There was an article (pg-3) in the latest Journal titled ‘United Pilgrim Crusade based on old WCG’. The author of this article wrote
The episode, titled “Charlatan,” starring Ed Asner, who plays newspaperman Lou Grant, deals with a fundamentalist Christian ministry based in Rosemead, Calif., noted for its beautifully landscaped campus and extensive expensive art collection, as well as a grand auditorium, among other things. I won’t overly delve into the plot but will point out interesting parallels that indicate where the episode’s writers may have gotten their inspiration: headlines in L.A.-area newspapers of the time.
King Herbert Marries.
After the king’s first wife died, he thought of himself and his beastly urges, saying to himself: ‘I am in need of a queen for my urges are many and my need are unfulfilled’. One day while walking among his sheep, the king spotted a women whom caused desire in his loins. And the king courted the women and the women the king, for he had riches and she had none. The future queen accompanied the king on many trips to different lands. One morning, the king found all that he had wished for came to pass. The king began to pave the way for the people to accept his impending marriage. He began relating how God allowed the first queen to die, because she could not have kept up such a grueling pace, could not have remained a companion and wife to him in this new phase of his kingship. He took the women half his age in marriage, and the pretty became the second queen who would sit with him at many banquets in other lands.
Wealth of a Nation.
Over time the king and all the kingdoms leaders demanded supreme respect, because they had the most gold and silver. As long as their empirical selves and power base was not shaken, the king could do as he pleased. While the governors of the land did what they wanted and ripped off everyone, the king kept the people happy with wonderful scenarios of a coming world kingdom. Day after day he served up to the people a dose of mush, brainwashing the people into thinking that the land of milk and honey was soon to materialize.
The king thought that the people would continue to fear him and that they would never break the laws of the land, and thus the civil and ruling authorities would be safe from any rebellion or coup and could continue their criminal activities against the people. It was the perfect setup. And for this, the governors were allowed any gold or silver that they could shake from the general masses of people in the name of God and king. Both the governors and the king lived happily together, as each needed the other. For the king had a legislative board to pass laws that suited his purpose and had those who were willing to crackdown and brutally enforce such legislation at the point of a sword. As wealth is an instrument of power, force is the instrument of policy.
Disenchantment in the Kingdom.
And it came to pass that many of the people became more and more disenchanted with the lifestyles of those who ruled over them. They came to see the hypocrisy of the king and that of his henchmen. The king could now no longer placate the mesmerized masses that formerly rocked together with arms raised and eyes closed in a hypnotic stupor within the court of the king! The lavish quarters of the king, expensive chariots, luxurious homes, costly clothes, and the finest cuisine caused the people to grumble. For the people lived in squalor and drove chariots that would lose their wheels, their clothes tattered and worn, and their food was of the lowest quality. The king had even forbidden the use of shamans when illness was to strike a family member, yet the king was exempt when he himself was afflicted.
Divorce and Scandal.
After some time, the king became increasingly disenchanted with his marriage. The mighty ruler had grown disgusted with his queen, and it was his belief there had been a plot to remove him from his kingship and place him into a mental institution. But what could he do to save face?
The king had wanted it to appear that the queen was committing a lawless offense so he could invoke the scripture of old which said: “If the unbeliever depart, let him (her) depart….” As king he could change the laws of the land on a whimper. And change the law he did! The king disallowed the women of the kingdom the one luxury that they had to hold onto their self esteem. The king outlawed the painting of faces! An old custom that the king made legal in order to please the queen before they married!
So it came to pass that the court of the law was to grant the king and his queen a decree of divorce. The queen had disclosed to the court that the king had boasted of an incestuous relationship with his daughter from the first queen. The court not wishing the king to suffer, forbade the telling of the incest to the people of the kingdom. But not all wished to protect the king, for there was found within the kingdom a governor who spoke truth. A man who had moral direction.
Michael stood alone in the middle of the foyer of the Seattle Masonic Hall, people swirling around and past him without interacting with him, a solitary island in the midst of a sea of people. I noticed he was new and that apparently, no one was interested in getting to know him. It made me feel sad. I went over and introduced myself to him and began learning about him. Over the next few weeks and months, I had him over to dinner with my family several times and we even went and worked out together at the gym. I learned about this “good guy” and he had a lot of depth that most people would not expect.
Michael shared with me his story about how he entered into the Marines at the age of 30. It was a matter of honor that his mates referred to him as “the Old Man” because they respected the fact that he stayed in there with them even though they were mostly a decade younger than he. He wanted to be a Marine. His father was a Marine.
Before the Passover I had broken my toes and at the Passover Service it was Michael who was to wash my feet. He looked me in the eye and said, “I ain’t gonna mess with no broken toes,” whereupon he washed my one foot without the broken toes. I washed his feet.
It was during the Days of Unleavened Bread that he showed up in our apartment complex in the parking lot. My wife and I looked at each other in dismay at him on the heavy duty motorcycle he had ridden on. He was all excited about it. He was a sincere believer who was going to take his brother out in the woods and talk to him about his new faith. We didn’t say anything and hoped for the best.
It was shortly after this that we learned that he was on his way on his motorcycle to prepare to go out to the woods when he got clipped on his head with the mirror of a semi. It removed the top of his head and he ended up in a coma in the hospital. His face had not been affected so it looked like he was in a peaceful sleep.
Each day for nearly 40 days, I would go down to the hospital after work in the afternoon and would sit with him and talk to him because I had heard that those in a coma often heard those talking to him. I would describe the Spring afternoon and the sun shining. At the last, I was not able to get to the hospital and he had changed doctors. He died shortly afterward from the trauma. I believe it was about 40 days.
What I did not know is that Michael had shared our friendship with his family: His dad, mom, sisters and brothers. I was the only one from the church in to see him at the hospital. I had talked with his family when they were there and we got to know one another as best strangers could under such circumstances.
Because Michael was a Marine as was his father, he was given a funeral with full honors with Marines in dress uniforms giving the gun salute with rifles.
Afterward, I prepared an obituary for the Worldwide News. I learned that I had to give it to the minister. It was a paragraph and told part of his story of being in the Marine Corps.
It turns out that I gave it to Dennis Luker after services on the Sabbath. He told me that he had met the family and when they told him about me, he said to them, “Oh, he’s so quiet!”. This produced laughter from Michael’s family and they instantly knew that Dennis Luker knew neither Michael nor me. He was attempting to cash in on an opportunity by pretending to be someone and something he wasn’t and got caught at it.
Eventually, the obituary made it to the Worldwide News. It was a sentence long. It was a brief sentence at that. Michael _____ died…. That was about it. Name, no rank, no serial number. It was crisply impersonally efficient.
During my brief discussion with Dennis Luker, he did something odd: He stroked my stomach as if it were a bowling ball. It was weird and creepy. Very weird and creepy. Very very weird and creepy. I just stood there and allowed him to do it. After all, this was God’s Evangelist of the Worldwide Church of God — the very Work of God. Many of us had been conditioned to be subjected to authority without question — to accept what was truly unacceptable, because the Very God of the Universe would support them even if they were wrong.
I vaguely felt as if I had been raped.
The important thing here is for the alpha male Corporate Executive to assert his superior dominance over an underling to maintain Corporate Order and insure the proper image for the Corporate Executive in the hierarchy of the Corporate “monkey tree” where all the executives are striving to be “top banana”.
The Magic Lantern
Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers by Robert Jackall covers the ground occupied by the Armstrongist Worldwide Church of God and their Church Corporate spinoffs — not specifically, but in practice, since all the participants follow the same thinking and practices of those in the Corporate 200. Chapter 7, The Magic Lantern, covers the aspects of image creation for the purposes of public relations:
The need for symbolic dexterity, particularly the ability to fashion, quickly and readily, appropriate legitimations for what must be done, intensifies as one ascends the corporate ladder. Since the success of large commercial bureaucracies depends to a great extent on the goodwill of the consuming public, ambitious managers recognize that great organizational premiums are placed on the ability to explain expedient action convincingly. Public opinion, of course, constitutes one of the only effective checks on the bureaucratic impulse to translate all moral issues into practical concerns. Managers not only face the highly specific and usually ideological standpoints of one or another “special-interest” group but, even more fearsome, the vague, ill-formed diffuse, highly volatile, and often irrational public opinion that is both the target of special-interest groups and the lifeblood of the news media. Those imbued with the bureaucratic ethos thus make every effort to mold public opinion to allow the continued uninterrupted operation of business. Moreover, since public opinion inevitably affects to some extent managers’ own conceptions of their work and of themselves, public goodwill, even that which managers themselves create, becomes an important part of managers’ own valued self-images. In this sense, both moral issues and social identities become issues of public relations.
Dennis Luker had been in the Corporate World before his induction into the Church Corporate and had obviously learned the lesson of being a triumph of image over substance. An examination of his Master’s Thesis yielded a window into this world, confined by the strictures of the lessons of being a Regional Pastor: It was not anything like the Master’s Thesis next to it on the shelf, Dr. C. Paul Meredith’s Satan’s Great Deception, which could be described as having intense spiritual content, but instead dealt with the purely physical aspects of deciding whether or not a visiting minister was to stay in the home of the Regional Pastor or at a motel nearby and making sure that the car was washed before sunset on Friday. People forget the mechanisms driving the engine of the Armstrongist Churches of God are the tactics of modern corporations, not the “Spirit led” assemblies of Christian ministers, disciples and apostles of the distant past: It’s business. Businesses are for the purpose of making a profit. To do this, the end justifies the means — the end being making profit, both in money and membership (used as a tool to sustain the ego of the narcissistic leader(s)).
This creates a new virtual world which is nowhere near the one the rank and file live in. Robert Jackall explains:
In fact, bureaucratic contexts typically bring together men and women who initially have little in common with each other except the impersonal frameworks of their organizations. Indeed, the enduring genius of the organization form is that it allows individuals to retain bewilderingly diverse private motives and meanings for action as long as they adhere publicly to agreed-upon rules. Even the personal relationships that men and women in bureaucracies do subsequently fashion together are, for the most part, governed by the explicit or implicit organizational rules, procedures, and protocol. As a result, bureaucratic work causes people to bracket, while at work, the moralities that they might hold outside the workplace or that they might adhere to privately and to follow instead of the prevailing morality of their organizations situation. As a former vice-president of a large firm says: “What is right in the corporation is not what is right in a man’s home or in his church. What is right in the corporation is what they guy above you wants from you. That’s what morality is in the corporation.”
This explains well why Roderick Meredith and Dennis Luker tolerated the behavior of Garner Ted Armstrong without saying one word or leaving: They were loyal to the corporation and their morality revolved around what Herbert Armstrong wanted from them. A good part of that was the image making part of the coverups to insure that the Corporation continued and prospered. In this world, what mattered was not the good of the members, but the good of those in the “middle management” and above, specified by rank. Dennis Luker would favor those in congregations who were wealthy — especially those were millionaires. His own children, in fact, married the children of a millionaire in his congregation. He could be close “friends” who could further his agenda, pursuing his career in the Armstrongist Churches of God along with the salary and the hoped for retirement it would bring. In fact, many have commented about his sermons over the years filled with his concerns about this very topic. Many times, those who were “different” or “lowly” may not have had such favor in his eyes, but he was able to maintain a calm demeanor which belied his true feelings, making it seem that he was personable and a concerned pastor.
Moral Mazes includes a comments from executives relevant to truth:
Everyone out there is constructing reality. We and our clients have perceptions too. Who is telling the truth? Is there anyone out there who has the time and inclination to sit down and truly evaluate the many situations.
That’s a good question, especially considering “The Present Truth” of many of the leaders of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong.
Truth? What is truth? I don’t know anyone in this business who talks about the “truth”.
That’s actually true: Perceptions are transformed so people believe they have the truth. Anyone who has seen the many “prognostications” of Herbert Armstrong and others should eventually come to the conclusion that they don’t have anything even close to what we could call “truth”. There is no reason to trust such people. They have proved their lack of integrity.
It should be noted that the chapter after The Magic Lantern is Invitations to Jeopardy.
In the end, we should all observe the aphorism of G’Kar in Babylon 5: “Let me pass on to you the one thing I’ve learned about this place. No one here is exactly what he appears.”
In fact, in the world of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong, nothing is exactly as it appears, including the smarmy image of those who portray a deeply caring persona.
Anyway, those who are wise will make it quite irrelevant by leaving the entirely dysfunctional environment where there is no real benefit to sacrifice resources and sanity to the Corporate Executive image makers conducting little more than a PR campaign for ego and money: It’s not worth it.
For those of you in the process of leaving the Cult of Herbert Armstrong, a piece of advice: Set boundaries.
Beware Ambassadors’ Bearing Gifts!
The letters below in colored print have been reproduced and added to this article.
Are you frustrated? Is your life in turmoil? Is your marriage a disaster? Are your finances in shambles? Are you turned off by the sham of popular religion? Are you nauseated by the phoniness that dominates today’s society? Are you seeking for answers? Are you now ready to get yourself involved in truly purposeful and worthwhile endeavor?
If your answer is, Yes, look out! You’re in dangerous territory. Your immediate decisions and actions could be extremely hazardous to your wealth, not to mention your future spiritual well-being
You are a prime candidate for suckerdom!
If you presently find yourself in the position described above (and don’t we all at one time or another in our lives?), you may possibly find yourself attracted to the television program that is presently at the top of the religious program charts: I refer to The World Tomorrow program.
Watch out! It could be a fatal attraction!
It is easy to see why this slick, well produced program would attract the attention of many people who are concerned about the present state of our nation, The World Tomorrow appears to offer solutions to the great questions of the day. If you call (toll free, of course) the sponsors or the program, the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) headquartered at Ambassador College, in Pasadena, California, they will graciously send you a free subscription to their monthly publication, The Plain Truth magazine. Upon request, they will also send you (“free” of course) vast collection of glossy publication on a multitude of religious and other topics, topics that will stimulate your mental processes and encourage you to seek the “answers” that are presently lacking in you life.
These “answers,” naturally, are only available from one source -”God’s one true church,” which conveniently happens to be the Worldwide Church of God.
Beware ‘Ambassadors’ bearing “free” gifts!
CO-WORKERS AND THE “GREAT COMMISSION”
Many recipients of this “free” material, impressed by its quality and apparent truthfulness, begin to feel guilty for not having paid for it.
They decide to “help out” by sending in a check.
By return they receive a letter of thanks addressing them as “co-worker’s in THE Great Work of God.” If they continue to contribute money, they receive lengthy “co-worker letters” extolling the alleged virtues of “the Work” and telling of the grandiose plans being implemented to “spread the gospel” still further afield.
With each passing “co-worker letter” it is heavily implied that the Great Creator God of Heaven and Earth has Personally led you into direct contact with His “one true church.” You should now “obviously” want to join the “select of the elect” (WCG), attend church services, and play your God ordained part in the fulfillment of the “great commission.” Obviously!
The ploy is subtle. It’s very attractive, It appeals to the ego. It seems to be logical and make sense, gives you a sense of “worth,” Who, after all, would be spiritually dumb enough to turn down the Creator’s direct and Personal invitation to become one of His “elect” and have “a part in His great end time Work”? Few indeed!
After all, who wishes to commit spiritual suicide?
AN ADDED BONUS
Stop! There’s more. As an added bonus, you are personally guaranteed that, in “the glorious and wonderful World Tomorrow,” you PERSONALLY will have a direct part in straightening out this sin sick world. Who could ask for anything more?
Heady stuff, this exclusivist religion!
Let’s face it! There is a great emptiness – a yawning void – in the hearts and lives of most people. This vacuum cries out to be filled!
But there is a problem! Most people have little interest in being free and independent. Such a prospect frightens them! Most have a burning desire to “belong,” to be part of the “in” crowd, to be where the “action” is. They want to hitch heir wagon to a “cause,” or to a religious or political guru – a leader who will at least lend a sense of purpose to their otherwise miserable existence. As a result, many are ripe to become “true believers” in a political or religious cause!
THE CHURCH WAS THEIR LIFE
Mr. Garnet Hill of Miami, Florida, was one such true believer. In the early 195O’s and nearing retirement, Garnet and his wife happened to stumble across The World Tomorrow radio program. They were impressed. It seemed to be what they were looking for. They responded, and were later baptized Into the Radio Church of God later to become the Worldwide Church of God).
From the beginning the Hills were totally identified with its alleged purposes and goals. The church was their life!
Like all “good” church members, the aging Garnet Hill and his wife gave at least ten percent of their meager income’ to Worldwide Church of God. Every third year they gave an additional ten percent to the church for the sustenance of the widows and others in dire need, In addition to this horrendous financial burden, the Hills (like all “good” church members) repeatedly gave sacrificially as instructed by their new guru, “God’s one true apostle,” Herbert W. Armstrong. He always said the money was “desperately needed” to do “God’s Work.”
SELLING HIS LAND
In 1970, Garnet Hill (then in his late seventies and with his wife ill with cancer) responded in his usual whole-hearted manner to yet another of Armstrong’s urgent pleas for more money to keep “the Work of God” moving ahead.
In additional to his home, Hill owned six plots of land in Hollywood, Florida, valued at $35,000. In his zeal to comply with Armstrong’s relentless demands, Hill decided to sell the land and give the lion’s share of the proceeds to “the Work.”
The sale of the six plots was left in the hands of Armstrong’s local representative, Brent Curtis, and his assistants. Later, Hill was told that the sale realized $30,000, or $5,000 less than the land’s assessed value. Of this, Hill gave $20,000 to “the work.” He asked for $10,000 for himself, so that he could meet any emergencies that might arise in his old age.
When, after a number of months, he had failed to receive a receipt for his generous donation Hill began to ask Curtis and Armstrong’s other agents in the Miami area for an explanation. Although his queries went unanswered, Hill was accused of being a trouble maker. He was told to “be patient.” He was also told he needed to “repent” of his “bad attitude.”
Hill was then ordered to “keep quiet” about the apparent theft of his $20,000. His reply was that it would be “a sin to cover up sin.”
FOLLOWING CHRIST’S ADMONITION
Four years later, Hill decided to follow Christ’s admonition in Matthew 18:15-17. On February 10, 1981. ins “personal” letter to Herbert W. Armstrong, he took his $20,000 problem to “headquarters” in Pasadena, California. Hill expected, in all good faith, that the problem would be immediately corrected.
On November 9, 1973, Bob G. Seelig of the accounting department at Pasadena “headquarters” had written Mr. Hill. Seelig stated that they had “checked all (their) donation records and other sources of information (and)… there seems to be no knowledge or record here of your donation.”
Three years and three months later, on February 14, 1977, in a letter from “the legal office at God’s work,” and signed by Benton Nesmith, Hill was informed that his funds had been somehow “mis-applied.” Nesmith went on to explain that “we recently succeeded, after a protracted effort, in obtaining $5,000.00 for the church. This represents a portion of the funds from the sale of your lots which were not sent to headquarters…”
[In the words of Neville Gilbert, a close friend of Hill, “the Pasadena crooks had apparently put the ‘heat’ to the Miami crooks, who had in turn come through with 25% of the stolen loot”].
This blatant admission of deceit and fraud was followed by a request that he (Hill) send the church the deeds to his remaining property. Also enclosed was information on how to bypass probate for savings accounts. The church obviously wanted all his savings when he died!
NO LONGER WELCOME
Late in 1981, Hill, now 87, in rapidly failing health and legally blind, received a phone call from Al Kersha, Armstrong’s new head man in Miami. Kersha was angry: “You are not welcome (at services). I am putting you out of the church for talking about it” (the theft). Hill later told friends that Kersha then slammed down the phone with such violence that it hurt his (Hill’s) ear.
Garnet Hill was devastated by his excommunication from Worldwide Church of God. He now found himself alone, with no family or friends. His former “brethren in Christ’ were forbidden to speak with him, for fear of being contaminated by his “sin.”
A few lay members in the Miami Worldwide Church of God congregation tried to give Hill moral support, phone calls etc. but feared to do more for him lest they, too, be excommunicated on orders from the Pasadena Pope.
The Armstrong cult has a diabolical grip on its adherents
NO MERCY AND COMPASSION
During the months following his excommunication Hill, broken, disillusioned, emotionally destitute, and now legally blind, cried out for help. Only one Worldwide Church of God deacon had the courage of his spiritual convictions. He heard Garnet Hill’s cry, and helped him.
TREATED WITH CONTEMPT
It would, perhaps, be logical to assume that “God’s true church” would respond, as Jesus did on similar occasions, with mercy and compassion. Wrong again!
Mr. Hill’s personal letter to “God’s one true apostle,” Herbert W. Armstrong, protesting his excommunication was treated with the same contempt that has consistently characterized the cult that has become known an ‘The Worldly Church of God.”
February 10, 1981
Dear Mr. Armstrong:
I was put out of the Church for TELLING THE TRUTH. I am 87 years old and can hardly see.
In 1970 I received your letter how bad the Church needed money. My wife
had cancer, and I didn’t have much cash. But I did own six lots so I gave
those to the church. The lots sold for $30,000. I got $10,000 and $20,000
was to go to the church.
I GOT NO RECEIPT. I ask [ed] Mr. Curtis minister at the time and he said
don’t worry about it. He kept telling me the same thing. AFTER A LONG
TIME I wrote Pasadena about the $20,000. They NEVER RECEIVED IT.
This is where my troubles started because I started asking what happened to the $20,000. I WAS TOLD TO KEEP QUIET and told don’t talk about it. You said it was a SIN TO COVER UP A SIN. I HAVE BEEN MISTREATED BECAUSE I WOULD NOT COVER UP.
Last Penticost [sic] Mrs. Witte a church member ask me about the problem. I told her I felt terrible about the COVER UP. She said I don’t believe a word you said. The next day Mr. Kersha the new local minister called on the phone and said ‘You ARE NOT WELCOME, I am putting you out of the church for going around telling people about it.’ I was standing by the wall. SHE CAME TO ME. MR. KERSHA WOULD NOT LET ME TELL HIM TRUTH. Mrs. Wittle sought me out I did not seek her.
My friends no longer call me. After Mr. Hill was disfellowshiped
Someone must have SPREAD EVIL ABOUT ME. I am not the one who had
done evil. Mr. Pearson a deacon, later promoted to elder has not liked me because I would not sell him my deceased wife’s rings for $700. After I had already had them appraised for $1850 at House of Diamonds of Miami. He got angry with me because I turned them into the church. Mr. Armstrong I ask you WHO DID THE WRONG? . . . WHY HAVE ALL THE MINISTERS TREATED ME LIKE I WAS THE THIEF? . . . . Mr. Armstrong I am getting along in years and am angry and LONELY since being put out of the Church and TREATED LIKE A THIEF.
I want to know if you approve of the way I have been treated? Please let me know. God knows the truth.
Mr. Hill’s “personal” letter to Armstrong was answered by Joseph Tkach, an Armstrong assistant, on April 9, 1981. Tkach fully approved of the cult’s mistreatment of Hill.
Dear Mr. Hill:
Your letter was forwarded to me by Mr. Hunsberger of the personal correspondence department. I have REVIEWED OUR FILES and received additional information regarding the background of your situation FROM OTHER PEOPLE IN OUR LEGAL DEPARTMENT AND MAIL PROCESSING CENTER. I feel I understand what happened.
Also, I have verified with Mr. Kersha the circumstances leading up to your being disfellowshipped. After all this review, my conclusion is that Mr. Kersha has performed this duty as God would have him to.
It is regrettable that the sale of your property was mishandled like it was, but you must come to realize that THE PEOPLE INVOLVED HAVE REPENTED of their wrong doing. When God forgives He forgets. YOU MUST LEARN TO DO THE SAME. Mr. Kersha has given you several warnings about talking against the ministry of the church. You shouldn’t have continued to harbor this ill will.
The action of being disfellowshipped is used to show you the gravity of your sin — unwillingness to forgive and forget. Upon PROPER REPENTANCE Mr. Kersha would be very happy to welcome you back to the church — with open arms. It’s my sincere hope that you will be able to return.
AWESOME HUMAN WRECKAGE
Shortly thereafter, 89-year-old Garnet Hill died. He was just one hideous example of the awesome human wreckage strewn in the wake of Herbert W. Armstrong in his diabolical lust for fame, fortune and raw power. There are tens of thousands more!
A few days prior to his death, Garnet Hill received his final letter from “God’s one true church.” No, the letter didn’t inquire about Mr. Hill’s health and spiritual well-being. No, it didn’t offer him spiritual or financial assistance. It asked if Worldwide Church of God was still named in his Will.
And the moral of this true story? Beware ‘Ambassadors’ bearing gifts. The life you save may be your own!
Mr. Hill’s humble home can be found here.
Herbert Armstrong can be seen as bad source code of particularly malicious aggressive religious malware, difficult to detect and even more difficult to remove.
On the False Prophet Ronald Weinland blog, an anonymous contributor commented:
I am ashamed for becoming caught up in this. I am very naive and trusting, and was really hoping for a better more just world, and excited to have a sound framework to live by. But that leaves people open for being taken advantage of. I have learned now to be yourself and trust your instincts no matter what anyone says, I just hope it is not too late to rebuild a life.
Those of us who have been infected with the Armstrongism malware understand and empathize with this perspective. We can heartily recommend Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias from Bay Tree Publishing as a recovery and guard against cult malware. It has the best in-depth coverage of the religious cult malware of any resource and can serve to inoculate unwary users from the nasty effects of religious malpractice hackers, such as Roderick Meredith, Dennis Luker, Jim Franks and others dedicated to spreading debilitating religious viruses and worms to the public.
The original source code for this religious malware stems from Herbert Armstrong, who used snippets of script from various religious hackers of previous decades and centuries. He was no Biblical coding expert, but he was able to cut and paste from various illicit sources like some novice teenager unqualified to produce viable products but plagiarized source in order to create havoc and chaos. Although, at first, he set upon his discoveries in the Portland Public Library, his repertoire, as we will see later, was built upon a foundation of another whose influence can be seen in his works and was expanded by the pseudo-intellectual, Dr. Herman Hoeh.
Some may wonder how the Source Code is built. It’s not that difficult to understand, even for the naive novice unfamiliar with the processes to create illegitimate applications destructive to their users. The basic process is to build on snippets that are created out of the imagination. Once someone creates the snippet, another comes along and quotes the first “creator”. Then the first creator quotes the second source, forming a double-bond of self-referential substantiation with no substance at all. This is scalable to a much larger community of sources.
