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      Hi there,

      This is what I shared with Mike on
      DON'T DRINK THE FLAVOR AID about my painful experiences in Ronald Weinlands 'branch' of COG. Use it as you wish.

      When I first heard of Ronald Weinland, my first thought was ‘who is this Pentecostal nutcase calling himself one of the witnesses of Revelation?’ However, I soon discovered that he was from one of the Churches of God. I knew I at least had to listen to what he had to say.

      Previous to this, I had been part of Garner Ted Armstrong’s Intercontinental COG – and believed that when the Witnesses did come on the scene, that they would be from ONE of the COG’s (whichever the true one ended up being) – I believed this wholeheartedly.

      After reading both of Ron's books, I was entirely convinced that indeed the end was near, and that it would happen as he stated. (Mind you, this is the third time in my 36 years of life I believed ‘the end was nigh’- which displays a certain pattern in my life, don’t you think!)

      So, I contacted the Church of God - PKG and eventually was baptized (for the second time in a COG). The picture below was taken on the Gold Coast here in Australia the day I was baptized, on 12 January '08. From left to right are Wayne Matthews, another member, my mother, my husband, myself, Laura, Chris, and Ron.

      Being part of PKG was great – enjoying the holy days, preparing for the tribulation (bulk food and supply purchases, storage, water provisions, warm clothes for nuclear winter etc, etc, etc) and being with a few like-minded people.

      During the lead up to the first timeline's blowing of the first trumpet on 17 April 2008, I remember feeling physically sick as I believed it would be announced that the USA had been nuked when I turned on the TV. I had even convinced my husband to cut our holiday short so we could be at home when all of this started.

      I remember feeling confused and angry on the day of 17/4/08 when nothing happened – what on earth was going on? Why had nothing happened as Ron had said? Was he false?

      “No – he CAN’T be” I said to myself.

      The remainder of this is from my recollection of events. My memory has never been fantastic (I’m only 36, I know), but I believe this is relatively accurate.

      After the 17th of April, Ron then said that the damage of the first trumpet would be a process of destruction over a period of 45-90 days and then the second trumpet would be blown. Every day I was glued to the news, feeling sick to the stomach.

      It was sometime after this (I do not remember the timeframe) that Ron admitted (somewhat) that he has ‘misunderstood’ and was ‘shown’ another truth which he would reveal on the Last Great Day of the Feast of '08.

      Turns out we did not have to wait that long, as long before the Feast of '08 he delivered his 50th Truth being that Christ's return would be on Pentecost 2012. The 50th truth made perfect sense to me, given Ron's explanation of the timing.

      At this time my mother left PKG. However, I stayed – believing my mother had not been permitted to ‘see’ this new truth by God.

      Ron told us to question ourselves, question our own faith – and how terrible it was that we probably were feeling very stupid in front of our loved ones, our family, when the things we had been warning them about did not eventuate. In other words, he turned his own failure back on us. Instead of admitting his error, he had us focus on our own shortcomings.

      I must say, I did feel stupid – but not only for the obvious reasons. You see, those of us who believed in God’s ‘Truths’ wanted God to call our families so badly. Our husbands/wives/brothers/mothers/fathers and friends would begin to keep the Sabbath, the Holy Days, etc – then we would know that they too will see the millennium and be with us! How joyous that would have been.

      If we warned them, and told them what was going to take place, who Ron was, etc – and those things DID HAPPEN, then God could use that to reveal His truths and they would begin to ‘SEE’ as God desired them to in His time.

      When the failure of Ron’s first timeline occurred, I knew that my friends and family would never believe anything I had to say in this regard again. They already hated that I did not keep Christmas and would go away to a stupid Feast every year – to them the failure of Ron was just another confirmation of ALL I believed was false – including other doctrines such as the Sabbath.

      As I kept believing Ron, it was very hard on my marriage (second marriage), and my friends could just not understand why I kept believing in someone who said ‘If it does not happen EXACTLY as is stated in my books, I will declare myself a false prophet’ – yet didn’t.

      I did as I was told by Ron, and repented from my VERY bad attitude on how I felt with the failure of the first timeline, and continued with PKG.

      I no longer watched the news. I no longer searched for items such as earthquake results – as I did not want to ‘ruin’ my faith with evidence that no escalation whatsoever was occurring except for financial ‘thunder’. But being in the financial services industry, what Ron had stated is no news to me as many of my peers believe we are headed for an unprecedented depression globally in the next year or two.

      Interestingly, Wayne would often send news items to us via email – an earthquake here, fires there, etc etc. I did not even read them, since to me they were just normal newsworthy events – nothing spectacular. Again, I did not want to ‘ruin’ my faith and admit that no escalation was occurring. It was easier to bury my head in the sand and concentrate on ‘spiritual’ matters.

      Coming up now to December '08 – and ‘here we go again’. What would the first trumpet be? What destructive events would take place?

      I recall that during the Feast of '08 Laura herself directly said to me that she believed by Jan '09 that things would be ‘really bad’. She told me that she had purchased things on interest free, no payments for 3 years, and that we should do the same – it would never have to be paid back after all. She did say that we should do it only if we could afford to pay for it anyway – but this attitude seemed wrong to me somehow. I ignored my feelings. [Note: This past Saturday, Weinland expressed regret for making purchases that he unexpectedly has to pay for. Mike(DDTFA)]

      Well, December came and went, Jan '09 saw a new US president take office, and Ron tossed the second 45-90 day timeline for nuclear explosions out the window.

