The Legacy of the Worldwide Church of God

What it was like growing up in a cult and its impact on my life and others like me.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Am I a bitter ex-church member?

Ive noticed that alot of ex members that speak out about their experiences with The Worldwide Church of God are often labled bitter and angry. You will see a lot of posts on the web from people saying "Get over it." Ive wondered if people would view me as bitter and angry? That is not how I feel. If I were to describe how I feel it would have to be the happiest Ive been in my lifetime. I am finally content with my life and I feel a deep sense of satisfaction and inner joy.

I think why we are labled bitter and angry sometimes is because we speak out. Sometimes quite loudly because we dont want others to hurt they way that we have been hurt. One of my dear friends that I went to church with had a little sister that committed suicide. That has haunted me. She was only in her early teens. I cant get her picture as a child out of my head because she was so sweet and innocent. Why did she feel she didnt have hope to live? How would her life have been different if she hadnt been raised in the church? Would she still be here?

If we believe in God and we believe he made us in his image, than wouldnt God feel the love and compassion we feel too for all people? Why didnt the church have more compassion? There is an arrogance there that I dont understand. Why cant the WWCG and its offshoots move mountains to show some compassion? Wouldnt that be Gods work?

The WWCG and its offshoots are destroying lives and families and I think thats something to be angry and bitter about. As a person, I am able to move on. I am able to be content and happy. But I am also able to speak out and hope that through speaking out maybe someone else wont commit suicide, or lose their families. If that lables me as being bitter and angry. So be it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Legacy of the Worldwide Church of God

I was raised as a child in a little known church called The Worldwide Church of God. You probably havent heard of it. But the impact it has had on my life is profound and I hope by sharing what I experienced there as a child I can help others suffering from the fall-out or the legacy the church has left behind. I know it is hard for others outside of this religion, especially in mainstream religions, to understand how a church can have such control on ones feelings and actions. But one only need to look around in present day, or in the history books to see what some do in the name of religion to know it is possible to twist and frame minds. Some religions promote good and some just promote themselves. I believe the Worldwide Church of God and many of its offshoots do just that. They are promoting themselves and their lifestyles to the detriment of their members.

Everytime I try to explain how the church impacted my life, I find I start writing volumes. I have a lot to say about it so it is hard to condense. I do think there were some good people there. But the leadership was bad. I can still picture one particular minister screaming and banging from the pulpit all bright red in the face. And if I were to use one word to describe the legacy the church left me it would be fear. Children were not in classrooms during the service so as a child I sat through many services with the preacher banging on the pulpit, bright red in the face, telling us how we would suffer in the tribulation if we didnt strictly uphold the teachings of Gods one true church. We were made to fear. We were made to feel shame for not measuring up to the churchs' impeccable standards. No makeup. No pants for women. Strict attendance. Strict tithing. No associating or dating outside the church. When I left the church in my early 20's I had just given up. I never thought I would measure up to those standards. I had accepted the fact I would never be worthy of salvation if the Worldwide Church of God was in charge.

Through adulthood I lived with great anxiety. I had horrible nightmares where I suffered and people I loved suffered in the WWCG version of tribulation. Current events brought the nightmares on. It wasnt until I met other former members of the church on the ESN and Painful Truth websites that I realized the church caused a lot of those feelings. They shaped my childsized brain through fear and guilt and dehumanization. They made us afraid of wanting to live our lives our way. They wanted to control our lives so that we would blindly follow them and contribute to their lifestyles in monetary form and notarity. I think God put us here to gain something from living. I feel like the WWCG and its offshoots dont promote the joy of living life. They want us to hate this life. They want us to fear so that we will continue to fork over money to support them.

I have taken a look outside of the religion I was raised in and I find there are many more things to learn. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong? No one knows for sure. Especially not another man. I believe in God but I dont believe the Worldwide Church of God and its offshoots have the answers. They're just men too.