30 years in the
Worldwide Church of God
Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four Part five
By Bill Fairchild
April 10, 2001
Even more musings and opinions from my 30 years in the Worldwide Church of God and 57 years of life.
(1) A friend of mine in the Washington, DC church area moved to Lubbock, Texas for a couple of years and then moved back to DC. I asked her what Lubbock was like. She hadn't cared very much for it, apparently. Her comment was exactly like my opinion now of the entire Worthless Cult of God. The best view of the Worldwide Church of God (or Lubbock, Texas) is the one you see in your rear-view mirror going sixty miles an hour.
(2) Which expert do you feel like following?
I was a member in a field church for three years, then moved to Pasadena to work in the Data Processing Center from 1970 to 1974. I became friends with many employees in that department who had been Ambassador College students and got to know some more in a Spokesman Club there. I also married a Big Sandy graduate, so I got a fairly good taste for what things were like as a student. I even read both volumes of Herman Hooey's "Compendium of World History". The impression I got was that all the high-powered Biblically oriented classes you might be able to attend (Old Testament Survey, Epistles, blah blah) were best summed up as Advanced Speculation 101, Advanced Speculation 102, etc.
If you read all the Worldwide Church of God's literature, you would believe you should do X, Y, and Z. Then if you attended a sermon from one minister you would also pick up his particular speculative beliefs which in turn had been influence by college professor whomever, but if you then attended a sermon from a different minister you would pick up different details concerning behavior X, Y, or Z. And many ministers demanded that you add their own little private details to your cumulative set of required behavior.
There was no doctrinal standard that was centrally enforced. Individual ministers with some integrity might try to refrain from adding their own opinions to the official party line, but many other ministers were so full of themselves and their own authority that they felt no qualms at adding all their own opinions and demanded we obey. The only time anything was enforced centrally from headquarters was when a minister went so far over the edge that a large number of strong complaints emanated from his congregation.
A good example of this was when Sherwin McMichael began to suspect demons were influencing about 20% of the whole Washington, DC congregation. He had come up with his own procedure for detecting demons, and he was finding them everywhere. He didn't last very long when this started happening.
There were countless episodes where various ministers added their own little ideas to the huge load of commandments, principles, rules, and onerous burdens we already had to bear just from believing all the booklets from HQ (all of which have since been declared WRONG and are no longer published). After a few years I learned that the best course of action was to stay away from certain ministers lest you hear them tell you more things you had to do. Also, whenever I needed "wise counsel" I would try to pick the minister who would give me the wise counsel I wanted to hear. Then after a few more years I just went ahead and did whatever the hell I thought was right.
(3) Restitution, the New Covenant, and legalism.
(Please be aware that my use of Biblical references does not necessarily mean I believe in them, just as we should not necessarily believe than Johnny Cockroach sincerely believed that O.J. Simpson was innocent. I am using the Bible to show that the Worldwide Church of God is not Biblically consistent.)
The Worldwide Church of God used to require we live by every word of God, especially if those words were in the Old Testament. There is a lot in the O.T. about what to do if we injure, defraud, or steal from someone else. E.g., Exodus 22:1-5 commands that restitution of stolen property varies between "full restitution" and in some cases even up to fivefold. Just to make sure we are not talking only of livestock, verse 9 says that "for ALL manner of trespass" and "for ANY manner of lost thing, which another challenges to be his" the claim shall be brought before the judges. Let's see...who should the judges be in the case of thousands of ex-members vs. the Worldwide Church of God? What would you do in ancient Israel if you were an ordinary citizen who had been defrauded by one of the judges or by the king? To whom would you appeal for justice? My mind was raped, and I consider that to be a manner of trespass. I want to be brought before some judges somewhere. If nowhere else, then at least the court of public opinion.
The New Testament, on the other hand, stresses forgiveness, turning the other cheek, not instituting a law suit against your brother, etc. Could it be that this is the real reason why the Worldwide Church of God has recently discovered the New Covenant? They can now claim that the N.T. lets them off the hook for having to pay to heal all the people they have abused, injured, defrauded, from whom they have stolen tithes, and whose minds they have raped. One of the new buzz phrases being bandied about by the Worldwide Church of God is that they have abandoned the "legalism" of the past. Well, if they are not going to be legalistic any more, then why don't they follow the spirit of the law contained in the old legalistic command to give full restitution? Just what is the spirit of that law? It sure looks to me like repairing the damage you cause.
The new, lite, improved Worldwide Church of God now claims that Christians are not bound legally to give ten percent of their increase as a tithe, and then they ask you to "donate voluntarily" at least ten percent since you are freed from the legalism of the past. Well, if the church is freed from the legalism of Exodus 22 then that means they should voluntarily want to make even more than "full restitution" of all that was stolen, maybe even more than fivefold.
