End The Weekend - Galesburg's Cult

End The Weekend - Galesburg's Cult

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Taylor Porter started this petition to Knox County Church Leaders and

The Weekend: A Journey With Christ is a cult. 131 times since 1986 The Weekend has hosted high school students under the false pretense of "laughing and learning, praying and participating... with the purpose of conveying the love, mercy, and grace God has for us." These promises fall short as The Weekend and its adult leaders use a multitude of cult tactics to manipulate vulnerable high school students while using God's name in vain to perpetuate misogyny, homophobia, conversion therapy, among many other traumatic experiences.

The Weekend takes place over 3 days and centralizes around 14 talks by high school and adult leaders. 

  • Ideals

  • Prodigal Daughter/Son

  • Faith

  • Communication

  • Christian Growth 

  • Marriage

  • Christian Action

  • Single Life

  • God Empowers

  • Priesthood of All Believers

  • Experiencing God’s Grace

  • God’s Designs and Desires

  • God Accepted

  • Next Step

The talks I have highlighted are some of the most damaging and traumatizing talks that take place during The Weekend

Prodigal Daughter/Son

  • One of the most damaging talks, but it’s considered a great honor to be asked to give this talk as a leader. It’s designed to break candidates down and make them emotionally vulnerable. The person who gives this talk first has to give it in front of the adult leaders of weekend so they can edit it to fit their agenda. People who do this talk have usually confided with someone in confidence about their struggles and then that person has told the next lay leader about it. You're taken into a dark, candle lit room with the adults surrounding the edges and candidates sit on the floor while one of the high school leaders begins reading the parable of the prodigal son. Then they tell their prodigal story and disclose and go into great detail their deepest traumas (suicide, eating disorders, sexual assault, etc) with no warning to what they are going to discuss. The high school leader tells the candidates how horrible they were and how much their actions showed that they hated god and how they were impure and their only way to redemption is through Jesus. You’re stuck in the dark room where everyone is crying and emotionally exhausted thinking that they are going to hell. On the second day I believe, we would be paired off with a leader and we were supposed to disclose traumas with them and how we had strayed from God.

Marriage

  • A talk given by a married couple where they describe what Christian marriage is and is supposed to look like. Candidates on the Girl's Weekend were taught their place as women in the relationship.
    One of the main points that is hit on really hard is that marriage is between a man and a woman and any other marriage or relationship is a deviation from God’s will. Conversion therapy is encouraged and resources are passed out for local, online, and nationwide conversion therapy. We are told being gay is a sin and a by having any gay urges or if we act on those urges we are impure and going to hell. Leaders are forced to sign a contract that says they are not gay and they believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.
    People who come out or have been outed are either removed from the community or are forced to do conversion therapy/go back in the closet. When leaders were confronted with the statistics of the increased risk of suicide and lasting damage conversion therapy causes they responded, "We don't care. We'll use conversion therapy until there is something better."

Single Life

  • This talk is given by an adult leader about their choice to be single or how god has called them to live a single life and what a single Christian life should look like. We were told that single life was a choice for people with gay impulses; that it was a penance of sexual deprivation that you would serve for being gay. One of the biggest talking points was the promotion of purity culture for women. After this talk you are taken into the chapel where you are given two contracts to sign, one for yourself to always keep and one to offer up on an altar. It’s a commitment to your virginity and outlines that if you break this covenant with Jesus you will be giving your husband a damaged gift and what husband would want an impure wife?
    Only the girls Weekend is made to sign these purity contracts. To further convince candidates to sign their purity contracts, they are told a graphic rape story. If you have had sex or been sexually assaulted previously to the contract signing you were told it was a re-virginizing process and were shamed for being impure and told you weren't going to heaven unless you were pure.

In the video linked below, I go into more details of the events that happen during The Weekend and share the stories of former members from fifteen Weekends (76, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 100, 103, 105, 106, 107, 111, 113, 115) about the damaging and lasting effects of The Weekend. 131 Weekends is beyond enough. By signing this petition you are demanding The Weekend be stopped by calling on area church leaders and the Executive Board of The Weekend that they put an end to traumatizing and manipulating children with the false pretense of 3 days of laughing and learning, praying and participating with the purpose to convey the love, mercy, and grace God has for us. You are using god’s name in vain to promote your personal agendas while creating lasting damage.

I have included links with this petition of the video of former candidate and leader stories highlighting the trauma that The Weekend has and continues to perpetuate  and a link that gives you a prewritten email to all of the leaders, pastors, youth pastors, and executive board members of churches in the area calling for them to cease their support of the weekend and acknowledge the harmful and lasting effects it has on high schoolers.

To the leaders and executive board members, I’m calling on you to do what’s right. End this cult.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpAXX6zXoKU&feature=youtu.be

Email: The Weekend: Galesburg's Cult

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!