Exit and Support Network

Exiters Tell What Has Helped Them
to Heal From Armstrongism

Some results from our Anonymous Survey, submitted by those who were involved with Worldwide Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God, or other authoritarian offshoots.  

 

  • What helped the most was staying out of any other offshoot group. Then after that, collecting testimonies from other former members, finding out that I was not alone, and learning the methods of disfellowshipment were not unique to me. Also, reading what outsiders had to say about WWCG, learning about the real meanings of twisted words of Armstrongism, finding out how the Bible had been twisted. Writing things helped me, and helping others helped me. Working on the psychological manipulations and eradicating the mind control helped me. Recognizing that it was man and not "God" that did this. Facing the fact that I was "recruited" and a victim and that the real responsibility is the cult's. (Former member WCG; exited 1987)

  • It helped to know that HWA was not a prophet or a man of God. It helped to read the other stories of recovery. It helped to just know that others are going through the exact same feelings that I'm going through! (Raised in WCG; former member UCG; exited 2000)

  • The Word of God has been my greatest help--when I finally realized that it is the grace of God that saves us. We can do NOTHING to save ourselves. If keeping the law saved us, then we wouldn't need Christ. I NEVER found love and acceptance in the Armstrong groups I attended, only condemnation. (Former member CGI, CBCG; exited 1995)

  • Understanding that Armstrong picked and chose which O.T. laws to keep and understanding how Christ fulfilled the law was the most beneficial. Thank you ESN for helping us find freedom from spiritual bondage. (Raised in WCG, former member PCG; exited 2002)

  • Being distant from the "church" and from most of the people in it has helped tremendously. I grew up attending Imperial School in Pasadena, CA, and am so glad those days are over. (Raised in WCG; exited 1990)

  • We learned that God not only existed outside of WCG but dealt personally with His children. (Former member WCG; exited 1981)

  • Finding a spiritually healthy Christian group to be a part of, education and counseling. (Raised in WCG; exited 1996)

  • Going to therapy and allowing myself to feel my feelings again. I had been so dominated by my father and the "church's" teachings that I had no idea what I felt or thought. So, rediscovering who I was in therapy was the biggest part of my recovery. (Raised in WCG; exited 1990)

  • An understanding of the true gospel, what a personal relationship with Jesus means and membership in a Christ based congregation. (Former member WCG; exited 1997)

  • What helps me: focusing on what Jesus says, individual prayer and meditation. (Former member CGI; exited 1992)

  • I find that time and knowledge have helped me to heal. Thank you for this site. You are the ones who really opened my eyes. (Raised in WCG; exited 1999)

  • Education. As they say knowledge is power and the truth will set you free. Proving that the doctrine I was taught was false and not of God. This took intense self-evaluation and Bible study. It was not easy but it was the only way I could live in peace knowing I wasn't disobeying God and end up in the lake of fire. Realizing fruits are not how many magazines you produce or how many buildings you build. Seeing the hypocrisy of the leaders in the WCG and PCG. Having contact with people who had left and recovered. (Raised in WCG; former member PCG; exited 2002)

  • Reading the books mentioned. Also reading the history of HWA and WCG. After reading all that, I know that there is no way that WCG (and splinters) are inspired or led by God, let alone could be "the one true church." (Former member WCG, LCG, PCG; exited 2001)

  • Reading the first volume of the Ante-Nicene Fathers. (Former member WCG; exited 1998)

  • A personal relationship with Jesus has helped the most. Also having a web site that has so much information positive and also knowing the truth about these leaders. Having real proof from your website and not hearsay. Being able to have someone we can trust and former members who care deeply about the ones in transition and those still trapped in these groups. (Raised in WCG; former member GCG, PCG)

  • My strong belief in God! It was not His fault. (Former member WCG; exited 1994)

  • Reading the history of HWA was the most helpful for my husband and me because we realized that many others were in our same position and many suffered even more spiritual and emotional abused than we did. Time has also been a big healer. (Former member WCG; exited 1977)

  • Armstrongism's own self destructiveness turned me around. If they were so wrong in the past (and I believe they were) why should I believe they will ever be right? Coming to realize it is all about money is another major factor. (Former member WCG; exited 2000)

  • Most of my healing is the reading of actual history of Christianity from Christ 'till now, versus ignoring it because Armstrong said it was all wrong and deceptive. (Former member WCG/UCG; exited 2000)

