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Issue 41 - August 2003


28 August. DAYS VS. ETHICS, DART ON GTA, WHAT A RACKET!  Mail: Replies to KT, GTA's salary, Gerry's creative number stories, fundamental flaws

Ends and means: Anne Hanna has written a significant opinion piece which appeared yesterday on the JLF forum. It's called Days Don't Matter But Christian Ethics Do. We believe it deserves even wider circulation. And we especially wish that those ideologues responsible for WCG policy would read and genuinely respond in a pastoral way to views like these.

(Anne's contributions from JLF appear on MD with her permission)

Quotable: And for the record: There are NO hard feelings between Ted and me. Ronald L. Dart, in the wake of GTA's hospitalization.

Place of Safety: Who said this?

Yet there are a number of prominent splinter groups today who not only encourage this fear of the coming Great Tribulation, but use it as a tool to subjugate and cower their members. They have capitalized upon the teaching about the place of safety to make it an idol in the minds of the people! Some have become so fearful of future persecution they are willing to follow blindly those who give them a "guarantee" of safety. This was the very same orientation that crept slowly into the Radio Church of God and has continued to dominate the thinking of many today who were once part of that body. Some within the ministry are still manipulating the laity today with a heavy-handed, abusive administration. Why do the people tolerate it? They believe God's Church—the spiritual organism—is synonymous with a particular physical organization. They have been convinced by certain men that remaining a "member-in-good-standing" within a particular group guarantees their favor with God. They are taught to do whatever the ministry says without question. They are told if the ministry is wrong, God will hold the ministry—not the laity—accountable. The laity's primary obligation is to obey church government. This—they are told—is their ticket into the place of safety.

What a racket!

Somewhat surprisingly, it comes from the August member letter from Jon Brisby at the Church of God, The Eternal, founded by the late Raymond Cole, and one of the few surviving splinter groups from the mid 70s. The section the excerpt comes from is aptly titled Ministerial Predators of Human Fear.


Responses to KT: (1) K.T. said that he/she did not know much about Armstrong's life, and that it wasn't important to know about his life. I beg to differ. How he lived his life was crucial to what he preached. If his life did not reflect his teaching, then he was a hypocrite and a liar. "Do what I say, not what I do." Yes, it is very important to know how a leader lives his personal life. How do you "test those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars"? Certainly not by what they preach, but by their examples!

K.T. said, "Mr. Armstrong taught people to be better Christians". Herbert blamed all the ills that befell his organization on the lay people. We were never praying enough. We were never studying enough. We were never giving him enough money. We never did GET IT. Jesus delayed His coming because we, the lay people, were never ready.

K.T. said, "...he taught people to study and learn the bible for themselves". In actuality, once a person was caught in Herbert's snare, there was absolutely no room for disputing anything contrary to what Herbert taught. It was either his way or the highway. If anyone questioned a particular doctrine, that person was put on the black list and marked as a "dissident" or one with a "bad attitude", and was watched very carefully from then on.

K.T. said, " be a light to the world". We were NEVER allowed to associate or mingle with the "world". We always kept our distance and would shun those who were not a part of our cult. The same thing goes on to this day in the splinter groups. No wonder, because this is the way we were indoctrinated by Herbert who had to "protect" us from Satan. Actually, it kept us from believing anything contrary to what he taught us. This way, he wouldn't have to worry about losing our souls or our money that went ONLY to him!

K.T. said, "...he gave people a meaning to life." The meaning to life that he gave us was that God was using him to preach the gospel. The only reason we were "called by god" was to back him up. Pray, pay, stay, and obey Herbert W. Armstrong. For many years, every prayer that I ever prayed was filled with, "Mr. Armstrong this and Mr. Armstrong that". I can't begin to tell you how empty those prayers were!

K.T. said, "...a kingdom to look forward to". This was the dangling carrot that Herbert used to keep us in line. If we ever left his little kingdom on earth, the only thing we had left to look forward to was a "fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation". We would not get to go to the place of safety along with the righteous ones! Herbert became rich by preaching a fear religion and a works religion. His protégés today promote the same kind of religion supposing that gain is godliness. If telling the truth about Herbert, and those who continue to adulate him even after he has long been dead, can save just one unwary person from the snare of deception, then it has been very helpful to, as K.T. said. "put Mr. Armstrong down and mock him".


(2) Oh dear ~ does this person have "Naive" written all over them?

GTA income: I find if hard to believe that GTA makes only $70K a year. What other benefits does he get that don't show up as income? How about a nice housing allowance, tax-free? I suspect that he learned a lesson or two from Stanley
Rader on how to bleed resources from an organization. Didn't Stanley Rader make money every time he turned around by owning part or all of the satellite companies associated with the WCG such as jet leasing company,
advertising company, etc?

Gerry's numerology: (1) So Flurry is dredging up the old 19-year-time-cycle theory, eh? The theory was responsible for one of the most embarrassing episodes in Herbert W. Armstrong's life, but he managed to get away with it relatively unscathed.

The theory begins with the assumption that the gospel had not been preached for 100 19-year-time-cycles, or the 1900 years following the death of Christ. Supposedly, the 19-year-time-cycle has some significance in reckoning the Jewish Calendar... During the first week of January, 1934, Armstrong began his radio broadcast, and, for the first time in 1900 years, the true gospel was being preached to Israel (The United States and Britain were Israel, according to Armstrong). God allowed one 19-year-time-cycle to preach the gospel to Israel, and one more cycle to preach the gospel to the Gentile nations. Right on schedule, Armstrong began broadcasting... over Radio Luxembourg in first week of January, 1953, exactly 19 years after he made his first broadcast in the U.S. Since God only set aside two time cycles for the preaching of the Gospel, this meant that the Great Tribulation would begin 19 years later, during the first week of January, 1972, during which the church would flee to the Place of Safety, located in the desert wasteland of Petra.

January, 1972 came and went, and there was no Great Tribulation. Putting the best spin on things, Armstrong said that there were several important events in January, 1972. First and most important, Reader's Digest offered advertising space to the Worldwide Church of God. For the first time, Plain Truth ads could be placed in the then largest circulation periodical in the United States! Equally important, Herbert received a bank loan to finance the construction of the Ambassador Auditorium! Last, but not least, Herbert was able to obtain broadcast time on a large radio station in Denver and a large television station in New York City! So January 1972 was significant after all!

Gerald Flurry wants to be a Herbert W. Armstrong clone so badly that he is willing to imitate his master's biggest mistakes. He can't make a big deal about the third 19-year-time-cycle, long since past. Instead he uses it as a jumping off point to attribute significance to the end of the fourth time cycle. He says "The third 19-year time cycle of the Elijah work ended on January 16, 1991." Here he shows his obsession with Herbert W. Armstrong. For Armstrong, the 19-year-time-cycles began and ended in the first week of January. Flurry moves the date back a week or two to January 16, the anniversary of Armstrong's death, a date he believes has spiritual and prophetic significance

"If you count one more 19-year time cycle in the Elijah work, that will end on January 16, 2010. That will also mark 20 years for the work of the PCG the same amount of time that God allotted Ezekiel to do the work... Do we have only seven more years to distribute these works to the largest audience possible?" Herbert W. Armstrong could have written this. The only thing missing is the appeal for money. Whenever Herbert needed money, he made up some crisis in "the Work" or said that the end was even closer than we imagined, and that we needed to give as much money as we could spare so we wouldn't delay Christ's return. Will Flurry do the same? Is this a new fundraising scheme? Is he trying to replenish the coffers which were depleted to buy the copyrights for the so-called 19 works of Herbert Armstrong (there's that number again)? What will January 16, 2010 bring? Will Christ return? Or will banner ad space become available on the biggest porn web sites, which is significant because porn sites are the most heavily visited on the internet, and which will expose (pun intended) the Elijah work to the biggest audience yet? One thing we all can be sure of: the 19-year-time-cycle which ends in 2010 will be as profoundly unimportant as the last three.


(2) For anyone who wants to find out, the "19-year time cycle" is also known as the "Metonic cycle". Webster defines it as "a period of nineteen years, at the end of which the new moon reappears on the same day as at the beginning of the cycle". "Meton" was an Athenian to whom it is attributed to in the study of astronomy. The question arises, that for a man to try to interpret his own works with regards to this cycle, doesn't it appear to be merely subjective in nature and at best a lame attempt to boast of one's own importance and credentials in the plans of God and the great scheme of the universe? Now, the "19th Hole" is where golfers gather for conviviality,  often times boasting of their current rounds on the links. It is usually accompanied with the clink of glasses, big cigars, and wild-eyed illusions of grandeur of their skills concerning that round... stroke by stroke. The more drinks, the less the strokes and the greater the difficulty and expertise required of each shot. It now appears that another "spirited-seer" has "teed-off", attempting to lead the blind, weak and misinformed down the "fairway of 
poverty" to wind up in his "sand trap of fear"! But then, as a welcome oasis, comes the "19th watering hole" time cycle... with the drinks and dining on the tab of another... only this time using his miracle mashy niblick of a few  suggestive statements and a couple of questions that positively, absolutely no one can answer! It's getting late, the bartender just hollered, "Last don't have to go home, but you can't stay here!!" Tomorrow's another day... and the time cycle will start over and over again!!! LOL!! 

(3) Gerald Flurry wrote: "Of course, the whole world is deceived about true religious freedom. But that is what we fought for in our court case. If people would read those 19 works of Mr. Armstrong, they would know all about true religious freedom. Without those works, it's virtually impossible to teach that to people. When Christ returns, He'll direct people to read those words, and for the first time in their lives they'll understand true religious freedom."

After some reflection I believe I understand what he's saying more deeply than ever before. In fact, in 1984 I read something that said the same thing, only a little more concisely.

Big Brother said, "Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength." - George Orwell, 1984

Fundamentalism: (1) You wrote, "The word 'fundamentalist' seems to have long outgrown its Bible Belt Protestant origins." You are mistaken about the origin of the term "fundamentalist". You can find this word's history at Here you will learn that the term arose from the publication of a series of pamphlets published under the title "The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth" which can now be found online at  Please note that these pamphlets were written by various theologians, very few of them from the Bible Belt. In fact, the first essay was written by Canon Dyson Hague, M.A., Lecturer in Liturgics and Ecclesiology, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada, far from the Bible Belt.

Except for an occasional bit of confusion about geography, you're doing a great job. Thanks and keep up the good work!

Stephen Richards

(2) You are correct, Gavin. This is the 21st century. The term "fundamentalist" is today widely used to describe any ultra-conservative religious group or subgroup that defines itself in opposition to "liberalism" and modernity.

It may come as a surprise to Mr. Olar that an estimated 9 out of 10 contemporary Roman Catholic scholars support the ordination of women. The major website (operated by Roman Catholic theologians) promoting this view is the Catholic Internet Library (, which offers over 1,000 documents relevant to the ordination of women. It is essential reading for Roman Catholics and others who are genuinely interested in understanding the issue.

Keith Stump

(3) In his post, Jared Olar, paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton, writes that "something that is true on Monday can't be false on Tuesday." It is interesting that he would write this, considering that the apostolic Church kept the 7th Day Sabbath (see Acts and Heb 4:9) and was a Quartodeciman Church (see Polycrates' letter to Victor). Evidently, something true on Monday can be false on Tuesday if the Bishop of Rome says it is.

Bill Heym

27 August. PASTORAL PERKS IN PALM SPRINGS, GTA HEALTH REPORT, TED'S 70K, GERRY THE CYCLING PROPHET.  Mail: More on women's ordination, why mock Herb?

Joey tightens the noose: The following reports were received today from a source that wishes to remain anonymous.

WCG started a week-long conference in Palm Springs yesterday for U.S. and International Regional Directors. The two main topics to be discussed are: the ordination of women and the movement of all Saturday keeping congregations to Sunday. There is supposed to be a special push for the international churches to go to Sunday.

Neil Earle is starting a Sunday church in Upland CA, later this year. He was reportedly told he had to do it.  His Saturday church is seen by many as  a thorn in the side of Pasadena HQ so this may be the first step in moving the Glendora congregation to Sunday also.  This will cause further trauma for the more than 150 people that have moved to Glendora over the last few years.

Palm Springs! Very nice. Room rates while lower during the heat of the summer are still high, then you have to add on conference rooms, hospitality suites, bars, breakfast, snacks, etc.  All those meals, alcohol, golf course fees, plane tickets from around the world and miscellaneous expenses will add up to major bucks! No worries: ultimately it's those troublesome lay members who are bankrolling it.

GTA update: This report is sourced from ICG's Tom Kerry.

I'm sending this to those in the area I serve and friends I have in the work. Some may already be aware and some not, as to the condition of Mr. Armstrong and having to be put in the hospital. The following is what I understand as of of Sunday evening. He had gone into the hospital on Thursday for a breathing problem that had continued to a worsened condition. They brought him into ICU where he remains at this time.  As of this evening he is in a stable condition and already showing signs of a good recovery. The doctors say he will be fine, but may take some time. I do not have the complete analysis of his condition, but was told it was pneumonia, and infection in the membrane surrounding his lungs. I'm sure all of you have noticed in his past couple of tapes he was laboring somewhat in his sermons. I have heard some terrible "rumors" as to his health, such as being on life support, and internal bleeding. These RUMORS are NOT true...

