The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

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

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

Email, Indexed by DATE


New on 11/14/99:

WOW! All that stuff.

Don't know what to make of it, but I am sure it will be very helpful in the future.

As far as Cults, my personal opinion is that all groups, & especially religious ones are cults ,and need to be investigated. Before joining any group it would be wise to get all the info possible. Some are less destructive than others.

The best WE CAN DO is exactly what you ARE doing. That is to INFORM & WARN. People always need to be free to make their own choices, and be responsible for them. That means accept the consequences of that choice. The problem we have with destructive cults is that they truly deceive and manipulate our emotions.

We always need to ask ourselves "what am I expecting form this group and is it REALITY." We will gravitate towards what our needs are. We NEED to be informed before making these choices. What we seek to fulfill usually is some deep unmet emotional need from our childhood. In fact, most people who haven't been TAUGHT how to think, or reason, will choose to live by their emotions unconsciously. I can vouch for that by experience.

We are "scripted" from our childhood. Only when we become aware of this can it change. So there will always be cults and those who will follow them.

I don't know if this helps at all, yet believe me when I say that I studied, read, counseled, and learned just what happened to me, why & how. That is the only way not to be snared again.

If you post this, I want all to know I am not a counselor or anything. Yet I think our experiences can teach and benefit those who seek or need it. I'd love to be able to talk more , but I'm not ready for the stress of giving my email address.



I am writing to you about my father. He is not a well man. He is in his mid sixties and should be on a variety of medicines prescribed by his doctors.

He belonged to the Worldwide Church of God for many years and with all these new spin-offs of that church he has now wound up in the wackiest one yet, The Philadelphia Church Of God.

Now he refuses any medicine which he needs and is up almost every night moaning and vomiting which in turn now is putting a strain on my mother who is not in the religion but has been devoted to him and her children all our lives.

This wacky religion has gone too far with my Dad. He is under a spell, it seems, and we are all worried sick and need some advice in taking the first step to opening up his eyes. Please try and help my father realize what he is doing to himself and his family

My name is FRANK



I am forwarding your mail to John O.. He can give you better advice on this than I can. I wish you, your father and family, well. I know what it is like to be dealing with a sick person and it does drain you emotionally and physically.



Hello Frank:

And I'm sorry to hear about your father and his illness. Certainly, he should be taking his doctor prescribed medication, because (as you indicated) the doctor's prescribed it for him in the first place for a logical and professional reason. Why the Philadelphia group refuses medical treatment for a needy person is beyond my comprehension.

I don't know if it's possible to make him "see" the common sense of getting medical attention, because some people refuse to see the logic that medicine is NOT some evil practice. This makes things extremely difficult, and in effect, ties your hands from using the logical point of view with them. If they refuse to listen, then there's nothing you can say to change their thinking.

You could point out that Jesus had nothing against doctors. "They that are whole," the Master said, "need not a physician." This might show to your father that Jesus did accept doctors since the opposite of this statement was also true. There's NOT one statement in the entirety of the new testament that says that doctors - or their cures - are to be avoided.

I also don't know if you can persuade your father that the Philadelphian group is not qualified medically, in the eyes of God, or legally to make another's decision regarding medical matters. Maybe you can try. Philadelphia church, like many others, are nothing more than secular organizations masquerading as churches of God, and in essence, no little or nothing about medical matters.

We cannot accuse these "churches" of being maliciously wrong with their teaching on medicine, but we can say that we feel that they are very ignorant and most unwise. Many, many people have died in such organizations because of their teachings. While I don't want to upset you, I do want to urge you to take some positive action in this case. We can't (and won't) tell you what to do, but we can advise as to what we think is common and legal sense here.

This boils down to a legal matter, one where your father legally feels he has a right to practice his own religion, and one where you feel you legally have a right to save his life. If a paramedic were called, your father (I would suspect) would be forced to go to hospital.

I don't what the laws are in your state, but if a person is so sick - like your father- and is not getting better, then the state, in some areas, can intervene and save that person's life and health.

Have you consulted your family lawyer to see the laws extant in that area? If not, it might be a very wise idea to see what you're legally entitled to do. Your dad needs to be well, and your family's stability needs to be re-established. The Philadelphia Church, to my current knowledge, is NOT a medical organization, and has NO right to make decisions - by means of its teachings - on another person's medical condition and thus possibly adversely affect an individual's prognosis.

It certainly does seem that you father needs that doctor prescribed medicine, and soon. Since, in our very strong opinion (with ample evidence) these churches are NOT anything to do with God, they are therefore, NOT qualified to heal, give advice, or give out teaching contrary to common medical sense. Doctors are not evil people, but dedicated people committed to saving lives.

