Email: Sweet and Sour
(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)
Email, Indexed by DATE
New on 9/10/99:
You stated, "My website frees people."
With Warmest Regards,
Hi there, Ed.
I was reading your email from Tresa and your reply to her got me thinking that maybe I should share something I've learned since leaving the worst church going.
First, I need to say that I do believe the scriptures are "God-breathed". But I hate the way this book has been used a club by all who ordain themselves. A book which should bring us hope, is instead used for selfish evil.
After I left I had to decide to toss out the book, or not. I decided to take another look at it first, after asking God to help me forget all the "controlling" bullshit that was propagandized to me from the pulpit for 25 years. Then I asked for forgiveness for listening to the bullship. And then I generously gave God one last chance to show me what he's about. I saw something so wonderful and so loving it brought tears to my eyes. I saw over a hundred scriptures clearly stating that God intends to save everyone. And he's going to do it without any human being helping him. What a concept! This is the only "predestination" that I believe is meant for us. "Christ died so that all would be saved." As the saying goes, what part of "all" don't we understand?
No wonder no "hirelings" preach it. There goes their sway, their hold, their lifestyle. No one would ever need a "minister" to lead them to salvation. And, this is the best part: no one is more special than any other. God really is that loving.
On another note, my husband and I were saddened to learn of John Trechak's death. Thank you for posting the letter from Bruce Renehan. John was a hero to me.
I am putting on my "tolerance hat" since you have obviously escaped from the Worldwide Church of God cult and since you offered no bible verses. If you can still believe the bible after reading all the anti-bible info that I try to make available to you, so be it. As I have said before, I really don't think it makes any difference what we believe because we are all wrong.
Thanks for forwarding that letter from Bruce about John Trechak to me.
All I knew about him was that he was the Ambassador Report guy. I was very interested to hear about him personally and learning those details made him "real" to me.
As with all of us who have sites or speak out on Herbmania, we are much more than our Worldwide Church of God component. Despite what people must think, we have very rich lives apart from our connection with Herbert and company.
I know some people who visit your site or mine think our homes are squalid dens of Herbert W. Armstrong hatemongering with defaced pics of him on the walls and reminders of him all over the place. Or that we are consumed in our waking hours with spewing vitriolic diatribes on "the church."
My home, like yours, is typical middle class Americana in the suburbs. We have almost nothing in the house that would tell anyone we were ever a member a fringe cult. The Graveyard Church of God is a computer in a spare bedroom and my "church library" is one shelf of a bookcase.
I am more than the Graveyard Church of God and you are much more than the Painful Truth. I like philosophy, architecture, military history, popular culture, modern art and western swing music from the 1930s. I liked meeting you and getting to know more than just your Website.
I now know John Trechak was much more than the Ambassador Report guy.
I was indeed saddened by the news of the death of John Trechak, which you have reported on your Website.
Although I never knew John personally, I submitted several pieces to Ambassador Report, which he was kind enough to publish. His words of encouragement regarding my writing were deeply appreciated. Most importantly, John will be missed by so many because of his relentless focus on the truth of what was happening, and is still happening, in the Worldwide Church of God and, later, its spiritual daughters. He helped to break the chains of bondage which held so many captive to the Worldwide Church of God, including me. We all owe him a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid for exposing spiritual and worldly corruption in what so many of us thought was "the True Church of God." In doing so, he led us to discover on our own where the "one true church" exists.
Vaya con Dios, John.
I'm very sorry to learn of John Trechak's passing. I owe a lot to his courageous efforts, as do no doubt a countless number of your readers. I didn't start to read Ambassador Report until 1996, after the changes at Worldwide Church of God had given me back enough of my thinking capabilities to actually do a little research and thinking for myself. But once I did start getting into past issues, it became all too obvious that Worldwide Church of God had not really come clean about the past, and that it was not a healthy organization to continue to associate with.
It could not have been easy for John to take the stand for truth that he did back in the 70's. It could not have been easy to go against the Armstrong mind-control methods that so dominated most of our unsuspecting and fear-numbed minds. Most of us at that time were mortally afraid to even THINK, let alone SAY anything negative about HWA or "the church". But John took an unpopular stand, and has since been proven to be "right on" in most all of what he uncovered and brought to light.
I thank God that there are such men as John who were willing to do what is right, no matter what the cost. His example is one of the things that has spurred me one in the writings that I post from time to time. He will be missed.
I was sorry to hear of the death of John Trechak.
His work on the Ambassador Report was recognized by many cult watchers and people who try diligently to help former members of Worldwide Church of God reach peace. Though I did not know John personally, I will be forever grateful for his work.
Despite a great deal of personal attack, John continued to write and investigate in the hope of providing people with information that would lead to their personal freedom. He will be missed by many who he touched. May we continue his legacy.
May God bless John's family and be with them during this difficult time.
New on 9/12/99:
I would like to add ministers to your disfellowshipped ministers list, and be added to your list of disfellowshippers.
Here are my nominations:
Frank McCrady III, now with UCG (I assume the Frank McCrady you listed is Frank McCrady Jr., the man who terrorized the New York City area congregations from 1979 to 1984. He was my first pastor.) Mike Grovak, a "local church elder" with UCG; Paul Kieffer, the leader of the "German work" for UCG; Lambert Greer, now a "minister" for the Living Church of God; Roy Holladay, now with UCG; Lyle Welty, now with UCG.
