Saturday, 10 November 2007

TIME archives sorry tale

TIME magazine's religion section chronicled the major tribulations of the WCG during the 1970s. In a pre-Internet age it was one of the few ways members and co-workers could keep up with the play: the church itself could only be relied on for spin. Those articles are now archived online, available again for any who care to search them out.

May 1972: Garner Ted Armstrong, Where Are You? (I vividly remember this one!)
June 1972: Garner Ted Returns
March 1974: Trouble in the Empire
June 1978: Strong-Arming Garner Ted
Jan 1979: Propheteering?
Feb 1981: When Mammon serves God (the WCG features in the second half of the article)

Relive a little history, and then breathe easier knowing that today the Empire is as shattered as Humpty Dumpty.

59 comments:

Corky said...

Know what's really great?

The whole world was laughing at us, not with us, because we weren't laughing. No, we were scared half to death and emptying our billfolds and bank accounts.

Yep, the whole world was laughing at how stupid we were.

Know what's amazing?

Some are still holding on to that stupidity and some have gone insane with it. Hanging on with whited knuckles, hanging on to something that has been dead so long that only the skeleton and the stench remains.

Anonymous said...

I want my money back. You think Mark Armstrong and Ron Dart will cut me a check? Or agree to give what I paid in tithes and donations to the poor?

Perhaps I should summon the Tricerabeast of Revelation....


Paul

Lussenheide said...

Much speculation in these articles about who would be the "heir apparent" of the Armstrong Empire riches.

Rader...GTA...Cole...Meredith???

Nah, some drop out named Joe Tkach Jr., an occasional speaker in Phoenix Arizona.

If I could be odds maker bookie back in 1977 I might have given 3 to one odds on any of the above.

Joe Tkach Jr???, I would have easily given away 100 MILLION to ONE odds. A penny bet on Joey would return $1 Million!

Funny how life turns out, and how the future will always hold surprises!

Lussenheide

Byker Bob said...

We also need to document that there were some excellent articles on the empire in Playboy. GTA was the topic, and was referred to as "America's Playboy Evangelist".

I suppose that many WCG members missed out on those articles because of the prevailing content of that publication, but they knew that the article(s) existed.

After the "Disappointment of 1975", those of us who understood Deut. 18:22, and left, were able to read and appreciate the Playboy articles!

BB

Tom said...

Gavin

To post these articles is just regurgitating what we already know. And much of what the author writes is pure speculation and unfavourable interpretation of what the church actually taught.

Now, I hasten to add, WCG was the Laodicean era of the church, and was spiritually naked and blind; the consequence of placing a great deal of emphasis on material wealth. Hence, the opportunity for greed and the abuse of power.

But the more important question is, what benefit are we going to derive from resurrecting these articles?

************************************

>>>>Joe Tkach Jr???, I would have easily given away 100 MILLION to ONE odds. A penny bet on Joey would return $1 Million!<<<

How sad for you! "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return."

>>>Funny how life turns out, and how the future will always hold surprises!<<<

As they say, you haven't seen anything yet. The real surprises are yet to come!

Anonymous said...

"The state charged the church with not having accounted for an extra tithe fund for the poor, estimated in the millions. It also claimed that the church purchased services from profit making companies privately controlled by its own officials. In one year alone, documents showed an outlay of more than $1.7 million on travel and entertainment."

Third tithe donations spent were never accounted for by the Tkachs, and the church today isn't told what the Pastor General spends on travel and entertainment. When questioned on financial responsibility issues, Tkachjr gives the WCG and his myrmidon ministers 'the Finger'.

Corky said...

Paul said . . .

I want my money back. You think Mark Armstrong and Ron Dart will cut me a check?

The only way to get your money back is to take it out of their hides, which I would happily have done if I had had the opportunity.

That splashing noise back in the 70s was the sound of the tide turning. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes, trapped in a dungeon of their own making with no escape because of not knowing any other way to make a living.

Unless they are all psychopaths and enjoy the sufferings of others.

Anonymous said...

"But the more important question is, what benefit are we going to derive from resurrecting these articles?"


Hey, nice turn of phrase. I was getting tired of the old, "why don't you people get a life and move on." It's refreshing to see it stated in a new way.

I think one thing that we can take from reviving these articles is that it shows us who still clings to the teat of Armstrong, or his theology. Like Pavlov's dogs, an Armstrongist is unable to refrain from defending the Fadder of the Faith, no matter how oblique the defense is.

Paul

Stingerski said...

Tom saith :

To post these articles is just regurgitating what we already know.

Well Tom, as for my part in that, you certainly got this very wrong! I never read Time Magazine back then and have never read those articles -- until now. I was too busy reading the Church approved U.S. News & World Report.

I did read, however, the obit article in Time in 1986 on the Herbster's death. And, like you probably did, I very much disagreed with it. BECAUSE I HAD NEVER READ WHAT CAME BEFORE!

If I had, I could have save a lot of wasted time, money and tears.

But, better late than never.

Now then, you have no excuse for being such a religious knuckle head. :-(

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

This is the first time I have seen these articles.

Minimalist said...

"The members want us to live like this" - Rader

"Be Ye Dewar's of the Law" - HWA

Tom said...

>>>Well Tom, as for my part in that, you certainly got this very wrong! I never read Time Magazine back then and have never read those articles -- until now. I was too busy reading the Church approved U.S. News & World Report.<<<

In that case, you might derive some benefit from reading them. Perhaps you could share the benefits with us, as we might have missed something?

However, I still have the letters addressed to the bretheren explaining why GTA was removed in 1972 and 1978, and the details are much more graphic than the speculations in Time magazine.

