Saturday, 19 July 2008

"A Sound SPANKING of what she so brazenly displays"

My first real life encounter with the WCG was attending a mid-week Bible Study at the invitation of John Comino, then pastor of the Hamilton, NZ church. I was probably about 18. As I recollect it, the meeting was in a rented upstairs room in Victoria Street, the city's "golden mile." Comino was surprised by an unexpected standing room only attendance, which it turned out was the result of a mix-up with a local AA group. I can still recollect his off the cuff remarks about realizing his nose was a little red, but...

The other thing that remains with me about that first meeting, many years ago, was the dress code for women, who really stood out from the fashions of the time with their low hemlines.

Which leads me to this bit of history, recently mentioned on the WCG Alumni group: a GN article from the pen of Herbert W. Armstrong. Although it dates from the 1960s, it obviously had a half-life of at least ten years to still be normative in the mid-70s, and the legacy apparently still lingers even today in groups like Flurry's.

Here's that article, notable not only for the blatant misogyny, but also the reference to spanking of children, a church-mandated practice that produced much bitter fruit over the years ("Any and every child needs spankings. It is a vital, integral part of his positive teaching and training." GTA)

WHY does the Word of God confine His instruction regarding modest apparel, and the adorning of the person with clothes, to the WOMEN?

Did God desire to discriminate--to make women uncomfortable--to show partiality to men? Does God intend for men to show off themselves in ornamental and gay attire, while He commands women to make unsightly scarecrows of themselves?

Of course we know better than that. There is nothing in God's instruction to make women appear ugly, or to make them uncomfortable. On the contrary, many, if not most, women will suffer any amount of discomfort in their worship of the goddess Dame Fashion.

God's REASON

God never shows partiality. He never discriminates against individuals, sexes, races, or whoever. Yet God's Word does carry specific instruction for women to be modest in their dress--and no corresponding instruction for modesty in men's clothing is given. WHY?

There is a reason! I think, candidly, that the girls and women in God's Church know the answer. And for that very reason some of them seem to want to violate Gods' instruction!

What I am going to say applies only to a few. Women in God's Church are different from those of the world. But a very few need severe correction.

I do not mean that even these few go to the extremes of ridiculous fashion so commonly seen in the world. You won't see any member of God's Church wearing artificially striped hair, green eyelids, and a purple mouth, decked out in outlandish dress design and overdone wacky jewelry. But, in the category of too short and too tight skirts, and in excessively low-neck dresses, some of you women and girls need a sharp rebuke from God's ministers!

Now WHY does God's Instruction Book contain admonition regarding modesty in women's dress, and not regarding men's?

In both colleges--Pasadena and Bricket Wood, England,--I personally teach a class in Principles of Living. This class includes God's instruction in regard to sex and marriage. Sex responses operate in the mind, and the male mind does not react in the same manner as the female mind in relation to sex. Sex consciousness, and arousal, in the male, is brought about much more quickly than in the female, and is stimulated by sight, or even by imagination, in a manner that has little affect on females.

God made the female body to be attractive to the male. This attraction may be, and should be, one of sheer beauty. But also it may be, and under many circumstances often is, a stimulation of LUST. Especially when certain parts of the female figure are emphasized, such as the hips and buttocks by tight skirts, the low neckline exposing portions of breasts, or too-short skirts exposing more than is modest of the female leg.

I am quite aware that it is the current fashion, in the world, to wear short knee-length skirts extra tight around the hips. But the women in God's Church have come out of the world, and are different--or else they have not been put into His Church by God. God's daughters do not find it necessary to conform to this world, going along in its extremes of daring, or wrong, styles.

Candidly, when I see a female with a skirt tight enough to call attention to the shape of her hips, especially when tight below the hips and under the buttocks, I know that she is either careless and needs sharp admonishing or else she is wearing it deliberately to attract male eyes and arouse lust toward her in men's minds.

Do you want to know my personal reaction when I see such an example? It makes me feel that such a girl or WOMAN needs either a good lecture driven home by a sound SPANKING of what she so brazenly displays, or to be classed as a fallen woman and a common prostitute.

THAT IS PLAIN LANGUAGE! I mean it to be plain, and I want the women in God's Church to know it is coming from God's Minister, who speaks by Christ's authority!

Recently some of our girls and women have been wearing skirts that are entirely TOO SHORT! Often I have felt I ought to speak personally to some of you. If this article does not quickly correct this evil--AND IT IS AN EVIL!--God's ministers will be instructed to begin speaking personally and in a manner that ought to cause a deep sense of shame and produce a very red face on any girl or woman who invites such sharp rebuke from a Minister of God!

