Email To The Editor
A little about the PT site, some background, and some Reader's Thoughts on the events in Brookfield, Wisconsin
Right now, March 17, 2005, and after the tragedy in Wisconsin, is a good time to give all Readers Here a bit of review on the founding of the Painful Truth site -- why it was started, what Ed was thinking when he did it, the general "philosophy" of the place. As you go through them, think of Rod Meredith, Terry Ratzmann, and the souls we lost that day. Think of the LCG and other offshoots, and think of the original WCG and Herbert and Garner Ted and.... the leaders of these newer cults.
These are some of those pages that are really hard to find on this site, for a reason. Bookmark them if you want to come back to them.
How did the WCG deal with the idea of pain, and medicine, and doctors? Another hard to find page here:
On healing in general? http://www.hwarmstrong.com/healing.htm
Question #16 Why don't you just get on with your life and leave the Worldwide Church of God and Herbert W. Armstrong alone? (And by extension.... the splitoffs)
It is because there are a few, like myself, that will not just go away and get on with our lives that the rest of you can go away without feeling guilty about leaving your brethren still trapped in a prison of lies. After all, we don't all have to be policemen and keep an eye on the bad people if there are some that are willing to do that.
So, if I were to just pack up my webpage and go away, would that be showing love to those still trapped in lies, deceit and guilt? You can bet that those ministers in the xCG's would love that.
Sorry, it is because I care about these misled people that I still stick around. I'm not trying to get revenge. I'm just trying to help people understand what was done to them in the name of God.
http://www.hwarmstrong.com/faq.htm (If you click any link here...click this one!)
Another link for history:
"The Daughter of Babylon, The True History of the Worldwide Church of God"
by Bruce Renehan
The Barking Point
To all who may wander here:
Our deepest sympathies go out to our families and friends in Brookfield, Wisconsin. You are our families and friends, after all.... though many readers of this site do not realize that very basic fact. We are still your family and we hurt with you, even as we here seem to give you grief sometimes. We only want you to be free. This does not mean we have stopped being your family.
We here at the PT rail against the Users and Abusers, the Conmen, and the Thieves who make up the religious world -- and especially -- the current and crook-remnants of the Worldwide Church of God. The splitoffs like Living is one. Many of us (myself included) are atheist. This does not matter. What matters is how we treat each other.
In no way are we here to condone the actions of a possibly sick individual. We are not here to condemn him either, unfairly. We are not here to pick up swords, but rather, expect that humans should treat others with a basic fairness in life. This was not always, and is not now, always, the case as to how the cults tend the flock.
I only ask all Readers Here to inquire: what made that man sick? Depressed? Manic? Murderous? Psychotic? Hmmm....? How long, how far, how hard, can you pull a dog's tail? I ask you, Reader.... How long and how far would you allow yours to be pulled?
My Dad used to to warn me, as a youngster, about crossing that "barking point". That point of no return, where you might jerk your arm back to find a stump. Did this man cross that point? Why? Who knew? Why didn't that lovely group of loving christians know this man was hurting this badly?
They didn't know. Or they didn't care.
Or did Rod cross that Barking Point?
These cults are only ONE step away from a serious Mass Poisonous-Punch-Drinking Death Event. Crossing that barking point. Anyone who is familiar with the cult and with dogs knows what I mean. Petra is one step away...So is a surprise, when you keep on yanking that dog's tail.
Since this tragic event I've received many comments such as,
"While I am saddened for the shooting and the loss of life at the Living
Church of God service in Wisconsin this past Saturday I am not surprised.
If fact when I saw the report crawling across the bottom of my TV screen my
first thought was that it was either the WCG or one of its pathetic
Given the crap that is dished out and has has been dishing out over the
years by these "ministers" of the Worldwide Church of God and that church's
bastard children I AM surprised it doesn't happen more often."
How can I disagree?
This to Geraldo and other reporters: These folks (the common people in these churches) are NOT in any way Branch Davidians or otherwise "gun-totin' militant types". THAT is just a wrong avenue of investigation and should be rethought.... You did an expose on Garner Ted Armstrong, Geraldo, and there is a link here on the Main Page to it. Mike Wallace did one on the WCG and Stanley Rader; again, here on the Main Page. These folks are not new to you. You both saw them. We grew up barking at them...but...
The Bottom Line right now though.... We here extend our hand to you folks out there... You are still our family and we are with you in our thoughts.
Please, folks... be free.
I can't think of anything more to add to that.
31 Mar 2005 -- Rape as an analogy continued (original email shown below, on this page)Editor, I am sorry for insulting you, honestly. But as a rape victum, I
feel you will do more harm than good.
JohnB - I understand the analagy, but I think you are losing support by
victoms, and there are more than you'd think. It's so hurtful, and things
like that take the intensity out of the situation...Please rethink having
that on the page.
Dear Jenna,Thank you for that calm reply.I see no real reason to remove that article from the website at this time. If I removed every piece of writing that happened to offend someone from The Painful Truth site, there wouldn't be any point in it existing.That said, I see the opportunity for the author to modify it, if he wishes, with or without your input. That will be left up to him.The original article, however, stays.Thanks for your input and I truly wish you well,PT Editor
Dear PT Editor:
I don't see any value in rewriting or replacing the "Rape Counseling Call"
article on the website. While I fully empathize with Jenna's viewpoint, I
feel the article (actually a fiction) has value as it stands. I hope Jenna
will come to understand this.
Removing or rewriting the piece would be like bowing to Political
Correctness (although I don't think Jenna is trying to be PC; she was
offended by the content). I reject Political Correctness in all its forms;
I consider it an attempt at thought control, and as a survivor of a cult, I
lived under thought control most of my life. To alter this article because
a single person was offended would not serve anyone.
The article was never intended to offend rape survivors or their families.
To the contrary, I believe it serves to support them by reinforcing the view
that such victims have every right to be angry and bitter. The intent of
the piece was to draw a parallel showing that those emerging from a cult are
equally justified in being angry and bitter, that no one has the right to
tell us to just "get over it".
