Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dennis Says: "Forget All the COG Drama...How Are YOU Doing?"

Forget All the COG Drama...
How Are YOU Doing?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIf it is one thing I recognize in myself it is the rather profound effect being both member an minister in the WCG has had on me.  I discovered WCG at 14, believing it to be a better alternative, more Biblically accurate and honest about the contents of the Bible than the Presbyterian box I was born into.  In hind sight, I was a weird kid.  Always wanting to know "why" and always intrigued with the Bible.  I still am and give up on that ever changing. 

It is now 14 years after being out of the WCG loop.  I have written about it, spoken about it, debated about it and had regrets about the whole experience.  I also recognize the good things that came from up as in family and some few remaining friends.  Very few however. 

This experience has pushed me relentless to know what it was I was not taught.  Where did the Bible really come from?  Who really wrote it and why?  Why does it contradict itself and why do people say it does not.  Which parts are myth and which parts historical?  Is it for us or was it for them?   All incredibly fascinating topics to me and I feel that , at least for me, I have done my homework and am currently satisfied with my present truth.  I am not so bold as to think I know how it all is, but the journey is more inspiring than finding anything which I suppose would only launce me on another journey. 

I have lost relationships, found them and lost them again.  I'm not an easy person to live around I suppose at times.  I have done the depressed thing, the anxious thing, the confused thing and the angry thing.  I think there must be more things to be and do but they don't come to mind at the moment. 

I know I don't share these emotional views alone.  Those of you here on this site know in down to your toes how this experience has affected you and I imagine it is not all that different from how it has affected me. 

But when it is all said and done.  When all the sarcasm and anger, when all the rancor and scoffing is are YOU doing?   I have three former minister friends who ended their lives over  the confusion in WCG and "the changes."  I have minister friends who sank into alcoholism trying to blot out the pain of their good youthful intentions gone so bad.  I know people who would like the simple pleasure without the penalty of handing some people their teeth in a bag.  I probably have a few that would like to do the same to me.  Reckless change and human stupidity as seen, in my view, among the WCG "leadership" is painful and hard to forget when it impacts on you long after it occurs. 

At my mom's memorial service last week in Rochester, NY, I couldn't sing the hymns chosen and my sisters noticed it big time.  On the other hand, I sobbed quietly when they sang "How Great Thou Art" because that is a favorite and one that I had always hoped was so.  "When Christ shall shouts of acclamation...I scarce can take it in..."  did me in.  I am not oblivious to the duality of hope and knowledge or myth and reality.  My mind knows I am a hairless ape of the genus homo and my heart wants to be a spirit trapped in a limited five sensed, carbon based wet suit...for now. 

But back to the question.  How are YOU doing?

Are you stuck?  I was/am stuck depending on the topic.  Stuck is ok if it is stuck and not a permanent position to be in.  Stuck in bitter or stuck in angry is not going to serve you or me very well.  It will shorten your life and cloud your progress.  This is why I refer to my own life as just a story that could have gone so many different ways.  It just happened to go the WCG way.  Had I not missed that flight from LA to Salt Lake to Boise on June 6th, 1971, it would have been a different story.  

Some symptoms of stuckness is our repeating the same lines and comments over and over.  I do it and so do most of you.  It is because we think we have not been heard or understood, so we say it again.  But we have been heard and it is understood so being stuck in it is not helpful to your own growth and life.  Admitting you might be stuck is the key to getting unstuck.

I'll stay to be helpful to those progressing in their journey, but I can't stay to just be stuck.

How's your anger level?  I have a boat load of anger but in time you come to see that the people you are angry with are probably out to dinner not thinking one bit about you.  I have little use for certain WCG administrators and fake theologians and they know it, but it will not change them and only hurts me, as far as I can tell.  The Reconciliation Dept at WCG told me they wished me well and would pray for me.  Gee thanks guys.  Best example of "be warmed and be filled" I have ever heard.  However, I can not change them.  I can only change me.  Anger serves a purpose, but not for very long and I find it is simply my pain body, believe in the concept or not, wanting to feed and make me miserable for a time until it is happy again. 

