Being on a fairly restricted diet, for years I’ve been using the specialist online retailer Goodness Direct. After a while, I noticed this statement on their site.
Back in the 70’s a group of Christian friends decided to get together, make flapjack, pack up wholefoods from bulk along with some other healthy goodies, and there began the beginning of Goodness. […]
Throughout all of these years we maintained our basic Christian ethics. We began life as a group of friends, all taking the same wages, and we continue life as a group of friends all earning the same wages. Yes that’s right, all of us from managers to fork lift drivers to packers, we all earn the same wage. Radical isn’t it? So radical that the BBC decided to do a programme on us for Working Lunch.
Being committed Christians (see our church’s website) means more than just our Sunday faith – to us it is a way of life and it spills out into our company ethics, our dealings with each other, with our suppliers and with you, our customers. It spills out into the products we sell and why we sell them. It means we deal fairly and squarely with everyone.
The website link wasn’t there at the time, just some waffle about a Christian charity, but I was vaguely concerned so I rang up and asked if they did any missionary-type work. They told me firmly that they did not. (They lied.) Yesterday I had cause to check that page on their website again, and this time I followed the link to the Jesus Army. Despite their coy suggestion that they are only loosely affiliated with it, they are in fact a part of the Jesus Army, and it’s terrifying stuff.
Look at their manifesto, for starters. They practice exorcism of demonic spirits. They believe that women should submit to men, and should have long hair and dress differently from men. They have strong opinions on whom members may and may not marry. They hang onto members’ children for dear life.
This was sounding suspiciously cult-like to me, so I ran a Google search. What came up was beyond alarming. As I’d suspected from their manifesto, women aren’t allowed to wear trousers or make-up and must be submissive to men, with stories of extremely restricted behaviour. They have an insane focus on celibacy, to the point where even married couples have to sleep in separate beds. They don’t just go evangelising, they target extremely vulnerable people, the homeless, drug addicts and mentally ill, and from what I’ve gathered it’s a “convert if you want any help to survive” deal. People who have visited report that they were followed so closely that they weren’t even permitted to go to the toilet alone, and that there was enormous pressure to conform, with one journalist being heavily penalised for slipping away from an all-day prayer session to telephone her mother. Everything is communal, including finances, so it doesn’t appear that workers are really paid. Well, some sources say that they’ll receive their pay if and when they leave the compound, though others say that they’re only paid for a few hours a week and forced to do “voluntary” work the rest of the time. There have been sexual child abuse scandals, and ex-members report the beating of children, although it is unclear whether this is still occurring. And oddly, a rather high number of their members have been murdered, though I have absolutely no idea what’s going on there.
I am completely horrified to learn where some of my money has been going all these years. If you shop there or know anyone else who does, please pass this on. I’m not telling you where to shop, that’s your decision, but I’m urging you to read up on this for yourselves.
I had no idea Goodness Direct was linked to the Jesus Army. The Jesus Army is a worrying cult who firmly believe in the Rapture, and members have been implicated in the murders of doctors that they accused of being abortionists. They treat women as property and worse. I’m thankful to Elettaria for bringing this to our attention and for allowing me to repost her post here. I certainly shan’t be purchasing anything from Goodness Direct again, either directly or indirectly – I’ll be taking my custom to the Ethical Superstore instead, and I advise others to do likewise.