the painful truth about the worldwide church of god

Email: Sweet and Sour(maybe)
(Page Twelve)

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

Email, Indexed by DATE

New on 7/19/99:

Hello Ed,

To start, you have my permission to post any/all of this letter along with my name and e-mail address if you wish.

I came across your website a couple months ago and have been intrigued with it. I never knew that so many people hated Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God. I was a member of the Worldwide Church of God for close to 20 years (ages 5 to 25) and never had anything close to the experiences that you and those that write to you have had. I look back on my years in the church and have no Bad memories what-so-ever. Keep in mind that I basically grew up in the church. Most of my early childhood, my "educational" teen years and the first few years of early adulthood. (I quit attending services in 1988). Yet, I can't think of any "Ill-effects" that the church has had on me. I was raised in the church, my life revolved around the church. I was in the YOU and the Spokesmen Club, I served as an usher, I served as an audio technician, was part of the "setup" crew and even served as a coach for the YOU in my last few years there. So basically, I was a very active member in my local congregation. I did all this Voluntarily and was never pressured into doing any of it! All that I remember from these experiences are VERY good times.

We (By the way, my father, mother and brother were also members of the church) didn't eat pork, nor did we celebrate christmas, easter, holloween or new year's. (I still don't) We did keep God's Holy days and Sabbath, we paid tithes, we did all that was expected of a church family in those days. You know the routine! The Friday nights, etc... Anyways, can't think of anything that has effected my life in a negative manner in these regards either. My father was a stickler for the "rules" so to speak, and I was punished for breaking those rules. Many a day I went to school with a sore ass after a night of discipline. (My father used a piece of snow ski for a paddle that was applied to my bare bottom on those nights) Some misinformed people might consider that "child abuse", however I disagree. If it were not for that paddle and the use there of, I would no doubt be incarcerated for any number of socially unaccepted behavioral problems. Seems that board kept me on the straight and narrow and I am VERY thankful for it!! Our family outside the church, though they didn't fully understand why we did the things that we did, never had a problem with it. Although there was my one Bible thumping (Baptist) aunt that kept reminding us that we were going to burn in HELL!!!, for our blasphemous ways :) But hey, she still speaks to us and we get along just fine. Matter-of-fact, I can't think of any family member that ever had a major problem with our beliefs!! Guess I had a great family during those times. Kind of funny though, we were actually a lot closer in those days then we are now.

Now on to Mr. Armstrong. Was he an apostle of God? or a "dirty old man" that got off on all kinds of S**T? Was he used by God to preach the truth or was he just another money grubbing SOB that preyed on unsuspecting people? Personally I liked Mr. Armstrong. I think he was a very charismatic, charming and well meaning human being. Even after all the stuff (weather it's true or not) that I have read about him on your site as well as others, I still have a special place in my heart for him! I do believe that God used him for whatever reason. I also keep in mind that Mr. Armstrong was human and therefore fallible as we are all!!! Did he make mistakes in his life time? You can bet the farm on that! Was he that awful beast that most seem to believe that he was? Well the evidence seems to say so. Mr. Armstrong is guilty of being a regular, down-to-earth creature after all. Just like David, Solomon, Moses, Abraham, Paul and the rest of us fallible human beings. Good to know that he was just a man after all :) And that's my point, he was a man (Used by God no doubt, but a man just the same) and we, members and ex-members alike DID/DO NOT FOLLOW A MAN!! We are suppose to follow God! Sorry to say this, but it does sound like you and many of your readers were just following the man, your mistake not his!! I want you to know that this is NOT hate mail what-so-ever, but I think you should do a little self exam (check out that mirror) before belittling Mr. Armstrong's name anymore. From everything that I read on your site, it sounds to me that you (and many of your readers) have a personal grudge against a dead man and a dying organization. So much unwarranted blame has befallen on Mr. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God for whatever reason, when all the blame should fall on each and every individual for following the man instead of God. In Mr. Armstrong's own words "Don't believe me, read it for yourself. Open your Bible and read what it says". All of us should have heeded that advise and read the Bible for ourselves. If we didn't agree with what Mr. Armstrong was preaching, then we should have question it and even left the church years ago. If you felt trapped in the church because you were afraid of losing your "salvation", then you haven't read the Bible. If you couldn't prove the things Mr. Armstrong preached from the Bible why did you continue to follow him? Why didn't you leave then and seek the truth elsewhere? If keeping the church doctrines (Holy days, Sabbath, etc...) were hurting your family relations and your personal growth why didn't you study them for yourself and prove them beyond a shadow of doubt before committing to them and damaging relations and yourself? Why put the blame on Mr. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God instead of yourselves for not studying and proving these things? Why did you follow the man?

