I have been dealing with issues that I believe stem from my time in the Worldwide Church of God. I was a child when my family began attending and left a mess. I had severe stress as a child because “end times are here” and “you won’t ride the coattails of your parents to the place of safety.” Dying a horrible death in the Great Tribulation was horrific for a kid to imagine. I never spent the night or wanted to do anything for fear that my family would leave me behind.
I slept so poorly because “He will return in the dark of the night.” I had a severe bed wetting condition that I carried until my High School days. I was beaten daily by my mom for it because I was “weak” and “lazy.” I was also overweight and chastised daily by my mother. My dad was a good man and followed WWCG doctrine but allowed some things such as birthday celebrations and occasional Friday night school functions.
My mom would say my afflictions were from me not being “godly.” The best day of my life was when at 16 she demanded I see a doctor for my bed wetting. I went and she went as she never allowed me any privacy. Our family doctor looked straight at my mother and said, “This is something he cannot help. A lot of people think it’s laziness and punish their children for it. I assure you that it is not that at all.” The look on my mom’s face was priceless. With a prescription in hand, my bed wetting days were over! A little pill beat out the “anointing” that had been performed on me.
The stress I was constantly bombarded with, like so many others, was relentless. Death, death and more death, with a heaping dose of lake of fire heaped on. I dared not do anything wrong. In 1986, my junior year in High School, we got word from HQ that the great HWA was starting his slip toward “hell” and it was requested that all faithful members fast for his recovery. Well, me being me, and just tired of the B.S., I did not fast and my mom caught me not fasting. I think I was eating toast and peanut butter with a big glass of milk…yum!! She lost her mind and gave me a smack down! Then to top that all off HWA dies like 3 days later!! It didn’t take long for me to hear the “look at what you did” speech. Are you kidding me? I didn’t know eating a delicious peanut butter toast sandwich with a glass of milk could kill people. What power I have.
I left home at 17 because of the constant verbal abuse from my “godly” mom. I continued attending services like a good boy plus I was living with my brother and he still went so I guess I had no choice then. I finally moved on after graduation and started to attend an offshoot. As a single 18 year old guy, it all started to come into focus for me. I was hounded by the flock to be baptized into the ”cult.” There was one member, “Righteous Rick” as I refer to him, who made it a point to find me every Saturday and preach to me. I wanted to see the “world” and so I had a group of my High School buds come over to hang out. Well one thing led to another and we were off to the only Gentleman’s club that accommodated guys under 21. Low and behold who’s this sitting in a corner, by himself but “Righteous Rick” himself!! This guy had a wife and 4 kids. (Later I learned he regularly beat his wife and it was covered up by the “church.”)
[What I observed in WWCG] was a blow to what I thought of what and who we were as the “true” church of god especially those baptized. I soon found myself skipping a week here or there, then every other. I guess the end really came when between services of a holy day, no one asked me to lunch, even my own parents. I remember standing by the doors as the building emptied, almost in tears. I left, went home, made myself lunch and did not return for afternoon services. It was a very short time later I made the cut permanent. That first Saturday after I had made the conscious decision to quit, I was in a ball, on my bed, wracked with guilt. I carried this for a long time after.
I went on to marry (22 years and still counting), have 2 great kids, a happy home, but yet it still effects me to this day. I have been doing a ton of research and see all these “new” churches [offshoots] with familiar names and I find myself screaming why?? Why would anyone continue the legacy of a pedophile and disgusting incestuous man like HWA? What power do these egomaniacs need to have over people? Why do they spiel the same “end of times” B.S.?1
I will do everything I can to make sure no one falls for this crap! It wrecks families, harms children and gives people very false hopes and ideas. They are spewed from con men in my opinion. These are men who saw the lucrative side of spewing this garbage. They had a level of comfort being ministers in the WWCG. They had nice things, drove nice cars, lived in nice homes. They never had to eat sandwiches in a car between services, stay in less then crap hotels at the Feast. As much as I disliked my mother, I am mad at what they did to Mom and Dad with mind control and demanded obedience.
I still believe in God. I am not agnostic nor atheist, I guess I should be. I understand fully why so many exiters are.
If you’re reading this to gather information on joining anything or anyone that believes Herbert Armstrong and his teachings were good–run very fast and very far!!!
I really appreciate what you are doing as do many others. Please keep up the good work.
By Bruce – Child survivor of WCG
Footnote by ESN:
1 They do it because they know they can make money selling religion, just as HWA did. See Mind Control & Exploitation (many articles)