Best of the Letters From 2020
January 6, 2020
Pack is predicting that Christ will return this year. He is also sure that when Christ returns it will be on a Sabbath. He has given many predictions over the years, none of which have come true. –OH
Read: Special Prophecy Letter From David C. Pack that he mailed out January 2. Includes his follow-up letter on January 4.
Pack Has Lost Members:
January 30, 2020
As I understand it, Dave Pack lost several members over his failed predictions. –N. M.
February 18, 2020
Joe Horchak, a minister in United Church of God [brother of Doug Horchak a minister in COGWA], was caught faking numbers for more money in his congregation. He was also big into gossip and putting people down (especially member’s wives). He recently was let go, however.
There are about 7,000 members in UCG but those numbers are being reduced drastically due to the fact that the majority of the members are older. A lot of people who have been hurt by UCG leave to go to COGWA. All these splinters are a dying group, though. –[name withheld]
Article Was Comforting:
February 18, 2020
I re-read the article The Law of Moses and the Grace of God. It explains more than we ever learned in any HWA offshoot. It is a real comfort to me. –Anonymous
Almost Got Roped Into Restored Church of God:
March 2, 2020
It must have been God intervening. I was very close to getting roped into the Restored Church of God, when I opened a link to your website! –A.
I am Praying Against False Doctrines:
March 10, 2020
Thank you for publishing your warnings. I recently met a guy involved with Fred Coulter. I am deeply saddened by several I know who have been deceived and am taking it as a sign to study more myself and pray against false doctrines. –D. G.
So Little of What They Teach is About God:
March 11, 2020
I can’t believe anyone in their right mind would even consider going with David Pack, or Gerald Flurry. These two tyrants are the worst that the offshoots of the WCG have to offer! So little of what they teach is about God. It’s mostly about Herbert Armstrong, themselves, and the “work” that they are doing. –Ex member RCG/PCG
March 19, 2020
I once was as much a victim as many are. But once Garner Ted and the masseuse thing came up, that was the first time I actually realized that the Armstrongs were very flawed. That freed me.
HWA kept his membership from reading anything forbidden by him, like the Ambassador Report. As long as the flawed leadership remains in power, we will continue to see people that will justify the system. We cannot correct a flawed system with the same flawed leaders. –Former WCG member
(Note: Read ESN’s disclaimer about the AR.)
You Helped Me Immensely:
April 19, 2020
I just want to tell you thank you so much for doing all the hard work of building and maintaining ESN. You helped me immensely and I’m sure many other people. It truly was a miracle that I found the site when I did.
Ever Grateful. –Missouri
The World of Fairyland: The World Tomorrow:
April 21, 2020
Years ago Exit and Support offered a wonderful sermon by Dr. J. Vernon McGee called “The World of Fairyland: The World Tomorrow” where he critiqued his Pasadena neighbors Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God. Do you still have this available?
Thank you so much. Peace & prayers, — S. I.
Reply: Yes, we have it and I am sending you a copy. The transcript has now been put up on the site again: The World of Fairyland: The World Tomorrow.” It also covers the tragic death of Richard Armstrong.
April 23, 2020
You may be aware of GCI’s views on giving. I was reading through their article, “Money: Three Reasons to Give.” It’s the same old game, especially where it’s mentioned as a command to give. They’ve mixed the old with the new and added their new Evangelical language–page after page of this nonsense.
Read through the giving spiel and let me know your thoughts. –Canada
Comment: Due to its length, our reply has been moved to What in the World is Grace Communion International Doing Now? under “Three Reasons to Give.”
Revised History of WCG:
(2nd email from person above)
April 23, 2020
Exactly my thoughts–and, yes, it’s like the Tkach sermon. They borrowed from it.
We know from Tkach Jr’s Transformed by Truth that GCI revised the true history of WCG. I know you are aware that these blatant lies are for all to see on GCI website, especially their About Us / History page.
When I peruse through their website, I am amazed how huge they appear to be. In the 90s all the lies they spoke about losing money since they let tithing go. Seriously?? –Canada
Comment: Read: Transformed by Truth or Transformed by Lies??
