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.

Monday, April 11, 2005

How the Worldwide Church of God stole my childhood.

In talking with others raised in the WWCG, Ive noticed a common thread with survivors is that many feel such regret for the years taken by the church. I know in a sense I do feel they took my childhood. Not just the childhood but my innocence and joy of childhood.

As a youth in the church I did look forward to my friends. And we did have some fun experiences many of which were just our time spent together as opposed to in church activities. We were all in the same boat, just trying to be kids in the middle of our parents religious ideals. But it wasnt the fun activities, the friends, or the good times that have stuck with me. Those are in the past. What has stuck with me is the lessons ingrained in my head. The words I heard for the years and years of my childhood. Even as children once we were able to read and write we were encouraged to study and keep notes during the church services. I think this might be bizarre to outsiders but church members kept literally detailed almost word for word notes on the 2 hour long services. How many 16 year olds do you know that have a library of church stenos and a personally color coded bible? (Green for holy day scriptures, Orange for Law scriptures. etc.) The WWCG was really big on the Law scriptures.

But through all the studying and sermons the WWCG version of God sunk in. To the WWCG keeping the law was what assured you a place in the church. Slightest transgressions were noticed and counted amoung the congregation. Even the slightest appearance of doing something wrong got tongues wagging. We were constantly reminded to be steadfast in devotion and law in order to be chosen.

So how did the church steal my childhood? In my thoughts. In my hopes. In my dreams. I have never expected to live my life to the fullest because the church preached the end of the world would be in "the next few years." They seperated me from the love of my unbelieving grandparents who moved away after not being able to convince my mother the church was harmful. They made me believe that God was the type of God who would torture my loving grandparents as non-believers. They took my confidence that I could accomplish something meaningful with my life because we were not to appear worldly or pursue worldly things. They took my mother because she chose the church over family. They zapped my hope and they zapped my joy for living in the lessons they taught me about their version of God.

I cant get my childhood back but I often joke with others that my childhood started at 40. Thats when I realized the church took those years but they dont have the rest of them. I can make the most of what I have left. I intend to do so.

1 Comments:

  • At 7:37 AM, Blogger 2believe said…

    I appreciate your braveness to write about how you felt. I am on a mission to find the children of the 70's-90's and learn all different point of views. I'm curious to learn how their lives turned out and who consorted to the "dark side". I did at one point and I'm willing to share with those who can relate.

     

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