Pt. 1 | Pt. 2
In the eyes of cult prevention organizations, experts, and mainstream church associations, WCG clearly qualifies as a cult. All cults are extremely controversial and negatively viewed by the public. NO organization wants to be classified as a cult. Likewise NO individual wants to accept the fact that they might be IN a cult.
WCG, like related cults such as JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, MOONIES, OR MORMONS are all diligently working on changing their aberrant, totalistic, man-devised, controlling doctrines (dogma). You are probably thinking that WCG is nothing like these SATANIC organizations and besides, they are not GOD'S TRUE PEOPLE. After careful research on these organizations, you will find they sing the exact song about WCG. JEHOVAH'S has a $400,000,000 annual income with thousands of additional members.
WE WERE SO emphatic THAT WCG WAS GOD'S ONLY TRUE CHURCH AND ALL THE DIRECTIVES WERE COMING FROM GOD!!!! WHY? BECAUSE MR. ARMSTRONG SAID SO!!!!
We have learned that there are over 600 Bible-based cults alive and well in America! WCG is one of the most successful. Many cults recruit college people to do fundraising to raise big $$$$$$. Very few cults would get away with a TRIPLE TIER TITHING SYSTEM based on man's interpretation from the BIBLE. WCG recruits people who are usually at the end of their rope, as they say. Ready to give up…emotionally debilitated. Of the hundreds of personal stories we heard, including our own, we have NEVER heard anyone say life was going along just great when GOD called them. It is very common for WCG recruits to have emotionally abused backgrounds. Some people just fall into the category of being IDEALISTIC. It becomes a search for the TRUE GOD [i. e. TRUE CHURCH]. No matter what your personal background was, you can be fairly sure you were very vulnerable to the message, "GOD IS CALLING YOU!!!!"
The P.T. and television program use tactics that deal with social issues and descriptions of this falling apart world. Once we drink the PROPHECY POTION, the puzzle pieces of our lives start to fit. We find ourselves hooked on…GOD'S PLAN FOR THIS DYING WORLD…then become entrenched in the literature offered freely, which starts to dictate the RULES, REGULATIONS, LAWS and "TRUTHS," based on the APOSTLE'S interpretation and interpolation. We all become quickly responsive to the program due to the FEAR of REPERCUSSIONS if we were to turn our back on GOD and HIS CALLING. Besides, as new recruits we begin to feel like there is truly a purpose for our life. We buy into THE PLAN, HOOK, LINE, SINKER, POLE AND BOAT!
We start the changing process and implement drastic WCG applications to our daily life…all on faith. We are told ARMSTRONG has the KEY to the BIBLE (GOD'S instruction book). WCG KNOWS THE SECRET CODE. (We never really understood why there was a secret code if the Bible interprets the Bible—as it has been said so very often.) We become so susceptible to being told what to do, and how to do it. Even if it doesn't make sense to us, we follow the rules anyway without question. We think we are in control of our lives, but quite the contrary. We quickly learn to put down all OUR WILL in total submission…to GOD'S REPRESENTATIVES???? We allow ourselves to be led by HWA/JWT thinking it is the HOLY SPIRIT [Note 9/15/15: I. e., "GOD'S SPIRIT."] We're drilled by the SERMON GIVERS as they say, "MR. ARMSTRONG ALWAYS SAID, REPETITION IS THE BEST FORM OF LEARNING." It is also the BEST form of MIND CONTROL ("brainwashing").
A "PROVE ALL THINGS" research on other cults and BIBLE CULTS would enlighten anyone on the similarities. Same routines, same words, same fears, somewhat same doctrines, all headed by a Christ-like or instrument/apostle whom God is working with directly, all claiming the inspired word of GOD, all instituting the GOD'S GOVERNMENT routine…pyramid…hierarchy regime, all claiming they have GOD'S TRUTH and doing GOD'S mission on earth (His work), all claiming the same Kingdom reward of greatness, all pound the CHOSEN ONES to OBEY…OBEY…OBEY…the LAW, all claiming THE TRUTH and that SATAN is inspiring all other churches. The list goes on and on. It is extremely IRONIC that all the cults' upper level leaders live as if the WORLD TOMORROW or the SOON COMING KINGDOM is NOW on PLANET EARTH. The administrators live in opulence (KINGS AND PRIESTS). Actually, opulence is a mild word in regards to the lifestyle WCG'S TOP PEOPLE live. It saddens us to think about the thousands of well meaning, God-seeking, dedicated people who would have gladly flown to a PLACE OF SAFETY if the CHIEF APOSTLE said, "CHARGE!" All cults have their own type of "PLACE OF SAFETY." Sometimes it is built right inside the members' heads…
WACO members had a purpose…JONESTOWN people had a purpose…All died at their leaders' hands, for what purpose? THE KINGDOM, via the interpretation of their leaders, DAVID KORESH and JIM JONES. At this point, you probably think, "Well, they were not following GOD'S WAY, and that's what happens." At the cost of sounding insolent, which is truly not our intention, we ask you, what impels you to think you're following GOD'S WAY? Is it because Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Tkach say so????
