Best of the Letters From 2018
Feel Like I Lived Through Something Very Ugly:
January 1, 2018
I was involved in the Worldwide Church of God as a child in the 1980s and 1990s. I am now 40 years old. My father initiated us into the WCG and I suffered extreme abuse and isolation because of it. I was amazed to find your website because I rarely speak of my experiences to anyone. Two days ago I spontaneously started speaking of my experiences to my boyfriend of 6 years. I had never spoken to him of my time with this cult. I decided to research this “church” and discovered your website. I was completely shocked to learn of its history and the impact it has had upon the members involved. I had thought I was a once in a lifetime type and I really repressed so many memories, that I am now reliving all this horror once again and am overwhelmed by emotion and don’t know who to talk to. My boyfriend says he thinks it is crazy and understands, but there is only so much I can say before he tires of listening. I feel like I lived through something very ugly and I am only now realizing how bad it really was. I have many more stories; it is sad.
I hope you can get back to me, please. –K. F., Child Survivor of WCG
January 18, 2018
I was baptized into the Worldwide Church of God back in 1983. I left in 1998 due to all the changes and just had enough. Do I have to be baptized again since I found out about all the deception and lies. I have not been to any church since I left. –D.
Reply (updated): We were actually baptized into Armstrongism. But if you have received Christ as your personal Savior, you have already received the Holy Spirit and do not have to be water baptized. Realize we are not saved by baptism. This is adding to the gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Baptism is not part of the gospel. We are not saved by anything we do. It has to do with what Christ did for us.
February 9, 2018
I just read the new testimony, Restored Church of God Destroyed My Marriage. David Pack has found his money-grabbing scheme. People need to know the truth about him and this deceitful “common” doctrine of his. David Pack and Gerald Flurry are running neck-in-neck on the list of most dangerous leaders. They’re both on power trips and ego trips, and they’re both just evil people. –[name withheld]
Comment: Read 9-27-17 letter: Dave Pack Says Members Either Pay Common or They Have No Salvation. Also see 2-9-18 PCG letter: These Groups Will Destroy Your Marriage.
More Info on David Pack and RCG:
February 12, 2018
I know that most of the RCG ministry works without pay, just being compensated for expenses. So, it is not a mystery who gets the money [Pack]. They teach that the End is near, so why bother saving? I also know they believe that they are not looking for Jesus to return, rather they believe that Elijah is coming to “rule the world” for a time.
Also, a top minister in RCG works full time to “correct” Pack’s false prophecies on their computers. That way, no one without a hard copy will know how wrong he is! –[name withheld]
Comment: Also read: David Pack Rewrites His Special Announcements After Prophecy Fails.
Need More Info on Enduring Church of God:
February 14, 2018
I can find little info on the Enduring COG in Texas with Charles Bryce. Can you tell me anything about this group and their doctrines, etc.? My friends are seriously considering this group and I have my concerns. Thank you. –[name withheld]
Comment: Info on Enduring Church of God can be found in the February 2, 2011 letter entitled: “Enduring Church of God a Dangerous Group” and our update at end.
Tkach Jr. Retiring as President of GCI:
February 15, 2018
Joe Tkach Jr. is planning on retiring as president of GCI on January 1, 2019. Their home office will move from Glendora, CA, to Charlotte, NC. Vice President Greg Williams will be the new president but Tkach said he will “continue serving as chairman of GCI’s Board of Directors.” –Anonymous
Update: Tkach Jr. now says he is retiring the end of December 2018 (GCI Update, March 14, 2018) Comment: Greg Williams has been around since the 70’s so he’s part of the old guard. Greg Williams is presently in the process of revising GCI’s history.
Thank You For What You’re Doing:
February 22, 2018
Hello, I’ve just discovered your site. Strangely, I’m crying as I write this. I’m thankful for what you’re doing.
I was a few months old when my divorced mother joined WCG in NYC. I remember recognizing Herbert Armstrong more than President Regan. I remember getting to visit Headquarters in Pasadena and feeling lucky and excited by the privilege. I even considered going to Ambassador College at one time. Granted, I was only 8.
My mother was one of the people who was against and spoke about David Pack in the 80s. All I remember is playing with his sons when I was small. They were much older than I was. A point came where they didn’t play with us anymore. Then they weren’t part of the WCG anymore and there was buzz that I didn’t understand. I remember his face perfectly, as I do his son and his wife Shirley.
When I was 10, we moved to Atlanta where my mother was glad to be a part of Earl Williams’ congregation whom we knew from Brooklyn. We were there when everything fell apart. One day my mother told me that we weren’t going to the Feast that year. I was shocked and scared. For my sake, we went that year, with the understanding that it would be our last. It was miserable. Gossip and rumors were everywhere. I remember hearing that the ministers could eat lobster and I felt betrayed.
