Saturday, 8 March 2008

Confronting Racist Hooey


Attempting to engage Dr Hoeh in meaningful dialog could be a challenge. Dr Hoeh was, as Ron Kelly observes, well... Dr Hoeh.

Hoeh was the brainiac behind much of what passed for theology in the HWA years. His doctorate was, like Meredith's, a joke, but he carried the bearing of an absent-minded scholar nevertheless. (I've been told that in later years he tried to drop the doctor title, painfully aware that it was an unearned pretension.) According to some accounts, it was Hoeh who flattered Armstrong into the role of "apostle": a rush of blood to the head that turned a dimwitted speculation into vicious dogma.

But Hoeh, who could at times appear a generous and tolerant soul, is also credited with systematizing the arcane nonsense of British-Israelism into a rigid system that injected virulent racism into the church. An arrogant intellectual confection for dotty Englishmen became - at least for some WCG ministers and members - the key distinctive of their faith. The identification was so close that government officials in New Zealand counted anyone who responded "British-Israel" as their religion on census night as Worldwide Church of God!

But, wonder of wonders, in his dotage Herman Hoeh appeared to convert to a form of "evangelical" Christianity, and added his imprimatur to the reformist agenda of the Tkach cabal.

So where did that leave such semi-canonical tomes as A Compendium of World History?

Correspondence between a Native American member, trying to make some sense of the tortuous path away from discrimination, and the architect of classic Armstrong doctrine, Herman L. Hoeh, is newly uploaded to Greg Doudna's site.

On a different tangent, David Wise, a member of LCG, is having a hard time with his employer, the Firestone tyre company, which has dug its heels in over holy days. Details here.

For what its worth, any good employer, IMHO, should be more than willing to accommodate the religious sensibilities of any good employee.

144 comments:

DennisDiehl said...

The man was truly an enigma to me. Any class I took from him only left me wondering where in history were we that day and why. "Huh?" often came to mind. He was not apt to teach. In someway, his past damaged him it seemed to me. He seemed to suffer just below the surface for some reason.

On the other hand, he was frugal, drove an old car, wore old suits, never got his teeth fixed,recycled all he could and seemed genuinely kind to individuals.

I handed him one of my 12,500 ice age Clovis points once as I thought he'd find it interesting etc. When I asked him to comment it, he handed it back to me and said "that's nice." It was a very weird moment. I think it threatened his beliefs somehow. Either that, or he had no clue what he was holding in his hand.

I think he found some solice in the calm reflections of Buddhism and those he met so inclined. He seemed to gravitate to the buddhist community during the times of some severe WCG stress and confusion. Tending towards the simplicity of Taoism myself, this made perfect sense to me.

I expect a torrent of scorning and scoffing to fall on his post mortem head, but he was just who he was and didn't seem to care much what others thought he should be, even in church. I am sure he had harmful ideas that he perpetuated, but didn't we all.

Bottom line seems he was a curious man, mostly lived in his own head, was a product of something I had no privy to and found some kind of security in the church that was important for him to hold onto.

These are merely my own personal impressions. Others I am sure knew him better or have more stories of his eccentricities.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to a USA ruled by the religious right

ruled by its judges
ruled by its corporate officers
ruled by its politicians

It took 30 years to get to this position in the USA. And it will take 30 years with Democrats in charge to undo the foolishness begun by Ronald Reagan.

Tired Skeptic said...

One only need read Herbert Armstrong's Autobiography to ascertain where the racism came from in the Radio Church of God and the Worldwide Church of God: It came from Herbert Armstrong.

Herbert Armstrong was a narcissist. As such, he thought that anything which was like him or a part of him was good. He thought of himself as royalty, being descended from King David and all [even though Herbert Armstrong didn't look Jewish]. The white race is God's race and hence superior to all other races. Those of Japeth were to know their place as subject to the white race and blacks were to serve both the white and yellow races. And, oh, just by the way, he was going to be Third in the Kingdom of God because he was both an Apostle and of pure white racial stock.

One Australian CoG cult leader said it best: The yellow races are to be the domestics serving the whites and the blacks are to work in the fields at hard labor. Or is that labour?

What's mystifying is that anyone would ever ask where the attitudes came from, since they were there from the foundation of the Radio Church of God. Just how hard is that to figure out?

As for Dr. Hoeh. I often think his favorite color was plaid. He could come down squarely and firmly on both sides of an issue, particularly when someone of authority was concerned. He "adapted" himself to the environment to retain tenure. It is also clear that as a pseudo academic, he retained a detachment from the realities of his surrounding world, including, but not restricted to, the terrible repercussions of a bankrupt belief system disguised as a Biblical religion.

A footnote to those who think they are of Ephraim: You need to go back and take a careful look in Hosea and in Revelation. It seems that while Manasseh is mentioned as being one of the twelve tribes of Israel along with Joseph, the drunkards of Ephraim are entirely left out of the picture. Hence, if you really believe in British Israelism, as Ephraimites you are considered inferior by God. [The whole proposition is silly, but just in case you are so arrogant in your vanity sitting in Britain you feel some how superior, better start checking the Scripture to see how you measure up!]

Byker Bob said...

I read all of Neotherm's material as linked. It's absolutely heartbreaking, and I don't even like to invoke the phrase "closure" considering the awful, and very widespread implications of WCG policy. Still, it would have been nice to have received something tangible or substantive from Dr. Hoeh, but true to form, there just seems to be a wall of silence or denial amongst many of the influential ones from the formative years (architects, as Neotherm characterized them).

I witnessed the effects of the racism on some of my close personal friends, as a student at AC. In the public school systems in which I was educated, there might have been some racism in the halls, but teachers did not openly malign or denigrate the different racial groups as was commonly done from the lecturns and pulpits of AC/WCG. I just cringed when members of the ministry brainlessly repeated the worst stereotypes, lending to that a certain authoritativeness or officialness. I could see the hurt and perplexed looks on the faces of my non-Anglo friends as we all were forced to listen to this rot.

The wonderful thing about being a "post" member of WCG is that I got to "rebel" against most of the stupid and baseless things we were taught there. Part of this open rebellion has involved active dating from God's entire rainbow of ladies, and a celebration of diversity in my choices of personal friends. This has improved quality of life incredibly.

BB

Hooey on Hoeh said...

I don't know why people still try and cover up for Hoeh. Sure he got along with Buddhists, monks and others, but he was cruel and heartless in his treatment of COG members. He was one of the architects of the horrible mess that became Armstrongism. The degeneracy of that belief system rest squarely in the hands of HWA, GTA, Meredith, Blackwell, Hoeh and other 'stalwarts' of the cultish belief system. Hoeh never became part of the new WCG (at least inwardly). He paid lip service to the new administration because like so many others in the cult he believed that God had placed him and called him into the COG and therefore he could not leave it. The church would have to leave him. He, like many others, stuck around trying to preserve the core doctrines of HWA. He still believed much of the crap that Armstrongism taught. That's why he is still idolized by numerous splinter cults of Armstrongism. He is going to have to answer for all the lives he destroyed over the decades just as Herb is going to. He is not a man to be proud of, nor is he a man who stood up for God.

Bamboo_bends said...

I met a woman one day at AC, she was a single mother in a hurry to get to her part time job on campus.

She had accidentally rung Dr Hoeh's telephone number on the internal phone system thinking it was her girlfriend's number who offered to watch her little girl. She quickly rattled off the little girls needs and wanted to know how quickly she could bring the little girl to the baby sitter.

Little did she know she was talking to Dr Hoeh.

Dr Hoeh simply said to her "bring the girl over to Editorial and I will watch her".

The woman was embarrassed and started to apologize, and he told her it was fine, he'd do what she needed him to do.

There are hundreds of stories like that about that man.

I can't vouch for him being the author of WCG racism, I doubt it. Being German, he often suffered as much as anyone for British Israelism. Its not easy to be German in the WCG.

He repudiated his own compendium. One of the few WCG ministers to ever repudiate anything they wrote.

Dr Hoeh drove an old beat up car when other ministers drove fancy fleet cars. His trunk was more often than not filled with lawn clippings or banana peels for his compost pile and goats.

He defied categorization. He still does. The Thai monks at Wat Thai said this about Dr Hoeh "He is MORE than a monk!" They loved the man.

Anonymous said...

'...On the other hand, he was frugal, drove an old car, wore old suits, never got his teeth fixed,recycled all he could and seemed genuinely kind to individuals....'

A kind man indeed. I recall he came into our cottage kitchen in BW, and ate my wife's home-made bread (whole wheat, of course!!).

There was one of those 'ministerial meetings' in a local posh hotel. While all others were gorging a (late) posh breakfast, Dr Hoeh was heating up lentils on the radiator in his room. Whatever else he was he was, unlike some colleagues, human.

Anonymous said...

There may be anecdotal evidence that Hoeh was not quite one of the ministers of misery, but his exchange with Neo is tangible evidence of his legacy, and the legacy of the church to which he was so integral a part of creating, implementing, and enforcing the BI policy.

Much of what Neo wrote resonates with me, for different reasons, but from the same type of attitudes. Neo and I (from what I know of him) are from different generations, geographies, and have disparate views on religion, but a lot of what he wrote rings true to my experiences in the church.

"As a loyal member of the Armstrongite WCG, I believed that Herbert Armstrong, his ministry and his church represented the will of God on earth. If the WCG and its leadership regarded me as persona non grata, then this was a reflection of God's own attitude."

I internalized this attitude as well, for a great many years. For reasons unrelated to race, but still related to church- and doctrine-sanctioned discrimination.

"When I think about this procession of events, now being lost to the past, I am reminded of the dying words of Roy Batty in the movie Bladerunner:

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe… All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."


I'm more shocked at Ron Kelly's response, personally. I would expect his reaction to be more along the lines of Hoeh's, not as conciliatory-seeming as it appeared on the surface.

Don't even get me started on the ORM. Tithe money spent on lip service to "correct" any "problems" from the past, and all they focus on is members of African descent who were discriminated against? Add to that the fact that the ORM is trying to revise history, if the ersatz PCD "memo" from Hoeh is any indication.

If the ORM really wanted to admit to, and "reconcile" all their wrong-doings, they would go through the Table of Nations, tribe by tribe, and make sure the world knew exactly what was done, to those who were not of either "Ephraimite" or "Manassic" stock in the WCG.

Then, once they undertook that effort, they would spend the remainder of their time detailing just exactly how much tithe money they received from government disability income checks anually.

While those dutiful tithes-paying members sat in the corner of the rented hall, where they were rarely, if ever, spoken to by many of the other brethren. When we were younger, the smaller children did not discriminate in such a manner. As we got older, we learned to emulate the adults.

Deaf members had a (partial) community to cling to, in the face of the attitude "You'll be fixed when the Kingdom comes!" but they still had that attitude about themselves. We all did.

Well. Partially. I always, deep in my heart of hearts, thought to myself, "Well, God's going to tell me I'm fine just the way I am! They'll see!" Naturally it was a carrot at the end of a big stick, and I wanted "thy kingdom come" more than anyone knew. If for no other reason than to prove my secret thoughts correct.

Then along comes 1994, and "Kingdom's cancelled folks! Better luck next time!" And the attitudes themselves were just swept under the carpet, along with the rest of our belief system that the CRI didn't like.

I exited in '96, but given the evangelicals' views on disability (if you pray hard enough and are faithful enough you'll be "fixed" and if you're not, it must be your fault), I can't say that attitudes would have changed substantially.

Except for not taking 30% of government assistance income away from those who were on it (thankfully I never was). I hope they don't do that anymore. "Free-will donations" or not, they shouldn't ask anyone on assistance to pony up any part of their income.

Anonymous said...

Hoeh was probably the main ideological architect of WCG racial ideas, amplifying HWA's prejudices. Hoeh's answers to Neotherm show a lot of denial. He could not bring himself to say "this was wrong, and I was wrong, and I will do all I can to correct it in my remaining years of life." Instead, he amazingly tried to argue that the WCG itself never had been racist (!).

Hoeh's language of there being nothing in the doctrine of the church per se that was racist but only "certain attitudes of individuals" was odd...when he knew that AC kept out blacks from the very beginning (with several exceptions for married blacks) until 1971. This is like standing in front of a barn door and saying "I don't see any barn door."

As I reflect, there are racists who practice hate speech and action toward the targeted inferior people, and there are racists who mean to act benignly and compassionately to the targeted inferior people. HWA/WCG would be in this latter category in print and for the most part in practice and in self-image. Persons holding this view do not think of themselves as racist since it is like "every race, like both genders men and women, are different and have roles to play, and it is not a matter of superiority or pride...etc. etc." This is the British imperial colonial self-image of noblesse oblige toward the poor savages who need civilizing, etc.

Neotherm's correspondence with Hoeh was an opportunity--a "teachable moment" as the saying goes--or in theological terms it might be analogized to "Christ knocking on the door of his heart" (via the earthly mechanism of Neotherm's sincere letters). Hoeh answers with guardedness, afraid to put anything into print that could be used against him...he does not have it in him to grasp that moment and acknowledge his role and come out against racism forcefully and publicly and attempt to undo the damage which he had caused. The denial just ran too deep.

By the way, a point of trivia--Hoeh tried since about 1974 for sure to get rid of being called "Dr." Because of the matter that his degree was not from an accredited university. I remember this because I knew his friend Ken Herrmann and Herrmann showed me a letter (c. 1974) in which Hoeh explained why he was asking to be called "Mr." instead of "Dr." Unfortunately, despite his efforts, people--including me, who liked him--could not forgo calling him "Dr." out of habit. So he was stuck with it. But it was despite him, not because he wanted it, at least after 1974.

GregDoudna

Church Corporate Critic said...

Then there was the matter of the male child porn in Herman Hoeh's office -- confirmed by an AC student janitor who was in absolute shock. Research, no doubt.

"Dr." Hoeh knew that Herbert Armstrong was wrong, but stuck with him. It's hard to say why, except, he was able to buy all those wonderful books he bought from third tithe funds and stuff them away in the church owned housing for him to live in. Instead of living there on "faculty row", he had the house filled with books.

"Dr." Hoeh kept Pentecost on Sunday for years and years, knowing full well that Herbert Armstrong was flat out wrong about the day. He didn't want to disturb Herb by bringing it to his attention -- perhaps as the ultimate in the Inward Point of View. He didn't agree with either Armstrong or Tkach, but did lend his support.

That Neotherm didn't get much in the way of response should not be at all surprising. Hooey lived in his own world of abstract fantasies woven from the whole cloth provided by a false prophet end time apostle. Just like many of the famous names of "evangelists" of the past, he was a member of the church corporate cadre fulfilling their executive functions in the rigidly hierarchical autocratic despotic dictatorship: The British imperial colonial self-image of noblesse oblige toward the poor savages who need civilizing, if you please. It is the benign neglect of adamantly arrogant superiority which exists quietly as a part of the core persona of those who wield the power.

Within this environment, only the elite chosen by the royalty at the top have access. Discrimination reigns supreme -- and it's not just racism either: Racism is just a small part of the distinctiveness which drives the privileged. The church was, has been and always be

Us versus Them

for they know in their hearts that they are better than us because they were chosen by God.

Anonymous said...

I was glad to hear that RCM and HH
got together for lunch a few months before HH's death, especially since it seemed the AR story of RCM leaving the WCG left the impression the friendship was destroyed forever.

I also read in AR that HH encouraged his kids to go to institutions other than AC for their college educations.

Anonymous said...

"I can't vouch for him being the author of WCG racism, I doubt it. Being German, he often suffered as much as anyone for British Israelism. Its not easy to be German in the WCG."

Years ago when Dr. Hoeh and I were riding in a car together I asked Dr. Hoeh if his ancestry was really German.

He would not respond with a "yes".

The clear implication of my question was, "...are you really Israelite or Jewish?"

Dr Hoeh then talked around the question, but gave no direct answer. The obvious implication of his response was that a significant part of his ancestry was something other then German.

One must realize that the entire Bible, being politically incorrect as it is, is racist. It is pro-Israel, pro- Judah, and anti-gentile.

That includes the New Testament.

The Bible is the basis of much of the racism in our Western culture... just look at the Religious Right in the South and our good friends the Evangelicals.

They are all STILL desperately racist in their own ways.

To say the the old WCG was racist more then the other fundamentalist Churches in the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970's and through the 1980s is patently untrue.

Neothorm would NOT HAVE BEEN welcome in most any white fundamentalist congregation. He may have had to go to a black or Hispanic church to feel truly welcome.

ALMOST ALL of fundamentalist Christianity was racist at that time.

Much of it is still racist.

Lussenheide said...

A little bit of some historical perspective here.

Although it is easy to see how ridiculous racism is in hindsight, and from a perspective of 2008, it was not always so apparent in society, especially those of the 1950s, 60s, even the 70s.

Racism was entrenched around the country. It simply was "just the way things always were", and society has an entropy when it comes to radical change.

It took until 1959 for the Boston RedSox to add their first black player, Pumpsie Green, and he was the only one for some time. Most colleges were segregated, and if you were black you were suppose to go to a "black college". Nearly all churches and denominations practiced defacto segregation. Interracial marriage and dating were extreme social taboos, even in areas like Southern California where I was raised.

Police forces, Firefighters, teachers etc. only served in "their own communities" well into the 1970s.

So this was the way it was in "the world". The WCG was always socially behind the times in terms of styles, music, clothing, haircuts etc by about 20 years, so no surprise that the WCG reflected typical behavior of the era.

It is silly in hindsight, on how stereotyped everyone was in the WCG. It wasnt just blacks. If you were French, (supposed Reuben) it meant that you were predisposed to "sex sins", or if a German, then you were "militaristic or warlike" etc. ad nauseum. Even Canadians were frown down upon!