All cults have numerous similarities, especially Bible-based cults. The library has many books on various cults. Cult education and knowledge of Mind Control is an asset to understanding.
At this point, you are probably very angry, especially with us. If you haven't thought it yet, you are probably now thinking we are in SATAN'S clutches, we're helpless, turned dissident, etc. It would be normal for you to feel that way because that is precisely how you have been programmed to think. Believe it or not… The people who are not attending church at this time are considered to be lacking of understanding to all the NEW TRUTHS, or maybe just lacking the HOLY SPIRIT. [Note 9/15/15: I. e., "GOD'S SPIRIT."] Whatever the excuse is that the ministry postulates, it sends a clear message to those who don't question, or continue to obey, that GOD is working closely with them. They are the special ones. They have the unique faith, understanding, or HOLY SPIRIT. It is an ELITE feeling to be like SHEEP. Do they mean follow like sheep—or sheep to the slaughter?
We assure you we are not writing to recruit you into anything, especially SATAN'S world. Besides, you will be so busy within the next few years recruiting for WCG, as mini-evangelists, while possibly increasing your efforts in fundraising projects, you'll not have time for anything else. It is not our goal to pull you out of WCG, or persuade you into thinking OUR WAY… Our sole intent is to inform you of why WE had to leave WCG. Having basically served with you for seven years, we at least owe you the truth about our position. We have already heard of the rumors and lies circulating. You deserve to know the real story. Mr. Peterson is not going to give you the details. Our sincere hope is that you will read this letter with an open mind without succumbing to the FEAR phobia instilled into every member. I hope you will fight the denial within yourself, sort out your own thoughts, trust God directly to help you and investigate what you are investing your entire life in.
YES!! The Cult-like Doctrines Are Changing Mainstream on the Surface, But What is Really Going on????
As we mentioned earlier, the anti-cult process is imperative to WCG'S existence. The Ambassador Report3 and ample available books written about the inside dealings of WCG outline the ongoing problems and escalating difficulties. Many ministers and evangelists have left recently. Many area churches like Houston, TX and Boca Raton, FL exited along with their ministers to Meredith's Global Church.
Growth has slowed, less baptism, countries have shut down to WCG media. World Tomorrow Broadcasts are reduced with decreased viewers, the P.T. is down from approximately 10,000,000 to 2,000,000. Many WCG workers from several departments in Pasadena have exited to Global also. It is also increasingly difficult, since WACO, to lure people into a supposed "CHURCH" organization, which claims…THE TRUTH, GOD IS CALLING YOU, HEAVY OLD TESTAMENT DOCTRINES, THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH, AND SIMILAR STATEMENTS.
These statements are considered CULT TALK and are shared by all the other cults. A change by Mind Control with a NEW THOUGHT REFORM PROGRAM IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE SURVIVAL OF WCG. Interestingly, cults are known to change their process every ten years anyway.
WCG has changed over 190 doctrines. Many members don't even know what is being changed or cancelled. We've talked to people lately and they are not aware that the KINGDOM IS HERE NOW! They don't understand the new BORN AGAIN doctrine and are still unclear regarding the TRINITY deal. Everyone is singing the Catholic and Protestant hymns and not even wondering why? Have there been so many changes, so quickly, that people are "maxed out" or "brain dead"…?
It appears the NEW TRUTHS GOD IS LEADING HIS CHURCH TOWARD HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE. We wonder when GOD is going to get with it, and pull off the MULTI-TITHING SYSTEM and HOLY DAY PLAN WITH SEVEN OFFERINGS. We are not being disrespectful toward God! We just question if God is being used/mocked for man's purpose for POWER and MONEY. If GOD is NOT a GOD of confusion, then he sure blew it because this is one organization filled with confusion.
Isn't it thought provoking that so little is said about all these dramatic changes on the pulpit locally, or at the FEAST? Could the intention be to PLAY IT DOWN—low-key approach? Maybe in a few years when the THOUGHT REFORM is in full swing, people will completely forget what they used to believe or what they Baptized into. Are we all that gullible, or better said, indoctrinated into MIND CONTROL? Many people have told us they do not even read the P.T., Worldwide News, or listen to the tapes. Maybe if we all took a good look at what is going on right in front of our eyes, we have a lot of questions answered for ourselves. We personally have documented evidence depicting that one thing is being said to members and something totally different is being instituted to the outside world. Is GOD truly the author of this????