Maybe I lived a sheltered life during my Worldwide Church of God years and was unaffected by all the "bad" teaching that apparently was going on in the church. Or maybe I actually did read the Bible and study things for myself. I don't know, but I can tell you that my life is much better than my peers due to the influence that Mr. Armstrong and the church had on me. Do I believe Mr. Armstrong and the church was right in all their teachings and doctrines? Absolutely not!! I thought that they were wrong in several areas (the church especially now) and though I didn't argue about it back then (as I won't get into a doctrinal discussion now), I did voice my opinion. I didn't accept what a man said then and I still don't accept what men say now. I do what God tells us to and study things for myself to prove weather they be true or not. Anywayz, do what you need to do. If bashing Mr. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God makes you feel better, then have at it.

As I was "surfing" your site and taking in all the "poor little me, I was tormented by Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God" postings, I started thinking. I've held the same job for 18 years and every year I take off for the Holy days and I never work on the Sabbath. (That's right, I still hold on to most of the beliefs even though I no longer attend services) Even though my bosses don't agree with my beliefs (The owner is a die-hard catholic) I never have trouble taking the Sabbath or Holy days off. Although I do use my vacation time for these days (I have been known to take these days without pay due to using my vacation up for other reasons) I've NEVER had a problem with taking them off. Why? Because I live in a country (USA) that still believes in religious freedom and I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRACTICE MY RELIGION and my bosses can not deny those days from me. I've checked into it, a company can not fire you or deny you work because of you religious beliefs! So there should have never been a problem with the Sabbath and Holy days to start with. As for tithing, I don't any more. Do I believe I should? YES! But that's between God and myself and not some man that tells me I'm going to lose my salvation because I don't/can't tithe. Again this comes under "I don't follow a man, I try to follow God"!!

What all this comes down to is this: Why bash a dead man and blame him for all the bad things in your life, when in reality you should be blaming yourself? As I said at the beginning of this letter, I have the tendency to ramble on and get off subject or completely lose my train of thought as I have done all three here. Please, again don't take this as hate mail. Look at it as some constructive criticism. We all have our problems and we all like to throw the blame to other people. Hope this is a help (or a bit of humor) for you and your readers.

Hope to hear from you on these subjects.


Dave O'Brien



It never ceases to amaze me to find "Christians" like yourself who are so insensitive to the feelings of those who have been tragically affected by your religion. I know you get it right out of your bible and you think that God is with you in this thinking. I'm sure you agree with Jr.'s way of thinking regarding The Worldwide Church of God Samaritan.

Here are some answers to some of your questions:

>>I never knew that so many people hated Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God.

Reply: faq.htm#33

>>Even after all the stuff (weather it's true or not) that I have read about him on your site as well as others, I still have a special place in my heart for him!

Reply: faq.htm#33 This is called idolization and denial.

>>Well the evidence seems to say so. Mr. Armstrong is guilty of being a regular, down-to-earth creature after all. Just like David, Solomon, Moses, Abraham, Paul and the rest of us fallible human beings. Good to know that he was just a man after all :)

Reply: faq.htm#4 Good that he was a rapist? Good that he committed incest for 10 years while God was starting his ministry? Good that he was a plagiarist? Good that he ruined many thousands of people's lives? Good that many people died because of his teachings? I could go on but there would be no point to argue with such a cultic mindset.

>>So much unwarranted blame has befallen on Mr. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God for whatever reason, when all the blame should fall on each and every individual for following the man instead of God. In Mr. Armstrong's own words "Don't believe me, read it for yourself.

Reply: faq.htm#5 and faq.htm#29

>>Why did you follow the man?

Reply: That is what a cult is. If you did not follow the man, you were not in the cult and you can't understand what the rest of us went through.

>>As for tithing, I don't any more. Do I believe I should? YES!

Reply: Now this is an amazing statement. You come preaching to a bunch of people that have laid down their lives doing what they thought they had to do because God demanded it, but you admit that you know you are deliberately disobeying your God and continue to do it anyway. Seems to me that these people have been hurt because they had more of a conscience or desire to follow God than you do. Yet you are so superior to them and you defend a corrupt man and a church that supported and still supports him and depends on the idolization of him to keep their loyal tithe payers. This is a paradox that you have to deal with, not me.

>>Hope this is a help (or a bit of humor) for you and your readers.

Reply: Oh yes, I think this will help them so very much. You are a good Christian.




Maybe you can help me with some information. I have heard that there may be a lawsuit developing against the Worldwide Church of God, or it is already in motion. I understand that the Pasadena campus is supposed to be for sale (at a price of approx. $250 million) and that the proceeds will go to line certain pastor general's and evangelists pockets.

Have you heard anything about this, and if so, do you know anyone who is part of this suit, or any of the participating lawyers? I was talking to my lawyer last night and if there is substantial participation in this kind of suit, he said it might be worth something to participate in.

If you have any names, would you please forward them to me. I would really appreciate it a lot!


Name withheld


I do not know of any lawsuit currently in progress against the Worldwide Church of God. If you have a lawyer that is willing to go for it, I'm sure we could get many thousands of people to join. Put me at the top of the list.

I'm not sure whether they have collected any of the loot from the sale of the properties yet.

The goal is to fund the retirement of the loyal abusers still on staff when it all ends. Jr. is said to also plan on using it to fund his Plain Truth Ministries, which is a separate entity from the Worldwide Church of God. When he is through milking the Worldwide Church of God cash cow, he can cut the members loose and move on to more fertile fields to harvest.

