What it Felt Like to Be Kicked Out of
the Worldwide Church of God
After I graduated from High School, it was "put up or shut up" time in the WCG, so-to-speak. After you're out of Y.O.U, you have to jump in or jump out basically. I only remember asking some theological questions and getting your basic one-liner answers. I just know that none of it was about Jesus or being saved. I didn't know Jesus loved me until years after I was out of WCG and it's still a hard concept for me to grasp. After all those years in WCG growing up, I learned from "outsiders" about the Love of God and that the price of my freedom was already paid for by Jesus.
I had gotten in "trouble" with the ministers for awhile and was pulled into a room and given the third degree. I was told to give up my best friend in the whole world (who wasn't in WCG) and when I told them "no," I was told to leave for a month. Thinking back on it now, it's so different from a "real" Christian church. WCG only addressed the "attitude" that I had and the fact that I "needed to get with the program." It was very authoritative. Nobody just sat me down with Christian love and asked me what was troubling me and tried to get me to understand why I felt so badly. Nobody addressed the problems I had in my family or suggested I receive counseling from an "outsider" or from an "insider" for that matter. I was only to "repent of my sins and submit to authority."
I went home in tears and feeling incredibly guilty and ashamed. I wrote a long letter to the minister, Ron Lohr, explaining myself, taking all the blame and begging for forgiveness and to be allowed back at services with my family and friends. I went directly to the post office and mailed it. I never heard a word back from him about that letter. I still feel like it's floating around out there somewhere, waiting to convict me even years later. I wonder now why it was him that I was supposed to ask for forgiveness from. They didn't tell me to pray and ask Jesus to forgive me and they didn't tell me that Jesus would be disappointed in my behavior but would love me anyway and forgive me in an instant, and then the ministers comfort me.
After my month was over, I finally went back to talk to them. I thought after I had sent such a long and repentant letter and was going to ask for forgiveness that they would welcome me back and be glad that I wanted to be in God's church. After I was noticed in Bible study class, and was gathering my things to go into the auditorium for services, it became apparent that I had misunderstood my punishment. I was to call Mr. Lohr before I was allowed to return to services. I saw Ron Lohr walk up with two other men and I hesitantly smiled and then walked up to him and asked if I could speak to him. I thought he would be glad that I had chosen God's path and was repentant. Instead, the three men surrounded me and told me that I was considered a "trespasser" now and that they would CALL THE POLICE ON ME if I didn't leave immediately. Lohr didn't even want to hear one word that I had to say. I was just out. Out of the "church" I grew up in and out of the Kingdom of God. Just like that. No love or repentance for me because I disobeyed "God's government on earth."
The trauma of that incident is still so painful to me even years later. There was such heartache that I didn't measure up to their expectations and that I wasn't worthy of working with and bringing me to salvation. The gut-wrenching fear down to the bottom of my soul that I was going to die a horrible and painful death in the Lake of Fire. They never once asked me (at that time) what was wrong, what I needed, or was there anything they could do to help. They only needed to say, "I would prefer we talked before you come back to fellowship. Go ahead and go home now and call me this week to set up an appointment." I would have still felt bad but nothing as harsh as what I really received when they turned their backs on me and kicked me out. They just cast me out into an "evil" world, alone and crying hysterically. Then they turned their backs on me and walked back in to start their "Christian worship services."
I can't tell you how horrified I was. It's almost impossible for me to verbalize but it was like a rushing in my ears and the whole world turning in circles. The end of my world as I knew it. I was always the good and obedient one and, yes, I did feel like I let everyone down. I also thought I was going to the Lake of Fire. Do you know how empty you feel when you know for sure in your heart that you had your chance and you blew it? I felt God hated me and for years as a young adult He was shut off from me. So many years wasted in pain, thinking I had no place with God; that God was ashamed of me and didn't want me in His church because I would infect them with whatever my disease was. I would spoil the other "apples." I felt like I had the plague or something. I can't even really describe the feeling of how ashamed and hurt and alone I felt. Distant from the whole world. Not part of them anymore, but never a part of the real world.
I was so shocked and intimidated by it. Nobody even defended me when they kicked me out. The ministers all knew me for years and I was nothing to them. They could look at me like that and scare me to death and not even care if I made it home in one piece. My coaches who treated me so well and acted like they loved me to death and yet nothing from them on that day. My friends or their families--nothing. My parent still in, most of all--nothing! Never said a word in my defense. Grown men ganging up on me? Nothing. I think now that no one helped me because they were paralyzed by authority. It doesn't make it hurt any less to be terrorized like that. And now they want to know if I'd ever go back??? What is that? They treated me like a criminal or a subspecies. All the time and relationships I had with people and not one of them ever called me. Nobody. Not my coaches or my friends. I've hated all of them. They erased a lifetime of memories with people in a 30 second transaction--you're out.
The real kicker is that right around that time I was beginning to feel like I could talk to God, and probably I was getting ready to fall for the whole thing. I never dreamed the impact that incident had on me. I just never really knew what betrayal was until I was betrayed in an instant by so many people.
I know now after accepting Jesus (the true One) that He has been watching over me since I was born. He sends me comfort now and will be my Healer.
By Dawn - Child survivor of WCG
May 21, 2001
"For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee,
Fear not; I will help thee." ~Isaiah 41:13