Poor, hungry and sexually abused: Australian CEO who grew up in a 'CULT' reveals the most frightening part of his bizarre childhood - and how he's still haunted by it today

Daily Mail, UK/November 18, 2018

By Billie Schab Dunn

A man has revealed how his childhood was ruined by sexual assault, physical abuse and poverty when his parents joined a

Trevor Glass, 45, is a CEO from the Gold Coast who was brought up in the worldwide Protestant Christian movement Word of Faith.

Born in South Africa, his parents joined the church when Mr Glass's great uncle listened to radio broadcasts by Herbert Armstrong, the leader, which lead the family to believe they had found 'the truth'.

The decision to join the church resulted in a life that Mr Glass has spent decades recovering from.

'I was personally molested along with at least 54 other kids in the church by a man that would visit homes of church members that had young boys,' he told FEMAIL.

'He would abuse the boys but we were all too afraid to speak up because we were taught to respect our elders and that people within the church were God's chosen few.'

Mr Glass grew up poor as the policy of the church required followers to give up to 30 per cent of their salary to tithes.

They also had to give additional freewill offerings to designated church gatherings throughout the year.

'We often had no food to eat and had to rely on handouts and a lot of the clothes I wore were hand-me-downs,' he said.

On top of this, they never celebrated Christmas, Easter, birthdays and other 'pagan' holidays.

The family attended church on Saturdays and weren't allowed to play sport or participate in any 'worldly' activities from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday.

'As a result of our beliefs, we were extremely isolated. We didn't fit in at school or other social circles and we were taught that people in the "outside world" could not be trusted,' he said.

'We largely reduced our contact with outside support networks such as family and friends. We were teased and bullied because we were different.

'Parents were taught by the church to "spare the rod and spoil the child", which meant that we were physically punished when we made mistakes.' 

He said members were constantly fed 'the truth' that involved instilling the overwhelming fear that an apocalypse was imminent. 

'I remember being absolutely terrified when they told us about the torture, rape and abuse that occurred during other wars and they warned that this world was going to see a war that eclipsed those,' he said. 

They were told to watch the news and look for any sign of the end times and any hint of war, famine and natural disasters were held up as living evidence that the war to end all wars was close.

Members were taught  there was a place of safety away from these terrible events but the only ticket in would be through the church. 

According to Mr Glass they had been told that God's plan was for 144,000 people to escape to the middle of the desert and spend three-and-a-half years there while the war was fought.

Following this, Jesus would come and save those people on his return and resurrect the dead who had made the final cut.

'Looking back now, we were Jonestown waiting to happen. My parents would have moved to the desert in a heartbeat – we were just waiting for the call,' he said.

'I understand Jonestown. People isolate themselves so much from the "outside world" that the shame of having to go back and admit that they were wrong is overwhelming.

'The church predicted the end of the world many times and each time it didn't happen, there would be a reason and more people joined.'

He said the scariest aspect of being involved with the cult was living in the constant fear of what was to come.

Mr Glass explained that his parents own lives had been so traumatic that the cult gave them hope of a new life. 

'Unfortunately the church amplified the abusive behaviours that my parents had learned and didn't know how to deal with,' he said.

The church taught people that doctors should not be seen without the consent of the church because it was God that heals, not mankind.

Doctors weren't and trusted psychologists were considered to be evil - Mr Glass said people died as a result of refusing medical treatment. 

'My life was so traumatic that I fantasised about suicide or just running away,' he said. 

'Women were abused and silenced. Kids were molested and silenced. Everyone was too afraid to be excommunicated from the church that we just absorbed it.'

He remembers telling his parents he never wanted to have children of his own as he didn't want to bring children up in 'this f***ed up world'.

But it was not all bad. Mr Glass said the church provided a sense of togetherness as they would get together, not only for church services, but also for activities such as wakeboarding, fishing and summer camps.

He said that there was a real sense of community as they felt like they were in it together.

Only when Mr Glass went to university to study Geology did he learn about evolution.

'I had been taught about creationism all my life and here was irrefutable evidence that evolution existed and it totally conflicted with the church teachings,' he said.

'When I confronted church leadership their answer was that it was blasphemous to challenge the word of God. I walked out and never returned.' 

When he left the church Mr Glass said he isolated himself from external family and friends as he was so ashamed that he had believed the church's teachings, even though they had warned him.

He was ashamed by the fact that he was prepared to die for his beliefs in the church and was devastated to find out it was all 'one big lie'.

Mr Glass revealed that he has battled depression for most of his life and until his late 30s he would contemplate suicide.

'I found it extremely difficult to commit to relationships and developed a strong anxious attachment style,' he said.

'I feared being rejected as I created a life where I never fitted in and would be ridiculed and bullied because I was so different.'

It took him until his 40s to be able to admit that he had been abused, so great was his the shame.

He has been through affairs, marital breakups, found it hard to bond with his children and found it extremely difficult to hold down more than superficial relationships. 

'Fear and mistrust were so ingrained in me that I created the very situations that I detested so much. I have made millions, lost it all and made it again,' he said.

'Fortunately I have been seeing psychologist to help deal with these issues. My eyes have been opened to the damage that was done and I am well on the way to healing and creating an amazing life and I am currently studying.'   

There has been debate amongst Christians over the years as to whether the church fits in with religion, with some people deciding that the Word of Faith teaching is 'decidedly unbiblical'.

According to Got Questions, a site for people to ask questions about the Bible, it isn't a denomination and does not have a formal organisation or hierarchy.

'Instead, it is a movement that is heavily influenced by a number of high-profile pastors and teachers such as Kenneth Hagin,' the website reads.

Many other critics have stated that the church's practices are often based on 'scams' and criticise Word of Faith for diverging from Christian orthodoxy. 

Mr Glass produced a documentary called 'Suffer the Children' in 2009 with the aim to expose the Worldwide church of God and similar organisations.

'I found that after the death of the founder, Herbert Armstrong, the subsequent leaders disestablished a lot of the cultish teachings and as a result their membership plummeted,' he said.

'Once people didn't feel the extreme sense of belonging to a community that shunned the outside world, they went looking for it elsewhere.' 

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