As a 3rd generation Worldwide Church of God member, my childhood was saturated in Armstrongism. Many teachings of 'the church' effect my life to this day. One stands out in my mind: it's views on the apocalypse.
We were taught that the apocalypse would happen 'in our lifetime.' We were told only members of the Worldwide Church of God would survive the apocalypse, and have everlasting life*. Trumpets were supposed to blow--at any moment--signaling that the end times had come. Upon those trumpet calls, members of 'the church' would sell all of their belongings and send the money to the Worldwide Church of God. 'The church' leaders would buy jets and we would all move to the 'place of safety' (Petra, Jordan).
Also, as a child I was taught that , if we did not follow all of Gods laws, we may not hear the call of the Trumpets and be left behind to be eaten alive by demons.
I have been free from the bondage of Armstrongism for over a decade now. For years, I tried to just forget about 'the church.' Only now I come to realize how detrimental 'the church' has been upon my mental wellbeing. For over more than half of my life, I have had re-occuring nightmares of the apocalypse; specifically, a zombie apocalypse. Rotting corpses re-animated... seeking human flesh to eat.
Below is the audio of a Worldwide Church of God sermon (taken from 1982.) This audio file is long; in the old Worldwide Church of God fashion. I took the time to listen to the whole thing; but now I finally understand why I have re-occuring nightmares of a zombie apocalypse to this day.
I find this sermon shocking. Carn Catherwood warns that 'the church' will be compared to Jim Jones, when we flee to the "Place of Safety" during the apocalypse. The sermon warns us that--during the apocalypse-the media will call us a cult.
Perhaps it is important to note that this sermon was recorded only 3 years after the mass cult suicide in Jonestown. I believe American media had focused much attention on cults at this time. Obviously these statements (supposed prophecies) were a form of damage control, due to the heightened awareness of cults after the Jonestown mass suicides.
The WCG minister then recites a passage from Revelations, twisting it; he claims that "the media is Satan on earth, trying to trick us out of everlasting life." The minister says it is Biblical prophecy: "the government and the media will try to prevent us from fleeing to Jordan."
Church members are told that we cannot survive on their own during the apocalypse; they can only survive in the 'Place of Safety." He conjures up images of people being eaten alive; claims that your neighbours will burn down your house to get at any food you may have hoarded for the apocalypse.
The minister, Carn Catherwood, is obviously trying to force people (using fear-tactics) to believe in the "Place of Safety." We are reminded about Lots wife, who turned to a pillar of salt, when she hesitated fleeing. Over and over the minister says: "As it was in Lot's time, so shall it be during the tribulation."
Catherwood is encouraging people to act without thinking, out of fear. We are told to blindly follow 'the churches' lead OR ELSE. Catherwood is teaching members that even common sense and critical thinking could cause you to loose your eternal life.
This sermon is evidence that the old Worldwide Church of God was in fact a cult*.
[It is important to note, that these teachings are now considered 'doctrinal errors' by the current Worldwide Church of God. During the fateful 'Changes', this was one of the 200 plus doctrines that were altered.]
This website is intended for people affected by the Worldwide Church of God, Living Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God; or any other splinter group. However, these essays may be helpful to anyone who was once involved in a Bible-based cult.