A Preacher's Kid Speaks Out
Dear Ed Sr.
I am a "preachers kid", of a former pastor of the
WWCG. Seeing my last name is Diehl, it shouldn't take
you too long to figure out who my dad is. Honestly, I
can't believe he hasn't shown up all over your
website. I've been following your website for a few
months, and find it very interesting in some places,
confusing in some, and ludicrous in others.
My brother and I nowadays laugh at the fact that we
were in the "right church", were stupid enough to buy
into it, and had to "suffer" so much for being in "the
church". Actually, the only real suffering was not
being allowed to eat a Twinkie with lard in it or
munching on a big fat PBJ three days into the days of
unleavened bread, for fear of the lake of fire. I
think I was pretty scared of getting caught drinking
water in the shower on Day of Atonement too. And, we
had to move a lot, I mean A LOT. Both of us, fourteen
different schools all together. My mom & dad both
graduated from AC. Chris and I have a lot of opinions
about the church, a lot of stories (both funny and
sad), made and lost friends together, and I think
mostly, learned valuable lessons. But none of this is
the point of why I took the time to write this today.
Your hate for HWA, the Tkach (sp?) guys, and
especially the ministers is why I'm writing you today.
My dad, while being a minister in the WWCG was a very
loved, respected and admirable man. The
congregations of the Ohio, Kentucky, New York and
South Carolina churches loved my dad. (Well at least
most people did). And even though you weren't supposed
to show favoritism by clapping for a sermon at the
Feast, his last one in Myrtle Beach got him a standing
ovation from the audience. He was inspirational,
believed what he was teaching and was sincere.
Your apparent six year web-quest of the painful truth
and hwarmstrong.com , and the massive effort to
"expose the church" are all in vain. As a matter of
fact, you said".but I estimate I gave well over
$100,000 to the cult." My guess is that once you
found out your wife was sick, and couldn't be cured,
that the next best thing was to find a way to be able
to guarantee you'd see her again someday. That
required joining the church, and that required money
for the offering and tithe. You passed your paycheck,
college funds & other money over quicker than a
gambling addict at the blackjack table.
Your website is filled with sad stories about the
church, cult, or whatever. Suicides, divorces, people
who gave away all of their money, borrowed to pay
third tithe, didn't take medicine, beat their kids,
and who knows what else. It also seems to be driven
by the fact that you (and an enormous amount of
others) are just plain pissed off.
Furthermore you think that the ministers were to blame
for everyone's problems in the WWCG. And, let's just
touch on this a second: I'm sure that there were
some, maybe a few who "knew" what the church was up
to, but clearly not all or even a majority, it's an
absurd notion. By no means did my dad and mom come
home on Saturdays and give each other a high five
while saying, "suckers, we took 'em for everything
they had". We didn't spend the night counting money
in the living room, nor did any of my uncles. They
were teaching the church members what they were
taught. They were doing their jobs Ed, and there was
no secrecy, no man behind the curtain at church on
Saturdays, and certainly no conspiracy on Friday
nights playing the bible game.
The college is gone, the name is gone, there's no
more Feast of Tabernacles, all the leaders are dead &
so is the faith.
However, I see your website as operating on the same
principles that your favorite pal HWA did. You have a
lot of followers who are saying, "man, this guy knows
what he's talking about! We go duped hard! Well I'll
tell you what man, when the proof comes around this
time, I'll know where to find it. If anyone's going
to find it, Ed will. And I'm sticking' with Ed man,
cause he'll know when he sees it!"
You mentioned that if a class action lawsuit were to
be filed, you'd bring 40,000 people along with you to
sign it. If your were using your head, you'd put a
"donate here" click button on your website. You'd
have your $100K back in the bank in three days, and
that's really what everyone wants back in the first
place. Money and time that you lost. We'll you can't
get back the time, no more than you can un-ring a
bell. (One of my dad's favorite sayings). What you
can do with the time though is make up for it. You'll
never get the 25 years back, and neither will my dad.
So, if you'll allow me I'll summarize with some
bullets: (not those kind of bullets)
· 99 percent of the "ministers" were honest & credible
people, with faults, but nonetheless, decent human
· It's your fault, and every other individuals fault
that they listened to their minister, their mechanic,
plumber, electrician or anyone else who gave them an
estimate on something, be it life, or a new garbage
disposal and didn't get a second opinion, or paid for
it up front.
· Don't blame my mother and father, individually or as
part of a whole, for your weak mindedness or greed.
· Click on the link below for more information on
exactly who you are blaming for your problems, both
then and now. As you will see, he is a lot better man
than you can possibly imagine.
Here, you can add this to the upset children list, or
whatever it is.
You might have been a Ministers Kid in the WWCG if:
Crazy people called your house in the middle of the
night talking about their marriage problems, drinking
problems, drug problems, sex problems and anything
else you can imagine.
You go moved all over the east coast and attended 14
different schools in 12 years.
You had to get to church three hours early and stay
three hours late, waiting for the last ninety year old
lady, single weirdo, upset couple, or deacon & elder
and EVERYONE to finish talking to your dad and then
your mom, and possibly you.
You had to explain to any of your neighborhood friends
what a baptismal was and why there was one in your
Once your mom was allowed to work, the only thing she
could do with her fabulous AC degree was hang
Your rode in a "fleet car" and know what GELCO is.
You had to dance with EVERY, and I mean EVERY girl at
the church dances.
You had to sit up and pay attention on the front row
at church, while every other loser kid got to sleep
You had to go to every log cabin, outhouse using, just
picked up dinner off of the road for dinner, back road
hillbilly-weirdo house of death for dinner, and stay
ALL NIGHT LONG listening to god knows what kind of
problems the people had.
Your mom and dad made you give everybody the PO box
number instead of your real address for fear that the
"church member" in prison would someday find your
All of your clothes ever smelled like olive oil,
because your dad's didn't take out his "anointing oil"
Your garage ever smelled like rotten oranges from all
the fruit that never got sent out.
Here is my response to your answers to frequently
asked questions page, and granted I do agree with a
lot of what you have to say, it's just who you're
laying the blame on that I have a problem with.
Again, you blame the ministers from the very
beginning. "Shame on any of you ministers that may
read this, you have your reward". Exactly what
reward did my mom and dad get? Retirement? No they
aren't giving them shit (which you mention again, and
we'll get to that). A good job reference? Experience
applicable to any job in the real world other than
You don't believe in god, life after death, hell or
anything, yet you devote your time to "keeping Herbie
spinning in his grave", an indication that he actually
is being hurt by what your doing, leading to your
belief in life after death, which is the reason you
bought stock in the WWCG in the first place, meaning
all of your speeches about "show me the proof" and
being agnostic are really just bullshit. You still
believe that humans are aware of life before they
And no, I very seriously doubt they're going to use
the proceeds of the sale of the campus for "their" own
retirement. Maybe the Tkach guys are. I know my dad
hasn't seen a dime, nor my mother. They were promised
it, but aren't getting it.
Furthermore, the money that you feel belongs to the
contributors and by definition not the "ministry" is a
load of shit too. I promise you, my mom and dad both
equally if not overly qualify for any "back money".
My mom and dad asked nothing in return from the
church, other than the paycheck they got for doing
their jobs. Everyone else was in it for themselves,
Your apparent lack of trust for the ministry is
understandable, to a certain degree. What you have to
ask yourself is if your lack of trust doesn't border
prejudice. You have said, "In the real world, people
are held suspect because of what others have done".
Would you tell a black person (even though you mention
this subject several times throughout the website)
that because 80 percent of crime in Los Angeles is
committed by black people, that all black people need
to prove themselves to you, before you would think
they aren't criminals? Or would you expect them to
"moan that life is unfair because you are being held
in suspicion for someone else's sins."?
And yes, it is people ARE responsible for letting
other men corrupt them, and you pay the consequences
when you do. The church did not rape you, or steal
from you. You gave it to them. Look at it like this:
You get drunk, drive home, hit a kid and spend the
next 25 years in prison. Cry about how alcohol should
be outlawed, the bartender served you too much, there
should have been more cops out to stop you sooner, but
in the end YOU are to blame, not the alcohol.
Again, see this page:
Your class action lawsuit hopes are laced with the
same greed that you claim the ministers had. Your
greed for eternal life after death and the world
tomorrow has fizzled down into a discounted note,
similar to a collection agency and an old phone bill.
At this point you aren't asking for the whole balance
due, just give me something.
And I have to bring this up. The movie Contact being
how things most likely are? Really, I didn't know
Carl Sagan had the answers (although I like that movie
too). Am I going to get to be in the "pod" someday?
Or did you mean the ending about how it was all a
hoax. If that's what you meant, I couldn't agree
The part about the less intelligent and uneducated
being the inclined to religion, as well as a good
explanation of the "ministers" we had is interesting
too. You said that the ministry was uneducated, yet
on your personal timeline the only four year anything
I see after high school is in the military.
You say you don't get on with your life because you
care about these misled people, and you want to help
them understand what happened to them. So you've
appointed yourself vigilante of the WCG and then go
around placing blame on every single person other than
the people your trying to "help". If you want to help
anybody, help them pull their heads out of their
asses, not blame my dad, mom and people like them.
All you're doing is giving them a new leader,
yourself. And then what, you convince them to stop
believing in their church and do what, start following
your beliefs on life? I'm sorry, you have the "proof"
that what you are saying is right, and everyone else
is wrong. Sounds a little familiar Ted..I mean Ed.
And back to your sale of the campus. You said, "Is he
going to ask them what it would take to make them
physically whole again, or what type of compensation
should they receive for their anguish". Again, your
greed is astounding. You sound like the religious
ambulance chaser. What if the church called up and
said, "hey Ed, sorry about the whole dead wife, lost
life for 25 years thing, tell you what, how 'bout we
settle this, what would it take?" What would your
price be? $100 thousand, a million, a billion?" If
you are implying that everyone has a price, then you
are saying that the original belief in the WCG was
never originally genuine, leading us back to
everyone's greed, and not their naïve minds.
I'll be checking in to read your responses, which I'm
actually looking forward to. I don't know you (I
don't think), and you don't know me (I don't think).
You may know my dad, (I know he knows of you). It's
all just debate anyway. I don't expect you to do
anything with this except laugh. I don't expect to
change your mind, and if this happens to make it to
the hate mail page, I hope it isn't for passively
aggressively agreeing with you, because in most cases,
I don't I haven't thought about the WCG for years now,
and have given it more attention than I ever will
again. But with all that I've read over the past few
days, the hundreds of web pages full of stories and
grief, very few admit what is unmistakably true, and
you should make your 40,000 person following admit.
Every member was greedy. Really, really greedy.
18 Nov 03
Reply to: Jeff Diehl,
I read your letter to the editor of the Painful Truth with some interest. Hopefully you won't mind me taking a moment to reply.
I can only imagine how tough it must have been to be a preacher's kid. While some PK's I have known were pretty wild, others were good kids who lived under a lot more stress than some of us ordinary kids did. My very last pastor (before I escaped) had a stepson who was a really decent kid, but the old man (who was 20 years older than the boy's mother) was a tyrant who drove him away. Any normal person would rebel under such circumstances, and he did. I know it was no bed of roses, and I sympathize with all of you.
However... As bad as you had it, did you ever stop to consider what it was like for the "other" kids in the churches you attended?
You complain about having to ride in a "fleet car". That would be a car provided for your use, one your dad didn't have to pay for. It would have been new, with nice seat covers, air conditioning, and a warranty. You never had to sit on the side of the road late at night, waiting for a tow truck that never showed up, hoping against hope that the headlights coming in your direction weren't driven by a robber or killer. And the money your dad didn't have to spend on car payments, insurance, or gasoline (or tithes, either) was money that was available for you to have nicer clothes, better food, and better toys.
I'm not saying you didn't have it rough, but you had it rough in a different way. The roughness you experienced was boring and inconvenient, but not life-threatening or permanently debilitating.
About your dad... I don't know the first thing about him. You say he was a nice guy, and I'll take your word for it. Some ministers were nice guys. I knew several. I grew up with Mike Booze, and he was a great kid. He later became a popular minister, and was one of the best speakers I ever heard. If anyone could command a standing O at a feast site, I imagine he could have (though I never saw it happen). Glen White was the finest minister I ever had, and he became a close personal friend as well (which says a great deal about him, because he wasn't supposed to "fraternize" with people like me).
But for every "good" minister, there were a hundred assholes. If you've been reading the PT site, you've seen the testimony of many people who will attest to that. Maybe your dad wasn't one. If not, then good for him. But guess what -- your dad worked for the bad guys. Maybe he treated people with respect, but he had a job to do, and that job was to spread the company doctrine. Remember all those boring times when you had to wait around while your dad listened to the various problems of all the "losers"; well, I'm guessing that your dad gave a lot of those losers some really bad advice, including bad medical advice, bad marriage advice, bad economic advice -- because the Worldwide Church of God taught bad advice, and your dad had no choice but to preach the party line. Those other ministers I mentioned, the good ones -- all gave bad advice. Your dad did, too. He had to. He worked for Armstrong and Tkach, he had no choice. So he helped make people's lives worse, because he didn't know any better.
It's all very nice for you to sit back in the comfort of your present world and, with a certain amount of arrogance, condemn the rest of us for being losers. But let me ask you this: Did you choose to be a preacher's kid? Did you ask for any of the shit you had to endure? Of course not. And neither did I. I was raised in it, just like you, except I didn't have the luxury of being a member of the privileged elite. My dad wasn't even in the church until the last few years of his life, so I was considered by many to be an orphan of sorts, because it was just my mom and me at church.
Certainly people have to take responsibility for their own actions. Many people who joined the WCG did so because they wanted to be there, and they are still hanging on in the splinter cults. No one who made a conscious decision to follow Armstrong is without some personal responsibility, but that doesn't change the fact that we were all sold a bill of goods. And we certainly have a right to bitch about that, whether you think so or not. Hell, even you are bitching!
But how many ministers (past and present) have admitted their responsibility? Has your dad apologized for his role, unwitting though it may have been, in keeping those people in bondage? Some ministers have. I'm betting your dad hasn't.
About the "just rewards" -- I don't think anyone believes that the local ministers are counting their lucre. Their "reward" was getting dumped out in the cold at the end of their careers, many or most without retirement. Not a very nice benefit, considering that many of them dedicated up to four or five decades of their lives to Armstrong's theology. But there were ministers and then there were MINISTERS. Those guys at headquarters, the ones who are still standing now that the long knives have mostly been put away -- they are the ones counting the gold. You can be goddamn sure that little joe tkult is a very rich man today, at your father's expense.
I could go on, but to what point? I just have to ask you one question: you said that every member was "greedy. Really, really greedy." How in the name of Casper did you come up with that one? The ministry wasn't greedy? The Worldwide Church of God served only one purpose for half a century -- it was a life-support system for Herbert W. Armstrong, and after that for the Tkult family (Joe and little joe). That's all it ever was. That's all it is today. Simply an ATM machine.
You should talk about greed -- your dad never had to pay tithes. You never suffered because the family budget was slashed by first and second before the groceries were even bought (my kids did, and they're probably about your age). So don't go calling anybody greedy, unless you want to look in the mirror. Calling a cult member greedy is like pointing at the Jews in Auschwitz and saying, "They're all murderers!"
Now, what exactly is GELCO?
19 Nov 03
I was a little surpised at the lack of compassion and hateful attitude that Jeff Deihl had towards the cult victims of "armstrongism". I though Bill's reply to him was great.
All the church members were "greedy"!?! What a bunch of shit! Most members I knew sincerely wanted to serve God as they were being taught. Sure, many had problems marriage, sex, financial, health you name it. I guess some kid who's parent's had everything provided for him by the church would not be able to relate to THE REAL WORLD!
The Real World (even being in the cult) was that church members were losing jobs due to the sabbath or holy days, let alone missing about 2 weeks due to the feast! The real world is that many families were broken up and left on their own to pick up the pieces. Due to excessive tithing preached by the church ministry (including Jeff's dad, if he was a TRUE believer) caused many families to suffer greatly leaving them living on substandard diets, driving used clunkers, and having to wait for the feast to buy things like underwear and new shoes.
My family had it good compared to a lot of families in our area growing up. That's because my dad had seniority before joining the cult, and having a good paying job. Yet, my dad drove each new car he did get, for many years, and did his own repairs, to save money. He gave to the building fund gladly, because he thought he was honoring God, NOT because he was being "GREEDY"!!!
Most of our friends drove older cars too. Yet, amazingly, each of our ministers got a new car every year or two. One minister in particular, had family in OK and TX. Every other week it seemed his family would go to either OK or TX for family get togethers or YOU events. We could go weeks at a time without hearing our minister speak in church. He got new cars quite often.
There is only one minister I had any respect for, and that was Ted Johnston. He was really caring and easy to talk to. The minister who baptized me (Bruce Gore) told my husband the following in counseling, not long after we were married. We had been having some problems and thought maybe we should counsel with the minister (as the church taught). He told my husband privately that "if she doesn't like things, tell her to get out". My husband's attitude has been negative towards me ever since. I didn't find out about this fine ministerial advice until just a couple years ago.
As far as "greedy, greedy members", Jeff you are WAY out of line. Since you didn't suffer, but were merely inconvenienced or bored as Bill said, you CAN'T understand what it was like for people. Not do you care, by your attitude.
All the church members I've known through the years, have been sincere. They BELIEVED we were all in "God's true church". Some had this or that problem, but we were all trying to obey as best we could. Everyone was being tithed, and emergency offered to death, as was evident by the clothing, cars and homes of the members. If the members were all "so greedy", your dad and ALL the ministers would have been fired on their asses YEARS ago, because all the "greedy" members would have quit giving money about the time Herbie wanted money to build an opera house for God. If anyone was "greedy" it was Herbie. Go back and reread EVERYONE of his letters. REALLY read them! It's amazing my parents sent in money (and later myself) after reading such abusive, accusing, demanding letters. Also, go back and read the Ambassador Reports and "The Tangled Web". Oh, and be sure to check out the auctions WCG had in recent years, selling off Herbie's expensive trinkets. Now tell all of us surviving cultists "who" was greedy!!!
If anything kept the members in the church, it was the FEAR the church instilled in all of us, NOT greed!!! We feared the tribulation and seeing our kids suffer. We feared losing out on eternal life. We feared the possiblility of the lack of fire. Yes, FEAR and not greed was what kept 99.9% of the members there.
Ed's (the former editor) wanting his $100,000 back is not greedy. It's a way of being "made whole" as best as one can be. We can never replace the time, or lives lost due to cult teachings, but getting back every last dime we gave would give some small satisfaction and give each of us a chance to better ourselves for all we gave (to no avail) and suffered due to the church.
If there were any "greedy" members, it would be the ministry (probably 95% +). Even as Joe Sr. took over and started making big changes, most ministers stayed. Why? Because the only education any of them had was AC spokesman club nonsense. They had no training for the working world, and were afraid to walk away from it and start over. Yet, church people have been "starting over" ever since the church began. The ministers hung in there to keep those paychecks, church cars and homes coming. They KNEW what they had to face if they left the church. The mininsters who stayed in the church, even while NOT believing or even teaching the new church teachings, while not believing themselves, were GREEDY SOBS!
So get off your high horse, Jeff. Maybe your parents were exceptions good for them. You seem overly touchy about it. Wonder why? But the experiences of nearly everyone on this website, and other forums I've been on tell a completely different story.
Poorer (and recovering!) but Wiser
24 Nov 03
Dear New Editor:
I would like to reply to Jeff Deihl's letter to Ed Mentell Sr.. Although he never
got his chance to "serve" as a Worldwide Church of God minister, he shows
that he would have been a perfect fit for the position. His letter overflows
with arrogance and self-righteousness. Even though he was never a minister,
his father was, and he is obviously offended by the fact that many of the
contributors to this site have written things that make ministers, his
father among them, look bad. He resents the fact that Painful Truth
contributors lump his father in with all the bad guys they have dealt with
during their years of WCG membership. In classic ministerial fashion, he
places the blame fully on the member and denies his father had anything to
do with the problems we have experienced. Like every minister I have
encountered since leaving the Worldwide Church of God, he acknowledges that
other members of the ministry may have committed abuses, but his father
never did anything wrong. His father was the exception.
What follows is my response to Jeff:
Jeff: My dad, while being a minister in the WWCG was a very loved, respected and
admirable man. The congregations of the Ohio, Kentucky, New York and South
Carolina churches loved my dad. (Well at least most people did). And even
though you weren't supposed to show favoritism by clapping for a sermon at
the Feast, his last one in Myrtle Beach got him a standing ovation from the
audience. He was inspirational, believed what he was teaching and was
To begin, Painful Truth contributors are not trying to make ministers look
bad. We are merely recounting our experiences with our ministers. We aren't
making this stuff up. We simply say what the ministers did, and if they look
bad, it's because the things they did were bad. Sorry if it bothers you,
kid, but that's tough. Most ministers were bad guys. All we have to do is
say what they did. Their actions speak for themselves.
Maybe your father was the exception. I have come across a couple of
ministers who really did care about the members of their congregations, and
didn't lord it over them. But most ministers let the power and adulation go
to their heads. They really did believe they were God's anointed. They
really believed that they were better than their congregations. They would
never soil their fingers with menial work. They left the dirty work for the
deacons and non-ordained membership. If any manual labor had to be done,
such as unloading fruit from trucks, they would be miles away because
ministers should not "leave the word of God, and serve tables (Acts 6:2)."
For a minister, working with his hands was demeaning, and a fate worse than
death. Ministers ordered people around. They supervised. They did not work.
Ministers viewed their congregations as the unwashed masses. My first pastor
told the congregation that he never accepted dinner invitations from lowly
members. "Familiarity breeds a certain amount of disrespect," he said, and
practiced what he preached. Whenever I talked to him, which wasn't very
often, he always seemed slightly irritated and ended the conversation as
quickly as he could. Most ministers weren't crass enough to actually state
this in front of the congregation, but my first pastor was a total boor. But
even though they wouldn't state it explicitly, most of them lived by this
credo, and I soon learned that you could not become too friendly with your
ministers. They wouldn't let you. Everything was kept at arms length.
I wouldn't expect you to say, "My dad was just as bad as all the other
ministers." But I hope you don't expect me to take your word that your
father was the exception. Maybe he was. But for every minister who was a
decent human being, there were 15 or 20 who were creeps, and until I get to
speak about your father with somebody who is not a member of your family, I
will assume that your father was a creep. Judging by the way you turned out,
I'm sure my assumption is correct.
Your apparent six year web-quest of the painful truth and
hwarmstrong.com , and the massive effort to "expose the church" are all
in vain. As a matter of fact, you said".but I estimate I gave well over
$100,000 to the cult." My guess is that once you found out your wife was
sick, and couldn't be cured, that the next best thing was to find a way to
be able to guarantee you'd see her again someday.
You're all heart.
That required joining the church, and that required money for the offering
and tithe. You passed your paycheck, college funds & other money over
quicker than a gambling addict at the blackjack table.
Yes, and your dad and his colleagues couldn't cash the paychecks fast
enough. In your ignorance you fail to make the connection that some of that
$100,000 made it's way into your father's pocket, and I'm sure some of it
made it into your's as well (you did receive an allowance, didn't you?).
Your father put a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food in your
stomach with that money. I would expect some gratitude from you, but you
were a minister's brat after all, and as a member of the Levitical
priesthood, you act as though you were entitled to it. You accuse us of
trying to buy eternal life by tithing. Not true. Most people tithed because
they thought they were contributing to a work that would save the world. We
now know that was not true. You were the beneficiary of a con game, and
lived very well at our expense, you moocher.
Your website is filled with sad stories about the church, cult, or whatever.
Suicides, divorces, people who gave away all of their money, borrowed to pay
third tithe, didn't take medicine, beat their kids, and who knows what else.
It also seems to be driven by the fact that you (and an enormous amount of
others) are just plain pissed off.
Furthermore you think that the ministers were to blame for everyone's
problems in the WWCG. And, let's just touch on this a second: I'm sure that
there were some, maybe a few who "knew" what the church was up to, but
clearly not all or even a majority, it's an absurd notion. By no means did
my dad and mom come home on Saturdays and give each other a high five while
saying, "suckers, we took 'em for everything they had". We didn't spend the
night counting money in the living room, nor did any of my uncles. They were
teaching the church members what they were taught. They were doing their
jobs Ed, and there was no secrecy, no man behind the curtain at church on
Saturdays, and certainly no conspiracy on Friday nights playing the bible
Perhaps your relatives did not count money in the living room. That's the
kind of stuff that happened at Pasadena. Your dad and your uncles got the
leftovers from Herbert Armstrong's table (there was a lot of nepotism in the
Worldwide Church of God; I was always amazed at how many sons and brothers
of ministers were ministers, and how many wives of ministers had brothers
who were ministers, or sisters who were married to ministers. It reminds me
of the royal families of Europe passing around their birth defects. Family
connections, rather than merit, seemed to be the key to advancement in the
church of god ministry). They couldn't fly private jets. But they did get
brand new fleet cars every other year. Armstrong's leftovers were pretty
substantial. All your father and uncles had to do to get their share was
disfellowship anyone who disagreed or cause trouble. They knew where the
leftovers ultimately came from, and they made damn sure that no
troublemakers would lead an exodus of tithe payers.
The college is gone, the name is gone, there's no more Feast of Tabernacles,
all the leaders are dead & so is the faith.
Not quite. Ever hear of the United Church of God? The Philadelphia Church of
God? The Living Church of God? The Church of God International? The Restored
Church of God? Your father may have left the faith and become an atheist,
but there are plenty of your father's former partners in tithe-collecting
who are still sponging off the membership. The Feast of Tabernacles is still
the event of they year for the ministry, where they feast on the generosity
of the tithe-payers, hogging the best hotel accommodations for themselves
and consigning the members to second rate facilities, sparing themselves the
drudgery of mingling with the unwashed.
The Painful Truth is dedicated to helping those still being exploited by a
selfish ministry. If you don't like the fact that your father is guilty by
association, you have to understand that your father benefited as a minister
just like all of the other creeps. I don't see him rushing to make
However, I see your website as operating on the same principles that your
favorite pal HWA did. You have a lot of followers who are saying, "man, this
guy knows what he's talking about! We go duped hard! Well I'll tell you what
man, when the proof comes around this time, I'll know where to find it. If
anyone's going to find it, Ed will. And I'm sticking' with Ed man, cause
he'll know when he sees it!"
How ironic that this letter would be posted the same day that Ed has decided
to turn over the management of this site to another. Unlike Herbert
Armstrong, who refused to step aside even after he went blind and senile,
dribbling all over himself on his television program, Ed has decided that
others can handle the website, and he is not so desperate for control that
he won't pass the reins to someone else.
There was also another remarkable difference between Ed's request for money
and Herbert's. When Ed let it be known he would accept donations to help
defray cost of maintaining the site, he set a target of $375 or something in
that range, and once the target was reached, he stopped accepting donations.
And he didn't use guilt trip tactics to extract donations. He made it known
that he was on a fixed income, and if those who in the past had expressed an
interest in helping still wanted to contribute, he would accept their
donations. He didn't want anything from anybody who didn't want to
contribute, and he especially did not want "widow's mites." He made it clear
that you were not more righteous if you contributed, and you were not a bad
person, destined for the lake of fire, if you didn't.
You mentioned that if a class action lawsuit were to be filed, you'd bring
40,000 people along with you to sign it. If your were using your head, you'd
put a "donate here" click button on your website. You'd have your $100K back
in the bank in three days, and that's really what everyone wants back in the
first place. Money and time that you lost. We'll you can't get back the
time, no more than you can un-ring a bell. (One of my dad's favorite
sayings). What you can do with the time though is make up for it. You'll
never get the 25 years back, and neither will my dad.
Ed, along with the rest of us, has no illusions about recovering lost
tithes. What we want is for the con game to stop. Church of God ministers
have lived very well at our expense. We want the poor, deluded souls who
still sacrifice their tithes to put their money to better use. There is no
reason for them to sacrifice in order to support men who exploit them. The
class of moochers and leeches known as ministers should now fend for
themselves instead of urging members to contribute more so they can continue
to live the good life.
So, if you'll allow me I'll summarize with some bullets: (not those kind of
99 percent of the "ministers" were honest & credible people, with faults,
but nonetheless, decent human beings. It's your fault, and every other
individuals fault that they listened to their minister, their mechanic,
plumber, electrician or anyone else who gave them an estimate on something,
be it life, or a new garbage disposal and didn't get a second opinion, or
paid for it up front. Don't blame my mother and father, individually or as
part of a whole, for your weak mindedness or greed. Click on the link below
for more information on exactly who you are blaming for your problems, both
then and now. As you will see, he is a lot better man than you can possibly
Once again, don't expect me to take your word that 99% of the ministers were
good people. My experience showed otherwise. Most of the ministers I had to
deal with thought they were God's gift to the congregation. They were so
full of themselves that they would have blown their stacks had you addressed
them by their first name. It was "Mister" Minister, and don't you forget it.
Their jobs were to make sure everyone obeyed Mr. Armstrong or Mr. Tkach
without question. If you behaved yourself, you would be accepted. If not,
they would get rid of you as fast as they could. After defaming you from the
pulpit, they would instruct the membership to avoid you so they too wouldn't
become corrupted and stop paying tithes. They were there to protect the
church's income stream, not serve the membership.
Most of the ministers thoroughly enjoyed the status conferred on them by
virtue of their belonging to the exalted ministerial caste, and were
corrupted by the power they were given. They did not take criticism well,
and took it as a personal affront and a threat to their authority if you
questioned any of their opinions and decisions. If your dad was an
exception, good for him. But I don't know him, and I don't know anybody who
can confirm what you say about him. I can only go by what I have
experienced, and until I can personally confirm that your dad is a good man,
I would be foolish to assume he was any different from the run-of-the-mill
ministers I had the misfortune to meet.
Here, you can add this to the upset children list, or whatever it is.
