Mark

In order to begin my personal WCG story, I looked into some things others had written.  I clicked on a link Robert had provided in the “Requirements for posters” paragraph of his remarkable website.  That click took me to the site called Painful Truth, with which I was already familiar.  However, the long list of points provided by former young attendees, the listing under “You Might Have Grown Up In The Worldwide Church of God If…” was new to me.  And heart-rending.

Later, I went back and clicked on the Worldwide Church of God link, and that opened a site completely foreign to me — not only new to my eyes but new to any rumor or previous preparation.  Beginning with the photo of a bearded Joe Jr. (whom I had known only slightly as an upstart while his father was a deacon), who now sports the title of “Dr.”  Shocking on more than one level!  I didn’t bother reading any of that site.

Very much appreciated, due to the similarity to my own philosophies, was Robert’s line I copied and pasted here: “…despite my current view of Christianity and religion in general as false, I feel I share a sense of kindred spirit with those who attended (or still attend) WCG, and especially those who grew up attending.”

With this kindred spirit in mind, I felt a need to approach my story with an out-pouring of compassion for so many who came after my time in the WCG.

You see, my time of relating to the sect began all the way back in the early 1950s and actually involved the R(radio)CG for many years.  The name change came while I was a student, probably second year, at AC in Big Sandy, Texas.  It seems the change happened around 1965, perhaps within months of the death of Loma Armstrong.  Interesting that I had not associated these two events until this moment, and I now wonder if perhaps Loma would not allow Herbert to make that name change earlier because it may have sounded too boastful to her.  She was a kindly and humble woman.  At least she seemed so to me with my limited access to her.

My compassion for those who have written so many great and small memories of their time growing up in the church stems from something I sincerely felt and mentioned when I responded to some of the comments on Joy’s story here in this blog: my own inability to alter their plight.

If you have read any of my posts in the Painful Truth Blog [found under the name, Mark (Salyer) Manning], you already know that I walked away with minimal pain and virtually never looked back.  From my own singular and completely self-determined perspective, begun when I resigned, the whole concept of the WCG and even of religion itself fell away into the dust of antiquity.  It hurts today to come to the sudden realization that still after 1976, thousands of babies were born to church members and more thousands of children grew up within the constriction of that belief system with all its perversions, inequities and corruptions.

While writing for the Painful Truth blog, I was charged by some to apologize to everyone for my role in the corruption, etc.  I found it distasteful to be even asked to do so because I had been as duped and manipulated as anyone else who blindly followed in that tortuous path.  So I never overtly offered any apology there, but I feel the desire and the need to do so here.  Because here, I find I am speaking to so many young people, so many innocents who without any blame or recourse, were dragged along to adulthood through the grim requirements their duped (and often over-zealous) parents placed upon them.  And perhaps the most personally sobering for me is the realization that I was for some of you, that long-winded preacher up there grinding away on the “thou shalt not” bullshit you were forced to hear from your blanket on the floor, or later from your demanded erect and attentive position in the seat next to your misguided parent(s).  No, I was never guilty of the Waterhouse-type marathon sermons, but any sermon from those days was interminable to some of you, and I was definitely guilty of following the orders from headquarters to make the service come out to two hours duration.  In my defense, I doubt that any service where I was in charge ever went even ten minutes long and I remember surprising the congregation more than once by dismissing fifteen minutes or more before expected.  Hopefully I was being slightly compassionate even then, taking pity on your bottom and/or your attention span.

You, all of you, who came along and suffered the throes of the WCG from about 1968 until — well, whenever you managed to escape — deserve my apology and I ask that you accept it.  Especially do I ask the forgiveness of those who actually were children attending any of the meetings at feasts or in my own pastorates where I was the offending Lord of the Day, pounding the bible and my words into your brains.  You did not deserve that.  Nobody did.

Now that I’ve said all that, I will try to briefly summarize my own RCG/WCG life story and shut up.

