We’ve been picking on UCG a lot recently, partially because it’s a giant bumbling target, but mostly because its media productions tend to wobble between extremely offensive and laugh-out-loud hilarious. UCG Media’s most recent short film lands somewhere in between, right around the “humorous but deceptive fluff” area.
For years, the COG, and UCG in particular, has been obsessed with the Parable of the Talents and invokes it at any given opportunity. They seem to forget that there are substantial differences between the versions in Matthew in Luke, which were likely derived from different sources. They love this parable because it involves people investing money (talents, in this case equaling about 60 mina) in their master’s absence and returning it to him in greater sums than before. The man who doesn’t give back more than he was given by the end is cursed. These are some of the COG’s favorite things.
Christians have interpreted this verse as an exhortation to use their gifts in service to God. To the COG, despite painting this in benign language about developing actual, non-monetary skills and talents, “service to God” has almost always translated to “pay and pray” across the cults; tithing money to the church for the purpose of fueling media projects to “preach the gospel.”
This film’s irony is rooted in the COG’s long history of suppressing people’s passions, talents, dreams and desires. Children growing up with athletic talents are told they can’t participate in sports because games might take place on the Sabbath. Those who have wanted to become pilots, actors, artists or media professionals have all been discouraged from entering fields that might lead them astray from the church. Higher education and any form of intellectual curiosity that may lead to the development of talents are usually shunned for the same reason.
UCG and other COG cults like to preach about “using your talents” right up until you start taking them seriously and use real talents instead of just giving them money. Anything short of a 9-to-5 cubicle job Monday through Friday is typically frowned upon. Using one’s talents for professions that involve travelling, spending money on non-church related activities, absence from Sabbath services or anything else detrimental to cult loyalty are usually squashed.
The only time people with some modicum of talent are encouraged to fully use their skills or indulge their passions is when they’re employed by the church. It’s how we get videos like these.
And don’t worry, all you COG members out there. If you feel that your talents have been suppressed in favor of loyalty to the church, and you just aren’t making the kind of money you could have as a pilot, sports star, business executive or actor, and yet still need to tithe and donate to the COG, GET OVER IT AND KEEP GIVING: