Exit and Support Network

When We Attended the Feast

(What did they do to our minds?)


The main purpose of the Feast of Tabernacles was to program our minds. For eight days our whole life was completely structured by those in the top levels of the organization. Until the late `60s, services were conducted twice a day, every day, including an evening service beginning at sunset of the first day, and which usually caused families not to get to bed until late--especially if they lingered around and visited after the service. In later years there were once a day services, but double services continued for the first and last holy days ("annual Sabbaths" or "high days"), and the weekly Sabbath in between. Everyone was expected to show up, unless sick (and many people showed up even when they were sick; i. e., had a cold). 

We were told to "have a good time" while those in charge had lots of activities and volunteer jobs planned for us before, during, or after services. Then the leaders told us the rest of our time was "free." However, what we received was: inadequate rest, a flurry of activities, overeating, indulgence in rich foods and a round of activities, while our minds were being bombarded almost constantly with intense experiences and new information daily, giving us a religious high. These are all techniques of mind control.

We were instructed to make sure we were making it a "spiritual" Feast and not a "physical" one. That meant keeping our minds focused on the purpose of the Feast, doing no work, nor our own pleasure, on the first and last days (or on the weekly Sabbath), studying our Bibles daily, going over our sermon notes, praying daily, preparing to give a generous offering (on the first and last days Holy Days), staying in the vicinity with the brethren (no extended trips--"God's Holy Spirit won't be there") and turning in all our excess 2nd tithe before sundown of the 8th day (the "Last Great Day"), so that we could "help others attend the Feast next year." 

They programmed us to believe that the Feast would be a truly restful time, away from the rest of "the world." To most of us the world didn't exist for those eight days. In our hypnotic state1 the only thing that was a reality was "the picture of the Millennium," which we were supposed to be living out at that time (i. e., the best living quarters we could afford, the best food we could buy, the best restaurants...and hearing sermons about the Kingdom over and over again).

Even though weeks before the Feast we were programmed by auto-suggestion to have "the best Feast ever," as the years passed we often silently wondered why we didn't have a better Feast than the year before, and if we were the only ones in the congregation that felt that way.

In those early years of being a member our brains were "charged" when we arrived back home, charged with their indoctrination, ready to die for our beliefs, ready to give everything up for "the Work." We were admonished to "hang on" through the trials and persecutions that would come during the winter months until we reached the Spring Holy Days, where we could once again be "renewed." "Renewed" by their thought reform and mind control over our lives. They knew all along what they were doing to us.

By D. Woods
Exit & Support Network™ 


"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." ~John 8:36

The Scriptures show that the command to "dwell in booths" applied only to the native born in Israel (Israelites): "Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:" (Lev. 23:42) Yet HWA tried to make members think this verse meant they were to leave their homes and live in motels, hotels, tents, etc. for 8 days.

Related Articles:

How Mystical Manipulation is Used in Herbert Armstrong Groups (shows how the Feast of Tabernacles is used to control members in the Armstrong groups)

Why I'm Glad I Don't Have to "Keep the Feast"

But I Had Such a Wonderful Time at the Feast of Tabernacles!

Articles and Writings on the Holy Days

UPDATE: Worldwide Church of God had their first feast in Belknap Springs, Oregon, in 1945. By 1998 they were calling the Feasts "optional" and by 2005, they were already phasing them out, only having "special worship festivals during the summer and fall of the year" by certain local congregations. In 2006 their "worship calendar" (formerly called "festival calendar") included Roman Catholic / Lutheran observances such as Maundy Thursday (also known as "Holy Thursday"), First Sunday of Advent and Last Sunday of Advent. They also have referred to Pentecost as "Whitsunday" and congregations have had combined services on that day with the church whose building they rent. (This ties in with their ecumenical unity with all churches.) However, some WCG congregations overseas (i. e., Philippine congregations) still observe a "festival" either immediately before or after the Feast of Tabernacles. This time is described as a "grand celebration" and a "great family reunion." (Worldwide Church of God Philippine Update, October 6, 2007)


1 Refer to the book, Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change by Flo Conway & Jim Siegelman.

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