"Enemy Mine"

    The take-no-prisoners, in-your-face approach to hypocrisy within the Churches of God

      Douglas Becker




      Disappointment, Part 1: Hypocrisy

      Did you know that there is a group of Sabbath keeping Mormons?

      Certainly, the Armstrongists do not have a lock on claiming to keep the Sabbath as a part of keeping the Ten Commandments as a part of keeping God’s Law. Certainly, there is the Church of God, Seventh Day — several of them, in fact — so many of them you might not be able to keep them straight. There is the Seventh Day Church of God, which not only keeps the Sabbath, but has kept the Holydays since 1919: They took notice of Gilbert G. Rupert early on — long before Herbert Armstrong was taught personally by Jesus Christ to keep them [the author hopes that those reading this have a finely honed sense of irony]. [In case you are wondering, and do not have access to the  Herald of Truth, Paul Woods produces the Holyday Calendar for the Seventh Day Church of God presently.] There are also those who actually don’t much deserve mention, such as the Seventh Day Baptists and the Seventh Day Adventists. In a totally illogical way, these two groups manage to keep the Sabbath (?) and Christmas and Easter — and to the Armstrongist mind, that’s just wrong.

      One wonders with all the claims and counter claims of those keeping the Sabbath, and some of them managing to declare themselves holier than thou in spite of some nagging inconsistencies in their actual practices, just how deep the sincerity of committment might actually be? As one, myself, who lives on a good example of others, it certainly gives me pause to observe people coming into Sabbath services with an obviously fresh latte they just purchased at a drive through; it gives me pause to hear talk of their plans to eat out immediately after services and long before sunset, at Denny’s, Sherri’s or something even more upscale. There are those disturbing accounts in Ezra and Nehemiah about related commercial enterprises, after all.

      Now mind you, Grace Communion International, A.K.A WCG, if only they could get the State of Washington to recognize their name change, corporately speaking, really doesn’t have a problem. Any day and every day is good to worship the Lord and spend time with him. Last Sabbath, Larry Pate pointed out while giving a sermon on I Thessalonians that we should have Jesus Christ as our Lord. It was his perspective that in the old Armstrongist Worldwide Church of God, it was far too often that the Law was our Lord, not Jesus Christ. Even if I don’t agree with the Grace Communion International, I have to admit that Mr. Pate has a point.

      Nevertheless, this is not a discussion of religion, per se. It is not a discussion about theology. It is not a discussion, even about the Sabbath, per se. This is about hypocrisy. Let me just say that the examples that I see among all the Churches of God — and not just the Armstrongist ones — is a tad disappointing. I don’t care myself if you keep the Sabbath or you don’t keep the Sabbath. My concern is about people who claim to keep God’s Law, the Ten Commandments and claim to keep the Sabbath, and, yet, offer irreconcilable contradictions in their practices.

      I’m not the only one to wonder about this issue. Art Bradic and Dennis Fischer coauthored a book called “A Sabbath Test” where you can find over at the Eternal Church of God Website: http://www.eternalcog.org/ecgbooks/stdirectory.html Their approach was just to lay out the case that we should not engage in commerce on the Sabbath by eating out on the Sabbath — if we’re going to keep the Sabbath, anyway. Their approach is something like: we’re comrades at arms, spiritual brothers — we’d like you to consider this. It isn’t in the typical Armstrongist take-no-prisoners, you’re-headed-for-the-lake-of-fire, cut-off-from-God approach. But for all that, the reaction, particularly amongst the ministers and leadership of all the major Armstrongist Churches of God is nothing short of astonishing: Everyone of them is vehemantly opposed to the Bradic / Fischer approach and have universally condemned them for their efforts. Dennis Fischer documents this fairly well over at his website: http://www.blowthetrumpet.org/HonoringGodsSabbath.htm 

      There’s stiff opposition from United, Living, Restored and the Church of the Great God. John Rittenbaugh, Director of the Church of the Great God, declared that the authors of A Sabbath Test were, at minimum, demon influenced, if not outright possessed, making that conclusion without reading a single word of the text.

      It was just a few years back, three or four, I think, if I remember correctly, that Dennis Fischer told me at Sabbath services at the UCG in Redmond, Washington, that many of the brethren were beginning to consider the questions brought forth in the booklet. At the time, he was good friends with Dennis Luker and often gave Bible Studies in his own home. The leadership in Cincinnati, as they do, set forth to study the issue. Usually, such commissions to the Council of Elders drags on for years, what with their bureaucratic processes of governance and all, but this time, the retribution decision  was as swift as it was decisive: Dennis Luker [the next president of the UCG, presently packing his bags] had to tell Dennis Fischer that even though they were friends, well… you know…. Bible studies in Mr. Fischer’s home soon were dropped mysteriously from the UCG church schedule and finally, he moved away to Montana, to be in more direct contact with Art Braidic and the members of the Eternal Church of God there.

      United, for sure, uses the ad hominum argument that Art Braidic has done something which would prevent them from allowing him to be a minister in the UCG. I would like to remind the UCG that they have some much more dirty laundry in their closet which I disclosed a while back and their performance was less than stellar. I paid the lawyer’s fees for the stalked couple  and I sat in the courtroom after all. I really don’t think that United has any cause to cast the first stone, so to speak, but, then that’s ancient history, as is the events which they recount in United concerning Mr. Braidic. If they’d like to use that as an excuse, then they probably don’t have much to say about the coauthor. What a bunch of hypocrites.

      But there’s more.

      There wasn’t just opposition. There were excuses. Can you imagine how many excuses the Armstrongist Churches of God could possibly give for breaking the Sabbath by eating out in a Restaurant? Would you say 5? 10? 20? 25? Nope. Thirty excuses. As my friend Wally Hensen in the Seventh Day Church of God says, “If you need an excuse, any one will do”.

      I am well known for being that take-no-prisoners, in-your-face approach to hypocrisy. I’d probably be fighting along side the Maccabeean brothers. If you remember, the last thing I said to the Armstrongists, particularly to the UCG, was: judgment, if any, awaits. I figure that after all of those years of being yelled at as being evil and wicked and made to sing Psalm 51 year after year at the “Passover”, while considering that great and perfect stellar example of the ministry and the Armstrong lead Worldwide Church of God — and the even worse judgmental Radio Church of God — it is high time that the Armstrongists get a taste of their own medicine, particularly since they seem caught up in their own self-righteous narcissistic universe. It is something they long richly deserved.

      On the other hand, is the kindness and gentle, if not genteel, loving approach of Art Braidic. He just wants his brothers in the church and ministry to have the blessings of God.

      I plan to see Art Braidic this September in Montana. I might even consider singing The Holy City again at the Feast after a four year hiatus from the Red Lodge site. And I have a question for him — albeit a rhetorical one: Just which approach has worked with the leadership and ministry of the major Armstrongist churches of God — mine or his? We all now know the answer, but it will be fun to ask just the same.

      Speaking of the Feast, has anyone considered that $832+ and on up to $1,552 cruise out of Seattle to Alaska, offered by the Church of God, Big Sandy? They meet the first two days of the Feast of Tabernacles at the Edgewater Inn in Seattle. On Friday afternoon, they board the Holland America Cruise Lines ship, the M.S. Zaandam, arriving at their first port of call in Juneau, Alaska that following Sunday. Services will be from 8 to 9 AM daily except for Wednesday, September 29th, when services are not planned. The Last Great Day will aboard ship as they arrive in the evening in Victoria, B.C. Canada. Sounds fun. Not too much religion at one hour per day — but it is awfully early. And on the Sabbath and the Holy Day, the manservants and maidservants of the Holland America Cruise Lines will be at your beck and call to cook up and serve you anything you want. Even if you choose buffet, the Captain and First Mate are in the wheel house on the Sabbath and Last Great Day, sailing the ship. The Church of God, Big Sandy, as you recall is one of the 40+ churches split away from United, and the CoG, BS is growing a lot faster and have a lot of fun programs (like the Boy Scouts) for participating members. One wonders if Ezra and Nehemiah are rolling over in their graves.

      The CoG, BS cruise is reminisent of the single’s United Cruise down to Mexico. On the Sabbath, the ship was in port. Most of the members went out on the beach to go parasailing, while the minister hid on board ship. I’m guessing that the UCG has to keep the fun stuff for the 20 somethings to keep them interested, keeping the Sabbath be damned. …and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. Or maybe United is a bit closer to the Grace Communion International folks than we would have surmised. Given United’s recent woes, the time may be ripe for some sort of corporate merger — if only the Chairman of the Board can somehow be persuaded to embrace less conservative values. 

      Beware of the leaven and all that. Like so many corporate sociopaths, they’d like you to accept what you are told and go your way. I have for the past 2+ years [and had great peace, finally walking away from the Armstrongist cultists], but every once in awhile it’s good for folks to have a reality check again — particularly with people we all know are about as far from reality as their high concepts can take them. They can hearken back to Herbert Armstrong, but I’ve had side conversations with his personal chef awhile back and as sure as death, taxes, revenge and the fury of a woman scorned, cannot, for the life of me, understand how anyone can claim to be keeping the Sabbath while demanding that his man servant cook something up for him on the Sabbath because he has a hankering for some food morsel or other. Perhaps, someone should do an investigation of what ever happened to that peacock on the AC campus. Delicious, was it? Cooked on the Sabbath? We wouldn’t wonder.

      Meantime, I’m just as puzzled as ever: The claims about keeping the Sabbath make no sense at all — the behavior and bad example confuse me. The excuses anger me. If you’re going to keep it, keep it; if not, just give up making any claims about it.

      I just had a thought: I wonder if I could find some Sabbath keeping Scientologists to visit. It makes about as much sense.

      Herbert Armstrong, Spiritual Mafia Godfather

      I have to admit that sometimes I can be pretty dense, although, in my defense, even highly qualified experts who should know better sometimes miss the point. It was only last year did something come clear to me because of an experience I had with a young man who was not exactly who he seemed to be. As a result, it would seem time to clarify the distinctions between the pure narcissist, psychopath and sociopath.

      My introduction to the concept of narcissists came from William D. Meyer over at the main website for the Painful Truth:


      It was very helpful to me, personally. I wondered about some people I knew personally, and this helped me immeasurally in my personal and professional life. It suddenly made sense to me when I dealt with people who were the center of their own universe and could in no way relate to others in a personal way or even acknowledge other people’s worth except for what they did personally for the narcissist himself or herself. I also had unfortunate interactions with Dr. Sam Vaknid and bought his book. I can agree with one thing he said in his book, Malignant Self Love — Narcissism Revisited: “My disorder is here to stay, the prognosis is poor and alarming”. The Narcissist has no empathy for others. The Narcissist will never change. Everyone else who comes into the life of the Narcissist will probably end up to be collateral damage.

