A collection of Facts, Opinions and Comments from survivors of Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong,  The Worldwide Church of God and it's Daughters.
Updated 12/02/08 07:49 PM PDT

The painful truth about Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Arrmstrong and the Worldwide Church of God

Articles Pertaining To Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong and The Worldwide Church of God

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Email To The Editor
(Page 102)



The Great One Has Died

No, not Bo Diddley, who did die today (Monday, 02 JUN 08), but Orlin Grabbe, who died on 15 MAR 08 in Costa Rica. 

 Bill Fairchild
Franklin, TN

The stories on your website are so very sad.  May the Good Lord heal us all. 

My earliest memories of HWA and WCG were from my mother.  She explained to me how I was going to die.  It seems like from the moment I knew I was alive, I knew I would die.  She explained, with the help of The Plain Truth magazine, how God was really mad at the world and was going to kill everyone because of Christmas.  Every time there was a storm or a flood during December, she would remind us that it was because of Christmas.  I am the youngest of four siblings and we all still hate Christmas.  All my little friends had so much fun at Christmas time and I liked playing with their presents.  I knew I wasnít good enough to get an actual present of my own.  As I got a little older, other kids made fun of me.  That hurt a lot.  We did receive birthday presents.  I was really lucky because my birthday was in December.  One of my sisters taught me to keep my birthday present secret from the neighbor kids so I could pull it out at Christmas and thus avoid embarrassment.   The thing that always hurt the most were the TV commercials and events to raise money for Christmas presents for the poor kids.  I wasnít even good enough to be a poor kid.  I learned in later years that all my siblings suffer depression in December.  All holidays were bad according to my mother and WCG.  Halloween was not much fun either.  Sometimes I would have to sit on the floor in my bedroom in the dark until Halloween night was over. 

I remember always being afraid.  I remember seeing my mom freak out because she didnít know how she could face being eaten by lions.  I remember seeing pictures of people being tortured. 

Looking back, I see what a bad environment I lived in.  The Worldwide Church of God mixed with parental mental illness makes for an evil place.  Being beaten and raped as a child and knowing that God was angry and about to kill us all, made me learn to fracture my identity.  I had a fairly mild case of multiple personality disorder and a bad case of post traumatic distress disorder to manage as I grew up.  Iím in my fifties now and in pretty good shape emotionally.  There was no hope in those days.  What can you do if God hates you?  Where can you go?  I remember the pictures in The Plain Truth of bulldozers pushing dead bodies over a cliff.  Thanks Basil Wolverton.  I grew up powerless and passive.  At times the only way I could feel better was to cut my arms and legs with knives or broken glass. 

Still being under the spell of HWA in my late teens, I actually  joined the WCG.  My mother never joined because she had a mental condition that made her afraid to leave the house.  The local ministers made it hard for me to join.  My hair was over my ears and that was not godly and it was against church doctrine.  After a month or so, my hair finally pleased them and I was allowed to go to services.  I attended for a two years or so and soaked it all in.  Maybe if I was good enough I could gain Godís favor and survive Wolvertonís bulldozers.  I even went to Ambassador College in Pasadena.   That was very disappointing.  The teachers were not really college level teachers.  They were mainly minister types.  I only stayed there one year.  I ran out of money and they would not give me a job.  I tried hard but they only gave jobs to people from exciting place like Barbados.  Turns out that was a good thing.  That was the beginning of my anger towards them. 

I came home penniless and had to live with my parents until I found a job.  That was not fun, it was coming home in disgrace.   I turned down a couple of good jobs because I might have to work on Saturday once in awhile.  After this, I took a job as a janitor.  My schedule keep me at work for a bit of Friday night.  I figured that was close enough and that God would be okay with me.  Turns out that my very best friend in the church turned me in.  My minister called me up and scorned me doing this evil thing for ďa janitor jobĒ.  He threw me out of church and said I was just like the guy in the bible who slept with his fathers wife.  That was the end of WCG for me and no one I was friends with helped me and cared enough about me to even call me.  I threw away all of my WCG booklets and crap soon after that.   

Itís been thirty some years ago now.  Itís taken a long time and the healing has been slow.  It was hard to believe that God loves even me.  Growing up with an abusive man and being taught that God is going to have me tortured made it hard to accept.  Here is a wonderful thing:  God made himself know to me several years ago.  It must have been the right time.  Iíve been evolving ever since and I am way different than I used to be.  I am filled with love and forgiveness.  How did this happen?  The love of God saved me. 

Steve E.




I discovered your website yesterday by accident. I had no idea how harmful the HWA cult was until I read the survivor horror stories on your website. These are the saddest things I can ever remember reading. My deepest condolences for all who were caught up in HWA churches & theology.

Anyway, to the point -- little 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch ads have recently started popping up on Matt Drudge's news website -- one of the most heavily trafficked websites in the world (www.drudgereport.com). They are so offensive, especially now that I know more of the truth about Herbert W (pervert, hypocrite, etc) from reading your website. The ad only shows his head & says "He was right!".

I was considering emailing Matt Drudge to complain (& furnishing your website for his information) and asking if he controls the advertising on his website. If he does, perhaps he will ban the ads.

Then I thought, who better to complain than you, who really knows the score on HWA?

If you don't want to, I will. Please let me know what you think about this issue.