Seeking Information on Victor Kubic:
April 29, 2020
I’ve read some of the horror stories of people abused by the Worldwide Church of God and its offshoots. Very, very sad. I feel for them.
I’m seeking information on Victor Kubic, currently the president of the United Church of God-An International Association.
I wonder if you have any material or references on him, specifically during his time in the Worldwide Church of God when he fired and/or disfellowshipped people who did not accept or agree with Tkach Sr.’s doctrinal changes.
Appreciate any help you can give.
Reply: Victor Kubic is mentioned in our OIU Newsletter #4, Pt. 3, and OIU Newsletter #6, Pt. 6 (his name is misspelled in some places as Kubik). The OIUs can be downloaded by going to the PDF downloads page. Just search for both spellings of his name when the OIUs open up.
He is briefly mentioned in Letter Exposing Outright Lies, Abuses and Sociopathic Behavior.
He is also covered in UCG Crisis Continues To Boil: Income Down, Less Ministers, Less Members [offsite link]
So Thankful for Your Article:
May 3, 2020
I just read the article: “Why Do So Many Exiters Turn to Atheism?” That was the article I always felt in my heart and yet could never put it in words myself. This is what I always wanted to say. I’m so thankful for it. I’m not a writing type person or even a speaker at any level, I have not been gifted in this area. My heart can tell a story, but never express it in words. Thank you, God, for sharing the words of this person with my heart. –MKL
Is Dousing for Water Considered Occult Divination?
May 15, 2020
I have been dousing for water a long time and somebody has just told me that dousing was actually divination and that it was wrong. I use my dousing rods in the same category as using a metal detector. Just like another gadget. I just don’t think I have been doing anything wrong all these years, although my friend thinks I
What are your views on using these gadgets? I look forward to your reply. — R. H.
Reply: Dousing is an occult practice and is mentioned in the book Occult ABC by Kurt E. Koch as the rod and pendulum. (His book is listed on our Booklist under The Occult/New Age Movement.) Koch says that this “gift” in being able to find water with the rod or pendulum is passed on in families.
I would get rid of these rods immediately, denounce your participation in this, and ask Christ to set you free. Please see this section on our site: Prayers for Freedom From Spiritual Strongholds. The rod and pendulum is mentioned in the 3rd prayer: “Confession and Freedom From Specific Cult/Occult Strongholds.”
As far as metal detectors, I don’t think they are the same as these dousing rods.
Thank you for writing. I hope this is helpful.
Can’t Reason With Those Deceived by RCG:
May 17 2020
People who have a loved one that has been deceived by RCG often don’t fully understand what the RCG is. They think they can reason with them like they were a member of a regular Christian church. They can’t. That person is completely controlled by the RCG and will believe whatever they are told regardless of anything anyone else says. They become cold and distant to those who do not applaud their decision to sacrifice everything for this group. It is horrible that men (and women) can be so deceived by a group that looks so good on the outside but which can cause irreparable pain and damage to so many families. –Impacted by RCG
Your Website Has Been Immensely Helpful and Healing:
June 15, 2020
Hello, I’m a child survivor of many splinter groups as my family jumped between them over my life. I cannot tell you how immensely helpful and healing your website has been for me and truly eye opening to the damage that was done that I had been unaware of. … Thank you for all you do. –T. (child survivor)
Sacred Name Movement:
June 16, 2020
Thank you for exposing the Sacred Name Movement. [See Q&A: What is the Sacred Name Movement that some exiters have gotten caught up in?] I have had a run in with these people before and it hasn’t been pleasant. Here are three reasons why it wouldn’t work for me to be in that movement. (This doesn’t cover their errors.)
First of all, they have their own Bible (The Holy Name Bible). I grew up memorizing Bible verses. But can you imagine switching over and trying to memorize Scripture from their HNB? They actually have several Bible revisions which sacredname.com says “have no spiritual redeeming value.”
Secondly, what are their songbooks like? Do they take classic hymns and substitute “Yahweh” and “Yeshua” in place of God and Jesus? Can you even imagine how strange that would sound? I can think of so many hymns and songs over the decades that were a part of the Christian church. Take some of those hymns and substitute their “sacred” names. It wouldn’t even rhyme right.
