(After Becoming a Member of Living Church of God)
I wanted to express to you how much your ESN website has helped me since I made the choice to leave Living Church of God in May-June of this year.
I didn’t grow up in the “church.” I thought that I was called into it about 2 1/2 years ago. I was baptized and faithfully did all that I was told to do.
Somehow in this last year, I started to hear words, or sentences, or saw behaviors from the members that started to concern me. I would bring these to a good friend (who has been in the group for over 30 years), and of course she would steer me back to the ever staying power of Herbert Armstrong and the church’s party line.
I guess that things really started to change for me when I started to see that I wasn’t really accepted by those of the members who had either grown up in the WCG or who were believers under the reign of HWA, who were called during his time.
I had questioned my minister about this very early on after my baptism. I was told, “Well, you were called, and the reason why you were called was that someone else at the table of Christ, decided to leave, and you were called into that person’s place. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Well, at that time, so newly in the LCG, I bought into it. I was told that I was to keep praying, paying, and make myself as friendly as I could to be accepted; that it was my job to show the members that I was truly converted.
Well, even in my newly state of the Holy Spirited way, I could see that this couldn’t be right. Isn’t it the members’ job to bring me into the fold, and make me feel comfortable; to help me, teach me, etc.? It’s all there in the Word, and it’s being preached in every sermon.
To make a long story short, it was around Passover of this year that I really started to see things differently (oh yeah, they would say, “Satan” was doing this). But it wasn’t until I heard a deacon make a statement that I really felt I was in the wrong place. You know how there is a 2nd Passover, right? Well, a long time member (I believe brought up in the WCG) hadn’t made first Passover, and everyone knew who it was because this congregation is very small in numbers and it had been announced already several times. At the end of Passover, we were watching one of those great films from headquarters, and once again it was asked, “Who hasn’t taken first Passover?” Then again this person’s name was said (she wasn’t there) and this deacon stands up and says, “… is an adult, and she knows what her responsibilities are, therefore it isn’t our responsibility to call her to take 2nd Passover.”
Well, I was stunned. It seemed that the “love one another” commandment was being thrown out right there and then–by a deacon! My belief started to shatter. Sabbath by Sabbath, after that I could hear and see things that just weren’t quite right in line with Scripture. I had already learned not to bring this to anyone because I would get the same party line. I knew I didn’t even want to go to the minister (even though I really felt good about him) because I would become ashamed, or told about that darn seat at the table–again.
I had to come to terms that I wasn’t going to ever be accepted by this “church” (even though they loved my tithing) no matter what, and I truly believe it’s because I wasn’t called under The Man–HWA.
After a few scathing arguments with my friend and several heated emails, I told her that I was making the decision to leave LCG. I asked her not to say anything to anyone, that it was my responsibility to do that.
Well, she didn’t keep it quiet. And no less, she went to the minister’s wife (who by the way, wasn’t a shining example of a good Christian or minister’s wife either).
I had all intentions of contacting our local minister. I wrote an email which is still in my drafts folder, but it seemed that my friend did the job for me. To this day I have not had any call or email from that minister about what’s going on with me, why haven’t I been to Sabbath services–or even, are you alive???
I am still waiting on the disfellowship letter to show up, but for some reason it hasn’t. Just the fact alone that I have never been contacted by the minister or deacons really seals the deal for me.
So I made the split. But, boy, was I feeling wrong. I knew what would happen to me. I would lose my salvation and that Lake of Fire was ever before me–until I came across your website and others linked to it. I began to see what the truth really was with LCG and HWA. I still feel scared at times, but it’s getting better.
You know, one of the first things that my friend said to me (well x-friend) when she and I started to talk about HWA and the “church” and I started to research etc., she said, “Make sure that you don’t go out on the web and look up Herbert Armstrong too much. Stay to the Church of God websites, because there is a lot of bad stuff out there on him.” If only I had first gone out and researched those websites and didn’t go to the “churches” websites, I would have not of “thought” I was called and gone into it all.
It’s been about 6 months since I left and I have slowly started to allow myself to feel again. Yet, I still get scared, and I still pray for the forgiveness of committing that sin of leaving “the church” and what my fate is. Is God really that vengeful? Did Christ not die for the sins of the world? Why is this sin any different? Wasn’t I led astray; given false doctrine? And why does every single sermon, CD, broadcast have to have at least one statement about HWA? He wasn’t Christ. The Word says we are to follow Christ–not HWA. And of course, every time you go to the FOT and get together with all of these “old-timers” the conversation always is about what happened after HWA died and the Joseph Tkach takeover, etc. It’s like they are just stuck in this time warp!
As an outsider, I now see that I could never be part of it, because I didn’t have that history, but they will still try to convert you, baptize you, and take your money! All in the name of preaching the Gospel and the Kingdom to come!!!
In my ignorance I can even see that LCG and the rest are not Philadelphian at all. If anything they are Laodicean,1 and if they were truly following the Father and the Son, they would see that it is they that have the problem, not the outsiders!
Again, thank you for all of your help. Slowly but surely I am healing. I know that this will take time to undo the thought reform and betrayal that I have gone through.
Note: Roderick Meredith died May 18, 2017 at the age of 86.
Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Thought Reform (Includes how it has been used by leaders of any high demand, authoritarian group)
A few letters out of many on our site:
Footnote by ESN:
1 The behavior and mind control methods of LCG identify them not as a Christian church but as an exploitive, abusive group or Bible-based cult.