Feel free to give my e-mail address email@example.com
Marc A. Mojica
To those who keep saying, "You're throwing the baby out with the bath," please listen closely.
You are absolutely correct. I am indeed throwing the baby out with the bath because it is the baby that is the problem. The water merely indicates the degree of contamination from the source. It does not really enter into the equation. In the case of Armstrongism, the baby, the source of contamination, was born of a union of misguided zeal and unbridled greed. The baby is a bastard. It has no legitimate parents. Those who wish to adopt it have every right to do so and to give it everything it demands. But the baby is still a bastard. It has no authority to make any demands on anyone. The only authority the little bastard has is that which has been given to it. I once gave it total authority over my life. The more I gave it, the more it wanted. But no more. I reject it totally. No amount of bath water will
change its illegitimate birth or its heritage. To accept Armstrongism in any of its myriad manifestations is to align ones self with its sordid past. I do not choose to continue doing so. The only choices are to accept it for what it is or to reject it totally. Merely giving it a bath is not an option because it changes nothing. But throwing the baby out with the bath is an option because it removes the source of the contamination. And all of the bath water should go with it. It is pointless to try to recycle contamination, even though the number of self appointed ministers would seem to indicate otherwise. Therefore I do confess to the act of throwing the baby out with the bath, and encourage others to do likewise, because doing so is the first step toward freedom from a self-imposed tyranny.
Have you heard what happened to ROGER FOSTER? He was our pastor in 1971 to 1972 and I have totally LOST track of him? Is he still with the Worldwide Church of God? He seemed genuine.
Just wanted to know.
AC grad, 1978
Just discovered your Website yesterday. Very cool. I printed off "Daughter of Babylon" and have been looking at it and find it very healing and refreshing. Thank you very much for the wonderful work you are doing.
I am not a former member because I was a baptismal reject in the first place ("rebellious" he said...). Nonetheless, the church had a profound influence on my life and left me screwed up for many years.
New on 9/20/99:
Many of us ex's feel the same way. But we have also found that others don't really understand. Many of us have started e-mailing each other to help each other.
Karen k @gdinet.com
Hi Just discovered your Website yesterday. Very cool. I printed off "Daughter of Babylon" and have been looking at it and find it very healing and refreshing. Thank you very much for the wonderful work you are doing.
I am not a former member because I was a baptismal reject in the first place ("rebellious" he said...). Nonetheless, the church had a profound influence on my life and left me screwed up for many years.
You will have to stand before your maker one day and give an account for judging some one else.
He that shows no mercy will receive no mercy
Sounds to me as though you are "judging" me. I guess it is okay for you to do but not me. Guess I am not supposed to use my brain to decide good from evil.
I would love to be standing beside ol' herbie when he receives his judgement. Believe me, all my "sins" put together couldn't hold a candle to one weeks worth of this apostle's bright shining light of godly virtue.
And throwing your bible verses at someone who holds the bible as of no value, will not do a lot of good or damage, whichever way you intend it.
Not a bit scared of your god or your bible.
First I want to say that when I read about your wife dying, I needed to write to you and apologize for that. I apologize because even though I can't fault myself for it, I know what a simple apology can do.
After reading your apology pages, even though not very many ministers signed, I found myself close to tears because of how good it felt for someone to finally point out all that there is to apologize for.
My oldest brother faced death when he was just fifteen because of the teachings of the cult, he was taken to the hospital to die (We are of the last generation that was supposedly "easy"). The doctors said there was no hope for him, all because we had waited too long to bring him in. He would have died from a simple case of measles combined with pneumonia, but he survived. I know it is not the same as losing a loved one, but having been that close I wanted to be sure you knew that I am sorry.
I also want to thank you for this website, it's as healing as it is painful. Although I don't know how you aren't hurt by the hatemail that flows in, I'm glad you withstand it and aren't afraid to share it to show how ignorant some people can be. Thank you for daring to show people that we all have a right to be angry, and moreso that we all have a right to survive and move on with our lives, without trivializing what we suffered through.
I just came home and found my wife finishing up this letter. She wrote it throughout the day with tears in her eyes. She has a way of writing from the heart and I felt she did one super job. She asked me to try to forward it to you. I hope you get this ok.
It's actually a reply to John B., and his "Get Over It" article on your site. John did not give his email address. Would you be able to pass this on to him? We really would appreciate it.
My dear wife too, came into Worldwide Church of God as a little child over 40 years ago! She too has quite a story which is only very partly mentioned in her note to John. Ed, if you think it appropriate and if you think it helpful, Sharron has asked me to mention to you, that you have her full permission to place this on your website. Perhaps it just might help somebody.
Ed we've never written to you before, but we do check your site frequently. We know there must be times when you must question what you have going here and if it is all worth it. We can tell you that it IS worth it! We believe this site is visited by many silent onlookers.
You are doing a tremendous service in spite of the flack you receive. Many, of the true life experiences we have read about on your website parallel with ours. We have sometimes been brought to an emotional bond with the hurt ones, as we could feel their grief! Been there, done that!
We don't know you, but we admire your efforts greatly. Thanks so much.
Len and Sharron
Len and Sharron,
Thanks for your messages and support.
