Is It Truth or Only More Worldwide Church of God Propaganda?
Dubbed as a “miracle story,” this film has the potential to reactivate any programming placed in members and child survivors of WCG. Even the word “called” in the title is a buzzword to members since they have always believed they were “called” by God into His one true church. Music is used throughout to create a desired emotional response and ranges from low, suspenseful and drumming, to mellow, light, or uplifting. Herbert W. Armstrong’s voice, which is randomly heard throughout the video, is frequently loud and disturbing. Ministers interviewed use a subdued, slower tone of voice, rather than the energized, fast speech often used in sermons.
NOTICE: 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.) This video/DVD was made when they still had their old name.
WCG (GCI) has stated that “Called to Be Free” will be viewed by its present members.
Following is the full transcript of the film by Exit & Support Network™ and includes our comments showing the outrageous myths and propaganda. Names of the speakers and their positions are listed at the end of this transcript.* There will also be recommended letters at end that pertain to this video.
NOTE: In addition be sure and read the links at the end of this transcript / critique.
UPDATE: “Called to Be Free” Video / DVD, 2004, is a production of Living Hope Ministries (former Mormons) [Note: The Mormon church today calls itself the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]. Read: Living Hope Ministries Still Practice and Hold on to Cult-like Ideas (2009 letter to ESN)
Suspenseful drumming music plays while we hear the following speakers say:
“How could we have been so theologically ignorant?” (Greg Albrecht)
[Note: Read Ron Kelly’s words from his 1990 sermon “Fun With Prophecy” showing how he got members to think that somehow they were at fault for believing in the prophecies of Herbert Armstrong.]
“We did not understand grace.” (Greg Albrecht)
[Note: The reason members “did not understand grace” because HWA taught that “grace was license to sin.” Albrecht knows this. The finger is pointed away from holding HWA accountable, and Albrecht wants to pretend that he was oblivious.]
“This was catastrophic…” (Barb Edwards)
“I don’t know of anything like this that has ever happened. It was a showdown. It was a Dodge City at high noon.” (Hank Hanegraaff)
“It is nothing short of miraculous.” (Dr. Kevin Mannoia)
“It’s the whole belief system that’s in error. It can’t be fixed. It has to be demolished.” (Dan Rogers)
Suddenly the dogmatic voice of Herbert W. Armstrong is heard booming out fearful and gloomy prophecies, while at the same time, black and white pictures are being shown of World War II–bombs dropping, fire burning and demolished buildings, Hitler, marching soldiers, tanks, the White House, Kennedy’s assassination, Vietnam protesters beside a dead body, riots, the Atomic bomb being exploded, fights, Castro, etc. HWA’s voice has been put together from different sermons or World Tomorrow radio broadcasts. For instance, we hear him talking about how it is “poppycock” to believe we are saved by grace, then his voice shouts out, “When will we wake up!” We hear him say we haven’t heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, but rather a false gospel. We also hear him say things about the Tribulation, war, Hitler, the world in trouble, United States in trouble, etc. The words and pictures are disturbing.
Ronald Stoddart starts speaking quietly about how HWA “grabbed people’s attention, but it was based on fear.” Guitar music is strumming lightly.
“He had us holding the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in another hand.” (Tkach, Jr.) Guitar music is strumming lightly.
Then we hear HWA authoritatively saying, “Russia now has the H bomb!! They now have a new type explosive that will destroy a whole nation!!” This part could be very disturbing for those who held to HWA’s teachings–not only the pictures, but the loud sound of his voice speaking of fearful things and the suspenseful music. It will undoubtedly be triggering for members and for those were made afraid by his teachings, especially child survivors who suffered from nightmares.
Tony Murphy and Monte Wolverton (son of Basil Wolverton) speak matter-of-factually about Herbert Armstrong (we still vaguely hear HWA preaching in the background).
Randall Dick then says,
“Who was the man behind this voice? The man was Herbert W. Armstrong.”
Light guitar music begins to play.
Black and white pictures are shown of HWA and Loma, the library, maps, etc., as Mike Feazell quietly talks about HWA studying and coming to the conclusion that his wife was right about the Sabbath.
Several speakers go over British-Israelism that HWA taught and why he taught it. (In the background we hear HWA’s preaching.)
Suspenseful, slow music starts.
Black and white pictures of poor or orphaned children in World War II receiving food move across the screen. More pictures are seen of World War II, destroyed buildings, etc. HWA says “a terrible famine is coming on the United States that is going to ruin us as a nation inside of less than twenty more years!!” … “You just wait twenty years and see whether I told you the truth!!” The mild voices of different speakers are heard every so often. Then a picture of the four horseman of the apocalypse; bomb clouds and devastated cities is shown. The mellow voices of Stoddart, Tkach, Jr. and Feazell are alternated between the horrifying pictures and HWA’s voice. We hear HWA talk about the necessity of keeping the Sabbath and then we hear him declare, “It is the time of the greatest national trouble on the United States of America that has ever happened! It is coming, very, very soon!” He shouts, “Wake up!! You’ve been deceived!! The true gospel is the gospel of obedience to God!!” This part could be very disturbing for those who listened to HWA.
Mike Feazell tells how members felt:
“Now there’s somebody that speaks with authority; there’s somebody that’s calling us back to a faithfulness and an obedience to God. There’s somebody that takes the Bible seriously.”
Dan Rogers talks about how the work of Herbert Armstrong “grew and grew and grew.” Quiet, but uplifting music now begins to play.
Herbert Armstrong termed a “religious broadcaster”:
“You couldn’t get away from Herbert Armstrong as a religious broadcaster. And so a church began to be born.” (Ron Kelly)
Notice how Kelly refers to HWA as a “religious broadcaster” instead of a religious cult leader, a false prophet, and a deceptive teacher. He also is not being honest to refer to the WCG as a “church” when he knows it was an organization that deceived and swindled thousands of innocent people.
