The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

Email To The Editor
(Page 64)

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


6/7/02

 There has been three moments in my life that have proved to me that some things happen for a reason. When I have stepped outside of the situation (after the fact) and looked at all of the pieces that were put into place I got a glimpse of events being part of a bigger picture. This is one of those moments...

I was working on a cultural immersion project with another young women in my international studies class. The two of us went to attend and observe a Shabbat at Hillel, a Jewish student center on Ohio State's campus. I didn't think anything about both of us having an uncanny understanding of the Jewish Sabbath...beginning Friday at sundown and ending Saturday at sundown...the Sabbath being the seventh day...bla bla bla. Nothing surprising to either of us.

Why? Because we had both attend a church that held services on Saturdays. Really? Are you Seventh Day Adventist? Well no. It's a long story...it would be impossible to explain my family dynamic and background...you've probably never heard of it...the World Wide Church of God? You've heard of it? You went there?! Shut up!

I couldn't believe it. This girl I had been paired up with to attend a Jewish service had the same childhood background as me (which was Jewish...but not). This was monumental. I mean, I love my friends, but there is no way I could ever explain to them that part of my past. And it is such a huge part of who I am for better of worse.

I never realized how important, almost therapeutic, it would be to make a friend who had shared the same experiences growing up.

People can't comprehend or relate unless they have survived a cult. I don't even try to explain it to them. It would blow their mind. Taking that part of my past into account (which is something I have never done before) really gave me a better sense of who I am (in less than a 24 hr. period). Why I continue to go through life feeling slightly different from people. Why I have such an issue with organized religion and super religious people. I avoid churches for fear it will interfere with my relationship with God. It leaves such a bad taste in my mouth to refer to myself as a "Christian." I prefer the term of "Believer." I have seen what not questioning your beliefs and not fully understanding them can do. It's brainwashing.

My parents spent the best years of their lives in the cult. I am so grateful that they were able to see through the lies and move on. It is hard not to bitter when I see how it has affected their life and the lives of the people that I love the most. I never stopped to think about how it influenced me until now. I hurt for the those who endured abuse that I could never imagine. Thank God that we were saved from "the truth."

Morgan

 REPLY:

Morgan,
I've had experiences such as you describe. Many more than three. They are called synchronicities. Read the book The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. The theory is that we are all interconnected. A very interesting read. Read a review of the book here.
 
Editor

I, too, have noticed that many people who write to the site to defend the Worldwide Church of God or Herbert W. Armstrong seem to come off as blithering idiots. While most of us who had the good sense to apostatize felt later that we had been enslaved (and rightly so!), I believe that some Worldwide Church of God members came from such deficient backgrounds, or were so lacking in good sense or IQ points, that the Worldwide Church of God has actually been beneficial to them in certain ways. These poor folks might be part of the estimated 15% of the general population which is incapable of taking care of themselves. I've often remarked that I'd rather see some people I know shave their heads except for a ponytail, wear white robes and rubber Japflaps, and go up and down the streets chanting "Hare Krishna, Hare Lama!" than to be out hurting others thru fighting, robbing, or drunk driving.

It is quite hilarious when verbally challenged people rise to the defense of their cult and leaders, because they don't realize that they are in fact damaging their position. What amazes me is that more Worldwide Church of God ministers don't write in to attempt to disprove what is on the site. Of course, they know better, and can't get past the ego deflation of knowing that their rank means nothing here on the site. That means that the only people who can rise to the defense are the ignorant and deceived. I wonder how the sub-cults are dealing with the conclusive genetic disproof of British Israelism. That would seem to be the final nail in Herbie's coffin, but never underestimate the blind faith of a fanatic!

Bob E.

REPLY:

YOU WROTE:
What amazes me is that more Worldwide Church of God ministers don't write in to attempt to disprove what is on the site.

REPLY:
Well, just look at the idiotic email from John Farmer in Email 63. He doesn't come off as any more intelligent than some of his dumber sheep. He got his panties all in a wad when he thought there was something wrong about himself and some of his cohorts on the site. Apparently he didn't find anything else that he felt was untrue.