As redneck and right wing as it all looks for the old WCG, the church was ahead of its time with "leftist" or progressive agendas that it seldom gets credit for. Things like advocating breast feeding (which was virtually unknown in the 50s/60s), eating whole foods, fruits and vegetables, advocating against smoking, natural childbirth, and caring for the environment.

Concerning Herman Hoeh, I know that he took care of little people, the infirmed, elderly etc. I knew of him literally bathing elderly men who needed help. And did so often, and long, and without publicity. Tkach Sr. also did much in this area too.

Not everything in life is "open and shut" and nearly all of us, self included, are a mix of Heaven and Hell.

The one thing about Hoeh that I liked was how his voice style was similar to Rod Serling of the Twilight Zone. He tended to over pronounce every word, similar to Serling's style. At times I would just close my eyes and pretend that I was listening to a Twilight Zone episode instead of a sermon, and it would make more sense that way.

Listen for yourself (copy link and paste into browser and press enter)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=NzlG28B-R8Y

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Jim Butler said...

So it does not go unsaid, on this blog, Neotherm clearly states in his first letter to Hoeh, he does not consider UCG members, or any in the splinter churches of God brothers in Christ.

It is also true that most (all?) in the churches of God, with a history in WCG, do not consider Protestants and Catholics brothers in Christ either. But at least the CofG'ers believe these Protestants and Catholics, and all other religions, and non-religious people, will have their chance at salvation at a future date.

Protestants and Catholics believe CofG'ers, and any other religious or non-religious people will be lost unless they repent before they die.

Concerning the racism in WCG. Most people have different definitions of what racism is. (pardon the preposition at the end of the sentence, but I consider the rule to be quite unnecessary)

If we could agree on a definition for racism, which we could not, we could possibly have an intelligent discussion on whether "WCG" was guilty of it. Obviously, some in WCG were racists, as is true of some people in any church. Some people believe if you think there are races, then you're a racist

Hard to be a German in WCG? Many "high-ups" (including Hoeh) in WCG were of German descent.

Dennis is right, Hoeh was an enigma, he was not apt to teach. Seemed to be a very nice man from what I have heard and observed. He was more understandable one on one but when speaking to a group, "huh?" was the honest response.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Generally, Jim, best protocol is to let the victims of racism define the crime. How could the rest of us even pretend to begin to know?

BTW, I believe in universal salvation, and believe that the ACOG members will be enlightened in the future, as will all of us.

One observation I have made is that often we tend to go to those who seem most accessable in our attempts to understand our spiritual rape. The really guilty ones don't normally place themselves in the uncomfortable position of confrontation. Dr. Hoeh did a balancing act that most people would not even find perceivable. He supported and aggrandized his boss, while privately practicing his own beliefs and meekly doing good deeds, and apparently never ran afoul of the power structure during either WCG era. Due to some of his personality traits, I would probably have considered him approachable, as Neotherm did, to attempt to get some sort of resolution to the Armstrong problem.

However, from a standpoint of confrontation, you'd almost want to get some ear time with the worst offenders involving the various issues. We all know who these were with the racism, but unfortunately at least one is dead, and others still consider themselves above it all, because they are still active in the Armstrong personality cult.

Byker Bob (didn't feel like signing in)

Anonymous said...

Bill says:

"Things like advocating breast feeding (which was virtually unknown in the 50s/60s), eating whole foods, fruits and vegetables, advocating against smoking, natural childbirth, and caring for the environment."

Caring for the environment? I don't ever remember that coming up very often as a theme in my congregation.

As for whole foods, if I ever again eat another piece of dehydrated anything I shall be violently ill.

With regards also to natural childbirth, this was advocated in the 70s (and in the 80s, amongst the "truly converted", although the practice had fallen out of favour by then in Canada) to mean birth at home, nominally with a midwife, but more often than not, without.

You seem to want to put as much of a good face on the church as it was, as did Hoeh or Kelly or any of the others, Bill. That's not a criticism, by the way, that is just how I am reading your comments and responses.

You are still a member of a CoG organization (albeit an independent one). Do you think this colours your opinion of "the way things were"? You seem to be taking the very same tack Hoeh did in his minimalist responses to Neo, that it was a societal problem, and had nothing to do with the church itself.

This is clearly disproven by Neo's letters, and by the anecdotal evidence offered by others here.

This may be an uncomfortable question to ask, and I apologize if it offends you, but I am genuinely curious: Do you personally still believe in some form of Anglo-Israelism or British-Israel theory?

Anonymous said...

"Do you think this colours your opinion of "the way things were"?"

I don't think it is The Church and HWA itself that elicts a little defense from Bill; it's that Bill still believes that the theology of Armstrongism (though only the core really, adherence to The Law)is the "true" theology found in the Bible, the theology that God intends "his people" to follow. Since this theology came from HWA and The Church, even people like Bill still feel the need to "give props" from time to time.

Paul

Anonymous said...

"...he does not consider UCG members, or any in the splinter churches of God brothers in Christ."


Well, given Galatians, why shouldn't he? Wasn't it clear? Embrace The Law = Rejecting Christ?

Paul

Church Corporate Critic said...

What we are seeing with Herman Hoeh is someone struggling to make sense and balance their beliefs with their practices [while both run counter to the culture] in a dysfunctional environment. He had certain constraints to comply with what he knew to be idiotic to keep his standing.

In a dysfunctional environment, it's like entropy: you can't win, you can't break even and you can't get out of the game. It is impossible to be competent in a dysfunctional environment.

The only way that Herman Hoeh could have come out with sanity intact would to have left early on when he realized he was dealing with distorted perception dressed in the trappings of reality without having any.

Unfortunately, by staying, he had to compartmentalize and rationalize obvious cognitive dissonance, leading to severely extreme personality integration stressors, making him progressively irrationally incoherent double-minded, thus creating the "huh?!" factor.

Neotherm said...

A couple of observations:

It is true that racism has been a facet of human society forever. When I first begin attending the WCG in the late Sixties, American society was actively undergoing revision of its racists views. So the trend was positive. At the same time, the WCG was actively cementing a racist belief system in place. That system still survives in the various WCG derivative organizations.

I actively tried to provoke Hoeh to give me a significant response. He was just not saying much. And what he did say was so different from what I knew, it was as if he and I were had been in different churches. I explained the impact of the racist policies on me personally. Some of this material was edited out of these letters. Hoeh never demonstrated any sympathy for what I had experienced. The fact that he corresponded with me at all may be construed as some degree of sympathy, I suppose.

Hoeh never extended an apology like Ron Kelly did. It is odd to spill your guts to someone and have them disregard it.

I also tried to raise controversial issues that begged for explanation or defense, but he did not seem interested. At the close of Letter Four, I asked if he had anything to add. I never heard anything more from him.

I do not know how the XCoGs process the information that Hoeh would not affirm that Armstrongite racism has a theological foundation. Surely most of them believe that it does.

This systematic and theologically based racism is one of the more repugnant rotting skeletons in the Armstrongite closet. All those smiling faces we see on XCoG websites conceal a belief in genocide. My guess is that there is a contingent of Armstrongites that would regard it great sport to pull a rifle out of the closet and shoot American Indians or Maoris or Aborigines. But I believe most would never burn a teepee. They might, however, toast a symbolic marshmallow in the flames.

-- Neo

Lussenheide said...

Purple Hymnal asks of me...You seem to want to put as much of a good face on the church as it was, as did Hoeh or Kelly or any of the others, Bill. That's not a criticism, by the way, that is just how I am reading your comments and responses.

You are still a member of a CoG organization (albeit an independent one). Do you think this colours your opinion of "the way things were"? You seem to be taking the very same tack Hoeh did in his minimalist responses to Neo, that it was a societal problem, and had nothing to do with the church itself.

MY COMMENT: Some folks want to paint everything in very simplistic terms. There was an awful lot of CRAP in the WCG. I suffered personally in profound ways that likely far exceed many who post here. Perhaps someday I will talk about it. Yet to say that EVERYTHING about the WCG was worthless, lacks insight and maturity. Even Nazi Germany had a very few redeeming qualities. (NOTE not an edorsement of the hideous barbaric reign of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Please try to understand the context)

For some of you, it is necessary to reject ALL of it, hook line and sinker in order to cope with it (WCG) psycologically. I understand. However, reality again is more complex than that. There were some redeemable people, ministers, events, teachings etc. in WCG. In regards to my "Independent COG", it would be unrecognizable to most in the COG world. Its style, services, music, dress, attitude, community service and tenor are far removed from the Armstrongist COGs.

Purple, I dont know how old you are, but I remember the Confederate South quite well from the 60s and 70s. Say what you will, but the WCG was more progressive than the "worldly" Confederate South in racial issues during the 50s and 60s . I stated in my post that the WCG tended to be about 20 years behind the worlds progressive waves in racism. This indeed was the case in the WCG taking until the 1990s to really fully move forward in this area.

POSTER PAUL POSTULATES:I don't think it is The Church and HWA itself that elicts a little defense from Bill; it's that Bill still believes that the theology of Armstrongism (though only the core really, adherence to The Law)is the "true" theology found in the Bible, the theology that God intends "his people" to follow. Since this theology came from HWA and The Church, even people like Bill still feel the need to "give props" from time to time.

MY COMMENT: I do indeed believe that the New Testament encourages us to live by the commandments of God. I take this to mean the 10 commandments. I believe that the other laws given to Israel, although insightful into the mind of God, and worthy of counsel, are limited in application and the letter to a unique people, Israel, at a unique space of time.

The 10 commandments do NOT produce salvation. In my life I have broken all 10, either in the spirit or literally, and probably do so every day. Most Christians, Protestant, Catholic et. al. will not argue against the spirit of the 10 commandments as a standard of good and wise human behavior. This is why there are movements to keep 10 Commandment sculptures in court houses etc. Sorry, Paul, but I am no legalist. Paul, I find your comments to be a regular drumbeat of "ALL RELIGION IS STUPID", "WCG - ALL BAD", and "THERE IS NO GOD". (Following said in kindness and in goodwill)...There are times that I wonder if you are trying to really convince yourself of these things rather than having intellectual commmerce about these issues. A sort of mantra, a repeating of such so as to feel secure in them. Fair enough, but again, these types of issues are more complex that just making 25 word statements. I appreciate the fact that there are indeed many valid shades of gray on most issues in life. By the way, it has taken me a long time (decades)to get to the point of accepting differences of opinion and belief of people and still being able to validate them, enjoy them and love them.

Purple and Paul. Thanks for being here. I read everything you write. If we are reading each other wrong, realize the limitations of this medium and forum in communicating.

Your Friend,
Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Lussenheide said...

PS: TO ALL

I do not believe in the US/BC doctrine in any way, shape or form.

Sincerely,
Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

dr j tkach - wallet surgeon said...

Bamboo Bends said:

"He repudiated his own compendium"

But not his own $$$,$$$compensation LOL !

Anonymous said...

Bill,

"There were some redeemable people, ministers, events, teachings etc. in WCG."

People? Perhaps. Ministers? Not likely, at least not the ones still holding to Armstrongism, nor the ones who have since been "called to be free" (to fleece the sheep in a protestant manner). Events? Hmmm, you never ate the macaroni salad at the double Sabbath potlucks did ya Bill? ;-) Although I must say, some of the Feast sites were good ones to get. The FoT was a good event as well, regardless of the indoctrination we had to undergo while we wre attending it.

"Redeemable...teachings." Now, this, this is where we part company. What part of any of the Armstrongist teachings do you see as redeemable Bill? Please note again that I am not trying to argue, I sincerely want to know what it is you feel is redeemable from the teachings of HWA, that can be applied, in the here and now, to today's world and society at large?

"In regards to my "Independent COG", it would be unrecognizable to most in the COG world. Its style, services, music, dress, attitude, community service and tenor are far removed from the Armstrongist COGs."

Yeah, I kind of got that, from some of your more humourous responses here. :-)

"I stated in my post that the WCG tended to be about 20 years behind the worlds progressive waves in racism. This indeed was the case in the WCG taking until the 1990s to really fully move forward in this area."

And it took them until the 2000s to (quasi)-acknowledge that they'd even had a problem, if the lip service of the ORM is any indication. (Am I the only one who finds their website misleading, disturbing, and extremely whitewashing?)

" I do indeed believe that the New Testament encourages us to live by the commandments of God. I take this to mean the 10 commandments."

Well, according to the Skeptics Annotated Bible, the ten commandments were whittled down by half, with an extra one thrown in free of charge, by the time the new testament parables rolled up on shore. But I'm not real big on biblical inerrancy myself.

"By the way, it has taken me a long time (decades)to get to the point of accepting differences of opinion and belief of people and still being able to validate them, enjoy them and love them."

Decades? I've only recently started working on that one myself (and it may be a fruitless exercise), given that I lean towards panentheism, and am trying to figure out how to apply it to my life. Such as it is.

I've made some progress. I have come to accept that rejecting religion does not unequivocally mean rejected religious believers out of hand. That's easier said than done, though I am working on it. Thus, my questions to you, which I am glad you took in the spirit in which they were intended.

"I do not believe in the US/BC doctrine in any way, shape or form."

They/you said "independent CoG". I had to ask. Although that makes me wonder just how different your CoG must be, given that it's missing one of the "cornerstones" of the doctrine. :-)

Lussenheide said...

Neotherm and all:

I read all of your correspondence with Hoeh, and thought about and pondered it for awhile.

I will throw out a hypothesis for discussion. Hoeh's most destructive influence, for both racism and many other orders of problems do not find primary genesis with his Compendium, but rather his introduction into the church the concept of "Hierarchy". (Kudos to RCM for aiding this concept along too)

The ideas of Church government, and a set of various classes in the church by "rank" originated with Hoeh. The concept was not one of different tasks in "the body" that were equal in importance in a holistic way, but rather that there were superior and more important "parts of the body" that held dominion over others.

This idea of "rank" and hierarchy was found literally in every single aspect of the human endeavor and condition in the church. The COG was/is obsessed in placing you in your determined "place" in the church.

Examples In Order of WCG Social Placement-

Hierarchy of the races
US/BC, Other Whites, Latinos, Asians, Blacks

Hierarchy in the Ministry- Apostle, Evangelist, Pastor, Associate Pastor, Preaching Elder, Elder, Deacon, Speaker, Spokesman Club President etc.

Hierarchy by Sex- Male, Female

Hierarchy by Age- Older, Younger

Hierarchy by Profession- White Collar, Blue Collar

Hierarchy by Marital Status- Married, Widow, Single, Divorced Man, Divorced Woman, Divorced Man with Kids, Divorced Woman with kids, Man with kids out of wedlock, Woman with kids born out of wedlock.

Hierarchy by Wealth - Rich, Poor

Hierarchy by Education- AC Grad Pasadena, AC Grad Bricket Wood, AC Grad Big Sandy, Attendee Non Graduate of AC, Worldly college grad, HS Grad,

Hierarchy by the Country you live, US, England, Canada, Aus/NZ, Europe, India, Asia, Africa

Hierarchy by how well you dressed.

Is the practice of racism and all of the other forms of hierarchy abuse mentioned above very far behind when ministers had special seating at the FOT or church? Special Parking spots at the FOT, Special Feast Bumper Stickers, Special newsletters and internal communiques, and special dispensations for financially "living it up", medical treatments or divorces??

You can trace 99 & 44/100ths percent of church abuse and problems in the COGs both past and present to the idea of hierarchy and rank. Hoeh was the innovator and braintrust to this movement of "Hierarchial Church Government". Compare Armstrongism in its later years to HWAs own manifesto written about this very topic in the Good News in 1939. A radical departure indeed.

The word minister means "servant". Never was there such a screwed up system as when the "servants" called the shots and dominated the "customers" (the laity) in every single aspect of our lives as in the Hoeh inspired structure of the WCG.

I do not demonize the totality of Herman Hoeh, and as I stated above, there is good to be stated about the man. However, the Pandoras Box of hierarchy was a gateway to hell.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Lussenheide said...

PURPLE HYMNAL WRITES: They/you said "independent CoG". I had to ask. Although that makes me wonder just how different your CoG must be, given that it's missing one of the "cornerstones" of the doctrine. :-)

MY COMMENT: It is here where you forget a historical fact. The "Mother Church" is the Church of God Seventh Day. All COGs can trace there history to this "original" church. Never has the COG 7th Day embraced the concept of the US/BC doctrine. In fact this was one of the main issues in HWA leaving this org.

So the "original" church may opine, "can any be of the true heritage and lineage of the true Church of God who DO embrace the doctrine of US/BC" ?? :-)

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Lussenheide said...

PURPLE HYMNAL INQUIRES: "Redeemable...teachings." Now, this, this is where we part company. What part of any of the Armstrongist teachings do you see as redeemable Bill? Please note again that I am not trying to argue, I sincerely want to know what it is you feel is redeemable from the teachings of HWA, that can be applied, in the here and now, to today's world and society at large?

MY RESPONSE: The following are "Armstrongist Teachings" that I have found as intrinsic and part of my philosphical DNA. Nearly all of my peculiar doctrinal beliefs are not unique to HWA and are found or orginated in the COG 7th day pre-HWA. Im sure many of you here will agree with at least some of these from the HWA era...

1) The Seven Laws of Success

2) Do things with quality and with all of your might.

3) The "Give Way of Life" as opposed to the "Get Way of Life"

4) Personal development through the vehicle of the "Spokesman Clubs"

5) The Two Trees. Whether or not the Biblical story is literal or an analogy, the concept that God is the arbiter of "right and wrong" and not human judgement. Man fancies himself to be God, having the ability to judge by his own standards and in creating his own systems of laws and government. Man also believes that he has the right to recieve worship, (ego stroking) and that he can handle it without it corrupting him. This is seldom true. Only God himself reserves the rights of what is ultimate "right or wrong", receiving worship, and executing judgement. Unfortunately, HWA and the WCG failed to listen to its own proclamation of this very truth.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Anonymous said...