I would urge you to get your father medical attention soon, and from your diagnosis, a doctor would be able to alleviate his suffering. A lawyer also ought to be able to help in this matter, and if it's legally Ok, to force medical attention in this matter. This option would then open to you, having now called the correct, professional people to advise here.

One day, if and when you father leaves the Philadelphia cult (hopefully), he might thank you for you present actions that could intervene to save his life.

Keep me posted, Frank.


John O.


Hi Ed:

I've forwarded you a copy of my letter to Frank that you sent onto me.

As usual, I'm appalled to see that the cults still live with their cruelty. I never knew what Flurry's Foolishness was before, but now I'm getting the idea. This guy could be real dangerous.

It's just a thought, but since there are so many cases of people dying (and deceased) as a result of those diabolical healing doctrines, would you consider starting an individual web page on it? There must be tons of testimonies to this insanity. The suicide is definitely a much needed page, and maybe the same would go for healings? I think you'd get tons and tons of mail.

What these cults have done to people in the area of healing doctrines and suicide provocation are both legal murder in my books.

Anyhow, it's just a thought.

Peace and blessing 4 now. Havva good day.



These letters are Hilarious! Riotous! I wear glasses; they are splattered with tears from laughter! These stories hit so close to home it is awful!

I have a dream. I dream of a resurrected Spokesman Club. A few years ago I tried to get JWT jr to turn it into a Listeners Club. No response. Now I am about to propose a Readers Club. Newspaper readership among the brethren I know is maybe 1 out of 10 at most. I guess they get their news from TV, CNN Headline News if they have cable, and many do not have cable so it is ABC, CBS, NBC reportage for them.

Are there any analytical minds? Every day I find something in a daily newspaper worth clipping for its spiritual content. Do you suppose men could come together once a week, or twice a month, to present and then discuss newspaper clippings and enjoy fellowship, beer and popcorn together?

Don Barness, Arkansas

Ed, you have my permission to "publish" this note, but I certainly don't expect you to do so. Keep up the good work. I visit your site often.



Well, I guess you are just a club type of person. I always hated the clubs and would do anything to get out of a meeting. Are you the type of guy that always reminded the teacher that she didn't assign any homework? ;-)

Yes, you can get a lot out of newspaper reading, but, if your local paper is anything like the Milwaukee Journal, the news that is printed is slanted in their liberal democratic perspective and the "news" they decide not to print is even more devastating. If they don't print it, you don't even know that it is news. They have an agenda and they try their best to manipulate the readers just like the "news" on the networks and cable.

Yes, there are a lot of analytical minds out there, they just don't hang around too much with religious people because the two don't go together well.

Why don't you start your own email list? You could all sit around your monitors, read your news clipping email, have some beer and get your keyboards all greasy from the popcorn.

Regards, Ed


Dear Ed (or John)

I will try to comment some more on your writings, but I can say this now:

I do agree with a whole lot of what you write in "The Painful Truth", it is very true. John Bower's experiences are quite funny and interesting to read, as are your other writers.

Herbert W. Armstrong did use psychological tricks to keep people in the church. On the serious side, I know of two families in our local area (we don't go to any church at present) who both had a child die because of the medical teachings of the Worldwide Church of God, one I believe wouldn't take a tetanus injection while in hospital and died as a result. Under God's law and judgment (and I believe God will judge people and nations according to his law) this would at best be manslaughter. There's really no getting away from that. Also a woman I was talking to just a couple of days ago was telling me she refused to have a hysterectomy for 4 years because of Worldwide Church of God's medical teaching and was admitted to hospital dying from loss of blood more than once until she finally decided to have the operation.

When I was at AC too, I remember a member of the church who was a dentist telling me that the medical "facts" preached from the pulpit were very often completely without foundation or factual evidence to back them up.

But remember, Herbert W. Armstrong doesn't represent God or the Bible don't fall into his mold of false reasoning rejecting the things he claimed falsely to represent when he didn't represent them at all.

Didn't John O. write about the Worldwide Church of God ministers just being glorified "salesmen" who were part of Herbert W. Armstrong's business? In other words, God didn't send Herbert W. Armstrong or his ministers, and they don't represent him. I never swallowed that story about the seven churches continuing since the first century (the Waldenses and all that), besides "apostolic succession and laying on of hands" doesn't mean anything anyway because any person could have hands laid on him in one church and leave and start his own church and still really have "apostolic succession" from Christ and the original apostles. Perhaps the Roman Catholic church has this, but it wouldn't prove they're the true holy church.

Herbert W. Armstrong presented us all with a "package" which contained a mixture of truth and error. As you rightly say, this caused a lot of people to be worse off financially and health wise than if they hadn't followed his teachings. But now that we're out of this, we have to use our minds to sort out what was right and what was wrong in what he said. Some things he said were wrong, some were right. We should be still keeping the right things.

