Exit and Support Network

Letters From Those Impacted by
WCG, HWA & Offshoots

Best of the Letters from 2005

 

Tkach, Sr. Video Sermon Mysteriously Misplaced From Church Library:

March 25, 2005

Tkach, Sr.'s sermon concerning the changes rocked the Worldwide Church of God. I recently requested a copy from Pasadena, but never received one. The Video has been mysteriously "misplaced" from the local church library. Convenient. I've had a couple of people who were at the 1st sermon in Pasadena tell me the video was doctored before the local congregations viewed it because, when the audience was shown, they weren't in it! I am no longer a member. --Louisiana

WCG Received Millions for Sale of Pasadena Campus:

March 29, 2005

According to my information, Worldwide Church of God received at least $64 million for the sale of the campus. Who is auditing them and will it be published? That's a lot of money for the leaders to be unaccountable for. This amount was mentioned on TBN TV when they were discussing the offer of Mott Auditorium by Pastor Ché Ahn of Harvest Rock Church, the purchaser of Ambassador Campus. I am sending you the taped program. --Former WCG member

Comment: Certain ones have told us the amount WCG received is much more than $64 million. While it will be impossible to find out the exact amount, we don't doubt it was a very high figure. Furthermore, what makes anyone believe, if this organization were audited, that the reports will be truthful? It is highly likely that they would write the reports in such a confusing manner that nobody would be able to discern them (like all the Arthur Anderson reports they used to publish in the WWN). (Read letter: WCG's Auditors Exposed For Dishonest Practices.)

I Proved WCG a Lie and Left:

April 13, 2005

I have always wondered if others were feeling as I do. I grew up in the WCG and attended in Jackson and Clarksville, Tennessee. I believed wholeheartedly what I had been told until 1995 when all heck broke loose and everyone was arguing. I set out to prove all the new teachings about grace a lie. Instead I proved WCG a lie. I have been a Christian since 1996. I love to read God's Word now because I understand that it is for me and there is no hidden meaning that only the "called" can understand. I praise Jesus that I did not become bitter, as so many have. I surrendered my life to children's ministry. I love teaching children about a God of love and grace, not the harsh, hateful God that I was taught about. I never understood that God even wanted a relationship with me as a child. Keep up all the good work you are doing. So many were hurt; so many still are being hurt. My mother is still an active member of UCG. I pray for her daily and know that God will hold accountable the leaders who taught lies to people.

Thank you for what you are doing. Only those who have been there can understand. --Child survivor of WCG

Spared From Living Church of God:

May 1, 2005

Upon finding Living Church of God's website one day, I thought I had found a treasure trove of information! The more I delved into their material, the more I was sure I had been deceived all these years by Sunday worshipping churches. Having been receiving their publications by mail, I recently decided to take the next step and contact them about a local congregation. Before responding to the return email/invitation for a meeting, I held back and did some further research about their past, for something was bothering me, and had been for some time. Today I found your site via the search engine, and was impressed with the amount of information I read. The more I read, the more things clicked. I know God has always looked out for me, as He does all His flock, but this held true even more after praying for guidance about attending the Living Church Of God. Obviously He still works in my life, even when I'm not paying much attention!

Thank you for publishing this information as well as providing help for those who have suffered by their hands. You are doing a great service, not only for past sufferers, but for those who might fall victim to lies. Sincerely, --Thankful

The Fruits of These Groups Show Them to be Cults:

May 17, 2005

I have just read your site and have had similar experiences with these so-called "churches" and indeed their fruits show them to be cults, of which I was a part of for many wasted years of my life.

The last episode was Restored Church of God and I came to realise from my 22 year old daughter that it was a cult and "Rabbi David Pack" is only interested in taking money from people. Also, I agree with you that Herbert Armstrong was a con man, too, as what holy person would fly around in private jets and tell you not to give to other denominations or charities?

I, too, have been liberated in the last year or so through my daughter, as she was treated despicably by the WCG. It is a disgrace. We have both seen the "light" and have no time for any group that says there is only a select few who are special. It is nonsense. No man is ever going to tell me how to live my life. Once again it is by your fruits you are known.

God bless to you all. --England, UK

You Are Doing a Great Service:

June 16, 2005

I stumbled across your website as the result of a search about one of the offshoot groups from the WCG. I was looking for something to show a friend about the group behind the free literature (The Philadelphia Trumpet) she saw at a grocery store.

