Will they truly support you in times of need?
Will they give you unconditional love and support?
Will they accommodate your beliefs and understandings?
Will they stand beside you at all costs?
What is your experience?
Joining the Worldwide Church of God meant major sacrifices. Being a church of God member made it harder to fit in with the outside world. Some things we had to give up entirely. Armstrong tried to provide substitutes for everything we lost when we joined the Worldwide Church of God, but they were poor substitutes indeed.
Armstrong deliberately structured his belief system to alienate his followers from their families
and make them more dependent on the church. When I joined the Worldwide Church of God, all of a sudden I couldn’t participate in most family get-togethers because they were “pagan holidays,” I couldn’t eat the food on the occasions I could attend because it was “unclean,” and I offended family members, especially my mother, when I did not give gifts on Christmas and birthdays.
My family still gave me their unconditional love despite my beliefs. When I visited my mother, she would always make sure that there were no “unclean” ingredients in my food, and while I felt unable to compromise my beliefs by attending infant baptisms and holy communions, she would attend church social events occasionally. I couldn’t bend to accommodate her, but she did all she could to accommodate me.
Compare that to the so-called substitute “family” the church provided. The “love” the church gave had many strings attached. If you didn’t obey the ministers and submit to their authority, if you didn’t agree with “Mr. Armstrong” in every respect, you could find yourself kicked out, and all of your “family” members were forbidden to have any dealings with you. If you did not regularly attend all of the church’s activities, you were loved less. The more blindly you submitted, the less you complained, the more “love” you received. If you had any questions or doubts, all of a sudden the love was withheld, and if you weren’t careful the “love” disappeared altogether. Former church members were and still are shunned by those still in the Worldwide Church of God and its splinter groups. The church did not only encourage the shunning of disfellowshipped members, it required it. There were serious penalties for associating with disfellowshipped members.
Read the entire story here: The Family