A collection of Facts, Opinions and Comments from survivors of Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong,  The Worldwide Church of God and it's Daughters.
Updated 02/28/07 12:50 PM PDT

The painful truth about Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Arrmstrong and the Worldwide Church of God

Articles Pertaining To Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong and The Worldwide Church of God

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Email To The Editor
(Page 96)

Hi to Everyone

I have recently completed a book, entitled Flying Free, on my journey in and later out of the Worldwide Church of God (Worldwide Church of God) -- I spent 35 years in the Worldwide Church of God, prior to the changes taking effect in 1995. Flying Free is a fairly large and extensive work. I have decided that in order to make it as available and affordable as possible, I am distributing it on a compact disk, at a cost including international postage of $A10 ($A12 for those outside of NZ, Australia, Asia and the Pacific). The book also includes some scanned graphics which would be compromised had it been published in book form. Of course, you can print the book off from the CD.

Flying Free is a thoroughly researched book, which can help people to freely move on from the legacy of the Armstrong errors.   Book details, including "Lara's letter" and other excerpts, with comments from those who have read the book, can be seen on the Flying Free website:


John Morgan
Brisbane, Australia


Please pray for my friend and your Christian brother, Richard Markland of Covington, Ohio. Richard was accused, and has been declared guilty of raping his eight-year-old granddaughter. He is presently in Miami County jail awaiting his January 2nd sentencing. Since his alleged victim was under the age of ten, Richard could face ten years to life in the state prison.

Richard is well-known for his on-line denunciation of manís governmental and judicial system. Could his incarceration be the systemís way to silence him?

Please also pray for his aging parents, Paul and Treva Markland. They have suffered greatly though the lingering death of Richardís wife, Linda, by cancer, as well as through the months of accusation and incarceration of their son.

Only three people know whether the charge against Richard is just: Richard, his accuser, and God. Please pray that God will determine the outcome of January 2ndís sentencing, as well as for Richardís parentsí future. Also, please pray for his granddaughter, who may have been coached in her accusations.

anonymous.8bc568ef37 [anonymous.8bc568ef37@anonymousSpeech.com]

Say it ain't so, Dick!  Say it ain't so!


Yeah, everyone pray for Richard Markland. That will fix everything. How about praying for the granddaughter who has the rest of her life ruined?

I was watching The Glenn Beck Show last night. He is a little too religious for me but I find him easier to watch than the constant screaming and talking over each other on the Hannity and Colmes show. (Does there have to be a Right and a Left opinion on everything? Can't we agree on some things?) 

Anyhow, he had a guest on the show that had a new Christian video game. I didn't pay too much attention to what was being said, hoping they would move on to something interesting as I was doing computer work. But, then the guy says, in his Christian video game, the person can play a "Prayer Card."  

And I'm thinking:  "it is the card you play and nothing happens." Just keep pushing that prayer button as your minister (God's servant) aka "grandpa" (or "daddy" in Herbert W. Armstrong's case) the rapist, comes after you and nothing happens. Nobody saves you, as you keep frantically pressing the button, just like real life. Its kind of like that "Easy Button" that Staples has but at least that button actually works. Well, maybe it doesn't really work but it works just as good as that "Prayer Button." 

Pray for this, pray for that. Nothing happens except you might feel better because you "think" you did something because you placed all responsibility into the make-believe hands of your make-believe god. If it turns out good, then god answered your prayer. If it turns out bad, then it is just god's will and who are we to question that? Sheeeze..... 

The God that could have done something to stop this minister-grandfather-rapist did absolutely nothing to stop this poor little girl from being raped but now people should pray to this same make-believe God that He would help a convicted rapist. 

How could we have been so delusional to ever believe such things? Ignorant people can be excused but how can educated people be so stupid?  

Ed Sr



Dear Editor, 

I don't know whether this is useful or not but I have had a couple of email battles with Markland.  I was a member of WWCG and recently questioned his beliefs in Herb.  After I mentioned to him that Armstrong was a pedophile, he stopped replying.  Sound strange? 

Thanks for your work, 

Charlie Ezelle

Thanks for the info, Charlie.  Another reader sent information that indicates Mr. Markland has been in and out of court several times since the early 90s.  A couple of those  looked like theft or fraud charges, and once it appears he was the complainant in a case involving a neighbor's dog.  Then, suddenly -- child rape!  Quite a leap.



I am surprised to find not listed on your suicides related to WCG the following: 

Murder(7)/Suicide(1) Terry Ratzman age 44 Milwaukee (Waukesha), WI.  My parents were in the front row at the church service of Meredith's offshoot of WCG, where Terry gunned down seven people before turning the gun on himself.  My parents, and those who chose to side with the church, indifferently shrug off the incident:  It was 'satan' that got into poor Terry's head.... I didn't argue with them, having grown up in the WCG, I already know that is useless.  The poor guy, victim of the disallusionment of a waning Armstrong empire - the media had a field day with ex-members talking about cultish rules, etc of the WCG and the members denying it all (LIARS).  I was thoroughly disgusted.

You're right!  I don't know how that one slipped past us.  Thanks for bringing it to our attention.



Hello,  I have some things to add to the 'You Might Have Grown up in WCG...'  section of your website.  I was in tears laughing as I read it.  I forwarded it to my brother and sister who also grew up WCG (the youngest in UCG and then GCG and then LCG).... They were ROFL as well!  Thanks so much for your site, for bringing information, healing, and much needed humor about our experiences with the abuses of cultism.  Please leave this anonymous, even though I am not ashamed of any of these things, I fear the 'lurker' who may try to contact me to 'set me straight' as my parents are each still members of local WCG/LCG churches.

[name withheld]

Thanks for writing.  For a girl who was discouraged from "thinking too much", I'd say you have a pretty sharp mind.  The way women were treated by the church was positively medieval.  (Oh, yeah...GOOD FOR YOUR BROTHER!)

John B



Okay, this is just too funny.... 

I left the WCG as an adolescent, never understanding the road my parents took to wind up in this cult.  Even as a small child I never really took too much of the doctrine to heart.  I can remember my parents spinning tales of Petra, the place of safety, and telling me about the tribes of Isreal, and the eras of churches, the true origins of the evil pagan santa claus and the easter bunny, etc.  They were great stories, and I enjoyed most of them, but found them similar to stories about witches who ate children, evil stepmothers who tried to poison their daughters with apples, and big bad wolves who ate grandmothers or blew houses down.  I realized that all of these stories were supposed to teach me something, but never took them to be literal facts.  Perhaps that was my salvation in the end.  

Anyway, I decided to check out the tactics that worked so well on my parents in getting them to to fall for such crap.  I decided to visit the Tomorrow's World site, as my mother still attends Living Church under Meridith.  I decided to email them and ask about the validity of the bible to see how they responded.  I received an email from Gary Ehman, instructing me to read their booklet, The Bible, Fact or Fiction?  I did a search on their site and came up with nothing.  After browsing through their booklet list, I found what I was looking for.... 

How appropriate that the title of this booklet has so blatent an error.  I've attached a picture of the error just in case they catch it and change the title before anyone takes a look.  Are they trying to turn people away from the bible?  Not only does the title read The Bible, Fact of Fiction? but in the first paragraph there are two words stuck together.  The title of this booklet sounds more appropriate as one introducing a proof that the bible is taken as fact but built almost entirely upon fiction... coincidence?  Perhaps not - must be old SATAN up to his dirty tricks again!  Ha Ha Ha.   

On a side note, it's nice to see that Merideth has traded in SHOUTING emphasis for italicized emphasis!  Also interesting is that the method of induction is still to lure common, uneducated people into believing lies built on selected truths.  If you don't bother to read these selected truths outside of the context of the booklets, it is easy to connect the dots and end up with the final picture that this organization wants you to!  Many probably do not realize that this is not true research, and obediently following along does not prove anything.  

Just thought I'd pass this on to someone who would find this as humorous as I do!

[name withheld]

Thanks for pointing that out.  I agree, it's a "good 'urn".  Literacy has never been the strong suit of COG types, but in this case it's a simple case of carelessness.  You think Jesus would leave a type-o like that?  I think NOT!



Please keep my email address "private". 

I have been receiving on line "devotions" from Life Lines for about 3 years.  Leslie Turvey lives in Canada and mostly sticks to theory and lives his life according to Old Testiment Law (or so it seems).

When I received the following, I was confused.  I have never heard of Richard Markland.  It also is Mr. Turvey's opinion (his email...his opinion?)

I "Google-d" his name and found your website.  I will also forward Mr. Turvey's latest post to you.

I am also going to ask to be removed from any future mailings.

Thank You 

K in NC

Thank you, K, for passing this on.  The story becomes more interesting by the day.  The email you forwarded is reproduced here, with my editorial commentary.




I ran across the Painful Truth by accident just the last couple days. As you might know Dick Wiedenheft is very ill with stage four Hodgkin's Lymphoma. My husband and I are both Ambassador College graduates and attended in the '70's. I was Lutheran background and followed a boyfriend into that mess. Fortunately I had a teaching degree before I attended AC.  It was all wrong from what I observed. My husband had three years at Indiana University before attending AC so he was a bit more open minded than the usual student. Anyway, we left the church years ago after HWA got really crazy and we were already home and into careers. I just retired from teaching. Mike is still working happily with 28 years at CookMedical.  I was looking for some info on when Dick graduated from AC and ran across this site. Stayed up late reading for several days. My sister still attends the UCG and is happy there. None of her kids have stayed in the church and she has five.  My other sister dabbles in it from time to time but both her children did not stay. All are college graduates and into
their careers and have no use for any of the simpleton approach or teachings.