(4) More thoughts on forgiveness.
(Please be aware that my use of Biblical references does not necessarily mean I believe in them, just as Johnny Cockroach did not necessarily believe that O.J. Simpson was innocent. I am using the Bible to show that the Worldwide Church of God is not Biblically consistent.)
Luke 17:3 says we are commanded to rebuke our brother if he trespasses against us. That is one reason why the Painful Truth, Exit Support Network, et al., websites exist - so we can rebuke our brother, or former brother as the case may be (for those of us who are no longer in the Worldwide Church of God), for having grievously trespassed against us.
Hello, Worldwide Church of God! I am hereby rebuking you. You trespassed against me. I wasn't hungry but you convinced me I was hungry, you took me in and fed me toxic waste until I began to vomit it all out, then I left you and found real food again. I had enough to drink but you manipulated my mind to make me believe I was thirsty, you took me in and gave me the bitter gall of self-righteousness to drink until I became drunk with your teachings, then when I sobered up I spewed out your foul-tasting swill and started drinking pure water again. I had many friends but you convinced me I was a stranger, you took me in and told me my friends were all pagan and must be avoided, you gave me new "acquaintances" who didn't befriend me when I really needed friends, and finally I came to myself and left for greener pastures. I was clothed but you convinced me I was naked, you took me in and raped my mind, then when I left I found clothing again. I was healthy but you deluded me into thinking I was sick, you took me in but then you never visited me even as I was leaving at the exact time that your latest fad was to claim you wanted to heal the spiritually abused, and now that I am out I am getting my mental health back. I was free but you scammed me into thinking I was in prison by sending me your booklet "A World Held Captive" to read, you took me in and imprisoned me, then when I was in your prison you would not come to me, and finally the merciful God whom you grossly misrepresent freed me from your clever clutches and gave me the real freedom that can only come by knowing that Pervert W. HARMstrong was the one who really was holding me captive.
I was standing erect but you duped me into believing the world was upside down, so I turned myself upside down, let you take me in, then after 30 years of standing on my head you told me the world was upside down again, so I started trying to do your latest flip-flop when I realized that you had been full of shit all along. These are among your transgressions against me. I have read of many far worse transgressions you poured out on thousands of other "babes in Christ" through the arrogant little Nazi tyrants you trained and sent out to "serve" your growing flock.
I was doing all right until your scam deluded me, and you took me in. You REALLY took me in. In fact, you really took me. To the cleaners.
I was a young man of 22, normal, carefree, not especially good or bad, of middle of the road morality, and probably in a period of low self-esteem; then you suckered me in and taught me how to be self-righteous and holier-than-thou, a believer in fables, a worshipper of charismatic personality, a studier of the Bible without any real understanding of what I was reading, a Pavlovian dog who could mindlessly spout the party line. While learning your version of how not to sin I became a worse sinner than ever, for I was now also an arrogant hypocrite thanks to your wrong teaching that I was "special" to God.
Luke 17:3 also commands us to forgive our brother "IF HE REPENT." If you want me to forgive you, oh Worthless Cult of the God of this world, then I want to see you repent first. After all, these words recorded by Luke are attributed to Christ's speaking to His disciples, so this must be New Covenant teaching which you now so charismatically espouse. Whenever I see your top dog Joseph W. Tkach, Jr. sign the Painful Truth's ministerial apology list, I will take that as an outward sign of corporate repentance, and then I might begin to think about starting to forgive your "fellowship" (formerly known as a church) for what it did to me. I am willing to do what Christ said, which is to forgive. Are YOU willing to do what Christ said, which is to REPENT? Christ did not command me to forgive you. He commanded me to forgive you IF YOU REPENT. And if all you do is print something in your inane little magazine that I never read and thus your "repentance" does not get communicated into my mind, then you have not repented to me. And I will not accept any repentance of yours offered to me by some simpering minion of yours who is allegedly speaking in your name. I have read somewhere on the Painful Truth website that Joe Jr. has said he is or was sorry. I don't know when he said that. He certainly didn't say it to me. And if he wrote it in one of his typically mealy-mouthed magazine articles, I certainly didn't read it. So he has not yet repented as far as I am concerned.
