the painful truth about the worldwide church of god

Email: Sweet and Sour
(Page Seventeen)

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

Email, Indexed by DATE


New on 10/4/99:

Ed wrote:

Mr. James Sales (is that your real name?),

Yes. It is.

If you can use the Bible to "prove" it is not assembled through divine inspiration, why cannot I be allowed to use the Bible to prove that it is? I don't care if you think the Bible is not assembled by divine inspiration, that's your business. But to have the strongarm approach that anyone who objects to your logic (or lack of it) is completely wrong simply because they use the same source as you to alter a point that you have made is my whole objection to your approach


You wrote:

If you can use the Bible to "prove" it is not assembled through divine inspiration, why cannot I be allowed to use the Bible to prove that it is?

Reply: Because, once it is proven to be invalid by me and a host of other thinking people, any proofs by you, using the book itself as proof, are, therefore, invalid. How can you be allowed to use a book that is full of errors to prove that it is error free? You would first have to prove that all the errors are invalid, which they are not. And it would only take one error to disallow it as the Word Of God since any God worthy of worship would not make a single error.

If I said that a history book was divinely inspired, you would want proof that it is, other than some statement within the book stating so, or my stating so. And then, if you found errors of history in the book, you would invalidate the whole book because you wouldn't know what you could trust. The same should hold true for any, so-called, "holy book", which should be held to the highest standard.

The real "strong-arm" technique is used by the Bible believers because they expect belief in their book with absolutely no proof at all, in the face of much evidence to the contrary.




You wrote that once the Bible is shown to be invalid and have errors in it, it can't be validated. I have seen some of the dribble in your web site that you claim to be proof. But it isn't proof. What you have been doing is simply taking an interpretation of the text that has either come from orthodox tradition, or from the Worldwide Church of God, and proven that the interpretation is wrong. I agree with you that the interpretations are wrong. But then you jump to the conclusion that since you can prove that the interpretation is wrong, that the fault lies in the text, when in actuality, the fault is in the interpreatation, (sic) i.e., in reading into the text things that the text does not actaully (sic) say.

For example, the orthodox interpretation for Genisis (sic) 1 is that the physical, material world was created in 7 days. We can prove that that is not the case by science. Evolution is a fact.. The mistake all of you people make is to then jump to the conclusion that the text is in error. But, the text nowhere actually says that the PHYSICAL creation, or some re-creation occurred in 7 days. It simply makes a statement, then says an evening and a morning. The words "created and made" were a common word usage that goes all the way back to the Sumerians who used this kind of language for sacred text to refer to giving something a sacred name. It was the naming of something that gave it existence. As they say, nothing exists that isn't named. It does not refer to any physical creation, but to the ordering of physical things into a pattern of names that represents the pattern of a world that cannot be seena (sic) "sacred" world. There is an American Indian tribe that refers to the "First People" and the creation of animals. It show a man pulling an animal out of his mouth. Here is the idea expressed in a picture. The man wasn't creating the animal by making some living breathing mass of cells and bones, he was creating it by giving it a name out of his mouth.

Thus, Genesis 1 does not disallow evolution at all. The conflict between creationists and evolutionists is an artifiial (sic) conflict created by gross error by the orthodox, and again picked up by HWA . I can take every single one of your so-called errors and proofs and show you that the error is in the interpretation, not in the text.

And again, the main point of the text is not just the words on the page. The words on the page are only half of what is there. The other half is hidden in the editing of the text according to sacred time. Just as a quick example, the 12 minor prophets make up a set of 12 months, or 1 sacred year, beginning with Virgo and ending with Libra. The primary meaning behind Hosea is the the (sic) sacred meaning given to the constellation Virgo, and so on from there. The whole key is in the Psalms of David. Each one of the 4 books is divided up into 3 signs. There are a various number of Psalms for each sign. For example, the 1st book of the Psalms covers Virgo, Leo, and Cancer, and so -on around the 4 books. Here is where you get on solid ground as far as interpretation goes. It is the Wisdom of God hidden in the 12 signs and the seven visible planets of the ancient world.

So, you say you are a thinking person who has shown proof. I submit to you that you have not considered all the options before jumping to your conclusions about the text. I could probably point out many more errors in interpretation that the orthodox and Worldwide Church of God and all the others have made and are still making. Yet, at the same time, I could also show you that the error is not the fault of the text, but with the interpretors(sic).

Test me and see. I know that you have never in your life heard the correct view on genesis 1 as I have just shown you, and I have only barely scratched the surface on that one.

Regards, Jim Sales



I'm afraid you are just going to have to chalk me up as another poor lost soul who is so unlucky to not have a close relationship with your god so that he will reveal what he really means to me in his magic fairy tale book.

There is much more wrong with Genesis than just creation and evolution. Since it won't do any good, I will not bother to elaborate. I have the whole Bibliolatry page for that. Those that have an open mind can read it and decide for themselves.

