The following was a recent comment on this site that is worthy of a blog post by itself…
Here’s a horror story for you.
I try not to think about “the cult,” but now it’s crept back into my life like the monster in a movie that you think is finally dead, but then it pops up again to wreck havoc.
My mother started listening to Armstrong on the radio in 1965. She became a member in ‘68.
My dad, who already had a drinking problem, became 10 times worse. His mother was a crazy Pentecostal who would beat him, so he despised religion with a passion.
He would get drunk and beat my mother on weekends for “running off to that church.” When she was gone, he would gather us around and drunkenly lecture us on how our mother “abandoned us for that church.”
When my dad wanted to drink in peace on a Saturday, though, he didn’t have a problem ordering us to go to church with our mother. Yippee! There were other kids there who were okay, or guys to crush on, so it wasn’t entirely miserable. But otherwise, I hated that church with a passion. We made sure to stay out of our dad’s way on Saturday so he wouldn’t send us off to the church. It was humiliating to be the only kids at school who didn’t celebrate Christmas. We were constantly asked if we were Jews. I should’ve just said yes to get the other kids and teachers off my back.
When I turned 22, my mother finally managed to recruit me into the cult. I did meet my husband there and had two of the best kids ever. We’re still happily married. So it wasn’t a total waste. We made some good friends and took some nice trips, even though we were poor the rest of the year.
Miraculously, in 1996, after the big “changes,” my entire family LEFT! My husband, two brothers, sister-in-law, and even my mother. It was glorious to be free from that burden. Especially with my kids still being too young to remember any of it. My mother even shocked me a couple years later by saying she thought nothing happened to us after we died. She was actually saying atheistic things. Never thought I would hear something like that come out of her mouth. She wanted nothing to do with her old church friends. She started a business. Got a new house. My dad quit drinking for about a decade. He started up again occasionally before he died in 2007. My mother was now free from him, and the cult.
Around 2019 she retired from her business. I was talking to her on the phone, and she says, “I went back to the church.” Not just any WCG offshoot, but Meredith’s church! The one that follows Armstrongism! She said she was studying quantum physics, when God told her to go back to the church. Arrrrrrrgh!
I can’t even describe how livid how I was. I lit into to her like you wouldn’t believe. All the crap of my childhood and young adulthood came flooding back.
I finally calmed down and said, “If you want to go back to that church, that’s your choice, but I don’t want to hear about it.” She agreed, but of course that didn’t last, and I knew it wouldn’t, thanks to her ADHD.
So now when I visit her, I have to listen to the manipulative recruitment attempts of my childhood all over again.
Mom: “I read a lot now. You know, the Bible has a lot of interesting stories.”
Me: “I know mom. I was in that church for 15 years.”
Mom: “But we didn’t really read the Bible back then.”
Me: “Yes we did, mom. And we had monthly Bible studies.”
Mom: “Oh. Well now I read things I never knew. Did you know Jacob, blah blah blah.”
She’s 84 now and I just let it go in one ear and out the other. Her doctor gave her meds for insomnia, but they also treat Schizophrenia, bi-polar, etc. I wondered if the meds would snap her out of her cult illness, but nope. She’s just quieter and less preachy, because she’s kind of sedated from the meds. I just laugh it off because what’s the point of being mad at anymore? I just hope they aren’t fleecing her too badly of her “widow’s mite.”