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December 12 Edition

Exactly 100 votes were logged in our Xmas poll. Results published here on the weekend.

New on the Exit & Support Network site: Steve comments on the statements by Wiley and Suzanne Black.

December 12

Tuit1.jpg (53075 bytes)Tuit & Black Stand Firm: John Tuit, author of the 1981 book The Truth Shall Make you Free, has been brought up to speed with the recent statements by Roderick C. Meredith. Mr. Meredith flatly denied saying anything that Tuit reported (see November 25, Rod Denies Spanking & Porn Claims)  In our inbox today, this message from a WCG researcher:

I talked to John Tuit yesterday. He stands by what he has written about Spanky.

And on the JLF Forum today a correspondent states:

I don't care if Liz says he never spanked her bare bottom as a teenager. I've heard the man say this in sermons myself -- and so what we're left with is that either he did it and now denies it...or he lies from the pulpit.

Also posted today on the JLF Forum, this message from a former student of Wiley Black.

Tonight I had over an hour phone conversation with Wiley Black and it was absolutely a wonderful conversation. I told him about the Expositor story about them being on the web and...  asked him a lot of questions which he freely and willingly answered.

... Wiley informed me they are not angry or upset anymore and had never even thought about doing anything like this at all but Bernard [Kelly] called Wiley and Suzanne for over a year begging them to please tell their story that it needed to be told - they decided after much discussion that yes they would and probably should have done this years ago when things first happened.

They had absolutely NO IDEA that Bernard was going to ask people to send them money - They were MORTIFIED when they read that.  When Suzanne started getting checks in the mail she forwarded them to Wiley to return to the senders.  They wouldn't DREAM of taking money from people and Wiley is writing a letter to all those who sent checks thanking them for their concern about his and Suzanne's welfare and sending them back their checks.  He said they have gotten some wonderful letters from so many people and it has really touched them both to know that so many people care.

When I asked him why they stayed in WCG so long - he said (I'm paraphrasing here) we don't know - but we believed it was the true church and we were NOT supposed to leave it or we would be lost forever.

We talked about many other things that I had been told by former classmates at the Imperial Reunion and he confirmed almost everything I was told and said he could give me names of others who could confirm it too if I wanted it.

Before we ended our conversation Wiley told me to tell people all over the US and wherever the people were they do NOT want your money.

Wiley will be observing his 80th birthday on Dec. 28th...  We spent some time discussing the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  He was there when it was bombed and said the movie "Pearl Harbor" is such a farce.  I know many years ago when I was in school he encouraged us to see the movie "Tora Tora Tora" because he had felt it did a good job on telling the story of the war.  He wishes he now that he had gone to Hawaii for the reunion but he needed to be home...

Hope this helps answer some questions.

For those who had been hoping that Rod's second-hand denials, filtered through Bob Thiel, would be enough to lay these matters to rest, this is hardly good news.

Fire Sale? Why not fire Bernie? Dateline Pasadena. Overheard at a recent Chamber of Commerce function: a member there commented to one of the Pasadena employees that Legacy has a less than glowing respect for Bernie Schnippert’s performance in handling the sale process. Word had it on campus today that they have lowered the price AGAIN for the property. 

December 9

The Missing Dimension in Reconciliation: The WCG has released the latest issue of its newsletter Reconcile, produced by the church’s Office of Reconciliation Ministries. The eight-page document contains some laudable material. An attempt by the UCG to launch a similar ministry recently brought an avalanche of protest from conservative members who saw it as liberal, left wing and potentially in conflict with that church’s arcane belief in British-Israelism. To its shame, UCG seems to have capitulated to the shrieks, howls and gibbering of the extremist section of its constituency.

Among the goals of ORM: "To assist others toward reconciliation with fellow-man in areas where broken relationships exist." The thrust of ORM seems to be in the area of racial reconciliation. However we wonder whether, in the torn and bleeding community WCG stands at the heart of, an equally important focus is on dealing to the shattered relationships among members and former members of the Worldwide Church of God. We wonder what is to prevent the establishment of a working group consisting of both current members, and former members who have credibility and respect in the wider community (people like Wayne Cole spring to mind). Such a group could provide a sounding board and a place where grievances could be heard and hopefully laid to rest, enabling members past and present to move on without rancor or ill will. If the post-Apartheid secular South African government can bring people together to heal the wounds of a tragic history, surely the WCG could do the same through a structure like ORM. 

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of director Curtis May, it appears that ORM may just be another piece of window dressing designed to parallel similar structures in mainline churches. And the appearance of the obligatory patsy-column by Joseph Tkach (along, of course, with a prominent photograph) indicates that this may all be just another bit of cultic spin.

Spanky-babble II: Those on the Living Church of God co-worker list recently received a stirring letter from Rod Meredith. Here are some excerpts.

For prophetic events are certainly speeding up. Yet very few professing Christians or even ministers or theologians understand the true meaning of these events.

So what is next?

[Yup, Rod knows all this stuff. Lucky for us, huh?]

God may use these diversions [he means America’s current military operations] to greatly weaken us and "break" the pride of our power as prophesied in Leviticus 26:19. Also, Satan may guide circumstances so that these comparatively "little wars" will distract our American and British-descended nations from the really enormous threat posed by the coming European empire!

[Oh yeah, the European empire. Silly us, how could we have forgotten?]

Yet, if we continue in our sinful, hedonistic lifestyles, the eternal God has predicted that He will use a whole series of wars and tragedies to bring upon us the corrective punishment we deserve… we have turned our backs on God.

[Meredith’s God is going to spank us. Not just permit a spanking. None of this namby-pamby stuff for Rod. God is gonna kick butt! Your butt.]

For today, more than ever, there is a "spirit" abroad in our land to turn people away from the true God… That foul "spirit" is the major reason why people are so confused about religion today… The "spirit" to which I am referring is the "spirit of Antichrist"! (I John 4:3).

[Wow, Rod’s just hit the big red "A" button.]

We will show you the real identity and meaning of Antichrist. We will show you what to do about this understanding. And, if you are "watching" you will be able to clearly see the events unfold surrounding the Antichrist over the next several years. For you are now living in the time when the final manifestation of the Antichrist will soon appear!

[What an offer! Spanky is just oozing esoteric information on this vital subject.]

With all my heart, I pray that all of you whose hearts are right will be able to escape the coming Great Tribulation, the Trumpet Plagues of Revelation and finally the Seven Last Plagues—all destined to fall upon the followers of the Antichrist! So I have prepared for you an exciting booklet with biblical proof of the real nature of the Antichrist. I want to give you this booklet, upon your request. It may be the most precious gift that I could give you at this time in human history.

[Spanky, we’re all choked up!]

Somewhere on this earth today is a small, scattered and soon-to-be-persecuted Church. It is the "little flock" of whom Jesus spoke in Luke 12:32.

[Gosh, we wonder who they might be?]

But you, somehow, have been brought into contact with Jesus’ "little flock" which has the understanding and the courage to preach and to write the full Truth! We want to help you while we have the opportunity. We want to enable you and your loved ones to have God’s protection during the traumatic years just ahead, and to fulfill the awesome purpose for your lives.

[Oh, what a surprise, it’s Spanky and his little band of theological illiterates.]

Meantime the latest issue of the cult newsletter has two related stories: Prophetic Events Speed Up and Persecution is Coming! Both are by Meredith. And while Spanky and his pals may feel Afghanistan and terrorism are just "diversions", it didn’t stop Rod from claiming prescience on the matter.

"This Work – probably more than any other - has directly predicted that this type of terrorism would soon occur!"

Now if you want to see some really amazing "direct predictions", check out some of Rod’s greatest clangers on the LCG page.

