The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

Email: Sweet and Sour
(Page Ten)

(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)

Email, Indexed by DATE


New on 4/28/99:

To whom it may concern,
If there is a resulting class action suit after the sale of the Pasadena HDQ, please count me in.

Michael


 

Rachel,

I am a 47 year old grandpa who started attending church in 1957 with his parents and didn't wake up until 1992 when my own children were starting to "Blow out" just like you did. In fact it was they just like you that lead the way for me by leaving first. My wife was next and I left shortly after. We are now successfully trying to heal the very deep wounds that the church inflicted knowingly and willingly. They were no more than con men with a church to protect them from criminal charges. Are lives are gradually turning around. Our kids are turning once again to us and we now have a lovely grandchild. Sadly he is the product of a divorce. My oldest son married for all the wrong reasons...out of ignorance and hurt more than anything. But we are facing this as a family...not condemning or judging but healing and hoping.

You have received a very grievous wound. Cling to your parents and help them find their way. Let no one come between you and your family. I have had to sever relationships with my parents because of the problems the church has caused. My dad has since died. The last words I heard him say was "I could just CHOKE you" Real Christian, yeah. We have lost all of our friends because they were all church goers. So now my wife and I are slowly, carefully, building new friendships and a sense of community.

Yes I am still plagued by images of the tribulation placed there by such booklets as "1975 in Prophecy" and years of sermons about Hitler's ovens. The imagery is hard to get rid of but it is slowly fading. These things are the inventions of men not the invention of a loving, merciful supreme being. Do not fear the things of man.

Hang in there.

Michael


 

Hello Ed

The mail I send you keeps coming back to me. I'm wondering why?

Nina

REPLY

Nina,

Well, this one got through. Did you start tithing again? Did you pray for at least 30 minutes and Bible Study for at least 30 minutes?

You have to understand that God does not like you if you do not do these things and will be responsible for any bad things that happen in your life while you are in this state of unbelief and backsliding.

If, on the other hand, you are tithing and BSing and praying and bad things happen to you, it is just God trying your faith. But, cheer up, He won't give you any more than you can handle.

Best, Ed


 

Dear Ed,

I appreciate the satire in the story of Dumbo. This shows the true spirit of David{courage}or Gideon in knocking down false idols or leaders that have caused the people sorrow. I truly hope people will wake up and not allow themselves to be harmed by such an unkind person as Tkach. This is the image he projects by the fruit that was borne from his ridiculous letter to the poor victims of his influence.

To those who have been hurt, I strongly suggest that you break free of this persons abusive power over your psyche. You don't need him, he is only a person like yourself. The only difference is that you are able to support yourself and no company on earth would find this persons service of any value. Tkach without his church is a worthless man to his fellow humans and therefore is no use to God. He creates his own mystical reality and thereby is out of touch, do not allow this abuse to rock you, it is Hitlarian dictatorship in a different format but is the same carnal quest for power over others. Love {giving} is not the objective here in this mans heart but to make you slave to his views for his own purpose like any abuser. Wake up and do not allow any man this power over your heart, Your are created greater than that rise above him and all those sickos who would lay claim to your will [your soul].

Peter


 

Dear Editor,

Some friends of mine who are ex-members of the Worldwide Church of God told me about your web site, The Painful Truth, and I have on a number of occasions read parts of its content. From my experience in the Worldwide Church of God, I do not find the content of your site very helpful. I am also bitter about my 16 years odd years in what is now clearly a religious cult. This realisation has come from personal experience, that told from friends and christian authors of good, helpful books I have read. My life could equally have been turned upside down and dreams lost by paralises in a motor vehicle accident; however, my injury, like many, has come about through adopting the believes and practices of a religious cult. Please, for the future, encourage those who email stories for publication to write better, be informative and balanced in their approach. My feeling is that those who email are still trying to gain the 'American dream' which is in part why I went along with the teachings of the Armstrong cult. Take responsibility for your actions and choices in life. That is what I am now trying to do and that at age 40 (no, I am not having a mide life crises my realisation started 5 years ago).

The things I am angry about are missing out on life are: a career, marriage and children, a home, a breath of life's experiences... the list can go on... I'm sorry, I will stop complaining and end here.

Yours sincerely

Alastair

REPLY

Alastair,

So sorry to hear that you do not find the contents of the PT helpful. There is a solution to that which I apply to the millions of sites out there in cyberspace: you will figure it out.

There is nothing wrong with The American Dream, which I interpret as having enough money to own your own house and car and to be able to buy the things that you need to live a comfortable, fulfilling and happy life. This is amazingly easier if you just hold on to your money and don't turn it over to religious blackmailers.

This was not the dream that we had in the church. We lived for a future world, not this present world. We scarified this life for a future one. We were misled by a bunch of religious hucksters to give up the life (and our money) we are sure of (now) for a possible future life that there is no proof at all that it will ever happen. It is the ultimate con-game run by unscrupulous men who do not believe in God or they are just as stupid as the sheep they fleece. And it is all legal. What a country!

