Email To The Editor
(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)
9/23/04Dear Painful Truth,(1) Does anyone know where THOMAS HARBOTTLE is now, please? Is he still alive? I have some news for him...He used to attend WCG in Birmingham, England, in the 1960s. I last contacted him, by letter, when he was living in New Zealand in 1989. Where is he now, please?(2) Suicide. Bob Bevan. He attended the WCG in Birmingham, England, during the mid to late 1960s. Very clever and creative with chemistry and electronics. Invented a way to convert air guns into firearms without any modifications to the gun. Became paranoid after leaving WCG (he could hear voices) and was hospitalised for a while afterwards. He told me he wanted to end it all and successfully killed himself at home using chloroform and a plastic bag.Yours sincerely,Peter Griffiths (422 Tilehouse Lane, Tidbury Green, Sol.W.Mids.B90 1PX, England).
Anyone help him out? I'll pass on the email -- PT
Hello to the Editor,
Tonight I was searching your Painful Truth website for commentary on homosexuality, and stopped to read item #32: Searching for my Tribe -- Growing up gay in a Cult, by James K.
I can relate to James' story, as I have been with the WCG (and now UCG) as a co-worker and member for over 34 years. And I also grew up gay. Not by choice--it just happened that way. I spent years being afraid of God and the Lake of Fire because I couldn't change my feelings--although I tried. I still believe that the church is a part of the Church of God, or I would have left its harsh homo-phobic culture a long time ago. Actually, for me, things are better now in UCG, than they ever were during the 70s and 80s in Worldwide. But, that doesn't mean that life is easy in any of the COG groups--just less harsh by comparison to what it used to be.
Earlier this year, when the controversial gay marriage issue was sweeping across the U.S., several of the COG groups produced scathing articles condemning homosexuals for immorality and for "threatening marriage." I got upset because their articles only condemned--but offered no help--for those gay men and women who struggled as Christians. These ministers did not understand the human reality of being gay, and struggling to live a celibate lifestyle.
In April of 2004, I wrote two articles on homosexuality which were published in The Journal. My articles told the "human side" of this issue. I received several responses from people in the different COG groups. Most of the people who contacted me told of their painful experiences and ill-treatment by church ministers. The articles are also posted on line at my website: www.michael9776.com. I want people with WCG/UCG church backgrounds to know about this website because it gives a truthful summary account (from my viewpoint) of the recent social history of homosexuality in America.
Also, if possible, I would appreciate it if you could please let James K. know about my articles and website. I would be interested in corresponding with him.
11/03/04Maybe if he'd just had a little bit more faith....???
http://w ww.msnbc.msn.com/id/6396422Man tries to convert lions to Jesus, gets bitten....46-year-old leaps into den at Taipei Zoo, calls beasts to Christianity
11/05/04Dear Painful Truth,I enjoyed reading John B's articles. He puts things very well.But Jesus' prophecies are right on schedule. In Matthew 24, he said privately to his disciples that THE MANY WOULD COME IN HIS NAME and that THE MANY WOULD BE DECEIVED! And this was to be a sign of Jesus' 2nd coming. It is churches, in general, that deceive.The word CHURCH comes from CIRCE, who is the ancient goddess described in Revelation 17. The WCG used to say that Revelation 17 was about the 'False Church.' But all 'churches' are false. They all mix scripture with lies. This is the point that Revelation 17 is making.Sincerely,Peter Griffiths (Tidbury Green, Solihull, W. Midlands, England).
11/06/04www.imageyenation.comDear Sir,Here is a new twist to the "pork" question.
IS MILK KOSHER?
Pig products in commercial Milk. Vitamin D from skin and brains!
By Robert Cohen
"Have you seen the little piggies, crawling in the dirt? And for all the little piggies, life is getting worse."
-- George Harrison, The Beatles. 1968
Observant Jews, Muslims, and vegetarians eat no pig, or so they believe.
The information in this column is going to provide one very sad surprise for those who drink milk.
At one time, Vitamin D-2 was added to milk. Vitamin D-2 is manufactured by exposing bacteria and algae to ultra-violet light. D-2 imparted a bitter taste to dairy products, and so was replaced by vitamin D-3. The source of Vitamin D-3 may now leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
I recently attempted to learn the source of Vitamin D-3 by calling dairy processors. I called the United States Department of Agriculture. I called my own New Jersey State Department of Agriculture. I called dairy industry professors and editors of dairy magazines.
Not one individual could give me the answer.
Finally, I learned about an industry conference called the Vitamin D workshop. Anthony Norman Norman@ucrac1.ucr.edu responded to my inquiry:
"Basically D-3 always is derived from an animal. The sunlight reaction that converts 7-dehydrocholesterol to vitamin D-3 is a 'pure' chemical reaction that occurs in your skin in certain cells."
Do they extract D-3 from human skin and add that substance to milk?
Certainly not. Marian Herbert of the Vitamin D Workshop, a division of the biochemistry department at the University of California, wrote:
"The provitamin known as 7-dehydrocholesterol is extracted and isolated from the skins of mammals and purified."
I have subsequently learned that Vitamin D-3 can come from four different sources:
Pig skin, sheep skin, raw fish liver, and pig brains. Most of the time,
Vitamin D-3 is extracted from pig skin and sold to dairy processors.
Folks...Those who keep Kosher do so by observing the dietary laws set down in the Bible. In EXODUS 23:19 we read:
"You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk."
Dairy and meat do not mix. That is a taboo in the homes of many Americans.
Today you learn that this biblical and social "abomination" is routinely disrespected by 21st century milk producers.
If you drink milk, you consume extracts from animals.
In kindergarten and first grade, children learn that Vitamin D is the "Sunshine Vitamin." We soon forget our lessons, and subordinate our knowledge to dairy industry brainwashing. Some secrets are well kept.
The Vitamin D-3 secret can now be told.
Spread the news!
Robert Cohen author of: MILK - The Deadly Poison
Dairy Education Board
Email from: Rod G___
Dang! Just think -- with every cup of coffee with milk, God hammers shut yet another coffin to eternal life. -- PT
From George Carlin: "At birth, religions will charge people an initial fee of $50,000 and then pretty much leave them alone." [When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?]
11/10/04Dear Editor,Thank you. Is this a serious request?Do you require proof for anyone else who lived in the past, such a long time ago (a long time to humans, that is)? Do you believe that Julius Caesar existed?I believe that Jesus Christ existed here on Earth (during his short visit), and continues to exist in a place called Heaven (a place that is outside of the curvature of space. The physical world, that we see about us, is only a simulated environment. It is mostly space. It is not the ultimate reality; though it's pretty real, to us). I believe that Christ left Heaven for about three quarters of an hour, a period that occupied about 32 Earth years. The Bible describes the relativity of time centuries before Einstein. People would have known this as recently as in Newton's day, if they had understood their Bibles.Heaven is a long way away, at the speed of light; but, at the same time, it is quite near. Christ visited his Father and was back later the same day. Present science accepts electromagetic radiation as the ultimate speed. This is not true. But I may not be able to prove that to you. I believe it by faith. Until I can see that this is wrong, I am going to continue to belive it. Without beliefs and faith, humans could not have any sanity whatsoever.The fool has said in his heart there is no God. This is what God says. Christ is the one through whom all was created. To deny Christ is to deny reality, to me. And we only know in part, in this life. The passage of time will reveal all.Best wishes,Peter Griffiths (near the centre of England).
Ok then.... <Twilight Zone music in the background>
11/10/04Mike,I found a couple more really good quotes that I want to share.First to weigh in is Bill Maher with this priceless, pithy piece: "I'm opposed to religion because it leads to stupid shit."Think of all the "stupid shit" that has happened over the millennia because of wacko religious beliefs: all the Crusades, but especially the Children's Crusade; the Spanish Inquisition; endless wars; child abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, physical abuse, needless avoidance of medical procedures or surgery; self-impoverishment in order to "support God's work" and respond to the "gun lap" hype.And the second one is by the 19th century English philosopher John Stuart Mill: "Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men."Think of all the times we were warned that we had to do such-and-such or to avoid doing X-Y-Z because it was "god's will." We were having our individuality crushed. Lining up after services to seek the wise counsel of god's true anointed minister for such weighty decisions as what type of car to buy is a good example.No wonder so many people stay in the Worldwide Church of God or seek out another similar cult when they leave - they have no individuality. Their personality, will, decision-making powers, and independence have all been crushed by spiritual despots masquerading as servants.Bill FairchildPlainfield, IL10 NOV 2004
Couldn't agree more, Bill. I'm not always that hip on Bill Maher, but loved that one!
These aren't christians we're talking about anyway -- they don't seek to help the poor, the downtrodden... they seek slaves -- PT
11/11/04Your site is wonderful!! I read the article by Jim V. entitled "Babel Stories II." I loved it and could relate to the author's reasoning very well. I have to admit, that's the only article I've read so far, but will be reading the articles and hopefully the book written by Betty J. Brogaard, on daring to think for yourself. I was never a member of the WCG but I have been a brainwashed pew-potato most of my life- that is, until I actually read and studied the 'book' THEY told me was my handbook on how to be a decent human being. That's when I "dared to think for myself," since I could not equate the bible 'god' with human decency. Getting free has not been easy. I've been threatened with hellfire and damnation a time or two by 'well-meaning Churchians' who couldn't understand why I could no longer swallow their dead man on a stick. Oops! Did I say that?I would love it if you would post this article on your site as I believe it might help someone else. If it is something you think you can use, please do. If not, I will still enjoy your site immensely!!Thank-you sincerely,Nikki
" brainwashed pew-potato ..." Love that!
I'll have your article up during this site update. Sorry it took so long to do it...
11/18/04This is an important thing to read. The political "left" in this country have had long-established websites like "Americas Watch" and "World Watch" to keep people aware of less than desirable (by some) goings-on around the world. Now there is a "Theocracy Watch" website devoted to keeping track of the growing MARRIAGE of church and state here in the USA. Check it out: http://www.theocracywatch.org/Be sure to follow the Worldview Weekend link in the 5th paragraph and read ALL of that page. The weekend conference referenced was held two years ago (April 2002). Political power is flowing bigtime into the hands of these kooks.Here is the key quote from the Worldview Weekend page, from Marshall Foster: "If we would only do it right, the church of Jesus Christ is the most powerful force in America." What is the probability that these loonies will "do it right"? I would bet on 0.00%.This is yet one more powerful group devoted to "World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish." [George Grant]Bill FairchildPlainfield, IL
Scary stuff, Bill.
11/23/04 -- Making Hoeh
Did you hear? Herman Hoeh finally kicked the bucket at 74. Ambassador Watch documented him paying for nude pedophile pictures of young boys.
Yep. Another one bites the dust.
Young boys, huh? Surely you, and Gavin over at AW don't think GOD would have perverts in his employ do ya? Yeah I know.... I'm being a wise-ass....
I want to say something about Herman Hoeh.
He was a great man who helped me personally on several occasions -- once in particular when my father died ---- when I was still a student.
When I was out of the church and visited AC -- we got together and had a very nice talk and he took me out to lunch.......
He -- like many -- got stuck in a situation he couldn't get out of..........
He hurt a lot fewer than he helped.
At least that's my point of view... As far as the pedophile thing...... shades of Michael Moore......
Gary,I would not be surprised to find that most of us dealt with at least one minister who was different and may well have helped more than hurt. I feel the same way about Guy Ames. (I do NOT mean Richard Ames.)Jim V
Well, I've always had this theory, in case anyone is looking for a Doctoral Thesis, that abstinence not only causes perversion, but that to a much higher degree it causes religious behavior. BTW, the Auzzie's recognize abstinence as a medical condition known as DSB.
"...abstinence not only causes perversion, ...but that to a much higher degree it causes religious behavior."
Excellent observation, Nathan!
I for one was appalled at the sloppiness of Dr. Hoeh's historical research, yet his intellect still fascinated me. He could multitask. I;ve watched him reading a book at Bible Study, then respond to a question without hesitating proving he was listening as well.I especially recall him holding up two very different wooden combs which Archeologist had shown proved that one was thousands of years older than the other based on the skill with they were made.Dr. Hoeh just concluded that the one carver was better at making combs.I enjoyed a closer relationship with his wife and I experienced the Hays as a family. I gardened at their home my freshman year and ended up a backyard babysitter at times. I even got goat cheese snacks.I always find it strange that when I think on AC, things I learned leap to my mind again.I learned from the Hoeh kids that one could eat qum quats (spelling).I learned when to stop nursing a child. Dr. Hoeh had said age four and that was challenging to many student wives. His youngest was approaching that age. My wife was aghast at anything approaching one year.One early evening I was grocery shopping and stopped to talk with Mrs. Hoeh who had come around the aisle facing me with her cart. She was carrying forth with a lot of arm movement on some topic, when her little boy sitting in the grocery basket seat proceeded to open her blouse and extracted his lunch delivery mechanism.I tried to let no sounds escape that sounded like gasps or allow gawking elements to enter my facial expression. My mind sought an answer to the question "What do you say to an evangelist's wife with her breast exposed at Trader Joe's? when she noticed what had happened.She exclaimed to me that Dr. Hoeh may be correct as to age timing, but that she had just discovered a new rule she was going to implement. She with extreme grace under fire readjusted her clothing an informed her son that he had just ended one of his favorite privileges.I find I mourn all deaths of those elders who precede me. I reflect on how responsibly I have handled authority and how deep are my own commitments to integrity. I question if I stood up enough as an AC graduate to assist my superiors to do the right thing.I acknowledge the man I am for having had the AC experience. (And many of my good friends know of the immoral crap I waded through -- that is added so you know I was not blind to what was going on.)Now that I live in the Ozarks it amazes me how respectful people are of HWA and his work.We of WCG affected a lot of people and many of them don't see the negatives. Let's live out our lives in balance.
11/25/04Subject: WCG's Stain on my Family
It was whilst looking for my father that I came across this email that he sent to you.Hello Ed of The Painful TruthI was a UK member of WCG from 89 - 96. I was baptised by a WCG minister on the 31st December 1989 in a, just above freezing, outdoor swimming pool. I presume you were also baptised as WCG member.The question I would like to ask you Ed is whether or not you acknowledge this baptism as real and authentic or not. As it happens, I do think WCG baptisms were real. Which means we are born again believers.My wife and I are a Church of two. Do we believe? You bet your life we do.Was Armstrong totally wrong in what he taught? No. Is British Israelite teaching wrong? No it's not. Will the prophecy he taught come about? yes I think it will. Are the 144,000 literal? Yes they are? Will Europe be the Beast power? Yes it will. Is the Pope an anti-Christ? Most definitely.Does mainstream Christianity know the truth? No it doesn't. Since leaving Worldwide we have only found one Grace filled fellowship. They are as rare as hens teeth.Are WCG Ministers the only modern day Pharisees? No they are not. Many mainstream Churches are full of them, Grace killers to man.ALL RELIGION IS OF THE DEVIL. Following the Lord Jesus is not religion. Living under Grace is freedom!!I have done a study on Grace which I have included with this e-mail. Hope you find it interesting.http://graceforfreedom.blogspot.com/2004/08/grace-for-freedom.htmlRegardsAdrian CleggIt's quite funny as I also remember quite well that December day in 1989, one reason was because my Dad never went near swimming pools, the other was because it was our last day as a family. My Mum kicked him out soon after. I have had on and off contact with him through out the years finishing at the beginning of this year because of his refusal to enter a Catholic Church for my wedding, (despite the fact I went to his remarriage and had to listen while some pr*ck from the WCG slated his real family) and the fact our relationship could not progress because of his extreme religious and political views.So why do I feel the need to contact him? Well I'm about to become a father myself and am tortured to think of the life he is missing out on because of these views that were instilled by the ramblings of The Plain Truth and that Church. He was in the middle of a breakdown, the family business was going to the wall and we were about to lose our home. Hey - did they always get them when they were down? I suppose it's easier to blame Satan than market forces! (ok I know he controls them as well).I believe my Dad knows his life is miserable but he's holding out because he believes that when the time comes he's going to have some high up position in the new world (What's Graceful about lording it over others?). Well Dad that's going to be a pretty miserable place if there's only two of you there. Forget yes2truth and check out yes2reality.Regards,A Son and Brother
R___ Thank you for the email.
It's little consolation, I know, but you aren't alone. There are thousands and thousands of us kids of the Cult who live with this stain every day.
I wish no harm to your father, but I especially want to extend my best wishes to you and YOUR family. We can stop the circle of madness, and it looks like you are. My hat's off to you.
Be the best Son you can be in the circumstance, but be a better Dad. Sounds like you are a good one.