Sometime in 1953, my older sister (already married – I was ninth of ten children in a northern Indiana farm family), told our mother about a radio broadcast called The World Tomorrow.  Mom began to listen devoutly and within about four years or so, she and the sister began making their way on rare occasion to Chicago to visit a service conducted by Dean Blackwell.  I believe it was about 1958 when they were both baptized, either by Dean or with the help of a traveling evangelist from Pasadena who came through on one of the baptism tours that were common back then.

In 1961 when I was a new (and always ready) driver at sixteen and in early third year of high school (and even though I had managed to avoid much direct involvement in the church because the all-important father of the family was not converted), the FoT came into play.  I was asked if I wanted to help drive my mom, sister and a new sister-in-law, along with four younger kids who were being forced to go, and head for Texas.  This meant being excused from classes for more than a week and it meant the chance to drive long distances.  Sold!

That Feast turned out to be a mild introduction to Big Sandy, the beautiful countryside of east Texas, the whole concept of camping out and of attending huge services in a huge building.  However, I managed to rebel a bit, often dropping off the family at the auditorium door before “parking” the station wagon, then sneaking on out of the lot and into Gladewater for a hamburger or whatever interesting thing I could check out.

Two years later, following high school graduation and looking into the abyss of job searches, career questions, whether to join the military, etc., I accepted again the chance to drive to a new destination — Jekyll Island, Georgia.  This time I was to chauffeur two widow ladies in the new Chevy owned by one of them.  I was to be the only driver and that suited me perfectly!  And the vacation spot on the Atlantic coast was delightful.  But by this time, I was not so shy around girls and I managed to get into trouble with one who was also not too shy.  To compensate for my infraction of the rules (I believe we had kissed!), I attended a service under the big top where Rod Meredith was expounding (and pounding), and I somehow saw the light.  From then on, I was a devoted church goer.

AC, Big Sandy from 1964 to 1968 set me up to be a mouthpiece for the church.

Until July 4, 1976.  That day, I gave my last sermon and resigned from the ministry.  No one had a clue on that day that I was also determined to never participate again in any kind of religion.  The light I had seen under the big top was a blinding light that prevented my having any view of the real world; that new view began slowly to come into focus in the summer of 1975 while my family and I were being tossed about by the sheer (ugly) politics of the WCG.  By early ’76, I was ready to admit I hated what my life had become and I knew I needed to change it for myself.  No one else could do it.

My story is much different from the many I have read on this site, chiefly because my association with the Radio Church of God and its later evolution was not as forced as were most of yours.  My dad never did become a member and that always allowed me to play both sides during my formative years.  I still missed out on many extracurricular activities and sports because even though my dad was not with mom in the church attendance business, he was no ally to my rebellion.  I also missed out on the Christmas crap (thinking then that I was missing something good but today, see as crap), and was something of an outcast among my youthful peers; but I was not forced to attend many long, boring sermons and never was trapped in the insufferable condition so many of you describe.  It is still shocking to me to hear of the horrible misadventures and virtual religious persecution suffered by so many of you who came into this world even after I had stepped away from that world of religion and let it slide from my awareness.  The totalitarian regime of HWA was a thing of misery and hateful experience, but in those earlest years it lacked the political upheavals, the struggling for meaning and the divisiveness that apparently raged in the 80s and 90s.  Today it’s all quite a mystery to me.  If you’re reading this, you must have gotten out.  I’m glad.

Thanks for hearing my story, and again, my sympathies to all who suffered.

Mark’s blog is Manning the Neutral Zone.

20 thoughts on “Mark

  1. Short biography, Mark, but I’m sure it will be helpful to many and I’m glad to see it. Like you, I feel a need to apologize somewhat for the things I did in ignorance by helping lead people astray in their thinking. All I can say in my defence is that as soon as I saw how much of a fool I had been, I walked away, just like you did and built a new life. There’s no way to undo, or as Dennis Deahl puts it, unring the bell.

  2. Mark, are you the same Mark Salyer that played on the men’s Chicago South basketball team in the 75 Tournament…I am looking at the booklet from that tourney and thought your name sounded familiar ( you had a beard…something unheard of in the church!!!). I was a kid on the Hinsdale boys team, Carl G was our pastor. I recently got back in contact with him after many years. Just wondering if you are the same person, that’s all!

