To All The Surviving Children Of
The World Wide Church Of God:
As of today I am no longer alone.
It still has not sunk in completely yet, the reality of what I discovered today. When I turned on my computer this afternoon I never would have believed that there were other adult children, as I, who share the same memories from childhood.
Today I decided to take a huge step into dealing with the pain from my childhood. Since 99 percent of the population has never even heard of the Worldwide Church of God I have had, in truth, NOBODY with the honest ability of understanding what I've been through. The man I am in a relationship with, is the closest anyone has ever come. He at least has been able to help me, remind me, that I do deserve the love of the Lord. He has helped me come back to a place where I can pray; this place is within myself. And it's a place I thought I sealed off a long time ago.
We are not part of an organized religion in the sense; we do not attend a church. We are part of the "organized religion" of reading the Bible and knowing God as individuals. My friend has tried to understand the things I tell him about my childhood and the reasons for the fear and unwillingness to talk religion with anybody. He understands that I'm in pain and he feels for me and actually tries to do whatever he can to help me without letting me just become brainwashed by him. He recognizes that I am confused and that I could very easily take his word for absolute truth on everything, so he practically demands that I make my own conclusions.
Interpretation is everything when it comes to reading the Bible, so much is misunderstood and pushed upon people through fear. My friend brought me back to the door where Jesus stood waiting for me to reopen it with one sentence, "You're not supposed to understand it, if we were meant to and were capable of understanding it ALL, then there would be no need for the Bible to begin with." Then I thought, well that makes sense, because if we all just knew the truth and knew what lay ahead in the future, then there would be no need for this learning process of going through life itself, we would already be "saved". So instead of dealing with my pain by just putting complete faith into what one MAN says is truth I decided to reopen that door to Jesus and ask him to help me find out for myself, and my friend is giving support and strength not judgment and fear.
We are both in our mid-twenties and live in a society where most kids,(as we still think of ourselves), our age don't hold the same values and morals. We feel lucky to have found each other and to have the opportunity to honestly express ourselves and stay strong together against the ridicule of people who have not answered that knocking on their door. But even with everything that I see now, I still feel alone with my confusing memories from childhood. So as I said earlier today I decided to do something about that confusion. I thought if I were able to somehow see clearly the things that were instilled into me and why, I could compare it to how I feel now and maybe that would help me deal with the pain of my memories.
My families involvement in the Worldwide Church of God did not happen until I was 8 years old. My dad began to read about it probably two years prior to the actual "conversion" but the change did not take place until somewhere in between Christmas after my seventh birthday party and sometime before my eighth birthday when I was told there would not be one. Right around the time when I could no longer "play" on Saturday or watch Saturday morning cartoons the year must have been 1982, for me this was a very difficult time. I had allot of questions that were quickly buried as I realized questions only instigated trauma. So you probably know it is not easy for an eight year old child to go to school and explain why they can't sing the Christmas songs or why they can't eat pork in the lunchroom to another eight year old or even a teacher, when this child does not have the slightest comprehension to begin with. Having a name like mine was pretty tough in the first place, being named REBEL has its inescapable attachments that will always be a part of my life, but at that age to constantly explain myself, not only my name but that "NO, I'm not Jewish and no, I'm not a Jehovah witness!!" was, to say the least, impossible. It still is at this age!!
Until today I have not had the opportunity to feel there is somebody out there who does understand!! My father held Herbert W. Armstrong in the highest regard possibly just short of the Lord Eternal. A collection of every single book and "manual" written by that man was the basis for existence for my father. And when Armstrong died, instead of wondering if the words he wrote and the prophecies he took upon himself to create and instill upon the world possibly could be wrong, my father took it upon himself to add his own righteousness and take it all a step further. He instilled in me and raised me with the belief the second coming was to happen the year I would graduate from high school, 1993.
We, meaning he and I, excluding my mother, were on this earth for a purpose. Like Armstrong, my father believed he was personally called upon by God to spread the message of fear to those who do not see the "one truth" and he did this in a very horrific and hurtful manner. This was his purpose. He was brought into this world by God to judge and punish all those who would not see the "one truth". My purpose, the reason my father was given the power to bring me into this world, was not even meant for this world. My purpose was to make babies in the next world, the "New World". My future was already decided, planned in detail as to what would happen to me after graduation.
So while other children were dreaming and planning what they were going to be when they grew up, I didn't feel there was a need for that. I was to be busy trying to prepare for the day I would be put to death and brought back for my REAL existence in the next life. I was not to cut my hair, as I would need that to cover myself and, of course, make-up was out of the question. There would be no need to go out on dates as boys in this world are not worthy of my purpose in the next. There are just so many things I could say, I could hardly remember them all now.
I found it quite mind blowing to read the letter titled "WorldWide Church of God-You know you were raised in the Worldwide Church of God if---" It was a very complete list of possible childhood experiences. I found one of the listed items to be very Ironic, it stated, "You know you were raised in the Worldwide Church of God when you've been to places like Rapid City.......etc." Well you guessed it, I'm from Rapid City, it's located in South Dakota and I still live here to this day! I found that quite ironically amusing!
To go on with my story, my mother and I ran from my father literally with the clothes on our backs when I was fifteen years old. He had become a danger to us, including himself. Earlier, when I said that my mother was set apart from my father and I, it was not in a good sense. She was not here for a purpose like us, her purpose had already been fulfilled in his eyes. And that can rest on the shoulders of Eve, for the enmity between Eve's seed and the snake was understood by my father to mean that women from there on were somehow united with the snake and henceforth considered THE sinners. Why did he exclude me from the "women" generalization? Because I came from the power the Lord Eternal gave to him for my creation.
So needless to say, after my mother and I were on our own, the subject of religion in any aspect was barely, if at all, discussed. We buried all of it, all of our fears, all of our confusion, anything that we felt had hurt us we buried as deep as we could. I then proceeded to turn to a life of destruction because I still could not look into the future, but because I was not living by the "one true law" this meant that I was doomed. So my life of destruction did not matter because I was going to die soon anyway and I was already doomed because I knew the "truth" but chose to ignore it. This life of destruction was my own attempt at self destruction. So the years went by in a "fly by the seat of my pants, live for the moment" blur of addictions and self loathing. I forgot that everyone is worthy of the love of Jesus.
I did not see my father until 1996. At the age of twenty-one I started a new relationship with him. I truly got the sense that my father had been through a lot since we left and that he had changed a lot in the process. But I never did get the chance to ask him about my childhood, or even to explain what the things he had instilled in me had done to my faith and my future in a world that obviously did not end in 1993. I didn't get the chance to ask him because just as we began our new relationship he was killed in a motorcycle accident in Feb. 1998.
Maybe in two years I should have had enough time to settle things between us, but in those two years I only saw him twice, as he lived 1200 miles away in Arizona. I realize that a lot of my fathers beliefs were not directly from the Worldwide Church of God or Armstrong but they were the basis of it all, so for me to not put some sort of blame on the ways of that organization is impossible. So this is why I took it upon myself at this time to try to understand things somehow, someway and deal with these childhood issues now so I can in turn, deal with my father's death completely.
So finding this Website today could not come at a better time in my life. At this time in my life, to this day, I have to catch myself when I think that there is no future for me in this world. I have to catch myself so that I do not let my life pass me by while waiting for something to happen that NOBODY can predict. And now that I have a son of my own I need to concentrate on teaching him the value of life not death. Death is inevitable and I have to learn through teaching my son how much Jesus loves us that we can live life here to the fullest and learn the lessons God has intended for us to be truly prepared, so to say, for death, judgment and the life that follows.
So thank you to all of you who have shared your experiences because now I know that I AM NOT alone in the memories of my past and that someone WILL understand when I tell my story because they will know what it feels like to have to explain the common factors of childhood in the World Wide Church of GOD. The future looks brighter all the time, now that I can actually plan one!!!
If anyone has any thoughts at all, good or bad, that they would like to share with me, PLEASE e-mail me and let me have it!!!!!!
It would feel pretty good to know somebody did hear my story!!
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