“Be Not Conformed to This World……….”
This phrase from the March 22 sermon has been rattling ’round and ’round in my head ever since I heard Weinland bleat it out on Saturday to the thirty or so gullible victims sitting in a hotel room in Vancouver, Washington.
To those of us ex-members who were chatting on IRC while listening to the sermon, this phrase sums up absolutely everything that the Worldwide Church of God stood for, and that the Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God, is trying to bring its cash-cow membership back in line with.
We were special. We were called out. We were “god’s chosen elect”. We would be the ones who would be the Old Testament overlords of them all, after the end of the world as we knew it. We ate according to the Jewish dietary laws, dressed ten to fifteen years behind the fashions (it was unacceptable to dress with “current” trends, we had to make sure at least 85% of society had conformed to the trend before we were allowed to “accept it”), did not evangelize and often actively evaded questions about our church and/or religious beliefs, we went to church for four to six hours every Saturday (eight to ten hours if it was a “double Sabbath”, or if one of the evangelists was visiting the area), we sang cult-specific hymns, we only associated with other church members (and we almost never fraternized with “the world”), and we expected to be saved, when it all hit the fan.
“Be not conformed to this world.” That was our calling, our hallmark, our badge of membership. The trials we endured, in order to “be not conformed” were only tests, designed by god, to make us stronger in our faith. That is what we were told. That is what Weinland is telling his current membership. They are not of this world, but only of the next. They must not concern themselves with this world, only the next.
Which is all fine and well and good and might be depressing, but no cause for undue concern, right? Weinland’s only in it for the money, right?
Not according to him quoting Rom. 12:1 in Saturday’s sermon as well:
“Rom. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.“
He got the verse mangled up, and only quoted the parts I have highlighted. It could have been a slip of the tongue. But I really doubt it.