"Daughter Of Babylon,
The True History of
The Worldwide Church of God"
by Bruce Renehan
After my first publication of Daughter of Babylon, I began to receive correspondence from people who had been, or were at the time, members of the Worldwide Church of God. Sadly, even after reading my book, people still ventured to ask me if I had found the one true church yet. Let me be blunt. It took me several years to accept the reality that there is no organization that is the one and only group to join. To insist that there is, is to have a concept of God as a monster. Did God, from the beginning of time, develop a plan to restrict salvation to just a very few priveledged souls?
Actually, when we witness our world full of elitist groups, organizations, and churches, what we are noticing is that there are a lot of people in this world who, like those in the Worldwide Church of God, are overtaken in the vain pursuit of perfectionism in an imperfect world. As the psychologist Wayne W. Dyer explains it:Defending our separateness gives us a tremendous opportunity to practice blame as a way of life. When you believe in and live oneness, blame literally becomes impossible, for we are all connected, and therefore life energy is directed to finding solutions for the good of the self and the whole. When separateness is the goal, we tend to view others as responsible for whatever is lacking in our life. "They" are easy targets for blame. You may not be
willing to give up this business of blaming "them," particularly those who reside in a completely different chorus of the onesong [universe], whom you will likely never see in person, and who look so different from you. It is up to you to decide if it feels more convenient for you to have enemies and people to hate and blame than to feel that we are all one. As long as we need others to take the rap for the problems in our lives, we will find this notion of oneness easy to resist. (Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, You'll See It When You Believe It, p. 100)
Not only is it cult-like to insulate oneself inside that perfect institution but it is also cult-like to condemn those who do. In my research, I have discovered that there are many self-proclaimed Christian cult-watchers who have sought to discover cults by pointing to the fact that some Christians are not Trinitarian. In doing this, they are exposing their ignorance. They are really confusing the word cult with the word heretic. In their view the cult is the group that does not acknowledge the Nicene Creed.
Cultism is not restricted to religious ideology alone. Those who fall under the hypnotic sway of the demagogue at the sacrifice of their own individuality are the ones who quickly become absorbed into the cultic movement. Fifty years ago many who did so were called Nazis. After W.W.II, Americans found themselves caught in the Grand Inquisition of Joseph McCarthy. Today, many follow the new pied pipers of the Christian Coalition or thumb their noses at "environmentalist wackos" because Rush Limbaugh tells them that scientists and educators are in a conspiracy against big business and American prosperity. Ignoring the fact that we live on a biosphere with limited resources, it is much more popular to jump on the "us against them" bandwagon blindly marching toward world annihilation superstitiously deluded that God will protect our own perfect group despite its massive stupidity.
How shall we ever escape this vortex? We must realize that we are all prone to behave like the so-called cult member. Go to your university library and find the psychological studies done by Solomon Asche or Stanley Milgram on conformity and obedience and you will understand how vulnerable you are. In Milgram's research sixty to eighty percent of subjects tested were willing to electrocute a stranger because an authoritative person asked for their compliance. What is impressive are those who had the strength of will to refuse to conform.
Why are people drawn to organizations like the Worldwide Church of God? The late Richard Hoffstadter explained it as the paranoid style of an individual who sees history as a conspiracy.The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of this conspiracy in apocalyptic terms--he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point: It is now or never in organizing resistance to conspiracy. Time is forever running out. Like religious millenarians, he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date for the apocalypse....
The apocalypticism of the paranoid style runs dangerously near to hopeless pessimism, but usually stops short of it. Apocalyptic warnings arouse passions and militancy, and strike at susceptibility to similar themes in Christianity. Properly expressed, such warnings serve somewhat the same functions as a description of the horrible consequences of sin in a revivalist sermon: They portray that which impends but which may still be avoided. They are a secular and demonic version of Adventism.
As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, the quality needed is not a willingness to compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Nothing but complete victory will do (Hoffstadter, title chapter).
The question often arises among those who leave the cult, "Where do we go now?" The answer is one that is not easy to accept because it takes some work. You go to your public library and begin to arm yourself against those who want to take advantage of your ignorance. You have heard the pithy saying by George Santayana that if we refuse to learn from the lessons of history, we are condemned to repeat them. This book stands as a tribute to that statement.
In researching this book, I found that it is possible to request any book, if I know its title, through something called the inter-library loan system. Through this system all libraries are linked together. So if your library does not have Festinger's When Prophecy Fails, Voltaire's Candide, Orwell's 1984, Mark Twain's Letters From Planet Earth, or Flesch's The Art of Clear Thinking you can ask your librarian to order it for you. This is what your librarian is paid to do. Peruse through my bibliography. Many of the books in it were put there with the hope that my readers will seek to discover their treasures.
There is so much more that I could have written about my experiences in the Worldwide Church of God. Hopefully this book contains what you need to understand the Babylonian systems that have been created by misguided individuals like Armstrong. In the days when I was challenging the teachings that had been enforced upon me by his group, I would often reflect upon John Kennedy's inaugural speech in which he said, "Here on earth, God's work must truly be our own." The truth seems to ring clear from that statement that God's work is something very personal and unique to each and every one of us. The other saying that seemed to haunt me was from the play Hamlet, "To thine ownself be true." This is where I discovered the truth in the end.
Go to the "Painful Truth" page.