The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

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'The Constitution.' We agree with every word. Terrific article. We too are former WCG cultists 30 and 40 years of it deacon, deaconness, local elder, the whole works up to our armpits. It's now hard to believe we were ever connected with it all. Marx was right. Religion IS the opium of the masses!

You're a great writer John.

Thanks for your thoughts.

len and sharron


Hi folks:

And thanx for the good word. I know, it's hard to believe that we could ever have been involved with such cultic opium. But it's a lesson we'll never forget. Unfortunately, many have jumped from Herbieism into a Jesus cult of some sort. I don't know which is worse for the psyche. Anyhow, best 2 U both 4 now, and thanx again.



Great article!  One thing Armstrong did well (and somewhat accurately) was to expose traditional Christianity for what it is.  That was how he got my mother, and probably a lot of others as well.  The theology he developed was false, but it was logical (e.g., all those who never heard of Jesus could still be saved), and he (or someone like Herman Ho') was an expert at digging out scriptures to "prove" the point. 

It really was a tangled web.

Isn't it amazing how powerful God is?  He sends thousands of missionaries into China and Asia and Africa for decade after decade and he manages to save a few hundred people.  The rest are still bowing down to idols or else worshipping Mao.  God is really a wimp if he is behind all these efforts.

Hell, how long does it take to convert the heathen?  Generations, apparently.

One thing about being trapped in Pervie's cult -- when you leave, you stand an excellent chance of being wiser than the average bear.  I think those of us who came out of it (most of us, anyway) have had all our illusions stripped away.  We can see better than most people around us.  For that, I am truly thankful.

Keep up the good work.

John B


Hi John:

Thanx 4 the letter and the good word.  True, ole Herbie did teach us about conventional Christianity, but this is also true of other cults - The Children of God, Scientology, Mormons, etc.  They hate anything that smacks of the "Jesus" movement.

In a sense, like you indicated, it was good to go thru the Herbie madness to see the insanity of "Christianity."  And for that part, I'm thankful, even if his idea of the "last 100 years," is totally and theologically whacko. At least - as Biblically incorrect as it was - it gave us all some hope.  We were just too dumb to do a thorough exegesis on that text to see it was talking about something entirely different.

What still causes me some sadness is that friends of mine (who left Herbie's cult) have jumped into "Christianity."  They're running around trying to get everyone "saved," despite the fact -as you said - God must be such a wimp with no one getting the message.  When my friends see that I'm not interested in this new-improved version of salvation, they quickly become my EX-friends.  One ex-buddy yelled at me not to ever call him again, after I didn't agree with the Jesus movement, and he slammed the phone down in my ear.  Nice Christian!

Anyhow, we can only spread the word as we see it.  Sadly, I feel, many won't get the message and will live and swim with the traditional religionists of the world.  Hang in there.

Best 4 now, John. 

Peace.  JohnO.

Are you claiming the NT was written in the 4th Century?

...The only reason we have Jesus cults today is because of the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, and Constantine's edict to gather in all the outlying Jewish Christians, keep them happy, and let them all join the official "Church of Rome." Compromises had to be made on both sides. Since the Jesus cult had widely spread over the whole Roman empire, then an eradication of their beliefs would have caused hostility and eventual rebellion. Plus the fact, Constantine wasn't about to cut off the Christians (even with their wacky beliefs) because of one major reason. Taxes. Christians were profitable, and always "rendered to Caesar." So a mixture of "Christianity" and Roman paganism was concocted, globed into one formal church, and a fabled document was issued that outlined this whole chaotic mish-mash. That document became known as the Bible.


 Well, I did some investigation on the net (using google search engine) and found some interest sites:

 From the given evidence, I do not see how one can conclude that the NT was written at a late date.

 By the way, your own evangelism, anti-Jesus/atheistic evangelism, is also a cult, no?



If you had digested the article correctly as well as other previous articles, you will see that I'm NOT saying that the New Testament was actually written in the fourth century, but only redacted at that time.  Much of the NT was written prior to 100 AD but redacted much later.  If you've studied literary criticism, you'd see that.  There are inserted writings that bear the vernacular and literary style of a later time.

Remember if you start with assuming someone else has a false premise and go onto proving it wrong, then it does NOT prove you're correct.

Also if you've read what I've previously said in other articles, as well as a detailed evaluation of this one, you'd see that I'm NOT against the teachings of Jesus or the moral principles involved.  I'm only against religion making an idol of this person, something which He never wanted, as testified and recorded in the four Gospels.

If you also, with discernment, read what's been written both before and now, you'll see that I'm not an atheist.  I'm more of a free-thinker, but I do believe in God - NOT "a" God.  There is a big difference, but you'll probably have to think about that one.

One big characteristic of a cult is that it must have a charismatic leader to which people look.  Since virtually no one knows who I am, it hardly makes me a cult, no?

Please think about it, and I'd suggest you do your homework a little better.


