Post Traumatic Religious Syndrome (PTRS)

Symptoms can be described as follows:

Dramatic/Traumatic loss of self identity

Feeling of having been mentally abused

Social isolation as a result of having been cut off from all contact with the outside world

Difficulty in finding the way back into a normal social surroundings

Depression as a result of the loss of ones own identity

Recurring nightmares

And the list goes on …

 

PTRS usually arises in that aftermath of:

having left a religious sect or cult

being excommunication by a religious sect or cult

end of a religious sect or cult

rescued from a religious sect or cult

being unwilling forced into a religious sect or cult as a child or spouse

 

Discovering that someone suffers from PTRS is often very difficult. In almost all cases the individuals can hid their experiences behind a world of indifference. Most people avoid contact with religious sects and are therefore immune to the idea that they can be so harmful, it’s what I call public indifference. You could almost say they feel ashamed to have been part of an religious sect, raped by it, and they just don’t want to talk about it. It’s difficult for a victim of this abuse to “Out themselves” since society cannot imagine that it’s possible to suffer in anyway as a result of bad religious practice. Religious sects and cults do damage to people, it’s a fact that nobody want to believe.

 

The buried emotional state of mind of a PTRS victim results in some very strange behavior that is often misunderstood by family, friends, and the world in general. The outing process is difficult, often with an imagined stigma, that isn’t all to imagined but very real. You get labeled, therefore you begin to hid even more behind a facade of underlying emotions. These can often span throughout the whole of a life span. Younger victims can have lasting side effect right up till their deaths.

 

It takes a lot of persuasion for a PTRS victim to connect back into the main stream of daily life. Detoxification is a form of deprogramming that requires a willpower that would seem for others as super human. Most give up, since the effort is simply to big. The result is a return to another religious group in most cases a little less extreme. The sheltering effect is returned and the stigma not so hard to bare. For those who do discover the can make the jump back the experience is almost intoxicating, a new found self, a world of freedom and hope for a self defined life.

 

It goes without saying that although there are no statistics with respect to suicide rates of victims of PTRS, the number of deaths whether mental or physical are there. For an outsider to pick up on the trauma that is brewing under the surface that is so well hidden, very difficult and almost impossible for an untrained eye. We live in a world where shutting out anything thing that isn’t in the norm is the norm. Discussion seems useless since for most the idea of being tricked into joining a sect or cult is out of the question. How can anyone fall for this trap? Therefore discussion is out of the question. Faced with a world of indifference the victim of PTRS is now even more isolated then before. Breaking the isolation is the most important step to escaping to a more balanced way of life, a way of accepting the past and putting an end to it. Only then can a Victim truly live a normal life and avoid the depressions that can lead to suicide.

 

I’m not sure how help groups would function with this problem. The programing by religious sects is often very difficult to decode. The brain is not easy to wash clean from years of indoctrinated programming. The coding is so deep in some instances that it would be nearly a miracle (if you believe in miracles) for someone to walk away without having permanent side effects. I would go so fare as to call it a form of Programmed Brain Damage, or PBD. 

 

Since we are in life designed to be influenced by ones self and by others the question is, who is to be taken account of for the influences we experience? Is it the person who’s been misguided, or the persons who are misguiding? Our brains are hard-wired to accept new programing, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to evolve through life. This in itself is proof enough that nothing is static in our world and that we can influence change in more ways then one. Religions can use this instinctive human drive to grab at anything that will provide a victim with a satisfactory answers to their basic instinctive need to understand why we are. Religions plug in on and transfer their idea directly into the victims mind, burring it deep inside, with roots that grow deeper the longer the exposure.

 

It’s is strange but educating people about the dangers of cults and sects is of little priority in our world. Religions get to much freedom to act without any form of self control that truly puts the facts on the table. We’ve simply rule out any form of self critic with respect to the abuse of peoples rights when it comes to sects, cults and religions. Without allowing for critic there is no way that you can make any of these organization accountable for their actions today. There is not real policing of religion, it’s taboo to question.

 

So in the coming years the explosion of religious extremes in America will continue, and many more children and adults will suffer from PTRS should they leave the closed surrounding of a religious sect or cult. As long as America and the rest of the world tolerates the spreading of lies under the disguise of religious freedom, we shouldn’t wonder why there is so much social unrest and division within the populations of the world. 

RIC.

 

Sourcecode

Herbert Armstrong can be seen as bad source code of particularly malicious aggressive religious malware, difficult to detect and even more difficult to remove.

 On the False Prophet Ronald Weinland blog, an anonymous contributor commented:

I am ashamed for becoming caught up in this. I am very naive and trusting, and was really hoping for a better more just world, and excited to have a sound framework to live by. But that leaves people open for being taken advantage of. I have learned now to be yourself and trust your instincts no matter what anyone says, I just hope it is not too late to rebuild a life.

 Those of us who have been infected with the Armstrongism malware understand and empathize with this perspective. We can heartily recommend Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias from Bay Tree Publishing as a recovery and guard against cult malware. It has the best in-depth coverage of the religious cult malware of any resource and can serve to inoculate unwary users from the nasty effects of religious malpractice hackers, such as Roderick Meredith, Dennis Luker, Jim Franks and others dedicated to spreading debilitating religious viruses and worms to the public.