As for rape survivors, counseling centers, and sexual assault activist
groups...it used to be, thirty years ago, that a convicted rapist faced a
sentence of as little as 7 years in prison (assuming no kidnapping, no
murder, no false imprisonment, no aggravated battery, etc.), and might get
parole in as little as 3 years; today, thanks to the activism of rape
survivor groups, a "simple" rape (i.e, minus the aggravated circumstances
listed above) is good for 20 years to life. Public awareness of the vicious
nature of sexual assault has risen considerably thanks to the efforts of
rape survivors and their advocates. My wife and daughter are safer today
because of their efforts, and I applaud them.
I hope this explanation will suffice, and I hope Jenna will understand.
I appreciate your time in replying, and your careful consideration of Jenna's perspective and concerns.
I agree. The article serves no purpose if altered, so it stays.
30 Mar 2005The REVEREND Jerry Foulsmell is in critical condition with viral pneumonia! Oh, what will we do if the Lord calls him home?I'll drink a fucking Guinness to toast that sumbitch's death, that's what I'll goddamned doBill Fairchild
Good taste in brew, Bill.I prefer Toohey's Old, but Guiness will work as well!PT Editor
30 Mar 2005
JohnB replies to Jenna (Her original email shown below, on this page)
Thanks for your email to the "Painful Truth". I'm the author of the article
that you found offensive, and I want to sincerely apologize for any pain it
may have caused you. The article was not intended to be insensitive or
hurtful to anyone, especially not rape victims. Quite the contrary, the
intent was to show how insensitive some people are to those who've been
slaves of a cult.
Slaves of a cult are very much like rape victims -- although no physical
rape (usually) takes place, the cult victim is brutalized in very much the
same way as a rape victim, through bullying and mental manipulation. Then,
when the cult victim speaks out, some people tell them to simply "get over
it". How would a rape victim feel if a cop or a judge told her to "get over
it"? That was the analogy I was trying to make.
29 Mar 2005
I was raised in the WWCG from around 1958 to 1976. This means I was 4 years old when my parents joined the church and stayed in the church until the day I was married in 1976 when my husband told me "you will not got back there".
I'm not sure if this is the type of letter you want, but I'd like to tell my story. When I talk with my sister about our childhood she can remember good things, I can only remember the beatings I got, almost on a daily basis. She was more mentally abused than physically like I was. She once told me that I had it the worse, I told her "no, you did. They (my parents) can no longer beat me, but they still use the mental abuse on her and to an extent on me now".
I was "spanked" for spilling a glass of milk, breaking a dish, being "disrespectful" (voicing my opinion), saying things like "oh, aren't the (Christmas) lights pretty?", eating with my fork wrong. If I didn't pay enough attention in church (which one of your writers mentioned, I did this to) wrote notes and followed in the Bible at "Sabbath Services".
I was "spanked" with their hands, belts (big wide belts) big thick boards, twigs, wire hangers any thing they could get their hands on.
We studied the Bible from sundown Friday till Sundown Saturday, non-stop. We took the Bible Study Course, we knew the 10 Commandments backwards and forwards, we could recite every book of the Bible in the Old and New Testament. On Saturdays we were given assignments to learn things from the Bible and at the end of the day if we didn't know them - yep, we got "spanked".
We could have kids we played with at school but we were not allowed to bring them home. We were not allowed to participate in school activities that were on Friday nights nor were we allowed to stay at school while they had pagan holiday parties. I remember once in the 3rd grade when my teacher took me out of the room to give me a small gift. It was not wrapped and it was the most precious gift I had ever received. It was a very small bowling set you could hold in your hand. The teacher told me it was NOT a Christmas gift but she wanted me to have it. I was so excited when I took it home and my parents made the throw it away and then "spanked" me for excepting it. I remember when we had band or vocal winter concerts how we had to just sit there with our instruments on our laps or stand there while others sang Christmas carols. I remember when I asked if we could "pretend" we were playing or singing. My parents said no, then again I was "spanked" for even thinking of it.
I remember being pulled out of school for the FOT and we had to do homework and still not getting full credit for the class. At the time not knowing any better, thinking it was fun. But as I got older it wasn't so much fun.
Also at the FOT they had what they called the Mother's Tent or the Spanking Tent. That was the most horrifying place to go. All these kids screaming at the top of their lungs, "please, mommy, I won't do it again." It seemed like it was a big thing for the mothers and fathers to be seen pulling their child out of the church service to go to the spanking tent. They made no qualms about where they were taking their child and I'm not to sure they didn't get points for how many times they did this per service.
The only "good" times I remember is when we would go to some church friends house and I had this one friend who was a boy. The two of us were inseparable. We were best friends but it seemed like the two of us were always in trouble for something. He's died since then but I think of our times together often.
I can remember once when I ran away from home to my grandma's house 1/4 mile away and my mother finding me and "spanking" me with a twig all the way home. By the time I got home I had blood running down my legs and had whelps on my legs. I don't remember not getting a "spanking" without whelps. My last spanking was when I was 16 or so and I wanted to run away from home and my parents found out. My dad took me to their bedroom, had me pull down my pants to bare skin and "spanked" me until I said I wouldn't run away.
I hated going to church because when I got home I knew I was going to be "spanked" for something I did or didn't do.
I remember as a little girl going to a ladies home where my mother along with other ladies would help care for a lady dying of cancer. To this day I can remember the smell and thinking how cruel God was for allowing her to suffer in this manner.
I remember being taken once to be healed for being demon possessed because I had nightmares. I was taken to have the "laying on of hands" for anything from a cold to a nail puncture in my leg. Luckily I didn't have a serious condition.
Now for the present...I still believe in God, but now he's a loving God, one I love and trust with my life and my families life. I don't go to church but I don't believe you have to go to church to put your trust in God.
I am married and have been to the same man for 29 years, we have one son. My parents still want to control me but I and my guys don't allow that. My husband and son are VERY protective of me. They do not allow them to be alone with me. They censor my letters I get from them. My parents do not belong to the WWCG anymore but they still have the controlling nature. I don't hate my parents, nor can I say I love them. They are people who raised me. My husbands parents are my parents, for the past 29 years they have treated me better than my own parents have. I invite my parents to my home but they seldom come and when they do they want 100% of my attention and if they don't get it try to put a guilt trip on me.
When my dad got cancer a few years ago, my mother was and is still mad at me because I didn't quit my job and leave my family to be with them. It wasn't because I didn't care, but my place was and is with my family.
