Yes it IS your Fault!
A Dysfunctional Discourse with a Worldwide Church of God Pastor
How is it that you continue to serve a organization that calls it's self "A Charity" and yet when someone honestly asks the leadership, or a Pastor as to what their compensation is, there is just a blank stare for a answer? If you would be kind enough to answer this also, a question comes to mind, that is screaming out for a honest answer!! Has the leadership or the Pastors of the church, ever received counseling in order to transform their behavior from "sheriff to shepherd?"
One more question if you will bear with me! I heard that Joseph Tkach Jr. setup a program where the church would place someone, if assistance was asked for, to receive counseling for problems due to the former teachings of the church, all at the churches expense!! Now that is true Christian stewardship!!! About time!! My question is this, is it for tithe payers currently in the Worldwide Church of God, or how about former members that as many realize, left the church or were disfellowshipped?
Thank you in advance for your reply.
Let me see if I can answer some of your questions for you.
How is it that you continue to serve a organization that calls it's self "A Charity"
I'm 24 years old and most of my congregation is also quite young. I was not a pastor during the "sheriff" days and many of the other young people here didn't even grow up in the Worldwide Church of God. In other words, the past doesn't mean too much to us. We try to be true Christians and I do my best to be a good shepherd.
Why do we keep the name Worldwide Church of God then? I personally feel it is better to repair a bad reputation than to just throw it away and start from scratch. I wouldn't say I serve any organization. I would hope that people would say I serve God and others. when someone honestly asks the leadership, or a Pastor as to what their compensation is, there is just a blank stare for a answer? I don't understand what you mean by compensation.
Has the leadership or the Pastors of the church, ever receive counselling in order to transform their behavior from "sheriff to shepherd?
Yes. I believe some have. But don't forget though that there were different types of ministers in the past. Not all were tyrants. I know I can remember a few nice ones.
One more question if you will bear with me! I heard that Joseph Tkach Jr. set up a program where the church would place someone, if assistance was asked for, to receive counseling for problems due to the former teachings of the church, all at the churches expense!! Now that is true Christian stewardship!!! About time!! My question is this, is it for tithe payers currently in the Worldwide Church of God, or how about former members that as many realize, left the church or were disfellowshipped?
I'm not aware of a specific program like this but I imagine that if Mr.Tkach has promised this than it would be for anyone who asks, regardless of whether they are current "tithe-payers". I'll look into it more if you like. I hope this helps. One thing I know is that it's hard to play the blamegame in situations like this. Who exactly is to blame for how the Worldwide Church of God treated us? HWA? Ministers? Members who accepted it? In my case, parents who brought me into it? I don't know. All I know is that I try to dwell on the future, not the past. I realize that is hard for many. And that's why I've stuck around in the Worldwide Church of God. The more young faces with new paradigms the better.
BTW A question for you. Do I know you? If so, I'd prefer to chat on a name to name basis. Otherwise, I respect your anonymity.
(1) Compensation is the salary one receives for "services" rendered.
(2) Yes, also if you could check into the rumor that Worldwide Church of God is providing funds for those hurt by the church in the past, based on the idea of making ones fellow man whole again, I and others would appreciate that! Counseling would be a Christian response.
(3) Responsibility for damage done in the Church to one's fellow human beings, belongs to the current administration of the Worldwide Church of God regardless of who inflicted damage!
My question is: Can a bad tree (Worldwide Church of God, and the incestuous former leader Herbert W. Armstrong, that covered up corruption, theft from members, theft from 3rd tithes, etc. ad nauseaum...) bear good fruit? If Joe Tkach does not make the grievous wrongs, right again, how does that stand with you as a representative of Christ?
Matt, at this time I wish to remain with a sense of anonymity.
Thanks Matt for the reply, and your future reply!
From: Matt and Rebecca Baker firstname.lastname@example.org
To: "one of the fleeced" email@example.com
Subject: Re: Several respectful questions....Reply
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2000 20:13:52 ‑0800
(1) Compensation is the salary one receives for "services" rendered.
Sorry I guess was a bit dense there. I realized later what you meant. I have no qualms about revealing my pay to anyone but I can only speak for myself. The annual salary I receive for full time employment as pastor is $31,651 Canadian. That's about $21,800 in US dollars.
