Email To The Editor
(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)
11/18/03 Please note: This date is the date I am updating this email page, and not necessarily the date written or received. You'll notice that I am choosing to not comment a lot on most of the email input; there's a lot to catch up on here, and I'm mostly concerned with the Reader getting his email up, and articles posted than hearing myself. Sorry if these are a bit out of order as well.
Dear New Editor,
I wanted to say welcome! I wish you all the best and I'll help you if I find a link that's not working. Thanks for taking over!
Thank you Nina! Appreciate the help! Editor
I think that my brother is in a religious cult. He informed us today that he was dropping out of school and that God would take care of him. We have been witnessing some very peculiar behavior from him and we are at a loss of how to reach him. We are all atheist and of course he does not respect our opinions. Can you recommend an organization to help us that is located in Fl or GA?? MICHELLE HERRING
I don't myself, Michelle, but there's a lot of folks who read this. Let's see what they can dig up...Best, Editor
Greeting's new Editor and Chief!
I had a feeling that Ed was sick and tired of dealing with the asshole
christians that wrote him! My hat off to Mr. Ed Mentell Sr. for the many years
of dedication to exposing the Armstrong cult and the numerous spin-off's
that have developed thru out these years. Ed you will be truly missed by
your visitors and contributors to the "PAINFUL TRUTH" Thank you for your
help out of the cult and out of the church Mr. Mentell Sr.! Freedom of religion
is truly the greatest gift that you must have given me and I am thankful!
Good luck on all your future endeavor's.
PS: Do I know you?
Yes. It's hard to emphasize the impact this site had on me as well. I found out I wasn't alone in my craziness.... I heartily ditto your kudos and thanks to Ed and his work. Nah. Not unless you remember me from OReilly. Just kidding....
Dear Ed Sr.
I am a "preachers kid", of a former pastor of the
WWCG. Seeing my last name is Diehl, it shouldn't take
you too long to figure out who my dad is. Honestly, I
can't believe he hasn't shown up all over your
website. I've been following your website for a few
months, and find it very interesting in some places,
confusing in some, and ludicrous in others.
My brother and I nowadays laugh at the fact that we
were in the "right church", were stupid enough to buy
into it, and had to "suffer" so much for being in "the
church". Actually, the only real suffering was not
being allowed to eat a Twinkie with lard in it or
munching on a big fat PBJ three days into the days of
unleavened bread, for fear of the lake of fire. I
think I was pretty scared of getting caught drinking
water in the shower on Day of Atonement too. And, we
had to move a lot, I mean A LOT. Both of us, fourteen
different schools all together. My mom & dad both
graduated from AC. Chris and I have a lot of opinions
about the church, a lot of stories (both funny and
sad), made and lost friends together, and I think
mostly, learned valuable lessons. But none of this is
the point of why I took the time to write this today.
Your hate for HWA, the Tkach (sp?) guys, and
especially the ministers is why I'm writing you today.
My dad, while being a minister in the WWCG was a very
loved, respected and admirable man. The
congregations of the Ohio, Kentucky, New York and
South Carolina churches loved my dad. (Well at least
most people did). And even though you weren't supposed
to show favoritism by clapping for a sermon at the
Feast, his last one in Myrtle Beach got him a standing
ovation from the audience. He was inspirational,
believed what he was teaching and was sincere.
Your apparent six year web-quest of the painful truth
and hwarmstrong.com , and the massive effort to
"expose the church" are all in vain. As a matter of
fact, you said".but I estimate I gave well over
$100,000 to the cult." My guess is that once you
found out your wife was sick, and couldn't be cured,
that the next best thing was to find a way to be able
to guarantee you'd see her again someday. That
required joining the church, and that required money
for the offering and tithe. You passed your paycheck,
college funds & other money over quicker than a
gambling addict at the blackjack table.
Your website is filled with sad stories about the
church, cult, or whatever. Suicides, divorces, people
who gave away all of their money, borrowed to pay
third tithe, didn't take medicine, beat their kids,
and who knows what else. It also seems to be driven
by the fact that you (and an enormous amount of
others) are just plain pissed off.
