Editor’s Note: The following is an update from Joy Wallace, who posted her original story here. The call for participation in her survey is here too. I have also created an easy-to-share shortened link to the survey: http://bit.ly/wcgsurvey. Post it on your Facebook account or e-mail it to friends or family with a WCG background!
Dear Ex-WCG Friends,
I thought it about time that I give an update on my writing project, as many of you have contributed so kindly!
My goal with this project is to simply tell what I believe is one of the most exciting and unheard of stories of the 20th century, culminating in one of the most stunning events of religious history, that is, the deconstruction of a fringe religious group from within by turning it towards a culturally accepted form of religion (in this case, Evangelicalism.) I hope to make the story accessible to curious outsiders, as well as provide insight and understanding to those who experienced Armstrongism first hand and are looking for an explanation of events to help them deal with their own confusion.
I want to thank those who took the time to fill out my survey and to pass it on to others. I’ve had about 40 responses which is an excellent beginning. Naturally, I would hope to hear from hundreds who have been affected by the WCG and its offshoots. The responses I have had so far have been so heartfelt and illuminating.
One concern I have as to the results is that the survey hasn’t reached those who still cling to Armstrong’s views in one form or another. I haven’t yet sorted out how to approach this demographic, but I feel it is important to include those who experience the WCG as a positive in their life. And there are certainly many who do! It is important that people understand I am not trying to write a hit piece and want those who appreciate Armstrongism today to feel they can speak to me without fear of judgment.
I don’t want to belittle anyone. If you are still connected with those involved in Armstrongism, forwarding the survey to them would be a great help. In the mean time, I will keep thinking of ways to approach current adherents in a non-threatening way.
My most pressing research at the moment is gathering WCG media. Use of media was one of the defining characteristics of the WCG and so much of the Church’s work was done through radio, television, and Festival reels. Some content is available online, but not a significant amount. I believe it would be a historical shame if the World Tomorrow telecast and Festival reels were lost forever.
Many dutiful members recorded the World Tomorrow when it was first broadcast and I am anxious to speak to former members who may still have these on VHS. As to the Festival reels, I am not sure where to begin searching. I would certainly hope they have not all been destroyed. Also, it would be wonderful to have personal photos or videos of the Church in its hay-day.
If anyone has these photos or videos available to them and would be interested in talking about sharing them for research purposes, I would love to be in touch with you! I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, I am always happy for the opportunity to chat with people about their experiences. I know many people have mixed feelings about their involvement with the WCG. Rest assured, I am not out to embarrass or mock. Please share freely.
Thanks again to everyone for their contribution.