Email To The Editor
I was in the church for many years. I have been out of it for many years. I still struggle, the guilt and shame were massive. I turned into an alcoholic. I do accept responsibility for my actions, but I guarantee that their encouragement to drink "strong drink" did not help. I wonder if I might be able to connect with someone who has been there and done that (i.e. became an alcoholic).
I know what I am... I just wish I could connect with someone that might be able to help. Thank you
I am so sorry you are still suffering the effects of the WCG. It was surely the most bitter pill one could take in this life.
Keep in mind that Armstrong's purblind précis were based on a jungle mentality of mistrust, betrayal, and disloyalty. Do we think that the current minions have any more conception of this than any other crazy kook religious group? It's a pity that two thousand years after Christ, the voices of deranged talebearers can still be heard, worse still that they're listened to, and worst of all that anyone believes them.
By the way...Still LOVE your 'Painful Truth' site...It's a nice relief to know the truth is still being exposed...
Luv, that masturbation page!....Hahahah....
I was absolutely disgusted to recently find out that college in Oklahoma has HWA's name on it...(I really thought his church would die with him - and was gleeful about that...BUMMER disappointment!)...
For whatever reason my ire is starting to really stir up again...(Me, being a child survivor from that asshole personality cult)...
Is there any way of exposing what a horrible guy/church this was - in that town where the college is?...
Has any group of survivors from the WCG ever protested 'honoring' him in this way?...
Or, written to the local paper about it?...
Hi Lynn, and thanks for writing the Painful Truth.
That college named after Herbie that is being built in Oklahoma is indeed shameful, however in the big picture all of us must fix our sights on the distant future, when we will have finally cleared away the spiritual and physical debris of the Herbert Armstrong and Gerald Flurry era. I assume you already know that it's shocking just how flagitious Flurry can be, but I have something more important to tell you.
To the Painful Truth reader, the list of Gerald's noxious exegeses reads like a comic strip. However, his analects are actually taken seriously by his functionaries. They can be rightly understood only as what some have been brave enough to call them: a laughable failure. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if society were a beer bottle—something, I believe, that Gerald holds in high regard—he would indeed be the nauseating bit at the bottom that only the homeless like to drink.
Let me make it perfectly clear, the PCG exists only as a prison, a prison in which hostile worthless-types strip people of their rights to free expression, individuality and visitation with unconverted extended family members. Maybe if the membership understood this, they would drag him in front of a tribunal and try him for crimes against humanity.
In conclusion, Gerald is just another peevish, cock-and-bull story gasbag standing on a street corner braying his nonsensical diatribes from atop a soapbox.
We have these links that Fox News did on Flurry and his cult in answer to your questions:
I love the Painful Truth site. It really helped me out several years back when I was coming to grips with my childhood.
You might love the Painful Truth but I just love your stories!
We hope to be around for a while. (Adding new stations every week, fastest growing show on the public radio dial.)
A while back, I won something called the "Public Radio Talent Quest." (Kinda like "American Idol" for public radio nerds.) We have a TV show coming out this fall as well.
Super glad you like the stories, feel free to link as you see fit.
I read your story and painful experience in the wcog article. There are thousands like us who went through the same. God sees, god knows. There is a reason for it all. We need to endure till the end. The question is how much of us would do that. My wife and I stopped attending since 1995. Though our beliefs has not changed and we continue doing what we have to do, that is, as Christ said endure to the end. Remember we attended not because of HWA or any man. We attended because of our belief. “ Do what the Pharisees say and not what they do “ – Jesus Christ.
For you information, the Armstrong family business never had a relationship with God. It was a money grubbing gulag who's sole purpose was to fleece gullible people out of their hard earned money.
Your beliefs have not changed you stated. This show us that your trust is in Herbert and his doctrines and not in God. How much evil do you have to experience in order to realize that Armstrong was not of God? Can a rotten tree produce good fruit?
Dave you can endure to the end if you like. All you are doing is creating a living hell on earth for yourself under the guise of following God. If you read much of anything on the site, then you realize that Herbert had over 209 false prophecies. That's a pretty piss poor track record for the so called "apostle."
