The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God
Kidnapped! A WCG Nightmare. Original fiction
by Bob E.

Jake and Rob, two middle aged brothers, were on their way to a family reunion on the East Coast. Jake had suggested to Rob that since they hadn't seen much of each other over the past few years, that it might be good to travel together, to become reacquainted, making the family reunion even more pleasurable. Rob certainly had no quarrel with this logic, and so the brothers agreed to meet at Los Angeles International Airport. Rob hated flying. He would have much preferred to ride his Harley back east than to fly. Drunk pilots, and increased security following the infamous terrorist attacks of 9/11 only heightened concerns that had begun with plane crashes involving Buddy Holly, the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band, and most recently the helicopter crash of Stevie Ray Vaughan. But, here he was, running late, as usual, halfway hoping that the security line would be so long that he would miss his flight.

"Hey, James, here comes a White boy!" bellowed one federal Marshall to another. "This is an opportunity for us to demonstrate to our minority passengers that there is no racial profiling in the friendly skies!" he continued. James nodded, and retrieved a box of physician's latex gloves and a tube of KY Jelly from a shelf under the security table. Rob was becoming apoplectic until he saw James motion for the young man next to him to go into a small room to their left. Rob chuckled as he was quickly cleared to board the plane, and as he walked thru the first class section, he noticed that his brother Jake was already seated, and was reading a newspaper. "Hey, Bro!" called out Rob. "Well, I see you made it thru security intact!" exclaimed Jake, as Rob placed his carry-on luggage in an overhead bin. "Sure did, but it was a pain in the butt" said Rob, quickly adding "Just kidding!" He took the seat next to his younger brother, and they began reminiscing and strategizing for the visit.

A recurring problem with these infrequent family visits, was that since they had grown up in the Worldwide Church of God, and since there were relatives who had witnessed in horror as Rob, Jake, and their siblings had been raised in accordance with the church's teachings, old bad memories were bound to be brought up. Rob and Jake had forgiven their parents long ago for the extreme zeal with which they had applied the child rearing principles, but some of the relatives, it seemed, would never forget, let alone forgive. Also, since first Jake, then Rob, had left the church's folds many years ago, and were basically agnostic, they were at philosophical odds not only with their true believer parents, but also with those in the family who were mainstream Protestant. Usually, Rob diffused confrontations with his outrageous and often irreverent sense of humor, while Jake used science and logic. This combination confused and disarmed everyone in the family, much to the delight of some of the siblings and cousins. Needless to say, there was much to discuss reroute.

And, discuss they did, but after a few hours, the brothers had talked themselves out. Rob stared out the window, watching the scenery pass under the plane. He was somewhat tired, and was in that peculiar state right in between being awake, and being asleep. He heard the pilot announce that they were now over Mississippi. "Damn!", he thought, "This is where Skynyrd's plane went down!" He thought he heard a gasp from the pilot or co-pilot come over the P.A. system. Visions of the pilot valiantly fighting to keep the plane from going down were now flooding his head. He felt the plane go into steep decline, quickly put his head between his knees, and then suddenly everything went blank!

Slowly, he regained consciousness, surveying the carnage around him. He shook his brother Jake, who soon stirred to life. As the brothers took stock of the situation surrounding them, they quickly realized that the plane had crashed in a Mississippi swamp, and that they alone had survived!  Jake, being a physician, carefully examined each of the passengers and crew, to make certain that there were no other survivors. Then the brothers took off on foot. They came upon a farm house, where a farmer was loading up a beautiful calf, apparently to be transported to some remote location. He eyed the two bedraggled brothers real suspiciously. "Plane crash!" yelled Jake. "I wondered what that awful noise was about an hour ago," replied the farmer. "Well, we're the only survivors!" explained Rob. "I'm on my way to the airport with my little heifer here," said the farmer. "You boys are welcome to go along if you want."

Rob and Jake briefly pondered their options. If they stuck around, FAA investigators would question them to death, and by the time the inquisition was finished, the family reunion would be over. Besides, there really was nothing they could do for the victims. There were already helicopters hovering over the scene of the wreckage, so the news was out. It was really a no-brainer, the brothers finally deciding to accept the farmer's offer. They hopped onto the back of the stake bed with the prized red heifer. Upon arrival at the airport, the farmer drove right out onto the tarmac and parked next to a small corporate jet. The heifer's pen was carefully placed into a climate controlled compartment of the plane. "That heifer must be pretty darned important," remarked Rob under his breath. "Sure is," answered a man who appeared to be the plane's pilot. Rob and Jake thought they were in a movie when the pilot suddenly asked them where they were headed, and if they needed a lift. They realized that this plane represented their best option to quickly get out of the area, without any questions. So, they boarded the plane, found that it was very opulently appointed, including a very well-stocked bar. On the pilot's invitation, they helped themselves to some libations, strapped in, and awaited take-off.

