First of all, I’d like to say what a great website. I didn’t realize how many people were screwed up because of Herbert Armstrong and his Worldwide cult.
My father joined HWA’s cult in 1981 and, boy, what a twisted religion! I was never raised by my father, as he and my mother divorced in 1975. My father remarried and had two children by his second wife. Unfortunately for his two kids, they had the misfortune of growing up in that pathetic religion.
I first learned of this cult when I was 12. I had not seen my father for a few months and around January or February of 1981 I saw him and he handed me an envelope with about 40 bucks and said that this was my last Christmas gift because he had joined God’s “true church.” Needless to say I thought that was weird. Then when he started explaining his religion to me, I though he was nuts.
My father and his wife were totally indoctrinated into this “religion.” Whenever I went over for a visit for the weekend, I noticed how weird things were getting. Right at Friday sunset my father would turn off the TV and begin his hours of Bible study and speak of Herbert Armstrong and how he restored the “truth.” On Sunday mornings he found three different TV stations with The World Tomorrow. I remember one station was coming in fuzzy one time and he said it was “Satan blocking the transmission.” I was stunned and tried not to laugh. The only reason the station didn’t come in was because he couldn’t afford cable and he could not properly adjust the antenna.
Until Saturday sunset, I would literally sit in his living room for 24 hours bored out of my mind. He would hand me a Plain Truth magazine and I would just stare blankly at the pictures pretending I was reading it. I was not allowed to attend services, because he had to have the minister’s permission to bring me since my mother, according to him and his cult, was a “heathen” and because of my upbringing I might be a bad influence on the other kids.
By the time I was 13 or 14, he finally got the minister’s permission to bring me to a service. I was kind of excited because now I got to finally check out this secret society that I was not allowed to see in the past. From my first visit, I knew this was one messed up “church.” I can remember how cold the members were to me, even the kids my own age would not have anything to do with me. Now I realize it was because I was an “unconverted outsider.”
Between the ages of about 13 and 15, I attended about a dozen services with my father, and many times all I can remember is staring at the clock on the wall and wonder why the second hand seemed to be moving by the hour. All of these years later I can still remember every detail of that clock, its color, size, and every nick and scratch that was on it. I got more enjoyment watching that clock than listening to some boring, uninspired sermon by some idiot who had no clue about what he was preaching.
Services were held in a high school auditorium, so sometimes I would have to regain my sanity by pretending I was going to the washroom, just to wander the halls and wonder what the “H” am I doing here. I got more joy out of watching the high school janitor sweeping the hallway floor than being in that auditorium listening to those awful sermons and singing those terrible hymns. At least the janitor had a purpose of being there.
I began to question my father and his church’s beliefs. I never believed in the “place of safety,” the doctrines of the “true church,” and other garbage that they taught. After questioning my dad, I was often told that I was being “rebellious.”
When I was 15, my mother figured what this “church” was all about and got after my father for taking me to services, and she forbad me from ever going again. She told my father if he wanted to see me on Saturdays it would be after services. Thanks mom, love you forever!
As for my younger brother and sister, man, did I feel sorry for them. Unlike them, I got to go home on Sunday morning and it would be months at a time before I would visit again. When I was there, I would often get yelled at by dad or his wife because I would pull out toys to play with my brother and sister, or I would want to take them to the park on the Sabbath. My sister was born into the WCG in 1983 and my brother was born in 1978, so at least he got to have three Christmases before HWA’s cult stole that away from him.
When I did occasionally visit, all I can remember is my father and his wife forcing the kids to do Bible study for hours on end, and if I stepped in to have a little fun with them, I was being “rebellious” and I was teaching them “bad habits,” and I would have to go home. I would often see them crying because all they wanted to do was be children and play, so that damn “church” also stole their childhood.
It’s kind of funny, when I would show up at my father’s place. I would be there for about an hour and remember why I stopped coming over in the first place and I’d ask him to drive me home. That made his wife very happy and he was more than glad to get rid of me before I spoiled another Sabbath for him. Heaven forbid if I should want to play with the kids or watch TV after Friday sunset, or question his authority and the stupidity of Herbert Armstrong.
What I can remember is that because of that “church” how messed up my father and his family were. My dad was always broke because of the triple tithing doctrine and going to the Feast every year. His kids never had new clothing, they were always donated stuff that they wore. They rarely had decent food on the table and it was always canned food because it was all they could afford.
My father’s second marriage finally ended in divorce around 1995. My sister got pregnant and married a non church member–but that actually worked out for her, and she is now very happy and has a great husband and a couple of great kids. She even has a degree from a secular accredited college. My brother on the other hand ended up insane because of the WCG. I have not seen him since 1997 and the last I heard he is still messed up. Thanks to HWA!
My father and his now ex-wife eventually quit the “church” and they are now happy people. My father took all of his Worldwide Herbert W. Armstrong junk and burned it in the fireplace.
Personally speaking, I believe in Jesus, but only Jesus. I do not attend any church, nor do I want to. I’ve seen first hand what these a**holes can do to a person and a family. They are only out to get your money.
If anyone says that they are an “apostle” and that they have the “truth,” turn around and run away as fast as you can. If they say that they have a “new revelation from God,” or God gave them a “vision,” run away. Jesus has not had any apostles for about 2000 years, they are all now dead. John was the last one. Anything God has to say is from the Bible. Nobody has any new knowledge, and God does not come to people in dreams. Stay away from such people.
Freaks like Herbert Armstrong are nothing more than a fraud. He claimed to be the end-time Elijah. That is crap, it was supposed to be John the Baptist. The Worldwide Church of God and all of its offshoots are frauds.
Have you ever noticed that they all quote Herbert Armstrong? If they were the church Christ started, wouldn’t you think they would teach the gospel according to Jesus? But instead it’s according to Armstrong.
Living Church of God, the Philadelphia Church of God, Restored Church of God, and all of these other “churches” are dead churches. There is no truth in them. As for the Worldwide Church of God and its offshoots, they are not of God and their days are numbered and goodbye to them!
By Kyle — Child survivor of WCG (short term)