Some Horror Stories about Herbert W. Armstrong’s Cult

We present to you some of the horror stories that have been recorded in the past dealing with Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God…


My Worldwide Church of God Horror story:

My parents became interested in the Worldwide Church of God in the mid-1960s. At one of his first visits, the minister asked my dad what he did for a living. “Pharmacist”, he replied. Turning to his wife in mock horror, the minister exclaimed “Sorcery!”. “Witchcraft!” she replied, on cue. Having to give up his profession in his mid-forties was (by his own admission) one of the main reasons he turned to alcohol. He managed a few years at a couple of other jobs, then basically became unemployable.

After several years of denying he had an alcohol problem, and despite being seen walking to the liquor store and back after services (using his briefcase to carry his purchases), my dad was told not to attend church any more. By this time we had a really volatile minister who thought that all forms of disfellowshipment allowed him to publicly “mark” the offender. The next sabbath he humiliated the family by angrily announcing he had thrown my dad out for his problem and for not providing for his own family, thus being worse than an infidel.

This minister had in an earlier week humiliated one man’s family because this guy suddenly decided the previous Saturday to go to a horse-race meeting instead of to church. (I can still vividly recall his wife sobbing during this minister’s tirade.) But perhaps the highlight of his pastorship was the day a member family had a stillborn child and he blamed it on the spiritual state of the congregation.


It was the spring of 1952 that my mom became a member of Worldwide Church of God. And for those of you that are familiar with the former Ambassador College campus in Pasadena, my mom was baptized in the baptismal located in the Lower Gardens, it is where graduations were held, and it is where my wife, Barbara, and I were married in 1968.

It was approximately 1960 that my mom noticed an unusual lump under right her arm. Being concerned, she went to the ministry and was annointed. She was forbidden to see a doctor or to receive any medical care whatever. She was told not to worry, God would completely heal her. She was also told that if she went to a doctor she would lose her salvation .

The non-WCG family members were outraged by the ministers instructions and ultimatum. They urged her to at least have her condition diagnosed by a doctor. After a considerable amount of positive harassment by family members, seven years later she finally went to a Seventh Day Adventist doctor only to discover the seriousness of her condition. It would be fatal if not treated.

We were living in Hawthorne California at the time, which is about 40 miles south of Pasadena, which was the closest church area at that time. Since we did not have a telephone (my dad hated them) our contact with Worldwide Church of God was limited to occasional visits by the ministers and our occasional trips to Pasadena for church services.

My mom did not drive, and my dad was not a member of Worldwide Church of God and did not feel it was necessary to go to church every week.

I only mention our limited contact at this time so you would be aware that we were somewhat isolated and therefore did make some decisions on our own without consulting the ministry. That is until they started a church in LA and we were able to attend every week. It was then that the hammer fell, the ministry told my mom NO MORE doctors. They dogmatically told her that God would heal her.

After that she did not and would not go to a doctor. She feared that by doing so she would lose her salvation. The ministry reinforced this fear by making it quite clear that if she did not trust in God she would lose her salvation and her place in God’s Kingdom.

In the summer of 1967 her situation became critical. I agreed with some of the other family members and in spite of the ministers commands we had the doctor come to our home to give her some aid and relief from the pain.

I was a member at this time. It was not that I lacked faith, it was just that what the ministers said made no sense at all to me. I guess I just was not converted enough to trust in their divine inspiration and decisions completely.

The doctor arrived and after a brief examination told us that her condition was terminal. I was there holding her hand when the doctor gave her a shot of morphine to help ease the pain in what turned out to be her last few hours of life. I will never forget the look in her eyes, she was helpless and too weak to stop the doctor from giving her an injection. And she looked at me as though I had betrayed her and robbed her of her salvation. Her eyes expressed the emotional pain she felt, for in her mind she was rejecting God and would face the Lake of Fire. She felt this because this is what she was told by a “loving and compassionate ministry”. I might mention also that the ministry never came to visit her during the last TWO years of her fatal illness.

Me? I still continued to attend Worldwide Church of God until 1992, well some of us are just slow learners…at that point I finally said enough lies and abuse and quit attending. But that is another story for another time. I do have many interesting stories about life in Worldwide Church of God, some of them are funny some are very sad. One in particular is about my personal contact with the wrath of Herbert W. Armstrong., and I survived!

Today my wife and I totally embrace the grace of Jesus Christ. Our lives have been forever changed and impacted by Christ living in us. Our salvation is secure, it is no longer based on what we do, it is solely based on what He did for us at the cross.

We are not attending any church at this time but we do have an in-home Bible Study that is now in its third year. We are a happy and joyous group. We have learned that God can not love us more than He does, and He will not love us less!

May the Lord bless you all.

Bob W.


I’ve been thinking about something… I have a lot of questions about some things. So I’m going to recount my experiences and observations here and see if any of you have any other observations…

As you all know, I was raised in Worldwide Church of God, I was born there and had been involved in it (in one way or another) until about a year ago or so. Essentially everything in my life was either influenced by or revolved around the cult for that amount of time, about 21 years.

There were a lot of kids who went to church with me – they grew up to be somewhat normal – with all of their faculties – even though their parents seemed to be, under certain circumstances, even more severe than mine. I have to wonder what was different.

The Worldwide Church of God (or any organized religion, as I’m beginning to find out) is very difficult on a child. The child is born with a preconceived mold fit around them that the parents feel obligated (as a “highest calling”, if you will) to force the child to fit into. The preschool years, at least in my case, could only be described as the “period of molding”, when my parents were making a very concerted effort, pushing, prodding, stomping, paddling, whatever, in an effort to make me fit into that little mold. I can’t forget the Y.E.S. lessons we were required to do every week, or the “memory scriptures”. The memory scriptures were particularly virulent because the Toledo minister at that time, George Kackos, would look at my parents askance if I (or my brother) did not have them memorized like good church kids. Sometimes he would have “a talk” with them, if I remember correctly. The long and short is that the minister was actively involved in trying to force me into that mold.

During this time, I had no friends my age outside the church (or even inside the church, come to think of it), so the only point of view I was ever exposed to was my parents’ and the church’s.

At this point in time I can remember thinking reverently about the minister – fearing him – like he was God himself. I remember even revering things as stupid as his haircut, or the types of shoes he wore. The church literally was my life at that time. I was thoroughly brainwashed as a little child – as much as it pains me to admit it. There could be no other…

I was not put into kindergarten. In all fairness, I was actually too smart for kindergarten…

My first experience with “normal” kids my age was in the first grade. At this point I was a complete fish out of water. I had already been trained, like a good kid, not to celebrate birthdays, or any of their “pagan” holidays, and I’d been given nice pre-digested reasons as to why not. My experience with the church and their inherent judgementalism made it very easy – in fact, I thought it was my duty – to “tattle” on all the other kids as much as I could. I didn’t even remember that until an old schoolmate told me that when I was a teenager. Needless to say, this made my life a living hell – even in first grade I didn’t fit in. And, to make things worse, my mother would come in to the classroom and help out. I’m not really sure why – I think one of her reasons was to make sure I wasn’t filled with “pagan garbage”. Or something.

I never recovered from this, as a reputation thing goes. The church never lost its sway on me during my elementary school days. In fact, it got stronger. I remember my brother and I sitting in the backyard playing “church”, which would consist of screaming at the top of our lungs “you shall not keep Christmas!”, while pounding on the lectern. The other one of us would be sitting on a chair in the “audience”, listening. There was a little neighbor lady who thought we were completely whacked out cause of this.

Towards the end of elementary school, 4th to 6th grade, I did make a few neighborhood “friends”. Wanna know why I put that in quotes? They didn’t want anything to do with me, except my parents told them if they didn’t play with me they couldn’t play with my brother. So in all honesty the only “friends” I had really didn’t want anything to do with me either.

Around the 6th grade or so my parents were having some marital problems. My father was being abusive, as all good church men are, and my mother just didn’t want it anymore, so she wanted a divorce. My father found out about it and used every tool at his disposal to stop her, including turning the two of us boys against our mother. He made us hate her by telling lies up the wazzoo… and then stating he wasn’t lying and that she was in the wrong for telling us anything about the truth. You know, in retrospect, those are classic Armstrongian tactics.

So eventually they “patched” everything up. My father was disfellowshipped at this point – for his “attitude” and for not having a job. Was his attitude bad? Yes… but the minister, at this point a Mr. Dave Fiedler, was the pastor. He was extremely authoritarian – but a part of the problem here was, again, my father, who decided that he was lord and master over everyone in his household. So they butted heads for six years. All this time my father was feeding me misinformation about both my father and the minister (who was also very much at fault) and being generally an abusive SOB. He and I butted heads very frequently. He’d always win, of course, because that’s just the way bastards are.

About this time I was pulled out of school – I was in junior high and my reputation had preceded me. I was one of the five smarted kids in that school – but I had severe problems by then. This was probably the toughest jr. High school in Toledo, and they were trying to kill me. So I was homeschooled from 7th grade until graduation. From the ages of about 12 to 15 I had zero interaction with kids my age. Zero…

I was not attending church, but I decided to rejoin at around 15 because I knew I had zero friends and I was going insane with depression. So I went back, and acted like a bulldozer with the social cliques there. That’s not allowed, you know. The “unwritten policy” of the church was openness and “no cliques”, so ostensibly they couldn’t exclude me, but I wasn’t wanted by then and I knew I wasn’t. The Worldwide Church of God didn’t want me. All of the years of oppression, etc, had taken their toll and I was already too weird to successfully integrate. Not even with the people I was raised to integrate with. So I went to district meets and stuff and tried my hardest to fit in, but I was too much of a loose cannon. They wanted nothing to do with me. I wasn’t in the “in” crowd. Believe it or not, most of those kids were not near as badly brainwashed as I was. I think it was because of the influence of their friends. Or maybe just because they had them… dunno…

So, around 17, I went to college. You know, come to think about it, this was THE FIRST TIME I’d ever had any integration with people my age who wanted anything to do with me. They liked me, and I liked them, and I just couldn’t deal with it. So I began a period of culture shock. I had no idea what to expect from people my age, I thought they were all evil, wicked sex fiends. It just never crossed my mind that any of them could be decent people. For two years I did nothing but try my hardest to stay away from them and their culture. I was completely incapable of integrating with them on anything more than a completely academic level. I still can’t. This is the effect the church had on me.

