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LETTER TO ED
(Reprinted with permission) By John Ouvrier. Ex-WCG Pastor.
In the short time we've been in correspondence, we've often discussed the matter of the ex-ministry of the COG cults, and why so many of them now seem silent. Like you, I'm somewhat baffled. Did you know, I've had some very warm letters from both sexes, saying that they appreciate what we're all doing, but wondering why more ex-ministers haven't apologized. Weren't all these guys sorry? Didn't they give a damn about the people they'd hurt? What . . .?
Our departure from the Worldwide Church of God cult in Hawaii, as I've mentioned before, taught me a great lesson. If anything, it taught me NOT to believe a lying bunch of men who masquerade as "Brothers in Christ." I foolishly believed that such individuals who carry the I.D. of "minister" would naturally be filled with the Spirit and would endeavor to always work for the "plain truth." I was sooooooo dumb. Let me explain.
When Luker arrived in Hawaii in early 1979 to see the condition of the church (and all this is explained in the other article The Plain Truth about Hawaii), we confronted him with undeniable evidence that Worldwide Church of God was only one of many churches of God, and only one of forty that kept the Sabbath. We showed him HWA's plagiarism, the lies about other groups, and HWA's denial of Christ, etc. We had all the written documentation (and still do) which he read and acknowledged as "interesting."
He could have, like any "normal" minister, taken time to verify this information and sit down to discuss it further. Anyone else would have been stunned by this information that HWA had lied over the years about the existence of other groups like Worldwide Church of God. Instead, he moved to have me leave the islands "Whether John likes it or not," and returned to Pasadena for de-programming, and then offered me a pastoral job in Fontana. Was this guy for real? Naturally, this was a tactic that I didn't buy into. He was simply trying to get me out of the islands. Immediately after that, I resigned. I beat him to the punch.
You know something, Ed? I still couldn't figure out why he didn't do something with the avalanche of information that we'd given him. Stupid me! Duuuuuuuhhhh . . . !
It was my wife that finally vocalized that which I could not see, or want to admit. We were talking one night soon after Luker's outburst that caused 90% of the group to leave. Note, it was witnessed, that it was Luker that DROVE THE PEOPLE AWAY from the Worldwide Church of God cult, and not some Machiavellian scheme of John's. He pushed and they left. So my wife and I chatted one night shortly after the departure.
"Why," I said, "didn't Luker do something with all the information we showed him? Doesn't he realize that HWA is a crook? What's wrong with Pasadena?"
"Pasadena," she wisely noted, "already knows what's going on. But they're not about to rock the boat because of the income."
I thought about that for a long time and then I realized she was right. They didn't give a damn about the truth. All they wanted was (as Loma admitted) the money. I was starting to learn a lot here. When Willy Berg arrived I was so discouraged with what was happening that I couldn't be bothered meeting with him. He had been, I was told, made aware of ALL the relevant information given to Luker, but he declined to talk about any of it, calling himself, on the phone: " . . . more doctrinally oriented."
All this explanation is necessary because it parallels other experiences that I know. And it also, as I found, explained the difference between a "hireling" and something else more sinister that we'll discuss later.
Like Luker, Berg appeared to be contemptuous of the facts, and in discussing the departure with only some of the brethren, he avoided all mention of the issues, but rather tried to "woo" the brethren. According to the brethren on all islands, he only meet with and/or phoned about twenty percent of the flock. The rest were ignored. At the time, I couldn't figure out why. Was I dumb, or what?
In Hawaii, the folks are close. And when us "haoles" (outsiders or Caucasians) traveled through the islands, we (in the church group) all knew what was happening and where those visitors were and how they lived. Many local church people worked in a variety of places throughout the various islands in those days, restaurants, hotels, stores, etc., and the grapevine was sizzling.
Berg and his wife, it seems, were everywhere, according to the verified input we received. He spent the month basically ignoring the brethren that he'd come to "save," and instead, he and his wife toured the islands, stayed at the best hotels, and ate at the best restaurants. God loves quality, of course . . . and all at the tithe payer's expense.
But, stupid me, I still couldn't figure out why even a "whore for his paycheck" would blatantly ignore such damning evidence. Why would they deliberately milk the tithe payers and then go and continue to support, what was now obviously, a cult?
And this is where I learned the difference between a "hireling" and a "tare."
Over the years, I've encountered many a hireling. These are ones who only care for themselves and their paycheck. At the end of our tenure, I talked with many ministers, both on the phone, and those who visited Hawaii. They didn't mind calling me and chatting, seeing I was now "out." Many, who were planning to leave at a future time, were now diligently padding their nest.
They knew the A.C. education was useless and spent their evenings making up courses to get degrees at lesser accredited colleges. It appears that some colleges would accept some A.C. courses, but other courses had to be taken to complete the Baccalaureate degree. So these hirelings, upon gaining Bachelorhood could then go on to obtain a Master's at an accredited college. Many bragged that A.C. (in those years) paid for their outside tuition. That was before Herbie lowered the boom.
When I asked many about the flocks they would leave when they got their degrees, many simply said: "Screw 'em. We've got to take care of number one." They did.
I personally know of one such "high ranking" minister. His tuition, to the level of doctorate, was reportedly paid for by the College. His house was mostly "written off" by the College, when Stan Rader was purportedly buying off the ministry to be loyal. His luxury home was decorated by third tithe money. And he now works in a profitable practice as a Doctor of Child Psychology. He left the cult, but never bothered to apologize or admit wrong. It's personally sad to me, because I admired and respected him . . . once upon a time. I felt him to be a highly intelligent person and a true gentleman. I considered him a friend, once. But, that's another story.
