loyalty

Concerning Prophet’s Prey, the documentary about Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, Michael O’Sullivan, critic for the Washington Post had this to say:

There isn’t much here that hasn’t already been made public. Yet among many appalling things cited by “Prophet’s Prey,” the most troubling conclusion may have nothing to do with Jeffs at all. It’s the sinking realization, as Krakauer points out, that there are still thousand of FLDS faithful who continue to revere Jeffs, even after his conviction. What this says about human nature, and our ability — even willingness — to be led astray by an unscrupulous shepherd is the most depressing discovery of all.

When it comes to cults, we’re not talking about shepherds, we’re talking about wolves, which people are all too willing to not just follow, but to give every part of their lives over to. The outrageous acts of the FLDS controlled by Warren Jeffs is also documented in I Escaped a Cult. What is really amazing is how followers of cult leaders are so loyal and quick to come to the defense of the cult leaders. They can be defiantly dedicated to blindly defend the cult leaders with irrational excuses. For those watching Prophet’s Prey, this is underscored by the cinematographer’s camera operator taking video from a moving vehicle, filming people on side of the street: Women and children gave a middle single-finger salute.

Closer to home, Yisrayl Hawkins, leader of the House of Yahweh cult has much the same profile as Warren Jeffs:  performing polygamous weddings and forcing children – some as young as 11 – to work jobs at his 44-acre compound. Make no mistake: Yisrayl Hawkins is directly from Armstrongism, having split from the Worldwide Church of God in 1980. The House of Yahweh keeps the Feast of Tabernacles. The above video on YouTube shows that Dr. Phil exposes the House of Yahweh as a fraud. People comment on how his prophecies fail and he keeps making changes to his prophecies as they fail. He cries continually how he needs more money, but he’s very wealthy. Here again, the members of his cult vociferously defend and make excuses for Hawkins. The excerpt on Dr. Phil demonstrates that Hawkins can’t pronounce ‘nuclear’ correctly:

Rick Ross calls the House of Yahweh a ‘destructive cult’ and that there is no accountability. Hawkin’s followers live in poverty in trailers while he has millions. What happens with the mind control is that the other members of the group installs a sense of identity, completely isolating an individual so all ‘truth’ comes only from the group. At the same time, Hawkins claims he is being unfairly persecuted — and the loyal members support him in this allegation.

Ron and Laura Weinland -- the two witnesses of the Church of God - Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG)
Ron and Laura Weinland — the two witnesses of the Church of God – Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG)

For persecution, Ronald Weinland of the Church of God — Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG); in his Site Bio, there is this entry:

As with so many whom God has called as prophets and apostles, most all have been imprisoned and/or killed by the governments of this world. Although some history has different accounts, it is believed that all the original disciples who became God’s apostles, including Paul, were all imprisoned and killed, except for John. John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos by the Roman government, and it is there that he was given the Book of Revelation to write.

In like manner, and as his counterpart, Ronald Weinland was falsely imprisoned by the government of the United States for evading to pay taxes.

This does not reflect reality. Two jurors at the Weinland trial have testified that it was not persecution, it was prosecution. The evidence is clear. The man isn’t just a lying false prophet, he’s also a convicted felon currently serving his prison term. Nevertheless, PKG members continue to support Weinland and make excuses for him — displaying their loyalty to him.

In fact, this pattern of loyalty is exhibited across the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia, with profligate leaders with bad behavior being defended by their supporters, members of the cult sects.

Why do cultists exhibit such loyalty in the face of facts debunking their beliefs and exposing their leaders?

When Prophecy FailsWhen Prophecy Fails offers the following:

 Dissonance and consonance are relations among cognitions — that is, among opinions, beliefs, knowledge of the environment, and knowledge of one’s own actions and feelings. Two opinions, or beliefs, or items of knowledge are dissonant with one another if they do not fit together — that is, if they are inconsistent, or if considering only the particular two items, one does not follow from the other. For example, a cigarette smoker who believes that smoking is bad for his health has an opinion that is dissonant with the knowledge that he is continuing to smoke. He may have many other opinions, beliefs, or items of knowledge that are consonant with continuing to smoke but the dissonance nevertheless exists too.

Dissonance produces discomfort and, correspondingly, there will arise pressures to reduce or eliminate the dissonance. Attempts to reduce dissonance represent the observable manifestations that dissonance exists. Such attempts may take any or all three forms. The person may try to change one or more of the beliefs, opinions, or behaviors involved in the dissonance; to acquire new information or beliefs that will increase the existing consonance and thus cause the total dissonance to be reduced; or to forget or reduce the importance of those cognitions that are in a dissonant relationship.

The Armstrongists all know that Deuteronomy 18 says that the false prophet shall be put to death. They know the Scripture in Revelation 22 that says that liars will not inherit the Kingdom of God… and yet, they observe their cult leader lying and being a false prophet — and still they show loyalty by supporting him and ignoring what they know to be true: The man is a fraud. They have to. If they don’t, they will have to admit they are wrong and to do so would cause great pain.

Warren Jeffs was shown in a video where he said, “I am a liar. I am not a prophet.” Those are hard facts. The FLDS members simply ignore his statements as some sort of test. He had rousted his followers in his compound at 6 A.M. to stand in a field because he told them that they were to be taken up. They stood for 12 hours. At 6 P.M. he told them that they weren’t taken up because it was their fault for not being righteous enough. Cult leaders can play all sorts of games to give their membership premade excuses they can use to salve their cognitive dissonance.

We don’t have to pursue the cognitive dissonance generated within the membership following Roderick Meredith, David Pack, Gerald Flurry, Robert Thiel and the whole host of others because they are all well known false prophets and liars. The real problem is loyalty.

It is time to abandon loyalty to those who are cult leaders — they are not worthy of our time and attention.

Only when inappropriate loyalty is abandoned can sanity begin.

When Prophecy Fails

When Prophecy FailsWhen Prophecy Fails is a study of what happens to individuals when their belief system has been shown to be in error (disconfirmed).

A review by William E. Adams at Amazon.com says:

This work first saw print in 1956. It is the story of a UFO cult in a large city in the Midwest…how it developed, how the leaders recruited followers, how predictions about the coming end of the world started flowing from the psychic members who allegedly channeled messages from the spacemen/pilots. The cult members were told they would be saved, picked up by saucers on an appointed date. The members quit jobs, sold possessions, and gathered, only to be disappointed. Did they all quit in a huff? No way. The first failure only made them more determined they were right, more anxious to be ready for the next announced departure date. Then a second failure. A few members fell away, a few suffered doubts, a few challenged for leadership themselves. The point of this book is that it takes “three disconfirmations” to kill a movement of true believers, and even then, some still hang on to the discredited “theology” by grasping at excuses. I found this book by accident about 30 years ago, and have read it at least four times. I find it fascinating. In the 1970’s I knew two women in Albuquerque who were amateur psychics. They started bringing forth “space brethren messages” and eventually, although they failed to attract a following, they went up into the nearby mountains one night sure they would be lifted off before the coming unspecified disaster. They waited, but no ship appeared. I think people inclined toward UFO beliefs haven’t changed much since this book was published. The basic data shown in this study can apply to religious or political groups as well. I am sorry it is out of print, but if you have an interest in this field, get a used copy…the prices are reasonable and the book will not disappoint!

Support for the study was obtained through the Laboratory for Research in Social Relations of the University of Minnesota and help received through a grant-in-aid from the Ford Foundation to one of the authors. The study is to answer the how and why people take on new fervor when they have contradictory evidence which they should not be able to avoid. There are five conditions under which the authors would expect to observe the increased fervor:

  1. A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he behaves.
  2. The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it; that is, for the sake of his belief, he must have taken some important action that is difficult to undo. In general, the more important such actions are, and the more difficult they are to undo, the greater is the individual’s commitment to the belief.
  3. The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.
  4. Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.

The first two of these conditions specify the circumstances that will make the belief resistant to change. The third and fourth conditions together, on the other hand, point to factors that would exert powerful pressure on a believer to discard his belief. It is, of course, possible that an individual, even though deeply convinced of a belief, may discard it in the face of unequivocal disconfirmation. We must, therefore, state a fifth condition specifying the circumstances under which the belief will be discarded and those under which it will be maintained with new fervor.

  1. The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of dis-confirming evidence we have specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, we would expect the belief to be maintained and the believers to attempt to proselyte or to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.

Luckily, the authors found a group they could observe during the study. A woman of a very religious persuasion began writing messages she just ‘knew’ was from a contact in outer space. This ‘source’ warned her to tell the world that there was going to be a great flood to purge the world.

Licensed from Adobe Photo Stock; replication of this picture is in violation of copyright laws.
Licensed from Adobe Photo Stock; replication of this picture is a violation of copyright laws.

Along the way, she was told that those within the inner circle of her group would be rescued by flying saucers.

Licensed from Adobe Photo Stock; replication of this picture is in violation of copyright laws.
Licensed from Adobe Photo Stock; replication of this picture is a violation of copyright laws.

And in the end, we all know how that turned out. They waited again and again to be picked up, but, alas, there was no saucer shuttle and no flood. Yet, many of the group continued to believe even after a number of disappointments, illustrating the workings of the 5 premises. The people really did hang on to their beliefs even after they had been demonstrated to be patently silly.

Of course, those of you currently in the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia know perfectly well there are no such things as flying saucers and the whole thing is patently silly on the face of it.

Apparently there are some Armstrongists who believe in flying saucers.
Apparently there are some Armstrongists who believe in flying saucers.

 Oops!

Just in case you Armstrongists get off the hook because you don’t believe in flying saucers, think again! The authors of When Prophecy Fails spend over seven pages of the first chapter on William Miller! The CoHAM should be getting mighty nervous. After all, those of us blogging to refute Armstrongism have shown that the Worldwide Church of God and its successors are cults. We’ve debunked British Israelism and shown up the same sort of ‘prophecies’ ‘disconfirmed’ by the book. There are no excuses. You Armstrongists are doing exactly what the study predicts you would do. For example, consider the British Israelism Church of God: It has the gall to just make up excuses why DNA doesn’t disprove British Israelism. The problem is that Y-Chromosome DNA has been found to be stable over thousands of years and just doesn’t magically morph to some other haplogroup. Idiots.

 Then we need to consider Herbert Armstrong’s Prophetic Record:

Herbert Armstrong's Prophetic RecordMajor fail. Again and again. And yet, people keep believing and making up excuses, just like the study says. If you really want to be embarrassed by what you believed, re-read 1975 in Prophecy:

1975 in Prophecy Color VersionHerbert Armstrong made some pretty bold prophecies. They simply didn’t come to pass. Did you make excuses for the failure in 1975 when the disconfirmation was too intense to ignore?

Ron and Laura Weinland -- the two witnesses of the Church of God - Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG)
Ron and Laura Weinland — the two witnesses of the Church of God – Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG)

 If there is any group that illustrates the truth of When Prophecy Fails, it is the PKG. Ron and Laura Weinland — the two witnesses of the Church of God – Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG) — have conned the PKG to continue giving them money even after their major prophecies failed… again… and again. What’s worse, Ronald Weinland is currently serving his sentence for felony Income Tax evasion, but the PKG membership sticks with him and continues to make excuses.

Others, such as David Pack continue to exhibit hoof in mouth disease — Dave prophesied a specific date that three major leaders in the other churches of God would die and members of all the ACoGs would come flocking to him. That was years ago and still… nothing.

 Now it is true that the Armstrongist Churches of God have something that little group in the Midwest in the 1950s didn’t have. It would have been so much better after the flying saucers failed to show and take them away from the flood that didn’t happen if they had some way to find out how the various members of their group fared after The Great Disappointment. They should have had the benefit of some sort of periodic newspaper which had stories and articles about the group and the individual members. They could keep up much better, even if the editor didn’t particularly believe in the tenets of the group and held the ‘floodists’ and ‘farmer UFOlogists’ in contempt. He could still publish something called The Journal. Maybe out of some town like say, Big Sandy. What’s important is not what the group believes — what’s really important is to keep the social group together in its completely delusional dysfunctional existence.

It’s called journalism.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Jeffery’s Story

From ronaldweinland.info blog.

Hats off to Mike for his diligence and persistent work exposing this religious charlatan, Ron Weinland.


 

prophet_who_couldnt

…..with a guest post written by Jeffery, a former PKG elder over the Florida area.  Jeffery has participated in the comment section on this blog since late last year.  His resignation email was republished here

Here is Jeffery’s story:

First, I would like to take this moment to thank Mike for this opportunity to present my experience with the notorious Ronald Weinland and “his” church known as CoG-PKG. I also want to thank Mike for his website and all the information he has incorporated into his blog which was a great benefit to me in making my decision to leave CoG-PKG.

I have a history with the Worldwide Church of God that began in 1973. I was a devoted member up to the moment when WCG changed the doctrine of keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days. The year was 1994. It was not until 2001 that I had a growing desire to find the church that I once knew. Of course, this was all done through the Internet. However, I did not make a choice until 2007. My first encounter was with the Restored Church of God led by David Pack. This lasted only a few months. I rejected this church because I found it to be too demanding on one’s life. This frustrated me so I continue my search on the Internet.

I came across Ronald Weinland’s website just after my experience with David Pack.  At first, I was not impressed with Ron’s website. I just wrote it off as being one of those nutty doomsday preachers, not realizing I was correct in my assumption. But eventually I decided to read both of his books.

You have to understand that I was desperate and looking for anything that resembled Mr. Armstrong’s teachings. Because of this desire to be a part of the church again, there was enough of what I recognized of Mr. Armstrong’s teachings that led me to CoG-PKG. I was then hooked and proceeded to become more involved.

Eventually I was able to attend with the Florida group. There were many problems with this group. Such as excessive drinking on the Sabbath and an elder who was a hard core controlling individual and encouraged the excessive drinking as a means to control the younger members who knew no better. I took issue with this and confronted Ron and Johnny about this matter. The next thing I knew I was ordained an elder and took over the affairs of the Florida group. Did this affect me? Yes it did! I become enthralled with the idea of being an elder in God’s Church! To clarify, I always had the desire to be a minister and now, in my pride, I was one!! So, for a period of five years I ran the affairs of the Florida group. Also, I met and had several social engagements with Ron, Laura, Johnny and Myrtle in Florida and Ohio. They knew me and I knew them.

So what led to my departure from CoG-PKG?

Let me interject this first. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Structure and Behavior. The majority of my career has been in senior management in municipal government. What is the purpose of this information?

To begin, I started to take notice of the lack of qualified individuals in leadership positions. I am referring to individuals who were handpicked (favoritism) by Ron Weinland for leadership positions without having the qualifications or proper training for the position. It became obvious that Ron was the sole authority figure as he did not allow any ordained individuals to have any decisive authority regarding local matters without his prior approval.

That was the first red flag, in that, I had to question why was I an elder and for what purpose? Actually there was a purpose and that was to report to Ron of any bad behavior of a member — in other words, a tattletale! This went against the grain of all my education and experience in government along with my experience in church structure that I was accustomed to in Worldwide Church of God. I came to the conclusion that I was dealing with a micromanaging dictator! This did not set well with me to say the least. This was the beginning of my taking a different view of what CoG-PKG was all about.

However, let me say this: some may think that I was out of line because this was Ron Weinland’s church and I was overstepping my bounds. Not so. I understand government and I know how it functions. CoG-PKG, in my opinion, had all the trappings of a cult! This was the moment when the rose colored glasses hit the ground and shattered!!

But the real failure of Ron Weinland was his second failure of Christ’s return in 2012. I can remember clearly sitting on my patio wondering “why” this event did not happen! Well, to make a long story short, I gave it another year. However, the thrill was gone and I started looking deeper into all the doctrinal changes from what I learned in WCG that Ron claimed to have authority to change.

Let’s start with the proclaiming of being a prophet.  I need to interject here that the questioning of the claim of being a prophet started when I was looking up something in the OT that I came across the eighteenth chapter of Deuteronomy verses 20-22. Let me tell you this! Those verses were burned into my mind and ended the influence of Ron Weinland immediately! Do I think this was an intervention of God? Absolutely!! For me, it was the absolute end of CoG-PKG!! Also, I scrutinized this matter of claiming to be the two witnesses and I was appalled at myself for believing such heresy! At this point, I was done!

Another element in the decision to leave CoG-PKG was the court transcripts of Ron Weinland’s trial. The only two transcripts that I read were the government’s opening statement and the memorandum of sentencing and that was all it took!! Case closed!! It is over and done with!! However, I had a bigger problem to deal with and that was on how to make my exit.

My exit was very trying for me, in that, I knew the effect it would have on the Florida group and my wife Diane. This was very difficult for me to deal with and I knew I had to go. But, as fate would have it, my wife noticed that I no longer read the postings and was very inattentive during sermons and basically ignored everything about CoG-PKG. So, the day came when my wife sat down with me and asked me if I still believed Ron and Laura were who they claimed to be. My answer to her was NO! We had a very long discussion and I told her I would be resigning after Pentecost. Well, my wife did not agree with that and simply stated, “you need to go now”. I jumped at the opportunity and composed my resignation letter and emailed it out to Johnny without any hesitation!!  Do I think that this was God’s intervention again? Absolutely! I was freed to leave CoG-PKG with my wife’s blessings!! BAM, I was out and gone!!!!

In closing, I am sure some of you who knew me or of me are asking yourselves, why is Jeffery posting at this site? This is a fair question to ask. I will tell you this, I strongly believe I am to do this for the reason that a voice must be heard from a source that is credible to some members of CoG-PKG. Is there an element of anger from me? Yes there is, to a point. I speak for myself and from my experience, the Weinlands are charlatans and are heartless to the highest degree! As I see myself, it is my duty to speak out against them and I will do so! Why? Because if the voices are silent then they (Weinlands) will continue in their deceitful activities destroying spiritual lives and marriages for their own selfish gains unchecked!


If you care to comment on this development, go HERE.