I'm sorry, but any God who would give humankind a mystical book, with multiple translations, all different, with contradictions within each translation, showing a god without what we would consider to be the lowest decent expectations of human behavior because of his viciousness and murderous tendencies, and then hide things that must be interpreted in relationship to sacred time, and then not even make this book available to the majority of people who have ever lived, and then make understanding of all this garbage conditional on individual salvation, is not a god worthy to be worshipped or even to be desired to spend one minute with, let alone an eternity.

This will end this discussion since I will be putting you on my list of emailers who have their mail deleted from my server before I even read it.

Hope you don't hurt anyone other than yourself with your beliefs. And, I am sorry that you are even hurting yourself. Another casualty of religion.



Hi Ed.

Before I begin....Please let me take the moment to say THANK YOU for this site . Over the past few years I , and quite a number of my friends, have laughed and cried over the subject matter and personal stories. We grew up in the church and were VERY involved in the YOU program. We are all in our early thirties now and the majority of 20 kids of that time frame no longer attend Worldwide Church of God or any of its divisions.

Anyway, I'm sure you get a boatload of emails saying what a wonderful thing this is and I don't want to seem redundant, but accept this as the sincerest of "thank you's" .

OK---for the original purpose:

I want to contact BERTHA BRANDON. She was wonderful influence on my life at Big Sandy SEP '86 by her presence as one of the faculty members/counselors. And I would love to chat and see what's become of her and her life.

I can see that this is a new addition to your site and hope that is has a good response. Thank you once again for your time, sweat and tears into this site, it has been noticed by an unbelieveably huge audience. Kudos to you!


Amber Bricker-Fink
1805 Bald Hill Rd
Jefferson City, MO 65101
573-659-4664 Home
800-877-0035 x1855 -Work

If she wants to use any or all of the forms of contact I would be most happy!! :)

Have a WONDERFUL day!!



Thanks for your message. Not redundant at all. Nice to see who it is that finds the page of enough value to take the time to visit it occasionally. Gets approximately 400-500 hits a week. Some are probably repeaters, but, for the most part, I haven't a clue as to who the people are.

I hope a lot of them are the hireling ministry getting a big guilt trip for their lack of true repentance.

Hope you get some response to your contact message.

Regards, Ed


Is there anyone on here from Minnesota? I heard on the news Jesse Ventura was in trouble with his own party for comments he made in a Playboy interview about organized religion. Anyone know the exact quote?



Dear Ed:

I just wanted to drop a short note to thank you for your "Painful Truth" Website. Although I don't necessarily agree with everything on your Website, I do greatly appreciate the major efforts that you have taken to expose Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong and the ministry for what they really are (and were).

I left Worldwide Church of God in 1998 after a heated disagreement with my minister over the deceptions that Worldwide Church of God used to move the church from OT to NT. It's not that I disagree with all of the changes, it's the method in which they were carried out.

Anyway, I then tried Garner Ted Armstrong's group. I was extremely shocked by the denial of the members of his church concerning Ted's adultery and affairs. They won't believe it, even though he was caught on video tape!! A few of them said that they "had to hear the truth from Garner Ted".

This opened my eyes to see that this was really "cult personality worship". Therefore, I quickly left that group and started on a new spiritual journey.

Your web site has been very helpful as a catharsis. It has also helped me to understand that what I went through in Worldwide Church of God was in no way unique.

I was wondering if someone could start some sort of a support group mailing list (like some of the car enthusiast groups do) to share feelings and experiences, as well as give support and comfort? What do you think?

Your web site has been part of the healing process for me, and again, I thank you and all who contribute to your Website for "being there" for me when I've needed it the most.





Thanks for your message.

I have thought of having a mailing list, I now have that capability on Tripod. I don't think that I will do it though because, while it may help some people, it will also give a forum for all the nutcases out there and, believe me, there are plenty of them.

I was on Worldwide Church of GodNET and EKKLESIA for about 3 years altogether and I am not ready to go through, again, all the conflict, misunderstandings and arguing that goes on on these email lists. Readers of the PT, if they want to get on a list, might find Ekklesia to be more to their liking since it consists of a more liberated group, at least it did when I was last on there, about 9 months ago, I think. It did help me to resolve a lot of issues regarding the changes in the wcg and my thinking about God and the Bible. But it is a Christian list and, while the administrator (Bill F) did allow me to stay on it even after I was converted from Christianity and says that I am welcome back anytime I want, I found that I was not thinking in the same ways as many of those on the list and left. For instance, I protested when a man advertised for a job and said that he wanted Christians. Some on the list agreed with me that this was wrong, but I got quite a bit of abuse for my trouble. I don't need that kind of grief.

Email lists can cause a lot of misunderstandings because something that you say in person can be evaluated by what kind of expression you have on your face when you say it and your tone of voice. It can also lead to people being much ruder and saying things they would never say in person.

In place of that, some people are willing to list their email address on their email that I post and on their articles on this site. From this, I am told, there are then emails going back and forth between kindred spirits, so to speak. This may be a better solution than the email lists mentioned, although you would not get the variety of different thoughts on subjects, which is always good.

Hey! Keep reading the material on my site, you may be closer to the truth than you think. Sometimes these ideas take years to germinate and bear fruit.