"This systematic and theologically based racism is one of the more repugnant rotting skeletons in the Armstrongite closet."

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2007/12/

So Neotherm...
Are you an Evangelical?
Do you embrace Hagee?
Huckabee does.
McCain does.
Millions of Evangelicals do?
Is this kind of prejudice OK?

These aren't even skeletons yet, this is ongoing...

"Hagee is better known for his staunch support of Israel and his reading of Middle East events as unfolding Biblical prophecy. But the New York-based Catholic League, which is America's largest Catholic civil rights group, says the hefty pastor is also viciously anti-Catholic.

"He's one of the biggest anti-Catholic bigots in the U.S. and he commands a huge audience. Hagee has reached out to the Jewish community quite well but he does o almost always by bashing the Catholic Church," the League's president Bill Donohue told Reuters."

Tom Mahon said...

gregdoudna said:

>>>Hoeh was probably the main ideological architect of WCG racial ideas, amplifying HWA's prejudices.<<<

"Probably?" Your "probably" means that you don't really know whether he was the architect or not. To slander Dr. Hoeh in this way is very disgraceful.

In my experience, all white people in WCG, including the ministry, were and are racist. Their racism may have been reinforced by the publication of HWA's book, The US & BC in Prophecy, but the book was not its cause.

WCG members were and are a product of the racist society from which they come. In the 40s, 50s and 60s, it was acceptable to discriminate against black people. In the US, black people were refused service at some restaurants, and denied the right to buy a home in some areas of the country. Not to mention how they were treated by lynch mobs and courts of law, but not courts of justice!

In the UK, landlords used to advertised rooms to let, with the following proviso, "No Irish, blacks or dogs allowed." One wonders how dogs felt being bracketed with humans?

Also, what about our own prejudices? Was Dr. Hoeh also the architect of our racist attitudes and behaviour? Will anyone here be willing to live next door to a black person? What would be your reaction if your son or daughter announced that s/he was planning to marry a black person?

We have to be very careful of accusing other people of the sins that we are guilty of, otherwise, we might be accused of being hypocrites.

>>>Hoeh's answers to Neotherm show a lot of denial.<<<

One wonders what your answers will show, if you have any?

Anonymous said...

'...However, the Pandoras Box of hierarchy was a gateway to hell...

Have a look at the article CGOM in Perspective, and related articles at www.cgom.org

Gavin said...

Well, Tom, Greg has an advantage over some of us here in having personally met with Herman Hoeh several times. I'd say that gives his comments a bit more credibility than those of us who didn't have that privilege. There's no slander in fronting up to a generational racism that, thank God, now seems to be fading.

The point for me is that BI is inherently racist and exclusionary. Either God is no respecter of persons - or God isn't. Does that create problems with how we read the Bible? I guess so, but Job and Abraham both argued with Yahweh, so its an honorable precedent.

Hoeh may not have been a racist, but his theology lent itself to racist interpretation, reinforcing stereotypes and treating individuals shamefully.

It's a cheap shot to accuse someone of hypocrisy - without the slightest cause - in order to dust off Hoeh's reputation.

Anonymous said...

Hoeh, as a German "Assyrian", was not even himself "Israelite" in the WCG scheme of things. AC was for "Israelites only" in its founding papers written by HWA, yet non-Israelite Hoeh was one of the four original students. Obviously "Israelites only" did not exclude non-Israelites if they were white. In this way Germans, Italians, Greeks and other "non-Israelites" could be at AC and intermarry ... but not other non-Israelites. It was completely arbitrary with no sense to it.

I bet Hoeh in his more honest personal moments just wished the whole Compendium and some of the things in it would just disappear. Is this true repentance? Or rather embarrassment at how politically incorrect they had become? And did he retract the Compendium as someone here said? He withdrew it from circulation among lay church members (and from the public), yes, but it still continued in use in AC classes, like some esoteric inner level secret text that only the privileged could read. Hoeh would say there were mistakes in the Compendium but never was very forthcoming on specifics. And so there are COG loyalists today who idolize Hoeh, his Compendium, and the racism in the various national identities and characteristics therein. The legacy lives on.

Neotherm's correspondence with Hoeh was almost painful for me to read as I formatted it--Neotherm's sincerity and eloquence, his directness, his baring of his soul ... and Hoeh's non-reactions and displacement and avoidance.

I realized when reading Neotherm's article that the craziness on race issues went deeper and was more variegated in the nooks and crannies of the WCG than I realized. The first and formative pastor of WCG for me when I started attending in Akron, Ohio at age 13, David Antion, would not have said or thought some of the things Neotherm reports he heard ministers say in sermons, such as that interracial marriage couples would be better off not having children. But then Antion was one of the better ones in terms of being more human. He also had his own experience with WCG racism, being Lebanese-American and suffering the indignity, I heard, of an attempt to try [unsuccessfully] to stop him from marrying his wife on the grounds that he was non-Israelite.

The "pure race" views of early 20th century Germany that Hoeh adhered to throughout most (all?) of his adult life--even while rejecting the Nazi extreme manifestations of these ideas overtly--could have been changed if Hoeh had only read thoughtfully some basic current anthropology on race such as Ashley Montagu's "Man's Most Dangerous Myth". Hoeh was a reader, yet he just never seemed to grow out of some of these scientifically baseless ideas of race. Very strange.

Hoeh writes to Neotherm, after Neotherm tells Hoeh of the hurt he had experienced from WCG ministers and members' racism: "But the most important issue in your case is confidence in Christ to give you wisdom in responding to the outside world..."

I thought: what presumption, when Neotherm's issue under discussion was not the outside world but his experience from fellow believers and ministers of his church in an area in which Hoeh was practically chief architect. It reminds me of Muhammed Ali, the heavyweight champion, explaining why he refused to serve in the military to fight in Vietnam. He said, no Vietnamese had treated him badly because he was black, etc. he didn't have any beef with Vietnamese. All mistreatment he had ever received in his life came from right here in America.

I think of a story I read of the late former Alabama governor George Wallace, who had done so much damage to blacks by his racist presidential campaigns in 1968 and 1972 ... going into black churches around 1990 and saying how deeply sorry he was and asking blacks' forgiveness. In Wallace's case from all I can learn it seems this was for real. Hoeh could have done this or its equivalent to not only Neotherm, but all affected by the race views of WCG. But he was not big enough to do so. Neotherm gave him the opportunity, on a platter as it were, to do so, and he turned away, even as he patronizingly recommended that Neotherm learn how to forgive (society?), when he never personally said he (Hoeh) was sorry for his (Hoeh's) own role in it. Ronald Kelly's words at the end were at least responsive by contrast.

GregDoudna

Anonymous said...

Tom Mahan, the basis for characterizing Hoeh as probably the chief architect of WCG racism next to HWA is his publications in the WCG on race issues. It is true that the toxic combination of Herbert Armstrong's personal anti-black prejudices combined with British-Israelism laid down the template. Hoeh (whom I knew in the 1970s), like some of the other evangelists, arrived as young men and were formed under the mentoring of HWA. Hoeh had an active, creative mind which he put to use in developing and elaborating further the ideas of his mentor (HWA).

The single most formative article in the history of WCG racism was an article authored by Hoeh in the April 1957 Plain Truth magazine titled the plain truth about the race crisis. In this article Hoeh wrote (p. 23):
"The Negroes, especially, have inherited the consequences of slavery. They have been lorded over, discriminated against and made to feel inferior. They actually have been inferior due to degeneracy of their race for nearly four thousand years prior to being brought to the United States. Slavery would never have happened to the Negro if they had not allowed themselves to stagnate and to become inferior ..."

These insulting words of 1957 were never formally retracted or corrected, whether by HWA or Hoeh or anyone else, for the rest of HWA's life. Their effects just percolated in the byways of WCG culture and played out in the incidental but personally devastating ways recounted by "Neotherm". In 1963 Herbert Armstrong wrote lead articles in the Plain Truth magazine attacking the civil rights movement and defending segregation as biblical and godly. In these articles Herbert Armstrong recommended to Plain Truth readers the 1957 article of Hoeh on race issues for fuller explanation of the biblical-exegetical basis for race segregation (HWA in Oct 63 PT, p. 31).

In addition to writing the leading Plain Truth article--circulated widely among the WCG membership in reprint form, as well as recommended many years later by HWA--Hoeh also had racist sentiments and language in the Compendium which was of seminal influence on two decades of WCG ministers in training, as well as read avidly by many members. In short Hoeh's ideological influence on this subject in WCG was enormous.

This is the background to why I, echoing Neotherm, characterized Hoeh as probably the chief architect of WCG racism, although HWA being at the top was the most responsible.

These ideas were the ideological framework--presented as biblical, believed as godly--at the same time as the self-conception of HWA and all WCG evangelists was that they "loved blacks" personally, and no doubt were sincere in thinking of themselves in this way.

I hope this may clarify somewhat your question to me on this matter.

GregDoudna

Tired Skeptic said...

We have to be very careful of accusing other people of the sins that we are guilty of, otherwise, we might be accused of being hypocrites.

And yet, how many times has Tom done that very thing here?

BC said...

"The Israelites, especially, have inherited the consequences of slavery. They have been lorded over, discriminated against and made to feel inferior. They actually have been inferior due to degeneracy of their race for nearly four thousand years prior to being brought to Egypt. Slavery would never have happened to the Israelites if they had not allowed themselves to stagnate and to become inferior ..."

Tired Skeptic said...

Bill McDowell told his congregations in the Sixties that Indians [native Americans] were a degenerate race and that Manasseh [the white bread lost Israelites] had a duty to kill them all off under Scripture -- such a great excuse for genocide.

And then there was that ugly incident in the 1970s where a black man in the WCG was told he could not marry a white woman in the congregation and then went and
promptly shot her to death
.

Church Corporate Critic said...

It may be useful to again visit the characteristics of a narcissist.

Here's one right off the top:

Narcissists have their own distorted perceptions about facts:

If you disagree with them, they will claim you are lying, making stuff up or are crazy. Expect to hear: "Wrong!".

Tired Skeptic said...

Bill, I take great exception to your list, particularly "The Seven Laws of Success". Herbert Armstrong's particular limited subset is highly dependent upon the manic phase of his bipolar disease and his lack of inheriting high foresight.

Explicitly missing from "Success" is the word Planning and it is obviously absent because he never did any. Trained project managers would concur.

As for the rest of the list, well....

The thing you did not mention is the idea of universal salvation through the Second Resurrection, with greatly improved chances for those who are white, particularly Israelite, submissive to authority to be among the slave classes and willing to accept their place on the bottom of the heap under narcissists. One wonders who Herbert Armstrong stole the idea from, because with this one and this one alone G. G. Rupert had not a clue. Not that he needed one because there are a lot of questions about the validity of it all, but it certainly is nice eschatology, if only an after thought for a sermonette on the Last Great Day after a Feast of Tabernacles.

Of course, the whole thing is irrelevant because of what takes place after the Great White Throne Judgment: No more races and no more death.

Oh, well.

Prove it.

Tired Skeptic said...

Doesn't this topic remind anyone of Schindler's List where the Commandant is told that Jews are not human but nothing more than cunning animals who seduce.

Sort of like my opinion of narcissists.

ripley said...

I was never fascinated by Herman Hoeh, and didn't really understand why others were. I met him in college and had several conversations with him over the years.

Was he intelligent? He seemed to be well-read, to be sure. His words were measured. Whether in sermons or in person, I frequently found it difficult to figure out exactly what he was trying to say, and therefore gave up trying.

His wife and children seemed to love and respect him, which is certainly one measure of success in life.

Was he a nice person? By all accounts, it seemed that way. He was certainly polite in my encounters with him.

Contrast that with the bizarre things published under his name over the years (some of which are pointed out in this thread), or the long-discussed photography fetish, and the word enigma comes to mind.

It is interesting that he became such a legendary figure in the Armstrong movement. It's not like he sought such attention. His eccentricities were certainly on a par with his accomplishments. At times he seemed devoted to Armstrongism, and at other times quite the opposite.

Maybe that's the cause of all the fascination, but it just didn't do it for me. Still doesn't.

Tom Mahon said...

Gregdounda said:

>>>Tom Mahan, the basis for characterizing Hoeh as probably the chief architect of WCG racism next to HWA is his publications in the WCG on race issues.<<<

This is still conjecture and not proof that he was the architect. However, I admitted in my original post that, "In my experience, all white people in WCG, including the ministry, were and are racist." My "all," includes Dr.Hoeh and HWA.

GD>>>It is true that the toxic combination of Herbert Armstrong's personal anti-black prejudices combined with British-Israelism laid down the template.<<<

It may have reinforced and confirmed prejudices that members already had before coming to WCG, but it certainly wasn't the cause of their racist prejudices.

I believe that you are conveniently ignoring the racism that was practised in the wider society, and its impact on WCG's members attitudes and behaviour. Which no doubt was reinforced by the church's teaching, that white people are superior to black people.

Dr.Hoeh>>>"The Negroes, especially, have inherited the consequences of slavery. They have been lorded over, discriminated against and made to feel inferior. They actually have been inferior due to degeneracy of their race for nearly four thousand years prior to being brought to the United States. Slavery would never have happened to the Negro if they had not allowed themselves to stagnate and to become inferior ..."<<<

It would take me too long to analyse this extract and comment in detail on the points made by Dr.Hoeh.

However, whether this was a racist comment or a poor attempt to comment on an observable fact, that the African people, in particular, have failed to develop a written language and a basic infrastructure for their respective countries, I don't know. Now the important question is, was this failure to develop due to the inferiority of African people, or was it the consequence of God's judgement?

I believe it was HWA's failure to understand whether the African was innately inferior, or whether his obvious, intellectual inferiority was the judgement of God, that led him to interpret an observable fact as innate inferiority. The bible teaches that it is the consequence of God's judgement!

HWA's conclusion that they are innately inferior confirmed, reinforced and perpetuated the racism that was already in the hearts of most white WCG's members.

The failure to understand what the bible teaches on this subject has led some white people to feel superior to the black people, and to treat them with disdain.

Tom Mahon said...

Gavin said...

>>>Well, Tom, Greg has an advantage over some of us here in having personally met with Herman Hoeh several times. I'd say that gives his comments a bit more credibility than those of us who didn't have that privilege.<<<

Meeting Dr.Hoeh might give his comments some credibility, but that depends on Greg's ability to be objective and impartial in his observations.

>>>The point for me is that BI is inherently racist and exclusionary.<<<

That is not my reading of it, so we may have to agree to disagree.

>>>Either God is no respecter of persons - or God isn't.<<<

In judgement, God is no respecter of persons. But in distributing his blessings, he said: "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.." Accordingly, he said: "Isaac have I loved, but Esau have I hated." And this was said before they were born.

Herein lies the inscrutability of the just judgements of God.

Byker Bob said...

Where is is written that churches are supposed to mirror or reflect what is going on in society at large? I've heard that statement used to explain art, but churches, by definition, are supposed to teach God's way. Rising above.

WCG/HWA do not get a pass because they were mirroring society. They taught racism and segregation as being God's way of ordering society, and twisted the scriptures which they quoted to support this.

If the ministry was concerned with what the surrounding community would have thought and done if blacks and whites were not separated within their church groups, then their focus was distorted. A couple of states to the east, a minister by the name of King was confronting the wrongs, using civil disobedience, in an attempt to force change. What ever happened to the concept of "we ought to obey God rather than man". Apparently, that was reserved for "important" matters, such as small pox and polio vaccinations, and working on the sabbath, as opposed to Christian treatment of fellow man.

WCG's approach to the race issue seems to have been, "We love gentile people, even though the Bible teaches that they are inferior, should have been exterminated, and most certainly should never be mixing with Israelites".

BB

Neotherm said...

In response to Tom Mahon:

The problem is this: We have a church that claims to be the one and only true church, led by the Holy Spirit, and making the Gospel available for the first time in 18 and a half centuries.

One would expect much with this profoundly impressive claimed pedigree. Instead, we have a church that simply reflects the racist values of the surrounding society, as you and Hoeh assert.

But there is a large difference even here. Society is beginning to grapple with the issue of racism with an objective of making improvements. But "God's Church" is in the process of institutionalizing racism and carefully founding it on a peculiar Biblical "exegesis". This done in the name of a God who says that all men are created in his image.

I believe that reasonable minds in the Christian community would agree that this church did not reflect the influence of the Holy Spirit. And the various offshoots of this church still do not reflect the influence of the Holy Spirit.

To articulate this in a different way, so there is no mistaken understanding, there is a vast difference between regarding racism as a defect, as many Christian churches have come to do, and aggressively pursuing it as a desirable, God-revealed policy.

Some Southern Armstrongites have sought a unique way to justify their doctrine of racism. There is a natural tendency for people to want to derogate the object of their hatred. Nazis quickly learned that it was not easy for the average German solider to kill Jews without compunction. So they set about to make Jews appear to be subhuman. This made them much easier to kill. Nazi soldiers could sleep at night. (Just as Hoeh found blacks to be degenerate, the Nazi propagandists found incontrovertible and pervasive degeneracy among the Jews, including their many genetically based illnesses.)

So the Southern Armstrongites developed a unique solution for why Blacks can be mistreated. They denied that Blacks were created in the image of God. A Southern adherent of RCM told me that Blacks were in fact descended from pre-Adamic men.

It is distasteful that these sociopathic men who haunted the upper ranks of the Armstrongite hierarchy would attribute their own flawed and hateful thinking to God. It is even more distasteful, to me personally, that at one time I believed they were right.

-- Neo

Lussenheide said...

All:

The mindset of the WCG was so small, that AC students were not even allowed to date or marry NON-AC students!

Even today, nearly all of the ORG churches today will not allow for "InterSabbatarian" dating for sects outside of their own.

Out of such closed and narrow universes, (which regulate "us and them" to such a granulized basis), you are not going to find much progressiveness in racial areas to be sure.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Neotherm said...

