Pre-engagement Counseling Dr. Jeff Fall presented an excellent lecture on pre-engagement counseling at our recent Pastor’s Conference. Here is a summary of his main points: The Church has historically suggested premarital counseling for all couples considering marriage. The intended purpose has always been to help couples themselves better determine if they are "right for each other" in God's sight and to increase their opportunity for success in a potential marriage. Regrettably, in all too many cases, once a couple is engaged, the couple's focus is finished with evaluating their relationship and whether or not they are right for each other. Because their main concern is now on planning the wedding, they are far less evaluative of their relationship. Counseling can readily be simply an afterthought. Pre-engagement counseling makes far more sense. The couple may be dating seriously but they have not publicly committed to marriage in an engagement and they are much more open to honestly evaluating themselves as potential marriage partners. This, in turn, gives much more opportunity for God to guide their decision-making. To better serve our membership in these critical decisions, the Church requests that all couples considering marriage seek pre-engagement counseling from the ministry before any formal engagement.What is the result of such policies?
With rules like this being imposed upon LCG members it is no wonder that horror stories like this have occurred. Here is one testimony from a former Living University student. This testimony has been mentioned in a previous post.
I began to become more and more concerned with the way I was being treated and the way in which my girlfriend [in LCG] was expected to act and react and interact. I was told to ignore her completely, told not to talk to her, to avoid sitting next to her. We both thought we were doing the right thing but it doesn't change how miserable I made her feel. It doesn't change that people in the future will still be subjected to such abuse quite frankly under the guise of a minister telling you "God" wills it and that He is testing you. I am sorry for the way I let people manipulate me into treating her that way. I was always told "wrong time," it's "not God's will." In reality the idea was that I needed to be indoctrinated properly, to dedicate my life to the group (through baptism) then be "a useful tool in God's hands" so that they would have assurance I would pledge total allegiance, lifelong loyalty and service to their group and place it before anything else. Although, of course, that's not what is said. You're told it's "the one true God" you're worshipping. My girlfriend became a threat to my potential "to be used", because if I came to Living University, fell in love with her, left and got married (even if we remained in the group) what an awful waste that would be of a perfectly good potential minister. We're always told there's a shortage of young men.The reason LCG's ministers keep interfering in the romantic lives of their members is because LCG is a cult.
Alas, COG ministers have had a long history of interfering in romantic relationships starting with HWA himself. Many veteran COG ministers bear the shame of participating in the imposition of HWA's divorce and remarriage rules until 1974. Many marriages were arbitrarily dissolved following bizarre rules set by HWA regarding what marriages were legitimate or not.
Roderick C. Meredith bears a lot of responsibility for this. He was the man HWA appointed to impose this draconian abomination upon Radio/Worldwide Church of God members. And when HWA finally was persuaded to abandon this monstrosity Meredith was one of the last who gave up on this monstrous doctrine.
One would think that with this shameful history that COG ministers bear that LCG ministers would have some sense of shame about these things, but clearly this pattern of abuse seems to be alive and well within LCG.