The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

Email To The Editor
(Page 59)

(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)


2/1/02

I have just released a new educational volume about cults. It is strongly endorsed by leading experts in the field and is a very accessible and easy to use resource for families, educators, former cult members and those concerned.

See http://www.culteducation.com/edvolumes.html

Please also see an analysis of Osama bin Laden as a cult leader and "al Qaeda" as a destructive cult group. This analysis includes a review of the group's "brainwashing" techniques utilizing known examples such as the suicide martyrs who destroyed the World Trade Center and the "American Taliban" John Walker.

See http://www.culteducation.com/binladen.html

Rick Ross


I suppose I should begin by admitting I belong to the WWCG "Lost Generation" fraternity...(1963-1995), but after finally freeing myself from the chains, I've not once taken a backward glance at the dysfunctional organization until now.

I stumbled upon your website while putting the finishing touches on a fictional novel I've been working on for many years now, and some of the information/posts contained on your page revealed something very extraordinary to me.

A significant portion of my book deals with the trials and travails of a non-Nazi German family attempting to weather the rise of Adolph Hitler, while trying desperately to raise a family during the turbulent 20's, 30's, and 40's.

Although it is fiction, I've tried to infuse enough history into the plot to perhaps make it more interesting to a larger cross section of readers.

Early on, I began to notice it was surprisingly easy for me to write very descriptively about Adolph Hitler the man, the SS, SD, Hitler Youth, and other Nazi supported organizations/groups inside Germany at the time.

The much more difficult part for me was the "real" history.

At any rate, it never really crossed my mind until now that perhaps the reason writing about ultra-facist people and groups was so easy for me, is because I actually lived it for more than three decades.

I've always had an aversion to people who get too melodramatic about various events in their past, or attempt to place the blame for what they either are or...are not today...on their past.

Nevertheless, having been mentally...and at times even physically controlled by, "Mind-numbed parents, Super-Deacons, Elders, and Pastors" during my formative years...I truly believe its not too much of a stretch to say I understand what it must have been like to be an average citizen in Germany, during the Nazi era.

In a sense, the leaders of the WWCG were even more cruel than the Nazi
hierarchy, because although the SS could certainly place you up against a wall and shoot you for not towing the party line, they had no power to cast you into a spiritually extinguishing, "Lake of Fire".

In conclusion, although the above may suggest otherwise, I have nothing but love and admiration for many of my family and friends still trapped in various splinter groups inside the once great "Armstrong Empire".

I can only hope and pray that they to can someday free themselves, and realize that the "true" church of God resides within each of us...and not with just one more flesh and bone replica of Herbert W. Armstrong.


 Hi Editor,

Your recent e-mail from Jonathon spurred me to write to you. Jonathon mentioned some fantasy books, where gods with powers once roamed the earth but gradually spent less time with people, then no time, and gradually people stopped believing in them. Jonathon raises an interesting topic: what did the ancient peoples who wrote mythology (Greek, Hebrew (the Bible), Egyptian, Indian you name it) really experience? Did they just make it all up? I don't think fantasy books have the answer, but there was a professor from Princeton University who came up with a reasonable explanation.

I believe a reasonable theory for what happened is presented by Julian Jaynes in his book The Origin of Conscientiousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. A whole Julian Jaynes society has sprung up since this writing, with both Julian and others writing essays, doing further research, etc. Although Julian's theory probably doesn't have every detail explained (what theory does?), I believe he provides a reasonable explanation for the origins of religious thought. I will try to briefly summarize the theory, and I hope to get this mostly right.

Jaynes theorizes that the human mind did not always work the way it does today. He presents as evidence early writings, archeological evidence, history and current-day experience with certain mentally deficient persons and with aboriginal societies. The evidence presented is quite convincing. The basic premise is that, prior to around 1000 BC, the human mind did not operate consciously as it does today, nor did it operate on animal instinct, but operated in an in-between stage known as the bicameral mind. The bicameral mind was not a conscious state, however people could organize themselves, divide responsibilities, etc. Reading and writing started with the mind in this state, but Jaynes believes reading and writing are one factor that contributed to the breakdown of the bicameral mind and the ascendancy of the conscious mind.

To over simplify, in the bicameral mind the two hemispheres of the brain operated independently. One hemisphere would make decisions and the other would implement them. The decision-making hemisphere would communicate with the other hemisphere via hallucinations: visual, verbal or both. The operating hemisphere would interpret these messages as communications from a god, and would feel compelled to carry them out. Often people would hallucinate the tribal leader giving them commands, perhaps echoing commands that he had actually given at a previous time. Only the leader would hear from the true god. Or, they might think their hallucination is from Yahweh, and assume it is the same Yahweh as the one commanding the tribal leader. Subordinates' minds would conform their hallucinations to the leader's commands, thus organization was possible.

In early history (read Abraham for example), every person communicated with the "gods". As reading and writing grew, there was less need to look to the gods for direction for every little decision. This caused the human mind to gradually move away from the bicameral model and toward making conscious decisions on its own. A person could just read the instructions to do something, rather than wait for a command from a "god" to tell him what to do.

The change did not affect everyone at once. Some "prophets" still received communications from the gods, while others wondered why their god was "forsaking them" as the hallucinations became less frequent. Some heard stories about how their fathers had spoken with the gods, but they themselves did not hear from any gods. This period, around 1200-800 BC, shows increasingly fewer people having contact with the gods. It's recorded with great concern in their histories. The people reacted by turning increasingly to prophets, oracles, idols etc. in an effort to regain the contact they and their ancestors once had. As time went on, the prophets and oracles also received fewer and fewer visions generation by generation, so in order to preserve their position of status they started to fake it, and make it up as they go.

Since those with conscious minds had a big advantage over those with bicameral minds, over a few hundred years the "conscious" group reproduced more, won wars, survived better etc. and the bicameral people became fewer and fewer. Also, a bicameral-minded person who was in among conscious persons could learn to think consciously to some extent, and certainly his children would grow up learning to think consciously. Eventually, everyone in civilized areas began to think consciously. Jaynes even traces this to the histories of various societies around the globe, including middle eastern, European, Chinese etc., pointing out the eras in history where the changeover is apparent. Further, he points to certain aborigine societies where bicameral minds still prevailed into the modern area. Once these societies had contact from western societies, they learned conscious thinking in a generation or two.

This theory helped explain a lot to me. I often wondered why "god" spoke so much to ancient people and then stopped. It couldn't just all be made-up stories, could it? Jaynes' theory shows a way that something people interpreted as gods really did happen, but of course did not involve real gods with real powers.

Well, I just though I'd share this with you. I'm sure my summary is not 100% accurate but I did my best. The book is fascinating, I recommended. There's a Julian Jaynes website and a Julian Jaynes society. Julian himself died a few years back, but his supporters carry on.


 I'd just like to congratulate you on your beautifully honest, not to mention, brilliant, website. I've only read the FAQs to date, but I fully intend to come back at a later date when I have time to read the entire site. I'm thrilled to learn that some else in this world can recognize the multitude of blatant contradictions within the Christian religion. You're my hero...Kudos to you for not being afraid to make your opinion and experiences known.

Sincerely, Jessica


Dear Sir
I just read your article on the Stake Thru The Heart of the Bible. It was excellent. I wanted to interject a story in the bible that always horrified me....the story of Jephthah. He was a leader of the Israelite fighting forces...and when they were loosing a battle to these "barbarians." Jephthah got on his knees to "god" and made what seemed to me to be a pact with the devil. If "god" let his own people win the battle (!?!) then he would sacrifice the first thing that came out to meet him when he went home!!! Ok so this "god" I guess thought this was a good deal, he let them win and then made this man sacrifice his daughter to him. What kind of "god" was that? If the devil did it everyone would say "see how EVIL the devil is." But since it was "god" it was fine and dandy. I wondered why, if these were gods people, why did he have to be bribed to let them win the battle? Didn't he want them to win in the first place?? And if he was loving and good, why didn't he see to it that something other than the mans daughter came out the door first???? He could have tripped her and had the family cat run out the door, but he didn't. But this story is like a twilight zone episode of someone whose made a pact with the devil. And the man who was carrying the ark of the covenant. when it was going to fall over, the man put out his hand to steady it to keep it from falling...god struck him dead on the spot. I say HUH? Wouldn't that be anyone's knee jerk reaction? If the ark containing the "god of all the universe" was about to fall to the ground and you were standing there wouldn't you instinctively put out your hand to keep your god from being thrown to the ground? And yet this god struck the man dead on the spot. Go figure!
Thank you for letting me get that out....

Marlee


I just spent the better part of my work day perusing your site. When it doesn't make me want to cry, it makes me laugh out loud from the sheer ridiculousness of what I was once involved in.

I was born into a strong Armstrong fearing family, did all the Church and YOU activities, spent four years at that joke of higher learning, AC and, after graduating, decided that I had experienced about all the bullcrap anyone needs in several lifetimes and stopped attending. In retrospect, I feel lucky to be alive and as sane as I am.

However, it continually confounds me how many people are still involved and still defend that system. I feel so sorry for them. The ten years since I stopped attending and socializing with those who do, have been the happiest years of my life. I have found the truth, and it has set me free. And it's a wonderful feeling.

Sincerely,

Jeremy


I'm wondering if the "Tangled Web" book is still available?
If so, for how long? Where can it be obtained?

Chuck
REPLY:

 When I talked to Mrs. Robinson last month, she said she only had about 15 books left. Better get one soon. Check out tangledtable.htm for ordering info.

Editor 


Dear Editor:

Does the UCG require members to pay a tithe like Worldwide Church of God and if so what is the going percentage?

Thanks,

Kurt

REPLY:

Kurt,
I am not sure what their teaching is regarding tithing. I would suspect that they are still trying to get the three tithes since it has been proven to be "biblical" by armstrongism and I think they teach "armstrong lite."

Maybe some reader will write me with the answer.

Editor


 Hello!

I am glad you have this website, it has been informative.

I wanted to find out about the Worldwide Church of God, since I have seen things about it, like recently while doing a search on ebay for "church of God."

The church of God movement may have been hijacked by Herbert armstrong who wasn't even saved, but a man started it in 1889 (I think). His name was D. S. Warner.

He saw that the morning time church had no hierarchal structure, like denominations do in Protestantism, and that the real gospel was one of salvation ergo sainthood, deliverance from sin (not in rules either).

He saw that although the Protestant reformers had broken away from the false practices of the Roman Catholic Church (indulgences et al), that the reformers and those who followed had erred by adopting some or the same erroneous pratices of the RCC.

The vision of the church of God is that our government is in heaven. Christ is the head and only he has the membership list.

Luther used the tenet "sola scriptura," but in Protestantism people rely on the teachings of man, Calvin for instance, even when it conflicts with the Bible. For instance the teaching generally known as eternal security.

Preachers should get their messages from God, not from man or a denomination.

Another problem with denominationalism is that if a preacher gets greater light on a subject, he is not necessarially free to preach it the way he understands it. If a Methodist minister began preaching saintliness, he would be asked to refrain, or be put out. This makes a preacher have to choose between the truth, or his paycheck and the financial security of his family, so he doesn't have freedom.

The church of God has freedom...we fellowship with other churches with whom we are in agreement (at least mostly) through campmeetings and all day meetings.

I am sorry Herbert W. Armstrong made a wreck out of the church of God in your eyes, but God is still real...remember the Pharisees and the junk they did. Jesus went on about his business. They never could stop the work of God.

The concept of the church of God is unity, that Christians might come out of denominations, that we could all worship together.

One thing I want to point out is about this coming end times thing. Millenialism is not real.

Christ set up his Kingdom on the day of Pentecost (There be many standing here...)

The Book of Revelations is a symbolic book. It is impossible to understand without the Holy Spirit.

We are already in the Kingdom of God if we are saved, but we just cannot see it. When we die we will be in the Kingdom we are already in. Then we will be able to see it.

Christ arose to sit on the throne. When we pray, we boldly approach the throne. The sea of glass is the truth we stand on. There are no waves. It never changes. It is a miracle like Jesus walking on the water. It is always light there, because He is our light. The streets of gold symbolize following the counsel of God.