You might have been a Ministers Kid in the WWCG if:
Crazy people called your house in the middle of the night talking about
their marriage problems, drinking problems, drug problems, sex problems and
anything else you can imagine.
You go moved all over the east coast and attended 14 different schools in 12
You had to get to church three hours early and stay three hours late,
waiting for the last ninety year old lady, single weirdo, upset couple, or
deacon & elder and EVERYONE to finish talking to your dad and then your mom,
and possibly you.
My, you had a hard life.
You had to explain to any of your neighborhood friends what a baptismal was
and why there was one in your driveway
Poor kid. Embarrassed in front of the neighbors, eh? Well, it beats losing
your job because your kept the Sabbath or the Feast of Tabernacles, a risk
ordinary members faced every time they took time off, but something your
father never had to worry about. At least you had a house and a driveway.
Once your mom was allowed to work, the only thing she could do with her
fabulous AC degree was hang wallpaper.
Well, nobody held a gun to your mother's head and forced her to go to
Ambassador College. She made that decision on her own. She has to accept the
consequences of her bad decisions. Now we have to listen to her loser son
whine about it as though she had no control over her fate when she actually
has nobody to blame but herself.
The shoe is on the other foot now, isn't it?
Your rode in a "fleet car" and know what GELCO is.
As someone else has already pointed out, ministers didn't keep their fleet
cars very long. They were replaced every couple of years, and your father
got to deduct his mileage, gas, parking and other vehicle operating expenses
on his income tax returns. By the way, your dad's new car was paid for by
the losers and hillbilly weirdos.
By the way, is GELCO that gooey stuff mothers put on their babies' behinds
to prevent diaper rash? Do you still use it?
You had to dance with EVERY, and I mean EVERY girl at the church dances.
They had to dance with you, too. I'm sure that was no picnic.
You had to sit up and pay attention on the front row at church, while every
other loser kid got to sleep
If your father was such a great speaker, staying awake shouldn't have been a
problem. Apparently, your father was as big a bore as the average minister.
Maybe the reason he got that standing ovation at Myrtle Beach was that
everybody was relieved that he finally finished his sermon.
You had to go to every log cabin, outhouse using, just picked up dinner off
of the road for dinner, back road hillbilly-weirdo house of death for
dinner, and stay ALL NIGHT LONG listening to god knows what kind of problems
the people had.
Perhaps the hillbilly serving you roadkill had to live in a log cabin
outhouse because he was tithing so your dad could live in a house with a
driveway, where he parked his brand new fleet car, which was also paid for
by the hillbilly. If your father had a real job, instead of being a
professional moocher, you could have avoided all that. Blame your father,
not the hillbilly who was kind enough feed your father after he had already
emptied his pockets to pay your father's salary. Sorry you had to listen to
the hillbilly's problems, but considering he was supporting both of you, it
was the least you could do.
Your mom and dad made you give everybody the PO box number instead of your
real address for fear that the "church member" in prison would someday find
When you make a profession of giving bad advice, you are bound to make
somebody mad at you.
All of your clothes ever smelled like olive oil, because your dad's didn't
take out his "anointing oil" after church.
Your garage ever smelled like rotten oranges from all the fruit that never
got sent out.
Thy suffering knew no bounds. You poor child!
And no, I very seriously doubt they're going to use the proceeds of the sale
of the campus for "their" own retirement. Maybe the Tkach guys are. I know
my dad hasn't seen a dime, nor my mother. They were promised it, but aren't
Your folks had it good for a long time. Now it's time to pay the price. I
didn't hear your parents complaining when they received their tax free
parsonage that enabled your family to afford better housing than most
members. You thought it was great when your father was exempt from paying
Social Security taxes because he was a minister. I hate to keep bringing up
those new cars you father got every couple of years (actually, I do like
bringing it up), but most members couldn't afford to buy a new car every
other year, and your father didn't have to pay for his. Your parents were
exempt from second and third tithe, and they received most of their first
tithe back as a festival allowance which enabled you to live it up at the
Feast of Tabernacles. Let me remind you once again that it was the
membership who paid for all of that stuff.
So your parents aren't receiving anything for their retirement? They were
suckered by the church leadership, eh? Well it's their own fault. They made
a bad decision. It's their fault that they listened to their minister, their
mechanic, plumber, electrician or anyone else who gave them an estimate on
something, be it retirement income, or a new garbage disposal and didn't get
a second opinion, or paid for it up front. Don't blame the church
membership, either individually or as part of a whole, for their
weak-mindedness or greed.
My mom and dad asked nothing in return from the church, other than the
paycheck they got for doing their jobs. Everyone else was in it for
themselves, including you.
If your mom and dad asked for the paychecks they got for doing their jobs,
then they did ask for something in return from the church. Their motives
were not totally altruistic, your assertions to the contrary
notwithstanding. They were in it for the money, the perks and the power. The
only thing we members got in return for our three tithes was a lot of bad
advice, a lot of boring sermons, and a bunch of crappy magazines. Mom and
Dad are only now beginning to experience what we members lived with for
years. Before they were the beneficiaries of the lies, broken promises and
double standards. Now they are the victims. Welcome to the club. Not
surprisingly, the ministers and their offspring whine the loudest and the
longest at the injustices perpetrated against them. Where were they 20 years
ago? They were in their nice homes, driving their brand new cars, collecting
their fat paychecks, and disfellowshipping anyone who complained about what
you are complaining about now.
And yes, it is people ARE responsible for letting other men corrupt them,
and you pay the consequences when you do.
As you and your parents are now finding out. They now find themselves with
worthless degrees from a defunct college, without a retirement income. They
enjoyed the ministerial fantasy land while it lasted. It must have been fun
to pretend you were God's chosen minister, and that your were really,
really, really important. But now they are middle aged, without any job
qualifications, and they have to start all over again. And they have nobody
to blame but themselves. Nobody forced them to attend and unaccredited
college and become minister and minister's wife in a corrupt organization.
Nobody put a gun to their heads. They believed the lie that they would
receive a retirement income because they were weirdos, losers, and backroad
hillbillies. They were suckered because they didn't get a real education.
Instead they got a make believe education with a make believe diploma. It's
sort of like the joke they used to tell in the Soviet Union, "We pretend we
work, they pretend they pay us."
Your parents pretended they had a real job. Now they can pretend they are
The part about the less intelligent and uneducated being the inclined to
religion, as well as a good explanation of the "ministers" we had is
interesting too. You said that the ministry was uneducated, yet on your
personal timeline the only four year anything I see after high school is in
There is nothing wrong with four years in the military. It would probably do
you a lot of good. It would make a man out of you, instead of the pampered,
spoiled little brat that you are now.
By the way, I am a graduate of a real college, and have a real degree, a
bachelor of science in accounting. I am a CPA, licensed to practice in the
state of New York. This qualifies me to respond to your letter.
So you've appointed yourself vigilante of the WCG and then go around placing
blame on every single person other than the people your trying to "help".
I see that your education is deficient, grammar-wise. it's "...placing blame
on every single person other than the people you're trying to 'help.'"
But with all that I've read over the past few days, the hundreds of web
pages full of stories and grief, very few admit what is unmistakably true,
and you should make your 40,000 person following admit. Every member was
greedy. Really, really greedy.
Broad, sweeping generalizations. You object to us generalizing about
ministers being rotten people because you father gets lumped in with the
rest of them. Not surprisingly, you are guilty of the same thing.
You talk about being bitter. You're the one who is bitter. You had to make
sacrifices because of the church. So did everybody else. In fact, the
average member made sacrifices far greater than you and your parents were
required to make. Now you're pissed off at us because your father forced you
into situations you could have avoided if it wasn't for the members. Paying
your dad's salary, buying his car, subsidizing his housing, paying his
expenses at the Feast where you and your family enjoyed the finest
accommodations at our expense, all of that was OK. But when it came time for
your father to earn all of those benefits, that's not OK. That was an
imposition on you. We're a bunch of losers because even though we gave our
time, talent and treasure, and paid his salary and gave you and your family
a higher standard of living than most of us enjoyed, we had the nerve to ask
him to do his job.
Warmest regards, you little punk,
You know? I took a few extra days posting this response from MAM to Jeff. I had to read it a couple more times, savor it a little in private, just a tad. Even take the time to do a little formatting on the 'back and forth' post MAM sent us. (Generally I won't do much formatting of input... Hint hint)
This is worth it.
I can't quite bring myself to say what I REALLY think of Jeff Diehl or his post here. He managed to bash quite a lot of people here: WCG+ members who were poor, or military, country (hillbilly), anyone looking to further their knowlege currently on their church/cult experience, anyone who ever had a loved one die while in the cult because of cult-sanctioned lack of medical service.
His post reeks of elitist ivory-tower ignorance of reality.
In my view? I thoroughly agree with MAM's response, as well as Linda's and others as well here.
Good post MAM!
Dear Jeff.... No. It isn't in vain.
I read MAM's response to Jeff Deihl. I have had a couple of conversations
with his father, Dennis Diehl, and he seems to be a decent kind of guy. But
I find Jeff, based on his "letter", to be an insufferable moron.
However, I think MAM spent way too much time responding to Jeff. I will now
respond in a much more succinct manner. Jeff, this is the only response you
Go to hell.
Nov 26 2003
From Jeff Diehl
I did expect some response from my posting last week,
but I never intended to rattle the cage as hard as I
First, and foremost, I would like to expressly
apologize publicly, and if I could do so in person to
Ed Sr. for the remark I made about his late wife. My
intentions were to make a point, and I did so in a
most disrespectful fashion. It was a very poor
statement, and I did not mean to make light of the
death of your first wife. I can only try to
appreciate her suffering through friends I've known
under similar circumstances. Please accept this as a
very sincere and humble apology to both you, your late
wife's family and friends, as I am truly embarrassed
about that statement.
As far as MAM (whoever that is, as you can see this
person can't use their name but only "stand behind
Jesus and throw darts" (Ed. SR) HATE MAIL. However, I
spoke to my dad a few days ago, and he was able to
shed some light on a few things. One of his comments
was that each church he got transferred in to was
generally a mess, reeking of the same stench that you
mentioned about "not accepting dinner invitations, for
familiarity breeds a certain amount of disrespect",
and attitude of that nature. Normally the first year
of his ministry was cleaning up the messes of the past
minister. Furthermore other ministers in our
districts that he had to work with were also extremely
hard on their members, controlling and unwilling to
"get their hands dirty". I understand more now that
you and many others had experiences with these
ministers, and based on them, I would never expect you
or anyone else to believe ".your father was a creep".
Considering MAM's other comments, well done. No, I
did not have a hard life, it was actually great. Yes,
we had a nice house, I got an allowance, all due to
the contributions from church members. Hardly the
point of my original letter, but since you brought it
Yes, we had a new car every two years. I even got to
drive them in my teens. I don't know why this is such
a sore subject for so many people, but again, from the
contributions of the church members.
Your right about the dances at church, most of the
kids thought I was just as arrogant as I am today, and
it was probably no picnic (good one by the way).
You're right, nobody held a gun to my mom's head to go
to AC, and leave the country "hillbilly" in the middle
of nowhere, Texas to find something better for
herself. I don't think for one minute did I suggest
that someone did. She HAS accepted the consequences,
makes a great salary as a product manager for a global
company. Again, you missed the point of the posting.
(I also never called anyone, members, Ed Sr. or even
you a "loser son, little punk, or SOB". I played by
Ed Sr's rules on this website, not resorting to name
calling and would expect his supporters to do the
You're right about the military. I have utmost
respect for anyone who has or currently serves in any
branch. The education it provides is second to none,
and I didn't mean to suggest as such. Again you
missed the point. I was simply stating that the
ministers were not uneducated, as so said by Ed. Sr.
My comments on the "hillbilly" were also a tad
inappropriate. My apologies to those who were
offended. But again, you are so blinded by placing
blame on whose fault it was that you gave all your
money away, lost your job, and whatever else. It's
nobody's fault but your own. My dad didn't mooch off
of anyone, including you. He got paid a salary, and
compared to someone who didn't have a job, of course
he looked rich. Believe me, there were plenty of
members who had a "house with a driveway". You keep
missing the point that if someone (like a hillbilly,
which again I apologize for) would give their last
dime while "serving road kill" to their family was all
in the name of God, you're deluding yourself. That
guy would give everything he had in order to change
his own personal situation for the better. Starve his
family, loose his job, live in poverty, not give
medicine, etc. etc. That's greed (mixed with
stupidity), not trying to do the work of God. God
was who they had to go through to get what they
wanted. That's the point you keep missing.
Yes, I thought it was great when my "father was exempt
from paying Social Security Taxes" I don't remember
if it was the editor, or you who is the certified CPA,
but this hardly has anything to do with god. That's
Once again, I will reiterate that my parents have
never made excuses for their current situation, (which
actually isn't that bad). Not once have they
complained about trusting the church for their
retirement. They are kicking themselves for not
saving money on their own, not opening websites about
whose fault it is.
You're final paragraph is very interesting. As a
matter of fact, you more than made my point.
You talk about being bitter. You're the one who is
bitter. You had to make sacrifices because of the church. So did everybody
else. In fact, the average member made sacrifices far greater than you
and your parents were required to make. Now you're pissed off at us because
your father forced you into situations you could have avoided if it wasn't
for the members. Paying your dad's salary, buying his car, subsidizing his
housing, paying his expenses at the Feast where you and your family
enjoyed the finest accommodations at our expense, all of that was OK. But
when it came time for your father to earn all of those benefits, that's not
OK. That was an imposition on you. We're a bunch of losers because
even though we gave our time, talent and treasure, and paid his salary and
gave you and your family a higher standard of living than most of us enjoyed,
we had the nerve to ask him to do his job.
Warmest regards, you little punk
".we had the nerve to ask him to do his job."
What was his job again? Get you into heaven, make
your life better, make the blind see, the crippled
walk, the poor rich, the rich understanding and the
dead rise from the grave? Get you to the "world
tomorrow" where you could walk and talk with the
animals, where every day would be like the Feast,
money was no object, there'd be no more war and no
more bullies, where the "hillbilly" would live in a
mansion and we'd all be friends? Or was his job to
teach god's way? Think about it. Why were you really
PS. Whoever Russell is, what an educated response.
PS. To the editor. Don't hold back, go ahead and
tell me what you really think of me. I'm not afraid.
I have to give Jeff some props here for replying, and for his apology .
What I think of you has changed a bit since your first post here; I'm not exactly sure how much and where, but I do admire a guy who will stand up to his own words. I really do.
MAM will certainly reply on his own behalf.
There's something simple you've seemingly not realized: your father may have been a great guy. Might still be. He might have done good things for people. This doesn't change the fact that he was a cog in the wheel of an organization that knowingly, purposely, ripped people off. There might have been "good guys" in the SS in Germany also. Maybe they just "followed orders". They and your Dad, and others just... did nothing...
" All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing .Ē
Yes, there probably was some of the 'ordained' who were also 'the duped'. Maybe.
More probably, your father knew exactly what the score was, just like all the rest of the ministry; only he didn't count on the odd curve-ball that Tkach and Son threw to the cult in the '90s....
As I said -- I admire you for speaking up here again. This door is open to you, and... your father, should he care to opine.