Sam Van Gundy

Santa Barbara, CA

Iíve seen those ads, too, but I donít know what you can do about them. It would probably take quite a few letters or emails or maybe a petition to get anything done about it, and even that is questionable.  It might be worth a try, but I wouldnít expect too much.  The good news is that most people who read Drudge probably donít remember HWA, or never heard of him.  Aside from the bragging rights Flurry gets from just having the ads out there, I seriously doubt theyíre doing him any good.  Back in the 1970s the WCG placed ads in TV Guide, but I donít think many converts were gained from them.  They were touted as a ďwitnessĒ, which essentially meant that we were doing our job without expecting much in the way of results.  

If you decide to do it, I wish you luck.  

John B


Thank you for the information on this website. 

I can add the name Nancy Norwood to the list of WCG suicides - a friend of my sister in law in the Worldwide Church of God . One day in 1969 or 1970, Nancy jumped into the Potomac River and drowned near Washington, D.C. Ė believed to be a suicide since she could not swim and went to the river alone. The Potomac  River is known for having a swift current. I seem to recall a statement made in Church during the announcement of her death that we were not to form judgment (my interpretation of this statement was lake of fire and eternal death judgment). More than thirty five years later, I now form the opinion that it was a shame the young woman didnít have a healthy church she could turn to in her time of need for support during any personal difficulties she might have been having.  I also wonder what affect the Churchís doomsday message had on her state of mind. 

Updated January, 2013 HERE.



Dear Whomever,

I have been to your website on several times and it seem to me you are very much down on the WCG and it's leader past and present, so can you please tell me your story with them.

Robert Harp

You need not reply to this or the other e-mail I read your FAQ and it seem you are a very bitter man, HWA did not kill your wife, her belief in God did. She was trusting God to heal her and He allowed her to die something that I believe she understood but you do not. She will be a God one day and I am quite sure she wants to see you in the Kingdom of God. For you to feel the way you feel is understandable but it also shows you never really believed the truth you were hearing, you were following a man and not Jesus Christ. Happily one day you will know. Until then keep being bitter and angry and resentful and unforgiving.  Your first wife would want you to be forgiving and not holding a grudge. It don't matter, however, what I think of you, that is between you and the God you once believed in but no longer because He did not answer your prayers in the way you wanted them to be answered. Don't worry about a reply, this is the last time I will contact you.

With Godly love,

Robert Harp




Dear Sir,

I notice that on your web site that you indicate that there are still copies of "The Tangled Web" available, is this correct and can they be purchased from John Hadden Publishers? Or is the web-site not up to date? 


Alan kendall

I'm not sure where you saw that, but it was probably in the Ambassador Report.  The last AR was written almost ten years ago and the earliest one came out around 1975.  My understanding is that The Tangled Web is no longer available commercially.  You might be able to find one on e-Bay or by contacting other ex membrs of the WCG.  




Have been to your site several times in the past...re-reading and remembering.

However, the reason for this mail is simply to post, or request any sites/links/groups or forums that are about getting back in touch with others from the old wwcg.

I grew up in wwcg in the years of the 60's/70's/80's, attending the Gasden[al], Chattanooga[tn], Rome[ga] areas most of the time, and interested in reconnecting with the kids of that area in the wwcg, an especially those from those areas. I also attended SEP/Orr '75/'78.

While we all must have lots of different views now, we have/had as a base, the experience that we can all relate to, even if differently.

Feel free to repost, forward, or point me to any and all possibilities. Feel free to publish my email/site[s].




There are a number of websites where ex COG people get together.  I don't visit more than one or two so I don't know what they are, but you can start by checking out the PT Forum at the bottom of the main page.  Several people there can probably tell you which sites to visit, and from there you should be able to find the rest of them.  I know for sure that there is a site for AC alumni, but again, I don't know the URL.  You might also try Ambassador Watch. The editor there is very savvy about these things.

Good luck.




I finally got around to emailing drudge@drudgereport.com to complain.  I hope he responds favorably. 

Sam Van Gundy

That will be interesting.  Let me know how it plays out.


     I don't know if I sent this or not.  I saw your website about cults, etc.

     I just got through reading your article on the Internet about the people who predict and fail concerning the end of the world and the Lord's coming.  I agree with you totally in that these false prophets are constantly wrong and leading the people away from the Lord.

     I know, because I was in such a cult in the 70' s and early 80' s in Tucson, Arizona.

They were heavily into the end-times and the leader ("the Prophet") had set a date for the Lord's coming for June 1981 and the end of the world for 1988. He based it on the 40 year generation starting with the restoration of Israel as a nation.  They had other strange doctrines of devils such as to have nothing to do with your family if they don't believe like they do and that everything is a demon.  This put you in a demonic sort of consciousness. 

     But, primarily, they had you living for a day in the future that would never come and you were left with nothing after forsaking all and the Lord didn't show up.  You were always being driven to "get in the word", "get in the word", which was only their interpretation.  And they wanted you to be full time in the ministry to get prepared for the Lord's coming.  So, it was all new to me and I didn't know it was a cult, but that really what these groups are.  And they carry a heavy demon of religion, etc. with them.

     You can see more about what I am talking about under the heading "220 dates for the end of the world!Datesetters!"  and-in-the-Arizona-Daily-Star(June-1981).




