I finally got around to view the results of the survey. Sorry it took so long.
The first question: Are you a church of God member?
The majority answering NO 54.55%
The minority responding Yes 45.45%
Take this into account when you look at the survey answers below.
Question 2: What is your age?
55-74 years of age as the majority of our survey takers.
Around a decade ago, after I took on the role of the Painful Truth editor, I looked at the stats available at the time, and the average age of our readership was in the 70-80’s. This group has gotten younger as the older visitors die off, and are replaced by younger visitors. Natural attrition.
Question 3: How many years have you been a member?
33.33% of the respondents say they have spent or are currently spending over 40 years in a ACOG group.
25% of the respondents say they have spent or are currently spending 25 years in a ACOG group.
16.67% of the respondents say they have spent or are currently spending 30 years in a ACOG group.
Question 4: Do you consider your group where you attend church to be more of a social club than a religious experience?
41.67% of the respondents strongly disagree.
25% of the respondents disagree.
25% of the respondents strongly agree.
8.33% of the respondents agree.
The total that agree with the statement is 33.33%
The total that disagrees with the statement is 66.67%
It seems that current and former members have taken or took their religious experience seriously, while 1/3 see the church as a social experience over a religious experience.
Question 5: Does Herbert Armstrong’s incest issue cause you to question his validity as God’s spokesman or prophet?
63.64% of the respondents say that the incest issue has caused them to question the validity of Herbert Armstrong’s ministry and/or qualifications as God’s spokesman or prophet.
36.36% of the respondents say that the incest issue has not caused them to question the validity of Herbert Armstrong’s ministry and/or qualifications as God’s spokesman or prophet.
I knew that this question would have some very telling answers. Recall that just about half of the survey takers are current ACOG members. A little over 36% of the respondents have no qualms about HWA’S incest problem (read the comments). It may be that they don’t believe the evidence or that they don’t see incest as a moral issue. These respondents are most likely current members, but it is possible that some former members don’t believe the evidence either. In talks with current members over the years, I have had many tell me they don’t care if Herb was making it with his daughter. To them HWA was Gods main man and that God didn’t care, or thought HWA was like king David. To many of the members, HWA was right, and to deal with this issue, the membership buries this in the back of their minds. (1) Cognitive dissonance should be what follows if a ACOG’er admits HWA was never qualified for the ministry or as Gods spokesman on earth. If he didn’t qualify in Gods eyes, he never was Gods spokesman or prophet, he was a fraud. So, how can you trust his teaching’s? You can’t. You have to start over in your studies.
(1) In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by the person. When confronted with facts that contradict beliefs, ideals, and values, people will try to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.