Ever get the idea that you've been played for a fool, and you are nothing but a mark for con artists like Herbert Armstrong? Then consider that Armstrong's fervent claim of belief in God allowed him to justify all sorts of outrages, misdemeanors, felonies, and atrocities and feel perfectly justified in performing them.
I’m sorry but I don’t think there was anything strange about Herbert Armstrong’s death. I’m not saying this because I stand in awe of the man personally he gives me the creeps. The fact is he was old and couldn’t have lived forever on Earth in spite of what Gerald Flurry may hope for. In fact I’m surprised he lived as long as he did considering how he abused his body with alcohol and the way he lived. Unless you mean he had an undisclosed illness or something which I could only hope for.
A. I. D. S I might believe. Yes the vultures may have gathered but I doubt if anyone had to push him they knew it was a matter of time when he couldn't come before his devoted followers. After all the guy was 93. Didn't he have his own personal doctor and nurse?
I have to tell you right off I'm not a conspiracy type person. If Mr. Armstrong had a nurse by his side most of the time he probably just died. Even if they proved it was asphyxiation it would prove nothing.
Some people get to the point where
they just can't breathe. I've worked in a nursing home around the
elderly and have even watched some die. Many often get sick toward
the end where they have fevers, flu like symptoms and they get to the
point where their body just can't fight whatever anymore.
The thing I notice the most is Mr.
Armstrong gave himself complete freedom to do what he wanted. The
doctor thing can be proven and yet many don't care that many members
let their own loved ones die (including children) while Herbert
Armstrong was using them himself at the same time. He caused a lot of
hurt and many can't or won't acknowledge it.
I had been a part of
the WWCG for a few years and left shortly before the massive
fall-out, somewhere in the mid-90s, I think. That organization was
filled with lying, manipulative neurotics who greatly benefited from
that 'triple-tithe' system. I'll never forget how I tithed until I
was almost starving, paying out the little cash that I had so that
ministers could drive Toyota mini-vans and wear those official
looking dark suits at Saturday morning services. Also, their fat
wives stayed nicely outfitted in suits and dresses, always strutting
about smiling and gossiping; while I, fool that I was, had to rummage
through second-hand stores. I remember how I ate almost exclusively
lentil soup to be able to tithe. Nothing fancy, just the legumes and
a little salt and pepper, hardly ever any desert. At the time, I was
in poverty and sought to give out of the pittance I received from my
week-to-week temporary jobs. I did so much want to be a good and
I never knew Earl Williams personally, as his circus tent never set up in town, but I have heard stories about him preaching grace and proclaiming that under the New Covenant the law is done away as far back as the early nineties. This was well before old man Tkach got out the gate with his spin. I would say that your perception is accurate as to Williams views, which were at odds with the church. He was ahead of his time to his credit.
Yes, most of us remember those busy-body ministers wives however! They always tried to tear down everything that could possibly be regarded as support of cultural elevation. Their tyrannical husbands, dressed in cheap suits, posturing and pretended concern and compassion, and having a deadly acceptance of intolerance, groomed their women as if they were poodles that were about to be judged in a dog show.
These women who jawboned aimlessly, had nephelococcygic delusions about being able to etiolate their husbands critics. When I look back into time, they were cunning, implacable, fanatic, and ruthless. In short, insufferable "bitches."
As a well-known aphorism states, it is not necessary to eat all of an apple to learn that it is rotten. That is true for the entire tree.
The ministers of the cult sometimes had trouble convincing people that every word that left their mouth was teeming with useful information. When they had such moments, they usually trotted out their paunchy closed-minded, rebarbative malcontent wives to constate authoritatively that our freedom of personal thought must be abolished in order for people in the church to be more safe and secure in their salvation. Yes the camp commandant had a second in command. Stalin would be proud!
I am so happy you found your way through the smoke filled maze. Not many can say that unfortunately. But life could have taken a calamitous twist if you had stayed. Some of the spit-offs of the cult have taken the path of least resistance, a path that is a paragon of evil at its most wicked moment, energized and ramped up to take the membership on an absolutely reckless ride into the unknown.
Good luck, and enjoy life. You are now free to think for yourself, go where you want to go, believe what you chose to believe. Now that is true freedom!
