The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

Email To The Editor
(Page 34)

(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)


3/12/00

 Sir, I would like to express my deepest thanks for both answering my e-mail and for creating this web site. I was referred to it by my younger brother who stumbled across it by accident while surfing Yahoo.

My father joined the Worldwide Church of God in 1963 and left around the summer of 1975. My formative years were spent in this organization. As I moved through your site the flood of memories that came over me was incredible. Hearing the names "Meredith, Waterhouse, Carrozo and others was a trip back. We attended the FOT in San Diego, Long Beach, Squaw Valley, Big Sandy and Tucson, AZ. Weekly services were held in a number of rented places in Phoenix, AZ.

In those days HWA was the man in charge. His presence was everywhere. I can hear his voice thundering out at us across the sea of folding chairs to this very day. I don't remember exactly what the circumstances were that caused us to leave. I was like on day we were in and the next day we weren't.

Years later I was talking to my father about how much money he figured that we gave to HWA during those years. He said that as near as he could figure it was about $75,000, give or take. He then told me that he considered the whole thing to be one of those brutal lessons that you learn in life. He said "education is expensive and good education is goddamn expensive." He was right, no member of my family has ever fallen for the religion scam again.

Despite this twisted upbringing I managed to make a success of life. I had a good military career and retired in 1996. I now run my own furniture making business and I am also a reserve Police Officer on the Baton Rouge P.D. SWAT Team. I have a wonderful wife and two beautiful children. I guess I was one of the ones got away relatively unscathed. I know that a lot of the folks that I knew back then were not so lucky.

Well, that about all. Once again thank you for creating the web site.

Take Care and God (the real one) Bless.

Kit


 Hi there, Editor. I'm not new to the site and check in weekly, however I seem to have missed Ed's announcement that he was leaving the site. Where can I find it?

On the same note, thank you for taking on Ed's mantle. He's done a remarkable work, freeing so many from religious slavery, and it is so necessary for this site to continue. Where else would I send those acquaintances of mine when they begin to wake up?

Thanks,

Dorothy

Reply From The Editor:

 Dorothy,

Ed did not exactly make a formal announcement that he was turning the site over to me to manage. He never wanted the site to be about him and so he figured he would just kind of fade away and leave The Editor to do the work for him. I think he has paid his dues and deserves a rest. I'm beginning to realize how much work it takes to keep this thing going. Lots of time involved here. Hopefully I will be able to keep the PT going for a long time to come in the same spirit of truth seeking. Keep coming back. As long as someone has something beneficial to say, I'll keep putting new pages up.

Editor


 I, too, am sorry to see Ed go, although I have often wondered how he could continue his work indefinitely and I'm glad there is someone willing and able to take over this most important task!

Reviewing the pages that Ed posted for me reminds me again how overwhelmingly important it has been to me personally to have a forum to voice my thoughts and feelings about growing up in Worldwide Church of God. This website has been an integral part of my personal healing process and has been absolutely invaluable in bringing me to the point I am today. I've said it before and I'll say it again...I realize I will never be completely free of the effects of the Worldwide Church of God, but knowing the truth will continue to unfold is very comforting.

I really can't find the words to express my gratitude to Ed for all he has done for so many people. I was touched very deeply the first time I heard from someone that one of my articles helped them personally on their journey out of the hell that was (and is) the Worldwide Church of God. He has accomplished the same thing many thousands of times over. What an admirable legacy. I hope he enjoys his very well-deserved retirement!!

Best wishes,

Michelle


 Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about the death threats, but not surprised. Frankly, I expected something like this sooner rather than later. Death threats have been a favored tool of religion for a long, long time. While Worldwide Church of God was never able to make use of outright torture and execution (at least not that I ever heard of, in the US), it was able to consign people to the lake of fire on a regular basis. That was enough of a death threat to help keep the rest of us in line.

I wonder, then, if these were "authorized" death threats from the "ministry," or "unauthorized" ones from individuals taking matters into their own hands. Either way, people who play with fire are apt to get burned.

Ralph


 ANNOUNCEMENT TO BE READ IN ALL CHURCHES.