Furthermore you think that the ministers were to blame
for everyone's problems in the WWCG. And, let's just
touch on this a second: I'm sure that there were
some, maybe a few who "knew" what the church was up
to, but clearly not all or even a majority, it's an
absurd notion. By no means did my dad and mom come
home on Saturdays and give each other a high five
while saying, "suckers, we took 'em for everything
they had". We didn't spend the night counting money
in the living room, nor did any of my uncles. They
were teaching the church members what they were
taught. They were doing their jobs Ed, and there was
no secrecy, no man behind the curtain at church on
Saturdays, and certainly no conspiracy on Friday
nights playing the bible game.
The college is gone, the name is gone, there's no
more Feast of Tabernacles, all the leaders are dead &
so is the faith.
However, I see your website as operating on the same
principles that your favorite pal HWA did. You have a
lot of followers who are saying, "man, this guy knows
what he's talking about! We go duped hard! Well I'll
tell you what man, when the proof comes around this
time, I'll know where to find it. If anyone's going
to find it, Ed will. And I'm sticking' with Ed man,
cause he'll know when he sees it!"
You mentioned that if a class action lawsuit were to
be filed, you'd bring 40,000 people along with you to
sign it. If your were using your head, you'd put a
"donate here" click button on your website. You'd
have your $100K back in the bank in three days, and
that's really what everyone wants back in the first
place. Money and time that you lost. We'll you can't
get back the time, no more than you can un-ring a
bell. (One of my dad's favorite sayings). What you
can do with the time though is make up for it. You'll
never get the 25 years back, and neither will my dad.
So, if you'll allow me I'll summarize with some
bullets: (not those kind of bullets)
· 99 percent of the "ministers" were honest & credible
people, with faults, but nonetheless, decent human
· It's your fault, and every other individuals fault
that they listened to their minister, their mechanic,
plumber, electrician or anyone else who gave them an
estimate on something, be it life, or a new garbage
disposal and didn't get a second opinion, or paid for
it up front.
· Don't blame my mother and father, individually or as
part of a whole, for your weak mindedness or greed.
· Click on the link below for more information on
exactly who you are blaming for your problems, both
then and now. As you will see, he is a lot better man
than you can possibly imagine.
Here, you can add this to the upset children list, or
whatever it is.
You might have been a Ministers Kid in the WWCG if:
Crazy people called your house in the middle of the
night talking about their marriage problems, drinking
problems, drug problems, sex problems and anything
else you can imagine.
You go moved all over the east coast and attended 14
different schools in 12 years.
You had to get to church three hours early and stay
three hours late, waiting for the last ninety year old
lady, single weirdo, upset couple, or deacon & elder
and EVERYONE to finish talking to your dad and then
your mom, and possibly you.
You had to explain to any of your neighborhood friends
what a baptismal was and why there was one in your
Once your mom was allowed to work, the only thing she
could do with her fabulous AC degree was hang
Your rode in a "fleet car" and know what GELCO is.
You had to dance with EVERY, and I mean EVERY girl at
the church dances.
You had to sit up and pay attention on the front row
at church, while every other loser kid got to sleep
You had to go to every log cabin, outhouse using, just
picked up dinner off of the road for dinner, back road
hillbilly-weirdo house of death for dinner, and stay
ALL NIGHT LONG listening to god knows what kind of
problems the people had.
Your mom and dad made you give everybody the PO box
number instead of your real address for fear that the
"church member" in prison would someday find your
All of your clothes ever smelled like olive oil,
because your dad's didn't take out his "anointing oil"
Your garage ever smelled like rotten oranges from all
the fruit that never got sent out.
Here is my response to your answers to frequently
asked questions page, and granted I do agree with a
lot of what you have to say, it's just who you're
laying the blame on that I have a problem with.
Again, you blame the ministers from the very
beginning. "Shame on any of you ministers that may
read this, you have your reward". Exactly what
reward did my mom and dad get? Retirement? No they
aren't giving them shit (which you mention again, and
we'll get to that). A good job reference? Experience
applicable to any job in the real world other than
You don't believe in god, life after death, hell or
anything, yet you devote your time to "keeping Herbie
spinning in his grave", an indication that he actually
is being hurt by what your doing, leading to your
belief in life after death, which is the reason you
bought stock in the WWCG in the first place, meaning
all of your speeches about "show me the proof" and
being agnostic are really just bullshit. You still
believe that humans are aware of life before they
And no, I very seriously doubt they're going to use
the proceeds of the sale of the campus for "their" own
retirement. Maybe the Tkach guys are. I know my dad
hasn't seen a dime, nor my mother. They were promised
it, but aren't getting it.