Show me that you really have a lawyer that is interested and I will do what I can to get a sign-up list started. Jr. says that there are 40,000 former members out there that are just wandering souls with no purpose in life, since they no longer follow his mislead. I'll bet something like a class-action suit would give them some purpose.

And, given the craziness of the courts nowadays, all you need is a sympathetic jury even if you have a bad case. This would not be a bad case, as your lawyer told you.

Regards, Ed


Hi Ed:

Here is something that appears in the latest issue of The Journal (6/30/99) that may interest you:

"HELP NEEDED WITH INVESTIGATION An investigation is being conducted by some former members of the Worldwide Church of God concerning possible crimes committed by Mr. Phillip Shields when he was in the ministry of that church.

Allegations against Mr. Shields includes numerous instances of sexual assault against married women and teen age girls and molestation's of girls as young as nine yrs. old. To date, 24 probable victims have been identified. Six of them have furnished written statements for the preliminary report, which also includes statements by five other former ministers of the Worldwide Church of God concerning Mr. Shields alleged predatory activities.

The report has been furnished to church and legal authorities where appropriate. Mr. Shields currently lives in Vancouver WA. where he is the host for the Church of the Great God, which meets in Portland OR.

Between 1971 and 1994 he was assigned to churches in Edmonton, Cornwall NY, Plattsburg NY, New Brunswick, and Nashville TN. The Investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has information that would be helpful in this matter, can contact us at: PS Investigation, PO Box 3334, Grapevine, TX 76099"

Maybe The Painful Truth can help squash this maggot. What the hell is keeping him out of jail?

Dear Mr. Tkach

I write to you in the spirit of Christian concern and fellowship to ask seriously for your assistance. I know it something with which you may be uncomfortable and may not even do anymore, but it would mean SO Much, AND it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Please officially disfellowship Ed .

There are three reasons to do this:

1) Ed has been causing divisions within the Worldwide Church of God for years by postings at his Web Site.

2) You may be instrumental in "saving" Mr. from damnation by turning him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh to save his spirit;

3) He has asked for it and SINCERELY wants to be disfellowshipped, as may be noted at his web site: hate-mail-01.htm#New7_12_98

"It is relatively easy to make it to this page because it doesn't take a lot of brains to write a hateful message. I wish it was that easy to get disfellowshipped from the Worldwide Church of God. I did all that I could to earn this honored distinction but apparently it is one goal I will never attain. If anyone can pull some strings with Jr. and gang and get me officially disfellowshipped, I would be eternally grateful. Ed ".

I know Ed , Senior, to be an honest, straight-as-an-arrow, fair person, and feel that his above statement is truly according to his desires.

Although, he has acted in a manner which is a personal affront to you, I ask you as God's Representative on Earth--The Apostle of this time, as the Apostle Paul charged in New Covenant Scripture, to mark this man and officially disfellowship him with a letter in love and kindly Christian Concern.

Who knows, perhaps you may be the instrument in God's Hands to save him.

Or, if not, Mr. may "wear" it as a badge of honor.

Hell, he may post the damned thing on his web site.

Sincerely, in Christian Love and Concern,



I am so sorry that someone hurt you so badly in the name of 'Christianity' that you no longer have a saving faith. It is a very sad commentary of the denomination you were a part of. Lest you believe otherwise, not all Christians are like that. Faith in GOD, as to Who He is, as Jesus as His only begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit, as He indwells us, is the only explanation that can stand the true test of time.

Thomas Payne's first page was so negative, that I felt I had to write to you. He mentioned two things that I recall vividly: (1) that Thomas doubted the risen Lord until he saw the nailprints in His hands and put his hands in the ripped side of the Savior. Scripture plainly tells us that after Jesus appeared to him in the upper room, behind a locked door, that Thomas fell at His feet and exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" He obviously believed in His ressurection after that, and gladly shared that belief the rest of his life. (2) that only 5 or 6 people witnessed the ascention into heaven of the risen Lord.

Again, scripture plainly teaches that there were over 120 persons who witnessed this event. These also gathered in Jerusalem waiting for the promised visiting of the Holy Spirit, who would guide them to do as the Lord Jesus had told them to do: (4) Go into all the world, teaching all nations to be baptised for the remission of their sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to obey all that He had commanded them. I wish there was a way to share this faith with the intensity that I feel it; but 'paper' is so insensitive.

Think sincerely about this: either the Bible is totally true or it is utterly false. If it is true, we must follow it and only it [no creeds or dogma, just the Book]. If it is false, then there is no God, and our lives are completely worthless and empty; read Ecclesiastes 1:2; Proverbs 1:7; & Psalms 53:1. I will be praying for you. I am truly sorry for your loss.




Thank you for your message. I perceive that it is sent with the desire to help and I appreciate that.

I hope that you continued to read the rest of Paine's wonderful book, The Age of Reason.

Also see my Bibliolatry Page.

