Unlike what often happens in other cults, I did not feel that I gained an “instant family” upon joining WWCG (Worldwide Church of God). Although a few of the members were genuinely nice, others seemed friendly only in a superficial way, much like the way that a salesperson is friendly. One aspiring deacon used to shake my hand every week and start to talk to me, only to shout “Excuse me!” and run off, leaving me in mid-sentence. While talking to me, he also was watching the minister for an opportune moment for some “face time.” (It paid off–they eventually elevated him to deacon status.)
I initially experienced some persecution because of WWCG beliefs and practices, which I mentioned to another member. (After all, he was “family.”) He burst out laughing. Apparently it was funniest thing he had heard all week. No show of empathy or concern at all. Later, I mentioned it to the minister. His reaction? Complete indifference.
I took to heart the advice to “blow the dust off my Bible”, to the extent that I read it in detail eleven times, recording in my notebooks every verse that jumped out at me. From this, I could clearly see that there was no scriptural basis for many of the doctrines being taught. Although “God gave us minds to think with,” the local ministry wasn’t as appreciative. The local elder would act patronizingly and even amused whenever I tried to discuss any insights from my studies. Eventually, I realized why: I wasn’t supposed to have any insights. I wasn’t a deacon, elder, or minister.
I thank God for the changes, which gave me the opportunity to leave. I could now go to a “true church” that was less authoritarian.
Thank you very much for your ministry. It helped me to understand a lot of things.