>>>I was too busy reading the Church approved U.S. News & World Report.<<<

The U.S. News & World Report was suggested reading, not a command from mount Saini. You were free to subscribe to any publication you wanted to read.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people suspended their God given ability to think the moment they entered WCG. And then years later, complain that their minds were taken over HWA.

>>>Now then, you have no excuse for being such a religious knuckle head. :-(<<<

If I remeber correctly, I believe that it was S. Maughan who said:(and I will paraphrase, because I can't be bothered to look it up)"The British and Americans are different people, separated by a common language."

If you are unable to write standard English, then I won't be able to understand what you are saying. And as Paul says, you will be a Barbarian unto me. Will you please explain what is meant by "knuckled head," as I am unfamilar with the phrase?

Stingerski said...

Righteous Tom saith:

In that case, you might derive some benefit from reading them. Perhaps you could share the benefits with us, as we might have missed something?

Well, I DID read them, and for the first time. And you completely missed my point. If I had read those articles when they were published I very likely would have thought long and hard before I joined up with Armstrong's cult. And if I had joined anyway then at least I would have been much better forewarned about the Armstrongs and skipped sending in all my tithes and "offerings."

You know that cult, the one you currently support. As is, I got the benefit of finally leaving that cult over a decade ago, thank you very much.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people suspended their God given ability to think the moment they entered WCG. And then years later, complain that their minds were taken over HWA.

Tom, this should not amaze you at all. Because much of your ability to think is suspended. This is evident from your posts here. You don't even understand what you just posted. Because if you did you would not have stated this that way.

Most of us did not suspend our thinking abilities when joining the cult. But cults DO insist on and DEMAND conformity in thinking (just as your thinking still conforms to your own brand of Armstrongology). And having doubts about the cult, its practices and teachings was tantamount to blasphemy. This is how the top dogs got away with living as they did (as Time Magazine and others were trying to point out to us).

And no, our minds were not taken over by H-wA. But we were brainwashed! The Herbster used to even brag about us having our "brains washed" by him. And he was an expert at this.

And you are living proof that the process is still at work.

Tom said...

>>>If I had read those articles when they were published I very likely would have thought long and hard before I joined up with Armstrong's cult.<<<

Well, at this point in time, we have no way of knowing exactly what you would have done, and you don't either. So how reading them now is helping you, we still don't know.

TOM>>>It never ceases to amaze me how many people suspended their God given ability to think the moment they entered WCG. And then years later, complain that their minds were taken over HWA.<<<

>>>Tom, this should not amaze you at all. Because much of your ability to think is suspended.<<<

I am not amazed for myself! I am amazed that you appear either unwilling or incapable of accepting that if you were deceived, it was your FAULT. And it was your fault, because you suspended your ability to think, by allowing others to tell you what to believe; and negated your God given responsibility to "prove all things." Not to mention the command from Jesus: "Let no man deceived you."

Now it logically follows, that if you allowed others to tell you what to believe without examining it to see if it was correct; abrogated your God given responsibility to "prove all things;" and failed to obey Jesus' command to "Let no man deceived you," your deception is your fault!

Yet in spite of your failings, you still persist in blaming other people for your deception. And now you want sensible to believe, that you possess the capacity think. Not even your most loyal supporters would agree with you. Unless, of course, they are also deceived.

Anoneemoose said...

To Tom:
words used to express a low opinion of someone's intelligence.......
" knucklehead " - a stupid person


Concerning learning from the experience of having been a WWCG member..........

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing" - George Bernard Shaw

Anoneemoose said...

Tom said:
*"Now, I hasten to add, WCG was the Laodicean era of the church, and was spiritually naked and blind; the consequence of placing a great deal of emphasis on material wealth. Hence, the opportunity for greed and the abuse of power."*

I take it that you mean HWA was
"spiritually naked and blind"
Since he started the church back in the 1930's what church before that was the Philadelphia era?

And since the Laodicean era is the last era of the churches.....then that must signify all of the ones who now claim to follow the "truth" of HWA are Laodicean also....wouldn't you agree?

Tom you stated: *"But the more important question is, what benefit are we going to derive from resurrecting these articles?"*

My answer.......

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Robert said...

I am very grateful for some of the things that I learned through the writings of Herbert Armstrong.
He brought to me the knowledge of the Sabbath, the celebration of the festivals, the hope that one day each person would find salvation, and the knowledge of having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

These things will remain with me, no matter what people write about the man, nor the church.

I look at the WCG as a stepping stone, it started a process within all of us to seek out truth.

The most astonishing things I am finding is that former baptist ministers (with no WCG association) are joining Messianic ministries, teaching Torah, enjoying the celebration of the Shabbat and Festivals.

I am looking forward Chanukah (about the 4th December), have my menorah and excited to learn about the festival (even Jesus kept it--it was known as the Feast of Dedication).

I am sorry that others have been hurt by the WCG (all of our experiences were different) and feel compelled to throw out everything.

What is the alternative for us? I do research and even scholars admit the first century church was Jewish keeping Jewish laws. Go on to centuryfirst.com website and read the books on there.

It is only our own hatred of Armstrong which prevents us from seeing the truth. HWA was a poor example, and did not get everything right. But I am not going to base my religious life on the poor example of others. My life must be based on the example of Jesus Christ.

And if Jesus kept Chanukah, then it is good enough for me.

For those who keep it, have a great festival.

Stingerski said...

Righteous Tom saith:

And it was your fault, because you suspended your ability to think, by allowing others to tell you what to believe; and negated your God given responsibility to "prove all things."

OK Tom, I've proved from the Bible that the Sabbath is only for the Jews. And I have proved this to myself since I left the cult of Armstrongism. I am now capable of proving "all things," thank you.

I have also proven from the Bible that the Armstrongs were full of spiritual sh!t and were not fit to lead a dog kennel, let alone a ministry.

Now then, what's your excuse for trying to continue to partake of the Covenant of the Jews and your own brand of Armstrongology?