Mrs. Armstrong is asking that everyone respect this time and not to inundate them with calls. I'm hoping that the info will be posted on the web so to keep everyone informed.

Ted's tithe-drawing power: Wouldn't you love to know how much GTA's evangelistic association rakes in each year? Wonder no longer. In the year ending December 2001 Ted pulled in $1,550,678. And how much of the moolah ended up in Ted's pockets? $70,561. 

Those figures come from Charity Navigator, which gives Ted a four star rating. GTAEA is the only COG organization we could find listed at the site. The comment from the discoverer of the CN listing: Considering they give him four stars on the Charity meter, "a guide to intelligent giving," my guess is they are morons.

Gerry recycles 19 year time cycles: The July/August PCG member magazine Royal Vision is out. These quotes from sect genius Gerald Flurry.

Of course, the whole world is deceived about true religious freedom.  But that is what we fought for in our court case.  If people would read those 19 works of Mr. Armstrong, they would know all about true religious freedom.  Without those works, it's virtually impossible to teach that to people.  When Christ returns, He'll direct people to read those words, and for the first time in their lives they'll understand true religious freedom.

The school we have founded, Imperial College, is tied directly into the return of Jesus Christ ­ which will be here in, I believe, 10 years on the outside.

The third 19-year time cycle of the Elijah work ended on January 16, 1991.  I explain this on page 149 of Malachi's Message.  Ezekiel talks about a lot of specific dates.  If you count one more 19-year time cycle in the Elijah work, that will end on January 16, 2010.  That will also mark 20 years for the work of the PCG ­ the same amount of time that God allotted Ezekiel to do the work... Do we have only seven more years to distribute these works to the largest audience possible?  Whatever the case, 2010 is the end of a 19-year time cycle, and I believe something dramatic will occur.  Will the Tribulation begin?  Will Christ return?

When 2010 comes and goes Gerry will, naturally, say: I never said that! It was never anything more than speculation. Meantime the credulous devotees in PCG will assume Prophet Gerry has delivered sparkling "new truth".


Catholic fundamentalism: As for Mr. Stump's dismissal of my remarks as "typical fundamentalist 'scholarship,'" -- if Mr. Stump thinks the Catholic doctrine forbidding women's ordination can be equated to fundamentalism, then I respectfully submit that he understands neither fundamentalism nor Catholic doctrine.  I am emphatically no longer a fundamentalist.  I gave up on fundamentalism years ago, while I was still in the WCG -- had I not given it up, I never would have been able to consider the Catholic faith's truth claims.

Jared Olar

MD: The word "fundamentalist" seems to have long outgrown its Bible Belt Protestant origins. News reports commonly speak of Islamic fundamentalists, Mormon fundamentalists and many other varieties, including Catholic fundamentalists.

Jared Olar also points out that "widows and virgins" are indeed still "consecrated" in Catholicism. They're called nuns. Point conceded!

Rescuing Paul from misogyny: I have recently followed your site and noted the debate over the public role of women in the church, and have read several letters on it and followed some of the internet links provided... What I see in the Bible is: 

(A) women teaching (Acts 18:26), albeit privately in that text, 
(B) women sharing the work of proclaiming the gospel (Phil. 4:2-3), 
(C) prophetesses, probably in the church (Acts 21:9), 
(D) Paul's instruction for women to teach (Titus 2:3), and 
(E) I even see an intriguing verse at Romans 16:7 where Paul mentions that a couple he names, Andronicus and Junias, are "outstanding among the apostles", which is noteworthy because Junias was probably a female name.

I notice that even in the letter to the Corinthians, in which Paul makes the pronouncement that is so heatedly debated, he acknowledges that women pray and prophesy, presumably publicly (I Cor. 11:5), so in that context I have to wonder if we misunderstand what he is saying only 3 chapters later at 14:34... I am sure that while there is a problem of culture that Keith and others have referred to, the problem is with us, not Paul: it is our cultural influences that keep us from seeing what he meant. Considering that he was in a church that had prophetesses, with women praying and teaching, and even a woman apostle, let's keep our minds open to the possibility that his proscription about women has somewhat of a different intent and meaning than has been put on it...

I note that Paul instructs men to "keep silent in the church" in the circumstances he outlines in verse 28, and again at verse 30. So I see that everyone has a time to keep silent. For example, if someone else is speaking, my place would be to keep silent while they are speaking, but would someone suggest that men have no place in speaking in church? I doubt it. Then why do we think that Paul's instruction in verse 34 means that women should never speak in church? ...

The issue appears to be the relationship between a husband and a wife. The Bible doesn't teach women to be submissive to men; it teaches that a woman ought to submit to her husband... I suspect that Paul's teaching in I Cor. 14 and I Tim. 2 is only about a wife's behavior towards her husband. Maybe he is telling her that when she takes part in the discussions and debates in the church she ought not to put down her husband. I can see how that view would fit the wording. What I do know is that it makes no sense, in light of the significant roles various women obviously played in the early church, to conclude that Paul expected women to keep their tongues still in public...

I realize that my comments leave some questions unanswered, but I think we cannot simply assume that Paul's statement was borne of cultural bigotry.

What's the point? I don't mean to be disrespectful or judgmental of you, but I feel I need to voice my opinion. As a former member of the Worldwide Church of God, and a current member of a splinter group, I have some questions. What is the point of your website? I don't know much about Mr. Armstrong's life, but that isn't important. He taught people to be better Christians; to study and learn the bible for yourself, to be a light in the world, to have a close relationship with God, and many other values. He gave people a meaning to life. A Kingdom to look forward to. Your website is very discouraging. I don't understand how putting Mr. Armstrong down and mocking him could be helpful to anyone. No matter how true your accusations about his personal life may be, there seems to be no logic in printing them. I would like to hear how you feel about religion now. What do you feel the meaning of life is? WCG helped members to find the truth in the bible. In reading some of your comments, and knowing your history with the church, it seems that you understand the church's former doctrines very well. Can you disprove their beliefs scripturally? Please respond to my comments and answer my questions when you get a chance, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.


MD: Where to begin? Do you really believe Armstrong taught people to be better Christians? He didn't let them study the Bible for themselves - it was to be read his way, or not at all. WCG members were too busy keeping aloof from "the world" to be a light to anybody. Rather than developing a close relationship to God, members were told to hang on to Armstrong's coat-tails. He gave people a meaning to life - but it was the wrong answer. 

Armstrong's life is important in the sense that any minister's claims (and he made some mighty big claims) need to be judged in terms of whether he "walks the walk". Why publish the fact that Armstrong had feet of clay? Because it's too easy to end up shuffling along to another false idol (Gerry or Rod perhaps) and learning nothing in the whole sad process. 


Armstrong improves: Garner Ted Armstrong's condition has reportedly improved (see yesterday's posting), and family members are said to be upbeat about his progress. What these health concerns will mean to the evangelist's speaking schedule at the upcoming FOT is anyone's guess. 

ICG members might also be wondering about what will happen when GTA does finally cark it. Who will then lead the tiny COGlet, and how long would it endure without its silver-tongued guru?

WCG - "doesn't care a lick": The following comments come from a letter to the Pasadena Star News, August 22

... to pass the blame for [Ambassador Auditorium's] destruction from the Church to "the arts community' or "others' is indicative of the scorched-earth policy the developer intends for the property.

It's all double-talk ... and to put the blame for this massive housing project on the citizens of Pasadena... is disgusting. Next, they'll claim, "The devil made me to it!'

The Church doesn't care a lick about this community. If they did, they would find a way to preserve the Ambassador Auditorium (and not blame others for its destruction) and really work with the WPRA, Save South Orange Grove and the city to build a reasonable development that we can all be proud of for years to come.

Dateline Pasadena


Ted in Intensive Care: The following information was received this morning. 

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2003 6:40 PM
Subject: Fw: Mr. Armstrong is hospitalized

I received a telephone call from Mr. Earl Timmons today. Mr. and Mrs. Timmons are close personal friends of Garner Ted and Shirley Armstrong.

Mr. Armstrong has been sick these last several days and is now in the hospital on oxygen. He has pneumonia. He is in the intensive care unit.

Mr. Armstrong's family asks for prayers for Mr. Armstrong. 

Thanking you in advance

24 August  JOE HOSES DOWN DAYS DISSENT, GREG ALBRECHT - LEGALISM EXPERT. Mail: How to justify Christian misogyny, hunter-gatherer COGs.

Let Joe explain: "I recently encouraged congregations to set aside old covenant customs," writes WCG president-for-life Joe Tkach, "in keeping with the example set by Paul, in order to better reach the gentile culture around us. I implied it would be better for us to have worship services on Sundays rather than Saturdays.

"Some people asked: “Wait a minute. Haven’t you been telling us that days don’t matter? Are you now telling us that they do?”  It’s a legitimate question, so let me explain a little further."

The Pastor General tries to do just that in his latest WN column. Is he convincing or just confusing? Perhaps more concerned, considering the strong reaction to his earlier pronouncement on the subject. 

PTM offers advice on legalism: In the spirit of that well known publication The Alcoholics Anonymous Good Wine Guide, Plain Truth Ministries is now selling ($15 plus $3.95 shipping and handling) a series of tapes by Greg Albrecht called Recovering from Legalism. Incredibly, a WN blurb announces that this is part of a new PTM thrust: "We plan to feature articles on legalism [and] comments by people who have been affected by legalism..." Heck, Greg, just send 'em here to read the AW mailbag!

What next? Perhaps Joe Tkach could record Our Commitment to Christian Accountability. Bernie and Ron could co-produce The Importance of Financial Transparency in Denominational Management. And Dennis Pelley could do a series on Compassionate Pastoring.


For another view on this issue from a Baptist chaplain (who also happens to be a woman) - "You know 'Women Can't Be Preachers!'" 

A traditional Catholic view on the role of women: Alex is right that the women stuck around at the crucifixion while His disciples fled (that is, except for the disciple whom Jesus loved, St. John.) But these pertinent facts still remain:

(1) We have no records of those women ever being selected for leadership or priestly positions in the Church -- not by Jesus, and not by any of His apostles afterwards.

(2) Jesus selected only men to be His apostles, and only those twelve men shared the institution of the New Covenant Sacrifice at the Last Supper with Him. Now, if Jesus is God Incarnate and sinless, it makes no sense to claim that in selecting only men He had merely bowed to the prejudices and temporary cultural norms of His day. After all, Jesus didn't mind publicly disregarding and overturning teachings of the Torah and plenty of other cultural norms -- so why would He bow to ancient misogynistic attitudes when He established His Church?

(3) Only men are ever described in the New Testament as being formally selected and appointed to leadership or priestly roles in the Church, and St. Paul explicitly rules out women's ordination in certain passages that Keith Stump is at pains to find reasons to dismiss.

(4) Only men are ever described in the early centuries of church history as having leadership or priestly roles in the Church. In fact, Christians criticized pagan religions and heretical splinter groups for having priestesses; and the Church was always careful to distinguish between the ordination rite of men and the ceremonies by which deaconesses and widows and virgins were consecrated.

So, when it comes to women's ordination we can follow the mere opinions of Herbert Armstrong, or we can follow the mere opinions of Keith Stump -- or we can consider the teachings of Scripture coupled with the testimony of the early Church Fathers and the constant teaching of the overwhelming majority of all Christians in all times and places. To paraphrase G. K. Chesterton, something that is true on Monday can't be false on Tuesday. Women's ordination has always been seen as an aberration in Christianity -- though occasional sects and fringe groups championed it. Not only Catholic and Orthodox Christians, but even Protestant Christians had long been unanimous in rejecting it, until comparative recently in history, when some Protestant groups apparently decided that something that was true on Monday somehow became false on Tuesday.

Jared Olar

MD: Nice try Jared, but: (1) We have no records of anyone - male or female - being selected for "priestly positions" by Jesus. The writer of Hebrews later affirms that Jesus is the High Priest, and 1 Peter speaks of all Christians being (without exception) a "holy priesthood" and a "royal priesthood".

(2) Jesus selected only Jews to be his Apostles. Does this mean all Apostles had to be Jewish forever after?

(3) See point one.

(4) Does the church still consecrate widows and virgins? If not, why not? If, as Chesterton says, what is true on Monday can't be false on Tuesday, you should be deeply concerned over this deviation from sacred tradition. Or could it be that your measure of what constitutes "truth" has dipped over into logical fallacy?

And is it really true that what is Monday's truth is true forever? If I say "Today is Monday" on Monday, it is true. But what if I say the same thing on Tuesday? And if I say "Today is Saturday" (which it is as I type this), is it also true for you, living in a time zone where it is indisputably still Friday?

We also asked Keith Stump to comment. He writes: "This is typical fundamentalist "scholarship".  The issues are not thought through to their logical conclusions.  Errors in reasoning are inevitable when one starts out with a predetermined agenda.  Also, if such persons--in the course of their "research"--would actually deign to read a few books explaining the other side of the issue, they would quickly discover that their trite arguments have long since been dealt with at length and found wanting.  But objectively examining both sides of an issue is a foreign concept in fundamentalist circles.  It's like trying to get a die-hard  premillennialist to read The Preterist Archive."

The Muscle Gap and special music: I hope [AW] readers will indulge my amateur anthropology as I plunge into the ordination-of-women controversy.