Ed


 

Hi,

my name is Kelly, I am 20, and I grew up in Worldwide Church of God in California, and I have been through all the splits and am currently attending one of the churches that split from Worldwide Church of God. I know you didn't want anyone to pity you or as you said think that it is a sob story. But, I just wanted to tell you that when I read your web page, I did cry. You seem like someone who has been through a horrendous experience.

But, (there is always a but isn't there), I just wanted to remind you that as these men hurt you, you are now trying to get back at them. I don't know what your view of God is anymore, but I know that He doesn't work that way, and as I a learning to become more like Jesus, I can see how this hatred and anger eats people up. If what you say is true, God will hand down judgement on all who are responsible. I am truly sorry for the harshness of your life, and I hope that the bitterness you seem to have is not hurting you more than those you would like to hurt.

Please don't write back if you want to preach about what you believe, but (there it is again) if you would like to acknowledge your receipt of this e-mail that is fine. I pray for you and your family.

Kelly

REPLY

Let's see:

At the ripe old age of 20, and having "grown up" in Worldwide Church of God, you know how God works, that He will hand down judgement on those that do evil, (but I guess not in this life where it would do some good) that I am bitter and am trying to hurt people, that I have hatred and anger, and you want to preach to me but don't want me to preach back at you.

Okay, I think I have it straight and I acknowledge receipt of your message.

Ed


 

Thank you soooooo much for putting up this page ... I'm 22 now, I guess I really left the church about a year ago, although I haven't been going since I started college, because I couldn't get a ride. It's provided some good closure for me to be able to read the stuff on your page, and to read what others have contributed to it.

I took some of this to my parents to read, and my mom told me that none of it could be true, because whoever wrote it was "in the spirit of divisiveness, not togetherness and love." I had to sigh and shake my head.

One good thing about the church though ... it got me very ready for my college career: I'm a senior now at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and I'll be graduating on 8 May. I learned very well in the Worldwide Church of God (even now I wrote "The Church" there ... I had to backspace over it and correct myself) how to hide emotions and follow orders blindly.

My fianc,e is originally from Vancouver, and although she wasn't a Worldwide Church of God (I did it again had to backspace over it and put Worldwide Church of God there) member, she knew of them. The local congregation met at her high school, and according to her (outside and objective view), they were a bunch of wackos and perverts. The local government was constantly trying to get evidence of embezzlement and other misc. crimes, but was never able to actually pin something on them...

Anyway, I just wanted again to thank you. I've been looking on your page for you email address for a long time so that I could tell you how much this site has meant to me, but never did find it. This morning a friend of mine (who also left the Worldwide Church of God) pointed me at the "you might have grown up in the church if..." page, and I found your address there. The scary part of this whole thing is that if I showed that page to my parents, they would see nothing wrong with anything on that page ... it would be, to them, the normal and natural order of things.

Name Withheld


 

Ed,

This is a legit news article. Take away the pink underwear, and offal eating and you got "Worldwide." ........ On second thought just take away the pink underwear!

John C.

SYDNEY, April 23 (AFP) A bizarre cult which orders its followers to only wear pink or white underwear and eat lambs brains and ox tongue is denying Australian children a normal upbringing, a Liberal senator has claimed.

The group which calls itself the Vibrational Individuation Program is "an insidious social contagion," said Grant Chapman. "For the individuals concerned who have been unfortunate enough to have fallen prey in their search for the longing, life becomes one of depravation and total dependency," he said in parliament late Thursday.

"They can only be described as the working of a cult."

Offal always features as one of the required foods and followers are indoctrinated into believing that if they do not abide by individual food programs, disease would enter their body, he said.

"Children born into the cult are fed the most bizarre food from birth and reports have come to my attention of undernourished, underweight babies."

He said children were prevented from having birthday parties or going to friend's houses in case the host parents' "feed the child something normal."

The group had spread from South Australia state to New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, Chapman said.

He has asked the federal attorney-general and the health minister to investigate the group which has about 450 members and is growing, according to those associated with it.

"When signs of physiological breakdown begin to show followers are programmed into believing it is for their ultimate good and ignore all symptoms," he added.

"Every facet of a person's life is controlled."

He claimed the organization also promoted an anti-medical philosophy which included refusing ultrasound tests, immunizations, vitamin A injections at birth, or any added mineral supplements for mothers or children.

"The cult advocates the breaking up of families and should the followers resist the food program, they already operate at least one known community respite house in Adelaide," he said.

"In reality this group is obviously headed by delusional megalomaniacs whose philosophies run contrary to our social and family structure."

Chapman's office said they had taken nine calls early Friday from people associated with the cult who confirmed everything he told parliament.

But the group denies any wrongdoing and said Friday it had been defamed after an "abuse of parliamentary privilege".

Member Brian Steinke told ABC radio the organization had been running for 10 years and was headed by his wife Marie and a woman called Joan Philips.

"We're all very upset and find it very distressing that such allegations have been made," he said.

