Email: Sweet and Sour(maybe)
(Mail from Kooks, Nuts and Loonies is on another page)
Email, Indexed by DATE
New on 10/24/98:
I read the recent letters from the two Worldwide Church of God members. I would agree that you are angry and cranky about your 20 plus years experience in the Worldwide Church of God; you tend to continually find fault with it. I'm glad they wrote to give their perspective; her letter was intelligent and conciliatory.
However, I believe your expressions of outrage are valid and to be expected. Maybe their years in the Worldwide Church of God did not have the same effect yours did; I hope they realize that. I wish they would also read the letters in Ambassador Report: dozens of very serious family tragedies happened directly as a result of the Worldwide Church of God lifestyle.
I was only in the Worldwide Church of God for 5 years, but I felt those 5 confused "desert years" were wasted. So did my family, who weren't in the cult. A tough Jewish lady I know, who survived Auschwitz (her parents were gassed, murdered) knew I was in the Worldwide Church of God and knew about the church. After I was out of it we talked, and she said of both Armstrongs, "Just like Hitler."
How? A special people, superior to the rest of mankind; heavy indoctrination into a quasi-religious nationalism; authoritarian rule and control; along with power speakers on parade. I saw a cable TV special recently on 3rd Reich religious underpinnings, which reinforced what she said. I've been out of the Worldwide Church of God for 20 years now, but I told my wife it reminded me of the Armstrongs and the Worldwide Church of God...thorough, massive brainwashing/indoctrination on a national level. "So that's how the Germans (my heritage, by the way) did it. Just like the Armstrongs." It's scary how intelligent, thinking people can be persuaded by unscrupulous people.
For a very long time, this Jewish woman would have nothing to do with anyone of German heritage, even if they were born in America. She should have just GOTTEN OVER IT. Geez, so what, her parents murdered when she was a young woman, big deal. Move on, don't be bitter, that's Satan. (Likewise, why grieve over 20 plus years that were a loss to you, the only life you'll ever get? How 'bout a happy face sticker as a consolation prize?)
By the way, she's agnostic or atheist. Maybe that's because she saw so many "good Christians" obey the Government of God (Hitler), and passively, ignorantly allow authoritarian law and order to run their lives. (I honestly don't know what I would have done as a German citizen, seeing that I was successfully recruited by the Worldwide Church of God.)
A relative of mine fought in WWII and was captured, imprisoned, and starved almost to death as a POW. He came back home and ended up in a mental hospital. So have ex-WCGers; they all should have just have GOTTEN OVER IT! Come on, buck up!
Over 20 years in a cult -- I'm sure any cult recovery specialist would say that anger is healthy and normal; expect it to be around a good while. Controlled anger is also a useful motivator; it gets things done. This web site is proof of that fact.
It strikes me as very interesting that you, even though you reject the Bible, church and religion, practice what the Bible says better than the church you came out of, at least in these three simple but important ways:
1. "Be angry and sin not...if your brother sin against you, rebuke him. IF he repents (changes), forgive him...open rebuke is better than secret love" The issue of who gets the money from the sale of Worldwide Church of God property is a valid one. It's easy and simplistic to say, "Jesus this, Jesus that, me and Jesus,"; it's quite unpopular to point out painful problems and insist on a wise, fair resolution. Like Pilate, Worldwide Church of God administrators may want to wash their hands of any responsibility toward ex-members, who helped pay for valuable church properties. Is that what other churches do? Well, why not create a new ethical trend?
Are there any current Worldwide Church of God members willing to speak up on behalf of ex-members to church leaders in this regard? I don't want or need any $, but I'm certain some recovering, seriously wounded (by the Worldwide Church of God) persons and families would welcome psychological support and financial recompense. If you have an opinion, send a letter to Joe Tkach on this issue at http://w ww.wcg.org/pastorgeneral/.
2. "When you come together, everyone has...a song, a word of inspiration... (to be spiritually strengthened)..." I never saw the "one true church" do this; nor do many other churches. But Ed does it over the Internet. He could post only his thoughts, his ideas, just as ball hogging preachers do: "Me talk, you listen. Me get lot attention. Feel good. Me in charge man." Sorry, I believe a lot of ego is involved in some preaching and pastoring.
I remember grade school football and basketball. Ball-hoggers were despised. It was more satisfying when everyone had an active role in the game and handled the ball. That is true on this web site more than in many churches out there. No open forum like this exists on the Worldwide Church of God web site.
