HWA duped thousands. How he did it!!
By Ex-member, Australia
After discovering The Painful Truth site by accident about a week or so ago, I was first shocked to discover the painful truth and I was perplexed about how gullible I had been. (I left some 12 years ago) How could I have been taken in so totally?? It didn't make sense!!
When HWA visited Melbourne in the late 70's or early 80's, a few people protested, some placards read, "did HWA commit incest?" Alarm bells should have been ringing, but I didn't consider this could be remotely true for one millisecond. In fact, it had the opposite effect, because I had FALSELY assumed that I have proven that I was apart of God's true church, I naively believed this was further evidence that HWA was God's apostle because this was persecution from Satan! How did I get It so wrong??
After much careful consideration, I discovered precisely how it was done!! First some personal history which will help with this eye opening explanation. From an early age my mother had ingrained the concept, that if I didn't behave then God would punish me. Any time something went wrong she would say that's God's punishment etc.. I now realize the affect (and other experiences) of this was to give me some belief, that their was a God. When as a teenager I heard Garner Ted Armstrong on the radio taking about whether god existed or not, and then saying "don't take my word for it, but prove it yourself (of course with their guidance)" I was primed. Where else would you get the proof from, but from someone who said don't take my word, prove it yourself? Have you ever wondered why there were "7 Proofs God exists??" (no shut up Gerald!!, don't make a complete idiot of yourself (Gerald Waterhouse had a fixation with numbers especially 7) )
Of course only one proof is sufficient!!
I remember studying the "Does God exist ?" booklet and at the time I really didn't agree with 3 or 4 of the proofs, however I agreed (not proved) with at least one of them and I reasoned one "proof " was sufficient.
1. A person who is brought up with some belief in god doesn't need much convincing!! I believe this is the case with most people. Even the bible says "only a fool has said in his own heart their is no god." Herbert W. Armstrong realized this! Herbert W. Armstrong realized that most people would agree to at least one of his proofs, but he needed seven proofs because none of the seven was indeed a proof!! Using the word "proof" was clever because it meant irrefutable! None of these so called proofs were in fact proofs at all by any objective reasoning!!
2. So now that I knew there was a God it was onto Step 2 of Herbert W. Armstrong's 3 card trick (actually 4 or more card trick). Is the bible god's word?? Coming from a Christian background this would on the surface appear to be the logical next step! So after reading "proof of the bible" I was convinced. At no time did I verify any of the information contained in the booklet, but simply took their word for all the facts contained in the booklet. Not a very wise thing to do, especially when the booklet was later withdrawn because of inaccuracies!! Now having "absolutely" proved there was a god and the bible was his word, one is obligated to obey the bible and his servants and forsake the world!! I bet every other member fell into this trap!!
Step 3 in the master plan of conversion is to prove that the worldwide church of God is God's true church. This doesn't take much convincing because who else but the people who proved there was a god and the bible is his word, would God work through! I read the "True history of the true church" and once again took as true everything contained in the booklet without any independent verification. Once again the booklet was later withdrawn because of inaccuracies!! In my own case I remember thinking how can I know if this really is the true church before I joined. After some thought I remembered a bible contradiction ( Peter's 3 denials and the cock crowing account is different in the different gospels) and I reasoned that if I sent them this question and it can't be, or isn't able to be answered then, this wouldn't be the true church. (Garner Ted Armstrong had always proclaimed that the bible had no contradictions, otherwise it could not be trusted at all). After a few months I received their reply, but in the meantime I had joined the Church. The letter said I had posed a difficult question and that it had to be sent to Ambassador college. The first two paragraphs made some feeble attempt to explain the contradiction, (it really made no sense, but by now I realized from attending church that if you could not understand church teaching then it was a matter of how deeply convert you were and not of any logic) The next 2 pages explained about not seeing the forest for the trees and keeping my eyes on Christ.
I should have heeded my own advice!
Once you believe that you have proven, there is a god and the bible is his word and the worldwide church of god his church you are imprisoned by Herbert W. Armstrong!! You do not question the foundation again because it is proven, but it is the unshakable false foundation on which everything is rooted. (pun intended)
This consciously and unconsciously entraps you and makes you susceptible to any teaching and is the major reason why people close there minds to the outside world and logic, once they have joined the church. Once having "proved" everything there is no escape. That's why people endured all those horror stories!! Herbert W. Armstrong needed something powerful to convince people to forsake everything and follow him. Herbert W. Armstrong's method meant that he logically proved to converts that he had the power to force his will onto believers. Without these proofs none would have joined the church!!
That's how he did it!!!
However he still had one more trick up his sleeve. Every heard of anyone failing the bible correspondence lessons?? I bet you did real well!! Clever psychology, because you were going so well meant that you were understanding and therefore "called" and so you truly had no escape. It was impossible for anyone not to be able to succeed on these carefully constructed tests!
Another ploy used, was the idea that you couldn't leave because you wouldn't make it but you own unconverted relatives would.
I now believe that Herbert W. Armstrong who always wanted to become a millionaire may have had the same philosophy as L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard is famous for his quote " the quickest way to become a millionaire is to start your own religion "
The point of all this is, that whether HWA was sincere or insincere you have never PROVEN: God's existence, the Bible is Fact, or The worldwide church of God was or is the true Church!!
Once you realize this you will be completely free of any doubts that you made the wrong decision to leave the church regardless of anything HWA may or may not have done!!
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