The Last Days

 

Apocalypse

II Timothy 3:1 says —

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

In Apostolic Incest, Jon said:

“Why would the Armstrong crowd care about incest? Incest to them is nothing to sneeze about. It is normal to them. They approve of it and by endorsing the old pervert they endorse his ways. All of them.

Moms and dads, don’t forget to have the elders of the church babysit your kids. They might not be the same ever again but heck, you need a break!

Soon the feast of booze will be upon us. The members of the so called churches will imitate Herbert and drink themselves silly. Those who run the hotels will be busy cleaning out the empty bottles and cans. Maids and janitors will be busy indeed. Cleaning up puke, spilled drinks off carpets, but hopefully they can make a little more money doing their mundane jobs and return these bottles and cans for the deposit.

The feast is a bore, the sermons painfully repetitive. The fun starts at family day where your children can mix with a selection of ministerial brats and the local pervert can have his way when your not looking. Again, your children may not be the same, but it is your church. You own your decisions lock, stock and barrel.”

Jon’s comment might seem a little over the top: After all, from the external view, the Armstrongist Churches of God seem benign, if not warm and cuddly — well, cuddly might seem to be stretching it a bit with Roderick Meredith and the Living Church of God, but if you look at say, United’s Muppet type videos for the kids, it could seem like you have finally found a church home. That is sort of a point of view because the ACoGs don’t seem to have many church buildings nor do they seem to have much presence in the community, because they are now TV based and Internet based church groups renting places for their services and various rare occasions. The point is that they don’t seem that extreme and bizarre on the surface. Be sure you don’t scratch because what lies just beyond the surface is ugly and often deadly.

One could argue that many events lay in the past with Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God, but the tie to those times is far too tight with today because the same people, Roderick Meredith, Dennis Luker and some of the minor leaguers like Jim Franks, John Rittenbaugh, David Pack, Gerald Flurry and Ronald Weinland are still running things and the same problems keep cropping up over and over and over and over.

Back in the days of the WCG in Seattle / Bellevue, Washington while Dennis Luker was in charge as Regional Pastor, there was a lot going on. Chuck Harris was showing his pistol to folks under his suit coat in the holster after Sabbath services and trying very hard to date and marry Brenda James. At the same time, an elder and his wife in the church were pursuing The Tracker — an outdoors survivalist type of guy — with great enthusiasm, even mentioning him in Sabbath services. Glenn White was also tapped into this. It seems as if The Tracker was sort of an extension of the last days mania where people were stocking up for the Great Tribulation and the horrible things to come (while living in faith, we suppose). The elder spent a lot of  “outside time” with The Tracker. His son was spending a lot of “outside time” with Chuck Harris and so was another teen of a prominent and respected family in the church.

A number of things all seemed to happen at the same time. I remember the nice summer afternoon when my wife and I went down to the Seattle Center by the fountain from the World’s Fair and met the elder and his wife. We had a pleasant chat for a few minutes and headed off to the cat show. What none of us knew at the time is that the two teens who had been BFF with Chuck had been with a drug dealer the night before. The drug dealer wanted more than money and when he proceeded to attempt to seduce them, one of the teens whipped out the gun and shot the dealer dead. Subsequently, the elder’s teenage son went to prison and so did his friend, who wanted to be with Chuck Harris in prison where he had been sentenced after shooting Brenda James and several other people in the church. Chuck Harris was black and Brenda was white and the WCG was still in racist mode and would not permit them to marry. What Dennis Luker failed to fathom was that Chuck was already married to a woman in Canada who showed up rather unexpectedly.

Meanwhile, my daughter was BFFs with two other girls in the same congregation. One of them was the daughter of a psychopath and routinely took my daughter and the other girl on shoplifting tours of places like Nordstroms to take expensive items like scarves from the store. Her other friend shocked our daughter by revealing that her father had been committing incest with her and had raped her for years. These and many other events have scarred my daughter so horribly that she is terrified of attending any Armstrongist church again, even though it has been decades past: She just couldn’t stomach it. The sermons about demons didn’t help much and neither did the graphic descriptions of death, destruction, dystopia of the soon to come last days.

Somewhat earlier, a brilliant young teen with an unwed mother in the church experienced the benefits of having a WCG parent by ending up in a Juvenile Hall and being raped there by the other teens. He had done nothing, but his mother just wanted him to learn to stay in line. The situation ended up so bad that the State of Washington gave guardian custody rights to a single man in the church.

After dinner at the Night to Be Much Observed, the host sat with me and told me about the elder in the church who was a pedophile favoring young boys. He taught the Sabbath School. She told me the leading women in the church reported him to the local ministry. When they did not respond, they reported it to headquarters. Headquarters and Herbert Armstrong did nothing. She told me that the only thing left to them was to “watch” him on the Sabbath and the Holydays. I wondered what moves he may have tried to put on my son.

By this time, nearly everyone is familiar with the UCG stalking case where the ministry, supported by Dennis Luker, defended the protagonist instead of following Scripture and putting him out of the church. The couple had to pursue getting a court to issue a restraining order. What many people did not know is that there were other stalkers in United. One weird and creepy woman stalked a young man up until he married and left on his honeymoon. When he returned, she confronted him and told him (and this should sound so very familiar to people who have been stalked), “You are mine!”. A single woman in the Midwest had a man stalk her, also under the watchful eye of Dennis Luker, and he had the gall to sign her up secretly with an insurance agent for life insurance, with his wife and him as the beneficiary! We are all familiar with the Philadelphia Church of God under Gerald Flurry where young women are pushed into a relationship with weird creepy older bachelors.