Back in the bad old days, before modern technology leveled the playing field, the position of men in society was superior to that of women. In the age of muscle-power, men were simply more productive because they are stronger. Where survival is dependent on muscle power, men are more important. In a hunter-gatherer civilization, men can catch more prey because they are stronger and faster. They are physically more suited to the role of hunter. With rocks, spears and later bows and arrows as their only weapons, they are physically more capable of killing more animals and providing more food. The same was true when societies settled down and became primitive farmers. It made more sense to send the men out into the fields because they could produce more food than women. Where brute strength is required to survive, men have an advantage. This is reflected in the ruling hierarchies of primitive societies, whether the societies of millennia ago or the backward societies of the world today.

Thankfully, the age of muscle power is long gone. Modern technology has eliminated the muscle gap. In areas where muscle power is still required, as in sports, women cannot compete with men. Pick your sport. If you put the best women's team against an average men's team, the women don't stand a chance. Take the average male tennis player at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, put him in a match against one of the Williams sisters, and she's out in straight sets. Fortunately, the need for muscle power is relegated to fewer and fewer areas in a modern society.

In my conversations with friends, I tell them that you can tell how advanced a society is by two things. First, can that society produce a jet engine? Only the most advanced industrial societies can produce something as sophisticated, something that can stand up to enormous stress, as a jet engine. A society that can produce a jet engine is one of enormous technological and industrial prowess.

The second area which show how advanced a society is is how women are treated. Are women treated with respect? Are they granted equality under the law? Do they have access to the same opportunities as men? Are they denied rights and opportunities simply because they are women? If women are on an equal footing with men, both under the law and in social situations, the society is advanced. If women are not, the society is culturally, socially and institutionally backward. Not surprisingly, the society is usually industrially and technologically backward as well, because technology is what eliminates the muscle power advantage men have over women. Instead, brain power becomes more important, and that is an area in which women probably have an advantage over us guys.

What does this have to do with the ordination of women? The Bible was written in the age of muscle power, where women were less productive and less important than the men. It was written for a society that no longer exists. To try to apply the rules in a book written for subsistence farmers to a modern society is bound to cause problems.

I remember well how the ministry of the Worldwide Church of God condemned our industrialized society. They said the ideal world, as depicted in the Bible, was one where agriculture is predominant. The reason why they pined away for an agricultural society is that it is much easier to apply Leviticus and Deuteronomy to a farmer than to someone who designs web pages for a living.

If you believe that the Bible is the word of God, you believe that it is a book for all time, and that it's instructions are as valid for today as they were when they were written. If you do not believe that the Bible is God's word, which I don't, it is easy to see where problems arise in applying its teachings in the modern world. Paul's teachings on women speaking in the church are quite clear. "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law" (I Corinthians 14:34). "But I [Paul] suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." I Timothy 2:12. I don't see much wiggle room there. If you believe the Bible is the word of men, then you can attribute Paul's position to the culture of the day and disregard his teachings on this particular subject. If you believe the Bible is the word of God, women can't be ministers, period.

Since I believe the Bible is the word of men, and primitive men at that, the whole argument about the ordination of women is irrelevant to me. The ban on female ministers is an ancient relic, and an impediment to progress. Women can certainly teach religion as well as men can, but they are prohibited from doing so because 2,000 years ago, due to the primitive conditions of the day, the society placed women in a subordinate position. In the modern world, we need not be so constrained. We no longer have to eke a living out of the ground. We have sophisticated methods by which a few people can produce enough food to feed large populations. Technology has freed us from primitive subsistence farming. We need to let it free us from primitive thinking as well.

By the way, in response to Reginald Killingley's comments about the UCG's prohibition of applause for special music, he states, "This absurd and condescending usurpation and misuse of authority is a sad reflection of the oligarchic and authoritarian mindset that these men have inherited from their previous affiliation. They may have left the WCG as an organization but, sadly, they have never really left its culture." Mr. Killingley is right, but he shouldn't be surprised. The ministers of the UCG left the WCG to preserve the culture. While they disagreed with the so-called New Covenant doctrines, they were very happy with ministerial superiority, and with a culture in which the membership paid, prayed and obeyed. The UCG is an attempt to re-create the WCG environment circa 1986, when Herbert W. Armstrong kicked the bucket, and Roderick Meredith had been discredited and was no longer the Superintendent of Ministers, as he was in the oppressive 1950's and 1960's.

One facet of the old WCG culture was the prohibition of applause for special music. Although a trivial matter to outsiders, it is very important to those who are wedded to the past. The lifting of the ban was a reform of the hated Joseph W. Tkach. There were a number of such reforms introduced by the Tkaches, trivial matters to most, but symbols of the hated doctrinal reforms. The Ross Jutsum hymns are another example. The first order of business for many a United Church of God congregation was to vote to abandon the new hymnal edited by Ross Jutsum for the old purple hymnbook.

It is instructive to go to the United Church of God web site and listen to the sermons. In style and substance, they are no different from the stuff I heard in the 1980's and early 1990's. If you want to show somebody what life was like in the Worldwide Church of God in the 1980's, you can literally go back in time by visiting a UCG service.

The decision to continue the ban on applause for special music should not be a surprise to anyone inside or outside the United Church of God. The organization was set up to preserve, protect and defend the ministry from all enemies, foreign or domestic. Applause for special music is a reminder of Joe Tkach. Mr. Armstrong didn't allow it, the UCG ministers don't like it, so therefore it must go.


MD: There is a "third way" which many non-literalist Christians affirm. This is that the Bible is not, in itself, the literal "Word of God" (a belief they will sometimes characterize as "bibliolatry") but simply points beyond itself to the greater reality which is God's Word to humankind. Subtleties were not a feature of our WCG indoctrination however! 

23 August IS THE END NEAR?   Mail: No applause for UCG policy, the stranger

A 1983 Challenge to Armstrongism: Twenty years ago Herbert W. Armstrong was still firmly enthroned in the sect he founded, the Worldwide Church of God, shaking his jowls and announcing the imminent End Times. Spanky, Gerry and the Daves (Pack and Hulme) were still drawing salaries from the bulging coffers of the church (as were Joe Senior, Mike Feazell and the future reformers - then still busily kissing Herbal butt). And in January 1983 Robert Bachelder, a United Church of Christ minister, had a few pertinent observations to make.

Bachelder wrote an article for Christian Century called Is The End Near? And, with a subject like that, he could hardly fail to mention Herb. Bachelder's article has more common sense per column inch than you'd find in a stack of Good News back issues. 

Luckily, Is The End Near? is still accessible after all these years, and the points Bachelder makes are as relevant as ever, especially to the muddled multitude of Armstrong splinters which loudly proclaim that the Last Days are here and there are only a handful of years left before Christ returns on the heels of the Four Horsemen. While the article focuses on apocalyptic predictions in general, HWA gets specifically mentioned several times. 


Pettifoggery: The UCG's COE's recent decision to continue to forbid applause for special music shows yet again that they just doesn't get it. I attended a UCG Feast site in 1996 when their policy of not allowing applause for special music (other than for children) was first publicized. At that particular site the policy was -- happily -- widely ignored. The COE looked silly -- and toothless -- for enacting and publishing a policy that was successfully flouted. But even this loss of credibility did not deter them or instill some sense into them. To this day they stubbornly persist in their pettifoggery.

When I first read their edict seven years ago I was appalled by their unwelcome interference. Why do they have to try to control members' spontaneous responses to music? I asked myself. If someone is moved to applaud, let him or her applaud! If someone who is presenting special music doesn't want applause, he or she can ask the audience not to clap. I will happily respect a specific performer's wishes. But why does the COE have to even feel it has to enunciate a policy for this? The tradition of people who have some sort of official role in religious groups having an almost irresistible urge to control other people's expression of appreciation or joy or emotion goes back a long way, but when will UCG's COE ever outgrow it? The indicators are not good...

This absurd and condescending usurpation and misuse of authority is a sad reflection of the oligarchic and authoritarian mindset that these men have inherited from their previous affiliation. They may have left the WCG as an organization but, sadly, they have never really left its culture.

Reginald Killingley

MD: This is a shortened version of a letter submitted to The Journal in response to yesterday's AW item "The Theology of Applause".

Piffling issues: I feel sad that these people [UCG's Council] are still worrying about piffling issues such as is it OK to applaud special music.

Fitly clad: CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

I dreamed I stood upon a hill, and, lo!
The godly multitudes walked to and fro
Beneath, in Sabbath garments fitly clad,
With pious mien, appropriately sad,
While all the church bells made a solemn din --
A fire-alarm to those who lived in sin.
Then saw I gazing thoughtfully below,
With tranquil face, upon that holy show
A tall, spare figure in a robe of white,
Whose eyes diffused a melancholy light.
"God keep you, stranger," I exclaimed. "You are
No doubt (your habit shows it) from afar;
And yet I entertain the hope that you,
Like these good people, are a Christian too."
He raised his eyes and with a look so stern
It made me with a thousand blushes burn
Replied -- his manner with disdain was spiced:
"What! I a Christian? No, indeed! I'm Christ."

From a text by Ambrose Bierce, 1911.


22 August WOMEN AND ORDINATION, UCG CLAPPED OUT, CEG CLONE.  Mail: Ersatz nourishment, alternate UCG slogan?

Ordaining women: Back on June 1st we published a letter from Keith Stump on the issue of women's ordination. Keith, a former Plain Truth writer, has again taken up the cudgels in a follow-up dealing in part with responses to that letter. You'll find the new letter below in today's mailbag. You can also read Keith's original letter, along with today's, together on a separate page

The Theology of Applause: The UCG's best minds have been debating a matter of profound significance: is it okay to applaud after special music.  

Standing Watch: Another COG warns the world! This time it's the Church of the Eternal God with a new World Tomorrow clone-type show called Standing Watch (same old content, super-bargain basement budget) fronted by Norbert Link.


A deity shockingly different: During the past two months, I have received numerous emails in response to my pro-ordination-of-women letter (AW, June 1). Many have taken me to task for drawing a distinction between divine mandates and the private opinions of the apostle Paul. "A truly converted and yielded Christian," declared one writer, "will regard an apostle's opinion AS a command of God, even though--from a technical standpoint--sin may not be an issue." The writer concluded, therefore, that "a church that is truly submissive to the will of God" should, based on Paul's statements, "deny pastoral roles to women." The same sentiments were echoed by many others, one of whom noted that "even though they may not all be directly provable from the Bible, Mr. Armstrong's 18 Restored Truths are backed by APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY [emphasis in the original] and therefore must be accepted as divinely inspired doctrine for today." Another writer mentioned that a prominent Pasadena evangelist once "correctly observed" that he regarded "a mere suggestion" from an apostle [i.e., Herbert Armstrong] as "an order direct from God."

The books of the Bible were adapted to the culture and level of understanding of the time--a basic principle which has seemingly eluded many (or has been deliberately ignored by those who use God merely to serve their material agendas)

These kinds of cultic sentiments speak for themselves, and require no direct rebuttal. I would suggest, however, that those who hold such views consider Paul's statements regarding celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8. Paul clearly states that he wishes that everyone could be celibate as he himself is, and that "it is good" for the unmarried and widows to remain as he (i.e., unmarried). Is this apostolic advice to be taken as "an order direct from God"? If so, which of the COGs today are actively discouraging marriage and promoting lifelong celibacy? If not, how is Paul's advice on celibacy any different from his views about a woman's role in the church (which views, as far as I can tell, are nowhere labeled as "divine commands")? In I Tim. 2:12, for example, I see no suggestion of any divine mandate, just the statement that "I [Paul] do not permit a woman to teach . . . ." The prohibition is clearly not universal. It's merely a reflection of Paul's inherent bias against women arising from the male-centered cultural milieu of the 1st Century A.D. And it's of no more consequence than his views on celibacy.

Other examples could be cited from the epistles, but the above is sufficient to make the point. The books of the Bible were adapted to the culture and level of understanding of the time--a basic principle which has seemingly eluded many (or has been deliberately ignored by those who use God merely to serve their material agendas). Paul's letters must be understood for their meaning in their own time, i.e., in their social context. In addition, we must use our intelligence and reason to discern and discard the occasional wacky opinion of an eccentric mind (e.g., Paul's celebration of celibacy; what was going on THERE?). We exercise such discernment when we read Ecclesiastes, don't we? (Note, by the way, that Paul's assertion that "it is good [to remain celibate]" flies directly in the face of God's statement in Genesis 2:18: "It is not good that man should be alone.")

This is the 21st century, not the 1st century. Were he here today, I think even Paul would understand that fact, and be appalled (no pun intended) at what organized Christianity has become--or not become. Christianity has not begun to keep pace with social and intellectual development, and in no area of life is this failure as flagrantly in evidence as in women's issues. Rather than pointing the way and urging humanity toward the right use of its resources and creativity, Christianity remains stuck in the Middle Ages. Christians' seeming inability to filter the important from the inconsequential has caused many to view Christianity as disconnected from real life. It's no wonder that increasing numbers want nothing to do with it. Christianity is mired in irrelevancies--and nowhere do we see this more than in the COGs. The essence of Christianity--love of God and love of neighbor--has become lost amid useless forms and ceremonies and prohibitions. The Christian virtues of mercy, compassion and forgiveness have been subordinated to worthless doctrines that needlessly impose heavy burdens and sap the joy from life.

