Why did I join a cult church and attend it for more than fifteen years? In fact, why would anybody believe that a tiny congregation, meeting in the basement of a house, would have the best understanding of God’s truth as well as featuring a self-anointed preacher. Wouldn’t the strangeness of him letting spirits inhabit his body and teach put off anybody with even a little understanding of Christianity? Why didn’t I notice how many scriptures he took out of context, even after I bought a Bible and read it all the way through?
Many people visited that church briefly and left, usually without explanation. What did they detect during their short time there that I missed? certainly the belief that new revelations, hidden from the mainline churches for two thousand years, should have alerted me that something wasn’t right.
To properly understand why I fell for the founder’s subterfuge, I must explain the direction of my spiritual path from the time I gave my life to Christ back in August of 1969 until I was invited two years later to what I thought would be an ordinary Wednesday night meeting.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” As nobody from the Vacation Bible School followed up with me by a visit or phone call, I too was tossed about by every wind of doctrine.
Not only did I not understand the importance of regular fellowship with believers but certain Christians had been far from Christ-like toward me. A year before my conversion, the teacher sent me home from the local Lutheran Vacation Bible School class for not looking up First Kings something or other. I felt unjustly punished. Being almost blind, how could I read the microscopic print in the Bible he handed me. I had no magnifying glass back then. Consequently, I stayed home during the rest of that summer.
As I wrote in my previous memoir, Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), I attended Saint Helen’s Anglican Church again that September. Everybody in the institution had no choice but to attend the Sunday service of their parent’s faith. I felt it was a waste of time. Anglicans didn’t teach the gospel as the vacation Bible school did. Their concept of the Christian life was that we should be nice to each other and do good works so we could go to heaven. Additionally, my mom was nominally a Lutheran but the school had no volunteer drivers from that denomination.
As a result of these negative church experiences, the radio became my source of discipleship in the summer of 1970. Eventually, I discovered The World Tomorrow. This was a program hosted by a man named Garner Ted Armstrong. What impressed me most was that it wasn’t the usual Bible-thumping sort of show. He spoke authoritatively about Bible prophecy and how it supposedly related to today’s news events. As I tuned in each evening, I became hooked by the promise of knowing what would happen in the near future.
In my upcoming <How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir, I wrote about my introduction to a house church and the blasphemous doctrines they taught. I hope to have the book published this year. My previous paperbacks are available at the Bruce Atchison’s books link.