The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

Email: Sweet and Sour
(Page Eleven)

(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)

Email, Indexed by DATE

New on 7/4/99:

I myself am recovering (for several years now) from the aftereffects of the Worldwide Church of God cult.

My brothers and sisters were all born "into" the church during the 60's and 70's and suffered a great deal. Looking back, I see how much of our lives have been shattered by the ordeal. It really cost us quite a bit of our spirits, lives and self-confidence.

I saw the guilt, depression and fear that was used to prevent dissent in the church. Around the age of 17, I started asking too many questions. Tithing didn't make any sense to me, and at the time, my parents had both been "disfellowshiped". I was living on my own and here they wanted me to give 10% of my student welfare check (around $538 a month, barely enough to cover my rent and food).

I didn't give the money. I felt just awful at first and then guilty. Then fearful and I realized at that moment that this was in no way a freedom of choice thing.

I went on to University and stumbled across a book on HWA in the back rows. They called the Worldwide Church of God a cult and it started to click in. There wasn't anyone really to validate what I thought at the time, and my confidence was crushed easily.

I have already been through hell. I'm glad that there are people like yourself out there that are getting the word out about this cult. I hear that they have changed and splintered recently, but there will always be a faction that will feed of low self worth.

My experience with these people and the misery it caused has lead me to shun religion completely. I decided that I would live (for once) as if God WASN'T looking over my shoulder. What a relief!



You mentioned Carl McNair as once being your local pastor in the updated FAQ. Did you also have the misfortune to know or associate with that [expletive deleted] Michael Hanisko? Both these guys were pastors to us in either the Cartersville or Rome, Georgia congregations.

Hanisko came closer than anyone I knew in the church (cult) to driving me out of it. (I wish to hell I HAD listened to my common sense and instincts of left then.) He was one insufferable, pompous ASS.

Party on,



Dear Ed

Just wanted to say, thanks for the reality check.

I joined the church at a very low time in my life. there were two deaths in my family that hit me pretty hard.

I was not the type of person that would open to those who could have helped me. Instead I thought that Worldwide Church of God was where god wanted me to be. I counseled with a minister who suggested I start attending and felt good about things until the problems started to arise with things like job and Sabbath, tithing and budgeting, you know the drill. Some of my closer friends outside of Worldwide Church of God began to encourage me to take a break from the cult. My state of mind was that of a person needing solid ground in a world that seemed very unstable. Anyway, I decided to call the minister and tell him I wanted to take a break from the church. He proceeded to tell me this was my only chance to be saved because it was gods true church etc., etc....yada yada yada!

At age 22 and still in a state of morning I believed him without checking further and like many others, the years went by. I can honestly say that I became pretty good at convincing myself that up was down and 1+1 did not equal 2. weird living huh?

I'll send you other stuff in the future. until then.

Take care and may the LORD bless you.

your brother in Jesus




In the spirit of religious writings I wish to offer the following parable:

There once was a new car company. It made a fine product put it had a few quirks. It could only use gas from certain gas stations. It had to be serviced during a new moon. The right tires were totally different than the left ones...well you get the picture. The owner of the new company decided in his infinite wisdom to not include the owner's manual in the glove box like other manufacturers. Instead he inserted a very cryptic note giving direction to a spot way out in the desert that if one had lots of faith and resources he could fine the manual and be able to take care of his new car.

This led to many differing groups of like mind banding together to interpret the cryptic note in the glove box. Some said the manual was here or there because they had deciphered the truth. Some actually found the manual but it was written just like the cryptic note in the glove box. Some groups with opposing interpretations actually got into physical fights over who was right or who was wrong.

Scholars spent lifetimes figuring out the manual once it was found. Without it the car would not last as long as it was designed and would become junk within just a few months. Many drove their new cars on faith, some getting years out of them just by chance. Others did not have such luck. Many debated occurred for decades as to how to take care of the car. Many claimed to have the definitive answers but most theories failed when put into practice. Oddly thousands upon thousands of people flocked to the show rooms to buy more and more of these cars over the years despite the confusion as to how to take car of them. Junk yards began to fill with their rusting hulks and an environmental crisis ensued. Yet people still bought and bought....

Why would a manufacturer produce a quality product and not provide a clear, concise, and simple manual for the care and maintenance of its product? This question never arose. It was called a question of faith.

Sound familiar?


New on 7/7/99:

You will find a variety of fascinating subjects in the Prometheus Book catalog on line. Here is the address...

This also is not for those who fear new views on age old controversial subjects. I remind those who seek new knowledge that it is always subject to our need to be a skeptic. Good searching for more pieces of the puzzle of life and our existence. What I find interesting is that no matter the pieces we have, we really do create our own reality... and it changes each day.

Again, I want to tell you how impressed I am with the way you answered the F.A.Q. You have gained good insight. Keep up the good work.

Til next time...




I was reading your Answers to Questions page today. Question #24 asked why did hwa pick jwt to succeed him. You gave three or four reasons none of which I think really hit the mark.

