January 1, 2014 to present
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What's New (new postings; testimonies; notices)
NOTICE: The McNair PDF book has now been re-sized down to 1.6 MB. If anyone in the past didn't have enough room on their server to receive large attachments, please feel free to request it again. (See our Booklist for a description)
Neil Earle Now Taking Part in Christmas Pageants:
January 2, 2014
ESN, I can't believe my eyes. I refused to attend Christmas parties 30 years ago because the WCG forbade Christmas celebration as a "pagan holiday." Now that I look at Neil Earle's website, I see him taking part in Christmas Pageants! When I went to him and questioned his teachings back then, he said that I had a big head. In this picture [sent to ESN], his head seems to be of normal size, but there is something wrong with his mouth--two different things come out of that same mouth! --Child Survivor of WCG
God is Showing Me the New Covenant:
January 3, 2014
I am an ex-member of WCG. I was exposed to their literature and broadcasts from quite a young age and eventually thought I had to follow the doctrines, based on the Sabbath issue. Now, almost a lifetime later, God is showing me that what is operational for us now is the New Covenant written by God in our hearts. Following Christ is a spiritual issue of love, walking in faith, relying upon Jesus' own righteousness, not our own. It has nothing to do with an outward show of any sort or keeping a set of rules. Jesus himself is the Rest that we enter when we trust in Him. The OT laws just foreshadowed everything that is now found in Jesus.
My precious family has been terribly affected by our experience in WCG. There is still a lot of healing yet to go through. --UK
January 6, 2014
After a taxing ordeal and being marked in the PCG (which split up our family from 2010 to present day), we went for two weeks to the RCG. Two weeks was all it took!! The second week David Pack gave a sermon via CD about the ten virgins of Matthew 25. At the end of the sermon with raised voice he was promoting how this work was going to build a campus and maybe someday they would have a plane like Herbert Armstrong so he could take the gospel around the world. Then he yelled, "Don't leave your money to your children as an inheritance; give it to the church!"
I watched as my husband closed his notebook. When we contacted the local minister that we would not be returning, he tried desperately to explain that this was "a strong sermon for newcomers and we should not be hasty to leave. After all, this was 'meat' we had not heard before." Even though those people were truly excited about this "growing work," we explained that this was not new to us. We had been supporting the work, building a campus and auditorium, youth camps, a magazine and a broadcast; we had heard all of this before in the PCG--same thing, different place. We had poured our hearts and lives into "the work." How many works, auditoriums, and campuses must there be before Christ returns?!! We had already given thousands of dollars to the "work" in Edmond. It was like a slap in the face. While the Flurrys and Turgeons are living in relative luxury surrounded by the comfort of family, what inheritance would our scattered children have? We had been giving it all to the "work." Now a different guy wanted to lay claim to it professing to be the "one." That was the day that I said, "Wait a minute...what is the common factor here?" --Former PCG and two time attendees of RCG (enough is enough)
Friend Sucked Into Living Church of God:
January 10, 2014
I just wanted to say thank you for having this site. My best friend has been sucked into Living Church of God. I didn’t realize how bad it was and how badly they distort the Bible until recently… I am deeply concerned for him. He’s not the same person he was and it's not good. Please continue to run this website and help others. --[name withheld]
Recently Left UCG:
January 10, 2014
My husband and I were raised in WWCG and recently left UCG after a lot of studying on our own (with a whole lot of prayer!) and realizing a lot of false teachings. --Impacted by UCG
Going to Read Your Page More Often:
January 15, 2014
Hello ESN, I'm an adult child of WCG. ... I'm going to read your page more often. Everything that happened in the past has come rushing back. I have to find a way to deal with it. Thank you for the work you do. --Child survivor of WCG
Your Site Has Helped Me Exit All "Churches of God":
January 15, 2014
Dear people at ESN, I would like to thank you very much for your Web site which has helped me more than I can say in helping me exit all "churches of God." I feel a true sense of freedom now that I could never had imagined whilst stuck in the organisations that I first joined in 1964, which was then called the Radio Church of God. I was a young lady of 24 then, and have spent the best part of my life in the WCG and offshoots (GCG [LCG], UCG, PCG and RCG) until I discovered your site last August. It was your site which finally woke me up to the real truth about all these groups, for which I am truly grateful, and I am going forward now in leaps and bounds, thanks to you. I do not know of anyone else in my area who has exited, and I was wondering if you could help me get in touch with anyone who would like to contact me. Thanks again. --Western Australia
Comment: If anyone wants to be put in touch with other exiters, they need to first visit the "If You Would Like to Email Others" page.
