Bald Eagles flying
“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” ~Psalms 62:8

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Note: In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International (GCI).

 

 

 

Whatever Happened to The Bible Story Books?

March 8, 2021

I attended HWA’s church as a child. I remember there was a series of gray paperback books that were full of stories from the Bible written so children could understand them. I would love to be able to get a copy of these books. I do realize this is a long shot as this has been probably 45 years ago and longer than that since we got the books. I would love to be able to share them with my grandchildren. Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thank you, –Former WCG member

Reply: Yes, we remember those Bible Story books (now out of print). Unfortunately, there are those who feel they were never appropriate for children, especially young children. You may remember the grotesque artwork. Didn’t you ever wonder why WCG never printed a Bible Story book on the N. T.? Why didn’t they want children in the N. T. to learn about Jesus and His love? We need the N. T. to interpret the old.

I’m going to direct you to a couple of letters on our our site about these Bible Story books:

WCG Never Published a Bible Story Book Based on the New Testament (2-12-09 letter to ESN)

Basil Wolverton and “The Bible Story” (12-2-04 letter to ESN which shows that HWA used Wolverton to instill fear and horror through his artwork)

Pray and ask God to give you the spirit of discernment and to show you a good Bible story book for children that will teach them the love of God in Christ Jesus, but not put terror in them.

Better Books Out There for Children Than The Bible Story:

March 8, 2021

I used to have good Bible story books when I was a child made by Golden Press. Goodness only knows where they went to over the years.

I found some by “Arch” that look like what I remember. There are some on eBay that look similar to what I had. Go to eBay and search for ARCH BOOKS Vintage 1960s. There are Children’s Bible Stories.

Or any children’s books by “Little Golden Books” would be good. Some of these are still available on eBay.

For heaven’s sake, yes, keep those horrible Bible Story books illustrated by Basil Wolverton away from children. They’ll cause nightmares.

I have a copy of 1975 in Prophecy on .pdf written in 1956 that still has the pictures in it by Wolverton. They’re the stuff of nightmares, but I’m sure that’s what they were meant to be. –W. S.

Straitway Truth Ministry Is a Dangerous Cult:

March 22, 2021

I want to thank you for this website! I was involved with a cult, and they are just like the WCG offshoots! The leader name is Pastor Charles Dowell, or Straitway Truth Ministry. I got sucked in very early on in my walk with Christ, and it nearly destroyed me. It nearly destroyed my marriage, I segregated myself from family, I was under such intense fear, and mind control! It is truly by the grace of God, that I am out of there, I was so deluded that I would not have left out of fear if it wasn’t for Christ’s hand intervening mightily to get me out! Can I ask you if you have anyone who has ever made a complaint about this group? This group is one to mark down as a dangerous cult! Thank you again for all you do. Your website has given me much needed clarity, and has been a very helpful tool that I have used. I can’t even begin to say how much this has helped me. May God continue to bless your work! –H. P.

Reply: Our March 10, 2019 letterStraitway Truth Ministries” was from a lady whose boyfriend in LCG was getting caught up with Straitway. In many ways it appears their control and abuse is worse than any WCG offshoot. Here is info I gathered about them:

Straitway Truth Ministries follows many of the false teachings of Herbert Armstrong (HWA), founder of WCG, including believing they are “spiritual Israel,” keeping the holy days, commandments, sabbaths, unclean meats, meats, etc. They have had complaints against them. See the following:

Complaint about Straitway Truth Ministry, Lafayette, Tennessee” and alsoStraitway Unpacked” (on Facebook).

Once someone has been thoroughly mind-controlled by these groups, it is very hard to leave as their methods of control, especially of fear, are very insidious and the members’ entire lives are controlled.

I am sorry you were deceived and abused by this dangerous cult but very glad to hear that Christ led you out.

Thankful for David Robinson’s Book:

March 30, 2021

I am so thankful for the book by David Robinson [Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web] and love his writing style. He was a good investigative reporter. It took courage to write that book. –Former WCG member

Almost Gave Up Everything For RCG:

March 30, 2021

I contacted the Restored Church of God in March of this year and received a return contact from a minister a day later. After a subsequent phone call, he determined that my baptism and membership with the WCG was still valid and I was invited to attend services the following sabbath. I was welcomed wholeheartedly, and surprisingly became aware of their belief that we would be taken to a Place of Safety within the Passover time, 2021. I came to accept that I would leave everything, but I was willing.

I gave up my job as a host home provider with a $54,000 a year contract. I also knew I was going to give up my husband of 43 years and a small parcel of land and all that lay upon it.