John, regarding your article "Jesus Cults" on "The Painful Truth" website... Well done! Thank you for a well written and thought provoking piece. Having just departed from the PCG several months ago (I've spent 32 of my 34 years in one form of the Worldwide Church of God or another), I wonder why my brain took so long to engage? :)

Best regards,



Hi Steven:

Congratulations! You're out. It does take most of us a long time to exit these cults mainly because of ignorance and fear but eventually, most of us come to see the truth. Glad to see you're on the track of a normal life, and we're here to wish you the best and answer any questions you may have, if we can.

Again, congratulations. John.


 Why did you write this in one article:

"Aside from the fact that historically, there never existed a person that was called "Jesus of Nazareth",

and this in another,

"Even Jesus could only refer to His higher self",

Did you write the article "Wanna Meet God?" after you read the "The Christ Conspiracy?". I read it too, and I agree with it. That book is the one that finally set me free from religion. I was just wandering why you use a mythological character like Jesus to make a point in one article, and then recognize his non-existence in another.

Fellow Freethinker Agnostic/Atheist Cory


Hi Cory:

Thanks for the note. You brought up a good point. I've been learning a lot over the last year, and it reflects in what I say in the writings. However, I've also said that it's NOT important if the person of Jesus existed or not. His presence doesn't mean diddly to anyone's salvation. What I do, quite often, is quote the character of Jesus (who was probably based on the person Apollonius of Tyana), and use the principles involved to illustrate a point. I'll also use the upper case for clarification when quoting Jesus. It's much the same as quoting Indiana Jones or Han Solo in a movie. If what's said is quotable, then I'll use it. Many people believe in the person of Jesus, and as such, I'll relate to them from that perspective. Jesus said this and that, and such-and-such. The Jesus person doesn't have to actually exist to do this. As long as the principle gets across. This is what I said in another article FORGET THE TEACHER. Teachers come and go, but the principles always remain. Anyhow, a teacher can only remind a person of what they've forgotten. And they're not infallible either.

There are a lot of people who read the site believe in the literal person of Jesus, and that's fine. Some don't, and that's fine too. Like I've always said, the teaching of love, peace, and humanity is the important thing. It doesn't matter if Bugs Bunny taught it. We are a family of humans on this Earth, and I just wish we'd behave like it instead of having all the wars, killing, etc.

But, what's amazing is the legends that have surrounded the character of Jesus. Even He, in the gospels, never claimed half of what's been said about Him, the legends having being amplified and inserted by later redactors. In the Gospels, He claimed that He was nothing special, and that He (like all of us) came from God. He talked of love and NOT religion preaching a way of life ONLY and said we could do anything He could, because we all had the same source of power if only we made the connection. He never claimed to be anything more than just a man who knew how to use the God energy better than most. And He said that we could use the same source of power as He did. The works that I do, you can do. It was that simple.

So, it really doesn't matter if He existed or not (and history indicates that He did NOT), if we simply remember the teaching of love to our fellow man something which has been amplified in numerous other books over the millennia.

Best. JohnO.

Hi Your articles and analysis are splendid-especially the most recent one. You must be the most open minded ex Worldwide Church of God minister there is !

Check out this book on Amazon, it's an absolute bombshell ! "The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark."

Your friend, the 'Worldwide Church of God Skeptic'


 I will offer mine... GOD DOES CARE!!!!!!! The assertion that He doesn't care is almost too silly for dispute.

The thing is, God cannot be reduced to a kind of enlarged "me", nor can He be explained by the laws of physics. The fact of the matter is, all that is around us came from either God or it came from nothing. You cannot put God under a microscope and you cannot put nothing under a microscope.

Religious belief does have its proper use, even if its distasteful to you personally. Without the moral guidelines set down, how many of us would cheat on our taxes or kill another human being? Religion offers a sense of hope. Its rejection leaves a moral and spiritual vacuum. You and I both know that nature abhors a vacuum, so in the absense of religious belief in God, tyranny, violence, and hopelessness must reign. Right and wrong are outside of us, contrary to what one might imagine. Without our parents and other teachers to guide us, we almost invariably choose what's best for ourselves, all others be damned.

This is not to say that all atheists are moral degenerates or that all Christians are really swell people. I work as a CNA with a Christian woman who said something very cruel and unfair to me the other day, then came back the next day to ask forgiveness. Like a sap, I forgave her, even though my feeling was "If you were truly sorry you wouldn't have said it anyway". But even that would have been totally neglecting the fact that I'm not perfect either. God is, but even He will not interfere with the free will of people be they good or evil, because if he did that would make Him a petty tyrant and turn us into mindless robots. Not a very nice God, wouldn't you say?

I'm sorry you feel He doesn't care, even though he took nails in the hands and feet for you.



Hi Connie:

I don't know what you've been reading on the PT Site, but if you'd been reading what I've actually said, then you'd find that we have some similarities and some differences.

I have never said that there isn't a place for religion, and I never said that we shouldn't have morals, virtue, and the love of fellow man. Sure, we must have moral guidelines, but they can come from the Bible, the Gita, the Upanishads, the Quran, the 8-fold path of Buddha, or plain, simple common sense. Morals and human behavior are certainly important, and if you'd read the article correctly, you'd see that. Please READ it properly and don't skim it. I'm not throwing out "God," but only the concept that we have of a "religious" something that's far beyond our comprehension to understand. Religious belief does indeed have a use, even if it is just a starter. What I object to in religion is making such into a big business and begging for money. You can have your own code of moral conduct without any "religion" whatsoever. I think you've missed the point of what's being said here. The moral principles of religion are fine, it's the religious business and the preacher's ego that's wrong.

