo-Jews, or goyim, could not possibly realize about Yom Kippur, or any of the other holy days. We could certainly have learned much from observant or Orthodox Jews.

Children under 13 were not considered accountable (not yet bar mitzvahed or bat mitzvahed), and were not expected to fast. Jews are expected to consume a large ritual meal the afternoon prior to Yom Kippur. They are not permitted to bathe (except for the high priest) to wear perfume or cologne on that day, to wear leather shoes, or use an automobile, and were required to refrain from sex as well.

The work for the high priest was excruciating, with the animal sacrifices and rituals, the mikvahs (ceremonial baths) and changes of raiment. These sacrifices were an integral part of the service so long as the temples existed. This was a solemn day of repentance and atonement for sin.

I'd advise anyone who wants to learn more to read the excellent article in Wikipedia on Yom Kippur. ACOG Day of Atonement bears only scant resemblance to Yom Kippur. It was butchered to create our version just about as badly as was the Feast of Tabernacles. The ACOG versions of all the holy days involve keeping a modified or profaned version of the central ritual of each, wantonly breaking the majority of the surrounding laws or rituals, being forced to listen to massive doses of the HWAcaca, and coughing up a massive financial offering for things that have nothing to do with either the Torah, or the gospel.