Friday 8 December 2006

Life in the LCG - ponder this!

It's about time to give the LCG stories a break for a while, but first...

If you've ever wondered what life is like in some of the more patriarchal, authoritarian parts of the Church of God, here's a tale that may shock you.

It's the recent story of an elderly couple under the tender "pastoral care" of LCG minister Carl Ponder - much of it in his own words.

It almost defies belief.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could say I was surprised.

The whole letter shows that Ponder doesn't even really know the Grace's at all. Has he even gone by for a visit? It seems doubtful.

But given what a jerk he is, it's for the best.

Let's just hope the Graces wake up and get out -- especially now that they're raising their grandchildren. "Our grandchildren have suffered horrific abuse and are still healing and making adjustments," he writes, and my thought was, "Well, don't give them more that they'll have to get over by introducing them to the nightmare that is Armstrongism..."

Anonymous said...

I wish i could say i am surprised as well, but have seen this example many times over the years in WCG,GCG,& LCG. For as many bad examples of this abuse, you have to wonder if the ministry are taught to be this way.
I remember a few years ago an elderly man and a blind lady in my local area being treated like this as well.
rod 2

Unknown said...

Karma Mr. Ponder...Karma...Or as a Westerner might say, "what goes around, comes around."

We could also quote Galations 6:7, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for as a man sows, so shall he reap."

But then, "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil".

Or maybe to stone.

"But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless."

"The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."

No mention anywhere that Mr. Ponder is going to volunteer to assist the Graces in any way. How about offering a ride? How about making certain that they are visited in their affliction? What about encouraging them and being helpers of their joy by serving them. It's apparent their tithe money over all the years has been a complete waste on selfish narcissistic jerks with a sense of entitlement.

This is not unlike the day in 1975, my brother, a long time church member of the WCG and heavy contributor -- whose outstanding photographs had been in the Plain Truth and the cover of The Good News, called the minister telling him that he had a blood clot in his leg travelling up to his heart and needed help. The minister told him to go to the emergency room. Thirty minutes later, the clot had reached his heart and caused a massive coronary. Afterward, the people in the church came over to get his telescope, precious stones, cameras and other valuables from my mother who was wrapping up his affairs and had come to bury him. Afterward, headquarters at Pasadena sent our mother a letter *DEMANDING* that she turn over all his assets to them -- remembering that this was under the administration of one Roderick C. Meredith, the third in the Kingdom! When times are good for you and you can feed them with sumptous food and make generous contributions, they are with you. During times of trials when you have nothing, you are going to be so very alone.

In the days ahead, when [and if] Mr. Ponder has no job, no retirement, no income, no Social Security, when the LCG is no more and Ponder is sick and feeble, perhaps blind, he should remember his words and find a way to go to the Feast of Tabernacles [on the right days and not postponed], not eating out on the Sabbath, and rejoice in the truth with shabby tattered clothes, having arrived from the bus terminal or perhaps hitchhiking across the country at the mercy of strangers.

Or maybe not: Maybe he'll just go straight to the third resurrection of the Great White Throne Judgement [see Revelation 20, since the LCG has it wrong with all the other 144,000 of the 1,500 spinter groups]. Fat on the fire with all the other Pharisees. Burn, baby, burn, while the poor -- along with Lazerus in the Bosom of Abraham look on. Perhaps our illustrious Biblical illiterate, Mr. Ponder needs to engage in some serious Scripture searching -- along with a lengthy fast with sackcloth and ashes, humbly seeking the Father to the fatherless and champion of the poor and the widow.

[I just love irony and satire, don't you!?]

Unknown said...

Just one more thought: Isn't it evident by now that all the church of gods is at war with all of us and the rest of humanity as well as with God?

Anonymous said...

Back in the mid-Seventies, a good friend of mine who was on the staff of Ambassador College Big Sandy developed melanoma. He weakened and died right in the shadow of "Recapture True Values".

Sometime after he died, I visited with his widow. She told me that during the course of his illness not a single minister from the Big Sandy campus, only a mile or two away, ever visited him. This was also true of another employee who died of a different sort of cancer in the Big Sandy area.

With this kind of example, at "God's College", what are we to expect from the people who were trained there. Should the tree and the fruit be different?

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

After stumbling through the original post made by overtheedge (tough one to decipher, btw), I followed this link, hoping never having to view it again. Thanks Gavin, for bringing it to the top of the stack.
I can't add anything to Dennis D's replies - I think he covered most of my sentiments and then some. Sadly, the letter was written in 2006, AFTER a number of tragic deaths, gut-wrenching sickness and disease afflicting the ministry and membership alike.

This letter should have been taken to the COE meeting, passed around and read aloud by every member.

Pardon me if I feel like vomiting.

Anonymous said...

Gary and Dennis summed that one up nicely.

I remember my father a year or two ago saying very proudly that David Hulme had announced in a sermon that "I (DH) am your (congregants) servant!"

I told my father I would repent in sackcloth and ashes if he asked David Hulme to come over and change his oil, wash my mother's dishes, or clean the house the next time they weren't feeling well, and if the SOB showed up.

I remember plenty of stories about pastors making members come over and cut their lawn, clean the house, and fix their cars...

...I'm still not wearing burlap and sitting in used charcoal.

Anonymous said...

So much for all those wonderful messages about Servant Leadership???

(Queue the toilet-flush sounds.)


Unknown said...

Today Mr. Ponder put out another individual, continuing to put those out, that expose him for supporting his son-n-law for working on the sabbath. Mr. Meredith continue to let this man reap his havoc on anyone that didn't agree with him on the sabbath issue. Ponder is a loose canon. Just like it was in the early church the true Christians were put out of the church. I guess History is repeating itself.

Sorry Mr. Ponder working on the sabbath is wrong. I guess you can sleep just fine as long as you keep drawing that pay check. Mr. Ponder How many more victim will you be responsible for? Satan don't need you to do his work.

jorgheinz said...


Mr, oops, Carl Ponder should transfer his cognomen to his mental activities,assuming that he has such.

Did not Paul say that he wished that the enemies of the cross that bothered him would get themsleves excised.

Would not many COG ministers fit into this category?

What a lean Yuletide they would have: fancy, NO NUTS FOR XMAS.


jorgheinz said...


In previous blogs, I notice how some COG afficianadoes reverently call the ministers "MISTER".

Would you not think they would have the nous to desist from using these boot-lickin' terms.

If the minister turned the other cheek they would lick that,too,
metaphorically speaking, of course.


Anonymous said...

This is why a horse's backside doesn't belong at a church's frontside.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if I agree with Dennis on this one. My wife had a very serious situation and the ministry in a COG were very understanding, comforting and available. Not all of the ministry is like this, sadly too many are.

Anonymous said...

LCG and the atmosphere of faith. Really the atmosphere of face, put on a face and don't talk about your problems. Sad.

Douglas Becker said...

On today's Dr. Phil: Abusers and abusive relationships.

On today's Ambassador Watch: Abusers and abusive relationships.

As Dr. Phil said today, "Abuse is the deal-breaker".

If only we could apply that to the cult leaders of the church of gods and get them into hard core therapy....

In the meantime, the advice is always the same, "If you are in an abusive relationship, get out of it and stay out of it until there is some evidence that the abuser has taken responsibility and has made changes". The first indication that there has been no progress is the "but" by the abuser, claiming that the victim made him do it.

How many times have we heard that one?

In the meantime, get out of the abusive relationship and don't give the abuser power over you [From such turn away] and stop giving him money!

Anonymous said...

To Douglas Becker's last comment "AMEN"!
rod 2

Anonymous said...

I hope and pray we can all see this is the end time ... we need to be together and love all

Richard said...

How ironic it is that the family in question has the last name of Grace.

Overtheedge calls Carl Ponder "a loose canon." Is canon misspelled there -- or perhaps isn't it?! :--O

Anonymous said...

