Exit and Support Network

Always Assumed My Childhood Was
Rougher Than Everyone Else's

I was a "child of the church," being born into it and leaving it the day I turned 18. Yesterday was the first I realized that there are other people out there like me.

I, too, was raised poor. I have never heard an "I love you" from any of my family members or WCG members. I was raised believing that everyone looked down on me, including God, and that nothing I did would ever be good enough. I had no idea that others in the WCG experienced the same things that I have. I always assumed that my childhood was rougher than everyone else's, and that "the church" was just another ingredient in a recipe that didn't turn out too well. I didn't realize that the WCG was the recipe, and everything else were the ingredients.

I have read some of the posts about the friends other members of the congregation have made. I, however, had no friends in the "church." I had no friends at all, come to think of it. I know the feeling of true loneliness--it is a hollow feeling when no one loves you, and you can't turn to God or even yourself for approval.1

Even as I type this, I feel that I am sinning. I feel that God will smite me for doing this. My parents would be ashamed and embarrassed (they still attend a splinter group). What would the rest of the congregation think? It's funny, they didn't worry about my reputation when I went to school in ragged clothes that reeked. They didn't worry about our reputation when we were on the side of the road putting our car's engine fire out with sand. But to have not one child, but four children, "abandon" the "church" that was largely responsible for our situation, that is shame in their eyes. But, hey, many are called, few are chosen, right? I guess I just wasn't good enough to be chosen then.

It's hard to explain to orthodox people what Worldwide Church of God was like. To vomit when you are five years old and fasting [on Day of Atonement]. To contemplate if gum counts as food or not. To feel ill when you accidentally eat pork. To have old men bring you candy and send you letters in the mail telling you how gorgeous you, a twelve year old, are. To have deacons look down on you like you aren't good enough, despite your efforts to impress them. To not be allowed to date, to wear makeup, to listen to most music. To cry at the sight of Christmas lights. To have guilt associated with the acts that bring most people

By Sherry - Child survivor of WCG
May 18, 2006

Footnote by ESN:

1 The feeling that we "can't turn to God or ourselves for love or approval" is a result of the programming placed in our mind by the cult. The true God is a God of love manifested through Jesus. He loves us with an everlasting love and will never cast anyone away who comes to Him. Read: Because God Loves Me.

Poems/Free Verse (comfort for the broken-hearted)

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