Exit and Support Network

The Emotional Impact is Still With Me

I came across your website after entering a search for Herbert Armstrong. I am not sure why I searched for HWA, but I am glad I did; otherwise, I wouldn't have found you. I was born into the Worldwide Church of God in 1970 and had to stay in until I was eighteen. Of course, by then, I was so entrenched into it that I had a difficult time in leaving for fear of the lake of fire. While I stuck with the ideals the leaders preached, in the back of my mind distrust was forming. I began to realize a cultish element to this "church," but never in my wildest dreams knew of the corruption and greed carried out in God's name. Thank you for this information. I hope more members, ex and current, find their way to this information.

I was also (this for some reason makes me smile now) a thorn in Gerald Flurry's side for several of my teenage years. We had many, many face-to-face confrontations that usually ended up with a threat to kick me out. Funny thing was, ninety percent of the reasons I was getting yelled at were not my fault, but somehow I got labeled as the ringleader for everything bad the other kids did.

Flurry actually did kick me out (of the WCG) a few times but for some reason or another I kept finding my way back in. It's all I knew. I had no friends in school so I had no real social skills. I was unable to develop any until my mid twenties and I am still struggling today in my late 30s. The emotional impact of that "church" has stayed with me. I struggle with it even as I type this. I feel betrayed, but I also feel like I am betraying the "one true church of God."

My parents are also ex-members of WCG and thankfully cut all ties with it. They regret ever going in and, now, they admit something wasn't right. However, years of mind control still skews their thought process. When I talked to my mother about the ESN web site and the things it said about Herbert Armstrong and his underlings; their deceit, greed, and depravity, she responded with "don't believe everything you read." This saddens me because I know that despite not attending for several years and claiming fault in the "church," the hold stills exists in her mind and it won't let her see the true face of this cult that her, my father, my brothers, and myself gave so much of our lives and money to.

I know there are a lot of members, current and former, who are a lot worse off than I am. I think mostly I am just complaining, but the long term damage these people cause is very real and can be emotionally crippling, even after exiting and knowing the truth. I still struggle with my thought process regarding the WCG and probably always will. I made a joke once that the Big Sandy campus was a gun or two away from a compound. Now I wonder.

I don't know if this letter makes any sense. There are so many things I want to say that I sidetrack a lot. Sorry. To sum it up, I survived the WCG, but I am scarred for life.

By Jake - Child survivor of WCG
August 22, 2006

Read: Recovery After Exiting a Spiritually Abusive Group

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