Furthermore, the money that you feel belongs to the
contributors and by definition not the "ministry" is a
load of shit too. I promise you, my mom and dad both
equally if not overly qualify for any "back money".
My mom and dad asked nothing in return from the
church, other than the paycheck they got for doing
their jobs. Everyone else was in it for themselves,
Your apparent lack of trust for the ministry is
understandable, to a certain degree. What you have to
ask yourself is if your lack of trust doesn't border
prejudice. You have said, "In the real world, people
are held suspect because of what others have done".
Would you tell a black person (even though you mention
this subject several times throughout the website)
that because 80 percent of crime in Los Angeles is
committed by black people, that all black people need
to prove themselves to you, before you would think
they aren't criminals? Or would you expect them to
"moan that life is unfair because you are being held
in suspicion for someone else's sins."?
And yes, it is people ARE responsible for letting
other men corrupt them, and you pay the consequences
when you do. The church did not rape you, or steal
from you. You gave it to them. Look at it like this:
You get drunk, drive home, hit a kid and spend the
next 25 years in prison. Cry about how alcohol should
be outlawed, the bartender served you too much, there
should have been more cops out to stop you sooner, but
in the end YOU are to blame, not the alcohol.
Again, see this page:
Your class action lawsuit hopes are laced with the
same greed that you claim the ministers had. Your
greed for eternal life after death and the world
tomorrow has fizzled down into a discounted note,
similar to a collection agency and an old phone bill.
At this point you aren't asking for the whole balance
due, just give me something.
And I have to bring this up. The movie Contact being
how things most likely are? Really, I didn't know
Carl Sagan had the answers (although I like that movie
too). Am I going to get to be in the "pod" someday?
Or did you mean the ending about how it was all a
hoax. If that's what you meant, I couldn't agree
The part about the less intelligent and uneducated
being the inclined to religion, as well as a good
explanation of the "ministers" we had is interesting
too. You said that the ministry was uneducated, yet
on your personal timeline the only four year anything
I see after high school is in the military.
You say you don't get on with your life because you
care about these misled people, and you want to help
them understand what happened to them. So you've
appointed yourself vigilante of the WCG and then go
around placing blame on every single person other than
the people your trying to "help". If you want to help
anybody, help them pull their heads out of their
asses, not blame my dad, mom and people like them.
All you're doing is giving them a new leader,
yourself. And then what, you convince them to stop
believing in their church and do what, start following
your beliefs on life? I'm sorry, you have the "proof"
that what you are saying is right, and everyone else
is wrong. Sounds a little familiar Ted..I mean Ed.
And back to your sale of the campus. You said, "Is he
going to ask them what it would take to make them
physically whole again, or what type of compensation
should they receive for their anguish". Again, your
greed is astounding. You sound like the religious
ambulance chaser. What if the church called up and
said, "hey Ed, sorry about the whole dead wife, lost
life for 25 years thing, tell you what, how 'bout we
settle this, what would it take?" What would your
price be? $100 thousand, a million, a billion?" If
you are implying that everyone has a price, then you
are saying that the original belief in the WCG was
never originally genuine, leading us back to
everyone's greed, and not their naïve minds.
I'll be checking in to read your responses, which I'm
actually looking forward to. I don't know you (I
don't think), and you don't know me (I don't think).
You may know my dad, (I know he knows of you). It's
all just debate anyway. I don't expect you to do
anything with this except laugh. I don't expect to
change your mind, and if this happens to make it to
the hate mail page, I hope it isn't for passively
aggressively agreeing with you, because in most cases,
I don't I haven't thought about the WCG for years now,
and have given it more attention than I ever will
again. But with all that I've read over the past few
days, the hundreds of web pages full of stories and
grief, very few admit what is unmistakably true, and
you should make your 40,000 person following admit.
Every member was greedy. Really, really greedy.
