The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

The Pied Piper

By Bruce Renehan

Carlos wrote

You sound like one big whyner.

Grow up will you and get a life. Let someone else who has something intelligent to say take up the space you now have.

You cite that Worldwide Church of God "made you do all those things," listen nobody can make you do anyhting. They're not the government you know, or the police. So stop your incessant whyning you big dope.

I get a kick out of how you threaten people, by saying you will punish them if they send you "hate mail" by exposing their email address.

Maybe those very things you hate you do. Kinda of a kicker aint it. You've become the epitome of hate all the while you preach against it.

You're a Joker.

Carlos Dasilva



I just read your letter on Ed 's site and wanted to write to you for a little clarification. Are you defending the Worldwide Church of God or the internet? Do you write to everyone who has an internet site and complain or call people names? Why did you go to Ed's site in the first place? I'm sure no one made you go to the Painful Truth site.

I'll assume that you are naive about what a cult can do to a person. So, having about a quarter of a century's experience in the Armstrong cult, I'll try to tell you how, people CAN make you do things sometimes. People CAN do terrible horrible things that they live to regret later. Those of us who seem to be whining have come to feel sorry for those horrible things and are trying our best to make amends. We feel that if we don't do something then the bad guys will continue to hurt innocent people.

Historically, we are all baffled that a charismatic idealist can sway an entire nation into a frenzy. We see this now in countries like Iraq where Sadam Hussein holds incredible mind power over his people. Very simply put, he does this by isolating them, lying to them, and threatening those who do not exalt him.

When the Ayatolah took over power in Iran, he televised firing squads executing his opponents day after day. Idi Amin used similar methods. But no one that I know of can top the terrorist control that Pol Pot held in Cambodia through executing millions of his imagined enemies in the killing fields. That's a powerful incentive to cause others obey but it's not the only one.

Adolf Hitler became chancellor in Germany and soon gained mental control over an entire nation. Enormous rallies of loyal followers stiffened their arms and shouted "heil Hitler" to the throbbing beat of marching music. Millions of innocent people were sent to death camps by loyal German citizens who later could not give an excuse for their crimes against humanity. They could only shrug, "We were just following orders."

When American GIs were taken captive during the Korean War, they too were filmed pledging their loyalty to Communism in concentration camps. After the Korean War this phenomenon that terrorist leaders have to make people do things was coined "brain washing."

In the late 50s one psychologist by the name of Stanley Millgram set up a laboratory experiment. It was to see if he could get randomly selected people off the street to follow the instructions of an authoritarian "doctor" in a laboratory. It was an experiment to have a subject administer a mild shock to a stranger in another room, every time the stranger forgot something he had memorized from a list. Holding a clipboard, the doctor simply prodded, "You must continue. This experiment requires you to continue." The subject would then be expected to turn up the voltage and electrocute someone in another room every time the person made a memory mistake. Between 60 to 80 % of the randomly selected subjects in several experiments were willing to obey to the point of giving the stranger in the other room a heart attack. Many of the subjects had been WWII veterans and they had to be deprogrammed after the experiment because they were shocked to see that they were no different than the Nazis lighting the ovens to murder Jews.

What the many psychological studies on conformity performed in the 50s and 60s revealed is that people will readily conform in the right situation. Many people feel confident that they would never send an innocent person to prison, join a religious cult, lynch someone at a KKK rally, but social psychologists have proven that confident people are even more likely to conform when placed in the wrong situation at the wrong time.

In Jonestown thousands of followers drank Kool Aid laced with poison and committed suicide, in Waco followers of David Koresh died with their children, and so on and so on. What those who have never left a cult don't realize is that these are normal people who were caught in the wrong situation and brainwashed. There is a book by Steve Hassan that tells his story of being lured from his college campus and ending up in Rev. Moon's cult brainwashed to the point of wanting to murder his family if they came to rescue him.

Herbert Armstrong was a master manipulator. He knew exactly how to capture people's interest. He appealed to their idealistic desire to live in a perfect society--what he called "The World Tomorrow." He sent free literature to any who requested it. The booklets promised perfect families, joyful marriages, improved finances, answered prayers, healing, and so on. He lured people into his church like the Pied Piper. Once in, the followers were caught in an authoritarian environment and brainwashed to pledge absolute Hitlerian loyalty to Armstrong and his ministry. He used the same brainwashing techniques (such as isolation from the outside world and induced paranoia) as Jim Jones and even admitted it after Jonestown had occured. You stated that Armstrong's church "was not the government." I guess you were never there. Government was one of Armstrong's double-speak terms for his church (only he called his church God's Government). You also stated that they were not the "police." Wrong again. When I was a young bachelor in Pasadena, living in a large house with other church member bachelors, we would periodically be startled that a church deacon by the name of Joe Tkach would burst into the house and inspect the cupboards, sink, refrigerator, and then lecture us for about an hour on how to properly clean house. The church maintained a police state by using such invasion tactics.

I don't know about Ed, but while I was in the Worldwide Church of God, I was so brainwashed that I wouldn't ever think one critical thought against Herbert Armstrong. After finally gaining the courage to "think dirty thoughts" about God's Apostle, it has taken me years to become deprogrammed. If you've never experienced that, count yourself lucky because those of us who have escaped mind control will live with the fear of it for the rest of our lives.

And that is why we sound like we're whining. We don't ever want to forget the power that Herbert Armstrong, Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc. can weild over us or any other human being. When Ed states that he will not be threatened by others he is referring to those who are still brainwashed in Armstrongism. You never know what someone under a cult's mind control will do. Cults have been known to send hit squads after their detractors. You claim that he has become the very thing that he hates...hmmm...kind of a stretch on your part. We've learned that if you don't speak out when they come to take the Jews, if you don't speak out when they come to take the mentally ill, if you don't speak out when they come to take the Poles, then some day no one will speak out when they come to take you.

Bruce Renehan