November 2005 - Issue 67

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

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Sunday 27 November

Jeff Henderson pastors the Believers in Christ Church of God in the San Francisco Bay area, a fellowship affiliated with CGOM.

In Britain James McBride's COG-UK (also associated with CGOM), has published its latest Outreach newsletter (PDF format), including various FOT reports.

Saturday Nov. 26

davidbarrett.gif (54523 bytes)

British academic David V. Barrett, author of  The New Believers, and probably the leading authority on the Churches of God from outside the movement, is currently recovering in a London hospital following a major lung operation. We wish him a speedy return to full health.

Seamus' second seasonal installment is now online, and lo, a third has already been received, arriving just this morning by carrier pigeon from distant Gibraltar! Once uploaded this will complete a seminal solstice trilogy from the Master of Meter.

Thursday Nov.  24

A site that's new to us - Darwin Sanoy's Ambassador Alumni (apparently unconnected with the MSN group of that name). 

Saturday Nov. 19

Jim Ross, the webmaster of the COG Music site and the CEM forum, has died after a recent diagnosis of stage 4 cancer.

Bring on the fairy lights! Paul Kroll, who may be WCG's last personal correspondent, sets out the sect's current view on Xmas in an Odyssey article

John Brian Heath, a 1997  AU graduate, has completed a doctoral degree in educational leadership. His dissertation is entitled A Study of Adolescent Leadership in a High School Setting.

Friday Nov. 18

According to Bob Thiel some 7,000 attended the LCG Feast this year, while UCG is claiming 20,000. Modest figures considering the numbers WCG attracted in the Eighties.

Another blog, but this time with a difference. Greek Geek is a former WCG member who has set out to do what Herb, Ted and a gaggle of evangelists never managed: to learn NT Greek. This is his ongoing journal of the journey.

A new website is in the wings. This one, due for launch in December, deals with Australian guru Wade Cox's Christian Churches of God. The webmaster would like to hear from anyone with something to share about this group or its leader.

Longtime readers will remember Seamus, our official poet laureate when this site was known as The Missing Dimension. This week Seamus returns with the first of two seasonal offerings.

Two further photographs from the Orr SEP of  '71. The first shows a bunch of campers studying a heraldic chart/map of Great Britain in the common room (left of picture).

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The second shows a group of uncommonly tidy campers taking time out. 

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Saturday Nov. 12

Grace Fellowship International... is it or isn't it?  Well, the grace is hard to spot in any hierarchical sect, and the fellowship is so good it's plummeting in numbers. As for international, that's a little hard to justify when Holy Joe reigns supreme over the rubber stamp franchise boards in countries like Great Britain. GFI might even be compared to Christian Science which, as the famous one-liner goes, is neither Christian nor Science.

Bret Miller has definitely been a busy chap... they also registered Grace Fellowship Worldwide on the 3rd. Presumably to shut off anyone using a confusingly similar name (thanks to Russell Miller for the tip-off).

Friday Nov. 11

Research request: We're looking for a copy of  (or a link to) the UCG's code of ministerial ethics. If anyone can help, please drop us an email.

We haven't heard anything from Micah Royal in a while, but were intrigued by this photograph on the Safe Haven website. These folk are certainly setting a whole new standard in dapper post-COG priestly attire (or were they just thinking way outside the box when it came to Halloween costumes this year?) 

Tuesday Nov. 8

"Time is short", so says the slogan at the  God's Church, Worldwide website. It seems so. Rob Elliot, the man behind the group, is the subject of the following email now doing the rounds:  Just received word that Mr. Elliott's cancer is inoperable.  Mr Bickell wants everyone to remember that God gave Hezekiah another 15 years when He was asked. Please continue to pray for Mr. Elliott. 

Dennis Diehl has been untangling his DNA trail. No sign of Manasseh... Holy double-helix, who's gonna 'splain this to the BI folk?

Sunday Nov. 6

How many of those "predictions" ascribed to Herb and his imitators were actually just examples of running of at the mouth with silly speculations that happened to fluke an unexpected hit?  There's a nice example over at XCG regarding claims that Six-pack Gerry predicted a German pope.

While you're there, check out Ken Turner's latest posting, an inside look at life at the Pack cult HQ.

The Christian Logic blog, one of the promising new entries in the COG blog stakes, has been updated. 

Also entering the ranks of blogdom is Craig White alias British Israel apologist Surfer1, an arch conservative Australian UCG member (at least last time we heard) who notes in a forum posting "It will be more positive than some other blogs around the place and where I have the time, counter the trash on Ambassador Watch." 

Saturday Nov. 5

The Hebrew Roots movement draws fire from both Jews and cult expert Rick Ross in a report appearing on the Cleveland Jewish News website. Herbert Armstrong gets a mention too.

Herb gets a further mention in an article called "Again, the end..." dealing with American premillennialism.

Friday Nov. 4

Dennis Diehl has a new column online today.

PTM's website has a new look... all the better to retail Greg's spin-off products perhaps? With a little luck we'll bring you a review of his latest "invigorating, provocative" book (according to PTM) next week.

Malnet unmasked: It seems a few people are scrambling for cover over recent AW mailbag items on Malnet. An enquiry to "Mal" has gone unanswered, but this information was sent to LCG member Bob Thiel:

Before this turns into another COG "urban legend" perhaps some light ought to be shed onto the Malnet story. In the days when AOL/Compuserve dominated the internet and the WWW was still fledgling, a way was sought by some members to distribute information about what was going on in the WCG per the doctrinal changes (anonymously of course). It wasn't a newsletter and it certainly didn't have a logo, it was simply a network for passing on information in the form of collecting and distributing emails. It was not started or controlled by disaffected WCG officials, or paid ministry (although later some apparently were members of it). No...I am not Mal.

Malnet grew in importance as sources from inside the administration in Pasadena began passing along info. Tkach Sr. apparently knew about the network as after making another one of his pronouncements in Pasadena, he yelled " I suppose this will be on Malnet tonight!". It was.

Malnet was not formed for the purpose of supporting the beginning of UCG. Its primary purpose was to spread the word about what the leaders of the heresy in Pasadena (and supporters) were up to - we obviously couldn't trust the WN at that time. When UCG formed, and the bulk of Malnet members had left to GCG or UCG, then it was shut down.

Malnet was pretty rudimentary for today's standards. But it did get out the information to lots of people - and in this way did frustrate the attempts by Tkach and Co to keep a lid on what they were doing.

Is Harry Potter OK for kids?

 No (but I haven't seen or read one)
 No (and I've seen or read one myself)
 Yes (but I haven't seen or read one)
 Yes (and I've seen or read one myself)


Anyone who can help fill in the missing details about Malnet is invited to contact

Hassling Harry: The wider Christian community is divided in its opinion of Harry Potter. We know what Bob Thiel and Dennis Diehl think, but how do other AW readers feel about the latest movie? Would you let your kids see it? Have you banned J. K. Rowling books from your home?

Our poll asks you to give the thumbs up or down on Harry, and also fess up to whether you've read any of the books, or seen the films. 

(If you can't see the poll, you may need to adjust your security settings.)

AW Limerick fest. As we approach the end of 2005, why not exercise your creative side and write a limerick for publication on AW? The rules are simple. 

1. Entries must follow the AABBA pattern all limericks use.

2. No offensive words (which, sadly, limits what you can do with Nantucket)

3. No full names of COG identities - first names or informal monikers only.

3. Subject matter must be COG related.

4. Submissions that meet the criteria will be published in our Solstice Eve special edition. Email to the editor by December 20.


26 November

We advise readers that the stamp graphic above is not a depiction of David C. Pack.

Malnet (1): I'm really curious about this MALNET. It explains a hell of a lot. Hmm....the logo of the two faces (how appropriate...!) - does that make the UCG a cult of Janus? Kubik and friends planned their organization from the old 380 Dorm just a stone's throw from Joe's back yard. Joe seemed to genuinely have been taken by surprise by the UCG and the defection and [actions] by Kubik, a former close aide. 

I'd pay a bounty of $50 for a legit issue of MALNET. I'll pay a $100 bucks for an issue that mentions Earl Williams (1 time only). What a name for a newsletter.... 

AW: We have your name on file in case of claimants :-)

Malnet (2): For the record, there was never a logo associated with original malnet postings.


AW: Mal?

Pot(ter) shots: Bob, [after reading your comments on the latest Harry Potter film] we better NEVER catch you actually watching or reading something before you declare it's truth and purity for the masses...that's cheating. We simply need you to have a negative opinion, feel a certain either limited or pick and choose Biblical way about it, and then find someone to quote in agreement with you. That's how all COG ministers and true believers do it. 

I remember when the exorcist came out in the 70's and some members went to see it. They were spewing green goo and curses for months after that and caused me no end of extra work rebuking them and then cleaning up after their heads stopped spinning around. What a mess. I wish I had warned them more vigorously about what anyone could see would happen when they left the theatre. It's important that we teach the children to get their sadism, murder, sorcery, demons, genocide, church killings and angry God stories from the actual Bible and not some fantasy movie.

Dennis Diehl

AW: Dennis has written earlier on the Harry Potter phenomenon.

CCG's mysterious new facility: is indeed indebted... for the information provided to We are now seeking additional specific information concerning the new world headquarters of the Christian Churches of God. With the small contribution base of an amount just under $140,000 per year, it is a miraculous feat of legerdemain to build a new facility in Australia on the backs of just over 100 people worldwide. In spite of the obvious pride Wade Cox has exhibited in his weekly messages on the CCG website, there are no pictures and not only is there no address for the facility, there isn't even a mention of what city or [state] in which it is located. Given the secrecy of the CCG, this is not surprising. Apparently, it is not just a new facility for church business, it is also the private home for Wade Cox and his family.

We would like to ask that anyone who has the location address and pictures of the facility please send correspondence to to include the information for the premiere of in late December 2005. 

Genealogy yet again... In response to A.R.'s comment (Jumbled Genealogy.) Maybe this will help straighten out his jumbled mind... Not even from a COG website, how about that? 


AW: No further correspondence on this subject.

Suggestion for Rod: Instead of coercing members to give a "tithe of the tithe" to finance festivals, they should take a lesson from CEM (Christian Educational Ministries) and dedicate 100% of the holy day offerings to finance the festival site where they are meeting. It works fine for CEM.

Larry Evans


25 November

LCG's shrinking FOT: In response to Bob Thiel's number of 7000 at the FOT this year, I wonder why, when at the Ozarks, the tally of those attending in the U.S. when read from the pulpit had one of the ushers talking out loud how almost 2000 of the brethren in the U.S. must have transferred overseas for the Feast. Also LCG HQ are already talking about consolidating to three regions for the FOT in the U.S. next year (east, central and west). The reason is the paltry show at some sites that cost way too much to facilitate, when so few send in so little "tithe of the tithe". As a result of the attendance problem, the Festival Coordinator in the Ozarks proclaimed how you must attend every service of the Feast of Tabernacles and used Sunday as showing how that day was a Sabbath during the Feast.

rod 2

UCG baulks but CGOM fronts: The following [PDF link] is to the 'code of ethics' recommended to independent assemblies associated with CGOM. Some of your readers may find it useful. It is downloadable on the CGOM website in the Guidelines section.

James McBride

Malnet: The guy wanting to research how UCG started could start by trying to get Vic Kubik to agree to an interview - Ha! But seriously, I'd start with Guy Swenson now that he's out of UCG. And then, there's the ever-secret, still rarely whispered about Malnet.....I loved the logo of one face looking to the past and the other to the future. (It was especially cryptic and moving on the old 9 pin dot matrix printers of the time. But it was such a hassle to have to tear the sheets apart to separate them and take off all the edges with the holes that fed the paper through the printer.) Is it still so secret because it's still there poised to act again if need be? Better sign me Anonymous for obvious reasons...

Ron Dart (1): Your website is very informative, although sometimes painful, since it causes uncomfortable introspection. In the case of your recent Blog Blurb about Ron Dart, I have read or heard his sermons/articles/ideas (and on a few occasions, talked with him personally) since he got out of WCG in (I think) 1978 or 1979 and avoided the rush. . . .(long before most of you who are concerned with such things, although, to my discredit, I also did not act on such things until after the apostasy of 1994 -1995,)

And he is definitely identifiable to me as the most-intellectual minister/evangelist to come out of "our former tradition." He and I (Ron and me?--I'm starting to forget my high school English) don't agree on some things, but those disagreements have led to a few lively discussions. And we have vehement disagreements on a few things. But "iron sharpens iron," and while on a few esoteric things, neither of us has ever caved to the other's position (and while I have become, much to the chagrin of some alleged brethren, a "Libertarian Christian", I recognize Mr. Dart as one of the best intellects in our tradition and a fine person who can be talked to without the "non-minister" person in the conversation being crushed... Is he right on everything? I hope not, but that is my problem and not his.

Mac Overton

AW: Oh hey, I was a big fan of Ron back when he was covering Ted's mangy arse in CGI. I must have heard scores of his sermons (and probably have a couple filed away somewhere) before I wised up. He's a class act, but how much is substance and how much is speaking technique is probably debatable. 

Ron Dart (2): Ronald Dart says ... "God doesn’t intend to spend eternity with a bunch of losers..."

Maybe God doesn't but Ron Dart sure did.

Canadian practice: I'm a member of one of the WCG Canada congregations (not Edmonton). A few years ago, maybe in 2001, they announced that our donations would be sent to the national office, recorded and counted, and distributed as follows:

- 87.5% would return to the congregation
- 10% would stay in the national office for administrative expenses
- 2.5% would be used to subsidize congregations that aren't paying their way.

Now our bulletin frequently tells us how much income has been received year-to-date from the congregation, and what the annual target is. It is usually about a month behind. So the Edmonton page that goes only to March 18, 2005 is out of date. In January, 2005, an announcement was made from the pulpit about the previous year's results. The next week I visited another congregation and its results were announced there as well. 

Name provided


The Amazing Doctor Moffatt: Regarding the Bible version used in the WCG. In the 60s HWA frequently supplemented his KJV quotes with ones from the Moffatt translation of the Bible... This Scottish version, with its many Scottish words and phrases, often portrayed the patriarchal tribal nature of the Israelite religion better than the KJV. Doubtless HWA used it when the KJV rendition of a scripture did not quite reflect what Herb knew it really meant. 

Here's a mea culpa ... in my desire to be truly holy (i.e. more like HWA) I asked my parents for a copy of Moffat for a 21st birthday present. Shortly after I got it, I learned that the pagans kept birthdays etc. etc. What a moral conundrum I had. Keep it? Or burn it? I finally kept it, reasoning that God winked at ignorance. At least now I can laugh at all that nonsense.

Jonathan Higbed

AW: Moffatt was a highly qualified scholar who also had a leading role in translating the Revised Standard Version (RSV). His translation was (and still is) wonderful to read aloud - a refreshing contrast to the colorless, bland prose used in many current translations. It first appeared in a complete edition in 1935. It is still in print..

Tom Mahon (1): Regarding Tom Mahon's letter in the November 19 mailbag: I am confused about a couple of his comments. Contrary to his assertion, I was, in fact, able to make a determination about doctrines taught by HWA; it just took me a while--a long while! (And for that, I blame myself, not HWA.) My final determination was that HWA's doctrines are absolutely false and without merit. Further, Mr. Mahon charges that, in a sermon in Birmingham, I "didn't have the courage" to say that I disagreed with the doctrinal changes introduced by JWT. What makes him think that I disagreed with them? I did not--and do not--disagree with the changes! In fact, I feel they did not go far enough, as I have said here on a number of occasions (ordination of women being one example)! Finally, to label the exercise of the intellect a "folly" is amusingly arrogant--but typical of many in the COGs.

Keith Stump 

Tom Mahon (2): Tom, Tom,Tom... What happened to "a word fitly spoken...."? Oh, that's right-you're a minister so you're exempt from the rules. Just one thing, though, you're deceived, but I don't blame you since you're a victim. 


Tom Mahon (3): Firstly, you may believe that HWA was a charlatan, but if we push that belief to its logical conclusion, it'd mean that you, I, and the thousands out there in cog-land were never called by God. For God does NOT call people to follow charlatans. This is not to say that HWA did not make mistakes, and lack understanding in doctrine and procedure. But the same is true of you and me. Yet we don't see ourselves as charlatans. Or do we?

Secondly, when it comes to the bible, I don't have any opinions. For an opinion is only the ignorance we express when we don't know the truth. If know the truth, why would we need opinions? Finally, it is said that imitation is the best form of flattery, provided of course we understand what we are saying.

Tom Mahon

AW: Interesting idea of "truth". No further correspondence on this topic.

Great Helmsman Herb: On his trip to China, George Bush wanted to push ‘Religious Freedom’ and to emphasize his point, went to services at a protestant church, albeit a state sanctioned one. According to an authority on the Chinese government’s ‘accreditation’ of churches, apparently they aren’t that interested in the preaching or teaching. What ticks off western clergy from moving in and seeking state approval is the government’s interest in the assets, finances, membership, and organizational structure.

So for HWA, 'taking the gospel to China' - along with a reported $500,000 in gifts - was his mention of 'a strong hand from somewhere'. To get a toe hold in China may have required him to do something he wouldn't do for the state of California.


Morphing mullahs: I have been wanting to do that with herb morphing into [Tkach]. Did you do that?


AW: No, it's the work of someone with a lot more computer nous than I have. But, as they say, with God [or, failing that, the right software] all things are possible :-)  From the same source and era comes the animation above.

Brickbat: The tone of your listings are evidence against every aspect of your existence considering that you show contempt and disrespect for all, you are bound to be spitting in the eye of at least some of God's true children. Vengeance belongs to God and He will repay.

AW: Sounds like a recipe for weaseling out of personal responsibility and doing nothing while other people continue to get hurt.

Jumbled genealogy: Burning questions. How is it that Jesus' was conceived by God's Holy Spirit yet be human Joseph's son? How Jesus be part of the royal line of King David through his human father Joseph? One answer I came across is the concept of adoption. In biblical adoptions the adoptee becomes a full fledge member of the family as if they were born in that family by blood. They are NOT considered as a half or step sibling, but a genuine member with full rights. Two examples: one being Samuel who was an Ephraimite yet he became a temple priest, which only the sons of Aaron ---Levites could do. Eli adopted Samuel when his mother did not redeem her son. Second the son's of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, they were adopted by their grandfather Jacob thus becoming the son's of Jacob. I got this information from the following book: Lancaster, D. Thomas. The Mystery of the Gospel: Jew and Gentile and the Eternal Purpose of God. 1st ed. 2003. Littleton: Co., First Fruits of Zion Publisher. This book also explains why British Israelism (BI) is false, and I personally see as a sinful doctrine. I am curious to hear any critics from former Armstrong followers about this book.


Tell more please: I enjoyed reading J. Anderson’s recent mailbag letter about how Worldwide Church of God... ministers could take the most inconsequential things possible and then vastly amplify the eternal consequences for a particular sin or weakness to the extent that incineration in the Lake of Fire at the Final Judgment would be the guaranteed result.

If I could impose upon J. Anderson to please tell us about the rather humorous situation he mentions associated with a different minister that had just moved to Winnipeg. According to Anderson, the minister went into a bit of a tirade after his name was unintentionally mispronounced when he was first introduced. Anderson closed by saying: “but that is another story”.

Richard A. Dahms



The more things change... the more they stay the same. Or, if you prefer, a picture is worth a thousand words. This animation, created in 1995, was sent to us by its creator - if it said something relevant then, it says a great deal more a decade later with Junior's carapace firmly cemented onto the apostolic throne. This artwork deserves wide circulation. Maybe even Joe would like a copy...

Things are jumping at JLF: Mark Tabladillo's JLF board has been pumping over the last few days. Did you know, for example, that Ambassador College is still a legal entity?

The information displayed here is current as of "NOV 18, 2005" and is updated weekly. It is not a complete or certified record of the Corporation.

Number: C0253016 Date Filed: 4/6/1951 Status: ACTIVE
Jurisdiction: California
Agent for Service of Process

And the cheeky lot are even debating the merits of making Gary Moore, Canada's WCG national director, the next Pastor Generalissimo! Well, he'd probably be an improvement, but then, who wouldn't be?

Yuletide tidings: With Paul Kroll burbling about the joys of Christmas and traditionalists throwing up their hands in despair at the sheer horror of it all, we've been reminded that there's a seasonal offering in the AW archives. With the distinctive and spell-checker resistant title Reason Smeason for the Season, it's Dennis Diehl's response to the Xmas issue.

Column hits a COG nerve: Judging from the number of copies and links forwarded in the last few days, a recent op-ed feature in the New York Times has resonated with many AW readers from a variety of backgrounds. "When I read this, I recalled Spanky, Pack and Flurry (6-Pack?) railing on the Katrina victims. Enjoy", says one reader. Check it out for yourself.



CEM tows website to new URL: Call me slow, but when I first spotted Ron Dart's URL I thought, huh? Born towin'? Now the veteran evangelist is relocating from the less memorable (which is still up) to Notable is the hagiography page where we learn that Ron "is a rising star in the [sic] religious programming..." and that people "around the world have become addicted to Ron’s intimate Bible studies. His rare insight into the Bible, coupled with a unique gift for clarity and simplicity..." 

Whoever wrote this stuff forgot to mention his rare humility.

WCG Edmonton sets the precedent: This week we were emailed a link to the Edmonton WCG congregation's website. Here, for all the world to see, is their income report for the years 2001 through to March this year. We're impressed.

Then, at the bottom of the page these additional comments are recorded:

The Worldwide Church of God typically receives tithes and offerings at central offices, which in turn pay all costs associated with church support within a country or region. Costs would typically include facility maintenance and hall rentals, ministerial salaries and expenses, publishing, administrative and support functions, outreach and missions, etc. In this way stronger areas support those in need, and ministry is provided to as wide an area as possible. 

Congregations receive regular updates on contributions and expenses, and pastors and members are engaged in an annual process of planning and budgeting.

The Worldwide Church of God Canada is audited each year, and all salaries, expenses, and costs have been reviewed independently to ensure compliance with the highest standards for churches and charities.

While it would be nice to know who is responsible for the Canuck independent review, and what criteria are used "to ensure compliance with the highest standards", and where the Canadian financial report is available, let's not quibble. But then, this heart-stopping revelation...

USA  Bernie Schnippert, Treasurer for the Worldwide Church of God HQ in Pasadena, California, publishes an annual report in the Worldwide News which is mailed to all members and posted on the church web site - 

An annual report? For the USA? In the Worldwide News? On the website? Oh really? Where? We must have missed something! When was the last of Bernie's reports published? And it's mailed to all members? Quick, someone tell Jim! 

We await with bated breath for someone to email that link. Meanwhile, is that a pig flying past Mat's office?


19 November. MAILBAG

A matter of ethics (1): I read where you were asking for a copy of the "UCG code of ministerial ethics"... GOOD LUCK! 

I asked for a copy of that document over two years ago and never received it! How I knew what to ask for was when I tried to handle a problem with our local minister through the church's chain of command, it, the (UCG's) ministerial code of ethics, was referred to by his administrators... anyways, that was after trying to handle a problem directly with the UCG minister. The minister was repeating everything I had counseled with him in confidence about, with my wife. How do I know? I have printed documentation obtained legally! ...Really sad this garbage takes place...ministers thinking they can still "play God" in this day and age of technology!

One other comment...trying to handle this situation the correct way I learned at that time, the local minister was "under" a regional pastor, but because the local minister was on the Council of Elders, he, the local minister was indirectly the regional minister's boss! Now HOW can you have any accountability with that kind of "leadership structure?" YOU CAN'T.

Dallas, TX

A matter of ethics (2): I've been looking for the UCG Code of Ethics too. Over the last ten years there hasn't been any sign of it. :-)

Bob E. 

A matter of ethics (3): I am researching the founding of UCG, who was involved, what was discussed, "the nuts and bolts" if you will, of how it all can together. Could you see if you or anyone has anything, even links would be fine, on this? I have Googled the names of some of the key players, have found some bits and pieces so far. Things like dates, times, places, meeting notes, who proposed what, etc, would be of great interest, but I have not found the "meat and potatoes" yet. I'm also interested to know if the ideas for documents such as UCG's Code of Ethics and Transfer Policy were borrowed from WCG or another group. 