You my friend don't have a clue, so get off those who do. If you spent more time learning the truth you wouldn't have time to attempt to destroy the very work of gods church. You will never accomplish that.......... ever
(Signed by Penny)
are "they" that destroy themselves?. You or I couldn't
destroy Gods own Church. The work of the Church at this time, could
not and will not be interfered with.
(Signed by Penny)
oh go blow
(Signed by Penny)
To be posted in response to anyone who questions the purpose, truth, or reach of the Painful Truth website site: (if the web editor thinks it fitting)
I was an unwitting participant in the activities of the WCG, having been "born into" it of parents with once rabid devotion. Over my childhood I witnessed the ruination of my family through the influence of the WCG, and certainly felt the grip of the brainwashing of the "end time/world tomorrow" crap well into my adulthood and years after I left the church behind.
My parents lived well below the poverty line. We could not afford clothes. Everything we owned was donated, dilapidated-- not even the luxury of having been bought at the Goodwill. Lots of people live poor. But we did so we could give all the money we might have spent on luxuries like clothes, sheets, and unexpired food to the WCG.
Both I and my sister were subject to weekly lessons after church to drum into our skulls how the world would end, how we were part of the very special chosen. We grew up isolated among our peers, ridiculed by other children as well as teachers and other parents for our beliefs. I shut down at a very early age,presumably from the trauma of the images I was being fed, became what is called a "selective mute," isolated from social interaction and trapped in endless nightmares of carnage and destruction. My sister learned our lesson well and early when we were taught to drink alcohol at the behest of the church. She became a "full-blown" alcoholic in her teens and did not see sobriety until her 40's. Her early childhood symptoms of emerging bi-polar disorder were treated with alcohol and beatings.
To the person who will call this slander when I blame the church: Their doctrine of no-holes-barred corporal punishment was documented in their own published works. The encouragement given to parents to spank and hit their children for the smallest things can be corroborated by many other church members, as can the freely distributed alcohol to children. In the congregation my family attended the use of alcohol by children led to convenient access by pedophiles; drunk children are easy to molest. It happened to a family who was close to us. The left the church and a messy lawsuit resulted.
So, Questioners, this is only the tip of my iceberg. There is much more ugliness, and much of it too deeply emotional to easily share here. Before I started reading things on this site I thought I was the only one - or that all the things I witnessed may have been the product of my imagination, or I was possibly insane because it was all so blasted outrageous not only could I hardly get my mind around it, no one else seemed to believe me. I remember the weird feeling of discovery and excitement (weird but true) when I found out others had actually experienced these same horrors, then a feeling of calm knowing I wasn't crazy, and the realization of how truly mindf*cked I and my whole family had been. Then I cried for about a day and a half. Then I got really, really, pissed. So this is why I am pathologically afraid of joining a club? Why I want to throw up at any kind of 12 step meeting? I'm still working on it.
I am very, very happy for anyone who had a good experience in the WCG or what it became later on. I think most of the good experiences must have been after the "reform." Please just consider yourself lucky and understand that OUR experience is not YOURS. You are one of the lucky ones. Many lives in the WCG were destroyed, and we survivors struggle with wounds that don't know will ever heal. I don't believe in hell, but I'd gladly build one for Herbert.
Former unwitting attendee of WCG, Oakland, CA, 1969-1985
" " CGI, SF Bay Area 1985-1986
Thank you for writing the Painful Truth.
It is interesting how the PT validated the thoughts you had about the cult. Without this information, many would blame themselves for the crimes of others. One could say that the Painful Truth is like the book of Revelations.
We contend that Armstrong's theological straightjacket on scriptural interpretation had a demoralizing effect on all of us. His mind control methods were tantamount to human-rights violations.
The toll in human suffering and the loss of innocent lives was clearly a non-issue for him. In general, Armstrong-ism is an insane asylum writ large, with his sycophants calling evil good and good evil. Their attempts to impose restrictions on the membership, was to satisfy some sort of drugged-out drive for power. This religious bunco game resembles a dilapidated shed. Kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will collapse. It is only a matter of time before this will come to pass, as it has with other abusive systems.
Thank you for the note, and if you would ever like to document your experiences further, please feel free.
I'm going to write a book........ not now........
I saw on your site a picture of Ellen G. White prophetess of the Seventh-day Adventists.
