As I’ve mentioned before, the cult didn’t help my health. Every physical problem supposedly had a root in a spiritual problem.
The cult also hated and misunderstood Halloween. I heard endless sermons on the evils of Satanism, wiccanism, New-Age-ism, etc. Everything relating to this day was EVIL.
At the “Harvest Party” (Halloween substitute) kids played games and got to take bags of candy home. Adults brought candy to the monthly potluck. They used candy bought on sale to make other goodies. And this emphasis on holiday sweets continued all the way through Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The cult members got stouter. The older ones complained about their health problems and doctors visits. Women felt guilty because they felt the extra weight made them less appealing to their husbands. People became sick easily, catching colds and the flu and then spreading it among the cult because they felt guilty about missing meetings and wouldn’t stay home. It became a standard joke how much the pastor’s family would all get sick and then keep giving it to each other.
And all these were considered spiritual problems. They were something to be endured because all burdens supposedly came from God and he wouldn’t put people through trials that they could not bear. People prayed and hoped the fat and the sickness would go away even while they put on their plastic smiles and pretended they were OK.
Only one member came close to separating her spiritual issues from her physical issues, but it took a tumor and being in the hospital for 3 weeks for it to happen. And even after all that, she still tried to follow the cult’s (unspoken but still expected) dress codes by wearing her high heels even though she could barely walk. It was strange to hear her talk about her diet and her physical therapy while she barely hobbled up the pews in her obviously uncomfortable shoes.
Because of all this self-destructive behavior, they always deemed their problems worse than mine. They thought me unspiritual because I didn’t thank God for the blessings I did have and didn’t empathize with their destructive behavior. This became worse when I started reading books about yoga and meditation instead of the Bible and their cult materials when I wanted to learn about pain management.
When I left, many of them were still sick. Sicker than the Wiccans, Satanists, and other people they considered spiritually beneath them. And they still think that avoiding a few plastic witches, trick-or-treaters, and The Great Pumpkin will keep them spiritually pure so that God will be good to them and cure their health problems.