The very last thing Herbert Armstrong wanted for anyone was Mental Health Awareness. He wanted people to be slaves to him and the last thing he wanted was for people to have freedom. His method was to lie to them, confuse them, oppress them, practice deception on them, to steal from them and make a great pretense that what he was doing was sane.
In like manner, the last thing Roderick Meredith, David Pack, Gerald Flurry, Ronald Weinland, Robert Thiel, David Malm, Aaron Dean, Yisrael Hawkins, John and Richard Ritenbaugh, Clyde Kilough, Mark Armstrong, David Hulme, Wade Cox, nck, Dixon Cartwright and others want is for people, particularly people who may follow them, to be sane because it just isn’t profitable for them. They use distortions and excuses to keep people confused and confined to their little ghettos.
In short, the sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia Nazis are bad for your mental health. Don’t criticize. Don’t investigate. Don’t ask questions. Don’t oppose them. That’s what they want. In order to do what they want, you have to abandon science, technology, engineering, math, logic and sanity. You must accept British Israelism worst science fiction ever. You need to go into an altered state of magical whimsy to accept their debunked rubbish. Accepting what they say means that you must take leave of your senses.
being around and associating with people with mental problems
excessive continuous anger
being subject to oppressive authorities
attacks by bullies
attacks by narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths
being subject to people with borderline personality disorder
Certainly Armstrongism has most of these dangers embedded within them.
What can you do for yourself?
If you are some sect of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia Nazis, you need to leave and take as many people as you can with you. It is dangerous not only for your mental health but for your well being and the well being of your loved ones, particularly the most vulnerable, such as children or seniors. Make this May the end point of your association with the evil and craziness of the ACoGs to achieve better mental health.
When Prophecy Fails is a study of what happens to individuals when their belief system has been shown to be in error (disconfirmed).
A review by William E. Adams at Amazon.com says:
This work first saw print in 1956. It is the story of a UFO cult in a large city in the Midwest…how it developed, how the leaders recruited followers, how predictions about the coming end of the world started flowing from the psychic members who allegedly channeled messages from the spacemen/pilots. The cult members were told they would be saved, picked up by saucers on an appointed date. The members quit jobs, sold possessions, and gathered, only to be disappointed. Did they all quit in a huff? No way. The first failure only made them more determined they were right, more anxious to be ready for the next announced departure date. Then a second failure. A few members fell away, a few suffered doubts, a few challenged for leadership themselves. The point of this book is that it takes “three disconfirmations” to kill a movement of true believers, and even then, some still hang on to the discredited “theology” by grasping at excuses. I found this book by accident about 30 years ago, and have read it at least four times. I find it fascinating. In the 1970’s I knew two women in Albuquerque who were amateur psychics. They started bringing forth “space brethren messages” and eventually, although they failed to attract a following, they went up into the nearby mountains one night sure they would be lifted off before the coming unspecified disaster. They waited, but no ship appeared. I think people inclined toward UFO beliefs haven’t changed much since this book was published. The basic data shown in this study can apply to religious or political groups as well. I am sorry it is out of print, but if you have an interest in this field, get a used copy…the prices are reasonable and the book will not disappoint!
Support for the study was obtained through the Laboratory for Research in Social Relations of the University of Minnesota and help received through a grant-in-aid from the Ford Foundation to one of the authors. The study is to answer the how and why people take on new fervor when they have contradictory evidence which they should not be able to avoid. There are five conditions under which the authors would expect to observe the increased fervor:
A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he behaves.
The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it; that is, for the sake of his belief, he must have taken some important action that is difficult to undo. In general, the more important such actions are, and the more difficult they are to undo, the greater is the individual’s commitment to the belief.
The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.
Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.
The first two of these conditions specify the circumstances that will make the belief resistant to change. The third and fourth conditions together, on the other hand, point to factors that would exert powerful pressure on a believer to discard his belief. It is, of course, possible that an individual, even though deeply convinced of a belief, may discard it in the face of unequivocal disconfirmation. We must, therefore, state a fifth condition specifying the circumstances under which the belief will be discarded and those under which it will be maintained with new fervor.