These are the types of things that I had in mind when I started the PT. Not a place for whining but a place for people to tell it like it really was. People's lives have been irretrievably changed by this cult and a simple "I'm sorry" doesn't cut it.
Tkach has said he is sorry, but is that good enough? "Oh, by the way, I'm sorry. Now get on with your lives and keep sending those tithes in for God's work. And, if you don't forgive me and the church, you are in danger of eternal death."
The only "sorry" that is acceptable to me is for them to quit the religion business. Give up the money. That is sorry. That is too hard for these money-hungry godpimps to do. At least honest pimps can deliver the goods, the godpimps only deliver promises and fantasy and pick your pockets.
Best Regards, Ed
To whom it may concern,
What did Mr.. Armstrong do when his prophesies did not come true? Did he blame it on God
When his prophesies did not come true, he blamed it on us, saying that they would still happen but since we, the bride of Christ, were not ready yet, God had to postpone the end time.
He was slick.
I've just registered a new page, www.whathaveyoudone.org
New on 9/21/99:
We've never met . . . at least I don't remember it, if indeed we did.
It was 1979 that I departed Herbie's cult and set out for freedom. So did 90% of the Hawaiian church congregation. I was the pastor. Whewwww!!!!!!!!!!
In that time of transition, I felt some guilt about leaving "The church." But when I looked back on the tangled mess of incredible crap that precipitated it, I can only feel grateful that God had another plan. It's twenty years later but I've never forgotten the Worldwide Church of God experience. Since there's nothing Biblical about "forgive and forget," I decided to forgive. But, IF I forgot, then I'd be the idiot who'd let it happen again.
So, I remember everything. Maybe someone can profit from the experience. Wanna hear the story? I can upload you a file, but what format? Text? Word? Wordperfect? What? Please lemme know if you want the story.
Best, and thanx 4 the site.
Please do send me all you have. Nice to have some inside info. Can I use your name?
Please note the Ministerial Apology page. It was not meant to be for ministers admitting to all the things mentioned but merely to admit that they were a part of the system and are sorry that they had a part of any people being harmed by that system. Even people I consider good friends, who were ministers or elders, do not want to sign it because they don't figure they did anything wrong.
How can I ever shame the bad ministers if even the good ones refuse to admit they were a part of a system that harmed people?
Whatever. Thanks for the post. If you have anything else that would be interesting, please send it along.
I was NOT aware of the apology page. Certainly, I have nothing against signing it, as I'm most assuredly responsible for my own actions, and have undoubtedly damaged many souls in my tenure as a "loyal" minister. Also, I'm not against having my name known IF you think it would help.
Yes, I'm guilty of doing wrong, and I'm just as guilty in my ministerial misdoing as the Nazis were in following Hitler. They used the excuse: "I wuz chust folloving orders." We, as ex-Worldwide Church of God ministers, have (in effect) said the same.
But that does NOT excuse us.
Herbie, who read, studied and implemented MEIN KAMPF into his doctrines starting in the 1930s, was a type of Hitler. Even though the Nazis honestly believed Hitler, those individuals had to eventually take full responsibility for their actions, despite the fact that Hitler was a ranting, raving, demonically possessed maniac. They may have really "believed" they were doing the right thing in following this madman, but that excuse doesn't change the damage they've done.
The same goes for the Worldwide Church of God minister. While we may have honestly believed Herbie and his Lieutenants, he too was a madman of Hitler's ilk. And as such, we as ex-ministers, must have the courage to accept the fact that we're guilty as well by following that lunatic and implementing his orders. No wonder Paul said: "Don't rush to be teachers, as you'll receive the greater condemnation."
So Ed, there's no problem about signing an apology page as long as people get to see it. It's the least any ex can do.
My problem now is with myself and the inexorable karma that I've reaped. "Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap." Even though we've left the cult and helped others to do so, does NOT change the fact that we have done enormous wrong prior to our leaving. To say that we're now "OK" is the same as an ex-Nazi saying: "I'm not a Nazi anymore, so I've done no wrong."
For my part, I can only wish that God would somehow disintegrate my spiritual formula and forget the reassembly . . . forever. As long as there's a "me," there will always be the heartache for what I've done. Since I sowed the problem, I ought to reap the consequences. I think the word for the way I feel is utter "remorse." A simple apology to the brethren is too simple a compensation for the damages done to so many. Even my (karmic) death wouldn't help them now.
There are many times that I'd like to find the nearest Black Hole and crawl inside.
Best & blessings.
Thanks for volunteering for the Apology Page:
People can't understand why former ministers will not sign. I think that, if they are just laid off, they are given some kind of deal where they get paid for a certain amount of time but they have to keep their mouths shut or have to return the money. But what about the ones who leave in disgust? They don't see the enormity of what they had been a part of. They think that, since they were not a "bad" minister, then they bear no responsibility. I don't see it that way.
Now your attitude reflects the true repentance that I can accept. It is truly heartfelt and not superficial. This has got to be acceptable to God whereas Tkach's "I'm sorry. You have to forgive me. Now get on with your lives" has got to stink to the highest heaven.
Yes, you did things that affected people's lives irretrievably, but every day of our lives we all are making decisions that affect other people. People may live or die because I decide to go to the grocery store at 3pm instead of 4pm. We never see how we have changed things for other people though. You can see or imagine the results with your cult experience.
