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! (Ha-ha.)
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
Ignorance was 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 believed.
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.
The sea shell fossils found at 20,00 feet were NOT the
result of flooding, but they didn't know about continental
drift and the uplifting of the earth's crust over millions
Word of God? - Ridiculous. First, there was the
of Nicia. Then another. Then
in all, at which MEN voted on
what was to be in the Bible
(canon), and what was not (antilegomina, pseudepigrapha,
apocrypha). 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.
Don't you think that GOD is a bit
above the traits and frailties of humans?
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 HUNDREDS
of Protestant sects,
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,
Aimee Was Different from Her
Semple McPherson founded the
International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in 1917. She
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 What We Believe (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