January 18, 2014
I have occasionally attended COGWA (Church of God, A Worldwide Association) since it began and wanted to give some observations.
COGWA is an organization that supposedly formed very quickly, as most of it's ministers and members were once part of the United Church of God (UCG). I listened online to the first messages that were given about 3 years ago. This was their official start, but the future leaders of COGWA had been scheming in secret for months. I won't take the time to go into the reasons that it formed or the "sermons," but I knew that COGWA was in for problems from the start.
My understanding is that COGWA took 2/3 of the paid ministry from UCG, but only 1/3 of its members. I have talked with several members and I don't know if some of them really understand why they left. Many of the members just played follow the leader. Some didn't want to be cut-off from the local minister, family, friends, and activities. One big problem is that if the local paid UCG minister didn't leave and take members with him, there isn't a local COGWA group in their area. Even Chicago doesn't have a local group listed on their website. Members in the area where I have attended are driving up to 200 miles round-trip to services, all to meet with a group that is about 1/3 the size of their previous UCG congregation.
It appears that 80% or more of COGWA's operational expenses are going to salaries, expense accounts, and perks. They must reduce their paid ministerial crew if they have dreams of accomplishing any kind of outreach. They sure aren't doing any real big work! They are finally putting out an e-magazine called Discern: A Magazine of Life, Hope & Truth. This has been done by organizations that are 1/10 of the size of COGWA. I think they boasted about 9500 members worldwide at the Feast in 2013. The Feast statistics showed that at least 1/2 or more of the attendance at the Feast was outside of the USA. If the brethren in these areas are impoverished, this could be another reason that COGWA is struggling to do a major work. Not enough tithe payers.
I believe that COGWA is a "politically correct church of God" that is scared of being sued for hate speech. The sermons and Bible studies that are made available all have to be gone over by at least one doctrinal committee before anyone is allowed to hear them--even members.
COGWA invented themselves as a ponderous, bureaucratic organization right from the start. They say they want to preach the Gospel, but they get in their own way so much and make everything so labor intensive.
It's okay though, they don't have anything new to say that the old-WCG and most of it's splinters haven't already been saying for decades, most of which has almost no impact in today's world.
With all this being said I see a bleak outlook for COGWA. Most of the members I know have gone backwards spiritually since attending there. They also have the primary issues of bad health, financial worries, and marriage problems. They changed organizations, but made no attempts to change their lifestyles or their heart. Most have burned their bridges with UCG, and aren't humble enough to go back there. In my opinion both of these organizations are a waste of my time! --E.
Comment: Also read: Why the Church of God, a Worldwide Association Will Splinter and Come to Nothing (2-2-11 letter to ESN) and Info on COGWA at end of our UCG-AIA article.
January 20, 2014
David Hulme's COG, An International Community has crumbled. A lot of his ministers have left and formed another splinter group in Pasadena which they named Church of God, Family Church. It's doubtful Hulme had more than about 3000 with him. He has been going downhill for years. Hulme's group is very secretive, so it's hard to find out much information. You have to have a password to look on their website--as if we really need a password to God! --Former member of WCG, PCG & RCG
Glad I'm Not Alone in What I Went Through:
January 29, 2014
I came into the WWCG in 1982 and left in 2000. Your article on how HWA recruited people could have been written by me. It was almost identical to how I came into the WWCG. I lost money and relationships. I can't get back all those years that were spent going to this "church" thinking it was the one true church. What a waste. Glad I found your web site and found out I'm not alone in what I went through. --D.
Never Knew Anything About the Wide Goings On in WCG:
February 3, 2014
I would be pleased to receive the PDF book, The Broadway to Armageddon. I read the PT since 1957. I was age 13. I joined the WCG in 1975, and my attendance declined gradually in 1992 until I left in 1993. I live in Northern Ireland. Perhaps we were "isolated" but I never knew anything about the wide goings on that I read on ESN site. All we had was The Worldwide News, but I can see so many similarities in problems, etc. A member said to me, "There is no spontaneous warmth in the ministry," and I agreed. My own two children who grew up there frankly today couldn't give a monkey's *** and are totally non church. I often wonder where all the children are today. I was the YES [Youth Educational Services] "appointed" leader and that meant weekly half hour lessons after the two-hour service--too much for children. Thank you for the book. --Northern Ireland
Astounded at WAT [WCG/Armstrong/Tkach organization] and SDA Parallels:
February 13, 2014
As a former SDA, I am simply astounded at the parallels of WAT [WCG/Armstrong/Tkach] and SDA. You came out of such a small group, but are doing a much better job of analyzing than former SDAs have done--much more discernment about the maneuvering with CGI [Grace Communion International], it seems to me. They did the same deceitful negotiations to dodge the cult bullet.