The next verse (v. 4) says that if my brother trespasses against me seven times in one day and repents all seven times, that I am also commanded to forgive him each time. I accept this teaching. However, Christ here does not command me to allow myself to be transgressed against again and again. Christ wants us to be compassionate and forgiving, but not willing dupes. I will do all I can to make sure that my "brother" does not and can not trespass against me again by learning how he tricked me in the first place, and thus I will be able to prevent any further contact with my ex-brother who is now acting like a son of perdition. I have already taken the first major step in doing so by leaving Tkach's filthy scam (currently known as a "fellowship"). I will shout from the rooftops to tell others of Pervert W. HARMstrong's hideous track record of incest, greed, theft, drunkenness, disloyalty, and deception in order to alert as many others as possible to what was and is really going on. The more people who know, the less likely it is that this raw sewage disguised as a church will be able to trespass against me or anyone else again. Pastor General Joe Jr., if you repent to me personally for all of this past evil, then I will forgive but I will not forget, for if I forget then I may find myself having to forgive you and your scam again after you fleece me again and then repent again. And again. And again. Not to forget means NEVER AGAIN will I have to forgive you. And Christ did not command us to forget. Only to forgive. And then only IF YOU REPENT.
What went on at the top levels of the Worldwide Church of God, where we were told the ministers had more of God's Holy Spirit than any of the rest of us, is proof of how merciful God was in giving mankind its sense of smell.
(5) Several "pagans" were smarter than I was.
When I was 22 years old and being sucked into the great HARMstrong cult in 1966, I had a good friend named Vicki Reaves in Winston-Salem, NC who tried to warn me that the Worldwide Church of God was a wacko cult and was all wrong in its theology. I wouldn't listen. She was a deceived "pagan" and I had special knowledge of "the truth". Hey, Vicki, if you ever see this on the Internet then you will know you were right and I was wrong. And you weren't deceived or pagan. I was deceived, gullible, and very, very wrong.
When my daughter became 16 years old, she announced to me and her mom that she was not going to attend services any more with us. She felt she had become mature and independent enough that we had to let her get away with this flagrant rebellion. We were not abusive, tyrannical parents to the same extent that many others in Herbie's cult were, so we didn't try to argue with her or force her to keep attending. She was only 16 and I was 45, so she was deceived by this present evil world. It took me another seven years to see who was really deceived and which one of us was the wiser one.
(6) Is the Bible really the "Word of God"?
I always assumed it was, so I gave sermonettes to that effect and how we should all "Read the book". Now that I am out from Herbie's religious scam I am thinking for myself. I have read Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason" and so far about one half of all the info on the Painful Truth website. I now have a different opinion, which is that I don't claim to know for sure.
The first thing that really surprised me was that I had always assumed that somewhere in the Bible it was explicitly stated that the Bible itself was the word of God. This is not true. Nowhere in the Bible is there any statement attributed directly to God or Jesus Christ (Are they different? Are they the same? Whatever.) that the written Bible, or anything else that has ever been written, is the word of God. I had vaguely thought that the Bible said something like "the word of God is" perfect, eternal, pure, true, etc., and that all these scriptures, if they indeed existed, were describing the written Bible. Even if they do exist, the phrase "word of God" does not necessarily mean something which has been written down. If we want to know if what is written down refers to what is written down, let's check the uses of this phrase to be sure we know exactly what was written down and to what it was referring.
The phrase "word of God" is used to refer to the following things (for those who need them, Biblical references can be easily found with a concordance): (1) a spoken message given by one person claiming to be a servant of God to another person and claiming that that message was a message from God to that other person; (2) a message that a Biblical writer claims came from God into the mind of a human; (3) words which come from God but there is no statement as to whether they are written down, communicated orally, or put into someone's mind; (4) Mosaic commandments; (5) preaching or teaching from one or more servants of God given to a group of people; (6) preaching or teaching about God that people hear from an unnamed source; (8) preaching or teaching given by Jesus Christ to others which they hear; (9) knowledge from or about God given to people but the precise manner in which that knowledge is communicated to them is not described; (10) the main job or ministry of the twelve disciples after Jesus' death; (11) the church and/or its ministry; (12) something that can be handled correctly or deceitfully; (13) the sword of the Spirit, which is part of a believer's spiritual armor , or possibly the Spirit itself is being referred to here; (14) something which can be blasphemed; (15) that which framed the worlds during the act of creation; (16) something which lives and lasts forever, or possibly God Himself is being referred to here as living and lasting forever; (17) something which is different from the testimony of Jesus Christ; (18) the name of a great, righteous spirit being.
The plain meaning of almost all the previous references is that "the word of God" is a spoken message from or about God rather than a written message. Those references that do not explicitly say the message was spoken also do not say that the message was written, either. In the case of not handling the word of God deceitfully, this phrase could mean the literal handling of paper or books containing something written down or it could be interpreted as meaning correctly passing on to others the message as it was heard or understood originally from its source, however that occurred. It seems to me that it has to mean correctly passing on to others the original message rather than literally handling something written, since the physical handling of a book cannot do someone else harm if handled deceitfully, but rather lying about what is written in that book would be a deceitful handling of the written message therein. This verse, however, also does not explicitly state how the word of God came originally to the speaker. All we know is that the speaker claimed he was not misrepresenting that message when he passed it on to others.
