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.
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.
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.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.
Socrates believed that the purpose of human life was personal and spiritual growth. Growth is not possible unless we seek a greater understanding of our true nature and take the time to examine and reflect upon our lives. Understanding our pattern of behavior gives us the conscious understanding of ourselves and the path that we are on. We see those blind spots and set a into a course of action that will correct our deficiencies.
Not so with Herbert W. Armstrong. Indeed, his life was a lavish and rich experience for the time he ran his family business. A life of elegance, surrounded with the finest things that life has to offer….for those with the money to afford such luxuries. His source of wealth was a group of people who decided to shelf their own self-respect and self-worth and hand it over to a man who made great and boisterous claims. Herbert and the great Creator of the universe were forging the tools necessary for salvation within the 20th century. The “Church of God” was born to rule!
For over 1900 years the world lost sight of the “true gospel” we were told, and Herbie was here to correct that along with his Pal who created it all! Working his little fingers to the bone, the same fingers that fondled his daughter, Herb typed out all the things “god” told him. As his family business grew, the appeals for money went out to all those with insomnia, begging them for their lives. For ones time is their life. God was unable to provide the “true gospel” without these folks contributing their lifeblood to “God” and Herbie’s cause.
Herbie’s “god” was willing to starve families and destroy lives for the work. Starve them through the three tithe system, force divorce between spouses who remarried, and had Herbie hire on men who abused those who made his groups existence possible, and that also allow pedophiles to have their way with the children of other contributors. This was after all, the work of “GOD”!
On the flip side, shall we mention the contributors that find themselves driven towards suicide? Those believers who believe that eternal death (the lake of fire) is better than serving time in a Armstrong church? Herbie didn’t want you to know about that little fact.
Sins of the Apostle
For those who cover over Armstrongs many sins, may a pox be on your house. You continue to close your eyes and enable these type of men with your financial and monetary support. The bible and Christian living is not part of your equation. Your idolatry is however.
You follow men and not the “God” you claim to love and pray too. It is your cult of personality, your elite status of being part of the hoax known as “Gods True Church” that hinders your eyes and plugs your ears! You never live the life that Socrates spoke of and you never even tried to lived the life that Jesus Christ spoke of. The life that is constantly “examined” and that bears the fruit that the “Golden Rule” exemplifies.
Fruits of the Work. Immorality Justified
The practice of drunkenness. Those who never drank come into the church where they are taught “Drink your wine with a merry heart” or “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” These people become alcoholics and their lives are skewed by living the “unexamined” life. Much of this is learned at the FOT. Ask any maid who had to clean up after these groups.
HWA’s Incest. To the shock of many, time ago it was revealed that Herbert was fucking his own daughter. For those of us with a moral compass, we studies the matter and drew the conclusion that indeed the evidence was overwhelming, that this man who claimed he and “God” were on a mission of salvation for all of mankind, did things that should never be done to a innocent child. From AR59 we read:
“It recently occurred to me that I’ve given the WCG thousands of dollars and only about thirty to AR in the last two years. Yet you folks have done more with the little you’ve been given than the WCG did with the billions they’ve spent over the past five or six decades….I owe you and the other AR contributors a large debt of gratitude. By late 1992 I’d developed several doctrinal disagreements with the WCG but still wanted to remain a member. About that time a friend lent me copies of every issue of AR which I finally had the courage to read. I was left shocked, enraged, and liberated from my blindness. Especially infuriating was the information on HWA’s sexual abuse of his daughter Dorothy between 1933 and 1943 (AR27). Initially I doubted it, but an inquiry of Mr. Gary Antion confirmed the awful truth and it prompted me to send a letter to 35-40 members who I knew personally. They received them on April 19, 1993 as the Branch Davidian compound burned on TV. But few of them were ever opened because the local ministry (Ray Meyer and Warren Heaton) ordered an emergency hotline message to all members saying I was disfellowshipped and commanding them not to open any mail from me. Most of the letters were returned unopened.The following Saturday I was “marked” from the pulpit and called a liar (even though Meyer, days before, had admitted he knew about Armstrong and his daughter). My old church friends and acquaintances were gone. The few who read the letter reacted with a “so what?” response and couldn’t believe I would consider this significant in any way. A decade of incest and hypocrisy had no impact on HWA’s credibility or his “apostleship.” One of those people was Victor Kubik who said he was amazed that I would be concerned about this “blip of history,” as he put it.Like you, I endured accusations of slander and malicious gossip. The truth isn’t for everyone. But for those of us who appreciate it, it is a gift from God. Thank you for helping me end my idolatry and grow closer than ever to God and His truth.”-Mark Thornton Wisconsin
Innocence lost. Many of us newbies, including myself, believed in and respected the God we were taught about in our early years. Years that were outside the confines of armstrongism. Most of us I would imagine had a religious background (conventional Christianity) from either our childhood or our early adult lives. I certainly did. We may have laughed at the obvious religious charlatans running their horse and pony shows over at the Trinity Broadcast System, and laugh we did. We thought that we could never be deceived by the religious charlatan. We thought wrong in our arrogance. So we spent time in the gulag participating in the rituals that we were told “pleased” God. After a time, when the scam was exposed, we accepted that we had been taken as fools for the benefit of unscrupulous men.