Have you ever researched and written about SDA? If not, I hope you will. --M. B.
Comment: "WAT" is covered in OIU Newsletter #1, Pt. 1 and OIU #2, Pt. 1, 2 & 3.
Christians Being Blown by Every Wind of Doctrine:
February 14, 2014
I am requesting David Robinson's book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.
I was unfortunate enough to read Herbert Armstrong's The United States and Britain in Prophecy, where I was riveted by Armstrong's key to Bible prophecy and convicted of the sin of Sabbath breaking. Needless to say, these convictions were transitory and unsustainable in the light of evidence, and I eventually returned to the true Gospel. I never actually joined the WCG, yet I was for awhile oppressed by Armstrong's works-based teachings until I could discover the truth. During this time, I was unaware of what other doctrines Armstrong taught, and when I discovered what he taught concerning the nature of God [see footnote #9 in MOA 6, Pt. 5], I was repulsed. However, I was also interested in the doctrinal shift occurring in the WCG and I optimistically attended services under their new policies. I believed that God was doing a good work in their organization.
Nevertheless, I was left with an empty feeling because of their apparent decision to sit on the fence concerning many important non-essential issues. They seemed to just use the label "non-essential" to sweep any doctrinal issue, wherein they still entertained a minority view, under the rug. I have wondered whether this once fundamentalist cult was now becoming liberal. While Armstrong seemed to teach that the Sabbath commandment was related to God's resting on the literal 7th day since he created the heavens and the earth, Tkach now seemed to accept the day-age theory. I feel that it is better to be an ultra-dispensationalist who has his mind made up on every issue than to be mystified and confused about every issue that isn't essential. Being misguided about minor things (and who isn't?) is far better than being blown by every wind of doctrine. Most of WCG's literature offers no answers but only more questions. I have also followed Hank Hanegraaff, who was introduced to me by his own Plain Truth column, and had similar issues with his vague teachings. There was nothing at all refreshing about his eschatology, which was simply garden variety amillennialism.
There are certain things about the seeker-sensitive movement that don't sit right with me. Mega-churches with zillions of Bible studies with more involvement in my private life than I am comfortable with, modern music where you can't hear the lyrics and singing in tune is difficult, hymns that go on forever with the last stanza and never get over with, vague motivational preaching with rarely a clear presentation of the Gospel, are just some of the impressions I come away with. And then I hear of the spiritual disciplines that detract from Christian liberty. The church is a mess, and WCG (GCI) is not a better example.
And now I hear that Herbert Armstrong doesn't even qualify as a sincere but misguided teacher. His incest and secret doctor visits have to be considered rank hypocrisy and lawlessness that clearly contradicts Herbert's own teaching. --J. C.
Comment: Many Christians today are being deceived and led away from the true gospel of Jesus Christ into another (or new) gospel taught by false teachers / false prophets. See our section: Expose` on Worldwide Church of God (GCI"), especially the OIU Newsletters, and Discernment & Research on our Links.
Sick, Angry and Disillusioned at What I Found Out About Herbert Armstrong:
February 25, 2014
Hi. I just heard a couple days ago about the allegations against Herbert Armstrong, the man who was always considered beyond reproach. I feel sick inside at not only the gross immorality, but the blatant hypocrisy too. I would like to discover what the truth really is, if that is possible. Many people I know still think he was such a wonderful man, but the things I have lately read about the cover up and lies for his sexually perverted son (GTA), the unfair and hypocritical treatment of others, his own sexual deviance, the way he lived in lavish wealth while the people supporting him did without, etc., just makes me feel sick and angry and very disillusioned. I was one of those who did without, felt very sad and deprived, felt so very oppressed and suffocated and controlled and uncared about, who was always harshly judged, and lived in fear of ever "leaving the church," was even kicked out because the WCG didn't need any imperfect sinners, and if my deep depression caused me to kill myself, oh well. No love or support or encouragement was offered, only condemnation, etc. But I still felt like I was the hideous failure. Anyway, If you can please email to me that PDF file of the Tangled Web book, I would appreciate it. Thanks.
It has been a long time coming, but I am slowly seeing more and more of the fallacious and arrogant and self-righteous thinking that was so prevalent in the COGs. --Child survivor of WCG
March 3, 2014
I thought the following [from OIU 6, Pt. 1] was quite insightful on your part:
"...those who read the Ambassador Report (since 1994) were tossed into deeper mystification and complexity by Carl Jungian apprentice and Editor, John Trechak.
