Man has created codes to keep secrets and has broken codes to learn those secrets since the time of the Pharaohs. For 4,000 years, fierce battles have been waged between codemakers and codebreakers, and the story of these battles is civilization’s secret history, the hidden account of how wars were won and lost, diplomatic intrigues foiled, business secrets stolen, governments ruined, computers hacked. From the XYZ Affair to the Dreyfus Affair, from the Gallic War to the Persian Gulf, from Druidic runes and the kaballah to outer space, from the Zimmermann telegram to Enigma to the Manhattan Project, codebreaking has shaped the course of human events to an extent beyond any easy reckoning. –The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet.
There are times in which my mind grows weary with fools who believe they have found hidden codes within the bible. One such person who recently wrote the Painful Truth was cock sure he was on to something big. Really big!
Throughout history, amateur sleuths have been driven in part by the knowledge that steganography—the art of hiding messages—has long been practiced. Enter Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell. He was was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, founder and Chief Scout of the Scout Movement. He was posted in Malta for three years, working as an intelligence officer for the Mediterranean under the Director of Military Intelligence. He frequently traveled disguised as a butterfly collector, incorporating plans of military installations into his drawings of butterfly wings. His work was one of stealth for the benefit of his nation. The intelligence community of Britain had the knowledge and the ability to decipher his drawings from foregone knowledge of the spies mission.
There are those who have been convinced that through divine revelation or the assistance of extraterrestrials, the builders of the Great Pyramid embedded the sum total of scientific knowledge within the dimensions of the structure. Pyramidologists persist in their claims despite a 1992 effort to debunk them by Dutch astrophysicist Cornelis de Jager. Jager demonstrated the dimensions of any object can be manipulated to yield a desired outcome; he derived the speed of light and the distance between the Earth and Sun from his measurements of a bicycle.
This past May, a Venezuelan state TV host announced he had discovered a conspiracy to assassinate the elder brother of President Hugo Chavez. The evidence could be found in a newspaper crossword puzzle. This kind of amateurish investigation is called “pathology of cryptology.” A term coined after a chapter title in David Kahn’s book “The Codebreakers”
Perhaps these people are altruistic in that they may receive an intrinsic reward in the form of personal gratification or that they see things they desperately wants to see even if they are not really there. I believe that these people have a need for recognition, to be the first to find a secret code with secret information. It is what they “believe” that will propel them to the status of scientist (authority figure) within their minds.
Another Type of Nut.
Hence we have seen in the cog’s an array of “new knowledge” “new pronouncements from God” from those who deem themselves as Gods number one man and utmost authority. The only difference from those mentioned above is that in the “churches of God” altruistic behavior is non existent. There is no sign of this behavior within the leadership. So just why do these clowns go to great lengths to convince a limited supply of Armstrongist blue ribbon tithe paying patrons of their spin?
The answer is found in money. The ability to collect large amounts of wealth and enrich oneself. For it is money that can build a life of leisure, a life free of burdensome toil that most of humanity cannot even imagine.
Their greed is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.
The way to bring meaning into life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community that surrounds you, and devote yourself to creating something useful that gives you purpose and meaning and that you can share with others.
It has been said that there are three great forces that rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed. Being stupid at times is to be human. But fear and greed, these are the tools that destroy individual emotional responses. We call this the “herd mentality” or “herd behavior.”
One example of this is Adolf Hitler. He used herd behavior and crowd psychology to his advantage by placing a group of German officers disguised as civilians within a crowd attending one of his speeches. These officers would cheer and clap loudly for Hitler, and the rest of the crowd followed their example, making it appear that the entire crowd completely agreed with Hitler and his views.
The “tools” of fear and greed that the churches unload on the membership affects the everyday decision-making, judgment and opinion-forming behaviors of the individual. No longer can they think for themselves but they think as a collective. One mind, one thought. One good example is the Borg from the Star Trek series. A collective that robs all individualism from its members.
SO, when you hear your church leader say “God has revealed a new truth to me” recall this Psalm:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you (God, not the minister) are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Brilliant, smart, clever, shrewd, cunning, witty, sophisticated, precise, complex, accurate — you can be all of those things and more. You may be highly educated with an M.B.A. from Harvard, a PhD in Nuclear Physics from M.I.T., an Aeronautical Engineer from Princeton and / or a whole host of other credentials. You might be an experienced and highly regarded linguist, archeologist, astronomer, Corporate Director / Vice President, historian, nutritionist, Medical Doctor, Lawyer, C.P.A, Network Engineer, automotive designer or working in a whole host of other careers.
Last week, I interviewed with Boeing at the Aeronautical Engineering Division where jets are engineered to fly. It’s complex and engineers are treated well — they are respected professionals and their time is highly valued. I’ve known any number of people in the WCG and United who have worked at Boeing and even IBM. One engineer I knew designed the Boeing 737 autopilot. He went to retire, but Boeing kept calling him back to work on it up to the age of 75 years old. I’ve met a man in the church who actually writes assembly language code for started tasks on the IBM Mainframe z/OS environment. He designed and wrote an interface to an artificial package which was bought by IBM. The IMS team shipped him over the code to use as a pattern. He quickly noted that the IMS started tasks had a fatal error and showed them how to fix it, before he went on with his own work.
There have been any number of brilliant people in the Armstrongist churches of God.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t mean a thing.
God only reveals his truth to His Apostles and Evangelist leaders in the cult of Armstrongism.
Nothing you say has any credibility.
No matter what facts, data, truth, witnesses you may bring to the table, if you disagree with the Cultmeister over you, you are rebellious, know nothing and have no status or standing to say anything.
It does not matter if you can absolutely prove beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt six ways from Sunday that British Israelism is a steaming pile of horse manure.
