Christine

Hi Mr. McNally,

Your name seems very familiar to me. I think I might know you and that we went to the same church once or twice. Anyway, I wanted to tell my story. I know that many people have all kinds of stories about growing up in the church. I can relate to almost all of it. Mine is a story of abuse and eventual dis-fellowship by the church. Not only were the hearts and minds of people distorted in a way that harmed them, but some of us were seriously harmed in less subtle ways. The amazing thing to me is that it took me over a decade to realize that I wasn’t the one who was wrong, but what was done to me by the church leadership was wrong. I was so indoctrinated and afraid that I kept thinking that they were right and I was wrong. Obedience and submissiveness was so highly valued by the female members that I struggle with this in my life to this day, even though I “left” in 1992 at the age of 14.

What happened to me was atrocious. During the time that I was in the church, I suffered several years of abuse that was known to several people in the church and was covered up until I pulled the plug by telling a school counselor. The people that covered up my abuse got in trouble with the law, but not the church. One minister can’t live in the state of California because of the incidents that happened so the church just moved him out of state. The church actually sanctioned keeping me in a situation where my abuser still had access to me because the alternative probably would result in me losing contact with the church. I went along with it like a good WCG girl. I was only 12 years old. I trusted those people to take care of me. However, I was further humiliated by having to tell the details of my abuse to another person in the church who was grooming me for further abuse. I didn’t realize this until years later after “detoxing” from church doctrine and learning that this adult male who was developing a relationship with me was also acting inappropriately with friends of mine.

There was more to it. Even through all of that, I still wanted to be in the church. I wanted to be saved. About 2 months after being placed in a children’s shelter as a result of what I told my school counselor, when I needed friends most, I was disfellowshipped from the church. I was told that I was a “bad apple” by an elder because I was hanging out with a boy from my high school outside the church. On top of that, my mom wanted me to have sex education that was not sanctioned the church. In his opinion, I should be ashamed of myself for these things and needed to be punished by the church. He came into my home and made me feel ashamed of what I was doing to my friends by doing these things. I carried the guilt of hurting my friends by what felt like choosing certain behaviors over them for years, even though that wasn’t the case at all. I loved them very much and still do.

It hurt a lot to have them allow the people who abused me to continue to attend church and cover up what they did while I wasn’t allowed to attend services or go to any YOU (youth group) events. For years people thought I made a choice to leave because everyone was told lies about me. They heard that I left because I wanted to date outside of the church. This wasn’t at all the reason I was no longer there.

When I left the church, I had yet to realize all the damage that was done to me. Not until a few years ago did I understand the impact of the spiritual abuse that I underwent. I was abused for years under the guise that this is what God wanted for me and that I was bad & wrong for not immediately forgiving what was done to me. There was a minister who counseled me and kept me in what he knew to be an abusive situation for 2 years. He counseled my abuser too all the while telling me that they were working on making it better. Yet I was still being abused and told that I should pray for my abuser and learn forgiveness because that is what God would want from me. Needless to say, I lost all faith in God back then. Fortunately, I have been able to sort all of it out for myself.

No one has all the answers. We are all on a journey to find answers and I have no right to point fingers at anyone’s journey. I do have the right to point fingers at those that caused me harm to protect and heal myself, not to prove myself right. One thing that the church teaches us is that only perfection will be rewarded. I have learned that people make mistakes. Those people made huge mistakes and harmed me greatly. I have no ill will towards anyone anymore. I guess I learned how to really forgive (not the BS forgiveness that was fed to me by that minister) and that has set me free. Thank you for giving a voice to those who are trying to sort this whole mess out.

Thanks!

62 thoughts on “Christine”

  1. Michelle,

    Do you actually think this happened? The removal of a teen’s panties for spanking by a minister? I am rather shocked to hear of it, but then, why should any of us be surprised by almost anything we hear about the church years after the fact? I will say, as a male with many years of experience of life and sex, that if a teen-aged girl’s panties were removed, the spanking was sexually motivated and not simply for disciplinary reasons. It was LACK of self-discipline and self-control by a male with active hormones.

    markman

  2. of course this could have happened, its the same thing I was talking about.! allsorts of abusive situations develop in an environment like that, that feels its above the law ,and appointed by God !, and then systematically isolates its members.

  3. Dear Young Ladies,

    Sadly, you’re having to live in a world in which the female of our species is regularly abused by the male. Yes, the damage is probably the worst in authoritative cultures in which the abusers are often those held up as examples and even hold power in a sick and twisted way.