The original source code for this religious malware stems from Herbert Armstrong, who used snippets of script from various religious hackers of previous decades and centuries. He was no Biblical coding expert, but he was able to cut and paste from various illicit sources like some novice teenager unqualified to produce viable products but plagiarized source in order to create havoc and chaos. Although, at first, he set upon his discoveries in the Portland Public Library, his repertoire, as we will see later, was built upon a foundation of another whose influence can be seen in his works and was expanded by the pseudo-intellectual, Dr. Herman Hoeh.

Some may wonder how the Source Code is built. It’s not that difficult to understand, even for the naive novice unfamiliar with the processes to create illegitimate applications destructive to their users. The basic process is to build on snippets that are created out of the imagination. Once someone creates the snippet, another comes along and quotes the first “creator”. Then the first creator quotes the second source, forming a double-bond of self-referential substantiation with no substance at all. This is scalable to a much larger community of sources.

John D. Keyser at Mysteries of the Bible website, in the article The Coronation Stone — Jeremiah in Ireland, debunks the whole idea of Jeremiah being in Ireland, ably assisted by Dr. Greg Doudna’s Showdown at Big Sandy: Youthful Creativity Confronts Bureaucratic Inertia At An Unconventional Bible College in East Texas. John Keyser debunks the myth that Jeremiah was in Ireland, establishing that the premise that he  (in the company of his scribe Baruch) took King Zedekiah’s daughter to Ireland where she founded a line of Davidic kings that has continued on down to this day. It never happened. Herbert Armstrong wrote in The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy wrote:

Then, in 569 B.C. (date of Jeremiah’s transplanting), an elderly, white-haired patriarch, sometimes referred to as a “saint,” came to Ireland. With him was the princess daughter of an eastern king and a companion called “Simon Brach,” spelled in different histories as Breck, Berech, Brach, or Berach. The princess had a Hebrew name Tephi — a pet name — her full name being TEA-TEPHI.

Modern literature of those who recognize our national identity has confused this Tea-Tephi, a daughter of Zedekiah, with an earlier Tea, a daughter of Ith, who lived in the days of David.

This royal party included the son of the king of Ireland who had been in Jerusalem at the time of the siege. There he had become acquainted with Tea-Tephi. He married her shortly after 585 — when the city fell. Their young son, now about 12 years of age, accompanied them to Ireland. Besides the royal family, Jeremiah brought with them some remarkable things, including a harp, AN ARK, and a wonderful STONE CALLED “LIA-FAIL,” or “STONE OF DESTINY.”

….many kings in the history of Ireland, Scotland, and England have been coronated over this stone — including the present queen. The stone rests today in Westminster Abbey in London, and the coronation chair is built over and around it. A sign beside it labels it “Jacob’s pillar-stone” (Gen. 28:18).

The royal husband of the Hebrew princess Tea was given the TITLE HERREMON upon ascending the throne of his father. This Herremon has usually been confused with a much earlier Gede the Herremon in David’s day — who married his uncle Ith’s daughter Tea. The son of this later king Herremon and Hebrew princess continued on the throne of Ireland and THIS SAME DYNASTY CONTINUED UNBROKEN through all the kings of Ireland; was OVERTURNED and transplanted again in Scotland; again OVERTURNED and moved to London, England, where this same dynasty continues today in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II….

In view of the linking together of biblical history, prophecy, and Irish history, can anyone deny that this Hebrew princess was the daughter of King Zedekiah of Judah and therefore heir to the throne of David? 

Well, yes we can!

It’s all nonsense.

Here’s the answer from John D. Keyser:

No References! In preparation for the writing of this article, and several others on the royal house of Britain, I searched out and read literally DOZENS of books written by British-Israelites in order to more accurately understand the BASIS for the Jeremiah/Tea-Tephi legend so eloquently penned by Herbert Armstrong. I also consulted primary and secondary sources on the Irish and Scottish annals.

To my surprise, I found that the British-Israelite books all REPEAT the same Tea-Tephi story (with slight variations), each aggressively claiming that the story is found in the ancient annals. In my research I have NOT FOUND a single British-Israelite book that actually gives a REFERENCE to WHERE in the Irish and Scottish annals the supporting material may be found! Armstrong’s booklet does not — nor does Joseph Allen’s earlier book on the subject.

As also discovered by Greg Doudna (former Ambassador College student, now with the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University), “they all seem to draw from previous British-Israel writings. They speak so confidently it sounds like there must be something in the annals to which they refer. The NAMES mentioned in the Tea-Tephi legend appear in the annals, true enough, but I have discovered they are TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSONS IN THE ANNALS than the British-Israel legend makes them out to be. The annals simply don’t say what the British-Israel literature, or the Worldwide Church of God, SAY they say. It is a LEGEND that someone somewhere within British-Israel circles began, stated it as fact, and it has been repeated as fact within British-Israel circles ever since, down to the present day in which the Worldwide Church of God repeats it to millions. It may make an interesting story, but IT IS COMPLETELY FABRICATED.” (“Afterword on British-Israelism”, p. 121).

 The bottom line here is that one “expert” historian quotes another and that one quotes the first and a third one quotes the previous two and so on and so forth. It’s like an urban legend where you can never find the original source. Scratch that — it’s not like an urban legendit is an urban legend. This is a #1 law for religious malware: If you don’t have the source, just make something up, then find someone else to quote you and then quote that as a legitimate source to make the whole thing legitimate. No dishonesty has been harmed in the making of the myth.

British Israelism is another example of this phenomenon. As nearly all Armstrongists know by this time, originally — and though there may have been a few others who threw around the idea previously — Richard Brothers was the primary source of British Israelism. Oh sure, there were predecessors as is told by The True and Noble Origins of the Anglo-Israel Message, but Richard Brothers was a focal point, with his first publication, released in 1794, The Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies & Times. The prologue had this to say:

First wrote under the direction of the LORD GOD & published by His Sacred Command, it being the first sign of Warning for the Benefit of all Nations; Containing with other great and remarkable things not revealed to any other Person on Earth, the Restoration of the Hebrews to Jerusalem by the year 1798 under their revealed Prince and Prophet. London, Printed in the year of Christ, 1794.

He only had 4 years to wait before his prophecy failed. The rest of us have had to wait a lot longer.

It should be noted that Richard Brothers, in connection with his odd ideas of British Israelism, was committed to an insane asylum as being a danger to himself and others. Thus it is that British Israelism was popularized by a kook madman.

It took John Harden Allen with his Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright published in 1902 to truly give Herbert Armstrong the fodder he needed as he preached the True Gospel as The End Time Apostle and Great False Prophet, the source code basis for the Key to Prophecy. Low and behold, major portions of it were plagiarized for The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, all of which has the curious propensity to prompt us to recall the riddle posed by Professor Maximillian Arturo, played by John Rhys-Davies, in the science fiction television show, Sliders:

Why doesn’t the sun set on the British Empire?

Because God can’t trust the British in the dark!

British Israelism was the source code to set the stage for the angst ridden prophecies of hyperbole, aptly described in the November-December 2012 Church of God Seventh Day Bible Advocate article, It’s Doomsday Again!

Written into the folk memory of all peoples is the concept of an “end”. It may be a subconscious memory of the worldwide destruction of the great Flood. But disasters do happen and failed predictions of such an end abound.

The article notes:

Such fearsome factors can be found in Scripture and are highlighted by most who write about prophecy, often with a barely suppressed sense of glee!

As it turns out, fear of gloom and doom are big business:

Many prophecy buffs are excited by the thought of the end.

If you are still wondering about the source code which produced Herbert Armstrong, one might consider “Questions and Answers” in the latest Bible Advocate:

Andrew N. Dugger became editor of the Bible Advocate magazine in 1914 and a popular president of the General Conference (1921-27; 29-30). He injected futurism into the Church’s prophetic interpretation, and championed futurist doctrine amid the controversy that led to the 1933 division between Stanberry and Salem.

In Summary, Elder Dugger believed 1) the two-horned beast would be a revival Roman Church, enforcing its mark of Sunday keeping on Sabbath observers; 2) the Church of God’s main task was to give the third angel’s message, warning believers against the mark of the beast; 3) the seven plagues were literal and future judgments upon those who received the mark; 4) the giving of the third angel’s message and the outpouring of the plagues would lead to Christ’s return; and 5) Christ’s descent from heaven to receive His kingdom would occur in the midst of Armageddon.

Elder Dugger’s argument for the imminent fulfillment of his end-time prophecies in the 1920s, 30s and 40s led the Church to become disinterested in his failed version of them. For more than a generation, the Church struggled to recapture its true mission to preach salvation in Christ and His grace alone, rather than serve as a prognosticator of events.

The Church’s return to its heritage of preaching Christ and His advent without enigmatic add-ons was reflected in its doctrinal revisions of 1994 and 2006, which dropped the futurist predictions and suppositions that prevailed for much of the past century.

Elder Robert Coulter

It is difficult to imagine that the fiery preachments of Andrew N. Dugger did not impress the impressionable Herbert Armstrong as he began on his quest for ministerial truth. The extremism of futurist ideas of Andrew Dugger impressed on Armstrong’s impressionable young mind was enough to provide the source code upon which to build the religious malware foundation of the heretical extreme cult religion. Apparently, the Church of God Seventh Day eventually outgrew it, while Armstrongists remained trapped in the eternal childishness of seeking the thrills of thinking they have special knowledge of what comes next. This foolishness has spun off over 700 versions of the original malware, just waiting to infect the uninoculated unsuspecting innocent.

Protect yourself: Prevent damage by avoiding downloading any more malware from the Internet pages of the UCG, LCG, CoGWA and the whole host of religious malware servers.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t allow them to charge for the service.

Deciphering Hidden Codes

Man has created codes to keep secrets and has broken codes to learn those secrets since the time of the Pharaohs. For 4,000 years, fierce battles have been waged between codemakers and codebreakers, and the story of these battles is civilization’s secret history, the hidden account of how wars were won and lost, diplomatic intrigues foiled, business secrets stolen, governments ruined, computers hacked. From the XYZ Affair to the Dreyfus Affair, from the Gallic War to the Persian Gulf, from Druidic runes and the kaballah to outer space, from the Zimmermann telegram to Enigma to the Manhattan Project, codebreaking has shaped the course of human events to an extent beyond any easy reckoning.
The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet.

There are times in which my mind grows weary with fools who believe they have found hidden codes within the bible. One such person who recently wrote the Painful Truth was cock sure he was on to something big. Really big!

Throughout history, amateur sleuths have been driven in part by the knowledge that steganography—the art of hiding messages—has long been practiced. Enter Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell. He was was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, founder and Chief Scout of the Scout Movement. He was posted in Malta for three years, working as an intelligence officer for the Mediterranean under the Director of Military Intelligence. He frequently traveled disguised as a butterfly collector, incorporating plans of military installations into his drawings of butterfly wings. His work was one of stealth for the benefit of his nation. The intelligence community of Britain had the knowledge and the ability to decipher his drawings from foregone knowledge of the spies mission.

The Nuts.

There are those who have been convinced that through divine revelation or the assistance of extraterrestrials, the builders of the Great Pyramid embedded the sum total of scientific knowledge within the dimensions of the structure. Pyramidologists persist in their claims despite a 1992 effort to debunk them by Dutch astrophysicist Cornelis de Jager. Jager demonstrated the dimensions of any object can be manipulated to yield a desired outcome; he derived the speed of light and the distance between the Earth and Sun from his measurements of a bicycle.

 

This past May, a Venezuelan state TV host announced he had discovered a conspiracy to assassinate the elder brother of President Hugo Chavez. The evidence could be found in a newspaper crossword puzzle. This kind of amateurish investigation is called “pathology of cryptology.” A term coined after a chapter title in David Kahn’s book “The Codebreakers”

 

Perhaps these people are altruistic in that they may receive an intrinsic reward in the form of personal gratification or that they see things they desperately wants to see even if they are not really there. I believe that these people have a need for recognition, to be the first to find a secret code with secret information. It is what they “believe” that will propel them to the status of scientist (authority figure) within their minds.

Another Type of Nut.

Hence we have seen in the cog’s an array of “new knowledge” “new pronouncements from God” from those who deem themselves as Gods number one man and utmost authority. The only difference from those mentioned above is that in the “churches of God” altruistic behavior is non existent. There is no sign of this behavior within the leadership. So just why do these clowns go to great lengths to convince a limited supply of Armstrongist blue ribbon tithe paying patrons of their spin?

 

The answer is found in money. The ability to collect large amounts of wealth and enrich oneself. For it is money that can build a life of leisure, a life free of burdensome toil that most of humanity cannot even imagine.

Their greed is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.

The way to bring meaning into life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community that surrounds you, and devote yourself to creating something useful that gives you purpose and meaning and that you can share with others.

It has been said that there are three great forces that rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed. Being stupid at times is to be human. But fear and greed, these are the tools that destroy individual emotional responses. We call this the “herd mentality” or “herd behavior.”

One example of this is Adolf Hitler. He used herd behavior and crowd psychology to his advantage by placing a group of German officers disguised as civilians within a crowd attending one of his speeches. These officers would cheer and clap loudly for Hitler, and the rest of the crowd followed their example, making it appear that the entire crowd completely agreed with Hitler and his views.

The “tools” of fear and greed that the churches unload on the membership affects the everyday decision-making, judgment and opinion-forming behaviors of the individual. No longer can they think for themselves but they think as a collective. One mind, one thought. One good example is the Borg from the Star Trek series. A collective that robs all individualism from its members.

SO, when you hear your church leader say “God has revealed a new truth to me” recall this Psalm:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you (God, not the minister) are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Think for yourself and discover freedom!


I Finally Left The Armstrong Cult

The following blog is by Ron Rubottom, a former Armstrongist and editor of the now defunct website “plaintruth.info”


Putting Armstrongism Away.

I am a former wwcg member from approx. 1985 to the nineties. (not exactly sure as confusion seemed to cloud my mind after the death of HWA. My experience is a bit different from many of you that grew up in the church or spent many years there. I should say that I appreciate the work you are doing. It is painful for me to see the allegations about HWA on your site, but even though today is the first inkling I have ever had of much of this, I can see that it is most likely accurate. I had already figured out on my own that he was deluded on certain subjects and greatly enjoyed the prestige and high life of his office but blamed others in my mind for encouraging his human nature. (Those like Gerald Waterhouse with his wild eyed predictions and numerology nonsense and carrying on about the prophetic significance of everything Armstrong) But, until today I did not think that he had consciously deceived us. A sad day.

I, unlike many of the victims testifying here, was raised SDA. In that cult we were taught that their prophetess,  Ellen G White, received direct revelations from God. She wrote 65 books and I grew up in Takoma Park, MD (world headquarters for the adventists) and my father (a second generation SDA) was a florist with his flower shop directly across the street from the Takoma Park SDA church AND directly across the street from the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists (world headquarters) AND directly across the street from the Review and Herald publishing company. The world headquarters publishing company of the SDA’s.

I grew up in that flower shop. It had a huge Hallmark card section which brought in all the SDA employees and executives on a regular basis. I was well known and knew many of the leaders of the church. I placed the flowers in front of the podium every Sabbath morning. My dad taught Sabbath school. I was baptized several times. I sang solos in front of hundreds. I attended SDA schools and studied the bible and Ellen White daily. I took it all quite seriously. I read most of EG Whites books and believed all they said. My family and I sat front and center in the Takoma Park church every Sabbath.

I was an intellectual child in spite of my devotion to the “truth”. The sermons were usually incredibly boring and all I had to read were the church hymnal and the Bible. After wearing out the hymnal to escape the boredom I began reading the old testament. The kings and such historical parts were pretty boring to me and the psalms didn’t do anything for me and then I discovered Solomon’s writings. I read about how Solomon choose wisdom and understanding over all else, when offered anything he desired, and was thrilled by that. In my childish innocence, I was about twelve, I bowed my head right there and prayed for the same things. Whether or not there is a God or if he answers prayers, this is a powerful thing.

After that I began reading Isaiah and other latter prophets and trying to figure out what in the world they were talking about! In SDA doctrine we never heard anything about a peaceful world, only heaven and lakes of fire. I began questioning ministers in the church and because of my family’s position I was able to question the higher up’s and talk to Ellen White’s heirs and others the average member did not have access to. I was given the usual double speak and told the the unconditional promises of the old testament and the prophecies of a peaceful just world were the “way it would have been if Israel had obeyed God.” They had convinced me that the Bible was God’s word so they laid the groundwork for my rejection of the church. Eventually the “White Lie” came out. (The facts the Ellen White copied much or all of her writings from earlier protestant writers, how easy it was to get away with before the internet!)

I was through, and extremely angry. I was really pissed off for years, but had not lost my faith in the Bible as the word of God so was easy pickings for WWCG. When I first heard HWA in the 80’s I had to drive to the top of a mountain in WV where I was living to get the station clearly. The reason I did was because what he was saying finally made sense of all the things I had read in Isaiah and elsewhere and never could make any sense of. JW’s were too weird so I couldn’t get it from them. HWA made sense of it and I determined to disprove him because of the deception I had experienced with EG White. I read every scripture he quoted and the context on either side of it to disprove what he was teaching and found that he was teaching scripturally sound doctrine. (I was used to total inexplicable fantasies like most protestant religions use).

The more I tried to prove him wrong, the more I proved him scripturally correct. I was hooked, line and sinker. I dragged my family along and joined the church. Gave them a lot of money just like the rest of you. I am now divorced and I can’t say it is the fault of the church but I am not sure. Our life was significantly altered and it is possible that the church life prevented us from developing a healthy relationship. I generally blame myself but don’t we all, and not necessarily correctly. I guess I am rambling on but it is such a relief to find a group of folks that have some similar experiences.

For years I have wanted to get in touch with former members that were with us through all that but could not find them as I had moved away and left the church. Couldn’t help but wonder what their thoughts and experiences were since the dissolution of the church, the Joseph T debacle and all. Didn’t even know about all this HWA stuff but it makes sense now in retrospect. I have read most every page on your site today and I have noticed that there are multiple “moderators” and some seem to be atheistic or at least agnostic, while others seem to be somewhat still open to scripture being possibly authentic.

I admire the attitude of all here and cannot begin to understand what some of you experienced in the old days before standards were somewhat relaxed as they were in my time in the church. I do have a clue though. Because of all that I have been through I have been compelled to write out my thoughts and beliefs and to publish them online in the delusional imagination that I understood all as I prayed for at 12. I had a site called the plain truth.info for a few years. This exercise taught me a lot and writing out your thoughts and beliefs is a great way to examine your beliefs as I found myself constantly having to correct myself.

To me the conclusions that I derived from this several year exercise has been helpful and comforting. I don’t know if it would be of any interest or profit to anyone but it has been to me and so I include it here just in case.

I could not let go of the belief that the Scripture was inspired, (a teaching I received in the SDA church that led me to leave it) only that I had been fooled again. In the WWCG I had finally been able to understand all the things that drove me crazy in the SDA in the “inspired” word. I realized that HWA was somewhat deceived and that the WWCG was not the “TRUE CHURCH.” I did not, of course know the rest of the story. After Joe Tkach I left in disgust. It’s funny, the teachings of the SDA’s caused me to disbelieve them, AND the teachings of HWA caused me to disbelieve him too.

In my analysis on my plain truth site I first reasoned that belief systems were choices that serve us or not and that none of them are provable. Creationist, atheist, or whatever is you choose, you can’t prove it’s true. It’s just your choice and as an automatic side effect of your choice you MUST discredit/disprove (to your satisfaction) opposing views. I chose the belief that was hammered into me, that scripture was inspired BUT, I had actually been thinking for myself for some time and came to a different view than I have seen expressed anywhere else.

1. “Scripture” means the Hebrew “old testament”. That was what Christ said could not be broken.

2. The “new testament” was canonized by the Catholic church but has been accepted as “the word of God” by virtually all groups, even those (such as the WWCG) that see the Catholic church as the Great Whore. It seems that it never crosses anyone’s mind to question the validity of this document and every word, especially Paul’s, is given reverence as God’s utterances. This is plainly naive.

At best, if we can trust that the works are genuine, the four “gospels” are not “scripture” they are eyewitness accounts and hearsay of the life and acts of Christ as recalled by his companions/disciples. Then we have Acts, purportedly written by Mark which is just a documentary of events. After that until Revelation, we have the “epistles” which are personal letters from the apostles to churches with their advice, admonitions, and sometimes personal opinions and specific instructions or advice to individuals and groups. I can’t imagine that when they wrote these letters to their congregations that they envisioned this “Christianity” that has evolved placing their correspondence on the same level as the prophets of old, and calling it “the word of God”

Then finally comes “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” purported to be dictated to and written down by the beloved apostle John. If we can believe that this is genuine it would be the only part of the “new testament” that qualified as “scripture” as it would be the only part that was received in the manner that we are told the prophets of old did. i.e. a direct dictation session from God, which is the premise that we are asked to accept from the old testament scriptures. Ok, sorry going tangent.

3.I/we learned in wwcg the Biblically correct teaching that Christ hid the truth from the masses. (“why do you speak to them in parables”….”because to you it is given to know the secrets of the KOG but to them it is not given…) so we knew that according to what we believed that evangelism was not Christ’s agenda. There is no need to convince or convert anyone as God’s “church” is just a group chosen to serve mankind in the age to come. So, no pressure I reason. It makes no difference what anyone believes and there is no reason for a church that recruits members and solicits money from them for what?

My conclusions include that all of Christianity is false BS and that God if he exists has no religion and that religion is the curse of the earth and that one possible explanation for our existence is the plan outlined in the Scriptures. It would be the obvious conclusion that I choose that belief because I was taught it as a child. I have rejected much of what I was taught as a child. I think that the reason I hold to this choice of beliefs is because it makes sense that God is creating a family and that the only way he could do it was by allowing, or actually causing, us to experience the consequences of living in a selfish, non-loving world and seeing the horror of living outside of God’s law of love.

I know it’s sophomoric but as Christ pointed out the whole law can be summed up in two commands, love God and love your brother. We don’t need any commandments if we love. Thanks Beatles. When money and power come into the picture is when all people, who are basically good, run a-muck. The love of money and power has consumed so many. (money is power) HWA loved his power and prestige it seems. You always hear (when people visit some third world country where the population is dirt poor) “the people were so sweet and kind and beautiful! I never in my life met such kind, good people. Yes, because they have no access to the “root of all evil” (oh no, I just quoted PAUL!

Thanks for your work and patience.

Ron Rubottom

Brilliant

Mr. Know-It-All

Brilliant, smart, clever, shrewd, cunning, witty, sophisticated, precise, complex, accurate — you can be all of those things and more. You may be highly educated with an M.B.A. from Harvard, a PhD in Nuclear Physics from M.I.T., an Aeronautical Engineer from Princeton and / or a whole host of other credentials. You might be an experienced and highly regarded linguist, archeologist, astronomer, Corporate Director / Vice President, historian, nutritionist, Medical Doctor, Lawyer, C.P.A, Network Engineer, automotive designer or working in a whole host of other careers.

Last week, I interviewed with Boeing at the Aeronautical Engineering Division where jets are engineered to fly. It’s complex and engineers are treated well — they are respected professionals and their time is highly valued. I’ve known any number of people in the WCG and United who have worked at Boeing and even IBM. One engineer I knew designed the Boeing 737 autopilot. He went to retire, but Boeing kept calling him back to work on it up to the age of 75 years old. I’ve met a man in the church who actually writes assembly language code for started tasks on the IBM Mainframe z/OS environment. He designed and wrote an interface to an artificial package which was bought by IBM. The IMS team shipped him over the code to use as a pattern. He quickly noted that the IMS started tasks had a fatal error and showed them how to fix it, before he went on with his own work.

There have been any number of brilliant people in the Armstrongist churches of God.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t mean a thing.

God only reveals his truth to His Apostles and Evangelist leaders in the cult of Armstrongism.

Nothing you say has any credibility.

No matter what facts, data, truth, witnesses you may bring to the table, if you disagree with the Cultmeister over you, you are rebellious, know nothing and have no status or standing to say anything.

It does not matter if you can absolutely prove beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt six ways from Sunday that British Israelism is a steaming pile of horse manure.

It does not matter if you can absolutely prove that church history is fabricated and there is no such thing as eras.

It does not matter if you can absolutely prove there is no such thing as second tithe.

Your job is to be lied to and provide the money: Only The Leader matters and you are wrong and nothing, no matter what.

You must learn the very first law of cults from the Orange Papers: The Guru is always right!

If you violate this #1 law, Frances Horibe, author of “Creating the Innovation Culture: Leveraging Visionaries, Dissenters and Other Useful Troublemakers in Your Organization”, tells you what comes next (note that the illustrations are for the Corporate environment):

Stage 1: Arguing

At Stage 1, it is assumed the dissenter just doesn’t know any better and is amenable to “rational” discussion. Some of the arguments you’ll her:

It’ll never work.

The boss will never go for it.

It’s not what we do around here.

Things are okay as they are.

Stage 2: Listening But Not Hearing

If the dissenter persists in his wrong-headed view, things stay polite but subtle messages are sent.

Yes, we’ve heard from you on that. Anybody else got some different ideas?

Thanks for your contribution.

Maybe you should put that in writing so we all have a good idea of what you mean.

Stage 3: Laughing It Off

Before they hit this stage, most team players are astute enough to realize they need to tone down their advocacy. But those who don’t get it begin to get teased about their persistence.

This is a real hobbyhorse, isn’t it? When are you going to get off and give somebody else a chance to ride?

If you’re so smart, how come you ain’t rich?

Can I give you a quarter to phone somebody who cares?

You note that nowhere are people talking about the real issues — like how inconvenient, threatening, or difficult it will be to implement the dissenter’s idea. Often, it’s because the idea is inconvenient, threatening, or difficult that this whole process gets invoked to begin with. It is at this point that the focus moves from the dissenter’s ideas to the dissenter himself [the ad hominem argument]. It stops being about whether the idea makes sense and starts being about the dissenter’s personality flaws.

Stage 4: Ignoring

If ridicule doesn’t work, the powers-that-be start to get a little ticked. Although they’d never say it, they’re beginning to feel that if the dissenter had any sensitivity or even manners, he’d stop bothering them. They bring into play one of the most powerful weapons–silence. When the dissenter speaks, no one replies; the conversation continues as if he had never spoken. If he persists, he gets:

We’ve been over that ground before. I was looking for new ideas.

I don’t think we’ll get to your item today. Maybe next time.

While in the previous stage people kept their expressions carefully neutral, now nonverbal cues are more evident. Rolling eyeballs and sighs are prominent.

Stage 5: Making Invisible

Still some people don’t get it. They persist despite the increasingly unfriendly environment. The heat is turned up. Not only will the boss refuse to engage in further discussion but also funny things start to happen. Somehow, the dissenter’s name gets left off distribution lists. Invitations to important meetings aren’t forthcoming. Decisions are taken without his input. It’s as if he has disappeared.

Stage 6: Forbidding

Some dissenters won’t take their invisibility lying down. Then the big guns come out. If the dissenter continues to push his unpopular views, someone will finally drag him into a room and say:

You are to focus on assigned projects, not just on the ones you want to do.

Stop wasting other people’s time by pushing your pet project.

I forbid you to work on that idea.

Sanctions may or may not be threatened. If the dissenter has taken the issue this far, he may see his fight as a matter of principle. Backing down would be a comment on him, on his integrity. But equally, the boss has had it, and the idea the dissenter has will be implemented only over several dead bodies.

Stage 7: Getting Rid of the Dissenter

If the situation gets to this stage, war has been declared and both sides are focused not on what’s good for the company but on winning. And, just given the way of the world, the power is on the side of the higher-ups. If the dissenter ignores the previous injunctions, any number of things can happen.

I don’t think your skills are up to this position. There’s a job for paper-pusher in Division M.

You need to report through Bob now. He’ll vet any of your ideas.

Somebody has to be laid off. I regret it has to be you.

We don’t have a place for you in this organization.

For those of us who have read The Ambassador Reports, this is all too familiar — since it was standard practice in the WCG in Pasadena and Big Sandy Texas and is the methodology of the GCI. Of course, it goes on within the rest of the Armstrongists, all the way from Arguing to Disfellowshipment. This doesn’t always work out, as United might be able to tell you, having lost at least 40 congregations in ten years (we’ve lost count, sorry) to the split with the Church of God, Worldwide Association. With Weinland and his PKG group, he seems to alternate between laughing it off and ignoring the dissidents — the only problem is, he’s about to be sentenced, so whatever he does probably has very impact on the dissenters except to make them more determined to expose him for the fraud he is.

All the people in the Living Church of God under Roderick Meredith need to perform the following experiment: Gather your facts and go to him to prove once and for all that British Israelism is nonsense, church history is a fraud and that he is a false prophet. You might even be a Pastor ranked minister or a Regional Pastor. You know, he’s the legacy from Herbert Armstrong who said, “Prove us wrong and we will change”. Of course, you need to keep firmly in mind that Roderick Meredith has proclaimed that he has not committed a major sin since his baptism, so be certain to document in writing the major sins he has committed to show them to him. Then stand back and see how quickly he runs through the seven stages.