      So I thought Narcissists were really bad. But there are worse things in this world. I was in the locker room at Balley’s Pac West after a workout when a retired doctor who also worked out there told me about Dr. Robert Hare and  his book: Without Conscience — The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us. “It’s a fun read,” the retired doctor said. After my experiences with them, and especially a Church of God psychopath leader [well documented by a psychiatrist], I conclude that the read might be fun, but actual experience with them, not so much. I’ve never been so miserable in my life as when I’ve been forced to deal with psychopaths. Dr. Hare wrote another, more useful and useable book with a colleague: Snakes in Suits — When Psychopaths Go to Work. Snakes in Suits unveils the basic patterns of the Psychopath: Evaluation, manipulation, abandonment. They are the risk-taking game players. Ironically, a story in the book tells of how a psychopath ripped off a church. It appears to me — and this is just my thinking — that the highest concentration of psychopaths are in Jails / Prisons, Corporations, Government and Churches. Otherwise, they are 2% or so of the general populace. However, statistics are hardly comforting if you end up being on their radar. You are going to be toast. They have the talent to con just about everybody and rip them off royally.

      Along the way, people have asked me whether Herbert Armstrong was a psychopath. I have told them universally that I did not know. For one thing, anyone with a high vocabulary is not easy to spot as a psychopath, and, although, as with everything with Herbert Armstrong exaggerated to be bigger than life, and although perhaps his vocabulary was not as high as he’d like to have believed, it still would certainly cloud the issue.

      Two years ago I encountered a young man who seemed sincere and quite religiously pious. He said and seemed to do all the right things. He had quite a family history which many would find somewhat disturbing, but he seemed OK. My radar was on for Narcissists and Psychopaths, but I was missing the final piece. I could not for the life of me figure this guy out. I wondered what was going on. He seemed to familiar to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

      After quite a bit of research, I discovered the rather unexpected answer: He was a sociopath. Before you begin jumping to any conclusions, let me say that Dr. Robert Hare says that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) is wrong. It confuses the distinction between sociopaths and psychopaths. A little more research revealed the difference: While psychopaths are narcissistic, have no conscience and play games with people, the sociopath is narcissistic, has a situational conscience and is an opportunist.

      What is a situational conscience?

      A situational conscience is a conscience which is activated within a sociopath for a particular venue. That is to say that a sociopath may very well have no problem at all murdering, lying and theft with the general public, but for his particular social association, he may hold it anathema to do so with a particular segment of his social group. For example, the sociopath I knew hates all other men and he would have no problem hurting them — even killing them, but he would NEVER even think of hurting or doing anything bad to the women of his own family.

      A perfect example of sociopaths is represented by the Mafia: They may murder, steal, lie, run illegal gambling and prostitution rings, cheat and sell drugs. Nevertheless, Mafia members would never do that to other Mafia members. It would probably mean death. Their sociopathic behavior is compartmentalized to the world outside of their own social group. And, of course, the one who holds the whole thing together is the Godfather.

      If you view Herbert Armstrong as the Spiritual Mafia Godfather, it explains a lot. In the Radio Church of God and later in the Worldwide Church of God, his behavior was not that far off the mark as a sociopath acting as a Godfather. He generally took care of his family. He protected his son, even as GTA committed reprehensible acts. He took care of his wife and daughters, albeit there seems to be some aberrations in that regard. He took care of his closest lieutenants, as long as they did what he wanted them to do. He viewed the rest of us as the sort of plebians which carried out the operations and supported the main Family. At this point, Tkatch’s “We are Family” just doesn’t seem that appealing. It would be natural for him to fall prey to a sociopath who made outrageous claims of being connected to the Mafia.

      The Worldwide Church of God was filled with outrageous anomalies. Men who became ministers married coeds who had been date raped by GTA. Some of them made it all the way to be Evangelists — all the while knowing the truth. It was natural that Roderick Meredith would be seen by Herbert Armstrong as his loyal “enforcer” — hard, harsh, cruel, but loyal to the Godfather himself. People ended up engaging in and subject to all sorts of conduct that was illegal, immoral and unethical. Herbert Armstrong himself said it was OK to lie to the general populace in order to bring them to “the truth” whatever that was. Personal opinions of the Godfather became doctrine, just as does in the Mafia. He had all the control and power. No one could oppose him.

      Herbert Armstrong could be very nice to those he though were “important” and could be of use to him. I think, though, as aggressive and manic as he was, Herbert Armstrong was an opportunist. He didn’t aggressively play games and play people, but he wasn’t above engaging in opportunities when they came his way. For example, he honored and held up his eight Japanese “Sons” and even threatened to leave us all in favor of them. Stanley Rader was an opportunity he could not pass up, particularly because Rader straightened out the business end of things. But to make him an Evangelist after baptizing him in a bathtub? Well, you know, it’s important that Godfather makes it clear what kind of treatment of honor and respect someone gets in doing his work and providing him service. After all, the end justifies the means, just as it does in the Mafia. As long as the Godfather and his work was promoted, all else could be forgiven.

      So now my training is complete and I have the trinity of narcissim well defined and nailed down: Good enough for practical use in daily life. My advice to you is the same as I take myself: As much as lies within us, avoid Narcissists, Psychopaths AND Sociopaths. Our lives are better off for it. Unfortunatly, I work for them, so there isn’t that much escape, but at least I understand their deviant nuttiness.

      I hope that my experiences will be of practical benefit for you.

      Keep your radar on.

      Disappointment Part 2: Stench

      Years back, I had the responsibility to do some work to prepare the Weyerhaeuser Mill in Valliant, Oklahoma for the Year 2000. I wasn’t certain what to expect. What I found was most unexpected.

      The then Weyerhaeuser Mill was the largest mill of its kind in the world. In scale, you might think of a gear the size of one inside a old style Swiss watch or even a gear in a car. In the mill, a gear was typically a minimum of 6 feet across (about two meters for you in the rest of the world). Everything there was huge!

      Paper mills work using wood pulp “digested” and pressed into kraft paper using 430 degrees of heat. The “digesting” part causes sulphur, turpentine and chlorine to be airborne and quite pervasive. The smell of the place was not unlike a hospital surrounded by a forest in hell. It got into everything. The way to survive it was to go to the mill to do the work, return to the motel room and take a shower. Taking a shower in the morning before leaving for the plant was useless. Before the shower, I would put my clothes I wore that day into a black plastic garbage bag and put that bag inside another black plastic garbage bag.

      One of my colleagues had travelled by jet back to corporate headquarters. He had papers from the office at the mill in his brief case. All he did was open the briefcase. Immediately, the smell was all over the jet cabin and many people on board became sick.

      I thought I would be smart: When I arrived home, I got the washer started and dumped my clothes on the bed, thinking to put them in the machine presently. Immediately, everyone in the house wanted to know if the sewer had backed up. I should have dumped the clothes directly from the garbage bags into the washer, but it was far too late. It took two hours to air out the house — with the plastic garbage bags outside in the garbage.

      The mill controller told me that a very clean living Mormon family man had worked at the mill for 20 years and retired. He moved away and shortly died of cancer. The controller told me that he was convinced that the chlorine, sulphur and turpentine had killed him. It was difficult to see it any other way.

      The remarkable thing was that after almost exactly six months, people who worked continuously at the mill stopped smelling the chlorine, sulphur and turpentine. Anyone who suddenly told their coworkers that they couldn’t smell it anymore had their coworkers go, yup, he’s been here six months.

      In 2009, I went to the first day of the days of unleavened bread with the UCG in Tacoma. It had been over three years, and I was only there for my wife’s sake. I no sooner walked through the door than the minister came by and told everyone in hearing range that I was stubborn. He later told my wife to force me to return to United. Her reaction was that she couldn’t make me do anything. Besides, who was the minister to make such outrageously presumptuous demands? I remembered very well the circumstances with my last contact with the minister: He lied to me, broke his promises, falsely accused me and lied to others about me [I can ruin my own reputation just fine on my own without help from a UCG minister, thanks loads]. Besides being vain to the point of considering taking group photographs of himself, he engineered some of the most illegal, immoral and unethical acts I have seen outside corporate America.

      In order to make the whole stalking case go away, he offered the UCG couple a bribe. What do you want the most,he asked? “Oh, I’d really like to go to the Feast in Alaska,” was the reply. So instead of doing the I Corinthians 5 thing and putting the immoral stalker out of the church for a time until he, well, stopped stalking church members, the minister offered a bribe to keep the whole thing out of court. He issued a check out of third tithe, taking it from whatever hapless widows and orphans there might be, and gave it to the stalked. Before the ink dried, they deposited it and got tickets to Alaska… and filed suit in court. It was a win-win for them. United, not so much. You must admit it was a clever ploy, though. I think the minister more than met his match.

      So when I walked into the UCG services in 2009, the arrogance of the minister hit me every bit as hard as the stench of the Weyerhaeuser mill. It stinks, it really does. I realized then that I had been in the stench since 1964 when I first attended with the Radio Church of God. I was 17 and naive. My sense of discrimination was simply not present. I could not sense the arrogance. I thought these people were gods — a simpleton from the hinterland of a farming community subjected to the sophisticated city folk. I was, in that environment, under those circumstances, extremely poor and cut off from my own folks, subject to the tender mercies of those godlets in sheep’s clothing, persuaded to commit the best and the rest of my life to Herbert Armstrong with no hope of being or achieving anything in this life. Hooray, I was on the bottom. The lowest of the low. I had no status whatsoever. I lived as best I could on less than minimum wage. Often, I fasted because I actually had nothing to eat. I paid my full tithe on my gross income before anything else and “Second Tithe” as well. At the best of times, I had $3.25 to last me a fortnight until the next paycheck. Needless to say, I lost a lot of weight and was quite gaunt. It wasn’t really that healthy, but I thought I was happy, giving my life to God and all.

      It was only later — much later — that I realized that I was giving my life to a parasite who never even knew who I was: Just another face in the crowd of 6,000 people for the two hours he stood at the podium at the Feast of Tabernacles. I was dirt poor and he was wealthy beyond the hopes of avarice. Because I grew up in a Catholic Parochial school, I thought Herbert Armstrong had a vow of poverty and chastity, just like the Catholic Sisters. After all, he said he didn’t really own anything.

      It was later that I began to see the arrogance of Herbert Armstrong. I got to perceive the arrogance of Roderick Meredith. I’ve gotten experience first hand with the arrogance of Joseph Tkach, Senior.

      It stinks. It all stinks. It stinks to high heaven.

      Well, you know. After being out of the stench of Armstrongism for a few years, you don’t appreciate what you are missing, until the day you walk back into it. Then it hits you. It is overpowering. But then, I didn’t and don’t have to put up with it. I don’t attend United any longer. I don’t attend any Armstrongist church. Oh, a visit now and then for reasons other than spiritual health, because they don’t offer much in the way of anything spiritual. They don’t recognize the fact that they are empty. If you attend services with the Armstrongists, it is highly likely you will hear about their support programs, or, Scripturally, be regaled with the minutia and unnecessary details of the weights and measures of utinsels in the Arc of the Covenant.

