Friday, 2 March 2007
All the rest... just details
The following comments appeared below one of the recent postings. They deserve a wider audience.
There is a difference between "cursing the memory of everything COG," which I doubt that most do, and admitting to the fact that the foundations of the organization(s) was based on a terribly flawed premise.
There was much I enjoyed about my COG years. Some wonderful people. Some beautiful settings, including the campuses, and many of the Feast sites. I have strong and pleasant memories of many things.
That has nothing to do, unfortunately, with the realization that I came to in the past decade: I simply do not believe that a creator God would establish his "end-time true church" through an individual who, at that very time, couldn't keep his hands off his own daughter. All the rest, as they say, is just details.
I have read and heard those who have tried to discredit that story. Personally, I didn't want to believe it. But it was first told to me by an individual who remains a prominent, well-known and widely read COG true believer. He was and is convinced HWA did those things, but followed it with "it doesn't affect the message."
Sorry, but it most certainly does. As I quietly explored what he had told me -- I presume he thought either that I already knew or that, if I didn't, I would blow it off like he had -- I talked with several individuals, some from many years past who had left the organization without fanfare. I encountered one close friend from childhood who was surprised I didn't know and said he had heard the news from an Armstrong grandson. Another person close to me had heard the news from a different Armstrong grandson, one who certainly would have known, back in the 70s. When I asked why she'd never said anything, she admitted she hadn't wanted to hurt me, my parents, etc. Both people had parted ways with the WCG some 15 or more years earlier.
I cannot speak for others, but that sort of news changes everything. Too much of the organization's history was tied up in the premise that a man -- that man -- could be "the one," and that it was God's design that we all fall in line behind him for the end-time push. It amazes me that there are individuals -- especially some who I know personally and who I know are well aware of this sordid tale -- who continue to fall back on "Mr. Armstrong said" as a way to trump all arguments, when what the man did speaks so much louder...especially when one considers that it was at the very beginning of everything.
Yes, it's old news now. But I am amazed that there are those willing to sweep it aside to protect their turf and pursue arguments. I am not.
Learning the news caused me to look at things in a different light. I realized I had to. It was during a time of doctrinal upheaval in the WCG, and I transitioned from skepticism to curiosity.
I don't curse the memory of everything COG. I love and care about many people who remain, and recall them, and certain activities, etc., with fondness. But as the defenders of the faith (read: man) rally to their cause, I can't get past this foundational problem. It is not lost on me that neither can they.