It does not matter if you can absolutely prove that church history is fabricated and there is no such thing as eras.
It does not matter if you can absolutely prove there is no such thing as second tithe.
Your job is to be lied to and provide the money: Only The Leader matters and you are wrong and nothing, no matter what.
At Stage 1, it is assumed the dissenter just doesn’t know any better and is amenable to “rational” discussion. Some of the arguments you’ll her:
“It’ll never work.“
“The boss will never go for it.“
“It’s not what we do around here.“
“Things are okay as they are.“
Stage 2: Listening But Not Hearing
If the dissenter persists in his wrong-headed view, things stay polite but subtle messages are sent.
“Yes, we’ve heard from you on that. Anybody else got some different ideas?“
“Thanks for your contribution.“
“Maybe you should put that in writing so we all have a good idea of what you mean.“
Stage 3: Laughing It Off
Before they hit this stage, most team players are astute enough to realize they need to tone down their advocacy. But those who don’t get it begin to get teased about their persistence.
“This is a real hobbyhorse, isn’t it? When are you going to get off and give somebody else a chance to ride?“
“If you’re so smart, how come you ain’t rich?“
“Can I give you a quarter to phone somebody who cares?“
You note that nowhere are people talking about the real issues — like how inconvenient, threatening, or difficult it will be to implement the dissenter’s idea. Often, it’s because the idea is inconvenient, threatening, or difficult that this whole process gets invoked to begin with. It is at this point that the focus moves from the dissenter’s ideas to the dissenter himself [the ad hominem argument]. It stops being about whether the idea makes sense and starts being about the dissenter’s personality flaws.
Stage 4: Ignoring
If ridicule doesn’t work, the powers-that-be start to get a little ticked. Although they’d never say it, they’re beginning to feel that if the dissenter had any sensitivity or even manners, he’d stop bothering them. They bring into play one of the most powerful weapons–silence. When the dissenter speaks, no one replies; the conversation continues as if he had never spoken. If he persists, he gets:
“We’ve been over that ground before. I was looking for new ideas.“
“I don’t think we’ll get to your item today. Maybe next time.“
While in the previous stage people kept their expressions carefully neutral, now nonverbal cues are more evident. Rolling eyeballs and sighs are prominent.
Stage 5: Making Invisible
Still some people don’t get it. They persist despite the increasingly unfriendly environment. The heat is turned up. Not only will the boss refuse to engage in further discussion but also funny things start to happen. Somehow, the dissenter’s name gets left off distribution lists. Invitations to important meetings aren’t forthcoming. Decisions are taken without his input. It’s as if he has disappeared.
Stage 6: Forbidding
Some dissenters won’t take their invisibility lying down. Then the big guns come out. If the dissenter continues to push his unpopular views, someone will finally drag him into a room and say:
“You are to focus on assigned projects, not just on the ones you want to do.“
“Stop wasting other people’s time by pushing your pet project.“
“I forbid you to work on that idea.“
Sanctions may or may not be threatened. If the dissenter has taken the issue this far, he may see his fight as a matter of principle. Backing down would be a comment on him, on his integrity. But equally, the boss has had it, and the idea the dissenter has will be implemented only over several dead bodies.
Stage 7: Getting Rid of the Dissenter
If the situation gets to this stage, war has been declared and both sides are focused not on what’s good for the company but on winning. And, just given the way of the world, the power is on the side of the higher-ups. If the dissenter ignores the previous injunctions, any number of things can happen.
“I don’t think your skills are up to this position. There’s a job for paper-pusher in Division M.“
“You need to report through Bob now. He’ll vet any of your ideas.“
“Somebody has to be laid off. I regret it has to be you.“
“We don’t have a place for you in this organization.“
For those of us who have read The Ambassador Reports, this is all too familiar — since it was standard practice in the WCG in Pasadena and Big Sandy Texas and is the methodology of the GCI. Of course, it goes on within the rest of the Armstrongists, all the way from Arguing to Disfellowshipment. This doesn’t always work out, as United might be able to tell you, having lost at least 40 congregations in ten years (we’ve lost count, sorry) to the split with the Church of God, Worldwide Association. With Weinland and his PKG group, he seems to alternate between laughing it off and ignoring the dissidents — the only problem is, he’s about to be sentenced, so whatever he does probably has very impact on the dissenters except to make them more determined to expose him for the fraud he is.
All the people in the Living Church of God under Roderick Meredith need to perform the following experiment: Gather your facts and go to him to prove once and for all that British Israelism is nonsense, church history is a fraud and that he is a false prophet. You might even be a Pastor ranked minister or a Regional Pastor. You know, he’s the legacy from Herbert Armstrong who said, “Prove us wrong and we will change”. Of course, you need to keep firmly in mind that Roderick Meredith has proclaimed that he has not committed a major sin since his baptism, so be certain to document in writing the major sins he has committed to show them to him. Then stand back and see how quickly he runs through the seven stages.
