I was in the WCG for only five years, leaving in 1993. It was a much shorter time than others spent in there, but nonetheless, just as traumatic. I believed with all of my heart and soul the “Worldwide way.” But what I ended up experiencing was most destructive.
When I was in my 20s, I started asking questions about life and its purpose. Then one day at the bus stop there was the “Plain Truth.” My questions now became answered. This was the early `80s and four years prior to entering WCG.
By 1987, I was attending full time with my husband and two children in tow. As the years passed, the biggest problem I had was the financial difficulties. But like so many, I believed things would work out if I just had more faith. What tithing did to me emotionally, let alone financially, was devastating. As expected, I prayed more and begged God to help me. I wrote many letters to Headquarters about tithing, but to no avail. They just told me I had two choices: either increase my income, or spend less money. I couldn’t understand what God wanted from me. We were living on $200.00 a month for food, and my children didn’t have enough clothes. However, I would rationalize it all saying somehow God would work things out, and at least we had a roof over our heads.
Later my husband received a job transfer. Since I was in a new city now and had absolutely no confidence in myself to start doing anything worthwhile, let alone working again, reading the Bible took a lot of my time. I started reading the book of Galatians and Romans and how it talked about freedom in Christ and the wonderful grace of God. However, when I went to services each week, everything I had read through the week was totally dismantled. I said things to myself like, “Am I really that deceived?” I also noticed how so many were unhappy. Anyway, one thing led to another. I knew I had to leave for my sanity, but how to do that was quite another thing. I was still desperately afraid of losing my salvation.1
Conveniently, another job transfer came up. It was 1993. By this time, both our minds were very messed up and we looked forward to moving to another city, hoping things would be better. I had tried to give Worldwide Church of God the benefit of the doubt regarding everything, including all of the changes they were making. But the first Saturday we walked into services in the new city was the beginning of my freedom. I never in my life felt so very alone. I knew by this time, I didn’t belong. It was then I really believed what I was in was a full-blown cult. For so long, I wanted to believe otherwise, but I couldn’t deny my gut instinct.
The biggest problem I had with HQ at this time was their lying. I wrote many letters to Joseph Tkach, Jr. during all of my turmoil and pleaded for his honesty. How does one trust an organization that consistently lies to you and uses you, and shows no genuine remorse?
It was around 1993-95 that God opened the door, woke members up, and told them to get out!! Thankfully many heeded at this time and were able to get their minds back. Those that didn’t had to put up with all the confusion and turmoil that happened later. Sadly, many others went to splinter groups like Global2, UCG, and PCG).
Getting out was just the beginning for us. The main reason for leaving was because of their sick perversion of the Scriptures. The most tragic aspect of the WCG is how they kept people away from God’s free gift of salvation by grace alone. This is because of their psychological mind control games. Until a Christian, whether in one of these groups or not, understands the gospel of grace, they can be susceptible to mind-control.
It wasn’t until I left that I began to understood the mind control. I believe the real problem with these religious cults is their greed and love for money. It has corrupted and blinded them.
Head knowledge without love from the heart is anti-Christian no matter what doctrine one espouses. Jesus said we would know them by their fruits, not their doctrines.
When I came into the WCG and was baptized, I believed in God and Jesus Christ with all of my heart and soul and wanted to serve Him with all of my being. I was idealistic, naïve and uneducated enough to put my trust in an organization that grossly misrepresented Him. But I now know what it is like to have a true personal relationship with Jesus Christ without the baggage of organizations. I also know that God will never leave me nor forsake me.3 He promises us that, and God cannot lie even though so many do.
By Marianne (former member of WCG)
UPDATE by author:
Once I came to a true understanding of the Gospel of Grace, then the chains started to fall off, one vicious link at a time. Today I truly know what it is like to have true freedom, peace and rest!
But it is absolutely essential to understand what happened to us, because if we don’t the search never ends and no true peace will ever be known. The scriptures are full of warnings about false prophets, deceivers, and the like, but cleverly those deceivers, aka. mind controllers, bewitched our minds like the apostle Paul quite clearly warned us about many times. But because we are susceptible to deception we got literally sucked in by it.
An Open Letter to Our Acquaintances in Worldwide Church of God (helpful in understanding WCG’s deceptive past)
Footnote by ESN
1 Read: Can we ever lose our salvation? (Q&A)
2 Global Church of God, founder Roderick C. Meredith, later changed their name to Living Church of God.
3 “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV)