Monday, June 11, 2018

Terrified Mother Seeks Help In Getting Son Out Of Restored Church of God



I received this yesterday.  Any suggestions?

Hello

My name is Stephanie, my son fell into the RCG & David Pack when he was 18. I had never heard of this man or this "church", I didn't even know he was attending online until over a year later. Its now been 3 years & they have his mind so twisted that he believes that satan is working through his family to separate him from GOD, as we finally got wise & discovered the sick truth & have been trying to show him the lies Pack has told. 
Such as Pack claiming to be THE Elijah, a "Type of Christ" & making false prophecies against splinter leaders... & then him removing the videos from his website & telling his followers he never said these things. 

I don't know if you can help or if you'll ever see this, but i'm terrified. They convinced my son to leave our family home while everyone was gone. He IS an adult & can make his own choices, but this situation is out of hand & I dont know what else to do.. I'm desperate.

Here are some general items that might help:



My Childhood in an Apocalyptic Cult


Steve Hassan is the leading authority for helping people rescue family members from cults:

Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults











When God Becomes a Drug: Book 1; Understanding Religious addiction & religious abuse
This book was instrumental in my understanding of why I needed to leave the church.







Rescuing Randy: A Family Determined to Rescue Their Son from a Cult





How Can I Rescue My Child From a Cult?




How to talk someone out of a damaging cult



56 comments:

Byker Bob said...

One of the basic problems with the ACOGs is that they reprogram members in such a way that their normal state of mind becomes that of the masochist. Members truly believe that if all manner of negative things are not happening in their lives and through their church it means they are not living right. They’ve effectively become immunized against all possible outside influences.

Treat your son as you would a smoker. Don’t hound him about his RCG involvement. He’s going to have to come to his own conclusions based on his own bottoming out experiences. Sad to have to watch, but if it’s of any encouragement at all, numerous people do leave Dave Pack including his own family members and the ministers whom he ordains.

Don’t be terribly surprised if your son decides to splinter-surf and pursue a slightly less toxic form of Armstrongism.

Good luck!

BB

Anonymous said...

Hello

My name is Stephanie, my son fell into the RCG & David Pack when he was 18. I had never heard of this man or this "church", I didn't even know he was attending online until over a year later. Its now been 3 years & they have his mind so twisted that he believes that satan is working through his family to separate him from GOD, as we finally got wise & discovered the sick truth & have been trying to show him the lies Pack has told.
Such as Pack claiming to be THE Elijah, a "Type of Christ" & making false prophecies against splinter leaders... & then him removing the videos from his website & telling his followers he never said these things.

I don't know if you can help or if you'll ever see this, but i'm terrified. They convinced my son to leave our family home while everyone was gone. He IS an adult & can make his own choices, but this situation is out of hand & I dont know what else to do.. I'm desperate

Dear Mom,

Your parenting left your son vulnerable to the cult, so please don't make the mistake of thinking that your parenting can get him out of the cult.

First and foremost, don't try to guilt him or threaten him or reason him out of the cult. Make it clear to him that you are always his Mom, and that you want to listen and understand anything he wants to tell you.

The worst thing you can do, Mom, is put your kid on the defensive. Most people, especially those who don't have decades of WCG/splinter programming, eventually wise up and leave. Often Super Dave will even push them out, once they are no longer useful to him. So, be patient.

Mom, it sounds as though you may have downloaded from Dave's website some of the old booklets that he now disclaims. Depending on your relationship with your son, once he knows you aren't trying to talk him out of RCG, maybe you could tell your son, "I'm trying to understand your new religion, so I read your Pastor's booklet on such-and-such." Explain to your son what you think you have understood from the old booklet. Don't judge it, just explain it. Leave it to your son to deal with the cognitive dissonance that a once-required belief has become a heresy. Let him explain it to you as fully as he can, then thank him. Then wait. As long as he knows he is always welcome to return home, and that you won't dump on him for his beliefs, you'll be there as a lifeline whenever he may need it. Be patient.

Anonymous said...

Your parenting left your son vulnerable to the cult, .....

What a cruel thing to say. What evidence do you have that it was her fault?

Anonymous said...

Your parenting left your son vulnerable to the cult, so please don't make the mistake of thinking that your parenting can get him out of the cult.

