Exit and Support Network

WCG Caused Me to Pass Up Music Scholarships

I began getting The Plain Truth at the age of 15. I didn't know there was a local church until three years later when I was invited. From reading literature about the Ten Commandments written by Roderick Meredith, I really thought I had to give up my music or go to the lake of fire, because I thought music was an idol to me.

I was handed two four-year full paid scholarships plus a third partial scholarship to study music. One was for Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and the other was for a music school in Tennessee. I think it might have been Belmont University. I am a direct descendant of Johanne Sebastian Bach, and didn't know that until my family had our family tree traced when I was 15. I had begun copying music at age 9 and had begun writing my own songs at age 13. I learned to play every instrument I could get my hands on. I read lots of books on music and songwriting. By the age of 17 I had written a Sonata for piano in E minor and had written many songs and lots of poetry. I could conduct music and had assisted the band director in giving music lessons from the time I was 11.

The only reason I would ever have given up music is if God commanded me to, and I had been deceived to think He practically had. There were no ministers around at the time that I knew about. They were so secretive back then. I thought that the Radio Church of God1 was that you got baptized by a traveling baptizing team in the local creek, and you did the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course and listened to Armstrong on the radio and studied his literature with your Bible. My music teachers could hardly believe it when I actually turned down those scholarships!

I just got out of WCG in January of 1997. The lie that was drummed into me since I was a teenager was that it was the "only true church," and that "you have to suffer to build character." And I did, and it nearly cost me my life!! I have grieved over my music so terribly, but everybody says, "It's in the past. Just forget about it!" Music was part of my life, and when that went, a part of me died! Since I have realized that God really wants us to develop our talents that He gave us, and music is so important to Him, I have written some things, and a few things have been performed in a few churches, but the grief is so hard to overcome. It's like I've had the life knocked out of me! I'm still trying to get my health back, which is another whole horror story.

Music just hasn't run through my head very much like it used to, which was almost all the time when I was younger. Anyway, I really do need some healing. I'm trying to pick up the pieces of my life and trying to get back into my music at age 53. My son is so happy to be out of WCG. Women and children suffered terribly under Armstrong's government regime!! Thanks for being there. Write me please! It is so wonderful to know there is somebody who will possibly understand without telling me to just forget it, as if it never happened! As if I can ever get back the marvelous life and career I could have had in serving God and the world with beautiful music! Thanks.

By Charisse - Child survivor of WCG
August 22, 2002

Also read: My Talent of Music Was Never Appreciated (another child survivor's story about music)

Related Material: Healing Through Grief (Includes Personal Stories About Grief from survivors of Armstrongism)

Footnote by ESN:

1 Radio Church of God was renamed Worldwide Church of God in 1968. In 2009 they changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.

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