Exit and Support Network

Letters From Those Impacted by
WCG, HWA & Offshoots

Best of the Letters from 2001

 

OIU Newsletters Extremely Important:

I have just finished reading the OIU Newsletters recently uploaded by you. You have obviously done a great deal of research and work that I feel is extremely important. You are revealing matters that all should take very seriously and not just pass it by.

I had no idea of the Communist infiltration into the churches until I came across it in your writings. I can clearly see Communist influence in our educational system and in our national government. However, I had not been of the understanding of their influence within the churches. I think it is very sad that many might read what you so thoroughly researched, sought out and made available on the Internet and go right on as if nothing of great importance has just been given them. Your writings have been a most significant aid to me in beginning to understand what has been going on in the world of religion. I was in WCG 29 years (I've written you before) and you are making more sense to me than anyone else has. We owe you a great debt of gratitude for your works.

I reared children in WCG by their being so young when I went into it. ... Now we are all free, Thank God. And thanks to God for you. Thank you so much. Please keep up the good work. --Former WCG member, Florida

Your Site is the Best One on the Subjects Covered:

I keep checking back with your website simple because it is the best one on the subjects covered. When my daughter asked me to point out some sites to her that would expose WCG I gave her yours and Ambassador Report only (and I understand your feelings about AR). I have not felt like the other sites offer such well done work and research as yours.

In reading (again) the letters to Janis Hutchinson and her supporting WCG despite such revealing writings, I am reminded of a team of defense attorneys defending a notorious criminal. It seems to me that Janis, Ruth Rucker and Hank Hanegraaff (and perhaps others) make up the equivalent of a team of defense attorneys who defend the criminal regardless of overwhelming evidence of guilt. These defenders have been paid (called "consulting feels") to come to the defense of WCG and they are going to stick to doing what they are being paid for.

I have read with great interest your explanation of United Church of God and/or Global Church of God [refer to OIU 3, Pt. 1] being planned extension groups for the purpose of holding onto as many members as possible. However, these groups have splintered up themselves with internal squabbles and power seeking.

Again, thank you so much for the great work you are doing. I find good professional quality work done on your excellent site. --Former WCG member [name withheld]

Christian Research Institute and Worldwide Church of God:

Dear ESN,

Yesterday I spent the day following several strands on the computer, especially having to do with CRI [Christian Research Institute] and Hank Hanegraaff. This is how I discovered your work.

For a long time now I have wondered what the truth was on whole issue surrounding CRI and Worldwide Church of God. (I am a Christian, no ties/former ties to WWCG.) Thanks to you I have a very good picture of what happened there.

My interest lies in how the so-called Christian cult watchers fail to expose the obvious. Very interesting.

I especially appreciated your hard work at contacting various Christian ministries. That series of correspondence to CRI, Watchman Fellowship, James Dobson / Focus on the Family, etc. was so enlightening; revealing exactly who they really are. Isn't it interesting how they shrug off crucial facts! Thank you so much! --Washington [name withheld]

Update: Christian Research Institute is also known as Christian Research International. They re-located to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2005, with an affiliate (CRI Canada) in Calgary, Alberta.  

House of Yahweh a Dangerous Cult:

I was in the WCG until I turned 14. My parents quit shortly after that. They didn't go anywhere for about 15 years. They started with Garner Ted's splinter in Tulsa several years ago, but after Garner Ted Armstrong got caught on camera they quit there and floundered from one Sabbath church to another. About 3 years ago they started reading about House of Yahweh in Abilene Texas. The minister was formerly known as "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins but he changed it in 1982 to Yisrayl Hawkins. One thing I will say at this point is they were named by Newsweek magazine as one of the top ten dangerous cults in the United States. Hawkins is a ex-member of WCG. My parents sold what they had and moved to Abilene. --Former WCG member

Comment: House of Yahweh is an apocalyptic cult, headquartered in Abilene, TX, that split from the WCG in 1980. They teach that only their organization has the true way of salvation. Hawkins' uses date-setting and has claimed to be one of the two witnesses of Revelation. His theology is an eclectic blend of Sabbatarian, Sacred Name and Anglo-Israel teachings. He publishes The Prophetic Word magazine and satellite TV program called Prophetic Word. Hawkins wrote a "completely new and independent translation" of the Bible, known as "The Book of Yahweh, the Original Bible." Read Hawkins' exclusive words on All or Nothing Statements. Much more about House of Yahweh is in this article on Let us Reason Ministries' website.

WCG Getting Others to Buy Into the Changes:

Last April I was told that WCG held a ministerial conference, and the presenter was Dr. A. Hart, Dean, Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theology Seminary. He stated at this conference he "counsels ministers," and "has been friends with the WCG administration for quite some time." The title of the conference was "Managing Change" and spoke primarily to Systems Theory and Consensus and strongly stated: "Pastors are change agents" and "you must get others to buy into the changes." --Anonymous

Comment: The term "change-agent" is New Age terminology. Also read 2009 letter: WCG Guilty of Sensitivity Training.

WCG Ministry Still Using Mind Control Techniques:

The WCG ministry uses mind control techniques on their members, in one form or another, as is described on your web site, and several other sites. I have talked with members who are being "shunned" now, in several congregations, for not going along with the "new understanding." And, I have spoken with members where the minister has threatened to put them out of the church if they do not "sing the WCG music" and "agree" with Mike Feazell's booklets. For quite some time now, I have witnessed people sitting in a trance, in services, transfixed on what is being said by the speaker, When this "programming" of "new understanding" began, everyone was told "Don't you dare to talk about this or you are all a bunch of gossips and rumor mongers!" That was back in the mid 90's. --Anonymous

Finds Out WCG Hadn't Changed After All:

I visited back to a WWC congregation in NJ in 1999 where Joseph Tkach, Jr. flew in to speak. I fully expected to hear a Jesus focused message. Surely by now the change would be complete. I was so shocked. The sermon was essentially identical to one I had heard from various ministers in the WCG at least three times prior to over my 20 years in attendance (the vastness of the universe and the distances between galaxies and sheer size of the universe pointing to the awesomeness of God, etc.). Interesting material yes, but I saw nothing in the sermon that indicated to me that he really knows Jesus.  Thanks for your work and effort in sustaining the website. You have my prayer support. --Former WCG member 

Defending a Notorious Criminal:

In reading (again) the Letters to Janis Hutchinson and her supporting WCG despite such revealing writings, I am reminded of a team of defense attorneys defending a notorious criminal. It seems to me that Janis, Ruth Tucker and Hanegraaff (and perhaps others) make up the equivalent of a team of defense attorneys who defend the criminal regardless of overwhelming evidence of guilt. These defenders have been paid (called "consulting fees" perhaps) to come to the defense of WCG and they are going to stick to doing what they are being paid, or rewarded for. Again, thank you so much for the great work you are doing. I find good professional quality work done on your excellent site. Yours, --Recent WCG exiter

HWA and GTA Behaved Like Alcoholics:

It's obvious to me that HWA and GTA, both behaved like alcoholics. I remember HWA being drunk while giving a sermon at one of the feast sites. My dad walked out of services and soon after that we quit going to the WCG. My mom and dad really regret being sucked into the WCG. --Former member

WCG Retains Much of its Past "Cult"-ure:

I'm a survivor of the Worldwide Church of God. I was a teenager in it during the 70's and spent my twenties enslaved to its doctrines and regulations. The effects of the Worldwide Church of God's teachings were devastating, both financially and personally.

Personally I lost nearly $100,000 because I followed the requirements of the cult to pay three tithes plus offerings. The effects also contributed to a host of difficulties that I have had regarding authority figures and my ability to interact effectively with others.

I am glad to say that I have made and continue to make significant progress in recovering from my experience. I am now a doctoral student doing research into ways that groups can surface and deal with info that is important to their acting both effectively and justly.

I deeply contest those whom assert that the Worldwide Church of God is no longer a cult. I believe that there is not a black and white division between cult and non-cult. There is a whole range of ways that an organization can be partly a cult and partly not. While the Worldwide Church of God has moved closer to non-cult status by its doctrinal changes, I believe it still retains much of its past "cult"-ure, and, because of the ways it acts, is still very much a cult. --Former WCG survivor

Never Want to Forget How Awful WCG Was:

I have truly been helped by ESN. I still re-read a lot of the Articles. I never want to forget how awful the WWCG was or kid myself it wasn't that bad. Thank you again. I appreciate so much what you are doing. I personally think it is a difference between spiritual death and spiritual life. --N.C.

