Unfortunately, we recently learned about a heart-breaking situation that demonstrates why strivings over the law can be so destructive. We take no joy in reporting this situation. Rather, we hope that bringing to light issues and consequences like these can help prevent future tragedies in the Armstrongist community.What a terrible tragedy this is.
Once upon a time, a kind, loving couple who desired to serve God raised their children diligently in the Worldwide Church of God. In 1995, they left for one of the larger, more moderate splinter groups, and the whole family stayed there for years. Their children grew up. One child stayed in the same group as the parents. Another decided that the lukewarm splinter they attended was not zealous enough for God's law. He and his wife took their young children with them to the Philadelphia Church of God and cut off all contact with their COG family.
Fast forward several years. It is reported that, in their desire to obey their church leaders, the younger PCG couple kicked one of their children out of the house because he had a girlfriend and wasn't spending enough time reading his Bible. Disfellowshipped from PCG, that child moved in with his COG grandparents, whom he hadn't seen in years. He took his own life during the Days of Unleavened Bread, at the age of 21. Not surprisingly, PCG is telling its membership that the young man was mentally ill. Later reports included details that muddy the picture of whether mental illness or PCG's no-contact policy is to blame for his suicide. Some who knew him say they doubt PCG's story. At the very least, the no-contact policy no doubt exacerbated the pain for someone with few emotional and spiritual supports.
Naturally when a terrible event like this occurs in PCG we cannot help but wonder of the authoritarian behavior that occurs in PCG (which is so often reported by ex-members and observers connected with Armstrongism) exacerbated or even caused this terrible event. It is well known that PCG has a "no contact" policy of shunning directed against ex-members and members of other COG groups.
- Convoy to Combat Suicide (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America).