One of the more, shall we say, colorful, of the gurus which sprang forth from the high school dropout with just an eighth grade education, turned Chancellor of a College, Herbert Armstrong is Yisrayl Hawkins. It’s interesting to see his former wife’s book, The House of Yahweh: My Side of the Story by Kay Hawkins is treated at Amazon.com. A comment by James A. Schmelig says: “Now that you’re read the obviously biased hand wringing of a woman scorned, maybe you would like to read the most authoritative investigative report about The House of Yahweh ever published. It is titled “The House of Yahweh EXPOSED! – Saints or Sinister?” by James Arthur. When we look up The House of Yahweh EXPOSED! – Saints or Sinister?, we spend so many pages looking at how corrupt the United States government is and how the truth has been covered up, until we find that James Arthur is actually for Yisrayl Hawkins. We also learn that The House of Yahweh started in the Garden of Eden. The author also tells us a bit about himself: A former (?) alcoholic (no such thing), drug abuser, liar, thief, sexual degenerate, despot, convicted felon and ex-convict who spent 10 years in prison by the time he was 28 years old. (Page 215) He tried the shallow superficial dogma of Christianity, but (darn it all!) Yisrayl Hawkins brought him the light and reformed him! Of course, Yisrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins is a proven false prophet, not unlike Ronald Weinland. He did, however, write his own version of Scripture, The Book of Yahwey. Many reviewers question the source of the translation and not a few reject the book as being heretical. One reviewer noted how many references were changed in favor of polygamy.
The issue here is how people are silenced and certainly the comment, “Now that you’re read the obviously biased hand wringing of a woman scorned…” is designed to question the credibility of someone who actually lived with the cult leader.
Armstrongism is based on silencing visionaries, dissenters and troublemakers, because Armstrongism itself is based on lies, deceptions, weirdness (the favorite of which is the guy who claims demons are coming to earth through a stargate at the bottom of the ocean), insanity (Richard Brothers who invented British Israelism was in an insane asylum because he was a danger to others) cast by narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and nutjobs. Yet, they expect us to swallow their Flavorade with a straight face.
Psychopaths are without conscience and incapable of empathy, guilt, or loyalty to anyone but themselves.
Sociopaths may have a well-developed conscience and a normal capacity for empathy, guilt, and loyalty, but their sense of right and wrong is based on the norms and expectations of their subculture or group.
In other words, sociopaths have what is known as a “conditional conscience” based on the beliefs of those with whom they associate. The best example of this is the Mafia, where the behavior toward members of the group is far different — and the expectations are far different — than from the rest of the world: You can lie, steal, cheat, murder in order to advance the cause of your group, but not to those in the hierarchy within the group. As a Mafia Don, people were loyal to Herbert Armstrong and it was fine for both he and the members of the WCG to lie, steal, cheat and practice deception as long as the goal was to advance the WCG. The ministry was indoctrinated with “the end justifies the means” ethic (which is no ethic at all), so by implication, most of the Worldwide Church of God and the Armstrongist churches of God is basically populated by sociopaths, with the exception of the narcissists, psychopaths and nutjobs which occupy various levels within the hierarchy. Nothing matters except to protect the viability of the organization (which has no socially redeeming qualities within itself). All dissenters will be dealt with in the manner revealed by Frances Horibe. If you don’t believe that, just try dissenting and see what happens.
Those who leave Armstrongism need to be very much aware that their conscience has become warped and twisted in ways to adapt to the nature of the thinking of Herbert Armstrong. You’ve been adapted to accept injustices which would not be acceptable to the normal ordinary member of the rest of society because you have become a sociopath with antisocial behavior: You are looking for the end of the world, the destruction of society and, in most cases, have come to believe that people in terrible circumstances out in the world must attend to the dead burying their dead. You’ve been conditioned to do absolutely nothing but stand by, watching the horrors of others in your life, waiting for Jesus Christ to return to fix everything. You’ve accepted the idea that even if you could do something about it, you won’t because you feel that it’s just not your job. As Robert Dick in the United Church of God, an International Association said, “This is not the time of justice”. And folks, he also means it as far as the church is concerned. You have a conscience that was not bothered by false prophets spouting false prophecies and you have been satisfied to just sit back and prove exactly nothing. You take your cult leader’s word for it. You march on as a loyal soldier in your cult and never question your General, whether it is the Pastor General, Coordinator General or General kook leader, no matter how corrupt and wrong he is — up to and including becoming a convicted felon. If you know of a crime committed by a minister or you Leader, your job is to cover it up, ignore it and act as if it is normal.
It will take a very long time to construct a valid conscience, if it is even possible.
So you can be brilliant, smart, clever, shrewd, cunning, witty, sophisticated, precise, complex, accurate, but not within the confines of the craziness of the Armstrongist cult. They will find ways to make you submissive, for example, they will tangibly lower your IQ by making you feel stupid. Research has shown that the IQ of people can be lowered by as much as 40 points by convincing people they are stupid — and the Armstrongists certainly do a good job of that. They have these secret wonderful “truths” (lies) to which the world is not privy — which means that you are a novice when you take up with them to enter into their ranks: Nothing you say, do or are means anything, because the leadership has all the truth and your vision, perspectives and knowledge is irrelevant. You can’t know the truth. It is only revealed to the incompetent false prophet End Time Apostle. Only when you realize this and become nothing more that a stupid drone can you become someone.
Herbert Armstrong was certainly a proponent of sacrifice.
Perhaps it is because he read the Scripture in Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Many of us are familiar with the ministers standing up at the Feast seven times in a year just before the offering is to be taken:
Give until it hurts!
The expectation has always been from the beginning that we all give our all to “The Work” because God demands it of us and that the Apostle (sometimes with another title with the word ‘General’ in it) is the one to whom we give the money in God’s (or Jesus’) Name. If the children of your family need to be sacrificed, who are you to question the needs of God’s Work? You need to give your effort to The Work. Something has to give somewhere, so if you are short time, you take it from your family; if you are short money, take it from your family. Your needs to even survive pale to insignificance to saving this world. You must bribe God for your salvation, but even more, you need to give everything you have for spreading the Gospel to prove that you love the Leader set here by God / Jesus. If you starve, so much the better: Consider yourself a martyr; if your family starves, they are martyrs too.
But it goes so far beyond money: It is also time, expertise, labor and any other free resource that can be exploited and enslaved — it doesn’t belong to you, it is for the Apostle (Evangelist, Prophet, …’General’).