That sounds really familiar.  Glad you got out.


Dear Sir/Madam, 

For a better understanding of how people were deceived by the Armstrong's, I encourage you to review and study all of the pages and articles of web site www.aworlddeceived.xxx in particular the articles on Tithing, False Apostles and False Christs and Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You? You may want to consider a direct link to these articles.

I have also attached a recent copy of an editiorial response to our local paper entitled: People Beware! Please do contact us if you have any questions. With kind regards. 

Andy & Dianne van den Berg  

The Attachment:

People Beware!                                                                                          June 21, 2008  

In a recent advertisement headlined: Why Is There so Much Hatred In The Mideast?, the local chapter of the Church of God offered an array of booklets and CDís in which there is no salvation.    

Former members of the Worldwide Church of God, founded many years ago by Herbert and Garner Ted Armstrong have founded a web site entitled www.hwarmstrong.com headlined the ĎPainful Truthí. The web site lists more than hundreds of testimonials of people whose lives have been ruined and destroyed as former members of this ministry. The purpose of the web site was to warn others and every month there are still new testimonials added.

On the bottom of every booklet handed out by the WCG it reads: ĎThe activities of the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association are paid for by the tithes, offerings and donations freely given. The Armstrongís built themselvesí a lavish multi-million dollar empire over a fifty year period but history has already shown that it is coming down faster than it took them to build. There are many other people that have sprung up in similar fashion, i.e. Kenneth Copeland, Jack Van Impe, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Pat Robertson, etc., etc. who all claim to come to you in the Name of Jesus Christ while their message has nothing to do with the teachings of Christ and the apostles as recorded in the Bible. They prey on the people of this world for only one purpose and that is to swell their own coffers.  

Andy G. van den Berg, Hubley , N.S.

Are you keeping up with the lies of Ron Weinland? I hope so. He is back pedaling as fast as he can (see his website with updated message from June 20th). We need people with websites to keep posting messages about his contradictions. He has so backed himself into a corner, that I am hoping his latest lies are bringing his ministry to a final close. One less Armstrong offshoot in the world would be a GREAT thing.

-- Unsigned

Iíve been following his progress, but not closely.  I check in at Ambassador Watch every couple of days.  I would say the guy is a complete fool to make a hard prediction like that and set the date so soon.  He had to know it would cost him.

Is it possible, do you think, that he actually believes it himself? 

-- Unsigned

I suppose it is possible.  That would make him a bigger fool than ever.



To all who have known by dear husband, Fred Brogaard: 

I wanted to let anyone who cares that my dear Fred died Sunday morning, 06/22/2008, between 12:00 midnight and 12:35 A.M. Fred's youngest brother, was sleeping on the futon in the family room where we had set up the hospital bed for Fred who was diagnosed with inoperable, incurable stomach cancer on December 10, 2007. Fred's 6 siblings and their spouses had been taking turns for almost 2 weeks to help me at night care for and make comfortable my darling husband. Fred's brother was awakened by the quietness in the room after Fred's heavy, labored breathing for almost a day. He checked and realized that Fred had already slipped away. His brother then awakened me in the bedroom next to the family room. We had retired around 10:30 P.M. on Saturday night, and I had checked on Fred about 11:15 P.M., kissed him on the forehead, and his cheeks and told him I was there and would see him later; but Fred had been unresponsive to anyone for about a day and a half. (I frequently awakened during the last week and a half after Fred was confined in bed.) 

Unlike me, my precious Fred remained a dedicated Christian right up to the end. Fred is to be cremated. Out of respect for his religious beliefs and his Lutheran family, there will be  a memorial service at Fred's church this coming Saturday (06/28/2008) at 11:00 A.M. - St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fremont, WI, where Fred was a member before the WCG and AC snagged him way back in the early 1960s. At that time, he was studying to be a Lutheran pastor.) This is a very difficult time for me, as I am definitely not a believer, and hearing him "preached into heaven" or awaiting the resurrection is not something I look forward to. But, as I said, this is primarily for his family who need to mourn and say good-by in their own way. Fred, as a WCG pastor, oversaw churches in Tacoma, Seattle, Olympia, and Sedro-Wooley (sp?), WA. 


Betty Brogaard  



Hi John, 

Just thought you should know, "Andy VanDerBerg" (the name does sound familiar but I can't place it off-hand), who wrote in plugging his site "aworlddeceived.xxx" is actually trying to promote a Hislop/Two Babylons ripoff book. 

Looking through his website, he's got all the same Hislop arguments, i.e., the RCC wears red, the "true truth" has been "lost" for two thousand years. He's an apologist all right. You might want to remove the link, just in case. 

VanDerBerg is trying to distance his "ministry" from the CoG and HWA, but he's making all the same arguments we have seen, over and over, and over and over again. 

Just FYI. 


Thanks for the tip.  I disabled the link to protect the unwary.  


Ronald Weinland of "The Church of God Ė Preparing for the Kingdom of God" has predicted a nuclear explosion in the United States by July 16th, 2008; or, if this doesn't happen, he will declare himself a false prophet. You may already know or suspect that he is a false prophet, but keep in mind that the fruit does not fall far from the tree. Weinland was spawned by another false prophet, Herbert W. Armstrong. In this writing we will show you how and why these men, while espousing some true doctrines, lead many in error. 

