Worldwide Church of God Ministerial Apologies
Compiled by Ed Sr.
We, the undersigned Ministers, Elders, Local Elders and former Ministers, Elders and Local Elders do hereby formally and humbly apologize to the members and former members of the Worldwide Church of God. NONE of us are individually responsible for ALL the following but we had a part in it because we subscribed to and supported the one, Herbert W. Armstrong, who was ultimately responsible for it all:
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- We apologize for the way we treated the members like a lower class of human being than ourselves.
- We apologize for pretending to speak for God when we were only giving our own opinions.
- We apologize for screwing up your lives, some irreparably, with our arrogance.
- We apologize for the education that you didn't get because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the jobs you lost because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the jobs you will never have because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the retirement that you will never have because of our preaching.
- We apologize for those who never got married because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the marriages we destroyed because of our preaching.
- We apologize for those who got married but shouldn't have because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the abuse you received in a marriage that we would not let end because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the people that died because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the people that are still sick today because of our preaching.
- We apologize for those who committed suicide because of our preaching.
- We apologize for those who may yet commit suicide because of our preaching.
- We apologize for your children not being able to live a normal childhood because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the family life with your parents and brothers and sisters and children that was lost because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the reduced standard of living you will have for the rest of your life because of our preaching.
- We apologize that many were turned away from God because of our preaching.
- We apologize for covering up the sins of the leaders of the WCG so that we could maintain our jobs.
- We apologize for putting the love of Money ahead of the love of Truth.
- We apologize for our boring sermons, and for even going overtime with subjects we could have covered in ten minutes.
- We apologize for our boring sermons, and for putting the blame on you if you were bored.
- We apologize for putting guilt trips on you during offeratories to milk extra money out of you.
- We apologize for giving advice on finance, sex, child-rearing, etc. which we had neither training nor experience, nor any biblical justification.
- We apologize for taking away your ability to make your own decisions.
- We apologize for shouting at and intimidating you and your children during our sermons.
- We apologize for confusing white bread, white sugar, peeled potatoes, etc. with sin.
- We apologize for interposing ourselves between you and God, in complete contradiction of Jesus Christ's sacrifice.
- We apologize for falsely saying that those that were trying to expose the corruption in the church were having "mental problems."
- We apologize to all those we disfellowshipped and made the rest of you to shun, even your own relatives.
- We apologize for the way your children were picked on at school because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the sports and dances that your children never got to participate in at school because of our preaching.
- We apologize for the way we treated the women like they were a lower class of human beings than the men.
- We apologize for treating the blacks as though they were a lower class than the women.
- We apologize for making you keep your suit coats and ties on when it was hot because "I was not hot and I'll tell you when you are hot."
- We apologize for your kids having problems getting time off from school for the Feast Of Tabernacles or having a hard time keeping up with their class because of missing so much school, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for your kids having a hard time making friends because of their weird beliefs, inability to go places or do things with other kids on Saturdays, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for your kids having nightmares about the Great Tribulation, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for your kids coming home from school each day and being relieved to see you hadn't fled to the place of safety without them, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for your not hardly even knowing your neighbors since they were part of "the world", because of our preaching.
- We apologize for you alienating your family when they came to visit and you had to go to church rather than stay and visit with them, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for your marriage that suffered because your wife was treated like she was second class or you had a strained marriage because you as "the head of the house" wouldn't listen to her, because of our preaching.
- We apologize that your marriage and life suffered because you made decisions without getting the wisdom, insight and different perspective of your wife, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for your children having rotten teeth because you didn't have enough money to fix them because you were sending so much money to "headquarters" to do the Work, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for making fun of your old, rummage sale suitcase and embarrassing you in front of the whole congregation. It was all you could afford, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for covering up the cases of domestic violence, rape, incest and child molestation perpetrated by church members so as to keep up a clean image for the church, while knowing full well that, in doing so, we would add further suffering for the victims rather than facilitating their healing.
- We apologize for covering up the cases of domestic violence, rape, incest and child molestation perpetrated by our fellow ministers so as to keep up a clean image for the church, while knowing full well that, in doing so, we would add further suffering for the victims rather than facilitating their healing.
- We apologize for using as examples in my sermons things you told me in confidence during counseling sessions. Even though we didn't mention your name, everybody knew who you were because we gave them so many details about your situation that only a complete idiot couldn't figure out it was you.
- We apologize for having the effrontery to go through your cupboards, to decide which things you should or should not keep, to satisfy our arbitrary standards.
- We apologize for instructing the women to dress like our wives.