Our main differences is in our viewpoint of "God." To reduce God to some little caring, spirit man is (in my view) blasphemy. Since God is infinite, this cannot be reduced to human terms and understanding. To be infinite, God must have all attributes, both personal and impersonal, but to think that God cares for your prayers more than someone in Africa (let's say) then this is a mistake. Please check out the article ACTS OF GOD .

Does God care about us when we get a blessing and not care when a relative dies? Understand something, Connie. God is impersonal, and like all nature, God is energy, but a higher form than we can imagine. It's up to us to align ourselves with Its laws. "Thy will be done." If God really cared personally about us, then (like Joan Baez once said) He'd stop the next war. Ignorant man has always fashioned God in his own little image and likeness and worshipped the result. That's the vanity within man. He then concocts a book about God (all religions have) and tells everyone that the laws of God are in this particular book. Man then tries to beat others over the head with his own brand of religion, and that's the way wars start. God is the impersonal energy behind all life seen and unseen. God expresses Itself in an infinite number of ways. Please check out WANNA SEE GOD?

This tries to give a very brief idea of the complexity of something we could never fathom, but it takes us out of the realm of some "personal" God. Since God is Infinite, God cannot be personal only. God is all-and-in-all, personal attributes included. God lives, breathes, and thinks AS us. We are the human extensions to It's living. We express God in our own human forms. You cannot see God, but we can see God expressed.

Do you want to see a "personalness" in God? Look at your fellow man. Love your fellow man and try to see his point of view, as he might be correct, and then you're looking at God in action. Do you want to see further examples of God? Look at nature. God expresses Itself in all nature as well. Is God a respecter of persons? Would God only show preference only to you and other Christians? If God is fair, then God would reveal Itself to all mankind and not just the righteous Christians. So in fairness, God has. God has revealed Itself to us in all of nature and the beauty of the universe. Again check out "Wanna Meet God?" There is indeed a personalness in this, but we have to be smart enough to understand it. God is revealing Itself in the most wonderful, incredible way, but we're just too dumb to see it. We have our heads buried in primitive religion, laws, and pharisaical traditions that we miss seeing God in our fellow man and all of nature.

Please see Thomas Paine's: AGE OF REASON. It's downloadable from the site. And I challenge you, Connie. Prove it wrong.

We're not at odds on very many things. I agree with you totally about the moral codes that we should have, but I should love my fellow man because this love comes from within me, and not because I'm told to from some preacher of religion and money.

As for Jesus, please do more research. If God had to wait 4,000 years of Biblical history before He got around to sending a Messiah, then this blows away 95% of the whole human race. This makes God sound like a real dummy. Is God a respecter of persons? The whole Biblical concept of salvation is not only dumb, it's ludicrous. It's selective. It's racist. It's anti-Christ. And it simply doesn't make sense. Also, please check out OCKHAM'S RAZOR. And please use the precious logic that been given to us by the Infinite. Remember the parable of the talents.

Since the Catholic Church (the early Church of Rome) redacted the early scriptures (made into the Bible) for their own purpose, they invented the Messiah character in line with the early Christian cults that lived in the Roman Empire of that day. This also goes for the personage of the man known as Jesus. You might also check out the article on APOLLONIUS.

This article is based on real history and not something that the Catholic Church had concocted. Also, please check out some of the books mentioned on the site most are available from

Please do some serious research, use that incredible (but impartial) mind, prove all things, and contact me again when you're finished.

Good chatting with you. Best.




I've tried to explain to you something, but you've admitted (below) that you won't even bother to read or research the facts. If you won't read the evidence, then trying to answer your concerns becomes an impossibility. To learn something, you must read and research it first. I'm passing on your relevant passages to the PT editor with my answers. Let the reader decide.

YOU WROTE: In other words, you've rejected any concept that there can be any mystery. Everything that happens can be explained by science. Can we categorize love in the same way as we can hydrogen and helium, or categorize the impulses that give birth to poetry the same as we can study the cosmos? Love and creativity, two concepts that I believe come directly as a grace from God, cannot be "proven" only acted upon.

REPLY: Sorry, that's provably incorrect. Anything can be proven by its fruits. Love can be proven, by what it produces. Creativity can be proven by what it produces. That must be obvious. Look! Think! And so can God. If you read what I gave you to research, then you'd see. God can be proven "By their fruits you shall know them." Again read Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason." There's your evidence of "God." Please use your God given mind, and NOT your emotions.

YOU WROTE RE: MONEY: Which is certainly the case with some Fundamentalist preachers, no doubt! But not all the clergy are money hungry. Two years ago I left my husband. I was alone with three very young children, one of whom was an infant. To appease a friend of mine I made an appointment with my parish priest (I am Catholic.) Money never, ever was requested by me. All I wanted was his advice. This man pulled out his checkbook and wrote me checks for $500!!! I never asked him for it, but I sure as hell wasn't going to turn him down. I estimate that he gave me over $3000 total, without my having asked for it at all. At least there is one man of God who knows what the role of money in religion should be, to give to those in need. I am self supporting now, but will never, ever forget his generosity and kindness when I was poor and starving.