Ed only acts as a moderator, facilitator: everyone is welcome to speak, from what I read. I've only been to a couple churches that encouraged people to stand up and share anything they wanted to with the congregation. It was very moving once to see a mother stand up and ask everyone to pray for her very ill child while she nervously tried to hold her composure and the tears back while doing so. I think about 150 prayers went straight up. How much better than the Worldwide Church of God "chain of command": mother tells dad; dad tells local elder, tells minister, who reads a "prayer request": sterile, wooden. (That was 20 years ago; has it changed?) Which brings me to...
How do you create a foolish church? Gag the Woman -- the Church. Don't let her speak. And don't let the women of the church speak. Make everyone quench their spiritual gifts, except der klein fuhrers (little leaders). Get stupid -- gag wisdom! Gee, why is wisdom personified as a woman in Proverbs 7 and 8, and elsewhere?
If the Worldwide Church of God would have really listened to Wisdom, the Woman, the Church -- it wouldn't have foolishly allowed fornicators, money-grubbers, and doctrinal idiots to cause spiritual crash landings. But we all worshipped a couple of self-indulgent male idols who breathed power (and owned the church) while proclaiming humility and sincerity. They tied the Woman to a chair, gagged her and abused her; they got others to help. We pretended we liked it and we paid them to have their way...awhile. The Working Girl worked hard and willingly gave 10, 20, 30% of her income to the little big men who kept House. What does her Husband think? Ezekiel 34 tells what He thinks, in my opinion.
The Worldwide Church of God Woman may have a pretty new dress now and a makeover. I just wonder if she is still being gagged -- or realizes it if she is?
Does the Worldwide Church of God have any forum for members to freely speak their minds -- even in anger -- without fear of reprisal and ejection? Why did the two Worldwide Church of Goders who wrote -- not post their names? Personal privacy -- or concern that their minister or fellow member might notice and get turned in? (Just an honest question.) If you don't give a rip about church finances, you may be the ideal member for "wolves".
This is getting too long, but I saw a woman "motivational speaker" at our college a couple months ago. Like Ed, she too practiced inclusion in her talk -- rather than a monologue. Her topic was passion. She was a very good speaker, funny, and could have sustained interest with a traditional speech. Instead she asked questions of the audience and listened; many people responded, which made the presentation more meaningful. She practiced the wise principle of inclusion, sharing -- better than many churches. Considerate and not egotistical -- that's wisdom. She was the best speaker I've heard in all my years at the college.
At a Unitarian Church 5 or 6 of us discussed our experiences in fundamentalist churches and cults on 4 consecutive Sundays. Same principle: each person informally talked -- far better than having one designated mouth. (By the way, I'm not against preaching, but I'm for a better balance -- include input from everybody; that's healthier.)
Male dominated churches will typically elevate the verse "women should remain silent in the churches" above "neither male nor female...all are one in Christ Jesus". A cultural-specific, 1st Century peculiarity is raised above spiritual principle. It's no coincidence that probably all the Worldwide Church of God offshoots cultivate this anachronism. They're run by men.
3. Ed takes no money here, hosting this useful forum. Like Paul. Worldwide Church of God leaders jabbered about Paul's self support of his ministry...while never following his example. Somehow I trust Ed's cash-less motives better than the current crop of Worldwide Church of God ministers. The man who kicked me out of the Worldwide Church of God in 1979 (simply for writing to him that Christ was also working outside the Worldwide Church of God) advised me to attend another church -- in all sincerity. I believe he knew darn well what I said was true, but he needed a paycheck, so he followed the party line; don't rock the boat, get paid.
So, thanks, Ed. And thanks to all the other Worldwide Church of God "alumni" who've posted web sites, written newsletters and books to "set us free" by using the skeptical side of our brains. Good luck to the current Worldwide Church of God members.
By the way, until I ran across this web site, I'd given very little thought to the Worldwide Church of God . Because there may be a few vipers out there who would say, "that's all those malcontents do, criticize us!", take a look at my art web site:"http://www.teleport.com/~hsimante/hartext/index.html". I'm not selling anything. And no religion! Just art -- my passion.
Please include my name,
From time to time I click onto your"Ministerial Apology" site to see if it has grown. Nada. With the exception of Covington, bare as mother Hubbard's cupboard.
Well, it really doesn't surprise me. The sheepherders can't see past the $ signs in their eyes and ways to save their own asses. Poor guys. After all, they suckled off the flock most of their lives, have no outside retirement source, and depend solely on what they can con off the congregation. Twinge of conscience? FORGET IT! their brains were dried, fried and calcified by the master manipulator of them all, HWA. Worldwide Church of God hovers like a vulture awaiting the final settlement on the sale of Big Sandy. The $ signs gleam brighter with visions of larger retirement incomes.
The flock? Screw them, let 'em pray and pay. The bearded one is dry washing his hands in anticipation.
I commend you for standing up to all that incoming flak from the hard hearted Hannahs of Worldwide Church of God and the smaller COG-ettes. You are accused of being bitter, unforgiving, disruptive, digging up the past, Armstrong bashing, condemned to the lake of fire. They accuse the rest of us of the same thing and tell us to "get a life". That's what we are all trying to do, but Herbert took most of it away from us.
So the status quo remains the same. All the COGs are in a state of stagnation. All fighting tooth and nail to steal members from each other. Especially those that are well to do, the young and the middle-aged. Poor lonely widows & orphans (mentioned by Christ) and the elderly (unless they are rich) are the least priority.
Meanwhile most of the membership in all the COGs are still in the Armstrong mode. Short of an earthquake or Exlax, they shall not be moved. And after meeting for years and years and years in school buildings, storefronts, abandoned barns, converted whorehouses, etc, they sure as hell ain't moving out of them either. The poor suckers keep sending in the dough, deprive themselves and their kids to further "God's Work" and hope to make it in the first resurrection.
I can't remember all the "building funds" we started when I was a member. But what I do remember is that when it got to 3 figures, headquarters grabbed it. The last one that I can recall was about six hundred and some odd dollars before HQ snatched it away.
So there they are, still ensconced in the Armstrong mode, still dreaming of going into "the kingdom", still observing the holy days, still fasting, (especially if the income is low), still detaching themselves from "satan's world" and all the pleasures it brings, like Friday night and Saturday sports, New Years eve, Christmas parties juicy pork sandwiches and lobster dinners. They turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to a plethora of blatant evidence as to what the Worldwide Church of God was and apparently still remains. a rotten, evil, perverted, mercenary, mind twisting, death causing, family disrupting organization. Everyone in every denomination should read the "Garnet Hill Ripoff" on your web site. It is approaching a thousand hits. Midnight Messenger that published the article back in 1989 has no axe to grind. So the diehards can't call them Arm- strong bashers. That article alone should cause the Herbie lovers to stop and give pause.
Ed, I don't know whether you'll put this letter on your web site. I know it is harsh but I feel good after writing it. I had that bible pounded into me for a long time. It made a lot of sense, because the old pervert had us all in the palm of his hand and had us think he was an apostle and the voice of God. Now I'm reading a lot of material to the contrary of what Herbert taught, and which makes more sense and written by much smarter and more brilliant men than Herbert ever was. That's because they knew what a sham religion really is. I would like to add some quotes in closing:
"Intelligent men do not decide any subject until they have carefully examined both or all sides of it. Fools, cowards, and those too lazy to think, accept blindly, without examination, dogmas and doctrines imposed upon them in childhood by their parents, priests, and teachers, when their minds were immature and they could not reason.
Some 433,000,000 Mohammedans believe that the Koran was brought by an angel from heaven: 335,000.000 Hindus believe one of their gods, Siva, has six arms: 153,000,000 Buddhists believe they will be reincarnated: 904,000,000 Christians believe a god made the world in six days: Joshua stopped the sun by yelling at it, and Jesus was born of a virgin and nullified natural laws to perform miracles.
There is absolutely no scientific proof of any of these claims. Science has shown them to be contrary to all known facts. It is more intelligent to classify them as false. Religions are all based upon the primitive superstitions of ignorant, stone- age men who had no knowledge of science and thought the world was flat. The Catholic Church imprisoned Galileo for life and had burned Bruno at the stake because they disagreed with these superstitious beliefs."
James Hervey Johnson
"Mythology is what grown-ups believe, folklore is what they tell their children, and religion is both"
Cedric Whitman, letter to Edward Tripp
"I think that in the discussion of natural problems we ought to begin not with the scriptures, but with experiments and demonstrations."
"To those searching for truth--not the truth of dogma and darkness but the truth brought by reason, search, examination, and inquiry, discipline is required. For faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction. ---faith in fiction is a damnable false hope---"
Thomas A. Edison.
But you know Ed, if you present the above to the diehards, you know what they would say?---"Don't confuse me with the facts, I've already made up my mind!"
Hope I didn't bore you
Thanks for posting the Age of Reason. I read it and WOW, Paine's logic leaps off the page and transcends time despite the expected stylistic dating of his writing style. I was disappointed that the later pages only have a few hits, indicating that most of your visitors only want to see the Herbert W. Armstrong/WCG dirt.