"[UPDATE: In the beginning Trechak and the team he worked with appeared to have a very noble goal. But after awhile, the message in his AR became mixed, causing people to become bitter instead of being on the road to healing. Later reports were referring readers off to agnostic, aberrant, meta-physical, humanistic, and anti-Bible sources through comments, letters, addresses and book titles. John Trechak died September 2, 1999. The AR is now posted on an atheist website.]"
I remember my brother John drifting into Jung and assorted areas off the beaten track that made me concerned for him. He was a courageous and caring person--quite brilliant actually--who never escaped the deleterious effects of the Armstrong corruptions he wrote about.
I look forward to future visits to your website.
Sincerely, Andrew Trechak
God Used Your Website to Open My Eyes:
March 18, 2014
Dear ESN, I want to tell you what an invaluable service you are providing. I feel that God has used your website to help open my eyes to the errors of Armstrongism. And for that I am thankful. I was raised in WCG so leaving that mindset was a long and arduous process. Oh, the battle stories I have to tell! I will follow up at a later time. I was wondering if you could provide me with the following PDF's: Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, Armstrongism: Religion Or Rip-Off, The Broadway to Armageddon. Thank you so much and may God richly bless your service! --Raised in WCG
Joining LCG Totally Changed Husband-to-Be For the Worse:
March 24, 2014
I came across your site today and was instantly interested. My best friend and the man I was to marry broke up with me last year because of his recent connection with the Living Church of God. Joining this organization totally changed him for the worse, and he was told that he must cut his losses (i.e. ditch me), be baptized and repent. He has been mind controlled by them into believing they are the "one true church of God" and that he cannot be part of LCG if he marries me. He is now the shell of the man he used to be. --Impacted by LCG
I Repressed My Entire Childhood:
March 24, 2014
Your website is fantastic. I just stumbled onto it while searching for "United Church of God cult" on a whim. I was born into the WCG, before my family joined the United Church of God in Cincinnati, OH in the 1990s, and I never realized there was a site like this that really understands why I am who I am today. I've basically repressed my entire childhood. I work in advertising, but I don't "get" pop culture and have a deep-seated skepticism in every situation. The whole reason my upbringing has been on my mind lately is because I'm having trouble leaving an abusive job (it's very cult-like, no surprise) and I couldn't figure out why it was so hard for me. I moved to NYC and have completely lost touch with all the other young people I grew up with in the WCG. I wonder if your site has some kind of list or way to contact people who went to certain congregations during certain years. It would be wonderful to be able to connect with people who went through the same thing, if they too are no longer part of the cult. Either way, thanks again. --Child survivor of WCG
Comment: See: If You Would Like to Email Others
Exploitation in the Name of God:
March 26, 20114
Just wanted to drop a quick note of encouragement. I really appreciate the website you have set up. I read a lot of the write ups about the Worldwide Church of God and their exploitation in the name of God. That organization is not the only one though. I have seen it first hand in many of the Baptist churches regarding giving of your time and finances to further God's Kingdom.
The last pastor at the local First Baptist Church commanded a six figure income and a five year contract so he could not be fired. Mind you this all takes place in a very low income area where the average income is $35,000 to $40,000. He almost bankrupted them with his elaborate shows and exotic trips. He's somewhere in Florida now doing the same thing there, but this is not the only instance of this type exploitation of immature Christ followers. Sadly it is rampant within the Southern Baptist Convention churches. Being a Baptist preacher is a very lucrative and quite cushy profession. There are a few exceptions that really do want to do right by God, but I have not found many. They twist Scripture to further their warped agenda.
The latest report that I've gotten is now people are being told to tithe 10% to the church for their monthly budget and then are to give additional money to fund building projects on the campus. This extra money was very specifically stated as being above and beyond the normal tithe. Sure does resemble the same organization you all are writing about.
I just got a book in the mail today from Christian Biblical Church of God written by Fred Coulter and did not know why I got it. Neither my wife nor I requested the book. So I did a search for the author and found a link to your website. Once I got to your website I found it very interesting and encouraging in the sense that I see a very real similarity with Baptist churches.
We have a small group that meets at my home once a month for a real Bible study and we all have had issues with today's churches always asking for money only to see them just waste it on their own personal agendas that don't have real results. We don't affiliate with any denomination, just simply Christ followers.
Anyway, thanks again for your great website. Take care and God bless. --B.
March 26, 2014
I thought you might find this humorous.