      They are utterly devoid of spirituality, let alone humanity, because they are used to they way they are treated: With dignity, honor and deference. They don’t seem to realize that I’ve very much outgrown them and have no need for them any longer. They never had that much to offer in the first place and they have nothing to offer now.

      I also have the benefit of the experience of the non Armstrongist Sabbath keeping churches of God. You’d be surprised how like the Armstrongist churches of God are at first glance. There’s not much difference in the doctrines, but there is a very great difference in the way people are treated. The minister is an unpaid volunteer who has a day job. I can actually talk to and relate to the minister. He’s just a regular bloke without the “halo glow” about him. There’s equality among the people. The standards are quite different. After awhile, you recover from the stench of the Armstrongists and wonder what you ever saw in them. They no longer seem bigger than life. The Armstrongists merely seem terribly pathetic.

      The arrogance of the Armstrongists hit you when you come through the door. You can smell the stench when you read their magazine. You get the stench from their website. You can see the stench from the telecasts and podcasts. And heaven fore-fend, you can really get the stench at the Feast of Tabernacles when they declare the Word of the Lord and how the Statutes, Laws and Judgments of God are going to be applied in the Millennium and in the Second Resurrection: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, as the judges determine. You can get the stench of nuttiness from their arrogance from their sermons — they are right and you are wrong and THEY ARE IN CHARGE! THEY HAVE THE POWER!

      Not anymore.

      In case you were wondering about that Weyerhaeuser Mill in Valliant, Oklahoma? Weyerhaeuser sold its entire Containerboard Packaging Business in 2008, replete with over two dozen plants and several mills, including the one in Valiant, to International Paper Company. International Paper was under-capitalized and nearly immediately closed one of the three lines at the mill and laid off 60 people — a hard hit in an already depressed part of the country. I presume that the stench continues, just at a diminished capacity, for a mill that opened in 1982 and decreased the adult illiteracy rate from 55% in that area to 45%. I’m thinking that illiteracy will go even higher than original. It’s sad that the buffet 14 miles from the mill, featuring deep fat fried catfish will have fewer customers. By the way, if you ever go there, or anywhere in Valiant, be sure to bring cash, because no one accepts credit cards, not even Visa. But the King’s Motel still accepts paying guests by the hour.

      So I hope you learn something from this: There is a stench to the arrogance of the Armstrongists. But beware: Stay with them for six months and you won’t notice it any more. But it could kill you.

      Disappointment, Part 3: Lies

      Those fun guys at the University of Toronto have done it again! They’ve discovered the secret to Executive Ability! After gathering all the data, the jury is in. Executive Ability is developed early in a child’s life. After the age of six or seven, it’s too late to develop it. One has to have the practices of Executive Ability down pat early on, in order to win the favor of, and, direct others. The methodology must be seamlessly integrated into the child’s life to be successful as an adult. Otherwise, expect to be second rate: You’ll never rise to the Executive Levels of say, the President of the United States or be a successful Cult Leader, which is the same in the thinking of some circles. Corporate America falls all over itself to secure these people who have achieved Executive Ability as Children. Corporate HR is interested in seeking you out if you have it.

      What those lads at the University of Toronto found is that children who learn to lie successfully and skillfully develop Executive Ability. No one else need to even bother to apply. You just don’t have what it takes to con your way into a comfy position.

      It’s bad enough that people with influence are delusional, but it’s really terrible when they look you right in the eye and lie to you without so much any kind of indication of lying.

      Lying is not limited to the Armstrongist Churches of God. Neither are takeovers. Excesses and abuses are universal and you can find bad examples nearly anywhere.

      The Church of God Seventh Day had a fairly strong presence in the Tacoma area at one time. There were were as many members in CoG7 as there were in the WCG back when. They had developed their own property and built a church building. In due time, though, as things would have it, eminent domain took over and they sold the property and moved. There is an hospital where the old church building used to be. The transaction netted them $300,000.

      They rented a nice facility across the bridge and met there. Things were going pretty well, but some of the younger members wanted more, especially for their children — a step up, if you please, from the more traditional services. They hired a Church of God Seventh Day youth minister from Lodi, California — a man who had grown up in the church and who wrote his master’s thesis on Dugger and Dodd. His wife also is related to one of them. His dad is a minister. He has five brothers in the church.

      They brought him in and things began to change. He and his wife were attractive and charismatic. They were both musically talented and sang. They formed a praise worship band for church. He was so smooth, butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. He could charm the socks off a fox.

      At this point, I’m reminded of the story of the Arab and the camel. The Arab set up his tent in the desert at evening and went inside to sleep. The camel complained, “I’m cold, could I stick my nose in to get it warm?”. “No,” the Arab said! “But it’s just my nose,” the camel whined. “No,” the Arab said, “you’ll stick in your nose and the next thing you’ll come right in, lift off the tent, walk off and I’ll be left in the cold!”. “No, I won’t,” the camel promised, “please!? Please!!?? PLEASE!!!??? I promise”. The Arab began to lose his resolution. The camel continued to whine and promise. Finally, the Arab said, “OK, but just your nose!”. So the camel stuck in his nose, his body followed, he lifted up the tent and made off with in into the desert, leaving the Arab high, dry and cold.

      The man — we’ll call him Chris — got tight with all the younger families. He made himself the chairman of the church board. Chris made himself the head of the Christian Rock Band Group with something like twelve members, including a synth keyboard player whose name would be familiar to all of you in this area. There was a lot of praise worship involving music at over 85 decibels, the threshold of pain. I know because I brought a Radio Shack sound meter with me. Everybody was sort of happy. But there was all that $300,000 in the bank, calling to him, calling to him.

      Chris took over the church board and did away with bylaws of the Church of God Seventh day. It didn’t take long that he was changing the name of the church to something like what happened in the Armstrongist realm — something that sounded a lot more evangelical. There was more and more music for services. He was making friends with the Sunday churches and proclaiming that the church was going to become a community based Christian church. He got the board to buy a piece of property in Gig Harbor for much of the money in what became his little “slushy” fund. He proceeded to get the church to pay for his continuing education with Azuza Pacific University. He gave himself a 20% raise out of what money was left of the $300,000. He started paring down the sermons to 20 minutes of cloying religious vagueness. The rest of the time he, his wife and his band played the gospel music, while the rest of the congregation sang along. He also moved to split from the Church of God Seventh Day.

      At the same time, he moved to disfellowship a member of the church board and oust him from the church. He made it sound like a disagreement about administration, while the truth was that the board member was protesting the break from CoG7. He reported the board member to CoG7 to get him disfellowshipped and at the same time proceeded to cut off his newish church from CoG7 — starting by not paying the portion of money that was to flow there [and good luck for those contributors: There were never any receipts cut for contributors to report to the IRS]. The ousted board member went to the Regional District to protest and his ministerial credentials were saved — but only just barely — and only because the news of the now Chris church had reached the Regional District administrator.

      Pandemonium pursued. Older members were told they weren’t welcome and that Chris wanted church members his age and under. A full 75% of contributions came from the board members, and most of those left, so regular income dropped like a rock. Oh, there were still all those appealing programs with all the appealing people — and all those special events like Super Sabbath Weekend and a gigantic Christian Music Rock Concert at the Columbia River Gorge [not connected with the church in Gig Harbor, which at last count dropped to something less than 15 members].

      Church support in this newly created church in Gig Harbor fast disappeared. The ousted board member set up services across the bridge with some regular members still loyal to the Church of God Seventh Day. There wasn’t enough money left to even get permits to build a new church facility in Gig Harbor. Chris couldn’t scrape up enough money to pay the property taxes, and, besides, it’s now partly a wetland because building a nearby freeway ended up making it one. Some of the members — some of the older ones in service to the old regime — are now in United and serving there. Chris and his buddy have apparently fallen on hard times and it’s really gotten around to the other Sabbath keeping Churches of God, but there’s still one thing he has: Chris is in charge! And his dad is none too pleased with him, by all accounts.

      The remaining church board member in Gig Harbor offered to sell the property at a substantial discount to the Seventh Day Church of God. After discussing it amongst themselves and contracting with a lawyer, the Seventh Day Church of God declined the offer and promptly tied up the property by putting a lien on it. They still own it and they’ll probably get it back in the end. In the meantime, they’re going to change a few rules about the ownership of Church of God Seventh Day properties so this doesn’t happen again.

      I’ve talked to someone who knew Chris at Vale Academy. He told me that “It was hard to pin down what it was while I watched Chris play, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it”. No doubt it had everything to do with Executive Ability — that’s something that always sets a person apart from his lesser fellows. His other peers who grew up with him have defended him by saying, “We know who he is!”, ironically and weirdly paralleling the purported words the demons said to Jesus, “We know you”.

      This story isn’t ended for sure. None of us may live that long. Nevertheless, in the end, I’m personally persuaded that the Universe does balance things out. It may take awhile, but lying just isn’t the way to get your way in the long term.

      Yes, those lads at the University of Toronto really have something: Lying is the successful path to Executive Ability. It should also be noted from those stalwart fellows from the University of Tuebingen, Germany, that deliberately told lies impact the Cebral Cortex by rerouting and destroying brain cells. They have found a way of synthetically virtually suppressing the neurons involved to make better liars of people. Perhaps it will be a cornerstone to finding ways of making adults Executive material, having missed their window of opportunity and all.

      My experience: People who are subjected to lies become apathetic, if they can do nothing about it, say, in a work environment. Listen for the words, “Nothing ever changes around here”. That is a lie, of course. Things are changing, just not for the better. But give the oppressed the hint of freedom, THEY WILL REBEL! Count on it. It’s a process — one we can see reproduced with regularity in social circles from governments to religion. It’s unfortunate that there are no studies about what happens to the brain cells of the people that are lied to, although we sort of know already. We’ve seen it in the religious venue we participated in as the CoG Collective: Lie to me and I WILL regret it! The liars are causing billions of brain cells to die, turning into those Unidentified Bright Objects found in brain scans where not much exists but fluids. Consult your neurologist, for all the help that will be — brain cells gone for good, executed by scoundrels with executive ability.

      It’s clear that Chris has Executive Ability. How’s that working out for you Chris?

      Yet another example of someone accepting no authority but their own with poor behavioral control.

      What a disappointment!

      It’s high time that folks realized that narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths aren’t folk heros, they don’t offer any freedom, they just offer their own brand of slavery that ends badly for the slaves.

      And did I mention that Lodi is idol spelled backwards?