Ed

REPLY:

That's right! John Farmer proved that he couldn't even read. He actually thought that you were reporting that he had been disfellowshipped, when anyone giving that particular segment of the site even a casual glance would have known that it was we, the contributors, who had disfellowshipped these heavy handed Worldwide Church of God Nazis. John Farmer was kind of selfish, too, wasn't he? He took the time to write to defend his personal honor rather than that of Herbert W. Armstrong or the Worldwide Church of God.

If he resigned voluntarily, one would hope that moral issues would have had something to do with it, and maybe we'll see his name on the apology page soon. By his tone, I'm not holding my breath.

Bob E


Dear Editor,

I just read the plaintive, whining letter from the poor lost soul who calls himself Jerry.

Jerry wrote: "In this trek we must realize that religious trappings (Bible study and reading, prayer, observances, and so forth) are only tools to keep us focused on God ..."

I would like to ask Jerry just one question: Jerry, why do they call them "trappings"?

John B


Good day to you

I trust you are well and in high spirits.

I must apologize for the misunderstanding of me saying that you write such hateful things on your website. I never intended to label you hateful, what I meant was that IF you believed in my God and Jesus, you would not write such things. It's like a painter asking a architect why he draws in straight and accurate lines all the time, just two different points view my apologies for the misunderstanding.

Please don't take this email in light of me trying to judge or change your beliefs and the like, but I really am interested in a few things.

You said in your previous mail that you way of thinking is more to the Deist point of view, since nobody can present you evidence of a god that is involved with mankind.

For me, who believes in Jesus and the Christian God, I find this difficult to internalize. Like I said, I am not questioning your beliefs or anything, I am just interested in a few things.

Like, where do you get the motivation from to carry on with life when things go wrong or in times when the odds are against you?

Also, what are your views on death and the like? Do you feel this is the only life, to be lived once?

And then, do you believe in a Satan or devil or evil being that is out there trying to destroy us?

I would really like it if you could answer these questions for me, as I think knowing more about other peoples beliefs and values help us treat each other better and accept each other.

Thanks for reading.

Kind Regards

John

REPLY:

 John, I will be glad to answer your questions but when are you going to answer mine? I've asked you a lot of questions but have received very few answers.

YOU WROTE: Like, where do you get the motivation from to carry on with life when things go wrong or in times when the odds are against you?

REPLY: Well, I really do miss the constant contact that I felt that I had with "god" through prayer. It was so nice to just turn everything over to "god" and then accept whatever happened as being "his will" and get on with my life. I have had numerous occasions where I really wanted to pray for a little help, intervention, protection, whatever.

I have to keep telling myself that it is not rational, that all the evidence that I see and have experienced is that, if there is a god, that god has not demonstrated any love or caring for anyone that I can see, in all human history. I ask myself if I would like to have this "god" help me find a job, protect  my son on a motorcycle trip, etc. while this god is letting millions of people die of starvation, disease, war, etc.. It is just too illogical for me to deal with. I have standards. I don't want any help from such a god.

And, you know what? Bad things still happen to me and good things still happen to me, just like when I used to pray. Not praying hasn't made a bit of difference in my life. In fact, I am probably a lot better off NOT trusting in "god" to work things out for me because then, at least, I will have one being looking out for me: MYSELF. When you turn your life over to this "god," you are no longer in control. Thinking that "god" is in control is a great drug but not much better for anything other than dulling your mind from the fact that a lot of shit happens in life that we have no control over at all.

I have a wife and three sons and a daughter-in-law that I love very much and they love me. We support one another when there are problems. These people have demonstrated that they care and can be trusted. I can find none of that with any "god" being.

YOU WROTE: Also, what are your views on death and the like? Do you feel this is the only life, to be lived once?