Your brain is still "off."

Anonymous said...

Aw thanks for the reminders! Those were the days when I learned the de Niles was not just a northern suburb of Chicago. Did I say that right?

Stingerski said...

Robert said:

He [Armstrong] brought to me the knowledge of the Sabbath, the celebration of the festivals . . .

According to Tom here, this was only because you were allowing the cult to do your thinking for you. And since Sabbath is not part of the New Covenant, I think this must be so.

Besides, you could just as well been brought to a "knowledge" of the Sabbath by the Seventh-day Adventists, another misguided religious group.

Or, better yet, you COULD have discovered this "truth" for yourself, just as I have discovered that the Sabbath is only for the Jews.

Anyway, happy Canuck Canuck, or whatever it is you are trying to keep. But the universal God could care less about what days you set aside.

Anonymous said...

"He brought to me the knowledge of the Sabbath, the celebration of the festivals, the hope that one day each person would find salvation, and the knowledge of having a relationship with Jesus Christ."

Interesting...salvation and Christ come after Sabbaths and Holy Days in your list of Good Things I Learned From HWA. I assume that it was wholly unintentional.


Paul

Anonymous said...

Of course, all of this assumes the historical Jesus really was the son of God.

Come to think of it, how often did the ministry build a sermon around Jesus, other than in passing, or a few scripture quotes tossed in here & there. Not much was ever mentioned about Jesus, except maybe at Passover. I now wonder how many of the ministers even believed in Jesus.

Robert said...

>>> just as I have discovered that the Sabbath is only for the Jews.

HWA made a point of claiming the other churches abolish the law. Actually this is misleading and if you think mainstream churches abolish law as well, it is an incorrect asertion.

The Church of England believes that the law is divided up into ceremonial and moral law. The COG believes in keeping the moral law but believes the ceremonial has been abolished.

No church teaches lawlessness, the majority teach observance of the moral law (ten commandments).

The Sabbath commandment is not abolished, it has been replaced to another day according to the Church of England. It is now known as the Christian Sabbath by some folk, or the Lord's day.

The Sabbath is observed on Saturday by Jews while most Christians merely postpone the day to Sunday following the custom of the church.

There is still a period of time observed as a Sabbath (whether Saturday or Sunday) therefore the argument it has been abolished is not accurate. The Christians replaced to Sabbath to another day. The intention was not to abolish a day of rest (for what man would want to work 7 days a week). The intention was to stop the Christian community at the time from facing similar persecution which the Jews suffered by postponing the day of worship to another day.

From a practical point of view it makes sense to have one day off from work.

I hope that you are following through with your convictions and working either 7 days a week (as the Sabbath if it is abolished now means there is no legal requirement requiring you to stop from working -- or at the very least observing Sunday as the Lord's day).

And if the Sabbath is abolished so too is the ten commandments as the Sabbath was part of the fourth. Unless one is going to say that it is the only law not mentioned in the New Testament.

Once we get into a situation where we are abrogating laws it means we have to prove it was God's authority for doing so and we also have to realise that there is a possibility on both sides of the argument that we are wrong.

We have to remember that the questions HWA raises about law, grace, Sabbaths and laws is not unique. In a Jewish book about the Messiah, they rightly point out that Jesus followers today are not following the same customs of Jesus. The Jews admit that the Jesus people should be observing the Sabbath and other laws.

It is selective to say that you have proved it from the Bible that the Sabbath is only for the Jews. It can also be proved that slavery is a necessity which the Bible does not abolish, that apartheid is justified, votes for women has no scriptural basis, and women must not only not preach from the pulpit -- they cannot even speak in a church assembly but rather if they have any questions they must ask their husbands at home.

You see unless you show me all the scriptures you use, go into the original languages, get the original meaning and intent, know the society and its customs, you can prove anything from the Bible. We all know that.

Corky said...

"You see unless you show me all the scriptures you use, go into the original languages, get the original meaning and intent, know the society and its customs, you can prove anything from the Bible. We all know that."

Hey, how about a better idea, just chunk the bible out the window? That way you don't have to prove anything it says.

Gentile converts were told by Jewish converts from Jerusalem that the Gentile converts would have to be circumcised and keep the law. It was decided to not place these burdens on the Gentile converts but only to instruct them to abstain from pollution of idols, from fornication, from things strangled, and from blood.

So, there you are, the gentile converts were not obligated to keep the Jewish law. Not even the circumcision law, which is the most binding of all, because it was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant concerning the promised "seed".

Tom said...

moose

>>>I take it that you mean HWA was
"spiritually naked and blind"
Since he started the church back in the 1930's what church before that was the Philadelphia era?<<<

Yes, in some things HWA was naked and blind. For example, reinstating GTA to ministerial office after his lecherous sins of 1972 was a clear indication of spiritual blindness. If his spiritual eyes were opened, he would have understood that any minister who commits adultery has fallen from grace. And believe me , I could multiply examples.

I am not sure which era was the Philadelphia, but it could have been the era that was called Sardus.

>>>And since the Laodicean era is the last era of the churches.....then that must signify all of the ones who now claim to follow the "truth" of HWA are Laodicean also....wouldn't you agree?<<<

Actually, the splinter groups in cog land are worse than the old WCG, as they were all started by hirelings, who teach for money, that Christ is divided and God is the author of confusion.

We are now in that period of time known as, "the famine of the hearing word." For there isn't one single minister or group, I know of, that teaches or believes in the undiluted, wholesome teachings of the bible.

Yet, as in the days of Elijah, I am sure that there are a few genuine Christians who have not bowed their knees to the image of Baal.

camfinch said...

"Actually, the splinter groups in cog land are worse than the old WCG, as they were all started by hirelings, who teach for money, that Christ is divided and God is the author of confusion.