These - above types - are all guys that I consider to be classed as "hirelings." They simply use genuine folks to get where they want to go, but when the money runs out, they take off to the next paycheck. I don't consider these people as "evil," but simply unscrupulous and foolish meatheads. But the inexorable karmic law will catch up with all of us, and they must learn too. Let's hope they get their act together.
But what I'm talking about here, Ed, is what Jesus Himself said in the parable of "The Wheat and Tares." When I figured out what this analogy really meant, I found it to be very sobering. What He's saying here is - in effect - that in this world we have the good guys (who can make the most colossal stupid mistakes), and the deliberately bad guys , who are actually called "Children of Evil." This is pretty heavy stuff. Although we've seen this type of control or possession in crazed leaders from time to time (Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, HWA), it was hard to believe there were others of the same ilk lurking behind the guise of a "Christian" minister. I felt so dumb at not seeing it earlier. But then again, that's exactly what Paul said in II Cor 11:14-15.
I had to face the fact that many of the Worldwide Church of God ministers may go beyond the realm of ignorance and stupidity. Many of them, according to the parable, were actually children of evil.
Now, it's not my intent, and never will be, to say who falls into this "evil" category and who does not. That's not my business. Anyone can repent. But it is my business to try and discern the difference and "try the spirits."
I think, if we look honestly and with an open mind, we can see the unrepentant tares everywhere - all over the world. They're in business, in leadership, in the justice system, in gangs, in politics, in the military, and in the church groups. There's no changing these individuals, because if there's no repentance, then there can be no forgiveness. Therefore, " . . . their sin remains." Right now, I'd say there are more tares hiding inside church groups, Christian broadcasting groups, the antics of televangelism, large denominations whose pastors brag of "million dollar Sundays," and in smaller cults like the COG collection.
But, I'm finding this very hard, Ed. You know? I'm finding it hard to rationalize the behaviour of those who have absolute proof of wrongdoing in their hands, and who still choose to perpetrate that wrong and justify it. How does anyone choose to go in an obviously wrong direction when he knows for sure he's doing the wrong thing and damaging peoples' lives as a result? How can we reconcile this intentional evil done and still pass it off as the stupidity of a "hireling?" It just ain't so. This is the work of utter corruption and darkness. It is the work of tares.
Hirelings are stupid. I know. I was one. And thankfully, dozens of hirelings got out of the cult when they saw the evil being done. I knew many "good" guys and their wives in the cult, and I know they are out of the Nazi formula of cultism at this time. I only wish I could chat with some . . . if they'd want to talk, of course. They can always get me at my E-mail address. Lemme tell those guys, they're not alone.
Anyhow, Ed, those are some thoughts on what I've progressively learned over the years on what is now hitting so many people. Maybe this thinking could make sense with many things to some folks, and give them logical reasons as to the "what and why" of what has now happened to many of them. Who knows? With me, understanding tends to come slowly, but when I "see" it, then like Job, I really see.
Best and blessings 4 now.
This letter does give a good explanation as to why more ministers will not apologize. I never thought of it in the Wheat and Tares sense but it does explain a lot.
It really makes me sad to think that so many "ministers" are just the opposite of ministers, in that, instead of ministering, which I always interpreted as: "To attend to the wants and needs of others," they were, and are, only looking out for the wants and needs of themselves. These have to be truly Godless people, knowingly using religion and therefore people for their own ends. I can excuse the ones who were just as stupid as the rest of us, but, I had expected it was the majority of them not the minority. And that minority turns out to be only three who will publicly admit that they were a part of an evil system and want to give an apology to those that they have damaged.
People are pretty willing to forgive when they perceive there is a genuine repentance. I don't know what they are afraid of unless Pasadena has something in writing that makes them keep their mouths shut. Probably, once again, means a loss of money, so they keep quiet. Once again, they must not believe there is a God who will hold them responsible.
A few years ago, I met an ex-WCG minister who had retired. Lee was a gentle man, married to the same lady for over 30 years, and I won't mention his last name in case he's still alive.
He owned a good portion of farm land while he and she were still in Worldwide Church of God, but they were retiring soon and had little need for the land. He decided to donate it to Worldwide Church of God.
In this time, while still members of Worldwide Church of God, his wife contracted cancer. It was slow growing, but definitely spreading.
He sold his land, got about $300,000 for it in those days. But he kept back $30,000 for them both to build a retirement home. She was dying and they both knew it. He gave the gift to Worldwide Church of God, making mention of the fact that he kept out a part of the money for their modest retirement home.
I believe (if I remember correctly)that Lee told me it was Meredith who eventually barked back at him: "So, you kept back part of the price," paralleling the horror story of Ananias and Sapphira in ACTS.
I notice that Meredith now lives just to the north of San Diego, and from what I hear, he has quite a luxurious retirement home.
Later on, Lee and his wife became disillusioned and left the cult. No one spoke to them, of course, but when his wife finally succumbed to the cancer and died, then Lee heard from lots of people.
"Serves you right . . . " some wrote.
"You should have never left . . . " wrote others
"This is what happens when you leave the church . . ." said more.
And so on it went. The grief this man went through was unbearable, and simply because he stood up for truth and left the cult.
While Lee did mention that there were a few who sent their genuine sorrows, many did not.
And so, all this brings us to you, Ed, me, others, the website and today. We will be attacked, just like you have been. But take heart. It's predictable.
This all adds up to "persecution for righteousness sake." When people are unjustly attacked for their fundamental beliefs or principles, then this is persecution . . . but I see that no one on this website is attacking Worldwide Church of God on that premise. What is being targeted is the injustice and oppression brought about by this aberrant teachings and NOT the doctrine itself. People can follow any belief they want. That's their Constitutional choice. But if that belief violates a person's basic human rights, then that violation becomes focus of justified criticism and possibly legal reprisal.