Here's wishing you and your family, and all the Dear Readers of this site, a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday, Jeff.
"Think about it. Why were you really in church?"
Not a bad question, actually. He has a point, here... Think about that answer....
Reply to Jeff Diehl:
I responded to your earlier post, and will respond to this one as well.
You ask "why were we in the church".
My dad's mother was a religious fanatic. They were Lutherans, but even as a young teen at home, my dad questioned some of the teachings. Being the youngest, he probably had that thing about wanting to please his parents, so he remained in the church. He married someone he never should have and moved several states away due to his job. She cheated on him and they get divorced. My dad travels to the opposite part of this country (USA) and meets my mom on a job assignment. They end up getting married and move to the midwest.
Meanwhile, my dad, looking for answers and probably feeling guilty about the divorce and such, was ripe pickins for a fast talking minister who sounded SO SURE about the future. My dad felt his church had let him down, and here was a church with an answer for everything. The worldly churches couldn't be right, because they were "satanic". Promises of ruling in the millenium with Christ and becoming a king and a priest was pretty heady stuff.
My parents took the PT and listened to the broadcasts all through the 60's. My dad started tithing to the church YEARS before becoming baptised and allowed to attend church. I would hardly call that "greedy". They believed they were helping with "God's work". (Little did they (or I) know about all the Dom Perigon and trinkets from Harrod's of London.) They counseled once in the mid 60's, but the church decided they weren't "ready" yet. Finally, in 1971, after getting the third degree counseling (divorce info included), my parents were both baptized and allowed to attend church. My dad's divorce was ruled fraud (on the ex-wife's part) by the ministry at the time. So our family remained intact, unlike scores of others who were forced apart by having to choose between God/the church vs. Love/their family.
In some ways, I wish my parents would have had to choose. Maybe we could have all avoided this whole "true" church/cult experience.
I was 11 when we came into the WCG in 1971, so I had a normal, happy childhood. Suddenly I had to drop out of scouts (Saturday activities). There were no other WCG kids in my school at the time, and no Jews either, so I was the weirdo of the school. I did hang out with some other freaky religious kids, and lost several good friends. The friendships I was able to maintain, became rather strained at best. They never could remember about Christmas or birthdays. They couldn't understand that I believed Christ was our Saviour. Couldn't do school functions and dances. Couldn't date. This was before YOU officially started. Luckily makeup was "OK" when I became old enough to wear it, so I didn't have that burden to bear as well.
I remember we had some very long winded sermons, boring as hell most (but not all) times. A friend at church advised me to take many notes, and the time would go faster. It helped somewhat. Taking notes meant listening, so I heard all the sermons about the tribulation, place of safety, being a "true Christian" and STILL not qualifying to live forwever! Nazis, meat hooks, photos in the PTs about the concentration camps were pretty frightening. I WANTED God's protection, because I knew if I was tortured, I would probably deny God and the church, and lose out forever. I read Ann Frank's Diary many times. I read The Hiding Place , and whatever else I could find about nazi Germany and the camps. I had this great fear growing up, that I could never measure up, and would end up being tortured and killed in a death camp. "1975" was coming quickly, and was a constant worry.
Even when 1975 came and went, it was all "just around the corner", "the next decade", and eventually, "before the end of the century".
Finally, HWA died, things started changing. Several of the changes were for the better, but the "trinity" thing and the "nature of God" was very confusing. Our own minister didn't understand the changes, so he preached on safe subjects, like love, and Christian living. My husband and I finally left WCG in 1995.
We left WCG in 1995 because of the lies from Tkatch. "This is not a change" or "you ALL misunderstood it wrong". Yeah, right. My parents and sister left 9 months later. We all ended up in Global, which became Living. My husband and I quit Living, and were churchless for awhile, then saw Gerald Flurry on tv one day. The program was very obviously aimed towards Worldwide members. My BIL wanted us to look at the PT website before we got so excited about the PCG. But we didn't. We figured Satan had gotten to him and he was going to lose out on everything, so we better not go there. So we attended PCG (after getting the third degree) from early 2000 until Nov. 2001. Before long, I (we) were getting fed up with the PCG, so I got online and looked up the PT website.
UNfortunately, our last year in PCG was a third tithe year. Bummer!
My parents and sis are still in Living. My mom is the most open minded, but she says "if we leave the church, where would be go". My dad is the religious fanatic in our family, so mom and my sister follow him along in what he wants to do or feels is right. I've tried to show them stuff off the internet. Mom will read through some things, but overall Dad won't. My sister is afraid to question "church authority", so she goes along. They're not happy though.
So "greed" (spoken of in earlier posts) is not what keeps my parents going. They honestly BELIEVE that they will be kings and priests one day with Christ, and teach the world the way to live. They've (along with my husband and I), have sent multiple thousands through the years. They think they are serving God, so they stay. I (we) thought we were serving God.
Why did I first start attending? I was a kid and got stuck.
Why did I stay? I came to believe the church (even though petty issues bothered me) teachings. Fear of losing out on eternal life (and never seeing our little stillborn baby again) is what kept me in as long as I did. Also, frying in the lake of fire did not appeal to me either. Plus I knew my parents would be deeply hurt if I quit, so I stayed 7 years longer than I really wanted to.
Why did we leave? Because of what we found out online and through books about "the apostle", the MANY financial, spiritual and emotional abuses that have happened in "the church". Not to mention the suicides, ruined health, and needless deaths of many. Lies, hypocrasy all started at the top by our "grandfatherly" figure Herbie, himself.
Celebrating two years of freedom!
Here we go again. Jeff Diehl apologizes...or does he?
Jeff Diehl wrote:
You keep missing the point that if someone (like a hillbilly, which again I apologize for) would give their last dime while "serving road kill" to their family was all in the name of God, you're deluding yourself. That guy would give everything he had in order to change his own personal situation for the better. Starve his family, loose [sic] his job, live in poverty, not give medicine, etc. etc. That's greed (mixed with stupidity), not trying to do the work of God. God was who they had to go through to get what they wanted. That's the point you keep missing.
Well, it's clear that logic is not Jeff's strong suit. Jeff, are you naturally stupid, or do you have to work at it? Is this the kind of thought process one can expect to have if one is raised by a Worldwide minister such as your father?
Please break it down for me (and for all the readers on this website who have real minds and can think):
Giving your last dime is greed?
Seeing your family go hungry is greed?
Losing your job is greed?
Living in poverty is greed?
Obeying the church's ORDERS to avoid medicine is greed?
Paying out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tithe, plus "generous offerings", special donations, and turning in "excess" 2nd tithe is greed?
Your final comment: God was who they had to go through to get what they wanted. That's the point you keep missing.
What? Huh? Excuse me? What did they want, and when did they get it? You call this GREED? Do you own a dictionary? Have you looked up the word "greed"?
Jeff, I think you're brain damaged. Children who suffer from malnutrition often don't develop normally. Your neurons aren't firing. You probably didn't get enough white sugar as a kid.
Or maybe you're just a fucking idiot!
From Jeff Diehl:
Dear Editor, John B, Linda, MAM & others:
I certainly hope everyone had a good thanksgiving, and
enjoyed the company of friends and family. I
appreciate everyone's candor and educated responses
concerning my first posting, and hopefully, this will
be the last. I admit, this has been one of the
healthiest, most stimulating debates I've had in a
long time, and even though i've thrown a couple sucker
punches and taken a few shots to the gut, I would like
to think that it has bettered all of us. I certainly
have learned a lot about myself in the past few weeks,
and hope to utilize the thoughts and ideas from this
forum to see this particular subject in a new light.
For the record, especially to John B. and MAM: I
openly admit, I did not have a bad life. The "you
might have been a preachers kid" was meant more as a
tall story than an attempt for anyone to feel sorry
for me, or my brother, or any other "PK" for that
matter. All of you are absolutely correct. We were
among, as several of you put it, the elite. Our dad's
had a new car all the time, and to those who did not,
I understand how that must have looked. The heat and
air always worked, the gas was paid for and so were
the repair bills. During the Feast, we got a yellow
sticker instead of a green, which got us much better
parking than most others. We got to stay in a nice
place at the Feast (as did many, many other members,
not just ministers). We got better seats during
church. We got the "Minister's Hospitality Room", in
many cases when my parents were in charge of it, most
of the church members from home cooked, baked & helped
make the food for the ministers & their bratty kids to
sit around and eat. We could run in the hall and if a
deacon, hall monitor, public safety officer or usher
told us to stop, all we had to say is, "my dad is a
minister". Pretty much the ultimate backstage pass to
the Feast. To answer John B.'s question, the answer
is no. I did not ask to be a preachers kid, but I
sure was glad to be one. In the wake of all that has
been said over the past few weeks, I would not change
a single thing about the way we grew up, if I had the
chance to do it over again.
I enjoyed the editors quote: "" All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing ."
(Edmund Burke). I could not agree more. In fact,
that's true about any schoolyard fight when you see
bullies picking on small kids, and cheering them on,
when deep down inside you want to help, but fear
you'll be laughed at next. It's a well thought out
and applicable quote to both my dad, and perhaps
several ministers who fall into the same category. I
really learned a lot from that insight, so thank you.
I will add one more time, the following link
That's from my dad, to anyone who cares. That's why I
can defend him.
To answer the question I posed to MAM, which the
editor in turn posed to me, "why were you in the
church, think about it?". I was born into the church,
and growing up it was what was taught to me, so that's
where it began. But going to church, listening to the
Young Ambassador tapes, doing YES lessons and coloring
pictures of the lion and the lamb, the world tomorrow
sounded pretty damn good! Getting into my teens and
going to district and regional basketball, volleyball
and track (yuk), I loved every minute of it. All of
the YOU got to stay in hotel rooms, eat together,
travel together & hang out together. And since we
couldn't do anything with school (Friday night
football, Saturday little league soccer etc), then I
wanted something fun for myself (very much so greed).
And that was the material return on investment. You
could have fun and be in the world tomorrow, as long
as you gave up life in the "other world". I
understand this is trivial compared to losing a job
due to church, giving all of your money to church etc.
But the motive still remains the same. I wanted to
ensure my delivery to "the place of safety" so that I
wouldn't have to suffer the embarrassment of the
second resurrection, or don't even think about the
third. The lake of fire sounded like a pretty bad
So in order to secure my own safety, freedom, the
chance to ride a polar bear and live in the world
tomorrow, all I had to do were several things. No
lard, no Twinkies, no Friday football, no Saturday
sports, no dating a girl outside of the church, no
ham, shrimp, Jell-O, no Saturday morning cartoons, no
Friday night Knight Rider show, do YES lessons, in
addition to regular schoolwork, do NOT get a job in
high school requiring work on a Friday night after
five or starting before Sundown on Saturday and many,
many other trivial things. All of that to get in.
That's how bad I wanted it (and mind you, I was 15
years old when I finally quit going to church, not 40)
I'm only 29 now.
Do I still suffer from the teachings of the church?
In a way, yes. I remember my parents always telling
us, "it's better to give than receive". True, it
feels good to give to someone else who doesn't have
what you have. The problem (as so many members
already know) is that it lends itself to being taken
advantage of. I've given more bums in my city a
couple of bucks here, a couple of bucks there for
"food", or "diapers" or whatever seemed like the nice
thing to do. But in the end, I'd love to have that
money back. And on a small scale, I understand Ed
Sr's frustration. It's not like the money I gave them
went for food, it went for drugs and alcohol (I'm not
trying to make broad generalizations, but it did)
just like the 3rd tithe never went to orphans and
widows, it went to the ministers (not ALL ministers,
but it did). However now instead of getting mad at
the world for not enforcing panhandling in my city, I
don't give them the money. And, I'm much happier for
I guess what I meant by "greedy, really really
greedy", was that I myself never spent any time trying
to recruit new members or kids. And most of you
probably didn't either. Sure, we say we "honored
God", but that was only because we had to. Not many
people in the church (or many churches for that
matter) love god so much that they would endure the
pain & suffering that so many did. It was only to get
what we wanted. I enjoyed the aloofness of "being in
the club". There are times when I wish I could go
back to that state of mind. Protection from the
outside world by being in the Worldwide Church of God
was great. And I can't imagine from what I saw
growing up that all of the church members suffered
24/7 while being in the church. I have a lot of fond
memories with many different members, kids and adults,
that I wouldn't trade for the world.
Everything must come to an end at some point. The
past is what makes us who we are today. It's up to us
to decide who we want to be. Linda indicated that she
is still recovering, and I'm sure that many more are.
Alcoholics who have been sober for 10 years still
consider themselves recovering, yet go on to very
productive and meaningful lives, without still placing
blame on whose fault it was. In the end, it's our own
selfishness, greed and self indulgence that gets us to
our final destination.
By the way, my brother and I did tithe. It used to
piss me off something fierce to give two bucks out of
my monthly allowance in the offering (which is a lot
when you're twelve). However, I can still remember a
sense of pride filling out one of the cool yellow
envelopes to put in the basket, instead of just
dropping in cash.
And for all of the content of this massive website,
which truly houses many peoples feelings, experiences,
and mostly venting, I think Ed Sr said it best.
"I place a value on my brain and will no longer turn
it over to those that want to tell me that they know
what god wants from me, without any proof."
I wish him luck with his retirement, and hope that he
is able to set the bag of bricks down and walk away
from the past. From the eyes of a young "little
brat", thanks again MAM, I hope that you all start
enjoying the present and looking to the future,
instead of living and dwelling on the past and more
importantly, placing blame and accepting
Thank you for allowing me to visit your forum, share
your experiences, and tolerate my opinion. We are all
right, and we are all wrong. At least I learned
something from spending time here. I hope to be able
to check in, in the future.
PS. If you still don't know what GELCO is, you must
not have been a ministers kid. :)
Ya know Jeff? That was a pretty good post. I am impressed with anyone trying to learn something, especially in such a touchy area as this subject. And that's really the object here, after all: learning just what the hell we went through with this cult. Why we did it... Is there something wrong with me for...? How could I EVER think...? Am I the only SOB out there who still gets "guilt shivers" if I go fishing on Saturday morning? Why do I stare at the night sky and feel fear, for harboring the secret thought that "god" doesn't really exist?
A lot of venting DOES go on here. And while I'm no psychologist-type, I can appreciate that, for a lot of people, the mental-emotional pus-draining helps do exactly what you suggested -- move on to better, greater things, with better understanding.
Others here will opine in their own words, but I'd say you're welcome back here anytime, Jeff.
PS -- Oh yeah... Don't be talkin' no more smack about rednecks and roadkill and such.... Don't you know that "roadkill" is considered a basic Food Group with us "hicks"? <grin>
I enjoyed the recent exchanges sparked by Jeff Diehl's
letters. And I appreciate your indulgence to allow
us to continue to vent our thoughts in this forum.
Jeff's rhetorical question of "Why were you really in the Church?",
wanted us to admit our own desire to save our butts from the
alleged later doom promised by the aberrant cult of the WCG.
No doubt that was a desire as the need for self-preservation is
indeed strong in the human species. This is likely an evolutionary
coping mechanism to insure the survival of the species.
