Email To The Editor
part of PKG was great – enjoying the holy days, preparing for the
tribulation (bulk food and supply purchases, storage, water provisions,
warm clothes for nuclear winter etc, etc, etc) and being with a few
Thank you for writing the Painful Truth.
From what you wrote, you were part of Garner stud's cult and then after some time joined Ronnie's cult. This is a pattern that most go through when leaving the world of cults. We try to fill in the loss we feel with a substitute. This is like buying a new puppy a day or two after Rover dies. Just sit still and don't try to fill in all the blanks at once. In time all this stress will come to pass and you will be free of what is called “undue influence.” http://www.churchlawtoday.com/private/library/pcl/p04c.htm
In troubling times such as we are experiencing now, a slew of "end of the world prophets" dress in the cloak of righteousness and proclaim themselves as spokesmen of the most high. Ten years ago when the new millennium was approaching, these cockroaches were coming out of the woodwork all proclaiming that they were sent by God. They put the desired twist on some well known facts, then they ignore the inconvenient facts, and invent as many new "facts" as necessary to convince you that their equivocations are Holy Writ. If you buy into the game, they got you on the hook.
Weinland portrays himself as smarter than he really is. It always amuses me whenever these generic prophets crack open a concordance or bible and attempt to aim for intellectualism. They always fall short. However, what they do accomplish is separating the member from their cash. This is their business. Religion. As you are now discovering, the false prophet who proclaimed he would step down and call himself what he really is, never anted up to his promise when his prophecies failed. This is the game Armstrong played when his 1972/1975 end of the world prophecies failed. What Herb did was to blame the membership. What Ron is doing is fleecing his flock short term. At what point do people tell him he is full of shit and that he has been playing the low-life game of opportunism? The outcome of the struggle will ultimately be decided based on the number and influence of people fully understanding his deceit, and committed to his defeat, then reorganizing under sound leadership.
Weinland's soothsayings are not an abstract problem. They have very concrete, immediate, and unpleasant consequences. Destroyed marriages, damaged children and finances that fail. At what point does the sane man or women say “enough?” Sometimes never. What killed off Herbs church was not Tkach, but the old goat himself. Five decades of unfulfilled prophecies should have been enough for 98% of people. A person with a functioning brain doesn't reduce himself down to nothing, and derail their whole life on their misguided faith alone. It seems the membership has given Ron permission to make their lives miserable.
Now do NOT get stressed out about this run around Ron has put you through. He is just another branch on the rotten tree sprouted from the heretical teachings of Herbert Armstrong. Time will take care of Ron if the IRS doesn't get to him first.
When someone has joined a cult, they have suspended their disbelief. They stay in that state. The cult and its doctrines becomes the reality. What they are really getting is a counterfeit reality. They are playing spiritual make-believe, with a ticket to eternity sold to them by a con-artist. Realizing this is the key to reclaiming your mind.
The process of “de-cultifying” yourself so that you never fall into this trap again will take time and patience. The process of understanding if there be a god in your future will follow. Most of us ex-cultist's are agnostic or atheist. Others join a main stream church in their own community that is not of the abusive, apocalyptic nature.
Kirrily, it sound like your ready to get off the religious merry-go-round and rejoin the world community. Good for you!
Visit Mike at
For years I have occasionally looked
upon your site and seen the negativity and hate you displayed to
others about the man and those associated w/ the man "Herbert
Armstong". While some of your accusations may be true many
cannot be proven. I can see that Armstong was a man riddled w/
mistakes like you and those associated with this site. While i can
plainly see many of his errors i also see that the doctrines he
taught from the scripture made sense and the protestant world and any
others that teach God's law is done away are not in line with the
scriptures. neither are most of their doctrines and traditions.. May
I ask then what are your beliefs now and what do you practice now..
Are you now believing the original lies you grew up believing.
There is good and bad and truth and lies in all things. The man
was human and had many faults just like you. Most of what show on
your site shows imaturity and is downright against all the scriptures
that say to speak evil of no one. May I ask what you would have one
believe and do now that you are free from the deciet and false
teaching of Herbert Armstrong as you call it? Does this clear your
conscience of condeming those who want and try to live according to
every word of God? Do you live by every word of God? I see very
little scriptures on your site. ARe you casting the first stone? Just
what the hell is the truth and purpose of your actions if you know so
much and can see so much clearer now... Please explain
Let us try to get you some answers.
1.While some of your accusations may be true many cannot be proven.
Billy, what is your education level as to theology? I need to know this information so that I can address this issue.
Agnostic. I do not practice religion nor do I have any beliefs in a sky god.
True that the world is full of good and bad. So what? As to Herbert's faults, they are not like mine what so ever. I would never molest my daughter. That behavior is of the lowest form in most every civilized society.
Imaturity? You mean Immaturity do you not? Give me an example.
As to speaking evil of others, if you cannot be honest enough to call a spade a spade then you are a human that has no moral compass. Have you never read “They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and reprobate to every good work.” Paul was talking about the false teachers of his time. Did he name names? I bet you he did.
The Painful Truth does not seek out followers. As to have someone believe anything, I would say you should believe as you desire.
Who is it that wants to live by every word of God? Herbert, Garner? They had their chance and proved to be false prophets and miserable human beings. As to anyone else they can do and think as they please.
What word of god are we talking here? The Koran, the Talmud, the Tao, or the Veda? Which one is the word of god? I guess it depends on what culture you grew up in.
No, Herbert did that the day he picked up a bible and started to condemn every religious organization on the earth.
is in the eyes of the beholder. It is up to you to seek it out, and
you will find it over the course of years. And if you are like most
who left the putrefying cultist religion of Armstrong, you will find
the answers if you seek them out. As to the last part of your
question, the purpose of the Painful truth is to educate using a
collection of "Facts, Opinions and Comments from survivors of Herbert
W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, The Worldwide Church of God and
Painful Truth Editor
Thank you for your clear, concise page on Armgstrongism. I'm glad to hear it's in decline because these evil people got hold of my sister-in-law and her husband (whom my SIL states had an IQ that gave him entry to MENSA). I thought they had left the church when somebody (presumably someone at the top) absconded with the funds. "What," I said to my husband, "did they think this man started his religion for?
Apart from power over them, he wanted their money to make himself obscenely wealthy. That's what people start churches for." But alas my SIL (who now lives with us because at 87 she is no longer capable of cooking and cleaning for herself) obstinately sticks to the principles you have outlined. She never acknowledges the birth of her Saviour (it's PAGAN, she declares fiercely) or the fact that he died for her, and she and her husband never celebrated their birthdays (because it's PAGAN). The fact that Jesus accepted the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on his birthday (or at least his parents accepted on his behalf) seems to escape her.
The very black-and-white declaration in the Bible that Jesus said to Peter "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven" she also ignores. He clearly didn't mean only
Peter; he also included Peter's descendants or the statement simply wouldn't make sense. We were gobsmacked when we discovered she kept only Jewish holy days (as though Christ had never been born) and seemed to adhere more to the Old Testament than the New.
I don't know whether she still pays her tithes (and it horrifies me to learn that it's actually more than 10% of the members' incomes) but I wouldn't be surprised. I am quite sure they will bleed her dry and if she needs more care than we can give her (I have arthritis in my hands and feet) I don't know what we will do.
You don't need to answer this. I realize you are busy. I just wanted to thank you.
Have a Happy Christmas. :-)
Thanks for writing the Painful Truth.
I am sorry that you have to deal with this situation, it is indeed painful. Your SIL will no doubt die while a member of the cult.
These people listen week after week how Satan or someone he is controlling, is trying to steal their crown. A visualization exercise that Herbert employed successfully, and has not gone into disuse.
The term “pagan” is always used as something evil. It is not. The medicine that kept Herbie yakking and shaking those jowls for a few more years, came from the pagans who developed life saving drugs. Herb conveniently ditched his medical doctrine when he grew ill. Many adults and their children did not fare as well as the apostle did. They died for lack of medical treatment!
There is a good book by Karen Armstrong, “The History of God” that explains how the Jewish holy days were grounded in paganism. I doubt if your SIL would be interested, but it will give you something to fire back when she gets a little to smug with you!
I might also mention that the mind control cult leader Herbert Armstrong, and others that start their own little “church of horrors” have attempted to get their blue ribbon tithe slaves, to name the cult in their will. You might want to investigate this!
Now to the crux of the situation you are in.
When I meet someone who is still immersed in the decadent realm of Armstrong-ism for 30 or 40 years I am not really surprised. Neither am I surprised if some people having washed the filth of Armstrong-ism from their minds, go back into the cult for a second round of pain. They are either suffering from Stockholm's syndrome or a Level One pathological psychotic defense. They are related.
*Denial. Those who refuse to believe, perceive or consciously acknowledge external reality.
*Distortion. Lie and distort reality to convince themselves. This resolves internal conflict.
*Splitting. Seeing the world as bad or good, black or white. (Herb did this to everything.)
*Delusional. Persecution, attribute motives or realities to the external world that are clearly not there. (Satan, 747's with holes in the wings flying you to Petra, etc.)
Let's try a little visualization exercise here.
Herb was an rancorous scrounger who quoted the Bible but never acknowledged those bible passages which gave control and self determination over to the membership.
Herbert was fond of his sheep's freedom to choose the patch of grass in which they grazed while growing wool and mutton for its owner.
In conclusion: The religion that is rooted in "Armstrong-ism" is a lethargic and avowedly ignorant belief system. This cerebral metal midget of a man was able to shift blame from those who benefited from oppression to those who suffered from it.
Armstrong's era of sham, deceit and pretense will draw to a close eventually. It must.
After years of putting up with the so called "brothers and sisters" of the wcg and always wondering why these so called brethren were not as brotherly as my own "unconverted family" who would only ever show love and kindness towards me whereas the opposite was true for church people. By this shall men know you are my disciples if you have love one towards each other.
I though I might inform your readers how I came to leave this cold as hell church
Being unfortunately brainwashed by armstrong that it was indeed the true and only church of which he was the chief, I supposed it was reasonable that one when reviled should not revile back, after all your salvation for all eternity was supposed to be at sake. However it was the ministers who clearly showed me that the whole crop was rotten and hence the church was not Christ's disciples!
Rather than justify myself, I realized that these two really wanted to be worshiped so I said "with respect, on what scriptural grounds are you doing this?" The main minister then said I can see a change in attitude in you now and I was allowed to go back to the church of living hell.
I'm sure it was using the words "with respect" that changed his attitude. I'm sure as hell was not the type that would run up to the minister's car at church, open his door, carry his gear etc and then go belittle others. I treated all with respect as best as I could.
How would I describe what was that attitude that was not good enough for them, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your might and him only shall you serve, and you shall love you neighbor as yourself"
After a few years in the new area, one day I was told by some official after a church sermon that the minister told him to tell me that I was to stop my daughter seeing another boy in the church. He didn't even have the decency to speak directly to me about this. I told her what the minister had said, she then went and lived at the boy's home. A couple of days later the minister brought her home to discuss the situation. After we had what I thought was a reasonable outcome, he then took her back to live at the boy families' home.
Now after been out of the church some 20 plus years and rereading the bible, how clear it is that armstrong got very little correct!
Why then if there is a God, did people get sucked into armstrongism.
I believe it is to show you that the just shall lived by faith and you are not justified by keeping the O.T. law. All it does turns most people into nasty Pharisees, who after all had so much hate and hypocrisy (but they thought they served God) that they killed the living Christ!
Thank you for writing the Painful Truth.
The horrid dilemma that we all faced as associates of the WCG was meeting up with the minister or one of his ass sucking paltry blow hard sycophants. One could tell by their lofty demeanor, the condescending attitude, that simply speaking to them would be an repressive, humiliating, culture-stripping experience. You had no individuality, for the ministry created a new social class. Them over us, illustrated by the picture below.
