The journey many of us have experienced out of WCG is not all that different from those who've left other restrictive movements. A while back I read about a woman's struggle to leave the Exclusive Brethren, and my first reaction was "snap!"
But there do seem to be differences between the XCG gang and the rest - or is it just my narrow bias showing? Here's what I mean.
Name three splinters from Jehovah's Witnesses. (I can name just one off the top of my head.)
Name three splinters from Seventh-day Adventism. (No, COG7 doesn't count! I can name only two.)
Now name ten WCG splinters. No sweat! Only ten though? I can probably list twenty without coming up for breath...
Observation: Why is it that WCG has fractured so, well, prolifically? Surely there has to be a prize for this fecundity of asexual reproduction.
But wait, there's more.
Name a JW/SDA ex-member support site that looks anything like The Painful Truth? Or even an equivalent venting blog to AW? Name another group of sectarian "dissidents" that has produced anything remotely similar to the late John Trechak's brilliant Ambassador Report?
Observation: Ex-members of other groups usually leap online to push a doctrinal barrow. We have folk who do that of course - and with gusto - but as a group we also like to hang out and shoot spitballs for the sheer hell of it. The closest thing I can think of is recovering Scientologists.
Name a genuine biblical scholar - the sort with real qualifications - who has come out from the JWs? The Exclusive Brethren? Yet ex-WCG scholars include Lester Grabbe, James Tabor and the late Charles Dorothy, to name just three. Not bad for a sect that never grew much beyond 100k.
Observation: What explains that?
Now, finally, check out a Bible focussed website that runs those irritating "intelligent" Google ads and count up the representation from nutty WCG splinter ministries. Can anyone else even begin to compete?
Observation four: We may be tottering on the demographic cliff's edge, but it sure isn't for lack of exposure.
Just another disintegrating sect? Yep. But what factors explain the differences?
(On a truly depressing note, a check of Alexa web-rankings yesterday reveals that Weinland's the-end.com is currently the most viewed COG-related website, numbering 111,836 on the hit parade.)