I have had very little contact with WWCoG members/off shoots since making a decision to leave in the year 2000. In the last 5 years there has been almost zero contact. However, recently I came into contact with a few; after cautious discussions with some of them, I have the following conclusions/comments: (Most of the comments in this letter relate to my recent contact with “Sam”)

    Recently I came into contact with “Sam” – he is now at the stage where he admits, there were many problems in WWCoG, but says he has moved on and accepted “the new covenant” – this in itself is good, because within his new system the obligation to keep days, tithe and various other things has fallen away, thus removing that burden from his family – of course the effects of many years of this burden still linger, and some of his current circle have made numerous comments where it is clear that these effects are still there, and in some cases is still a burden in itself.

    Some of Sam’s current circle are still struggling with “doctrinal” issues, and some are struggling with personal and other issues – as I say, the effects still remain and some are still suffering to one degree or another.

    In general, I believe a move to more “mainstream” organizations or way of thinking is a better course of action for most of those still intending to remain “religious” – these organizations/churches tend to be more sane, and the burden on members is generally a lot less – unfortunately for many from WWCoG, the doctrines still remain an issue, and they find it difficult to settle into say a Baptist church for any length of time; most mainstream churches do not outline their beliefs in a rigid “doctrinal” fashion, or at least the members are not motivated by doctrines – they find it strange when x-WWCoG members start questioning beliefs, or state that they don’t believe in “hell” – as a result many x-WWCoG members retreat back into small circles of contacts, mostly composed of members they knew from World-wide.

    In Sam’s case, he has a small group of people who sometimes meet for bible study, most of these will probably never integrate into the “Baptist” example, and will struggle along with their regular bible studies, but I believe they will never get completely past “doctrines, once you have been exposed to that a-la-armstrong, it’s very difficult to get past, so they will always be striving to get an answer via some perfect/correct “doctrine”

    [**COMMENT- it’s OK to have some doctrines/philosophies in life, but frankly there are no “answers” to life, and the big questions will NEVER be answered – far better to realize that people are not clones and that they see things differently]

    As far as Sam is concerned, there are a few things I have realized: although he says he has moved on, a lot of the old WWCoG characteristics/symptoms remain, ie he tends only to talk about his OWN beliefs and perspectives, he tends to cut people off when they talk about their perspectives, comments like “oh that’s not important” are quite common, even when discussing biblical issues. On some occasions, I have seen him make his point by saying “I’m not interested in what people say, I’m only interested in what the bible says” (VERY LOUD!!!) – thereby cutting people off ruthlessly and not allowing them to express their beliefs about the bible.

    [**COMMENT- a belief in the bible is really only how the person sees a particular verse at a particular time – you would have thought that x-World-widers would have realized that all biblical “understanding” comes from men, the bible is printed on men’s printing presses, is translated by men, was canonized by men, as far as I can see God does not come down from heaven and tell anyone the real, un-adulterated meaning]

    Other things that I have observed after Sam’s “moving on” is a very dismissive attitude to problems in the world, his basic approach is typically “I don’t know why you get so upset about things, the bible says that these things would happen” ?? – I have seen a universal tendency of people to dismiss the bad things and sufferings in this life: typically many non-religious people just say “I don’t give a stuff”, but many “religious/church-going” people use their religion to be dismissive as well, their typical response may be” but the bible says that these things would happen, I don’t know why you are so upset about it”, or “Well I just believe that Jesus will protect me, so I don’t worry about these things”.

    A while back I mentioned that one of my friends was suffering very badly, and that his wife had multiple sclerosis, after many years he finally turned to drink to dampen his pain, and had considered suicide on numerous occasions – a “Christian” lady commented that this man was focusing on his problems, and was therefore perpetuating the situation (!)

