Cults and Closets

 

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Cults and Closets

Coming Out of Chaos

 A book by Troy Fitzgerald

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Former WCG kid and son of a pastor, Troy Fitzgerald explains what it was like growing up in a fundamentalist religious cult.

This book is a very interesting read. Troy relates from the times of his early youth, what it was like growing up in a fundamentalist church. Feelings of social inadequacy, and shunned with no true friends. This young man searches out his own self identity, leading to an unexpected discovery as to his sexuality.

As the Worldwide Church of God (founded by Herbert W. Armstrong) goes through an identity crisis, Troy begins to think outside the box that was constructed for him in his childhood and begins to think of himself as a closet agnostic with huge doubt about his religious education.

After leaving the Worldwide Church of God, Troy and his wife Marie, with their growing doubts, did what most of us former members of that cult did. We joined mainstream churches only to discover that they too were but mind control cults.

The inevitable result of spending a lifetime searching out “The Truth” is a most memorable prayer that Troy shares in his book. Call it a showdown. A contract made at baptism that is nullified and voided due to the inaction of a supposedly loving God.

If you were ever a member of an Armstrong church, or in one of the spin-offs, or if you are a kid in one of these cults, this book is a must read!

7 Replies to “Cults and Closets”

  1. The only good that came out of Worldwierd was the people who went on to spread the truth about these wretched blood sucking bastards.

  2. I’ve got some friends who have claimed that sometimes they feel as if they are a minority twice. One gentleman is an Hispanic Republican. He’s told me he must keep many of his ideas to himself at family reunions.

    From about age 9 to age 18, I grew up in a WCG household in which my parents worked very hard at avoiding becoming Laodecean. This meant legalism in our lives at home, and cases in which we were required to take some very weird stands in the presence of our peers at school. Hell, just taking a shower after gym class was embarrassing, with belt stripes on one’s butt.

    I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for Troy, coming to a realization regarding his sexual orientation in addition to everything else we all endured. My wife back in the ’90s lost two of her cousins to AIDs, acquired because of unprotected gay sex. The older of the two had been married, had a teenage son, and towards the end of his life expressed regret that he had not repressed his same sex desires, because he loved his son and really wanted to watch him grow into adulthood. Like many other members of the gay community, he had been taken totally by surprise by the AIDs epidemic. The family suffered greatly because of these deaths.

    Hopefully, this book will help some of the young people in the splinters. It appears that Troy has set up a blog for further discussion. Understanding the perspectives of people different from ourselves is never a bad thing.

    BB

  3. This is indeed a complicated subject. While reading the book I had to ask myself, why this urge, if you are praying to God? Why does he never answers your prayers, why should you wait for an answer after a decade? Should I wait two decades, perhaps three?

    As a father I had to ask myself “would I treat my son this way?”

    The answer is no. I would not. If the heavenly “Father” treats His “children” this way, who between He and I has the higher moral ground? Who shows the unconditional love and understanding of the child? Who displays the most support for the child?

    The difference between I as a physical human, and “God”, is that He claims to be omnipotent and in charge of all human affairs. So why does he ignore the cries of his child and let him suffer an unbearable pull? Would I as a human being do this?

    The answer is HELL NO! If I could, with a wave of the hand grant his request like some genie, I would!

    I have love and compassion for my my children and my fellow man. The how and why of homosexuality has not been answered by man sufficiently, nor has the bible an answer as to why humans are born with a tendency toward homosexuality. The so called “good book” offers no answer as to the why of homosexuality what so ever. Only in the eyes of the religious establishment do we here…”It is Gods will/judgement…”

    So here is what we have. The religious who use a 2,000 year old book that they have no understanding how it came into being as a collection, or science which is just beginning to understand the what and why of homosexuality. In whom do we place our trust?

    While I am one who despises militant atheism, militant homosexuality, militant raciest groups and those of shared ilk, I ask that those among us who differ, those who stand with us and treat all as fellow citizens and human beings, it is these in which I pin the hope as we unite to create a more just society where all men are considered equal. Let us in the words of Martin Luther King, “Judge a man by the content of his character.”

    But there is a line that must be drawn. Where in liberal thought do we draw the line as to societal acceptance? The line is drawn where adult choices turn towards irresponsible decisions that have negative repercussion on some or all members of society.

    There is much more to say on this subject and I ask all that care to respond to post your views.