"We are now in that period of time known as, "the famine of the hearing word." For there isn't one single minister or group, I know of, that teaches or believes in the undiluted, wholesome teachings of the bible."

Herein, Tom speaks truth! The splinter-leaders of contemporary Armstrongism are hirelings, at least to themselves. They are still hired to the religio-rubric that HWA gave them decades ago.

The main question for Tom is what he considers to be the "undiluted wholesome teacings of the Bible", and which of these are relevant to the current day.

Charlie said...

"The main question for Tom is what he considers to be the "undiluted wholesome teacings of the Bible", and which of these are relevant to the current day."

Tom hasn't answered a single question ever put to him here so don't hold your breath waiting for an actual answer.

Tom, since you could not use context clues to figure out what a knucklehead is, the possibility exists that the word also applies to you.

Byker Bob said...

If you answer questions about your statements and/or beliefs, that actually opens them up to discussion, or acknowledges that the questions might be valid.

Most people who are programmed will simply not do this. They will, however, preach, and preach, and preach.

About two years ago, I was on one forum where most of the regulars were members of a particular group. A few were ex-WCG, but many others were not. Some questioned the moderator for allowing dissenters to post and to raise questions. I was, of course, one of the dissenters. But, I felt that the moderator showed great wisdom, by stating that he felt it was healthy to subject the beliefs to questioning, and that he had great confidence in the fact that the truth was going to emerge from the discussions in such a way that most participants would be able to recognize it. I thought that was quite refreshing compared to the attitudes fostered by classic Armstrongism.

Most Armstrongites believe that they have all the answers, and that if you question them, you are actually questioning God. That's really a dangerous attitude to have, unless your name happens to be Jesus Christ.

BB

Tom said...

Camfinch

>>>The main question for Tom is what he considers to be the "undiluted wholesome teacings of the Bible", and which of these are relevant to the current day.<<<

From your perspective it might be the main question for me, but not from mine. I know what the undiluted, wholesome teachings of the bible are, and would be more than happy to discuss them with people who would rejoice in and be nurtured by them.

In addition, it would take a long, laborious exposition of some very opaque and paradoxical texts to explain some of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven to you. And since it is evident that you have not sucked on the breasts of Zion nor been dangled between her knees, how can you be expected to understand her mysteries?

Last week I challenged the cabal of critics to comment on the allegory Gals.4:21-31 and tie it into Romans chapter 9, 10 and 11, and no one commented on it. Yet Douglas, Stinger, Anon, Paul and the rest of the misguided cabal want me to believe that they are qualified to comment on the doctrines of the bible.

I don't mean to insult you, but Jesus says, "cast not your pearls before swine, less they trampled them under foot, and turn around and rend you." Swine don't appreciate the value of pearls, that is why they treat them like dirt. When you show that you appreciate "the pearl of great price," I will let you have access to it. Until then, I will not be casting any pearls before you.

Neotherm said...

There is an aspect of this topic that I believe is quite complicated and subtle. When Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany, did he brain wash people? Did the German people have Naziism forced on them or did it fulfill a need they had? There are many glib analyses of this phenomenon today. A German recently told me that what Hitler did was tell the same lies over and over again until they were believed by the German populace. But is that really true? The Republican Party has told me lies over and over again and I do not believe these lies.

I cannot tell you exactly what happened that resulted in my becoming an Armstrongite at the age of 17. Listening to a radio broadcast is not classical brain washing. But by the time I attended the first WCG service I was convinced that HWA was a bona fide representative of God and whatever he and his minions said could be believed implicitly.

Reading Tom's posts for me is like stepping into a time machine. I used to believe what he believes. And I felt sorry for people who had not come into The Truth as I had. (Tom clearly does not feel sorry for us. He enjoys sparring and in this he diverges from the pseudo-compassionate facade that most Armstrongites carefully hide their combativeness behind. My guess is that the other Armstrongites in his congregation think his behavior is a bit odd.)
But how did this come about? Other cults really do brainwash people in the classical way.

Both Armstrongism and Naziism, I believe, found willing accomplices. These two pseudo-religious belief systems provided people something that they needed. In general, these philosophies appealed to people with low self-esteem and told them that they were important. Once they were snared with this idea, they could be manipulated.

So there was a transaction here that involved participation on both sides. That is why someone can say, "Why did you become an Armstrongite? You had free will. You could have decided differently." But the issue is clouded because of this two-sided transactional complexity. The needs that we had that made us so vulnerable to Armstrongism were so much a part of our identity that we have trouble seeing this as a brain washing. We all know that we were had, we just don't know for sure how. And sorting it out now is still not easy.

I recognize Tom's posts as the sophomoric arguments of a convicted Armstrongite, on the surface. But, deeper down, there is a bizarreness about the state of mind he reflects that is both familiar and deeply disturbing.

-- Neo

Charlie said...

Do you hear voices Tom? Voices that no one else can hear?

Are you one of those people that "know" things that no one else does?

Where others see contradictions and ambiguity do you have clarity?

Have you declared an office or a title for yourself yet?


Fellow bloggers: We are blind! How could we not see it?!?! Here he is! Dave Pack is no longer top dog!Don't paint your house, cancel your Doctor appointments, divorce your second spouse, stone your son if he stays out too late, tithe on all you own and send it to and address to be specified by a man who truly understands the great mysteries!

Anoneemoose said...

Tom stated:
"I know what the undiluted, wholesome teachings of the bible are, and would be more than happy to discuss them with people who would rejoice in and be nurtured by them."

and

"In addition, it would take a long, laborious exposition of some very opaque and paradoxical texts to explain some of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven to you."


I've been wondering when Tom was going to get around to letting the readers know....that he knows.... the mysteries that others here ....don't know.

Corky said...

