The painful truth about Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Arrmstrong and the Worldwide Church of God



The Painful Truth
10th Anniversary 1997 - 2007

10th Anniversary Index

Ten Years of The Painful Truth

The Painful Truth was founded ten years ago. It has grown to be an enormous site, as it has accumulated hundreds of articles and letters contributed by the victims of Armstrongism, that pernicious mutation of Christianity cobbled together by Herbert W. Armstrong, with the able assistance of Herman L. Hoeh, Roderick C. Meredith, Garner Ted Armstrong and a host of other pseudo-theologians and pseudo-historians. It has become the on-line home of The Ambassador Report, the most important exposé of Armstrong and the cult he founded, the Worldwide Church of God. The Ambassador Report is freely available to those who want it. Without The Painful Truth, the victims of Armstrongism would have to locate the difficult-to-find hard copies.

In the world of WCG related websites, The Painful Truth has stood the test of time, outlasting most of the other WCG opposition sites, and even some of the church groups that splintered off from the Worldwide Church of God when that organization imploded. The battered and disappointed survivors of Armstrongism and the various Armstrongist splinter groups have come to The Painful Truth for knowledge and comfort. Bewildered and confused as the fantasy-world of their phony “true church” collapsed around them, The Painful Truth has pointed out the contradictions and hypocrisies of the “true church” doctrine. Those who have endured years of abuse from church and family, and have been convinced that it is all their fault, and that their troubles are the results of sins they have committed, have been reassured that the Armstrongist churches were dysfunctional organizations, and that they have been victims of abuse and fraud.

(more: Ten Years of the Painful Truth...)


The Painful Truth
– A Helpful Kick in Our Comfort Zones


by Gavin Rumney

When I first hooked into the Internet, the Painful Truth was, along with Bill's Ekklesia, one of the first ex-member sites I stumbled across. Under Ed Sr's oversight the PT had pioneered a new approach to WCG commentary: loud, proud, and salted with an in-your-face skepticism on all things religious. I spent an awful lot of time on the site filling in gaps in my knowledge. Ed continued a tradition begun by the late John Trechak of Ambassador Report fame, and it was great to see those ARs later appear on the PT, available for a new generation, ensuring that the dubious history of Armstrongism, so brilliantly documented by John, wouldn't be buried by a new wave of revisionists (most recently PCG's dauphin, Stephen Flurry.)

What's the special appeal of the Painful Truth? I'd like to suggest that, in part, it links together those of us who are latecomers to the modern world, only now feeling the warm breezes of the Enlightenment blowing our way. Religious critiques and a radical reappraisal of the Bible may be several centuries old, but some of us are just catching up. If you were a member of a fundamentalist sect like the Worldwide Church of God it stands to reason that you weren't up-to-speed on these things; I know I wasn't!

In fact I was too busy hunkering down under my wide margin KJV Bible, trying to avoid dangerous Satan-inspired doubts. The Painful Truth has been here, prodding us all on and delivering an occasional kick in our comfort zones, for a full decade (as the title says, the truth is, after all, often painful.) Those who still prefer a world-view with dogma and a human-shaped god – clinging to the placebo certainties of the past – have lots of other options, as is obvious from the countless WCG splinter franchises touting for tithes.

(more: The Painful Truth – A Helpful Kick in Our Comfort Zones...)


Painful Observations

by Viking


For me, the value of this  [Painful Truth] forum has been the VALIDATION that it brings ---

It really happened!

I don’t see anyone from the church anymore, with minor exceptions --- the existence of this forum reminds me that there are real people that really experienced this, although of course the experiences are not 100% percent the same.

Now that I am “free” of WWCoG, I have determined that I will decide the course of own life, no man/woman will do it for me. We can discuss beliefs, and throw ideas around, but ultimately I have to decide.

This “freedom”, is also relative, depending in what part of the world you live in. I also think that we can make decisions independent of “god”, for there is very little evidence that there is a plan, or will, or a specific path that one must follow. I believe that a ROOT CAUSE of many problems is the belief that there is a “will” or a path that you must take --- in the WWCoG, this caused a lot of frustration, because when things did not work out, one assumed that it must not be god’s will. After a few years of noticing how nothing seems to be god’s will, one could end up a mental case --- if things go wrong in your life, you assume you must be out of synch with god, and this causes a great spiral of self-doubt ---

(more: Painful Observations...)


Greetings Friends From Around the World!

by KScribe

Hi John, I just wanted to say “HAPPY ANIVERSARY” to the Painful Truth!! It has been 10 years now since my break with “herbism!”