The anti-cult process consists of several steps:
FIRSTLY, doing away with all old cult doctrines, rules, regulations and some laws. Simultaneously implementing new Christian mainstream doctrines while lightening up on church policies gives an altered appearance to the public, cult watchers and Christian organizations. Although the membership still must adhere to various physical rules such as TITHING, HOLY DAYS (seven of them, no less), SABBATHS, DIETARY RULES, etc., the outer appearance or cover for the Doctrine Book is more attractive for recruiting purposes. [Update: Is Grace Communion International Still Holding to Some of Herbert Armstrong's Doctrines?] Also, if WCG is accepted to the National Council of Churches it could possibly prove to be very FRUITFUL for recruiting. [Note: WCG was later accepted into the NAE. In April 2009 they changed their name to Grace Communion International.]
SECONDLY, CLEAN HOUSE!!!! Change or retire ARMSTRONGISM Ministers who are dogmatic about ARMSTRONG REGIME. Most high-level ministers have had position changes. Many have left the church like Michael Snyder4, claiming it to be a cult. Some have run to offshoot groups of which there are approximately forty in number. Replace past employees with a whole new paradigm team.
THIRDLY, implement a NEW THOUGHT REFORM PROGRAM under MIND CONTROL. This is a highly skilled practice, which slowly gains control of any given mind by implementing certain steps and procedures on a routine basis. Mind Control is subtle, deceptive, and laced with FEAR injections
[For more on this, read Cognitive Dissonance and info following in OIU#4, pt. 1]
Mind Control is something you can't see, touch, smell or feel when it is coming your way unless one is educated as to what to look for. Some experts explain it by the analogy of GAS/CARBON MONOXIDE. You just keep taking it in until you're gone!!!! (Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you'd be honoring the TRINITY and singing CATHOLIC / PROTESTANT hymns from the new hymnal you were so carefully trained to open week after week?
Most unfortunately, the last fifty years have proven instrumental in the cult development. Its sophisticated approach has infiltrated societies throughout the world and affected and harmed millions of lives.
THOUGHT REFORM AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TOTALISM, written by ROBERT JAY LIFTON is detailed but excellent reading regarding the subtle but crude implementation in China. This is a detailed book outlining the severe subtleness involved. There are, however, many other publications available, devoted to thoroughly explaining how CULTS, MIND CONTROL, AND THOUGHT REFORM WORK.
[Read: Lifton's Eight Criteria of Thought Reform (includes how it has been used by leaders of any high demand, authoritarian group.)]
WCG is extremely sophisticated and powerful in its approach towards recruiting. (Our TITHE dollars have been successfully implementing this program for years.)
Most cults lure members into their organizations by instilling in the heads of recruits that they were SPECIFICALLY CALLED or CHOSEN into GOD'S TRUTH. The process is slow in the beginning. Cults differ slightly in their regime. Depending on the type of cult, the group targets certain markets. Some cults recruit teen-age to college-age kids and lure them into the group through LOVE tactics and IDEALIST goals that seem rational at that age. The cult creates a feeling of acceptance towards the new prospect. Before long the new member is manipulated by destructive spiritual abuse ("brainwashing"), fear and doctrine. He/she becomes another "body" for fundraising adventures. All established cults have members who were born into the cult and know only that way of life.
WCG's approach appears very subtle, "cool" and apparently profitable. The subtleness of the TV broadcast and P.T. Magazine seem appealing and luring. Non-threatening approach to mail for FREE literature on appropriate social/news issues or mainstream Christian issues help to inspire viewers to respond (bite the hook).
Soon a chain of events starts unfolding. The viewer or P.T. subscriber becomes enmeshed in the WCG literature that slowly indoctrinates him/her into the spiritual commune. The more one reads, the more one starts to incorporate the doctrinal laws, rules and lifestyle based on the WCG'S "PROVE IT IN YOUR OWN BIBLE" technique. Before long, that initial P.T. reader is all wrapped up in a WCG funnel. Changing his lifestyle, alienating his family, giving up his personal identity, changing his personality, adhering to the rules based on WCG'S interpretation and so—much more.
THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD KNOWS FULL WELL THEY HAVE HOOKED A LIVE ONE WHEN THEY START POCKETING "TEN TO THIRTY PERCENT OF THE NEW RECRUITEE'S GROSS INCOME." All that FREE literature turns out to be very expensive. Members pay with their true spiritual lives along with emotional, physical, and financial lives. For many…it cost their total life!
After indoctrination and self-indoctrination is well on its way toward "progress," members start accepting ministerial words at face value. Even if one is ambivalent about certain doctrines or policies, they keep their mouth shut in fear of the consequences. A converted person, with GOD'S Spirit is to "BE LIKE CHILDREN4," be patient, don't rebel, be accepting and so on, and on, and on…Oh, yes! Don't forget to PROVE ALL THINGS THOUGH????