We do agree on one thing.
You wrote: "either the Bible is totally true or it is utterly false."

I do not agree with you when you say: "If it is false, then there is no God, and our lives are completely worthless and empty"

This is a trap that Christians are in. They think that there must be nothing else if their religion is wrong. What you do not consider is that maybe no religion is the right religion and that God may not require a religion since He has not made it absolutely clear which religion is His. And, let me tell you that you cannot use the Bible that you are postulating to be WRONG to prove that there is no hope. If you throw the bible out, then you start from scratch, not from Bible quotes. Believe me, it is very freeing and hopeful. More hope than I ever got out of the Bible, and I do know the Bible very well.

I don't expect that you will consider that though so let's just end this discussion.

Thank you for caring in a nonjudgmental way. I can tell that you were never a Worldwide Church of God member.



New on 7/20/99:


Just finished looking at the updates on your site. Three points:

1) If there is a class action lawsuit, count me in. Please forward my name to the folks who are working on this. My brother and I are both interested in making these people pay. Fraud alone should get something. These people need to pay for counseling for ex-members -I know of three people who have committed suicide because of leaving "God's elect."

2) Can we start a plea to the current Worldwide Church of God administration to disfellowship us? I'd love to be disfellowshipped as well, and there are probably others!

3) It sickens me that people are continuing to harbor known criminals in their congregations. Sexual abuse is a crime and can and should be prosecuted criminally. Anyone with evidence can go to the authorities anonymously or to that particular state's department of family and children's services and get that person behind bars! It does not matter if the child is now an adult -there generally is no statute of limitation against sexually deviant crime.

Again, many kudos and much applause for all that you do!




I am thinking about a page where we disfellowship Jr. and gang. Maybe disfellowship them from the human race?

Would be nice to have a listing of the current ministry of the Worldwide Church of God and all its daughters so they could all go on the list also.

Wish I could remember the exact wording of how they used to do it.

Of course, when we do it to them, it is all in jest and just to make fun of them and show that we hold them as contemptible; that we do not recognize any authority that they may think they have in their delusion.

But when they do it to us, they are very serious and truly believe, at least they pretend they do for the benefit of and for the frightening of their sheep, they are turning us over to Satan for chastisement.

If you or anyone else can help with suggestions for this new page, please send them along.




I am not a member of the Worldwide Church of God. However, my former husband was raised "in the church". We were divorced this year after 12 hellish years of marriage. I attribute many of our marital problems to programming he received at the encouragement of Worldwide Church of God pastors. .

He may have refused to join the church...but the abusive and authoritative programming remains to this day. He doesn't understand why he isn't able to have normal friendships or a loving relationship with me, his children, parents and siblings. And while he rejected the churchgoing part...the programming remained. So I respectfully submit the following to The Ministerial Apology Page:

"We apologize for encouraging members to abusively program their children with no thought of how that programming would affect their children or their children's children or future spouses. Just because a child doesn't remain "in the church" doesn't mean that all that early religious abuse (and programming, Ed) just goes away."

I would also like to commend the two pastors who have had the nerve to sign their names to this apology. They are the ones who are truly repentant and changed.




Greetings Ed:

I love your site. I check it out pretty much every time I'm on the computer. I got my first pc 2 months ago and immediately started searching for Worldwide Church of God stuff. I found your site, David Covington's, and others. I'm corresponding with Bob from Campus Comedy. He's sending me a few books to read. When I was "called", I was 18. I found the PT and wow did I think I was special. It was like a great Science Fiction story. Of course, I didn't even know there was a church behind it. Once I sent money I started getting invites into the inner circle (you know what I mean). I devoured every booklet. I was a young person who felt no sense of belonging in the world. I was always looking for some way to be special, to have hidden knowledge. Something to make me different as I formed my identity. The special knowledge the church offered fulfilled this. My best friend was into it too( He left a few years back for a healthy Christian Church).

I manipulated a friend of mine into contacting the church and meeting with a minister. He found out where services were and got permission to attend. We freaked the congregation out when all of a sudden four of us showed up dressed like hippies. They didn't know what to think, but we made it past the "greeters" and into the hall. The minister was taken aback and I think he adapted his sermon due to the surprise. He gently mentioned that usually people met with the minister before attending services. We met and within a few months I was baptized into the Worldwide Church of God. I remember him saying that he had to ask if I would always obey the church as a prerequisite to my baptism. Oh yeah, for sure. He (Jon Kurnik) was a nice guy, sincere. I don't think he really liked the militant stuff that much. My friend got baptized too, and his girlfriend joined as well. Their now married and in a healthy church as I mentioned before.

I was always uncomfortable with mainstream Christianity. I don't think my time in the Worldwide Church of God helped. Even though I was disfellowshipped after 10 years in, I hung onto Sabbath observance, etc. for years after. It's strange how my relationship to God was defined through outward observances. That is screwed up. I feel as though my relationship with Christ and God has been poisoned by the church. I feel like "once bitten, twice shy". I don't want to be screwed around again. But, I would like more of a relationship with God and other Christians. I sometimes go to the local Worldwide Church of God services, but it is so cliquey and apart from the sermon it seems very dead. I have the feeling that if the church went back to the old ways, most would go along with it. They have a relationship with a church, not with God. A social club, etc.