But I submit that there is a larger reason for our being in the WCG
or any other religion created by man. It is because of the failure to
follow one of the best pieces of advice to ever have been offered
as a guide to a personal philosophy: Examine your premises.
In this brief letter I refer specifically to questioning those things
assumed or taken for granted. And religious matters are vastly
those things to be examined. The whole of our experiences in the
WCG was built around assumptions carefully fed us by the culture
we are a part of and our handlers who have to get us to happily
surrender our time, treasure and talents--especially our treasure.
Those handlers of ours never wanted us to question the basic
structure made up of unproved assumptions.
I've been thinking about this whole thing as it has come up from time
to time on these websites. Just who is to blame for our having
wasted our lives in Armstrongism? Many of the defenders of the
cult want us to blame ourselves as suggested by Jeff. No doubt
Jeff, as a loving son, wants to hold his dad as blameless. But his
father was a willing participant in herb's racket. So was I. I spent
16 years as a teaching Elder passing on to my fellow fools the
claptrap doctrines I was fed, believed, and lived for 25 years of
my captivity. (You can read an interview with me at
I have been free from religion now for about eight years. My start
on that road began when I questioned my premises in the
last year of my involvement with the wacky world of Armstrongism.
Allegedly true doctrines, allegedly delivered from on high to the
alleged Apostle to the alleged true members of the Church, were
being dumped wholesale by Big Joe in favor of allegedly truer
teachings required to be believed. And other circumstances
came into play forcing me to finally question my assumptions. And
those assumptions had to do with a god, a son of that god, and
an allegedly holy book. All this was was part of my premise
collection. (You can read my exit story on this site. See "How
Did We Get Out?" in the collected papers).
I don't want to expand too much on this subject as it could quickly
become book-size. But I do want to focus on how we are affected
by not questioning the premises particularly in the COG tradition.
Let's start with some relatively recent history going back to the
the first half of the 1800s. That was the time when one
William Miller in New England began preaching and teaching about
the date of the return of a saviour. He had his Bible, a concordance,
and his charts and drawings. It's a fascinating story because it
directly relates to the WCG as a direct descendant of William Miller's
false teachings. A good book on the subject from a Seventh-day
Adventist stance is Francis D. Nichol's, "The Midnight
Also see the fascinating account in C. E. Sears's online book , "Days
of Delusion" on the Seventh-Day Adventist site at
Now, what Miller and his associates taught was pure bunkum. And
I'm sure that there were those back then that said to themselves,
"This is BS." Those people went on to distance themselves from the
movement as they examined the premise, at least of date-setting.
Those folks had no influence on us.
But there were those who didn't question the larger premises of
god/son/bible/prophecy, and even after the collapse of the Millerite
movement, kept the ideas alive. These morphed into The SDAs,
The Advent Christians, the Jehovah's Witnesses and others. The
Church of God movement came down from The SDAs. It's all been
documented. One can trace from William Miller all the way to
Herbert Armstrong just as the many spin-offs of the WCG can
be directly traced back to Herb. It's all so linear whether coming
The point I am trying to make is that the madness continues as
people refuse to question the assumptions of god/son/bible. So
if these are taken as a given then any nut or thug coming along
that will play the right tune for you will have your time, treasure,
and talent. Especially your treasure. The present handlers of the
WCG and some of its spin-offs are masters at keeping the
My observation of the WCG refugees on these various websites is
that the great majority have a common problem in never questioning
their basic assumptions. They ignore the questions that should be
asked and continue in the madness to allow themselves to be
continually afflicted by other handlers, some as ignorant as they,
some out for purely the treasure and adulation. It's so sad. But
people like Flurry, Meredith, Dankenbring, and Little Joe love to have
Take the case of Linda just posted above. She is a descendant
of unquestioning folks and she, herself, doesn't appear to be in
a questioning mode. Again, I mean the questioning of the whole
basic aspect of Christianity and religion in general. Her mother
asked, "if we left the Church, where would we go?" How about
going into the bright, sunlit uplands of freedom in the rejection of
make believe. But that wasn't considered. Premises were
unquestioned. The dull, proud path continued to be trod. I wonder
if Linda can break the flow. That's the whole thing. The flow
of assumptions being passed to other unquestioning folks has
to be broken.
Recently, there were two papers posted on the web that illustrate
exactly what I am pointing to. Two women from the WCG wrote
up their experiences for us. One examined her premises and
is now free and the other continued on in her assumptions leading
to much more suffering. You should read them.
I just dealt with a tiny piece of time from the collapse of the Millerite
movement in 1844 to the fractioning of the WCG 150 years later. In
this time hundreds of thousands of lives were adversely affected
because people failed to examine their premises. And the madness
continues as revealed in these web pages. Well, it no longer directs
my basic approach to life as I broke the flow. I questioned the
whole basic structure of the god premise and ending up throwing it
into the ashcan of discarded mental rubbish man has accumulated
during his brief appearance on this small, blue marble in space.
I like to think that long after our time men will shake their heads in
wonder at some of the make believe we now hold as true. But
that day will be long in coming while men still avoid questioning
their premises. It takes courage to do so, but the payoff is
immeasurable. I know for sure.
Just think of what your life might have been if William Miller back
in the 1830s had heard a small voice in his head saying "This is
bullshit" about his Baptist teachings. He could have broken the
flow leading to our wasted lives. He died with his assumptions
intact after ruining lives in his time with his false teachings. Then
the madness flowed unquestioned down to our time.
Remember, the history of religion is the story of the few wise
manipulating the many foolish.
Thanks for reading.
Jim Baldwin (WCG 1967-1992)
To Jeff Diehl:
Before I begin, I wish to join the others in wishing Ed Mentel well in his
life's endeavors. He did outstanding work with The Painful Truth, and has
accomplished more good than he'll ever know.
I'm glad to see that Jeff Diehl has moderated his tone. He was way out of
line in much of what he said in his first note, and I appreciate the fact
that he apologized to Ed Mentel for his outrageous comments about his first
wife's terminal illness. His note infuriated me, especially since he enjoyed
a privileged lifestyle by virtue of being born into the Worldwide Church of
God's elite ministerial caste. And the reason he enjoyed the privileged
lifestyle is that it was provided by the people he slammed throughout his
note, including Ed. I was furious, and it showed in my reply.
As for his follow-up notes, there are comments I could object to. For
example, he states:
"I also never called anyone, members, Ed Sr. or even you a 'loser son,
little punk, or SOB'. I played by Ed Sr's rules on this website, not
resorting to name calling and would expect his supporters to do the same."
Actually, Jeff did resort to name-calling. Did he not refer to some of the
church membership as weirdos, loser kids, and backroad hillbilly weirdos?
Sounds like name-calling to me.
But I don't want to be too petty. I'm not going to respond point by point as
I did in my original note. There is one area that I will address. Jeff
mentioned several times that I missed the point of his note. I did not. His
point is that the only reason we were in the church and sacrificed as much
as we did was to save our skins, and our desire to save our skins showed
that our only motivation was greed.
While the desire for salvation was part of the motivation, most of us also
wanted to hasten the return of Jesus Christ, which was supposed to usher in
a utopia in which all of humanity would live in a state of eternal bliss. We
wanted to save not only ourselves, but also the whole world. Most of us were
not upset when a new member was baptized. We did not feel that the newcomer
was moving in on our share of utopia, leaving less for us. We were delighted
that another person had escaped "the world" and would now be sharing in our
"joy." It was especially gratifying when the newcomer's first exposure to
"the truth" was through a Plain Truth magazine he or she picked up from a
newsstand we kept supplied. It was as though we had a direct role in the
Jeff missed my point. He is pissed off at Painful Truth writers for being
pissed off at ministers. Jeff tries to show that he was also a victim. He
also had to make sacrifices. He also suffered. And, to top it all off, he
suffered because of the members. My point was that Jeff may have been
inconvenienced because his father was a minister, but as a minister's son he
enjoyed a privileged lifestyle, not only compared to church members, but
also to society at large once you take into account the tax breaks ministers
are entitled to. His complaints are hollow. His indignation is not
justified. Maybe he did suffer. But regular members suffered far more. What
is especially infuriating about Jeff's complaints is that the suffering and
sacrifice of the ordinary member made his privileged lifestyle possible.
Proof of that is the fact that that there are far fewer members willing to
suffer and sacrifice for the ministry, and his father now must find
Jeff can't see why his father's fleet car is a sore point with many of us.
Let me explain. We had to pay for our cars, even though we triple tithed.
Jeff's father got a brand new car every two years for free. He also got
$3,000 or so per year to pay the vehicle operating expenses and was exempt
from 2nd or 3rd tithes. He also received a festival allowance in which most
of his first tithe was returned to him. He received a rent subsidy tax free,
a terrific advantage. For example, if Jeff's father was in the 40% tax
bracket, a $500 rent subsidy was worth $833 pre-tax dollars (in other words,
a regular member in the 40% bracket would have to gross $833 in income in
order to take home $500). Last, but not least, he was exempt from social
security taxes, which meant that he got to keep 7.65% more or his pre-tax
income than the members could. That's an extra $2,295 per year if Jeff's
father's annual salary was just $30,000. Jeff has no right to complain about
riding in a fleet car. He was privileged to do so.
I guess it's just a matter of perspective. A few years ago, my hometown of
New York City was hit by a blizzard, shutting down all three of the local
airports. A group of students from an ivy league school in New England was
passing through New York on their way to Cancun for winter recess. They were
stranded at the airport when the snow hit, and were so infuriated by the
delay that they stormed the ticket counter demanding that they be allowed to
continue on their journey (this was pre-9/11; now they would all be arrested
and sent to jail for a long, long time). One of the students was interviewed
by a local all-news radio station and said, "I had to sleep on the floor all
night. I don't even want to go anymore. This is the worst thing that ever
happened to me." For a rich white kid from an ivy league school, being
delayed on the way to Cancun was the worst thing that ever happened to him.
For Jeff Diehl, riding in a fleet car was an experience so awful that he is
scarred for life, and he can't understand why nobody sympathizes with him.
Ministers and their families had little in common with the ordinary member.
As a matter of policy, ministers separated themselves from the membership
physically (remember the "Ministers Only" signs all over the place?) and
socially. The ministers were financially better off than most of the members
because they were exempt from tithing, and did not experience the extreme
belt tightening we lay members had to endure, especially in third tithe
years. Ministers and their offspring simply cannot relate to the experiences
of the lowly member because they avoided contact whenever possible. At
counseling sessions, they gave canned answers to life's most important
questions. Financial problems? Tithe, and God will provide. Depressed?
Listen to John Philip Sousa marches. Single guy with a strong sex drive?
Take cold showers. Abusive husband? Be more submissive, like the Proverbs 31
wife. Cancer? This anointing oil will do the trick. If the problems weren't
resolved, you weren't trying hard enough, and maybe a three week suspension
will get you to take our advice more seriously. If you died, or had that
operation, you didn't have enough faith.
Jeff is understandably upset that a lot of minister bashing goes on in these
pages. The trouble with Jeff is that he did not share in the experiences of
the regular membership, although he tried mightily to equate his experiences
with ours. But the Worldwide Church of God was truly a multi-tiered caste
system. The members of the ministerial caste, especially in the upper
echelons, but also in the lower levels of the caste system, had little in
common with ordinary lay members. He has no idea how good he had it compared
to the members, and the little inconveniences he experienced do not compare
to the real sacrifices the members made.
Two from Jeff Diehl:
I hope you understand, before you continue reading
this, that I'm about to light you up.
Here we go again. Jeff Diehl apologizes...or does he?
First of all, I apologized to Ed Sr. for my rude
comment about his late wife, and disrespecting the
memory of her. I also apologized for the name calling
I did by calling people hillbillies and losers.
I didn't apologize to you, or anyone as stupid as you.
My comment was in bad taste, rude and shameful. My
point remains the same.
Do you own a dictionary? Have you looked up the word
Okay. Here is the official definition of greed, from
the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Greed: An excessive desire to acquire or possess more
than what one needs or deserves, especially with
respect to material wealth: Extremely eager or
Please break it down for me (and for all the readers
on this website who have real minds and can think):
Giving your last dime is greed?
No Jorge, that's stupidity.
Seeing your family go hungry is greed?
Nobody, and I mean nobody watched their family go
hungry for sake of the church. If they were going
hungry, they were long before they entered the church.
And if anyone gave their last ten dollars to the
church, over buying their family food, they did so
ONLY because they thought that ten dollars would get
them more in the long run. God would not want you to
give him money while watching your family starve.
Anyone with an ounce of brains could figure that out.
Losing your job is greed?
Only if you didn't show up to work because you had to
go to church. Most people went to church because they
wanted salvation, protection, and a chance to get into
the world tomorrow, not because they just loved it so
much. Most people go to work to earn a living, not
because you just love it so much. What if you didn't
show up to your job one day because you went to Disney
World with your kids? You would get fired. So you
don't go to Disney World, and keep your job. What if
you had to go to court, and if you missed court, you
would go to jail. You would make arrangements to go
to court, with your boss. And don't try to tell me
that your minister told you that if you went to work
on Saturday, you would get disfellowshiped of face
some other punishment. ANYONE who could "think for
themselves" would have said, "you know what, my
family, my health, and my livelihood are much more
important to me, and to the God who loves me would
want the same. I'm outta here". If you lost your job
because of going to church, you did so because there
was something more valuable to you than your paycheck,
or your family being hungry.
Living in poverty is greed?
Usually people who have a job, don't live in
Obeying the church's ORDERS to avoid medicine is
Do I need to ".break this down to you and all of the
readers who have real minds and can think?" Or was
someone thinking for you? Following orders is not
Paying out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tithe, plus "generous
offerings", special donations, and turning in "excess"
2nd tithe is greed?
No, that is very generous. It's greed (mixed with
stupidity) when you do so while your family goes
hungry, you give away your last dime, you lose your
job and you follow orders not to take medicine.
Your final comment: God was who they had to go through
to get what they wanted. That's the point you keep
What? Huh? Excuse me? What did they want, and when did
they get it? You call this GREED? Do you own a
dictionary? Have you looked up the word "greed"?
Yes, I looked it up. Extremely eager or desirous
From my second post "get into heaven, make your life
better, make the blind see, the crippled walk, the
poor rich, the rich understanding and the dead rise
from the grave? Get you to the "world tomorrow" where
you could walk and talk with the animals, where every
day would be like the Feast, money was no object,
there'd be no more war and no more bullies, where the
"hillbilly" would live in a mansion and we'd all be
Those are examples of what "they" wanted. What did
you want? Surly someone who can think for himself
would have a reason to endure such suffering, or
subject his family to the same. Furthermore, probably
NOBODY who watched their family go hungry, couldn't
get a new car, or gave their last dime started off as
millionaires or very well to do families. I'm sure
that most if not all of the "poverty" as you call it
in the church entered into the church at the same net
worth they left with.
When the only reason you do any of these things that
you mentioned is because you have "An excessive desire
to acquire or possess more than what one needs.."
i.e. The World Tomorrow.