I finally talked to my doctor about my childhood and she told me that she now understands why I'm depressed (I have been on anti-depressants for about 10 years now). She asked if I abused my son, I told her no and neither did my sister, I think it's because we both have wonderful husbands who grew up in loving families without the abuse.
About 15 years ago, I spoke with a minister from the WWCG who no longer belongs and he asked me if I still belonged to the church, I told him "no, my husband took me away from that", he replied, "that was the best thing that could of happened."
I was forced to go to AC in Big Sandy where my dad had arranged for me to go with one of the ministers. I think there goal was to straighten me out. We'll they failed. It was in the '70's when GTA had been caught with another woman. All I can remember is if you questioned anything you were taken and a minister would talk to you about your attitude.
Today I'm as normal as a person can be. It have nightmares of being beaten by my parents, they are so real that sometimes I wake up hurting or right before they kill me. I'm 50 years old and I am still afraid of them, even though I know they will never hurt me like that again. My doctor asked how I have dealt with this, I told her I have a "F&*( You" attitude towards them, as I said I still invite them to my home but if they come they come, if not no big deal.
There are only us 2 girls and they have 3 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. It was almost a year before they saw their first great-grandson. How may people do you know that would wait that long to see their first great-grand child? I remember when my son was around 10 years of age, we went to see them and my mother accused him of breaking something she had given him. He says to this day he didn't break it and I believe him. She was mad at him and I for something and this was her way of getting back at us. Soon after that visit I received a letter from her telling us that our son would only bring heart ache to us and would probably end up in prison. Well, our son is very much loved in the community and helps a lot of people. I have told people if they ever met my parents they would think they were the nicest people on earth but that was just an act they put on. I have decided - if my husband will allow it - when my mother dies, I will go to her funeral and read this letter there, I want people to know just what kind of person she really was. On this same visit I remember my mother doubling up her fist and telling my son "if you don't straighten up I'm going to cram my fist down your throat". Another time when my nephew got married. The preacher asked the congregation if they would help the couple make a good marriage and my mother said very loudly "NOPE". I really just wanted to slap her!
My husband had an aunt die not to long ago and I sat there with the family thinking how wonderful it was that they could stand up there and praise their mother like that, knowing that I could never praise my mother like that.
I remember the first year I was married when my husband wanted me to decorate for Christmas. He helped me put up a tree and decorate it. I just knew I was going to go up in flames when I plugged in the lights - guess what - I didn't. I also remember the first time I ate pork. I took the first bite and I could not swallow it. My husband just kept saying it's not going to kill you, I thought I was going to choke - but - I didn't.
I love the holidays, I love decorating and having friends and family here. I get letters or emails from my parents saying "we're all alone up here with no family". I just keep thinking - that's their fault they could be closer to us girls but they chose to stay far away and expect us to come see them. My dad has allergies and they moved to "higher" altitude so he would feel better. I understand this but neither of them work and could come see us during the time of year when it's not so hard on him. My mom tells us that they are to old to travel so far to see us but yet go on cruises at least once a year. My husband has heart problems and COPD and it really wares him out to travel. We are planning a 2 week trip to Florida and he tells me this is the last trip he will be able to take. They wanted us to meet them once that would be a four hour trip. I told them that my husband would not be able to make it and they said, "that's to bad, but they just wanted to see me". If they don't want to see my family then they don't want to see me.
My sister lives about 3 hours from us and I have gone to see her every Memorial and Labor Day weekend. They told her on one of their visits that they wanted us to meet them someplace for Memorial Day and this was a test for find out who meet the most to her, them or me, well, I'm going to see her this Memorial Day. I'm not gloating over the fact that she chose me over them, I told her if she wanted to go see them I would go, but she didn't want to go either. Needless to say they are upset with us.
I could go on and on but I must stop here. Just want to say, to those out there, that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings, I pray everyday for those still suffering from the abuse caused by the WWCG. I often wonder how a smart man like my dad could of EVER gotten hooked like he did. I talked to him once and he told me that he and the church made me what I am today. I told him "Yes, a F*^&ing B!@#$." He's never talked to me about the church since. I don't trust people, it took me 20 years to trust my husband, I have few friends because I don't want to get close to people because I learned at a very young age that people that love you hurt you. I don't want pity, but I do pity my parents because they are going to die very lonely people.Sincerely - Kendra G____, KS
28 Mar 2005
Hi Fellow Atheists,
PLEASE take the time to read about this movie, "HEART OF THE BEHOLDER" &
the true story it is based on.
You will see how the "Religious Right" has used their power to persecute people right here in America TODAY!
I am asking you to please help me spread the word about this story and movie. If you get a chance to see and/or buy it, please do so.
And please send this information to every one you know who you feel are interested in Truth, Fairness, Justice & the Complete Separation of Church and State!
Thanks for that email, B! One doesn't have to be atheist to get angry about this kinda thing!
28 Mar 2005 Rape as an analogy
To whom it may concern:
Using rape, as an analagy, is the most disgusting thing, I've see a
'human' do in a while. You are a sick, merciless individual, for allowing
that to be on your site. You are either incredibly ignorant, or desperatly
trying to be different. I am a non-believer, and will try to advocate that
to anyone who is just...dumb enough...to believe in a story. BUT, that is
going overboard. Please, rethink keeping that on your page.
Care to be a bit more specific, there, Jenna? To what are you referring?
Your phone call to the rape councelor, that you are supposed to substitute
words for, sex, a mans name, and something else
I'm sorry... Are you referring to an article someone wrote? If so, tell me
which one. Right now, I'm at a total loss as to what you're talking about.
is that ok? that was sent to me, i dont know what is is [sic] from your homepage
Thanks for pointing it out to me, Jenna.
All I can say is:
1. Re-read the beginning paragraph.
"(Author's note: The following fantasy is written specifically for those of
you who persist in writing to The Painful Truth to accuse us of being
"bitter", or urging us to "get over it". I hope you can follow the analogy
below - some of you aren't too bright. jb)"
Key word here is FANTASY.
2. Instead of merely telling me what an awful human being I am, why don't
you take a breath, think about it real hard, get your crayons together, and
write me and tell me why that article bothers you so much. Be specific.
