Jesse Ancona: Introduction to "Lying with the Truth"
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Dear Reader

A few words about this article on the Worldwide Church of God:

Lying with the Truth: Deception and Mind Control in the Worldwide Church of God, a Case Study in Religious Manipulation.

      This article took over six years to write, as I struggled to express exactly what it was that had been so damaging about my time in this organization. Like peeling an onion, every version revealed a new layer. I was only out for about a year and a half (my daughter from my new marriage was only three months old), and still struggling to write this article when a girlfriend (let's call her "Amy") phoned me and told me she was leaving Worldwide, and I sat down and penned her a letter. It helped her, and at least 4 years later, she still kept it in her purse, and referred to it when the going got tough.

      I wanted the article to be just as useful as the letter. My purpose in writing this article was not to write yet another exposé, but first, to come to an understanding of what had happened to me, in terms of the spiritual and emotional damage I'd sustained, and second, to help anyone who read it to understand the nature of this organization. I imagined my primary audience to be people who had just left the Worldwide Church of God, and were trying to heal; I hoped it would also help people who had left another destructive group, as Heather and Gary Botting's book, "The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses" helped me to understand the Worldwide Church of God's methods.

      It took over six years, and innumerable drafts, to come to the present text, which I finalized in about 1990, six years after I had left. I gave the article to the "Cult Information Centre" in my home city; one of the women involved had family in Worldwide, and appreciated its message, but also understood the techniques common to all destructive groups. Over the years, she told me, she found the article actually helped people to "deprogram themselves," and at one time, in this city, it was used in a self-help group for ex-cult members, which I found gratifying but strange...still, this was why I wrote it, and I was glad of it.

      It occurred to me that the writing of this article was an exercise in deprogramming myself, so it seems the process I went through was somehow embedded into the article, enabling it to act as a catalyst for others. I certainly don't understand the mechanism, and only go by the fact that it works in practice. For this reason, I am very reluctant to change the core article from its original form, though I have written Addenda over the years.

      I am fully aware that the specific details referenced in this article are obsolete: the church's structure, its leaders, its publications, and most of all, its "storefront," that is, the doctrines it proposes as central to its belief system, have all changed radically. This, I believe, only unmasks the dragon: its core belief is that "The Work" itself is God, or the only intermediary to God, or, at very least, the best way, the safe way, to paradise...doctrines are peripheral to this core, which is that Obedience to the organization is good, and rebellion against it is the unpardonable sin. Only in this way can everything change, while nothing changes.

      1984 lives; we are at war with Oceania, we are at war with Eurasia; we forget what comes before, and in forcing ourselves to forget, we enslave ourselves more to the voice that tells us to forget than we ever would if the beliefs remained constant.

      Whether you are a former Worldwider, know someone who is, or are struggling with mind control issues from some other group, I hope you find this on-line version as helpful in the reading as others have found the print version, and as helpful as I found it in the writing.

      My best wishes to you,


     Jesse Ancona

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