UCG Council:  Credit where credit is due. The UCG seems to be doing a good job keeping members informed on the meeting of its Council of Elders in Clearwater, Florida. Minutes of the first days of the Council are online. If only el presidente Tkach would take note and practice even this modest level of open administration!

December 7

Greg Begs

If you would like to "store up...treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:20) here are a few suggestions:

1) $10 will buy two Big Macs, fries and two large soft drinks AND $10 will
also help PTM print and mail 20 free booklets pointing people to the Bread of Life, to the One who can satisfy their spiritual hunger.

2) $15 will purchase two movie tickets and a bag of popcorn AND $15 can send 8 cassette tapes of our radio broadcast to first time callers responding to Plain Truth Commentary.

3) $25 is about what it costs to fill up the gas tank of a car AND $25 can
help write, edit, print, mail and distribute 50 free copies of Journey -
Meeting Life's Challenges.

WHY NOT make a difference in people's lives? WHY NOT help provide spiritual food and drink to those in desperate need?

PTM is looking for Partners who will join what thousands of others are
already doing - linking hands by financially contributing, storing up
investments in heaven, helping PTM help change lives of tens of thousands around the world.  Please give prayerful consideration to starting regular contributions - in whatever amount you can afford - to the ongoing work of PTM.  You will be contributing to helping make a lasting impact on the lives of other people.

Thank you, and may God bless you.
Greg Albrecht

Your Burger vs. Greg's Beamer: Dateline Pasadena: Recently Greg Albrecht sent out a letter to supporters of Plain Truth Ministries that contained some pretty absurd comments (see box).  Keep in mind that PTM aims to be totally self sufficient within the next year or so as WCG no longer wants to fund it.  The PT will carry a subscription fee for all, including any WCG members that want to receive it.  

bmw-logo.gif (45179 bytes)The employees in Pasadena want to know why, if Greg expects people to give up a few luxuries in their lives to fund his ministry, he can't he give up his BMW?  That would fund thousands of subscriptions and cassette mailings.  Set the example Greg!  Show us that you practice what you preach! The same applies to your department heads, who have all been buying new vehicles recently. Need we say more?

Meredith - Another view: Dr. Bob Thiel gets our "Defender of the Faith" award for his efforts in attempting to lay to rest the various unflattering stories about Roderick C. Meredith in circulation. Bob is a host for a local LCG congregation, and, under the name COGwriter produces a popular pro-LCG site. Behind the scenes this last week there has been an exchange of emails between Dr. Thiel and Missing Dimension writer Gavin Rumney, initiated by Thiel who requested the removal of a quotation from John Tuit's book The Truth Shall Make You Free (we declined, and it can still be found on the LCG page). Thiel has put together a lengthy paper that seeks to debunk the negative material - some of it reported on this site, and other material that is new to us. We gather a shorter version has been sent out to LCG's ministry from San Diego HQ. Says Thiel: "When you try to do the work, Satan not only gets mad, but continues to act as "the accuser of the brethren"... Some of the false accusations are so absurd, that this article is not for the squeamish." Absurd? Decide for yourself.

The 10 charges Thiel rejects (the wording in italics is his):

(1) Roderick Meredith has a history of supporting false prophecies and should not be listened to. [Thiel essentially says "yes - to the first part - but..."]

(2) In the 1960s, Dr. Meredith was too hard on the field ministry and others[Thiel seems to say "yes, but not any longer"]

(3) Roderick Meredith is highly involved with pornography[Thiel: completely false]

"The fact is that Dr. Meredith has been the most faithful leader of any major Church of God group to proclaim the Gospel as a witness ...  Dr. Meredith has been faithful in word and deed."
Bob Thiel

(4) "He was proud of the fact that he spanked his teenage daughter on her bare backside at least once a week whether she needed it or not, just to keep her in line." [Quoted from Tuit's book. Thiel: false]

(5) Herbert Armstrong banished Roderick Meredith to Hawaii and wrote some negative things about him [Thiel: another "yes, but..."]

(6) Dr. Meredith made statements prior to the takeover by the GCG board which indicated there were no real problems [Thiel: "yes"]

(7) Roderick Meredith attempted to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars and was stopped by the board of the Global Church of God [Thiel: preposterous"]

(8) The majority of GCG Council Members removed Dr. Meredith from his position in GCG  [Thiel: false]

(9) In 1957, Dr. Meredith pressured Suzanne Black to be a 'special lady' for Herbert Armstrong for the purposes of providing sex and claimed that this was acceptable because HWA and GTA were 'above the law'  [Referring to material available on Steve's ESN page and reported here on the November 25 update. Thiel: "absurd, illogical, and potentially libelous"]

(10) Dr. Meredith is not an apostle, thus has no right to try to proclaim the Gospel  [Thiel: "yes - to the first part - but..."]

While we're far from convinced that Meredith emerges smelling of roses from this exercise even if we find Thiel's defense credible (and we have major reservations to say the least), we do encourage MD readers to check his article out in the interests of fairness. The Missing Dimension is referred to obliquely and quoted at several points without being named. We're also eager to hear from readers who have a response or comment to make to any of the  accusations Thiel refers to. The full article is at 

Gerry Flurry - Mr. Sobriety: Has Gerry gone teetotal? The following quote from PCG's Royal Vision appears on the ESN site under a transcript of his inebriated 1993 encounter with local police officers.

We must examine ourselves for areas where we may be be holding back God’s work. Some of God’s people , for example, still drink too much alcohol. Yes, God sanctions and encourages the right use of alcohol. But I know that some people would be better off without it. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in six years. Why? Because I felt I could be more effective in the work without it. Am I against alcohol? Of course not; I love to see people enjoy alcohol, as God instructs us. But if something is getting in your way, it is better to eliminate it. Royal Vision, July-August 2001

December 5

Spanky Babble: Does Rod Meredith actually listen to what he says himself, or are his rambling sermons so boring that he finds them as forgettable as his unfortunate listeners? This example of Meredith's inconsistency was sent in by an MD correspondent, and dates back to the heyday of Spanky's first designer-cult, the Global Church of God. Scene 1: a sermon. Rod is taking the moral high ground.

The people in Madison Avenue are always using women's bodies to sell everything from toothpicks to speedboats, you know, and so on. Getting these young girls that are dumb. And the young girls ought to know better. But the worst ones are the men that are older and take advantage of them.... And they don't fully grasp what they are doing; selling sex in a sense; causing young men to lust while they're supposedly selling these products. A bunch of stupidity and creating lust in the minds of millions of men in that way. So God says don't do these things (Roderick C. Meredith, "Law Based on Love," taped sermon, 24 April 1993).

That's reasonably clear. Now move ahead just a few months for Scene 2. Some of the same good folk who took those remarks very seriously have been amazed to find some provocative illustrations in Spanky's rag, The World Ahead, that breach the very principles he had so recently ranted about. Spanky responds:

A few members would rather we had not used the boy-girl-car at the beach photo [a provocative photo with a young girl in a skin-tight mini-dress sitting on the hood of a car], in Mr. Norman Edward's article [World Ahead, September 1993]. But one single, nonmember, 26-year-old woman said the dating behavior described in the article was 'typical' of the way it's done in the world today. The picture was what caused her to read the article! (This particular young lady needed to read that piece and get that point!) The World Ahead program and magazine are not primarily for the entertainment of the Global Church of God membership, but rather are directed to the world. Members should enjoy and profit from the program and WAM but the appeal must also be to the unconverted, if we are to carry out our commission to witness to the world. Members need to realize that a wide range of articles will have to be presented and that not every subject and or photo will be to everyone's liking. Let's keep our eyes on why we are here in the Global Church of God, not to turn inward but to reach the world!" (Global Church of God Ministerial, Deacon and Host Bulletin, 7 September 1993).