The person who said that is probably a former cult member. Since his own stupidity got himself into a cult, he should not make the mistake of thinking that his stupidity can get someone out.

Anonymous said...

What kind of advise to give this lady probably depends on her religious beliefs and perhaps other personal information.

If she has other children, one of the first things to do is provide them with information that debunks Pack and Armstrong so they don't also fall victim.

Connie Schmidt said...

Whatever you do, keep loving him and praise whatever you can. Do not try to embarrass him, or belittle him. Pack will pull the rug out from underneath your son soon enough, and at that time, when disillusioned and betrayed, will want to reconnect back to a safe , kind , loving place.

James said...

Looks like this guy will have to go through the crucible of pain and confusion in order to learn. This is what happens before one finally understands and then quits the circus. Unless of course he is brain damaged and cannot understand reality and gets lost in the insanity. Then he is a lifer.

Took me 9 years to learn my lesson before I pulled my head out of my ass. Never again.

Anonymous said...

Debunking false information doesn't work with these groups, I know I tried. They are the only ones right, no one else has the inside scoop from God and it will not matter what the leaders do, it can all be justified. As a wife of an RCG member, I can understand this mother's fear, it is very real. I personally have had to let go emotionally and try not to care, if I care then I get hurt.

Anonymous said...

Wow you are 4years smarter than me it took me 13 years to wake up and leave.

What About The Truth said...

Stephanie,

As a former Restored Church of God member and Worldwide Church of God member I was the exact same age as your son when I joined. My mother who was a non-believer told me one thing; "Just be careful son". Sometimes it is the least amount of words that will resonate a recall in your son's mind someday.

At your son's age his perspective is as most that age, they know it all. That combined with the first real baby steps into real life experience makes it extremely difficult to have an adult to adult type constructive exchange especially when the topic is religion.

I know this is an extremely difficult time for you but one area where you need not worry too much about is the members of the church. For the most part, everyone is nice and friendly and caring. If it was like when I came in that young age, he will have many mother hens adopting him.

It is very reasonable to have concerns regarding the leader of this church. He and his ministers will guide your son into a way of life of obedience to the leader's teachings reinforced with fear. This is not just a church like any other church. Much could be said all day long about the troubling dynamics underpinning and moving this organization but that is an answer I don't think you need right now.

Be his mother and stay tuned to the Restored Church of God and all its actions going forward, for there may be a time in the future when you may have to forcefully intervene in your son's life.

NO2HWA said...

I posted this letter from a concerned mother about here son wrapped up in an Armstrongite cult, a potentially dangerous one. Some of the vilest comments have come through from people blaming her for her son going into Dave Pack's cult.

Telling a mother her son as basically useless and that Pack was going to whip him into shape by emasculating him, and that he started life out poor and that the destitution that Dave will leave him in is not really that much of an issue is disgusting.

Another told the mother to tell her son to study the Bible and that if her son was really trying to please God he would wake up, though it would take many many years.

Another claims the family must be wrecked with family issues for the son to leave. It is the family's fault, and not Pack's.

Another wants the mother to chill out because Dave Pack and no other COG leader has ever told their members to drink kool-aid and kill themselves.

The depth's that people in Armstrongism go to in order to justify aspects of it is appalling. There are thousands of people on Facebook right now in groups sharing stories about how they were treated as young people in the church. It is sickening. Armstrongism is rotten to the core and has no justifiable reason to exist any longer. How many more need to die because of it?

Anonymous said...

Keep loving your son and don't attack him or the church. He will wake up in due time. But if you attack the church he will reject you. Its hard but it's what RCG teaches.

If you are sincere and consistent that you love him, you will be the person he turns to when he leaves.

Anonymous said...

Some people on here have a tendency to distort information that is kept from the rest of us.

Near_Earth_Object said...

NO2HWA

I can understand your passion but in the last analysis Armstrongism is a product that appeals to a certain market segement. If someone wants to spend their money on cupcakes, it is hard to get between them and what they want. Even if it is just something as superficial as cupcakes.

This kind of thing could require professional help. It is complicated. I can't tell you to this day why I got entangled with Armstrongism. What I have been able to theorize as a motivation is not good.



Anonymous said...

Armstrongism people have a very common personality trait:

Lack of compassion, Lack of empathy, Love of Regulation, Quick to Judge, Quicker to condemn.

In short. There's no love there. They simply don't have it in them to understand love, because their religion has never lived love. Their form of godliness is cold, grey, shallow, and empty -

- Just like the cold, grey, chilly warehouses they met in for the Feast were.

Anonymous said...


Okay, here is the main point again, minus the cult “gallows humor” that some people might not appreciate:

FIRST #1. Tell your son that he is always welcome back home!!!

#2. Do not give up, but do be prepared for this to take a long time if necessary.

Byker Bob said...

Well, in the old days of 20 years ago, most of us who wrote for the Painful Truth website followed the example of AA, and used our first names and last initials to establish authorship of our articles. As one author pointed out, we didn’t want some of the Armstrong zealots showing up at our door, Bible in one hand, gun in the other. In those days, I had my email address actually posted on one page of the website, and never did have any problems, but there were some really crazy things that were thrown in all of us peoples’ faces who regularly made strong cases against the toxicity and bad fruits of Armstrongism.

The woman who wrote this plea has good reason to fear for her son’s well-being. And the lady who agreed based on her own personal experiences with her husband being a member of RCG brought up a very salient point: to cope, she had to withdraw emotionally. While that is a survival instinct, if either party in a relationship withdraws emotionally, that generally signals the end of that relationship. After that, you’re both just logging your time.

David Pack has set up an environment which forces people to withdraw from his church members. We’ve discussed before how Armstrongism kills any possible human bonding. Everyone knows that “my way or the highway” means that the church friends you may think that you have today will treat you like a homeless leper moments after you leave or are disfellowshipped from your splinter, even if you retain the same belief system but transfer to a competing splinter.

Don’t get me wrong ~ there are good reasons to shun certain people. Like, I don’t hang with racists, thieves, whore-mongers, practicing alcoholics or drug users, habitual liars, barrom brawlers, wife-beaters, or people who can’t put a sentence together without using 5-10 four letter words. I won’t mistreat them, but wont make em my best friends, either. You lay with dogs, you catch their fleas. Armstrongites go obsessive-compulsive with their avoidance of people, just like they do with paganism, and food ingredients. Balance is the key. Lack of balance is what causes the creation of a cult. I have to remember what a buddy of mine shared about his orientation classes when he began his law enforcement career. The class was taught to keep their friends who were not in law enforcement. Those who just had friends inside of the force often lost balance, whereas those who had a wide variety of friends maintained perspective. Of course, Armstrongism redefines words like balance and perspective, just as they do everything else.

BB

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, don't listen to the PC defeatists on here. There are some things that might work. No guarantees, but some things that might work.

Have some good anti-HWA literature in your house. Leave it on the coffee table. He will see it and probably read it out of curiosity and to prove to himself that he can debunk it. If it is factual and sound he might end up changing his mind, or at least, you are planting seeds of doubt in his mind that can grow over time.

Anonymous said...

"Armstrongism people have a very common personality trait:

Lack of compassion, Lack of empathy, Love of Regulation, Quick to Judge, Quicker to condemn.

In short. There's no love there. They simply don't have it in them to understand love, because their religion has never lived love.

June 11, 2018 at 8:25 PM"


Did religion impart a personality disorder, or did their personality seek WCG?

Anonymous said...

NO2HWA
You don't seem to understand or acknowledge the problem. I suggest you read the JWs dissident sites to gain a better understanding of the problem. In reality there are only two practical solutions.
1. the person gets mugged by reality, or emasculated as you put it.
2. if he has a strong relationship with God, He will at least lead him to a less evil church and open his mind to Dave's lies.

People are ultimately free moral agents and the power of outsiders such as a mother is limited. Sometimes there are no winning moves but only levels of loss. Acknowledging this and advising accordingly is not vile.

PS I have read a book written for professionals on helping people. What stands out is the very limited power that people have over others when it comes to change. Typical of this is the bible example of how God dealt with Jonah. He tried to change his mind by saying something like 'shouldn't I care for the people and animals of Nineveh.' That was it. That's as far as God could go without violating his free moral agency.