We are also familiar with Terry Ratzmann and the Living Church of God in 2005 when he entered into Sabbath Services and shot the minister and several members. Attending church could very well be hazardous to your health (not that the other stories here diminish from that concept). Roderick Meredith’s little group isn’t particularly impressive in the realm of the fruit of the spirit and neither is the apologist Robert Thiel.

The positioning of the “leadership” in the hierarchy makes the following scenario believable:

The minister in Topeka has committed murder.

Do we think he can get away with it?

Yes, I think so.

Good! What can we do to cover it all up?

Byker Bob had an interesting comment in the last PT blog entry:

“I think this issue is simply too mind boggling for stalwart Armstrongites to even consider, let alone believe and react accordingly. The greater majority chalks it all up as persecution, and considers Satan to be the author.

The period of incest coincides with the time period when Herbert alleges that God was revealing to him the restored truths, which are the backbone of Armstrongism. Anyone who reads the Bible knows that the God described in its pages did not work directly through individuals involved in ongoing and systemic sin. Sin whores up the spiritual channel, so to speak. God does convert evil, kind of like spiritual karate, and turns it against itself, ultimately producing good, but in every case of perennial sin in the Bible, it had to be cleared up and corrected before God worked with and through different individuals as His spokespersons. Even the most diehard Armstrongite would recognize that basic truth, which is why there is such a wall of denial. To acknowledge ten years of this type of sin, they’d have to question and ultimately reject the so-called restored truths.

BTW, incest is an example of “mala in se”, an act considered so totally evil by all society, that a perpetrator is automatically reduced to non-person status, and anything that person had to say, or any good activities throughout his or her life are totally invalidated.”

BB

Herbert Armstrong was the source of this mess: His actions were so totally evil that by the standards of all society, that he would be automatically reduced to non-person status, and anything that he had to say, or any good activities throughout his life would be totally invalidated. Yet here we are. He is thought to be a great man. People idolize him. They call him, “Mr. Armstrong”. They say (in excusing his behavior): “But he brought us the truth!”. The reality was that Armstrong was responsible for warping and twisting the thinking of his followers — and worse, his ministers — so badly that they accept the weirdness and the risk of attending church in a completely dysfunctional environment fraught with danger. It might not seem so, but lurking behind those smiles and quality wool suits, there is a darkness that would never accept a message from any Holy Spirit.

Here we are, just days away from Ronald Weinland of the CoG-PKG being sentenced for 5 felony convictions of Income Tax Evasion by the Justice Department.

We also have other history, such as the minister who ended up in John Rittenbaugh’s Church of the Great God. The man was originally in the WCG where, as was related to me by Rex Sexton in the United Church of God, an International Association over lunch at Azteca, he raped 16 teenage daughters and 8 of their mothers. The man went from the WCG to Global under Roderick Meredith where he eventually was fired and he went with John Rittenbaugh and the Church of the Great God. In 2003, at the Feast of Tabernacles in Redmond, Oregon, I talked with John Cafourek — who, incidentally, has a degree and certification in counselling — who told me that he was the first one to report this man to headquarters in Pasadena. Their response to Mr. Cafourek? “Oh, but he gives such great sermons!” We’ll wait while you roll your eyes.

The reason I met with Rex Sexton in Azteca was to present to him my “Ministerial Guide to Mental Disorders” and discuss it with him: I knew that there was a dearth of material from which to draw and there were many problems in the Armstrongist Churches of God in this regard. (Later, I sent information and a link to the leader of every major church of God about the solution to the problem of alcoholism in the church — Rational Recovery — which was also ignored and rejected, particularly by Gerald Flurry.) He proceeded to tell me about a woman in his congregation who was married and had a job with a governmental agency. Once a month, she received her paycheck and disappeared for three or four days: She went binge drinking and sleeping around with other guys; then she would go back to work, to start the whole cycle over again. I’m not certain why he told me this in front of the other patrons and the wait staff.

Part of the reason I presented my Guide was because I knew of the terrible problems with mental illness in the church, not just among the members, but the ministers as well. One of these ministers wrote an article in the Good News about The Bible Keys to Mental Health. I knew that he had a mental illness when I met him — people in the church told me that he was just not coming to grips with his problems with mental illness, which is certainly clear in the Good News article. If you read it and know something about the issues, the advice to just be positive conveniently sidesteps the potential danger of not having the disease treated. Scripture claims that those with the Holy Spirit have the power of a sound mind. If that is true, there is something very wrong with the Armstrongist Churches of God. Do you really want to have mentally ill ministers giving you sermons and then advise you about mental health, when they have unresolved issues themselves and their advice (of non treatment from mental health professionals) could lead to your death?

It’s hard to write this: It brings such pain. If it were just history, I wouldn’t mention it, but it never really gets any better. The only thing that happens is that there are fewer opportunities for the sociopath and psychopath ministers and members who do such things — but make no mistake, they still go on and that’s the point! The injustices go on and on and there is no real advocate. Joyce, whose husband is the Living Church of God, related the tragedy that her husband has become a terror in following Roderick Meredith: She wanted to know what she should do? Their long term marriage was falling apart. The only real advice I could give her was to try to find what she needed in “Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships” by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias. Though the book as a resource is not specific to Armstrongism, you will certainly find that it has all the elements of it and does a good job on how to escape and recover from such cults as Armstrongism.

So while it may seem like Jon was over the top in his comment, the truth lies in the horror that many people face in the mean spirited practices of the ministry and membership of the Armstrongist cult. As a side note, the man whose father was the publisher of a sacred names newspaper who also debated with Herbert Armstrong in the 1940s, told me that he had an inside memo from Squaw Valley, telling the Church to clean up the bottles and cans of booze the members had left around. Jon’s comment, “Those who run the hotels will be busy cleaning out the empty bottles and cans. Maids and janitors will be busy indeed. Cleaning up puke, spilled drinks off carpets, but hopefully they can make a little more money doing their mundane jobs and return these bottles and cans for the deposit.”, may be sarcasm, but it is on spot. Armstrongism has a history and that history has taken us into the new millennium — but certainly not the millennium the Armstrongists were promised, and they should all think really hard about that.

