Moral Rules Determining Life

The moral instructions are very rigorous and leave little freedom to the individual for personal development. Sometimes even mundane tasks are scrutinized, because they might be sinful.

Having doubts about the group’s doctrinal statements reveals, in every case, a sinful spirit. The conscious repetition of a certain sin is considered to be unbelief, and it can be grounds for an exclusion.

The Holic group sees sexuality as something to be avoided. Sexuality is a two-person relationship and therefore egotistical. It is a detaching from the community. It also occurs at the physical level, while relationships between people should be primarily at the spiritual level. Besides this, it is an activity which takes place only between people, where God plays no role. And finally, there are currently more important things (like missionary work) to do. For this reason, a lifestyle without marriage predominates in the group. The opinion expressed by one member, that abstinence is because of the approaching end of the world, is probably not the general view of the group.

Since the end of the 1990s, the main justification for the rejection of sexuality seems to run in this direction: that starting a family detracts from missionary work in terms of time. The obligations of marriage make too many demands on a person, so that one isn’t able to give his entire life to God. In light of the small number of real Christians, starting a family would be egotistical, because there are “those in the world who need help,” and it would take chances to learn about “the truth” away from them.

This leads to a very inhibited way of dealing with sexuality in the group. So-called “sins” relating to sexuality (primarily among the men in the group) are continuously a topic during the confessions of sins, and often a reason for exclusion from the group. A former member reported that images which could even remotely be thought to have a sexual content had been cut out of the books in the community’s apartments.

Even e.g. enoyable things (smoking, alcohol, coffee, tea, ice cream, and most candy) are considered to be sins, as well as conversation or engaging with a hobby (music, gardening, etc.). Music does occasionally occur at worship gatherings, but “one may not idolize music,” which even means a more concentrated engagement with music during one’s free time. Even too much washing is a sin, because the skin is damaged by this. In this regard, the group truly places its faith in science. If a lifestyle is judged to be unhealthy by medical professionals, then it is automatically considered to be a sin. Some restrictions (e.g., consuming sweets or coffee, etc.) have their origin in this. Great worth is laid on health as a moral task, but with the warning that one should not “idolize” the body.

Compensatory mechanisms are to be seen in the group, or among individual members. While the consumption of
chocolate is forbidden, a greater consumption of, e.g., marmalade is noted. “Horseplay” (a seemingly childish romp or tussle) probably has its origin here, too.

[translator’s note: it is difficult to arrive at a precise English equivalent for the German verbs ‘raufen’ or ‘umhertollen’ or ‘sich balgen,’ but it is seems that a kind of playful wrestling is intended. It is clear, in any case, that this is a compensation for the otherwise serious, strict, and suppressed daily routines.]

Busying oneself with hobbies (e.g., music) is also judged to be bad, because hobbies waste time, which could have been used for missionary work. One could also idolize the hobby. With a hobby, one serves oneself and not God.

Their attitude toward life is motivated by continuous effort to prove themselves, collectively, to be the group of pure Christians. In this way, the strict obedience to the rules, allegedly known from the Bible, becomes a proof for their own superiority. Their own actions are therefore continuously scrutinized as to whether they are allowed or are sins (e.g., playing happily with children, meeting friends in a café, etc.). Similarly to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, one can observe a certain joy at their having discovered certain ‘commandments’ in the Bible which only they follow, and which distinguishe their lifestyle from everyone else’s.