For the last 6 months or more I have turned my life (and my family’s life) completely upside down, trying to follow the Restored Church of God and its teachings. I got sucked in shortly after I had a child and starting having many questions about the Bible and what the Scriptures meant. Thankfully, I never actually officially became a member or attended their Sabbath services (I can’t imagine how much worse this all–my life and my family’s life–would have gotten had I gone forward).
What built up to be the last straw was when I was told by one of the ministers from the Restored Church of God that since I knew that the Sabbath was a holy convocation and had received the “official membership offer” (maybe 4 weeks back) that I was willfully going against God’s word to assemble with His “true” church on the Sabbath, and that I was putting my husband and my family before God (“which God takes most seriously and will have His vengeance!). I was told my husband couldn’t understand because he “isn’t being called at this time, but eventually he will” and that the true calling of God is not a voluntary matter “as so many millions erroneously believe.” He said, “You are being called, therefore since you have dangerous knowledge of the real truth and you know the decision you have to make.”
I had explained to that minister that my husband was not completely on board with this and had just asked for a little time to soak in all these changes I made. I was supposed to attend a few weeks back but they were holding their Sabbath service five hours away from where I live (and still expected me to attend); then I was supposed to attend last weekend but for whatever reason (probably an angel sent by the real God) the hotel they usually held the Sabbath service at wasn’t available so they decided to combine their service with one that is held two hours or so away from where I live. My husband and I thought it was a little off that it was a “traveling” church that didn’t have an actual building. I asked about it, and it was explained to me that “church” means “a calling out” and that it is very costly to keep a building up, so they preferred to spend their money in other ways to help the true called members of the church.
I should have listened to that small voice in the back of my head that said this doesn’t seem right, but they already had me hooked into believing that I was one of the few called and would otherwise not receive salvation. Many times after my conversations with that minister I would tell myself I must be seeing the way he is talking to me as the wrong way (I would feel like he was almost yelling at me for a lack of better description).
My husband, of course, thinking I’d lost my mind and joined a cult, begging me not to tithe (well, continue to tithe), or attend this service, weighed heavily on my soul. At this point I had changed my every thought to if I don’t do this the way this “church” has instructed me I will suffer the Tribulation (which is very near since I now have lost my protection) and will burn in the Lake of Fire when God brings His judgment on me.
All of my conversations with the minister from the Restored Church of God always ended with me feeling horribly depressed (like I had really done God wrong for even having those types of thoughts) and terrified of what God would do to me if I weren’t obedient and repent. I started to question after every conversation that I had with that minister: “Should I feel that awful after the conversation? Is that really of God? But they have so many scriptures and explain so much that it must be correct? What if this is the way it’s really supposed to be?”
Towards the end of the most recent conversation I had with the minister, I felt I was getting in an argument with him in explaining how bad I felt and that it didn’t feel right the way I was feeling; that I wasn’t fully convinced the true God would make me feel like I do. Isn’t God loving and forgiving? Isn’t He supposed to bless you when you’ve done something correct? Isn’t He supposed to be the definition of love? I feel like bad fruit was coming out of this and all the tithing I’d been doing had made us unable to pay the mortgage. The minister told me I better fast and come to my senses; that I was in serious, serious danger of committing the unpardonable sin1 and would not get another chance. He told me to read Hebrews 10 (which talks about the unpardonable sin). I told the minister I had a lot to think about. I had no idea that Herbert Armstrong studied the Hitler tactics!2
I did fast; I prayed, I read Hebrews 10 and got redirected to Corinthians where it talks about God comforting through the Holy Spirit [II Corinthians 1:3-4]. These people [RCG] are not comforting at all. I asked God, the true God, if this is the direction you want me to go please give me a sign, please tell me what to do, send me in the direction toward you. I am so lost and confused.
The next day my husband sent me your web link. I read it at work and broke down not knowing what to believe anymore, never feeling more confused. My boss actually has quite a bit of scriptural knowledge, but I never asked him before because I was told by the Restored Church of God that anyone not in their church [RCG] would only have “Satan’s information.” Since I was crying profusely, we went to my office and I explained everything that was going on. After I had explained everything (this was the first time I had talked about details with anyone outside of the Restored Church of God), he agreed that they were a cult and that they had really done a number on me and my entire thought process. He explained that there are fears and there are fears. There can be different meanings like a child fearing her father because she might get yelled at or a spanking for maybe refusing to clean her room, or a child fearing her father because he continually rapes and beats her. Like the later example, he said they were using the words God said in the Bible and twisting them to mean what they wanted them to mean to control the reader’s thoughts–hence spiritually and emotionally beating and raping me.
I took all of this as a sign from the true loving and forgiving God (not this false god they’ve created, that is waiting to smack every child down for the smallest error or thought). He suggested I change my number, which I also did.
If my husband hadn’t been so persistent, if it weren’t for the conversation with my boss, and if it weren’t for this website (or what I feel was the true God giving me a sign), who knows where I would have ended up or made my child go through. I read some of the testimonies from the child survivors and I am appalled that I may have put my child through any of that.
I pray (and feel in my heart) that I’ve made the right decision to step away from the Restored Church of God. I am so thankful for your website. Thank you for all the information on it. I feel comforted to know that I am not the only person that has been emotionally abused and raped so much more worse than my own experience.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you
than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” ~Galatians 1:8
Footnotes by ESN:
1 Read: Can I commit the unpardonable sin? (Q&A)
2 Read: HWA Armstrong Used Mein Kampf as a Guide in Controlling People (letter to ESN)