It has occured to me that Hoeh was not defending himself but the current Worldwide Church of God. If somehow someone decided to sue for past Armstrongite racism, it is logical that they would sue the WCG. WCG inherited all the assets of the pre-1995 WCG.

Another seminal document written by Herman Hoeh on this topic was entitled "The Races of Mankind" or something similar. It was about six pages in length and was sent out by WCG's Letter Answering Department in the Sixties. I just did a scan of the web and did not find it, although I did find the Compendium.

For those of you who were not of a mixed racial background you missed out on an interesting experience.
I was evaluated on two separate occasions by the ministry with regard to what race I might marry into.

One of the Hispanic guys in my old congregation wanted to marry a White girl and he was required to furnish a genealogy that went back several hundred years. I believe they were lookin for admixture with Native Americans. This happened in the Tkachian era.

Oddly, when I married my wife, who is Anglo, down in Big Sandy, nobody brought the issue up. My mother, obviously Native American in appearance, however, was at the wedding and was pointedly ignored by the WCG minister who performed the ceremony. The minister spoke volubly with my White in-laws but did not even say hello to my Mom.

I suppose, in some bizarre way, Armstrongites would construe his unfriendly actions as the product of the Holy Spirit.

-- Neo

Lussenheide said...

Neo and all:

I thought that the response from Hoeh was very press release oriented and measured, and in an era of litigation, reparations, and discrimination lawsuits, suing of Churches, this is not unusual.

Hoeh was on the Board of Directors for WCG, as I understand it, even under Tkach.

He therefore could probably not be candid in his responses to you, and still be loyal to his fiduciary and legal responsibility as an office of the corporation, with the potential of legal redress.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Anonymous said...

Hi Neotherm

"I believe that reasonable minds in the Christian community would agree that this church did not reflect the influence of the Holy Spirit"

o So Catholics do have the Holy Spirit?

o And Hagee's Evangelicals also have the Holy Spirit?

o And certainly main line Protestants have the Holy Spirit?

o And Buddhists of course have the Holy Spirit?

o And how about Taoists?

At least Herman Hoeh moved past the racism of the early years of the WCG. That is the record of his life.

Many of you folks still hold to bigotry in spades as you bash those you do not agree with.

Neotherm said...

To Anonymous:

To begin with, I am not an evangelical Christian and I genuinely dislike Hagee's message. One of the reasons we are involved in the nonsensical war in Iraq is because of he influence of people like Hagee on G.W. Bush.

Throughout the history of the Church, there has been the inordinate influence of nominalism. This has resulted in Christianity acquiring a bad reputation. The Spirit guided Christians have been in a minority and were frequently as much victims as anybody else. But, you see, all the evil came about because people were not following the tenets of Christianity.

With Armstrongism, it is much different. The evil comes about because people ARE following he tenets of Armstrongism.

So we have two systems: Christianity ineffectively applied and Armstrongism zealous applied. One can make the mistake of believing they are the same thing and they are not.

I am not sure that your assertion that Hoeh moved beyond this racism is correct. I could not find incontrovertible evidence of that. I think his views may have softened.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

The Radio/Worldwide Church of God pointedly excluded unmarried African Americans from Ambassador College on the basis of their race from 1947 until the first unmarried blacks were admitted to Big Sandy and Pasadena in 1971. While the change in AC admission policy at that time was well known and some here remember it, what I don't believe has ever been made clear is the background to why that change happened when it did.

In 1970 the IRS issued a ruling that colleges which practice racial discrimination would lose their tax exemptions. Bob Jones University which believed race segregation was an important part of their Christian practice fought this ruling in the courts. The WCG and Ambassador College, which also believed racial segregation was an important part of their Christian practice, responded differently to the choice between a major downturn in money, legal resistance, or compliance. In the inner councils at hq it was decided to comply to this mandate from a godless state to disobey the divine will of segregation at Ambassador College. This is why in 1971, immediately following this IRS ruling, Herbert Armstrong decided to admit unmarried blacks for the first time to Ambassador College in Pasadena, Calif. and Big Sandy, Texas (where the IRS rules applied), but not at Bricket Wood in the UK (where the IRS ruling did not apply). AC Bricket Wood, safely beyond the clutches of the american IRS, and HWA's personal favorite campus, continued its race-based exclusions until the demise of that campus in 1974. This legal background for the end of AC's admissions policies at Pasadena and Big Sandy was not explained to WCG members at the time or later (I believe even Trechak missed this story). I discovered this legal context to the 1971 admissions policy change at United States AC campuses myself only a few years ago by accident when reading the history of the Bob Jones University legal case.

To Tom Mahan: on the one hand you condemn racism and on the other you speak of black Africans' "obvious, intellectual inferiority" and refer to black Africans being "under God's judgement".
I don't know how to say this nicely, Tom, but this is racist and ill-informed. There is no negative judgment of God on black Africans any more than a positive judgment of God on white Britons and Americans. This is an ideology of colonialism, the dark side of British-Israelism, an ideology which justifies colonialism and expropriation of resources from native peoples in Africa and North and South America. "God gave your resources to us." The sea gates. Loss of pride of our power. The basic COG message, basic COG "news reporting". God gave your wealth to US, you poor savages. Legitimization of empire. Do you know the ancient Assyrians had a self-image that they were helping the peoples they conquered and deported, creating a one-world end to competing tribes and nationalisms, creating the world's first universal school system, their deportations being for the good of the peopled deported, transporting them to promised lands far away, the Assyrian emperor being a good shepherd for all peoples? They believed this about themselves, and they had the gods backing them up on this INCLUDING YAHWEH (Isa 36:10). It is only because the stories of some native peoples on the receiving end of this imperial enterprise ended up in the Bible that we see this story through native peoples' eyes rather than Assyrian imperial eyes (which so parallels US and UK imperial eyes).

There is a huge literature available on racism; would you be willing to read some current anthropology which differs from your views and maybe learn and possibly repent? The Wikipedia article on "racism", for example, has a decent discussion with some links.

GregDoudna

Byker Bob said...

Two human figures loom on the Biblical horizon: Moses in the Old Testament, and Jesus in the New. Moses had a black wife. Apparently this did not bother anyone with the exception of his brother and sister. Not even Yahweh.

Nowhere in the Bible were people, or groups of people destroyed because they were considered subhuman or genetically inferior.
They were destroyed because of abominable behavior, such as sacrificing their children to idols.

During the era of Pharisaic Judaism, gentiles were avoided, not because they were inferior or genetically deficient, but because they were considered "unclean" or ceremonially impure, due to failure to observe the 613 Levitical laws.

The apostles, especially Paul, interacted with, baptized, and fellowshipped with all manner of gentiles, of all races and colors. The baptized were considered equal, now having become spiritual Israelites, and the general gentile populace were ministered to as potential spiritual Israelites.

Old School WCG never did "get" the New Covenant. Amplifying, and applying the first century Pharisaic Jewish attitudes towards all gentile peoples is simply further evidence of WCG's legalistic roots. It is part of the blinding "veil" which Paul tells us remains when we try to retain and observe Old Covenant legalism.

BB

Anonymous said...

I was searching for something else in The Journal's archives, and lo and behold, I ran across The Compendium of World History.

Which speaks volumes to how persistent the problem of Armstrongism is, three-quarters of a century later.

Anonymous said...

Neo

"The Spirit guided Christians have been in a minority and were frequently as much victims as anybody else."

So... reading your letters you feel that Ron Kelly made the transition to Christianity.

Ron Kelly is a good Evangelical Christian. Sunday keeping, no Sabbath, only Jesus, etc.

So is Ron Kelly "spirit led". Do you hold to the same basic Evangelical doctrines as our good friend Ron Kelly?

Just trying to understand where you coming from.

Anonymous said...

"The 10 commandments do NOT produce salvation."


Bill, so a person who does not observe, in any shape or form, the seventh-day Sabbath can still achieve salvation?



"There are times that I wonder if you are trying to really convince yourself of these things rather than having intellectual commmerce about these issues. A sort of mantra, a repeating of such so as to feel secure in them."

Correct. I am very insecure in my non-belief. It's hard to not believe in something for which there is not one iota of evidence. It takes hard work to not believe in God! Or leprechauns for that matter.

Regarding my post, I saw this in many of the people on the CEM Forum and in the independent community. While admitting to the errors of the HWA and WWCG, they would still feel the need to give a bit of defense towards HWA/WWCG...because that is where they got their theology from. The theology that, despite it's toned down aspect, they still believe is the True doctrine of the Bible.




Paul

Libro 66 said...

Neo... you the man.

Thanks for at least trying to get a helpful response out of Dr. Hoeh. My contact with him has been minimal, but totally in line with your experience. Your exchange reminds me of that ol' country sport, trying to catch a greased pig :-)

I have to agree with Bill. The problem in WCG was not merely one of race, but also of *class.* The ministers were always of a higher class than the average member, and members of different races were at different class levels too.

And of course, the Apostle was of the very highest class of all -- so high he could do whatever he wanted, and as he himself shouted, "no man is going to tell me no!"

So while your Hispanic acquaintance was required to supply a centuries-long genealogy, everybody looked the other way when HWA himself decided to marry the half-breed daughter of a Cherokee. And all along, he continued to teach that it was a mistake for two of Noah's sons to marry outside their (white) race!

So it wasn't just race, it was class.

Don't get me wrong -- the racism is undeniable, and we should not minimalize it. But I feel the class system (of which racism was a part) was and is the more fundamental problem -- a means of exalting an elite at the expense of others. James in the NT dealt with the same issues.

Oh, by the way -- Tom said:

"Also, what about our own prejudices? Was Dr. Hoeh also the architect of our racist attitudes and behaviour? Will anyone here be willing to live next door to a black person?"

I know! Let's ask for a show of hands, like the good ol' days in church! Hey, all you white people out there: How many of you are living or have lived next to a black person? How many of you like(d) it?

This white boy's got his hand up for both questions.

Libro

Neotherm said...

Anonymous:

I do not know the spiritual condition of Ron Kelly and have no right to speculate on it. All I can say is that my brief correspondence with him has been cordial. There was nothing in that correspondence to make me think he is not a brother in Christ.

I don't want to bore everyone again. I did this once before.
But I am a Quaker. I am closest to the Conservative branch.

I am not an evangelical. I believe that evangelicalism is an unfortunate religious-cultural movement and will one day become extinct.

When I attend church services which is seldom, I attend the WCG in a distant city. There is no Conservative Quaker Meeting in this area. My Great Grandfather did the same thing. He and his family moved to a location where there was no Quaker fellowship so they fellowshipped with another church.

I am studying Universalism but do not believe it is correct. I do believe there is scriptural support for post-mortem evangelism.

Theologically, I align with many but not all the beliefs of Moderate Calvinists.

That is where I am coming from.

-- Neo

Lussenheide said...

PAUL INQUIRES OF THE LUSSENHEIDE: Bill, so a person who does not observe, in any shape or form, the seventh-day Sabbath can still achieve salvation?

RESPONSE: I will answer the question with a question. What part of this prayer does God not hear or respond to, from , lets say a Baptist??...

Dear Great Eternal God, I love you and I praise you. Please forgive me for all of my sins, and please forgive me for the sins, or lack of knowledge in my life that I am not aware of yet. I wish to honor you always in my actions. I want to be continually taught for all eternity by you. Help me to know your will and teach me your ways. ...In Jesus Name I pray.

Said person now dies in his sleep that night.

I hope that the above prayer "works" for the Baptist and for myself or the Lussenheide is likely to be a "warm weather person" with a very quick and eternal bad sunburn , where the "worm dieth not".

Mercy rules. Legalism sucks. It is not about "what you do" that matters in life, it is "why you do it".

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Anonymous said...

Did not Dr Höh say that he came from an unbroken line of German
clergyman-academics,that line being continuous for 400 years.?


He was a cut above the average.


Seamus

Anonymous said...

Bill says:

"I hope that the above prayer "works" for the Baptist and for myself or the Lussenheide is likely to be a "warm weather person" with a very quick and eternal bad sunburn , where the "worm dieth not".

I know I keep plugging this site endlessly and ad nauseam, but I really urge anyone even remotely considering the aspects of a crispy afterlife to check out Pam Dewey's thorough and excellent exegesis Is It True What They Say About Hell?.

Back to Bill's coments:

"Mercy rules. Legalism sucks. It is not about "what you do" that matters in life, it is "why you do it"."

Much as I hate to say this. Amen!! :-) "Why you do it" (be "good") also does not need to be legislated by any form of religion, in my opinion.

As the Skeptics Annotated Bible points out, the "sermon on the mount" from the book of Matthew redacts five of the ten commandments, and adds the sixth one in for free: They are all secular rules, not religious ones.

Byker Bob said...

Hey, Libro:

Does having you tongue in a black lady's mouth and liking it very much count in your little whiteboy survey there?

I always have said you ain't a stud until the sisters dig you.

BB

Anonymous said...

Neo says:

"When I attend church services which is seldom, I attend the WCG in a distant city. There is no Conservative Quaker Meeting in this area."

I thought the divisions in the Quaker "camps" were not quite so cut-and-dried as that. Would you be that unwelcome at a "liberal" Quaker meeting? That seems at odds with what I have read of the belief system.

"I am studying Universalism but do not believe it is correct. I do believe there is scriptural support for post-mortem evangelism."

Neo! You're an adherent of the GYCG? Really? :-D

Libro 66 said...

BB: "Does having you tongue in a black lady's mouth and liking it very much count in your little whiteboy survey there?"

Hey, a neighbor's a neighbor! ;-)

But bykers aren't allowed in the survey. They're rebels. >:-( They wear tattoos and worse, they smoke. And they have beards. Instead of $100-dollar wine, they drink cheap beer. If you're in that class, you're lower than.. than... than something really low.

Even if you've recently done a 180 on the whole Jesus thing.

At least, that's true for the CoGs I've experienced.

Libro

Anonymous said...

There was racism within Worldwide in days of yore,class distinction, as retold by Neotherm.

Mind you,those in the old Worldwide ministry did, and probably still do,judge themselves to be superior to both the coloured races and their subordinate white brethren.

They did/do not need air fresheners in the bathroom during the course of their matutinal ablutions.They had/have status and no flatus.
Dr Hoeh had failings,like us all,but at least,he was human.He did not fit the image of a clean-cut,bright-eyed and keen Ambassador student but somehow he fitted into the system,or perhaps was tolerated.


The superiority of the white races is an old one, going back to Aryan days.But methinks that the white honkey is slowly having his nose rubbed into his own refuse,so to speak. It might do him some good.

Was Herman Hoeh Jewish?Maybe.

Everything he wrote was not flawed.There are DNA links between the Greeks/Macedonians and the modern British.Try Y-DNA Haplogroup I.Some of those tales about the British coming from Troy, in part,could yet be true,or at least from regions Greek.


Jorgheinz

Anonymous said...

Neo

"That is where I am coming from."

Thank you. That helps. I am sorry for the racism. I was there in the in the old WCG in the late 60's and it was painful watching it all.

I grew up in Ohio and was very supportive of the marches in the South to end segregation. There were bus loads of kids going to Mississippi and Alabama from Northern Ohio to help end segregation.

Before Ohio was taken over by the Religious Right some of the folks in Ohio did some good things.

Once I started fellowshipping with the old WCC I no longer actively supported such liberal causes.

I'm back at now, trying to make the world a better place...

Neotherm said...

Tom Mahon wrote: "Was Dr. Hoeh also the architect of our racist attitudes and behaviour? Will anyone here be willing to live next door to a black person? What would be your reaction if your son or daughter announced that s/he was planning to marry a black person?"

The answer to the first question is maybe. Some people were already racists when they came to the WCG. Maybe they were even attracted to Armstrongism because it was racist philosophy -- they could find "Biblical" affirmation for their beliefs. In other cases,people acquired racism along with all the other malarkey as they sat in Sabbath services and submitted to submersion in Armstrongism.

The next question: I would like to live next door to good people no matter what the ethnic background. This question reveals something about you,Tom. You assume that if someone is Black, that they will be bad neighbors. So you need only mention explicitly that the person is Black.

The third question: (I am not sure why you are so focused on Blacks, Tom.) But I would be appalled if my son announced he was going to marry a Black woman. I believe that marriage is a fallen instution. I think the chances of a marriage actually working and being happy is minimal. If everything in this world is honked up, why would we grant marriage an exception? I believe someone should marry strategically so as to reduce conflicts and differences. I would advise my son not to marry a Black or a woman from Outer Mongolia or some other person from a different culture. But it is not because I believe Blacks and Outer Mongolians are inherently inferior.

-- Neo

Neotherm said...

Purple:

I would be welcome in any Quaker fellowship. I could attend the local Independent Quaker meeting and have done so in the past. Many of the people who attend, however, or really New Agers, I believe.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

"I will answer the question with a question."


Instead of answering with "yes," or "no," which is rather easy considering this is a easy, straightfoward question. Either observing the Sabbath is required for salvation, or it isn't. That's why I regard the theology of Independent COG's a bit messy. According to hardcore Armstrongism, the answer is "no" while to mainstream Christianity the answer is "yes." You are stuck in the middle, trying to play both ends.

"What part of this prayer does God not hear or respond to, from , lets say a Baptist??...Please forgive me for all of my sins, and please forgive me for the sins, or lack of knowledge in my life that I am not aware of yet.."

So as long as they repent of the sins that they aren't aware that are sins....like the Sabbath?

Bill, could I ask the question again? Can I get a "yes" or a "no?"

Paul

Tired Skeptic said...

So far, there has been nothing here which would suggest that racism in the Radio / Worldwide Church of God was anything but an outgrowth of Herbert Armstrong's narcissistic desire to be royalty and the only mystery would be why anyone would find it a mystery.

mel said...

