Exit and Support Network

I Left After Experiencing Severe Abuse

I am a survivor of severe spiritual and emotional abuse by very heavy-handed, tyrannical, power hungry and demanding ministers of Worldwide Church of God. In my case it was perpetrated onto me willfully and intentionally because for some reason the ministers felt I had not surrendered every facet of my life to their will. These authoritarians got themselves involved in my family life and they were totally ignorant of how to advise in such matters. They inflicted heavy damage onto my marriage. They had absolutely no understanding of human nature, while they would tell us they completely understood it. They were demanding that I surrender aspects of my life and activities over to them that had absolutely nothing to do with church life, doctrines or activities.

I felt that I was fully submissive to them in all areas of church matters, doctrines, and practices. I wasn't one to question authority over me. However, in my case they wanted authority over me in areas they had absolutely no right to. They pitched their temper tantrums against me to extremes. Every effort was made to further intimidate me and to make my life miserable.

When I decided to bring an end to it, my attorney fully agreed that I was dealing with a bully and that he was making a very good living having bullies cut down to size. He fully assured me that we had something to go after. However, there was a truce about that time and for a little while I lived in peace within the church. However, another bully came along. Again, my legal counsel assured me that even if these tyrants were on the right side of the issues (which they were not) they were clearly overstepping any bounds of their authority and this could be dealt with legally.

Getting my attorney involved gave me power far beyond my expectation. My attorney figured we would have to confront the pastor and/or the church through the church's legal office or in the courts. We had become ready to do so. I sent HQ a package with an abundance of documentation that should have gotten their attention. However, the extremely abusive pastor melted the instant I told him my attorney would be in contact with him and the church. I was then promised that my mistreatment would be appropriately addressed and I again started living in peace within WCG. I was never so surprised in my life. They had such great fear of power that was not theirs. This provided joy to several other struggling souls who had no power with which to affect their abusers. Some of my mistreated friends were so happy that the pastor had finally picked a fight he couldn't win. By the time this came about, Headquarters was onto the ministry about causing legal problems and was trying to reign them in. They had a very powerful legal team, but it costs them big money to fight lawsuits and by this time the courts were holding churches responsible for their actions. My attorney saw the makings of a very good case here.

My most serious problem was that I actually believed that I was dealing with a ministry of Jesus Christ and that I had to accept their bad treatment in order to be saved. This became a nightmare. This gave them the "power" over us. From their teachings, we had lost sight of the fact that we are saved in Jesus Christ, because we had to have the approval of these tyrants to escape the Great Tribulation and a Lake of Fire. There was a total absence of love in these "power monsters." At the same I kept hearing from other members who were being abusively handled in ways similar to my mistreatment. I was well aware that the abusiveness was quite widespread from input I was receiving from others who were suffering to some extent from it.

It was shortly after the promise I received from HQ that my mistreatment was being addressed that we were shown the video from Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. in which he announced massive changes in doctrines and practices. It was so obvious to me that the rotten system needed some changes and I thought I would remain around and see how this would wash out. In my personal case the abuse did indeed come to an end, but I now understand it did not cease for others who were having such problems. I welcomed the massive changes and took some time to work my way through it all. I desired to see what directions the WCG would take, although we were given no information in this area. The fact that the WCG was completely adrift became easy to understand after a while. It seemed that some congregations were going off in one direction while others were going into other directions. There was a lack of firm standing on any issues of doctrines and most practices. We seemed to be simply adrift and trends toward "NEW AGEISM" become clearly apparent.

Along with all the foregoing we were getting people in who were "self promoters" and this was very easy to pick up on. This "self promotion" was clearly allowed to proceed unchecked, which was certainly different than the past. This would show up in several forms, an example being individuals who wanted to be special music singers who did not have any talent or capability for such. They were demanding (and getting) music sound levels that were far too high for comfort. Some of what was presented was in disrespect to the congregation. The quality of church services went into decline and continued downward until I finally left. The "joy" of being in worshipful services suffered when God was not being glorified and we were not being uplifted in spirit. I became more and more sick of it all. I very much wanted to be a part of a church in which I could grow in Jesus Christ and I now clearly understood it could not be Worldwide Church of God.

I started visiting other [mainstream] churches on Sundays. I walked out of several during services when it became clear to me I did not want to be there. However, I found one near my neighborhood that I kept visiting and I came to love it. There was actually a "love" there that I did not experience in WCG. Each week I again eagerly look forward to the Bible Study and church services. Even though I am not a member I am regularly called upon for prayers and I am a different animal than when I did the same in WCG. Where "love" is you will know it. It is not hidden. I can see I had been in a church without any real love from the leadership. There were some Christian members in WCG that did have the "love" of Christ. However, it was totally absent from higher levels.

I'm beginning to call it "my church" now. I feel a peacefulness that never existed during my many years in WCG. I love being under the leadership and services of a ministry that loves Jesus Christ and the people over whom they serve. In WCG we were "ruled over" by men who should never have any positions of authority, since they have amply demonstrated they will use it abusively. In the church I now attend the ministry "serves over" us, teaching us from the Word of God.

Why did I ever allow the continued abusiveness of myself that I suffered under? I still wonder about that. When they gain your trust (and they had mine) and they teach you that essentially they have the keys to the Kingdom, or to the Lake of Fire if you don't have their approval, they gain a lot of "power" over their subjects. When one comes to believe them (and I did) they gain that "power" over the individual. They utterly failed in the proper use of any "power" over us. They would boldly trample over you (and they did trample over me) and go on as if it were the right thing to do. They had us believing them, trusting them, and they went to every effort to prove they could not be worthy of the "power" that gave them over us.

I walked out of WCG at my discretion; at the time of my choosing. I took control for myself. I am now more at peace now than at any time during the many years of my involvement with WCG. I can take control of my life and I choose to surrender it to Jesus Christ, in whose name we are saved. I am spiritually happier than I have been in many years. I am no longer subject to the evil treatment of men who have no understanding of how to deal with people.

I am free. Thank you so much for "being there" with your most helpful web site for those who were thrown out of, or chose to walk out of WCG. I know I needed you. I have gained strength from your works. You are doing a most important work. May God ever so richly bless you.

By Walter
June 18, 2001


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