It’s clear that Ronald Weinland committed fraud: He was convicted of 5 counts of felony Income Tax Evasion and sent to prison for 42 months; in addition, he must pay what he owes with penalties. He was legally convicted by a jury of his peers, but members of his cult, the Church of God, Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG), believe that it was persecution not prosecution. Objectively, he committed a crime, the evidence was against him and his sentence was just (if a bit lenient).
The question here is why do the members of the PKG give Ronald Weinland the benefit of the doubt, even though he committed fraud and, thus, violated the precept that a minister should have a “good reputation of those who are without” — non members — meaning that it is inappropriate that he should be a minister (/ apostle / prophet / evangelist / [____] General)? This question arises other places. For example, there is a southern conservative that was voted out of office because he embraced the evidence that global warming is being caused by human beings. This became too much for his constituents because it threatened a way of life! People would have to examine how they live and make new choices about how they acted. Moreover, it would threaten their social status. This is consistent with the sociology we find within the Armstrongist churches of God.
Thus it is that Herbert Armstrong could be a total fraud — making false prophecies as a false prophet as he did for decades and preach the thoroughly debunked stupid idea of British Israelism — and people in the WCG would defend his ‘honor’ vociferously because they just ‘knew’ he had brought them the ‘truth’. Some of knew and now know that he committed incest with his daughter for the first ten years of his ministry, and that is just fine because he brought them the ‘truth’. They can know that he plagiarized all of his major doctrines from G. G. Rupert — including the Feasts — and still accept that he was ‘personally taught by Jesus Christ’. Some even knew of his practices which would have gotten him into the same sort of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service as Ronald Weinland, if only he had been caught spending church funds on his family sailing on a yacht on the Mediterranean. It’s all good because if members admitted the truth, they would have to give up following him, lose their status in their little WCG social club and lose access to the Feast where they could booze it up with their fellow alcoholics. It would be too much to change in their lives and would have been an unacceptable disruption to their dysfunctional chaos.
I have never made any secret of my admiration for Garner Ted’s good qualities. But, in a restrictive religious environment, living under what was often called the ultimate honor system, his behavior should raise some very disturbing questions for devout Armstrongites past and present.
We were taught in the WCG to take every word a minister utters as if it had come directly from Jesus Christ. It’s kind of like the old trust exercise where participants are expected to fall backwards, knowing their fellow members in the class will catch them. How can a practicing serial adulterer be a trustworthy vessel for carrying and transmitting the words of Jesus? And yet, not only was his father, HWA, complicit, but also, as age set in, his son, GTA, was arguably the most effective and convincing speaker in the WCG. Didn’t we all hang on his every word, “knowing” them to be inspired? So, if the primary characters are acting, in no way validated by Jesus Christ, all the supposed end time gospel efforts supported by impoverished tithe payers would be nothing more than a sophisticated scam. (They were!)
Think about this. Hypothetically, what if you were God? We know now, that this just can’t be, but what if you, as God, had actually chosen a father and son team to warn the world that the end was coming in 1975? What if you watched both as they totally botched the commission by giving in to their prurient appetites, failing to live the life they were preaching, lying and cheating to get the gospel out, participating in incest and adultery, drunkenness, and gambling along the way, and lying to cover it all up? If you were God, you simply couldn’t make it appear that these types of people were your messengers, so you would need to make them appear as false messengers (which they actually were, they had nothing to do with God or anything supernatural). Even if you had scheduled the end for 1975, you would need to postpone it, and start from scratch, using a whole new group to do the job. I no longer believe in any of the major details of the Armstrong prophecy mold. Those are every bit the farce as are the incest and adultery. However, in the dubious and remote event that that mold ever had a scintilla of truth behind it, a Godly scuttling for plan B is the only thing that makes any sense. Truly, the Armstrongs embodied the phrase “Judas priest”. And, those taught by them are unfit messengers as well, and now dying off just like the Israelites wandering aimlessly in circles in the desert for 40 years.
Other disturbing questions should be raised concerning his illegitimate children: He abandoned them. Should we give GTA a free pass because he was charismatic and a fun guy to be around? The children (not to mention the A.C. coeds he raped who became minister’s wives) are very much diminished by this view.