My best to you,
11/25/04Hi,This is Allen C. D____, a former WCG member and writer for the Personal Correspondence Department. I broke with the organization in '74-'75. News of Herman Hoeh's death led me to do some online searching, and I found your website. I have studiously avoided most past associations for years, except for a very few close friends, largely to preserve mental health.I used to get Ambassador Report for a couple of years, and since I see everything is online, I've added your site to my "favorites" list so I can go through it at my leisure when the desire moves me.I'm currently 70 years of age, living with my wife, P____, in Phoenix, AZ, I've been here since 1981. I'm a semi-retired carpet technician who still does small jobs for added income. I got an interfaith ordination in 1997 so I could perform wedding ceremonies, and we have a sizable wedding business going. My ability to read Spanish fluently (a benefit of my Ambassador education) gives me a lucrative competitive position in this area. More than a third of the ceremonies I perform are either Spanish or bi-lingual. My experience in writing and editing also stand me in good stead in writing ceremonies.I steer clear of organizational involvement and bear no rancor toward those I've been associated with in the past. We all have to choose our own paths, and it's normal to take a few forks in the road. Dwelling on past choices one views as less than advantageous accomplishes nothing. I'm happy with where I am today, and if I had taken a different path, I would be somewhere else, maybe in a less satisfying position. You just can't know.This lazy Thanksgiving time affords me some opportunity for nostalgic satisfaction about past associations. It's amazing how many splinter groups exist and how much squabbling has gone on over the years. I'm glad I was able to stay aloof from the bulk of it.Sincerely,Al D___
You sound like the kind of guy I could grow to like. If you are doing good things in your community, then that is what religion is supposed to be all about, eh?
You and yours be well,
11/26/04Reading your website (coming upon it quite by accident) I could read and identify with the great harm and hurt that the ministers of the WWCG have accomplished -- hurting several generations, not just individuals.I could easily write an article titled, "I married into the WWCG", because that is exactly what I did. Married into a family I thought were good and caring and honest. Of course, they weren't, but more importantly the 'church' or the ministers weren't either. Since I am unwilling at this time to give my real name, then I will only identify these ministers by their initials. Those who knew/know them, will find them easily recognizable.I found such ministers (of the No Va area) as Gr.Sp., Dv Pk (especially), and P.Wh., among others, to be totally uncaring, often belittling others in front of family members and friends. PW cared more about food and his own greedy desires then parishioners; DP was more interested in himself and making himself look better than everyone else (oh how I felt sorry for down and his wife, every Sat. he would force his two beautiful girls to sit down and be heard and not spoken, as his wife -- she barely would speak to other women, I suspect she was afraid of the rath of Dave P.) GP -- was just a gopher for DPk -- I will never forget the time that DaveP told me I was a "wh....e" in a marriage counselling session. Of course, being the gutless wonder he was, he had to do it when my husband was out of the room -- another minister from a neighboring region forced DP to apologize to me -- how insincere!It has been about 10 years since I last attended, and the pain is still there. Does it ever go away, I wonder.Brenda L___
No, that pain doesn't ever really go away. It's like a scalping scar -- you can live, but you'll never be the same again. And those never scalped will understand it fully.
But we get on ok...through more education, research, etc. we get to a point where we like what we see in the mirror in the morning. It helps to know that you aren't alone there. Keep the chin up, and know that you aren't alone and that the Cult doesn't define YOU: YOU define YOU.
Write anytime andmay 2005 be the best ever.
I had a friend tell me about this web site - and I just had to check it out. I guess part of me wondered if such a web site actually existed and whether there were other people who had felt the same as I did. I left the church 10 years ago and have grown so much as a person since then. I know who I am (shit I am an ok person) , I know my likes and dislikes, I know my own mind!, I have an opinion!, I have my own thoughts and dreams! WOW. I was born and raised in the church and never felt like I was worth anything, that I as allowed my own opinions, or that our my dreams outside of what the church accepted were actually worthy of being good. Thank you for this web site - I know I feel alot better reading the other "You know you were a member of WCF" comments. Most if not all of those I can relate to and here are some of my own "You know you were a member of the WCG if":
1. you remember the day God decided women should not wear make-up and there was a serge of women jumping out of there chairs running to the bathroom to take their make-up off. (happened when I was about 6 years old and I think it happened at the feast if I remember correctly.)
2. you remember the day in church that God changed his mind about women wearing make-up and there was a serge of women getting up out of their chairs running to the bathroom to put their make-up on. (this took place when I was 16).
3. you were embarrased when the kids asked you why you were finally allowed to wear make-up and you couldn't come up with any excuse except "it's my 16th birthday".
4. you were not allowed to date unless you were in a "Group setting".
5. you were not allowed to kiss or hold hand if you were engaged in the church - the church members would sure talk if they caught you.
6. you remember crying cause your mom decided that church was not for her - you actually thought her life was over and you had thoughts of God pushing her into the lake of fire while you watched. You even went as far as to beg her to stay.
7. when you were at a teen dance you had to have a bible width between you and your partner - that was the measurement of the spine of the bible not just its thickness.
8. you remember going to the "Singles" room at the feast hoping there would be other young people your age to meet but instead all you saw were old lonely geezers who couldn't find anyone else to marry.
9. you remember turning 19 and being too old for YOU and too young for "singles" activities and just feeling lost.
10. you remember eating icing sandwiches for lunch at school or just potatoes for supper cause there was nothing left in the house - all the money we had went for tithes and offerings.
11. you remember every Saturday morning your dad would tell you to read the "Plain Truth" or do your "Bible lessons" and he would be asking you when you were done what you had learned. You weren't allowed to just play and be a kid.
12. you couldn't watch the yearly town parade that went by your house you had to close all the curtains and you got into trouble if you peaked out. Can you picture 4 kids listening to the bands go by, and imagining the floats and not being allowed to peak?
13. you were not allowed to date outside the church and unfortunately for you everyone that was your age in your church area you were related to.
Ah, what sweet memories, eh? Thanks Jenny.... We won't forget where we came from....
Re your website:
God has never killed anyone. It's the PEOPLE who caused all those deaths by doing everything wrong. God gave mankind free will to either choose to obey him & "choose life" or disobey him & "choose death" & man has been taught & forced in many ways to choose the way of death for all centuries, including today. EX: we have too many cars that kill millions of people because the capitalists say "we must create jobs" instead of eliminate jobs, so the wage is keeping us enslaved doing things & building everything wrong. We should have built only live/work towers connected to trains because that is the way of LIFE that God wants us to teach all nations, & that will happen soon, & it will destroy capitalism. Which is good, not bad. Then we'll be free indeed, free from too much work that kills, free from mowing lawns, repairing cars, repairing houses, free from school-slavery, & many ways. When we teach all nations to DO things right, then God will finally be in control & it will save lives. God gives life. But Satan misleads the world into the paths of death, & Satan will soon be destroyed. T&T are the answer for the future & it will be so great.S.Bartone
Ummm... Whose "god" are we speaking of, here? Must be yours....
Stay away from sharp objects.
11/30/04Mike,Now here is a website worth monitoring - the Freedom FROM Religion Foundation (FFRF): http://ww w.ffrf.org/fttoday/2004/janfeb/?ft=boltonAnd the above url links to an article worth reading - the U.S.A. is NOT a Christian nation.That's my kind of article.Bill FairchildPlainfield, IL30 NOV 2004
Yup! Good stuff! -- PT
A friend of mine with a Master of Science degree in mathematics, another Master of Science degree in computer science, and an extensive background in physics sent the following email to me. His name also and confusingly happens to be Mike.
[Begin inner email number 1]
Subject: Statistical Hypothesis
An hypothesis is a proposition that is consistent with known data, but has been neither verified nor shown to be false.
A null hypothesis is a statistical hypothesis that is tested for possible rejection under the assumption that it is true (usually that observations are the result of chance).
To reject an hypothesis is to conclude that it is false.
To accept an hypothesis is to recognize that there is insufficient evidence to reject it.
So if I hypothesize that "There is no god." Should I reject it or accept it?
[End inner email number 1]
I sent him the following reply:
[Begin inner email number 2]
I think you should accept it. And you should also reject the hypothesis "There is a god" as this proposition is not consistent with known data even though it has been neither verified nor shown to be false.
[End inner email number 2]
Then I got this reply and explanation from him:
[Begin inner email number 3]
... be aware that some might object to the use of statistical reasoning when applied to a non-population.
(i.e. there are no measurements to apply the test to.)