Best, Ed


Hi Ed:

I just finished reading the latest on your sweet and sour e mail list. I had to smile. I, too, was once dumb, stupid, and a Herbie fanatic. But I wasn't too stupid to know how to spell. And when these dumb jerks take issue with you, they are indirectly jabbing at me and all the others who read and contribute to "The Painful Truth".

I have noticed several things when I read these "see Johnny run" (duh) type letters that makes me suspicious:

1. They all seem to have the same train of thought. "Get over it!" and "Get a life!" and "Read your Bible!" and "Stop bashing Armstrong!" and "You are too bitter!" and "David made mistakes too!"

2, Which leads me to the conclusion that since these ministers are too chicken shit to sign your apology page, they are too chicken shit to debate you, and cue the dumb sheep as what to say.

3. I have noticed that most of the mail sent you references the Bible, Jesus Christ and the omnipotent God. This is their sole and "soul" argument, this is their main defense. All based on theory, all based on faith. This is the sign of a one track mind. They do this KNOWING what your stance is on the Bible and religion. (Are the puppet masters trying to convert you, Ed?)--( :

4. I have yet to hear mention of any of the books you recommended reading. Is it because of the shepherd's "NO NO?" Is it because they are afraid it may commence the rusty gears to begin to mesh in the rusty half of the sheep's brain?

Just presenting this as food for thought.



Do a bible study. Know what you believe in your heart. You can't fool God. You're only fooling yourself & others. Prayer & bible study are the only methods we have of communicating with God. Go to him with your concerns.



Why isn't there an apology for being forbidden to vote in this free nation? The church taught it was a sin to vote and be involved in government.

I never understood that because both Jacob's son Joseph and Daniel were involved in governments far worse than democracy. The church always taught that God blessed the United States but freedom in our blessings was a sin. Didn't the Worldwide Church of God go all the way to the United States Supreme Court to protect their freedom of religion during the 1979 attempted take over? Mr. Armstrong allowed no freedom for anyone else but he enjoyed it totally himself.

The apology could go like this:

We apologize that we said it was a sin to vote or partake in government, or vote on laws, laws that affect our nation, somehow believing that, if we allow morals to naturally decay around us it would force Christ to return. But morals did decay and it didn't force Christ to return sooner.

We are sorry that your freedom was taken from you while Mr. Armstrong gave himself total freedom to do whatever he wanted, even if it was against church rules at the time. (Example he allowed his second wife to wear make-up at state dinners when they were on overseas trips.) (I am not sure but wasn't he also seen drinking coffee on Day of Atonement)



New on 10/11/99:


I am writing this on behalf of a present member of the modern church of WWCG like to let you know that teachings of the past church no longer hold. We have undergone complete change of teachings. All our beliefs is based and supported by biblical scripture and strongly considered to be mainstream christianity. We have an open door policy, so if you are in the neighbourhood feel free to drop in on us at Saturday 2.30 pm or Sunday (every 2nd & 3rd of the month 10 am) Lake grove Coburg. - Harry Attkinson Hall.

Les Szegedi & Anna Mantalvanos


I have been a member of Worldwide Church of God for 21 years. I know the pain, first hand, caused by a legalistic church view. I feel it is very sad to see so many people in so much pain from their bad experiences within Worldwide Church of God. Me and my family were not immune to this pain. I wish I could comfort each person who has felt the pain of being in a church where they felt unloved, uncared for, unvalued and generally didn't feel God was a part of this at all. I know God loves each and every person (Romans 8:38-39). I can tell you I am still a member of Worldwide Church of God. The difference is I don't follow a man behind a pulpit, I follow Christ. I understand that many people are still in pain and hate Worldwide Church of God for the past. I just feel that the true tragedy would be for us to remain the same. We have changed by leaps and bounds. I know that we are not Gods "chosen church" because God loves each person and each person has something to offer this world. I feel that so many of Mr. Armstrong's teachings were wrong. They hurt many, many people. The problem was that God is love and we didn't teach that love was the most important thing (I John 4:8). The most important thing is Christ. He paid the ultimate price for you and me and Mr. Armstrong (John 3:16). Christ was willing to do it because he wanted us to know God's love. I hope you know that God's love and value for you has and never will go away (Matthew 10:29-31).




I have no problem with your church "finding Jesus" and now being a "different" church and just like all the other Jesus worshiping churches of the world. My problem is that your church will not lift a finger to help all the people that it has harmed in the past.

Don't you people get it? The wcg is responsible for harming people, people that are still around for your church to help to make whole again. They could even use "old money" the money that we all paid for the two campus'. Would this be outside of the character of your Jesus? Your church could prove that this mythical person is actually alive and inspiring the leadership of your church by just acting like the bible says that he acted. Do you think that if Jesus physically damaged someone, that he would just ignore their pleas for reparation? Do you have a biblical basis for this type of behavior of representatives of Jesus?