We left the WCG and followed Earl Williams for awhile. My mother continues her relationship with God while I feel confused. I’ve avoided most of the facts because I didn’t want to know. I loved these people. They were my family during my formative years. I am starting to realize (at 35) what this place was. I’m trying to balance the truth (prejudice at the talent show I performed in as a child) with what these people like Earl Williams meant to me.
All of this to say: Thank you. –A. B.
Narcissism in Herbert Armstrong Leaders:
February 25, 2018
Recently I’ve been watching Ross Rosenberg on YouTube about Narcissism.
I think this describes a lot of COG (“Church of God”) leaders. It explains why they used harsh disfellowshipping. Never gave an account of how money was spent. They claimed to be like famous Biblical people. They never allowed you to really get to know them. Never admitted wrong; always put the blame someone else.
I’m sure you could add much more. — J. D.
Comment: Also see Profile of a Sociopath.
Question About Passover / Lord’s Supper Today:
March 1, 2018
I have learned lots of stuff I didn’t know before (I’m a WWCG and RCG casualty). One issue I’ve not seen in all this is that of the Passover/”Lord’s Supper” explained as it’s observed/kept today? Is it or not and how? Thank you. –“1OldBlackSheep” (ex- WCG/RCG)
Reply: I’m glad you found our site. The Passover/Lord’s Supper is covered in several places on our site. One place is in the article, “What Were the Lies and What Is the Truth?” It says:
“The Passover was never given to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ. It looked forward to His coming. It is the Lord’s Supper (or Communion) that looks back to what He did for us on the cross and forward to His coming again and may be observed more than once a year. (I Corinthians 11:26)”
We also link to the message: The Lord’s Supper which explains the Last Supper in the context of the Passover; also covers I Corinthians 11 in the 2nd message and how many people have twisted it today).
I hope this helps.
April 2, 2018
To my absolute delight, I have just found your article about The Biblical Church of GOD. Thank you so very much for that. I am not quite sure why I decided to check on Fred R. Coulter but I am very glad I did. I would like to think I was being guided to find out a little more first before blindly accepting what I was reading. …
Many of my family members do not speak English and several of them have been sucked into Charismatic movements and also the Mormon Church [today known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] both of which, in my humble opinion, reek of the occult.
I suffered spiritual abuse at the hands of Seventh Day Adventism for nearly four years and by the Grace of God on high, I was led out of there.
I am in the process of writing my own book trying to warn people about deception, lies, false doctrine, false worship and the dangers of being sucked into the occult so they can at least try to avoid those snares.
Many thanks again for the articles and for exposing yet another charlatan. –South Africa
Trying to Break Free of WCG Splinters:
April 2, 2018
I need some references for help breaking free of the WCG splinters. I was raised being taught their doctrines by my mother. She was not a baptized member but she sent tithes to Pasadena for half of her life.
I got away from it for years but got involved again in 2002 or so with Living Church of God. I studied LCG, Restored Church of God and Church of God, the Eternal booklets, magazines, sermons and articles for years and was eventually baptized by Church Of God, the Eternal.
After a short time, I started studying with LCG again because I wasn’t really learning much with Church of God, the Eternal. The ministers and the other members seemed to not want to stay in contact much and there are no church services in my area. Most of the members seemed “clickish.” I ended up not being with LCG either because the minister for my area refused to have further contact with me because I was supposedly indecisive so I was not allowed to come to their services.
So I was back to studying with RCG again. David Pack is a very talented writer and speaker. I get drawn to his videos on The World to Come. I am also involved again with Church of God, the Eternal. Jon W. Brisby (the lead minister of COGE) says his group is the “only one with God’s Holy Spirit.” David Pack says RCG is “God’s true church.” I seem to be stuck going back and forth between these two. I have sent tithes or donations to both. My brother died believing Herbert Armstrong was “God’s true prophet.” At the time of his passing he was involved somewhat with LCG.
I feel stuck in a cycle. I get out of these splinters for awhile, weeks, sometimes even years, but then I’m back involved again. I feel like I’m stuck in mind control cults at times but then I’ll think like my brother did, that Armstrong was “God’s true prophet” (even though I learned that he plagiarized work from a man named G. G. Rupert) and I jump right back in again, full throttle. I am in my fifties now and feel I might be a victim of mind control. What questions can I ask or how do I know if I’m a cult victim?