      This was too much. Too much had changed, and Ron seemed to be losing it. Too much was going against what his two books had stated. Just one example: the second witness would not be revealed until the beginning of the 3 ½ year period. Well, she was revealed to the world LONG before the beginning of Ron’s second tribulation. That is just ONE falsity in Ron’s books. I will let the people who can be bothered outline the rest. 

      Leaving PKG was one of the hardest things in my life I have had to do. I truly loved the people I was with – Wayne and Chris were truly like my spiritual mum and dad, Nathan and Sharna were truly like brothers and sisters. To this day, I love and miss them – and know that in 2012 when Jesus does not return – that they will speak to me again (unless a third timeline comes in).

      I have gone through many different emotions since leaving, and I am still. I was not angry – at first, that came later. There are so many things now that I question.

      The main thing I find alarming, is my own nature – my own disposition to believing that ‘the end is nigh’. This could be for a number of reasons, and I will not bore you by listing them here.

      The battle is with myself – what do I do now? I do still believe the truths that I first learned with Garner Ted – the Sabbath, Holy Days, the false traditional Christianity belief system etc. These truths I learned with GTA and through PKG I will always believe. But do I have the strength to APPLY and OBEY these ‘truths’ with no organisation to follow, to lead me? I do not know, to be honest.

      After all, I believed God led me to GTA's group – but they were false. I am not even going to mention the additional times I thought God had 'led' me into a myriad of different pentecostal churches – 'Rapture next 2 years', 'Armageddon very close' etc etc – you get the picture. I then believed that God led me to PKG – but they were false. How would I trust for myself that God was leading me ANYWHERE now? How could I?

      I believe that God calls people – and it is only those he calls that can see the ‘truth’ – I thought I was one of them. The only conclusion I can come to, is that God does NOT want me to see, and that I am NOT called. What other explanation is there?

      I believed Barry Smith (Pentecostal – when I was one in those days!) that the Rapture would be in 2000. I believed GTA – the end was near. I believed Ron – Jesus would be back in 2011. And I believed Ron again when he said Jesus would be back in 2012.

      How could I believe anyone again? Really….. HOW?

      I believe Ron is sincere – and if he had admitted he was false the first time, or even the second time – that would have been OK by me – after all, we are all human. But he won’t admit that he is false – therefore to me, he is both dangerous and a joke. He deserves to be mocked, as promises he himself made with words through his own lips were not kept.

      As for his followers, I no longer have any sympathy for them. Their pride and desire to be RIGHT alone is what is keeping them there. I myself stayed as long as I did for those reasons – it wasn’t until I left that I admitted it to myself.

      The truly sick thing about all this, is Ron’s dealings with his ‘mockers’. You see, Ron teaches that God calls – God is the one who lets people ‘see’. Take Mike from DDTFA for example.

      Ron would teach that Mike does not ‘see’ as God has not ‘called’ him. Mike is blind, he does not understand. Ron would teach that someone like Mike would die during the tribulation, and be resurrected after the 1,000 year reign of Christ, and be permitted to live another lifetime to be given a chance to see God’s ways, repent, and live. Mike would then be GIVEN the ‘truths’ so he could choose to obey.

      The disciples once asked Jesus ‘why do you talk to them in parables’ and Jesus’ replied in essence ‘so they don’t understand’.

      During his murder, Jesus said ‘Forgive them Father, for they do not understand’.

      Instead of Ron saying to God of Mike ‘Forgive him Father, he does not know what he does’ – Ron instead curses him to die slowly (then quickly) from the inside. That is plain wrong. I could understand, given what Revelation says about the witnesses ‘powers’ - for example, cursing the people who KNEW THEY WERE THE WITNESSES, AND BELIEVED THEY WERE THE WITNESSES and wanted to cause them harm BECAUSE they were the Witnesses. But not someone who was ‘blind to the truth’ and did not believe they were the witnesses.

      After all, Ron said that was the purpose of the 2 books – they were not addressed to believers but rather were to reveal to the WORLD (people like Mike for example) that Ron indeed is a Witness, a Prophet. I won’t speak for Mike, but I believe that if everything had indeed occurred as Ron said they would, that Mike would have believed that Ron was who he said he was!

      When you write something, and it does NOT occur, and you say that you will admit it if you are wrong – AND YOU DO NONE OF THIS – you deserve to be mocked – simple. Ron said a great number of things, time and time again, that have NOT eventuated. Yet he still carries on with his ‘thing’.

      To people out there who continue to believe – because you ‘see the truth’ – well, good on you – go for it. You deserve no respect, no sympathy – you are fools following a greater fool. Don’t come crying to me in 2012. You yourselves are causing great pain, great anguish – just ask yourselves the damage these ‘witnesses’ are doing. A number of people will now not believe the REAL witnesses when they turn up, because of the damage Ron has done.

      God will deal with Ron in His time.

      In the meantime, I have learned a great deal about myself during this painful process. I still have a lot more to learn.

      Yes – I am angry. Yes, I am lost.

      I know Ron is false – by his own lips, I know he is false. Why won’t he quit? I no longer care.

      If I can help anyone in the same boat as me, or prevent others from going to where I did – I will. Other than that, I really don’t care anymore about Ron and his delusions, and his deluded followers.