Most of you ministers were victims also. You got sucked in just like the rest of us.
That does not excuse the ministry, but with true repentance, it is forgivable.
Because of your heartfelt repentance, I forgive you for being just as stupid and gullible as the rest of us.
At last, a former minister who understands how I feel about this whole thing.
Sure, go ahead. Please use my name, as I think you said it carried more credibility that way. If you post the article, please lemme know where it'll be.
"They don't see the enormity of what they had been a part of. They think that, since they were not a "bad" minister, then they bear no responsibility. I don't see it that way."
And neither do I. Like the book says: "There is none good . . . no not one." This tells me that all "misses of the mark" should be repaired if necessary. But, for the life of me, I don't see how I can restore the possible mess I may have caused in people's lives. Anyhow, I'll keep an open heart and mind, and do whatever I can whenever I can. And I'll check out the Apology site now, and do what's necessary. Thanks 4 the kind words.
Blessings, peace, etc.
Another follow up.
Sure, I was wrong, and I grieved for years over what I'd done, even though I honestly believed I was doing the right thing.
But that's NO excuse. I was wrong, and people were mislead, even though they finally exited.
My big sin was NOT investigating Herbie more thoroughly, even though that's somewhat difficult from Connecticut (where we first came to Worldwide Church of God). But even though I had the greatest "ministerial" intentions, I misled people, and in my ignorance, probably hurt more folks that I know.
While Worldwide Church of God was the catalyst to propel us onto a "spiritual" path, it left its trail of destruction.
New on 9/22/99:
Last night I perused the site again. Thanks for putting my name on the Apology list. But I was a little bit disappointed Where are all the other names? There are only three. No one else is guilty???????
Something's missing here. Does any ex-minister out there, get it? Is no one at fault? Are they saying that there's "no more problem?"
I was disturbed in spirit enough to write an open letter to the Worldwide Church of God ministry on the subject.
With your permission, and after reading it, I would like to request that you publish this for all the ex's to see. Please with permission don't put it away as an E-mail, but please stick it in front of these ministers' noses so they CANNOT miss it.
I'm really feeling disturbed (nothing too bad) that only three people have bothered to apologize. As for the open letter . . .
I hope it's read. I hope you agree. And I hope something good happens.
Best 2 U.
John O.. Enlyten@aol.com
Will certainly publish the letter. Later tonight.
The "ministry" will read it. I know they monitor my site. Plus, shortly after I published the Disfellowship page, I got 240 hits in one 8 hour period on it. Had to be mostly "ministers" or former ministers. The news will get out.
I won't get my hopes up that it will do much good though, these guys are in deep denial.
New on 10/3/99:
I just wanted to pass a message along to John B....as I read his recent "Reply to 'Get Over It'" I really felt he expanded eloquently on what I was trying to say with "It Wasn't All Bad..." I appreciate his insights and it's always great to know there's someone else out there struggling with the same issues.
I enjoyed Russell's letter from God. I feel like you hit the nail on the head about many things in your letter. Why is there got to be so much strife among people of different religious beliefs? Each thinks his is superior to all the rest. It would be great if we could just except each others differences and love one another. It will probably never happen in our life time. Huh? Better to love and do good for others than be a self righteous religious fanatic.
I have seen many changes in my nephew in law since his return from SEP camp. I have known his family has followed the Worldwide Church of God, but did not realize what it was all about until my recent concerns from his changes and reviewing some of the material on the internet.
Please let me know if there is any information, wisdom or facts I may pass along to help set him on the "right track."
Any and all comments would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
Actually, I don't think it is, now, any worse than Assemblies of God, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, etc. They are all just different versions of the Jesus Cult. I don't have any use for any of them.
The "right track" would be to get your nephew out of religion entirely. Probably just about impossible because people do not believe a religion because they have proof, they believe because they want to believe. It is all based on faith, which means "I have no proof and I'm proud of it."
Rather than try to disprove his brand of religion, I would say that you should educate him about the falsity of belief in the Bible as being God's word. That is very easy to disprove and makes belief in Christianity even more irrational than it already is, with the Bible. This could cause him to start thinking for himself and eventual freedom from religion.
Probably not exactly what you had in mind, but good luck.
If nothing else, just leave him alone and be a friend to him. Arguing religion is such a waste of time.
Thanks, Ed, for posting "Russell"s webpage www.whathaveyoudone.org Most of my writing is like that, but more succinct, more ranting, but very much like that. I really enjoyed Russ' page.
And thanks for posting John O.'s "Hawaii" story. Wife and I, still members of Worldwide Church of God, at least until the first week in October, celebrated the feast and our wedding honeymoon there in 1982. Our "hired holy man" goes off salary in a couple weeks. He is in the Ouvrier tradition. If he leaves town we will miss him, because he is a New Covenant preacher; we've learned much from him in the past four years. All denominations err; all larger than house sized fellowship groups require at least some money to cover even meager expenses.