WELL..... I was raised and educated Seventh-day Adventist. My husband took me OUT of Adventism, INTO Armstrongism!!!!!!! Pasadena..... 1962-67 nightmare....... Shakespeare Club, then gymnasium. One benefit was that I had three home childbirths without the drugs that was harming babies..... like the man who plays the guitar with his feet..
When my husband realized what a horror it was, he continued working for the organization but quietly banked his tithes..... When he had enough, we "silently slipped away." And I gave up on "proof-texts."
You probably don't want to hear this....... but at age 79 I'm a happy Roman Catholic, and SO GLAD to find a loving God......... I'd love to hear from anyone who has made it to the Catholic Church... Even if you thing I'm crazy........
Hi Bobette and thank you for writing the Painful Truth.
So you also traveled the road from the Adventist cult to the Armstrong cult. I shared in the same journey but started out in the Catholic church before my crossing over to the cult of Ellen White. As to your Catholic religion, that is your decision and not mine.
You said your husband discovered what a horror the organization was. It seems that damned near everyone who writes has the same term for what we now call Armstrong-ism. Well Bobette, this site stands as to the history and horrors of the theology called Armstrong-ism. We have thousands of pages and letters of factual information that scream out as testimony as to the horrifying effects and events of his family business. So many have noted (to those who have eyes to see with) that Armstrong was morally crippled. And his flacks who went on recruiting campaigns were hell bent on trying to convince the gullible by twisting the teaching of history in order to suit Armstrong's destructive, ethically bankrupt purposes.
How on earth these pickpockets can think of themselves as anything but unscrupulous is beyond me. To extrapolate the motivation behind Armstrong-ism is to cognize the abusive, disgraceful dirtbags who stir up one part of the population against another using crackbrained doctrines, while at the same time fleecing their members in order to build monuments to men.
As a caring individual, if I fail to promote a sane and healthy society free of Armstrong-ism's destructive influences, then everyone's sacrifices will be forgotten as the sand blowing across Ozymandias's dead empire. The "decay of that colossal wreck," as the poet Shelley puts it, teaches us that Armstrong-ism is an execrable carnival of divisive excremental heresies whose expiration date has long passed.
The Armstrongist's have a vested interest in maintaining the myths that keep their faction loyal to him. I do not. I will not be one his raucous, unrealistic simpletons. I hope that suffices as to our view of Herbert W. Armstrong and his insufferable minions.
When you finish your book please send it along! It would be of great interest and help to those who fought the good fight for so many years, only to find out that they were scammed out of their hard earned money and retirement.
I came upon this site this evening. Many thanks for your revealing all this information to help others to avoid the pitfalls of man-made religious empires. Their tactics are so masterfully constructed and employed to ensnare the unwary, those who are miserable and looking for some panacea for comfort.
Somewhere in the 70s I came upon The Plain Truth magazine and began reading. Wow! It sounded so fetching. Soon I was requesting all that free literature used to further ensnare searchers into the web of deceit. In the late 70s I was baptized into the sanctum.
To make a long story short, it wasn't too long before so many were seeing through all the hype, particularly around the time of HWA's illness and then death. My wife and I then requested to leave. The minister and an elder visited us and agreed to let us out, and would tell the congregation that we left of our own volition.
Seeing all the inner fightings that occurred in Pasadena after HWA's death shows the falseness of the whole organization. And the breaks and splinters that followed further proved its falseness.
It's my belief that religion, or churchianity as I call it, is a device to keep people confused and divided. What better way to destroy this Republic than through false teachings of spirits, miracles, and the supernatural? I've never seen peace and real freedom during my 72 years, yet we're told that a "Prince of Peace" exists! So many empty words that don't prove true in the now, in real life. And some pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by is no help in the now, this life.
Thank you for writing the Painful Truth.
My position has always been that Armstrong's power was built on lies. He spent his time trying to convince people that individual worth was defined by race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin, offering that line as a means to marginalize dissident voices.
In retrospect, I have never read anything Herbert wrote that I would consider wise, logical, pertinent, reasonable, or scientific. His proclamations that the rest of the world was an inferior group of people, fit only to be enslaved, beaten, and butchered at the whim of the Germans is no exception. What I find horendous is that he frequently spent church money making nicey-nice with the most stolid hostes generis humani you would never want to become acquainted with.