- We apologize for removing your self esteem with our preaching.
- We apologize for taking the fathers away from their children, with our emphasis on endless spokesmen's clubs and speech preparation, working bees, daily prayer & bible study for the prescribed time. (While we, the ministry, had time for golf in the middle of the working week).
- We apologize for robbing you of your extended family, by emphasizing church above family, and causing you to have no time for anything or anyone else.
- We apologize for causing you to be non-contributing members of your communities, because of our preaching.
- We apologize for teaching intolerance in word and deed, and for removing your peace of mind.
- We apologize because we would not listen to you.
- We apologize for changing everything, and changing nothing.
- We apologize for trying to lay a guilt trip on those who think we should apologize for our mental, emotional and spiritual abuse of the members.
- We apologize for telling the members and former members they are angry and bitter, and that they should rejoice with us that we are now preaching Christ, instead of expecting us to apologize for our abusive past.
- We apologize for taking personal advantage of your desire to serve God.
- We apologize for lacking empathy and being unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
- We apologize for covering up the cases of domestic violence, rape, incest and child molestation perpetrated by church members so as to keep up a clean image for the church, while knowing full well that in doing so would add further suffering for the victims rather than facilitating their healing.
- We apologize to all you [former] deacons from whom we demanded extra service without any pay, knowing full well that we wouldn't tell you that neither we nor the LCEs were required to pay third tithe, even though you HAD to, on top of all the extra money you had to give to serve The Way.
- We apologize to those of you who we required to spy on your fellow "brethren," for requiring some of you "leaders" to come on spy trips during which we surprise visited "members" we suspected were not "measuring up to our strict rules and regulations."
- We apologize for not explicitly and directly advising you NOT to use your credit cards to make up for the cash you didn't have, to send to HQ.
- We apologize for many of us never researching the rumors we heard about Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, and many others.
- We apologize for laying a guilt trip on you that if you researched the rumors about Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong and many others, you were or would be under the sway of satan.
- We apologize for bringing false accusations against some of you by bringing an "upright" deacon or elder with us into your home to threaten you with excommunication, if you would not "buckle under."
- We apologize for the many, many hidden tears and heart sorrow you experienced or now still experience in the quietness of the night because of what we did to you.
- We apologize for faking the "holy" in "holy days" - we didn't have a clue, so we made it up as we went along.
- New on 8/6/98
- We apologize for breathing down your necks when your children did anything aside from sitting there with glazed eyes.
- We apologize for insisting you pattern your families after ours.
- We apologize for grabbing the best table at potlucks.
- We apologize for demanding that you attend weeknight Bible Study "to insure your salvation"
- We apologize for shouting at you during the second service on Holy Days because you were sleepy and bored to death with our preaching.
- We apologize especially to deacons for threatening to bust them in rank over their children's behavior.
- We apologize for shunning your children who did not attend Ambassador College when they graduated high school.
- We apologize for shamelessly sending our flunkies to spy on YOU members.
- We apologize for forcibly cutting your sons' hair at SEP.
- We apologize for treating any encounter between two YOU members of different genders as if they were having wild sex right there on the floor, including quiet conversation.
- We apologize for causing your fellow members to treat any encounter between two YOU members of different genders as if they were having wild sex right there on the floor, including quiet conversation.
- We apologize for thinking all any YOU member wanted at activities or trips or the Feast was having wild sex right there on the floor, including quiet conversation.
- We apologize for working ourselves into a frenzy over earrings on men.
- We apologize for causing members to point fingers at each other over who might not make it to "the place of safety".
- We apologize for scaring your children to death by hinting THEY might not make it to "the place of safety".
- We apologize for causing you to treat every remark, cough, or burp emitted by headquarters as "God's word and law".
- We apologize for amassing a large following of yes men and flunkies in every congregation we preached at, then manipulating these people to do our dirty work for us.
- We apologize for locating the nearest member's home to ours, then imposing on that member to take care of all our silly amenities whenever we left town.
- New on 10/18/98
- We apologize for children never receiving any presents from the moment their parent(s) came into the church, due to the teaching against birthdays, Christmas and anything else that might be fun.
- We apologize for all the weekends that you could not sleep over at your grandparents house or the fishing trips you couldn't take.
- We apologize for every time we told you not to buy that next pair of shoes, but to give the money in the offering.
- We apologize for doing a guilt trip on members when taking up an offering, causing people to give all the money they had, and not having any money to buy their lunch that day. (This happened to my daughter)
- We apologize for having the members sit on hard folding chairs since 1956.