By the way, you may wonder why we continue in Worldwide Church of God. Neither of us were Armstrongites. In fact, the only times I heard Herbert W. Armstrong was when they rarely played a tape during a church service. But I've much preferred the zeal and enthusiasm of the Worldwide Church of God as compared to mainstream denominations. (I was Lutheran, I was Episcopalian, I'll never go back to those denominations; we may move on to something like the Vineyard--we'll see.) Herbert W. Armstrong was wrong about many things, but can you, Ed, abide the trinity? can you, Ed, abide going to heaven? Not me! Don
I guess I don't understand your question: "Can you abide the trinity? can you, Ed, abide going to heaven?"
Don't understand the term "abide" I guess. My dictionary says it means: " To put up with; endure. To comply with." I presume you are asking if I am afraid of the trinity or afraid of not going to heaven?
Unless you can give me some proof that there is such a thing as a Trinity or even heaven, without using your Bible, then, no, I am not afraid.
I am not afraid of Santa Claus, fairy tales, magicians, Satan, demons, ghosts, Jesus, dragons, curses, ministers, elders, deacons, etc.
I am not afraid of a God that would make women eat dirt off the temple floor to prove (by living or dying) whether or not they have not been unfaithful to their husbands, yet do nothing to their husbands.
I am not afraid of a God that would induce men to obey his commandments by promising them that he would assist them in murdering their neighbors, including women and children; or that he ever commanded a man to kill his wife because she differed with him about religion.
I am not afraid of a God that would stop the sun in the sky so that "God's People" could continue to massacre other people.
I could go on an on but, Sheeeeesh........... such a god!
I am not afraid of such a god because there is no way that I would want to spend eternity with such a being.
This is the God of the Bible.
I do not mean to suggest that this is the God or Spirit or Entity that I do believe in and that I do think exists. This I base on the evidence of my own experiences and logic. No myths or superstitions. Its called using your brain, the only thing I can be reasonably sure that God gave me.
You did get it! You don't put up with the trinity--neither do I. You don't put up with going to heaven--neither do I. The trinity is not in the bible, only in the imaginations of theologians. Heaven? the 1st heaven--where the birds and airplanes and astronauts fly. the 2nd heaven--where the sun, moon, and stars, and other stuff fly. the 3rd heaven--the throne of God, until it is brought to earth (God knows why, I don't).
Ed, you knew all this stuff before I wrote it herein. You ain't no dummy. I enjoy your Painful Truth Website; it demonstrates intelligence beyond that exhibited by many (most) Worldwide Church of God preachers I've known (100+) (I've experienced nearly all those things on the apology list, except those specific to Ambassador College).
Forgive me, Ed, for taking issue with some of your expressed sentiments--but I do believe we all have s'more to learn. Life is a game: God puts us into the game (by birth). Satan rules us (by whatever rules we choose to follow, or believe in, or not believe in). Time and chance take us out of the game (by death). So there is more to it than the game. I hope you and I manage to get to whatever goes beyond the game, but it will probably take some more of our thinking on it to do so. Any religion (atheism is a religion too), any denomination, or "church" group, even any loner, is just playing a game.
Thanks for clarifying for me. Glad to hear we are closer in our thinking than I might have thought.
You are right, we all have a lot to learn.
God has divinely nixed the sale of Big Sandy to allow the Apostle one last look at the campus. The Apostle has asked me to plan a trip for him to Big Sandy this fall to retrieve relics. They will be incorporated into a FREE (no cost, no obligation, no follow-up) GYCG cyber-museum to share these treasures with the brethren. This is just another lid God has opened to do the work.
So far, God has inspired the Apostle to obtain:
A small vial of sand from the beach at Lake Loma.
A pine comb from the Piney Woods.
A piece of rust from Booth City.
Holy water from the Egret fountain. A piece of asphalt from the airstrip.
A blade of grass from the golf course.
The GYCG already has a crusty Honey Bear from the dining hall.
These holy relics need to be archived in a secure place for posterity. It may be the only link many will ever have with the tithe money they gave for so many years.
I ask that if anyone has a request or suggestion, please send it in to the Caretaker at firstname.lastname@example.org. This may be our only chance to save and conserve the history of the Big Sandy campus.
It will be a while before I can sort out things. But mainly I have felt very lonely. I thought I had a family in the church. I met some people but I'm not sure about them yet. This had caused so much division that its interesting what comes out. I wanted to love and be a friend and still do.
It has helped to know that some have faces this as you have. I have had to face that I was duped and now I feel so stupid. But mostly I miss my family. Thanks again
Thanks for your message. Yes, it will take time and a lot of thinking to finally sort everything out. Now, if you can find the true freedom that is out there, freedom from religion, you will find that you have a lot more people that you can love and be a friend to.
Yes, we were stupid, but we are a lot smarter for it now. Be sure not to make the same mistakes again.
I certainly enjoy your site.
I too, was once lured into the "plain truth" but the Lord Jesus was gracious to me and now I have found the salvation of the Bible.
Keep up the good work God has given you to do as you expose the corpse of Herbies Heresies.