There is a problem, however: Some of you are Laodiceans and hold back a part, like Ananias and Sapphira!
Many of today’s End Time Apostles / Prophets have called you on this. David Pack, Ronald Weinland, Gerald Flurry, to name a few, are not pleased with half-hearted participation! They demand more! For example, some of them, like David Pack insist that you gouge your unconverted spouse for the money. You should leave your inheritance of real property to the church and not your worthless family who will just waste it on such things as having a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat. The Work needs a new campus! You need to give to that building fund! The Work needs a new studio for TV and Internet work! The Work needs an extra million dollars this year (and the UCG isn’t the only one) to preach the gospel in Islam Countries, like Saudi Arabia! You must sacrifice. This is all explained by The Supreme Commander of The Supreme Cult. Please note that there are Five Tithes on your income before you even get one penny before taxes!
Note what the leaders have said in the past, like what Garner Ted Armstrong said that we give to God (well, not actually, we give to some guy in an expensive suit) and that is where our responsibility ends: After that, it’s God’s responsibility — He will take care of it and we need not worry our little heads about whether or not The End Time Apostle uses the money frivolously! Or maybe we are supposed to check up on it — there seem to be different readings on accountability.
Nevertheless, we are to GIVE, freely, thankfully, because God just loves a cheerful giver! No grumbling. Just because those leaders in your church have taken everything away from you and have all the good stuff you want and even more than you could have imagined, doesn’t mean that you have to ruin it all by having an ATTITUDE! Heavens no! Some day, if you have just the right faith and you have done absolutely everything you should do quite perfectly and you have the right attitude and wait in patience, willing to suffer loss quietly, then you certain just might have a glorious inheritance! Maybe! You could inherit the Kingdom. No promises though, since you have to give to just the RIGHT cult! See, if David Pack and the Restored Church of God is the absolutely only place of salvation and you are in the Living Church of God with Roderick Meredith (should he live so long), you lose big time. You have to be in exactly the right cult to make this work! You can’t just join any old church and be sure of salvation. On the other hand, if Gerald Flurry with his Philadelphia Church of God (the name sounds right!) and you are with James Russell in the Church of God in Truth, you will be sure out of luck! You may be bowing down to the Meredithites instead of the Russellites! God is definitely a respecter of persons! You need to get it right or repent and then get it right!
God looks at your attitude, which, at the moment is a pretty awkward position. You need to be on the straight path with the narrow gate or else you are on the broad road to perdition with a whole lot of company. It’s all rigged, of course, since all of the Armstrongists are wrong at the core, so you can’t possibly pick the right one!
As the decades roll by, realities crop up and the First Love of sacrificing all you have gets to be not just tedious, but progressively more difficult: You don’t have enough money to cover your expenses; you don’t have enough vacation to cover all the Feasts; you don’t have enough time to give; you don’t have enough energy for yet another cult function.
And then you find out where the money has been going.
And it gets to be ever more difficult to justify your sacrifice.
That’s what your cult leader accuses you of. He makes you feel guilty. He tells you that holding back is a sin of selfishness. He implies that you don’t have gratitude toward God who gave you everything! He threatens you by saying that you will not continue to receive God’s blessings (not that you’ve been noticing them lately). He then tells you that if you don’t give, you will be under a curse.
This is known in some circles as extortion.
In some limited legal circles it is considered a crime.
Certainly, in the case of Ronald Weinland and his silent witness wife, it was considered a crime by the Internal Revenue Service that they didn’t pay Income Tax on $3.5 million of undeclared personal income from member monetary sacrifice. Weinland spent the money on luxury BMWs for himself, his daughter and his son. He went to Las Vegas to an expensive hotel to hold his ministerial conference. Laura had expensive jewelry designed for her to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is the sacrifice that the members of his church made for him: Personal luxury living, having nothing to do with “Preaching the Gospel” whatever that might mean. In this case, the Gospel was in the form of books written to predict what was to happen in 2008, which never did, making him an obvious false prophet. No matter, his cult followers continue to sacrifice for him. Heck, the widow lady across the street attending his church got a lien on her house to pay for his $300,000 bail money. You just can’t sacrifice enough for your leader.
Herbert Armstrong was wont to do the same thing, back in the day. The Kessler Letter refers to the incidents where Herbert Armstrong routinely grabbed $50,000 personal spending money before each trip. The Ambassador Report mentions the trip to Monaco where he rented a yacht for his family to sail around the Mediterranean. If this were done today and it came to the attention of the Internal Revenue Service, it is likely the Justice Department would have had Herbert Armstrong convicted of felony Income Tax Evasion too. We’ll never know. The internal mechanisms for cover up at the time were too sophisticated for anyone to actually get caught.
Others of the Armstrong cults have other various means to absorb all that their members can sacrifice. Currently, the United Church of God, an International Association, is promoting their “million dollar faith initiative” to extract an extra $1 million this year not in the budget to go preach the gospel to Islam nations. It won’t have any real impact in preaching the “gospel” (of British Israelism) to the Arabs, but it does wonders for member’s morale!
Davy Pack is having a high time building a multi-million dollar campus in Wadsworth, Ohio these days. The members are encouraged to sacrifice as much as they have, as much as they can wheedle from their spouse and in the happy fortune that member with money dies, Davy is to get the inheritance money (don’t leave it to the kids — not providing for your own cult makes you worse than an infidel).
Who knows how much money Gerald Flurry still owes on Ambassador College out there in the wilds of Oklahoma. It’s millions for sure. Members should sacrifice to be able to make payments. Perhaps one day after Gerald Flurry dies, the campus will be sold, just as Ambassador College in Pasadena was, with buildings being razed for some commercial enterprise, although none of us can think of what sort of enterprise would want property out in Oklahoma unless oil was discovered underground.
With over 700 subcults from which to choose, those people with borderline personality have a cornucopia of a plethora of unworthy causes to make their sacrifice, to pretty much engage in practices guaranteed to reduce their quality of life for a very long time to come.
The point of all of this is not to point out that the Armstrongists are charlatans and thieves — they are that — it is to uncover something much more sinister.
In The Last Days, we examined the disturbing chaotic immorality embedded within Armstrongism. Even though the venue seemed benign, behind the scenes lay an horrific hypocrisy of unacceptable cover ups perpetrated within the Armstrongist Community: Armstrongism is rife with moral ambiguity which systematically destroys people and families within the cult environment.
There can be no claim for self-righteous right-wing pandering pseudo Republicans (who don’t vote or supposedly participate in governmental involvements — even to refusing jury duty, let alone military service) to say that they are for God’s Law and support Law and Order. The truth be told, and we’ve told the Painful Truth over and over — that the founders, leaders, administrators and ministers live a privileged life above and apart from the masses where crimes are committed and covered up, immorality abounds and everyone seems to have lost their moral compass, if, indeed, they ever had one. There can be no real trust and there is absolutely no justice. This self-absorbed community of ego, power, privilege and money built on the sacrifice of those treated with contempt has absolutely no socially redeeming qualities.
Moreover, if we accept the somewhat skewed view of Charles Darwin with evolution being “the survival of the fittest”, we have a dead end religious evolution in which the dinosaurs left over from the devastating mass extinction event of the death of Herbert Armstrong are slowly dying off, having not adapted well to the world around them, attempting to do the same useless things they have always done without realizing that they will never get anywhere near the same results with a depleted environment long subjected to entropy. The rule is to change and adapt, or you die. They are not changing or adapting. They don’t even repent of the evil and wicked they do as a matter of course.
Much thanks for your work. The fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 were very disturbing for me as I “unbelievably” came to learn that the WWCG and its splinter groups are nothing less than hoodlums and gangsters. This is sad but what is more sad for me is that I knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior and this knowledge was diminished gradually as a result of all the indoctrinations of The Restored Church of God headed by David C. Pack.
I am repulsed that these men, in these splinters, continue in the shadow of Herbert Armstrong. Yet, I am more confused and saddened that their members don’t see what seems so obvious–that they are caught up in a religious cult where they sacrifice the God-given gift of their intellect. And for what? I have spent much time deliberating why these so called ministers and “apostles” would continue as they do. I could take the easy road and say that they themselves are/have been deceived by HWA. But, nay, not all! Surely they have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof: from such turn away.” (II Tim. 3:5).
I remember asking one of the members why is it that Mr. Pack has such a nice and large home and nice vehicles. The member said to me, “he has to because no one will follow or listen to him if he does not have them. You know how people are.” I could not believe my ears because if David Pack truly believes that he is God’s appointed then surely he would not depend upon his worldly possessions to entice new membership. But then again, that’s what their business is all about–to attract, allure, persuade… Tragic.
Surely, these men have not a clue as to what it really is to present their bodies a living sacrifice and that they be not conformed to this world and the ways of this world. (Romans 12:1-2)
Finally, I have just read the critique of Mystery of the Ages, chapter two. All I can is gangsters, gangsters!!
I pray that you all be increased with right knowledge and wisdom from above. Thank you again.
With my warmest regards, –Impacted by Restored Church of God
Those of us at The Painful Truth approve this message.
So those of you who are still addicted to making sacrifice for Armstrongist cults, understand that your efforts are futile: The leaders will waste your money, you will live a diminished life and, in the end, there will be nothing left to show for it.
Meanwhile, you will find that with being surrounded so long with immorality under the covers, you will eventually be so warped that you cannot even determine right from wrong.
To see how inspired and Godly this supposed “understanding” has been, I would like to quote from just a few of the writings of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and others in the Worldwide Church of God. I would first like to refer to one of the original issues of the Plain Truth, June, 1934. On page 3 Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong has drawn a chronological chart of end-time events.” In this chart the “tribulation” is diagrammed as ending in 1936. 1936 is also labeled “End of Age.” Immediately thereafter are the “heavenly signs” and then the “Day of the Lord.”
Now to quote Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in the May/June, 1941 issue of the Plain Truth: “Since the last issue many things have occurred, every one in accordance with prophecy! … War events thunder on, rapidly approaching the prophesied climax! … Hitler now emerges as the “BEAST” of Revelation! Bible prophecy shows the Roman Axis forces will take Egypt, Suez, Palestine, –even Gibraltar. Britain will go down. And, unless we turn as a nation to God our beloved United States will have to go under … We lack space for more detailed comment on specific prophesied events in this number. Without (a spiritual turnaround) we (USA) lack TOTAL Defense, without which we shall never win. We are at the END of the present order. ARMAGEDDON is now just a short way off.”
Now to quote Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, September/October, 1941 issue of the Plain Truth, page 7: “What does Hitler’s invasion of Russia mean? What does BIBLE PROPHECY say about it? As usual, there are many ideas. So FEW, it seems, have a right understanding of the Bible and its prophecies (You can say that again!) Plain Truth readers know world events, before they occur. … Hitler MUST BE THE VICTOR in his present Russian invasion! A settlement will be reached, giving Hitler the supplies and resources he must have and undoubtedly part of Western Siberia. The terms will give Hitler assurance that the Red army is unable to attack him, as Hitler turns his wrecking machine to the British Isles, the United States, and Palestine. Hitler will emerge from this Russian campaign stronger than ever, free to turn the entire might of his forces against Britain — and AMERICA!”