Lastly, if using the word Jesus is wrong (as they say), then why is the name Jesus so powerful when confronting evil spirits? Missionaries for one, have told many stories about their experiences. Makes no sense what they are spouting.
Thanks for all you do. –Former WCG member
Comment: Using the Hebrew names for God has nothing whatsoever to do with how we receive eternal salvation. Let Us Reason Ministries has a good 4 part series on this movement that we are adding to the Q&A: The Sacred Name Movement. [offsite link]
HWA and Spin Offs Follow Similar Approach as Charles Atlas:
July 31, 2020
I grew up a scrawny, skinny teenager. I was not good at sports and, as a result, was teased a lot because of it. Back in the day of comic books I happened to run across the Charles Atlas body building course. The ad featured a skinny guy named Joe [or Mac] on the beach with his girlfriend. Suddenly a big bruiser lumbers by kicking sand in Joe’s face. Then Joe protests only to be jerked up by the arm and further belittled by the bully, who then walks away with the girl.
This scenario fit my life to a tee. Charles Atlas had the answers I was seeking. A way to build muscles and get even. I sent in my money and in a few days received the “Dynamic Tension” body build course. Imagine my disappointment to discover that it was nothing more than a series of calisthenics and some isometric exercises that I felt I had been doing for years in P.E. While doing these exercises by Charles Atlas would indeed be beneficial to one’s health, there was the implication that it was a “secret method” that would work quickly.
My point is this. I believe Herbert Armstrong, and all the spin offs, have followed a similar approach. Charles Atlas didn’t promote Dynamic Tension as a way to lose weight, better your cholesterol levels, and improve your cardiovascular system. Instead it was a secret way to become a man. That was the bold headline of his ad, “I transform weaklings into men.”
WCG and the spin offs feature the same temptation. Truth no one else knows, the only true church, a place of safety during the tribulation, becoming god as he reproduces Himself in you, and so on.
Much like the skinny guy who returns to the beach to find the bully and knock him on his rear, WCG members were also promised a revenge of sorts. They would be made rulers in the World Tomorrow and proven right all along.
To Armstrong the Gospel seemed weak and scrawny. Filled with too much lovey-dovey emotion. Even saying the name Jesus by itself was avoided. Armstrong offered a message of power, of knowing God’s truth hidden for 2000 years, and what the near future held in prophecy.
The fallacy in this is the poison pill of self-glory and accomplishment. The Gospel credits all glory to God, every bit of it. However in Armstrong’s message there are many “exercises” one had to perform in order to be included in the Kingdom of God. Failure to do would result in being put out of the church and by extension Gods kingdom.
I suppose this is what keeps these spin offs going. People holding on to a story they have bought into. A story that revolves more around them than around Jesus. The chance for the pay back of being right all along. –B. B., former member of WCG
Comment: This letter is very true about WCG and the splinters. Their story revolves more around them than around Jesus. The program by Charles Atlas, which was based on isometric exercises, only worked if one practiced the exercises diligently over an extended period of time. Unlike HWA, Atlas never had any scandals in his life, and the FTC could never find any false advertising. As Atlas grew older, he refused to let himself go because he knew young people looked up to him, and he didn’t want to be a hypocrite and a bad example (as HWA became). Atlas spent the last two years of his life running on the beach and reading his Bible. A good article on Atlas with photos is: Lessons in Manliness from Charles Atlas.