You say that there is hatred on my pages but you only think that because people are telling the truth about their experiences with your beloved church. I can tell you that people do really hate the fact that a church can do so much damage and not only get away with it but continue to exist with the same name while using the money that we all paid into it with our blood, sweat and tears and lives and the lives of our children, to perpetuate itself and then pretend that nothing ever happened or that it all can be solved if we will all just "accept Jesus." And, if we don't blindly do this, then we are the ones that have a problem!

If your Jesus stands behind and even dwells in a church that can get away with such a travesty of justice and just down right human decency, then I have no qualms about rejecting this sham of a religion/church/Jesus, at all.

Please see my FAQ #2 If you can answer any of these statements or questions, feel free.

If you truly want to comfort all the people that this "church" has damaged over the years, tell the present leadership to disband the whole thing. Tell them to revoke every "minister's" certificate to profit from the fears of weak people who cannot think for themselves. Tell them, if they find it is too hard to use the "old money" to help the people that they have damaged, to just turn it over to a legitimate charity; this would rule out any church. But, they will never do this because, even though the members may be sincere, the leadership are a bunch of money hungry bloodsuckers who have no fear of God at all. They may have changed their "clothes", the wolves put on a different, mainstream, sheepskin, but as your Jesus says, " A bad tree will not bear good fruit." You admit that the tree was bad in the past but now you think that Jesus was wrong and now the tree really can be good. Their fruits show that Jesus was right.




Reading one of the Sweet and Sour letters gave me an idea. Just in case you didn't have anything else to do.

Have you thought a page where former, ex, disfellowshipped, seduced and abandoned church of god members can leave their Email addresses requesting contact from other former, ex, etc. members. there are a lot of members I'd like to know what has happened to them, are they still in or out or what. Some I'd like to start a dialog with while others can go to hell.

Just an idea.

I love you site.

Tom Schear



You are obviously a very intelligent person if you love my site. ;-)

I kind of intended my 411 page to handle situations where people would like to contact people or be contacted. Would you like me to put your name and email address on it? Maybe I should change the name to Contact?





Yes, go ahead and include my Email site. I am not looking for anyone in particular. I'm just interested in hearing from other church of god members to see what they are up to since leaving or being drummed out of that pack of wolves.


Tom Schear


Ever heard of a crusader named Arnold Flurry????? If not then thanks anyway. If so then can you give me some basic information about him. My Dad needs to know Arn's address because one of his deceased clients divided a small amount of cash between several religious groups. The more groups we locate, the less amount of money each will receive.

Thanks for taking time out to read this note. Have a great day & future.




I know of a Gerald Flurry, religious wacko. The world would be a better place if he got less money, not more. I guess I could get you his web address if you really want it.

Regards, Ed


Nah, forget it. I've heard of Gerald Flurry too and I would rather not add to his bank account. The deceased wanted his money sent to 'Arnold' therefore if we can't find an Arnold then too bad Gerald. LOL

Hey, Thanks a lot for replying!!!



Hello Ed,

Hadn't been to your site in quite awhile and WOW! what a difference. It really looks great and so are all your articles!

Question: You posted something once about the Exit & Support Network. I hadn't been there in ages and wondered what they had new, but when I clicked on the link to their page, it doesn't work!? Do you have any idea what happened to them? Is their page down? I'm wondering if they burnt out trying to do too much reporting? Let me know if you have any info on what the heck happened to them. I assume they bit the dust--but I am curious. :)

Keep up the good work because it sure does help us exiters.




I don't know what happened to them. They had a lot of info but it was so unorganized and confusing that I only went to their site twice. I agreed to give them a link when they asked but it wasn't because I heartily recommended them.

Regards, Ed


I spent some time today with your website.

The links are working fine from the house whereas they weren't from my wife's office the other day. It was very interesting. You have certainly spent a lot of time and effort developing it, both the contents and the graphics.

We left the Worldwide Church of God in 1979 and are very happy to be free of it. We haven't thrown the baby out with the bathwater, though. We've learned a lot, grown a lot, and hold fast to the things (the few things) that Herbert W. Armstrong taught that were correct and fixed or discarded most of the rest.

I'm sure, though, that we still have a lot of growing and learning (and unlearning) to do. Will be looking forward to spending more time on your website and looking up more of the links you have.



Ed . . .

I just read John O's "A Child Speaks". It's the most terrifying thing I have seen in a long time. My life was never that bad, but I can truly believe that others' lives were. God! I'm still shaking.

Thanks for posting that.


John B.

Hi Ed:

There's a story in the bible about Paul and Barnabus splitting up over John Mark's screw up in their travels. Paul was being a total ass regarding the situation, but Barnabas was more loving and kind and took John Mark under his wing to help the future children of truth . . . out there. He had a more mature and a kinder attitude than Paul, and so, he helped more people.

This morning my wife told me that she thought you, I, and the rest of us who contribute to The Painful Truth are just like Barnabas. She feels we're reaching out and trying to help people like Barney did, and not saying: "The heck with 'em," like Paul would have done.

She felt that we all have "true hearts of encouragement, and each of us are like modern day Barnabas." I thought that was a nice thought, and hope it makes your day as it did mine.

4 wot it's worth.

