My husband and I were talking about how willing people are to give the reigns of their life over to someone else. We both joined when we were in a bad place in our life. I think that has a lot to do with it.
You start out strong in life, then things happen that you don’t expect, things that really knock you for a loop. Life gets bad and you’re looking for hope. You want order and to experience good things. Then Herbert Armstrong, or the Philadelphia Church of God, comes along. Being told you’re “called” and wanted by God as a “select few” is alluring.
When you first come in, it looks so good–lots of friends, laws to live by that seem to promise happiness. All is well–until they think you didn’t do something they said to do. Then you’re constantly watched as they can’t take the chance of you thinking for yourself and breaking rank. Just the smallest thing is suspicious. Then comes the threats. You can’t be part of this if you don’t follow suit. They begin to instill fear. After that you’re hooked. But you keep going on and on because all your friends are there, all your money goes there, and your children are in there.
They have cut you off from the world ever so gradually and replaced everything and everybody with them only. The constant fear of being put out and not “making it into God’s Kingdom” keeps you from leaving. You will do anything. Your hope of a lifeline to someone on the outside, to get out, is gone. You have alienated everyone in your family that could help you to get out. You’re constantly talking about prophecies and that “we alone” are called and going to the “place of safety” and that no one understands but us in the “true church.” It really turns others off.
We endure hit after hit by the ministers over the years telling us, “This isn’t right, that isn’t right,” and we “better conform, or else.” Still, we are convinced if only the right minister could understand, all this could be avoided. We always think somewhere there is a minister out there that would understand and things would be fine. But it continues to go on, fear after fear being instilled in our minds, until after so long we’ve had enough, we’re done. Even if it means we miss out on going to the “place of safety”–were done!!!
Eventually we find ESN, and after reading things on the site we realize we all have been duped. What a shock to us. The whole thing was false from the beginning. God isn’t anything like they told us.1 Freedom is on the horizon. Buzzwords still plague us, but with the sense of feeling free we push on until we are completely free. Then comes repairing the damage with others in our family and life. That is a lifelong task. We have to admit how wrong we were and realize we wasted years of our life. We feel angry but the feeling of freedom pulls us forward. This could all have been avoided if we would have only listened to others telling us we were in a cult.
We finally break free–wiser and poorer, and we lost all that time. I regret giving so much of our life to them. All we can do is try to warn others from doing the same. Most won’t listen, but some do. Others never get out. There is nothing we can do but try to save the few.
I have trouble to this day dealing with certain losses that I feel responsible for. It’s a good thing that there’s a heaven where everything will be made right. No more lies or sorrow of any kind. (Revelation 21:4)
By Rosalie (former member of WCG/PCG; in PCG 22 years)
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away” ~Revelation 21:4.
Footnote by ESN:
1 Read: The Love of God