I’ve found your site and am grateful for it. No one site can ever hold all the pain, but by reading and sharing with as many as I can, I’m learning to heal and help heal. I would like to share some of my experiences in the Worldwide Church of God for both selfish and altruistic reasons. It certainly helps the healing process to “spew” this pain out, and others may be helped in that process, as well.
First, by way of introduction: I live in Indiana now, but have also lived in the “Holy City” of Pasadena, California, Georgia and Kentucky. I first heard of Herbert W. Armstrong through my mother. She was receiving the literature and listening to HWA in the wee hours of the morning before going to work. I was about 12. His voice, the emphasis he placed on phrases, the fear he invoked in me, grabbed my attention and I started to “believe.” It was a hit or miss thing at first; I would read and “study” and then leave it alone.
My own family background was highly dysfunctional and I didn’t even know how much so until I was able, much later in life, to recall the sexual abuse. But, that is another story, not for here.
At any rate, my father was mentally ill and often had outbursts of anger. Mother was/is a very mixed up individual (passive/aggressive and a martyr), so it is not surprising that HWA appealed to my pubescent mind.
Zipping forward on the time line. Mother was baptized; I studied and attended and yearned to be part of the “church.” Mother attended off/on. The D & R thing (divorce and remarriage) was a major block for her, as both she and Dad had been married before–and she smoked! I stopped attending when she did.
I married and after the “honeymoon” was over, went back to where I was comfortable–the WCG. I asked to be baptized. I’d been attending regularly for about 6 months. The minister sent over the Assistant and he appeared bored to death, but already had his script memorized. He let me go on and on, then abruptly told me that, because I smoked and was married outside of the “church,” it wouldn’t be a good idea. I was told to pray and fast about what I needed to do for another year.
I did that in agony, as my marriage was not good and I felt I needed the Holy Spirit in order to grow and be fit for the WCG! Again, I called the minister. They smiled and said, “Well, it seems like you are serious!” as if by putting me off, they were testing my sincerity and commitment.
I must have passed their test. I had quit smoking and was keeping all the “commandments.” I was baptized by Vernon Hargrove in 1977.
That is the early background.
Here are some of the experiences I had from ministers (?) in the church.
When I begged Vernon H. for help in my marriage (problems being too numerous to mention except for: we were childless and my husband was too young to know how to be a man and love me), he sadly shook his head and said, “You will just have to learn to live without your husband’s love” or, in other words, “You’ve made your bed with the unconverted, now sleep in it!”
Years later, a terrible man became our minister: Frank McCrady, Jr. The sheer amount of pain that one individual inflicted on his “flock” should be criminal! Example: My father passed away, after being in agony for 3 days and nights with us crowded around his bedside. He died on Thursday. I decided to have the funeral service on Friday evening…nothing else, just a nice service. I fully intended to be at services the next morning; however, Mom and I sat up all night Fri and talked, cried and tried to comfort each other. I wasn’t able to get up the next morning, so I stayed home without calling McCrady, as was the rule when you were going to miss services. On Sunday I did call him at home to tell him why I was absent. Before I could get a word out, he began to yell into the phone and berate me for missing services. “You have chosen your family over GOD!” “You should have let the dead bury their dead!” and more of such as that. He said, “You stole holy time from CHRIST!” And by then, I was in tears. Somewhere, deep inside, I wanted to assert that I did what I thought was the Christian thing to do! But I was afraid of him, so I kept my mouth shut.
Later, while I was separated from my husband and seeking a divorce, my poor child/man husband was shot and killed in a hunting accident. I again missed Sabbath services, because I was in quite a state of self-hate, guilt and I felt that I was the cause of his death! By my “leaving” him, I had taken away the umbrella of protection that those close to me lived under. I went to Wednesday Bible study and as I entered the room, McCrady shouted out to me, “Well, I guess you are free to do whatever you want, now! You don’t have to worry about being unequally yoked anymore!”
Another incident I vividly remember: As usual, our congregation rented halls and had a portable podium. One of the grunt’s wife was trying to help out with taking down the stage–removing flowers, etc. and she reached up and took the round Church Plaque from the front of the podium. McCrady glanced her way, saw her holding the plaque in her hands and stomped over to her and, in front of nearly the whole congregation, said, “You are not allowed to touch that!” He went on the explain to all of us that, because she was a woman (!) and therefore not part of the ministry, she was not to even touch something that was sacred! Poor woman. She had more holiness in her little toe than he will ever have in his spirit.
Well, I could go on and on. After 25 years in the cult, I have more than a few stories. I am free now.
Keep up the good work on your site. It is helpful to read these stories and experiences. It helps to see others are questioning their sanity and motives for becoming involved in the first place. A mountain of shame needs to come down on those who have perpetrated this hoax. They will have to answer for their evil someday, somewhere. I am glad I am not in their shoes.
Thanks for letting me ramble on. I am just thankful I am free from their clutches, as I wish all were.
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