I'm reminded of a cartoon I saw on the old AW, iirc. It was of Mr. Hoeh and Mr Armstrong riding a tandem bicycle together, which had developed a bent wheel. One was saying to the other, "Well, I guess it's time for another 19 year time cycle!"

Also comes to mind the fact that in 1981 HWA screamed, "GOD'S WAY IS THE WAY OF SEGREGATION! SATAN'S WAY IS THE WAY OF INTEGRATION!"
He also screamed something about "AND YOU CAN GO TO THE LAKE OF FIRE IF YOU WANT!" to those who might disagree.

And that was in the 1980's! Talk about "behind the times"!

And to think, some are still in the HWA personality cult, and proud to hang on to herbie's "get back on the track" nonsense.

"Back to stupidity", it was, and he was gung-ho for getting back to stupidity.

paco said...

Neo, I am sorry for what you went through in the wcg. I apologize for helping to enable that organization.

I was directly associated with the wcg from 1963 through 1979 and was at HQ in Pasadena from 1967 through 1976. There is no question in my mind that some of wcg's doctrines were blatantly racist. British Israelism was the core doctrine that provided the justification. The races were not supposed to mix socially and, as Gerald Waterhouse assured us, in the "wonderful world tomorrow" Noah would be given the job of re-settling the races to their "own" parts of the world.

HWA was racist in a paternal sense and he passed that along to his ministers, both through his comments and through his BI doctrine. In his autobiography HWA described working as a young man (in Mississippi, I think) and observing that the "negro" people were like children. They would spend all their money soon after payday and could not be trusted to be dependable. I think he retained this view of black people for his entire life. I personally heard him expound on this subject during class and during church services.

Rod Meredith, in class one day, described how the ministry was to deal with black men - they had to be told what to do because they were not capable of making good decisions on their own. The wcg's leading black minister happened to be Pasadena at the time and was in class that day. He politely informed Rod that things had changed and that was not the best way to approach black males. Rod said something to the effect of, "Well, speaking as the Head of the Church Field Ministry, I disagree. We have to be firm with them because the typical black male is not going to have the character to do the right thing."

Rod Meredith also made the statement from the pulpit that Los Angeles should be ashamed that it had elected a black man as mayor. This was when Tom Bradley was first elected. I personally heard him make the statement. His biblical proof that this was another sign of the decline of the U.S was "Children shall be their oppressors and strangers shall rule over them."

Herman Hoeh, at a ministerial conference around 1974-76 made a strong racial comment about the "jungle bunnies" who were taking over Altadena (a city on the northern border of Pasadena).

It was common to hear ministers explain that American Indians or various other people should have been wiped out. (I thought at the time, "Well somehow god has called me and I have at least one Choctaw great, great grandmother in my line.")

I attended a wedding of two fine Pasadena AC students who were not allowed to marry in church because the man was hispanic and the woman anglo. I remember thinking that the church's approach to interracial marriage was completely stupid and harmful, not to mention un-christian.

Somehow wcg officials never seemed to grasp that Paul had said that there is no jew or gentile in Christ and that we are all one in Christ. Maybe they thought that, symbolically, all the indian, hispanic or black church members would comprise the foot of Christ, or some other less beautiful part.

Finally, I think we need to remember that Herman Hoeh, Rod Meredith and the other early students came to AC as 17-19 year-old young guys and were formed by HWA. HWA was racist, the United States society was racist, and they found scriptures that justified that point of view. The Southern Baptist Church defended slavery before the American Civil War as being justified by god in the bible.

So, was the wcg racist? Of course it was. HWA? Hoeh? Meredith? Of course they were. That doesn't mean they were out burning crosses - they were much more subtle than that. I must say that I think they actually believed that separation of the races was what God wanted and that they believed they really "loved" all the black, american indian, hispanic, asian and other non-white gentiles. But, separating people based on race was what God wanted and therefore what they were going to do in "god's" church. And, there was no question that "we" Israelites were most special of all in god's eyes.

On a personal note, I always enjoyed listening to Herman Hoeh. He was pretty good at slipping some potentially controversial comments in under the radar on occasion. A friend of mine once said about Dr. Hoeh, "Taken individually I understand every word he says. When he puts them all together I don't have a clue as to what he is talking about."

Tom Mahon said...

Neotherm said...

>>>Tom Mahon wrote: "Was Dr. Hoeh also the architect of our racist attitudes and behaviour? Will anyone here be willing to live next door to a black person? What would be your reaction if your son or daughter announced that s/he was planning to marry a black person?"<<<

At least you had the courage to answer the questions, and be honest about who you would want your daughter to marry.

Personally, it won't bother me who my sons or daughters marry, provided that persons were genuine Christians.

I make no assumption about black people. It is an establish fact, that some white people move out of a neighbourhood as soon as black people begin to move into the area. The reason for this may vary, but the primary reason is racism.

I have not been persuaded that the people joining WCG were converted to racism. I believe most brought their racism with them, and it was confirmed and reinforced by racist teaching.

Neither do believe that all the white people here have been purged of their racism. Therefore, I say, that we have to be careful when condemning Dr,Hoeh, HWA or anyone else, as we may still be guilty of harbouring racist attitudes, and wittingly or unwittingly displaying it in our behaviour.

Tom Mahon said...

paco

I believe your well written post is a balance and fair summary of the situation, as it existed in WCG.

Church Corporate Critic said...

The truth is that Herman Hoeh had absolutely no power or influence to create or perpetuate anything: He was only a cog in the CoG.

Herbert Armstrong set all policy in the Radio / Worldwide Church of God. He owned the church. He was the Corporate Sole over the hierarchical monolith. The church was a vehicle for his opinions, nothing more. In this environment, everyone else was nothing but a "support" and no one but no one could change anything.

The only thing that Herman Hoeh could do is stroke Herbert Armstrong's vanity and reinforce his pride. Hoeh survived by telling Armstrong what he wanted to hear. The best move he could make was to tell Herbert Armstrong that he was an apostle. Hoeh was weak and insipid, but then no one had any power at all. Anyone could be booted out, and that included Herbert Armstrong's own son.

Here's the bottom line: We all paid for the privilege of being abused and insulted. The reason was that Herbert Armstrong was a narcissist and we were both his narcissistic source and his cash machine. There's no use complaining and there's especially no use complaining to someone who had so very little power that the only thing he could do is to tell Herbert Armstrong -- and later on, Joseph Tkach -- what they wanted to hear. There can be no justice in such a dysfunctional environment.

The most fun any of the Evangelists could have was to oppress people, the chief example was Roderick Meredith with his manpower papers. Over time, everyone at the core of Armstrongism was corrupted to become contemptible people, either completely weak and pathetic or strong and powerful in their abuse of the victims who paid their salaries.

Neotherm said...

Tom Mahon wrote: "Therefore, I say, that we have to be careful when condemning Dr,Hoeh, HWA or anyone else, as we may still be guilty of harbouring racist attitudes, and wittingly or unwittingly displaying it in our behaviour."

No doubt we all do harbor attitudes that are tainted with the wrongness of this society and out own personal weaknesses. But there is an important distinction that must be made here.

I would not condemn Armstrongite leaders for some evidence of residual, inadvertent racism. The issue is that they actively promoted a racist agenda and still do. Their racism was dressed up in a $600 suit and drove around in a fleet car rather than the garb of the Grand Wizard of the Klan, but it was still tawdry, systemic racism.

I believe there is a strong social drive behind racism in Armstrong Land. When I began attending services back in Wichita, Kansas in 1967, most of the people present were blue collar workers with limited education and little income. These were people who needed to feel good about themselves. BI and its racist by-product was just the prescription.

A Scots-Irish Gentile occupying one of the lowest rungs in American society could suddenly feel that he was God's Chosen and all that hostility he felt towards other races was, in fact, Biblical. The fact that he had no education was a good thing because the "world's" educational system was wrong. It was instantaneous celebrity and vindication that did not rest on any foundation of attainment, accomplishment or achievement. This dynamic also kept these marginal people firmly in the hip-pocket of HWA. With care and feeding they could be a perpetual source of income.

We also see this played out in the arena of prophecy. A small clique of people could batten on prophetic utterances and regard themselves as being the object of God's special deliverance. While giving the apperance of being deeply concerned about the people of US and BC, secretly, they are gratified that the society that regards them as marginal is going to be miserably destroyed.

The only surprising fact is that Armstrongism did not grow more rapidly than it did. Evangelicals are fond of calling Armstrongites heretics, but my belief is that evangelical churches were sick in the same way that Armstrongite churches were sick. Because these same dysfunctional attitudes were accommodated in the evangelical churches, the growth of Armstrongism was stanched. Who needs an Armstrongite church when you attend a Whites Only Protestant church. Who needs "1975 in Prophecy" when you have the "Left Behind" series.

-- Neo

Neotherm said...

Paco:

Thanks. I helped to enable it myself. In fact, every minority person that warms a seat at Sabbath Services in an Armstrongite church is an enabler.

-- Neo

Byker Bob said...

I, too, believe that Paco has added some valuable detail, and balance. Good job!

There's one element on which we have not yet touched. The WCG was a cloistered environment, at least in the college population centers, such as Pasadena, Big Sandy, and Bricket Wood. Herbert W. Armstrong admittedly grew up just as African Americans were emerging from slavery. His ideas towards black people were formulated as he watched a people whose parents and grandparents had been treated like property, kept from education, and were not allowed to make any major decisions for themselves. He failed to grasp the fact that they were in a transitional stage. Yet, in a sense, these emerging slaves were not unlike the people of all races who would later escape from the slavery of HWA's church!

Next, for the greater part of his life, HWA was insulated (with the exception of his interaction with minor international political figures) from the common man and the everyday experiences which might have provided some correction to the racial concepts which he had developed as a young man. All he saw, throughout his adult life, was what went on amongst his subjects in the empire he had created. Since his ideas permeated that empire, black people in general were not permitted to rise above certain levels, as the Manpower papers confirm. HWA lived in a world at the pinnacle of Maslow's Triangle (self actualization) So, his stereotypes permeated his kingdom, and became self-reinforcing.

During the years in which I attended AC, we had race riots going on in the background, and Dr. King was assassinated. I don't even want to describe the impact that this had on the organization in general. Suffice it to say that WCG tended to exploit these events to validate HWA's premises on racial relations and the time of the end. Since this was so "useful" to the organization, why would they have even attempted to develop a more enlightened point of view?

The bottom line is that all any of us have, is what we have right now.
Our experiences, both good and bad, have made us the persons we are today. Hopefully those persons have seen enough erroneous racial attitudes, and the bad fruits which they produced, that we totally repudiate those attitudes, making us color-blind, and compassionate towards all people. After all, to a small extent, each of us should know what it was like! For whatever time any of us spent in WCG, we were part of a hated religious minority group, ourselves. Unfortunately, some received a double portion of it all. We need to never forget them!

BB

paco said...

I need to make a correction. I misquoted the bible in my previous post. Isaiah 3:12 (KJV) actually says, "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." That verse does not say anything about "strangers" as I erroneously stated.

However, Rod Meredith did make the statement that Los Angeles should be ashamed for having elected a black mayor and did make a biblical reference in support of that statement. I threw out all my sabbath notes a few months ago and cannot be sure which verse he referenced.

Anonymous said...

The claim is made that racism in the WCG was brought in with people with them, and WCG did not turn non-racists into racists.

I don't think this is accurate with the native American-extermination theme. Only a tiny minority of American new WCG members likely held a personal doctrine that native Americans should have been exterminated when they came into WCG. However, after being in WCG many members "learned" and came to believe this "truth"--that the American Indians were squatters on land given to Israelites (white europeans) and, as one WCG pastor in Akron, Ohio (after Antion) forcefully said often in sermons, deserved to be wiped out just like the Canaanites, because of the abominations they did.

Case in point: a young man in the Akron church, who was like Neotherm a "1-W" (conscientious objector employee), gave a Spokesman Club speech and with some emotion condemned the earlier genocide of native Americans as wrong. I was there, a senior in high school at the time. I noticed the atmosphere was a little uncomfortable because the "heathen savages deserved to be wiped out" pastor was there and this went against what the pastor had many times said. The pastor in his evaluation afterward diplomatically did not make a major issue of it (I think a mild disagreement was all), and because the young man was otherwise sincere and a faithful WCG member and people liked him his indiscretion on that occasion was sort of overlooked. BUT there is a followup on this: a couple of years I heard this same young man explain in conversation how it "took him a long time" and he "really had to struggle" to accept the pastor's views on native Americans deserving being exterminated. He said it had been a stumbling block to him over being in the church. But, he said, he finally came to see where the pastor had been right and he had been wrong (and he had overcome his earlier resistance on this point).

So this is one case personally known to me in which the WCG converted an individual to racism after coming into the WCG. I doubt this was an isolated occurrence.

Also it should be noted that the Church of God Seventh Day, and the Jehovah's Witnesses, stood out in these same years as racially integrated and non-racist, even though they too, like the WCG, were fundamentalist and held doctrines the larger society regarded as unusual. Somehow COG7 and JW's were not affected by society making them racist in the way WCG (and some others) were racist. Therefore the variable in understanding WCG racism seems not to be wholly explained as caused by attitudes of external society.

GregDoudna

DennisDiehl said...

Greg noted: "
I heard this same young man explain in conversation how it "took him a long time" and he "really had to struggle" to accept the pastor's views on native Americans deserving being exterminated."

How sad. The boy gave up his common sense for the party line. I hope he has learned even more about his false compliance through the rest of the reckless change and drama of WCG. When you have a choice between the feeling in your head (thoughts) vs the feeling in your gut, go with gut. The area right below your sternam is telling you the truth.

In a modern Spokesman club setting, I would love to comment at topics that it would be a breath of fresh air to see Israel get it's ass kicked by the Palestinians and Arab world for their Nazi-like behaviors in Gaza and God knows what else to get what they want.

The chosen ones need a lesson in being part of the whole and not special at all.

The collective gulp during topics would be a fine thing to behold:)

Anonymous said...

Dennis, although I don't know what became of him, somehow I think his conversion to racism was not deep, and that "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" applied here. He had a conscience and post-WCG I am 99.9% certain that would have reasserted itself.

More on the Bob Jones University legal case background, which so closely parallels WCG racial beliefs and practices, from wikipedia on Bob Jones University.

"Although BJU admitted Asians and other minorities from its inception [in 1927], it refused to enroll black students until 1971, eight years after the University of South Carolina and Clemson University had been integrated by court order. From 1971 to 1975, BJU admitted only married blacks, although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had already determined in 1970 that 'private schools with racially discriminatory admissions policies' were not entitled to federal tax exemption. Late in 1971, BJU filed suit to prevent the IRS from taking its tax exemption, but in 1974, in 'Bob Jones University v. Simon', the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the University did not have standing to sue until the IRS actually assessed taxes. Four months later, on May 29, 1975, the University Board of Trustees authorized a change in policy to admit 'students of any race,' a move that occurred shortly before the announcement of the Supreme Court decision in 'Runyon v. McCrary', which prohibited racial exclusion in private schools.

"In May 1975, as it prepared to allow unmarried blacks to enroll, BJU adopted more detailed rules prohibiting interracial dating and marriage--threatening expulsion for any student who dated or married interracially, who advocated interracial marriage, who was 'affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage,' or 'who espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the University's dating rules and regulations.' ... On January 19, 1976, the Internal Revenue Service notified the University that its tax exemption had been revoked retroactively to December 1, 1970. The school appealed the IRS decision all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that the University met all other criteria for tax-exempt status and that the school's racial discrimination was based on sincerely held religious beliefs, that 'God intended segregation of the races and that the Scriptures forbid interracial marriage' ... In December 1978, the federal district court ruled in the University's favor; two years later [in 1980], that decision was overturned by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals."

That is the background--note the year 1980--to a bombastic 1980 Pasadena Bible Study in which Herbert Armstrong declared interracial marriage would be the next major ground of attack of Satan upon the Work and that he, HWA, was not going to budge one inch on God's law of segregation. You can read the full notes of this 1980 HWA Bible Study at http://members.tripod.com/gavinru/racisttwit.htm

HWA thundered in this Bible Study (as reported by the notetaker)--[presumably after being privately informed of the legal situation]--HWA is out for war, he is talking civil disobedience, he is ready to obey God rather than man over this clearcut matter of good versus evil, of a godless state trying to interfere with God's divine will of racial segregation. HWA:

"Satan is going to use interracial marriage as the next attack upon God's Church. If we want to be with God, get on his side. Or get on Satan's side and go into the lake of fire with regard to this question. I will not compromise one millionth of an inch on social trends of interracial marriage. Some say we must have racial balance in this world--we will not go the way of Satan! I say that for me and my family, we shall serve the eternal God [in relation to interracial marriages].[audience claps loudly in support]"

In 1983 BJU lost its case and was forced to pay a million dollars in back taxes, and contributions to BJU declined, but still BJU refused to drop its ban on interracial dating. (For unknown reasons AC, which also had no-interracial dating strictures, did not have its tax exemption similarly challenged by IRS--was this because by the time the BJU case was resolved in 1983 the strictures had been relaxed at AC?) In 2000 Bob Jones III, after a visit by candidate George W. Bush to the BJU campus brought negative publicity to Bush (because of the race issue), suddenly put an end to BJU's race policy by an announcement on the Larry King radio show. That Larry King show transcript [worth reading--see the parallels to AC, the denial that excluding blacks was racist, etc.] can be seen at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0003/03/lkl.00.html
[if difficulty with the link which the blogger software may cut off, search "larry king bob jones" on google and it will be the first listing returned]

I believe this history also sheds light on another matter: although the ban on interracial dating was strictly enforced at Big Sandy when I was there early '70s, and every student knew the policy, you could not find that policy anywhere in writing. They were aware--even if they did not say so publicly to members--what thin ice they were on legally in this area, and sought to reduce exposure to legal culpability.

