• The World in Flames

  • A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult
  • By: Jerald Walker
  • Narrated by: C. S. Treadway
  • Length: 5 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 09-06-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.6 (8 ratings)

Regular price: $21.00

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $21.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Add to Library for $0.00

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A memoir of growing up with blind African American parents in a segregated cult preaching the imminent end of the world
When The World in Flames begins in 1970, Jerry Walker is six years old. His consciousness revolves around being a member of a church whose beliefs he finds not only confusing but terrifying. Composed of a hodgepodge of requirements and restrictions (including a prohibition against doctors and hospitals), the underpinning tenet of Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God is that its members are divinely chosen, and all others will soon perish in rivers of flames.
The substantial membership is ruled by fear, intimidation, and threats. Anyone who dares leave the church will endure hardship for the remainder of this life and eternal suffering in the next. The next life, according to Armstrong, will arrive in 1975, three years after the start of the "Great Tribulation". Jerry will be 11 years old.
Jerry's parents were particularly vulnerable to the promise of relief from the world's hardships. When they joined the church in 1960, they were living in a two-room apartment in a dangerous Chicago housing project with the first four of their seven children. Most significantly, they both were blind, having lost their sight to childhood accidents. They took comfort in the belief that they had been chosen for a special afterlife, even if it meant following a religion with a white supremacist ideology. They dutifully sent tithes to Armstrong, whose church boasted more than 100,000 members and more than $80 million in annual revenues at its height.
When the prophecy of the 1972 Great Tribulation does not materialize, Jerry is considerably less disappointed than relieved. When the 1975 end-time prophecy also fails, he finally begins to question his faith and imagines the possibility of choosing a destiny of his own.
©2016 Jerald Walker (P)2016 Random House Audio
Show More Show Less

Critic Reviews

"The key to the memoir's cumulative power is Walker's narrative command; the rite of passage is rockier than most, making the redemption well-earned." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Jerald Walker has a remarkable story to tell, and he tells it with a wealth of grace and intelligence at his command." (Vivian Gornick, author of The Situation and the Story)
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By R. Gill on 04-07-18

Life inside of a cult member

Would you listen to The World in Flames again? Why?

Probably not, once is enough. I just wanted to really understand someone who has been part of a controlled religion because I could relate to some of it.

What did you like best about this story?

The way the story was presented with the authors family life. He took you through the circumstances and the reasons why they did a lot of things that they did. Also, his confusion regarding his religion. It amazes me that how gullible we as humans are when we are brought up in our lives to believe something no matter how strange it may be.

What about C. S. Treadway’s performance did you like?

The way he adjusted his reading when characters changes in order to let you know that there were more narratives within this story. I was able to visualize the people in my own mind. Whether it was a woman or a man, it made it easy for me to decipher which character was on the scene.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, not at all. I ended up with feeling as if I could relate to the character. Being that it was a book regarding religion, I understood what it meant to truly believe something is true and have it crumble to pieces upon finding that your religion isn't everything that you grew up to believe. To find out that those who are writing the rules for you and punishing you according to "Bible standards" are drenched in corruption and conspiracy.

Any additional comments?


Read More Hide me
5 out of 5 stars
By Randy Orso on 07-21-17

Masterful Memoir of a Unique Childhood Come of Age

Prof. Jerald Walker wrote a convincing memoir. It was excellent. I was impressed by it so much that I will also be buying a hard copy of it for my library. Thank you so much for an insightful look at the World Wide Church of God, Doomsday Cult and what it was like to grow up in it.

Read More Hide me
See all Reviews