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In this issue: PCG barred from reprinting MOA, British WCG heads down the gurgler, Bernie (PhD, Esq.) proclaims members "extremely important stakeholders", Drinky and Spanky.

Issue XXVI - October 25  2002

LATE BREAKING NEWS: This item sent in by a Pasadena source: 

The income for WCG is still falling.  Less money came in from the so called Feast this year than they planned.  All departments have been ordered to cut another 10% out of their budgets for this coming year.  Of course, this does not apply to Bernie and crew.  They are having made, at church expense an entire new set of display boards for Bernie's public meeting next week in the Hall of Ad.  Thousands of dollars are being spent on these boards, while everyone else has to cut money.  The Church is now raising the deductible for everyone's health insurance. WCG is self insured so they are taking a serious hit in the pocket from health related claims. So that has now gone up another 250.00 a year.  When companies begin failing, the employees are the ones that are hit first in the pockets!  Of course raising a deductible is not a problem for the executives and their staff as they get incomes in the 6 figures and get raises frequently, but not so with the rest of the employees. One former minister told me that even though they are cutting money, the church will dole out raises and bonuses at the end of the year to ministers and certain department heads and their key employees. 

Mystery of MOA: This past week MD has received several queries about possible recent developments in the WCG/PCG legal action over the HWA book Mystery of the Ages. The following comments have been edited from recent posts on the PCG Yahoo Group.

The PCG is saying that it will have a second shot at the Supreme Court after the damages trial.  The original case was bifurcated (split into 2 issues).  The first issue:  "is the PCG enjoined (legally prevented) from copying and distributing MOA?"  The courts have answered that question "YES!" and the Supreme Court declined to hear the matter - that issue is OVER. 

However, the second issue is "how much does PCG have to pay WCG for its past copying and distribution of MOA?" On this issue the PCG does have appellate rights - but can only appeal on that issue.  In other words, say the district court orders PCG to pay WCG $1,000 in damages for distributing MOA, the PCG can appeal on the grounds that the WWCG hasn't been damaged in that amount - but can't bring up the issue of whether or not it can distribute MOA again.  If the purpose of the court case is for PCG to get MOA out to people, that purpose can not be fulfilled by the current (or any) court case. 

It's not so much that there is a rule saying the case is over after the Supreme Court denies a petition for certioari, it is more a situation that there simply is no higher court to appeal to and no provision in the supreme court rules to get it back in front of the Supreme Court. I am a federal lawyer and it's one of those things we just "know": if the highest court turns you down, there is no legal mechanism to continue the case. So, it's a lack of rule that ends the case, not an explicit rule that says so.

No lesser person than Ralph K. Helge, Attorney At Law, has provided an account of the MOA case in a letter to ex-PCG elder Bob Ardis dated August 13. It's a fascinating read, rich in polemic and righteous indignation. "That Prophet" is reportedly in damage-control mode. 

That being said, I'm sure it won't stop Flurry from continuing to bamboozle his sheep. He can simply say the money is going to be used to lobby Congress for a religious exception to copyright law... Of course, Flurry can just wait until Herbie's been dead 70 years, and then MOA becomes public domain.

Dateline Pasadena:

Pasadena area WCG members were sent the following letter this week. Pay particular attention to the first sentence of the second paragraph:

October 15, 2002

As you know, since 1995, our Church's International headquarters, the 48-acre Ambassador College Campus, has been for sale.  Many of you have been following the sale of this site with great interest as church members, as Pasadena residents, and, for some, as Ambassador College alumni.  We have appreciated your support and prayers as we have worked diligently to sell the campus in a way which returns appropriate value to the Church while living up to our ideals of being a good neighbor to the entire community.  I am including a supportive Pasadena Star News editorial about our campus. (featured earlier on MD)

Since you, as Church members, are extremely important stakeholders in the entire sale process, Church officials want to have a special meeting with you to (1) introduce to you the entire sales project team, (2) present some of the comments and issues we have been hearing from the small group meetings we are holding throughout Pasadena, and (3) give a complete update to you on the status of the sale.

I am pleased therefore to announce that the Church is holding a special update informational meeting, for Church members only.  In order to keep you all fully apprised about the sale process.  Please join us for this important and informative meeting:

WCG Meeting for Members
Ambassador Auditorium
300 West Green Street Pasadena
Tuesday, October 29
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The successful sale of our property, which involves the entitlement of a new development on Ambassador Campus, will make it possible for the Church headquarters to relocate to a more appropriate-sized facility and allow us to focus our resources on the mission of the church.  We are looking forward to seeing you at the meeting.

If you have any questions, please contact our information line at (626) 304-6180 or contact me directly at (626) 304-4011.  Thank you in advance for your presence.

Bernard W. Schnippert, Ph.D., Esq.
Director of Finance and Planning

(This certainly has to be first for the Church to be communicating to the members.  It has been a long standing acknowledgment that if you want to know what is happening in Pasadena you rely on the grapevine or the Star News for information.  Nothing was ever passed down to church members.  After being referred to as 'dumb sheep' repeatedly by various HQ ministers and staff it will be interesting to see what happens.)

Downsizing Gideon Style: It seems the British division of WCG is continuing to hemorrhage beyond the control of cult leaders. The following item was posted on JLF. 

There is a great deal of news this week regarding the Worldwide Church of God in Great Britain.

The UK/Eire website has been redesigned and finally news of the "state of affairs" in the United Kingdom is available. http://www.wcg.org/uk/ (for full articles and context)

The June/July UK Worldwide News is the first issue to be posted. The news is nothing short of shocking. Here are some of the highlights:

- UK HQ tries to calm the concerns members have expressed. HQ reassures them that they "have listened" despite the lack of information made available to them.

- Both WCG UK and WCG Europe are having to be restructured.

- UK HQ wants to correct the impression that a recent taped message on the future of the work may have given members. Namely that WCG UK's problems were due to a lack of dedication in some of the membership. They did not want to or mean to give this impression.

- The church will seek to sell, by December 2002, the five cottages they still own near Bricket Wood to help make ends meet.

- The fulltime ministers in Britain (only 8) will be redeployed across a much broader spectrum to serve the WCG's 50 congregations.

- At WCG UK HQ itself, Elstree House will be vacated. They will try to sublet the two floors. Offices/operations will move to a unit in the Gryphon Industrial Park with a downsized staff.

- This WN issue carries an article called "Downsizing - Gideon Style".
.... "Many large companies in recent years have downsized, but to think in terms of down-sizing a church is seen as a failure - perhaps even disapproval from God. If for something approaching 60 years God's approval was shown in achievement, a continual increase in size, in money received, in membership growth, in the positive results we obtained in preaching and publishing the gospel, then obviously, surely, the reverse has to be God's disapproval? ...."

- In the Financial Report 2002-2003 for the UK disappointingly no numbers/money amounts are cited.

- Of particular note, The WN UK reports that ...."We had some money put aside in reserve for the purchase of a property and we have been asked to use that money (By Pasadena?, not stated but implied) until such time as the sale of the campus (in Pasadena) takes place. We are now very low on those reserves and we have to review every penny that is being spent in the UK."

Please remember this was in June/July, since then Pasadena WCG HQ suddenly had to cut their support for the UK PT by 60%. There is much more in this issue including what is ahead for the UK version of the Plain Truth.

The Whistler Returns: Here's the intro to the Whister's latest column:

We on this website are continually holding Herbert W. Armstrong’s life, teachings and  offshoot churches up for examination under a critical microscope – this is no secret.  Most readers of this Missing Dimension website understand the heart and motives of those of us who contribute in this ongoing inspection of Armstrongism.  But occasionally we, and those who contribute to similar websites, are accused by some of being mean-spirited and full of hatred toward this man and his followers, and of having a corresponding blindness to the good that Herbert Armstrong did in his lifetime. 

For example, not long ago there appeared in the Oct 4th edition of Missing Dimension’s Mailbag a letter from Stephen, a reader in Vermont .   He took the time from his no doubt busy schedule to let us know that he sincerely feels that “all (our) hate mongering has been clarified for years,” and he suggests that we at MD “stop (our) character assassination and practice some Christ like behavior.”  There are even those who feel that we will be used as Satan’s tool in the persecution of true Christians in the future.  Many view us as being obsessed with destroying the memory of a man who was human and fallible, just as we all are, but used mightily of God. 

Could this be true?  Do Stephen, and others like him have a valid point when they accuse us of doing evil in the name of good?  Are we practicing unchristian behavior each time we address Armstrongism and its cultic spin-offs? (Read the full article)

journalgj.gif (37928 bytes)MD makes The Journal: The Missing Dimension made the front page of the latest Journal with our coverage of the WCG's Grand Junction festival. While we haven't seen the full text, based on the front page intro the article by Mac Overton seems both fair and thorough. The full front page is available for viewing in PDF format.

Why People Stay with WCG: Last week MD ran a new article by former WCG elder Jim Baldwin. It has already clocked an impressive number of hits. Here's the intro to that feature:

Well, I guess my little memoirs helped to answer how I got out. I reached the decision, very late, that the WCG is nothing but a money-grabbing cult having absolutely no spiritual foundation. Herbert Armstrong was a de-frocked minister of an insignificant Baptist off-shoot. He was an arrogant megalomaniac who seduced his own daughter, drank heavily, lied mightily, raised a son as a serial adulterer and cared for no one but himself. He died without a friend in the world -- dying surrounded by sycophants and boot-lickers. Some of that crowd now run the organization. Others are running off-shoots that have gone on to brutalize other sheep as they learned to do so well under Herb's tutelage. I learned I'd been had big time.

But there is still another question. Why do those "friends" of my past still stay in the WCG? Why are they still trapped and I'm free? What goes on in their minds to justify continued support of this organization? (Read the full article)

In Brief

Reality Check: Posted to the MD Yahoo group this week:

The November-December Plain Truth contains an article called "Bishops and Big Business in the Same Boat" by Eugene Cullen Kennedy.  The article says that the current Catholic pedophilia scandal and the big business scandals in the U.S. are a byproduct of the authoritarian, hierarchical systems that still exist in the Catholic Church and in many large corporations. The author suggests that such systems are outmoded and inherently corrupt. 

Does anyone else see a certain irony in the appearance of such an article in that particular magazine?

From Pasadena to Plymouth: A sign of the times from the latest issue of Northern Light:

We also say "so long" to Kevin Armstrong [Associate Pastor of the Toronto West WCG], another regular contributor to Northern Light . His column, "Our Changing Community," has chronicled our journey as a denomination and helped to start a discussion on what the Worldwide Church of God may look like in the future. We wish him success in his new position as Director of Ministry and Operations at Forest Brook Bible Chapel in Pickering, Ontario... a church with roots in the Open Brethren movement.

Quarter million mark: This week MD passed the quarter-million mark for page views logged in 2002. The total number of page views for 2001 (May - December) was just under 104,000.

prayer rock 1.jpg (25030 bytes)Quotable! Rarely has a fitter word been spoken - albeit unintentionally - than these by PCG writer Lisa Godeaux:

Out of all the new additions accepted to Imperial College next year, the one that is perhaps most fascinating and inspiring is not a student or an instructor; it is a rock. (Philadelphia News, May/June 2002)

prayer rock 2.jpg (24954 bytes)An apt tribute perhaps to the caliber of person IC attracts? As a special treat we're providing two photographs of the sacred stone taken during the Flurryite Feast this year and posted on the PCG Yahoo home page. Just click on the thumbnails.

Alas poor Stephie: These impressions from a woman who attended the PCG cult's festival site at Edmond.

[She] thinks [Stephen Flurry] is going crazy because every time he spoke all he did was scream and she didn't understand a thing he said (from the PCG Yahoo group.)

FOT rethink for aging UCG: From the October 17 Home Office Update:

In the past we have tended to use the larger Feast sites, often located centrally in a resort area. While some of these sites are very popular, especially among our singles and families with teens, we need to consider smaller sites, closer for our older members. Our Festival team has recommended a mix of the larger, resort type Feast sites and smaller Feast sites. This means we will have a few more sites in the coming years.

Take Care with this one! This "News Flash" was received this week via what might be euphemistically called "the Ambassador Watch Newswire Service International."  Remember, you read it here first!

Breakdown Uncovers Terrorist Cell Threat


PASADENA CALIFORNIA. Officials announced today that a major terrorist plot against the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) involving two "splinter cells" has been uncovered. In an unusual move, WCG splinter cells code-named Drinky and Spanky had joined at the grass roots level to form a "united plot" (a term opposed by both cells) against the WCG. The plot was designed to humiliate the current leadership of the sect and return it to the leadership of its late founder, Herbert W. Armstrong.


Undercover intercepts of e-mail traffic at well known splinter cell chat rooms revealed the following scenario, with Apostle, or "A-Day" used for the code word for mobilization of the operation:


In an unusual development, sources revealed the plot did not come from the cell leadership, but from the cell rank and file. Internal memos uncovered in the investigation show authority figures within the various cell organizations strangely opposed to returning things to the way they were, in a stark contrast to public demands by the groups. An explanation lies in a second, alternate plan uncovered in the investigation. A high-level coded memo from "Drinky" to "Spanky" states "placing microphones on Mr. Armstrong's body would be the only way we can make sure that new truth is revealed to the membership on a regular basis."  Breakdown between top-level cell leaders on who controlled the microphone lead to the exposure of the entire operation by officials.
The Timetable:

A-Day minus 1 week: A white powder is to be put in Joe Tkach Jr. shoes, causing his beard to fall out and humiliate him publicly. 


A-Day minus 1: Cell Spanky places pornographic material, gathered in years of research, in strategic places in the WCG's Hall of Administration in an effort to discredit current leadership. A dye is placed in the campus laundry, turning the shirts of the WCG leadership a bright pink to further question their masculinity. Rubber hoses from the campus grounds keeping department are placed in desk drawers.


A-Day: 6am. After catapulting a 300 lb "prayer rock" through the front door of the Hall of Administration, cell Drinky storms the building, exposes Spanky terror items and retakes the fourth floor offices in righteous indignation.


A-Day: 6:01.  A permanent fourth floor Bar is established.


A-Day: 8am. Celebration is paused while cell Drinky directs bronze Egrets to take flight from a lagoon on the former Ambassador College Campus and fly to Altadena where Armstrong resides in posthumous exile.


A-Day: 9am. Armstrong is returned and propped up at his former desk on the fourth floor by cell Spanky.  Pornographic material and rubber hoses are reclaimed and returned to the cell research library.


A-Day 9:01am. The day is officially marked as January 17, 1986, as are all subsequent days ad infinitum in the effort to ensure no doctrinal changes will ever take place again. The church auditorium is used for 24/7 alternate showings of the Drinky film-favorite Harvey and Spanky-favorite Lolita,with film short Big Beak in Prophecy separating the films.

Ambassador Watch is part of the Missing Dimension website - www.missingdimension.com. It is published online each Friday.  The contact address is: missingdimension@ihug.co.nz  Dateline Pasadena can be reached at datelinepasadena@yahoo.com
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