When I was a child, I got to go to Sunday School at a Baptist church (even though my mother said it was not the Sabbath). My mother had heard about Worldwide Church of God, but there was no church nearby. We kept Christmas, Easter, and birthdays, ate pork–the whole bit. Mom subscribed to the Plain Truth and read it every month.

When I was about 15, my mom found out about a Worldwide Church of God (WWCOG) meeting not too far from home and began attending. My brother, sister, father, and sister went also. Suddenly everything changed, we stopped eating pork, no Christmas, and don’t even think about Easter. I guess I was fortunate in one respect (after reading the horror stories of others), that I never really had it that bad. See, my family picked and chose what they would believe. For instance, no one was to work on the Sabbath, but my father was a coal miner and had to work on Saturdays, so that was okay, and we still got to celebrate our birthdays.

I can remember so clearly the trip to “church,” with dad cursing and hollering (that was how he was) all the way there and then becoming the pious fellow during the service, only to gripe and complain all the way home. Dad liked the WWCOG because it saved him money on buying presents. There was a time when we all believed what Herbert Armstrong said and I remember always being very afraid! Afraid of all the horrible, terrible things that I thought were going to happen–and at anytime. At some point–I believe it was when HWA said you couldn’t wear makeup–I quit attending. I was never a member, but my brother and mother were. I remember when WWCOG split, my mom agonizing over how to get out of that “church” (she sent a letter to headquarters in which she basically lied to them to keep from being disfellowshipped), and then she agonized over which offshoot she would join. This was a major life decision for her because if she choose the wrong one (and you know there is only “one true church”), she would be damned for all eternity. She choose the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG). My brother choose another offshoot. My mom was really upset with his choice as now she feels he is doomed. Mom cannot attend services at PCG because there are none of those in our area. But she does listen to the Key of David program with Gerald Flurry and sends her tithes to PCG.

So here I am, dazed and confused. I am finding it so difficult at age 45 to believe in a church again. Being raised one way, then changed to something completely different has really messed me up! I am now attending a Christian church in my community. Yes, it meets on Sunday. I look at all the people who look so happy and filled with Jesus’ Holy Spirit, and I marvel at them. I really think I envy how at peace they seem, because this is the one thing I long for the most, peace. I am a born again Christian, have been baptized and all, but I still have this sense of dread and fear left over from my WWCOG days. I really believe most of what they taught is baloney, but there is always this little voice in the back of my head saying, ” What if it is right?” “What if what they are saying is the truth?” You look at the world situation right now and it seems like a lot of what they preached is true (although I never heard anything about Iran and Iraq, it was always Germany, so where did this come from?).

House Finch
House Finch

I am still afraid and I don’t know how to get over it. When I go to church, I expect the preacher to be hollering and yelling and telling us horrible, terrible, things. He doesn’t. It just confuses me. I want to trust in Jesus, I just don’t know how. Anyone who can give me some suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.

By Melanie – Child survivor of WCG



P. S. I have been reading articles on your site and find them very helpful. What is funny in an ironic sort of way is I am a counselor! I do mostly addiction work, but I can see how counseling can really help. I am finding the best “counseling” I can get is to read the Word of God, and attend church services. I am hoping (and praying) that one day I will have the peace that others seem to have. It just seems too simple, to believe in Jesus, and to trust in Him. We never heard anything like that in WCG! I will keep on reading and keep up the good work!

Note by ESN: All mind-manipulating groups focus on the problems in the world, playing on people’s fears, in order to recruit others into their exclusive organization. Trusting in Jesus should not entail having fears about our future. He will never forsake us. The group leaders lied about practically everything they taught and we must replace the lies in our mind with the truth of the Word of God. We try to do that on our site. Peace will come. It just takes time because the mind has to heal from the trauma experienced. We also recommend praying and asking God to take away the spirit of fear and replace it with His joy and peace.

(Also go to: Healing From Emotional & Spiritual Abuse.)

Recommended Article: What Were the Lies and What Is the Truth?


Back to Testimonies From Child Survivors