He wasn't holy, he wasn't sent by God, and he misquoted the bible at times. So we must' judge GOD and THE BIBLE by what Herbert W. Armstrong said. Because we have rejected the Worldwide Church of God doesn't mean there's any connection between rejecting God and rejecting the Bible.

e.g. if you say "I won't believe anything in the Bible now because Herbert W. Armstrong misquoted it" that's the kind of erroneous reasoning you accuse HWA of. There's no connection between the Bible and HWA, both stand on their own merits.

Lets continue to look for and find the TRUTH. Good for you in as much as you're doing this!




Thanks for you message.

I think my FAQ will answer most of your questions or admonishments.




Dear Ed,

I, too, was very afraid in the beginning to use my name on the issues that I wanted to talk about. But when I finally did use my name, you know what happened? Nothing. Not one e-mail, good or bad. But I do understand what is taking people so long to participate. Those ministers spent an inordinate amount of their time up on the podium training us to be paralyzed with fear. That paralysis stays with us years after the conditioning stops, just like habits we acquire during childhood. Unfortunately, as long as we continue to maintain our silence, we are not a threat to the fantasy of spiritual well-being or the financial livelihoods of our former oppressors.

Just move on with our lives? (That's assuming, of course, that you are still alive.) Get over it? Not a chance, when we can still see the trail of corpses stretching out over the decades in the wake of these "moneyisterial" monsters.

Many thanks again, Ed. Without your efforts, and the efforts of a tiny few who make the effort to keep these web pages up, this wouldn't be possible.

Warmly Yours,




I'm glad too that people will stand up for what they say.

I see that people are really enjoying your "Date with the Dog" article, lots of hits. I like it too. Well written.

I love that graphic that I found for it.

Best, Ed



This is the first time I have allowed myself any kind of closure to the disillusionment that has messed with my mind since all of the truth has been leaking out about our one true faith.

My mom was a member since the sixties. I and my siblings were dragged through all of the mess and disorder during my youth.

It was a classic Worldwide Church of God family. My father wasn't involved but still lived with us. We were poor, we lived in a very small town in Northern Michigan alienated by the 100 miles it took to get to services.

The guilt and fear when I found that I had mistakenly ate something with leaven in those magical spring days. How many nights did I lie awake in fear that I would be left behind and wouldn't get to go to Petra...

I watched my Mom die last summer of cancer. She devoted her entire adult life to the church, and when she needed it most ,everything was gone.

So I guess It is my time to vent. I found your web page and am still learning about the sham I believed in with all of my heart and soul. I'm curious to find others. Do you know of any newsgroups out there I can check out?




The affect that the cult had on the children is very sad indeed. The older people like myself sacrificed many years of our lives and our potential retirement, but once we escape, we still can get in touch with our former sanity, if there was any.

For the children, their minds have been forever shaped and molded by the cult or their reaction to being brought up by cult members, but once they escape, they still have the rest of their lives to try to recover mentally and monetarily.

Good luck to you,



Hi Ed,

I received the email of the Garner Ted Armstrong video and had a couple of questions and comments and wondered if you could shed any light on them.

First of all, the video was really poor quality and I personally could not make out that it was in fact Garner Ted Armstrong. I'm certainly not saying that it could not be him, but I really couldn't tell, and also, what's up with all the tattoos? Garner Ted Armstrong was in the church all his teen and adult life, I can't believe that was the first time I found that out. How was that kept secret for so long?

Also, was that a R. Rivera show that the masseuse appeared on? We saw a clip on another talk show, but not that one. Did you know that date of that show? Cause we never saw it in out part of the country.

Well, that's all for now, if you have a better video than that, please do not hesitate to send it.


If you could download the 11 meg video, it is better resolution. That is too big to send for me. You have to get it from the newsgroup. As it gets reduced in size to 1.25 megs it loses clarity.

Garner Ted Armstrong was in the Navy for a number of years and that is probably when he got the tattoo. That was no secret. I don't think he ever lied about jumping ship as Tkach Sr. did.

It was him in the video. I saw the original broadcast of the show; I think it was G. Rivera. He never denied it was him. The lady took him to court. Be glad you can't see him clearly. People tend to round out as they get older and Garner Ted Armstrong is no exception to this rule. It ain't a pretty site. No wonder he has to pay now since he doesn't have his harem of college co-eds to service him.



Mr. Witte

I just finished reading your article from the internet and I wish I could give you all the answers to your doubts. I know, however, that would be impossible. As one who has been where you are, I know this is something only you can work out.

I can tell you certain things you can depend on, whether you believe me or not: 1) You will never completely get away from the concept of "God." You may never come to a realization of the true God, but every time a really severe trial comes along--one you are powerless to control--you will reach out to this God. If he doesn't give you the answer you want, then you may curse him and his name. Regardless, some concept of God will never completely go away.

2) If you find the true God, it will be on his terms, not yours, or some other person's, or church's terms. Whether you approve of the Flood of Noah and death of all those babies is not going to change God or reality. Whether I approve, or anyone else approves, God is not going to apologize to man for the way things have worked out. He is not going away and cease to exist just because man doesn't understand his will and purpose.

Finally, I will close with two thoughts that I hope you will consider very carefully and thoroughly. 1) If there is no God and yet I continue to believe there is and practice religion accordingly, what do I lose? 2) If, however, there really is a God and I reject him, then what do I lose?



Since Mr. Witte chooses not to take the trouble to answer you in your religious delusion, I will.

Believe you or not? NOT. Why should I, if you have no proof other than your own opinion and I value my opinion more?

If we find the true God, it will be because He will stop hiding from us. If we don't find Him, it will be because He doesn't want to be found. He has certainly not revealed himself irrefutably, so far, other than in the creation.

You wrote: 1) If there is no God and yet I continue to believe there is and practice religion accordingly, what do I lose?
REPLY: You lose this present life to your religion. You become a slave to your religion. Some of us prefer to be free and using the brains we have been given and not believing fairy tale books that cannot be backed up with any proof at all that a God has written or inspired them.

You wrote: 2) If, however, there really is a God and I reject him, then what do I lose?
REPLY: You cannot reject someone who has not been presented to you. If you accept the god of the Bible, then you accept a monster not worthy of worship. Rejecting such a god would be worthy of praise by any god worth worshipping. I do not reject God. I reject the human machinations of who and what God is.



Thank you Mark for your insightful discourse on !! You absolutely hit the nail on head!  What about having to sit through a sermon where "Stairway to Heaven" or Styx's "Paradise Theater" was played in reverse to reveal the backwards masking? 

As for KSEP...I worked in the radio station during the summer of '87 and of the dozen or so "acceptable" songs available(besides the Young Ambassadors, or YA-YA's as we called them), the most OVER-played song was "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John.  Now he is certainly an entertainer to be emulated as a paragon of virtue!  Yeah, right.  More Worldwide Church of God double standards!

Now if I could just get back all those albums I threw away during my first year at AC...

Michelle Vice



Ed ,

I would like to say a few things of what I am getting from your web site .

Mr.Armstrong was a sociopath. He understood human emptiness and the void in people . This void is a inner light that was put out from growing up in families not having a noble God center Father. That genuine pure love that must come to the man , to the women , to the children .

Mr. Armstrong gave us phony love , from his wife , to him , to the Church , in the same way Hillary 's "love" towards her husband , Mr. Bill Clinton . Judicial Watch has a " ambassador report "on Bill as is on record of Herbert . Their fruits are bad and are still doing great harm to humanity .



I was born in to the world wide church of "God" 12/3/68. My father when he got out of the army heard the radio show world tomorrow. he liked it and went to a meeting. That's when the hell started. By the time I was born My father was deep into it as well as my mother. My first memories are of a movie theater in New Jersey. We never opened our bible. We would bring our bible to church but when they stared the service the bibles went under our seats.

I was one of 7 kids. My Father went to the minister and said, "my kids are bad and hard to control what should I do?" Well, he told my dad to lay down paper and put salt on it and make us kneel on it. My father is a kind man. He would never come up with that on his own. When we lied they told him to give us all hot peppers until the liar cracked.

My father( with 7 kids)would give the church all our money. We lived on beans. I remember one time he said he had only 4 cents and I asked what happened to the money and he said "I tithed it."

I don't mean to dump this on you I just read your bio and want you to know there are others out there too.

I just logged on to the wcg new web site and it blew my mind. Everything I held dear has been changed. 18 years of my life is a lie. I did not eat pork until I was 16 and even then I thought I was sinning. The church would tell my father to make us kids go in to school on Christmas and Halloween and give book reports on why they were pagan. I was beat up and called a Jew.

I am sorry I am jumping around but I am so mad I can't keep my thoughts straight. Bear with me.

I left the church when it spilt. I turned 18 and moved out of the house. I hated god and everybody who loved God. I got into drugs, bad. I ended up in a drug rehab place. They were Christian. and they helped me kick drugs and find the real God. It took a lot of time to get out all the junk that the "church" put in me. but I am doing well now.

Keep up what you are doing. I am praying for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I have a lot more stores. If you want to hear them e mail me. I would like to know what you feel about the "new world wide church of God"

You friend in Christ



Hi Ed,

I just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for the valuable service you are providing to many former Worldwide Church of God members. Your site has been a valuable resource to my wife and I, and I'm sure countless others, as we try to comprehend what happened in our lives and as we try to move on.

