The Velvet Delorey Story

Formerly known on the Internet as “Purple Hymnal.”

Among the thousands of articles posted here on the Painful Truth for your consideration, there will doubtless be some that you find useless, and possibly offensive, but we believe you will be perceptive enough to realize that even the stories you disagree with have some value in terms of promoting your own further self-definition and insight.


Pilate said unto Him, “What is Truth?”

John 18:37-38, KJV

“There is an old Chinese curse, ‘May you live in interesting times.’” – Leonard Nimoy


I’ve lived a lot, for one lifetime. My parents started out their lives together as hippies in Jamestown (I’m not sure where Wiki got the “St” part from, I’ve only ever heard it referred to sans honorific.), whereupon they proceeded to tick every box on the list, although neither one of them were involved with the Church then, beyond my father listening to the broadcast, which he had done, when he was in the Navy. (Beyond a passing mention that “Garner Ted wasn’t so bad” in the early ’80s, which I promptly scoffed at, my father never mentioned his early conversion much. Likely due to the source.)

Fast-forward a decade from “the hippie summer” and my parents are married with a one-year-old who spends more time in hospital than out of it (I have spoken of the false allegations of “the healing doctrine” elsewhere), living in rural Northern Ontario, and oh yes, they were both baptized members of the Worldwide Church of God.

My mother was disfellowshipped (for a perfectly logical reason) between ’77 and ’78 by Mr. S. (whom can now be found beating the Bible (but never reading it, anymore) for a Pagan Christ, in a church with a cross on the front of it), and thus my family’s saga, as a “spiritually broken household” began.

I do want to go on the record and say that there was never any acrimony between Mr. S. and my family through the years, though; we got on, on very good terms, for many years afterward, even when we were in British Columbia, and Mr. S. was the rising star in the ministry. (He was the Western Regional Pastor at one point, I believe.) A star which has long since flamed out. Another minister, who was referred to behind his back by the more bitter members of his small, conservative, congregation as “little Hitler,” has now risen to the top of the “episcopal hierarchy” dung-heap that GCI is now under the thumb of. I also remember Mr. S. always spoke to each child as an equal, without ever condescending to us, no matter if we were two, or twenty; I remember this quite clearly, even though he was transferred from Toronto a year or so after I started attending services.

But let me tell you what I remember about the Church. My first Sabbath services, I was nervous, and fiddling with the fancy dress-up clothes that never seemed to stay free of foodstuffs, much to my mother’s chagrin. This being the “combined” congregation of Toronto, the East, West, and Central churches all met in the auditorium of the Sir John A, for many years — and it was busting at the seams, with at least a thousand members.

I can recount to you every step from the front door, down into the spacious auditorium, filled with a wall of sound and people (that would have impressed any average professing Christian churchgoer of the day), the 70s-era “Jetson Family” bathrooms with the foot-pedal-fountain in place of faucets and sinks, for hand-washing (ahead of the times, definitely), the classrooms where the YES classes were held every month (there was such a large contingent of children, the YES classes were separated, by grade level, each into their own classroom), and the patio out back, where the refreshments (usually unsweetened apple juice and digestive bikkies) were served. Along with tea and coffee for the adults.

I remember my surrogate “aunts” and “uncles” (not so in the “hardliner” Victoria, BC, congregation, where everyone was prim and proper “Mr. This” and “Mrs. That”), wandering around during fellowship hour with a gaggle of kids the size of which would scare the living daylights out of a modern security guard these days, given how well-dressed and well-behaved we all were. I remember the harsh Scotch mints handed out by the ex-Mennonite “grandma” of the congregation (who gifted me with a quilt I still have, somewhere hereabouts, almost fifteen moves and three provinces later).

Funny, although I can remember Neil Earle thundering so loud, we could hear him all the way back in “the cheap seats” way up in the back, even though he was the pastor of Toronto that I spent the most years under (as a child) I honestly barely remember him. I don’t think he ever visited our house. Certainly, neither he nor Richard Pinelli, ever came to my house and opened cupboard doors, “looking for sin,” as has been alleged of both of those gentlemen on false Christian sites like the “Exit and Support Network.”

There was always a steady stream of dinner guests from amongst the brethren, both ministry as well as fellow members, in Ontario, and British Columbia; my mother’s excellent (and kosher; the household was not quite that broken, fortunately) cooking certainly played an influence there; so, too, did her homemade wine, although I never did see Church members any more than tipsy.