You asked me to rethink having that article on the website. Tell me why.
21 Mar 2005Let me begin by saying that I will try not to be incoherent but my thoughts have been swirling around a bit as my whole history and family history is tied up in this "church"Recently I went to my father's house to gather some photographs and put them into albums. You see my mother died 8 years ago and I don't think my father and I have dealt with it completely. So I began going through these photos and making piles. Let me stop and go back a little bit. I had stumbled across your site about a month and a half or two ago, prior to visiting your site I had only heard a few rumors through the years about WCG being on some list of cults and then during the changing and splitting more rumors about former YOU members in therapy and Laodacean this and Philadephia that. Anyway after stumbling onto your site a month or two ago (I read and read for days and days) I began thinking a lot. I think it may have spurred the going to get the pictures. So I am thinking about how, even though I left at 18 (also the church was splitting at the time) how much of an influence it had on my life. I was thinking I will go through some pictures and see how much I remember. Back to the piles. I had some categories: family pics, church family pics, friends, church friends. Well the church friends and church family (My grandmother and grandfather listened to the radio church of god and then became members later so did my mom, aunt, uncle and they brought my cousin) pile was something like 5 or 6 times as big as all of the others. See my grandma died when I was 8 or 9 I barely remember her. The memories I do have are mostly going to holy days, church and feasts. Then my uncle shot himself (probably due to Mike Hanisko's stern rule over our local Rome GA congregation) when I was 10. My grandfather died before I was born so the point is. Most of the pictures were after those people were gone (I only found one picture with My uncle in it and about 6 of grandma) the rest of the pictures (probably 5 hundred) were of the four of us. Mom, my aunt, my cousin and me. These pictures outnumbered pictures of the entire rest of my family, and my mom and dad each had 5 siblings! I guess all the relating with pictures has to do with the fact that it is hard for me to remember a lot of my childhood. There has been no one to discuss anything like what I grew up in for years. My mom has been gone for a long time, my aunt recently died but it had been hard to talk to her since my mom died, my cousin and I have drifted and approaching other former members is so weird. The church has split I feel disconnected from myself or something like I am on autopilot like a person whose history was a lie.So the pictures began to bring back a lot. I was never abused or anything (luckily my dad, a wise man, never bought into the church and he and my mom stayed married for 30 years!!) but I thought some crazy things when I was little. I loved my daddy so much I was daddy's girl and I remember asking my mom if daddy would be able to come to the place of safety with us and her trying to explain to me ( I was like 6 or so) that we would see him after the millenium or whatever. I cried and cried and worried about my daddy dying in the tribulation. It is no wonder I am an anxious, nervous, obsessive compulsive adult.I talked to my brother after finding your site the first time and I didn't say anything about the views expressed here. I asked him what he thought about growing up in the church. He said very forcefully that it was a good experience. To be fair I had a lot of good times and was probably better traveled than most of my peers but at what cost? I was a pretty, smart teenager but due to the church I did not fit in at school and since my dad was not in the church my mom and I were not in the upper echelon of the church society either. So I was a misfit everywhere. I never had any self confidence and still struggle with it. It is like a lot of stuff finally makes sense. I guess if there had not been "the church" there could have been something else and maybe I should stop finding blame and get on with it but I feel like maybe things would have been better between me and my mom before she died. She was confused and shaken when all the doctrine changed. I spent my whole childhood in the church and only remember the highlights of the doctrine but mom oh mom studied and tried to do the right thing. She only wanted to be a good christian and that church so turned her against people not in "the true church" that it killed her true christian potential. She was always so afraid, and guilty and tired. She never opened up she never trusted anyone. She was afraid and tried to teach me to be afraid. There was a time when I was a teenager that I felt as though I could do anything. I was not afraid to fly, to ride rides, to travel, to meet new people. In my adulthood I find myself constantly trying to overcome fear. I also find myself running on and babbling and I apologize but I am willing to bet you get a lot of letters like this from people who just figured out why they are so weird.I am still struggling with what I want to believe I think I am agnostic. I was in "the church" as long as I could remember until 18(I found pics of myself at two at the feast in Jekyll). Then at 19 my mom died I never went to anymore churches. I remember not knowing how to get a minister for her funeral because I was not sure what splinter she was dealing with. My aunt got someone finally and I never felt sure about it because I knew they were fighting when she died because my aunt had stayed with the wcg. The minister came and said a lot of stuff I don't remember. This was 1997 and I don't know what WCG's doctrines were then. Since then I have wanted to believe in something because my mom is gone and with faith that seems to give people peace but nothing sits well with me and I came to the conclusion long ago that I am not sure if I believe the bible. If we are so sure it is right and the Jews are so sure the the torah is right and the mulsims are so sure about the koran, then who is right? I just try not to be bad to people not to, lie, steal, or cheat them. I feel guilty and I feel like the guilt is my stupid fake church upbringing and then I feel guilty about that. Maybe I will finally get it all sorted out.I welcome email from former members. I spent two summers at SEP. One in Orr MN in like 1993 and one in Pasadena in either 95 or 96. I remember Abby from england and Shauna I think from Pasadena SEP and Dave from Illinois (the S is silent) and Bronx Barton from my dorm also Sabrina, who I was such good friends with and who slept one bunk up and over, and Ms. Beloso and Ms. Hart from Orr. I don't know where all these people went but I wish you all well along with all of the other friends that I have lost touch with over the years. I spent one week out of every year I can remember at the Feast. Some of the sites were Pensacola(a few times), Lexington, Chattanooga, and Jekyll Island. I made friends there too. I was a terrible snail mail pen pal and I regret that.My life is ok I went through some self destructive phases after my mom died but I am getting on with things now. I may write later about some things that went on at our area but I feel guilty doing this now like my mom would just die if she knew her kid was on a WCG bashing site saying Herb was a crook and the church was a cult but I am sorry mom and from wherever you are now I know that you understand now or you are nowhere because none of it is true and that is a sad thought. I am now married and have a pretty good job even though I never graduated college because it was not a high priority at my house even though I was an honor student up until junior year when I went into the mental hospital for two weeks and with the feast my studies never quite recovered plus I never received any encouragement at home for grades so what was the point. I may have to come back in the future with some of my own stories. I was not "abused" but I did suffer a breakdown in high school and was chased by and allowed to date a 24 year old church "boy" (deacon's son) when I was 13 and well he tried everything in the book to get me to sleep with him and we did engage in a few heavy petting sessions (heavier than they should have been). I look back on that now and it does seem pretty weird. My mom used to help me write letters to him because he lived somewhere that was long distance from us but we went to the same church area. She was so glad I was dating him because his family was "important" his father gave sermonettes sometimes. I had to tell her what a perv he was so she would understand why I wanted to stop dating him and then she wasn't like mad about it. She just helped me "let him down easy" so we could pick it up when I was a little more grown up maybe. Jeez I had forgotten about all that.Well thanks for your site and thanks for your time. If you judge me to be coherent enough feel free to post my comments (sorry again mom) and my name and email as I said before I welcome email as long as it is not hateful. I don't hate the church I did have a lot of GOOD memories there. Feasts, SEP, YOU trips to Texas and disneyland. I can't say I was particularly close to anyone in the church for long but who knows without the church-caste restrictions placed on us maybe we could learn to be good friends. It would be nice to talk to some people who understand. Good luck to all.Thanks,Julie J____FormerlyJulie H___ of the Rome GA congregation
We understand, Julie, and thanks for joining us here on this front porch!
