I started attending the Worldwide Church of God in the early `70s with my father and my brothers. My mother objected to it quite strongly. I was 14 years old at the time. I am now 44 years old and still feel the hurt from the experience. I think my mother and my sisters came with us only a couple of times. I was the only child of our family to continue attending with my father. My sisters never really got involved and my brothers eventually were allowed to stop attending.
I remember when my father became a member of the WCG. I remember that we were a family before that time and my father and mother were happy together. It all changed after that. I didn’t go to services with my father because I too believed in the WCG, I just wanted to be with him. I loved my father and wanted so much to be like him. He was a good man. He really cared about us. He was also very misled. I attended with him until the late `70s. That was when he called me and said he was leaving “the church.” He had told me before that if he ever left, “don’t follow me.” I was crushed. Then came the second blow. The WCG disfellowshipped my father. This was the nicest man I have ever known. He was always kind to others, helping, giving. He was a local elder. I was very upset. The pastor of our congregation made an exception for me to be able to see my father. I finally quit “the church” in 1981.
Since my father quit, I started to seriously question the teachings of HWA. It was after a Spokesman Club meeting that I woke up and saw the lies. My wife kept attending with her mother for another 6 years before she quit. It was years before I could open a Bible to read it. I would have panic attacks just from being in a church building of any kind. It made it tough to go to weddings. There are many things left out. I went to S.E.P. in Orr, Minnesota. I went to Ambassador College in Big Sandy, Texas.
I am by nature a passive and sensitive person. I was a trusting person. Sometimes when I talk about my life in “the church” it still brings me to tears. I took all of it to heart because I loved and trusted my father. There were many times that I wanted to die. I just wasn’t brave enough to kill myself. I would think that I was doomed, but that perhaps by living I could help someone. It really hurt when the WCG would give my wife money so she could attend the feast of tabernacles. I remember the first year she went without me. She drove off with her girlfriend and my two infants. It was like having my heart ripped out. I still recall how lonely and depressed I felt. I don’t know how I stayed alive then. I just wanted the pain to go away. It still hurts. It hurts when I go to my children’s school functions. They play sports, they are in the school bands and choirs. They are going to “real” colleges. All these things remind me of what the children of the WCG didn’t have. But the most painful thing that happened was losing my family. We were split. Mom was “evil.” They took my mom and sisters and brothers and father from me. They took my wife and children from me. They would have leapt for joy if I had just disappeared. To them I was already dead. I had tasted of “the truth” and by rejecting it I was lost. Doomed. I had already committed spiritual suicide, so why not finish the job right and kill the body? That’s how “the church” made me feel. When I left, I no longer had any friends, since you couldn’t have friends out of the WCG. I no longer existed. I had died in their eyes. It still hurts…
By Derrick – Child survivor of WCG
Comfort for the brokenhearted. (Some of these poems & free verse were written by an exiter of WCG.)