Have you learned to think for yourself?  Hope so.  Churches like Dave Pack's Restored Church of God, or Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God or Weinland's Pre-Packaged Church of God can thrive in an environment of people who don't think for themselves.  They exist because people don't and won't think for themselves.  They thrive because their followers truly are followers.  Few churches can survive the light of day when it has members who insist on thinking for themselves and coming to their own conclusions about all things theological.  I have said before I personally don't think "all speaking the same thing," is possible in reality, but it is a goal for organizational thinking and one that is needed to hold it all together.

Has this experience left you depressed  (unresolved anger that you feel you have no right to expressed, or the price of expressing is simply too high.)?  That demon has trailed me since some of the first WCG scandals unfolded.  I was and am a rather naive and idealistic soul so those crazy things, like the Receivership of days gone by, left me puzzled and addled.  Meds aren't the answer to depression.  Facing reality  and letting go is.  All suffering is some form of non-acceptance, as is all negativity.  Clinging to what we thing should be or fussing over what we think should not be is simply useless.   "It is what it is," is the truth.  Grow with it.

How about anxiety?  Whoa...I'm the expert here.  Laugh, scorn or mock all you want but having no support in older years from WCG , when they said not to be concerned about it, is my problem and not yours.  But it is real.  However, all I can do is accept reality and do the best I can.  Kodak still helps out my 97 year old dad but the wonderful world of religion has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth for those that lied about such matters.  It is not a surprise to me that the current WCG leadership,  well I guess I mean Grace Community...park their cars behind locked security gates at their office.  I imagine they sometimes look around as well before going to their cars.  You can't abuse and offend the spiritual life and hopes of tens of thousands and not expect a few to not wish you well.

I probably have had GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) all my life or at least it bloomed early in my WCG ministry.  How nuts it was to hope for relief by picking one of the most stress filled religious orga on the face of the earth!  lol.  (Head Slap!)

The cure, for me, and I would expect for those that still have this emotion as left over baggage from WCG is to simply learn the skill of letting go and accepting things as they are.  I don't know if there is meaning in all these experiences, but there is education.  It is Earth School at its finest. 

Some of Tolle that helps me.  He simply brings Buddhism to the Western mind. 

Some other more in the realm of science done well that helps.

These give me perspective and somehow it helps to realize...that is make real, the fact that we are all a part of the one grand thing.  It works for me.  Perhaps not you.

Some say we choose our story before we arrive or are living this life to have experiences.  If so, I must have been drunk when I wrote the script before showing up!  lol.  But , it is what it is. 

So how are you doing?  For everyone that actually comments or writes on this site, I think a thousand merely observe.  That's fine.  I want to ask you how you are doing through all this?  Are you growing through?  Do you think more for yourself?  Are you rightfully less trusting of the one man show who wants you to follow and believe as they or he believes.  Can you think critically about the sermons you are presented with or the interpretations your minister puts on the Bible...which some would call spin?  Are you brave enough to question?  Can you look your pastor in the eye and say, "that's your opinion and we'll see."?    Can you see your church may actually live in a very small and unreal world that is not helping you as much as you think? 

It's a simple question.  With all that has transpired.  With all that has happened and all the drama.  With all the disappointment.  With all the emotions.   With all the various splinters and slivers that have arisen to claim ownership of the truth.  For all the pain this process has caused. With all you/we/us have been forced to face and admit...  How are you doing?


Joe Moeller said...

It is all to easy for some people to say ...


There is some truth to this I guess, but for every single one of us, Christian or not, every single one of us that is human, there are things that we are "not over".

Perhaps that is even a definition of sin. In other words, sin is "not being over it". But even the great Apostle Paul admitted that he was still a sinner. So I guess he too had an issue where he couldnt "GET OVER IT".

In my life, there have been things that I have grieved over or been abused by that I have "gotten over". Some sooner than others. Some remarkably quick and yet others, decades later still haunt me.

It is a little bit self righteous and smug to tell anyone that they should "GET OVER IT" and expect them to do so "on demand".