Once the new member has COME OUT OF THIS WORLD, he's ingrained into the SPIRITUAL COMMUNE. Some people think one must live with the cultic group. Not so! Once we, as victims, surrender our thinking process and WILL to the group and its leader, we actually live in a spiritual commune literally housing mental artillery (FEAR TACTICS) to keep ourselves in line when no one but GOD is looking. The WCG image of GOD, as super HEAD OF THE HIERARCHY can be very frightening especially when the LAKE OF FIRE prevails…
As we already pointed out, one cannot detect Mind Control/"brainwashing" unless one is skilled in the techniques and has keen insight as to how to detect it. Not one reader of this letter will agree that their personal thinking is being controlled. Every reader will dogmatically resist the possibility that they are not in charge of their lives or decision-making. That's precisely WHY MIND CONTROL / "BRAINWASHING" works. How does Joe Tkach put it? Brainwashing for CHRIST????
In summary, our Critical thinking skills cease…the views of the leaders become our views…we lose our questioning ability…and our personal identity changes (cloning to the group). The level of indoctrination (conversion) depends on many factors. Those who seem to "forge ahead" with zeal consistently throughout the years become the good stewards for Christ (the easily manipulated members who "PLAY THE GAME"). It is common in many cults to not allow new members (for about three years) to serve or be actively involved. This purpose is to allow full indoctrination to take hold. It was commonplace in WCG to be cautious of any members who were not yet baptized. We knew members who would not invite anyone over to their home unless they were Baptized. Only WCG baptized people had GOD'S SPIRIT, everyone else was part of SATAN'S world.
One of the main reasons why Mind Control works has to do with ABUSE. Time will not permit us to explain this completely; however, we have attached a book listing, naming several excellent sources to understanding this terrible, dreadful situation. We will, however, share with you some facts. Yes! Some WCG recruits were Idealistic searchers and seekers, but most members at the time of indoctrination were experiencing traumatic, emotional upheaval in their lives. Many people have even come from abusive backgrounds. Whatever the situation is/was, their vulnerability was at its peak. The victim is/was susceptible to the calling (the hungry fish bites the worm on the hook).
It is a sad fact that victims of abuse usually bounce into other abusive situations. You have heard of the brutally beaten wife staying in the marriage only to be beaten again and again. It is very difficult to pull out of a depressive state when the spiral is downhill and help is not available. The drug of choice then becomes abuse. Abuse then becomes addictive.
How does this relate to WCG? Just think about it! Life is at a standstill. You're emotionally distraught. You clue into an organization that tells you it has the answer. It injects you with a "FEEL GOOD" potion by telling you GOD is now in charge. It takes over and makes decisions for your life. Through the so-called authority of GOD it tells you what to do and what your reward will be if you follow through on the directions. You're now off the treadmill of life. All you need to do is your job and wait for the new WORLD TOMORROW fantasy land. The prophecy talk becomes addictive. Throughout the whole process, it is instilled in you that you are garbage, rotten smelling flesh, worthless, puny, sinful and worth only death. To make matters worse, you are told that GOD feels that way about you. The constant reinforcement of the HUNK OF JUNK routine inhibits you even more. You become embedded in the dependency of the group. Finally, there is no way out. You're stuck. You take whatever your authority is pushing on you and just go with it. You are too weak to fight back! You are too overwhelmed to discern reality! You just go through the motions. Depressed, dazed, obedient and your personal spirit is broken. Even if you begin to question "things," the tendency is to repress emotions and feelings and discard opposing thoughts as Satan's ploy to tear you away from "GOD'S WAY," "GOD'S CHURCH" and "GOD'S CALLING." Breaking out of this pattern is equivalent to the analogy of breaking out of the slums or poverty. It can be done, but the job is tough. Education backed up by insight, wisdom and counseling is a must.
When we are recruited into an organization like Worldwide Church of God, we, through Mind Control tactics relinquish our OWN FREE WILL. The goals of the organization guide our lives. Our personal life decisions become based on the group's goals. In our situation, our personal life was taken by a Bible-based group's perspective, based on the "authority of GOD," so they said! Did we ever think for a moment that we were not in charge, or in control of our life? The life a wonderful, loving God gave us. NEVER!!!! We became so convinced that the TRUE GOD was just the way WCG explained HIM to be.
