Will’s mentioned his friend’s earlier encounter with the “Church of Christ” folks, but I’ve had a friend… well, I guess ex-friend now.
Elizabeth Michelle, when I came to college, was a very nice, friendly girl. Some people would have described her as “willowy.” They would have been charitable; Elizabeth had been anorexic for years, required enzyme pills to aid digestion (one of the worst things about eating disorders or unbalanced diets is the loss of the ability to produce certain digestive enzymes, which can lead to food poisoning as undigested food just rots inside you). She was about 5′7 or 5′8 and oscillated between 80 and 85 pounds.
For the first couple years, this was where things continued. She took vitamin pills, ate mostly sugary things (what she could still digest), and her weight stayed relatively constant, if a bit scary. When she’d go home, she got into fights with her parents… with her mother over religion (her mother was a heavy Baptist, her dad was Catholic, she was Catholic) and with her dad because he insisted on trying to force-feed her “normal” food (heavily greasy stuff) that inevitably made her sick.
Enter the end of her sophomore year; around February-ish, she became involved with “Campus Crusade for Christ”, a rather cultish group. Sometimes they went by the name “International Church of Christ” instead, but the groups were one and the same. They seemed to be an “outreach” program of the local “Church of Christ” group, who didn’t have a building of their own but instead rented a large ballroom for their weird sunday services each week.
The good thing about her CCC/CoC involvement was, she got serious about becoming a healthy weight. She reached a more mature 130 pounds (which believe me was an incredible relief: she looked GOOD with curves) over the course of that summer.
Twice after that summer, she tried to drag me to their meetings; once to an on-campus CCC meeting, and once later to the sunday service at CoC (by this point, she was one of their “Sunday School” teachers). The CCC meeting was almost a brainwashing session. The CoC bit had me constantly looking around to figure out where the camera was hidden; they had the smarmy greasy-haired televangelist, his backup dancers (I kid you not), a few people waving fans in the air, and they announced new baptisms like they were doing a TV quiz show, “Just Look What You’ve Won!”
Shortly after the second try to get me involved with this group, Elizabeth started becoming less of a friend… though I was never sure if it was simply her being more involved with them, or otherwise. Eventually, she moved out of the dorms and became a “living assistant” for an elderly member of the CoC. I saw her a few times after that. Eventually, from talking to other mutual friends, it seemed she’d cut off everyone from college who wasn’t a CCC/CoC member.
Last we heard, she’d gotten pregnant and gone through a rather rushed wedding at CoC. Nobody ever heard from her after that. We hope she’s happy, but we somehow doubt it.