  • I became a Christian in 1993. I learned that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I do not have to go through men. (Former member WCG/RCG; exited 1971)

  • Learning the truth about PCG and the false prophet and the ministers of Satan. (Former member PCG; exited 2000)

  • The most helpful thing I have done is psychotherapy, both individual and group. While all my issues are not from the "church," many very deep-seated issues come from the teaching that I am unworthy of God's love except when I "perform" up to standards. Therapy has helped me uncover how that "teaching" and others still affect how I live today. (Raised in WCG, former member Christian COG; exited 1980 & 2003)

  • Reading Scripture without the Armstrong influence; reading material on cults and their tactics; doing whatever I could to help others recover and deal with it all. (Former member WCG; exited 1997 or 1998)

  • I finally read the information available about HWA. That popped my bubble. (Raised in WCG, former member PCG; exited 2004)

  • My healing from Armstrongism was facilitated by the fact that much of my experience was quite negative anyway. Though they seemed to have good arguments, there was something always not quite right about it. Although I did counsel for baptism into the WCG in 1982, I never actually became a member because I never thought I could live up to the impossible standards required. The way that people were treated in the WCG certainly did not square with what I saw in the New Testament. The door opened for me in 1995, when Tkach, Sr. delivered his bomb shell sermon on the New Covenant. I made a choice to research the issues myself, and the results for me were VERY validating as I saw that the WCG had never been a legitimate Christian Church. Then it all made sense, the tyrannical top down government, the abuse of members, the horrible WCG marriages, the spouse and child abuse. (Raised in WCG; exited 1990)

  • My new-found relationship and understanding of Christ...My Lord and Savior. (Raised in WCG; exited 1995)

  • Reading testimonies people have written about how they came to exit their particular cult and seeing the similarities helped me to understand that I had been involved in a cult (and not the true Church), and that they managed to survive and prosper (in spite of the dire predictions of the cult). It also helped me to get over the feelings of shame (of being duped for so long while everyone else around me knew I was being duped) when I understood that everyday people, like myself, from all walks of life, and even famous people, get sucked into cults. It wasn't a question about my intelligence--the idealism captured my heart, and captured my mind, only to hold it captive through fear in the end. Once I could separate "God" from the cult, I could finally see Him in a different light, and He helped me to heal. Also Earl William's tapes. I think it helped to hear a high-ranking evangelist from within the ranks give excellent Biblical arguments against Armstrongism. I also received a list of "The 150 prophecies of HWA that failed" which helped me to understand HWA was a false prophet. (Former member WCG; exited 1996)

  • Learning about the (unconditional) love of God. Learning how cults work. (Former member WCG; exited 1998)

  • Accepting Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior, and the love of my husband/children have helped me--and continue to help me--heal from the effects of that awful "church." Also understanding why my parents joined has helped me to heal, and to forgive them all. (Raised in WCG; exited 1973)

  • Time. (Raised in WCG; exited 1973)

  • What has helped the most is having a counselor that validated my feelings and who helped me untangle all the beliefs, etc. in my head that I thought were true that are not--about God, myself and the world I live in. I was a complete twisted mess (religious confusion, lack of spiritual guidance and legalism from my dad). Though I consider myself recovering, and I am not nearly as bitter, I know I have a ways to go. I am changing in ways I never thought possible and learning to love the person God made me to be and to understand God's love for me. What I struggle with now is that I missed a lot of time with my family while I came into the WCG. God has made that reconciliation possible. I don't have to suffer anymore from what happened, I can move forward, it will just take time. Thank you for your site. It means a lot to me to hear other people's stories. It reinforces to me the fact that looking to find the one "church" group that will fix it all or fulfill all your needs probably doesn't exist. The only possible way to do that is to have a relationship with Christ and trust Him to meet all those needs. I can hardly believe I am saying that, but I am learning that it's true. It isn't faith in man or a specific man to whom all the truth is revealed to, it's faith in the Savior who is the truth. Do I still have struggles? Yes. But this personal relationship with God that I am learning to trust is worth pursuing. I really feel that this is what I am being led to understand. That still small voice inside me is God in me leading me and I have to learn to trust Him. (Former member WCG; exited 1999)

  • Just knowing what WCG was all about in the hierarchy, and your site is the only one that I ever found that told the truth. (Former WCG member; exited 1999)

Info compiled by AJW
Exit & Support Network™
December 2004


Exiters Tell What Has Helped Them on ESN's Site (some results from our anonymous survey)

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