REPLY: I don't like the idea of death. Nobody does. That is where religion comes in and offers the solution to the problem, at a cost. I can just imagine what it was like, back at the dawn of human history, when the first religious scam artist realized that all he had to do to control people was to promise them a life after death. He didn't even have to prove it since there would be no way to do that. People would just have to trust him if they wanted to have any hope at all. They could even put together a book that everyone would have to believe in, have faith in; worship. The book would have obvious errors in it but people would be willing to ignore these things in order to have life after death. Have faith in what a man tells you or in what a book tells you.

Check out the book: The God Part of the Brain. If you read my review and the book, you will see that it is very possible that the human mind is "hardwired" to believe in a god, as a matter of self preservation. If people had no hope of a god controlling things and the hope of an afterlife, they would go crazy for fear of death, or curl up in the fetal position and disassociate themselves from reality. We, above all other creatures, know that we will die. If we had no hope of an afterlife, we would be in constant fear of dying. Religion comes in and gives the DRUG of false hope. People will turn their brains off when confronted with evidence that the hope is false. They will want to kill the messenger. They do not want to be confused with the facts. They have made up their minds. They do not want to think about it. They think they have found their way out of the maze, even if they feel like they are still lost and just don't want to accept that fact.

Once you see that these self-appointed religious types have no deeper insight into life and death than you do, you decide that you don't need them anymore. Once you see that the "book" is riddled with errors and downright evil, you realize that it is not going to be your trusted guide to another world. How can you put your faith in a book that is not trustworthy? How can you put your faith in a "god" that is demonstrably evil?

You realize that this life may very well be the only life you are going to get. You do all you can to make this life the very best you can for your family, for yourself, for your fellow travelers in this world. You hope that possibly there is some kind of purpose for this life that will continue into another life but you do not count on it. You hope that, if there is a god, that IT does not want to keep people who are able to think for themselves out of IT's kingdom or whatever IT has planned for life after death.

And really, if there is nothing other than this life, life is pretty damned good for us in the USA. It is not so for the rest of the world, but I have no control over that.

YOU WROTE: And then, do you believe in a Satan or devil or evil being that is out there trying to destroy us?

REPLY: Just a fairy tale. Just the boogyman that religious types have invented to scare people. There is no more evidence of a Satan that is trying to destroy us than there is of a god that cares about mankind. Men can be pretty damned evil all on their own; they don't need a Satan to tell them what to do. And men can be good all on their own; they don't need any god to tell them what to do. This is another matter of self preservation: men will do good without a god forcing them to do it because it is in our own best self interests to do good. To do good for the group or species preserves the group and therefore will preserve the individual.

Prove to me that there is a god that cares about mankind and I will believe in your Satan.

I have known many religious people and I have know many non-religious people. Give me the non-religious people any day to make a world that is worth living in with less murdering and wars and more ethics and intelligence. If this world does self-destruct, it will be because of religious people not in spite of them.

Regards, Editor


I AM "OUTTA" THERE (Escape From the Cult of Herbert W. Armstrong)

 Yeah, I was a member of that CULT! But I'm "outta" there NOW! I joined that CULT (WWCG) in 1973 right after high school and Escaped From The CULT of Herbert W. Armstrong in 1983. Unfortunately, my brother is still a prisoner and slave of one of the splinters. He is with the one that is holding on to the lying teachings of HWA.

My brother will have to find his own way out. I can't reach him anymore. He is deep into their rotten clutches. If, for some reason my brother reads this posting, I want to say the following plea to him:

            PLEASE, BILLY, GET OUTTA THERE!

It took several years before my mind was free of all the rotten CRAP I allowed HWA and his henchmen ministers to feed into it. "Lake of Fire, "First Fruits", "Place of Safety", "First Resurrection", Herbert W. Armstrong, GTA,.. I have not heard these CRAP phrases in years and that's a good thing! They mean nothing to me now.

I WILL NEVER, EVER, ALLOW ANYONE OR ANYTHING TO HAVE CONTROL OVER MY MIND AGAIN!

My MIND, IS NOW, MINE J!

 Nancy, Michigan

P.S. Thank you for the Painful Truth!


6/15/02

 I recommend all members and ex members of religious cults see the film "A perfect mind" It gives a very good insight into self delusion.