Now what was that proverb about a double-minded man? Our correspondent comments:

Per your question regarding Rod Meredith's sexual morals: Is he a hypocrite? Does he preach one thing and do another? Does he consider himself above the law? You be the judge.

Tom Lapacka: WCG to LCMS: Former Pasadena WCG minister Tom Lapacka moved out of the church in the mid-90s. In 1998 he resumed his ministry, this time as a pastor in the conservative Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He has written a book on his WCG pilgrimage called Finding God's Truth in a World of Deception. An excerpt:

Some in the WCG believe God put us through this experience so we would be ready to receive the truth. I strongly disagree with such sentiment because that implies our Lord led us into error so He could reveal the truth to us. The spirit leads us into truth, not error. No, we must come to grips with reality. We were deceived, in many cases willingly, because we desired to be special through the esoteric 'truths' that Herbert Armstrong preached. The Worldwide Church of God was a cult--of that there is no doubt. Whether theologically or psychologically, the WCG fit the classic definition of a cult. It is painful and embarrassing to admit, but it is a fact.

According to a new edition was due to be published in November by LCMS imprint Concordia Publishing House. 

December 4WPRALogo.jpg (44091 bytes)

Dateline Pasadena: From the West Pasadena Residents Association:

"Important Notice!

"On Thursday, November 15, 2001, the Transportation Advisory Commission (TAC) held a public hearing on the Legacy Project. The TAC meeting was well-attended, with at least 150 residents participating. In addition to the WPRA, the newly-formed organization, "Save South Orange Grove," gave a presentation highlighting the density of the Legacy Project. Mijares Restaurant also presented its concerns about traffic mitigation package "A". City officials stated that staff will formulate recommendations regarding density and traffic during the month of December, and will disclose these recommendations in January 2002. A planning Commission hearing will be set far enough in advance to permit other commissions (such as TAC) to review the Legacy Project and give their recommendations to the Planning Commission. According to City Planner Brian League, the review process for the Legacy Project will likely stretch well into Spring 2002."

Let there be (artificial) light: these little gems were passed on to us, and are too good not to share.

Q. How many Armstrongites does it take to change a light bulb?

A1. 1 to change the bulb and 10 to judge whether or not it was done right.

A2. 8, so that after 3 splits down the middle, the first 4 taking the money, the next 2 taking the ladder and the last 1 taking the supply of light bulbs, there is at least one person left to do all the work.

A3. Changing a bulb will cause a split in the church.  Some will leave declaring the light bulb should never be changed. Some will say that they predicted the light bulb was going to be changed.  Some will say that the way we measure light is not based upon the Bible but on Pharisaic tradition. Some will decry that they were not consulted on whether the light bulb actually needed changing.  Other will say the bulb changed itself and all the true electricians know it. Others will leave saying the whole house needs to be changed, not just the bulb. Another group will form to meet in the sunlight and declaring their relief from having to be lighted by bulbs. One group will start a media campaign to tell the world the story of light bulbs and how they should be changed. And lastly one group will form led by a man who claims that God did not tell him the light bulb needed to be changed so everyone involved is in revolt against God's government. All the new groups will have the word light, or bulb in their names except the more pretentious which will use luminescence.

Okay you creative types, any more submissions?

December 2

PCG and Petra: The carefully cultivated relationship between the PCG and officials in Jordan appears to have run onto the rocks, so to speak.  Petra, the ancient Jordanian rose-red rock city that draws thousands of camera-toting tourists each year is regarded by most traditional Armstrong followers as the coming "Place of Safety" where the "Philadelphia era" will be protected during the Great Tribulation.  In 1998 there was a major PCG Feast of Tabernacles venue in the Mid Eastern nation, but indications are that the Flurry cult is now no longer welcome.  Why?  One story in circulation concerns a sexual assault by a cult member on a Jordanian woman.

UCG conference agenda posted:  A detailed agenda for the upcoming week long UCG council meeting (beginning this Wednesday, December 5) has been posted by chairman Roy Holladay, along with a covering letter.  Presidential hopefuls will be put through their paces and reports received.  We encourage CEO Joe from the WCG to take a look with a view to running a more open operation in his own neck of the woods.

December 1

The Christmas Question:  A new poll is up on Xmas as the days count down and the jingles begin to assault our ears in the malls and supermarkets.  December 25 is now officially on the WCG’s calendar of festivals.  How do you feel about the day?  Click across to the poll page.

... and for Dr. Seuss fans here's a link to How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

November stats: Last month saw MD register over 17,000 hits, over 1000 more than October and the third record month in a row.  Total page views since May 8 now top 84,000 with visitors having come from 70 different countries.  The ten most viewed pages in November were (1) Update, (2) Home (3) Mail, (4) Polls, (5) Links, (6) Garner Ted Armstrong, (7) Splinters, (8) HWA & incest, (9) HWA biography, and (10) Flurry’s PCG.

November 30

COG7 ructions: Recently, high profile Church of God (Seventh Day) minister Steve Kurtright, a regular Bible Advocate contributor and lecturer at Summit School of Theology, resigned his ministry and membership with the Denver based denomination that ordained Herbert Armstrong in the 1930s. He released the following letter.

This communication is to inform you that Deborah and I have decided to resign our memberships with the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) effective immediately. I too am resigning from the ministry of the church after almost 30 years of service. Please remove us from all mailing lists.

After processing our spiritual and theological journey of the last six or eight years we concluded that we can no longer support the polity or works oriented doctrine of the church. We believe that we are saved by grace alone through Christ alone. We believe that sin is no longer our master because we are no longer under the law, but under grace (Romans 6: 14.)

It is my hope that one day the church will truly accept the gospel without qualification --that it will one day be truly Christ-centered and grace-based. For years Deborah has felt the need to ask God to forgive the church for its unwillingness to acknowledge the fullness of the gospel --asking God to bring repentance and renewal. However, we must be realistic and finally admit that a gospel-centered, Christ-centered church is the goal of very few. This is beyond sad.

Paul said that anyone (including himself or angels) bringing a gospel PLUS message perverts the gospel and is "eternally condemned" (Galatians 1:6-9.) The church's message historically has been a gospel plus message--the gospel plus Sabbath, tithing, clean meats, three days and three nights, correct Lord's Supper date, etc. Strides have been made, but the under girding theology of the church continues to struggle with a grace-based, Christ-centered message. This is evidenced by reactions to new Covenant articles appearing in the recent Forums and the NAMC resolution affirming the church's position regarding the Ten Commandments and Sabbath observance as a part of the new covenant. That is heresy.

We no longer believe that the covenant made at Sinai is binding on believers (2 Corinthians 3; Galatians 4:21-31 .) This includes the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. We no longer believe Sabbath observance is binding on believers --Jesus is our Sabbath rest (Matthew 11 :28-30; Hebrews 4:9-11.) That conclusion has nothing to do with observing one day over the other. It is not a Sabbath or Sunday issue --it is a covenant issue. It is a gospel issue. It is a salvation issue. An issue we can no longer ignore.

As I take my leave I want to clarify some misinformation: The Conference did not fund any part of my education. I paid for all schooling necessary for my Master's degree.

I did not contribute to the divisions of the Houston (English) or the Shawnee Church after my pastorates. I served as pastor of the Houston Church for 18 years. That congregation continued to thrive for three years after my departure. I was not responsible for the decisions ultimately reached by core members to leave that congregation after that time. Certain core members in Shawnee were discouraged and ready to leave the church upon my arrival in the spring of 1993. I encouraged them to remain --they did so until some time after my move to Denver four years later. I did not use my influence to encourage them to start their own fellowship. That decision was theirs alone.