Division in UCG Over Masks at Services:
August 3, 2020
Victor Kubik and Len Martin recently posted an article on the mask mandatory orders for United Church of God. There were many comments with those who vehemently held to either side. Furthermore, on Facebook, there was a long thread of arguments leading to some threatening to leave the UCG over the requirement of masks. Please comment on this. –Impacted by UCG
Reply: In this article, Kubik and Martin are clearly seen to be placing a heavy guilt trip on members especially by quoting II Timothy 3:1-5 and talking about “the influences of the world.” They use the words “most church members…” to make members think they are in the minority if they don’t wear a mask. Then they blame the division on Satan! If the leaders in UCG are going to try and use these methods of guilt and scare tactics to get members to wear a mask at services, then the people in UCG may decide to stay home, meet in small groups, or split off. I think that UCG members are going to rebel and maybe that is a good thing since they’ve been so controlled. The leaders are no doubt concerned that they will lose money if members leave. Those who are immunocompromised or have serious health problems shouldn’t be attending in the first place, but need to be protected. Many health care professionals, medical journalists, and others have said that the healthy person does not need to fear a virus, and that we are on the verge of herd immunity. [Note 12/29/20: WHO (secretly) changed their definition of “Herd Immunity”] Using tactics of guilt and fear in order to force people into compliance is always wrong. To search out more of the truth on this subject see the following videos: Mask Test Proves Toxic for Children, Mask Whistleblowers Tell All; New Study Casts Doubt On Mask Efficacy. and A Physician’s Take on New Mask Mandates (the last one is new for 2021). UPDATE 11-12-21: Read the letter exchange between ICAN and the CDC which represents the most comprehensive analysis of the current state of the science regarding natural versus vaccine immunity.
Didn’t WCG Say They Would Be Included in the Book of Acts?
August 12, 2020
Didn’t the WCG say at one time that they would be included in the book of Acts since it was an “open book”? –Anonymous
Reply: Yes they did and it was Gerald Waterhouse in WCG who spoke about it.
(2nd email from person above)
August 12, 2020
I have a second question. Since WCG said this, then why aren’t the church of God people [offshoots] who believe this (that they will be included in the book of Acts), and who also say the gift of prophecy is still in their church, why aren’t they speaking with the gift of tongues also? What about praying in tongues? –Anonymous
Reply: Starting in the 1990s, tongues was “welcomed” in WCG services. This is mentioned in Footnote #1 in GCI – New Age and Ecumenical Connections.
The gift of prophecy and tongues ceased after the Apostles. An excellent article explaining about the tongues issue is: “When Did the Gift of Tongues Cease?” (from Berean Bible Society) If you start down at the words, “When the gift of tongue ceased,” it says tongues are not mentioned in the Prison Epistles or the Pastoral Epistles and that the sign gifts of tongues, prophecy and healing mentioned in the book of Acts later ceased.
Those who pray in tongues say it is a “prayer language” that they use when they are “unable to pray” however, Romans 8:26. says the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. It doesn’t say anything about a “prayer language.”
It seems like those who have been involved in the occult or New Age can get caught up in this. Demons can also speak in tongues.
More on praying in tongues can be found in the article: “What is praying in Tongues?” (from Got Questions) and covers several reasons people give for saying it is a “prayer language” between a believer and God.
Tongues Widespread in the Charismatic Churches:
August 13, 2020
Praying and speaking in tongues is widespread in the Charismatic churches. Is that where it got started? –T.
Reply: A good but short article that covers the beginnings of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements and talks about the three waves is: History of the Charismatic Movement. The first wave was in 1906 when there was an outbreak of speaking in tongues at the Apostolic Faith Mission located on Azusa Street in Los Angeles.
Subject of Tongues Still Upsets Me:
August 14, 2020
I used to run into these tongues-speaking people online and found them to be very self-righteous and downright mean. They have a condescending attitude toward those who don’t speak or pray in tongues like they do, and some feel you aren’t even saved! They teach that when you receive the “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” you will speak in tongues. I had such bad experiences that I now avoid them every chance I get.
UCG has some articles online from the late 90’s on this subject and so does LCG, so there must have been a problem in their congregation at one time. Going by comments from members, I think some may still endorse it.
This whole subject of tongues still upsets me. After I left WCG, I bought a booklet by someone that I thought was a reliable minister (deceased). He said if you “pray to receive the gift of tongues” you will receive it. So I tried it and it did not work for me! I am now glad it didn’t. I recently read that you should always pray, “God, don’t let me fall into it, if it is not of You.” –Former member of WCG
Reply: Today the Charismatic-Pentecostal movement is one of the fastest growing movements in the world. There are a lot of abuses in some of their churches, those which can be considered cults or cultic.