What's sad is that you DON'T hear about things like the Ponder bungle unless you get it from over the internet. Something like that is just holed up in the local congregation and whispered around by the brethren, almost like a ghost story.

Anonymous said...

What's sad is that you DON'T hear about things like the Ponder bungle unless you get it from over the internet. Something like that is just holed up in the local congregation and whispered around by the brethren, almost like a ghost story.

At least with Ponder, there is some chance he will finally be dealt with, because he isn't a member of RCM's family. Look around LCG and you will see that it is a cash cow for Meredith family members.

If you're a controversial pastor in the field like Ben Faulkner, you get canned. But if you're a controversial pastor in the field like Rod McNair (related to RCM by marriage), you get promoted to HQ. Once McNair got to HQ, he then got one of his relatives, Mike Germano, hired. Nepotism is the 19th restored truth in LCG.

RCM keeps an incompetent oaf like Dick Ames around as a top manager, instead of just a TV presenter, because he's his brother-in-law, but pushes away more principled and competent men like Charles Bryce who aren't his relatives and who dare to stand up to his nonsense. Meredith put Jonathan McNair on his Council of Elders not because he is a great Bible scholar or beloved pastor, but because he wants to groom another family member for possible succession. Watch for Meredith's son Jim to be elevated in the next couple of years.

Unless Ponder can hurry up and marry into the Meredith family, his prospects don't look good.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of nepotism there in LCG including Doug Winnails son, who gave up a great teaching job at a university to come out to Charlotte a year or two ago.

Anonymous said...

Lets add another to the list. RCM's daughter Liz works at their HQ. The late John Ogwyn's son Charles, is headed to Charlotte.

It's like the mob out there. RCM is the Don and his captains and lieutenants (mostly family) serve under him. The others are foot soldiers. What a team! RCM has been saying the team out there now is the best since the early 1950's. Must be nice to control, or pretend to control everything.

Unknown said...

RCM is the Don and his captains and lieutenants (mostly family) serve under him.

A veritable modern King Lear.

Anonymous said...

"I hope and pray we all can see that this is the end time...."

You may want to do a bit more investigating on that topic, anonymous. We were told that unto the Jews were given the oracles to preserve. The best Jewish scholars indicate that we have over two hundred years to go until we reach absolute year 6,000 (BCE + CE).

Then, we must deal with the teaching that mankind has 6,000 years on planet Earth, after which God gets his 1,000 years (Millennium). But, nowhere does it say that in the Bible. A man who got 1975 and so many other things wrong did some incredible interpretive reading between the lines to come up with that theory. I have to respect the fact that that man was not ignorant enough to teach that the Earth was only about 6,000 years old (he instead taught "gap theory" creationism). However, even the Bible itself states that no man can know when Jesus will return, alleged Apostle, or not.

The doctrine of the time of the end has been used by the ACOGs primarily as a tool to create a sense of urgency, and to manipulate the behavior of members. How many members do we know who have had no life? They have spent their entire lives disregarding their own educations, retirement needs, health, families, and many other aspects of life to finance a group of men who spend tithes and offerings without even exercising the kinds of modest accountability practiced by charitable secular organizations such as the Red Cross, or the Lung Association!

If you believe that there is only one true church, this next statement won't mean anything to you. The fact is there are many practicing Christians around the world whose altruisms are purer than those of COGsters, because they are not artificially motivated by frightful sermons about 'the end'. These other Christians seem to feel that their hearts have been transformed, motivating them to take the spiritual high road. Of course, ACOG ministers would only have one thing to say about these other Christians: "Let the dead bury the dead". That's the ACOG "catch all" paradigm for dealing with non ACOG members.

