Sunday, April 1, 2018

Are Church of God Members TRULY Your Family?


There is an excellent post on The Painful Truth site about what really constitutes a family in the Church of God. Are you fellow church members your "new" family?

Will they truly support you in times of need?

Will they give you unconditional love and support?

Will they accommodate your beliefs and understandings?

Will they stand beside you at all costs?

What is your experience?


Joining the Worldwide Church of God meant major sacrifices. Being a church of God member made it harder to fit in with the outside world. Some things we had to give up entirely. Armstrong tried to provide substitutes for everything we lost when we joined the Worldwide Church of God, but they were poor substitutes indeed.
Armstrong deliberately structured his belief system to alienate his followers from their families 

and make them more dependent on the church. When I joined the Worldwide Church of God, all of a sudden I couldn’t participate in most family get-togethers because they were “pagan holidays,” I couldn’t eat the food on the occasions I could attend because it was “unclean,” and I offended family members, especially my mother, when I did not give gifts on Christmas and birthdays.

My family still gave me their unconditional love despite my beliefs. When I visited my mother, she would always make sure that there were no “unclean” ingredients in my food, and while I felt unable to compromise my beliefs by attending infant baptisms and holy communions, she would attend church social events occasionally. I couldn’t bend to accommodate her, but she did all she could to accommodate me.
Compare that to the so-called substitute “family” the church provided. The “love” the church gave had many strings attached. If you didn’t obey the ministers and submit to their authority, if you didn’t agree with “Mr. Armstrong” in every respect, you could find yourself kicked out, and all of your “family” members were forbidden to have any dealings with you. If you did not regularly attend all of the church’s activities, you were loved less. The more blindly you submitted, the less you complained, the more “love” you received. If you had any questions or doubts, all of a sudden the love was withheld, and if you weren’t careful the “love” disappeared altogether. Former church members were and still are shunned by those still in the Worldwide Church of God and its splinter groups. The church did not only encourage the shunning of disfellowshipped members, it required it. There were serious penalties for associating with disfellowshipped members.

Read the entire story here:  The Family
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28 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you are in LCG or PCG and are reading this, I want to share with you some good news that you may find hard to believe. I, too, once assumed that life outside of "God's Church" would be lonely and unsatisfying. What I have found, however, is just the opposite. Five years after exiting, I have formed several close friendships that are deeper and more genuine than anything I ever experienced in an Armstrong Church of God. Every member of my family is happier outside of Armstrongism than they were inside. I urge you, please do not waste your life inside the mental and spiritual prison of an ACOG.

DennisCDiehl said...

There was no brotherhood of the ministry either. You put up with the looney ones who the Administration would not reign in no matter how many years of offenses they wracked up . They simply moved the problem around to plague yet another congregation.

To date, since the day my ministry was over, not one college buddy now minister has stayed in touch. Dave Albert was a close friend and recently I contacted him by text. I know he is discouraged at the passing of his wife and was depressed over the events in WCG that happened to himself. He texted once he was recovering from a surgery and would get back to me. He never did. I asked again if he'd like to rekindle the friendship. No answer. I have no reason to believe he died in the interim but it is clear the friendship was weaker than I thought.

Other ministerial types I do admit I would not wish to be in touch with them because of issues between us over the years. The friendship was contingent on staying faithful to their definition of faith. I can just now fill up one hand with the number of friends from WCG who stay in touch with me personally to talk and share. All of them I remet here
on Banned.

Not one church member from my past, and that would be in 14 congregations have stayed friendly or in touch. I came to the Pacific North West for reasons I suppose I should keep more personal and confidential, but "poof", that is gone as well and I find myself here alone, or as they said in that great line in Jurassic Park, "Well, we're back in the car again." (Great scene. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpL--P5Orbg

DennisCDiehl said...

Winston Churchill defined history as "one damned thing after the next." I'd also define interpersonal church originated relationships the same way. lol Or not lol depending!

RSK said...

Aye, my family too. A couple of them are still hung up on Armstrongism (and they seem determined to be in a self-inflicted miserable mood all the time), but its amazing how much better the others have done since choosing to exit.

