Eight Dead in Living Church of God
Eight people were killed, including the shooter Terry Ratzmann, during a March 12, 2005 shooting spree. Dead are: Pastor Randy Gregory, 50, and his son, James, 17; Harold Diekmeier, 74; Gloria Critari, 55; Bart Oliver, 15; Richard Reeves, 58; and Gerald Miller, 44. Randy Gregory's wife, Marjean, was wounded.
After the tragic incident, members of LCG began meeting every Saturday at a new location in Waukesha, Wisconsin (update August 2006). Many members still have a problem with this shooting spree, but they don't talk about it. This is what is known as the "don't talk rule" in abusive and controlling groups.
Living Church of God is an offshoot of Worldwide Church of God, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong. Roderick C. Meredith was formerly associate editor for The Plain Truth magazine. (Search for The Plain Truth archives on the net to read some of Meredith's false prophecy articles.)
Posted are the best of the letters we received on this shooting spree.
Also see the following:
Info on Roderick Meredith:
March 13, 2005
Roderick Meredith had some strange sermons when I was in Living Church of God and after his videos I would always comment with other members on how they all sounded the same. He was always so pride-filled, talking about how he was the Golden Glove Boxing Champion and how popular he was in high school. I know a man who attended high school with Meredith who said he (Meredith) was not anybody special or popular in school. He wanted to be called "Dr." Meredith. However, his first wife died of cancer (she did not go to a doctor due to the WCG's "no doctors rule"). I knew his son, Mike. He was pretty messed up by how his dad raised him. Meredith has major control issues. The power struggles with the ministers brought the demise of his first "church" Global Church of God. He started out teaching one man government. I know because one of my [relatives] was one of the original members of GCG [Global Church of God]. I do remember the collegiate government very well. Larry Salyer would not come on if Meredith was in total power and he came out with a government on "collegiate government" (rule by a board of elders). (Larry Salyer was our local minister for several years here and we got to know him well.) Then when Larry Salyer took over the GCG and put Meredith out for control issues, Meredith started teaching one man government. The answer that he gave people always depended on who he was talking to and such.
From what I have heard, the LCG does not want its members associating with other WCG offshoot members like the United Church of God or the Philadelphia Church of God and now even family members who do not believe the same way. I was at a LCG Passover service once and a man there got chewed out right before Passover service while everyone was coming in--right in the entrance way--for visiting another splinter (it was a split of Victor Kubic's brother's church). These people lived about a hour and a half drive from services or better and they wanted to go somewhere closer.
One of the LCG congregations had the most old run down unsafe places to meet in. The congregation was almost all widowed, older women, and the only bathroom was in a dimly lit basement. The hall had several steps to get into and the flooring had busted tiles with pieces all over the floor. This was brought up to Meredith, but they had a way of calculating the number of people and how much they were worth per person on what they were allowed to spend for rent of a hall. A local elder here found out the price Meredith paid for rent for his personal office space and left GCG for UCG. It seemed like it was all about the money and Meredith was always asking for it. He got used to the high life under Herbert Armstrong but never reached the money level of the high point at the Worldwide Church of God. We once asked if Meredith believed that HWA was the "end-time Elijah" and a man in LCG said "no," that Meredith did not believe that, and then this person went on to speculate maybe it was Meredith who was the "end-time Elijah." --Former LCG member (exited 2001)
Roderick Meredith Needs to Be Exposed:
March 13, 2005
While I was on the computer last night, I saw the article just as soon as it came up. They didn't know who anybody was but reported that the people were in church services. That's when I thought, "A rented hotel and Sabbath services. I bet they are one of the churches of God." About 30 minutes later I checked the news again, and they mentioned the Living Church of God. I knew my hunch was right. That's when I emailed ESN. Then I emailed CNN under "News Tips" and told them that the Living Church of God was not an evangelical denomination, but a "cult," and that Roderick Meredith broke away from the WCG. I even wanted to call the police department in Wisconsin and tell them about Meredith. I could hardly sleep last night. I want Meredith to be exposed and to get enough people looking at the news to prevent them from going into this awful group! --Former WCG member
WCG Minister said he Never Heard of a Shooting in a Church Before:
March 14, 2005
Seeing as Terry Ratzmann targeted the minister, his wife and son sounds like a pretty good indicator he was about to be dissed. Probably figured he'd take others with him into oblivion.
The strange thing here is that, about 10 years ago, I tried to warn WCG that there was a greater likelihood of this sort of thing happening, and that precautions should be taken. I was met with "we never heard of a shooting in a church before" from Mr. Mears.
I'll bet they've heard of them now. --Former WCG member
My Gut Feeling About Ratzmann:
March 14, 2005
I was talking to a friend about Geraldo's comment about Roderick Meredith saying things about Ratzmann on a tape, and I thought that sounded suspicious. I imagine that it was the local minister who said something about him (probably said something that was directed at Ratzmann, even though the other members didn't catch it.) I had that happen to me once. I told the minister that my friend and I had read a book at the Christian bookstore once (it was Walter Martin's earlier edition of The Kingdom of the Cults) and I saw the WCG listed in it. The next week, our minister got up and gave a sermon about having "itching ears" and going around looking for stuff against the church! I was so new in the church and I was embarrassed because I knew he was talking about me in an indirect way.
I don't think Ratzmann went in there and did what he did because he was "depressed." I think he and the minister had some kind of run in and the minister said something that may have embarrassed him. I just don't see Meredith taking the trouble to deal on tape, with the "lowlife sheeple." HWA never bothered, and Meredith is just too important. I think that Ratzmann must have thought he was going to be disfellowshipped and killed the minister before it could be announced (that's my gut feeling). I'm wondering if Ratzmann asked for third tithe assistance since he knew he was losing his job? Maybe the comment on the tape was, "Third tithe assistance isn't an unemployment fund." I've heard ministers say things like that. Maybe Ratzmann felt that all those years he had tithed, and now he asked for some help and was refused. We need to speak out against these evil men. That Ratzmann fellow "seemed" to be a bright, decent young man. For him to get up in a huff like that shows me that he was "challenging the system." No doubt either he called the minister, or vice versa, after that sermon. I am certain he was reprimanded for his "attitude." I think people don't realize how trapped members truly are. --Former WCG member
Comment: Anytime a member of these groups goes against "the government of God" (i. e., the leader), they can be labeled "demon possessed," "mentally unbalanced," "evil," etc. The story: What Motivated Terry Ratzmann's Shooting Spree in the LCOG? succinctly brings out how "they [the police] are not likely to find the answer in one sermon. The answer will likely be found in all of the sermons, all of the doom and gloom predictions, and all of the heavy burdens found in the Living Church of God."
Living Church of God is Apocalyptic Like David Koresh:
March 14, 2005
Where did CNN ever get the idea the LCG was Evangelical?? Amazing how WWCG under HWA was a cult and now they are Evangelical?? My how the times have changed. I sincerely pray that the truth is uncovered about this. Unfortunately it seems the media doesn't like the whole truth. I didn't see much about it on CNN or Fox News.
I hope they mention the fact that this organization is apocalyptic just like David Koresh and how fear is instilled into the members. My prayers are with those who have been affected by this. I know they are a cult, but I feel so bad for them all. I hope something good comes out of this--maybe realizing that this is what happens when you have that Armstrong garbage doctrine in your head for over 30 years!! --Former WCG member
Comment: When WACO was in the news, it started some who were in the Worldwide Church of God to start wondering whether the WCG was also a "cult" and to see that they had taught some of the same doctrines as David Koresh did. Read this on our site: The Branch Davidians (David Koresh) were an offshoot from the Millerites (Seventh-day Adventists), just as the WCG was.
Who Will Write the Truth About LCG?
March 14, 2005
Is anyone out there in TV land in the media going to write the truth about LCG? It amazes me that when a church is somewhat normal in doctrine and someone somewhere screws up, it is all over the airwaves. But when a cult posing as a church does this heinous act, nothing much is said! Where are all the cult busters when you need them? All those Christian ministries that care about true doctrine? I guess they are all hiding so as not to put the spotlight on themselves. Where is Hank Hanegraaff now? What a shame the Cult Awareness Network went down the tube. Shame on FOXnews. --Former WCG member
Roderick Meredith Preaches End-time Prophecies:
March 14, 2005
See this article on MSNBC which states LCG focuses on "end-time" prophecies. I quote:
This year, the group's leader, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, wrote that events prophesied in the Bible are "beginning to occur with increasing frequency."
"We are not talking about decades in the future. We are talking about Bible prophesies that will intensify within the next five to 15 years of your life," he wrote in the church's magazine, Tomorrow's World.
The news article went on to state that Meredith: "advised members to gather emergency food supplies and follow government instructions on how to prepare for an emergency." --Impacted by loved one in Armstrong offshoot
Just Looking up Info on Shooting and Found Your Site:
March 14, 2005
Wow! I just came across this site today! I was looking up info on the heartbreaking shooting at LCOG, curious to see if any of the members in that congregation were any of those who had left the Wisconsin WWCG congregation where we had attended for some time. I am a survivor of 22 years of WWCG, from age 5 to 27. We had our first child while in "The Church" and I thank God over and over that my two sons will not go through what so many other children have.
Some members of my family now attend offshoots of WWCG. Recently, one relative was crying as she told my grandmother how saddened she was that my grandmother would not make it into the Kingdom. Fortunately, my grandmother is a strong survivor as well and loves each family member dearly, but finds it so hard that one of her children is in LCOG and another is in United.
I never thought I would call myself a "survivor"--after all, wasn't I "privileged" to be chosen by God to be in "The church" rather than wandering hopelessly in "The world?" This site is so eye-opening and comforting! --Former member/child survivor of WCG in Wisconsin
Focus of LCG Sermon Two Weeks Ago:
March 14, 2005
According to one source the sermon two weeks ago in LCG focused on "how bad fortune befalls those who make ungodly choices." Sounds like more of HWA's diatribe: "If you don't obey, this is what will happen to you" and "choose to be blessed or choose to be cursed."
The tragedy is that LCG and other cults will now use this to tell their members "this is what happens to those who give themselves over to Satan"--thus creating even more fear. --Anonymous
Shocked That LCG Member Had Great Enthusiasm About the Shooting!
March 14, 2005
This heartbreaking occurrence has been much in my mind. Yesterday, because I was sorrowing for those who were slain and those who remain behind, I suggested to my husband that we call a couple we know who are in LCG. I expected the people to be even more heart broken than we were because it was their church. What a shock we got.
The man did all the talking (didn't even bring up the shooting until I did). This is just one man, but he was reporting what went on after church when his congregation found out about the shooting.
With great enthusiasm, like he was reporting some great truth from God, he said they discussed reasons why God caused/allowed this to happen: the people killed were so near perfect they could be allowed to die (and thus would miss the Great Tribulation) and they would make it into the kingdom because they were so advanced in their walk to perfection, or God caused this to happen as a wake up call to those in the church who were becoming Laodicean. Another thought was that they weren't bad people, but God wanted to send a stern warning to those who were becoming Laodicean.
This thinking is skewed in many ways. Just to name a few, the concept in these people's minds of what God is like is scary. Those who died included teenagers. Were they already so advanced in their development toward "perfection" that they were used as a sacrifice? Or were they Laodicean and God became impatient with these teens, so zapped them? Was the minister a Laodicean? How bizarre this whole attitude is.
Just thought you would like to see what some in LCG are thinking. I was disgusted and sickened with his comments; I still keep shaking my head. There was no sorrow expressed. It was as if God did it Himself, and no one can question what occurred because God willed it or allowed it. Sincerely, --Former UCG member
I Knew it Must be an Offshoot of WCG:
March 15, 2005
I live in Milwaukee, only a few miles from where the shootings during the service of the "Living Church of God" took place. As soon as the news broke and details regarding the services on Saturday aired, I knew that it must have been an offshoot of the church I was born into, the Worldwide Church of God. I came across your site while searching for more info on the LCG. My experiences were not as awful as so many, some even positive. Fortunately my parents were loving and very supportive as I was growing up and not at all abusive. They taught me to be strong and independent. Much to their dismay I chose to leave the church in the early 1990's, prior to the major changes that occurred shortly after. Eventually my parents left too, and through much healing we have gotten through the worst of it. I found many of the letters posted on your site comforting, as I still suffer spiritually. I spent over 2 hours just reading the support letters on your site. Many things regarding religion I just have not dealt with. This saddens me as I feel like I'm cheating my children somehow. I have assimilated into the real world and for the most part live a "normal life." Writing this letter felt good.
