Letters From Those Impacted by
WCG, HWA & Offshoots
Best of the Letters from 2010
January 5, 2010
My son and daughter-in-law (and her family) are deeply involved in the Living Church of God (Roderick Meredith). I exited several years ago from all the group associations. My son is getting more actively involved as of late and relations have been increasingly shaky for us over the last few years. I am now beginning to realize why so many things don't make sense. He asked if I ever look at the LCG website or listen to any messages. I admit I haven't. I got tired of it after so many years. However, I did listen to Rod Meredith's last message in January 2 entitled: "What is Your Breaking Point?" What an eye-opener. I felt as if I was back in the 1960's. They are still preaching the same old stuff. Roderick Meredith must have mentioned Herbert W. Armstrong 30 or 40 times in that 79 minutes. He even went so far as to say that a man will say when it is time to flee to the place of safety. It may not be himself, probably Richard Ames, but a man will be the one to say when. This is the message that RM's "true church" is preaching. And, basically, if you aren't in the center of the "true church" (i.e. LCG) you are in big trouble--fallen away--and you had better be listening to God's government-based hierarchy because that is the way of the truth. I know it is fruitless to do much else but pray that people's minds will snap to attention. As many know, it is hard, even with a Bible in your hand, to argue with one whose mind is controlled. Let us all pray for these people. --Impacted by loved one in LCG
January 12, 2010
David C. Pack married Vernia Peace nine months after Shirley died. Vernia is the woman Pack paid to stay in the house and take care of Shirley with an expired LPN license. Pack started to work out before Shirley's death even enjoying private racketball games with this "nurse" as his children sat with Shirley. The RCG paid for Vernia to do so. I believe she is 43 years old. --[name withheld]
Comment: The Authorized Biography of David C. Pack, Volume 2, said: "Mrs. Vernia Pack (pronounced (Vûr-nuh) was reared in a large family in the countryside of northern Illinois. In later years she lived in Texas..." However, these words were later deleted from Pack's recent autobiography online and a cached copy in the search engines is no longer available. Read 2007 letter about Shirley Pack's death.
WCG Causes Long Term Damage:
January 14, 2010
I truly respect the good work ESN does. WCG was, and I personally believe [despite name changes] still is, a very dangerous group. They cause long term damage to members and their families. Ex members and existing members suffer the loss of their true God given abilities and potentials. I am becoming more convinced with every year that passes that it was not just a church "that had it wrong"--in retrospect there was always something deeper of evil going on. Its control methods were too well developed and sophisticated. Too well enforced on local ministers by top WCG management for me to believe it did not have external support of some elite kind. --Former WCG member
March 13, 2010
I remember being told many things about the "liberals" in the 70's--how they dared to challenge Herbert Armstrong and God's authority. I heard lots about this, and I'm not too sure if it was because we lived in California and were in HWA's backyard, or because Leroy Cole (our minister) was Wayne Cole's brother (which was kept really hush-hush). But one thing for sure, it was drilled into us that these "liberals" were awful, rebellious people, headed for the Lake of Fire. They were openly ridiculed from the pulpit. It wasn't until I left, and ESN sent me a copy of all the letters those "awful liberals" wrote, that I saw they were actually very intelligent and sincere, and wanted to correct the abuses. --Ex WCG member
Read: 2013 letter from this exiter: It's Good to Know What Really Went on Behind the Scenes.
We'll Never Know the True Damage:
March 16, 2010
Herbert Armstrong has mixed up a lot of people. We'll never know the true damage that has been done to people through many succeeding generations as his doctrines have been passed from generation to generation. He's left a legacy of evil and was/is a despicable man. --Impacted by Armstrongism
March 30, 2010
I am glad that I came across your site and want to thank you for making information available to me on the true stories about David Pack and Restored Church of God. I had been listening to him on the net and just started receiving things in the mail from him, such as books, DVDs, etc. But now, before I got caught up with this cult, I can be thankful for the truth I got from your site. Thank you for saving me a big heartache. --L.