I have a few things to say:
I came to the church through another family. I was a sixteen year old Catholic that did not know much about the bible at all. My boyfriend who was in the church challenged my beliefs and made me "proove all things" from the bible, instead of trusting Catholic tradition. From the time I left home at 18, WWCG became my church, and my second family. I just want to say that I never held bitterness in my heart toward my parents for making me go to catholic mass, nor was I forever damaged by the teen activites/ peer pressure I encountered in the catholic church. Anyway, I eventually went to Ambassador in Big Sandy and was shocked at how people that grew up in the church behaved. I felt so fortunate to have the opportunity to be at Ambassador. Ironically,many of the people at Big Sandy took every chance they could to thumb their nose at the church, when they weren't pretending to be saints in the presence of the faculty, that is. I guess going to Ambassador was easier than just telling their parents how they really felt about things, you know, like an adult would. When I left my catholic tradition for the WWCG, it was hard, damn hard, but I had the courage of my convictions and would never have attended a catholic university only to undermine its mission at every turn. But I digress. I was in Big Sandy when Mr. Tkach Senior made his big "Sabbath breaking is okay" speech and was just as suprized as everyone else, but I did what the church always told us to do, I went to the bible, and without my catholic traditions, without my WWCG beliefs, I read the bible for what it said--no "mis-translated verses" no "It says this but really means that"--but I read it at face value and for once in my life, I trusted God's words, not man's. The point is, it is HARD to admit mistakes. The church did something that was courageous, maybe even unprecedented--it admitted it was wrong on VERY fundamental issues. It took guts for Mr. Tkach to do that, when it would have been so much easier not to say a damn thing and keep everything "status quo." I am no longer in the church. This is not becuase I am angry or bitter, but because the church was honest with me and told me there is no sin in joining another church community as long as they believe the one fundamental truth--that Christ died for my sins, because he LOVES me! There was no WWCG in my community, and I wanted to get to know and become a part of a church in my own community. There was no guilt in leaving WWCG, and if I ever move to a community where they are, I would be honored to attend church with them again. The right thing is not always the easy, comfortable thing, but it is the right thing. Face it, WWCG, when all is said and done, did the right thing.
(Those of you with sincere tales to tell, the following is not directed toward you. Instead it is to those who only have hate and discord in their hearts, who go from website to website, spreading their hate like a plague)
I think it is sad that so many on this site, and others, are just using it as a forum to bash and blame the church. Now hear this people: You had a choice! If you left-great! Good luck on whatever path you chose. But those of you that were at Ambassador, who attended church, and would only give the church the finger when the pastors weren't looking--GET A LIFE! Don't blame the church for your own cowardice. We all choose paths in life, pick one and don't look back. Be an adult.
I just had to get that off my chest. Thanks.
If you want to flame others you will have to give your name. Don't be a coward. Stand up for yourself. Be an adult.
Your website is set up in such a sarcasitic way. Yes, I was hooked into this organization/church and hurt deeply by the lies. It is difficult to trust anyone now, but you are so stupid and you lack sincerity. It makes me sick to read your website.
I am researching to write a book about the 30+ years I spent in this church. It was wrong and the more I research the more I realize how wrong and I am upset by my findings about the Armstrongs I was a true believer and now trying to make sense of my life. It is a sick group of men who tried to rule the church.
Pass on facts, but leave off the sadistic editorializing.
I suppose your "book" will have no "editorializing?"
Whatever. My Website is as it is. You don't have to go there if you don't want. Please do spare yourself anymore trauma.
Make sure you don't use any material from my WebPages in your "book", it is all copywritten.
And why do people like you, who are so quick to throw your criticism around, so afraid to stand up for what you say by giving your name?
Warm regards ;-),
Dear Mr. ,
Thank you so much for your very up-front writing about how life really was in the WorldWide Church of God. As a young mother struggling for answers and hope for a marriage that should really never have been, I stayed in the church from 1972 until just a few years ago when I slowly began to ease myself away. Sadly to say, major depression with suicidal tendencies and wishes was part of that, I could not understand why I could not make life right for my family, why my prayers, my faithful attendance at "God's True Church" my obedience to rulings by a minister who judged me as one who should be told to leave the church because I dared to question my now ex-husband's sincerity and had gone to him for advice and help, telling him that my then husband was one person at home and another in front of church people. Fear indeed kept me in "The Church." In that regard, my suffering from major depression was one of the greatest blessings in my life. I was too tired to make the 60 mile trip to church and another 60 miles back home, not to mention the two hours of sitting through long drawn out sermons that could have been finished in 30 minutes tops and been more enlightening and appreciated.
I did a very good job in raising my children in the "Church." They don't actually still go to WorldWide, but three out of six of them attend the United Church of God regularly, one goes to holy days and the feast with that group, another believes himself to be an atheist (my youngest, who was also suicidal at the same time I was he was only 15 at that time), and another son whose practices are similar to yours he believes in God but does not attend any church.
I personally am committing what many members of WWCG would consider a terrible sin I am attending a Catholic Church with the man I am engaged to. Am I a member of this church? No, but I am having a wonderful time reading about history and sorting out facts from fallacies that I was taught by the WWCG. So far, I haven't met anyone who is trying to lead me down the path to serve and worship Mary, nor have I seen or heard anyone who does believe in worshiping Mary as I was led to believe Catholics did. The church we attend preaches and teaches about God and Christ and our responsibility to love one another as Christ set the example of loving the church it also teaches us that the commandments are commandments, not suggestions, etc.
I am treated with genuine love and concern, sincere wishes for the best in my life, forgiveness for my sins and know that everyone there, including the priest, realizes that they too, not just me, are sinners and that it is through God's divine grace that we are forgiven for those sins each and every time we commit them if we are sincerely repentant and doing our very best to not willfully sin.
