Looking back now—50 some years ago—I ponder over the question, “What was the main reason or incentive that attracted me to the WCG?” The simple answer can be stated in one word: FEAR.
“Fear of what?” I asked myself.
The 30-minute program The World Tomorrow was aired daily on WMAQ in Chicago at 5:00 a.m. The content on each broadcast was intriguing to me, because the voice was so unlike any other on radio personality. Essentially, the message was a dire warning that we had better get onboard to escape the Great Tribulation described in the Book of Revelation.
The host of these broadcasts was extremely articulate in his delivery, similar to that of the once popular Paul Harvey. Much like Harvey, this guy spoke with absolute authority, but he was more focused on Biblical issues. His name was Garner Ted Armstrong, and the program was called, The World Tomorrow.
For the most part, each broadcast was centered around the fact that the world, as we know it, was coming to a close, and the only way to escape the soon-coming collapse would be to call or write for the latest booklet from headquarters in Pasadena, CA.
To avoid this calamity that was “soon to occur,” I began this incredible journey to get more and more of their “free” literature. The fear of going through this Tribulation was the driving force in my quest for the “truth.” It wasn’t long before I was hooked. I was devouring every booklet, pamphlet, and article—in addition to the Plain Truth.
Because I had really no Biblical knowledge from my growing up years in the Catholic school, I found this new information amazingly helpful to further my quest for truth. I became deeply troubled over the fact that I had been totally ignorant of Biblical history, and eventually I convinced myself the I was being called by God to look for the “true church.”
It might have been three years later, I took the plunge and was baptized. My family was beyond belief that I had discarded everything I was taught in my youth. I gave up going to church, celebrating Christmas and Easter, along with birthdays.
By this time, I had been thoroughly brainwashed into believing that I was right while everyone in my family was wrong. Their reaction to my decision simply reinforced me that I would have to suffer persecution in my quest to follow where I was being led.
In essence, the reason I chose to follow this cult was totally out of fear. I did not want to be left behind with my unbelieving family, along with the rest of the world, to suffer through the coming Great Tribulation. Moreover, now that I had “tasted the Truth,” I was destined to be thrown in the lake of Fire, if I decided to turn back.
Repentance to me was not so much of my sinful nature, but to make an 180 degree turn from my old ways of following anything and everything I had been taught before my “conversion.” Now I had a brand new set of rules and regulations to follow.
Years have passed now since I walked away from the false teachings of Herbert Armstrong and his followers, but it was after devastating circumstances in my life and fervent prayers for God to show me the way that opened the exit door.
Overtime, I learned the real truth of Biblical knowledge while gradually disposing of the deceptive teachings of Herbert Armstrong. Finally, I felt the freedom from the burden of the old covenant law—the overbearing rules and regulations of the Pharisaical leaders of the WCG.
No longer do I feel overwhelmed by their controlling forces and their deceptive ways. I encountered firsthand knowledge that was not hearsay or rumors of their practices. These people are very clever, cunning, and crafty in their deception.
However, these three simple Bible verses enabled me to finally see the truth and to escape the ravages of the Worldwide Church of God.
1.) “Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalms 46:10) [NLT]
2.) “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) [NLT]
3.) “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matthew 7:20) [NLT]
I pray others will be encouraged to exit the Armstrong mindset.
January 31, 2023