Although I find that extremely enjoyable myself, I am now at a point where I want to explore the world of ideas and reason like a kid in a candy store. For the few of us who want to push the envelope farther than just changing religious drugs, thanks for the "meat of the word."
Anyway, keep probing questioning and finding new juicy stuff to post. I consider your site part of my weekly recovery therapy and damn good entertainment (cussing without fear is part of my recovery therapy).
I have recently gone back to your site a lot and have been reading the personal experiences part, it has been very helpful in my therapeutic process. It has helped me to remember again all that I had blocked out, so I can deal with the emotions and move on.
I was unable to move on before because I was stuck in some kind of psychological suspended animation, sort of numb.
Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know reading your site has given me a starting point to dealing with this stuff, thanks.
Thank you very much for your efforts on this website.
I was reading the e mail portion of your website . I find it amazing to read the comments of those who knock you for printing truthful things about the wcg s abusive past.
The wcg has not tried to clean up the mess they made. They have not come clean to the membership about the extent of Herbert W. Armstrong abuses. How can anyone take them seriously if they don 't come clean about these issues?
If someone scammed me in a business deal, I can forgive that person, but should I continue to do business with him?
The wcg leadership are like the parents in abusive families . The children are not allowed to point out their abuse . The children are told that they are the ones with the problem , and they are not being loyal to the family if they speak out against it.
Are there any statistics , that document wcg s new membership in the last 3 years . I can't imagine anyone choosing to fellowship with them who wasn't a former cger of some sort.
I have noticed a common pattern to the answers given by those who become defensive regarding the subject of the responsibility that wcg has to right the wrongs of the past. They all seem to fall into the following categories, although there may also be others:
1. "Other churches have baggage (or dirty little secrets) too." [This is similar to the "David Defense" as applied to Herbert W. Armstrong, only here it is being applied to wcg as an organization.]
2. "It is not healthy to dwell on the past. A sign of spiritual maturity is moving on to live in the present and look forward to the future."
3. "WCG has apologized. Maybe you were too busy bellyaching to hear their apology (or something along those lines). Why can't you simply rejoice with us as we celebrate Christ and his miracle of healing in our church?"
I would say to the person who uses one or all of these excuses--maybe we could illustrate this whole issue a little more clearly by drawing a personal analogy.
What if....in your past....you were responsible for the death of your neighbor's wife...and that neighbor still lives next door to you, or just a short distance down the road? What if you were also responsible for the fact that their son, now a young adult, is severely handicapped, and will never be normal, and the family will live with the consequences and burden of that for the rest of their lives? What if you had embezzled money from the neighbor's family-owned business, and although your theft was discovered, you felt that, because you were clever enough to embezzle it, you deserved to keep the money, and you did keep it? Because of the loss of his money, the money you took from him, your neighbor has no savings for retirement, and he will be forced to work until the day he dies, to support himself and his family.
What if you had the means to make at least some amends, and to make your neighbors' lives somewhat better? Because of investments you were able to make by using the money you stole from your neighbor, you have some money available, (and you enjoy many personal luxuries because of those investments) but instead of making amends, you say to your neighbor, "the damage I did to you was done before I understood Christ's sacrifice. I regret that damage, but I now understand what Christ did for me, indeed, for all of us, and I ask you to not live in the past, but to look to the future and rejoice with me in the miracle of his love."
How kindly do you think your neighbor would feel toward you? How much sense does this kind of statement to your neighbor make?
I know this is not a perfect analogy, but taking the subject out of the organizational level, and putting it on a personal level, for me, makes those commonly used defenses look pretty ridiculous.
Hi Ed, I hope everything's going well for you this beautiful fall.
I printed the photo representing the "church hierarchy" to send to my brother-in-law and as it sat on my desk I suddenly discovered the error in the photo.
Who ever put this together forgot God (a thing that is rather habitual with us humans).
There should be three stalls, with God "UNDER" the one for members. Church members s___ on God constantly. The problems of the ministry weren't/aren't confined to that level alone. And I'm embarrassed to admit my guilt also. I don't know how anyone could have been associated with the organization without voluntarily s.....g on God.
Even the little ol' widow lady that would make such a fuss over the minister by doing all those little special things when he came to dinner would be s.....g on God by putting this man (and his obnoxious kids) in such a high position.
You (maybe) and I (for sure) s..t on God by condoning and enjoying the way some people thought of us as some elevated person because we had the "special" ear of the ministry. We socialized with them. We had dinner with the Hulmes, Blackwells, Locks, Tkachs, plus all the local guys. We were the ones who organized the socials & ruled the spokesman clubs.
So if you were/are a minister, elder, deacon, right-hand man, or just a loyal subject, we all s..t on God.
It's actually funny to realize how it was organized to elevate every single person to a position "OVER" God and thereby making each person "obliged" to the who elevated them?
When someone makes the movie of all this each scene will have to fade to black as the Godfather music delicately plays in the background as one member puts their arm around another and says "for this respectability I give you today, some day in the future I may come to you for a favor".
"Freedom boy, freedom's what it's all about! God didn't free you from slavery in Egypt boy just to give you another task master! What's amatter wit you boy? Now if you're lookin fer a chicken boy come on over here, I'll show you a chicken...."
New on 10/29/98:
Dear Sirs, I am a little confused about the purpose of your site. Is it a site dedicated to the destruction of Christianity or the destruction of the church of God?
I would really like a reply.
The purpose is Truth. If the wcg or Christianity or Religion in general falls in the face of Truth, then so be it. I don't believe God has anything to do with any of them. As your Bible says: You will know them by their fruits.
If you are a member or especially if you are a minister of the wcg, I would like your opinion on my "wcg Samaritan" article. I haven't heard a rational defense of this indefensible "Christian??" attitude of injuring people and then not making them whole again because now you have found Jesus. I do realize that religion does not have to be rational, indeed cannot be.
If you do reply in their defense, I will be putting your name on the reply when I post it.
I have no intention of defending anything. I was just curious about your opinion. I am not a part of the wcg. I am curious about truth, though. That is how I found your web page. How do you define truth? I think that is very important.
I got a kick out of your posting peoples responses to your web page. That is really funny, but kinda sick. Well I hope you have a good day.
I define truth as what I believe today. Tomorrow it will be different. Truth is not future, truth is today.
Truth is based on gathering all the facts and rationally trying to understand them. The facts I am able to gather tomorrow may be different than the ones I have today.
This is done with the understanding that people, governments, religions and other businesses shade and manipulate and hide the truth about the past to suit their own purposes.
Religion and Faith is a belief in something you cannot prove. It is not rational.
Dear Ed ,
I tried to go to your site today a explore more of the links and stuff, but, I was "forbidden" to access the site. Do you know of any reasons why that might be. If so let me know.
Thanks for your reply, that is pretty good answer. I agree fact and objectivity are the compounds of truth. Truth has no lies or deceit.
What do you define as a Christian? I noted on your web page that you noted Christians together with religions, just wanted your take on things.
Bye the way, I really liked your web page. Great graphics and lay out.
Don't know why you couldn't get on my site. I tried it out and it was fine. I don't think there is a conspiracy. Probably just hit the server when it was overloaded.
I guess I don't understand your question as to what do I define as a Christian. I would say that it is anyone that claims to follow Christ whether they actually do or not. People can say "that church or that man is not a Christian because he doesn't act like a Christian, so you can't blame the evils that are done in Christ's name on Christianity." But, does that mean that, since no Christian is a perfect Christian, there are therefore NO Christians? I would have to say that all who claim to be Christian are Christian whether they are good or bad people and whether or not other Christians like it or not.
a. An organized system of beliefs and rituals centering on a supernatural being or beings.
b. Adherence to such a system.
2. A belief upheld or pursued with zeal and devotion.
Christianity is a religion, a belief, a faith. It has rituals and supernatural beings and some of its adherents are zealous. And the more they read the Bible, the more zealous they are. Most Christians don't even read the Bible but they still "believe." The ones that do read the Bible, don't read anything critical about the Bible. They are afraid to because they don't WANT to find out that they may be wrong; all wrong. "Don't confuse me with the facts, I've made up my mind."
And Christianity is so divided as to its beliefs that there are multiple variations of different churches all within the Christian religion that think that all the other Christian churches are at least a little bit wrong and they are right. Is Christ divided? You bet he is.
Most Christians just believe because they were raised in the religion. They have never investigated their beliefs or the Bible. They just believe. They are held captive by the church's power over the afterlife. They may be otherwise very intelligent people but, in regards to religion, they just believe whatever they have been taught.
When I was being sucked into the Worldwide Church of God Cult, I asked my Catholic priest some difficult Bible questions. He told me that he depended on his superiors to sort through questions about the Bible. Unfortunately, that is what most people do. They think that God must be too complicated for us to understand so they turn to the people that say they have the answers; paradoxically, these are the people that have made God so complicated. And these people that claim to have the answers make a nice, easy living off of these sheep that need someone to lead them because they are too lazy to think for themselves.
Its a great business.
Here's one for you, but best you delete my name, etc. if you wish to use it.