So eventually the culture shock got to be too much for me and I dropped out. By this time I had stopped attending the church and even the keeping of the laws fell by the wayside because I was just fed up with it. Then I met a young woman my age over the internet, and we became friends, then boy/girlfriend, and I went to Denver to visit her for a couple of weeks – we ended up just being friends and nothing happened. But this was around christmas time, and I went to a pageant at her old high school. The culture shock led to an actual panic attack that lasted for three hours. I just wanted to run. I was 20 years old. It was around this time that I began to realize what a load of bull the Worldwide Church of God had pulled on me. And you know, my parents still blame her for “ruining me”. They still blame her…

So then I got a job at an ISP, things were looking up… and I met another woman on the internet, and it turned… well, sexual. I went to meet her, and then I came home, and all sorts of stuff happened, and the point is I’m not sure why I did it… but it was yet again just as much of a culture shock as anything else.

You know what? The culture shock still hasn’t gone away. I went to college last quarter. I liked it the first day. The second day I just went bananas. I haven’t been the same since. Things really haven’t changed, you know? I still subconsciously thought of every single person there as evil sex fiends or whatever, even though consciously I knew that by my definition, I’m one too. I just can’t cope with this culture or world or actually anyone else in general. They took that from me the day I was born.

You know how I spend my days? I go to work, I work, I come home. And on weekends I just stay home. I STILL don’t want anything to do with “the world”, even though consciously I beat myself up for that over and over again because I know it’s completely irrational. I wish I could do things people my age do, I wish I could have fun that way, I wish I could just “live”. But they trained me too well.

I am a walking legacy of the Worldwide Church of God. Anyone who says that they weren’t so bad should just talk to me. They ruined me.

I hope those who run the Worldwide Church of God get wind of this letter. I hope they read it well. And I hope that somewhere deep in those vast expanses where their heart should be, they get a twinge of conscience for having a part in doing damage to myself and hundreds or thousands like me. This is my story – this is the story of a child who was ruined by the narcissistic perverted vision of one man and those lemmings who followed him. And I don’t know what the ending is going to be. I just don’t know. But maybe a twinge of conscience is too much to ask from those narrow-minded greedy bible-peddlers they call evangelicals.

And you know what? I can “forgive” them. I probably haven’t, but I can. But I can never forget. And I don’t know whether I could ever look George Kackos, or David Fiedler, or Eugene Noel (who once told me I was too full of myself because I was more intelligent and perspective than most people and knew it), or Joseph Tkach, or Warren Wilson, or any of those people in the eye. Or even my parents. Because I only had one chance at childhood, and they, in true Organized Religion fashion, took it for their own purposes in the name of a possibly nonexistent higher power and shaped and twisted and perverted it until it was useless. And they still have the nerve to say “it’s all in the past”.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I needed to get that off my chest.

Russell –

Just when you might think the depth of depravity of Armstrongism cant sink any lower, along comes another horror story from the Gerald Flurry’s cult.


“I was told by a minister in PCG to “get rid of” my mentally handicapped son (who also had cerebral palsy) or don’t return. He told me to put him in some facility, or if I couldn’t afford that, then take him somewhere that he would not know and abandon him in the mall or somewhere that people were. He said someone would find him and put him away, and that I was to turn and not look back, and just leave him there! I guess you can imagine just about what I told them!!”

Link to full story can be found HERE.

38 Replies to “Some Horror Stories about Herbert W. Armstrong’s Cult”

  1. I grew up in the worldwide church of god. From these stories i just read i am having a hard time believing them. Yes they were strict, i was probably around 6 when my mother joined and we started going to church every saturday, but i never saw any abuse. We were never forced to memorize bible verses. I never heard any of our ministers yell or say anything abusive. We did not go to the doctor unless it was an emergency, such as a severe cut or something, but then we did. As for handicapped children, i always saw several at church ,especially at the feast when people from all over came together. They were very well taken care of. All the families that we knew from church were all very nice and friendly. We stopped going after my parents split up when i was a teenager. I miss my time at the church and the times spent at the feast of tabernacles. I have very good memories of the church. Those were probably the best years of my childhood. Maybe the ones writing these experiences just had bad ministers, ours was a really good person and helped our family a lot. Mr. Armstrong was a very good speaker and i always liked his sermons, even as a child. The church split after Mr. Armstrong died and i heard it went in different directions. I was in the washington dc area church. Our family still keeps in contact with a lot of the other members that used to go to our church. All very upstanding, well educated people. I miss it a lot.

    1. Good entry D.A. ……… You have to stand for something or you will fall for anything. The problem after HWA passed was an old military term “Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way” ……. there were two many chiefs and not enough indians ….. All that is and has happened was forecast by the prophets ….. I have no complaints concerning the WCG …. they helped my single mom of 4 children (me being the youngest) pay the bills and buy food ……

    2. D. A.
      Find it really hard to relate to your experience. I was born into WWCOG. We most definitely had weekly booklet with assignments. Around 8 they stop having coloring pages because church is not supposed to be fun. You are supposed to be obedient, invisible and endure two to three hours of sermon. Crying babies and children disturbing service was frowned upon. No clapping after piano solos and only two songs allowed during service. Once again church is about God not your entertainment. Also, it must of nice having six years outside of the regime of HWA. Bet you got to experience the magic of holidays instead of the weight of the Holy Days. I was obedient and easy-going kid. I didn’t take lot of whippings, but many did. One little girl’s legs always had switch marks up and down them. Her step Daddy took his mission seriously. He tried to beat every bit of her spirit into submission. I remember someone speaking to deacons about it and they got reprimanded. Children did not have much value in the church and neither did women. Abused women needed to pray and be better wives. You sure you attended WWCOG? Because my view was full of doom and gloom. Nightmares full of spiders that is associated with mental warfare and abuse. I am glad you avoided it but denying it existed is a lie. It was everywhere in the congregation and acceptable form of behavior modification.

      1. I attended the WWCG (fraud) from the age of 17 until I was about 30. At first I thought it was great as I was a teen and there were many “young people” that were “good” ??? living. You did not ever have to worry about being raped or anything because the ministers and the women spies always kept you apart. It was a nightmare. I ended up getting married in it to a very nice man and a good man and we had 2 beautiful children… they believed in spanking and many took it way too far. I grew to HATE the place. The deacon’s wives spied on any mother who went to the “mother’s” room to calm here children. I could go on and on. I LEFT the “cult” but they claim they kicked me out. I told them I quit… I had had enough. Sadly, my husband and I divorced and I moved on with life and went down a road of depression and mental health issues and even started drinking (well they encouraged it) esp. at the “feast”… anyway. Women were NOT important… they were controlled by their husbands and the ministry. I quit the church (they claimed they disfellowshipped me)… let them think what they want. It took me YEARS & years to reestablish a relationship with God…My children are doing great and are wonderful adults… I regret EVER being involved in such a controlling cult. It was HELL on earth. I do read the bible and I go to bible study groups. No one will EVER control me again like they did… money, everything… they had to know everything about you so they could intervene and correct you. It was HELL. I still after SO many YEARS can’t get their controlling ways out of my head. It is a cult, it was an abusive cult. Thank you Lord for getting me out as I suffered tremendously at the hands of those BRUTES Armstrongism … I call it the WORLD WIDE CHURCH OF FRAUD … God bless everyone who has been abused by CULT leadership. Thank you for listening.

      2. Don’t know which WCG u went to, but I have nothing but fond memories of my time in WCG. Remember going to the feast and it was such a lovely time in a big tent right outside the ocean. I wish I could go back to those times.

  2. 1st off D.A., you must have been in the only congregation, in the whole world that was lenient or you are blind and are still blind, because this cult is very strict and you have to pay to play. Now here is a real story that we are steal dealing with, after 50 years of brainwashing by this cult molester Armstrong and now alcoholic Flurry.
    So, as of Herbie the molester died, my dad was confused on who to follow of the splinter cells. He had devoted 50+ years to that cult and he was not going to conform to the new ways. This is where alcoholic Flurry came into play. Since DUI (public record, so you can’t make this stuff up) Flurry decided to lead the same cult type ways, my dad then decided to follow alcoholic Flurry. He tells us, there are 70,000 followers, in which 1 of his friends just died and my dad is on his death bed, so this will bring it down to 69,998, if not much less (not knowing who finely woke up and left the cult or died too). Out of the 70,000 cult followers, most if not all, are very old. This means eventually the cult will be defunded, as there will be no idiot follower to fund them.
    Now lets get to present day. My dad started hospice this past week (2021), but still has his mind. As he has been sick for many years, all we here is pray for him on a daily basis. As I sat with him in the room this week, he tells us (which he did for the past 30 years) molester Armstrong is Elisha. We say HUH? Then we laugh and say, well then dad, today I am Jesus, lol! We tell him, no person/s can call them something like that, that is up to God to reveal some day, not man. Then he goes on to tell us the World is going to end within 4 years, Just like perv. Armstrong use to say. I would say dad, you can not tell people that, or it makes you a false prophet to, just like perv. Armstrong and alcoholic Flurry has done so many times in the past, it ain’t funny anymore. We know what happens to false prophets, but he in returns says, you will see (just like perv. Armstrong and alcoholic Flurry has said so many times before), then he says, they don’t give exact dates. I said dad, if you and them said within 4 years, 30 years ago and all this time has past, this make those people false prophets.
    So now as of today, he tells me that we are praying to the wrong God and Jesus, since we do not believe in what the cult believes in and we don’t buy our way into heaven. I was shocked, because he knows I believe in God and Jesus, but he thinks ours is actually the devil in disguise. Again, I am blown away. I would never tell him he is praying to the wrong God and Jesus, because for 1 that is not right (meaning – do not judge others) and 2ndly that is a put down, specially to someone who truly believes. Then as we are about to leave the room for the day, he says pray for me. What the #$@#$, you just said that you believe that we are all praying to the devil and now you say pray for me! Again, he is in sound mind, but super super brainwashed. I can’t wait for this cult and it’s leaders all die off and find that their beliefs lead them straight to HELL. I don’t blame the followers 100%, but they are also to blame, for using their free will, to allow themselves to be brainwashed.
    We can’t even wake my dad up to this evil cult, as they have him believing he is elected and will be one of the saints in the last days, accept you have to be living in order for that to happen. We again tell him, you or anyone else can not call yourself the saint of end times, that is for God to decide. I also tell him, HOW DARE any church to not allow a sinner into their congregation to seek out God and Jesus and that Jesus would not turn anyone away, because they were not invited. SO, now I tell him, since your want to follow and spread the word of the the false prophet, then you can answer to God very soon and I want no part in it.

    1. The Flurry group and members of other groups like Dave Packs RCG are really brainwashed and yes, it is their fault. These people ignore scripture that spells out the warning about false prophets. Is it just laziness, or contempt for Jesus and God? The way they dismiss Jesus I believe it is contempt. Herbie instilled that attitude within his cult. I can recall “ministers” ridicule other groups by their focus on Jesus. When I think back I believe I agreed with that attitude to the point I joined the wcg. But that was in my youth. I grew up and before a decade passed I figured out my issues as of why I would join such a group and I just quit going. Been free of toxic religion since.

      Then there are others like your father who make it a lifetime commitment to stay the course of error. This commitment in NOT towards God or Jesus, but to a man. They follow men to there own destruction, that is if you can believe the bible is truly the word of God.

      Anyway, your father shit in his lunch bucket and lunch time is quickly approaching. He will (and most likely has) reaped what he sowed his entire life.

      (ps; you don’t have to keep re-posting. Your address has been approved by publishing your first post)

      1. BTW James. I am a true Christian and believe in giving (especially to the need) “If you do not show remorse and forgiveness for others, God will not show that to you” …. – So, having said that, if you stay red faced and run out of hankies – HOLLAH – – – – I will send you some

          1. Jesus offered forgiveness to all but there are many that refuse to repent and admit their sins and are not forgiven. Jesus knows who is sincere… leave it with him.

          2. A-men! There is a saying – Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. So, I forgave them after the first time, but when they keep doing the same thing over and over again, I forgive them again, but I don’t – like a fool – keep allowing it. I remember that this is toxic and wrong or evil and I steer clear – having forgiven them, but not forgetting that I can’t continue to hang out with that as that then is not going to be good for me, nor is it wise, nor would God want for me to remain in abuse and toxicity. How will we ever be able to get stable and strong again if we keep hanging out in abuse, dysfunction and repeating of fake doctrinal lies. If we do that, then we can’t move on and get it out of our belief system and out of our heads and we’re stuck. We can even become mentally ill. We have to forgive them, pray for them and give them to God. Let them go (for the most part). We care for them in the ways that we can – healthy ways and long distance whenever possible. Angela Clark

      1. Hey Tom, your an ignorant fuck. At your age one would think you might have a grasp on the English language and could spell the word “prophet’ correctly.

  3. I am not a member of the Tomorrows World Org. nor have I ever attended any of their services. I have read many of their booklets, magazines, I do agree with some of what they preach. I however do read the bible, and that is where the truth is found. I have heard people say my pastor said this, my pastor said that .there is only one source of the whole truth. we all make mistakes, no one is perfect, God does not expect us to be but we must try or best to follow the ten commandments. if we stumble along the way God will forgive us. but we must be sorry for our mistakes. God is a loving caring God Not some monster. there are many very good preachers out there who do preach from the bible. and understand what the word of God really means, if you play by your own rules and push them on others, then you are not a man of God. you are the one on the wrong path. I judge no one. but god said we would know a tree by it’s fruit it bears.

  4. My parents joined the Worldwide Church of God in 1968, after my father had heart Herbert Armstrong on the radio, about 3 years earlier. You know how that was. First you listened, then you asked for literature, then elders or ministers, usually with a ministerial trainee, would visit. Everything had to be perfect for their visit–coffee table cleared of everything except the Plain truth magazine and booklets. Approved snacks had to be served. My parents were poor so that usually meant cheese and crackers, with tea. I don’t remember them serving coffee.

    After a few months or a year of that, they were finally “approved” to go to church, We lived in N NJ, and the closest church at that point was in Paterson, in a room above a bar. At first, I heard my mother crying because she would not be allowed to keep Christmas or Easter any more. But by the time they were approved to go to church. she was crying because it was the week before the Feat of Tabernacles, and at that point, the rule was that “new” people had to attend for a year before they could go. The FOT was in Mt Pocono, PA. Of course, my father really could not have afforded the expenses of the feats, especially the expected offerings.

    When they finally got to the feast, everyone told them to visit the Amish shop. It wasn’t to buy beautiful handcrafted items. It was to buy a 1/2 inch thick wooden paddle, to use to “discipline” their children. Usually it was the mothers who used these horrible instruments. They would grab a child by the arm, drag them outside or to the bathrooms, and whale away on them. No amount of screaming, crying or begging would lessen the severity or duration of the punishment.

    The reason for discipline could be anything from running in the aisles, mounting off, sticking out the tongue or even just a “look” that the parent or one of the members deemed to be “rebellious”.

    At that time, there were 2 services every day for the FOT so it really was not any kind of vacation. My father ran the sound so he got there early and stayed late. The first year we kept the Days of Unleavened Bread, it was the same thing. My father had to once again take off work for a week, without pay, and we went to Queens, NY, to the Crystal Palace for services.

    There was never any safe places for a child to just “be”. In the summer, work parties for the Mount Pocono site were called, and my father always answered. I thought the woods would be big enough for me to just be — run around, explore, read. But no! There was always someone watching, not for our welfare at all, but to see if we were doing anything”wrong” so that the paddle could come out for “discipline.”

    My parents also joined the choir. That meant going to NYC on Saturday nights for rehearsal. Often the choir met in rundown neighborhoods, in schools differentiated only by their number. I liked choir rehearsal except for being so tired. Though the Sabbath was supposed to be a day of rest, my father’s sound duties meant it was the longest day of the week. I liked the rehearsals because my parents were busy and a lot of the kids my age from NYC seemed friendlier and more relaxed. Most, also were black. That meant nothing to me, but when I became good friends with the minister’s daughter and was invited to stay at their house, my mother’s face drained of all color.

    When we got hime I got a lecture from both parents about how “we” (they meaning the white race, ugh), should not “fellowship too closely” with “them.” I was devastated, and also confused–if the minister of the church could be black, there was nothing wrong with being black and nothing wrong with my friendship with his daughter. The family was also very kind and loving, something I sorely needed, as my parents found any excuse to whip, hit, punch, smack or paddle us. They also complained about other races, especially Puerto Ricans. My mother didn’t;t like one Puerto Rican family in particular, and would moan that when we went to the Place of Safety, we would have to share a cave with that family.

    I could not understand how they could think of other human beings that way. Of course, since I wanted to go to college, I “had” to go to “God’s” college. Well, by that time I was counting down the days since my father in particular had gotten a lot more violent and abusive. So much so that at times when he would focus his anger on my brother, I worried he might actually kill him. So I would step in, antagonize him, knowing I would be beaten when we got home (he always started in on one of us in the car, which gave human excuse to drive like a wild man), but I also knew he would not kill me. He had a weird connection to me that let him hurt, belittle and shame me but not kill me. I didn’t think he had that connection with my brother.

    I was desperate to get out of there and I knew how to write. So I wrote an amazing essay in my college application to Big Sandy, TX and was the first student accepted for the 1976-77 school year. In many ways, the faculty and their wives were worse on us than my parents. But, they couldn’t hit us so it wasn’t as bad. I acted out a lot, cutting just enough classes not to get a bad grade, necking, etc. with a boyfriend, wandering the campus all night, watching meteors.

    At the end of my first year of college, Big Sandy closed and we were bussed to Pasadena, CA. One night on the bus, someone started crying as they had a radio and had heard that Elvis had died. I found myself crying, too, e even though I didn’t like his music, because it summed up a lot of the grief of my life up to that point that I had not been able to express.

    I graduated from Pasadena in 1981. This was because at the end of the 1978 school year, my mother had cancer that she would not get treated. My next-door neighbor wrote to my grandmother (her mother) and told what was going on. She sent the letter to me and before I could even digest that, my uncle called and told me he would be picking me up the next day so they could fly me home. The story of what happened from May – October, 1978, the last few months of my mother’s life, is very visceral and horrible.

    When I arrived, there was no washing machine.d There were buckets ontogeny kitchen floor filled with blood where tumors had burst. Yup, she did not believe in doctors at all. She let someone take her to a Naturopath, very hard to find those in those days, and do a urine test. Other than that, i was her slave until she died. I felt like it, too. I tried to have compassion for her, even when she yelled at me and said if I hadn’t left home she wouldn’t have gotten sick. She said if I prayed and fasted (fasts were still 24 hours without food or water at that time), that she would be healed. So, I capitulated. I fasted and prayed for 2 1/2 days before I had to have some water. She lit into me again when I “gave in”.

    The next few months, her condition deteriorated until the day after myself sister and I returned from the FOT in Saratoga Springs, NY, she died. My father was supposedly watching her but he stepped out as soon as we got home. When she started crying out that she couldn’t breathe, my brother ran out (I idd not blame him at all). My sister was staying with friends, and I just collapsed. I burrowed my head in my covers and didn’t get top until everything was quiet. By then it was over.

    I went back to college in December of that year. The college had been closed for some reason–if I’d developed any kind of rational thinking I would have wondered about that. Big Sandy closing a year after I went, Pasadena closing a year after we were transferred there. Students whose families actually cared about them didn’t; send them back. But I went, took a few credits, and went on to graduate. Since HWA was still alive then, it meant that we got to go to a dinner at his house. It was a nice meal but very pretentious. We got the usual lecture bout sin, how the world was going to end, etc.

    After graduation I worked for the International Mail Center, as a secretary. That lasted until 1985, when I moved to WA to be with the person I would marry. We kept going to church, in Tacoma, WA at first, then Federal Way when we moved closer to that congregations. I got into music, or we probably would have left earlier than we did. I enjoyed that, but was also good at compartmentalism, so I only saw the good in the actual sharing of music rather than seeing the mess the church really was. It was only when people started saying we should “discipline” our son–for ding nothing at all wrong, that I was willing to leave. It got to the point where he was being bullied by kids his age or a little older whose parents told them to pick on him to teach me a lesson.

    After leaving the WCG in November 0f 1998, we attended an EV Free church for awhile. I led music there, too, as I had in WCG, but found the same contradictions and abuses in that group as I had in WCG, just not as intense. So, we left religion for good in 1999 and never went back. I now practice sound therapy, using tuning forks, gongs, chines and Reiki, to help people. I also like to write, garden, draw and just spend quiet time at home.

    I don’t regret leaving religious at all, just regret not leaving it sooner.

    1. I LOVE that you admit in the beginning this is a Horror Story!
      One of my most terrifying HORROR STORIES growing up was one about a small boy with a nose that grew every time he lied !!!! WAS THAT YOU ??? There are supports groups out there for you ……

      Oh yeah, and then there was this horror story about a man who murdered people and he wore a hockey mask !!!! YIKES !!!!!

      But this “horror story” you speak of – never happened …..

      I wish all of you EXPERTS on something you REGRET would write stuff that EDUCATES PEOPLE, SOLVES PROBLEMS, or HELPS PEOPLE SAVE MONEY. Can you do that? The world, as a whole – myself included, too often boast about things they know the least about….. You have joined that club … ……………………………………..

      EDITOR: Jack’s comment here is abusive and demeaning towards people who suffered under armstrongism and therefor has been eliminated for hate content. And Jack, your an asshole for the treatment of people in such a callous manner. Its fine to disagree but to be disrespectful, that’s another story.

    2. bible is true gospel of stars its spirit of truth

      Mr. A taught us to read it !!

      best teaching ever for whole world to read it..

  5. The good thing about my association with the WWGC was to make me aware of how dangerous these cults can be and to safeguard my family against them.