David Pack is a fraud: He predicted several years back that three of the leaders of the ‘major’ [Armstrongist] churches of God would die and the people in those churches would come flocking to him. It never happened. But people are amazed at his apparent skills of leadership and building a church headquarters facility, replete with a Steuben Crystal piece in his office. The city of Wadsworth has also been sucked in. Nevertheless, reports of the misery (not to mention YouTube posts) illustrate the hubris of the man who is unsympathetic to any of the needs of those in his congregation. Heaven help you if you MUST go to the bathroom during his sermon!!!! People just live with it (with a bit of grumbling) but are still certain that he’s going to get them into the luxury suites in Petra when they leave for the Place of Safety. Good luck with that: The preponderance of the evidence more than suggests that going there under his domination would be fatal.
Then we have Gerald Flurry… a total fraud and complete failure as ‘that prophet’ — the incarnation of Jesus Christ in this age. His online DUI suggests differently as does his failed prophecies. Redfox over at Living Armstrongism has blog after blog detailing the stupidity of the Philadelphia Church of God. The latest is the PCG compared with the 14 points of Fascism. It is one of the most factual ignored blogs within the anti-Armstrongist movement.
After awhile some people may conclude that, yes, certainly the leaders of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia sects are nothing but frauds, but that perhaps the time of giving the followers sympathy has long passed.
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.
The Evil Corp portrays the functioning of crisis among upper management.
The Executive Vice President explains the situation.
The CEO, as her patron, explains to her why he can be so confident in the crisis.
CEO: I’m glad he’s dead — he was weak; the world is better off without him.
People may find the opinion of the CEO of Evil Corp concerning the crisis of losing $400 billion in one day, the confidence he had for the future and his perspective on his Executive Vice President of Technology puzzling, even disingenuous, but it is the result of the standard objectification used by those in the upper management of corporations who see others (and even themselves), as nothing but objects to be manipulated without becoming emotional about the choices they must make. Make note of the fact that though the Executive Vice President had a gambling and drinking problem, that was not the most important factor — the most important factor — and the one the CEO abhorred was that of weakness. A lot can be tolerated in the corporate environment, even adultery, but someone who is perceived as weak is doomed.
Those who think that it is any different in the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia should be warned that Herbert Armstrong himself detested those who were weak. In fact, he saw himself as the strongest person and those under him were weak: He created those under him and gave them positions; as such they were far inferior to him. In fact, at the lowest levels, Herbert Armstrong had no enthusiasm for the church members and believed that none of them really had a shot at salvation except in the rare cases that they supported him enough [to be noticed]. The letter that Herbert Armstrong sent to Roderick Meredith, March 19, 1980, should dispel any doubts:
When you were made second Vice President, it became a standing joke among leaders at Pasadena, the saying, “Well, after all, I am the second Vice President.”
In fact, Herbert Armstrong often showed contempt for his evangelists in various ways: He saw them all as weak.
Fast forward to today: Herbert Armstrong has died, leaving a vacuum. The weak evangelists, pastors and local elders saw their chance to make their way free from the domination of those they could not previously rise against. Roderick Meredith was one of the first of these when he established Global. But he didn’t have the fortitude to keep his promises to submit to his own board: He rebelled, lied, broke his promises, bankrupted Global and established the Living Church of God to gather to himself those weaker than he was to submit themselves to him to make their cushy living.
Robert Thiel later left Meredith and Living as a prophet, but before he did, he was so weak that he had to have others in Living declare him as a prophet (there is some suspicion that he took some liberalities with quoting dead people he claims supported him as prophet). For heaven’s sake, if you are a prophet of God, you have the force of God behind you and you don’t need other humans to vouch for you.
Ah, the days of Victor Kubik sneaking around to find a way to support himself post Worldwide Church of God — he found someone he looked to: Dennis Luker. Though he was weak and did not have the faith to stand up against Joe Tkach alone (and if God is for you, who can be against you?), he found a champion to be his patron and the rest of two decades of history.
Just how weak is David Pack? He made a major failed prophecy that everyone in the churches of God would come flocking to Restored (not to mention that 3 major leaders of the ACoGs would die). It never happened. And it never happened again. How weak is that?
Some of us remember Gerald Flurry was relegated to quite a minor congregation in Quincy, Washington. Herbert Armstrong considered him weak. Quincy is really out in the boondocks. There’s just no respect for the weak.
Then there’s Ronald Weinland. He’s been weak from the beginning. And now he’s in prison for felony Income Tax evasion. How weak is that?