Christ said that certain of Moses's commandments were the word of God. How did these words of God come to Moses? The specific commandments of Moses to which Christ referred were (1) honor your father and mother, and (2) whoso curses his father or mother shall be killed. The first one of these is the fifth of the ten commandments, which came to Moses as God spoke them. Also the Bible says that the Lord talked and said (spoke) the ten commandments. The second of Moses' commandments referred to by Christ is one of the judgments Moses was told by God to set before the people, which were given to Moses as the Lord was speaking to Moses. If Moses had written down those exact words and had not added to or subtracted from the words spoken by God, then he would have had an accurate, printed version of some words of God. All these commandments and judgments were apparently the word of God since they were spoken to Moses and/or the people, and Christ later called them the word of God.
Another phrase is used in the Bible with much greater frequency, and that is "the word of the Lord". In almost all cases involving this phrase, it is explicitly stated that the word was spoken or it "came to" someone through a means not specifically identified, and the vast majority of these cases involve a prophetic message given to a prophet. In only two cases does it refer to something written.
The first reference about its being something written states that a book of the law was found in the temple in Jerusalem and that the people had not been keeping the "word of the Lord" to do after all that was written in the book that was found, which contained the law of the Lord given by Moses. This was apparently a copy of what Moses had written down after God spoke the commandments and judgments to him. This verse is a historical reference back to something that had been written down centuries before, it was uttered by a high-ranking person in the kingdom and then written down by a scribe, but there is no other verse that corroborates that this verse is inspired or true as far as God is concerned. It is simply one man's opinion that an ancient document contained "the word of the Lord", and his opinion was copied down and preserved since he was the king and his opinion was more important than most other people's.
The second reference says the word of the Lord contained precepts and lines. This seams at first to refer to something written. However, this verse appears in the midst of a very long message from God to Isaiah that evidently begins with "...the Lord spoke by Isaiah, saying...". And what was spoken continues for many chapters. So it is still Isaiah speaking "the word of the Lord" when he says that "the word of the Lord" was "...line upon line...", so Isaiah here is probably referring to either his own spoken message or to spoken messages from other prophets of God.
The phrase "word of the Lord" also refers twice to something spoken by Jesus. And one other reference says the word of the Lord was published, which means made public and spread among the general population. The means by which this happened was almost certainly through spoken teaching, as written material was not published in the modern sense of that word until mechanical printing was invented by the Chinese in 1041, then later in Korea, and finally by Gutenberg in 1436. [Since the Chinese and Koreans were not Christian or European, their inventions are ignored in our enlightened Western history textbooks and we are incorrectly taught that Gutenberg was the first to invent movable type.]
Are there any other similar phrases? The phrase "words of God" appears a few times. It refers to a message about God or from God in all cases, and there is no indication that the message was written. In some cases it is definitely a verbal message.
Another phrase that appears over one hundred times in the King James version is "words of the Lord". This phrase also means a message from God or about God with no indication that the message was written, with two exceptions. In one case Moses wrote "all the words of the Lord". This written document is what ended up inside the ark of the covenant, both of which are still apparently lost. If something that is eternal gets lost, then the fact that it is eternal sure as hell doesn't do anybody any good. In the other case Jeremiah's scribe Baruch wrote "all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken to him, upon a roll of a book" as Jeremiah was repeating them to Baruch. This roll was subsequently burned up by the king, and then Jeremiah dictated the same message from God to Baruch who wrote it down again on another roll, the disposition of which is not further identified in the Bible. In many other of these occurrences the phrase definitely means a verbal message.
The book which we call the Bible today and which was declared holy and complete by popular vote by church "experts" in the 4th century A.D.
>aka C..,>thus almost universally uses the phrases "word/words of God" or "word/words of the Lord" to mean a message that is spoken by God to a human or a message about God spoken by one human to another human or group of humans. The phrase almost never refers to anything written, and definitely never refers to the total Bible itself. The written book we have today contains certain quotes which are attributed to God, and these quotes may have originally been spoken by God or may have been claimed to be a message from God that were spoken to someone else who caused them to be written down, but the vast majority of the Bible does not claim to be such messages. Most of the Bible is in the form of narrative telling the history of certain people or of individual servants of God, quotes from such people, poetic praise of God, or wise sayings. All such writings which are clearly attributable to human sources are not spoken messages from or about God. In other words, a very large fraction of the Bible is not "the word of God" but is rather the words of men and women.