Dan Rogers says that HWA began to receive letters that said:
“I like what you’re saying; I believe what you’re saying. None of the churches around here teach this. Where can I go to church?”
He then says that HWA told them: “The radio is your church. Go to church every week by faithfully listening to this radio broadcast.” This reply is not true. People did not come out and ask “Where can I go to church?” for the simple reason that a church was never mentioned on HWA’s program. One didn’t find out about there being a church until they got further along in the AAmbassador College Bible Correspondence Course and then “representatives from Ambassador College” had to visit them first to see if they were ready to attend services. (Read: How Did Herbert W. Armstrong Recruit People?)
Pictures of HWA are shown (as they will be at various times throughout this video).
“That was okay for awhile [to listen to the radio]. But more and more people began writing in and there began to be groups from the major cities across the U.S. and people wanted to become a part of this new movement.” (Dan Rogers)
It’s almost amusing to hear Rogers call the beginning of the WCG a “new movement.”
“So HWA saw that he was going to have to train people to go out and serve and minister to his radio audience.” (Dan Rogers)
“So he moved down to California and found some property in Pasadena that looked like it would work.” (Mike Feazell)
Nothing is said about how the Church of God (7th Day) in Eugene, Oregon refused to accept HWA’s teaching on British-Israelism, nor how he was stealing from the church till.
“It was the teaching of our church that a tithe of our income is required of God.” (Ron Kelly)
Uplifting music is playing.
Kelly doesn’t tell how people didn’t find out about the 2nd and 3rd tithe they were expected to pay until after they started attending services.
Randall Dick talks about how the message was blanketing the U.S. and spreading cross the rest of the world.
Then HWA’s disturbing voice is heard shouting, “And this gospel is going to go around the world! And when it has circled this world and gone around the world, then–and not until then–nor after then, shall the end of this age come!!”
HWA mocks the Trinity:
HWA voice is heard mockingly saying “blessed Trinity,” as he reads from the sacred hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
Slow, somewhat sad music is being played.
“Our identity as the one and only true church was intriguing. It was a real hook to get people.” (Ronald Stoddart)
The “hook” was through studying HWA’s literature, which was offered free, each one building on the other.
Music becomes louder and the WT radio announcer’s voice is heard authoritatively proclaiming, “The World Tomorrow!” HWA’s voice says, “Well, greetings, friends.” (pictures are shown)
Slow, quiet music is heard as Greg Albrecht speaks about Garner Ted Armstrong and his “inappropriate behavior.”
“It was a huge blow to the church to learn that GTA had some moral failings back in the early `70s.” (Mike Feazell)
First of all, most of the “church” (the members) didn’t know the extent of what GTA’s “moral failings” were back in the `70s, along with all the corruption and immorality that was going on within the organization.
GTA voice is heard saying, “…bringing you the good news of the World Tomorrow!”
“So people learned ‘don’t challenge Herbert Armstrong.’ ” [after GTA was put out] (Dan Rogers)
He doesn’t mention how WCG evangelists in the `70s “challenged” HWA.
“Although the membership of the church was just over 150,000…” (Mike Feazell)
This figure is highly unlikely. According to Mike Hollman, director of data processing in WCG from 1972 to 1973, WCG’s highest number was about 53,000 in 1973. (Refer to OIU Newsletter™ Volume 1, Pt. 1, “A Church in Decline”) (See OIU Volume 2, Pt. 2 beginning with “We find some discrepancies with the growth picture starting around 1978….” Also read Myth 1 and 2 – the greatest of them all in OIU Volume 6, Pt. 1, about how Joe Tkach, Jr. and Greg Albrecht found it necessary to enhance the exaggeration of inflated church membership numbers making the latest account higher than all other false statistical statements. (This also shows the millions WCG was pulling in compared to other top evangelists of the time.)
“As Herbert Armstrong got older he used doctors a lot. Still he continued to teach that it was wrong.” (Mike Feazell)
Deborah O’Bryan mentions how her mom died “because she refused to go to the doctor.”
Nothing is said about the thousands of people that died due to this healing doctrine, and how they were taught that they would end up in the lake of fire if they went to doctors. Many have health problems to this day because of this teaching. Read this part in “History of the Worldwide Church of God” beginning with “in the meanwhile” which tells how HWA and other evangelists were seeing doctors and taking medicine while forbidding members to do so.
Black and white pictures are shown of HWA meeting with dignitaries in other countries. The covers of booklets by HWA and WCG are shown.
“[Tkach, Sr.] had shown very much a great deal of zeal and loyalty to Herbert Armstrong for no reason, for no power, so he could be trusted to have the power.” (Dan Rogers)
Slow music is playing and pictures are shown of a smiling Joseph Tkach, Sr. at HQ.
What about Tkach, Sr.’s “zeal and loyalty” during 1979 when the Attorney General of California investigated the “church” for financial improprieties1 and how the entire situation was exposed by the media? Of course, this is not mentioned.
HWA is shown giving a sermon. His alarming voice is suddenly heard shouting “I am here to bring you the truth! Because you don’t hear this from any other voice.” … His voice gets louder: “He’s speaking through me!” He has sent me here to talk to you to give you his word!!”
This sermon sounds like it could be a video HWA had sent out to members, especially during the Feast of Tabernacles. Again, this is another part that would activate programming and be disturbing.
Roman Borek shows the empty room and exact spot where HWA died, pointing out the spot where the chair and the bed were. This would evoke sentimental feelings toward HWA again. Slow, quiet music is playing.
Greg Albrecht’s glib apology:
“My mother…bless her heart…said, ‘Greg, we’ve been in a cult.’ And I apologize to you.” (Greg Albrecht – talking slowly)
Why would Greg act in the dark about the destructive methods of mind control that many religious cults use in order to retain members? What is he apologizing about? Certainly not for the lives that were wrecked and destroyed as a result of being recruited into this cult? Or is he apologizing to the evangelical Christians on the outside?