If you ever went with a problem to the ministry, you would notice that they were always trying to resolve a persons moral failure with an immoral solution. They lived in a world that granted them such a freedom with no strings attached. After all, they were emulating Herbert.
Armstrong was terrified that we might realize that there was an absolute reality, one that would allow us our hopes, daydreams, or independence outside his abusive and authoritarian heavy hand. Like his ministers, Herbert would inject even more fear and divisiveness into the church resulting in two classes of associates. Each would look down on the other, judging by others economic position in society, did they attend A.C., whether they were smoker or drinker, or just plain demon possessed.
In conclusion, the WCG was the reincarnation of all human malice that has come before. It is as if Armstrong gave a directive to the ministry "If approached by an associate with a problem, just say I don't give a [expletive deleted] about you."
If only there had been an Internet 40 yrs ago with a site like yours. I watched a happy man with a happy family degenerate into a grim faced puritan who lost the ability to think for himself. His every thought and deed being continually evaluated by his fear of his belief. My family and relatives were subjected to years of trauma and worry by his religious fanaticism. There was nothing anyone could say that would convince him he was wrong. Even after armstrongs repeated failed predictions he would not face up to the reality that he had been conned. The brainwashing had been so complete he couldn't admit after 40 yrs that he'd got it wrong. All I ever got from him was that he'd been "let down."
Looking back I can see that after the Tkach takeover he knew then he'd been had, but the fear installed in him prevented his withdrawing from the wwcog. As a result he suffered years of emotional and mental trauma. He died a lonely and broken man knowing that he had wasted his life on a bunch of snake oil salesmen. The final correspondence from his church when he finally stopped sending the money (which was very late on in the day) was a letter threatening him with eternal torment in hell now that he wasn't a member of "gods true church." I sympathize with all the other families out there who have suffered at the hands of those fakers.
Thank you for writing the Painful Truth.
I recently read Richard Dawkins God Delusion, what a wonderful book, the perfect antidote to christian boogy di boo. I am currently living in Bali Indonesia surrounded by the "Beautiful Hindu religious heritage of this unique island," yeah great for the tourists but when studied just another tool to keep people tied down to their "place in life." When it gets to the point where parents will give financial preference to prayers and offerings rather than feed their children religious cultural heritage (it) can go in the bin.
Speaking of which I filled two wheely bins of wwcg magazines and correspondence. Did you know that "MAN WILL NEVER WALK ON THE MOON" or "BRITAIN WILL NEVER JOIN THE COMMON MARKET!!!" Yes of course you do. The only book I kept was the classic Hislops "The Two Babylons" a good dissection of the roman church. A bit dated but very thorough. Not too keen on the roman church was old armstrong too much competition maybe. But that's a whole new can of worms. I thank you for providing this site as it gives me the opportunity to air my thoughts to someone who understands the dangers of religious fundamentalism,most people don't until it's too late. All the best in your efforts.
Thanks for writing the Painful Truth.
More and more of us over time have been convinced that "Armstrong-ism" has become a byword for treachery and deceit. It takes time, patience and experience to comment on a phenomenon that has and will continue to detach individuals from traditional sources of strength and identity—family, class, private associations.
Good luck on your recovery friend.
I read Sean's story “Growing up Gay in the WCG” and was touched by his honesty. I had been preparing an essay for the "Church of Doojie" page about homosexuality and Romans 1, which is usually the first place the religionists run to condemn "homos" in the New testament.
BTW, in keeping with Herbalism, when I started making contacts with former members, I found that they were absolutely apoplectic, not about Herbie, but about the bible itself. I see that a lot in your letters. But when you think about, and if you read Paul's statements in Romans 8:29-30, Romans 9:16-22, and Jesus' prescription in Matthew 24:23, not to mention his warnings in Matthew 7 that "broad is the way and wide is the path to destruction.".
If there are groups of disillusioned people scattered worldwide who don't follow the confusion of human leaders, THEY are the salt. They are created for purposes not within their decision powers, but they are the natural result if you try to live strictly by God's word.