Herbert Armstrong was a legend in his own time. That's for sure. After an extensive comprehensive study of his background, the REAL CHURCH HISTORY and his SHADY PAST, we were shocked beyond belief. But the most heart-wrenching awareness to us was the fact that WE BELIEVED ALL THIS TRUE CHURCH STUFF AND TRUSTED THE MINISTERS AND ELDERS WITH OUR LIVES AND THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN. WE PAID DEARLY, EMOTIONALLY, SPIRITUALLY AND FINANCIALLY BY THE THOUSANDS (enough to support our two children through two fine colleges). So often it has been said, "Don't put your trust in man!" Well, it was a man every member put their trust in and believed that God was talking to, through great inspiration. We have talked to individuals who have learned the degrading facts about the church to which they belong and state comments such as, "Even if all the men running GOD'S church are evil, I don't care, it's still GOD'S CHURCH. He will take care of it, He's in charge." Can't question that! Mr. Armstrong said so! We really wonder WHAT the TRUE GOD thinks about it. Knowing what we now know, supporting this organization would make us feel like BLASPHEMERS worshipping an IDOL.
HWA was a GREAT Salesman, marketer and advertiser. He could put his ideas and products across to others amazingly. No one will follow in his footsteps. That's probably one of the reasons why the PRODUCT (doctrine) is under such reconstruction. NO ONE could write and talk like he did. SALES is a very interesting business.
All good sales people know the tricks to good salesmanship:
- Where there is a need, fill it.
- Have a good product.
- Handle the objections up front. (takes the doubt away from the buyer)
No one wants to be sold. Everyone wants to think they made the purchase decision, and it's a lot easier buying from someone who isn't pounding you to sign on the dotted line. It is sort of luring to clue into an interesting Christian TV show or read a very basic PLAIN TRUTH MAGAZINE and not be hassled for MONEY. The FREE LITERATURE approach is pretty clean and non-threatening. All those FREE publications start coming through the mail with their little advertisements for more FREE literature. The cycle continues. As the reader expands his WORLDWIDE education, he becomes increasingly indoctrinated through Mind Control to respond to this…new calling. The ARMSTRONG REGIME literature that has all been pulled off the shelf, so to speak, was addicting, in plain English. The literature made grandiose statements, predicted futures, played fantasy land and threatened the reader with guilt and fear—all things stated by Herbert Armstrong and his interpretation from the Bible, backing up his opinions with random related Scriptures. Of course he told you and us that the "Bible interprets the Bible."
"BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER," it is written, and ready they were! By handling the objection up front, WCG can convince any interested prospect that the (GOD) product is foolproof. Well, like THOUSANDS of others, we bit the hook. Before long, we were highly indoctrinated into a whole new world, or should we say, WHOLE NEW WAY OF LIFE! Turning our back on anyone "in the world" who thought we went off the "deep end."
Sales and advertising—marketing and propaganda, go hand in hand with product development. The little people (membership) think they are in a GOD centered church run by GOD and actually it's BIG BUSINESS run by, in our opinion, based on all our research and substantiated evidence, TOTAL DECEPTION AND HYPOCRISY.
ALL THAT FREE LITERATURE ENDED UP COSTING US MORE THAN SOME PEOPLE PAY FOR THEIR FIRST HOUSE!!!!
Remember the Paradigm5 Video? "Look at things in a different way!" "Get rid of your locked-in thinking!" "Think about other possibilities!"
We ask you to think about all the WCG changes you have endured since the film. The almost "TWO HUNDRED CHANGES" that most membership is not even aware of, have been occurring since Mr. Tkach became PASTOR GENERAL—slowly, at first, then escalating since WACO. Personally, we didn't take issue with the changes (doctrines). We took issue as to WHY these changes were being implemented. Why was our GOD giving us so many NEW TRUTHS anyway? As Peter so kindly stated, "Why would God tell Mr. Armstrong one thing, and Mr. Tkach something totally different?" Have you asked yourself that question? Have you asked our LOVING GOD what was His purpose for such confusion and misinformation? Have you asked GOD why He allowed you to pay your hard earned tithes and offerings to an organization that claims His name as owner, for the purpose of spreading the GOOD NEWS of the SOON COMING KINGDOM OF GOD, and for the purpose of "nurturing" the called out ones, then change His PLAN in midstream? WOW! Talk about confusion!!!!
BEFORE WE BLAME...OR THINK THIS IS THE DIRECTION OR WORK OF GOD MOLDING HIS CHURCH FOR THE "90s" DECADE, WE HAD BETTER THINK ABOUT THE FOLLOWING:
- Many members spent years of their lives following rituals that no longer have definition nor merit.
- Years spent sitting at Sabbath services for two hours and more (all day during the FEASTS) totally still, taking notes and listening intently--if not R.E.M. sleeping--to words of correction that don't count today. Just throw that old literature away.
- People lost their jobs, their homes, their families, their marriages, and even their lives…for TRUTHS that no longer stand.
GOD SAYS HIS WORD STICKS...SO WHAT HAPPENED???? OK, SO MR. ARMSTRONG WAS WRONG, WHAT DO WE DO NOW? PUT FAITH IN MR. TKACH AND ARMY?