In British Columbia, during the closing years of the Church holding fast to the truth, my family hosted NTBMR / NTBMO evenings where the local pastor very happily provided us with a list of all those who needed to be “placed” in a household for the evening some months prior, thus making both the local minister, and those in need of a place to go for the traditional meal, very, very happy. There are probably still legends circling the BC splinter groups, about those evenings. “Epic” is not even close to the appropriate adjective. People in the Victoria congregation would start talking about the coming year’s meal, after we all got back from the Feast.

The Victoria congregation met in a building called “the Union Hall,” which I have tried, unsuccessfully, to find information on the Internet about, to link for you. Still, I can retrace every single step, from the “back” of the Union Hall, the closest door to the auditorium, where the greeters stood and took attendance every Sabbath, to the YES classroom (only one), then the mother’s room, and finally the anointing room, all in a line, down one side of the long, narrow, hall, with the vending machines at the end; opposite were the bathrooms and the auditorium itself, full of spongy hardwood flooring that was probably original to the building, and didn’t creak nor crack, so much as give, like a slightly firm old-growth forest floor, beneath one’s feet.

Our first Sabbath services in BC (after six months of not attending; no, we were not put out of the Church in Toronto, nor was our non-attendance for that length of time an issue; we continued to keep the Holy Days while we were between Ontario and BC, traveling, and homeless, as we were at the time), I remember my father and I walking up to the greeters, shaking their hands, being marked off on the attendance sheet, and then walking through into the auditorium.

My first impression, after coming from a congregation that must have had upwards of a couple hundred kids (at least) ranging every age from nine months to nineteen years, was that there were no children in the congregation. All I saw were adults! I stuck close to my father, then, and we were dutifully introduced around, with a flurry of activity being conducted by one of the deaconesses, just out of the corner of my eye.

You know how they have that clichéd scene in those After School Specials, where “the new kid” is introduced into “the new school?” Yeah, so. Like that, only it was a circle of about twenty (if that) kids, ranging in age from about five to fifteen, gathered around my father and I, ringing us in, almost like they were going to bust out into a game of “Pocket full of Posies.” I would have been eight or nine at the time.

Things improved somewhat after that, thankfully, although the Victoria congregation was rife with cliques, to the point where it was preached about from the pulpit almost constantly. My parents tried to allay that, in their own way, through the Night to be Much Remembered meals, mentioned above.

I personally think they would have been wildly successful, had the Holy Days not been abolished, and the congregation disbanded, to go in directions we knew not where, until a chance meeting in a bookstore, a coffee shop, a library, a mall, or on the street, where the ex-member would loudly proclaim “We’re [insert x] now!” leaving my parents and I slack-jawed; after twenty-plus years of being told never to proselytize, how, exactly, does one respond to such flagrant disregard of Christ’s admonition?

Too, I couldn’t get over how these formerly righteous (OK the ones who barked the loudest were always the most self-righteous, and were likely a pox on whatever false idol-house they ended up worshipping in, anyway) brethren, could just drop everything, and depart so far from the truth, as if they had never, ever, believed.

I still can’t understand it, to be honest with you; and I’ve felt the same way, as a second-generation Christian, as an agnostic, an atheist, and now as a true Christian once again. All changes which came, for me, slowly, with much agonizing, planning, and careful thought; yet for my parents, and for these other wanton, pallid people, yelling meaningless, rebellious phrases, it was like flipping a switch.

Didn’t they even think about what they were doing? Did they even think about their beliefs, when they allegedly held them? (Obviously not, and they don’t want to re-examine them at all, speaking to those who have gone “whole hog” with “the changes.”) How could you forsake being a chosen member of the true Church? Sure, the Church forsook its members, but that was the leadership; the headship of the Church (whether it goes by the Worldwide Church of God, Grace Communion International, or any other name the “episcopal hierarchy” wants to assign to it, in the hopes that the truth will just go away) is still under Christ; the leadership of the Church just isn’t listening to Him!

In conclusion, I have personally found that a daily Bible reading program, has opened my eyes to the truth the Church once preached (that one day I pray, it will preach once again), and to the prophecy contained in that “NOW book,” for what direction the Church, both as a spiritual organism of scattered believers, and a corporate organization that still has the headship of Christ, regardless of how far from God its leaders have departed. Will it happen in my lifetime? That’s not for me to say. All I can say, is what the power of the Holy Spirit gives me to say.

Thank you for listening.

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"The Call"

I don’t think about my childhood much. It’s not that it was particularly awful or that I suffered irreparable damage it’s just that it feels unimportant. Almost as if it happened to another person or it was a movie I saw once but can’t quite remember the details. It somehow does not connect to me anymore, does not inhabit my soul the way childhood does in others.