We've gone through several stages since leaving the church. At first, we believed that all of Herbert Armstrong's doctrines were true. We were angry with Joe Tkach for "hijacking" our church. We attended United for a while, but it was just too far away. We had a two hour drive each way: coupled with "services" and fellowship, and stopping for a bite to eat on the way home, this made attending services an all-day effort. With two kids, no less.

What really put a stop to it, though, was that most weeks we felt we were getting very little out of attending. Certainly not enough to justify all that travelling. We felt guilty, because people used to drive more than that for services in the 50's and 60's. But it just wasn't worth it to us.

We kept Sabbath at home and Passover at home. We were still believers. Meanwhile, such publications as Servants News and The Journal helped open our minds to other ideas They are published by bible believers but not hierarchy believers. Many people, including some we knew, were progressing from Global/United to small home groups. It was my observations, though, that these tended to get weird over time.

Your site was a real eye-opener. I wasn't ready for some of the material at first, but gradually I came to realize that I had been sucked into a cult. I now realize the truth about the bible as well. It is still a difficult process: with no church activities and church do's and don'ts, it's like learning to live life all over again. Your articles help us to understand and progress.

Part of me still resents Joe Tkach, while another part thinks he did us a big favor.

Ed, I haven't seen any updates to your web page since 10/18. Have you moved to a new location?

Also, a suggestion: Dennis McKinsey has an excellent site on biblical errancy that you may want to link up with.

Finally, is there any chance that your site would be able to provide access to copies of Ambassador Report? I would love to read that material, but the requested donations per-page for making copies adds up to quite a bit of money. With John Trechak's unfortunate death, might whoever has the copies be willing to make them public?

Ed, thanks again for providing this wonderful web page.



you are full of crap with this letter. no one is going to believe it. if you have biases with everyone else keep it to your self. i am no fan of rod meredith but please. i think the one that needs help is you for posting this garbage.



Would you like to be more specific? If you would like to prove anything is untrue on my site, I will take it off. Same goes for the rod man.



W.D. (click here)

I am so glad you have arrived!! How comforting it must be to be in God's special club. I wish the god you speak of had opened my eyes like he has yours. Your ability to KNOW things is truly a gift only a Christian can know. I, unfortunately, was left out when God was enlightening his elect. I sought answers and understanding...and when I opened my eyes, suddenly the house of cards fell. If God does exists, he told me to "Run, run as fast as you can!!!" If it wasn't God talking to me, then he playing a very sick joke on me. Who knows. Do you? You seem to KNOW so much. Your confidence is typical of Christians.

To answer your questions:

1) What do I lose if there is no God and I continue to practice religion?...

Well, for starters, I lost my whole childhood and am still recovering from the effects of that. Organized religion did a number on me and to continue in that way would simply be insane and could only happen if I close my eyes to what I have learned. You, it would seem, may not be aware of the abuses of organized religion and the arguments against Christianity. You might want to look into it...DEEPLY.

2) If there is a God and I reject him, what do I lose?

Well, first of all I can only reject something I believe to exist for sure. But, just for grins sometimes I throw up an honest prayer to whatever organizing force may exist and invite it to open my eyes to any will it may have f or me. So, if I am face to face with God some day, I can say, "Hey, I gave you every chance to open my eyes." If I burn in hell, then God is not a god of UNC ONDITIONAL LOVE. Bottom line...I am doing the best I can. If it's not good enough for God, then there's not much I can do about it anyway.

Your comments, though I am sure are well intentioned, are born from arrogance an d ignorance I'm afraid. If you really want to present convincing logic for an agnostic to consider, you might try immersing yourself in material from the other side...the side of agnosticism and atheism. Open your mind and learn the arguments, judge it all on it's merits. Your comments below are the regurgitated dogmatic defenses your Christian teachers have exposed you to. I would invite you to think for yourself. I invite you to ask the really hard questions and make NO assumptions. Demand proof. Your faith in the myths of organized religion will be taken advantage of by other people. But you can be spiritual autonomous...and I have to tell you, it's the greatest peace I have ever experienced.

My best to you as you conduct an honest search for rationality in all the belief s you hold so dear. In the mean time, I would encourage you to keep your dogma to yourself. It simply alienates the people you would have listen to how your faith has worked in your life. If you told me personal stories about how your faith had impact your life, I might be more captive. Still skeptical, but more captive...and able to listen. But your arrogant, dogmatic approach simply produces results which I assume are counter to what I think you're trying to accomplish.

The attitude expressed in your email.. the attitude of KNOWING...of having arrived at TRUTH...your exactly why I created my web site. What did you say? Oh. Whatever. Who gives a fish?

I hate to be so direct and harsh, but what was your email all about? Who are you?

Please feel free to express yourself. Mail like this entertains me, especially when I decide on a whim to actually respond to it. I almost hit delete.

Sincerely, Troy Witte


How about these:

If you think now that you were terribly abused by a church that you had complete free will to attend or not attend.