John D. Keyser at Mysteries of the Bible website, in the article The Coronation Stone — Jeremiah in Ireland, debunks the whole idea of Jeremiah being in Ireland, ably assisted by Dr. Greg Doudna’s Showdown at Big Sandy: Youthful Creativity Confronts Bureaucratic Inertia At An Unconventional Bible College in East Texas. John Keyser debunks the myth that Jeremiah was in Ireland, establishing that the premise that he (in the company of his scribe Baruch) took King Zedekiah’s daughter to Ireland where she founded a line of Davidic kings that has continued on down to this day. It never happened. Herbert Armstrong wrote in The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy wrote:
Then, in 569 B.C. (date of Jeremiah’s transplanting), an elderly, white-haired patriarch, sometimes referred to as a “saint,” came to Ireland. With him was the princess daughter of an eastern king and a companion called “Simon Brach,” spelled in different histories as Breck, Berech, Brach, or Berach. The princess had a Hebrew name Tephi — a pet name — her full name being TEA-TEPHI.
Modern literature of those who recognize our national identity has confused this Tea-Tephi, a daughter of Zedekiah, with an earlier Tea, a daughter of Ith, who lived in the days of David.
This royal party included the son of the king of Ireland who had been in Jerusalem at the time of the siege. There he had become acquainted with Tea-Tephi. He married her shortly after 585 — when the city fell. Their young son, now about 12 years of age, accompanied them to Ireland. Besides the royal family, Jeremiah brought with them some remarkable things, including a harp, AN ARK, and a wonderful STONE CALLED “LIA-FAIL,” or “STONE OF DESTINY.”
….many kings in the history of Ireland, Scotland, and England have been coronated over this stone — including the present queen. The stone rests today in Westminster Abbey in London, and the coronation chair is built over and around it. A sign beside it labels it “Jacob’s pillar-stone” (Gen. 28:18).
The royal husband of the Hebrew princess Tea was given the TITLE HERREMON upon ascending the throne of his father. This Herremon has usually been confused with a much earlier Gede the Herremon in David’s day — who married his uncle Ith’s daughter Tea. The son of this later king Herremon and Hebrew princess continued on the throne of Ireland and THIS SAME DYNASTY CONTINUED UNBROKEN through all the kings of Ireland; was OVERTURNED and transplanted again in Scotland; again OVERTURNED and moved to London, England, where this same dynasty continues today in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II….
In view of the linking together of biblical history, prophecy, and Irish history, can anyone deny that this Hebrew princess was the daughter of King Zedekiah of Judah and therefore heir to the throne of David?
Well, yes we can!
It’s all nonsense.
Here’s the answer from John D. Keyser:
No References! In preparation for the writing of this article, and several others on the royal house of Britain, I searched out and read literally DOZENS of books written by British-Israelites in order to more accurately understand the BASIS for the Jeremiah/Tea-Tephi legend so eloquently penned by Herbert Armstrong. I also consulted primary and secondary sources on the Irish and Scottish annals.
To my surprise, I found that the British-Israelite books all REPEAT the same Tea-Tephi story (with slight variations), each aggressively claiming that the story is found in the ancient annals. In my research I have NOT FOUND a single British-Israelite book that actually gives a REFERENCE to WHERE in the Irish and Scottish annals the supporting material may be found! Armstrong’s booklet does not — nor does Joseph Allen’s earlier book on the subject.
As also discovered by Greg Doudna (former Ambassador College student, now with the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University), “they all seem to draw from previous British-Israel writings. They speak so confidently it sounds like there must be something in the annals to which they refer. The NAMES mentioned in the Tea-Tephi legend appear in the annals, true enough, but I have discovered they are TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSONS IN THE ANNALS than the British-Israel legend makes them out to be. The annals simply don’t say what the British-Israel literature, or the Worldwide Church of God, SAY they say. It is a LEGEND that someone somewhere within British-Israel circles began, stated it as fact, and it has been repeated as fact within British-Israel circles ever since, down to the present day in which the Worldwide Church of God repeats it to millions. It may make an interesting story, but IT IS COMPLETELY FABRICATED.” (“Afterword on British-Israelism”, p. 121).
The bottom line here is that one “expert” historian quotes another and that one quotes the first and a third one quotes the previous two and so on and so forth. It’s like an urban legend where you can never find the original source. Scratch that — it’s not like an urban legend — it is an urban legend. This is a #1 law for religious malware: If you don’t have the source, just make something up, then find someone else to quote you and then quote that as a legitimate source to make the whole thing legitimate. No dishonesty has been harmed in the making of the myth.