I would suggest that herbie chose Tkach because of his (herbie's) ego. What better way could hwa insure that people would look back at the "good old days" when hwa was in charge than to pick an corrupt boob like Joe Sr.? It was the supreme act of ego gone mad. Many of the Roman emperors chose their successors using such a criteria, why should the corrupt creep hwa do the same? They were both experiencing the same phenomena, power corrupting absolutely.




I go to your web-site almost every day lately.

I still have a weak spot for prophecy stuff. That was what quirked my interest in the Worldwide Church of God in the first place. Anyway, thanks for providing this service. Sometimes, it seems a little vitriolic, but surely not without reason. It is helping me to see how deep reaching the effect my 10 years in that cult was.

I am finding some closure and your site is one of the reasons for this. I felt alone before. I denied the effect my doing time in the Worldwide Church of God had on me. You are helping me to deal with this. I have come out, and joined the 40,000 openly. I am 35 now. I joined the Worldwide Church of God when I was 18. HWA was alive for the first 2 years. I was happy when he died, which threw some members off. I was disfellowshipped at 28 because of my heroin addiction (which I had developed 2 yrs prior). Probably to self medicate the pain and suffering of Worldwide Church of God membership.

What a life I led. A double life. Smoking and selling weed and hash during the week, and being an enthusiastic Christian on Saturdays. Avoiding Club until forced to join Mr. Frank told me he was "keeping his eye on me" this was after I left the church for a year from my guilt and then got busted for trafficking. I returned because I thought this was some lesson God was teaching me. I could go on and on, but I really just want to give a bit of the picture.



I was a loyal Armstrongite from 1968 until 1995, from the time I was 26 until I was 53. During that time I was convinced "we were in the gun lap" and that preparing for a decent retirement was futile. Of course, I couldn't have anyway because the only job I could find that would allow me off for every Sabbath and Holy Day did not pay enough to save any back anyway.

During those years I often pondered the question, "Why am I here?", and never could seem to have a good answer. But peer pressure kept me in in spite of obvious signs that the Worldwide Church of God was not a good place to be.

Once my local minister suggested I just let my one year old daughter die of a heart condition instead of sending her to a Houston hospital that could care for her. We sent her anyway, and she recovered after heart surgery. While growing up, she was denied the opportunities to participate in more school activities than I can list. She especially loved band but I in my infinite wisdom would not let her participate in activities that fell on Sabbaths. By the time she was a senior, I finally saw the light and took off all such restrictions and she had the best year ever in school, including several band honors. I deeply regret causing her the pain she suffered being forced into submission. She recently married a totally unchurched fellow but I feel better about that than marrying "in the church."

One of the things that kept me going to Worldwide Church of God services was the people. I really enjoyed being around them and felt they were my friends. But when I stopped going only a very few will still have anything to do with me. But that is okay because I really don't have anything in common with them anymore. Had it not been for the delusion we held in common, I would have never met any of them.

I will close with a note of gratitude to JWT Sr. He showed me that Worldwide Church of God members were nothing more than robots whose thought patterns could be changed with the flick of a switch. When he gave us his Russian Christmas present on Jan. 7, 1995, it finally dawned on me that nothing had ever really been proved, just proof-texted. The answer to the booklet, "Has Time Been Lost?", was clear. Yes, time has been lost. In my case it was 27 years of delusional and aberrant thinking. Armstrongism was and is a fraud. It never had any links to the apostolic church. It was man made by the greatest con man of this century, Herbert W. Armstrong. It was mind control at its best. I am glad I am out of all the so-called Churches of God. I just wish I could get over the overwhelming sense of loss I constantly feel.



John, We followed much the same path. I can empathize with you.

Oh, the time wasted.... Our children............ The money..................

Thankfully we are awake now. We are smarter now. Hopefully we can warn our children of the danger of religion. If not, they are no worse off than the rest of the world, which, I guess, is not very comforting.

We can, indeed, thank herbie and Joe and Jr. for educating us while they made themselves rich with our money.

Best Regards,


Hi. I do not consider myself a former member of the WWCG. But I grew up in "the church" and attended Imperial. I do not believe in a lot of things they taught or believed. I do not believe in there ignorance. But it is too bad that you have nothing better to do than to spend (apparently) a lot of time bashing people and ideas that do not matter anymore. They do not matter. People who still believe in them do not matter. And you need to get over it.

All these sadistic web pages and links are a waste of your timedon't you think? HWA has been dead for more than 10 years. And he is not coming back. So why worry about what he did, said, or might have done to his daughter? In the end, does it matter? As our friend Jewel says so well"Only kindness matters. . . " And you my friend, are not being kind.

Get over it. Everyone else has.

Joy Aragon,

Heidelberg, GE



It is too bad that you don't have anything better to do with your time than to write email to someone who you think is wasting their time.

Herbie may be dead but the worship of herbie continues. Many braches of Armstronism exist today because of this miserable excuse for a man. You may be free from the power of religous deception but others aren't and I think they have a right to know the truth. You think these people are worthless and do not matter and yet you think you are so full of kindness. You have a lot to learn about kindness and about your own ignorance.