      Disappointment, Part IV: Delusions

      In the late 1960s, I often went up to the city on the weekends to stay with my brother at his boarding house. He had grown up during a paranoid era of the cold war and was always seeking an avenging hero which could show that the majority was wrong and, more importantly, empower him with the promise that some day he could be in charge to right the evils of the world. He wasn’t exactly a religious hobbyist, but he was definitely seeking — not a higher power — but someone or something with superior power. As some of you know, he finally found and settled in on Armstrongism and eventually it killed him: In pain, alone, in fear, abandoned, betrayed.

      After his death, people from the WCG came by his apartment as my mother was wrapping up his affairs. You might think that they came to express their condolences and relate how Bruce improved their lives. If you thought that, you would be wrong. They came by and wanted his stuff: His precious stones he polished himself, his telescope, his cameras he built himself, his electronic gear. It was like they had some sort of entitlement. Later, two church boys, who had joined the military, had the gall to come by our folk’s home to stay over on the way to the Feast. My folks put them up and fed them because they claimed to know Bruce. My mother showed me the letter from Haffely, the minister, who admitted that Bruce had called him for help when he was having the heart attack, but the minister just advised him to go to the hospital emergency room. My brother’s trusting delusion that the church would take care of him when he was in trouble killed him.

      It didn’t end with his death. My mother received a letter from Pasadena after Bruce’s death from the massive cardiac infarction. The good folks at Pasadena were certain that my brother had left them absolutely everything in his will: Tens of thousands of dollars, and they wanted it. They demanded that my folks produce his will they were certain my mother was hiding, because everything of his was theirs now. Of course, they had no rights at all to his small fortune built up from his industriousness, conservatism and use of his technological skills, but they were certain our family was hiding something that would prove that their selfish arrogant avarice was well founded. They took advantage of his generosity in life and were determined to take everything that was left after his death. My mother showed me the letter. It was really pretty nasty and vile. I have concluded that though my brother may have been delusional, but the scoundrels at Pasadena always knew precisely what they were. It occurs that the Churches of God have declared war on my family nearly 50 years ago and I’m just now waking up to the fact that they are still at war with us. Interesting.

      There had been incidents long before this. Bruce was kind and generous. As a bachelor, he prepared dinner every Sabbath for different people in the church. He did his best to “serve” at church functions. He gave a lot of extra money to the church as he had occasion. For awhile, my brother was prosperous. He lost his job. He had a large apartment with several bedrooms. A man in the church moved in with his wife and children and mooched off of my brother for several months without providing one thing in return, ever. The man didn’t have a job and Bruce ended up supporting the whole family — a family which was not related to him. He was of the delusion that the church WAS his family.  He couldn’t get rid of them. When things got really bad and he was running out of money, he asked a deacon in the WCG for help. The deacon laughed at him to his face. Remember that this was after my brother had spent a year at Ambassador College. He got into the college by giving and loaning a considerable amount of money to the church. It turns out that Herbert Armstrong was impressed by men of power and / or money. If you had enough money, you could buy yourself into nearly anything in the WCG. I can guarantee that my brother would never have gotten into Ambassador College without his giving them tens of thousands of dollars, back in the early 1960s.

      While I was a still a teen and before my brother entered into the RCG / WCG environment, those weekends with my brother were most illuminating. One Sunday, I was going to catch the Grayhound home and my brother’s landlady — a true believer and relgious hobbiest — asked me if I’d be interested in a talk some religious leader was giving in a room at the Davenport Hotel. I said, OK. What can I say, I was 17.

      Here was this hefty but short 40 something professor-looking dude with a beard and glasses. As he gave his talk to about 20 or so people, it got stranger and stranger. He told us the world was hollow and people lived inside the mantle of the earth. They had flying saucers which flew out of the North Pole. His “proof” was colorful: “I can prove it,” he said. He protested that people [read that scientists] taught that the earth had a molten core. I remember his colorful demonstration: “Build a fire and put a wooden box over it,” he said; “What happens? The fire burns through the box! This proves the earth does not have a molten core — it is hollow! People live inside!”.

      I had a background in science. At the age of 13, I built my own 24 volt regulated DC power supply. With relays I found in the city dump from the AT&T Radar relay TV station, I designed and soldered together a binary counter, replete with a panel of flashing lights. I read the book, Earth, Wind and Fire, to learn about how the earth was formed 4 billion years ago. I performed my own electronic and endless chemical experiments. I used home made hydrogen to fill lighter than air balloons [the part about tying thread to them, spooling the balloon up to the ceiling, lighting the thread and making the balloon go POOF! I will leave out!]. Anyway, here I was — my first real delusional cult leader confronting me.

      After his presentation, he singled me out and stood between me and the door: “What did you think of my talk,” he said? I was a naive country farm boy with a penchant for science experimentation. I had found the arc light at school and put it together with the projection microscope for the first time in seven years when my other brothers last did it. My dad taught me welding at the Lincoln County Shop where he was foreman. I fixed the pendulum clock for grandmother. And here I was. And here he was. I thought of the volcanoes which blew up and which, incidentally, proved that the earth had a molten core. But this was an authority figure. What to do? What to do?

      “It was interesting,” I said, and left, caught the bus and went home.

      How, you might ask, is this relevant to Armstrongism? Well, you should take a look at Ralph Orr’s article over at:


      It is a wonderland of British Israelism, related false prophecies and Pyramidology. Herbert Armstrong was a nut case every bit as bad as the hollow earth core dude, but with more people impressed with his credibility. He sounded credible. His overweening positive manic approach evident in his enthusiasm for everything he did, including THE VERY WORK OF GOD, was persuasive. Today, it doesn’t look that credible, the empire has crashed and burned in disgrace and Herbert Armstrong is a mere footnote in a long list of delusional cultists.

      Back in the 1950s, a then young man, was interested in the Sabbath. He went searching. He had done his homework and studied the Bible. He went in to a meeting of the Radio Church of God. At the end, someone asked him, “What did you think of Herbert Armstrong?”. His reply, “You should ask me what I think of Jesus Christ!”. Now this guy was tall and heavy and fit. It took two deacons to literally pick him up and drop him off outside the door. He later went on to become a minister of the Seventh Day Church of God. I know his 85 year old widow, Marion, who told me the story.

      Anyone with any shred of objectivity should tell any nut case, “Prove it”. I would be inclined to continue, “And just who died and left you God?”.

      That anyone would fall for the preposterous psychotic delusions is testimony of where the generations led us all to. In the movie, Generation Zero, there are four basic steps posited which brought the current world economic crisis:

      1. The crisis: World War II
      2. The High: The easy prosperity of the 1950s
      3. The Awakening: The 1960s Hippie Movement
      4. The Unravelling: Spoiled entitled people leading to Financial Meltdown

      In all of this, objectivity, data, facts, even science are all ignored. People don’t want logic. They don’t want science. They want what feels right and what feels good. Mothers who lived in want pampered their children and gave them everything they wanted and needed, instantly. Disposable diapers are an example of something both immediate and personal. Spoiled children grew up to become selfish entitled adults, leveraged by the explosion of technologies spearheaded by the space race. People awakened to self-awareness to protest perceived injustices. They insisted upon and got the opportunity to express their opinions: To have their say and go their way. During the Clinton Administration, the Clintons capitalized upon this with their Health Care Plan Summit. There was no solution at that time. But the stakeholders came together in Washington D.C. to discuss the issues. Once they were satisfied that they were all given an opportunity to be heard, they all went home, confident that the issue was taken care of without any commitment, involvement or effort from them.

      This past couple of years, the chickens came home to roost — or vultures and velocerapters, more like. Psychopaths became bold, arrogant and downright pushy and got their agendas passed, plying the suspicious point of view to pressure the public. After all, it was what the people wanted. And the sociopaths of the business world pressed the advantage to empty the coffers, affecting generations to come. Meltdown has struck and is with us, but most of the Boomers and New Millenniest breed seem to think that meltdown is a good thing, sort of like cheese topping.

      Dr. Phil has said, “Emotions got you into this and emotions will get you out of it”. That’s a lie. It can’t possibly be true. No, emotions got us into the problem and determination, discipline, logic and a lot of resources with a great deal of effort is the only way to get out of it — if it is even possible. Unfortunately, the modern generations are just plain lazy. They want the instant fix without the character to build to viable solutions [think The BP Oil Spill]. Like some rebellious teens who declare their independence by rebelling against authority, when they are in trouble, they cry out, “Mom, Dad, save me”.

      In the July-August 2010 The Sabbath Sentinel is this interesting entry:

      “I’m Spiritual, but not religious!”

      In a recent CNN article writer John Blake examines the trend among young people who believe that they don’t need organized religion to have a life of faith.

      However, James Martin, a Catholic priest, believes that this trend is essentially egotism. “Religion is hard,” he says. “Sometimes it’s just too much work. People don’t feel like it. I have better things to do with my time. It’s plain old laziness.”

      But offer people something fun and easy like websites, blogs and tweets, and they’re all over it. Use those cell phones to send [mostly] and receive text messages. Try to put them to real work, and they’re outta here.

      Likewise, if it feels right and sounds right, most people today just stop there and don’t look behind the scenes. They accept what is and get drawn into the most preposterous belief systems. The con man is adept in structuring everything to sound right to selfish egos, for example: You will be Kings and Priests in the Kingdom of God, if you DO THE WORK! Throw in some proof texting and there you go. The earth is hollow and people live inside. We can prove it.

      In the same The Sabbath Sentinel is an article by Brian Knowles called Out of the Box — Defeating the “Religious Spirit”. Here is part of what he said:

      Throughout history, there have always been obsessively religious fanatics who have wreaked havoc on the civilized parts of society. Instead of advancing mankind, or emancipating it, they have plunged it into dark ages of superstition, torture, unjust imprisonment, the illegal confiscation of property and untimely death….

       Brian goes on to give four keys to avoiding the religious spirit:

      1. Is it idolatrous?
      2. Does it tend to freedom or bondage?
      3. What are the fruits?
      4. Beware of isolation

      Prove all things. What a concept. Which takes work. Unfortunately, people don’t want the truth, they just want to feel good — with as little effort as possible. People don’t really want science. Don’t confuse them with the facts. And, by the way, if you think that what his religious spirit is restricted to religion, be apprised that he is also talking about such things as secular ones, such as [but not restricted to], ardent environmentalists [AKA eco-terrorists], save-the-whales [yes, I am a bit overweight, but they don't help me!], animal rights, Islamic terrorists [say, isn't that religion?], neo-Nazis, left-wing socialists, health food fanatics, fanatical communists and other nut case groups.

       Once the scoundrels get entrenched it is almost impossible to get rid of them or their silly ideas. Think British Israelism. They pave the way to becoming ensconced by wrecking the credibility of legitimate authorities, among them scientists. When you hear someones philosophies and they try to convince you that scientists are wrong, beware. Of course scientists can be wrong. For example, those weather stations which “prove” global warming are in asphalt parking lots and next to the exhaust of air conditioners. The criteria is the same: Lax and lazy scientists are not to be trusted, particularly if your life depends upon it.

      Nevertheless, it is possible to debunk most of the urban legends. Which falls faster? A bee-bee or a cannon ball. The scientific method proved they fall at equal rates at 32 feet per second per second by pushing them off the Leaning Tower of Pisa at the same time and their landing at the same time. Which is lighter, oil or water? OK then, why does the oil float on the water, then? These embedded belief systems taken for centuries with no examination is partly the responsibility of the generation of religionists and scientists of their time. I had a discussion with the chief scientist over lunch in the Weyerhaeuser cafeteria. He related to me the history of science from the perspective of the acceptance of new scientific discovery. Every generation rejected the truth until the next generation accepted it. Newton’s Law finally gave way to Einstein’s theories, but not without a lot of disagreement. The establishments wants the status quo and hates change.

      Unfortunately, change oft comes with the abandonment of truth. Perhaps it is that Herbert Armstrong took some of the best of the Church of God Seventh Day [or not], but along the way he seriously corrupted and mangled it to become indistinguishable from psychotic delusions. Unfortunately, for the same reasons as given above, far too many people were convinced of his follies.

      I should point out that children, as innocent victims of this nonsense, followed the same path as everyone takes when they are bound involuntarily by lies: They rebelled. Unfortunately, sometimes, rebellion does a lot of unintended collateral damage.

      My heartburn is not with the ones who spread the delusions so much as those who absorb them and lap them up. What sort of people are they? What do they want? Are they so warped that they grasp at every hope that comes by? Are they so desperate that they grasp at straws? Why do they never seek beyond the veneer to find the real truth? This is all very disturbing that so many people get hooked up with fantasies, delusions, myths actively without delving into facts. Perhaps it is true that some people have a convincing “patter”, but now with all the knowledge out there about EVERYTHING, it is surprising that people will actually spend money and risk themselves and their families on flim-flam.

      We should be grateful that Herbert Armstrong came along. He was among the first and largest of the cultists [in more ways than one] to deceive people with his admixture of raw facts and delusional fantasies. At least, when we were finished with him, we have been well positioned to apply the suspicious point of view to the rest of the narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths which come our way — even though it seems small comfort for the ruined lives for which he is responsible: We’ve learned Caveat Emptor the hard way, but we’ve learned it first and more thoroughly than others. It’s a lot harder to deceive us now, particularly with delusions.

      Nevertheless, so many people never learn a thing: They may turn against all that Herbert Armstrong taught, but they turn back to delusions. Former cultists have a way of going back into the system of delusions when they put their trust into government figures who tell tall tales or other unbelievable stories. They look for their heroes, their saviours.

      I am reminded of one of the worst cultmeisters of the Churches of God. The man was evil and oppressive. He played games. He was even exposed publicly through government records. When people had a chance and finally left him, what did they do? They took all of his nutty ideas and doctrines and created their own church group. It was all the same except for the leader they had ousted. Same doctrines. Same rules of governance. All the same people [who, by the way, don't seem to have ever read the Book of Hebrews, or figured out that the writing of Islam are equivalent to New Testament Epistles]. It’s difficult to understand the mindset of people who insist on retaining nutty toxic delusions at all costs. One would think that they would want freedom from such things.

      But now today, if you stand between me and the door, and ask me what I think, you can be pretty well assured that I will answer, “It was interesting”.


      It’s been nearly 50 years now — five decades; half a century — that the Armstrongist churches of God have declared war on my family. I just hadn’t realized it until now. I’m a technologist. Stupid fool people stuff is not my thing.

      It always starts out the same. I’m curious, perhaps to an unprecedented degree. Curiosity drives me as a truth seeker. As a truth seeker, I embrace new things which have promise rather immediately. After all, if it is true, it is probably a good thing to pursue, right? The truth will set you free and all that. More than that, truth is interesting. The problem is with that tiny little word, if.

      It isn’t long that people associated with this new “truth” (new to me and maybe not so true) begin to notice that someone is rooting around in their root cellar where they don’t want anyone looking. Those things lurking were never supposed to be found. The lies and deceptions upon which the “truth” were built threaten to destroy their prosperous little enterprise. This works for churches, governments, business and academia equally.

      Instead of welcoming correction, these people position themselves well to protect the lies upon which their social order is constructed. They aren’t just defensive, they are downright aggressively vicious and will rally themselves to galvanize against any invaders. It’s like that Disney nature video where the wasp falls into the ant nest. Soon there is nothing left of the wasp but wings and feathers.

      And so it is with the Armstrongist churches of God. They seem so sociable at first, hoping for your support in the form of money and giving over your personal power for the aggrandizement of their narcissistic leadership. The lies always threaten to sink their leadership, take away what they come to think is their money and cause their rather tenuous built-on-a-house-of-cards structure of outright delusional destructive fantasies to crumble.

      It isn’t enough for me to gain the proof of how anachronistic the social order is. I must do the high concept thing of projecting the logical conclusion of the outcome, if everyone does exactly what they are supposed to do in the nonsensical framework of absolute dysfunction. Let me give you a concrete example from the real world.

      I work for a county which has built a rather magnificent Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for $10 Million. It is an impressive work. It looks like those centers you see on TV with all the monitors high on the wall in every direction, dozens of tables with PC workstations and telephones. Just what you need for some emergency, like an earthquake or Mount Rainier blowing its stack. Not to be outdone, they also have a $600,000 mobile EOC in a massive trailer which can be moved at any time with the attached semi. Now mind you, I’m not certain how effective the mobile EOC would be in an emergency with all the communications gear and such, because it is setting right next to the EOC building in the parking lot. If you can’t get to the EOC building, how could you get the mobile EOC? These are the sorts of questions that county officials just hate to hear. In fact, they don’t hear them: They don’t listen to criticism at all, constructive or not. They made the decisions, and the decisions are wise ones. Who are you to question THEM!?! How like the churches of God. Anyway, the location of the EOC is secret. Did I say secret? With a simple search of about 10 minutes, you can get not only the location of the EOC, but detailed floor plans and building specifications. You see, the county had to go out to bid. Part of the bid process was to find vendors to build the thing. To find the vendors for the RFP, they had to post the plans on the Internet, and, as you know, things posted on the Internet never really go away. So there you have it: In times of terrorists, the terrorists will probably have the location and layout of the EOC. Brilliant, I say!

      The EOC has a computer room. You would expect that. Important stuff would be on computers to help with any emergency. Planning was a bit lacking. There has been unending battles to try to keep the air conditioning operationally adequate. During hot days in summer, they had to open the doors and use portable fans to cool the room. Later, they got portable air conditioners and vented them through the open doors. Then there was the circuitry. You have to know that the toaster and microwave oven are on the same circuit as the servers in the computer room. And, yes, people have taken down the servers with their toast and heating their lunch in the microwave. My suggestion is that they don’t use both the toaster and the microwave at the same time, or their servers will be toast. There’s nothing like great planning! Nothing like it. It doesn’t seem to exist. They can conceptually plan for an emergency, but the Devil, as they say, is in the details. And remember, a county is a complex place. And this is just one SMALL example.

      Anyway, you can imagine that the Armstrongist churches of God are not at all pleased when people come along and point out that the Emperor not only doesn’t have any clothes, but he has a nasty rash that needs to be treated. We have a more contemporary version of the fable of the Emperor’s new clothes (which don’t exist). The kid points out what everyone sees, but don’t admit. “The Emperor has no clothes,” the kid says. The crowd gives the parents a nasty glare. The parents shush the kid up. “But he doesn’t!” The parents, with the “encouragement” of the Emperor’s staff find a psychiatrist to treat the poor kid for his delusions. He’s put on Ritalin. It doesn’t help him of course. The last we heard of him, the kid grew up in a mental institution, is in a straight jacket, given psychotropic drugs and is safely hidden away from ever being able to tell the truth. You might agree that this could have happened in the old Soviet Union, but folks, the United States Corporations have adopted the worst of the old Soviet Union Corporate model and implemented it badly — replete with ineffective five year plans. Government has adopted the worst of the Corporate model and implemented it badly, with twists of its own, since government doesn’t have to make a profit and will survive no matter how far in the red it goes. I’ve never heard of a government agency declaring bankruptcy, but it seems like we’re about due for a massive declaration any time now. All because people don’t want to face the truth. Better to live on lies than do the real work of dealing with the difficult challenges by using reasonable process and discipline. The quick fix of lies in a dysfunctional environment is far preferable to the long uphill hard work which is really needed to resolve the problems.

      And so it is with the Armstrongist Churches of God which declare that if they find the truth, they will adopt it and correct everything that is wrong. It is a lie. They lie; they cover up the lie; they cover up the cover ups; they make everything undiscussable and then go on to do something really stupid. If you need an example, look at the UCG. They spent years getting established in the Cincinnati area. They bought property and built their buildings. They paid it off. Then why, in heaven’s name, did they decide to move to Texas a mile or so from a Superfund Toxic Waste site? And they weren’t about to, in typical Armstrongist fashion, back down until the whole thing became excruciatingly and unavoidably public. It is only excessive force that will at all influence these suspicious people from doing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. The innocent are destroyed as a casual collateral damage because in their preposterous egoism, no one else counts but them, because they are in charge, and, by cracky, you better believe that Almighty God put them in charge and if you oppose them in any way, you will be dealt with by the rather Retentive Creator of all the universe who is offended by the slightest hint of rebellion, no matter how well intentioned it is to keep people from utter destruction — or more like, rather inconvenient consequences. When you have money and power, you can cover up your mistakes rather handily, it seems.

      The story of my brother, Bruce, isn’t the only skirmish in the war that the Armstrongist churches of God has declared against me and my family. There are too many incidences to recount in one place. The CoG cultmeister from Australia springs to mind, but he’s not the only one by a long shot. It’s not even just about my family. The Armstrongist churches of God have declared war on many other families. Today, we will examine one of them.

      Back in the early 1960s, a psychopathic con man came from the Philippines and ended up associated with the Radio Church of God. He was married to a very sincere devout white woman who had grown up as a Catholic, but has become very much a part of the Armstrongist church of God landscape and who is totally dedicated to Armstrongist teachings. Her husband claimed that he was a doctor in the Philippines and had managed to convince a real medical doctor in the church, state board certified to be a practitioner, that he was he, too, was a qualified doctor. The man from the Philippines, as you would have expected, ended up wrecking the real medical doctor’s career. There was nothing left of Dr. J’s practice when R finished with him. But R had established his own reputation and credibility in the church. Even though people were proscribed from have medical doctors treat them, R’s opinions in the church were highly regarded, particularly in the ministry. He was regularly asked for his advice, which turned out to be nothing more than opinions, and bad ones at that. He took one look at our daughter’s birth mark and declared that it was cancer and that she would die from it. Our pediatrician told it was a mere birthmark and would disappear. It did. Our daughter is still alive after 30 years. Pediatrician 1; psychopath 0.