- We apologize for all the long, desperately boring sermons that actually caused mothers (or fathers) to wake their children up so they could take them out.
- We apologize for telling the members that their children should be born at home and not at a hospital
- We apologize for telling the members it was wrong to go to doctors and allowing children to be sick and not have any medical attention, including aspirin.
- We apologize for being angry if a member came to them with a problem, especially if it involved another member.
- We apologize for having the members sing those rotten songs in that song book. If you said anything, you were wrong as they were 'The Psalms."
New on 11/28/98
- We apologize for condemning you by implying that free speech and self-esteem are concepts inspired by the Devil.
- We apologize for causing you excruciating emotional pain by our accusations.
- We apologize for crushing your first love with our relentless personal attacks.
- We apologize for our racist approach towards christianity.
- We apologize for hating and abusing you without cause.
- We apologize for the stench our bodies will make as they slowly burn in the Lake of Fire
New on 2/28/99
- We apologize for not allowing your children to salute the flag in school and thereby being scorned and ridiculed by students and teachers.
- We apologize to gay people for making them feel like antichrists who have no hope of salvation.
- We apologize for demanding that you beat your children every day "whether they need it or not," despite the fact that so few of us actually beat our own kids.
New on 7/20/99
We apologize for encouraging members to abusively program their children with no thought of how that programming would affect their children or their children's children or future spouses. Just because a child doesn't remain "in the church" doesn't mean that all that early religious abuse (and programming, Ed) just goes away.
New on 7/29/99
- We apologize for threatening you with the Lake of Fire when you asked what was going to happen in January 1972.
- We apologize for threatening you with the Lake of Fire for any old reason.
- We apologize for telling you that you were going to go to the Petra Hilton.
- We apologize for all the money you spent trying to locate old National Geographic Magazines with articles about Petra.
- We apologize for making you afraid to search God's word because you might find "a loose brick" and thereby be disfellowshipped.
- We apologize for telling you that if you were disfellowshipped from "God's church" you were destined for the Lake of Fire.
- We apologize for forcing you to listen to Gerald Waterhouse and his three hour "sermons" about the deep significance of the name Armstrong, 19-year time cycles, and other highly "spiritual" matters.
- We apologize for not allowing you to bring cushions for the cast-iron folding chairs which you sat on while you listened to Gerald Waterhouse expostulate for three hours on the deep significance of the name Armstrong, 19-year time cycles, and other highly "spiritual" matters.
- We apologize for saying, after January 1972 had passed, that we had never told you that January 1972 had any meaning, when, in fact, we had told you that you should look forward to a three and a half year stay at the Petra Hilton or similar accommodations while you underwent rigorous spiritual training in preparation for the Second Coming.
- We apologize for the booklet 1975 in Prophecy which spread fear among the brethren, thereby discrediting genuine Christianity.
- We apologize for the many dollars you were forced to spend for psychological therapy after reading 1975 in Prophecy and listening to our many sermons which cast doubt on your conversion and led you to believe that you were destined for the Great Tribulation and the Lake of Fire .
- We apologize for the many sermons we gave which cast doubt on your conversion because you wore bell bottom trousers or listened to the Rolling Stones and told you that such conduct would ensure that you were destined for the Great Tribulation and the Lake of Fire.
- We apologize for all the money you spent on hemorrhoid medication because we wouldn't allow you to bring cushions for the cast-iron folding chairs on which you sat while Gerald Waterhouse expostulated on the significance of the name Armstrong, 19-year time cycles, and other highly "spiritual" matters.
- We apologize for informing you that your conversion was in doubt and you were therefore destined for the Great Tribulation and the Lake of fire because you used hemorrhoid medication after sitting for three hours on cast-iron folding chairs while listening to Gerald Waterhouse expostulate on the significance of the name Armstrong, 19-year time cycles, and other highly "spiritual" matters.
- We apologize for all the money you and your family spent on peanut butter sandwiches during third tithe years because you sent money to Pasadena for the widows and orphans.
- We apologize for all the money you sent to Pasadena during third tithe years which you thought went to widows and orphans but we know went to purchase jet fuel for Herbert Armstrong's private jet which he used to fly to far away countries where he spoke to tyrants and dictators about "the give way and get way."
- We apologize for all the money you sent to Pasadena during third tithe years which you thought went to widows and orphans but we know went to furnish the homes of top-"ranking" ministers so that they could live in splendor while you and your family ate peanut butter sandwiches for dinner every night.
- We apologize for telling you that you could get soused at the Feast as long as you didn't eat any white bread, put no white sugar in your coffee, and made sure to diligently remove all pieces of ham in your salad.