The Kingdom is here now…Born Again Christian…Trinity…Personal evangelism…Away with British Israelism (Lost Ten Tribes)…
We wish God would have listened to the Catholics and Protestants a long time ago. It would have saved us a lot of time, effort, frustration and money… money…money!!!!
Sorry! We don't really mean to be sarcastic. If you knew the goings on behind the scenes in this organization—past and present—you, too, would have a few things to say!
Some people might think that the changes make everything right. How sad to think we as people can be so fooled. Obedience without questioning!!!!
Thought Reform means conversion again. The country or organization slowly manipulates changes to suit the "powers" needs. It could take years. Some rebellion occurs, a business may experience a fallout, confusion is rampant. Eventually, over a period of time, the people should start to incorporate the mandates into their personal lives. Through Mind Control, the people start to forget the old way of life. A whole new Brain-frame is created for the purpose only the "powers" know about.
WCG has followed this regime pretty closely. Total restructure of the whole top Pasadena team. Old blood gone, New Blood in place. Doctrinal changes implemented slowly and methodically, the old books are burned (pulled off the shelves). If there happens to be a great fallout…so what!
I hope new recruits will replace the…rebels or dead wood.
"REPETITION IS THE BEST FORM OF LEARNING." And repetition is what you get, until you get it. Get it? For example, in WCG, we just assumed everything we were told by the ministry was truth. WHY? Because they said it was…over and over and over and over and over again.
Now that you're truly born again, do you feel better? The Holy Days have nothing to do with GOD'S Plan. Oh, well! Chalk it all up to experience. As Mr. Ken Peterson says, "God's people never get it right!"
- Mr. Kaplan, F.O.T. '93 says, "You were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." My five page Baptism Letter doesn't say that. Neither did Larry Wooldridge.
- We personally watched members close their eyes when passing a cross on the street like it was going to hex them or something. Now you can wear a cross on your chest, earlobes, or in your nose!
The list is too endless to write about. Take a look at the listing we enclosed for your information and come to your own conclusions. One more thing worth mentioning at this time is the August '93 issue of The Worldwide News. Mr. Tkach explains how the God Family doctrine missed the mark. Mr. Tkach's new understanding of the Trinity doctrine (Hypostasis) was changed due to a Catholic Priest's request. Wasn't the Catholic Church considered to be the "BIG WHORE," if you will, just a few years ago?
Mr. Tkach stated the following in the August 8th issue, col. 1:
"Mr. Armstrong was never formally challenged on this point, and he never had to defend his teaching in the same way that I have been forced to do. I firmly believe that if the same facts had been brought to Mr. Armstrong's attention that we have had to face over the past few years, he, too, would have made the changes we have made."
And Mr. Tkach goes on to say:
"Mr. Armstrong's integrity in putting the Bible and Truth ahead of his own teachings, when he was convinced of the facts is a matter of record. Likewise, when the Church today is challenged on a part of a doctrine, we have to be able to defend our doctrine from the Bible. Now we can."
WOW! First of all, Mr. Armstrong was challenged by hundreds of individuals, churches, Christian cult watcher organizations and others by a GREAT DEGREE. That's a matter of record! He DISFELLOWSHIPPED MANY ministers who questioned this matter. It is no secret that HWA DID NOT graciously change his teachings unless it personally affected him, such as the Marriage and Divorce Doctrine and Healing Doctrine. "NEVER CHANGE ANYTHING THAT WORKS."
Whatever way you look at it, mainstream churches will certainly be pleased about the change to TRINITY, but it is doubtful whether they will be fooled! SECONDLY, THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF MIND CONTROL!!!!
As we have already stated, we don't take issue with the changes! However, our studies have taught us that the Doctrines we employed into our lives were completely taken out of context while the New Testament was ignored. We learned that WCG, like other Bible cults state their message and then twist certain Bible verses to prove their teachings. (We have found the book, SCRIPTURE TWISTING from SIRE Publishing to be very helpful in understanding and have counseled with professionals in this area.)
As we have previously stated in this letter, we all, as WCG members, were strongly told to ignore opposing views, and throw away any opposing literature. Because of the "indoctrination" WCG members incorporate into their thinking, it is difficult to understand the thought we have laid out before you in this letter. As our critical thinking skills returned to us, we were able, without guilt of threat of fear, to assess the WCG situation. Through a "sorting" process, we were able to look objectively at the situation instead of passively sitting back, taking notes and accepting anything.
Sometimes we have to step away to see the FOREST THROUGH THE TREES." We know this is NOT easy to do when that little voice keeps you reminded that "SATAN" is trying to attack you. He's going to steal your calling. Or, sad to say, the dreadful LAKE OF FIRE awaits those who resist the "GOD'S WAY" routine laid out by WCG.
