Most people find it inconvenient (sometimes extremely so) to adhere to the many things PCG requires and expect of members. To take but one example: getting away from one's work to attend the Feast of Tabernacles for eight days in the extra-biblical manner HWA devised. But in order to fit into PCG in order to get (PCG's) God's favor people are strongly encouraged to ignore any such problems and learn to love and adore whatever the leadership of PCG approves of and denigrate any attitude or thought that interferes to conforming to PCG dogma and expectations.
This tendency within PCG is clearly seen in Rachel Culpepper's article in which she talks about what happened one day while she attended the Feast of Tabernacles with her parents when she was five years old.
It must be kept in mind that she is talking about herself as a five year old. Note how she denigrates anything she happened to feel that was contrary to the expectations of the group. I do not question her sincerity about this memory but the purpose of this post is to show that she has viewed this event in such a way as to internalize within herself the strict rules of the group.
I had many reasons to be happy that day, but…In other words she was a normal five year old girl. Most people would accept the fact that a five year tends to act differently from adults and just leave it at that. But here normal frustration at being unable to swim at that moment is today vilified as "ridiculous" and as a frustration for which she "had absolutely no excuse" to have.
I was in a bad mood.
The fact that I was in a bad mood is just ridiculous since I was five years old and at the Feast of Tabernacles in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was attending the Feast with my family, I was able to play with friends every day, and I received many little presents. I had absolutely no excuse to be in a bad attitude. But nevertheless, I was—just like many other 5-year-olds that have had to wait longer than what seemed necessary to go to the pool. In my mind, I definitely thought that jumping in a pool was more important than the rest of the family talking to brethren after services. So, with an annoyed thump, I sat in a chair and waited with proverbial flies swarming around my rotten attitude.
The truth is that Armstrongism has historically tended to ignore the specific needs of children. When we consider how children were expected to sit and endure the sermon just like the adults it should be clear that Armstrongism had no interest in the children themselves.
When we remember how back in the 1950s when Richard Armstrong ordered children to sit through the entire service and to "KEEP QUIET" it is clear that Armstrongism is not made for little kids and their necessary needs and interests are devalued and ignored. The children are just ordered to endure it and conform despite the many negative effects it has on them. And some accept what they are told and fail to note the fact that Armstrongism has failed to look after their children but instead treated them as little adults.
What was, in reality, 30 minutes felt like 3 hours to my bored little self. I watched as couples, elderly, and families with little babies packed up their belongings and left the meeting venue. I wished I was every single one of those people. At least they get to leave when they want. Needless to say, my attitude was continuing to decay by the second. By this time, proverbial raccoons were gathering nearby, ready to dive into my stinking trashcan of selfishness.She was five years old. And if she could vilify her own feelings and emotions because they contradicted with the expectations of the group what about those within PCG who are out of favor or are lower on the pecking order within a PCG congregation?
All of this because of a pool and all the fun I thought I was missing.
The author then relates that she vented out her frustration at another girl who approached her. She says that she was wrong to do so and was saddened to have hurt her with her words.
I was at God’s Feast of Tabernacles. I was with my whole family and God’s chosen people, celebrating one of the most joyous occasions of the year. Yet, what was I thinking about? Me. I suppose the attitude I had is not at all uncommon within the realm of 5-year-olds, but my attitude did affect someone else negatively. I’m sure God didn’t appreciate me having a bad attitude in the first place, but I’m positive He didn’t like my willingness to strip someone else’s joy away from them when they were beaming with gratitude."God's chosen people". Is that what PCG members think they are? It must be stated that this is simply not true. This is simply a form of elitism in imagining one's self to be somehow better than all of humanity outside of PCG just for being in PCG and believing what PCG's leadership should happen to tell their followers.
"I suppose the attitude I had is not at all uncommon within the realm of 5-year-olds". What an understatement.
That little girl had the attitude I should have had. She received a little, but she exuded a lot of thanks. She was happy with where she was and what she had received. I saw her thank her grandparents; she wasn’t too focused on her money to forget about them. She immediately and genuinely thanked them for her gift. Her attitude was genuine.In other words she is denying and denigrating her own feelings of the time in order to conform with the demands and expectations of the group.
This is a memory I think about quite frequently. It’s something that has taught me a valuable lesson: Be thankful for what you have. Yes, I was in a bad attitude over not being able to go to the pool. But the real problem was my lack of thankfulness. I had many reasons to be happy that day, but I had let my selfishness consume the joy that God commands us to have at His Feast of Tabernacles...
It is sad to see someone conforming into the expectations she was taught as a member of PCG. Instead of noting that perhaps those in charge of the Feast of Tabernacles should try to make it more accommodating towards children she instead blames herself thus making herself unable to see the humanly devised circumstances that contributed to the situation.