- We apologize for telling you that your conversion was in doubt and you were destined for the Great Tribulation and the Lake of Fire because you did eat one or two morsels of ham in your salad and you did put white sugar in your coffee.
- We apologize for "counseling" you to buy Firestone tires instead of Goodyear tires for your twelve-year-old clunker which you were forced to drive because you were scrupulously sending in your first tithe, second tithe, third tithe, tithe of the tithe, leftover second tithe, building fund, Holy Day offerings, special offerings and offerings for the "gun lap."
- We apologize for telling you that your conversion was in doubt and you were destined for the Great Tribulation and the Lake of Fire because you bought Goodyear tires instead of the Firestone tires which we "counseled" you to buy.
New on 8/1/99
We apologize for telling you that Herbert Armstrong was "preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ" to tyrants and dictators when he was really just talking about the "give way and the get way," a philosophy he plagiarized from Gautama Buddha.
We apologize for telling you that Gautama Buddha and his followers, the Buddhists, were pagans influenced by Satan when Herbert Armstrong was "preaching" the very same philosophy and calling it "the give way and the get way."
We apologize for telling you to "sacrifice for the Work," thus forcing you to drive twelve-year-old clunkers, live in run-down apartments with no chance of buying a home, and eat peanut butter sandwiches for dinner, while Pope Herbert Armstrong and his College of Cardinals lived in splendor worthy of the Medicis.
We apologize for the fact that you had to attend Sabbath services in rented halls which were often a three or four hour drive from your apartment, were not air conditioned in the summer, and had cast iron folding chairs for seating.
We apologize that you had to attend Sabbath services in rented, un-air-conditioned halls while Pope Armstrong, his College of Cardinals, and his many Poobahs in Pasadena attended Sabbath services in the "House for God," an air-conditioned edifice lined with the finest marble from Italy, costly carpeting from the Far East, urinals which flushed automatically, and plush seating which insured that none of the aforementioned dignitaries would ever have to purchase hemorrhoid medication or that they would ever pass out on a hot summer day.
We apologize for:
... for allowing elders and deacons to "correct" your children if you were not available to.
...for suggesting that 6 month old babies were old enough for spanking.
...for forcing "pot luck" meals on the members that only included foods that smelled of flatulence.
... for not allowing the boys (in the '70's) to part their hair in the middle. (Left side only, this was "on the bullseye")
... for endorsing carob over chocolate. Honey over syrup, Postum over coffee, brown eggs/rice over white, straight from the cow milk over homogenized.
... for making members suggest to Restaurants that they ought to consider serving Matzos as an alternative during Passover week.
... for making our members hawk Plain truth magazines at banks.
... to all of the people we called on to "lead songs" for wasting their time, we knew fully that no one ever paid attention to the song leader.
... for causing members to spend hours food shopping due to the fact that they had to read the ingredients on just about everything they bought, for fear that they contained lard.
...We apologize for treating divorced women as if the breakup of their marriage was their fault, yet treating divorced men as if the divorce could not be avoided.
...We apologize for treating the children of divorced women like second class citizens and at the same time treating children of divorced men with sympathy and understanding.
If you are/were a minister/elder and would like to sign up or if you are a member or former member who would like to suggest more things the ministers can apologize for, email me at:
CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL ADDRESS.
Why haven't more ministers signed the Apology List?
We the undersigned have felt so badly about what we did that we no longer feel qualified to preach. We humbly ask your forgiveness.
We the undersigned might feel bad but not enough to walk away from the money and/or attention that we can get by continuing to pretend to be qualified to be representatives of God. And, after all, where are we going to get a job that pays this well for doing so little? And besides, YOUR God is so weak that he needs US to do His work for Him.
Mike St Thomas
To All Harmed by the Worldwide Church of God:
I was baptized in 1972 at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Later, in another congregation, in 1993, I was ordained a local church elder, and remained so for nine years until I asked for my name to be removed from the list.
Three years ago I accepted the fact that I needed to make amends for the wrongs I have done, from my youth to the present. As a member of this cult, I actively supported it with words, deeds and finances. I enabled it to reach out and ensnare others with its harmful doctrines.
As an elder, my words and deeds carried more weight. I continued to support “the work” financially and emphatically in my preaching, further enabling the church to reach out and ensnare more with its harmful doctrines.