03/06/00 Headquarters Crypt Altadena, CA

RE: Disfellowshipping Policy(http://www.hwarmstrong.com/ disfellowship.htm)

The Apostle has directed the Graveyard Church of God Caretaker to now use only the initials of last names, allowing the WEAK and EFFEMINATE to be disfellowshiped and still enjoy a handsome e-certificate to display privately in their homes.

 Herb


 I spent a lot of my free time on your site since I found it a few weeks ago. I find it very interesting. I was a member of the Worldwide Church of God for 14 years beginning at age 18. I was put out of the church about 9 years ago because of my "rebellious attitude", but I would rather say because of my minister's unloving and dictatorial attitude. I finally had enough of the church's bad way of treating people and I refused to take it anymore, so I stood up to him. I felt rather proud of myself while at the same time feeling a little guilty (because of this teaching that if you oppose a minister, you are rebelling against God), but I could tell God it wasn't my fault, that I wasn't the one who had decided to leave the church and that he was the one who was wrong. In a way, he did me a favor, cause he forced me into leaving the church and that was the best thing that could happen to me. I then began the process of rebuilding my life. Of course it was not easy. It took me a long time to get rid of all the false religious ideas I had learned and to put myself together, but with the help of self-help books, I finally managed to find some happiness.

 I cannot blame the Worldwide Church of God for all my problems. I already was pretty screwed up and extremely shy when I came in, because of my very unhappy childhood. My father and mother were both very narrow-minded catholic followers and they were both not very nice to me, although they were not so bad compared to other worse parents. I wanted to find God's truth and love hoping that it would free me from my unhappiness and bad feelings. And I did like many of the things preached by HWA, the fact that we were gonna teach people to be happy in the millennium and all the symbolism between the feasts and God's plan, that did make sense to me. But it didn't work for me in practice. It didn't make me feel any better. So how could I teach others to be happy if I wasn't happy myself? Even though I would say the Worldwide Church of God wasn't as worse as what I learned from my catholic background, I had hoped to find something more positive and to find God's love, but of course that's not what I found. Now I could see the things HWA said and his attitude reflected in the Bible. He was a very rigid man who saw things as black or white, as right or wrong and who liked rules and who couldn't accept anybody else disagreeing with him, but the Bible is pretty much like that too. So I started to believe there was no way to escape the fact that God was a very bad-tempered and dictatorial person who was angry at us if we didn't do exactly what he told us and that Christ had to come and save us from his wrath. The fact is I never liked this God. I only served him out of fear and obligation.

 I also read the Bible out of obligation. I never liked what's in it. After I left the church, I had no choice but to reject the Bible, since I had been in a church who followed it literally and I didn't get any closer to God. I had to believe that it was not inspired by God. But of course everything I was taught was still making me feel that I might very well be wrong and I felt guilty and I was afraid that maybe God would get me for that some day. I was very happy to find on your site evidence that the Bible is not inspired by God. I agree it really is a book full of awful stories and does not contain any of the things I would like to find in a book coming from a loving God.

 Of course, it is very hard to find what it really means. It leaves the door open for all kinds of interpretations, any of them being as good as the others. The New Testament is not very clear about what we're supposed to do with the old laws. I saw the Worldwide Church of God says now the things of the Old Testament are not in effect anymore, but it's part of the Bible. I don't see the point that God would make an old covenant completely opposite of the new and then change everything. Now to me, the weekly Sabbath, the annual Sabbaths were something that made us unique in obeying what God had commanded in the Bible. It is clearly written in the Bible they are to be kept forever. If the Bible is inspired by God, following it literally like HWA taught would not be a bad thing.

 To me, the Worldwide Church of God becoming just another church teaching the grace of Christ is totally useless. The only good thing about the church was that we believed we had the truth and we were on God's side and we were right and all the others in the world were wrong. I liked that at the time. The problem is I never felt God's presence or God's love inside of me when I was in the church. I rather felt He was gonna punish for every little thing I did or didn't do. And I felt bad about a lot of things that were taught, not mainly doctrines, but some practical things like the way women were treated and the fact that we were supposed to say we were no good and deny ourselves the right to follow what we thought was right and do everything the ministers said. At the time I was looking for the truth and that would have been OK with me that God would have told me the right thing to do through his ministers, if it had really been true. But I heard them say too many things that didn't make any sense to me. I think I knew from the beginning something wasn't right, it wasn't what I expected God's church would be, but I stayed out of fear of God's punishment and since I believed It was God's true church, I told myself I was the one who was wrong. I fasted very often trying to get closer to God, but it never worked. At one point I followed another person's example and said my baptism was not valid, but I never found out what I was doing wrong.

