Imagine growing up, as I did, with the understanding that you are set apart from the rest of the world by God. Some of the elements that identified me as one of God's chosen people were that I never ate the unclean meats listed in Deuteronomy, and I never attended any extracurricular school activities or employment functions from Friday night sundown till Saturday night sundown. I kept the Festival Holy Days listed in the Old Testament as a strict command from God; I tithed 20 percent and sometimes 30 percent; and I never dated anyone outside my religion. Everyone followed the pyramid leadership formation in my church with unquestioning loyalty. It would be common for the minister to ask women to grow their hair to a proper length to meet the church's guidelines or to tell a man he could not attend church services if he continued to chew tobacco.
Now imagine, after dedicating your life to living this way in order to please God, you discover the beliefs you once firmly upheld were in error.
I don't have to imagine this. The church from my birth, the Worldwide Church of God, the only spiritual truth I have ever known, said that it had been wrong in some of its doctrines. These changes affected me and other members around the world in an emotionally and spiritually dramatic and confusing way.
Virtually every decision I have ever made had its roots in my fundamental religious convictions, from the friends I made, the clothes I wore, the classes I took in school, and the employment I applied for. The upheaval led to a re-evaluation of my beliefs, my motivations, my relationship with my husband, family members, and friends. It was hard to accept that my beliefs were being challenged by the same church that instilled them in the first ...1
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