When people (like the website) state the truth to help people, and then cult leaders and followers are grossly offended by this truth, then that's too bad, because this is NOT persecution. It's (what Jesus called) making a righteous judgement which the Master did repeatedly when he saw human rights being violated and exploited. We have such voices from yesteryear and from today. Examples are Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, etc.
You mentioned that you get hate mail? Then this is only persecution for righteousness sake. Didn't Jesus say: "Yes, the time will come when they who kill you will think they do God a service."
And: "If they have persecuted me, then they will also persecute you." As sure as night follows day, if you ever tell the truth, then you'll get all the flack that the enemy can throw at you.
The Pharisees, etc. persecuted Jesus because he told the truth, and not because he lied. If you tell the truth, then Ed, you will be persecuted, just like the hate mail is proving. But, then again, you're in damned good company.
Hang in there.
I just read your open letter to ex-ministers, and I want to applaud you for your compassion and your courage. HWA was a little Hitler, and whenever I write anything for the Painful Truth, I always refer to the local ministers as "the local Fuehrer". However, let us remember that in Nazi Germany there were also examples of great heroism, such as people hiding Jewish families and helping to smuggle dissidents out at great risk to themselves and their own families. They did this because they could not idly sit by and watch human beings suffer. If the wcg is a Hitlerian regime, you are certainly in the same category as Corrie Ten Boom or Ann Frank.
Ministers weren't the only ones to present sterling examples of intolerance. I think every one of us who were so smug and sure that we had the "only truth" have an apology to make to all those whom we unfairly judged. I grew up in the wcg, and was often spanked or belittled for "gossiping". I could never understand why, since I was simply pointing my finger at others and judging their lives or their spiritual condition the way I heard the adult church members do it. And, yes, I grew up to be just as insufferable as they were, until I realized what a hypocrite I was being. So maybe we all share a little of the blame.
But consider this-you worry about your karmic debt to the people whom you led into the cult as a minister. But look at all those whom you helped to learn to think for themselves and all the potential victims who may never join the wcg or a group like it because they read your commentary on the Painful Truth Website. I would have been much better off to have had you as a minister than the seriously troubled Don Hooser.
Personally, I think you should be proud of yourself for being one of only three ex-ministers to have the guts to sign the apology page. Good on you!
Your letter to the shepherds is most convincing. I'm afraid, however, it will fail to twinge their consciences. Survival of the fittest is an inborn trait. In this case it is the survival of the unfittest. They all have dollar signs in their eyes and wait expectantly for their next paycheck. They know that if they totally repent, ask God for His forgiveness and completely change their present life style, that the best they can do in the outside world is serve hamburgers at $7.50 an hour. Their wives would divorce them, and their kids would disown them. No more living high on the hog. (Or steer).
So they will continue to endure our disdain, continue to suckle and profit from the teat of a false religion, because, sadly, this is the only livelihood they know. Please note that after Hitler's downfall, most of his top echelon that didn't escape were convicted for crimes against humanity. The Nazis were exposed for what they really were. But the common horde denied any knowledge of Nazism and of what was going on. So as long as you still have the dumbass diehards who still support armstrongism and turn a deaf ear to the whole and painful truth, these parasitic pastors will continue to exist. Making a mockery of God and most definitely not practicing what they preach. I wish you the best of luck
I just read your letters to Ed and your detailed story of the Hawaiian move to spiritual freedom. In your comments, you talked about the burden of karmic guilt from your years as a Worldwide Church of God minister. I don't suppose I really have a good answer for that; if you're even using the expression "karmic guilt," then you have obviously studied, and taken to heart somewhat, Eastern philosophy. And in the East, they don't seem to have a ready answer, either. But I have to say this: whether from a "Western" or "Eastern" point of view, a heartfelt repentance such as you showed in your PT letters has to have much absolving power. To look at it strictly in an Eastern sense: if you're going to escape the karmic cycle, you must attain a level of enlightenment (as you definitely know, witnessed by your email address), which entails, among other things, awareness of sins and corruptibility, and the desire and action of throwing off those negativity's and living in a new light. You can't GET to an attitude of true repentance without such enlightenment. Somewhere along the way, you've picked up positive karma along with the negative baggage, and this has helped facilitate your self-knowledge and humble, authentic attitude. The biggest, the central step has been taken: your full repentance. This is a great blessing, something that few of us are granted. The rest of the steps lie within what you do henceforth. You seem only aware of the enormity of the karmic guilt, but never forget that your good actions toward others, your fervent work to express love for your fellow humans, and for life on this planet, mitigate the guilt, render it null. Forgive yourself, John. That's all long past, and you're many years into the light of true spiritual living.
I know that the above words are not simple to really take to heart. I left Worldwide Church of God in 1977 for reasons of my disagreement with hierarchical, dictatorial church government, and because of HWA's increasing megalomania and the privileged lifestyles of the upper ministry. But it still took years for me to forgive myself enough to REALLY break the bonds and be free. But once those bonds were indeed snapped, what a wondrous vista lay ahead...
Take care, and thanks for sharing on the PT site.
Or may I be so bold as to call you John? I was touched by your correspondence with Ed . I am both gladdened and sorrowed by the suffering you have endured.
The happiness I feel is because of the profound evidence that you, as a minister in the World Wide Church of God, actually had a conscience that you were not willing to ignore in deference of a paycheck. I admire you for that. Most of our "leaders" did not have the courage to step down for what they believed in.
The sadness I feel for you is for the pain you still endure. After it has done its job to God's satisfaction, it will vanish. Take it from an accomplished sinner, one miraculous day you will realize the pain is simply gone. God may not be releasing you just yet because it may be His Will to do more than just save you with it. We will never know for sure in this lifetime what is really going on, that's a big reason grace is so important. I have come to the point in my life where I just try to do the best I can and not spend too much energy trying to figure things out.