May 20, 2010
I was a member of the WCG, PCG, and finally the Church of God's Faithful. This splinter group, the Church of God's Faithful, founded by Robert Ardis, is very dangerous. They use controlling tactics, guilt, and outright deception. Please warn any to stay away from this group. This group is led by Robert Ardis and his son. If you question or disagree with their teachings--notice I said their teachings--you are ignored or forced out of their group. He and his ministers twist scriptures to fit their preconceived beliefs and ideas. They teach that the Messiah suddenly came to His temple in 1997 and many other false teachings. How outrageous. The messiah has always been with His temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17, 2 Cor. 8:16, Gal.2:20; John 14:17-18. They have been claiming for 12 years now that according to Rev. 3:9 most of the members from the splinter churches will be given to them. Balderdash. For 12 years they have been claiming this. They use catch phrases to trap the members: "We are the true church," "We have new truth" (which is not new truth at all if the members would only study for themselves and not let these ministers think for them and tell them what to believe). This man Ardis told us that he stood in his kitchen one day staring at a glass of water, trying by force of mind to change water to blood. How strange and unstable.
Three ministers and over sixty percent of the members have left this group because of the twisted Scripture teaching, deception, and falsehoods being taught. One of the ministers who left ask Robert Ardis where the was money going because he could not see any fruits or work being done. Ardis said that the money was in the bank for the two witnesses. You read that right, for the two witnesses. As if they will need any money. God says that they are His witnesses. Their needs will be taken care of I'm sure. This would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. This church is a scam. Seeker beware. I was told recently that when they have Bible study that it's really not a Bible study at all but a book study. He reads strictly from his books and not from the Word of God. This is to indoctrinate them in his teachings. Again his teachings! Members used to be able to speak or talk about just anything after Sabbath services. Now they can only talk about what is taught by him and his ministry or what they have been indoctrinated with. He and his ministry use the same tactics, strategy and words as Gerald Flurry and the PCG. This is a spiritually dangerous group. I'm finished with the Church of God churches. --Name withheld
Spiritual Abuse in the Name of Christianity:
September 10, 2010
I am requesting a PDF copy of the book Armstrongism: Religion or Rip Off (as referenced on your web page).
My wife and I were long-term members of the WCG for over twenty-five years, but in 1998 we finally left for good. Our departure was not due to any of the standard reasons (including the famous doctrinal changes); rather it was because of some serious personal difficulties we were experiencing with a couple of local church members at that time. After this, for ten years (from 1999 to 2009) we attended a non-denominational church in our area, but over time we found that it was gradually taking on a "seeker friendly" communitarian "group think" approach to worship, along with sermons that bore the hallmark of the popular contemporary "Purpose Driven" movement. Later on we were bombarded with legalistic exhortations to become "missional," and that failing to be missional in our approach to "doing church" might mean that we could actually be "scattering the (God's) harvest" (actual quote from a sermon). Other statements by the pastor of the church strongly suggested that God might remove His "power" from us if we failed to perform our missional duties, and that our Christian calling essentially had no purpose without these requisite missional activities. Strangely enough, the definition of what it takes to be a missional Christian was never clearly explained. In one of the religious publications we were exposed to in small group studies that I (unfortunately) got involved with, it was stated that membership in a local church, small group participation, and being accountable to church leaders was something God expected from His followers. Beliefs such as these, including the perspective that the process of salvation is a "group exercise," are not too far removed from the cultic mindset that we had emerged from ten years earlier! I also found it very strange that nobody in the church, other than my wife and myself, seemed to be troubled by these teachings.
When we started to experience all of this legalistic fluff, my thought was: "Here we go again!! What goes around comes around!!" I was increasingly feeling a sense of betrayal; here we had been attending a local church that we believed was exclusively preaching the gospel of grace, and instead we were starting to hear various legalistic concepts that were reminiscent of the doctrines we had been exposed to for over twenty years in the WCG!!
One example of this was the repeated emphasis on the necessity for church members to be missional, and that one's calling had no meaning without his or her involvement in missional activism. This had a scary resemblance to HWA's pronouncements back in the 70's and 80's, where he stated that we weren't primarily called for our personal salvation; rather we were called to "do the work" (WCG's version of "mission"). The flip side of this particular teaching was very clear--our calling was worthless if we weren't supporting "the work" with sufficient diligence, and the consequence of failure would result in the loss of one's personal salvation!
Unfortunately, such equivalent works oriented and communitarian doctrines seem to be alive and well in a number of present day churches, ministries and "Christian" publications, albeit they may be somewhat "diluted" as compared to what we had to endure in the WCG. My focus now, however, is much less on the abuses of the past, and more on what is going on today within many mainstream churches and ministries.
My motivation in requesting this e-book therefore, is to highlight issues with respect to the abusive tactics employed by so many self-styled "purveyors of truth" that saturate the religious media (notice I didn't say "Christian" media), and not so much about HWA personally. The WCG experience is far behind us, and we no longer have any real issues or grudges remaining. I don't intend to open old wounds that have healed, but to more effectively understand the modus operandi that HWA used, and to see how it correlates with some of the questionable tactics employed by many modern day ministries. Acts of spiritual abuse in the name of Christianity are ubiquitous, and it is obvious that HWA effectively exploited most of them to the max.
--J. Anderson (Former member of WCG, Winnipeg Canada)
Abused and Slandered by Christian Churches of God:
September 29, 2010
I found your site and was happy it's out there but sad it's needed. I have recently left a Herbert Armstrong cult by the name of Christian Churches of God (CCG) where I suffered abuse and slander. I watched as elders and administration treated others (who truly were kind and Christ-like) the same way. I have written proof of these abuses and revealing mindset at work from the General Coordinator and founder of the church [Wade Cox] and his inner circle. I am greatly concerned as he has established fast growing roots in Africa. At their growth rate it will be a million a year if it continues. He is using their poor condition to do what many evil men have done forever, gain followers and claim proof of self-appointed authority. If there was anything on the Internet that could show the true character of this group and its officials, it may be helpful in informing people of their actions before they are immersed in this religious cult. Please consider posting this on your site so that even one person could be informed before it's too late. --Davina (Former member of CCG)
Your Help to Exiters Goes Way Beyond:
October 10, 2010
Your help that is being given to ex WWCG and all of its splinter groups is way beyond any measure. ... Thank you for all you do. When I look back, I find it so hard to think that I, too, used to take it as truth all that HWA and Co. handed out. I got kicked out for going out with a non member and that was some 30 years or so now and that was the best thing they ever did for me. The lady went on to become my dear wife. The mind control these groups have over people is terrible. Keep up your good work as it does do a lot for confused members. --Kind regards, David in England
I Felt God Called Me Out of WCG:
October 31, 2010
Thanks so much for the articles on your website. I grew up in WCG and stopped attending in 1994. ... I do not attend church anywhere now but enjoy listening to and watching different religious programs on TV. and radio.
Just like it felt like I was called into WCG in the early 1980's, I also felt like God called me out in 1994. I liked a lot of the new changes that Mr. Tkach made when he took over but I did not think it was right in how they went about it. I was in the North Atlanta congregation and had heard that this was one of two test churches. I remember going to services and hearing sermons that were very confusing and would leave there every Sabbath not knowing what to believe. After all, this was suppose to be "God's one and only true Church."
After leaving WCG in 1994, I attended GCI [Church of God International] for a couple of years only to see that church split up and go into turmoil. I briefly attended United for a few times and then attended another small offshoot of WCG and the Seventh-day Adventist for a few times. Have also visited several different Sunday keeping churches. I have never felt comfortable at any of these churches and its almost like God has been telling me that I am better off not attending any of these.