The time was right to “examine” our lives and the investment of time badly spent. The results of this examination varied between all of us. Some became rabid militant atheists, some embraced conventional Christianity, and others kept looking for that pipe dream, “Gods True Church”. Many of us claimed agnosticism as our mantle. We don’t know if a “God” exists. It is however the most honest answer one could make. You could always change your mind. Whatever decision that was made by the individual, that decision was based on whether or not we “examined” our lives and what values we held dear. For those who were born into the church, this process was life changing and the most difficult of times ever! One had to study a great deal to come to a conclusion. The results of this “examination” bore the results of knowledge accumulated and moral decisiveness on the part of the former Armstrong believer.
Suicides. Of all the crimes these cults are responsible for, suicide is the most hideous. How do you get another human being to destroy themselves? Is this not murder when you carelessly discard a person because they cannot meet an impossible criteria? Is it not murder when a person is disfellowshipped and believes his or hers salvation is lost forever? Then they kill themselves because they believe that there is no more hope left? Yes, this is murder! The latest example : Janet C. Privratsky, died by suicide. Her church, the Philadelphia Church of God led by Gerald Flurry, cited their no contact policy and cut her off from any contact from her family members who wanted nothing to do with the cult.
Think for a moment. We were all in a ACOG at one time. What do you think drove Terry Ratzmann to commit mass murder that Saturday back in March of 2005? The man was not disfellowshipped, nor was he in a bad standing within the organization. Could it be something to do with the sermons? Sermons that spoke of endless hopelessness and death? My summation says yes. The LCG is a doomsday cult. They have no hope to offer that one could embrace and gain strength from in order to endure the trials of life. Gerald’s PCG, and Pack’s RCG are the same sorry sacks of shit that were molded from Herbert W. Armstrong’s vision of the world tomorrow. A bogus vision that created a vast empire of wealth and opportunity for those who pull the strings of fear and compromise the integrity of the membership. Such is the conman. Amoral.
Another Horror Story
I was sexually abused by an elder over probably a longer period of time than I choose to remember. He wrote to them and confessed, but I had no knowledge of this confession until I was twenty-one and the abuser had long since died in a sanatorium. I have four brothers and a sister. Out of the six children, five were sexually abused by people within the church. There have been several suicide attempts.
I am finding unraveling memories from childhood an extremely painful and emotional experience, as I recall instances and experiences which I now know were wrong and evil.
The damage done by this cult to the innocent victims, i.e. the children who did not choose to join and embrace this strange way of life, is irrevocable. My personality was shaped during the sixties and seventies to a degree that I don’t feel a part of “normal” society at all.
Your site disturbs me as the implication seems to be that pedophiles were quite common within the church. Is this the case? If so, what are the reasons?
I never felt loved or wanted as a child and this also seems to be a common thread. The child rearing booklet was probably responsible for that. Were children supposed to be merely a part of a great master plan?
Anna’s Horror Story (This story was the most disturbing until former members from the Philadelphia Church of God started coming out of the darkness and into the light)
I apologize for the lack of proper English text, spelling etc…..I have just stumbled across your website. I am very glad to find that it exists. I don’t know if you want to hear another horror story…but here mine is….I am not pointing fingers at anyone…I don’t want to do that….this is still too painful for me…and I might go to hell if I point a finger and judge someone now won’t I?
My parents joined the church when I was 5. I remember the Christmas before…it was beautiful…the tree glowed in the living room…I remember opening one of many presents…a doll-which actually walked if you held her hand and walked besides it. That was my last happy memory spent with my parents while growing up. After my parents joined the church they both turned into strict authoritative parents–us kids went from calling our parents Mom and Dad to sir and ma’am. we were struck 20 times with a belt one at a time in a closed bathroom for minor infractions…as the church taught and believed in “spare the rod spoil the child”. Someone stole 15 cents….it was worth us all getting a turn with the belt. Thou shalt not steal after all……anyway the riches stopped for us kids after we joined the church….my parents went from being generous and loving parents to cold cheapskates, for lack of a better word. I remember not having any clothes….except for a pair of pants and a few shirts. I didn’t realize at the time that any extra money my parents had were being tithed.–and since my parents had quite a few children, money didn’t go far. I didn’t even own a pair of underwear. …it wasn’t until I grew up and left the house that it made sense why we never had money for clothes-boots-underwear-pillows for our beds-and mittens (our mittens were socks with sandwich bags over them, and our boots were sneakers with bread bags over them….all tied on with rubber bands.)