If there is one thing we should have learned is that people in the WCG absolutely did not know one another. We may have been told, “We are family,” but it simply was not true — it was all artificial. When the WCG began changing the doctrines and when it all came to a head, people went their separate ways: People who sat together in services for decades simply did not know what their “brethren” in the church really believed. When it was all said and done, people were spun off in all sorts of directions and certainly did not speak the same things.

The reason that everyone stayed together as long as they did should be evident: It was, as Herbert Armstrong said, the Worldwide Church of Gossip. People were addicted to curiosity to find out what was going on. Many think it was because they had a social connection, but it is clear that they wanted to get the goods on their church “neighbor”. That yellow sheet journalism experiment, The Journal, continues the stupidity with Dixon Cartwright knowingly maintaining a newspaper filled with strange articles, with stranger advertising, written by extremely strange people, all in an effort to make the entire Armstrongist community seem genteel and civilized when it is nothing of the kind. People are addicted to infotainment involving perceived celebrities at the center of their eschatology with a slavish dedication to watch church news so they can be counted worthy of attention of their associates in the church. If people left, they would sorely miss the continuing soap opera of “as the church turns”. They just can’t leave — they are slaves of their passion to get all the news of the other church people that can fit in their minuscule minds. It’s like a small town, best described by Bob Hope: People are so narrow, their ears overlap.

If you are disfellowshipped, you will learn instantly that you really didn’t have any friends in the Armstrong community, particularly if you brought to light something the cult wanted to keep hidden. It could be worse than that: In some of the extreme Armstrongist cults, people have found themselves stalked or worse. Many have had repeated phone calls late at night with those who hang up immediately when they answer. Some have had to contact the police and the FBI. A few are threatened in other ways, such as being threatened with lawsuits or other forms of extortion. If you leave, it depends, but under some circumstances, you might just want to drop off the grid when you leave.

Indeed perilous times have come.

So yes, we do seem to be in the last days.

The last days of Armstrongism.

And we’re just fine with that.

War!

WW III 2012 Armstrongist Church of God Style
World War III, 2012: Armstrongist Church of God Style

The Armstrongist Churches of God are not war-like tribes — they are warring tribes, at war with one another, to the point that they not only don’t look Christian or necessarily godly, they look downright barbaric and uncivilized, as though they are waiting for civilization to catch up to them some time in the future — a future which will never come.

One of the many occurrences of the evidence of the constant battles of the war of ascendancy is the schism within the United Church of God, an International Association (UCGaIA), which resulted in the formation of the Church of God, Worldwide Association (CoGWA). The split wasn’t even about doctrine. It seemed to be about governance, but from the outside view away from the intimate internal dealings of the Church Administration, no one can be really certain why the split occurred.

Now, if it were a matter of Christian Soldiers fighting the war in the good fight against Satan and this world, that would be one thing, but it isn’t that at all: They are battling against each other in a manifestation of the works of the flesh.

The Apostle James in his epistle wrote:

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

That’s part of it: The founders and leaders of this ancient religion of the War gods certainly is based on the lust for salary and retirement, along with the lust for power and narcissistic fulfillment by pathetic idolatrous narcissistic source borderline personality types hanging on every word of delusional pronouncements of the promises of future godhood and false prophecies of a short work, ended by a mythical Great Tribulation. People lust after that. It is emotionally satisfying.

But there is convincing evidence that that is not all of it: It’s just a part of the puzzle.

Why are the Armstrongist Churches of God at war — with one another?

Some of the explanation may lie in the fact that their religion does not appeal to even a miniscule segment of fresh blood out there in the world any more. The time of the cold war is past and the threat of nuclear holocaust just isn’t an inducement like it used to be. No, in these days of technological wonders of advancement beyond the wildest imagination of three decades ago, the world has changed so significantly that the old inducements for new membership just won’t cut it. As a result, with the severe entropy restricting the options and opportunities for a continued flow of money into the sub cults, the only solution is to resort to cannibalizing the remaining sheople amongst the various 700+ splinters, offering each one a “better deal” to sweeten the pot for preserving the life style to which the leadership of each cult would like to become accustomed. And make no mistake, this is ranchers quibbling about the branding on their livestock.

However, there seems to be a much deeper and sinister motivation lying behind the constant war going on, wherein there is no peace, and indeed, cannot be, as in the words of Isaiah:

For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.

The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

They are, in short, the very flower of the example of humanity.

The cults have inherited the warlike nature of Herbert Armstrong who fought and railed against everything from the Catholic Church to the Church of God Seventh Day (as being Sardis). The world was of Satan and he was the conquering hero to usher in the golden age of the War to come which was to bring ultimate peace after there was no one left who had any energy left to fight him — or at least that was the vision that he created. He created an environment geared to war from the very beginning, rebelling against society and science so he could have his own way. He often turned against his own employees in a fit of rage. His temper was legendary. He left a legacy of anger and war, and who of those guards he personally trained in his Ambassador College Prison Experiment could rise above the overwhelming tsunami of the West Point of God’s Work?

Science and genetic research has revealed interesting developments of late, with the discovery of the so-called “Warrior Gene”, DARRP-32 TC / TT variant allele of damaged chromosomes. Not only is there a basis for the reality of continuing chaotic strife for those with this sort of genetics, but there are tests for it — even to the point that Dr. Phil uses the test on his show to identify the cause of family disruptions by those with this damaged genetics: It’s built in.

It should be pointed out that this particular form of anger has no real evolutionary advantage: It will not promote the continuing life of the Armstrongist Churches of God, but will hasten their demise in an ever increasing downward spiral of entropy where the resources become ever less available.

Given the history of Herbert Armstrong and the history of such people as Roderick Meredith, whose pride is rooted in winning a Golden Gloves Championship in his teenage years, it is not difficult at all to believe that the War amongst the various Churches of God are spearheaded by the leadership who just can’t help themselves to engage in endless battles.

Any members who are still delusional about the opportunity for the path to peace, need to heed the words of II Timothy 3: “From such turn away”. Proverbs 22:24-25 add to the wisdom:

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

But then, Armstrongists never have been very careful to follow “The Word of God”, otherwise, they would not have followed Joseph Tkach. The Ambassador Report tells of the anger management challenges of Dr. Tkach with his first wife, Jill. The temper of Senior is legendary and there is at least one account where he yelled at an innocent woman in his office for five hours straight, doing great emotional damage to her. There are much more recent examples of the fury of Armstrongist leaders in the churches of God today because it is a continuing problem which will not abate.

So let the Armstrongist founders and leaders take the test.

We already know what they will find.

VIP Trust

One Person, no matter who he or she is, is a very small part of a population. Why are some individuals given so much artificially  created importance? It’s not artificial, you may say. People need  leaders, and it’s perfectly natural that the leader of a large group will be very important to the welfare of the group and will  bear a disproportionate share of the burden for maintaining that welfare. In at least one sense it certainly is natural.

The way humans treat their leaders–and the way some of them become  leaders–is at heart pretty much the same as the hierarchical social structures of, say, baboons or chimpanzees. Males fight one another with the hope of becoming “alpha male;” those who don’t win are subservient to him, and females are subservient to all of them, with finer degrees of hierarchy of their own. The differences between how baboons do it and how we do it are more in details than in the essence.

That’s not surprising. All of us–baboons, chimps, humans–are primates, with common evolutionary roots both biologically and culturally. Our social systems look like modified versions of theirs because they are modified versions of theirs. And it works pretty well, for baboon troops. Their hierarchies, for all the conflicts they entail, probably do serve the group’s long-term welfare by preventing more extensive conflicts that would likely arise if nobody were imposing some order, and presenting a united front to external threats.

Dr. Stanley Schmidt, Editorial: “VIPs”; Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July/August 2012.

In one fell swoop, Dr. Stanley Schmidt just described the sociological world of Herbert Armstrong in the Worldwide Church of God: A strongly hierarchical structure with him at the top over a group of primates, acting every bit like baboons.

Generally speaking, as civilization matures, the evolution is toward the individual having freedoms in a venue where it is recognized that, for the most part, there is an equality among the people and there isn’t one particular super human to become the supreme autocratic leader. This assumes that each member of the citizenry take ownership to maintain order and act responsibly. It would appear that autocracies based in a stong hierarchical structure are regressions negating our social evolution, obliterating the hope of pursuing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by the singular individual.

It has become painfully obvious that Herbert Armstrong imposed order to present a united front to external and internal threats: It is obvious, because with his death, the conflicts have increased 700 fold and are certainly doing nothing to serve the group’s long term welfare. Even though Herbert Armstrong was one small fat short man, he rallied others to him as the “alpha male” to gain control of the group.

During his time, Roderick Meredith, Gerald Flurry, David Pack, Dennis Luker, Ronald Weinland, were all the losers and became subservient to him, with the females subservient to all of them, with finer degrees of hierarchy of their own. No real intelligence was needed: It’s pretty much social genetics, making the victims mere pawns in the evolutionary scheme of things, in yet another minor league cult. And yes, there are many more groups and larger groups of “baboons”, but what has happened in Armstrongism is instructive in the understanding of how locked into a system primates can be. In reality, Herbert Armstrong had absolutely no worth as either a person, an apostle or a false prophet, but he was in charge, and darn it all, we were going to believe and follow him, no matter what, without much thought put into it, following, as it were, our animal passions.

Dr. Schmidt continues:

Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?

People need leaders, you may say again, and I must agree at least in part: Some people need leaders most of the time, and perhaps most do under some circumstances. We’re sometimes told that  people tend to be either leaders or followers, and in my experience many do tend to lean more toward one or the other–the in the complex hierarchies of our present societies, many people play both roles in different subgroups. And I don’t buy the idea that everybody has a natural preference for one or the other. Personally I don’t like to do any more of either than necessary. I prefer to work as independently as possible as much of the time as possible, and it’s how I usually work best.

Now, in the realm of religion, particularly Christianity, one would think that there would be more individuality: According to Scripture, when Christ died, the veil to the Holy of Holies was ripped down the middle, and symbolically, was a metaphor that the people no longer needed the High Priest as the leader to go directly to God the Father. One would think. It was to be a new world with the Old Covenant done away and a New Covenant written, so that there was no more hierarchy to get to God. The good news of the gospel is that your sins separating you from your God were covered and you had redemption. This was now a higher plane above, not just above the primates, but mankind itself. Old habits die hard. And there are a lot of successful con men out there, ready and able to recapture people as livestock to live off of them, promoting the very vision of the 1972 Princeton Prison Experiment, replete with the Warden Superintendant, guards and prisoners, reducing the supposedly spiritual plane back to the animal level: Herbert Armstrong invoked in us a regression to the primal.