As my teenagers would say, "Hang in there, dude."
With Warmest Regards,
Lighten up! You are a good guy; don't be so hard on yourself. One thing you said made me feel a good deal better. Granted, I was only a local member in the Grand Island, NE congregation, but we had a couple there who were like the minister's secret police.
One afternoon, I was invited to another single girl's home for tea, and this couple were there. I was amazed to hear the man begin bluntly quizzing me and the other woman about various members, speculating on their spiritual states and what was "with" them. The main focus was a lady who lived a four-hour drive from the church and whom they didn't think fellowshipped long enough before and after services. Of course, I was appalled at this gossip-silly me, I took the minister seriously when he said gossip was wrong. I went to him and told him of my discomfort with this little backstabbing party. To my amazement, he was very cold and hushed me up instantly. The incident was never mentioned again. Of course, if I ever mentioned another person's name to him, I was instantly castigated for the sin of "gossip". It wasn't until years later that I realized from the comments of other ex-members that these people were his Gestapo troops. The reason he hushed me up so quickly was that he had asked them to spy on me and the others. From your comments, I see now that this was a widespread practice all over the world in the wcg.
The upshot of all this is that you helped me to see that there was yet another thing that wasn't my fault. Each time you realize that about another practice of the wcg, it helps the healing along a little bit. I've been away from it for years now, but there are still scars that crop up now and then. I suppose there always will be. That's why we all have to keep encouraging others to think for themselves and continue trying to get the Real "plain truth" out about these manipulative cult leaders who would use people and steal their lives.
I'll get down off my soapbox now. Take care!
Thank you for your comments and all of the very helpful things you wrote on the Painful Truth web site. I do hope that many others are writing to you and encouraging you for being bold in Jesus Christ and enlightening us with your insight.
You mentioned that "ministers" of the Worldwide Church of God came to Hawaii with their girlfriends? Could you let me know what you saw that was unethical by visiting Worldwide Church of God ministers?
What has been frustrating for me is the lack of first hand information on what Worldwide Church of God ministers have done wrong. I say first hand because it is rare to see first hand testimony on what actually these ministers were doing wrong, let alone actual statements from the ministers themselves as to what was actually happening. I left the Worldwide Church of God two years ago and I can see from your comments, the statements from actual Worldwide Church of God ministers as to what was done wrong and what they did wrong is almost non existent.
Thank you again for your courage and sincerity of mind to admit your wrongs. I am trying as a "lay person" of the Worldwide Church of God to identify what abuses I committed in the name of Armstrongism to help free myself and others from the cultism of the Worldwide Church of God. Could you detail in any future Painful Truth contributions the actual sins and abuse Worldwide Church of God ministers have committed? You don't have to mention names. What is more helpful is the identifying and exposure of the wrong deeds themselves.
Thank you and sincerely!
Where did I find you? On the "Painful Truth" web site? Velma, my wife since 1982 (ours is a 2nd marriage), and I took our honeymoon in Hawaii at the Worldwide Church of God feast. I guess some of those present were talking about you!
We still attend Worldwide Church of God, but that may change in the weeks ahead. In spite of all the New Testament preaching, we are not as loving toward each other as we used to be back in '79-'85. We've lived here seven years and none that were here before us have invited us into their home for coffee and conversation unless we first invited them into our home. And I am not an unfriendly guy! And Velma is really sweet.
Hqs laid off our pastor, Terry Warren, unless he agreed to move to Wash. DC or NYC. He says he intends to stay here. We are now a congregation of 60 mostly old-timers (that's us too). My impression of what I recall of your experience with Worldwide Church of God/Hawaii is positive.
Last Sunday I attended a lively nondenominational church, one that isn't steeped in "in your face" doctrines, like the trinity and going to heaven, which I had to endure the Sunday before in a multidenominational church. Those are so false, I just can not tolerate them except in passing; I allow that others have not learned what I have learned. I am looking for a new home, and maybe I found it in the nondenom.
You have made a difference and sometimes it's the blind or unknowing step that actually causes it. I wanted to thank you for having the attitude of "well, I will do it...if you think it might help."
It was a blind step you took and you deserve to know it was noticed and appreciated. I have been a "silent" onlooker for quite sometime to Ed's page and feel just the same as you....Unbelieving that only two ministers other than yourself have signed the apology page. I guess that I believed that "Oh, not that many people know about the site, so it isn't a big deal" BUT after thinking more about it.....I would imagine there are quite a number of current and former ministers/elders/deacons/misc. that have seen it and have ignored it. You know the philosophy of preaching against something and human nature deems that you must try it first-no matter what you may know and condemn to others. I was in the wcg from '72 (when I was 4) to nearly '92. (quick addition says I'm 31 :) Anyway...I am "healing" and as you know it has had an enormous impact on my day to day life....in trying to raise two daughters and keep a marriage going for nearly ten years. Somehow, everyday, a point of my upbringing is remembered and noted. GOOD and not-so-good. YOU KNOW HOW IT IS!!! Anyway....my note to you was only meant to make you aware of the impact little actions have on people and their lives.
Please count this time for the positive.
Sincerely and with thanks,
You don't know me but the story of the child really got to me! Damn those SOB'S of the past and the offspring that have pimped themselves to the money god!!!
I never went through the torment of those early years of the cult but I tell you , if I could travel back to that time I would break every damned bone in their bodies, one by one!!
It was bad enough to have hurt my wife and family with there tithe bullshit, male dominance, and to face the reality that I never will have a trust in God or man really never again. They ruined my trust in God, the concept that something somewhere gives a shit about me and my family! Those bastards, those rotten bastard children that preach god for profit! The lives that have been ruined.....
I do profess a love for my fellow man because they love and hurt as I do, they feel pain and should be assisted in there trouble when and wherever we as compassion filled humans can!!!!
But like a fool I trusted their ass only to get reamed by hypocrites! But back to the point, very good article on the child, Hitler etc... But give us some insight as to what the management of the cult would tell you regarding the dumb sheep. People need to see how Pasadena had contempt for the individual, the drones I believe we were called.
If you have old Pastor General Reports that you could draw on, that would be of interest. Anyway, can you tell me what do you think would be the motivating force that would draw away the hirelings from the masters that feed them? Are they all so feebleminded as to believe they can't get a real job doing something else??
Enjoy your input on The Painful Truth. I was one of those who lost everything because of the lies of the con artist ministers and the deception of armstrong. you can read a little about me on the pt.
My name is Jose
I'll keep reading if you keep on writing:-)
I've enjoyed reading your pages very much. As a former, 20+ year member of Worldwide Church of God, I found much that was familiar in them. I have lived and attended in approx. 15 different church areas, including five years at H.Q., and have experienced some of the horrors you have written about. I would like to ask your permission to repost part of your article about the comparisons between Hitler and HWA. This discussion has started a lively thread on Mark Tabaidillo's web site ( http://www.insidetheweb.com/mbs.cgi/mb208319 ) to which I post regularly (using an alias, of course, can't trust some of the loony nuts out there, esp. the "religious" ones). Of course, you could post the entire article yourself, which I would encourage. But either way, I think it is important material to get out to some of the cults, esp. the Worldwide Church of God splinter ones. Thanks again for those most interesting articles, and keep up the good work
While I was still trying to understand and study the bible I came across this little bit of info. In a certain passage of the New Testament (I have since forgotten which) the word "minister" is translated as "underrower" or the guy(s) that where in the bottom of a roman galley making the oars go back and forth. They were not the mighty of Rome but mostly slaves, criminals, and non-citizens of Rome.
Most have tried to interpret this as meaning that these guys are in service to god rowing his "galley" across life but in reality I feel it means that the true meaning of "minister" is one who is a slave and servant to his congregation. In other words the guy with the mop and bucket cleaning up the vomit on the day of atonement. NOT the guy taking the best of everything for himself. Many preach that they follow the bible few if not any actually live it.
All things being equal call me an agnostic
12 OCTOBER 99
Attention John O.,
I came across your contribution on the Website "The Painful Truth". I am from the island of Barbados in the West Indies where there was a strong congregation of the wcg. I have some very good friends who were Members one was even a pastor " Victor Simpson". However, like you, he and three others have left the wcg. They do not even want to discuss the Church. One guy even went so far as to express doubts as to the existence of god.. but he is ok now...after having destroyed most of the Literature... I begged him to keep some of the books as it would serve a good lesson for others who may be misled by some other biblical misfit. As Solomon said there is no new thing under the sun and I am sure that someone will take up this wcg old teaching and butter it up in the future and mislead some more people.
At one time I was considering joining the wcg. I used to be impressed by the manner of dress of the males...the quiet deportment of the women. But what stopped me was one day I heard hwa expounding on the tribes of Ephraim and manessah as the us and uk.
Being a born again Christian and having been always taught to check out things from the bible before jumping to conclusions and having been trained in the field of mathematics, electronics and telecommunications; I got my concordance and checked for ephraim, as I Knew they were the sons of Joseph which he had in Egypt from a black Egyptian woman who was the daughter of the high priest of On a descendant of ham.
Then I was given a copy of the mystery of the ages by a wcg member who told me I was talking nonsense and should read what hwa had written on the subject.
After reading, it was at that time I decided that this man would have to be possessed by that form of evil spirit which had promulgated the teaching or racism. As my maternal grandfather was a white European while my late grandmother was a black woman.
To top it off my brother is married to a white American so I could not get involved in superior and inferior and hate white people as I would be hating my grandmother for expressing here love for a white man. And would have to be a murderer for hating my blood brother and any Christian brother.
Anyhow have you ever done any studies/research on the migrations of Noah's sons after the flood. I would be good to hear from you. Regards
I have an idea bouncing around in my head for an article for the PT website. If anyone can answer a question for me, I thought it would be you. Can you give me an idea of how many people you personally know of who have either died or been seriously ill as a direct result of the wcg doctrines regarding seeking medical help?
Also how many suicides or attempted suicides are you aware of? I'm not asking for details of any kind, just numbers. I want to give a small idea of just how many lives have been destroyed by the group. Your article "A Child Speaks" was very powerfully written. Was it based on one particular case or did you combine several together to make a point? Again, I'm not asking for confidential information, I just want to get an overall numeric total. Thanks so much for your time. Hugs and blessings,
Wow... that just has my blood boiling. I am an Ambassador College graduate from 1989, and have been enlightened by reading the painful truth website... would love to converse....
Hi Jane: Thanks for your letter and I'm glad you (and others) are gleaning from the site or should I say "garnering?"
Converse? By all means. Let's chat anytime. I'm here. Best 4 now. John.
Subject: Hitler, Herbert & Hirelings
I just read your article on the "Painful Truth" web site and I thought I'd mention another parallel. One morning driving to work I heard a testimonial from a woman who was in the Hitler Youth. The parallels were eerie. They were told they were a chosen race, like us. They thought they were preparing to usher in a new millennium, like us. They were manipulated into believing these and many other things by surprisingly similar means. Well, just a thought. Thanks for the articles, Ralph
Hello Ralph: Thanks for your note. How true! The parallels are staggering. The whole Worldwide Church of God debacle parallels the Hitler horror, but why should we be surprised? Herbert was educated by Hitler in Mein Kampf, and like Hitler Herbert hated people and believed his destiny was to rule over them. Thanks again, Ralph. Havva good week Best, John.
Subject: Thank you for exposing evil (HWA)...