But I do reflect now and then, dredging up distant memories like faded photographs blurred and distorted with time and age but still recognizable if you look closely enough. If you squint just right, adjust the light the image will begin to make sense and you will find yourself saying, “Ah, yes, I remember now. I had forgotten.”

Upon recent reflection into the question of spirituality and what that means to me I found myself looking at some of those distant memories. I can see myself as a young girl, hair brushed and held securely with a barrette, my nicest dress ironed and immaculate, my white socks and patent leather shoes, everything in its proper place nothing allowed to be out of order. I was sitting in a hard metal folding chair with my notebook and bible waiting for our weekly pilgrimage to “God’s House” to get underway. Two hours of religious instruction in “the way” about to begin. The ritual of prayer, hymns, and dutiful note taking that was a part of my weekly duties as a good daughter. This weekly preparation to save my soul from the sinful and dangerous environment in which I lived known to me as “the world” as if it was a separate state or distant and foreign land was somehow going to keep me safe from the devil “having his way with me” as my mother said making it sound so salacious and almost sexually exciting to a newly hormonal young lady.

I was a good student. I accepted this teaching because it was expected and it was all there was. One way~one God. However it never moved me, never swept me up into a feeling of grace, never inspired or delivered me from heartache. I was told the answers before I was ever allowed to ask the questions. In fact even the questions were picked for me and those that didn’t fit into the churches dogma were quickly discarded forbidden to further discussion. I did what I did, believed what I believed out of fear. Fear of punishment, fear of abandonment, and fear of not pleasing this God that was a jealous and demanding God somehow displeased with the human nature he supposedly created in his infinite and infallible wisdom. Forever paying the price for the sin of the first man and woman, a debt that Jesus paid but somehow I still carried on my account. The sin of individual choice, thought, and desire. It didn’t add up (perhaps why I have always hated mathematics) but I went with it all out of fear.

Until in my seventeenth year of life having been freed from the church going experience since the age of thirteen when I left my mother and moved in with my father I stumbled on a book in the library about the history of witches and paganism. Being the bad ex-Christian I was at the time I stole this book, which later I lost never to be recovered–my first lesson in karma. For the first time in my life the words I read caused a physical and emotional response that had no trace of fear. There was only a feeling of peace as if lost in a foreign land I had suddenly stumbled on a map I could read and understand. There was in fact a spiritual world that seemed to fit me. Although I liked the idea of this particular spiritual path I didn’t start to seek any real training or learning until my mid twenties. I found myself surrounded by other young people who were drawn to Wicca and paganism as I was, but I felt out of place. These young people dressed in costume flirted with witchcraft but didn’t take it seriously. They were like children playing dress up, reveling in shocking and disturbing the status quo with their outlandish and heathen behavior. They were emotionally unstable, personally unreliable, and some even dangerously intrigued by the idea of wielding magic to gain power over others, involved in practices I found to be morally questionable. I walked away from these people and their playacting disillusioned and disgusted. If this was Wicca I wanted no part of it.

Don’t get me wrong I still considered myself a Pagan. I wouldn’t be running back into the arms of Christianity any time soon, but finding no community in which to grow, learn, and practice with that I could trust or even consider real I simply stuck to the central guidelines and forgot about pursuing any deeper commitment to the craft. I rarely performed any type of ritual, I did not continue my studies, and I avoided most so called witches like the plague being completely disinterested in any drama or Hollywood type practices. Most of the people I came into contact with became interested in magic because of a movie they’d seen expecting to find a magical outlet that would gift them with some sort of power they could wield over others. Hogwash. There is no power to be had over another only the power to enrich and expand oneself. Those who seek to control, influence, or even “help” others without their consent are in my mind very dangerous and misguided individuals.

For the next ten plus years I existed in spiritual limbo. I battled (mostly unsuccessfully) my chronic depression, wore my anger and cynicism like a suit of armor, used my humor and indifference as my weapons of choice, and generally just drifted through my life without really ever showing up to the event. I was deeply sad as if in a state of constant mourning. I felt completely disconnected from others and myself. In the distance beyond the fog and shadows in my brain I heard a faint call. So faint I decided it must surely be my imagination.

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Imagine my surprise when the call began to get stronger, louder, and more insistent. It was the same voice that spoke to me all those years ago at the tender age of seventeen. The same invitation to leave my state of spiritual limbo and show up to life alive, in color, and present. An invitation to come home only this time my Goddess sent me true guides in the shape of friends. And so now approaching my fortieth year on this earth I resume a journey long ago abandoned, I exchange my armor of anger and cynicism for a warm cloak big enough to share with fellow travelers. I keep my humor but turn in my indifference and select instead an open heart in which to house my many souvenirs, and set out to join the dance of life with childlike abandon and wonder, trusting that this time faith will sustain and inspire me instead of chain and punish me. And I know I am truly blessed to have this time to continue my journey.

