Exit and Support Network

The Ordeal of Exiting

 

My confusion1 began little by little as I tried to figure out what was going on with the Worldwide Church of God. I couldn't understand why The Worldwide News would change things that we previously believed in as "truth." I asked myself, "How do we know if they're not correct? How correct does a church have to be? How important is it really? Does God work through any church that believes in Christ and tries to obey Him and show love? What do some of the changes really mean?"

Then through a myriad set of circumstances, I decided to step out and read "outside" material. To my amazement, I found out that since 1993 there had been over a hundred doctrinal changes! The truth was that everything we had been taught all those years by Mr. Armstrong was now considered "in error" and being scrapped.

I began to realize that members were still blinded and accepting of everything they were told. They still thought, "God's church is always changing and always will." Didn't they realize Mr. Armstrong's books were all being revised? When would the top ministers reveal they no longer were sure we're the "only true church"? Who was deceiving whom? Many people didn't even realize all the beliefs and booklets that had been shelved, especially in the last year. Did they really swallow what they had told us--that we were growing in understanding and recognizing we had "some errors," and that God was "leading Mr. Joseph W. Tkach to do the changes"?

I couldn’t believe I was thinking the way I was. I fearfully considered what others in the church would imagine if they knew that I was reading "outside material." They probably would think that I had fast become a "dissenter." I used to be one that would listen and do whatever the ministers said, and I believed every word that came down from them was "straight from God." They drummed it through our heads for years that to think any other way than what we were taught was to start being "led astray by Satan." Many questions filled my mind: Will I end up "falling away from God's truth"2 and lose my eternal lif"? Had I gone off the deep end? How could a church change so much and be so wrong in the past? I wondered if somehow I might be under some kind of curse for doubting or questioning anything. After all, they told us: "God is revealing the changes. He is in charge."3

It would have helped to talk to someone who felt the same way, but if the minister had found out I was discussing it with another member, he would have told us we shouldn't be talking about such things and "causing "'division."

I soon became angry with Joseph W. Tkach Sr. and his lies and how he was making the members think they were just "getting rid of a few errors." Looking back, I could remember him mentioning in a sermon that he "didn't like our church being called a cult."4 Could he and his son (Tkach Jr.) have been working on having that image erased? I began to wonder what in the world had been going on in this "church," and that maybe we needed to wake up to the fact that it had been a "cult"--and was it still one?

As I continued reading and researching, I discovered that I had actually been in a "cult" and deceived. It felt like everything had been ripped out of my life. The former purpose I felt God had for "His Church" and my life was destroyed.

The whole time I had been in, I thought I was obeying God and doing what He wanted me to do. I thought Mr. Armstrong was "chosen by God" and all these other churches were wrong. I thought that Jesus Christ was returning soon. I thought I had found true happiness and "the true church." And all the time God was out there with those other churches and other Christians.

I went on trying to pray, realizing somehow that the Bible says He's love and we can trust Him, but I didn't even know what I believed anymore. Life had lost its former joy.

As I began to uncover more and more of the true story (nightmare) about the Worldwide Church of God, I asked myself where was God all those years? Why did He allow me to believe a lie? Every time I thought of what I knew, I felt sick, angry, grieved and betrayed. My life was falling apart.

I knew I only had two choices: I could either stay and in "ten to fifteen years" this church would be no different than most other Protestant churches.5 Or I could choose to abide by my convictions and drop out of the WCG, knowing it was never what I thought it was, and realizing it would result in pain and stress from being torn away from everyone and everything I'd known, no social life, not knowing where to go and how to feel and, of course, being shunned by all my former church friends, as I would no longer be part of their organization. It would mean turning my back on what I had considered "family" all those years. I knew it would turn my world upside down. If I left, I would also have to face humiliation for being wrong.

Finally, I made the decision to leave. It was the hardest move I'd ever made, but I felt a sense of relief, along with weariness. Shortly before I left, I had found the ESN and made contact with others who had left. Without their support, it would have been more than the nightmare than it was. I wasn't responsible for what the leaders were doing and had done. All those years God knew that, and He was with me according to what my relationship with Him.

By D. W.
Exit & Support Network™
1995
Rearranged July 21, 2010

Recommended section: Poems / Free Verse

Updated Footnotes:

1 Confusion is the result of mind control.

2 By the use of mind control, WCG took God away from members, and replaced Him with the organization (the "government"). This is why we can feel we "lose God" upon exiting.

3 This comment (and similar ones) were heard in various WCG sermons to the members in 1993. (Read: Research Letters Concerning WCG Changes)

4 Falling away" (or "falling away from God's Truth") is a scare tactic used by many cults (Communists use it also). However, these words as defined by the Bible, refer to falling away from God, not falling away from an organization that purports to be "God's one true Church."

5 Today (post 1995) the WCG has indeed become "like other Protestant churches." They are not only a member of the NAE but are involved with new evangelicals and the Charismatic movement. Read: Worldwide Church of God: New Changes, Ecumenical & New Age Connections. They changed their name to Grace Communion International in 2009 (Read: Worldwide Church of God Has Changed Their Name); however, they still whitewash Herbert Armstrong and are ambivalent on several of his doctrines. Read: Is Worldwide Church of God Still Holding on to Some of Herbert Armstrong's Doctrines?


"...all men forsook me ...Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, 
and strengthened me." ~II Timothy 4: 16, 17

 

"Nevertheless I am continually with thee..." ~Psalm 73:23

 

The Love of God (Do you know that you cannot keep God from loving you?)
 

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