I am a graduate of Ambassador from the mid seventies. I was one of a very few that did not come from a church family at that time. This made things a little tough, as I did not know the ropes, but I managed.
After four years and a degree in theology, I went to work for the college in Pasadena, and after a time, became engaged with a woman who was "dumped" by another guy because he was told by one in ministerial services that she would not make a good minister's wife, as this guy was being groomed for the ministry.
We counseled for marriage and we were told it would be a good idea to go to Planned Parenthood and sit through a class they offered there in Pasadena. We did.
As we were leaving the building, we happened to bump into the girlfriend of a guy who was in my dorm my senior year. He was a junior that year, and a senior at this time.
When she saw us coming out as she was going in, she broke down crying before us. My wife to be tried to comfort her and asked what was wrong. Her hope was that no one would see her going in there, as she was going in to have an abortion.
We assured her that we would be the last to ever tell anyone. It was not within me to put someone through that public disgrace I had witnessed occur before at Ambassador when students were discovered to have made such a mistake. The one difference in this circumstance was that her boyfriend was the son of an Evangelist.
Shortly after my wife and I were married, she got a call from her father who was blubbering, "How could you!" How could you get pregnant before marriage and have an abortion?" As it turned out, this guy's father, the Evangelist, was living in the same area as my wife's father. No need to spell out what was happening here.
My wife assured him we had done no such thing, but to no avail. It wasn't long before co-workers and others were making life difficult.
I felt no need to refute such a lie. But who were people going to believe? The minister / ministry or me? This "rumor" started by and perpetrated by the Evangelist was meant to cover the indiscretion of his son, and get rid of the only two people outside his family that knew about it. What better way than to accuse us of the very thing his son did.
It wasn't long before I quit my job in Pasadena and left to find work elsewhere. My new job took me to another state, but this "rumor" managed to follow us.
I always did whatever I could do to serve the brethren in the church and do whatever was asked of me, never seeking any recognition from anyone within the leadership of the Church. I felt that as long as I knew and God knew that my wife and I never did any such thing, that is all that mattered, and felt that if I were to have any reward for bearing this lie against me, it would be God who would take care of it.
The years rolled by, and I was never even considered for so much as being made a deacon. I finally realized that if the ministry could so easily believe a lie told by one of their own and condemn me for it without even so much as the courtesy of discussion, then I certainly would not want to be associated with them on their level. In a recent discussion with a new minister who was talking about how he was going to be ordaining some people soon, I told him to not even consider me.
When Joe Jr. declared that no one would be ordained unless they were tithing, I began sending in my donations on money orders with no name or address, and was all the more resolute to turn down any ordination before they could look me up in any files and read again "the lie".
Yet I was good enough to give sermonettes. I was good enough to lead songs...
Why have I remained all these years? Because their lack of Christianity taught me more about what Christianity is then I ever learned in four years at A.C. My friends are here. Many have left, but they are still my friends... my brethren. It is a shame that we have been separated by leaders who felt doctrinal issues were more important than love toward one another. But I continue to try to be an example.
Deceptions are perpetrated by teachers, not the lay. The lay members unfortunately are all too often led away from love for one another by issues of minor importance comparatively.
It pains me to see so many hurt, and if they feel they must leave this fellowship, then I can only hope they find relief from what they have suffered. I make no plea for anyone to remain though. I only wish that everyone could see that through history, so many have been deceived in so many ways, and we are so blessed to have been relieved of so much deception. Now if only these warring factions could only see that their behaviors are not Christian. It's as though so many have fallen for the latest deception: That doctrine is all important, not love for one another. But even in this I see the wisdom of God. What does God want, but a people who will continue to love one another and Him even through such upheavals.
I've watched a lot of people fail this test... this trial.
If anyone has a right to complain over what happened to them in the Worldwide Church of God it is I.
If anyone has the right to leave and vilify the church and its leadership it is I.
What does that accomplish? All it would prove to me is that I would be doing an act that would not be out of love to my friends.
Here's a little key for everyone to consider concerning Christianity:
In this world, everything boils down to economics: With it comes greed and wielding power wrongfully.
In the Kingdom of God (where Christians now reside) everything boils down to love. If something violates love, it is not Christian.
The vast majority are not practicing love. They are demonstrating another spirit.
To Editor: Put this on your website. Maybe it will help some to sit back and reflect, including you.
To "Editor". Put this on your website. Maybe it will help some to sit back and reflect, including you.
Reply: So do you think that I don't sit back and reflect? How presumptuous of you.