There is a whole cast of other weak characters skulking about. They’ve managed to eke out a niche and put up a shingle for the money and self-aggrandizement, but they really don’t have much and the world just isn’t listening to any of them. That’s pretty weak.
In the 1960s, Herbert Armstrong complained that there were no “men of character”. He was talking about prospects for those to support him in those days. Apparently, he finally found one worthy of his respect — Stanley Raider. Even that didn’t last. His last, final and disastrous search for the strong resulted in picking a psychopath to continue his legacy. It is fitting seeing that Herbert Armstrong himself was a weak man — morbidly obese, committing incest with his daughter for 10 years at the beginning of his ministry, having failed prophecies as a false prophet, basing his religion on British Israelism which can be scientifically disproved, having a donut and cup of coffee on the Day of Atonement to keep up his strength, never even finished high school and a boozing alcoholic with a violent temper — all of these are properties of a weak man.
In the end, we detest weak men.
Like the CEO of Evil Corp, we believe that the world is better off without them.
He joined the Restored Church of God, moved to Wadsworth, Ohio and went to work for the cult. He was underpaid and not only worked 40 hours per week at manual labor (“They work you to the bone”), but was expected to do volunteer work for nothing (“Rather, they tell you what to do, to make it look like you’re volunteering”). “It would run its toll on anybody.” He describes what one woman working in the compound headquarters on the third floor went through: She missed a Sabbath because she was tired from the overwork and all the stress, lack of sleep — she got sick — and that’s just one example (of many). Another young man was sick from the work, the stress, the lack of sleep — the supposed ‘urgent work’ we always had to do, because it was this ‘big operation’. One member admitted that he had been there four months and moved 4 times because they made him move. Because you were on their property, they treated you as their property. Often people were given one day to move. Benjamin moved 3 times in two months. Everyone there was so tired. Deep down, they knew they were not in the right place. This was just obsessive. Ministers were intimidating. “It’s all about breaking you down.”
He describes the Restored Church of God as an abusive cult.
There is a place on earth today which well represents what the world would be like if David Pack becomes god and rules the world; it is brought to us as a documentary by the BBC:
“People scavanging in mud.”
“… feels like a doomsday cult.”
No doubt, the people will live in poverty, the leaders will live in sumptuous luxury and there will be monuments to the god king, David Pack.
Excessive, unconstrained power makes people feel over-confident, blind to risk, inclined to treat other people as objects, tunnel-visioned, narcissistic and protected from anxiety. These are all real effects, as biologically driven as those caused by any powerful drug.
David Pack has been proving what sort of person he is and he is looking more and more every day like Kim Jong-un.
Herbert Armstrong established an empire which could only end in the stagnation of fetid rotten pockets of stale sluggishness where even revenue flow is stagnant. The stench of stagnation with entropy drifted everywhere among the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia sects in 2014 and trends indicate that 2015 will continue the stagnation. No one should expect the return of the Laodocean rich and increased in goods in need of nothing prosperity of the 1970s Worldwide Church of God because it is never coming back. Frankly, it may well be that 2015 may not even be as good as 2014 was and 2014 just wasn’t all that good.
After 80 years of Armstrongism, you would think they would have gotten somewhere. Instead, Armstrongism is predicated upon stagnation, constantly reinventing wheels, and misguided attempts to “really get serious this time.” As a result, “depth” is something no one has ever achieved. Armstrongism’s idea about “going deeper” is to double-down on strategies that have proven to lead only to failure, and to go around in an old, familiar circles yet one more time.
How “deep” or “exhaustive” has any COG minister or member’s attempt to understand the bible or live like Jesus ever been? Armstrongists keep on using words like “deeper” or “more exhaustive,” but the fact is, these now-trite sayings are incoherent. Either something is exhaustive, or it is not. It is not possible to do a job “more exhaustively.” All this means is, “We were wrong about saying we did it ‘exhaustively’ last time (like every other time) and we’ll probably be wrong this time too. The reason why they can’t even come up to “the world’s” standards is because, for all their talk about “mooring” they’re completely unmoored from reality. Everything they say is without any objective referent to anchor it. The only thing that’s possible is more pie-in-the-sky talk and meaningless platitudes. They’ve never been serious before and they’re not about to get serious now.
The trouble is, when one really does make the personal decision to “get serious,” it winds up in that person realizing that he needs to leave Armstrongism behind, because the COGs, in and of themselves are an imposition to “getting serious.” Acceptance of the tenets of Armstrongism bind you with shallowness and stagnation. They make the abandonment of seriousness incumbent upon the believer. Instead, they divert any “seriousness” they might have had into useless old testament rituals like “deleavening” their homes. Ritualized “progress” takes the place of any actual “progress.” The only thing ministerial types like Robin Webber have ever been “serious” about is coming up with that extra 5 inches.
Perhaps we can expect statements of the state of the Work by the various cult leaders again this year. It may be that David Pack will issue Pastor General Yearly Letter again this January as he did last year with glowing reports of explosive growth for the Restored Church of God, but in reality the operative word here should be ‘implosion’. It looks like he’s been buying more property without sufficient resources to pay for it and that Steuben Crystal at the office looks like it will collect dust. Meanwhile, Davey will keep his member abuse program going in high gear, but that’s hardly an effort which will create an enthusiastic energy for his compound.
David Hulme learned something about tampering with British Israelism last year and it is very likely he will not recoup his losses.
The Living Church of God continues to have a name that it is Living, but it’s in the stagnant doldrums and the only possible excitement in 2015 could be the death of Roderick Meredith. There would be a great deal of frenetic activity temporarily, overriding the stagnation, but if it were to occur, the ultimate result would be even more stagnation from entropy, with possible help from a major split or two.
Robert Thiel has been off to a slow start and it does look like it’s going to decline from there: Expect stagnation.
Gerald Flurry keeps making noises about how good things are going at the Philadelphia Church of God, but a word of advice: When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall. Flurry has been spending money he doesn’t have and has bought a new campus in England which may well have as many as 8 students and it may well be the British may require diversity classes. Brad MacDonald will be moving in to be headmaster of a glorified high school called ‘college’ or ‘university’. It’s too bad he couldn’t get Bricket Wood and this is certainly not the same level of culture being represented, but it made him feel better to buy it and after all that’s said and done, raising the dopamine levels in a geriatric Armstrongist leader is what’s important here. It’s tempest in a teapot time and the water in the teapot has stagnated.
Ronald Weinland continues his prison term, so the PKG can’t expect much progress — it’s stagnation squared, while Weinland issues doltish daft decrees from his cell. He will continue to do so, and the troops in the trenches will continue to get the manure falling from heaven.
James Malm will continue to more or less accurately portray the faults and evils of his compatriot competitors without ever looking in the mirror.
The United Church of God, an International Association will have all things continue as they have from the beginning… of 2014. They have noted that their average congregation size is 20 to 30 people (that’s an average — some are hundreds and some could fit in a phone booth). That is not cause for optimism, because there is a bottom line. In the stagnation, there really isn’t much new blood and ministers continue to retire. In this long slide of entropy toward irrelevance, the average rank-and-file member will have less in the way of personal ministerial contact, not that has ever been a priority in the Armstrongist churches, but it will get ever worse… slowly. Changing the name of the flagship magazine from The Good Newsto Beyond Todaycan do nothing but lend itself to stagnation. It was about time to change, though, since the UCG hasn’t really come up with much good news, although… there may not be much beyond today for them — eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you could retire. It’s truly unfortunate that The Originals have passed from the administration, taking their expertise and vision with them, so in the interest of helping out the Council of Elders, we highly suggest this book for their support:
Hope it helps. The members have received the very last Good News they will ever get from United.
If the UCG is having challenges, one can only suspect that it will be worse for the clowns at the Church of God Worldwide Association. Everybody is aging out on the average from senior to geriatric in Armstrongism and the CoGWA certainly isn’t going to be exempt from stagnation. The dream of establishing a college or university just isn’t in the cards and they likely overestimated the possible prosperity on the way out of United. There are not a few people wondering why they are in CoGWA at this point, because, except for the name on the door, you really can’t tell much difference from the UCG. Their flagship magazine is One Accord. Ha, ha, ha! That’s really funny when you consider they split with the UCG. One Accord. Is that all they have left of their transportation fleet?
The House of Yahweh with Yisrael Hawkins isn’t going anywhere. It is likely that HoY will be featured again as an expose on Dr. Phil and legal problems will continue, but at a low level, befitting the state of stagnation into which it has fallen.