NO2HWA said...

I am very much aware of the dissident JW sites as I participate on several of them as well as exSDA sites.

Byker Bob said...

Probably both, 9:44. It doesn’t have to be I-O. But, keep in mind, at some point, the process would begin to feed itself. A group of people who had personality disorders (as manifested in the group’s front man) would both attract people with personality disorders, and the church corporate culture would create personality disorders in the members that originally didn’t have them.

I was a pretty normal 9 year old until my parents dragged me into the Radio Church of God. The personality disorders were an outgrowth of my efforts to survive. I’ve worked very hard for years, and have largely corrected them partially thanks to obtaining therapy, but like leavening, or sin, you just can’t get rid of them all.

BB

Anonymous said...

My personal advice, after having woken up, is that the people that were just kind and loving to me are the ones I knew always cared about me. Be that person to your son.

I have aunt that cared for me better than my own mother my entire life, and she never argued scriptures, she never denigrated my religion or my choices. And she was raised in WCG herself and escaped in the early 80s. So she understood, but I think Pack is far more devious than WCG ever was.

Do what Jesus did, be loving, kind, patient. Be real support.

I had an abusive parent, and even my siblings didn't believe me when I told them. And finally when they suffered from the same parent, they came around to me. Some even apologized to me for not believing me. I learned from my aunt, I was patient and understanding. I didn't accuse my siblings for not seeing the truth, I didn't hold it against them. I waited patiently for the truth to come out. And it always does.

I am sorry for your current pain, but have faith. Show mercy, kindness, love and patience. That is what your son needs right now, not arguments.

Be sure to include him in your life, and make a point to stop arguing. Let me know you won't anymore, and that you just want him in your life. It's likely he will want to justify and argue then, and kindly stop him and just enjoy the family time together. It's incredible how much of a difference this can make. I assure you he is not getting taking care of at Pack's church. And deep down inside, all of us want to be cared for by those around us.

R. Roberts

nck said...

I think it is close to impossible for an 18 year old kid to get ensnared by Dave Pack without having had a COG split off background. I wonder what made him leave the split off and his family at 18. Of course Dave Pack produced some of the most attractive recruiting material from the outside. Perhaps there was a young lady involved.

Anyway. In my theory Stephanie left WCG at about 1994 at mid twenties with her parents for one of the "benign" split offs. The later born son or baby at the time left that fold at 18 and by now is about 24 years of age. Now Stephanie wonders why if she wised up at that age why doesn't he?

Well, he will not wise up if a young lady friend is involved. I mean no force can come between that, only an estate of a couple of billion being denied. He might just wise up the moment the full repercussion of the "common" doctrine will settle in. I mean that is a lot to swallow for a 24 year old at the start of his economic cycle. But it will not if the boy is exploited in some job at Dave's headquarters. Then idealism prevails over economic reasoning, especially if fueled by that nice freckled lady friend.

Some of the more crass posters are right. What can be done to save people from the likes of Pack could have only be done the first 18 years. I suppose the guy is 24 year old now. One day he will remember what people taught him the first 18 years. For some it comes with children to understand their parents. Perhaps he feels he is doing the right thing for "holding fast to what was abandoned in his former association."

But my hope is fragile. Some splinter leaders can change entire teachings of the old wcg or long standing traditions without people giving a blink. Prophets even seem to be acceptable as church leaders. So the way to get him out must in my opinion lie in something entirely practical that is going to anoy him in a big way. Like having to drive for over 3 hours to a congregation, the lovely young lady taking an interest in an "evangelist son", "common doctrine, while flipping burgers, or Pack trying "to correct' him on some minor issue an coming across as a pompuous ass and he will not take it any longer.

My point. The values and habits and likes he aquired during the first 18 years will be crucial how he will interact with the likes of Pack until he is 30. After he is 30 and raises a family in that congregation, your best hope is to maintain friendly relations with your grandchildren and spent a lifetime not acting as if Satan is using you as a tool to dissuade him/them from adoring the Packatollah. Anti cog books on the coffee table will not make that point but enforce it.

My advice just live a life according to the best of your abilities and family traditions and see where he remembers them fondly or if they were the very reason to join with Pack after all. Oh yes. An education would have helped. But I know, that is not for all.

nck

Anonymous said...

NO2HWA
My point is, as the JWs dissident sites bring out, that it often takes 10, 20 and sometimes 30 years before many of its members see through all the deception. It's not often that new members readily discern the lies. The JW dissidents on YouTube are more sharp than most people, yet it still typically took them many years before coming to their senses. This is the ugly truth about the young man who has joined Dave's cult.

Another example of the mothers predicament is the excellent 'watchtower examination' YouTube series. Despite his many persuasive videos, the authors brother is in the JW cult. All his attempts to help him have failed.
My sympathies to the mother.

Anonymous said...

To that mom,

I am like your son, I left my entire family to work at HQ at age 18 one day after my high school graduation I left my entire family. It was with short notice and a blow to my family. For many years while i was working at HQ my parents had legitimate fears of me being in a cult, but my mother played a comforting role over the years i struggled in rcg before i began to see thru the bullshit. I took it to the chest though and remained faithful believing putting up with the whimsical nonsense there would help me grow in godly character. Well my mom tried to persuade me several times to come back home and i never listened.

One day the banks put pressure on rcg they were taking on too many loans, well they went on a lay-off spree and just like that 5 years i devoted of my life in service and struggle to rcg getting grossly underpaid ended. I felt invalidated, unappreciated and deeply hurt. I mean the least they could have done was provide a nice severance package but they claimed the overtime pay i got was enough which really wasnt, it was crumbs compared to what i needed. I didnt even get compensated for unused vacation. As i was being laid-off they told me it was because the banks were putting pressure on rcg.

Anyways i recalled my mother and in that defeated moment i spoke with her, i listened. I came home, remained in rcg, but eventually left over the looney and wacky sermons and it gets worse every year, pack is now on sermon 127 of this crazy prophecy series, people say packs getting more and more wacky.

So to that mom, idk if you son is just attending a local congregation or at hq regardless back off, give him comfort as a parent be that role of someone who he can feel wont judge him, because its going to come back around and your son will look for you first when shit hits the fan for him. He'll begin to find likeminded members to express concern with, those concerns will linger, hell begin to see things, until that one event strikes a chord. It may even be him making a mistake and seeing how critical of him the ministry may be, or any other thing you never know. just dont judge him, do not be critical of RCG because if you attack rcg hell stay away. As mom ask him how he is, help him in his struggles, suggest that he can come home and still attend with rcg and that you will respect his space and when he leaves your words of comfort and your subtle warning will be seen with genuine care vs satans influence.

Near_Earth_Object said...

People who are ensnared by cults are able to overlook matters to the point that you begin to believe they have a neurological deficit. There are people still waiting for David Koresh to be resurrected. People died in a steaming jungle for Jim Jones, a petty religious dictator. In our nation there are millions of people who regard one of the most atypical political figures to walk the American landscape as a virtual messiah.

It does not take much personal responsibility to pick up a book on human genetics and, after gaining a smattering of knowledge, understand that the backbone of end time prophecy, British Isrealism, is utterly false. If someone does not have that personal responsibility, concern for themselves and others, how do you impart it? Reason does not seem to play a role in these matters.

I still remember the days when I began to get an inkling that British Israelism was bogus. It felt like I had been cut loose from my personal moorings. I was in a philosophical free fall. And I was disappointed. How could a "special secret" that I believed in so fervently be so inane. After the initial discomfort, I later found beautiful liberation.

Some may class me as a "PC defeatist" but I honestly cannot tell someone how to extract a loved one from a cult. I am not even sure how deprogrammers do it.

It is extremely important to note that it is not the cult that has them in a brutal grip, it is their own delusion about what the cult is that grips them. So if you talk about the cult, it may not mean anything. You must understand and address their delusion. It is like when someone wants to believe that an unlikely person is the right potential spouse for them. They will fabricate a delusion about that person, at least initially, and convince themselves that the person is the right choice. All the relatives are standing around shaking their heads and wondering how they might be able to effect a rescue.

This kind of self-deception happens all the time to people in matters religious and secular. I have had buddies who would only drive Fords and could tell you all the sold reasons why. And they would regard you as pathetic for driving a Toyota. The mind tends to close tightly around belief, whether truth or delusion.