For myself, I do what I can to live right. Love my neighbor, etc. Thank God for the air I breathe, for the beauty of His creation, etc. And I feel affected by knowing that anything can be proved from the Bible, and that all you really can know is that everybody is basically wrong about their beliefs, because who's to say what is right.

I have some good memories from my years in the Worldwide Church of God. The Sabbath always seemed nice when it came. I usually spent it alone. I would bike out somewhere in the woods and watch the sunset and talk to God. The Feast was exciting in the sense of feeling like you belonged to something. But on an individual level I found it hard to relate to church people. There was so much arrogance and us Vs them attitude. Racist comments that would anger me. Church culture drove me nuts. Herbert W. Armstrong making us watch the young ambassadors a couple of times at Sabbath services because it was his favorite. I hated them, and I told the minister that. I said "I can't relate to church culture. All this good old days, America the great stuff". It just doesn't seem right.

Anyway, I invite anyone to e-mail me who would like. I would like to communicate with some of you. I would like to talk about our experiences and hear your stories

James Meister


My name is Andie , and I grew up in the Worldwide Church of God. I have a few postings on this web site, and I have been doing all that I can to facilitate my own healing from this terrible, gut-wrenching experience. I am a writer and a philosophy major, and I am interested in putting together a book of critical perspectives on the Worldwide Church of God and splinter group experience.

The Painful Truth web site has facilitated the healing of many people, and the people who contribute to it should be applauded for their work. This site is a venue for helping people write out their stories and receive some freedom from the past.

There are many psychologists and psychiatrists around the world who are interested in learning more about the effects of the Worldwide Church of God and the traumatic abuses that members suffered. It is possible to heal from the horror, and it has been a difficult road for me. While it continues to be difficult in some ways, I am finding a healing that is bringing about a freedom that I have never experienced before. I want to assist professionals in uncovering some of the specific issues of our particular group to shorten the learning curve as other former members search out professionals to aid them.

I am also interested in providing ex-members and their families a format through which discussion can take place. Many of us are distrustful of mental health professionals because of what our group believed about them. This book will strive to provide ex-members and their families with reasonable access to theories on cult mind control techniques and how they were used in our particular group in order to facilitate healing.

My goal is to work with some of the individuals at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, a well-known mental health facility which specializes in cult recovery, and publishers at Baker House, Personal Freedom Outreach, and the American Family Foundation to come up with a book that tells our collective story. Each of us have a story to tell as to the depth of our involvement in the Worldwide Church of God, as well as the effects and the emotional aftermath of leaving the organization.

If you are a former member, I am interested in receiving your story for publication. While I am not interested in directing much of your story, I would like your manuscript to include the following information:

1) Information as to how you were recruited into the Worldwide Church of God -or your earliest memories of the Worldwide Church of God as a child born into the group. If you were recruited, please include the process of recruitment (exposure to broadcast, PT, literature, outreach, family, ministerial visit, etc). Also include some idea as to your religious background prior to your involvement in the Worldwide Church of God.

2) Information which tells me something of level of involvement in the organization, i.e. ordination, service, fundraising, tithing and other financial "giving," leaving friends and family, marital conflict due to involvement, participation in YOU and Festival activities, fasting, etc. The length of time spent in the organization would be helpful.

3) Information as to conflict with those outside the group due to the demands of the group.

4) Information as to what led to your personal process in leaving the Worldwide Church of God. Whether disfellowshipping or personal choice, this can be critical.

5) Information as to how you would assess his/her reentry into society, i.e. employment, relationships with spouse, children, family, and friends, financial status, spending habits, etc. Diagnosis, new ideas about the world, and fighting the desire to rejoin the group are all possibilities. I want to hear of your struggles, but I also want to hear of your successes in finding freedom.

6) What feelings and thoughts are associated with the experience in the Worldwide Church of God? Feel free to include past experiences and stories about your involvement which you feel characterize the experience for you.

You will be allowed to use a pseudonym in the book for the purpose of your own protection. However, I am going to need to know who you are and will need some information in order to send you materials. If, as a contributor, you decide to use a pseudonym, you will be known only to me and your identity will be held in strictest confidence.

You will retain absolute rights as to how your story appears in print. I may ask you to clarify something or edit the work for you, but the final draft will be approved by you. Your story is not my property, but yours.

You will receive a manuscript of the final draft of the book prior to submission for publication. If you choose not to include your story at that time, your story will not be included.

Any changes made by the publisher will be submitted to you for your approval. If for some reason I am unable to locate you, I will change your name to a pseudonym.

If for some reason the book is unable to be published by any of the aforementioned people, you will be notified as to who will be publishing the text.