I am a WCG survivor having grown up in the group from the time I was four. I made my escape just after the "change." Thankfully Jesus had my rescuing planned all along and within a year, placed me into a new church home. I still have family in the group.

I commend you for taking so much trouble to research and share this type of information for anyone. You and others who do this ministry do people a great service. It is hard to change a mindset that has been drilled into you, especially when you have been placed into a box with a warning not to look outside it. Folks like yourself help to offer aid to those of us who have questions, have made changes, or want to help others in this sad, limiting lifestyle.

I have learned that God isn't angry, demanding, or wanting us to jump through hoops just so we can get to whatever concept of eternity someone dreams up. God in His essence is love. He loved me before my great-grandparents were dreamed of, He died for my sins, forgave me as soon as I asked, and gave me a new life in Him. I wish everyone could know that. I wish everyone could see how simple it is. --Child survivor of WCG

WCG and Their Called to Be Free Video/DVD:

July 13, 2005

I just had to email you to get your input on the new WWCG video, "Called to Be Free," going around from Living Hope Ministries. Boy, did they leave out the best parts!! Like ole Joe Jr. and friends knowing back in the early eighties that they were going to have to change their doctrines--long before they did. Of course, we know that the doctrines were found to be in error back in the seventies; Joe being a hard line Armstrongite up until the mid `90s. I was assisting two former WWCG members during this period of upheaval. I also was attending in Huntsville, Alabama in 1994 when it all hit the fan!! What we have here are some very convincing actors playing out a "woe is me" martyr part in the whole scheme of things. --Former WCG member from the Chicago WCG, 1964-1974.

This Website Has Changed My Life:

July 31, 2005

Finding this website has changed my life. I couldn't read enough last night. I was up until 2 a.m. and my mind was going 100 mph. Reading the stories and history of the research you have done are amazingly accurate. --Child survivor of WCG

Stepfather was a Sexual Abuser in the WCG While a Deacon:

August 9, 2005

I am very confused about the antecedents of the Worldwide Church of God; however, I believe that this is not that much different from other Bible sects that are still prevalent in America.

My stepfather's family had a long time association with the Anglican church; however, he linked up with the WWCG--not totally surprising. If that were now, he would, indeed, be incarcerated. However, he is now 75 years old. He was a Deacon in the 1970s in the WWCG. He was himself a single man that had spent a number of years as a volunteer in the "scouting endeavor" in the areas in Northern British Columbia at the same time that he was kicked out of the Anglican Church in the 1960s in Prince George.

At this time, he met my mother and married her in a very, very short interlude. My brother, sister and I had been living at my stepfather's brother's home as foster children, as well as being the recipient of both physical, emotion and sexual abuse, which, of course continued after the "marriage."

My brother has confronted my stepfather in this regard, etc., and my stepfather said that basically he had joined the WWCG and they had absolved him of all his previous "activities" and, in fact, he was a Deacon in the WWCG for about 20 years.

At the same time he had an illicit relationship with another member of the WWCG of which he told me in some detail. He did not tell this to either my brother or sister; however, my mother gave me some details of his behaviour. However, by that time she was an agorophophic shut in, basically imprisoned in the home, with no way out. --Canada

Comment: Predators who abuse innocent others (especially sexually) have long been known to hide out in churches. Also read the following letters on our site: "Sexual Abuser Protected by WCG Minister" (12-5-03), "Man in WCG Molested My Son" (1994, OIU 1, Pt. 2, From Our Mailbag), "Two of My Daughters Were Molested in WCG" (6-26-08), and Predator in Worldwide Church of God Approached Me (1-13-11). Update 3-24-14: The testimony "My Experiences in Worldwide Church of God" mentions a minister who was accused of molesting young boys.

Your Website is a Haven for Child Survivors:

October 22, 2005

I just think your website is one of the greatest tools that we as Child Survivors can use to be able to cope with our lives now.

I am a regular mainstream Christian church member now. That finally put the baggage of the WCG behind me. Now I understand what I've been missing all those years in WCG. Grace is truly a wonderful blessing.

My sister and I both really appreciate the work you do, and the website is a haven for us. Most mainstream Christians don't realize, or can't appreciate or understand just what life was like growing up in the WCG. But we are thankful that there is a place for us that does understand.

