Rev. Frank Giuliano, lifelong minister to the family whose story I tell in my ebook, self-published his own book in 1996 called God’s Nobodies. The name comes from a passage in First Corinthians. As I write in my book, the phrase
describes people who live for God rather than self. In Brother Frank’s writings and talks, “nobodies” ends up sounding more literal, as negating all human value. Selflessness turns here to self-loathing, humility to humiliation. People are “insignificant worms” unworthy of God’s benefits, never measuring up. “There is no good in man. … How many of us deceive ourselves to think that we are good? There’s nothing good in me, nothing good in you. … Human nature is corrupt right to its core.” Though he goes on to say that goodness can be derived from faith in Christ, it’s easy to imagine a listener left hopeless by the bleak preamble.
In his book, Brother Frank writes that bad things in this world stem from vanity, pride, and the glorification of “self.” The antidote — what “nobodies” should strive for — is subservience. “God’s nobodies,” he writes, “are never selfish, self-centered or demanding, but act only at His express command.” That command comes via the minister’s interpretation of God’s will. In his teachings and his day-to-day intervention in his followers’ lives, he instructs them on how every action comports with God’s will.
Brother Frank’s teachings, on their face (and in the lives of some well-adjusted followers), could form the basis for a thoroughly constructive and defensible belief system. As I try to show in my story about the Ginocchetti/Rufo family, those teachings ended up at the center of one family’s serial tragedies.