Seeing the remark by Reichsleiter Goebbels, and remembering the line on lies from Mein Kampf, I wondered, What was HWA’s biggest whopper? He did like to repeat things – The Two Trees, Give and Get, 1900 years, his unique “training”; disregarding any doctrinal concoction, what about himself personally – something repeated, something said for a reason, something of which the truth was known only to himself, or to very few.
What about “Loma’s dream”? On its own, not really significant. That he was revealed the truth “by no man”? We know how HWA understood “revealed” – as John Kiesz observed, it can mean reading an article in the Bible Advocate, checking the proof texts, and he was “revealed” some new truth. Perhaps “I was never a member of the Church of God, Stanberry, MO or Salem, WV” – he could have a esoteric definition of “member”. “I never tried to steal members from other churches” – some methods of siphoning off members may not be considered “stealing”. There was the car steering wheel incident, the story of his son Richard’s death, and many other tales vary in significance and veracity. I’d first like to consider something earlier – HWA the business tycoon.
An article in the Ambassador Report, Herbert Armstrong – Man on the Move, summarizes HWA’s accommodation situation during his affluent years. Where did all his supposed wealth go? It certainly wasn’t put into personal real estate, nor into good investments, as he was wiped out even before the crash of ’29. Why would he want to exaggerate his success? The same reason as his business failures – it is part of the “proof” he was called. In later years, the “early success” story was repeated, with alleged income always given as the current equivalent value.
Another repeated story is Loma’s bible study with Ora Runcorn that proved the Sabbath, and HWA’s challenge to refute it. It is possible that the “Sabbath challenge” may have been fabricated, but I’ve only read anecdotal evidence for this. From some WCG accounts (of the Tkatch Jr era) HWA went searching for religion, and encountered Andrew Dugger, a few years earlier than Loma’s bible study. Bill Dankenbring wrote that HWA was inspired to turn to religion (as a source of income) when he met a Seventh-Day Adventist minister who lived in a fine home paid for by his congregation’s tithes. It was also stated that HWA turned to writing and selling religious tracts. If these accounts are in any way true, it makes more sense that HWA needed a good cover story for his transition from failed ad man to religious con man.
The Sabbath challenge adds a nice touch – even HWA’s critics mention it without question. And it is not unique in WCG history, appearing from time to time along the path from William Miller, a non-Sabbatarian adventist, up to COG-Seventh Day.
And I certainly wouldn’t deny the time spent in the Portland Public Library – others have documented that the library’s card catalog showed a good selection of resource material that could have “revealed” a lot of “truth”. And as for HWA’s unique training – yes, I doubt if any other church leader on earth received his training at Portland Public Library.
Is a religious sociopath present in your church leadership? Well is there?
Those who use mind control on others often have a deep inferiority complex. What they require is attention and power. They learn to crave it, and develop a need for more and more power. They operate under the belief that people are too stupid and UN-spiritual to know what is best for them. Eventually they begin to believe their own propaganda.
Defend your psyche. Do not allow someone without a conscience convince you that humanity is a failure. Normal human beings do possess conscience. Normal human beings are able to love. Normal human beings do not make wild claims.
The best way to protect yourself from a sociopath is to avoid him, to refuse any kind of contact or communication. The only truly effective method for dealing with a sociopath you have identified is to disallow him or her from you life altogether. Sociopaths live completely outside of the social contract, and therefore to include them in relationships or other social arrangements is perilous.
Money is at the intersection of nearly every aspect of modern life. Most of us take the monetary system for granted, but it has a profound and largely misunderstood influence on our lives. ‘THE MONEY FIX’ is a feature-length documentary exploring our society’s relationship with the almighty dollar. The film documents three types of alternative money systems, all of which help solve economic problems for the communities in which they operate.
‘THE MONEY FIX’ examines economic patterning in both the human and the natural worlds, and through this lens we learn how we can empower ourselves by redesigning the lifeblood of the economy at the community level.
Freud gives a psychological account for why religious ideas emerged and why they are so attractive to so many people
Religion as projection of father figure
Religion as wish fulfillment
Freud hoped civilization (and people) would outgrow its need for religion
Nature a threat that civilization inadequately responds to
By personalizing, humanizing nature, we make it less threatening (and rob it of its power) by making it the kind of thing we can influence
Religion also provides comfort for the evils of civilization
Content of religious ideas shows it clearly as wish fulfillment
Religion as illusion
Practical argument for religion is lame
Freud on what counts as religious
… My work is a good example of the strict isolation of the particular contribution which psycho-analytic discussion can make to the solution of the problem of religion. … It is, of course, my duty to point out the connecting links …, between the deeper and the manifest motives, between the father-complex and man’s helplessness and need for protection.
These connections are not hard to find. They consist in the relation of the child’s helplessness to the helplessness of the adult which continues it. So that, as was to be expected, the motives for the formation of the religion which psycho-analysis revealed now turn out to be the same as the infantile contribution to the manifest motives. Let us transport ourselves in the mental life of a child. You remember the choice of object according to the anaclitic [attachment] type, which psycho-analysis talks of? The libido there follows the paths of narcissistic needs and attaches itself to the objects which ensure the satisfaction of those needs. In this way the mother, who satisfies the child hunger, becomes its first love-object and certainly also its first protection against all the undefined dangers which threaten it in the external world — its first protection against anxiety, we may say.
In this function [of protection] the mother is soon replaced by the stronger father, who retains that position for the rest of childhood. But the child’s attitude to its father is coloured by a peculiar ambivalence. The father himself constitutes a danger for the child, perhaps because of its earlier relation to its mother. Thus it fears him no less than it longs for him and admires him. The indications of this ambivalence in the attitude to the father are deeply imprinted in every religion, as was shown in Totem and Taboo. When the growing individual finds that he is destined to remain a child for ever, that he can never do without protection against strange powers, he lends those powers the features belonging to the figure of his father; he creates for himself the gods whom he dreads, whom he seeks to propitiate, and whom he nevertheless entrusts with his own protection. Thus his longing for a father is a motive identical with his need for protection against the consequences of his human weakness. The defense against childish helplessness is what lends its characteristic features to the adult’s reaction to the helplessness which he has to acknowledge — a reaction which is precisely the formation of religion. But it is not my intention to enquire any further into the development of the idea of God; what we are concerned with here is the finished body of religious ideas as it is transmitted by civilization to the individual.
…People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
From AR 54
Letter to Roderick Meredith from one ex-WCG member who attempted to fellowship with GCG:
Dear Mr. Meredith:
I was recently disfellowshipped from the Global Church of God by area minister Dave Pack because I found it necessary, once more, to stand up for the Truth.
On August 6, 1993, 1 was awakened at 10:30 p.m. by a telephone call from Mr. Pack. I was questioned about my interest in Mr. William F. Dankenbring’s articles about Passover and Pentecost. In my studies of this comprehensive literature, I have proven to myself, from the Bible, that the dates and manner in which we keep these Holy Days are in error. I was sharing my new understanding of these Truths with the Host of the Tuckerton, New Jersey congregation. This is what prompted the call from Mr. Pack.
In our conversation, Mr. Pack made the statement, “Mr. Dankenbring makes his living acquiring information on sins about people and paying people to publish books about them. Aren’t you glad, John, that he doesn’t know your sins or he would publish a book about you?” Why is it that when we can’t attack the message, we attack the messenger? When will this stop? Mr. Pack was also very hostile toward Mr. John Trechak, saying he has been spreading garbage about him for years. And “that Trechak is no good.” In one of your early sermon tapes you admonished us not to say unkind things about people, even when we ourselves are attacked. Is there a double standard in the Church? Where is Mr. Pack’s humble attitude that ministers and members alike are supposed to exhibit?
From AR 32
Armstrong Follower Held In Murder of Daughter
On Sept. 20, 1984, Armstrong follower Lois Marie Elliott of North Tonawanda, New York was charged with second- degree murder. Police say that before dawn that day, the 36-year-old woman stabbed her four-year-old daughter to death in the child’s bed, knifed herself in the chest, in an apparent suicide attempt, and then telephoned police, saying, “I killed her.” Officers dispatched to the scene discovered the pajama-clad body of the little girl, Roxanne Elizabeth, in her own bed. She had already died from multiple stab wounds, mostly to the chest. Mrs. Elliott was found nearby bleeding from a wound to her own chest. (The Buffalo News, Sept. 20, 1984, p. 1 and Sept. 21, p. C- 5.)
Elliott was divorced from her WCG-member husband Frederick R. Elliott of Kenmore, New York, and had been living with her widowed mother Olive Baldassara. Mrs. Baldassara was home the night of the tragedy, but was apparently asleep in another room during the attack.
Investigators say that Elliott had telephoned police the previous evening claiming her ex-husband had sexually abused their daughter. But police have since concluded that there are “no facts to support that allegation.” After Elliott was treated at a hospital and released into police custody, she told investigators she had “committed a sin that would carry on through her bloodline” and that her daughter had “committed an unpardonable sin and didn’t pray enough.”
Neighbors described Elliott as a reclusive “religious fanatic” who rarely allowed her daughter outdoors to play. Church acquaintances told us that although Elliott had been disfellowshipped from the WCG, she had remained faithful to church teachings and had desired to be reinstated in the church. Reinstatement was not forthcoming, however, because she had been labeled as having a “demon problem.”
One of Elliott’s church friends said, “I don’t think Pack [Dave Pack, a WCG minister in the Buffalo, New York area] ever encouraged her to get psychiatric help. And if he really thought she had demons, why didn’t he just cast them out, like in the Bible?”
Another acquaintance said, “We could sense Lois had a problem, but her church experience and her marriage problems didn’t help her. Then after she was disfellowshipped she seemed to get worse. She really needed help.”
Niagara County First Assistant District Attorney Stephen P. Shierling told the Report he fully intends to prosecute Elliott on the murder charge. But Elliott’s attorney, James Perry of North Tonawanda told us that his client has been declared mentally incompetent to assist in her own defense, has been committed to a state mental hospital for treatment, and that there is no way to know if she will ever recover sufficiently to be able to stand trial.
Whatever the legal outcome, the fact remains that a pretty little four-year-old girl is dead. Neighbors told reporters how Roxanne’s father had visited the little girl at least twice each week and how happy she always seemed to be when he arrived. The Buffalo News story of Sept. 21 had this ending:
Although neighbors Thursday said that they never saw the little girl playing outside, her father, Mr. Elliott, talked about her energy and her precociousness. She loved to dance and draw and could name all the states, he said.
“She had a mind like you wouldn’t believe,” he told The News. “She was like a little adult, a little Shirley Temple. She was so vivacious.” Mr. Elliott then politely declined any further comment, and broke down in tears.
David Pack’s Reign of Terror
On the night of Roxanne Elliott’s death, one of the last people – probably the very last one – Lois Elliott phoned before the tragedy was WCG minister David Pack, pastor of the Buffalo (North), New York congregation.. Exactly what was said, we don’t know. At least not yet. That information may well come out should Lois Elliott ever recover sufficiently to stand trial. What is remarkable, however, is how often Pack’s name seems to appear in conjunction with tragedies in the WCG. For a number of years now, no WCG minister’s name has appeared more often in letters written to the Report complaining of ministerial abuse.
Pack, a burly 6-foot, 5-inch Ambassador College graduate known locally for his authoritarian style, has so incensed some in his flock that a group have circulated an open letter detailing his abuses and have called for his removal. The letter describes Pack’s ministerial leadership as a “Reign of Terror.” On the cover page, addressed to WCG headquarters leaders, they wrote: “David’s power-crazed quest to totally dominate the mind, body, and spirit of church members has not been done in a corner and has been done clearly in view of all to see at headquarters in Pasadena.”
On the following 13 pages of their letter the allegations about Pack read like a horror story. The authors contend that Pack constantly intimidates members, uses threats and mind-control methods, is given to extreme emotional outbursts, is highly political, believes in winning at all cost, has disfellowshipped members for trivial faults, prescribes diets while “playing M.D.,” insists on being addressed as Mr.Pack, enjoys wearing skimpy, skin-tight shorts to sporting events, has actually worn a wolf costume to church socials, enjoys putting down women, and told one married woman with children, “It would be better for you to shack up one night with a man than wear makeup.”
The letter quotes Pack as having said, “Everyone who has challenged me has either died, been seriously injured or has been eliminated from the work.” And, “God backs me even if I am wrong.”
On page 7 the authors made this statement to Pack (emphasis ours):
Doesn’t it bother you that while you were in charge of the Rochester and Syracuse area there were three suicides? One can only wonder why they chose to kill themselves while you were their main advisor in the area. Perhaps you suggested to one or more of them that they would in no way make it into the Kingdom of God…. A statement such as, “You are no longer in the body of Christ,” could have caused one to give up and kill himself.
The above quote was written well before the Elliott family tragedy. Some who knew little Roxanne and her mother Lois Elliott wonder if it might have been a prophecy.