Byker Bob said...

Friendship amongst fellow WCG members wasn’t a given or spawned by “the truth” or “God’s true church”. It was accidental, and usually based on the types of alliances which would have normally been formed anyway as a result of common interests or experiences outside of Armstrongism. I have to say that in my younger years I actually encountered such potential friends in WCG or AC, who became closer and better friends than my blood brothers or cousins. Unfortunately, the church identified these friendships as being based on false loyalties (they wanted the church to be the primary cause of any loyalties) decided that such friendships were detrimental, and attempted to break them up.

It’s sad, because in breaking up or marginalizing those friendships, what the WCG accomplished was to program us against having close relationships with others. They gave us DSM IV Axis II personality disorders which have followed many of us around for life. I don’t do relationships. I’m not lonely, and I’m actually happy the way I am, in spite of the fact that it’s terribly warped. It also becomes very disturbing every time that I realize that it appears that the Kingdom is going to be based upon relationships.

Anyone who believes that Armstrongism is or was a Christian organization is sadly mistaken. Reflecting on the past, everybody ran around with a corncob figuratively shoved up their ass, judging and looking down on everyone else.
It’s so sad! We didn’t attend a nurturing church. Quite the opposite!

BB

Anonymous said...

There's a song in the 70s, that would fit well for friendships in the WCG. Word changes, and the song fits so well to many experiences.

In a little while from now
If I'm not feeling any less hurt
I promise myself to treat myself
was kicked out of the local church
I can't go in the hall
They told me I don't matter at all
So I tried to
Make it clear to whoever
Wants to know what it's like When you're forgotten
Left standing in the lurch from the church
Were people saying, oh wow, that's tough
They said enough
No chance of us remaining
We have to stay at home
As I did on my own
Alone again, naturally
To think that only yesterday
I was cheerful, bright and gay
Looking forward to who wouldn't do
The role I was about to play
But as if to knock me down
The church, the pastor came around
And without so much as a mere touch
Cut me into little pieces
Leaving me to doubt
Talk about, God in His mercy
Oh, if he really does exist
Why did he desert me
In my hour of need
I truly am indeed
Alone again, naturally
It seems to me that
There are more hearts broken in the church
That can't be mended
Left unattended
What do we do
What do we do
Alone again, naturally
Looking back over the years
And whatever else that appears
I remember I cried when my they tossed my hide
Never wishing to hide the tears
And at sixty-five years old
My mother, God rest her soul
Couldn't understand why the only church
She had loved had thrown her out so,
Leaving her alone
With a heart so badly broken
Despite all the hope she'd go back
No words were said to,
And when she passed away
I cried and cried all day
Alone again, naturally
Alone again, naturally

True Bread said...

thank god I broke free.....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SvdBJWpZR0




TK

True Bread said...

and there is this, too....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVMDjfNjb0k

David Rickman said...

I never made any friends in WCG. Most of my friends are of the Pentecostal faith and I almost ruined that friendship because of WCG.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that for the most part, church members have been family to me...there have been a few through the years that would turn on you and stab you in the back and the drop of a hat, but they were/are few and far between.

they were the ones that name dropped, making sure everyone knew that they knew the ministers personally, and knew all of the kids' names too...
always had a big fancy house at the Feast, and comment on those that had "lesser" dwellings.

I for one don't go to the Feast to impress anyone...and why spend 5Gs on a house when the $900 one was sufficient?

anyway, most of them have moved on....guess they were in the right place, but for the wrong reasons.

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I learnt a lot from socializing with church members. Many were social barbarians, so l came to comprehend how offensive some wrong social behaviors are.

Anonymous said...

When we left WCG, a large contingent left at the same time, so the only people who "shunned" us (and we them), was fairly small.

However, when we left LCG almost 20 years ago, the impact was immediate. Those who acted like they were our best friends (or as I later realized, attaching themselves to someone who was used in many ways), treated us like we had the plague immediately after we left.