I almost killed myself after a Worldwide Church of God minister set me up to be "possessed by Satan" in a meeting with a Regional Pastor...
I still am on anti-depressants and counseling for suicidal tendencies.
I just read your pages on Ed 's site...
Thank you for caring enough to write.
I, too, have an ex-cult site, called "WCG Exodus," at http ://members.macconnect.com/users/r/rodneyo/wcg.htm.
Take care, Rodney.
Hello Rodney: Thanks for your letter, and I'm glad you're now back on your feet. If there's anything we can do, then please email me and we'll try to help. In actual fact, it was NOT you that was possessed, or anything like it. That Worldwide Church of God minister and Regional Pastor sound like they were very much under the sway of an utterly malignant, spiritual energy. They tried to use it on you, but it didn't work.
I would have no idea of what would "possess" anyone (other than the obvious mentioned above) to do that action to another person. What hatred they must have! How sick their minds are, and how far they've fallen to wish that fate on another. I think all this illustrates what we're dealing with here . . . Evil Incarnate.
As a reference, I'm passing on your letter to Ed with the site address for others to link to. Your site might assist others in seeing the ugliness of what so many of us went through. Thanks for caring enough to leave the address. You take care, because we care about you.
Best for now. John.
thanks for your input on the painful truth.
i wanted to forward your article to friends but i needed to know how tight the info was. please send what you can.
Please feel free to forward any articles that I've written to friends. If the info is helpful, then that's what we care about. The information, as the opening statement of "Conference Call" said, is fictional, but it's based on truth that we've been given. Things are now happening, and I understand from people close to the college that some buildings have already been sold.
We can only speculate on the end result. Other church business groups appear to want to buy out the campus, and the group that's now in charge at A.C. are wanting to sell it. However, there are a couple of things I've seen here as overall principles in the way the world does business, because we're not dealing here with anything that's of God. The fruits are simply NOT there.
1) These "religions" (based on their fruits) are nothing more than secular businesses.
2)The fundamental purpose of any business is to make money.
3) No one from an outside business group is going to approach the A.C. group unless there's business to be done.
4) That business must be mutually profitable to both parties.
5) Any "socializing" or prayer meetings (that have indeed already taken place) are only a smokescreen for something that's business oriented.
6) Worldwide Church of God is broke and owes hundreds of millions to the banks.
7) Worldwide Church of God must "unload" its campus to eventually survive.
8) If the board of A.C. can make a deal, then they will, as there's no church love here.
9) If these hirelings sell the campus, they will have many angry people (current and ex-members) and probably a class action suit on their hands.
10) In order to avoid problems with lawsuits, the principle players in this ugly scam must leave the country to a locale where there's no extradition.
As I see it now, these are the facts that we know about, and the logical actions that must follow. Remembering that this is ALL business, there is no other possible course of eventual action if that bunch of sharks is to stay afloat.
Thanks for your letter, Jose.
as always, i enjoy your writings and i look forward to your balanced view on the different topics you discuss. today i have a question for you since i noticed your belief in Jesus and the truth He stands for.
are you saved?
do you believe you will live forever with Christ?
Are you totally secure in Jesus?
looking forward to your reply
Thanks for your letter and the best, as always.
In the article IMMORTALITY, it explains a couple of things.
1) We will all live forever. We do now. We will be wherever we supposed to be in whatever continuum and whatever dimension we're placed after passing through the portal we call death. Will we be with Jesus? Maybe, and maybe not. It doesn't matter if we're intended by God to be working and learning somewhere else.
2) Am I saved? Sure, because we're all immortal now. "Now are we the Sons of God . . . " I John 3:2. The question really is: Where are we headed? That depends on the direction of our spirituality now. We were taken from a cult to head in the right direction and not into darkness, as so many are.
3) Am I secure in Jesus? I don't have to be, and Jesus never said we had to be. He was the pathfinder and showed "The Way" but He never said He was the end result, nor that He was our Savior nor that He died for us. Men and religion, in later times, said that. Jesus didn't. But I am, like most folks, quite secure in His teachings and the truths He stood for, because they're spiritually sound and make for universal peace. If mankind followed the golden rule, the world would be at peace.
Unfortunately, we have only four novella sized stories about Jesus and three of them are ostensibly the same. But the phony legends, the magnified stories, and the false theology about Him still flood the world. Religion has done this because it's profitable to use Jesus as a tool of profit for their corporations. Each corporation needs a product to sell. Religion has Jesus, even though He never said many of the things that religion claims about Him. Basically, I believe the things about Jesus that HE-HIMSELF said, and certainly not the multiplicity of stories that were later concocted by man. Man devised those lies for a much darker purpose.
I place Jesus into the perspective that He place Himself, and try to grasp the perspective in which he intended people to view God and the love of our fellow man.
Jesus' teachings and way of life were simple, but "Church" man has twisted, perverted, and distorted His honest and loving principles for the garnering of profit.
I enjoyed your article on frequency. There is so much to say in that regard, there's not much point in discussing it. I have spent my entire life feeling trapped on this planet, as if living out a prison sentence. When I was five years old I asked my mother, "why are we here?" Her answer was that we are here to help others. I hadn't added to word "illogical" to my vocabulary yet. And yet, as illogical as the entire scheme of things seems to be to me, I find myself bent and molded by the forces shaping of all mankind, with maternal love being the best of all the carnal emotions I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
It will be interesting if there is indeed "more" for us to experience as our individual selves beyond this outer shell. I, as do most others, crave the end of the violence of nature as we know it, with life only being able to exist at the expense of the death of something else. Hopefully, the next frequency is more durable than ours.
Uh-oh.... Back to more cheerful stuff. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoy the thoughts you express in your articles. Keep up the good work!