I'm not going to get into any pissing contest as to who has the worst horror story to tell and therefore has a right to bitch about the leadership. The real horror of your story is not in what they have done to you but that you are so hooked on your religious delusion that you cannot escape.
You feel you are superior to me because you still attend and still send these crooks your hard earned money, all in the name of love. Shhheeeshhh............ Rather than showing love you are enabling those who would mislead and use people in the name of God.
The purpose of this website is to help people to see that they should not be following men. The men they have followed and are following are exposed for what they really are and that religion is just a big business for these men. It is to release these followers from slavery to an anti-God religion.
Is it love to just let people go on believing lies? I don't think so. But this is what you would do, all in the name of God.
Maybe you should sit back and reflect on that.
Ed... I suppose you misunderstood what I was referring to. I was not trying to make some accusation of you. Rather, I was trying to point out that people are all too quick to drop their "Christianity" because of wrongdoing and injustice. What did Jesus say when he was being put to death? "Father, forgive them..." Yet he suffered the greatest injustice.
Religious delusion I cannot escape? The Worldwide Church of God has no power over me. I no longer send them any money. I wonder if ANY church organization deserves monies... but that is another matter.
You state that "You feel you are superior to me because..." Ed, I never intended to give such an impression. I am superior to no one. I can see however where you are coming from. I only ask that people be slow to judge and condemn the Worldwide Church of God. Like any church organization, there are Christians and wolves in sheep's clothing. Tares. I do not condone what happened, neither do I support the present administration. Personally, I feel they all should quit and go get real jobs. After all, these are the same that perpetrated the deceptions, and it bothers me that they now "teach the right way", using the same methodology as before. No, they have no credibility with me whatsoever. I have remained because their are others, like myself, who don't see going somewhere else, like a Baptist church, as an alternative, so I try to put forth to those that remain, as best I can and understand, what it means to be a Christian, and in doing so, I don't try to hold up the leadership as proper examples. I have plenty of E-mail I have sent to some of them telling the hypocrisy of what they are doing still. If this were the old days, I would have been kicked out for sure.
I agree that we should not be following men. But is there really a church organization out there that doesn't suffer the same problem to some degree or another? I am trying to point that out to people also.
I may well leave some time soon. I don't know. Yet right now, there are people that remain who believe the N.C., and I try to serve them. Is this wrong? Let me know what you think. I am open to suggestions.
BTW... I do find your website to be very useful and I am sure it has helped many people. I only wish more people would reflect the Spirit of God that is supposed to reside with them.
Sorry I took your message in a way that was not intended. Words are very powerful and one can only take them for what they are worth. One of the problems I have with the entrentched hiearchy is their playing with words to decieve people.
We agree on more than we disagree.
Best wishes to you on the your search for God.
You can title this letter Come, let us reason together, or The hell you say! Just thought I'd comment on what I have learned so far while overcoming the Armstrong virus and being freed from the shackles of a mental chastity belt that was clamped onto my brain for so long. I hope it helps others in various stages of the virus and other cults as well. Although many Christians are only knee deep in the Christian quagmire so far, we in the cults were (and are) in it up to our necks. This includes the many cults mentioned in Martin's Kingdom of The Cults. And in my opinion, Armstrongism has the dubious honor of being smack dab in the center. This letter contains material I've gleaned from my own library, books you've recommended and Plain Truth sources.
Here goes: "I read it, Jesus said it, I believe it, case closed." Isn't that a very clever repartee? It might have been the first time Amy Macpherson said it. So when the zealot sees he or she is losing the argument, the mental remote control button is pressed and out it comes. Case closed. So are their eyes. So are their minds. And so are their ears. Closed to reason. Closed to facts.
Such as: The "holy" bible isn't so holy after all. The bible placed in hotel rooms was named after Gideon who slaughtered thousands in battle by plotting with the "Lord" to use treachery. Murdered thousands more for worshipping "false idols". Tortured and killed thousands more for daring to taunt him. Plundered the bodies of his victims to fashion a jeweled priestly vestment. Fathered an offspring who killed sixty one of his stepbrothers.
There were crosses long before the time of Christ. The star of David appeared 6000 years BC in India as a symbol of the sun. Much later it evolved to become the Jewish Star of David. All this material and much, much more can be found in Leedom's "The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You to Read."
There's a section on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I remember when they were first discovered in 1947.I mentioned it later to our Baptist Minister, remarking that they should clarify many things in the bible. "Oh those scrolls are mostly historical, not religious," he answered. (See how they all lie?) I'm finding out they have very much to do with religion. In many other publications besides Leedom's book.