Dr. Schmidt adds:

It’s also prudent for a large organization to have mechanisms built into it to ensure that its smooth functioning is not too dependent on which individual is currently doing whatever executive duties need to be done. That’s where most of them fall down. It’s nice to have a competent, well-liked and respected leader in those cases where you need a leader at all. If you’re lucky enought to have one, it’s naturally a sad thing to lose him or her–just as it’s a sad thing to lose any competent, well-liked and respected person. If that loss is a violent one, the perpetrator is a crimnal and needs to be dealt with as such. But it’s not the end of the world, whether violent or not, and reacting to it as if it were is likely to do far more harm than good. Wouldn’t it be better to have a social structure strong and resilient enough to deal appropriately and propotionately with both the loss and the crime, and meanwhile make the necessary adjustment to go on with the rest of its business in a reasonably normal fashion?

In the case of cults, no. Cults are cults because they focus on one man (or woman or a small cadre of “leaders”) to excess. It’s best to let them die. Now it should not have escaped any of you what the lesson here is: While it is true that Herbert Armstrong was a “success” in the sense that he got all he wanted out of life, he was a failure in providing a lasting legacy because people were entirely focused on him. In the aftermath of his death, there has been a vacuum left. Those familiar with science knows the old adage that nature abhors a vacuum.

Unfortunately, the “alpha males” rushing in to fill the void, simply can’t fill it. Armstrongism is a spectacular failure with sociopathic nutjobs popping up nearly weekly like mushrooms on the lawn after a rainy day. The final words of Dr. Schmidt in his editorial should give us all pause, even if taken out of context:

And if that happens, our reaction to any problem with it is likely to be as extreme and destructive as with any of its human predecessors.

So those now involved with Armstrongism — particularly now that we have the robust example of Ronald Weinland, the prophet that failed — have a clear choice: Make your own choices and be responsible for them or pursue social evolutionary regression to follow the baboon alpha male leader.

Why I Hate Religion.

“Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” by spoken-word artist Jefferson Bethke has received more than 10.2 million YouTube views as of Saturday night since it was posted just four days ago, eliciting more than 100,000 YouTube comments and plenty of debate elsewhere on the Internet.


From his YouTube page we read: “In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it‘s core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can’t do your own list of rules and feel “not good enough” for God. With Jesus though you have humble confident joy because He represents you, you don’t represent yourself and His sacrifice is perfect putting us in perfect standing with God!”

Your thoughts?

Wrecked Family. Part II

May 21, 2011
– Elderly Mother Missing After Former World Wide Church of God Member Brother Uproots Her From Nursing Home and Philadelphia Church of God Sister Influences Her.


Yet another serious blow to my family — My former WWCOG member & brother, who wrecked our family by joining WWCOG in the earlier 70s, (He claims to have left the cult several years ago), took advantage of growing tensions between me and my 85-year-old mother over my PCOG sister, and I believe uprooted my mother from a nursing home in PA near us, and transplanted her to TX, where he lives. I also suspect my PCOG sister, referenced in the tragic story posted on this website regarding how she ruined my niece’s future, influenced and encouraged my mother to leave us. If so, he has done this without my knowledge. I found out my mother was missing from a former neighbor who tried to get in contact with my mother. Her phone line in the nursing home has been disconnected.

Instead of supporting me in stopping my PCOG sister from hoodwinking my mother for all these years, my former WWCOG member brother made every effort to exploit a crack opening between me and my mother, he being well-versed in deceiving, as a former HWA devotee, and a family-wrecker (His son has two illegitimate daughters, one of which has a Muslim first name). He learned HWA’s techniques well. It wasn’t enough that he took advantage of the rift, and moved my mother to TX. Before leaving, he and/or my mother somehow made my wife and I out to be the bad daughter-in-law and son for trying to help my niece (who wanted to split from PCOG) and for refusing to be pacifists regarding PCOG, WWCOG and HWA. Several neighbors, co-workers, all relatives, and former friends snub us. The relatives who no longer speak to us include my homosexual cousin whose former partner ran for some city government position and was caught soliciting an undercover vice squad officer. Made the newspapers of course. The other relative had an abortion. They are passing judgment on us. Typical.

Before my mother went missing, over the last few months, I had cut down on the number of calls, visits, and emails to her because she would never address the issues I raised regarding my sister taking advantage of herself and the alleged abuse of my niece via PCOG and her PCOG parents. Indirectly, my mother supported PCOG by sending my PCOG sister money for birthdays and letting her use her credit card when she visited. My mother refused to pressure my sister to compensate my wife the $2000 she spent on protecting our niece after her parents abandoned her to the streets for refusing to participate in PCOG. When we took my niece to visit my mother at the nursing home to tell her what had happened to her while in PCOG, my mother just sat there, stony-faced, and insisted she (my niece) belonged back with her PCOG parents despite all troubles they and PCOG had caused her.

My mother yelled at me the last time I saw her, upset as she was, that we had given my niece shelter over the summer when she had no where else to go. My mother ended by saying that it was wrong of me to have blocked her (my mother) from going to TX a year ago (which wasn’t true), and that as soon as she got better (she had a colostomy) she was going to TX. This, I took, as a veiled threat for me to keep quiet about PCOG, WWCOG, and how their vile influence was destroying us as a family.