Paul Cohen

Maybe I'm a little slow, but I think I'm catching on.   You're correct about Weinland, but I'm not going to post your link so you can draw followers to yourself instead.  We don't support cults of any kind.




I am a graduate of Waterfield Institute of Nuwaraeliya, Sri Lanka in conjunction with Ambassador Foundation. I passed out in 1988 & have lost contact since.

Hence, would really appreciate some details of Alumni or faculty in USA / SL 

Warm Regards,


Hi, Ruwina.  Thanks for writing.  Someone recently asked a similar question.  You can find the reply by scrolling up to June 15, 2008 above..  I wish you luck in locating old friends.

There is a spiritual realm with spiritual principles that exist whether you believe them or not.  You can say you donít believe in gravity; however you benefit or suffer from it whether you believe it or not.  Same is true of spiritual principles.

Just because 90% of Christians have no clue who they are in Christ, doesnít mean God doesnít exist or the Bible is not the truth.

YOUE Question #17 Aren't you making false accusations?


I make no false accusations. In fact, if you or your church can prove anything on The Painful Truth to be false, I will remove it. I have offered that from the beginning.

OK, here goes:

The Bible is the inerrant word of God, it even says so, therefore, I have just proved your comments about it wrong.  Sort of the same basis you use for truth.  IN other words, you ďTHINKĒ what you say is truth without a shred of proof (because no one in the history of the world has ever proved the bible to contain errors other than grammatical, if for no other reason than itís virtually impossible to prove a negative, like youíre asking for in question #17).  You think you speak the truth, I know I speak the truth and therefore Iím right, and therefore I just proved you wrong, and itís impossible for you to prove my statement wrong, so therefore your statement IS false, I just proved it.

Now that we got all the silliness of your site out of the way, I have one question for you, why are you so scared to ask God to reveal Himself or the truth to you?

BTW, hereís a fun question for your readers who think they are Christian and a sinner at the same time, while at the same time they have no clue who they are in Christ.  Since 90% think they are sinners or sinners saved by grace, this one passage shows why they still act like sinners, and therefore hypocritical:

William Alan Gluck


Itís interesting that, because you disagree with the premise of our website, you automatically become hostile.  Usually the only time people do that is 1) they have something to lose, or 2) they arenít sure of their position, and are therefore afraid.  I was once a true believer like you, and I was afraid all the time.  I mean, ALL THE TIME.  And I was hostile to anyone who held a different opinion.  

Having said all that, letís take a look at your message.  

First of all, the man who wrote Question 17 is no longer affiliated with this website.  He retired some years ago, so I donít  have to defend anything that he wrote.  We can skip that one.  

However, in your attempt to refute Question 17 you stepped in a big hole when you wrote: The Bible is the inerrant word of God, it even says so, therefore, I have just proved your comments about it wrong. 

What would you say if we met face to face and I told you I was president of the United States.  It might go something like this:  

You:  Hello, my name is William Alan Gluck.  I donít believe weíve met.

Me: Pleased to meet you, Mr. Gluck.  Iím president of the United States.

You: Uh, excuse me, but I believe George W. Bush is the president of the United States.

Me: No, that isnít true.  Iím the president of the United States.

You: Iím sorry, but I donít believe you.

Me: Well of course Iím the president.  I just told you I was.  That proves that I am.

You (long pause): Thatís the dumbest thing Iíve ever heard in my life.  

And you know what?  You would be right.  Saying that my claim alone proves that Iím the president is really stupid.  And saying the Bible is the inerrant word of God just because the Bible claims to be the inerrant word of God is just as stupid.  If thatís all the proof you have, then I suggest you check out the Koran or the Book of Mormon.  

You stepped in another hole when you wrote:  because no one in the history of the world has ever proved the bible to contain errors other than grammatical, if for no other reason than itís virtually impossible to prove a negative  

The Bible is riddled with errors and inconsistencies from cover to cover.  Can you tell me why there are two different creation accounts, and they donít match up?  Why there are two accounts of the flood, and they donít match?  Why there are two accounts of Moses and the rock that gave water, and they donít agree?  Why there are two definitions of the holy days and they donít agree?  Why there are two accounts of how and when tithes are to be paid and they donít agree?  Why there are FOUR accounts of the life of Jesus and none of them agree?  How Moses could write the first five books of the Bible, even though one of them describes his own death (which means someone at least had to finish it for him, since he was DEAD!)  And thatís just the tip of the iceberg!  

And then you wrote this gem:  I know I speak the truth and therefore Iím right, and therefore I just proved you wrong, and itís impossible for you to prove my statement wrong, so therefore your statement IS false, I just proved it.

I wonít even try to unravel the ďlogicĒ behind that one.  (Or were you trying to make a point?)  

why are you so scared to ask God to reveal Himself or the truth to you?

