Friday, 27 June 2008

Larry's question

Larry - a current WCG member - writes: Don't you think it is fascinating that there is so much passion here about the WCG?

I am amazed. I mean, really...., do you think there is this much passion in a bunch of ex-Methodists? Or ex-Episcopalians?

I doubt it.

Why do you think that is? What is it about the Worldwide Church of God and subsequent splinter groups that could stir the hearts and minds of people after so many years?

I'll bet that some of you would say...blatant hypocrisy. But you would be wrong. That's not it.


Larry raises an interesting question, though it seems a bit unfair to hint that he knows the answer but won't tell! Here is a sample of the ongoing reaction.

Response 1 (anonymous): For the same reason that abused children seek out forums to interact with others that were abused. Or someone with an illness seeks out others who might have the same illness. It's as simple as that. Don't play psychologist and make more of it than it is.
Response 2 (Richard): Larry, its probably because most of us were young, dumb, stupid, gullible and impressionable when we attended the WCG. We grew-up believing HWA was God's Apostle; believing that there is this wonderful world tomorrow coming right around the corner in 1975 as HWA told us; and believing there is a place of safety from the world's tribulation in Petra.

There is also the social aspect that we were all in this WCG cult that did not associate much with the outside world. People gave their all for "God's work" - their time, money resources and lives.

But, it all turned out to be a giant con job. We all lost our innocence with the WCG - it was all a huge lie. There is no wonderful world tomorrow, and there is no place of safety.

I really don't believe anything that comes from the WCG or its splinters and religion in general. The God of HWA and the WCG was a very cruel God.

Armstrongite ministers have cried wolf so often, that its now entertainment for me. I can't take them seriously anymore.

There is an old adage, "Lie to me once, shame on you. Lie to me twice, shame on me".

Response 3 (Corky): No, but the ex-members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and other cults far outnumber and outshine the few people who are on Ambassador Watch in protestation of their past delusions.

The reason you don't see the same thing from ex-Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians etc. is because they are real churches and not cults.

That is another sign of a cult, by the way, ex-members having their say on-line or in books accusing the cult of being a cult.

Larry's rejoiner: Richard, you make it sound like the Church ruined your life. Get a grip.

Response 4 (Bamboo Bends): Did it ever occur to you Larry that maybe, that's exactly what happened?

I don't know Richard.....but I do have a close friend who committed suicide because of the treatment he got from his pastor...

Yes, some lives were indeed ruined.

But you won't read about the casualties on the Suprising God Blog.

Most of us just carry on the best we can but we'll always carry the scars. Its when people tell us that what we experienced really wasn't that bad that we get truly annoyed. We lived through it.

FWIW, I find Richard's comment about loss of innocence particularly apt. A discussion worth pursuing?

73 comments:

DennisDiehl said...

I came to WCG at 14 in the 60's when I was pretty sure Jesus had to come back soon based on what I was reading in the Bible and church lit. I was a weird kid.

Four years later I thought I was in God's "seminary" having turned down going to a Methodist one for AC.

Five years later I was a Local elder and one year later a preaching elder..it stopped right there for the next 25 years. They caught on to me :)

The night I called my dad to tell him I was going into the ministry (Minneapolis), he started to cry on the phone and told me this story.

"when your brother was born blind, deaf and never could speak, I told God that if I could have another son, then God could use him for whatever purpose he choose." Evidently God had taken him up on it. It was a subconscious pressure on me to keep going no matter what in WCG. I loved the people and tolerated both Armstrongs and the Tkaches as administrators and so on.

I'm here to recover, to banter, to test the waters and to just be myself for change and not be duplistic as I found one could be when under the pressure of ministry and just being a man on this planet. Frankly, placing a man in a positon of "minister, priests and pastors" is probably one of the more weird things that cultures come up with. Their ain't no 10's

I hear great stuff and I hear the voices of my past of the few that are what I have always called "god haunted" These types always spoke in Bible codes to maintain a certain superiority, never fit in with the church, usually stayed home and inflicted their bible studies on their families and ended up simply believing that they were the sole survivors of the true church. This is an oft repeated them in many many years of visiting new people I had no clue where they were coming from until I sat down in their living rooms.

Recovery takes time. The only other choice, to me, is to bury it and experience the depression born of anger unexpressed or the feeling one has no right to even feel as they do. Everyone can feel as they feel. How can you not?

No one can tell another where they ought, should or must be on this journey in life. We're all here to learn and it can be painful, reflective and even enjoyable if you survive it.

Finally, there is a certain exstistential pain that comes when religions seems to betray one's good intentions and sacrfices for it.

Anonymous said...

The reason you don't see the same thing from ex-Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians etc. is because they are real churches and not cults.

Real churches,… come on. Just what is a cult? Isn’t it a group of people with a common belief joined together? It doesn’t seem to matter what they believe.

Christ said, many are called, but few chosen. Why? If there are a few chosen, where are they? If there are many called, then they would be more visible wouldn’t they? So where are the called? Can we know where they are?

Consider this: Maybe the called are the many people in various churches everywhere. They are seeking God aren’t they? Is God calling them to seek Him? He must be calling them, or they wouldn’t be seeking Him.

2 Thes. 2:10 tells us that there are those who do not love the truth, so Satan sends them a lie, and they believe that lie. What could that lie be? Could it possibly be the lie of religion? Is all religion a lie?

So where does that put the chosen? That’s the big question? Are they in a church that is nothing but another cult?

sincerity said...

Many people in WCG including evangelists elders deacons and other members did not get to know God. They did not give themselves to God but to men. One has to develop a real relationship with God and Christ if not, one is not able to have the mind of Christ and therefore cannot discern the message of the Bible.They cannot develop the love of God to keep His commandments.It,s so easy to blame others for our failures.It is certainly not too late for anyone to repent and truly seek God in humility and ask for wisdom and understanding, ask God to show you His plan and purpose for mankind He always answers such prayers.

BC said...

Well, of course lives were ruined because anyone following a false prophet is going to have things turn out badly: And for those still in the WCG, your church organization was still founded by a false prophet, no matter how much the eschatology has changed, so what does that make you?

Bamboo_bends said...

In the beginning God gave man truth.

The Devil came along and said "Let me organize that for you!", and he
called it religion.

Tom Mahon said...

Larry asked...

>>>Don't you think it is fascinating that there is so much passion here about the WCG?<<<

The actual reason might be deeper than most people here understand or are capable of understanding. But superficially, most people here are disappointed, because they believed that the church promised much, but delivered little or nothing. Also, they can't understand how they allowed themselves to be "duped" by the preaching of HWA, when they consider themselves to be intelligent, rational beings.

The ability to reconcile all these contradictions, would require a degree of introspection, to which most people here are not prepared to subject themselves, even if they are capable of undertaking it.

It is much easier to focus of failed prophecies and blame HWA for their failure to make sense of their WCG experience. But this forum provides an opportunity for everyone to reflect on his WCG, and not just to complain that it was awful.

Charlie said...

I was born into the WCG. My folks joined in '64. I would say that my experience is similar to just about everyone else that has posted here that was born into the WCG, and I have posted a few of my experiences and perspectives on that before, so I won't repeat them here. Suffice to say that when you are raised from birth believing that you weren't going to make it through high school, much less grow up, go to college, and get married that it changes the way a child thinks, in a very dark way. Taking the future away from a child is a very cruel thing indeed.

You will tend to make, or not make certain decisions in your life because of the constant feeling of impending doom that was reinforced on a weekly basis. Then one day it becomes clear that the whole shebang was a load of bullshit and you spend years and years trying to undue the damage to your psyche and struggling with the feelings you have for those you love, that put you through it all. I take full responsibility for every decision I have made since I woke the hell up from armstrongism, however, prior to that, well to be completely honest a lot of emotions resurface every time I think about those years. Not very many good ones. Who do you blame, really? I would have to believe that most parents and pastors were just as duped as I was..therefore I blame God in addition to the church leadership. Do I believe in God? Yes I do, however allowing men to repackage faith as poison is not something God should have allowed.

Richard is right, but if you want to read a more forthright explanation of the effects of growing up in armstrongism, I strongly suggest the "I survived armstrongism" blog. I have wanted to do something similar but having four kids keeps me too busy.

I'm sure that Tom will post more of his nonsense on this topic blaming the victims, and I really hope that everyone just ignores him...It is obvious that he isn't right mentally and we feed his psychosis when we respond to him.

Jim Butler said...

Dennis and Sincerty make excellent points.

It is clear that the Church of God experience does have some uniqueness to it.

It is also clear that the leadership of the CoG has caused a lot of pain to many members and ex-members. This point can be denied by whomever but is true.

In the area of human relationships the CoG is down toward the bottom of the barrel.

As Dennis and others have said, everyone is going through their unique experience. So there is no one answer to the question.

I will throw out one point that I believe is relevant. For many ex-members it might be deep in the subconcious, but I think it is there with many if not most.

It is the doctrine that this is not the only time of salvation.

This is the one doctrine that separates the Church of God from all the others. Others have the Sabbath, holy days, etc.

To my knowledge, no others have this doctrine.

It is a doctrine that shows the great fairness and concern God has for all humans.

All others, whether they realize it or not, teach a God that is a monster. All other Christian groups (there are always a few exceptions) teach you must accept Christ to be saved and this life is your only chance. That portrays God as an absolute monster.

Again, we all have a different experience. Dennis speaks well concerning the different paths we all take. I think this point is extremely important as well and gives people a freedom that God intended.

I believe God intended (did not cause though) the Church of God experience to be very difficult. The first fruit concept is much more important than any human realizes.

As I have mentioned a few times on this blog before, I tend (emphasis tend) to believe in universal salvation. For any that disagree, I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with any human being that thinks they absolutely know one way or the other.

Bamboo Bends' comment about "religion" is also very relevant, not only concerning the Church of God but for all groups.

Jim

Anonymous said...

"The reason you don't see the same thing from ex-Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians etc. is because they are real churches and not cults."

The above-named churches don't attempt to control every aspect of the members' lives the way wcg did - from telling them how to wear their hair and clothes, makeup (or not), what to eat, or not, how to discipline their children, how to relate to non-members, how to spend their only vacation (in many cases), how to give up 20% to 50% of their income, how to have sex, etc.

Ex-members of the more benign denominations simply didn't have the same type of all-encompassing, intense life experience that many ex-wcg members had.

FT said...

Larry tells others to get a grip. Somebody tell this ignorant dork to "GET A HEART!"

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
Real churches,… come on. Just what is a cult? Isn’t it a group of people with a common belief joined together? It doesn’t seem to matter what they believe.

Here are 12 signs of a cult.

1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader. . .
2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
3. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
4. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered a messiah (or the endtime apostle) and/or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
5. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
6. The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
7. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members.
8. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
9. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
10. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
11. Members are encouraged or required to socialize only with other group members.
12. The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

Anonymous said...

A cult, is a cult, is a cult. Regardless of what they are told.

DennisDiehl said...

"The above-named churches don't attempt to control every aspect of the members' lives the way wcg did"

BINGO! I grew up going to the Presbyterian Church. It did not infiltrate our home,our lives, my parents decisions or actually all that much money far as I can tell. And they gave it willingly. I recall no sermons on money. Actually I can't remember any anyhow..ha I didn't say it was interesting.

It was a great place to grow up. Two services on sunday. Between them we drove 30 miles to see my brother in the state hospital. We walked to church, sunday school, (I have a boxfull of perfect attendanc pins still..ha), picnics, I have no bad memories of any of it. Actually the other six days of the week were ours and never heard much of church.

This is a key. WCG infiltrated every day of your week, your actions, do's and don'ts and finances, friends etc. Many churches do this by the way. They sure do around here.

PS I got to hating Spokesman's club just as much as the rest of you! I got to having it only every other year if I could get away with it but there was always the righteous frew who felt that was some kind of slack attitude towards the growth of God's men of faith and power. argh..

AggieAtheist said...

"FWIW, I find Richard's comment about loss of innocence particularly apt. A discussion worth pursuing?"

I think I covered (exorcised?) most of my feelings surrounding that loss of innocence in Our Uncommon History.

"The only other choice, to me, is to bury it and experience the depression born of anger unexpressed or the feeling one has no right to even feel as they do."

That succinctly describes ten of the last twelve years of my life.

"We're all here to learn and it can be painful, reflective and even enjoyable if you survive it."

LOL, but Den! Nobody survives it! ;-)

"Suffice to say that when you are raised from birth believing that you weren't going to make it through high school, much less grow up, go to college, and get married that it changes the way a child thinks, in a very dark way. Taking the future away from a child is a very cruel thing indeed."

So true it bears repeating. :-(

"Richard is right, but if you want to read a more forthright explanation of the effects of growing up in armstrongism, I strongly suggest the "I survived armstrongism" blog."

Anyone can register and submit posts to ISA. Pending administrative review (no WCG/CoG apologists please), the post will be approved (or not). [end shameless promotion]

AggieAtheist said...

Forgot to add a link to the Contributors page, for any who are interested.

Jim Butler said...

"The above-named churches don't attempt to control every aspect of the members' lives the way wcg did"

BINGO!

This point is a big one.

However, I am not sure it is addressing the original question.

Anonymous's comment and Dennis' "BINGO" points out a very
disturbing truth. It is true that the CoG did attempt to control way too much of a persons life.

But this truth simply points to the fact that the experience still has too much control over ex-members and why many get on a blog or forum such as this.

It is a fine difference, but this truth does not explain the "WHY" there is a passion about the CoG with many ex-members. It simply explains the results for many going through the experience. The control is still there to an extent. So it does partially explain why many get on a blog or forum.

The "WHY" the passion comes from a nagging suspicion that there was and is something about the CoG that rings true. (I know most if not all vehemently disagree with the preceding point) All that went through the CoG experience believed, at one point, the rest of Christianity had major flaws and the doctrines of the CoG made more sense.

The stupid false prophecies, the controlling leadership, the aspects of the CoG that were cultic turned many off--way off.

However, if one can separate, COMPLETELY SEPARATE, the above points from what I believe the truths the CoG has, one can develop a different perspective about it all.

I believe the above "IF" is a big one, especially considering the entire experience.

Jim

Anonymous said...

I have never posted here before but will come out of lurkdom to say that for me a major problem has been the lack of WCG of actually owning up to the abuse of the past and taking the responsibility for damages done in the lives of individuals and families. In Canada, the Anglican church and the United Church of Canada have made public apologies and have made funds available to victims of residential school abuse--an example WCG should heed.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "Larry's rejoiner: Richard, you make it sound like the Church ruined your life. Get a grip."

When someone is brutally raped, that person needs medical care, extensive counseling, and understanding and compassionate interactions. To tell a person who has been raped "Oh, you make it sound like the rapist ruined your life. Get a grip." is highly ignorant of the needs of the raped.

The ACOG's spiritually raped thousands of people. That is EXACTLY what happened. Not only spiritually raped but financially raped and even held hostage.

To Larry, I'm so sorry you have no love in you. Just judgement. Your fruits tell you a lot about who you are.

Anonymous said...

Bambo Bends said:
The devil said “let me organize that for you.” And he called that religion. And he flooded the earth with his religion. And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed that religion, didn’t it? Rev. 12:16. And we see that in all the religious cults that cover the earth, don’t we?

Bamboo_bends said...

On cults I offer this observation:

Anciently a "cult" was just a religious practice.

Its only in modern American English we make a distinction between a mainstream religion and a cult. And to be honest, its largely based on size and new-ness and deviation from centuries of orthodoxy.

Cult-watchers are by definition enforces of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

In Science new ideas are valued, in religion they are not. Any group with new ideas or explanations in religion will be labeled a "cult".

Thus the only accurate definition of a cult that is truly honest, is a religion that is smaller than the relgion you like. Sect would be a better choice of word.

A large religion can be just as in your face about compliance as a cult, John Kerry and Catholicism comes to mind when he didn't oppose abortion to their liking.

Many right wing religions are showing increasing cultic behaviors by enforcing political choices and behaviors on their members.

You don't have believe in a God to be in a cult, modern human hating "deep ecology" has its own tenants of belief (global warming), hemp shopping bags, humans have no more rights than mosquitios, and its own apocalypse (animals turning against mankind, earth's atmosphere into Venus) but its missing the nice redemption and restoration to Gaia (God) in the end.

Anonymous said...

Its alot like the guys who went to Nam, and who still hang around the VFW.

Being young, under pressure, and mentally jacked with will produce a strange bonding.

Lussenheide

Tom Mahon said...

>>To tell a person who has been raped "Oh, you make it sound like the rapist ruined your life.<<

I hesitate to speak for Larry, but I suspect that Larry would argue that the church did not rape you and ruin your life.

Isn't it a paradox that some people see the WCG experience as a disaster, and others see it as a blessing? Those who saw it as a disaster, think that those who see it as a blessing are insane, and those who see it as a blessing, know that those who saw it as a disaster are definitely insane.