I withheld Julie's email address on my own discretion. If any would like to contact her, I'll be happy to pass on the email, unless she tells me again it's ok to publish it here.Are you wanting to join our forum? (I have a problem keeping up with all the new requests nowadays, so forgive me....)
If so, let me know. If not, then thanks again!
Yes thanks and thanks for letting me get some stuff off my chest.Anytime....Can I use some of your post to me for the website? I can keep it anonymous if you wish....
Sure I don't mind if you use my name I have nothing to fear. I gotta let go of all that worrying about what the church members will think.
Love that freedom lovin' spirit!!!
Here goes, and welcome again!
21 Mar 2005
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
I think Bob and Dennis's exchange reflects Bob's
strong desire not to go back to flipping hamburgers or
selling shoes or whatever it is that Bob did before
linking up with Dr. M.
LCG, as small and as stupid as it may be, seems to be
a good gig. Probably beats working for a living.
Dr. M, proved that he had no job skills whatsoever.
Bob seems like he is all thumbs, too. At every turn
LCG has proven itself to be heartless and meandering.
They did one thing right.
They buried the shooter as their own.
That would not have happened in most churches. That is
exemplary and an act of true mercy.
For this alone they should be praised.
Sorry. I can't find much of value to give credit to there. They do bury their own...before they are even dead...
PS ---Sorry... I just have to comment again....You said: " They did one thing right.
They buried the shooter as their own.
That would not have happened in most churches. That is
exemplary and an act of true mercy.
For this alone they should be praised."WHAT???!?!?They should be PRAISED?First off...who is this "they" you are talking about? The leadership of the LCG? Or the general folks? Most of these folks in the cults are good folks. Some are just as crazy as the Leader though.... Sad to say...Second off... What do you mean.... "That would not happen in most churches."? Really? You think so? That is almost, just almost, but not quite reaching to the all-time level of the Stupidest Shit I've Heard All Night, and I have heard some really seriously stupid shit tonight, I seriously assure you.For this alone they should be praised? That they buried the shooter as their own....."Simon Wilson"? If you are speaking of the leadership of the LCG, or for that matter...Dave Pack...Tkach... Flurry.... or any of the Trinity crowd, Swaggart, other religious conmen? If you are saying to me, in this moment of honest reflection and quiet discussion...that these people are to be praised? In any glorified manner?I say...they should not be praised, but braised, in a hell of their own making....Keep your praise, Mark. I don't want to hear it, nor does any of us who have lived with the cults for years...
"That is exemplary and an act of true mercy."An act of true mercy would be this: Meredith? Go away. Give all these people their money back and tell them there is no End Time coming 'round the bend tomorrow. Their kids CAN go to college without fear of the world ending...they can have a hope for a bright future. They CAN live in a world full of interesting people, with differing ideas and prosper, and even <gasp!> marry one, and be happy for ever after.Just go...away.... Refund their tickets. Your concert sucks.Happy braising,PT Editor
22 Mar 2005
I was damning LCG with faint praise.
It was not at all my intention to get under your skin.
My point was that at least with this, they did the
A murderer doesn't get holy ground, much less a
service in most churches. Murderers get shunted off to
the potter's field, their services administered by
People who commit suicide do not get consecrated
ground. In some cases, they don't even get a funeral.
There is a stigma to it. The person in question is a
mass murderer and a suicide. And he killed church
members. Perhaps LCG is motivated by guilt? I don't
really care about their motivations.
Armstrongism is an unorthodox .religion on several
levels. Who you put or do not put in consecrated
ground is a major issue in most religions.
I don't know who set the controls here. On just this,
I think they did the right thing.
Ok. Your email came in the same pile as a lot of WCG apologists and kooks,
and I took exception to your "praise". I feel the cult was the real murderer
here, or at least a contributor.
Very much understood.
I flunk the reading comprehension test all the time,
It's every easy to get emotional.
If you didn't, what is the point of being human?
21 Mar 2005
You state that you are atheist. Without any guidance you think it
matters how we treat each other? Being atheist what can you base
"basic fairness in life" on?
And you also state:
"I only ask all Readers Here to inquire: what made that man sick?
Depressed? Manic? Murderous? Psychotic? Hmmm....? How long, how far,
how hard, can you pull a dog's tail? I ask you, Reader.... How long
and how far would you allow yours to be pulled?"
Terry Ratzman allowed his "tail" to be pulled, in fact he was the one
pulling it. One of the definitions of a cult is that you don't have
free choice or free will. The bible teaches free will, the churches
teach free will. Every one knows that some ministers, counselors,
teachers, doctors, bosses... are abusive - everyone is abusive at
times, even you. What to you is a pebble when you throw is a boulder
when I catch and it can hurt. Terry had free will and free choice and
he chose his actions then he killed himself so he wouldn't have to
answer for what he did. Do you actually know why he committed his
crime? If you do I think alot of people would like to know. I am
talking facts here, not the tail pulling BS that you state in your
article the Barking Point. What caused Terry to kill those people?