Back in 1997, shortly after finding this site I had to admit that the con men of armstrongism had raped me free from all the green backs in my portfolio! I had neglected my common sense and went for the hook of reclusive, exclusive armstrongism! Well here is what I have to say, or repeat as to my reason for leaving the cultist world of Herbert W. Armstrong!

Some say watching violent films is to desensitize the human brain. After years of reading the "Good news" rag from whatever flavor cog's you might attend, it does seem that the members become "immune" to the onslaught of bad news of the present day world. All these members are taught is that there is a "better" world to come where they will be rulers in the world of tomorrow! Years of negative teachings from the cult masters will and has resulted in tens of thousands of human beings that have lost touch with the reality of being human! When you are desensitized to the human condition you lose all aspects of reality, with the basic concept of being human in itself lost. The inability to make a personal opinion or decision without interference from the pulpit is classic brainwashing. You are dependent on the guru. To be a successfully ruler, one needs to be in constant contact with the "subjects" in order to understand the values (moral code) and needs of the populous. Instead the cult masters instill fear of the past and present day world that causes a paralysis of the human psyche that leads to the inability to make rational decisions. Hence the results seen in the LCG.

(more: Greetings Friends...)


Let There Be Light

By Retired Prof

"If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."   --Woody Allen

The first thing the woman experienced was a flash at once intensely bright and oddly tenuous, and of an unnatural color. Next she heard a sharp, hollow clap that stirred the pit of her stomach like nearby thunder, only not so loud and without the rumbling afternoise. Instantly the flash burst into a spherical eruption of billions of brilliant points of light in colors different from those of the flash but just as unnatural. Bursting outwards with astonishing speed, the globe was illuminated between the sparks by a pale glow, making it appear that she and her husband and her son were all three about to be swallowed up in a huge balloon of sparkling flame. Standing behind and slightly to the right of her son, she just had time to perceive individual clusters of sparks rush toward them as fast as arrows, on perfectly straight trajectories. When they struck him, she saw him jump and heard him squeal, and then she felt the particles penetrate her own body. The sensations were exquisite.

She was instantly suffused with prickly tingles at once sharp and gentle, hot and cold, like tiny pinpricks of fire immersed in cooling water or tiny pinpricks of ice embedded in a rosy glow. These she could feel in her skin, her muscles, her lungs, her belly—even, she thought, in her liver, her marrow, where at other times she could never feel anything at all. At times one eye or the other would flash suddenly green (or was it red?) and fade to yellow, and then after a second she would blink, and objects around her would appear to have faint white haloes. Her tongue would tingle, then she would taste curious changing mixtures of salt and sweet and sour and bitter, each time different, nearly all delicious. The smells were too fleeting to capture and savor; she only knew she wanted them to last longer. The sounds were strangely flat to be so sharp and crisp: little pings at many pitches, like tiny untuned bells. On the whole, though not unpleasant, they were not so charming as the other effects, but she could ignore them and concentrate on the feelings. Those were the best. And the tastes.

(more: Let There Be Light...)


by Douglas Becker

The Painful Truth has upheld the rights of the United States Constitution Bill of Rights by supporting freedom of speech. In doing so, The Painful Truth has relieved the distress of countless numbers of people suffering under the despotism of contempt.

It isn't so much that oppression against victims is a conscious choice as it is collateral damage.

At this point, The Painful Truth has made it past a decade, but there came a point in time when it nearly didn't: At the turn of the year between the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006, a cult spin off of the old Worldwide Church of God began taking down websites in the United States with which the leader had issues, merely by calling up and threatening web hosts. Those who stood their ground won against those who would rob us all of our freedom of speech. It was a real nightmare which could have ended dissent against the evils of Armstrongism. The Painful Truth survived and prospered. The biggest personal benefit of The Painful Truth is to be found in a seemingly innocuous web page about Herbert W. Armstrong's Narcissistic Personality Disorder by William D. Meyer which seemed irrelevant at the time but has had a tremendous impact upon the epiphanies relating to understanding the cult experience under Herbert Armstrong. Here is a review of the main indicators of narcissism:

(more: Contempt...)





If you have anything you would like to submit to this site,
or any comments, email me at:

Back to Painful Truth menu


The content of this site, including but not limited to the text and images herein and their arrangement, are copyright © 1997-2006 by The Painful Truth. All rights reserved.

Do not duplicate, copy or redistribute in any form without prior written consent.