Why would I be scared of god, since she doesnít exist?  God had 44 years to reveal itself to me, and Iím still waiting.   

hereís a fun question for your readers who think they are Christian and a sinner at the same time, while at the same time they have no clue who they are in Christ.  Since 90% think they are sinners or sinners saved by grace, this one passage shows why they still act like sinners, and therefore hypocritical:  

Where do you get those figures from?  What do you know about our readers and their beliefs?  You sound like Bill Clinton declaring that 50,000 people a year die from second-hand smoke, when there are no statistics on any such thing and no way to quantify them if there were.  As for this ďone passageĒ, I deleted it.  Youíve read the rules,  apparently, and one of them prohibits quoting scripture here to ďproveĒ your point.  The Bible has no authority on this website, and anyone who quotes it will get censored.  Thatís the painful truth.

Taking something "on faith" means believing something you can't prove, something for which there is no evidence.  I can't prove god doesn't exist and you can't prove it does.  Until that deadlock changes we can go in circles forever, and others will continue to do so.  All anyone knows for sure is that we all die eventually.  We know for sure that we have one life.  No one has ever come back to describe anything remotely like an afterlife, and in the absence of such evidence, few thinking people will cling to the hope that there is one.  When other cultures embrace fantasies we call it superstition.  When we do the same thing we call it faith.  Go figure.

If you are clinging to the hope of a resurrection, to paraphrase Paul, you are of all men most miserable.  The best advice I can give you is to get a life.  Drop the religious crap and live the one life you have now.  If another life is waitng for you, that's great, but don't sacrifice this one by waiting for a better one.  Odds are very good that it doesn't exist.

John B 


Your 'notice of copyright' of my compilation of some biblical verses under the title, The Original Satanic Verses, together with my comments thereon (see copy below from your web site), has no basis in copyright law.  I did not copyright it myself and therefore you have no right to copyright it.  I don't mind at all if you or others publicize it to the 'four corners' of the world because I want it to be read far and wide; that's why I did not copyright it.
I herewith ask that you please indicate that your general 'copyright' notice on your web site is NOT applicable with respect to The Original Satanic Verses so that your readers will not be hesitant to reproduce it.  You are free, of course, to post this notice on your web site in order to accomplish the same purpose.
I invite you to visit my web site at www.the--beauty--of--truth.com where
you can read a slightly revised version of The Original Satanic Verses.  

Thank you.
Pitman Buck, Jr. 

The copyright notice has been removed.

I read your website about the church in Fort Worthand going to the Swing time center.

I grew up there going to that same church. Do you remember the small balcony? The one that " few" could even dare to walk up to? Do you Remember " Cookie Day"? 

I remember when Pastor Geen was there, Pastor Smith,Pastor Hertzong, and a few others. Did by chance you know any one there with the last name of " Hart" or "Bradford"? 

Does the name Rick Snead ring a bell? do let me know. These are some people I do know.. as my former last name was "Hart". I had it legally changed a few years ago.

My best friend back then was Jhon Hale.. He had three brothers, two sisters all attending. 

E mail me 

Robert Christian 

I never personally attended that church, but I will post your letter and see if we get any hits.  Iíll also put it on the 411 page.

Thanks for writing.


I recognized several names on your ministers list. However, Leslie Schmedes is NOT included. Any special reason? He was a pretty good minister until HWA died and WCG went nuts. I think he still is a minister of WCG.


I haven't heard of Mr. Schmedes until now.  The editor who posted those names is no longer here, but I suspect he took them from one of the WCG publications that listed the ministers worldwide.  Perhaps Mr. Schmedes was not listed there, or he may have simply been overlooked.



I'm really unsure as to whether anyone is still checking this email address, or what Im even trying to do by contacting you, but I suppose Ill submit my curiosity anyways.  

My names Greg and I'm John Trechak's nephew. A few years ago I googled my last name and came across whats like a trove of letters in regards to the death of my late uncle. At the time I had no idea what any of it was about. I was 11 when he died and never knew him in person, save like one phone conversation. The answers to some of my questions have been elusive, but I think Ive pieced a good bit of it together by now.  

Anyways, I randomly googled my name again, came across your site and decided to send a word out.

 Greg Trechak

Well, Greg, it's good to hear from you.  Your uncle is something of a god to a lot of people who used to attend WCG.  For many years he documented the abuses and corruption of that organization and made it available to anyone who was willing to look at it.  If you have seen Ambassador Reports at the Painful Truth site, you will understand how much effort he put into it.  That's all his work.   

If you have any memories of him you'd like to share, I'll be happy to post them.

Thanks for writing.

John B



I found your website on accident and felt I needed to write to you.  I was born in 1971 and my mother had been an Armstrong follower for a few years prior to my birth.  To put it bluntly, I thought my life was a living hell while I was growing up, but, I never dreamed it could actually get worse into my adulthood.  When I turned 18 and moved away, I really believed I could put the whole thing behind me and pretend it never happened-I didn't have to live that way any more since I was on my own.  When I read your extensive apology list, it was easy for me to relate to 99% of it, because that was my entire childhood, and we are all still suffering today. 

I don't think I saw this scenerio on the list: my mother has 7 siblings, and every sibling attended my grandfather's funeral and burial, EXCEPT my mother-she did not come to her own father's funeral because she was REQUIRED to go to the feast.  My grandfather died in 2006, so as you can see this is a recent occurance.  I have resolved myself to believe that my mother will never escape.  She is brainwashed so badly, she will never be a normal person, her life is over and I feel I have completely lost my mother, she is not a mother to me, but rather, a puppet.  She is still, to this date, attending the Philadelphia Church of God, now, under Flurry's influence.   