Thanks for the website, and thanks be to God for doing His work through you at ESN. Sincerely, Richard Briggs, Child survivor of WCG

Realized Something Was Terribly Wrong:

November 2, 2005

I have been reading and researching the ESN since early last summer. I began realizing something was terribly wrong with the way I had been raised in the WCG, and after attending the Living Church of God for the past 4 to 5 years, I really began to look into some things as all my life the "dots" never connected with what was being taught.

My mother was a member and therefore I became a member back in the 1960s. Let me say I have been through all the experiences and changes that are listed on your website. I fully understand all of them. Just this year, upon my research and lengthy study of the history of the WCG, and putting together what I had always known with what really transpired, and how it has filtered on down into the major offshoots, especially the PCG and the LCG, and how mind control, cult social behavior and manipulation works, I was flabbergasted as to how my family and my husband could have been so deceived. I am not angry or anything like that. "The Church" and "the people" were all I knew and one can't blame themselves for that. But when you are enlightened to the truth of the matter and get yourself educated, then it's time to do something about it, and that's just what I have done.

I no longer attend the LCG, and have pulled my membership from the same. I now attend a church which is a Bible based, Christ teaching and preaching, balanced, free-conscience, balanced church, where you can grow and be taught, and there is love and understanding. --Former member of WCG and LCG

NOTE: The following emails concern Carn Catherwood, Loma Armstrong, and the Radio Church of God's first hymnal (see article: Myths About Loma Armstrong). 

Also read our article: Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change Words of Sacred Hymns? (Examples from his early Bible Hymnal in Radio Church of God)

Loma Armstrong's Favorite Song?

November 13, 2005

Regarding your article about Loma saying her favorite song was "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." (Myths About Loma Armstrong), I have no memory of any such thing ever, ever being said by Loma. I never read it in any literature--ever. Catherwood was an evangelist and I am sure a good "yes" man, and I would have no reason to believe that he would not lie. All kinds of manipulations were used on the members to get them to "look fondly on the new changes" in Worldwide. --Former member of WCG

Carn Catherwood and Loma Armstrong's Words:

November 13, 2005

I remember the gray covered hymnal. I really believe that if What A Friend We Have In Jesus had been in it I would remember. We never sang anything like that in WCG. I sorely missed the songs I grew up with, and loved so much, and that song would have caught my attention if it had been in that book.  

I remember a taped sermon from Carn Catherwood being played in my congregation. I don't remember what year it was, but it seems it came out as changes were beginning to be made. In it he claimed that Loma asked him to do that song when she was in services and he was song leader. He went on to say that she told him that Herbert hated that song and that the ministry would have nothing to do with it because of this. He claimed she called it her favorite hymn.  

At the time it didn't cross my mind that he was probably making a false claim, but I guess that could be the case.  

Another (video) tape by Carn Catherwood was sent out that was viewed only by ordained personnel. In it he went after the abuses being done by the ministry. He went into great detail about the bad treatment by the ministry. At first, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. However, I felt that since this serious problem had been addressed that we would see decreasing mistreatment. Finally, I had to face the fact that the ministry completely ignored the message and all abuses continued on as if it had never been addressed. --Former member/deacon of WCG

Comment: While "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" is listed in the Radio Church of God's earlier gray hymnal (Bible Hymnal), only one person has told us they remembered singing it as a small child in WCG, around 1964, and that members may have sung it (along with some other Protestant hymns) "at least up until the early to mid sixties." Whether Loma ever stated this is still in question. The name "Radio Church of God" was changed to Worldwide Church of God on January 5, 1968.

Carn Catherwood and Loma: A Very Big Stretch:

November 13, 2005

Having "joined" WCG in the late 60s, I remember very well that little gray hymnal they were using. I don't remember seeing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" in it. I grew up in a "Protestant" Church but never questioned what I started singing in the Radio Church of God (although I thought the songs were "different"). I think what Carn Catherwood said about Loma is probably a very big stretch. --Former WCG member

Carn Catherwood Very Fond of Herbert Armstrong and Loma:

November 13, 2005

I remember back in the `80's, Carn Catherwood gave a taped sermon (I'm assuming the tape was sent to all the congregations) about getting started in the "Italian Work." He was young, and fresh out of AC. He said that HWA called him into his office and said, "I heard you can speak Italian?" And Catherwood replied that he spoke a little. Then HWA said, "Good! You can learn the rest when you get there!" And that's how Catherwood ended up in Italy.