Plain Truth, May, 1950, page 5, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Most certainly it is easily possible the thing (US of Europe) will be fully developed and ready to strike in seven years! Yes, time is running out on us … One third of our people will die from starvation … and in the next FEW YEARS!”
Plain Truth, Aug., 1952, page 10, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Thus it has been proved conclusively and beyond doubt, that Hitler did not die — his body was not there — HE HAD ESCAPED! … The next Pope will be a professed miracle worker, as supposed proof that God is using him to order and pacify the world!”
Plain Truth, April, 1956, pages 3, 23, 24, Herman L.. Hoeh: “PLAGUES are coming –and, according to this prophetic warning, in about two years from now. … For seven long and frightful years we are going to suffer as never before –until we are left “few in number!” We have about reached our population peak, despite the guesses of our political and industrial planners. In another ten years for fear of Communist terrorism it won’t be safe to live in Asia or in Africa.’… This most important Work will in all probability be completed in 1972: The coming Fascist-religious revival of Europe will conquer us within a prophetically indicated 17 years!”
“1975 in Prophecy!” 1956, pages 10, 12, 20, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Indications of prophecy are that this drought … will strike sooner than 1975 — probably between 1965 and 1972! At the outset of article I stated that the KEYS that had kept prophetic doors locked and closed from human understanding have now been found — or, more properly, been given to us by God …
Yes, millions of lukewarm inactive professing Christians will suffer MARTYRDOM — and that before the anticipated push-button leisure-year of 1975 dawns upon us!”
Plain Truth, August, 1957, page 5, Rodrick C. Meredith: “We will soon find that hoof-and-mouth disease will spread COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL! These things are not far off. They are here and NOW! DISEASE EPIDEMICS are prophesied to begin soon! America, WAKE UP! After 1965, we are destined to run into increased trouble with the Gentile nations. America and Britain will begin to suffer from trade embargoes….We will begin to experience the pangs of starvation and of scarcity of goods!”
“A True History of the True Church”, 1959, page 27, Hoeh: “God has given His Church — THIS CHURCH — just two nineteen year cycles … The first cycle passed. Then God suddenly opened the door for the second cycle in January, 1953.”
Plain Truth, December, 1962, page 42, Herman L. Hoeh: “Russia and China Will NOT Split . -. Russia and China are to remain allies!”
Plain Truth, Jan., 1963, page 21, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Somewhere along about seven to ten years from now the REVOLUTION IN THE WEATHER will become a national and international calamity. Drought, epidemics of disease, will reap a mounting harvest of death across North America — and in Britain. Economic depression will strike …And the time will be right for the new United Europe to strike!”
Plain Truth, June, 1963, page 46, Rodrick C. Meredith: “This coming, revived Holy Roman Empire which is prophesied to arise in Europe and CONQUER America and Britain within the next ten to twelve years …
Plain Truth, Mar. 1964, page 48, Herman L. Hoeh: “We face a national catastrophe before 1975!”
Plain Truth, Nov. 1964, page 32, Eugene Walter: “In the next few years it is entirely possible that some of the satellite countries will break away from Russia altogether. East Germany could well become reunited with West Germany. Rumania and Hungary are also good candidates to join the West.”
Plain Truth, May 1965, Page 21, Raymond F.. McNair: “The greatest proof that the ‘times of the Gentiles’ have not yet ended is the simple fact that the Gentile Arabs are still in possession of the old city of Jerusalem. They will remain in control of this city until the second coming of Christ.”
Plain Truth, Mar. 1966, page 22, Charles Dorothy: “Hitler escaped, probably to Argentina!”
Plain Truth, Feb. 1967, page 47, Herbert W. Armstrong: “The ‘Day of the Eternal’ … is going to strike between 5 and 10 years from now!”
“The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy,” 1967, pages XI-XII, Herbert W. Armstrong: “The events prophesied to strike the American and British peoples in the next four to seven years are SURE! That is why the events of the next four to seven years may prove this to be the most significant book of this century. These colossal world events, shrinking the first two world wars into insignificance, WILL COME, on schedule.”
Plain Truth, Feb., 1970, page 27, Raymond F. McNair: “Will Britain ever be admitted to the Common Market? Probably not!”
I have given you about twenty quotes out of about one hundred which I have collected — predictions made by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and others which did not materialize. The Worldwide Church of God always tries to speak with dogmatic assurity; however in the case of prophecy, their absolute-ism has been quite reckless.
In the Feb., 1972, Tomorrow’s World, pages 30-31, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong tries to claim they never really made specific predictions: “It has never been our intention to SET DATES! Yet, in our human zeal and enthusiasm we have a few times come close to it or appeared to.. Yet, in our zeal, we have used ‘possibles’ and ‘probablys’ and even appeared to set dates we really didn’t intend to set.”
The Armstrongist Churches of God are not war-like tribes — they are warring tribes, at war with one another, to the point that they not only don’t look Christian or necessarily godly, they look downright barbaric and uncivilized, as though they are waiting for civilization to catch up to them some time in the future — a future which will never come.
One of the many occurrences of the evidence of the constant battles of the war of ascendancy is the schism within the United Church of God, an International Association (UCGaIA), which resulted in the formation of the Church of God, Worldwide Association (CoGWA). The split wasn’t even about doctrine. It seemed to be about governance, but from the outside view away from the intimate internal dealings of the Church Administration, no one can be really certain why the split occurred.
Now, if it were a matter of Christian Soldiers fighting the war in the good fight against Satan and this world, that would be one thing, but it isn’t that at all: They are battling against each other in a manifestation of the works of the flesh.