REPLY: That's great that you found the priest. Indeed, there are many like him, and I never said there wasn't. I've stated that countless times on the site if only you'd bother to read what was written. I KNOW there are many good folks out there. It's NOT them that I take issue with. I'm glad you found that Catholic priest, but you're NOT reading again. Please read what I've written in so many articles. I've not condemned all religions or preachers only the crooks.

YOU WROTE: Religion, like any other gathering, represents a cross section of humanity. Here as in all places you will find the saint and the sinner, the rich and the poor, the self sacrificing hero and the child molesting scum. Do not sacrifice the principles themselves because you don't like some of the personalities.

REPLY: I've already stated that I hold to the principles. You're NOT reading again.

YOU WROTE: God is a person, so I refer to Him as "He". I reserve the pronoun "it" for the likes of my human resource manager, a self important geek who walks like he has a stick up his ass. ;)

REPLY: If God is a person, then prove it. The logical evidence shows that God is impersonal and therefore, both personal and non-personal. All life is energy, but manifested in different ways. But man always has to drag God down to his own level and ignorantly make It a person. If God were so personal, then IT would care. Again, please READ the reference I gave you on "Acts of God," on the PT Site.

YOU WROTE: Not only that but men have killed over land and natural resources and global supremacy. Not all wars are fueled by religious differences

REPLY: No one said that was the ONLY cause. Please read it again.

YOU WROTE: If only I had time to research for you. I am terribly busy what with work and going for my nurses license. I don't spend time worrying about what some fundy says the Bible says. I simply try my best to help those around me, those elderly who are stuck behind the walls of that disgusting place called a nursing home.

REPLY: There's your problem, Connie. "If only I had time to research for you . . ." If you won't be bothered to simply research anything, then you'll never learn. If you've closed your mind, then how can you ever learn? Why am I wasting my time trying to help someone with a closed mind? If you cannot be bothered to research, then you're obviously not in the business of learning or growing. To grow "in grace and knowledge," you must first acquire that knowledge. That requires the effort on you part to do the research. But, if you WON'T be bothered . . . . On another subject, I have a suggestion. It jumped out at me while I was reading the last part of your letter. There appears to be a lot of venom in you regarding what you're now doing for a living. Why is that? Why are you still doing nursing, if you hate the circumstances? Since you hate that nursing home so much, then , have you thought about looking for another profession? The loving care and healing of the sick and elderly doesn't appear to be in your genetic makeup. Again, you can PROVE love or resentment by the fruits.

I'd be happy to DISCUSS anything further, but if your mind is closed and you just want to argue, then I'll block any further email from you. Your choice.




 I read from the painful truth quite often as you know. Your last -one an Open Letter touched me very well, as being an XWCG member your article was true. WE have studied. Almost everything you said in that article hit the mark!

 Oh we studied the tithing issue very much -Only to find it held no regard If I wanted to help people I would give to the poor -no where in the New testament does it command tithing. On the tithing issue you may have been wrong about the 3rd tithe. Let me explain: Tithing was originally done on produce ---even the first tithe and they had money back then -but they used produceeven the second tithe was produce -but was to be eaten at all the feasts, in studying -then the 3rd tithe comes in to help the widows poor and fatherless people. ( But in studying this the 3rd tithe at that time became the first tithe again) Meaning in the third year you would help these people, in the third year As the third tithe became the first tithe again -there was no THREE tiered tithing system. We studied an interesting article about this. And for Worldwide to say that you give on every Holy Day, there were only a few that the bible said not to come before the God empty But it wasn't all 7. Boy we led wrong. You were not to give on every Holy day!!

 Yes none the less these ministers did not care about there SHEEEEEP!! They were in it for monetary gain. ( Its happening with all the churches) Not only Worldwide Church of God.

No religious organization -holds true with us any more -they are all wrong -I still believe in God but not in organized religion --I try and prove all things -Your right about the hurt never saving for retirement which we never did we are not there yet but close---& going through tough times only to help them get just a few dollars more while we suffered, trying to make ends meet. Your whole article holds true--And there scare tactics! If it wasn't for the painful truth I might be out there looking for some Religion to Join. I wanted to say more but I am just so tired

You may print this -but keep anonymous thanks with Love.

Name Withheld.


Hi there:

Thanx 4 your letter and the good word. Wadda mess we got ourselves into! So many people who write to me now have no retirement to fall back on no investments, nothing. It makes us all angry when we see the "treasures" that we all paid for, being sold at AUCTION.

I hadn't thot of the "third tithe" actually being the first tithe, as I always understood that the Temple got its tithe every year no matter what. Anyhow, the bottom line is that those cultmasters lied to us (so what's new?), and there is indeed NO THIRD TITHE, and there never was. Again, you're correct about the seven annual offerings. Biblically, there were only three offerings, but again we were lied to and the word "times" in Deut 16:16-17 was twisted to mean "seasons." More lies. So they actually bled seven offerings from us out of the three that were actually ordained.