Should we tell a Jew who was in a death camp and tortured by the Nazis and witnessed their mother , father and brother murdered to "GET OVER IT" ? and when and how soon to "GET OVER IT". ?

So I finish by saying , yes, Get Over It. When and how soon will be up to you. I struggle to find the grace and forgiveness for myself at times. But we should struggle with this, and perhaps, on occasion, we can catch a glimpse of peace, actualization and perhaps a small inkling of the love of God.

Bitterness, anger and resentment lead to mental illness in the long haul. Let us continue to struggle with the demons of our pasts that haunt and cause such pain. Seek the open door that frees, and is based on truth.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

I hate the words "Get Over It".

With an absolute PASSION.

"Get Over It" insinuates that you just have to shove it in the back of your mind and step over it and forget it ever happened. Get over it means to bury it. Get over it means to literally step over it and pretend it does not exist. Getting over it is the worst advice EVER for someone to tell someone else. It's not something that can be "up to you". It's not something that is your "Choice".

When an idealization has been buried in your mind for decades, it is etched, imprinted, marked, burned, engraved in so deep you can NOT get over it. You can pretend you have gotten over it. You can fake you have gotten over it. But the moment something triggers a memory, it's back, stronger then ever, and then you have to face what you have stepped over still exists.

You can not "get over it". You have to "work through it". You have to have help doing it because it is impossible to do so yourself. Getting over it is the saying of someone who either hasn't experienced it, or is still in it, one or the other.

Professional help is the only way for a spiritually abused person to possibly find the way to rewrite the brain. Otherwise, it's useless. Repetition is the best brain engraver, and that's all WCG did was engrave repitition. They did it with the psalms, the messages, the holy days, everything, year after year, event after event until your brain literally doesn't know any other way. And eventually, every other way looks alien, foreign, uncomfortable and wrong. You can NOT just get over something that has made 3 rows of new folds in your brain. Those new brain folds just do not dissapear.

Also, bitterness, anger, and resentment are things that have to be worked through professionally. But bitterness and anger and resentment are symptoms of the cause. They can be dealt with...

But no one can possibly, with the level of spiritual harm many COGGERS have dealt with, deal with this on their own. It simply for so many is just way too much, and the triggers are far too many.

Anonymous said...

I came very close to joining a COG a year ago. In fact it was so close I prayed my hardest to God for guidance, and I can't say in words how my prayers were the strongest I've ever done. I got an answer! Go to a particular web site and study his sermons. It so happens to be a Jew who was on the way to becoming a Rabbi but instead found Christ and became a Christian. His name is Aaron Budjen. He saved my life. What I eventually realized is not only are the COGs cults, they are the ones who have to "GET OVER IT". A new covenant is now in place and they should stop following the old one, although they are doing a very bad job of it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Hey, maybe there is a god after all! One that warns people away from Armstrongism!

Anonymous said...

There's a reason why the Apostle Peter made reference to the gall of bitterness. Bitterness is spiritual quicksand.

Corky said...

You don't ever "get over" anything. Not if it left an impression on your memory. If you were ever punished unfairly as a child for something you didn't do, that memory still lingers. Not only that, you will still feel angry about it if you dwell on it.

Instead of getting over something unpleasant that happened to us, it shapes us into who we are now. The same can be said for the pleasant things that happen to us.

On the bright side, we eventually either get Alzheimer's or 'old timers' and wake up in a new world every morning - then you can say you are "over" it. Of course, you won't know you're over it, but hey, you can't have everything.

Nope. You never "get over it" because it's part of who you are until you aren't. Do you speak English? Get over it - you can't, can you? And, it's exactly the same with everything else you've lived and learned. It's part of you, whether you like it or not.

So, stop struggling with a past you cannot change and live with it as it is. You don't "get over it" you "let it go". Or, if you want to get all philosophical, you forgive those who hurt you and then forgive yourself.

Byker Bob said...

Is this like a report on what we did last Summer (or since leaving Armstrongism?)