I shared this grief with this minister, whom by the way was all too familiar with me, telling me that he felt he had known me for a “long time.” I was told that I could not share any prophecy or doctrine or any literature with my spouse or anyone else. No one else was to attend services with me. This raised a red flag. I was told that as a member, I must attend the Passover. I shared my mourning too much with this minister. He, along with David C. Pack decided I was “too unstable” at this time and removed my membership and Passover invitation. Even after more extensive study in hopes they would relent, they hardened their heart further towards me.

I have since been reading much from your site. Recently, I went through the sabbath critique, which opened up my eyes a lot. I also have learned much about HWA and how two-faced and corrupt he was. This has been a very intensive trial for me within a three week period. –[name withheld]

Good  Ending to This Trial and Emotional Abuse:

(2nd email from person above)

April 1, 2021

Our merciful Father is producing a good ending to this trial and emotional abuse. Never again will I be involved with any church that gets in the way of my marriage, or the talents I have been given. I am an artist and have also reached the time to give up being a host home provider. Now I can dedicate myself to my husband, grandchildren, gardening and first and foremost to God and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. God has brought forth good, from what was intended for evil and my self destruction. –[name withheld]

Seeking to Exit Intercontinental Church of God:

April 2, 2021

I am 27 years old and was born into Armstrongism. All my life I’ve been taught all the doctrines but recently I began questioning everything. The group I am seeking to exit is the Intercontinental Church of God founded by Garner Ted Armstrong [previously known as Church of God International]. In 1995, my parents went to UCG and in 2009 we went to ICG.

As I read material on your site, it almost seems too good to be true that grace alone saves us, and that God’s love is unconditional. The programming is so strong that sometimes I have felt that God is turning away from me and will curse me for rebelling against His Law. I just want to be free and enjoy true intimacy with Jesus Christ but the guilt and the fear of losing my salvation is so overwhelming.

Thank you for reminding me that God is still here and that He still loves me even if I can’t feel it right now. I so desperately need the peace that passes all understanding spoken of in Philippians 4:7. Thank you so much for this website. God bless you. –B.

Comment: This person has received a personal reply. Read: Questions About the Law, Works or Salvation.
Note: It is recommended to get rid of all literature from ICG and get off their mailing list. Also see:
Confession and Freedom From Specific Cult/Occult Strongholds.

Thanks for a Superb Website:

April 4, 2021

Many thanks indeed for this superb website. It must have taken a lot of work, and that is much appreciated.
Regards, –Dr. David N.

My Sins Were Already Forgiven:

April 5, 2021

When our pastor gave us an opportunity to examine ourselves and talk to God about anything that we needed to, I bowed my head, and just as clear as day, something (I believe it was the Holy Spirit) told me “Your sins are already forgiven.” Wow! –Impacted by loved in PCG

Comment: This is something those in or out of PCG need to fully grasp since PCG is continually pounding members over the head with their sins. Read: The Law of Moses and the Grace of God and The Sin Question or visit Bob George Ministries which will give a clear understanding of the New Covenant and how our sins have all been forgiven.

Celebrating One Year of Freedom From Restored Church of God:

April 5, 2021

Today marks 1 year since I left Restored Church of God after being a member for 6 years. I was under the control of a wacko false prophet, false Apostle, false teacher David Pack.

I have saved emails from his failed prophecies from January, 2020, and his lame attempt to explain why it didn’t happen. I thank God that I didn’t lose my wife and all my friends and family. They never quit praying for me every day; due to that I truly believe it is a miracle that I left.

I thank you for your site and read it every day. I can relate to all the letters people write in. I also enjoy reading your offsite readings, such as Aaron Budjen at Living God Ministries, and Bob George Ministries. I pray for the close friends that I made while I was there for 6 years. Only one person has called me since I left. I know why they are shunning me. I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict their hearts, but in God’s timing, like He did me.

I could say a lot more but I better quit. Keep up the good work. God bless you. –L. G.

Comment: Read: Special Prophecy Letter From David C. Pack. Note: Read: May 4, 2016 letter about using discernment with some of the messages by Aaron Budjen. However, Bob George Ministries is recommended.

David Pack Says You Can End All Your Financial Worries:

April 12, 2021

David Pack had a “featured booklet” on his home page that said “End All Your Financial Worries.” The title should more accurately read “Begin All Your Financial Worries.” Giving tithes and offerings to RCG is the best way to end up with significantfinancial problems. The only one who endshis financial worries is Pack himself. –[name withheld]

Scared of UCG-AIA Minister:

April 20, 2021

I contacted one of UCG-AIA’s “counselors” through email and the last email I sent him is when I told him that I believed UCG was a cult and how I didn’t want to believe it. I never joined one of their congregations but I am scared he will try to get me back in through malicious ways because he knows my age and what country I am in and he knows about problems that I wanted help with. What do I do? –[name withheld]

Reply: Don’t be afraid. This person you contacted is one of their so called “ministers” or “elders.” They are taught that UCG is not a cult and will probably tell you that. He could also tell you that any websites critical of UCG are “lies.” But we must research these things out, not just go by what they say. You could tell him that you are choosing to think for yourself now and do not want to hear back from him anymore. He can’t force you to go into UCG, but he can try placing fear or guilt on you. Tell him you no longer need his help.