I give up.  I don't know what else to say.  If someone wants to chat sometime, please feel free to call me.  I can tell you many details of my mom's ranting about the church brainwashing crap they are doing currently.  It would be nice to chat with someone who has been what I and my family have been through, too. 

Wendy Pitts


Do you want that number published at the website?  You might get some calls from people you donít want to hear from.  

If I may suggest it, I think you would enjoy the PT forum.  Lots of people there just like you.  You can sign up at the website.  

John B


You are right; I don't know what I was thinking!  Thanks for the advice....

Wendy Pitts


Its bizarre that I stumbled on to this website today, but it brought a huge floodgate of memories back.  I am not sure how I feel about them. 

 I was brought up in the church when I went to live with my grandparents after my parents died.  My two uncles were very involved, in fact, my uncle was the head gardner at the AC Big Sandy Campus for years until it closed I believe, and both uncles were deacons in the church.  When that is how you grow up you don't think of it as "brainwashing" or cultish, but like many religions it was "restrictive" I had many good times and long term friendships with people I went to church with and some great memories of it like the Feast in Lake Tahoe, being a cheerleader for our YES basketball team and competing in cheer competitions,  church dances and socials, the relationships since faded but not from judging me or excommunication.  But in retrospect, the fear factor of this was huge, running in the house before sundown on a Friday night as a 8 -10 year old wondering if I would be struck down if I didn't make it, the argument about fasting and whether you should brush your teeth (this was a major debate with myself and a friends dad,I told him god didn't like stinky breath)  or accidentally eating what you were not supposed to or taking a drink by force of habit when you were supposed to be fasting and having everyone look at you or being a teenager that was judged constantly as promiscuous but was still a virgin when she married (outside of the church) I dated a ministers son while still in the church but it was a total nightmare, but I will say his dad was great it was just everyone else judging and gossip mongering that made me leave. 

It took a long time to reprogram my brain into things, for years I would never eat pork, felt like I was sinning when having Xmas for my family but it is since my favorite time of the year and I go at it with gusto or celebrating birthdays,  I just felt like "how could this have all been wrong"  My grandmother passed before all of the breakdowns in the church happened I think it would have devasted her she so loved the church and what she thought it stood for neither of my uncles will even speak about what happened its like they are too embarrassed or humiliated.  My grandma always said Garner Ted was a vain man and would have to answer to that one day, but I never thought the HW would have done the things that he did, but as a congregation we were pretty sheltered from all of the rumors and gossip I always felt our pastor was an evil vindictive man with his own agenda, and things were just starting to fall apart when I left I didn't find out about the split for years.  And when I asked someone they really didn't want to talk about it like it was a big secret for the outsider I had become. 

Again I just stumbled on this and felt compelled to make a statement, I have nothing too horrible to comment on, no suicides or horrible events that caused me mental torment, just sad that so many really good people gave so much of themselves to a man (not a prophet) who was using them for personal gain.  You don't have to be in a religion to have that happen, it is happening to everyone every day, this was just a bit more sensational and personal to me.   

I still feel that it gave me some of the values I have today, family is important, and just trying to be a "good" person, the rest is all garbage that people should just let go of.  A lot worse can happen to people than what I have read, being bitter will not help.   


Tracy Daddio


Iím glad you found us.  Sounds like you were in the thick of it for awhile.  

Itís true the church did teach us some good values, but most other churches also teach them.  You can find most of those same values at a 4th of July parade.  

As for being bitter, Iím not.  Like you, I never suffered nearly as much as some Iíve read about and talked to.  In any case, bitterness usually fades with time.  The important thing, and the reason this site exists, is to warn any who will listen that the abuse is still going on, and that survivors are not alone.  

Thanks for writing.

John B


(Editor's note: The following message screams for a detailed response; rather than print the message then reprinting it with comments, the editor's responses will be embedded in the message itself.)

Hello -

At the end of John O.'s "666" article he asked a question, and I wished to respond to him, but the e-mail address ( Enlyten@hotmail.com  ) is apparently not good. 

Our apologies.  We haven't heard from JohnO for several years.  

I think you have done a fine thing with The Painful Truth site, and here is what I wanted to share with John:

Thank you.  Hope you still feel that way by the end of your email.  We hope he is well, but we have no information on his current status.

Hello -

I was reading the article you wrote "666", that is on the Painful Truth website. 

At the end you ask if anyone has any ideas on the 666. 

I was shown by the LORD several months before John Paul died that Ratzinger is the one that goes into "perdition" - and I was able to predict that he would be made Pope in one day, which is quicker than any other Pope in at least the past 300 years. 

Wow!  The LORD spoke to you personally!  I've often wanted to meet someone who had that experience, so tell me -- how did he do it?  Western Union?  U.S. Postal Service?  FedEx?  Email?  I'd really like to know.

And I can prove it. 

Of course you can.  Just like you can prove that God really exists.

The information, supplied by the Holy Spirit, led me to find the main terms in this Bible Code in advance: 


Oh, the INTERNET!  I should have figured that out.  Well, that certainly clears it up.  You read Hebrew, do you?

The odds are way against this being a random code - more than a million to one. 

