The idea that truth doesn’t need to be afraid of a lie was a staple teaching growing up in this group. However, it was only applied in challenging other people from other churches, denominations, or religions. It was never applied to yourself. After all, it was just assumed that you had the truth and others did not.
The church’s fear of having its doctrines and practices exposed for all the world to see manifests itself in several ways. When faced with a desire for open dialogue, they retreat to silence, secrecy, and scare tactics rather than face facts head on. There is clearly an attempt to control the flow of information that is accessible to the flock and their family members.
- Facebook accounts are not allowed.
- Congregations and individuals cannot create websites advertising church functions, meeting times, etc.
- Church discipline (against members and sometimes ex-members, affecting dramatically their family dynamics) is used as a threat to stop information from being posted online. As a result, if you search the Internet for information about this church, which has been around for over 40 years, there is a black hole of information (until now). Message control through intimidation has been amazingly effective.
- Why aren’t old Merie Weiss tapes distributed freely to whoever wants to listen to them? Better yet, why aren’t they boldly published online in MP3 format?
- Why aren’t May Meeting deliberations posted on YouTube for all to see? They are supposedly patterned after the “church council” in Acts 15, and that’s recorded for posterity.
- Why do church leaders feel the need to silence, rather than respond (sincerely) to public criticism? They are certainly free to create a blog and respond to the information posted here, or contact me to provide another side of the story and I’ll publish it here.
- If it’s so important that criticism of church doctrine needs to be handled privately, isn’t it hypocritical that church members and their children are routinely rebuked and humiliated out in the open without that same courtesy?