  4. While this is not unique to Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God with its many evil splinters, embedded within Armstrong is the moral breech of ethics and social contract, leaving the entire venue of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong devoid of worth. Mainstream religions are only beginning to strive to alleviate the problems surrounding these kinds of questions and, to the credit of the new Pope, there has been significant progress.

    Having said that, it is important to remind everyone that it has been Herbert Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God and the many evil splinters who have done such great damage to everyone in the Cult of Herbert Armstrong: No one has been untouched. At a minimum, the CoHA has left every last member with distorted perceptions from the mental disorder, Folie à Deux (the madness shared by two) or more appropriately folie à plusieurs (“madness of many”), where Herbert Armstrong was the dominant person (known as the ‘primary’, ‘inducer’ or ‘principal’) initially forms a delusional belief during a psychotic episode (back in the 1930s at his “conversion”) and imposes it on another person or persons (known as the ‘secondary’, ‘acceptor’ or ‘associate’) with the assumption that the secondary person might not have become deluded if left to his or her own devices. None of us would have the delusions of British Israelism married with incredibly powerful distorted perceptions of doom, gloom, desperation, disaster — all lying around the corner in the next few years as this world was to come crashing to an end.

    It is the Worldwide Church of God which is responsible for destroying the lives of children in it: You can’t have the little ones sitting in Sabbath services for years hearing the horrors of the destruction of the world week after week in gruesome lurid detail without it having an impact. Moreover, the parents were deluded into thinking in a pattern to produce behavior destructive to children growing up as a form of abuse: Sometimes assault, other times neglect.

    It is not surprising to have the account of yet another ruined life from the terrible world of Herbert Armstrong. Steve Luker also had much the same experience. It is to the credit of Troy to come to grips with his experiences as best he could under the circumstances.

    At best, this is never going to be a win-win situation. Certainly, this is no where as bad as the situation in the Fundamentalist Church of Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS — Mormons), but the writing of the horrible fundamentalist code upon the tabla rosa of the children is unconscionable. It is amazing how the selfishness of men can cause such human wreckage.

    The source of the real problem is that all who repent, are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit are supposed to be transformed from the inside out to become the kind of person with whom others of the faith can share the common “spirituality” of the Mind of God. I’ve never seen this happen in the WCG, GCI or any of the CoHA splinters. Instead, it is the imposition and aggravation of mental distortions which lead to terrible tragedy. There doesn’t seem to have been any Power from God to magically and mystically transform one’s sexuality by spiritual fiat. It just doesn’t happen. Perhaps somewhere else, but not in Armstrongism. In fact, the hyperbole and lies of the Armstrongists (currently loudest with Davey Pack, Gerald Flurry and certainly Ronald Weinland), drown out all sensibilities and even if the Holy Spirit did have the power to “speak” to people, no one could hear It because the mental noise is to great until people get away from it.

    So the leaders and ministry of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong pretend the problems (all of them) don’t exist: They lie; they cover up the lies; they cover up the cover ups; and they make it all undiscussible. Oh sure, a minister who commits adultery on his wife as she dies from cancer can put up a shingle and start his own church — because as sure as death, taxes, revenge and the fury of a woman scorned, no other of the Armstrongists would ever allow him to be a minister in their sect of the cult.

    At best, the narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, cons and nutcases running the so-called churches of God are immoral, unethical, illegal and totally clueless in how to be ministers. All they can do is put on a suit and be the representatives of the Church Corporate as church corporate executives selling a product that no only has no worth, but causes great harm, while not having a clue as how to resolve any real human problems. And if you don’t believe that, then answer this: Why are there ever so many splinters and absolutely no merging of the body which is “one” under Jesus Christ? They are all false prophets who, by Biblical standards, are deserving of death.

    Children of the ministers in particular exposed to this outrageous pompous hyperbole are extremely vulnerable because often they get to see the evils at a time that they have absolutely no way to deal with them and often they are left completely isolated: This is not a “preacher’s kid” thing — this is a full on abuse of assault and neglect that leaves the children completely isolated — often in the cult itself, bereft of friends who they believe live with a higher standard, not knowing that it isn’t true and there are no real standards to live by — there simply can’t be if the leaders and ministers have the ethic that the end justifies the means and that what is right and moral is what the guy above you wants from you to promote the prosperity of your particular obnoxious version of the cult.

    It’s good that Troy had the courage to speak out.

    Now all we need is for everybody to leave the cult and begin recovery by using Life Code and Take Back Your Life.