AW: We'd be pleased to pass on any information.

Floating through the COGmos: In reply to the person requesting info on Spankys F.O.T. comments. First, in LCG there is a definite "No Taping" policy at the F.O.T. Also LCG heavily edits before giving the tapes out to members, and the last several years very few of the Feast sermons have been given out for listening. I relied on the notes I took for the information i passed on. However if you really want to get a flavor for how off they are, even from their own edited content, all you have to do is go to their official LCG site and read and listen to what they do put up (they don't edit enough).

The comment Spanky made about "No room for Floaters in the COG's" is nothing new as he has on the LCG web page said nearly the same thing. I received two e-mails and three phone calls shortly after the Wisconsin shooting from UCG members bringing to my attention the feelings of Spanky about UCG just from what they saw on the web page. Another great source of these feeling about the other COG's may be Bob Thiel's diatribe about the differences between LCG and UCG.

At the F.O.T. in Missouri where Spanky made the comments about "Floaters" there were many different branches of the COG's [represented]. The Largest was from Canada affiliated with a Missouri group. I talked to about eight of these who were offended by Spanky's remarks and they were just checking up on him for a few days while he was there. Then they attended the rest of the F.O.T. with their own group in Missouri.

I sign my self as "rod 2", without my last name because I still do have some good friends that would be pressured by the COG into shunning me for being honest.

rod 2

Schroeder article (1): It's nice to see another former Armstrong student get some enlightenment and question the flaws in the Armstrongist and orthodox teaching on the nature of God. I knew both John R. and John D. at AC. Their name similarities ended with their pronunciation differences. John D. was "SchROH-der", and John R. was "SchRAY-der."

Larry Evans

Schroeder article (2): Regarding the Shema and John D. Schroeder's article on the name of God, he is correct that UCG needs to take their job more seriously (read: honestly), but he also needs to be more honest when it comes to the Shema.

In the Shema the word translated “our God” is plural and should be translated “our Gods”. Also as he points out the Hebrew word for 'one' used in the Shema, 'echad' is used in Gen 2:24 to mean a compound one (think “one team” or “one group”). He then whisks away and tries to gloss over the fact that the Hebrew word is consistently used in the compound one meaning (see Gen 1:5, Ezra 2:64, Ezk 37:17).

There is a Hebrew word which means unity one (think “one lamp”, “one tire”) and it is 'yachid'. Why didn't God use this this word? Because it would not relate the truth that God is compound and in unity.

Lyle Lange

John Schroeder responds: Concerning Lyle Lange's reply, I'll refer him to Dt. 4:32-35, 39, 7:9. Another good insight, from a different tack, is the JPS commentary on Deut., Excursus 6: Moses and Monotheism, p. 454. One line from that source reads as follows, "As Albright put it, 'Mosaic monotheism, like that of the following centuries (at least down to the seventh century [B.C.E.]) was practical and implicit rather than intellectual and explicit... The Israelites felt, thought, and acted like monotheists.'"

As for my earlier response to the UCG Study Paper, there's obviously as much between my lines than as within them. That was intentional; there is far too much information and conjecture available to contain it in a short article. Perhaps that partially explains the UCG approach. There must be hundreds of books on this subject. I consulted JFB, Clarke, the New Interpreter's Bible, the Stone, Etz Chaim, Hertz, Soncino, Alter and Fox Pentateuchs, the JPS, the S.R. Hirsch and the Cassuto Commentaries, the Jewish Study Bible and the Hebrew text itself.

Maybe the best line I found in books was by Robert Alter in his Five Books of Moses, p. 321. He writes, "Ehyeh-'Asher-'Ehyeh. God's response perhaps gives Moses more than he bargained for...".

Juggling genealogies (1): Regarding Tom Theobald's questions about Jesus' right to the throne of David, I suppose he meant to say that Jeconiah was disenfranchised by God in Jeremiah, not Samuel. He may be interested in my treatment of the apparent problem of Jeconiah's curse and other related difficulties. According to Jewish rabbinic tradition, God later rescinded Jeconiah's curse on account of Jeconiah's repentance in captivity.

Jared Olar

Juggling genealogies (2): I would like to comment on Tom Theobald's letter on 'The Deist View'. He states that Jesus can not claim the throne of David. He is correct when he says that Matthew's genealogy which is through Jechoniah is invalid. This genealogy is that of Joseph's. Notice that Matthew began with the lineage to address that Joseph's lineage could not produce someone who could rule and also be from the House of David. Matthew then goes on to show how this is not a problem, namely that Jesus was not the son of Joseph.

The genealogy in Luke is that of Mary's and it does not have the problem of Jechoniah. Jesus comes through Nathan who is one of David's sons. Jesus does not come through King Solomon. The throne of David vanished when Zerubbabel declined the throne.

At issue is whether or not Jesus fulfills the Messiah prophesies from the OT. The prophesies make two claims pertinent to the discussion. (1) The Messiah would be of the House of David. (2) The Messiah would be a king. The prophesies never claim that The Messiah would sit on David's throne. Jesus' kingship is not of this world, but His lineage is through David and He does fulfill the Messianic prophesies in question.

Lyle Lange

Juggling genealogies (3): I am not following with what [Tom] wrote about Jec[h]oniah being disenfranchised by God in Samuel. Is it the priestly line or the Kingship line you are writing about? Because 1st Chronicles 3:16 and Matthew 1: 11-12 agree with one another on the kingship part. Yes, God had some bitter things to say about Jeconiah in Jeremiah 22: 28, but he was of royal blood of Solomon the son of David---King of Israel (New King James Version of Bible)... One of my hobbies is genealogy. I also have nasty relatives in my family. But you mentioned Samuel. Please tell me more on this.

Dennis Diehl's article on his DNA trail was excellent! As I wrote to Dennis, "Yes, DNA projects are disproving and proving amazing things these days. Yet we can still be children of Abraham through Christ without being "spiritual Jews," converting to Judaism, or being a member of Jacob's tribe in order to have fellowship with our God. The Apostle Paul preached the opposite of what Herbert Armstrong taught." 

Alison Raborn

Juggling genealogies (4): Would any of HWA's descendants like to follow Dennis Diehl and be mapped? Or would the possibility of being proven not to be a son of David (or cousin of Haile Selassie) be too much?


Islamic issues: Gordon Feil writes, "The Koran doesn’t hold quite the same place with Islamic fundamentalists as the Bible does with Christian ones. This can be seen in the fact that fundamentalist Moslems holds their "third holy city" to be Jerusalem and make quite a fuss about that town even though it is not once mentioned in the Koran". Let me begin by saying you are correct in assuming that Muslims hold the Qur'an in higher regard than most Christians do the Bible. You may recall that several months ago a rumor spread around the world that the Qur'an was kicked around on the floor and flushed down a toilet in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and 19 Muslim Pakistanis died as a result of rioting in protest. The reality is that you can do whatever you wish with a Bible around the world, but if you disrespect the Qur'an in a Muslim country, your life will be in jeopardy. 

Now let me explain why Muslims hold Jerusalem as the "third holy city". Muhammad was born in Mecca, and was orphaned while he was a child. At the time of Muhammad's birth, there were many Jews living in Mecca as they had been expelled from Jerusalem centuries before and exiled to many Arab nations. Muhammad was born in 570 AD and at age 40 began receiving visions from the angel Gabriel (allegedly) while meditating in a cave. He received these revelations over a period of 23 years. Muhammad, noting that the Jews were rather religious and revered Jerusalem, began proselytizing amongst the Jews. Thus when he began praying to Allah, he would face Jerusalem, probably to authenticate his new found religion and influence Jews to convert to Islam. When he failed to convert Jews, he established Mecca as the most holy city, essentially because he lived there and he was able to convince the Arab residents that a large meteorite, housed in the Kaaba, was sent to earth by Allah as a gift to Abraham. Later, Muhammad had to flee from Mecca to Medina, although, he eventually returned to Mecca, victorious. Thus, Medina became the second most holy city. However, Muhammad never lost his desire to control the Jews and Jerusalem. In the Qur'an, Sura 17:1 states: "Glory to Allah Who took His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who hears and sees all things". Using this Sura, his followers alleged that the day before Muhammad passed away, he rode his favorite horse, al-Burkh to Jerusalem, and spent the night. In the morning, he mounted al-Burkh and ascended to heaven. Based on this story, Sura 17:1 was interpreted to reference Jerusalem. Interestingly, the Muslims did not conquer Jerusalem until 638 AD. A serious question that Muslims should ask themselves is how it came to be that a Sacred Mosque was located in Jerusalem, 5 years before the Muslims occupied the city.

The Infidel

Mushy peas: How well I remember Rob Elliot – he had to be one of the most fiery and bombastic WCG ministers ever foisted on the Winnipeg congregation by the Headquarters office. He was here for about two or three years before he was rotated out. I have never experienced anyone so domineering as Rob (although Cecil M. came in a close second).

I recall a few times when we failed to sing the opening hymns with enough enthusiasm, he would give us a royal lambasting from the pulpit and force us to sing the same hymns all over again – this time demonstrating the appropriate “gusto”! It was like I had suddenly returned to my elementary school music class (no – it was actually worse!). Sometimes I would see Rob wandering about at the rear of the congregation while we were singing, probably to ensure that the slackers in the back rows were making the requisite vocal contribution to our “joyful noise”.

Rob, like HWA and so many of the WCG ministers, could take the most inconsequential things possible and then vastly amplify the eternal consequences for a particular sin or weakness to the extent that incineration in the Lake of Fire at the Final Judgment would be the guaranteed result.

One rather humorous example of Rob Elliot taking miniscule issues to the max was what I have always remembered as the famous "Peas Sermon". To me, this one was a true classic, as Mr. Rob was vainly trying to hammer home the finer points of table etiquette to the klutzy local Youth Opportunities United teen youth group. In one instruction session as to proper etiquette at the dinner table, the YOU were told, that to eat peas, you must mash them with your fork first – then eat them. Unfortunately those YOU teens were nothing but a hopeless, rebellious bunch, since he observed them, contrary to instruction, trying to balance the intact green orbs on their forks and transferring them to their mouths before half of them hit the floor. This weighty act of rebellion did not go unnoticed, and the congregation had its ears burned the following Sabbath because of the unwillingness of the YOU youth to follow his instructions. He certainly drove the point home, at an elevated decibel level, where such a serious attitude problem of rebellion would ultimately lead!!

There was another rather humorous situation associated with a different minister that had just moved to Winnipeg. He went into a bit of a tirade after his name was unintentionally mispronounced when he was first introduced – but that is another story.

J. Anderson

Keith Stump on Halloween (1): I read the article on your website submitted by Keith Stump about the misrepresentation of Samhain. I checked his information, Celtic history and checked with UCG's material on Halloween. To the credit of UCG, they stated that, "Halloween is the name for the eve of Samhain, a celebration marking the beginning of winter..."

Keith Stump on Halloween (2): Last year when Keith Stump's Future Shock article was published, I was tempted to reply to it. But, in my experience, all those who have left WCG screaming that HWA was a charlatan, tend to be illogical, irrational or both. Mr. Stump was a long time member of WCG, and held prominent positions within the church, both as a writer and a minister. He had a God given responsibility to prove that the doctrines taught by HWA were the doctrines of God (John 7:17). It would appear that Mr. Stump was either unable or unwilling to fulfill this responsibility. And now he holds HWA responsible for his deception, even though he was warned by Jesus, 'Let no man deceive you." If he was deceived, it was his fault!

However, the more important question now is, if he was deceived in past, how does he know that he is not deceived in the present, especially now that he has been ensnared by the folly of intellectualism? At the height of the apostasy, Mr. Stump gave, what was laughingly called, a sermon in the Birmingham, England, congregation, and he didn't have to courage to say that he disagreed with the doctrinal changes introduced by JWT...

Tom Mahon

AW: Thanks for your opinions Tom. I'm tempted to comment, but, in my experience, all those who have left WCG screaming that HWA was not a charlatan, tend to be illogical, irrational or both.