Greg Williams Continuing to Revise GCI History:

April 22, 2021

Greg Williams (the new president of GCI) continues to revise WCG history to keep “fond” memories alive in the minds of former WCG members. (He also is being deceptive and devious toward any new people that come to GCI’s site, all the while reminding them they [WCG] have always been a “denomination.”)

Someone forwarded me a recent “GCI Update” where Greg told how he took a trip back to the property of where the old Ambassador College used to stand and proceeded to tell a crock of B. S. stories such as:

“My mind was filled with recollections of many happy events and relational activities that took place on just about every corner of that property”

Greg, do your happy “recollections” include GTA fornicating with every woman he could, on and off the campus? Do you remember the lawsuit for massive financial corruption? Do you remember the receivership? Do you remember the infighting? How about memories of the double standards? I’m sure you know all about it because you were there! Or were you too young and naive to remember it?

He even ruminated about the footprint impressions in concrete of “HWA and the original four AC students dating back to 1948” and how they are now “vanished.” Did he expect them to still be there so he could run his fingers over them and fondly recall happy recollections of these men that caused so much suffering and despair in the lives of thousands?

Greg has got to be one of the best bull sh******* in GCI at present.

Does Greg actually think former members have that short of a memory? This guy is nothing but a snake in the grass in my opinion. I read in your article how in 2018 he was “attempting to shift members from Saturday to Sunday.” God only knows what else he’s done or has plans to do.  –Former WCG member

Reply: Greg is slowly but surely leading GCI into becoming part of the New Age ecumenical movement. Also read “What Are the Credentials of Greg Williams?” (2-24-19 letter) Note: Greg Williams is listed on the NAE Board of Directors.

HWA’s Vanishing Footprints:

April 24, 2021

Regarding the previous letter about Greg Williams revising GCI History. Greg apparently does not know too much about what’s in the archives of GCI. When WCG sold the property and before they moved to Glendora, CA, they cut those footprints out of the walkway in front of the steps to the lower gardens. Those footprints are in the WCG/GCI archives unless they dumped them like they have so much of WCG’s history. –Former long time member of WCG [name withheld]

Comment: Greg is playing dumb. He has been a part of WCG/GCI since the mid 70’s when his father finished the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course and then brought his family into the WCG. Greg was a junior in high school at the time. Greg attended AC from 1979 to 1983. The info about the footprints  is no longer in the GCI archives.

Greg Williams’ Fond Memories of AC:

April 24, 2021

The letter about Williams visiting the campus was interesting as I have many of the same feelings. It hearkens back to the way the “changes” were rolled all those years ago. Here were a people in shell shock. Most had given up so much including marriages, jobs, and butt loads of money. Now they find out it was all for naught! Rather than take a humble and repentant attitude, WCG went the opposite way. There was a passing nod to the harm they did, but the major focus was on how special it was to be this unique group God was going to use in some special way. Why, never before had God done such a thing with a group of people. Churches were told to prepare for explosive growth. You wouldn’t want to leave and miss out on that would you? Many congregations began studying materials from mega churches on church planting and growth. All they planted were seeds of false hope. The same old “God’s chosen people” crap dressed up in a different package. Years ago when a member transgressed they were forced to crawl across the broken glass of soul searching, Bible study, and long hours of counseling. Then, just maybe, you could return. But not for the leadership! I recall a minister saying that he was finished correcting the old teachings. If you get it, get it; if you don’t, you don’t. He was moving on!!! –B. B.

Comment: GCI’s “About Us” page deceptively says, “Grace Communion International is a trusted theological voice. We have shown ourselves willing to lose it all so that we may gain Christ.” [emp ours] See our section on “Worldwide Church of God Expose (GCI)” especially the article Grace Communion International History (GCI) which includes their selling the copyrights to HWA’s literature to Philadelphia Church of God for $3 million.

Former Member Tells How You Can Know Who Is a Christian:

May 7, 2021

A former member told me how you can know who is a Christian because “their face will glow.” She also told a story about her Dad (now deceased and never a member of WCG) walked in the door one night and she knew he became a Christian because he “had a glow on his face.” This was after he crashed along side the road and escaped death. He wouldn’t talk about what happened until the next day. This sounded not only bizarre but mystical but she was serious. Have you heard anything like this? –Former member of WCG

Reply: No, I haven’t heard this. The only ones I find in the Bible with a “glow” (i.e., shine) on their faces were Moses and Stephen. 