I am strong. I am a survivor. Thank you. --Child survivor of WCG
So Shameful What These Cults Do:
March 15, 2005
The LCG shootings were very close to us. This is such a tragedy! I could feel something odd about this right about when I saw the newsflash and instantly told my wife "this sounds like a cult." I looked up the name of the church "Living Church of God" and found that none other than Roderick Meredith is the head honcho over this cult.
So shameful what these cults can do. On the TV news, a lady that attends services said the pastor directed a sermon at the murderer and the "sins" in his life a few weeks ago and it apparently sent him into a rage.
This is so sad and so close to home. Armstrongism is all over their doctrine! --Formerly involved with PCG
Living Church of God -- They're Lying Again to the Media:
March 16, 2005
I thought I would let you know that I live near Charlotte, North Carolina, where the headquarters for the Living Church of God is located as well as other splinter groups. Last night on our local news, a reporter interviewed a Mr. Charles Bryce of Charlotte, NC (LCG church administrator) and said that he was on his way to Wisconsin to provide comfort and financial support to those affected by the shooting. Since when did the leaders of any of these cults provide comfort and/or financial assistance to their members? I'm sure it's more to inform the members that they aren't to be interviewed by the media and if so he will "inform" them of what "really" happened last Saturday in Wisconsin.
I was a member of the WCG since I was a child in the early 70's and finally left on my own around 1995/96, so I know a little bit about what I'm talking about. The reporter went on to say that he was informed that the actual sermon that upset Terry Ratzmann was actually given by Charles Bryce and not by Roderick Meredith. He also said it was about Christian values and not prophecy as reported by the news. He said that the police chief had a copy of it and I wouldn't be shocked if Meredith gave a copy of one of Bryce's old sermons that wasn't as titillating as most of them are, or one that has been doctored up. If they can lie about financial assistance and comfort they can certainly lie about whose sermon Terry was upset about and what the actual content of the sermon was.
The reporter held up a DVD and they showed a few seconds of Charles Bryce speaking in a sermon and said that the sermon that Terry heard was supposedly this one.
I'm very saddened by these events and I feel such compassion for those who had to witness this horror as well as those who lost their lives, but I think part of the blame has to be put on Meredith and his ministers. --WCG child survivor
Update: Charles E. Bryce left LCG in 2006 and founded Enduring Church of God in Chandler, TX. His son-in-law Larry Solomon also left with him and is with ECG. Read letter to ESN: Enduring Church of God a Dangerous Group.
Shocked, but not Really Surprised:
March 16, 2005
I was shocked to hear about the Wisconsin church shootings, but on some level it didn't really surprise me either. As a child that was raised in WCG, I can certainly understand this man's anger. I don't agree with killing innocent people, but how long do these groups expect to be able to get away with spiritually abusing people before they have had enough? I hope this wakes up some of their membership.
Also, I have heard that this particular offshoot was started by Roderick C. Meredith because he was "kicked out" of his last church (Global Church of God) for stealing money from the members! Imagine that.
I was so angry when I heard this news, that I almost e-mailed the Living Church of God and asked them if they were happy now. Too many people have been hurt by these Armstrong offshoots! Thankfully, I have found a church home and am able to raise my son as a Christian without flashbacks or anxiety attacks!
You are doing a true service with your website. --M. W. from Minnesota
A Good Interview Regarding LCG on Wisconsin Public Radio:
March 17, 2005
There is a good interview (3-16-05) about the beliefs and psychological mindset of LCG (and other apocalyptic groups) on Radio Wisconsin (Ideas Network) at:
The tape can be ordered by phoning 1-800-747-7444 and ask for 316D. The date was 3-16-05 at 9:00 AM. --Former WCG member
Comment: The only thing that is not brought out is that totalistic groups are often led by a leader whose goal is to control and exploit the members for power and financial gain.
LCG Minister John Ogwyn Resorts to Untrue Statements:
March 18, 2005
Following are untrue statements made by John Ogwyn [minister of the Living Church of God] as reported in the March 18, 2005, editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Ogwyn used Thursday's appearance to counter comments from some local members of the church who said members were discouraged from seeking secular treatment for emotional problems. Psychiatric counseling "certainly has its place,"
Ogwyn said, and is not banned by the church. The church also has no ban on medication, he said. Ogwyn said the church does not restrict members to dating and marrying within the church. He said, however, that choosing a mate who practices the same religion would likely lead to a more harmonious marriage. Some local members have said that outside dating was strongly discouraged and that Ratzmann had been frustrated by his inability to find a wife within the church.
