Permission was required for all decisions, major or minor, but the most devastating effects involved the major decisions. Early in the 70’s I was writing back and forth with my parents. I had some unhealed issues and feelings with them, and the leaders’ counsel in family matters was to cut off any contact with them. This was their standard answer to all family troubles. I was told, and the letter was dictated to me, to write them a letter telling them that I was not going to write them anymore, I was dedicating my life to God, and to not write me, either. The next week I got a very thick letter from them. The head of my household told me to not open it until she could check with the leaders. The answer back was that I was to throw the letter out without opening it. I was to make a clean break, turn my back on them, and not even read what their response was. I cried and argued, but to no avail. I had to obey, and so I did throw it out. I have always regretted doing this.
I know of many people who were not allowed to go to their parent’s funeral, or to family member weddings because it would “distract them from God’s work” or “pull them away from their call”. In truth, I believe the leaders were in control and did not want people or money to leave CJ, for their own egoistic reasons.
Major purchases all had to be approved. House buying, car buying, vacations all had to be approved. The leaders had to give permission based on whether it was God’s will, and whether it was spiritually beneficial.
One of the most major decisions in life, who you are going to marry, was completely controlled by the leaders, past and present. The young people had to get their permission to start dating, to enter an engagement, and to get married. If they wanted to, the leaders could deny them permission, and this has happened several times.