I did not teach contrary to the Church's doctrinal position while an instructor with Summit School of Theology. However, as a teacher I have a scriptural responsibility to teach truth (James 3:1.) Ultimately, I chose truth over my position.

We leave secure in our faith with no regrets. We embark on a life in which the gospel is the main thing. We affirm that the gospel is the good news that a loving God has taken the initiative to save us by grace alone, received through faith alone, based on the perfect life, atoning death and victorious resurrection of Jesus alone--plus nothing.

Steve and Deborah Kurtright September 25, 2001

New Flurry Page: The moderator of the PCG discussion group on Yahoo! has re-launched his web site on the Flurry church. It can be found at  Needless to say, this site is independent of the Oklahoma cult.

November 28

The evils of democracy: Just when you think the United Church of God is a thinking-person's version of Armstrongism, the sect's ministerial mullahs open their mouths and disconfirm any illusions. Here's an abridged version of an item by Mark Tabladillo posted today on his JLF Forum.

In the recent Journal (October 31, 2001), there is a front-page article about Ken Murray of Gatton, Australia. Ken has been suspended from his UCG-AIA ministerial duties because he ran (unsuccessfully) for political office.

For most of his working career, Ken has been a government employee, and in fact has held a local government office since March 2000, an office which he still holds. Ken was a paid WCG elder from 1982 to 1987, and was self-employed from 1987 to 1992. His specific UCG offense was choosing to run for Queensland state parliament as a nonpolitically aligned independent.

Not surprisingly, UCG-AIA came to its own opinion absent of any face-to-face process. Specifically, Murray believes the final decision was made by Roy Holladay, Dennis Luker, Leon Walker, and Australian office manager Reg Wright.

As is typical of the traditional WCG governmental process, UCG-AIA issued an initial official letter which stated in part:

Both the Pastoral Committee and the National Council are in agreement that, for the time being, while the matter is under further consideration and discussion, you will be temporally relieved of all ministerial duties and participation as a member of the National Finance Committee. We believe this to be the wise and correct decision to make at this time, out of concern for you personally, and also for the overall spiritual health of the brethren in this country.

Specifically, the written rationale given was:

The traditional historic teaching of the Church is that a Christian should not vote for, or themselves become candidates for, political office. This has been the continuous and consistent teaching of the Church. At no time has the Church taught anything to the contrary.

As is so often the case, "the church" will enforce its will. Reg Wright ends his letter with a request that Ken Murray come to some type of "repentance" (remember Raymond McNair???) and perform these verbal acts of contrition for himself and Graemme Marshall.

What does Ken have to repent of, we wonder? And will UCG also discipline non-ordained members who dare aspire to political office? As for repenting to Marshall, I personally well remember a "baptismal counseling" session with this great man of God, along with his underling John Comino, some years ago. Mr. Marshall, then director of the New Zealand "Work" ranted Nazi-style about the evils of inter-racial marriage and the blessings of apartheid and segregation. Satan, Marshall opined, had inspired the lyrics to a popular song with a chorus that began "what we need is a great big melting pot."  Ah, the good old days...

The JLF ("Jesus Loves Fellowship") Forum can be found at It has a deserved reputation for being one of the most pleasant and balanced places for discussion of WCG matters. A truncated edition of The Journal can be found at

Spanky and Hulme bomb in poll: Here are the results of our poll on which Church of God sects are expected to survive through the next twenty years. Interesting that the only non-Armstrong group on the list tops the poll easily. MD readers - obviously a perceptive group - seem to not expect the LCG to survive once "Presiding Evangelist" Meredith has passed from the scene. The WCG comes in under 10%

Which of these Church of God groups is likely to still be around in 2020?
Church of God (Seventh Day)
United Church of God
Worldwide Church of God
Philadelphia Church of God
Church of God AIC (Hulme)
Living Church of God
There were 61 responses to this poll

University hits grow: Some months ago we put together a list of university domains that Hitbox has identified as logging in to The Missing Dimension. The list has just been updated and can now be found on a separate page. Herb may have been a high school dropout, but there seems no end of academic interest in the ad-man turned evangelist and his legacy.

November 26

More on Wiley & Suzanne Black: The following testimonial appeared on the JLF Forum today in response to the potentially explosive developments covered in yesterday's "Chickens fly home to roost" item:

Wiley Black was one of my Imperial School teachers and he and his wife are very nice people. Wiley and Suzanne were some of the only ones many of the Imperial kids felt like they could talk to when things got really bad at home or school. Wiley was probably the most favorite teacher Imperial Big Sandy ever had because he treated us with dignity and respect. 

November 25

Chickens fly home to roost: A remarkable document has appeared online chronicling the testimonies of Wiley and Suzanne Black, a couple who have decided to share their story of WCG abuse. Both were members of the church and AC students. Mr. Black, now 80 years old, taught at Imperial Schools in Big Sandy and later at Ambassador College. Their certified statements appear in a publication called "The Bible Expositor", produced by Bernard Kelly.

Among other things, Suzanne Black relates how Rod Meredith attempted to enlist her, while a student at AC in 1957, as one of Herbert Armstrong's "special ladies".

I had been reared in a strict moral church background, and I had no idea "what" a "special lady" was! Rod [Meredith] proceeded to tell me, that true men of God, had stronger than usual "Sex Drives", and that that was what motivated them to be God's true ministers, apostles, etc. And, since HWA was his (God's) TOP apostle on earth, that HE had the strongest sex drive of any man alive on earth. And, that while normally the church didn't allow men to have other women, other than their wives, that in the case of certain of God's chosen men, it was OK... since HWA, his son, Garner Ted Armstrong, and others, were ***ABOVE THE LAW***!  He recited to me many instances in the Bible, where great men of God had had MANY women... like King Saul, King David, Moses, Abraham, etc...

I was also informed by Rod Meredith, that there were ONLY three top positions available, in God's Work, and that those were already filled... the top position going to HWA, the 2nd position to GTA, and he, himself (Rod Meredith) filled the 3rd position, and ALWAYS WOULD... for all eternity!!!

On refusing, Suzanne was, according to her notarized statement, ostracized by church leaders. 

Mr. Black's statement includes the following account:

Guy Carnes... related to us... that Armstrong knew most, if not all, of his prophecies were fraudulent and even how Armstrong 'fabricated' the idea of a 'place of safety' called Petra!

Carnes claimed that Armstrong's wife, Loma, happened to be reading an article in the National Geographic Magazine about the Jordanian 'Red Rock' city called Petra and immediately said to Herbert that Petra would be the perfect place to 'claim' that it would be God's 'place of safety' for His people before the bombs started to fall in 1972!  Herbert agreed that this would be another good tactic to keep the 'dumb sheep', members of his church under constant 'fear' of not making it to Petra if they didn't toe the mark!

If authentic, these must be some of the most damning indictments of Armstrong's ministry to date. The documents were released online today by the Exit & Support Network and are available on Steve's page

Rod Denies Spanking and Porn Claims: Twenty years after John Tuit published information about Rod Meredith's alleged obsession with spanking and pornography, we have been advised that Meredith has categorically denied them. In 1981 Tuit wrote:

In a sermon he once went to great lengths to explain how people should spank their children. He was proud of the fact that he spanked his teenage daughter on her bare backside at least once a week whether she needed it or not, just to keep her in line. His penchant for X-rated movies and adult book stores has been explained by him as a necessary part of his research in order that he may speak out properly against such sins in his sermons. 

A leading LCG member personally approached Meredith about Tuit's statements after reading about them on this site. Meredith denied them flatly. The LCG member then contacted us.

I spoke with Dr. Meredith yesterday, as well as both of his daughters, all separately, to verify what I am about to tell you.  