Do you know if the Khlysty sect that Rasputin was part of is still in existence?
you for writing to the Painful Truth.
Rasputin supposedly came back to life a few times, the only thing i could find thats out of the ordinary that was he was part of that secret organization. So i am thinking it could have something to do with it if it really happened other than because of scientifically explainable reasons.
I believe there are things beyond science out there that can help someone come back to life or extend the one they have. I think the fountain of youth is interesting but it would have probably been found by now if it indeed existed. Alchemists stone is also an interest of mine, but no one was able to successfully make one unless i am mistaken. My new interest has led me to Rasputin and the Khlysty sect, id love to find out more about them and if there is anything worth looking into with them.
I do not know enough of their beliefs to want to join them though.
Anything you know could help me a lot.
As I recall, he was poisoned, shot, and thrown into the river and he still survived long enough to try to remove himself from the river before he drowned. Simply a hardy individual.
Hi I am a former minister of the WCG, and just happened on your site--was following up on something I read about Fred Brogaard. I am sorry to hear about his passing away.
I will say that it was a somewhat dizzying experiance--going from a pharasaical list of does and don'ts to a "what am I gonna do now" type of lifestyle.
I really turned my back on the past at that time, but am amazed how nice it was to explore your site.
Thanks for doing it
Greeting's from the Painful Truth,
No your name did not make the list at the Hall of Shame. Somehow you slipped
through the cracks. Care to sign the apology
A few former wcg ministers have, and with all their heart, have
repented of the way they had treated the brethren. Two especially
stand out among the crowd. John Ouvrier and Dennis Diehl. Both
put an exceptional amount of time and effort in by writing
articles on a wide range of topics. Their efforts did help the
folks who attended the cult, to recover.
So, what year did you leave the Armstrong cult?
Thank you for your reply and might I ask who you are and your history with the WCG. I attended Ambassador College in Pasadena from 1965-1970---spent one year in Pittsburgh with Jimmy Friddle, then after graduation three years in Columbia, Mo, two in Las Vegas and four in San Francisco.
I think if I had stayed much longer to the point of being hypocritical in my stance, I indeed would be willing to sign something as if that would somehow repair any damage done. I was a part of the organization as a minister as much as the congregation was a part of it as a congregation. We all bear responsibility. We all lived through certain changes and observed personal tastes and politics run their way through the organization. What is the exact point where one should stand up to be sacrificed?
What if you were one of David's soldiers and were told to number the troops, or an architect and ordered to design a pagan temple. It puts one in a dilemma of knowing truth is being compromised and yet wanting to remain in the fold to do some good as long as there is hope for future change. A certain point is reached though where one decides, this is a step too far. I was one of those who refused to condone the civil disobedience. My stance was what to we have to hide? Let the world see our records--who cares. Turn the right cheek and then turn the left.
Well, that was not exactly the message that was being promoted from on high and it brought me at odds with my superiors. I felt that I could not and would not be a hypocrite while God signed my paycheck. I saw this violent two dimensional "us and them" attitude take over a number of ministers and the mobishness and two dimensional aspect of it all was scary. I suddenly realized I no longer had anything in common with these folk anymore. I had first taken the side against Garner Ted and then saw that there was much more on the Herbert side that I knew nothing about. There really wasn't another side to turn to except outside
I left the ministry in 1978-1979. I first left the pulpit to become a local elder not on the church payroll. I was not long before I couldn't stomach that either. At that point I disfellowshipped myself and never looked back until recently.
Dennis Diehl was a roommate of mine in college and something on the radio made me think of him---I googled him and in the process found your site. I feel like Rip Van Rinkle after a 25 year nap.
Hi again James
I earn multiple times more money now than I ever did in the ministry and by working less hours. I'm not defending the wrongs done, but after all when you join a fundamentalist church, you are kind of asking for an appointed representative of God to kind of enterpret things and tell you what to do. If he tells you the wrong things, trust your gut and don't let the door bang you on the butt as you leave.
If there is any lesson to be learned, it is trust no man.
Dennis from the Painful Truth,
If you have anything you would like to
submit to this site,