Sometimes exiters have wanted us to set up a forum for others to “connect and share.” The following is input we gathered from several of us in ESN as to whether we felt it was a good idea or not for us to have one.

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First Response:

First of all, I think it would take a lot of time which we don’t have right now. Also, it could lead to confusion with so many different views and debating of doctrines that could come up. And most importantly, some survivors have severe problems and need professional counseling, something no forum is going to be able to provide.

Lastly, it is too easy to have problems with ones that try to “infiltrate” forums, pretending to be something they aren’t, but whose only goal is to stir up problems.

I think the ESN email list is a safer way to correspond with exiters. I have found exiters don’t need a lot of people to correspond with, as just one or two that are supportive, understanding and encouraging are the most helpful. –Editor of ESN, WCG exiter

Second Response:

I’ve been on several discussion boards (of other kinds) and there is always someone who tries to take over and rule the roost, which causes all kinds of bad feelings, and which causes more harm than good. Many may end up finding themselves trapped by people who refuse to shed HWA’s ideas, and they could be pulled back to the old practices, or at least keep them influenced that “traditional Christianity” is all wrong. Many of these people exit, but still hold onto the old beliefs, and somehow feel justified in keeping them at home as long as there are “others out there” keeping the same holy days. Before long, they become a church unto themselves, if you know what I mean. (I have a few friends in this category that did this before they finally returned to the WCG [or PCG, etc.]). I think we need to understand the dangers of a having a forum. (Personally, I think it would be a pain in the patootie to moderate a forum. The moderator would have to spend an inordinate amount of time straining gnats since HWA trained us to do so). I think, after the initial “Hi, my name is **** and I’ve spent xxx of years in the WCG (or PCG, etc.), and here’s my story,” it would spiral down to people getting offended if someone steps on their pet doctrine. –WCG exiter

Third Response:

I don’t think it’s a good idea. A forum that I found my postings on awhile back looked like it ended up being a “debate board” for HWA doctrines. The chatter was open to agnostics and atheists (which I don’t think is a good place for anyone). There’s a lot of potential for “unusual” doctrines to get into one’s head. Even certain “pro HWA writers” on the Internet could try to come on and get things all stirred up. I wouldn’t recommend it. –Have loved one in PCG

Fourth Response:

A forum is too easily an opportunity for people to just air griefs to no effective purpose. While everyone has a right to their opinion, too many times the divisiveness is felt in a forum that can be detrimental to readers. The object of the ESN site is to expose abuses in the Worldwide Church of God and offshoots. A forum would distract and hinder that original purpose. We always post letters from those abused by these groups and those are informative and helpful to others. Those letters help to validate and give enormous testimony to the facts of what has been going on in the so called ” true church.” Too often people will debate and fight with one another in a forum and that amounts to confusion and strife that really helps no one. Given the carnal nature in some people, and other forums that I’ve visited, this happens too much to warrant the use of a forum on ESN’s site. For those that would try to use it for good, I think they would find their efforts undermined more often than not. Encouraging people to write their experiences in the letters and share them in that way is much more structured and useful. –WCG exiter

Fifth Response:

I always felt the letters section gave me plenty of opportunity to express myself. An open forum would be open to abuse. As it is now, ESN has a chance to check the veracity of the writers as much as possible before you post their words. –PCG exiter

Sixth Response:

The most obvious reason not to have a forum on ESN’s site is so that people don’t find themselves being harassed by legalists who would sneak in.

Another good reason is that there are already ex-WCG (and ex-PCG) forums, but they tend to get dominated by some who are either espousing HWA or espousing atheism.

I’d say we already have our hands full without adding the requirements of monitoring a forum to them. –WCG exiter

Info compiled by AJW
Exit & Support Network™
March 27, 2012
Updated February 2, 2022

Related Article: Exiters Tell What Has Helped Them on Exit Support Network’s Site


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