"Here we go again. Jeff Diehl apologizes...or does
Who do you think I was apologizing to, you? Are you
one of the people that is so blinded by their
ignorance that you think you deserve an apology for
all of the suffering that you put yourself and your
family through? Do you think you deserve an apology
for starving your family and losing your job and
giving all of your money away? Should someone
apologize to you for your stupidity? I apologized for
being disrespectful, not for making the point that you
STILL can't figure out.
There is not an apology due to you, from me that you
need concern yourself with.
Jeff, I think you're brain damaged. Children who
suffer from malnutrition often don't develop normally.
Your neurons aren't firing. You probably didn't get
enough white sugar as a kid.
As a child, I got plenty of nourishment from the food
my dad's paycheck put on the table. I also got plenty
of sugar. I used to drive the fleet car to the store
and spend my allowance on candy when I was hungry.
Don't get smart with me Jorge, you'll end up looking
even dumber than you do now.
P.S. I also looked up the word stupid in the
dictionary. There was a picture of you.
Thank you for the response, the candor and
information. I definately see how perspectives of a
situation can make all of the difference.
Your post was excellent, thank you for the knowledge
21 Dec: To Jeff Diehl
An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth: Extremely eager or desirous
To Jefe Diehl:
Dude! You have got to be the dumbest white boy I ever did see! I ainít gonna waste too much time on yer ass, so letís get started, shall we?
First of all, when you respond to a quote, how about putting brackets or something around what you are responding to? Itís damn hard to figure out what I wrote and what you wrote. Use blue ink or something, man! Watch how I do it, punk, and learn something.
Joo wrote: <<< Nobody, and I mean nobody watched their family go
hungry for sake of the church. If they were going
hungry, they were long before they entered the church.
And if anyone gave their last ten dollars to the
church, over buying their family food, they did so
ONLY because they thought that ten dollars would get
them more in the long run. God would not want you to
give him money while watching your family starve.
Anyone with an ounce of brains could figure that out.>>>
Joo know that for sure, do you? Nobody, not once, not ever, in fifty fucking years? How the hell would you know?
<<< Losing your job is greed? >>>
<<< Only if you didn't show up to work because you had to go to church. >>>
Well, no shit, dumb-ass!
<<< And don't try to tell me that your minister told you that if you went to work
on Saturday, you would get disfellowshiped of face some other punishment. >>>
Thatís EXACTLY what he told me, vato! Did you grow up in the same church I did?
<<< ANYONE who could "think for themselves" would have said, "you know what, my family, my health, and my livelihood are much more important to me, and to the God who loves me would want the same. I'm outta here". >>>
Thatís right. But people in Worldwide were never ALLOWED to think for themselves! If you did that, it was called ďleaning to your own understandingĒ. It was condemned, forbidden, rebellion, witchcraft, punishable by death!
<<< If you lost your job because of going to church, you did so because there
was something more valuable to you than your paycheck, or your family being hungry. >>>
Yeah, it was called trying to survive. People didnít want to go through the tribulation, dude! You seem to have a problem understanding that the desire not to die is not the same thing as greed. If I put a gun to your head and said, ďGimme your money, punk, or Iíll liberate your fuckin brains, eh!Ē, would you gimme your money out of fear, or because youíre greedy?
<<< Obeying the church's ORDERS to avoid medicine is greed? >>>
<<< Do I need to ".break this down to you and all of the readers who have real minds and can think?" Or was someone thinking for you? Following orders is not thinking Jorge. >>>
Excuse me Ė when did you change the subject? At no time since your original post have we ever been talking about people THINKING. Shit, man, you said people were GREEDY. Stick to the fucking topic, huh? Of COURSE we werenít ďthinkingĒ, we were OBEYING! Wake up!
<<< Do you own a dictionary? Have you looked up the word "greed"? >>>
<<< Yes, I looked it up. Extremely eager or desirous >>>
Thatís right. It doesnít say anything about ďscaredĒ, does it? Have joo ever been scared, Jefe? I have. Itís the only reason I was in that cult, I was just plain scared. But joo didnít have nothing to be afraid of, no? Joo had it nice and comfy and cushy and easy and everything was paid for. It takes a lot of balls for YOU to accuse US of being greedy. (Popcorn balls!)
<<< Who do you think I was apologizing to, you? Are you one of the people that is so blinded by their ignorance that you think you deserve an apology for all of the suffering that you put yourself and your family through? Do you think you deserve an apology
for starving your family and losing your job and giving all of your money away? Should someone apologize to you for your stupidity? >>>
Yeah, asshole, I do. But not from you. From your old man. Heís the reason youíre doing this, isnít he. It ainít YOU who think we were greedy, itís HIM, ainít it? Big macho Worldwide honcho Dennis Diehl has come up with a theory to excuse his own sorry ass for his crimes, hasnít he. It wasnít HIS fault that he lied to people and kept them barefoot and hungry in an evil cult Ė it was THEIR fault, wasnít it? Because THEY WERE GREEDY!
Thatís what this is really all about, ainít it, Homes? You be carrying the torch for your old man. Itís the only reason you would expose yourself with such a ignorant point of view, ainít it? Because you aint that dumb, Jefe. NOBODY can be that dumb!
<<< I apologized for being disrespectful, not for making the point that you STILL can't figure out. >>>
Thatís right. Goddamn, you ARE a smart boy! You NEVER APOLOGIZED for INSULTING EVERY READER ON THIS WEB SITE! And thatís what JOO should apologize for, Homes. Because ever since you came here you been slandering everybody who comes here to read the mail. And by your own admission, you are totally unrepentant.
<<< Jeff, I think you're brain damaged. Children who suffer from malnutrition often don't develop normally. Your neurons aren't firing. You probably didn't get enough white sugar as a kid. >>>
<<< As a child, I got plenty of nourishment from the food my dad's paycheck put on the table. I also got plenty of sugar. I used to drive the fleet car to the store and spend my allowance on candy when I was hungry. >>>
Went right over your head, did it? Ask your daddy about white sugar. You obviously donít have a clue.
<<< Don't get smart with me Jorge, you'll end up looking even dumber than you do now. >>>
Shit, Homes, Iíll let the Painful Truth readers figure out which one of us looks like a chump. If itís me, fine, Iíve been there before.
<<< P.S. I also looked up the word stupid in the dictionary. There was a picture of you. >>>
Attaboy, Homes! Your old man musta read Garner Tedís childrearing book, huh?
I tell you what, homeboy Ė you need to just withdraw your complaint and sneak on off outta here. Everybody around here thinks you are a spoiled brat with not only no appreciation of how good you had it, but also a shitload of disrespect for all the people who paid for it. Old Man Armstrong always said the worst sin of all was the sin of ingratitude. In spite of everything that was wrong about that old man, he was right about that. YOU, Jefe, are fucking UNGRATEFUL.
And that is the worst thing I could ever say about you. Every time you open your mouth, your old man loses more respect. Because he didnít raise you right.
Jorge -- I have a problem with that socialistic comment: "... more than what one needs or deserves..." But that's beside the point, here in this site. I wouldn't be continuing to post these from you guys except I see a a good value here: An ex-minister's kid is posting on the PT site, who's Dad is regularly posting on the Missing Dimension , gawd bless 'em both. There are good folks who are learning from both sites, I think.
Freedom means something. And it's good to have the conversation, rather than pick up a sword.
You guys have free entry here. Consider coming into the PT forum?
Best to ya both,
Response to Jeff Diehl:
Hello, Editor. Please consider posting the following response to Jeff Diehl. Feel free to email me back if you have any questions:
It has been with great distress that I have been reading the posts back and forth between Jeff Diehl and respondents who, most understandably, are indignant and offended. Indeed, as a former member of one of Jeff's father's congregations, I am offended at what he had to say. It is my hope that I can 1) educate Jeff concerning his father vs. the rest of the ministry as a whole as it relates directly to my experience and in doing so 2) enlighten others here concerning Dennis Diehl.
I'll not address the posts point by point, but will touch on that which directly relates to me.
Jeff, in the cult, people were threatened with being disfellowshipped if they worked on the Sabbath; if they sought medical attention; if they did not tithe; if they (women) wore makeup or were not submissive to their husbands; if they (women) left husbands that were abusive. They were not encouraged, as you were, to think for themselves. They were told not to think, because, as the abusers liked to often quote "The human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). As Jorge so aptly said, "Öpeople in Worldwide were never ALLOWED to think for themselves! If you did that, it was called 'leaning to your own understanding'". This is just the tip of the iceberg, and doesn't even begin to address the myriad abuses that were suffered at the hands of the ministry.
The reason you cannot relate to this and do not understand it is because you were never under a minister other than your father. Look at the clues from your own posting, where you say that a lot of your dad's time had to be spent "cleaning up the messes" of ministers past. Perhaps you should reflect on why he would need to do that.
When your father came to Binghamton, I felt I could breathe again! He would not even think of humiliating someone from the pulpit. His kindness, his love, and the burden he carried due to his empathic nature set him apart from every other minister, indeed, every other person I knew. I felt he was a kindred to me, and he was.
I was a teen when you moved into the area, and you were a child. I remember how you, Chris, and Dennis used to go to Binghamton Whaler games all the time, and I used to wish that I could go too, just to spend time with your father. He was a compassionate and intuitive man, and he always sensed that I did not belong - that I was truly a free spirit and not a believer. He was right. What you see now, all you see now, is the way that your father suffers because he feels guilt that he was a part of the cult - he has told me that he feels that he is guilty by association - being a cog in the machine that damaged so many. Even though he was a true believer, and did the best that he could, (healed broken spirits, loved unconditionally, didn't "lord it over" the way other ministers did), your dad now feels tremendous pain at the thought that he may have hurt others, including your mother.
Your father didn't have the control issues that other ministers had. He didn't go into people's houses and inspect them for white sugar or leavening, or require them to give him the first fruits of their garden, or overwork the deacons/deaconesses (some of the deacon level individuals didn't like that your father treated everyone the same - they wanted to be treated special because of their ordination; others of the deacon level individuals were greatly relieved that your father treated them as everyone else, and didn't make them come over and shovel his driveway, or chop wood for him, as others before him had). Your father accepted and loved people as they were. He was never comfortable preaching about the evils of rock music, and instead preferred to talk about showing unconditional love for all - truths that were pearls of great price in a cult full of hate and fear. Your dad truly wanted to help people. It was, and is, his virtue and his vice. His vice, because he carries the guilt with him to this day. His virtue, because he helped many people. I will give you one example of how he helped me.
At one point I felt such despair that I ran away from home. In the rain. In the cold. With nothing but the clothes on my back. I just started walking. After about 10 miles, I broke down and called your dad. Your father left his kids at the dinner table, and came to pick me up. In the rain. In the cold. No questions asked. No judgment rendered. He took me home, dropped me off, and it was never mentioned to anyone. He unconditionally loved me at a time when no one else did, at a time when I needed it the most, and for that, I will always love him.
The reason you don't understand the visceral reaction to your original post, which at best is uneducated and at worst, extremely rude, is because your father was different from the other ministers. You do an honorable man a great disservice by posting diatribes against people who still suffer due to pain inflicted upon them by the cult. My parents, my sister and her family are still a part of the offshoots of this damaging cult.
If you look at the responses to your posts, all you are doing is causing people to turn on your father. This greatly upsets me. He is not responsible for your thoughtless actions or your callous words any more than my father is responsible for the work I do for peace and tolerance in the world. Indeed, Jeff, I am very disappointed that you would look at www.hwarmstrong.com and not recognize that people have suffered greatly. Your father feels tremendous compassion for the people posting on this website, and accepts more culpability than he should because of being a 'cog in the machinery' of abuse.
Learn from this. Take a page from your father's book. He deserves better than this.
Either shut the fuck up, or say something loving and compassionate for those who have suffered, and those who continue to suffer. Your dad is among them.
Heather, you have left me speechless.
Dec 30: Jeff Diehl
This will be the last time you hear from me. Just a
few loose ends to sew up, some last remarks and of
course, apologies. Jorge, you're going to have to
figure this format out because I use yahoo mail, and i
can't make it italics or blue, so use your head.
I recently got an e-mail from an old acquaintance of
our family, Heather H. advising me to.
"Either shut the fuck up, or say something loving and
compassionate for those who have suffered, and those
who continue to suffer. Your dad is among them."
My original post was out of line, as I already admit
and let me touch on this for a few minutes. Almost
all of the people that were in the churches that I
grew up in were wonderful, wonderful people. They are
dear friends of my mother, and my father. The
Selents, Hendersons, Benjamans, Holcombs, Harveys,
Knicks, Siekers, Lemmons, Holders, Carls, Lamberts,
Trouts, Trapps, Pollaks, Bennedums, Hudsons, Shofkums,
Cummins, Goins, Merrills, Barretts, Brendas, Downs,
Daniels, and hundreds of others. All of these
families I owe a lot of my life to. They are all
decent, loving and truly amazing individuals, and
families. There are many that I cannot remember the
names but just faces. They all watched my brother and
I when we were growing up, they were all like
replacement parents to me, and I would give anything
and everything that I had today if it would make their
lives better. They gave us the unconditional love
that Heather says my dad showed her, and for that I am
Most of these families had to put up with me being a
spoiled little bratty ministers kid while we lived in
the area, and probably were thrilled when we left,
just so they didn't have to tolerate me any more. I
would NEVER do ANYTHING to purposely offend these
families and friends who helped my dad and mom during
their times of need, and certainly hope that they
would understand this. I would publicly beg for their
forgiveness, should they be upset. I love each of
them for my own reasons, and would step in to defend
them, just as I am here to defend my dad.
I really have learned a lot over the past weeks from
the postings on this site. From MAM especially, (I
also enjoyed some of his other writings on other web
sites) that what I saw of the church was a key-hole
perspective. In turn, so are the perspectives of the
members of the ministry, and especially my dad.
You see, I've come to learn that the best approach to
anything is the direct approach. From reading my
postings, and if you dealt with me face to face, you
would see quickly that I don't spend a lot of time
sugar coating my opinion or remarks. My dad does. My
dad doesn't want to hurt peoples feelings, say what's
on his mind, tell you what he really thinks of you, or
do anything that would make you not like him. One
time my dad got rear ended by another car (while
driving my car, that I paid for, with my own job, not
the tithe money, or the fleet car for those of you who
are worried about it). My car got smashed, and my dad
talked the officer out of giving the other guy a
ticket, even though it was his fault. The asshole
that my dad helped promised to send the money to pay
for the damage to my car. Yet he never, ever did. My
dad will take a stabbing, lying down. I won't, and I
won't listen or agree with anyone who doesn't take
responsibility for their own lives, decisions or
actions and outcomes of such. Ask my dad. He used to
blame the church for where he is today. Now, he has
accepted that the responsibility was his, and is
FINALLY moving on with his life, as I suggest so many
of you should as well.
One topic that keeps coming up is "not being able to
think for themselves, or you were learning to your own
understanding". Okay. It is much easier to have
someone else do your thinking and fighting for you.
Sure you were discouraged to think for yourself in the
church, but if you couldn't think for yourself it
isn't limited to the church, it's a personality flaw.
People who need others to make decisions for them are
not mentally tough enough, have had people make their
decisions for them their whole lives, or allow others
to act on their behalves. Did the leaders of the WWCG
take advantage of these people? Absolutely. Were
their others who believed whole heartedly that this
was the true church, and were just fine with sending
in tithe money? Absolutely.