Unfortunately, one of our children remains with LCG, and while giving lip service that they still recognize us as their parents, they also readily will state (and their actions prove) that following the "government" or ministry, trumps all else, than ours as a family.

Sadly, we were guilty of bringing this attitude and approach to our family, as we too, made the church our entire universe, teaching our children that the church WAS the only place to place one's commitment, so we now pay the price of ever growing distance between our family members.

I think what amazes me the most, is how much we then and they now, parsed what the Bible says about family, making the church and ministry, the epitome of who controlled our every thought and action.

Unfortunately we dumbly allowed it, thinking these men, who now can't agree that water is wet among the 100's of groups, somehow had our best interests in mind, when it has always been the exact opposite.

Anonymous said...

Growing up in Armstrongism and then returning a few years later and attending for almost 11 more years, I find has really handicapped me when it comes to forming solid relationships with other people. I have a very hard time connecting on more than a superficial way. I find myself lonely and I want to be able to reach out but when I do, it's rarely reciprocated, I often think it's something I do or maybe don't do. My husband and I were both out for a number of years then he decided to go back in with the RCG and I felt like I lost the one person I counted on the most. He will put the church ahead of me everytime and I know it. I am so thankful that I have several siblings and 2 daughters that I can reach out to.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, one of our children remains with LCG, and while giving lip service that they still recognize us as their parents, they also readily will state (and their actions prove) that following the "government" or ministry, trumps all else, than ours as a family.

Sadly, we were guilty of bringing this attitude and approach to our family, as we too, made the church our entire universe, teaching our children that the church WAS the only place to place one's commitment, so we now pay the price of ever growing distance between our family members.


Does anyone here remember the song that the WCG used to sing at the Feast called "We are Family?" And another song called "Family, Now and Forever".

The chorus of the first song simply stated that we were family, and it was plain to see that for all eternity 'we'd be together, you and me'. The other song said:

" We are family, now and forever
Like jewels for the kingdom prepare
With our loved ones we cherish and treasure
The wonderful memories we share
Reflecting on life-time endeavor
Our faces will shine like the sun
We are family, now and forever
Together we're growing as one"

The concept that the CHURCH was Family "the world over" was indoctrinated in us over and over again, and time after time. The ministry were the parents, the brethren were the brothers and sisters. The Church family unit was the family. The REAL family unit was family in name only.

Why do I say that? Because the REAL family unit, in many cases, shunned their extended unconverted family all the time to favor their "spiritual family".

Family now and forever? Really? See - the REAL family unit WAS family, now and forever, like it or hate it. Maybe you had siblings, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nephews, nieces and cousins you loved or couldn't stand - but THEY were family, now and forever by blood. The church, however - well, you know what happened when you were banished from Armstrongism. Your "now and forever" family now was not allowed to contact you and treated you as the dirt under your feet.

All of that COG family propaganda served to intensify the bond in the church so that you simply put would not leave. Perhaps it isn't so coincidental all of the "family" stuff came out just a few years before the The Changes hit. If you intensify the bonds and put the "family" above everything else, maybe you'll brave all the doctrinal changes because you don't want to lose the only people you have as your "family". But we know how that all worked out. Family now and forever turned into "the face" accompanied with "What are you doing here? Don't talk to me."

Anonymous said...

7.28 AM
So true, the ministers are like the commies. All the matters is the group/nation (the church). The individual doesn't matter, which translates into no one matters. As long as the ministers can play church, members don't count.

I've mentioned this before. People acquire the belief from their school teachers that authority figures are better then they, and are for them. People start attending church with these ingrained beliefs, assuming that the ministers are superior to them, and are looking out for their best interest. But it's not true. Their fruits prove this.
Effort and mental reprogramming is required to erase these outdated beliefs.

Anonymous said...



Coming from an abusive childhood, the control, mind games and fear instilled by the Church was all too familiar. Looking back some 20 years later, membership in the WCG was but a test to teach me that I had a right to say "no" and walk away. No longer would I blame myself, compromise, live below the poverty level, get on-board the doctrine train or otherwise conform to an unacceptable set of rules under the guise of "trust God to work it out."

