Gerald Flurry’s Philadelphia Church is a destructive cult which hides in plain sight under the prima facie that it is a wholesome, normal everyday church. There are conditions to being “in” the group, including never disagreeing with Gerald Flurry or his ministers, because it is considered disobeying God’s prophet and ministers. The “elite” are required to attend all ultra secretive meetings on Saturday mornings, where an audio from headquarters is played for two hours. The audio recording is then immediately destroyed to prevent it from leaking out and making the group look scary to the public. Only those in the room know what was said on the audio to coerce total obedience and compliance to Gerald Flurry.
I grew up in Gerald Flurry’s Philadelphia Church of God and endured weekly mental and emotional abuse at the secretive meetings. I would constantly hear that the end of the world was coming soon, there would be a huge global world war, the Germans were going to put everyone in concentration camps, we would be starved and eating our own children, day and night we would be tortured and raped, babies would be cut out of us if we got pregnant, but we could escape all this if we stay “in” the “elite” Philadelphia Church and stay totally obedient to Gerald Flurry. A rational person would laugh and wonder why anyone would go along with this? When fear is instilled in your brain weekly, during the audio recordings, it becomes real and the cult leader has total control over your life. No one dare leaves because they are isolated and cut off from all members and all family “inside” the cult and are also fearing they are going to be tortured for leaving. I was a teenager suffering anxiety, depression and panic attacks, due to the intense fear based brainwashing I was enduring at the Saturday secret meetings.
I stayed in the group, out of guilt, for my parents, until the age of 24. I am stronger than most to be able to know none of the teachings were rational. The fear instilled was like a gray area–half knowing it’s irrational and half being truly frightened, and that can’t be understood, unless you’re in it. If you study brainwashing and cults, though, it is a proven method of compliance. I made the choice to leave, knowing I would be cut off from friends and family. My dad left the group shortly after me because he sort of woke up when they told him he could no longer have a relationship with me. The only person left in the group is my mother, who hasn’t spoken to me in 13 years. She has been required not to talk to me. She said she’s doing this out of love so that I come back and profess total obedience to Gerald Flurry and the Philadelphia Church. This “no-contact ruling” is very hush-hush. I have heard the ministers say they have to tip toe in the case of divorces with children. That the children are to cut the parent off, who has left Gerald Flurry’s Philadelphia Church, but have to obey the law as little as possible to get by, until legal age. There have also been several suicides related to being cut off from children, friends and family. It’s always shoved under the rug and people are told the person was suffering a mental condition and that Satan got to them.
As a child survivor adult, I asked myself what did Gerald Flurry want from all of this? Well it wasn’t to do world humanitarian work with all the money (he requires 10% of your income is sent to him) or actual good in the world, he just bought a tax free $7 million dollar jet plane and a castle in England, and the narcissist sleeps well wrecking lives and families. It all comes down to power and money, that’s what it’s really about.
Legally no parent should be able to subject their children to mental and emotional abuse and to shun the parent who isn’t “in” the cult. Kids don’t want to choose a parent and should be protected from this. I hope my testimony can help protect children from the pain inflicted by Gerald Flurry’s Philadelphia Church.
By Erin – Child survivor of PCG