In a way I am glad I grew up so poor….I learned frugality…it taught me survival skill….but this is America after all………….and yet I also remember days of atonement where we all fasted for our sins. I remember being 10 years old and starving so much I was sick…I remember finding an old crusty hotdog roll that must have been left out for at least a week wadded up with some dirty clothes–and I remember eating that…just to make the pain in my stomach go away.
But yet I digress,,,,I have many stories, but I should get to the point here….and here it is: from my formative years me and my brothers and sisters sat in that church for the 2 to 2.5 hrs every Saturday….we didn’t talk to many people in the church…we always felt like outcasts…maybe because we wore the same clothes week after week…..I don’t know, but we did feel like outcasts…so us kids kept to ourselves. During sermons we played tic-tac toe, connect the dots and hangman. None of us really listened much to what was being preached…but somehow some of there message got thru to us…to me in particular…I truly believed that the church drove me crazy…as a young child i started having nightmares…I dreamt that my brothers and sisters and parents were all dying around me…I could do nothing to save them…for the days of tribulation and the end times were at hand…night after night. I dreamt of their miserable deaths…and me? well I loved my brothers and sisters more than anything….but truly I believed I would see this….I remember praying every night to god in heaven and in Jesus Christ’s name to please please let me die first in exchange for my families life…i lived each day straining to hear the trumpets blow…and not knowing what to do if i ever did hear them but to run….and not even stop to put on my shoes, just run!!!!!—-so I grew up in fear….and later my parents quit the church when I was in my mid teens but the damage had already been done…now my parents were certainly doomed. I believed that we kids all had a chance if my parents were still in the church but with their quitting and all we would certainly all starve to death and die of thirst at the shores of lake Erie with sores all over us while a big ass scary horseman chased us down to torture us some-more.
Within months of my parents leaving the church I had my first nervous breakdown….where instead of dreaming of the great tribulation I also lived it while awake! Constantly I lived in persecution while the devil sat outside my bedroom window trying to break in…..after a year I came out of it and returned to school…and lived a somewhat normal life, hiding my insecurities from the world…and being as nonreligious as possible therefore blocking that part of my mind out that I couldn’t deal with. 15 years later I suffered another devastating nervous breakdown that took everything including my children from me….again,,,this nervous breakdown occurred when I tried to go back to the church….which only served to throw me back into the living hell that I believed in and still believe in….that nervous breakdown lasted 2 years…I have since moved on…I have won my children back from their father. I own my own home. I work…I am a professional…I haven’t set foot in another church since….I am still afraid to pray, thinking it will drive me crazy if I do. I am still afraid of the monster that could be lurking outside my bedroom window (whether Satan the devil or one of those horseman from god) I still feel that I am going to watch everyone around me die…I am still miserable…..I am clinically depressed though i receive no treatment for it…a huge part of me is still trying to die….I do not go on dates…I try not to be close to anyone….I am waiting for doomsday…I am waiting for the day of reckoning…I am waiting to watch everyone around me die while I live on in a modern day Hiroshima…I am waiting for god to come down and say ….you and yours just aren’t good enough…so good bye…I never loved you….another big part of me thinks maybe it will be okay …maybe I am forgiven…maybe it’s okay not to attend church not to ever be baptized…maybe I’m forgiven because the church destroyed me…so much that I am not allowed in my own mind to think of god but briefly without feeling unsteady in my own head….for fear of another nervous breakdown…I have no church…but I miss my god…I am sad for myself that not only did the worldwide church of god give me so much to dread and be terrified of in this world but they have also taken my ability to worship Jesus and god as I feel that they should be worshipped. They have in a sense taken my god from me…and replaced him with a nightmare…not to be picked up, not to scrutinized but to be shut away in a dark corner of my mind…33 years later I am still traumatized still afraid of the things that go bump in the night.
The Gerringer Letter.
Even though many knew Herbert W. Armstrong as an evil man, and that the world would have been a better place without him, the facts remain that this man had a profound negative influence on the world. Plain Truth subscriber Denis Michael Rohan tried to set fire to the al-Aqsa Mosque. An event that started a global Islamic political movement. From Ambassador Report we read:
“Soon after Rohan’s attempted Mosque burning Mr. HWA began saying that neither he nor anyone else in the WCG had ever proclaimed that a literal temple had to be built in Jerusalem. When I heard him say it, I believed it — unquestioningly. After all, it would be virtually a sin to question Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.