Tom said . . .
I don't mean to insult you, but Jesus says, "cast not your pearls before swine, less they trampled them under foot, and turn around and rend you."

Yes you do, and keep your old pearls. By the way, you left out "the dogs". Do you know what gentiles were to the Jews? Dogs and swine.

Whoops! Looks like Paul broke the rule there.

Tom said...

>>>I've been wondering when Tom was going to get around to letting the readers know....that he knows.... the mysteries that others here ....don't know.<<<

your name remains a mystery to me. Who are you hiding from?

Robert said...

Brainwashed, I hardly think so. We were not brainwashed into any type of religious system because we always had free will. You could argue that our minds were manipulated into believing a set of doctrines or to conform to the status quo.

Tom is only involved in Armstrongism because it is the only type of religion that he studies. He surrounds himself with literature from the splinter groups, he goes to church services, and he automatically dismisses anything not connected within his own body of doctrine.

I might be pro Sabbath but certainly no Armstrongite. You could say, Messianic, is a better term for me. There is no church of God teaching the truth today. They all preach a mixture of truth and error. So I ditched the lot of them and now study Judaism and Messianic Judaism.

Tom just doesn't know what he is missing out on.

Anonymous said...

"In general, these philosophies appealed to people with low self-esteem and told them that they were important."

Exactly. I can attest to that. You can also add people who inherently distrust the world around them, who feel that they are right in some way that the rest of the world isn't. Armstrongsim was heady wine for me. I loved the notion that I was going to be a Master of the Universe.


Paul

Corky said...

Tom said . . .
"your name remains a mystery to me. Who are you hiding from?"

I would say that's none of your business but it was only meant to be a dodge, not an artful dodge, but a dodge just the same.

It's typical of all the religious nuts on the Internet forums and blogs - duck, run, dodge and repeat nonsensical remarks like a broken record.

Anoneemoose said...

Tom said...

“your name remains a mystery to me. Who are you hiding from?

You correctly addressed me the first time you responded to me.
I responded back out in the open for all to read…how is that hiding?

Let’s see if we can solve the mystery of “Tom”

Tom is short form of Thomas (Aramaic) "twin" ... one of the 12 apostles known as "doubting Thomas" as he has an unusual mixture of pessimism and zealous faith. Some say his full name was Judas Thomas (Judas the Twin), and the nickname distinguished him from Judas Iscariot.

So maybe you are using an alias in the form of Tom the doubter full of pessimism for the old Armstrong ways, yet zealous for your 'mystery' faith.

Or are you a twin who would like to think himself an apostle…....

One can speculate on any number of reasons for a nom de plume.

Moose

Anoneemoose said...

Getting back to the subject at hand.

Gavin said:
Relive a little history, and then breathe easier knowing that today the Empire is as shattered as Humpty Dumpty.

Not yet…the Empire fell just the same as Humpty Dumpty but someone has been busy gluing the pieces back together again and painting a gloss coat over the cracks. It won’t last but it still buys time for a few more years and several millions of tithe dollars to pass on to “the work”

Take the dead Ted TV program.
Sad to say several hundreds of newbie’s do not know Ted is dead.

I’ve heard from some who have talked to relatives and friends that listen to Ted and can’t believe he is ‘sleeping’ with the fishes.

UCG, LCG, Flurry, Packman, Tkache etc. are still keeping the fairy tale alive even if the glue is thinning out and the cracks are starting to pull apart.

Byker Bob said...

Wouldn't it really be nice to believe that someone had the truth and all the answers? I can certainly understand the motivation which produces "Toms", but man! The blinders you have to wear, and the "other scriptures", and Bible conflicts you must ignore or explain away make it impossible for most people with any degree of intellectual honesty, (or those who are capable of analytical thought) to even think they know the secrets or have the answers. That would be an awfully arrogant position to take, and it's embarrassing to watch!

BB

Ripley said...

Oh, for crying out loud. Read the articles, think, and move on.

Let Tom puff up his chest and think he has the "undiluted, wholesome teachings of the Bible." That statement alone ought to provide a clue.

The unabashed arrogance continues. "Lord, I thank you that I am not like this poor soul who dares to disagree with me." No mirrors there.

Why argue with people like that? They can have their bizarre, unfeeling, unapologetic system, the jackals.

Anonymous said...

Robert, you wrote:

"Brainwashed, I hardly think so. We were not brainwashed into any type of religious system because we always had free will. You could argue that our minds were manipulated into believing a set of doctrines or to conform to the status quo."

~Mel

Perhaps "brainwashed" is a colloquialism, yet what I understand it's meaning as, it does fit with the 'mind manipulation' that you seem more agreeable with in the last part of the above quote of yours.

In Robert Jay Lifton's book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, there is the famous chapter 22, which he prefaces with:

"I wish to suggest a set of criteria against which any environment may be judged - a basis for answering the ever-recurring question: Isn't this just like 'brainwashing'?"

He then proceeds to lay out eight criteria:

1. Milieu Control. This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.
2. Mystical Manipulation. There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes.
3. Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.
4. Confession. Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members' "sins," "attitudes," and "faults" are discussed and exploited by the leaders.
5. Sacred Science. The group's doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.
6. Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clich├ęs, which serve to alter members' thought processes to conform to the group's way of thinking.
7. Doctrine over person. Member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.
8. Dispensing of existence. The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group's ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility. In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also. (Lifton, 1989)

Some have written about how the dynamics of the church governed by HWA met these criteria.
For instance, one analysis is at:
www.exitsupportnetwork.com/artcls/lifton.htm

Though I differ with some opinions at the ESN site, I thing they get the job done in making the connection between Lifton's writing and how the WCG acted in people's lives.

I do believe the WCG calculatedly tried to recruit people in a way that tended to usurp a person's ability to make an informed decision and use critical thinking.