Well, life is good! God owns a small business that He lets me learn from, and He's really blessed it! I've got my own personal ministry, repairing machinery free of charge for Christian Church groups.

Have been washed clean of all the bitterness caused by Armstrongism, no longer live a retaliatory lifestyle administering paybacks. Talk about getting rid of major negativity!

I attend a totally bitchin' church that's having a major impact on our local community and supports various real missions around the world. Services are always uplifting, and are the high point of every week. Sometimes, there is a need for volunteers, and from time to time my help is needed.

Health and strength are just fantastic, and there's time for great hobbies like old cars and jamming the blues on guitar. Got lots of non-intrusive friends, good people who are into all manner of interesting stuff.

I've also gone back and cleaned up all of the toxic erroneous teaching from about 20 years in WCG, getting to the bottom of things and becoming more grounded by learning where a certain cult veered totally off track.

And, I've got all of my good friends here to process stuff with as the icing on the cake! Rock n Roll and blessings to everyone!


Allen C. Dexter said...

How am I doing? Acceptably well, actually.

I'm certainly not "over it." I'll never be over it. I'd have to be able to erase my mind like a computer disk to be over it.

But, it no longer monopolizes my thoughts. The anger is much less than it once was, but my contempt for Armstrong and the cult and its offshoots will never abate. Neither will my contempt for religion as a whole. It's all a big crock of you know what.

The Armstrong "reich" has pretty much been relegated to the dust bin of history and good riddance. Just like there are neo nazis today, there are also neo armstrongists, but they are pitiful shadows of the original -- inept caricatures of a monster they all stuboornly continue to worship.

My life isn't perfect, but is overall rather satisfactory. I can live with it.

Joe Moeller said...

I disagree a bit with Anonymous above about the idea that "Professional Help" is the only way to work thru abuses.

It may be a help to some people, although I think a lot of mental health people are nuts too with their own issues.

About 20% of all people are survivors and can go thru just about anything and come out the other side, with scars , but are functional , generally happy people. This has been the case for me. The same held true for guys I knew in Nam, in the jungles and enduring and doing some very unspeakable hell.

Others are perpetual wrecks, drug addicted, suicidal, pained amongst jungle vets. But I see about 20% able to just shake it off, no need for "professional help" whatsoever. I think for me, I just realize that the evil outside of me is just that,... outside of me. I have never internalized either my childhood, (grew up with some really crazy worldly non-cog parents) , adulthood or church hassles with me being the problem.

I know God loves me. Everyone else could care less. That is ok and works for me. The open range has provided a lot of solitary time for me to work it all out, and is much cheaper than $150 an hour to a shrink.

I think a lot of people who have passed thru the COG gate would have had messed up lives one way or another. A lot of people showed up at church during very unhappy and non-well adjusted times in their lives. There was a lot of mental illness in the church, and it seemed to attract some really off beat characters. In talking to other Christians, Jews and even Islamic business associates of mine, they all tell me that indeed religion, because its nature tends to be "open door" policy, attracts some really disturbed people , that you end up having to accept , because after all... religion by its nature must be egalitarian and welcoming. Most human organizations are not that welcoming, leaving the disturbed settling for churches, where acceptance is sort of a duty.

The "Silver Dollar Bar" here in Cody, WY is a much different environment. It self cleanses very quickly, and if you come in whacked out, or talking crazy, you will be quickly led to the door and thrown in the street. Cruel...yes, more honest and quick... yes. LOL!

One things ministers of all faiths are badly trained at is counseling. Knowing doctrines and the like are fine, but the real job of a minister is dealing with the large number of people who are neurotic and psychotic. People use church as kind of a "poor mans" mental health clinic, and the ministers, in general are faking it the best that they can. Not their fault in a way, for I realize that most ministers do not realize what they are in for when they are young and seeking such a position. They expect it to be about answering Bible questions, or preaching the word, when in reality, it is running a mental hospital with a staff of one!

So in most ways, I forgive ministers, as they are trapped in unrealistic expectations, bad training, paradigms, and lack of skills , that is of a job that is beyond the most skilled and professional that there is, in any field.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Yes, I pretty much agree with Joe's above comment that "...I forgive ministers, as they are trapped in unrealistic expectations, bad training, paradigms, and lack of skills..."

I suspect many if not most COG ministers are folks who just got caught up in HWA's wild imaginings when they were young, and fell into the stranglehold that supernatural religious belief has on people in general.

We all did, at one time or another.

On the other hand, there are some (hopefully in the minority) who knew they were (or still are) screwing with people's lives for personal gain. Some of these guys are just too smart NOT to realize the sham they have made a good living at for many years now.

Douglas Becker said...

Science rocks!

It's even better now that I realize that the Armstrongist leaders will never comprehend how much they miss by being unscientific.

Understanding science is the best revenge.

Anonymous said...

As I read some the posts and the comments associated with them, I see problem areas that are difficult for me to relate to personally. It isn’t that I do not understand them, but due to personality differences, life in WCG did not affect me in the manner often described here.

To me it was just a way of life I had chosen and I maintained control in it. I committed my life to God not a man or an organization. I willingly did what may not have been necessary, but as far as I know never yielded to any pressure that I felt unreasonable or detrimental to my family relationship and my personal understanding of what I believe to be the goal for human relationships. My financial support never went beyond what I could afford.

I may have been an enigma, but realistically I didn’t need the church to fulfill my spiritual life and still do not. The church was our social life and to be honest the social life was good for, my wife and our sons and daughters and me personally.

When the organization went through all the so called changes and the political infighting was creating social problems it no longer served the purpose for its existence and it was a simple matter of disengaging and filling the social needs in another way. It our case it was focusing on family members that were associated with other church organizations or community organizations with diversified religious affinities. Since our religious commitment is with God it is very much intact through private devotions.

I will admit that I do not try to please other people, but neither do I put people down for being what they are. I have no animosity toward anyone and have come to recognize that each individual is fighting their own battle, but I have found that more knowledge generally expands the battle field rather than wining the battle. My solution has been reduced to sharing everything with God in prayer and making the wisest choice possible in what I think, say, and do when taking action each day.

There is one thing that we may overlook at times and that is the reality that it should be obvious that this human life is built to serve its purpose for a very limited period of time and we do not know what the new and improved model will be like.

Anonymous said...

I came from a very dysfunctional family. My mother was schizophrenic and my father extremely eccentric. He was the one who joined WCG, and I went along with him. My mother hated it and railed on about all the money he was giving them, of course I paid no attention to her, she was insane. The Church gave me an escape route from my unbearable family and welcomed me into Ambassador College when I was 17. I guess I needed somewhere to go and I couldn't stay home any longer. I was a very sincere believer too. My mother predicted I would leave the church when I grew up, and so I did. After traveling all over Europe, Israel and U.S. with WCG, I left after graduation and moved to Canada. The church was really a family for me, although I suppose a dysfunctional family too. When I left in my early 20's I concentrated on making up for lost time in the fun and sin department. I guess it was fueled by rebellion, but I survived. I had a useless husband (an atheist and an alcoholic) who I left after a few years and became a single mother with 2 children. I got a good job and supported us reasonably well. The main thing I regretted about AC was that my degree from there was useless in the real world, and I had to spend many years going to evening classes as well as working and being a single parent. All of that wore me out.
Then after my kids were grown up I got cancer and was supposed to die. I became some kind of a miracle and survived instead. It seems life is an exercise in surviving things. I have met people who survived the holocaust and many of them never do become normal.

Anonymous said...

Dennis wrote:
"These give me perspective and somehow it helps to realize...that is make real, the fact that we are all a part of the one grand thing."

Add this one to your list....
We Are Here: The Pale Blue Dot
We Are Here: The Pale Blue Dot in HD

Dennis wrote:
" It's a simple question. With all that has transpired. With all that has happened and all the drama. With all the disappointment. With all the emotions. With all the various splinters and slivers that have arisen to claim ownership of the truth. For all the pain this process has caused. With all you/we/us have been forced to face and admit... How are you doing?"