"We're preparing a reply and that reply is going to be checked by a solicitor because we don't have parliamentary privilege and we want to make sure we don't say anything libellous against Mr Chapman or anyone else."

When asked what the group was about Steinke refused to answer.


New on 4/30/99:

Ed, First, let me thank you for putting together this extensive site. It was my first stop in finding out the "truth".

But I the real reason for my letter is a response to 20 year old Kelly. I am only 30, but what a difference 10 years makes when knowing what your talking about regarding the blatant abuses of this cult. I started attending when I was twelve and within two short months my young life had been completely stripped away and never redeemed. At that time (1979-80) my young life revolved around my soccer teams and friends but we played on the sabbath, so no more. The only time that I saw my grandparents was on Christmas, again no more.

Fast forward to my teen years in wcg. Y.O.U was forced on me as a genuine substitute for socialization and activities with kids in "the world". It, like everything else was just a sham and a sick joke. Who can forget the ridiculous "prom" substitutes for the juniors and seniors! Looking back it was all early indoctrination so that hwa and the tkach's would have a steady stream of income.

Then came my late teens and early twenties. When I met the girl that became my wife. She was baptized and I was not. We were instantly forbidden to she each other or even speak under the threat of expulsion from church. At this time my father and mother had become deacon and deaconess so that would have been the height of embarrassment to them, so they encouraged me to obey "God's Government" and do what Earl Williams (minister at the time) told me to do. What a load of crap. After my baptism (so that I could see my girlfriend-now wife) we were again forbidden to see each other. The reason? I had not been baptized long enough!!! Again my parents encouraged obedience.

I finally just moved out of his (Earl Williams') area. But he was quick to call the minister in my new area and in inform him about me. We had to go through months of "counseling" and were subjected to endless embarrassing questions regarding our conduct while dating. It was none of their business!! This brief synopsis of my life in the cult is by no means the whole story. If Kelly wants to know more simply e-mail me and I would be happy to write volumes-all verifiable-of the mental and emotional abuse that I and many other "second generation" wcg people were forced to endure.

Robert Burnes

rburnes@stpress.com

P.S. Ed, I obviously include my name and e-mail address. They may be posted with this letter on your site if you so choose. There is no reason to remain anonymous. The truth shall set you free.


 

Dear Mr ,

Thank you for your reply.

What I mean by way of the American Dream; do you recall hearing repeatedly the 'blessings and cursings' chapters read out. The inference I picked up, and I am sure others too, was that if you behave yourselves (and be like us) good things will happen to you. The same approach was taken with tithing; we were quoted from Malachi regarding the storehouse that if we paid 10%, and then some, to the church all would go well (on this note I object to the assets of the current Worldwide Church of God used to create a retirement fund for existing and new ministers. What about all those who gave in good faith, ex-members and existing members, for a Work finding the funds now going to 'Johnny-cum-latelies' when they now have retirement issues to address. In some cases ministers and members were advising others not to save for retirement. This health-wealth gospel was preached to needy people.

I find it odious that we were taught and believed, I'm sure, that we could buy God off (this is a consequence of legalism) when everything is His anyway. It was us controlling God when it should be us responding to the movement of His Holy Spirit.

Ed. Can I ask you? Are you a Christian? And for that matter, what does it mean to you.

Perhaps the assets of the Worldwide Church of God should be handed over to those are faithful to the intent and purpose the assets were accumulated for. I wonder if the church hierarchy is not claiming some moral and legal advantage over others by virtue of 'possession being nine-tenths of the law' (I am writing from a Commonwealth country who has a Westminister style of government and law if I have the goods then I must be right).

Ed. I agree with you. Freedom is precious. I got my freedom back when the rules of the game changed. I would hate to guess where I would be now had not reason and common sense entered the picture. I know now and have known for a while that I no longer have to earn anything from God nor any man or woman reporting to be from God.

Alastair

P.S. I still have great regret for my experiences and find remorse and deep mourning welling up from inside. Among the counselors I have seen over the last few years to straighten out my life, when I started to describe my current employment and career situation to a careers professional this week the same feeling of loss welled up from within (would the Worldwide Church of God pay for all my sessions. I have not asked and think not to). It is interesting to note that the healing I needed came from leaving the Worldwide Church of God when its ministers once touted the church as our solution. Anyway, that's what I heard.

REPLY

Alastair,

In regards to am I a Chrisitian, no. See my FAQ page for more info on this.

Hope you can find the freedom and peace of mind that I have. The further you get from religion, the more peace of mind you will have.

Regards,
Ed


 

I happen to agree with Mr. Armstrong's teachings and find your attacks on his works a sad reflection of your misguided belief system...Catholicism. You don't have all the facts, History and Archeology will reveal the truth for all to see soon! The Two most powerfull empires in history are Great Britain and U.S.A. as was promised by GOD to Abraham. That dear fellow is all the proof I need. As for scandal: How about your Priests and little boys, Popes being Gay etc. I consider my faith doctrinally stable and YOURS in need of improvement. As far as Anglo-Saxon being chosen by God; this is true and means being held up as an example to follow, not SPECIAL. Also names borders and maps change over time(Or have you not noticed). Israel is made up of more than Jews, this is not a grievous misunderstanding as has been said. As for Economic indicators such as steel: Today the real power is information(which the west has). This is the U.S. and the British Commonwealth. In the end we will find out who's wrong and who's right.

sceptres@home.com


New on 5/7/99:

i Think you are sick......