Aura Around Certain People:

May 10, 2021

I remember there were some in WCG in the early 2000’s who reported something similar [see previous letter]. They claimed to be able to see a certain “aura” around people. The color of the aura was an indication as to what kind of person you were. I guess they could tell if you were honest, trustworthy, filled with the Holy Spirit and so on. Sounded like garbage to me. –B. B.

Evil Men That Head These Groups:

May 21, 2021

Many of these evil men that head these groups are narcissists and sociopaths/psychopaths. They are not the kind, old, sincere, godly “Christians” that they appear to be when people first are introduced to their literature and programs. Even GTA said that he knew that the WCG was bull, but he was making too much money to be able to get out. (Read letter: Garner Ted Armstrong Knew About the Money Racket ) I think he was rotten to start with. When you grow up around deceit like he did, it has to affect you. Probably demonic influence on the both of them. Dave Pack is another one. His membership is dwindling. That’s why he’s increased his fearful sermons. His cash source is slipping through his fingers, and he knows it. –S. B.

Beginning to Understand More About the Love of God:

June 5, 2021

I am beginning to understand much more about the love of God. In the past I felt I would be zapped for any infringement of His laws. Now I grasp (albeit darkly at the moment) something of His love.

….Everything that has been done to innocent people is a crime.

Thank you so much for your site. –Former member of WCG [name withheld]

Have Question About This Guy’s Site:

June 16, 2021

Glad I found your site. I have been studying Scripture and I recently landed on the site of  *** [we decided not to post this guy’s name or website]. I agree with your theology but needless to say this guy’s website has thrown me into a bit of a low-grade panic. He claims to have left the Worldwide Church of God but all of his articles seem to be for those who were in the Worldwide Church of God. Do you know of this guy? Seems so well researched it throws doubts in my beliefs. Is it possible that we have had some Latin and Greek mistranslations over the millennia? Are we possibly the ones in error? –E. H.

Reply: I hadn’t heard of this guy, but I did go and look at his site. He is holding to many of HWA’s doctrines, plus some of his own. That should be a red flag no matter how “well researched” he seems. Spending too much time on his site could lead to confusion and then into false doctrines that put us back under the Law.

There is no need to let him throw you into any kind of panic or put doubts in your mind. ….

There are way too many out there like **** that have exited the WCG and while sounding very knowledgeable are ones we need to avoid. Keep your focus on Christ and grow in an understanding of His marvelous grace. Always pray for the spirit of discernment. We also have several books refuting HWA’s doctrinal errors on our Booklist.

Leaving United Church of God:

June 21, 2021

I just want to express my appreciation for your site and testimony on WWCG and UCG. A lot of this resonates strongly with me. …. –[name withheld]

Comment: Read this person’s testimony: I’m Leaving United Church of God.

You’re Doing a Good Work:

(2nd email from person above)

June 22, 2021

Thank you. I will most certainly refer to your site again. It is a godsend to have the other perspective instead of the crystalline, snow-white image of Armstrong and his splinter churches. … You’re doing a good work with this website. God Bless. –[name withheld]

Confused After Being in COGWA:

June 25, 2021

I was a member of Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA) for several months after reading their material for several months prior so it’s been close to a year.

I’m not sure where to go from here. I am really confused about Biblical doctrine now. They made very good arguments and had an answer for everything. –[name withheld]

Comment: This person has received a personal reply. He followed up with emails with several questions that he had and which we helped him with. He later thanked us for all our help and said he really appreciated it. Read our updated article on COGWA.

Was Just Scratching the Surface About UCG:

(3rd email from person who wrote June 21 letter above: “Leaving United  Church of God”)

June 27, 2021

Hello, I appreciate your diligence on my phrasing. I typically do not try to convince people. I only offer my experiences. The rest is up to the individual.

I might not have believed my story myself had I not relied upon reliable sources and my own two eyes and ears. I can assure anyone that may have doubted it that none of it was fabricated. I have nothing to gain from lying about my experiences. I was just scratching the surface on the anecdotes but I didn’t want to make a federal case out of it. Life is short and I’m not the vindictive type, I merely wanted to lend perspective to the culture and its members.

Thanks again and God bless you. –Impacted by UCG [name withheld]

Comment from ESN: This person’s testimony “I’m Leaving United Church of God” was recently updated and rearranged the way it was first received, due to someone questioning it.

Helping Me Sort Through Things:

June 28, 2021

(2nd email from person who wrote June 25 letter above: “Confused After Being in COGWA”)

Thank you [for answering all my questions]. And thank you for your website. It’s helping me sort through things. –[name withheld]

How Bad is GCI?

June 28, 2021

How bad is the GCI? I have actually been thinking about attending one of their services that is only 30 minutes from where I live, but wanted to get your take on things. –[name withheld]

Reply: This person has received a personal reply with a list of reasons. One thing to be aware of is that GCI (formerly known as WCG) without conscience lied and deceived their way into making their mainstream changes, abusing members and ministers along the way who confronted them. The article: Grace Communion International History is good to read to show why GCI is not a good church to attend.

