They Need To Be Held Accountable
I have a story that you may find interesting enough to post on your website. It echoes the many that others have so courageously given in an effort to heal the hurt the Worldwide Church of God and its ministry has caused.
I was born into "The Church" and had parents who followed the teachings to the letter. One principle that was not taught by the church was how to deal with society and the importance of developing social skills at a young age. At age 6, my family moved to Iowa from Maryland because my grandfather had a farm out there. Self-sufficiency was encouraged. Living in the middle of nowhere on an isolated farm was supposed to be the wonderful place to stay before we were called to the place of safety. It was bad enough that no one in the town of 1,000 had ever heard of the Worldwide Church of God. They didn't except us either.
School was torture. I hated all of the holidays I couldn't celebrate and yet, I was told to look down on the members of "The World". My one saving grace was my best friend Rachel who was "of the world" but was allowed as a friend because she was also a third cousin. We didn't talk about Church too much which is why our friendship survived those years. I wanted to participate with the others in school activities like band etc, but the Church sucked out what little money we had. Isn't it amazing how the ministers lived in such nice houses and never wanted for a thing?
In my teen-age years, I wanted nothing more than to be like everyone else. I hated being isolated. All I had to look forward to was praying for a boyfriend who would be in the church and marry him. I would then become a doormat bearing him many children staying at home standing behind my man. No thanks. I couldn't wear make-up like the other girls. I couldn't be a cheerleader except in church which consisted only of two other girls. The only coat I had was that gray YOU jacket. On top of it, the teen-age boys at church constantly teased me and tried to make me feel like a slut by making sexual suggestions. I had had enough.
I quit church at age 14 and my parents fearing for my life tried to talk me out of it for two hours. I was told I would die in "The Tribulation". I didn't care. Anything was better than church or so I thought. No one talked to me including members of my family who were also in "The Church". They were convinced I was doing drugs and drinking and sleeping around. I hadn't. Finally, I figured if I was already being accused of these things I would do them. My parents were given hell at church by then minister Mr. Steve Nutzman for being bad parents. It was awful all around. Did I mention that the local elder's son had also quit and was into drinking and sleeping around, but because he was a boy it was OK?
Another downside to quitting church was the fact that I had no idea how to interact with anyone. I had always been told the world would end in the 90's so I had never thought of a future. Later on in adulthood, I went back to the church because I thought my problems in the social realm were due to the fact it was wrong to quit in the first place. It was hard. I didn't like going every Saturday. I didn't like it all over again. To make things even worse, the members would criticize me to my face and to my father because I didn't attend every week like they did. There was also the 40 year old bachelors who would prey upon the young girls hoping like hell we would want to marry them so they could finally have sex. Yuck.
I went off and on until the big change in doctrine happened. My parents finally woke up to everything the church had done. It made us furious to think we had been drilled to hate the world and its pagan holidays, but NOW it's ok. I went through all of that hell only to find out that they changed their minds. How nice it must be to have a position of authority, ruin people's lives and drain their bank accounts only to say "oops, we mistranslated" and not take responsibility. I would love an apology from Mr. Nutzman, Mr. High, and even Mr. Garrett who announced in church that my parents didn't leave due to the change of doctrine.
The Church has hurt so many people physically, emotionally and financially. They need to be held accountable. We are all responsible for our actions and they should be no different.
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