(Wife) attended the F.O.T. `93 in Lowell as a final conclusion to listening and discerning the message behind the WCG organization. It was appalling to witness the actions displayed by supposed ministers of God. We are ashamed that we supported an organization that allows its ministers to stand up at a podium in front of thousands and play "multi-level marketing games" with the offering. Slick competitive pitches for money. Hype about beating out Pasadena and Hawaii for BUCKS. How stupid do they think we really are???? Guess what? The joke is on us!!!!
Mr. Register entertained the group with a YOUTH DAY message called, "SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY." His message portrayed the story of "Delilah" manipulating "Samson" in whore style. After carefully listening to this message, we both agreed that it was slanderous and abusive toward women. Then, to top it off, the members of "GOD'S CHURCH" were treated to a "Register-edited video produced by FOCUS on the FAMILY that due to the slick editing depicted women in a cheap, sleazy way. The message was supposed to explain false advertising. "LEARN to DISCERN" was the video name. Sex was portrayed vividly throughout this film, but the worst picture was a girl screaming in a tub, legs spread open toward the camera, horrified at the "Freddy Krueger" hand approaching her crotch. WHY did the little children have to be witness to such horrifying pictures? What right does anyone have to subject such disgraceful propaganda to thousands without their permission? What did this abusive message and edited film have to do with YOUTH DAY? What would DOBSON say about the disgraceful editing done to his film? Did WCG have permission to slice and dice a work of art to suit its needs? We wonder! We also wonder who is really in charge of your children????
We hope you will take the opportunity to listen closely to Mr. Tkach's first Holy Day tape when it arrives at the church library. We have included some quotes on paper for your convenience. As he says, "Don't obscure the deep meaning of the FEAST."
Mr. Tkach's message was loud and clear:
OBEDIENCE…SLAVE…AGGRESSIVE…DEFENSIVE…GOD'S ARMY… BRAINWASHING FOR CHRIST…USE SELF MIND CONTROL (These are interesting words.)…SHEEP AMONG WOLVES…BETTER KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING OR YOU'LL BE CHEWED BY THE ENEMY…(That's for sure!)
REV. 2:7 "HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES..."
Yes! Mr. Tkach's message was loud and clear. Just as pointed as the famous "slap on the back of his head by his Dad when he was just a kid." It is easy to discern that WCG hopes you will have accepted all the new Doctrines without question so you will be prepared to take the course consisting of fourteen videos and twenty-seven hours of instruction coming your way. Mr. Kaplan mentioned this at the Feast. Although he did not call it an intense indoctrination program, we like to name it "HOW TO RECRUIT, THE WCG WAY," or maybe, "HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN TKACHEE SOLDIER FOR THE WCG ARMY." At any rate, upon completion of the program, you will have graduated to "PERSONAL EVANGELIST FOR WCG." (sounds a little like Amway, Tupperware, or maybe, the MOONIES, but you don't get the paycheck!)
- It is not our purpose to provoke or anger you in any way with our lengthy letter and enclosed information.
- It is not our purpose to convince you to our way of thinking.
- It is not our purpose to lure you out of WCG or involve you with any offshoot "dissident" groups.
Our purpose and hope is that you allow yourself to think critically regarding your life and dedication to the WCG organization. It was not an easy task for us to strip away that "FEAR PHOBIA" programmed in us to turn away from the dreaded facts about the TRUE WCG. The gift of CRITICAL THINKING involves looking at things from all perspectives; not just what one organization claims is TRUTH. We learned to rely on GOD and not FEAR him. He tells us He will never leave us. We trust Him.
Remembering your initial involvement with the "church" is very important to your relationship with the church today. You changed your entire life after purchasing the "wares" WCG sold. You did that thinking it was what GOD wanted you to do, because a "man" said so.
The old material (teachings, doctrines, experiences), was your spiritual childhood. You can't just throw it away, whether functional or dysfunctional. You invested your future in it. Now WCG wants you to reinvest into something totally different. It also still claims God is directing the path.
If you can allow yourself to think without fear and damnation, you will learn that GOD has nothing to hide and He'll be there for you while you "prove all things."
Millions of people in this country have been and are under Mind Control. Some people never come out from its influence. When under mind control, we feel "in charge," even though our life is being run by someone else. When GOD is used as the FATHER/LEADER, it is even more difficult to think objectively. The world is wrong and we're the ones with the right answer. With that "elite" thought programmed in our minds tightly, we can be manipulated into anything. The fine examples of WACO and JONESTOWN have proven that quite nicely. These victims were like you and us--same goals, same values, same dreams. Beautiful, intelligent GOD-FEARING victims all dead from Mind Control victimization.
