Letters From Those Impacted by
Philadelphia Church of God
Best of the Letters from 2009
Gerald Flurry's Tirades:
January 22, 2009
Those PYC teens [that listen to Flurry's sermons] will most likely not escape psychologically unharmed from such abuse. I am so glad that when my children were younger that I could not afford to send them to camp, even though at the time I wanted to and one of them expressed an interest. I can vouch for your description of Flurry "losing it" towards the end. Even when I was fully supportive of him, I would wince and wonder why he is screaming at people who back him during his sermons. I really do believe, now, that he has mental health issues dating way back.
My wife, at the tender age of 17, was president of the Y.O.U. at her local [WCG] congregation. She related to me about one Y.O.U. weekend where they all had one of the sports weekends in Flurry's Tri-cities area. There was trouble with some of the boys from my wife's group and Flurry began interrogating my wife, yelling and screaming at her, for so long that it took her father (a deacon) and one of the local elders to get him to calm down. His belligerence lasted for about twenty minutes or so. Anyone that knows her would attest to the fact that she in no way ever does anything in the way of bad attitude or disrespect that would warrant his tirade. That is, I am sure, at least one of the reasons, among others, she did not follow me into the PCG. It is a testament to her patience that my entering the PCG was not more of an issue in our marriage.
Also, Flurry always holds big expectations for January 16th and its prophetic impact. I watched the news fairly close on the 16th and all the next day to see if there would be some big event that he could attribute to HWA's death anniversary. It almost seemed to be a news vacuum for the day. I saw nothing that could be considered even close to shattering. Another blow to his ego, I am sure. --V. W. (Former PCG member)
January 23, 2009
There are about 5,000 people, or less, attending PCG with approximately 3,800 baptized members. The last two years I've counted Feast stats and compared it to circulation numbers in the Philadelphia News. I checked with a reliable source who said the membership is 3,800 + family members, which verifies my numbers. So, I'm fairly sure that is an accurate figure. --Informer
Exodus From PCG May Pick Up:
January 23, 2009
I think the exodus from the PCG may pick up during the next two years. As 2010 comes and goes with no Tribulation, the people will begin to scratch their heads more. And enduring the mental instability of the ministry will become more intolerable. It sounds like Flurry himself is on the verge of total insanity. --Former PCG member
Thank You For Your Web Page:
April 7, 2009
Thank you, thank you, for your web page and information that gives us so much hope and encouragement. God bless you and may the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth. I will continue to pray for my husband who has been in these organizations (WCG and PCG) for 39 years. --P. M., Australia (Impacted by PCG)
April 18, 2009
GF has now purchased the Big Sandy swan sculpture ("Swans in Flight") to adorn his Auditorium in Edmond. This sculpture was done for HWA in the late 60s by English sculptor David Wynne. (It was only one such sculpture out of several that HWA had Wynne do for all three of his campuses.) HWA considered Wynne to be "the greatest living sculptor in the world" and GF says, "I don't think there is a more beautiful sculpture of its kind in the world." This will give you some idea of how expensive the swan sculpture must be (the price of which GF does not reveal).
Another extravagance of GF's is the three diamond-shaped crystal chandeliers he bought last year. He went to a chandelier designer to find the perfect piece for the lobby. After discussion, he was shown the gallery of original pieces. One was the huge diamond shaped, one of a kind piece made from very, very expensive crystal. GF fell in love with it and decided on it. They then negotiated to make two somewhat smaller ones to hang on either side of the main one.
The auditorium is to have the theme of "diamonds."
GF says that God is "giving us some of the treasures he gave to Mr. Armstrong" and PCG, like the swans, is "beginning to soar as never before." What I see is that GF is getting carried away like a king building his palace, and this is simply one more adornment for his "palace." What a waste of members' money. --An observer
Comment: A small chandelier light crystal (86 x 70 inches) was advertised on the web for a suggested price of $56,538.00. It was "on sale" for $34,865.10.
Update 8-10: When this $20 million Armstrong Auditorium was completed, PCG boasted of Swarovski-Strass crystal chandeliers, weighing up to 2 tons each and holding between 15,000 and 21,000 pieces of crystal.
Flurry's Hold on Members Not as Tight as He Thinks:
April 22, 2009
I dropped off a birthday card for my PCG grandson recently and was surprised to be told by the parents that I could visit the child. So I ended up seeing and talking with all of my grandchildren and had a nice little visit. I bet good old Gerald would not approve of that. So, I hold great hope in that little meeting. Gerry, your hold on all your people is not as tight as you think. Suck on that awhile! --Impacted by loved ones in PCG
May 9, 2009
When we were in the WCG, we remember a man who went to court to gain custody of his children, and he had absolutely no witnesses, and his wife came with 10 or 12 witnesses, and he still won with just his own testimony. When God is on your side, and you have prayed about it, He is capable of swaying the mind of any judge. Our suggestion is that those who are trying to gain custody of their children in PCG to pray about it and let go. That is what we have had to do. Only God can fix these kinds of situations. We realize that now, very clearly, from our own experience.
We have not seen our children and grandchildren in several years and all due to the crazy, "no-contact" rule concocted by the narcissistic Gerald Flurry.
Patience is a virtue, although we all want our answers now. Prayer is the only answer when it comes to dealing with evil that is the PCG. --Former members of WCG/PCG
Helpful Suggestions For Those Who Have Left PCG:
June 19, 2009
It could be most helpful to PCG exiters to read everything they can on who Herbert Armstrong really was. It was the knowledge of who he was and what he really did that helped to keep me from falling back in with one of the other splinters. Once one realizes that he was a false prophet and there is no need to fear him or any of his teachings, you can begin to evaluate what was done to you.
I would also suggest they begin, slowly at their own pace, to re-connect with family and friends that are not in PCG, or have left also.
It has been rewarding for me to reconnect with my family and begin to cultivate friendships that are not based on mutual cult memberships.
Thanks for all your hard work giving us exiters a place to vent and share, and an understanding shoulder to lean on.
Sincerely, Vaughn Woodfield, fellow PCG exiter
Members and PCG:
June 20, 2009
There's some PCG member around here who distributes the Philadelphia Trumpet in seeming every little restaurant, etc., that I go into. So I ask the owner or manager to review the PCG on the Web and then decide whether to allow those magazines to be distributed in his business. When I go back, invariably, they're gone.
My story with PCG is not nearly as bad as some we've heard. For example, there was a PCG family who went to a funeral with tape on their mouths to keep from talking to "Laodiceans." (true story)
We continue to declare God's favor over our family in PCG and hold out hope and faith that at some point we will be reunited. May God's favor rest upon you with the work you do.--Impacted by PCG
Gerald Flurry Declared Christ is Not our Savior:
August 17, 2009
One thing that grated against my conscience while a member was the time that I personally heard GF declare that Christ is not our Savior. I remember he quoted one verse, out of context, which called the Father our Savior. With that one verse he negated every other verse that proves that Christ is, indeed, our Savior. That is the way these religious cults work. They pick and chose verses and string them together to "prove" what they are teaching. God have mercy on the members! --Name Withheld.
November 28, 2009
You may be interested to know that Frank Borg, and a few others, have established their own split after their departure from the PCG to CoGF (Church of God's Faithful, founded by Robert Ardis). It seems to have started around the time of Trumpets. They call it the "Faithful Church of God in Laodicea." You can now find more of the same old, same old in a new and exciting package!
When will they learn that the whole Armstrong system is corrupt and needs to be forsaken? How many splits and false prophecies must come to pass before the average member (like I used to be) wakes up? --Vaughn Woodfield (former PCG member)
Comment: Faithful Church of God in Laodicea (FCGL) is a small, but controlling, totalistic group located in Edmond, OK. They believe that they have the true gospel and that the other scattered splits and church of God offshoots constitute the "sleeping virgins" which have "fallen away from the truth." Members are made to believe "God's government on earth" is in FCGL and that "new understanding" comes through their leader, Frank Borg. If members leave FCGL, and no longer adhere to HWA's doctrines (i. e., "the truth"), it is because "Satan got to them." Borg believes Herbert Armstrong completed the commission to "deliver the gospel" to the world, but he also believes the Day of the Lord is about to occur and he must get the "urgent message" out. We have been told that Borg is losing members.
Another Case of What the Flurry Organization Does to People:
December 1, 2009
Here's a bit of information about the "blood sucking Flurry" organization. Nothing new or unknown, but just further evidence of what PCG does to people. A man I have known from our years in WCG, who went to PCG, just recently died. He was a divorced man, not at all well, nearly blind, living on retirement, living alone, and had cut off his only sibling sister. She was former WCG also. After his death, the family was taking care of his after death affairs, and found he had no assets, living in a small trailer, in a trailer park, and there was $25,000 in debt to credit cards. They also found in looking at his check stubs, that he had given large amounts of money to PCG. Just one more sad result and fruit of cults like PCG. --Impacted by loved one in PCG
Eyes Opened Fully and Now Trusting Only in Jesus:
December 2, 2009
My mother and her husband (former members of WCG and then PCG for many years) are now secure and trusting only in Jesus, as He has opened their eyes fully to all of the false gospel they lived under for so very many years. Unless one has gone through this, no one understands the horrible hold it can have on you for many years--a hold Jesus can break. Thanks again for the tremendous work you all do. --Exiter
December 3, 2009
It would not surprise me if Gerald Flurry backs off from preaching the whole "last hour," and "last half of the last hour," due simply to the fact that it could only last just so long. I remember that it was in 2001 that he first brought out the "last hour" prophecy. ["I'm telling you we are in the last hour..." Sermon on II & III John, November 8, 2001 by GF.] I also remember a very big deal was made about how, just less than five months later, the attack on the World Trade Center was to have been the first of an exponentially increasing rate in the succession of attacks that would bring the U.S. to her knees, we were told. One can read about this in the Nov/Dec 2001, Royal Vision. It is partially available online. He also printed a booklet entitled the "Last Hour" in 2004.
He then wheeled out the "last half of the last hour" in conjunction with the, now infamous, "no-contact ruling," towards the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006. I remember the coupling of the two because the latter, specifically, was the event that gave me the reason to leave. We heard sermon after sermon about "cutting off contact to prepare the outer court for the end, in this last half of the last hour" (paraphrased). It was about that same time that reading their propaganda became less and less interesting to me.
Flurry really has no choice [to back off from preaching the "last hour"] since the time line is not going to work for him. He will first blame the membership for misunderstanding and then any ministers lower that him in rank (everyone else) for exaggerating. It worked for Herbert Armstrong; it may very well work for him.
As far as the "Rahab Principle" (i. e., "it's okay to lie to protect the work"), I never heard of that while I was in, but it is a good one. It sounds like something they could have overheard from Ralph Helge! --Former PCG member
Comment: While Furry may back off from saying they are in the "last hour" and "last half of the last hour," in a July 26, 2008 sermon at PCG's Philadelphia Youth Camp (PYC), he said he believed the Tribulation would be here "in five years or less."
December 10, 2009
The great excitement about the shepherds in the field (when Christ was born; Luke 2:8) is that those were no ordinary shepherds. When we visited Israel in the 1980s, our guide told us, as did several seminary professors we have sat under, that these shepherds were the keepers of the very special Temple sacrificial sheep. These shepherds were in the field the year round caring for these special sheep. And the star appeared to them to announce the birth of Messiah. That is how the news of the birth of the Savior was taken to the Temple.
There is much beauty in the story. Bethlehem means "house of bread." That is where Jesus was born, our Bread of Life. And He was laid in a feeding trough. These little things really fill out the story. Just wanted to share. --Anonymous
More on the Temple Shepherds:
December 13, 2009
Alfred Edersheim wrote a book entitled The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah back in the late 1800s. [This book is available through Amazon as an updated edition.] He was a converted Jew who knew a lot about Jewish tradition. On pages 186 and 187 we read:
"That the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, was a settled conviction. Equally so was the belief, that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, 'the tower of the flock.' This Migdal Eder was not the watchtower for the ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren sheep-ground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town, on the road to Jerusalem. A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion, that the flocks, which pastured there, were destined for Temple sacrifices, and, accordingly, that the shepherds, who watched over them, were not ordinary shepherds. ... Thus, Jewish tradition in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the Messiah from that Migdal Eder, where shepherds watched the Temple-flocks all the year around. Of the deep symbolic significance of such as coincidence, it is needless to speak."
In a footnote, Edersheim writes:
"In fact the Mishnah (Baba K. vii.7) expressly forbids the keeping of flocks throughout the land of Israel, except in the wildernesses--and the only flocks otherwise kept, would be those for the Temple-services (Baba K. 80a)."
The reason for Temple-flocks was the need to have sacrificial animals for those Jews arriving from the Diaspora. Also, there was a morning and evening sacrifice made on every day of the year, requiring a steady supply of animals. If you recall, Jesus overthrew the money-changers, who were there to convert the funds of Jews from the Diaspora who had come to purchase animals for sacrifice. Jesus objected to their presence in the Court of the Gentiles, which was reserved for Gentile worship. The money-changers also were guilty of unfair exchange rates, taking advantage of the worshippers. --Impacted by loved ones in PCG.
Comment: Much interesting information can be found on the net about the temple shepherds and their flocks. Since no one field could hold all of these temple sheep, they were dispersed to various fields around Jerusalem. (Bethlehem is only a few miles south of Jerusalem.) It is estimated that 200,000+ newborn Pascal lambs were needed every year for the Passover sacrifice due to the influx of pilgrims from all over the world into Jerusalem. The temple shepherds swaddled these sheep (wrapped them in broad bands of cloth) to protect them from injury before they were sacrificed.
Finally Able to Enjoy the Christmas Season Again:
December 13, 2009
I was an early student of HWA and his son GTA who I started watching on TV back in the mid `70s while a student at Baylor and just out of the Air Force. Although I never joined at that time due to misgivings about keeping all the "holy days" I was a co-worker. But I always thought that maybe this was the true church and finally decided to attend regularly. I even was baptized into the PCG in the mid-`90s. After only a week or two I began to be convicted that this was all a fraud and stopped attending. The local pastor called me and accused me of lying to him about why I wanted in and said the usual things that the devil had convinced me to leave before I was even fully in. I believe many thought I was a spy since I had done that type work in the USAF.
I am thankful to this site and for being able to finally enjoy the Christmas season this year for the first time in many, many years. I will just take it as it comes and enjoy the visitation and exchanging of gifts and enjoy the music of the season. (This after reading your sites related writings.) I will fully take in the beauty of the calmness of that day when everything seems to come to a stop and all worldly worries melt away for a few hours as they used to do years ago when I was a child. Kind of magical really. Maybe it's just a glimpse at what we could have in the world if we all focused on what is really important, God's gift of redemption for mankind.
Nice to have a site like this one. I started and ran a forum years ago about Gerald Flurry but one day it all was accidentally wiped out and I never bothered to start it up again. Just rather forget about the whole thing. --Free of PCG