Sections other than personal stories will include: an historical look at the Worldwide Church of God, an analysis on the benefits of exit-counseling, and an essay written by myself that will compare the cult criteria of Margaret Singer, Robert Lifton, Steven Hassan, and the Wellspring Staff to evidences of cult mind control within the Worldwide Church of God, past and present.

I will also assist you on a personal level in finding mental health treatment if you are interested. Some of you may find that writing your story provides an outlet and uncovers a great deal of trauma that might be buried beneath years of stressful and traumatic experiences. There are a few contacts that I have, and I will be happy to provide you with names of people who can help.

As far as compensation for my effort in writing this book, I intend to use the proceeds (minus my incurred expenses) to start a trust fund at Wellspring to pay for the treatment of former Worldwide Church of God members. Hopefully, there will be some level of profit from this, as Baker House is somewhat hungry for books from ex-members of cults!

Please contact me if you are interested in assisting me in this effort.

Thank you. Regardless of your level of involvement in this project, I hope that you find freedom from the grip of the Worldwide Church of God and that you begin to experience a healthy, satisfying life.


New on 7/24/99:

Hello Ed,

I was browsing in the latest update and saw in the Kooks, Nut, Loonies section your query about how to get Worldwide Church of God to disfellowship you. Why not disfellowship THEM? Just for the record, my husband and I wrote in December 1997 and did just that, (according the teachings of Paul) and then asked to have our names removed from the list. Of course, I had to follow it up several months later with a phone call. Seems they hadn't gotten to it because "the holidays had them backed up". This was particularly amusing because some friends who still attended were still convinced the cult would never "keep" xmas.

You probably have good reasons for wanting them to dis you. I just wanted to share that with you. We found it particularly satisfying.

Dorothy and Ken Malm


What a great idea!

Do you know what the exact words are that they used to read when they disfellowshipped people?

Something about turning the person over to Satan to rebuke.........................



Hello again, Ed.

We don't know the exact words, just that they come from I Corinthians 5:5, where Paul tells the people (ekklesia) who are in charge of the church, to "hand the sexually immoral man over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord."

You can bet Worldwide Church of God didn't know what it meant to turn someone over to Satan ... it meant to hand the man over to the civil authorities so that they would execute him for his crime. (Remember, Satan is in charge of all civil governments and religions.) Fortunately for that man, he repented and they didn't have to hand him over to the authorities.

By the way, the (almost) exact words we used in December 1997 (after 25 years for me and 30 for my husband in that cult ... we're slow learners like you!) were:

"Following the inspired instructions of the Apostle Paul, it has become necessary for us to consider you anathema. Therefore, please remove our names from your membership and mailing list. (followed by ours and our children's names and PT numbers.)"

Thanks so much for your site, as it was instrumental in helping me move on with a proper perspective toward religion: NO respect for any of them. The truth does set one free. Like you, we still believe in God and are careful to pick and choose our friends these days. Life is good and we're enjoying it.

Oh, possibly, you could contact someone like David Covington or Earl Williams for the exact wording of that "loving, Christian kiss of death." I bet they'd remember.

Best regards,

your fellow survivors,

Dorothy & Ken Malm


How about Gerald "I'm gonna play handball with God" Waterhouse? for making us sit through those 3 and 4 hour long boring damn repetitive sermons.

Also Bob Pr-Dick who raked an underling over the coals for giving an anti-tithing sermon that was right on the money, especially Bob's.

Hell yes include me in on the dissing.




Please add my name to the list. I too wish to disfellowship all the people mentioned. Although I came out of ucg I spent nearly fifteen years in Worldwide Church of God and that is where the bad memories are. It gave me a chuckle to Randy Bloom on the list. He is number one on my list of a-hole ministers.

Keep up the good work.

Robert Burnes


Hi Ed,

Good to hear from you. Yes there is a guy I would like to see on the Disfellowship Page. Gene Hogberg. I was profoundly pissed at him back in the late '80s I think. Before the Good News (sic) was deep sixed. People were writing in complaining that the Good News (sic) was lacking spiritual depth in its articles. At the time he was editor of the Good News (sic) and instead of taking the criticism like a humble man of God (sic) lashed out, with fiery condemnation, at the brethren who were critical along the lines of "You're just not GETTING it!" And to put the cherry on top of that little confection, he responded with a series of ridiculous and laughable Good News (sic) pop quizzes that ostensibly were testing the quiz-takers' ability to have absorbed the deep spiritual content that those shallow critics of God's Truth (sic) completely missed it in their slack-jawed, troglodyte, sin-addled minds.

My memory may lack a bit. But I think it was Gene Hogberg that was editor at the time. If not, then maybe you can refresh my memory. If I had had more sense I would have seen the cult for the cult and left then and saved myself some scratch.

So that's who I would like to see disfellowshipped. Use my real name on the list, if you would.

Oh. Robin Webber. I'd like to see him trashed out, too. All because of an unforgivably bad "Bible Study" he gave on the book of Philemon in the late '80s. It was one of those "TO BE PLAYED IN ALL CHURCHES" (or ELSE!) tapes. And what I have heard since at either the Feast or my wife's UCG tapes, he is as shallow and inept scripturally and elocutionary as ever. Hmmm, or should I say, Hulmmme... Now that I recall, it must have been early '80s he gave that "Bible Study" the perverted old fossil was still breathing (alas!), as I recall.

