I was baptized into the Worldwide Church of God1 in 1968. I raised a son who graduated from Ambassador in 1996. Fortunately, I was not among the upper crust in the WCG. I did not make a lot of money so I was not a “righteous” man. I had questions and doubts before the doctrinal changes came but I wanted to keep my family together. As a parent, I saw how children were raised. I saw children beaten down emotionally. We did not raise our son that way. That is one of the reason I never moved up in “the church.” I started coming to WCG services when I was twenty years old and was properly programmed by the ministry. When a minister spoke, the words were coming “from God himself.” This is one of the reasons that parents behaved the way they did. For those of you who now have children you know what a challenge it can be. Enter: The Plain Truth About Child Rearing.2 This was how “God wanted” children to be. For parents who loved their children they felt this was a gift from Heaven. The problem was it did not work. Our son did not respond, so we quit using it. This was the greatest thing that could have happened to him and us. If a person has any ambition at all in WCG it is necessary to “talk the talk and walk the walk.”
When the WCG split we were left with a minister who was sympathetic with the old teachings but, was a good friend of the Tkach family. While he droned on in his sermons, I was studying. He was finally fired and a new minister was sent to our area. Tom Pickett still had the old WCG arrogance. He decided the remainder of the congregation should be fed “spiritual milk.” This was fine for some people, but not me. Services were still being held on Saturday afternoon. People were still thanking God for the holy Sabbath day. I am 56 years old and was among the younger people there. I do not want to judge other people but I wonder about the understanding of the minister. I felt his sermons were vague and often pointless. His main thrust was to invite people to services which were so bland that when visitors came, they only came once. All of this time I had been reading and learning things on my own. One day services were so bad that I told my wife that I “just can’t take it any more.” Others who left tried to talk to this minister who replied that they were “rejecting what the Holy Spirit had inspired him to say.” It is the same old story. When a minister opens his mouth it is “God speaking.”
When the new changes came, we began to read all the “forbidden” literature by “worldly” ministers in mainstream Christianity. (Imagine the shock waves that sent friends and family to United Church of God-AIA and the other splinter groups.) Imagine our shock when our lives improved. The things that worked in their lives worked in ours. Our son and his family attend a Baptist Church (imagine the disappointment from WCG friends and family). His life has gotten better. All of us were welcomed with open arms into other Bible believing churches.
I am writing these things to let everyone know something I just recently discovered (this is big). God really does love us!* He loves us so much that He led us out of the Worldwide Church of God. There is help and healing for all of us. I tried to live under the Law and became a candidate for suicide. Now I live a much more peaceful life based on a personal relationship with Jesus. When you feel that you can let go of the past, do it. By no means are things perfect, but they are so much better. God has His arms wide open for you.
A recovering WCG parent.
*Note by ESN: It is hard for many survivors to understand God or His love for a long time after leaving because they associate Him with the “god” they were taught in the WCG. Read: Because God Loves Me.
Footnotes by ESN:
1 We were actually baptized into Armstrongism.
2 The WCG for many years told their members to follow The Plain Truth About Child Rearing, a dreadful booklet written by Garner Ted Armstrong. (Update: GTA died of pneumonia at age 73 on 9-15-03.)