I recall that Catherwood was very, very fond of HWA and Loma (and imparted those feelings to me). He made HWA sound like a big grumpy grandfather figure that really loved everyone (once you really got to know him). Anyway, I don't recall him saying anything about Loma's "favorite song" on this tape. I know HWA hated the hymn, "Amazing Grace" because it used to be my favorite song in church. It was hard to push it out of my mind but I worked diligently at it (along with pushing Christmas carols out of my mind). I know the purple hymnal was later created because HWA said a elderly man in the congregation said, "It was just as bad to sing a lie as it was to tell one." (I don't know if HWA made that up in order to have an excuse to put together the purple hymnal.) HWA would say that he used other hymnals out of necessity until Dwight's songs could be put together. Yes, WCG will continue to whitewash HWA and Loma. --Former WCG member

HWA Made Us Stop Singing "It is Well With My Soul":

November 13, 2005

I remember the gray hymnal well (having gone in WCG in 1963). I do know there were at one time some Protestant hymns in the old WCG hymnals. The hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" was in the gray hymnal [omitted in the 1974 hymnal]. I remember this because it was one of my, and my late wife's, favorite. It was not long after we started attending the WCG, that we had to stop singing it because HWA said, "It was not well with our soul!" So, we never sang it again. But now we can! And we do! And we love it!! --Charles Rightmeier (Former WCG member)

Comment: Could it also have been because the 3rd stanza of this hymn says our sin is "nailed to the cross"? It is highly likely that as time went on HWA decreed other Protestant hymns in that earlier hymnal would no longer be sang.

Jesus Was Missing in the New Hymnal:

November 14, 2005

When I first attended the WCG it was known as Radio Church of God. People sang from a grey soft-cover hymn book. It contained some hymns about Jesus and two of them were called "Jesus Calls Us, O'er The Tumult" and "Jesus, I Come" but when the new hard-cover WCG hymn book came out, then Jesus was missing! No wonder the WCG did away with "Jesus I Come" as the first line says "Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus, I come, Savior, I come; Into Thy freedom, gladness and light, Master, I come to Thee." HWA said that we no longer needed to sing those old "Protestant" hymns and that his brother Dwight L. Armstrong (not even in the WCG!) had now composed most of the new ones from the O.T. Psalms. I do recall thinking that it was odd that we had to give up singing those "worldly" hymns but now had to sing Psalms with the music composed by a "worldly man" and I did miss singing anything that mentioned Jesus' name, but over time you just got used to the new ones and shut down what ESN has called "critical thinking skills." Many of the Psalm hymns were about asking God to win battles against ancient Israel's enemies, etc. whereas that doesn't fit in with the New Testament and the teaching of Jesus. I kept the grey hymn book and maybe once or twice a year sang one or two to myself though, so I can't have been totally brain-dead. --Former WCG member

Protestant Songs in Old Hymnal Were Jettisoned After 1972:

November 14, 2005

I have a copy of the first Radio Church of God hymnal (there's no date in it). There were many wonderful "gospel" (Protestant) songs in it (along with a mix of Dwight Armstrong songs). What a pity they were jettisoned when the 1974 WCG hymnal came out. I don't remember ever singing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," but it might have been sung at some point. I know that the feast in 1972 was the last year that we had the old song book. I remember singing "God Be With You `Till We Meet Again" as the final song. I was told that that song was traditional for the final song at the feast. I can't remember what we sang in 1973, but we never again sang "God Be With You" at the feast. We really thought the Second Coming was close. --Former member WCG

Some Words Had Already Been Changed in Gray Hymnal:

November 14, 2005

The first new hymnal I remember was the purple one, and we began using it at the feast, making the gray one obsolete with its introduction. I remember being instructed how to properly use the new hymnals the first time to preserve the binding. We all had to sit in our seats, open the books from the middle, press the book open, then turn a little bit from each side to the other side, and back again, until the entire hymnal had been "properly" opened. We purchased the books in order to defray the printing cost, and that we might have the books during the week to learn the songs from. I do think some of the words had already been changed in the gray hymnal. For instance, I don't think I ever read or sang "cross of Jesus," it was "Word of Jesus," and the words to "Battle Hymn of the Republic were already changed before the new [1974] hymnal. Evidently, the gray hymnal was put together by HWA, but he didn't have enough of Dwight's stuff to offer enough variety or something, so he had used some Protestant hymns. My husband, who is very musically gifted, says Dwight Armstrong's stuff is some of the worst written music he's ever heard from a technical point of view. --Child survivor of WCG

Everything Figured With an Agenda:

November 15, 2005

I just read the article Myths About Loma Armstrong. I remember just a purple hymnal, not the gray one. If "What a friend we have in Jesus" was sang, I don't even remember it. I just know that if I'd heard Carn Catherwood say that and try to immortalize Loma like that, I would have been rolling my eyeballs.