From: "Tony Badillo" < email@example.com >
To: < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2003 8:02 AM
Subject: GTA's DEATH
Don't know what to make of GTA's death. There is some vague sense of loss
and bewilderment: Waste of talent? Did more harm than good? don't know
quite how to think of him. I suppose that he and his father did some good in
one sense: one can learn to appreciate freedom by going through the
holocaust. Should we have more holocausts, therefore? I was baptized by
GTA's brother-in-law, Tony Hammer (whatever happened to him, anyone know?)
and I stayed in the WCG for 15 years. Then I wrote TITHING: God's Command or
Man's Demand? ( http://home.earthlink.net/~bacruz/ ) and was promptly ousted,
-then invited back. I also published HWA's slew of plagiarisms. I am not
bitter, but that's because I was not ruined as much as others. I have other
interests now (see: http://home.earthlink.net/~tonybadillo/index.html ), and
I hope to continue in that direction. I left WCG around 1980 and have never
looked back. I don't think the current organizations (Ted's OR the WCG) are
much of an improvement. Too bad - and woe to the unwary!
From: "Thomas S"
To: < email@example.com >
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2003 9:32 PM
Subject: GTA gone and good riddens.
I heard the news that GTA finally went the way of all
flesh. I am only surprised he died of pneumonia. I
would have bet my money on complications from a
sexually transmitted disease, or shot by an angry
husband or father (or several angry husbands and
fathers), or bled to death having been "Bobbited" by
one of his babe, or otherwise disposed of by someone
who went broke because of their affiliation with the
Armstrongs or one of the offshoots only to find how
much of a hustle it was and finally realize all their
money and time went for nothing.
GTA gone and good riddens.
From: "Teddy Ted" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
To: < email@example.com >
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2003 4:31 PM
Subject: Child of former WWCOG Members
I recently discovered your website (while Googling myself-something I do
from time to time...hehe can we say ego trip?) and wanted to say thanks. My
father is Bob Gerringer, author of the Gerringer letter.
Obviously the Church has had an impact on my life (if my brother had been
born first he probably would not be here due to medical complications
shortly after birth.) I often have difficulty trying to fathom the impact
growing up in the church has on one's day to day being and life. This site
helps me understand (I grok) more completely how my parents lives were
affected by the Church.
It is one thing to know the facts and chronology of events. It is another
to truly understand how those events warped/twisted/shaped ones outlook on a
daily basis. The discourses on your site have allowed me further
understanding of what the WWCOG meant to my parents. This has meant a lot
to me. Thanks.
Interestingly enuff I consider myself an Agnostic. When I play Devil's
Advocate with myself I say that is just a cop-out until I get some proof one
way or another.
Feel free to post my name and/or email address on your site if you so
Nice to meet you Ted...Editor
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2003 8:20 AM
Subject: The Painful Truth
Ed, I just recently came across your website (Sept., 2003). I think it is one of the best websites that is on the internet. I recommend it to anyone who has been mentally abused for any reason, and to anyone who would want to understand the terrible harm lies and deceptions can cause. It was a true blessing to be come acquainted with your website.
The stories are heartrending. How true, wolves come in sheep's clothing. I don't see how anyone's hurt could ever be healed after experiencing the Armstrong Cult. Perhaps, one day we'll all know.
Is it very expensive to maintain your website?
Thanks Bob. Ed Sr gave us a good thing in this site. Is it expensive? Ghastly! Send lotsa money my way!!! The more the better!
Just kiddin. It isn't bad...
From: Scott Seidel
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 3:31 PM
After seeing your website all I can think is that you must be a very cynical and pessimistic person. It is very likely that you have no "code of conduct" to live life by and I am sure you do not give much to your fellow man other than negativity. I am not trying to convert you- I am SURE that will finally happen on your death bed and you will be saved! However, your leagacy on earth will be remembered as "nothing" Don't live your life to be waisted
"Don't live your life to be waisted"
Thanks for the tip. I'll work bewwy hard at not getting 'waisted' in this life.
