I have been thinking back over the thirty-plus years I spent in the WCG/PCG. When a person is being recruited, they often are told of the physical blessings they will be given once they are in and especially once they begin tithing. I remember hearing Herbert Armstrong telling the story over and over about the farmer who sent in his tithe to him, and immediately his chickens started laying extra eggs every day! He told other stories and printed letters by others talking about the physical blessings they received once they began tithing. We were told that we would not miss the tithe money, that we would become better at budgeting. We were told that God would “supply the difference.”
Once inside, however, we were told to “sacrifice and tighten our belts.” We were told to save extra money to give at the spring and fall Holy Days. People who really were suffering financially had guilt placed on them. They were told they weren’t being “honest” in their tithing or not giving enough. I know that still goes on in the PCG today. Lack of physical blessings are seen as a “sign” that the person has a hidden sin.
I cannot remember a single person who actually prospered under Herbert Armstrong (or even Gerald Flurry for that matter). The only people who had money were those who came into the organization making large paychecks to start with. They usually became part of the “inner circle” and were close friends with the minister. I know that there were some members in WCG who received 3rd tithe assistance, but they were expected to pay back any assistance they were given. There was simply no real mercy or charity there at all.
When we were in WCG and PCG, we never gave to charities to help the poor, either as individuals or as a congregation. The “Ambassador Foundation” finally was started mainly as some kind of show to make us think our money was actually going where it would do some good. (It’s the same with PCG’s “Armstrong International Cultural Foundation.”) Even then, we were expected to send in extra money for the Foundation. It wasn’t taken out of our tithes.
I hope that anyone who is thinking of joining the Philadelphia Church of God, or any other controlling splinter group, will stop to realize that, once in, their money will be gone. They will have to lower their standard of living almost to the poverty level. They will certainly not be living in a large house with a swimming pool and wearing fine clothes (like the ministers do at Edmond, Oklahoma), unless they are already rich.
Please keep up your good work.
Note by ESN: Members were taught to look forward to physical blessings if they tithed to HQ. Only after exiting do we begin to realize that HWA “made up” a lot of these stories. If we are blessed, it is because of the love and mercy of our heavenly Father, not because of obeying HWA’s rules. Read the lie: God will curse you if you fail to keep His laws! (Holy Days, Sabbath, Ten Commandments, tithing, etc.).