I want to thank PasedenaGuy10 who posts regularly on WCG Alumni message board who pick this article from a former member of Worldwide by the name of Dakota O’Leary, from a splendid blog called the God Discussion, a blog for those who believe in God but is extremely suspicious of the organized church (it’s about time). She painfully and brilliantly describes her experience in the Worldwide Church of God pertaining to being a first hand witness to domestic abuse (physically and mental) of her mother by a raging totalitarian father, who was virtual a member in good standing by the favouritist elite hieharchy of the ministry. Those who want to sweep this stuff under the rug, tough crap. Both blogs I Survived Armstrongism and Gavin’s Ambassador Watch also have coverage. As the saying goes, “You can run but you cannot hide!” Read an excerpt of this and weep. Ceterum censeo Armstrongism esse delendam!
My mother was severely beaten for the entire time we belonged to Worldwide. My father claimed he was beating her in order to “get her under submission” to him because the church taught that men were head of the households under Jesus Christ. My dad would try to explain to me while he was beating her that he was “saving” her soul for God by “beating Satan out of her.” He was always careful to not touch her face. He left bruises where they could be covered up. And lest you think my dad was somehow justified for beating her, he would also call her a wh0re. He called her a bitc-h. He called her every filthy name under the sun while he beat her. He even beat her with the Bible, beat her with a book that is supposed to be holy. He beat her so hard he broke the binding on one of his Bibles. He abused her psychologically, and the mental headgames that went on was like walking through a minefield. You never knew what would set my dad off. Ever.
My mother tried to get help. She appealed to the pastor. The pastor made more trips to our house than he made to the grocery store. And the result was not in my mother’s favor. The pastor told my dad that my dad was in the right. He told my dad in front of my mother that my dad, as head of the household under Jesus Christ had the right, even the duty to “do whatever it took” to get my mother to submit. Over and over for 15 years my mother heard that tired litany, not just from one pastor, but from three and four pastors. And she tried. She stopped talking about anything controversial. She stopped offering opinions. She stopped drawing, because drawing annoyed my dad, because pursing anything she was personally interested in took time away from him. She stopped being a person and became what she would nervously jokingly term “a puppet.” When my dad was around she did exactly what he told her to do and said exactly what she thought he wanted to hear. The difficulty was in my house, saying “pass the salt” could start World War 3. The violence escalated to the point where there came a day that my dad nearly killed her. He picked her up and threw her under the kitchen table and he threw her so hard she slid across the kitchen and hit her head on the kitchen sink cupboard doors hard enough to render her unconscious. I lived in fear for years, and suffer from anxiety today, which I take medication for. I lived in my room, with books, because I couldn’t bear to see that evil played out, and because I felt so powerless to stop it. We’d go to church and be all happy and normal and the abuse was effectively-hidden. But not really. Worldwide broke up in 1996, and people I used to go to church with came forward and confessed they knew “something bad” was going on, but didn’t know what to do about it. I also heard stories of horrors going on that nothing was ever done about-spousal rape being near the top of the list. Again, nothing was done, because in most Christian churches “rape” doesn’t exist if you’re married.
In the 80’s, spousal abuse was just starting to be widely publicized. My mother never called a crisis counselor. She never sought outside help. The reason why was because Worldwide told everybody that psychology was bunk, and if you trusted psychology, then you weren’t trusting God. Marriage counseling was only for pastors, and seeking outside professional counseling was taken as a lack of faith not only in the pastorate, but worse, in God. How many countless abused women hid their abuse like my mother did, never daring to seek outside help, because they feared what God would think of their lack of faith? Never mind that the pastorate was woefully undertrained in issues of abuse, even in marriage counseling. The pastorate of Worldwide never went to a secular college; Worldwide had their own college to train ministers and ministers’ wives, and I can assure you that Abuse 101 was never a course you could take. It got to the point where our pastor didn’t know what to do anymore. And so by his poor counseling, which effectively okayed the abuse anyway, and by turning his back on us, and this elephant in the room that nobody talked about, he allowed a great evil to perpetrate itself for years on end.
Read the rest of her story here:
Editor’s note the God Discussion is on my regular blogroll!