The sad thing is that untold thousands are wasting their lives in churches like Living/ United/ Philadelphia/ whatever -- thinking they're "God's chosen", imagining that their rituals and observances are somehow important to God, trying to gratify spiritual hungers with ersatz nourishment, fawning before petty hierarchies, playing at scholarship and endlessly "researching" trivial points of unsound theology, immersing themselves in the silly soap-opera minutiae of COG "news", submitting to nutty edicts masquerading as "apostolic commands"--when they COULD be living a real life in the real world, a life with true meaning and purpose. Instead, they're burying their talents and frittering away their time playing at religion. How sad and how pointless!

There's a long future ahead of us on this planet (pre-millennial prophetic nonsense notwithstanding), and it's time to wake up, grow up, and start living a spiritual life that matters--and that includes rejecting the primitive notion of a woman's "subordinate place" in creation!

It's time to leave the toxic fantasy world of such churches and discover a Christianity that's more relevant and user-friendly and less spiritually confining -- Christianity as it was meant to be! There's a long future ahead of us on this planet (pre-millennial prophetic nonsense notwithstanding), and it's time to wake up, grow up, and start living a spiritual life that matters--and that includes rejecting the primitive notion of a woman's "subordinate place" in creation!

Let us all do what we can to help free the untold numbers of hapless victims who have unwittingly given up their individuality and freedom of mind to become slaves of a bastardized Christianity void of spirituality. If they only knew how many of their own ministers wrestle daily with their consciences as they continue to teach the old errors (which they secretly know or suspect are errors), all for fear of not being able to make a living in any other profession. These hirelings will shortly answer to God. And they will then discover a deity shockingly different from the petty, sexist, humanized entity they portrayed to their congregations--a deity who, among other things, recognizes neither male nor female in Christ.

Keith W. Stump

New slogan: After reading the UCG Council of Elders Report, I think they should change their corporate slogan. It should be Ignoring the Gospel, Preparing our Pensions. 


20 August LINKS UPDATED, DESPERATELY SEEKING GAD & ASHER.  Mail: Whistler, warning label, Karen Ray on Dave

New links, updated links, blogs: Keeping up with websites that appear and disappear is no easy task. The MD links page is currently being revised, and any relevant submissions or corrections are welcome. 

Lost Tribes - The Definitive Word: Inspired by the discussion following the recent MD review of Across the Sabbath River, comes this composition from the pen of Seamus, scholar-poet and renaissance man.

The Lost Tribes of Israel
The lost tribes of Israel, where have they gone,
Did they swim in Dnieper or row on the Don?
The Scythian people roamed far and wide,
Do in Britain today this people abide?
In India's land some say they did dwell,
The Sakas, White Huns as history will tell.
And was Parthia's Empire Israel in disguise?,
Replaced by Sassians, oh what a surprise.
The Maurayans, Kushansas and others as well,
Raided the land and stirred up all hell.
And on Bhopal's rock walls Hebrew speakers did scribe
Who were these people, can some name the tribe?
That Saka head gear with one point or two
Existed in China and Hallstatt ' tis true.
And in Xinjiang sands the tartan they found,
And in Scotland so modern this cloth does abound.
Some say that the French came from the Dead Sea,
The tribes of the Salli and allied Sigambri.
Some say they became the Empire of Franks,
For which all the French may ever give thanks.
And on Crimea's shore inscriptions they read
That told that Israel to this place had fled,
And written in Hebrew that was none too square,
Concrete proof the 10 tribes had really been there.
The Chakmas people of Mizoram so say
That they are a tribe of Israel today.
And so do the Pathans and others so speak
Concerning the Hebrew and also the Greek.
Some say that the Trojans were Hebrews by name,
A descent from this city many will claim.
Three French kings by name in annals installed,
Two King Dargebrots and one Charles the Bald.
And a Finn most specific did Israel claim,
Daniel Juslenius, a scholar of fame,
As a mighty forbear that settled their land,
And few paid attention to his opus so grand.
Some British contend that their race is a tribe
But very few folk to this theory subscribe.
And Gaelic is Hebrew beyond all dispute,
Just look at those consonants ye lingually astute.
And Dan left his name in river and place,
Leaving a trail that none could erase.
And Irish tradition says at Exodus time
Their forbears left Egypt in squalor and grime.
The Declaration of Arbroath from Scotland's stern shore
Has them coming from Egypt in time of yore,
And also from Scythia as you ever can read,
Who for the Scottish will earnestly plead? 
And Bertius from Sweden and others likewise
Say the Swedes are Thracian, Israel in disguise.
And Messinius as well if you read all his work
Would show that the Hebrew in the background does lurk.
Now just who is right, whom should we believe?
And many are laughing right up their sleeve.
For many it's fable, for others it's truth,
Stand up you lost tribes and stay not aloof.
Happy heresies

You can find more of Seamus' literary offerings elsewhere on this site.


Whistler appreciated: I just wanted to publicly thank Whistler for all the effort he has put into his series of articles for MD.

Ron Brendel

Health warning? Key of Dave warning label. CAUTION:  Possibly contains high degree of human excrement.  Short-term close contact may cause confusion, irrational thinking and temporary delusion.  Long-term contact still not determined.

FIRST AID:  Suggest placing all literature and tapes in the wastebasket. Turn on heel and run like the wind.

INGESTION:  Try flushing system with plenty of questions and close scrutiny of past antics.


Karen Ray's site: After reading about Dave Pack on Ambassador Watch I conducted a Google search using "Dave Pack" as the search term. Karen Ray's excellent web page on Dave Pack ( was listed second  in the search results following a website unrelated to the COG. The quotes listed by Karen from numerous individuals regarding Pack represent one of the most devastating and convincing indictments of any individual I have ever seen on the Internet. Websites exposing Pack will undoubtedly save many from coming under [his] influence... 


Why does Ted rant about Gays? GTA says "no Sodomite will ever darken the door of the true Church of God".  Another failed prophecy. None other than Dennis Luker ordained a gay guy as a deacon in the Garden Grove California Church--if we are to believe what Mr. Luker proclaimed from the pulpit in Seattle several times in the nineties. We all assume that the gay guy isn't a gay guy any more, but as a deacon he may be a distinct advantage in the Garden Grove Church: In the advent of "Gay Eye for Straight Guy" on Bravo! Television, one might come to the conclusion that a gay deacon could bring a sense of style and color which is so lacking among straight men. You other Churches of God, eat your heart out! You can't have him! And please, GTA, if the ONLY thing you can say as a minister of a Church of God is, "At least I'm not gay", spare us.

Douglas Becker (from the MD Yahoo board)

Ted's amnesia: How quickly GTA forgets that HWA had on staff a gay interior decorator for decades in Pasadena. This guy did all the faculty homes, including GTA's, he helped with the design of the campuses in Pasadena, Big Sandy and Bricket Wood and he helped design the Auditorium...

Even MerryDeath himself could not get the guy removed from employment in the church or from church membership rolls.

(from the MD Yahoo board)


Bad Apple in Big Apple? These days David Pack is known as chief honcho in his own niche-cult, the Restored COG. But the man has quite a prehistory, and M.A.M. has drawn back the curtains to give us a peek at the way things were when Big Dave was "exiled" to the Big Apple. This new article is a "must-read" for anyone interested in the dynamics of ministerial authority in the WCG.

You'll also find information about Pack and his RCG fiefdom on the MD RCG page.

New Journal out: The latest issue of The Journal has been mailed to subscribers. Included in this issue:

You've gotta love the ad section of The Journal, though a weird sense of humor always helps. This issue is no exception. 

The Journal website, should be updated in the next few days. Meantime the front page is already available online in PDF format.

PSN letters: The letters section of the Pasadena Star News has been running hot lately on the Schnippert scheme to develop the campus, and an article has also appeared in the Pasadena Weekly. Here are excerpts from the latest offering, forwarded by Dateline Pasadena.

Nobody disputes that the Ambassador Campus is a beautiful property or that the church has done a good job in maintaining the property. But whether the church has been a good neighbor in the past misses the point.  Now the church wants to sell the property to out-of-town developers to build a massive new housing project in the midst of a historic residential neighborhood.

When the deal closes, the church will take the money and leave Pasadena.  And let's not forget that the church, as a nonprofit organization, won't pay a penny in taxes on the multimillion dollar transaction, nor has it ever paid taxes in support of the city services it has utilized throughout the years.

It has been the residents alone who have borne that burden and subsidized the church's presence in our city, not the other way around.

Pasadena Star News, August 15, 2003

Another correspondent noted:

Unfortunately, as director of finance and planning for the church, Schnippert has behaved in a very ugly manner toward Pasadena citizens who are getting in the way of his plans. He has been very disrespectful of those Pasadena citizens, resorting to name calling and worse. Currently, the church is engaged in a sophisticated public-relations campaign to convince Pasadenans that the church is a "kindly, respectful neighbor' that is adhering to the city's plans. But the truth is that the church is a developer. Beginning with the even larger Legacy project, the church has aggressively pushed to build as many apartments as possible in Pasadena, burdening us with thousands of people and cars and the resultant traffic, pollution and stress on infrastructure.

Pasadena Star News, August 13, 2003

16 August ANY PRAISE WILL DO, WHISTLER.  Mail: Pack, poor spelling and hard-line Herbalists, narcissism, California's non-profit regulations, animated evangelists

Cheap praise: Kaiser Joe will take any positive spin he can get. Here's the way he introduces his latest weekly epistle.

Greg Albrecht reported that Plain Truth Ministries (PTM daily radio) has been selected as the Radio Program of the Month for August. Greg wrote:

We thank God for his mercy and grace allowing us to receive such an honor, as Oneplace is probably the premier Christian radio site on the web, with the vast majority of the major Christian programs available. The reason PTM initially chose Oneplace is that it sends people to the PTM homepage to listen to the program, and in the course of that they find out more about who PTM is—our mission and objectives.

Wow! "Radio Program of the Month for August" on Almost as good as a Nobel Peace Prize! Let's see now. Twelve months in a year, PTM has been commercially hosted on Oneplace for well over that. Must have been PTM's turn. Could it be that the boys at Oneplace sat around and played "pass the parcel" till the music stopped and Greg was left holding this prestigious "honor"? 

Quote of the Week: I am not an Episcopalian. Garner Ted Armstrong (inSodomite elected as bishop in Episcopal Church)

Whistlin' on: The Whistler has uploaded his second column since moving to his new location on the Web. Eternal Security Part 2 can be accessed from

Whistler fans may be interested in the following postscript to the latest article:

Now that I’m no longer part of Missing Dimension website and have somewhat less exposure, it’s time to reassess matters. I realize that my increased focus on Christian topics of debate (most of which the WCG had wrong), with less focus on commenting on the [shenanigans] of the WCG and its offshoots may be going off in a direction many MD readers may not want to go in. Therefore, my newly established website may not have much demand or usefulness. Maybe I’m off on a tangent (one that I feel the Holy Spirit wants me to be on) that interests few Missing Dimension readers. You be the judge. Drop me an e-mail. If I get just a few responses, or if most feel my columns don’t really fill a need, I’ll probably tone down considerably the number of articles I put together, and post maybe just a couple a year.

If you'd like to give Whistler some feedback, his email address is 


Bedsheets and sandals: Regarding Mr. Pack's comments about the sewer I am wondering if he has taken a gander at the tons of trash coming out of the printing presses represented by the churches that follow him and his once upon a time coworkers in the den of the past WCG that are now isolating followers with charismatic sorcery, and 'bedsheet and sandal' politics (i.e. we have 3 "places of safety", one Elisha King of the Armstrong Hill, a couple of dozen flaky HWA wannabes, and plenty of paper to print the leadership rags on). So where is truth in all this garbage out of the ministerial 'sewer'?

The MD Millions: LOL! Gavin, I didn't realize there was enough money in this business that it could be described as a "cottage industry"! You gettin' rich yet?

Maria Stahl

Poor Dave Pack! Imagine being in the following situation: You are a salesman, attempting to build a company. The only product you are trained to handle has not only been proven defective, but psychologically harmful as well. The scientific basis for your product has not withstood the test of time, in fact science has invalidated the premises used to support the product. Further, the previous purveyors of the product are now known to have been totally dishonest, morally bankrupt, and unethical, making things up as they went along. Despite your having written brilliant ad copy, imitating the efforts of the originators (who, by the way, fired and banished you several times), your efforts only seem to attract past users of the product who for some twisted reason, blame themselves for the product's failure to work for them. Your attempts to attract new customers are constantly being thwarted by a multitude of readily available information from those unfortunates whom your product was used to defraud in the past. What would you do? Wouldn't you just cry yourself to sleep every night? 

Biker Bob

Pots and kettles: Gavin and all: Pack has got to be kidding! A Cottage industry on COG news reporting? It is a fact that the people keeping tabs on the COG and requiring transparency and accountability from its leaders in an environment of a free press are NOT making a plug nickel from such efforts. Pack and other COG "personality religious icons", on the other hand are certainly guilty of the accusation of creating a "COG Cottage Industry".  They all certainly have a FINANCIAL compensation stake in the success of their ventures. This without any accountability about disclosing to their churches their salary compensations and other ministerial perks. In order to differentiate themselves and create paying followings to themselves, these icon leaders are the ones whose "unstated goal is to report, even promote, controversy and conflict." Looks a lot like the pot calling the kettle black! 

Bill Lussenheide

Illiterate Armstrongists: Your response to "Tony" was perfect.  I have one more bit to add.  He asked the question: " look at your life, what have you done so wonderfull ? "

The answer to that, for me, is simple.  "I learned how to spell."

It always amazes me -- the most vocal defenders of WCG are completely illiterate.

John B

Narcissism: Just a short note to include a website - How to recognize a narcissist - that may prove very helpful for us all to understand the problems caused by many who strive for power and authority in  business and in our case, the world of "Christian Leaders."

It seems, and I am not a psychologist, just an observer of people, that narcissism is a strong trait in the personalities of those that set themselves up as one man shows with exclusive power and personality behind their organizations.  It has always been amazing to me to note these traits in others who seem oblivious to them in themselves even when horrific examples of abuse and conflict surround them.  They are always defending themselves and to be honest, when I think of few select Church leader types that may have this type of personality disorder, I so often find that saying "I made a mistake" or "I am not always right" never crosses their conscious awareness, much less their lips. 

At any rate, it helped me see not only why others might be as they are, but a caution for myself along the way in life as well. Of course, all the wrong people will read the helpful information on the site..:)

Dennis Diehl

Non-profit prophets: Since last March I've sent 3 emails and 2 letters to the Attorney General of California asking whether non-profit corporations are required to file financial reports, and if they are available to the public. I have never received any answer. Do you suppose it's because I'm not a resident? You would think they'd at least have the courtesy to make some kind of reply. Maybe we could get someone in California to put the question to them?


MD: I think we'd all like the answer to that one. Anyone able to help?

Evangelists: Here is something [see animation above] that you could place before Rod Meredith, Flurry and HWA's names. 

Dateline Pasadena

14 August PACK PROTESTETH, BOOMTOWN PASADENA, BIG UCG NEWS AHEAD?  Mail: Less flock to fleece, Herbal prediction

Pack attack: Dateline Pasadena has been keeping on eye on the Pack cult. Big Dave has recently launched a tirade against an unnamed publication, presumably The Journal (although we wonder whether a sideswipe at AW is also intended). Here's what he says:

The New "Cottage Industry" of Modern "Church Reporters"

The apostasy has generated a culture of "journalists" representing Church "newspapers" written in the spirit of The National Enquirer. You may know of them. Their unstated goal is to report, even promote, controversy and conflict. They are convinced they are "shedding light" on important issues. Yet they have sunk so deep into the sewer that they have forgotten the sun once shone brightly over God's Church without their help! They print anything from anyone.

If it would sell papers, several reporters would eagerly stand at the foot of the stake interviewing people with opinions of Christ's Crucifixion. Their interviews would include Pontius Pilate, Barabbas, Caiaphas, Judas' relatives and any others they could find who might bring "interest" and "voices of authority" to the event. They would solicit impressions and comments from Christ's mother and siblings, and feel no shame! If the Crucifixion was dragging, because Christ was lingering, they would be happy to encourage others to "break His legs" or "ram Him with a spear" to add interest, excitement and more controversy. This could even trigger a whole new round of interviews and comments for additional articles.

After reporting Christ's death, they would tell themselves, and any foolish enough to listen to them, that they had served God's purpose-they had spread the "good news" of Christ's sacrifice! They had "informed" people.

Most of these reporters deeply resent Mr. Armstrong and those who represent the truth. They despise hierarchical government, which Mr. Armstrong taught, and assassinate any who practice it. However, they are too cowardly to say this themselves. They work through surrogates and proxies eager to "provide information" or be "interviewed" in pursuit of "15 minutes of fame." The formal name for their reporting style is "slander by proxy."

God help these slanderers see what they are doing and repent before it is too late! And may God help all who love the trash they spread to see what they have become addicted to!

Well, we couldn't have Dave's faithful few peering over the ghetto walls which Dave has so tirelessly erected, brick by brick, could we? You can read Dave's full article at the RCG site.

DP also has these comments to offer on "Ambassador Youth", a new Packite publication for youth.

Pack has a new emagazine up in yet another attempt to copy WCG's literature.  This one is a knock off on the YOUTH magazine that WCG produced for several years. He even brags that it is.  Can any of these splinter cult leaders EVER come up with something original? In yet another attempt to imitate Herb, his first issue cover is along a similar vein as the original issue of Human Potential.  Both magazines have a mountaineer standing on top of a mountain peak.  Human Potential was a failure just like Dave's new emagazine will be.

Building boom around Ambassador: This item from Dateline Pasadena.

On the City of Pasadena web site you will find a link for the Ambassador Project along with a link called 'Development Projects'.  If you look closely at these you will see there are 11 additional projects going on with in a 5-6 block radius of the campus.  This massive building craze going on in Pasadena has many worried abut the ability of the City to support all this new construction, housing, and shops.  With these new sites going in traffic is expected to be even more horrendous than it already is.  With 1,400 units on the Ambassador campus adding to the congestion, it is no wonder the residents in that area are upset!

UCG council meets: UCG ministers have gathered in Cincinnati for a meeting of the Council of Elders which lasts through till the 14th. Chairman Clyde Kilough seems to be expecting great things, judging from his letter to members dated August 8.

I know we’re always eager to hear the latest news from the Council or home office. Well, the biggest news item I can tell you is that the big news items will be coming out next week—stay tuned!


"Do as I say": Looks like someone has been drinking from the "spiritual" liquor cabinet again??  Better mark the bottles and change the lock 'cause more and more of these guys will be hitting it harder as the "flock" to fleece from gets smaller and smaller!

Exception? Hi Gavin -- Steve wrote: "It is a proven fact that none of Herbert W. Armstrong's 'prophecies' ever came to pass, and the members of HIS 'church' were blamed for that as well."  At the risk of derailing Steve's freight train of facts, I would point out HWA's predictions were not completely wrong. For instance, he talked about a reuniting Germany after World War II -- long before the 1990 uniting of east and west.  Exceptions to rules CAN happen.   

Richard Burkard 

13 August TEDDY THE MORAL AUTHORITY, OUT OF THE BOX.  Mail: Herb the Great, Misplaced Tribes, Totalitarianism in the WCG

Do as I say, not as I do! Guess who's been beating his gums recently on "the woman caught in the act of adultery"? None other than that pillar of rectitude, Garner Ted Armstrong. Here's a quote:

Did Christ "reach out" to this adulteress IN HER SIN? Did He invite her to become a "member of His church?" Does this passage indicate that Christ was busily "reaching out, wanting to include all groups; all life styles, in His church?" No, He told her to FORSAKE her sin - to go, and live her life FREE from adultery!

We think it's very caring of Ted to have such concern for the moral state of the Anglican communion of churches, but maybe he'd like to start with concerns a little closer to home.

Christ, Who wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger (read John 1, and Hebrews 1), said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery!" (Exodus 20:14). Adultery is SIN. John wrote, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).

While Christ died to SAVE SINNERS, He did not die to save them IN their sins, but FROM their sins! There is a vast difference!

Is Ted finally "fessing up" to his own inability to keep "his trousers buttoned" (to quote a memorable phrase in Barrett's New Believers) and nobly retiring from the religion business? Hardly. GTA fails to apply Jesus' words to himself (or even to heterosexual adultery!) Instead he seems out to score some easy points. First step - target "liberals".

Today, I am being MUZZLED by some in the media! As Christ predicted, PERSECUTION is coming! I shudder to think what will happen to God's church and His work if and when ultra liberals such as an Al Gore or Hillary Clinton become President! ... But on my own web site, and in my publications, I WILL NOT BE MUZZLED!

Step 2: point the finger. Hmm. So what actually brought on this exercise in chest beating? The recent election of an openly gay bishop to the Episcopal Church in the US. We think it's very caring of Ted to have such concern for the moral state of the Anglican communion of churches, but maybe he'd like to start with concerns a little closer to home.

The Perfect Diet: Before you buy into the latest diet fad, check out former Plain Truth editor Brian Knowles' latest Out of the Box column on the ACD site. 

Perhaps a quotation from dieting expert Garfield (the cat) would be appropriate at this point: Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. The "purrfect" diet?


The "PC" letter: (1) Your August 11 response to Tony was PRETTY good, but you forgot to mention all those failed prophecies! How could you?!

Douglas Becker

(2) It is a proven fact that Herbert W. Armstrong lived a life of luxury at the expense of his financially-suffering followers (I was one of them). It is a proven fact that he threatened us with extinction if we did not send him more and more money. We worked for more money for HIS work. We prayed for more money for HIS work. We fasted for more money for HIS work. We sacrificed for more money for HIS work. We listened to sermon after grueling sermon exhorting us to send more money for HIS work, and correcting us for never sending enough money for HIS work. It is a proven fact that Herbert W. Armstrong blamed his financial woes and personal trials on the members of HIS "church". It is a proven fact that most of Herbert W. Armstrong's writings were plagiarized. It is a proven fact that none of Herbert W. Armstrong's "prophecies" ever came to pass, and the members of HIS "church" were blamed for that as well. It is a proven fact that Herbert W. Armstrong did not practice what he preached. He married a divorcee, had his own personal doctor and nurse, and ate unclean foods occasionally...  

It is a proven fact that Herbert W. Armstrong did not preach the TRUE gospel to world leaders. Most do not even recognize his name today. It isn't even a memory now. Herbert squandered other people's hard-earned money on an extravagant jet that carried him to far-off places where he basked in the finest living accommodations, ate and DRANK at very expensive restaurants, and enjoyed the company of the rich and famous. It is a proven fact that Herbert W. Armstrong's empire has dwindled to almost nothing. "For riches certainly make themselves wings." His great wealth has gone to another. He should have read Luke 12:16-21 more carefully.  I'm sure others can add to the "pathetic crap" facts. 


(3) I agree the attributes you attribute to Herb in your response to Tony are all true and not at all flattering... with one exception: dildo aficionado. This perhaps, was his one redeeming value.  It gives off bad vibes to shaft the reputations of true god-fearing Christian dildo connoisseurs by comparing them with the likes of Herbert W. Armstrong.

Battery empowered,

Tribes - Lost & Found: (1) Concerning your review of Across the Sabbath River, here are a few other websites that discuss the B'nei Menashe tribe, also known as the Shinlung:

It's quite fascinating, and I would agree that groups like the Shinlung of Southeast Asia and the Pathans of Afghanistan have a much stronger claim to be descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes than any nation, tribe, or ethnicity that arose in northern and western Europe. The Pathans and Shinlung actually preserved traces of Jewish custom and religion -- and a living tradition of descent from Israel. In contrast, the best Anglo-Saxons who purport to be Israelites can do is hold up pathetic and embarrassing etymologies like "Saac's Sons" and "B'rith-Ish."

Jared Olar

(2) The two articles on the B'nei Menashe were very interesting, but there are lost tribes of Israel even closer to home than the B'nei Menashe. In the Appalachian Mountains of the American South, a mysterious people called the Melungeons have lived there before the arrival of the first English settlers. They were mysterious for the following reasons. They were already speaking English when the Anglo settlers started to colonize America. They claimed to be Portuguese or Turkish, not Native American. They had dark Mediterranean looks, instead of the fair Nordic ones of the newer settlers. For many years, these folks were the objects of study by researchers, and the victims of horrific racial persecution sanctioned by the laws of many Southern states. Still, other than the claims that they made for themselves, nobody knew who they were.

Recent genetic and historical research has started to peel back the veil that has covered the Melungeons for so long. The first DNA results show that most of the Melungeon test subjects are a mixture of Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, English, Scotish, Irish, Arab, Moor, and Jew. Historical research by Donald Panther-Yates and Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman has shown that many of the Melungeons were Crypto-Jews, Jews that secretly practiced Judaism while publicly professing Christianity...

One final thought. Now that I've revealed another lost tribe, are the Armstrongites and the other British-Israel zealots going to include this folks in their charts of "lost" Israelites? LOL!

Stephen Earl Dalton

Hitlerian tactics: Take careful notice as to what you are looking at in the dedicated followers of Herbert W. Armstrong and you will see a mental and spiritual captivity that outweighs any form of slavery because the believer is in denial and unwilling to give up the idol or to admit there was a problem.

The advertising man learned well how to use Hitlerian tactics in order to make mental slaves of followers to the point that now they are still willing to follow his sick mind right over the edge and they don't realize where they are! And those who manage to free themselves just get entangled in some other deadly game of no accountability - and my friend there is and will be accountability whether we believe it or not. God is not mocked.

Top down: Regarding the hierarchical form of government practiced by WCG and the offshoots--Armstrong used to say that "God's form of government is from the top down!" I maintain that that is only God's form of government when personally administered by God Himself! If it is administered by humans, it is Satan's form of government! 

HWA constantly pushed "cooperation" as God's way and "competition" as Satan's. I've come to the conclusion that he was a communist!! 

Randy Karnes

MD: LOL. Looking at the conservative political and social views of most of Herb's minions, I'm not so sure. However there is certainly something decidedly "Stalinist" about the WCG, both past and present. 

11 August TRANSPARENT JOKE.  Mail: Herbert the Great

PR offensive offends: Time for Joe Tkach to fire whoever is doing the PR over the campus sell off. They're obviously not getting the propaganda right. Here's a letter to the Pasadena Star News, posted to the MD Yahoo group by Dateline Pasadena.

Scale Back Project
Pasadena Star News
August 8, 2003

On Fri., July 25, I opened my mailbox to find a slick promotional brochure published by the Worldwide Church of God.  The Church claims that its plan to build more than 1,500 new housing units on the Ambassador College campus somehow "fulfills the promise" of so-called "smart" growth.  What a transparent joke!