The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of dis-confirming evidence we have specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, we would expect the belief to be maintained and the believers to attempt to proselyte or to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.
Luckily, the authors found a group they could observe during the study. A woman of a very religious persuasion began writing messages she just ‘knew’ was from a contact in outer space. This ‘source’ warned her to tell the world that there was going to be a great flood to purge the world.
Along the way, she was told that those within the inner circle of her group would be rescued by flying saucers.
And in the end, we all know how that turned out. They waited again and again to be picked up, but, alas, there was no saucer shuttle and no flood. Yet, many of the group continued to believe even after a number of disappointments, illustrating the workings of the 5 premises. The people really did hang on to their beliefs even after they had been demonstrated to be patently silly.
Of course, those of you currently in the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia know perfectly well there are no such things as flying saucers and the whole thing is patently silly on the face of it.
Just in case you Armstrongists get off the hook because you don’t believe in flying saucers, think again! The authors of When Prophecy Fails spend over seven pages of the first chapter on William Miller! The CoHAM should be getting mighty nervous. After all, those of us blogging to refute Armstrongism have shown that the Worldwide Church of God and its successors are cults. We’ve debunked British Israelism and shown up the same sort of ‘prophecies’ ‘disconfirmed’ by the book. There are no excuses. You Armstrongists are doing exactly what the study predicts you would do. For example, consider the British Israelism Church of God: It has the gall to just make up excuses why DNA doesn’t disprove British Israelism. The problem is that Y-Chromosome DNA has been found to be stable over thousands of years and just doesn’t magically morph to some other haplogroup. Idiots.
Major fail. Again and again. And yet, people keep believing and making up excuses, just like the study says. If you really want to be embarrassed by what you believed, re-read 1975 in Prophecy:
Herbert Armstrong made some pretty bold prophecies. They simply didn’t come to pass. Did you make excuses for the failure in 1975 when the disconfirmation was too intense to ignore?
If there is any group that illustrates the truth of When Prophecy Fails, it is the PKG. Ron and Laura Weinland — the two witnesses of the Church of God – Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG) — have conned the PKG to continue giving them money even after their major prophecies failed… again… and again. What’s worse, Ronald Weinland is currently serving his sentence for felony Income Tax evasion, but the PKG membership sticks with him and continues to make excuses.
Others, such as David Pack continue to exhibit hoof in mouth disease — Dave prophesied a specific date that three major leaders in the other churches of God would die and members of all the ACoGs would come flocking to him. That was years ago and still… nothing.
Now it is true that the Armstrongist Churches of God have something that little group in the Midwest in the 1950s didn’t have. It would have been so much better after the flying saucers failed to show and take them away from the flood that didn’t happen if they had some way to find out how the various members of their group fared after The Great Disappointment. They should have had the benefit of some sort of periodic newspaper which had stories and articles about the group and the individual members. They could keep up much better, even if the editor didn’t particularly believe in the tenets of the group and held the ‘floodists’ and ‘farmer UFOlogists’ in contempt. He could still publish something called The Journal. Maybe out of some town like say, Big Sandy. What’s important is not what the group believes — what’s really important is to keep the social group together in its completely delusional dysfunctional existence.
Armstrongism is on the nutty fringes of the outer limits of human belief, some how made to seem perfectly reasonable until some objective analysis is done by societal standards and scientific observation. How is it that if you don’t agree with the daft rubbish that some how it’s your fault and you just don’t understand?
The Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia isn’t the only daft religion and the new series, Dig on the USA Network brings to light what happens when extreme religion goes to great lengths to insure the establishment of their view of the world:
The really scary thing is that the creators of the series did a lot of research and found that there is a basis for what they present: They may have dramatized, but there are groups out there plotting and scheming to do the things portrayed in the show, to bring about the apocalypse, Armageddon or something (we’ll know more as the series unfolds). Look at Dig – inside the Episode: Episode 1:
About midway, they bring to light the story of the red heifer. As they say, if you Google the “red heifer” you will see there are people who believe that this could happen. Do you have questions? You will be rewarded. Of course, you will end up with ever more questions. Be warned: These groups aren’t just messin’ around. They’re serious. This is life and death stuff to them. Dig deeper — to coin a phrase, trust no one.
The red heifer is being raised in Norway. The Rabbis inspect the newly birthed heifer to see if there are any stray hairs that are black, which would absolutely ruin the sacrifice — but thankfully, this particularly young cutie is perfect for sacrifice, and so we are off and running. Apparently, the red heifer sacrifice is really, really, really important to Jewish prophecy for some reason. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it sure does to them.
It turns out that there is a connection to Armstrongism. The USA Network TV series is about people of extreme faith and the lengths they will go to when they believe God is on their side. Of course, He isn’t, so you can be certain this will all end in tears. Nevertheless, one of the features of the series is the Jews seeking out the Perfect Red Heifer™ for some sort of funky sacrifice signifying the… well.. it’s not clear, but it’s truly important to somebody to bring about the end of days, the coming of the Messiah or something.
I know The Perfect Red Heifer™ well. In the WCG, I knew a Jewish lady and her husband who certainly was in the center of things — at least in her own mind. She was a prophecy buff, and the main reason she joined up with Armstrongism was the prophecy of the end times. Of course, you know that couldn’t have lasted, particularly with the advent of the Tkach era, so she and her husband hied off to the Messianic Jews in hopes to find more of what she wanted. I was in her home one Sabbath post-WCG and she nattered on and on about The Perfect Red Heifer™ rather obsessively. I told her about the Herbert Armstrong incest and she accepted it, saying that it did not surprise her.
Well, here it is over a decade later and I’m pretty sure she’s still looking for that Perfect Red Heifer™. She was certain over 10 years ago that the Jews already had one picked for sacrifice on the altar to bring the Messiah or some such. I’d say that the best use of the Perfect Red Heifer™ is stew meat by this time if the poor thing is still alive.
It’s just plain nuts.
And the Cult of Herbert Armstongism Mafia sects aren’t much different than this kooky Jewish lady looking for the coming of the Perfect Red Heifer™.
It never ceases to amaze how extreme Armstrongists can be: Strongly held daft cult ideas which just has to be!
This is just one such example.
Kudos to USA Network.
Although… here’s hoping it doesn’t give anyone any ideas….
Herbert Armstrong was the master of self-deception. Not only that, but he trained us all to be adept at self-deception. And self-deception is exactly why people stay with the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia.
Watch this TEDx Event Presentation by Dr. Cortney S. Warren in her talk, “Honest Lies: The Psychology of Self-Deception”:
At the core, we lie to ourselves because we don’t have enough psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with the consequences that will follow. That said, understanding our self-deception is the most effective way to live a fulfilling life. For when we admit what we really are, we have the opportunity to change.
There are core strategies which we use to practice self-deception:
Denial: Refusing to believe something is true, even though it is;
Rationalization: Creating a reason to excuse ourselves;
Projection: Taking an undesirable aspect of ourselves and ascribing it to someone else;
Cognitive Distortions: Irrational ways in which we think;
Polarizing Thinking: Thinking in extremes;
Emotional Reasoning: Thinking that our feelings accurately reflect reality;
Overgeneralization: Taking a single negative event as an infinite spiral of defeat.
From an existential perspective, we deceive ourselves to avoid the ‘Givens’ of life, the fundamental realities of “being human” that we must face:
Death — we’re all going to die;
Ultimate Aloneness — we were born as a single person housed in a solitary physical body;
Meaninglessness — our lives are inherently meaningless unless we give them meaning;
Freedom — we are responsible for ourselves because we have the freedom of choice.
To avoid these realities, we frequently lie to ourselves:
Deferring responsibility for choices;
Believing in ‘specialness’ so that there is a unique protection from harm;
Compromising to meet cultural norms.
Self-deception leads to massive amounts of pain and regret. To avoid being honest, we frequently make choices with harmful consequences to ourselves and others — we may use drugs, alcohol, eat, shop, gamble, steal, lie, leave people or pass our emotional baggage down to those we love the most. Or, we may choose not to change even when we are miserable or causing profound harm to those around us. Looking back at life with regret is incredibly painful, because you can’t change your choices in the past.
When we don’t take full responsibility for who we are, we hurt ourselves and everyone around us.
The way to change is:
self-awareness — become observers of ourselves;
examine the contribution to the conflict in our lives;
admit to insecurity and confront the choice.
Not changing when confronted with the truth is a choice. Although we cannot control the many circumstances we encounter in life, we are responsible for our reactions to all of them.
Confronting our self-deception is a lifelong journey. We change and the world offers us new opportunities to understand ourselves. There is always more to learn.
It is now time for those who embrace the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia to be honest with themselves.
Here are just a few of the truths Armstrongists need to face:
Herbert Armstrong was not an apostle;
Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet;
Herbert Armstrong committed incest with his daughter for ten years at the beginning of his ministry and, therefore,
Herbert Armstrong was not actually converted, and,
Herbert Armstrong was never qualified to be a minister;
Herbert Armstrong is dead;
Herbert Armstrong knowingly allowed his son, Garner Ted Armstrong, to be second in command as the top evangelist, even though GTA was an adulterer, alcoholic boozer and a gambler;
There is no place of safety and there never will be (and Petra is an absolutely terrible place to try to survive);
British Israelism, as the key to prophecy, has been thoroughly debunked and no prophecy based on it will come true… ever — it’s extra Biblical;
The True History of The True Church was nothing of the kind, plagiarized from Ellen G. White and thoroughly, provably wrong, particularly about Waldensians supposedly keeping the Sabbath and Holydays (they considered themselves to be good Catholics);
The leaders of the major sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia have proved themselves inept and to be false prophets;
Jesus isn’t returning in your life time;
There may be tribulation, but the Great Tribulation won’t happen in your life time;
The Bible commands “from such turn away”;
There is no such thing as a Christian narcissist;
Armstrongism is a religion of physical rituals, not of spiritual content;
If you are an alcoholic, you must stop drinking or you will not just die badly, you may seriously injure and kill others;
If you are diabetic, you cannot drink alcohol;
If you are diabetic, you need to manage your condition because it’s not just going to ‘go away’;
Anointing for your chronic diseases will not make them go away;
There is not and never was any such thing as ‘second tithe’;
If you are a farmer and you try to keep the seventh year land Sabbath, you will either go broke, have to borrow money or lose your land because you simply won’t get double income in your sixth year because, just like the Feasts, the land Sabbath was given only to ancient Israelites in the land of Israel — the land ‘the Lord gaveth thee’ — under the Old Covenant only — a physical covenant for a physical people devoid of the Holy Spirit given promises of physical prosperity only;
The United States and British Commonwealth are not lost tribes of Israel, and, more importantly, none of the doom, devastation, destruction is going to occur because of their supposed sins against an ancient religion which was never given to them;
Your ministers are in it for the money and the ego trip — they are totally selfish and don’t really care about you;
Your ministers and leaders know nothing of morals and ethics;
Your ministers are terrible at counseling;
Your ministers are liars;
Your ministers don’t actually know how the Bible was put together, or if they do, they are lying about it;
You still can’t put new wine in old wineskins, even though that’s what Armstrongism is all about;
You don’t really know what other members of your sect really believe, even though you think you’ve known them for decades;
There is no loyalty — you can incur someone’s wrath and be disfellowshipped at any time;
Your family isn’t really safe;
You are wasting your money;
You are wasting your time;
You don’t really believe in science, you believe in magic;
By allowing someone else to define right and wrong for you, you’ve become a sociopath with a flexible adapted conscience;
No one is exactly what they seem;
It’s all quite insane.
Once you get through and eliminate these lies of your self-deception, you will still have a long way to go.
The only way to be free of your self-delusion is to stop feeding it by severing contact with those in the cult who are holding your mind hostage.