I left the WCG in approximately late 1990 / early 1991. However, I found that I never had come to terms with my experience, the pain it caused me, and the lingering effects it still had upon me. It took me many years to begin the healing process.
I have had to face that I was in a cult, one that had, if not complete control over me, then certainly a significant control on my life, finances, thoughts and actions. Yes, it happened to me. It can happen whenever you allow just one man and only one man to tell you what the truth in life is.
One minister I had who was spiritually abusive was David C. Pack. He was a very controlling individual who wanted to be in charge and was unmerciful in his discipline. He even tried to control the number of children we had. I had missed one service and he called me to tell me it was required to be at every service. He is now the leader of the Restored Church of God [founded in 1999], which is an exact clone of WCG, down to the chairs, materials, and song book. When I saw pictures of it, I thought I had stepped into a time warp back to HWA in 1986. My word of warning is to avoid David Pack and the Restored Church of God like the plague.
I found many items still within my mind that had never healed, causing me problems unknown to my conscience self. Even people like me who have left the WCG many years ago can still have lingering confusion around certain doctrinal issues. For some reason, I began to look up information on HWA and WCG on the Internet, something that I had never done before. I spent hours reading letters, exposes, and articles. At that point I began to realize what I had experienced and never really dealt with. While I had moved on, I found that I was still keeping portions of HWA’s teachings deep inside of me. I had even kept HWA himself as a warm memory.
As I begun to realize what kind of man Herbert Armstrong really was I started to take action to clear my past. While the doctrinal booklets and books from HWA had long since been discarded, I still had his two volume autobiography. I knew I needed to destroy that book; destroy the memory of that manipulative man. So I sat down that evening and tore the pages from that book and threw them into the garbage. I now know that HWA’s teachings were corrupt and evil. No longer would I have that soft and fuzzy image of him in my mind.
It was only our move from New York to Oregon in 2000 that completed the severing of ties with the WCG for both my wife and me. A long ordeal that had ended, but the battle scars still existed. I knew some areas of understanding would still be difficult for me, possibly for a very long time. It took me many years to begin to heal. I continued on the path and finally completed the healing process, a process I wish I had started many years ago.