  6. Our family of six was raised in this church. It destroyed our lives. I can’t even write about all the sickness I observed and was dealt in my young years by the hand of this church. I saw my mom beat and worse by my dad, us kids didn’t fair any better but it’s okay, we’re just women and children. Most turn to alcohol because they couldn’t uphold the extremely strict rules. All four of us children left home before 14. One was put in a mental hospital, two are now child sex offenders and me? I have severe PTSD and a hate for religion.

  7. Here’s a horror story for you.

    I try not to think about “the cult,” but now it’s crept back into my life like the monster in a movie that you think is finally dead, but then it pops up again to wreck havoc.

    My mother started listening to Armstrong on the radio in 1965. She became a member in ‘68.

    My dad, who already had a drinking problem, became 10 times worse. His mother was a crazy Pentecostal who would beat him, so he despised religion with a passion.

    He would get drunk and beat my mother on weekends for “running off to that church.” When she was gone, he would gather us around and drunkenly lecture us on how our mother “abandoned us for that church.”

    When my dad wanted to drink in peace on a Saturday, though, he didn’t have a problem ordering us to go to church with our mother. Yippee! There were other kids there who were okay, or guys to crush on, so it wasn’t entirely miserable. But otherwise, I hated that church with a passion. We made sure to stay out of our dad’s way on Saturday so he wouldn’t send us off to the church. It was humiliating to be the only kids at school who didn’t celebrate Christmas. We were constantly asked if we were Jews. I should’ve just said yes to get the other kids and teachers off my back.

    When I turned 22, my mother finally managed to recruit me into the cult. I did meet my husband there and had two of the best kids ever. We’re still happily married. So it wasn’t a total waste. We made some good friends and took some nice trips, even though we were poor the rest of the year.

    Miraculously, in 1996, after the big “changes,” my entire family LEFT! My husband, two brothers, sister-in-law, and even my mother. It was glorious to be free from that burden. Especially with my kids still being too young to remember any of it. My mother even shocked me a couple years later by saying she thought nothing happened to us after we died. She was actually saying atheistic things. Never thought I would hear something like that come out of her mouth. She wanted nothing to do with her old church friends. She started a business. Got a new house. My dad quit drinking for about a decade. He started up again occasionally before he died in 2007. My mother was now free from him, and the cult.

    Around 2019 she retired from her business. I was talking to her on the phone, and she says, “I went back to the church.” Not just any WCG offshoot, but Meredith’s church! The one that follows Armstrongism! She said she was studying quantum physics, when God told her to go back to the church. Arrrrrrrgh!

    I can’t even describe how livid how I was. I lit into to her like you wouldn’t believe. All the crap of my childhood and young adulthood came flooding back.

    I finally calmed down and said, “If you want to go back to that church, that’s your choice, but I don’t want to hear about it.” She agreed, but of course that didn’t last, and I knew it wouldn’t, thanks to her ADHD.

    So now when I visit her, I have to listen to the manipulative recruitment attempts of my childhood all over again.
    Mom: “I read a lot now. You know, the Bible has a lot of interesting stories.”
    Me: “I know mom. I was in that church for 15 years.”
    Mom: “But we didn’t really read the Bible back then.”
    Me: “Yes we did, mom. And we had monthly Bible studies.”
    Mom: “Oh. Well now I read things I never knew. Did you know Jacob, blah blah blah.”

    She’s 84 now and I just let it go in one ear and out the other. Her doctor gave her meds for insomnia, but they also treat Schizophrenia, bi-polar, etc. I wondered if the meds would snap her out of her cult illness, but nope. She’s just quieter and less preachy, because she’s kind of sedated from the meds. I just laugh it off because what’s the point of being mad at anymore? I just hope they aren’t fleecing her too badly of her “widow’s mite.”

    1. I grew up in Worldwide and it was horrible. They believed in severe discipline and children were treated as an inconvenience. I think every adult member was a narcissist and they thrived in the better than everyone out in the world beliefs. Big poor families were the norm as they didn’t promote birth control but did promote giving up to nearly half your income before taxes. they actually had sermonettes and sermons about proper tithing and that it should be applied to every single penny you made. So if I cut a neighbors yard and made 10.00 about 4.00 of that had to go to the church. On high holy days they also passed around a basket for collections. They never put the money towards any form of community service. They just rented to the cheapest gathering location that they could afford. And growing up in it was mind warping! It took me years to undo the fear, the processing of abuse and that it wasn’t ok, the realization of the fact that there were good pagans. I left finally after 30 years and I am not associated with any form of religion nor will I be again. A cult is a horrible existence. It stole my talents and my childhood. I hate Herbert W Armstrong and WWCG and that is “The Plain Truth”.

      1. The rule for tithing was 10% to the church, and 10% a person would save for the feast. So, if cut grass for $10.00 only $1.00 would go to the church, not sure where u got $4.00

  8. My parents were baptized in 1968. I was 12. I am shocked to my core, reading these horror stories. My parents were always strict, but VERY fair. I hope that I raised my boys the same way I was raised. They turned out to be good people, and so did the 4 of us. We loved going to Church. We loved our friends, the Feast was the best time ever. My parents loved each other till they died in their 80″s. No abuse EVER. When my brothers were teenagers they said that they were not interested in going to Church any more, and my parents allowed them to stay home. My sister and I continued and were baptized in our 20’s. I NEVER had a bad experience EVER and I also do not know anyone who had. I feel so sorry for these people full of hatred and regret. May they find some form of peace in their lives. I am 66 yrs old now. I have been blessed abundantly and I will continue to serve my God the way I believe is right.

