Ideal Motherhood or Brainwashing?
NCW 14, December 1994
Q. I read your article, "Hannah: A True Mother" in the November issue (NCCW 13:41-43). Do you mean to say that Church members' children are abandoned at the temple as Hannah left Samuel??? Surely indoctrinating a child at three is a violation of its free agency, even brainwashing??
New Covenant Christians do not leave their children in temples and "abandon" them, as you seem to be suggesting. You have misunderstood the drift of the article which concerned spiritual education only. The case of Samuel being left by his mother and then only being visited by her annually was unique and not (to my knowledge) repeated by any other mother in Israel's history. We do not separate children from their families. That is what the cults do.
To date the youngest child that has entered the temple for instruction has been around 11 to 12 years old. This is quite rare, there having only ever been two cases. A more typical age is around 16 and the majority are adults over 18. Younger children are sometimes invited by the Holy Order to the temple to witness the blessing of a newborn child but do not participate other than as observers.
As to "indoctrination", the whole of life for a child is a form of "indoctrination". Every child is brought up according to the ways and traditions of the family and society it is born into. It can't be avoided. And traditions and ways are constantly changing because that is the nature of the world. A child born in the USA in 1994 is not going to be brought up in the same way as a child who was born in 1900. And in 2100 (if the world system survives that long) Americans will be brought up radically different from those brought up today.
Our western, liberalistic, society for all its faults, does at least allow parents to bring children up in their own religious traditions within certain moral prescriptions (which in our view are often far too lax). New Covenant moral tenets are well known (see Cry Wolf! The Problem of Sects and Cults).
When a child turns 8 years old they are allowed to choose the religious way they will go. My two eldest children (9 and 11) are not members of the New Covenant Church of God -- they have been given their freedom to choose. When they are 16 and are free to leave home, they can choose to do what they will. Up until then they will be expected to observe certain family regulations. They are taught what we as New Covenant Christians believe, what other Christians believe, what other religions believe, and what atheists believe (or don't believe), as all our members are. Indeed, I believe it is true to say that our children are amongst the most educated children in the world. If anyone is brainwashed it is the world, for teaching so little about religion and secular philosophy and giving children so little to choose from.
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