Note: Joseph Tkach, Jr. “apologized” to the evangelical Christian world in the Plain Truth, yet no apology was given at this time to the membership or those raised within for abuses inflicted. This appears to be normal for WCG headquarters. Kenneth Westby testified that no apology was ever given by Herbert Armstrong to the brethren admitting that he had led them astray. [See Worldwide Church of God History and search for word “apology”] We could go on and on. Former WCG member John Miller, Jr. in his testimony “Suffered a Terrible Ordeal” said that there never was an apology except a “generic” one from the pulpit. “Apology” is never the same as repentance.
“I was dean of students at Ambassador College when she told me this. At the time I dismissed a lot of what she said, but…after a year or two or three I began to think about it, particularly around about the time of Herbert Armstrong’s death, which was in 1986. That was a serious time of re-evaluation.” (Greg Albrecht – talks slowly and somewhat hesitantly)
Tells how he began to look into British-Israelism at this time and found it “bogus and bizarre” and “off the wall.”
“I was mad, I was…uh…upset, I was…uh…disappointed in myself, I was…uh…disillusioned with people who had taught me this.” (Greg Albrecht)
At this point the twisted “story” is told of how Joseph Tkach, Jr., Greg Albrecht and Mike Feazell discovered they had held some errors. The only thing is it doesn’t match with what really happened. Read Worldwide Church of God History to see that these “new doctrines” that Jr., Feazell, and Albrecht say they were “studying into” had already been brought to the attention of the Armstrongs over and over again in the 1970s (a time when these present leaders were involved with the WCG and would know all about what happened).
Tkach, Jr. says when he first saw evidence that British-Israelism was false, he didn’t accept it at first, but once he saw that it didn’t hold up and that it was bogus, “everything fell in place” and his “world view changed.” (slow, quiet music is playing)
“My dilemma was, what do I do now? I have discovered serious flaws in Armstrongism. … Can I quietly leave and mind my own business? Now, how…how…does the son of the current denominational leader quietly leave? (Joe Tkach, Jr.)
Why does he call the WCG a “denomination”? Do the leaders want others to think that WCG was a Christian church all along? (Their booklet Transformed by Christ, 1998 also uses the word “denomination” to describe their organization.) [Read a critical review of this book by ESN.]
After telling how he found out that what HWA taught about the Trinity was completely bogus and that HWA “built this huge condemnation of traditional Christianity on something that was completely preposterous,” Feazell says,
“I went through a period of…kind of depression and trying to think it through and pray for…you know…some kind of stability, what, how to, where to go next, what to do.”
“It was clear to me then that this was not the one only true church. The question was did it have any validity as a church at all? And then what do you do? Is there an obligation I have to that? What am I supposed to do with that?” (Greg Albrecht – talks slowly)
Leaders feign surprise at new doctrines:
The leaders begin to act surprised at the things they were finding out.
“Joe Tkach, Jr.–his father was Sr.–and Mike Feazell and I eventually kind of found each other in the late `80s, early `90s and we determined through questions if the other person was safe or not, and we would test the other person to see if they would keep our confidence, if we could actually talk to them about what we were really thinking.” (Greg Albrecht)
“They seemed to realized that we [starts to laugh] share many of the same disagreement with the teachings of Herbert Armstrong. We all seem to be coming to similar conclusions. What’s going to happen when we take these to Joe Tkach?” (Dan Rogers)
Albrecht does not admit that he, Mike Feazell, Bernie Schnippert (and others in WCG’s “inner circle” at HQ) were quietly attending classes at Azusa Pacific University years prior to this meeting. (See OIU Volume 6, Pt. 2 under “Gregory R. Albrecht”) (Azusa is considered a theologically liberal institution and is Charismatic/Pentecostal. They are also a member of Willow Creek Association. (Read: Willow Creek Hegelian Dialectic & the New World Order for more info on WCA.) Richard Foster (co-founder of Renovaré and whose books WCG has promoted) is Professor of spiritual formation at Azusa. This meeting of these three was presumably after 1986 when they “discovered” they shared many of the same ideas.
But in the meantime, WCG hired a PR team to reach the apologetic ministries. Michael Snyder (one of those PR men) was interviewed on the radio with Ruth Tucker, December 13, 1990, WMUZ, Detroit, telling everyone that the WCG was now “Trinitarian.” Michael Snyder later left the WCG, accusing it of being a “cult.” (The Watchman Expositor, Vol. 10, No. 7, 1993, p. 3) Are we supposed to believe that those at WCG headquarters didn’t know about all this?
Then in 1993, a “Paradigm” sermon was sent out to the members (to prepare them for changes coming). The video played was called “Discovering the Future.” Notice what Joseph Chambers (1997) said about paradigm: “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.”
To add to the confusion (i. e., mind control), Tkach, Jr. gave a sermon entitled “Rumors” the same year–April 3, 1993–where he denied the very changes that he says on this video that he was studying into. (Read excerpts from this sermon.)
“We got together with my dad and shared with him our research. I didn’t know how he would react. I think if it was just me…I’d have been out of a job. If it was just Mike Feazell, he would have been out of a job. … I was really gratified to see that my dad and my closest all friends said, Let’s start teaching the truth and move out of the error. … But it is significant that all…all of us together…were in agreement. (low, mellow music starts to play) I look back on that…and that’s…part of the miracle.” (Tkach, Jr. – talks somewhat slowly and carefully)
“When the leadership realized that there were serious doctrinal issues that had to be addressed, they formed a doctrinal team and they decided to just lay everything on the table and examine every single doctrine.” (Ronald Stoddart)
Light piano music is playing.
It has already been mentioned above that many of these same doctrines were examined back in the 1970s by those who were labeled “liberals.”