No One Should Ever Have to Go Through Such Mental Torture:

I lived in the WWCG hell for 15 years. After one year of marriage, I stayed in the "church" so that my husband would not leave me. I discovered the truth about the organization and lived the lie for almost 15 yrs. This cult destroyed my identity, marriage, self-worth, relationships towards others, etc. It has taken me over 2 years of intense therapy to recover from the effects of this destroyer. I realize how the WCG could make people with very low self-worth (including very well educated people) get hooked on the idea of "being somebody" by the idea of becoming a "God" in the world tomorrow. How I now wish I had never had this experience. I cannot begin to tell you all of the things that happened to me; but, no one should ever have to go through such mental torture. I sincerely hope you can help others to rid themselves of the anger and damage this church had done to all of us. Best wishes, --Former WCG survivor

Stories About GTA Are True:

I just read your article on Garner Ted Armstrong. Since I know the man very well, having worked with him several years, I can say that your description of him is right on the money. I've never known anyone as self-absorbed, self-serving, and egotistical as that man. He is an expert at twisting the truth, rewriting history, and distorting the facts. He is a professional repenter and master cover-up artist. No one can match his skills in diversionary and displacing blame. And he is--or at least was--a notorious "sex addict." I used to think the allegations of his adulterous activity were greatly exaggerated or just outright lies. I was shocked to discover that all the stories I had heard in the past only scratch the surface. The guy has carried on one adulterous affair after another from the 1950s to at least 1995, at which time he got caught on tape. I have seen the tape, and while I don't believe there is any evidence of sexual assault, there is plenty of disgusting, lewd behavior. The lawsuit was settled out of court a couple years ago, but GTA has his devotees put out the lie that the case was thrown out on grounds that it had no merit. The lawsuit against the "church" was thrown out and never went to trial, but the lawsuit against GTA was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. GTA and his followers cover the facts by deliberately confusing the two lawsuits. --Former ICG member

Comment: Read this ex member's story: My Journey From the Depths of Despair.

WCG in Bed With Global Unity Movement:

I have been reading with much interest the OIU section of the ESN website. I have been suspicious for years that WCG was in bed with the global unity movement. These articles prove it. God bless, --Former WCG member

Your Web Site Has Done so Much For Me:

I simply cannot fully express my most deep appreciation for your web site and how much it has done for me. It is quite obvious that you have done much very valuable research that has aided you in having simply the best web site available to help those of us who have needed it so much. I feel sure you have also gone to a lot of personal expense in your honest efforts to offer what has been needed by the survivors of spiritual abuse.

May God ever so richly bless you. --Florida

HWA a Poisonous Influence:

I left attending WCG around 1992. I came into the WCG in 1976 but studied The Plain Truth since 1967! (Take it no more). It saddens, but more annoys me that I still think about WCG, inevitably it seems, so much.

I was amazed at how fixated HWA was on "Satan." This was like a clarion call, to get his "troops" lined up behind him and obedient. I've also read of some of the reformers who were dedicated gentle men and breathed quite a different spirit than HWA.

I've read that not a few who have left WCG become atheists and I recall a Baptist telling me in 1973 that, "One day you'll see through it all (i.e., WCG). I just hope you don't lose faith."

I somehow got married (despite WCG) and have children to worry about. Overall, I can't help thinking that this man (HWA) was quite a poisonous influence.