I figured this fact out when I was still in Hawaii, and so I openly preached that if Worldwide Church of God wanted seven offerings, then fine. Here's what we can all do to satisfy everyone. What you do, is take the total sum of your normal "three" offerings, and divide it by seven. In this way you were giving only three offerings (as Biblically commanded) but dividing it over the seven feast days. Naturally, I was reported for that non-conforming theory by all the loyalists, and the "you know what" hit the fan. No wonder I was in so much trouble as a church pastor. "Rebellion," I think they called it.

Maybe I should write an article on the "plain truth" about the feast day offerings, and the reason Worldwide Church of God insisted on seven offerings instead of the commanded three.

Anyhow, we'll keep you anonymous, as requested, but we'll post your letter and this reply. Blessings and thanks for the letter.

Best. JohnO.

Hi John

I also saw the Fox news interview with the black gentleman who exposed the "black leaders" who are constantly harping on the racism clich, to enrich themselves and keep their personal agendas and organizations in the limelight It gave me hope that a new generation, or at least a growing segment within the black community are starting to see what counterproductive charlatans the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson types really are. Enjoyed your article.

Regards Bill


Hi Bill

Thanks for the letter. It sure was gratifying to see that when Pres. Geo. W. invited a team of responsible black leaders to the White House to discuss the needs of the African American community, that the likes of Jackson and Sharpton were NOT invited.

Best, and thanks. John.



You are so convinced that this (Death and Stuff) is true but I'm sure you don't have any proof. Not saying you are wrong but this is only your own private theory.

There is little comfort for a person to know that "he" will continue to "exist" but may next be the smell on some dog shit. If there is no consciousness of previous life, memories, knowledge then to hell with it all. You might as well have never existed.

You really have no more proof of these "dimensions, galaxies, continuums, and other things that we could never imagine" than any other religious theorist. What makes you right and them wrong?

Just thinking.



Hi Editor:

Because science has already proved that energy is eternal. In any particular form we must go on, as the energy of intelligence is never dissipated. The energy is there. We just can't see it. E.G. where do our unique ideas come from?

I'm not saying I have all the details (who does?), but this is a shot at what appears to be the logical direction. It's for people to think and talk about rather than believe as "dogma."


 I just saw garner ted armstrong last weekend. His message was very clear,and to the point.I believe GOD is still spreading the gospel thru him, and many others.I was with wwcg for 28 years, I knew that they werent perfect,but i knew the church had gods holy spirit in it.We all make mistakes.I feel its a bigger mistakes for me to be bitter and stray from my true calling. To love your neighbor.( no matter what!!! ) The money we gave over the years was too GOD.How they spent it ,we will not be held accountable !!!


Boy, are you gullible. I'm not trying to be nasty, but the fact that God uses playboy LaStud is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

In the first place, Teddy hasn't got a clue of what the gospel is (and it's NOT spreading the message of Jesus' coming to the world), and his conduct is disgraceful. Any minister not aligned with I Tim 3 would be disfellowshipped immediately.

There are people going hungry while Teddy lives the life of luxury. And he preaches about the love of Jesus. By their fruits, you shall know THEM, which makes Teddy's message one of hypocrisy (like so many others), and his performances that of a 2nd rate actor.

Please do your homework better, especially about the validity of the Bible.



 I attended WWCG from 1961 until late 1976 and Ambassador College from 1970-1974.

 I have read some of the material at the "The Painful Truth" web site. Perhaps other content there (after all, there is quite a lot) addresses the question I am about to ask, but I have not so far noticed it explicitly discussed. Was generally more abuse heaped on people "away from headquarters" than people "at headquarters"? Although it probably does not admit a definitive answer, perhaps the question is worth considering.

 I grew up in the Pasadena, California area and attended Imperial School and Ambassador College. After graduation I resided in Pasadena for several years. So my entire sojourn in WWCG was "at headquarters". I consider the overall experience somewhat abusive. A few events from my childhood I to this day do not speak of, and right now plan never to do so.

 What I have read is sickening and tragic, and frankly I do not want to believe it was really that bad. But there seems too much pattern, consistency, and documentation for me to dismiss the claims. So now I believe that my own experiences may well have been better rather than worse than average. Hence my question about "two-tiered" abuse.

 Some random personal history and observations: I almost completely ignored the WWCG until the mid-1990's when I heard a little about Joe Tkach Jr., Mike Feazell, etc. What a hoot -these people I remember as just kids I went to school with are mentioned in a Christianity Today (not absolutely sure of that source) article, provided by a friend who knew that many years before I had been associated with WWCG, as key leaders in the WWCG.

 For about a year and a half after graduation from AC, I worked with Charles Dorothy and others on "Theological Research Project". It was neither theological nor research, but nevertheless had the cool name. We were the "liberals", although the spectrum itself, or at least that segment allowed discussion, was quite narrow. We were arguing about whether Pentecost should be on a Sunday or Monday while people were afraid to seek routine medical care. I really was a clueless twit, but part of the reason may have been that pretty much the whole time I was fighting suicidal impulses.

