Legalistic Religion Ruined My Life: Lonely Man Today

When I was a young man I heard a preacher on the radio named Armstrong.  I began to listen to him every night and after high school was over joined his relgion. The church was called The Worldwide Church of God.  They welcomed me in with open arms and made me feel like part of the family. this little church was in Morehead KY.  For several years I attended there. I had many freinds in the church. I went to college and then I later went to our bible college in Pasadena CA. I  would go on to spend over 20 years in the church.   SO, WHAT WAS MY PROBLEM?   When the founder Herbert Armstrong died the new leader Joseph Tkach took over. Over the course of a few years he began to change all the doctrines we had been taught. It got to a point where I finally understood that everything  I BELEIVED IN HAD BEEN A LIE. THE CHURCH WAS A CULT. 
 That realization came to me after months of honest in depth bible study . I felt that I had to leave the church.  The church had been my only family and all my friends were in the church. My own real family had abandoned me years earlier. When I left KY to go to Pasadena CA, for years I went by and nobody from my family bothered to call and check up on me. I could have been dead all those years and they would not have even known.

Anyway back to Worldwide Church of God.  Sometime around 1989 I decided to leave the church. I was living in Milwaukee WI at the time. When I left my phone stopped ringing. Nobody invited me over anymore. It was as though I had died. None of the church members kept in touch with me.  My real familly had abandoned me earlier and now my only friends from church now left me alone. I was living in Milwaukee, no family and now no freinds. It was tough. I had never been alone before. I grew up in a family of 8. Never knew what it was like to be alone. Now I was all alone.

I did get married when I was in the church but my wife did not want to have kids. When I left the church about three years later my wife and I divorced.

I did find a local church and began attending there.  But after being in a cult for so many years I found it hard to relate to christians. They had no way of relating to what I had been through so I never did develop any real close freinds.  Its been about 12 years now since that happened. I have a wife and she has kids. I have no " old freinds " to hang around. I moved around  a lot in my life and people usually move on with their lives and do not keep up with you.
My family is not far away .They have family reunions every year but I usually do not go. I do not want to see people only once a year. If  you only want to see me once a year I would rather not see you at all.

Anyway, I was thinking today.  The bible says that there is no sin that is not " common to man". I was feeling lonely today and thought, there must be lonely people out there who can relate to me. So , I found this website.   

Hope I  did not bore you.    I gave my entire life to a church, a man, an organization. All I got in return was nothing,, but being alone.  In my lonliness I found Jesus was all I needed. Jesus has become my best freind.  when I was in the cult church I had lots of freinds and was having people over almost every night, but I did not know Jesus. Now, I know Jesus but all those old freinds are long gone.  I am lonely to a degree but I would not give up Jesus to have lots of freinds again.  Who needs conditional freinds.   Jesus has never left me or forsaken me. He has always been there for me when I needed Him.

Anybody out there with a similar experience?
davidlee1958 davidlee1958
51-55, M
3 Responses May 19, 2012

i'm 61 years old.I've been a Christian since 1973..i grew up in the 70's and 80's being harassed by legalism..and it hasn't stopped.Other Christians and of course Ministers are more concerned about the rock music i listen to and the movies i watch than anything else..It's their focus..literally..I have more spiritual wisdom than any of them as listening to Aerosmith ,watching Nightmare On Elm Street,etc isn't and never was effecting my spiritual life,although they consistently force their judgement on me that they were!!! It took me years to accept the fact that most people's 'religious beliefs' aren't equivalent with real Christian wisdom or truth.I'm extremely lonely because while i do enjoy all kinds of movies and even collect music videos of the 80's and 90's,i have tremendous love and trust in Christ and have been healed of COPD ,Glaucoma and more,solely based on my own trust and belief in Jesus.I've been unemployed since 1981 when i was diagnosed with a sleep disorder (delayed sleep phase disorder) which i've not been healed of..I took advantage of those years of being unemployed(and still do)by studying and learning about different things like sleep disorders,including my own,as well as computer studies and more..My lonliness stems from the fact that i don't have ANY friends,because Christians i meet readily confess that they don't watch the "kind of movies anymore",that i watch..and they 'll say they don't listen "that kind of music anymore"...My interests haven't stagnated as i got older..I found current secular music that i enjoy(though not considered mainstream).And i enjoy a good comedy or horror movie or sci-fi,etc....I don't dwell on them ...After i see a movie my attitude is that i saw a good movie and that's all..It's not something that floats in my head or my thoughts like a masked demon from hell just awaiting to attack me.I live inside Jesus and Him inside me and i spend more time with him, as i constantly talk to him through the night(i sleep days and am awake all night).It's lonely as ever for me because,as i said, Christians just don't have the same interests and feel that i'm in the wrong and yet ,hanging with non christians isn't something i'm comfortable at all with either..So..I remain alone..no girlfriend,no male friends..My only friends are my Mom and my 7 year old Dog. I realise i have interests of a younger person due to my being unemployed for so long and my ability to do what i want 24/7...I'm totally into music videos of the 80's,90's and many of the 2000's and rare tv spots of the 50's 60's and 70's created as music videos..like the Midnight Special TV series music performance segments(bee gees ,etc)..You wouldn't think that merely enjoying secular music or movies would cause this kind of problem between myself and other Christians ,but so many Christians live by this legalistic ,WWJD lifestyle and apply it to EVERYTHING,instead of laying back and living in Christ,apart ftom the law..I understand that some Christians are truly convicted of these things and are being obedient to their convictions or beliefs,but i believe that MOST are applying that restriction via the law instead of true conviction or Christian beleif.I never understood how Christians that apply the law to everything can possibally be truly happy inside and at peace..anyway..i truly understand your lonliness ,i really do,as i AM in the same boat so to speak. In fact feel free to email me(that applies to anyone in a similar situation) at junkmail at gmx.tw

A lot of people socialize through church. Probably why a lot of them go. The problem i have found is the real hardcore religious people usually dont associate with non believers so your circle of friends usually isnt that diverse and when you leave the group your left with little connections outside of church ones.

Hey... you found faith... good for you... hope you have a great life ahead : )