And, I am not your friend.



Greetings Ed,

It has been about a year since I last wrote. As I did with my last long e-mail I leave it up to you how much you want to put on your website? I am heartened to see how many people are still writing; I know that it has taken a long time for members of my family and my in-laws to come to terms with our lives in wwcg. Some are still members of wwcg, some have gone to united and some have joined mainstream Christianity.

Those of us who have gotten on with our lives had to do a great deal of talking to overcome the trauma of living in a cult for so many years. There simply came a time when the wwcg, hwa, gta, jwt, and jwt jr. were no longer even brought up. We no longer mentioned the word tithe, but for years we did. One thing that helped was one Thanksgiving we sat around the table and honestly talked about how we felt as children growing up. And the parents explained why they did what they did. Like many they were looking for something.

As a society we look for something to be bigger and provide us with more, we have been taught that this is what religion will provide. It is easier when there are rules to follow, than to have to decide for yourself is this good or is this bad. To say that you are going to live by only one rule, to do nothing to harm or hurt another, means you have to decide if your own actions are good or evil.

My last e-mail I suggested the book "Christianity Must Change or Die." I had no idea how much that one book would open me up to change in my own life. It made me question the bible, so I read history and other religions. Surprise how many religions have the same basic beliefs, how many have the trinity in some form. How many old religions have things in them that are now part of Christianity.

Ancient cultures kept records, so few of which have the same outlook as the bible. I was surprised to learn that the Egyptians record throwing a nomadic tribe out which was believed to be causing health problems. They record the tribe left, spent a week crossing the desert and Jordan river and going in and destroying other tribes to take over the land of Canaan.

Not quite what we would believe, since we were encouraged to believe the bible. I have found that even most ministers from seminaries will tell you that there is no supporting evidence for the bible you have to take it on faith that it is the word of god.

Then I was reading about the time period that Jesus walked, and what the practices were of the Judaism were at that time. According one source they still practiced human sacrifice at the time when most other religions had stopped, and were using animals or plants instead. That every so many years they would sacrifice "the son of god" to take away all of their sins, this practiced stopped only when the temple was destroyed.

I also a found a rather interesting book, it is encyclopedia of myths and legends. One of those rare finds, that seem so show up just when you are searching for something with more answers. And the more things that I have answered, the more questions I ask; I am fortunate to overcome not only the narrow road my mind traveled in religion, but also in general education. Though some in the family say I have gone to far in questioning things.

When an article came out on the brain, and the fact that one small area of the mind is active only when praying or mediating. So how much of what we believe deeply is something that we can have an affect on? Made me wonder if the times I was healed quickly and completely had to do with my using this part of brain to tap into something bigger. If my belief that all things will work for the good has helped to look at things as new opportunities rather than obstructions.

I almost feel as though I have gone past religion that the idea of a Supreme Being is to small and to limiting. I believe that there is a power and a force that drives the whole of the universe, but I am to the point that I believe it is not contained in a being, rather it is something that any being , any person can tap into once they reach that level of mental growth.

I believe that there is some intervention at times, but I am not sure of the source. If it something that we have deep within ourselves that we have no real knowledge of doing or if it is from an outside source. For those that have told me that we are alone in all the universe is proof that we were created by a god; I have asked "What if we are not alone but we are too primitive to be contacted. Would we ask a tribe of monkeys to join the U.N.? For all we know we could be a study project of another species, and some of the interventions we have come from them getting involved with test subjects."

I am then told I read and watch to much Science fiction, and I ask what would happen if some of it was really true. That on some level we are aware of others out there but have no way of explaining or really understanding.

I encourage all others to read, to study, to explore; not to prove as we so desperately tried to prove the bible was the word of god but to open your mind to all the possibilities. To realize there are many people who are also questioning. I know that everyone will move at his or her own speed, and there are different things that hang up differing people. I know many men that have a hard time reading about a past time when many of the societies were matriarchal; and men were considered to prone of fighting to be allowed to rule.

Keep up the good work.




Thanks for your message.

Glad to hear that you are moving on to the extent that Worldwide Church of God and others are not discussed very often. We too can now get together with relatives and some friends without talking about how ticked off we are about Worldwide Church of God and herbie and gang. Except for The PT, I would probably be much further along in completely washing my mind of all the dirt the Worldwide Church of God put in it. It does perform a service though and it will continue indefinitely lest the religion pimps such as Joe Jr. and the others think they can continue to get away with their scam unopposed.

Your search for understanding is admirable. Imagine that, "too far in questioning things". Too far in using the ONE thing that, if you believe there is a God, you can be sure that God gave you: your brain. No, they would rather have you believe that a book full of flaws and evil was inspired by a perfect being. Don't think, it will ruin your faith. Don't reason or you will see the faults and errors of religion. It is better to just believe because then you will have a hope for the next world and that is what everyone is really worried about. It is the quest for immortality that drives religion and the members believe the best salesman that comes along with the bottled fountain of youth. But, rather than youth, the bottle only contains delusion.