I've read some of those old writings recently, and despite HWA saying anything about "proving for one's self", the emphasis was MUCH more on the concept that one was questioning God Himself if one were to question what HWA was teaching.

Anyway, back to what folks like Lifton(and others like Singer, Ross, Ofshe, and Hassan) have written that set criteria which help a person determine if a particular org is a destructive brainwashing cult:

I've found that a picture emerges in reading about destructive, brainwashing cults(and how they operate).

Kind of like folks that say, "Well, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck."
So, it has become easier for me to see the "duck" of a brainwashing destructive cult when I look back at the WCG of which I was once a part.

Tom said...

Anon

>>>I do believe the WCG calculatedly tried to recruit people in a way that tended to usurp a person's ability to make an informed decision and use critical thinking.<<<

You believe? You or I may believe anything, but that doesn't make it true. Where is the evidence to support your belief?

The extract from Lipton's psychological ramble is not worth commenting on. Suffice to say, that you are drawn to his writings because they articulate and confirm opinions you already hold.

No one here can honestly say that he was recruited into WCG. For even after potential members requested a visit from a minister, they were not invited to church until the minister was sure that they had understood the basic teachings of the church.

Unlike many of the other TV evangislists, who ask for money and solicit for members, WCG ministers never once asked for money or coerced anyone into attending services. And you know this is the TRUTH.

Your problem is, you can't come to terms with the fact that there are glaring contradictions in your current position. On the one hand, you know that you were not dragged kicking and screaming into WCG, and on the other, you don't understand how you allowed yourself to be deceived. If indeed you were deceived! So you and cabal find solace in blaming HWA for your deception. Wake up to reality, if you were deceived it was your fault!

Tom said...

Robert

>>>Tom is only involved in Armstrongism because it is the only type of religion that he studies. He surrounds himself with literature from the splinter groups, he goes to church services, and he automatically dismisses anything not connected within his own body of doctrine.<<<

I don't get or read any from literature any of spliter groups. I do not attend any church or meet with any group.

I conduct Sabbath services and regular bible studies with my family in privacy of my home, and attend the FOT with my family.

It is true that I am not interested in any other religion, but Christianity. But by Christianity, I don't mean Catholism, Protestanism or any other brand Christianity that was invented by men. I mean that I believe in the undiluted teachings of the bible.

I don't know what is meant by Armstrongism, so I can't comment on it.

I hope this clarifies where I stand, and it corrects your errorneous assumptions.

Stingerski said...

Robert said:

You see unless you show me all the scriptures you use, go into the original languages, get the original meaning and intent, know the society and its customs, you can prove anything from the Bible. We all know that.

This is why the Bible has little or no value when it comes to trying to determine which is the "right" way to live. For almost every scripture you can pull out to justify why you do what you do (e.g. Sabbath keeping) I can quote you one that commands the opposite.

And while you may want to argue semantics, languages, original meanings (of which many are long lost in antiquity) all you are doing is adding to the religious confusion out there.

And you still have not figured out that the covenant of the Jews was for the Jews, and only the Jews. You get no brownie points with God for trying to abide by it, if you are a Gentile. In fact, the Jews laugh at you for trying. And they are not very happy with you "appropriating" their holy days either, in the name of your god.

From a practical point of view it makes sense to have one day off from work.

I hope that you are following through with your convictions and working either 7 days a week . . .


Actually, I like the two days off I currently receive. :-) And if I am ever required to work on the weekend I no longer have to look like some religious crack pot and deny the request.

Personally, I don't care if you work one day per week, and rest the other six. Because as you said, you can prove anything you want to from the Bible. And that being the case, and since I think religion should be a private affair, then you should keep all this to yourself. Debating religion is like debating the best flavor of ice cream.

Charlie said...

Tom said: "I hope this clarifies where I stand, and it corrects your errorneous assumptions."


Thank you for the clarification Tom...Your family has my sympathy as you are truly an island unto yourself.

I know you don't want to "Cast your pearls before swine" but if you would be so kind as to elaborate just a little on exactly what you mean by the "undiluted" teachings of the bible, I would be ever so grateful. There are a great many teachings in the Bible that are primitive and barbaric. I know what undiluted means, but I'm hopeful that in actuality you really don't apply the Bible to your life that way, or more specifically to your wife and children.

I see signs of an abusive husband and father in your postings.

Robert said...

A JEWISH RESPONSE TO THE GENTILE LAW QUESTION.

In the book, The Real Messiah, in the section marked, Was Jesus the Messiah by Pinchas Stolper:

"Jesus claimed that he did not intend to change the Laws of Moses .. (Matthew 5). Later on he himself abrogated some of the laws, while his followers eventually abolished or changed nearly all of them.

"However the Torah itself clearly states in many places that its laws are eternal, never to be abolished. And even the Christians acknowledge that the Jewish Bible is the word of G-d. If the Torah is eternal and Jesus himself claims to have no intention of abolishing or changing it, why do the Christians celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday when G-d clearly calls the Saturday-Sabbath an Eternal Covenant? Why do Christians eat pig when the Torah forbids it? What reason can Christians give for not celebrating Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur which are clearly spelled out in the Torah? This same argument applies to hundreds of other Torah laws that are ignored by some Christians.

"On the other hand, Christians and Easter are not mentioned in either the Jewish Bible or the Christian New Testament. --these festivals are "pagan" in origin, adapted for Christian use. But Pesach, Sukkos and Shavuos are clearly spoken of in the Bible. On top of which, Jesus nowhere requests that the Biblical festivals no longer be observed"

Robert said...

There you go the Jews agree with Herbert Armstrong (with the exception of british israelism) that the Torah is to be followed the followers of Jesus.

The Jews only take exception when Christian missionary groups try to convert Jews.

