I know there must be thousands out there like me who were raised in the Worldwide Church of God and are finding it almost impossible to live life and seek Jesus Christ in a real and sincere way.

I watched my mother die of breast cancer without the benefit of medical treatment and/or pain killers. I was 14 years old when she developed breast cancer and 16 years old when she died. God did not heal her, our family was riddled with guilt because we knew that “sin” in our family caused her death. I was told that to grieve was an act of selfish indulgence. Death was “God’s decision” and to mourn was to question God. I never shed a tear at the funeral. I did, however, throw up all night long and was ashamed of my body’s betrayal of my spiritual weakness.

At the age of 32, my 34 year old sister suffered and died from a malignant brain tumor, also without the aid of medicine and/or pain killers. Her husband was in the ministry of the WCG and denied any family members from seeing her in her last months. We never knew why. She maintained phone contact with my younger sister and me and expressed a desire to see her family. We had lost our father just seven months before her illness was diagnosed and we were all very close.

I went to Ambassador College, where I met and married a young man also raised in the WCG (dating outside the faith was not allowed). He struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for the entire 19 years of our marriage. My oldest daughter and I were abused mentally, emotionally, and physically. Each time I counseled with the ministry of the WCG, I was told to become a “better wife and a better and more loving Christian.” If I were truly putting my life in God’s hands, these problems would not exist. We were never able to confront his drug and alcohol abuse as these problems “did not exist” in the WCG and could never be openly admitted to. When I divorced him, I knew I had to leave the fellowship of the “church” as well and that God would turn His back on me because I was breaking my marriage vows to Him. I made the decision to protect myself and my children on my own.

After our divorce, my husband’s problems intensified and a resulting car accident took his life. My husband’s father abused each and everyone of his children. He was an alcoholic and a member in good standing of the WCG, just like my husband. In a patriarchal social structure the male is second only to God and to usurp his authority or question his judgment, even when impaired by drugs and alcohol, is questioning the social structure that God Himself has created and therefore questioning God’s wisdom.

I left the WCG of my own accord sometime after my divorce. It was during all of the changes and upheaval of the early `90s. After all I had been through, I realized that the WCG did not have the answers to the very real problems my family and I had faced and in fact had kept us from dealing with those problems in a constructive manner.

However, I have simply floundered spiritually. I trust no one and certainly not any organization. The inherent deception involved in living with someone hiding a drug/alcohol addiction is enough to cause anyone to lose trust in everyone and everything; combine that with the environment of the WCG and I have to ask, “Will I ever have a relationship with other people and a real relationship with God?”

I attended my first Feast of Tabernacles in 1960. I have been afraid of the “Germans” and “the Catholics” ever since I can remember. Knowing that I had broken the Ten Commandments in my life, the threat of torture and death were constant companions from the age of four years old on. I lived my life so carefully and in such fear only to find out I had been lied to about the wonderful forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

My heart goes out to each and every person who has lost trust and has carried the burden of the teachings of the WCG since early childhood. I am getting past the fear, the anger, and the hopelessness. I ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness1 and trust.

By Lorelei – Child survivor of WCG
November 21, 2001

Recommended Article:

An End to Guilt

Footnote by ESN:

1 When the Lord Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, he forgave all of our sins–past, present and future–therefore, he no longer holds them against us. Much helpful info on this can be found at: Bob George Ministries. [offsite link]


Back to Testimonies From Child Survivors