If Herbert wrote in the Plain Truth magazine that the Queen of England was the head of the international drug cartel, would we have dared disagreed? I think not. That was his power over those who chose to be led by the nose, led even deeper into the abyss of enslavement.
Thankfully we do have that inner voice that nagged at our conscience that something was wrong in the Armstrong gulag. It is easy for us to now exclaim that we should help others to see through the empty and meaningless theology manufactured by Armstrong and his associates. It is even more logical for us to say, "I warrant that there is more wisdom to be found in three of Aesop's fables than in the sum total of everything that Armstrong has ever written."
had to laugh when I read the email from "JH" complaining
about the profanity in the Wile E. Coyote cartoon. This guy is
such a loser that he couldn't watch the cartoon without his
minister present? Just more proof of cult mind control. The man
probably has to ask his minister which brand of toilet paper to
buy. He simply cannot, or is afraid to, think for himself.
Probably had to fast for three days after watching the cartoon.
After you realize that Armstrong was mentally ill, a child molester, an alcoholic and fraud you can start picking up the pieces. For if there is a god who uses such demented people to spread his word, and indeed our morals exceed this gods morals, we rendered him obsolete and in no way worthy of honor as a god. Otherwise, fuck him.
So what is your story? Care to tell it?
Thank you for the response, and for the link. I had already linked to your site, by the way, and I hope my small (but growing?*) readership will take advantage of the wealth of information within your pages. I vehemently agree with your position on the Elohim monster and share your attitude. I was just thinking last night that I almost wish he did exist so I could show him just what I think of him on "judgment day." We humans are indeed morally superior to this so-called "god," and we are even on the verge of surpassing his supposed powers with the inexorable advance of our knowledge and technological capabilities. As you say, Elohim is obsolete and beneath our contempt--and even more so when one considers the vast array of evidence against his existence.
As for the best way to disprove Armstrongism, I'm not sure the child molester ad hominem would be as effective as addressing the teachings directly, which is what I plan to do. Even the article you linked to revealed how difficult it is to shake people out of this delusion by attacking the man. They say, "Yes, sure he made mistakes, he was human--but he still taught the truth." And that is patently false. He did not teach the truth, and I can prove it. The fundamental teachings are all mutually dependent: they support the whole edifice equally, like the legs of a stool. You only need to disprove one. That's the beauty of it, since they all are easily debunked with a little research into history and science. British-Israelism, for example, is a myth, one that was furthermore not revealed to Mr. Armstrong--it's been believed by credulous fools for centuries. Now, if it isn't true, by Armstrong's own constant admission, then virtually none of his biblical interpretations can be true. Armstrongism falls that easily, and no one can say, "But he was just a man; the teachings are still true." Similarly vulnerable and critical teachings are apostolic succession, creationism, and even the very existence of the god he taught must be proven to exist before one committed to worshiping him. It's all so fragile. It's absurd that otherwise bright people should be so taken in by it, even after they've left the fold and are (relatively) free to follow the evidence!
So, that's why I'm writing the book, and the blog is a way to promote it and in some ways prepare my audience. By that last bit I mean that a lot of people are confused even about how to think. Logic is hard enough for people to grasp, but the typical ex-cultist's mind has been so warped against reason that they're not even sure if 2+2=4.
My story? Well, I'll try not to make it too long. I grew up in Worldwide until my early teens, when my family left for Flurry's outfit. I like to believe I would have turned out okay if it hadn't been for their indoctrination camps (Philadelphia Youth Camp), which I was sent to for years. There they drill kids with propaganda like, "We are family," and, "This isn't your parents' church...you can't get into the kingdom on their coattails." So, I began to be enthralled by the "God Family Vision." Eventually I was baptized and, true to cultist form, grew quickly into a holy bigot. I began to despise my father for his all-too-human failings--but especially his "government problem" (having a lot to do with the ministry's facilitation of my parents' divorce). There were frequent confrontations and several partings of the ways.
I struck out on my own physically and spiritually, but always on the Armstrongist path. My educational endeavors were heavily informed and inspired by my belief that I was being prepared to rule some aspect of the Kingdom, to fill some office. I studied linguistics and volunteered for a church-sponsored development project in Jordan, where I taught English to handicapped children. My idea was that this would prepare me to develop language policies in the Place of Safety, where indigenous Bedouins would need to be integrated into the internationally-derived Flurry-ite civilization.