Does the church really think that their high-priced public relations offensive will lull Pasadena residents into complacency about this massive housing project?

The slick brochure says absolutely nothing about new traffic that will be caused by the Ambassador project, and it fails to mention that the church wants to demolish the venerable Ambassador Auditorium.  The mailer also fails to mention that the church will have to tear down or relocate up to 30 percent of the trees on he Ambassador property in order to squeeze huge new residential density onto the site.

Worse yet, the church shamelessly quotes out of context a line from Mayor Bill Bogaard's recent state of the city address. I can imagine that the mayor doesn't appreciate the church trying to create the false impression that he supports the Ambassador project.

We aren't fooled by the church's slick PR offensive.  Residents should demand that the City Council scale back the Ambassador project to fit the scale and density of Pasadena's residential neighborhoods.

Wendy Funkhouser


Pathetic crap: MR. HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG does not deserve the crap that has been written about him in this web site, and so you should be ashamed of your pathetic personality .  For a man trying so hard trying to do what the lord would have him do and spending his whole life studying ,praying and thinking about GODS truth on every level is a GREAT MAN. look at your life, what have you done so wonderfull ? . The man is gone and may GOD remember his faithfull servantand may GOD also remember all the people who are responsible for using MR. ARMSTRONGS name to teach wrongly and remember people such as you. GROW UP !

Tony (unedited)

MD: You're absolutely right Tony. Herbert Armstrong was a truly great man, and it's so easy to forget his many formidable accomplishments. Herb the Hermes pouch owner, author of the flog log, patron of Romanian sex clinics, dildo afficionado, daughter molester, alcoholic, divorced preacher who preached against divorce, the man who forbade vaccinations and cancer treatment but prolonged his own life with the latest medical technology, who blamed church members for his wife's death (he likened them to fecal material), took up to 30% of his followers' money, misused funds meant for "widows and orphans"...  Yes, as you say, a great man... a spiritual giant who towers above us all. Congratulations on your clear insight regarding this matter.


Meet Manasseh: Okay brethren, time for a pop quiz, multiple choice! Where would you be most likely to bump into a modern descendant of

 the Lost Tribe of Manasseh?

1. Minnesota, USA

2. Manchester, UK

3. Mizoram, India

4. Mars (they got picked up by these little green guys in flying saucers)

The right answer is... well, let's re-phrase that. The most likely answer appears to be: number 3, Mizoram. That's if latter-day Israeli tribe hunter Hillel Halkin has it right. And even if he doesn't, he's probably made the most convincing case yet. Plus, he's not only more thorough (he has conducted extensive field work tracking down people and information in Mizoram) but a darn site more entertaining than either J. H. Allen or Steve Collins. 

The latest MD Southern Exposure column has a review of his recent book, Across the Sabbath River, in which he lays out the evidence. But if you're only going to be swayed by King James Bible verses stuck together with duct tape, you're going to be disappointed. No dry collection of dissected proof texts by an obsessive crank, this is a real slice of ethnography. That it's also highly readable is testimony to Halkin's journalistic gifts.

Now, who's gonna be first to tell Spanky, Willie, Gerry, Teddy, Roy and the Two Daves?

Across The Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel

Read the MD review

Read: Found: A Lost Tribe (review from The Jewish Week. Takes a few moments to load)

Check reviews and details at Amazon


Shea homes - was Mat right? Yesterday we carried a statement by WCG spokesman Mat Morgan that Shea Homes was "a different company from Shea Properties." Here's a comment by JLF's Anne in response:

Shea Homes and Shea Properties are actually part of the J. F. Shea Co., Inc. family of companies. They are closely related as being part of the same privately owned company. They are just different facets of the family business. The church may have no affiliation with Shea Properties, but Shea Homes certainly does. These people hired by the union workers did not simply lose their way and ended up at the wrong location.

Has anything really changed?: Also from Anne's pen is this list of characteristics WCG expects from the compliant, non-questioning sheep. Anne writes:

Consider how the ministers and members of the WCG were conditioned for decades under Armstrong’s system. Rewards for loyally following the PG’s wishes and punishments for questioning/resisting. All couched in Christian sounding language of love and concern for the best interests of the individual and the Work (Gospel).

Here is my sample list of some of that conditioning:

"All of this conditioning does exactly what the WCG conditioning was meant to do. Namely, protect and insulate the power and position of the Pastor General by divorcing us from our individual responsibility to hold him accountable."  Anne

1.  To always believe the Pastor General (PG)/ministers;
2.  To always give the PG’s opinion/explanation more weight than anyone else;
3.  To believe that God would control/lead the PG/ministers to correct any mistakes/or make the mistakes work out;
4.  To not get involved/question if the PG/ministers were taking “corrective” (punitive) action against a member;
5.  To believe that if things were going wrong in a member’s life it was because of God punishing us for our sins;
6.  To be able to dismiss any evidence that conflicts with WCG official explanations;
7.  To believe that ex-members have fallen from the truth and should not be taken seriously;
8.  To believe that if any one disagrees with the PG/minister it is because the individual is in a bad attitude;
9.  Ministers are to believe that what the PG dictates is true and to keep contrary doubts to themselves;
10. Ministers are to lead and members are to follow regardless of doubts concerning direction/process.
11. Serve and give but do not ask awkward questions;
12. To believe that the WCG is always getting better and better.

Anne continues: "IMO the current administration of the WCG is still reinforcing most of these ideas and will continue to do so until the Pastor General is made to be effectively accountable to the membership.

"All of this conditioning does exactly what the WCG conditioning was meant to do. Namely, protect and insulate the power and position of the Pastor General by divorcing us from our individual responsibility to hold him accountable."

08 August CAMPUS NEWS, MORE OR LESS.  Mail: Thinking, Saturday

Ambassador - more sales: An item released by WCG's Mat Morgan:

Sale of two out parcels complete - The sale of two peripheral parcels of land concluded Thursday, July 31.  The first is the property south of Delmar Blvd.  which includes  the tennis courts and the adjacent former classroom building . The second is a portion of the parking lot east of the former transportation facility on Dayton Street . Thank you to all of you who helped prepare this property for sale. 

Banners near church property - Some of you may have seen people standing on the sidewalk near church property holding banners that say "Shame on Shea Properties."   A local carpenters union who has a disagreement with Shea Properties has hired these individuals to stand and hold the banners. It is important to note that the church has no affiliation with Shea Properties. The church has hired Shea Homes, which is a different company from Shea Properties,  to serve as the Master Development Consultant for the Ambassador Campus.  The church and Shea Homes are taking steps to insure that the union is acting within it legal rights. Please call the Legal Office if those holding the banners enter church property or impede access to the property. Thank you.

Dateline Pasadena

DP recommends: A new book recommendation from MD's Dateline Pasadena correspondent.

More Jesus, Less Religion: Moving from Rules to Relationships, by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton (authors of Toxic Faith). Some quotes:

"...many times people never stop to think about whether their church builds them up or tears them down, whether it frees them to enjoy a loving relationship with God through Jesus or whether it's hampering and destroying that relationship."

"The most opposition Jesus encountered was not from sinners caught in horrible sins, but from the religious leaders who saw him as a threat to their power, position, and authority.  Jesus tended to devalue human systems and rituals because they induced people to lose their first love.  Men and women captive to such toxic systems focused on their own power, rather than on the power  of God."

"Unhealthy faith communities often teach an impersonal faith, members are mere drones in the collective, not individuals loved and cherished by God. The entire belief system is based on the absence of personal convictions and the acceptance of someone else's definition of faith."

"The followers of a toxic faith leader who is not subject to accountability tend to avoid accountability also.  They become little generals in a toxic army that, they claim, no one outside the organization understands.  This stance cuts off all who would question their beliefs and practices and arms them with the right to do as they please.  These little generals follow orders from their leaders, believing they are on a mission from God, and refuse to listen to any input from others.  Such a lack of accountability makes it difficult for members to turn away from the organization and back to a true faith in God. The result?  Most continue on the unhealthy system and many eventually lose all belief in God."


Doing your own thinking: Robert Ingersoll once said "The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave." Ingersoll's observation reminded me of the sad condition of so many within the COGs who allow their view of God and of the bible to be warped and distorted by their sick and hostile leaders. How tragic.

I [also] thought this comment by Richard Nichols highlights the hypocrisy of HWA and GTA who beat their followers over the head with the Sabbath commandment.

"Garner Ted Armstrong hunted on the Sabbath, and at one time even commandeered the Church pilot to fly him in to hunt on the Sabbath. According to Royer, both Garner Ted and Herbert Armstrong broke the Sabbath for years. HWA watched the Lakers play basketball on the Sabbath. Workers for the "House for God" auditorium in Pasadena worked on the Sabbath. When the workers were behind schedule, Herbert Armstrong commissioned Sabbath overtime work at overtime pay, in order to have the building finished in time. When I worked in Big Sandy in 1972, construction workers were laboring as we entered the building for Sabbath services. When I questioned the ministers about this practice, they said that the Church had a contract with the construction company, and the Church could not dictate their working hours..."


Saturday stuff: Hi. Have been reading your postings for sometime. I am an ex Worldwider from NZ. One thing I find of interest is that the bible nowhere says anything about Saturday. So how come the Sabbath is called Saturday? Which calendar did the Romans use or the other nations of Old Testament times? The calendar we have is pretty recent. I am still trying to get all this out of my system even though I haven't been to a church service for 6 years.

Andy Milne

05 August DWIGHT-FREE HYMNAL, APOSTOLIC EXHORTATIONS, 1963 WCG INVESTIGATION.  Mail: Freedom from religion, Minneapolis vote, Another "True" COG, second fiddle, iron fisted hierarchies.

New COG hymn book: Ronald Dart's CEM has produced a new COG hymnal. A preview of the contents can be found at If you're keen enough to want a copy there's an order form on the site. There are around 50 new songs that didn't appear in CEM's earlier hymnal. Interestingly, all the Dwight Armstrong and Ross Jutsum items were dropped this time around. Does this make it the most "Protestant" COG hymnal yet?

Classic Herbal quotes: Ed Mentell's Painful Truth site has recently posted a series of short articles by a guy who goes under the moniker "Grizzly".  Griz has located some especially choice quotes from Herb, circa 1980, based on audio tapes of "Bible Studies" in the auditorium. These quotes come from one article.

Now, I have whole shelves over there of Bible commentaries, and a Bible Dictionary ... but they don't help me much. Now they were written by very learned, scholarly men [begins shouting and pounding his fist on the Bible]. But they DID NOT have God's Holy Spirit, and they DID NOT comprehend what's in this book!!! They just DIDN'T!!! God has given me more knowledge than ALL OF THEM PUT TOGETHER!!! Their Bible knowledge is VIRTUALLY USELESS!!!

Now I'm bringing out in my new book, something that has been hidden for centuries, something that NO ONE has ever gotten before ... how the lineage of one man, Noah, remained racially pure through his generations. God destroyed Man by the Flood because of INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE!!! Adam and Eve WERE CREATED WHITE!!! Now interracial marriage ... supposing that you are a stock breeder, entering your prize animals in a State Fair or Stock Show ... you will only enter PUREBLOOD or PEDIGREE livestock, not any with a mixture of breeds! But interracial marriage is doing JUST THAT!!!

Our work should have been finished in 1972, but God held back time because you people were NOT spiritually ready. If God holds up time anymore, which I tell you he will NOT do this time, THINGS WILL MOVE FAST!!! And Russia will frighten the nations of Europe into a ten-nation combine that will DESTROY THIS NATION!!! We're just THAT CLOSE!!!


1963 - Ambassador Apartheid: Dateline Pasadena reports on an interesting excerpt from a 1970s book on the WCG.

It seems that WCG/Ambassador College was investigated as far back as 1963 by the City of Pasadena Attorney's office. Here's the section (from Armstrongism: The "Worldwide Church God" Examined in the Searching Light of Scripture, Sumner, 1974.)

"Incidentally, regarding the Anglo-Israel theory, none other than Garner Ted Armstrong, being interviewed by the Rev. Lester Kinsolving, a syndicated religious writer for the public press, when queried about it, smiled and replied: "It's a likelihood (British Israelism), but it can't be proved. It's an interesting aside.  We certainly don't regard this as a required belief, if that's what you're getting at."  When Kinsolving pointed out that in 1963 during an investigation of Ambassador College by the Pasadena City Attorney, it was learned that the school's constitution and by-laws, adopted in 1951, restricted the student body "to the race of Israel, whom we believe now to be the white, English speaking Anglo-Saxon and Celtic people, and the democratic peoples of Northwestern Europe, in addition to the Jews descended from the Kingdom of Judah", he said Armstrong appeared surprised and hurriedly said: "That must have been while I was in the Navy. It's been altered dramatically. We have no such restrictions."

Anyone with any information on the '63 investigation?


The Tribe of freedom lovers: Congratulations to M.A.M. He gave up religion and found peace of mind. How well I identify with that. I've now been religion-free for ten years and bask in my freedom.
If only the Winnipeg congregation and all those still in the grips of toxic religion could do the same. It's interesting to note that so many are unable to pursue freedom and continually subject themselves to hard taskmasters like the WCG rulers.
If only the tribe of freedom lovers might increase. 

Jim Baldwin

The Minneapolis way: Let me relate to you my experience with the Saturday / Sunday vote situation.  I attend the WCG Minneapolis MN congregation.  We were told that we could vote for which day that we wanted to worship on.  It was explained that which day we wanted was entirely our decision, and that it need not be for theological purposes, but but instead for practical purposes. Saturday won the election.  The sense of the congregation was that Saturday was chosen for practical reasons, which there are a few.  It is extremely rare for someone in our congregation to use the term Sabbath service.  Saturday service (or just service)  is used instead.  I do not know of anyone in the congregation who at the time of the vote felt they wanted to observe the Sabbath.  I never experienced any push for Sunday worship.  The entire process was uneventful.

Lyle Lange

A little inventory: Let's do a little inventory here.  First, let's call a fast to see where God is leading "His Church". Second, Raymond McNair leaves the cult ... ooops ... group. Third, "Spanky" steps forward and assures the "chosen crew" he is God's man.  Maybe the hardest instrument to play in the orchestra is "second fiddle"?  Especially when the guy in the first seat can hardly play the radio!  The only thing more unbelievable than his assertion is the fact that someone would actually believe it!!  So does this make him an "Apostle" by default as well?  Either that or "King"?  It's a hard job, but somebody has to do it!!

Spawned in hell: I find Roderick Meredith's continued preaching of the hierarchical Government of God doctrine to be quite tragic.  Perhaps more than any other individual Roderick Meredith is responsible for infecting the WCG with this doctrine of absolute power spawned in hell.  One would think that the spectacular failure of WCG and the lack of substantial growth in its geriatric offshoots would lead Bob Thiel and other members of the COGs to question the biblical basis for a leadership style and a governmental structure that produces such destructive fruit.  Those of us still within the COGs have little excuse not to vigorously oppose such a false doctrine for Jesus Christ clearly commanded his disciples to reject a hierarchical church structure and an iron-fisted leadership style (Matthew 20:25-27). 



Unaccountable Power: At the risk of being perceived as a JLF Condensed Edition, here's another fascinating item from a former WCG elder which was posted to that board by Anne. It has been edited for length.

In the totalitarian structure of the WCG the office of the Pastor General has absolute unaccountable power. This flaw has even been repeatedly acknowledged by the present Pastor General who is now head of Armstrong’s structure. He has also repeatedly promised to change the By-laws to make the PG accountable to the Board. Dr. Tkach’s self proclaimed deadline for making those changes was 1998. They have yet to be made.

Until they are made the PG remains as the absolute center of control in the WCG. The office is insulated from reality/accountability by a board that he appoints and thereby controls. This authoritarian structure as pointed out in Toxic Faith is especially dangerous under those conditions:

“The leader will set up a toxic-faith system that allows for free reign and no accountability. There may be a board of directors, elders, or deacons, but when the authoritarian ruler picks them, he or she picks people who are easily manipulated and easily fooled. What appears to be a board of accountability is in fact a rubber-stamp group that gives credibility to the leader’s moves. These board members then become co-conspirators of the persecutor and permit the toxic leader to persecute without interruption. Then when a practice is called into question, such as an extremely high salary, the persecuting dictator justifies it by saying the board made the decision or approved it. The illusion of accountability becomes more dangerous than those organizations that blatantly disregard accountability.” Toxic Faith, pgs. 141-142

A healthy society such as a church organization or family allows for freedom of expression. It is when members of a society cannot express themselves without fear of repercussions that problems arise. 

What I am referring to is the toxic atmosphere that comes from a deliberate effort by the powerful to force the powerless into submission. Voltaire expressed this beautifully when he said, “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.”

In the WCG this phrase could be aptly applied as “It is dangerous to be right when the Pastor General is wrong.” As an example if the Pastor General feels that women should be ordained as pastors he will set up a process to examine the question. (Please note that I am not trying to raise women pastors, or any other subject as an issue but rather as an example of an apparently flawed process.) The process will appear fair and unbiased but in actuality it will be tainted and flawed by the obvious conflict of interest that comes from the fact that those in charge of making the decision are appointed and rewarded if not directly paid by the Pastor General.

Example here is the process outlined in the Feb. 2003 WN on how this decision is supposedly to be made:

"The following is a preliminary timeline only: *Request general input: January-May 2003. *Review prominent published materials: January-May 2003. *Review requested input: May-September 2003. *Draft preliminary statement and supporting documents: October 2003-January 2004. *Request general input on preliminary statement: February-March 2004. *Redraft preliminary statement: April-May 2004. *Church pastor review of redraft: June 2004. *Second redraft: July 2004. *Request general input on second redraft: August-September 2004. *Prepare tentative final statement: October-November 2004. *Ratify final statement with district superintendents and regional directors: December-January 2005 *Publish statement with supporting documents in Worldwide News: February 2005. (Source Feb. 2003 WN)"

On the surface this looks more than fair. But it has been pointed out to me that if you look at the official list of US pastors you will already find several women listed. How is this possible if the WCG hasn’t decided to ordain women? 

In his July 2003 sermon in Edmonton Dr. Tkach gave an account of a meeting that he and other leaders of the WCG including his wife Tammy had with a congregation that was looking at joining the WCG. In the account Dr. Tkach made a couple of joking remarks about how if he could have reached Tammy, he would have kicked her under the table for raising two questions. One was on tongues and the other was how this other group would feel about women preaching (pastors?).

Joe was thankful that the congregation had no problem with women preachers. Therefore, we have several strong indications that the outcome is already a given on a question that the membership have been led to believe is still in the initial stages of a decision process.

This of course raises another issue that has long been cited as a flaw in Dr. Tkach’s leadership style. Namely, he hides from issues that he knows would be important to others. Some might even call it a deliberate misrepresentation but thankfully in this case Tammy had the courage and faith to raise the issue so that this incoming congregation wouldn’t be blindsided.

The problem comes when [Tkach] promotes something you don’t like. Under the WCG system you will be denied any form of meaningful voice, labeled, stereotyped, excluded and eventually compelled to leave your church home and friends of many decades. It won’t matter if you are in the majority or the minority you will be demeaned and discounted just as the traditionalists are today.

Yet it begs the question what other issues are yet to come out of the closet? After all the Pastor General appears to have known that these issues might have scuttled the joining of this congregation but chose not to raise them.

How can we be sure he is dealing forthrightly given the history of such remarks like he made to the EMNR in 1998 that he wasn’t telling the members of the WCG everything because “you don’t feed a baby a porterhouse steak.” Therefore if a man hides things from others what assurance do you have that he isn’t hiding something that would upset you.

If you like what the PG was doing under Armstrong you were safe, secure and happy. If you like what the PG is doing under Tkach you are safe, secure and happy. The problem comes when the PG promotes something you don’t like. 

Under the WCG system you will be denied any form of meaningful voice, labeled, stereotyped, excluded and eventually compelled to leave your church home and friends of many decades. It won’t matter if you are in the majority or the minority you will be demeaned and discounted just as the traditionalists are today.

The point of democracy and accountability is not guaranteed good results. The point is the preservation of human dignity by knowing that the individual will at least be able to be heard. The point is that rulers cannot do just as they please but are to be held accountable for their decisions and actions by those who are impacted by them. This is why Voltaire said, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Or as Jesus would say, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

So you see the issue isn’t about days at all, its about people and their love of Christ-given freedom.

I'm the Boss! Lest anyone forget who's The Big Cheese, Roderick C. Meredith expounds on "Church Government" in the LCG newspaper, Living Church News.

People began to be utterly confused about the right form of Church government [MD translation: people began to think for themselves] ... People were cleverly turned against this fundamental truth that Mr. Armstrong had restored to the Church—the hierarchical form of Church government... Often, confused ministers would use catchphrases like “one-man government” to disorient people and turn them against the very government of God, which is described consistently throughout the entire Bible! ...

King David ... will not be “elected” but rather appointed directly by Christ... Under King David, according to your Bible, will be the Twelve Apostles who have been appointed by Christ to rule over the individual tribes of Israel... So why would any converted Christian think that Christ would want us today to observe a totally different form of Church government? Why would a converted Christian look to a government led by all kinds of committees, where voting or “balloting” is constantly practiced and the individuals involved do not really trust Christ [MD translation: as mediated through Rod] to lead His Church in the way He did in ancient Israel, and in Apostolic times—and that He will in tomorrow’s world? Sadly, many Church of God groups have totally forsaken the teaching that God gave through His servant Mr. Armstrong for decades, regarding the form of government that they will need to teach and practice in tomorrow’s world! Let me state, in deep love and concern, that it is vitally important that all of God’s people learn to awaken from this ignorance and begin to practice the exact form of government that they are supposed to teach in a few years, in the first resurrection! ...

With all of the nitpicking [MD translation: perceptive], snide [MD translation: pertinent] comments and arguments being put forth against God’s form of government, I feel it is necessary for us to review these basic scriptures from time to time, so that we can understand the plain Truth! We must not ever be ashamed because we do not have a kind of “democracy” as the world has. Rather, we in the true Church must realize that—contrary to the expectations of most people—democracy is not going to solve the world’s problems! In fact, over the next several years, we will probably see more and more trouble resulting from democracy! More and more nations will gradually turn away from democracy and adopt a hierarchical form of government...

You tell 'em Rod. Bring back fascism! But maybe sometime God's current "servant" could explain exactly how the mantle of "God's government" fell on his shoulders specifically, in that "Mr. Armstrong" never appointed him to that role. Why Rod and not Joe Sr.? Or Gerry? Or Dave Pack? Did the angel Moroni drop by for coffee one afternoon and tell Rod he'd got the divine nod? 

However, credit where it's due. The same issue of LCN also carries what appears to be a comprehensive audit report (11 pages) detailing the LCG's financial situation for the past year (Rodger Bardo even writes positively about the concept of financial accountability to members in his cover article!) In doing so the Meredith church has shown a greater commitment to accountability than the Worldwide Church of God, which not only refuses to publish such information in the Worldwide News, but throws up barriers to prevent members from even requesting a copy in the mail. How weird is that? We congratulate LCG on making the audit available. Maybe somebody could pass along a copy to Ron Kelly to show him how it's done.


Winnipeg stirs memories of Queens, NY: Here's another point of view regarding the Winnipeg controversy, if you can stand it.

In my WCG congregation (Manhattan, the heart of New York City) our pastor was less than enthusiastic about the so-called New Covenant. For example, when Joe Jr.'s book Transformed by Truth was published, the pastor's endorsement was a less than enthusiastic "it was a good read." If word of that had gotten back to Tkach, the pastor would have been among the homeless we used to feed after services.

I was an enthusiastic supporter of the "New Covenant," and was frustrated by the slow pace of change in our congregation. I wrote a lengthy letter to the pastor complaining of the stagnation in our congregation, and I especially objected to the fact that he still quoted the now discredited "Mr. Armstrong's" admonition "don't believe me, believe the Bible!" He said he understood my feelings but he wasn't going to change a thing, and that I had better not be so judgmental about "Mr. Armstrong" or my eternal life would be at risk.

After that meeting, I knew my days in the WCG were numbered. The final straw came when the very popular pastor of the Queens, NY congregation, and a former Manhattan pastor, was fired by Tkach & Co. Shortly before the firing, an article ran in the Worldwide News which said that there were seven congregations in the United States where the regular attendance was 200 or more. The Queens congregation was one of the seven because the pastor was very progressive, and he had a pleasant, friendly style that was quite a contrast to the usual stand-offish manner of the typical Ambassador College trained drill sergeant. For example, he wouldn't be offended by someone calling him by his first name. Another pastor would demand an apology and then preach a sermon about how important it was to show the proper respect to the ministry.

When the Queens pastor was fired, I called one of the local ministers and said I wouldn't be returning. Many others did the same, and the number of congregations with a regular attendance of 200 or more dropped from seven to six. In my years of WCG membership, nothing caused more upheaval in the New York City area than this firing, not even the doctrinal changes of early 1995.

I'll never forget the first Saturday that I did not attend a church service. It actually felt great! I didn't know what to do with all the free time! No more of the aggravations of attending a church where the pastor really didn't care about the membership.

I know exactly how the gentleman from Winnipeg feels. I saw the hurt when a beloved pastor was fired, and I felt the hurt myself. The feelings of the members were completely disregarded. Only what was good for the corporate entity known as the Worldwide Church of God mattered to Tkach & Co. All of the other area ministers were trying to cling to an Armstrongistic church model, yet the only minister fired was the one who was trying to implement the directives of church headquarters! Tkach & Co. showed their total ineptitude, and convinced me that positive change in the WCG was hopeless. I turned my back on the WCG, never to return.

Although I attended another denomination briefly, I soon stopped attending church services of any kind, and haven't done so in four or five years. Quite frankly, I don't miss it. Regular church attendance is a source of numerous irritations. After the WCG, I don't want to waste any more time on meaningless doctrinal squabbles, and I'm tired of the constant demands made by minister and member alike. Looking back, I have no doubt that my life would have been much better if I had never gone to church and never heard of the Bible. It took me a while to reach this point in my spiritual journey. The Bible was once important and meaningful to me, something I took seriously and tried to live by as best as I could. Now, it is nothing more than thousands of little ink blots on paper, no more inspiring than a 1000 page random number table. I can't look at a Bible without my eyes glazing over. My religious life has been nothing but a muddle, with the Bible meaning first one thing, then another, with endless unanswered prayer, angry rants from the pulpit, and petty bickering and squabbling with supposedly religious people who won't mind their own business. I found peace of mind when I left all of that.