Christine Horchak CHorchak@corestaff.com

REPLY

Christine,

Thank you for your concern. Its probably because I am not tithing or praying or fasting enough.

I have to get closer to God, like ol' herbie did, by raping my daughter or buying Stueben Crystal for foreign despotic dictators with your money or buying a plane later nicknamed "The Flying Whorehouse" which I would use to fly to foreign countries to have sex therapy and buy sex toys, etc., etc.............

Yeah, right, I am the sick one.

Ed


 

You are doing a great job. This is the second chance I had to look at this since I left the wcg 5 years ago at the age of 19.  Of course, it meant cutting communications with my abusive and alcholic baptised parents as well. 

Life is great now;  its actually worth living.  Although its scary especially because you were not allowed to participate in the world before.  But I've coped and really appreciate life now.

Keep up the geat work. 

It's a great souce if healing to finally read the real truth.

Rachel


New on 5/24/99:

    Hi Ed! Thanks for your web site. I wonder if it is possible for you to know how much help and peace of mind is being provided to people in desperate need for contact with others who understand what some of us are going through.  Here is a portion of one of my E-Mail correspondence with Douglas . I thought perhaps someone else may benefit:    

"Remember that minister I told you about earlier?  Well, in one of the last conversations Mike and I had with him, he mentioned that he never agreed with the doctrinal change about divorce and remarriage, and that is why he refused to preach about it for all those years since the change. ( He knew that Mike had been married before the church when he was twenty-one for about four or so months.  After that, his "wife" decided that marriage was too confining, and she took off
with some friends and went hitchhiking around the United States. She wasn't a bad person.  She was just young and not ready for the demands of married life.) 

Years later Michael joined Worldwide Church of God.  Two years after that we met, and after an engagement of nine months we married.

    Upon the revelation that the minister in the area we had relocated to believed that there was no acceptable circumstance for divorce we had to ask, "So, in your eyes Michael and I are not lawfully married in God's sight?" He answered that "No, you are not."  We had to ask, "by extension, then, our two children, both conceived and born to us during our union are spiritual bastards, and not sanctified by the blessing of little children?" "No," he answered, "they are not sanctified."   And in all this time, we asked him, why did he not feel compelled to instruct us as to God's will in something so significant to our salvation?  "No," he answered again, "I'm afraid that is between you and God."

    I marveled!  Wow!  WOW!!  Here was a man who was leaving the rotten old corrupt church of God because it wasn't righteous enough for him anymore.  And yet, for YEARS he accepted money to preach to us doctrines about how to live our lives, except the doctrine that would stand between himself and his paycheck!!!  I have met actual WHORES in my lifetime that I have had more respect for!  At least they were honest, and said they did it for money, and not love.

All those years this guy would smile at our children and accept our hard earned cash, all the while looking at us thinking that we were going to the third resurrection and saying NOTHING that would prevent that from happening!  Just absolutely amazing!"


 

Hi... I found your site very interesting. I was swept up in Armstrongism throughout my high school and college years in the late 60s and early 70s.  Although I learned much about current events and world religions by listening faithfully to the World Tomorrow broadcasts, I was shocked at the first "church service" I attended. I couldn't help but notice the cult-like atmosphere of the service.  Thankfully, I never became a member. However, I am grateful that I have a faith in God which I doubt would have never been brought about without the influence of the Armstrongs.

William

REPLY

William,

Thanks for your message.

I too am thankful to Armstrongism because it helped me to see that ALL religion is anti-God. I am now a free man thanks to ol' herbie.

Regards, Ed


 

Dear Ed,

I have visited your site frequently over the past year or so. I was a member of the Worldwide Church of God for about 20 years but circumstances forced us to gradually disassociate from that group. I can see now that it was for the better. My wife and I were duped into believing all the doctrines and tried to live our lives accordingly. As a result we mostly lived on the edges of poverty with our six children to provide the heirarchy in Pasadena a lavish living. Our local pastor lived much better than we did. Of course, we didn't have enough faith to receive all the blessings we were supposed to get. But that is all in the past.

I no longer belong to nor do I wish to belong to any organized religion. I no longer wish to call myself Christian because the term is so tainted with infamy. I DO believe in God and that He is a loving Father. I DO believe in Jesus Christ His Son and the sacrifice He made for me. The fact that I reject all religions does not negate my belief in God. I believe the Bible is God's Word and can be used as a guide, but ONLY if I let the Holy Spirit guide me.