I was quite baffled by the "666" though - I tried for months to figure it out, then I watched the video on Revelation 17 on this website: 


Maybe the reason you had trouble with it is that it was misinterpreted.  Latest word, as of a couple of years back, is that the real number isn't 666, but 612.  Check your area codes.

Which I highly recommend. 

I took this info, along with what I was shown by Spirit regarding Ratzinger, and St. Malachi' Prophecy of the Popes and found this Bible Code which is millions and millions to one chance of being a random: 


And the 666 calculation is on this page. 

More gibberish.  Looks like the floor tile in a public toilet.

And before you reject the idea of there being Codes in the Bible PLEASE check out this page: 


Yeah, I think we heard about this on Paul and Jan Crouch's TV show several years back.  Very convincing. [hack] [cough]

There is definitely a message there for humanity. 

Yes, and the message is...KOOK!

And this page has some examples of "codes" in the visible text of scripture: 



Most any Bible with footnotes will confirm these codes (but most do a very poor job of explaining it) 


And this page has a link to a short booklet showing that Christ's prophecy that nothing would come up missing from The Torah - not even the upside down letters that no one has been able to figure out why they are even there: 



22 pages (not counting the Appendix) that show not one letter is missing from the Torah and that the writer knew pi out to 500,000 decimal places. 

Ratzinger is the False Prophet, his long time friend (back to their Hitler Youth days) Edmund Stoiber is The King of the North / The Beast. 

Got it.  John Paul worked for I.G. Farben, and WCG said he was probably the false prophet.  Turned out that Herbert Armstrong was...and now those who follow in his footsteps.

You can take it to the bank. 

No, you can, I'm sure.

And, for the record, I do not accept tithes, offers, or donations - 


Blessings -

Jim Wright

Ya know what?  We've heard all this crap before.  Herbert spouted crap for more than 50 years, and Herman Hoeh and Waterhouse spouted more crap.  This may be slightly different crap but it's still crap, someone trying to exalt himself and make idiots swoon because of all the pretty characters in primitive languages.  Take it somewhere else, pal.  You picked the wrong website.



Hi, I thought you might be interested in a somewhat unique look at why there are two different accounts of creation.  In an effort to unify evolutionism and creationism my Dad wrote a book contemplating this very subject.  The book attempts to show why Science can be right without contradicting Biblical teachings.  You may or may not find it thought provoking but if you are interested in learning more look it up.  It's the first and only book he has ever written.  The title is "New Evidence for Two Human Origins" by Gary T. Mayer.  It's self published.
New Evidence for Two Human Origins by Gary T. Mayer

NEW EVIDENCE FOR TWO HUMAN ORIGINS: Discoveries That Reconcile The Bible and Science Gary T. Mayer. The subject of human origins is a topic that not only ...

Am I interested?  No.  For two reasons: 1) attempting to reconcile anything in the Bible is foolish and futile because the book was written solely to empower ancient religions tyrants and today empowers modern ones; 2) the quest to discover how life began is fun but not important.  Knowing the answer won't cure cancer or bring about world peace, or put food on the table. 

Good luck peddliing your dad's book.




I wanted to thank you for keeping The Painful Truth website going.  I just happened to stumble across it the other day and found it helpful and healing.    

I was raised in RCG and WCG from 1960 at age 5, went thru AC, suffered for years from anxiety and depression, married a nice guy (also raised in the church) who got drafted to be a "lay pastor" for 4 years in the late 1990's, just as I was trying getting up the courage to finally leave.   My mom & one sister still attend a splinter group.  My husband's parents and one brother do also (in fact, my father-in-law holds tiny services in their home every Saturday and gives old-time Herbert sermons).  So because we still visit, it's hard to put the wounds of the past behind. 

After seeing your website, I sent out this email to a few friends and family, including one sister-in-law who I thought was empathetic (she wasn't raised in WCG, and attends a local mainstream mega-church): 

On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 2:37 AM, Rhonda <foto.bug@comcast.net> wrote: 

While googling for a correct name, I came across the following website about my former church.

Reading it made me cry (a good thing).  

One more step in the direction of healing . . . 

Amazing list of apologies by pastors and former pastors of Radio Church of God & Worldwide Church of God!


and got this reply from her: 

Oh Rhonda,
I have caught snippets of your thoughts and feelings over the years regarding WCG and it makes me so sad that you still carry this baggage with you.  I truly hope and pray that you find peace with your life.  This is too much to hold so close for so long. 
I say these things with concern for you and your family

I went back to your website and found solace in your empathy, humor, sarcasm and insight for survivors of WCG, especially where you state how UNHELPFUL it is when people tell us to "get over it" and that they'll "pray for us.  

I'm now a borderline agnostic,   allergic to organized religion.  About the only group I can stomach (in small doses) are the Unitarians. 

But Herbert's been coming back to haunt me lately ~  I've had a serious relapse of anxiety with the international financial meltdown of the past few days, and am trying to pull out of a state of shock over people clamoring to "buy gold,"  saying this is worse than 1929, and that we may be seeing "the last train out of Nazi Germany", etc. 

Sorry for rambling . . . just wanted you to know that what's on your website is still relevant and helpful! 


Rhonda Cosco McDowell

Spokane, WA




I'm wondering if you have any information about Richard Gipe.  