No wonder Paul describes the preaching of the gospel as a perfume poured forth. To some people it is the smell of death, and to others the smell of life. Then he asked: "Who is sufficient for these things?" Who indeed?

If Richard needs me, I am now at Mizpah.

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly new here to this blog, but I address this fellow named Tom Mahon: Why do you insist on coming across in virtually ALL your shallow comments made on this site (at least all the ones I've read thus far) as so incredibly self-righteous?

larry said...

I am not judgemental at all, otherwise I wouldn't be here. In fact, I have terrific empathy for any and all who are or were in the Church. The WCG is not a place for the faint of heart.

Tom's comments were not shallow at all, they were quite logical.

My children were raised in the Church, and yes, they sometimes felt they had been dealt a bad hand. But they were also the only ones in their class who had visited Europe, and Hawaii, and the Caribbean. They have many friends inside and outside the Church.

One of my sons, who is a Marine, called me several months ago from the Middle East, and mentioned that he and some of his buddies were reading a best-seller entitled "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn, and having religious discussions on a regular basis. He was astounded by the fact that he already knew this information which was considered "new and revolutionary understanding" by everyone else.
He said, "Dad, these guys are just now finding out about this and you taught me all this stuff when I was a kid!"

Well, personally, I didn't think he was really even paying much attention in those days.

Moral of the story: many of you here have been blessed in ways you don't even realize. Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, you know alot more about God and Christianity than most other people, even people who have studied it all their lives.

There is alot of ignorance out there, but it probably doesn't infect you. You can thank God, Jesus Christ, & Mr. HWA for that.

Normal People said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm fairly new here to this blog, but I address this fellow named Tom Mahon: Why do you insist on coming across in virtually ALL your shallow comments made on this site (at least all the ones I've read thus far) as so incredibly self-righteous?

Because Tom is a self-righteous prick.

Anonymous said...

"Here are 12 signs of a cult..."

Has anyone every attempted to overlay these 12 points with what the scriptures actually teach? To me that would be a fascinating project. Was the early church elitist? Besides Jesus Christ, did it have one leader who was above others? Who would the leaders of the church at the time been accountable to?

Anonymous said...

"9. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members. "

In worldwide, this only happened after Tkach took over and said 50% of all members came in through a friend or relative....what a crock.

I remember when I arrived not to talk about too much unless asked. I ignored that advice since I was so enthusiastic about what I was learning that I alienated my friends and family, so, I did not need someone to tell me to keep away from them, they kept away from me.

How silly of me.

Planet Earth to Tom Mahon said...

Tom Mahon said, "If Richard needs me, I am now at Mizpah".

MY COMMENT - Thanks again for another good laugh Tom. Why would I need you? That's a riot!

Oh, yes! Of course self righteous Tom would be at Mizpah. Where else would you be, Shiloh perhaps?

Perhaps while you are at Mizpah, someone can take your picture and you can post it on your website that no one ever visits or reads. Who knows? Perhaps your promised mug shot posted at your website will increase internet traffic to your website.

Richard

Mrs. Zebedee said...

"Here are 12 signs of a cult..."

Has anyone every attempted to overlay these 12 points with what the scriptures actually teach?

Methinks you are not far from new old truths. The pecking order in the NT and all the jockeying for position found in the Gospels and Epistles is the template for all that followed in every kind of Christian church.

Apologist Larry Church of God said...

Larry said, "The WCG is not a place for the faint of heart".

MY COMMENT - Wrong Larry!

The WCG was a place for "the weak of the world", "the base things" as the church hierarchy use to remind us often - usually right before the extortion of more money from the membership under threat of eternal damnation.

Larry, please reconcile your statement, "The WCG is not a place for the faint of heart" with the constant reminders that members "were the weak of the world, base things".

Also, what about the children like Charlie who had no choice in attending the cult? Your biased example of your Marine son is one story. I'll match your one story with all the horror stories over at The Painful Truth website.

Richard

Anonymous said...

I just got a cellphone call from Elton John. He's at a hot tub party at Tom Mahon's place with Boy George and George Michael. Elton pointed out the fact that probably all of the anti-WCG vitriol on these sites it due to the influence of Satan.

Elton handed the phone to Tom, and Tom further explained that when a person leaves God's true church, Satan immediately enters his mind and begins to want to do anything possible to destroy the church. That alone is the rationale behind all of these anti-COG sites. Satan is making sure through these websites and blogs that very few new people get called into all of the Laodecean splinter churches. Satan has also taken control of very powerful ministers such as Gerald Flurry, David Pack, and Ronald Weinland, and has caused them to think they are prophets and apostles. He has sent these people forth to deceive many.

That's all I got from the cellphone conversation. Some unintelligible gurbling suddenly came over the lines, and I immediately remembered some of the things that Dennis Diehl had mentioned about God sending homosexuality as a punishment to certain types of people.

Anonymous said...

So…… What exactly did the big bad Worldwide do to you people anyway? Did it beat and kick you. Did it slander your name and honor? Did it torture you in some way or spit in your soup? So what exactly happened when you went to church every Sabbath. My recollections of church services where the following. I showed up at the front door and said good morning to other members who appeared to be happy. They seemed happy because they were smiling. I don’t remember every conversation I had there but I do remember being real happy when I was there and feeling sad when I had to go home and face the family. I remember great pot luck dinners and dating some pretty nice girls there. I remember listening to some pretty good sermons and a few crummy ones as well. I remember always looking forward to the Sabbath until Joe Tkach showed up and all hell broke loose. Apparently your memories are different.

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
So…… What exactly did the big bad Worldwide do to you people anyway? Did it beat and kick you. Did it slander your name and honor? Did it torture you in some way or spit in your soup?

EXACTLY! How did you guess?

*Seperated us from friends and family.

*Caused death because of the doctrine against going to doctors.

*Caused divorces and split up families because of the doctrine on divorce and remarriage.

*Caused abject poverty among the poorest members because of the tithing doctrines.

*Caused suicides and murders because of the fear and guilt trips layed upon the mentally unstable.
^
*Psychiatrists ^ were not allowed for the mentally unstable.

*Caused thousands of people to become atheists. (Hmmm, may have to thank the cult for that one)

All in all - I guess you could say that the WCG pi**ed in our Cheerios.

rb said...

The reason you don't see the same thing from ex-Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians etc. is because they are real churches and not cults.

Well, hold on -- some of them grumble about former groups, too. They move on to new groups and do it on church supper night, or at the family dinner table.

Which, you know, makes them a bit like some current Church of God members.

BC said...

The short version of what the WCG and the xCGs are is that they are abuse -- with neglect as also a form of abuse, and one should expect abuse from a cult formed by a narcissistic false prophet.

Anonymous said...

Yes folks... the major Christian denominations are so so very much better then the WCG and its offshoots. Right?

Wrong.

In today's Washington Post there is an op-ed titled "Dobson vs. Obama"; Dobson is an Evangelical nut case who condemns Obama because he doesn't like Obama's politics and theology.

This is the stuff of main stream Christianity. Is this normal? Is this what we aspire to be a part of?

Actually, this is the abnormal that is accepted as normal in society.

"...Dobson took particular umbrage, for at least one obvious reason, with this passage from Obama's speech: "And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount -- a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles now. Folks haven't been reading their Bibles."

Dobson was critical of Obama's biblical references here and suggested that he had set up a series of straw men to support his "confused theology." But as I understand him, Obama was pointing out why the words of Scripture do not provide a ready policy blueprint for modern American society. Indeed, many of us have grappled with how to arrive at a theologically informed and fair-minded reading of the Bible that takes its moral principles seriously without simplistically applying to our time the cultural norms of previous eras. The chief defect of Obama's speech was that he didn't provide more insight into how to navigate these theological waters."

The old WCG offered answers just as good as those offered by any main line branch of Christianity. +

No worse and often better.

.

Tom Mahon said...

Anonymous said...

>>>I'm fairly new here to this blog, but I address this fellow named Tom Mahon:<<<

Are you new here or "fairly new?" Which ever it is, it would have been courteous of you if you had introduced yourself by saying, my name is.....! Then a welcome could have been extended to you.

>>>Why do you insist on coming across in virtually ALL your shallow comments made on this site (at least all the ones I've read thus far) as so incredibly self-righteous?<<<

In a world of uncertainty, doubt and mutual flattery, anyone who speaks with certainty is often described as arrogant, self righteous, bigoted or even insane. So your comment confirms the human condition.

Anonymous said...

Charlie said, "Suffice to say that when you are raised from birth believing that you weren't going to make it through high school, much less grow up, go to college, and get married that it changes the way a child thinks, in a very dark way. Taking the future away from a child is a very cruel thing indeed."

MY COMMENT - Charlie, I can relate to your entire post. Those were my experiences and feelings as well.

I remember once as a young teen sitting on a school bus going to school thinking every kid on the bus would soon be dead from the German attack on America prophesied for January, 1972

You summed it all up very well. You were not alone in your thoughts.

Richard

Steve said...

Tommy Baby said...In a world of uncertainty, doubt and mutual flattery, anyone who speaks with certainty is often described as arrogant, self righteous, bigoted or even insane. So your comment confirms the human condition.

MY COMMENT: I wonder if the Pharisees in Jesus' day thought the same thing.

Steve said...

tommy baby said..."And I haven't even began to examine the doctrinal changes, which Steve thinks are wonderful!

MY COMMENT: I said that? Well, go ahead...examine them. Please use Scriptures to prove me wrong. If you want to, we can make it a private discussion. Makes no difference to me.

So, what about it, Tom? Let's discuss the "important" doctrines that you mentioned, or don't you have the intestinal fortitude?

Tom Mahon said...

Steve said...

TOM>>>In a world of uncertainty, doubt and mutual flattery, anyone who speaks with certainty is often described as arrogant, self righteous, bigoted or even insane. So your comment confirms the human condition.<<<

Steve>>>I wonder if the Pharisees in Jesus' day thought the same thing.<<<

How does what you wonder help us to understand the perception of self righteousness, in a world of uncertainty, doubt and mutual flattery?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Bible prophecy, I have a question.
United still preaches (and I guess the splinter groups also) that "the Bible says" that 10 nations will come together and come against the United States and attack us, and they will be lead by Germany. It's the Holy Roman Empire resurrected.

I just do not see this in the scriptures. They go to a few scriptures, but is that what it really says?

Jerry said...

The majority of folks who are no longer involved with the Church of God, especially those who maintain a grasp on the truth of God, including government, are, I would imagine. those who really didn't prove the doctrines of the Church in the first place.
They seem to be those, not unlike gang members and members of cults and occults, who "just need to feel a sense of belonging to something".
Those who remain are those who actually took the time to prove the things they were professing to believe.
It seems that all those who are unable to get on with their lives without harboring useless resentments should maybe take "re-look" at those things they professed to believe in the first place. Or.... Let It Go!

Tear Down That Wall said...

Anonymous said "The above-named churches don't attempt to control every aspect of the members' lives the way wcg did"

MY COMMENT - BINGO! AGREED!

That was integral to the controlling nature of the WCG cult. Almost every aspect of personal human life was regulated by the Church including personal intimate relations. HWA even went so far as to pronounce that there were only two acceptable positions for sexual relations between husband and wife (although, he didn't pronounce which two positions were acceptable).

(Note - Given what we have learned in recent years about HWA's sexual practices, I wonder if he practiced what he preached. Or, if it was another example of HWA telling the dumb sheep one thing while HWA did something else similar to his use of the medical profession after telling members for years not to use doctors).

I remember a church minister criticizing a member for drinking a Coca Cola once. Cokes were shunned in the 1960s WCG. Personal dress and style were subject to critique by the elite AC ministers. The Church approved/disapproved just about every aspect of life. Home visits from the ministers were almost considered personal life inspections.

Then, there was the Church obsession with schedules again indicative of the controlling nature of the WCG cult. Sabbath sundown started at a precise minute in time every Friday night - TVs off). Members were admonished from the pulpit to schedule their time and I still recall my daily/weekly schedule as a young teen which, of course, included time for prayer, meditation and fasting once a month.

When I look back on the WCG cult experience, it is not too different than socialism/communism. We were told everything we owned belonged to God (and therefore, it belonged to the WCG). HWA was the unelected head of the socialist Church state with absolutely no accountability (other than to God and Jesus Christ). There was no freedom of choice and competition (which comes from free enterprise).

Herbert W. Armstrong was a monopolist in the niche seventh day COG religion market. To maintain his monopoly, he and his WCG controlled every aspect of the WCG lives. What we are relating here at Ambassador Watch is not too different than when President Ronald Reagan told Mikhail Gorbachov, "Tear down that wall!"

For many of us, the wall of Armstrongism has been torn down!

Richard

Tired Skeptic said...

Are you new here or "fairly new?" Which ever it is, it would have been courteous of you if you had introduced yourself by saying, my name is.....! Then a welcome could have been extended to you.

It's as we suspected for some time: The dyslexic personality disorder laden has taken over Ambassador Watch as the moderator now -- or at least, as he weaves his web of deceptions, would like people to believe that he is IN CHARGE.

(Curiosity for those here in the know: What ratings would you give him on the PCL?)

BC said...

An escape from Armstrongism is an escape from a cult founded by a psychopath.

Anonymous said...

"Here are 12 signs of a cult.
"


excellent post. it describes the Roman Catholic Church to a T (think about it)

Anonymous said...

"The above-named churches don't attempt to control every aspect of the members' lives the way wcg did"

I think the majority of those in forums like this were unable to differentiate between God's instructions and man's instructions. Most were, in effect, following the man, which is why they "fell away", so to speak. (they were never truly "in", therefore couldn't actually "fall away")

Not truly understanding the scriptures, they believed every word that came from headquarters, taking in truth mixed with error. This is why there is so much confusion among the ex-cog'ers.

Of course, the ministry was filled with false ministers, ministers of Satan appearing as ministers of Light. This gives the ex-cog'ers plenty of ammo to use against the Church.

Those truly IN the Church were not duped by those false ministers, and still aren't today.

I just hope and pray that your character is not so hardened by these blogs that you refuse the accept the truth in the resurrection.

Tom Mahon said...

Steve said...

>>>I said that?<<

It's a paraphrase of what you said.

>>Well, go ahead...examine them. Please use Scriptures to prove me wrong.<<

To date you haven't posted an explanation of any doctrines, so how can I prove you wrong?

However, if you support Tkach's doctrinal changes, it may be pointless even discussing them with you, as most people who support the changes are completely irrational. Over the past 13 years, I have discussed the doctrinal changes with many who are still attending WCG, and they have all trotted out a list of religious platitude, taken from Joe's Evangelical Alliance Scrapbook. I hope your approach will be different.

>>>If you want to, we can make it a private discussion. Makes no difference to me.<<<

That is OK by me. I will post on my blog, my criticism of Tkach's view that God has more than one church; that WCG was not the one true church God and that there are Christians in other churches. Is that OK with you?

Tom Mahon said...

Tired Skeptic said...

Tom>>>Are you new here or "fairly new?" Which ever it is, it would have been courteous of you if you had introduced yourself by saying, my name is.....! Then a welcome could have been extended to you.<<

DB>>>It's as we suspected for some time: The dyslexic personality disorder laden has taken over Ambassador Watch as the moderator now -- or at least, as he weaves his web of deceptions, would like people to believe that he is IN CHARGE.<<<

I am sure that had the person introduced himself, Gavin would have welcomed him: and even you, if your anger can be abated for a few minutes, would have added your welcome.

Anonymous said...

'They seem to be those, not unlike gang members and members of cults and occults, who "just need to feel a sense of belonging to something".
Those who remain are those who actually took the time to prove the things they were professing to believe.'

Why the heck do you think people go to a Protestant or Catholic congregation... or Jewish or Muslim?

Churches are the poor man's country club. It is a place for friends and a sense of belonging.

ALL CHURCHES ARE PLACES FOR POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS FOLKS TO MEET AND FEEL LIKE THEY BELONG.

And why the heck do you think CoG folks are so lonely? It is because their place of meeting and belonging has been taken away from them.

Anonymous said...

What's the first thing you get when you move into a new neighborhood? An invitation to a church!

"Come be with us and feel the love and the warmth. Meet people. Fellowship with us."

I still say that ALL churches are cults, and belong to satan. The God that people are looking for is not there. He is not in any so called church.

larry said...

The answers to the question you posed have been interesting, but no one has touched on the main point. Why does the WCG elicit such an intense emotional response in its current and former members?

It is special and unique.

The Church has always been special and unique. This is why such a small group has made such an amazing impact on civilization down through history, because the message is SO powerful and touches the innermost core of man's desires. This is the desire to live, to accomplish, to know, to reach out beyond one's self, to interact with God.

Humans inherently and instinctively feel this need, but often cannot explain it, and certainly cannot satisfy it.

Regardless of how you feel about Mr. Armstrong, he reached that area of the mind for many people. Lots of you here suggest that this was all a ruse, not so.

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.

Corky said...

Larry said...
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.

It most certainly is not coincidence. And if one of the other chuches visited one of the ACoGs, they would say the same thing about the "true ignorance" of the ACoG.

It is because they have been taught to believe different doctrines than the CoGs.

To you the Catholic is wrong, to the Catholic, you are wrong. Proving that both are a delusion of the respective person's mind.

It doesn't involve coincidence at all, it's perfectly natural and human.

The believer thinks that the unbeliever is stupid and ignorant and the unbeliever thinks that the believer is stupid and ignorant - same thing.

If a person is born and raised in a Christian country, chances are he will be Christian. If a person is born and raised in a Muslim country, chances are he will be Muslim.

Delusions of the mind and idols of the heart is all it all is.

A person who knows "the truth" knows nothing but a delusion of what he thinks "the truth" is.

Too many things that are "the truth" today will not be "the truth" tomorrow, so that "the truth" is impossible to apply to all the time, because sometimes it's not "the truth".

paco said...

Larry,

Your fundamental premise of the "specialness" of the wcg is wrong. To me, the question as you framed it displays a certain naivite and a touch of arrogance. It is only because the wcg experience is part of our story that it feels "special and unique" to us.

The wcg is not and has never been "special and unique" except in the very specific details of what went on there. Other religious or personality cults have the same general story but differ on the specifics.

Former wcg members are not unique in their passion. As an example, the Mormon church has a vigorous group of former members who warn people of that cult. There are also sites that deal with Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Oral Roberts, and many others.

People are passionate about their wcg experiences because that experience was all consuming. For many, the church was their lives. They sacrificed their present lives for a promised future, based on what "God's Apostle" assured them was their ultimate reward. "God's Apostle" turned out to be a self-serving egomaniac. The promises turned out to be lies or at least wrong. Some former members have a lot of anger that they direct to themselves (for being so stupid as to get involved) and to the wcg power structure for victimizing them.

There are now current and former wcg people spread out all over the continuum of belief in a long line of belief, partial belief and non-belief in the doctrines once taught by the wcg. Each person is at a different point on that continuum. That is why we get so many different responses to questions about why it happened and what it all meant.

This is just my impression, Larry, but it seems to me that you are one who believes that the old wcg was essentially correct and that you and a small group of other true believers are members of God's chosen few who still hold to the truth no matter what. Either that, or you may believe that making the transition from the old wcg to the new wcg makes you special in God's eyes. You seem to think that the "passion" displayed by people on this blog is somehow proof that the wcg is or was the unique place in which God was really working with people.

If you believe that, or something close to it, that is your right. However, it is my view that people who honestly believe that the old or current wcg was or is special in God's eyes are totally incorrect. My view is that you are in an extreme state of denial of reality.

Some people are passionate about the wcg experience because it was such an important part of their lives and it turned out to have such a negative - and sometimes devastating - impact on their lives.

Your comments about the biblical ignorance you find in many other other churches, while true in many cases, is irrelevant to the argument that the wcg was or is special is God's eyes.

larry said...

Paco, your very presence here is living proof that it is "special". I am piercing through TO reality. TRUTH is indeed, and always has been stranger than fiction.

paco said...

Larry,

Your comments are living proof that you are still a "true believer" (of who knows what) who is impervious to fact or reason. You live in a fantasy world.

As the saying goes, "I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you." The multiple comments in this string have given more than adequate responses to your query. You, however, seem to have no ears to hear, at least at this time. You can't comprehend the elephant that is standing right in front of you.

I respect your right to believe whatever you choose -that's your choice and your responsibility - but I don't have to respect what you actually believe. I sometimes participate in this blog because I want to do something to help people get out of or recover from the life-crushing experience that was and is the wcg and its offshoots. Participation here is also part of the "rational recovery" that I go through on a constant basis to protect my sanity.

You are not special and neither is the wcg or its children (and neither am I). You are part of a destructive cult. You and I are part of the 6 billion people on earth trying to get through each day as best we can. Try living in reality for awhile.

Flatal emission in the submarine said...

Basically we're all here because we were once part of WCG. Just a bunch of people trying to process a very UNspecial and relatively minor cult.

Man! I'd love to be a fly on the wall at some of the sphincter groups' sabbath services today! I'd just bet that someone, somewhere would say something like, "Hey, did you see what is happening at Ambassador Watch? Two of our brethren named Tom and Larry have signed on there and are just kicking ass on all the infidels!"

Anonymous said...

"He was astounded by the fact that he already knew this information which was considered "new and revolutionary understanding" by everyone else."

Yes, when I was an adult in the Army and re-visiting the religion my mother taught me as a small child, I too was astounded at the "truth" I inherently knew that other could barely understand! Amazing! The problem was that it was invalid- all Really Bad Theology and utterly worthless. But I got off on the self-righteous high it gave me, as all of us did to one degree or another, and some of us- you and Tom included, still do.

The Apostate Paul

Delusional Larry Church of God said...

Larry said, "The Church has always been special and unique. This is why such a small group has made such an amazing impact on civilization down through history, because the message is SO powerful and touches the innermost core of man's desires."

MY COMMENT - Oh boy, are you ever delusional!

So Larry, what amazing impact did HWA and the WCG have on civilization?

99.9% of the earth's population have never heard the name Herbert W. Armstrong or the Worldwide Church of God, so please tell us the amazing impact on civilization?

Richard

Steve said...

Tom Mahon said...
Steve said...

TOM>>>In a world of uncertainty, doubt and mutual flattery, anyone who speaks with certainty is often described as arrogant, self righteous, bigoted or even insane. So your comment confirms the human condition.<<<

Steve>>>I wonder if the Pharisees in Jesus' day thought the same thing.<<<

How does what you wonder help us to understand the perception of self righteousness, in a world of uncertainty, doubt and mutual flattery?

MY COMMENT: I wonder if the Pharisees of Jesus' day asked the same question.

Steve said...

Tom Mahon said...
Steve said...

>>>I said that?<<

It's a paraphrase of what you said.

MY COMMENT: You sure do try to weasel your way out of the holes that you dig for yourself, don't you?

>>Well, go ahead...examine them. Please use Scriptures to prove me wrong.<<

To date you haven't posted an explanation of any doctrines, so how can I prove you wrong?

MY COMMENT: Here's what was said:
tom mahon said..."As a consequence, he announced that the Sabbath had been done away;"

I said: He was right on that one. No command in the New Testament to keep it.

MY COMMENT: Prove me wrong.

"Christians could vote;"

I said: Right again. Christians voted in the New Testament.

MY COMMENT: Prove me wrong.

"birthdays could be celebrated"

I said: Right again. No where does it tell us that it is a sin to celebrate birthdays.

MY COMMENT: Prove me wrong.

"and that when sick, going to the doctor should take precedence over being anointed:"

MY COMMENT: Have you ever been sick...I mean, to death?

"just to mention a few heretical changes."

MY COMMENT: So, name some "important" ones.

>>>If you want to, we can make it a private discussion. Makes no difference to me.<<<

That is OK by me. I will post on my blog, my criticism of Tkach's view that God has more than one church; that WCG was not the one true church God and that there are Christians in other churches. Is that OK with you?

MY COMMENT: I don't think we were discussing that one. Just came up with it out of the blue, did ya? Yeah, it's ok with me. ;-)

Anonymous said...

"because the message is SO powerful and touches the innermost core of man's desires.""


How so??


The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Hey Tom,

When are you going to post your picture that you said you would.

Weinland gets Trumped! said...

Side note:

Bob Thiel made it official on his web site today....The Tribulation "CANNOT BEGIN BEFORE 2012"!!!!

"As I have been posting for a while, the Great Tribulation cannot begin BEFORE 2012 and is most likely going to start 1-3 years after that."

Wonder where the double doctor gets his inside information from.

Byker Bob said...

Best explanation for the reaction Armstrongism has produced on these forums, sites and blogs is Newton's Third Law.

BB

Purple Hymnal said...

"Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, you know alot more about God and Christianity than most other people, even people who have studied it all their lives.

Exactly right. I absolutely agree with this. I know that Christianity, the state religion of Rome, was based on the Egyptian mystery school religions of Isis, Horus, and Osiris. The christ figure in the canonical christian new testament is a very bad parody of the Horus legends, and the canonical christian texts of the old testament matches up with the Egyptian creation legends almost word for word.

And if I hadn't been raised in an oppressive, restrictive, thought-reform regime, under a Bible-based high demand religious group, I would never have known that there were other versions of reality out there, then just the warped version the church preached.

"I just hope and pray that your character is not so hardened by these blogs that you refuse the accept the truth in the resurrection."

Oh, I don't intend to refuse to accept it, I intend to do a swan dive into the Lake of Fire, laughing all the way down --- because that is definitely not a kingdom I would willingly spend eternity in!!!

"Participation here is also part of the "rational recovery" that I go through on a constant basis to protect my sanity."

Paco! You mean that's what keeps pulling me back in?? 8-O

Homo Prophetithicus said...

"Wonder where the double doctor gets his inside information from.


He makes it up as he goes along. Since humans have not perfected knowing what is going to happen an hour from now, we can rest assured he has not perfected 2012+3

paco said...

Purple Hymnal,

I think participation in these groups for me presents a fine line between improving my mental health on one hand and exacerbating old mental and emotional wounds on the other hand. A little of it can be invigorating.

For instance, I learn more about the real origins of some christian teachings and I get to validate my experiences through comparable experiences of others here on this blog.

On the other hand, too much exposure brings on depression and anxiety.

By the way, "Rational Recovery" is a real book that is primarily concerned with helping people overcome alcoholism. I used its principles to help overcome - or at least hold at bay - certain thoughts and anxieties that bothered me a lot when I decided to break from wcg "church thought."

On a personal note, I like Aggies even though I attended and graduated from other Texas universities. Gig 'em!

paco said...

Purple Hymnal,

I think participation in these groups for me presents a fine line between improving my mental health on one hand and exacerbating old mental and emotional wounds on the other hand. A little of it can be invigorating.

For instance, I learn more about the real origins of some christian teachings and I get to validate my experiences through comparable experience of others here on this blog.

On the other hand, too much exposure brings on depression and anxiety.

By the way, "Rational Recovery" is a real book that is primarily concerned with helping people overcome alcoholism. I used its principles to help overcome - or at least hold at bay - certain thoughts and anxieties that bothered me a lot when I decided to break from wcg "church thought."

On a personal note, I like Aggies even though I attended and graduated from other Texas universities. Gig 'em!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read all the comments, so this may have been said before, but I think one of the reasons we do it is because we want to know that we're not the only one who has the feelings we have about our experience in the WCG. If other people react the same way I did, then there is probably something wrong with the organization, not with me.

Purple Hymnal said...

Paco,

Thanks for the book recommendation, I will keep my eye open for it.

You're right about treating everything in moderation. I think I've pretty much OD'd on the ex-member sites for the better part of the last year, but it has definitely had a positive impact on my mental life. Now it's time for me to parlay that positive effect onto my physical life.

"But they just keep pullin' me back in!!" ;-)

Tom Mahon Needs Me said...

On a personal note, If Tom Mahon needs me, I will be in D.C.

Richard