BCC The Truth:
Growing up in the Brunstad Christian Church, everything we did seemed normal. The way we treated each other: normal. The way we conducted the church: normal. The time we spent laboring: normal. Reminiscing, I find it easy to criticize myself and ask, “how did I go along with this”, but when I understand that it was all I knew, that reality becomes easily lived. That’s the actuality of the situation. Current church members don’t deserve any hostility nor blame from their attendance; most don’t know any other existence.
Those still in the church aren’t bad people, they just don’t believe in any other routes to happiness outside of the church. That isn’t an entirely true statement, they do know that the outside world and happiness exists. The only draw back is that the outside world is painted as a picture of nothing but misery, despair, and short-lived pleasure. Those still attending BCC, no matter the church, deserve to be respected and not looked down upon (especially the younger ones). The church itself and its actions can be criticized, however. This blog has been made with a simple goal: to produce articles written by ex-members of BCC that are one hundred percent accurate and honest.
The first blog posted will be of my account, one of the few creators of the site:
Like many BCC members, I was born into a large family that attended a small church in rural North America. Many of my childhood memories are centered in and around the church, I even still have friends who attend. When you’re young BCC seems like a normal group, you go to meetings every Sunday where you attend Sunday school. Sunday school was taught like any other Sunday school, simple stories from the Bible and a spoon-feeding of BCC’s dogma. I recall my initial butting of heads with the church’s dogma. In fourth grade I made a friend in school and wanted to go over to his house to play. I thought this was normal so I asked my mom if could go over on the weekend, assuming I’d get a simple “sure”. Of course not. Rather she said, “I’ll ask dad”, I think this still happens in many BCC households. Dad sits me down and tells me that I won’t be allowed to go over to my friend’s house. He explains that he won’t allow us, the kids, to visits outsiders’ homes. But my friend was welcome to come to our place and play. As a child I didn’t understand this as a major issue with BCC, I just saw it as “there’s us, the good people, and them, the bad people.” My dad not allowing me to visit my friend’s place for a play date symbolized a huge narrative in the church, that is 2 Corinthians 6;14:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
This verse was routinely and systematically brought up whenever you voiced any ambition to be around those who aren’t called (school friends, school sports, even certain employment). To be “called” means that you’re chosen before the foundations of the earth to be in Jesus’ bride. If you’re in Jesus’ bride that means that when you get to heaven - either by death or the end times - you would be a part of God’s ruling class in heaven, Jesus’ Bride. You may be chosen to be in the bride, but you must overcome sin to cement your place. The brothers would consistently remind us how lucky we are to be “chosen before the foundations of the earth”. I must have heard the phrase thousands of times before understanding what it truly represents. I don’t recall anyone ever muttering the word “predestination” on church grounds, not once!
While learning about Calvinism in a class one day, it clicked. These people believed that God picked us for some - or no - reason! The belief that we had been ‘picked’ perfectly played into the Corinthians verse. Since we have been selected, and know the way to eternal life and happiness, why should we waste our time with those who haven’t been chosen, and don’t know about happiness? Further, why should we allow our children to be around those who are “unequally yoked”? One must realize that the members truly believed in an afterlife where we would rule, be immersed in bliss, and reunited with those we have lost. To them, hanging around the wrong people could result in you veering off the path and not fulfilling your place in the 144 thousand (the number of people who have been called to Jesus’ bride), of course they took these situations seriously, only adding to the sense of "us" and "them".
The small but significant psychological trap of separation from the world affects everyone differently. Some may not cite it as a significant reason for leaving or may have not even noticed it. This thought process had and still has a profound negative effect on my psyche. When you’re taught that you don’t need or even want to know anyone outside of the church throughout your life, you begin to believe it. Further, it implied that those without a calling (which basically equates to a loose connection to the church) are lesser than you. They didn’t have this amazing destiny as we did. They didn’t have the answers to happiness as we did. What good are they to us? I understand it’s a ridiculous way of thinking now, but the subconscious damage has already been done. After I left, I found myself introverted beyond belief. Even when approached by a friendly smile and handshake, my first thought was about how useless the friendship would be. Their line of thinking on external relationships poured additional dirt on an already pilling hill of social anxiety and introversion. In the years since I have consciously been able to reverse the thought process for the most part. I still find myself in this cult mentality from time to time; I scare myself when I realize it.