      The con man and his wife J had children. The divorce was inevitable. Now the wife had no place to live with her children, so a self made millionaire in the church provided her and her children a place in his guest quarters. Now the millionaire was quite prosperous. He has his own home theatre. His son’s bedroom is larger than most people’s living rooms. They are well-to-do. Now they were good friends with the minister. Their son married the minister’s daughter and their daughter married the ministers son. The grandchildren are double cousins. The wedding for the millionaire’s son to the minister’s daughter cost $25,000. It was an impressive event to attend. Of course, the millionaire lets everyone know that he is a millionaire because of God’s blessings from his obedience to God. The minister has been very happy to have a very rich relative by marriage. This particular minister has always been telling people from the pulpit how worried he is about his retirement and that he doesn’t have enough money to retire. It is the case, though, that the minister will probably be OK, since he is now the President of United.

      It was an accident in the apartment the millionaire provided for the woman who had been married to the psychopath. Something went wrong with a space heater. The fire destroyed the small apartment in the millionaire’s property where she took refuge. This had implications. The millionaire blamed her for destroying his property. He made the minister fully aware of his displeasure. The poor woman went on the minister’s bad list — and he ended up supporting a psychopath rather than helping a genuine church member in need.

      There came a day in the divorce proceedings that the question of who would get the children came up in court. The church had an attorney assigned to the woman and paid for the legal fees — up until the day before court, that is. When the day approached, the woman called Pasadena to find out what happened to the lawyer and the church paying the legal fees for the custody of her children. Victor Kubic let her know that she lost the church’s support. She had no legal representation because the church stepped away. As a result, she lost her children and her erstwhile psychopath husband won a major battle.

      Once on a minister’s bad list, always on the minister’s bad list. These people have a long memory for vengeance and they play the long game. This same poor woman went about doing good in her church. She helped a man who had a mental disorder. Because she was nice to him, he fixated on her and began stalking her. He continued stalking her after she was remarried for seven years. The couple being stalked begged and pleaded with the ministry which had passed from the Radio Church of God to the Worldwide Church of God to the United Church of God an International Association. The minister staunchly supported the stalker. You can guess why. The couple went to the Council of Elders. No dice. The minister in question is well connected. In fact, during his sermon on Pentecost, he made the comment that he had a talent for putting people in touch with the right contacts. He knows that because I told him that when I gave him my book, Assertive Incompetence — an Introduction to Management Malpractice. At least you can’t say he hasn’t learned anything from me. But I was hoping he would see himself in the book and make changes, like that would ever happen.

      You know the rest. God intervenes. Or at least sensible judges in civil court do. The restraining order and all. I’m not certain who really won in this particular part of the war. To make the point: The war with that particular family is not over by a long shot.

      The thing is, we might not know who the ministers are, but we certainly have a view of what they are. The Apostle Paul commented that we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. I think he was wrong about that one thing. We don’t know Satan’s devices, although, I must say, they look a lot like the practices of the Modern Church Corporate. We do know a lot of things, such as what happened to the son of the minister, leaving his wife and going to San Francisco and all with his roommate. I wonder if the guys ever married.

      The base problem is what it has always been: After the dust settles, it is clear that those with their lies, delusions and deceptions are not at all what they represented themselves to be; and the truth finally comes out. The only problem that’s left is to find a way to put a spin on it for plausible deniability. And that’s damned inconvenient.

      We have had accounts of how crimes are covered up in the Armstrongist community for years now. It isn’t sin, it’s crime. It isn’t like someone works on the Sabbath once a year or skips paying a tithe or something. We are talking about crimes for which the perpetrators should have gone to prison. GTA date raping Ambassador Coeds. The various men committing incest with their daughters. When our daughter was 12, she told us that her best friend in church was being raped by her father. The church did nothing about it but cover it up. It sort of turned out and justice was done: He was working on the toilet holding tank on a ship and it broke open and the contents washed over his face and head. He died shortly after that. In church, a certain elder was known for molesting boys. The leading women (ones who had no position) in the church went all the way to Pasadena and had no response, so they “watched” the man, particularly on holy days. Ironically, I did not know it at the time, but the man was the Sabbath school teacher for my own son. Universally, the Armstrongist churches have followed the corporate policies of covering up crime, not fixing it.

      United is interestingly different. As a church corporate, the other state incorporated Armstrongist churches could learn a great deal from them. They are progressive, and while they adopt the worst of the corporate model and implement it badly [and I'm the one that gave them the corporate stuff from Weyerhaeuser, which they adopted], they are brilliantly, devilishly clever about it. They learn from reading forums like this to use ever new methodologies to cover up crimes committed by their ministers and members. What they do is NOT solve the problem. What they DO is to bribe the victim! Remember the stalker? They seduced the couple being stalked by giving them a bribe. It sort of solves the problem without solving the problem, but it makes it much more palatable for the victims to continue to bask in the warmth of the church corporate cesspool without retarding the laps the ministry and administration are doing in it.

      It would be nice if we never hear another incident of a 70 old elder fondling a sixteen year old girl in front of people of the congregation, for example. They are perfectly comfortable to remain secure in their church corporate. I would remind everyone that a corporation is an “It” — a thing. It has no empathy. It is amoral. It exists for no particularly good reason except to exist. It does everything it can as a non person to continue its existence. The end justifies the means. If it takes murder, rape, incest, theft, lies, deceptions, so be it. If you are doing a good work, doing evil to keep it going is a must. The only rule is, DON’T GET CAUGHT at it.

      Scripture speaks of the leopard, how it can it cannot change its spots. The Armstrongists don’t seem to be able to change, but it isn’t mere spots. It’s more like stripes — and not the stripes by which we are healed, either. It’s like stripes on a skunk.

      If we consider that the Armstrongist community is the ultimate in church corporate, it follows that they are not for us. Anyone who is not for us is against us. Anyone who is against us is our enemy.

      While the leaders of the Armstrongist community may be our enemies, to each other, they are more than enemies: They are competitors. Any Armstrongist champions out there looking for some sort of confederation of the various clan sects of the different flavors of Armstrongism can just forget it. If they have made the lower than dirt peasants of their fiefdoms their enemies from the start, it is certain that they will never give up their own power and freedom to their competitors. Any fantasies to the contrary should be treated by a competent mental health professional.

      It is important to know that if you don’t have money and you aren’t well connected and don’t have any power, and if you are a truth seeker, the Armstrongist churches of God will declare war on you and your children for generations to come, for as long as the Armstrongist community lasts.

      One wonders what they expect to win.

      Disappointment, Part V: Infestation!


      My book, Assertive Incompetence — An Introduction to Management Malpractice, has been a worthless failure, because… we’ll get to that at the end.

      Armstrongists don’t realize that there is an entire Seventh Day Church of God out there, publishing literature world wide and keeping the Feasts annually, including the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles with the Seventh Day Church of God is a totally different experience than the one in the Armstrongist churches of God. It is more like a Bible Camp. Actually, it is a Bible Camp. There may be some tents that people put up, but there are campers these days with a bed and a simple sink and toilet with running water and enough electricity for a light and a few small appliances. There is generally a communal kitchen where the ministers and members together cooperatively prepare the meals. There are a few motel style cabins available. You see where the Feast was kept in Washington State in 2008 here:


      The “services” are quite a bit different too. It isn’t all hymns, opening prayer, sermonette, hymn, announcements, hymn, sermon, hymn and closing prayer, although there is often a flavor of that. Services are bit more informal and there may be, occasionally, some gospel singing group come in and perform. There is Bible Study at 7:00 AM, breakfast, activities, services, lunch and… well, it varies. At night, around 7:30 PM, there’s another service with a sermon. It is as quaint and rustic as you might expect, and about 25 miles from the nearest town of any size.

      The Seventh Day Church of God has been keeping the Feasts since 1919 when Gilbert G. Rupert championed them.

      The Seventh Day Church of God has noted the problems with the official Jewish calendar in general use: The Spring Equinox is not April 6 / 7. That’s not scientific. Therefore, they prepare their own holy day calendar which is published and sent world wide each year. Paul Woods is the minister who currently maintains the calendar. I did talk to Mr. Woods [who is the current editor of The Herald of Truth] about the calendar in 2008, briefly, but there were a couple of other things we discussed. One of them was about the Lord’s Supper and the Passover. Those are separate events as one can see from the Scriptures — 24 hours apart. The Days of Unleavened Bread begin on the evening of the Passover — which the Armstrongists keep instead as the Night to Be Much Observed.

      One of the things we discussed was the topic of Herbert Armstrong’s baptism. It turns out that Herbert Armstrong was baptized by A.H. Stith, of the Seventh Day Church of God and the baptism was witnessed by Mr. Stith’s daughter. My response was, “Herbert Armstrong lied? I’m shocked!”. I wasn’t really, but fortunately, Paul Woods has a fine sense of irony as well as being a very nice minister.

      That the Seventh Day Church of God keeping the Feasts falls well beneath the radar of the Armstrongists, should not be a surprise. Who would tell you? Herbert Armstrong? What incentive would he have?

      Nevertheless, there are some customs and practices which are universal. One of those involves the power and privilege of special classes of people in the Churches of God. Remember that the Sabbath keeping Churches of God have been around a lot longer than the Armstrongist ones. People grow up in families in the Churches of God and they know each other with a long history of association. Word gets around and they are a tight knit group.

      A family was going to attend the Feast of Tabernacles with the Seventh Day Church of God. The rule was, first come, first served. If you got there late and didn’t get the better accommodations, that was just too bad. Like or lump it. Except, except. Some of the ministers were going to come in late, so, against the official rules, certain accommodations were set aside to make provisions for them. Sound familiar? So the family came to the Feast in plenty of time, but were told that they would have to take other accommodations — the not, shall we say, very good ones. So the teenager, Nicholas, had to stay in a very small cramped space in one of these campers. Night passes. He sleeps. He wakes up and 18 inches from his face is this big RAT! He shrieks! They’re outta there. That’s just what power and special privilege can do for you.

      And where there’s one rat, you can be sure that there are plenty more.

      You can be sure the ministry had better digs. After all, aren’t they worthy of a double portion? Maybe so, back in the days of the First Century AD, when ministers could be and were martyred. These days, the real risk for the ministry is dropping dead of a heart attack or stroke from excessive consumption of meat and drink.

      If you were looking for the finer things of life at the Feast, count your blessings.


      How disappointing.

      The story is reminiscent of the one where a poor married man with an unbelieving spouse came to the Feast alone and ended up in a motel room. First night off, he hears noises. He turns on the light. The cockroaches scramble for cover. He’s got an infestation. He goes to the motel manager, tells him the story. The motel manager says, “There you go, just keep the lights on!”. The poor man left.