 I'm surprised they have not lost all their members. The people who stay in the church are following ministers who have taught them erroneously and who can't pretend anymore that they are inspired by God. The members are losers either way: if HWA was right and Joe Tkach is the false prophet, then they are failing the test of staying true to God's apostle's teachings (I can understand that some people can think that and follow the churches clinging to HWA's doctrines) but if HWA was wrong and the rest of Christianity is right, then those who are still in the church would be better off in a real Christian church than in one founded by a man who has taught them nothing but lies. They must really be gullible people who like to be told what to do and not think by themselves.

 As for me, I'm not following any church or man or woman. I read a lot of books and I take the ideas that make sense to me and I mix them with my own and that mixture is my truth at this moment and I'm willing to change it when I find or think of something that makes better sense. I know now that no man has the absolute truth. I like many of the ideas that psychology is teaching today: not to be victims, to take responsibility for our lives and not to blame others or expect them to do for us what we can do for ourselves and to love ourselves first so we can love others better. It has helped me get rid of my bad feelings and has given me a little happiness at last.

 So I just wanted to tell you my testimony about my dealings with the Worldwide Church of God. You can put parts of it on your site if you want. Maybe I'll write other things about other subjects related to the church later.

 Thanks for having the courage to do this in spite of all the negative E-mails you must be getting.

 Take care

 Louise

Reply From The Editor:

 Louise,

Thanks for your message and giving a synopsis of your Worldwide Church of God experience.

I agree with your analysis of the present Worldwide Church of God members. These people must be desperate for something to stick with such a loser church and loser ministry. And the ultimate destiny for Worldwide Church of God may be fulfilled as soon as Jr. liquidates the properties. Goodbye Worldwide. Hello Plain Truth Ministries. Or is that mini-series? These people play with people's lives like it was all a game. Here is hoping that there is indeed a God who will hold them responsible for all the evil they have done in his name.

Editor


 Subject: questions for bible thumpers

Cc: <Jhuger@sonic.net>

 I have printed your questions and am wondering what contradictions you are referring to in your section on inerrancy. If you will send me a list, I will consider them. Also please address the issue of archaeology as it pertains to the Bible as opposed to the Book of Mormon. You also don't seem to really dispute the existence of God. You seem more interested in the King James Version of the Bible.

Please also address the issue of the self-existence of God and why this is not a contradiction according to the laws of logic.

Please explain who says, "Without evil, there can be no good." I am not familiar with that being a tenet of the Christian faith. That statement seems to be a contradiction and should be rejected .

Jane

Reply From The Editor:

 The Editor of The Painful Truth does not wish to indulge in useless debate. Believe what you want. The Editor finds that Mr. Huger's logic in his article, Questions For Bible Thumpers, is very good and educational to those with an open mind. It is also interesting that you do not answer his Questions For Bible Thumpers but merely come up with questions for him. I guess it is because you do not have any answers.

Editor


 Hi Joanne:

That's a good article you wrote on RESPONSIBILITY, and it looks like it's got some good replies.  Many have enjoyed and learned good stuff from it all.  Keep 'em comin'.

A week or so ago, you asked me a similar question, but I don't know if I clarified it properly.  When I said I was responsible for my being snowed and fooled into a cult, then I had to admit that I was.  But - I wanted to clarify something here - this does NOT alleviate the awesome responsibility from Worldwide Church of God's part in these shenanigans.  Responsibility here, I feel, is a two part thing.  They conned me, and I was too stupid to see it.  Yes.  Sure, I'm to blame, but SO ARE THEY.

Engineers don't like to be fooled.  We think we have all the answers, but that's because people only see our final working product.  However, the development of each product has taken its toll in multiple mistakes to reach this final production piece.  We make 99 mistakes out of 100 all the way, but the ONE time where we didn't make the mistake, is where the product actually grew.  When we finally got enough of the correct facts together, a product emerges, and that's all people see.  Us engineers and science freaks sometimes like to ignore the fact that we made any mistakes in the development of a commodity.  We just want you to enjoy the final product and never think of the problems we had in making it.  It's much the same with women and make up.  Women like men to think they're always that gorgeous.