    There is a lot of this dismissive attitude to the sufferings of others, I’ve seen too many “Christians” pooh- pooh the sufferings of others. When I was going through some really black times in World-wide, there was no-one to support me – kind of reminds me of the story of the Samaritan who found someone beat up and lying in the road, who looked after him while the religious leaders of the time justified leaving this helpless guy in his situation –

    I can testify that some of the people in World-wide were the biggest cunts that I ever had the misfortune to come across, and classify them lower than cockroaches – all the while justifying their behavior by being in “the one true church” (losing jobs, income, friends and support because of the Sabbath and other doctrines was not amusing, it was bad enough, but many of us were accused of having no faith, being negative etc – it’s not funny when you’re sleeping in your beat up car next to the side of the road because you have nowhere to go – having the cops bang on your car telling you move etc etc)

    Other things that I have observed in Sam’s circle is a general consistent “tension” within his family (and to a degree with his small x-World-wide circle as well) – a lot of irritability with family members, speaking to his wife and children in a less than cordial way, many years ago they would regularly have a go at each other in front of church members – tirades of up to 20 minutes or more were not uncommon – recently I saw a bit of this as well, maybe say cut down to say about 10 minutes now ): ): - what progress – yes, the way church members spoke to each other even many years ago really boggled my mind –

    In any case, a general rudeness, abruptness, and general lack of social intelligence is still there – I suppose one can say there has been a bit of improvement (?)

    Sam’s wife is still suffering from general lack of self-esteem, and I have to question “normal” support that wives should receive from their husbands – his wife seems locked in a permanent forced smile, no matter what the situation, this smile is affixed, her voice seems permanently strained as if desperately trying to get some sort of recognition, which maybe never comes.

    You know, it’s very disconcerting, say you’re speaking on a reasonably serious subject, and still that smile stays affixed, still the strain of the voice, just trying to keep/force things pleasant. I also hate being asked five or six times in succession if I want tea or coffee, it seems more about desperately searching out every opportunity to appear/feel useful than being concerned about my “thirst” or trying to be a gracious host.

    Frankly, I don’t think she receives what she is desperately seeking; a normal recognition and a general feeling of normal self-esteem. I think Sam still fails to see the normal needs of his wife and children – I think it’s kind of sick when he mocks her in front of guests, this would be usually the x-World-widers, and another thing, this group has been together for about 10 years, does no-one have the balls to confront this bad behavior? No, they are such a bunch of lames that they would not risk “losing” the only person that they currently have as a crutch – so the behavior is perpetuated.

    OK, Sam seems sincere and in his own way has put in a lot of effort, he hasn’t just laid down and died, or simply tagged along as a die-hard old World-wider, and left that church and had to face some options, which really weren’t that many.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the old stuff is still there – I wish people would focus less on “doctrinal perfection” and more on the human aspect – learning how to interact better, how to give each person their space, their freedom etc.

    Instead of trying to force people to be so biblically perfect, how about just building people up and encouraging them once in a while – forget the “the bible says this” kind of reaction to everything that comes up. There doesn’t have to be a biblical label to everything. Once in a while “Christians” should just shut up and listen, and not be so arrogant as to already be formulating the correct biblical verse as a response before the person has even completed his story about his wife that has left him, the severe financial problems, or the ongoing situation of his son recovering from drugs etc.

    I witnessed Sam talking to one of his fellow circle talking about an issue involving some guy from a church group – this guy wanted to smear olive oil on his ceiling to keep out evil spirits – Sam made the usual snide remark – something like” I suppose we better all get down to the store and start stocking up on olive oil “ etc etc – yes very funny, I know some guy coming along and suggesting smearing olive oil on your ceiling is a bit whacky BUT – how soon we forget – what whacky things were done in World- wide? You might also ask, how did Sam’s friend get involved in such a whacky situation in the first place???

    This article has been a summary of a few things that I noted when inter-acting with “Sam” recently. Generally I can say that there is a whole kaleidoscope/spectrum of interpretation out there – everything from 100% atheist to 100% die-hard Armstrong followers. Many are somewhere between.

    One more thing I would like to say about Sam; while Sam has “moved on”, and believes that HWA was wrong about many of the doctrines, he still says things like HWA was “one of his fathers in the faith” (!!??)

    This is where I part ways – I find it difficult to reconcile the DESTRUCTION in the WWCoG with “the fathers in the faith” concept.

    HWA was a liar and an imposter; I definitely would not classify such a person as “my father”, in the faith or otherwise.

    John Smith, August 2012


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