  5. I knew a somewhat militant woman years ago who said that men have absolutely no right to voice opinions on the topic of abortion. In a way, I don’t know that straight people can comment intelligently on the topic of homosexuality, other than to seek to understand. In the first place, most discussions never get past the cliches. My own opinion is that there are probably as many reasons why people are homosexual as there are homosexuals. I believe some when they say that it was something with which they were born, something they never wanted, and actually hated, something that totally freaked them out.

    One of the cliches advanced by the gay community is that homosexuals do not actively attempt to seduce heterosexuals. Anyone who has ever hitchhiked knows that this is patently ridiculous. There is a column in New Times, a free weekly tabloid having been spawned by the counterculture “Free Press” called Savage Love, written by openly gay columnist Dan Savage. A “straight” man once wrote in lamenting the fact that he had tried to be openminded in his friendships, but had found that several gay friends had ended up hitting on him, resulting in a termination of the friendship. Savage advised him to find out in the future whether he was a potential friend’s “type”. It was Savage’s opinion that if he happened to be a potential gay friend’s type, the friend was practically guaranteed to hit on him. So much for one carefully crafted public relations cliche!

    There are portals. Crossing the lines of taboos often opens portals which could be difficult to close, and to purge from one’s mind in the future. Take drugs as an example. What if a person were partying with friends, watching a sporting event? After a bunch of beer, one of the guys breaks out an eight ball and starts chopping up lines. A person who had never thought of doing coke, watching his friends, might be tempted to participate. So, the next time, the threshold has already been crossed, and it won’t be a big deal to repeat the experience. I once knew a lady whom I will call Espie. If you had a wife you valued, you would not want her to party with Espie. When Espie put together a “girls’ night out”, she was going to get laid before going home and crawling into bed with her “understanding” husband. She didn’t care by whom, she wouldn’t go home until she closed the deal. She’d take her group of ladies to black bars, lesbian bars, sex clubs, or anywhere else where she could meet her objective. One night, she took a newbie with her, her next door neighbor. The girl ended up having her first lesbian encounter with one of Espie’s friends. When the reality of what she had done sank in, the lady actually vomited and inconsolably cried. But, then she ended up doing it with Espie’s friend three more times in the course of the weekend.

    I also knew a young lady who worked one summer with a bunch of young people at one of our national parks. You would have thought the park was in Sodom or Gomorrah with all of the sexual encounters. Everyone slept with everyone! The gal developed a relationship with a boyfriend whom another guy “turned” sometime in the course of the summer. She found out because the other guy was bragging about it amongst a group of friends. When she confronted him, her boyfriend confessed. Not prepared to deal with it all, and heartbroken, she quit the job, and went home.

    It becomes even more complicated when we consider addictive personalities. People have been known to get out of control with things that feel good. It would require a tremendous amount of self-control to avoid acting upon any fetish. And opening a portal commences with a single act, often pleasurable. Certain types of behavior start one way, and then they change, in that what seems natural and comfortable ends up turning on you. Over the past years, what I’ve found to be interesting is that some of the stuff we are told that God is against would actually prevent us from getting into the stuff that turns on us, and ruins our lives. Even so, we all make our cost-benefit analyses, and it can be human nature to simply be willing to pick up the tab for doing what we feel like doing. All of my post, of course, is only my opinion. The reader’s own mileage may vary!

    BB

  6. In all of this, the Armstrongist churches are of no help at all.

    Let’s say a young gay man encounters an ACoG group and wants to join. His expectation is that he will repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit and then be transformed from the inside out.

    What will be the reality of this expectation?

    Will the Armstrongist churches help him at all?

    The point is that the ACoGs seem to be completely useless, as evidenced by this Labor Day Weekend and David Pack.

    Anyone who has any expectation to have any experience of any sort of spirituality and the transformation of redemption need to despair of all hope when they enter in to the Armstrongist fold: It’s all for money and ego of the leaders — they lie to you and take your money.

    So while we can set aside our opinions about the morality of the individuals with problems within the ACoGs, coming out — so to speak — and revealing their horrible experiences is to be lauded because it may help others trapped in the sick quicksand muck of spiritual perversion of the Olde Testament Christian Pharisees.

  7. I was most impressed with how Troy finally came to the point of calling out “god” on all those promises it made in the bible, promises that never came to be. He was never blessed with wealth, happiness, peace of mind, healing or contentment, but rather a cursed life was the result. The sexuality to me was just a side issue, amplified and complicated by Armstrong. Once the god virus was broken, he instantly came to his own, and his life was his own, probably for the first time.

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