From: patricia r
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 9:59 PM
Subject: i was a member also
hello pt...it's so funny to find a website like yours. i grew up in the WWCG, from the time i was an infant until i was smart enough to know that something wasn't right. I was born in 1980 which makes me 23, I quit going to church when I was 15 years old becuase everything started changing...Not to mention that one of the ministers admitted to stealing from the youth groups money. The churches rules didn't affect me like it affected my older brothers...both of them would've been great athletes but the church wouldn't let them play ball on Friday nights...they have been permanently scarred by this and I'm sure of other things that the church taught. I am now attending a christian college and absolutely love it...i think the church taught me some ground rules that were actually helpful, it made me need a spiritual foundation.(not their foundation however) Although I don't go to church now, I do listen to Charles Stanley and very much enjoy his teachings, he's not belittling like the church was...there was one minister in particular that was actually very good and steered away from the norm...his name was Mr. Tucker, don't know if you guys knew of him, but he was a very good teacher not preacher...I'd like to know which church you went to(what city and state)if you don't mind....i'm also going to let other people know about this site...ironiclly there are people that i still talk to that went to the church also. another good thing about the church is the relationships we took with us when we all left...
Your post is to Ed Sr, and he'll probably see it... Welcome!
From: "Karen B"
To: < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 4:47 AM
Subject: thanks Michelle
Hi, I just found your valuable website, thank God for the plain truth.
I needed to send this note as I just read "The Abused Bride of Christ
Denfense" you so hit the nail on the head when you described the feeling of
a "Knife thru the Psyche." My story goes all the way back to 1955-56 when
my Mom was "enlightned" by Herbie. Oh did I mention, I was born the 7th
child in 1957? So you can guess the condition of my psych Oh,the defense of
the "United folks" you wrote of, lets see how does that go, "at least some
good came out of it," Bull Sxxt!!! The only one good thing that has come
out of the wast of life inflicted on innocent people from the cult is at
least we are still living to tell the story, so unlike some other cult
members we have heard of over the last several decades now. I have freed
myself from some of the programming, yet I know the time stollen can never
be replaced, it would be nice if the money could be tho. keep up the good
work, thanks for being a free thinker I'm trying to join the ranks.
The credit goes to Ed Sr.... But thank YOU for trying to join the ranks! Welcome!
----- Original Message -----
From: < Keystonitarian@aol.com >
To: "Editor" < email@example.com >
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 6:32 PM
Subject: Please. Ex-cult members who ferociously hurt others just aren't
After recently visiting your website, I have some observations:
I am a rational, freethinking person with enough life experience and
intellectual discernment to spot one who isn't. You are clearly not a
Arrogance is not Intelligence.
I have compassion for you, however, and I do admit your life experience
your anger understandable, but you should merely change course.
Former cult members don't have any more credibility than former cult leaders
in my book, especially when they have obvious issues with control, hurt and
Anyway, I believe you to be unreliable.
Please do something positive for others for a change.
Finally, your discernment of the "fallibility" of age-old mysteries seems
far-fetched. After reading your Bio, I wouldn't trust you to be of any real
assistance or help to anyone at this point of your life.
You have issues with you and not necessarily anybody else. Start with you
promote a new site that's not such an embarassment to intellectuals
world-wide. Freethinking has won a hard-fought battle for credibility.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John H"
To: < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2003 1:36 PM
Subject: Inquiry Re: Status Of The Site
Just curious...is the hwarmstrong.com site still among the living? I
haven't seen any updates to the email to the editor since July, and the most
recent article is still about the September 15 death of GTA.
If you've decided to call it quits, thanks anyway for all the sweat and
tears---not to mention money and tons of time---you poured into this effort
all these years. I'm certain you helped hundreds of people cope with the
stresses of making sense of their time in the cult, and of leaving it behind
to make the most of the rest of their lives. You've done a great service.
Thanks much for asking, John... Ed has taken a much deserved break, and I'm filling in. Hopefully we'll get things cranked back up to full throttle soon.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mary B"
To: < email@example.com >
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2003 4:30 PM
Subject: Ex-worldwide cog member
Where are the testimonials on how if you challenged anything in the Church
told how you obviously were not like Ruth in the bible who so willingly and
question did as she was told because true christians are that way?
If you had a problem with not being allowed to wear makeup, you were told in
how they don't even know what you're doing at church. You were made to feel
a loser and every time you looked in the mirror and still wanted to wear
felt like you were not a good christian, but wait, you can't stop going
would burn in hell fire and all the church members would not associate with
When it was discussed in a sermon about something being printed about HWA
not say what it was but someone told me that it concerned incest)
) they said they did not care what or if he did it. That it was between him
and God. He said it so angrily that you felt like an un-christian person
for even thinking twice about it.
The minister was absolutely furious that the congregation was concerned with
It's amazing that someone can let someone else control their mind like that,
but it was
definitely brain washing.
We all were just looking to fill that black hole everyone has.
I still believe in God but honor him by having morals, not stepping foot in
Don't know why I wanted to write. Just wanted to share that anyone can fall
anyone's clutch (There but by the grace of God go I).
----- Original Message -----
From: Guy F
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 12:14 PM
Subject: Just a Sympathy note (genuine- not sarcastic) for your experience
I would like to express my sympathies to you regarding your WCG experience and the death of your wife at age 29. I can not imagine such a loss.
I haven't read all of your site yet, but, as long as you stick to the truth, you are doing a good thing.
I was a member of the WCG from 1990 to 1995 and never experienced any of the outrageous things that happened before that, and, I guess was not really informed on all the things that were happening at that time. I am not part of any religion now. I still do deeply believe in God, only because of the faith He has given me.
Regarding your comments on requiring a proof of God, I would say this:
It is not irrational to believe in something you have never seen, but until God sets foot on earth, and shows everyone who he is, there can be no definitive rational proof of God. You can rationalize 'love' also, and say love does not exist, and love is merely a penchant for self preservation combined with instincts and hormones. I think this is wrong though. Love exists. And in the same way Love exists, Faith exists also.
Faith can not offer rational proof of God, but it is proof of God. (sorry I know that isn't "rational"). I hope one day God & you can open your heart to receiving any faith God may wish to give you. If this ever happens, and you ever ponder any kind of affiliation with any religious organization, I am sure God will more than understand if you never give them a single penny, and always trust your own relationship with God over any religious institution.
I am impressed by your openness to accepting truth on an ongoing basis, and I encourage you to keep looking for it, in the world, and in your own heart.
If it was able, I would give you an apology and restitution for all of your losses.
Please take care, and thank you,
Ken, I'm afraid nobody is going to win this argument. Everyone can find "quotes" that seem to support their position because a person's religious views will change throughout their lives. If people would quote some of the things that I have written earlier in my life, they would in no way reflect my beliefs or lack of beliefs today. I guess it would be interesting to see what these men believed at the end of their lives. Then again, given the fear of death, a weak deist may give in to the unfounded Christian "promises." I also have better things to do with my time rather than research this subject. What these men believed has absolutely no effect on what I believe and I don't "need" them to be deists to uphold my beliefs. But, you know what? It seems like Christians "need" for everyone to believe like they do. It reinforces their delusions the more people they have thinking fantasy is truth.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, July 06, 2003 2:07 AM
Subject: further research and i concluded....
I looked into the matter of whether the fouding fathers were deist, Christians, or non-christians. Regarding Washington there seems to be mixed testimony both pro and con on whether or not he was a Christian but as I stated before America's first history professor, Professor Sparks, who also was a historian in his own right who published 100 historical volumes declared Washington a Christian. Regarding, Madison it seems as though he was not a deist because deist do not believe that God intervenes in human affairs and Madison said God did intervene. On the other hand, although he mentions God in a favorable way I cannot say with any assurance at this point on whether he was or was not a christian. Regarding on "how christian" the founding fathers were this is what I am concluding. They seem to be pro-christian. Why? The first senate chaplain who if memory serves was elected in 1789 was a Episcopal Bishop from NY. Since the office was created and he was elected I am assuming the pro-christian votes won over the non-christian votes. I realize this in not a airtight case and a airtight case would require a exhaustive study but this is my inference based on this piece of data which I am guessing is a key piece of data and is indicative of the founding fathers thoughts. I wish I could do more research but I have other prioroties at this time. I hope this was of help to you.
----- Original Message -----
From: Bill F
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2003 10:10 AM
Subject: Christian Founding Fathers?
I was looking over your website and came across the
following article that was posted on it:
Christian Founding Fathers?
By Bill Fairchild
15 NOV 02
It was posted on the following page:
I was interested in reading it, however, there was no
attached works cited page, bibliography, nor any
internal documentation to verify the information the
author used to be valid.