In 2009 I was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after four years of service. I was transferred to the Marine Corps Reserves and later I was offered a chance to temporarily go back on active duty to serve in a 100% support role (administrative clerk processing paperwork and serving as an executive assistant to a Commanding General). The position would not require me to go overseas. After counseling with the local LCG minister he replied with the following e-mail:
Hi, Mr. [John Doe]
I have been thinking about your situation. I hope you have sought ministerial counsel. I wonder if your job, although they tell you it is not a combat role, is the kind of job that, should no one be found to do it, they would need to take someone out of a combat job to fill it. In effect, you would be supporting a war effort. We are not to do violence to any man. Also, should you end up in a combat zone, the enemy will not know you are in a non-combat role. You would be the enemy, and subject to their efforts to kill you.
Best wishes. Maybe something else will come along.
I nearly doubled over with laughter that this grown man truly believed that supporting "the war effort" was offensive to God when in fact a portion of the tax dollars everyone pays "supports the war effort."
Also, I was with LCG for about three years and lied about my occupation to stay (I believed and still do believe that military service is not a sin).
I left two years ago.
Feel free to use this however you wish as long as it helps to expose them.
Thanks again. --Ex LCG
Great Service For Those Who Have Been Traumatized:
April 3, 2014
I am studying the WWCOG and I think the book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web would be extremely helpful in understanding much of what was going on at Ambassador College in the 70's and why GTA was asked to leave. It's clear you provide a great service for those who have been traumatized by the WWCOG as administered by HWA. Thank you for your service. --S.
April 4, 2014
ESN, thank you for all the work you have done over the years to help so many of us with a WCG background. --Ambassador College graduate
No Mercy, Love, Hospitality, etc., in Christian Churches of God:
April 5, 2014
Dear friends, how happy I am to get in touch with you. I was a former member, baptized into Armstrongism in 1990. Four years ago I met via the internet Christian Churches of God (Wade Cox). But there never was a good communication via personal email and no human mercy, Christian love, solidarity or hospitality in Christ. I'm taking good note of your web page and I am very glad to have found you by these mechanical means. We remain in contact. A brotherly embrace. --Spain
I Was Told to Leave WCG and Never Come Back:
April 14, 2014
My mother was a member of WWCG for many years and my siblings and I were raised in "The Church." I was a teenager when Earl Roemer, the minister, came in one Saturday morning. He got out of his car, walked up to me and told me I was no longer welcome in the church. He told me that I was to leave and never come back. My mother tried to talk to him about it and was told to not interfere. At the time, I had been in trouble with the local police. Not anything serious, but I guess that doesn't matter to them. If anything, "The Church" should have asked my mother if they could help, instead of what they did. As for myself, that was the absolute best thing they could have done, because it not only got me out of there, but it also opened my mother's eyes. She finally saw the truth about them. My mother quit going to HWA's "only true Church," and then when GTA opened his CGI [Church of God International], she started there.
But, since the leaves don't fall far from the tree, she soon realized that GTA was not any better. My mother was a widow raising 7 children on her own, with only my father's Social Security checks as income. I have no idea how she was able to raise us and give support to WCG.
Could you please send me Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web?
I still have dreams about that "church" and it's been almost 40 years since they through me out. I just can't get them completely out of my head. Every time I see a picture of Herbert Armstrong, it just makes me want to puke. I can't stand to see his picture. I know it's wrong, but, I was glad to hear of his death. And then in 2003, I jumped for joy when GTA died.
I know I'm not the only one that has felt that way. God bless each one of us that had to go through the healing of what they did!!
I also want to thank you for making this website possible. I just happened to stumble across it and I was surprised to see it. I can't believe the things that "The Church" taught us was wrong, yet all the while they were doing the exact same things, but it was OK for them. It also hurt me to read that so many of the children of the past ministers and former members had committed suicide. I also went through those thoughts, but thank God, it just wasn't my time to go. Thankfully though, I no longer have those thoughts.
Thank you for opening the eyes of other former members, so that they can see the truth themselves. --Randy Willis, MO (Child survivor of WCG)
P.S. Do you know the former members of Ambassador College? I'm looking for a friend of mine that went there in the 70's.
April 17, 2014
I was reading about Michael Snyder in your OIU newsletter #3, p. 2 and how he did an "about face." The article you link to, "The Marketing of Religion" which covers what Snyder was doing with United Church of God-AIA in 1998 was very interesting. Snyder has no conscience--first helping WCG to mainstream, then leaving WCG, calling it a "cult," then disappearing, then showing up as giving the UCG Council of Elders "marketing" advice on how to fine-tune their image and recruiting methods. I believe he was not only a hypocrite, but one of WCG's "change agents." --Former member of WCG
What's New (new postings; testimonies; notices)