I also agree with you, but I constructed the null hypothesis in the negative, since that is consistent with the implicit assumptions of a null hypothesis, (i.e. there is no difference between ...)
[End of inner email number 3]
In order to think RATIONALLY about the above, a reader who is a true believer must suspend his true belief, aka "blind, unreasoning, mindless FAITH" for a moment.
My friend Mike claims that the proposition "There is no god" is consistent with known data. Is this claim correct? What known data do we have with which this proposition is consistent or inconsistent? Are there any eye-witness accounts that there is a god or that there is not a god? We have a 3,000-year-old statement in the Old Testament that Moses saw the back side of God. We also have many other written statements of things that certain people claim to have seen which most of us might disbelieve, like the 900-foot-high statue of Jesus supposedly seen by Oral Roberts a few years ago or the image of the virgin Mary in the cheese sandwich sold on eBay for $28,000 earlier this month. Then there are the 2,000-year-old statements in the New Testament that scores of people saw Jesus after he had been resurrected and had thus become God again. We have no way to corroborate these statements, and no one living now that I know of claims the same. We don't have any modern accounts of anyone's seeing, hearing, videotaping, or recording anything that God is credited with doing, such as answering prayers, blessing people, cursing people, sustaining the universe, working miracles, sending rain on the just and unjust, smelling the sweet savor of offered prayers, or causing the sleaziest and most corrupt of all humans to become a head of state [although I think a strong case could be made that this has happened many times in recent American history]. If God is doing these things, we have no visible proof or smoking gun, as it were. And we are unlikely ever to have such proof, either, since God is supposed to be invisible. So there is no known data with which the proposition "There is no god" is either consistent or inconsistent. Therefore the assumption that the proposition "There is no god" is consistent with known data is true.
Has this proposition been verified or shown to be false? No. If it had, then everyone on earth would either be true believers or else atheists, and such is certainly not the case. Therefore all assumptions of Mike's definition of "hypothesis" are fulfilled by his proposition.
If any reader can provide sufficient EVIDENCE to reject Mike's null hypothesis, then please send it in to the Painful Truth website's editor.
Faith does not constitute "evidence", by the way. Faith is a belief in something despite the lack of evidence to support the belief or in spite of evidence to reject the belief. E.g., if I believe that I can flap my arms and fly then this belief would be based on faith, since I have no evidence that I can fly and also have plenty of evidence that I cannot fly.
Let's see what kinds of evidence the mind-blown, evangelistic, true believer, Jesus freak, brainwashed readership can provide. Or what kinds of "known data" they can provide to challenge the assumption that my friend Mike's proposition is an hypothesis. In other words, are there any religious readers out there in cyberspace who can think RATIONALLY? Certainly Christians should be extremely rational, since the New Testament claims that God gives them the spirit of a SOUND MIND. If you want to see a good example of an self-professed Christian with an extremely UNSOUND MIND spewing forth mindless rantings, look back in this website's emails for all those sent in by a reader named PeaceUVLife.
30 NOV 2004
11/30/04Editor,, I was in that "church" 25 years. ( 1968 - 1995 )Your right on the money ED,I have been looking over you material for many years and have decided to write and thank you.Your closer to the truth about what God is or is not, than you might think. Religion is all about control and power. Its very sad. It's possible some of the bible is true, but also much of it is not,, and it does not matter,, so are other peoples writings true, or not.We use our brain and apply our conscience as best we can. Keep an open mind. I associate with a group of people numbering in the 3 + millions . We have no boss, no president, our only goal is to help each other. We take no money nor does anyone get rich from any activities. Each person is independent,no one is the "Boss". We do not preach anything, nor wish to convert anyone, we clean up our own side of the street. Just the flip side of WWCG, and the religionists. It is not about religion, the bible or "church".Questions I have always wondered about,where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I goinganswer,, why I am here,Shakespeare, was closer than I thought, the world is a stage and we are merely players,,( my experience, I only learn from pain, I don't like it, but I am better for it afterward )God and what's going on is way bigger than most ever remotely imagine, and that includes me for sure. We all find out,, " from",, "why" & "where" in about 70 to 80 years when our "time" as we perceive it, here is finished. ( Einstein's theory of relativity, and other physicists,,, time is relative and an illusion )Actually this is all an illusion,,,,,very elaborate, material isn't solid it just vibrates very fast and "feels" solid to our touch, Our 5 senses can be fooled in messaging our brain. We only see light as it viberates, and we don't see all light ( infared as example ). Its all about energies.Reality(s) is ( are) another state(s), not this one thank God, ,just try to ask anyone after "death", they dump the body in the ground. The traveler is gone from here, the body of chemistry changes as all material is continually doing. To much emphasis is placed on this trip, in ego and "stuff" we try to think we have. Its ok for now, its part of the "experience".The more I know the less I know,,, but I know I am,,,, and I am getting older now and my journey here is getting shorter, even given normal time spans for my dna family.We are all at different levels of understanding and growth, and growth and learning never stops if you don't want it to..We will talk again sometime, somewhere, my complements to your work and for standing up to the shit heads, where ever they may be.Moving on,,,,,,Sincerely;Don K___, Niagara Falls On, CanadaThanks for the nice words, Don... Keep learning and thinking, above all else. Don't let them pin ya down...
12/02/04Mike,I just discovered a "mirror" image of the Painful Truth website called "Watchers of the Watch Tower World". It is dedicated to helping ex-members of the Jehovah's Witnesses cult get over being mind-raped by their fraudulent leaders. Here's their url: http://www.freeminds.org/I read through some of the pages on this site and saw many similarities. I am not advocating spending a lot of time reading through their site, but I thought it might be useful to some to see that all cults are pretty much the same. The keeper of the website, a fellow named Randy Watters, has some interesting things to say about his own involvement with that cult: http://www.freeminds.org/history/watters.htm Reading some of what these people do to their true believers make me feel not so bad after all, sort of like when the unshod person meets a man with no feet.Bill FairchildPlainfield, IL02 DEC 2004
Dear Editor,I'm not tech savvy. I'd like to add to your list. I hope sending an e-mail to this address is the correct protocal. I apologize if it isn't? Is it possible to have my additions listed with my first name only or under a fake name like Sarah? There are still some vicious believers in the area where my family lives.Anyhoo,You know you were raised in the World Wide Church of God if .....Your father called your mother a Babylonian whore because she niether attended services nor allowed him to force the children to go.Your father once punched your mother in the stomach for buying a pie shell made with lard.Your mother was a drunk, a drug addict, and the sane parent. You and your siblings quaked if she had to work late.Your father made it such a habit to break into your apartment and search for "evidence" You had to pick up the phone in his presence, call the pollice and ask how to file a warrant.Your father once fired warning shots in the air behind two classmates who were attempting to get you to sneak out to an end of term school party. He then forced them to call the police and report themselves for attempting to break into his house.Well, they certainly aren't any sort of order. Hope you enjoy them anyway. I may post again if I think of more. Thanks for putting together this site. It's a regular exorcism.
Continued HereThanks, Terri.... We need these reminders .... We can never forget what the Truth of the Cult was and still is....
Hope all is well your way,
in 1972 it was 1900 years after the second temple was destroyed if you
realize that the date determined by historians of 70 ad is a little off
and 19 years later is the year 91 ad and is the year the book of
revelation was written what happened in 1972 or 1991 I don't know yet
Well... THAT certainly clears things up, now doesn't it?
I was prepared to say to you and yours "Happy Holidays and Happy New Year"... until I ran it past my lawyers, and this is what they recommended...
From me ("the wishor") to you ("the wishee"), please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We wish you a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2005, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that: This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal.
1.This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.
2.This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement the inferences contained in this correspondence.
3.This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain geographical locations.
4.This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably as may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.
5.The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.
P.S. Please keep up the good work, your site has been a real eye opener for me... Dave
Thanks Dave. It was for me too. Thanks for the chuckle here:)
12/10/04 -- From Neal the biker xtian doodI'm sorry that you feel Christianity is a fallacy. But what I'm more sorry about is the fact that you will be spending eternity burning in the lake of fire and regretting that you flipped God the bird. Unfortunately, your wife got involved with a denomination that was based on false teachings.Many people believe the bible is just a compilation of stories, but the New Testament was written quite soon after Christ's death in historical time. There were still eye witnesses alive who saw some of the things Christ did.I'm sure you don't believe in satan either, but why is Christianity the only religion that is being persecuted around the world? Here in our own country, you can get away with anything if done under the pretense of your religious beliefs: ie Islamic faith, Hinduism etc. We even alter our laws to appease these foreign religions, but try to do the same things as a Christian and all hell breaks loose. These practices against Christianity happen because Christianity is the ONLY religion based on truth which the devil does not want known.It's great to see an American(I presume) saying what he actually believes without being afraid he may "offend" some foreigner. The shame is that you're defending an opinion that is entirely false and will lead you to an eternity of torment. I pray that God will move in your life and open your eyes and mind and heart to the truth. He did for me, a drunken, dope addict biker. And now I live to serve Him. May God bless you and cause you to prosper in all that you endeavor to do.I will keep you inmy prayers.In His service,
Neal GaylorBikers for Christ - Detroit ChapterNeal,I am only sorry that you're so obviously superior to us thinking human beings, and yet so gullible.Have a great holiday season anyways, ok?Regards,PT Editor
Neal Responds:Oh yeah,
I'm not superior, I'm just saved! Would you like smoking or non-smoking for your place in eternity?
C'mon Neal! At LEAST be original with your insults!
Neal: Wasn't an insult, just a BAD joke. Biker sense of humor.
Ah...! Well then.... no worries!I like bikers AND their sense of humor <grin>.--PT
Neal: Also, it's quite hard to guage the emotion of a conversation without facial expressions, gestures, tonal inflections, etc. Communicating on the internet can lead to a LOT of misunderstanding. I guess that's what happened here. Take care.
Neal....Ok ...Sure... Let's chalk it up to bad communication, uh huh. I sure wouldn't want to think you were hoping I'd burn in hell forever. THAT's just not very christian, after all.Regardless of your original intent in writing me? I wish you well, christian biker guy.Ride safe.--PT
Neal: No, I wouldn't wish anyone to burn in hell. Quite the opposite, I'd rather be able to see you in Heaven. I'd rather see everyone there, even if they don't believe in such a place. That was the underlying intent of my first e-mail. To try and point you to the path to Heaven. My bad for being such an out spoken evangalist (not remotely related to the TV type). Just following the Great Commision of spreading the Gospel. I'm glad we could work this out intelligently without resorting to the kind of tactics used in our political system today. We can chalk it up to "we agree to disagree". I'm glad our paths crossed and hope that God blesses you abundantly in all you do. I find it refreshing to see an American who will voice his opinion without having to be politically correct.
Take care, and feel free to write to me whenever you want. Don't know if you'll ever have the need, but you can never have too many friends.
I'm writing with a few questions, but firstly I must thank you and Ed Senior (I think I've gleaned correctly that Ed Senior originated The Painful Truth and you are now the editor?) for greatly helping both me and my brother to find out what the hell our childhood was all about and assisting in freeing us from the snare of Armstrongism. My thanks are, I'm ashamed to say, much delayed as I have been using the site regularly for most of this year.
The Exit & Support Network site has also been a great help. However, having now virtually escaped Christianity it's a little dismaying to say the least to have that sinking feeling whenever a reference is made to them having now found the 'True Christianity'. It's like - all that effort and pain to get free from a controlling, manipulative and false religion and oops, still in one! So The Painful Truth is a real life saver for me as it has also helped me with my (ongoing) escape from religion in general.
I, along with my brother, was brought up under Armstrongism through the 70's, or as closer version of it as my dad could enforce with our unbelieving mum around. Although he never became a church member he was a co-worker and was infatuated by the doctrines, especially British Isrealism. (Although of course that term was not used.) Our family was divided with my dad and us on one side and mum on the other. At the time we were led to believe that our family was the only truly close family around and we had it right while all others had it wrong. Only now can I see that there was a terrible fracture down the middle, the damage having repercussions to this day.
We were never fully filled in on what it was all about at the time, I just remember knowing we were specially chosen by God, that pork was evil, Christmas was evil, Santa was Satan, the world was evil, anything our family didn't do and others did was evil. But we were specially set apart from the world. I remember mostly never knowing what I should do. I was also frustrated that I could never do or feel the way I should even though I tried my absolute hardest.
When I was a bit older I learned that dad had had a visitation from God one morning. While in bed a bright light appeared at the window and he became paralysed as a booming voice said "Quite right Mr Billingsley". Afterwards he was petrified and clung to mum who thought he'd gone mad. I asked him what the voice referred to and he said "some stuff I'd been reading" and I knew he meant Armstrong. Now I believe that he just had a very vivid dream brought on by Armstrong's conjuring, but all my early life I believed without question that it was a visitation from God.
Only now, having read thousands of words about the cult do I understand many things that went on during my childhood. The reasons for my dad's attitude are now understood. I never new about Petra and just how imminent Christ's arrival was though to be. Me and my brother have always felt robbed because we were never encouraged to grasp life, quite the opposite. We were intelligent, but were never encouraged to study or get an education. During our 20's we realised that we weren't prepared for adult life at all, weren't furnished with the tools to succeed or even survive. It was as if we were never expected to become adults at all. We would sit up many a night trying to work out what went wrong with us. Only now AT THIRTY SIX do I realise that that is exactly the case. We were never expected to grow up!
We both feel the damage that was done. We both feel something beyond shyness - like your personality slipping through the floor when confronted with strangers. We both have had to reconstruct some kind of working model to present to the world. I've watched my brother struggling with serious self-esteem, self image and relationship difficulties. Only now are we starting to feel some kind of self worth like we actually can claim a place in the world and to live for this life not the next.
In my middle teens I started to read the literature myself and even started the correspondence course. I totally believed without question at that time, but felt very guilty for not being able to adhere to the letter of the law. Thankfully dad never quite managed total compliance himself to all the rules and regulations. However he had his own direct line to God of course, so whatever he did or didn't do was OK. We never had that luxury. We were chosen only by proxy.
In my late teens, at the time I was reading Armstrong's autobiography, I happened upon a book in the library that mentioned Elron Hubbard. As Armstrong had written how he had admired him and gone to meet him etc. I read the section about him. I read in shock the word 'Cult' and as I read the unfavourable comments about Hubbard alarm bells started to ring. I never finished Armstrong's autobiography. I remember before having thoughts such as when Armstrong's son left the church, (that's what I was told!) if I didn't KNOW in my heart that Armstrong was right I would suspect that Garner Ted knew something we didn't. Now however doubt started to linger in the background.
I could never escape the feeling though that I was moving further away from my true calling in life and being led astray by a desire to live my own life when I should have been forsaking my life for God. In my early 20's I was struggling to make it as a songwriter and became very depressed, religious confusion ran riot. I became worried about having this 'special knowledge' that was seeming like a curse. I was mentally weakened from a lack of sleep and I became distressed with a notion that other people had no knowledge of the truth and were therefore exempt from the trials of refraining from sin. I on the other hand would suffer horrors because I was let in on the purpose of it all yet was still not living a godly enough life. It seemed as if to seek out the truth (by reading Armstrong) was a form of greed and I was paying for it. Anyway I ended up having a serious breakdown with psychotic elements and was on medication for clinical depression for many years after.
I've since had therapy which has been helpful in straightening out my thoughts and over the last couple of years I've made great headway by finding out a lot about Armstrong and finally seeing that my life had been based on an unhealthy delusion.
At last I feel free to live my life.
This brings me to one of my questions. Although I've read a lot about Armstrong and the WCG I haven't quite got to the bottom of what he was. I know he was one of the following.
1. Badly delusioned but mentally healthy,
2. Insanely delusional,
3. Criminal and mentally healthy or
4. Criminally insane
.but I can't determine which one. I'd like to know for my own peace of mind exactly what he was. Were his motives criminal or delusional? Can you point me to any knowledge which is decisive? Some sub-questions to this include:
Regarding Armstrong's daughters. Apparently they were each disfellowshiped from the church for wearing make up. They then remained 'unconverted' yet still in Armstrong's favour? This seems incredible to me when I was trapped under Armstrongism for years all the way over in Liverpool, England, because of my father. Yet they were free from it even though it was their own father who was the keeper of these incredible truths and revelations. This seems to me one indication that it was all a criminal scam, because it seems he gave his daughters an easy way out, i.e. the make up doctrine, so that they didn't need to bother themselves with keeping up churchly appearances and could get on with leading a normal life. Same goes for Ted hopping off to get all tattooed in the navy. How could he doubt those amazing truths about God's plan for mankind? Especially when his own father was the messenger. I never doubted for an instant due to my fathers 'vision'! How come no alarm bells rang around the church about these things?
