The Legacy of the Worldwide Church of God

What it was like growing up in a cult and its impact on my life and others like me.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Cultish expectations

One of the things that is probably most bizarre to the average person is the humungous guilt and shame we former church members had over the weirdest things. Like actually missing a day at church or getting a shrimp in a salad unexpectedly. While members we were consumed with the fear of not adhereing to the strict dietary and religious laws. It was drilled into us how unworthy we would be if we didnt give 100 percent, faithfully to our religion.

Normal people get up and decide yes or no that they want to go to church on a given day. No big deal. But as a faithful wwcg member, I know the looks you would get if you miss one, just one Saturday at church. The sneerful, aha, you must be falling away, where have you been look. The...are you really worthy to be a member...look. If you missed more than one Saturday...the calls would come. "We're worried about you, when are you coming back to church. Whats going on with you." For me, after I missed more than a couple, I was told I couldnt come back to church until I counciled with the ministers about what I had been up to. Then came the...."You're making a mistake with your life" and "Is leaving the church worth your salvation?" Eternal Condemnation no matter what the cause. I remember well before I left the church the discust and scorn some would have for those that "fell away". Tsk, tsk.

And what about the feeling you would get if you accidently got a shrimp in your salad. Like you would instantly have to start hurling but not want anyone else to know. Pretending that you couldnt eat anymore and not wanting anyone to look at your salad too closely. Then praying to God that he forgave you scince you really didnt know there was a shrimp there. How pathetic. And how sad. Im so glad I dont live like that anymore.

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