Ex-member Australia


 Hi from Australia. In this country we have a saying "Never trust a man with a bible in his hand."

 Apart from that, I'm just writing to say "Thanks" for finally clearing up a mystery about Herbie Armstrong. I used to read The Plain Truth and couldn't understand how he was always being photographed with world leaders the inference was that people like Queen Sirikit, et al were interested in the Gospel-as-interpreted-by-HWA, and I found that puzzling. Now I know that he got his ugly mug into those shots by fleecing his flock of their tithes, I feel quite sick. What an odious creature he must have been. Short man's syndrome, I dare say. I won't bore you with anymore except to say that I am totally disenchanted with organized religion and feel deeply sympathetic to all of its victims.

Regards from Basia


Mr ,

 I grew up in the Worldwide Church of God. Your site is great as it really is able to speak to my heart with language I can understand, and even cannot explain to those who know not of the life we went through. I appreciate your time, years of therapy ( I'm 25) couldn't do the healing to my heart that your site has done. I have the same feelings that you do now, I'm going to be honest though, I cannot muster up enough testicular fortitude to think of Atheism, I always get a feeling that I'm betraying God. Funny how that mind program works!!. Anyway thanks maybe we'll meet someday, probably not, and I am sorry you and I both had to deal with those fuckers. Now, the next 25 I can try to deprogram that garbage. Good Luck whoever you are.

Randall


My husband attends The World Wide Church of God and has since he was a child. We got married a year before all the changes in which I had attended with him but personally don't care anything for organised religion and never did. I have my own beliefs and don't feel anyone should be following any such person. Everyone should search for themselves and do what they feel is right in their heart. I am sorry that their is still so much hatred that is breeding amongst former attendies of the Church. At some point you have to come to grips with the fact that you chose to belong to this church no-one made you do it. It is all about taking responsibility for the choices we make in life. Who cares who is fighting with whom or what bad thing someone did many years ago. Instead of using this sight to breed gossip and hatred use it too help someone find their way. This is not helping anyone. I think you have a lot of talent it should be used for something beautiful.

PEACE Celia

REPLY:

YOU WROTE: I am sorry that their is still so much hatred that is breeding amongst former attendies of the Church.

REPLY: Where do you see this hatred?

YOU WROTE: At some point you have to come to grips with the fact that you chose to belong to this church no-one made you do it.

REPLY: I see that you have not bothered to read the FAQ.

YOU WROTE: Who cares who is fighting with whom or what bad thing someone did many years ago.

REPLY: Obviously not you. I guess you would burn all history books and let everyone be ignorant of the past so they could make the same mistakes in the future.

YOU WROTE: It is all about taking responsibility for the choices we make in life.

REPLY: So, because you put your trust in some man and he raped you, that makes you responsible. There is no responsibility for the rapist. You should not tell anyone about him because that is dwelling on the past. He is free to continue to rape other women because you keep silence and do not warn them.

YOU WROTE: This is not helping anyone.

REPLY: That is absolutely contrary to the hundreds of emails from grateful people.

YOU WROTE: I think you have a lot of talent it should be used for something beautiful.

REPLY: Freeing people from slavery is beauty to me.

Editor


6/18/02

I'd also like to address the comments of Celia, whose message to us was posted on E-Mail page 64, 6/15/02.

Celia wrote:

 "At some point you have to come to grips with the fact that you chose to belong to this church no-one made you do it"

I would reply that it would be very nice, indeed, if this were true. However, Celia, what about all the innocent children whose parents were deceived by Herbert W. Armstrong? These children had no choice but to go along with their parents, and HWA was a strong advocate of pain compliance being used to break the rebellious spirit of children who, in many cases, simply wanted to conform to the normality which they saw in their peers at school, or in the neighborhood. Worldwide Church of God kids were brainwashed, their educational and career choices often were blueprinted by the church, and in adulthood, they typically married and repeated the same cycle with their own children.