The Apostle James in his epistle wrote:
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
That’s part of it: The founders and leaders of this ancient religion of the War gods certainly is based on the lust for salary and retirement, along with the lust for power and narcissistic fulfillment by pathetic idolatrous narcissistic source borderline personality types hanging on every word of delusional pronouncements of the promises of future godhood and false prophecies of a short work, ended by a mythical Great Tribulation. People lust after that. It is emotionally satisfying.
But there is convincing evidence that that is not all of it: It’s just a part of the puzzle.
Why are the Armstrongist Churches of God at war — with one another?
Some of the explanation may lie in the fact that their religion does not appeal to even a miniscule segment of fresh blood out there in the world any more. The time of the cold war is past and the threat of nuclear holocaust just isn’t an inducement like it used to be. No, in these days of technological wonders of advancement beyond the wildest imagination of three decades ago, the world has changed so significantly that the old inducements for new membership just won’t cut it. As a result, with the severe entropy restricting the options and opportunities for a continued flow of money into the sub cults, the only solution is to resort to cannibalizing the remaining sheople amongst the various 700+ splinters, offering each one a “better deal” to sweeten the pot for preserving the life style to which the leadership of each cult would like to become accustomed. And make no mistake, this is ranchers quibbling about the branding on their livestock.
However, there seems to be a much deeper and sinister motivation lying behind the constant war going on, wherein there is no peace, and indeed, cannot be, as in the words of Isaiah:
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
They are, in short, the very flower of the example of humanity.
The cults have inherited the warlike nature of Herbert Armstrong who fought and railed against everything from the Catholic Church to the Church of God Seventh Day (as being Sardis). The world was of Satan and he was the conquering hero to usher in the golden age of the War to come which was to bring ultimate peace after there was no one left who had any energy left to fight him — or at least that was the vision that he created. He created an environment geared to war from the very beginning, rebelling against society and science so he could have his own way. He often turned against his own employees in a fit of rage. His temper was legendary. He left a legacy of anger and war, and who of those guards he personally trained in his Ambassador College Prison Experiment could rise above the overwhelming tsunami of the West Point of God’s Work?
Science and genetic research has revealed interesting developments of late, with the discovery of the so-called “Warrior Gene”, DARRP-32 TC / TT variant allele of damaged chromosomes. Not only is there a basis for the reality of continuing chaotic strife for those with this sort of genetics, but there are tests for it — even to the point that Dr. Phil uses the test on his show to identify the cause of family disruptions by those with this damaged genetics: It’s built in.
It should be pointed out that this particular form of anger has no real evolutionary advantage: It will not promote the continuing life of the Armstrongist Churches of God, but will hasten their demise in an ever increasing downward spiral of entropy where the resources become ever less available.
Given the history of Herbert Armstrong and the history of such people as Roderick Meredith, whose pride is rooted in winning a Golden Gloves Championship in his teenage years, it is not difficult at all to believe that the War amongst the various Churches of God are spearheaded by the leadership who just can’t help themselves to engage in endless battles.
Any members who are still delusional about the opportunity for the path to peace, need to heed the words of II Timothy 3: “From such turn away”. Proverbs 22:24-25 add to the wisdom:
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
But then, Armstrongists never have been very careful to follow “The Word of God”, otherwise, they would not have followed Joseph Tkach. The Ambassador Report tells of the anger management challenges of Dr. Tkach with his first wife, Jill. The temper of Senior is legendary and there is at least one account where he yelled at an innocent woman in his office for five hours straight, doing great emotional damage to her. There are much more recent examples of the fury of Armstrongist leaders in the churches of God today because it is a continuing problem which will not abate.
So let the Armstrongist founders and leaders take the test.
As far as I know, my niece is back “dating” the younger, classmate boy referenced in my first story. Side note: According to my niece, her PCOG mother accused this non-cult member boy of statutory rape, confronting him in the hallway of her daughter’s public high school. My niece is actually almost a year older than him.
Instead of accepting our offer to enroll her in a private preparatory school so she could pursue her stated dream of entering medicine, my niece has returned to her home State to waste her life with this bum, boy classmate, who has entered on his Myspace profile for “Occupation” — “never!” ” Under “Books,” he says, “Don’t read much either.” Under “Blurbs,” he writes: “I’m spontaneous, I’m a pacifist, I’m a hippie, I won’t lie, I won’t judge, and I can’t hold a grudge.” We had given my niece several hundred dollars when she left us. She said she needed this money to pay the nice family she was staying with, only to find out she was staying somewhere else, I believe with this bum.
From what I understand, they are planning on marrying. If she marries, she’ll follow in her mother’s footsteps, who, as a WWCOG member, ran away from home at 18 in the 70s and married a cult member, who told my father he was “wielding the sword to cut the family ties”, when announcing my sister was living with him and his loser parents. Years later, he was convicted of fleecing money from the elderly by creating a bogus desalination company in CA. Sound like HWA? He managed to swindle money from a famous actor. It is said he committed suicide by jumping off a cliff near Las Vegas before he had to serve his jail term. Even though they were WWCOG cult members, my sister and this creep divorced. He committed adultery.
When I asked one of the current Luzerne County, PA judicial candidates (who is doing quite well in terms of electorate support and who is a neighbor) for help regarding protecting my minor-aged niece after her parents abandoned her because she no longer wanted to be part of what’s largely considered a dangerous “religious” cult of which her parents are members, he said he would get back to me about finding a family law attorney versed in the subject. I asked him if I could meet him in his office professionally, willing to pay of course for his time to discuss her situation. He said something to the effect that if he sees me around the neighborhood, or if we’re both outside at the same time, he might condescend to talk to me about her case. Not only did he never call me back like he’d promised with the name of a lawyer(s) versed in this situation (he obviously wasn’t knowledgeable despite his stated “broad legal experience”), he has never contacted me about her desperate predicament. He’s been too busy pursuing political opportunism, glad-handing, delivering scripted campaign speeches, attending cocktail parties, and air brushing his campaign posters.