I am so very thankful to be away from both the WWCG and the United Church of God. I am thankful my children had God in their lives as they grew up. I ache for the fact that it was I who worked so diligently to instill within them the sense of guilt that continues to keep them in the positions they are in and pray constantly that God will help them to find the real truth and begin to live their lives as God would truly want them to live them, in peace with all of the fruits of the spirit, not burdened with constant fear and guilt.
My oldest daughter has extreme anger and hate toward me because the minister I spoke of earlier went to her constantly on every Y.O.U. outing, church activity, etc., and sought her out to question her about what was going on between her father and I in regard to our marriage, the problems we were having, etc., because I had gone to him for counseling. He had no right to do this to her. I didn't know he was until many years later and did not totally understand where all of her distancing from me and her anger toward me was coming from until the past few weeks when I asked all of my kids if they would be willing to tell the Catholic Tribunal officials whether or not they considered the marriage between their dad and I to be one in which the vows we took were sacred and understood in the manner in which God would have them to be understood, therefore treating each other with the love, respect, concern, etc., that a marriage that was/is sanctified by God and that sanctity understood by both parties would have in it.
Thank you again for the information you have posted. It is greatly appreciated and helps me to confirm even more fully the beliefs I have that there is a God, He knows our hearts and our intentions and it is to Him that I look for my answers, and who I thank for helping me to finally realize that He gave me a mind and I am to use it, not allow others to control it.
Glad to hear that you can benefit from the PT.
Sadly interesting that you would mention suicidal tendencies because I just found out that another former member of our little local congregation of the Worldwide Church of God (about 200 max, counting children) killed himself. That makes two in the last 9 months.
There was a lady, some time ago, that was going to do an article on suicides of members and former members but I guess it was too distressing for her, since her son had killed himself.
Glad to hear that you can use your brain now to make decisions. Don't you wish everybody could?
Mr. Mantell (sic):
I am a former member of the Worldwide Church of God (disfellowshipped in 1990). It was good to see the forum that you have created for those hurt and damaged by those who by force and cruetly (sic) have ruled over them. I noticed that you have become a declared atheist. It's good to be able to make up your own mind about what you believe. But, if your logic was to reject "religion" based upon the experience you had with the Worldwide Church of God, there is a hole in your logic. Isn't that your complaint about the Worldwide Church of God, that its logic was full of holes? I agree with you on that. It was full of theological holes. But you should not let yourself make the same mistake if you want to be a legitimate host for this site. Let me elaborate a little.
There i s a fundamental doctrine that makes a people or an assembly of people part of the MysticalC hurch (sic) of God and Christ. It is so simple that it is easy to miss. That doctrine is: the Bible, from Genisis (sic) to Revelation is all part of one Mountain. The four dispensations (the Law, the Prophets, the Gospels & Acts, and the Writings of the Apostles) make up its base. The seven books of Psalms make up its peak. Together, they make up Heaven and Earth in Crafstman (sic) form so that what cannot be seen is now seen by those who are wise. This is the one and only thing that made the Worldwide Church of God the continuation of the Church Mystical of Christ. But it was not enough to make it a Church of the Elect. It was the assembly of Sardis in continuation, but it was a Dead Church!
Herbert W. Armstrong was correct when he said that when he came among the Stanbury Church that it was spiritually dead as he pointed out in Revelation. But then, he skipped the next verse and went on to the section of Philadelphia as the next era of FAITH (not time). This was his BIG mistake. Read the next verse Mr. Mantel: the next verse says,"strengthen therefore the things that remain". And that is exactly what Herbert W. Armstrong did. He strengthened the things that remained of Sardis. But it was STILL SARDIS! It was still a dead church. And they did not repent. Many of us who took part did not repent. And what did we not rrepent (sic) of? We did not repent of our love of ritual as a substitute for God. The whole judgement on the ministers and on the people, and on the people who made themselves ministers ( the spinter (sic) groups) is in the book of Ezekiel. This is the captivity of the Church because the people loved ritual instead of the truth. So God caused us all to be taken captive by the Daughter of Babylon for 70 years (beginning in 1931). Herbert W. Armstrong was the king of the captivity, and because of his pride he could never see the truth. So, he was blind in his right eye twice.
So, you say. Then what is the truth? I will only give you a hint because the Mystery of GOd (sic) must remain a secret for a little while longer. The whole Bible is composed and edited according to time. It is not profane time that you can date by the calendar even though that is certainly present in the text. But, it is also composed of sacred time. The seven days of creation is only the first week of time in the Bible. The Bible is composed of a total of 7 years exactly of sacred time. And in this time is the form of the whole sacred world, and in the form of the sacred world is the purification of the body and soul, and in the purification of these things, the Church of the Elect can come to know God and be born of the Spirit. The Mystery of God was faithfully kept secret by those who came before. But, they left writings as signposts to help those along the way. Of these are Valantinus, and the alegorical (sic) Alchemists of Thiatyra. It was shown to me over the past 7 years by inspiration.
Be careful of what conclusions you draw Mr. Mantel, they may contain in them more error than Herbert W. Armstrong's.