Byker Bob said...

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was yours. If not, it was never meant to be. (old proverb)

BB

Anonymous said...

Don't give up. Don't listen to defeatists.

Prophecy is what makes most members think the ACOGs are the right church. So, the best counter argument is to show your son the list of failed HWA prophecies.

Show that prophecy is still failing. For example, the EU is under threat of collapse due to the nationalist/populist wave sweeping Europe, as the Legacy Media lose their grip on the public narrative.

Show that ACOG prophecies are all rooted in historical errors and false narratives of current events.

Show that Herb committed incest with his own daughter. See the hwarmstrongism site.

nck said...

I issue a grave warning for the so called 6:29 advice.

A) to point to europe is to acknowledge your own ignorance. That was the "best fulfilled prophecy" ever. And hope of it collapsing is just an unsubstantiated alt right prophecy

For italy to break from eu would mean a doubling of their debt. No more fancy lifestyle for a generation

B) the worst advice ever is to talk about hwa alleged daughter thing
This will prompt at best an immediate and final rift between your son and you and is only the nuclear option
It might also cause life long depressiin for your son since if he believes it and not be able to leave his family/kids in the fold he will suffer from post traumatic stress, cognitive dissonance etc for the rest of his life. No one ever left the cog for that rumor although it might serve a purpose for those who already made up their mind

6:29 and the other postings calling sound remarks defeatist are quite dangerous and will impede any kind of relationship you wish to maintain with a person in the two worst of split offs

Nck

Byker Bob said...

Failed prophecy worked on me back in 1972-75. But, it doesn’t seem to be effective on our latter day Armstrongites. Right after the great disappointment of 1975, everyone was reprogrammed. You see, prophecy doesn’t fail. It gets postponed. That, coupled with the lying about never having set dates has pretty much mooted failed prophecy.

So far as the incest goes? Good luck making that one fly, despite the various testimony, including that of HWA’s own family! Why Mr. Armstrong was God’s Apostle! Pure as the driven snow! (So they all say).

It takes a miracle to free those who have been assimilated by the borg, and the rest of one’s life to recover.

BB

nck said...

BB

In this specific case I believe the kid has already turned 24 or so. The Robinson story might have had an effect when he was 17 now he is a young adult or "assimilated" as you say, therefore the change needs to come from himself.

Failed prophecy worked for me too. But DEFINTELY NOT the ones that alligned with US foreign policy strategic goals since the empire of the day always wins.

-European Union was a strategic american foreign policy goal since WWII therefore SUCCEEDED
-Another example: In 2001 - 2002 some 6 or 7 nations were strategically labelled as "the axis of evil" Today 16 years later ONLY ONE remains as a strategic threat. I will bet on the PROPHETS that have labelled that last nation/regime to fall as "the supposed king of the south"

Prophecy is an easy game if one is skilled in official doctrine and policy of the empire of the day. Therefore the prophecies on the ancient Assyrians in the bible were to the point. And HWA's "prophecies" have been proven accurate aswell. Although they were no prophecies since he was always a 100 percent clear he was not a prophet but "a newscaster."

nck

Anonymous said...

Nck
In 'Combatting cult mind control,' the author does mention (yes, I have read the book) casually asking (so as to not trip conditioned mental defences) a cult member whether he was aware that his cult leader has a criminal record. So mentioning Herbs daughter thing is not inappropriate. Often members are worshipping the cult leader rather than God, so such revelations can break, or help break the spell.

Again, members are conditioned to believe that all criticisms are attacks by Satan, so the diplomatic soft approach is advised by the author.
Personally, I'm not convinced that, on occasion, screaming the truth won't help. Sometimes it causes people to question their beliefs. The mother will have to play it by ear.

nck said...

4:12

My friend. HWA does not have a criminal record. Or perhaps you have investigated that big stack over at the FBI. If not, then better shut up as not to be categorized "as of satan". So you will immediately lose the mindgame with the conditioned! And in my experience will also lose any chance for contact and redemption.

Indeed I am not in favor of diplomatic soft aproaches. I advocate living a life of truth as an example to others, either brainwashed or not. If you do that, you can yell, scream, cry, make fun, tell it as it is to the lowly handmaid and the presidents of large corporations alike.

nck

Anonymous said...