I respect your views on the Bible, God, Jesus Christ, etc. But I can't help but feel that you have thrown the baby out with the bath water. It is MAN who has made a mockery of the Bible and Jesus Christ and mankind has been doing so for centuries. Historical documents of the past have been subjected to tampering as has the manuscripts of the Bible. Please don't take what I say as an attack on you or your beliefs. I would only ask that you keep an open mind. Some have suffered at the hands of ORGANIZED religion more so than I. Just remember that the Bible describes PURE religion as this. That we look after the widow and orphan, tend to the sick and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. This very different than what MAN'S religion requires.

Forgive me if I have offended you. That was not my intention. If you care to respond I would like to hear from you.

Take care and God bless,

Larry

REPLY

Larry, Thanks for your message and concern.

I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from. No offence taken, although sometimes it is hard for me to deal with bible believers; it is so illogical.

Just do one thing for me: Without using the Bible, prove to me that it is God's word.

Regards,
Ed


New on 6/3/99:

Hi Ed,

I have just read a very interesting book that I thought you might enjoy. Or maybe you have read it already. It is called "Dr. Dobson's War on America" by Gil Alexander-Moegerle. I think it was written about 2 years ago. I don't know how much you know about Dr. James Dobson, but after reading this book he reminded me so much of old herbie!!! Obviously the particulars are very different but the overall feeling you get from reading about this self-righteous, control freak is a man after herbie's own heart.

I think the most frightening thing about it was what it reflected about me. After I quit going to church I tried, for conscience sake, to find a more palatable substitute. So into my life stepped Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family. It all sounded so right and it was respected, (or so it seemed). So I sent them a little money, (not a tithe, mind you), but just a little to support them and to get some taped broadcasts, etc. Anyway, I wasn't real gung-ho for them, but I certainly didn't feel any danger. I had distanced myself even from them, after a while, just taking some time off from religion as a whole. After I began to reawaken my skeptical side, I began to look into the things I took for granted from the past. I still didn't see any problems with FOF, other than they had a very judgmental flavor. I excused this because I liked the overall support of family that they spoke of. After I read this book I realized how gullible I have been. I had just found a substitute under a much nicer camouflage.

Anyway, no longer I say!!! At least now my guard is up. These churches, and pseudo-churches, can certainly advertise a product that you find is nothing what you paid for and usually has a very bad, long lasting, aftertaste.

Keep up the good work,

Rick


New on 6/24/99:

Mr. ,

I just visited your site, the Painful Truth. I know that you folks that have been longtime Worldwide Church of God members must be hurting to no end given the experiences that you have had. I realize that Herbert W. Armstrong had a LOT of shortcomings, but I have a couple of questions that I have to ask you.

Are you fellowshipping with like minded people anymore? Have you turned to "mainstream" religion? How do you feel now about the Sabbath and Holy Days?

I sincerely hope that you have not thrown the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. Knowing that the Celto Saxon peoples of the earth are the House of Israel is key to understanding Biblical prophesy. J.H. Allen had a great book, long before Herbert Armstrong. It was Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright. You would love it.

Please bear in mind that those who have God's truths are under the heaviest attacks by Satan.

I don't really know why I started this e-mail. I just know that as I read some of your writings, I felt your pain. I pray that God will ease some of your pain.

To a big degree, I feel the same as you about putting one's faith or trust in men. They will disappoint every time. Please write me back and let me know what you are up to.

Sincerely,

Randy

REPLY

Randy,

Thank you for your message. I think you will find the answers to most of your questions to me on my FAQ page  Also see my Bibliolatry page.

I do fellowship with likeminded people.

Those who think they have "God's truths" need to sincerely get a grip.

I have no more pain than I have when I see crooks other than religious types getting away with crimes against humanity, such as Bill Clinton or O. J. Simpson. They are ALL the same and they had better hope that there is no God.

The PT's purpose is not to cry about any pain that religion pimps inflicted on me and my family, it is to expose them for what they are and free those who can see the truth from their evil clutches. It is painful to see how stupid we were. It is even more painful to see the God pimps still getting away with misusing people.

Regards, Ed


 

Hello

I was a member of WWCG for 23 long years. We gave, and gave, now we understand the freedom that is in Christ.

We have been out of world wide for 4 or 5 years. However our daughter is in Flurry's church. I believe Herbert had sex with his daughter, and believing in his mind, it was all right. But is there anyway I can get some kind of proof of this. I read somewhere, that when Herbert divorced his wife, it was in the court records, is this true? I would like to get my hands on proof, not sure if my daughter would believe it, but would like for her to at least see it, in writing.

If there is anyway I can get any court records of this, please let me know.

Our daughter is sooo into the Philadelphia church of God. If we would have only looked at what the bible really said, and understood what Christ really said, we would have been more happy. We are sad, that we would not able to give our children more things, and that we taught our children, to believe in a man like Herbert W. Armstrong, instead of believing in Christ.

Thank you for your time, e-mail me if you have any information,

Racheal

REPLY

Get a copy of Ambassador Report #27. It contains out-takes of the proceedings.

You can check the Maricopoa County Court House in Arizona for the transcripts. It won't be cheap. John Trechak, of Ambassador Reports, offered to do to do a research on it for about $400 a few years ago. If you do go to all the trouble and expense of doing it, me know.