We are led to believe that it was Joe Tkach Jr, Mike Feazell and Greg Albrecht that understood these new doctrines first, then they approached Tkach, Sr. with their “research.” Yet in an impromptu meeting in March 1995, Tkach, Jr. is recorded as saying that it was his Dad that “got this thing going.” (OIU Volume 3, Pt. 3 beginning with “In April 1995”)
Joseph Tkach, Sr. did begin changing doctrines slowly, in bite sized pieces, starting in 1986 after HWA died. These new doctrines began to be slipped into articles and not announced formally, some teachings just stopped being preached and were secretly modified. During the time he was doing this, he was denying any changes, while deceiving members into thinking he was “following in Herbert Armstrong’s footsteps). What creates more disorientation is that on November 12, 1991 Tkach, Jr. wrote a disfellowshipped member saying that it was Mr. Armstrong who commissioned his father to look into the changes that they had made, so they were “following the wishes of Mr. Armstrong.”
Before the 1990 radio interview mentioned above, Michael Snyder (one of WCG’s PR men for the new changes at this time), stated:
“Three years ago  Joseph W. Tkach, the minister who succeeded Mr. Armstrong, instituted a wide-ranging review of all published literature, which is still underway (there are more than 100 published titles).” (Letter to Ruth Tucker by Snyder, February 1, 1989)
Also read The Earl Williams Factor to see the catalyst that propelled Tkach, Sr. to begin speeding up his new doctrinal changes and to come out with the New Covenant sermon in 1995. Before this sermon, Earl Williams’ tapes were circling the country among a number of members and more and more were beginning to wake up and to exit the WCG.
After 1995 Joseph Tkach, Sr. continually engaged in double-talk after these “big changes” had taken place. For instance, telling members that they weren’t under the Law anymore, but “they obey the Law because they have the Spirit.”
“How could we have been so theologically ignorant? How could we have embraced error to the degree we embraced it? And I still don’t have the answer to that. I puzzle over it regularly.” (Ron Kelly)”
“It was hard to just take that, swallow, and say, I’ve…been…wrong. I have misunderstood.” (Ron Kelly)
Kelly wants us to believe that he was totally surprised by these new changes. Where was he prior to September 1995? He was part and parcel of the layer of deceit in the WCG, which had been known since the 1960s. Read OIU Volume 4, Pt. 3 beginning with “It is vital to note here that 1993…” that talks about Ron Kelly, along with other top leaders in the WCG, who knew about the corruption in the WCG, and who knew that these doctrines were not anything new. Ron Kelly also met with James Dobson of Focus on the Family on the National Day of Prayer in 1997 and it was confirmed that H. B. London Jr. had known Ron Kelly for some time. Read our partial transcript of Ron Kelly’s 1990 sermon, “Fun With Prophecy” which shows how Kelly used “humor” to disarm the members while making them believe that somehow they were at fault for believing HWA’s prophecies. Also read a March 10, 2003 letter to ESN that tells of a later sermon Ron Kelly gave where he called the members “stupid” for believing in polytheism. These sermons of Kelly’s served to “pave the way” for HQ to introduce the new changes.
“Jesus Christ is God.” (Mike Feazell)
Can the leaders at HQ say the words, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior?”
“When I saw that I’m under the New Covenant… I describe it as awakening out of a coma.” (Joe Tkach, Jr.)
Was he in a coma when the ministers of the `70s brought these same issues before the Armstrong’s and ended up being called “servants of the devil”?
“This whole pile of legalism… all of that collapsed in an instant.” (Mike Feazell)
Members in WCG at the time of these “new changes” have testified that “legalism” didn’t all collapse in an instant. Worldwide News Quotes before September 1995 show that tithing, Sabbath keeping, festival observances, were still in effect and many contradictions were used.
“How were they going to get this same wonderful truth across to all the members of the church?” (Ronald Stoddart)
Stoddart called these changes the “truth” here. Members did think it was new truth. Joseph Tkach, Sr.’s 1995 video sermon showed how they got it across.
“All we know is this is what’s true and this is what isn’t, and we know what we have to do.” (Joe Tkach, Jr.)
It’s questionable whether the leaders knew “what’s true,” when it comes to speaking the truth, but they certainly knew what they had to do. What is very significant is that for a number of years many cults have been trying to mainstream. (“From Cult to Church: The Quest for Acceptance,” audio by Dr. Ron Enroth, 1994.) Many feel “church” is merely a front for what are actually highly funded organizations with millions of dollars in investments. Today they are shedding their distinctive features, blending their ideologies, and becoming united under the name of “God.” Much of Christianity is being replaced with New Age philosophies today. Are we beginning to see the coming together of an ecumenical, one world religion?
“The leadership came to see it’s the whole belief system that is in error. It can’t be fixed. It has to be demolished.” (Dan Rogers)
Then why wasn’t it? [Update: WCG changed their name in 2009. Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.]
“You’re either going to continue to be a cult, or you’re going to be a Christian? Which was it?” (Greg Albrecht)
Members did not even understand the abusive, deceitful tactics that cults employ.
“So my dad worked long and hard to prepare a sermon to explain that.” (Joe Tkach, Jr.)
Did Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. (or whoever was doing the writing for him) work long and hard to make sure the sermon was filled with blame, confusion, and spin control?
“In that sermon, Mr. Tkach acknowledged, as a result of all our studies, that the N.T. does invoke the N.C. … And that N.C. does not carry with it the rules and regulations of the old. They are simply done away.” (Ron Kelly) Light music is playing.
Part of the January 1995 sermon video is shown with Joseph Tkach, Sr. giving his sermon to the members, but we don’t hear him shouting: “DO WE WANT TO HEALED OF THE STUPIDITY AND IGNORANCE THAT WE HAD?!”
