I joined Worldwide Church of God in 1981 at age 22 and thought I had found a gift. I believe we all were so busy keeping the Law and trying to be perfect that we refused to see the illness from the top down. If you were to ask questions, you were told not to worry, or that ministers had the insight we as little people did not. I noticed that many of the men were control freaks, tyrants and womanizers. I married one and he grew up at Pasadena with his father working on campus. Sadly, my ex has a drinking problem that I am sure started when he was a teen at A. C., along with the fact that his father was the same way and they were empowered to rule the family. If you questioned, or even disagreed, you were “disobedient.” I counseled with (WCG) ministers for years asking what I should do and finally gave up asking and just did my best. Depressed, knowing the constant emotional abuse, anger, etc. were destroying my life and the children’s, I was told to “stick it out” and that I should “submit.” Well, I did that for years and it just made him become even more out of control. Can you imagine telling a young mother to stay because the husband didn’t want to be responsible? How many lives destroyed?
After 20 years, my ex decided to leave, and it was the best for me and the children now, as we are better off without his constant rage, anger and blame towards the “church” and his childhood. There have been no words from him of “are you okay?” Or “do you need food?” Nothing–except coldness and uncomfortable situations. Believe me, I don’t want any pity, or money, just kindness.
We left WCG in 1993 about the time that the New Covenant was being spouted. Seeing the repeat of my Protestant background, we decided to go with Global Church of God1, believing that Rod Meredith had a kinder more balanced church in mind with input from the members. What a crock that was. I read on several ESN letters the way Rod would change his colors constantly–and that was what I observed. After the first Feast with Global, Meredith somehow was mad that the income of the church was not growing, blaming it on us, the congregation. From that point on, he became abusive in his sermons and his treatment of us who didn’t follow him blindly. He placed men in charge that had no business there with their love of control and politics. We had such destruction done to the people. I asked why?
I was soon shunned and my ex stopped attending. I traveled an hour and half to services with small children, and since I didn’t attend weekly, I was then treated with disdain. Being weary of the whole mess, and not finding any positive fruits from the whole process except a few kind people, I left. We stopped attending anywhere for 4 years and then with the children wanting to attend again we decided the United Church of God-AIA would be the least damaging. Of all the splinters, as time went on throughout the last five years, I feel that UCG is lacking in love and not moving forward. I attend once every couple of months, but I have developed a spiritual life without them for the most part.
People zone out in United Church of God with no connection; it is a cheap imitation of the WCG when it has the opportunity to be open to change for the better. (I read that UCG’s membership is down. I believe it.) So I honestly try my best to go forward and heal. I know that our family was affected by a child survivor of WCG. He always talked about the harshness of Imperial School (he was put back two years by uncertified teachers) and the prevalence of drugs, drinking, and other immorality, available to the teens in the `70s. All that hypocrisy and dysfunction–and then legalism Sabbath mornings. It caused a lot of people to have split personalities2 like my ex who felt that he deserved to drink and yell and do whatever he wished to, because he was the head of the household and also because he had been mind-controlled about how men can treat women as sex objects for their fulfillment, not giving, just taking and demanding respect every step of the way. No wonder so many marriages split; it was clean and shiny at services and abusive at home.
I pray that all this does not make me a bitter woman. I feel spiritually renewed and emotionally recharged to be on my own with my beloved children and returning to college and building a life without the “church” making my choices for me. What utter freedom to not have a man between me and God.
What is so very sad and ignorant to me is that so many people in these splinters have such hate and suspicion for other Christians in the world and in the other splinter groups. What total ignorance and lack of godly love is that? WCG had such a tremendous amount of abusive behavior and I don’t think Joe Tkach, Jr. is any better. I wish any and all that read this story the very best. I am just one person with another story to tell and I know that there are worse stories and more painful actions done to many people. We can survive and be stronger through it all. I would not want to be some of these self appointed apostles and ministers, who have destroyed so many lives, when they meet our Lord.
By Charlotte (With a healing heart and soul. No thanks to UCG.)
Footnotes by ESN:
1 Roderick C. Meredith founded Global Church of God in 1992. In 1998 he left Global and formed Living Church of God.
2 For more on the truth of this, read: Wearing Masks (story by WCG child survivor)