Suicide Reactions of Ministers
and Members of the Cult
I think the best way of illustrating how the ministers/elders/deacons (people in authority) reacted to suicides is to give brief statements that will not be attributed to any one person. I do know, however, that many were made by Mr. H.
1) "We reap what we sow." directed at the YOU group after the 17-year-old shot him/herself
2) "Satan works in ways that can overcome us. Demons are often used as instruments of Satan."
3) "We encourage you to stay away from those in the flock who have the appearance of evil."
4) "We must remember that not all of the teens in this group are being called by God. Many will have to go through the Tribulation."
5) "We can only hope that God is forgiving, and that His/Her sins will be blotted out." Used on many occasions of suicide.
6)"He/She was under the care of a psychiatrist and was taking anti-depressant medication for some time."
7) "The use of psychiatrists is strongly discouraged in God's Church."
8) "Running away from God will not solve your problems."
9) "Parents need to watch the activities of their children more closely."
10) "Satan is continuously trying to lead our children astray."
11) "He/She was so hansome/beautiful that Satan was bound to lead him/her astray through marriage to a non-church member."
12) "He/She used to dress in provocative ways. No wonder he/she married outside of the church." many church members.
13) "His/Her parents were not strict enough with him/her." a local elder
14) "It's too bad that he/she won't make it to the kingdom. We can only hope that he/she wasn't truly converted at his/her baptism." a local elder.
15) "I don't think it's appropriate for the family to have a funeral for the church members. There's too much evil at their house. I wouldn't want to fellowship at their property." many members who did not attend the reception after the funeral
16) "We all need to be on the look-out for Satan's wiles." A ninety-year-old woman in the congregation.
17) "Ministers have the obligation of alerting the members to Satan's attack on the flock."
19) "The wage/penalty of sin is death." - Mr. H.
20) "The family never acted as if they were converted anyway. I'm not surprised." a Church member
21) "Heavy metal, punk rock, and other perverted forms of music encourage such behavior in teens." A few weeks later, there was a giant music-burning event at the Poconos festival site where parents were encouraged to get rid of evil music their children were listening to. (Sounded a lot like the Hitlerian book burning in Nueremberg.)
I am out of touch with the Worldwide Church of God and its reactions to the most recent suicide. I cannot provide any commentary. But I do think that most people look at these occurrences in a much healthier way in that they view them as a tragedies that probably could have been prevented. I detect a softer approach developing.
What was most frightening was that there was no response from the ministry that elicited love and concern. The response was always an attempt to explain the suicide in a way that wouldn't shatter the members' belief in the Church. The response was usually directing blame at the individual and deviance from the teachings of the Worldwide Church of God. Instead of promoting a feeling of concern for the family members, authority figures in the Worldwide Church of God were trying to create a climate of fear.
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