He's involved with a very large fraud/scam operation and I'm one of the victims.  I understand that he was or is involved with this church.  I tried the search tool but it brought me back to the first page and I cannot see any info about him there. 

Thanks so much. 



That name doesn't ring an immediate bell.  I checked the list of church pastors and didn't find him listed, but he may have been a member or low-level local minister somewhere.  Maybe one of our readers will recognize the name and respond by email.



hi, my name is lynn schmidt, my maiden name is jacobs. i was born into the cult in 1962.im 46 years old and still feel the effects of growing up in the "church'.what an absolutely horrable childhood. my mom thought i was posessed one time when i was 6, so the minesters came to the house and did all that crap to me to get the demon out! needless to say i ended up doin all kinds of drugs at the age of 11. im just now getting my life together, after years of bad marriages 3 to be exact, and drugs and alchol, and self loathing. i would like to find people i grew up with in the " church".i ended up getting married  to a guy from mt pocono, and moving to big sandy. we were married for 7 years before i just couldnt take it anymore, and left him and the " church".i am happy now, im single and live outside of philladelphia, pa. i went to the church in harrisgurg, pa. when i was younger, and would like to hear from my friends that time, see how they are and how they are doing. i saw a lot of crap in the church when i lived in big sandy. even herbert w, and garner ted. wat a bunch of hipocrites they were. i still hate them and always will for robing me of a great childhood and a normal life. thank you for your website it is awesome, it helpes me alot, to know that there are other people messed up like me.  lynn schmidt.   

Unfortunately we hear lots of stories like yours, Lynn.  I'm also glad you found our site.  Let us know if we can help.

Reply to Diane about Richard Gipe:

Hi Diane, 

Yes, Rick Gipe was a 'minister" in WCG back in the late 70s. He was "pastor" of the Garden Grove church when I lived there. He was always trying get-rich-quick schemes. I lost track of him after leaving California. 


Wow what alot of information I have been reading about the church.  I wish I could be free to really tell you who I am and the things I experienced.  I am not at liberty to go there just yet. I was related (closely) to HWA and GTA.  I always knew the lies, the shame, and most of all the lies about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Today I am finally free of the leaglelism that kept me burried and the gult of "going against the family". So much hurt to so many people.  I pray now for the comfort and pressence of our Lord to be with those still plagued by the church.  I just hope the past members and their families will read the Bible and see the truth and grace of God.  Know His love and not His anger! I don't

know if all that is written about the church is true but I do know for a fact that most of it IS!  I must forgive them and find the grace of God to do that.  I guess that's why HE is God! To forgive people in your family who do not deserve it is so hard!!!  I will pray for that grace always.

Peace be with you

In Christ [name wihheld]

I'd also love to know exactly who you are, and maybe someday you can reveal it.  Thanks for writing.




I am glad that finally I have removed myself vfrom the york of slavery

I have faced hard time in the anti Armstrong group,CCG hich tend to differ ith Armstrong teachings

Surely hat rong I made if it happened that one as using my snap to conatc other group?

Yes infact opening for someone over 21 churches in Kenya and also plantying for someone churches in Eastern Africa!!!!!!!

hat is that I orked for this church!!!they sent me to buy copiers but I forgot and  and only bought printer and comps ,yet for all that Ihave done for Him He still demand money from me

Ias agood friend to Mr park,Briby Russell and Rod King but ade endede up spelling these guys from us ,any ay if He dont like Aremstrong teachings ,Did He come from

CCG,must change

Not real

Teachings are not perfect

Talk to CCG to change

All the churches hich Iopened He ill not control them

The CCG will not change.  None of them will change.  If you are no longer part of them, count yourself lucky and don't look back.  Thanks for writing.


Hi! just received this message from a fellow ex-WCGer & ACer. 

Betty Brogaard 

----- Original Message -----

From: xx xxxxx

To: xxx xxxxx

Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2008 11:56 PM

Subject: News  

In case you haven't been informed, another of the Worldwide old guard is gone.  Here's the weblink: 




I find your site very interesting.  

I was living in London in the early 1980s, when Armstronism was at its high point in England. At that time, newspaper shops in London often had a stand outside the door filled with copies of the Plain Truth for passers-by to pick up.

A man called John R. Schroeder, then "Contributing Editor" of PT, was my "pastor." Remember him?

After about two months of visits, I saw the contradictions and withdrew from him.... just in time... when I phoned him to say I'd had enough, he replied:

"Oh I don't know what to say. I've never had a case like you. I was going to invite you to come to church...." 

I took the useful information from all the booklets, for which I am still greateful, while discarding the funny bits.  

One thing that struck me about the WCG in England was that there was no shortage of money. WCG were renting big, luxurious houses at huge cost around London for their "pastors" who recruited new members in this country. Your site helps me to understand where all the money was coming from.  

I am of Irish Catholic extraction. Any Irish-born person aged sixty or over will recognise WCG as a mirror image of Irish Catholicism in the 1960s. Many other religious groups today - including some major ones - are equally oppressive and abusive, but their members are well trained and well intimidated, and rarely "blow the whistle." They suffer on in silence for life. I greatly welcome sites like yours which tell it like it is. I'm wondering if there is a corresponding site for Irish-born Catholics aged sixty or more, but I am not hopeful.  

Keep up the good work.

 -Peter Newman


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