      I never listened to another one of Ron's sermon after Jan '09, and I will never listen to another.

      As for the ‘truths’ (ie. Sabbath, Holy Days etc) – I will always believe them. As for believing someone else again – well, God would REALLY have to help me. It would take A LOT to go down this path again.

      I continue to watch and wait – but more importantly, I am now living my life again.

      Mike, thank you for your blog, and thank you for the time you have spent privately letting me vent and work through things. I have never met you, but you have truly acted as a friend who has simply listened, and been a shoulder to cry on. It has meant so much to me.

      Thank you.



      Thank you for writing the Painful Truth.

      From what you wrote, you were part of Garner stud's cult and then after some time joined Ronnie's cult. This is a pattern that most go through when leaving the world of cults. We try to fill in the loss we feel with a substitute. This is like buying a new puppy a day or two after Rover dies. Just sit still and don't try to fill in all the blanks at once. In time all this stress will come to pass and you will be free of what is called “undue influence.”

      In troubling times such as we are experiencing now, a slew of "end of the world prophets" dress in the cloak of righteousness and proclaim themselves as spokesmen of the most high. Ten years ago when the new millennium was approaching, these cockroaches were coming out of the woodwork all proclaiming that they were sent by God. They put the desired twist on some well known facts, then they ignore the inconvenient facts, and invent as many new "facts" as necessary to convince you that their equivocations are Holy Writ. If you buy into the game, they got you on the hook.

      Weinland portrays himself as smarter than he really is. It always amuses me whenever these generic prophets crack open a concordance or bible and attempt to aim for intellectualism. They always fall short. However, what they do accomplish is separating the member from their cash. This is their business. Religion. As you are now discovering, the false prophet who proclaimed he would step down and call himself what he really is, never anted up to his promise when his prophecies failed. This is the game Armstrong played when his 1972/1975 end of the world prophecies failed. What Herb did was to blame the membership. What Ron is doing is fleecing his flock short term. At what point do people tell him he is full of shit and that he has been playing the low-life game of opportunism? The outcome of the struggle will ultimately be decided based on the number and influence of people fully understanding his deceit, and committed to his defeat, then reorganizing under sound leadership.

      Weinland's soothsayings are not an abstract problem. They have very concrete, immediate, and unpleasant consequences. Destroyed marriages, damaged children and finances that fail. At what point does the sane man or women say “enough?” Sometimes never. What killed off Herbs church was not Tkach, but the old goat himself. Five decades of unfulfilled prophecies should have been enough for 98% of people. A person with a functioning brain doesn't reduce himself down to nothing, and derail their whole life on their misguided faith alone. It seems the membership has given Ron permission to make their lives miserable.

      Now do NOT get stressed out about this run around Ron has put you through. He is just another branch on the rotten tree sprouted from the heretical teachings of Herbert Armstrong. Time will take care of Ron if the IRS doesn't get to him first.

      When someone has joined a cult, they have suspended their disbelief. They stay in that state. The cult and its doctrines becomes the reality. What they are really getting is a counterfeit reality. They are playing spiritual make-believe, with a ticket to eternity sold to them by a con-artist. Realizing this is the key to reclaiming your mind.

      The process of “de-cultifying” yourself so that you never fall into this trap again will take time and patience. The process of understanding if there be a god in your future will follow. Most of us ex-cultist's are agnostic or atheist. Others join a main stream church in their own community that is not of the abusive, apocalyptic nature.

      Kirrily, it sound like your ready to get off the religious merry-go-round and rejoin the world community. Good for you!


      Visit Mike at
      False Prophet Ronald Weinland
      Don't Drink the Flavor Aid Served by False Prophets     






      For years I have occasionally looked upon your site and seen the negativity and hate you displayed to others about the man and those associated w/ the man "Herbert Armstong". While some of your accusations may be true many cannot be proven. I can see that Armstong was a man riddled w/ mistakes like you and those associated with this site. While i can plainly see many of his errors i also see that the doctrines he taught from the scripture made sense and the protestant world and any others that teach God's law is done away are not in line with the scriptures. neither are most of their doctrines and traditions.. May I ask then what are your beliefs now and what do you practice now.. Are you now believing the original lies you grew up believing. There is good and bad and truth and lies in all things. The man was human and had many faults just like you. Most of what show on your site shows imaturity and is downright against all the scriptures that say to speak evil of no one. May I ask what you would have one believe and do now that you are free from the deciet and false teaching of Herbert Armstrong as you call it? Does this clear your conscience of condeming those who want and try to live according to every word of God? Do you live by every word of God? I see very little scriptures on your site. ARe you casting the first stone? Just what the hell is the truth and purpose of your actions if you know so much and can see so much clearer now... Please explain




      Let us try to get you some answers.

      1.While some of your accusations may be true many cannot be proven.

      Such as?

      2. While i can plainly see many of his errors i also see that the doctrines he taught from the scripture made sense and the protestant world and any others that teach God's law is done away are not in line with the scriptures. neither are most of their doctrines and traditions.

      Billy, what is your education level as to theology? I need to know this information so that I can address this issue.

      3. May I ask then what are your beliefs now and what do you practice now...

      Agnostic. I do not practice religion nor do I have any beliefs in a sky god.