“That was the shot heard ’round the world.” (Ron Kelly)
“It was a showdown. It was a Dodge City. High noon. It was the OK Corral. (laughs) (Greg Albrecht)
“When you have been a Sabbatarian and you hear ‘done away,’ it…it…there is nothing more shocking….nothing more shocking to your ears than to say ‘The Sabbath is not required for Christians.” (Ron Kelly)
Let’s quote Tkach, Sr.’s exact words from the video sermon (which are filled with contradictions) and see if he said “the Sabbath is not required of Christians”:
“It’s the Sabbath and contrary to any other rumor you might have heard about that we are going to do away with the Sabbath, pray tell what day are we here on today? Is this Monday? Friday? This is the Sabbath, the seventh day, the example that Christ established for us. We’re not here to do away with the Sabbath, we’re here to gain a better understanding of what God does require of us.”
“In the New Testament we see examples of people keeping the Sabbath and we see statements that tell us that the Sabbath is a shadow pointing to reality who is Christ. That doesn’t mean that the Sabbath is done away with, but it means that the Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ.” (See Video transcript)
“Does that mean I’m minimizing the importance of the Sabbath? Absolutely not! Our sign is faith in Jesus Christ.”
“Our desire should be to have fellowship with one another, fellowship with God on the Sabbath. We should be that way everyday of our lives with emphasis on the Sabbath.”
“But so far have I said we are no longer required to observe the Sabbath? No! Did I say we aren’t going to? No! The question is, is the Sabbath required in the New Covenant, or as another possibility is transformed, to be kept in a different way, no longer saddled with those burdens that we had before?”
“Does the Sabbath give us spiritual benefits? Hello? Yes? You all agree with that? You bet it does! The Sabbath gives us spiritual benefits, absolutely. Not only do we benefit physically from the weekly rest, but we benefit spiritually. From time to time if devoted to God should we forsake this spiritual benefit? That’s ridiculous! Should we use all our time for our own pleasures simply because now we don’t find the Sabbath under the under the New Covenant. No! A Christian should want more time devoted to God, not less.”
“The Sabbath is a blessing, we rejoice in it. We don’t want to give up a good thing. But we do need to understand that there are changes in the way the Sabbath is presented in the New Testament from the role that it played in the old, that’s all.”
“Consequently, the way the Sabbath is to be observed under the New Covenant differs from the way it was to be observed under the old. We’re not doing away with it.”
“We should respect and honor the Sabbath. AM I DEGRADING IT IN ANY WAY deliberately?!! NO!!!“
The written words to this sermon were posted in WCG’s January 10, 1995 Worldwide News (VOL. XXIII. NO 1). However, in comparing it with the audio portion of the video, it is easily seen that HQ changed some of Tkach, Sr.’s words and omitted all his abusive statements. Today WCG says that “WN’s before September 1995 are not available.” [Tape/CD of the video is available through ESN]
“When we said that the rest is in Christ, not in a 24 hour time, people just…just…smoke came out of people’s ears; their fuses were blowing.” (laughing) (Greg Albrecht)
“After the service broke up, people were huddled in crowds, people were in tears, and some people were angry, and people were talking, “What does this mean? What’s the significance of this?” (Dan Rogers) Slow, quiet music is playing.
“The phone lines were burning all over the world.” (Tkach, Jr.)
Is this what really happened, or were people confused, quiet and disorientated due to the duplicitous way the changes were presented? Letters we have received from those who were in services when this video was presented show an entirely different picture. Read a few testimonies about what happened after the video was presented in their area.
“He [Tkach, Sr.] says that we don’t have to tithe our money to the church anymore.” (Dan Rogers)
The message was given that “if you loved God you would give more than a tithe.”
The propaganda that Rogers is spreading is that members (after viewing the video) were saying, “He’s saying that we don’t have to obey God? We don’t have to keep the Sabbath? He’s saying we don’t have to keep the festivals? He says that we don’t have to tithe our money to the church anymore.” In reading the transcript of the video (or listening to the sermon) one can see clearly that this is untrue.
Ronald Urwiller tells how people were laid off “because of cut back.”
Why not tell about the 167 ministers who were disfellowshipped by HQ and/or made an exit? (Listed in OIU Volume 3, Pt. 1)
“The majority [in our congregation] left. So I can’t say that the majority held the Word of God above the doctrines of Herbert Armstrong.” (Barb Edwards) Quiet, slow music is playing.
This statement sounds like all who left Barb’s congregation held on to HWA’s doctrines. (Tkach, Jr. gave the same impression in an interview on March 16, 1996. Copy of interview with ESN.) Many had already been leaving in the five years prior. There were many others who exited after this video because they realized it was a deceitful organization that had not been truthful with them.
Doctrine not the real issue:
In spite of this video wanting us to focus on correct doctrine, doctrine is not the real issue here. The members have been psychologically coerced, manipulated and mind-controlled. (Read: How Mind Manipulation is Used for Influence and Control) The word “doctrine” was rarely used in the WCG. Instead it was called, “a way of life,” or “God’s way.” The WCG was an authoritarian, dictatorial organization, hierarchal in its management, and very abusive.
“Those who wound up staying were people who went to the Bible to see whether these things were so. … Those were the ones who made the change.” (Mike Feazell – talking slowly)
Actually, HQ just moved them on over into a new belief system. Their minds were still being manipulated because they weren’t given all the facts about what WCG was all about and how they had been controlled and used in a very exploitive way. The ones that stayed believed they should be “loyal” to WCG. One year later Joe Tkach, Jr. gave a sermon where he told the members to “let go of the baggage” (November 9, 1996; sermon with ESN). There was a magnitude of duplicity and deceit going on at the time.
“A good sermon was if it really beat us over the head … and really told everybody off about their sins. And you could go away feeling just right guilty. That was a good sermon. Oh, it was powerful!” (Mike Feazell)
“No member would ever say they enjoyed a sermon where they felt beaten down. We didn’t want to hear sermons on lo-o-v-v-e. That was weak and insipid, and did nothing; it was just silly clap trap, you know.” (Mike Feazell)
Was it really the members that didn’t want to hear about love, or was it the leaders that didn’t want to preach on it because of HWA and GTA’s sarcastic views? The true love of God was what the members needed to hear about and didn’t.