Best Regards,


New on 7/11/99:

Deepest apologies.
Guess I touched a sore spot.
I did not mean to. I only wanted to point out the fact that those who still believe in "Herbie" will always believe in him no matter what kind of slander, gossip, or truth (perception) anyone puts on the internet, in a book, or on the air. Making fun of or bashing someones name will not change the way anyone thinks. Have you ever been so blind that you think you see better than anyone else? Do you know what it is like to believe so strongly that you can't believe anything else? Do you understand that this is all some people have and that they will not let go? You probably do understand. You probably have been there. I approached you wrong, and I am sorry.

We all have a lot to learn about kindness and ignorance, especially me. But don't forget that Mr. Armstrong was just a man, like you and like me, and if people had not put him on such a high pedestal, he would not have had so far to fall. That "poor excuse for a man" is no different than anyone else. No one made those people give tithes or offerings or sacrifice their lives and families. No one held a gun to their head. People believe and accept what they want. I know, my parents sacrificed a lot. So did a lot of others. Armstrong will answer for what he did wrong. For his lies, and deceit, for his mistakes and intentions. And so will everyone else.

Joy Aragon,
Heidelberg, GE


Dear Ed,

From a sunny Montreal, I thank you for this crazy, informative, stun-me-get-my-tongue-off-the-floor web site. My story with the W.W.C.G is, like so many others, also one of violence, abuse and silence. I could write something out for you to add to your "stories", and I will send you it.

It is quite amazing to be able to have one's sneaking dirty suspicion validated by the words of others. Really, I have felt completely alone in struggling with the hypocrisy, the ignorance, the shame and guilt of my memories. The worse thing I think, is having the feeling of not having a language, which has to be a tool for common understanding.

There are so many stories that need to be told. Your web-site allows for these stories, gives them a place, and as a result, acts a validation for other's feelings of pain, trauma, and re-collection of memory.

I am now a visual artist, a writer, and a social activist living in Montreal. The violence of silence is the underlying vein in most, if not all, of my work. I have been developing an idea for a creative project that will give the space for voices that have been silenced by the W.C.G. for purposes of empowerment. If we don't tell these stories, they will be told for us. I know that. The story of the abuse I lived, that my mother lived, is being re-told by the acting ministers, to this very day. Wouldn't wanna lose that Cadillac now, would we?

Any contacts I could make in Montreal, or in Toronto would be a boost to the idea of this project.

Thank-you so much for making my reality a better place to dwell in, because my past has been reclaimed.




Get a life?

We have. After realizing that the Worldwide Church of God (and it's daughters) was not the truth, we (I think Ed will agree) have begun to get a life. A real life based on truth, facts and yes, real love. Maybe we were all called. Many are called, few are chosen. The mystery may be that all the called are to be given the chance to realize that no matter how man tries to obey men, it is (bullshit) futile.

If you learned how to treat your fellow man and live together (without getting into a big dissertation), what else is there? God only knows. We all die. What happens after death? We will all find out, maybe. "Get a Life." It is so short in respect to eternity that we must make the most of it without searching for false philosophies. We have learned how man functions and that is not of God.



Graduated Big Sandy in 1969. Still have more stories...some would make those I read a little lame...

Thanks for the site...maybe I can sleep tonight....

Yours Truly




I was back on your Website before I picked up my e-mail. I wanted to finish reading everything there before I was side tracked by something else. And read your response to me there before getting your e-mail. Thank you for taking the time to answer me.

I have to admit that we still receive the PT, WN, and letters; but I tend to treat them like the comics more than seriously. It amazes me to read about Christian beliefs now. For some reason I find it hard to believe that I ever believed any of those things. Especially since I was 12 before I even paid attention to the PT, since I still had two parents and was not yet subjected to my mother's "Christian love."

I am not sure what my father believed, but I doubt it was ever Christianity or even a belief in the god of the bible. I do suspect that my great-grandmother was a practicing Druid, and since I spent most of the first four years of my life around her and my grandparents (that is a whole other story) rather than home with my mother, she had a greater influence than I realized until a couple of years ago.

According to George Meeker he baptized my mother in 1964, but I was not really exposed to rcg until 1966 (that came when I was sent to sep, talk about a shock!) so for the first 14 years of my life Christianity consisted of Christmas and Easter.

I went to church with my grandparents, but the Baptists made it more fun than anything else. Sure the last couple of years they were dropping hints that I should be thinking about Christ and baptism, but I was learning about other things from my great-grandmother. She was encouraging me to listen to my inner voice (now called sixth sense), to listen to the whispers of the wind, to feel the pulse of the earth, and the power of universe. She taught me to talk to the plants you want to grow, to kill animals for food mercifully. And so many other things.

My father had encouraged me to read Hemingway, Rand, Poe, Faust, Freud to name a few and we would talk about their books and the meanings of things.

So I had 13 years of this before I was introduced to rcg, hwa, and Christianity. I have to admit, they were good at brainwashing and reprogramming. The last couple of years I have been finding my way back to where I was when I was a teen, and starting anew.