    1. Some of the kids had wonderful parents.

      The ones who didn’t took the brunt of parental abuse. Consider that HWA created the environment that created the problem these young ones had with their parents. Booklets on child rearing which I found to go against everything known to man on how to raise a loving child.

      To the parents who raised their kids without paying any attention to HWA and his goofy sons teachings, they were the smart ones.

      I also commend you for practicing your religion as you see fit.

  9. DA,
    I grew up in the WCG and it was the best time in my life. Once Mr. Armstrong died and the church started going away from his teachings I left. I no longer attend any church. So yes, a person could have the best time of their life in the WCG.

  10. My mother heard about Radio/Worldwide Church of God in 1964/65. She joined in 1965 and literally FORCED my younger sister and I to go every week (unless we had a fever;colds/sniffles didn’t count). In my early teens, I questioned why we were being told one thing by ministers and the Bible stated something else. I was told I was a child and could NOT understand anything! In later years, before I wised up and quit, I again questioned why we were suddenly allowed to observe Hallowe’en, Christmas., women were allowed to preach, etc., and was told LOUDLY that I needed an attitude adjustment or be disfellowshipped for questioning the church leader, Mr. T—–! I then POLITELY asked why the minister I was talking to considered a MAN to be the church leader when the Bible clearly stated that JESUS CHRIST was the leader. I was told to leave and never return and I would burn in Gehenna Hell fire!!
    I left that cult right away. I have not attended church services anywhere for nearly 20 years because of the garbage fed to me all those informative years. I do pray, read the Bible and such. I have been permanently soured on any church service.
    Yes, there were a few good times: like the skits and such put on during Feast of Tabernacles. But they were fewer and fewer as I got older.

  11. I can relate to this. I was born into this cult in 1964. I only keep my head straight because I go find counseling from the nearest mental health facility that I can find when I can’t handle what my memory banks contain. Anyway counseling finally stopped me from screaming in my sleep. I’m impressed with the shrinks. They were kinda clueless about cults. They did a really good job anyway. If I can’t find one I go to AA and tell them I am a hoarder because I don’t drink. That was a demented cult. Won’t tell what my life was like because the truth can be stranger than fiction. I can tell you that I have been beaten, tortured, had an exorcism performed on me (age four), been sexually molested by both parents, etc. That is some of the nicer examples. I also know that a lot of us in this cult had this happen. I’m sure some of the people just had truly decent parents or they lie!!!

  12. Many parents emulated HWA in that they also molested their children. I cannot fathom what the fuck goes on in peoples minds that do that kind of shit.

  13. I grew up in the radio church of Armstrong that transformed itself into worldwide. That was as far back as the late 50’s. yeah, I’m old now. Fortunately, I who was a preacher’s brat found it totally boring and gradually slipped away as a teen. then I went to college. Today I have a doctorate in religion and raised my kids in the Lutheran church. Sure, I can tell horror stories until the cows come home. And yes, it was an incredibly insidious cult. For example, I remember circling our house with a shotgun while men in black were inside “visiting” with my dad while they were trying to find something to throw him out of the church. Fortunately, they left quietly and I went back to hunting squirrels. But that’s life and to dwell on life is to overly fear death and forget to live. I had a lot to UNlearn from my childhood..and in unlearning what they taught, I gained more than I ever lost.

  14. I also grew up in the church. I can’t say I hated everything about the church. I did have some great memories. But most of them were bad.
    I spent a lot of years miserable.
    My mom started to church when I was in the fourth grade. Then is when I basically became an outcast. Before this I was pretty much in the in crowd, My dad made pretty good money . Life was good up until this point.
    We stopped celebrating all the major holidays.
    At the request of my mother I was placed out in the hallway. And could no longer participate in the fun. This of course made everyone ask questions. Then parents would no longer let their kids be friends with me. So basically I became silent at this point. No one talked to me and I talked to no one. This silence lasted until after I graduated. I even was given a nickname. The untouchable.
    My mother told me that my friends should be the kids at church .
    The kids at church were the same. They even had a in group. It consisted of the minister’s daughter s. The girls were horrible people. They treated the girls that came from low income horribly. I guess they didn’t realize that these people were giving 10 percent of their income to them . The minister was also very difficult He claimed to have majored. psychology in college . He often diagnosed people with conditions. If I had known it-then I would have pointed out to him that Ambassador college was not an accredited college. In the real world his opinion meant nothing
    I developed an extreme anxiety because of these people .If karma exists I hope it finds them . Tomake a long story short I talked to no one at church. I was alone most of my childhood.
    We were not allowed to date or marry outside our religion. So at 8 years old I was not allowed to have a boyfriend.
    So when Armstrong died in 86. Things changed drastically.
    The new pastor in general. Suddenly changed all of the rules. We could suddenly wear makeup and date out side of our religion ..This is when I decided that there was something wrong.
    As soon as I turned 18 . I left the church . I never went to another church. I believe in God. I don’t believe in religion. I will never sit and listen to a man or woman again. No person will tell me what is right or wrong.
    This church robbed me of my childhood. And of the possibilities that came with it,

    1. Your story is like so many others. It still grieves me knowing that so many good kids lost their childhood in what I describe as a religious gulag. Herbert Armstrong create this monstrosity, those that followed propagated the misery and suffering of the masses and continue to do so even today. May God damn them to the lake of fire if such exists.

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