(2) Yes, also if you could check into the rumor that Worldwide Church of God is providing funds for those hurt by the church in the past
I will do that and get back to you.
(3) Responsibility for damage done in the Church to one's fellow human beings, belongs to the current administration of the Worldwide Church of God regardless of who inflicted damage!
Again, the blame game is tricky business. I'm no psychologist but I know that dealing with hurts from ones past is usually multifaceted and complex. (:}
(Note from screwed: Does this language sounds familiar!)
You cannot pin total responsibility on any single person or organization. I do know that Mr. Tkach wrote an PT article sometime about 1995 called, "Forgive us our Trespasses" where he publically apologized on behalf of the church for the past. I also would hope that any member or former member who approached any current Worldwide Church of God pastor seeking help in the area of personal healing would indeed be helped in the best way possible. What more can be done to make grievous wrongs right?
I don't know of any organization or church that is free of any skeletons in the closet. That doesn't excuse the wrongs and I do agree that people or (screwed: Italics mine) groups should try to set things right. But only Christ is able to cover the multitude of our sins. He's the only one that can make things right. We will never reach perfection on our own, as humans or as organizations.
Thanks again for the reply! Yes, I await for the answer that Joe Tkach will give you on the matter of providing funds for the injured. Put me on the top of the list!
Matt, Did you ever find out the answers to my questions that you promised to look in to? Hope to hear from you again!
Did ask around at the head office in Vancouver. No one knew anything about a specific offer. I'm these days between what go assuming you are from the States. Things are quite separatees on here and what goes on there. Someone suggested you write MichaelMorrison@wcg.org. Also, if you are looking for assisstance from the church, the best place to start might be to contact the pastor in your local area, even if you have no desire to become a member again. I hope this helps.
Greetings from somewhere out in cyberspace! Provided below is a article off the main menu of a website. I would like your opinion of this. Does this sound like the wcg?
Hello again. I'm pretty familiar with Ed's site and I think I've read this one before.
It may indeed have some similarities to the Worldwide Church of God but it also has a lot of bias written into it that I would disagree with. For instance, the caricature of Joe Jr. is not fair. "Just find Jesus" does not adequately sum up current Worldwide Church of God theology.
Also, it would have a person believe that the church is currently well-off financially when that really isn't the case. In the story, Joe Tkach says, "I found Jesus and look at all that I have now: money, authority, praise, honor..." This is advocating the Health/Wealth gospel, which the Worldwide Church of God does not currently teach. The Worldwide Church of God has lost both credibility and finances because of it's change. If it really wanted health and wealth, it would have kept preaching tithing.
The part I disagree with the most is the idea that the Worldwide Church of God stripped us of our money, education, career, family, friends, health, etc. This undermines personal responsibility. For example, let's say you were watching TV and you came across one of those commercials with starving African children. You are moved by the scenes the organization shows you and you decide to send them $100. Several decades later you find out that the president of that organization had a salary that is ridiculously high and that several employees of that organization were once involved in a second degree murder.
Can you blame them for stealing your $100? No, you chose to donate it by your own free will. I'm not saying that the church bears no responsibility. I'm just pointing out that it does not bear it 100%. Every member of the Worldwide Church of God made choices to go along with what the Worldwide Church of God said. "But we were brainwashed" you might say. Well, somewhere along the way, one must make the choice to be allowed to be brainwashed. (:}
(Screwed: Told you!! It's your fault!!!)
For instance, if the church told you not to take medication, you still had the choice to disobey. Many people did. Like I said once before, the only ones who might be able to claim true abuse would be children that did not chose to enter the Worldwide Church of God. They were born into it (like myself). (:} Then, some blaim would go to the parents and not just the church.
But again, the blame game doesn't help people heal. I am a pastor and I have a pastorate to shepherd. If you are within my pastorate, I would love to help you or anyone obtain healing (even financially). If you are not in my pastorate, I would gladly put you in touch with a local pastor. It seems to me that many people are willing to complain about the Worldwide Church of God on the internet but few are willing to go through the logical steps to obtain help from the Worldwide Church of God which would be going through a local representative of the organization. I realize that this is because of a lack of trust but if one wants money from somewhere, they have to ask in the right way. Otherwise, they need to go to social services to get help to afford professional counselling.
