Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why People Stay

In my last blog, I listed the main reasons people decide to cut ties with the Followers of Christ Church. In today’s blog, why so many stay.

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.


  1. I think those of us from Oregon City find this information brings us comfort. We all went to school with FOS members and you either seemed scary to us or we could not understand how to be your friend. As a mom I do not believe that anyone would for no reason allow their child to die. You are changing the views of many Suzi and maybe that is your calling from God.

  2. I graduated from OC High the same year you were born and there were a number of Followers in school then although they didn't mingle at all. I am finding your blog very informative and it is answering many questions I've had about the church.

    Maybe you can answer this in a future post but I am curious what the church services are like if there is no minister and no new religious teaching going on.

  3. Jeannie,

    Going through school and meeting people that you know you could become great friends with was a fact of life for us all. As awkward as it was for you, imagine how it was for them. If they treated you the way you deserved to be treated, they would be shunned. That is horribly contrary to the bible of course, but a fact of life that they must have lived with every day. This is the ultimate example of”it’s not you, it’s me”. How would you even begin to explain this situation to someone who never grew up in it. Suzie is doing a bang up job, I’m sure some heads are exploding somewhere deep inside of the FOC! The lack of explaination by the FOC has been detrimental to them for years, to people like Jeannie, and themselves.
    Trying to explain faith to someone that has none is a futile work, but no attept makes you look crazy, and uncaring. That is what the DA sees in them, but there is a lot more to them than meets the eye. There is no doubt that the law is being broken, and they need to comply, but that doesn’t mean that you should destroy the church as a whole. If they would comply with the law regarding children, you could live your faith the way you want to. The problem seems to be wrapping your entire faith around not seeing doctors. Without leadership in ceremonies, foot washing, babtism, the supper, calling the elders of the church when someone is sick, or even hearing the bible taught at all, what else is there. The bible doesn’t mention NOT going to doctors, just the contrary. Suzie made a great note from the old testiment, but the new one is the perfected word of God. The only mention of physicians is that the sick have need of one, or something to that effect. So I still don’t fully understand myself whats going on out there, and it’s really none of my biz, unless they are breaking the law. But it does make really interesting reading, especially if your from OC.

  4. I like how you write about your experiences with your former church and the reasonings behind it while defending the choices of those who still remain. Very nice post. :)

  5. when a man comes of age and has to pay the church how much does he have to pay?

    1. It all depends when I paid it was up to 700$


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