Further, if you are not familiar with Orson Welles, or the "War of the Worlds" radio phenomenon of the late 1930's, I would suggest that you read up on it. Herbert W. Armstrong's method of proselytizing over the radio airwaves was very Wellesian in nature. He was an absolute master of convincing hapless, troubled individuals looking for a little guidance, that the world as we know it was about to end in thermonuclear holocaust. His followers would be supernaturally protected, and would rise to meet Jesus Christ as He split the Mount of Olives upon his return. Of course, saving his followers, meant enslaving them, since HWA's religion was not simply a method of instilling a system of morality and ethics into his followers. It was a form of intoxication, used to subvert the good qualities normally inate to human nature, while milking followers both financially and emotionally to finance his "work".

Celia also wrote: "Instead of using this sight (sic) to breed gossip and hatred use it too (sic) help someone find their way."

Well, Celia, you accidentally stumbled into our ongoing therapy site! This is the place where we get it all out! Our neighbors, co-workers, and friends, in so many cases, don't even know that we were ever followers of HWA or his Worldwide Church of God. In fact, while it would be embarrassing to us to have these people know that we had been victimized in this way, we all do feel comfortable discussing it here in a closed, protected environment, amongst ourselves. It does help us, new people are finding their own way every day as a result of this sharing of collective experience, and our talents are being used to emancipate. Freedom is perhaps the most beautiful thing of all!

Peace be also unto you, Celia!

Bob E.


Editor,

I was very saddened to hear of Rodney O. Lain's death. I had corresponded with Rodney a number of times a few years ago through Ekklesia and personally. I found Rodney to be an intelligent, humorous and compassionate man, and it hurts to know that he is gone. The pain and suffering caused by Herbert Armstrong and his odious cult continue. Damn, damn, damn!

Glenn


Editor,

 I'm deeply sorry for your loss of a good friend, Rodney Lain. I have to tell you that I was deeply disturbed when I read your posting on this late last night. I had come in from my normal Saturday night races, and had been checking some racing websites for schedules, standings, etc, and as is my custom when I'm on the internet, I checked your PT website to see if there was anything new. I ended up tossing and turning all night, not really sleeping. These Worldwide Church of God ministers, whom you call tares, I call bastards or even mofos. They either induced or exacerbated the problems which led to Mr. Lain's demise.

What makes me madder than hell is that I've seen better ethics and morality, and care for fellow human beings among those whom the Worldwide Church of God always referred to as "this world". I haven't shared this on the website, but I have a wayward son, who has a lot of problems, including brushes with the law. You wouldn't believe some of the professionals I've met at his various rehab centers and halfway houses. Some of these people absolutely refuse to give up on their charges. One of my son's friends was doing really well working a program. Something happened, and the man relapsed, went out on the town, and threw a raging drunk. Upon hearing about this, the founder of the halfway house went over to this man's apartment, threw him in the shower and sobered him up, then took him back to the halfway house and stuck him in some meetings right quick. Other administrators have appeared in court and spoken on behalf of some of their charges, some of whom had been seriously in arrears in paying their rent, had gotten in fights during a few seconds lapses in judgment, or had stolen from them. When I marveled at this, one man explained that as long as a person is alive, there is hope. These "worldly" people are willing to literally go into the bowels of hell to extract someone and prop them up so that they have another chance. I hope that any despondent visitors to your site realize that there are caring professionals out there, some expensive, some free, who can help them avoid taking that oh so permanent step to end their pain. I've read Sonny Barger's autobiography, and believe me, even the Hell's Angels take better care of their own, than the Worldwide Church of God+ cultmasters!