Regarding Suzanne Black's testimony, is it widely regarded as true and are there any other of Herbert's alleged 'special ladies' that have come forward and verified it?
Another general question is regarding David Robinson. How could he have written such a revealing book (which I'm still trying to acquire) about the cult and yet continue to follow the doctrines all his life? This really perplexes me. A lot of my research has been to unravel the falsity of the doctrines to prize myself free from the 'truths' I was convinced Armstrong had. How could David Robinson know so much about the bad character of Armstrong, but still remain convinced of his doctrines?
Yet another question (just to get it all in the one tidy e-mail, sorry it's so long!)
How come this site is so hard on ex-ministers? I know the 'only following orders' excuse doesn't wash, but surely the ministers where the most deceived and used of all? They put their entire lives, including their careers, into this sad, delusional farce. Surely all they were left with was a worthless degree and a worthless resume? Don't they deserve some pity too? We only have one life, what a complete waste of so many years.
Next question: Are there any other reports of 'visions' such as my father's within the church, or is this quite unusual?
Finally my last and most important question:
My dad stopped receiving church material after the changes started to kick in. I don't think he's in touch with any offshoots, which are mostly in America. But Armstrong is still very much his idol. We have had a somewhat strained and awkward relationship since my late teens and have never talked about Armstrong since. He knows nothing about how me and my brother feel as we've not yet had the heart to confront him about it. Now that I've discovered the truth behind Armstrong the big question for me is how do I tell my dad? Should I tell him? Will he even believe it? I'm basically afraid of it doing more harm than good. For me the truth about Armstrong is an amazingly emancipating thing. Also my brother and I have felt great relief at finding that there are others out there because we were so isolated. For our dad however it is quite a different situation. I think he has gained a lot of comfort over the years believing he is part of God's (Armstrong's) great plan and that he is in possession of great hidden truths. I'm not sure how he would react if he came to see that he has been wrong all this time. It's bad enough for us looking back with regret at how much better things could have been. He has also found himself at the age of 64 without a pension and having to work for at least another 5 years. I imagine that the bitterness might well be too much to bear. At the same time I want him to experience the freedom that me and my brother now feel and maybe we can all have a proper relationship at last.
I am considering preparing a sort of dossier of evidence including books and printouts from web sites to convince him of the truth behind Armstrong. But I need to determine if it is the best thing to do. Is it possible that it could be better for him to remain unaware?
I know its difficult and probably too subjective a situation to give an answer to, but I'm hoping to gain some perspective from your experience, and if you post this email I would like to my email address included in case others may like to offer advice.
Me and my brother would be very grateful for any perspective or advice people can offer.
Once again, thank you for running this site. It has been immeasurably important to me.
JohnB, Crewchief replies:
Thanks for the letter and the kind words. It helps to know that people are occasionally helped by what they read at Painful Truth.
Actually, I'm not the editor. Mike Minton picked up the traces when Ed retired, and he does all the hard work. I write an occasional article and that's about it. I get to go home at night while Mike burns the midnight oil.
You mentioned the Exit & Support Network...I don't want to denigrate anyone who is helping cult survivors, but I will say that I was in contact with one of the founders of ESN back in 1994 (before the website went up), and after only a few conversations it was clear to me that I wanted no part of it. Sometimes it's easy to see why a person gets sucked into a cult -- they need it -- and when they leave one cult they look for another. I saw obsessive behavior and am not surprised that ESN has become, as you put it, "True Christianity". Ugh.
Your description of your childhood, and the feelings you had growing up in WCG, are terrifying. You in Liverpool, I in California, a thousand others around the world...same feelings, same fears, same regrets. In your case it was your dad, in my case it was my mom, but in either case, without the parent's insistence, we would not have been there. Herbert's power was evenly spread across the globe, and still controls thousands from his grave today. (Just like Mohammed -- Herbert's "holy men" can make people do pretty much anything they want by invoking Herbert's name. Perhaps they should call themselves Imams instead of Elders; "Today's sermon will be brought to you by Mister Ayatollah Pack, a Preaching Imam in god's church."
It's good that you and your brother have each other, and that you both see things the same way. More often one sibling gets out and the other stays in, causing dissension in the family. Of course that's the situation you face with your dad, so you know what I'm talking about.
Now to address your specific questions: I'm afraid I don't have the kind of inside information you may think I do. John Trechak of Ambassador Report perhaps could have answered these questions, but he is unfortunately deceased. I can give you my opinion in some cases, but that is by no means a definitive answer.
Question 1: Was Armstrong crazy (or one of four combinations of evil)?
If there was an "all of the above" option, I would probably select it. But some of the options you listed are mutually exclusive, so that won't work.
I don't think Herbert was delusional at any time. He was all about making money and had no scruples whatsoever in that regard. His Autobiography tells how destitute he became during the Great Depression, how he tried several business ventures that failed, and how his wife had begun to study with a small, weird Christian sect. Herbert says he was outraged at the idea of his wife keeping the sabbath, and set out on a fanatical 6-month study to "prove" the sabbath was "done away". According to him, he proved just the opposite, and began to observe it himself.
Okay, there are no survivors from that story to verify how much of it was true or what Herbert was really trying to prove -- or even if he actually did a 6-month study (he probably did, because you can't construct intricate doctrines such as he did without some intensive heads-down concentration). What we do know is that Herbert began to preach for a living, and was "blessed" (i.e., they didn't starve).
In my opinion, Herb had discovered an industry that couldn't be shut down. When the days are darkest, people take refuge in their faith (thinking it will somehow make things better); and they ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR IT!! So, even when times are tight, a preacher can get by, and when times are good, a preacher can get rich. Herbert had found his audience, and with his advertising background, he knew how to appeal to people's anxieties. Put the two together, and you've got fear religion. It sustained him for the next 50 years, made him a millionaire many times over, and allowed him to die with all his appetites sated. That's all he ever wanted.
So, in the beginning he was probably 3 (Criminal and mentally healthy), and evolved over time into 4 (Criminally insane). But I don't think he was ever delusional about his religion. He was simply amoral.
Question 2: What about Armstrong's kids?
That always was a bit curious, wasn't it? Here is god's end-time apostle, the man with all the answers, the man who tells YOU how to raise your kids, and yet his own kids do pretty much as they please. Maybe that alone should have been a red flag for anyone thinking of joining Herbert's cult. But those daughters were almost never mentioned inside the church. I think the general membership was completely unaware of any financial arrangements or payments made to the Armstrong girls, and the few who did know probably assumed it wasn't any of their business.
Why did Herbert let the girls go so easily? He knew he couldn't stop them, and if he tried, they had some stories to tell that he did NOT want his members to hear...ten years of rape and incest. The one daughter in particular could have sent Herbert to prison if she wanted to. He had no power over those girls at all, once they became adults.
Question 3: Suzanne Black.
I confess, that name sounds distantly familiar, but at the moment I'm drawing a blank. Who is Suzanne Black?
Question 4: David Robinson.
I share your puzzlement. I've never met Robinson but I did read his book, and he was quite sincere. It pained him to see the man god had chosen "fall away" from his own teachings. Somehow Robinson never put the rest of it together, that Herbert was not a "fallen" man, but a "phony" man. And logically, of course, his religion had to be phony as well. All I can tell you is that, as we were taught to "prove all things", Robinson no doubt felt he had seen the proof of Herbert's teachings; they made sense to him, so he continued to follow them, even though the man who created them had developed feet of clay.
Question 5: ex ministers.
I can only speak for myself here, since I did not found the site and I don't run it. I do, however, agree with the policy of demanding an apology for any ex minister who wants to hang around here. While it is true that many ministers were also deceived, a great many more were not. I generally exempt the local church elders (LCE) because most of them were ordained from the ranks and were usually (but not always) sincere men. But anyone Pastor rank and above had to know that something was wrong, whether they knew the full extent of it or not.
Whatever the case, anyone who stood in front of a podium and preached or repeated any of the garbage that Armstrong taught was guilty of deceiving innocent people. For that they need to apologize. A few have done so, and a great many refuse to do so. They were, you see, only following orders. Or they believed it too, and were also victims. Or they didn't know it was a lie.
Well, you know what? A crime committed in ignorance is still a crime. A death caused unintentionally is still a death. In their protestations of innocence one can easily see their guilt. An innocent man is not afraid to apologize for any accidental indiscretions, but a guilty man will proclaim his innocence until he receives immunity.
They get no immunity here.