    Sometimes I am embarrassed simply to be a male. I sincerely hope you have been hurt can rise above the pain of it and kick ass in a life of your own choosing.

  4. @markman I choose to see myself as a survivor. I’ve been to plenty of “talks” where people continue to call themselves victims. I have found that changing the perspective from victim to survivor makes all of the difference in the world. I am indeed working on kicking-ass as I move forward with my life. Despite some setbacks, I feel I’m finally on the right path.

  5. I just came back after seeing the movie Paradise Recovered. It’s about a young lady leaving a church VERY similar to WCG. It’s a decent movie and I can relate to it in a lot of ways. I recommend it to other ex-WCG members.

    I was surprised by all the comments. Thank you for the moderation. I’m glad I don’t have to read the preaching or other crazy comments, although I have to admit that they can be somewhat entertaining. That’s just my sense of humor.

    Since this post, I found the church leader that failed to report the abuse that I was suffering because he considered himself above the law. He was following “God’s law”. I cannot believe that he works as a counselor in a center for emotionally disturbed youth. This gives me chills. I wrote a letter to the center telling them my story. I also wrote to him. His response was basically, “Sh!t happens, you’re an adult now, be one and get over it.” I expected nothing less.

    I want to say to the gentlemen out there that you don’t need to apologize for some other a-hole. Don’t be ashamed to be male, be proud that you’re not one of them. For the survivors of similar abuses by the church, the best revenge is for you to not only survive what has happened, but thrive. Kick ass. I’m now an ICU nurse who saves lives on a regular basis. In dealing with life and death, I often find myself confronted with others and my own spiritual beliefs. I have a better understanding of others and have compassion based on my own experiences. I love my life and it isn’t about what has happened to me in my past.

  6. I can say for sure that girls undergarments were removed, mine included! Everything a woman or girl could say about anything bad was frowned upon and even speaking first , not waiting to being spoken to first by a male, was a no no. Our pastor when i was about 11 had his wife calling him sir and didn’t speak unless spoken to. Men had the upmost rights and women were like children and had to do as told. No friends outside of church and no books, music or even thoughts not about the church on friday night sundown to sat night sundown. I grew up in this and have never felt comfortable in a church since. I have deep depression issues, trust issues and many other problems mentioned thruout this blog. I can say, however, i never lost my trust in God and that he was much more merciful than even the world gives him credit, I have had a very deep relationship with God and he knows my heart and all of the confusion over WCG. I try and focus not on what i don’t know, but try to focus on just being a good person to others and living this way every day, not once a week. I do often wonder what would have been if i had been allowed to continue to play sports(which i loved) and be friends/date outside the church. I live with my mother and care for her now. She is 79 and can hardly walk. Her church is the Grace church now and they believe as i always have! I was baptised in 2003, but do not attend any church regularly. Only did with her growing up till about 15 and then for a year or so taking her when i was baptised. I am thankful for this website so we can all let out these weights we have carried around for so long. If any of you need to vent further, please feel free to email me @:pumpkindew06@sbcglobal.net……I study quite a bit about what makes us feel and do the things we do. I have also had much treatment sessions for this and it has helped! Mother says she is sorry for raising me in this church all the time, but i remind her that she was doing the best she could at that time. Therapy has helped me to have this attitude. Peace be with you all, and I pray that you can find yours.

  7. Peace be with you too Sharon .. Glad you have found it .. we all wonder what our life’s would be like if we had not been born and raised this way .. I have found peace too .. But I cant step in a church either .. nor have any desire to..

  8. Someone mentioned “spanking” as a disciplinary measure as though that would be Ok if panties were not removed. NO, NO, NO!!! Hitting children just because you are bigger or have more authority is NOT ok!!! It is assault and could be prosecuted by law if one adult by another. You former Worldwiders need to get your ducks in a row and get that authoritariian, abusive crap out of your head

  9. I suppose my comment (above) will be removed because it is off-topic or a type of preaching. However, I will always “preach” against corporal punishment. There are much more effective and better ways to teach children than by hitting or whipping them, undergarments on or not. Thankfully, I was never a member of any of the Armstrongism groups but relatives were and still are. One of them committed suicide at age 19. I suspect that the authoritarian, abusive apocalyptic cult contributed to the reasons for that.

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