Mr. James Sales (is that your real name?),
Just because a person rejects religion does not mean that they reject God. Nowhere on my Website will you find that I say that I am an atheist. I can sympathize with atheists though and understand why they feel the way they do.
Regarding your statement that I am rejecting religion based on what one church did to me, see my FAQ question #9.
As far as being a "legitimate host" for the PT, well, I guess you would have to talk to my mother about that, but as far as I know, I am legitimate. You obviously have not read much of the site or the FAQ or you would see that my logic is perfectly and unarguably logical. :-) That is, unless your own religious preconceptions get in your way, and I can see that they certainly do.
When I see you bringing up the Bible for your proofs, I can see that you are uneducated and caught up in myths and fairytales. I want nothing to do with your mystery god or mystery religion. If you have "the Truth", tell your god to leave me off of his list of favorites. Please do not share anymore of your "secrets" with me.
You may like to post the attached.
The e's are between myself and a guy called John who responded to one of my postings
Emails Between Two Ex-Members
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1999
Hello, there sir:
I asked when you joined the Worldwide Church of God, because I, myself was once a member. I joined in 1983 but have not attended since 1995. I live in Western Canada.
I surfed the Net and came across some websites from former members, that I found shocking. I have a hard time believing the things that I read against Herbert W. Armstrong. I don't know what to believe but I do know the results of being a member of the Worldwide Church of God, both negative and positive. What is the truth ??????
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999
Thanks for your email.
What is the truth? I believe that most of the stories, if not all of them, are true including those about Herbert W. Armstrong. I say I believe because part of the evidence to show that this is true can simply be taken by asking people about their personal experiences. A picture will build to assist in determining with the degree of possibility that it is true (sorry that this my sound somewhat academic). Remember, thinking and talking for oneself was not encouraged nor sharing feelings and looking outside our own little world (I can remember a minister telling us not to read religious material of other writers as they were 'uninspired' men).
On another note: you say you left the Worldwide Church of God. People only leave a religious organizations that are cult-like. If you are a Christian in the true sense of the word, one does not leave as one would cancel membership to golf club. Christianity is all encompassing and does not bind one to a small group who separate themselves from others and claim special knowledge not generally available to others. There were positive and negative things about the Worldwide Church of God/Herbert W. Armstrong, BUT WE DIDN'T HAVE A CHOICE! within the true sense and meaning of freedom (I know I didn't).
Again, what is the truth? Did you have a full relationship with Jesus Christ as personal saver (please excuse me, I am a true Christian now) and were you empowered with the Holy Spirit as opposed to a 'spirit of control' or whatever other culture/spirit was in your church area. My days with the Worldwide Church of God were one of being under a spirit of control, being made to feel and believe I was a lesser person.
If you want to make a comparison between the ex-members sites with another ex-cult site, a visit to Jesus-Witness.com is worthwhile.
Freedom, like truth, brings pain as a person discovers responsibility for ones thoughts and actions. Its painful but the outcome produces greater freedom and satisfaction; coming to know who you really are and that you have been fooled.
I have a friend who destroyed her children's' teenage years by the legalism of the Worldwide Church of God/Herbert W. Armstrong. Their relationships with members of the opposite sex was also greatly distorted.
I have another friend who at cannot have children because a minister (the church) told her God would heal her and not to go to doctors. That was in her early 20's. She is now 36 and bitter.
Keep surfing, reading and asking. I have not found the experience pleasant
Kind regards, Alastair
P.S. Do you know that Armstrong does not have a middle name. He later added the W to make himself appear more authoritative.
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999
Thank you for your reply. Your words make sense. I did feel controlled and was a very hard person to get along with because those outside the "church" were "unconverted" and could not be trusted.
One Minister, in my city, even went as far as speaking on how a Christian should dress. " A Christian should wear a white undershirt and white, underwear. A Christian does not wear black underwear," he reportedly said. (I was not at Services that day so I did not hear it.)
It is hard to accept that something, W.C.G, that was my whole life, was wrong but I have to admit that I was duped. My whole life was taken from me and now I am recovering and wondering where is the real Church(es). I hope I can find it because I feel lost at sea, a ship without a rudder.
Thanks, I will check out jesus-witness.com and compare the ex-cult.
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999
Thanks for your email. Ed , editor of the Painful Truth site, might be interested in posting our correspondence that's okay with me if you want to send them to him.
I feel that the three emails are a nice package for someone to read (perhaps they could also be sent to Pasadena I am in favor of accountability and responsibility in addition to mercy and compassion. Truth for me, perhaps, comes a poor second to these)
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999
I do not know how to do that, post our correspondence, to the Painful Truth. If you know how, go ahead and do it, that is okay by me.
I have read more info, this time from a L.A. newspaper about the greed and excesses of the leaders of the Worldwide Church of God and I am getting angrier. My relationship with my parents, family, work mates, everyone, was damaged by the mind control of the Worldwide Church of God.
I was triple-tithing, giving offerings, holy-day offerings, etc, getting deeper in debt, while neglecting to help my father who was struggling financially, because of the greed of the Worldwide Church of God. They stole my life but only because I was too stupid and allowed them too. I am hurting, my father has passed away and I can not make it up to him. I feel really bad having gone to the Feast of Tabernacles, wasting money, while that same money could have gone to help my father, in his time of need, so much for honoring my other and father, sick, isn't it?
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