What do you think causes all of the splinters and schisms? It is the very propensity towards authoritarianism which causes people to be so inflexible, as opposed to being able to discuss, compromise with one another, and work together. All of these "leaders" are constantly looking towards what they consider ultimate authority as their source! In many cases, their ultimate authority is/was HWA. So if another teacher deviates from HWA's path, one of his lieutenants feels justified in breaking away to follow HWA more precisely. It's a flawed concept, and if they would only make it a priority to preserve the whole, rather fixating on an occasional sacred cow, you wouldn't see all of the splintering. You guys are following some seriously flawed leaders! Can you imagine what would happen if the major corporations around the world were run by such people? Companies would be dissolving left and right, defrauding shareholders of their investments. Fortunately, major companies have boards of directors which steer them along paths of survival and profitability.


Anonymous said...


Thank you for the reply. I agree that many if not all were trained to be pastors as well. Yet there were some good ones. As far as obscure wives, I wonder if some of them actually knew that the husband was just there for a check and did not really care either way.

That may be the problem, most of these guys could never make it in the 'real world,' or maybe they got afraid to even try to make it. As an overeaction to that, they make up for it with a superiority complex of sorts. What Ponder did is absolutely shameful, sin if you believe.

What is happening in LCG is also an overeaction to so many questioning 'why?' There is a big backlash amongst many in the ministry about government and following in the true government and that kind of thing. The sheep, or should I say sleep, are waking up after all these years of paying and praying and digging deep one or two times a year. This stuff has no fruits and the new comers are like the proselytes when they come out worse than when they went in. True believers.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of nepotism there in LCG including Doug Winnails son, who gave up a great teaching job at a university to come out to Charlotte a year or two ago.

Winnail's son has been transferred away from Charlotte. Just like Bryce.

When Meredith transferred Bryce, he told everybody that it was what Bryce wanted, and that it wasn't a punishment. Now, he says different.

Does anybody know what Winnail's son did that got him transferred away from Charlotte? If he has a scandal brewing, like Bryce did, this could cause even bigger problems for LCG, since his Dad is a Meredith bigwig. If LCG says there are no untold secrets behind the young Winnail's transfer, remember that's what they said about Bryce, too.

P.S. I hear Winnail's son only came to Charlotte after he learned his university wouldn't give him tenure. Now, as long as his Dad is an LCG bigwig, he has his "tenure" with LCG.

Anonymous said...

Winnail's son has been transferred away from Charlotte...(??)

"Who's on first?" :-)

I still see his name (credit) on the weekly LCG read, er, Update if that means anything.
They do need field ministry in the worst way and he appears to be an excellent speaker from what I was able to glean in a 20 second sound byte regarding medical news.

Do you guys have Charlotte electronically bugged or what? ;-)


Anonymous said...

Doug's son Scott gave a split-sermon not long after he arrived out at Charlotte that got him in instant hot water with the powers that be. It was about them all striving to do a better job in their collective schloraship and not be so sloppy and "untruthful"(at least how some in power took it)in their zeal to find sources to back up their belief system.
Winnail's son was right on, but he was the new kid on the block and he stepped on some pretty big toes out there. Not even daddy who is a non-confrontaional CAD could speak up for his son.
The bigwigs do not want to hear anything that goes against "the way it is".
Personally due to my research into the lies, i know Winnail, Ames, Ogwyn and Spanky to be untruthful in lots of what they say and write.
It does not take a rocket scientist to see this. Only those in the cult need to wake up and smell the coffee ,so to speak, and get their heads on straight again. Then they all can see through the B.S.

Anonymous said...

Ministry don't go to annoint personally anymore or do anything to serve the people.
They do not even come for burials ( "you can handle that, just read some scriptures" we were told)

They are in it for the paychecks.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
"Doug's son Scott gave a split-sermon not long after he arrived out at Charlotte that got him in instant hot water with the powers that be. It was about them all striving to do a better job in their collective schloraship..."

Now there's a must-play sermon I wouldn't mind hearing for a change!

(Yeah... dream on, john)


Anonymous said...

They do not even come for burials ( "you can handle that, just read some scriptures" we were told)

What?? That's horrendous!