Best again,



Dear Ed,

I just caught the new e-mail messages for the last couple of days. I have made several delightful friends who have e-mailed me as a result of my article on the pt site. Michael is welcome to contact me, as is anyone else who wants to talk about exiting the wcg. I'm always ready to make new friends; however, I do adhere to your very sensible rules of order. Any threats, bullying, ot raving insults will cause me to immediately block that person from e-mailing me. Life is too short to waste time arguing with idiots.

One point was made that struck me some time ago, too. Why is it that the most vehement opposition to the Painful Truth always comes from people who can neither spell nor use proper grammar?

By the way, my own experience with the wcg took place in Nebraska. If there are any fellow Cornhuskers out there who escaped Herbie & co's clutches, I'd love to hear from them.

Hugs and blessings,



Hi Ed,

In response to a post from Terry on 10/4/ the following site I found two quotes from Jesse Ventura:

The original statement given in an interview for an article in Playboy was:

"...organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people."

Then after all the fur started to fly, a few days later he followed up with:

"It means you have a weakness and therefore you go toward organized religion to strengthen you."

No arguments here!!




In essence I told this guy that Jesse was correct, that I had experienced first hand, that the congregations of the cult I once belonged to, were composed mostly of trusting people with limited means and education. Easily persuaded and easy to convince by warped interpretations of the Bible.

The clincher was that damn stupid song they made us sing over and over again, "Not Many Wise Men Now Are Called" that subconsciously lulled us into a false sense of confidence and belief that all we l had to do was to just hand over our brains to God and Herbie, to be molded and shaped according to the "Plain Truth" of the "True Gospel" as preached by an uneducated nutty old pervert who had his own twisted mind up his ass.



I am desperately interested in finding the booklet referenced by Mr. John B. on this page: exitodyssey.htm

He calls it a tithing booklet written by Ernest Martin, and does not know the title (I would be happy to email him directly if I had his address, so feel free to forward if you like). I found the page Mr. B. wrote fascinating and was happy to see some of his doubts about leaving expressed, instead of just the accounts of those who left with no qualms.

For the record, I have been visiting your site since I literally stumbled across it over a year ago, and find it extremely informative. I don't agree with everything, but that's the point anyway. I grew up in "the church" (3rd generation) and have a hard time sorting out what I know from it and what I know from real life, other sources, etc. I am constantly gathering information from your site to help me on the journey.

Thank you,




I have taken a long time to write but I have been visiting your website for well over a year.

I was seven when my mother and grandmother joined the Worldwide Church of God in 1982. I have nowhere near some of the terrible experiences that many people encountered in Worldwide Church of God. In the Midwest church area I was in, we had arrogant ministers, snobby members, and the general bad experience that makes even a young child (like I was) stop and say "Wait a minute...that doesn't seem quite right." But for the most part, although my mother was baptized in 84(she had to beg and plead to be baptized), for the remaining 10 years that we were in Worldwide Church of God I think we were always outsiders. This could be because my father was not in the church and we were (how did they say) "spiritual orphans".

We still got X-mas gifts from Dad and birthdays could be special. And I was thrown into every YOU and then later singles event (of which I don't need to remark on because many others have accurately and eloquently reported on the nightmare that these events were). I did have some positive experiences. There were some truly good people that touched my life. (Ironically many of them no longer belong).

I left the Worldwide Church of God in 1995 a short time before my family did. I went to UCG. The division of the churches brought a lot of important things to light for me. I decided to leave organized religion totally in 1997. I didn't even know about many of the details of Herbert W. Armstrong's life and other negative activities in the 70's until coming upon your website. Upon finding those things out, I am so thankful that I am now away from it.

But my question, and my point in writing this whole letter (sorry it has gotten so long). Is this: I find it so hard to unlearn the things that we were taught would bring our salvation and place in "the kingdom". I think that I have completely left it all behind and then a thought occurs to me. It is like some bad programming that I can't seem to rid myself of. Do these intruding thoughts ever go away? Or am I going to always take a bite of sausage and think "food laws", or kiss my husband under mistletoe and think "what is the truth behind Christmas" I quickly pass the thoughts out, but it bothers me that they still persist. And I truly wonder if they will even go away. I didn't even feel at times that I had both feet in the church and yet these thoughts come I can't imagine if I had been whole-heartedly involved for as many years as others.

I really like your articles about the bible. They address so many of the questions I have always had. And your site as a whole is comforting. My heart goes out to all of you who have suffered at the hands of this or any organization. I hear so many experiences that I too had, and many that I am so glad I didn't have.

Thank you, Mr. , John Ouvier, John B., and all of you who have shared. I still believe in God, maybe more so now.




Thanks for your message.

Yes, it does get better. If I didn't maintain The PT, I'm sure that days would go by without my thinking of the teachings of the cult. And, contrary to my detractors opinions, I maintain The PT out of love, not hate. I'm the type of person that, if I escaped from prison, I would be doing all in my power to get my friends out too. The trouble with the prison that they are in is that you can't escape it all at once. It takes information and time and a willingness to think "outside of the box" that they are in. It is a step by step process that some people stop after one or two steps. A friend of mine was a couple steps ahead of me years ago, and I would go away from talking to him wondering if I was really going to think such and such one day. Turns out: yes. One step leads to another, just as one wrong step also led to another wrong step to get us into this mess.