If you have become bitter, jaded and remember things to be so much worse than they were.

If you accepted blindly what was told to you by certain ministers, rather than using your God given abilities to reason..

If you feel the need to criticize something you used to believe very deeply, and call it a 'Public Service'.

I know you won't post this, but thought I'd give it a shot anyway.

Tony Savoia


"For What It's Worth" from Joanne

Most of us who contribute to Ed's PT site have been wounded to some degree, some much more than others.

Most of us are not scholars, many have no college degree, including me. Does that mean that what we contribute to this site is worthless, or less important than others? I don't think so!

I read, evaluate, pass up, or take in what I choose, or want. I consider the site a PRIVILEGE and opportunity to help others.

As much as this site IS serious, I think some of us need to lighten up, and remember its purpose: To enlighten, inform, stimulate thinking, COMFORT, and provide a HEALING PLACE, one of support. Let's keep this in mind for the benefit of ALL, especially Ed who is our HOST. He deserves respect , not conflict.

Let there be peace on earth, let it begin with me!.

Respectfully, Joanne


There should be an apology for the fun they, the ministers, made of gays who were and still are Christian.

For throwing them out of churches, despite many years of dedicated service.

For the pain and sadness so many gay people had to endure, in loneliness, never really feeling safe to be who they are amongst the so called family members of God.




You are right. But I'm afraid they get it all out of the Bible. If you leave the teachings of Jesus out, it is a very hateful book.

I am not a Christian but I do endorse a lot that this person is said to have taught.

Regards, Ed


Dear Sharon,

I just finished your fine work, "Do or Die." You have obviously put a great deal of thought into your work, and I believe you expressed the church of god experience superbly. I believe that your efforts will provide comfort to many, many people now and in the years to come. I hope everyone will take the time to read your work. Sincerely Yours,



Hi Ed,

Thank you for all the time and energy you have put into your site. I've never written to you before, but I must state that I was growing increasingly concerned about Mr. Renehan's attitude of intellectual superiority, which actually was evident to a degree in some of his earlier writings

There are many of us with better education's than he has, and we got them at a much earlier age in life, but he is setting himself up as the ultimate arbitrator of what is truth and good logical reasoning.

Unfortunately, I believe he has some blind spots which hopefully he will eventually face.

I appreciate the many different viewpoints on the page. The way I look at it, the present understandings which I have about life are the best that I can do right now within the limitations of my cultural and family upbringing, limited intelligence, the language which I speak which automatically shapes my thought, etc. Hopefully I will continue to stretch beyond these limitations over a lifetime of attempted growth as a human being.

Whatever led to the removal of the pages ( the dialogue with Mr. Ouvrier seems a possible factor), thanks for standing up for right principles.

Name Withheld



Dear Ed,

I don't think it is possible for you to know just how much I enjoyed John Bower's "God Christian Soldier: Paul Royer." Years of emotional baggage that I have been secretly carrying have been taken off, John. My burden is now ever so much lighter. Thank you. Thank you. Warmly Yours,



for all the bullshit that you say about herbert w. armstrong on your website, i'm not seeing any proof there to back anything up of course, there is no proof to back it up because it's just what i said it is-BULLSHIT


Dear Ed,

I was unable to access the link on the bottom of Mr. Mojica's 11/13/98 article ("How Herbert W. Armstrong Used 1972 To Finance His Building Projects.") in order to email him.

If you would, please pass him my thanks for the effort he puts into his articles. I like his succinct, penetrating comments. He is dead-on accurate in all his writings. I was a New York member for 25 years. I REMEMBER.

Dorothy Malm


Hi Ed,

I can't really say that I enjoyed your website, 'cause it was painful but all true. Thanks for doing all the work on it.

My name is Elizabeth Turner. I was born (1974) and raised in the Worldwide Church of God and had my final contact with them in 1995 (although my parents still do the splinter group thing--they're with Rod Meredith...whatever name they are going by now).

Anyway, I called the Worldwide Church of God to try to get financial information on them. They are going through with a sale of the Pasadena campus--it is now in escrow. It pisses me off that a group of white-assed people who've never had to work for anything (while my parents went bankrupt and I'm paying for lots of therapy now--among many other things that have direct correlation to "the church") will benefit from our financial blood.

I've noticed some mention of a class-action suit. Being only 25 and also having majored in English, I'm pretty damn ignorant about the law, but aren't there enough of us disgruntled folks to file suit? But on what grounds (beside massive fraud, extortion and mismanagement of funds, etc.)? I would love to hear any thoughts you might have on this.

I'm currently experiencing PTSD episodes directly triggered by having read the ministerial apology that was only signed by 3 people (god bless 'em, but where the heck is Stan McNeil, who single-handedly destroyed my family? I hear he's selling insurance somewhere.). I had forgotten how utterly shitty the whole experience was.