Also see Wm. Dankenbrings page:

For some people, they would not believe it if herbie told them himself.

Regards, Ed


 

Hi Ed.

I stumbled on your page while looking for other wcg-related info actually the "you know you were in the wcg if you ever.." page (or whatever it was called).

Some of that stuff is quite funny, and I really enjoyed it.

I did however want to share my thoughts on the wcg samaritan (since you invited them on some-page-or-another)

though I'm probably going to waffle a bit.

I have to state before I start that I normally don't get involved in debates. I'm not really going to be debating here anyway. I think that the endless debating between denominations of christianity throughout the centuries has made Jesus Christ a mockery to the rest of the world. (So why am I doing it? I dunno... :)

I have the _positive_ experience of not having been affected by so much of the wcg's bad moments in my experience, and I think this is a good thing. Perhaps I'll remember to explain why as I go on.

I grew up in the wcg. My dad was a local elder. We lived in Australia, and I would immediately like to point out a big difference right away.

The wcg, for many years, grew out of Herbert W. Armstrong's 'advertising' of his message. This was done in an american-centric manner. As such, a lot of the attitudes, and growth, experienced in the U.S. were not matched elsewhere in the world. The set up of regional offices no doubt was designed to try and rectify this but I think that the wcg was far too centralised to allow the growth that a church _should_ experience.

My viewpoint these days is bound to change, but at the moment is something like this:

The wcg is a denomination, group of men, business, cult, whatever you want to call it.

The fact of the matter is you _cannot_ be "saved" based on the denomination you attend.

The denomination you associate with is largely built, governed and managed by men and women people about whom you have no assurance of the deepness of their faith or belief. If someone is a minister, it doesn't mean that they're more righteous than another person or not. Herbert W. Armstrong couldn't have been "the only" person to see the "truth" and rescue christianity from apostasy. If he promoted a church as infallible as he claimed, then why did it start so late?

We are all every one of us, from the oldest minister to the youngest kid going to have to give an account for our lives to God. I accept that, and I consider the wrongs inflicted upon me by others who claim to do it in "His Name" accepted by me in "His Name". The Spirit is Longsuffering. I realise that my hurt is not as great as some. What can I do for you? Many people will have a lot to answer for one day.

But if I think this, then why did I go back to the wcg? A couple of reasons. First, like Paul suggests, I have chosen to stay with the faith into which I was called. Jumping ship at every sign of trouble will only breed more insecurity. Secondly, there are other hurt people there too. It would be selfish of me to leave these people behind, some of whom are still searching and confused. And if I left, where would I go?

And where does my money go? (Now I'm getting closer to the samaritan response). Some of my money goes to the wcg. During part of my career, I was the national R&D manager of a small Australian computer company. Let me clarify something for you: with a population of 5% of the US and the same land mass, you have to (comparatively) struggle to make a living here. I know what it's like to have to "manage". Working 7 days a week, 16 hours a day. And many of our ministers here have had to do the same, been separated from their families for extended periods because there simply isn't the $ to train or hire someone else.

So I have no problem in helping finance their work. BUT. I also don't see enough growth in the wcg here at the moment, largely because of the number of people that are still running around in circles trying to find out what just happened. So some of my other $ and time goes to my own involvement in the community and in the church.

So firstly, regarding what other people have said: "Other churches have baggage too". True, but so what. My faith is not in the wcg, and neither was I baptised into a denomination. If we didn't make mistakes we wouldn't have sinned and wouldn't have needed Christ's sacrifice.

"Don't dwell in the past, move on and look forward to the future". Um, yes and no. The wcg spent decades looking at the future, and that's partly what created the past. How about we stop acting like spoilt children coveting what we don't have yet (the future), stop lamenting what was wrong with our past and start working hard at getting it right now.

If I was abused as a child, I might be mortally upset at my parents. But if that's going to stop me growing up and living a life, then I might as well give up now.

Recognising the mistakes of the past is part of healing. It helps us make sure we don't commit them again. If I disassociate myself from the wcg, who's to say I won't end up part of some other church one day doing the same thing to others!?

"Wcg has apologised, get over it..." Well, yes, but this comes back to the denominational thing again. the wcg is a denomination. It chose a corporate speed to do things at, but it's made up of individuals. The fact of the matter is it'll only do things right for a small number of people, and usually not the same ones. I think it's up to us to pick up our bed and walk. If Jesus healed that lame man, told him to pick up his bed and walk, and he didn't because he hadn't the faith, would he have really been healed? We'll never know...

I think that in both your samaritan rework and in your subsequent 'neighbour' example, the 'Christian' shows a typical wcg approach to christiantiy. One that I would hesitate to suggest is of dubious Christianity.

In the samaritan example, when your priest is asked to help the wounded man, his response is the "spiritually helpful" (you know, the old "pay and pray" approach) one which involves suggesting the man heal his soul and not be concerned with his physical suffering. Perhaps he's expecting taskforce-X to clear the streets or something because that's where his tithes go.