Read Your Article on Sociopaths:

July 1, 2020

I saw your article on sociopathism. After reading it, I think I may be a sociopath. Can you help me? –[name withheld]

Reply: Our site assists those who have exited high demand, exploitive religious groups, many of which may be headed by sociopaths. We are not qualified to help regarding sociopathic questions per se. My best recommendation is to seek out a therapist who is knowledgeable in this area and who can help you. I also would not try to diagnose yourself based on a chart or book. It may not be true in your case at all.

Does David Pack Consider Himself the Elijah?

July 3, 2021

I have been invited to RCG services. I’ve spoken to the local minister and I was asked about my hair, jewelry, hosiery and other questions. I don’t feel this is of a godly nature. I’m having second thoughts. I asked if I could bring my husband and he asked about his hair.

Does David C. Pack considers himself (Elijah) as I read? Thank you. –[name withheld

Comment This person has received a personal reply. Yes, it is true that David Pack is claiming to be the “Elijah” and has done so since 2015. See February 2, 2015 letter.

Why I’m Leaving Living Church of God:

July 10, 2021

I’ve been a member of LCG from 2012 but I always had doubts and tried to convince myself that it was the “true church.” Many things preached by LCG never added up. For example, the promise that Jesus would return within the next 5 years.

LCG is a dangerous cult leading to many divorces for members who did marital counseling with the ministers. I ended up with serious anxiety issues and suffered financially when my husband forced me to pay the third tithe. I have never seen a verse in the Bible that says the Levites should be in charge of the third tithe and that the excess 2nd tithe should be given to the church on the Last Great Day. My question was always around why LCG never does any charitable deeds like helping the poor?

I discovered the incest allegations about HWA and I found that very disturbing that someone who was supposed to be a servant of God could even be accused of such a thing.

LCG preaches closet racism about interracial marriages in youth camps as being unequally yoked. I realised they were preaching nonsense and are not Christians who read the Bible.

My husband is still part of the cult even after I showed him allegations about HWA and racist articles written in the Plain Truth. He called me “Satan,” told me to stay away from him and even threatened to divorce me. We were constantly fighting and my husband was trying to force me to remain with LCG which became emotionally abusive. He is determined to teach our kids about the nonsense of LCG child members being princesses when Christ returns.

So many wrong things about LCG are so blatant but my husband refuses to see reason. How do I live in peace with someone like that and I’m worried about the influence on my children. Not sure what to do. I only pray that one day he sees the real truth not LCG fables. I just want to say thank you for your website as it helped me to see the true state of affairs at LCG. –[name withheld]

Reply: I am very sorry to hear what you are going through. If your husband is firmly convinced that LCG is teaching “the truth,” he is not going to listen to you no matter how much evidence you show him. He will just harden his heart even more against it. It is extremely hard to break away from the Armstrong groups (cults) because the leaders use fear and guilt (part of mind control) to keep members from leaving and/or from looking at anything critical of them. …. [The rest of our reply was sent in a personal email.]

Where Can I Find a Sound, Biblical, Genuine Christian Church?

July 19, 2021

My confusion comes not from joining a cult but I have been sucked into many rabbit holes on the Internet in search of a genuine biblical and Holy Spirit filled church where Christ is the centre and leaders have a true calling on their lives to lead the congregation to true salvation.

This, I have come to see, can be an excruciating process with so many different belief systems and denominations. This is why it can be so confusing. We do notwant to be part of a church that is false or deceptive, yet do not want to notbe part of the body of Christ because we need to be according to God’s Word.

I know you don’t associate with an particular denomination, but it would be very much insightful to hear from previous members who have come out of cults and your team who understands religious cults, to mention churches where they have found a true family in Christ. Do you have a list of suggested churches? Places where real living relationships with God in the leadership and members is evidenced?

Thank you for time and effort to warn against falsehood. –D.

Reply: We are not in contact with any former members who have found a good church. I can understand your confusion with all the different churches out there and how hard it is to find a good church. The sad fact is that the churches have been changing for some time now. Read our article: Are We “Out of Fellowship With God” If We Don’t Attend a Church? Also read our Q&A: What about not forsaking the assembling together?

Life Has Been Full of Turmoil After Being a Child Survivor of RCG:

August 3, 2021

I only found this site Friday evening. I left RCG at 16 and since then life has been full of turmoil, counselling at 18, sleeping issues, moments of deep self condemnation and so on. And now I’m 20 and still have moments where I feel overwhelmed with thoughts of what I witnessed and went through along with my younger sibling. Even to this day I find it almost a mental tug of war to accept a shift on a Saturday (even when funds are running low). Not to mention the flashbacks of abuse and domestic violence that I experienced and witnessed first hand. I really wish to find others who left RCG (or other splinters) because funnily enough I still consider so many as extended family. It saddens me when I think about all those who “died in faith”; all those who turned their back on their blood family for the “spiritual family.”