1. Dr. Meredith has never viewed an X-rated movie.  
2. He has never been in a X-rated bookstore.  
3. He has no involvement with pornography.  
4. He never made any of the statements that Tuit attributes to him.
5. He never spanked either of his teenage daughters on their bare backsides.

We have every reason to believe in the sincerity of the individual who wrote these words. Meredith's denials have, however, not convinced several sources who we've approached:

Meredith's porno and spanking habits were well known in Pasadena. He bragged about his daughter's paddy-whackings from the pulpit! People saw him coming out of porno book stores, and he would claim he was doing research!

Another correspondent states:

... my daughter was in one of his classes when she attended AC in Pasadena and she told me she had never sat in the class of a teacher who was so dirty minded and obsessed with sex... The guy has no discernment of what is really proper to say in public.  As for being seen coming out of a porn shop and spanking his daughter's bare behind,  that was common knowledge in the last years before I left the cult.

Anyone who has suffered through one of Meredith's long rambling sermons certainly knows the truth behind the statement that he has no discernment of what is really proper to say in public. So, who are we to believe?  We'd be interested to hear from readers who have further information.

November 21

Ron's Report: Controller Ron Kelly writes in the December WN:

Most of you are aware that our desire is to implement a new WCG financial model. This plan will provide for congregations to have a large percentage of their donations attributed to or remain in each local church bank account. We had hoped that escrow would have closed before now and that implementation of the new model could begin in early 2002.

However, the earliest we can now expect to close on the property sale is late March [don't hold your breath Ron, late March is looking VERY optimistic indeed!]. In order to implement the plan at the beginning of 2002, escrow needed to close long before now. These delays affect implementation of the new financial model.

We appreciate your patience as we move through what has proved to be a slow process. Those of us who work on these matters day-to-day are anxious to conclude the sale and move on with the new financial plan for our congregations. But until the Pasadena property sells we are limited in what we can accomplish.

We are holding our heads above water, but continue to use reserve funds for a portion of operating capital. As of Oct. 31 we have transferred $4.4 million of our reserves this year to maintain our expense budgets... This is a good time to evaluate tax implications and consider generous year-end giving to assist the church.. What a wonderful God and Father we have who allows us to share in the work he is doing to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Yes Ron, it certainly is a deeply meaningful privilege to be able to send money in so the church can continue to disenfranchise its members with a hierarchical structure resembling something out of the Middle Ages, along with a stunning lack of accountability. Thanks so much for offering us the opportunity!

click to enlarge

Believe it or not department: The January/February issue of The Plain Truth is going to feature a lead article called - we kid you not - Fundamentalism—Breeding Ground for Fanaticism.  Um, let's see, is that Joe's picture on the front cover, or The Bible Answer Man's? 

Festivals 2002: Also in the WN are dates for the WCG's "festivals" for next year. Here's the list. 

Tuesday, March 26: Lord’s Supper. Thursday, March 28: First Day of Unleavened Bread, Maundy Thursday. Friday, March 29: Good Friday. Sunday, March 31: Easter. Wednesday, April 3: Last Day of Unleavened Bread. Sunday, May 19: Day of Pentecost. Saturday, Sept. 7: Feast of Trumpets. Monday, Sept. 16: Day of Atonement. Saturday, Sept. 21: First Day of the Festival of Tabernacles. Saturday, Sept. 28: Last Great Day of the Festival. Sunday, Dec. 1: First day of Advent. Wednesday, Dec. 25: Christmas.

That's quite some liturgical calendar guys. Can we all say eclectic together?

November 20

More Grief for Sale Process: The word is that all those prayers for a speedy sale of the WCG Pasadena headquarters have boomeranged back and clobbered the petitioners, leaving a nasty lump on the bonce. The following items were posted on the JLF Forum today, and have been slightly edited.

The latest "kick in the teeth" for the Ambassador Project comes with the Pasadena Planning Commission getting an earful from local residents who have formed two new groups to fight the development (this is aside from the West Pasadena Residents Association.) The lawyers and even a traffic expert are being brought in. Residents are furious with the ever-changing project. Because of the pressure on the Planning Commission, there is now no way that escrow will close in March as HQ had hoped.

Yet more gloomy news.

Two of the three remaining auditorium employees will be laid off on Pearl Harbor Day (Dec. 7).

And from Dateline Pasadena

There have been several community groups that have really been upset with the entire Ambassador Project... Bill Schubin is a slick, smooth talker.  He could run for president easily.  He is an excellent politician.  He can get up in front of a group of angry people and have them  praising him up one side and down the other before he is through.  In the mean time, he has not addressed their questions, yet they think he has.

The local community think the church is stupid for not leasing the property instead of selling it. If they held perpetual lease rights, they would have a guaranteed income forever.  People could build what they want and the church collect the rent money for the land.  All the major office buildings and stores in Pasadena are on leased land.  This also includes most of the housing complexes here. The public is fighting for the gardens and open spaces to be maintained and Legacy reluctantly agreed to it.

Regarding the Auditorium crew.  All three of them are staunch Armstrong supporters.  They feel that they are maintaining the House of God that Armstrong built...  They would have fits whenever WCG would have services there and sing songs beside those Dwight Armstrong wrote, or if the church sang Christmas songs or decorated for Christmas.  They constantly have a stream of former members that hate the changes in the WCG coming to visit them... They are also of the opinion that we are in the famine of the Word, that this is end time prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes.  So they feel that it is up to them and a small group of supporters to preserve in any manner they can anything associated with HWA.

The first scheduled season is planned for 2004.  Legacy wants to have only a couple of events in the Auditorium each year till that time.  Then, once the endowment fund is set up, they will start looking for people to run it.  Since many events will be on Friday nights and Saturdays, none of the present crew would work those days.

Mongo Frumblefoot of Bywater Herbert Armstrong
Ponto Millstone of Bywater Gerald Flurry
Bolo Chubb-Baggins Joseph Tkach
Togo Toadfoot Bernie Schnippert
Berilac Hardbottle Michael Feazell
Drogo Sackville-Bracegirdle David Pack
Bungo Knotwise of Michel Delving Dibar Apartian
Drogo Danderfluff of Willowbottom David Hulme

And Now For Something Completely Different:  All this talk of layoffs, real estate woes, Calvinism and Dennis Luker as church president... it's enough to drive even a Salvation Army officer to drink!  We decided to lighten up with our own Missing Dimension tribute to the upcoming movie Lord of the Rings.  Ah yes, someone is sure to scream "demonism!" or something equally ludicrous.  In fact grizzle-guts Garner Ted Armstrong, that eminent child-rearing expert, has already pounced on Harry Potter.  But do we care?  Click across to this evil pagan site and acquire your very own Hobbit name!  Meantime, here are some hobbitized names of the WCG's most esteemed dignitaries, past and present.

Come to think of it, when Herb shook his jowls on TV, didn't he look just a tad hobbit-like?  Or perhaps we have hobbits confused with Orcs...

November 18

John Calvin

Herb the Crypto-Calvinist: What does Armstrong-type millennialism ("The World Tomorrow") have to do with dour traditional Calvinism? Perhaps more than we once thought. That's certainly the conclusion that Robert K. Whalen reaches in a paper delivered to the 3rd annual conference of the Center for Millennial Studies. Call us slow, but we've just come across this 1998 essay, and it gives pause for thought.

Not that Whalen mentions Herb or the WCG directly. But the Adventist roots of the Worldwide Church of God are well known. And you don't have to be any kind of Adventist to have delusions about the end of the world being just around the corner. Whalen coins the term "Watched-Pot" eschatology (eschatology is the study of the Last Things) to describe this phenomena.