GregDoudna

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered that Tom Mahon is black? I don't know him personally but suspect he (or his parents) are from the West Indies. Inquiring minds would like to know.

No one has mentioned that the whole apparatus of Apartheid in South Africa was based on the Bible or at least an interpretation of it by the Dutch settlers.

BB is right when he said HWA was totally insulated from the outside world. It couldn't be any other way. Remember when George Bush the First visited a grocery store and was amazed at the bar code reader and didn't know how much a loaf of bread cost? HWA was in the same boat.

One myth: WCG was a Corporation Sole. It was so temporarily during the receivership crisis but that changed once the court ruling came down.

Lochinvar

Anonymous said...

"Is" from the West Indies, not "are".

Lochinvar

DennisDiehl said...

Greg,
I can practically see BJU from where I sit. They still are a bit shy of a noticable black student population. You have to look long and hard to find them.

They took a real beating on the topic after they hosted the Republican debates and decided to change the interracial dating rules from a sin worthy of hell to no big deal, which of course, caused another gasp from the believers.

They love to mix their religion with politics around here and would be very glad to just elect Jesus as Mayor and the 12 Apostles as the County Council. Argh, argh and half an argh!

You will not meet a more hard headed and self righteous soul than a student or faculty memeber from BJU. They are truly God's chosen children and they know it. One can go from cradle to college and never step off the property.

However, I do have a former professor at BJU, Evangelist and personal friend of the Jones family, friend at the secular humanist meetings, who has become atheist and works to rehab BJU students who want out. They get disowned by family and friends quickly when they fall away from BJU. Very sad stuff. I have an occasional student for massage which would get them kicked out and they tell me they go there because it's the only school daddy will pay for.

BJU made and makes Ambassador look liberal. It's main function is to prepare the young for major mid life theological and emotional crisis I believe. One BJU grad told me that he prays every night that he won't get aroused sexually because sex is just for babies and they are done. Pathetic. Most middle age and older guys I know pray for God to let them get aroused :)

Across the street from their main entrance is a former BJU student's church that is now off limits to the students. They have a full blown, real humans, Jesus and company crucifixion on their lawn for Easter, complete with groaning and loin cloth. Probably one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen in my life.

I imagine getting selected as Jesus for the part is a real thorn in your crown.

Neotherm said...

There is a public policy issue with regard to the Armstrongite view of race.

Bob Jones University is against interracial marriage just as the current Armstrongite churches are. But there is a notable difference. Armstrongites advocate that the following people should be entirely exterminated:

North American Indians
Inuit
Lapplanders
Australian Aborigines
Maoris
South African Blacks
Polynesians

In short, any people who occupied the land before the arrival of so-called "Israelites".

Advocacy of genocide is an alarming position for any church to take and greatly differentiates the Armstrongite churches from just run-of-the-mill racist churches.

Would the Texas State Government, if they knew that the UCG advocated genocide, permit them to move into the State of Texas, as they currently plan to do?

Would any State have them?
Would Ohio permit them to continue to function?

-- Neo

DennisDiehl said...

"But there is a notable difference. Armstrongites advocate that the following people should be entirely exterminated:"

We must have been in or out of different loops :)

Actually I was not privy to racist or genocidal ideas evidently. It might explain the results of a festival sermon I gave once on what moderns can learn from Native American cultures and read many quotes from Touch the Earth. I explained how bad the "white man" behaved and it might be good to have some native american perspectives in "The World Tomorrow" etc.

The next morning, I was sent a package with a silver feather earing, turquoise pendant and a nice thanks from a Sioux family for "making us proud to be Native American." Great moment.

I musta usta been one in a previous life :) Would make me proud!

DennisDiehl said...

Actually, I found the original note from the family and it reads as follows:

"Dear Mr. Diehl

Too many moons have passed in silence and darkness. Words spoken in courage have made many native american hearts leap with joy. Than you for reaching out to create between us a better understanding. For being and unexpected encouraging light. on a very dark shore.

Please accept the Navajo (sorry got the wrong tribe) ear cuff and tie tack as a token of our deepest appreciation. The arrowheads are from Florida.

Have a great Feast
Native Americans
Jekyll Island 1992"

This is just in case someone feels "there he goes again, sayin he was always one of you and never one of them."



:)

Anonymous said...

'...Bob Jones University is against interracial marriage just as the current Armstrongite churches are. ...'

Did BJU teach 'British-Israelism'?

DennisDiehl said...

BJU never taught BI They teach the traditional Jesus ad naseum , the Bible as literally true in all it's presentation. I am sure they teach that Christians have a right to overcome the evil of the unbeliever and "infidel" types and I am sure they find America to be founded on nothing less than God's very principles and see it's growth much like Israel driving the wicked from the land.

However, and to my discomfort, this would now include me just down the street..don't tell them.
:)

"Armstrongite" churches don't teach
no interacial marriage that I know of. Maybe Flurry and Dave, but not sure. I had interracial couples in the church here in SC and you see it more and more.

I like the term "Armstrongists" Puts one more in mind of "Papists"

Anonymous said...

Neotherm,

I invite you to Google "Polynesian Pathways" for the history of the New Zealand Maori.

Elements of the Maori culture come from Mesopotamia upon careful examination.

The author,Peter Marsh,maintains there are relic Caucasian genes in our indigenous peoples.

And our Maori have racial associations with the West coast native peoples of Alaska,Canada etc.


Jorgheinz

Neotherm said...

Dennis:

You will not find this list documented. I have heard a few of these peoples mentioned. But by far and large, the focus was on Native Americans. The principle is that anywhere Israel migrated they encountered Canaanites. Hence, the belief that Lapplanders are descendants of Phoenicians. And the idea that the Formorians that preceded Tuatha De Danaan in Ireland were Phoenicians. Essentially, Armstrongites saw a repetition of pattern everywhere and for all times.

To you and me, this makes no sense because we know from an anthropological perspective all of these people stem from different orgins and cannot all be related Canaanites. The Canaanites are an Mediterranean people still living in Lebanon and in the environs of the State of Israel.

American Blacks occupy a different status. They did not inhabit the land and need to be dispossessed. Hoeh identified the West African Blacks as descendants of Canaan. But Canaan was prophesied to be a servant so the slave trade was a good institution and not a bad one, according to this Armstrongite thinking. This is why David Robinson could shout loudly and with impunity in Faculty Dining that "Bob Lee didn't work hard enough" after an assembly featuring a Black speaker. He shouted this across the room to Ron Kelly and Don Ward.

It is remarkable that you could get up at the Feast and give a sermon like that and not be challenged on it. This was probably a case of the fear of the minister outweighing a desire to dissent.

Ron Kelly is part Osage but never experienced any prejudice in the WCG. My guess is that people were afraid of his rank and position. I was a nobody and many were happy to let me know that I had no right to even be alive. Dumping on people beneath you was an Armstrongite proclivity.

Some people I have spoken to believe that Hispanics within the borders of the United States should be included on that list.

-- Neo

DennisDiehl said...

Neo
I think you are right and that what you said and have observed is all true. I know on the rare occasions when I heard something like that, I just ignored it. Really, anything Dr. Hoeh may have said, I would have taken as part of his eccentricity and ignored.

I realize in hindsite just how much of WCG sub cultural beliefs I blew off not experienceing them and not repeating them. I never got in any sermon trouble that I recall save for my last one at Myrtle where I strayed, brain farted and asked 10,000 people "where do babies come from?"

One can say this with any baby but Jesus. Ummmm, errrrr.....that earned me the ever memorable comment from the Tkach administration that "Dennis knows a lot about Jesus, but he doesn't KNOW Jesus." Hard to forget a one liner like that! :)

I honestly can not remember ever giving a sermon on British Israelism, or refering to America as Israelite etc. I do remember saying "he is not a jew who is one outwardly, but inwardly andof the spirit" etc. I'm Dutch and never thought I was from Zebulun..ha.

Now that I have my DNA on record as coming through europe, russia, usbekistan, Iran, iraq, yemen and africa, over the last 70,000 years, I guess I can give that idea up..ha.

I do remember a couple in college where she was "white" and he was "hispanic" and I think they suffered no end of crap.

DennisDiehl said...

Race just depends on how far back one is willing to go.

Evidently I am a Old Zealand-Euro-russky-bekistanian-irano-iraquian yemeneseian-afrakanser..

I don't know who to date!

Anonymous said...

Earlier comment: "Nowhere in the Bible were people, or groups of people destroyed because they were considered subhuman or genetically inferior. They were destroyed because of abominable behavior, such as sacrificing their children to idols."

Poor old Yahweh wasn't much good in the logic department. The family of four that worships Baal offers up their first born, and that's bad. Agreed.

So Yahweh commands the murder of Mom, Dad and the two younger kids to teach them a lesson???

You get the impression those Islamic extremists would find this completely acceptable, but I'm tempted to think the Old Boy could've come up with a better plan.

And the difference between this and genocide is...???

Ned

Anonymous said...

"And the difference between this and genocide is...???"


None

Kscribe said...

Speaking of Herman and now "Wild Bill" from the faithless flock notoriety, we get this..........

"First 19-year cycle of Philadelphia
Church begins in January 1934 A.D.
[within USA]. Second 19-year cycle begins
January 1953 A.D. [Began to go to
Europe]”
>>>>It was at this point, after 1953, that Dr.
Hoeh miscalculated in his chart.<<<
As to why
– he believed that at the end of 1972 (it
being the next 19-year cycle from 1953),
“famines begin previous autumn upon
Israel and continue 3½ years (Joel 1
and James 5:17). Tribulation commences;
Israel obliterated.
“Tribulation ends 3½ years later at the
end of 6,000 years –AFTER A DELAY
(Revelation 7) the Trumpets begin to
sound, commencing upon the Feast of
Trumpets at the end of 6,000 years,
6001.”
By moving these miscalculated dated
years of terrible times into our present
time frame, they could prove to be very
meaningful in view of this end time with
the 19-year time cycle of 2010 in mind.
Skipping over the 19-year time cycles of 1972 and
1991 – and focusing on the next 19-Year Time Cycle of
2010 – could very well mean that early January 2010
would mark the completion of the ministry of Mr.
Armstrong via his Recorded Works on our web sites
that began with his life-time ministry........

Personal from the Editor

Kiwi said...

The concept of "race" as being an obssession with physical features, such as skin colour, doesn't feature in the scriptures.
Rather the scriptures emphasize nations springing from particular patriarchs. Therefore a nation/ethnos/goy (take your pick) could have a variety of physical features in its descendants, depending on who married whom along the way, none of it changing the fact that the direct-male patriarchal line defines the "nation" - in the biblical concept of nation, that is.

So the biblical nation in its original concept is radically different to the geo-political entity we westerners tend to call 'nations' today.

Determining an "Israelite" by skin colour is just plain daft. Whoever Ephraim and Manasseh are today, in biblical terms they would be defined through male descent only as direct descendants of those two patriarchs. They could, of course, be black, brown, white, dotted or striped, depending on the many varied marriages that E & M's male progeny have contracted down throughout the centuries. In fact, the ten tribes were prophesied in Hosea to become mingled and scattered among the nations.

DennisDiehl said...

"Nowhere in the Bible were people, or groups of people destroyed because they were considered subhuman or genetically inferior. They were destroyed because of abominable behavior, such as sacrificing their children to idols."


Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return ... will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering." ... and the Lord gave them into his hands.... When Jephthah returned to his home..., who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! And he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.
-- Judges 11:30-32, 34, 39 (NIV)

No account of God stopping him

"Have you allowed all the women to live?" he [Moses] asked them.... "Now ... kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."
-- Numbers 31:1-18 (NIV)

Keep the hotties

If a man [meets] a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her ... He must marry the girl ... He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
-- Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (NIV)

Formula for good mental health for women.

You gotta love YHVH. Sure..just go after those who those with bad behaviors

Anonymous said...

Neotherm brings up an interesting point about the belief which he experienced in the old WCG, and which I and others can independently attest was circulated: that native peoples merited extermination when "Israelites" (white Europeans) arrived. Neotherm asks, "Would the Texas State Government, if they knew that the UCG advocated genocide, permit them to move into the State of Texas, as they currently plan to do?"

The short answer is: UCG would deny, probably accurately, that not only do they have no such doctrine or belief officially, but that no one of senior standing in their organization even privately holds such a view.

Not everyone held to this view in the old WCG either. In the Akron, Ohio church, out of maybe a dozen ministers I knew, only one really preached the native American extermination motif (one or two others may have believed it, I don't know, not sure). I am quite certain it was not universally believed including at the ministerial level. It was not a required doctrine. And, most interestingly, it was NOT IN PRINT. The segregation, anti-civil rights, put-downs of blacks, and so on were in print in WCG literature. But not the genocide of native peoples. That was oral tradition only.

The less-than-100% holding of this belief, the lack of any advocacy of this belief in print, and the many ministers (and, obviously, members) who in fact did not hold this belief, raise the question of what, then, was it? It was not listed in any WCG (or any modern COG) statement of doctrines. I doubt if Garner Ted Armstrong ever voiced such a view even in private, let alone on his radio or TV broadcasts. I never heard HWA say this belief publicly. It is safe to say that if a news reporter had ever challenged the WCG publicly on this belief they would (a) adamantly deny that it was an official doctrine of the church, and (b) deny that any WCG ministers who spoke this way represented the beliefs of the church on that point.

In fact until hearing Neotherm's experiences I thought the Akron pastor who did talk this way was an exception, speaking on his own, expressing some personal idiosyncrasy. Neotherm's account made me realize there was more to it than a WCG pastor free-lancing this (with impunity) on his own. There was something pathological in the WCG culture in which this festered among some--not all--and unlike important sins such as, say, criticism of HWA, mere defense of genocide in modern times on racial grounds was not considered a firing or disfellowshippable offense.

The modern HWA-fundamentalists among the COGS, such as Flurry and Pack, are very clear and explicit in embracing the racial segregation teachings of HWA, yet there is nothing in print from any of these groups (to my knowledge) favoring genocide of native peoples. I believe if asked directly on the matter, the "correct" Armstrongite answer would be, echoing HWA in "Mystery of the Ages" (also echoing the ancient Assyrians): not genocide, but divinely-mandated deportations of whole continents of peoples to other places on earth (and as HWA put it in his gentle style also reminiscent of the ancient Assyrians, "no defiance will be tolerated"). It is a vision of ethnic cleansing, but justified as for the cleansed (deported) peoples' best interests and good. The deported peoples would only be killed if they resisted such beneficence.

Some in senior positions of the UCG probably believe some form of this today. This would technically not be genocide which involves "an intent to destroy, in whole or in part" a group. The technically correct term for this COG doctrine is instead "ethnic cleansing" ("the attempt to create ethnically homogeneous geographic areas through the deportation or forcible displacement of persons belonging to particular ethnic groups"--Britannica)

GregD

Neotherm said...

Greg:

No doubt there is nothing in print that could be used to establish that this was a widely held belief. But eye witness testimony would be available.

And if the elers of the UCG (or any other Armstrongite organization) were questioned on this and were to issue a flat denial, we could safely class them among the great liars of this era. They would know they lied and their followers would know that they had lied.

My guess is that a lawyer in court would ask the UCG representatives to produce a document, of appropriate vintage, correcting this mistaken and widely held belief. When they could not do this, tacit approval of the belief could be deduced.
And, of course, no such document exists.

-- Neo

Byker Bob said...

Dennis, all I can say in response to the points you raise is that we know for a fact, and we usually have no problem acknowledging that there are inaccuracies in the Bible. The famous doublets (dual descriptions of the same events with materially differing "facts") in the OT, bunny rabbits that chew the cud, and the sun revolving around the earth are but a few.

Abraham was rewarded for his belief and faith in God. Knowing of the conflicts and inaccuracies cited above, why would we neccessarily assume that the battle instructions or Israelite war stories would be 100% accurate? God did not speak directly to the Israelite soldiers. Their prophets, priests, and kings generally relayed the instructions. Could they have embellished these instructions, being overly zealous?
I don't know.

As far as Jepthah goes, he alone made the tragically stupid mistake. Yes, I do feel very badly for the young lady, but that story certainly cautions us about making stupid promises to God, doesn't it? Perhaps it is even a biblical fable designed to teach us its obvious lesson.

The rape law, which might incidentally have been used later in history to justify the rape of the Sabine women, certainly seems unfair to the women involved. At the very least one would wonder about their choice in the matter. These days, it would be impossible to keep that law, for several reasons. Rape is often not reported, when it is, the perp is arrested, and if he's out on bail pending trial, there is generally a restraining order. Still, there must have been a reason why rapists were not stoned to death, when stoning was prescribed for similar offenses. I don't have the answer to that one.

As I mentioned in several other posts, I am not a scriptural inerrantist. That, to me, would be a totally indefensable position.
But, I did recently find myself needing to apologize to God for having assumed the worst about Him, base on descriptions by the primitives in the Old Testament.

The closest we come to genetics is the fact that Noah was considered pure in his generations. The stories of the Nephilim make for interesting speculation, but once again, the people in Noah's day were exterminated for their overall wickedness, including the Nephilim.

I know the WCG preoccupied us all with the OT and legalism, but to me the most relevant part of the Bible concerns Jesus, His mission, and His lessons for us. I've seen people pick apart the 613 levitical laws of the OT, but Jesus' teachings are usually seen as making amazingly good sense and are often considered to be firm basis for a utopian society.

BB

Byker Bob said...

One of the measures of conversion in WCG was whether or not a member took every word uttered by the ministers as if it had come directly from Jesus Christ. Presumably, a "converted" person unfortunately would have therefore bought into all the stereotypes, even if it applied to themselves, and often, even if their own family experiences contradicted what was said from the pulpit.

If you didn't believe the stuff, Jeremiah 17:9 was thrown in your face.

