Exit and Support Network

We Are Free at Last!

I first heard of the Worldwide Church of God over the Mexico station XEG back in the `50s right after I graduated from High School. I read some of my mother's Plain Truth magazines, and some of the booklets. While in the Army in Germany, my wife and I were well aware of the then "Berlin Crises," and I remembered that Herbert Armstrong and GTA (Garner Ted Armstrong) had preached some things about Germany. We subscribed to the PT, listened to The World Tomorrow broadcast over Radio Luxemburg, ordered some more of those scary articles like 1975 in Prophecy1, and by the time we returned to the U.S. after my Army tour, we were pretty well hooked by the fear that was put within us. Neither one of us were very well grounded in Biblical knowledge, so we were vulnerable.2 

We were baptized (both of us had been baptized before, my wife in the Christian church, and I in the Methodist church) in Wichita, Kansas in the fall of 1963. In the spring of 1967 or 1968 we both were ordained--deacon and deaconess. Then I was ordained a local church elder in the spring of 1969. From Wichita my employer moved us from Wichita to Kansas City in the fall of 1973, and then from Kansas City to Topeka in the fall of 1977. Although we did not have a clue, we were pretty well locked in by fear and mind control. There were times when we did read stuff we were not supposed to, and we did experience things that looking back should have opened our eyes, but we deceived ourselves thinking "well, God will take care of it."

Some time in the late `80s, my wife became friends with the neighbor women and family living next to us. Ann, as we had always done, did not share any details of our religious beliefs with the neighbor, but the neighbor did share her and her family's moral values to Ann. As Ann and I discussed these things together, God opened our minds to see clearly that the moral values and practices of our neighbor family were clearly fruits of the Holy Spirit. The thought come to me, "Wait a minute here. These are clearly fruits of the Holy Spirit, so this means that these people have God's Holy Spirit, and so, if they have God's Holy Spirit, then according to God's Word, they have to be God's children." Wonderful day! This was the beginning of our mind opening, and the great and merciful God lovingly leading us out of this mind deceiving, mind controlling, and fearful religion, and into the joy, comfort, and truly learning relationship with our God. 

We stepped away from involvement in the WCG sometime around 1992. Of course, the WCG was at this time coming out of the legalism,3 but still I just could not be a part of any organization that controlled the local church from a HQ location, and continued to demand all tithes and offerings be sent to HQ. The doctrinal changes were fine, but the control from the top that limited what the local church could, or could not do, I could not be comfortable with. This removal from a religious practice we had given our hearts to for over 25 years was not at all easy. The two of us, very gun-shy, began our very careful and suspicious search for a spiritually healthy (non-authoritative) church. We were still searching when I retired from IBM in December 1997. In January we were stunned by the medical diagnosis that my precious wife, the wife of my youth, who had always had near perfect health, had terminal cancer. For the next two and a half years, we fought this battle and continued to search for a good church. Ann died on my birthday, March 18, 2000. This was a very hard journey, this two and a half years. It could have been less despairing had we been better prepared with good spiritual nourishing during the past 25 years. Even so, as I look back over this painful experience, God did not leave us alone. Just as He promises, He did not leave us or forsake us.

I thought my future had died. Ann was in my future, but now God had taken her. He led me to understand that our plan, or marriage motto, which was always "Onward To Forever Together," was not His plan. He took her to Him when her work here was over. My work here is not over. All this is clear to me now. He had blessed me with a very good previous life. Now He has given me a new life. I am now in a grace-filled, well balanced church. I am now remarried, to a woman my late wife and I had known for over 20 years--a woman who also lived in the bondage of the fear of the old HWA's WCG. A woman whom God led out of that bondage into grace. Her former husband went from the HWA's WCG into the most radical split, the PCG. In time, her husband did not want her around and did not want her as a wife--so they split. She and I are now husband and wife in an intimate relationship with our God, in a grace-filled church, learning more and more exciting knowledge of God, His love, and His plan for us. We both have family in the PCG and another one of the Armstrong splits. We pray regularly for their delivery, and feel confident that God in His time, and in His way, will bring them also to freedom from fear and from a false religious cult.

In closing, I must say that I believe God sent me warnings (about Herbert Armstrong, WCG and Garner Ted Armstrong), and I chose to ignore them. These men had their part in my deception, and God will do the justice whenever, and however, He chooses, and it will be good, for He is a just God, and no one gets away with anything. I and the wife God has given me are just so thankful that He has given us freedom at last to worship Him in spirit and truth! 

By Charles Rightmeier
October 5, 2004

 

"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." ~John 8:36

 

Other postings by Charles:

Greatly Concerned About the Abuse Those in PCG Are Receiving (2004 letter to ESN)

PCG Shatters Close Family Relationship (Testimony posted 8-2-05)

HWA Made Us Stop Singing "It is Well With My Soul" (2005 letter to ESN)

Footnotes by ESN:

1  Basil Wolverton (a comic artist and WCG elder) was behind the grotesque and horrifying pictures in 1975 in Prophecy and other WCG literature. Read on our site more about Basil Wolverton.

2 To see how this is often true, read chapter one of Kelly's critical review of Mystery of the Ages.

3 To understand the deception behind the WCG changes, read: Expose` on Worldwide Church of God, especially the OIU Newsletters and An Open Letter to Our Acquaintances in Worldwide Church of God.


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