When I returned from that I switched my major to international development and sustainable agriculture, and I became convicted that I would be working under the resurrected Joseph in the areas of economics and agronomy. I was even working on what I had the audacity to call a thesis, on the history and future of transcendence, which incorporated such seemingly disparate topics as the land sabbath and trans humanism, the Protestant work ethic and the ancient yearning for immortality, under the umbrella of a proposed satanic plan for mankind to counter God's plan. I believed I knew what Satan was up to, that he was trying to trick humanity into seeking transcendence without God, an alluring technical impossibility.
So, you see I took my "religion" seriously, such that it was no longer just a religion; it was everything to me. I saw everything through that Armstrongist filter.
But the whole time I was also looking into evolution. I was trying to find a way to disprove it, but nothing was working. My holy grail in this search was Armstrong's mythical disproof, in which he claimed to lay the lie bare. But it was never published, and what the church did publish on the subject never rose to that level. I always was able to find a superior counter-argument, and I began to notice with dismay that all of the church's out-dated arguments were lifted directly from "worldly" sources in the Creationist movement.
And I began to notice something even more alarming to me at the time: Flurry was politicizing "God's message." He was letting the church get sucked into the Culture War that had embroiled the nation, and at one point spent an entire sermon lambasting Democrats after they won a decisive electoral victory. He actually said that God was upset at Nanci Pelosi's win! That was the final straw for me, since this was a blatant contradiction of what the church always taught about political matters: God sets up political leaders himself, for his own inscrutable purposes. They are not voted into office. How could he be upset at Himself?
So, I laid out all my complaints in a letter to Flurry himself. That got me suspended. The content of my letter was never addressed, only the tone. I was suspended for daring to "correct" the prophet. And Flurry has continued on his trend of climbing into bed with the political pundits he so adores. (All to his own detriment, it seems. Recently, FOX "news" got some interview time with his son, the fat, pasty liar, Stephen--likely because Gerald's such a FOX fan-boy--and they, true to form, turned it into a propaganda piece--even going so far as to have that crackpot Ben-Ariel on to have his say! Flurry was enraged, of course. I got some satisfaction out of that.)
Anyway, I never bothered to go back. I allowed myself to take off the blinders for a while, just to see what it would be like. After I dispensed with first Flurry and then Armstrong, I continued my research into evolution, studied comparative religion, and examined atheist arguments without compunction. I was free to study things with an open mind for the first time since I was a young child. Finally free from indoctrination. It was exhilarating! And it brought back an old, familiar feeling: the one I had when I was young and innocent of preconceptions, exploring a rich world of facts and ideas, thrilling to an approach to truth that did not dodge the problem of verification.
Now I'm just trying to get back to where I would have been if I had never been side-tracked by religion. And that's a hard prospect. But it's ameliorated a bit by the sheer joy I get out of sticking it to these fuckers whenever I can. Thanks again for your assistance in that, and I hope we can keep in touch.
I stumbled upon your website and I was so glad to have found it, I had started a little vent on facebook called WWCG ruined my childhood and teenage years and I still came out normal. The same people go on it, pretty much kids from the South Jersey area because we had one of the worst minsters ever, Mr Panella. He was a pig. For people to think that was the right church their eyes were blinded. I hated the church for as long as I could have remember. I was a little kids I mean young like 4 or 5 and hated having to go what a waste of time. I went on several different groups made up on FB and it's hard to understand what people see in defending that way of thinking. My sister was raped by a decon or what ever they were called and my owe father defended the act. I don't get it. My father worked 3 jobs to make enough money because he had to give so much of it the the church. People need to believe in something I'm not sure why but they do. Why is it ok to say at a certain age Santa Claus doesn't exist but people still believe in "god". I still believe in Santa Claus, god I'm not to sure about. I think if people took the bible for what it is a book of history they would be better off. At least Santa doesn't take your money and make you do thing you don't want to. If we all had more Santa and less God in us the world would be a better place.
Greetings from the Painful Truth.
You sound like you have a story to tell. It really helps to write out your pain in order to resolve the issue. Think about it.
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