I grew up in Worldwide Church of God. My parents studied all of the booklets, received the Plain Truth and had a couple of visits from ministers. My mom divorced my dad when I was 8 in 1973 because of his severe alcoholism. She continued to study Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklets and correspondence course and said we were called. Even though she earned only $25.00 a week for babysitting, she started tithing. My 20 year old brother had a full time job, so he paid our rent and utilities. We were very poor and lived in a very old, cold, house with terrible plumbing problems. Our rent was only $50.00 a month.
Eventually, my mom landed a job at a local diner for 4 evenings a week including Friday evenings. She was paid $120.00 per week. We finally got a visit with a minister, but we were not at that time invited to services. She continued to study and tithe. She was wishy-washy at best and confused. For example, she still got us little toys for Christmas, but we couldn’t have a tree.
We were eventually invited to local services by Roy Holladay (of United Church of God), but he told my mom she had to stop working on the Sabbath. She was afraid we would not have enough food money so she continued to work and we were never invited back. She got totally out of the WCG obsession after HWA died.
My younger brother, now deceased, and myself, were always obsessed with HWA and the splinters. Before he died, he was studying with Living Church of God, but was never baptized. I studied with LCG also and the local minister tried to convince me to move three hours south of where I lived so I would be close to their congregation. He didn’t tell me how to get the money to do this.
I was eventually baptized with Church of God the Eternal; however they had no services in my state, so I was baptized at their “Feast of Tabernacles.” The minister told me that I could not work during the Sabbath. I followed that and it put me living hand to mouth for 2 years. He said God would open the doors for a job if I was living in His truth. COG the Eternal also said that if I were in God’s good graces, I would not be so poor, and that God would provide if I was doing His will.
I have also been involved with Restored Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God and United Church of God. I have been hooked on these “Armstrong groups” for years and now am trying to free myself. I have also been to Feasts of Tabernacles with them. The big shots and wealthier members stay in large, expensive mountain homes and go boating; go to dinners, socializing, etc., while us “poor” members who struggle to tithe are staying in small no name motel rooms and being left out of all the activities, left to entertain ourselves. This has all damaged me emotionally. I have never known how to have a true relationship, I’ve always felt distant from other people, and like I’m not good enough. It has been a lifelong struggle so far, and I am now 50. Running across your website may be setting me free. Thank you.
By Cindy – Child survivor of WCG