Feb 6, 2000
This is in response to your January 26 reply.
You stated :
For instance, the caricature of Joe Jr. is not fair. "Just find Jesus" does not adequately sum up current Worldwide Church of God theology.
This is not what a Corporate executives of wcg wrote one person!
The part I disagree with the most is the idea that the Worldwide Church of God stripped us of our money, education, career, family, friends, health, etc. This undermines personal responsibility.
You further stated:
"But we were brainwashed" you might say. Well, somewhere along the way, one must make the choice to be allowed to be brainwashed
This result of being "fleeced" of everything, money, education, career, family, friends, etc., was due directly to herbie and the Nazi ministers who manipulated our minds (mind control.)
Adolf Hitler wrote a book called "Mein Kampf" in which herbie learned how to create a movement that people would be "enticed" into. Hitler dreamed of a "Master Race" ruling over the multitude of humanity and ushering in a 1000 year Reich was something old herbie found useful in manufacturing a mass movement (invention of wcg theology.)
The responsibility, YOU believe, should fall on former members!!
A web site, that is, if you really care Matt, would be worth a visit
http : //www.influenceat work.com/ .
At this site you will find 9 symptoms that tell of cult influence (brainwashing).
Here are some examples of some on the list, and a partial definition. If they don't sound familiar, I suggest that you educate yourself further on this matter.
1) Personality changes: Brainwashing. The replacement of members personality with a new identity.
2) Dramatic shifts of values or beliefs: Radical changes over a short period of time. Such changes require extreme situational influences such as those provided by a "skilled cult leader."
3) Changes in diet or sleep patterns: Clean, unclean foods. Constant fasting.
4) Inability to make decisions without consulting a cult leader: Loss of personal autonomy.
5) Black and white, simplistic reasoning: Were good, the worlds BAD. We are chosen, they are not.
6) The NEW vocabulary: Gods Church, called out ones, king and priests, Gods elect, the world tomorrow, the truth, ect, ad nauseam.... (:}
For instance, if the church told you not to take medication, you still had the choice to disobey.
True. However, at what price? If you got kicked out of the church for going and taking an aspirin, you were "apart from God." If you skipped medicine entirely, and many did, you faced the possibility of a early demise. This is mind control.
Like I said once before, the only ones who might be able to claim true abuse would be children that did not chose to enter the Worldwide Church of God. They were born into it (like myself). Then, some blaim would go to the parents and not just the church.
Matt, in reality, children were brainwashed by their parents, who were brainwashed by their "skilled cult leader." They never knew anything else! Most of the children of the cult leave, never to return to the oppression of their youth! The church is responsible, for all the damage done to humanity within the fold. A full 100%.
If you are within my pastorate, I would love to help you or anyone obtain healing (even financially).
Also............... You summarized:
It seems to me that many people are willing to complain about the Worldwide Church of God on the internet but few are willing to go through the logical steps to obtain help from the Worldwide Church of God which would be going through a local representative of the organization. I realize that this is because of a lack of trust but if one wants money from somewhere, they have to ask in the right way. Otherwise, they need to go to social services to get help to afford professional counselling.
Well Matt, you could help me by sending back my tithes! Who's money would you use? Dollars from your own pocket, or from the corporation?
I've tried Matt. Money is more important to the church, more important than my mental health!! This must be what Jesus meant, when he said "love others as yourself." The Worldwide Church of God sure leads by example!! Again I refer you to this person's letter: toxic-waste.htm
Overall Matt, sorry to disappoint you, but you are DEAD WRONG on this one. Many lost career's and some lost their lives, others their health, and many young adults lost the possibility of an education, choices made by their parents.
Yes Matt, children were brainwashed by their parents and the parents were brainwashed by the cult. Brainwashing is not a conscious choice! Go to that website Matt. You owe it to others.
Don't keep blaming people for what Worldwide Church of God did! Don't add further guilt or torment to their lives. People have died by their own hand due to the teachings of Worldwide Church of God!
