Blast from the past…
From Pasadena we received not only booklets, magazines, letters, and ministerial reproofs, as well as rebukes, but we also received, for better or worse, the end results of administrative decisions.
Far away from reality in their offices atop the Hall of Administration, ministers made and instituted laws, and standards that literally governed, judged our every day lives. These laws were based upon specific performance and unrealistic standards. These edicts originated deep within the darkest recesses of that hallowed place.
The rules, regulations, do’s and don’ts were like a gray mist coming out from the pit of a black abyss. They covered over us like some slimy, sticky goo. It made us feel dirty, unclean and defiled, definitely not worthy to be called a member of god’s church. In return for our loyal obedience, our willingness to be subjects of their rule, they like blood thirsty vampires sucked the life from our resources: our money, our time as well as our energy became their play things.
Like some giant leach, the more involved we became the more we lost our own personal identity, our personalities and resources was sucked away, removed from us, forever lost. Nothing escaped their scrutiny. They robbed us of our children and families, our fortunes, our future, even at times our hope.
In exchange they filled us with fear, insecurity, seemingly unending doubt. They gave us an unrealistic, a horrifying false view of our relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father. All this they did in the name of making us a righteous people.
Of all the evil standards that slithered out of that black abyss, the worst they created was after their own image, it was called “The Visiting Program”. It was the single greatest, the most damaging arm of the church ever instituted. With it they reached right into our very personal lives, they ripped out our hearts and souls. The visiting program was relentless and unforgiving as they invaded our homes, even at times calling on us at our work places. Like an unexpected, certainly an unwelcome pestilence, they invaded our inner most being leaving us spiritually weakened, spiritually bruised. In its wake many were left broken hearted, they became distraught, disillusioned children of God.
One pastor related to me how some even committed suicide because they could not take the pressure, one lady cut off her hand with an ax because it offended her, she feared going into captivity during the Great Tribulation. Another individual gouged out their eye for the same reason. All of them were driven by an overwhelming compulsion to change that was driven by fear, as well as guilt. They had unrealistic burdens placed on them by the by the ministry. Driven by the law to performed for the church, their best efforts were never enough.
The visiting program, which in now defunct, was originally instituted to watch over the flock, by helping, encouraging us in times of difficulty and need. They were to be a life saver in the sea of worldly depravity. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps in the very beginning it was that way. But it rapidly degenerated into a group of organized militia whose sole mission was to seek out and destroy the unrighteousness from among our midst. It turned into a storm troop of enforcers that could and would show up at your home unannounced, at any time. The legacy of damaged lives left behind by these holy warriors is so incredible, it is mind boggling that we actually allowed it to happen……
He was a strong advocate of the visiting program. He joined the group of mercenaries, I mean ministers, who’s whole purpose in life seemed to be to make us miserable, oops, holy. None was more notorious than Joe, Sr. Whatever his assignment he did it with a vengeance. Mercy and compassion were a concept he understood but in a perverted way.
I remember once in a sermon in which Joe talked about, with great pride, almost to the point of arrogance, how he carried out his ministerial duties to help and serve, even if the individual being HELLped, oops, would resist
On one such occasion, when he was just an elder, he and a deacon were going to visit a man with a serious problem. Joe sincerely felt that this man needed help. So he was bound and determined to give it to him regardless of the cost.
Upon arriving at the mans apartment they knocked on the door. Funny, there was no answer. Joe knew that the man was home, his car was parked out front, and the lights were on in the apartment. The TV was on, that is until they knocked, then all of a sudden things got very quiet inside.
Now Joe was not one to be easily discouraged or distracted from his godly ordained duties, he simply knocked louder, almost pounding on the door. Still no answer! Well, not to worry, Joe simply got the apartment manager, told him that he was a minister, that he needed access to the mans apartment. The manager collected up his keys, went to the apartment, after several tries fumbling for the right key was able to unlock and open the door.
With that he thanked the manager. He, as well as the deacon entered the apartment calling the man’s name. There was no answer, he was nowhere to be found. After calling for him several more times, there still was no response. So Joe and his sergeant went searching, looking first in every room, then under each of the beds. Finally they found the man hiding in the closet under some clothes, (reminds me of the Nazis in WWII)…..The man was obviously scared, he lacked the courage, the emotional strength to tell them, to demand they leave. They were there almost two hours, finally disfellowshipping the man because he became violent, filled with fury, he finally got up enough courage to tell Joe NO! Get OUT!!
The point of Joe’s sermon was that this man was evil, under the influence of Satan. (They used this tactic to keep us from asking questions, from doing our own investigating to find out the truth.) He needed to be removed, disfellowshipped from the congregation. While that may be true, something I seriously question, it is more likely that man was scared, tormented to the breaking point. When they pushed him far enough he snapped, any normal person under the same conditions would lash out, in desperation attack his tormentors…
The visiting program was the most hurtful arm of enforcement the administration ever set into motion. Their efforts were more like medieval witches conjuring up and casting spells of influence over their victims. Is it any wonder that it was finally abolished, secretly at that. There was never an apology or even a hint of remorse by the ministerial task team….
Leadership in the church, as well as the college was very dynamic, forceful, at times it even bordered on sadistic cruelty. But it was what these men were taught, it was drilled into their minds for years. It was this type of leadership they so diligently passed along to others down the line. After all, they were god’s anointed, it was their god given right to tell us what we need to do to be acceptable to god. Right?! NO WAY! NOT!
It was our tithe dollars that paid to build this holy army of invaders, oops, ministers. The church and college took the best of our children, our friends, our family, then turned them into our most feared advisors. We fed the monster, cultivated and groomed the beast, in some respects we should not be surprised if it turns and bites us in the rear. In the beginning it was sweet to the taste, like honey, but later turned to bitterness as it soured in the stomach. It gave us pain unlike anything we could possibly imagine. Our greatest hope, our dream for the future turned on us to became our worst nightmare.
Looking back on it now, it is even incredible to think Joe would have submitted his victims to such hideous, irresponsible attitudes and ungodly actions of reproach. But he did! He did so with great pride in the fact that god chose him to seek out and destroy, I mean help and serve his brothers and sisters.
Life on campus at times produced a back wash of polluted and vile programs…In spite of it all we need to remember not to let them rob us of the knowledge and joy that Jesus lives! We need to keep that in the forefront of our minds. Do not let them take that away from you as well. It is time for us to help, to encourage each other. To listen with an open, tender heart to the hurts, as well as the pain these storm troopers caused all of us. The past we can not change, the future awaits us, it is now time for us to be about doing God’s Work…John 6:29 holds the key that unlocks the door to true healing, complete spiritual freedom. Jesus is the answer, the choice is ours…….
WCG never even asked the right questions, how could we have ever expected them to have given us the right answers?
By Bob Weyland