When we do make mistakes, we tend to whip ourselves (spiritually), because we think that we're NOT supposed to make goofs.  We're supposed to know better - or so we think.  We're intelligent folks with good IQ's, so we could NEVER fall for the line of a cultmaster.  Right?  And when we realize that we're in cults, it's very hard to say:  "We goofed," or "We've been had."  Eventually, however, our focus tends to point back to ourselves as the reason for our failure, because we, like engineers, aren't supposed to make mistakes.  It's much like losing our credibility with the next product we produce.  I guess it's a "man thing" or simple pride.

But - and that's a big BUT - while we're beating ourselves, we cannot ignore the catalyst that made the goof possible.  MOST ASSUREDLY, the Worldwide Church of God cult and its leadership were a major reason for this massive deception.  Because  . . . they KNEW better.

Forgiveness from people, I've found, is always something that comes a lot easier if there's repentance.    That's why I evaluate them as "Tares."  I'm not being bitter or angry about it.  I'm simply making an evaluation.  To perpetuate such an ungodly, or anti-human theology, they must  logically be, children of evil.

We've all been with companies that have made goofs and have been forced to make lay offs.  We get mad when they do this, but it's not intentional.  It's either stupidity or bad management or overreaching with staff - or most of all, it's trying to market a bad product that simply doesn't sell.  Anyhow, their mistake is not planned, and the whole company suffers from the goof and not just the employees.

But, with a cult, things are different.  Here, leaders actually plan to market a defective product.  They KNOW they're marketing a heap of BS, but sell it like it's the "plain truth."  These cultmasters MUST know the value of the product that they're marketing.  How could they otherwise?  So, to sell what they do, they either have to be the biggest bunch of unethical slimeballs and crooks, or they are the most stupid people alive.  Since they've already made so much money in the religious business, then they're obviously NOT stupid.

So, these tares must also assume responsibility for what they've done, and the product of their lives must go under the heading of "karma" somewhere, because - where there is NO repentance, there can be NO forgiveness.

And that's the big difference with us, i.e. the membership who've come out and tried to move on with our lives.  We're repentant.  We've admitted our mistake and make the course correction.  We're sorry for ourselves, to our families, to our friends, and in the case of hirelings, we're sorry for the false teaching that we helped propagate.  We sorry that we made those mistakes, but we admit it openly and say we goofed.  We all ignorantly had our part in the charade. 

But the cultmaster will admit nothing, because his pride denies responsibility.  His lies continue, his arrogance stays, his charade perpetuates, and so  . . . his sin remains.

It's true, Joanne.  We're both responsible, but we - as ex-members - have changed, repented, and are trying now to make lives better as a result of what we've learned - e.g. this PT site.  The cultmasters don't give a damn.  They obviously don't care if people rot in flea ridden, inner city apartments, as long as they can have their plush homes, new cars, clothes, lifestyle, respect of the gullible, and maybe a piece of "candy" or two on the side.

While it's certainly a question of who's responsible for our lives getting screwed, I think it's also a question of who's now accepted that responsibility, grown spiritually, moved on (and helping whoever, whenever and wherever), and become better servants of mankind as a result. 

The cultmasters of the Worldwide Church of God+ cults still have much to learn.

I'm copying Ed on this FHI.  Many blessings to you in freezing WI.  It'll be 70 degrees here in CA today, and I think I'll get a suntan.  Be thinking of you.  HAAAAAAA!

Best.  John


 It's been a while since I've written and checked out your site. Sometimes I just need to take a break, you know? I've been researching and studying paganism of all things! You know, it's not the evil that we were lead to believe it was! (Surprise, surprise, surprise!)

I was forwarded this wonderful, simple article and it has really helped in my understanding and acceptance of what happened to each of us. It's also been extremely helpful in understanding my own behavior and the behavior of others, both in and out of the cult (I just can't call it a church anymore, it wasn't). I would like to share it with everyone who frequents your site in the hope that it will help them on their journey to recovery too.