 I am disturbed by the idea that I was merely lucky enough to very clearly not have been "ministerial material", rather than perceptive, courageous, and compassionate enough to initially eschew or later abandon the "opportunity" of being a minister, as some contributors to The Painful Truth have done.

 If you want to hear some stories, let me know.



Morning Todd:

Thanks for the message.

I'm sorry to see you attended the cult college for so long, but the PT Site is a good enema.

Both at AC and in the field there were the usual good and bad guys and their wives . . . mainly bad. Most of these people were ignorant theologically, arrogant, bullies, and invariably did the OPPOSITE of the Scripture that said: "Esteem others higher than yourself." Some had patience, and some had contempt for everyone.

From those who worked at AC, I basically heard nothing but bad things. It was worse than the White House (see the movie "The Contender"), and according to most, it was an ugly environment to work in. You survived only if you had power and could use it. Charles Dorothy was a teacher of mine, and I was sorry to see his passing. He was a liberal that used to get HWA furious with his theories. Charles was right most of the time, but he did teach us to THINK. Sure, we were wrong sometimes, but at least our brains were working. Charles taught us to think and challenge everything. They kicked him out eventually. At AC, you do NOT think. You'd say "Zeig Heil," and that's the end of it.

In the field, things were a bit looser, and the regimen was mainly up to the pastor, who was usually an arrogant bastard as well. It still disappoints me that most won't apologize with all the evidence that's been published. Yes, we would definitely like to hear some stories. Please send them directly to the Editor/s of this site. The address is on the site itself. They would be fascinating to read.

And believe me, what the PT Site and the AR's have to say is true and well backed up with an avalanche of personal evidence.

Good luck. John



Perhaps a minor point, but I would like to clarify something I wrote earlier about my brief job working with Charles Dorothy on the Theological Research Project in the 1970's. It was sloppily worded.
Me: For about a year and a half after graduation from AC, I worked with Charles Dorothy and others on "Theological Research Project". It was neither theological nor research, but nevertheless had the cool name. We were the "liberals", although the spectrum itself, or at least that segment allowed discussion, was quite narrow. We were arguing about whether Pentecost should be on a Sunday or Monday while people were afraid to seek routine medical care.
John O: Charles Dorothy was a teacher of mine, and I was sorry to see his passing. He was a liberal that used to get HWA furious with his theories. Charles was right most of the time, but he did teach us to THINK. Sure, we were wrong sometimes, but at least our brains were working. Charles taught us to think and challenge everything. They kicked him out eventually. At AC, you do NOT think. You'd say "Zeig Heil," and that's the end of it.
When I said "we were arguing about whether Pentecost should be on a Sunday or Monday" I meant we as the collection of people at HQ in Pasadena, not specifically the small TRP group working for Charles Dorothy. TRP addressed such questions, but as John O pointed out, CVD as we called him in those days was not personally focused on trivia. I think that he would have preferred ignoring Pentecost (or leave it for later) and going straight for medical care, tithing, etc. -stuff that was important in people's lives. But serious discussions about those topics with certain "Evangelists" on the Doctrinal Committee was impossible.
In addition to the qualities John O pointed out, I found CVD to be an uncommonly compassionate person. He was pretty much getting thrashed all the time by the higher-ups, but always seemed focused on injustices visited upon other people, and I had very strong impressions that it was not a put-on.
I liked CVD quite well and for a few years after I left WWCG we maintained sporadic social contact. During those occasions we never discussed WWCG affairs. Once we went to see the film Das Boot, which we both liked. It was in German with English subtitles, but sometimes he thought the translation was not correct and whispered to me what he thought the right English should be.
We lost contact over the years and I wonder what happened to him.


 I read your account about the WWCOG on the personal accounts page and found it interesting. I was wondering what you are doing now that you have left that organization. I have never been to a WWCOG service, and would not like to either. Are you worshipping or pastoring elsewhere? What kind of church were you looking for and did you go to their college?

I have been doing some research on the Churches of God and am looking for information. Thank you for sharing your experience.




Hello Andrew:

And thanx 4 your letter.

My personal advice is that you avoid ALL churches altogether. They're nothing, as far as I'm concerned, but a clutter of politics, ego, and profit.

No. I'm not pastoring anywhere, and I'm not intending to. I'll pass on any information that I have or think, but that will be done free of charge on a personal basis, or you can read most of it on the PT Site. I only attended AC night school, and for the most part, I found their "teachers" sadly lacking in mental, logical, or theological ability.

You're better off finding God on your own, but I can suggest reading (or downloading) Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason," from the site. That's a great start.

Best. John.

Your article on Jesus cults was thought provoking. It seems to me religion is one big scam. I am curious, do you think we crawled out of the ocean? Is there no purpose to human life? Your site is excellent. Gregory


Thank you Greg for your letter. In answer to your questions, here we go. 1) I do believe religion is one big scam. I would exclude those who really help people, like the missions, and those who honestly feed and clothe the hungry. That does NOT include the big religions that have a business of doing this apart from their main religion (e.g. CBN), as they make that sort of "charity" pay. But, in general, religion is simply a business. That's all.