Dear Mom, Different circumstance but at age 18 I had to put my daughter out of my house for breaking many house rules that affected her younger siblings. Initially, I was so furious, I cut off all communication with her, to "teach her a good lesson." Then one day, a few months in, I had an epiphany; when the going gets rough, did I want her to run further away from her family, or run TO her family? I began to call her, then take her to lunch. Then, when she lost her job, I'd drop off some groceries. Finally, I had her come home for a family dinner. After a few months, she asked to come home, which we let her do with conditions. Now, she's going on 40 with 2 kids and a job paying in 6 figures. My point is this, IMHO: Keep the avenue open to your son. Do not discuss religion with him. Be his Mom, make him welcome even though he may probably cut you off by Pack's edict. Talk about good times, send him cards, care packages, photos. Text him, just say hello! It will be hard not to want to change his mind set, but this you just won't be able to do. Please remember the prodigal son story and be ready to welcome him home. He's 18, so young yet, and feeling his liberation from your control. Even if he does stay, he is still your son, and you'll love him no matter what. Take time to find peace, take a breath, this is out of your hands. I'll be praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Nck
Were you drunk when you wrote the 6.12 AM comment since it seems divorced from my points. You seem to always spring to Herbs defence with statements such as 'HWAs alleged daughter thing.' You hide his evil with your lawyer legalese.

nck said...

9:55

My 6:12 is as clear and to the point as can be.

Re: daughter thing. You cited a "criminal record". There is no such thing. To talk to a sibling in a cult is not a game my friend. We are talking lifelong separation if they find fault "satan" in you. So I caution to stick to the facts and live your life as a non refutable example of "what can be." Very concise and very specific advice.

Nck

Anonymous said...

Last I checked, an 18 year old is an adult and is capable of making his own decisions and choices in life - and certainly having to live with the consequences of those choices. Free will, people. Give the man some space, Mom. If its an unhealthy relationship, then over time he'll see it for what it is and will leave.

Anonymous said...

Still way too much defeatism.

Show the kid the web site on Herb's plagiarism.

Anonymous said...

The LAST thing Pack wants you to do is to tell the young man about Herbert's failed prophecies, his plagiarism, his incest. That's because Pack knows the truth is powerful. So, those are the FIRST things you must tell your son. Yes you risk alienating him a bit but he will get over it. He knows you are trying to help. At worst he will just think you are misguided. Just make sure you have your facts. This will take some time and effort. It will pay off.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the incest story convince church members? Maybe because they were never told that Herbert's own daughter revealed it!

Byker Bob said...

There’s a certain subset of people within Armstrongism who would be susceptible to the false prophecy argument. Many church members believe the British-Israel/Allemani-Assyria/Native American-Caananite based prophecies, but really don’t want them to be true. As they quite predictably continue to fail, these folks become weary of the manipulation factor, and decide to look elsewhere for the answers to the deep philosophical questions that we all share.

BB

Allen Dexter said...

I was 18 when I got sucked in. Young, inexperienced and gullible. It took over twenty years for me to start to wise up, but it eventually came in painfully slow stages dropping the nonsensical garbage step by step, coming to realize what a farce the entire Bible is in slow increments. Don't give up hope. And, by all means, don't withdraw your love.

nck said...

On one side of the family we once got confronted with wedding plans which to us looked like a very incompatible match. 2 years and a kid later we were right. I guess non of the siblings had the necessary relationship to express their and common feeling/doubts, regardless of what would expire.

First the relationship then constructive criticism, regardless of age or social status.

Nck

Anonymous said...

Nck
I did not say that Herb has a criminal record, but rather was referring to a incident mentioned in the book. My point is that exposing the skeleton/s in the closet of a revered cult leader can break or lessen the mental strangle hold that a cult has on its victim.

nck said...

11:16

That could be right.

My opinions had been unfavorable toward "gays" when I was a teen, as you can imagine. Until discovering in my twenties that nearly every entertainer and comedian I had enjoyed in childhood had been a gay person, including the most revered on the AICF series. A closer study of the subject led to a reversal in opinion. So yes, changes in opinion can start by cracks.