      Rats and cockroaches aren’t the only infestations in this world. There are many more, for example, termites.

      My first experience with termites was as a lad. My dad had a pile of wood and pointed out some termites in it. Fortunately, that was pretty much my last experience with them. They are so insidious: They come into a building and set up shop. They start doing what comes naturally and begin eating up the support timbers. They are good at hiding. If they happen to break through the wall, they cover it up immediately to prevent discovery. No one hears or sees them until the day the whole place collapses.

      If you are not convinced, then you should see articles about the Formosan Termite imported in the wood of the crates made to ship property of GIs home from the Pacific after World War II. They have made a meal of much of the New Orlean’s French Quarter. They have spread far and wide throughout much of United States warm and wet South. They are aggressive and love all things cellulose, including, but not restricted to, wood, paper, fruits, nuts, cork and live plants, and they’ll gnaw or squeeze their petite little bodies through virtually anything to get to their food, including electrical wires, plaster, plastic, and the tiniest cracks in concrete. They get into everything.

      Several tell of the story of the water skier on Lake Loma that came down in on an island on the lake into a nest of poisonous snakes and, according to the account, died instantly. I have my doubts: There was probably a lot of pain and agony for a few minutes.

      Most of the time, an infestation begins with only one. That was certainly the case with the Radio Church of God — which then became the Worldwide Church of God. And not to put too fine a point on it, after the nest is established, some break off to establish a new nest, and then, later, they break off, and so on and so on. The Tkatches were interesting because they were an internal infestation, infesting the infestation!

      Now, Herbert Armstrong was bad enough, but Roderick Meredith has managed to spin off toxic infestations — a lot more than you may think. And, yes, United has managed to spin off dozens of infestations, while Gerald Flurry’s and John Rittenbaugh’s nests have been mostly contained, but Meredith has really done a lot of collateral damage in ways you can barely begin to imagine. Global: Now there’s a nest that managed to implode in on itself. The pests, sometimes called “ministers”, scurried off to invade communities far and wide. But you know, it isn’t like we shouldn’t have been able to see it coming: You should take a look again at his “Manpower Papers”. If that didn’t give us all a clue to the future, nothing would. These infestations always do what they are programmed by the Universe to do — what comes naturally to all psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. Without them, there would probably never be any infestations.

      Today we will concentrate on a small infestation in Oregon which you may have never heard of: The Church of God in Peace and Truth — terms which are manifestly self contradictory. The progenitors of the nest are the Haneys, which, again, you are probably blessed never to have heard of.

      Every year, it is always a challenge, for my wife wants to go somewhere really good for vacation. To me the Feast of Tabernacles is not a vacation. It is a lot of inconvenient effort which generally ends up to be “interesting” as in the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”. Last year, I chose a spot which looked benign, Bend, Oregon. Safely nestled between the Independent’s Feast Site and United’s, I figured, what the hey, what could go wrong, right? We knew people who were relatively civilized who were attending, so it seemed like a good idea — sort of like the movie, “The Magnificent Seven” where the guy explained why he jumped into a cactus patch without any clothes on: “It seemed like a good idea at the time”.

      It was a promising start. Nestled in the high desert country of Oregon, the Shiloh Inn in Bend had a one bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, a leather couch and big leather chairs in front of the fireplace. It was the nicest accommodations there — and most expensive. The entire Church of God in Peace and Truth had come to the Shiloh Inn complex to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and my wife and I had the best accommodations, right across from the conference room where the services were held. The deacon and the deaconess who had been a part of the defense with United against the UCG stalker at the court that issued the restraining order were there as well, since their son was married to the daughter of the presiding minister. The people attending were really nice people. The main congregation was based out of Gold Hill, where there were about 50 people. The minister, Don Haney, was first in Worldwide, then in Global. The main congregation was from Living and they ended up the way they were because their Living minister was very terrible to them in ways that are hard to imagine, but have become standard fare. We were well set up and things looked promising (for a change).

      I knew from the first that trouble was ahead. Don Haney said in the first third of his sermon, “I am going overtime” — in a church that proclaimed they lived by the Ten Commandments, one of which is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”!?! Stealing our time?! That’s just rude! He saw me cross my arms and we were off and running in an adversarial relationship. I got to see how bad things were by reading the first few chapters of his booklet [I couldn't stomach reading the whole thing], “Satan’s Seat of Tyranny,” where he took his misgivings concerning the Living Church of God and Roderick Meredith to a whole new plateau. From the front cover: “Its damaging rule over the Church of God” and “The bonds of restraint broken by the freedom of God’s Truth!”. From the back middle paragraph:

      “However, Much of God’s Church Has Been Subjected to a Pyramid of Power and Intimidation, Which Has Hurt and Unnecessarily Divided God’s People, Thereby Impeding the Spreading of the Good News. Those in “POWER” Have interpreted Scripture for and Exercised Authority Over Those They Have Subjected to Themselves for So Long That They Seem to Have Cultivated an Even Greater Influence Over Some in God’s Church Than the Direct Authority of God’s Written Word!”.

      I have to admit that I understand the sentiment: Roderick Meredith  is like a community organizer whose sole purpose is to create havoc, divide people, for the sole purpose of self aggrandizement. His swelling ego was a result of his winning the Golden Glove regional boxing championship and then finding his way to Herbert Armstrong who was impressed that Meredith was “a man of quality”. It’s all heady stuff to be set on a pedestal by a highly successful cult leader. The admiration and its results differ little from the current U.S. government political landscape. Roderick Meredith ended up having a lot of power and influence: He was over the students at Ambassador College and he directed the ministers from headquarters. After Herbert Armstrong, he was a god in his own right. His opinions were law and he could oppress people, insult and abuse them, just about any way he chose as a harsh, hard slave merciless slave driver who assumed that he was a Man’s Man because of his being a winner. He didn’t see the real truth: He was a testosterone poisoned, brain shunken despot whose cruelty was legendary. He ended up spawning rebellious leaders who couldn’t wait to get out from under his control, only to set up their own fiefdoms of despotism. After all, he bankrupted his own church, Global, just out of spite.

      It was as if Roderick Meredith said, “You haven’t treated me as the GOD I know I am, so I’m going to sink you and do a number on you!”. The sermon in Kansas City was one to remember when he told his congregation that he “would abide by the decision of the council” of elders in Global. He lied. You have to remember that Roderick Meredith has said, “I have never committed a MAJOR sin”. You know, like Adultery. At least not in the carnal sense. I suspect he has missed something in Revelation 22. You know the part where it says that liars will not enter into the Kingdom of God? He doesn’t seem very well positioned for repentance. I occasionally wonder in an off moment whether he has committed the unpardonable sin. It is this rebellion that has, in itself, spawned even more rebellion among those chaffing under his harsh relentless despotism, promulgating even more despots rebelling against his egocentric malignancy. I do often wish he would repent to reduce the massive harm he has done, but I doubt that he can really face himself in the spiritual mirror.

      Trust me when I say that Satan’s Seat of Tyranny is the worst written booklet I have ever seen, but is filled with totally rank hypocrisy. [And yes, the author DID capitalize all those words!] He took his hatred and anger of the administration of Roderick Meredith to a whole new level. His basic theory: We will all come to live under the Laws, Statutes, Judgments and Testimonies of Scripture, and, from the Return of Jesus Christ on, it will be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth as the judges determine — and to hell with what Jesus said in Matthew 5:38-39. He was the very picture of the Pharisee as an Old Testament Christian. Here’s how it works: You are just fine as long as you do everything he tells you to do and wants you to do, without any hesitation. He is perfect. And under his administration, there’s no room for mercy, just blood letting. His congregation was fine with that. I suspect they were Stockholmed. If Haney really wanted to see Satan’s Seat of Tyranny, all he had to do is look at his backside in a mirror.

      I met a young man at the Feast. His father was an Elder. His mother was with United. He had set up shop, so to speak, with his girlfriend in Eugene, and while things had started out fine with their live in arrangements, he was out of a job and not doing well. He got enough money to leave the Feast in the middle, to go back to his live-in girlfriend and get into the State’s job program. Since Don Haney made so much of how we were all going to [be forced to] keep all the Old Testament Laws, Statutes, Judgments and Testimonies, that I told him my expectation: That he, as the minister of the church, would obey the judgments in the New Testament and obey the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 5 and put the fornicator out of the church. His response, “He’s left the Feast”. No can do. Not my problem. It took care of itself. And the whole congregation felt good about themselves for having such “love”.

      No wait! What!?! Hey, hey now!

      You see, I didn’t really care about the man committing the fornication. This was a matter for the congregation and the minister. After all, if you proclaim that the Laws, Statutes, Judgments and Testimonies are going to be kept — all the way for beatings and replacing sheep and oxen, to death for those who commit kidnapping — surely, SURELY, the minister is going to keep what the New Testament says to do in his own congregation today. The truth is, he won’t. That also explains why Garner Ted Armstrong was able to get away with committing date rape with 200+ [by his own estimate] Ambassador College Coeds, in full view of Herbert Armstrong, who was responsible for the whole mess. Instead of prison, he got lots of money, fame and position — until he didn’t, only because the whole matter became too public and SOMEBODY HAD TO DO SOMETHING, even though the damage was done: Leaving a legacy of hopelessness for the ministers who later married the coeds and have had to deal with clinical depression from their anger ever since. It’s too bad so many get locked into the infestation in their warm little nests.

      In the end, we lived well — even in the ankle deep snow that fell in early October, snarling up traffic and making it impossible for some to get to services in Sun River and Redmond. We sat in the big comfortable leather chairs in front of the fireplace in our own little fiefdom. We ate well [I fancy myself to be a good cook]. We slept soundly. We had peace, though not the peace of the Church of God. If living well is the best revenge, then we had our revenge. It is also best to observe a drama without getting drawn into it. We also really yucked it up by taking Haney’s preposperous propositions to their logical extreme: We supposed that we should all carry paddles at the Feast for when we needed to relieve ourselves! No one could figure out why my wife and I were breaking out in laughter! Hey, it’s the Law… or maybe Statute: We have to do it! That’s what everyone will do in the Millennium, so we’d better get used to it now! Forget toilets and water closets: God wants us to carry paddles!

      The people in the Church of God in Peace and Truth are still nice people, except for the minister. I assume that afterwards, the minister took his posse and went hunting in the wilds of Oregon as he said he would. He lives a comfortable life and he is master of all he surveys. Things would be perfect for him, except for ALL THAT ANGER. It just can’t be good for you to hold it like that. It’s all a comfortable little nest of infestation which will continue for some time to come.