“We didn’t talk about Jesus. …Of course, He’s always been in the Word. How we missed that, I don’t know.” (Katherine Carter – talks enthusiastically) Light music is playing. After she talks about how she “raised up her hands” to worship in services and how she “just had to do it,” we see and hear members raising hands and singing loud praise music.
Why doesn’t Katherine come out and say that because of Herbert Armstrong’s teaching, their focus was on Christ’s message about “the Kingdom,” instead of on the Person of Christ? Are we to believe she missed that??
“Those who didn’t make the change; who were committed to Armstrongism simply went to their proof texts to reinforce what they had always heard rather than letting the Bible in its full context speak to them.” (Mike Feazell – talking very slowly) Serious, quiet music is playing.
“There were others who left us that held the doctrines of Herbert W. Armstrong over the Word of God.” (Barb Edwards – talking very slowly)
We’re made to think that all those who didn’t make the change were “committed to Armstrongism.” Those who held to HWA’s teachings felt they were being faithful to the Word of God. After all, they were programmed with this thinking. What would have happened if the changes had been presented in a totally different manner? But mind control entails confusion.
“He (Tkach, Sr.) would have far more people who were good friends of his, companions, long time friends, who would…uh…tell him he was an idiot, a fool; he was a heretic, he was a…you know…whatever. And it tore him up. He had an existing condition. A cancer. But…uh…most of us believe that that was hastened by the incredible stress. And he died prematurely.” (Greg Albrecht – talking very slowly) Sad music is playing, which finally turns into people singing “Amazing Grace,” as pictures of Tkach, Sr.’s outdoor funeral are shown, with Mrs. Tkach, Sr. being led to her seat, the hearse being drawn by a horse, and still pictures of Tkach, Sr.
Albrecht relates the above in a sad manner, almost like it is too hard for him to talk about it.
“Armstrongism … the higher you got up in the organization the more answers you were supposed to have and that inflates your ego. And in the transition I thought, you know, I don’t have to pretend that I am any more special than anybody else. …” (Tkach, Jr.) Happy guitar music starts playing.
Then why is he still in the Pastor General position?
“In the history of our organization, one of the phrases that was used was that we’re the obedient, true Christians–we’re the authentic Christians–and all the other churches are disobedient and Christians falsely so-called. Of course, that was an egregious error on the part of our organization…uh…and for anyone that we’ve offended with that kind of rhetoric, you have our sincerest apologies.” (Tkach, Jr.- talking slowly)
Tkach, Jr. does not admit to the fact that WCG told members that other churches and Christians were “of the devil” or “Satan’s churches.” It sounds like he is apologizing to outside Christians here and not to the members and children raised inside. Nothing was done to rectify the innumerable injustices that had been perpetrated on the members, children and loved ones. (Read: Did Herbert W. Armstrong Abuse His Flock?)
Changes termed a “miracle of God”:
Toward the end of this video, several statements are repeated, to enforce the belief that WCG’s new changes were “a miracle,” and “of God”:
“I think the thing that pushed me over the edge of believing that this was a true miracle was to see what the Worldwide Church of God gave up, what they sacrificed to make right decisions that were…uh…based on…uh… Biblical truth.” (John Wallace, President, Azusa Pacific University)
Regardless of WCG appearing to lose income by members going over to Global Church of God (with Roderick C. Meredith) [See OIU Volume 2, Pt. 1 “Speaking of Global”] and United Church of God at this time, Tkach, Jr. said, according to Bernie Schnippert (in spite of lowered income), the WCG remained in “sound financial condition,” the Pasadena property was “totally debt free” and they had “ample financial reserves to meet all their obligations.” (March 23, 1996, sermon, Toronto, Canada. Sermon with ESN.)
WCG had been liquidating lots of their real estate in the late 1980s, but the members had no idea of what was going on. (Read What Really Occurred With Worldwide Church of God beginning with the sentence “The Tkach leaders wanted it publicly known that the church was doing fine…”
We might also bring up the issue of the $3 million WCG received in 2003 from Philadelphia Church of God (a destructive offshoot) for the sale of the copyrights to Herbert Armstrong’s heresies, and what about the monies received from HWA’s massive treasures that were sold (some of which were auctioned off to Philadelphia Church of God)?
“The transformation of the Worldwide Church of God is absolutely genuine. There’s no possible motive for them doing what they have done unless it was driven by a pursuit of truth.” (Hank Hanegraaff – talks slowly)
How many are aware that the word “transformation” is an occult term?
Hank Hanegraaff (who has no degree in theology) was the PR mouthpiece for WCG’s propaganda. He endorsed WCG while abuses were still going on inside.
There were many reasons that propelled WCG to do a “conversion.” One only has to look at what was going on through each decade to lead up to all that transpired after Herbert Armstrong died. (See OIU Newsletters™.) WCG was not recruiting as before, especially post Jonestown. Continuing as they had been doing was no longer advantageous. (Read: An Open Letter to Our Acquaintances in Worldwide Church of God by ESN founder.)
“Watching the Worldwide Church of God… uh… shift its theological center…uh… is…is…nothing short of miraculous. I…I…I have no other way to describe it.” (Kevin Mannoia) Light guitar music starts.
The doctrine must be divided from why they made the changes. This is the total picture. Deception in the name of religion is commonplace because religion is a multi-billion dollar industry today. If WCG was a dying organism after HWA died, then they had no other choice then to mainstream.
“Yes, He has done the most powerful thing in our midst already by transforming us from all the errors to embracing Jesus as the Person of truth.” (Joe Tkach, Jr.- talks slowly) (Light guitar music is playing)
Worldwide Church of God [now known as Grace Communion International] is taking a middle of the road stance with certain doctrines, such as what happens to the soul after death. (see GCI and Their Universalism Views and Grace Communion International Doctrines) Ever since the changes they have given several views of different doctrines to the members and then allow them to decide which one they want to believe.