Anyway, I wondered while reading what has become of HWA's daughters and his second wife? My heart went out to the daughter abused for ten years. What a sick experience for her. I was one of the senior girls that served the senior dinners at HWA's house at Pasadena. What an eye opener that was! The daughter named Beverly was often there and she was clearly an alcoholic. She did not eat at all and only wanted her mixed drinks. She would come into the kitchen dressed to the nines in diamonds and Italian knits and a fur and show it all off to the college gals like myself
and we would oooooh and ahhhhh. It was a hoot! Later it occurred to me that the church people were buying all her goodies! She was quite independent and I always loved her indifference to the whole dinner party! She would always sit at the other end from HWA and while he talked about his travels and the church she would just sit and talk too! He wouldn't stop her. She talked about all kinds of shopping on her travels. It was colorful.

Did Stan Rader and Ramona try to remove HWA as some claim? How did HWA meet Ramona and become romantically involved with her? And what happened to the Dean boys? I taught at Imperial Schools with one of their wives at Pasadena. She was so
mean to the children and would paddle, paddle, paddle. If one child did some small thing she would paddle the entire first grade class. After my "worldly" college education I was stunned at how mean religion can cause people to be even to the most innocent among us. I was fed up and graduated and went home to happily teach in the "worldly" schools where I never once saw teachers in our system allowed to discipline in such a cruel and unthinking manner.

Thank you for taking the time to offer a very stimulating web site for those of us who were mixed up in bad religion and need to vent! Dick's diagnosis is not good. They are beginning treatment in a very measured way as his liver is not functioning and is blocked by a tumor they are trying to shrink.


Kathy and Mike Galimore

In answer to your question about Stan and Ramona, I don't really know.  A lot of things happened back in those days and rumors abounded.  The answer may well be found in the pages of Ambassador Report, available at this website.  It's been years since I read the AR so I just don't remember if that question was answered.

I believe I did hear that Dorothy Armstrong Matson had passed on, and I think Beverly Gott has too, but I could be wrong.  I inherited this site when no one else wanted it after the original editor retired, so I confess that I'm not as up to date on matters as many others are.

Thanks for your letter.  Here's wishing the best for Dick Wiedenheft.

John B



I was wondering if anyone has any experiences they could relate regarding interactions (good or bad) with ministers George or Joel Meeker.  If so, please email me at isearch4truth@gmail.com as I am interested in knowing more about these two individuals in the capacity of minister in the various COG's.

[Name withheld by request]


 I am so grateful for having found your site, I wish I would have found it years ago.  Although I have 'gotten over' my experience with WCG, and have been increasingly happy and successful in life since my escape twelve years ago (I call it escape as I never willingly entered the cult - was born into it, and fought it since I can remember until shortly before my 18th birthday when I left home and was finally free), I am still finding the information on your site really helpful for putting into perspective the madness that was my childhood and why my parents acted as they did - most of which was fed by 'the church' and certainly Garner Ted's child rearing principles.  I will continue to read and post as much as I can, as this is truly a website with a worthy cause - enlightenment for those touched by the cult, and warnings for those that may be looking for answers within COG's or any other cult.  Keep up the good work.





I was reading through your website (I was an innocent child victim of WCG in the 70's and 80's) and WOW you really took the brunt of WCG. I was the last child in a bad marriage between a disgruntled, bitter father raised Catholic (with a neurological disease) and a mother who's mother was a fanatical SDA.

My sister went into the Navy at a young age and apparently she and another Navy buddy got on fire for HWA when they were stationed in California. I, as a child, was going through normal teenage problems compounded by my parents bickering and arguing, especially my father's hatefulness, Parkinson's and depression. I was a very depressed, confused teenager to say the least. I was skin on bone and hardly ate. Enter my sister and her buddy after coming home from the Navy all on fire for HWA. As you can see, the stage was set. They began their obsession with HWA and she would actually humiliate me and manipulate my mother into forcing me into this cult with her. She didn't stop at words, she also used physical force. I started attending with her at 16 and in my childish mind I thought these people would all be perfect and wearing white robes.