Could Mr. HWA’s denials represent a possible credibility problem? situation ethics? expedience? deception? The following quotes helped me decide:
PT, Oct., 1958, page 4, column 31 paragraph 4, HLH: “A temple or sanctuary is yet to be built by the Jews in Jerusalem! … it shall happen in less than 14 years from now!”
PT, June, 1967, page 2, column 2, paragraph 6, HWA: “There will very soon be a Temple in Jerusalem, with daily sacrifices once again being offered … They will invade Jerusalem, and take charge of the Temple.” Page 4, column 2, paragraph 3, HWA: “So there will have to be a temple there!” Page 5, column 1, paragraph 4, Herbert W. Armstrong: “So there will be a temple built on the spot of the old temple in Jerusalem.” Page 5, column 2, paragraph 4, HWA: “Then Revelation 11 shows there will be a temple in Jerusalem.”
PT, Mar., 1968, page 8, column 2, paragraph 3, RCM: “…. a religious center and Temple will be built there (Jerusalem) within the very next few years!” Page 41, column 1, paragraph 2, RCM: “The building of a literal Temple” and “a great religious leader making his Headquarters right in that Temple in Jerusalem” are to be signs that “the END OF this age” is near.
PT, Aug., 1968, page 41, column 2, paragraph 4 GTA: “Bible prophecy specifically states that there WILL BE A TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM.” Column 3, paragraph 3, GTA: “This reveals clearly. that the TEMPLE of which these prophecies speak must be a Temple IN JERUSALEM — on the same site as the one in which Christ spoke; the same site on which Solomon’s Temple had stood. This cannot be some other “temple” in some other area — it must be a temple IN JERUSALEM — or the prophecies of your Bible fail! … He will SIT IN A TEMPLE OF GOD” — ON THE TEMPLE SITE — IN JERUSALEM!”
Why did no one in the WCG speak out against Mr. HWA’s denial of the above statements?”
Another whack job from the 1990’s
Ray Willie Lampley a former WCG member and self-proclaimed “Prophet of the Most High” was arrested for conspiracy to manufacture and possess a bomb. “Sheriff Gray told the Enid News that it was his belief that the bomb about to be assembled was intended for a “test run” near the white separatist community of Elohim City. Said Gray, “From what I’m thinking they probably would do some bombing there and try to lay it on the federal government.” ~AR61
“Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
The founder of the Worldwide Church of God was a morally deficient man. Herbert Armstrong’s lifetime work has bore the fruit of death and destruction. Ruined lives and suicides. Poverty and mental illness. Therefore, Armstrongism cannot be a moral religion. It is amoral. And those who are of the tree of Armstrongism should consider:
“The unexamined life is not worth living.
Usually I wouldn’t mention Gerald Flurry. On one hand, he has pushed the PCG so far into the lunatic fringe that nothing is surprising. And I feel commenting the PCG membership (except in pity) is like mocking the handicapped. And my apologies to the handicapped – one having impairment cannot be equated to those who are willingly deluded.
But I recently recalled something Gerry spouted some years ago in a “personal appearance” campaign that I thought I’d mention. With a condescending chuckle, Ol’ Sixpack declared that the founders of the modern state of Israel were mistaken; they should have named their country Judah. He apparently was looking through his Anglo-Israel colored glasses when making this comment, which actually contradicted the old WCG position (no surprise there) on the country’s name.
Without arguing the two kingdoms period and the number of people who fled from the northern tribes to Judah compared to the number transported, the answer is quite simple: the territory is still “eretz Israel”, the Land of Israel.
I still remember hearing GTA (on The World Tomorrow) explain “Jew” and “Israel”: “the Jews were at war with Israel”. Any biblical use of “Jew” would mean a descendent of Judah, or an inhabitant of Judah or Judea. On the other hand, the idea of “Jew” in the Bible referring to one who observed Judaism is an anachronism. But, I’ve heard Jewish rabbis and teachers call Moses and Abraham “Jews”. Here, for lack of better term, Jew is used to mean a follower of Judaism. But again, this is an anachronism, as the foundations of modern Judaism lie, at their earliest, in the Second Temple period.
With Bob Thiel’s latest dismal predictions for the US currency, and Gerry’s renewed fervor over Petra, a new medium of exchange may be prudent. To stave off bartering with fellow cave dwellers, PCG could start minting Petradollars, their own answer to Bitcoin!