Blast from the past….
If a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis with a patient, and that patient dies as a result, the result is invariably a malpractice lawsuit. If a simple operation goes awry, then an investigation usually follows, and if the doctor is shown to be at fault, then again, a malpractice lawsuit follows. This is why doctors pay upward of $50k a year in malpractice insurance fees. Although it’s sad that such a practice is necessary, it does ensure some accountability on the part of any person who is considered a professional.
Another example is when a contractor comes to your home to do the job that he is paid to do. If the job is botched, then he leaves himself open to a lawsuit. This is why, in many cases, contractors carry lawsuit insurance. And we all know about the mandatory car insurance and the liability coverage we must carry to protect ourselves in case of an accident. In every case, the law assumes someone is accountable for problems generated.
It’s a strange thing then, why religion is not held accountable for any actions it does, simply because it carries the name of “God” in the title of the corporation. If religions, and their hirelings – for example, give wrong information, directions, and teachings that adversely affect or destroy people’s lives, then it’s assumed that all of this botched teaching can be somehow swept under the rug, and somehow, “God will work it out.”
Over the last few years, the Catholic Church has come under fire for all sorts of impropriety – as well it should – and the lawsuits are flying. One good book to check out in this regard is “Spiritual Malpractice” by Richard Blanchard. In his book, Richard outlines the antics of Catholicism in one of the Massachusetts dioceses, and relates the lawsuits that followed. Other suits have preceded and followed this incident, when supposed “professional” men (priests, ministers, and other church people) have violated the professional ethics and caused irreparable damage in people’s lives.
For the most part, smaller organizations – like Worldwide Church of God and it’s lethal offspring – have been exonerated from such rightful accountability. Many feel that since the Catholic Church has loads of money, then such a lawsuit ought to have little effect on the Pontiff’s bulging treasury. While this may be true, the same thing holds true for cults like Worldwide Church of God and the rest of its noxious remnant. Does anyone think that Worldwide Church of God+ cults have such little money? Does anyone honestly believe that these “Christian” business organizations are simply struggling in some desperate effort to preach a gospel? No one who’s been through these organizations of brain-washing and oppression would think that way. What these organizations have in money and property is staggering. Granted, most of the personal money is stuffed into off-shore accounts, but there’s still a lot of assets stateside. E.g.
A “professional” is, by definition, one who makes his profession at doing a certain job. If a man is supposedly in the “ministry” of a church, and takes a salary for it, then he’s as much liable for the performance of doing a good job as is a doctor or building contractor. Why is it that so many of these ministers can get away with teaching lies, misguiding people, giving false counseling information, and playing medicine without a license?
Ministers in Worldwide Church of God+ cults, for the majority part, have received neither competent, professional teaching or education in either psychology or the medical arts. While many professed – in years past – claimed to have “nutritional” information, and dished out their own brand of healing mish-mash, brethren listened and obeyed any suggestions given. People have died from this blatant incompetence and unethical behaviour and advice, instead of seeking the proper, professional, medical help. And all this was done because members honestly trusted and believed that these hirelings were really “spiritually inspired” and whatever they said was true. Another lie.
Certainly, the older ministers have now had plenty of chance to read and prove their Bibles for themselves. If they cannot come up with the fact that this Bible is a book of men (and error), written by men, and written in a given historical perspective, then they’re either criminals – peddling false information, or they’re totally stupid. And I don’t believe that they’re stupid. These are smart, ruthless, unprincipled businessmen who use and destroy people in life’s path for their own ego and personal profit. Another name for these people (men AND their wives) would be “Tares.”
The chance of Biblical examination and discussion has risen before in Worldwide Church of God many times, and where there is truth in ANY work, we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. But the Worldwide Church of God arguments were seldom about the truth that one might find there. The conflicts were invariably about “Church” doctrine as administered by the upper hirelings. Although most of us have never been involved with these Pasadena battles, and even when many of us personally heard about the ruckus around the Bible arguments, we were not that well informed to discern intelligently. It usually came down to the proverbial bloodbath and huge fights between what someone thought the Bible actually said, and what the upper, self-indulgent leadership wanted to read into it. E.g. “Tithing,” and “The Mosaic Law,” and “God loves quality,” and “You don’t have to submit to the Receiver,” and “We will NOT turn the other cheek,” etc. The big decisions were always about how to twist the Bible sayings to justify the misconduct of the cult leadership. And so, we gullibly believed the leadership who had (supposedly) studied the Bible, understood it for what it was, while the lower lackeys continued to preach the leadership’s (and Church’s official) interpretation for a personal paycheck, special perks, and corporate profit.
It was only later when many of us, as hirelings, finally did our own study and found out about the blatant errors that were extant, that we questioned everything. The upper ministry scoffed at our questions and quickly changed the subject to one that’s now well known . . . that of unswerving “Loyalty.” With loyalty, you simply take out your brain, give it to the leadership, and let (in our case) Herbert W. Armstrong think for you. In later years, it was Tkach, and then Junior.
So, the lies accumulated, and they continued to emanate from men who took a paycheck, and who were considered to be “professional.” Since these men KNEW better, should they not be held accountable for their untoward actions? If these men taught from a book they KNEW was a mixture of fables, distorted history, and yes – some wisdom but with wild and incorrect doctrine from wacko, cultic (early New Testament) enthusiasts, then shouldn’t these lying ministers – paid as “professionals” – be held accountable for misleading people in the course of their lives? Shouldn’t they be held accountable for deceptive information, false advice, misguiding people medically, and draining honest people of their savings, retirement, and normal living enjoyment? Even a doctor can get sued if he give a patient wrong information. He’s held accountable. Are “ministers” in Churches any different?
Apparently so. Lawyers are reluctant to take on such cases, except where a big reward can be “garnered,” and much wrongdoing is evident in the defendant’s corner. Lawyers don’t go to trial to lose, or because of some altruistic purpose. It’s money all the way, and criminal cases against any Church are hard to prove. For every witness to the prosecution, the Church can refute the testimony with their own lackeys. Many times, it boils down to the “He said . . . she said” syndrome.
Churches know this. That’s why they can be so cocky. As one ex-AC (inside) member told me, “For everyone they lose, they’ll pick up more suckers.” The business people knew this, and counted on honest, well-intentioned people to be suckered into a false concept and sold a bill-of-goods, by crooks who were NON MINISTERS and who still “garnered” their paychecks and bonuses, and did it all as “professional ministers.” But somehow, they got away with it all, and were never held accountable. The attitude has to be quite obvious: “If we can get away with it . . . then why not?”
Probably the most infuriating part of all this is the fact that the con-game of “Church” here is a DELIBERATE one. Most of us have probably been in corporations where top management have made stupid decisions. In time, as many can recall, these idiotic decisions have led to the inevitable layoffs because the top leadership were brainless. But, never at any time, were such wrong decisions made deliberately. The were simply a result of incorrect thinking, and miscalculation, and people suffered. None of this was intended, and layoffs are among the least desirable things in business.
But, cults don’t care. And it’s obvious that “by their fruits,” the cultmasters in Worldwide Church of God+ the rest of their offshoot abominations that make desolate, are not concerned by the damage done to people’s lives, living style, future, or sanity. “There’s no accountability,” they’re obviously thinking, so who gives a damn?
So now, with this attitude of arrogance and: “No one will ever hold us accountable,” the businessmen of the cults continue their commerce. And like so many business, when the going gets too rough and the profits rapidly decline, it’s time to sell.
So it is with the Pasadena Campus. Word has it that a development company is planning on buying the campus for “business and community purposes.” Since company names can be rolled over many times, the origins of these companies can be well hidden. Who are the corporations that are really behind the acquisition of the Pasadena campus? We must wait for that answer. Even the development company’s name can tap-dance several times before the sale goes through.
So where’s the accountability? While the top echelon take out their chunky percentage of the sale profits (much to the frothing and gnashing of teeth from the rival COG whores), the past and present brethren are left with damaged lives, ruined finances and uncertain futures. But the future seems very sure to those who’ve caused the damage. They’ll enjoy their private jets, the off-shore holiday spas, the money in Swiss accounts, and the comfort of their “golden parachutes.” These are the ones who’ve taken paychecks (plus profits and perks) under the guise of being professionals. But, these are also the ones who have lied, cheated, and stolen from people under false pretenses when they sold a religion of “God” . . . something that later, they showed to have never believed themselves. And they have no worries. After all, this is a Church, and as such, they’re not accountable. And now, they have everything they’ve worked, lied, and cheated for.
It was the fictional character of Willy Wonka who asked and answered the question: “Do you know what happened to the man who finally got everything he always wanted? Well,” he went on, “he lived happily ever after.”
I’m just sorry that the same happy ending can’t be true for the countless thousands of lives that have been irreparably destroyed, and all done by atheistic, ruthless tares who obviously never intended to be held “accountable.”
Article by John O. Former minister of the WCG.