The Painful Truth


Does your minister know where you are?

Email To The Editor
(Page 94)


Editor's note: the following email is published exactly as it was received. 

8/17/06

I am just writting to tell you how terriable I find your website and the horriqable things your saying about Herbert W Armstrong. I think you should actually read and study his writings and you will be able to see hi right. I am mad that you would call the wog a cult, for over 50 years they where used by God to do a great work and you totally bag them. It is sicken

From Mark

Dear Mark,

Thank you for expressing your opinion.  Your letter speaks volumes.

 

8/19/06

I was quite impressed with A. C. McCann's article "The Jesus of Peter vs. The Christ of Paul. I would, however, have appreciated it much more if he (or she) had included references that could be substantiated. Does the author have an email address or could you pass this on to him or her? I have long believed or at least suspected that the writer's conclusions are based on fact.
 
Thanks much,
Betty Brogaard

I totally agree, Betty.  Mr. McCann's article is more logical than anything else I've read on the subject.  You email him from his own website, http://home.earthlink.net/~corkymc/index.html, or email him directly at corkymc@earthlink.net.

 

I do not visit your sight but a couple of times a year.  I find it difficult to deal with the emotional pain caused by years of abuse, both mental and physical, set upon me and my siblings.  We not only experienced it from our parents but from other members of the church. Our family has been a member family since the early sixties.  I left the church in 1981 as a birthday celebration gift to myself. (My first birthday gift since I was age two.)  I grew up around a strange lot of people....some of the finest members of the spokesman club you might ever want to meet. (pure cynicism)  Of all eight of us kids I am the outcast.  My father and I now speak, albeit rather guardedly when it comes to religion.  My mother kicked him out of the home because of his drinking....something that took her a good 40 years to recognize.  I do not have any good words or thoughts regarding the WWCOG or whatevr they may call themselves these days.  They are a distructive, self centered lot.  They destroy families.  They destroy family financies....weren't we to give everything to the church back in '72 because we were going to the place of safety?  And then again....oops financial error...you are a member pay up....what no food for the little kiddies????....just pray to HWA, he will take care of everything.

Thank you for allowing me to blow of steam.

Michelle

You are entirely welcome, Michelle.  This is a perfect place for blowing off steam, so feel free to do so any time.  Thanks for reading The Painful Truth.

 

8/24/06

On the home page (I assume it is the home page) it asks the question, has anyone ever seen a cat on Ambassador College? 
Yes, I have, and I petted said cat, who then shared some of his or her fleas with me.
 
Regards;
 
Bill Hohmann 
AC 72-76

Thanks for that report, Bill.  It's gratifying to know that at least one feline escaped the tribulation brought about by the floggers!

 

9/02/06

Hi
I have recently completed a book, entitled Flying Free, on my journey in and later out of the Worldwide Church of God.
I am asking if you could set up a link on the Painful Truth site to the Flying Free Website: www. flyingfree.zoomshare.com/ . Naturally I am happy to put a link on my site to the Painful Truth.
Gavin Rumney has a book review on the Amb assadorWatch site, which may also help show where Flying Free is coming from.
Below is a standard letter I have sent to some members and ex-members of the Worldwide Church of God.
Please let me know if you need any further information.
Regards
John Morgan

It's our pleasure to provide the link, John.  Here's hoping lots of people read the book and benefit from it.

One thing I forgot to say in the previous email is I love the site, and I appreciate the critical role that the Painful Truth and Ambassador Report have played down through the decades of the sorry Armstrong saga.
Thanks for that too.
John

Again, it's our pleasure.

 

9/11/06

Editor's note: The following "letter" was first posted at the PT Forum.

   
I just read John's article of this thread's title, on the webpage.  It's a very interesting and well written piece.  If you haven't, give it a peek.

I have some conflict with the premise.  It's so much easier to talk about being open minded than it is to be so.  We really can't step out of our bodies and observe ourselves from a disinterested person's viewpoint.  John gives some suggestions regarding how to "get er' done", but it would be quite a feat to master.  This is an exaggeration but imagine Archie Bunker trying to look at himself as Martin Luther King would have seen him.  How about Liberace or Mother Theresa?

We're just as accustomed to ourselves as fish are to water.  I'm pretty sure a fish has no idea that it's living a life in water just as we don't realize the part of our existence that's so ingrained as to be invisible.  Our bigotry, prejudice, ignorance and all the other short-comings are hidden there.  Much of it is probably imbedded in our sub-conscious mind.  It's the stuff that moulds our separate realities.  Too bad we can't have "an open-minded sub-conscience".  There's the rub.

Here's a concrete example of what's FUBAR.  The pilot-in-command of an aircraft, has over ten-thousand hours of flight time.  His co-pilot has accumulated but five-hundred.  The crew-chief in the back, has around five-thousand.  They are bopping along, fat-dumb-and-happy, when the low-rpm warning audio goes off - Bleep!, Bleep!, Bleep!.

Both rotor and engine tachometers indicate a 10% drop and they are continuing to fall.  The PIC assumes they've had an engine failure and enters auto-rotation.  They were at 2,000 feet and now have but forty seconds to select a suitable landing area.

During the descent, the co-pilot tries to tell the PIC that a governor malfunction might well be the culprit.  Moving the governor-switch to the emergency position might well restore power and eliminate the possibility of a smoking-hole below. 

The PIC is so focused on proper air-speed, the landing zone and descent-path that he's nearly enraged at the co-pilot's mumbling suggestions, during the critical middle of the emergency.  The CP is told to shut-up, stay off the controls and lock his shoulder harness.  The CP is pissed but does as he is told, halfway wishing that the PIC fucks it up, without killing him.

Mr. PIC completes a successful autorotation to a farmer's pasture and get's ready to lambaste the impudent and inexperienced CP, for having the gall to question his interpretation of the emergency. 

One big problem.  Once stable on the ground, the CP puts the governor switch to the emergency position and rolls the throttle up.  The engine responds in kind and settles at 6600 rpm, which is the normal operating speed.  It wasn't an engine failure.  Just a governor malfunction. 

Our valiant PIC just risked everyone's life because he was not open-minded enough to listen to his crewmembers.  He was pre-disposed that way and probably couldn't have acted any differently, even had he been briefed to do so.  In his mind, he was infallible regarding his analysis of emergency situations.

The big problem was that Mr. PIC had forgotten that "who is right" should always take a back-seat to "what is right".  The difference can kill you.

What's maddening is the absolute fact that we all have our own reality.  Most of us don't have it nailed down with the universe, but we figure we're right, anyway.  None of us always are, of course, but that doesn't keep us from being livid with those who forcefully disagree with us.  Human nature. 

Isn't that why the libs/cons, catholics/protestants, Islamics/Jews etc., can be so sincere and so friggin' convinced that they (whoever) are in the right?  They all have their own reality and really don't have much choice in the matter.  It's who they've built themselves to be.

I sometimes wonder how I ever shucked the Worldwide Church of God.  Must have opened my mind just a tad. :)

Ron    

 

 9/14/06

Thank you for the Open Mind article. Any attempt to get people to use the most
precious thing they own is to be applauded.
 
Unfortunately, the general COG audience has had their minds damaged by the
experience of indoctrination. It was to the benefit of religious leaders throughout history
to make followers mistrust their own minds. Leaders have to be looked up to to have
power. Faith is actually trusting in the superiority of others.
 
When I came out of the Worldwide Church of God after 25 years I learned a new word: misology. It is the
hatred of arguing, reasoning or enlightenment. There are a number of Biblical verses
that support the word. We in the cult were steeped in them:
 
"Take every thought captive..."
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise."
"Don't rely on your own insight."
"Let us reason together." (Guess who comes out on top in that exercise.)
"Let him become a fool..."
 
These statements all go to make folks mistrust their own minds. No one in the Bible is
praised for being intelligent or logical.
 
The point is that you are requesting your readers to think. I suggest that to make best
use of that exercise is realize why it can be so difficult. In the cult we were duped,
deceived and manipulated by evil men cleverly using the Bible to make us trust them,
not ourselves. Questions were answered by the cult's self-serving booklets and sermons
where interpretation was the name of the game.
 
The scripture admonishing one to prove all things and hold onto the good is deceptive
in that the "good" has already been stated--agreement is sought. One is not being
encouraged to think critically. That is another thing not found in the Bible and yet that is
the heart of thinking as folks are being asked to do in your article.
 
To really think for someone from the COG tradition is to get outside the Bible. A good
first step would be to read something on Biblical criticism. To try to critically think while
scriptures are in being obeyed is to find oneself in major conflict.
 
Anyways, these are some additional things I mused on while reading your article twice.
 
I found an interesting website concerning the subject at hand:
http://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-an-Open-Mind
 
Thanks again and please keep the challenges coming. One can overcome misology--I
did it.
 
Jim Baldwin
jimbo@fmis.net
 

Here's hoping that others will as well.  Thanks for the insight.

 

 9/17/06

Hi John-
 
It seems that in the best tradition of the Painful Truth mailbag an interesting
thread is unfolding further. Ron's letter above has added more in an attempt to 
understand the problem of obtaining the open mind. He indicates that it is the
"absolute fact that we all have our own reality." Let's examine this statement.
 
Webster's dictionary gives a definition of reality: "The totality of real things and
events."  Real things.
 
