December 2005 - Issue 68

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

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In November: John D. Schroeder critiqued the UCG Study Paper on the Godhead. Read it here In November: Gavin reviewed Greg Albrecht's Revelation Revolution... Read it here In November: Dennis Diehl compared the Genome Project and BI. Read it here In November: Seamus launched his Xmas trilogy of seasonal verse. Indulge!

Limericks and more... the AW Solstice special, now online

17 December. LAST UPDATE & MAILBAG FOR 2005

Thursday Dec. 15

An apology: Recently two photographs appeared on AW sourced from another website. One portrayed Wade Cox, leader of the Christian Churches of God, while another was of a curtain backdrop. We have since been advised that the photographer, Malonda Hutson, has claimed copyright on both images. AW withdrew both photographs immediately once we were made aware of this. Both images were subsequently deleted from our server. A mailbag letter which contained links to further images belonging to Ms Hutson on another website has also been removed.

AW has a longstanding  policy on this matter which states: Photographs, articles and other material reproduced on this site are believed to be in the public domain, or to have the consent of the owner for circulation. If you are the owner of any material used on this site, and wish it to be removed, send an email to the address shown on the main page.

AW unreservedly apologizes to Malonda Hutson.

Wednesday Dec. 14

Kscribe has fallen under the muse again... this time it's on the origin of the holy days. Catch the show online

Demon alert... here comes Santa Claus! You might think that only COG remnant groups get all knotted up over the old bloke from the North Pole, but not so. Here's a non-COG document that calls on Bible-toting believers to keep themselves unspotted from the festive frenzy. They even mention the WCG - though it's hardly complimentary. These guys mince no words: America is a nation of baby murderers... even worse than these devilish symptoms from pagans is the effeminate and compromising brand of Christianity that now infects the nation. Sounds like Landover Baptist, except these suckers are dead serious.

Sunday December 11

Herbal hooey is taken to a whole new level at something called "Revelations of the Bible". In comparison Dave Pack is a beacon of enlightenment!

Last call for limericks and carol lyrics. Submissions need to be in by Wednesday at the latest for an upload on Friday.

Friday Dec. 9

Somewhere perhaps, in an alternative universe, the Ambassador Auditorium wasn't sold off to a rabid Pentecostal sect, but was rescued by the Arts community. Here's a glimpse at what might have been.

Wednesday Dec. 7

Yesterday's fiery graphics created difficulties for some readers using the AOL browser. The AOL interface is well known for butchering image layouts which look fine in IE, Firefox, Opera and other browsers. Changes in layout have been made which hopefully rectify the problem with this upload.

Tuesday December 6

AW was down for around 24 hours due to problems with the server. Hopefully things are now back to what passes for normal around here. Thanks for your patience. 

Limericks on a COG theme can still be emailed in for the special upload later this month.

Sunday December 4

Why should WCG members be the only ones to enjoy a FOT-time cruise? Now more traditionally minded folk can enjoy the pleasures of the Caribbean while keeping the FOT in a fotting, um, fitting way with the Church of God, Downers Grove.

Tom Mahon's recent correspondence on AW is quoted and then deconstructed in the latest Lake of Fire blog entry (Nov.26)

The mystery of the COGIT acronym has been solved thanks to Douglas Becker who advises that it stands for the Church of God in Truth. 

Friday December 2

The Queen will deliver her Xmas message to her loyal subjects on the day, and Christian leaders are preparing the usual sermons and homilies to comfort people in troublous times, but LCG has beaten them all to the punch with its annual bah-humbug commentary

Included in the Connections section of the latest Journal is a wordsearch of COG acronyms to help while away the hours. We're humbled to report that there are some there we've never heard of: CBU? COGIT? CRMI? MCG? MMCG? It's reassuring to note that Gary Scott seems to have also missed listing them in his "alphabet soup" section. Anyone able to help?

Thursday December 1

Thanks to those who've already contributed limericks for the special edition later this month. It's definitely not too late to try your hand at a COG limerick of your own. Next time we'll share some first lines submitted so far...

BE WARNED: This weekend we're publishing a selection of Christmas Carols for COG members past & present. You'll definitely want to sing along to these!

WCG's Michael Morrison seems to be a hit with some ex Seventh-day Adventists. Adventist dissident Dale Ratzlaf is promoting his book.

COG7 members may remember Steve Kurtright. Steve was a high profile figure in the Denver based church until he rethought the COG distinctives. His story is told in an article on Dale Ratzlaf's LAM website (PDF format). You can also hear one of Steve's recent sermons called Beasts Gone Wild (on the book of Revelation) preached at Grace Place - it sounds a lot like Greg Albrecht's preachments on the subject, but without the hype and fluff. 

The final installment of Seamus' salute to the season is now online. 

Want to read more by Dennis Diehl? Den's material is now also appearing on

Time to head for the beach: This is the final upload for 2005. AW is taking a long Southern summer break, and will reappear in the new year. Site development during the next few weeks may mean the site will be down for some of that time.

AU documents: As mentioned last time, PDF documents relating to Ambassador University have been made available for the years 1998 (1997 IRS form) through 2004 (2003 form). The 97 form and the one for 2003 are now online, the others will be linked when we return in 2006. However we'll gladly email the complete set to any webmaster who wants to put them online before then.

Deck the House of Herb with holly: Earlier we mentioned that the former home of Herbert W. Armstrong was looking particularly festive at present. Here's the evidence. 

Late limericks: This was one of a series by Brianna, but the only one we can probably publish ;-)

There once was a preacher from Oregon
Whose sermons were cryptic and boring-long
He jabbered in riddles
His jowls flapped with spittle ...
The chair-backs were perfect for snorin' on

And then there's Mel:

There once was a church named Worldwide
Where many a boy and girl died
Lack of med'cal attention
And perhaps I should mention
That many a good brain got fried

There once was a church not so grand
Whose members lived on it's quicksand
Their minds started floppin'
While the doctrines were droppin'
'Twas all part of Ole Joe's mighty plan

Ehrman interviewed: Earlier this month we mentioned Bart Ehrman's new book Misquoting Jesus. Your can listen to a 38 minute NPR interview with Ehrman in which he covers some fascinating territory.

Website launch affected: Even before it was officially launched the website has been sidelined following legal maneuvers by an Australian sect.

UCG - reigning in national churches? Does Clyde Kilough exercise his presidency over the UCG worldwide, or is he just high-honcho-in-chief of the American church? The lads on the COE have been discussing this issue, and guess which way the discussion is going? Read the minutes on the UCG site.

Unexpected Herbal scholarship: From Jared Olar on XCG

I discovered that, unbeknownst to, well, anyone at all, Herbert W. Armstrong apparently was a masterful translator of koine Greek documents.

I kid you not. In particular, according to Early Christian Writings, he actually translated the Didache! Yes, there it is, a hyperlink to a Didache “English Translation by Herbert W. Armstrong”!


Then Jared goes on to spoil it all by explaining that it was just a goof up with the attribution. 

Dysfunctional families: I have to agree with Mark Lepire's comment. Since leaving the cultish history of many of the WCG/splinter groups behind, my wife and I have discusses this issue repeatedly (notice I did not say leaving the keeping of the Sabbath and Holy Days). When we look back at so many who were attracted to the approach Mr. Armstrong and the ministry underneath him used from the inception of WCG (notice I didn't say the truth of the Sabbath and Holy Days) we seem to find a repeating theme.

We noticed that there seems to be a high number of followers who came from dysfunctional family situations with either an abusive or absent father operating scheme. These people seemed to be attracted to the dictatorial and dominating yet "loving" (tongue heavily in cheek) atmosphere created in the church. Almost the same mentality as a child who lives in an abusive household. That child will take the abuse for a long time because at least it is some attention vs. getting none. We started thinking about many of the people including our own families and how they came into the WCG and a similar pattern appeared. Dysfunctional families and or poor family ties that seem to lead people to look for a system that would replicate that same dynamic in a church setting and that would make them feel a shred of specialness because of having special knowledge or truth.

I know this will step on many toes but I also know that if many go back and look at the history of family dynamics that led their family to the WCG a similar pattern will appear. I have hundreds of friends from this history who have this pattern. 

Stephen M. Clouthier

Infidelity? I think Infidel has missed a very important fact. While UCG may have 450 ministers, how many of them are salaried? The vast majority are non-salaried elders--who hold jobs outside the empoy of UCG. I do not know the current number of paid pastors, but I am pretty sure it would be less than 1/3 of the 450 (maybe even closer to 1/4). So somebody needs to redo their math....


Doctor Kuhn: Wondered if you noticed the board member on the Ambassador Hall Buzz article listed board member Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn, the Geneva Companies 5 Park Place Irvine, CA 92614. Ambassador's prodigy Kuhn is now an internationally known investment banker and president of the Geneva Companies. If permitted, Kuhn would have obtained the WCG the best financial deal possible for the WCG out of the campus sales. Most recently he has authored the only official authorized biography of Jiang Zemin, former General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of the People's Republic of China.

Date setting: With Spanky first, and now Dankenbring using that magical 2012 number makes me think they are running scared as the year 2013 brings part of the Feast of Tabernacles in the SUMMER, and with the old adage of" keeping the Holy Days in their Seasons", would not quite fit. Even the LCG calendar guru admits a major "adjustment" needs to be made if we go past that time frame. So logically they feel the end must come or we will be in a place of safety etc. to make this hooey work. After all with all the scattered masses, the "Big Three" cannot lose anymore of the sheeple to rational thought. Who would be left to pay their paychecks.

rod 2

AW: Hmm. Those of us in the Southern hemisphere have always kept the festivals out of "due season", so I guess there's precedent.

Sydney riots: Wow! A remark about Sydney being a good target for punishment and look what happens! Clashes between Ephraimites and Ishmaelites! "(Sydney) suburbs erupted in violence and vandalism..." (Daily Telegraph) I can imagine the mileage HWA would have made out of a coincidence like that.


Noel meets Yumpin Jimeny: "Noel" means "no God"? That's cute. Exactly what you might expect from someone trained in Worldwide. I might have coined that gem myself 15 years ago. But it makes about as much sense as "At One Ment" (with God), which only works if "Yom Kip Ment" means the same thing in Hebrew.

No, the painful truth is that "Noel" means exactly the opposite. According to Herman HEY!, the noted WCG historian, "Noel" actually means "our God". "Noel" is a derivative of the Latin "nostro" and the Hebrew "El". The Latin was derived from the ancient Aramaic, which Jesus spoke. Few people realize that Aramaic was originally spoken by a tribal group known as the Aryans, who had a genetic defect which precluded the pronunciation of the letters S and L (kind of hard to pronounce those letters when your tongue is attached to the inside of your cheeks). Hence, the word "Yule" is actually from the Aramaic for "Jesus", who was named for Julius Caesar, a local hero in Palestine at the time of the savior's birth. "Julius", of course, contains both an L and an S, so the Aramaic rendered it as "Jule", but as in modern German, the J is pronounced as a Y. So "Jule" and "Jesus" were pronounced as "Yule" and "Yehu" (pronounced "Yahoo"). (An interesting sidebar to this is the term "Yumpin Jimeny", which has similar roots and has filtered down to the Swedish language.)

So, you see, Christmas really is all about Jesus. I read it myself in the National Enquirer.

John B



Pam's Nitpicker's Guide: The irrepressible Pam Dewey has done it again!

You've heard of my Field Guide to the Wild World of Religion:  And you have probably seen the ads for the movie Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

As a public service, I have now created a new guide: The Nitpicker's Guide to the Galaxy-- of COG Doctrinal Debates. 

A while back, someone on one of the forums asked if there was something on the Net like a "Dummies Guide" to the calendar issues in the COG world. He didn't really want to dig deeply into the topic, at least for the time being. He seemed to just want to know a bit about "what all the fuss is about."

At the time, I was not aware of any such Dummies-style guide, so decided to remedy that. But rather than just limit it to the calendar topic, I figured I might as well make it a broader general guide to a variety of subjects.

The articles on the Nitpicker's Guide website are not offered as comprehensive treatments of the topics under consideration. They are intended to be merely helpful overviews, and they include some background info on the historical development of each debate within the Sabbatarian COG world.

The primary aim of each section on a particular topic is not to attempt to settle the debates that swirl around it, but to provide a brief rundown of the issues of the debate for those who are unfamiliar with the subject. I make no pretense of total neutrality ... I do indeed share a personal perspective on the issues, but at the same time I attempt to outline and clarify the positions of both sides. The emphasis is on encouraging readers to do whatever further research they choose to, and come to their own conclusions on the topic.

At present I have included material on the Calendar Controversies and the Exclusive Sacred Name position. The Menu has links to pages which will contain future content, as I have the time to complete it, about topics including Hebrew Roots, Passover Timing, and more.

However, there are other sections on the site that are already completed and ready to read. They include a Lexicon which briefly defines many words used in articles on the site, as well as identifying a number of people; a Links page; a FAQ ("Frequently Asked Questions"); and a section I call "The Keys," which offers general guidelines for dealing with the controversial claims of various teachers. The Keys section also includes an article condensed from a seminar I've given titled "Flea Powder for Itching Ears."

I hope this material will be a helpful resource, particularly to fellowship groups which may be experiencing turmoil over various doctrinal controversies.

Go Pam!

Where have all the dollars gone, long time passing... The following item comes from a guest correspondent:

AC closed its doors August 31, 1997, but did not file the much overdue tax return covering that year until November 16, 1999, risking IRS penalties.

Line 54 of the 1997 return states 6.8 million dollars owned in the form of marketable securities.

Line 57 of the same return states the original basis of AC land, buildings and equipment at $27.8 million.

Library books cost $1,404,708; Computer equipment $355,938.

Line 100 of the return lists sale of assets bringing in $1.4 million in cash.

So what happened to some of those tithe dollars?

Statement 4 on the return may help provide some of the answers.

Line 22 of Statement 4 states that $5,913, 441 went back to the WCG, exclusive of the sale of the Big Sandy real estate.

Another $130,000 of the funds was transferred out to fund the then newly established Ambassador Center at Azusa Pacific University to provide assistance at Azusa for worthy church members.

Yet another $395,000 was directly paid to Azuza to provide funding for scholarships for selected WCG members attending Azusa. And what church member would be more worthy at the time none other than Joseph Tkach II, attending Azusa to obtain his nondenominational degree in theology?

The transfer of cash back into the church strongbox and the funding of Azusa tell how $6,438,441 in Big Sandy assets came to be distributed.

Our correspondent, let's call him Mike, has provided supporting documentation in PDF format. These are IRS 990 forms for Ambassador University/ AU Endowment Trust (1998 through 2004). We'll make these available this weekend.


13 December

John Robinson: The Journal is carrying a  story about former WN editor John Robinson on its website. The following is an excerpt.

The United Church of God congregation in the Big Sandy area ran the following item in its printed bulletin for the Sabbath of Dec. 10:

"John Robinson is in the hospital in Austin with advanced prostate cancer. Your prayers would be appreciated." 

Mr. Robinson is a UCG member and elder and founder, in 1995, of In Transition, an independent Church of God newspaper.

John Robinson's father, David Robinson (a senior WCG minister), wrote the hugely influential 1980 book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.

Major update ahead: The next major update of AW, including the Mailbag, is still a couple of days off due to the editor's work schedule. Thanks for your patience.



WCG's Xmas bash: WCG has held its annual Christmas party. This year it was held at the California Institute of Technology in the Athenaeum (pictured) which promotes itself as one of the most prestigious private clubs in the country.

"The Athenaeum has been named a Platinum Club of America. According to the Club Leaders Forum, The Athenaeum stands among the top four percent of Ameirca's [sic] 5,000 private clubs in terms of perceived excellence. This recognition was based on the results of a survey (of over 6,000 private club managers and presidents) conducted to identify America's top private clubs. The survey examined country, golf, athletic, yacht and city clubs."

That may sound swanky, but several eyebrows were reportedly elevated when it became apparent that WCG wanted an el cheapo deal: the cheapest hors d'oeuvres possible, for example, and "all the trimmings" being interpreted as cost trimmings! At least one Cal Tech staff member, who spoke to an AW correspondent, was far from impressed.

And while we're jingling a few bells, old time members might be interested to know that the former Apostolic mansion in Pasadena, home to Herbert W. Armstrong, has been bedecked for the seasonal jollities. There are decorated trees, festive lights... and the tinsel treatment has extended to the former AC women's dorm, Terrace Villa.

Goodness gracious St. Ignatius: Who'd have thought the second century Catholic bishop Ignatius of Antioch would figure in a impassioned twenty-first century COG debate? First Bob Thiel, a convert from Catholicism to COGism, promulgated a pro-Sabbath reconstruction of Ignatius' teachings in The Journal, leading to a response from Jared Olar, a convert from COGism to Catholicism, on the Web. Bob struck back with multiple references to "the anti-COG crowd" (who could they be do you think?) which "does not seem to wish to believe what the Greek says in Ignatius' Letter to the Magnesians", while Jared - with the bit now firmly between his teeth - has just launched the first part of a detailed follow-up refutation of Bob's article. This could go the full 12 rounds.

Bob has now moved his focus on the COGwriter site to Linus. Linus? The only Linus most of us know about is the kid in the Peanuts comic strip (no mean theologian in his own right). Bob's reference is, however, to the proto-Pope of that name (the fellow who, according to legend, became the 2nd bishop of Rome). All of which is, you'd have to say, a very long march from standard COG apologetics. 

Come to think of it, though, the little guy with the security blanket could make an excellent Pastor General, though he might have to talk Mike Feazell around on that Great Pumpkin stuff first...

Meanwhile, it's high time to PANIC: ... but only if you take former Plain Truth writer Willie Dankenbring seriously when he states (as quoted by Bob Thiel):

This year – from Sept-Oct.2005 to Sept.-Oct.2006 – this very year in which we find ourselves, today – may well constitute the very year which begins the countdown to ARMAGEDDON and the COMING OF THE MESSIAH, seven years from now – which seems most likely to occur in the year 2012 A.D.!

Yeah, right. Why is it that the drama queens of prophecy always leave the back door open ("may well", "seems most likely") so they can always weasel out of confronting their errors? AW is preparing to make a few predictions of its own as we head into a new year, but they're a tad different from Willie's (and we're not talking about "Bible prophecy").

Missing footnote: The March 17, 1995 MalNet document announcing, in effect, the formation of UCG, included these two sentences: "The reorganization will involve local congregations having a much more important role. In fact, they will have autonomy." Whatever became of this? Do I hear "betrayal of principles"?

Of course not. Apparently the copy of the MalNet document made available to AW inadvertently omitted the footnote, in very small print, that was attached to these sentences. After much painstaking research, a reconstruction of that note has reached my hands. It reads: "But only until such time as we have consolidated our power. We will then wrest control back. Recalcitrant resisters will be painted as rebels and malcontents. They will be dealt with by summary dismissal or removal. And they will be anathematized so that others may hear -- and fear."

Reg Killingley

Pondering Petra: Nope, DP, what I said was that since HWA's death there has been a growing interest in Petra [not because of his death]. Access to information to Petra via the internet does is one way that interest in the site has risen from all sorts: historians, laymen etc, etc.

Craig White

Advanced calculus? I sincerely hope that Dr. Richard F. Griffiths' doctorate is not in mathematics. There are approximately 450 ministers in the UCG. Now lets do a little math. Lets see, we take 12,756,680 dollars and divide by the number of ministers (450) and (WOW!); the cost per minister is 28,348.18 dollars. While the UCG ministers may not be investing their treasure in heaven, may I urge Dr. Griffiths to invest some of his in elementary mathematics, but on the other hand, it is indeed difficult to lampoon others with facts, particularly when fiction is so much more entertaining.


Teach Yourself Strine: Richard, please get it right! ...
Mate! It's the "Melbourne Demons" not devils. Please don't throw apostate aspersions on our hallowed game!! And yes the MCG is the "Melbourne Cricket Ground".

So that you understand, we don't "root" for our teams. Please get the cultural meaning of this word "root" correct for "down under" usage. Please use "support" or perhaps our vernacular "barrack". We "barrack for ... our teams. We don't "root" for them? ... And the MCG is more than just for Aussie Rules. The quaint English game played with a cork and leather ball known as cricket, is also played there. And yes, it is the biggest temple in the city and state. I mean where else would you expect to find most of Melbourne's population on a Sabbath?

John Karagiannidis

AW: Well, I've always suspected Aussie sports teams had a demon problem ;-) and here's the proof... the Aussie cricketers have just thrashed New Zealand's Blackcaps and, incredibly, no underarm bowling was required!

Shredding Trumpets: Now don't be too hasty. Combine the "shreds" with some suitable adhesive material, mix well and put in some suitable mold in a vice and let set. Building material can be made from the "shreds". A brand new outhouse maybe?



we're at last able to take you back to a pivotal moment in the formation of what became the United Church of God

The Saint Patrick's Day Plot: Thanks to a former Malnet subscriber and a US-based friend of this site who transferred the document to PDF format, we're at last able to take you back to a pivotal moment in the formation of what became the United Church of God. Here is the dream and the promise that motivated so many who left WCG with high hopes for a new, collaborative body without an overbearing headquarters structure. That dream may have subsequently been betrayed and shattered, but it still shines through in this plea issued March 17, 1995.  

We'd love to add to the Malnet archives, making them freely accessible to all those interested in the events that shook and shaped the Churches of God. If you can help, please contact us.



Hmm: A notice on the WCG website: "Our websites will be down from Wednesday evening, 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time, to Thursday morning, 7:00 a.m." No further explanation. What could cult HQ be up to? A little renaming perhaps? Let the speculation commence.

Addendum: We've since heard that there was a planned power outage in Pasadena at this time (too bad it wasn't a power-freak outage...)

Dave peers in the mirror: This quote from the Packostle appears on Gary Scott's XCG blog

One of the things that the apostasy has generated is a lot of big mouthed people, who also have access to the internet, and they spew hate. They are dead men walking. They just absolutely are murderous.

You have been warned!

PTM makeover: The PTM website has a new, uncluttered look.

UCG lectures British Catholics: The Catholic Church in Britain has released a sixty page booklet, The Gift of Scripture, on the role of the Bible. It says a number of balanced and sensible things:

Nothing particularly controversial that would shock any well-read Christian. Alas, the good bishops had better watch out, fundamentalist apologists are not amused (you'd think they'd be more concerned with the beam in their own eye), and UCG's own resident rottweiler, John Ross Schroeder, had clamped his teeth firmly onto the Roman ankle with an article in November's World News & Prophecy. Schroeder launches a volley of decontextualized proof texts and then plugs such weighty UCG literary gems as The Book of Revelation Unveiled. Doubtless the British bishops are quaking in their boots...

Related link: Watch World News

Flurry's folly in flames (1): Don't burn any of your PCG or any other church literature! Keep it. Years down the road you can prove they were / are idiots!! Don't allow them to remake themselves and sucker innocent people in the coming months. Old literature is proof of their garbage. God's word never changes, but the words of liars and thieves do.


Flurry's folly in flames (1): We've had burning bans here, so it is environmentally unfriendly to burn [Church of God] materials. That is why we invested in a shredder: We can take all those publications, shred them and send them to the recycle bin without fear of harming the environment or polluting the minds of hapless ones who might find the issues interesting and continue the scourge. Recycle is worth considering and is nearly as satisfying as burning.

Douglas Becker

AW: Nah, the flames can't be beaten for effect ;-)

Tom's prophecy problem: Tom  said (12/06/05 mailbag); "...the illogical belief that HWA was a false prophet..." I ask Tom if he believes, then, that the US & Britain have been taken captive by Germany and that Jesus has returned in 1975 as Armstrong prophesied in the book "The US & Britain in Prophecy" and the booklet "1975 in Prophecy"? If those things didn't happen that would make old Herbie a false prophet by biblical standards. Come on, be honest. 

AW: No further correspondence on this subject.

Harry & Herb: With rare exceptions, children who are well grounded in authentic Christianity generally have no problem with fairy tales such as “Harry Potter”. Such children either aren’t interested in “Harry Potter”, or they accept the stories as harmless fun. Either way, it’s no big deal. Likewise, with rare exceptions, children well grounded in authentic Christianity generally have no problem with fairy tales like Armstrongism. Such children either aren’t interested in Armstrongism, or they see it as very harmful and completely avoid it. Either way, it’s no big deal.

Mark Lepire

Petra: [Craig White] claims that because of HWA's death there is now more interest in Petra. What Craig fails to realize is that since Herb's death knowledge has multiplied considerably because of the internet and there is more access to information now than there was in the 1950's-80's.

Turn to a travel magazine, website or travel pages in a weekend newspaper and you will often find special tours and deals to visit Petra. There would have been little exposure to Petra in the media 20 years ago. But since the death of Herbert W Armstrong, the city has gained world fame and fascination.


AW: Craig has recently produced a pro-Petra document on the Place of Safety and its history in Armstrongism.

AW missed: Thanks so much for letting us know that you were down for a bit. I was worried that something had gone wrong with my ISP and was on the verge of making very unnecessary changes. I absolutely LOVE AW!

AW: Aw shucks!

Forget New Orleans - zap Sydney! I think Dr. B gave a good, rational analysis regarding the selection of New Orleans as a target. When selecting a target to hit, outside a hurricane zone, consider Sydney – legalized (male and female) prostitution openly advertised; the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, endorsed by the city council; conspicuous drug usage, along with government funded needle exchange and ‘pure’ heroin at ‘shooting galleries’; and a large non-Ephraimite population brought about by the multicultural immigration policy – it’s got the lot! Apart from the odd hailstorm, bushfire and bad water scare, they’ve escaped.


AW: You are poking the borax, right?

UCG good ol' boys: I would have to say that Dr. Griffiths summary of UCG's financial condition sort of shot down Dennis' glossy contribution in regards to the good ole boys or the old guard.

Myra McQueen

Blowin' in the wind: Blow the Trumpet appears to be the Eternal Church of God:


AW: Maybe so, but that's not what they've told us... what they gain by being coy is debatable.


06 December

Flurry burning: It seems Gerry the Wonder Apostle has sent forth the word to his loyal minions to get rid of their old PCG literature. Presumably Gerry is embarrassed by the ludicrous claims he's made previously in print, so now the dumb sheep must dispose of the evidence of foot in mouth.


The photograph shows how one PCG family member leapt at the chance of working out their frustration by purging the house of PCG propaganda (see the mailbag).

Ignatius again: A detailed response to the idea that early Catholic church father Ignatius of Antioch was a Sabbath keeper, has been posted on XCG by Jared Olar. Over to you Bob...

CRMI: Another mystery solved. CRMI stands for Christian Renewal Ministries International - Who are these people? Rick and Susan Richardson in Auburn Washington (just note, ahem, that Box 111 address). They also seem to call themselves Fellowship of Messiah. These are Jewish Roots people, admirers of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi. A number of links are broken, though some might uncharitably suggest that this applies to more than just a few links. (Douglas Becker)

Archives return: The complete AW archives will appear again this month, and the first few additions are already linked at the bottom of this page with more being progressively added. AW first appeared in 2001 as "Update" on the old MD website, then morphed into a weekly newsletter the following year using the present name before later becoming a regularly updated monthly page. In the early days email was published separately. Limited space on our previous server meant that older material had to be pared back. Both the "Update" issues and the early mail pages will now be available. 

Great Deception: Saturday Night Live’s Church Lady would have enjoyed Blow the Trumpet’s video The Great Deception. Who are these folks whose “research” comes from the World Book Encyclopedia and a misapplied definition from the Oxford English Dictionary. It reminds me of the exegesis done by one of our former WCG pastor’s mother, a woman revered in our congregation for her hours of Bible study and “research.” She was thinking about Christmas, and she thought about the word Noel. Never mind that it means “Christmas” or literally, “birth,” this woman was wise: “No” means the same thing in every language (at least every one she could think of), and “El” in Hebrew means “God,” hence Noel = No God. Those pagans who celebrate Christmas are denying the true God!

Kathleen Kakacek

Contraband burns: Dear allies at Ambassador Watch, my parents were visited by a couple PCG ministers and were told not to read their old PCG literature. So I snuck into my parent's library and did them a favor by disposing of the "contraband material" in the appropriate fashion... a good old fashioned book burning. I did my parents a favor by burning their cultic papers, and probably did their ministers a favor too...

A concerned son

Acronyms (1): You mean there's an MCG listed in The Journal? I thought the only people who "worshiped" on the Sabbath at the Melbourne Cricket Ground were rooting for Australian Rules Football teams! (And isn't Melbourne's team called the Devils? Shudder....)

Richard Burkard

Acronyms (2): Just in case no one else is obsessive enough to let you know the details on these ...

Christian Believers United
Hebrew Roots-type ministry with HQ in North Carolina

Mid-Missouri Church of God
Lake of the Ozarks area
Small but active independent congregation
middle-of-the-road COG roots

But "MCG" is still a mystery even to me.


Rod and the Coulter translation: I found one of those [sermons], RCM's pre-Passover tape "Our Battle with Satan", where he goes to Matthew 27:49 and says how the KJV, NKJV and Strongs Concordance are wrong and elaborates on this verse like a reading from page 396 of Coulter's New Testament with some of the comments Fred had at the bottom of this page.

rod 2

Treasure in heaven? A quick perusal of the latest UCG financial statement (UnitedNews November 2005) reveals the UCG spends three times as much money on its ministers and leaders than it does on the public proclamation of the gospel (12,756,680 for Field Ministry, Home Office, Council of Elders, and Insurance Plans versus 4,077,687 for public proclamation of the gospel). The gap in resources devoted by the UCG to serving themselves instead of helping their fellow man is huge. Jesus Christ taught (see Matthew 6:19-21) that it is not what people say but rather what they do--especially with their money--that indicates whether or not they truly are servants of God. By this standard the UCG Council of Elders Aaron Dean, Robert Dick, Jim Franks, Clyde Kilough, Victor Kubik, Les McCullough, Joel Meeker, Larry Salyer, Mario Seiglie, Richard Thompson, Leon Walker, Anthony Wasilkoff and the rest of the paid UCG ministry have told all of us where their treasure is and clearly it is not being invested in Heaven.

Dr. Richard F. Griffiths 

Witchery: Two further questions: 1. Where are the verifiable stories of children being given over to witchcraft by watching Harry Potter. I would like to have proof of that statistically and then I could start looking at that statistic as a percentage of those who view the movies in childhood. In the original Star Wars the evil side makes use of the dark force, very close to witchcraft I would say. Thankfully I have not succumbed and made it to adulthood without being given over to witchcraft even though I watched the original Star Wars and multiple times even.

2. If a child is drawn to witchcraft from watching a movie I have two thoughts? A. Why are parents allowing their children to watch movies at ages where they cannot separate fiction from reality, and decipher right from wrong ? Fault the parents

B. Why would a child be drawn to witchcraft after watching a movie at all if this truly occurs? Are they predisposed somehow or conditioned. This would be a more fun and interesting question to try and answer from a truly factual perspective.

Steve Clouthier

Malnet: I have sent a copy of one of the later posts - an interesting one that describes how UCG would be started - to [an AW contact]. Let me know if he doesn't get it in a couple of days. We were not members of malnet - but were sent copies which we made copies of and sent on to others. Some of the first ones we received DID have the forward & backwards looking faces which I thought was apropos of the situation. But evidently that logo was not original to malnet and was added by the person who was forwarding us copies. I started the malnet topic hoping to find out who the originators of the forum were. They deserve a lot of credit and were a lifeline to those of us who found ourselves forced into a corner we didn't want to be in... 

Logically indestructible? If what is posted on the Lake of Fire web site is a deconstruction of what I posited as a logical deduction to the illogical belief that HWA was a false prophet, then the writer must have used high explosives in his failed attempt to deconstruct that which is logically indestructible. For the nonsense I have read there, is completely irrational, and could only be the product of an insane mind. 

Tom Mahon

AW: This is an excerpt only. A better place to post lengthy comments relating to the blog entry would be on the Lake of Fire blog.


04 December.

Blow-ho-ho the Trumpet: The writers at Blow the Trumpet have earned a reputation for irritating RCG cultmaster Dave Pack with their uncompromising position against dining out on the Sabbath. Now it seems they're launching out into Kscribe's multi-media territory - and they've got the jolly old gentlemen in the Coca Cola colors in their crosshairs - blasting him with music from Carmina Burana. Just in time for eggnog and plastic mistletoe, lo, the Three Wise Videos. A quick look at one, The Great Deception, left this writer pretty-much speechless! (There are further links on that page to the other two).

To millions he is the most venerated and adored person in the world
Churches host parties featuring him
Parents speak of his exploits
Children long for his arrival
They pray to him
They seek his blessing and his favor
He resides in the north
He travels by night
His chariot is drawn by magical beasts
He judges the good and the bad
He writes their names in a book
His vesture is red
His hair is white as snow
And when he comes he descends into FIRE
Who is he and where did he come from?

Yes, Santa is Satan! I guess, as the carol goes, "you better watch out!" And when, we wonder, will the bold trumpeters finally get over their compulsion for anonymity and reveal their identity.

New site readies for launch: Who is behind coxcult? We haven't been told, and we're not asking (and to anticipate any possible misunderstanding, no, it isn't related to Ambassador Watch). We'll be following its launch, however, with great interest.

Very weird stuff: South African HWA devotee Geoffrey R. Neilson has a new website and is sharing his profound insight on matters eschatological. The Great Tribulation begins (Geoff "speculates") on March 29 2007, and did you know that "Arnold Schwarzenegger (an Assyrian descendant?) became Governor of Manasseh's biggest State...2 Sun Cycles after Ambassador College started in California..."?

29383 18 Feb 2007
Possible time of the return of the endtime Elijah and son as God's Two Witnesses, as the two final Lampstands representing the Philadelphia and Laodicean eras (theoretical). 40 days inclusive before theoretical start of the 1260 Days. 8x(923+40) days inclusive after HWA's death. 923 is the gematria for "resurrection" in Greek. 8 can also symbolize resurrection. See the section "Can Elijah be one of the Two Witnesses?" at the end of the page entitled 7 Proofs HWA is Elijah. 383 is the gematria for sign in Matthew 24. 1118 weeks (inclusive to the day) from HWA's last Feast of Trumpets sermon. 1118 is the gematria in the Book of Daniel for "the handwriting on the wall".

Well, whataya know!

Mailbag updates: For the rest of this month the mailbag feature will run alongside regular updates, rather than on a weekly basis.

UCG: Brian struck an interesting chord with me on why UCG seems to generally attract less criticism. UCG has never personally bothered me. I know the guys involved and they are not the ones, in my experience, who are anything but sincere to keep what seemed right going as "God's Church." I don't think they do any more real theological homework, and really can't, on Biblical origins, historicity, errancy etc, but that's normal when one wants to sing the same song, just better and never consider the song might not have proper lyrics.

I believe as well that since they try to change leadership and at least address these issues that have so badly served WCG in the past, and still do, they lessen their target profile...

Dennis Diehl

Editing sermons: I don't consider myself a member of LCG, but I've attended services with them (as well as other xCG's) for many years. I've never been involved with their
HQ, so I'm not an "insider." Just an observer.

I never noticed any editing of their sermons until shortly after LCG started. Possibly late 1999 or early 2000. It is often very obvious - you see a conspicuous jump in the video. And it happens in most sermons, particularly those by RCM. Let's face it. RCM is embarrassing. He puts his foot in his mouth and says weird things quite often. I've seen people in LCG cringe at some of the things he's said. In the old GCG there was no editing, and his sermons were either released in their entirety or suppressed.

RCM's foot in mouth sermons became grist for the mill during the GCG split in 1998. Some of the sermons he gave outside of HQ would touch on subjects he normally wouldn't approach. I've heard local (non HQ) sermons where he talked about such normally verboten subjects as New Moons or eating in restaurants on the Sabbath. Perhaps he didn't realize that some of these sermons were recorded. In any case, these statements got him into hot water. I remember Dave Pack called him "loony" because of his New Moons sermon, which ended up being posted on the internet.

There were also a few sermons where he would say things that contradicted other things he'd said in HQ sermons and/or publications. Thus many people felt he'd been caught in a lie. Then there are the sweet reminiscences from the good old days. Many a time I've heard him tell the tale of his and Dick Armstrong's visit to Rome back in the 1950's. There they happened to observe an appearance by the Pope, and the crowd's reaction to it. He would always get excited during this description, saying VERY LOUDLY that these people were worshipping THEIR GOD (the Pope). Invariably, he would describe how the Italian women would be crying "VIVA PAPA!!! VIVA PAPA!!! VIVA PAPA!!!", with their tears running down onto their heaving breasts - a detail he never failed to emphasize.

This is but one example. There are many others. RCM is getting old, and like most older men he loves to talk about the good old days of yore. These stories can get embarrassing, especially when he shouts (as he tends to do) to the point where you can actually see the spittle flying from his mouth. RCM also has an uncomfortable (to LCG's legal department) tendency to drop names, or to give so many hints who he is talking about that you can't help but know who it was. I think these are the kinds of things - in addition to the sneezes and coughs - that are being edited out of LCG's HQ sermons.

Neither good nor evil - just cheesed off!

Film metaphor (1): I have to tell you I get so tired of reading or listening to empty headed arguments coming from COGers regarding the satanic, cultic and utter evil that are these films. I have a couple of ideas for these people or church groups

1. Stop taking yourselves so seriously. I might be good for you to realize that very few people care what a corporate church's' opinion is on movies these days. Also it might be good for you to take an English literature class and understand the use of metaphor, simile, satire, symbolism etc

2. Take responsibility for your own families. Stop worrying about what everyone else is viewing on the movie screen or how their viewing it and just monitor yourself and your family. That is a big enough job for most of us with families to do. If the Church of God families had done this well in the past, there wouldn't be near the suicide, divorce, depression and dysfunction rates that we see in all COG groups. I still continue to see those in leadership positions in all the COG's that will harshly judge and condemn others for what they themselves will allow within their own families. Take thy mote out of thy eye first.

3. The fact that Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars and the like are fantasy is lost. NOTE: THESE STORIES ARE NOT REAL. Not to mention that the real underlying subplot to all these is the eternal battle that occurs between good and evil, God and Satan, right and wrong, truth and falsehood and the salvation that comes through good, righteousness or Jesus Christ. If these people would see metaphor they might understand that what the author is really getting at is the same timeless battles that are replayed hundred of times from Genesis to Revelation only in a secular form.

4. Lighten up and enjoy life, we only go this way one time.

Steve Clouthier

Film metaphor (2): I never thought I would ever be attacked for using such a reliable source as Funk and Wagnall's encyclopedia! ... I do hope you are right about Harry Potter being harmless, but I have heard stories about people getting into witchcraft because of it and witchcraft is NOT harmless.

David W. Berryman

Generous Joe after all? I'm no lawyer or accountant, but I think this [handling of gift vouchers for WCG employees] is very likely simply a matter of following the applicable payroll and taxation laws. If so, the attempt to paint the WCG gift as something else falls flat.


LCG scholarship: It is not too hard for Bob Thiel to "make a stretch" on Ignatius being a Sabbath Keeper when those at Charlotte in the Editorial Department and those writing the booklets and articles do just that. I have in my possession actual replies from LCG (unedited comments in the margins in red) that a friend of mine received from LCG. My friend went to LCG HQ with a problem in scholarship... Seems that John Ogwyn's booklet "God's Church Through the Ages" (1995 edition, page 40) quoted a reference to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica on "What the Bogomils teach?". Ogywn [seems to have misquoted]. My friend pointed out what actually was said in the article, and questioned LCG on this point, as when it is read correctly from the source it shows [they were] not even close to a COG as we know it. 

The response from LCG Editorial shows that how far they will go to "cover up". The response stated on the subject of the Bogomils being a continuance of the True church: "We do not say they were doing right - that is why Christ had things against them." Also noted... was "John Rejected E B Bias" (EB being Encyclopedia Britannica). My question is an obvious one: why would someone quote out of context and when caught use this excuse? After all, why quote something you don't believe in anyway? There are many more gems in this packet from my friend (I don't think he even attends anymore). So don't be surprised if they continue to make up things. They just go on and on and try to cover up it all to make their interpretation work.

Rod 2

AW: The butchering of church history has a long provenance in COG circles, but there are honest attempts to clean up the act, something Doug Ward has written about recently on XCG.



Double Journal: In an effort to catch up to the planned publishing schedule, Dixon Cartwright has produced a combined September-October issue of The Journal, which is now in the mail. Subscribers will, however, still get the correct number of issues.

Ignatius... the Rod Meredith of the second century?

This edition features an article on that well known Sabbath-keeper Saint Ignatius of Antioch - by the celebrated patristic scholar Bob Thiel. According to Bob the Catholics (and everyone else) have been reading Ignatius incorrectly. Turns out he was a Sabbath keeper urging the church to stand firm! This is a novel theory, to say the least (try reading Ignatius online and see if you can imagine him as a Sabbath-keeping proto-COG leader). So where is Jared Olar when you really need him?

Another essay comes from the prolific pen of Seventh-day Adventist celebrity-at-large and end-times entrepreneur Samuele Bacchiocchi. The article appears to be lifted in its entirety from Dr. B's fantabulous End Time Newsletter (number 138 - scroll down below the advertorial content). 

There is also a tribute to the late Jim Ross. You can read the front and back pages online.

Jingle bells: On December 20 AW will upload a pre-Solstice special edition featuring limericks penned by readers and some innovative new lyrics to well known Xmas carols by columnist Dennis Diehl. Here's a sampler to whet your appetite - or send you away shrieking, depending on your reaction :-)

There once was a man named Dave Pack
That's spelled "megalomaniac."
"I am an apostle.
Your brain? That's a fossil.
Defer to me, or I'll attack!"

To the tune of "Hark the Herald Angels"

Hark the Living Church doth sing
Sooon we'll have a brand new King
Crosses are what we don't use
Keep that crap out of the news!

Joyful is not how to cry
Rather that all men must die
It's so cool, it's only us
Leaving on God's holy Bus...

Hark the Living Church doth crank
If you come, HE will not spank.

It's not too late to send in your own improvisation. If you need some additional inspiration in the carol department, check out the December 2002 AW (AW32) and scroll to the bottom of the page. And please, someone make Brian happy (see today's mailbag) and write a limerick or carol about UCG!

Our minister has twice complained to the entire congregation about the inconvenience when requested to drive through heavy traffic to anoint the sick

A healthy ministry: The November 2005 United News provided their financial statement for fiscal year ended June 2005. UCG indicates cash and cash equivalents of over seven million dollars. Those who may be labeled as cynics would see this as an intentional institutional wealth accumulation for the humble UCG servants of God. The Vatican should have it so easy.

More interesting was the millions allocated for the insurance and benefit plan. Obviously the UCG ministry has trust in a premium health plan. One may glean that they do not waste their time with anointing oil or cheap prayer cloths, as they do as a ritual for the tithe paying flock. They pull out that health insurance card in the emergency room, then as a face saving after thought, demand prayers for healing for himself or his overweight wife. This is a sensitive issue in our UCG congregation. Our minister has twice complained to the entire congregation about the inconvenience when requested to drive through heavy traffic to anoint the sick.

The healing doctrines of the COGs are laughable....what will be the emphasis of the next doctrinal study paper about healing? Are the ministers healed according to their faith in the health insurance plan? Or are they healed by their faith in ....whatever. How are the tithe payers to be healed when they ask for anointing? Is the humble servant of God providing the anointing graciously, or is he reluctantly taking time out from his busy fifteen hour work week to tend to the sick? 


Editing sermon tapes - and quoting Fred: In reference to Kinnear Penman and the editing of tapes at LCG HQ, it is a matter of whom you talk to out at Charlotte. I will stand by my statement on the editing as I have been involved with it before. I have talked to two out there in the past several months at HQ who have the knowledge of this and they brought it up to my attention totally unsolicited by me.

On another note anyone who takes good notes of Spanky's sermons will see him quoting Fred Coulter's New Testament. Of course he does not give Fred credit but has even gone as far to quote from not only Fred's Bible Translation but his commentary as well. I sat in attendance of one of the sermons and wondered how Spanky had come up with the King James, New King James versions and the Strong's Concordance being wrong and how he (Spanky) had the "truth". Since I have had the Fred Coulter New Testament for some time, I went to it and then when the "edited " tape came out, much of what was said in the original HQ sermon was amazingly left in. Thus the comment from one of those at HQ to say "they don't edit enough".

Rod 2

Bewitched: Despite what David W. Berryman (12/01/05 mailbag) read in Funk and Wagnall's encyclopedia witches don't worship Satan and have no magical powers. Does he actually believe that witches can fly on broomsticks like they do in "Harry Potter"? I saw the "Harry Potter" movies and they are harmless fantasy. And as for his concern that kids may believe that there are good witches after watching "Harry Potter"- anyone who has seen the movie "The Wizard of Oz" knows that there are, in fact, good witches. 


Doctor Duke's credentials: The webserver reports a date of October 27, 2005 [for the Duke résumé]. Nothing in the content appears fresher than about 2 years ago. The document is not polished. There is inconsistent use of colons and semicolons and varying column widths. The item "Church Festival Guest Speaker:" was left to dangle. This résumé needs to be updated.

A Malnet reunion? I will confirm what the party said about the logo for the Malnet. There was no logo for the Malnet. We were not interested in making a statement beyond the name we gave the net. We were simply working hard to get info out to church members so they could see through the deception that was taking place. When the suggestion was put forward that we start a network to get information out to people, Mal came up with the Mal316 name and we four agreed that was the right name for the net. Working on the net was a cooperative effort from the start, and the four of us tried to keep the information valuable and legitimate. After United formed, the Malnet was shut down by all accord. We definitely aren't planning a resurrection of the Malnet. I would be interested to know where the other originators are these days. My email is In the spirit of the Malnet I'll stick with my Malnet name... 


UCG is, in my view, far from "just fine"

AW - pro-UCG? I am curious why the editors and contributors of AW hammer WCG, LCG, PCG and most other xCG groups but are very gentle when it comes UCG. Could it be the editors feel UCG is just fine? Or maybe they are members of UCG and fear dis-fellowshipment?


AW: (1) The editor is not a member of UCG and never has been. (2) The editor's position on UCG has been clearly spelled out several times, for example here, here and here - two of these columns have been reprinted in The Journal. (3) AW can only work with the information it gets. In general there does seem to be more concern among readers with other bodies - although I suspect UCG members are a significant part of the readership. (4) UCG is, in my view, far from "just fine" (see the linked material) but it is somewhat less toxic than certain other bodies presided over by one-man spiritual dictators. (5) I find it hard to imagine anyone describing AW's coverage of Clyde Kilough's ascendance to the presidency as "gentle".



Pass the popcorn: Two new online movies are available for download. First there's the ingratiating Called to be free, produced in Utah by a gaggle of Born Again ex-Mormons. These trusting souls, after swallowing WCG's carefully rehearsed PR, projected their aspirations of a reformed LDS church onto Joe & Co. and then proceeded to film with rose tinted lenses. There are, however, some sobering historical clips which make it worth the while - if you can ignore the talking heads. You can get the download at their website (there's a review of the film here).

If you'd prefer something more authentic than the sugary confections offered in Called to be free, then try Kscribe's latest internet-only film called Return to Innocence, which has just been launched. Beginning with Native American dancers and moving into issues of special concern to ex-WCG people, this seems to come very much from the heart (and the music is pretty cool too!)  We're indebted to K for the preview. For more information visit

A taste of Fred's translation: Fred Coulter has produced what must be the only translation of the New Testament by a COG luminary. Others have been beavering away at the task, most notably James Tabor, but the Coulter version has the distinction of being first off the taxi rank. Is it any good? Well, it uses a suspect Greek text, long abandoned by legitimate translators (Fred asserts the superiority the so-called textus receptus). But apart from that, you can judge for yourself by downloading the Coulter translation of Galatians, Colossians and James. Fred has also made available several of the appendices.

If you're interested in acquiring this quite expensive New Testament, you might like to know that it's larger (and heavier) than most complete Bibles - think of a telephone directory - and is padded (around 50% of the content) with Fred's distinctive essays and commentaries. 

Malnet again: Okay, so it's ancient history, but the exposure of Malnet to the light of day a decade after it disappeared has raised real interest among some who were fighting the good fight without benefit of anonymity or ground cover. These were the days of the pioneering ekklesia website and news-board and Mark Tabladillo's website, not to mention the Good News Grapevine. In fact, it could be argued that the battle for reform - before it was scuttled by moronic leadership decisions and competing sectional interests - was most effectively fought in cyberspace. Malnet, however, managed to wing a trajectory in the other direction while still keeping below the radar level of John Trechak's Ambassador Report, a remarkable feat. "Mal" himself writes: 

The piece you posted from Bob Thiel seems pretty accurate. Malnet was actually started by 4 people who knew each other from the internet in 1994. We continued at times to consult on decisions regarding how the network was run, including the requirement that each new member be recommended by an existing member. People posted under pseudonyms. All this may seem a bit extreme now, but in 1994 and 1995, things were much different, and jobs were at stake, including some who were not ministers. The day-to-day reading of incoming messages, along with editing/organizing and reposting fell to me. During those days of having to be so careful about what one said to whom, the aol address Mal316 was chosen (Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another...) Over time, the network referred to itself as "malnet" and pinned the (still) anonymous moderator with the moniker "mal."

Another Malnet insider writes: 

I just read the information you posted regarding Malnet. The information you provided is accurate. Certain members such as myself were recruited to provide information on what was happening in the WCG in their particular church area. During the years preceding the creation on UCG and Global Malnet provided quite a bit of helpful information to the membership regarding attempts of Mr. Tkach to bully the membership into adopting the new doctrinal changes. I think the predominate benefit of Malnet was that it gave you a sense that you where not alone in your feelings about the heretical teachings emanating from Worldwide headquarters in Pasadena. Seldom was there heard a dissenting view regarding the doctrinal changes back then (at least not publicly). Malnet provided comfort and information to the those of us who disagreed with the direction the church was taking under the leadership of Joe Tkach and as a result we became aware that we were not alone in our feelings. There was no logo or symbol representing Malnet. Malnet name was derived from the scripture Malachi 3:16.