With Warm Regards,
And thanks for your letter. It's good to hear from you and to hear that you and others are thinking in a direction that is totally freeing.
I'd like to thank you for your work on the "Suicide" site as this is a vital contribution to helping so many folks. To both you and Ed, our thanks go, because I'm sure that many people had no idea of the extent of what the Worldwide Church of God cults have done or the number of lives they've claimed and it was all done with no remorse whatsoever.
Glad you liked the "Immortality" article, and what you've seen to question (regarding frequency) opens up a completely new subject of dimensions. I do believe your feelings are correct. We are, I feel, something from another place than our outer selves. Many feel the same way. This gives rise to another possibly technical article on the subject of continuums and infinite dimensions. We could never think this way in Worldwide Church of God, but it's so liberating that we can now openly discuss it. The subject of God never stops, and is the most fascinating of all contemplations.
Thanks again for your work, your letter, and blessings for now.
YES ITS TRUE. I agree and have come to the same conclusions only from a different path then yours, or could the path be close to the same ? I am an ex Worldwide Church of God'er and I don't know if my mind would have brought me to where I am if not for the experience that I have been through. It seems right that out of the mouths of babes comes the truth my 8 year old son last night said " when we can go faster than the speed of light what will happen" ? I told him that that was impossible. I was wrong. When we are released from this housing (prison) that is our body could it be that we travel faster then the speed of light and arrive and that place whatever that started this process first, God.
PS I am getting those good vibrations. God Bless From Royboy in Ohio
And thanks for writing. The subject of molecular speeds is exciting, isn't it? Just wait until we get into the subject of the multiple frequency bandwidths that comprise the various levels of the Higher living. Also, we can get into the subject of the multiple continuums, of which Time/Space is only one. We could also go into the innumerable levels of the Thought dimension that stands behind our present expressed creation.
How much more there is to God than we ever thought! It is the most exciting subject one can imagine, and how sick it was for our cult leaders to ever deprive us of this . . . the greatest adventure of all.
Best 2 U.
Subject: Thanks for more info on the Gravy Train
Dear Enlightening One,
Hey, thanks for the "laugh" about the tax exempt church scam. There are other perfectly legal scams that I don't know for sure, but totally suspect, may have happened. Namely, the church purchases a "parsonage" for which the intended "minister" holds an option for. The church pays say, $125,000 in 1970's money. But because the church legally owns the house, it understandably continues to accept the responsibility for taxes, insurance, maintenance, "necessary" remodeling, etc. all ultimately at the expense of tithepayer's personal hardship and misery.
Then when the time comes for minister "X" to move along he exercises his option to buy and pays the church $125,000 and then promptly sell the home for whatever it is worth in the inflated 1990's market and pockets the difference. It's legal, and I certainly wouldn't care one whit if the same opportunity had been offered to all people who poured their lifeblood into the "work of god." They can still claim their humble little "less than one hundred thousand a year" in personal annual salaries, but reap untold hundreds of thousands of extra dollars that they pay no taxes on whatsoever (if purchasing a "like kind" dwelling to replace their primary residence) at your expense. If it's not being done I'd be very surprised, because it is after all legal, which is the only justification world wide leadership has ever needed for anything they do.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd love feedback on this one.
You're absolutely correct. This is the type of "legal" scam that goes on, and the tithe payers get stuck with the bill. This scam is commonly done in all churches, but was also done in A.C., but only to a certain degree.
HWA kept control of those "parsonages" and in order to keep them, those hirelings had to continue their LOYALTY.
In 1978-79, Stan Rader offered a couple of parsonages to some close friends and loyalists for appraised market value. Those appraised values were very old ones, and were less than $50,000, but the homes were actually valued a few years later in the millions.
Rader himself bought his Beverly Hills mansion for around $50,000, according to the accounting group in A.C., but the place AT THAT TIME was worth, $2,500,000. Then I understand he gave himself a $50,000 bonus. That's a nice increase. And it's all legal.
I wonder if Stan ever tithed on the increase?
Best as always.
Aloha and mahalo! I enjoy your articles about Hawaii and the Worldwide Church of God. Its good to know that such a beautiful place has given such wisdom and grace to God's children. What fools the corporate MBA types of the Worldwide Church of God become when faced with simple honesty. It reminds me of a scene in the movie "Out of Africa" where the natives laugh at the colonialists trying change the course of the river. "The river goes where the river wants, you cannot change it Sabibe." The Spirit of God goes where it wills and all the spin-doctoring of the Worldwide Church of God can't stop it. I am curious how the Hawaiian brethren were affected by Earl Roemer. I met him in Tulsa and he seemed an honest man, but an HWA die-hard. Earl enlightened me on some of the bigger liars in Pasadena, notably Larry Salyer. Earl seemed to have a connection with the land, especially in regards to Alaska. I had heard he had joined the UCG, not a fate I'd wish on anyone but probably the least worse of several alternatives.
And Mahalo for writing. You're correct about the hi-jinks of the cults. They cannot stop the way of God, like the river. But, then again, they think they ARE God.
I don't know Earl Roemer. I know he's in Hawaii now, but the basic reason for any minister to be there is that their particular cult (UCG), the Unconverted Cult of Greed, is that they want an official church there so they can junket back and forth. Even mad Meredith's group has put a minister there, but from what I see, there's no brethren.
If Earl is close to the land, that's good. You would not be happy in Hawaii unless you loved the ecology, the land, and the sea. We were at home there.
Keep in touch, and mahalo again.
I have enjoyed reading your contributions to the Painful Truth website. Your contributions really add credibility to the site in that you are a former minister.