Educate yourself in order to help your fellow man!
Is the Worldwide Church of God teaching or telling you how to duck the responsibility of past crimes against humanity?
Don't prostitute yourself for money!
Help the people, think of others, and to hell with the corporate parasites and their love of money!!
What do I mean? How much does Joe Jr. make annually? I have heard $300k-600k. Would it make a difference to you if he made this kind of money?
Now, why do you protect these people? To keep a low paying job? Why keep a job with a organization that abused you as a child? At 24 years old you could have any choice of honorable employment! Why stay with an organization with such a criminal and deceitful background?
May I suggest that you and your congregation split from Worldwide Church of God and get hitched with a church with a less besmirched reputation? It will probably pay better!
Now the big question! What would Jesus do if he found himself in your position?
Awaiting your reply, but still feeling... firstname.lastname@example.org
February 8, 2000
I think I've said just about all I can say about the issue of who bears responsibility. Obviously, we don't agree on this issue. I have contacted a professional psychologist to ask his opinion on who's to blame in these kind of cult situations. I'll let you know what I find out. I figured this would be more constructive than arguing back and forth.
You said, "you could help me by sending back my tithes!" Is this really all that matters to you? The money? Wouldn't you agree that no amount of money could ever "fix" the wrongs of the past? And a why do you assume that all I care about is money? You suggested that my congregation and I split from the Worldwide Church of God so I could make more money. How does this help right the wrongs of Worldwide Church of God's past? I did not accept this job as pastor for the low salary. I accepted because I feel I can do more to help from within the organization, than I can from without.
Maybe I'm a dreamer, I'll admit. But I know there are better ways to show love than by merely handing out cash. Money is not the answer to life's problems.
What would Jesus do?
If you were truly destitute (living in a box, unable to buy bread), he would certainly help you, as would I. But I sincerely doubt he'd be concerned with money beyond that.
He would say, "Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest."
He'd say, "store up your treasure in heaven."
He certainly wouldn't advocate pointing fingers.
He told us to "Turn the other cheek."
We can do nothing about the sins of others. (That doesn't mean the sins don't exist it just means that God will take care of it, not us!) We can only ever do something about our own sins. Likewise, we can't control how others treat us but we can control how we respond.
Ever hear of Victor Frankyl?If this answer is too close to the "just find Jesus" answer that you despise, than consider the following quote from Buddha:"He abused me, he laughed at me, he struck me. Thus one thinks and so long as one retains such thoughts one's anger continues."
PS FYI, I asked around and found out that Joe Jr. makes approx. $80,000 per year.
February 14, 2000
In my last letter I told you "you could help me by sending back my tithes!"
You then stated:
Is this really all that matters to you? The money? Wouldn't you agree that no amount of money could ever "fix" the wrongs of the past?
No Matt, there is no amount of money that could repair the damage inflicted in the past. This, however, is no excuse for not trying to make financial amends, especially to those who ask for help from a so called Christian organization!
When I ask for the return of tithes, I am asking for the benefit of obtaining the Counseling that is necessary to bring about psychological healing, from the damage inflicted by the "Christian Leaders" of the past Worldwide Church of God administration. But after reading the "Kingdom Before Them, Toxic Wasteland Behind Them" I know, without doubt, that the Worldwide Church of God does not give a damn about Christ's teaching's. It exists for one reason and one reason only, and that is to enrich those who are in power, supplying them with real riches, and a one hell of a dandy retirement, all at the cost of someone else's retirement. You, or any other ministers of Worldwide Church of God never gave a sermon teaching responsibility to one's self and family on the subject of retirement!
You asked me:
And a why do you assume that all I care about is money? You suggested that my congregation and I split from the Worldwide Church of God so I could make more money. How does this help right the wrongs of Worldwide Church of God's past?
I do not assume that all you care is about money. I do not place you in the shoes of some present Corporate Exec. of the current Worldwide Church of God. The suggestion that you leave and take your congregation with you, was not for the purpose to benefit you, but to benefit the people of your congregation.