  3. Guilty as charged, Jeff – on at least two counts.
    Yes, I played basketball when I was the pastor of Chicago South, from summer of ’75 until July 4, ’76. I declared my personal independence on our nation’s bicentennial day.
    The beard was some anomaly for which I cannot now recall the meaning. Perhaps it was my very first effort at rebelling against the church for its precepts that soon drove me to find a new life. Or perhaps I was trying to draw attention away from my round middle which had grown soft and pudgy only that previous year and embarrassed me when I donned a basketball uniform for the first time on about three years. Hard to say. I do recall that the beard was of the Amish type. That was merely a matter of my incapability at that time of growing a full mustache. It was too spotty and ill-formed to keep for the few weeks I sported the bushy black beard.

    Was your dad perhaps named Harold? It seems I remember a Harold Cormany in the Hinsdale group. Of course I remember Carl Gustafson; we were quick friends when I settled in the region. I got to see him once in my years post-WCG. He was running a bar he owned in Laramie, Wyoming, and I sat one day to watch and listen to his small jazz/rock group perform there. Glad to hear he is still doing well; please mention my name to him and tell him he can find my input here on this site.

    Thanks for commenting, Jeff. Warm regards.

  4. Yes, Harold was my father. And I understand the rebellion against that church…actually, churches in general..but especially that church. Us kids really like Carl as well….

  5. What an interesting site. I just wanted to say thank you. I was one of those children, laying on the floor on a blanket, being forced into submission. My parents both joined the year I was born (1973). The experience was not a good one, to say the least. I am now a practicing pagan, turning to the mother because the father caused me pain. A lot of pain, abuse, fear tactics, etc. Again, thank you. We were all taken advantage of. My father still has difficulty facing life without the church. He actually still believes all that bullshit. I have chosen to raise my children Wiccan. They never went to any church and we celebrate outside worshiping nature and the mother and father but no dogma or hierarchy of an institution. My children are now 17 and 19 and my daughter has followed the pagan path and my son is an atheist. “The Church” it still has an ominous undertone to me. Too many lost and broken years. My mother also practices paganism with me and my father about lost it. LOL. Life is funny. Anyway, have a blessed day brother.
    Kat

  6. I’m glad you got loose from the madness. Can’t say that I can regard wiccan or paganism as any better from my own personal view. Still strikes me a a bit of the “woooo, woooo” we have lots of in nearby Sedona.

    At least you seem to be doing your own thinking now and not bowing down to the dictates of some ancient priests. So many people are hung up on things dreamed up in the mists of the ancient superstitious past when nature was a terrifying mystery and all kinds of kooky people got strange ideas like circumcision and what to eat or not eat. Join me for shrimp cocktail, crab legs or lobster tail?

  7. Kat –
    I will say an “Amen” to Al’s comment in general. And I occasional say to folks that I’m a “pagan,” but notice the small “p” because it is not meant to be some label I wear. In fact, though I also cannot see any value to this or any kind of religious/superstitious practice, I am most delighted in the fact that I freed myself from having to make judgments on any of that. Your life, your call!

    Incidentally, you mention having been one of those children on the floor in church. Was it in the Chicago South congregation? I am still surprised that no comment has come from anyone who spent that floor time in any of my own pastorates. I would especially love to learn that any of those youths who I might be able to recall has developed a good life and some true happiness after those lousy beginnings.

    Keep on living and learning for yourself, Kat. Glad you found this site.

  8. Oops! I let that previous comment go under “anonymous.” So sorry, Kat – I most definitely wanted to let you know who addressed you here.

    Mark

  9. I was in there for years ..I began to see the light too after so many people were abused.. No Church has the right to do that..God would never put a fallable man like Flurry in charge of ertunal life of people on the earth.. Only God calls and He [never] leaves you after He does call you.. Flurry trys to make one think through fear that He has the power to say who God has in His kingdom. ..What Blaspheme..!!!!. People have left and commited sucide becouse Flurry made them think God left them .. and that He [ Flurry] has the power to cut people off from God……Christ is our intersessor. .Not flurry. and God never leaves us without hope…I would hate to be Him on Judgement Day

  10. Hi, Debbie,

    I have left your comment unaddressed for two months because I frankly don’t quite know what reasonable thing I could say to be of any benefit to you. You seem to be still under the influence. Just the reference to “judgment day” gives me an emotional whiplash, and your mention of a guy called Flurry is meaningless to me. Must be a johnny-come-lately bullshit artist with whom you had to interact; my dealings were with the Armstrong strongarms. Or rather, strong bullshit artistry.

    Can anyone emphasize enough that it was ALL worthless, still IS worthless and most of it was detrimental to the human mind and spirit? And by “it” I mean to say that belief systems of any kind limit what humanity could become. I do so hope that you and all others can finally escape the world of meaningless and mind-limiting belief in phantoms.

  11. I guess I was the first poster here way back in1997. I gained two comments since then. I would like to respond to “Mark” if he will give me his email address.

  12. Jim,
    Your comment came directly to me today from this website, and I definitely want you to be able to contact me directly. Please do so at my personal email of mmmarkmanning@gmail.com or simply click on my handle of markman on the website to go to my blog. I would be delighted to have conversations.

    Mark

  13. I came across this blog, read the posts and felt compelled to write. I was a member of WWCG, from 1986-1995. Like most of the members I was very confused by the fall of the WWCG. Wasn’t this Gods True Church??
    But in the years since then and after reading about all the horror stories online that members have about WWCG the one thing that pains me the most is when someone states that He or She no longer believes in God, or Jesus and has either lost their faith or worse yet state that they are now an atheist.
    When I hear this I realize the complete an utter failure of the WWCG, better to tie a mill stone around your neck and throw yourself into the deep than to make one of these little ones to stumble goes the scripture. This church and these minsters should hang their head in shame and repent.
    Now that I have said that I find it equally confusing too understand Why? Why would you lose your faith in God because the WWCG was theologically wrong. Why would a person allow their faith to be shattered because of a man or man’s devised religions? Just because some feel duped and or abused by them shouldn’t mean God doesn’t exist. Jesus still died on the cross no matter how the WWCG looked at it. We have to work out our “OWN” faith with trembling and fear goes another scripture.
    Now I am not going to go into anything but to say, please do not allow the pain of this past to affect your future and what you once BELIEVED. Didn’t you believe in God, and Jesus? Why stop because of WWCG? We allowed them to tell us how to worship God and trusted them with what the bible said. We did not focus on God in the WWCG, we only focused on the church government, and the holy days. It is our fault as well as theirs. “The people perish for lack of knowledge”, but it is up to each and every one of us to seek God Daily.
    The “True Church” was not the WWCG it is not a denomination, institution, sect or cult. It’s a body of believers that believe in Jesus Christ. The only thing we have to do is choose. Repentance and leaning on Gods Strength are the only things that will get us anywhere. So, I am pleading with all of you who now state they have lost their faith and or call themselves Atheists because of the WWCG. Please come back to your first love and let no one take your crown, because if you continue in unbelief then your last state is worse than the first, and their failure as ministers of God’s word will be that much more complete.

  14. From the above comment:
    [ The “True Church” was not the WWCG it is not a denomination, institution, sect or cult. It’s a body of believers that believe in Jesus Christ. ]

    According to statistics, 33% of the world’s believers agree with you in some fashion – at least these believers are labeled “Christian.” How is it so easily tossed out there that the “True Church” is a body of believers in some traditional personage known as “Jesus Christ?” Further in the stats: 35% of the world’s believers are from two large Eastern cults – Islam (21%) and Hinduism (14%) – so why would it be automatic to assume that the TRUE church is made up of the group comprising only 1/3 of the world’s believers?

    Would you be happier with me personally if I had decided after leaving the church founded by Herbert Armstrong that I should go with Islam or Hinduism? After all, there is a slightly higher percentage chance I might be right in locating “truth” by going with something outside of the 33%. And I’m confident that many of the “inspired” or at least dedicated leaders of some of the other major religions of the world were as close to knowing a supreme being as was HWA.