BB

Anonymous said...

To focus on the WCG and overlook the policies of the United States, England, and Australia is to put one's head in the sand...

It was the policies of these three nations to promote slavery and to kill indigenous peoples.

Many of our direct ancestors were involved in the slave trade and extermination.

That includes the Sunday keeping churches. They were often the worst promoters of this kind of thing.

They had the political power and they killed and enslaved!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifest_Destiny

"Manifest Destiny was always a general notion rather than a specific policy. The term combined a belief in expansionism with other popular ideas of the era, including American exceptionalism, Romantic nationalism, and a belief in the natural superiority of what was then called the "Anglo-Saxon race," i.e., whites of English heritage. While many writers focus primarily upon American expansionism when discussing Manifest Destiny, others see in the term a broader expression of a belief in America's "mission" in the world, which has meant different things to different people over the years. This variety of possible meanings was summed up by Ernest Lee Tuveson, who wrote:

A vast complex of ideas, policies, and actions is comprehended under the phrase 'Manifest Destiny'. They are not, as we should expect, all compatible, nor do they come from any one source.[2]

The concept of Manifest Destiny has acquired a variety of meanings over the years, and its inherent ambiguity has been part of its power. In the generic political sense, however, it was usually used to refer to the idea that the American government was "destined" to establish uninterrupted political authority across the entire North American continent, from one ocean to the other."

Tom Mahon said...

Lochinvar inferred:

>>>Has anyone considered that Tom Mahon is black?<<<

Indeed, I am. My mother, who still lives in Barbados is now 87. She is a descendent of the Ashanti tribe, Ghana, and my father who died at 86 was mixed Irish and African Caribbean, whose parents came to Barbados via Panama, hence the Irish name, Mahon.

However, as a genuine Christian, secured in the knowledge of God, and rejoicing in the assured hope of eternal life from God who cannot lie, I have no need to go around nursing hurt feelings about racism, whether it was overt slavery, or as we tend to see today, subtle and covert discrimination.

Legislation has made racism illegal, but the process has only driven it underground. The law cannot eliminate it nor change people's attitudes. Only God can truly make us love our neighbour as ourselves. Without his help, all our efforts and good intentions will fail.

Perhaps, if I wasn't a Christian, my reaction to the corrosive effects of racism in the lives of its vulnerable victims, might be more strident. But I am on pilgrimage in this world, and though I have and will continue offer support to anyone who needs my help, I will not be joining any marches or political band wagons to eliminate racism, for they will not succeed!

Now, in spite of WCG's leadership many failings, my experience in WCG was very positive. It was Melvin Rhodes who encouraged me to go university. Also, the spokesman club has been a great help to me in my work as a business consultant, where I conduct weekly business seminars for potential entrepreneurs, and most of my clients are white! Without the spokesman's club training, conducting the seminars would have been an almighty challenge.

But above all, in WCG God taught me to focus on him and his righteousness, and not to allow the the behaviour or attitude of anyone to distract me from the hope that he has set before me. For as HWA used to say, "I have looked at the end of the book, and in the end, we win.!

Lussenheide said...

All:

Joshua Himes was an early Advent Christian minister and leader.

He was ordained in a group called "Christian Connexion", (thats right, with an x), an interesting group that did not believe in an everlasing hell fire, nor in the immortal sout.

The founder of the Church of God 7th Day was Gilber Cramner, was also a minister in Christian Connexion.

Joshua Himes was invaluable to William Lloyd Garrison, the author of "The Liberator" the most famous abolitionist newspaper. Both men were located in the Boston area and Garrison is quoted as saying that his work could not have been as great without Himes help.

Incidentally, Christian Connexion was also instrumental in other areas of social liberty including Womens Suffrage.

So not all of our Sabbatarian History is littered with unenlightened racism, and for this we can be proud.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

DennisDiehl said...

BB said:

"Why would we neccessarily assume that the battle instructions or Israelite war stories would be 100% accurate? God did not speak directly to the Israelite soldiers. Their prophets, priests, and kings generally relayed the instructions. Could they have embellished these instructions, being overly zealous?"

We would have to ask, I would think, at what point do we apologize for one kind of text and yet take others more to our liking as stated? How many verses on either side of these are wrong or embellished? How do we then not know the story of Abraham is embellished as well or the Exodus?

We tend to filter out the reprehensible and embrace the fluffy.

The account of Jephthah gives no indication that he did anything less than he said he would if God would do his part, which God is said to have done.

I was also making a point with this account for the comment made earlier that God ordered bad people killed by Israel for sacrficiing their children. Obviously, Israelites were not beyond the concept themselves.

Israelite culture was just as cultic as those of the ones around them. They were just as prone to polytheism and the status of women was just as bad as any one could imagine. I wonder what Mrs. Jephthah felt about all this? As property of Jephthah, it didn't matter.

Did Sarah ask Isaac, "your father almost did what!"

At any rate, to me, if we agree that the Bible has dicey, errant places, then one can never know which others are as well and the authority of the "Greatest Book ever written," falls apart. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The early Mormon's used the example of Israel and the OT to justify a lot of foolishness and in the process, as in Israel, a lot of people got hurt and killed along the way in the name of God.

If you go with the prophets, priests and kings could have embellished..then the whole book is gone, as they wrote it all, including the "thus saith the Lord"s.

They also wrote it long after the events they describe after years of oral history and in many cases, borrowing good, but ancient, stories from earlier cultures to create a history of their own.

It is more likely the five books of Moses were not written by a Moses. They were written by priests in the captivity of the 600's BC. This is a whole other diet of worms..:)

Anonymous said...

The 'BI' teaching has roots long before Mr A was born. From my pre- wcg contact with the idea,very few non-wcg from many denominations were racist. Nor was racism a feature at BW. As in BJU, was the race element largely an American attitude, and not derived from BI?

DennisDiehl said...

Greg said:
"The students (AC) were fond of reminding me that I was someone who should not exist because Native Americans should have been exterminated."

Un-freaking believable.

Anonymous said...

"As I mentioned in several other posts, I am not a scriptural inerrantist. That, to me, would be a totally indefensable position."


I don't understand how one can view some parts of the Bible as "embellished" while others, like the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as true. If this book has lies in it, than how can you trust any of it???

Paul

Neotherm said...

Anonymous wrote: "To focus on the WCG and overlook the policies of the United States, England, and Australia is to put one's head in the sand..."

This argument seems to emerge over and over again in some form. It is like the German who was asked about his Nazi affiliation and stated "everybody was a Nazi in those days."

What does the actions of the United States, England and Australia have to do with the actions of a Twentieth Century church? In particular, how doest Manifest Destiny cover the sins of Armstrongism.

The WCG got into the racism game after Manifest Destiny was extinct. The WCG's racism was virtually an anachronism. While the rest of the nation was moving towards greater tolerance, the WCG was solidifying the theological foundation under a new racism. It, thus, became a redoubt for many people who wanted to wrap themselves in the racist mantle for whatever reasons.

I believe that the WCG was not just a conforming wavelet in the great river of history. The WCG, in virtual isolation, began to flow against the stream.

-- Neo

DennisDiehl said...

"While the rest of the nation was moving towards greater tolerance, the WCG was solidifying the theological foundation under a new racism." Neo

I don't see that WCG dragged their feet any more slowly than anyone else that go to the Bible for anwers to such things.

One of the greatest con jobs ever perpetrated on humanity is the idea of the OT Israel conquering the land for God and their own chosenness. That has been the template for more insanity than just about any other form of exclusivity.

It's still out there and why lunatic Evangelicals and Fundies tell us that "God won't ever allow anyone to pick on Israel."

People around here still get offended when blacks are in line ahead of them and the joke about "I have nothing against black people. I think everyone should own a couple," is still told often and with feeling.

BJU'ers won't be free inside of it for another generation or two, if that.

Anonymous said...

(Dennis that was Neotherm who wrote how he was told he should not exist because he was Native American, not me.)

I have found a published statement from Herbert Armstrong from 1940approving of genocide--except this one was of the Turkish people.

"God has decreed that Joseph-Great Britain and the United States-are to utterly consume and annihilate the Turks from off the earth!" (Herbert Armstrong, The Plain Truth, Nov.-Dec. 1940, p. 7, cited at http://www.ccg.org/english/s/p269.html )

HWA apparently understood that to happen in this age too. In the Jan. 1963 Plain Truth HWA recommended U.S. bombing and invading and taking over Cuba, invoking the Canaanite-extermination analogy. "God commanded the Israelites to drive out all the inhabitants of Canaan--and to destroy all their idols and places of false worship. That is a pretty close parallel to the U.S. driving Castro and anti-God Communism out of Cuba."

I once submitted an article to Garner Ted Armstrong's magazine in which I characterized the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima as a national sin for America to repent of. Not surprisingly, the article was not published. GTA wrote me in explanation that he did not feel it his calling to get involved in political issues.

GregD

DennisDiehl said...

oh sorry Greg. I guess this accounts for the Native American pic but the name "Neotherm" :)

Sorry Neo. Actually I am sorry you had to endure such things. Reading the comments and experiences here has taught me so things about the topic I never really encountered. I guess the Dutch part of me

Greg, your accounts with Dr. Hoeh are very interesting. He was elusive on many many topics now that I think about it. It was just his way.

It's just what we meant in college when we wanted to publish a new booklet called:

"Just What Do You Mean, Dr. Vague?"

:)

However, one man's vague is another man's plague.

Anonymous said...

I believe (And will try to find the reference material where I read it) that Roosevelt (FDR) had proposed offering the state of Arizona as a homeland for displaced European Jewry in the aftermath of WWII and that it was flatly rejected by the Zionists out of hand in favor of establishing a Jewish state in what was then called Palestine.

I don't know what our American Indians would have thought of such a proposal since they have sizable lands in that state or if that would have even threatened the Indian lands but I have to imagine the world would be a wee bit less violent if the plan was approved.

Sorry Neo - I can't get my arms around the term 'Native Americans'. I've never been politically correct and probably never will be. Pocohontas, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Cochise, Geronimo, and Ira Hayes were all still called Indians when I was a boy. I played Cowboys and Indians, and sat Indian Style in school. Not sure exactly when the change in names took place, but I like Indian better.

Tom Mahon said...

I came to WCG after much of the institutional racist teachings and practices had been dismantled. Although I was told about some of the practices, especially the separation at people at social events and the FOT.

However, at this point in time, there is no point in me speculating as to what my reaction would have been if God had called me in the 60s. But if my understanding and disposition today, was the same in the 60s, my attendance with WCG would have been very short lived. For I would have condemned and confronted their heretical teachings, which are still embedded
in the minds of the ignorant, until today.

However, a brief outline of the bible's teaching on discrimination might be helpful. When God led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, he told them: "One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourned among you"(Ex.12:49). How come that WCG's ministry were blind to what this passage is teaching?

I find this ignorance astonishing and puzzling. It could only be result of supernatural blindness, inflicted on them by the twin evils of covetousness and greed!

Also, in the NT, Peter was given a vision by God to teach him that God is no respecter of persons. God then sent him to preach to the Gentile, Cornelius, on whom the Holy Spirit fell while Peter was speaking.

When Peter returned from the visit, he was confronted by racist members of the church. Peter then explained the vision he had and why he had visited Cornelius; and concluded thus: "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning...
For as much then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I that I could withstand God?"(Acts 11:15,17).

Yet some years later, we find Paul having to confront Peter about his discrimination against the Gentiles brethren at Antioch. The narrative is as follows: "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed"(which current or former WCG minister confronted Dr.Hoeh or HWA, because they were to be blamed?)"For before certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles:but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walk not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all...(Gals.2:11-14). You may read the passage if you so wish.

If Peter, Barnabas and other church members, who lived and walked with Christ could be guilty of racism, is it surprising that the ministry in WCG was also racist?

Anonymous said...

"Cowboys and Indians, and sat Indian Style in school. Not sure exactly when the change in names took place, but I like Indian better."

Ok Charlie, then Cowboy for you it is!

Although it is believed that the Indians originated in Asia, few if any of them came from India. The name "Indian" was first applied to them by Christopher Columbus , who believed mistakenly that the mainland and islands of America were part of the Indies, in Asia.

Byker Bob said...

Tom,

There was a long tradition amongst Jewish people regarding "Noahide", or "Noahchide" law. You have just provided some of the scriptural basis for this.

The Apostles knew of this tradition and, although he did not refer to Noahide law by name, Paul made a very eloquent case before the other Apostles in Jerusalem for holding Gentile believers not to Jewish law, but to the standards set by Noahide law. They, of course, agreed.

In the WCG, this point was rendered moot by British Israelism. We Anglo Saxon gentiles were reclassified by HWA as being Manasseh and Ephraim, with the consequence being that we were then under whatever HWA picked and chose as being "the law".

BB

Neotherm said...

Tom Mahon wrote: "If Peter, Barnabas and other church members, who lived and walked with Christ could be guilty of racism, is it surprising that the ministry in WCG was also racist?"

HWA, et al, were not guility of exactly the same thing that Peter and Barnabas were guilty of. They discrimminated against Gentiles not on a racial basis but on a spiritual basis. Jews did not want contact with Arabs. They did not intermarry with Arabs. Yet Arabs were of the same race as the Jews. They were closely related fellow Semites. The Jews did this because they were told by God that they were a special people, separate from The Nations.

Armstrongism implemented a biologically based racism. They referred to every creature of God breeding after its kind in Genesis. They felt that this applied to man as well. Miscegenation produced inferior people. Talents and capabilities were lost through racial admixture.

At one time the WCG believed that God had never intended for there to be races. The intent was that there would only be the White race. But mutations occured and this produced other kinds of people. They may well have believed that these mutations occurred because of sin, I am not sure about that.

Dean Blackwell in Wichita, Kansas in the late Sixties explained that this idea had been revised. He stated then that God built into the ovaries of Eve all the genetic variety needed to produce the races and that is where races came from. This is an interesting insight into race in the early WCG.
He also taught at the same time, that other races were intended to serve "Israel". Just like the British Empire brought other nations on earth under its Colonial Government, "Israel" would rule over all nations in the World Tomorrow.

Implicit in this pseudo-science is the idea that if a tribe of people came from a specific ovum in Eve, that they represented a different biological kind and should breed true.

So a Black man could not marry a White woman because God forbade that in Genesis. Further, Blacks belonged to a servant class. This was all a matter of the gene pool and not a spiritual issue as in the case of the Jews in their relationship with the Gentiles.

In fact, "Israelites" could marry White Gentiles. Thus an English man could marry a German woman. There was no biological concern here. Although a mystery is that I knew of a Hispanic guy at Big Sandy who wanted to marry an Anglo girl. They were both AC graduates. They were not permitted to marry, but he was very light skinned and looked like a European Hispanic. I do not know why this decision was made in this way. I know that the Nazis did not believe in Nordic people intermarrying with Mediterranean people because they believed the latter were mixed with North African Moorish ancestry. Maybe there is a connection here.

It would be interesting to discover who originated the WCG eugenics policies. Was it HWA? Was it Hoeh? No doubt there are files kept by the old Church Administration Department that would be revealing if anyone could access them. I know that difficult racial decisions were referred to the CAD. Somewhere there is a handbook detailing the racial policies of the pre-1995 WCG. It would be interesting to see whose name is on this document.

-- Neo

camfinch said...

Back to the subject of segregated seating at church: When we started attending WCG services in 1967 in Greensboro, NC (I was fourteen years old), we of course had segregated seating, as did probably all WCG congregations in the South (and perhaps in some other areas). Because of the fact that outside the South I believe that seating was generally integrated (others from other areas at the time can confirm or correct me), I always assumed, even years after departing the fold, that the reason (which was given to us by the ministry) for the segregation was because the South was only then beginning to change its racial history. Public schools were in the process of becoming integrated, and the society was changing in so many ways, but it was feared (as someone earlier mentioned regarding seating at the FOT at Big Sandy years ago) that local people might be offended or enraged if we all sat "together". It was the same explanation for having separate social events.

Outside the South, were there separate socials for different "races"? At any rate, by the early 70's and my departure for Pasadena in the fall of '71, seating over much of the South had become integrated, as had social events. It was a change that I was very glad to see; I had good friends among the black teenagers especially, and thought it silly that we had to sit separately, and socialize separately. Of course, we still couldn't even think about dancing together at those socials!

Anonymous said...

Ronald Dart, deputy chancellor of AC Big Sandy 1972-75, wrote to me that the racism in the WCG was so deeply entrenched that not even Herbert Armstrong himself could have changed it. Dart:

"The segments in your paper on race relations are an interesting illustration of the problem of change in any organization. There were many of us who were uncomfortable with the college's policy, but not even Herbert W. Armstrong could change that policy by fiat--amazing as that sounds. Racial feelings were too deeply rooted in everyone concerned, and there are some changes that have to be made over time as people grow and learn. They cannot be forced. I believe this is one of those questions."

The notion that Herbert Armstrong could not have changed the racism in the WCG is difficult for me to believe. But that is what Dart claimed.

GregD

Neotherm said...

Greg:

I believe what Dart wrote about this. When you look at the part of society that the WCG lay members came from back in the Sixties, you can understand why. The Wichita, Kansas congregation in 1968 was remarkably homogeneous. Blue collar workers, limited education, limited income, almost all White.

Although it is hard to imagine any issue being bigger the HWA.

After Pasadena had created the Frankenstein monster, they could not get rid of it without alienating the base. This would translate directly into a reduction of tithe receipts.

Also, my guess is that this attitude towards races is still entrenched in the current Armstrongite derivative churches.

-- Neo

DennisDiehl said...

Well Neo..all I can say is...
Shook-mani-took-tonka Oh wachee

:)

Kscribe said...

Speaking of race, here is a idea even Herb would love!  Sense of humor required...

Questeruk said...