      4. There is good and bad and truth and lies in all things. The man was human and had many faults just like you.

      True that the world is full of good and bad. So what? As to Herbert's faults, they are not like mine what so ever. I would never molest my daughter. That behavior is of the lowest form in most every civilized society.

      5. Most of what show on your site shows imaturity and is downright against all the scriptures that say to speak evil of no one. May I ask what you would have one believe and do now that you are free from the deciet and false teaching of Herbert Armstrong as you call it?

      Imaturity? You mean Immaturity do you not? Give me an example.

      As to speaking evil of others, if you cannot be honest enough to call a spade a spade then you are a human that has no moral compass. Have you never read “They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and reprobate to every good work.” Paul was talking about the false teachers of his time. Did he name names? I bet you he did.

      The Painful Truth does not seek out followers. As to have someone believe anything, I would say you should believe as you desire.

      6. Does this clear your conscience of condeming those who want and try to live according to every word of God?

      Who is it that wants to live by every word of God? Herbert, Garner? They had their chance and proved to be false prophets and miserable human beings. As to anyone else they can do and think as they please.

      7. Do you live by every word of God?

      What word of god are we talking here? The Koran, the Talmud, the Tao, or the Veda? Which one is the word of god? I guess it depends on what culture you grew up in.

      8. ARe you casting the first stone?

      No, Herbert did that the day he picked up a bible and started to condemn every religious organization on the earth.

      9. Just what the hell is the truth and purpose of your actions if you know so much and can see so much clearer now.

      Truth is in the eyes of the beholder. It is up to you to seek it out, and you will find it over the course of years. And if you are like most who left the putrefying cultist religion of Armstrong, you will find the answers if you seek them out. As to the last part of your question, the purpose of the Painful truth is to educate using a collection of "Facts, Opinions and Comments from survivors of Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, The Worldwide Church of God and its Daughters."

      Painful Truth Editor














































    Thank you for your clear, concise page on Armgstrongism. I'm glad to hear it's in decline because these evil people got hold of my sister-in-law and her husband (whom my SIL states had an IQ that gave him entry to MENSA). I thought they had left the church when somebody (presumably someone at the top) absconded with the funds. "What," I said to my husband, "did they think this man started his religion for?

    Apart from power over them, he wanted their money to make himself obscenely wealthy. That's what people start churches for." But alas my SIL (who now lives with us because at 87 she is no longer capable of cooking and cleaning for herself) obstinately sticks to the principles you have outlined. She never acknowledges the birth of her Saviour (it's PAGAN, she declares fiercely) or the fact that he died for her, and she and her husband never celebrated their birthdays (because it's PAGAN). The fact that Jesus accepted the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on his birthday (or at least his parents accepted on his behalf) seems to escape her.

    The very black-and-white declaration in the Bible that Jesus said to Peter "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven" she also ignores. He clearly didn't mean only

    Peter; he also included Peter's descendants or the statement simply wouldn't make sense. We were gobsmacked when we discovered she kept only Jewish holy days (as though Christ had never been born) and seemed to adhere more to the Old Testament than the New.

    I don't know whether she still pays her tithes (and it horrifies me to learn that it's actually more than 10% of the members' incomes) but I wouldn't be surprised. I am quite sure they will bleed her dry and if she needs more care than we can give her (I have arthritis in my hands and feet) I don't know what we will do.

    You don't need to answer this. I realize you are busy. I just wanted to thank you.

    Have a Happy Christmas. :-)

    Kind regards.




    Thanks for writing the Painful Truth.

    I am sorry that you have to deal with this situation, it is indeed painful. Your SIL will no doubt die while a member of the cult.

    These people listen week after week how Satan or someone he is controlling, is trying to steal their crown. A visualization exercise that Herbert employed successfully, and has not gone into disuse.

    The term “pagan” is always used as something evil. It is not. The medicine that kept Herbie yakking and shaking those jowls for a few more years, came from the pagans who developed life saving drugs. Herb conveniently ditched his medical doctrine when he grew ill. Many adults and their children did not fare as well as the apostle did. They died for lack of medical treatment!

    There is a good book by Karen Armstrong, “The History of God” that explains how the Jewish holy days were grounded in paganism. I doubt if your SIL would be interested, but it will give you something to fire back when she gets a little to smug with you!

    I might also mention that the mind control cult leader Herbert Armstrong, and others that start their own little “church of horrors” have attempted to get their blue ribbon tithe slaves, to name the cult in their will. You might want to investigate this!

    Now to the crux of the situation you are in.

    When I meet someone who is still immersed in the decadent realm of Armstrong-ism for 30 or 40 years I am not really surprised. Neither am I surprised if some people having washed the filth of Armstrong-ism from their minds, go back into the cult for a second round of pain. They are either suffering from Stockholm's syndrome or a Level One pathological psychotic defense. They are related.

    *Denial. Those who refuse to believe, perceive or consciously acknowledge external reality.

    *Distortion. Lie and distort reality to convince themselves. This resolves internal conflict.

    *Splitting. Seeing the world as bad or good, black or white. (Herb did this to everything.)

    *Delusional. Persecution, attribute motives or realities to the external world that are clearly not there. (Satan, 747's with holes in the wings flying you to Petra, etc.)

    Let's try a little visualization exercise here.

    Herb was an rancorous scrounger who quoted the Bible but never acknowledged those bible passages which gave control and self determination over to the membership.