Well, Ed, that's my two cents. If you want to edit the email and use it, go ahead.

You take care. Have a good weekend.

Roger Blakesley


Curious that Ralph Orr was not included on the minister list. Is he still associated with Worldwide Church of God?



Yes. Add me to the list who would disfellowship this pit of vipers.

Thomas H. Schear



It would please me to know end to have my name added to the disfellowshipment list. Those guys need to see just how many of us (the "lost" 40,000?) will stand up and speak our minds. Of course, then again, they just dismiss us as having been caught up in Satan's deception to destroy God's Work. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.....

I've been visiting your PT site for over a year and it's high time I extended my gratitude to you for all the effort you've put into it. THANK YOU! Keep up the good work.

Best Wishes from a former Lafayette, IN Worldwide Church of God member,

Cameron Miller



When I first read your note I was all for it and was thinking of names that could be added. Then I did some meditating, and was talking to a Wicca. We ended up talking about human sacrifices; which made me think even more about the idea of disfellowshipping someone. Are we not sacrificing them on the alter of our beliefs? I would like to think that we have left behind that kind of judgement, and I ended up wondering if that would not drag us down to their level of mentality?

I don't want to be on the list of those dissing, but in all honesty I do look forward to the response that you get.



I thought of this too, whether we were being just as bad as they are/were. Then I thought that you have to speak to them in a language that they understand. Here they are, the ones that get to kick someone out of their fellowship and then these former sheep come along and kick them out! I love it.

Do you really think this is going to affect them psychologically? We are, if anything, sacrificing them on the alter of their own beliefs, not ours, and these goofs know that our disfellowshipping them has no affect at all. They discount us just as much as we discount them. Probably more since they are Jesus' personal representatives to the people of this planet and we are nobody and condemned to eternal death because we don't think as they do.

What pompous asses. I double disfellowship them all. Make that triple. That will really get them. No, seven times, that means completion. ;-)

Regards, Ed


Some clarification needed:

"The night to be much remembered was memorable because you got to help your dad butcher the goat "

Ummmmmm....the only experience I have with the Worldwide Church of God is what I could weasel out of my ex husband and former mother in law. Please tell me this church doesn't believe in animal sacrifices. The ex says he doesn't remember a lot of the time...and the M.I.L. often said," I can't tell you its against my religion."...Oh and my other source of info were all those free books and PT magazines I ordered to try and figure out what made these people tick.. Those publications left out A LOT of the important stuff.

Some time in the future, could you put a glossary in...just what is the Night much to be remembered???

Loved that page of disfellowshipped pastoral types. May they truly reap all that they have sown...


Name Withheld


I don't think this was a sacrifice but possibly just killing a goat for a meal by an over enthusiastic farmer member.

The Worldwide Church of God sacrificed people's lives to the God of Money. They are still doing it.

Yeah, the magazines were just to hook you. They really laid on the cultic things once they got you into services. That is why the public was not invited. Didn't want to offend them with God's Truths.

If someone wants to make a Glossary page, I will post it.




Dear Ed,

Last time I emailed I wrote that I did not think much of your site. THIS TIME I want to congratulate you. You and other contributors have helped me get this cult 'thing', and a life time of worthless experiences, out of my system (and I'm still working on it).

You know I signed up as one of the 40,000 on behalf of New Zealanders.

If your readers are wanting further help in understanding what has happened to them I mean this loosely a trip to the site could be worthwhile. It is written by ex-members of the Jehovah Witnesses. Believe me, they are and were worse than the Worldwide Church of God.

Regards, Alastair

P.S. Do you get the feeling that they (current bosses of Worldwide Church of God) don't know what to do for, about, or how to approach ex-members. Its as if they just forget about you. How does it go ... be warned and filled and have a nice life (note that we can do anything for you ,or want to).

P.P.S Know how to get money out of them to pay for counseling. I've run up a bill of some $2,000



Thanks for your message. I am thankful that you have "seen the light." Hope I didn't rip you too bad when you first wrote. Don't remember your message.

Sometimes people will not read the site thoroughly before they judge it. Plus, it takes time to really absorb all the information and what it all means. One step leads to another if you are lucky.

As far as getting any help for all the abuse you suffered at the hands of these Loving Christians, see the "The Promised Land Before Them, Toxic Wasteland Behind Them" page. Maybe they are the Locusts from that Psalm by Dwight Armstrong?

Good luck to you.



I was in and out of the church once I reached the "age" to do so and I ended up marrying someone outside the "church". I put a sign-up sheet on the church bulletin board prior to my wedding, putting the date and time. I even made it later in the day so I wasn't messing up "the Sabbath day" for some of the die-hard "church-goers".