Your Tkach Jr. is worse, rejoicing in his own perceived spiritual and fiscal states.

The problem with this rework of the "Good Samaritan" is that it is pointless. You have taken "Joe the denominational leader" and portrayed him as "Joe the man". If I have to make a management decision at work, some people aren't going to like it [they never do!]. That's the problem with dealing with multiple people. But I'm not uncompassionate. I just can't please everyone when dealing with many people. The answer? Don't deal with many people! Let's you and I deal with the problems on our doorstep today and not be trying to organise what the entire neighbourhood is going to eat tonight.

At this point the question 'why be associated with the wcg' beckons, and hopefully I've already answered it above.

As for your second 'clarification', ie the example about the extorted neighbour...

This is a trend in society today, not just in the wcg. After the ruthless empire builders of the first half of this century and the blind idealism of the Baby Boomer generation, it seems that the 90's (& 2000's?) is a period where we all want reconciliation. Let me clarify that. Monetary reconciliation.

Perhaps this is something to be debated (ie. give back the percentage that coworkers paid over the last 70 years to their survivors, at a phenomenal legal and accounting cost, which comes out of the payment, and then if people want it they can keep it), but not by me.

As far as I'm concerned, what money I paid in my life until now whether it be to a church, to the bank to buy my car, to pay for rent, to buy food or whatever is spent. As an adult I have to accept the fact that what I do now will affect my future. If I spend or donate money today it's money I don't have tomorrow etc.

I bought a car some years ago that was a bomb (though I didn't realise at the time), and spent way too much money on it. When it had a problem in the first few weeks, I took it backed and had it 'fixed' under warranty. What I didn't realise was that the mechanic at the car yard just siliconed up the engine rather than fitting a gasket or repairing it properly.

When I found out, I was decidedly peeved. But what am I going to do? I can't wind the clock back. Let's move on. Life isn't meant to be easy. Sorry to everyone who thinks it is. The luxurious standard of living experienced by many living in nations such as the U.S. and Australia are at the expense of many poor people struggling to make ends meet who have to sell at rock bottom dollar in order to get any sale at all. Capitalism is a religion of its own too.

Perhaps it's high time we started giving what we have and don't _need_ to others who do _need_ it (the definition of _need_ being at the discretion of the individual, and not a doctrinal statement!), and stop badmouthing other people. The more we enter into slanging matches, the less motivated they'll be to be seen doing the same thing as us.

So yes, I understand that there's probably people out there who've gotten mad at me too. Perhaps I said something. Or perhaps it's because I'm the spawn of a local elder who they blindly have chosen to hate because he represents the church, and not because he's a person. A person who spent his entire life working underpaid in one job most days of the week to support a family; then working for free in every other hour for the church, often at the expense of time with the family, and eventually at the expense of his health and his life, much to the rejoicing of those who claimed every turn for the worse was punishment by God for sin.

So ultimately, noone can say "the ball's in your court". The fact is theres a lot of balls, and their in all our courts. It's just a matter of who's going to choose to act positively.

I don't want to be seen as opening or continuing a debate, I've merely chosen to express my views in response to your invitation. I'm not a minister, and I don't feel that I should burdern our local Pastor (who gets enough of this sort of questioning from past & present members and is on medication in order to cope) with it either. Perhaps someone else will, but I'm not sure that it's really worth the debating, is it?

I appreciate your desire to express your thoughts and feelings on these pages, and will probably drop in from time to time to see what new crops up.

My question to people who visit the pages, regardless of point of view, would have to be something like: Why be consumed with bitterness? Can't we move on? Say you're an ex-wcg'er that eats shellfish. Great! As far as I'm concerned, that means you now have common ground with people that do and don't eat shellfish (regardless of their reason). Use it to your advantage! Don't lament the loss of years of shellfish eating! (It's an example please noone take umbrage at my choice of example!)

I could write a book on my wcg experiences (why bother, someone's probably already writing it) but I've got to say, that growing up in the wcg was sort of like growing up in real life. Once I left home, I no longer had the rules and legalisms to bind me. I had to choose what to do and which way to go for myself. My choices impacted my life greater, because there wasn't a safety net to catch me, but ultimately the choices I make can have a greater impact.

Out here in the boonies (and it is; our congregation's like 1500 to 2000 miles to the next one) it all seems so much easier...

I was hurt too, once. But now I'm healed. And I work in a hospital for people with similar injuries. Because where there's life, there's hope.

I hope I've not offended you or anyone, Ed. The problem with dealing with scars so close to the heart is they're often the most painful. If I've offended, I'm sorry, please forgive. If you think this is hate mail then please simply ignore it. It turned out to be much longer than I'd anticipated (don't they always?)

Love in Christ.

Ben

REPLY

Ben,

I will reply to the points that I feel are relevant to the Samaritan page in question.

You wrote:

The fact of the matter is you _cannot_ be "saved" based on the denomination you attend.