My best to you,

Marcy

Spiritual abuse once robbed me of the things listed below. Has it also robbed you, or someone you love?

o         The ability to meet people without judging their motives and actions.

o         The ability to mind my own business.

o         The ability to meet others' stated needs instead of using their need to hide my pain.

o         The ability to meet any situation without feeling inadequate or "less-than".

o         The ability to hear what people say instead of what I think they mean.

o         The ability to allow my (husband/wife/best-friend, etc.) to be the kind of person s/he chooses to be instead of how I perceive him/her to be.

o         The ability to have an intimate relationship with another human being.

o         The ability to have spontaneous actions and reactions.

o         The ability to allow God, or the Holy Spirit inside me, to interpret life for me instead of the church or its leaders.

o         The ability to recognize when I am in pain either physically or emotionally.

o         The ability to allow others to be right.

o         The ability to have genuine fun.

o         The ability to accept my abilities, accomplishments, talents and assets without shame.

o         The right to fail, make mistakes, or err in judgment.

o         The ability to remember names, details, and/or directions.

o         The ability to be emotionally present in a painful situation.

 Within the context of spiritual abuse, boundaries are violated upon such dubious justifications as "looking out for your soul", "being my brother's keeper", "loving you in Christ", "giving exhortation and admonishment", "preaching the Word of God", and a host of others. All are designed with the classic abuser's trap of making the victim, not himself, feel or seem responsible for the abuse. Anyone who truly feels genuine personal concern for the welfare of another would surely take the time to properly earn their trust before approaching them on a sensitive issue.  Healthy psychological boundaries are designed to keep our inner sanctum safe and unadulterated from the casual and careless trampling of unwanted intruders. Some signs of unhealthy boundaries in relationships with others are as follows:

 1.       Telling all; unable to discern what is your right to keep private or what might not be appropriate to disclose.

2.       Talking at an intimate level too soon, or at the first meeting.

3.       Feeling pushed into talking at an intimate level.

4.       Pushing others to disclose more of themselves than they are openly willing.

5.       Falling "in love" or becoming obsessed with anyone who reaches out.

6.       Being overwhelmed by a person - preoccupied.

7.       Going against personal values or rights to please others.

8.       Not noticing when someone else displays inappropriate boundaries.

9.       Not noticing when someone invades your boundaries.

10.   Accepting food, gifts, touch, companionship or sex that you don't want.

11.   Touching a person without asking. 1

12.   Allowing another to take as much as they can from you.

13.   The inability to say "no" or "enough".

14.   Letting others direct your life.

15.   Letting others describe or dictate your reality.

16.   Letting others define you or who you are.

17.   Believing others can anticipate your needs.

18.   Expecting others to fill your needs automatically.

19.   Trying to direct others' lives.

20.   Trying to describe or dictate others' reality.

21.   Trying to define who others are.

22.   Falling apart so someone will take care of you.


 Dear Editor:

I am devouring and enjoying the Ambassador Reports posted to date at PT.

I would like to help out with "The Work" (:-)), since:
a) I consider getting the truth out there a valuable public service and
b) I want to read more myself!

I personally have no ARs (have never even seen one "live"), but have a lot of time on my hands. So I propose a swap: If any of your readers have ARs and NO time to scan them (and/or no scanner), I will be glad to do that part if they are willing to entrust their issues to me. (I faithfully promise to return them to the senders if/as requested.)

This scanning stuff is new to me, and I am not too computer-literate anyway. BUT I have a brand new printer/scanner which I am sure is up to the task, plus a computer-expert hubby who can show me how to do the scanning and send the scanned images to you for publication on PT.

Let me know if I can help in this way. Anyone interested can contact me at the email address below.

Thanks for what you've done, and keep up the good work.

"Ginny" ginny1953@yahoo.com

Reply From The Editor:

Ginny,

Thanks for your offer to help. I will post your message and see what happens. Let me know if you get anybody that will help you. I think the main thing that we need is someone that can convert the printed page to text on the computer. OCR programs do this but if the pages you scan and OCR are not very clean and clear, the OCR will not be perfect. You then have to run the text through a word processor and spell check.

If a person has an original copy of the AR that was sent directly from Trechak, then they should be pretty good and clean and will OCR well. The ones that I have have been copied multiple times and are not very good for OCR.

For a good typist, many times it is easier to just type it out rather than OCR an unclean page.

Editor

 


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