What was his history? Did you know him? Do you know that someone was
pulling Terry's tail? Did Terry ever speak to you about his life and
what angered him?
What bothers me: You are no different than Geraldo, you have used
Terry's actions for your own political gain. Your comments about
family are hollow after the rest of your letter is read. How long
will you continue to pull your own tail. What are you going to do
when you pass the barking point and you have worked yourself into a
frenzy and take some stupid action? Are you going to blame someone
Remember that only you can pull your tail, or allow anyone else to.
So take control of your life and have strength.
Didn't much like my editorial thoughts, eh Bill?
Oh, my feelers are hurt now!
I want to make something very clear, right here: Including the names "Geraldo" and Mike Wallace and every other name I used in that short piece was absolutely cold and calculated.
I USED those words for...GASP!!!
I wanted to gain something, and you are right on target. I wanted to gain website hits, Bill. Can you say..."Search Engine?"
I want folks who are Out There cruising the web to find the Painful Truth site; some may discover that they are not alone with their history of their time in the cult, and that there IS life after leaving it.
Now... Why don't you tell me which branch of WCG+ Spitoff YOU belong to, huh?
Your editorial was the beginning of a conversation... so I was
continuing the conversation. It doesn't matter if I liked what you
said, I disagreed with it and wrote to tell you why. Did you not like
what I wrote? Did what I wrote offend you? Your feelers are hurt
Your not much of a conversationalist are you? I was really expecting
more clarification on what you wrote, or a continuation of your
thoughts. But I guess,instead, you are trying to pull my tail?
I'm not much for "arguing" with religious fundamentalists. If you wanted
"clarification" of something I write, just say, "Hey! What do you mean by
such and such."
Did your words offend me? Naw. I'm not offended by this type of email. I get
them by the truckload and am pretty used to it. I'm also more than a little
sarcastic and have a generally well developed sense of humor, which helps.
I'm not pulling your tail, nor your leg.
I sent you the last email without having received your 2nd email. I
am always bothered by people that use other peoples pain such as what
Terry did as gain. But to each his own.
I have been in the church for my whole life, I think its unfortunate
that the church is typically lead by those that want to lead. I don't
like Merideth, Holliday, Hume, or any of the other 'leaders' out
there. I do believe what the bible says - I have read enough from
your website to know that you don't. I also know enough about the
bible to know that some of the time lines and who wrote what and when
it was written doesn't really mesh with other history. I guess I was
never one who was a part of the cult, because I always made my own
decisions - like to not go to AC, because I could see the corruption
taking place. Like when I cut my hand off to go to the hospital and
have it reattached, I prayed too. I have attended with about 9 groups
since the break up of WW, and I really haven't found one that has
learned any of the lessons. I have recently been meeting with Living,
but we didn't go last Saturday - not sure if we will return. My
reason. Every time something bad happens to anyone Mr. M states how
they are paying for the price of their sins and I would cringe (when
did Mr. M become a judge). Their comments on the tragedy didn't
follow - their comments are non existent - they act like they are
being investigated. Then one minister speaks out to discuss why this
may have happened and he states that asking why is OK. They fire him.
So we don't know which church we currently attend with - but I don't
think its living.
I have a question for you. I have tried to research the incest claim
of Mr. A. The only proof I could find was a newspaper article in
Texas or Arizona (don't remember which) where it was brought up at his
divorce. But it was thrown out by the judge as non substantiable.
Then I read something written by his daughter (the victim) that it
wasn't true and that she is tired of this lie. Do you have proof that
I don't know about? Or just all the random unsubstantiable arguments
you find on the Internet.
" I am always bothered by people that use other peoples pain such as what
Terry did as gain. But to each his own."
Again... let's be clear about this... I am not sitting here with a gleeful
smile on my chops, wiping my hands in the air, and grinning over the
increased traffic on the PT website caused by this terrible event.
Personally, I'd like nothing more than the NEED for the PT site to just...
go away... I wish our traffic would dribble off to nothing, because the
cults aren't there anymore, sucking the blood from the sheep. Maybe one day.
In the meantime....so long as ONE person....just ONE, Bill!...Stumbles over
the site and realizes, "Shit! I'm not alone after all!" then it is all worth
it. It only takes one.
So.... yes, I used the event to drive search engines towards the
site, for a reason. I don't personally gain a thing from it, except the
knowledge that maybe that ONE person received validation of their own
On the rest of your email:
I appreciate your words here. Let me be clear about something else that you
might find interesting:
I don't have a THING against good religious people. That's because they are
Good People. A favorite quote of mine is:
"Religion amplifies the good and evil tendencies of individual souls." --
And although I'm as atheistic as you will find, it's because I've thought
about it a lot. But I certainly don't try to convert anyone to anything,
other than to have an ability to question, to think, to not necessarily just
take as Absolute Truth what some 70 year old dingle-berry is spouting off
behind some podium or on a recorded DVD on a Saturday morning.... I don't
preach, but I DO encourage folks to think and be free... This website and
the forum exists for current members, ex members...and families of members.
Many of the folks in the forum are Christian. Some are still in one branch
of the cult or another. But the important thing, Bill...is that they are
welcomed and they are thinking, and they are safe from the above-mentioned
dingle-berry. They can be free. Maybe they will really, really get
themselves away from being controlled. Their minds, their thoughts, their
Let's save the question about the incest for another time, shall we? It's a
topic that is... open to some interpretation, and demands a better response
than I can spare at the moment, ok? In the meanwhile, just consider the fact
that the author of The Tangled Web, David Robinson, who raised this charge
publicly, was not sued because he...brought this charge out.
C'mon Bill.... You seem to be thinking...That's a good thing! Let's not stop
19 Mar 2005
....the words of my good friend the famous General; George S Patton Jr.
Shortly before his own death in 1945 he made a visit to Walter Reed Hospital to review the wounded and the dying. His address was not meant to leave each man weeping and clutching for tissues. He spoke to men, some of whom would never walk again, never see again, possibly never even feed themselves again. He didn't pat them on the head.
"You are still soldiers. And your comrades expect you to leave here with the same valour you showed on the battlefield.
"Your duty is never done until the day you die."
