What Caused Me to Leave
Worldwide Church of God
I think God opened the door in the 1990's for people to leave the Worldwide Church of God1 and those that didn't had to put up with the confusion that happened later. Many left and went to offshoots such as Philadelphia Church of God, Living Church of God [formerly Global Church of God], United Church of God-AIA, etc. Now they are beginning to see that this was not the answer.
I was in the WCG for only five years, leaving in 1993. It was a much shorter time than others spent in there, but nonetheless, just as traumatic. I believed with all of my heart and soul the "Worldwide way." But what I ended up experiencing was most destructive.
When I was in my 20's, I started asking questions about life and its purpose. Then one day at the bus stop there was the "Plain Truth." My questions now became answered. This was early 80's.
By 1987 I was attending full time with my husband and two children in tow. As the years passed, the biggest problem I had was the financial difficulties. But like so many, I believed things would work out if I just had more faith. What tithing did to me emotionally, let alone financially was devastating. As expected, I prayed more and begged God to help me. I wrote many letters to the ministry about tithing, but to no avail. They just told me I had two choices: either increase my income, or spend less money. I just couldn't understand what God wanted from me. We were living on $200 a month for food, and my children didn't have enough clothes. However, I would rationalize it all saying somehow God would work things out, and at least we had a roof over our heads.
Later my husband received a job transfer. Since I was in a new city now, and had absolutely no confidence in myself to start doing anything worthwhile, let alone working again, reading the Bible took a lot of my time. I started reading the book of Galatians and Romans and how it talked about freedom in Christ and the wonderful grace of God. However, when I went to services each week, everything I had read through the week was totally dismantled. I also noticed how so many were unhappy. Anyway, one thing led to another. I knew I had to leave for my sanity, but how to do that was quite another thing. I was still desperately afraid of losing my salvation.
Conveniently, another job transfer came up. It was 1993. By this time, both our minds were very messed up and we looked forward to moving to another city, hoping things would be better. I had tried to give WCG the benefit of the doubt regarding everything, including all of the changes they were making. But the first Saturday we walked into services in the new city was the beginning of my freedom. I never in my life felt so very alone. I knew by this time, I didn't belong. It was then I really believed what I was in was a full-blown cult. For so long, I wanted to believe otherwise, but I couldn't deny my gut instinct. The biggest problem I had with HQ was their lying. I wrote many letters to Joe Tkach, Jr. during all of my turmoil and pleaded for his honesty. How does one trust an organization that consistently lies to you and uses you, and shows no genuine remorse?
It wasn't until I left that I began to understood the mind control. I see it continuing today in the splinters such as PCG. I believe the real problem with these cults is their greed and love for money. It has corrupted and blinded them to the truth. A very sad and tragic situation indeed.
I personally believe that true Christianity is a unique gift that is handed from person to person and it doesn't necessarily entail a lot of complicated doctrines. I believe there are definitely some essential beliefs, but not as many as most Christians believe. I know now that one is not a Christian because of their doctrines. Head knowledge without love from the heart is anti-Christian no matter what doctrine one espouses. So no matter how much doctrine one pumps, whether it be false or true, makes no bearing upon their Christianity. Jesus said we would know them by their fruits, not their doctrines. [See Matthew 7:16-20]
When I came into the WCG and was baptized, I believed in God and Jesus Christ with all of my heart and soul and wanted to serve Him with all of my being. I was idealistic, naïve and uneducated enough to put my trust in an organization that grossly misrepresented Him. But I now know what it is like to have a true personal relationship with Jesus Christ without the baggage of organizations. I also know that God will never leave me nor forsake me. He promises us that, and God cannot lie even though so many do.
April 3, 2007