I stumbled across this site by accident just a few weeks ago, after my wife heard a recent appearance on a daytime broadcast by J Tkach Jr, appealing that all of the splintered CoG groups “reunite” for the sake of the members. Chills ran down my spine, as I remember how those of us former members “felt” during the years of HWA and WCG. I lived that life. Immediately this message sounded eerily familiar and reminiscent
of the late 1970 appeals of HWA for the members to stick together; and in those days, after that came the sell all, give it to the church, to keep the work alive in the end of days, against the attack of Satan through the receivership by California, that we would be fleeing to Petra at any time, and God would judge us on how devoted we were to his work. I must say that seeing all of the evidence displayed herein on the farce of the WCG and the Armstrong regime makes me sick, and angry. Yet it also brings some
closure to a haunting chapter of my early life.
I grew up in WCG, from about age 5 until I stopped attending around my 22 birthday. Those 17 or so years were the most fearful, scary and unfortunate of my life. Now in my mid-50s, I praise God that I’ve come to understand that my instincts some 33 years ago were correct. I’m thankful that I finally understand the reality of the situation back then, and that I’m not “doomed to the Lake of Fire” just for questioning
the validity of WCG and HWA those many years ago. What do I remember about those years of living in WCG? Nothing good, but then that was justified by WCG saying all of God’s servants and children have been persecuted over the centuries for their beliefs. So being persecuted was a sign we were “the chosen few”.
Here is what I do remember about my years in WCG:
I watched my family struggle paycheck after paycheck, donating upwards of 30% of their gross income to WCG and HWA, believing that the end of times was near.
We were taught not to want new clothes (most clothes were gotten from Goodwill or from the churches “used clothing”), toys, and other superficial things, because the end was near.
We were told that we would never grow up, graduate high school, get cars, jobs, married, have kids, etc. because the end was near. We should focus our attention to prayer, fasting and supporting the work of God, and God would take care of us soon.
We were told that we could not invite friends from school to church; that only those God selected (through his ministers) could attend, because unbelievers would not understand. I recollect church services where deacons physically removed by force the unbelieving spouses of members, who came to see the group of nuts they were involved with, and wanted their “converted” spouses to get out of there.
We were told to travel hours on Saturdays to remote church services, to sit and listen quietly for hours to a minister tell the congregation that now was the time to sacrifice more than ever, to spread the Word of God and the Kingdom to come.
We lived in tents at Jekyll Island GA for the Feast of Tabernacles, because God commanded that we be there, even though my father lost his job nearly every year due to leaving work, and we barely had money to get there and back. And this was supposed to representative of the coming Kingdom of God?
We were told we couldn’t go to the doctor, and if it was God’s will, he would heal illness. In many cases we suffered with illnesses for extended periods. Some members offered some of their herbal remedies to try and help, and were often disfellowshipped for “doubting” in God’s healing power and leading his flock astray.
We were forbidden to socialize outside the church, could not have “pagan” friends in school, and were instructed not to participate in any school events with “unbelievers”. Later we were also instructed we could only date or marry baptized members or those that attended church regularly and “believed”.
We could not listen to the devil’s music, which was anything that wasn’t on the Lawrence Welk show or played by an philharmonic orchestra.
Anyone not baptized (and I never was) was considered an “unbeliever” and would suffer the same fate as the pagan masses out in the world unless we repented, became a true believer, and would follow the church into the end of days. It meant unquestionably following the teachings and mandates of HWA because he was the only true Apostle.
I resisted the urge to be baptized once I approached 18, just be to be “accepted” by the church. I just didn’t “believe” in my heart the teachings, yet was feeling guilty that I might be “turning my back on God” and would “suffer” the great tribulation and lake of fire with the rest of the world. I read in the Bible that Jesus preached to the masses, yet only church members were permitted to attend WCG church services.
I read in the Bible that God considered all people his children, yet WCG taught that anyone not a member of the church were pagan, evil, and instruments of Satan.
I stopped attending church in the late 70s, when more questions were arising than answers, and I just couldn’t live with the hypocrisy of attending the church, but not believing whole-heartedly in their teachings. I saw good people “in the world” and couldn’t believe that God condemned them to the lake of fire because they didn’t believe in (or even know about) WCG. Yet I was concerned about my spiritual future, and
was assured by friends in the church that since I had “never been called” and baptized, I would be given an opportunity to be called and believe in the future, as long as I didn’t turn my back on my belief in God. My uncle once told me that attending church didn’t make a person a Christian; living one’s life as a good person, making good decisions, being compassionate of others, and believing a God existed was more important. Many years later I saw a comment that has stayed in my mind “Sitting in church no more
makes a Christian that sitting in a garage makes one a car.” How true.
Having now found this site, and all of the openly available “facts” about WCG and HWA, I can now close this chapter of the book, and cleanse my mind of the guilt and fear that has lingered. Many long-time acquaintances and some family have stayed fervent to HWA and WCG, through these years of turmoil, and now various splinter groups of WCG, still believing their respective church is the one true church, preaching
the only gospel, and cemented to the belief that somehow HWA was God’s prophet. It is my hope that they at some point open their eyes to the evidence, and while not abandoning their faith in God, realize they have spent too many years under the falsehoods of HWA, the interpretation of the Bible by he and his cohorts, and take religion at face value. Belief in Christ has nothing to do with what church you attend, but everything to do with living your life to a standard of beliefs to which you are committed. Not
those told you by a man, but those that you have independently analyzed, and determined are sensible and reflect goodness in your relationship with others.