Suppose I were to write a book and somewhere in the book I wrote the following words: "This book is the absolutely true word of God. God spoke to me last week and said that x, y, and z would happen tomorrow. When the next day came, I discovered that indeed x, y, and z all happened exactly as God had predicted the day before." How many people would believe my book to be actually a perfect book inspired by God? That is the state of the Bible, except that it doesn't even claim itself to be the absolutely true word of God. The Bible does say that God's word is pure, the fountain of wisdom, quick, powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, right, etc., but nowhere does the Bible say that the Bible itself is the word of God.
Is even any small part of the bible the "word of God"? Some written passages in the Bible claim that they contain a message from God, and sometimes these messages are written as if God were directly speaking them (e.g., "I will bring upon Pharaoh...blah blah..."). It may very well be that whoever wrote those passages firmly believed the words were a message from God. It seems difficult to prove one way or the other now.
Did Balaam's donkey actually speak to him? Maybe. The infinitely capable God I think must exist is certainly capable of causing a donkey to speak Hebrew, Aramaic, or whatever spoken language Balaam understood. That seems a lot less difficult to me than creating even a single hydrogen atom out of nothing. But just because an ancient piece of written text says that xyz happened, xyz happens to involve God, and the person who wrote it down claims that God caused it to happen does not necessarily mean that xyz really did happen or that God caused it to happen. We might decide that the author firmly believed that God caused xyz to happen. But that still does not mean that it either happened or that God caused it. The same can be said for all the other supernatural events recorded in the Bible, such as an axe head's floating in water, the sun's standing still, the Red Sea's parting, a human's remaining alive for several days after being swallowed by a great fish, etc.
(7) Biblical commands against immoral cults.
If the Bible is wholly to be believed and obeyed, then I really like the following verses: (1) "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them ." That is why I left the Worldwide Church of God - so that I would no longer have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. And that is why I write so much for the Painful Truth website - so I can reprove all the unfruitful works of darkness perpetrated on so many for so long by Pervert W. HARMstrong, his minions, and all his corporate and spiritual heirs. (2) "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Was there any spiritual wickedness in high places in the Worldwide Church of God? Should incest, theft, lying, slander, drunkenness, and all manner of sexual perversion be considered as spiritual wickedness? That depends on whom you ask and who might be guilty of them, according to Herbvert's and Groper Stud's theology. (3) "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." The numerous evil works of Herbvert, Groper Stud, Stan the Raider, Rod Merrydeath, Joe T-cash, and all the others in high places were not exposed, and thus they grew bolder, more confident, and more aggressive in their mendacity, duplicity, rape and plunder.
(8) Another Orwell analogy.
In "1984" George Orwell presents us with a society that is so heavily manipulated and controlled in their thinking that they are constantly having their history rewritten by people working for the Ministry of Truth. The popular masses have grown so used to this manipulation that they no longer question anything told them by Big Brother. For a few years they are at war with Eurasia and allied with East Asia; then Big Brother suddenly begins telling them they are at war with East Asia, allied with Eurasia, and that they have always been at war with East Asia. No one questions this statement. Then along comes another of their annual hate weeks in which large mobs of people have their hatred for the current enemy whipped up into a frenzy by public speakers. The ultimate in mass control is portrayed here as the speaker starts to deliver another rant against their enemy and changes the name of the enemy in mid-sentence from Eurasia to East Asia. No one in the mob notices or cares. Of course, all those poor workers in the Ministry of Truth will now have to work lots of overtime to change their recent written history to make this latest statement "true".
According to the rules of the Newspeak language being forced upon the masses, a public speaker who could perform such a contorted gyration in mid-sentence and parrot Big Brother's party line was called a duckspeaker. It is very easy for me to imagine a duck's quacking gibberish and the audience's telling each other how wonderfully inspiring the quacking is, just like everyone telling each other how splendid the Emperor's new clothes looked. And if he was really expert at it, then he was a doubleplusgoodduckspeaker.
I couldn't help thinking of good old Gerald Waterhouse when I read these lines. If ever the Worldweird Church of Fraud had a doubleplusgoodduckspeaker, it was Gerald Watercloset. First he told us with the utmost sincerity and bombasity that Herbvert was God's true prophet, he would live until Christ returned, and if HWA hadn't started teaching us proper family love (like committing incest with your own daughter, maybe?) then God would smite the earth with an utter curse. After Christ didn't return on schedule, HWA had died, and the earth had not been smitten with an utter curse, then Waterhose began saying the same things about Joe T-cash with equal sincerity and bombasity. T-cash was God's true prophet, blah blah blah. Hello, Gerald! Were you a mindless doubleplusgoodduckspeaker or what?
(9) Human motivations.
I remember hearing Groper Stud rant and rave night after night on the radio back in the late 1960s about the sick, selfish, and evil motives humans have for EVERYTHING they do. He said this phrase so many times: "vanity, jealousy, lust, and greed." You may rest assured that no matter how unselfish your motive is for doing something wonderful for someone else, deep down inside there is really some vanity, jealousy, lust, or greed at work that is the REAL reason why you did the unselfish act (according to Groper Stud).
Too bad I didn't realize back then that Groper Stud was simply describing himself and all the other top henchmen of his daddy's brilliant and lucrative religious scam. Were HWA, GTA, Raider, Merrydeath, et al. afflicted with vanity? Were they concerned with whether they were # 3 or # 4 in the universe? Did they all want to be the new top dog after Perbert died? Were they all concerned with jealousy? Did each want his own mansion, private jet, and refrigerator full of Dom Perignon? Were they all filled with lust? Did they rape and incest their own daughter, answer the doorbell in the nude, discuss their genitals with women dinner guests, keep a written account of every time they masturbated, commit whoredoms and adultery with over 200 women, and attempt to rape masseuses while masturbating? Were they filled with greed?
I can just see old Groper Stud now pointing his forefinger at his radio audience and accusing them all of vanity, jealousy, lust, and greed. And not realizing that at the same time he had three other fingers pointing back at himself.
(10) The Worldwide Church of God's view of death.
This particular teaching has had a profound impact on me. The teaching was that we are all going to die (not too hard to figure this one out), after we die we know nothing (feel no pain or torment), then after some more time passes we will be resurrected. If we were called by God and righteous, then when resurrected we will be changed into a junior God. This was good. If we had never been called (remained deceived) then we will be brought back to life in human form and taught the "truth" for the first time. This was also good, but less good than the first option, since those in the first batch of junior Gods were said to be in a "better resurrection." The last possibility was for those who knew and rejected the truth, committed the unpardonable sin, refused to repent, etc. They were to be brought back to life in human form, made to realize their mistake, forced to kneel before Jesus (to the point of having their legs broken if necessary to make them kneel), and then burned up in a fire that only lasts a short while. This was bad, but it is better than being tormented forever. And not many people would be so stupid as to let this happen. So no matter how you slice it, death was not viewed as being something very bad, because all the possible results of death were varying degrees of good for almost all people throughout all human history.
In other words, the Worldwide Church of God's teaching could also be thought of as "death is no big deal." There was no overarching reason to need to hold on to life. Life came to be thought of as cheap, just as it also does in lawless or totalitarian societies. This helps explain some of the ministers' counsel to people to let themselves, their children, or other loved ones die when faced with possibly very high medical expenses, and it also helps explain the ease with which we all disregarded the real help available from the medical profession which we were taught was of Satan.
It seems to me that there is no way we can really know what happens after death, and whether or not we will ever be resurrected. So the Worldwide Church of God's teaching may actually be correct in this one point. My problem now is that I still can't get very excited about life. I am not especially anxious to die, but yet I do not fear death. I don't think I should view this attitude as a bad thing. We were also taught that the deceived, pagan masses of humanity all tried to hold on to life too much. Maybe so. Maybe not. It's one thing not to be afraid of your own death. It's a very different matter when you let that attitude of indifference to death affect how you act towards others who are suffering, rapidly approaching their own death, and who badly need comforting.
I used to have a lot of zeal for all the cult activities, because I thought it was what God wanted me to do and it would help me become more like God. I still have a lot of potential zeal for some noble cause that is greater than I, but I can't bring myself to trust any organization again. I now feel as if I am drifting through life with no great purpose. It may even be that there is no purpose for our lives. We certainly can't know for sure while in this current human form. But if we come to believe there is a purpose, even if we are deceived and we later believe we were wrong, then we can still live more excitedly while we think we have a purpose. Maybe this is the abundant life Jesus mentioned. I have fun on the job doing work that is mentally challenging and that pays me well, but I no longer have a fire in my belly for anything. In my leisure time I do a lot of reading to try to learn as much as I can in my remaining years. I avoid watching television as much as I can unless there is an educational program that I haven't already seen. I often feel that everything I do, including my fun job, is just something else with which to pass the time until I die.
(11) Disfellowshipping of Worldwide Church of God ministers by their ex-members.