Good, but still struggling at times. However, journeys are never as easy as they appear if they are to be worthwile. My journey twisted through many people and places and has lead me to see that all change comes to be the right direction when the heart grows tired of the mind and not the reverse. Hopefully then, our journeys will lead us to something more worthwhile. Just remember that life gets better when you're headed in the right direction and you'll know it's right because you're sure enough to be unsure about but never unsure enough to not do it.

another seekeroftruth

Anonymous said...

I've been reading "Mindsight" by Siegel and learning about the plasticity of the brain--very interesting stuff! The brain seems to like repetition maybe because of the neural pathways that have been created and are so much easier to follow than creating new ones through new experiences. We are creatures of habit it's true. But, what's needed are new experiences to fire up new neural pathways that'll help us be more flexible and adaptive otherwise the brain tends to go from one extreme to the other i.e. rigidity and being "stuck in a rut" or chaotic and being a total mess-up. And neither are good. Anyway I know I don't know everything and won't this side of heaven, but am more up for saying "Yes" when in the past I would habitually say "No" (kinda like the mantra of that Jim Carrey movie "Yes Man"!). Have I "gotten over it"? Do I still have "emotional baggage"? Sure I do, hell who doesn't in this seriously effed up world? But, I know that the only way out is through and so I take it a day at a time. And like I heard on Dr Phil a while ago: "God is too wise to ever make a mistake and too kind to ever be cruel." My life, like the entire world, is in Christ's hands and I know everyone who turns to Him will never be turned away.

Anonymous said...

The comments of Anon dated February 28, 2013 at 6:38 PM are excellent! That person sounds like a well matured and wise one. His perspective at life is what we all should attain. I already understand much of what he said and take to heart to the rest. Very much appreciated.

Velvet said...

"a better alternative, more Biblically accurate and honest about the contents of the Bible"

It still is, if you ignore the Evangelicals' inane babbling and random pleadings to convert to their pagan idol-worship and just got on with your own life regardless.

As for Tolle, anyone considering looking him up based on Dennis' recommendation (this is a "guru" Dennis has been following since at least the AW days) please read up on the fellow over at the Rick Ross forum. And also read a book called "Stripping the Gurus" that talks about Tolle's "guru" and his own corrupt worldview.

One thing the Church did teach those of us with "the ears to hear" was to think for ourselves. Not always a good thing, as the splinter groups prove...but the members of same are those who DON'T think for themselves, which is proved in spades.

I loathe "How Great Thou Art." I never have been able to tolerate it, since one of the preaching elders would get up and choose it EVERY SINGLE TIME he was the songleader and blather about how he loved singing it when he was a Protestant and he was so happy we were Protestants now.

Strange though, even the hardliners at the Feast who didn't sing the garbage like "Shine on" seemed to be OK with "How Great Thou Art" which I found exceedingly odd, given that it was one of the pagan hymns that was forced upon us after the changes.

Doing up PowerPoints from the blue book for the congregation has been quite an education. Junior threw everything AND the kitchen sink into that thing. There's a reason he bleats on and on about being "many things to many people" (he's trying to promote the idea that we are a house divided); there are Catholic and Anglican hymns aplenty; but there are even Mormon hymns, at least one hymn from Spanky's outfit (I know I know my jaw dropped when I found that out) one written specifically by an ex-military Baptist that was recruited to the Church (to a position of respect (by the Evangelicals), of course) after the changes, but the thing that shocked me the most, was the preponderance of SDA hymns in the blue book.

After all those years of bleating "If you keep the Sabbath you're a sinner!" they threw SDA hymns into the book. Explain that to me, please, because I just can't wrap my brain around it.

I will always despise the vapid, vainly repetitive, and inherently unsingable Protestant dirge that is "How Great Thou Art," however.

Velvet said...

"It so happens to be a Jew who was on the way to becoming a Rabbi but instead found Christ"

You do realize these self-professing "Messianic Jews" fulfill the prophecy in Rev. 2:9, right? And that their entire goal is to convert faithful Jews from worshipping the living God, to worshipping their pagan trinitarian idols? Just FYI.

Anonymous said...

I just want my money back.

Paul Ray

Assistant Deacon said...

Or, as Wendy Williams would say, "How you doon'?"

Douglas Becker said...

I guess I didn't really answer the question.

Since I double my technological knowledge every year, I'd say I'm doing well. No real worries, except... "Lookup on object of indeterminate type based on information prior to this program point. A type annotation may be needed prior to this program point to constrain the type of the object." from F#.

I don't understand. Obviously I need help. Perhaps I will get in later chapters of Expert F# 3.0.

[I'm planning to use F# to build a new kind of personal budget / accounting software like Microsoft Money, but with many more useful functions and features, replete with being able to have continuous and instant reconciliation with bank and credit card accounts. The major downside is how much time this stuff takes, but it's still fun.]

Science rocks.

Technology rocks.

Armstrongism does not.

(It could be argued that since God created the entire Universe, He would be the Supreme Technologist, so people who understand science are probably much closer to knowing God than someone who makes up lies and false prophecies on unscientific nonsense like British Israelism. Science makes Armstrongists look like the nuts they truly are. You Armstrongists holding on to psychotic imagery just need to "GET OVER IT!".)

Anonymous said...


I am doing well. Thank you for asking. I hope you continue to evolve in positive fashion as well.

At 68 I am the most anxiety-free I have been in my entire life. Have not had a significant, extended depressive episode in 12 years. I am no longer ashamed to discuss my life in wcg and the "what the hell happened to you?" questions I get from people who knew me as a young man with a bright future. It "only" took me 20-25 years of life after leaving wcg to get to a healthier place, mentally and physically, although the improvement started the moment I made the mental decision to leave.

I don't really care much about what happens in the world of cog-dom these days, although I am still interested in what some of my former friends, fellow students, co-workers and fellow members are up to these days.

I have been watching the "King of the Nerds" tv show recently. I sit with my son and say things like "Your mom and I got married in that lecture room and had our wedding reception right by those fountains" and "That bedroom used to be the classroom in which I learned to speak Spanish" and "I was baptized in the swimming pool in the basement of that building."

None of that bothers me now. It is part of who I was back then, all of which shapes my "Now." Still learning to live in the moment. Bought myself a Honda S2000 convertible a few months ago. Love to put the top down on a sunny day like today in Austin, Texas and wind it up to 7000 rpm (redline is 8000).

So, life is good. Hope it remains good for another 20 years or so. I intend to start a software development business with my son and daughter in about 6 months.

Best wishes to all current and former xcg folk who are working to find themselves and a way of life that is true for them and in accord with their own beliefs and values. Don't be mean, don't hurt others, speak up for yourself.

Glenn Parker
Austin, Texas

Anonymous said...


Velvet said...

Ooops, I didn't answer the question either, did I?

How am I doing? Much better, since I was called back to the truth, and then back to the Church. (WCG/GCI that is). The Holy Days are once again the highlight of my year.

Before you ask, yes, I keep the Feast with the Church. Junior hasn't managed to shut that site down yet, and at close to being active for thirty years, he'll have a VERY large mutiny on his hands if he tries; from the faithful, the hardliners (who have been led astray by the Evangelicals--it's complicated) and the Evangelicals alike.

Sure, I get a lot of flack like people insinuating I'm not a Christian, or flat-out saying I don't deserve grace, or exhorting me to "come to Jesus" (Yeah?? Who do you think I'm following, you moron??? Why do you think I'm HERE, AT THE FEAST, if not to follow the LIVING Head of the Church? Please take your Evangelical self with your huge freaking crucifix out of my face, please and thank you. Er, not that I actually said that.)

But, eh, it's a lesson in character-building, if nothing else. And with the two "sides" becoming increasingly polarized, it's much easier to see the RIGHT path, and to follow it. In my experience, anyway.

And on the plus side, the Evangelicals haven't even started re-enacting Foxe's Book of Martyrs (with the faithful as the titular martyrs) yet!

Byker Bob said...