You and I know the above public statements by Pastor Ogwyn are simply not the truth. He is refusing to take a stand for what he believes and preaches and is taking cover for treatment of members that could cause the church legal problems.
Local members have said those with emotional problems are told to consult first with the local pastor, and some have said seeking outside professional help is actively discouraged...
The local members are far more honest than the ministry. What an example!!!
As we well know, members were constructively forbidden seeking professional help.
If those churches are so afraid to honestly state their doctrines publicly at a time like this, how would they ever hold up under persecution? --Former WCG member
Update: John Ogwyn died June 14, 2005.
Where in the "H" is Meredith?!
March 18, 2005
Is it just me, or has anybody else been wondering where in the "H" Meredith has been?! I mean, if he were really God's Apostle, one would think that he would have been on the first flight out to Wisconsin to comfort his dear parishioners. If he really cared about the sheep, he would have been the first one there. It's been almost a week since the shootings, and nobody has heard a peep out of him. Doesn't anybody else think this strange??? I see he learned well from HWA and the Receivership . When things go bad, let your underlings take care of it and make yourself scarce. --Former WCG member
Comment: The Milwaukee Sentinel interview with John Ogwyn (above) said Roderick Meredith, was in Milwaukee for "some" of the Ratzmann shooting victims' funerals.
I Feel Rod Meredith is a Controlling Monster:
March 18, 2005
I want these cults exposed, especially those like LCG and PCG. I have heard sermons by Rod Meredith when I was a member of Global [Meredith's first group after he left WCG]. And also later when a member of UCG, my husband I went to a LCG feast site and heard his sermons there. I feel he is a controlling monster. His sermons are disgusting and filled with threats. Even as a member of Global I disliked his sermons and disagreed with his take on Scripture. As I member of UCG, I left his sermons crying because they were so hateful. --Former member of GCG, LCG, & UCG.
My Experience With Global and Living Church of God Was a Horrible One:
March 21, 2005
I was a child in WCG years ago. Several years ago, I attended Global and then married my husband quickly and then it split to Living Church of God. I have to say, my experience with Global/Living was a horrible one. I did not understand why everyone was so nasty in a passive aggressive way. We left the "church" when it changed, as it was really crazy, people keep calling Meredith, "God's Anointed." That freaked me out. They really had this worship of him. I would sit there in that hotel room watching that video, and they cut those videos all the time, which was strange--watching him speak, then the tape is cut or edited, and then he was talking about something else.
We walked out of sermons. In fact, another fellow in our group was being treated very badly by some of those deacons and elders, so during the sermon, my husband and I were outside talking to him and trying to be his friend. Well, would you believe, the following week, there was a whole sermon on all of us: "how rude it is to walk out of a sermon" and on and on. We were not there, but when I heard what they did, I was so mad. How rude of him, this elder. We never went back. If Terry did not shoot the ones he did last week, what if the sermon in his church this week was about, "It is rude to walk out of a sermon. Don't you know how important I am?"
Poor Terry. I was so angry, too, though not that angry. Those men fight with each other often. They attacked my husband. A friend who went there was in a shoving match at church one day with an elder. Those men are truly downright mean. Really mean. I am not surprised this happened, but I just feel so bad for Terry. I know how it feels to be treated so badly. I never felt that church owned me, I would not endure their treatment.
My husband and I do not feel that God is chained to the pulpit. Anyone who wants God can find him. I just feel that LCG will get away with this--and that makes me angry. That church is a den of vipers. Literally, though, there were some dear folks in there too. But they are convinced that Roderick Meredith is the "anointed one." I know it sounds crazy, but I cannot help but feel that Terry was a victim too. I pray that God will have mercy on him, though. God is fair, and knows the whole story. I don't know all, but if it is like I think it is, I hope God has mercy on Terry. I don't think he has committed an unpardonable sin.
When I married my husband in Global, I knew that I needed to get baptized and be a church member, but if I did not want to, no one was going to tell me I could not get married to this man. Who are they? I am an adult, he was an adult, so, if we want to get married, we would. It was just kind of an unspoken rule that I needed to be a church member before they would marry me and my husband. Just my two cents.