Do they deserve pity? As a rule, I would say no. Those who knew it was a fraud and were riding the gravy train are actually felons, committing a "legal" crime. If they end up homeless in their old age, it's only poetic justice.
Question 6: your dad's vision.
Yikes! I'm surprised he got away with that one. Did he actually tell his minister about it? Visions were pretty much taboo in WCG. Anyone who had a vision was believed to be demon-influenced. The Sunday preachers had visions, spoke in tongues, and made dire prophecies, but god's "true" church did not. (Except for Herbert, of course, who had a vision back around 1928 or so.) All truth was "revealed" to the membership through the church; we were not supposed to be having any intimate conversations with god. But maybe, since god merely told your dad he was in the right place, they let that one go. If god had told him that he was in the right place but that tithing was bad, however, they would almost certainly have disfellowshipped him as demon-possessed.
Question 7: Should you tell your dad?
That is indeed the biggest question of all. Many factors come into play, including your dad's age and all the things you mentioned. If your dad is not being harmed by his belief (not sending in money, not required to donate a lot of time, etc) then he might be just as happy not knowing.
In my own case, when I quit I was prepared for a pitched battle with my mother, who had been the driving force behind my cult involvement; she had many weapons at her disposal to keep me in line. She might use any or all of them, but I was not going to be reversed.
I told her I was quitting.
She asked me why.
I had learned a number of things about the church that I hadn't known before.
Where did I learn this?
I had a stack of materials.
She wanted to read them.
A week later, after reading most of the stuff I gave her, her response was: "Well, looks like Armstrong was quite a charlatan, wasn't he?"
That was it. She was convinced. And then she confided to me that she hadn't always believed everything they taught, anyway. She knew they weren't infallible.
(That made me furious! My mother had taught me my whole life that Herbert was the true end-time dude. And now, when I'm 44 years old, she admits she didn't really think so all along? Then why didn't she tell me they were prone to mistakes? But that's another story.)
There's no telling how your dad will react. Since he had his vision, it's unlikely he'll believe you or your documentation.
The truth may not emancipate your father as it has you and your brother. Quite the opposite, if he should actually see the light and realize how he deprived his sons, he might feel a crushing guilt. But at least he would understand (hopefully) why you rejected his religion.
It's a tough decision. I wish you and your brother success in making it.
Sorry for the confusion about who's the editor. I understand now. I can't reiterate enough how grateful I am that you are keeping this site online. Really got me out of a hole. You see my family were never actually 'in' the church. My dad had the 'visit' from two ministers, but never got to feeling worthy enough to actually get baptised, although he was a co-worker. We didn't even know if there was a church in Liverpool. So we were a little cult of a cult with our only contact being the literature. Meaning my brother and me were totally ALONE in this until I found The Painful Truth site. We are proof of the fact that you didn't even have to physically attend the church to have your family messed up by it. The poison is in the doctrines.
Thanks for forwarding my email to John B.
12/20/04 -- CongratsActually, "Thanks" would better define my subject for this note, but I want to congratulate you (all) who are providing this site. I look forward to spending time delving into all the articles, Ambassador Report, etc., but that will be time I must arrange for myself without the typical interruptions of life.I hope Betty J. Brogaard keeps up with comments because I truly enjoyed the article I just read, posted as the lead-in currently on your site. Her time in the WCG/AC arena (!) coincided a good deal with mine. Though I'm not sure she and I met, I did know Fred who graduated a year before I did. We would have known each other much better had his name not been scratched from the inaugural Big Sandy campus roster, because I began my AC "education" in the fall of 1964 at the Texas campus.AMEN (I speak as a fool) to the clarity and descriptive honesty in the many deeply personal revelations made by Mrs. Brogaard. Most of all, my sincere compliments to her for moving from religion to reason. My own writing, as yet unpublished, centers on this need for reason to prevail in the lives of individuals, with some distant, desperate hope that all humanity might eventually live by reason.Enough at this time, but please accept the thanks and appreciation of a former WCG minister. I trust your site will help many.Mark Manning (formerly S___, AC class of 1968)P.S. The name change was not "to protect the innocent," but merely to make it easier to work in film and TV.
Thank you Mark, and I'm sure Betty will read this and also appreciate your kind words. Anytime you feel the urge to write and help the younger folks still in the Cult, let me know.
I kept your name anonymous, but if you'd like me to correct this, let me know also.
Be well in your free future,
12/23/04 -- About your Sept EditorialWhich I just read (Are You All Messed Up On Jesus?). Your views about God are even more fully relfected in the following book :The New Revelations. A Conversation With God by Neale Donald WalschI can promise you, you will not be disappointed with this book.---------------
Hi, I'm "mal" 35 male from Winnipeg Canada. Around 1992 Colin Wallace (minister) made me cut off my shoulder length hair and I started attending the WCG Winnipeg Cult.
I left around 1995 when WCG was moving away from HWA-cult and going towards Jesus-cult.
I occasionaly visit your site throughout the year...christmas is a difficult time and I've been spending more time on your site.
I can't embrace xmas even in a non religious family gathering perspective. I just found the 2003 news that WCG received $3 Million from PCG for HWA's writings. Those f'n WCG always talking out of both sides of their mouth- claiming how evil HWA's teachnings are but then selling them!!!! Well that "news" made me want to study cults more online.
I've since read about Jonestown Massacre and HWA offshoot cults.
I consider myself a humanist not athiest. I struggle with prayer as it once was comforting but 10 years after WCG I havent figured out what to say instead of god when i pray errr umm I
mean like who do I direct the prayers to?....
I like the idea of abolishing religion throughout the world but realize the imposibility. Rather One-world religion as a means to peace is something I can get behind...not that I want to worship anywhere but it would give those that "need" religion their much needed cruch to prop them up. It may require certain force to impose a one-world religion but it
can't be worse than 1000's of years of holy wars & cult deaths.
I got my Lutheran mother into WCG and she still attends (grrrrrr) I hope she gets internet soon so I can send her your site and others exposing the WCG & jesus myth
Hang in there, Mal. Read, learn, become a student. They don't like smart slaves...
12/27/04 Dearest BradfordDear Mr. Editor with no last name due to Christian murder threats:I am sorry that you are like the author of the Islamic book of a decade or so ago who had to remain hidden to protect his life because of the "truth" he wrote about Islam.
I am also sorry that your life and the life of the young lady who wrote the newly published book (I will not name her either for threats she may receive) has had to take (by your choice of course) such a negative slant. I do hope you have another life.
There is only so much any human can do to rectify or get "pass" the past. It would appear, to me, that despite the obvious passion, the desire to proclaim objectivity and the desire to continue the crusade against all the remaining trappings, table scraps, and residue of Herbert Armstrong and the WCG as it was before this miraculous change since around 1995- the present time, you and yours have gotten a bit over the edge on this whole US federal prosecutor indictment of HWA, et.al.
Once the old horse has been not only beat to death, stomped on, gutted and cut up into a million unrecognizable pieces, to continue to harp and harp and harp on what has already been resolved (maybe not for you or the atheist author lady on a personal level) just gets in the abnormal psychology...surely to the degree you paint the way things were in WCG and Radio Church of God.
The OAQL (only asked question left) for you is: When does this all end? May God (or the force of life that drives the change process of the continually evolving universe) give you a way out of this obsession and over-the-top reaction to what you perceive to be the entity that has robbed your life of precious time, energy and vitality.
Here's hoping, as stated above, that you can get a life.If you wish to call me about this, my cell phone is ***-***-****...I really would like to help you and yours.Bradford Rosenquist
Dearest Bradford Rosenquist,I so enjoy receiving compassionate and understanding email from the Christian Gang out there, and especially from the WCG+ bunch. You are, right?And, since it is after all -- the "giving season", I'll take a moment to give you a few minutes of my extremely valuable time and set you the fuck straight, because you are in dire need of calibration.You said: "Dear Mr. Editor with no last name due to Christian murder threats:"Now now. Christians would never ever ever threaten anyone would they? Your sarcastic tone is duly noted."I am sorry that you are like the author of the Islamic book of a decade or so ago who had to remain hidden to protect his life because of the "truth" he wrote about Islam."No. I don't think you are, and I really don't think you know anything about the Editor's situation at that time, chump."I am also sorry that your life and the life of the young lady who wrote the newly published book (I will not name her either for threats shemay receive) has had to take (by your choice of course) such a negative slant."Young lady who wrote the newly published book, huh? You are really exploiting your own ignorance. If you are referring to Betty Broggard, then rest assured that her writing is her own, and NOT "by my choice...negative" and that she is NOT too awful-damned worried about being anonymous. That lady has more class, Dearest Bradford, in a single gleam of her eye, than you will ever know yourself."There is only so much any human can do to rectify or get "pass" the past. It would appear, to me, that despite the obvious passion,the desire to proclaim objectivity and the desire to continue the crusade against all the remaining trappings, table scraps, and residue of Herbert Armstrong and the WCG as it was before this miraculous change since around 1995- the present time, you and yours have gotten a bit over the edge on this whole US federal prosecutor indictment of HWA, et.al."