There would seem to be one common thread amongst those once exposed to Armstrongism. Most of us have needed to deal with 1) Depression (from having all of the things in life which humans normally delight in seriously delustered) and 2) Paranoia (from living in constant fear that the ministers would swoop down upon us).

Basically, we were not taught that living the Christian life can be a life of lessons and blessings right here on planet earth. Instead, we were taught that virtually everything had pagan roots, we should not be close to our family members who were not in the church, and that there were no real solutions (or even workarounds) to any of our problems until Jesus Christ returned to institute Armstrongism as God's government on earth, with the same negative people who had so afflicted all of us acting as gatekeepers and administrators. If that doesn't fuel depression and paranoia, I don't know what does!

I've shared before how hypnotherapy and wide reading helped me to deal with these problems, but must add that it often requires quite a bit of time. Often, it helps to read what other teachers have to say about life, but the trick is to never again fall under the full power of a "guru", or to allow such a person to equate what he or she is all about with Jesus Christ.
Never, ever, ever take another person's word or teachings as if they had come directly from Jesus Christ. Keep doing your due diligence, and never ever check your mind at somebody else's door. The fact that another person would even expect that of his acolytes should automatically raise huge red flags about him being a charlatan.


Anonymous said...

Velvet, have you found a new group to stereotype and trash? How do you know that all Evangelicals behave according to your stereotype?

On another forum, a number of years ago, someone once suggested that to kind of proof a statement for irrational prejudice, it's good to substitute the name of a minority group for the group you are making a blanket statement about. If the statement would be unfair or offensive to that particular minority, then it may be best to reconsider or modify.

Do you really fear that Evangelicals are going to come to your house and torture or martyr you if the tribulation starts in our era? How do you define "Evangelicals" and who do you consider them to be? Do you think the mainstream Evangelical community sanctions the bombing of abortion clinics? Have you ever read the "Left Behind" series to gain an understanding of what Evangelicals themselves fear, and how they see themselves? You may be surprised.

Anonymous said...

I do not forgive the filthy lying scum and never will. Forgiveness is weakness. Forgiveness is for people who won't do anything, so they can feel they are doing the right thing by giving up.

Anonymous said...

Joe, there were no NAZI death camps; it's all bullshit. Do your research. If anything, you should have learned by now to listen to both sides, and with so much truth about that on the Web nowadays, there is no excuse for such ignorance.

Anonymous said...

If you are depressed, NEVER admit it or seek professional help. You could end up in an institution for life. That is what how the psychology industry makes their living. They do not want to make you better, they want money.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..
"I do not forgive the filthy lying scum and never will. Forgiveness is weakness. Forgiveness is for people who won't do anything, so they can feel they are doing the right thing by giving up."

I find it damn near impossible to forgive someone, if they never apologize or seek for your forgiveness. Some will say "bury it in the past" or "get over it" but that is mostly bullshit. Don't forget the past, learn from it and move on to better things. "forgiveness is weakness"?!? Well yea, if it's forced. The bitterness I understand all to well but, you have to be FREE to forgive for it be true. If I happen to cross paths with them sometime in the future and we seem to both be heading in the same direction then forgiveness would probably be a benefit to us both.


Velvet said...

"How do you know that all Evangelicals behave according to...?"

I don't know, nor did I say, that all Evangelicals behave that way, Anonymous.

Anywhere I mention Evangelicals in my comments, I am speaking of my direct contact, and personal experiences with, professing Evangelicals in the Church.

I neither want, nor need to have, contact with Evangelicals outside of the Church; dealing with the ones IN the Church is quite more than enough character-building for several lifetimes, thank you!

Velvet said...

...and that was my mistake for not reading the rest of your comment. You accuse ME of stereotyping Evangelicals, and then you go on to state that the Evangelicals believe the Left Behind books...which are works of FICTION.

Retired Prof said...

Velvet, don't dismiss fiction out of hand, especially in the context where Anonymous mentioned it. You can tell a whole lot about what people believe, and what they hope for, by the fictions they prefer.

Anonymous said...

Some people prefer the fiction of the holohoax. That says a lot about them.