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A bold, brave, courageous and an honest apology from an ex-LCGer

...Some of you may remember me from the original JLF, where I was a regular from 1998 - 2001 when it shut down. At that time I was a member of and apologist for Rod Meredith's Living Church of God (LCG). I had fully bought into Rod Meredith's vision of "Restoring Apostolic Christianity" and continuing steadfast in the "faith once delivered" as practiced in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) during the ministry of Herbert W. Armstrong.
Much has changed for me since those days. While I still basically believe core COG doctrines, I cannot accept those things which were added by men to establish and maintain a bizarre personality cult and an abusive, controlling cult government. Nor can I accept things which in 20/20 hindsight I can see were based on little more than uneducated (and unenlightened) speculation, WAG's (wild assed guesses) and self exaltation.
I stopped considering myself a "member" of LCG (or any other Church) back in 2002. I continued to attend with LCG semi regularly for a few years because I had so many friends there and didn't know what else to do. I spent a lot of time and effort checking out other COG's during that time, and while I learned some interesting things (and had some good, bad, and ugly experiences) I found none that I really felt comfortable with. I have not regularly attended any COG since last summer. I don't expect that will change any time soon - if ever.
As much as I'd like to tell the story of how I got from point A to point Z, at present I'd rather not go into it on a public forum. I still have lots of friends in various COG's and I wouldn't want to be responsible for bringing the roaring mouse wrath of "God's Government" du jour down upon them. I know from experience that some of these pathetic little "Governments" have people watching various COG oriented forums and blogs, so for my friends sake I'll have to be careful what I say. They can no longer threaten me with being "disfellowshipped" or "marked", but they *can* get to people whose friendship I still value.
Some of my old friends gave up on me as soon as they found out I wasn't 100% behind the party line. Some of you may remember my old buddy from the original JLF board who went by the names "Ranger" and "Baldy". We were close friends for a number of years and kept in regular contact via phone and e-mails. I finally admitted to him in 2005 that I had doubts about LCG (even this was an understatement), at which point he decided we should have no further contact. The few e-mails I've sent him since then have gone unanswered. I'd be surprised if I ever hear from him again.
I know some of you will find all of this very familiar because you've been where I'm at. Some of you even tried to warn me years ago. I thank you for that. Even though it may have seemed I wasn't listening, some of it did sink in and I remembered those warnings when I needed to.
I would also like to sincerely apologize to you all for the arrogance and decidedly un-Christian, in-your-face combativeness I regularly engaged in during that time. I won't try to make any excuses for it because there are none. All I can say is that I've learned a few things since then and I don't think that way any more - in fact I haven't for several years now. The only reason I didn't write this a few years ago is a) I hadn't yet worked up the courage to do so, and b) I still had a few more lessons to learn.
I am not bitter or angry about all this, although I certainly do have regrets - the wasted time and lost opportunities most of all. But what's past is past and life's too short to wallow in coulda, shoulda, woulda been's. For now I'm pretty much focused on getting reacquainted with life - family, friends, hobbies, etc.
As for being a Christian, I am uncertain what I will do down the road. I still retain the core COG beliefs, even if I no longer do much about them. I admit my faith - such as it ever was - is pretty much a thing of the past. I know that at some point I'm going to have to come to terms with God, but until I've cleared my head a bit more I am in no hurry to do this.

---Glenn Mattson describes his "post-"L"CG life and theology "on Mark Tabladillo's JLF. Like my post-WCG life and theology, Glenn's too, is an adventure and may he be glad that it is worth it!