--Former WCG, GCG, LCG, and every other group but not UCG or PCG. Today we are COG (7th day).
It's a Wonder This Hasn't Happened Before:
March 21, 2005
After reading more about the shooter, Terry Ratzmann, the thought occurred to me that it's a wonder that anything like this hasn't happened before. I'm only surprised that it didn't happen in the PCG rather than the LCG. The PCG by far has the meanest and most abusive ministry out of all the splinter cults of the WCG. And it is filled with quite a few men similar to Terry Ratzmann: single, frustrated, and abused by the ministry. Many of these men have poor social skills and are emotionally unbalanced. They need help. I don't advocate psychiatry because I believe that it is itself an abusive industry. They too often prescribe dangerous psychotropic drugs, which only mask the symptoms, because it's big business. (See http://www.drugawareness.org) But there are so many Bible based therapists out there who can help people like Terry Ratzmann. Of course the ministry will not refer anyone to an outside counselor, as you know.
In the PCG I knew three different men who were taken into another room after services and "dressed down" by two ministers like a Drill Sergeant dressing down a recruit at boot camp. The power hungry local minister complained to HQ that these men weren't respecting his authority and it was hindering his ability to bring unity to the congregation. It was of course nonsense. These men just weren't kissing his ass they way he expected everyone to do. He also didn't like me, but for some reason I didn't get the Drill Sergeant treatment. Anyway, Edmond, Oklahoma actually sent down another minister to assist the local minister with this "problem." They would take the "insubordinate" man into another room, make him sit in a chair while they positioned themselves on each side of him slightly in front. Then one at a time they would scream and yell at the top of their lungs and threaten him with suspension and disfellowshipment if they didn't "respect God's government" properly. One of the men indeed did get disfellowshipped because he didn't give the "proper answer." This particular man also had a heart condition and had to take nitro regularly. Halfway into the yelling match his heart started showing signs of an attack. He had to quickly pull a pill out of his pocket and take it. One of the ministers looked nervous when he saw this, the other one just kept right on screaming. Ironically, if you call it that, 2 out of these 3 men regularly carried guns with them. They always had a gun either in their briefcase or in their car at all times. (There is a conceal and carry permit law in this state.) They were not emotionally or mentally unbalanced though, so the ministers lived. But I bet they would sh** a brick if they knew now how close by a gun was while they were unmercifully abusing these guys.
So you see why I say it is incredible that a shooting event hasn't occurred in the PCG. I wonder if they'll start being nicer to the unbalanced brethren now. Probably not. Perhaps some more will have to lose their lives because of an out of control Hitlerian ministry.
One last thing, there was an incident up in Charlotte, North Carolina, when a man I didn't know had a handgun in his briefcase. It was discovered by an elder because the man left his briefcase behind and the elder opened it to see who it belonged to. The next week Flurry gave an announcement saying that bringing guns to church was prohibited. He said that you never know if someone who is upset at something he hears in a sermon will take a gun and start shooting. Is that ironic or what? --Former WCG/PCG member in Texas
LCG Members Tell Truth, but LCG Leaders Cover Up that Truth:
March 22, 2005
I found out that Chandra Frazier, the LCG member we saw many times on the news stating what happened during the shooting in Milwaukee and who also said that a man sitting next to her was shot dead, has left the Living Church of God.
She said that she couldn't help but feel that because of the LCG's teaching that members shouldn't visit psychologists or doctors for treatment of depression, etc., that this contributed to Terry Ratzmann getting no help and doing what he did. She had mentioned this in an earlier interview, but one of the administers said it wasn't true in a later interview. She in return said that she was leaving because of this teaching. Those of us who are former COG members know who's telling the truth.
If you listen to the various interviews that were done since this tragedy happened, the members tell the truth of how it really is in the LCG, but the administrators/leaders quickly cover up this true information and say that it isn't true. Well, apparently Ms. Frazier had enough of this cover-up and lying and has left. I can only hope that she doesn't enter another splinter group cult and can see them all for what they really are, liars.