I was wondering if you could share with us "little people" what the "ministerial refresher programs" really were. Most, if not all, ministers excused themselves periodically for a few weeks so that they could fly out to Pasadena for refreshing. Was this a vacation, a big party, or a re-indoctrination at headquarters that these ministers were undergoing? Were they gathering new sermon material every so often so that their old, recycled material would not get stale? Was it an event in which ministers would be reminded of how to answer certain sensitive questions of brethren and to rehearse towing the line? Was it a breeding ground for bachelor ministers to find bachelorettes at AC? I think many readers of the Painful Truth would be able to relate to this topic.
I have recently contributed to the PT web-site ("Oxinaditch" and some of the material on suicides and attendance taking), but I am limited in what I can convey because I merely grew up in the Worldwide Church of God and never chose to become a member. At 18 I rid myself of its influences. But I never stopped thinking of the Worldwide Church of God, its abuses, and its many mysteries. Please enlighten us further with any relevant detail you may be able to submit regarding "refreshers."
And thanks for your letter. I too enjoyed the OXINADITCH article. Boy, were those ministers dumb when folks missed attendance? No one caught onto what people were doing? Were the sermons all THAT boring?
I never had the chance (thank God) to attend any of the ministerial "refresher" courses. Although I doubt that it was one, big party, I do know they always had plenty of time on their hands. Go figure. Classes were usually given to update the ministers on the condition of the work, and as I understand it, the ministers that came back for these "pep up" courses were ones who pastored areas where the income was slipping. They needed re-indoctrination.
The Sabbaticals were a joke. Besides the usual indoctrination, they did some study on any applicable courses, like counseling, or other A.C. slanted courses. But they still had massive time on their hands. For example, I worked full time in 1975-1976 for an electronics company and at the same time, I associate pastored the church in Reseda, California. The full time pastor was basically a nice young guy. But his standard ministerial work load was not all that heavy. He not only technically full-time "pastored" the Reseda church, he took the A.C. Sabbatical courses at the same time, and he still found oodles of spare time which he used to travel here and there. He was driving his family all over, skiing in the mountains, touring through the state, and generally playing around. The congregation used to call him: "The Playboy Preacher."
So, as you can see, there was a lot of time to spare with these guys. I still don't know what they all did in all their "spare" time at the college when they did NOT have a pastorship at the same time. But, there was obviously an abundance of playtime.
Yeah, Sharon. It's a tough life, but . . .
Keep in touch.
Peace 2 all.
I just finished reading your articles on Jesus and death. I really want thank you for expressing what seems to be so hard to express. The article about Jesus is extremely interesting to me. I was raised in Worldwide Church of God since I was seven. At 22 I left and have spent the past three years trying to run from the guilt that I have felt at no longer being part of the organization.
I couldn't stay anymore because I knew that God couldn't be as small as they tried to make him out to be. Even still, I find that the things I learned have stayed with me. It has only been in the past year that I have allowed my questions to come and be contemplated without feeling like I was a sneaky teenager rebelling against my parents. And the struggle continues all the time. So I found your article on Jesus to answer many of the questions that I had often thought about.
It takes so much more than reading to come to some truth. I don't say "to uncover" the truth because I really can't believe that it is buried, but rather it is so clear that our minds hurry over it. It seems to take a lot of thinking and contemplation to come to some peace.
Ironic, because in today's world, people just want some rules to follow to lead them to salvation and a religious yardstick by which to measure themselves (as being more "holy" or "chosen"). I think people think it is much easier just to let someone tell them what God wants and then do it. Perhaps on the surface that is easier. It is difficult to let God just be God and not try to pigeonhole him into a particular organization especially the organization that one is involved in.
Anyway, I think I have digressed your article was thought provoking and very helpful. I also very much appreciated your article on death. My grandma, who we had been very close to, died in August from breast cancer. She was living in my mother's home when she died and we were all able to be with her. She had attended Worldwide Church of God with my mother, my siblings, and myself. Her despair in the last months of her life tore me apart. For all the talk of the "wonderful world tomorrow", she was more sad than I've ever seen her. Her beliefs had given her no real hope. I tried to tell her and everyone else in the house that although we were sad, this was part of living. And that her dying was not and end to her life.
Emerson has a wonderful quote about success. He basically says that to have planted a garden or raise a child is to succeed. I wanted her and everyone else to see that her life goes on and on with her children and grandchildren and that her impact, just by being born and living in this world, makes her immortal. Talking about how death is the grave as I had heard a million times was not a comfort to her. I do not believe in places of eternal salvation or damnation, but I do belief that some part of a person, whether it be their soul, their essence, or simply the memory that the rest of us retain of them lives on.
A quote that someone gave her when she was sick read "Don't be afraid of tomorrow, God is already there". I thought that was so comforting. God is here today and he is already in tomorrow. And if this is true then he has GOT to be bigger and more expansive that the Christian churches. I could see at her death that the church had taught a type of despair, that we are never good enough and that death is a punishment instead of a transition into another stage of life. At any rate, it really made me think. And I knew that what I had felt in my heart (the one thing that a minister told me never to listen to ) has always been true. God is bigger than doctrine and organizations and he doesn't have to use them to love the beings that he created.
Well, I really have digressed now. What I wanted to say was thank you for the thoughts that you express. They are helpful in working through the process of "de-programming" that I sometimes feel like will go on forever.
Thank you again. Take care....
And thanks for your letter. It's great to see you're out of the group and that you're really thinking for yourself. Liberating, isn't it? Thank God for free thought.
A philosopher once said: "A teacher can only remind you of what you've forgotten."
You mentioned that you felt these things about death and eternity were so, and indeed they are. I'm glad you ignored that Worldwide Church of God minister.
You're right. God is bigger than silly little organizations, and death is in reality a doorway to a new and more wonderful life. And since this new life is ever growing in joy, abundance, and knowledge we now realize that this growth will continue forever. So, we better get used to it. Great, huh?
Best to you, and thanks again,
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