If doctrines such as “Thou Shalt Not Eat Pork” do not seem to be harmful to you, it is probably because a pig farmer never “got converted” and joined your congregation. One did in ours. The guilt and shame of “causing cancer” and contributing directly to a disease filled world, weighed heavy on his conscience. Out of guilt, the farm was sold quickly for less than its market value. His father was a minor partner. All suffered financial loss. The mental and emotional loss of one seemingly small doctrine was devastating. This is only one small example from one minor doctrine.
For my support of the World Wide Church of God, both as a member and an elder, I apologize. To all, harmed by my erroneous preaching, personal behavior and support of this cult, I am deeply sorry for any harm I have caused. I also apologize for the length of time it has taken me to come to my senses and realize this letter must be written. For the above, and for all of the abuse by the cult I supported, I am deeply sorry, and apologize.
Mike St Thomas
Oct 4th, 2011
I am writing to request my name be removed from the Hall of Shame. Although I was a member for many more years (30) than I was a pastor my regret for having anything to do with WCG is beyond words. I became a “Pastor” about a year after the change in doctrine. Members were leaving in droves and some of us who stayed were given the responsibility of hosting house churches. I did this for about 2 years then went full time for about 5 moving to Illinois and later to Missouri. It was a awful experience. I honestly tried to help but members were so shell shocked, angry and lost that I finally realized the whole organization needs to close down. I pray for the day when a news report comes out stating WCG has disbanded. I left the ministry and the church in 2006. My wife and I now belong to a small Methodist church. I wish to deeply apologies for any thing I ever said or did, or left unsaid or undone that hurt anyone. The people I hurt the most were members of family. I can not believe I was so ignorant, vain and stubborn for so long. There are many things I have done in my life that I regret and feel deep sorrow for. My involvement with WCG is not only something I regret but am deeply ashamed of and likely will be for the rest of my life. By the way, I refuse to call the organization by its new name , Grace Communion International. They can can run but they can to hide from what they were, what they did to innocent people, and how they continue to try to fool everyone into believing they have become.
Did anyone ever know why the Worldwide Church of God ( the split-offs ) never had real churches or at least buildings for meetings? Why always rented halls & rented rooms in cheap motels?
A small building rented monthly , would surely be less expensive in the long run. Was ( is ) this just another control thing? It seems that an organized group would attract more people than a floating crap game type meeting.
As a former member for over 30 years and a pastor for 6, I received an explanation that ran along these lines. Local congregations were required to send in all their revenues to headquarters. Rent and other expenses were paid out from there. WCG had total control over the money. I recall my church being forced to send in a local fund of a few thousand dollars , marked as a benevolence fund, because GTA needed a new jet or something. Yes. it was all about control....controlling the money. The local congregations were to be kept in a attitude of being temporary and dependent on HQ. Nothing was to be viewed as permanent, nothing was to have a sense local ownership. It was the reason why pastors were transferred about every seven years. It deterred any sense of local loyalty or belonging. Pastors would come and go, you may have to move in and out of different rented facilities, but the constant was HWA and the mother church. After leaving WCG and attending other churches I was struck by how nice the buildings and facilities were. Showed what can be done when the money is kept in the local church.
Your minister here
Gordon Godfrey Harry
Larry Pritchett Larry Pritchett
It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Larry has disqualified himself by proving to be unrepentant.
William (Bill) Powell
Chances are, this apology will never reach those it needs to reach.
It will never reach Ethelbert Pearson, William Brown, Oliver Jones, Stephen & Mary Randolph, Betty Hunter, Jack Jackson, Emmitt & Lenell Shaw, Doris Griffen, Drexel Shiver, Jack Lucas, and many others who thought I was somebody other than who I really am.
However in the spirit of reconciliation, I do sign the aforementioned apology with all of its accoutrements; not out of duress, but as a step towards those that believe I am a curse to their very existence. A small step, yes, but a move in what I hope is the right direction.
William (Bill) Powell
"I did keep a lot inside hoping that it wasn't so. I was wrong."
- Editor -- I am taking it upon myself to hereby remove Dennis from the Hall of Shame. He is helping others today, in the same spirit as John O and others. His picture will remain there, however, as a piece of history.
As far as I am concerned, he is one of us...the used, the abused. He has not signed this list himself. In fact, he feels like he has little to apologize for.
- But he has admitted to me he was wrong.
We all were.
- And we believe in second chances.
New category below:
We the undersigned Wives of Ministers or Elders apologize for any pain or hurt we caused anyone while we supported the cult. We humbly ask your forgiveness.
Joanne Anderson, Wisconsin
New category below:
We the undersigned Deacons and Deaconess' apologize for any pain or hurt we caused anyone while we supported the cult. We humbly ask your forgiveness.
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