“God, in His infinite love and wisdom and mercy to us, stepped in and said ‘I want to work a miracle in the 20th century. I want to bring a group of people out of error, out of theological heresy.'” (Ron Kelly)
“God did this in spite of us.” (Greg Albrecht) Uplifting piano music is playing.
WCG became known as a destructive, mind-manipulating religious cult filled with immorality, financial opulence and corruption at the highest levels. All this has been documented by those who were once a part of the system. (See Booklist and Worldwide Church of God Expose` (GCI)) Yet WCG wants everyone who watches this video to believe that “God” stepped in to work a miracle because their concept of grace was erroneous. Certain cults have been continuing to mainstream for years and many have already gained social acceptance. The ecumenical movement has been penetrating Christianity and the whole world, and these cults are realizing it is finally feasible to become a part of it. (Read about the church growth movement) Much money is being made today with the words “Jesus Christ.”
Serious music starts to play.
Whitewashing of Herbert Armstrong:
“Was he a…false prophet? Yes, I believe Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet. [kind of laughs] The facts speak to that.” [he shrugs and gives a funny look] (Greg Albrecht)
For years after their changes, WCG leaders continued to say that HWA was “a sincere Christian,” “a man of God” and “dedicated to Christ” (Charisma and Christian Life Magazine, 1996; March 7, 1995 The Worldwide News, Vol. XXIII, NO.5, p. 3; MacGregor Ministries, “News & Views,” p. 4; 4-30-96 and 5-1-96 interview on D. James Kennedy’s “Truths that Transform”), and not until now do they say “yes, I believe Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet.” [Note: In Feb. 2005 The Worldwide News in the United States changed its name to WCG Today. In May 2006 it was changed to Together. A few years later Together was no longer available Their magazine is now Christian Odyssey.]
How could he have been a false prophet and yet be all these other things they stated he was? He couldn’t have. Is their late-coming confession somehow supposed to nullify all the years when they were supposedly making their new changes and didn’t denounce HWA as a false prophet? No it doesn’t, and the history is there for all to see. (Also read: Did Herbert Armstrong Set Dates?)
Furthermore, we still haven’t heard the leaders confess the whole truth about HWA and then go on explain to their members what a destructive religious cult is (not just telling them that they had wrong doctrines and “didn’t understand grace”). They do not own up to the devastation and misery this “way of life” caused, many whom are still suffering today. How many members really understand thought reform and how it was purposely was used on them in order to control, use, and victimize them? A rudimentary knowledge of mind control and thought reform is needed in order to break free of it, but books on mind control have not been recommended to the members.
“Was he a heretic? I believe he was a heretic, but I believe I was a heretic, too. So I’m not attributing anything to him that I’m not willing to face myself.” (Greg Albrecht) Low, suspenseful music is playing.
This statement will cause the members to believe “they” were heretics, instead of putting the blame directly where it belongs–on Herbert Armstrong’s head. (One must also ask why it has taken Albrecht almost ten years to agree that HWA was a “heretic.”)
Serious music starts playing.
“And there was a time when I was angry with Herbert Armstrong. I came to the point in my life when I said, ‘I blame Greg Albrecht for giving control of Greg Albrecht’s life to Herbert W. Armstrong.’ ” (Greg Albrecht)
Again, the message is that we (who were/are members) are to “blame ourselves.” Those who have dealt with victims of mind control have confirmed that anger toward the abuser is a part of their recovery. Several sentimental stories are given toward the end with sad, slow quiet music playing.
Several sentimental stories are given toward the end with sad, slow quiet music playing.
“It has happened through…through prayer and through the work of the Holy Spirit. ‘Cause otherwise it’s simply not explainable.” (Paul Kroll)
It’s explainable when we understand the reasons for their changes and how they had no choice but to change. Read the OIU Newsletters™.
“One of the pastors out there made reference to our church and…and was talking about what can happen…um…through the power of prayer, and how members, including Jack Hayford2, used to come to our campus and prayer walk the perimeter of our campus. I didn’t know this! And here years after they’d done this, our church has changed to accept grace by faith. And here I am sitting in his [Hayford’s] congregation! I wanted to stand up and say, ‘I’m here!! It worked!! It worked!! I’m here!” (Katherine Carter – talks excitedly) Slow music continues playing.
Jack Hayford is part of the modern Charismatic movement. Hayford is on Renovaré’s speaking platform. Renovaré is considered a mystical movement and WCG has endorsed them.3
“But why us? Do you have a purpose for us? Do you have a calling for us? Is…is there something that we are to proclaim on your behalf? Are we to give hope that other cults might have hope…that something wonderful could happen in their midst?” (Dan Rogers – talks slowly)
WCG has always made members think that they have “a purpose,” “a calling,” and are to “give hope someday to others.” This will sound very familiar to members and make them feel they are in a special class with a special purpose.
The music rises and we hear HWA’s loud, disturbing voice. At the same time we see pictures of HWA and then serious, unsmiling pictures of Rogers, Albrecht, Kelly, as if they are listening to HWA’s voice. We see Tkach, Sr. preaching. HWA’s words are shouting, “I don’t think that you know any organized group that calls itself a church that has ever changed its doctrines, that has ever admitted it has been wrong, that has ever admitted that it had taught something that it now finds was an error and admits publicly and tells the people it has been in error and now it preaches the truth!!!” Music rises and is suspenseful.
“And yet it…it…has happened.” (Paul Kroll)
“But an organization has come from cultism to Christ.” (Hank Hanegraaff)
When HWA spoke the above words he was talking about how he had “the truth” and other Christian churches wouldn’t admit they were wrong. He was saying that he had admitted he had been wrong for believing these other Christians. This statement of HWA’s cannot apply to WCG, because, although WCG has changed some doctrines, they themselves have shown they have not been honest all along.