I remember my [parent’s] word “If you leave this, I want nothing to do with you, you are excommunicated from Christ and His government,” etc., etc (bear in mind this all began when I was approximately 7-9 years old when I was just starting out as a child in RCG). I completed all the children’s Bible studies, fasted from my first Day of Atonement (as other children and some adults ate), gave up all my worldly dreams all for the sake of acceptance by my [parent]. How is that in anyway shape or form the love of Christ or God?

As well as the multiple years of being told to “abase and humble yourself,” “we are dust, nothing,” “we must be spiritually de-leavened,” and then in the next breath be told we are “God’s chosen” and “true spiritual Israel”; “God is a family and He will make us gods too.”

I feel I’ve jumped around from topic to topic quite frantically, but the more poems, child survivor testimonies and even seeing some ex-ministers for example speak out about things over 8 years ago, it’s just back to back making me feel stupid for the childhood lost and desperate for my [parent] to finally see sense.

I just wish I could rekindle some type of faith again in something because in all honesty RCG not only destroyed my idea of religion but God himself. I’m no atheist but the thought of the Christian God or the Islamic God (any form of so called Abrahamic faith) just makes me lose hope.

I managed to have good dialogue with [a relative] and they explained that they came across this site but didn’t tell me because they felt I would react negatively. But, in fact, it’s just made me feel better, that I’m not the only one, and just from the poems I read in the evening have eased my mind and heart.

Thank you ESN for making this site.Thank you very, very much. I feel that finally I have answers that make sense and I accept my role as a child who was in a cult. –Child survivor of RCG in UK [name withheld]

Reply: I’m glad you found the ESN site. Your emotions and feelings are very common with those who have been in any of these deceitful Herbert Armstrong groups. You had no control over what happened to you as a small child.

As far as any kind of God making you lose hope, that is understandable, but the “god” that was taught in RCG was a false god, not at all like the real God of love that we try to show on the site. It will take time to rekindle faith, and have a personal relationship with a loving God who accepts you and loves you unconditionally, but it is possible. [Note: This person has been put in touch with other child survivors.]

David Pack Trying to Purchase More Land Again:

August 7, 2021

I was told by an anonymous and reputable source that David Pack is trying to purchase the homes surrounding his property. When others spoke to people around town, including contractors that visited the campus, alleged strange stories and shady dealings arose. Overall, Pack has purchased many homes along SR261 and Hartman Rd. His goal is to own them all. Facebook is a great place to help spread the word. –[name withheld]

Comment: Wadsworth has several Facebook groups where they allow people to share information. One of the biggest is called “Wadsworth Neighbors.”

Many Leaders of the Armstrong Cults Are Narcissists:

September 5, 2021

Many of the leaders of these Armstrong cults are narcissists. A couple of examples:

When you go to RCG’s site, there is an insert in the right corner with a picture of Dave Pack looking superior, and if you put your mouse or finger over it, it actually zooms bigger and comes right at you. Talk about wanting to get in your face!

Gerald Flurry has a picture of Herbert Armstrong on his site right next to his own picture (almost like HWA is sitting at his right hand). The picture of HWA is a younger picture–certainly not how he looked at age 93 l/2–and the picture of GF is also a younger picture, not how he now looks at age 86.

These examples show their exaggerated need for attention, another sign of a narcissist. This site shows 15 Signs You’re Dealing With a Narcissist.

As has been mentioned, in this picture on PCG’s church page, GF is holding his lips with the same type of smile as HWA has, he wears the same type of glasses, and his hair is combed the same way. He actually hopes this copy-cat behavior causes members (or new visitors to the site) to associate him with Herbert Armstrong. –Former member of WCG

Traumatized by WCG:

September 10, 2021

I received probable psychological experimentation without informed consent resulting in suicidal depression and other crazy-making and sanity destroying mind control. I experienced this first hand before finally walking out of the WCG completely traumatized. I have never told my story. I began listening to the Radio Church of God [WCG’s first name until 1968] and reading the literature when I was twelve, was accepted to Ambassador College when seventeen, was baptized at seventeen, got married by Herbert Armstrong to another Ambassador graduate the day after I graduated from Ambassador in 1970, and we were at headquarters in Pasadena during the [date removed.] I just don’t talk about the mental agonies. –[name withheld]

Comment: This person received a personal reply.