No! We don't think WCG is going to call you to "PETRA" any time soon. But we think you should investigate the total history, past and present, for your own well-being. Our careful investigation took time and we gladly purchased whatever books were necessary to reference and cross-reference. We used the libraries and called "anyone" who had experience. Learning about the dirt of the organization was only part of our recovery. We had to be willing to be confronted with the realization that we were taken. We had to learn why! We talked with ex-members from every level, evangelists to members. No one had an "ax to grind" with WCG. They shared their understanding and empathy and were very sympathetic, because they, too, lived through it.
There are parts of our letter that are quite cryptic. We mean no disrespect toward GOD. Borrowing a quote from a recently exited Elder of twenty-five years, may we say, "We have been where you are now, you have not been where we are."
As we have reiterated so many times throughout this letter, we were shocked beyond belief to learn the real story, the actual facts, and just as shocked to realize we were caught up in it.
Yes, we like so many others left the organization…but we didn't leave GOD. With our conscience, we could never believe that GOD'S hand supports the work of this group in any way.
Let us also say, we don't think there is another group of people who with all of their hearts want to please God more. We hope with all of our heart that you live the "FREE WILL" that a wonderful GOD gave you. It's your HUMAN RIGHT!
Was there a positive side to "Worldwide Experience"?
Yes! WE will always remember the times we shared with so many of you on a personal level. As (wife) says, "She sang with her heart because you listened." Hundred of members passed through our doors. We will cherish the memories.
We also learned many lessons about life the very hard way. No college in the world could teach us what this whole experience taught us.
We also want to THANK all those who were not afraid to call us out of concern for our absence. The cards and letters were so greatly appreciated. We were very saddened that Mr. or Mrs. Peterson never called us or communicated their concerns to us. Likewise, none of the area ministers or local elders bothered to call. When we think about how much we, like you, served and paid into the "church," we would have thought that at least we could have been called to see whether we were living or dead. Another learning lesson!
Despite the rumors flying about regarding victims who have left the "church," please know we are doing very well. As a family, we are closer and happier than ever.
Lastly, so often during these past seven years, we have seen or heard of others who have left "the church." We, like you, ignored their absence and settled for a passing rumor. We, like you, have judged them as being spiritually weak, without "understanding." Well, for those who have endured this lengthy letter, have learned the REAL TRUTH as to WHY we left the WORLDWIDE ------ OF ---. If anyone asks you, "Where are the Stuhlmans?" feel free to say, "The Stuhlmans were 'spiritually raped' and they left the CULT that was responsible for the crime. They are doing just fine now, like so many other fortunate people and have resumed the spiritual education they set out to do seven years ago!"
With considerable thought, research and caring,
L. A. Stuhlman and family
Written and mailed in 1993
Pt. 1 | Pt. 2
Note: Joseph W. Tkach died September 22, 1995 of cancer at the age of 68.
Recommended Material: PDF books on Worldwide Church of God & Herbert W. Armstrong
Recommended Article: It's Hard to Get Close to God After Being in an Abusive Group
Letter to author Janis Hutchinson by L. A. Stuhlman (Vitally important letter regarding WCG)
In November 2004 the Worldwide Church of God moved its headquarters from Pasadena to Glendora, California. (Pasadena Star-News, October 25, 2004) By May 2006 all their offices were moved to Glendora. (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.) Today they have gone on to embrace New Age Teachers and philosophies. Read: Grace Communion International - New Age and Ecumenical Connections and Letter to Worldwide Church of God, Philippines (On Apostasy--A Radical Proposal) (this letter reached close to 350 WCG ministers, including those at Headquarters).
1 David Koresh and his members all kept the Seventh Day Sabbath and also believed the books of Daniel and Revelation had been unsealed. They claim to have the Key of David. They teach that the Daily has been taken away. They give the identification of the tribes of Israel today. They teach about the Elijah messenger. They hold to clean and unclean foods. They teach about the two trees, and the two witnesses. They also claim to understand the firstfruits harvest. They claim New Truth and New Revelation. They distinguish their faith as special and unique and they believe they are God's chosen people and are living in the end times. (information from their official website, 8-02) This is very similar to the beliefs of the Philadelphia Church of God.
2 Cult Awareness Network (CAN) is no longer a recommended resource. It was bankrupted by Scientology and is staffed by its operatives. Any mention of CAN in this letter was before this took place. More information on CAN is contained in this offsite report.
3 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. However many letters about WCG are revealing. John Trechak died September 2, 1999. (Note: Please be aware that the AR is now posted on an atheist website.)
Mind control techniques work best of those who become like children. More behavioral tactics are listed in OIU 4, Pt. 1.
5 "The word paradigm describes the New Age idea of transition between two world views. ... Do not ask questions, for questions and Biblical reasoning is a solid block against this change." - Joseph Chambers, 1997