Red heifer: Your 11 November entry mentioned the end-time watch for a "red heifer." At the UCG Feast in Panama City Beach this year, someone (I want to say Donald Ward) said farm-minded Church of God members once cross-bred a red heifer, and sent it to Israel! Perhaps someone else can provide more (ahem) meat about this project.

Richard Burkard

AW: Forget the red heifer, now a can of Red Bull I could understand!

Googling Rod (1): If you Google Roderick C Meredith WITHOUT quotation marks, you get 221,000 returns, and the first is the 1980 letter. If you Google "Roderick C Mereditih" WITH the quotation marks, you get 637 returns, with the first the LCG page. The 1980 letter is still at the fourth entry, though! I haven't a clue why. 

Pam Dewey

Googling Rod (2): In googling Rod Meredith, if you include the quotes around his name, you get the LivingCOG page as the first hit. Without the quotes around his name, the March 14, 1980 letter to Rod Meredith from Herbert Armstrong comes up first. It's all in the quotes...


Googling Rod (3): If I use the Google search on your site different things come up for Roderick C Meredith than do if I use my Google tool bar search on my computer. With my Google search the first things that come up about Rod are the letters to him from HWA. That may be what was happening for the person who e-mailed you earlier. Just thought you might like to know. Also, I enjoy your site. I am an X-second generation WCG member and left before the church broke up into many parts. 


KJV or NKJV? In response to Rod 2's question about the NKJV, I do not remember any time where HWA had agreed to it's use. It became in use with the WCG after his death. One interesting thing though, while HWA was on a trip to Europe, after 1979, Dr. Hoeh mentioned in a sermon in the Auditorium that the NKJV committee had approached the church to ask that we use some of our references to the marginal notes and scripture references. It was interesting that the congregation seemed rather pleased with that astounding announcement and, in what seemed like a bit of mind manipulation, he immediately said that HWA decided not to agree to that since our doctrines would change if we discovered we were wrong, all of those attended seemed crest fallen. 

Anyway, in a taped sermon from the early 80s, HWA was discussing Colossians 2 where the word 'is' had been added by the KJV scholars in verse 17 where said the word 'is' did not appear in the Greek rendering the the sentence to say: "...the body of Christ" as opposed to "...the body is of Christ." (KJV)  He went on to talk about why the KJV was used in the church and why he preferred it. This was some time between 1980-2. He discussed the KJV having over 900 manuscripts backing it up and the other versions only a few. (Which happens to be the same argument against
the NKJV.) 

I learned from an elder who attended AC in the '60s that the college taught what would amount today to be KJV only-ism. Apparently somewhere in the '70s that was rejected. RCM has mentioned many times since starting the GCG/LCG that he saw the 'earliest manuscript of the Bible,' the Vatican Manuscript, when he visited Rome. RCM mentioned in a sermon that he is convinced, since he saw it with his own eyes, that it is the real thing. KJV only apologists would consider the Vatican Manuscript a corrupted text and that the Byzantine type text would be accurate due to preponderance of manuscripts that were in all forms of use. Since the two text types do not agree with each other in over 10,000 places, one would be lead to believe that either one or the other is correct. 

RCM and UCG endorse the NKJV, hence rejecting the Textus Receptus. Anyone interested in getting an introduction to the topic above can simply read the Preface of the NKJV. NKJV's * used for footnotes in the NT usually refer to a rendering from the NU (Nestles') or the M (the so called Majority text). Both of these rendering types usually come from revisions from the late 1800s, so someone reading the NKJV and reading the footnotes would be reading the NIV in some instances or other texts where those footnotes are used.


Say what you may: If David Hulme is impressed with Paula Fredrikson, he is waking up and my not know it. [And on other matters...]

Say what you may
I researched the day
And my friend Sam Hane is a god.

Ol Satan would crow
For you all not to know
That's it's Him in disguise in Sam's bod.

So don't tell me I'm wrong
You'll mess up my song
I deem me, I deem myself right

You say Sam's a season
For Halloween's reason
And now you got me uptight.

Since I'm never wrong
I'll lengthen my song
Stay tuned for more of a fight

Sam is a deity
Not seasonality
I deem it, I deem myself right.

And if I am wrong
I'll lengthen my song
Again, till you say that's enough

Cause I'm always right
Bout bumps in the night
Sam Haney's my god of bad stuff. (Hey did you know that Amen was the Egyptian god of hidden things ...Really! Next time you end that prayer think of that!.. your friend Dennis.)

"Bob Thiel"
By Dennis C. Diehl



Oklahoma neighborliness: Gerry's PCG Empire is drawing some attention from the locals around Edmond. These comments from a message board.

OKIE#1: there is this creepy place just outside of town called Imperial College. my friends and i have been sneaking around at night, and as far as we can tell... it is a weird cult thing. can anyone tell us anything about it? here is their website... edit: hey cap, if you wanna check this place out, let me know.

OKIE#2: Looks like some ultra-religious 'college' along the lines of Jim Jones 'University'

OKIE#1: yeah, we are gonna go back and talk to them tomorrow night. so, if i dont come back and fill you in on saturday... call the cops. no really.

Just who's the freakiest, Gerry or these ol' boys? Note to Gerry. You need to work on that community PR buddy!

Meanwhile in the other Empire: Mat Morgan is said, according to a trustworthy source, to be mailing out letters to all those in the retirement plan and to those still on discretionary assistance. According to this report he's announced the church is dropping spouses from the insurance plan because the church no longer has the money to cover their medical insurance. Our correspondent notes: "they just sold a multi million dollar property and they have no money?" We'd be interested to hear from anyone affected.

But Mat has no worries, he's had a nice promotion: "I'd like to announce that Mat Morgan has been appointed as Treasurer of the Church. Bernie Schnippert, former Treasurer, is now serving as General Counsel for the Church. We wish Mat the best as he transitions to his additional responsibilities and express our appreciation to Bernie for his excellent work during his term as Treasurer." (Tkach)

Autism and the Pack demons: You've got to hand it to Gary over at XCG, the guy is never afraid to push the boundaries. Take his surreal correspondence with "Curious George" at RCG HQ for example. Posing Big Bad Wolf-style as a deeply concerned Grandmother... oh, what the heck, you really have to read it for yourself. Here are the postings in chronological order: (1) Autism, (2) Autism diagnosis, (3) Re. Autism diagnosis, (4) Coming clean, (5) Maggie, Intermission, (6) Advice to a Spiritual Widow, (7) Maggie's secret, and could there yet be more to come?

Split splatter: The long-running stand-off between factions in the CGI splinter COGW seems to have reached a point where separation can occur. The following excerpts come from an announcement by the group:

It appears that the difficulties between the TN and Gretna, LA groups may be finally resolved by a peaceful separation between both groups... But like with Paul and Barnabas there needs to be a space of time between us. We thank everyone in advance for their patience during these past few months as we worked through the differences.

VERY IMPORTANT: PLEASE PUT THIS IN YOUR PRAYERS: At the Feast sites in Branson, MO. And Ft. Walton Beach, FL. We discussed the possibility of separating the two groups of the church in a peaceful and amicable way. It was obvious from all concerned that everyone wanted to do the same. Following everyone’s desires [an] email was sent on 10/28 by Mr. Manis Samons to Mr. Trent in c/o the TN group in hopes that this should end the differences. Please pray that we can finally put this behind us and move on. If this doesn’t work, we will be left with no recourse by to allow the courts to make the decision. As of this writing we are waiting for a decision from TN.

And now for sexual content: "The sexual revolution has been one of the most spectacular failures of the 20th century..."  That's Ian Boyne's view which he articulates in his Jamaica Gleaner column. Ian is a high profile media commentator in Jamaica and pastors the Church of God, International flock on the island nation.



Feedback for the Council: The recently released UCG study paper on the nature of God has sparked a measured response from John D. Schroeder (not to be confused with his namesake John Ross Schroeder). A carefully written article finds fault with some very basic material in the UCG document, particularly on the name of God. Click here to read the discussion.

Ambush Theology: Greg Albrecht's new book on Revelation is out and being heavily promoted by Plain Truth Ministries. AW's editor gives his impressions. Click here to read the review.

Paula's Vision: David Hulme's approach is a bit of an enigma. A prominent voice in the early days of WCG reform, he left to become foundation president of the UCG, later splitting to lead a version of Armstrongism that is even more restrictive and inward-looking. Yet Hulme's flagship magazine Vision is the most creative of the COG publications, sometimes tackling surprising topics with a degree of élan. In the Fall issue he interviews the remarkable Paula Fredriksen, author and scholar who has achieved acclaim with her books on the historical Jesus. Fredriksen's comments on Paul and the early church deserve to be widely read and discussed. Unfortunately the Vision website is a poor substitute for the print publication, and the interview does not appear online. Beg or borrow a copy of the article if you are at all interested in the first century church.

GFI mysteries: It seems the name Grace Fellowship International is already taken. Will this pose an insurmountable problem for Joe and the lads? Probably not. The usual procedure seems to involve a mutually beneficial agreement ($$$) between the parties concerned. Something similar happened when the RLDS church moved to relaunch itself as the Community of Christ. Of course it's always possible that WCG may yet surprise us all by pulling an unexpected rabbit out of the bag, however it's hard to believe they have that much imagination.

Chipper and the spelling bee: Mark Armstrong has announced that the Garner Ted Armstrong broadcasts will cease on WGN: "we will be taking a break from WGN for a time in order that we will be able to dedicate some resources to correspondence with this massive mailing list that has been built." Just how "this massive mailing list" will be best served by taking the late religious raconteur off WGN isn't explained.

Chipper's literacy skills have been a source of wonderment before, but, fair's fair, we all make typos. This week however the Grandson of the Legend took it to a new level when he managed to sign off: Have a grate Sabbath. 



From GIF to GFI?  Remember when the WCG registered the domain name “Grace International Fellowship”? 

“Domain ID:D107170785-LROR
Created On:14-Aug-2005 04:54:39 UTC
Last Updated On:14-Oct-2005 03:55:55 UTC
Expiration Date:14-Aug-2006 04:54:39 UTC
Registrant Name:Bret Miller
Registrant Organization:Worldwide Church of God
Registrant Street1:300 W Green St”

Registered in August updated in October. Well just several days ago the WCG HQ registered:

“Domain ID:D108105568-LROR
Created On:03-Nov-2005 21:15:29 UTC
Last Updated On:03-Nov-2005 21:15:33 UTC
Expiration Date:03-Nov-2006 21:15:29 UTC
Registrant ID:GODA-015052802
Registrant Name:Bret Miller
Registrant Organization:Worldwide Church of God
Registrant Street1:300 West Green Street”

So could THIS be the name they finally decided on since the announcement was rumored to be happening very soon? One date was the first of the month which of course has passed. (Report by Anne Hanna, also posted on JLF)

Russell makes an early touchdown: Russell Miller has leapt in with a domain name of his own: Now, let's think, just where might clicking on it lead you... Go Russell!

Everyone deserves a freed mind: Things have been hotting up at the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire blog, to be specific. There are several new entries available. A couple of excerpts from the October 28 entry:

The difficulty writing about the PCGs, RCGs and LCGs of the world is that they more or less stay on the same old worn out groove. We who have been there, done that, move on to a new way of thinking. We have our say, hopefully saying enough to make others think twice about following in our footsteps. Gerry builds his compound and watches the EU, Dave makes himself more important and becomes nastier, and Rod continues to warn of that near but far off day and slips into his twilight years. Good ol' Joey packs up the suitcases and heads for his retirement years a very wealthy man. One gets tired listening to these hacks who really do not deserve much attention. Their accomplishments in the good works department would only be visible to those owning an electron microscope.

Unfortunately there are innocents involved, those that cannot get out of the clutches of these groups until they are of legal age, or run away. I think running away would be better then being subjected to religious abuse. The longer you stay, the longer you spend on Dr. Phil's couch when you finally come to your senses, if at all. So I reminded myself of that to keep motivated for these rants. Lest I get flamed, I care about the rest of the members too. They all deserve a free mind.

Never a truer word said.

I remember the wife of a PCG deacon I met many years ago. She told me of her sons, four of them, all but one in the PCG. Her eyes welled with tears as she struggled to hold back her feelings. Son number four was an outcast, headed for the Great Tribulation, and it was breaking her heart. A quiet rebuke from her husband in Italian stopped her emotional reaction.

