My voyage into a religious cult three years after graduating from high school in 1962. Note: Beware of those who claim to be owners of “the truth.” I call my story The Royal Blue Satin Dress….a dress given to me by my friend and high school classmate.
The truth is I was an unwilling participant at Ambassador College. I had a very good job before coming to AC. I was an office manager for a Union Office in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio for three years. I worked alone and had many, as well as varied responsibilities. At eighteen I had my own bank account and loved my challenging job. Alas, under pressure from the local minister in my area and pressure from my father, an obedient me ended up where I did not belong, back in school in 1965-1968.
My education, motivation, personality and good fortune had already provided me with what I wanted, a sound, secure working position. I found out I could depend on a job and upon myself early on. Prior to coming to Ambassador College, I was not looking for a husband. I did not want to be a minister’s wife. Silly me, that was exactly what their three college campus locations were about. I did not yet get the picture. Orders were to go, control was final and I was under their manipulation. I was older when I came to AC and had zero romantic interests. That would not have been allowed anyway until it was approved by someone in authority. I saw others with boyfriends though.
One girl in my local church dated every young man that walked through the door and hung out with them as well. As far as I could go with romance was a crush on a singer. I was twenty 21 when I came to AC and 24 when I left. I came into the cult group at age nineteen. I had no prior training in Biblical studies. I did not date in high school, a restricted home life taught me not to question that policy. No proms or ball games for me, no after school events, no parties. No, there would be none of that, instead it would be school, home, clean, do dishes, feed the farm animals, bring in hay, weed the garden and then repeat that. Thank you very much. I was already well on the road to becoming the invisible girl.
One year after graduation and while I was working, my father found “The Truth.” He praised the Lord and handed this new found church his wallet. This cult needed a Skull and Cross Bones Warning pasted on it. The magazine this “Truth Cult” published was The Plain Truth Magazine. Their radio broadcast was called The World Tomorrow Broadcast, the deceptive ones at the microphone were Herbert W. Armstrong and his son Garner Ted Armstrong. I blindly entered the cult alongside my father. Smack down time, life was going to get really ugly, more restrictive and difficult than it had been already. Immediately the brain washing is done, now with no brain, you do as you are TOLD. I was told I would give up my three year (great) job and I would be sent to Ambassador College in Big Sandy, Texas. There is where they produce the young minds filled with mush who spread THE UNHOLY WORD. I was unaware of that fact and truth at that time.
I was scared and sickened to go, but just to imagine God saw me, I thought maybe I was special, perhaps an honor? Maybe? It never worked like that before, but this is supposed to be the ONLY true church (according to my father) and it comes already equipped with an Apostle whose lineage is undeniable, he is the ONE…passed down and ordained by God from Biblical days, oh my, from the beginning; through fragmented churches, scattered remnants of God’s truly CALLED ones. Besides, these holy men were in charge of my life, guiding me, they were doing that for my benefit with all sincerity and on top of that they had direct orders and truth from God. I was going to be special, all the dull days of my previous life would be worth it, right? All is well, surely it will end well and the experience will have some sort of terrific blessing.
There was another even grander opportunity for me, the challenge to dig my own cave with a spoon in Petra. Yep, I heard that “truth” in a sermon one Holy Sabbath Day in Cincinnati, right here in River City, the year was 1963. The cult members would somehow be transported to Petra “the rock” the Apostle would stay in a hotel, the rest of us common folks would dig ourselves a cave with a spoon. I was thinking to myself, please don’t forget to take your spoon! The portly Apostle (who was a degenerate predator, always protected and surrounded by YES men.) He would be transported to Petra on one of his private jets, with his private pilot at the controls.
The flock of dumb sheep paid 30% of our gross salary for the Apostle’s grandiose lifestyle. His closest partners in crime did just fine too, lavish homes on faculty row. These homes existed for the elite on the three campus locations. The richest and finest appeared to be in Pasadena, CA. I never saw the ones in England. The Apostle owned lots of homes, that sat empty, filled with fine art and furnishings like unto an oil tycoon. Upon reflection, I honestly do not know how we escaped becoming Kool-Aid drinkers. We must have been worth more to them alive. Death would cut off the money flow, otherwise I could picture some us receiving a good old Biblical stoning or poison laced Kool-Aid, drink up flock!
I do think that act of insanity (a poison drink) was on the menu, we just somehow escaped that little ditty. The self-appointed Apostle did not have a death wish, that was the saving grace more than likely. He wanted to live forever, he said in a bulletin he was getting younger. That was to prepare the sheep for his marrying a much younger woman. He let his wife die, when simple surgery would have saved her. He blamed her death on our sins. After the Apostle and his yes men would make good their escape from the coming holocaust and I listened closely, I did not hear that the Apostle would be coming back to get us when the HOLOCAUST began.
Once ensconced safely in his fine hotel, I am thinking that the jets would be grounded somewhere, maybe Israel and the dumb sheep would have to wait for a miracle, such as the parting of the red sea to get ourselves out of harm’s way. I did hear one bright minister mention eagles. As long as that eagle has a hidden pocket under one of those feathers for my spoon to dig my cave with and a seat belt, I guess I would be good to go. Yikes, what a site. I bet the environmentalists would find a way to protect the eagles who were flying the wacky cultists out of the USA. I can see it now, thousands of humans tumbling from the sky, shot right off the eagle’s backs. Fly away birds! Go fly free! This is not credible at all, but relieved of your brain, fairy tales seem to have a message. This craziness was preached in sermons on Saturdays. The world would be ending in terror, flames, plagues horrors too awful to contemplate.
The sermons worked the sheep in the audience into a dry mouthed, bunch of bug eyed, terrified, mind numbed robots. Petra was to be “the rock, the place of safety for the chosen ones. The END of days would be 1972. We would remain in Petra for three years while the rest of the world screamed in agony tortured by flames, rodents, boils, hot hail raining down on earth. If I get that cave dug out, will I get manna to go with that or are hot lunches being served ONLY at the Philadelphia Hotel housing The Apostle and gang.
These gentlemen, the Apostle and his son have long since expired, no trip to Petra for them. Their ill-gotten gains were unable to pass through to portal with them. Although the fine art and gold doubloons could not go with them to their final resting place, these guys had one fine time while exploiting and plundering their flock of sheep. They were womanizers along with many of those they ordained into the ministry.
Those stories have probably already been written. They read like a cheap pornographic novel. I was a willing sacrifice and just too brain washed to know it. The perfect empty vessel. Wow! Silly me, I actually thought AC just might provide me with a social life involving (perhaps) communication with a decent young gentleman, surely I was old enough to engage in talk, legal age of 21. God had better hurry up with this plan for my life, it is now 1965, if I am going to complete boot camp, learn more unholy doctrine, plus kick up my heels a time or two, we must hurry. We need to get this show on the road, the end of days is just seven years away. Hurry!