You remember, of course, the old adage that "A watched pot never boils." Still, that it will boil – eventually -- seems certain. The irresistible temptation is to search the pot for signs of a boil. The tension lies in anticipation. It is this pleasant psychic tension which marks evangelical eschatology in America, not the lurid date-setting of the Millerites nor the denatured and defanged apocalypse of Mainline Protestantism.

Herb and chums, of course, were into a bit of the "lurid date-setting", but quickly wiped their mouths and pleaded innocence when confronted with the evidence.

For the first two centuries of American history, Calvinism undergirt both popular and scholarly religiosity in America. Early in the nineteenth-century, though, it began to falter. Such a rigorous belief lay a heavy burden on the faithful...

For generations of Calvinists the question of salvation before an awful God was like a decayed tooth in the mouth over which one could not – metaphorically speaking – resist moving the tongue, try as one might. It was torment – but too delicious, too fascinating, to be resisted. Endless watching for signs of grace kept the believer in a constant and excruciating, but endlessly beguiling, agony. Resolution of that agony of anticipation depended entirely on when, and if, an utterly sovereign God intervened to select one out of the world of sin.

So what is the connection between Calvinism, WCG and the other diverse end-timers ranging all the way from Billy Graham through to the latter-day Rapture crowd? Whalen finds that the first American millenarianists were deeply suspicious of democracy and change. They were often successful men who were keen on defending the status quo (including slavery) and the advantages it bestowed on them.

In 1855 the president of Dartmouth College, a prominent premillennialist, warned that the world "cannot be governed by one, or a few, or the many. All despotisms, aristocracies, democracies, especially fail."  A few years later he railed before the Dartmouth student body against "the dream of self-government," and damned those who would reform society according to "their own socialistic ideas, which are but ideas, visionary and impracticable in a fallen state."  Later, this same man wrote long pamphlets in defense of slavery, attacked the Emancipation Proclamation, and was finally forced from office by the Dartmouth College trustees, who were embarrassed by his social obduracy. Two concepts encompassed his reactionary social views, Calvinism and eschatology -- and they blended seamlessly. Since man is morally powerless social reform is a delusion and the creation of a just society must await Christ’s return in fire and judgment. The moral inability of each man under Calvinism is thus transformed via eschatology into the social inability of all men. God’s sovereignty is preserved. Man’s inability is reaffirmed. Calvinism survives. The status quo continues.

... we see a dramatic instance of the transference of theology into eschatology. Where the Calvinist searched endlessly for signs of grace as an indication of God’s intervention in his life, he now searched the world for signs of God’s intervention in history. Some signs were significant – such as the fall of the French Monarchy. Others were less so -- such as an increase in "the malign biting off of noses," a portent identified by the Prophetic Times (and it alone) in 1866... The psychological tension felt by the Christian over whether he was predestined for salvation was transferred into a group tension over when the Lord would return.

(As a side note, a publication called Prophetic Times is in fact still being published - not surprisingly by the United Church of God - although we're not aware of any reports of recent nose-biting!)

American evangelicalism, unlike Mainline Protestant thought, retains eschatology in its core theology. This came to pass as Calvinism survived by migrating into eschatology. The two systems of thought worked together like matched sine waves to amplify and preserve one another.

Whalen marshals a good deal of evidence to support his case (which seems a strong one to us). The full seven-page academic paper, in PDF format, is available online.  If Whalen is correct, the enthusiasm many WCG members once felt for an impending close of history in 1972 was caused simply by passing under a chilly shadow cast by John Calvin's blighted theology.

November 16

And then there were five: The UCG has "pared back" its list of presidential hopefuls to five. They are: Roy Holladay, Clyde Kilough, Dennis Luker, Les McCullough and Richard Pinelli. 

Another pilgrim on the path: Robin Brace, a WCG member from 1981-1994, recently contacted us. Now a Baptist minister in the UK and the holder of an honors degree in theology, Mr. Brace has launched an MSN communities site called Museltof Christian Ministries.

November 14

Liberation or lobotomy? The Los Angeles Times published a review of Michael Feazell's book "The Liberation of the Worldwide Church of God" in its November 10 edition. Written by Mark Kellner, who confesses to being a member back in the 70s, it provides an accurate if uncritical background to the book. For those who want a less easy-going assessment, we draw your attention to the review on this site

November 13

From: Janet Shay []
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2001 11:00 AM
Subject: Early Closing Today!

Joseph Tkach has authorized employees to leave work at 3:00 p.m. today as a Veterans Day observance.  In light of recent events, please reflect on the dedicated service and sacrifices our veterans and military personnel have given. Employees who are scheduled to work after 3:00 p.m. will be paid for the remainder of their shifts.  Our offices will reopen at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. Please notify staff and co-workers who don't have e-mail.   Janet Shay Human Resources x5362

Generous Joe, the Ideal Employer: Working for the WCG naturally means experiencing millennial conditions of employment. Take Veterans Day for example. Most businesses close down on Monday if it falls on Sunday.  Not WCG though.  The lucky church employees - those that survived the last cost cutting purge - got to come in as usual and stay through till 3.00. How considerate!  From Dateline Pasadena

While WCG now supports the military and has no problem with members serving in the armed forces, church bosses decided that the serfs should keep their noses to the grindstone.  But what really astounded many employees was the fact that most of the administrators were already taking the day off.  These selfless "servants of God" rarely show up to work on Mondays or Fridays.  Let the peons do the work, while they spend time on the golf course or pottering around their newly purchased and built homes.

It's tough at the top!

Brian's Barbarians: Why wait for the latest issue of The Journal? You can read Brian Knowles' latest column, The Barbarians are again at the Gates, online. We have to disagree with Brian, however, when he says:

The stage was long ago set for this attack [9/11]. It was set by subversion from within. Those who have sought to undermine the Constitutional underpinnings of this great nation set the stage. It was incrementally set by subversive ideas like moral relativism, political correctness, celebrating "diversity" (i.e. idolatry), and the legalizing of immoral behavior. The downgrading of patriotism and conservatism played a role. The relentless denigration of Christian and Jewish values represented a major contribution.

Celebrating diversity is idolatry? Go figure. We kind of like diversity. And its an acceptance of diversity that allows freedom of religion to flourish - and people like Brian (and us!) to express a view.The last really big crackdown on diversity was called The Dark Ages. The former Plain Truth editor also had a major article published in the October Bible Advocate

November 12

Love and Unity - Spanky Style: The Living Church of God has concluded a simply wonderful meeting of its Council of Elders. That's if you believe Carl McNair's November 8 report. Carl gushes about the "unanimous consensus... the pleasure of being together again. The deep love and camaraderie shared..." And it gets better! "Mr. Meredith (presiding) introduced each agenda item and solicited comments and input from every member. Where there was a difference of opinion, it was fully explored and either resolved or a decision deferred until further information is available."

Could it be that Spanky's rigid cult has miraculously transformed into a sensitive new age community? Apparently not. Having delivered the paean of praise, McNair returns to reality:

The Council of Elders for Living Church of God was established to advise and assist the Presiding Evangelist on administrative and doctrinal issues. The Living Church of God government is hierarchical, not congregational. In the Church, there are ADMINISTRATIVE decisions that the Church leader must make for the whole body-and once those decisions are rendered it is the duty of the ministry to implement them as effectively as possible. Doctrinal decisions are also made for the whole Church, to keep us walking together harmoniously. The Presiding Evangelist, with counsel from the Council of Elders during these and other meetings, makes decisions for the whole body and it is the duty of the ministry to teach those doctrines in faith that God has guided the leadership (see I Timothy 4:1-13).

Unity in the LCG Council of Elders is no problem. They just do what Rod says. And who could Carl be referring to with these comments?

