Do you believe that if someone tells a lie, but does not know they are telling a lie, they are not liars?

If a man tells more lies to be consistent with the initial lie, is he a liar?

What if a leader tells lies all the time to support his position, bolster his ego and make money, is he a liar?

The Progress of Popular Opinion

In the 1950s, it was the standard, at least in the United States, that, all things being equal, a man was as good as his word: Credibility was built on telling the truth and keeping promises. Oh, sure, there were exaggerations, but most of the time, companies and leaders had a reputation for honesty: AT&T (The Bell System), IBM, General Electric, Old National Bank, Kraft Foods, Sears, Montgomery Wards, Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Chevron, RCA, Motorola and a whole collection of others we trusted for excellent products and service. Leaders like President Dwight D. Eisenhower, with his Vice President Richard Nixon, were widely admired. Even religious leaders were widely admired: Who can forget the first Televangelist, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen? He even won many Emmy Awards over the years. These were the years of Billy Graham Crusades.

Somewhere between then and now, there’s been a refashioning of public thought: Times have changed. Once well respected branded names have become sullied. Montgomery Wards has gone out of business, Sears isn’t looking so good these days, Richard Nixon will be forever known as Tricky Dick, who’s heard much about RCA? A couple of auto makers mentioned above had to have a Federal Government bailout to survive. And religious leaders? Well, for cringe worthy names we could easily include Harold Camping, Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, Jim Baker, A. A. Allen and for one of the worst public reputations EVER, Garner Ted Armstrong.

Through the years the attitude of people toward lying has changed. It has gone from enraged shock (how dare they lie to us) to major irritation to grumbling acceptance to white noise to “well, we know he lies, but we like him, so what?”; “What’s the big deal?”; “Everybody lies” (a proposition which can never have a great enough sample to have statistically significant basis). In fact, most people, especially the younger generations, have come to accept lies as part of our culture and have adjusted accordingly. One might reflect in passing that, like birds nesting at the airport which are alarmed at first, but adapt to the noise, it can’t be particularly good for us.

Herbert Armstrong was a man who lied. He flat out lied. He flat out lied repeatedly. He said that he refused to take salary from the Church of God Seventh Day when he disagreed with their doctrines and took off, but he continued to collect a salary for years afterward. He lied about originating the booklet “Has Time Been Lost” — and here’s the thing about that: When you lie, you had better remember doing it, because in this case, the Worldwide Church of God went to sue the Church of God Seventh Day for copyright violation and the CoG7 pulled out the original from their file cabinets that they wrote in the 1930s and Herbert Armstrong plagiarized. Herbert Armstrong lied in 1975 in Prophecy. Read the booklet. It’s downright embarrassing. He lied when he said he never set dates — the coworker letters, Plain Truth Magazines and The Good News proves it.

Nevertheless, the churches of God have come to accept the lies of Herbert Armstrong and even excuse the lies and false prophecies. The Fragmentation of a Sect: Schism in the Worldwide Church of God by Dr. David V. Barrett quotes Richard Nichols, Herbert Armstrong and Richard T. Rittenbaugh to show how this works:

The offshoots deal with the problem of Armstrong’s failed prophecies in different ways. Richard C. Nickles, of Giving and Sharing Ministry, quotes Armstrong himself from an early World Tomorrow radio broadcast:

A terrible famine is coming on the United States, that is going to ruin us as a nation inside of less than twenty more years. Alright, I stuck my neck out right there. You just wait twenty years and see whether I told you the truth. God says, if a man tells you what’s going to happen, wait and see. If it doesn’t happen, he was not speaking the word of God, he’s speaking out of his own mind. If it happens, you know God sent him.

Nickels comments, “The twenty years is long past! Herbert Armstrong labeled himself a false prophet.”

But Richard T. Ritenbaugh, of the Church of the Great God, comes to a different conclusion. Although he accepts that Armstrong “made many predictions during his ministry, and many of them have not come to pass. Some were plain wrong. Some were vague. Some were specific,” he then argues:

So what are all those predictions Herbert Armstrong made? Rather than call them prophecies (which they were not) and him a false prophet (which he was not), his predictions were more correctly speculations, theories based on true but insufficient and unclear evidence. Speculation is not sin.

People just blandly accept the lies as docile domesticated slaves.

Today’s Liars

Roderick Meredith, Davy Pack, Gerald Flurry, John Rittenbaugh, Ronald Weinland, Jim Franks, David Hulme are all liars (extracted from the Silenced Rogues Gallery). They all lie.

Now some may say, “But they are sincere and they don’t know they are lying”.


But suppose that it really were true (which it isn’t — witness all they lies they get caught in at Banned!)?

The problem with that is that they all tell the biggest lies of all: The lies they tell to themselves.

Once someone has been dishonest about his true state of integrity, the lies pour forth not just flowing fully and easily, but with dynamic force of apparent belief: Credibility is shored up by the apparent confidence and sincerity. This is why it is called a “confidence game”. They are all cons. They all have to escalate to generate more and bigger lies to support the lies they’ve already told.

The Big Lies of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong

These are the main central lies which support the Cult of Herbert Armstrong in the various splinters:

  1. British Israelism
  2. Church History
  3. Prophecy
  4. Law keeping to gain salvation
  5. Respecting and declining to Authority is the greatest virtue

Without these, the Cult of Herbert Armstrong could not exist.

Making it all work

There is only way to make this all work: The Ninth Commandment, Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness, must be excised from the Ten Commandments. The leaders, ministers and administrators must gloss over and completely ignore this precept to make their cult work. If they could not lie, they could not do business. While they blast forth their evangelism, replete with Law Keeping, spreading the gospel of the Commandments and championing the Old Covenant, they must conveniently ignore being the watchmen to Corporations to tell them that lying is resoundingly condemned in the New Testament by Jesus himself and that Satan was a liar and a murderer from the beginning. Include that in the meeting with world leaders telling them about the two trees and see how far you get.

Now the amazing thing is that it really all does work. The ministers lie and the people lap it up. One only need look at the double talk of Ronald Weinland over at False Prophet Ronald Weinland to see the abject nonsense of it all. The problem is that he is just an example of a liar who got caught and went to prison. The same sort of lies lay in the weeds at the other 300 to 700+ sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong. All you have to do is do a little research and find the lies and lies and lies and lies — they never stop. Roderick Meredith said, “I have never committed a major sin since being baptized”. Maybe he doesn’t know what major sin is, but whatever it is (like lying and being a false prophet — which reward is death), he’s committed it — not only committed it, but has for a very long time and it appears he will not repent but he will keep it up until he dies.

Reaction to enforced lies

There is an observable cycle consistent with those who are living under an oppressive regime where they are lied to but must act as if the lies are the truth and perfectly rational.

First, the people probably don’t know they are being lied to.

Second, the people learn about the lies but they cannot do anything about it. In this phase, there is usually much grumbling behind the scenes, but the people continue to submit to the lies in misery.

Third, there is a glimmer of hope that there may be a way of escape from the oppressive lies. The expectation of the people is lifted and they have hope.

Fourth, they find their way and they rebel. Mostly they will leave.

Fifth, often the people will seek retribution.

The end result is that if there is a steady progression to this end, there will be freedom. Lies are slavery. They are also often costly.

Despite the popular opinion

The majority is wrong. We know it feels right to think that if a person who lies is sincere, he is not a liar. This is wrong.

People who lie are liars.

Lies have consequences.

Honesty is still the best policy and it always will be.

Can we have the Ninth Commandment back now?

Packing Authority, for crying out loud!

In weekly installments, Dave Pack continues to position RCG as Top COG, by showing the other COGs are worse off financially and administratively.


In Cry Aloud, Spare Not, Mr Pack lashes out against other COGs and congregations lacking whole-hearted commitment to “the work”. Starting with Isa. 58:1 (“spare not”) he then uses Matt 7:29 (“having authority”) out of context, quotes various colorful terms Jesus used when speaking of evildoers. Following along are quotes from HWA’s notorious 1967 member letter – the one in which HWA uses Loma on her deathbed to demand money. Back in the Clarion Call sermon, Mr Pack conveys his envy of HWA’s masterful writing skills.


The point apparently being made is that the self-evident 21st Century Apostle believes he must obey his commission to “speak with authority” which he interprets as name-calling leaders of other COGs and lethargic (insufficiently sacrificing) members.


My two shekels worth is about the misuse of Matt 7:28-29: When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (NIV) These verses a section of Matthew that begins with the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus had been expounding the Law, not denouncing critics.


As for authority, the crowds were amazed that Jesus stated his take on a number of issues without reference to scholarly interpretation. Other teachers of the Law would quote their teacher, who may quote another teacher; some may give 50 different interpretations of a single verse from the Torah. Jesus obviously didn’t do that and I suppose one who wished to speak “with authority” would not be repeatedly quoting his teacher (HWA).


Some of the teachings in this section of Matthew had diverse interpretations in the first century. Among Pharisees, there were two opposing camps, the House of Shammai, and the House of Hillel (grandfather of Paul’s teacher, Gamaliel).  Jesus’ teachings were usually closer to that of the more liberal Hillel than the stricter Shammai. A notable exception was divorce, as Hillel taught that a man could divorce his wife for simply serving a bad meal.


Mr Pack wants to use the “strong words” that Jesus leveled at corrupt rulers, hypocrites, those with teachings or traditions that contradict scripture, and so on. I’d say that Ambassador Report covered a good share of these at the WCG. Let’s see, corruption – siphoning off tithe money (the tithing doctrine itself twisted scripture to enforce a teaching that was very specific), hypocrisy – teaching against doctors while HWA had the finest medical care, contradicting scripture – sacrifice to give to the Church rather than help sick or elderly non-member parents (“honor your father and your mother”) – telling members to borrow money from the bank under false pretenses to give to the Church (lying, fraud) – and many more.


But Mr Pack is right about one thing; he did forever change my view of Isaiah 58:1.


For more on Mr Pack, see AR 32 under the heading “David Pack’s Reign of Terror


Pentecost 1974


Of Course He Was!

Pentecost 1974 – Many weeks ago…

The other day while scanning the COG sites, I noticed Dr Thiel informing us that Pentecost will be on May 19 this year.


On a Sabbath in 1974, a combined service was held so all in our area could hear a tape from Pasadena. We were assembled together for a double dose of doctrinal correction New Truth. As I recall, GTA came up first and explained the new rules on D&R – divorce and remarriage; next, HWA told us Pentecost is on Sunday, rather than Monday. Of course, HWA tried to vindicate his long-held Aristotlian exegesis interpreting the command for counting the Omer to Shavuot by explaining the Hebrew words with English grammar. Perhaps a tale is in order.


Herb was driving through a city looking for Pentecost Lane. He read that it was off Fiftieth Avenue. Starting at what he thought was First Avenue, he reasoned Fiftieth Avenue must be 50 streets from First Avenue. So he drove along and started counting streets. Eventually he got to Fifty-first Avenue, and reckoned an unmarked alley was Pentecost Lane.


Although there were some indications that Herb was in the wrong place, he was sure he was at his intended destination. It is obvious that Herb was driving alone, because if Loma had been with him, she would have nagged, Herb, get out and ask someone for directions!


From what I remember, HWA said he consulted with someone who taught Hebrew, and, what do you know, he had been wrong was revealed new truth! In Hebrew, he learned, the word translated to from is inclusive, as in the first day from today is today, not tomorrow. So in a sense, counting 50 days from (in Hebrew) was counting 49 days from (in his logic).


Of course, there is the other matter of which day to count from. In the command “the morrow after the Sabbath” (Lev. 23) the Sabbath could been taken to mean the weekly Sabbath, or the First Day of Unleavened Bread; “the morrow” is the Day of Firstfruits, when the Wave-sheaf offering is made.

Apparently the Sadducees had taken the Sabbath to mean the weekly Sabbath, and modern rabbinic Judaism takes it to mean the First Day of Unleavened Bread.


I don’t know if HWA just assumed that Sabbath meant the weekly Sabbath, or he got that from another source. There is some additional symbolism added when taking the weekly Sabbath, as that puts the Day of Firstfruits on the Sunday after Passover. This day would then be the day of Jesus’ resurrection (assuming Saturday night) or  “Easter Sunday”.


Blast From the Past. "Herbert Armstrong's Trout Stream"


By Retired Prof

Interactive Graphic Here

The Painful Truth is full of big reasons to doubt that Herbert W. Armstrong was a true apostle: illicit sex and excessive alcohol, failed prophecies, lavish spending of tithes and offerings on personal luxuries, and so forth. But sometimes the little reasons count for something too.

During the 1959-60 school year at Ambassador College I knew nothing of his bouts with incest and alcohol. I didn’t find out about his long history of false prophecies because he hid his past prognostications and focused our attention instead on 1972-75. He did show off his lavish spending when he invited groups of students over for short visits. For example, in his opulently paneled and furnished mansion he demonstrated for us a color TV, at that time a rare and precious object. He explained that all this extravagance was not wrong, because circumstances forced him to live that way. He needed to make a good impression on leaders of the business world he might have to deal with on behalf of the church. I confess to harboring seeds of skepticism when I entered Ambassador, and this presentation should have nudged them to germinate. Nevertheless, I tried to suppress my doubts and accept his explanation.

One thing that raised doubts I couldn’t suppress was a trout stream. Yes, I know trout streams per se carry no biblical weight. The bible never mentions any, and for good reason: the holy land is too warm for them. But hear me out.

That fall on the Ambassador campus Armstrong had an artificial one built, a winding concrete channel with rocks and gravel in the bottom, over which water flowed down from a man-made spring for fifty yards or so into a wide concrete pool. The water was pumped through a pipe back up to the spring to flow down into the pool again in a continuous circuit. The workmen who built the streambed configured one of the bends wrong and water sloshed over onto the lawn, but that didn’t bother me much. The foreman who oversaw construction was the one guilty of error, not the “apostle” who commanded it. After that bend was jackhammered out and reconstructed, the stream was quite pretty and I enjoyed it a great deal. It was stocked with rainbow trout, and many were more than a foot long. I often dreamed of fishing in a real stream like it where the fish were that large and that plentiful.

Its beauty lasted through the short southern California winter. When the weather warmed up, those lovely trout one by one turned belly-up and died. Rainbows, like other trout, are a cold-water species. Even I, a freshman hillbilly from Arkansas, knew that much.

The death of those fish bothered me a lot. It didn’t stem from a mere glitch in executing the plan; it bespoke appalling ignorance in forming it. If Armstrong really did get divine guidance in every decision, why hadn’t god told him to refrigerate the water? On the other hand, if god didn’t actually direct all his decisions, but merely granted him insight to sift and winnow the words of others and cull out nuggets of wisdom, why hadn’t Armstrong read a fisheries book or consulted an expert on aquaculture?

I could find no answers to those questions that supported the proposition that Herbert W. Armstrong was an apostle of god.

Of course I was guilty of gagging on the gnat of an ignorant mistake and swallowing the camel of the deadly sin of greed, but there were extenuating circumstances. The gnat was tiny but raw and scratchy, whereas that camel was well greased with rhetoric and force-fed through an authoritarian funnel.

The Declaration of Natural Rights

With the defeat of Obama’s gun control bill today (a bill that never addressed the core cause of mass killings), the PT feels that there should be more to this discussion than a stern lecture by the leader of the so called “free world” telling us of our failure to constrain our second amendment and the ability to defend ourselves from an ever increasing tyrannical government.