Backtracking a bit, it was a little over a year ago when my cousin and her husband left us a nasty voice message containing outright slander and defamation of character statements alluding to us mistreating my mother (It is my understand their son is in a cult, the Seventh Day Adventists?). I played the tape for my former WWCOG brother. He never called this relative to straighten out the slander. His WWCOG wife wouldn’t even listen to the tape. I played the tape for my mother. She called my cousin to tell her she had gotten it awrong, but my mother remained in contact with this relative. Someone influenced my cousin to leave such a nasty message, thus I backed off from visiting my mother, while I tried to figure out who was defaming us. Around this time, my mother started thinking about moving to TX, either on her own, or I suspected with my former WWCOG brother and PCOG sister’s prodding. At the very least, they certainly didn’t’ discourage her. A few months later, I spoke with my former WWCOG brother asking him if everything was OK with my mother. He said “yes.” Less than a week later, he calls to announce his son had another illegitimate child (my wife and I don’t have children, so I believe this was a dig), and that our mother was moving to TX, and “whether I had any questions.” I was upset because I feared for my mother’s safety, her having anything to do with my deceiver and former WWCOG member brother who split apart the family. My wife spoke with my mother, and said I was upset. My mother changed her plans, and stayed. I got back in contact with my mother, overlooking this incident, and my wife visited her almost everyday at the nursing home. I called and visited her too, as before. My wife helped her with figuring out how to manage her colostomy bag. My mother gave the nurses credit for this, not my wife.

It all really fell apart when my niece came last summer, fleeing from PCOG and er PCOG parents. That’s when the family imploded. My mother yelled at me for no justifiable reason. I backed off visiting her, as my visits were obviously upsetting her, and she continued to support my PCOG sister. My wife, being unable to understand why my mother defends a dangerous cult, and is hostile toward us, when it was us who have helped her, not taking advantage of her. My wife and I don’t understand why, after my niece told her what had happened to her via PCOG, my mother insists on burying her head in the sand. My mother places her age and health condition front and center as a reason to avoid confronting my sister and former WWCOG brother and their membership in a dangerous cult, choosing instead to tell relatives, and whoever, that it is my wife and I who are wrong.

I ask to be removed as “executor” of my mother’s will. I said I wanted no part of being involved as her agent in transferring any money to PCOG through any money my sister might inherit. Cult experts advise never give money to any family member who is in a cult such as PCOG or WWCOG. My mother disregards this advice to the detriment of her grand-children’s future and to the integrity of our family.

I told my brother the correct way to handle the executor was to have a third party be executor of the will, not a family member. My brother refused to support me on this idea, and now is the executor of her will. My former WWCOG brother recently said he’d met a lot of “nice people” in WWCOG. We can only imagine his motivations of refusing to back the idea of assigning a third party, non-family member her estate executor.

My former WWCOG brother has smeared my efforts to support my mother and father all my life, when it was he and my sister who destroyed the family after he joined WWCOG. He never devoted his life in protecting his parents as I had, and therefore doesn’t believe I would. People accuse others of the crimes they themselves are guilty of. He took advantage of my mother’s growing confusion. Instead of clarifying reality, he and his WWCOG wife remain silent all throughout my struggles with my mother and PCOG sister duping my mother (She uses various health scares to gain my mother’s empathy).

My former WWCOG brother and PCOG sister make subtle, derogatory remarks about my deceased father, who objected to their membership in the WWCOG cult. My sister even posted derogatory poems on the internet about both her father (after he died) and mother. My father was a good man of character, wanting only the best for his children, and this is the way he was treated in life and after death?

My brother, after having never visited the family for but about 5 days a year since he joined WWCOG in the early 70s, (he called his parents less than a dozen times a year), exhibited greed when it came to emptying the contents of their house, in typical Armstrong fashion. He asked for half a train collection, ridiculing me for wanting to hold onto the collection, since it was me, not him, who as a youth, spent a lot of time with these trains building layouts, instead of holing myself up in my room listening to the likes of Gardner Ted Armstrong (Teddy the Fornicator), and incest committing Herbert Armstrong. He never once touched the train collection. It was with great effort that I had to convince my mother that giving him half the train collection was a mistake. She also wanted to give him half a book collection of classic books he’d never read, instead choosing to poke his nose in incest committing Herbert Armstrong’s “The Plain Truth,” “Mystery of the Ages,” and “End Times.”

When my mother had a colon resection about nine months ago, I rushed to the emergency room. I was just about to round the curtained-off area where she was when I heard her tell the emergency room people that she has family living nearby, but they (meaning my wife and I) don’t contact her. This is after my wife spent most of her lunch hours visiting my mother in the nursing home, helping her. My mother would rather throw us under the bus than have her former WWCOG son and PCOG member daughter exposed for destroying our family, among other transgressions.

So you can see by the example of our family’s history that the suffering, thanks to WWCOG and incest committing HWA, continues to escalate. These creeps and dangerous cults continue to destroy every shred that is left of our once hopeful and promising family.

Today, I’m not even sure where my mother is. My wife is very sick. She has to go to work every day in a lot of pain from a nerve problem that has caused frozen shoulder syndrome. I am told by a PCOG cult expert to be very careful, as some of its members could be “killers, ” as one “former member” has contacted us, claiming to offer help, but is elusive about who he is, and asked for our phone number twice. My wife and I live in fear of our lives while my relatives, former friends and some neighbors embark on a campaign of defamation of character, thanks to the misinformation or incomplete information my WWCOG brother, PCOG sister are probably spreading to throw smoke and mirrors over what they’ve done to destroy us. We want to know where my elderly mother is and whether she’s being abused, financially or otherwise. We want to know where my niece is and whether we can still help her pursue her dream of going to medical school.

Wrecked Family. Part I

May 17, 2011:

After spending $2,000 on rescuing my niece from the streets after her PCOG parents abandoned her, she no longer talks to us, unless the topic of conversation is about money. I believe PCOG intimated her parents, threatening them with “disfellowship,” unless they stopped their daughter from telling us about PCOG. Perhaps PCOG read her story posted on this website.

As far as I know, my niece is back “dating” the younger, classmate boy referenced in my first story. Side note: According to my niece, her PCOG mother accused this non-cult member boy of statutory rape, confronting him in the hallway of her daughter’s public high school. My niece is actually almost a year older than him.