Consider the words of former Worldwide Church of God Pastor [name removed by request] who stated:
"My picture was featured in the May/June 1996 Plain Truth with my cover article on a ministry of healing. Only one major phrase was intentionally edited out after my meeting with Greg Albrecht and his staff. I had written "Who are the spiritual physicians who promise health but consume our money and bring only harm?" "Our money" was replaced in the final with "our time, our relationships, our devotion." I issued my resignation letter a week later due to an authoritarian hierarchy not accountable to its members for their money, the billion-plus dollars spent by the organization in the past ten years alone."
This is the church you serve Matt!
Now for your benefit, remember a year or two ago, one such situation in which the Pastor and the people of the congregation voted to split from the Worldwide Church of God and go with different denomination? The side benefit (I was thinking about) would be a likely increase in your salary.
I did not accept this job as pastor for the low salary. I accepted because I feel I can do more to help from within the organization, than I can from without. Maybe I'm a dreamer, I'll admit
Sorry, but you should know the history of the organization of serve. Whatever became of the ministers of the past that tried to change doctrine's that were harmful, not to mention erroneous? They got the AXE!! Want names of some? Remember, if you do anything to change the organization that will cost it money, then you will be knocking on the door of the local Baptist Church looking for a job!!
But I know there are better ways to show love than by merely handing out cash. Money is not the answer to life's problems. What would Jesus do?
Handing out cash to those who ask for it, is a answer to prayer for those who seek to straighten out their lives. What are the people to do? Go to the local welfare office? How do you show "love" to people when the problems created by your church, requires money, in order to fix the wrongs done? What are you thinking? Give them a big hug and tell them you love and care for them? Should they pay for it themselves when they can't possible afford it? And the answer is: Because the Worldwide Church of God refuses to part with the peoples' mammon!
What do they suggest by their tight fisted approach when asked for help?: "Screw the people, this affects our pockets."
Is this not the way the world deals with each other? Are not wars started this way? Money Matt, can be a godsend to those who need it and will solve many of lifes' problems, especially the problems started by the organization you serve! Remember Solomon. He, if he did pen it, says in Proverbs "Money can buy anything." Maybe not love, but competent Psychiatric care. Yes, it could buy that!.
What would Jesus do?
Yes what would Jesus do? Make amends for the past, that is what Jesus would do. What would you have me do Matt? Suffer the rest of my existence while I "Lay up Treasure in Heaven," in the meantime Worldwide Church of God Exec's "Lay up Treasure on Earth." Damn hypocrites really teach by example, don't they Matt? Maybe I should ask "What would Matt do if he was in charge at the Worldwide Church of God?
He certainly wouldn't advocate pointing fingers. He told us to "Turn the other cheek." We can do nothing about the sins of others. (That doesn't mean the sins don't exist it just means that God will take care of it, not us!)
Jesus WOULD point a finger. Remember what he told the Pharisee's about tithing on the smallest thing's while forgetting the "weightier matters of the law."
What were those "weightier matters" he spoke of?
Remember the money changers at the Temple? What did he say to them?
Was Jesus a passive wimp that stood for nothing? Otherwise, to do nothing about the sin's of others is to be an accessory. Take for example, let's say a Pastor of a church is molesting widows and children, and you know about it, and you do nothing but pray, hoping God will take care of it. Are you a accessory to his sins? Yes, because you took the cowardly approach and shut your eyes to a hideous crime! You show intestinal fortitude when taking a stand and sticking with it, regardless of the cost!
If this answer is too close to the "just find Jesus" answer that you despise
Yeah Matt, I despise that "just find Jesus" answer. It is passing the buck, and is a insulting way of telling people to "fuck off" and go away! That saying is "classic albrecht"
This reminds me of what tkach sr. said before his demise. He stated that "If you left a church to join Worldwide Church of God, you must not have had a very close relationship with god." Otherwise translated "It's your fault." Like father herbert, like son joe jr., the lies and deception of who is to blame have been transferred all too often to the afflicted, saying "It's your fault."
consider the following quote from Buddha:"He abused me, he laughed at me, he struck me. Thus one thinks and so long as one retains such thoughts one's anger continues.