I've read most of this websites content, and I've
enjoyed a lot of it. Especially the cartoon with the
newspaper article that said, "No one important was
killed". But a lot of what I see is nothing but
bitching about whose fault it was that they gave away
money, refused medical treatment, etc. I DO
understand why people did this, I really, really do.
They were afraid of the lake of fire and being
disfellowshipped from the church. I get it..
Hopefully, those people can look back on the mental
picture of the lake of fire and laugh. (I always
imagined it had a diving board). But what most of the
postings on this site are about the history of the
church, how the ministry etc. took advantage of the
members, and the corruption of the church. That's
great to expose it and discourage others from falling
into the same fate, if that is truly the purpose of
the site and the postings. I just don't see how
placing blame for the past is changing any of the
people's present and future. If you are "still
suffering" from anything that happened in the past
(with some exceptions) you are not making the most of
When we were transferred to South Carolina, I was
devastated. We had just lost one of the finest young
men you could have ever met in our Y.O.U. in a car
accident. His girlfriend clung onto life by a thread,
and I mean by a thread. We moved away to a church
filled with people with all kinds of problems. My
whole family had to meet new friends, both at church,
and in the community, as well as school. One member
in particular used to call our house five, six, ten
times a night from 2am - 6 am, talking to my mom and
dad about her husband and her sex problems, the devil
and god knows what else. She even got me on the phone
one time (and if you can call people Nuts, Kooks and
Loonies, then so can I). My dad went into the
hospital for clinical depression, my mom fended for
herself for twelve weeks, alone. At the same time, my
friend in New York was getting out of the hospital, to
have lost her boyfriend, and best friend in the car
accident, deal with months and months of physical
therapy, pain and trauma. Now, fifteen years later,
she's happily married with children to a great friend
of mine growing up, and I'm married to a wonderful
woman and living a pretty happy life. My friends
wouldn't have met if it weren't for the church, been
in the car together if it weren't for the church, or
been in that accident because of the church. I love
his and her family like they were my own mother and
father, and their kids like brothers and sisters. I
don't blame the church or still suffer, but rather
hold a special place in my heart for my friend, and
his family. I'm sure Ed. Sr would agree. He loved
his first wife dearly, but probably wouldn't change
the life he has with his current wife, or trade his
kids now for anything.
My mom and dad are divorced. It took some mentors to
teach me how important it is to accept responsibility
for your decisions, and actions. Like I said, my dad
used to blame the church, now he blames himself. He
used to call me and want to talk about "why all of
this happened" (divorce, the church falling apart,
etc). But I realized that he didn't need someone
saying, "oh poor baby, it's not your fault, it's Mr.
Armstrong, Tkach, or whoever's fault". He needed a
good hard slap to ACCEPT it was his fault. Everybody
knows when something is their own fault, accepting it
is another thing.
So if Jorge, Heather, MAM, Russel, Linda or anyone
else doesn't like what I had to say because it was
ignorant, I understand that. I don't have much
tolerance for people who I think are idiots either.
If it was because I was telling you something you
didn't want to hear, well, welcome to America. I do
not, and will not ever again be able to understand why
people continue to blame the church, other people,
their parents, friends, employers or anyone for their
lot in life. They may have made a choice to join,
they always had the choice to leave.
Being afraid is not an acceptable excuse for not
making a decision to better your situation then or
now. I'm sick of hearing it.
So for me to "Either shut the fuck up, or say
something loving and compassionate for those who have
suffered, and those who continue to suffer" I will
oblige you and do both.
I hate the fact that people suffered at the hand of an
organization my dad and family were a part of, I
I feel sorry for the children who by no choice of
their own, such as children born into or brought into
the WWCG by their parents, who endured not eating,
ridicule at school, missed birthdays, long nights of
being sick, or being alone in the rain and cold due to
their parents, and the suffering that they endured,
when they didn't have a choice. For the children who
grew to be adults in the church, who were taught by
their parents that "this is the right church". I am a
firm believer that parents are the biggest influence
on their children, and I blame the parents of children
who use drugs, live on the streets, are disrespectful
of their elders, who beat their wives or take abuse
from their husbands. If your parents did it, chances
are you will do it too. I honestly believe that.
I am proud of those who have come to realize that they
control their future through the decisions that they
make each day, and dealing with the consequences of
such, both good and bad. I am proud of myself, my
parents, and my brother for accepting the same. I use
all experiences I've had in my life to learn how to
make my future better, to be a better person, and to
avoid being a bigger asshole than I already am. I
will reiterate that while reading all of the return
postings addressed to me, that I freely admitted when
I was out of line, when I learned something from one
of the postings, like MAM (who even though trashed me
a couple times, I STILL humbly admit learning from),
recognized that person for contributing to opening my
mind to better understanding of the history of the
WWCG. I feel it's a shame that the same courtesy was
not extended to me by some of the members of this
site, but appreciate those who did.
As far as Heather is concerned, I appreciate you going
to bat for my dad. I remember you playing the piano
at our house when we were growing up. You couldn't
read a lick of music, but you could play. I remember
your car called "the baby".
I remember that night by the way. It's a great story,
and not the only one like it. My dad had two other
church congregations before New York and one
afterwards, filled with a lot of similar situations.
Not unlike yourself, a lot of people called my dad
when they had no where else to go. What pisses me off
about this web site the most is that those same people
who my dad would move heaven and earth to help will
sit here and blame the ministers (which includes him)
for not fixing it, or better yet, who now believe it
was their (the ministers) fault that they had no where
else to go in the first place. I will concede, that
the ministry of the WWCG was full of arrogant, pompus,
selfish, manipulative ministers, drunk on their own
greed, wealth and fame. It's a shame that you don't
see more people like yourself to speak up on the
"good" ministers behalves.
I have a bigger heart that you or anyone else on this
site probably knows. I also know a lot about your
relationship, personal situations and closeness to my
dad, more than you or anyone else on this site
probably knows. I don't need you, to lecture me on
what my dad deserves. In the end, he is my dad, not
yours, however I do appreciate your remarks.
So to conclude, I sincerely, sincerely, sincerely,
hope that the suffering which still takes place will
soon end for those who continue to suffer. I
understand, truly, that the church and its teachings
left some deep scars that have not all finished
healing, and those that have healed, are still a
painful reminder of the past. No person should have
to suffer for someone else's pleasure, even though it
happens every day.
I leave here with my own opinions of people on this
site. Both positive and negative. I hope that you
all find what it is your looking for on this web site.
My thanks to Ed Sr. and the editor for even bothering
to post anything I had to say. I learned a lot here.
Best wishes, warmest regards, and no hurt feelings
6 Jan 03
To Jeff Diehl:
Thank you for your gracious note of December 30, and I wish you well in
life's endeavors. Your apologies are accepted, and I apologize as well for
my harsh comments. I blew my stack, and it showed. I could have gotten my
points across without the name calling. Also, I hope this isn't the last
time we hear from you. The whole exchange was very interesting.
In the world of Armstrongism, there is enough blame to go around. When I was
first exposed to the Worldwide Church of God, I was a teenager looking for
answers to life's most important questions. How did God want me to live? How
could I make sense out of the confusion that is the Bible? Was there life
after death? Along came an organization that had answers to all of my
questions in neat little packages, and lots more besides. I dove into a
study of all of the church literature I could get my hands on, and I was
Like many others, I started attending services, where I heeded the
exhortations of the ministers to avoid studying dissident literature. My
first pastor, Frank McCrady, Jr., railed against "The Ambassador Report" and
"Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web." He and other ministers warned us that to
read dissident literature would expose us to the lures of Satan, and we
could be led out of the church by wolves in sheep's clothing and lose
eternal life. Like a puppy-dog, I listened, and did not seek out opposing
views, and I ignored family members who warned me about the WCG.
I ignored the first tenet of the educated consumer: caveat emptor, or "let
the buyer beware." I abdicated my responsibility to check out the WCG
organization before I committed myself to it, and paid dearly as a result.
In my almost 20 years as a member of the WCG, I tithed over $100,000 and
sacrificed many opportunities for professional development in order to
devote time to church activities such as weekly Bible studies and
Spokesman/Graduate clubs. Others paid an even higher price. I was lucky in
that I completed my college education before becoming actively involved in
the church. Others sacrificed higher education, expecting to be whisked away
to the place of safety in 1972. Some ended happy marriages in their zeal to
obey God, only to see the divorce & re-marriage doctrine changed so Herbert
Armstrong could marry a young divorcee. Some heeded the warnings of the
ministry and refused medical treatment for life-threatening illnesses and
paid the ultimate price.
We chose to submit to the ministry. We put ourselves at their mercy. To
quote a tired old clichť, nobody put a gun to our heads. Most ministers were
abusive, and we accepted the abuse. We could have left any time we chose.
And now many of us have. Those of us who choose to contribute to the Painful
Truth do so for different reasons. Some just want to vent. Others want to
warn those considering membership in one of the offshoots what they are
getting into. Still others want to help those struggling with the
after-effects of experience in a malignant cult. For most, it is a
combination of these and other reasons. Just because we record our
experiences for the web doesn't mean that we are wallowing in self-pity or
And just because nobody held a gun to our heads doesn't mean the ministry is
without blame. The average Worldwide Church of God "minister" could have
been just that, a minister. The word "minister" means servant. They could
have actually served. They could have helped those in their care to grow
spiritually. They could have counseled the troubled, comforted the sick and
grieving, and taught the truth instead of lies. Instead, the overwhelming
majority of ministers chose to abuse and take advantage of those who trusted
them. They taught the members that they must obey Herbert Armstrong no
matter what. They participated in Armstrong's deception, and they shared in
the spoils. Ministers also had a choice, to do good or evil. Most of them
chose evil. You can read the consequences of their choices on the pages of
the Painful Truth. They deserve the condemnation they receive on these
Personally, I know of only two ministers who really cared about the members
of their congregations. I won't mention their names because I don't want to
embarrass them by revealing their association with the Worldwide Church of
God. From what I am reading on the Painful Truth and Missing Dimension web
sites, Dennis Diehl was probably one of the rare few who actually cared
about the members in his congregations. If this is true, I am sorry. It's a
shame that a good man will be judged guilty by people who don't know him.
Unfortunately, most WCG ministers were pompous blowhards with inflated
opinions of themselves. If one meets a WCG minister and assumes he is a
self-important asshole, 99 times out of 100 his assumption will be correct.
The reputations of the 1% suffers because of the other 99.
That's the Worldwide Church of God for you. The only people who prosper are
the most unscrupulous. In Friedrich Hayek's book, The Road to Serfdom, there
is a chapter entitled "Why the Worst Get on Top." Although he wrote about
totalitarian states like Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, it applies equally
well to the Worldwide Church of God, which was a miniature totalitarian
state, run on the principles practiced most successfully by Stalin and
Hitler. Anyone who doubts this should read any book about everyday life in
Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, or even Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Herbert
Armstrong was its FŁhrer, or General Secretary or Generalissimo. Hayek
"Where there is one common all-overriding end, there is no room for any
general morals or rules. To a limited extent we ourselves experience this in
wartime. But even war and the greatest peril had led in the democratic
countries only to a very moderate approach to totalitarianism, very little
setting aside of all other values in the service of a single purpose. But
where a few specific ends dominate the whole of society, it is inevitable
that occasionally cruelty may become a duty; that acts which revolt all our
feeling, such as the shooting of hostages or the killing of the old or sick,
should be treated as mere matters of expediency; that the compulsory
uprooting and transportation of hundreds of thousand should become an
instrument of policy approved by almost everybody except the victims; or
that suggestions like that of a conscription of women for breeding purposes
can be seriously contemplated. There is always in the eyes of the
collectivist a greater goal which these acts serve and which to him
justifies them because the pursuit of the common end of society can know no
limits in any rights or values of any individual.
"But while for the mass of the citizens of the totalitarian state it is
often unselfish devotion to an ideal, although one that is repellent to us,
which makes them approve and even perform such deeds, this cannot be pleaded
for those who guide its policy. To be a useful assistant in the running of a
totalitarian state, it is not enough that a man should be prepared to accept
specious justification of vile deeds; he must himself be prepared actively
to break every moral rule he has ever known if this seems necessary to
achieve the end set for him. Since it is the supreme leader who alone
determines the ends, his instruments must have no moral convictions of their
own. They must, above all, be unreservedly committed to the person of the
leader; but next to this the most important thing is that they should be
completely unprincipled and literally capable of everything. They must have
no ideals of their own which they want to realize; no ideas about right or
wrong which might interfere with the intentions of the leader. There is thus
in the positions of power little to attract those who hold moral beliefs of
the kind which in the past have guided the European peoples, little which
could compensate for the distastefulness of many of the particular tasks,
and little opportunity to gratify any more idealistic desires, to recompense
for the undeniable risk, the sacrifice of most of the pleasures of private
life and of personal independence which the posts of great responsibility
involve. The only tastes which are satisfied are the taste for power as such
and the pleasure of being obeyed and of being part of a well-functioning and
immensely powerful machine to which everything else must give way.
"Yet while there is little that is likely to induce men who are good by our
standards to aspire to leading positions in the totalitarian machine, and
much to deter them, there will be special opportunities for the ruthless and
unscrupulous. There will be jobs to be done about the badness of which taken
by themselves nobody has any doubt, but which have to be done in the service
of some higher end, and which have to be executed with the same expertness
and efficiency as any others. And as there will be need for actions which
are bad in themselves, and which all those still influenced by traditional
morals will be reluctant to perform, the readiness to do bad things becomes
a path to promotion and power. The positions in a totalitarian society in
which it is necessary to practice cruelty and intimidation, deliberate
deception and spying, are numerous. Neither the Gestapo nor the
administration of a concentration camp, neither the Ministry of Propaganda
nor the S.A. or S.S. (or their Italian or Russian counterparts), are
suitable places for the exercise of humanitarian feelings. Yet it is through
positions like these that the road to the highest positions in the
totalitarian state leads."
This explains why there was no room at the top of the WCG hierarchy for
decent human beings. Only ruthless, unscrupulous hirelings who were willing
to sell their souls to Herbert W. Armstrong and ruin those who would
question or resist his authority prospered in his system. Only those who
remain ruthless and exploitative continue to thrive in the mother church and
its many offshoots. Everybody else gets hurt. This is why so many ministers
were bad people. You had to be a dirt-bag to qualify. Those few with
scruples who somehow slipped through the cracks never went very far in the
I hope this clarifies matters. Although the ordinary member was responsible
for his choices, so were the ministers. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of
Eden, they were given the opportunity to choose good or evil. Most chose
evil. If your father was one of the few who chose to do good, my apologies.
Remember, most of us don't know your father. From my vantage point, all I
can do is judge based on my experiences with other ministers. If I am wrong
in my judgment, it is because your father was an exception. In the Worldwide
Church of God, it is natural to assume that a minister was goon for the
Armstrong and Tkach families, because almost all of them were.