It is a little bit better and a little bit harder for you young people who grew up in the church. I say it is better because you may have escaped without losing a lot of money to the cult and you still have a lot of time left to make up for the mistakes of your parent(s). It is harder because the cult was all that you knew and it was all forced on you as "The Truth of God." Possibly it is harder for you to erase the embedded data in your brain since it was put in there at such a young age. The Catholics say something to the effect that, if you give them a child until it is seven or eight, they will be Catholics forever. Some of my latest hatemail has come from some obviously young people who probably were brainwashed from an early age by the cult. If they totally accepted the teachings of the cult from a young age, it may be even harder for them to see that they are wrong when compared to an older person who may not have the info so deeply embedded in their mind. I certainly don't know what the answer might be. It would probably be an interesting study for someone doing a doctoral thesis.

Just keep reading and searching for truth and don't believe anyone that tells you they have the answers to the mystery of life. Nobody does.

Warm Regards, Ed



You get a lot of letters from people who are just now discovering they're in a cult, or are midway through their "recovery". I thought I'd write you something from my point of view a second-generation Worldwide Church of Goder who has renounced everything about it five or six years ago.

Life is not perfect. But it is very slowly improving. Each time I do something the Worldwide Church of God told me not to, I feel better about myself. I eat shrimp, and I enjoy it. I work on Saturdays. I did not wait until marriage. And I regret none of it.

The fact is this. As long as the Worldwide Church of God has its fingers into you as long as you do something by preprogrammed rote that the Worldwide Church of God taught then one is still beholden to them. When one casts that bullshit aside and starts to live life the way one wants to well, then one is free.

Lots of people say "well, give up Worldwide Church of God, but don't give up Jesus!".. bull. I see that as Christianity realizing that they have at least a hook into the person's psyche. This is for all those people that are just now leaving do what *you* want to. If that includes worshipping a Christ, fine. But don't let others tell you its what you have to do. People kept doing that to me and I wasted a whole year and a half of my life because of it.

Life will be difficult for you. Life may always be difficult for you and for that the ministers, the "higher-ups", and everyone else have a whole hell of a lot to answer for. And if you are a second-generation Worldwide Church of Goder then you probably have even more crosses to bear loss of a normal childhood, etc. Can't get rid of the past. But the future that's a different story. Maybe it won't get better right away but at least regarding the Worldwide Church of God it will.



I found this essay to be interesting and thought provoking. Also, it clearly lays out some of my own biblical questions. It is very difficult to live a Christian bible based life when one has doubts about the very book one is basing their life upon. Thank you for making this essay available.



Hello Ed:

I thought I'd drop you another "line" about something Worldwide Church of God related. The travels in my job happened to take me to Tyler, Texas this week. Many know that this is city is only about a 20 minute drive from the Big Sandy campus of Ambassador University. Well, I have never seen any of the Worldwide Church of God college campuses or headquarters, so I thought that I might pay the campus a visit.

I arrived about 6 p.m. and pulled up to the main entrance. It was (of course) blocked by a padlocked gate. The main guard "shack" behind the gate was empty, and gazing down the main drive revealed a deserted "ghost-town" -ish scene. I stood there for several minutes gazing at all the pretty landscaping, the pristine buildings, and the beautiful white board fences. For a moment, I was impressed, and the old feelings of pride for the "AC" campuses came flooding back over me. However, I quickly came back to reality and thought about all of the shattered dreams that this shuttered campus represented.

Many thousands of faithful church members over a good number of years unceasingly sent in their tithe(s) to Worldwide Church of God and sacrificed their own education (and sometimes their children's), their retirement, their savings, and their standard of living, for the "dream" that the church promulgated. That "dream" was a better life now (for the church members) and the preparation for the kingdom of God that is to follow.

Sadly, neither of these "dreams" have come true. The personal experiences of church membership related by many on your Website reveal that the "dream" often became a nightmare. Most of the church members sacrificed greatly for this "dream" and were rewarded by guilt, abuse, manipulation, ostracizing, depravation and deep personal pain. Sadly, most of us are no more "prepared" for the return of Christ and the kingdom of God than when we first came into the church.

I then drove around to the side road on the far end of the campus that leads to the Ambassador golf course. I saw a white Ford Ranger pulling out from one of the side roads. On its tailgate I read "campus security". I tried to catch up to the vehicle and get their attention. I was hoping to receive permission to walk across the campus on a "self-guided" tour. All of the side roads were blocked with barricades that read "private property keep out", so I thought that I shouldn't try to walk the campus without permission (even though I feel that I paid for some small part of it). I couldn't get the security guard's attention.

At the end of the road he pulled into a driveway that was blocked by a swing-arm gate. He put his badge into a reader, and the gate opened, then he drove through. Behind the gate was the building that housed campus security. It was so well barricaded, that I couldn't even walk up and personally ask for permission to go on campus.