They don't take exception when gentiles are following Jesus and obeying the Torah.

I have met many Jews, a few in Brooklyn New York. I told them I was a Christian following Jewish laws, they thought it was great.

I have met an Orthodox Chabad Jew in London whose cousin he told me was a Messianic Jew. The Orthodox Jew actually gave me a free bowl of soup from the shop he was working in, and invited me back anytime, he also said if I wanted to study Judaism he would help me.

I know people have a very negative view of Jews in general but they took time to speak to me, did not judge me and offered me help.

Tom said...

Charlie

>>>Thank you for the clarification Tom...Your family has my sympathy as you are truly an island unto yourself.<<<

Since feeling sorry for my family makes you feel superior, I will flatter you just a little and pass your sympathy unto them.

>>>I know you don't want to "Cast your pearls before swine" but if you would be so kind as to elaborate just a little on exactly what you mean by the "undiluted" teachings of the bible, I would be ever so grateful.<<<

The bible is an exclusive, private book. Under the OT dispensation, it was originally given to the people of Israel. Later, under the NT dispensation, it was exclusively given to the church. Jesus told his disciples: "I have chosen you, you have not chosen me." And in another place he told them: "It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to those on the outside it is not given." Also, all the epistles of Paul, Peter, James, Jude and John are personal letters to the members of the church. They were not public publications, like Time magazine.

Of course, as the gospel spread throughout the Roman world, the bible was copied and made available to the heathen, who were planted by Satan in the church, as tares amongst the wheat.

So today, anyone may buy a bible, but only God's elect is able to understand it. So it would a fruitless exercise to post any of the undiluted doctrines of the bible to you, as you won't be able to understand them.

Charlie said...

Tom said: "So today, anyone may buy a bible, but only God's elect is able to understand it. So it would a fruitless exercise to post any of the undiluted doctrines of the bible to you, as you won't be able to understand them."

I didn't ask you to post one of your doctines, I asked you to clarify what you mean *exactly* by undiluted.

Tom said: "Since feeling sorry for my family makes you feel superior, I will flatter you just a little and pass your sympathy unto them."

I don't feel superior, my sympathy for them is sincere.

I was born into the WCG so I had no choice in the matter. The few bright spots I can recall growing up under armstrong's nasty theology are far outweighed by the bad. That isn't to say my parents were or are bad parents, quite the opposite. The WCG is directly responsible for many things in my life that my family really could have done without and that is as kindly as I can state that. They had, after all, 'proved' what they needed to prove in order to join and afterward 'submitted' to authority lest they lose their eternal salvation, therein lies the hook. The church *did* expect you to shut off your ability to discern things lest you 'lean on your own understanding'.

Corky said...

Charlie said . . .

I see signs of an abusive husband and father in your (Tom's) postings.

I do too. I've only seen one other of those family only churches. The father (leader of the group) is as crazy as a loon. I'm thinking that's the case here too.

Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church is an example of one of those family churches, foaming at the mouth lunatics.

Mel said...

Tom wrote:
>>>The extract from Lipton's psychological ramble is not worth commenting on. Suffice to say, that you are drawn to his writings because they articulate and confirm opinions you already hold.<<<

It's Robert Jay Lifton, not "Lipton"
Sorry to hear you find his writing unworthy of your commenting.
Anyway, I came to understand how destructive cults operate as a result of reading his and others' writings on the subject. It's not that I already understood cult dynamics. In fact, it was only as a result of looking into a "self-help" group that had nothing to do with the WCG that I came across information about how cults operate.

An ironic thing here, is that you would likely say, "yes!" if an analysis were made applying Lifton's criteria to an organization that you don't like.

Or, maybe not, I really don't know. Perhaps you'd attribute people joining orgs you don't like to their own stupidity or to Satan's influence.

What I have learned is that people who are intelligent and of the best of intentions can be recruited into destructive cults. Such orgs use methods which keep a person from making an informed decision, and keep one from thinking critically.

For many "fans" of Radio/Worldwide, these arguments will fall on deaf ears, and that planting fears in a person of looking at "other" viewpoints is seen as a good thing, since those "other" views are seen as other than the Truth.
And the process of drawing a person in carefully and slowly, because he's not able to swallow it all at once, is not seen as a tactic that destructive cults use for recruitment and manipulation. It's seen by cult members as a necessary "milk before the meat" thing, rather than a frog put in the pot of water on the stove thing. After all, the cult members have the Truth that the rest of the world NEEDS.

I realize that you truly believe that you and the few that believe as you do have something so very special that this world desperately needs.

It seems that you have traded your freedom for the luxury of feeling superior.

Anoneemoose said...

Tom said:
So today, anyone may buy a bible, but only God's elect is able to understand it.

You are one of the elect??

Interesting. How did you figure that out?

"Also, all the epistles of Paul, Peter, James, Jude and John are personal letters to the members of the church"

And they happened to have your address handy.

Congratulations.

How nice for you.

Why are you wasting your precious time amongst those you consider tares?

Of course Jesus did mingle among sinners too.

He must be as proud of you, as you are, of you.

Anoneemoose said...

Also Tom as a reminder if you are one of the elect:

"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: "




"Col 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.


Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;


Col 3:10 And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:



Col 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.


Col 3:12 ¶ Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;


Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.


Col 3:14 And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness.


Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.


Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.


Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

Bamboo_bends said...

Lussenheide said...

Much speculation in these articles about who would be the "heir apparent" of the Armstrong Empire riches.

Rader...GTA...Cole...Meredith???

Nah, some drop out named Joe Tkach Jr., an occasional speaker in Phoenix Arizona.



Joe Jr is not a drop-out and never was. He's very bright, has to have an IQ above 150. He was also quite a good athelete and would skunk most people on the raquetball court.