Harsh, to be rejected by your parents and brothers. But people do strange things when they believe their eternal salvation is on the line. Add to that a universe ruling position in God's Government. The universe in black and white. For us, or against us.

A perfectly hellish summer: Mention of Rob Elliot brought back memories for one former SEP camper.

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SEP71a.jpg (321521 bytes)
SEP71b.jpg (10442 bytes)

Thank you for including the photo of Rob Elliott, the name sounded familiar but I couldn't place the face. Turns out I have photos of my own of him. Sorry to hear he's gone that far off the Armstrong pier of self delusion. 

Rob Elliott was one of my SEP counselors at Orr Minnesota in 1971. I was 15 at the time. He and another man by the name Terry Anderson (I think that is the correct name - could be wrong on that - somebody will know) were our dorm counselors. Of the two, Rob was the more entertaining. Rob was from Northern Ireland, I think, and had us kids convinced that he had really seen Leprechauns in Ireland. He had more leprechaun stories than any person I have ever met. Terry seemed to have the attention of the college girls. Both became ministers in the WCG but I don't know what became of Terry. Both counselors were very strict with us campers. The only rock music they'd let us listen to was Neil Diamond. So we played a single Neil Diamond 8 track tape until it nearly wore out. 

We constantly had "CI" (camp improvement) duty. I think we planted most of the clover sod at Orr. We basically spent the 6 weeks of Orr digging out tree stumps, getting stung by hornets, and laying clover turf sod. One kid named "Farnsworth" accidentally dug up a hornets nest and was covered head to toe with hornet bees. He managed to walk very slowly to the lake and slowly submerge himself to get rid of them. They were absolutely nuts on cleanliness, our dorm won the "E" flag for cleanliness 3 times. About half the summer camp that year came down with pink eye because of polluted lake water. All in all it was a perfectly hellish summer.

Click on the thumbnails to access the pictures. Top: SEP E-flag, upper middle, scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush; lower middle, counselors catch the rays; bottom, camp counselor Elliot. Two further photographs next time.



The House of Elliot: Some further information on the Elliot COG cult - adapted from two postings on the Painful Truth forum.

Rob Elliot is ... steeped in the old Herbist idea that the ministry are gods. His rhetoric made him on par with David Pack in administration of love and mercies. His prophetic utterances have been 100% wrong. 

the church - his church - will flee to The Temple and not Petra. The actual place of safety is the inner court of an as-yet-to-be- reconstructed Temple. So his faithful sheep watch news for any indication that a red heifer was seen in the vicinity of Jerusalem or that the Levites have kicked the Arabs out of the accursed mosque

Lately, he teaches that the 144,000 is really 288,000. He demands all tithes from his sheep on the gross, pre-tax. Then when you add the offerings and 2nd tithe dispensation to Elliot when the feast passes, you could be looking at over 40% pre-tax. But not to worry if you are from a country other than the USA, where Rob teaches post-tax tithing and third tithe is unnecessary. Ain't that grandly merciful. And what do the sheep receive in return? Taped sermons that tell of the glories of Herb, the precarious last minutes of a dying world, the ruin of the USA from the likes of democracy. Where the rest of the money goes, one can only imagine in such as secretive little group.

Elliot is also fiercely anti-American in his rhetoric. One would mistake him for Osama at times. He worships all things Armstrong.

However, Elliot gently critiques Herbie on the one issue. The issue is prophesy. Herbie could not have understood prophesy like Rob Elliot understands the subject. Isn't that the case with all the splinters that seek to play one-up-man-ship with the king of false prophetic utterances. Elliot is as truthful as the Stone of Scone when it comes to prophesy... His latest idea, which must be taught as gospel on pain of eternal death is the idea that the church - his church - will flee to The Temple and not Petra. The actual place of safety is the inner court of an as-yet-to-be-reconstructed Temple. So his faithful sheep watch news for any indication that a red heifer was seen in the vicinity of Jerusalem or that the Levites have kicked the Arabs out of the accursed mosque. 

Unfortunately for all involved, the leader of the cult is dying from a rather nasty case of fast spreading cancer. Imagine the consternation in the minds of those pathetic sheep that were told that they were sinning because they were not healed of some malicious and odious disease, before he contracted his deadly plague. Their leader is dying and so too is their faith in healing, and their ultimate idea that they are the faithful little flock that will make it to the POS, in Jerusalem, into the inner court of a non-existent Temple.

I fear for this group of little more than 100. The next leader may push them further afield in speculation and actions.

Out of Oz: It is so strange. Suddenly ever since they announced that Mr C. Kilough, the President [of UCG] will be visiting Australia, the hassling of members has stopped or slowed down. They are trying not to hassle members and [not make them] upset prior to the visit. We all know that they will start up their nonsense after he comes and goes. Please put this on your site as a record to keep track of.

All us members know that there are 3 factions here. The 2 top men who want to do away with the National Council and be Director. Then those that are against the Council of Elders. Then those that are in between. Their politics has caused malaise and nothing happening here. They are ruining us. So many members are upset.

Please withhold my name.

The Deist view: I heard about your site from my daughter-in-law, who until the past few years, was affiliated with Flurry's group. It is interesting to see that there are many people around that finally came to the realization that the whole WCG was bunk.

I was baptized in the WCG in 1984 and continued until Tkach pulled his stuff. I then went to Global where good ole Rod proved to be cut of the same cloth, and I began to question one of the basics of the church. I failed to be able to prove that Jesus had any right to the throne of Judah. His genealogy goes back to Jechoniah who was disenfranchised by God in Samuel and the other line goes to Nathan, David's brother, who never had the throne so could not pass it on to his progeny.

That left me with the Deist view. There is one God and no other, which statement is backed up by several comments from God that He would share His glory with no one. What is your view of this? I would be interested if you can explain Jesus inheriting the throne when there is no basis in the Bible that substantiates this view.

Tom Theobald

Name that cult! The new name for the Worldwide Church of God was to be decided on November 1, 2005. In AW64 you reported that had not been set up. That site still has a free parking page.

AW: Everyone is still awaiting the pleasure of the Most Serene Pontifex General. 

Key Tkach cult words: For some time the home page has had a picture of Herbert and Loma Armstrong. The keywords for search engines are: Joseph Tkach, gospel of the kingdom, Plain Truth, Ambassador College, Worldwide News, reconciliation, Good News, Tomorrow's World, Radio Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, sabbath, Anglo-Israelism, tithing, unclean meats, annuaml [sic] sabbaths.
Although the website has been redesigned several times in the past seven years, apparently no one has updated the keywords; though the description was updated to state: "67,000 members in more than 100 nations". Apparently that is out of date as well, because the About Us page (keywords: Worldwide Church of God, Pasadena, Herbert W. Armstrong, herbert armstrong, Joseph Tkach, Radio Church of God) currently states: "64,000 members ... in about 90 nations" (date unknown).

Church of God - 21st Century copied the titles (e.g., "Official website of The Philadelphia Church of God") and keywords from the major COG sites to their own page. The words are hidden unless you use an old browser or view the HTML source code <view-source:>. Nonetheless, search engines see this text and index COG21 under those words.

Pam's description starting about 35 minutes into the program fits Neville Stevens and

Source D

AW: Australia has produced more than its fair share of extremist COGluddites, but I suspect Nev isn't the gentlemen Pam is wading into, though I couldn't say that for certain.

Tracking down the COGlets: In your 4th November Mailbag, Tom Mahon says, "I now have services in my own home with my family and anyone who wants to understand what is meant by, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Could Tom - and anyone else in the UK who holds Sabbath services either at home or elsewhere, and welcomes like-minded brethren to attend, please contact me at so that I can include the congregation in the list at This list gives a contact e-mail address and the town where the congregation meets - plus, if desired, a page supplying information about the group.

Peter Cross
Churches of God (United Kingdom)

Goggling Roddles: Does anybody know why when, when you put in "Roderick C. Meredith" on the Google search, the first thing that comes up is Herb Armstrong's letter to Meredith? Does that mean that hundreds of thousands of people are reading Armstrong's letter? 

AW: We can only live in hope! However the Google results were different when we tried it.

End game on names (1): I want to help the timid NCC rest a bit at ease. He writes: "Initials and pseudonyms may be called "hiding", I'll call it "witness protection". He wants to avoid "the odd kooks who like to flame and make threats". 

Well, I can say that I have a had a rather high profile on this site and on the Painful Truth as an open atheist and critical of religion in general. I have always signed my full name and e-mail address for the years I've been online. Not once has anyone threatened me and the occasional flame was inept if not laughable.

I'd say worse has happened to me--I've been ignored. :-)

I found this funny: On this same subject of hiding behind initials and pseudonyms, Tom Mahon castigates those, "who can't see that cowardice and fear are not fruits of the Holy Spirit". The delicious humor in this is that I am free from those detested traits and I'm an atheist.

Jim Baldwin 

End game on names (2): To "Positive Dennis" (11/4/05 mailbag), you said, "I think that pseudonymity is, in general a bad idea,.." That was a joke, right? To "Truth and Nothing But the Truth," Herbert W. Armstrong didn't invent sacrifice but he sure did take advantage of those who practiced it. And Tom Mahon. Trust me, I don't know you and you don't know me. I was just a dumb sheep in Armstrong's cult. I was never a minister or anyone of stature in the church. 

Maybe "Truth and Nothing But the Truth" is right. Maybe, in reality, I make comments here for my own benefit. It has helped me move on, I think. But if those still in Armstrong's cult are happy there then maybe they shouldn't read this stuff. But I suspect that they're searching for the truth about Armstrongism so I can understand the roller coaster ride they're on. Religion is the perfect evil.


Video site: I would like to respond to Roberts letter of November 4th. There are some former cog groups that find most of my videos educational if not down right straight to the point honest. My suggestion for Robert is to educate his people about the truth of HWA and all the lives he ruined! To use Herb's theology is his business, to use his tactics (if Robert does) is ALL OF OUR BUSINESS! I would suggest that Robert encourage those who study under him to watch the videos and be reminded of those "glory days" of Armstrongism. People tend to forget the past and repeat it! Was Robert offended by the videos? Was it "The Child" video? Perhaps 1975 in Prophecy? The GTA flick? As far as Robert being embarrassed, the embarrassment is all mine when I think back to my dark days wasted in an religious delusion!


UCG Study Paper: This will be interesting to see how this is received by some members. At at Feast a couple years ago a UCG member told us that if his son (white) married a woman of another race, he would disown him and he would never see any grandchildren that resulted. Funny thing was, this son did later have a child out of wedlock (living with the mother), but he had no trouble accepting that grandchild. The later obviously being a sinful situation with the previous is not. But how will that UCG member accept this statement from UCG?

Also, an interesting thing...Clyde Kilough's daughter is married to an African American...

NKJV anointed by the Apostle? Spanky at the F.O.T. in the Lake of the Ozarks mentioned that HWA sanctioned the New King James Edition as the "official" version of the Bible some years before he died in January 1986. Being that it did not come out until 1979 I was wondering because I never heard this before. My question is can anyone verify this ?

Rod 2

Craig White blog: I see Craig took a potshot at the AW site. Funny how he is a regular reader of AW and often quotes directly from the AW on the OriginalWCG Yahoo Group... [but] he always leaves off any reference of where he found it. They love to spit and snarl about the AW site, but they can't stop reading it!


A Simple question: I have one very simple question I'd like an honest answer to from the Tkach Administration. How much money was realized in the sale of all Ambassador College Campus and possessions. I imagine the following answer... and encourage that the question keep being asked.

Dear Dennis,

Thank you for recent inquiry into the amount of revenue realized by the Worldwide Church of God with the sale of the entire Ambassador College Campus including all the associated possessions. While from time to time one might hear of a business, institution or Church reporting actual profits realized from the sale of such, it is not something the Worldwide Church of God chooses to disclose. We are within our rights to withhold such public statements of sale and do so in good conscience. After all, we are a Church, and God's financial business is really none of your business.

You say that you were a former Pastor with our Organization for nearly three decades. You say that you pastored 12 congregations over those years in 5 states. You say that from all that you can estimate, you personally contributed approximately $75,000 dollars to the Worldwide Church of God along with the contributions of over 30 extended family members also associated with the Church. You say that , being very conservative, your congregations over those years contributed approximately $10,000,000 to the Church. We doubt that.