      Near the end, I encountered someone I had first met in the Radio Church of God in 1963. I told him United was a cult. He told me that I had the root of bitterness. It is interesting that when an infestation is exposed, the nest bands together immediately to cover up their incursion. That’s how they manage to stay the cults they are, and “the root of bitterness” is yet another tool of the tools who make up the infestation. It’s what narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths always do: Seek first the destruction of credibility of truth seekers and ye shall inherit the nest of infestation. Next time you hear that you have a root of bitterness, just point out that they are attempting a coverup — they don’t want the truth at all because they like their lies too much — and they’ve just proved the points you just made ["Truth! You can't handle the truth!"]

      This year, the Church of God in Peace and Truth moves their venue for the Feast of Tabernacles from the desert mountain high country [God's country?] to the beach [and there will be no more oceans] at the Embassy Suites in Mandalay Beach, California. For us? Never again. High concept about how things should work out is often disappointing in unanticipated ways — and we do not fear a tidle wave — it’s just that the hypocrisies of these infestations are not something I want during the only really good time to get away — even if it isn’t my idea of a fun time. I’ve had one too many laps in the cesspools of the Churches of God to appreciate the kind of hypocrisy home grown in the toxic infestations of hypocrisy. Better it is to be with someone who’s made a terrible mistake and learned from it than to join with those who are self righteous ungodly godly people who ARE IN CHARGE! I can get all I want of that from work at taxpayer expense.

      I don’t know, but I suppose that if I were God, I would wonder if the leaders of the Churches of God would ever do what I said to do of their own volition.

      The infestation of the Armstrongists is the worst kind of infestation: The leaders are parasites, living off the host. They take the resources of the host and live from it, providing nothing in return and making the host progressively more sick. When the host can provide no more, it is cast off. The infestation of the Armstrongist parasites then moves on and finds another host to live on.

      Yellowstone Park has signs, DON’T FEED THE BEARS! Each year there are a few who do not heed the warning. But the bears have such appeal. So some roll down their windows and give the poor bears a sandwich. Have you ever heard the expression, Hungry as a bear? It’s a reality. The people who run out of food soon find the bear goes from fun to frightening. They will tear the car apart looking for more food. So the Armstrongists seemed to have such appeal. We fed them our “tithes”. That wasn’t enough. They wanted offerings. Then they wanted long term loans. Then, heck, send everything. Then they tore us apart. To add insult to injury, they grabbed the wheel and drove off, leaving us stranded along the side of the road. DON’T FEED THE BEARS! Let them survive or die in their natural habitat. Otherwise, you will have an infestation of parasites you will have a difficult time exterminating.

      Moreover, all the sacrifices you have made for the parasite infestation — that made you feel so good about yourself — are completely useless, since you helped support something which was harmful, not just to yourself and your family, but to the rest of the Armstrongist community. Now the toxins left behind by the infestation are even harder to rid oneself from than the parasites themselves, because the toxins not only have weakened you, but left guilt and the feeling of stupidity besides. What you have to remember is that this is what they do and they are not really a part of you and never were. They just fed off of you. It will make it easier to walk away by putting the blame on the real culprits: They had a good spiel, we paid for it, now we have an opportunity to get better. Learn from the con and move on to live your own life, not theirs.

      Like so many other kinds of infestations, those involving scoundrels often start in the same place and end the same way.

      As for my book,  Assertive Incompetence — An Introduction to Management Malpractice, being a worthless failure, it’s all because the information is all there about narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths: Their methods, approaches and processes — but no one actually uses the information but me. Properly used, it could have prevented the current administration, but people love their little nests of infestations, living off of hope, which is merely an unfulfilled illusion, relying on useless saviors, which leads to disappointment.

      That’s all I have to say. For now.


      The noisy brain is well known concept among mental health professionals. Dr. John Ratey expanded on that concept in his book, Shadow Syndromes. Autism can lead to a condition where most of the brain generates an electrical storm when someone touches those who have it. Schizophrenia causes overload from too much mental noise. Teens with ADHD notice when they are on Ritalin that the noise level drops. One son told her mother when he got back from school after taking Ritalin, “Mom, it’s so quiet!”. Mentally ill people generally have noisy brains from a genetic predisposition. Often stress can set in motion a psychotic break when a person can no longer tolerate the noise aggravated by stress.

      At the second Hope and Recovery Conference I attended, my wife and I were sitting at a table during lunch with a young woman working in the mental health profession. I had realized from my experience with those who were mentally ill that the standard mental illnesses, such as Bipolar Disease, Schizophrenia and Psychosis involve distorted perception. The young woman said she always knew it: It made sense. She was very unhappy when she couldn’t demonstrate that she had ever thought it about it before.

      That’s the trick, you know: People say things others immediately recognize as an aphorism, and they believe that they have always believed it. This is, of course, distorted perception.

      Distorted perception certainly seems to be implicated in a noisy brain. Moreover, as the “noise level” in the brain increases, the person usually becomes dysfunctional.

      Organizations often seem to be victimized by distorted perception resulting in a high noise level which leads to a completely dysfunctional environment. Communications break down from the noise, there is a lack of standards, there is no auditing of results or ongoing processes; in fact, there can be no measurement of any kind of metrics, since nobody seems to know what the immediate and long term goals are.

      Armstrongists have a firm belief that they know where they are going: The Kingdom of God! Armstrongists know how to get there: Keep the Ten Commandments — along with a whole lot of other stuff they can’t prove that’s required. Armstrongists know the future because they have the only roadmap on the face of the earth — the one created for them by Herbert Armstrong. To tell an Armstrongist that he or she does not have a clue will only end up their telling you that you have “A root of bitterness” — a self fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one.

      What the Armstrongists don’t seem to understand is how utterly pathetic and directionless they are. They got that way because of the very common structure found universally among those with noisy brains:

      1. Lack of planning
      2. Lack of commitment
      3. Lack of communications
      4. Autocratic control
      5. Arbitrary change in direction
      6. Noisy brains [a tautology here!]
      7. Unrestricted flow of ideas
      8. Lack of discipline
      9. No documentation

      Armstrongist community leaders are infamous for these traits.

      It can’t be healthy.

      Anyone going back through the history of postings in The Painful Truth should begin to get a pattern of the scenario that results from the noisy brain. For example, one man working at Ambassador College noted to his superiors that there were patterns to income. What a concept — that there were reasons for the ebb and flow of money, and, if they noted, analyzed and graphed the waning and waxing of the dollars, associated with various events during the year — such as feast offerings — the administration should be able to plan. He was rebuffed, of course. No planning required. Just have faith in God: He will provide. Of course, Proverbs does advise us to be diligent to know the state of our flocks and herds, but Armstrongists don’t actually use Scripture for a practical guide in their lives. They are fools: They only listen to what they want to hear.

      That is why, when you point out that British Israelism is a lie and Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet — 1975 never happened — they bluster about how we should respect Herbert Armstrong because he brought us the truth. The truth?! Wait! What?! Hey, hey now. Let’s face it: He just made stuff up. Mostly. Or robbed other people’s ideas and pretended they were his. Two weeks ago I talked with a minister of the Church of God Seven Day. He brought up the fact that Herbert Armstrong plagiarized material from their booklets and then the Worldwide Church of God sued the Church of God Seventh Day. It didn’t get far when the CoG7 produced the booklet they wrote in the 1930s from some file in a basement somewhere. But that’s the danger from all that noise, you see: They make big mistakes because of the delusions from their distorted perceptions. This isn’t to say that the Armstrongist community leaders are mentally ill. It’s more complicated than that. They are also often criminals.

      All of the noise leads to chaos.

      So many things in the Armstrongist community make no sense at all: UCG wanting to relocate near a Superfund Toxic Waste Site [now there's a real failure to plan]. How about the front page of The Good News with that picture of the latest, greatest tool of God’s Work, the IBM Data Cell. It was back to the hard disk drives within the year because the product was a failure and not such Good News after all. The Armstrongists are terribly inconsistent. Sure, they keep the Sabbath. Then they go out and make their manservant and maidservant work for wages on it. That is not consistent with Nehemiah and Ezra. If you’re going to keep the Law of Scripture, then you need to use all the Old Testament Scriptures, if you expect to be an effective Old Testament Christian.

      The folks who worked in the Data Processing Center at Ambassador College told me of the internal chaos in the Data Center there. They had to roll with the punches. One described how they had to stack chairs on top of tables and work there while a channel was cut in the cement in the floor. And you have to know, not all of those runs on the Sabbath were totally unattended, though most were.

      People would be accepted for a job at Ambassador College, sell their homes, pack up, move clear across the United States, only to discover that their job with the church had disappeared on the way. This didn’t just happen once.

      I remember well in the local church, a girl who had appendicitis. She could not get treatment from a doctor. She survived, but her health was never what it should have been. Just 10 years later, the church changed the doctrine so people could see doctors and “be healed” by them. The ministers were advised to hide the faith healing to prevent the church from being sued: Lie for the sake of the church.

      The real indication of how chaotic the church really was, though, lies in the fact that Garner Ted Armstrong committed date rape against, by his own estimate by 1972, 200 coeds. In spite of the fact that his father knew about this [and even though he claimed he didn't, he was still culpable -- but, then, he really did know] and was an accessory after the fact. These were criminal acts. Herbert Armstrong covering it up was a criminal act. They should have all gone to prison. Roderick Meredith — that paragon of virtue [in the utterly ironic sense] — also knew about it, did some mental wringing of his hands, gritted his teeth, and preached sermons about keeping God’s Law. The men who attended AC and became ministers knowingly married the women who had been raped. Then they went on to allow themselves to be directed by the very man who had raped the women who had become their wives. This, in turn, resulted in a great deal of bitterness and years of anger for those ministers who compromised themselves by keeping quiet, saying and doing nothing, tolerating the intolerable, pretending to be good friends with GTA and Herbert Armstrong, all the while driving themselves to distraction with the noise of the dysfunctional environment leading to the utter chaos. Now some of them, at least, have a psychiatrist treating them for clinical depression. That is something of an irony, given the teaching of the original Radio Church of God.

      The Armstrongist community makes no sense. Furthermore, they can’t prove that they can get you to the Kingdom of God. The leaders are of no worth, and, today, are struggling themselves to come up with a reason for their own being. There doesn’t seem to be much more than keeping their salary, trying to keep a cushy but dysfunctional job and getting retirement. That — and for some of those in the upper echelon of the so-called leadership, which is nothing of the sort — basking in the glow of people who worship them in their idolatrous admiration. Furthermore, even though they know all this, they won’t change a thing. They don’t to risk anything left of the Armstrongist Empire of which they may still have a piece.

      It’s like the Keystone Cops and the Three Stooges trying to maintain the Winchester Mansion.

      You really should ask yourself the question, just how can these people make my life better? They don’t seem to be doing a very good job of running their own lives. Why should we expect anything at all from them except noisy dysfunctional chaos?

      The best peace you can have is moving as far away from the Armstrongist community as possible, for, if you keep drinking from the poisoned well, you will take on their chaos.

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