I am a graduate student and am aware that many of the
quotes from founding fathers that Mr. Fairchild used
are credible and valid, however, I was interested in
where he found many of his stats that I may refer to
them as well in the future. I would hope that anyone
that posts there work on your website would go to the
trouble of citing their sources as well or I am unable
to consider their work as academic and consider it
only propaganda and editorialistic. Please let me
know if I overlooked a link to his sources or if they
are available at all. Thank you for your diligence
and interest to this matter.
I found all the quotes on the Internet. I don’t remember now which websites they were. But if you want to verify any specific Thomas Jefferson quote, e.g., you can look on the official website for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA (which is the university Jefferson designed and built), which has the original copies of a huge number of his letters. They have put all them on the Internet. Jefferson wrote hundreds, perhaps thousands, of personal letters over a 50- or 60-year period to friends, and he discussed a great variety of subjects. Since I was writing an article for the Painful Truth website on the subject of what were the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers, I confined my search to only those letters he wrote in which he discussed his personal beliefs on religion, morality, Christianity, the Bible, Jesus, etc. I found many websites with large numbers of quotes from Jefferson, and some of them have the quotes organized by subject. I found one website with a large number of his quotes on the subject of religion and morality, and that was the main source of all my Jefferson quotes. I followed the same procedure for my Madison quotes. I didn’t include any quote in my article unless it came from a letter which the Internet website attributed to having been written on a specific date to a specific person.
Another source for many of my facts was a book I was reading at about the same time that I wrote this PT article, called Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution, by A. J. Langguth, published in 1988.
I first made a list of all the people I could think of who could be possibly be considered a Founding Father, then eliminated all but the most important (my opinion as to who was important). Then I did a little Internet research on all them to find out what is generally considered to have been their personal religious beliefs. There are people today who argue very strongly that all the founding fathers were secretly, if not openly, highly religious men, and probably all Christians. They quote from some of these men’s writings to find proof for their theory. I looked at quotes from the same men to find proof for my theory. Since all these men are dead, we can only speculate as to their real beliefs. But I believe my conclusions were correct. Another thing to remember is that anyone who wants to find proof for his theory will be able to find it. As one character said in the 1997 movie “Pi”: “When your mind becomes obsessed with anything, you’ll filter everything else out and find that thing everywhere.”
You asked where did I find many of my “stats”, which I assume means “statistics”. I just skimmed my article and can’t tell what you mean by statistics, as I didn’t see anything that looked like statistics to me (I have a B.S. in mathematics, so I have a rather stringent definition of statistic). If you are talking about the 95% number that is part of the title, I explain that in the article. Or maybe this one bothered you: I said that George Washington was the largest land-owner, and therefore probably the wealthiest person, in North America. I learned this “stat” from reading an online essay on the Constitution. I didn’t consult any standard, official, highly credentialed reference works to determine exactly how many acres he owned and how many acres were owned by every other land-owner in North America at the time. I accepted the veracity of that claim in that online essay. If you would tell me what specific “stats” you wonder about, I will tell you where I got them.
I appreciate your desire to find footnotes, bibliographies, source of quotes, and all the other parts of an article that mark it as being truly scholarly, and thus more credible. Unfortunately not very many people write that way, and that includes me. And also unfortunately not very many people seek out such additional corroborating material.
I did not intend my article to be academic, but rather intended it to be propaganda and editorialistic, as you called it. This is the nature of virtually all other articles on the Painful Truth website, and also of most articles on most websites.
I will be happy to help you find quotable and citable sources for anything I put in my article if you will tell me which ones you want to validate. And if I can’t do that, then I will write up a retraction for the unprovable or incorrect parts of my article and ask the PT website editor to post them.
18 Nov 03
Reply to: Jeff Diehl,
I read your letter to the editor of the Painful Truth with some interest. Hopefully you won't mind me taking a moment to reply.
I can only imagine how tough it must have been to be a preacher's kid. While some PK's I have known were pretty wild, others were good kids who lived under a lot more stress than some of us ordinary kids did. My very last pastor (before I escaped) had a stepson who was a really decent kid, but the old man (who was 20 years older than the boy's mother) was a tyrant who drove him away. Any normal person would rebel under such circumstances, and he did. I know it was no bed of roses, and I sympathize with all of you.