I try to take all that I have been through, all that has happened and build on that. I have to admit it has not been easy. And some of the hardest things were not the trials themselves (abuse, divorce, child custody, etc.) but coping with the way the ministry and lay members treated me. They could be so cruel, it was worse than the cruelty of small children on the play ground.

It wasn't until I took some psychology courses that I realized that people will put you down and do their best to hurt you if you are overcoming and dealing with problems. Now I see and understand why the worse the trial was, the more I managed to handle, pick up, and go on, the more that people in church, especially many of the ministers, wanted to hurt and destroy me.

More than anything, they hated to see someone succeed in overcoming terrible odds. When I broke my back, I can count on one hand the number of people from the then Waukesha Wisconsin congregation that expressed any concern. In fact I did such a good job of overcoming and healing that, when I told someone else who broke his back that same winter that it gets better; I was told that I was not understanding about the pain that he was suffering.

It was a long time before the mention of being a Christian by someone no longer left with the urge to barf. I used to feel sorry for those people, now I simply try to look at life as a school and some of us have learned more than others and have advanced in level.

I have found something that helps in my struggle to learn and understand; I keep a journal. When I am trying to work through and understand or start questioning I dig it out, fill up a fountain pen and write. There is something about using a fountain pen that slows down my thinking and seems to crystallize thoughts. I will go months before writing, and some of my thoughts I don't ever want to share. So I write, and when I have it all worked out in my mind and am ready for the next step I find myself burning the journal. It is not that I am a shamed, but more that this was what it took for me to get to the next point and each person is different. I don't want someone years later to misunderstand and be hurt.

Oh, before I end. I put my e-mail address at end of last I sent you if you think that making it available for some one who reads your Website to contact me, go ahead and leave it there. I can pretty much deal with anything that comes along. And I know how to delete and ignore. I am going to try to keep checking your site more often, I bookmarked it. And I have no problem with answering people; hey, if 30 some years exposed to Worldwide Church of God and all the different people especially those crazies it attracted (especially the single men) didn't teach me how to talk to anyone nothing will.


See Karen's new page: "Get Over It"


Never laughed and cried so hard in my life!




Enjoy it if you can, you, no doubt, paid your dues.




To: thepainfultruth
Date: Saturday, July 10, 1999 4:22 PM
Subject: Your Web Page The Painful Truth

Why are you so bitter?


Foxy One,

Thanks for your message.

God has made me this way so that good Christians, like yourself, can feel so self-righteous and so superior to me. Tsk, Tsk... Ed will be lost forever while Foxy will sit at God's right hand.

Also see:

1. Forgiveness/Bitterness, Minister's Retirement

2. Okay, Okay.... I admit it: I am BITTER!!!!!!

3. FAQ Question #7. Why are you so filled with hatred and bitterness? (Number 7; the sign of perfection and fulfillment.) ;-)

But, I percieve that you really don't want to know why I am or if I am really Bitter. You just want to throw your Chrisitan Darts and not be responsible for what you say by giving your name.

This Webpage contains Truth. If you perceive it as BITTERNESS, so be it. Would that those religion pimps such as Jr. and his gang would just tell the truth and not be so worried about how much money they would lose if they did.

If I have Bitterness, if this webpage is Bitter, the world would be a better place if everyone had it instead of religion, the arsenic of the masses.

New on 7/12/99:


I stumbled across your site by accident, and I sure am glad that I did. I both laughed and shed a few tears. Your site helped put a difficult time in my life in perspective for me.

I was going through a very difficult and stressful time in my life and was sincerely praying to God that I be shown what I was to do with my life. I got hooked listening to Garner Ted and became a member when I was 19. It really appealed to me that I was now one of God's chosen in the end times. I now realize I was having emotional problems and was vulnerable. It all appealed to me. Why I even got to shake God's apostle's hand.

Within a year a had my doubts and was totally stressed out about what to do. What little self-esteem I had was taken away by _____________(our local minister). I really began to despise him and thought he was a real ass. I was almost a basket case.

I made friends with an older man who joined about the same time I did. We were told to study the Bible and he and I did. We began to find errors and contradictions. We found scriptures that caused us to question Worldwide Church of God's teachings. We saw the depression and misery of those in the church. We saw the damage to families that the divorce doctrine caused. We questioned the wisdom of some of the sermons. We questioned the jet and lifestyle of the Armstrongs.

My friend died in great emotional torment because he thought he was in he true church, but he had serious doubts. I to talk to a man whom I respected who had left the church. Of course contact with him was forbidden, but I sought him out. He had compiled quite a library on HWA by that time.

I saw early copies of the Plain Truth that had all kinds of goofy things like Hitler was going to win because he had the "all-piercing" bullet, or Hitler was still alive after the war. I also saw a copy of Herbert's ministerial credentials from the Church of God in Salem, West Virginia, that showed HWA had lied when I think he wrote someplace he was never a minister in that Church.

I called the minister whose name I can't recall any more and discussed it with him. He kept asking me whether I was going to believe what God said or not. and that I was in danger of the lake of fire. By that time, I was no longer threatened and thought he probably more concerned with keeping his job than the truth. My wife and I left.