2) No, I don't think we crawled out of the ocean. It makes no logical sense, and in the light that man has been here (scientifically estimated) only 3 million years (as homosapiens about 300 million from the amoeba), there's been no time to "evolve."

The only logical answer is that we have been "grown" here as a species and you'll have to figure out the progenitors.

3) I think now that as humans, we're a growing species or an evolving one but I think we're all on the wrong track. Religion is the biggest cause of this misguidance.

Best, and thanks for the good word.



I really enjoyed your post "Big Brother", which I read on the 'Painful Truth' website. I am a fan of George Orwell, and was a member of the Worldwide Church of God from 1974-78, attending the Pasadena campus from 1974-77. I absolutely agree with your observations about how much of what went on the church was an echo of the novel.

There are a couple of additional features of the book that I also think featured in the Worldwide Church of God. One is the concept of doublethink the ability to believe simultaneously in two mutually contradictory concepts. In my final year or so at AC I began to think a little bit for myself and I can recall thinking that quite a few of the official pronouncements of the leadership were good examples of doublethink. A good indication being where the reasons for reversing a change are more or less the same as those given for introducing it in the first place.

In the novel there is scene where someone is giving a speech, ranting and raving etc., when an aide slides up to the podium and passes a note that says, in effect, that yesterday's allies are now the enemy, and yesterday's enemy is now the ally. The speaker is able to carry on the speech without any break, hesitation, or change in intonation. I think this is a skill that some of the church leaders, most notably GTA, came very close to mastering. I can remember sitting in the auditorium on a few occasions admiring this skill! A complete reversal of position receiving only tumultuous applause.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to reading some more of your posts.



 Hello John,

I appreciate your contributions. I can't exactly explain why I keep on coming to this site, since my wife and I left the Worldwide Church of God in '96, but I enjoy doing so. When I was 3, in 1969, my family moved up to Alaska from Santa Barbara, California because my Dad found a job in the clothing retail business in a job where he could keep the Sabbath.

I just wanted to email you because I read your 7/28/2000 article which expressed doubt as to whether Stephen was a real person or not. He is. I sent a link to his original email for my Mom to read, who is still a Worldwide Church of God member, because I wanted to know if she knew who this could be.

As it turns out, one of the earliest church families up in Alaska were the Bells. They had a son who was much younger than his siblings named Stephen who was 3 years older than me. They lived in Seward which is well known sport fishing town and cruise boat port. Anyone living there would have to drive a long way to get to church, especially before the 70's sometime when a second congregation started attending in Soldotna. We and other church families would often provide a place for families in the Kenai Peninsula to sleep so they could make the 4 hour trip to Anchorage in time to attend 9 am services in the morning. It wouldn't surprise me at all to know that Garner Ted Armstrong visited there to fish like he says that is where a lot of people went for deep sea salmon and halibut fishing. Also, his mother told my Mom about a Downs syndrome child that they had institutionalized, after explaining how that is what they were encouraged to do back then.

Anyway just thought I would quit lurking and do what I could to shine some light on the facts here.





 I'm so glad that I found the Painful Truth website and that people like you are posting articles.

 My dad was a member of the Worldwide Church of God and fortunately my sister and I didn't have to live with him. We were raised by my mother and we got to have Xmas, birthdays, etc. However, we were still deeply affected by the doctrines of "the church." Because my mom was raising us catholic, every time we came to visit we had to listen to how the catholic church was Satan's church, how we were going to have to live through this terrible tribulation, how evil the pope was, etc. For little kids this stuff was devastating. I kept expecting to die at any moment and for that reason didn't make any plans for college, etc.

 A lot of people have woken up and smelled the coffee regarding old Herbie but not my dad. He's still defending him. I told my dad, hey this guy was a false prophet. You can prove that in your own bible. My dad agreed that it's true but still thinks Herbie is so great. He says, yes, he did make some mistakes. We've all sinned. I could go on and on. I know you probably hear this stuff all the time. I just needed to unload to someone who understands. I've been psychologically maimed by "the church" but I know I'm going to make it.

 Thanks for listening and write back if you'd like.



 P.S. My sister and I always felt sorry for you kids in the church but we thought you guys actually liked. We thought, those poor kids. How could they like this?


Thanks Candy for your letter, and are you lucky you never got caught up in one of those cults. Thankfully, you now probably have a normal life ahead of you. I'm sorry about your dad, however, but it's usually fear and ignorance that keeps people locked into these cults. Hopefully, he'll get fed up with it and exit one day.

If there's any specifics that you'd like to ask, go ahead. I'll do all I can.

Blessings. John.


A long-time friend told me about this "painful truth" site today... I've just spent almost twenty years trying to recover from the first twenty years of my life growing up in this system. It doesn't matter at all that few could apologize. Few escaped, less recovered, and to stand up to take the heat would be rare.

 Your words in witness to the appalling circumstances may not feel like courage or bravery, but it's needed desperately.