British Israelism is another example of this phenomenon. As nearly all Armstrongists know by this time, originally — and though there may have been a few others who threw around the idea previously — Richard Brothers was the primary source of British Israelism. Oh sure, there were predecessors as is told by The True and Noble Origins of the Anglo-Israel Message, but Richard Brothers was a focal point, with his first publication, released in 1794, The Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies & Times. The prologue had this to say:
First wrote under the direction of the LORD GOD & published by His Sacred Command, it being the first sign of Warning for the Benefit of all Nations; Containing with other great and remarkable things not revealed to any other Person on Earth, the Restoration of the Hebrews to Jerusalem by the year 1798 under their revealed Prince and Prophet. London, Printed in the year of Christ, 1794.
He only had 4 years to wait before his prophecy failed. The rest of us have had to wait a lot longer.
It should be noted that Richard Brothers, in connection with his odd ideas of British Israelism, was committed to an insane asylum as being a danger to himself and others. Thus it is that British Israelism was popularized by a kook madman.
It took John Harden Allen with his Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright published in 1902 to truly give Herbert Armstrong the fodder he needed as he preached the True Gospel as The End Time Apostle and Great False Prophet, the source code basis for the Key to Prophecy. Low and behold, major portions of it were plagiarized for The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, all of which has the curious propensity to prompt us to recall the riddle posed by Professor Maximillian Arturo, played by John Rhys-Davies, in the science fiction television show, Sliders:
Why doesn’t the sun set on the British Empire?
Because God can’t trust the British in the dark!
British Israelism was the source code to set the stage for the angst ridden prophecies of hyperbole, aptly described in the November-December 2012 Church of God Seventh Day Bible Advocate article, It’s Doomsday Again!
Written into the folk memory of all peoples is the concept of an “end”. It may be a subconscious memory of the worldwide destruction of the great Flood. But disasters do happen and failed predictions of such an end abound.
The article notes:
Such fearsome factors can be found in Scripture and are highlighted by most who write about prophecy, often with a barely suppressed sense of glee!
As it turns out, fear of gloom and doom are big business:
Many prophecy buffs are excited by the thought of the end.
If you are still wondering about the source code which produced Herbert Armstrong, one might consider “Questions and Answers” in the latest Bible Advocate:
Andrew N. Dugger became editor of the Bible Advocate magazine in 1914 and a popular president of the General Conference (1921-27; 29-30). He injected futurism into the Church’s prophetic interpretation, and championed futurist doctrine amid the controversy that led to the 1933 division between Stanberry and Salem.
In Summary, Elder Dugger believed 1) the two-horned beast would be a revival Roman Church, enforcing its mark of Sunday keeping on Sabbath observers; 2) the Church of God’s main task was to give the third angel’s message, warning believers against the mark of the beast; 3) the seven plagues were literal and future judgments upon those who received the mark; 4) the giving of the third angel’s message and the outpouring of the plagues would lead to Christ’s return; and 5) Christ’s descent from heaven to receive His kingdom would occur in the midst of Armageddon.
Elder Dugger’s argument for the imminent fulfillment of his end-time prophecies in the 1920s, 30s and 40s led the Church to become disinterested in his failed version of them. For more than a generation, the Church struggled to recapture its true mission to preach salvation in Christ and His grace alone, rather than serve as a prognosticator of events.
The Church’s return to its heritage of preaching Christ and His advent without enigmatic add-ons was reflected in its doctrinal revisions of 1994 and 2006, which dropped the futurist predictions and suppositions that prevailed for much of the past century.
— Elder Robert Coulter
It is difficult to imagine that the fiery preachments of Andrew N. Dugger did not impress the impressionable Herbert Armstrong as he began on his quest for ministerial truth. The extremism of futurist ideas of Andrew Dugger impressed on Armstrong’s impressionable young mind was enough to provide the source code upon which to build the religious malware foundation of the heretical extreme cult religion. Apparently, the Church of God Seventh Day eventually outgrew it, while Armstrongists remained trapped in the eternal childishness of seeking the thrills of thinking they have special knowledge of what comes next. This foolishness has spun off over 700 versions of the original malware, just waiting to infect the uninoculated unsuspecting innocent.
Protect yourself: Prevent damage by avoiding downloading any more malware from the Internet pages of the UCG, LCG, CoGWA and the whole host of religious malware servers.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t allow them to charge for the service.