Thanks for listening.




Sorry, but what they have done to use is perfectly legal because it is "religion." Now, if we could prove there was some kind of mismanagement of funds or some illegality, then we would have a case.

But for now, religion is the safest place for con-men. Good money too. Hurts a lot of people, but who cares about that? They only have to worry if there is a God and they certainly don't believe THAT, otherwise they would be afraid to do what they do in His name.

I hope your PTSD episodes are not serious. Don't know what that is.

My best to you,



Hey Ed,

Feel free to post my stuff. My PTSD isn't too serious (post traumatic stress disorder--lots of stuff about it on the internet). Actually, probably everyone who is post-WCG has some sort of it. Basically, it is just my body finally allowing itself to recognize how horrible everything was. I couldn't do that because I was born into "the church" and had no safe place to go with the yuck and disgustingness of it all.

I got a reply from Bernie Schnippert about church finances today. It was weird, because my parents went to college with him and he figured in a lot of their stories...can't remember any of the stories right now. He was rather stiff and formal. Same old same old.

I'll be checking out the website from time to time. It does a body good.




I read your e-mail to Troy Witte, and though I know you weren't talking to me, I simply had to jump in there for just 30 seconds. You wrote the following:

* If you think now that you were terribly abused by a church that you had complete free will to attend or not attend.

I can't speak for Mr. Witte. Don't know, never met him. But I can speak for me and lots of others like me whom I do know. When you are a child and your parents take you to church, even to a cult, you don't have the free will to attend or not. Many kids did bail out in their teens or later, but many others stayed out of a sincere belief that this was the "true" church. I was one of those, and I continued believing it until I was 44 years old. I raised my kids in it (God forgive me) until I woke up and got out. They curse me for raising them there, but bless me for freeing them and getting them out. They're still young (22, 19, and 15), but they know a cult when they see one. They know how close they came to a lifetime of slavery.

* If you have become bitter, jaded and remember things to be so much worse than they were.

How much worse do they have to get? Not everyone had it bad, but many did. I know people who died of cancer rather than accept medical treatment. My aunt was one. She had cancer of the uterus, and at the time it was diagnosed the doctor said a simple surgery would remove it and she would be fine. She opted to "trust God", did not have the surgery, and was dead at 53. A year later, Joe Tkach decided doctors were okay after all, and it was no longer a sin. But my aunt Joye is still dead.

* If you accepted blindly what was told to you by certain ministers, rather than using your God given abilities to reason..

I'm sure this sounds logical to you. Have you ever heard of brainwashing? Or programming? Have you ever wondered why people stand by leaders like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Paul & Jan Crouch, and others? We were taught in no uncertain terms that the "ministry" were God's anointed. There were no exceptions. We were to shut up and obey, or face the wrath of almighty God. If you had been there in the 50s and 60s you wouldn't make a statement like the one above. You would know better. The 80s were weak compared to the 60s. The simple fact is that, if you disagreed with a minister, even in your mind, you felt guilty for it. You felt wrong about it. You might know in your heart that he was wrong (I did, many times), but he was still put there by God, and who were you to question that authority? If he was fucking up then God would take care of it. We were to keep our mouths shut and our opinions blank. In a nutshell, our abilities to reason were turned off, because to use them was to "lean to our own understanding" instead of things revealed by God (which was delivered to us by the minister on the spot). I really find it hard to believe, Tony, that you were ever a member if you don't understand that.

* If you feel the need to criticize something you used to believe very deeply, and call it a 'Public Service'.

I once had a neighbor who was a deputy sheriff. I lived across the street from him for ten years, and felt pretty good about it. He was friendly, we talked occasionally and always waved. If I had ever needed to, I would have felt perfectly safe leaving my kids with him during an emergency.

About five years ago that same deputy sheriff was sent to prison for 24 years on multiple counts of child molestation. It seems he was in charge of the juvenile detention unit at the county jail and was having his way with the young boys. I never once saw anything that would have tipped me off that he had such tendencies. When the story first broke, I didn't even believe it.

I once believed in this man, put my trust in him. Am I now supposed to pretend that he is not a child molester because I used to trust him? Is it a "public service" to keep such information to myself? I don't think so.

How much more so when it comes to a cult. The former neighbor I mentioned only affected the lives of, at most, a few dozen people (victims, families, close friends--and his own family). A cult such as the Worldwide and its daughters has the power to destroy the lives of tens of thousands of unsuspecting innocents. At its peak the Worldwide Church of God claimed a membership of 100,000 people world wide. That did not include unbaptized children, nonmember spouses, or prospective members and "coworkers". So we are probably talking half a million souls. How many lives were damaged? How many lives were lost?