Without having proper legal assistance, my niece had little choice but to leave the state, and return to the abusive situation, her future ruined. We explained to the judicial candidate that she had wanted to finished high school and pursue a career in medicine while she stayed with us, that we were trying to enroll her in a college preparatory school with a pre-med program, and that her parents had abandoned her to the streets in another part of the country because PCOG considers the medical field “evil.” To say that he was absolutely no help whatsoever is a gross understatement. Even more disturbing, I detected a less than sympathetic response to her dangerous crisis on a humanitarian level, as proved by his lack of action and follow-up.
This judicial candidate will probably be elected due to anomalies in the current Luzerne County judicial election cycle, (There are six openings), which allow dangerously incompetent lawyers such as himself to serve as judges to the detriment of minors, in this case.
Let’s see if there’s another judicial candidate who might reply to this blog, and offer some assistance. If so, that candidate’s qualifications as a “people’s judge,” but more importantly, as a sympathetic human being, will be apparent, and not need doctoring up with air brushed posters and canned TV political ads.
It must have been sometime around 1970 when I first heard The World Tomorrow broadcast with Garner Ted Armstrong. I would subsequently listen to it on the drive home after teaching my night school class. I had never heard about the “divided kingdom” or the 10 Lost Tribes and I was greatly intrigued by the idea that the people of Israel might actually have migrated to Europe, Britain, and America, and that Bible prophecy might pertain to present-day geo-politics.
My longstanding interest in history was further stimulated by these assertions but my energies at that time were preoccupied with my young family and academic career. It was a few years later, after a personal crisis and divorce that I began to look more deeply into all aspects of my life, including the spiritual. I had already a few years earlier put aside my belief in Catholic teachings but had not made the effort to supplant that faith with anything else.
It was with some trepidation that I began to read the Bible, something that the Church did not encourage. I quickly discovered why. There was much in the Bible that contradicted Catholic doctrine and practice, and it became obvious that the institutional objective was to keep “the faithful” in line and dependent upon the clergy. One case in point: Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven (Matt. 23:9 KJV). And, of course, Catholic priests insist on being called, “father.”
I also, about that time, took a subscription to the Plain Truth magazine, which I looked forward to reading each month. I found most of the articles on geopolitics and current affairs to be well researched and quite insightful, which helped me to gain a more realistic worldview. I also made it a point to listen more regularly to the World Tomorrow broadcasts, which, following Garner Ted’s banishment had been taken over by Herbert Armstrong. I was rather dismayed to see the chaos and disintegration that followed Herbert Armstrong’s death, but there was a lot going on in my life at the time, and I had never involved myself with the Worldwide Church of God organization, so it simply passed out of my life.
A little less than two years ago, while waiting in my doctor’s office, I happened to notice a magazine that bore a peculiar resemblance to the old Plain Truth. I discovered that the Philadelphia Trumpet, under Gerald Flurry, is now being published by an organization that calls itself the “Philadelphia Church of God,” which looks to be a reincarnation of the Herbert Armstrong enterprise. I’ve been subscribing to the new PT for a little more than a year now and I must credit it with being similarly informative and insightful, despite some obvious political biases and blind spots.
It is clear that humanity is currently confronted with a multi-dimensional crisis—it is at once economic, financial, environmental, political, and social. A recent issue of Philadelphia Trumpet highlighted this in a lead article titled, The Upside-Down World (by Joel Hilliker). I can surely agree that the World is “upside-down” but that author’s assessment of underlying causes has the ring of typical “Christian conservatism.” Like so many of that ilk, it rails against liberal social norms but overlooks the gross inequities inherent in our political economy. I cannot recall ever seeing, either in the old PT or the new PT, any mention of usury or the debt-trap, and very little about social injustice, gross economic inequities, or state-sanctioned corporate privilege that enables the few to dominate the many.
Over the past several years, I’ve made a careful study of the structures of the money and banking system and discovered that there are serious flaws inherent in the way money is created and allocated. This has profound implications for all of us. As Thomas H. Greco puts it:
Money is a topic that few people understand. Sure, we use it every day and it seems familiar; but like water to the fish, we take it for granted and seldom give its role any notice. Yet the quality of the water that the fish inhabit is crucial in determining the quality of their existence. If the water happens to be polluted, the fish sicken and die. Likewise, money is a primary element of the modern economy that we inhabit. The quality of the money we use determines, to a great extent, the quality of our lives. (Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender. Chelsea Green, 2001)
Did you ever wonder why both the Bible (Old Testament and New) and the Koran make such a big issue about the practice of usury, or why it was so severely punished under Canon law for hundreds of years? Well, it turns out that the compounding of interest (usury) demands exponential growth, in this case the exponential growth of debt. All questions of equity aside, it is clear that in a finite world nothing can grow exponentially forever. Growth must at some point either level off, or there will be a catastrophic collapse. This is often seen with insect and animal populations. When they grow at an accelerating rate they inevitably overrun their habitats and exhaust their food supplies. So too, the amount of debt in the world must soon exceed the ability of the real economy to bear it.
This is not just theoretical; we can see it playing out right now. As the chart shows, even as late as 1965, total debt for all sectors in the United States was a relatively small one trillion dollars, or 1.5 time total economic output (GDP). By 2007 that had grown to more than $50 trillion or 3.5 times GDP, and George Soros, the billionaire financier and speculator is predicting that debt will soon reach 5 times GDP.