And a third backs up the account: I was in on Malnet and still have most of the printed e-mails. The name Malnet was derived from Malachi 3:16.

Is WCG "episcopal"?: You've heard the line from Joe that there are three forms of church government; congregational, presbyterian and episcopal, right? Here's the hooey in the US Church Administration Manual:

The WCG system of church governance has characteristics of all three historical models, particularly those of episcopal and presbyterian governance. (p.6-7)

Which is, in our view, pure hogwash. UCG uses a particularly wooden presbyterian model (an oligarchy of elders) that would embarrass most real Presbyterians, but in WCG some elders are quite obviously "more equal than others" (we know of one minister, trying to answer concerns from the flock about headquarters, wailing "but there's nothing I can do about it!") And as for those congregational characteristics, go figure.

In more candid moments WCG admits to simply using an episcopal system, which they believe validates their hierarchical operation, non-representative structures and rubber stamp boards. But are they really? The following item is adapted from a JLF posting.

The [US] Episcopal Church was founded by some of the same people that wrote the U.S. Constitution so there are similarities in the Church's structure to that of the U.S. The Church hold a General Convention every three years at which the budget is passed and proposed legislation governing the Church is considered. A summary of the actions of the 2003 General Convention can be found here, and the budget passed by that General Convention can be found here

Proposed legislation must be passed by both the House of Bishops, consisting of all the bishops in the Church, and the House of Deputies, consisting of representatives elected by the laymembers of each of the congregations in the Church, so there is a bicameral legislature. The day-to-day running of the Church is directed by the Executive Council which is headed by the Presiding Bishop who is elected by General Convention to a single nine-year term. The term of the current Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswald, is expiring and his successor will be elected by the 2006 General Convention... the Episcopal Church has no Presiding-Bishop-for-life and certainly no unelected Presiding Bishop.

And of course - unlike the Pastor General - even the Pope has to be elected. To describe WCG's unaccountable cultic governance structure as episcopal is both wildly inaccurate and misleading. 

Generous Joe, the ideal employer: For Thanksgiving all WCG employees got a $30.00 gift card to Trader Joes. What many did not realize was that that $30 card was added to the paycheck as income and they were taxed on it at around 35%.

No editing: Hi Gavin, may I correct a misstatement of fact by one of your correspondents? Rod 2 wrote, speaking of sermon tapes, “LCG heavily edits before giving the tapes out to members”. I felt sure this was not correct so contacted and asked the Headquarters individual who would know the facts. His reply; “the only editing of our tapes that is done is to eliminate coughs and sneezes and the occasional “mis-speak” that occurs in any “live” speaking.” Your readers may be assured that there is no editing of our sermon tapes for significant content. 

Kinnear Penman
(LCG Elder, Auckland)

Doctor Dave: Dr. David Antion should not be listed as a cult leader. I have attended the Southern California Church of God a number of times and have spoken to him personally at length. He has nothing in common with the other individuals lumped together with him, who head "top down" organizations. The statement of beliefs listed on his web sites are very similar to COG7. 

Jon Bruce

AW: I'm not sure anyone has suggested David Antion is "a cult leader" comparable to Flurry, Pack and their ilk. AW does not list Antion as a cult leader anywhere on the site as far as I know. He is listed on the links page, as are many other ministries with a COG connection, including a number which are generally well regarded. 

Harry vs. Funk & Wagnall's: While I admit I have not seen or read any of the Harry Potter books or movies, I have read some of the reviews. But it is really not the point as to how good or bad the movies are made. The point is that from what I can tell, Harry Potter tries to say there are "good witches" and that there is a "good side" to witchcraft. I also admit that as growing up as a kid, my mother read to me "Wendy, the good little witch" comic books. As far as I know the Worldwide church never said anything against them. For a while I thought there was such a thing as "white magic". Only when I looked up witchcraft in the "Funk and Wagnall's" encyclopedia that I learned that witchcraft was an agreement between a human and Satan in which the Devil gives power to the person in exchange for his love and worship. Now that was the leading encyclopedia that said that, not some fanatical preacher. So how can anything that comes from Satan be good? Also, anyone who knows Hollywood, knows that they have not been pro-Christian in years. Last but not least, we know that the Word of God forbids the use of witchcraft and going to anyone with those kind of powers for help. In fact, we should not even call upon an angel for help but God only. If God wishes to send us an angel, that's different. But let Him do it because we might get the wrong kind of angel. I have heard enough stories that I am convinced that the sprite [Spirit?] world is dangerous and except for praying and talking to God, we should stay away from it. Of course I am not against all fantasy, but if the Harry Potter movies are saying that witchcraft is good and can help solve the world's problems then I don't recommend them. 

David W. Berryman

The Flaming Pot? Having overcome my habit of using every Friday evening to prepare a sermon, I went, instead, to see Harry Potter...the Flaming Pot or something. It was harmless, magnificent and bit of a cross between Happy Days and the Mummy. It was even boring in places and somewhat like a glorified High School prom at times. Whoever Lisa Rise (Crosswalk) is and wherever she saw "one horror after the other on the screen," it wasn't in this Harry Potter movie, unless of course this is the obligatory Christian shock at all things not Church, that are so often overblown and ill informed.

Dennis Diehl

The next Pastor General? Did you notice that Dr. Russell Duke, former President AC Big Sandy and Dean of Ambassador College of Christian Ministry, has updated his resume on the internet? ... Based on his... resume, are you of the opinion is he more qualified than Tkach to be Pastor General? Is Tkach putting him in place to be the next PG?


AW: A longer version of this letter appears on JLF with the resume. To be awed by Duke's credentials click over to

More on Malnet (1): Is there any way one can find out what was on Malnet?

AW: An example of a posting from the archives has been supplied to AW. Pretty tame stuff (though we've been asked not to republish it). Remember, whatever other foibles these guys had, they were unremittingly polite and respectful most of the time, so all the "bad guys" were still called Mister! ;-)

More on Malnet (2): Actually the whole thing behind discovering information about the cult was to ask the right questions. There was a vast difference between the type of information you could get from PCD (Personal Correspondence Department), and - obviously - many were willing to copy from their WNs when you fellowshipped locally. They thought their "new truths" would have life-saving impact upon people.

For the Tkaches it [seemed to be] all about money and prestige. They wanted academic and monetary recognition and once principles for attachments to letter answering was changed, the devil was out [pardon the pun :-)]

It was such a swindle, and it has become all too obvious for those with eyes to see. Probably one of the reasons they are most certainly changing their name. No one could possibly understand why they didn't just leave the WCG and start their own. If it was such wonderful new light, it would have sold heavily. Instead, fancy words and smart double talk were primary tools in the hands of manipulators of the worst possible type.

A myth indeed, and I am so happy I left long ago. After studying the Torah more intently it is now clearer than ever that they must have known Christianity is an anti-Semitic fake. Jesus is only validated by the so-called "new testament", and many no doubt know, but most preferred their paychecks.

HB (Denmark)

UCG Genesis: Here is a link about how UCG began...this is a cached link on Google.

AW: Vic Kubik has since deleted this article written by Guy Swenson, so get it while you still can.

You've got to be kidding! Is there now, or could you create, self-contained biographical "who's who"  articles about the top line immediate successors (dynasty) to HWA? Who they were/are, background prior to WCG, and story of succession within the WCG, etc., etc.?

AW: Who, me? Even obsession has its limits! 

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