Found a Lot of Atheistic Sites When I Was Researching:

September 18, 2021

I found a lot of atheistic sites when I was researching years ago before I found ESN. I noticed that they wanted to lead former members to be without faith, anti-Christian, and embittered like them. Some of the books they steered members to were philosophy. I think some philosophy is dangerous, as it can lead the reader to question the existence of everything. People can really get messed up studying these books. I think some former members may have started entertaining some of these ideas innocently, but then they got out of hand. Most of these atheists are bitter and they love to debate. They have a distorted view of Christianity. –Impacted by loved one in WCG splinter group

Reply: Atheism is a lie, and it is a strong lie.  It can even lead to a satanic stronghold. We don’t recommend wasting time getting into a debate with them. An interesting site for those who interested is: Refuting Atheism. (If you want to avoid the ads on this site, use a browser such as Brave.)

WCG’s First Feast of Tabernacles and Moving Away From the Feast Days:

September 19, 2021

Could you tell me when WCG’s first observance of the Feast of Tabernacles was and their timeline for moving away from the feast days? –Former member of WCG

Reply: Here is a general timeline:

1945: Had their first feast in Belknap Springs, Oregon. 

1995 / 2019: Feast days can be observed if the individual/s do not create division. “If we have active GCI members who choose to keep Jewish festivals on their own, or participate with non-GCI churches, we do not forbid this. These folks are welcome in our fellowship as long as they do not create division or cause discord in the matter of Hebrew days.” Excerpt from “Worship: GCI Position on Annual Days of Christian Worship” By Joseph Tkach and Greg Williams (Williams probably only wrote the last paragraph after he replaced Joseph Tkach in 2019.)

1998: Calling the feasts “optional.”

2005: Phasing the feasts out; only having “special worship festivals during the summer and fall of the year” by certain local congregations.

2006: Their “worship calendar” included Roman Catholic / Lutheran observances such as Maundy Thursday (also known as “Holy Thursday”), First Sunday of Advent and Last Sunday of Advent. Referred to Pentecost as “Whitsunday.”

2006: They embrace Amillennialism, the belief that there is no literal thousand year reign.

2009: Change their name from WCG to Grace Communion International (GCI).

2018-2021: GCI asks their congregations to celebrate (as a minimum) the days/seasons of Advent, Christmas, Holy Week and Easter.

Their website is such a mass of confusion, with many undated archived articles, that it is hard to uncover exactly what they are now holding on to. However, it is known that they do notbelieve there will be a thousand year Millennium on Earth with Christ ruling and, instead, have embraced Reformed Theology, which spiritualizes Scripture. See: On Apostasy–A Radical Proposal (Letter to WCG, Philippines) (shows how they are discounting the Millennium) and A Rebuttal to Michael Morrison (rebuttal to Morrison after he responded to On Apostasy–A Radical Proposal (also shows how they are discounting the Millennium).

Religion Created to Control People?

September 20, 2021

Regarding the letter about the person that would run across atheists. [see September.18] I once heard a radio program where they were saying “religion was used to control people.” Then the host went on to say that many New Agers believe “aliens created humans” and then “created all the religions in the world to control people.” (I think this view is becoming more prevalent in those who don’t believe in God.)  If it is true, religion has sure failed to control people. There are a lot of people who grew up in religion and certainly are out of control. Especially atheists.  Every outspoken, angry atheist I’ve come across grew up in religion. They are generally angry because of being spiritually abused by an abusive dominating “minister.” Religious cults like the Armstrong ones always use the Bible to control people while they remain in the cult. What is damaging is that so many atheists remain bitter and hateful and never heal since they don’t believe in a loving God who is willing to heal them. –C. T. (former member of WCG)

Comment: Read: Why Do So Many Exiters Turn to Atheism?

Beyond My Comprehension:

September 27, 2021

I was thinking this morning when I was walking my dog, how someone could not believe in a Creator, even if they were not a Christian. I look up and see the stars and sky, I see nature and the change of the seasons, and I see pictures of other galaxies and planets, and I wonder how someone could imagine that this could all create itself and maintain itself. It’s just beyond my comprehension. Psalms 19:1 says “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.” So the Devil has atheists blinded to the obvious evidence of His existence just in the complexity, balance, and wonders of the universe and in nature itself. Of course, as was mentioned, there are those, especially New Agers, who will say that aliens created everything. The question is: who created these aliens? –L. G.

Ronald Dart Said Don’t Spend Time Answering Letters That Didn’t Have Money in Them:

October 5, 2021

While our daughter worked for Church of God International [name changed to Intercontinental Church of God] in Tyler, Texas, God opened her eyes to see GTA and his cult for what they are. When Ron Dart told her not to spend time answering letters that didn’t have money in them, she woke up. That helped open our eyes too, thank God! –Former member of WCG

Comment: Ronald L.Dart, later with Independent Church of God, had a radio program called “Born to Win.” He died in 2016. Read Letter: Ronald L. Dart Dies. The comment also has a link to much more info about Dart in OIU 4, Pt. 4.