The Painful Truth website has solicited the names of ministers to be disfellowshipped. I would like to add the name of John Comino to this hall of shame. He was an aggressive, eager beaver who came to the Washington, DC church area around December, 1990. His enthusiasm for church growth was highly infectious. Within four years Headquarters had blown its mind and was changing every long-held teaching to its complete opposite. "Shepherd" Comino jumped into this new fad with both feet and started teaching all of us dumb sheep members the latest and greatest "new truth". Finally I left in 1996 after one ridiculous, useless, and unnecessary change too many.
Six months after I left, John Comino must have seen the handwriting on the wall. At least he was shrewd and wise in that regard. He must have seen that the Worldwide Church of God was self-destructing so rapidly that his own career in it would be short-lived, and his chances for a decent retirement growing more and more remote every day. So he decided to resign from the Worldwide Church of God ministry, move back to his native Australia, go on the Australian welfare system while getting a real job for a change, and be a "help" to the local congregation in Sydney. After moving back there he evidently decided the new direction of the Worldwide Church of God was not trendy enough, so he gave up on the Worldwide Church of God and joined the "Third Wave Full Gospel" church, movement, association, or whatever they are.
While he was in the Washington, DC area this man did more than anyone else I can think of, except for all the morons and top minions of the scam in Pasadena, to ruin the local church there. He became obsessed with change, did nothing whatsoever to comfort anyone coming out of the spiritual abuse in the Worldwide Church of God while at the same time preaching that he and the rest of the ministry were supposed to be doing just that, and ran after each new change coming down from on high in Pasadena like a dog in heat. John Comino, of Greek extraction, perfectly epitomized Paul's description of Athenians who "...spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)" When I say he "ruined" the Washington, DC congregation, I mean he weakened and demoralized, from the point of view of true believers like myself, those who wanted things to remain strong, stable, and growing bigger and better. But from the point of view I now have as a recovering cultaholic, perhaps it was a good thing that he ruined the congregation there. Maybe he also "helped" the Sydney congregation more than he can imagine by dropping out of the Worldwide Church of God.
I also want to nominate Rowlen Tucker, who was the minister in the Boston, Mass. Church in 1974-1975 when I was attending there. I don't know if he ruined anyone's lives, but he certainly did preach the lamest, most boring and moronic sermons I ever heard in my 30 years in the strong arms of HARMstrongism. One of his favorite idiotic catchy phrases was that such and such was "the heavy bread." He used that moronic phrase 5 or 6 times in his worst-ever sermon that I can remember.
(12) Don't judge the organization by its misguided members.
Some who try to defend the Worldweird Church of HARMstrong tell us that we shouldn't condemn a whole organization for the excess of some of its members. This statement is absolutely true. If you read through the entire Painful Truth website, as I have, you will see that a large part of the horror stories and anecdotes of what little tin Hitler wannabes did in the field churches where they were allowed to rule was very probably based upon adding their own interpretations and hidden desires to what they believed the official teachings to be. And I don't think the Worldwide Church of God had a significantly higher percentage of members going to excess than any other mass movement. You can find extreme zealots in major political parties, mainstream churches, the telephone company, and probably even in the Campfire Girls. No organization as a whole should ever be judged by bad things done by its individual members.
On the other hand, there is plenty that we can condemn the top leaders for all on their own account. And this is why most of us write most of these web pages. The Worldwide Church of God organization was created originally as a confidence game designed to enrich one man and it just happened to use religion as its principal scheme. He also had certain kinds of eccentric and abnormal behavior, such as compulsive and obsessive sexual desires. He managed for most of his life to keep this hidden from most others due to his tyrannical rule over his "church" (i.e., his ongoing scheme for fraud).
The tyrant attracted several different types to his scam. One type was what most of us were, those sincerely interested in learning about God, wanting to obey God, do God's will, help others, save humanity, warn humanity, sacrifice our lives, etc. In other words, we were attracted to the "religious" part of the religious scam. Then when the tyrant taught us that God wanted us to acquiesce to the tyrant, why of course we accepted that teaching as well and passively let the tyrant continue to harm us, all the while thinking we were doing good to ourselves and others. We were dupes. We can't help it if we thought the Worldwide Church of Fraud was a real church, since it was portrayed as such from its inception. We were looking for a church, and then this fraud came along that looked and even acted sometimes like a church. Certainly it often spoke as if it were a church.
The other type of people who were attracted to the teachings of the thieving tyrant were knaves who quickly rose to positions of leadership because they had natural talents in that area, then they found out what was going on, and most of them became corrupted by the wealth they saw they could accrue to themselves. They were attracted to the "scam" part of the religious scam. A few principled ones resigned in protest along the way, but most accepted the corruption and began to join in the race to see who could gain the most from their positions.