The Church of God in Truth with James Russell? He said himself that “we haven’t learned anything new in 40 years”. He does claim that because the other Churches of God don’t keep the Feast Days at the right time, they will be those described in Revelation 3:9, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” Yes, friends, all the other Armstrongists are the synagogue of Satan saying they are Jews but are not, will suffer in the Millennium while CoGIT members will be God as God is God, lording it over everybody else. With this ‘holier than thou’ attitude, there is no chance that there’s going to be much change: Expect stagnation. If there is an afterlife, someone is in for a BIG surprise! You should all get their flagship magazine, Prove All Things. It’s worth it for the misprints in every issue. For example, a favorite is “Herbert Armstrong Pasture General”. Replete with manure? Watch where you step? They have something every issue. It’s hilarious! They should Proof Read All Things.
And there are the Rittenbaughs of the Church of the Great God fame. Oh, maybe you’ve not heard of them? Perhaps fame is too strong a word? Let’s just say that they are of the same conservative ilk as the rest of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia, except no one much notices them or their flagship magazine, Forerunner Magazine. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it had something to do with Toyota. Prognosticate that they will see stagnation in 2015? It’s a little late for that. Try obscurity instead. We wonder what happened to their minister who raped 16 teenage girls and 8 of their mothers? Still preaching or not with them? Who cares? This sect doesn’t even rise to the level of apathy and will continue that way through 2015. The founder was a welder at U.S. Steel for 16 years. It’s like Johnathan and Martha Kent at their Smallville farm setting ecommerce up from their farmhouse living room to market organic produce to the Luthorcorp employees cafeteria, except in this case, there’s not really much of a product and not much of a market.
We’d mention Mark Armstrong and the Intercontinental Church of God, but if you look at their website, you’d swear that Garner Ted Armstrong was still alive, so what’s the point?
Dixon Cartwright will continue reporting about the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia in The Journal as a journalistic exercise in irrelevance in the modern world for those addicted to the preposterous idea that it’s all one big happy family of specialized believers when he knows very well it is nothing of the kind, with some of the weirdest ideas ever being promulgated in the ads while some of the real news is being covered up: It’s an impressive effort to ‘report’ on the stagnation where everything is presented in such a positive light when the underlying core is utter garbage, much of which is generated with people who have severe mental disorders. It wouldn’t be half as bad if he didn’t know better and didn’t pretend everything is OK. It’s called enabling; Dixon Cartwright is a enabler. He has The Touch: He can make the daft seem respectable; just don’t think about it too long.
In all of this, Herbert Armstrong will continue to remain very dead all the way through 2015.
The Worldwide Church of God transformed itself into Grace Communion International in 2009. Originally, Joseph Tkach, Senior ‘inherited’ (hostile takeover) from Herbert Armstrong when Herbert Armstrong died in 2006. After Joseph Tkach, Senior died, his son, (Dr.?) Jo(seph)[e] Tkach (,Junior) finished taking the WCG into pseudo mainstream Christianity replete with Christmas, Easter and the Trinity which was much less mainstream than it may have appeared — retaining the autocratic nature of the ‘leadership’ but projecting a more benign ‘liberal’ religion. It became stagnant long ago as masses of people left either for the more traditional cult Armstrongism or became atheists and agnostics. Congregations shrank significantly to pathetic little groups, some of which kept Sunday, others keeping Saturday still and still others kept both Saturday and Sunday. Feasts were slowly but surely eradicated, but not before the Feast of Tabernacles was kept in August so it was more convenient to get time off work and school children (the few that attended) wouldn’t have to miss any school. The ‘headquarters’ was sold to provide riches for the few at the top and the ‘administration’ moved to Financial Street in a nearby city. To tell the truth, there’s so much stagnation that those still left would be better off in local mainstream Christian churches with the people, doctrines and facilities and sever their connections with GCI once and for all. GCI has become totally irrelevant and those with the beliefs espoused by the GCI would be better served by going elsewhere. It seems unlikely that 2015 will change much for them.
Unfortunately, stagnation cuts both ways. There was a time not too long ago that those of us working to expose the sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia had an impact. Expect that to slow in 2015. Herbert Armstrong originally created the Pavlovian response by getting members conditioned to respond to prophecies of death, doom, destruction, devastation, deviancy (in the world) so whenever they heard or saw news reports, particularly those which engaged British Israelism in their heads, it invoked belief, strengthening their faith in the prognostications. Of course, Herbert applied a layer of snow on top of the toxic dump to make it attractive by plying his wiles to create visions of a brave new world of prosperity where the members were to become God as God is God: Ring the bell and the salivation began.
