Surviving Cult Abuse

Sad to report that Rodney Lain finally committed suicide on 6/14/02. He had gone off his anti-depressants.

Rodney was a member of Ekklesia for all the time that I was on it. I got to know him pretty well. The “ministry” was trying to get him to be a spokesman for the church on racial reconciliation. He was persecuted by a couple of “ministers” in, I think, Georgia, because he wouldn’t bow and scrape before them. They lied about him and persecuted him. Finally in 1997 they even disfellowshipped him with no mention of why they were doing it. All loyal members were to shun him with absolutely no proof at all as to his guilt in any matter.

Rodney was an English professor at a major college down south. He felt so persecuted by these “ministers” that he quit his job before the school year was even over and moved to Minnesota. He stayed for a couple of nights at my house, on the way to Minnesota.

Rodney had his own website for a number of years, where he described exactly what happened to him, to not only drive him out of the church but also from the warm south to the cold north. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of that material. If anyone does, I would like to post it for all to see.

Rodney was a bright, intelligent, caring young man. He wanted to contribute to the good of the human race. This, in contrast to those tares in the Worldwide Church of God who only want to use people and make money and they will step on you and destroy you, if you get in their way.


Here is an old message that Rodney sent to his website provider when someone complained about an animation on his site. I think it gives a little insight into what Rodney was like.




From: (Rodney Lain)

Subject: Question about a legal issues on websites…


Please direct the following to your legal department

To whom it may concern:

In regards to this query, I would like to direct you to the following URL:

At the bottom of the above webpage, I have an animated graphic, which consists of a figure walking across the screen, dropping his pants and subsequently urinating on a picture of a man named Herbert Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong is the deceased founder of a minor cult called the Worldwide Church of God.

I am a former member of the Worldwide Church of God and I am recovering from my involvement with the aforementioned cult, which is on par with Jehovah’s Witnesses and other fringe movements and has been prominently featured in many books on religious cults. As a result of my involvement with that organization, I have been diagnosed with clinical depression, which culminated in my having to quit my job as an English professor (I was suicidal at my lowest point) and move from Georgia to Minnesota. My website is a testament to my surviving cult abuse. But most importantly, it stands as refuge for others who will come to the point of exiting that cult, and as a result, needing reassurance that their experience isn’t unique.

Now why do I write all of this to you?

Well, there is a person on the Internet (Donald Raymond Wheatley) who thinks that my graphic and my websites that contain such graphics are slanders against a “good and just religious leader.” In other words, this person (still) worships this man Herbert Armstrong and the mind control cult he created. Of late, he has been successful at convincing other ISPs to demand removal of such websites.

This is where you come in.

I ask that you not succumb to such pressures (after all, he is just one person -albeit a vocal one; FYI, there are more people against his views than those who share them – see my site I ask that you allow me, one of thousands of ex-Worldwide Church of God cult survivors, the privilege of enjoying my free-speech rights. If you take the time to research Herbert Armstrong (easily done by following the links on my Worldwide Church of God website), you will see that the damage perpetuated by and in the name of Armstrong is far greater than the “slander” caused by one animated .gif.

The Macintosh computer is the computer of those who think different, the computer of those who make a statement, the computer of those who stand out. I want to think different, to make a statement, and to stand out by not keeping silent about how The Cult destroyed my life. Many people have expressed their appreciation for my daring to speak out (my site has thousands of “hits” to date, and continues to have visitors. That kind of feedback has continually inspired me to keep up my site -even when on many occasions I’ve considered taking the site down. My site provides a service for many. Please keep this in mind as you decide on whether or not to allow me to have one, small graphic on-line that really doesn’t cause offense of the magnitude that Mr. Wheatley will imply when he writes you.

In closing, I appreciate your reading this lengthy and heartfelt letter; I hope that you will cast a vote in support of free speech by allowing me to continue speaking out against the spiritual, emotional, and financial devastation left in the wake of Herbert Armstrong and his Worldwide Church of God.

Thank you so very much!

Rodney O. Lain,
St. Paul, Minnesota

This article was published on The Painful Truth website, “a collection of Facts, Opinions and Comments from survivors of Armstrongism and The Worldwide Church of God.” This was written after Rodney moved from Georgia to Minnesota.


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