So, I drove back up the side road and stopped at the piney woods camp grounds. I got out of the car and walked a few hundred feet up the deserted drive. This area is all grown up with weeds and vegetation now, and hasn't been maintained for several years. All of the restroom buildings are in a state of decay with their paint peeling and windows broken.

For a moment, I stopped and thought about all of the thousands of church members who camped here over the years at the FOT. Many came for thousands of miles in beat-up cars to spend 8 days in primitive living conditions to enjoy the feast, huddled among many thousands of others. So, after sacrificing for the church and the college, they sacrificed again to enjoy a feast that for some brought many hardships. I mourn for those who sacrificed so much and now have little or nothing to show for it. Once the campus is sold, it's gone. It sure would be fitting if those church members who sacrificed for so many years to build the campus could receive some of the proceeds of the sale. That now, is a dream of mine.

Name withheld


Dear Ed,

First of all, I think your web site is a superb idea. Getting people's minds active and instilling some critical thinking cannot hurt anyone and most likely stands to benefit many.

Now I want to make a comment about suicides of young people in the Worldwide Church of God. I stopped attending the Worldwide Church of God almost 10 years ago, at the time I started attending college. Within our local Bethlehem, PA YOU group, there were about 75 teens, including the "sister church", Wilkes Barre, PA. I know of at least 4 suicides within this small group of people over the past 15 years. I also know of many teens who at least contemplated suicide, citing the reason of dissatisfaction with having to comply with YOU rules and regulations -especially those that limited social contact outside of the church congregation.

Some of the suicides occurred during the teen years: one girl shot herself in the head, one boy took an overdose of an over-the-counter painkiller; others committed suicide in adulthood: one woman stabbed herself in the chest, another through means that I am unaware. The cover-up attempt after the incidents of suicides by the ministers was frightening. The explanations included anything from demon possession to psychiatric problems. I knew all of these rather "normal" people at least casually, and I can say that these cover-up attempts were less than convincing at the time they were given, and look even more preposterous now. I think that cover-ups such as these are reprehensible and should be exposed for what they were.

I think that you should focus more attention, Ed, on helping those who are still damaged psychologically from all the ridiculous explanations that were given for many types of occurrences or illnesses. Are there many facilities that you know of that handle patients that suffer from mental disorders that can be attributed to cult exposure? Any specific to handling ex-WCG people? My feeling is that there must still be a lot of damaged people out there who do not know (or are embarrassed about) how to seek help.

Just some food for thought.


Name Withheld



Hi Ed,

As always, I'm educated and entertained by your site (and check it daily, I might add). I have to say that I feel in a way that those hatemails are also directed at all of us who enjoy your site. Now I'm all for allowing everyone their opinion, but don't these people understand that if they don't like the content of your site they don't have to go there? There are lots of sites out there that I don't like and don't agree I don't go there (duh, this isn't rocket science)!

I wonder if they send similar letters to every Website they don't like...other religions, sex sites, political sites, etc.? Obviously they are monitoring your site. If they don't agree with you, then why? It really is quite sad that these people can't see the impression they are giving, and that they can't see their hate (which is the opposite of what Jesus, the one they claim to be following, taught).

Just my opinion, which, of course, I'm entitled to! :-)

Keep up the great work!



Just a note from someone who has been lurking in the sidelines here, for almost 3 years since exiting the WWCG.

Love reading the thoughts and pains and healings put into words by others who have taken the time to share.

Just wanted to pass along the corrected # for suicides in a little 2-sister church area. There have been 8, yes 8, not 4, suicides in the Bethlehem, PA, and sister church, Wilkes-Barre, PA churches that I can count. Most have been young people, and a few were young adults. Call it what you may, I am not a psychologist, but these are some of the sad, sad results of unhealthy teaching, and totally unacceptable "doctrines". We could never measure up, grow up and keep the laws, and function fully in society with joy, as life is intended to be lived.

Astounding, isn't it? And this count took place approximately during the past 10 years.

We are moving along quite nicely, and thankfully our children will be spared from the cult that we grew up in.

Enough said.




If I started typing now and didn't stop for days I could never convey the affirmation this site has brought to me.

I grew up in all the dysfunction that was fostered by the World Wide Church of God.

I grew up without a childhood. I grew up in a home cut in half and torn into two parts: The excommunicated father who certainly couldn't be a member because he smoked, and my critical, religious addicted mother who had to give and give and give and never feel a part because she was the wife of an outcast.

My father had a sixth grade education and yet supported his family of 6 with ample earning and managed to still pay, even in his excommunication, two tithes and three on the third year..

I never participated in school functions and was shamed for my horrid, evil, selfish desires when I wanted to participate.

I remember sneaking to the rooftop of my home just to listen to the shouts and the roar of the school band on Friday night football games. And, if I leaned over just the right way, I could see the scoreboard and know how the football game was going.

My parents never used a credit card. They worked so hard year after year and there was no planning for the future because the end of the world was coming and there was no future.

So my father sits at 63 alone and poor on social security, after the right minister came along to tell mom to divorce him. And my mother has remarried a member of the church and, since the disband, they have grouped with other maniacal members who don't want the old ways to change.

