Spanking was de rigueur in the Worldwide Church of God. Parents were expected to spank (smack) their kids, as anyone who read The Plain Truth About Childrearing knew. Stories were told of the Ambassador College workshop producing wooden paddles so noisy youngsters could be disciplined during services at the Feast of Tabernacles. Today, the leading ex-WCG crusader against this kind of practice is Samuel Martin, son of former AC theology prof. Ernest L. Martin. There's no doubt in my mind that Martin has it right; spanking kids is a stupid, repugnant practice.
And the research backs it up. A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology (summarized here) reveals the links to difficulties kids face later in life. Of course, this was by no means just a COG issue. It's believed that, worldwide, 80% of children are spanked. Even in countries like New Zealand where the practice is illegal, conservative lobbyists wail, gibber and bemoan the development and there is widespread sympathy for parents who break the law. To which one can only reply, read the research for yourself.
The crazy thing is that in the church we were taught that God was the ultimate abusive parent, getting prepared to spank (that's the word Rod "Spanky" Meredith used again and again to describe it) the nations of modern (make-believe) Israel - the United States, Britain and the "white commonwealth" (whatever that is). Even now, the Eternal of Hosts has the divine paddle raised to wreak his displeasure. Famine, flood, epidemic, earthquake... look out below!
It's a fairly sick portrait of God.
(Samuel Martin's book, Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me, is available to download here.)