Who do you trust? Do you trust your Armstrongist minister? Should you trust your Armstrongist minister?
Who do you trust?
Do you trust your Armstrongist minister?
Should you trust your Armstrongist minister?
The answer to the last two questions is “No!” and “No!”.
Let me tell you why.
Now it may be that your Armstrongist minister in whatever ACoG you may be attending might be totally sincere. Perhaps he is very nice. Maybe he is even helpful at times. But in the scheme of things, is that enough?
We live today in May, 2012, on the cusp of yet another meltdown of the membership of an Armstrongist Cult, as the target date of the false prophet for Christ’s returns comes at Pentecost and goes, without so much as a whimper of a hint of a whisper of the event taking place. Ronald Weinland has set up the dupes of his little cult for yet another “Great Disappointment” to rival the one of 1844. No, Jesus isn’t returning, the Great Tribulation won’t have happened, there is no Beast Power over the 10 nations of Europe and there isn’t any possible that the Two
Witlesses Witnesses will die in Jerusalem after prophecying there for 3.5 years and be resurrected in 3.5 days after which Christ will take a near pass and spirit them away to heaven for the Great Bridal Shower.
But they trust him!
If we knew the answer to why, we could know a lot more about the Universe.
In business accounting, there is something called “Goodwill”. Goodwill is an accounting concept meaning the value of an entity over and above the value of its assets. The term was originally used in accounting to express the intangible but quantifiable “prudent value” of an ongoing business beyond its assets, resulting perhaps because the reputation the firm enjoyed with its clients. This is important in the sale of a business when the sale price is above and beyond the actual tangible assets of the corporation and is used in the accounting ledgers to represent the gap as a firm dollar value.
Like it or not (we don’t), the branding of Herbert Armstrong is a monetary asset advantage which trades on the principle of “Goodwill”: The religious product thus branded has earned the trust of a small cadre of consumers, not unlike that of Amazon.com (which has a much larger cadre of loyal consumers). To them, the Goodwill has been earned over the decades (for no particularly good reason, as we shall see), and anyone who trades on the trust in the religious product automagically inherits the Goodwill.
There are limits, of course.
Some of the customers are rather picky over which particular branding they select: For some it is United, others, the LCG, CoGWa, CoGBS or a whole host of alphabet soup Armstrongist communities. They become loyal to the sub brand they have selected. It’s sort of like which washing detergent a person chooses. You tend to stick with it because it works for you: Whiter, brighter, whatever. The choices aren’t, in this case, particularly rational. It is based on emotions and feelings. It is based on how the leader impresses and how you might fit in with the rest of the crowd. In extreme cases, like the PCG, RCG, CCG, PKG, it makes no sense at all: It’s just how you feel about it.
Objectively speaking, there are a lot of problems, challenges and consequences to choosing emotion over logic and it can lead to a lot of ugly results down the road. The future is not always what it seems to be, particularly in the Armstrongist Churches of God, where no one is exactly what they seem to be. Sacrificing resources for the hope of some big score at the end may feel good, but in the end, it is all a con game whose end game is that they lie to you and then take your money. It wouldn’t be so bad if they just lied to you (no matter how sincere they might be), if they didn’t take your money, but you trust them and they do take your money. In fact, in the final analysis, it is the love of money (mostly in the form of salary and retirement), along with ego-stroking narcissistic self-agrandizement, which is a root of all evil there in the ACoG groups. The hidden agenda never becomes public until it is too late for most folks.
There are three major things wrong with Armstrongism: British Israelism is a fraud and it leads to false prophecies by false prophets; church history is a provably concocted fraud (plagiarized from Ellen G. White) and the entire religion is based on rebellious heresy. No one in Armstrongism wants to look at the facts because it just doesn’t feel right to them. Besides, they are afraid of what is behind the curtain — it may show them that they have been wasting their time in fear, false hope and a sense of well-being through associating with people they think of like mind (the WCG / GCI certainly proved how wrong that concept was), achieving a level of comfort participating in what can be termed “Old Testament Christianity” under Old Covenant Laws. To think of giving up would be unthinkable.
But it gets worse.
The narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, many of whom came from Ambassador College, have the background to grant them credibility to gain that all-important Goodwill trust they need to prey upon duped fools. It is a world of golden opportunity which is difficult for the covetously minded idolators to resist as they plunge in to embrace the con for their own gain.
In the case of the Preaching the Kingdom of God (PKG, also known as the “Pathetic Kook Group”), the experience they are going through is a consumate betrayal by a man plying contemptuous fraud. Ronald Weinland’s little collection of sheople will find themselves sheared, especially after going to trial for Felony Income Tax Evasion Fraud when the Great Disappointment is past. People are maxing out their credit cards, doing foolish things with their careers and their associations and choosing a path of self-destruction because it is inconceivable that God would let anything happen to them: After all, aren’t they faithful to God by following His Apostle Prophet?
It is a tragedy, of course, but it serves a useful purpose in the scheme of things. Think for a moment: Is Ronald Weinland that far from someone like Roderick Meredith who, himself, has been a false prophet for fifty years? Are any of the false prophet apostle leaders within Armstrongism really that far from what PKG portrays? They all have the same basic doctrines. Maybe they don’t say that specifically Jesus Christ is returning next Tuesday, but it is the very same spirit of deception working within them.
L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology in the 1950s after a semi-successful career as a science fiction writer. He deliberately rebranded his alternative earth history into a religion and wrote about it in Dianetics, specifically targeting actors in Hollywood. It is pure fantastic fantasy, but people have bought into it, believing sincerely with all their being that this is it! This is the truth! When Armstrongists look at Scientology, they see a weird false religion that is so obvious that they wonder how anyone could ever be a part of it.
The answer, of course, is trust. It is that Goodwill.
Since this is so clear to the Armstrongists, perhaps it is time they stepped back and looked at themselves and their chosen religion. It too, is based on an alternative earth history which never happened and cannot happen. The future is simply not going to happen the way it was predicted by Herbert Armstrong. In fact, all of his prophecies failed in his lifetime. If you are skeptical, just ask a member of the PKG after May 27th, 2012 how well their trust worked for them. There will be reasoning and excuses even as they are proven yet again so very wrong.
All of Armstrongism is at risk because of Ronald Weinland. Even as Harold Camping did great damage to Christianity, so has Ronald Weinland done great damage to the followers of Herbert Armstrong. Furthermore, all Armstrongists should consider themselves nothing more than Sabbath keeping, Feast going Scientologists. It just isn’t going to work out. You are wasting your time. You are also wasting your money. Most of all, you are wasting your trust.
Sometimes it is best not to just give it away: It needs to be earned.