By that time ministers had started to leave and I was able to contact one to ask why he left. I learned about the cover-up of Ted's sexual misconduct and heard all kinds of wild stories which I didn't doubt that were true. A disfellwshipped minister came and met with three other people and they left. Others in the church shunned me and would not even say hello.

I left the Worldwide Church of God in 1974 after being a member for three years. While the effects have lessened, I am still feeling them. For one, I married a woman mainly because she accepted the teachings of HWA. I simply married the wrong woman and we were divorced a few years ago. In the first few years of marriage, I truthfully mistreated her based on the teachings I learned from the Worldwide Church of God. Because of the Worldwide Church of God, I made the wrong career choices. I was depressed and suffered a lot of anxiety for several years after leaving the Worldwide Church of God. I am occasionally still reminded of some of the prophecies when I hear or read something. For years I have not talked about the Worldwide Church of God of God and have really tried to avoid the subject in conversation. I have tried to even deny my association with the Worldwide Church of God.

I studied and learned errors and the problem with how the Bible books were selected. No way could it be inspired, so I left Christianity. When I read George Henry Smith's Atheism: The Case Against God, and heard copy of Nathaniel Branden's talk, The Concept of God, I knew that I no longer believed in God.

Am I bitter? No, the Worldwide Church of God was simply an unfortunate experience I went through. I wish I hadn't had the experience, but it could have been worse like me still being associated with the Worldwide Church of God or one of the daughters. I think and hope I learned from the experience and am a better person for it. I work hard at using my own mind to be my guide, not some mystical authority. No more dogmas or religion for me. I simply made a mistake because I was vulnerable, eager to be a part of something I thought special, and maybe even being stupid.

Again, finding this site has been helpful in putting it all way back behind me. I was first a little surprised at the revelation of Herbert's incest with his daughter, but then thought it really shouldn't surprise me. Herbert was a sick and evil individual. His son, Garner Ted, is a sick and evil individual. I am sure the same could be said for others.

I appreciated the apologies of the ministers. I do understand how they were vulnerable and caught up in all this like we all were. I think all those still in the ministry should get a real job and quit being parasites.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent all this.



Hello Ed

Many years ago there was a couple of con artists running a scam on elderly people. They called their company the "C&R Pelt Company", C&R referring to Cat and Rat. Their sales pitch was to set up the old folks in a business of raising cats and rats. In theory, cats were ten times larger than rats, while the rats bred ten times faster than the cats. Ten rats could feed on one cat, but one cat could catch ten rats. It all balanced out mathematically so that all the people had to do was go around picking up the cat and rat pelts, sell them, and make a handsome fortune. There was no feed to purchase for the animals, and was pure profit once the initial investment was made.

Of course they never got around to saying that there was no market for either cat or rat pelts. It was totally bogus.

Herbert W. Armstrong also had a scam going. His was a little more sophisticated than the C&R Pelt Company, and a lot more successful. HWA liked to dabble in numbers also. Like the 19 year time-cycle, for instance. The new testament church was given two time cycles to finish its activities on earth, according to HWA. After the first 19 year time cycle ended, the gospel was made available to the gentiles where it continued for the remaining 19 years. The Philadelphia era of the church began in January, 1934 and exactly one time cycle later in 1953 the World Tomorrow was being preached over Radio Luxembourg for the first time in Europe. Just like in the bible. Let's see, 1953 + 19 = 1972 !! Ghastly ! Time's a wastin'. We're in the "gun lap" now. Tighten your belts, give as you've never given before!

Like the C&R Pelt Company, all HWA had to do was walk around and pick up the tithes. He kept the Bride of Christ barefoot and pregnant (pregnant because he screwed us enough).

Best Regards,

Robert Matthews

P.S. If you want to use my full name on this, should you decide to include it in your emails, please feel free to do so. I don't really care what anybody thinks.



I was just lucky, as we all were lucky, to finally start to see what was what. It was a terrible experience, but without it, I'm sure I never would have questioned the Bible and the concept of God. I know many who suffered worse than I did. I really am glad I wasn't accepted to go to Ambassador College!

My wife was the last carryover from the Worldwide Church of God and we are now divorced. We were never really happy.

I pity those who somehow think that they were taught the truth. I had a friend leave and he still was believing HWA was an apostle. One person I know is now a local elder. I am sure people I knew are still in or in one of the daughter churches.

Ed, I thank you for putting up the site. I do hope things are going well for you as you had more exposure than I did.

A disfellowshipped member I knew, had spent a lot of time, money, and effort collecting materials on HWA. The materials clearly showed HWA lied, made a number of false predictions and had plagiarized teachings he claimed were revelations. This was around '75. I showed the materials around, but I learned the lesson of facts be dammed.



It's hard to condense 17 yr. of misery into one. How about my sister, who became a drug addict, because at age 13 her skirt didn't touch the floor. (They made them kneel down) . Coupled with no Friday night games or NOTHING else that wasn't church oriented, she ran off with the first guy that came along and had two children.....(It's a book, not just a brief story.)