Thanks for your work. –[name withheld]
Comment: This person has received a personal reply. See Recovery After Exiting a Spiritually Abusive Group and Herbert W. Armstrong (articles). Also read child survivor testimony: Damaged Emotionally by WCG, LCG, RCG, PCG, UCG and CGE; 10-19-16 letter: All WCG Splinters the Same and 4-18-18 letter below: “Finally Out of the Dark / Jon W. Brisby.”
(2nd email from person above)
April 5, 2018
Thank you for responding. Since I heard from you, I’ve read many of the letters on your network. I also downloaded Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web. I have just been shaking my head. The path of destruction that Armstrong left behind him and now the ministers who continue his teachings are doing the same thing. Finally, after well over half a life time, I feel I am finally free from these false ministers. It is almost unbelievable how wretched and hypocritical and pure evil HWA was. To think my brother died believing in that man’s apostleship. Terrible. Quite likely, my Dad and Mom also died believing in him to some extent and my sister died listening to Garner Ted after he started his own following. The more people learn, the more chance they have of escaping from these tyrants. I’m not saying the Scriptures are wrong. No. I am saying I will study and pray without the influence of these or any other false prophets. I have no problem now saying what I think of this false religious cult. Wow! Herbert W Armstrong–along came a spider, and he really did weave a huge, tangled web in the path he left behind him.
Thanks so much for your work. [name withheld]
April 18, 2018
I wanted to write and thank you for helping people who have left or will leave the “Armstrong cult groups.” I was born into the WWCG. It helped to destroy my whole family–my parents, my siblings, and up until this year, even me. We all made some mistakes and bad choices on our own but Herbert Armstrong and his ministers, splinters, and even some members, helped destroy my family emotionally, just with the judgmental attitudes, being made to feel we were in “hot water” with God, telling us that outsiders were of the world, etc. My most recent minister Jon W. Brisby (Church of God, the Eternal) has even told me that my lack of financial comfort is the result of my “not living in a pleasing enough way for God.” I was also told that my family is the “church” now and no longer my kids, since they are not members. Luckily, my kids grew up against the Armstrong teachings and have their own beliefs. As for me, I am finally what I consider to be “out of the dark” of these Armstrong worshippers. I emailed my minister two weeks ago and explained my decision to leave. He has yet to respond.
Church of God, The Eternal (COGE) is a small group. The lead minister is Jon W. Brisby (age 55). He has some wild ideas. A married couple came to the group from LCG a few years ago. They had been married for about 18 years. Brisby soon found out that the man had been married briefly to someone else when he was a really young man. They divorced and his ex married someone else. Anyway, this married couple of 18 plus years were instructed to split up and live separately but not get divorced. Jon Brisby told him that if his ex wife happens to die then and only then can he and his current wife live as a couple again. The couple have remodeled their home and made it into a duplex. They each live in one of the side by side units. They are allowed to go back and forth to each other’s apartment for meal times but not allowed to sleep, shower or linger at each other’s place. At the Feast of Tabernacles and Pentecost they were not permitted to sit together for services. This couple is in their 50’s also.
There is another man, a single man around age 60. This man was also married but years ago his wife left him and married a Seventh Day Adventist. Brisby told him he must never remarry. This man said God would not allow him to marry unless his ex died. Brisby stays in total control of the dating and marriage relationships in the group. He comes off as very intensely and genuinely kind, but if he feels you cross him, then he gets an attitude and can be very arrogant.
–(Child survivor of WCG; Former member of COGE)
Jon Brisby of COGE Uses Mind Control Tactics:
(2nd email from person above)
April 30, 2018
I wrote to you last time about two weeks ago. I have received a response from Jon Brisby of “Church Of God, The Eternal.” Although I told him I would like to stay in touch every now and then (because I thought he and his family were kind people), he told me that his time is reserved only for those who believe in the teachings of COGE. He said that someday if and only if I return and fully embrace every doctrine and have complete belief in COGE and Herbert Armstrong’s teachings, then he would befriend me again but until or unless that happens, then no, absolutely not! This is a tactic of mind control groups. Oh well, it is what it is. I will never go back. –Child survivor of WCG; Former member of COGE)
Astonished to Know What Happened in WCG:
June 14, 2018
Hi there, I had been reading some literature on your website in your library and found you also have some translations in Spanish available. [See Booklist] I would ask if you can send them for me please?
I was astonished to know what really happened for a while during the last years of WCG and what was hidden from members.
Thanks a lot in advance. –J. T.
The WCG Offshoots All Talk About Herbert Armstrong:
July 16, 2018
I was watching a telecast of a sermon from the Living Church of God that came out of Charlotte NC. It was about prophecy. Then I went to my laptop, searched Herbert W. Armstrong, and then searched his prediction of Jesus second coming, and that’s how I found your website. I saw listed some of the Worldwide Church of God’s offshoots.