That's why Disney employees/entertainers dressed in "character suits" are under extreme and strict regulations of behavior. Can you imagine the effect on a child to see Mickey peeing drunk in a corner of the park or Minney having "relations" or necking and petting with Geppetto.

It would break the spell of the Magic Kingdom.

nck

Anonymous said...

I suppose people are attracted to COG organizations for different reasons. Some for emotional reasons, some for more intellectual reasons. In my case, it was not so much because of prophecy or devotion to HWA/GTA, but just because the WCG's theological positions made sense to me. Some of those positions still make sense to me, but over the years I have come to realize that blind adherence to one man's narrow interpretation of the the scriptures does not work simply because there are any number of ways of interpreting scripture, up to and including the idea that the Bible is a work of men with no particular continuity except that which is ascribed to it by various prophets and preachers. In other words, I am now more open-minded and I realize there is a lot I don't know and probably never will except perhaps after I shake off this mortal coil. Like all zealots, COG leaders very much want you to take a firm position --- their position --- on every issue. Any sense of open-mindedness or questioning is derided as sitting on the fence or being wishy-washy, but the fruit of a narrow, legalistic view of religion is clearly seen in the various COGs as well as elsewhere. Deep, firmly-held convictions have their place, but one must be careful where one places them. In many respects, the essence of Christianity is to simply treat others as you would want to be treated. Everything else is made up. Perhaps a clear recognition of that simple truth would help some exit the COGs.

Anonymous said...

So far as I can tell, the number of people who went into an ACOG and stayed is far fewer than the number that eventually left. Perhaps that is even more true now than in decades past, since the Internet is now here to debunk the errors of Armstrongism. So I'm guessing that there is about a 5 to 1 or 10 to 1 probability that anyone entering now will leave. It might take 5 or 20 years, but they will probably leave. In my view, that process can be sped up by carefully planting seeds of doubt.

Anonymous said...

People tend to go to extremes. Homosexuality is not a sin, but it can be prevented.

NO2HWA said...

Neo, you have a point. I am reacting to a large number of comments that never even made it here because of their contemptuous vile elements. Empathy is not a quality that Armstrongism ever nurtured in its ministry or members.

Anonymous said...

"If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was yours. If not, it was never meant to be."

That old proverb does not apply in this case. Her son was never meant to be her son? Rubbish. God help us. What is the matter with some people? The truth is that the young man was never meant to be Pack's disciple.

Byker Bob said...

Oh man, 6:27, what world did you grow up in? Your parents don’t own you, you just pass into the world through them. It’s nice when there can be a bond based on common interests between parents and children, but in many cases a parent and child have nothing in common, and therefore never bond. Nobody wants to see a child (or parent) be spiritually raped by a toxic cult, but it is truly best to set them free, and give them the opportunity to collect their own experiences. Even if they leave the cult, they may not necessarily ever develop more than a superficial relationship with the parent.

Relationships are golden, and it’s nice when they can happen. However, they are not the only way in which to honor a parent.

BB

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the incest story convince church members? Because after people heard about the incest some of them stayed and some of them left. Those that left were no longer church members. Those that stayed didn't believe it so they said to each other "nobody around here believes that!"

Anonymous said...

What world did I grow up in? The real world (unlike you).

Anonymous said...

Why were church members not persuaded by Herb's false prophecies, plagiarism, or the incest? Because they were never given any real information about those things. If they heard about them at all, the only "information" many of them got was something like "some bad people are telling lies about the church". Well, such vague information will never convince anyone. So give people hard, provable, clear facts.

nck said...

8:36

No. A lot of people had heard the predictions first hand. The only people calling hwa a prophet are dissenters strange enough. Perhaps BB coined the epitath in 2006 or so. Incest stories were in Robinsons book circulating widely. Plagiarism, is a phrase only coined recently. There is not even a legal te for it.

HWA always said his talent was to repackage messages in an attractive and understandable way as a copywriter. I believe judahs scepter was in the library. In any case most members could trace bi back to at least the 19th century since many in the anglican church found it an interesting sobering explanation for their sudden "unrightful" posession of the goodies of the earth. Protestants need to believe such blessings cannot be of own doing, since they are pessimists.

Nck