On page 63 of his book is an article by Alan Albert Snow titled "Astrology in The Dead Sea Scrolls". (Quoting the first paragraph) " It is truly amazing that any of the Dead Sea Scrolls have survived into the 20th century (probably God's will--my insert). There is now proof that there is a link between these ancient scrolls, first-century Judaism, The early Christian church, and the ancient practice of astrology. Scholars and churchmen alike are astonished to know of this connection and are still having a problem with reconciling a discredited occult practice like astrology with the edited, revised, and sanitized version of religion that is presented to the public in our modern churches." and the last two paragraphs:: "Scholars and other interested individuals are fortunate to be living in the late 20th century when religious authorities and other "special interest" experts can no longer edit out astrological references and other historically hidden information in the Dead Sea Scrolls. This rediscovered way of viewing the first-century world must be accepted and recognized by the entire modern academic community." "The intellectual elitists of the traditional orthodox religions who kept this information from fellow scholars and the general public had their monopoly broken by the American Bible Archaeological Society in 1991. All of the "unpublished" Dead Sea Scrolls were finally given to the whole world in the unedited, uncensored, and un-revised two volume set titled: "A facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls."
And now on to the Worldwide Church of God. Delving in some musty old piles of Plain Truths in my basement, I came across some goodies in the April 1991 issue. ( Quite a coincidence. The same year the Dead Sea Scrolls were declared open season). The PT portrayed a large, gold cross on the cover with a question in large, yellow letters asking, "HAS CHRISTIANITY FAILED?" In smaller print it answers (as it always does quickly before you get a chance to think) "Christianity has not failed. It is simply that nations have failed to try it". (whattaya think, they're stupid?) So with the chastity belt off, a clear conscience, freedom of guilt, freedom Of thought, freedom of choice, I plunged into the article. I approached it from the perspective of common sense and reason. Here are some excerpts and critiques.
I began to see how devious Worldwide Church of God was in twisting the truth around to suit their own purpose. The heading of the article asked this question. Remember how they always asked questions in those stupid magazines and articles? why the hell ask us if they already know? BUT IS IT CHRISTIANITY? "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations teaching them to observe all things, that I have commanded you." This they did and today more than a quarter of mankind claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Christianity is the largest and most geographically diverse of the world's religions". Stop right there, John Halford (he wrote the article). My sense of reasoning and newly gained knowledge is kicking in. Let's see what the facts are from Leedom's book.
There are l.7 billion Christians, 1.1 billion non-believers, 880.6 million Islams, 663.5 million in Hinduism, 311.8 million in Buddhism, 172.2 million Chinese religions, 167.5 million in other religions, 92 million in tribal religions, and 18.2 million in Judaism.
Continuing "Christians are in every country on earth". (mostly people, not a whole lot of churches). The humble carpenter from Galilee has become perhaps the most influential teacher in history." (Probably to Christians. But nobody outside of that category which is the majority). "Yet some people think that mankind would have been off without him." (Okay, Johnny boy, your playing with words again. My reasoning is still kicked in. Define "some".. Aren't you indirectly referring to the majority in the above religions?
So instead of pulling a Clinton on us, the correct answer would be: Mankind believes that mankind would be better off without him) "Certainly much good has been done in the name of Jesus Christ. But also much harm." (I'd say more harm than good). " Jesus taught against violence, yet the armies of so-called Christian nations have slaughtered, massacred, raped and pillaged their way across the pages of history".(Here the writer changes gears. also shifts the gears in the reader's mind.) "Jesus told his disciples to expect persecutions--" (Hey, wait a minute. Let's get back to those so-called Christian armies again. They weren't "so-called". They WERE Christian armies. slaughtering, looting, pillaging, raping, etc. in spite of the of the title they were bearing, and in spite of the reference to Christ).
So you can understand now, if you loose the tie that binds your mind, you will have the amazing ability to think for yourself. If you can rid yourself of that Herbert W. Armstrong philosophy which to some is bubble gum for the brain, you can achieve a wonderful goal. The freedom to think and make your own decisions. Which I really believe is God's main purpose. If you trust in Him, He will trust you to make the right ones.
Ed, you are doing an immeasurable service. You have enabled me go beyond the periphery of Armstrongism, the core of my seething anger. He's merely a "bug" that I caught. Although I forfeited over a quarter of a century of my life not to mention scads of money for a cause I sincerely believed in, the Truth, although belated, is making me free the right way. If you search for the truth, you will find it. Not Armstrong's, but God's. You're web site has encouraged me, not to search the scriptures which were crammed into my head for many years, but for reason and logic. This approach to me is more convincing that there is a God than the myth and folklore of Christianity.
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