COGWA Last Great Day Sermon Answered Questions About the 2nd Resurrection:

October 7, 2021

The context of the sermon in Tucson, AZ was answering questions of those resurrected after the millennium [100-year period aka the 2nd resurrection] and some of the difficult questions that would be asked.

So, when a Christian martyr or devout Christian asks you as a spirit being how it is that they were not in the first resurrection, part of the complete answer given included “You didn’t know the true God.” And further “He did not know you.” These are direct quotes.

The answer included you were worshipping a false god.

There were additional statements suggesting the devout Christian or martyr will probably be a little angry about this. They thought they knew God and were pleasing in His sight, but no, God did not know them. The speaker identified this as a question that has a difficult answer.

I knew this was their belief, but COGWA chooses to never say anything like this. I don’t think this settled very well with some teens and young adults who have never really heard the undiluted belief.

COGWA never says much in their sermons beyond “discerning” and “staying the course” and “unity.” They know that their beliefs simply rely on believing Herbert Armstrong and maybe, just maybe, the smart upper middle-class COGWA members would see the lack of real support if they tried to prove their beliefs through the Bible. So, instead, they hope the members will just remember the basic Armstrong teachings and spend all their time focused on staying true to “the Truth” and to “the Church” and “to law keeping.”

It is saddening and maybe worse. –C. B.

Comment: Yes, it is saddening. Read: Is there a 100-year period? (Q&A)

Question About Halloween:

October 21, 2021

Halloween is fast approaching. Do you have anything on your site that covers it? –F. W.

Reply: Go to: Should we observe “pagan” holidays? (Scroll down a little. This has been updated about Halloween. A new link was also added on 10-24-21 with a link to an interview with Russ Dizdar on Halloween.) UPDATE: National Crawford Roundtable Podcast (Scroll down when page opens.) Episode 115 is “How Should Christians Treat Halloween?” (Includes personal stories) [offsite link]

Demons and David Pack:

October 24, 2021

I was reading about how others have said they believe there are demons in these Armstrong cults. I completely agree. There is so much evil and wickedness inside that if it were all uncovered at once it would shock us. It was rare for me to ever see the true fruit of the Spirit in there. I’ve even been acquainted with those who have had terrific struggles after they leave (I experienced it myself).

Someone who was in Dave Pack’s cult told  me this true story. When they were in his presence there were times there would be a darkness that would come into his eyes and his voice would change to a sinister tone. It was like a different being was present and they said the presence of evil was very overwhelming. –K. R. (former member of WCG)

Reply: This incident with Dave Pack reminds me of the letter: Frightening Incident With Cal Culpepper. Some (but not all) of the struggles after exiting can be demonic oppression, especially if you feel a strong resistance when you decide to go through the Prayers For Freedom From Spiritual Strongholds or My Position in Christ. There is evil of all kinds inside these groups. Most people inside are devoid of spiritual discernment unless God opens their eyes.

Cults Spend Thousands of Dollars on Their Websites:

October 25, 2021

I’ve noticed that these HWA cults (offshoots) have spent probably thousands of dollars to create an alluring, enticing, and extremely inviting website that attracts the unwary. Before the Internet, these cults had far less members. Almost all of them will say God is blessing us because “we are so big,” or “have grown so much.” –Former member of WCG

Went Through a Lot of Emotional Turmoil Because of LCG:

October 27, 2021

Firstly, I would like to say thank you for the work you are doing of exposing the dangers of Armstrongism. I left LCG but went through a lot of emotional turmoil because of them. I’m still struggling with my mental health and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be the same, but grateful for the support system.

When I first came across your website, I had my doubts about the authenticity of what was posted. I wish I had listened. I allowed people to reason around what was written on your website about LCG, “It is just the Devil attacking the true servants of God.” I hope no one else ever finds themselves in such a situation of the truth staring them in the face and ignoring it.

The way the Bible is twisted is scary and, frankly speaking, the mind control is very thorough. A person who is part of a cult cannot be reasoned with. My desire would be for no one else to fall prey to such organizations.

It’s quite sad to read posts from atheists who were created by these Armstrong groups. I still believe in God but I don’t see myself ever attending church with another organization in the future as I developed trust issues. Its painful to admit that attending with LCG drew me away from God and the irony is that I thought I was doing the right thing.

I have read all the PDF books on WCG and Herbert Armstrong and I can confirm the books are very true as those are some of the things I experienced or saw. Strangely enough the modus operandi still hasn’t changed in over 70years. If only something more recent could be released so people can never reason it out that it was from the 70s and it’s no longer relevant. The cult [through its offshoots] is still alive, thriving and destroying people’s lives.

Once again thank you for the great work you are doing and please continue to help more people. –Former member of LCG

NOTE: Update has been added to October 21 letter above about Halloween.

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