    Do you get my drift at all here? Because you grew up (likely) in a western society where the traditional beliefs were Christian, you have no possible thought outside that box. Actually, a person still living in that box is very much like I was when I did indeed thoroughly believe in God and Christ. The problem was, I believed it all merely because it was traditionally acceptable to believe in such concepts.

    Please step outside the proverbial box for a moment and ask simple questions such as: Is there any logic to holding onto anything purely due to long-standing acquaintance? Is it “smart” to associate oneself with an invisible power somewhere outside of the human realm with no more connection (or real knowledge) of that “power” than what we were handed as accidental westerners? Is it possible for a person so steeped in belief from birth to actually THINK, or is it a foregone conclusion that thinking is not only dis-allowed but untrustworthy? Is my mind capable of guiding my life?

    One day after many years of devotion to a deity and dedication to Christianity, and the last eight years of that dedicated to preaching WCG doctrine to others, I merely asked those questions of myself. And most importantly, I asked myself whether I was happy in my way of life and if I could see myself wanting to continue a drive toward eternity in just such a dedicated belief. Answers were simply, “No!”

    For the last thirty-eight years I have marveled at the illogical concept of belief in a supreme being – a concept that can somehow be held by more than 80% of the planet’s inhabitants while being divided among thousands of differing tenets.

    Simple answer to my question of “How can this be?” FEAR. Humans found ways to assuage massive fears of the unknown – by devising another unknown and calling it supreme. Now the greater part of our species is so deeply ensconced in the fundamental fear that it seems impossible to actually think and be independent of a supreme being. Those who approach me here to try to pull me back from some kind of brink (fear I might fall into some lake of fire? Or pull others over the cliff with me?) always want to quote scripture to me. How offensive can you be? Do you assume I never read those same passages or that I somehow didn’t grasp them? What you cannot seem to realize is that my world is POST-belief in such drivel.

    The above writer again used the old biblical saw that “The people perish for lack of knowledge” (which I think is a slight misquote). This is pretty comical to me, especially since that same book of fables, “commandments” (fear-based all the way) and goofy stories also includes the one about foolish people wandering for forty years in a relatively small desert near Mt Sinai without any idea of what to do or where to go. Reckon a few of those older ones who started out might have perished along the way? Wonderful guides they had – both human and super-human!

    Knowledge certainly is what is needed by humanity, not fables and certainly not blind “faith” which is also one of the most egregious tools ever foisted off on ignorant believers. So for future thoughtful folks who feel the desire to help me in any way, please feel free to do so once you have a sure method of proving anything whatever about the very concept of a supreme being. But be advised (again) that using verses from the laughable tome used by Christianity as a proof of anything at all (other than how foolish people were thousands of years ago and can still be today), will only piss me off. Either use logic and verifiable proofs or don’t bother. And remember, I am a happy camper for the last 38 years since escaping the insanity, so I am not sitting here in the hope of being “helped.” On the other hand, if anyone wants mine, that’s what my Secular Humanist openness offers to any and all. I don’t preach; I merely ask questions and let others answer as they see fit.