Tragedy can leave us reeling and devastated. Personal tragedy can leave us in complete despair. Yet always there persists, in my own mind, the echo of these words, "your duty is never done until the day you die."
Somewhere on the face of the earth there is always going to be someone who needs what each of us, individually, have to offer. Always there will be people who yearn to know something of what each of us has learned. It is no coincidence when they find us, or we find them.
Whether you believe in an Eternal design behind it all does not matter. What matters is whether or not we each are willing to reach out to whomever it may be who's drowning and offer them all we have. And love them with all we are.
I love you.
17 Mar 2005
Subject: The Painful Truth
Just wanted to write and let you know I love your website. The article
"You might have grown up in the WCG..." had me laughing so hard, and my
husband didn't understand!
A note about the Wisconsin church shootings - how awful for those people
to witness their family and friends being killed, but Rod Meredith needs
to WAKE UP. How long does he expect to be able to fleece innocent people
without someone getting pretty fed up.
I was raised in the WCG and left when I was 17. I have had a hard time trying to find a church I can stomach, and I can certainly understand why some are athiest.
I miss some of my friends from church, but I do not miss living in constant
fear. I ate my first Twinke at age 18 (lard, you know.) and haven't looked
back since. I thouroughly enjoy Christmas and all the other "pagan" holidays.
I hope there is a special place in hell for all those deceivers.
17 Mar 2005----- Original Message -----From: "Dan W"To: <email@example.com>Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 11:12 PMSubject: questions about the painful truth
I am an ex-WCG, and now ex-UCG member. I finally got
out after being stuck in these cults for all my life.
Now I'm trying to rebuild, cope, and just break free
from all the rubbish that has been pumped into my
I stumbled across the graveyard church of god site
several years ago. I now see that it is part of the
painful truth. Could you please tell me the history
of these two sites?
Apparently the GYCG site was operated by some guy
named Scott, and the Painful Truth is operated by some
guy named Ed. Is this correct? If so, who is Mike
Minton, and how is he affiliated with these sites?
I'm just trying to get this all figured out, so I can
begin sorting out my life from this point forward.
By the way, both are great sites, although the Painful
Truth is probably going to be more useful to me as I
recover from cultism.
Thanks for answering my questions, and thanks for
keeping up these sites. You are doing a service for
Hello Dan....Ed created the Painful Truth site, and retired in 2003. I (Mike Minton) have been watching over it since -- washing glasses, sweeping the floors a bit, keeping the candles and lights burning.The GYCG site is archived with permission. Pretty funny place.Be free,PT Editor
17 Mar 2005About Brookfield...I am surprised it took so long to happen and I thought it would be to WCG leader types out of the blue. I think this shooter, Terry, needed help and got none and Rod's repetitive and negative end of time crap just got to him. But we don't know. It's hard to prepare for the end when you have lost your job and income etc. Also, there may have been some indication that a lack of blessings is punishment from God etc. Kinda like the minister telling my parents years ago that my brother was blind , deaf and speechless because the "obviously had sinned somehow" What a shit for brains concept. Fortunately they did not buy into that and lived happily ever after.I doubt anyone there did anything to him, but there may have been perceived threats or embarrassments. He simply lost his ability to think clearly, and innocent people had to pay. At any rate. Its a sad and tragic event. I think this will devastate LCG. I expect it will be more difficult to rent halls and I think Rod will come under hard scrutiny over his sermon and apocalyptic style It's been his bread and butter for decades. He had better be very very very careful how he explains this either to himself or publicly. One hint of "satan or demons" and he is finished. I suspect WCG will act like "what shooting," and Dave pack will react with "see , since I announced my elevation to end time Apostle, Satan attacked the nearest thing to me, but of course would never be allowed to attack RCG. He'll go for some mileage out of this.It's all very tragic. Time will tell what the fall out will be, but perhaps it will be the brakes on those who manipulate people with fear, shame and guilt and a second coming always a mere 3-5 X 10 years away, over and over as oft as we need to scare the brethren into staying put.
-- Dennis Diehl
Exchanges between Dennis Diehl and Bob Thiel
03/13/05 p.m. News of the Wisconsin shooting is at the News of those Once Affiliated with the Worldwide Church of God page at the COGwriter website.
The AW site has this comment, "we need look no farther than Bob Thiel's website, where coverage of this has been moved from "News of the Living Church of God" to "News of those once affiliated with the Worldwide Church of God". The term for that is denial."
The term for the above statement is absurd. I began posting information on this on this particular page from the beginning. I tend to only post the LCG weekly updates at LCG News page and similar things. I have always posted news of more general news interest on this page. This 'denial' comment is simply untrue -- Bob Thiel
In what way Bob is this untrue..This tragic event is part of LCG, not WCG history. I know that may be difficult to accept, but that's reality. It belongs on "Living Church of God History" or "News of the Living Church of God." It's not that difficult to understand.
Bob T:In all due respect, I know how I have always ran my webpage. And the title of the page I posted in on is the one titled News of those once affiliated with the Worldwide Church of God. This is where I post about United, PCG, CG7, etc.I am not trying to deny anything. Bob ThielDennis:
With equal respect. It is not just news of former WCG, UCG types....it is actual LCG history and will always be a part of your churches history just as GTA and the Receivership are an exclusive part of WCG history. We're not talking about generic news of the former WCG types here. This is a story that is part and parcel of LCG, and is now owned and exclusive to the real history of LCG. It happened in LCG and LCG owns it. I know you are perhaps not in denial, shock maybe, but it's time to run your webpage differently to reflect the reality of this tragic event in LCG under the current leadership of RCM. At this point, an event like this has nothing to do with those formerly with WCG but with those currently with LCG. It looks like you are endeavoring to distance the tragedy from the contemporary history of LCG by putting it under such a generic topic on your site. Of course you can do what you wish. Others comment on this distraction as well. It is not critical to the event, just makes your choice of methods seem suspect at this time as you go to such great lengths to correct news accounts to reflect a well understood LCG. Even RCM's comments on "we're a pacifist church" is not the point. This is not a story of pacifists. This is a story about murder in Church and what may have lead one human being to fail so badly. This was a crime of some kind of passion within a group that , for this man, was not a happy experience. And please understand Bob, this could and still can happen in any other church group affiliated with the demise of WCG, including WCG. LCG simply ran out of luck first. If it had just been his job loss, I suspect he might have shown up at work, not church. In the long run, it matters not. What's done is done and life goes on with those who are so negative and see supposed bible prophecy fulfillment in every newspaper and every totally normal geological, weather related and human disaster. We can hope for some good to emerge from this in time. I don't care really where you list it on your site. That's a very small thing. I'm concerned where you might list it in the real history of your church and the part the mentality of church leadership had in it happening at all.RegardsDen
16 Mar 2005
It's not funny, anymore.