"this miraculous change since around 1995- the present time"Miraculous change. You have got to be kidding me, right? Right? "Miraculous"???? Honey? Hand me a mint --- Dearest Bradford has made me feel faint...There's nothing miraculous about a bunch of scum-sucking conmen evangelists hustling people for their lives and happiness, their money; maintaining their table scraps of coin is ALL it's about, Dear Bradford. It's all about money, and if you choose to find something "miraculous" in THAT, then well.... You aren't just in need of calibration, but a complete DNA drain and refill."Once the old horse has been not only beat to death, stomped on, gutted and cut up into a million unrecognizable pieces, to continueto harp and harp and harp on what has already been resolved (maybe not for you or the atheist author lady on a personal level) just gets in the abnormal psychology...surely to the degree you paint the way things were in WCG and Radio Church of God.The OAQL (only asked question left) for you is: When does this all end? "Ah! The Good News of the World Tomorrow for YOU Dearest Bradford, is that... it won't ever end. Ever. There are young people out there right now who look for something, anything approaching Truth about the Herb, his sons, his daughter, the Cult, the Spitoff PCG's, LCG's, etc. There are folks who need to know that they are not alone in their thoughts that they are being used, Bradford.... Abused.... They are being sold a bill of goods and the rules change to fit the Seller. That people can be fearful, weak, worried, and even hopeful and wishing for God and salvation --- these things are used by the Cultmasters to maintain their control on their table-scraps of flock.For, you see, these cultmasters from the RCG days to the present do not promote Christianity. They do not "Do Unto Others." They seek not to aid the poor and downtrodden: they seek slaves. That is all. It is that simple, Dear Brad. Slaves to work out in the field -- slaves faithfully sending in the fruit of their labor to HQ...So don't come hither and preach at moi about the "miracle" of 1995-present. It's no damn different a con than it was in earlier years, and I will keep harping on it, and slapping YOU in the face with it, as long as I can, because it HELPS innocent people to know what a game is being played on them." May God (or the force of life that drives the change process of the continually evolving universe) give you a way out of this obsession and over-the-top reaction to what you perceive to be the entity that has robbed your life of precious time, energy and vitality."Gee, thanks, Bradford! That's about the nicest thing you've ever ever said to me. (You really must drop this idea that it is "over-the-top", though. You haven't SEEN me "over the top" yet.)"Here's hoping, as stated above, that you can get a life."Aw, man! Just when I thought we were about to bond a little.... Sigh.Ok... Some more calibration for you then:My name is Mike Minton, and I am the current PT Editor. Ed Mentell Sr. created this website and retired from it's daily workings last year (2003) and asked me to pick it up. JohnB is the Resident Crew Chief and is a good guy but just might kick your ass if ya move his attitude wrong.I don't care if folks know my name. I DO care if they know where I live, though: they might come by and start bumming beer, and that I can't afford. As far as threats go? I don't really care. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and know where to bury the bodies.So... In conclusion, let me offer you one final piece on how I feel about the Herbs, the GTAs, the Gerald Flurrys, the Pat Robertsons, the Jim and Tammy Fayes, the Swaggarts, all the rest of the teeming masses of "God's True Churches".....They are ALL, each and every one of them, sick and twisted vampires who feed off their own flock for their own gain, and they should be staked to the ground and burned. Symbolically, ok? I'm not advocating this as a rational course of action.But they do not promote education, reason, research, freedom, being an individual and a Good Person to their Fellow Man. They are, by nature, narrow and mean, and controlling and they want more slaves.I are not one, and this website is here to help tell people it's ok NOT to be a slave, but to be free. REALLY free.Bradford? It's ok (even a good thing) to be a christian. It's not ok to be a crook.Regards,Mike MintonPT Editor
Dear Bradford replies:Dear Editor:All I know is that anger at this level, as evident in your reactive response and the choice of words (that being a matter of vocabulary choice that would represent a greater appreciation for the English language than gutter speak), demonstrates, as I said at the beginning and the end of the few choice words I directed to your website, is not rational. It is the same kind of anger that fosters the justification that we see every day in Iraq. It is the anger that foments hate and encourages the minimally informed and ignorant to lash out in expressions of murder and mayhem. "All of this is done so that Allah may be praised."I sure hope you aren't so far gone that you really believe your actions will end with a huge number of virgins in paradise.The facts are not a part of your diatribe. The venom certainly drips from your condemnations.It has been said by many sages of the past that the critic is often expressing his or her own inadequacies, guilty of the same thing criticized in others. I hope this is not true for you. How many are you inadvertantly leading down the primrose path?Right along with just plain anger is the very evident characteristic of meanness. Just plain unkindness and rudeness.The fact that you cannot take a few words of comment without coming off so negatively is another indication of where you and yours are.I would much rather see you and your fellow website comrades enjoy life as it is available than to have to spend the rest of your life pursuing shadows, memories, and fantacies. What happened, happened. It is no longer anything like that anymore.AC does not exist. There is no Auditorium, headquarters as you seem to believe it to be no longer exists, or money demands of any sort. Give it a rest...Herbert Armstrong, his sons and many of the original folks at AC are dead. That's what is the core of your hatred and pursuit.We hate legalism of any sort. But, we don't hate you or the legalists.I hope you will at least give yourself the chance to see past the anger to the possibility that your current basis for condemnation is a great deal dated.Take care and may God open your eyes to the huge changes that actually have taken place.Respectfully,
Dearest Bradford,"Give it a rest...Herbert Armstrong, his sons and many of the original folks at AC are dead. That's what is the core of your hatred and pursuit."You obviously missed your reading comprehension classes in school.You also fail to understand this very basic concept: You don't come here to the PT site and give orders.YOU don't have all (if any) of the answers. YOU haven't read the website and YOU don't have any idea (obviously) what wrongs have been committed against the followers of Herbie and Etc. and what's at the core of it all is to help folks escape the brainwashing from folks....just...like....you, Dearest Bradford.You're another of the Herbie Brain Dead Society. Go off and give to Flurry. Do something wonderful for Tkach or David Pack. See if I give a rip.In the meantime? You don't like the PT site?Good. But the word is getting out, Bradford, and many more are seeing the original Herb and Son and the Spitoffs for the shuffling fakes and crooks they are.I know this fact bothers you, and I love it.--PT Editor
Dear Bradford replies:Dear Sir:I have taught reading for the past 35 years in three separate school systems from tutoring 5 and 6 year olds in limited English speaking classes to English composition in Junior college.Part of reading is learning to read between the lines. That is where the desperate degrees of anger and vindictiveness lie.You need help as does anyone who would give their lives to trying to destroy that which no longer exists.Take Care.Again, repectfully with deepest concern for your mental and emotional well-being.Bradford Rosenquist.
Bradford,Ah! Written communications are your forte, then.Then read this and comprehend what lies between the lines: IT still exists. The Game is still on, the con keeps rolling. The Cultmasters still want slaves. Nothing is new under this sun, Dear Bradford -- only the names change.You are completely free to continue to wear those cute blinders if ya wish, of course.Your concern for my mental health is appreciated, Bradford, but really unwarranted. They let me out of the Big House twice a month now, and only rarely do I see those spiders anymore.
Anything else we need discuss?PT Editor
Here's a comment on Peter Griffiths' brilliant brain droppings:
He said "The fool has said in his heart there is no God. This is what God says."
I found the following opposite statement in my Bible: "The fool has said in his heart "I believe whatever I read in the Bible without bothering to check into how, when, where, or WHY it was written."" [1 Fairchild 1:1]
Anatole France, the French writer and critic who lived from 1844 to 1924, said the following: "If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." What if one billion people believe a foolish thing? It is still a foolish thing, although with that many fools all around you there might be a few problems if you try to talk to them about the foolish thing they all believe. Some of them might even try to kill you in order to "protect" their foolish belief.
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