I have never lost my belief in God, and remain vigilant in living a life I believe He would want me to live – why? Because we all know right from wrong in our minds and hearts. To me, that is the Holy Spirit that is in us all. We can abandon it, and ultimately destroy ourselves and others; or embrace it, live in peace with ourselves and others.
Through this recent examination of WCG and HWA, I have concluded that the more formalized the “religious” organization or belief, the more likely that it is NOT a church of God, but rather of man. Are Monks that dedicate their lives in the mountains of the Himalaya doomed to eternal hell fire because they do not attend church. I think not. And there’s only one way we each will know if we lived a righteous life (different
from a religious life), and that is once we die. At that time, we’ll each have the opportunity of meeting our God in judgment, and either reward, or punishment, for the life that we have lead. Alternatively, if there is no God, then what is left is our memory, the Holy Spirit that originally embraced us, which can either be a light, positive to the world and remembered, or a dark, terrible influence that passed and hopefully forgotten.
In closing, I pray “God, bless and forgive all who have lived and suffered under the regime of HWA and WCG and splinter COGs, believing that they were living a right and purposeful life; grant them peace of mind and cleanse their minds and hearts of the guilt, anguish and memories of the oppressed life that they have lived; and grant them a positive, uplifted and meaningful life and state of mind, living as you would
have them live, to one day meet the final reward that you will so willingly and graciously grant to each of us. Amen”.
Dear Editor - -
I have responded to Dale Bagar's article/letter;
I have inserted my comments within his text in blue,
I have also highlighted some of his original text in red
His letter was written from a "religious/christian" perspective,
and I have responded as such - I think the common element
that we have is that HWA's system was destructive
John Smith, X-WWCoG member
Response by John Smith – my comments in blue.
left WWCoG in 2000, a nice round number –
left because I could no longer accept the behavior of the
church/members, I did my rounds of the splinter groups and finally
came to my senses to no
longer tolerate bad behavior,
“justifying” the behavior on the basis of “exclusive truth” –
this inconsistency reminds me of the verse “a fountain cannot bring
forth both bitter and sweet water”
I stumbled across thissite by accident just a few weeks ago, after my wife heard a recent
appearance on a daytime broadcast by J Tkach Jr, appealing that all
of the splintered CoG groups “reunite” for the sake of the
members. Chills ran down my spine, as I remember how those of us
former members “felt” during the years of HWA and WCG. I lived
that life. Immediately this message sounded eerily familiar and
reminiscent of the late 1970 appeals of HWA for the members to stick
together; and in those days, after that came the sell all, give it to
the church, to keep the work alive in the end of days, against the
attack of Satan through the receivership by California, that we would
be fleeing to Petra at any time, and God would judge us on how
devoted we were to his work.
I must say that seeingall of the evidence displayed herein on the farce of the WCG and the
Armstrong regime makes
me sick, and angry.
Yet it also brings some closure to a haunting chapter of my early
I have received rather blasé responses from WW-members when
bringing up the suffering that members went through – sometime back
I downloaded the ambassador reports and communicated this to a
member, one who insisted that “they” were really different from
the world etc etc, however, when presented with the ambassador
reports his response was “it’s all just an exaggeration” –
Thereis a general trend, even
to repress any “negative” emotion, and any “bad” emotion
displayed is seen as a person with a bad attitude, trying to rock the
Irecently had a discussion with, in this case an x-member, I was
discussing some bad trends that have been occurring in society in
recent years, and also some bad experiences that I had in recent
times, relating to general lack of empathy, lack of communication,
refusal to follow up on promises etc – this x-member proceeded to
accuse me of not
etc! This was very reminiscent of the old WW, ie let’s not
acknowledge anything bad – so, based on this reasoning,
acknowledgement of bad things happening in the world makes one a bad
person, and also lacking in faith!
Itwas just like replaying the tapes of WW-experience, while this member
acknowledges that WW made mistakes, and he ultimately left, he still
practices “arm chair” reasoning, ie we fix things or live our
lives by “reasoning” things right, which in reality, is just
Iremember doing a course by Anthony Robbins, where he says “this
course about positive
– I don’t believe in going into my garden and saying there’s no
weeds, there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds!”
Unfortunately,many mistakes are made by people refusing to acknowledge bad stuff,
this is not being polite, it is being dumb, especially when
situations go on for decades!
I grew up in WCG, fromabout age 5 until I stopped attending around my 22 birthday. Those 17
or so years were
the most fearful, scary and unfortunate of my life. Now
in my mid-50s, I praise God that I’ve come to understand that my
instincts some 33 years ago were correct.
I’m thankful that I finally understand the reality of the situation
back then, and that I’m not “doomed to the Lake of Fire” just
for questioning the validity of WCG and HWA those many years ago.
What do I remember about those years of living in WCG? Nothing
but then that was justified by WCG saying all of God’s servants and
children have been persecuted over the centuries for their beliefs.
So being persecuted was a sign we were “the chosen few”.
scary and unfortunate” – even at my fairly advanced age now I
cannot agree more – some have had 5, 10, 20 or even 40 years in the
WWCoG, hardly possible to just “forget it and move on”
INSTINCTS-let me say that instincts are there for a reason, we ignore at our
own peril – someone once said “many people are looking for the
voice of God, however, there is no voice, except the voice inside us,
instinct, that property that needs to develop in response to pleasure
versus pain” – How true, if you are feeling crap, then you are
probably immersed in crap, no use justifying and saying “I feel bad
but that’s just my carnal nature” indeed not, it’s common sense
<<Sobeing persecuted was a sign we were “the chosen few”>>This
is ironical because persecution (abuse) came from within,
we only realized this later
Here is what I do remember about my years in WCG: