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.
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:
- British Israelism
- Church History
- Law keeping to gain salvation
- 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?