We recently asked one of our correspondents from New Jersey to send us the story of her experience in the World Mission Society Church of God. What followed certainly did not disappoint. Following her through this five part journey, we learn how she was recruited, the questions that began to unravel her beliefs, an her final exit. Unfortunately, some of what she went through is not uncommon in stories we hear from other former members. Perhaps her experience is not unlike your own? Without further delay…
I first visited the World Mission Society Church of God in Ridgewood, NJ for the first time back in October of 2009 after being invited by two co-workers of mine. One of my co-workers told me that she had recently joined a church that she really enjoyed attending. My other co-worker, having been a member of the WMSCOG for three years, didn’t mention any details about the organization’s beliefs either. One day I asked my co-workers if I could visit the church with them. I was surprised that they suggested that we go that very night and offered to pick me up. I found this a bit strange because I expected that I would have to wait for a specific day to visit the church for a service or something.
I remember that it was a Monday night around 7:30 pm when I arrived at the WMSCOG with my two co-workers, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I was greeted by a few smiling faces at the front desk, which they call “admin”, and given an application to fill out. The application consisted of a few basic questions like what my religious background was and if there were any specific questions I had about God or the Bible. Then I was introduced to a missionary that would teach me my first Bible study lesson. The four of us went to a small room that had a dry erase board and a small table with a few chairs. My first lesson was about the Saturday Sabbath. Being somewhat of a conspiracy theorist, in about 30 minutes I was convinced that all of my life I had been deceived into going to church and worshiping the Lord on the wrong day! I was told that Constantine, a Roman Emperor, abolished the Sabbath and forced Christians to worship on Sunday and thus worship the pagan sun “god”. Then I was asked if I would like to do another study, so I said sure why not.
The missionary asked me if I thought that I was going to heaven. I answered that I hoped that I would be saved and allowed in to heaven. I mean I thought that I was generally a good person, no one is perfect, and I worked in a field where I helped people every day. She would soon prove me wrong. The missionary began to explain that humans were angels that had been kicked out of heaven for sinning against God. As we flipped back and forth through the Bible, which I admit I wasn’t very familiar with at this point in my life, I became convinced that I had committed a sin against God in heaven that afforded me the “death penalty” on earth. I found it strange that we continued flipping back and forth through the Bible, ignoring the context around any of the verses, but it somehow seemed to make sense at the time. So then the question was, what do I do in order to be saved and allowed into heaven? She explained that baptism was the first step and that despite having been baptized into a Catholic church as a child, that previous baptism did not count because Catholics worship on Sunday. After all, I had just learned that Sunday worship was really pagan sun “god” worship right?
Then the missionary asked me if I would like to get baptized. Since I was impressed with the way that I was able to “understand” the Bible all of the sudden, I agreed. I was then taken to another room down the hall where there was what looked like a large stand-in shower, given a robe-like top and shorts to wear, and asked to change. After I changed I was asked to kneel in the shower while a Deacon that I had never met poured water over my head and baptized me in the name of Jehovah, Jesus, and then another name I had never heard before. Since the Deacon was Caucasian, I had no idea that what he said was actually in Korean. While this was going on my friends were singing in the room with veils on their heads. I thought that this was weird but since my co-workers, who I had also befriended and trusted, seemed happy I didn’t think to ask.
After I changed back into my normal clothes, I was taken in to another room in the same hallway, to partake in the “Passover bread and wine”. I was shown a few verses in the Bible where Jesus said that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life. So I said to myself, “who doesn’t want eternal life?” and did as I was told. Then the Deacon brought out this huge book and asked me for my name, address, phone number and next to my info he wrote down the names of my two co-workers.
Next, I was told that after baptism they always take a picture of the new member. I jokingly said, “oh great after my hair is wet and make-up is smeared”. One of my co-workers told me not to worry, that I “looked great”, and that it was just for their records. I reluctantly agreed and let them take a polaroid of me.
As my co-workers and I were leaving, they asked when I would be returning to continue to study. I answered that I wasn’t sure because I was taking dance classes on some evenings during the week. I was told that I could return at any time during the week so I didn’t feel pressured to return right away.
We are very familiar with the studies concerning whether we were angels in heaven before. In fact, we have an entire section devoted to just that topic. The articles therein demonstrate how we were not angels in heaven before.