As far as the rock (Upon this rock...) A concordance will show that references to the rock mean Jesus, He is the rock.

I am sorry for all the things that happened to you and to all the others. I hope you will hope against hope and be able to put asaide all the bad memories like Corrie Ten Boom had to do after surviving the Holocaust, and losing her sister in the concentration camp.

I recommend any materials by the deceased preacher Emerson Wilson, which you can find out about from this site.

I can feel the pain you have experienced. What seems to make it worse is that there were scattered truths mixed in with the leaven. To have to break from all that must be heart wrenching. especially if you gave your all.

Kristin

REPLY:

 Kristen,

I don't want to be offensive but your blind faith in things that you have absolutely no proof at all of is offensive to me.

Just do one thing for me and for yourself: prove that your Jesus even existed. Do not use the bible unless you can prove first that it is error free and that it is the word of god. Don't quote Josephus to me because that is an obvious fake and all legitimate scholars admit it. Let me tell you before you waste too much time, there is no proof. You are basing your life on a book of fiction written and/or compiled by men who want to control your mind and your money.

This religion thing is really a sign of a serious mental defect. Religion is a drug that helps you cope with the absolutely provable fact that there is no god that cares one little shit about mankind. Until you wake up to that fact, you are living in a drug induced dream world. I refer you to my Acts of God page

YOU are not SAVED. There is no one to save you but yourself. Don't wait for god to save you; it won't happen. And enjoy your life because, according to all the evidence that can be proven, this is all you are going to get. Don't waste your life in a drug-induced stupor unless that is the best you can do.

Editor 


 To Whom It May Concern:

I know very little about your former cultic denomination, but your catharsis musings relating the incredible experiences inside the Worldwide Church of God denomination, were terribly sad, and sometimes amusingly stated. I agree with your premise that ministers who have been false shepherds, need to apologize and exhibit a spirit of humility and true repentance. I hope that time will pass quickly to heal your wounds. You have a right to be angry, very angry! I have been hurt many times myself by religious people. I have enjoyed my anger very much at times, but I will tell you that I can personally recommend that in my own personal experience, God has removed some of the most profound hatred any man could have.

Before becoming a minister, a fellow church member stole my wife and kids. I never wanted to admit that I hated him,(Christians are not supposed to hate), but I did hate him very much!! I loathed the man and wished him all the troubles a man could have. One day I was rehearsing a gospel song in my living room. In a prayerful moment, this is very hard to put into words, God showed me his love for Richard. I don't know how to describe it except to say that I experienced God's profound love for this man I hated. It was an experience beyond human explanation. I cried. In the twinkling of an eye I understood so much, and I knew that God was asking me to pray for Richard, and that God did not want me to be ruined by the poor choices that Dick had made. So I started to pray for Dick during walks at night. Dick had cancer and congestive heart failure, and was dying. Instead of continuing to enjoy the idea that he was dying, I began to feel bad for him, and prayed that he might find peace with God before he died. My only request to God was that he not die on my birthday. On December 4th, 1997, Richard Natzke, passed away in Oconto, Wisconsin. The next day was my birthday.

I had enjoyed hating the man that had stolen my wife and children. I had no motivation to change my attitude. Hardly had any time passed since my separation and divorce. At one point I had even told him that I regretted that I had not punched his lights out. So how am I or anyone else to understand my immediate and profound disintegration and removal of hatred? I will tell you that it occurred directly because of an intervention from Jesus Christ.

The scripture that you know so well states in Romans 1 that since the foundation of the world God has made himself known to man, so that men, (that's everybody including the ancient North American Indians and the Vikings, and the Chinese, etc..), are without excuse. To what level of understanding God will require of the Indians for example, is God's decision. All I personally know is that God has made Himself profoundly known to me on many, many occasions; in addition to that still small voice that speaks daily to my mind when I am not too busy to listen. I am sure you can identify with your own experiences.

Well, consider me to be a Christian friend who cares about what you went through! I don't believe in debate. I believe in listening to a person's story. When it comes to faith, or the lack thereof, the main thing that should be related, is your own first hand experience. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for listening to mine! Should you want to share anymore of your story with me from time to time, I encourage you to do so! My thoughts will be with you!

