The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God.The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God
Full Disclosure
By Heri Fortuin

Someone quoted the following words of Desmond Tutu from Philip Yancy's book on Grace (emphasis mine):

"No one can forgive on behalf of victims. Victims have to forgive for themselves. And no one can forgive WITHOUT FULL DISCLOSURE: what happened and who did what must first be revealed. Also, those who committed the atrocities must first agree to ask for forgiveness before it can be granted."

Eugene de Kock, known as "Prime Evil", offered an unsolicited apology to the families of his victims, which was accepted. The apologies of others have not similarly been accepted.

Why?

Because Eugene De Kock, having been sentenced for life plus 212 years, has nothing to lose. He disclosed _everything, told the truth. Other amnesty applicants, it is obvious, have not been as truthful because they have something to lose.

But forgiveness comes easier when the one asking for it is seen not to be hiding anything.

Of course, God Himself requires _full disclosure_ of our sins -- confessing/declaring them -- when we ask for His forgiveness. Merely glossing over them, or trying to put a good face on them, would be tantamount wanting to hang on to our own self-image.

1John 1:9 If we confess/declare our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us [our] sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Don't you think that people would have been less attracted to those websites with information about past Worldwide Church of God wrongdoing, if the Worldwide Church of God leadership had _themselves_ disclosed these things when they proffered their "apology" to the past and present members?

Not the finer details, but something like this:

"We apologize for using your third tithes to buy personal aircraft for the leadership; we apologize that ministers and other employees were not required to pay 2nd and 3rd tithes; we apologize that second tithes were used to build and buy fancy homes for evangelists; we apologize that Messrs. Armstrong and Tkach were always pampered with five-star accommodation; we apologize that instead of ministers who stole money from members being disciplined, we disfellowshipped the members instead; we apologize that the leadership quite regularly LIED to the membership over a wide range of issues; etc.; etc."

Herbert Armstrong's sexual peccadilloes do not distress me as much as the gross arrogance and disrespect for the hard- earned tithes displayed by his minions in the Administration.

The problem with not disclosing information when asking for forgiveness, is that there's always the suspicion of insincerity and lack of lasting repentance. There's the question: "have they _really_ changed?"

I've read so many comments for and against the websites of Ed , [name removed by request], etc. I don't usually have the time to read them, but I have downloaded some articles from a site where there is no name, and given them to a friend of mine who's in Global CG. I don't know whether it will help him see how corrupt and immoral "God's Government on earth" was, but they definitely illustrate the perils of giving money to any large hierarchical organization -- overheads suck up most of the cash. I would agree that on these websites there is truth; there is unconfirmed speculation; hearsay; rumor; innuendo; one-sided information, etc. Not different from newspapers. But how different is what from what Worldwide Church of God has been saying the last ten years and more? And what about Joe Jnr's eternal song about the Worldwide Church of God "miracle" being regarded amongst evangelicisms/Christianity as the greatest happening since the Apocalypse being written? If it were, would not his book be a best-seller? How many pastors of other churches in your local community even know about this "miracle"? Is this truth, rumor, hearsay or fabrication?

But it's interesting that very few of those "against" these sites have lived the life of an "other" -- someone who had to endure many years of being on the fringes of where life was good. Someone who was victimized, or made to feel inadequate, had his/her dignity trampled underfoot. To tell such people, "look to Christ" is like saying "be warm and filled"

Why?

Because we are _emotional_ beings. Prayer is just not as effective as speaking to another human being whom you can see, who holds you, who sobs with you, who laughs with you. If Jesus Christ were enough, why do we have the need to get married? Why do we not all live in monkeries and nunneries? When a man is feeling desperately lonely, needing companionship, do we just point him to Christ?

Why did Elijah run away from Jezebel, when he was already "pointed" towards God? Was he reprimanded for it?

Why did Jeremiah write Lamentations? -- a book which is not a happy or positive. So there are many people who've come out of the Worldwide Church of God experience, who need to share with someone like them. Who might even need to vent their frustrations -- simply because they've never had the opportunity before. Maybe because their venting would have been condemned as a sign of mental instability or lack of spirituality. There is an aspect of healing for victims of abuse, which both perpetrators and those who've not suffered do not, cannot, understand. It's what I term VALIDATION.

In South Africa, we have a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which is documenting crimes and violations of human rights under the apartheid system. For me, what has been incredibly healing is that my wife and children were able to see and hear, on national TV, the pain, suffering and trauma related by victims of violence. Now, when I relate to them my own experiences, anger and fears, I know that I have an audience which UNDERSTANDS. Previously, it used to be frustrating because they simply did not understand. Also, because the crimes and sins of the past are being exposed in a public arena, it enables me to tell my white colleagues and friends "Now do you believe me!" Now, people like me don't feel so alone (or labeled communist) in knowing about the horrors of the system. It also helps to know that such things are not being swept under the carpet, and that perpetrators are being held accountable and forced to take responsibility for what they did.

For me, validation is to know that there are others who understand, and that the truth about scoundrels and their dastardly deeds have been exposed to the broader public.

There are people who have come through the Worldwide Church of God experience as victims of abuse, whose healing is facilitated when they meet people who _understand_ when they relate their experiences. Essentially, it's the realization that there's a shoulder to cry on. What also helps such people is when they see that evil is _not_ being swept under the carpet.

I've been to many commemorations of the Holocaust, where photographs of skeletal Jews are standard fare. Former Nazis are also hunted down and exposed for what they did. Kurt Waldheim, former UN Secretary, had to resign as President of Austria because he had not been truthful about his past.

Should one tell survivors of the Holocaust that their reminders of the Holocaust endangers people's faith in God? (Where _was_ God when millions were massacred?) Should they close down the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Austria, because their information can make people wonder whether there is a God?

People like Jeff (who, based on recent posts, seems to have been sheltered from much of the real world) seem to operate on the premise that the wrong information can take people "away" from Christ, never to return. What he actually means is that people will take off from Worldwide Church of God, never to return.

Is our faith in human organizations and their leaders, or in Jesus Christ? Will our faith be affected when human leaders are found to have feet of clay? Where is the assurance of our faith?

Should certain information be suppressed so that the faith of Christians is not disturbed?

But why do people presume to do God's work for Him?

Why do people want to separate themselves into "mature" Christians who have to discern FOR other "weaker" Christians? Is there not a God whose job this is?

John 16:13 But when he is come, the Spirit of truth, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but whatsoever he shall hear he shall speak; and he will announce to you what is coming.

1John 4:6 We are of God; he that knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Are God and Jesus not committed to saving those called, irrespective what human beings do or not do?

John 10:2 but he that enters in by the door is [the] shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. 4 When he has put forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. 5 But they will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, because they know not the voice of strangers. John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep: 12 but he who serves for wages, and who is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf seizes them and scatters the sheep. 13 Now he who serves for wages flees because he serves for wages, and is not himself concerned about the sheep.

John 10:16 And I have other sheep which are not of this fold: those also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock, one shepherd.

Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which [is] in Christ Jesus our Lord.

--henri


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