Also it was discovered on a Living Church of God forum that the LCG administration sent a letter to all the LCG ministers stating that they were to inform the members to have no contact whatsoever with the media. Wonder why? --Former member WCG
Reply: "Milieu (environmental) control" is prevalent in these groups. For instance, at the Feast, when the media would come around to ask questions, WCG members had been instructed by the leadership not to give out any information, but instead tell them: "The ministers will be glad to answer your questions."
March 23, 2005
Did you see what that person wrote in Christianity Today about Roderick Meredith being a "quiet and gentle soul" and would never hurt anyone? And this person claims to have been in the WCG for 5 years. When I was in WCG this "quiet, gentle soul" was known to escort "liberal ministers" by force off of the stage at Pasadena. Witnesses have said this was not done in a "quiet or gentle manner." When I was in LCG in 2001, Meredith was like a chameleon and could change at will. He was very slick and I witnessed him lie whenever it served his purposes. Although Terry Ratzmann will be held responsible for his actions by God, we cannot deny that his life would have been completely different had he not been a part of this group. --Former member WCG, LCG
A Link to a Very Informative Article on the LCG Shooting:
March 28, 2005
I thought you would like to see this very informative article on Terry Ratzmann and the LCG shooting written by Larry J. Chavez, former senior hostage negotiator for the Sacramento Police Department.
When I read this article, I remembered the cult saying that seeking professional help for emotional problems and depression was wrong and that it left you open to being possessed by demons. PCG sure taught that and people in LCG believed that as well, but I don't remember if they said that from the pulpit at LCG or not. I know WCG taught that and I am sure the UCG believes that as well, although they are the most liberal about doctors and medicine. --Former member of LCG, PCG
Comment: Following are quotes from this interesting article (including those submitted by LCG members):
"...those who knew Terry Ratzmann best say that he wanted, more than anything, to have a normal life. To Ratzmann, this meant being gainfully employed and having a family of his own. ...Frustrating Ratzmann's efforts toward a normal life was the loss of his job at Quest Technologies in March 2002. ... Another source of pain in Ratzmann's life, according to witnesses, was that he, at age 44, was without a mate... 'He was could from feast site to feast site to see if he could find someone interested in him' (said Chandra Frazier of Milwaukee) ... 'Ratzmann's failure to find a wife or girlfriend caused him much pain in recent years' (said local church members Mark and Natalie Lorenz). ... 'The Living Church of God is not the kind of system where you could get counseling and get help..." (quote from David Patrick, acquaintance of Ratzmann). ... On February 26, in the last church service that Ratzmann attended prior to the shooting incident, he listened to a pre-recorded sermon that said, in pertinent part, that 'people's problems are of their own doing.' ... 'In that Feb. 26 service, a taped sermon focused on how bad fortune befalls those who make ungodly choices.' (quote by parishioner who had known Ratzmann for years). 'Your problem is you're not praying enough, fasting enough, serving enough.' (said David Patrick) Those closet to Ratzmann saw him abruptly and angrily storm out of the church upon hearing the words of this particular sermon on February 26."
Much more information is in the article, so we hope our readers will go to the above link and read it in its entirety. The last section addresses "The ultimate responsibility for killing rests with the killer but sometimes there are contributing factors." [Update: This article "Death Came to Church in One Day" is no longer online]UPDATE:
My Children Were in the LCG Congregation That Had the Shooting:
February 20, 2006
I was a member of The Worldwide Church of God and then The Living Church of God. I was a member for about 12 years. I was never the perfect member and always questioned many of the teachings. I eventually left the "church." I know how they work on people. I am very happy to see your web site and this info. I found very little info on them six years ago. My ex-wife and children are still in the LCG. My son does not agree with the teachings and his mother is using all of the tactics on him. I am starting proceedings to have him live with me. My children were in the LCG congregation that had the shooting; my daughter was the girl that was injured and my former mother-in-law was killed. Several years later I see the pattern that the LCG uses on its members and know that is why Terry Ratzmann went over the edge. It is a dangerous organization. I will be referring to your site for information and also to help my son to deal with the feelings and emotions he will have on down the road. I just wanted to share some background and thank the people responsible for this site. --Former member of WCG and LCG
We didn't see any connection between this awful act and anything we teach or believe and certainly this was out of character for Terry Ratzmann." James Davy Crockett III, LCG spokesman (The Associated Press, August 3, 2005)