The music changes to slow and suspenseful.
“And if at the end of it all, what do you have? You have your God, you have your Savior, you have the Spirit that lives in you, you have salvation assurance. (shrugs) What can you say?” (Ron Kelly)
Worldwide Church of God does not teach eternal security, meaning a true believer cannot lose their salvation. Read: Grace Communion International History / Doctrines and Grace Communion International and Their Ecumenical Mishmash Doctrines.
“And we pray for it in the lives not only people we know, but in the lives of other organizations that someday, somehow, may come to the same miraculous life experience.” (Ron Kelly) Soothing music is playing.
This video has not shown a “miracle,” but unbelievable propaganda. The top leaders try to come across as very convincing, but they don’t do a very good job of it. At the end of the video we hear country guitar music, combined with a violin, playing “Amazing Grace.”
Here are several things to look at in regard to WCG and their changes:
- Many of these same doctrinal issues were brought up to the Armstrongs in the `70s. The top leaders today were in the WCG then.
- Why would Christ work through a layer of deceit, contradictions and blame?
- Do WCG’s connections involve Neo-Evangelicals, Charismatics, liberal theologians and New Agers? What about the NAE?4 Hank Hanegraaff was the main PR person for the WCG. What is Hanegraaff’s background?
- Other cults have been trying to mainstream and gain social legitimization.
- The ecumenical movement has moved into many of the churches.
- Is this all going to fit into a coming apostate new world religion?
Let us not be deceived concerning what is going on today under the guise of Christianity and religion.
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
January 30, 2005; February 17, 2008
Last updated September 2, 2014
*Speakers on the video/dvd:
Ron Kelly, controller, WCG
Michael Feazell, WCG National Media Director, coordinated the interviews (has been attending WCG since age 4) [Update: Feazell retired in December 2011]
Joseph Tkach, Jr. (President, Pastor General WCG, son of Joseph W. Tkach, Sr.)
Dan Rogers, superintendent of Minister U.S.
Greg Albrecht, WCG Media Director
Bernie Schnippert, Director of Finances and Planning
Ronald Stoddart, WCG pastor
Randal Dick, Superintendent of Missions
Ronald Urwiller, Archivist, WCG
Tony Murphy, Producer, Director, PTM
Michael Morrison, Executive Editor, WCG Media
Terry Akers, Denominational Publications, WCG
Monte Wolverton, Managing Editor, PTM (son of Basil Wolverton)
Dr. Kevin Mannoia, Dean of Graduate School, Azusa Pacific University
Jon Wallace, President, Azusa Pacific University
Paul Kroll, Personal Correspondence, WCG
Hank Hanegraaff, President CRI
Barb Edwards, Executive Assistant to Randal Dick
Katherine Carter, WCG member
Paul and Leigh Sniffin, WCG elder and members
Merv and Laura Walton, WCG elder and members
Deborah O’Bryan, WCG member
Roman Borek, Ambassador Campus Guide
Bermie Dizon, WCG pastor
Karen Golden and son, Aaron, WCG members
Stephen Golden, WCG member
Video Sermon by Joseph W. Tkach to Worldwide Church of God Members, January 1995 (Transcript shows the manner in which the new changes were first delivered to the members: with confusion, double messages, shouting and blaming.)
GCI Holding to Emergent and Ecumenical Doctrines (November 7, 2019 letter to ESN)
Outsider’s Inside Update Newsletters (Looks behind the scenes at the real activities and associations pertaining to the “transformation” of the WCG and their New Age agenda. Reveals how doctrine has been used as a massive propaganda tool.)
I Tried to Speak Out About the WCG Duplicity and Paternalism (2006 letter to ESN which covers more of what happened during the WCG changes)
Letter Exposing Outright Lies, Abuses and Sociopathic Behavior (Written during the new changes in Worldwide church of God)
David Covington’s Letter to Greg R. Albrecht (Covington confronts Greg Albrecht’s twisting, untrue statements concerning Covington’s true motives and the fact that WCG was functioning as an abusive system.)
1 During this time, the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Lutheran Church of America, the National Council of Churches (NCC), the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, Synagogue Council of America, General Association of United Presbyterian Church of U.S.A., the Unification Church (Moonies), and the Northern California Ecumenical Council (those who were part of the ecumenical movement) all strongly supported the WCG at this time. All of these organizations, including the WCC, wrote the legal petitions against the state of California.
2 Jack Hayford is founding pastor of the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California (Foursquare Church, Pentecostal), where Paul and Jan Crouch (Trinity Broadcasting Network founders) are members. He is on the board of Promise Keepers and is one of the founders and first officers of Charismatic Bible Ministries, a leadership organization initiated by Oral Roberts in the mid-eighties. He is hyper Charismatic, speaks in tongues (read: Jack Hayford), and has involved himself in unity movements around the world with New Agers and Catholic leaders. He was instrumental in helping the Worldwide Church of God become a member of the NAE.
3 WCG recommends New Ager Richard J. Foster’s books and has often quoted from him. Foster is co-founder of Renovaré and Professor of spiritual formation at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Foster teaches all the techniques of the New Age such as quietism, mantras, centering, Buddhism, Yoga, T. M., the exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, Eastern religion and so on. One of the essential elements of Renovaré’s strategy involves ecumenism. Read about Renovaré.
4 The NAE has now accepted the NCC (National Council of Churches) and WCC (World Council of Churches) members. WCG is a member of the NAE. The WCC is known as apostate and radically liberal.
Note: Ted Haggard was former president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) which represents almost 50,000 churches in America. During this time, there were a number of serious concerns regarding him, including his spiritual manipulation, hypocrisy, and promoting the agenda of C. Peter Wagner. On Nov. 4, 2006 Ted Haggard resigned as president of the NAE and was dismissed as senior pastor of the 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO as a result of sexually immoral behavior. (Read: Letter to NAE and other concerned Christians.)