You and I must not have the same pastor. When one member's son died the other week, our pastor went to his funeral. He wasn't the officiating minister, and he didn't speak. But he went anyway.

Oh, and he still does anointing duty. I guess that makes our area one of the good ones.

Sorry you've got such a stinker, Jack.

Trick James said...

Reading this account abouth the man Ponder made me realize how sick in the head I use to be by allowing men like him spiritually terrorize and abuse me. It's no wonder I am sick of relegion after having gone through the WCG experience.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you have sheriffs instead of Shepards. Once again, HWA said it best "Rod you know the letter of the law but not the love of the law". Unfortunately LCG does not have God's mercy seat established in its government. No wonder they have the problems unlike any other COG.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, in 2000, after having left United 8 months earlier, over issues differing from the beliefs of the local pastor, my brother who left with me, and I invited this pastor to attend our Amish brother's funeral, as a guest. It was his first, an all German service, that started at 9am and ended close to noon. From there went to the cemetary, watched the burial by hand (shovel). Afterwards, went back to the house where several hundred Amish people were for lunch. That really helped us maintain a good relationship with him, in spite of our differences. He is a caring individual, but a company man of course. Too bad not all are like him in that respect.

enos said...

Interestingly, back in 2000, after leaving United 9 months earlier, over issues differing from the local pastor's beliefs, like attending a non-ucg feast site, my brother who left with me and I, invited the pastor to our Amish brother's funeral. He was there for the whole service, which was all in German, watched the hand burial, and went back to the house for lunch with a several hundred Amish folks. That really helped us maintain a friendly relationship over the years.
He is a caring individual in that way, and a company man at the same time.

enos said...

Dennis, you are spot on with your comments about the Ponder situation. I remember him from decades ago, living in the B'ham area, he from Montgomery. Would get together for HDs, he was a deacon at the time, and abuse was probably not as well noticed at that time. I just remember him as a stable pillar and a seemingly nice guy. The authority of being a pastor can ruin the goodness in a person. Don't any part of that.

Anonymous said...

Carl Ponder! Read his reply to the couple and am incredulous that he can be the same man who was once touted as a nice man by a late dear friend who knew him. But then why am I surprised? I shouldn't be and I guess will continue to be gobsmacked by such incredible calousness, heartlessness and ignorance of the Bible or even basic decent human civility.
Oy vey vat to do? Leave 'em!....and quickly!!!!
John K

Anonymous said...

I hope they walk away from LCG....

the more I read up on that organization the more I see that the leadership is more interested in what HWA said/taught than what God says/teaches in the bible.....

thankfully, there ARE some organizations out there that truly love God's people, and all mankind....they are few in number, but they ARE out there, and their doctrine is much more sound than LCG's (sorry Dr. Thiel ;-)

Anonymous said...

then again.....none of the map programs I used show a "Chism Loop Rd." in Jasper....

nor do the Graces show up on any of the phone book sites...


Anonymous said...

It is true that my address doesn't show up on map quest and this was one of the reason I told him it wasn't an accurate measure. However, it doesn't matter if it is only 5 miles from my home, if it takes 3 hours because of our health then it takes 3 hours. Mr. Ponder has never call(when I did have a phone)or email me to check on my wife condition, so he either doesn't care or doesn't want to know. Mr. Ponder put me out of the church about a month ago. So I don't belong but really I left in spirit back in the summer when I seen they were going to support someone for working on the sabbath for 5 weeks. HQ has back him in this decision, and has turn a blind eye to the real truth to this sabbath breaking. I guess they don't remember reading the scripture that it is those that keep his commandment that will inherent the kingdom of God.

Anonymous said...

ok you do exist! (one never knows in these internet days)

Mr. Ponder did you a favor actually.....and he simply put you out of that organization, he can't put you out of The Church.

God will lead you to the group He wants you to be a part of, I have no doubt of that. (He did it for us)

Unknown said...

Mr. Grace has posted more information concerning the sabbath issue in LCG on his site.