Unfortunately, in the scattered fragments of the former Worldwide Church of God, there is a cacophony of voices proclaiming major and minor differences of opinion and "wind of doctrine." Many of those voices have no credibility when their personal example of living is known-but reading their critiques on doctrine does not always show their personal history of disobedience to God’s Law.

Yup, the "personal example" of some "voices" is really disturbing. Herb Armstrong, for example, who set the all-time low standard in matters of "disobedience to God's Law" with alcoholism and incest.

Meanwhile out in Modesto: Don Billingsley is apparently recovering from another brush with foot-in-mouth disease.

The question has been asked of me as to whether in my previous writing I was saying that Osama bin Laden and his terrorists may bring about the Great Tribulation?  I am sorry if some misunderstood my writing about the havoc these terrorists are causing in this country to possibly believe this sets aside what the Bible reveals as to who will be bring the downfall of Israel. 

Aaron Dean Bolts in: There was no doubt about who MD readers don't want to see as UCG president. Congratulations Aaron, it can't be easy to bring down a resounding result like that! The poll is now closed.

Which candidate would you most NOT want to see selected as UCG President?
Aaron Dean
Dennis Luker
Gary Antion

Matt Fenchel

Clyde Kilough
Les McCullough
Richard Pinelli
Roy Holladay
Jim O'Brien
There were 36 responses to this poll

November 9

Recycling the House of God: Dateline Pasadena: "Tonight in the Auditorium, Legacy Partners put on a concert trying to entice specially selected Pasadena residents and arts groups to help finance and run the Ambassador Auditorium when they (Legacy) turn it over to the City of Pasadena (as a gift). Here is what was in the program tonight. The Auditorium is going to be renamed Ambassador Hall. That will mean they will be scraping the gold letters of the dedication off the rose onyx wall. That is sure to send many in the various splinter groups into a tizzy."

A Plan For the Future

Reopening of the Ambassador Auditorium

Opened in April 1974, and closed as a major performing arts venue in May of 1995, the acoustically perfect Ambassador Auditorium is poised to once again welcome international as well as local musicians and performing artists. Throughout its 20-year history, the auditorium hosted over two-and-a-quarter-million people for some 2,500 concerts.  Among the world renowned concert artists to perform in this elegant hall were Vladimir Horowitz, Carlo-Maria Giulini and the Vienna Symphony, Luciano Pavarotti, Mistaslav Rostropovich, Mel Torme, Bing Crosby, Sarah Vaughn, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Marcel Marceau, Herbert von Karajan and Dizzy Gillespie.

To reopen the elegant 1,250 seat auditorium, Legacy Partners, the proposed developer for the Ambassador site, is seeking approval from the City of Pasadena to form a Community Facilities District (CFD) that will allow Legacy to gift the Ambassador Auditorium, and the necessary improvements, to the City.  The City of Pasadena will then issue a bond with the sources of repayment coming from a special tax placed on each parcel of the 48-acre East and West Campuses which make up the new development.  Only residents of this property will be assessed this special tax.

In addition, Legacy Partners and the City of Pasadena will complete an agreement to provide approximately 400 parking spaces in a multi-use parking structure adjacent to the auditorium on the corner of Green Street and St. John Street for use by the auditorium patrons.  The structure will also include a ground level ticket office as well as administrative offices for the auditorium.

In recent months, Legacy Partners has been working with a distinguished group of local citizens to form the Ambassador Hall Board of Directors. Committed to bringing back world class entertainment, while also making the auditorium available to local concert artists and performances, the Board of this new non-profit corporation has presented the City of Pasadena with its business plan and is preparing to create an endowment that will cover the operating expenses of the auditorium well into the future.  And what a future it promises to be!

The following artists performed tonight for the program.

Alkabu-lan Boy Choir
Suzanna Guzman  Mezzo Soprano
Vitaly Margulis  Pianist from Russia

A video presentation of past Auditorium highlights was shown.  It was
narrated by actor Michael York

The following people are on the new Ambassador Hall Board of Directors.

Alice Coulombe President
Stephen Ascher
Ernest Camacho
Julie Campoy
Richard Colburn
Don Conlan
James Ellis
Heather Haaga
Carol Henry
Betty Ho
Angela Holberton
Maurice Katz
Judith Kelly
Robert Lawrence Kuhn   (yes, the Robert Kuhn of old WCG)
Harold Meyerman
Kathryn Nack
Violet Ouynag
David Partridge
Versie Richardson
Ann Rothenberg
Elsie Sadler
J. Patrick Whaley
Ian White-Thomson
Cathy Woolway

More information and to be put on the mailing list, contact:
The Ambassador Project
671 South Catalina Avenue
Pasadena, CA  91106

The Alkabu-lan Boy Choir, from the Alkabu-lan Cultural Center in Pasadena practice at the Ambassador Auditorium. (Pasadena Star News photo by John Kennedy)

UCG News: The latest issue of United News is out. A front page story notes that 18,740 people kept the UCG Feast this year.

At 47 UCG sites around the world, more than 18,000 celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles this year, an 11 percent increase over last year. The largest part of this increase is from the 1,000 members formerly of the Remnant Church of God in Ghana who have joined with United. The increase in attendance for the United States and Canada was 4.8 percent.

There is also further information on the process for appointing a new president.

By November 9 each Council member will nominate a maximum of two people from the list [of nominees] with a written statement supporting each choice. Anyone not nominated at this time will be taken off the list...

February 28, 2002: Elect new president at Council meeting in Cincinnati... May: Incoming president assumes responsibilities at Annual Meeting of the General Conference of Elders.

Our special poll on the UCG presidency will finish after the weekend. Unless you're a member of the General Conference of Elders, it will be the only vote you get. While we acknowledge that UCG has a more accountable structure than WCG, we have to wonder why the General Conference structure excludes member participation. In our view all stakeholders have a right to representation, not just the salaried ministry.

November 8

Six Months in a Leaky Boat (with apologies to Split Enz): Today marks the 6-month anniversary of The Missing Dimension since it was re-launched in its present form. According to Hitbox (who provide our statistics) we’ve had in excess of 71,000 page views logged since then, with visitors coming from 64 different countries. We’re consistently ranked among the top 50 New Zealand-based web sites registered with Hitbox (# 27), and among the top 100 religion sites they monitor (# 76). Modest achievements, but very encouraging for a site that deals exclusively with an obscure religious movement that most people have never heard of.

Tithing Editorial: There’s a new editorial up on the subject of tithing. Our thanks to guest writer M.A.M. who provided this stimulating piece, which includes a new way of viewing the famous "cheerful giver" passage in 2 Corinthians 9:7.

Leader of the Pack: In what may be an apocryphal tale, a group of ex-WCGers was discussing the smorgasbord of offshoots now touting their wares. One mentioned Dave Pack’s hard-line RCG cult. Another asked what the "R" in RCG stood for. Quick as a flash the third replied "Retarded!"

While it’s an appealing answer, in the interests of accuracy we regret to advise that it’s nonetheless an incorrect one (as is "repressed".) The Restored Church of God is a breakaway from Global, and resembles the Flurry cult in a number of ways, especially in its insistence on what many consider mind-numbing conformity.

The Great Ambassador Real Estate Fiasco: The very name West Pasadena Residents' Association must send a shudder down the spines of the WCG's longsuffering accountants. The well-heeled members of WPRA have definite views on the disposition of the Ambassador campus. Check out their website

Another good place to get an overview of the Ambassador campus brouhaha is the recently revamped Duckys Village, a site aimed at former Ambassador employees.

Painless URL: The Painful Truth has been a leading source for information on the Worldwide Church of God and its "colorful history" for a long time. Now the site is sporting a new easy-to-remember URL on a new server. The link is And there are no ad banners!

November 4

Flaky Flurry’s Potluck Paganism: Life in the alternate universe created by Gerald Flurry can be, well, different. A former PCG member posted this question online recently:

What's the silliest thing you ever heard in the church? … I think in the St Louis area, the silliest thing would be the prohibition on using the word "luck", because of its pagan origins and supposedly implied that God wasn't in charge. Therefore, all meals that consisted of various foods brought by many different people had to be referred to as: POTBLESSING!!

Apparently the PCG minister wouldn’t allow the word "fortune" either, as "the root word had to do with telling your fortune by the stars, in other words fortunate = astrology." Whoa!

Hawks and Doves: The results of the poll on Christians and War came as a bit of a surprise. The Church of God tradition has been anti-war since its earliest days, and members have refused to bear arms in the American Civil War through to recent times. Here's how the votes went.

Should a Christian participate in the military?
No, it is inconsistent with Christ's teachings
Yes, it is a duty to fight for one's country
Only in extreme circumstances

The decision remains with the individual
There were 36 responses to this poll

The new poll concerns the eager nominees lining up to contest the UCG presidency. We thought we'd do things a bit differently and ask you who you'd least like to see in the job. Early indications are strongly pointing in the direction of one nominee in particular. 

November 2

God Didn't Do It! Or Did He?  UCG president Les McCullough's latest letter has us confused. "There is a question which arises: Is God punishing us for our sins? The follow-up is, Did God cause it [9/11] to come about? My opinion is only my opinion, but I do not believe God caused it to happen. It is apparent that He did allow it to happen." Hmmm. McCullough goes on to say:

The Church of God does believe there is a time coming when God will indeed punish the United States and other nations of the world. Jeremiah was told by God, "And it shall be, when you show this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the Lord pronounced all this great disaster against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?’ Then you shall say to them, ‘Because your fathers have forsaken Me,’ says the Lord; ‘they have walked after other gods and have served them and worshiped them, and have forsaken Me and not kept My law’" (Jeremiah 16:10-11).

There is a primary reason God punished the ancient nation of Israel. Read it in Nehemiah 13:17-18. “Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, ‘What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.’"  

We as a nation are equally guilty of profaning the Sabbath day and turning from the God of our fathers. What He has punished for in the past, He will punish for in the future. We have a responsibility to carry the warning to our nation as much as we can. We don't want to see our nation punished and crushed by some foreign power, but it will happen if we don't repent. Nineveh is the only nation on record to have repented and changed after being warned. Would that we could become a second one, but that doesn't appear likely.

It then goes without saying that we as the spiritual people of God need to be very aware and concerned about the Sabbath day and the other laws of God. The more one knows, the more that is required of the individual.

Let's get this straight. God permits people to die grisly deaths because they go to church on the wrong day? And sometime soon he's going to start killing people for the same reason? Sheesh!

A Day at the Races: They're lining up in the 2001 UCG presidential cup, awaiting the starters gun. In lanes one to nine are: Gary Antion, Aaron Dean, Matt Fenchel, Roy Holladay, Clyde Kilough, Dennis Luker, Les McCullough, Jim O’Brien and Richard Pinelli. There are clouds overhead, a downpour is expected and the track is already heavy. 

Roy Holladay has been getting in some extra practice by firing out his own presidential-style missives in his present capacity as Chairman. According to his latest letter the council meets in early December to, among other matters, interview the presidential hopefuls, discuss doctrinal issues, review the member assistance program, set money aside for church buildings and view a presentation on counseling homosexuals. 

Papa Joe Prays without ceasing: Also in epistle writing mood is the WCG's un-elected president-for-life. "My prayers for your comfort and courage in the gospel have not ceased since the horrific events of September 11," writes Joe Junior in a mildly unctuous November member letter. While Joe goes on to sensibly caution the flock about prophetic speculation (Les, take note!), one can only wonder at the paternalistic assumption of smug spiritual superiority that seems to underlie his approach. Are Joey’s prayers of special merit? Are the brethren supposed to be delighted, calmed and comforted by his pontifical feat of intercession? If anything, the apostolic chair seems to be getting cranked up even higher over the heads of the membership. That, however, can pose its own dangers. Perhaps Joe never read "Yertle the Turtle" in his deprived WCG childhood.

And of course no member letter would ever be complete without a plea for the plebs to pay up! "Brothers and sisters, the work of the church is more important than ever as people are afraid and uncertain and looking for answers. Please continue to remember our collective financial needs as we work together to share Christ’s good news. We do need your help, in prayer and in giving, to be faithful to God’s calling." Hey, wait a minute: "as we work together"? Anyone might think the Pastor General was referring to some meaningful involvement of members in the decision-making processes of the church. Joe, please tell us it's so!

November 1

More on life in the PCG: Another survivor story recently posted on a discussion forum

I had been in the "live" audience on Pentecost, with Flurry live and in person, and he kept going on and on about his new prophecy "the last hour" and at the same time he made a lot of snide remarks about his wife's emotional problems caused by menopause. Then a few weeks later his son gave a message about "the last hour", and how we weren't supposed to surf the net, waste time watching TV, pray at the times he said to pray (morning, noon, and sunset, never at night), and we couldn't stay up past midnight without a minister's permission. I knew I couldn't live like that... there was actually a woman who died this year because of the healing doctrine, in our local congregation...

The Caretaker takes a Hoeh ride: The Graveyard Church of God, cheeky brainchild of "The Caretaker", continues to provide surprises. Here's a fascinating article (new to us, but it's probably been up for a good while) that reminisces on the old time WCG. Comments about Herman Hoeh (pronounced "hay") and Gerald Waterhouse may bring a smile of recognition. An excerpt:

As one of only a few PhD's AC granted, Dr. Hoeh was a top evangelist and right-hand man to God's apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong. Dr. Hoeh's doctoral thesis was known simply as "The Compendium." I never knew anyone who had seen a copy, let alone read it... Consensus by the ones who knew someone who read it was that is was good - really good - but hard to understand. It was written at an intellectual level far above the majority of the church members; it was said to say wise things because it was written by a wise man who spent time in thought on very deep thoughts... For Dr. Hoeh was the Church Einstein and lived the role to its fullest. He spoke in slow, measured tones and paused a lot between his sentences. Apparently, deep-thoughted people do this. He often repeated things for effect and the effect was quite scholarly. He wore ill-fitting, out-of-date suits and never, ever, ever dressed casual and never, ever, ever socialized. He simply must be smart because he had a PhD and never had anything to do with the laity. The missing teeth only magnified the effect of a man possessed with knowledge rather than material goods.

After he spoke, the audience was very impressed but never quite sure of exactly what he had said. He took us from point A to point B quite logically, or so it seemed, but everyone invariably became lost along the way. We all assumed that it was because we were spiritual dunces and he knew what he was taking about. The problem must be with our understanding because, after all, he was Dr. Hoeh.

He speculated and pontificated over really smart things, like figuring out prophecy: Who was the Beast and when was America going to collapse and what would we all do in caves in Petra. We all felt swell knowing Dr. Hoeh was working on these very things at the highest levels and all those deep thoughts were going to pay off when persecution came.

As an aside, somewhere along the way I picked up a musty copy of Volume 2 of The Compendium (published in 1963). Despite the blessing of having had this rare and worthy tome in my library for years (filed next to the infamous Systematic Theology Project), I confess that it remains a largely unread curiosity. Sections of the legendary dissertation proudly bear titles like: "Hu the Mighty", Kings of Cruithne Continued, Whites Did Not Become Indians, Ogus Khan, Sicambrian Kings, Dynasty of Stenkil, The Jorhamites of Hejaz, Do Miracles Happen Today? and The Sin of Cain and Geology.


Update Archives

Volume 1: Updates for May - July 2001

Volume 2: Updates for August - October 2001




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