Seventeenth-century Roman Catholic archbishop Francois Fenelon was a favorite author in the Assembly, especially his book, Christian Perfection. The quotation here, while not technically an Assembly document, was framed and displayed for years, to our regret, in the Irons' brothers' house, "The House of Peace".
This kind of thinking is one of the reasons many people who have left the group have a twisted concept of God. It is the very "sweet and loving thoughts" of God's goodness, decried by Fenelon and Betty G., that feed our souls and enable us to grow in grace! "We were also given absolutely terrific promises...tickets to participation in the life of God" (The Message). Fenelon's stern counsel distorts the image of a loving God into a harsh task master. In truth, we do nothing to "unite ourselves to God". We are brought into union with Him the moment we become a child of God - John 17. We grow in grace as we come to know Him better and seek to live more and more in accordance with His character. But of course, such teaching would not be as useful for persuading people to submit to an authoritarian system, whether in a Catholic monastery or a Bible-based cultic group.