In the late 1970’s I gave a speech at a spokesman’s club ladies night, about the ‘Native American’ Chief Joseph, from the Nez Perce tribe, who tried to lead his people to the ‘safety’ of Canada, having to fight off the US Military virtually all the way.

I greatly admired this man, and in the speech paralleled him to being similar to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt.

The speech went down well, there were no adverse comments. Neither were there any follow-up comments from the ministry after the event. This was in England, so I don’t know what would have happened in southern USA.

Incidentally, I noticed that the UCG had a recent article quoting this same Chief Joseph in a very positive light.

Anonymous said...

"There were many of us who were uncomfortable with the college's policy, but not even Herbert W. Armstrong could change that policy by fiat--amazing as that sounds."

Yes, it sounds very amazing, perhaps even far-fetched, considering HWA could change doctrinal stances by fiat (Pentecost, Make-up) when those doctrines were deeply ingrained in the psyches and lives of every member of the church- and the members accepted the new doctrines without much trouble (except for the enormous mental strain it must put on the brain to have to wrangle with that kind of COGnitave dissonance). While HWA coulndn't have rooted out racism in the hearts of evermy member, he could have easily issued a thunderous edict and at least expelled racism from policy and public speech. To think otherwise is being naive or dishonest Dart is full of it.

Paul

DennisDiehl said...

"Everywhere the White man has touched the earth, it is sore."

"Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?"
Red Jacket-Seneca

"We did not ask you white men to come here. The Great Spirit gave us this country as a home. You had
yours. We did not interfere with you."
Crazy Horse

"Did you know that trees can talk. Well they do. They talk to each other and they'll talk to you if you listen. Trouble is, white people don't listen. They never learned to listen to the Indians, so I don't suppose they will listen to the other voices in nature."
Walking Buffalo

In our war, money, stuff, debt, consume and religious insanity of the day, we have lost touch with the earth.

"The Spirit of the land hates them."
Wintu Woman

Anonymous said...

"No doubt there are files kept by the old Church Administration Department that would be revealing if anyone could access them. I know that difficult racial decisions were referred to the CAD."

The WCG's version of the Stasi files? You just know Junior had minions shredding them even as they were lowering Senior into the ground.........

Neotherm said...

Dennis:

An interesting part of Indian history is the ghost dance movement in the Northern Plains. The Sioux and some other tribes became convinced that Christ was going to return and save them. They believed the Messiah was going to come and restore the earth to a pristine state.

The ghost dance referred not to something creepy at all but was a reference to resurrected Indians. The term ghost could better be rendered "spirit". They believed the Messiah would resurrect their dead ancestors and relatives. The dance was meant to represent these resurrected Indians.

The plains Indians had hit the end of their rope and in desperation looked to Christ. I recall reading that a Government official told the US Cavalry that there was no more reason to attack these Indians than to attack the Seventh Day Adventists. This fell on deaf ears and the ghost dance movement was crushed and many Indians were killed or subjugated.

Putting all these ideas together in my mind, I can envision desperate Indians, faced with extermination, appealing to Christ to save them and devout Armstrongists standing on the side lines applauding at their destruction. It makes a bizarre but conceptually accurate picture.

-- Neo

camfinch said...

"The speech went down well, there were no adverse comments. Neither were there any follow-up comments from the ministry after the event. This was in England, so I don’t know what would have happened in southern USA."

In the "Old South", the issue wasn't about Native Americans, it was about African-Americans. And by the late 70's, even that would not have been so much of an issue, proclaimeth I, who might be a bit naive on the subject. The extremely disturbing information from Neotherm and others about ministers openly saying that Native Americans should have been extinguished lays a layer of bricks on Armstrongist ideology that seems to kill whatever life could conceivably remain in that system.

I can never recall hearing such teachings in my time at college and in the church. Yes, I heard mild racism (and maybe, were I not Caucasian, the racism would've seemed more than "mild"), but not the advocating of genocide in the cause of opening lands for "Israelites".

To give some credit where credit is due: the pastor in Greensboro in the late 60's to early 70's was Roger Foster (who I believe is now a UCG minister). I distinctly remember him giving a strong warning against anyone in the congregation who would advocate a "rebellious" attitude of yearning for the old Confederacy. While my own opinions these days about the desirability of secession from the larger nation tends to favor such action (under certain rules), I took his meaning really to be that any white people in the congregation should be on notice that racism was ungodly and had no place in the church. Because "pro-Confederacy" was a code-term for "racist".

I have to give him that one.

Byker Bob said...

All of the pros and cons, the possible rationales, and the outright excuses made for HWA/WCG fall flat when we remember one bit of history. Los Angeles had never been part of the Confederacy (and, please, everybody, not all Rebels are Racist). I can assure everyone that virtually nobody outside of a handful of hate groups in the greater Los Angeles area would have objected to mixed seating in WCG sabbath services. Frankly, these were closed to the general public in the first place.

So, why, going well into the 1970s did we have L.A #1, L.A #2, and L.A #3 churches? And, if you guessed the ethnic makeup of these churches, you'd probably be right.

Later on in the decade, some of the top ministers were heard to remark, "Oh, well, we just kind of assumed you people would want your own church congregations!"

BB

Anonymous said...

Old habits are hard to break...

At the Hotel Patton in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I called a bellboy to my room. In those days the customary tip was a dime. A half dollar then had about the same effect
that a $20 bill would have today. I laid a silver half dollar on the dresser. ‘Do you see that
half dollar, son?’ I asked. ‘Yes, Sir!’ he answered, eyes sparkling in anticipation. After ascertaining that he would be still on duty at 6:30 next morning, I said, ‘If you will pound on that door in the morning at 6:30, until I let you in, and then stay in this room and prevent me from getting back into bed until I am dressed, then you may have that half dollar.’

I found those bellboys would, for a half dollar tip, even wrestle or fight with me to prevent my crawling back into bed.

camfinch said...

"So, why, going well into the 1970s did we have L.A #1, L.A #2, and L.A #3 churches? And, if you guessed the ethnic makeup of these churches, you'd probably be right."

BB, you're so right; it wasn't just segregated seating in southern congregations up until about 1970, it was the fact that in metropolitan areas where there were plenty of church members, congregations were established by "race". I remember that there was an African-American congregation in the Chicago area, for instance. Thanks for reminding me about the segregation of L.A. churches.

Anonymous said...

"I laid a silver half dollar on the dresser. ‘Do you see that
half dollar, son?’ I asked. ‘Yes, Sir!’ he answered, eyes sparkling in anticipation."

Jesus save us! Garner Ted has risen from the grave and he's posting on AW!!


Paul

Anonymous said...

I believe there are reasons to suggest that according to genetics all of us are descended from a single 'mid-brown' family - 'Adam'. (It's unlikely evolution produced two identical families.) All genetic traits were in that family, and as their progeny dispersed sub-groups produced racial characteristics - including skin colour, determined by how much or how little melanin was in each, from ebony to albino. Any geneticists out there?

So no excuse for prejudice.

Anonymous said...

Confronting Racist Hooey,is just that, a bunch of hooey by disgruntled folks, in most cases, who can't take responsibility for themselves.

I knew Dr. Hoeh for years. Had many hours with him in and out of class.

Virtually none of what is said here about him in this distorted negative way is accurate. Mostly it is fantasy from minds looking for an excuse for their own failings.

Racism? On whose terms? I spent most of my youth overseas and knew nothing about racism in America until after I went to college. Where I discovered it was in a bus trip across country, not at AC.

It seems that those who already have a bent toward racism are the ones who see racism in the teachings of the wcg.

The distortions about separate churches, etc. are based on an assumption and not the reason that there were in some cities separate churches.

Now, on the positive side Dr. Hoeh was more than a gentleman, and kind beyond belief compared to the drivel posted about him on this site.

I find that the more I read here the more I question the negatives about the people I knew and see the negatives in the people here who criticize while still in a childish mind.

Clovis points? Big deal. Dr. Hoeh knew when to answer a challenge and when not to. He knew it wouldn't make a difference to someone already set in mind, so he didn't waste his time arguing.

Bob

Anonymous said...

"Bob", why is it I have this wild suspicion you're white? Never mind, just a wild guess.

You write: "Racism? On whose terms?"

Uh, maybe blacks? native Americans? hispanics? US courts? Dictionary definition?

Perhaps total exclusion of blacks from Imperial Schools, and from Ambassador College Bricket Wood, for decades simply because of the color of their skin and no other reason, in keeping with articles by Herbert Armstrong and Hoeh, doesn't qualify as racism to you.

Could it be that's because you are white and not black or native american?

"Who May Attend Our Schools?", H.L. Hoeh, Good News, March 1958.

"Because Abraham was the first to be willing to give up fellowship with the world, God has made it possible [at Imperial Schools] for his [Abraham's] fleshly children to be the first to enjoy a fuller social fellowship with one another in the church ... that is why God has guided His Church to commence its Grade and High Schools for the children of racial Israelites FIRST....

"[C]onverted Israelites (who are Semitic) may intermarry with converted Semitic Germans, West Slavs, Armenians and Syrians (who are all sons of Shem), and with non-Semitic Whites such as Russians (who are from Meshech, Tubal and Madai--the sons of Japheth) and Greeks (who are of Javan, the son of Japheth) and Italians (who are of Javan and of the Tyrians from Sidon, the son of Canaan). These are all of the White racial stock (though they may have come from different sons of Noah) and are permitted to attend Ambassador College and the present Imperial Grade and High Schools....

"Because our Latin American brethren are not basically of the same race as Israelites, they will have to solve the problem of schooling for their children in the same manner as do most of our Israelite brethren who are not attending our schools..."

[i.e. no Imperial Schools for your kids, wrong race, sorry]

Does exclusion of Hispanic and black children from an all-white Imperial Schools seem right to you?

I have never known a black WCG member from those days, no matter how otherwise faithful and believing, who did not see the WCG of that era as racist or, as one euphemistically phrased it to me, as having "had some issues". Have you? Even Tom Mahon, an almost lonely voice on this list otherwise defending HWA and the old WCG with great passion, doesn't deny that HWA and WCG were racist. He says (and I believe him--however much I disagree with him in other areas I do not doubt his courage) that if he were there in those days he would have opposed it.

Did you ever oppose it when you were there? Not your problem, eh? Excluding blacks and hispanics just peachy to you? Out of sight, out of mind?

I agree Hoeh was a gentleman and a nice person. That, however, is not the issue here.

Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to condemn "Neotherm" if you haven't walked in his shoes. A lot of God's children were needlessly and stupidly hurt by these policies and attitudes. It is one thing where there is true repentance and attempt to repair what is broken. Some have, and I look for a world in which there will be full healing of all hurts and wounds. Others remain in denial and, as in your case, engage in name-calling directed at those who were hurt.

GregD

Henri said...

The irony is that the WCG in Cape Town were pioneers in social interracial mixing, compared to other WCG churches in the country. The quality of our mixing - friendships, ease of mixing, etc., I found to be superior to other mixed situations in the country - churches, universities, etc., where the warmth we in WCG had for each other was not evident. The apartheid laws let WCG off the hook in South Africa on some of the stuff that Neotherm was subject to. In the WCG Regional Office, non-white staff were paid less than white staff, because the latter's living expenses were higher (same justification for my father - "coloured" - being paid half the salary of a white teacher).

Craig White from Australia, firm devotee of HWA, reports on oconversation with Hoeh, which leaves no doubt that he still believed in "Old Covenant" doctrines, and that he didn't buy into the pretentious and illogical dross dished up by Joey and friends.

The Third Witness said...

On the "time off for holy days" issue (which must strike a chord with many of us), I just saw this item on CNN.com.

I remember a WN article (late 70s?) about the lack of legal protection for US church members wanting time off work to keep the Sabbath at that time. A member in the UK (by the way, Greetings, Tom! it was Cliff Marsh – do you remember him, by any chance?) wrote a letter in response (which was published in the WN), pointing out that in Britain there was even less legal protection in the field of religion at that time but that, nevertheless, in every case he personally knew of, those who lost their job over keeping the Sabbath "ALWAYS" [emphasis his] found a better job afterwards. Fast-forward to today and it's interesting how people's general approach has changed since then.

Like Gavin, I strongly agree that a good employer will try to accommodate a good employee in cases like this, and I'm also curious to know what sort of legal rights there are in the US (and, indeed, in the UK) these days, as I'm way out of touch with the situation in both jurisdictions. Anybody up to speed on this who'd care to comment?

Anonymous said...

UK law on religious discrimination is now forged in the EU. Try the following:

http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/dvsequl/relgdisc/relgdisc.htm

The Third Witness said...

Many thanks for posting that most informative link! It's really helpful.

On the other side of the "Pond", I imagine both state and federal laws are involved. Is the situation "better" in some states than in others? Or is every US citizen basically in the same boat?

Lussenheide said...
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Lussenheide said...
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sue said...

Neotherm stated:

"But there is a notable difference. Armstrongites advocate that the following people should be entirely exterminated:

North American Indians
Inuit
Lapplanders
Australian Aborigines
Maoris
South African Blacks
Polynesians

In short, any people who occupied the land before the arrival of so-called "Israelites".

Advocacy of genocide is an alarming position for any church to take and greatly differentiates the Armstrongite churches from just run-of-the-mill racist churches.

Would the Texas State Government, if they knew that the UCG advocated genocide, permit them to move into the State of Texas, as they currently plan to do?

Would any State have them?
Would Ohio permit them to continue to function?"

I have found this tread interesting and I did read all of Neotherm's correspondence with HH. To me, Neotherm's letters were very "authentic" and he spoke from the heart about his experiences. And I believe he is honest about his experiences. HH was well known for his evasive answers. When the changes in WCg began to happen, no one knew where HH stood on the issues...not even at the time of his death, so it is no wonder he was evasive about this stuff also.

Having been in the WCG from 1965-1995, I do know of racist attitudes. I can only draw from my own experiences. As a teen I had a black friend in the WCG. Of course at activities, like dances, blacks could only dance with blacks and whites with whites. My friend was allowed to come to my house for a day activity, but not allowed to stay overnight. This was not my parent's rule, but the pastor's, although my parent's abided by it. It was upsetting to me at the time, and still is when I think about it.

My ancestry contains some Native American...but a small percentage. My maternal grandmother looked very NA...and it was she who was part NA. I also have Irish, English, German...and just recently in looking over a lengthy geneology my dad has done...apparently also some Spanish and French.

Our first FOT was in Jekyll Island, GA. One racist thing happened that I recall...we were camping that year and found the designated camp grounds. We set up camp. Along came a police car and the officer told my dad we had to move. Dad of course asked why...he informed us we had to leave because we were in the black campground!! So we moved to the white campground.

On the way home from the Feast we went to services somewhere in the South...not sure what state....probably Carolinas. the congregation was a mixture of blacks and whites. We were told not to intermix outside the building. Inside was OK...there was no segregation that I could tell. The reason we were told was because the KKK was active in the area and it was to avoid any problems from them with the local members. If there was more to it than that, we were not told.

Of course I am well aware of the interracial marriage rules in WCG and I do consider that a racist issue. That should be decided by the couple marrying. Period.

I have to say, in the 30 years in WCG and then 10 in UCG...I never heard the stuff about that Native Americans should have been exterminated. But I do not doubt that Neotherm in fact endured what he says that he endured. Could it be that this degree of hatred only existed in some circles in WCG?

I do have to take exception with Neotherm in some of the above however.

I never heard in UCG that any of the above mentioned groups, or any other groups for that matter should be exterminated. And I knew fairly well some of the head haunchos in UCG, and never heard anything like that. And I do not know of ANY members who ever said anything like that. Also, I think Neotherm might be surprised who some of the head haunchos of UCG children are married to...yes different races...and I mean black and white. Like I said that should be up to the individuals involved and no one else. So hopefully, some of the very, very top guys in UCG are not advocating genocide of these races, or any mixed children (their grand children).

Having said that...I will relay one incident of a local UCG member who was quite racist. This fellow was and is a hot tempered guy. At a dinner with several couples a few years ago this issue came up...I believe because of some of the interracial marriages going on. He bacame quite animated and stated that if his son married a black woman, he would disown him and if they had children, they would not be acknowledged as his grandchildren by him. We were all shocked and said things like, oh, you can't mean that...but he was quite firm...he said he would never see his own grandchildren if they were half black. Well, his son did go on to have an out of wedlock child, but that did not seem to be a problem...well, at least after he admitted after some months, that he had a grandchild.
But this guy is known for his rants on a variety of subjects, so you get the picture. His wife sat in embarrassed silence as she often does when he does one of his rants.

Also, one time an elder & wife who were outraged that a black fellow sat too close to a white girl at a YOU activity....and it wasn't the fact that they were sitting too close, but the race thing was the big issue.

Part of the reason we left UCG...because these were the people that the pastor seemed to hold up in esteem...and also by some in the hierarchy. As well as a whole string of other reasons.

So as in all other issues, I don' think a broad brush can be painted with to put everyone in this group or that group into a racist or nonracist category. I think there were racists in WCG...including some at the top, but I also think there were those who were not racist.

Sue

sue said...

I do have to add one thing to my last post. Without telling him anything about this thread on AW I asked him if he had ever heard anyone say anything in WCG to the effect that Native Americans should have been exterminiated. He said yes he had. But he said not in the local area or from a local pastor. And then he added that he thought it came from Dr. Hoeh and the Compendium. Then he added that it came from the idea that because the Israelites were to kill the Canaanites, so the "modern day Israelites" should have done the same. I then told him about this thread on AW. Of course he doesn't agree with this, but since I had never heard it, I was surprised when he had!!
So even though I did believe Neotherm, I really have no doubt since Jim said the same thing without even knowing why I was asking him about it.

Just glad to be away from those disgusting attitudes!!

Sue

sue said...

OOPPSS I think I accidentally deleted from my last post..it was my husband Jim that I was talking to...

Sue