He was a graduate of both Ambassador and Imperial Schools. He was a product of "the system".

Ron Dart cut him from the ministry payrolls in 1974 when he was married to Jill. That was quite a shock to both Joe and Jill. They got employment working as live in social workers at the Arizona Boys Ranch.

Joe did "drop-out" of the unpaid ministry after Jill left him. He preached occaisionally, and he always preached less than 90 minutes as he always felt if you couldn't say it in 60 minutes you didn't understand your topic.

Trouble comes in threes they say.
But what man wouldn't be a little thrown when their wife finds leaves them for another man? I am not faulting Jill - Joe might have had it coming. I never witnessed him beating Jill, another accusation I think is baseless. Fault the guy for the things he did do if you want, but don't invent things.

Joe, for a time, looked a bit like Bluto from Animal House, especially with that (pre-hair transplant) red bandana around his forehead like a Biker.


If I could be odds maker bookie back in 1977 I might have given 3 to one odds on any of the above.

Joe Tkach Jr???, I would have easily given away 100 MILLION to ONE odds. A penny bet on Joey would return $1 Million!

Funny how life turns out, and how the future will always hold surprises!

Lussenheide



You think what's transpired is surreal, how do you think those of us who knew both feel?

Especially that ridiculous UCG Cabal accusation they had some 20 year plan to liberalize the WCG.

I was on the Tarver ranch porch in Arizona the same night Joe Tkach Sr was talking about going into chicken farming and quitting the ministry because of "rampant liberalism" within the WCG. The underground movement against the GTA changes was in full foment, and the Tkach's were every bit as much insiders on that as Meridith and McNair. Unlike those two, his father had some guts when it came to the receivership. That's what caught HWA's eye.

Sorry...they were just as right wing as everyone else.

There were two events that turned Joe Jr around from the downward spiral after loosing his first wife, it was meeting Tammy (still a very sweet woman), and it was seeing his dad promoted by HWA.

What happened to him between 1982 and 1994, I don't know. Perhaps he got a sense of entitlement? He's not the same man I knew in the early days.

I remembered him as the man people would turn to in late 1970s if they had a real problem and didn't want to be ridiculed by some other minister. Joe used to know what it was like to be trashed by the ministry.

Stingerski said...

Robert said (and is starting to saith) :

The Jews only take exception when Christian missionary groups try to convert Jews.

They don't take exception when gentiles are following Jesus and obeying the Torah.


Excuse me?

Observant Jews want nothing to do with your Jesus.

You are either yanking all our cranks here. Or you are a total Christian no-nothing, trying to fit in with their covenant. And they will never accept you as a Goim into it. That "free" bowl of soup has gone to your head (or had something else in it).

Stop the religious bull sh!t, please.

Robert said...

>>>Observant Jews want nothing to do with your Jesus ... Stop the religious bull sh!t, please.

Jews rightly point out the inconsistencies of the Jesus movement and have written many books explaining why Jesus is not the Messiah. The Jews will never accept Jesus as the Messiah and view modern day Christianity as pagan forms (they support Herbert Armstrong's view) and part of Greek Hellenised culture.

The Torah fobids any gentile from observing Jewish laws according to Rabbinical Judaism and Rabbis are permitted to restrain any gentile that is observing the Shabbat.

The Jews point out that if you are going to follow Jesus then you have to obey the rules of the Torah like Jesus did. (There they agree with Herbert Armstrong).

Now do the Jews accept some that believe in Jesus and obey the Torah? The answer is yes. But the movement is not within Christianity or even Messianic Judaism -- both are viewed as heretic movements by Orthodox Jews.

The Orthodox Jews only recognise one movement. It is called the Netzarim. (www.netzarim.co.il) founded by a former baptist minister now teaches Orthodox Judaism founded on the principles of Ribbi Yeshua. They view Apostle Paul as heretical only accepting the book of Matthew as authentic gospel.

Another group (www.nesarim.org) note what they say:

"The word "Nesarim" is a transliterated Hebrew plural form of the word "Nazaraean". Some within the Orthodox Yemenite and some other Jewish communities recognise the true Nesarim as the legitimate followers of Rabbi Yeshua as opposed to the "Western Church" which they refer to as the "nosrim" (notzerim) - the fake followers of a fake "christ".

The word "Nesarim" points back to the Holy City of Jerusalem - to Rabbi Yeshua and to Ya'aqub ha'Tzadik whom Rabbi Yeshua appointed. The Nesarim existed before the excommunication of the gentile churches in 318 CE."

As the Netzarim movement is a branch of Judaism (not Christianity under Pauline theology) that professes a Messianic role for Yeshua it is recognised by Jews.

Sometimes the truth hurts especially when the Jews agree with Herbert Armstrong's view of Matthew 5 writing about the hypocritcal way Chrisians live and behave. The Jews aren't stupid they can see through the Christmas tinsel of lies and deceit.

Anonymous said...

The Torah, Bible, and Koran:

Three books that have spawned thousands of sects, hundreds of wars, and millions of deaths...Because no two can agree.

If God is not the author of confusion, then who 'inspired' these books?

Maybe the deists have it right.

Anonymous said...

Tom said: "Unlike many of the other TV evangislists, who ask for money and solicit for members, WCG ministers never once asked for money or coerced anyone into attending services. And you know this is the TRUTH."

Actually the opposite is the truth. Those of us who have a WCG background can clearly remember booklets on the subject and articles on Sabbath attendance and tithing and offerings. Then there were the countless sermons and sermonettes all designed to coerce us to attend services regularly and to pay all tithes exactly and give offerings until it hurt. That was coercion. Then there was the threat of losing our salvation and being disfellowshipped if we failed to comply with the tithing laws and Sabbath laws. I still remember the truth, and it is not what you claim it to be.

Thomas Munson