Best regards, --England

WCG Allows Members to Mix Grace Plus Law:

I was thinking something about the WCG changes. They are saying they believe now that the only way to God is to accept the grace of Jesus. But even they do admit that they keep some things they've always done--like Saturday worship, the feast and the holy days. Isn't that the same thing as the Galatians did? WCG says they believe that salvation is from Jesus and not by works, yet they continue to observe the Law of Moses for the sake of tradition. Isn't that just placing themselves back into bondage? What would be the reason for keeping part of the old covenant if the New Covenant is what matters? Isn't that just wasting time and effort. I was thinking that all that time and effort spent on observing the old covenant would be better spent teaching the members about Jesus. I wish I could hear a sermon that's recent because I know very well that my dad in WCG hasn't been taught about any kind of freedom in grace. --Central United States

Email From Dr. Robert L. Sumner (Amazed So Many Welcomed WCG):

Thank you for that word [about my new pamphlet]. I am glad some are finding it helpful. I have been disappointed that more of the "cult watchers" didn't pick up on it--and I have been amazed (to say nothing of chagrined) that so many have welcomed the WWCG into their arms as "beloved brethren." --Dr. Sumner

Read: Worldwide Church of God's Faulty Orthodoxy (shows why Dr. Robert Sumner in his booklet, Is Armstrong's Cult Now Orthodox? A New Look at the Worldwide Church of God! believes there are strong reasons to be skeptical in accepting the new WCG as now Orthodox.)

Fighting to Recover:

I just stumbled on this site and am in deep depression. As well as fighting to recover on my own after leaving the cult, I have to come to terms with the death of my mother at the same time and lots of other things. Thanks for the site, I'm going to explore it. The light at the end of the tunnel just got a bit brighter. The death of my father nearly pulled me out but now I have nothing family-wise. It's a real battle. --Former survivor

Can Still Hear HWA in the Back of My Mind:

I was never a full fledged member of the WWCG but read lots of the books. I also read a lot of Garner Ted's books too. 

I still can hear HWA in the back of my mind. I wish I had never read the first Plain Truth. I live in constant fear of the end of time because of what they taught. We should look forward to Jesus' return, not dread. HWA's son seems to teach a mean God and a God of wrath rather than a loving Heavenly Father.

I just wanted to say thanks for the website. I'm glad I was not alone on how I felt concerning his teachings. --Used to read Armstrong literature

The Past Has Tainted the WCG:

The way I see it, and maybe I'm wrong, but the WCG's theology may have changed but it is too hard to believe that the leaders have changed. They still seem so arrogant. They keep holding on to the holy days like the feast of tabernacles ("our tradition") and holy day offerings, but at the same time say that it's "not required to keep." That's a contradiction of what grace is. In my view, the past has tainted what the WCG was and is and I could never go back there for that reason. There are a lot of good churches out there and I believe that we have found one of them. --Former WCG member

ESN a Safe Place for Child Survivors:

I have just finished reading your article "A Letter to All Child Survivors." All I seem to be able to say is thank you!! What a blessing you are to myself and others. I would like to thank you, also, for making this a "safe place" for all of us to "dump" our garbage. As you stated, so many feel there is no place to go. Our feelings of shame, separation, inability to feel and understand God's love in the right way--all of this needs to come out and the feelings need to be validated. Thank you for doing that. I thank God for you and your dedication to help, support, and be there for those who so desperately need you. If there is anything that I can do to help, please let me know. I am still working through the anger, but I know that God is there and that He understands and will hold my hand through it all. I also know that He puts people out there for us, such as yourself, to help us. My prayer is that this coming year there will be many who feel lost and hopeless that will come to see there is hope, that God is there, and He understands. --Child survivor of WCG

Your Work Has and Will Impact Many:

At the same time that all of this darkness is being revealed, the Lord is blessing my wife, my children and me. It has been truly amazing. 

Thank you for all the work that you do. If you ever have one of those days, and we all do, where you think that what you do is "humdrum" or is "drudgery," or that you and your friends at ESN are not making a difference, think again. Your work has and will impact many, many lives for generations to come. --Former WCG member

Teenager Grew Up Inside WCG:

I am a teenager. I used to live with my grandparents. They are in the WWCG. I used to be in it, then I found out it was a cult. But ever since I was a little girl, my family believed in the WWCG. My sisters and I always felt different from kids that went to our schools, especially at Christmas and other holidays. We weren't allowed to have birthday parties, or sing Christmas songs at our school, or do anything that had to do with other holidays that we didn't believe. I'm just glad I found out about the WWCG before it ruined my life. My mom sometimes tells me what it was like growing up in the cult, and she said it has messed up her life totally. I think this is a really good web site for people to recover. Thanks. --Child survivor or WCG in Florida


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