The wedding was around 2ish but the dinner/dancing didn't start till after the "Sabbath" which was around 6ish. (Keep in mind, this was in the spring also.) Would you believe the minister didn't even come to my wedding because it was on a Saturday!!!!!! A lot of people that I had grown up around and spent a good part of my life with, didn't come to my wedding because it was on a Saturday.

To make things worse, my best friend in the church at the time, got married the following year on a Saturday, and guess what? All the people who didn't come to my wedding were sitting at hers, which still pisses me off. That was only because of all the changes. All of a sudden it was okay. It was also okay that I was hurt beyond belief. It is something I will never forget.......never.

Oh, (something that makes me feel a little bit better) it almost makes me laugh, at her wedding, her dad got up and made a big speech about how she had "saved" herself for her wedding night and so on and so on but here I come to find out years later (she never did tell me the truth), she wasn't a virgin.

Between the cliques and the high and mighty sinners, I couldn't have made a better choice than to leave that church when I did. I look back and see this church as a cult and nothing more. At one time I really cared for a lot of people who I grew up with and knew but when my parents quit, my family was all but banished verbally from the church. People who were their friends wouldn't even call to see how they were doing because the minister didn't feel it was right. My parents, after about 14 years, finally wised up and after growing up practically hating them, they are now two of my best friends.

This church has left a bad taste in my mouth, even after 6 years, and I haven't been able to bring myself to go to another church yet. One of the biggest things I will never forget: how the people of the church preach, "don't judge people, that is God's job" but let me tell you, the biggest hypocrites were all sitting in that church; gossiping, judging, and hurting their "supposed" family.

Boy, what I wouldn't give to see where some of these people are and what they are doing.........

Name Withheld


Your site kicks ass!

Name withheld



I would like to share how affected I am by the past, for me it is more like a wound that has healed and all that is left is a scar. There is not any pain from the scar at all. The only time it is even noticeable is when I am out in the sun and that thin white line does not tan. When the scar shows against the tanned skin, then someone may ask me about it and then I will remember what caused the scar.

As a family, we are like a garden that is very fruitful; the past with Worldwide Church of God is like manure that was spread on the garden years ago which has become part of the soil and now is one reason the garden is so productive.

We have good lives, and instead of spending money on tithing we are putting it in IRA's.



Good analogy.

We also have a good life, now. We are able to travel and go out to eat and go to concerts and Summerfest and so many other things. And we have so much more TIME than we used to. I wonder where that comes from?

I will not be able to have a retirement like I should have had though. Oh well. At least we know that the ministers will.



Hi Ed

This is in response to Dave O'Brien's email of 7-19-99 which I just read.

Dave's memory seems to be rather selective when it comes to Herbert W. Armstrong, when he says that he was just a man. I remember him as the instrument whom God used to raise up the great Philadelphia Era of the church in the book of Revelation. He was the very Apostle of the only true church on earth, outside of which there was no salvation possible. I remember being told to pray for him and support him in every way. At Ambassador College it was said that he and his son, Garner Ted Armstrong, would be the Two Witnesses of Revelation. And, now, Dave O'Brien wants me to believe that Herbert W. Armstrong was just a man. It is amazing what hindsight can do for perception.

I remember that Herbert W. Armstrong would always say, "Follow me as I follow Christ", and then did everything in his power to withhold the evidence that he was not really following Christ. For example, he tried to block the publication of "Herbert W. Armstrong's Tangled Web" in the courts, which exposed his rotten and corrupt life. For example, it has become known that he systematically covered up the sinful womanizing by his son, GTA, for many years. He kept all these sins hidden from the knowledge of the church. For example, he lived a lavish and hedonistic, unChristlike lifestyle, at the expense of tithepayers who never knew what they were funding through their sacrifices.

No, Dave, this is not being a "man" -this is being a criminal. There are good and decent men of integrity who would never think to stoop to the level of Herbert W. Armstrong. And, finally, I am not going to blame myself for being deceived. Fault finding and blame are not new concepts to Worldwide Church of God members. Every time something went wrong it was our fault. Weren't healed? You must have a hidden sin in your life. Not being blessed? It's your fault. You must be doing something wrong. Church income down? It's our fault for not sacrificing enough, and we're headed straight for the lake of fire.

No, Dave, you are coming to me all these years later with this crap about it being "my fault". No it is not my fault. It wasn't my fault then, and it sure as hell isn't my fault now. When you say that Herbert W. Armstrong was just a man you are revising history. He presented himself as an Apostle, a man of great authority, and you are trying to change all that. You are a liar.

Robert Matthews


Hi Ed

I just sent an email re Dave O'Brien. I forgot to tell you that I would like to have you place my name at the end of it, should you decide to include it in your emails.

Thanks for the work you are doing. I think it is very important, and this could really snowball as more and more former members become aware of this site. I love it.


Robert Matthews


Email, Indexed by DATE

Click here for Page One, Email letters.

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Click here for Page Twelve, Email letters.

Click here for Page Thirteen, Email letters.

Your contributions to this page are more than welcome. If you don't appear to give me permission, I will not publish your full name.
(But if you attack me and make threats, then you go on the "Hate Mail" page and I will publish your name and email address.)


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