As a result you feel it is a common courtesy to disclose the amount of the monies realized by the Church for the above mentioned sales. You also suggest we use a series of numbers and commas in our response. Very funny Dennis. It is refreshing and encouraging to see you still have a sense of humor over this issue and we appreciate it as you can imagine we have tens of thousands of inquiries over this very topic. With our limited resources :P, it gets expensive just having to say "no" all the time. 

I hope the following will help you understand the reason we are not obligated to give a definitive answer to your question. Please don't think it was a lot of money by any stretch of your imagination. After all, it was just a mere 26 acres in Pasadena, on Orange Grove Blvd in Southern California.

First of all, the 35 of us no longer consider ourselves the Worldwide Church of God. We are actually [possibly, depending on the yet to be announced whim of the Pastor General] the International Grace (Free unmerited pardon) Fellowship. In searching the records of the IGF, we find no record of you or your extended strike one. Since we do have "free and unmerited pardon" we have chosen to use it well and have freely forgiven ourselves for well, you know - everything. Secondly, there is no law that requires that we share that information publicly or even with those who actually provided the resources in the first place to build ...what was that Church you used to work for again? Since it is not required we do so, we do not intend to do so. Thirdly, and finally, it's really none of your business anymore. If indeed you are who you say you are, then you must remember that this information was never any of your business in the past either when you had connections with...oh what's that church name again?

We sincerely thank you for your question and hope that this answer has been satisfactory and helpful. We wish you the very very very best in life and wish you no ill will , but that rather you would repent... oh sorry, that's another topic answer... Please consider IGF as alternative to what sounds like a pretty darn interesting experience in your past. We are a fellowship dedicated to lifting up Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and following his example in every way that suits our purposes and personal goals. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to "Ask Greg" in Plain Truth Ministries. Please allow 6-10 weeks for a reply as they are busy moving somewhere else. 

Warmest regards in Him,
Letter Answerer 1b (Letter answerer 1a was just let go).

Dennis Diehl

Speaking the Queen's English: The last line of the John Halford article, "And British readers please note" really brought back memories. How many times did the old Plain Truth take the trouble (and a line of the article) to explain such things as "diapers" were "nappies" in Britain?

Retooling the Tedster: If any editing is to be done on the library of [GTA] titles, the scissors should be taken to some of the dated remarks on the sermons. Like a cartoon before the main feature, GTA will slip in commentary on the news. Perhaps the 84,000 should be spared some of the dubious forecasts on events now forgotten.

While doing some graduate study in education last year, the topic of the validity of websites came up. We covered some basic rules but nothing detailed enough to offer any discernment on Samhain sites - and we never got into selective sentence skipping. Ronald Dart admitted his 'Halloween' offering was something he dug up poking around on the Internet - "Samhain, in the Druidic calendar, was the beginning of the new year..." Perhaps there is something in the Portland Public Library to resolve this, if anyone has six months to spare.


Rod's FOT: Regarding your post about the recent statements that Rod Meredith made at the feast, I would like to know who actually send you this letter. Could this be proven? Was there the site where apparently there [were] many UCG members attending? Do you think we could have a copy of these messages. Thanks a lot.

AW: You're definitely talking to the wrong bloke.

Uncle Sam - the other one (1): Regarding Keith Stumps article/letter Fast & loose with the facts I ran across this while researching what he said about Samhain. While the article mentions other sources, it gives info from The World Book Encyclopedia & Encyclopedia Britannica. You might also notice what it says about the PLAIN TRUTH...(this has to be a recent PT article.) Whatcha think? 


AW: Attached was an article from Hope of Israel Ministries, John Keyser's splinter from wunderkind Willie Dankenbring's Prophecy Flush. Oops, small typo, Flash. Unfortunately no URL was provided, but anyone who has the time, energy or masochistic tendencies to subject themselves to a search of the Keyser site is welcome to do so.

Uncle Sam - the other one (2): The naiveté of Bob Thiel's reply makes my point better than I ever could. For those who have eyes to see, its contradictions, non sequiturs, omissions, backpedaling and lapses in logic will be glaringly apparent. One can always invent reasons for rejecting inconvenient evidence. Thank you for giving such prominent attention to the issue. It might prompt a few to do some serious thinking - not just about the relatively minor issue of Halloween, but about the whole cultic mentality that ensnares people in an insidious web of ignorance, irrelevancies and useless proscriptions.

Keith Stump 

Uncle Sam - the other one (3): I am writing to comment on two subjects. 

1. It hardly matters if Samhain was the Celtic god of the dead. It can be shown that a number of ancient cultures (for example, Egypt and pre-Spanish Mexico) each celebrated their respective gods of the dead at that time. So maybe the Halloween is not connected to the Celtic god of the dead, but its coincidence with celebrations of those other folks’ gods of the dead raises my eyebrows.

2. Dennis, in his latest article, compares the Christian perspective on the Bible to that of the followers of other religions to their particular sacred texts. The comparison is not apt. For example, Hindus and Buddhists have literature they view as sacred, but they don’t regard it as infallible. The Koran doesn’t hold quite the same place with Islamic fundamentalists as the Bible does with Christian ones. This can be seen in the fact that fundamentalist Moslems holds their “third holy city” to be Jerusalem and make quite a fuss about that town even though it is not once mentioned in the Koran.

Gordon Feil

AW: That's certainly not my understanding of the Muslim view on the Quran. 

Uncle Sam - the other one (4): The critics were right about Samhain not being the name of the supposed death god of the Celts. Samhain is indeed the name of the season that denotes summer's end. But what Stump and the other critics failed to point out is that the Celts had a multiplicity of death gods and goddesses. The White Lady was the death deity that was common to all Celtic cultures. The other gods and goddesses were tribal or national deities.

Steve Dalton

AW: Sorry Steve, the link you provided didn't work. 

Berating Bob: Bob Thiel needs to stop being a self proclaimed defendant of RCM's Living organization because he may end up just like Don Haney did when he wrote so much defending those that caused the Global split. At the end they wouldn't take a warning about a simple word HUMILITY and they got rid of him too.



Bob bites back: Keith Stump's recent letter (November 4) on Halloween and Samhain has elicited several responses, but none more detailed than Bob Thiel's, in a website entry dated November 6. In contrast to Keith's brief 340-word letter, Bob replies with a 2,100 word essay in defense of his earlier published comments. His position seems to be that he was merely quoting an old Plain Truth, but that there is evidence for a deity of that name nonetheless. Amongst the references cited is an article from the excellent Canadian website. However Bob is selective in the bits he quotes. Among the omissions:

No such God ever existed...The Great God Samhain appears to have been invented in the 18th century

Identifying Samhain as a Celtic Death God is one of the most tenacious errors associated with Halloween.

Almost all stories about the origin of Halloween correctly state that Halloween had its origins among the ancient Celts and is based on their "Feast of Samhain." But many conservative Christian authors which are critical of Halloween, Druidism, and/or Wicca have stated that Samhain was named after the famous Celtic "God of the Dead." No such God ever existed. By the late 1990's many secular sources such as newspapers and television programs had picked up the error and propagated it widely. It is now a nearly universal belief, particularly among conservative Christians... there is/was no Celtic God of the Dead. The Great God Samhain appears to have been invented in the 18th century, as a God of the Dead before the ancient Celtic people and their religion were studied by historians and archeologists.

Which is basically the point Keith was making. You can check out the full article here.



Pam and the red pill: Need to get out of The Matrix? Check out Pam Dewey's FOT seminar (presented at the CEM site this year). Dang, does this woman talk good sense or what! And exactly who is the mysterious 100-member Aussie guru? Several other seminars are also accessible in Real Video from the index page on Pam's website. 

UCG study papers: The UCG has approved two new study papers, one on interracial marriage and another on the nature of God and Christ.

On interracial marriage the elders seem to blow both hot and cold. Interracial marriage isn't a sin (whew!), but may be unwise, and the UCG ministry seems empowered to offer obnoxious "counsel" in particular cases:

While interracial marriage is not defined in Scripture as a sin, the ministry would be remiss if it did not point out the tremendous challenges and potential risks inherent in interracial marriage. The role of the ministry is to serve and protect the flock of God, and therefore it has the responsibility of pointing out potential trouble spots in any premarital counseling, whether they are financial, spiritual, cultural or racial in nature. But the decision to marry or not to marry remains with the couple and their families.

Since there is no scriptural recommendation for, nor prohibition against, interracial marriage, the Church considers race one of the major factors to be taken into account when determining the couple’s marital compatibility. The decision to marry should come after wise counsel, and thoroughly weighing all factors to determine whether a given marriage should be encouraged or discouraged.

Overall it's probably a reasonably enlightened document in the current COG context, and, sadly, anything better may have to wait for another generation to rise up and purge the residual racism. There's a balanced review available by the creator of "It's a Paul World".

The nature of God and Christ paper, running to 68 pages, restates the classic Armstrong position. It is a colorful document at times:

The various Trinitarian constructions make God analogous to a turtle with three heads under a shell—with the appropriate head manifesting itself at the proper time.

And in case you thought UCG might be moving away from an anthropomorphic God with all the requisite body parts (including a glorified rear end with which he mooned Moses):

Trinitarian constructions of God also tend to make God into a mysterious spiritual blob—God is not something or someone. In contrast to this notion, God reveals Himself in anthropomorphic terms, from Genesis to Revelation. When YHWH appeared to Abram, He did so in human form...Throughout the Bible, God’s body parts are described—for example, arms and hands (Psalm 89:13), face (Genesis 33:10), eyes and ears (Isaiah 37:17), nose (Genesis 8:21), a mouth (Matthew 4:4), lips (Job 11:5) and many other references. When Moses asked to see God in His glorified form, he was only allowed to see His “back” while peering from behind a rock (Exodus 33:22).


Chipper's hiatus hernia: Mark, son of Ted and guardian of the Herbal bloodline, reveals that "our mailing list has grown to over 84,000 names and addresses!" in his latest epistle. Too bad he's not as free with membership stats. Then he graciously notes: "Members of our Board of Directors have all been included in discussions as to whether we might pursue a shift in strategy..." which might indicate that the Board isn't exactly an active operation in normal circumstances (oh surely not!) 

And what could this "shift in strategy" entail?

We will certainly remain on the individual affiliate television stations that are performing cost effectively.  But we are considering taking a hiatus on WGN that would free up resources needed to replenish our considerable library of titles, and to communicate more effectively with that vast mailing list.

Uh? Could Mark be scaling back the preachin' of the End Time gospel? Could this be the "famine of the word"? Nope, but obviously something is happening in the GTAEA. Maybe Mark has just run out of old TV shows to tart up. So, is the long-dead-and-buried GTA about to finally disappear from national television? And does anyone actually care any more?



Bad luck for Ron, particularly when it's the guy at the very top of the sect's food chain who should be walking

Christian Oddity: Tom Hanson notes more changes for Joe's team of happy campers.

With continued downsizing at headquarters we learned that we will be losing the services of Ron Grove, the layout editor for WCG Today and Christian Odyssey. Ron began work for the WCG in 1974, and we have worked together since 1980.  Ron’s last day will be Dec. 16. Please join me in praying for God’s richest blessings and guidance on Ron as he seeks employment elsewhere.

Bad luck for Ron, particularly when it's the guy at the very top of the sect's food chain who should be walking. The Hanson update continues:

John Halford, editor of the UK Plain Truth, will now also serve as editor of a re-designed Christian Odyssey. He will work from his home in Indiana , while most of the publication functions will remain in California .

Talking about John Halford, people are continuing to be confused by the outdated undated letter appearing under his name at the British WCG site. This "emergency appeal" letter has been around for years, yet has been deliberately retained despite a major website revamp. Frankly it is misleading to keep it there, and particularly deceptive when undated. Again, this week, it was forwarded to AW by a reader who was clearly under the impression that the information was new. It is not. Maybe the sect still manages to wheedle a few extra sympathy donations out of having it online, but that's hardly ethical. (Note to Joe & Co., look up the e-word in the dictionary.) When will the British WCG take the garbage out?

