Exit and Support Network

After Increasing Strictness, I Am Glad We Left

I went to Worldwide Church of God services in Fontana, CA from 1972 to 1982; left and then moved to Phoenix. I decided to leave the WWCG around 1981, right after they started moving new ministers to different church areas, and started getting very strict about everything.1 Even in normal conversation they were harsh. You could hear it in their voice. I didn't see much love, only demands of strict obedience. Every Sabbath the same rudeness. One pastor even said this during a sermon: "Why are you people looking around the room! Look up here, right here, and pay attention!"2 He even told people to "sit up straight, don't lean to the side." I was already trying to do everything right, keep family in check, meetings on time, rules, rules, rules. You know, the drill! And now to be talked to in a demeaning manner, like they were a drill sergeant, really got me thinking! Where was the love? The true sign of a Christian. So I quit going to services to think things over.

Then I got a job in the Phoenix area and decided I was not going to worship at a large organized religious group again. Of course, this was not easy; the guilt was terrible. It was a new area, no friends or family here. What do I believe now? Was I wrong for leaving? Will God punish me? I lived these lies strongly for ten years. What to do? I could not go to a Protestant church; the beliefs were just the opposite of what I was taught for ten years. 

In 1984 my younger son was killed through a freak gun accident, killed by his best friend with his dad's gun at his dad's house while his dad was away on a business trip. You can imagine how hard this was on my wife and me! Now this was really hard to take, and guilt feelings were overwhelming. Was this from God or just an accident? 

Life has been tough, but in 2001 my wife wanted to start going back to a church. I told her to go and find one she likes, try different ones, and then I will go and try it out. It so happens there was a pastor from New Jersey who came out here to start a church; very small when we started, about 10 people, now about 70. My daughter was baptized and married by this pastor and my older son is the drummer in the church band. I love their music.

Now to find out Herbert Armstrong was incesting his daughter, and Garner Ted Armstrong was committing fornication and adultery with all the women he could, there is no doubt in my mind that I made the right move when I did it. Thank God for computers and the Internet. The Armstrongs would have failed a lot sooner if these computers were available to us earlier, like in the `60s or `70s. 

It's a community church that we attend today. No denominations. It's all about Jesus. Thanks for listening. Thanks again for your wonderful web site.  It is great. I wish I would have found it a lot sooner. 

God is good!

By Juan
February 19, 2004

Footnotes by ESN:

1 Could the reason HWA and his ministers started instigating stronger mind control techniques have been to make sure another rebellion would never happen, such as had taken place in the `70s?

2 Forced attention to long sermons is part of the hypnotic techniques that destructive cults often use.

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