    Herbert was fond of his sheep's freedom to choose the patch of grass in which they grazed while growing wool and mutton for its owner.

    In conclusion: The religion that is rooted in "Armstrong-ism" is a lethargic and avowedly ignorant belief system. This cerebral metal midget of a man was able to shift blame from those who benefited from oppression to those who suffered from it.

    Armstrong's era of sham, deceit and pretense will draw to a close eventually. It must.











    Dear Ed,

    After years of putting up with the so called "brothers and sisters" of the wcg and always wondering why these so called brethren were not as brotherly as my own "unconverted family" who would only ever show love and kindness towards me whereas the opposite was true for church people. By this shall men know you are my disciples if you have love one towards each other.

    I though I might inform your readers how I came to leave this cold as hell church

    Being unfortunately brainwashed by armstrong that it was indeed the true and only church of which he was the chief, I supposed it was reasonable that one when reviled should not revile back, after all your salvation for all eternity was supposed to be at sake. However it was the ministers who clearly showed me that the whole crop was rotten and hence the church was not Christ's disciples!

    He are the two main events that opened my eyes completely.

    After being in the church of living hell for some 10 plus years my wife and myself got a visit from a minister and his assistant. They clearly thought my (our) attitude wasn't good enough and said things like they only wanted people with 120% or more attitudes and we were not to attend church again. The assistant said to look at the difference between himself and me. He said he been to ambassador college and was a minister etc. I remember being stunned and thinking of the scripture about those comparing themselves to others as not being wise and how we were all supposed to be members of the same body etc. I couldn't believe it!

    Rather than justify myself, I realized that these two really wanted to be worshiped so I said "with respect, on what scriptural grounds are you doing this?" The main minister then said I can see a change in attitude in you now and I was allowed to go back to the church of living hell.

    I'm sure it was using the words "with respect" that changed his attitude. I'm sure as hell was not the type that would run up to the minister's car at church, open his door, carry his gear etc and then go belittle others. I treated all with respect as best as I could.

    How would I describe what was that attitude that was not good enough for them, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your might and him only shall you serve, and you shall love you neighbor as yourself"

    Anyway we decide to move 1000 miles away from them to another church area. The minister apparently told people that if we were going with a bad attitude things wouldn't work out for us. His wife later left him and he has left the church, I've been informed and also the assistant is now a window cleaner!

    After a few years in the new area, one day I was told by some official after a church sermon that the minister told him to tell me that I was to stop my daughter seeing another boy in the church. He didn't even have the decency to speak directly to me about this. I told her what the minister had said, she then went and lived at the boy's home. A couple of days later the minister brought her home to discuss the situation. After we had what I thought was a reasonable outcome, he then took her back to live at the boy families' home.

    Bloody unbelievable!


    He was too good to speak to me in the first place directly and then he contradicted exactly what he had said! It was enough putting up with corrupt members and also ministers!

    Apparently they we allowed to attend church as I understand and were later married in the church. We never went back. No one ever checked up why we weren't attending.

    Yes it was the cold church of living hell!


    Now after been out of the church some 20 plus years and rereading the bible, how clear it is that armstrong got very little correct!

    Why then if there is a God, did people get sucked into armstrongism.

    I believe it is to show you that the just shall lived by faith and you are not justified by keeping the O.T. law. All it does turns most people into nasty Pharisees, who after all had so much hate and hypocrisy (but they thought they served God) that they killed the living Christ!

    ex-member Australia.


    Dear ex-member,

    Thank you for writing the Painful Truth.

    The horrid dilemma that we all faced as associates of the WCG was meeting up with the minister or one of his ass sucking paltry blow hard sycophants. One could tell by their lofty demeanor, the condescending attitude, that simply speaking to them would be an repressive, humiliating, culture-stripping experience. You had no individuality, for the ministry created a new social class. Them over us, illustrated by the picture below.

    If you ever went with a problem to the ministry, you would notice that they were always trying to resolve a persons moral failure with an immoral solution. They lived in a world that granted them such a freedom with no strings attached. After all, they were emulating Herbert.

    Armstrong was terrified that we might realize that there was an absolute reality, one that would allow us our hopes, daydreams, or independence outside his abusive and authoritarian heavy hand. Like his ministers, Herbert would inject even more fear and divisiveness into the church resulting in two classes of associates. Each would look down on the other, judging by others economic position in society, did they attend A.C., whether they were smoker or drinker, or just plain demon possessed.

    In conclusion, the WCG was the reincarnation of all human malice that has come before. It is as if Armstrong gave a directive to the ministry "If approached by an associate with a problem, just say I don't give a [expletive deleted] about you."



    If only there had been an Internet 40 yrs ago with a site like yours. I watched a happy man with a happy family degenerate into a grim faced puritan who lost the ability to think for himself. His every thought and deed being continually evaluated by his fear of his belief. My family and relatives were subjected to years of trauma and worry by his religious fanaticism. There was nothing anyone could say that would convince him he was wrong. Even after armstrongs repeated failed predictions he would not face up to the reality that he had been conned. The brainwashing had been so complete he couldn't admit after 40 yrs that he'd got it wrong. All I ever got from him was that he'd been "let down."

