1. Fear. The primary reason people stay and obey is the fear of Hell. We are taught from infancy that the only way to have any hope of avoiding Hell Fire and Damnation is to belong to this one, elite group in Oregon City. If we leave, we are assured an eternity in Hell.
2. Legacy. Parents who have seen their daughters die in childbirth, or their sons die of curable ailments, have made the ultimate sacrifice. They have stood by and trusted God while their child dies an agonizing, often drawn-out death. If they leave, the child has died for nothing. Similarly, siblings of these martyred children feel a strong loyalty to that sibling, niece, or loved one to stay and make sense of the death.
3. Family. Leaving means being shunned out of your family. It’s a hard choice to make and I believe it’s the root for many apathetic people who continue to show up. The church is the identity of the members. It's who they are. It's all they have ever known for generations. The outside world is a scary unknown.
4. Security. The Follower lifestyle offers its members a number of benefits. Here are a few of them:
a. Free health care. I know this is ironic, but broken bones are set free of charge, midwives provide gratis services, and church members volunteer around-the-clock hospice to those who are bedridden.
b. Weddings and Funerals. The cost of these services for the entire family is included in the membership fee each young man pays upon coming of age.
c. Jobs. Many Follower men own small businesses and give hiring preferences to other church members.
d. Emergencies. If a man is unable to work due to illness, the church will help the family out financially. If a man dies and leaves a family, church members donate money to help the family. If a couple is charged with manslaughter, the church divides up the attorney expenses and chip in their share.
5. Social Life. Every Sunday night, during the school year, the church hosts a dance for teenagers and young, unmarried adults. The dances feature live music by one of the church bands (all male of course) who play oldies, Country Western, and sometimes popular music. Every holiday, even Christmas, means a church dance party. New Years’ parties are the highlight. They start out at around 7:00pm on New Years’ Eve and continue until 6:00am the next morning. The New Years’ parties feature a different band every two hours, a midnight countdown with a balloon and candy drop, and all the free soda and hot dogs you can eat. Free of charge. Everyone loves these parties. Kids bring sleeping bags and lay them out to sleep – though I doubt anyone actually gets any sleep. During the summer months, the parents of teenagers host at-home parties for all the teens, taking turns, each Friday and Sunday night. They provide a structure to keep the kids busy in a safe and controlled environment.
6. Faith. They believe they are truly and honestly God's only annointed people and they are doing what He is calling them to do.
I read many angry comments on the news sites about the FOC, but this isn’t a case of some evil or uncaring people purposely neglecting their children. I hope this will give a different perspective.