I think I will send you a highlight of all those years. I just talked to my sister (who was never involved as a member) but after all these years, (She is 46 years. old now) wants some kind of closing on this.......Yep, I got stories, but most are painful to recall...I will try......later....just a snip now.

Thanks, my friend, for being honest, and for doing what you are supposed to.....

I must admit, I wish I could say something to those that made life miserable and destroyed my marriage while holding god over my head.......It ain't been easy......but at 52, I guess I will eventually get over it. If I knew where Gary Arvidson was, I would certainly ask for an apology and I would hope he would give it. I do not rush to condemn anyone, but there is justice in the human spirit.

They made their own rules, just like Garner Ted Armstrong made his own. He could fool around because "god" gave him that right. (just like Herb)! The man used to answer the door totally nude....(Herb)...(now that is wisdom)...too much Dom Perignon, I suspect......We used to send people to Dallas to buy it by the cases. As you know that is the "cheap" stuff...even in those days about 75 bucks a bottle.

On the "Holy" Days when people brought wine in for the Night to Be "LONG" remembered, we were told to take the "cheap" stuff and put in on the members tables....Any good stuff went to the ministers. Of course we in the clean up crew drank all the rest, and puked all night. It was "rememabrawl" (sic) alright., but that was our fault, even though NO ONE seemed to care just how much we drank, and we drank a LOT. ...all the time!!! AC was basically a bunch of alcoholics, and if you weren't one when you came in to the WWC or AC, then you stood a VERY good chance on being one, going out the door.

I didn't intend for this to get this long, but now it has become a release and I feel a LOT better because someone has listened and "understood" without condemning me to their "hell"!

Yes, I found my own GOD, who was there ALL along......

Your friend


P.S. Just like AA (which a lot of AC and WWCOG people have gone to), we need others to listen and understand. You may print my e-mail address, but, like you, if you want to send hate mail, then don't bother, I will ignore it!

"Bad things happen when good people do nothing"!



Thought I would lay this one on you. I don't know if you have quoted it in any of your writing, but I know you know that God will take care of anyone who has offended his sheep. This does not make me want to be a pastor at all.

Have a good week.


Jeremiah Chapter 23



Sorry, I stay away from Biblical quotations. Besides, these verses only apply to everyone other than the cult you are a leader of. This does not apply to God's chosen apostle.


New on 7/15/99:


The Heavy Coat Of Lies is a very condensed version of a text that I have been writing for a while, for purposes of publication. It is quite long, even at that, but I was unable to cut it down further. If you plan on posting this, and you want to edit, I would prefer to do it myself.

I have no problem about posting my e-mail address and would actually enjoy reading anything sprouting from this (

Thanks again for your great site, I have recently had conversations with my mother that I would not have been able to have if it weren't for stumbling on the Painful Truth site. May the blessings of all goodness come on you for providing the catalyst for family re-construction, and, as some Israeli Jews I know would say, "may the fleas of a thousand camels infest the armpits of your enemies (cause I'm sure you've made a few) for all eternity".

cheerfully and clearly,

Colette in Montreal



I note that you have been most fair and have given folks equal time. You have treated me with respect. It is always a privilege when you have graciously hosted articles on your web site.

There is a trend that I see, and that is that more and more young adults are posting their experiences to your site, and that is something that I have also encouraged for those who have sent me e-mails. There is an evil and a legacy of abuse that I can't quite get my arms around that should be exposed, but I can't figure it out. It goes like this:

There is a young man I see in downtown Tacoma from time to time living in the streets as I drive there. He is homeless and has no one who cares about him. It's been awhile--he might even be dead now. He has no skills. He has no future. His mother came into the Worldwide Church of God and his father did not. There was some sort of situation where she felt it necessary to flee from her home. She and her two sons lived in a tent in various places in the woods around Tacoma, always fearing that her husband would find her. The Church was of no help at all. Somehow, one of her sons managed to escape the environment and went on to be a successful analyst for Boeing. The other grew up devastated with little education, no motivation, and zip self-esteem.

Stepping back two years ago on The Night to Be Much Remembered, we happened to be in a private home of a widow lady where the chairman of the board of one of the churches of God was also in attendance. I related several stories about various people about whom I was concerned, and the reaction of the man was this question: "Why do you care so much?". The question left me speechless. I would have thought that this holy man would know about the fruits of the Holy Spirit--would understand caring and concern. Unfortunately, this is the minister who declared early on as the new sect of the cult was spawned that, "I will not give up my ministerial authority!". Since that time, he has tried mightily to recover the glories of the past by promoting the flagship magazine of "God's Work". "The Good News," said he, "is the same as it was twenty years ago". If you saw it today, you might have to agree. The circulation in now pushing 200,000.