However... As bad as you had it, did you ever stop to consider what it was like for the "other" kids in the churches you attended?
You complain about having to ride in a "fleet car". That would be a car provided for your use, one your dad didn't have to pay for. It would have been new, with nice seat covers, air conditioning, and a warranty. You never had to sit on the side of the road late at night, waiting for a tow truck that never showed up, hoping against hope that the headlights coming in your direction weren't driven by a robber or killer. And the money your dad didn't have to spend on car payments, insurance, or gasoline (or tithes, either) was money that was available for you to have nicer clothes, better food, and better toys.
I'm not saying you didn't have it rough, but you had it rough in a different way. The roughness you experienced was boring and inconvenient, but not life-threatening or permanently debilitating.
About your dad... I don't know the first thing about him. You say he was a nice guy, and I'll take your word for it. Some ministers were nice guys. I knew several. I grew up with Mike Booze, and he was a great kid. He later became a popular minister, and was one of the best speakers I ever heard. If anyone could command a standing O at a feast site, I imagine he could have (though I never saw it happen). Glen White was the finest minister I ever had, and he became a close personal friend as well (which says a great deal about him, because he wasn't supposed to "fraternize" with people like me).
But for every "good" minister, there were a hundred assholes. If you've been reading the PT site, you've seen the testimony of many people who will attest to that. Maybe your dad wasn't one. If not, then good for him. But guess what -- your dad worked for the bad guys. Maybe he treated people with respect, but he had a job to do, and that job was to spread the company doctrine. Remember all those boring times when you had to wait around while your dad listened to the various problems of all the "losers"; well, I'm guessing that your dad gave a lot of those losers some really bad advice, including bad medical advice, bad marriage advice, bad economic advice -- because the Worldwide Church of God taught bad advice, and your dad had no choice but to preach the party line. Those other ministers I mentioned, the good ones -- all gave bad advice. Your dad did, too. He had to. He worked for Armstrong and Tkach, he had no choice. So he helped make people's lives worse, because he didn't know any better.
It's all very nice for you to sit back in the comfort of your present world and, with a certain amount of arrogance, condemn the rest of us for being losers. But let me ask you this: Did you choose to be a preacher's kid? Did you ask for any of the shit you had to endure? Of course not. And neither did I. I was raised in it, just like you, except I didn't have the luxury of being a member of the privileged elite. My dad wasn't even in the church until the last few years of his life, so I was considered by many to be an orphan of sorts, because it was just my mom and me at church.
Certainly people have to take responsibility for their own actions. Many people who joined the WCG did so because they wanted to be there, and they are still hanging on in the splinter cults. No one who made a conscious decision to follow Armstrong is without some personal responsibility, but that doesn't change the fact that we were all sold a bill of goods. And we certainly have a right to bitch about that, whether you think so or not. Hell, even you are bitching!
But how many ministers (past and present) have admitted their responsibility? Has your dad apologized for his role, unwitting though it may have been, in keeping those people in bondage? Some ministers have. I'm betting your dad hasn't.
About the "just rewards" -- I don't think anyone believes that the local ministers are counting their lucre. Their "reward" was getting dumped out in the cold at the end of their careers, many or most without retirement. Not a very nice benefit, considering that many of them dedicated up to four or five decades of their lives to Armstrong's theology. But there were ministers and then there were MINISTERS. Those guys at headquarters, the ones who are still standing now that the long knives have mostly been put away -- they are the ones counting the gold. You can be goddamn sure that little joe tkult is a very rich man today, at your father's expense.
I could go on, but to what point? I just have to ask you one question: you said that every member was "greedy. Really, really greedy." How in the name of Casper did you come up with that one? The ministry wasn't greedy? The Worldwide Church of God served only one purpose for half a century -- it was a life-support system for Herbert W. Armstrong, and after that for the Tkult family (Joe and little joe). That's all it ever was. That's all it is today. Simply an ATM machine.
You should talk about greed -- your dad never had to pay tithes. You never suffered because the family budget was slashed by first and second before the groceries were even bought (my kids did, and they're probably about your age). So don't go calling anybody greedy, unless you want to look in the mirror. Calling a cult member greedy is like pointing at the Jews in Auschwitz and saying, "They're all murderers!"
Now, what exactly is GELCO?
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