Terrified and hostile, hardly saying a word, I would attend these "services" with her. My hands would sweat at services. However, as you know, there were a lot of wonderful people in WCG and they were for the most part kind to me and this brought me out of my shell. My mother saw these results and decided this cult was good for me. I started dating for the first time in WCG and had a steady boyfriend. My sister hated him and went to my mother and the ministers and accused us of sleeping together. We held hands a couple of times and that was it. But, she made life hell for me over this friendship. School was a nightmare. I remember having a teacher grill me in her office for my non participation in Christmas. My father grilled me one day over not wanting to sell my car on a Saturday. My sister made sure that I was baptized at 18. I remember riding to this Deacon's house with her and not really understanding what I was doing when I was immersed in this tub he had in his basement. Anyway, this sister decided to skip town to Ambassador College.

I was totally lost, having been bullied by her and WCG for so long in stead of having these problems dealt with as a family and having all of us get healthy instead of blaming each other for the problems. Moving on, she came back from Ambassador College disillusioned and actually started questioning me for my WCG involvement. She married and left for awhile. She wanted to leave that situation and come back home, but my mother told her to go back to her husband and make a go of it. I, then maturing into my 20's and half heartedly attending college and WCG, still depressed, failed at college and decided I needed to leave my parents home in order to find any happiness at all. I had no social life at that time. I got a secretarial job at $5.00 (back then you could actually support yourself on that) an hour and moved into an apartment down the street. Then I went wild.

I hooked up with a girl at college and another friend from high school and we were the "Paris Hilton's" of the nightclub, disco scene. Coming in drunk at 3/4 in the morning, out every night. I stopped praying for years since I thought I was lost because of what I was doing and for leaving WCG. I dated heavily but never was able to maintain a long term relationship. I had serious depression. Surprisingly, I was able to hold down my secretarial job. Some time later in the 70's I was tired of my life and decided to go back to WCG and try to straighten my life out. Nothing was ever said to me about coming back except they were glad I was back. I might add that a couple sisters had followed me into WCG years ago and were still members who were raising their children in WCG (this is a major area of guilt for me to this day....these children raised in WCG).

 I went back to college and got my degree and applied for Programming jobs and got a job as a Programmer. I still was, believe it or not, so gullible and naive about real relationships and I was 31. After dating different men in WCG, I had to be honest with myself and know I could never have a relationship with any of them because I just couldn't swallow WCG's teachings. And, I didn't like the idea of tithing. I started dating "in the world", again, as WCG would say and I met my husband in a bar. He came from worse dysfunction that I did and so we understood each other.

I've been married for 19 years. Thirteen years ago I started attending a neighborhood church as I wanted to meet some nice lady friends and get involved in helping others. The minister explained to me that cults take away all of your freedom. I am now 53, no children, married and nothing much else to report. I am just concerned about family members that are still stuck in the splinter groups of WCG. Old saying, "If I knew then what I know now". I guess I have some bitterness over certain caregivers in my life being so selfish and hateful. They had the knowledge to set me on the right path, but chose to be mean spirited instead.

My story is quite different from yours, but probably similar to other child survivors of WCG. There is life after WCG, just get the professional help you need is my message to child survivors. Hope this helps someone!


Thanks for writing, Sandy.  On balance, I think you had a rougher experience than I did.  The good news is that you got out and you obviously have your head in the right place.  Your experience is just one more testimony to the destructiveness of the Armstrong cult(s), and yes, I think it will help others recognize that.  By the way, have you checked out the PT Forum?  I think you would find lots of friends there who can relate to your story.



I don't mind if you use my first name, but I do like some anonymity.  

I just e-mailed my minister, Ron Weinland, to tell him that I withdraw from fellowship.  Once I did it, the relief was - a relief. 

I entered the WCG world when, at 19, and aimless, I saw HWA on World Tomorrow in 1984.  I was baptized in 86, and for a lot of the time was, in my own definition, more Laodicean than Philadelphian, I'm sure you can figure that one out. 

But in late 2000, after having left UCG in 1995, a friend, whom I love dearly, but know she will never be able to leave, sent me R. Weinland's Time is Running Out.  From that point on, I was in-until now. 

At this point, I'll make it short, but I've come to not only doubt the existance of God and Christ, but am convinced.  I wish there were no religion anywhere influencing the minds of both regular people, and those in power.  I hope there is an existance after death, a peaceful existance-I'm having to adjust to thinking that maybe there is no resurrection, that maybe the dead are dead forever, that one is hard. 

It's now 2007, I'm 42 years old.  I'm looking back over the years with a sense of sorrow, that I gave myself in such a way as to not allow my own creativity to flourish.  Always, always second guessing myself.  So many years... 

To anyone else leaving COG, don't fear.  Leave the fear behind. Live. 


That's GREAT news, Lisa!  Those are the words we live to hear.  Congratulations for taking that "pro-life" step.  I'm confident that you won't regret it.  No one I've ever talked to who left the cults has regretted doing so.  Thanks for writing, and keep in touch.



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