    Looking back I can see that after the Tkach takeover he knew then he'd been had, but the fear installed in him prevented his withdrawing from the wwcog. As a result he suffered years of emotional and mental trauma. He died a lonely and broken man knowing that he had wasted his life on a bunch of snake oil salesmen. The final correspondence from his church when he finally stopped sending the money (which was very late on in the day) was a letter threatening him with eternal torment in hell now that he wasn't a member of "gods true church." I sympathize with all the other families out there who have suffered at the hands of those fakers.

    It has taken me many years to come to terms with my ruined childhood. This inevitably brings me to the question, WHERE WAS GOD?

    Keep up the good work. Yours finally recovering.

    Duncan Simmons.


    Thank you for writing the Painful Truth.
    I will post your letter with a reply on the next upload.
    If you can get a copy of that letter that those hucksters sent your dad, send it.



    Dear sir, thank you for your reply. I think there is a possibility that my sister may still have the letter, I will contact her I'm sure she will be very interested in your site. Whereas I suffered as a child she received much trauma at the hands of my father in the last years of my mothers life. My mother died slowly of a de-generative lung condition,this was used by my father as tool to manipulate her (not very christian). This may sound bad but my fathers funeral was a huge relief for us all as the minister overseeing the rites was church of Scotland who had been well briefed on my fathers religious background. To hear him tearing into the wwcg was an absolute pleasure as the service was attended by my fathers minister and congregation.

    We deliberately waited until the last minute before informing them of his death (just in case an unknown will suddenly appeared). After the service his minister approached me to say that "Things will get better now." "It's a pity he had to die first I replied." Oops! no comment exit stage right. As a youngster I was slightly indoctrinated into wwcg's beliefs, this was a mental stain that I have carried all my life, the main element of this belief being fear, deep rooted fear of the end of life.



    I recently read Richard Dawkins God Delusion, what a wonderful book, the perfect antidote to christian boogy di boo. I am currently living in Bali Indonesia surrounded by the "Beautiful Hindu religious heritage of this unique island," yeah great for the tourists but when studied just another tool to keep people tied down to their "place in life." When it gets to the point where parents will give financial preference to prayers and offerings rather than feed their children religious cultural heritage (it) can go in the bin.

    Speaking of which I filled two wheely bins of wwcg magazines and correspondence. Did you know that "MAN WILL NEVER WALK ON THE MOON" or "BRITAIN WILL NEVER JOIN THE COMMON MARKET!!!" Yes of course you do. The only book I kept was the classic Hislops "The Two Babylons" a good dissection of the roman church. A bit dated but very thorough. Not too keen on the roman church was old armstrong too much competition maybe. But that's a whole new can of worms. I thank you for providing this site as it gives me the opportunity to air my thoughts to someone who understands the dangers of religious fundamentalism,most people don't until it's too late. All the best in your efforts.



    Thanks for writing the Painful Truth.

    More and more of us over time have been convinced that "Armstrong-ism" has become a byword for treachery and deceit. It takes time, patience and experience to comment on a phenomenon that has and will continue to detach individuals from traditional sources of strength and identity—family, class, private associations.

    Armstrong was addicted to the feeling of power, to the idea of controlling people. Sadly, he had no real concern for the welfare or the destiny, both physically and spiritually, of the people he desires to lead. In the end, people died from his devilish doctrines and the salvation that he taught was nothing more than a delusion.

    What all of us failed to realize is that the WCG was like an insane person on the street, babbling to a tree, a wall, a cloud, or a God, which never responded. We were just building castles in the air.

    Some of us got out and recovered for the most part and some will forever curse those names found on the pages of the Hall of Shame. Either way, man will always find a way to control and bleed his fellow beings as a means to an end. You can find these people in businesses, unions, activist organizations, foundations, professional societies, movies, schools, churches, and so on. Their motto? “Profits before people.”

    The mental stain of Armstrong-ism (treachery and deceit ) is something all of us have had to deal with. As all of us found out, the more years in the cult, the more damage done to the members and their families.

    Good luck on your recovery friend.



    I read Sean's story “Growing up Gay in the WCG” and was touched by his honesty. I had been preparing an essay for the "Church of Doojie" page about homosexuality and Romans 1, which is usually the first place the religionists run to condemn "homos" in the New testament.

    In fact, it can easily be shown that they totally misread Paul's words. First thing they do is glomb on to Romans 1:20:

    "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse".

    So now it's an obvious and undeniable fact that the existence of God is beyond doubt? What about Romans 1:17, which says "The just shall live by faith"?

    If the fundamentalists and WCG-ers are correct, we have here a contradiction. The just must live by faith, and yet at the same time, the existence of God is undeniable, so that everyone is without excuse? Baloney!

    In fact, Paul makes a distinction regarding two groups. The just shall live by faith but "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness".

    So, if I don't believe in God, the existence of God is revealed to me? Then why not ask an atheist about God? He should know all about him! Yet another obvious contradiction.

    Who is it that sees the invisible things of the world so that they are without excuse? People who don't believe the truth! Huh?

    So, if you believe the truth, you can't prove it, but if you don't believe the truth, you can!

    Either Paul was so ridiculous in this chapter that he isn't worth even reading, or he was referring to something or someone else. In either case, the general "Christian" interpretation is wrong.

    In fact, Paul was talking about something else. Notice verse 19: "because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it to them."

    Here Paul shows clearly the difference. He is talking directly about a group of people to whom God has revealed himself. These people could not know for sure that God existed in truth unless they had been shown.

