Obsessed with Jesus
Obsession Can Make You Stupid
The Rules of the Foursquare
No sex, no sex
and NO SEX.
No drinking (It was blasphemy to quote one scripture - "a
little wine for thy stomach's sake." I had to ignore that
one, or get yelled at, i.e., "Don't get smart-alecky.")
No playing cards (Old Maid was OK, but a standard deck of
playing cards was inherently evil, and possessed by the
No dancing (excuse for sexual proximity, leads directly to
No picture shows or theater of any kind (darkness, sex)
My dad went a few steps further, to thwart the devil -
No bowling - smoking and drinking were present.
No school sports - socialization would occur.
No parties - sex may be present or discussed.
No learner's permit until I was 18 - everybody else was
driving, but not me.
Only 3 activities were acceptable - manual labor, fishing,
and hunting --- or, restated, work, killing and killing. I
remember that my father gave me 2 things when I was 12 - a
bible and a rifle. I could go out and shoot anything I
wanted, and I did. ANYTHING, to distract from the thought of
Church Life - Compliance by
Reverend John Wheeler
was the pastor in 1956-1962. He had a nice wife Leona, and
two young children - a boy and a girl.
Each week required 5 visits to the church -
1- Sunday morning services - Sunday school + sermon
2- Sunday evening services - sermon + altar call
3- Tuesday night choir practice
4- Wednesday night bible study
5- Thursday night prophecy - Sister MacFarland would
interpret the book of Revelation, first in tongues, followed
immediately by the English translation "My little ones, my
little ones, ... etc." And her daughters Claire and Janet
would sing hymns. Their brother Jim MacFarland, who is 6
years older than I, became my father's de facto adopted son,
since he swallowed the dogma, and I did not. I suspect that
Jim did all the inheriting, since I was the spawn of the
devil. My father had built over 300 houses, in and about St.
Helens and Columbia City. No reason to supplement the
In 1956 and 1957, the Reverend Wheeler supplemented his
church income by driving a school bus. My bus. Dad did not
think that I got enough religion 5 times a week. So, he made
me get up early each morning, and had me ride up Bunker
Hill, alone with Wheeler, to the top of his route. This
enabled the reverend to pound on me relentlessly that I must
be "born again", or burn forever in hell.
Sorry, Rev. Wheeler. My first birth worked fine. I don't
need another based upon man-made dogma and 1,000 year old
fairy tales about a man who lives in the sky, and no one has
Twisted Focus - Sex and
What bothered me the
most about the Foursquare religion was the rigid adherence
to doctrine, to the exclusion of logic, compassion, and
human communication. The hatred of SIN and the fear of SEX
transcended all else. This life has only one purpose - to
determine your reward or punishment in the NEXT life. The
more you thought about sex, the hotter the flames will be.
Unbelievable repression! And we weren't even Catholics!
The primary, overriding precept of the Foursquare Church, is
the denial of reality. Human sexuality is the biggest boogie
man of all. I heard far more about fornication, than I ever
heard about murder. The Bible describes all kinds of
righteous killing, but condemns fornication relentlessly.
Talk about mixed-up priorities.
What is really bad is defined as good.
What is good is redefined as bad.
If I had ever uttered the word p@nis, v@gina or
m@sturbation, I would have been splattered against the wall.
Sexual arousal and copulation was the greatest evil
conceivable, and must never be discussed, ever,
Ignorance Is A Badge of
encouraged. Reason did not exist - just blind obedience. My
attempting to reason resulted in a rapid "hush-up". Dinosaur
skeletons could not be discussed - according to the Bible,
the earth is only 6,000 years old, and Adam was created in
4004 BC. Discussion over. And God forbid the asking of the
most vexing unanswered question. Where did Cain and Abel's
wives come from? I smell incest. Obviously, their sisters,
or worse yet, their mother. They have a word for that.
