AMBASSADOR WATCH The Missing Dimension e-zine 

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No. 35  FEB. 2003

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Covering developments and advocating accountability in the Worldwide Church of God and related groups

This page is now updated several times a week.  
Click here for the previous AW edition.

28 Feb. Herb's Household Essentials: There's nothing like a nice boiled egg to start the day, and what's an egg without an egg cup? The picture (click for enlargement) shows Herbert Armstrong's George IV silver egg cruet, made in 1820 (not shown are the six silver spoons that go with the set.) We'd have expected it to be paired with a handy toast rack, but instead the auctioneers chose this 1845 Victorian silver mounted frosted-glass claret jug and stand (and which of our readers doesn't have a couple of those stashed under the kitchen sink!) For those with an eye for detail, the stopper is in the shape of the Russian Imperial crown (we imagine Herb was particularly taken with that feature.) And talk about a bargain: you could have picked up both for under $10,000 judging from the catalog listing. 

But enough of the cheap tawdry stuff. The next item, which will be online in a couple of days is the piece de resistance of the entire collection. And it has a price tag to match.

Meantime, how do you like your yokes, soft and runny or hard-boiled?

28 Feb. Painful Truth offline: The "granddaddy" of WCG exposé sites, Ed Mentell's Painful Truth, seems to be experiencing technical difficulties. Hopefully the problem will be only temporary. Earlier versions of the site at Tripod and also seem to be unavailable. We'll keep you posted.

28 Feb. Misery loves company: Faced with continued financial hemorrhaging, sect CEO Joe Tkach  is appealing to the age-old argument used by every school kid since Adam was a boy: but everyone else does it too!  From the latest Pastors Update:

You may not have observed that churches and para-church ministries across the USA are having to make cutbacks. James Dobson's broadcast and media ministry Focus on the Family is cutting $5 million from its budget and laying off 34 employees. Additionally, they cut merit pay increases, travel, and decreased the frequency of its magazine to eight issues per year.   

From the Religious News Service I share with you some excerpts from an article entitled, All Churches Wrestle With Tough Economy.

--The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has reduced its national ministries staff of 320 by 48 people - with more than half of them from its missionary force - and trimmed its budget from $99 million to $89 million.

--The Presbyterian Church USA, laid off 66 people at its Louisville, Ky headquarters last year as part of a $4 million cutback. At least $5 million in cuts are expected through 2004.

--The United Methodist Church will not deploy new missionaries this year as part of $12 million in cuts at its overseas missions agency.

A number of church groups reported higher-than-normal insurance costs, especially for employee health insurance.

Yes Joe, maybe so. But the LCMS, Presbyterians and Methodists don't make their members jump through hoops to find out accurate details of their church's financial situation. And while these bodies may be going through temporary difficulties, it's hardly the same thing as a cultic group which has been in a nose dive for years, piloted by a captain with gum plugged in his ears (so he can't hear the screams of the passengers in economy class) and a vice-like grip on the controls.

28 Feb. Ever decreasing circles: These are tough times for California and even tougher times for some big money Californian religious-businesses.  We know, for instance, that although Joseph Tkach himself remains personally very wealthy, he has seen support for his fundamentalist sect dwindle to an estimated 10,000 hard core domestic tithe-slaves!  This could be one tenth the number as recently as ten years ago! 

Meanwhile, across town in south west Los Angeles, another once mighty media-oriented sect has fallen on hard times too.  The televangelist is Frederick K Price and his TV show is "Ever Increasing Faith".  However, he seems to be suffering from "Ever Decreasing Membership" as his ambitious 1981 edifice, the 5000 seat circular FAITHDOME, is nearly empty these days. Like the WCG, his sermons are often guilt trips as he beats up on his followers for Ever Increasing Tithes. He then turns around and blames the poor attendance on the members - after they have paid up for massive television exposure (he says they have to hustle their friends to attend. Sounds like Tkach's recent rantings). Looks like the problem lies not so much with the members but with the ego in front of the cameras - which maintain... tight shots on the small crowd, avoiding the ocean of empty seats. Is this why Tkach closed the Herbitorium?

28 Feb. Canadian case: This says a lot about the Flurry cult: That they take such advantage of a man debilitated by Alzheimer disease. Too bad the membership at large won't see that court opinion, which seems carefully considered and impartial to me. I know this has been asked before, but how can the powers that be sleep at night, knowing they do these things?

27 Feb. Canadian case details: Details of a recent court case involving the Flurry cult can be found online. Cult leader Flurry was executor of the will of Stanley Fuller, an elderly PCG member suffering from Alzheimer's, who had effectively disinherited his children in favor of the cult. Mr. Fuller's children were successful in overturning the will.

The following remarks were published in The Philadelphia News.

The PCG has filed an appeal against the ruling, not for financial reasons according to Mr. Flurry [MD: yeah, right!], but because Mr. Fuller's wishes have been circumvented by Canadian law.  The Church is hopeful that the ruling, ultimately, will be reversed... Church members worldwide are praying for a positive outcome in this court battle.  On the weekend of November 23 and 24, the Church held a worldwide fast for both court cases [the other being against WCG].

26 Feb. Ron gets excited: I’m excited to report that January donations show an increase over January 2002, says Controller Kelly in the March WN. But before the WCG accounting staff spins into party mode, breaks out the bubbly and Macarenas around the Hall of Ad. there's just one serious qualification: 

In part that is because of the way we processed mail this year compared to last year. In 2002 we were working with a significant backlog of mail from December 2001. As a result, much of the January contributions were not tabulated until February. That makes accurate comparisons difficult. However, anytime I can use the word increase is rewarding and cause for thanksgiving and appreciation.

"This year we will not cover church finances in our regional conferences."

Controller Ron Kelly

There's more "good news, bad news" to follow:

I mentioned last month that our Finance & Planning staff submitted a budget to the church board that balances income and expenses for the first time in more than eight years. This is possible, in part, because of the continuing sale of surplus properties and equipment in addition to reduced expenses.

And then there's this surprising comment, perhaps the most telling of all:

This year we will not cover church finances in our regional conferences.

Ah, excuse me Ron, but just days ago WCG spokesman Paul Kroll wrote to a member:

The kind of factual information you asked about would be available and presented to our members in Regional Conferences, which Worldwide Church of God members are encouraged to attend.  Interested and concerned members attending these conferences would receive detailed facts about church finances from church officials.

This isn't the first time Kroll has apparently steered questioners "up the garden path" (see AW1, "Did WCG lie through its teeth?") Forgive us our cynicism, but it seems church officials are doing an elaborate dance to avoid fronting up with accurate information, including information they say they'll make available. The only question is... WHY? 

26 Feb. $10,000 Tongs: There has been considerable interest in the catalog items recently shown on AW. Over the next few days we'll have a few more to share, beginning with these little beauties, a pair of regency silver-gilt serving tongs made in London, 1811. 

Yes brethren, here's PROOF of the Apostle's thrift. If HWA had been a lesser man he'd have got himself a brand new pair of tongs from Wal-Mart for the many back yard barbeques where he needed to dish out sausages and coleslaw for his VIP guests. He could have chosen the quality and durability of stainless steel or the contemporary warmth of plastic. But NO, the Pastor General was willing to make do with 175 year old second-hand salad tongs. Kinda chokes you up huh? What an inspiring example of personal denial and selfless stewardship!

These tongs sold for $10,350.

26 Jan. Why Were You Born?  A long time ago in a parallel universe far far away the Worldwide Church of God produced a booklet called Why were you Born? by Herbert W. Armstrong. Now Michael Morrison revisits the question in an article in the March WN. Same question, different answer.

26 Feb. More heavy metal: Since this site has shown some of the Apostle's "heavy metal collection" & his taste for quality, I wanted to share this photo that I've taken when I was visiting Ambassador College (around '79).  Here's the following description taken from the Public Auction Catalog (Nov. 6, 2000); "Exact Replica of Mayflower" hallmarked English silver (sterling) ht: from base to top of main mast: 26 1/2", length 23" includes large custom case and sterling framed information sign (estimated price value $4,000 to $6,000). Keep up the good work.

MD: maybe a silver model of the Titanic would have been more appropriate.

26 Feb. The Great Signs Caper: I want to congratulate you on a great piece of work that you do with the Ambassador [Watch] site.  Good for you!!!  I never met you but I... know personally so many of the characters you report on... GTA, Pack, Flurry, Mr. Tkach, his son, Bernie, Pelley, Rod M,  Ron Kelly, etc, etc...

I laughed like crazy at your announcement that some of the Ambassador Sales Dept signs were stolen. Please let me know how in the world you found out about that caper. I was in Pasadena from 14-24 Feb ( got back from California late this afternoon) and saw the signs one day whilst I was visiting the campus and then one day they were gone... 3 out of the 4 that I saw...

Thanks again for your service to us ex-WCGers!

Keith Speaks

MD: no secret. Our person on-the-spot, Dateline Pasadena, filed the story. DP like yourself has a keen eye.

26 Feb. Anyone for Herb? Anyone else that may still be looking for an early copy of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong can check on the ebay auction site right now. I see that someone in Pasadena (!) has put a 1973 edition for sale there; it is auction number 3502731024. The auction ends on March 3rd.

24 Feb. Memo to Ron Kelly: Have a look at this statement by COG7 president Whaid Rose in the March Bible Advocate.

... conventions... provide the general membership a chance to participate in the business affairs of the Church. We are a church with open books as well as an open creed. Our financial deals are no secret. During the conference in session, questions can be asked, bylaws can be changed or amended, and firsthand details on the state of the Church are provided. We are dedicated to being a church that reflects openness and a commitment to its membership rather than to hierarchy and bureaucracy.

Hard to believe the control freaks at Pasadena cult HQ are spiritual descendants of the Denver based church. 

24 Feb. Piltdown Herb: I do not understand Flurry's adulation for, and preoccupation with everything Herbal...  Why would anyone want  to buy the rights to all of HWA's debunked, disproven, and discredited booklets?  It is understandable that someone could be an avid fan of somebody truly cool, like say Dale Earnhart, or Stevie Ray Vaughan, who worked to soothe their fans by taking away a little of their pain for a few hours of great entertainment.  There are two philosophies of life, the way of inflicting pain, and the way of healing or soothing pain. HWA practiced the way of inflicting pain.  SRV never beat little old ladies over the head with 1975 to force them to pay their tithes so that he could give Steuben Crystal to the already rich, or buy silver for himself. The complicity of the WCG and Flurry on this issue is analogous to a lesser college of anthropology wishing to purchase the remains of Piltdown Man (hoax) to enhance the credibility of their curriculum, and the more prestigious university actually agreeing to sell them with full knowledge as to how they were to be used! 

Bob Wayne

23 Feb. PM  More from Journal Article: Here is the relevant section from The Journal article by Bill Stough.

Grandmothers for sale. In good condition. Phone Joe or Bernie 1-800-309- ...

WCG attorney Ralph Helge of Pasadena told THE JOURNAL Jan. 22 that he has pushed for a negotiated settlement of the dispute over Mr. Armstrong’s writings rather than a continuation of the drawn-out court battles. Just before publication of this issue of THE JOURNAL, WCG legal assistant Earle Reese said all 19 disputed works of Mr. Armstrong the PCG has expressed its desire to publish and distribute would become available to the Oklahoma group if the two churches reach a settlement. One of the works is the original 58-lesson Bible correspondence The WCG would turn the copyrights to the disputed works over to the PCG. Mr. Reese said the recently announced “publish-on-demand” arrangement with 1st Books Library ( would end if the two churches reach a settlement. THE JOURNAL asked Mr. Reese about the rumor that the PCG has offered $2.5 million for the copyrights. “I can neither confirm nor deny that amount,” he said. “But a substantial amount has been offered.

23 Feb. PMSell it ALL!: [Posted to the MD Yahoo group] What else would they like to sell? Who else would they like to sell out?

You know, in a fundamental way, WCG also owns HWA's bones.  WCG put him in the ground.  Why don't they auction the Apostle off, too?  Not to give them any ideas.  For an extra $250,000.00 they can also have Loma.

Copyrights to HWA's no longer extant radio programs have to be worth something? Yet another fire-sale at WCG.  Sell the deposed orthodoxy? I mean, sell it?  This settlement makes the surreal commercial and opens up a new world of WCG finances.

There are so many opportunities! You can sell Dick Armstrong, too. He had writings. He was buried at church expense. Those belong to the WCG.  Dick has rotted into the ground... but if PCG is buying—sell! ...

It is one thing to disavow your previous orthodoxy. It is another thing to sue to cleanse the world of your previous orthodoxy. In a way, that's noble. It is entirely a third thing to sell repressed and dispossessed orthodoxy to the opposition. How very revealing!

As for the Auditorium, they can bash it into bits and then sell the bits to whatever fragment is willing to buy. Sell the bits in baggies like cocaine. Then they can have the best of both worlds: they get something out of the House of the Greater God and they can slap up an ugly particle-board condo complex next to one of the busiest highways in the world.

23 Feb. PMHerb the "Hairy Tick": The other ironic thing about all this is that WCG has publicly claimed Herb as a heretic, that his writings were full of errors, and that they stopped publishing his works so that other gullible people would not be led astray.  So now, to fill their pockets with more money (perhaps to fight the WPRA with?) they turn over those heretical wirings to one of Armstrongism's most deviant cults.  Now more people will be hooked with those heresies and outright lies.  Does WCG have no accountability to anyone?  Obviously not even to God!  By allowing these heresies to be promoted once again as 'the truth once delivered' more people will be led away from the grace Jesus Christ into the legalistic quagmire of Armstrongism.

Dateline Pasadena

23 Feb. PMComment on HWA quote on D&R: [HWA said] "I'll bet you nearly hundreds and hundreds of members of the Worldwide Church of God would divorce and they would go out and marry someone else. And that would be the end of the Worldwide Church of God..."

Hmmm...wonder what made HWA think that?  Could it be that he had just a little idea of how many people were in MISERABLE marriages?  Marriages that were ARRANGED and COMMANDED by various Pastors?  I know of SO MANY people
who were not allowed to marry someone they loved (IN or out of the Church), but COMMANDED to marry someone else (under threat of disfellowshipment or the....(OH NO!)...Lake of Fire.

But HWA was partly right...there were "hundreds" of divorces...mostly brought by abused women (Run! Run for you life!!!)...(who'd been told over and over again..."if YOU were submissive...there wouldn't be a problem with your marriage...YOU ARE THE PROBLEM...)

Women fled (and are still fleeing) from years of control, manipulation, abuse...(and the tyranny of the GOOD OLE BOYS CLUB--Ministers and husbands together).  What a blessing from God...what a release.  Dear God, to be able to breath the clean, sweet, fresh air of freedom.  To be appreciated.  To have "a voice".  To know...oh dear...should I actually say it....L-O-V-E.  Yes, that's right.  Love.

Most of the women I know that divorced (and either left the Church or were of course, disfellowshipped--evil, vile, rebellious woman!) who re-married (brave souls), married "worldlies"....and are deliciously happy for the first time in their lives.

It is truly sad to see what HWA, Spanky and the teaching at AC did to a lot of guys that, left alone, might have grown up to be decent, kind, loving men.  The same is true with the women.  They might have grown up to be whole human beings with self-esteem and dignity...self-worth...instead of degraded, demoralized and down-trodden.

HWA, Spanky and others taught the men to be cold, controlling, horny jerks...and the women to be "head  down" ...silent ...fearful... mattresses.

Great recipe for marriage. NOT!

23 Feb. Non-denominational lectures? The UCG is inviting the public to attend "non-denominational lectures" in Seattle and Tacoma.

On February 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m., you are invited to two non-denominational lectures for the general public in Bellevue and Tacoma, sponsored by the Good News magazine.

Speakers include Howard Davis and Dennis Luker, and the "uncertain times" theme is due to be given a pounding. Entitled "What's Next for America?", here's part of the promotional.

With a war of the United States against Iraq imminent, the world is wrestling with the terrible prospect of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction--which could hit anywhere. Now among one of the world's most important cities like New York and Washington D.C., Seattle could be next.

You can listen in to a local radio ad for the series (MP3 link) which naturally doesn't mention UCG. Is this honest advertising? Non-denominational? Who's kidding who?

I'm in the money! I'm in the money!

23 Feb. WCG to sell copyrights to Flurry? A front page article in the latest Journal (dated Jan. 31) suggests that the Worldwide Church of God will hock off Herbert Armstrong's works to the Flurry cult for $2.5 million.

The article, by Bill Stough, confirms that an out of court settlement is pending. It seems all the contested works will be assigned to PCG. The WCG's current arrangement with on-demand publisher 1st Books will cease.

PCG gets the cult classics. WCG gets thirty pieces of silver. How apt. Exactly how the WCG spin doctors will justify this remains to be seen.

The front page of The Journal, which includes the full text of the article, is expected to be available shortly at

An immediate reaction from "Dateline Pasadena": I am in shock!  ...  WCG have spent over 4 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to stop Flurry, and now they are letting him print that [material]?  WCG is lucky if they have recouped what they have shelled out in attorney's fees!  This organization gets more disgusting as the days go by!  Can you imagine the gloating Flurry is going to do now!  God forbid if this draws more members into his cult!  God will certainly hold Tkach and WCG accountable for THAT travesty!

23 Feb. Dwight Armstrong mystery: Looking through various HWA tribute sites I came across photos of his gravestone at , alongside with those of his mother Eva, Loma, and Richard David.  But there's an odd note:

"As an aside, Dwight Armstrong, Herbert Armstrong's younger brother who composed many of the most-beloved hymns in the 1974 purple Hymnal, is buried in an unmarked grave in an unknown community at the tip of Washington State. These hymns continue to be sung every Sabbath by faithful members of God's Church."

Anyone know the story behind this?

David V Barrett

23 Feb. Webmaster sets record straight: I happened to visit your link section... and noticed a comment or two regarding the Web site which might benefit from a bit more information.

The Bible Study Web Site... had 1,400,000 verified Page Views for 2002... A further gauge of the's popularity is the number of questions submitted to the site for answers.  The United News... stated in its January, 2003 edition that their site at received 793 Email questions for the entire 2002 year. The site only recently promoted email answers to questions...  As of 2/21, in the first 149 days of accepting questions for email answers, 600 questions have been submitted (and they usually receive an answer in two days).  This projects out to 1460 questions submitted a year.  It is interesting to note that 90%+ of all questions sent in are by NON-church of God folks. In fact, the VAST majority of site visitors are NON-church of God folks...  Also, 13 out of the 15 volunteers answering questions are NOT "ordained" folks based on a COG definition (I am not "ordained" either, having been disfellowshipped from the WCG in 1986 after being baptized for only 10 months).  Pam Dewey has also been kind enough to answer a few questions from the site as well.

... concerning the comment:  "But hey, for a hundred bucks you can buy a banner ad on Alan's main page!"  How I wish I didn't have to offer ANY ad space!!  Ad space is offered, reluctantly, after SEVEN years of not offering space publicly, simply as a way to pay site and site-related bills.  This is certainly not new to the 'Net, as without ad revenue sites like Yahoo, etc. simply wouldn't exist... Donations come from visitors to the site.  And even then such donations, after seven years on the 'Net, are quite small...  

Alan Ruth
Webmaster/Founder of

23 Feb. Naive? It is naive apologists like Mr. Miller who give the WCG and its looney-tune madhouse of cult clones their very life-blood. 

Jim Baldwin

MD: Russell has been outspoken and direct on several news boards re. the WCG, so I'm sure he is anything but naive.  In a follow-up email he writes: "My intention was simply to put forth another theory as to their motivation." It'll be interesting to see how Ed Mentell responds to his comments when he next updates his letters section.

22 Feb. Will You Be Spared? The Cold War was a boom time for Armstrongism. Fear of atomic apocalypse lent added credence to Basil Wolverton's nightmarish artwork showing tortured human beings suffering through the tribulation holocaust, and Herb's references to concentration camps and the destruction of America and Britain. Ted Armstrong was portrayed on billboards desperately "crying aloud" on his America Listen! campaign. The question of the hour: Is there a way of escape? No wonder British sociologist Bryan Wilson described WCG back in 1970 as a "manipulationist sect."

But the good old days are here again with the prospect of war in Iraq. And like a vampire scenting blood the Armstrong sects are poised to feast. Even in what is supposedly the most enlightened of the Armstrong splinters, the United Church of God, the fearful are being offered a similar spiel. This delightful little graphic graces several UCG websites, summing up the new fear-mongering strategy succinctly. 

Preying on human weakness and uncertainty. Feeding on fear and pessimism. Uh, is this really what the gospel is all about?

22 Feb. The buzz at cult HQ: Word is out that someone stole the new Ambassador Project signs that were posted around the Academic Center. Security is reported to be down to one officer at night now, which might explain how the culprit had time to unscrew them.

PTM also laid off an employee last Friday. It seems that PT subscriptions are far below expectation so they could not afford to keep him on staff.  He had worked for the church for over 22 years.

MD comment: actually, unscrewing the signs wasn't the biggest problem. The real difficulty was getting them on board the Air New Zealand flight back to Auckland as hand luggage! They're currently nailed up at the back of the Tuakau Cosmopolitan Club, much to the puzzlement of the locals. 

Nah, just kidding.

As for PTM, wouldn't they save a great deal more by laying off Greg Albrecht?

22 Feb. Resignations pulled from Web: Mark Tabladillo reports on the JLF board that several UCG pastors have asked that their WCG resignation letters be pulled from his site.

In the past week, three UCG-AIA pastors have individually sent me email requesting that their 1995 resignation letters be removed from

In the past I have had similar requests to remove information from the Internet, and in context (which I have posted to this board in past emails), I have been careful to post information clear of copyright problems...

... I anonymized the resignation letters of the three UCG-AIA pastors. All these letters were obtained in a public way since they were multiply posted to all the existing WCG mailing lists and chat groups in 1995.

And in a later posting:

The boys are sticking together. Two more UCG pastors asked me to remove their resignation letters, so I anonymized them too.

22 Feb. CEM mailout woes: According to reports, Ron Dart's CEM uses the same firm as Ted Armstrong for mailouts. Unfortunately a big chunk of the latest CEM posting went out with GTA return envelopes tucked inside by mistake. We can understand their confusion. Both organizations have apparently scrambled to minimize the possible problems. 

22 Feb. Behind the wholesome image: One discussion board that a couple of people have mentioned lately is the WCG Abuse forum, which is part of the WCG alumni group on A list of the related forums is available at MD's very own Whistler is a regular here.

22 Feb. Malice or stupidity? I  am in no way intending this as a criticism of the services you provide by maintaining your websites [MD: this letter was also sent to Ed Mentell of The Painful Truth].  I am confident that you are helping out many people that would otherwise have nowhere to turn, and for that I am very glad and support you wholeheartedly. However, sometimes, I think that a malice is attributed to WCG leadership that may be misplaced.

There is no doubt that Herbert Armstrong was a malicious, dangerous, creep.  And I don't in any way intend to excuse the actions of the current leadership, whatever the reason.  But we have to remember that the current leadership was also brought up in the same environment that we were.  While it is possible that they are fully aware of what they are doing, it is also possible that they have much less of a clue than we are attributing to them.  I am reminded of the saying, "never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity".

WCG was, by its very nature, from the top down, and from its very inception, a shallow organization.  They were always much more concerned about appearances than what is in the heart.  This fostered a separation between what they showed and what they are.  I imagine that this was drummed into them very hard by the abuses of Armstrong.  So, it must be very hard for them to be completely transparent, because, after all, they were taught that what goes on inside doesn't matter, that what you present to the outside world is all that matters.  Insincerity was not only par for the course, it was expected and encouraged.  How could one so far up in the organization not fall prey to this worldview?  And surrounded by people who feel this way, how can one escape from it?  It's much more difficult than it sounds.

Perhaps they are completely sincere in trying to turn the organization around. Perhaps they are completely sincere in their desire to right the wrongs that the WCG had inflicted on so many people.  And perhaps they are completely and utterly clueless as to the extent of those wrongs, and as to how to fix it.  I don't see Tkach/Schnippert/Feazell, etc., as sitting there in red suits with horns on their heads plotting how to extract more money from their followers.  I see them as lost and confused people trying desperately to prop up what may be their only link to sanity - after all, if WCG fails, what will have happened to all of the years that they have sunk into it?  It's hard for anyone to face that kind of loss.  I see them as so lost in the dynamics of abuse that they really don't know how to maintain a healthy organization - or a healthy relationship with people and organizations outside their circle.  I think they are completely and utterly confused at why websites such as these [i.e. MD and The Painful Truth] exist, and why people continue to demand accounting, and why people won't accept their explanations.  After all, they changed, right?  Everything is different on the surface!  It shouldn't matter to us what may be on the inside, what may be in their hearts.  They changed, it's all over and in the past, they think, so what's the big deal?  I wouldn't expect any less from a former Armstrongite.

As again, I'm not trying to excuse their behavior.  I am, however, making a case that, in spite of all they have done and in spite of all they are doing, perhaps they are more worthy of our pity then our anger.  They are, in fact, victims as much as we were, just on a different level.

I hold the WCG and everyone, including the current WCG leadership, who has abused anyone else in the name of God and Herbert Armstrong totally accountable for their actions.  I expect them to apologize unconditionally and totally, on behalf of themselves and their organization, before I will even begin communication with them.  However, the only person in this whole mess that truly deserves my anger is [Armstrong].  Everyone else only deserves my pity and understanding, for we are all ultimately in the same boat.  Only some have more to answer for than others.  After all, I am not completely blameless either.  Even though I was a victim of this whole mess, I did my share of turning people against me in the name of my religion.

They need therapy and counseling desperately from a professional therapist.  And perhaps cult deprogramming as well.  Anger simply does not help.  This isn't to say anger isn't fully justified.  It's simply not productive.

Russell Miller

MD: You raise some interesting points. It's true that yesterday's victims too often become tomorrow's victimizers. And yet, is this an adequate excuse? GTA was a victim of an overbearing and controlling father. So what? 

I've got nothing against Joe personally, in fact I've never met the guy. But at the end of the day he has chosen to wear the mantle and authority of "pastor general" in a corporate sole structure. He doesn't have the excuse HWA did either, a man born in the 19th century who was raised on a value system that had more to do with Getty than Jesus (J. Paul Getty's autobiography reads very much like HWA's.) Joe however is a contemporary of many MD readers. He knows better!  And if he is indeed clueless, he should have the integrity to step aside ("clueless" is no reason to accept unethical policies, especially if you're in a position to do something about it!) Unlike you or I, Joe personally benefits from what he does. Unless you or I solicit tithes in God's name (and no-one has ever sent in money to support The Missing Dimension site), I think you'd have to say that he is operating in a different league altogether. 

Is this about anger? No, it's about advocating CHANGE. In the absence of a forum where people can openly voice their concerns (and let's face it, the "Worldwide News" is a sick joke) the issues have to be raised from outside. If there were genuine representative structures within the WCG, there would be little need for sites like this. But to simply throw up one's hands and say "oh well" seems a very passive response. Skulking away does nothing to solve the problem; you have to stand up to bullies.

22 Feb. Quite a coincidence: In reading HWA's prediction that there would be tons of divorces if the WCG ever changed the doctrine prohibiting divorce and remarriage [AW, Feb. 21], I cannot help but ask this question:  Why did he think that there were that many flimsy marriages in the WCG?  I mean, think about it, change the doctrine and you open up the floodgates to divorce?  I should think that "God's church" with "God's people" would have strong marriages and families.

Another observation:  There are HWA fans who give him credit for accurately predicting the WCG's troubles after his death.  Again:  How does a church fall apart because the leader dies if it is truly solid in Jesus Christ?

I was at Ambassador the day they changed the divorce doctrine, and the news was presented by GTA.  He acted as if the WCG was the victim, and not those whose lives were affected by that false doctrine.  Of course, now we know HWA was already with Ramona.  Quite a coincidence.


21 Feb. Never a truer word spoken - sort of: Climb aboard the MD Time Machine as we wind the clock back to a Bible Study on Divorce and Remarriage held at the Ambassador College Gymnasium, April 13, 1973. The speaker is none other than Herbert W. Armstrong, God's faithful servant, Pastor General and Apostle of the Worldwide Church of God, and collector of elegant silverware. These are his words, precious pearls of wisdom each and every one, captured on tape for our present-day edification.

So I will just tell you now, that I myself, cannot see one scintilla of an argument so far that is going to overthrow the teaching of God's Church on divorce and remarriage... If we would do that, brethren do you know what would happen in less than another three months? I'll bet you nearly hundreds and hundreds of members of the Worldwide Church of God would divorce and they would go out and marry someone else. And that would be the end of the Worldwide Church of God—and Jesus Christ would spew us out of his mouth. And anyone who does go and do that will get spewed out. I have to warn you.

And what doctrinal change happened the following year? And who was it who later married a divorced woman? Too bad Armstrong didn't heed his own advice. Which must mean, following Herb's flawless logic - and applying his colorful metaphor - that God spewed HWA himself out the heavenly mouth (and probably had to immediately gargle with Listerine.)

Our thanks to the Church of God, The Eternal, founded by the late Raymond Cole, which preserved this little gem for posterity. You can find the quote on their site (hey guys, we took the liberty of fixing up the spelling mistakes in your transcription for you - no charge!)

21 Feb. Creation cricket: Hi Gavin, re your 20 Feb comment on fringe fundamentalists, I'll just let that one pass through to the keeper!

21 Feb. Mesopotamian Millerism: With regard to The Prehistory of "Creation Science", I found the information very thought provoking.  Perhaps this kind of literalism is America's major contribution to Christianity.  Once again we see Christianity reinventing itself (this time in the new world) starting with Millerism and including the radical tangent of Mormonism and the back-to-first-century-basics Russellites.  What intrigues me though, is the way that one of these byproducts - young earth creation-science -  is now feeding back to the Muslims.  I've always felt that the Islamic faith lacked an adequate cosmology - but, just in time, along comes AMERICAN creation-science to the rescue - how ironic.  Of course Christianity has never lacked an adequate cosmological foundation because it simply hijacked the Jewish scriptures (that'll teach the Jews to not copyright their material).  Never mind that the Hebrew cosmology itself is nothing more than post-exilic redactions of pre-existing Mesopotamian nonsense.

20 Feb. WCG on Creationism: In light of recent MD articles on the subject, it's interesting to note that the WCG is currently featuring three major articles on creationism on its new literature page. One is a chapter from Alan Hayward's book exposing "Flood Geology", the other two by in-house writers Paul Kroll and Michael Morrison respectively. Kroll, in a carefully worded article which apparently articulates the sect's official position, states:

Genesis 1 is not a description of how God created or how long the creation process took... We can see the account of creation narrated in Genesis 1 as being given in the form of sacred poetry, not as a scientific treatise.

And Morrison writes:

God does not require his people to believe the literal interpretation of Genesis 1. God has given us evidence, in the text and in creation, that Genesis 1 is not intended as a literal description. Salvation does not require belief in a six-day creation. Faith in God and in his Word does not require us to reject visible facts.

Which seems both eminently reasonable and surprisingly honest, though it is bound to be used by fringe fundamentalists as evidence that WCG has gone further into apostasy. Thanks to Dateline Pasadena for drawing our attention to these articles.

20 Feb. Herbert Wannabes: It's interesting how Pack refers to all other individuals, and groups, as the "Laodiceans", even though none will admit it, but on the other hand, his little cult, of course, are the "Philadelphians". [And] it's interesting how Pack uses a ploy to extract MONEY from his gullible followers. Only first-time suckers get to ride for free.

Oh, the "Herbert Wannabes"! Will there never be an end to them? Will God finally get sick to His stomach of them and vomit them out... those who continue to praise a greedy, lying, incestuous charlatan and have turned God's religion into their own business ventures? Hopefully very soon!

Steve Kissack

20 Feb. Combing the Web: It seems that Mr. Thiel combs most other Church of God  web sites looking for points with which to have contention. Much of his site is to show how wrong others are, compared to LCG.

MD: Agreed, but that's Bob's privilege. Just as it's ours to point out how ludicrous a lot of this stuff is. While Bob is, in our view, far from even-handed; he does not demonize those he differs from (which Pack obviously does.)

20 Feb. PCG latest: Have  you guys heard anything what happen to the offer PCG made to the WCG? 

MD: The following information was posted on the PCG Yahoo board: "On Feb. 10, 2003, Judge Snyder further stayed the proceedings until Feb. 13, 2003, with the agreement of both sides. Of course, that date has passed, but that is the last docket entry. Evidently, settlement talks continue."

19 Feb. Litigation looming over campus plans: From the latest Pasadena Star News:

As the Worldwide Church of God prepares to submit a final development plan on its 46-acre Ambassador College campus for the city's review, it again finds itself in a feud with nearby residents despite a public outreach campaign designed to foster compromise.

No sooner did the church release the plan than the West Pasadena Residents' Association declared it "dead on arrival,' vowing to use political pressure even litigation to scale it back...

Save South Orange Grove, a de facto arm of the WPRA, also is actively fighting the plan. The group was formed to bring a lawsuit, if needed, to stop the an earlier but failed attempt to develop the campus called the Legacy Project. The WPRA's nonprofit status bars it from filing this type of litigation.

Read the full article.

19 Feb. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples: David Pack, cultmeister and sole pastor of the Restored Church of God, has taken a sideswipe at webmaster Bob Thiel in an article on his site.

Mr. Armstrong often said, “If you want to know about us, ask us—do not ask our enemies.” Our enemies have much to say about us. While we do not answer our accusers, we do try to innoculate [sic] you to their tactics. Seeing through their deceit and murderous slander is part of the Church’s test at the end of the age. You must recognize this.

There are many “unruly mouths” today that God will one day “stop” (Titus 1:9-11). Several “webmasters” have routinely attacked RCG. I will cite one example of what some are capable of—and what you might face. Let it serve as a sobering illustration.

One “webmaster” reads much of what we post on our website. He carefully combs and probes my words for “weaknesses” in order to best spin, twist and pervert my meaning. He functions as a cheerleader for his headquarters, acting on behalf of “handlers” there who steer him. His sole purpose has become to deceive, destroy and assassinate people and organizations in his path. Take a moment to carefully read how God identifies these people, for your recognition, in John 10:10, 16:2 and I John 3:15.

The goal is to keep his readers from discovering the dozens of false doctrines hidden within his organization, by continually attacking us. His lies are brilliant—sometimes even breathtaking. Until the Tribulation dramatically changes the test, his venom represents part of the test for the Church now. Some are passing this test. Again, prophecy reveals that most will drift along, trusting in the size of their group and blindly believing their leaders, and be forced to pass the final, terrible test—the Tribulation!

I pray that he, and those like him, will one day apply the good sense of carnal-minded Gamaliel, when he instructed those who were persecuting the apostles (Acts 5:29, 32-40). Take time to read Gamaliel’s words, focusing on verse 39. We can say, with Paul, that there are various modern-day  “Alexander the Coppersmiths” who seek to “do us much evil” (II Tim. 4:14). Mr. Armstrong was relentlessly attacked and falsely accused throughout his life. So was Christ. So are we. But the people of brotherly love, whose tribulation is now (Acts 14:22), are required to endure this.

Brotherly love? Dave, surely you jest! Bob, who we have to concede is one of the politest people we've ever had the pleasure of disagreeing with, responds:

I find it outrageous... First of all, I have not read most of what is at RCG's site, nor do I 'pervert' Pack's meanings (it makes one wonder why he feels reporting his writings do that). Second of all, no one at LCG HQ tells me what to do. I wish he would identify who my so-called handlers are, because I have none. Third, I never try to "assassinate people", which is what he seems [to be hoping] to do to me. 

18 Feb. Ron is puzzled: Imagine a member of the WCG writing to Ron Kelly and expressing their concern over their church's seemingly cavalier disregard for full financial reporting to the membership. Imagine Ron replying.

Well, imagine no longer. Here's Kelly's reply to just such a letter.

I'm puzzled at your concern.  We clearly announce every year that we have obtained a certified outside audit by a professional auditing firm [MD comment: so did Enron].  Each year I discuss that audit in the Worldwide News and notify all members that they can receive a personal copy of the audit by simply writing me to let me know they would like a copy [MD comment: see below]. All I ask for is the request and the name of the local congregation they attend.  Our annual audits are usually completed in May or June.  So I don't understand what, in February, appears to be your anger (I realize Email is not always easy to read attitudes).  My February report was therefore a general report.

In the past, when the Worldwide News was every other week, we had space to print much of the annual audit.  With the WN now being monthly we don't take up pages with a series of numbers that we have found most members really don't take the time to analyze.  In fact when we did publish more detailed reports we got comments about how "boring" numbers are.

We attempt to respond to what a majority of our members let us know they would like to have available.  When I travel to churches, I ask members to let me know how the articles in the WN will better serve them.  Most have indicated to me that they really don't want the details, but an overview. That's what I have been doing.  If you have taken the time to read each issue of the WN, you will notice each month I attempt to give a slightly different perspective on our financial picture -- sometimes with more detail for those who like to have that information, but other times with background and philosophy of church finances.

You may be aware of church denominations that report complete year end financial reports to all of their members, but I am not.  That certainly doesn't mean there are not some, just that I have never seen one (but then I really haven't looked).  To a large denomination that would mean millions of mailings [MD comment: a page in the church newspaper would do just fine].  Most denominations have local church reporting.  We are moving as rapidly as we can to that model.  When that has been implemented, assuming you are a member of the WCG, you will receive quarterly and annual reports.

In the meantime we strive to do the best job we can with the limited staff and resources available.

Rather than criticize I would think you would try to let me respectfully know what you would like to see in the monthly financial updates.  I can't promise I will always be able to report what you expect (can you imagine trying to please dozens, if not hundreds of varying opinions?)

Anyway, I hope this helps you understand a little more.  And if you are indeed a member of one of our local congregations, please discuss this with your pastor who, along with the District Superintendent, can work with us to better serve what our members would like to have available.

Ron Kelly

MD encourages all members of WCG to write in for their copy of the audited report which will be published mid-Year. But why wait? Write in for the previous financial audit today. And let us know how you get on.

Most denominations, as Ron doubtless knows, present full financial reports at their annual conventions, conferences or synods, where elected delegates have ample opportunity to scrutinize the accounts. Of course that isn't going to happen in WCG! Ron Kelly and other sect officials are simply not accountable through any representative structures. But what about Ron's willingness to send out copies of the audit to those who request it? The writer did in fact first approach church HQ in an attempt to get a copy of the last audit, just as Ron suggested. What he got was the following reply from Paul Kroll.

Thank you for your message. The financial report for 2002 appeared in the February edition of The Worldwide News, on page 17. You can find an electronic version of our report on our church website at I hope this information is sufficient for your needs. God's peace be with you.
Paul Kroll
Personal Correspondence

God's peace be with you too Paul. Notwithstanding, the "report" in the February WN isn't sufficient for anybody's needs. What on Earth did Paul think the writer was asking for? 

MD encourages all members of WCG to write in for their copy of the audited report which will be published mid-Year. But why wait? Write in for the previous financial audit today. And let us know how you get on.

18 Feb. Grapevine transplanted: Dateline Pasadena has noticed that the Grapevine discussion board has a new URL: 

DP also comments: I find the ongoing comments by people reacting to the pictures to be interesting.  It is amazing how in the dark the members were to Herb's activities.  Sources claim that between 6-10 millions dollars were received by auctioning off Herb's household belongings. This includes the gold and silver, paintings, rare books, sculpture, crystal, oriental carpets and furniture.  Quite a haul for a guy that claimed to represent God and yet was afraid to say Christ's name in public. 

18 Feb. Herb - Pawn of the CIA?  Every now and then you run across a website with a different slant. Here's one in a category all of its own

18 Feb. Not everyone convinced That Morrison fellow [Pushing the Party Line, AW 16 Feb.] puts out 7 (seven) PAGES of verbiage in an endeavor to negate 8 (eight) simple WORDS found in Exo.20:8. 

17 Feb. New British WCG URL: The WCG's colonial outpost in "dear old Blighty" has a new web address:  

It also appears that the Brits are about to get a dose of Trans-Atlantic hype with a stewardship blitz being unleashed on the UK brethren. "Stewardship" doesn't mean that the church comes clean, as a good steward of the tithes and offerings it receives, with full, transparent financial reporting. Oh dear me no! It means putting the guilt trip on existing donors to give more.

This weekend we are holding a seminar at the Westminster Pastoral Centre near St Albans. The seminar is on the subject of “Stewardship” and will be conducted by a visiting speaker from the USA, Mr. Mark Vincent of Design for Ministry. I have invited all of our Elders and wives to attend the two days get-together and they will be joined by some of the European National Directors to make a total of some 70 delegates in all.

David Silcox goes on to identify "Design for Ministry" with CSA, the organization that recently declared WCG "denomination of the year" in a special "award" (AW 34, Jan.21). If Joey - who we assume is behind this move - had bothered to ask anyone he would have swiftly learned that American fundraising franchise operations have a long and ignoble history of bombing big-time outside North America. Silcox goes on to say:

Mr. Vincent will be spending two days helping us to come to terms with this subject and I hope everyone will be able to hear and learn from what the Elders hear. I will endeavor to make sure that every area receives relevant information and maybe tapes as well.

British members might ask David Silcox how much Vincent's services are costing the British church. Then they might ask themselves how it could end up costing them personally.

17 Feb. GN writer launches website: Another UCG minister has taken to the Net. Jerald Aust joins fellow luminaries Victor Kubik ( and Ken Treybig ( Aust states: I have established this web site as a resource for personal Christian development. As a Senior Writer for The Good News magazine and long time minister of the church, I routinely come across subjects which contribute significantly to my spiritual development. is a central resource for this information with an aim to benefit others. 

The site looks good (it should, Aust has paid to have it professionally designed) but there isn't a lot up yet. The URL is

17 Feb. The Numbers Game continued: From my various sources and other unscientific ways of assessing the true WCG membership I would estimate the active membership who attend church regularly to be about 20 to 30,000.  

Bill Stough

17 Feb. The Great Commission, Silver Soup Tureens and Third Tithe: For about 10 years in the late '60's and early '70's, there was a woman with two daughters in the Pasadena/L.A. congregation who was considered "bound" to her previous husband, and had been taken care of by third tithe for years. Without warning, she was suddenly told to apply for welfare and food stamps, and that third tithe would only be used to help her if there were hardship beyond that. Others in the same plight were also told this. At the time this was happening, a rumor spread thru the headquarters congregations that the third tithe fund had been redirected, and was being used to acquire art works, which some employees had apparently seen in storage in one of the campus buildings. 

The private viewing with which you have just provided us of HWA's silver collection not only gives us a glimpse into his own focus, motivations, and sincerity, but also that of his successors. If you truly believe that it is your job to get out an end-time message that Jesus Christ is going to return, would you really be establishing colleges, acquiring the world's treasures, driving fine automobiles, living in opulent homes, and being overly concerned with petty minutiae such as micro-managing the lives and personal matters of your followers? I don't think so! You would be extremely motivated with a sense of missionary zeal. Every bit of energy would be solely dedicated to your commission. Like an illegal alien working to support his family in Mexico, you would be crowded into cheap apartments, driving ramshackle cars, and eating beans so that the majority of your wages could be used to spread the warning. Not being burdened with enforcement, the ministers would have regular jobs in addition to their preaching responsibilities, producing more revenue to spread the message. Leaders would be utilizing the offerings to maximum efficiency, by producing one or two hard hitting infomercials succinctly expressing the warning, to be played over and over on every major market TV station around the world, and by using every possible keyword to make the message come up on the internet in as many ways as possible! 

When I was a student at Ambassador College, Pasadena Campus, in 1966-68, I often felt that there was something wrong with me because what we were being taught did not resonate deep down in my soul. I felt at various times either that everyone else was faking it, or that somehow everyone else was becoming enlightened to concepts to which I was a permanent outsider. I never thought my fellow students were bad people. I loved them then, and love them even more now, as I watch them wrestle with post-WCG life.  Unfortunately, some have died. Others have spent time in prison. There have been a disproportionate number of divorces amongst some of the most dedicated of my former colleagues. How many of them, like myself, thought that since the end was imminent, they needed to experience marriage and could probably get along with anyone with similar beliefs for the few remaining years? How many of their children's lives, like my own, have been negatively impacted by these divorces? It's so sad, but at the same time, every time that I hear of one more former colleague's enlightenment, it fills me with joy. The glimpse of HWA's silver will have been worth it's weight in gold if it helps in awakening only one more person. 

Bob Evans 

16 Feb. WCG Campus Plan DOA: Excerpts from the Pasadena Star News Feb. 14

West Pasadena neighborhood representatives said Thursday that unless the development plan for the Worldwide Church of God's 46-acre Ambassador College campus is scaled back it is "dead on arrival.'

The mostly residential development is too dense, fails to deal with increased traffic, removes too many trees and makes no provision for saving the Ambassador Auditorium, said Vince Farhat, president of the West Pasadena Residents' Association... "It is a disaster,' he said. "Simply put, the church didn't listen.'

Farhat made his comments prior to a community forum held Thursday by the church. About 180 people came to hear and ask questions about the development plan. Bernard Schnippert, the church's director of finance and development, started the meeting by invoking Mark Twain to respond to Farhat's comment.

"I can report with the greatest confidence that the reports of the death of our plan are greatly exaggerated,' said Schnippert...

Many who attended Thursday's forum expressed support for the church's plan or said it was an improvement over the failed Legacy Project, an earlier attempt to develop the property...

Responding to a call that the Ambassador Auditorium be preserved, Schnippert said the church is "leaving no stone unturned.' However, the church is leaving it to the larger community to find the financing needed to restore it as a performing arts center.

The church submitted the development plan to the city for preliminary review. A final master plan application is scheduled for March, followed by the start of the environmental impact review process.

The full story is currently available on the PSN site. A copy was also posted to the MD Yahoo group by Dateline Pasadena.

16 Feb. Pushing the Party Line: Is it just coincidence that the WCG website is prominently featuring a new article by Michael Morrison entitled Is the Sabbath Required for Christians Today? at the very time Den is herding the HQ flock into Sunday services? Sorry Michael, but the title is, well, predictable. Here's some suggestions for future articles that would be a whole lot more relevant. (1) Should Christians only attend weekly services on Sunday? (2) Should your Pastor disfellowship members for holding a different opinion? (3) Do members have rights? (4) Is hierarchical leadership compatible with the Priesthood of All Believers? (4) Is genuine reformation top-down or bottom-up? (5) Are Church Leaders Accountable only to Christ? (6) Should a Church suppress open debate?

16 Feb. Irony Intended: Shouldn't the criticisms of "Whistler's article," Darwinism: The Devil's Gospel, be directed at John Ankenberg and John Weldon? Irony intended.

Ron Brendel

MD: Ron is the author of an article on this site about HWA's ministerial credentials.

16 Feb. 24,000 Faithful: I see people discussing the number of WCG members.  The last I heard from sources the total was around 24,000, of which 50-60% actually attend church.  Of that amount only half tithe or even contribute money.  The church is growing outside the US though.  There are reportedly over 5-6,000 people in South America that were former 7th-day Adventists that want to join with WCG.  U.S. churches are stagnating or shrinking, but in Africa, Asia, and South America, people are joining.  It must be shocking to those people trained in Armstrongism to see all those 'gentiles' showing more desire for God than the 'chosen' British Israelites.

Dateline Pasadena

Hold everything Bernie, I've just checked with the lawyers. Our legal membership stands at only ONE - myself as Corporate Sole. 

15 Feb. WCG and the numbers game: Question: How many members does the Worldwide Church of God currently have?

Answer 1: 67,000. Source: Bernie Schnippert in the Pasadena Star News just a month ago.

Answer 2: 40,000. Source: Joseph Tkach / Herbert W, Armstrong. (a) "... we are now the same size in membership as the former Radio Church of God was in 1967." (Tkach) (b) "We have just published a brochure showing that MORE THAN 40,000 MEMBERS ATTEND OUR SERVICES EVERY SABBATH!" (Armstrong, member letter, July 25  1967)

Answer 3: 52,000. Source: local church website. "Quite a few years ago Joseph Tkach sent out a video tape to be played in all church congregations. He went country by country and said how many were in each. I don't remember the break down but the total worldwide was 70,000. This was back after 1995 maybe around 1997. That would mean that WCG has only lost 3,000 members since then [if the 67,000 figure was accurate]. No one who knows what the WCG has been doing would believe that fairy tale. BTW, it was brought to my attention that one local church website describes the WCG as a denomination of 52,000." (Anne, writing on JLF.)

Answer 4: Probably less than 58,000. Source: Joseph Tkach. A follow-up posting by Anne: Joseph Tkach himself wrote in his 1997 book, Transformed By Truth. "In the year following that milestone message (1995), attendance plummeted to 66,400 members and by the time of this writing it had leveled off at around 58,000." Page 71.

How do you get to 67,000 in membership (a 15.5 percent increase) when finances have dropped to between 10 to 20% of what they used to be?

15 Feb. Redevelopment Meeting: From the Feb. 13 Pasadena Star News.

A final community meeting for the planned Ambassador College campus redevelopment is scheduled at 6 tonight in the Ambassador Auditorium... The meeting will begin with a presentation of the proposed design, zoning and density guidelines for the project and then the public will have the chance to ask questions. The Worldwide Church of God, owner of the 46-acre property, submitted a preliminary development plan to the city last month. Church officials say they will ask the city to review a final master plan in March.

The church wants to build 1,515 homes and 3,117 underground parking spaces on its campus. The future of the Ambassador Auditorium, a world-renowned concert hall, has yet to be decided. If preserved, it would reduce the number of homes in the project by about 100.

One person who attended the meeting reported on the JLF forum: I think most of the audience was favorable... Several people commented that this plan is definitely an improvement over the Legacy plan.

15 Feb. The Apostolic Centerpiece: This is the last in the series of silverware scans for a while. Later in the year the complete series will appear on a page to themselves. We are indebted to Dateline Pasadena for making them available.

Okay, hands up all those who have a centerpiece like this sitting on top of the refrigerator at home? Everyone, right?  An essential addition to any civilized home, and indispensable for keeping salted peanuts in. The church sold this one for $48,300. Click on the thumbnail to be awed by Herb's fine taste.

DP comments: Every one of these items were purchased by HWA from the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's even while he was sending out member letters begging for money!  These items were for his glory and use, with an occasional dinner or reception.

This catalog was the most important one and was devoted entirely to WCG's treasures.  The other catalogs include paintings and more silver. 

One catalog entry - a Regency Bowl appraised between $15,000 and $25,000 - was actually bought by HWA May 31, 1979 - in the midst of the receivership crisis. The man obviously had his priorities firmly sorted out!

15 Feb. Anyone for Soup? That soup tureen [in yesterday's AW] looks exactly like Tik Tok from the 1985 film "Return to Oz"! Come to think about it.... HWA's daughter was a "Dorothy" wasn't she? And HWA was the 'wizard' who conned everyone with his smoke and mirrors and loud voice! 


15 Feb. Where's the Silver Lining? I have been stunned by the pictures of the items HWA had purchased, where did these items show up in the church's treasury reports???  The thing that still bothers me the most is that MANY in the top KNEW about this and did nothing to stop it apparently nor was the membership told.  Of course, as members we should have demanded a better accounting but sadly we never did.

Thanks for your website and the updates you provide.


MD: Unfortunately, those who did demand better accounting simply seemed to get themselves fired and/or disfellowshipped. 

15 Feb. Whistling in the Dark? Just a small comment on Whistler's latest column, where I found this gem: Hopefully lessons have been learned about how the evolutionary theory has led historically to such horrendous behavior. History doesn't need another one hundred million deaths to prove that scientific atheism is a form of mental illness.

Scientific atheism a form of mental illness!? For a moment I had to check that I wasn't reading ole Herb again.

Fundamentalists can't have it both ways. If this "scientific atheism is a form of mental illness" tripe is true, what about the relationship between Christianity and anti-Semitism? That too played a large role in galvanizing German opinion against the Jews. After all, you still find people saying what some German pastors were saying 60+ years ago, and what some Christians have been saying for hundreds of years: the Jews killed our Savior, so let's kill them. (Never mind the illogic in this: if Jesus hadn't been crucified, then he wouldn't have been the savior. But even St. Paul is a little confused on this point.)

Biblical accounts of slavery led to Christian support of that institution in America.

Biblical admonitions for women basically to shut the hell up leads to pastorally approved misogyny and abuse.

"Spare the rod, spoil the child" notions, and the resulting abuse that often occurs, are Biblically based.

If evolutionary theory and insane, scientific atheism led to the Holocaust, then Ephesians 5.22 leads to misogyny. If Darwin leads to Hitler, then Paul leads to all the Bubba's who beat their wives and children, and spew vitriol at minorities.

"But wait, wait -- that's all too neat and orderly. There are other reasons some Christians are racists and such," protest Whistler-like fundamentalists. But they can't have it both ways. If the Bible is not to blame for Christian misogyny, Darwin is not to blame for the Holocaust.

As for the comment that I, someone who would claim scientific atheism as my worldview, have a mental illness, I'll let that one slide, for it must be Herb's lingering influence on the Whistler. And with comments like, "Scripture also informs us that Satan has 'blinded the minds of unbelievers' (2 Corinth 4:4). How does he do this? One way is through anti-Christian philosophies and religions. In their own way they each insulate their advocates against the Gospel," it's hard to argue that the Whistler has entirely put the fundamentalism necessitated by Armstrongism behind him.

Gary Scott

15 Feb. Whistling in the Dark #2 The Whistler's column "Darwinism: The Devil's Gospel" confirms the following statement by Richard Robinson. "Religion is gravely infected with intellectual dishonesty."

15 Feb. Next stop, 1934! Let's just hope that when God "blesses" the WCG with so-called growth, JT and company will have the honor of reliving some of the old goat's "memories" he so vividly recalls for us in his autobiography.  My all time favorite is them eating macaroni without anything on it, including salt!

15 Feb. UCG: LCG with a twist: It may just be my imagination, but I have noticed something odd about UCG writings many times.  After Mr. Rod Meredith (or one of the writers) publishes a letter or article on a subject, it's not long before UCG comes out with some publication on the same subject, but with a different twist.  I have also noticed statements made in UCG letters that are very similar to those made by Mr. Meredith not long before (most recent example: LCG Co-worker letter January 22, 2003; stating that we need to get our spiritual and physical houses in order.  Then the UCG Letter from the Chairman February 6, 2003 with the same theme). It seems obvious to me that UCG leaders must spend time watching LCG writings... 

... in some of their writings they never truly make their own statement even after the endless references.  The bulk of their publications are quotes from secular authorities on the subject.  I have written several times with questions... only to receive the response "that was not a statement by the author, it was a quote from" some scholar outside of the church, with no further explanation... 

... Remember when Iraq handed in those thousands upon thousands of pages concerning their arms report to the UN?  It was obvious that they did so to overwhelm the readers with information to delay the truth being found and also delay any actions against them.  When I read some of UCG's publications that hide a deviation in long held teachings, this comes to mind.  I only fear for the members as to what is being delayed. 

One last warning to UCG members... I have been noticing an increase in UCG's quotes coming from the NIV (publications
and sermons).  Mr. Armstrong repeatedly warned of such versions (another variance in UCG?)...

... I would prefer to have my name withheld since I have family members in UCG.  I've already experienced the icy cold shoulder given to those who ask questions.  I just feel that the members are blind as to what is actually being done by their leaders and appreciate sites like yours that do give some warning.

14 Feb. Welcome to 1967:  From the latest Pastors update.

God is beginning to move the Worldwide Church of God into a growth-building mode. It is interesting to realize that God’s moving us out of our former errors has brought us to the point that we are now the same size in membership as the former Radio Church of God was in 1967.

What a stunning accomplishment! Yep, the Lord sure has blessed Joe's stewardship of the WCG. Next stop, 1934!

soup.jpg (30215 bytes)14 Feb. More Herb extravagance: The complete catalog of Herb's silverware runs to over sixty (60) pages. The ownership of the items was vested in the church, a handy little arrangement that must have meant tithe-payers were directly funding HWA's heavy metal fetish. Money obviously well spent though. If Herb hadn't blown it on lifestyle investments it would have, after all, been wasted by members on frivolous things like medical and retirement savings.

Amongst Herbert's treasures was this soup tureen, valued in the catalog between $30,000 and $50,000. We assume Mr. Heinz and Mr. Campbell never managed to position their product in this beauty. Described as Regency Silver (click on the thumbnail to see the detail), it was made in London in 1804. 

Also in the collection, a second soup tureen (George III, 1783) in the positively modest $10,000 to $15,000 price range. 

13 Feb. Herble Burble: Pour yourself a stiff drink before visiting the Stedfast Church of God's "tribute page" to "God's End-Time Apostle." That voice blares forth again: "Don't believe ME, believe YOUR BIBLE." Yeah, like he meant it! 

But say what you like, the guy had refined tastes. Take this hideous little indulgence for example. Just the thing for displaying copies of The Plain Truth. A Victorian Parcel-Gilt Silver-Plated Table, circa 1875, it comes from the End-Time Apostle's extensive collection of silverware. Catalog price between $4000 and $6000. But wait, what's this? According to the catalog entry it has "panels depicting months of the year and astrological signs"! Astrological signs? Oh Herb, how could you?

13 Feb. CGOM facelift: The Church of God Outreach Ministries website has been updated and redesigned. Among the resources available on the site is New Horizons, CGOM's monthly magazine (PDF format), which features articles by James McBride. CGOM seems to be a loose affiliation of congregations formerly associated with the Church of God, International.

13 Feb. UCG rethinks advice on marriage, sort of: Until recently the following advice was found on the UCG Singles web site: 

Q. What is the United Church of God's policy toward interracial marriage?

A. You ask what the Bible says about interracial dating. Let's look at the subject from the point of view of interracial marriage. While the Bible does not give specific or direct instruction on this subject, it provides us with ample guidelines.

The scriptures are replete with examples of people seeking a spouse from a common ethnic, cultural, and religious background. In the flush of romance, it may be easy for couples to gloss over significant differences that could potentially have a serious effect on a marriage and family relationship. A difference in ethnic backgrounds is highly significant, and not to be minimized or brushed aside. Family opinions, the challenges of children born to interracial marriage, community pressures, and cultural differences all need to be carefully and maturely weighed by individuals even before they begin to date-certainly before they consider marriage.

Given these powerful factors, the UCGIA counsels people not to marry across racial lines. Of course, the final decision belongs to the couple involved-and somewhat to their extended families, whose opinions should be fully considered. It logically follows that, if one respects that advice about marriage, he or she would choose not to develop or allow a romantic relationship to develop through dating.

But that statement seems to have been substantially revised after drawing flak on one of the news groups as racist. Here's the latest redaction.

Q. What is the United Church of God's policy toward interracial marriage?

A. There is no definitive "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not" command about interracial marriage. Scriptures that forbade marriage outside of the tribes of Israel dealt with avoiding mixing religions, not races. However, the scriptures are replete with examples of people seeking a spouse from a common ethnic, cultural and religious background. It is that example that provides us with guidance in today's world.

Without doubt, a difference in ethnic backgrounds is a significant difference not to be minimized or brushed aside. In the flush of romance, it may be easy for couples to gloss over significant differences that could potentially have a serious effect on a marriage and family relationship.

Family opinions, the challenges of children born to an interracial marriage, community pressures and cultural differences all need to be carefully and maturely weighed by individuals even before they begin to date-certainly before they consider marriage.

Given these weighty factors, the UCGIA advises that it is not wise for people to marry across racial lines. Of course, the final decision belongs to the couple involved-and somewhat to their extended families, whose opinions should be fully considered.

The UCGIA handles the topic of interracial marriage by publicly teaching the principles that make for a sound marriage. We also provide premarital counseling for our members, at which time these principles would also be emphasized to assist the couple in making a wise decision.

Strangely enough, as Pam Dewey has recently pointed out on the MD Yahoo group, Apostle Herb, who ranted about the evils of inter-racial marriage for decades, later "married a woman [Ramona Martin] whose father was a registered member of the Cherokee Indian nation."

13 Feb. UCG on voting: Also on the UCG Singles site is a fascinating response to the question "Would it be appropriate for a Christian to vote in a political election?"  Is another pillar of Armstrongism cracking? 

13 Feb. Synchronicity: Call it synchronicity, but just after reading your excellent feature Dominoes & Dinosaurs, I ran across two 'creation-scientists'  (scheduled back to back for firepower) on my local all-Christian TV station. The first guy is the unbelievable Kent Hovind who is a former high school teacher from Illinois who now resides deep in the Bible Belt in Florida. His explanation for dinosaurs is thus: In pre-flood times, atmospheric oxygen  levels were much higher - this resulted in giant lizards. Will we see a paper on this submitted to a recognized scientific journal ? The second program was presented by Ken Ham  - yet another former high school teacher, but this time from Australia's 'deep north' Bible Belt state of Queensland (home to the local WCG plus numerous WCG/SDA spin-offs). Both of these guys now preach to the converted within the safe confines of America's Bible Belt.

MD: The second article in the series has just been uploaded. It tracks the origins of modern "creationism", and exposes the influence of Ellen G. White. It also introduces the forgotten figure of George McCready Price, another SDA and the man who is perhaps most responsible for creationist fantasies being taken up by evangelicals and fundamentalists.

13 Feb. Women's Ordination: This may be a new way to acquire wealth for the head honchos. Not only will they have big salaries but they will pay their wives. We are all sure their wives salary will reflect their vast job experience.  

Norman Zimmerman

MD: I wonder if Joe ever lies awake at night wondering why folk are so cynical about his administration?

13 Feb. Old Soreheads: I am a retired nurse and long time Worldwider (since '48) and since retirement I have been studying the cultish mindset esp. in the COG leaderships (I've been  disfellowshipped by everybody and his dog since '68 and so have to keep an alias because I am constantly threatened by the Armstrongites and all it took was looking into that corrupt history of HWA and his 'Assyrian shepherds' to figure out where they were coming from). 

I was interested in and do agree with your reply to David Marjake of Africa [AW Dec. 28] as I read more about the cults and esp. the WCG I see many very gullible people who are willing to sell out their souls for some guarantee of eternity and they are 'looking for love in all the wrong places' as the song goes. It was not in the WCG leadership and cannot be because there are too many wolves in 'sheep's clothing' and they are looking to fleece those sheep for whatever it takes to live the high life.

The cults are formed because people do not bother to check them out (i.e. like those wise Bereans in Paul's time). God has always insisted on 'remembering' (Deuteronomy is a book about remembering the 'wilderness experience')-so we do not repeat the same mistakes and get ourselves back into the corrupt systems that make merchandise of us. Paul admonished this in I Cor.10:1-11 and I think God put men like you and Robinson, Tuit, [Marion] McNair, Hinson, etc where you are to remind us that we have to be careful what we allow ourselves to hear like Christ admonished in Mk.4:24.

Keep up the good work and don't mind us old 'soreheads'! =^)

(name provided)

13 Feb. Soulless Corporate: Checking the link mentioned in "Strange Bedfellows", 5 Feb, I found this interesting bit of information.

"Corporation sole: A corporation consisting of one person only and his successors. An older concept of the status of a king or a bishop as incorporated in order to give to them and their successors legal capacities and advantages, particularly that of perpetuity, which they could not have in their natural capacities." --Ballantine's Law Dictionary, Third Ed., 1969

"A corporation sole is one consisting of one person only, and his successors in some particular station, who are incorporated by law in order to give them some legal capacities and advantages, particularly that of perpetuity, which in their natural persons they could not have had. In this sense, the sovereign in England is a sole corporation, so is a bishop, so are some deans distinct from their several chapters, and so is every parson and vicar." --Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, Page 341

... corporation sole are of two kinds: the one when the person has a corporate capacity for his own benefit; the other when he acts only as trustee for the benefit of others.

Guess which one WCG is.

The Corporation Sole is extremely advantageous to those who desire non-interference in their financial affairs, or who have a deep interest in personal sovereignty, common law, or the acquisition of something which is non-traditional and unique in its application. It is superior to off-shore banking...

The Charter states that the Province/State/Region concerned has no authority to register a church or spiritual assembly. The Charter is issued under spiritual law rather than temporal law...

12 Feb. WCG business reports for sale: The nice people at Dun and Bradstreet may tell you what Ron Kelly won't, for a price. A visit to the D&B website is instructive. Type Worldwide Church of God under business name and select California as the state. A further search under Texas reveals a minor mystery: the Corpus Christi WCG also trades as United Church of God. Huh? 

While the reports cost $117 apiece, we're sure Ron and Bernie wouldn't mind if WCG members simply deducted the amount from the regular donations they send in. After all, in the absence of full financial reporting, a good steward has the responsibility to make sure the money they set aside for good works is being used responsibly! 

And on the subject of full financial reporting, in recent years WCG has failed to publish its balance sheets in the WN. But members have been told that they can write in for a report. Has anyone actually received one? If so, was it complete and comprehensive, or a dummied-down summary? It seems strange that no such information has ever leaked onto the news boards.

Meanwhile, it's reported that WCG pastor Dennis Pelley has sent a survey out to all of Pasadena's members asking them to indicate which day they want to meet for services on.  Many have refused to sign it, others have signed it and commented on why they disagree with his direction.  These people are now, we're told, being called in by Pelley and talked to about their attitude.  He still acts as if he is interested in the members' opinions, but it seems apparent that he decided a month ago that the church was going to make the change.

12 Feb. A Spot of Class: As we all know, God appreciates quality. And so, quite naturally, did his End Time Apostle. For the edification of MD readers we present the first in a series of examples that illustrate the kind of thing Apostles should have on their coffee tables, just in case a World Leader or Military Dictator drops by for a beer and a chin-wag. The photograph was kindly scanned from a catalog of Apostolic goodies by Dateline Pasadena. Click on the thumbnail for a detailed view.

For those readers who have been too busy tithing to acquire a proper appreciation for fine things, we can reveal that these are Elizabeth II Silver-Gilt Equestrian figures of Gustav Adolphus of Sweden and Charles I. Both come from the collection of Herbert W. Armstrong. Each was valued between $6000 and $9000.

12 Feb. Whistler puts his case: The Whistler's latest column is now online. As always we remind readers that opinions expressed in MD columns are those of the columnist, and do not necessarily reflect those of other MD writers or contributors.

12 Feb. COGwriter Comments:  I read Steve Dalton's comments at your site about HWA's Autobiography.  You might mention to him that I had an article published in The Journal where I reminded everyone that the Tkach edition was not HWA's autobiography and that the last HWA autobiography was the 1973 edition...

What I am more puzzled by is the number of COG groups who claim to be faithful to the teachings of HWA who use the Tkach list, and not HWA's list, of the 18 restored truths.  As recently as this morning, someone from one of those groups again defended their use of the Tkach list and complained how much others had strayed from the truth.  This individual had no problem with the HWA list (that's nice), but still thinks that the Tkach list is preferred.

I noticed that Steve mentioned LCG in his letter.  FWIW, LCG is the only group I know of that uses HWA's list...

Bob Thiel

MD: Bob is webmaster of the COGwriter site, hosts the Arroyo Grande LCG group, and has had articles published in Living Church News and The Journal.

12 Feb. Hen's teeth: You were right about HWA's original autobio being rare as a hen's tooth. I just found and brought the only available known copy today from ABEBOOKS to prevent either the WCG or its spin-offs from flushing it down the memory hole... Also, if any of the sites that carry Herbert's literature wish to have a photocopy of the original autobiography, I'll gladly send them one per cost of copying it.

Steve Dalton

12 Feb. Autobiography available: Regarding Steve Dalton's inquiry, and the "COG researcher" you mention who is looking for an older edition of Herbert's autobiography, you might point him to the bookseller's consortium website,

While almost all the copies being advertised by the dealers there are the 80's edition, I noticed that TWO dealers have copies of the 1967 edition (vol. 1) listed for sale...

12 Feb. Herb on eBay: Tell that researcher to watch eBay! Our church women's group (you featured our auctions of HWA and JWT framed portraits last winter) sold probably 8-10 copies there. They come up from time to time.

10 Feb. Are the SDAs having second thoughts? The following comments were forwarded on to AW.

I hear that the Central Filipino [SDA] Church in Pasadena has heard about Tkach's comments on the [Adventist church] and are having second thoughts about letting Pelley's group use their building...

If this turns out to be the case - and there would be a certain ironic justice in the situation - what would poor Dennis do? His master plan to drive the Pasadena congregation into Sunday services is tied up with the impending move to the Central Filipino Adventist facilities. Arguably, the local Adventists would be doing a major disservice to the Sabbatarian cause by aiding and abetting Pelley in this way.

The same source, which went to great lengths to remain anonymous, had several further observations to offer which we may run in a later edition. 

10 Feb. Hulme Tune: The January issue of Church of God News, published by David Hulme's Church of God AIC, is available online. It features an article by what must be one of the youngest writers in the history of COG periodicals, 10 year old Ryan Meyer from Birmingham, Alabama. 

Young COGers were apparently on the mind of Ron Dart recently. A reader sent this quote in: The WCG lost three full generations of kids due to neglect and worse. Kids grew up hating that church. Ask the men who grew up, took over and blasted the church to smithereens.

10 Feb. RCG Yahoo group: You can never have too many WCG discussion groups, right? The latest addition - established less than 24 hours ago - is at  

The editor engages the Whistler in a respectful debate over creationism

10 Feb. Whistler Column on Evolution: The Whistler has also been working on an evolution article, quite separately from the Creationism? Good Grief! series. It should appear early next week, around the same time as part 2 of the editor's column. The Whistler comments: "Gavin and I had a good laugh when we found out that we were both, without realizing it, writing articles about evolution, but probably taking quite different stands.  Hey, where else but at MD can you go to do your one-stop shopping for a mental workout, no matter which side of the issue you happen to take?"

10 Feb. Pastor Tammy? Sounds like Tammy Tkach (like all other TV evangelist's wives) might be first in line for this lofty title and position?

10 Feb. Autobiography blue-penciled: I'm glad to see that [the letter writer] got a copy of Spanky's classic article on "Queer Men". 'Queer Men', like HWA's article on 'Tight and Short Skirts' IMHO tells us more about the authors of the articles than the subjects they are writing about. Which brings me to the subject of this e-mail.

The Autobiography of Herbert W Armstrong is currently on-line at several websites.  However, I've noticed a very puzzling thing when visiting these sites. The Autobiography, that's posted on every site that I've seen so far, is not the one that Herbert wrote! The Autobiography, that's posted on these sites, is the sepia-toned edition that was released after Herbert's death. This edition, is a major rewrite of Herbert's original work. Whole sections of the Autobiography have been switched around, blue-penciled, or totally eliminated from the post-mortem edition. The censorship is most extensive in the sections describing the first twenty years of his life. The research that I'm doing for an upcoming article will show the best possible reasons why these passages were eliminated from the Autobiography.

But what's really puzzling about this Autobiography thing is why the Armstrong spin-off sites post the Tkach-era version rather than the actual one written by Herbert. Nearly of these sites post original HWA-era books, pamphlets, and articles written by Herb, Spanky, and others ministers. Why don't they post the original Autobiography? They denounce Tkach for gutting or suppressing all of Herbert's original works, yet they post an edition of HWA's Autobiography that is obliviously not the one Herbert wrote!  It can't be that hard to find a copy of the original blue-striped edition, so why isn't it posted?

Steve Dalton  

MD: Unfortunately they're not easy to come by. I know of one COG researcher who would give his eye teeth to get hold of an early edition. 

09 Feb. Meanwhile Back in Mother England: These comments from David Silcox on the British WCG website.

I know it is the source of concern, and not a little discouragement to some, that many of our congregations have shrunk quite substantially in recent years. What is the future of such groups? Should we think of closing them down? ... No, we are not going to disband our little flocks. Quite the reverse. We are going to continue to shine in a darkened world...

Today, David, I've decided to be British!

Perhaps David hadn't noticed, but the batteries in his torch seem to be flat. He goes on to say:

This weekend Mr. Tkach is in the UK for the Board meeting on Sunday. Please pray for the success of this meeting...

Correct us if we're wrong, but isn't Joey, an American, on the Canadian board too? Does he have some kind of dual citizenship arrangement? Does the US WCG have so much money it can afford to send him winging his way across the Atlantic to keep his finger on the pulse of the cult's overseas franchise operation? Surely the locals are not so thoroughly incompetent that they can't be trusted without "corporate sole" cultmeister Joe in attendance?  

09 Feb. Herb and the Scofield Gap: The article on creationism by Gavin Rumney is interesting and  has some helpful links. I've never heard or read anywhere where old Herbie probably got the "gap theory " from. It's in the Scofield Bible (KJV) Gen.1:1-2 footnote. Don't you think it strange that I've never heard or read where a minister, or old Herbie himself, gives Scofield the credit during my 28 years in the church?... hmm... 

MD: Part 2 of "Creationism? Good Grief!" is scheduled for next week, covering the rise of "creation science" and the influence of Ellen G. White.

09 Feb. Pride of their power: If Challenger really was God's answer to the world ignoring Herbert Armstrong's death [see Feb. 3 Shuttle Tragedy - the hyenas gather], how does the writer explain what happened five years later? On January 16, 1991... Operation Desert Storm began in Iraq/Kuwait.  It ended about 40 days later with Iraqi forces leaving Kuwait -- seemingly proving wrong HWA's longtime contention that "America had won its last war." Shouldn't God have backed up Mr. Armstrong's claim, by having the U.S. and allied forces leave with their "tails between their legs," their "pride of their power" broken in ignominious defeat?

Richard Burkard

09 FebSpanky searcher says Thanks: Please pass on a big THANK YOU to all who looked up the "Queer Man" article.  I have forwarded it to the person who requested it.  Thanks to everyone for digging thru those dusty HWA files!

09 Feb. David Albert: What is David Albert up to these days?  Of all the upper hierarchy I figured he might be one who could step back and perform a personal sanity check.

08 Feb. Rod - the Queer Authority: There was an amazing response to the request in yesterday's letters section for the Meredith article on "Queer Men." People have been digging through storage boxes, willing to mail copies, prepared to create PDF files and happy to fax the pages. Thank you to everyone who was ready to race to the rescue. 

The simplest solution came in the form of a Word file, which was then forwarded on to the frustrated searcher. The complete article was also posted to the MD Yahoo group yesterday where it is available for anyone else who is interested.

08 Feb. WCG Wins Booty Pageant: From the Tkach Weekly Update, this report from a blushing Dan Rogers.

The CSA conference went very well. Beautiful hotel, great plenary speakers, sub-zero temperatures and snow. The award ceremony also went very well. Seven awards were given out at the Saturday night plenary session with about 600 people in attendance (mostly para-church ministry and denominational CEOs, CFOs, and CDOs). The award to the church/denomination for outstanding contributions in the field of stewardship in 2002 went to the WCG.

After accepting the award from Scott Priesller on behalf of the WCG, I had the opportunity to speak for about ten minutes or so. I rehearsed briefly the history of our transformation and how it had affected our income. I discussed how that we had gone from mandatory tithing (three, not one) to a grace-based approach to whole life stewardship, including donations, as a part of worship. I also included our vision of building on a foundation in Jesus Christ through spiritual formation and then adding teaching on whole life stewardship, and our mission as a disciple-making movement with leadership replication and eventually church planting. I thanked everyone for their support and prayers and asked for continued prayer for us as the miracle which God has begun in our denomination continues to unfold. 

My speech was interrupted several times by applause (which caught me by surprise). At the conclusion the entire group arose in a standing ovation that lasted several minutes. After the meeting, a line formed of people who offered encouragement, support, and prayers for all of us.

AW has back-grounded this "award" twice before, most recently on January 21. 

08 Feb. Women's ordination - Why Now? These comments also from the February 5 Update. 

District Superintendent Ted Johnston shared a letter to the pastors in his region regarding the question, “Why study female ordination now?” Here are excerpts:

As Joe noted in his message to us, this issue has been studied to some extent over the last five years, but remains an open and unresolved issue with respect to our governance and specific, written and documented doctrine. Though it is not a "core" doctrinal issue, it does have various ramifications that we feel need to be resolved. As Joe also noted, he feels that the time to begin to study this issue more fully is now. I asked Joe to address this issue of timing, and concerning the question, Why now? He wrote me the following:

The Update now quotes Joe (who is, uh, quoting Ted who is quoting him)

The question [Why now?] presses us from all sides. We already have women serving on or even leading pastoral teams, and in some cases this has been in place for five years. It is what developed in some locations when the congregation came together to affirm their local leaders. As they followed the lead of the Holy Spirit, they felt led to include a woman they believed called to this role.

We must determine whether this was in truth led of God, or whether these congregations were mistaken and the female leadership roles should be discontinued. Sometimes these women are called upon to explain our doctrinal positions, and sometimes they, as well as pastors of other congregations, are called upon to explain why women are serving in pastorally-oriented leadership roles. The pastors and the female leaders then look to us to provide a unified reply, rather than for them to give their own individual thoughts.

Further, we have had women students in the Ambassador Center who have gifts for, and feel called to serve in, ministerial capacities, and they come to us, saddened, because they fear that they must leave us and join another denomination to maturely develop and use their spiritual gifts.

Good leadership demands that we seek God's will on the issue before it would have opportunity to become divisive, rather than wait until it does. As of now, there is no reason for it be divisive, since this has not been, for us to this point, an issue that finds discontent and unhappy people clamoring for their own way. It would be divisive if we were to at some point compel all congregations to ordain a woman. This is not what we would ever do. Rather, should we come to the conclusion that God wills it for us, it would be a matter of the local congregation being free to acknowledge whomever God may be calling to ordained ministry in their midst, whether male or female. 

Above all, either the Spirit is leading some of our congregations in this direction, or we are going contrary to the Spirit by allowing it: a situation which demands that we must seek God's will to know which is the case and then take appropriate steps to be in line with the Spirit's actual lead.

And now back to Ted:

I appreciate this clarification from Joe and can testify that the situational issues he addresses are faced in our district where women in some of our congregations serve in leadership roles that include essentially all the responsibilities of a pastor/elder. Is this appropriate? Is this the gifting of the Holy Spirit?

Bernie, is that a black cloud I see on the horizon?

I might also add that over the last two years I've had to decline the request of two non-denominational congregations in Ohio to join our denomination because they are pastored by women elders. I'm not saying that turning them away was inappropriate (and I assisted them in getting them connected with denominations that do permit women to be ordained as elders and to serve as senior pastors), but it would have been quite helpful at the time if I had in hand a well-researched and thoroughly presented policy to present to them—not as a weapon against them, but as a kind and respectful presentation of our position. On the other hand, if our policy of not appointing women to the role of elder/pastor is inappropriate, we need to discover that and be more clear and specific about why. 

I'm personally pleased that we can approach this issue in a careful way allowing plenty of time and lots of input so that it can be studied openly and substantially. The issue has not been decided—I think we all realize that our current understanding does not stand on substantial research. And so I encourage any of you who are inclined to careful, well-documented research to contribute in accordance with the process that Joe outlined in his note to us and as clarified in the Worldwide News article. 

Please let me know if you have any further questions or if I can be of assistance in making any clarifications. I thank you in advance for addressing this issue with your congregation(s) if you sense that some may have questions and/or be troubled by the issue. I think if they understand that we've been studying it for five years and this is simply another step to deeper study that we want to share with the entire membership, that they will be reassured that this is not a rush to a decision, nor is the issue already decided. 

Hmm. Do you sense that the hatches on the battle-tub WCG are being firmly battened down? Choppy waters ahead!

8 Feb. Houston North ... the disappearing congregation: From a posting on JLF.

... here in Houston the WCG'S congregation in the north appears to have disappeared... my understanding is that the pastor (Chris Beam) was fired recently and the congregation went totally autonomous not long afterwards.

I pass by where they used to meet, from time to time, but can find no clue of their former existence. I do know that neither the Houston North nor Chris Beam's name appears in WCG'S online directory.

What's up with that? How does a congregation of about 80 that existed at least 2 months ago suddenly up and vanish into thin air without a trace?

8 Feb. The Terre Haute Twenty: According to a brief note on the Terre Haute UCG website, there were 20 in attendance at the first post-split service, February 1. 

07 Feb. Death of Pioneer Member: Mrs. Pearl Hammer, mother of Shirley Armstrong and Molly Antion, died earlier this week aged 97. The funeral is scheduled for Sunday. David Antion and Garner Ted Armstrong are expected to officiate.

07 Feb. WCG grows in leaps and bounds: Uh, did we get that headline right? Well, yes, if cult kaiser Joe Tkach is to be believed. In a recent letter, quoted on JLF, he states:

"...more than 500 people in the U.S. were baptized, 13 elders were ordained and six new churches were started. And there were many more in our other churches around the world, though total figures are not yet in."

Stirring stuff. Joe, we had no idea! But wait. A cautionary word from back in the cheap seats:

Without knowing the "bad news" this means nothing.

More than 500 people in the U.S. were baptized? Does that represent "new to WCG" people or the youth who are encouraged to take the plunge. Can't obviously be talking about WCG's flag ship congregation in Pasadena. BTW, how many left the membership or were kicked out?

13 new elders ... with now over half the ministry bi-vocational (lay pastors), how many of these ordinations represent a battle field promotion?

Six new churches ... what was the total before this mess started and what is it now. By the way some groups who are called churches really are mere shadows of themselves.

Yes, there have been some new Sunday additions to the list. Is Tkach including for example, Big Sandy which [is] really more a split with the same people than a new church with new recruits. Some of these just struggle along like Orlando, Florida which was started I believe the previous year. That new church had to be "retooled" for a spell so services were briefly halted. According to their pastor it is hard sharing resources.

If Joseph Tkach wants to tell the members of his church how they are really doing, a clearer picture is needed.

And a full financial statement would go a long way as well.

07 Feb. Ted the frequent flyer: I have been reading the materials on your website, and your weekly ezine, both of which are simply excellent.  I had heard that there is a book coming out about Garner Ted and Gail Williams.  Do you have any information on this?

MD: There was talk about such a book on one of the discussion boards sometime last year, but nothing could be confirmed and a supposed newspaper review (which, as quoted, contained inaccuracies) appeared to be fictitious. The general feeling was that it was a hoax.

07 Feb. Smoke Screen: The WCG will ordain women to the ministry.  The solicitation of so-called study papers is nothing more than a smoke screen to gauge the members feelings on the matter.  Being that the leadership of the WCG is so lacking in theological training, they will use the best arguments from all of the papers in putting together their final study paper for the ministers to read from the pulpit when the change comes.

They probably feel this step is necessary if they are to compete in the church-growth movement, and develop into a megachurch like one of JT's buddies, Jack Hayford.  Just a note on Jack Hayford, I guess he claims Jesus appears in his bathroom every morning and they talk while he shaves!  This is the type of people the WCG has latched on to! 

07 Feb. A Queer Request: I really enjoy your website.  Much interesting info on it for those who don't want to bury their heads in the sand!

Can you help?  ...  A friend is desperately wanting to get the article "The Shocking Truth About Queer Men", by Roderick C. Meredith, from the December 1961 Plain Truth.  I thought my parents had PT's that old (they have them from mid '62, on).  I don't know if the entire article was online somewhere at one time and got pulled or what.  It seems like somewhere I have read it.  I searched last night and this morning (on Yahoo, Dogpile, Google and misc).  I found AR#49, but that wasn't what I wanted.  Also the Graveyard Church website, had a very short page about it - but it was misc. comments from the article.

MD: If anyone can help out, please email MD and we'll forward your information on to the correspondent.

06 Feb. COG member stays staunch: A former WCG and UCG member is featured in the latest issue of Liberty magazine over Sabbath-keeping issues. Don Reed, a former Pueblo, Colorado air traffic controller was fired over Sabbath observance issues in 1995. A jury unanimously decided in Reed’s favor in 2001 and he has been awarded damages, back pay, and front pay amounting to $ 2.25 million. 

Liberty appears to be a Seventh-day Adventist sponsored publication, although the online edition doesn't declare any affiliation. The current issue also features an article on the Sabbath in the early Christian church. (Source: Dateline Pasadena)

06 Feb. Karen Robidoux unfit to stand trial: Dateline Pasadena has forwarded an article that first appeared in the January 30 Boston Herald. The Attleboro cult is an Armstrong spinoff founded by former WCG elder Roland Robidoux, grandfather of the little boy whose death brought the group to public attention. Excerpts.

An Attleboro cult mom accused of starving her son to death wails for hours in the fetal position and is so emotionally damaged that she is unfit to stand trial, a judge ruled yesterday.

"When she starts to be questioned about the facts surrounding her son's death, she'll start to cry softly, and then louder and then she'll sob uncontrollably,'' attorney Joseph Krowski said of Karen Robidoux. "She then goes into her room, curls up in a ball and will sob for hours.'' ...

Denton testified Robidoux would be unable to maintain her composure during a trial and can't assist her attorney in her own defense.

"All of the graphic evidence that would go in is something she can't deal with,'' Krowski said, adding he has been unable to question her about the circumstances surrounding Samuel's demise.

Judge Elizabeth Donovan deemed Robidoux incompetent to stand trial and will review her condition in May. The case was supposed to go to trial earlier this month.

As part of yesterday's ruling, Robidoux will be put into an intense therapy program at the Taunton hospital. She also will continue to meet twice a week with cult deprogrammers...

Prosecutors said the couple systematically denied the boy food for 51 days and then secretly buried his body in Maine. Jacques Robidoux is serving a life sentence for the killing. The boy's aunt, Michelle Mingo, is awaiting trial on accessory charges for allegedly launching the horrific starvation with a "vision from God'' that told the couple to stop feeding Samuel.

The full article is available online.

06 Feb. Legal Dance Continues: From Helen Liggett on the PCG Yahoo board:

On January 30, Judge Snyder entered a stipulation and order staying all proceedings until Feb. 6, 2003. That does indicate that they [WCG and PCG] are talking settlement, as both sides agreed to the stipulation and I doubt Judge Snyder would allow further delay without the promise of an end to the case.  But, I am speculating.  All the docket says is that both sides agreed to stay the entire matter till Feb. 6.

And February 6 is today (tomorrow US time.)

06 Feb. Anyone for Leeks? Those with Welsh ancestry (a category which includes this writer) might be interested to learn that schismatic Armstrongism is alive and well in the Valleys. Why should everyone else have all the fun! The Church of God in Wales, a small (presumably very small) group led by Jon Bowles, has a modest web presence. 

05 Feb. Sacrificial Lifestyle: How much are the selfless executives at the heart of the PCG paying themselves? This posting from Steven Blade appeared on the PCG Yahoo board.

I have it from an inside source that "That Profit's" son [Stephen Flurry] makes 86K a year. Dare I say his worth would probably only be about a fourth of that in the real world. Why does someone doing "Gawd's" END TIME work need so much $$$. This same sources states that most staff at HQ make between 30-50K but he/she did not know Gerry's salary.

Also the following quote (from my source): "Some other information is they went 300K over budget for the field house due to poor planning and now they cannot use the swimming pool as a water reserve for fire and have to spend money to build a water tower..."

Bob Thiel has noted that Stephen Flurry's byline has been missing from the Trumpet for the last few issues, then makes this remarkable comment: 

It has long been my hope and prayer that he may decide to support LCG, based on the positive comments that Dr. Meredith has made to me in the past about him...

Well, doubtless Rod and Stevie deserve each other, but it's unlikely Bob's prayers will be answered. Meredith's touching admiration of the younger Flurry is at variance with another assessment on the PCG forum: He would be mopping the bathroom floor of Dunkin' Donuts if he worked in the real world.

05 Feb. Feazell goes into paperback: Mike Feazell's lopsided and selective account of changes in the WCG, The Liberation of the Worldwide Church of God, has just been released in paperback by Zondervan Publishers. Feazell himself no longer attends WCG, but has been a regular at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena for some time, where he reportedly keeps a low profile. A Lake Avenue bulletin, Body Life, ran a feature on Mike and his book in December 2001. That issue is available online as a PDF file. 

At Lake Avenue Mike and his wife no doubt enjoy many member privileges denied to those who, unlike Mike, remain loyal to the WCG. We suspect Lake Avenue is a more consultative church, and that members are valued as part of the community rather than simply objects to be acted upon. Which is admirable. But how, you have to wonder, does Mike justify continuing to pull a paycheck from WCG at the same time? What kind of spiritual schizophrenia is involved in worshipping in a relatively open, healthy setting on Sunday, and then putting on the jackboots to administer an oppressive, hierarchical, Byzantine structure like WCG on the other days of the week?

05 Feb. Ambassador Auditorium - A Masonic Connection? Just when you thought you'd heard it all! These comments from a reliable source in Los Angeles.

I see on [one of the WCG forums that] they are now discussing the Masonic Lodge.  I wonder what those people would think if they knew that the holy and precious 'House of God' (a.k.a. Ambassador Auditorium) was built with specific Masonic symbolism!  I met a person at one of the concerts years ago who told me that he was on the construction crew of the Auditorium and that the building was full of Masonic imagery.  He went on to tell me what a lot of it was.  Unfortunately I do not remember most of it.  I do remember that he said the Auditorium was shaped like a cube, which is significant in Masonry, that there is a second cube inside the auditorium at a high elevation which is supposed to mean something (there is a small room up in the ceiling up on the left side of the building which I think housed electrical things in it). The number of pillars outside is significant.  The building faces west, while those inside face east towards the rising sun.  The colors used are significant as are some of the materials used. Also he thought that something was significant about the entrance bridges that form a cross with a hole in the center with a large phallic symbol (fountain) spouting up out of it.

Another person told us that years ago Herb was involved in some kind of Masonic rituals, and that some under him in the ministry have been Masons.  Which isn't surprising, considering how anti-Masonic WCG was 'officially.'  Anything that they did not want members involved in... was immediately dismissed as satanic. 

05 Feb. Autocratic Grace: The blurb for a Joe Tkach editorial in the latest Aussie WN states: God loves us so much he has done everything to secure our salvation and give us new life - citizenship in heaven. Perhaps the rejoinder could be: Joe trusts us so little he has done nothing to secure our membership rights and give us legal standing - try again after you're dead.

05 Feb. Strange Bedfellows: Question: What do the following entities have in common?

Give up? Check this link, sent in by Dateline Pasadena.

05 Feb. Bitter fruit of COG merchandise: ... there is now one more to add to that growing suicide list as a young lady (whom I will call Misty here) [belonging to one] of the Sabbath-keeping break-offs became a victim recently of the Pharisaical moral demands of the Armstrongite group she attended. Because she had miscarried she left behind a note [saying that] she knew the church would not accept her after she had "slept with a man outside the marriage covenant", and I as her grandmother did not know about this until she was found dead in her aunt's closet after hanging herself. She was approx. 3 weeks from her 24th birthday. I did find a David Antion tape on her tape deck about "The Human Mind"-and also not a few Ron Dart tapes were on her desk.

These innocent people are not only paying out much money for these tape albums but also are instructed that they need to continue to tithe. Coworker letters patterned after the psychology of the advertising man (HWA) never end before an appeal for money in the form of some 'needed offering.'

No one knew that she planned to do this except her dad who had some private 'place of safety' bought in the East Texas woods where he had set up a temporary shanty claiming that he would have to go without conveniences during the coming war and so now he is totally without utilities.

But he did come to Misty's place and claim all of her things.

How sad that we continue to justify these merchandising leaders and to promote their merchandising at the expense of those who think they are following a leader who is doing a "work of God."

(name provided)

04 Feb. British UCG Announces Changes: Excerpts from the UCG's Sabbath announcements, February 1.

David Fenney was selected for appointment for a 3-year term as ministerial member of the National Council.

The Chairman, Frank Jarvis, announced in his opening remarks that he would be stepping down from his position as ministerial member of the National Council at the conclusion of the meeting.

In a secret ballot, the executive members of the NC selected Peter Hawkins to be Chief Executive Officer, with immediate effect.

In the light of Mr. Jarvis’s announcement that he would be stepping down from NC membership, NC members appointed Bryan Ellams to the position of Chairman of the National Council, effective from the end of the meeting through to the conclusion of the 2004 annual general meeting. In addition, the ministry confirmed that Mr. Hawkins would serve out the remaining period of Mr. Jarvis’s ministerial membership of the NC.

In summary: at the conclusion of the meeting the five executive members of the NC are: Bryan Ellams (Chairman), David Fenney, Peter Hawkins (Chief Executive Officer), Gerhard Marx and David Payne. There were no changes to the three non-executive members of the NC, who are: Brian Greaves, David McDermott and Jan Schroeder.

Arrangements have been made in Eccleston for the handover of documentation and keys etc.

Mr. & Mrs. Hawkins, accompanied by Mark Webb plan to visit... the Isle of Man brethren for the Sabbath service and to attend the annual general meeting of United Church of God - Isle of Man, a registered Isle of Man charity, of which the Isle of Man brethren are members.

04 Feb. Interning with Ron: This item from Bob Thiel's page: Ron Dart's CEM website announces, "CEM is prepared to offer three to six month internships to qualified applicants. Work will involve the entire gamut of tasks performed in the office from making tapes, to stuffing envelopes, to data entry, to letter answering, to research for CEM publications and broadcasts. Since wages will be low, applicants should be financially able to handle their own transportation to and from Tyler and to maintain themselves while here." I am not quite sure why they are calling this an 'internship', but if you are a CEM supporter and want low wages to help CEM in a temporary assignment, then you probably are who they are looking for.  

04 Feb. Pure Truth?: Hank Scott is the mastermind behind the Pure Truth website. Frankly we don't know much about Hank's ministry, other than his apparent devotion to HWAism, but we can tell you that Hank is eager to share his stunning insights on the Columbia shuttle tragedy. Here's his commentary:

That this tragedy took place on the president's watch, in his home state, in a location where it could be readily seen and heard by him while he was present, made me realize that this was intended as a heavenly wake-up notice and prophetic warning to him and this country... this sign in the heavens of our Creator's will has especially chilling significance.

Thanks Hank. Don't give up your day job.

04 Feb. Residents' Survey Reveals Concerns: Results from a recent residents' survey on the Ambassador Development have been summarized on the WPRA site

04 Feb. Spiritual Damage Control: The COG's must be breathing a collective sigh of relief.  At last, exploitable tragedy appears to be happening with enough regularity, facilitating additional income for these folks.  If one were to apply a personality trait to a church group, narcissism would certainly be the most appropriate label for the COGs.  They truly think that everything which happens throughout the world centers on them and their little invisible work.  The end always justifies the means for these extreme fanatics, even if it means exploiting space shuttle disasters as a motivational tool to induce offerings.  One would have thought that the cancellation of 1975 would have been enough of an embarrassing and humiliating experience that their leaders learned to be a bit more timid.  Herbert W. Armstrong lived and died without ever picking up the tab for his lifestyle as a false prophet.  Probably his successors will get away with it, too.  Thanks for continuing to make the truth of their deceptions available.  I regard your work as "spiritual damage control". 

Bob Evans

04 Feb. Time and chance: Yesterday two hundred people died in car accidents. Another fifty people died in industrial accidents. Of the fifty people who died in industrial accidents, seven of them died upon re-entry into the atmosphere of a spinning world.

God wasn't out to kill any of these people.

04 Feb. Confusion Incarnate: I received the following from my sister this morning.  My husband's family is still very active in the WCG and it can be very intimidating for us:

"I am browsing the WCG website.  They truly are confusion incarnate. Either that, or they are trying to accommodate every view by claiming--falsely--that the Bible is not clear about major doctrine!  They don't know if Hell is eternal or will come to an end.  They don't know if the lost will be tormented or annihilated.  They don't know if we have a conscious existence at death or sleep until the resurrection.  They don't know if Christians should worship on Saturday or Sunday.  They don't know if we should keep the OT holy days or Christmas and Easter.  They basically teach self-salvation through their faulty doctrine of eternal security.

"DON'T EVER FEEL INFERIOR TO THEM.  THEY MAY TRUMPET THEIR SPIRITUALITY, BUT THEY ARE BLIND GUIDES.  THEY WILL ALL FALL IN THE DITCH.  The WCG will never come to accept the historic Christian faith.  A full and total acceptance of it would cause them to split again and again like nuclear fusion.  They are in their ninth year of orthodoxy, and they are still so confused they don't know which way is up!"

04 Feb. Beyond Imagination: Spanky Meredith says that we have anywhere from two to four years left before the crushing blow of famine hits us. On one hand, he tells his followers to save their money for the upcoming great depression. Then on the other hand, he tells them to give it to him. He tells them the if they give him their money, they will be blessed beyond imagination during troubling times ahead. They can save their skin, as well as their money. Hmmmm. What good will the money be in time of the "crushing blow of famine"? I'd rather spend it now while it is still good (I'm sure Spanky would too). Besides giving it to him, and then trying to save a few scraps, would certainly spread my money thin!

Steve Kissack

03 Feb. Not-so Good News: (Dateline Pasadena.) This was in the LA TIMES, in a section called 'Only in L.A.' by Steve Harvey 

"Food for thought: Hugh Moore of Santa Monica took a look at the cover story in the Good News magazine (see above) and wondered what the bad news could be. "Maybe it's better that I don't know," he added."

03 Feb. Shuttle Tragedy - The Hyenas Gather: If anyone is in any doubt that fanaticism lies just a hair's-breath removed from the glossy magazines and protestations of wholesomeness that surround Armstrongism, this report from Dateline Pasadena may convince you otherwise. 

DP introduces the item: The 1986 Challenger Shuttle Explosion was a direct payback by God to the U.S. for not recognizing Herbert W. Armstrong as a prophet of God. Or, so says an Armstrong devotee (You can quickly see why the newspapers did not print his junk)

And here's what DP is referring to. This material was posted shortly after the Columbia tragedy on Craig White's originalwcg Yahoo group: 

I sent the following letter to several newspapers back in 1996 explaining the cause for the challenger tragedy. When I found out that the recent launch date was on the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong's death, I remember meditating and asking God if my words written back in 1996 were true...

Ten years ago on Jan 28, 1986, the whole world was shocked by the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger that killed all seven astronauts on board.

How and why did this happen? The world asked and still asks.

The scientist have an explanation for the how part of it, but the why part is not obvious to the world, even to those who should know!

On Jan 16, 1986 an even greater event took place and one that has and will bring about more tragic consequences. Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, a true servant of God died that day. And the world barely even recognized his death.

Yes, the whole world ignored the man who for over 50 years proclaimed the Truths of God. He faithfully preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He warned the nations of the soon coming Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord. He never retired, but kept going until his body just gave out.

But God did not ignore Mr. Armstrong's death. And God did not think it fitting for this wicked world to ignore his death either.

The Challenger tragedy was not a coincidence. You hurt or slight any of God's servants in any way and you will have to pay the consequences.

Seven of this world's finest were offered as burnt offerings to atone for this world's offensive conduct toward the death of the man whose life God and his angels gave the most attention on this earth.

You maybe laughing and ridiculing what I am saying, but I didn't see anyone laughing when that rocket exploded spewing bits and pieces of the Challenger and its crew for miles over the Atlantic Ocean.

Now you listen, you bunch of spiritual unclean swine! Mr. Armstrong was a TRUE, I repeat TRUE servant of God! He taught God's Truths! You may trample and tread all over what he taught, but believe me you will pay a penalty - a very dear penalty!

God sent His Son Jesus Christ on a mission to this earth to qualify to rule this earth by overcoming Satan, to die for our sins and to prepare a people to rule with Him for a 1,000 years in the soon coming Kingdom of God!

Mr. Armstrong taught the things of God and delivered the same message Jesus Christ delivered 1900 years earlier!

WAKE UP, AMERICA!! If you think the Challenger tragedy was a horror, you haven't seen anything yet!

Keep God's Sabbaths - His weekly and annual Holy Days! Do not accept the MARK OF THE BEAST - Sunday, Christmas, Easter, etc. worship. Reject the Mother of Harlots - the Roman Catholic Church and her daughters the Protestant harlots and all their worldly pagan babble!!


MD comment: This letter, with only a few minor modifications, could just as easily have been written by an Islamic fundamentalist. While it is obvious that most COG members would immediately reject this hateful diatribe out of hand, it is also an uncomfortable reality that the mindset that underlies it is grounded and rooted in the same insane prophetic speculations of national punishment that have obsessed the cult from the very beginning. One only has to recollect the sickening "commentary" that was vomited up by Roderick Meredith in the wake of September 11, or the tortured faces that leapt out from the pages of Basil Wolverton's apocalyptic artwork.

In a subsequent posting Dateline Pasadena commented: Prayers certainly are to be offered for the families of the lost shuttle crew.  I wonder how long it will take for the various splinter cults of Armstrongism to start making idiotic statements about the reason behind the explosion.  

03 Feb. Spanky touts for tithes: Fear and uncertainty have always proven a cash cow for Armstrongism, and LCG Presiding Evangelist Meredith appears to be milking the current Iraq crisis for all it's worth. Excerpts from his January 22 letter.

We all need to get our physical and spiritual houses in order. Truly staggering events are on the immediate horizon. As your servant in Christ, I must now tell you that the next two to four years is a crucial time frame for the beginning of the absolute "breaking" of America’s pride and power... [MD: wouldn't it be interesting to know what Rod thinks "servant" means?]

Although President Bush and his team are very capable, and Mr. Bush is certainly a red blooded, "macho" man from Texas, God may be using this macho tendency as a means to humble the United States in a way which was prophesied about 3,500 years ago... [MD: Freudian analysis anyone?]

... all of these events will certainly tend to push the European nations into eventually aligning themselves into some kind of "super state"—preparing the way for the ultimate "Beast" power described in Revelation 17! ...

As the crushing blow of famine begins to take its toll, and massive disease epidemics sweep over various parts of America, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, our peoples will truly be humbled in a way that they have never been in modern times! ... 

As the Australian, British, Canadian and American peoples continue their slide into Godless immorality, the Creator will begin to speak to us in a way that will get our attention! He will "shake" our peoples as you shake a rag doll. This very Work, in which all of you participate as either members or co-workers, will increasingly be used by the God of heaven to help people understand what truly lies ahead. [MD: Rod's God seems a petulant deity with an anger management problem]

Do you get the feeling that Rod is just warming up to the big, main point? Yup, and here it comes:

Brethren we do not have that many more years to go!

Each of us, as we truly study God’s word and seek Him in prayer and fasting, should begin to set both our physical and spiritual houses in order as the end approaches. We should cut back on unnecessary financial expenditures because a condition of deflation or even depression may yet loom ahead. We should all develop the "savings habit." Yet, we should pay the Creator our tithes plus generous offerings. God commands this very clearly! He challenges our people: "Will a man rob God?

Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it" (Mal. 3:8-10).

If you do your part—including paying God His tithes—God will bless you and guide you through the terrible times just ahead in your financial circumstances...

May God help you to understand!

02 Feb. Ron's Banana Boat: From a posting by Anne on JLF: From the denomination that offers little accountability comes even less.

In the January 2003 report on November finances visibly missing from Ron Kelly’s financial report was an Income and Expense statement that had traditionally accompanied it. But at least they gave some of the numbers and if you did a little work you could figure out roughly what happened and estimate what they were expecting.

In the February 2003 report, Mr. Kelly doesn’t even include the most elementary figures on expenses. None whatsoever actually, just the vague reference to the expenses exceeding expectation. So we can't even estimate this time round.

Is there any business, charitable organization or church that doesn’t publish a complete year end financial report for their members? We know Uncle Sam requires one. Even ENRON knew enough to put something down in that area. This now moves from the realm of little accountability to banana republic finance.

Dwight Armstrong

02 Feb. Herbal Hymns: For those moments of Dwight Armstrong nostalgia: 

02 Feb. Selling the Silverware: Perhaps there's no other religious cult quite as interested in the realty market as the Worldwide Church of God. These items, from the latest Pastor's Update, were sent in by a reader.

The sale of one of the small out parcels (parcels of land not part of the main development) sold January 22 as anticipated. A second parcel located just north of the Hall of Administration is currently in escrow and scheduled to close in two weeks. A third out parcel located just south of the main west campus (tennis courts) is currently being marketed... 

In order to comply with the City of Pasadena's process for approval of the development plan, the church submitted Pre-Development Plan Review (PPR) documents this month. Submission of PPR documents provide a chance to get preliminary feedback from City staff, which facilitates the official plan submission. The PPR also is a required step in the Master Plan Application, which will be submitted to the City in mid-March... 

Thursday, February 13 from 6:00 to 8 pm citizens of Pasadena have been invited to a design presentation in the Ambassador Auditorium. Church officials and consultants will present the preliminary plan for the campus and answer questions. This is the forth [Joey means fourth] public meeting held where the public has been able to share in the process. Three previous open houses were held in October, November and December to receive ideas and share preliminary plans with those interested in participating. To date, church officials have attended over 40 listening\design-sharing meetings allowing over 1700 people to share in the design process. Church members are encouraged to attend the Design Presentation to learn more or they can visit the web site at

02 Feb. Stats: January proved to be a record month for The Missing Dimension with 43,171 page views logged. AW postings from mid-December through January have now been archived as AW34. And from the MD trivia department, if you decided to print out the entire contents of AW34, you'd need 51 sheets of A4 paper to complete the job. 

02 Feb. Women Pastors? Fat Chance: This will NEVER happen [AW Jan. 30].  I mean, seriously, can you see it? First of all, men are still the "main" tithe payers in the family.  Can anyone possibly see a man in WCG (I can think of only a BARE FEW) who would continue paying tithes (much less attending) the church after they ordain women?

I was there when Mr. Tkach, Sr. mentioned ordaining women...oh brother!  The outcry of "that will be the day I leave this Church!!" went up from the men like an explosion!

Can't you just see it?  Mrs. John Doe calls her minister...MRS. X and wants to counsel about her marriage.  Mrs. X sets up an appointment to meet with Mr. & Mrs. Doe (you know he's really going to be wanting that...)  Mrs. X listens patiently (a rare and unusual occurrence for ANY woman from a minister in the CG's) to what she has to say.  Then she listens to Mr. Doe...

And instead of turning to Mrs. Doe and giving her the usual ABUSIVE PARTY LINE..."you need to be MORE SUBMISSIVE to your HUSBAND...HE is the HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD..." she actually suggests he should CONSIDER his wife's opinions in the decisions for the family.

Counsel...from a minister...from a...a...(dare I say it?)...a WOMAN'S perspective?  Perish the thought!

This is a won't happen.  You think the rats fled the sinking ship before?  Let them ordain one, just one woman...and it will look like the Titanic!

"Money talks" as they say...and when the "money" starts talking about "walking" at Pasadena, this little "idea" will shrivel up and blow away.

02 Feb. Creative Justification. Regarding the "women ordination" thing - the thing at the very end stating that contributions will not be accepted from anyone but members in good standing really makes me wonder.  Not only does this encourage the already insular nature of the organization, but it enforces "accountability" of the members - if someone's way out there I'm sure they'll send the local pastor to "set them straight" - or they won't be a member in good standing for long.

If they were truly looking for input, they wouldn't give the questions to answer, and they wouldn't limit it to members of the organization.  All of which leads me to believe they've already made up their minds and are simply looking for some creative justification.

MD: Too bad the cult bosses in Pasadena are unwilling to accept outside submissions, they might well learn something from John Currier's Women in Leadership, or Dianne McDonnell's Requirements for Ministry: Can a Woman be a Minister. Both these papers (and more beside) are available from the Church of God - Dallas/Fort Worth website.

02 Feb. Kubism. Pity Poor Kubik [AW, Jan. 29]. He was in the dark and he didn't know all these things were happening! This is just not right to do these things to a fine upstanding caring minister such as he. 

We had a situation here in Cincinnati about 6-7 years ago when United was first being formed here. Many people called him, but either his wife wouldn't let anyone talk to him or he wouldn't talk to anyone. Even the council of elders was informed of our situation and we begged for someone from the council to come out and review the situation before any decision was made. Kubik was not in the dark here; he is the one who made the decision that led to the splitting of the Cincinnati church, splitting of families, friends, and ministers. And there is even yet problems from this ungodly act.

This person we are talking about is Victor Kubik. And he was head of the ministers at that time.

The Kubik that replied that he was in the dark over the Terre Haute problem surely can't be the same Kubik that kept us in the dark until after the decision was made here in Cincinnati. OR IS HE? 

Lets all have a big pity party for Kubik. Sigh 

02 Feb. Post-Herb ChangesI ran across this interesting web site for the AW web page. Some readers may like it and others may not. It depends on their personal conviction.

email MD: email Dateline Pasadena: 


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