I take the time to write you because your site really helps people in two ways: to get out of Philadelphia Church of God and, very important too, to avoid getting in without knowing what is hidden behind the doors.
I want to thank you because your site (and the reading of David Robinson’s book Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web) [available as PDF download] really helped me the second way. It opened my eyes to a reality that I had never suspected.
I will try to make a long story short. I am 48 years old and I was raised in a Catholic family in the area of Montreal, Canada. I became a Christian with my sister when I was 16 and went to a local Baptist church for about 3 years at the time. For different reasons I lost interest in going to a church, but I’ve always kept faith in Jesus, up to now.
About 6 years ago, I discovered PCG by television program The key of David with Gerald Flurry. I saw it as an “update” to the Bible and was very impressed by Herbert W. Armstrong’s vision. I began to read their literature, send donations to be part of “the work,” talk to others about it to “take the message out” as they say. I had begun to be sucked in the swirl.
Subtly, the more I read their literature, the more I felt intolerant with people around me whom didn’t see Herbert Armstrong as the end time prophet. I was also more and more afraid of God, because I didn’t attend a church and was far away from Edmond, Oklahoma, where “salvation” seemed to be. In addition to that, my wife (who had attended a Pentecostal Christian church in the past and did not have a good experience) refused totally the idea of joining this “work.”
I could already feel the pain and sadness of being separated from loved ones, because in my mind, there was no other way to serve God than heading towards Oklahoma, all alone. I began to have more and more difficulty to focus at my job, because my mind was troubled. When I look back, I think I was in psychological distress some days. The weight seemed to be way too heavy for my capacities. I suffered in silence and waited for God to take me away from the “storm.”
Fortunately, I was physically far away from PCG, so I didn’t try to meet a minister. That could have been the biggest mistake of my life, due to my mind condition at the time. I don’t want to imagine in what condition I could have been exiting PCG. Fortunately, we’ll never know.
Then, about 2 years ago, I discovered, on the Internet, the book by David Robinson and your site. What a relief!! Pressure (self inflicted) and heavy fear of God slowly got off my mind. It took time, but slowly I felt it was O.K. to be who I am, with the personality God gave me, even if it doesn’t perfectly fit in traditional Christian “culture.” I think we can feel closer to God in a forest or around a campfire than in a church. Nature has a great power of mind regeneration.
The other thing that helped me to see more clearly was the private jet plane of Gerald Flurry… (!) I stopped sending them money because I want my donations to help, not to finance a millionaire’s lifestyle. I give now to local charities instead.
I read the Bible every day and I find my teachings through Christian TV programs.
Once again I want to thank you. I pray for all people who are struggling to recover from PCG. I sympathize with your pain (I know mine was at a lower level than yours). Keep the faith in God. He will give you new leaves like He does for the trees in springtime after a rough winter (I live in Canada!).
Take care of yourself and your loved ones (and people around you, as much as you can).
God bless you,
Mario (ex co-worker, PCG) [first name used with permission]