And British readers please note. The editor of your Plain Truth, now proudly promoted as an independent UK publication, is "temping" from Indiana!

Fast & loose with the facts: Hello Gavin! I see that Bob Thiel, on his website, is quoting from an old Plain Truth article (which, in turn, cites various sources of questionable merit) perpetuating the widespread myth that "Samhain" was an ancient Celtic "lord of the dead". No such god ever existed. (I mentioned this in my article about Halloween last year, which you were kind enough to put up in your "Columns" section.) All reputable scholars and archaeologists of Celtic history are unanimous on that point. There is no debate. A mere half-hour's research in reputable source material (as opposed to fundamentalist Christian polemical works, or the discredited and error-ridden 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica) would have made that fact abundantly clear. This alleged "god" was an invention of 18th-century crackpot "scholars", and is widely acknowledged as such. "Samhain" merely means "summer's end"; it is a calendrical observance.

Playing fast and loose with the facts is typical of many COGs, where rejection of scholarship and intellectualism continues to run rampant. There is never any reevaluation, only perpetuation of the old myths and errors. And here we see it again, served up afresh on a website widely read among the COGs, by someone who should have known better. I don't know why I keep hoping for something different. When people are blindly manipulated by their biases, the facts become irrelevant. I have not seen a single serious attempt to address the facts or observations in my Halloween article--only the same, tiresome, Spokesman-Club palaver. The same goes for my "Future Shock" article on the subject of preterism. With each passing month, the prophetic speculations become sillier and sillier (if that's possible!). 

Perhaps the next generation is our best hope. Happily, we are already seeing signs of it. Let's all pray that the young people of the COGs have the perception to see through the stupidity and nonsense of Armstrongism, and to do what many of their parents have been unwilling or unable to do--throw off the shackles of unsound theology once and for all, and awaken to freedom.

Keith Stump

Spanky's Feast: Just returned from the LCG Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, where Spanky was for almost half of the Feast of Tabernacles. I cannot believe his audacity of telling all that "there is no place for floaters in the Church of God" in referring to those "checking him out" as he always says. On top of that -- Flurry and Pack take note!----Spanky is the ONLY representative head on the face of the Earth of the TRUE CHURCH!. After listening to him for three days I suspect he will be "Pope Meredith" soon. He did say that there were a FEW very few Christians in the other COG's.

Also his constant adulation of HWA was sickening, (makes you wonder hmmn! nevermind!) Anyway his memory is failing also or it is just his rewriting of church history that would make you think it. I wonder how many people there at the Feast have actually truly "Checked it out"? If they did I wonder how they would reconcile it with the so called "Truth"?

I only went there out of curiosity and will not listen to him anymore. He is poison to the mind.

Rod 2

The Truman Show: I just wanted to send you a brief e-mail now that the final episode of "The Truman Show" has aired over at "XCG" to thank you for the press. I have also wanted to send you another e-mail since your 10/21 comments regarding "Names," but I felt it best to wait until my cover was blown at "XCG." At the time I sent my e-mail regarding "Stoned (1)," Gary Scott and I had not yet ironed out the details regarding "The Truman Show"--in fact, I had not yet even revealed to him my "big secret." Truthfully, I didn't really intend to. If you have followed the "show," then you probably know where I was coming from at the time.

Although your comments weren't directed at me particularly (since they were prompted by the comments of another "AW" reader), the shoe definitely fit, all the same. As I mentioned, I was still flying "under radar" on "XCG" and not planning to shed my mask. It was just a way to get things off my chest. Gary's offer truly took me by surprise. Anyway, thank you again for your contribution to the "Truman" saga and for the work you do in making "Ambassador Watch" available.

Ken Turner

Pseudo-Dennis: I think that pseudonymity is, in general a bad idea, we really need to know who someone is to fully evaluate what they say. What we say is a function of who we are.

Positive Dennis 

AW: And you signed it with a nom de plume?

Umbrage unleashed: I would like to commend xbeliever for taking the time from his friends and family just to "benefit" those who come across this website. While he may take umbrage with this revelation, he is in fact conceding to an Armstrongism of sacrificing to serve his fellow man. Such an irony, while reviling Armstrong he is following one of his fundamental edicts, unintentionally, I presume. And if he can spare a little more time from his friends and family, perhaps he can explain why he is reluctant to share his thoughts on Armstrong and religion with them but instead is anxious to disseminate this remarkable wisdom to strangers. I wonder, would you call that deception? Just think, if he were to confess all to his friends and family, he can change his pseudonym from "xbeliever" to "xdeceiver". Following "xbeliever's" example anonymity please.

The Truth and Nothing but the Truth!

Odd kooks: Like xbeliever, I don't think a name will help. I was just an ordinary old WCG member, who chooses to toss in a remark, observation, recollection, or whatever here and there. But like CBer, I choose safety. I don't want to leave myself open to the odd kooks who like to flame and make threats - just look at some of the emails at the Painful Truth site!

Initials and pseudonyms may be called 'hiding', I'll call it ''witness protection.'


More from Tom: My thanks to Alison for sharing some of her background with us. It is good to hear that she still believes and practices some of the basic truths of the bible, which many in their misguided zeal to condemn HWA have abandoned. For the benefit of xbeliever, whatever that means, Tom Mahon is my real name. I was born in Barbados. My mum is almost pure Ashanti, and my father was of African-Irish background, hence the name Mahon. I am married, and God has blessed us with some very healthy and talented children. 

In 1961, a few weeks short of my 16th birthday, I was introduced to the WCG. From 1964 to 1968 I subscribed to the PT, The Bible Correspondence Course, and read most of the booklets that were available. I immigrated to England in 1968, and was baptized on the 2 June 1975. I left WCG in July 1995, and for a brief period attended with Global and then Living, until I realized that Dr Meredith is trying to build his own church in the name of God. I now have services in my own home with my family and anyone who wants to understand what is meant by, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." 

This year, we kept the FOT in the beautiful resort of Torbay, Devon. During the Feast I bumped into a number of people from WCG, who were celebrating, "I know not what." But it certainly wasn't the Feast.

I would like to endorse Randy's comments and I appreciate his support. But I don't want or intend to become engage in a pointless debate with anyone who can't see that cowardice and fear are not fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Tom Mahon

Catherine and the Six-pack Apostle: I feel that Catherine is probably ready to tell her story and that it should be told for the benefit of those still in that cult. But see if she would like to use a pen name and write her story for "Christianity Today" or some other periodical. Also, "60 Minutes" might be very interested in pursuing an investigation, just as did Norman Gorin and Mike Wallace during the '79 Palace Revolution when the California Attorney General sought to audit the WCG books. An expose' would do a lot of damage to Gerald's destructive cult.


Six-pack Gerry again: It is amazing to me how much divorce is running rampant among God's "true people". The PCG is riddled with divorce after divorce. The leaders are counseling the members to divorce their "unconverted" mates and in some cases marrying them at some point after the divorce is final... according to their own beliefs. How are they justifying this? Does anyone know? Because the Bible gives clear instructions on how to deal with the "unconverted" mate and this is not it. They are counseling married members whose mate leaves the church to divorce that mate because the leaving mate becomes a non believer... I was one of the lucky ones. My husband left with me. If he hadn't, he would have been told to divorce me if I weren't counseling to go back to church. I'm grateful to have avoided that whole mess. But I know there are many who are going through it even as I write. 

The other issue that should be standing out like a beacon to the thinking individual is the fact that they are building an auditorium when they are supposed to be fleeing soon! Come on people!! ...


Holding fast in the British Isles: I think you were asking about whether people in the WCG still keep the 'feasts of the Lord' (Lev 23) on their Hebrew Calendar defined dates. I am a member in the UK, and can report that there are church congregations that have consistently kept all the festivals on the right dates right up to the present. (I myself have kept every one of them in the WCG for well over 25 years without a single break.)

during the Feast a vote was taken as to which of three date-ranges would be preferred next year - with the preprinted ballot paper NOT even offering the correct Hebrew calendar dates at all. As a result, 72% of the ballot papers were 'spoilt' - with almost half of these explicitly stating the preference for the Hebrew calendar dates. Needless to say, this input was ignored

In addition, the UK has continued to hold the Feast of Tabernacles on the correct dates at some of its official feast sites (although it has been told by Pasadena not to use that name in recent years). Next year, Britain may be the only location worldwide where this officially continues. There will be a feast at Paignton (South-West coast in England) and Bridlington (North-East coast in England) and, probably, an Irish site, all keeping the Hebrew calendar dates. I myself attended in Paignton this year, along with close to 400 others; there were, I think, about 180 in Bridlington and 100 or so in Ireland (in addition to a Scottish site whose dates were different). However, those numbers include some who do not come for the whole festival with perhaps half those attending not having a major interest in the Feasts as being biblically ordained.

This does not mean the messages are appropriate or true (they are not), but the format remains much as it always was - and it remains an opportunity for fellowship and doctrinal study outside of services. A strong body of members try hard to hold fast to the truth once delivered and have stood firm against the changes to these days as far as they have been able. It is also the case that almost all the UK churches still have a Saturday Sabbath service, despite pressure to change this by some ministers and from Pasadena.

This year there was Feast of Tabernacles on the correct dates on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca. With services in English, a majority of the 280 who attended were British. However, during the Feast a vote was taken as to which of three date-ranges would be preferred next year - with the preprinted ballot paper NOT even offering the correct Hebrew calendar dates at all. As a result, 72% of the ballot papers were 'spoilt' - with almost half of these explicitly stating the preference for the Hebrew calendar dates. Needless to say, this input was ignored and the most popular of the three (polling just 19%) was selected instead.

This result will probably mean the UK brethren who might have returned to Majorca next year, will probably swell the numbers at the UK sites instead. Maybe some members from elsewhere around the world would like to know this information and join us in the UK as well. I hope you find that information interesting if not enlightening.

Alexa's Kiwi list: Hey Gavin. AW is more popular than Star Wars or the Labor Party. Now that's impressive!


Webmaster confusion: Gavin, I would like to request you to amend [an item] on AW no 30. The reason is because my previous association with has been taken over by KScribe and I do not want people to think that I am the author of his site.

KScribe redirects to Since I did not renew when the host company went into receivership, it was available for anyone to use after two years. I would appreciate if possible for the news item to be deleted or altered as it would be embarrassing as leading member of the Bible Sabbath Association UK that I would be connected to Kscribe's latest site. 


AW: It's one of those tough issues... do you go back and revise an old report, or do you let it stand? Rather than revisiting ancient uploads every time the wind changes, I'd prefer to log developments here. 

Unaccustomed as I am... The Number 8 speech has undergone revisions since Ambassador Club started. Prior to the Seventies, it gave an example of attacking doctors and medicines. In the Seventies and Eighties, it gave rise to the more politically correct Attack on Psychiatrists and the evils of shock treatment. Today, though, it's "Drug Pushers in School" or hand-wringing over ecological topics: "We Must Protect Our Natural Resources".

"Use forceful language and a serious tone of voice, along with positive proof," the manual suggests with an attempt at attentive alliteration. "Don't be afraid to let go -- but be sure at all times that you are using
controlled power," which seems rather contradictory if you have not checked your mind at the door along with your weapons with the Sergeant at Arms.

Under "Get the Dictionary Habit," the statement is made, "Finally, use the new word in a sentence: 'James, a precocious individual, learned to speak Hebrew at age 5". An impressive feat indeed for a precocious individual, unless, of course, the child was a Jew in Israel, at which point another word might be employed to describe James--be sure to check the dictionary for synonyms. 

The full twelve-step program is disclosed at: Perhaps there is good reason, based on worth more than anything else, for the statement, "This Manual is Not to be Sold," right up front.

Douglas Becker

The Great Controversy: Has anybody read E.G. White's The Great Controversy, which was published in 1884? It has "Armstrong" all through it. On The Edge Of Time, is an abridged version, and published in I believe in 2002.


AW: Ellen White's prose always seemed a bit mushy to me, quite different to Herb's.

The Kingdom of Dave: Just a quick question, how many immovable members (since sermon on relief) does Dave Pack actually have left? 

AW: One is too many.

Den's muse: Dennis’ Muse is obviously pleased with him, as evidenced by her repeated visits and the increasingly rapier-like quality of his work! Bravo sir!