College attendance was frowned upon. It took you away from
God, by filling you with the lies of evolution and
scientific reason. Archaeology and geology were to be
shunned, and anything else that tried to replace
2,000-year-old religious myths with fact.
Faith is the Answer to Distasteful
FAITH is the answer!
Faith is the suspension of disbelief - the denial of the
obvious. Unfortunately, religious faith requires the
abandonment of logic. Without logic, anything can be
Nothing has changed, except the introduction of the term
"Don't try to confuse me with scientific facts, my mind is
Beliefs are no truer because of how long they are held.
"It has always been this way."
Exactly. It has always been wrong.
God told Abraham to kill his son? - Absurd -
- Abraham was a psychopath,
and needed some lithium.
Virgin Birth? - Absurd. Never happened.
Resurrection from Death? - Absurd. Never happened.
6,000 year-old earth? - Absurd. Try 4.8 billion years.
900-year life spans? - Absurd.
15,000 feet deep floods - Absurd. No geological record.
Word of God? - Ridiculous. First, there was the
Then another. Then another. Seven
in all, at
which MEN voted on what was to be in the Bible,
and what was not. If a book didn't fit with the others, it
was thrown out. The Bible was written by the VOTES OF MEN.
Assembled, CENTURIES after the fact, from writings which
were very tenuous and CENTURIES OLD to begin with.
I reject the
concept of an angry, vindictive God, who is going to test
you, and if you fail, is going to torture you with hellfire
FOREVER. This concept is based upon fear, ignorance, and
blind obedience, certainly not love or reason. How can a
"conversion" be valid, when it is based solely upon
instilling abject fear. "Do as I say, or you will burn in
hell forever." How could ANY God derive satisfaction from
worshippers, who were threatened to comply? An egomaniacal
being, who demands obedience to various arbitrary religious
constructs of man? Of which there are hundreds? There are
all of which got it wrong, except one - "MINE"! Oh, sure.
Do you believe that?
"You have free will." But, if you exercise it, plan on
burning in Hell.
One incident sticks
out in my mind. Just praying for the afflicted was never
enough. The healing had to be tested. Immediately.
One young man came to church with crutches. Let's call him
Arne. Seeing an afflicted person screamed out for divine
healing. He was a cement truck driver, who had an incident
with his truck. It turned over, and he wasn't quite able to
jump free. The cab came down on his ankle. He had just had
his cast removed.
The Reverend Wheeler went through the procedure, as
demonstrated by Peter Popoff on TV. The palm of the hand is
placed FIRMLY against the forehead of the afflicted, and the
demand is made - "Heal! Heal! Heal!" (The word "please" is
never involved, which seems weird to me). After a brief
pause, "Are you healed? Throw down your crutch, brother."
And then came the part I loved. "Jump on it, brother, jump
on it". And Arne did.
Sure enough, next Sunday Arne came to church, with a huge
new cast on his leg. Then they said what they always say,
"He didn't have enough faith." It is never God's fault. It
is always the failure of the afflicted. Angelus Temple
maintained a room full of devine-healing proof - abandoned
casts, crutches, wheelchairs, etc.
Aimee Was Different from Her
founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in
1917. She built Angeles
Temple in Los
Angeles in 1923. Strangely, she was not a freak about sexual
repression, but all of her followers certainly were. I guess
her followers needed to differentiate themselves through
piety, which seems to require the condemnation of others, as
a basic philosophy. When your self-esteem is low, you
continually denigrate others, to raise yourself.
A Change in Direction
The Foursquare Church
has always been perceived as fanaticism, and called "Holy
Rollers". So much so, that they now STRESS that they are NOT
fanatics, on their website. On their
(since altered and renamed) page, they now state, under
"Moderation" - "We believe that
Christians should avoid excess and that their
moderation should be obvious to others. Their commitment to
Christ should be deep and sincere, but they should not
indulge in or lead other people into extremes of
fanaticism." My father was not aware of this change. He
was strictly "old school" all the way. Beat them into
submission, and tolerate no backtalk, or rational