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Former Member Post #5

After the revival died down in the mid‐to‐late 90’s, I joined the youth group at age 13 and some of my bigger struggles took on a new dimension. Even though I eventually was freed from comparing myself to others regarding how much money I was giving, I certainly fell victim to this in many other areas. Youth meeting after youth meeting, conference after conference, I heard that same message over and over: “You’re not unique; nobody’s too special that God can’t help them.” And no matter how many times I heard it, it sometimes seemed like I never really heard it. In my mind, I was always too special; I was too unique. Everyone around me appeared to just be sailing along without any trouble. To a certain extent, this contributed to the chain of events by which I left many years later.

A nearly inevitable consequence of BCC’s approach to “total commitment” is that people who aren’t equally committed to that same goal may be subject to shame or humiliation—even without being named directly in a meeting. This also makes it fairly easy to constantly compare yourself to your peers and those in the church whom you look up to, and to be constantly discouraged as a direct consequence. I think each one who “gives up” on the church in this way, if they meditate on this honestly, will be able to agree.

Being on the outside and talking with other former members has helped open my eyes to some of the core challenges faced by current members, some of which don’t seem necessary. A member can suffer a lot of trauma from perceiving that they are under constant pressure to “conform” to the lifestyle—a lifestyle that everyone around them seemingly has no difficulty in choosing. The reality is, everyone has had to sacrifice something in order to succeed in this kind of a life; what that sacrifice is, varies from one person to the next, and no human being can determine what it is for you. I can also say this: If you see yourself as not having any vices at all which need to be sacrificed, then BCC is absolutely not the place for you. The church frequently self‐describes as being for people who are desperate to get help for their own lives at any personal cost, and not for people who are already perfect.

One favorite tactic employed by church leaders is to list several kinds of different things that could be considered “sacrifices”—honor, lust, money, a career, movies, “worldly” friendships, drugs, you name it—in the hopes that at least one of those things will strike a chord with you, and that you will be inspired to give it up in the name of seeking God. But people lose sight of the fact that these are all just examples; no one can inform you on what your particular vice is.

I think another thing that many current members fall prey to, is the misguided notion that all of the listed items apply to every upstanding member, and thus should be eradicated from their lives as immediately as possible. I don’t believe that Kåre J. Smith or the other leading brothers have ever expressed this notion directly, but it seems like many members make that mistake regardless.

In the end, I personally have nothing against BCC—in fact, I am extremely thankful for the time that God allowed me to grow up there. I also recognize that the BCC lifestyle just isn’t for everyone. If you ask yourself honestly, and if you meditate on it honestly in the presence of your higher power (if you believe in one), then I believe that you will find your way to wherever it is you truly belong.


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