07 Feb 04
Fortunately, I missed out on all the postings, flamings, apologies, etc., until it had all died down, because I didn't read any Painful Truth emails for several months. Otherwise, I would have been sorely tempted to add my own flames. Enough said on that subject (my favorite reply was by Heather).
But I did want to point out one thing as a point of trivia: All the emails from Jorge kept calling Jeff "Jefe" instead of "Jeff". This alleged misspelling was never pointed out or explained, so I thought I would explain it for those readers not familiar with the Spanish language. In Spanish the word "jefe" means "chief" or "boss", so when Jorge referred to Jeff as "jefe" it was a subtle jibe at Jeff's attempting to lord it over the rest of us. Hey, Jorge, that was cool. :-)
As to why any of us was in the church, I have my own opinion to offer. Jeff said we were all greedy. I got into the church/cult because I wanted to save my ass from the coming prophesied end-time destruction, which appeared to me at that time to have been quite well depicted and logically explained by Garner Ted Armstrong on his radio broadcasts and by all the literature. Of course, I know better now, but at that time I really did believe all this prophetic hooey. After I got into the church and became exposed to more intensive indoctrination through sermons, Bible Correspondence Course, etc., my reason for being in the church changed from wanting to save only my own ass to wanting to save everyone else's ass, too. I thought we could somehow help save some more people through the organized work of the Worldwide Church of God. That was also hooey, since the top dogs in power positions were wasting a lot of money on their own lavish life styles. A hugh chunk of the money we sent in went for advertising purposes to attract even more fools to join the alleged work of God, and another huge chunk of money went for living large at the expense of all us poor dumb sheep chumps. What a slick racket!
May they all rot in hell.
29 Feb 04
Jeff Diehl checks in.....
I hope that you had an excellent Holiday season, and
are ready for spring! Just some commentary and
perspectives, I'm not looking for trouble :).
During the past few months I've gotten to review in
depth most of the website from The Painful Truth. I
am in fact one of the "sheltered people" whose
experience was not as bad as others, obviously. I
haven't spoken a word but curiously revisit and read
the website and its postings. But I'd like to respond
to the "Tough Love" article by Heather C..
Heather Says: "Not everyone heals at the same rate.
People respond uniquely to diverse methods of
treatment. Each person has a different threshold of
what they can and cannot withstand, physically,
emotionally, and psychologically. When those
boundaries are tested strenuously in excessively
abusive situations, invariably damage (sometimes of
the irreparable kind) is done."
Jeff Says: Now granted, physical is much different
than that of emotional, but how different are the
healing times? One could argue that if you cut your
finger on Sunday, seven days later it will heal, with
virtually no scar. If someone screams at you and
calls you an idiot, you will be over it by the end of
the day. Furthermore, if you are in a car accident
and break you neck, you are paralyzed for life. But
if you were in the WWCG, are you paralyzed for life?
Since on this website I see only claims of emotional
abuse, and not physical (at least not by the
ministers), then we are speaking specifically about
the mental and psychological damage. (I realize the
argument if you were taught not to question your
husband and he beat you, then yes maybe the church
could be culprit for indirectly causing physical
abuse, but that's another story.)
My Question: When will the emotional damage finally
Then Heather Says: "People who have not had similar
experiences cannot possibly understand the censure
felt when ostracism is unmercifully enforced by those
deemed closest allies. When this is further
exacerbated by someone exhorting them to 'get over it'
or 'quit bitching', it summarily invalidates the
experiences of those who were hurt the most." ...
"When one has been through something like this, there
is no wrong way to feel. To those still hurting,
allow yourself to feel what you feel. Show some
compassion for yourself, and allow yourself to grieve
for what you have lost. Then show some compassion for
those who are still in denial, who would shift the
blame back to you. Ease their journey, for their pain
runs deep as well, and they have much further to go
than they realize."
Jeff Says: Showing yourself some compassion and allow
yourself to grieve for what you have lost is the same
thing as an addict who gets fired for using
drugs/alcohol on the job, and then justifies it with
"I was stressed out, I deserve to get drunk/high, it's
okay to miss work, I'll deal with it later etc.". If
those who are still suffering are just waiting for it
to finally end (like the sound of the final trumpet)
instead of proactively getting on with life, family,
career, then you are right back to square one which
is faith, the thing that got you in trouble in the
first place. Not being able to deal with the past and
move on to the future is the same thing. Better to
wallow around in self pity and make excuses for why
you haven't moved on while blaming others for your own
weakness. Was it okay to lament your experiences for
awhile? ABSOLUTELY. But time ticks on quickly.
You know, my dad always says, "I lost 25 years" (I
think Ed Sr. said something similar). But what has
been lost since then? Have they learned anything
since then? If so do they utilize the knowledge and
apply it to real life situations? Maybe, maybe not.
If you're happier telling yourself that it's okay to
feel the way you feel, show compassion for others who
are as well, then fine. But I'll bet there isn't a
former "recovering" member of the churches which a
minute of depression passes that doesn't think,
"Dammit, I wish I didn't feel this way and could get
on with life!".
Heather C. Says: What mystifies me at this point in
my own experience is the narrowness of mind with which
some (perhaps sheltered people for whom the experience
was not as bad as others) attack those who are still
recovering. Saying, "Sure you were discouraged to
think for yourself in the church, but if you couldn't
think for yourself it isn't limited to the church,
it's a personality flaw..."
Jeff Says: If you read the content of Heather C's
article, it basically relays the message that it's
okay not to move on, but rather to remain stagnant at
life for an indefinite amount of time and encourage
others to do the same. Encouraging others to be
absorbed in their feelings and emotions while life
goes on is the same thing as two heroin addicts lying
motionless and high in an alley while two young
persons walk by them looking for new jobs, resumes in
hand. The young applicants scorn the addicts for
their lack of ambition, the addicts scorn the
applicants for conforming to "the yuppie ways of
life". Both are in touch with their emotions, both
feel the way they feel, and both can think for
themselves, and both encourage each other to do the
same. But at the end of the day, two sleep in
comfortable beds watching TV, two pass out in a
refrigerator box in the cold.
When you have an injury, there is a finite period of
time that it will take to heal. If it's a serious
wound, it will take a long time, but you will see
progress. NOTHING is so bad that it should continue
for EIGHT YEARS with no end in sight.
I have a friend that lost his legs in high school.
That was eleven years ago. No, his legs don't work,
but you never hear him bitch about it. Sure in the
beginning it was very hard on him. But a few years
after we graduated, he was and still is, his same old
jovial self. His legs just don't work. Heather C.
(for example, not to pick) is talking about events
over SEVENTEEN YEARS ago, and others from over THIRTY
YEARS (from the 70's). I read about how much was
taken away from their livelihood and how much they are
still suffering, and how much they have missed out of
To put this line of thinking into perspective,
consider this: During the past eight years, Princess
Diana died, sheep were cloned, the US Government
caught Timothy McVeigh, we landed on Mars, hurricane
Mitch killed over ten thousand people, President
Clinton was impeached, JFK Junior died in a plane
crash, Columbine High School was attacked by students,
17,000 people died in the Turky earthquake, we
celebrated the Millenium, the "Love Bug" virus nearly
crippled the CIA, United States elections were
tainted, the World Trade Centers were destroyed by
terrorists, they executed Tim McVeigh, Anthrax was
running rampant, American Airlines flight 587 crashed
in New York, Chandra Levy was nowhere to be found,
there were sniper attacks up and down the east coast,
the corporate money scandals and Catholic sex scandals
were widespread, we attacked Afgahnistan, lost another
Space Shuttle crew, attacked Iraq, WE CAPTURED SADDAM
HUSSIEN, and elected Anrnold Schwarzenegger (sp?) as
When Saddam was pushed out of power, the people
celebrated in the streets because it was over. When
the WWCG finally crumbled, members started complaining
about how terrible it was and the profound effects it
continues to have. Why not celebrate your freedom
rather than wallow in the past?
The World Trade center alone was built, destroyed and
will be rebuilt in the same amount of time that it
will take some former members to continue their pity
parties about the WWCG. But it's time to realize that
it is time to stop. Just like the Indian Chief in
"Dances with Wolves" said to Stands with a Fist, "you
will mourn no more".
If there is no definitive answer for "when will the
emotional damage finally be healed", then certainly my
dad and most of you are relying on faith, rather than
on proof. "Allowing yourself to feel the way you
feel" is fine for emotional recovery, but don't let it
continue to be an excuse for not accepting reality and
embracing the future. It's kind of like when we were
waiting for God to show us the place of safety when
the world was coming to an end. By the time you
decided to leave the church, you were questioning your
faith. "Jeez, it's been awhile. If god were going to
come back, he would have definitely done it by now. I
think I better start exploring some other options.".
The same with your emotional damage. You should be
saying, "Jeez, it's been awhile, I should definitely
be healed by now, I think I better start moving on."
To Heather C., "tough love" and "harsh reality" are
next door neighbors. You need one to deal with the
Anxiously awaiting educated responses,
PS I enjoyed Kriss's article very much. Kriss, GOOD
FOR YOU!!! That's probably the best ending to an
article I've read yet on this website. You have eaten
more shit than most of the people I've ever met, and
you're not letting it stop you, or your relationships!
Outstanding! Grab life by the balls and move on,
together knowing your weaknesses and learning how to
deal with them!! Excellent!!
Jeff Diehl... why are you still hanging around?
Your logic has a hole in it -- physical and mental injuries do not heal the same way. So the rest of your argument falls through the hole.
As for people who take 8 years or 17 years to heal from emotional distress -- did you know that some will never be healed of it? Just like people with cancer or other deadly ailments will never be healed, unless they get help!
Some diseases and injuries can never be healed or repaired. You can get better, but not without help. In the case of disabling injury or disease, you seek medical help. In the case of disabling mental or emotional damage, you seek psychological help -- or you find a support group. In both cases, the healing doesn't start until you get whatever help you need. You might linger on for years with cancer or diabetes and finally die, but if you get treatment, then you can start to recover.
Same thing with emotional injury. If you don't get it treated, it doesn't get any better. Most people who suffer from emotional damage don't even realize they need help. They know they are depressed or angry or whatever, but they (just like you) simply think they should be able to "get over it" and "get on with their lives".
Doesn't work that way.
As for the people on this website whose letters and articles you have been reading, I wish you would stop judging them by your silver-spoon-in-the-mouth yardstick. Just because someone wrote an article 5 years ago and expressed a little rage doesn't mean they haven't gotten on with their lives. Expressing that rage was probably pretty therapeutic for the writer, and of immense value to the next poor battered soul who came along and read it and realized -- "Holy shit! I'm not the only one!"
Stop trying to fix us, Jeff. Get on with your life. Go play somewhere else.
This has been fun. Wish you could see some of my email, concerning you. Today, a respected Reader here wrote that,
" He is so supercilious that I just want to bitch-slap him every 30 seconds or so."
Seems to be a common sentiment.
And, I guess I will let this public display of the reaction to your elitist thinking process continue. Yours is a great example of the WCG PreacherKid mentality. Yes, you're doing a fine job. (I had really convinced myself to insist you to take this to the PT forum, where you're up front and personal with these same people who are writing you back, instead of standing back and launching email-missiles whenever you felt all comfy.)
But. Naw. Guys like you never fight close and wet.
Look Jeff -- you are missing what everyone has been telling you: No one is advocating wallowing in pain and bitterness forever and ever. People will "get over it" when they heal, and when they can, and at their own pace, not yours, El Jefe.
Places like the PT site and the forum help that process.
If you don't understand that and don't want to, then go crawl in your warm elitist cocoon, far away from the "trash".
But if you WANT to know, to understand, to be part of their (our? yes, you too are scabbed from the cuts from a cult, Jeff) "getting over it" process..... just do it. Listen. Learn something, instead of thinking you have all the Answers. Open your eyes and smell the coffee....instead of trying to teach us "little people" something of which you yourself don't have a clue.
We'll let this play out for a month, here, however it goes.
02 Mar 04
[shaking my head wearily with a heavy sighÖ]
Jeff Diehl wants an "educated response"? How about this one:
Jeff Diehl is still an asshole.
Okay, that's taken care of. Let's get on with our lives.
-- Name Withheld By Request
Response to Jeff Diehl:
Oh Fawthah! Fawthah! Do letís go slumming! I simply love to see how the hateful sheep live! Can we? Please, Fawthah!
Oh, thank you, Fawthah!
Ah, here we ahh! This is wheah they live! Yes, yes! Look, theahís one of them now! Look at that! Can you simply believe the squawlah they live in? What wretched creatchas they ah! Look at that shabby clothing. Oh! See that miserable vehicle! Why would anyone evah drive something as dreadful as that? Why, the tie-ahs have no tread, and the windows ah cracked! I wager the seats are dutty as well, donít you think? Fawthah, Iím so glad we donít live like that! Ahnít you?
Look! Theahís mo-ah of them! See the children! They have no toys! At least they donít look like propah toys, do they? I say, Fawthah, why would a propah child play with a broken toy like that? Have they no decency? They ahnít like us, ah they, Fawthah? Oh, Iím so thrilled we ah bettah than that! Raaally I am!
Oh, I say, do look at them stay-ah! Drive slowah, Fawthah! Let them admire us as long as possible! They ah probably wishing they looked as propah as we do, donít you think? Iím shuah they do! I suttinly would! If I were as dreadful as they ah, I would nevah let myself be seen in public, would you? Look at them stay-ah! What grubby little urchins they ah! Simply disgusting! Iím glad we cahnít smell them! Iím shuah havenít bathed for days, perhaps nevah!
Fawthah, I think Mistah Ahmstrong was right, donít you? They really ah dumb sheep! What miserable creatchas! Do you suppose they use toilet papah? I wager not! They ah such filthy things!
Take me home, Fawthah! I have seen quite enough for one day, thank you! I suttinly cahnít imagine anything moah disgusting than this! And itís theyíah own fault, donít you think? Of course, it is. Iím shuah you agree! Itís because of theyíah own greed, isnít it? Yes, they ah such greedy things! They ahnít like us at all, ah they? They ahnít like the Diehl family! We suttinly ahnít greedy! Not at all! We donít pay those enormous tithes and heavy offerings! We ahnít greedy like them! Iím so glad you ah a ministah, Fawthah! I suttinly wouldnít want to live like those animals! Itís bad enough having to go to chuhch with them, isnít it? And having them call you up at all houahs of the night with theyíah greedy little problems! What audacity they have! Not a decent one among them, I think! No, not one!
Fawthah, youíd think they would at least have the decency to apologize to you, wouldnít you? Yes, you would think so! You suttinly would!
Take me home, Fawthah! Take me home!
If I were to hazard a guess, Jorge, I'd maybe think you were a bit of a wise-acre.....:)
----------------------------------------------03 Mar 04
Dear Editor,Jeff Diehl needs no defense from me. In fact, I disagree with hisapproach.But I am saddened to see a coward jump into thefight and make it dirty under a mask of "Name Withheld". Theweakling has no ability to handle the discussion intelligently sohe bashes and runs to hide himself. He hasn't even the courageto use an assumed name as readers do on Dear Abby.Now that is playground punch of the first order.Jim Baldwin
I don't much like that either. I posted it hoping you or someone would point out the cowardice involved there.
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