And so at 33, after finally finding Dr. Bradford's books on shame, the inner child, eating disorders, with far, far to go, I have embarked on my journey to sanity, to healing, to a life.. I hope you have overcome the pain that we have all suffered and have been given peace.





I don't care what the rest of the people think of Jesse Ventura; I think it is great to hear someone honestly speak their mind.

I watched his interview on Sunday morning; he admitted that his wife needs that crutch of religion and has nothing against the people who do.

Hey, the biggest thing I can see against him; he is honest about his opinion.



I agree with you.

At least we know what he is thinking, regardless of whether you agree with him. I do too.



Hello again, Ed...

I cannot even express how shocked I am at the recent addition to your hatemail page. It saddens and literally sickens me that this attitude exists.

I think I have read close to every square inch of The Painful Truth Website and I have NEVER felt like ideas or thoughts were being forced down my throat. You have presented information in a non-threatening way. You have even offered to remove incorrect information. On the contrary , the emails from the Yarbourghs (or whatever the name is)exemplifies the hate, self-righteousness, and intolerance that characterized the Worldwide Church of God. I am afraid that they do not realize what their vile words are doing. They are serving as a current example, giving further proof to many of the sentiments expressed on the PT. They are actually giving people who read the PT a first hand example of the mentality behind the Worldwide Church of God. Incredible!!! They make fools of themselves in the effort to defend their position and all they are really doing is making the PT more credible. And they must be great fans of yours, Ed, because they are wasting an awful lot of time on trying to "trick" you.

I agree with the lady who said that the hatemail feels like it is directed at all of us who enjoy your site. Hopefully they will realize that they are not representing any God or higher power in a positive light. If having THEIR "truth" means that you have to be that violent and hateful then I prefer to be "ignorant".

Ed, I know that you are probably used to these hatemail and grown somewhat accustomed to them and they might now even bother you any more. But please know that (I think I can speak for others on this) many people are grateful for the truth that has been exposed on your website. Thank you again...




Thanks for your message and support.

No, I never have gotten used to these attacks. It makes me feel bad personally to see that someone hates me so unreasonably. It makes me feel bad to see someone display such unreasoning anger, all in God's name. Doing it for God. That is just so sick but it has happened so many times down through history. So many people have died because of religious zealots believing that they are God's appointed guardians of His Truth and that this god is so weak that he needs them to defend him.




This is Troy Witte, you may recall we corresponded quite a while back. I wanted to let you know that I have a site up that might interest you as well as a page which gives the story on how I became an agnostic. Please feel free to post my story or my URL on yours.



Well! You have come a long way. Didn't know where you would end up the last time we emailed.

I think I can safely say that it appears we are both on the same page in regards to God/Bible/Etc. This process takes time and thinking. Some people just refuse to think because they have too much invested in their beliefs. Hopefully we can plant the seeds that can eventually free people from the tyranny of blind, unthinking religion.

I will be glad to post your page and give you some links to your site. Great job.

If you ever have any articles that you want to post on The PT, please send them along.




Was just reading one of the most recent additions to "Loving Christians" he makes a very good example of why people have walked away from many christian organizations.

With "loving" brothers and sisters such as him you don't need enemies.



I'm so happy to have found your site. Unfortunately, it is many years to late to have helped my family. I was married in 1977. I have 2 children. One born in 1979 and the other in, 1980. Although I cannot entirely blame my marriage breakup on the WWCG it must take some responsibility.

My husband was difficult at best but, when he join this CULT it made life much worse! In approximately 1982 he began reading the free literature from WWCG. Then he invited at local minister to our home. I was horrified to hear what he had to say and ultimately threw him out of my home! I told my husband that he is not welcome in our home ever again.

My husband became a closet member anyway. I was finally forced to leave with my children because life was intolerable! I have never witnessed and been the subject of such abuse in my entire life! My heart goes out to all those who actually fell for this crap for so long. Fortunately, my faith started at an early age and I did not buy into the bullshit!

During my husbands bi-weekly visits with our children he began taking them to his so called church. I noticed when they came home they were traumatized and I did not know why. Finally, I was able to find a former minister through an cult watchdog agency who told me that the kids were in danger. Through the Courts I was able to put a stop to their attending. This did not come about until I was threatened by a WWCG Minister to mind my own business. When I told him I knew where they held their meetings and I might attend to see what my children were being exposed to, he threatened my with physical harm.

I have been divorced now for many years. My former husband moved to the US in 1988 and married a member he met during a feast. He has been married 3 times since his move! He is now married to a non member but he still attends. He does not keep in contact with his children. Never calls. No cards, letters. They are now adults and continue to be hurt by the effects of the WWCG and what it has done to their family. They feel as though they lost their Dad many years ago to this cult and he will never come back to reality!





Glad you can benefit somewhat from The PT. The Bible, followed to the letter, (how else would you follow an instruction book from God?), is very hard on women indeed. You were smart to get the courts to protect your children.

The affect our beliefs have had on the lives of our children, is very sad.

Best Regards,



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(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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