The People of the Sign

(8 customer reviews)


What do divorce, alcoholism, kidnapping, radio evangelism, ancient prophecies, the collapse of the Soviet Union, church schism and the Stockholm Syndrome have in common with the music of the Beatles? The People of the Sign effortlessly weaves these together, proving once and for all that truth really is far, far stranger than fiction.



What Makes Fundamentalism So Appealing  to So Many?

The People of the Sign

Former Worldwide Church of God Minister Says People Find Truth “in the Wreckage of Organized Religion’’ 

Fundamentalist religions are known for intolerance, for demanding strict adherence by followers to a religious text, for requiring individuals to place more value on the religious community than on their own individuality.

Why are such religions growing in appeal around the world, and why do so many Americans flock to them?

“People are always searching for truth, both in the secular world and in the religious world,” says Wade Fransson, a former minister in the Worldwide Church of God – a religion eventually denounced as a cult – and author of “The People of the Sign,” (, a memoir recounting his life with the church. “Fundamentalist religions believe firmly that they have the ‘one truth’ and their followers gain strength from the power of that knowledge.”

Fransson says he was a troubled teenager. He’d gone through his parents’ divorce as a child, and was a victim of domestic kidnapping when he was a boy and his father spirited him away to Sweden.

“My mother was an alcoholic who later abandoned me and by my teen years, I’d experienced unhappy homes and homelessness. I was doing drugs,” he says.

Fransson’s father had joined the Worldwide Church of God when Fransson was a child. Started by Herbert Armstrong in 1934 as the Radio Church of God, at its peak, the church’s teachings were broadcast to millions of viewers and listeners through “The World Tomorrow,”  a program that aired on more than 446 television and radio stations. Fransson grew up learning about God through Armstrong’s prism.

“When I was at my lowest point, it was the church that rescued me,” Fransson says. “It held the ‘truth’ that I’d been searching for and desperately needed. I cleaned up, became a law-abiding citizen, and worked for the church.”

Until, he says, he learned that not everything the church taught was true.

Discussion Questions

  • Do you think more people today feel a need to find “the truth” than in the past?
  • Are there good things you took from your time with the Worldwide Church of God?
  • How about negative?
  • How did you learn that not everything the church taught was true?
  • Are you still on a search for truth?

About Wade Fransson

Author - Wade FranssonWade Fransson manages technology vendor negotiations and contracts for Kohl’s Department stores. He has a background in business and technology for major corporations and was the CEO of GoHuman, Inc. online marketplace. In “The People of the Sign,” he shares his story to show both the positives and negatives of one of the most fascinating churches born in the 20th century. His second book scheduled for publication in October. 


8 reviews for The People of the Sign

  1. Nathan Albright

    At its core, The People Of The Sign is a personal memoir that ends Jonah-like, incomplete, examining the wreckage of the author’s decades of life spent in the Worldwide Church of God and explaining to a larger audience the general theological, psychological, and political markers of that group. The account is gripping, dramatic, and remarkably free from bitterness given the great deal of suffering that many families had to deal with during and after their time with the Worldwide Church of God. The author provides a relatively sympathetic view of the organization in an accessible way that will do much to counter a great deal of the misinformation that exists about the group while presenting at the same time a warts-and-all view of the all-too-human realities for children and young adults within the greater Church of God culture, including the particularly poignant way in which broken families and broken people were summarily abandoned by a lack of loving concern by leaders of all different theological and political viewpoints. The author shows a grim awareness of a church culture that shoots its wounded, a culture I know very well from my own personal background.

    The author’s portrayal of his life as a kidnapped child growing up in Sweden, his youth as a rebel, his young adulthood as a gung-ho believer, and his increasingly difficult attempts to chart a moderate course in the post-HWA world of the Worldwide Church of God read like the screenplay to a movie, and chart the wreckage of broken families, struggles against alcoholism and workaholic tendencies in an atmosphere of brutal conformity and a general lack of love and concern for others, and where the hope of peaceful and gentle releasing of the strictness of WCG’s past turned into the horrible abuse of unwelcome and unbiblical doctrinal change that divided Worldwide and scattered its bitterly squabbling fragments into a shocked world.

    The openness and honesty of this work should appeal both to people who grew up in the Worldwide Church of God and whose ugly and brutal downfall in the mid-1990’s has forced us to wrestle with the complexities of our inheritance from that organization and its leaders as well as those who are curious about reading an insider’s look at the church. Both those driven to understand and explain what happened in the Worldwide Church of God will find this book to be a valuable aid to their efforts. This does not make the book pleasant reading–it is not, but then again what has happened to many of us, even those of us who have worked hard to overcome any “root of bitterness” (to use a catchphrase of WCG) about our experiences there, was not pleasant. Nonetheless, those experiences were instructive, and the gentle hand of God was present in His providential care even in the darkest moments. This book is a reminder not only of the suffering that results from human frailty, but also the gentle hand of God in guiding us graciously to growth and maturity, forgiving us for our own human frailty and telling us to forgive others for their own also. Hopefully, this book may help encourage those of us who are people of the sign (namely, the Sabbaths) to also become people who exhibit godly love for others, whether within or outside of our splintered fellowships.

  2. Esther Bradley-DeTally

    Tumultuous indeed is Wade Fransson’s early life and horrific also. It raised the question – how is it so many dynamite people survive horrific abuse, neglect and end up on a spiritual path? The People of the Sign is a story of Wade Fransson’s journey, which journey takes the reader through trials of a lost childhood. This childhood reveals addictio issues within the family, abandonment, punishment, upheaval in home, such a loose word. By age 13, Wade could not trust anyone, rightfully so…

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  3. Wendy Lynn

    As a former member of the Worldwide Church of God I wanted to read how someone else came through the process of the changes in church doctrines. Changes that so deeply divided a group, families and marriages. I found Wades story to be captivating! I read it in one sitting!…

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  4. Jeanne Dorthy

    Wade’s story is beautifully written and is easily interpreted as one of courage, success and triumph As someone who was born into the WCG, I truly appreciated his factual, non-critical approach to deciphering the life he was born into. I have no doubt, his “story” then, now and future will continue to inspire and connect with all of humanity. Looking forward to reading the next chapter.

  5. D Clark

    The initial reviews caught my attention yet the book delivered even more. Wade has written a very moving story that it is well worth reading whether you had ever heard of the Worldwide Church of God or not…

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  6. Kalpit

    Though I have very Stint knowledge for Church, Christianity and WCG, I really appreciate the persistence and resilience of author who delivered a ground breaking, highly inspiring, compelling, intervening and ferociously thriving story. The story is a spiritual journey of author contemplating the evolution from a lanky boy living in distrust to a wise man, searching for real meaning of life and walking on the path of Christianity…

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  7. Bernard Bradley

    Wade Frannson’s “The People of the Sign” is an amazing story that takes the reader from the depths of human pain and dysfunction, to self-awareness, and a spiritual journey toward enlightenment. I found his story so engaging that I literally could not put it down. I haven’t felt this way about a story since “Lord of the Rings”, only this time it was a very human story; one that triggered memories and feelings from my own past…

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  8. Eric Snow

    Wade Fransson has written an effective spiritual biography about his experiences in the (old) Worldwide Church of God. He confesses and analyzes all the problems in his distinctly dysfunctional family life and upbringing that later caused him to act out in bad ways as he got older. Yet also those experiences encouraged him to embrace the truth taught by the WCG as so much better than anything he had experienced when younger in the world…

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