Reply:

Not worried about being saved. Don't feel I am lost, don't feel anyone is lost. This is a term used by religion pimps to get you to join their denomination. There is no evidence outside of the Bible that anyone is lost or saved and once the bible is debunked for the fairy tale book that it is, there is no reason to feel lost or saved.

You wrote:

We are all every one of us, from the oldest minister to the youngest kid going to have to give an account for our lives to God.

Reply:

That is your belief, not a fact. The fact is that none of us knows for sure. Take away your bible and you would not be so sure of what you are saying.

You wrote:

But if I think this, then why did I go back to the wcg? A couple of reasons. First, like Paul suggests, I have chosen to stay with the faith into which I was called.

Reply:

Sorry, that is just so irrational. You are taking it for granted that your God is so cruel that He would call you into an abusive cult. I suppose the Jim Jones members were obligated to stay in his cult and drink the Kool-Aid because that is where God "called them?" Sorry, I prefer to believe that my stupidity and gullibility and desire to follow God called me into the "faith." There is no obligation to stay stupid and gullible although many indeed do so of their own free will.

You wrote:

Secondly, there are other hurt people there too. It would be selfish of me to leave these people behind, some of whom are still searching and confused.

Reply:

And that is why I provide the Painful Truth, as an public service, to show these people that they should not be trusting men or a book to lead them to God.

You wrote:

And if I left, where would I go?

Reply:

Well, you would probably just trade one cult for another one. One version of Christianity for another, still being misled and misused by unscrupulous men who do not have the same desire to follow God as you do but are willing to take advantage of your gullibleness and unwillingness to search for God on your own. Maybe you need someone to teach you and lead you. Maybe you are not able to think and reason so you depend on people who are either just as gullible as yourself or who are genuine con-men.

You wrote:

What I didn't realise was that the mechanic at the car yard just siliconed up the engine rather than fitting a gasket or repairing it properly. When I found out, I was decidedly peeved. But what am I going to do?

Reply:

Well, what you do is you get yourself a lawyer and you tell this guy that he will either fix it correctly or you will see him in court. Do you just let everyone walk all over you? I'm looking for pure and simple Christian actions from a purportedly Christian church. They broke something and they should fix it not just keep the old money machine going.

You wrote:

So ultimately, noone can say "the ball's in your court". The fact is theres a lot of balls, and their in all our courts. It's just a matter of who's going to choose to act positively.

Reply:

Sorry, they have all the balls. They took the balls from poor people under false pretenses and now they will keep the balls and play with them while continuing to extract more balls from these same ignorant people. They are exposed by the Worldwide Church of God Samaritan for what they really are: Money grubbing, religion pimps who in no way believe in God. If there ever was a Christ, they make his name a shame by their actions. And, if you remain a member, you are just as guilty as the leaders of your church.

You wrote:

: Why be consumed with bitterness? Can't we move on?

Reply:

See my FAQ page

Regards,

Ed


 

I myself am recovering (for several years now) from the aftereffects of the Worldwide Church of God cult.

My brothers and sisters were all born "into" the church during the 60's and 70's and suffered a great deal. Looking back, I see how much of our lives have been shattered by the ordeal. It really cost us quite a bit of our spirits, lives and self-confidence.

I saw the guilt, depression and fear that was used to prevent dissent in the church. Around the age of 17, I started asking too many questions. Tithing didn't make any sense to me, and at the time, my parents had both been "disfellowshiped". I was living on my own and here they wanted me to give 10% of my student welfare check (around $538 a month, barely enough to cover my rent and food).

I didn't give the money. I felt just awful at first and then guilty. Then fearful and I realized at that moment that this was in no way a freedom of choice thing.

I went on to University and stumbled across a book on Herbert W. Armstrong in the back rows. They called the Worldwide Church of God a cult and it started to click in. There wasn't anyone really to validate what I thought at the time, and my confidence was crushed easily.

I have already been through hell. I'm glad that there are people like yourself out there that are getting the word out about this cult. I hear that they have changed and splintered recently, but there will always be a faction that will feed of low self worth.

My experience with these people and the misery it caused has lead me to shun religion completely. I decided that I would live (for once) as if God WASN'T looking over my shoulder. What a relief!

David


 

I visited your Website and do appreciate the fact that there are some out there who seek to free the people from their "captivity" of the evil system that spiritually stifled many babes in Christ.

I am currently looking for a book entitled "Daughter of Babylon-The True History of Worldwide" by Bruce Renehan. I thought you might could help me out.

Keep up the good work.

thanks -

myra


 

Dear Sir,

I recently read Joseph Tkach's book 'Transformed by Truth' which depicts the undoing of the WWCG and the doctrinal errors of that sect. Do you know of any other publications that are more detailed in their description of what they used to believe and or personal accounts of former members who have left this Law keeping way of life. I am also interested in literature that refutes the claims of Armstrongism. Thank you for any assistance you may be able to provide.

Sincerely,

Charles

REPLY

Charles, Thank you for your message. I direct you to my Herbert W. Armstrong and Worldwide Church of God Exposed page: worldwide-church-of-god-exposed.htm Regards, Ed


 

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