I still have a strong faith in God and have always tried to live a good life and tried to do everything just right especially while in the WCG years ago. ... I don't keep the Holy Days like I used to. I now think that how a person lives their life is what should be where the focus is. Today I am very fortunate to have a good job that I enjoy going to every day and am very thankful to God for all of my blessings. In a way it's probably best that things turned out the way the did with WCG because if it had not, myself and many others would still be going there every week. I feel guilty whenever the Holy Days come around but still do not want to visit or join any of these churches or groups but do miss the fellowship sometimes.
Sometimes I worry about what God thinks about people like me but I try very hard to live my life everyday as if God is watching my every move and my every thought. I am happy today and for going through the experiences with churches. Thank you for this website. --Child survivor and exiter [name withheld]
Reply: I am glad to hear that the website has been helpful to you. It is common for exiters not to attend any church. ... Yes, Atlanta was considered a "test area." If you haven't already done so, please read: The Earl Williams Factor.
In the group, the holy days were used to control us and we have an article on that: Why Church Leaders Demand Holy Days For Their Members. Leaders of high demand groups would want you to feel guilty if you don't perform. But there is no reason for us to feel guilty anymore. We are free from all their demands. God accepts and loves you freely because of what Christ has already done for you on the cross. You cannot stop Him from loving you. In fact, His desire is to have a personal, loving relationship with us and He is not watching for how He can lower the boom on us.
Really Appreciate the Work You are Doing:
November 8, 2010
I really appreciate the work you are doing. We probably won't really know in this life time how many people have been helped by the ESN website and the communication you have done helping those who would reach out about it.
This year will make 10 years that I have been out of WCG after 29 years in it. It has been the most free period of my life. It is as a great weight lifted off me. I was there as the major doctrinal changes were made in 1994-1995. I hoped those changes would make it a better group but it became apparent to me they were then taking a stand on nothing. --Florida
November 19, 2010
I thank God that I came into contact with your site. I cannot explain how I got directed to your site and I started reading about WCG and one of the offshoots--Living Church of God, led by Dr. Roderick Meredith. I joined the LCG just last year and after attending for few months and got baptised, I noticed that there was something wrong with the LCG. I decided to exit from the group recently.
As I read a testimony written by someone who left the group entitled: Living Church of God Has Religion Based on Works and Fear in January, 2010, it just looked as if I was the one who wrote that article. My Pastor sent me an email regretting ever baptising me because he realised that I was never converted as I told him that I won't be coming to their "church" again. I just want to say keep up the good work as you continued to expose all these false teachers. --K. N., UK
Deception and Abuse Far Great Than I Previously Understood:
December 8, 2010
Thanks for sending Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? It was very eye-opening. The deception and abuse was far greater than I had previously understood. The whole concept of Armstrongism was just a big, disappointing illusion. Finally, after 40+ years, I have shed myself of Armstrongism. Please email a copy of The Broadway To Armageddon by William B. Hinson. --J.
One of the Most Difficult Things Was Realizing They Were Liars:
December 17, 2010
I'm a former WCG member who still struggles with all of this.
Can you please send email me PDF versions of [the 3 books you offer]:
I was in the WCG for over 20 years, an AC graduate, and PT writer during the 1980s. (I left in 1996.)
One of the most difficult things to handle and get over has been realizing that HWA, GTA, and many of the leadership were liars, con-men, and certainly not "taught directly from God." Realizing HWA copied from books was a difficult thing to accept. I always envisioned him doing all of this primary research, being inspired and led by God, not just copying someone else's work.
I really believed them, and thought I was part of a great work, which I realize now was built on a lie, and most WCG leaders were in it for the money. I lost all my friends, had to start over, but I'm making it now. I don't hate the WCG or HWA, I forgive them.
Thanks for your web-site, it's really helped me sort all of this out. Even though HWA died 25 years ago, I'm still getting over it. --[name withheld]