Before I left Worldwide, there was no doubt in my mind the leaders were lying all the time and trying to sell the new agenda and continuing to cover up their past. I could have chalked it up to "not knowing any better" except to some extent I didn't know any better, but when I did, I left and refused to support any of it. The only conclusion I could draw was that those who clamor for lies wanted to stay, and that Herbert was a calculating control freak. Everything figured with an agenda. As the years go by, my conviction of that grows. And not only him but those such as Carn Catherwood. I have eliminated from my life all remembrances of the WCG: the hymnals, the tapes, the videos, the literature, and even the people. Because unfortunately all they know is the mind control of the WCG, and the hymnal is just another example of that. I can praise God that I was delivered. --Former member of WCG

Reply: It's been noted that at the women's conference where Carn Catherwood gave the "tribute" to Loma they got the audience to join in and sing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" at the same time as slides of HWA and Loma were showing. This is certainly an agenda to cause members to "associate" good feelings from the song with HWA and Loma Armstrong. Catherwood should have gone on to say that HWA scorned that hymn so much that he made sure it was eliminated from the 1974 hymnal.

NOTE: This concludes our posting of emails concerning this subject.

Guided Away From False Teachings of Restored Church of God:

November 17, 2005

As a Christian of many years, I often browse the Internet late at night in search of learning about different aspects of faith which I wish to learn more about. The other night, I came upon The Real Truth website, and began reading David Pack's many articles on different aspects of Christianity. I was impressed with the site, and tonight I did some searches on David C. Pack, and Worldwide Church of God, etc.

I was astounded to find out that this was all a cult. I ended up on your site, and found it wonderful. It is so scary out there. There are so many learned people saying so many reasonable sounding things that it is nearly hopeless to decipher what is of evil, and what is God. Sometimes I feel like the only safe way to study God's Word is to read it yourself, ask that the Holy Spirit guide you, and never ask anyone anything for fear of being misled! I thank the Lord that he guided me away from false teachings by putting the idea of searching the background of Pack and his cohorts.

Thanks for what you are doing up here! Best, -- T. H.

Richard Armstrong's Accident Enabled HWA to Coerce More Money Out of Members:

December 9, 2005

It's so true what you said about Richard Armstrong's death and how the Autobiography and co-worker letters for the date of the accident don't match. Last night I read the 1958 letters posted online pertaining to it [July 17-August 18]. One thing not mentioned in your report is how HWA used this entire tragic circumstances when his son was dying to coerce everyone for more money--in the guise of a "spiritual awakening"--just like he did during Loma's fatal illness. HWA's July 17th letter says, "Many of you CAN respond much better. SOME FEW of you are able, if willing, to put in larger amounts, even up to a few thousand dollars." (Ugh.) It makes me sick to my stomach to read the parts in this letter where he gives members hope that God is going to put Richard (Dick) back in as good a shape as before (depending on the members' faith and prayers), and that Satan has "stricken him for a duration until God completely restores him." The story he tells about the man crippled for life and presumably healed after Richard prayed for him 3 mos. prior, is surely only more misinformation to get members' hopes up. Oh yes, there's also the part in his August 5 letter about how he found out "after Richard died" that Richard had always had a "premonition" he was going to die as a martyr by violent death anyway and this tragedy to Richard was not a "punishment." Many were the times I remember hearing that if an accident or something awful happened to one of us it was indeed a punishment! The last letter I read [August 12] said Richard would have "greater work" to do in the Kingdom. (In spite of the Bible saying we will enter into our rest when we go to be with Christ.) I actually felt worn out when I got through reading them. How good it is to out from under all that striving and sacrificing and to know there is more in life than "God's Work" and it is freedom and rest in Christ. --Former WCG member who remembers Loma's death

Read: Richard David Armstrong and the Automobile Accident (includes Co-Worker letter). The July 17 date may have been a misprint on the letter and meant to say July 27 since HWA mentions it being "Sunday afternoon."


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