The articles are exactly what you might expect. The classic issue has on the cover: "Deadly Diseases Again a Threat to Humanity?" (May/June 1998) with the mast head above it "The Good News". The irony has not been lost on me, and it could very well be a great parody. The news is really terrible, about disasters, broken families, immorality, wars, etc. It is almost too painful to read. The last two issues were real winners. The approach is always the same, and Ed, you are so familiar with this, 1) The World is a terrible, dangerous place, 2) Jesus Christ must come to fix the world, 3) Nothing and nobody can do anything about it, 4) Everyone is evil, desparately wicked, especially world leaders and that is why we have all these terrible things, 5) The only thing you can do is read your Bible and subscribe to our Magazine. To me, it is a terrible, negative legacy which is the basis and the roots of the abuse that has spawned the type of situation I related above.

At the same time, this particular church has of its around 100 paid ministers, 30 who are on half-salary and being encouraged to find themselves jobs to support themselves. In the long term, this makes no sense. If "The Good News" is successful in attracting the people into the church, who will they have to feed them, encourage them, [personally abuse them]? This is like burning your food in the winter time to keep warm--using up vital resources to stay alive--creating a shortage in one area to solve a problem in another. It is clear that these well-intentioned morons don't realize that their wonderful, beautiful, slick, full colored magazine is promoting the very evils they purport to resolve, and they would be so hurt if someone showed them the damage they were doing. Did you know that "The US and British Commonwealth" booklet was found in the bunkers of David Koresh? [from a man on the council that knows these things.] What kind of nuts will this recycled garbage attract? Psychopaths? They don't know the way to peace and they can't solve their own problems.

This is so ironic to have a church talk about "The Great White-Throne Judgement" to help the billions of people who have a chance, when the members [and ministers] don't have a clue to how to do it. Worse, they create the problems as they go along. Well was it said of the Pharisees that their children would condemn them.

It is all so very aggravating. Your web site is extremely helpful; you are doing a good thing. It's just that it seems so very futile, sometimes.

That is the background for the article I sent for posting. [It will take longer to read this than the original article.]

Thank you for your attention. It has been cathartic.

Regards, Douglas

PS: Ezekiel 39 should be thought of as an indictment of the ministry, not a prophesy. It's always best if we can judge people by the standards they, themselves, have set.


How can I help you maintain The Painful Truth? Seems a lot better way to spend my money that some of the ways I have in the past. I really appreciated "The David Defense".



Tithing not allowed here. No offerings either.

Glad you liked the David Defense.




Hey! I can't find You Might Have Grown Up In The Worldwide Church of God If......... anymore. It was my favorite. Surely you would not risk GOD'S WRATH AND THE LAKE OF FIRE!!! by eliminating it. My life is in the gun lap( I hope it lasts as long as Herbie's) and sharing the pain with humor is a real tonic for me.

Please excuse my selfish rotten carnal nature

Name Withheld


Well. Where did that go to? I've put it back up with a new graphic. Take a look for the link on the Personal Page too. Thanks much for your help.




Greetings Ed,

You know your Website reminds me of unicorns. Yes, unicorns. I don't know if you have ever watched "Ally McBeal" but there was one where she defended a man who claimed to have seen a unicorn. The reason she did such a good job, she had seen a unicorn.

Each of us has seen our unicorn; but since we have been told that they don't exist we have been afraid to tell anyone what we have seen. Now we read someone else's story and realize they have seen a unicorn, so it is safe to tell that we have too.



Attached is my submission to the Painful Truth site (You Might Have Grown Up In The Worldwide Church of God If.........)

I stumbled onto the site while browsing one day. After having attended the Worldwide Church of God for 22+ years it is nice to see that there are people out there who have had some of the same crackpot experiences that I have had!

I loved Michelle Vice's paper on the AC Dating Game--I graduated with her from AC, if you have contact with her let her know I said hello--I am sure that there are volumes and volumes of stories that could be compiled about the AC Dating Game.

Thanks for the site--I will check it out regularly now!



Michelle, if you send me your address, I will send you Marie's address.



Can commiserate with you. Also spent about 25 yrs in xianity.

My last foray was into Witness Lee's "The Local Church."

I am gradually being able to call myself "deistically inencumbered."

Keep writing.




Thank you so much for posting my story. I've gotten a lot of response from some wonderful people. So far no "nuts or kooks"................... I better knock on wood.

I do apologize for the sloppy text of my story. Once I started writing I forgot everything I knew about how to write. The words just poured out.

I sincerely appreciate the opportunity that I've had to meet the people who have read my story and to read the stories of others. I would never have had this chance if it wasn't for your Website. I sent a link to my mother, who is very new to the web. She's so new in fact, your site is the first one she's ever looked at. Needless to say, she found it VERY interesting. Just mentioning the words World Wide Church of God, scared her so bad she wouldn't look at first, because she thought I was sucked back in and trying to suck her back in.

I finally got it through her head that she would like it if she would just check it out because it wasn't what she thought. She was sure surprised, not to mention thrilled!! I didn't tell her about my story though. I'm still waiting to see what she thought of that. I thought I'd just wait and let her find it on her own.

Your strength in taking the initiative to create this and to be able to speak your mind so clearly, I do greatly admire.

I wish you all the luck.



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