Exit and Support Network

The Carrying Out of a Disfellowshipment in
Worldwide Church of God

I quit the Worldwide Church of God in 1987, but not by choice. I had no alternative. I was forced out by a hideously cruel "minister" in a severe attack deliberately administered to force absolute submissive to "God government."

I was completely indoctrinated through continuous repetition over a fifteen year period of time. I believed the Worldwide Church of God was "the one true Church" as I was taught. I believed I was one of God's chosen few, as I was taught, and my salvation depended upon my continued membership in "the Church." (the WCG)

"The Church" was top priority in my life, disregarding self, spouse and children. My allegiance to my member husband was clouded in this shroud of misplaced loyalty instilled by the WCG.

Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA), the founder and Pastor General, called himself "God's Apostle,"1 and that title passed on to Joseph Tkach, Sr. when he became Armstrong's successor after HWA died in 1986. Members had been taught, especially by Gerald Waterhouse, the traveling evangelist, that HWA would live until Christ returned, beyond a natural life expectancy. But upon HWA's death, we were expected to accept the new apostle (JWT) without question or emotion, including grief.

In the beginning, I was taught that ministers in "the church" were servants of the members, not having a threatening type of authority. But at some point in time, HWA changed his policy. In the back of my mind I knew I had heard a different message in my early years of association, but ever so slowly the hierarchy, the government from the top down became the mode of administration of "God's Government."

Emotion was considered weakness. Women were weaker vessels, emotional. Men were to be leaders in authority. Women were to be submissive and obedient.

The fact that Jesus Christ showed natural human emotion was ignored. In fact, Christ's example on this matter was not encouraged by church leaders. Some gentle, loving men were ministers and others were domineering and authoritarian.

I saw error in HWA in his distaste for women and condemnation of "motherly love" as being selfish, but he was human, admittedly so, and capable of error. That error extended to his prophecies as well. Old predictions were simply written off as "new truth" was revealed exclusively to him "by God through Jesus Christ."

After the death of HWA, government within the WCG became more apparent as a controlling mechanism. It demanded absolute submission and obedience to the person in authority over you. To a lay member that was the minister. Some used this position to extract absolute subjection to their personal authority. This was administered without love or mercy.

I was the victim of one such "minister." His attack was a spiritual and psychological rape! It was a stripping of dignity and false accusation in a high-powered harangue (lasting nearly two hours) designed to destroy self-worth and self-esteem, reducing the victim to virtual worthlessness. The attack was savage!

The power of the minister to cut the person off from the "vine," the "one true Church" means death to the victim--spiritual, final death and destruction in the "lake of fire." First, one is taught to hold fast to "his crown," "endure to the end," in order to obtain salvation. Then one is brought under fire in an interrogation that threatens to sever him from "God/the Church/the Vine/the life-line." It all becomes one in the victim's mind.

This minister hissed that, as God's representative, he was God in the flesh! I could not bare to listen to him. His voice was forceful and evil. He said I was baptized into the "Government of the Church." Somehow, I knew I never would have agreed to that. Later, when I was reminded of the baptismal vows, I recalled that I had agreed to be baptized "not into any sect or denomination, but into the Body of Jesus Christ."

Soon after this attack, I threw myself on the mercy of Joseph Tkach, Jr., the man who was in charge of the U.S.A. ministry at the time.2 I believed that if he knew the hideous goings-on of the minister, he would intervene on my behalf as I knew I was innocent of any wrong-doing that I was accused of (taking the side of a wrongfully disfellowshipped person and being told if I was on that person's side I was "against God").

Joseph Tkach, Jr. called me from church headquarters in Pasadena, California.3 In a one hour harangue, similar to that of the minister, Tkach, Jr. sarcastically twisted the truth as I spoke to him and pleaded with him to investigate for himself. There was absolutely no mercy. I told Tkach, Jr. that I took the side of TRUTH, and that if he ever decided to look at the TRUTH, he could call me and apologize. I said I could not go back to services under the current circumstances.

My connection with the Worldwide Church of God was severed at that moment. It was as if I expected a lightning bolt to strike me dead. The phone conversation ended with me asking Joseph Tkach, Jr. to call off the minister as he had earlier offered to do.

He did not honor my request. After a sleepless night, the minister was again calling me the next morning. He wanted to come to my home and bring his assistant. But I had heard what he and his assistant had done to another member in a similar tirade.

I hung up on him, not able to endure listening to the satisfaction dripping in his voice as he knew he had succeeded in slaughtering me for all practical purposes, according to what the WCG teachings. He was attempting to make the final "kill"! I instinctively knew he was out to destroy me.

Fear and panic gripped me as the phone continued to ring and ring. I now feared for my physical safety and that of my children. I drove to the courthouse to obtain a restraining order after an offer of the sheriff's department explained to me how to go about the procedure. I saw in those frightful moments, the evilness of the Worldwide Church of God!

The judge obviously recognized that I was in a state of panic. He granted a restraining order with no reservations. He said I could obtain a permanent order after a hearing if I wished.

That day was the beginning of a new life for me. The panic began to subside. I felt strange turning to the American system of government, which the "church" had taught me was part of Satan's system, until I realized that I was greatly blessed to be an American citizen complete with freedoms that I'd lost over the years as part of this subversive organization.

Grief at the loss of my brethren was overwhelming. But worse was the crumbling of an entire belief system that had been implanted in my mind over the years. I found the greatest comfort in an exposé newsletter, Ambassador Report.4 Gradually, I began to "deprogram" as I learned the truth of Armstrong's Worldwide Church of "god."

Matthew 7:15-20: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

By Marlene

Footnotes by ESN:

1 Several statements by HWA claiming to be "God's Apostle" or "Christ's Apostle" are quoted here.

2 At this particular time, Joseph Tkach, Jr. was not Pastor General of the WCG. He assumed that role after his father, Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. died of cancer in September 1995.

3 In May 2006 Worldwide Church of God moved all their offices from Pasadena, California to their new headquarters in Glendora, California. (Together, May-June 2006) In 2006 they were considering a name change. In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. (Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.)

4 The Ambassador Report helped many to leave the Worldwide Church of God through its exposé of the organization. In the beginning Trechak and the team he worked with appeared to have a very noble goal. But after awhile, the message in his AR became mixed, causing people to become bitter instead of being on the road to healing. Later reports were referring readers off to agnostic, aberrant, meta-physical, humanistic, and anti-Bible sources through comments, letters, addresses and book titles. John Trechak died September 2, 1999.

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