Instead of accepting our offer to enroll her in a private preparatory school so she could pursue her stated dream of entering medicine, my niece has returned to her home State to waste her life with this bum, boy classmate, who has entered on his Myspace profile for “Occupation” — “never!” ” Under “Books,” he says, “Don’t read much either.” Under “Blurbs,” he writes: “I’m spontaneous, I’m a pacifist, I’m a hippie, I won’t lie, I won’t judge, and I can’t hold a grudge.” We had given my niece several hundred dollars when she left us. She said she needed this money to pay the nice family she was staying with, only to find out she was staying somewhere else, I believe with this bum.

From what I understand, they are planning on marrying. If she marries, she’ll follow in her mother’s footsteps, who, as a WWCOG member, ran away from home at 18 in the 70s and married a cult member, who told my father he was “wielding the sword to cut the family ties”, when announcing my sister was living with him and his loser parents. Years later, he was convicted of fleecing money from the elderly by creating a bogus desalination company in CA. Sound like HWA? He managed to swindle money from a famous actor. It is said he committed suicide by jumping off a cliff near Las Vegas before he had to serve his jail term. Even though they were WWCOG cult members, my sister and this creep divorced. He committed adultery.

The terrible legacy of WWCOG, HWA, PCOG continues to destroy lives and futures unless members, former members, and non-members take an active role in exposing the fraud. It is a moral obligation to judge evil people such as Herbert Armstrong, who committed incest while claiming to be chosen by God to prepare everyone for the “Second Coming” while reaching into the pockets of the vulnerable to take their money so he and his friends could live lavishly and continued to pursue their piggish ways. It is imperative to judge such evil. The risks are too great not to. If Herbert Armstrong, WWCOG splits, PCOG and all their supporters had their way, they’d end civilization.

-Keith Ace.

Much more in a day, or two.

 

Side Note:

When I asked one of the current Luzerne County, PA judicial candidates (who is doing quite well in terms of electorate support and who is a neighbor) for help regarding protecting my minor-aged niece after her parents abandoned her because she no longer wanted to be part of what’s largely considered a dangerous “religious” cult of which her parents are members, he said he would get back to me about finding a family law attorney versed in the subject. I asked him if I could meet him in his office professionally, willing to pay of course for his time to discuss her situation. He said something to the effect that if he sees me around the neighborhood, or if we’re both outside at the same time, he might condescend to talk to me about her case. Not only did he never call me back like he’d promised with the name of a lawyer(s) versed in this situation (he obviously wasn’t knowledgeable despite his stated “broad legal experience”), he has never contacted me about her desperate predicament. He’s been too busy pursuing political opportunism, glad-handing, delivering scripted campaign speeches, attending cocktail parties, and air brushing his campaign posters.

Without having proper legal assistance, my niece had little choice but to leave the state, and return to the abusive situation, her future ruined. We explained to the judicial candidate that she had wanted to finished high school and pursue a career in medicine while she stayed with us, that we were trying to enroll her in a college preparatory school with a pre-med program, and that her parents had abandoned her to the streets in another part of the country because PCOG considers the medical field “evil.” To say that he was absolutely no help whatsoever is a gross understatement. Even more disturbing, I detected a less than sympathetic response to her dangerous crisis on a humanitarian level, as proved by his lack of action and follow-up.

This judicial candidate will probably be elected due to anomalies in the current Luzerne County judicial election cycle, (There are six openings), which allow dangerously incompetent lawyers such as himself to serve as judges to the detriment of minors, in this case.

Let’s see if there’s another judicial candidate who might reply to this blog, and offer some assistance. If so, that candidate’s qualifications as a “people’s judge,” but more importantly, as a sympathetic human being, will be apparent, and not need doctoring up with air brushed posters and canned TV political ads.

 

SUBSTITUTIONARY HUMAN SACRIFICE BARBARISM SANCTIFIED

by Allen C. Dexter


The blood soaked history of religions (all religions) is too little known or recognized in the modern world.

The myth continues that religion is the source of morality, mercy and everything good. Muslims, for example, try to paint themselves as peace loving while commissioning suicide bombers to blow up infidels and other Muslims who happen to follow a different variant of islam their particular sect or group considers heretical. They are not unique in this sanguine, shocking stain on the pages of religious history.

Nothing inflames passions more than religious fervency. This is especially true when those passions get inflamed even more by a mental pathology like extreme narcissism.

Witness Jonestown and what many of us experienced as unthinking adherents to WCG and its dizzying plethora of offshoots. It becomes a psychological addiction that many can never shake.

A detailed summary of just a few of the appalling atrocities religions have perpetrated on the world can be found at this website: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/james_haught/holy.html.

These facts demonstrate the absurdity of claims of benevolence and moral and ethical superiority for religion and religious belief – even that generally benign faith of Buddhism (see the above article). Most general adherents of all religions, unless and until inflamed, usually go through life with no murderous attitudes toward others. They’re just ordinary people trying to get by, someone with whom you could enjoy a cup of tea.

Interject the power mad narcissist in a position of leadership and/or influence and all bets are off.

But, that is only background for the real subject of this post; something the average Christian has just accepted through mental osmosis – the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Stop and think about it for a moment. Does “Jesus died for my sins” really make sense?

You may reply that it does because Jesus was special. He was God made flesh through a virgin birth. He never committed a sin and was guiltless. Therefore, as God made flesh, he could atone for all my sins by voluntarily sacrificing himself.

This whole idea of a substitutionary sacrifice or atonement makes no sense at all. I’m sure there are loving parents who would gladly suffer execution for a crime one of their children committed. They could protest that they are guiltless and, therefore, suffering the penalty in their offspring’s stead would justify the guilty one going free. There isn’t a court in the entire world that would entertain such a thing.