One of the more, shall we say, colorful, of the gurus which sprang forth from the high school dropout with just an eighth grade education, turned Chancellor of a College, Herbert Armstrong is Yisrayl Hawkins. It’s interesting to see his former wife’s book, The House of Yahweh: My Side of the Story by Kay Hawkins is treated at Amazon.com. A comment by James A. Schmelig says: “Now that you’re read the obviously biased hand wringing of a woman scorned, maybe you would like to read the most authoritative investigative report about The House of Yahweh ever published. It is titled “The House of Yahweh EXPOSED! – Saints or Sinister?” by James Arthur. When we look up The House of Yahweh EXPOSED! – Saints or Sinister?, we spend so many pages looking at how corrupt the United States government is and how the truth has been covered up, until we find that James Arthur is actually for Yisrayl Hawkins. We also learn that The House of Yahweh started in the Garden of Eden. The author also tells us a bit about himself: A former (?) alcoholic (no such thing), drug abuser, liar, thief, sexual degenerate, despot, convicted felon and ex-convict who spent 10 years in prison by the time he was 28 years old. (Page 215) He tried the shallow superficial dogma of Christianity, but (darn it all!) Yisrayl Hawkins brought him the light and reformed him! Of course, Yisrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins is a proven false prophet, not unlike Ronald Weinland. He did, however, write his own version of Scripture, The Book of Yahwey. Many reviewers question the source of the translation and not a few reject the book as being heretical. One reviewer noted how many references were changed in favor of polygamy.

The issue here is how people are silenced and certainly the comment, “Now that you’re read the obviously biased hand wringing of a woman scorned…” is designed to question the credibility of someone who actually lived with the cult leader.

Armstrongism is based on silencing visionaries, dissenters and troublemakers, because Armstrongism itself is based on lies, deceptions, weirdness (the favorite of which is the guy who claims demons are coming to earth through a stargate at the bottom of the ocean), insanity (Richard Brothers who invented British Israelism was in an insane asylum because he was a danger to others) cast by narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and nutjobs. Yet, they expect us to swallow their Flavorade with a straight face.

In the book, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, authors Dr. Paul Babiak and Dr. Robert Hare answer the question, “What is the difference between a sociopath and psychopath” beginning on Page 19:

Psychopaths are without conscience and incapable of empathy, guilt, or loyalty to anyone but themselves.

Sociopaths may have a well-developed conscience and a normal capacity for empathy, guilt, and loyalty, but their sense of right and wrong is based on the norms and expectations of their subculture or group.

In other words, sociopaths have what is known as a “conditional conscience” based on the beliefs of those with whom they associate. The best example of this is the Mafia, where the behavior toward members of the group is far different — and the expectations are far different — than from the rest of the world: You can lie, steal, cheat, murder in order to advance the cause of your group, but not to those in the hierarchy within the group. As a Mafia Don, people were loyal to Herbert Armstrong and it was fine for both he and the members of the WCG to lie, steal, cheat and practice deception as long as the goal was to advance the WCG. The ministry was indoctrinated with “the end justifies the means” ethic (which is no ethic at all), so by implication, most of the Worldwide Church of God and the Armstrongist churches of God is basically populated by sociopaths, with the exception of the narcissists, psychopaths and nutjobs which occupy various levels within the hierarchy. Nothing matters except to protect the viability of the organization (which has no socially redeeming qualities within itself). All dissenters will be dealt with in the manner revealed by Frances Horibe. If you don’t believe that, just try dissenting and see what happens.

Those who leave Armstrongism need to be very much aware that their conscience has become warped and twisted in ways to adapt to the nature of the thinking of Herbert Armstrong. You’ve been adapted to accept injustices which would not be acceptable to the normal ordinary member of the rest of society because you have become a sociopath with antisocial behavior: You are looking for the end of the world, the destruction of society and, in most cases, have come to believe that people in terrible circumstances out in the world must attend to the dead burying their dead. You’ve been conditioned to do absolutely nothing but stand by, watching the horrors of others in your life, waiting for Jesus Christ to return to fix everything. You’ve accepted the idea that even if you could do something about it, you won’t because you feel that it’s just not your job. As Robert Dick in the United Church of God, an International Association said, “This is not the time of justice”. And folks, he also means it as far as the church is concerned. You have a conscience that was not bothered by false prophets spouting false prophecies and you have been satisfied to just sit back and prove exactly nothing. You take your cult leader’s word for it. You march on as a loyal soldier in your cult and never question your General, whether it is the Pastor General, Coordinator General or General kook leader, no matter how corrupt and wrong he is — up to and including becoming a convicted felon. If you know of a crime committed by a minister or you Leader, your job is to cover it up, ignore it and act as if it is normal.

It will take a very long time to construct a valid conscience, if it is even possible.

So you can be brilliant, smart, clever, shrewd, cunning, witty, sophisticated, precise, complex, accurate, but not within the confines of the craziness of the Armstrongist cult. They will find ways to make you submissive, for example, they will tangibly lower your IQ by making you feel stupid. Research has shown that the IQ of people can be lowered by as much as 40 points by convincing people they are stupid — and the Armstrongists certainly do a good job of that. They have these secret wonderful “truths” (lies) to which the world is not privy — which means that you are a novice when you take up with them to enter into their ranks: Nothing you say, do or are means anything, because the leadership has all the truth and your vision, perspectives and knowledge is irrelevant. You can’t know the truth. It is only revealed to the incompetent false prophet End Time Apostle. Only when you realize this and become nothing more that a stupid drone can you become someone.

Brilliance.

It means nothing unless you have the power.