A collection of
and Comments from survivors of Herbert W. Armstrong,
Garner Ted Armstrong, The Worldwide Church of God and its
Articles Pertaining To Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong and The Worldwide Church of God
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Sometimes ideas pop up that deserve attention but aren't big enough for a full-blown article. This new page will provide space to explore short subjects. Short-subject contributions are welcome.
I love the wind. I love the sound of it howling past the eaves, swaying tall trees, and driving ripples through deep grass. I love the atmosphere of a frigid winterscape, naked trees bending under the whine of an arctic blast. I love wind.
I wouldn't want to be in the path of a tornado or hurricane, but wind is raw and dramatic, especially if you have a cozy place to curl up and listen to it.
It wasn't always so. For many years, the sound of the wind set my nerves on edge. I dreaded March and April, when the likelihood of windy days was highest, and on those days I labored under a sense of doom, as if something terrible was about to happen. For twenty years, at least, I dreaded and hated the wind.
And never knew why...
...until I left the Worldwide Church of God.
I'm not sure exactly when the answer came to me, but it was sometime after 1992. I happened to remember one day in 1962, when I was in the 8th grade. It was February, and I had just changed schools. I stood in the classroom of a small country schoolhouse and looked out at the lawn (if you could call it that), which hadn't been cut in weeks. The grass was easily ten inches deep, and as the wind whipped through it, it looked exactly like ocean waves. It was beautiful, and I loved it.
So what had changed between 1962 and 1972, when I first realized that I dreaded and hated windy days?
The answer wasn't hard to find. It wasn't the wind that caused my discomfort, it was the time of the year. Windy days were most prominent in the spring. And as I entered high school, my mother began attending spring holy days, taking me out of school to go with her. Many of those holy days occurred on windy days, and so did the days that I had to face teachers and request the time off for some weird religious event. Making such a request of a teacher was terrifying, especially if they questioned me about what it all meant. Add to that the horrible holy day sermons that invariably predicted death and destruction "within the next seven years...or less!", and there it was.
It wasn't the wind, per se, that bothered me, but the association that it triggered, an association so subliminal that for twenty-odd years I didn't even know what it was. Once I understood that association, and didn't have to go through it any more, the dread and hatred evaporated.
I love the wind.
EASTER 2008 REFLECTION ON SACRIFICE
Someone at the Painful Truth Forum recently made a point that I think is worth passing on. As we celebrate Easter 2008, many will reflect on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and the sacrifice that God made in "giving his only begotten son..."
What is a sacrifice? A sacrifice is giving up something that you need, want, or love for a noble purpose. Some people sacrifice their lives to save others, parents sacrifice their needs and wants to better their children, and others make various sacrifices that are less dramatic, for whatever purpose. No matter what type of sacrifice we are talking about, when you sacrifice something it is gone. When you sacrifice something you lose it, usually forever.
According to the biblical account, God sacrificed his only son to save mankind from sin. But according to the story, the son rose again after three days and three nights (or on the "third day" if you aren't an Armstrongite). In other words, God only gave up his son for a weekend.
What kind of sacrifice is that?
KEEPERS OF ODD KNOWLEDGE (K.O.O.K.s)
From time to time you see news stories about some criminal or psychotic person who claims God is speaking to them. Son of Sam heard God through his neighbor's dog; the McDonald's killer in San Ysidro, CA said God, who was two feet tall and had a long white beard, spoke to him; Wanda Eileen Barzee, accused co-kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart, claims to be the "Mother of Zion" and God speaks to her through a television set.
Lunatics -- that's how we think of such people. Who in their right mind could take such people seriously? When such people find themselves in a courtroom, the system generally directs them to undergo psychiatric evaluation, and rightly so. Because they are kooks. Nobody believes them.
So why is it that a man in an expensive suit, whose haircut cost hundreds of dollars, can stand on a stage in front of a microphone, or in front of a TV camera, and make millions of dollars in voluntary donations by claiming that he is receiving messages from God? Why does the suit, the haircut, and the TV camera make one kook believable when the other, who may be dirty, disheveled, and homeless, is not?
BAD MEN IN CHARGE
Every so often we hear from someone who, having left the Armstrong cults, has found true religion in some other organization, or perhaps no organization at all. While the Painful Truth does not embrace or promote religious belief in any form, we respect those who still believe and are happy for them if they find fulfillment in that belief.
Any prolonged discussion of religion and its history is bound to bring up the abuses and crimes committed by religious believers around the world. Such a topic can hardly be avoided in light of the current jihad being waged by Muslim extremists on every inhabited continent; no one has much sympathy with those who target civilians to gain their political/religious goals.
But let the discussion drift, then, to the Crusades, the Inquisition, witch burnings...and the tenor changes. Christians find themselves defensive -- after all, most of those things happened centuries ago, didn't they? No Christian would stand for such atrocities today!
In such a discussion, someone will inevitably point out that "you can't blame Christianity for the abuses of men. There are bad men in every religion."
Yes, there are bad men in every religion. And, it seems, in most cases, the bad men are the ones in charge. If they aren't physically killing and persecuting people in one century, they are killing them through extortion in the next. For the victims, the end result is much the same.
But...but...it's not Christianity that's to blame, it's the bad people who practice Christianity.
Ah! So let me get this straight -- Christianity is like Communism...it isn't a bad idea, it just hasn't been tried by the right people yet?
TRUTH IS WHERE YOU FIND IT
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