Wrecked Family. Part I

May 17, 2011:

After spending $2,000 on rescuing my niece from the streets after her PCOG parents abandoned her, she no longer talks to us, unless the topic of conversation is about money. I believe PCOG intimated her parents, threatening them with “disfellowship,” unless they stopped their daughter from telling us about PCOG. Perhaps PCOG read her story posted on this website.

As far as I know, my niece is back “dating” the younger, classmate boy referenced in my first story. Side note: According to my niece, her PCOG mother accused this non-cult member boy of statutory rape, confronting him in the hallway of her daughter’s public high school. My niece is actually almost a year older than him.

Instead of accepting our offer to enroll her in a private preparatory school so she could pursue her stated dream of entering medicine, my niece has returned to her home State to waste her life with this bum, boy classmate, who has entered on his Myspace profile for “Occupation” — “never!” ” Under “Books,” he says, “Don’t read much either.” Under “Blurbs,” he writes: “I’m spontaneous, I’m a pacifist, I’m a hippie, I won’t lie, I won’t judge, and I can’t hold a grudge.” We had given my niece several hundred dollars when she left us. She said she needed this money to pay the nice family she was staying with, only to find out she was staying somewhere else, I believe with this bum.

From what I understand, they are planning on marrying. If she marries, she’ll follow in her mother’s footsteps, who, as a WWCOG member, ran away from home at 18 in the 70s and married a cult member, who told my father he was “wielding the sword to cut the family ties”, when announcing my sister was living with him and his loser parents. Years later, he was convicted of fleecing money from the elderly by creating a bogus desalination company in CA. Sound like HWA? He managed to swindle money from a famous actor. It is said he committed suicide by jumping off a cliff near Las Vegas before he had to serve his jail term. Even though they were WWCOG cult members, my sister and this creep divorced. He committed adultery.

The terrible legacy of WWCOG, HWA, PCOG continues to destroy lives and futures unless members, former members, and non-members take an active role in exposing the fraud. It is a moral obligation to judge evil people such as Herbert Armstrong, who committed incest while claiming to be chosen by God to prepare everyone for the “Second Coming” while reaching into the pockets of the vulnerable to take their money so he and his friends could live lavishly and continued to pursue their piggish ways. It is imperative to judge such evil. The risks are too great not to. If Herbert Armstrong, WWCOG splits, PCOG and all their supporters had their way, they’d end civilization.

-Keith Ace.

Much more in a day, or two.

 

Side Note:

When I asked one of the current Luzerne County, PA judicial candidates (who is doing quite well in terms of electorate support and who is a neighbor) for help regarding protecting my minor-aged niece after her parents abandoned her because she no longer wanted to be part of what’s largely considered a dangerous “religious” cult of which her parents are members, he said he would get back to me about finding a family law attorney versed in the subject. I asked him if I could meet him in his office professionally, willing to pay of course for his time to discuss her situation. He said something to the effect that if he sees me around the neighborhood, or if we’re both outside at the same time, he might condescend to talk to me about her case. Not only did he never call me back like he’d promised with the name of a lawyer(s) versed in this situation (he obviously wasn’t knowledgeable despite his stated “broad legal experience”), he has never contacted me about her desperate predicament. He’s been too busy pursuing political opportunism, glad-handing, delivering scripted campaign speeches, attending cocktail parties, and air brushing his campaign posters.

Without having proper legal assistance, my niece had little choice but to leave the state, and return to the abusive situation, her future ruined. We explained to the judicial candidate that she had wanted to finished high school and pursue a career in medicine while she stayed with us, that we were trying to enroll her in a college preparatory school with a pre-med program, and that her parents had abandoned her to the streets in another part of the country because PCOG considers the medical field “evil.” To say that he was absolutely no help whatsoever is a gross understatement. Even more disturbing, I detected a less than sympathetic response to her dangerous crisis on a humanitarian level, as proved by his lack of action and follow-up.

This judicial candidate will probably be elected due to anomalies in the current Luzerne County judicial election cycle, (There are six openings), which allow dangerously incompetent lawyers such as himself to serve as judges to the detriment of minors, in this case.

Let’s see if there’s another judicial candidate who might reply to this blog, and offer some assistance. If so, that candidate’s qualifications as a “people’s judge,” but more importantly, as a sympathetic human being, will be apparent, and not need doctoring up with air brushed posters and canned TV political ads.