The knaves continued to promote the scam as long as the original tyrant was still alive. Finally the tyrant died, and then gradually the sick, unbiblical teachings all came undone. Then the knaves had to find new ways to continue fleecing the sheep God had given over to them for lifelong fleecing. So new ways were found. Many sheep saw what was happening and left the fold. Many leaders left, too, but unfortunately almost all the knaves in high places are still there.
We do not condemn the organization for what individual, wacko members or even low-level leaders did in their excessive zeal and mistaken ideas of how we should act. We condemn the organization for its being a complete fraud from the very beginning and for the huge number of knaves who continue to operate the fraud.
We sheep have never had any recourse. If we tried to go to the police, we were told that religious frauds are constitutionally protected and cannot be interfered with by the legal authorities. Then the knaves and bastards in high places found out that some wanted redress, condemned them, cast them out, "disfellowshipped" them, delivered them to Satan, and forbade the rest of us from talking to them. If we tried to "go to our brother in private" to seek redress from a brother who also happened to be a high-ranking knave or even the chief bastard tyrant himself, we were ignored, condemned, and cast out. The original great fraudulent whore cult Worldwide Church of God and all of its 160 or more harlot daughter clones stand condemned for what their leaders did while Pervert W. HARMstrong was still alive and what they have done since he died. None of the leaders of these harlot cults has dared to tell the full truth about the original great tyrant who created the fraud to serve his own lusts. To hell with them all.
Are these harlot daughter Worldwide Church of God clone "churches" all filthy frauds or not? Why does none of them publish a detailed accounting of all its expenses? Why do they continue not reporting the exact amount of total income received by each employed minister? In my opinion, any organization which claims to be doing charitable work and is exempted from income tax by the Internal Revenue code should not receive a penny in contributions from anyone unless it is willing to disclose fully all of its expenses. Once that happens, you can know if it is a fraud or not. Then all you have left to decide is if you agree with its stated purpose for existence. If you do, then you should be able to donate to it with a clear conscience.
Why can't we sheep who have stopped bleating for more fleecing and who have left simply "get over it"? Because there are criminal, fraudulent conspiracies that are still being perpetrated on unsuspecting, gullible other sheep. We may be powerless to bring these frauds to a halt through normal judicial processes, but we cannot be prevented from warning those still involved who may have ears to hear.
I have read through about half of the entire Painful Truth website now. I believe the most balanced, thorough summary of the whole Armstrong mess is Ed's reply to Mike's email on 11/27/99, which is in email page 21. I wish I could be as balanced and write as well as Ed.
(13) Slowly wising up.
I left the Worldwide Church of God in 1996 because I was very confused over all the teachings that had just been turned upside down again. I think I still secretly believed the old pervert HWA had been right all along, the new leaders were changing all of HWA's precious truths, and I distrusted them. Then when the new boy wonder apostle told me it was OK to leave, I left, but I still sort of believed in the old crackpot tyrant Herbie. The cult's "leaders" were openly admitting the Worldwide Church of God had been a spiritually abusive cult all along, and I was very angry at myself for having been gullible enough to be sucked in by a stinking mind-manipulating cult. Finally after four more years of being away from the evil influence of the Worldwide Church of God I stumbled upon the Ambassador Report website, read all the ARs, and then started reading the Painful Truth website. Now I know the real PLAIN TRUTH about the incestuous old lecher who started it all. I also have a nice inner, peaceful feeling now about the monstrous idiocy of all of Herbvert's original teachings. If you take 500 randomly chosen beliefs, throw them all away when you are 22 years old, replace them with 500 new idiotic and wrong beliefs, internalize and believe in them strongly for 30 years, then you throw away all 500 of the idiotic and wrong beliefs and replace them with the original 500 randomly chosen beliefs, you find there is no real reason any longer to revere the memory of the pervert who conned you into believing his 500 idiotic and wrong beliefs. Especially when you read about his long years of incest, avarice, filthy temper, etc. There are times when my mind flashes on the fun that could be had in researching things like the British Israelism, which I remember hearing Joe T-cash Senior say in 1992 was "an interesting theory" but could not be proven from the Bible. It would also be fun to read about the Great Pyramid, ancient astronauts, the lost continent Atlantis, or to try to become fluent in Etruscan. And it would be just as useful (or just as useless). It would also be fun to spend more time with people I love. And a lot more useful.
If you have anything you would like to
submit to this site, or any comments,
email me at:
CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL ADDRESS.
Back to "Painful Truth" menu
The content of this site, including but not limited to the text and images herein and their arrangement, are copyright © 1997-2003 by The Painful Truth. All rights reserved.
Do not duplicate, copy or redistribute in any form without prior written consent.
!--> > !-->