Sunday, 29 June 2008

Larry's answer

Larry finally came clean and offered his answer to the question he posed.

I have been to many other churches and my wife is a devout Catholic. The level of true ignorance in these other churches is beyond description. All of this is not coincidence.

Apart from pointing out that Larry's views seem at odds with those of WCG's leadership, who nowadays sing a song of ecumenism in an evangelical key, there's a bigger point at stake here.

True ignorance describes those who've never bothered to actually understand why other churches believe what they do.

The two-dimensional cardboard cut-out characterizations of other traditions are usually just that.

In Worldwide - at least in the Armstrong era - the members knew an awful lot about everything, and had an avalanche of booklets to prove it. That spirit still characterizes the splinters: blow-hard leaders with starry-eyed followers.

Free yourself from the delusion and you realize just how little you really know. Forget Philadelphian fantasies... this is the mark of Laodicea:

For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.' You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Rev.3:17)

Wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, naked. The status of all those who sit in their self-imposed ghettos and cast imprecations on those who live lives of integrity beyond their walls.

The problem isn't in living within a specific culture or tradition: we all do that. The problem is when you build walls instead of bridges. Larry's Laodicean views belong to the unreconstructed Armstrongism of a past generation.

56 comments:

VonHowitzer said...

Larry - take another look at the comments you received. You got the answers to your question, only you didn't get the one you were looking for.

"Special and unique"? Well, yeah, I can go with that. Special in that we'd freak out when there was bacon in the beans, or white sugar in your fellow members house. Unique in that we had three tithes to pay, none of which were applicable in this day and age. We didn't have pastors - we had sheriffs that made sure we toed the WCG corporate line, and expected to be consulted on every major decision in our lives.

Don't beleve me? My bona fides include being in WCG from age 10, when you had to listen to the radio program for a while to determine if it was Harmstrong father or son. Thirty years I spent in that organization, which told me what I could eat, isolated me from my "unconverted" relatives, limited who I could date, and turned me into a legalistic self righteous cult boy that knew better than anyone else what truth was - truth being the ultimate metric of gaining God's favor. (An attitude you'll often notice around curent COG members).

What a load of rubbish.

I've seen a grown man break down and sob like a small child during his icebreaker in Club, when he started to tell about the church making his mother and father separate because one had been divorced before.

I heard Rod Merideth in an Auditorium biblestudy describe how he advised Harmstrong to lay hands on his dead son Richard to raise him from the dead.

I thought the church controlled my life, but then Jerrold Aust showed up as my local pastor. That guy would tell you what color of tie to wear, and think he was doing his duty.

Where is the message in all that "that touches the innermost core of man's desires"? All it is is a bunch of stone hearted martinets playing church, lacking the thing that churches most need to have - forgiveness and grace.

There are those that will say I was never really a member, that I never "proved all things". Truth is, I did prove all things, and I also proved to myself about 12 years ago that the basic premise of WCG theology was totally flawed. Too much too wrong for too long.

Like your son I have tons of knowledge about what the bible says. I visit sites like this because it helps the unlearning process, of winnowing out the voluminous chaff from the few kernals of wheat. It's also satisfying to see these destructive and hateful organizations meet their demise.

No more victims.

Thanks for letting me borrow the soapbox for a moment, Gavin.

KMS

Anonymous said...

"Special in that we'd freak out when there was bacon in the beans..."


By the way, I had jumbo fried shrimp ~and~ oysters for dinner.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Are we having a contest? Goody!!

I had pork riblets yesterday for lunch. And fish with fins but no scales for lunch today. And delicious pork shoulder for dinner tonight.

"No more victims."

Amen to that!

Neotherm said...

It is disturbing when you hear Armstrongists talk about Christianity. They have so little knowledge of what Christianity is. They have been sheltered behind the thick and solid walls of heresy for so long that only a distorted picture filters in from the external world.

It is commonly believed by Armstrongists that Christians believe in "going to heaven." Armstrongist can then pick up the Bible and demonstrate that the Millenial events will take place on this earth. Therefore, Christians can't even get this one simple fact straight.

Actually Protestants and Catholics all believe that the Millenial events will take place on earth. The only place the HWA is different from the traditional beliefs is his insistence on Soul Sleep. Christians believe that immediately after death, a person goes to the intermediate state. HWA believe they entered into a state of unconsciousness.

But Armstronigist relish the idea that they know better than others because they believe they understand that the Kingdom of God will be established on earth. None of the Armstrongist have apparently taken a moment to simply look at what Christianity states about this topic.

-- Neo

Russell Miller said...

Hey, I have Calimari in the fridge. Thanks for reminding me.

Squid FTW!

Corky said...

The pre-occupation with the "soon" return of Jesus to bring destruction to all his enemies in a Great Tribulation is what made Armstrongism unique. Well, maybe not too unique, all other Millerite splinters teach/taught the same thing.

Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son . . .

Wait a minute! "in these last days"? Now, if those were the "last days" 2,000 years ago, it stands to reason that these days, 2,000 years later, can't be the last days.

The writer didn't say "in these last centuries" or "these last few millenia" - he said "days", like in "the time is short" (I Cor. 7:29).

My advise? Don't waste your time looking for the "soon" return of Jesus. Right now we should worry more about how we are going to fix the planet instead of waiting for Jesus to fix it.

Anonymous said...

Corky said...

Wait a minute! "in these last days"? Now, if those were the "last days" 2,000 years ago, it stands to reason that these days, 2,000 years later, can't be the last days.



Corny,

Do not forget that if "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (II Peter 3:8), then the last two thousand years become like what the Pagans might call Thursday (Thor's day) and Friday (Frig's day). The type of the seventh day Sabbath, the millennium, should be coming relatively soon.

Jesus warned that many false prophets would come and deceive many. That part has certainly worked out.

Notice that many nations of the world now have nuclear weapons, biological weapons, and poison gases, plus speedy delivery systems.

While Iran is working on its atomic bomb, people should start to think. Instead, some idiots were holding a homosexual "gay pride" parade in Jerusalem, Israel recently! So, when the Jews (the tribe of Judah) finally get to go back home after about 1900 years of wandering the earth as a consequence of their sins, this is how they behave.

Bamboo_bends said...

The problem with religions is they use highly concentrated language in what Harold Bloom calls "semantic symbol sets". The human brain is essentially a symbol processing computer.

Different groups will apply different meanings (semantics) to a given symbol.

The cross is a good example, to the Armstrongist, the cross is a pagan symbol and a sign of revulsion - to the point that they will argue Jesus was crucified (ironically ignoring the fact that the very word "crucifix" is Latin for cross) on a "stake".

To the mainstream Christian, the cross is a symbol of God's love and Jesus sacrifice.

The semantic symbol set conflicts between the two groups.

Most religious conflicts, including many with atheists, Islam and Judaism come from conflicting semantic symbol sets.

Its in this mine-field (mind-field?) of conflicting symbols sets that the worst conflicts happen. The entire evolution versus creationism debate is 17th century religion arguing against 19th century science.

Those schooled in either modern theology or science are likely to find such debates entirely inane.

The key to bridging the gaps between groups is to be very clear in vocabulary used, especially in such cases where the symbol sets collide or inflame lower brain stem passions of belief.

Beliefs are deeply stored symbols, they are cherished symbols believed to be immutable and unchangeable. People cherish them more than they do their own children. They will kill over them, they go to war over them, or at the very least you can expect ad hominen attacks when you step on them carelessly.

And I am guilty of that as anyone is. But at least I admit it.

Anonymous said...

vonHowWitless,
Anonymous Shrimp & Oyster,
PurplePorkEater,
Apostate Bacon Bean,
Russell "Calimari" Miller,
Etcetera,


Granted, some things in the WCG and its splinter groups were the teachings and errors of foolish and sinful men. Other things, however, are the teachings of God from the Bible. There is a major difference between the two.

For example, God Himself gave the clean and unclean laws in Leviticus 11:1-47. In Deuteronomy 7:11-15 the Israelites were told that if they would carefully follow God's commands, decrees, and laws they would be kept free from every disease.

If the mocking (dodo) birds listed above get sick as a result of the slop they eat, or as a result of their other (perhaps sexual) sins, I hope they don't come to this blog to whine about human suffering or about how God doesn't seem to help them or care when their tummies hurt.

Gay Calamari Eater said...

Gay calamari eater here so I guess I get your double whammy as MerryDeath gets to spank me. In spite of the malarkey puked out by MerryDeath and the rest of the witless moronic evangelists Armstrongism is the only thing dying.

I think I will order some oysters tomorrow after worshiping the sun and bowing before Baal. Oh the joy of being brought up in the degenerate teachings of Armstrongism.

Anonymous said...

Laodicea was a thriving city when the opening salvo of Revelation addressed its strengths and weaknesses, which had naturally rubbed off on the religious communities there. One thing in particular has always interested me; nowhere does the speaker tell people to get out of town. Instead, they were told to mend their ways.

Laodicea was a great place, known for its lucrative eye-salve and a dark wool unique to that area. Its Jews sent a tremendous amount of gold to Jerusalem annually -- which was fine, but by no means an indicator of their spiritual condition. Nothing is said to condemn their financial success. Nowhere is Laodicea condemned; its people were being goaded to pull their spiritual socks up to a level commensurate with their skill at generating wealth.

In English the book addresses seven "churches," but before churches are mentioned, one like a "son of man" is seen walking among seven golden lampstands. This is significant because until fairly recently, the seven-branched menorah (lampstand) was the sin qua non of Jewish symbols. Only more recently has the Star of David taken its place. We occasionally see the menorah with that meaning today, but when Revelation was written, the menorah was the universally recognized Jewish symbol.

It would be a stretch to say that Armstrong's WCG didn't lean in a Jewish direction. It had one leg in Christianity, and the other in Judaism. Armstrong versions of kosher laws, the weekly Sabbath, the annual Holydays, tithing, anointing the sick, a strong accent on prayer and Bible study -- all of this is overtly Jewish, but in our case was too often misapplied. The perverse teachings on Marriage and Divorce were at best "wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked," not to mention cruel and unconscionable.

Psychologically forcing church brethren to "trust God" for healing without medical attention -- as a test of faith, no less -- was beyond the pale. The corporate bank accounts were full, and top leadership made full use not only of anointing, but also of the best medical attention money could buy.

It seems to me that applying Laodicean identity to the Armstrong WCG is appropriate, highlighting strengths and weaknesses -- and simultaneously suggesting a valid identity. The church leadership made brilliant use of the best that modern society and vast wealth could provide, while dragging far too much of its Biblically derived identity through a deep gutter of misinterpretation and misapplication. This wasn't intentional, but pride and ignorance were dangerous bedfellows during the WCG heyday. There were many important things that we flatly refused to learn, particularly along the lines of compassion, mercy, lovingkindness and the stultifying effects of dogma on personal growth. We lived in Laodicea and imagined ourselves Philadelphians when we should have worked hard at being better Laodiceans.

Today that's all over. Now we find ourselves cast upon our own mettle, masters of our own destinies. It remains to be seen if our personal honor and initiative will make us better and more productive than we were during Herbert Armstrong's lifetime.

Anonymous said...

When I first heard HWA, I really believed that he was a man of God. He spoke like it, and I could read in my bible that he was true. I could see for myself that pork, shrimp, ect. was not fit for human consumption. I could also see other things, we were not going to heaven when we died, if you went to hell, you did not burn forever, any many other beliefs that traditional Christianity teaches and believes.

So I learned that all the other churches were dead wrong. That was 40 years ago. I lived with this teaching for 25+ years. Then when the changes started coming,I believed they were wrong. I thought Satan had come into Gods church and was destroying it. I left WCG and started going to various splinter groups that taught and believed the same things.

I found out that they were not Godly in their dealings with the members. This took some time. but I then left them, and started a study of my own to see just what God wanted from His people.

It led me to understand that ALL religion is of Satan, all churches are nothing but cults, a big social club, many of them doing good things so their members can feel good about themselves, but still a cult. A warm fuzzy feeling can come from Satan too.

I read in the scriptures where Christ said, "many are called, but few chosen." That answered many of my questions.

So I stay home and "work out my own salvation."

Anonymous said...

'...The two-dimensional cardboard cut-out characterizations of other traditions are usually just that...'

I find it helpful to view the non-COG churches as faithful believers parallel to those Israelites who joyfully worshipped in the Temple and synagogues, and who lived a righteous life.

They worship God, but largely in ignorance of the teachings of Scriptures. The difficult step through the 'narrow gate' isn't taken. The Spirit influences them - but is not yet 'in' them.

Their attitude will stand them in good stead in the resurrection.

Steve said...

Not to change the subject, but has anyone heard about what's going on in UCG? Something is afoot and it happened suddenly. Seems they are moving some "ministers" around the country and are not disclosing why they are doing so to their dumb sheep yet. Have they lost a few hirelings?

Tom Mahon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ET Tom Mahon:Call Home! said...

Tom Mahon said, "Richard, I am on my way to Tabor, when get there I will contact you".

MY COMMENT - I won't hold my breathe!

By the way, if you need me Tom, I will be in D.C.

Richard

Anonymous said...

Delusional Anonymous said:

"For example, God Himself gave the clean and unclean laws in "Leviticus 11:1-47."

And where in those scriptures do you find any indication that these were health laws?


"In Deuteronomy 7:11-15 the Israelites were told that if they would carefully follow God's commands, decrees, and laws they would be kept free from every disease."

That's right. If they followed the entire law, not just the dietary laws. So I am still puzzled as to why you believe eating unclean meat is unhealthy.

"If the mocking (dodo) birds listed above get sick as a result of the slop they eat, or as a result of their other (perhaps sexual) sins,"

But how will you be able to tell? You see, the majority of the people on planet earth eat unclean meat. And the mjority of those people get up and go to work the next day. They don't drop dead. They don't double over with nausea. And what is even more interesting is that the general health of those in the COG's is no different than those outside who eat unclean meat. In fact, my overall health has not changed in these years of eating, then not eating, then again eating unclean meat.

Can you provide any evidence (peer reviewed literature) that eating "unclean meat" (all types) is detrimental to your health as opposed to eating "clean meat" (all types)?

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

To All Armstrongists Who Are Afraid of Muscle Tissue:

A Challenge:

Provide scripture that shows that “unclean meat” was physically unhealthy to eat. Show that God forbid the Israelites to eat unclean meat ~because~ it was physically unhealthy.

Be advised- an assumption is not scriptural evidence.

Provide scientific evidence that all “unlcean meat” is unhealthy to eat as opposed to all “clean meat.” I suggest starting with PubMed or any such peer reviewed literature search engine.

Evidence should clearly indicate that eating all types of unclean meat is deleterious to the human body as opposed to eating all types of clean meat. Molecular biological and toxicological studies will suffice, supported by epidemiological studies that show that populations who refrain from eating “unclean meats” have lower disease, cancer, and death rates across the board.

Good luck. You could win a Nobel Prive and revolutionize human health, not to mention turn millions to the Bible.



Paul Ray (The Apostate)

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
Do not forget that if "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (II Peter 3:8), then the last two thousand years become like what the Pagans might call Thursday (Thor's day) and Friday (Frig's day). The type of the seventh day Sabbath, the millennium, should be coming relatively soon.

How do you know it was Thurs. and Fri.? Maybe the first century was Monday, that would mean that we have two more thousand years to go.

Of course, what you mean is Adam was created on Sunday morning and it was four thousand years from Adam to Jesus - a thousand years for each day of the week would make it Thursday for the first century. But, of course, that would have been Thursday morning.

Thursday morning to Friday morning being one thousand years (1,000 AD). From Friday morning to Friday night (the beginning of the Sabbath) would make Jesus' return in 1500 AD.

The whole thing is silly, II Peter 3:8 is merely an excuse of why Jesus had not returned by the time the Apostles had all predicted. In other words, "My Lord delayeth his coming" - which Jesus himself condemned.

A Tale of Two Websites said...

Has anyone noticed that the AW website has Gavin's picture posted on it, and he provides a link to Tom Mahon's "Hireling" website, but Tom Mahon doesn't reciprocate the internet link?

Gavin sends internet traffic to Tom Mahon, but of course, Tom has no internet traffic to send back to Ambassador Watch. Maybe that is why Tom Mahon is embarrassed to show his mop mug shot?

Richard :)

Anonymous said...

Tom Mahon said,

"For none of the descriptions I often read here, remotely reflect my WCG experience. Yet I was and am well aware that there were many failings within the church; some of them quite shocking! But in spite of its Laodicean condition, it was still the church of God!"

I would have to agree with Tom. Thanks for your input.

Bobby Santini said...

Hey Tom,

It occurs to me that perhaps a year of studying Scientology might round out your spiritual education, and place you into a position where you can evaluate life more objectively. I'm sure there must be Scientology and Dianetics Centres over there in the UK.

~tini

Rev. Kscribe said...

Paul,
A Challenge:..............

If Herbie said it, then it must be true. If the babble said it, it must be true.
That in a nutshell is the ignorance that lives on in religious groups!

Tom Mahon said...

Paul wonders...

>>>So I am still puzzled as to why you believe eating unclean meat is unhealthy.<<<

Are you really? Isn't it an established fact that anything that is unclean is unhealthy?

Still, I am on my way to my local restaurant to dine on a dish of unclean rice and chicken! Perhaps the chief will arrange to call an ambulance to take me the hospital after my unclean dinner!

Don't just love being clever?

Tom Mahon said...

Richard said...

>>Gavin sends internet traffic to Tom Mahon, but of course, Tom has no internet traffic to send back to Ambassador Watch.<<

How remiss of me, I will correct that immediately.

Thanks Richard!

BTW, since you were not baptised in WCG, there is still a glimmer of hope for you. But be careful, for every idle word that men speak, they shall give an account for in the day of judgment."

I shudder to think what rambling explanations Douglas will contrive to present before Jesus in that day!!

Tom Mahon said...

Richard said...

>>Tom Mahon said, "Richard, I am on my way to Tabor, when I get there I will contact you".

>>MY COMMENT - I won't hold my breathe!<<

Don't be so cynical, I am a man of my word.

>>By the way, if you need me Tom, I will be in D.C.<<

Is that a religious location, or a place of infamy? A visit to Bethesda might do you the world of good.

larry said...

Wow!! I think someone here owes me an apology.

Since I have posted here, I have been civil, rational, polite, honest, truthful, insightful, reasonable, and even occasionally complimentary.

However, I have been continually insulted.

Let's see,...I have been called judgmental, uncaring, unsympathetic, delusional, irrational, out of touch with reality, and to top it all off..Laodicean!

Can it get any better? Do you treat everyone like this?

Maybe, just maybe, you ought to consider what is actually true: I know what I am talking about. Put that in your pipe and smoke it for a while; and don't be so quick to condemn. You never know when you might be conversing with someone much smarter than you.

Anonymous said...

Larry said, "Let's see,...I have been called judgmental, uncaring, unsympathetic, delusional, irrational, out of touch with reality, and to top it all off..Laodicean!"

MY COMMENT - And Larry, that's just the nice things people say about you! :)

Come on Larry, get a grip! You know the ultimate insult in WCG circles is to call someone Laodicean!

Didn't you say something to the effect that being in the WCG was not for the faint of heart?

Richard :)

Anonymous said...

"You never know when you might be conversing with someone much smarter than you."

Whether you are smarter than anyone is besides the point. It doesn't take High Intellect to be a part of an abusive cult, and to later report what you experienced in that time along with many others who experienced the same thing.

It also doesn't take High Intellect to be a blatant revisionist and apologist for the cult. It does take a certain aptitude for mental acrobatics and an outright denial of reality.

Paul Ray

Steve said...

larry said...
Wow!! I think someone here owes me an apology.

MY COMMENT: Why?? No one else gets one.

Since I have posted here, I have been civil, rational, polite, honest, truthful, insightful, reasonable, and even occasionally complimentary.

MY COMMENT: Wow!! What a saint!

Richard said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Tom said, "Is that a religious location, or a place of infamy? A visit to Bethesda might do you the world of good."

MY COMMENT - Cute, Tom. I suppose you have been to Washington, D.C. and know Bethesda is a suburb. No, I cannot visit Bethesda Naval Hospital.

By the way, I am not the Richard who made the last post about you being a Dick.

Richard

Anonymous said...

"Come on Larry, get a grip! You know the ultimate insult in WCG circles is to call someone Laodicean!"

I always thought that calling someone Pharisaical was just as bad.

I'm surprised that no one has called Larry Pharisaical yet. Surely this is just an oversight.

larry said...

I am delighted to be able to provide you guys such entertainment.

And yes, Steve, I am a saint.

And Gavin, I didn't actually answer the question I originally posed.

Anonymous said...

There wasn't anything wrong with being a Laodicean back when Laodicea was a thriving town. Nor was there anything wrong with being a Pharisee. I have two books entitled, "Jesus the Pharisee," written by two competent authors who make strong cases for their title. It's wearying to watch people knocking words around like shuttlecocks and alas, not comprehending the terms they're so eloquently misusing.

Pharisees, for the most part, were the best part of the heart and core of Judaism when Jesus lived. He wasn't a megaphone-wielding wannabe preacher following the parade, barking at them from the outside in. He was always inside the disputes he had with his fellow Jews. Good grief, he was Jewish, you know?!! That's what Jews do!

Had he lived in Laodicea, he would have been Jesus, the Laodicean Pharisee, and among the best of the citizens of the town. As it was, he was from a crummy town called Nazareth, nowhere near as reputable as Laodicea. "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"

Oh well, little of consequence gets serious attention here. Folks seem happiest when they're criticizing everything that happened at the hand of Herbert Armstrong. Little people cutting the accomplishments of a greater one down to their own size.

Of course he made mistakes. Some of them were reprehensible. He was in a position where his decisions made big differences in people's lives. Tell me about it! Would God that all MY decisions, and my conduct, had always been perfect!

Is it possible to get through life without having a rug or two jerked out from under? Is it possible to be part of a "religious" group without encountering scoundrels? How about Israel, God's personal choice for a Kingdom of Priests, a holy people? Were they all gentle sweetiepoops, sipping Perrier and practicing perfection day in and day out?

When I hear people upbraiding the downside of Armstrong's WCG, I like to think of Rahab, the whore who lied to save Israelite spies who showed up at her brothel while reconnoitering Jerico. When the walls came tumbling down, all that was left of them was Rahab's whorehouse -- and the madame herself found her way into David's and Jesus' genealogies. Not bad for a crafty whore, I'd say. She knew, from the johns who frequented her business, that Israel was a juggernaut, an irresistible force that could not be defeated. She quickly moved to Israel's side, knowing full well what side of the bread her butter was on. For her reward, no less than God honored her savvy. Try cutting that one down.

Have you never read that Joseph, after being sold into slavery by his own family, only found good in their crude actions -- saw the hand of God in what they had done to him. And after he had examined their motives anew, he forgave them, weeping upon them all, and providing handsomely for them for the rest of their lives.

I still have a copy of the little booklet, Seven Laws of Success, written on a highway somewhere in France, while Richard Armstrong drove too fast through the countryside. It's a helluva little book, worth its weight in platinum. I still have friends I met at AC, and a wife who was introduced to me by an AC roommate who, O horrors!, occasionally stole my beer.

I'm not in any of the WCG churches at this point. I can't be. Their purpose in my life has passed, but it was an invaluable experience. By some extraordinary grace I was spared the grief of D&R, and for that I'm very grateful. But life for anyone immersed in a religious or similar group will have parallels with those in other groups, whether Baptist, Orthodox, Catholic, Episcopal, SDA, JW, Jewish or Buddhist, you name it. They've all got their princes, and their rats.

Eventually we all move on, gather the goods, cut the losses and spoil the grandkids if we're so lucky. And we've all got heads full of Biblical passages which, if re-examined and studied with greater wisdom, should provide immense pleasure for the rest of our lives. There's very little to be gained through wallowing in the mud of past mistakes.

Libro 66 said...

larry: //- Wow!! I think someone here owes me an apology. -//

Steve: //- MY COMMENT: Why?? No one else gets one. -//

Not quite true. Dennis and Douglas publicly apologized to each other several months ago for... for...

Oh, now what was that spat about, again?

Mickey said...

Connected in a round about sort of way, I found this article of interest at the ICSA site: http://icsahome.com/infoserv_articles/bussell_harold_whyevangelicalsvulnerable.htm

While he has a slant towards Christianity (meant as a peacable caveat for those among us who are non believers) I did find a number of his points rather interesting. Especially in regards to confusion over unity vs. uniformity given all those rants about "unity" we listened to.

Anonymous said...

"Folks seem happiest when they're criticizing everything that happened at the hand of Herbert Armstrong. Little people cutting the accomplishments of a greater one down to their own size.Of course he made mistakes. Some of them were reprehensible."

And I have no doubt that you extend the same glowing courtesy to other luminaries such as Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker, David Koresh, Joseph Smith, ect. Right? Right?

Like any other WWCG Apologist, you're reprehensible. Plain and simple. You watched people (perhaps even had it dished out to yourself) swallow excrement for years and here you are, giving some good fatherly chastisement, telling the survivors that it wasn't all that bad. Just when I lose interest in the history of the WWCG someone like you sticks up out of the mud (like an Nazi apologists or a Holocaust denier) and I am suddenly reminded why it is very important to keep the rotted corpse of Herbert Armstrong up on display for all to see. Beware, Ye Who Enters!

P.S. By what criteria do you us to state that Herbert Armstrong was a great man?

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Paul Ray, I did not refer to Herbert Armstrong as a great man. I merely made reference to little people cutting greater ones, meaning those of greater accomplishment, down to their own size. No apologies. Herbert Armstrong was a man of formidable accomplishment.

I did not "watch people swallow excrement for years." Most of the people I know who graduated AC or devoted their lives to what they believed at the time was a Godly work consider their experiences profitable, and by no means a matter of swallowing excrement. We all know about the surly side of things there, and it's not a preoccupation of anyone I know.

At AC the focal point of our lives was Biblical, wrapped in prayer. Good stuff was being learned by a lot of exemplary students. And some of it was not much good at all. But when students transferred to other colleges, they generally placed among the finest on those campuses. The opinion of people in Pasadena regarding AC and WCG people was very high. That was the reality and it cannot be denied.

This isn't to whitewash error or the disgusting conduct of some. But a large number of the people I knew at AC and in the church was seriously applying the Bible in daily life, and it served us well.

Anyone who chooses to wallow in the sewers of AC/WCG -- or any other corporate group -- will find plenty of offal and excrement, but that's no way to make a just appraisal of an enterprise.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "Herbert Armstrong was a man of formidable accomplishment".

MY COMMENT - Oh really?

Yes, I remember the story he use to tell of a business associate who use to say (according to Armstrong), "Mr. Armstrong is no ordinary man".

The reality is Herbert Armstrong was a con man who always wanted to be important, successful and always wanted to be wealthy. Notwithstanding his claims, the truth is Armstrong stumbled on the religion busness when he was hustling aluminum siding earlier in the Great Depression. Armstrong sold siding to an Adventist minister and was very impressed by the fact that the Adventist minister had money. He came home and announced to Loma that he had found the new family business.

Herbert Armstrong started the Radio Church of God with money as his motivation. By the time my family came into contact in the 1950s and 1960s, Armstrongs End Time fear religion business had taken off.

As a young teen in the Church in the 1960s, I remember what I heard and the prophecy statements made by the Armstrongs, the leading evangelists and the ministers. Herbert Armstrong built his fear religion business out of greed, and it came across with ever communication Armstrong made for money - usually under threat of eternal damnation.

Armstrong was constantly badgering the dumb sheep (who had very little to begin with) for more money.

As I have said before, Herbert Armstong dined with the classes because he LIED to the masses. As a teenager growing up in the Church in te 1960s, I never dreamed I would some day grow up and have a full lifetime to live. It was never preached in the WCG that life could go on. The message was always the same - time is short and send more money to HQ.

So, I guess if you admire a con man, then yes, HWA was a man of formidable accomplishment. I guess the same could be said of Ken Lay of Enron, or the WorldCom white collar crooks that are now in jail.

Richard

Anonymous said...

I did not "watch people swallow excrement for years." Most of the people I know who graduated AC...At AC the focal point of our lives was Biblical, wrapped in prayer."

Ah. That explains alot. I suppose being trained at West Point, whether you continued on to God's Officer Corp or not, could allow for some mental whitewashing.


"Good stuff was being learned by a lot of exemplary students. And some of it was not much good at all. But when students transferred to other colleges, they generally placed among the finest on those campuses."

And? What does this have to do with the plight of the laymember? For an apologist, you have to do better than this.

"The opinion of people in Pasadena regarding AC and WCG people was very high. That was the reality and it cannot be denied."

Once again, so what? This is like saying the local townspeople held the SS guards in high esteem because the held themselves high and dressed neatly. Who cares?


"This isn't to whitewash error or the disgusting conduct of some."

But it clearly whitewashes the collective conduct of all. Which is disgusting.


"But a large number of the people I knew at AC and in the church was seriously applying the Bible in daily life, and it served us well."

That's really swell. Meanwhile, back in reality, the WWCG was an abusive cult. You can read countless testimonies by former members. The actions of the cult are public knowledge.

"...but that's no way to make a just appraisal of an enterprise."

Actually, it is through AW and many other websites, books, magazine and newspapers articles, newsletters, and personal correspondence (wallowing in the sewers to you) that we find the whole sordid history of the WWCG, from which other people can make a
"just appraisal" of the WWCG.


Paul Ray

Sue said...

"Steve said...
Not to change the subject, but has anyone heard about what's going on in UCG? Something is afoot and it happened suddenly. Seems they are moving some "ministers" around the country and are not disclosing why they are doing so to their dumb sheep yet. Have they lost a few hirelings?"

I have heard that there is "warring" going on...This from UCG folks themselves, so don't any of you UCG folks shoot me...not too many details as of yet though...I try to have facts before I write...Sue

Anonymous said...

Paul Ray said, "What does this (the outstanding record of some AC students) have to do with the plight of the laymember? For an apologist, you have to do better than this."

First of all, I'm not an apologist. I'm simply telling you how it was at AC, and in the church as a lay member. I fail to see how respect for the 10 commandments and living a moral, ethical life could have been harmful. Misapplied, it might have been awful, but as intended, they're a fine summary of good living.

You said the good reputation of AC/WCG in Pasadena was "like saying the local townspeople held the SS guards in high esteem because they held themselves high and dressed neatly."

Not so. Pasadena residents were free Americans with no reason to feel pressured to flatter the WCG or its AC. We merited our good reputation. It had no relationship to the terror behind frightened Germans sucking up to SS guards.

I remember a Hollywood studio exec telling me, when I asked to borrow an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind item. "You're from Ambassador College? OK. I know your reputation. Here you are. We know you'll bring it back."

Personally speaking, I lived it for 40+ years, sometimes well, other times poorly. My experience was full of the best and worst of times. I knew everyone, and reaped both good and bad down through the years. We all went through similar experiences, as do most people in the free world. I'm still convinced that the good outweighed the bad, and still strive to live many of the ways learned at AC.

When you single out AC and the WCG for your most disparaging words, I feel your vision is unfairly narrow. The vast throngs who attended the Feast of Tabernacles were having the time of their lives. They didn't come of their own free will to embrace excrement or experience the cultic equivalent of the holocaust. It might have been true of a few misguided souls, but they make life miserable wherever they go.

On the dark side, D&R was an horrible disgrace, and is probably to this day wrongly explained. No argument there. Yet we weren't alone with bad teachings about marriage and child-rearing. That doesn't excuse us, but it does display the capacity of religious groups to err in matters of great importance.

Making the healing doctrine a test of faith was unconscionable -- but I personally experienced miraculous healings, as did thousands of others. There was and still is a measure of validity in that teaching. If you disagree, please know there is precedent for what we taught, however improperly. Check out James 5:14 in Adam Clarke, at least for starters.

3 tithes were Biblical, but wrongly explained. Nonetheless, they did and still do have merit, when applied with understanding. The main problem is that most of Israel no longer lives in the land and tithing is a holy-land-based agricultural policy, created to support a functioning Levitical priesthood during Temple times. Some people, both Christians and Jews, extrapolate tithing on income from the Israelite policy, and it helps them to be part of something bigger than themselves.

To hear you say life in the WCG was in some way parallel to WW2's Nazi terror, I wan't to say you're completely wrong -- but perhaps your situation was horrible enough to make you feel that way. I hope not, but we all heard a few horror stories. If you or anyone else experienced that kind of mistreatment, you should have set the perpetrators straight, in no uncertain terms.

To leave that kind of thing unchallenged doesn't derive from healthy awe/fear of God, but from wrongly attributing Godly approval to men of despicable ways, ordained or not -- no matter who tells you otherwise. The N. Kingdom had every right to abandon Rehoboam when he got too big for David's throne.

Paul Ray, if your life were made miserable through its connection to the WCG, I'm personally very, very sorry. It was not that way for everyone, including me. Perhaps in your personal situation it was. If so, then I sincerely hope you will stay confident in your outrage, that it is just and warranted. But dwelling on it will perpetuate your pain, letting the bad guys win. Please allow that they weren't all bad.

May God bountifully lead you through it all, to a life in every way the opposite of what you experienced earlier at the hand of imposters. May the rest of your life be abundantly and forever blessed, far beyond your most cherished dreams.

Bamboo_bends said...

Anonymous wrote:

❝On the dark side, D&R was an horrible disgrace, and is probably to this day wrongly explained. No argument there. Yet we weren't alone with bad teachings about marriage and child-rearing. That doesn't excuse us, but it does display the capacity of religious groups to err in matters of great importance.❞


Only a WCG apologist would try to get away with bragging ❝Hey, we're not half as bad as we used to be!❞

Anonymous said...

Bamboo, you're putting words into my mouth. Even Jesus had a highly questionable explanation of D&R, drawing his teaching from the ideal of Eden. Eden was long past when he said "from the beginning it was not so." The way it was in the beginning was an ideal that evaporated along with animals that ate straw like oxen and people who could live unclothed without shame. His kingdom, and that teaching, very definitely were not of the world in which he lived, nor ours.

With all your wisdom, have you an acceptable solution to D&R?

Anonymous said...

'...have you an acceptable solution to D&R?...'

What do you think of the article Divorce - is it for Christians? at www.cgom.org in the ARTICLES section.

Constructive critique, please

Anonymous said...

Great -- so we have a Gestapo apologist, UCG's ex-members reporting the business-as-usual unrest that UCG is always fomenting, frothing at the mouth over, or generally "enduring" (and have been, since their split), and finally, yet another tired altar call for the CoGMeMeMeMeMeMe splinter.

Have we covered all the bases now?

Anonymous said...

"May the rest of your life be abundantly and forever blessed, far beyond your most cherished dreams."

Thank you for the kind words and rest assured that what you wish has already occurred- it began the day I stopped believing in imaginary beings.


Paul Ray

purplehymnal said...

Hear hear!

Anonymous said...

Yet another anonymous person lacking empathy said: "To hear you say life in the WCG was in some way parallel to WW2's Nazi terror, I wan't to say you're completely wrong -- but perhaps your situation was horrible enough to make you feel that way. I hope not, but we all heard a few horror stories. If you or anyone else experienced that kind of mistreatment, you should have set the perpetrators straight, in no uncertain terms."



Victim on the stand: "I was brutally raped, beaten, robbed, and left for dead by the defendant!"

Defense attorney to victim on the stand: "How were you dressed? Did you tell him to stop?"

Methinks this particular anonymous is, was, or wants to be a minister. The lay people in the old WCG not in any position to "...Set the perpetrator straight." Even more so if you were a child.

Anonymous said...

Sue said...

"Steve said...

Not to change the subject, but has anyone heard about what's going on in UCG? Something is afoot and it happened suddenly. Seems they are moving some "ministers" around the country and are not disclosing why they are doing so to their dumb sheep yet. Have they lost a few hirelings?"

I have heard that there is "warring" going on...This from UCG folks themselves, so don't any of you UCG folks shoot me...not too many details as of yet though...I try to have facts before I write...Sue



Steve/Sue,

About half the people who show up at the UCG appear to be UNREPENTANT and TOTALLY UNCONVERTED. Furthermore, the UCG ministers all think they learned how to play politics really well. You can be sure that there will be serious problems with that bunch. The size might ultimately decrease, but some people will be able to brag about the large number of new COG groups springing up.

Anonymous said...

Charlie said, "Methinks this particular anonymous is, was, or wants to be a minister. The lay people in the old WCG not in any position to '...Set the perpetrator straight.' Even more so if you were a child."

Not so, Charlie. I could never have been a WCG minister. Not cut out for it.

I'm dismayed at the crude treatment of congregants that one reads about on this blog. In my experience this was extremely rare. I remember the kindness and humility of men like Richard Rice and Charles Dorothy. When I was at AC the constant emphasis was on serving, not lording. It was a tall order, obviously too tall sometimes, for young men without much of a senior ministry to emulate.

The child's dilemma can be the most unconscionable; I agree with you there. Apparently those who suffered most were born into church families. I wasn't. But "spare the rod and spoil the child" was American gospel, and I merited my fair share, even without GTA's skewed thesis for guidance. Nonetheless, "Bless the beasts and the children, for in this world they have no voice...".

As for setting a perpetrator straight, there were times when GTA or HWA had to listen to, and heed, justifiably outraged individuals, or else. Other admonitions of the same two people involved entreaty, after prayer and sometimes even fasting. I mention them by way of example.

No one in a country made free by the shedding of blood should have to endure humiliation from a phony cleric who lords it over his flock. Unless the ministry is a sham, men of good intent should always be able to find compelling ways to deal with ministers in sore need of enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

"As for setting a perpetrator straight..."

Could a "laymember" "set" a minister straight in any way without fear of retribution?

Paul Ray

purplehymnal said...

"Could a lay-member set a minister straight?"

No, but the lay-ministry often tried, and made the lives of the members more miserable than the actual ministurds, in some case.

(We had real Gestapo for deacons and elders. Pasadena's response? They sent us the more "laid-back" pastors. Best entertainment to be found anywhere, on a Saturday, was watching the "politics" fly thick and fast!)

Weinland Watch said...

"Could a "laymember" "set" a minister straight in any way without fear of retribution?"

Lay-ministry might've had the guts to try. Can't say the members would've. We certainly never did. Hell, we were afraid for our eternal salvation, the one time the lay-ministry threatened disfellowshipment. Never mind the fact that they never would have gotten away with it.

(Although sometimes I wish they had. We might have been deprogrammed a full ten years earlier, if they had.)