Some of the “benefits” they say will come from praying in tongues are:
a “direct communication with God”; shows us we are “praying correctly”; “builds up our faith”; “gives us refreshing from the Lord”; “is a door to the supernatural”; “will keep our prayers in line with God’s will”; and those who neglect this gift “remain weak spiritually” because it taps us into “divine mysteries,” etc.
They say they are speaking in an “angel tongue that no one understands.” However, there is no place in the Bible where an angel spoke and no one understood it. John (in Revelation) heard angels talk and he understood every word they said. To pray and not know what is coming out of one’s mouth is unbiblical; it is a spirit of confusion. This movement is all based on emotions, experiences, dreams and prophecies.
For those who want to read a very thorough study of this subject, read: The Tongues Deception & The Line Drawn. (PDF) The second part by Miles Stanford is the most concise refutation of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement ever written. Chapters IV, VII, & VIII focus upon the true and false tongues.
Tongues-Speaking Moving into Many Churches Today:
August 16, 2020
Tongues speaking is in many modern day churches when before it wasn’t. Those that don’t approve of it are made to feel like they just aren’t with it..I am sending you a couple of good articles that you may be able to do something with, especially since GCI has been approving of it. –Former WCG member
Reply: The articles are posted and are: Ten Problems With the Present-Day Tongues Movement and Tongues (Glossolalia & Charismatic Renewal In Light Of The Bible).
August 17, 2020
I left WCG around the time they said they were allowing “tongues speaking.” Thanks to your articles, I can see that this tongues movement did not have a good start. In fact, I believe it never was a move of God. It is going to play a role in moving the church (GCI included) towards a New Age, apostate, ecumenical, one world religion. Most Christians lack true discernment. –Former WCG member
Comment: Now on Q&A: Is WCG (GCI) allowing tongues-speaking in their services? More and more churches (not just Pentecostal or Charismatic) are endorsing tongues-speaking. It often accompanies charismatic or loud contemporary “praise and worship” music.
Apostasy in the Church:
August 31, 2020
With all the garbage going on in the world, especially in the churches, do you have a good site you recommend that covers apostasy in the church today? –F.
Reply: There are several good ones and we link to some on our Links page, but here is a new one we’ve added: Apostasy in the Church. There are many articles on this site.
A Better View of the Millennium:
September 7, 2020
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, but ruling and reigning over cities in the Millennium–like I’ve had shoved into my head for years–just isn’t something that appeals to me. Maybe it’s what the ministers, elders and members with a heavy hand look forward to, those on a power trip and who need to be “in charge.” What I want is to finally have peace, rest and joy; enjoying my loved ones and friends, and having a deeper love and relationship with each of them. To sit down by a flowing brook, finally free from misery and sin. For me personally, that’s a better view of what I’d rather be doing than lording it over others and cracking down on those who fail to “obey the Law.” I’ve had so much of HWA’s view of “reigning” instilled into me that I find myself wanting to move away from all of it. I believe the Millennium will be far different than what these offshoots continually carry on about. –Former WCG member
Reply: It will be so much better. We are told: “…in thy presence is fullness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalms 16:11) And, “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into singing.” (Isaiah 14:7)
Bashing Heads in God’s Kingdom?
September 10, 2020
It’s shocking to read words like in one PCG testimony on your site where members were looking forward to God’s Kingdom where members can “bash heads” as they “teach people God’s Law.” No grace or mercy. –[name withheld]
Millennium and New Heavens Will be Different Than HWA Taught:
September 13, 2020
HWA taught so many lies about the Millennium and New Heavens and New Earth. He wanted us to focus on being “big shots” and lording it over others. Then after the Millennium, he said we would “fly throughout the universe” and make the planets over into something new. I even heard it taught–and I don’t know if it was Gerald Waterhouse or which minister–that we would “die for others” on our very own planet. This is blasphemous. There has got to be something better and I’ll trust God to bring it to pass. –Former WCG member
Comment: Here’s another verse that shows it will be better than we could ever think or imagine: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9)
October 2, 2020
Your article on Amazing Words That Have Been Said to Exiters is true. But I hope you’re aware that there are still former members influenced by “information control” who say amazing things to us. I attempted to share some truth to one such former member (now in a GCI “fellowship group”) in contrast to the lies in this world and I was labeled all kinds of things and even made to almost question my sanity (gaslighting). While this person did this in a “calm” manner, it showed me that they had no understanding of critical thinking, nor how to decipher truth from lies. I know God would never have said these things to me, but it was still shocking. It’s helping me to write about it.
