I was member of WCG for 19 years, along with my husband and kids. When we left we didn’t all leave at once. I left first, then my teenage daughter and preteen son, then my husband, then my teenage son. (This was 1995 or 1996.) We held coordinator positions in the local congregation, so elders and pastors were all in our faces.
There was pressure on my family to stay in the “church” and for my husband to leave me, which upset the kids. I was pretty sure after talking with friends in the WCG who were ministers, that maybe it would be better if I just committed suicide–the stress was just too great. I had lost my friends, my kids were upset, they lost their friends, my husband was crushed, and I was shunned. And I told God, who had been revealing Himself to me during personal Bible study, that I was going to lean into Him because He was all I had. I was hanging by a thread!
It’s been a gut wrenching transition over the years.
My older and younger sons don’t want anything to do with God. Our daughter and her family are devoted Christians. My husband and I belong to a mainstream church where if you have questions, they’ll help you find answers. The ministers are not ego-driven or out for power. We have a personal, trusting relationship with our Lord and Savior, and want to serve Him and be with Him forever.
It blows me away that there are still the old ministers who are plugging away deceiving people with the old themes from the WCG. Still the same old guys who desire power, admiration of the congregation, and what they think is stable employment! The thing that is ironic, is that the ministers who were so abusive when I left, have now left themselves and don’t believe in God anymore. So sad, really.
You cannot trust man to dictate your relationship with God and tell you all the “perfect” ways you need to worship Him so He will approve of you. You need to always be on the lookout for false “prophets,” who desire “their Way” and their “plain truth.”
It’s taken us 24 years to get to this point. We have had a lot of counseling, both with pastors from outside churches and private counseling. It’s been hard work and a lot of faith and trust in God.
Thank you for doing what you do. It is so desperately needed so people leaving don’t feel alone and discouraged. It still rattles me a little to remember how hard that time was.
By Candy Payne [real name used with permission]
Former member of WCG, Vancouver, WA congregation