 Do you know of Alice Miller, the psychologist? Her belief is that one witness reporting the truth to support a victim, can make all the difference in their recovery.

 Your one apology is enough to make a difference for countless people... we're all reading it and something has changed for us!

 Thanks for speaking up.


Hello Friend:

Hi there: And thanks for your letter and the good words. No, I don't know Alice Miller, but I'm sure that her philosophy is solid. We should all look at the truth in the face and not flee from it. In the end, it's the best medicine.

There are another couple of ex-hirelings who have apologized as well. Bill Fairchild has even written a few articles for the PT Site. I'm a bit more verbose. Sometimes, I can't shut my mouth once I get onto a subject. I've a whole mess of stuff on the Site under the page "Enlyten." But a lot of it is not just experiences, but metaphysical investigation as well. Anyhow, see what you think.

But, as long as we can help people, we're here and yelling the truth from the rooftops. We're out to hurt no one here. All we're doing is telling is the truth. Hopefully, we're cautioning a lot of people. No one has yet proved it wrong, and others are afraid to look, lest they be "possessed by Satan." But each must come around in their own time.

Blessings to you and thanks for your letter.

Best. John


Be advised that my interest in mathematics exceeds my ability and training. However, if you want to discuss anything, please feel free. I promise to attempt to avoid exceedingly silly responses.


 My current [probably unsophisticated] opinion is that whatever "God" may denote cannot possibly be a person in any coherent way we understand that term. I suppose one could stipulatively define "God" as "the maximally excellent person" (pretty much the thrust of the various ontological arguments, e.g., of Anselm, Leibnitz, and Goedel) but I don't think that the major monotheistic religions have actually quite done it that way.

 If I had to identify a historically well-known system of thought that most closely approaches mine at the moment, I suppose I would choose "Taoism", although I consider its alchemical avenues to attempt to achieve physical immortality quite silly.

  By the way, the actual title of the book mentioned in the previous email is "Where Mathematics Comes From", not "Where Does Mathematics Come From?".

  On another note, I have read some of your summaries about your time in Hawaii, and consider your attempts to serve the people there both correct and courageous. I think you did the best you could under the circumstances. Too bad the circumstances were not considerably better.



Hi there, Todd:

 You've got some excellent points, so maybe we + Bill + Jim + the rest of the gang can put our theological heads together. Surely, it won't be the answer, but maybe we can learn some more. I'm a glutton for knowledge. At least it's a zillion light years from Worldwide Church of God+

 I'm sure we're as confused about the subject of God as anyone. Only the reverend dead Apostle Herbie was UN-confused. And thankfully, he's dead. At least, that's what he said, anyhow. Defining God/maths/electro-magnetics, etc. is pretty tough stuff, so when we all take a shot a it, I'm sure SOMEONE'S giggling. The more I think about it, the O            less I realize that I know.

 I agree that we cannot personify God. If God is Infinity, then this takes it all outa the realm of us physical beings. The other night my wife asked me an interesting question (she talks about everything with me): "Does Infinity," she said, "mean everything?" I said that I thot it was. And she said: "That means the bad as well as the good." Excellent point. Of course it does. Naturally. It's Infinity. Therefore, Hitler and Herbie were as much a part of God as we are, but their frequencies were obviously lower and their repulsive fruits were obvious. Low frequencies=repugnant and insane behavior. I believe our current planet operates in the lower two-thirds of the frequency spectrum. "The whole world lies in darkness."

 While we may rack our brains on the statistics of God, there's another thot here that may be of interest. I'd like to bounce it offa you. I've read a lotta books over the years, many that have been written by honorable men and women. Their feeling is that God cannot be defined or "boxed," but simply experienced. This is a totally new approach, and I'd like to investigate it more. I'm working at this now. I believe they called this "enlightenment." We actually become a part of IT and blend with it, by the experience. There are at least a dozen names I can give you who've had this "whammy," but they were ALL honorable people who lived at peace with their fellow man. There were NO Herbies included. Personally, I'm for this experience, but it sure ain't calculable.

 We folks have a "left brain" thinking, and a "right brain" thinking. Our left brains serve our statistical half, and the right brain is our creative side. For example our writing, music, art, the theatre, etc. is a part of our right brain, while maths, science, engineering is the function of our left brain.

 Right now, I'm sadly lacking in the right brain, but I'm working on it. I even tried playing the guitar. God what a mess! But I'm trying. I think it's the meld of stats + the emotion that will make the God experience possible. I badly need input on this subject. But I didn't like the idea of Blade throwing out the whole thing. I know he's frustrated. So am I. And I too would like all the answers. I believe Blade to be a very genuine guy, because I've been there myself, and have wanted to scream to the heavens because I did NOT have all the answers. To understand the Infinite takes just a little longer. And I believe if we give it our best thots and DESIRES, then something's gonna crack. We will have the God experience that will surpass SETI. For those who don't know, that's short for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. If you haven't seen it, please rent the movie "CONTACT."

 Blessings for now + gimme some feedback.

Best. John.

 P.S. Thanx 4 you remarks about HI. I'm still in contact with some of the guys and gals (now that we have email), and we're all still the best of buddies. Best.


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