Kathleen Kakacek

Insane? Gavin, you may have thought that I have gone completely insane. But here is my new website dedicated to those of us who have come from an Armstrongite background but now find solace with Messianic Judaism. 


Googling Gerry: I was scanning the home page of Google News tonight when I had a surprise. One of this service's thousands of "news sources" is -- as in Gerald Flurry's magazine. [Do a search for "Stoiber" -- PCG's alleged man to watch in Germany -- and it should be ranked near the top.] How did this magazine wind up on Google's list of sources for news and information? And if it's there, is Ambassador Watch there as well?


AW: My guess is Gerry pays for the privilege. At least I hope so. Hopefully major bucks. Anyone feel like complaining to Google?

Diamonds & Ashes: For 18 months I have been reading Ambassador Report, Ambassador Watch, Exit Support Network, and just about anything I could find about the Armstrongs and the WCG. Many of the articles and letters I read more than once. Having been baptized into the Church in 1976 and then being fired from my job with the Federal Government (FAA) for Sabbath keeping in 1979, I found this all extremely disturbing, especially the first couple months of mind boggling reading! Like so many have stated, how could one be a part of the Church so long and not know?! When one accepts the fact that many sources are pretty much saying the same things, it must be at least 70% true. (We left WCG For LCG in 1993. I left LCG in 2003.)

Then comes the day of accepting reality. As those who have survived a fire or a disaster, you need to sift through the ashes or debris to see if you can salvage anything. That sifting must begin, and hopefully never end, with God's Word, the Bible. His words are our diamonds in the ashes. We need to remember the old saying; "two men looked out prison bars, one saw the mud, one saw the stars!" I do not have all the answers, BUT, I am a survivor, and I have a Book! 

Terry Berg

Note to Jeffry Pages: in it's current form, or even with any minor edit AW might make, your allegations would probably be actionable. The underlying issues you raise about churches raising funds for "relief" are important and AW hopes to cover them in the not too distant future. 



Mat Morgan.jpg (37182 bytes)Mat steps up to the plate: If Ron Kelly's financial reports in the Worldwide News left something to be desired, at least the old boy was regular. The sect's new financial controller will however be granting the peons feedback on a quarterly, rather than a monthly basis, in WCG Today. You can read his initial "report" on the WCG site. The following observations are Anne Hanna's, writing on JLF:

The newest financial update from WCG HQ has expenses rising while income from the congregations drops below expectations. Only greater than expected returns on investments and a large estate donation helped make up the difference. They do foresee continued challenges for the rest of the year and into 2006. 

I know Mat Morgan is new at the job ... but you know what he might want to consider including in his financial reports on church income and expenses? ... NUMBERS!!

PTM parts from the mothership: AW readers had advance notice; we ran the news way back on August 21 that Greg Albrecht's PTM was seeking to move out from under the WCG and find separate offices. Now Mat Morgan has made it official. These comments also come from Anne Hanna:

It was rumored a while ago that Plain Truth Ministries would not be joining the WCG HQ leadership and staff in the new Glendora offices. In the latest financial update from HQ, Mat Morgan wrote about PTM:

Plain Truth Ministries (PTM) initially planned to share office space with the church at the new location. However, it has been decided that this is an opportune time for them to relocate to a separate office well suited for their ministry plans. As they have anticipated and are planning for such a move, they expect to be relocated near the end of the year.

The church is in the process of finding a tenant to lease about 6,000 square feet of office space initially slated for use by PTM. We will miss the opportunity to work so closely with the dedicated PTM employees and wish them well as they make this transition. (Nov.-Dec. 2005 WT)

Recently I was asked by a friend in WCG who really “owned” Plain Truth Ministries. Was it the church and Dr. Tkach, or did it now belong to Greg Albrecht? Does anyone know if this signals a real “parting of the ways” between PTM and WCG?

If Greg ever left he would not be someone you would just give a severance check to and show to the door

Since the name “Plain Truth” was even more well known than “Worldwide Church Of God” are the church leaders ditching the ministry as they attempt to leave Armstrong and the past behind? The statement above seems to imply that Greg Albrecht backed out on them. If that were true then does that mean Greg owns PTM and has final say?

It has long been speculated that PTM might be Greg Albrecht’s "parting gift" should he leave the church's employ. He has been at Joseph Tkach’s side a great deal of the time during the “reformation” and is also well known by the same Evangelical leaders as the Pastor General. If Greg ever left he would not be someone you would just give a severance check to and show to the door. Mat Morgan’s carefully positioned statement is anything but transparent. What does “it has been decided” mean … who decided? Since the church says they were willing and apparently wanted PTM why wouldn’t their new refurbished and redesigned facilities not suit Greg? 6,000 square feet is a lot of room for Greg’s small ministry. Tkach certainly has the cash to let them have the space at a reduced rate. Since the WCG is a much bigger operation than PTM what could the new facilities possibly be lacking?

Dennis Diehl observes: To this day, these people simply cannot say what no doubt has really happened. "PTM thought they'd get a free ride, or didn't like the rates we offered them and left." There is no practical reason for them to find anything else "suited for their ministry plans." Is it just that Churches choke on telling the truth or a truth that reflects poorly on their ability to get along and cooperate?

The answer to which we suspect is, yes! Cheryl, another frequent JLF contributor, adds (citing a reliable source):

What Mat fails to mention is that Greg Albrecht is not moving to the Glendora building is because WCG was going to charge him too much rent! He refused to pay it and is now looking to move to Duarte. 

WCG has laid off more employees. Three were laid off from CIS today (10/28). Ron Grove is being laid off from the WN as readership is dropping drastically for the paper. More are being laid off in December. Their goal originally was to go to their new building with around 38 employees left. Now with the church imploding and money continuing to drop they will be laying off more employees because there is no work for them to do. WCG used to have hundreds of mail drawers arrive daily filled with thousands of letters. Now they are lucky to get 20 or 30 letters.

One more thing concerning PTM... PTM now counts the money that people send into WCG in tithes and offerings. PTM then charges WCG for that service. PTM has two WCG employees working with them doing that. When Greg moves his little ministry out those two employees will revert back to the WCG... 

Greg occupies WCG space, gets WCG money to pay the salaries of his employees and gets the same paid days off as WCG. Yet Greg charges WCG for any services he does for them. Many WCG employees can't wait for PTM to separate from them... You can ride all the way down in an elevator with some of them and they will not speak to you, or acknowledge you if you pass them in a hallway.

Oh no, it's good! - in a limited sort of way: Meanwhile Greg Albrecht has a new book out, and although it's not yet listed on Amazon, the editor has a copy - courtesy of DP, AW's Bureau Chief in Pasadena. Revelation Revolution is very much a curate's egg, with some good points and a lot of weaknesses. It's got to be a good thing, for example, when someone stands up to the apocalypse-obsessed enthusiasts and End Times manipulators. But is Albrecht up to the task? We'll be running a review later this month.

Doctrinal Positions: As a former minister of many years standing, Dennis Diehl is well qualified to write a systematic exposition of the current doctrinal positions of the Worldwide Church of God, and we're indebted to him for undertaking this detailed and exacting task. Exceeding all expectations, Den has delivered the successor to the SEP (Systematic Theology Project) - we call it the SCP (Systematic Catechetical Project). As we understand it, Pastor General Joe has yet to lend his formal imprimatur to this document, but surely it's only a matter of time...

Should Christians Keep Halloween? 
Aw, don't make such a big deal about it. Some do and some don't. Sup to you.

Should Christians Keep Christmas?
Aw, don't make such a big deal out of it. Some do and some don't. Sup to you. Jesus was born so we need to celebrate something sometime, so this works and everyone does it. 

Where should Christians draw the line on Paganism? 
Aw, that depends on what you mean "line." Everything is pagan so don't sweat it. Pagans eat and so do we, but that doesn't make meals pagan. 

Should Christians be Concerned About Satan?
Nah, no biggie. Jesus defeated him in the Battle Temptation Mtn so, if you want to be concerned, sup to you. 

Should a person be Baptized?
Nah, no biggie. Sup to you but we find no requirement in scripture about that. The ark was the tool that saved Noah, but God saved him. So the boat was only a prop for the story.

Are Humans only 6000 years old?
Nah, human life goes back at least 10,000 years. (Hmmm, or how about 160,000 years?)

Did humans evolve?
Sup to you, what do you think? Sure, but not in a way that contradicts the Bible. 

Is the story of Adam and Eve literally true?
Oh yes, because without original sin, and no need for forgiveness, we'd have no church. So that one is literally true.

What happens when we die?
Who knows? What do you think this is....a church? Sup to you. What do you think happens? 

Is there a true Church of God?
Nah, just pick one that fits your budget, is close to home and preaches Jesus, and all the stuff you grew up with. That's close enough. Sup to you.

Is there a real Hell?
Nah, dunno, maybe or maybe not. Depends on what you mean "hell."
Sup to you. You'll know when you get there.

Is there a Heaven for the saved?
Probably, sure, sounds good to me. Humans have a spirit, but the body gets resurrected we think, but not sure why. The spirit goes back to God that made it. So yeah, sup to God I guess. You'll find out when you get there.

Should a Christian keep the seventh day Sabbath?

Didn't Jesus keep the Sabbath?
The Jewish part of Jesus did, but the God part knew big changes were coming, but kept it a secret.

Should a Christian keep Sunday?
Sure, sup to you. Tuesday is cool too. Go with tradition since you'll meet more people on the day that most are using the building. God doesn't care, but we do so we keep Sunday. In fact, we command it the spirit of Christian freedom. 

Will our bodies be resurrected?
Oh yeah, definitely. Jesus still had nail holes so ...yep it was his real body. Not sup to you.

Will Jesus always have nail holes in his hands and feet?
Oh yeah, that's how it works. And he will always look around 30 years old, so we suggest you die young if you want to look good in heaven. If you die to old, you're stuck with that look and heaven will be one huge nursing home. 

Are God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit three God's or just one?
Yes, absolutely, well no... um, sure....errrrrr, hmmm. Yes... no. It's a mystery. I'll go with yes. 

Is that not the same as there being three Gods?
Oh hell no! Sheesh, give me a break. It's a mystery, but a required one.

Does God have to call someone to be a Christian?
Nah, just show up with a smile and bring your checkbook.

What about Reincarnation?
Oh yeah right! I didn't believe in reincarnation in my last life and I'll be darned if I believe in it in this one. 

Why would people ask "who sinned, this man or his parents that he was BORN blind?" Would this imply that he had sinned before birth and the blindness was his punishment at birth?
Oh come on? Where do you get this stuff? 

Does God love unconditionally?
That depends.

Are Demons real? Will we judge Angels?
What do you think? I'd like to hear what you think. You wanna judge Angels....great, sup to you. We can be witnesses, juries, spectators, bailiffs and even reporters I suppose. It will be fun to see. Hey, you can be the hangman and I can be the gravedigger...just kiddin'.

What can we learn from the Book of Revelation?
Oh tons... John had good drugs, Jesus can really write better after he is dead than before he died when he wrote nothing. Great book. Yep... So, what do you think we can learn from the book?

Will Jesus come a second time?
Nah, well maybe but we go to heaven so what's the point? I mean he comes to get us, we were on the way anyway. Maybe we'd pass halfway and have to turn around? 

What's the Mark of the Beast?
Don't worry about it.

Will the world end?

Is the Bible literally true or not?
Yes and depends.

Do Christians speak in tongues?
Oh man yeah. But sup to you. Just be nice about it.

Are you sure about the Trinity?
Oh yes... we believe God is one, existing eternally as three divine Persons. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one, yet separate, co-eternal and co-essential.

What does that mean?
I have no idea...

Should Christians Tithe?
Absolutely and even more than that because tithing is only the letter of the law and Christians are to give in the spirit of the law, which was done away with, but not in this case, don't ask.

Who should we tithe to?
Duh...who's your daddy? Us.

Can I talk to one of your ministers?
Why? I just told you sup to you and it depends. You don't need any more support than that. Besides, they don't know anything and the ones that do aren't ministers for long.

Do you ever ask yourself "What would Jesus Do?"
Only if it is to our advantage...

There's more coming up from Dennis this weekend when we publish his latest column: A hole in the shape of God.


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