Here are their comments of “correction” (the ones that I could remember and some were said more than once): [Note from ESN: We placed a couple of L. G.’s comments in purple.]
“How do you know such and such is true?”
“How do you know that person is true?”
“How do you know who is good to listen to?”
“You only search for things that agree with you.”
“There are hundreds who disagree with you.”
“So and so doesn’t act like you.”
“You want to control.”
“You are self-righteous.”
“You are stubborn.”
“The Internet is your god.” (this was the worst)
“I have all I need” (TV, newspapers, and Rush Limbaugh)
“All we need is the Bible.”
“You are going to make yourself sick.” (no, you are making me sick)
–L. G. Former WCG Member
Reply: Yes, it must have been shocking to be labeled like that, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Some former members have a closed mind and trying to share certain information with them can turn out to be a waste of time or, as you found out, far worse. Let them do their own research. You are complete in Christ. Update L. G. told us later that they made the decision to break off the relationship with this person as the emotional abuse/gaslighting was increasing.
October 4, 2020
Several years ago I was talking to a guy who had left WCG and when I asked if he was aware of the sordid history of WCG and Herbert Armstrong he said he “didn’t read dissident literature.” –Former WCG member
October 9, 2020
I read “Why We Thought We Had Such a Wonderful Time at the Feast.” When I think about how much pain we caused those in our own family, it really saddens me to the core. The times we were off at the Feast instead of being with them. We observed all these “commanded” days because “Christ was coming soon and we were going to the Place of Safety.” And where are we today? Armstrong is dead, no one went anywhere, “God’s true church” fractured in hundreds of pieces (splinters) and we’re still here. No, the WCG (GCI) is not now the “Laodicean church”; not one of the splinters is the Laodicean church. They’re just still following someone who is promoting one big lie. Will those people [members] ever wake up to what they’re doing to those who loved them the most–and who in many cases are now dead? It’s a slim chance they ever will. You can’t get those inside to believe any of this. They keep holding on to some make-believe family and a pipe dream for their future. –P. L., Former long time WCG member
October 19, 2020
Hi, I want to say thank you very much for your website. In his infinite mercy, God has been working on my heart the past week to open my mind, eyes, and heart, to his real truth, to his New Covenant, to His grace, to the true gospel, to understand what our Lord Jesus Christ has already accomplished for us.
I was so surprised when I realized that I had to go deeper into the wrong path through these law-keeping churches (RCG in my case) to understand that the Law is not the way to salvation provided by our God. Thanks again! –Former member of RCG [name withheld]
Born in WCG and Then Got Involved With a Lot of the Splinters:
November 25, 2020
Being born into the WCG, I didn’t question it until I was maybe 17. My parents got into it before I came along. I watched them get looked down upon because they were financially poor. I watched the ministers talk down to them. It was not a friendly place.
Yet, after getting out of it for 10 years, I fell right back into it. I have been involved with a lot of the splinters, either a member, or received their literature, including LCG, PCG, RCG, COG ETERNAL, ETERNAL COG, UCG, CBCG, and some little online splinter run by Mike Vennish, an older minister that got fired by David C Pack of RCG.
These groups are not at all loving or neighborly. They are controlling and money hungry. The members are awed by the leaders. They look at Flurry and Pack and the rest of the lead ministers as if they are gods, just like my parents looked at Armstrong.
I’m out but it really messed up a lot of friendships and relationships I had. I used to cut contact with any friends or perspective friends who disagreed with Armstrong. I would kind of tell them, feel them out, and if they even appeared to disagree, I would snub them. I wasted a lot of time. My parents wasted their lives on Armstrong’s Church. Then I finally broke away from Armstrong’s Cultish Kingdom.
Thanks for your site. –M.