    So, who are these people? Deuteronomy 4:35: "Unto thee(Israel) it was shewed, that thou mightest know the Lord he is God...."

    Why are the people whom Paul mentions "without excuse"? Because he is talking about ancient Israel! Anything else would make no sense at all!

    It was Israel who clearly rejected that which they had been shown, it was Israel who had turned to homosexuality and avoided the law of God. No one else had been under that curse!

    How do we know this? Amos 3:2: "You only (Israel) have I known of all the families of the earth..." God revealed himself to Israel and Israel alone. It was only ancient Israel who could claim to be without excuse. It was only ancient Israel who had rejected what they were obviously shown. No one else!

    Deut. 4:33: "Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou has heard, and live?"

    Paul was talking about ancient Israel and ONLY about ancient Israel!

    Romans 1:25 "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator..."

    There was no other group given the truth to change into a lie. By the way, you might realize that the Jewish Talmud was created in Babylon. Give you any ideas?

    So what is Paul's conclusion in Romans 2:1? "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein  thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself..."

    "Christians" today, by taking Paul's scripture and applying it to people who aren't even considered by Paul, are condemning themselves! What an ironic application of scripture!



    BTW, in keeping with Herbalism, when I started making contacts with former members, I found that they were absolutely apoplectic, not about Herbie, but about the bible itself. I see that a lot in your letters. But when you think about, and if you read Paul's statements in Romans 8:29-30, Romans 9:16-22, and Jesus' prescription in Matthew 24:23, not to mention his warnings in Matthew 7 that "broad is the way and wide is the path to destruction.".

    And there's also Romans 8:7,. which can only result in an infinite speciation of ideas of God.

    Fact is, Paul plainly showed us it is impossible, by our "freewill" choice, to become members of God's elect. We, however, rationalized our way around what should have been obvious had we simply exercised a bit of logic.

    Now we get mad at the bible, when it said with no obfuscation that we can't get "there" from "here" by our own efforts.

    It has not occurred to those who are now independent, individualist, free from the systems of men, THAT is exactly what is intended by the bible's teachings! :Sin", to Israel, was also called leavening. Leavening is an agent that expands and spreads until it consumes an entire loaf, and then collapses of its own weight. That is also a corollary to entropy. One system grows and expands and continues to organize until there is no more surrounding nutrient, and it collapses of its own weight.

    God told Israel to have no part with the leaven of other nations. Jesus said "ye are the salt of the earth". I used to be a baker, and I learned that salt acts to retard the action of leaven.

    If there are groups of disillusioned people scattered worldwide who don't follow the confusion of human leaders, THEY are the salt. They are created for purposes not within their decision powers, but they are the natural result if you try to live strictly by God's word.


    Thanks Ralph.

    Ralph has a web site where you can post your comments and also has a page here on the Painful Truth.


    Do you know if the Khlysty sect that Rasputin was part of is still in existence?


    Thank you for writing to the Painful Truth.

    I have not thought of that group for years. The last I heard, Khlysty communities still exist in Russia and the Ukraine.
    Why do you ask? Want to join them?



    Rasputin supposedly came back to life a few times, the only thing i could find thats out of the ordinary that was he was part of that secret organization. So i am thinking it could have something to do with it if it really happened other than because of scientifically explainable reasons.

    I believe there are things beyond science out there that can help someone come back to life or extend the one they have. I think the fountain of youth is interesting but it would have probably been found by now if it indeed existed. Alchemists stone is also an interest of mine, but no one was able to successfully make one unless i am mistaken. My new interest has led me to Rasputin and the Khlysty sect, id love to find out more about them and if there is anything worth looking into with them.

    I do not know enough of their beliefs to want to join them though.

    Anything you know could help me a lot.



    As I recall, he was poisoned, shot, and thrown into the river and he still survived long enough to try to remove himself from the river before he drowned. Simply a hardy individual.

    Look I will be frank with you. Your really looking at this whole
    concept of the alchemists stone, Rasputin, the fountain of youth, and the Khlysty sect in the wrong light.

    There is not eternal life as described in the bible, nor can it be found in any sect, person or group on the earth. The nearest you will find a suitable explanation for your purpose under the sun may just be in Buddhism. It actually makes "some" sense.

    What are you looking to learn and why?





    Hi I am a former minister of the WCG, and just happened on your site--was following up on something I read about Fred Brogaard.  I am sorry to hear about his passing away. 


    I enjoyed going through all the pictures of ministers.  I had not seen their pictures or read their names in over 25 years.  I am amazed at how many of my old classmates are still apparently, or at least post 1981, continued on with it all. I guess I left when the proverbial ship hit the sand and didn't make the scumbag list. 

    Ministers Hall of Shame

    I will say that it was a somewhat dizzying experiance--going from a pharasaical list of does and don'ts to a "what am I gonna do now" type of lifestyle.  

    I really turned my back on the past at that time, but am amazed how nice it was to explore your site.

    Thanks for  doing it

    Dennis Adams

    Hello Dennis,

    Greeting's from the Painful Truth,

    No your name did not make the list at the Hall of Shame. Somehow you slipped through the cracks. Care to sign the apology page?

