This group had a lot of rules, and we were expected to follow them. Only men could be in positions of power or leadership. Only men could preach. Only men could lead a family. Women couldn’t wear too much makeup or flirt with men. Homosexuality was a sin.
No blood transfusions. College was frowned upon.It took your time and focus away from God. Sports and other extracurricular activities were also discouraged.We weren’t supposed to associate with anyone outside the church. “Bad associations spoil useful habits,” the group told us. It was All God, All the Time.
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At first I felt powerful sitting through hours of services in those colorful, crinkly skirts, feeling sorry for all the poor unfortunate souls who weren’t in our group. And, if I’m being honest, I felt better than them. I was special. I knew the truth. I was part of an elite group. I gave sermons to my friends, trying to convince them why their religions were so dangerously bad.
I don’t characterize the Southern Baptists as a cult casually; that is the word that fits. That is the word that fits Albert Mohler’s teachings about marriage and family. That is the word that fits the quarter-mile (or longer) car backup at Chick-fil-A during lunch hour every day. And the mere fact that the cult has made it big doesn’t change that.