This interesting exchange took place on MySpace. Pay attention to the comments in green.
Rainbow Poetess:From their web site, they state the following:
thank you for sharing so much
if they do not believe in a trinity, then how is it that they believe Jesus is eternal?
what changes in doctrine happened after Armstrong's death?
First of all I believe it is important to state what the United Church of God teaches regarding this subject.
United Church of God teaches that God is a family. At the present time
there are two eternally living beings in that God family - the One we
call the Father, and the One we call Jesus Christ. Both are separate and
individual ever living Beings and from them everything exists and is
On the surface that seems to be an accurate account of what the church teaches. There is a pamphlet that the church offers called "Jesus Christ: The Real Story" that you can read at: http://ucg.org.au/?library/booklets/jesus-christ-the-real-story. It goes into greater detail of what it teaches.
The moto when I was a member was "We are family". This had deep meaning. When Mr. Armstrong was alive it actually meant something. We helped the world wide family members in any way that we could. ~ But then... well it was during the doctrinal changes Joseph W. Tkach Sr started making that my husband was found to be terminal with liver failure and needed a liver transplant.
I contacted "Headquarters" to ask if a small prayer request could be put in the world wide newsletter of the church. The local minister contacted me via phone and absolutely tore me apart for making that request. He told me that we did not deserve any help whatsoever, and that we sure didn't qualify for 3rd tithe assistance. The strange thing was that I did not ask for third tithe assistance. His phone call ate and ate on me for a number of reasons. One) Why did this local minister think he had the right to speak to me in such a hurtful way? Two) What happened to the "We Are Family" way of living? It hurt me so deeply ~ to be treated so callously during a time of great hardship.
And so ~ after 6 months of pondering I made a call to Headquarters... I needed some answers. First I talked to a person that held no clout but really was a greeter. I was a hand full (apparently) and was put on hold.. for 45 minutes I was on hold but had my jaw set and was not going to hang up until I got some answers. Finally a man said "This is Joseph Tkach Junior.. you have some questions". We talked for over an hour and a half and what he said blew me away... and not in a good way. That one phone call ripped me away from the church. The illusion was destroyed with no doubt left.
He said... there are a lot of people who need help world wide. There is a baby that needs brain surgery or it will die and many other people that need prayer requests and we cannot help them ~ why should we put your prayer request in the newsletter? I said... aren't we all a part of a world wide family of God and isn't that what family does.. help each other and pray for each other? He then told me that I have no right to say what the church should or should not do. Oh... I thought.
Yet that same church wanted me to continue to send in my tithes.. 1/3rd of my monthly income (that year) was to go for widows and people in need of help. In total I was sending the church over $1,000.00 a month. This quit immediately. I used that money to pay for medical bills. And so this was one of the changes that occurred after Mr. Armstrong died. The very "heart" of the church had changed. In total it took two and a half years for me to totally leave the church. It was after I (we as a family) left the church that my husbands liver transplant happened... only two weeks after we made that decision.
Doctrinally some of the changes were as follows. I quote from a web site so that I am totally accurate:
...the church's three-tithe system was abolished, and it was suggested that
tithes could be calculated on net, rather than gross, income.
On January 16, 1986, Herbert Armstrong died in Pasadena, California. Shortly before his death, Armstrong named Joseph W. Tkach Sr. to succeed him as leader of the church.
As early as 1988, Joseph W. Tkach Sr. began to make doctrinal
changes. Doctrinal revisions were made quietly and slowly at first, but
then openly and radically in January 1995. They were presented as "new
understandings" of Christmas and Easter, Babylon and the harlot, Anglo-Israelism, Saturday Sabbath, and other doctrines.
In general, Tkach Sr. directed the church theology towards mainstream evangelical
Christian belief. This caused much disillusionment among the membership
and another rise of splinter groups. During the tenure of Joseph Tkach
Sr., the church's membership declined by about 50 percent. His son,
Joseph Tkach Jr., succeeded him after his death in 1995.
Eventually all of Herbert Armstrong's writings were withdrawn from
print by the Worldwide Church of God. In the 2004 video production Called To Be Free, Greg Albrecht, former dean of WCG's Ambassador College, declared Herbert Armstrong to be both a false prophet (though Armstrong himself did not claim to be a prophet) and a heretic.
Eventually a great rift occurred. Multiple splinter groups were formed. I have not returned to any of them... nor any church for that matter. One absolute fact is... power absolutely corrupts ~ when left in the hands of man-kind. I am one ~ not so unique who left the church never to return to any kind of organized religion.
Rainbow Poetess:It was hard Rainbow. The church had been my family for over 20 years. The last day I attended I just looked around at everyone who had been close to me and wondered how I had gone wrong. One man walked up to me and told me in front of everyone... You tell your husband I have no empathy for him. You tell him he pisses me off. Not one person came up and defended me. The thing was my husband was so very ill. He had lost 165 pounds and was literally at deaths door. This man knew this and still he said what he did.
i cannot imagine the hurt and confusion caused by such terrible circumstances
but i can so totally sympathise with the feeling of dejection as the realisation of what the church and family that you loved was starting to become - the antithesis of all it had been
i am also "churchless" as such
i have a clear view of my own doctrine [most of it] and a clear view of how i should be living etc, but i have no "home" [churchwise]
i was starting to look at various, as you may tell by my new threads, before the flood happened, but these floods have taken my attention away from my own spiritual journey and i am feeling that maybe i was being too "obsessed" by trying to find "a spiritual family" and that i just need to get on with living and being a good example for my children
I just silently and calmly collected my things, took my two daughters hands and walked out, never to return. I could not feel God among those people anymore. So that was the day I walked away from the church and organized religion and walked calmly toward God Almighty. It was a huge step out in faith for me.
I was horrified when I sat down and watched the news last night.. and really got a eye opening look at what is happening with the flooding in your country. The 12 years old boy that gave his life to save his little brothers. I wept and wept. I am so saddened by the massive suffering that is happening all around you.
Now is the time for you to widen your heart and let your God given love flow to all those you can Rainbow. I have learned that God's Church does not dwell within a man-made building... the sky is the roof and we are always in God's Church no matter where our feet are and no matter what we are doing.
We ~ letting our light shine ~ especially all the brighter when hard times come is of the greatest importance. It helps those who are afraid and in the dark to find their way, to absorb comfort and feel the God given love be a balm that heals.
Be strong and endure. Let your light shine and warm those around you.