I have been a long-time member in the PCG but recently left after re-evaluation of the teachings of this group.
I attended PCG from almost the very beginning after walking out of the Worldwide Church of God way back in 1993.
Changes have been subtle over a period of years.
Deep down I have known of the very “wrongness” of the policies preached to the membership as “doctrine.” No longer were we to search and prove for ourselves, but, rather “believe what they tell you” (“trust them–they speak for God!”).1
Many questions and doubts have surfaced over several years. Suspensions for even speaking to anyone from another splinter group. Not even mother, father, sister, brother–absolutely no one. Everyone is encouraged to tell a minister when they suspect any person of doing this.
I believe that this is breaking the 5th commandment and teaching others to do so.2
This creates distrust and disloyalty and is certainly not an atmosphere of love for the members. And certainly not biblical.
It reached its climax when Gerald Flurry in one of his sermons, accused the members of being “rotten” who had not, or could not, fulfill their pledge for the Armstrong Auditorium. He had no concern about their economic or home situation in this downturn in the economy. Because of declining members, he seems to be in panic mode!
Because the CDs are kept back a couple of weeks, I would guess that this awful sermon was given at Edmond on Nov 5, 2011. The title was “Becoming Perfect” and GF was mostly speaking about the background of Steve Jobs on “how cruel and strict he had to be, to become perfect.” GF’s statement was close to the end of the long sermon when speaking of members’ commitment for the buildings and how important the pledges are to God (as if God needed those buildings).
The seniors and elderly are treated horribly. They do indeed “devour widow’s houses.”
After reading about the abuse suffered by others, I felt compelled to write to you with my own example of abuse with this PCG group.
I have witnessed a lot of unfairness and wrong use of Scripture, twisted in order to “lord it over” the flock. I remember the threats of suspension for the smallest “mistakes” like, “If you attend that Laodicean’ funeral, you won’t be welcomed back to services.” I remember ministers trying to create an atmosphere of fear to keep everyone in line, like ordering all members to “show love” by telling on each other. And when my elderly mother died (a faithful member for 30 years), the minister, Ron Hanson, didn’t even show up because “he was too tired” to come and do the service, so he instructed an (unordained) contact person, to perform it. It was heartbreaking and horrible. All our family members were shocked and disgusted with it all.
Hanson told us that we (my family) were all being watched because we were “mourning too much” for our beloved mother. He told us he never even attended his own mother’s funeral, and that we lacked faith because we were upset with our mother’s death. My mother died in the hospital after two weeks without a visit or a prayer or a phone call from Ron Hanson.
Christ had a lot to say about the shepherds3 who were hurting His flock and I believe that God will require a reckoning. They act so righteous on the outside but when speaking “one on one” they are filled with hatred and not fit to serve. But, what am I thinking? They were never trained at serving others. Most of them don’t even have a formal education and so only follow the bad example of their “boss and salary payer” and therefore only rule like the dictators we see in foreign countries.
And, what is it with the “compound in Edmond” anyway? A lot of people are calling it that, now (and they hate hearing it called that). It’s a locked community protecting the ministers and their families–Kindergarten to grade twelve to college for only the strictly approved–all under the one roof with almost 200 employees, all paid for by the poor sheep.
There is something rotten in Edmond.
I just have to question, are they the hirelings who are not really concerned for the sheep? [John 10:13] But whose welfare is only their own bellies.
Either way, they are positively giving Christianity a bad name.
And I had to ask myself, why am I following a man, who is not following Christ?4
Your website is very informative and so accurate and true.
May 2, 2012
Updated January 16, 2013 with more info
Profile of a Sociopath (A number of abusive, religious leaders may exhibit many of these behavioral characteristics.)
Footnotes by ESN:
1 Did Herbert Armstrong tell us to “search and prove for ourselves” after we became a member or before? Read: I thought Herbert Armstrong said to “listen to no man.”
2 Also see Ephesians 6:2: “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise)”
3 Are these religious leaders truly “shepherds of God”? Examine the fruits. (Matthew 7:16-20). Jesus is the true Shepherd of our souls.(John 10:11)
4 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” (Psalms 118:8) Also read: I Listened to a Man.
Back to Testimonies by Those Impacted by Philadelphia Church of God