Take care! Jeffrey

 REPLY:


Pastor Jeffrey,
YOU WROTE:
I knew that God was asking me to pray for Richard, and that God did not want me to be ruined by the poor choices that Dick had made. So I started to pray for Dick during walks at night. Dick had cancer and congestive heart failure, and was dying. Instead of continuing to enjoy the idea that he was dying, I began to feel bad for him, and prayed that he might find peace with God before he died. My only request to God was that he not die on my birthday. On December 4th, 1997, Richard passed away in Oconto, Wisconsin. The next day was my birthday.

REPLY:
Well, for all that praying, all it seems god was able to do was to make Richard die on one day out of the year that was not your birthday. 1 chance out of 365. If I could find any bet in the world that I could have 364 to 1 odds, I would bet on it. Now maybe if you wanted to have god do something special, you should have prayed that god would have him die ON your birthday.

YOU WROTE:
The scripture that you know so well states in Romans 1 that since the foundation of the world God has made himself known to man, so that men, (that's everybody including the ancient North American Indians and the Vikings, and the Chinese, etc..), are without excuse.

REPLY:
Well, at last, someone who can prove to me that there is a god that gives one little shit about mankind. Please do that for me. Give me some proof. You know, things that are facts. Things that can be PROVEN. If I am going to be without excuse, you have to prove this to me. Don't prove that there is a god. I accept that, maybe. Prove that that god cares about us. Do it in light of my Acts Of God page . Unless I see a god that cares about me, I don't care about him. So here is your chance to save a lost soul, Pastor Jeffrey. I'm here, ready and willing to believe; I just need some proof. Something for my brain so that it will accept this god. I figure this god wants me to use the one thing that I can attribute to this god giving me. This god would not want me to turn off my brain and just believe anything anyone tells me is "truth," right? This god would want me to believe he exists and cares about mankind because I have absolute proof and THEN I would be without excuse. Otherwise, I have excuse. So take away my excuses Oh Man That Speaketh For God.

YOU WROTE:
I will tell you that it occurred directly because of an intervention from Jesus Christ.
REPLY:
Since you can't even prove that your Jesus even existed, how can you prove that this "intervention" of yours was not done by some other god being that will answer all prayers, regardless of who you are praying to? And, regarding the above "answered prayer," this "prayer answerer" does not seem to be very effective.

YOU WROTE:
All I personally know is that God has made Himself profoundly known to me on many, many occasions; in addition to that still small voice that speaks daily to my mind when I am not too busy to listen. I am sure you can identify with your own experiences.


REPLY:
Well, yes, I can identify with your experience:

Q: What's the difference between a Christian and a paranoid schizophrenic?

A: One person hears voices, is convinced his thoughts and actions are known to some outside power, thinks the world was designed and created for him and that he is central to everything that goes on, is sure he's part of a special divine mission, believes that ordinary everyday events have some special transcendent meaning visible only to him, sometimes speaks in incoherent babbling voices, and believes supernatural forces are at work to influence his actions.

And the other one, of course, is a paranoid schizophrenic...

YOU WROTE:
Well, consider me to be a Christian friend who cares about what you went through!
REPLY:
Consider me to be a non-Christian friend who cares about what you are going through and is concerned that you don't even know what you are going through or how you are misleading other people to believe things that you can't prove yourself.

YOU WROTE:
My thoughts will be with you!
REPLY:
Well, fine. But if you are going to pray for me, pray for bad things to happen because there is a lot more chance of your prayers not being answered than in them being answered. Then the result will be that good things will happen to me. That, of course, is disregarding the fact that absolutely nothing happens when you pray except that it makes you feel better to think that you have turned matters over to god. In fact, bad things will happen to you and good things will happen to you whether you pray or not. Would you like to do a test for all to see the effectiveness of your prayers? You, being a pastor and all, should have more confidence in your god, right? But, then again, you wouldn't want to tempt him or he might squash you like a bug. But, wouldn't it be nice to have a god that you could actually depend on? Oh well, we know that is not to be.

Good luck,
Editor


 

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