AMBASSADOR WATCH The Missing Dimension e-zine 

Home Page



Previous AW

Site Guide


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

Issue 38 - MAY 2003



PME Anyone? Post Mortem Evangelism is a distinctive feature of WCG theology both ancient and modern. In the long-ago the church taught something akin to universalism with almost everybody having a chance at salvation, especially if they'd died without hearing the "true gospel" (which meant almost everybody would rise in the second resurrection). Some evangelists even speculated that the number of those who would end up being toasted in the Lake of Fire (along with Satan) could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.

And nowadays? PME survives, largely through the endorsement of Mike Feazell, who has written a tract (The Gospel really is Good News) that endorses a revised version of PME. MD isn't going to get into the theological virtues of the PME issue, but we do note that there is resistance to this position among some members and pastors. Many feel that this is a holdover from the old days, and that to truly enter the fundamentalist mainstream the church should now happily adopt a suitably hot version of hellfire for those who've not fully embraced Bible-belt dogma. Here's what one current, active WCG member posted on JLF:

I side with ... the overwhelming majority of Christians on this issue. PME is NOT in the Scriptures. That doesn't mean it WON'T happen. But you surely can't say (unless you're Mike Feazell) that it definitely WILL happen.

My question for WCG types who hold to PME is: What keeps you from becoming like Herbert Armstrong? HWA came up with some "interesting" ideas and doctrines. He even found a few people on the fringes of Christianity who agreed with him on certain things. But overwhelmingly the Christian church disagreed with what Armstrong taught. But somehow he was able to ignore the wisdom of hundreds of millions. We all know where that attitude ended up taking him in life.

How can we believe that the overwhelming majority of Christianity is simply "deceived" on a matter and that WE have correct knowledge?

Knowing that PME is an issue, it's interesting to notice that there are two letters in the latest WN on just that subject. Would you expect the church to publish anything critical of the Feazell position? Would you expect the church to encourage open debate? Get real! The mail the WN publishes is, without exception, just what church leaders want to hear, and this case is no different. Only ingratiating flattery will be considered for the WN columns. Another sure sign that, despite all claims to the contrary (and putting aside whatever genuine merits the Feazell tract might have), WCG is still very much a cult.

The Pelleydena logo: Now that Dennis Pelley's Pasadena HQ congregation have a new name, a new day (next week they move to Sunday services) and a new location (they've just had their last service at Friendship Baptist and are relocating, ironically, to Seventh-day Adventist facilities!), the next step is a trendy new logo to complete the window dressing, and here it is. We thought a ball and chain should be incorporated into the design, but wiser counsel obviously prevailed.

Now, let's see how much growth the changes actually bring (remembering that this was the raison d'etre for the whole transmogrification.) Our guess? Numbers will continue to drop away.

23 May  WCG SINKS DEEPER.  Mail: No woolly wolf, Aussie site update, Wasup

Denial and evasion: The following item was posted on JLF. The writer notes that numbers are calculated using the basic information provided in the Worldwide News and represent her best possible guess. It should not be taken to represent the actual financial state of the WCG as that is unknown except to the administration.

Worldwide Church of God’s financial crisis deepens.

With the June Worldwide News comes yet again another incomplete financial statement, leaving members having to assume the role of Forensic Accountant in order to divine the financial state of the church. This time Ron Kelly has supplied a key piece of information when he reports the addition of $3 million to reserves in the time period January to April.

Since income in total was $14 million to date and $3 Million went into reserves that leaves approximately $11 Million in expenses so far in 2003. In 2002 expenses at that time were $9.45 Million. But the distressing part is that income was only $5.4 Million for the first four months of 2003. That means expenses were just over TWICE the income being received. The difference in the numbers, $14 Million income minus the income recorded $5.4 Million (Jan-Feb $2.6 plus March $1.5 plus April $1.3 Million) minus $3.0 Million to reserves leaves $5.6 Million from the property sales, litigation settlement and estate donations. This illustrates how absolutely crucial these property sales are to the survival of the Ambassador Project.

Also of note is Ron Kelly’s use of optimism and pessimism. The fact that the church predicted a lower income for 2003 shows a cautious attitude if not lack of confidence by the WCG administration in people’s faithfulness. The even greater drop in income that occurred illustrates a continued dissatisfaction in the church by the membership. It can be said (and has) that unhappy people give less. Whether people decrease or stop their giving or simply leave the church altogether, the income is a barometer of the success of the current administration in winning people’s hearts. In fact the administration’s forecast of negative income over previous years is a confession that they know they are alienating their membership.

These hard facts compared to the glowing reports in the Worldwide News tends to paint a picture of both denial and evasion.


Bad guess: Sorry - I haven't disfellowshipped anyone in ten years! [see yesterday's Meanwhile back in the UK] Anyway - that would not be my responsibility, but that of the local church involved!

James McBride
(Churches of God, UK)

MD: Thanks for the comments. MD acknowledges that James has written some valuable and balanced material (accessible at, some of which we happily endorse (this one article, however, proved just too tempting to ignore!) The latest issue of the CGOM magazine, New Horizons, contains a couple of noteworthy articles: What is an Apostle and (ahem) Disfellowship... Why?

Australia rediscovered! On 21 May you reported that the Australian WCG site has vanished. From, if you follow the link to Australia it tries to take you to .  That doesn't exist. and both take you to sites which are similar but not the same.  I found this using guesswork.  From you can get the May WN. has WN's only to September 2002.

If you report this, I'm sure the webmasters at Pasadena will get their link corrected without delay, as they are undoubtedly more in touch with you than they are with their fellow webmasters in their own regional offices.


MD: LOL. Information gratefully received. The Oz site has had a makeover to go with the changed URL, and now looks a lot less clunky.

Wazzup? Was thinking to start a new magazine.  "WhatNext" would have been my choice, but that's taken too.  So how about "Wasup"?  Kinda friendly sounding don't you think?    :)

Dennis Diehl


Tough luck Bernie: This report from an anonymous Pasadena source:

The City of Pasadena rejected WCG's application to change the property lines on the homes that they want to sell that caused the controversy in Friday's Star News article.  This means that they will have to redraw several buildings that had been proposed for part of those sites which will mean less housing -- which translates to less profit.

Less profit, no prophet... aw shucks!

Rader clip on 60 Minutes special: The famous walkout by WCG big-cheese Stanley Rader featured briefly on the 60 Minutes 35th anniversary show just aired in the US. Rader was being interviewed by Mike Wallace, whose questions cut too close to the bone. 

Meanwhile, back in the UK: Disfellowshipment has been described as The Great Decommission. These fiery exhortations from James McBride's latest "Outreach" newsletter. Emphasis added:

The apostle Paul was well aware that the churches he founded could be - and indeed were - infiltrated by men with a self-serving personal agenda. They 'entered in unawares' - ie the brethren were unaware of their nefarious plans. Some 'entered in' and some arose 'of your own selves', writes the apostle. 

In their vanity, previously loyal brethren zealously mounted a doctrinal hobby-horse and began to subvert their congregation. Or they embraced the teachings of another 'guru' and promoted his philosophy... They were a 'Trojan Horse' within the church. Too often, alas, their success drove out faithful brethren. 

It was a problem in Paul's and John's day (III John 10) - and no less a problem in the twenty-first century Church of God. 

... every Christian must be alert to the possibility of being seduced by smooth-talking wool-covered wolves. Like a cancer, their destructive heresy starts unobtrusively but spreads to devour other parts of the body. 

Whole organizations have been subverted through lack of vigilance and through toleration of such 'Trojan Horses' in their midst. [And the point is?] All brethren - and especially their 'shepherds' - must be ready to make perhaps the hard choice of simply telling such to go! 

So there! Wow, who would have thought you could fit so many emotive words in such a short article! McBride leads the Churches of God, UK, a splinter from the Church of God, International. Hmm. Do ya reckon James might have disfellowshipped someone lately?

Meantime we earnestly advise all readers to cease immediately from the unnatural act of zealously mounting hobby horses, doctrinal, Trojan or otherwise.


Descent into darkness?: I think it is interesting that when you click into the 'WhatNext' site you immediately notice that just below the sites' 'Listen to WhatNext', 'Contact us' and 'About us' - there is an area of absolute darkness!

Herbabilia: I have come across several PTs from 1971-1973 and a bunch of "The Worldwide News" tabloid newspapers from around 1974. But what I want now are Radio Logs from 1962 to 1967. Just the Radio Logs. So if anyone can find one or two or more and either send them to me or make photocopies or jpegs and email them to me, I would appreciate it.

In exchange I have also come across a copy of "The Plain Truth About Child Rearing", 1972 edition; "Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?" (1972 edition); "Pagan Holidays or God's Holydays - Which?" (1957); "This Is The Worldwide Church of God" (1971), as well as the WCG hymnal (hardbound) and a 1986 "Envoy". I am trying to locate the "Envoy" from 1965. The other stuff I listed above I am not interested in. Once I have had time to look at the tabloids to see if I can use them I am also ready to dispose of them as well. The PTs and one or two "Good News" magazines containing pics and useful articles for the site I will hang on to for the time being.

So, does anyone want to trade? My aim is to use what fits the site and scan the pics into jpegs and put them on the web. I may scan in some of HWA's editorials about his jaunts to flesh out the story as well.

John England (

MD: Any responses directly to John please

21 May  A SPOT OF BOTHER IN BLIGHTY. Mail: Australian WCG site offline, Dear Joe please return my tithes.

John Jewell. Still smiling!

Mad dogs and Englishmen: As the old song goes, only "mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun." So perhaps a spot of sunstroke explains what's happening in the British UCG.

The latest Journal chronicles the most recent installment in the ongoing soap opera over The World Tomorrow broadcast on Manx Radio. When John Jewell was deposed from his position as national leader, he still retained control of an associated company which produced a UCG version of The World Tomorrow. Despite no longer being a representative (or even, apparently, a member) of the church, Jewell kept producing the broadcasts, featuring UCG member David McDermott.

The problem being that McDermott has now also left the UCG. So it must have come as a relief for the church when the company was put legally back under their control. UCG is reportedly keen to re-launch the broadcast, however they have no replacement presenter, and say they can't do anything until they have "a number of pieces of equipment returned" from Jewell.

Meantime the dynamic duo of Jewell and McDermott have been far from idle. They're producing a new broadcast called WhatNext? (that's not a typo, the two words are intentionally fused) under the impressive name of WhatNext International Media Ltd. And, by golly, guess which station it's being aired on?

Confused? Who wouldn't be. All we can say is... what next?

The Journal website can be found at


Aussie WCG disappears from web: What's with the Oz HQ site? Their website has been not responding all week!

MD: Good question. One reader also advises us that the May WN (Australian edition) appeared very briefly online and was then taken down almost immediately, though we haven't been able to confirm this.

Where do you sign up? Is there anywhere I can sign up for some of the cash when the Church grounds and Auditorium are sold? Do I just ask Mr. Tkach for it? Since the all the money came from the members it just seems like the right thing to do. You know, give it back... then we can start over and .... hey ... here's an idea ... use the Bible to get all our doctrines instead of making them up like they do now . 

Mike S. 

...  SILENCE OF THE LAMBS now online


E-Herb: Imagine a free copy of great religious literature in e-book format. Well, there's nothing like that on offer, but for grating religious literature you could always download one of HWA's booklets. A few are appearing in a clever 3D format that sits on your screen and even lets you turn the pages. Available so far: A World Held Captive (1984) and Does God Exist (1971 edition). The download only takes a few seconds, and those with masochistic tendencies can save them for future reference. But get 'em while you can, before either WCG or PCG start sending out lawyers' letters on breach of copyright. (NOTE: 20 May. There was a problem with the links, which have been deleted in the meantime.)

More herbolatry: Of the making of Herbal butt-kissing websites there is no end. Henrik Blunck, former moderator of the now defunct Flurry Yahoo group and former member of the Pack cult (Restored Church of God), is apparently responsible for bringing yet another into being: There are audio files of Herb, the text of his books (including MOA), a large collection of his booklets, the 32 lesson version of the correspondence course, and all 154 chapters of Basil Wolverton's Bible Story

18 May  BERNIE TAKES THE HIGH ROAD, DIEHL ON ADAM AND EVE, BECKER ON SPANKY, IS BERNIE BORN AGAIN? Mail: Meatlover's diet, trinity book, haystack search, Fairfield WCG publicizes pornfest.

Excerpts from the May 16 Pasadena Star News

Given the complex history and large scope of its proposed Ambassador College campus development, the Worldwide Church of God finds it can hardly make a move without the risk of stepping on a political land mine.

This week, for instance, the bureaucratic version of a brawl nearly erupted at the city's normally obscure subdivision committee meeting. At issue was the fate of five historic homes on South Orange Grove Boulevard.

The church wants to sell the houses to help pay for its campus master development plan. In order to clear their titles, and ease their sale, church officials asked the committee to approve minor variances and lot-line adjustments to bring the properties up to city code.

The preservationist group Pasadena Heritage objected to the request, asking the committee to postpone action until the church committed to preserving the houses. Executive Director Susan Mossman said that without the protection, a new owner would have the right to demolish the houses, one of which was designed by Castle Green architect Frank Roehrig.

Additionally, city officials joined Heritage in opposing a request to split the property on which the historic Manor del Mar sits into two parcels. By city codes, the structure would then have to be demolished. Church officials had previously represented that they wanted the house preserved...

The church arrived at the hearing armed with seven consultants, including a public relations official and the lead attorney on the Ambassador project. Despite this, Bernard Schnippert, the church's director of finance and planning, downplayed the issue.

"That was pretty mechanical, not a big deal,' Schnippert said Thursday. "I don't view it as anything that had much splash.'

He blamed the controversy partly on what he termed an "inadvertent error' regarding the Manor del Mar. Schnippert said demolition was never considered, and church officials withdrew the request before the committee met...

Dorothy Lindsey, a WPRA treasurer, said her group will continue to scrutinize the church's plan as it moves through the city, making sure "all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed.' ...

Schnippert said he expects the "a strictly professional process going forward.'

"We always intended to take the high road, to be transparent, to communicate publicly,' Schnippert said. "We don't fear that. We think we have a good plan.'

Not much splash: This item was posted on JLF:

The Worldwide Church of God, the real estate developer, met some resistance to its plans to sell several mansions in an attempt to keep its head above water financially till "the campus sells".

The church wisely backed out of a proposition to demolish one of the landmarks. But it is clear every move the church makes will be closely watched by these interest groups.

The church has an urgent need to sell these properties as it has to meet the expenses of experts and etc. when their own revenue has not been meeting their own basic needs. As an example, witness the troop of professionals brought in for this one meeting alone:

"The church arrived at the hearing armed with seven consultants, including a public relations official and the lead attorney on the Ambassador project. Despite this, Bernard Schnippert, the church's director of finance and planning, downplayed the issue."

Of course the real magnitude of the church's losses are just a guess given that the church has stopped supplying expense amounts to the membership as was common practice in the past. Also not stated are all of the revenue generated as they cannibalize the other parts of the campus not included in the "master plan".

As we have seen, the Worldwide Church of God has been suffering additional financial losses besides the constant monetary slide they have been enduring since 1995. The big question has to be, will the WCG have enough resources to see the project through as they envision it?

As a side comment, Bernie Schnippert is quoted as promising the people of Pasadena ""We always intended to take the high road, to be transparent, to communicate publicly,' Schnippert said. "We don't fear that. We think we have a good plan.'"

How about being transparent to your own members with church finances and etc. What are reserves? What are expenses? What did the other property sell for?

Take the high road.

New on the MD Book page

Adam, Eve and literalism: Dennis Diehl returns with a new article, his third for The Missing Dimension, called Adam & Eve, Original Sin & Mythology. Warning: while Dennis is a former pastor in the WCG, he now holds views that are a long way removed from his days in the church. Provocative, challenging and a definite "must read" (except, of course, for those who don't appreciate being challenged or provoked). And, as we always say, views expressed by MD writers are not necessarily those of others associated with this site.

New Becker column: Douglas Becker has just uploaded a new All2True column: Silence of the Lambs. Another "must read" as Douglas throws additional light on the situation described in a disturbing letter AW ran on April 27 concerning ministerial abuse and the response to it by Roderick Meredith. One of his best columns to date.

Born Again Bernie: Just what does Bernard W. Schnippert Esq. believe about "born again"? Karen Ray has updated her page entitled Beware of Men to include Bernie and K.J. Stavrinides, and focuses on their statements on this subject.


Spiritual meat: I like Russell's comments about spiritual meat. I guess you are supposed to eat the ministers "spiritual meat", and the ministers claim you will then produce (excrete?) fruits. Are those fruits what they intend for us to consume for our well balanced diet? 

Yes, this analogy can be taken even further, but I dare not, lest I lower myself down to the level of the ministry.

Tom Munson

Trinity: I was just perusing your Bookshelf and noticed that book on the Trinity by Hunting & Buzzard... I think it is rather strange that the church that has been always against the doctrine of a Trinity - also believed that God is a "Family" (which is a unit - i.e. the members are all called by the same name, and have that identity). Although the word 'Trinity' is not in the Scripture there are ample fore-types...

Myra McQueen

Looking for a needle: Well we have almost - almost - got the basic pages into line on the new web site: we still have to "convert" the original "TWT" radio page to the new format - then we can begin to tackle the business of trying to put the life of HWA into some sort of perspective by cutting out the religious references. Going over the Stanley Radar book - which one of your correspondents suggested was really ghost written, it becomes obvious that that book is perhaps the only framework where a project like this can begin... I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know how we intend to find the needle in the haystack - assuming of course that there is a needle to be found. The haystack seems to be the piles and piles of "stuff" that have been written about HWA but never put into any sort of non-theological framework to form a decent biography...

John England

Forget Born Again - It's Porn Again in Fairfield: I just found something a little odd posted to one of the local WCG websites at as follows:

LIFESTYLE: This is what perversion will get you, if you are not careful...

State university hosts 'Pornfest': (WorldNetDaily) May 10th, 2003 - Western Washington University in Bellingham held its 11th annual National Outdoor Intercourse Day observance this week, with offerings such as condom hunts and a masturbation information table. Meanwhile, guest speaker Allena Gabosch, director of the Wet Spot, a "sex-positive" community center in Seattle, lectured Tuesday on dispelling the "myths" surrounding polyamory – having sexual relationships with more than one person at a time.

QUESTIONS: Do Scriptures in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible such as Leviticus 18:1-29 (unlawful sexual relations) apply here? Do they have any significance (Revelation 21:1-8), or are there no guidelines for Christians today?

Okay, maybe it's just me... but why would it be necessary for an allegedly Christian organization to draw attention to a PORNFEST (unless the leadership has a fetish for that sort of thing...)???!!!!  I'm thinking of little Johnny who might be logging into daddy's computer to see what the latest, upcoming children's church activities might be and he's going, "Daddy, what's an intercourse?" or "Daddy, can we go on a condom hunt?"  And, "Daddy, what's masturbation?"

Now, I would expect this kind of focus (on sexual perversion) from Spanky Merrydeath, but certainly NOT from any of the current WCG fellowships who are allegedly grace-filled and Christ-centered!

MD: Or maybe, "Daddy, is Pornfest another name for Summerfest?"

16 May  GHOSTS OF FESTIVALS PAST, WCG COLLECTABLE.  Mail: Make mine a veggie-burger.

FOT overload: Where would you go to hear ancient FOT sermons by David Jon Hill (remember him?), Art Docken, Dean Blackwell, Doc. Kessler. Raymond McNair, Herman Hoeh, Sherwin McMichael and a host of other luminaries from Tabernacles past? There is such a site. The spellin' ain't all it could be - Victor Kubik and a few others get their names mangled (Roy Holladay becomes Roy Holiday) - but the downloads are free so if you're into long-winded nostalgia there's not much cause for complaint. Some date back as far as the fifties. These are mp3 files and each will deliver around 90 minutes of blather, so unless you've got a fast connection be prepared to wait awhile.

McNair's American History: So you've got a copy of Raymond McNair's bicentennial "classic" Ascent to Greatness stashed away in a box somewhere? You know, the one published by Willie Dankenbring's Triumph Publishing House. How much would you be willing to pay for a copy today? 50c? $2? $10? Check out this Amazon link forwarded by Dateline Pasadena.


Rare, medium or well done? I notice all of the *CG splinter groups talking about "spiritual meat"... Spiritual meat. Hmmm. ... a balanced diet is always a good thing. The *CGers love analogies. Of course, they never take them far enough. The *CGers are always clamoring for meat, meat, and more meat. Be careful what you wish for. You might live to regret it.

Choose your own meat. Choose it carefully. Read a balanced diet. And beware of evangelists bearing steak. You haven't watched them prepare it...



Grand Junction - The Aftermath: Servants' News has published the text of the opening sermon given at the WCG Grand Junction Festival last year. The speaker was Del Leger, who also provided a first-hand account of what happened. Excerpts from that account follow.

My name is Del Leger, and I’m the pastor of the Christian Church of God in Grand Junction, Colorado. Until last fall, I was the pastor of the Grand Junction Worldwide Church of God, (chartered through WCG as the Christian Church Of God). I was the speaker at the opening night services for our Feast of Tabernacles. The sermon I gave so incensed Gerald Schnarrenberger (regional supervisor for the WCG) that shortly after the final collection was taken up on the last day, he rushed over and fired me.

... after about a week or so I was contacted by our congregation and asked to come back and be their pastor. Upon discussing it with my wife we decided to accept. Of course it would be at the same pay as before—nothing. But that’s a good thing as I will never be tempted to try to balance the truth of God with a paycheck.

Last fall was the most phenomenally successful Feast of Tabernacles ever hosted by our little group here in Grand Junction... In 2002 we capped out at over 500. Who would have thought that such a little congregation, with an average attendance of only 18 to 20, would be able to accomplish such a feat? ... Everything was done on a volunteer basis, even the speakers (except for 2002). No financial help of any kind was offered or given by [the WCG] headquarters.

Our successes were becoming too well known and headquarters was becoming concerned. So, they sent their paid performers in an attempt to control the speaking. God’s Spirit, however, was indomitable, and held sway over the entire services. Although the hirelings held the podium, God held the Spirit...

Since other speakers (who were sent by WCG headquarters) felt the first night was not important enough for their efforts, I volunteered, and gave a sermon that many said was the only meat-filled sermon they heard during the entire feast; it received a standing ovation. Apparently, certain ones in authority choked on the meat, so they fired me. I am enclosing that sermon for your perusal [see link below]... so that others might judge for themselves the merits of the issue.

We are now an unaffiliated religious organization, incorporated under the name Christian Church of God, a Colorado nonprofit corporation...

Both the sermon (Story of Grace) and Leger's account in full, are available at the SN site in the November-December 2002 issue which, despite the date, has just been released. An earlier story mentioning Del Leger can be found below dated May 1.

Cognitive Dissonance - another view: Bill Hohmann has contributed some further thoughts on CD in response to Jim Baldwin's earlier comments. Correspondence on this subject is now closed.

British Festival attendance drops: Numbers attending the recent WCG Spring festival services in Britain were down 6% on 2002, although offerings were up, according to a report carried on the UK website. The British board met again last weekend with the "frequent flyer" Pastor General winging his way in from California to chair proceedings, the Brits being apparently incapable of running the local operation themselves without Joe's outstanding expertise.


Dark twisted mind: The evil you have written here I cannot understand may God have mercy on your dark twisted mind. 


MD: Thanks Don, letters like yours confirm that the site is still very much needed. (BTW, the correspondent is definitely not to be confused with Don Barness, whose letters appear here from time to time.)

13 May  STP ONLINE.  Mail: Recycled sheep, enduring Joe till retirement, Paul Kroll and unanswered letters

Systematic Theology Project: For those who were around in the late seventies, the ill-fated Systematic Theology Project will be remembered as the best effort the WCG made to lay out its doctrines in some kind of coherent form. Hardly had it seen the light of day when the WCG version of China's "cultural revolution" descended on the church, ushering in a period of repression that swept all before it. Copies of the STP were destroyed and the publication was vilified (Slide Toward Protestantism was one of the kinder descriptions).

The Church of God, International however continued to use the STP as a guiding document for some time, and the STP still survives in an online edition available on the Intercontinental Church of God site. The ICG version appears to be substantially the same as the original with only minor editing changes.


Twisted sister: Just a note about the "twisted sermon" post: Since EVERY "church" believes they are God's "church", the twisted thinking is that if they are struck with a disaster... Satan is attacking them, but if things go well...god is blessing his "church". When I was affiliated (I use the word loosely) with UCG, the excuse for not having more "members", or recycled "members", was because Satan was attacking us, or God's "church" was the "little flock". Now that income is growing, and more recycled sheep are coming into the fold, then it's a blessing from the god of UCG. Talk about a twisted sister from the Mother Whore "church"!

Steve Kissack

Horrible cult: I just wanted to... thank you for your work.  I grew up in that horrible cult known as the WCG.  My brother, (name provided) is still a minister for the cult and my mother still participates in the cult.  I believe my brother has grown past the belief system of the cult but is awaiting retirement from the cult.  I think his wait will be fruitless -- Do you believe there will ever be a retirement fund for ministers that are in their 50's now? 

I don't keep up with that evil organization.  I hope it is dissolved soon but I don't think the money taken from innocent victims should be used to support the hierarchy that abused people for their own gratifications.  Is there anything to be done to stop this?  Is the lawsuit rumored coming to fruition?

Thank you for being a resource to check on the well being of my family that are still faithful  to a malicious, uncaring, and ruthless cult. I appreciate your reporting greatly.

(Name supplied)

Does Paul Kroll have writers' block? Back in Feb. I read in AW [about] an article written by Michael Morrison on Sabbath requirements for Christians. I sent the following letter to Mr. Kroll on the 16th of Feb. To date, I have no answer.

Mr. Kroll, on the new article by Michael Morrison entitled," Is the Sabbath Required for Christians Today?": Since the HQ flock is being herded into Sunday services isn't this 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? 
(5) Is genuine reformation top-down or bottom-up? 
(6) Are Church Leaders Accountable only to Christ? 
(7) Should a Church suppress open debate?

Jim Grable

MD: Maybe you should send it again, and forward a copy to Michael Morrison. As a member of the National Association of Evangelicals, and wannabe members of the broader Christian community, you'd think they'd have a policy that all letters do at least get answered. Perhaps you could tag that question onto the letter as well.

12 May  T-COG SPLINTERS. Mail: Yahoo comments, talking animals, UCG's golden weather.

Knothead and Splinter: One of the smaller Armstrong splinters has just unzipped. The following letter went out last week to members of T-COG (The Church of God), a PCG split.

Dear Brethren,

Many of you will be aware that over the past few months there have been difficulties in this little group, which calls itself T-COG.

The atmosphere has not been good, and quite a number of you have contacted several of the ministers to voice your concerns. There are many e-mails and other letters on file recording your disquiet.

Several of you have stated that you will withdraw your fellowship unless matters are straightened out.

We ministers have not been unaware of the situation. There have been many phone calls between us, and many e-mails, letters and faxes.

We have been very reluctant to make a decisive action, as we have wished to avoid any further division amount the people of God. We have all experienced much pain over the past few years from all the splits and splinters in God's Church; we had no wish to add any further pain.

In our attempts to avoid such division, we have perhaps, and inadvertently, merely allowed matters to get worse. Many of you are expressing great frustration and unhappiness and, no doubt correctly, are putting the responsibility on us as ministers to give a clear lead.

This letter is to advise you that, unfortunately, the four ministers who have previously served T-COG will no longer be working together.

Many attempts to reconcile differences of doctrine, administration and responsibility have proved unfruitful.

Those of you who attended the Church's conference in San Antonio in March will have witnessed a considerable amount of difference in approach as to how T-COG should conduct itself.

For the foreseeable future, Mr. Jim Mortensen will be conducting his own separate arrangements for services. Mr. Don Roth, Mr. Gary Liebold and Mr. Jamie McNab will continue to work together to serve the brethren as best they can.

Quite a number of you are well aware of the specific problems. You will already have a a view as to which group you would wish to align yourselves. Nothing we might say in this letter would be likely to influence your choice.

For some of you, this letter will be a surprise - and make for a very unhappy reading. We can only apologize at what must seem like more bad news, when we have already experienced so much since the death of Mr. Herbert Armstrong.

We do not think it would be all that helpful to enumerate the various differences between Mr. Mortensen and the other ministers. That could appear very negative, and we do not wish to indulge in a "finger-pointing" exercise.

Suffice it to say that, hopefully, you will be able to recognize where you have been hearing God's Word expounded most faithfully, and where you believe you will be most likely to receive guidance in future in following God's ways. Jesus did say that His sheep would hear His voice and follow it, John 10:4. We all have a responsibility to review carefully what we are hearing, and strive to adhere closely to what God's Word teaches.

There is no pressure on anyone to be completely exclusive in this regard. If anyone wishes to receive material from both Mr. Mortensen and the others, that is their choice.

For those who wish to have a clear choice, however, that time has now come.

Those who wish to tune in to the Eagle telephone hook-up and hear from Mr. Roth, Mr. Liebold or Mr. McNab should dial the following number next Sabbath: 854-362-4050, Pin Number 7888# at 2PM Central

We hope we may continue to be of service to many of you in the future. Please complete the tear-off slip at the foot of this letter if you wish to continue on the mailing list for our tapes and literature.

Mr. Mortensen will advise by separate means how he wishes to maintain contact with those who would like to be part of his ministry going forward. We do not have any details at this time.

Sincerely in Christ's service,
Don Roth, Gary Liebold, Jamie McNab
Ministers of the Church of God (T-COG)

So, how did this happen? The following information has been adapted from a posting on the WCG Splinters Yahoo board, and is based, according to the person who posted the information, on a phone conversation with Don Roth.

The 2003 conference was the turning point. Mortenson had invited an outside speaker and had taken other ministers off of the speaking list. There were only 4 ministers to begin with and there was no Pastor General figure, although Mortenson was "the" elder. All decisions were made by all of the ministers prior to this conference. Conferences were held annually and all members were able to speak at them. It seems that Divorce and Remarriage was a big part of the problem. At the conference, Mortenson was asked twice about his opinion on the issue and both times he didn't give an answer acceptable to the others. McNab had given a speech about it at the 2002 conference and according to Roth, Mortenson told him he disagreed with it. Leading up to the 2003 conference, Mortenson apparently wouldn't return Roth's phone calls. It came as a huge surprise to Roth and the others that an outsider was invited and that they were taken off of the speaking list.

In a follow-up post one member responded: Woody Woodpecker's nephew and niece were named "Knothead" and "Splinter"... Should we follow the "Knotheads" or the "Splinters"?


Yahooing: Concerning the acronym for YAHOO - Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.  An oracle is defined as "A shrine consecrated to the worship and consultation of a prophetic god."  Since YAHOO is not found in Scripture, it must be of pagan origin.  We must therefore avoid using any of YAHOO's services on the Net.  Of course there are some Sacred Name groups who teach a similar pronunciation of God's Name, so you could adopt this teaching and continue using YAHOO, but in a more reverent manner.   ;-)

Tom Brooks

Pick your prefix: I enjoyed Mr. Lussenheide's idea about addressing "sinisters" as "Yahoo So-and-so".  I think it's a grand idea, and would keep things in perspective.  Maybe we should also begin referring to the COG's as "YCG" (Yahoo Church of God), or "-CY" ([pick your prefix] Church of Yahoo).  I don't think the letter Y has been used yet, so someone ought to do so. They're starting to run out of alphabet.

John B

Doctor Doolittle Dissonance? I wonder if Jim Baldwin realizes that cognitive dissonance and self-serving bias apply as much to him as they do to everyone else.

Most evangelistic atheists seem to think they are immune to the human condition.

And speaking of evangelical atheists, what's with The Painful Truth's silly alternating caption, "Fable: A story with talking animals in it; Bible: A story with talking animals." Guess whoever thought up that zinger forgot, "Evolution: A story with talking animals in it." Irony intended.

Fundamentalism, religious or otherwise, stops a thinking mind.

Ron Brendel

Twisted sermons: Gerald Flurry had better not declare the tornado that missed his campus evidence that he's got The True Church. Another spin-off group may have beaten him to it. My UCG Pastor said this weekend it was noteworthy that the tornadoes sprung up in the central U.S. at the time of the General Conference of Elders. After all, he said, the May 3, 1999 Moore, Oklahoma tornado ALSO hit at Elder Conference time. Satan "the Destroyer" obviously doesn't like what United is doing, he declared. 

And besides, he went on, there was a line of tornadic activity heading for Cincinnati -- when it suddenly split in two directions: one toward Lexington, KY (he forgot to mention that's a UCG Feast site), the other toward Louisville. "Coincidence???" he asked. 

So what happens if a hurricane hits the USA during the WCG "Summerfest?" Is God passing the Church baton back and forth, depending on who's got something going on? 

More amazed daily

Richard Burkard

11 May  YAHOOING WITH THE LADS, CAMPU$ NEW$, DISSONANCE, NEW SITE. Mail: Texas twang, the one that got away, Gerry's twister, a Hulme perspective.

The Yahooistocracy: Bill Lussenheide has been pondering the issue of titles for ministers, and made the following proposal on the Likeminds forum:

My wife and I were talking, and up came the question as to why "Yahoo Internet" uses the name "Yahoo" and how did it originate.

We discovered that the two founders of Yahoo, Mr. Filo and Mr. Yang came up with the name as an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle".

Well, we both laughed when we learned this history, and realized that such an acronym is perfect for many a COG Sect Leader!

I propose to now take this term to "popular usage" and encourage it's widespread and common usage in the COG. Please use the term "Yahoo" in place of the term "Mr." for extreme and silly COG personas! Example: "Yahoo Jones", or "Yahoo Schnickelgruber" etc.

Create a movement through the use of language!

The following quote comes from Websters: YAHOO: n, one of a race of brutes having the form of men in Jonathan Swift's Gullivers' Travels: a boorish, crass or stupid person. 

Campus sale: Dateline Pasadena passes on the latest bulletin from cult HQ.

Master Plan Application Complete

The Church reached an important step in the entitlement process for the Ambassador Campus on April 29th when it received a letter from the City of Pasadena stating that the Master Application for the entitlement of the Ambassador Campus is complete. This is an important milestone because it begins the statutory periods for conducting the environmental review process. 

The Master Application, submitted March 31, 2003 was the result of an intense planning process started in September of last year which combined the expertise of Shea Homes, Master Development Consultant, Van Tilburg, Banvard, Soderbergh, architects, EDAW, master planner and landscape architects and other land use experts. Citizens of Pasadena also participated in the process through an extensive public listening phase. The plan proposes 1431 new residences on the property combined with some incidental retail on the east campus. It maintains the significant historical buildings and gardens that have been under the church’s stewardship since 1947. The design is respectful of surrounding neighborhoods and will provide appropriate value to the church when complete. Please visit for more information.

Dissonance anyone? Cognitive dissonance is almost a denominational distinctive in the Church of God tradition (COGnitive obviously). Following on from Whistler's recent column, Jim Baldwin offers some observations of his own. Views expressed by Jim, Whistler or any of the other contributors on MD (including the webmaster) are not necessarily those of other MD writers. 

Lifting the Curtain on Herb: John England advises that he has created a new "non-theological" site dealing with Herbert W. Armstrong where issues he raised in his May 5 AW letter can continue to be addressed. You can find it at  

Linda White: The following item is adapted from JLF.

Linda Hardy White passed away early Friday morning. She suffered with ALS and had recently taken a turn for the worse. Linda did much for COG women by starting the Women's Conferences. Her funeral will be in Talihina, Oklahoma.


That Texas twang: John B, in equating the voiceprints of Gerald Waterhouse and Charles Manson, wrote that it wasn't too surprising, as they were both from Texas. Actually, Manson grew up in various areas of Appalachia, getting moved around various locations in Kentucky and especially West Virginia. But he does speak in a twang that might be more attuned to Texas than from where he came.

Francis Penkava

No regrets: Thanks for this web site. I often wondered what happened to Herbert W. and Garner Ted. I was introduced to them in the Wichita, Kansas area in about 1964. I was about 14 or 15 at the time. My best friend became a convert and blew his family out of the water. His grandma claimed that she had a heart attack because my best friend fell under the influence of the Worldwide Church of God. I loved to hear both Herbert W. and Garner Ted on the radio. My friend suggested that I subscribe to the Plain Truth, which I did. I read it from cover to cover for several years. I could have been an excellent candidate to succumb to the hypnotic rhetoric of the Church, but for some reason, I managed to avoid being drawn in. My friend lived his life as a devoted member of "the Church". I never did. Still, its existence and what it taught will always be a large part of my life experience. I lost track of my friend. 

This web site explains in fairly open terms, what I would have bought into, had I joined the Church. I am glad that I didn't, but I had no idea just how precarious my joining would have made my life. I had a weak personality and would have been easy pickings for the Church to exact its life giving tithe from me. I knew what the rules were, because my friend went by them by the letter. I just didn't feel that it was "right". It didn't feel right. I am glad to know the history of not only what the Church was about from its start (which I had never known), but what has happened to it since the late 1960s.

Act of God?  Right now, a tornado is heading for Edmond OK and Flurry's "estate". This will be interesting. Its going to be a direct hit. Wonder if it will tear up everything Flurry has made his serfs build? Be sure to report whatever you hear about it. This will go on for weeks, or days at any rate. I don't wish any harm to the members but it would be poetic justice for Flurry to lose everything he's constructed on that place.


Hulmerous comment? Under BibleStudy's inspired but not attributable "answers" to the 5 most asked questions it would seem that David Hulme's response was dropped from the list. For "the record":

David Hulme: Mr. Holladay, of course, has restated my own feelings on this, though not quite exactly... and we are still working on explaining what those differences are.

Nigel Scott-Williams


Council confers: The UCG Council of Elders has posted reports of its recent meetings in Cincinnati.

Nickels' e-zine MIA: After only four issues Richard Nickels' Church of God News seems to have run out of steam. No May issue has yet appeared.

Reality checks: WCG's "reality checks" just keep bouncing, and nobody is better at spotting them than Karen Ray. Karen's website is a valuable resource for anyone looking for just the right quote from WCG leaders and editorial material down through the decades. Church Government Reality Checks itself has just "bounced" to a new location on the web, so you'll need to update your bookmarks to

Deep things of the Spirit: Meantime, over at, they're continuing to tackle the BIG issues. No sidetracking over non-essentials like Theology, Justice, Peace or Hermeneutics. Heaven's to Betsy no! Here are the 5 big questions that BS readers want to know the answer to, as listed on the site yesterday:

Our Top 5 Most Read Answers (from
1. Is it a sin to MASTURBATE?
2. Should women wear DRESSES not Pants?
3. What does Bible say about using POT?
4. Was Jesus BLACK?
5. Do animals go to HEAVEN?

Click on the questions and you can even read the profound answers the BS team have concocted. In the spirit of trans-COG understanding we also present below a set of answers inspired by (but not attributable to) some of the COGdom's most famous sons.

Garner Ted Armstrong: No - NOT if he's an important evangelist who then REPANTS - er... REPENTS, Yes - but let me check with Shirl, No - stick to the top shelf stuff, Absolutely not, No.

Spanky Meredith: On the AUTHORITY of ALMIGHTY GOD I say to you OF COURSE IT IS!!!! Same for the second one!! Pot smokers should get STONED - and I mean that BIBLICALLY!! Jesus would be ASHAMED to be anything other than WHITE!! NO!! If you have to ASK vile, DEPRAVED questions like THIS then you're obviously NOT a truly CONVERTED member of God's Church! This is the very reason God is going to spank, and I mean SPANK our Israelite nations!

Roy Holladay: Let me just say we have a sub-committee of the Council of Elders working on some of these very questions at present. In the meantime I can confirm that, unless we feel differently, we teach what Mr. Armstrong taught at whatever time he had an opinion that coincides with what we in the Council of Elders are likely to decide.

Willie Dankenbring: There is ASTONISHING NEW TRUTH on many of these matters which God has revealed just recently to me, things NEVER BEFORE UNDERSTOOD! You will be AMAZED. 

Gerald Flurry: (hic!) 

Joey Tkach: Ah, um, please remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight. Let's encourage everyone to join together in prayer. Additional spiritual disciplines such as fasting and study draw us closer to God and strengthen us for what we must do. When more of us prepare individually, the stronger we move together collectively... Now, what was the second question again?


Identical voiceprints? You might want to ask your readers if, when they listen to the Waterhouse tapes, his voice sounds like that of another famous figure they may have heard?  A few months back I watched a TV interview with convicted killer Charles Manson, and I was astonished to realize that he sounds EXACTLY like Gerald Waterhouse!  I guess it is no surprise, since both are from Texas, but it's almost as if they grew up on the same street at the same time.  I can almost imagine that their voiceprints are identical.  If Manson were to start
spouting off about HWA and the Millennium, if you closed your eyes you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

John B

MD: I think if I was in the same room as Charles Manson I wouldn't be shutting my eyes! Mind you, with Gerry it was hard keeping them open.

07 May  WATERHOUSE AUDIO, NEW ALL2TRUE.  Mail: Herb's not-so secret agenda, Herb and Henry, Open mind, "Tom, Dick & Harry"

Something kinda special: For all those who've forgotten just how, um, unique the late Gerald Waterhouse's preaching style was - or for those unfortunate enough never to have heard the roving evangelist of the WCG in person - here's good news. You can knock yourself out on a 3 hour Bible Study given by the "Prophet of Petra" back in 1985.  Note: for best results and genuine authenticity ensure you're sitting uncomfortably on a hard, wooden chair (men should be wearing jacket and tie). Next drag out your wide margin KJV and rest it on a briefcase. Don't forget a notebook and pen, copious notes are essential. Enjoy!

Becker on ends and means: A new All2True column is online. In part, this is a book review of Moral Mazes - The World of Corporate Managers. What's that got to do with the COGs? Well, maybe quite a lot.

It does not take anyone who has lived through the Worldwide Church of God experience very long to see how applicable the expositions of Moral Mazes are to the Church Corporate.

In chapter after chapter, the horror of the amorality of the Churches of God are exposed--all without the knowledge of the author who had limited himself to the morality of the corporate world of the Fortune 200...

The external view of the corporate entity is one of positive energy: There are colorful quality publications, the people representing the entity are attractive, everything sounds and looks good, the goals seem honorable, they are full of apparent good works, what they say seems to be the truth, they have proof of their position, they are extremely persuasive and they are politically well connected.

They are a triumph of image over substance.


Herb - forget the conspiracy stuff: If I properly understand what John England is trying to accomplish, I must wish him good luck in his attempts. Based on his website and several letters to AW, one would guess that he is looking for some sort of proof that HWA was linked with the CIA or other international intelligence gathering institutions, and that this was somehow responsible for the financial success of the WCG and HWA's ability to meet with powerful people around the world, to say nothing of getting the World Tomorrow Program on England's Pirate Radio. Former members can post all manner of nasty memoirs and opinions on this and other related sites without fear of retaliation from the COG groups. But the intelligence community does wield actual power of which one must remain in awe. One could be discredited, disappear, or end up in prison for revealing classified information. If disfellowshipment is a slight cough, what the CIA could do is full blown SARS. You can bet your last dollar that if someone did have insider information, it would be an operative who went undercover in the WCG, indoctrinated in CIA protocol relevant to classified information and the penalties for divulging it. If there were a link, the only way it might become public would be through some sort of death bed revelation, instantly making it suspect or easily discredited. The very high profile receivership is almost positive proof there was no link. Either it would have been quietly quashed, or used to eliminate HWA if he were then perceived as being a disposable security risk. Also, remember, HWA taught us to be conscientious objectors to the military, and many who did this were subjected to background checks and investigations by the FBI. I, therefore, doubt that Herbie was cowboyed up in any way with the company, although it makes for interesting folklore and speculation. As far as Orlin is concerned, his site treats international conspiracy, financial crash, political corruption, and the dark side of practically everything. Like HWA, Orlin is highly intelligent and his materials very persuasive, if not terribly objective. If you read this gloom and doom regularly, you will become as depressed as you ever were as a WCG member, without the antidote of JC's return to counterbalance it all. Forget about it, live your life and be happy. You'll be better off.

Bob Evans

Herb and Henry: I suppose the argument that Herbie was a personal success has some merit - he did get what he wanted out of life - but the means by which he achieved that success were repugnant and I'm not sure I can countenance giving him credit for those achievements.  At least Henry Ford's achievements were not accomplished by stepping on the Jews, that was an "extracurricular" activity, if you will - Herbie's success was intrinsic to his amorality and directly corresponded to how much he browbeat people and how many lives he ruined.

Don't go comparing Herbie to Ford.  At least Ford contributed something useful to mankind.  We're still mopping up after Herbie.


MD: Correspondence on this subject is now closed.

Open mind on both fronts: I was searching the web (albeit a bit longer than the usual lunch break) and I stumbled upon your site, fascinating information and a great relevant view of HWA and "The Church's" teachings.

My parents "came into" the Church around 15 years ago and are now affiliated with Rod Meredith's offshoot, formerly Global Church of God, now I believe it is the Living Church of God?

Anyway, I was reading some of your older e-zines (are you still publishing them?) and noticed an article on the flood and some debunking of it as I have been studying lately...

I guess I am still seeking and trying to learn all while keeping an open mind on both fronts... very hard to say the least... thank you for your work!


Just One of the Boys: Those in "authority" at LCG believe that they, the "ministers", should not be viewed as just another "Tom, Dick, or Harry". They believe they should be given the respect that the "office" of a biblically "ordained" Tom, Dick, or Harry" holds. I've got news for you BOYS. The word "ordained minister" ain't in the Bible! It was FORCED into the King James version. There simply is no word, or group of words with this meaning. It is evident that the sporadic inclusions of "ordain" in the translation was part of one of the old rules established by King retain "old ecclesiastical words". The word is just not there in the original Hebrew or Greek languages of the Bible. There is much more that can be said on this issue, but I would be beating a dead horse. So, I guess all of you "ministers" will have to accept the fact that you are indeed just "one of the boys". 
As far as acceptable dress for services: I believe James sums it up rather well, making it clear that a "dress code" should not be enforced. James 2:2-4. The principles of cleanliness, neatness, and modesty can be taught without invoking a dress code or judging people who attend. God looks at the heart...not the clothes. There does not seem to be any biblical precedent to buy clothes for services that one would not otherwise ever wear anywhere else. Paul taught that services should not be a "style show" of impressive clothing. I Tim. 2:9. Of course, when you consider the source of where this issue has stemmed from, you will also understand why the women of the WCG splinter groups are never allowed to use their God-given talents, and restricted from the biblically-based roles that GOD has given them in worship services... 

Steve Kissack

05 May BATHTUB SCUM, WHAT RON DOES INSTEAD OF REPORTING TO THE MEMBERS.  Mail: A brusque character, Herb and Henry Ford

Herbert’s apoplectic shepherds: From a posting on JLF.

I learned something about talking to Armstrongite ministers many years back. If you ask a question they will give you an answer. At that point you must respond by not questioning any further. And, by all means, you do not want to say things like "I think you are right about that" or "I agree with that" or "That makes sense". They don't care if you agree with it or if it makes sense or if you think it is right. In their eyes you are the scum around the bathtub and do not qualify by their standards as being sentient. I used those expressions with [a named] WCG minister, and he became almost apoplectic he was so angry.

Which links nicely to the March/April Living Church News, published by the LCG. Here are some choice excerpts from an article simply called "Dress for Services".

... the Church has been affected by the same “relaxed” social trends that have affected society. In recent years, questions have arisen about what is appropriate attire for services, and how leaders should be addressed. Some suggest that dress should be more casual, and that titles should be eliminated because they indicate division...

One result—over time—of more casual dress at services can be a more casual approach to doctrine. Individuals who become comfortable ignoring biblical standards of dress may quickly find that other “comfortable” individual opinions about the Bible begin to take precedence over Church teachings from the Bible. A casual approach to dress is not unlike a casual approach to respecting the ministry... Those who view a minister as just another “Tom, Dick or Harry” are not giving the office the biblically ordained respect it deserves. Where such an irreverent attitude prevails, standards will decline, worship will suffer, and respect for accurate doctrine and zealous Christian living will also diminish...

Surprising as it may seem to many today, the Bible contains clear guidelines about dress and conduct... The Bible states that it is not appropriate for men to wear women’s clothing, or for women to dress like men (Deuteronomy 22:5). Men are not to wear their hair long, and women are not to have short hair like men (1 Corinthians 11:1–16). Godly women are to dress “with propriety and moderation [discretion]” (1 Timothy 2:9) especially—but not only—for worship services...

Paul advised the Church to “recognize [respect] those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord… and esteem them highly for their work’s sake” (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13). They were not to be viewed as just “one of the boys.” 

These scriptures indicate that God does not take a casual approach toward the subject of dress or appearance, or how we view those in positions of responsibility. God does not alter biblical standards because society decides to change. What we wear, and our attitude toward those over us, is important to God—because it reflects what is in our heart and our attitude towards His instructions... deference and respect should be shown to leaders... 

I guess all the women in LCG should immediately burn their trouser suits and grow their tresses, while all the men had better high-tail it down to the barbershop quick-smart!  And maybe here at MD we should re-think our use of the nickname "Spanky" for Presiding Evangelist Meredith, who is, after all, a very important man. From now on we'll try to remember to use a more respectful form of address. How 'bout "Mister Spanky"?

Ron Kelly not too busy for some things: A JLF reader comments on yesterday's AW item on accountability.

... it seems Ron Kelly can't find the time to tell members "in good standing" what ALL the properties were sold for, what expenses were, what is in reserves, produce a complete monthly income and expenses statement ... etc. but he can investigate every person who asks for a copy of the church's financial audit.


Quintessential WCG minister: ... regarding the "accountability in action" story, I knew Warren Wilson - he was the associate pastor of the Toledo, OH WCG congregation while I was still attending.  As I recall, he was a very brusque character, the quintessential WCG minister... I am not surprised to hear of his behavior.


Herb - a personal success: If you deal with HWA from a totally neutral perspective, HWA comes across as the ultimate yuppie whose life was lived according to the text of that famous 1980s USA bumper sticker: "He who dies with the most toys wins!" ... HWA was a wealthy man. He was stinking rich. He had everything. He was just like the people he wanted to be like that he named in his autobiography (the original version.)

Take Henry Ford the pioneer automaker, for instance: He was a disciple of Emerson who hated the Jews and who started his own publication to voice his likes and dislikes (sort of like HWA did.) These writings were then combined into a book that was published around the world in many languages called "The International Jew". Henry Ford is the ONLY American singled out for praise by Adolph Hitler in his own autobiographical book of struggle. It is
claimed that Adolph had Henry's picture in his office and Adolph awarded Henry a medal on behalf of Nazi Germany! ...

My point is that there is more to a Pope, to Adolph, to Henry and to Herbert that a one dimensional cut out. The people who throw bricks are not scholars - they are just hostile people bent on destruction.

I am trying to find someone who can contribute something about Herbert and Stanley et al and their political endeavors, to show how these guys were financially rewarded under the cover of a polemical game... HWA deflected the attention so that everyone looked at The Great Wizard of Oz instead of the little man behind the curtain who made the illusion of the wizard appear! ...

By any yuppie standard Herbert W. Armstrong was a successful man who lived to a ripe old age and enjoyed the very best that this world has to offer. Again, Herbert W. Armstrong was NOT a failure but a personal success... I know that there are people out there who know where the real story is and Orlin Grabbe hints that he has come across them in his "Memories of Pasadena", but so far I have not found them directly, only hints of them. 

John England


Absolutely Everything the Worldwide Church of God knows about Accountability: Surprise!

Jim Grable, who kindly provided the link, has his own story to tell about just how accountable the Tkach cult really is. It's called Accountability in Action! After reading it through we were forced to ask, does this church have something to hide or what!

The Joe & Tammy Show: The following item was posted on JLF.

Over two years ago Tammy and Joe Tkach gave a television interview in Canada where they were asked about the changes for women in the church after it‘s “Transformation“.

The interviewer, who had been a spokesperson at one of the women’s retreats, asked Tammy what she felt was the secret to letting go and new beginnings in Jesus for the women of the WCG:

Tammy Tkach: “ It has been difficult making these changes but I think the main attitude that most of the women have shown is one of yieldedness to God. We see now that He wants us to do something for Him besides, just as I like to say, bake cookies and clean the washrooms at church. He wants us to start praying and worship leading and getting involved in preaching the gospel. The main thing you need to do that is to be yielded to Him. To say “Okay Lord, whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it”.

Interviewer to Joe Tkach: “So positions of leadership, Joe, are now open to women within the Worldwide Church of God?”

Joe Tkach: “Yes, in fact here in Canada we even have a woman on the Board.” (chuckle)

Interviewer: “Okay, that’s a big deal for you.” (chuckle)

(Excerpt from the Canadian Evangelical TV program, 100 Huntley Street)

What if?  What if the Herbaceous One had been right? What if 1972 had been the year the brethren fled to Petra, with Christ returning in 1975 and the Wonderful World Tomorrow inaugurated?

MD is delighted to present the first ever work of original fiction on this site, a short story by Russell Miller that asks just these questions...

What if...

The Whistler dusts off TBT: Our most venerable columnist (he's now written his twentieth piece for MD) has blown the dust off a copy of Transformed by Truth and discovered Joe may have a point. The latest Whistler piece is now online.


Hurry up and wait:  That's the fitting theme for President/Pastor General Tkach's May member letter. After a rambling homily the un-elected, non-mandated leader-for-as-long-as-he-wants-to-be-leader of the WCG concludes:

I pray for you every day and thank God for the wonderful ministries of love that are springing up in our congregations around the world. Thank you for all you do in the name of Christ, and for your devotion to one another.

Like Joe we're inspired to hear about these "wonderful ministries of love", whatever they might be. Now maybe Joe can finally stop prevaricating and do his part by setting up a wonderful system of accountability. For example, restrict the term of the PG's office, call a delegated General Conference to elect church officers (including the PG and treasurer), make Bernie and Ron give a full and complete account of their financial stewardship, and quit making a mockery of his supposed belief in the “priesthood of all believers.” Anyone willing to hold their breath? What do you think Joe would say to such a request? Maybe something like this, from the beginning of his letter:

Sometimes, it seems, waiting is the hardest thing for us to do. Once we believe we know what we need, and feel we are ready for it, most of us find prolonged waiting nearly unbearable.

You really have to wonder about the sheer brazenness of a church leader who inherited his position like a twelfth-century fiefdom. Times up Joe! The church has waited too many long years already. The lame excuses have run out. When are you going to dismantle the medieval system of patronage and cultish serfdom you inherited? Or do you intend to sit on the pontifical throne till the last dollar is bled?

Noah's Flood: Are the team at UCG's Good News magazine living in the same century as the rest of us? The latest GN proclaims the literal occurrence, just a few thousand years ago, of Noah's famous worldwide flood. Writer Bill Jahns (who pastors the Johannesburg UCG in South Africa) cites an Encarta article on sedimentary rocks (maybe he thought he was writing a Junior High homework assignment), Alfred Rehwinkel's discredited 1951 book (which was mentioned in the MD creationism series) and a 1915 (!) article from a Bible encyclopedia. Having deployed the somewhat rusted "heavy artillery" Bill then asks: In light of such obvious evidence, why don’t modern geologists and scientists readily accept the validity of the Flood? 

An intelligent discussion of the flood stories, and a possible historical event that inspired them, is found in William Ryan and Walter Pitman's Noah's Flood (1998). Unlike Rehwinkel (who was a total amateur) these authors do know something about the subject. Bill could learn a lot!


Who said what? [With reference to Bob Thiel's comments on his website]: "For some reason, Ambassador Watch suggested that yesterday's quote on the COGwriter page was from LCG. As can be told by reading, it was from Giving & Sharing--a non-aligned ministry which makes various literature available. Giving & Sharing has no ties to LCG."

Sorry for not being clear about exactly where the quote originated. Obviously, as can be told by reading, it was from Giving & Sharing. My questions go unanswered though.

By the way, does LCG consider itself a 'Christian Church'?

MD: This letter is from the same writer who contributed "Baloney" in yesterday's AW. We also note Bob has a problem correctly attributing quotes. The comments were clearly part of a letter, which is not the same thing as saying "Ambassador Watch suggested."  Just goes to prove that we're all human I guess. Thanks for the clarification.

Letter policy: When MD was launched two years ago, there were only a few correspondents willing to put their names to published emails. As the site has become established, a greater openness has developed, and named letters are becoming much more common. However we still understand that some people may not be comfortable with their names appearing. A problem arises when it isn't clear whether a writer wishes to remain anonymous or not.

If an email is received which is signed at the bottom it will, if published, usually appear under that name unless there is a note attached which asks for anonymity. When signing a letter, writers have a variety of options from full name to initials, and everything in between (e.g. Bart Simpson, B. Simpson, Bart S., BS ...) If the email is unsigned at the bottom it will, if published, usually appear anonymously, unless the writer has already expressed their willingness to have their name attached. 

MD often receives mail that is "not for publication." This is always respected. Just be sure to clearly state that the content is private.

02 May  MOA ONLINE, NEW BOOK PORTRAYS LIFE IN WCG. Mail: A new export to Australia? LCG's not-so-simple gospel, Joe's moonlight ministry.

Mystery - Flurry-free: Herbert Armstrong's final book, Mystery of the Ages, is available on more than one website, and has now been added to the Plain Truth website (not the PTM site, but an independent pro-UCG one.) So why one more? The webmaster (whose identity is also something of a mystery) explains:

The text of the original 1985 hardcover edition of Herbert W. Armstrong's (HWA's) last book, called Mystery of the Ages, can now be read online in an easy to read and navigate format... Various other Web sites have copies of Mystery of the Ages online, but they don't look like the sort of places where one would want to read over 360 pages online. Often, the navigational links aren't the greatest, the print is small, or the paragraphs are not separated, words are not italicized as in the original, paragraphs are not indented or only indented by one space, etc.

If you're determined to read MOA, this is probably the place to do it, though why you'd want to we can't imagine.

On Angels Wings: The following review of On Angels Wings by Patricia Ann Laessig is adapted from a posting on Women of WCG

It is an autobiography of a woman, Patti, who was raised Catholic and in her early twenties meets Mike, a Native American. They fall in love and he asks her to marry him but because of some fears she never answers. Then Mike commits suicide (or is thought to have been murdered because of racism and made to look like a suicide). Because of Patti's questions about Mike going to hell (because he was not Catholic) she is drawn in to the WCG (through her member sister) because of their belief that Mike will some day be resurrected and she will be able to teach him God's way. Patti goes through the typical "WCG singles" life and ends up marrying a man who is less than ambitious and not very good to her. They are dirt poor and she has twins 8-1/2 months after they are married. She spends 15 years in the WCG and after her tyrant minister disfellowships her sister and treats others poorly she finally quits.

The book is about her journey through the WCG and the spiritual abuse she endured and her non conventional spiritual journey afterward.

I cried through most of the book, I don't know if it was just that good or it just hit home a little too much. I knew dozens of Patty's while I was in the WCG/PCG, I'm glad she is one that came out on the other side a better person - others were not so lucky. I felt her story was a 100% accurate portrayal of what life in the WCG was like for a women.

For more information, click on the cover graphic.



Meantime, Out West: Hi Gavin, re. MD 01 May 'After Grand Junction' - "Del Leger and his tiny congregation are now independent of the WCG." Perhaps there may be light at the end of somebody's tunnel. I wonder if Western Australia is aware of the option. 

Ralph Ford

Baloney: I saw an interesting quote in Bob Thiel's website today: "The difference between Christianity and Islam is that in Islam, you send your son to die for God [Allah]; in Christianity, however, God sent His Son to die for you. Which belief is better?"

I wonder why Bob doesn't add anything to this simple statement? According to the LCG isn't there more difference between Islam and Christianity than this?

I mean what good is God's Son giving his life on the cross if one does not keep the Sabbath or the Holy Days, and observes Christmas and Easter? How can one be saved by God's Son if one views Mr. Armstrong as a false prophet and his '18 restored truths' as a bunch of baloney?

Moonlighting for Joey: A headline in the latest "Worldwide News": Bill Guthrie: bi-vocational pastor in Opelika, Alabama.

Bi-vocational? Read the article and you find that it means Bill has two jobs. He reads meters during the week, for which he gets paid, so that he can be reap dollars for Tkach at nights and on the weekend. Unpaid, doubtless.

Jonathan Higbed


Del Leger

After Grand Junction: From a posting on the MD board discussing the upshot of the Grand Junction feast fiasco last year.

I do not know exactly what Dr. Hoeh last year said to some church members in California regarding the Grand Junction Feast... What I do know is that a few people from Canada feared to come.

Del Leger was fired for his refusal to teach and uphold the new evangelical liturgy and teachings of the WCG leaders. Ted Johnston came and taught that one was not fully 'under grace' or 'truly Christian' so long as one held to any vestiges of the Sabbath, Holy Days, or traditional WCG beliefs that he saw as 'Judaizing'. Del Leger and his tiny congregation are now independent of the WCG.

Quotable Quotes: A regular reader culled the following quotes from WCG leaders. The editorial comments are his.

Stanley Rader: "It takes money to make money" (said in court defending lavish spending by HWA's touring party)

Jack Kessler: "Mr. Armstrong's compensation, at least that which went through the payroll system, was in excess of $500,000... " (Actually $563,000! Not bad moola for the 1970s!)

Ronald Kelly: "Does anyone ever have enough money? "

Larry Salyer: "...Mr. Tkach tried to raise my salary above what I thought was reasonable and proper ... when he raised my salary... I said," I don't need that". He said "well that's what we're going to pay you". I said, "I don't need that salary, I can live on a lower level than that..."

Bernie Schnippert: (1) "The church... plans to publish his (Tkach's) salary and the salaries of the top administrators..." (That was in 1997, looks like they thought twice about that dangerous move!)

(2) "If the salaries are too high, I will recommend that they be reduced..." (Yes, but how will we know if they are too high if they are still secret?)

Armstrong's rhetoric is worthy of Nazi Germany in the 1930's.

Teddy moans and gibbers: The United Nations is not the favorite organization of many conservative Americans following the stresses of the Iraq invasion. But not many would go so far as Garner Ted Armstrong, who has seemed to become increasingly sour and bitter toward the world in general as he ages. Here's a recent clip from an item on his website:

Will we again creep back to the harlot’s bed – this time to an orgy of harlotry, pretending that the hate-filled, heathen nations of the so-called “United Nations” are our salvation? Do we believe we can aid in building a modern Babylon – continue to give away our God-given freedoms and sovereignty to a corrupt agglomeration of evil nations?

That line probably goes down well in the seedier bars of Tyler. But perhaps it would be helpful to ask whether Teddy actually means that America and Britain (on the one hand) are blessed with God-given freedoms and sovereignty, while everyone else (on the other hand) can be pigeon-holed as an "agglomeration of evil nations." A cursory reading of the text indicates that this is exactly what Teddy is implying.

Does the righteous evangelist (who should, based on a lifetime of experience, know what the word corrupt means) actually believe that Canada is evil? And is France actually evil because it took a contrary position on Iraq? Is Ireland evil? How about Egypt? Israel? Botswana? Armstrong's rhetoric is worthy of Nazi Germany in the 1930's.

If anything is "hate-filled", this dyspeptic outburst certainly is. Our suggestion: Ted should consult an eye specialist immediately to ascertain whether his myopia is terminal. 

More Quotable Quotes: Karen Ray has put together a feature on her website with the provocative title "Beware of Men."  We took a sneaky look despite the fact that there was no woman readily on hand to press the mouse buttons. The men in question are such fine paragons and pillars of rectitude as Rod Meredith, Samuele Bacchiocchi (the SDA scholar), Carl McNair (LCG), David Hulme (COG-AIC), Garner Ted Armstrong and even Ron Dart (CEM). Each name is linked to a page of quotes that Karen has concerns about. And she promises "More men will be added to this list as time permits."  Be afraid, be very afraid!

What's New?  New on the MD website for May:

Douglas Becker, who like Karen knows how to capture attention with a title, asks Who moved my rat?  

The editor's 1999 article Questions about the canon has been revised and a new section added. 


Aust's One True Church: Concerning Aust's bold claim of being the true church: I don't understand how Aust can make such a claim that the United Church of God can trace its origin to the "church" that Jesus founded in the early first century. UCG has not even been in existence as a "church" for eight years. Since it is an offshoot from the WCG, and claims that WCG was the true "church" of Jesus Christ, then they will have to explain why they didn't follow their "apostle's" whims and wishes. Also, Jesus and the apostles NEVER commanded tithing, didn't teach the Catholic concept of "ministerial ordination", and didn't use the Jewish calendar that we have today with postponements. Jesus said that a house divided against itself will not stand, and many other things that go contrary to organized corporate religion. So, what traces might Aust be referring to?

Steve Kissack

Hermeneutical manipulation: It was interesting to see that Herb likely borrowed the BA doctrine along with the others in his grab-bag cult. I also found in my research that the idea was among some of the Millerite spin-offs in the 1870s. But I cannot now cite the reference.
This was a doctrine of great interest to me back in 1992. It was the one I studied intently after the WCG changed it it to bring it into line with Protestant thinking. When I was able to prove to myself that Herb ignored certain critical scriptures, I was on the way to freedom. His research sucked. But 30 years earlier is was profound.
But on the other hand he was "right." Mr. Nield was "right" in 1902. And the present teaching is "right." The Bible is like a hand puppet. It can be made to teach nearly anything of theological interest with the right hermeneutical  manipulations. 

Jim Baldwin

email MD: email Dateline Pasadena: 


Weekly issues - COMING SOON: AW 1 - 20  AW21  AW22  AW23  AW24  AW25  AW26  AW27  AW28  AW29  AW30  AW31  AW32  AW33  Monthly issues - AW 34  AW 35  AW 36  AW 37  AW 38  AW 39  AW 40  AW 41  AW 42  AW 43  AW 44  AW 45  AW 46  AW 47  AW 48  AW 49  AW 50  AW 51  AW 52  AW 53  AW 54  AW 55  AW 56  AW 57  AW 58  AW 59  AW 60  AW 61  AW 62  AW 63  AW 64  AW 65  AW 66  AW 67

 Update 1 (Apr-Jul 2001) Update 2 (Aug-Oct 2001)  Update 3 (Nov 2001-Jan 2002)  Update 4 (Feb-Apr 2002)

Mail pages (2001-2002): 1 2 3 4 5

Back Issues: Issue 1   Issue 2   Issue 3   Issue 4  Issue 5  Issue 6  Issue 7  Issue 8  Issue 9  Issue 10   Issue 11    Issue 12  Issue 13  Issue 14  Issue 15  Issue 16  Issue 17  Issue 18  Issue 19  Issue 20