Sorry, I don't buy that passive bullshit. I, and many others, have a bad taste in our mouth's due to Worldwide Church of God. Don't think for a moment I will ever forget or forgive. I will be a "pissed off hornet" on the Worldwide Church of God's ass for many, many years to come! I will keep the bitterness alive, I shall retain my anger. You can't screw me out of that!
And lastly you replied:
I asked around and found out that Joe Jr. makes approx. $80,000 per year.
If tkach makes 80,000 a year why won't he release a copy of his tax return? This would end all suspicion that he is overpaid by 10-20 times over the average income of a Worldwide Church of God churchgoer. Those who run charities usually do! What is he hiding?
In conclusion, Matt, the corporation you work for has a history of abuse that has damaged so many people, then passes guilt and shame back onto the peoples shoulders. Some commit suicide, others like my self vent anger. You are in no position to play the "Champion Hero" and make amends for all the unjust crimes against humanity.
Also I will give you some advice: To put yourself into the position of a "mental health care expert" and to suggest that all one's psychiatric problems can be solved by the "just go find Jesus" message, this could be construed as malpractice. "How" you might ask? What if someone can't handle the rejection, the ignored cries for help, and commits suicide? Where do you stand legally, and morally? Remember that the church is responsible for your actions, so watch what you give out for advice.
When you mouth the party line (Worldwide Church of God legal office stipulations dealing with current or the many, many former members) you hold a responsibility to your fellow man, both legally and morally. I do not, as I stated earlier, hold you responsible for the many crimes against humanity that Worldwide Church of God has propagated thru the years. I realize that you are only 24 yrs old and have not the experience in life, as of yet, to assimilate and winnow out the good, the bad, and the ugly of the world.
When dealing with people, son, do not excuse the unprincipled actions of your handlers. Better to be famished, than to go thru life besmirched and stripped of any remaining nobility.
email@example.com.......and so have you folks....................
Here is a response to Matt the Minister, it's O.K. to use my entire name and e-mail address
As time goes by for you with your adventures in the world wide church of god you will learn many things about being involved with a legalistic entity. These things you will learn mostly by yourself, but I am willing to help you. First, when you ask a question from the leadership of your church, you must decide if you want the legalistic answer, or the entire answer. This means that you must carefully structure your questions to try and get as much actual truth as possible from each of your questions. You asked around, "How much does Mr. Tkach receive in compensation?" And the answer was, "around $80,000." Now that was probably a truthful answer IF you were asking, "How much does Joe earn as a minister of the world wide church of god?"
But what if you were to ask, "How much annual income does Mr. Tkach receive each year as minister of the world wide church of god, and as head of the Plain Truth Ministries, and as owner of the many companies that provides goods and services to the many efforts of the world wide church of god, plus from the many enterprises (real estate, condo projects, and the many properties and businesses in trust, which by law cannot be accessed by anyone but the IRS, etc...) that were financed directly from the financial reserves of the world wide church of god?" and you will find yourself given an extremely different number. Remember, to the legalistic mind, "the laborer is worthy of his hire," and the top leadership of your church hires themselves for many tasks, and pays themselves, not by the hour, but by the task. Ask around. And don't be simple minded. Always remember to frame your questions so as to get the answer you are actually looking for. Remember, these guys also don't want to be caught lying, so be alert to evasive answers, or the typical, no answer at all. Bear in mind, your leadership has trained you to give those above you the benefit of the doubt, and those below you no benefits at all, so remember to be "gentle as a dove, and wise as a serpent," when approaching these people. Eventually, you will want to know the truth. Soon, you will have to decide whether to continue on as a wide-eyes, unblinkingly trusting low paid field minister, or a knowing that you are being notoriously used as field minister - but willing to do it anyway for your meager pay check.
Saying that members of the "old" church of god had the choice to disobey a teaching of our church tells me that you would not have been chosen to be a minister back then. Not only that, but you would have been brought in for "counseling," interrogated, then disfellowshipped, marked and according to your leadership headed for the lake of fire for suggesting such a thing. But you really are too young to have a clear recollection of those days. But it really was that way.
And lastly, a question. Will you council your pastorate to becomes financially solvent before donating willingly to the church, or will you council them to donate willingly first and trust God for their financial growth and solvency later as they did us? I am curious.
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