Of course, all of these people are religious weirdoes.
Bad things happen to religious weirdoes. It's
No! It's not. These people are just a tad
conservative, like me. Nothing says pick up a gun and
shoot eight people dead. That's not anywhere. That's
not in 1975 in Prophesy. No! Not there!
LCG isn't dangerous. It's really just an old folks
home. Yada, yada, yada, end of the world next Tuesday.
Same shit as always. Same Bat channel, same Bat time.
Nah. No one takes this serious, right?
Really, it's all about women having tea parties after
the service. Really. Isn't that really what church is
But most churches are in churches, not Sheraton
hotels. Most churches are on your corner, not 70 miles
I do not attend church. Any church. I was born and
raised as an atheist. I did not come to atheism. It is
my religion: of my father and of my grandfather. It is
as about as frightening as a religion gets. In the
end, there is nothing. That sort of blows.
The world coming to an end next Tuesday, Tuesday after
Tuesday must also sort of blow.
Atheism is hopeless, vacant and extremely negative.
Only Armstrongism beats it for being more hopeless,
more vacant* and more negative.
(*Armarongism is effectively vacant. That is to say
that it is false at every turn.)
Nothing could sadden me further than what has gone on
at the LCG. Nothing.
It does not affirm atheism for me.
It affirms sadness.
15 Mar 2005
"Was he (Terry Ratzmann) held in the grips of fear of the prophecies that he was told would soon come true? Even those who knew him dismissed his passed expressions of fear and depression, and the very minister that he shot, saw him pacing the meeting room in the back, as he got up from his chair to go and get a drink of water during the sermonette. Randy Gregory was only focused on the sermon that he was about to give, not on the man who had already shown a desperate need for professional counseling. How many red flags did he need to avoid the disaster that followed?
You probably don't remember the time Rod Meredith taught a class on prophecy and gave such a graphic description of the torture that we were prophesied to go through that one of his students went out from that class and jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.
15 Mar 2005My thoughts:For years, I sat among a congregation of an organization that was fed a steady diet of gloom and doom. Oh there were short periods of time that went by without the heavy guns being aimed at us, but it was always there. It inhabited every fiber of my being, and was a catalyst for every thought I had and every action that I took. It encompassed my life.For every single thing to come up, the horrors of The Great Tribulation loomed forefront. Nothing was done or thought about that did not include this all encompassing happening that was definitely going to come to pass, and always right around the corner, I might add.Dates were set. Don't let anyone fool you into believing they did not set dates. The were set and sometimes, set in stone. For instance, the article, "1975 in Prophecy," pretty much says it all. How can that not be setting dates?The gloom and doom continues among the groups that adheres to Armstrong's teachings. So much is laid upon the members' shoulders that it must overwhelm them to certain degrees. How can they ever live up to all the things required of them? Yet, they must do so in order to make it into the Kingdom, and they must do so with a good, if not excellent, attitude.Their giving of their time and especially money must always be liberal, but at the same time, they must also be preparing their own famillies for the coming destruction of the financial institution of the United States. How can a man or woman who is solely responsible for their family's welfare continue to give until it hurts to a cult while also preparing his/her own family for the U.S. downfall?For years, they claimed that if we just supported the church, God would provide for us during the coming cataclysmic events. Now, some are admonishing their members to see to that themselves as best as they can. But, heaven forbid, don't forget to tithe and give offerings....until it hurts.It is overwhelming, to say the least, as to what members of these groups are expected to do. No wonder that some simply snaps. Of course, not everyone who reaches the end of their rope snaps and goes on a killing rampage. Most just silently suffers the depression from hell that overtakes their lives. They just live with it as I did for so many years. Deep, dark depression!They live with the ideas that no matter what you do, it is not, nor ever will be good enough. Yet, to stop doing it ensures their place in a seat on the bus that is headed straight for the lake of fire.Terry took a bad way out. He took other innocent lives with him. Yet, he was a victim as well; he was a victim of a mindset that is destructive and foreboding. For years, he was fed a steady diet of gloom and doom, sorrow and pain, destruction and holocaust. That is not a good diet by which to nourish the spirit and emotions.The elusive World Tomorrow and the Kingdom of God were held up for all to strive toward. Elusive is the key. So many things, some very trivial, could knock us out of that glorious future. It was the carrot that was dangled in front of the horse in order to keep the buggy rolling.Understanding what I do now, I see that the things that many of us had to deal with on a day to day basis were sometimes excruciating. We yearned for the peace and quiet of God's spirit, of his healing, his protection and prosperity. Yet, we were depressed, we experienced all things anyone "in the world" did, and we certainly were not prosperous nor were we healed.Reading some of the articles of some of the groups, I see that the same thing is still going on today. Members must continue to give until it hurts and somehow manage to prepare their families for the hard times ahead. Nothing has changed!I hope more people will wake up to what these leaders are doing to the members for the sake of a buck. That is the bottom line. Cut off the cash and see what happens. According to them, that is the quickest way into the lake of fire.For those who believe in a loving Creator, one who desires his creation to be happy, peaceful and prosperous, look at the fruits of these groups. The real fruits! How many of you are truly happy? How many of you live full lives? How many of you wake up with cheer and joy? How many are financially stable?On the flip side, how many of you suffer depression? How many suffers financial disabilities and even deprivation? How many makes lifelong decisions based on The Great Tribulation along with all its negative ramifications? How many are wondering why a great loving God requires all these things from his people? How many wonders why God has given people minds yet does not want them leaning on their own minds for understanding, but it is ok to lean on someone else's minds for clarification?Don't let anyone have your most precious possession, your mind. Don't be afraid to question. Prove all things! If something stinks, you can be sure that something is rotten. -- T_____
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