  15. Markman,
    Thank you for your reply, first off I thought this was a “blog” where we could discuss and exchange ideas.Not a place to beat each other up. I am sorry that you have taken offence to my trying to “HELP YOU” I guess I have crossed the line in my search to understand why all of you are professing to be a non-believer and or atheists since you left WWCG, and I am also sorry a lot of you feel this way.
    Please excuse me if I have misquoted the verse but I don’t need to commit complete verses to memory to show my faith or intelligence. You go on to quote a lot of statistics as proof that the world is just fooled or something and you make some assumptions about me that are just not true. First I am neither blind nor ignorant because I “believe” as you suggest, and take offence to these remarks. I never suggested you were “ignorant” because you don’t “believe”. Why mock me.
    Before the WWCG I was a stone cold Atheist and thought as you do. I lived life as Niche suggests without God and no regrets. Never got me anywhere but heart ache, and regrets long before I ever heard of WWCG, but that is my life.
    Also yes I grew up in a western society, but this is a very lame attempt to minimize my belief because I grew up in the west as Richard Dawkins would so often suggest and call it a delusion because of it. This is laughable I guess you should also call me a coat or dumb animal because you came to the conclusion I can’t think or reason on my own. I also assume you feel I am some misguided jerk that is a product of his surroundings. It pains me to see that some of you went from one nut’s belief (HWA) to the next.
    Since you seem to think knowledge or being well informed is better than faith please let me state for the record that since the collapse of the WWCG I decided to reeducate myself and wanted to make sure I looked at this life from every angle. So I study all the sciences, philosophy, and immersed myself in Muslim, Judaism, Christianity, and the eastern beliefs, ancient Egyptian, yes I have read “the Emerald tablets of Thoth” the Quran (have you) as well as Assyrian, and Babylonian belief systems, and I have an IQ almost as big as Einstein’s but who really cares. Plus who cares what I believe, or what my IQ is or anything about me.
    I only state this to illustrate to you that I am not some dumb fool, blindly following some fairy tale. I know why I believe and I’m sorry you don’t. All of this would have been considered blasphemous in the WWCG. It is sad to think that some of you have been turned off because of this. That was my point.
    I am not sure why I am surprised at your responses, it appears that Non-Believers, and Atheists alike are some of the angriest people on the planet when comes to the question of God, most likely your conscience gets to you, I should think. I could quote half a dozen verses that proves’ the Bible correct with respect to your demographic, but why bother.
    But I do know this, I can give an answer as to why I believe, you on the other hand can only point your finger at me and tell me how stupid I am and regurgitate what you read on line apparently. Sorry for asking.

  16. WOW!
    It seems I have lost my touch when it comes to communicating. Having to apologize for offending folks is not something I have had to deal with much in many years of personal and business writing.

    The following line is copied from one of my comments above in this thread:
    ” I am most delighted in the fact that I freed myself from having to make judgments on any of that. Your life, your call!”

    So to any recent as well as formerly active responders here, the line still holds true: Your life, your call!

    I did go back and re-read my recent response to “drew” and was surprised to find bits of my verbiage that could have been offensive. May I say to Drew (or anyone reading) that were you sitting in my humble living room enjoying a cold one or sipping some fine single malt Scotch with me, my visage and tone would allow me to say far more potentially offensive things without actually causing offense. The impersonal coldness of the written word has tripped us up here, and for that I apologize. Usually I take lots of time when writing to re-read every comment and try to imagine myself in the reader’s shoes, so I can more carefully and respectfully address any issue. [ Yes, I am well aware that even this paragraph may have offended people. You may be one who is upset with me because, A.) You think Scotch tastes like bad medicine; B.) You are one who would never touch alcohol for any reason; C.) You are one who has to avoid alcohol because you desperately want it but have that dread disease that has to be controlled; or D.) some reason I cannot see. Sorry to all who find anything offensive. ]

    Drew, you also mention that we non-believers “all” (probably not, really) tend to sound “angry.” I suppose I am guilty of some of that. Finding out after three decades of living that a very basic building block of one’s life is faulty and disgustingly false and destructive can cause some anger. Frankly, I was already damaged goods at the age of seven when mocked by a relative for still believing in Santa Claus. The mocking of myself began at the age of 31 when I discovered that the lie never ended but only morphed into a bigger one. Sure, I am angry that humanity is bound up from birth in something so damaging as belief when we all could have been instead, taught how to think. Most of us can get angry when observing the cruelty that some societies and cultures exact upon their own citizens – witness the culturally acceptable customs relating to disfigurations and mutilations, such as female circumcision. Horrifying to even contemplate. I have even come to see circumcision of males as mutilation also, and it is completely based in ignorance and superstition – as well as being a control mechanism carried on by tradition. And who hasn’t cringed when seeing the way female Chinese babies had their feet bound at birth (are they still doing it?) to keep them small and “dainty” because of tradition?