Tony, I don't know who you are, or what is your agenda, but don't try to fake it. We were there, goddammit! I'm not at all certain that you were.

John B.



I want to let you know what a wonderful thing you are doing with this Website. It is helping me deal with a lot of issues I have had since I left the church almost ten years ago.

As a former child member I always believed that this organization was just wrong. My parents are still devoted to Herbert's teachings they no longer attend WWCG since its change but now follow an associate pastor of the original WWCG that is still teaching the old ways, with a congregation of about 100 people. I find it so sad that my family has not seen the truth. But the saddest thing is that they inflicted there way of life on me until I finally broke away when I was sixteen.

WWCG and my parents ( I hold them just as accountable) ruined my childhood I missed a lot of "normal" things that a kid should just be able to do.

I would be very grateful if you would add my name to your list of people that want these "pastors" disfellowshipped. And I would also like to nominate Al Buchanan. Thank you so much again for the painful truth


Kimberly Ottensmeyer



Thanks for your message and encouragement.

Sorry to say that we did screw up our children's lives by joining the cult that we did. There is no excuse for it.

I hope you do not hold it against your parents too badly though. I was raised outside of any cult. Possibly you would not have wanted to live my childhood. My father was an alcoholic. When we made it through one day without an argument between my parents, we thought it was a miracle. Listening to the fights, hiding, covering my ears with a pillow to try to sleep, staying away from home, hating the thought of going home, leaving home as soon as I was out of high school. Yes, I was able to do all the things in school that you could not do but that was not as good as you might think it was. There were still the clicks, the dating disappointments and not being good enough to make a team. How many of the church kids that could play on the YOU teams would have made it to the Varsity teams? Not many, I'm sure.

Christmas was not ever very good for my family. I never got anything that I wanted. My family was too poor. And then my father would get drunk and there would be a big argument.

There are very few perfect families out there. If your parents hadn't screwed you up in one way, they may have done it another way. Since I grew up, my father stopped drinking and we have a better relationship than we ever did. I have watched Saving Private Ryan recently and understand, possibly what made him drink after he came back from the war. I forgive him for my screwed up childhood. Now we can have the great family relationship that I would have liked in my childhood. We all learned from it.

Most of us are just playing with the cards we are dealt. Unfortunately, other people are affected by our decisions.

If by changing my childhood or even my Worldwide Church of God experience, I would also be changing my present, I would change nothing. I love my wife and my three sons and I wouldn't give them up for anything. I would have none of them if I had taken a different path earlier in life. I am also free from the bondage of religion. That is worth a lot.

Maybe what we are going through in this life will all be worth it some day. Nobody knows.

Best to you and Happy Thanksgiving.



I love your site.

Maybe it would be better if people had to give their names when they wrote to you and there were no exceptions if they wanted it printed?

Has anyone told you stories about demon possession? My minister told us stories about people having approached him in a hospital where he went to see members that knew he was a "servant of God". I think they did this to scare members. There were some other ones too. Just wondering if we should make a site on demon possession stories the ministers told. There may be some overlap. Maybe they learned this stuff in Pasadena together and repeat the same stories?



I have no problem with people not wanting their name to be published, although it would be better if they did. Some people have good reasons.

The demon possession stories are a convenient scare tactic and an easy way to accuse and defame people without hardly trying. People who tried to tell us the truth, in the past, were labeled with demonism. Or mental problems. How do you disprove that? I'll bet they are spreading something like that about me too. "All those LIES on the internet."

I think people can be pretty bad all by themselves without needing demons to make them any worse. I don't believe either Hitler or Herbert W. Armstrong was demon possessed. Just evil. Demons are probably a throwback to earlier ages and uneducated people looking for easy explanations to possibly complicated occurrences.




Email, Indexed by DATE

Click here for Page One, Email letters.

Click here for Page Two, Email letters.

Click here for Page Three, Email letters.

Click here for Page Four, Email letters.

Click here for Page Five, Email letters.

Click here for Page Six, Email letters.

Click here for Page Seven, Email letters.

Click here for Page Eight, Email letters.

Click here for Page Nine, Email letters.

Click here for Page Ten, Email letters.

Click here for Page Eleven, Email letters.

Click here for Page Twelve, Email letters.

Click here for Page Thirteen, Email letters.
Click here for Page Fourteen, Email letters
Click here for Page Fifteen, Email letters.
Click here for Page Sixteen, Email letters.
Click here for Page Seventeen, Email letters.
Click here for Page Eighteen, Email letters.
Click here for Page Nineteen, Email letters.
Click here for Page Twenty, Email letters.
Click here for Page Twentyone, 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.)


Back to "Painful



The content of this site, including but not limited to the text and images herein and their arrangement, are copyright 1997-2002 by The Painful Truth All rights reserved.

Do not duplicate, copy or redistribute in any form without prior written consent.