I have lived the last ten years in a religious group that is so fundie it is very nearly a cult. Its not that bad in that it has a lot of very good aspects, i.e. I enjoyed my time there, they taught me to know the Bible a lot, etc – but it had a lot of bad things too.
For example, there is a real culture of spiritual arrogance. Everyone thinks that we are all the most awesome people ever, and all the other people are terrible, including other Christians. Good works are considered meaningless and only our way is righteous. This might be okay if it was true, but the reality is that there’s a lot of total jerks who just think they’re better than everyone else.
Also, they claimed that Donald Trump was sent by God to carry out His work on Earth. The whole church believed that, it was taught internationally. Anyone who believes that is seriously deluded. They also all watch Fox News.
The way that they segregated the sexes however was the worst thing. They literally came and had a word with you if you spoke to a sister for more than five minutes. That wasn’t okay, brothers and sisters were to be kept far apart from each other at any cost. You can’t be alone in an elevator, car or room with a sister for fear that you might randomly start to fuck while no one is looking. That would not be normal human behaviour, why would that ever happen? Well it might in this church, because everyone is so sexually frustrated!
Young people were taught not to find their own spouse but to let the elders arrange their marriage for them. If someone’s spouse was not in the church, elders would encourage them to divorce them on the grounds of being ‘unequally yoked’.
I married a woman I hardly knew and after six years of abuse and suffering I finally left her, but was told that adultery was the only grounds for divorce – abuse was not ground for divorce. Even if a man should beat his wife, she must pray for him to repent and never leave him. I told many of the elders that she had hardly had sex with me more than ten times a year since I married her six years ago, they all seemed to think that that was normal and not a problem. It fucking well was a problem thank you very much! Also she smashed plates and screamed at me on an almost daily basis but thats not the point – I needed some action.
After I left my ex wife and moved to my home locality without her, even though the elders knew that I was struggling in my Christian life they forbade me from dating. Apparently the simple act of having coffee with sisters (or any women really) while not yet being legally divorced but only separated, was shameful and would be considered bad testimony not only for myself but for the church as a whole. It wasn’t even a matter of sex before marriage, it was that I’m literally not allowed to spend time getting to know any women. Who voted them imperial dictator of my life? I can date if I want, I’m in my 30s.
I then began to remember things I had noticed throughout the years: When I was a university student and preached the gospel on campus with the full-timers, it was considered terribly sinful to have a girlfriend. Whenever one of our new ones had a girlfriend, we would pray for them to either get married or quickly break up so that they wouldn’t commit sin. That’s messed up.
Another thing I remembered is that one time my wife locked me out of the house in the rain at midnight and I had to stay the night at a church elder’s place. I asked him about divorce, and he said I should never, ever divorce my wife. But neither should I commit suicide, so if I ever had to choose between divorce or suicide, well, don’t commit suicide. Yeah great, thanks, such helpful advice /s.
One time I was at a church meeting standing around having a conversation with a woman, we were both doing service with the high school meeting and were talking about that. We weren’t flirting or anything. Anyway my wife came and smacked me so hard on the bum that I jumped about a foot in the air. That shows how crazy my wife was, but get this: she told me later that everyone thought that I was married to the woman I was talking with, otherwise why would I be having a conversation with her? That is messed up.
Here’s a short video I thought you might like: