Tuesday 10 June 2008

Dumping Weinland: the first step

Weinland is busy pretending he never said what he said: an act of unmitigated cowardice IMHO. But the real question is, why does anyone now continue to follow the guy?

Imagine attending the COG-PKG services last Sabbath knowing all the over-the-top predictions Weinland has made, none of which has a snowball's chance in hell of coming true. Imagine passively sitting there while the clown - strutting and preening - goes through a "business as usual" routine. Imagine then turning around and signing yet another tithe check over to this insanely wrong ministry?

Someone in the comments section pleads: In my opinion, I think Ron and his wife, Laura, are sincere. I believe they are genuinely deceived. I'll spare you all of the details, but I have known both of them for many years and they are good people who think they are doing what God wants them to do.


Genuinely deceived in proclaiming themselves as the Two Witnesses? Genuinely deceived into cursing those who stand up to their pretensions with cancer? Genuinely deceived into setting dates then acting as though they have amnesia? Genuinely deceived into claiming that God shares special revelations with Ron... How does that happen?

I think we'll have to redefine "good people."

To their credit, a number of members have apparently walked out of the Weinland cult in the wake of his self-evident failure to live up to his own lunatic predictions. But why is anybody still hanging around?

I usually haven't got much sympathy for the "blame the victims" brigade. After all, many decent folk were recruited into the WCG (or a splinter) because they were:

(a) young
(b) naive
(c) inexperienced
(d) idealistic
(e) uneducated
(f) going through a life crisis where easy, instant answers were appealing
(g) a combination of two or more of the above

But surely even the densest, most unsophisticated, wet-behind-the-ears individual would have enough gumption - assuming they can tie their own shoelaces - to see that Ronald Weinland now has zero credibility, and that they've been made to look fools as well.

Understandably, it takes some time for people to detach themselves from failed causes. After swallowing the bait, working your way off the hook may take a while. But to any such folk, it's worth remembering that every great journey begins with a single step.

Step 1: cut off the Weinland tithes! Ron has clearly proven that he's incompetent as a prophet, minister or balanced human being. To continue sending him money is irresponsible in the extreme.

Step 2 will become clear once you action step 1!

Rodney Lain, one of the more interesting characters in the early years of WCG dissolution, had a nice slogan:
Free your mind... and your behind will soon follow

I can't think of any better advice.


Anonymous said...

"...But why is anybody still hanging around?"

I would submit that people are still hanging around in Weinland's organization for the same reason there are still people in WCG.

Think about it.

Corky said...

Weinland is busy pretending he never said what he said: an act of unmitigated cowardice IMHO.

It's business as usual actually. It's what "they" do, it's what they are - liars and deceivers.

Truly, "they have their reward" and they must be more atheist than I am or else they know something I don't. I wouldn't trade places with them for all the money in the world - karma, ya know.

Anonymous said...

There are people in the WCG sincerely waiting for God to clean it up, drag it back to "the truth."

I guess they know each other, enjoy one another's company, and enjoy complaining about the real or imagined Tkach apostasy -- not to mention remembering the incredibly entertaining attractions and foibles of the Armstrong heyday. As one man put it, "Not everyone can boast of having a soap opera in his own backyard."

Where can disgruntled members find greener pastures now? After all they've been through what church can offer something more exciting than their own fellowship? So they stick around to talk about the good old days.

But the Two Witnesses, Weinland and spouse? Can they begin to compare with HWA's early radio broadcasts, GTA's singing on HeeHaw!, Basil Wolverton's horrifying prophetic art, Herman L. Hoeh, entertaining the Queen of Thailand, hugging The Beast -- and flying Luciano Pavarotti across the ocean to sing on one's own campus?

I see why some people still hang around the Armstrong legacy, but Weinland is another story, perhaps a little less exciting. He's gonna start his new career real soon, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I think we'll find an easy out for Ron in his realizing that God was displeased in his selecting his wife as Witness 2.

Once we get back to the faith once delivered concerning women preaching in the church and abide by the rules, Ron can repent, select a real second witness, God will be happy, and time can be short again when Ron gets around to understanding the reboot.

Anonymous said...

Some members generate their own spin and damage control -- I can remember justifying a building fund and other long-range plans still running prior to 1972.

Rod got the stick and carrot right, it's always 3-5 years away.

Anonymous said...

Have read over your list of reasons for RW's followers who are staying on. From my own observations, here are a few more.

Fear of saying they were wrong. These people have spent countless hours defending RW's prophecies with friends/family etc. As a result of this, they have become alienated from the very people with whom they had a life with. Now their life is built on RW, his brand of church and the other followers. Where do they go now???

Fear of not being special anymore. Specially 'called', special to have 'revealed understanding of prophecies'. Special not to be part of 'the world's problems'; rather a solution to them. This 'calling' became their primary purpose in living - to just 'stop' could be liked rapid drug withdrawal - lonely & painful.

A number of these people had significant loss and in their lives just prior to 'hooking up' with this group. Job loss, relationship loss, retirement etc. Part of any loss is sadness/depression and quite possibly the loss was replaced with being 'part of' this group.

My hope is that those who love them will gently guide them to some professional support/counselling to help them in their healing processess.

Anonymous said...

Good people? I beg to differ. A genuine "good" person would tell you to go to your bible and see what God says. He would not tell you what God says, and then tell you you have to tithe to me for telling you what God wants you to do.

Anonymous said...

Re: blaming the victims

Looking back, I have no idea why I was so passive. I have no idea why I applied a double standard regarding Herbert Armstrong's failed prophecies, but I did. I'd grown up believing he was God's man for the end of the age and it took twenty plus more years for me to wake up. Even then, it was difficult to break away. I could have lost my husband and daughters in the process, and that was no small consideration. I had to wait for the right time, which took another several years. Looking back, if I had acted much sooner, things would not have worked out as well for me and my family. It's important to remember that being brainwashed is only part of the problem. We never know what is in the mind of another person, even when we think we do know.

Anonymous said...

Gavin ... you might want to put a blog entry pointing your readers to the section of my Field Guide website titled

When Prophecy Fails

I've noticed that the When Prophecy Fails book by Leo Festinger is becoming a popular topic on exWCG forums, particularly those which have sprung up around the Weinland fiasco. If you Google "When Prophecy Fails," my website article is the second return, right after the Wikipedia article on the topic. It's been one of the largest draws to my site since I put it up in 2001.

In the article I sum up the book, and apply its findings in particular to the WCG and Jehovah's Witnesses. I happened to have read the Festinger book for a graduate course in Social Psychology at Michigan State University right in the middle of my own involvement with the WCG in 1974, just after the 1972 debacle. (Along with The True Believer by Eric Hoffer.) Naive young thing that I was at the time (I was 28)I thought that the conclusions presented in the book were profoundly true ... and MY cult was the only one that was the "exception that proves the rule." :-) I later came to see that I had been sadly mistaken, and I had been just as deluded as all the others I read about in the book. I chronicle some of my own experiences in the article.

It's almost like the "Stages of Grief" ... check out the article to understand the "Stages of Disillusionment" that are almost impossibl to avoid for people involved in Apocalyptic movements.


Anonymous said...

I second Pam's urgings to read When Prophecy Fails. Also read Lifton.

Have more members left since Pentecost? The ideal outcome would be for all of them to leave. Idealism is what got us all into the WCG mess in the first place.

I have seen ex-members here there and everywhere voice the opinion quite strongly that the Witless Weinlands are demonic themselves and being controlled by Satan.

That's bunk to put it politely. The Whinelands know exactly whereof they don't witness and the only thing they're attracting isn't god's wrath --- it's the peoples' wealth. And they know it. Boy howdy do they know it.

What can you do?

DennisDiehl said...

Gavin asks: "How does that happen?"

"At one time, human nature was split in two, an executive part called a god, and a follower part called a man.
Neither part was Consciously aware.

According to Julian Jaynes, ancient people in the bicameral state would function in a manner similar to that of a modern-day schizophrenic.

Rather than making conscious evaluations in novel or unexpected situations, the person would hallucinate a voice or "god" giving admonitory advice or commands, and obey these voices without question.

Others have argued that this state of mind is recreated in members of cults

In psychology, bicameralism is a controversial hypothesis which argues that the human brain once assumed a state known as a bicameral mind in which cognitive functions are divided between one part of the brain which appears to be "speaking," and a second part which listens and obeys.

Julian Jaynes made the case that the bicameral mentality was the normal state of the human mind everywhere as recently as 3000 years ago. He used governmental bicameralism metaphorically to describe this state, where the stored up experience of the right hemisphere was transmitted to the left hemisphere via auditory hallucinations. This mental model was replaced by the conscious mode of thought, which Jaynes argues is based on metaphorical language"

When writing came, it opened up the mind to opinion and self examination.

This might explain my own question about why the early OT seems so robotic. "God says, I do" and there is no emotion or introsprection. Isaac didn't care if dad almost killed him. Mothers don't object to daughters being sacrificed or thrown to the crowd. Prophets just yak.

Jaynes says the Illiad shows the same robotic writing with no self in it. The Oddesy, Oddisy, Oddasy..that other one..shows much more consciousness, emotion and introspection.

Bottom line, deeply deluded bicameral "god speaks in the left brain and I obey the voice in the right" minds still run religion. Religion is the results of trying to get back to hearing the voice of God in the head when it appeared the gods had gone away. Along with sacrifices, prayer and giving to appease and get them to return.

Long story.

DennisDiehl said...

PS In other words, Ron and the overly "god haunted" are "bi"....cameral.


Anonymous said...

Psychology Today had an article on "The Sting" three decades ago or so.

The basic premise is that "The Sting" is based on investment: One people invest in something, they are tied to getting a "profit". No matter that often the "profit" is payoff of the "prophet".

As people see "The Sting" failing, they make the assumption that they can save their investment by putting more money and other resources into it. This becomes a spiral where people invest more and more to save their commitment until the whole thing collapses on them and they realize they've been had.

This is a better explanation than any of the above, and in the realm of Occam's Razor, this is probably the best explanation.

Beyond that, the best solution is to bail out as early as possible when it is apparent that "The Sting" isn't going to produce the expected results and is heading toward bankruptcy.

The real problem is that -- and especially these days -- people are tied to their emotions and allow the emotional content of how they feel override logic. Without objectivity unburdened by emotional baggage, people remain slaves to "The Sting" to their own detriment -- while, ironically, feeling good about it, not unlike how a host often feels with a parasite hanging off of them.

Anonymous said...

As for the demons, these come not out but by prayer and fasting.

Whether anyone believes Jesus or not, religious folk would do well to seek the Will of God -- if they believe that sort of thing -- well before they become involved in "The Sting" set up by such as Uncle Ron.

Anonymous said...

Gavin, I believe your real question is, "How do we help get people out of this cult?". That should be seen as a good thing. Most of us are sincerely appalled by the lingering stench of Armstrongism keeping people in slavery, and that, for no particularly good reason: People should wake up and smell the coffee, but they just stay with it and stay with it and stay with it. They just don't want to give up their addiction or they are afraid to do so.

It is only when it becomes so bad that there isn't much option left but to leave that they do.

However, there are a number of things which can be done to facilitate and speed up the process.

It's more complicated than it might seem.

One approach is the one we chose: Get a project manager, bring together former Directors, Secretaries, Treasurers and other church corporate officers, gather the facts and then work together with the project team to target the victims to get them free.

This sort of effort is resource intensive. It also takes a great deal of persistence, innovation and, especially, courage.

With the coxcult project, there was a significant danger associated with the effort. The cultmeister was a lot smarter and dangerous than Ron Weinland could ever hope to be. During the project, any number of websites were taken down to prevent the truth from getting out. The Painful Truth was taken out. Other websites were under significant threats. Some blogs went off the air. It took significant courage to stand up to the onslaught.

The project was finally rewarded when the cult leader shot himself in the foot. Christians: 80, Lions: 20. People who today find Ron Weinland an easy target folded up and stole away in fear and embarrassment. It wasn't a popular effort because of risk. It wasn't any fun.

The problem with attempting to assist people to find freedom is, first of all, they don't want it. The next challenge is that it can be dangerous. It is also difficult. Finally, it isn't all that much fun.

Efforts such as the current one to take down Uncle Ronnie, is easy and fun because it is infotainment. It's popular. Try something that isn't and watch while people abandon you. They might not even wish you good luck as they flee for their lives. They make it really clear that you embarrass them.

Sometimes that is what it takes. And the results will never be anywhere perfect. In the case of the coxcult project, yes, about 80 people left and about 20 are left, but most of the 80 people went off to form their own group with exactly the same belief system but without their Draconian Psychopath Leader. It has not even yet occurred to them that, in the words of Mark Lax, he "worships Satan, after all", that there might be something with the man made religion he created.

If people really want to make a difference, then they might just want to ask how a "successful" [semi-successful] project was run.

The suspicion here is though, that there isn't that much sincerity to people who claim they want to help others. They are in it for the emotional fulfillment of the entitlement of having their say and going their way, which may have benefit, but it will be, at best, minimal, and at worst, actually do victims harm.

Anonymous said...

Just a few more words and we're done here:

People with Weinland believe that they believe the Bible. They don't, of course, but they need to come to the accommodation that:

1) They've been committing idolatry according to Scriptural standards, if they even care about that sort of thing;

2) They are disobeying a direct order from Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:15 when he said "Beware of false prophets" -- and therefore need to repent of that sin;

3) They are not seeking the Will of God, but following a man;

4) They are deceiving themselves.

At minimum, if they can come to those realizations, and if they have the courage of their convictions, they will do the right thing and leave Ron Weinland behind.

Expecting them to become atheists immediately really isn't a viable solution and is extremely unhelpful.

And the best thing would be for others who have been with Uncle Ron to come here and share how they came out of it, because that would be the witness with the greatest credibility.

Anonymous said...

Do you know that your blog produces pop-ups? They are caught by my antivirus as virus threats. If it continues, I will stop visiting this site.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Check your browser and virus scan settings. I don't have any issues with this site from any computer I use.

Anonymous said...

My wife is caught up with Weinland. The appeal to her is not as much with his prophecies, but with his Biblically-based admonitions. It shows me that Satan can even use the truth to deceive. Also, Weinland makes statements like "all of the church is asleep" and "I am not asleep so if you're with me you're one of the few special people of God. Not only will you save your skin, but you will have great power as one of the few found pleasing to God." This is, of course, typical cult-building rhetoric that plays especially to the self-righteous.

Neotherm said...

Anonymous wrote: "Also, Weinland makes statements like "all of the church is asleep" and "I am not asleep so if you're with me you're one of the few special people of God."

This reminds me of what happened in my WCG church area when the congregation collapsed back in the mid-Nineties. We went from a congregation of about 80 in 1995, on a good day, to about 13 by
1998. In the summer of 1998, the church was adjourned.

Our WCG pastor, in a large city about 100 miles away, was made "dual career". Our little group was left to a local elder and his wife.

The local elder had theoretically become orthodox in his beliefs but he used many cult techniques. He was fond of telling people that they were not Christian and that the person needed to be obedient to him and his wife to be Christian.

He once stated from the pulpit "I have the Holy Spirit and if you do not agree with me then you are not converted." Oddly, most of the people the little congregation at the time, seemed to not even hear this alarming statement.

If you talked with this couple and agreed with something that they said, they would look at each other with this creepy smile and one would way "he/she understands!". It was as if they had the corner on some special knowledge required for salvation and that most people could not understand it. But if you did agree with them, then you a special person with "understanding."

In fact they just gave up one cult practice for another cult practice. WCG HQ in Pasadena let this pathology persist for about a decade and it pretty much destroyed any possibility of the WCG sustaining a congregation in our area after the reform in doctrine. The couple disinivited everyone who did not believe their line from their house church. Finally, a few years back, the couple resigned from the WCG to pursue their own interests.

But, the point is, this couple built a small congregation on this pathology. There were deceived people who saw this as real Christianity and there was nobody there to challenge this idea. Like Weinland's people. They fled from a lion and ran into a bear.

-- Neo

Content Former Member said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Someone said:

"In my opinion, I think Ron and his wife, Laura, are sincere. I believe they are genuinely deceived."

Then Gavin snorted with a churtle:


Gavin, we have to remember that the Two Witnesses aren't the kind of Christians anyone would recognize. They are the Gestapo of the Lord.

These two will have to overide the entire sermon on the mount and many other sayings of Jesus in order to do their thing. They can harm the earth and smote humans anytime they wish and whomever they wish as often as they wish. They can even circle back and do it again and again until we love being in God's Church and Kingdom.

The Two Witnesses need to possess a certain cold and calculated style in being able to express the love of God thru the Revelation of Jesus in just this way. We're not talking "suffer the little children to come unto me" here. We're more like talkin, "let me make the little children suffer."

Actually, they have to be able to act as if there never was a Jesus of the Gospels. Their Lord and Master is a kickbutt psychopath who isn't turning any more cheek nor blessing the SOB's much less forgiving those that curse him.

These are war-christians wining hearts and minds through force, intimidation, overbearing power and sheer threat of annihilation and eternal damnation. Jeez..oops sorry, who wouldn't join the church with that kind of "bringing in the sheeves" program?

So Ron can indeed be sincere in wishing or warning of impending death, taking the bucks and being generally rude to the churches and the nations. It's what Witnesses do!

After the mob kills them in Jerusalem and they are taken up to heaven, I bet, in the Kingdom, they won't have any friends at all for all eternity! How could you trust them in Jesus name ever again?

It's not like they can ever sit at the Feast again and agree with the anything the nice Jesus says!

Anonymous said...

Thought it was funny that Dave Pack played the Demon Card regarding his competition in the Two Witness sweepstakes.

Atta way to go Mister........ Dave.

Anonymous said...


Are greedy, lying false prophets "nice" or "good"?

These days, it seems like everyone considers themselves--and every other monster of depravity--to be "nice" and "good." By current standards and definitions, Satan him?/her?/it?self could pass for "nice" or "good" or maybe even an angel of light. So, let us get away from such meaningless talk and get back to reality.

Truly nice people do NOT tell lies in God's name. They do NOT make up prophetic lies. Truly nice people are honest. They simply, humbly admit that God has not said anything to them. The habitual liars are a different story. To hear them tell it, God talks to them all the time--always revealing more and more prophetic error.

Truly nice people do NOT expect you to believe lies and nonsense. They do NOT threaten you with cancer or anything else for having some doubts about ridiculous prophetic lies.

Truly nice people do NOT expect you to hand over your money to help support them and their lying habit.

Truly nice people are NOT insane or utterly deceived about everything related to God. They do NOT have chemical imbalances in their brain and they do NOT suffer from demonic influences.

Truly nice people do NOT go around making the way of truth look like the way of idiots by adding their lies to what the Bible does say.

Truly nice people do NOT behave anything like most of the leaders in the WCG and its various splinter groups, especially the kooks who claim to be prophets.

Anonymous said...

"But surely even the densest, most unsophisticated, wet-behind-the-ears individual would have enough gumption - assuming they can tie their own shoelaces - to see that Ronald Weinland now has zero credibility, and that they've been made to look fools as well."

Big deal... tens of millions of Evangelicals still follow Hagee, Dobson, Robertson, etc.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes...

and about 20% of the US population still strongly believe Mr. Bush is a good president. Almost all of these folks are deeply religious right-wingers.

About 40,000,000 folks!

so once again big deal...

Lussenheide said...

In life, nearly everyone is either a bully or whimp and sometimes both depending on the circumstances , ie, a bully at home but a whimp on the job etc.

Peace and enlightenment are found by being neither. Finding stillness and not feeding the ego by either being the dominant (bully) or the submissive (whimp).

The people in Weinlands cult, like many if not most human organizations, religious or otherwise generally enjoy the game of masochist and sadist.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Anonymous said...

"It shows me that Satan can even use the truth to deceive."

As long as you choose to blame your wife's involvement in a cult on an imaginary boogey-man named Satan, then I would suggest that you are deceiving yourself.

The Apostate Paul

Richard said...

Have more members left since Pentecost?

Now now, Purple -- patience is a virtue. It's only about three days since Pentecost -- and there hasn't been a Sabbath service since then. They haven't even had a chance to be absent.

Weinland Watch said...

Actually my question, more-appropriately-worded, should be "How many members will leave, now that it is past Pentecost?"

You're right about patience being a virtue, Richard. I am also a firm believer in shutting up once everything possible has been said.

We can lead the Witless' sheeple to water --- but we cannot, unfortunately, make them think for themselves unless they choose to.

The information is out there now. Will the sheeple have the eyes to see it? Who knows? It's out of my hands now.

If I were a believer or an agnostic, I would say it was in something else's hands now, but since I'm an atheist, I just say I've done all it is possible for me to do.

Anonymous said...

If we all pray for these folks, maybe God will call them out of their false churches.

Anonymous said...

Did you notice that Ron Weinland deleted all his blog entries prior to April 18th? He blamed it on the reverse order of posts and the confusion it was causing some people. I think he is doing a little CYA housekeeping.
"What? I never said that!"

Anonymous said...

In his last interview with British radio host James Whale, Ron said that if it was not obvious to the world by Pentecost or the end of July (okay, which is it? That is 6 weeks difference) that 1/3 of the US has been destroyed that he would step down from preaching and declare himself a false prophet. James Whale asked him if he would come back on his show and discuss it. I've written James Whale and asked him to invite Ron back to defend his position. I haven't heard back from him.
Please, let's send emails to James requesting that he follow up with Ron.

Weinland Watch said...

Weinland also promised to return to the Mike McConnell show in mid-July or end of July to declare he and the little woman are "Mr. and Mrs. False Prophet" (McConnell's words).

Funny, the McConnell interviews aren't mentioned on Weinland's blog. Hmmmmmmmmm I wonder why that is??

Anonymous said...

Encouraged by COGwriter's latest post, I'm listening to Ron's June 14 sermon. Oh, we misunderstood. But if he is wrong, so was Revelation. 100 time-cycles...

I guess we also misundertood that 1972 was about Readers Digest - "You may have already won a trip to Petra!"

Oh, now Ron says it's "whatever God's timing is..."

Anonymous said...

Oh, now Ron says it's "whatever God's timing is..."

Convenient, that. Wonder if the two Witlesses made enough for the nice little retirement package they were after in the first place?

Anonymous said...

I think this whole thing is kind of funny. I don't fault the radio interviewers because you can hear in their voices how insane this guy really is, but it makes for interesting commentary.
Of course Weinland won't go back on any of those shows with any type of repentence. He will most likely "dust off his feet" and keep going on, to whomever will listen to him.

Hey, if Jim Jones could convince hundreds to "drink the cool-aid", then Weinland has a much easier task. The followers of Weinland may not drink literal poisoned cherry cool-aid, but they are taking slow sips that are truly shortening their own short lives by wasting their time with this charleton.

One Day at at Time said...

A lot of people say that Weinland's going to be moving on soon or that the house of cards is going to collapse but in my honest opinion I think Weinland willl drag this as close to "Christ's setting foot on earth" (which is now slated for 2012 i think)as he can, maybe even taking it past that. He has been quoted as saying that PKG would go on even after he has left the "church".