There is another offshoot with headquarters located in Cincinnati, OH and it is called the United Church Of God. The one thing that these groups do is talk about Herbert Armstrong. Now there is this strange thing that I read somewhere and that is one of these offshoots is attacking another. I think it the Restored Church of God saying something against the Living Church of God.
In ending this email, can you answer me this, what caused these offshoots to come about and leave the Worldwide Church Of God? –J. R.
Reply: I’m glad you found our website. Restored Church of God has said a lot of things about these offshoots. David Pack of RCG believes his group is the true church of God, the “restored” one. At one time he even said that the offshoots, or “God’s people” (as he referred to them), would eventually all come together and come into the RCG. (Read: David Pack Rewrites His Special Announcements After Prophecy Fails) These people left the WCG and formed offshoots because they held to Herbert Armstrong doctrines as “the truth” once delivered and when the WCG starting changing doctrines especially in 1994-1995, they saw the WCG as the “Laodicean” church. Although the WCG was deceitful in how they went about these changes, it just gave the people who left reason to believe the new leaders were influenced by Satan and were going back into the world. Many of the offshoots believe they are “the one true church of God.”
More about the changes can be found by going to Worldwide Church of God Expose`.
Have Nightmares to This Day:
September 14, 2018
Good day. The other day a friend from middle school had asked me about the church I grew up in. I hated that church, they were horrible. Anyway, I started looking up information about Herbert W. Armstrong and Worldwide Church of God.
Even though I had stopped going when I turned 16yrs old I remember all the ridicules stuff we had to do. I remember them telling us every one in the world was going to die and if we were not the way we were supposed to be, we would die to. The only way to be saved was to go to the Place of Safety.
I just saw this [ESN site] and wanted to comment that I am 45yrs old now and I have nightmares to this day of things they drilled into our heads. –B. F., Child Survivor of WCG
Third Generation WCG Escapee:
October 27, 2018
The Catholic Church is not the only organization with child abuse scandals. Just ask my brother.
We didn’t worship God, we worshipped the founder of the “church.” It is still going on today in the splinter groups. HWA died in January 1986, but he is still talked about in sermons like he is alive. Some ministers thought he was not going to die. Christ, the son of God, died for the sins of the world. HWA was just a man. I sat through four-hour long sermons by Gerald Waterhouse as he proclaimed HWA as something more than a man. Isn’t that idolatry? The biggest lies.
My mom had epilepsy, but because of the rules around healing, she did not get the medicine she needed for years. Some members of the WCG said she was “demon possessed.” She was sick and needed medicine. People died because of those rules.
The only person who really understands what my family went through is my brother and husband. This is the first time I have reached out in this way.
I want to forgive. –N. T.
October 30, 2018
To N.T [see previous letter] who struggles with wanting to forgive and move on. I know exactly where you are coming from. I finally learned that to hang on to the bitter, angry feelings was like me taking poison but expecting others to die. –B. B.
My Life Has Been a Huge Mess:
November 16, 2018
I was born into WCG and my parents were there until the split. We were then in [several other offshoots].
To cut a long story very short, I was abused by a church member’s son from when I was [young]. When I was 20 I told my parents. The ministers at the time were told and their exact words were “boys will be boys.” The police did more than they ever did. My parents had no choice but to leave (I hadn’t been regularly attending for several years), although they were told they could come back and “forget about it.”
My parents now belong to some other offshoot. They are big on HWA’s teachings. They are incredibly brainwashed and I am unable to discuss any kind of religious beliefs with them.
My life has been a huge mess. I have PTSD and I realize that my childhood is a massive contributor to that. Finding this website has actually brought me to tears. I am so grateful that it exists. –Child survivor of WCG [name withheld]
My Awakening Occurred by Reading the Bible Instead of HWA Literature:
December 3, 2018
I was born into this WCG religion, and was brainwashed from the very beginning. I have been out (UCG) for [many] years. My awakening occurred by actually reading the Bible instead of the HWA literature. It was a slow process. And one day, it just happened. I knew that I was relying on my own efforts, and to make a long story short I became born again. I’m still trying to find healing, as I have no one to talk to about my experiences. –Child survivor of WCG; formerly in UCG
Want to Get Past the Confusion:
December 3, 2018
I took comfort from your article about United Church of God (UCG) and it is my hope that I can be guided by your group to fully understand and get past the confusion I am still holding on to, so that I may let go and be relieved of the torment of it all. I first came into the WCG back in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s, after my mother and sister began attending WCG. Although I found the people to be very kind in word and action, I was unsure of what I was getting into, since I had never heard such teaching before. I really want to free myself from UCG and get my life put back together. –[name withheld]