Besides, if Jesus really was god incarnate, his death would be an illusion in the first place. In effect, he would be sacrificing himself to himself to cancel a rule he set up in the beginning. When they call it a “mystery,” they’re dead right!

Several assumptions are at work here, and they all revolve around accepting one mythological absurdity after another, beginning with Genesis 1. These include the special creation of Adam and Eve, the “fall,” man’s death being an eternal penalty instead of a natural thing that befalls all creatures, etc.

Some will counter with the common self-righteous charge that I’m just “leaning to my own understanding” and they are too reverent to do that.

Everybody, yes EVERYBODY, has no choice but to lean to their own understanding, even if that means accepting somebody else’s understanding, so don’t try to belittle my understanding. Here’s a humorous little parody which illustrates how the average person gets their spiritual and religious “truths”: http://www.jhuger.com/kisshank.php.

Osiris (see:: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa2.htm) and Mithras (see: http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen048.html) supposedly were virgin-born of the gods and died for your sins long before Jesus was ever heard of. There is no evidence that the original Jewish apostles held any such beliefs — either in a virgin birth or a blood atonement. It was all grafted onto the Christianity created at the Council of Nicea and written into what we accept as the Bible after the fourth century (over three hundred years after any individual named “Jesus” walked the streets and roads of Judea). Read the history here: http://www.nexusmagazine.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=70.

The whole idea of a substitutionary sacrifice permeated the ancient world. It took many forms and the concept has never disappeared: “…without shedding of blood is no remission” Heb. 9:22.

We see it at work in the myth of Abraham’s proposed sacrifice of Isaac. We are assured by the scriptures that God told him to do it. Every psychopath who murders his or her children seems to come up with a similar statement. Today, only those with mental derangements claim such personal communication with the deity. This fact should give us pause to wonder about Abraham. Perhaps he had some unfortunate accident similar to Ellen G. White’s that led to partial-complex seizures: http://www.ellenwhiteexposed.com/egw79.htm.

Whatever really happened back there in the misty mythological past, at least an acceptable level of sanity took over before poor Isaac’s throat was slit. Maybe the psychological stress brought on another revelatory seizure. I’m too old and knowledgeable about history and the ways of the world to accept it all as scripturally stated. “Spin” is as old as human awareness, and I’ve had to be corrected from time to time about my recollections and interpretations about my own past. I can only imagine what might have happened if those memories had been passed on orally for hundreds of years, finally written down and then copied, translated, interpreted, etc, over and over for more hundreds of years.

At least, Abraham somehow came to his senses, according to the account we have. Beats what Jesus’ supposed father ended up doing, according to the myth.

We are told that God likes to smell the aroma of a sacrifice. I can relate. I enjoy smelling a barbecue. Anthropomorphizing that liking onto your deity is a stretch, but humans do create their gods in their image.

Most people conclude that only the sacrifice of animals was pleasing to God.

According to the scriptures, he got a few kicks out of the slaughtering and burning of humans as well, at least in the centuries before he was fully evolved.

For years, I read over Leviticus 27:28 and 29 and never noticed what it really said: “…no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the Lord of that he hath, both OF MAN and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord. None devoted, which shall be devoted of men, shall be redeemed; but SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH.” (Let’s be honest, I skimmed it. We tend as believers to be selective in our reading and our awareness of what we really are reading.)

Oh, that didn’t really happen,” I can hear people saying.

Oh, but it did! Many Times, I’m sure, but few are recorded.

It took centuries for Israel to totally abandon human sacrifice.

Remember the account of Jephthah’s daughter? That’s another passage of scripture we tend to carelessly read over and dismiss one way or another. When we are people of faith, we tend to develop tunnel vision and selective scriptural amnesia. Here’s the account:

Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah … and Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then it be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to me, when I return in peace … shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering…. And Jephthah came … unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child … he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! … I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back (remember Lev. 27:28-29). … And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains … at the end of two months … she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed.”

The God of Israel (I suspect that it was really the avaricious priests) even considered the firstborn son of every family something that had to be ransomed or redeemed so they would not be sacrificed. See Exodus 13:2. Those offerings for redemption went to the priests. It was quite a mafia-style protection racket! Such practices went by the way over the centuries, thankfully. They were once common to religions.

In Deuteronomy 13:13-19, it was commanded that a whole town, everyone and everything in it, be killed and burned AS A SACRIFICE TO GOD.

I know. God commanded it, so it’s all right.

The child murderer and Muslim cleric say the same thing.

If a real God really gives such commands, why doesn’t he have the “balls” to give the command in person? Or, more reasonably, do the job himself? Couldn’t he, if he really has the power attributed to him, have sent an asteroid to wipe out that city? Why does an all powerful deity have to have puny humans do his dirty work? Takes no courage to send a priestly lackey to in turn send the rank and file “Joe Blow” any more than it takes personal courage for a mafia don to send a hit man, or an imam to send a fanatical young boy or girl wearing a suicide vest.

Surely a few of the attackers were killed or seriously wounded. I guess they were just unfortunate “collateral damage.”

People worship a pusillanimous wimp!

Some power mad, probably wild-eyed and psychologically disturbed individuals in different places at some ancient times manufactured those sorry travesties of humans standing in for their all powerful deities and through fear and intimidation, got everybody to bow down to those sorry excuses of omnipotent gods and do whatever the exalted “holy” representative told them to do in their names.

 

Far too many people still worship some imaginary god they’re absolutely certain demands blood to be spilled for their sins. They are so grateful to be able to claim the substitutionary blood of somebody called “Jesus.”

What a delusion!

What barbarism!