Exit and Support Network

School Memories After Parents Joined WCG

My parents got involved with Worldwide Church of God in the early `60s and became members in `62 or `63. I was six years old and little did I know it would be the last Christmas I'd ever have in their home. My earliest recollections are of spending excruciatingly long hours in the car with my siblings waiting for our parents to return. You see, they were on a "mission"--going around to neighbors, family, and friends attempting to "convert" them while "laying down the law" about their new found "truth" on traditional American holidays such as Christmas and Easter.

Then there were the mind-erasing and butt-numbing sermons to be endured each Saturday while my school friends played, shopped, and did what normal kids do on Saturdays. Oh! And the Feasts...where we endured double and triple the mind-erasing/butt-numbing rants of pompous men claiming to be God's apostles. I'll never forget starting school, which I loved so very much, and feeling left out on holidays. Returning to school after Christmas breaks was the most humiliating for a little girl who had nothing to bring for "Show and Tell" of what she received from Santa. I remember once, in 3rd grade, I brought a cherished though well worn old doll to school because I didn't want to be "left out" again. I got up in front of the class and teacher and told them all about my doll, "Tommy." When I finished my little "Show and Tell," there was utter silence--no applause or cries of "Oh! I wish I had one of those!" from my peers--even sweet Miss Dobbins, the teacher, was at a loss for words. This is my very first recollection of feeling complete and utter shame, swallowing the hard tears that threatened to fall down my little rosy cheeks.

These are just a few of my very first recollections of life under the WCG regime, which doesn't begin to include the abusive physical "discipline" that was dealt with such fierce righteousness. I cannot look back at that today. For the longest time, I thought I was alone with these haunting memories. I thought I must be crazy to feel so "different" even though I walked away from it all in 1974. Why these issues are coming up now for me, I do not know. All I know is that I feel compelled to address them so I can become whole again.

By Bonnie - Child survivor of WCG (first name used with permission)
June 29, 2003

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