As I began to adult while in the church, I started to realize the fallacies that I had been taught throughout my life. I was still in the church when I saw how anti-feminist it is. They aren’t pro-choice, obviously, I’m not talking about that grandiose level of feminism. I’m speaking about the fundamental level of ‘women are created equal’ level of feminism. They’ll deny that they view men as superior to women, but their repeated actions scream the opposite. During my entire time in the church not once did a woman start a meeting, nor did they preach. The most they were permitted to do during meetings was testify (only when the leading brother(s) stated that testimonies would be allowed). When I would ask about this they would retort with facts like “women can’t have that type of connection with God”, or “God’s spirit doesn’t work like that”. If I kept pushing, eventually they’d cite passages in the Bible like 1 Timothy 2:11-12,
“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”
Those who follow the BCC take the Bible’s word deadly seriously, as it is the word of God. The Bible contains passage upon passage of sexist material, making it impossible for the church to be anything but sexist (unless they don’t follow the Bible, that is).
I can’t cite any official reference, but I’m willing to bet that most ex-members left because they want to date, to find love, to be with someone. BCC becomes much more distinguished from other Christian denominations when it comes to young love. You are strictly prohibited from dating. Dating is seen as lustful, and thereby sinful. The path to marriage in the church is simple: get engaged right off the bat and get married a few months later. God will work it out. If there are any issues with the marriage (there will be plenty), then the two parties involved must not be following God’s word well enough. Hopefully, you’ll begin having children within a year or two, Genesis 9:7,
“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number: multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
Contraception is never openly discussed, and I recall hearing leading brothers state it was “a personal decision between X, person, and God”, and “you’ll know what’s right”. Although this may be the written belief of the church, not having kids quickly is looked down upon. And why stop having kids? The only reason someone would stop would be for selfish reasons. Mother’s health declining? Selfish. Mom worn thin from having three infants and needs a break? Selfish. BCC’s North American churches had small attendances, making baby production paramount. They needed their followers to have big families. Coming from a big family was a tell-tale sign that you attended the church in many local communities around the BCC churches. These communities are often kept in the dark when it comes to the church.
BCC is an oddly secretive religious group. There could be thousands of church members pouring into a small community for a conference that knew nothing about what was going on. The level of secrecy was partly due to the “us” and “them” mentality; they didn’t care about the community, and why would they? This secrecy conflicted with the public image on occasion. The children in attending families of these small-town-churches go to the small public schools. Often, the children are labeled weird because they attend the odd church.
To make matters worse, our local church would occasionally attempt to cover up wrongdoings within to maintain its ‘untarnished’ public image. The leaders of the church are not child molesters, but molestations happen as they do in any organized group. The difference is: BCC knowingly covers it. They don’t care about the victim. The first thing on the leading brothers’ minds is how the community will perceive it, or worse: the possibility of a public investigation. I have heard countless anecdotes from ex-members containing disgusting acts that went relatively or completely unpunished for the sake of the church’s image. I, myself, had things happen to me that were obvious enough but went unnoticed due to the nativity of those in power. The lack of consequences faced for these revolting actions goes to show: the dogma of the church is not to become a good person. Rather, it’s to become a perfect servant to God, regardless of the moral implications. That’s the undeniable truth about BCC, otherwise what’s the moral behind Abraham’s willingness to kill his innocent son if God wished? This fact alone allows the leading brothers to make calls that they know are wrong, but will serve BCC, and thereby God.
Finishing notes: Please contact us if you wish to make a contribution to BCCTheTruth. You can reach out to us directly at the bottom of our home page. BCCTheTruth does not believe in the recent accusations against BCC's leader, Kare Smith. Although we may criticize the actions of the church, we believe the truth is that BCC's leaders do not steal financial capital from the church. Our standard is the truth.