My sympathy goes out to the Winnipeg member who has been told that his kind is no longer wanted in the new and improved WCG. He needs to have a parting of ways with the WCG for his own peace of mind. He doesn't need to give up religion altogether, as I did (though he would probably would benefit from a temporary respite). But he certainly needs to escape the hostile WCG environment. The WCG is not now a loving Christian body, and it never has been. The WCG is the vehicle by which money is collected from the ordinary lay member for the benefit of the minister, nothing more and nothing less.

It is a testimony to the persuasive powers of Herbert W. Armstrong that 17 years after his death, some people still feel compelled to stay with the WCG because they believe it is the true church, and that Christ will some day set things right. The salaried U.S. pastor who wonders why former WCG members "even care anymore" needs to look at the poor souls in Winnipeg who are being made pariahs in their own church, and who are being openly mocked by former friends. We have been hurt by the WCG, and we want to rescue others who have been, or soon will be, hurt by the still malignant cult.


02 August WCG's JUGGLING ACT.  Mail: Why care?

A Breach of Trust: The Winnipeg controversy shows no signs of abating. Here's another recent posting to JLF that provides some historical perspective.

Surveys were taken in most Canadian congregations... to give the brethren a so-called choice as to which day to call Sabbath! Some chose Saturday ... some Sundays ... some both!

Having said that, brethren were also told choice was God given, and "Days" didn't matter! My husband being an ordained deacon, soon to be an elder, knew that Sunday worship was imminent. This was the word that came down. Survey's were only done to appease!

We were told to keep it quiet. I did try to tell some good friends, but they didn't believe me, as the trust in the leaders was strong... First, the brethren were told constantly how "Day's" didn't matter. IF, this is true, why is Sunday mattering so much?

I know and read the figures. I also know how they can be doctored and changed to suit the purpose! That was my husband's job! To go along with the local pastor, in his juggling act...

Brethren now know they cannot trust the top dogs! They lied back then ... and are still doing so for their own ends!

What's interesting is how people who long ago abandoned any legalistic notion of "Sabbath-keeping" are responding to the Winnipeg situation by supporting the right of remaining members to exercise choice in this matter. As Jeff states in today's mailbag, "It's not about Saturday observance or Sunday observance ... It is about PEOPLE." A sect that devalues, marginalizes and bullies its lay members has no right to call itself "evangelical"

Regrettable quote: Wouldn't you know it, Herbert W. Armstrong is finally getting the recognition he so richly deserved. The Apostle rates an entry in The Cassell Dictionary of Regrettable Quotations (1999). The Pastor General was explaining why the world did not end in 1972, as he had foretold...

Moses made mistakes, Abraham made mistakes, David made mistakes, Elijah made mistakes... 

That's our Herb!


Winnipeg - the real issue: I have been watching the debate concerning Winnipeg... I left the WCG in 2000. I have observed many different things in the Worldwide Church of God. I now belong to a loving, caring and supportive congregation in the mainstream and feel the presence of God always. This letter is in response to the salaried pastor who questioned "Why do we even care". 

It's not about Saturday observance or Sunday observance ... It is about PEOPLE.

First... to have a pastor say "why do I even care" tells me that the normal attitude they expect from people is one of self-centeredness. I grew up with the same self-centered train of thought while growing up in the WCG. How can I expect any difference? All the WCG has known is to fight for themselves! That is the attitude back then ... and that is the prevalent attitude even today. Is it that unremarkable that others might show some feeling, compassion, and interest in other people? Is it that unremarkable that an organization is actually held to account? Is it that unremarkable that there is freedom of speech? (something long stifled by the WCG through the ages). Does that pastor not care about the issues of our other brothers and sisters in the world? in other denominations? It is the job of all who call themselves Christians to care about others. That’s why there are missionaries, support groups, etc. We voice our opinions because we care about the members who have been hurt and who are hurting. It is hard for me to believe that this pastor seems to think that we don’t have the right to care about other people in other churches. It is the caring about others in other churches, others in the world, others in general, that Jesus said "Go ye therefore into all the world" ... because we ARE to care! 

On that note, things such as what happened in Winnipeg are needed to expose what is really happening in congregations. Because people are hurting. It's not about Saturday observance or Sunday observance. It is about the children who were brought to tears. Confused and hurting parents. Members who have lost trust. Angriness and bitterness. It is about PEOPLE. It is about people with real feelings and real emotions to a real problem.  It is not a sin to expose things that have hurt others...things that are occurring that are wrong, etc. If there is no exposure, there can be no cure. These things must be brought out so that all can be made aware, and hopefully a change will result, either by instant recognition or by mass prayer. The times of covering things up and no accountability are over. 

The letter the pastor wrote seems to tell me one thing. Whatever is happening, lets just ignore it, and not make an issue of it, and just let it be. Such is the tragic attitude of many today who dare not make any further changes or step on entrenched ideas and hierarchy. The letter the pastor wrote seems to tell me that holding one accountable for a problem is nonsense, and a waste of time. 

Aside from the most important issue which is the real, living people in the congregation... what if the Winnipeg situation happened in a business. Would it be wrong for the employees to go on strike? Would it be wrong for the management to promise, and even hold a survey, that they could all work on Friday and get Saturday off only to be told they all had to come to work on Sunday with no choice? Would the employees have a right to hold the management responsible? If union based, would a union have a right to intervene? It’s a no brainer! Of course! It would not only enrage the employees and any union involved, it would enrage anyone else who knew about it! Maybe it would not change it, but opinions certainly would be heard. Seems to me this pastor does not like opinions to be voiced when an injustice seems to be done. 

The bottom line is this: Why does a pastor get so enraged that another pastor is actually made accountable. My message to him: This is not old school WCG. Everyone is watching. And when something happens that seems out of whack, it's going to be brought to a head one way or another. 

The pastor says it doesn’t help the body of Christ. If allowing one to vent, if being an ear isn't being a help, then what is. IF giving frustrated people the opportunity to vent isnt being a help, what is. I can assure you, if Christ could take the time to listen to those who write in who are frustrated, who need to talk, who need an ear, who are hurt, angry, bitter, and depressed, who feel there is no help, he would run to them and listen to them, and help them in any way possible. He would give them a hug and he would help. In this manner, we are to follow Christ. Shutting them up is the worst thing anyone can do. 

I would say to that pastor... instead of criticizing others for writing, instead of knocking those who write because they are hurting, look inside them. Pray for them. Be sensitive to their needs for an ear. Be a friend. Be an encourager. And instead of complaining that no good examples are ever sent in, start sending them. If you are running your church in the Lord, you should have plenty of them to share. 


False pretences: "Why do people who have left the WCG even care anymore?"  Because they gave their heart and soul to an organization that eventually betrayed them to the very core.  If this minister truly cares and wants to end the negative comments about WCG, recompense would be a good start.  The leaders of WCG knew they were accepting money from members who would never have given if they had known of the changes the leadership was making behind closed doors.  I would like to know if any ex-WCG members have looked into the legal grounds for a case of accepting money under false pretenses against WCG.

One thing the WCG leadership taught me was never give a minister the benefit of a doubt.  If anything looks remotely suspicious, check it out completely. I left WCG and later went with UCG.  It did not take long to see similarities...

Ex-WCG members who are sounding the alarm obviously care more about others in WCG than their own ministers. The "bad examples" far outnumber the good.  We would much rather focus on the good, but even the good examples reflect little compassion and tolerance for those not willing to give up completely on their beliefs.  If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  It's only going to get hotter.  

Thomas Brooks


Winnipeg - so what! Here's how one salaried US pastor reacted to points made by a former minister who was commenting on the situation in the Winnipeg WCG. He was replying to a member of the JLF forum.

I don't usually say anything to these things but why forward something like this out? Why do people who have left the WCG even care anymore? Why take the time, when you could be spending your time helping your own church? There are pastors in every church who do not do things the way they should. Not all pastors handle things the way this one did. Why spread only the bad examples? Why not some good examples? If we who are still in WCG spent as much time caring what all the other splinter groups did in their churches, we wouldn't have time to breathe. Why do people/groups who have left the WCG care more about what is going on it than we care about what they are doing?

Sorry, but it's the way I feel. I am tired of seeing these things. It doesn't help the body of Christ. And I probably just wasted my precious time in sending this.

Why do people who have left the WCG even care anymore? Is this guy for real? Of course they care. For most this was their deeply held belief system. WCG was a core part of their life and their identity. Many sacrificed beyond their means for the church, and are still reaping the negative consequences. A "pastor" who doesn't comprehend this simple fact?  "Leave me alone to collect my paycheck!" 

Carpetbaggers? From the letters section of the Pasadena Star News.

Unfair statements sting

For years, I have read many supportive and a few critical letters to the editor regarding development on the Ambassador Campus, and did not feel the need to add my own voice to the discussion. But Michael Vogler's recent outrageous letter (July 12) requires my response.

It hurts me personally that Vogler called the Worldwide Church of God, and my husband Bernie Schnippert carpetbaggers! In 1967, I was a freshman at Ambassador College. Bernie Schnippert was freshman Class president that year. The church's care and preservation of the historic homes and the beautiful campus were part of our learning and work experience. Our nearly 40 years of service to the church, this campus and our neighbors included being married on this campus. And we are not unique.

In fact, the current employees of the Worldwide Church of God have been living and working on this campus for decades, some who began as Ambassador College students and some who are our longtime dedicated pastors and staff. The statement that the church would have allowed Legacy to raze the entire campus is not only untrue; it is a crushing insult to our hundreds of years of combined stewardship and investment in West Pasadena.

Vogler's statements are not representative of the many fine people I have met throughout my decades in Pasadena. His statements do not constitute "vigilance' on behalf of our community, but rather vigilante efforts to raise legal funds to prevent any new development.

Arlene Schnippert
Big Bear City

Whistler at new location: The monthly columns by "the whistler" have been a distinctive feature on The Missing Dimension since the first one appeared in March last year. The Whistler has been a voice for many ex-members who have found a new beginning in conservative evangelical churches. Beginning this month the Whistler material has been moved to its own location on the web, and is no longer a part of the MD site. This has been made necessary by the ballooning size of the material posted on the MD server. MD will continue to link to the Whistler at the new URL on Tripod and we'll keep readers apprised when new columns are available. A new offering for August addresses the issue of "eternal security".


Choosing the highway: I have been heartsick since reading of the treatment of the members of the Winnipeg, Canada WCG congregation.  Heartsick, but not surprised.  Redmond's backdoor "affirmation/support gathering" techniques are all too familiar, something I'm sure was part of the required course work, say Ministerial Manipulation 101, offered at Ambassador College.  I say this as both a child raised in WCG and a former long-time member of a WCG split "church."  During my experience, matters as trivial as the color of carpeting in the sanctuary to "bigger" issues like continuing the foot-washing practice during Passover, if the outcome had to be manipulated to fit the "pastor's" agenda, then so be it.  After reading the Winnipeg story, I think it finally sunk in how MUCH manipulation was involved, consequently, leading me to conclude that most AC grads and others steeped in Armstrong "strong-arm" tactics manipulate, twist and push people with no regard to their welfare, all under the "guise" that said training gives them a heads-up to know what is "best".  When my dad finally left this splinter group, he told the pastor, "All this time its been either your way or the highway.  Well I choose the highway!" 

Cultic reprogramming in Winnipeg: The situation in Winnipeg is absolutely tragic on several levels. Cultic reprogramming happens all the time, but I'll use an old joke to illustrate how it can be most effective: How many Psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but it takes a long, long time, and the light bulb has to want to change! 

My point, of course, is that most of us who have succeeded in escaping the clutches of this cult, have done so willingly. But, it appears that those in Winnipeg are being reprogrammed against their will. They are in a difficult predicament in that they remained with the main body, based on what they believe to be loyalty to the authority of Jesus Christ, yet that body is forcing them to accept a belief system that is contrary to everything which it taught them for many years. We've already seen what the results will be, making them totally predictable: A certain percentage of the members will get over the initial shock and remain with WCG. Others will give up completely on Christianity, turning to agnosticism, atheism, or Eastern religions. Some will switch cults to join one of the splinter groups. And there will be much mental turmoil in these individuals as they adjust. Coming down from Armstrongism has always been difficult at best, but optimum results are produced by the willing participation of the individual. By using force, Tkach and his lackeys are doing as much damage, although in a different way, as HWA ever did! 

Bob Evans

Norman Edwards: I like Bob Thiel but I was very disappointed to read his comments regarding Norm Edward's financial problems. His comment expressing surprise that Norm does not have another job and is using donations to support himself while he, Thiel, does not accept any funds from LCG seems to me to be an underhanded way to impugn Norm Edward's work while promoting himself. I met Norm while living in Michigan. He is barely scraping by and has been sacrificing large amounts from his own savings to help scattered people. Has Bob Thiel dipped into his own savings the way Norm Edwards and his family have done to help others? Mocking and demeaning others while promoting oneself may have been a characteristic of HWA but it should not be a characteristic of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.


JLF: What is JLF? Never was good at figuring out something from its initials.

Bill Hohmann

MD: JLF is Mark Tabladillo's board at The initials stand for "Jesus Loves Fellowship".

Letter policy: When MD was launched more than 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. Letters are published at the the webmaster's discretion and may be edited for clarity and content.

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