    Being bound mentally by tradition is far worse than any of the above, yet people feel okay with such human bondage and cruelty. That is why I am very angry and not ashamed to say I am furious that belief systems hold sway over billions of humans. Drew, I am pleased that you have your high I.Q., and it is always impressive to me that people devote themselves to study of many types, educating themselves as much as possible. Bravo! And please understand, nothing in my earlier message was meant as a personal attack on you or an accusation of “ignorance.” How you have come to see any kind of belief in a supreme being as logical or reasonable is, as stated above, your call. You live your life as it makes sense to you and you alone. Because we all have the same privilege of self-determination.

    One last comment I must add is that you are visiting a blog that yes, is a place to express oneself and not be attacked. Though I never plan to attack anyone, I suppose I can sound harsh to anyone who quotes scripture – because it is being done on a blog for Non-Believers who want to share stories of how we escaped the madness of scripture and/or the twisting of it. Usually, Robert quickly tosses preachy comments out before they have much air time, and I am not offended by the fact some comments are left on here to get some attention. However, it is not logical for anyone to be offended at all when attempts to re-convert someone to any belief system (or belief in general) are met with revulsion. I never waste time visiting religious websites to berate belief as I freely do here. No welcome would be extended to me if I did, that’s certain. This site is for free expressions of personal philosophies that are not fettered by fear of stepping on toes. When toes of believers get inserted here, they are likely to be stepped on.

    Thanks for responding, and again, it would be far better to sit together and discuss one-on-one, with faces and tones carrying much of the weight. That isn’t likely to occur with us, so please don’t be offended by my words which are meant only as thoughts to share – never as judgments on individuals.

  17. Markman/Gentleman & women
    Thank you for your response and thank you for your understanding; I agree that I did go to a site for non-believers, which by the way I now realize that I may have approached from the wrong perspective. Quoting scriptures here may have not been the appropriate or the best place Lol. We should not try to one up each other, point fingers or call each other names. If anyone was offended by my first post please forgive me.
    I agree with all of you that Man’s traditions and beliefs systems have caused a lot of misery in the name of God”. I applaud all of you for freeing yourselves’ from these destructive beliefs. I too am angry and find it equally offense the way man has treated each other. Please allow me to state that if man is killing or mistreating man (or woman) in the name of God, This “IS” not from God. This is man’s attempt at domination and using a God as justification for doing it.
    I think I understand how you all feel; I was not brought up in the church as many of the bloggers were. Sadly most of you were force fed Armstrong’s version (another false fairy-tale) belief system! You had no choice; God forbid you didn’t go to services and or did not become baptized, your family thought you were lost forever! Holy Crap Growing up that way had to stink. Also it is logical that you are all angry too one degree or another. Again most of you had no choice; I came to WWCG of my own free will and bought this B.S. hook line and sinker.
    Please put yourselves in my shoes for a moment. I was an adult and a business owner. Was I disillusioned? Was I bitter? Was I angry? YES. It took me 10 years to even pick up the bible again; I thought nobody could ever understand it. But after 9 years of intensive study and just like back when I was converted I had to face that fact that I was wrong; Again. Also I would like to point out that all through the New Testament Jesus was going through the same thing we are discussing, he was condemning MANS FALSE BELIEF SYSTEMS. Not that many of you would believe this now and this is not the forum for this discussion.
    But know now I too enjoy the freeing experience of having not to feel guilty for not going to church on Saturdays or having to worry about, tithing, keeping the Holy Days Etc. Etc. and I still can believe in a God. But this is my choice. And that was the point I was trying to convey.
    I am not going to bore you or want to make you angry with this any longer. We would not have the time or the common ground to discuss this here or anywhere as you stated. Again the reason for my post was because of the pain I felt that you have lost faith in God because of WWCG or anybody for that matter. But since you all feel better and free then I guess it doesn’t matter what I think and feel, didn’t mean to offend any of you, or open old wounds

  18. Well, I’ve lost track of the path I stumbled on to OK comments. I’ve made sure the allow comments is checked, and still it seems they’re not coming through. It’s late. I’m tired. And, I’m disgusted.

  19. In that last comment, I was referring to my blog where comments seem to be blocked for some reason I can’t understand. I tried to straighten it out and stumbled on a way to do so a while back but lost it. Thus, I have a curently commentless blog.

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