The problem is that folks don't agree on what is real. When it comes to the big
subject of religion, the reality of gods has never been proven but the Mormon
clings to his god, the Catholic to his, the Muslim to his and the exWCGer to his.
They are not holding to reality but to fictions in their own minds created by their
handlers. They are not wanting *what* is right but *who* is right  as Ron
perceptively wrote. And there comes the clash. Folks desire make-believe or
faith, if you will. Then man falls into the biggest self-deception of all he can
practice: If he believes a thing, that makes it true. That is his reality. And there
lies the stumbling block at hand.
 
So Ron's observation may be expressed more accurately that we all have our
own *perception* of reality. That is quite another thing indeed. Reality is what it
is--it is real. Simple. But not so when folks cling to make-believe and call it reality.
 
Ron further says that with men having personal realities, they "really don't have
much choice in the matter." But are we not beings of free choice able to question
and discard the "realities" that don't work? All of us who were captives in the Worldwide Church of God
had a fabricated reality we clung to. It was molded and shaped in our heads by
the master deceiver, Herbert W. Armstrong & Company. It failed us. Many have
departed--but not far enough. Some are reading this.
 
I think many of us could honestly admit that without the myth of the gods none of
us would have spent five minutes in the mad world that was created for us. Lacking
a prior belief in the gods (instilled in us by others) would have made Armstrong
sound as foolish as he was. Had we respected reality we would not have fallen for
the pie-in-the-sky that was promised. Yes, had any of us respected reality way back
when,  we would not be having this conversation now.
 
(And there are readers now of this letter refusing to choose reality. Go figure.)
 
The point is that supports your article on obtaining the open mind, one has to
examine that which may not be real. One American writer suggested that all of
the arguments he had against the gods of other races should lead him to question
his own beliefs. Now there is a step toward the highly desired quality of the open mind.
 
I know in my own experience, I was able to free myself from the shackles of
religion when I began to inquire about all the things that I found in my head after 25
years of living in madness.  I wasn't born with them. How the hell did they get in there?
Three years of challenging and discarding make-believe (fabricated reality) set me
free.
 
I've now lived in reality for about 12 years and it has been wonderfully peaceful. (The
most noxious fly in the ointment is the coming clash between various religious factions
as they set about to defend their many perceptions of reality.)
 
I appreciate Ron's input. I wrote this letter because the concept that we are all
prisoners of our own realities robs us of the will to challenge that questionable idea.
We can throw our hands up and retreat to "What the hell can I do?" All we need is the
desire for that which is real, not a clinging to make-believe. It is really fear that turns
us away from reality. We should desire to be free from fear and make-believe.
 
A toast to more open minds embracing reality.
 
Jim Baldwin
 

I'll drink to that!

 
 9/20/06

Ron's reply:

John,
 
At first, I thought writing this email to the editor was kind of strange because it's really a note to Mr. Baldwin, by proxy.  It would seem more appropriate to conduct this discussion on the PT forum.  After that first thought, I had this one.  Where better to reveal what kind of discussions are going on at the forum than on it's sister website?  I believe there is a valuable asset here, that we have ignored.  I hope more of us "porch-rockers" participate here as well.  It's a way for others to see what a wonderful group of folks are talking on the PT.
 
Jim Baldwin said this:
I appreciate Ron's input. I wrote this letter because the concept that we are all
prisoners of our own realities robs us of the will to challenge that questionable idea.
We can throw our hands up and retreat to "What the hell can I do?" All we need is the
desire for that which is real, not a clinging to make-believe. It is really fear that turns
us away from reality. We should desire to be free from fear and make-believe.
 
In my experience, we really are all prisoners of our own realities.  That doesn't mean there is no possibility of escape.  It means that we have to react to the spark that prods us to overcome the inertia holding us stagnant.  We "cultists" were usually too afraid to do so.  I don't know what prepared me to move on, but there was a time when I was paralized to do anything but simmer in Armstrong's cauldron.  It seems like I had to suffer enough oppression to suspect there might be a better life elsewhere. 
 
It never dawned on me to throw my hands up and retreat to "What the hell can I do?",  until I had been tempered in the forge and come to the point of moving on by a spark of sanity.  All I ever wanted and needed, was the desire for that which is real.  Clinging to make-believe was a masterful art of deception that I paid dearly for, as taught by the lips of Herbert W. Armstrong. 
 
As Jim said, "It is really fear that turns us away from reality."  Lake of Fire?  Hah!  I'll water-ski on it, bathe myself or catch a rainbow trout or two - if I ever manage to find it. :)
 
Ron   

Sounds like a great spot for a Feast site, doesn't it?  "Balmy Lake o' Fire".  Better hurry and sign up before the ministers get all the good hot spots!


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