I never did believe that the church was more my family than my biological family, as the ministry often stated. And for those of us who came from a dysfunctional, abusive, non-supportive family, family was just an all-purpose word that included the good and the not so good.

Anonymous said...

When I joined Radio Church of God in 1935 I was a shy 30 year old and learned quickly how hate-filled Christians could be.

Near_Earth_Object said...

I worked at AC BS and felt that I had formed a number of friendships that would be durable. Today, I have no contact with anyone I knew in the WCG and thought of as a friend.

The WCG cult approach to destroying connections with your family and friends was this:

1. If your family and friends outside the church are more important to you than church members, it will lead you to the Unpardonable Sin. You will abandon God eventually.

2. People "in the world" hate you because they detect that Christ is in you and they all hate Christ. So you need to stay away from these people and develop relationships in the church.

This is the typical cult approach, although the reasons may be different from cult to cult. The purpose of the cult-meisters is to isolate you so that you can be used as a resource. The idea that the WCG is are family is malarkey. Armstrongism is and has always been a caste system.

Anonymous said...

I think some attention should be brought to Todd's video link. And someone needs to DL this and save it in case the uploader removes it.

There were reasons why the FOT was called the Feast of Booze. But this... this was Ambassador College. "God's College" on Earth. I had no idea it was such a party-house. These pictures make it look more like some crazed worldly fraternity then anything else. But was I reading it correctly about Ron Dart serving the Beer? And... were they REALLY letting a little child drink beer from the can???

Seems to me that Ambassador College was actually Drink-Like-An-Ass College. Recapturing True Liquor. The Hops Shall Dwell with the Stein and a Little Student shall Drink Them? STEIN-way pianos on the stage? A whole Brew World? The New Beverages and the Brew Earth? Behold, I make all things Brew?

nck said...

10:40

You made me choke in my tea.
Thanks for the laugh. You are funny and deserving of eternal life, so, continue as you were.

Nck

Anonymous said...

This is both hilarious and sad.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse me for being technologically challenged. This comment is totally unrelated to this post - it is a new subject. I could not figure out how to submit it.

Dave Pack is continuing his delusional prophecy. He is now teaching that Christ will return to Pack's compound where the HQ of the government of God will be on Pack's campus for about 110 years until Christ heads to Jerusalem!!!

No folks, you can't make this stuff up!!Go to YouTube and listen to Pack's own words for yourself!!!

David C Pack Restored church of God REVEALED Jesus Christ Returns Where and When

Anonymous said...

The title is a bit misleading. The problem is not that church members are or are not truly your family. The problem is that, when you are in an ACOG, church members are FALSELY your family.

True Bread said...

Anonymous said...

When I joined Radio Church of God in 1935 I was a shy 30 year old and learned quickly how hate-filled Christians could be.
April 2, 2018 at 10:40 AM


must be immortal....!!!



TK

Sovereign Citizen said...

10:40, so you are 113 years old???

True Bread said...

Anonymous said...

Please excuse me for being technologically challenged. This comment is totally unrelated to this post - it is a new subject. I could not figure out how to submit it.

Dave Pack is continuing his delusional prophecy. He is now teaching that Christ will return to Pack's compound where the HQ of the government of God will be on Pack's campus for about 110 years until Christ heads to Jerusalem!!!

No folks, you can't make this stuff up!!Go to YouTube and listen to Pack's own words for


Here ya go, anon:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJSIIMnzuNQ

can't blame ole Davey too much though...he got sucked up into the HWA madness like most of us here did...maybe one day he will see the light, but I think he's too far gone for that to happen in this lifetime...I often wonder what Pack would be like if he had never been indoctrinated...may have been a nice car salesman somewhere...


TK

Anonymous said...

anon 10:40 30 years old in 1935 that makes you 110 years old.

Anonymous said...

If you are in an Armstrong splinter group and you believe that any of your 'brethren/ friends" would still be your friends for 5 minutes if you quit church or decide to go to another group... I have some land to sell you in LA.