Rex Sexton of the UCG wrote in a church bulletin that church members were like dogs being trained by the Master, Jesus Christ. He has something there: Doggie members have two basic rules for their control — keep them on a short leash and don’t let them bark. It is useful to let them out free to romp in a dog park once a year to socialize at the so-called “Feast of Tabernacles”, and if you’re with the right trainers, you might even get out to play at the so-called ‘Winter Social’ which is really the Winter Solstice Social. There will be fun exercises and special doggie treats — for the ‘good dogs’. The one thing every mutt fears is the minister calling them ‘bad dog!”. That will bring about howling. No, the leaders must be careful in their regimen. Every dog has his day. And being in the Restored Church of God gives new meaning to ‘running with the Pack’. Dogs. They’re all dogs. Care must be taken not to mention Revelation 22:15.
The spit-offs have continued to ring the bell and the salivation continues, but the dogs are old and can’t do a much as service animals any more. For one thing, because of the decline in membership and the fact that the seniors are becoming geriatric, the bell has to be rung ever so more loudly for a response. The pooches are finding it harder and harder to hear and even more difficult to get around.
On the other hand, the old dogs aren’t getting up and roaming any more. Youth is gone and so is the spry. The Armstrongist Churches of God are beginning to realize that they have to let the dogs lie because their get up and go has gotten up and gone. This means that members don’t become strays much any longer. They lost their curiosity (and a lot of other things). They aren’t that swift on the uptake any more and the cultists have a captive audience in their little dog pounds. One would hope that the leaders — the hounds of hell — would be bitten by their mother when they return home to the kennel.
The implication of this is clear: Disorganizations, such as the PKG with Ronald Weinland, have had most of those who are going to leave, leave. The rest just stay and stay, no matter how little sense it makes, and continue to wait until Weinland rings the bell again from Terre Haut, Indiana.
The COGS attract narcissists who lust for power and glory so the COGS are where they flock to. And then when they start seeing the real evil that Weinland and Flurry and all the other maggots do they use their intelligence to explain it away as if it is GOD’s Will or a righteous way to behave. They love the idea of a hierarchy, a place where they can treat everyone like they are already GODS because they are now in a highly ranked system. The Gospel of Christ and Heaven are not enough for a COG member. They want more. Power! Riches! Planets! GOD at THEIR right hand side!
The COG members that stay in these fake churches LOVE thinking they are better than everyone, and to leave the PKG or PCG or whatever is to lose their justification for bullying, lying, theft, misogyny, and all the other things they love to inflict on others to feel like they are GODS.
COG leaders are merciless, greedy, arrogant narcissists who reward their followers with the chance to share in this greed and lust and brutality – in the abuse of others (in the name of God) as long as these aspiring anti-Christs keep the tithes coming to the lead anti-Christ! And once you invent a reasonable story in your head to justify what you know DEEP DOWN is wrong, you get intelligent people acting unwise (evil). It is so easy to see that the Fruits of the Spirit in these COG leaders are CLEARLY Satanic, you MUST fool yourself in order to think they are godly!
It’s easier if you remember that dogs are the descendants of wolves. It’s a dog eat dog society — a result of bad breeding.
Stagnation has set in, in a big way and the dogs of war don’t much give as much as a woof any more — and it looks like that’s the way it’s going to stay in 2015: It’s all going to the dogs. The ACoGs should buy new deck chairs for the Titanic so they can constantly rearrange them — if only they could afford them!
2015: Stagnation — one implication is that a mediocre equilibrium of evil will be achieved by the Armstrongist leaders who will continue to act like 9 year old schoolyard psychopath alcoholic boozing bullies extorting lunch money so they can have prime rib with Dom and those who they have robbed will continue to dig in the trash bin to find something — anything — to eat. The glass ceiling between the elite and the Proles will become thicker and more opaque than ever, ever more impenetrable to the peasants as the Oriental Potentate and his henchmen continue their oppression upon the helpless who they see as social misfits who the elite have made that way.
There may (or may not) be more ministers / elders who are convicted of pedophilia in 2015.
It will be OK: The mediocrity will not bother you as long as you remain clueless.
Do we really have to say it? Stagnation means that the old guard will remain because you can’t teach old dogs new tricksor science, for that matter.
Just watch where you step.
Grow in grace and knowledge?
Because they all stopped accepting correction a very long time ago.