Man, I can't believe that this is happening!" whispered Jake. "Yeah, it is pretty strange!" replied Rob. Soon, the plane taxied to the runway, lifted off, and they were finally enroute once again. Time passed fairly quickly at first, but then seemed to drag. The brothers dozed off for a while, and when they awoke were quite surprised to notice that they were over a large body of water, possibly an ocean. They voiced concerns to one another. They really didn't know any of these people, and had just assumed by their friendly demeanor that their benefactors were of good character. Various scenarios were discussed by the brothers, until they could finally feel the plane beginning to descend. As the plane taxied down the runway, Rob made an astounding discovery. "Jake, I think I've got some bad news. Notice all the Stars of David on everything? I think we just landed in Israel!" "Uh Oh, you're right!" observed Jake.

Soon the pilot came out of the cockpit and explained that since he was way behind schedule, he had elected to proceed directly to Israel. He needed a favor from them, after which he would take them anywhere in the world they wished to go. The favor involved driving a limousine to the finest hotel in Tel Aviv. The man who owned the plane had, unbeknown to them, actually been on board, in a concealed private compartment. Unfortunately, his limo driver had come down with the flu, consequently, no driver. Looking out the window, they could see a formal Cadillac limousine, idling a short distance from the plane.  "That's all?" wondered Jake. "Scout's honor!" replied the pilot, "I'd do it myself, but I've got to remain here for the refueling of the plane."

Rob headed for the driver's side of the limo. Since he was the older sibling he always took first shot at any driving that was done. Both brothers opened their respective doors, sat down and buckled up their seat belts. Suddenly the window separating the passenger section from the front of the limo rolled down. "Well, greetings, Boys!" boomed their passenger. Rob and Jake both froze in their tracks, a deep chill going up their spines. Their jaws dropped, they turned around, and both uttered: "Herbert W. Armstrong!" The old man chuckled, "That's right, boys. You know, both of you gave us so much trouble while you were at Ambassador College. The faculty was constantly complaining about you. I almost lost one of the deans because of you! So, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that, heh heh heh, oh, there's no delicate way of telling you this, YOU ARE THE TWO WITNESSES!"

"Bullshit, old man!" shot back Rob immediately, "I'd rather die and go to hell than do that!" HWA chuckled. "Now, Rob, the Bible is just full of examples of the reluctant messengers thru which God chose to speak. Shall I cite the obvious ones, like Moses, Jonah, or even the Apostle Paul back when he was Saul? So, you will do this, like it or no. Whether you choose eternal death afterwards is between you and God. Frankly, this is a wonderful honor. I wish some of my grandkids could have been the two witnesses, but I didn't get a vote. Now, drive me to my hotel. It will all start tonight with the sacrifice of that perfect red heifer you saw, which was bred by some of my farmers. Look, they are unloading it from the plane right now!"

"Who made you the arbiter of good farming?" demanded Jake. "Where we grew up, there were so many farmers in the church, that our dad was deluged with their firstfruits! Your farmers didn't have any better sense than to let their cows graze in the garlic patch! The milk was awful, but it was those people's tithes. We had to drink it, it would have been wrong to throw it away. You expect us to believe that they were capable of breeding a perfect red heifer?" "Oh, all right!" conceded Herbert W. Armstrong. "The farmers were some of the Evangelicals that Tkach befriended after taking my church Laodecean."

Suddenly Rob threw open the car door and ran over to the plane. He kicked the slats out of the wooden pen which housed the heifer. He pulled the frightened animal out of the remains of the pen, grabbed it's head, and quickly snapped it's neck! It never felt any pain. Next, there was a loud pop. "Rob, wake up!!! You're tearing the pillow!!!" yelled Jake. Rob abruptly awoke to the realization that he was on an airplane. Everyone was staring at him. He sheepishly fluffed the pillow, and handed it to the flight attendant, who had come back to see what all of the commotion was about. "Are you O.K.?" asked Jake. "Yeah, everything's great." he replied. "But you wouldn't believe the nightmare I just had!"

In the cockpit, the pilot suddenly noticed the altimeter spinning wildly!  He began frantically wrestling with the controls to keep the plane from going down! (Not)


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