The people who would send you messages decrying bitterness always have such a flippant attitude towards people who perhaps have a few more problems than they. They are so quick to just dismiss the life of a fellow human being who has hopes and dreams, feels happiness or sadness and pain, and has friends and relatives who would just be devastated if anything happened to them. The Worldwide Church of God, due to it's teaching on the power of God, healing, and living an abundantly happy life, has over the years attracted a large number of people with problems, looking for solutions, or even just a sense of direction. But, once in the folds, and paying tithes, these people are not ministered to in a loving way. In some cases they are taught by the Worldwide Church of God that the professionals who could truly help them are of Satan, leaving them with no recourse, no hope, and zero chance for survival. There isn't anyone in the Worldwide Church of God who would lie down in the middle of the street and die for a brother or sister, if needed, to give that person another opportunity. So, here we have yet another fine Christian example from the Worldwide Church of God's loving ministers! They were fond of quoting the scriptural passage which exhorts us to cultivate the attitude of a child. But, then they became spiritual pedophiles, betraying us and preying upon us!

Bob E.

REPLY:

Bob, Thanks for your message.

Your mention of the lack of caring and empathy in the Worldwide Church of God ministers and the church in general is what has amazed me from the very beginning. To see these people that profess to follow Jesus (for the most part, a sympathetic, seemingly moral, caring person, who only condemns people after they are dead, or in his second coming when the blood will really flow for those unbelievers) acting contrary to anything that I read in the Bible about him just blows me away. I just couldn't imagine a "Christian" church acting so un-Christian.

But, just look at the Catholic Church and all the abuse of young boys and girls that has gone on and all the cover-ups of those up high in the hierarchy. Up until they were caught at it, there was only denials, payoffs and butt covering. Once they were exposed, they do the minimal "apology" and want to move on. They depend on their members to "forgive" and the members, like dumb sheep, oblige them. The victims are not so willing to forgive but the members are very willing to forgive these "representatives of god" for things that they would never forgive their neighbor, husband or brother for doing. These ministers along with the Worldwide Church of God ministers use God to manipulate people who are afraid of dying. They are no better than criminals who have found the perfect scam. They cannot believe in the same god as their members believe in but the members are so blinded by their fears that they refuse to see what is right in front of their eyes.

Since those caring professionals out there, that you mention, do not have the utter gall of promising the needy people a life after death, they are not able to help a lot of people that really need it. Unfortunately the evil men who are willing to use god to manipulate people, will remain in control of a major portion of the human race. Its an easy job and pretty good money for doing practically nothing.

Editor

REPLY:

 Amen to that! The idiots are so law and ritual bound that they can't even accept the story of Jesus without imposing "YAHWEH's" personality on Him and negating the message! You know, one of the reasons that I decided early on at AC that I did not want to become a minister was that I would be expected to counsel people and come out with all of these authoritarian pronouncements that had profound impact on their lives, without having adequate experience in life to add any significant wisdom to that counsel. When you tell someone to do something, aren't you responsible for the results?

Of all the students and ministers I ever met, there was only one that I knew of who actually took basic classes in counseling at an outside college, apparently because he realized the same thing which I had realized. I've never seen his name on any of the ministerial critiques (such as the ministerial disfellowshipment webpage on your site) on any of the Worldwide Church of God recovery sites, so one would have to assume that the classes were effective. Xerox always practiced development of human resources, rehab professionals do it, how could an allegedly loving church not do it? I doubt that Rodney's death has even registered on the Richter Scale of his former local ministers who were responsible for his spiritual well-being.

Regards,

Bob E.  


TRUTH IS SOMETIMES "PAINFUL"

I AM "OUTTA" THERE (Escape From the Cult of Herbert W. Armstrong) PART II

My brother is deep into one of the SPLINTER CULTS of HWA. In a last ditch effort to help him escape, I gave my brother this web site address. I asked my brother to have an open mind and be prepared for the painful truth about that CULT he thinks is the "one true church". He promised me he would have an open mind. Unfortunately, after my brother read the "truth", he could not accept it. Therefore, he viciously attacked me verbally stating that "I was Satan trying to destroy his faith", etc. and to stay out of his life forever. If, by chance, my brother read this, I want to say the following to him:

BILLY, I STILL LOVE YOU.

 TRUTH IS SOMETIMES "PAINFUL".

 PLEASE OPEN YOUR MIND AND KEEP READING.

 Nancy, Michigan

                        P.S. Thank you again PT Editor!!!


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