    A few former wcg ministers have, and with all their heart, have repented of the way they had treated the brethren. Two especially stand out among the crowd. John Ouvrier and Dennis Diehl. Both put an exceptional amount of time and effort in by writing articles on a wide range of topics. Their efforts did help the folks who attended the cult, to recover.

    So, what year did you leave the Armstrong cult?
    Any regrets?
    Got a story?



    Hi James 

    Thank you for your reply and might I ask who you are and your history with the WCG.  I attended Ambassador College in Pasadena from 1965-1970---spent one year in Pittsburgh with Jimmy Friddle, then after graduation three years in Columbia, Mo, two in Las Vegas and four in San Francisco.  

    I think if I had stayed much longer to the point of being hypocritical in my stance, I indeed would be willing to sign something as if that would somehow repair any damage done.  I was a part of the organization as a minister as much as the congregation was a part of it as a congregation.  We all bear responsibility.  We all lived through certain changes and observed personal tastes and politics run their way through the organization.  What is the exact point where one should stand up to be sacrificed?

    What if you were one of David's soldiers and were told to number the troops, or an architect and ordered to design a pagan temple.  It puts one in a dilemma of knowing truth is  being compromised and yet wanting to remain in the fold to do some good as long as there is hope for future change.  A certain point is reached though where one decides, this is a step too far.  I was one of those who refused to condone the civil disobedience.  My stance was what to we have to hide? Let the world see our records--who cares.  Turn the right cheek and then turn the left.

    Well, that was not exactly the message that was being promoted from on high and it brought me at odds with my superiors.   I felt that I could not and would not be a hypocrite while God signed my paycheck.  I saw this violent two dimensional "us and them" attitude take over a number of ministers and the mobishness and two dimensional aspect of it all was scary.  I suddenly realized I no longer  had anything in common with these folk anymore.  I had first taken the side against Garner Ted and then saw that there was much more on the Herbert side that I knew nothing about.  There really wasn't another side to turn to except outside

    I left the ministry in  1978-1979.  I first left the pulpit to become a local elder not on the church payroll. I was not long before I couldn't stomach that either.  At that point I disfellowshipped myself and never looked back until recently.  

    Dennis Diehl was a roommate of mine in college and something on the radio made me think of him---I googled him and in the process found your site.  I feel like Rip Van Rinkle after a 25 year nap.



    Hi again James

    I replied to you before I had seen the apology page.  I re-read your letter and went to the link.  All I can say is that you folk have one humungus apology page.  there's enough apoligies there to make a pope feel self-righteous.

    I will say that there were a number in my congregation who would have sacrificed me had they been able--just as much as the hierarchy.

    Please forgive me!

    I earn multiple times more money now than I ever did in the ministry and by working less hours.  I'm not defending the wrongs done, but after all when you join a fundamentalist church, you are kind of asking for an appointed representative of God to kind of enterpret things and tell you what to do.  If he tells you the wrong things, trust your gut and don't let the door bang you on the butt as you leave.

    If there is any lesson to be learned, it is trust no man.

    Greeting's Dennis from the Painful Truth,

    It shows some balls that you changed your career in the midterm of life.  What kind of work are you doing if I may ask? So what was that certain point that was reached when you decided "this is a step too far" and quit the cult? What are your religious views now days?

    When many of us signed up to "the lie" that Armstrong endorsed, we most likely never came from a fundamentalist religious background, and never expected what we encountered as time marched on. I would say that those fundamentalists from other mind control groups who did sign up to feed Herbert (and those featured on the Hall of Shame page) did indeed deserve a second round of abuse. With some people they feed their mental illness by belonging with abusive, mind controlling groups, and with others they learn the slow hard way!

    At the time of the California take over of Herbert's empire, what was the mentality of the leadership? Was there talk of getting the apostle's dead ass out of the leadership position and replacing him? How far was the leadership willing to go to keep Herbie out of jail? Would they have sacrificed peoples lives for the old coot? I would be interested into some insiders view to this event.
    You gave the example of David and the building of a pagan temple. What was the hope for future change you wrote of? Did you think that Armstrong would throw his controlling ways to the wind, or Garner Ted would take control of the cult?

    HWA and the Ministry:

    For your edification, I should definitely point out that Armstrong spent decades trying to dominate and intimidate others. During that time, did it ever once occur to him that he was becoming ever more audacious in his unappeasable hatred of us? You know the answer, don't you? You probably also know that I can undeniably suggest how he should have behaved.

    It was not uncommon for Herbert to
    victimize the innocent, penalize the victim for making any effort to defend himself, love and embrace the victimizer and then paint the whole fatuous affair as some great benefit to the member and the church. He believe that the membership was an inferior group of people, fit only to be enslaved, beaten, and butchered at the whim of our betters. Many of those "betters" under Herbie were the ministers.

    Now to the one point ask I asked you of. The apology page. Do you honestly believe, and I mean honestly here, that for you to teach what you did, to have upheld the Armstrong's wishes, to have been part of the "ministry" of that religious swindle, that you are innocent of any wrong doing? If you think of yourself as innocent while being in a leadership role, and just following orders, you are not an "apt student" of history.

    As to myself Dennis, I am just another poor sap that got caught up in Herbie's bullshit religion. All I really wanted when I joined the WCG was a relationship with God. I had a good heart toward mankind (still do) and had a good heart for the God of the bible. In all, the experience educated me as to what religion is all really about. Corporate greed.





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