When many of you women wear skirts as high as the knee, and which completely expose the knees when sitting, your skirts are an abomination in GOD'S eyes. I wonder, frankly, if God doesn't blush when HE sees you! Are you women who do this, deliberately trying to tempt men into breaking the spirit of God's law against adultery? Are you trying to make yourselves adulteresses? Are you not breaking the very spirit of that law, yourselves?

In our instruction to parents in proper child rearing we teach that when you spank your child, it must be sufficiently severe to impress the lesson painful enough that he will not want to cause it to be repeated very soon. In this instruction to the spiritual children in God's Church, your Pastor is making this correction to those who need it, I sincerely hope, plain enough and painful enough that it shall not need repeating!

Neither Extreme

God's Church does not teach, nor does God's Word when rightly understood, that women should go to the opposite extreme of wearing ill-fitting, overly loose skirts that drag the dust and pick up germs. I am not saying that your neckline must be so high that all the neck is covered. God is not the author of UGLINESS, any more than of confusion or evil. God is the Great Artist who has designed all the beauty of nature.

Consequently, in conformity with the Word of God, God's Church encourages women to dress neatly, pleasingly, attractively within the bounds of proper modesty and good taste, and even with sufficient becoming style to express personality and individuality. God Himself expressed perfect artistry in beautiful design in nature--in the lily--the rose--beautiful trees, shrubs and plants--in prize-winning livestock--and even in the beautiful human body, when healthy and not degenerated.

For women to dress becomingly yet modestly, there is no need to disguise the human figure by grotesque ultramodern styles that make them look like lampshades, T-squares, or triangles. The world goes either to that extreme, or to the extreme of undue emphasis on breast, hips, and legs.

But it is in this latter category that some--yes, too many--or our women offend.

More than once I have seen a few of our women, in evening dress, exposing entirely too much female breast--with neckline cut so low as to show a goodly portion of breasts, with a crease in the middle. On one or two occasions, I have instructed Mrs. Armstrong to speak to such women, telling them plainly that their necklines are too low.

Women's breasts, in plain language, were designed by God to nurse babies--not to be flaunted immodestly to arouse lust in men.

In the matter of too-tight skirts around the hips, the excuse often is that the girl has taken on weight--and she protests that she cannot help it. But she can help it, and if she is to remain in God's Church or enter God's Kingdom, she must--one of two ways: either don't remain overweight (fasting and proper diet will cure that quickly), or let out the seam.

We want our women to be beautiful--naturally beautiful, pleasingly attractive, in good style, well groomed--but not artificially so, and this may be accomplished WITH FULL MODESTY.

It is the over-emphasis of lust arousing portions of the female body that MUST BE CORRECTED.

35 comments:

Rodroid said...

Reading HWA's specific and somewhat graphic description of how women were dressing shows how much he was noticing. Actually could cause a guy to get turned on just reading his repeated observations of how good women look with tight skirts and low necklines....

Rodroid

Corky said...

So, instead of being "turned on" by the girls/women in the church, the guys are turned on by the girls/women "in the world".

I mean, just because HWA or GTA or whoever doesn't allow women of the church to put on the best "show" they can doesn't mean that other women won't.

Stupid, just plain stupid. But, if women in the church want other women in the world to be more attractive to their men, who am I to interfer?

Bamboo_bends said...

And people think we make this stuff up out of hatred for the man!!! You can't make stuff up this funny!

I'm surprised he didn't mention their "pouting lips" and "firm young breasts".....

These sentences are classics:
❝ Does God intend for men to show off themselves in ornamental and gay attire...❞

followed by:
❝.... On the contrary, many, if not most, women will suffer any amount of discomfort in their worship of the goddess Dame Fashion.....❞

Dame Fashion? Is she anything like Dame Edna?

And then this:

❝It makes me feel that such a girl or WOMAN needs either a good lecture driven home by a sound SPANKING of what she so brazenly displays....❞

What a hoot! Its like listening to Senator Larry Craig! Oh and don't forget this classic Larry Craig from the Clinton era.

FT said...

Right on Corky!

Let's face it,the historic WCG had nothing but contempt for the female body. To assert otherwise is plain crazy.

kiwi said...

John Comino was one of the good guys. Wonder what he's doing now?
As for knees, are they still sexy when they're knobbly and wrinkled and creak a bit?
What was standard AC swimming gear, I wonder? Obviously nothing that showed breasts with "creases".
Creases?
The mind boggles....

Bare Breast Church of God said...

Mr. Armstrong said, "On one or two occasions, I have instructed Mrs. Armstrong to speak to such women, telling them plainly that their necklines are too low".

MY COMMENT - And while your at it, Mr. Armstrong, would you please talk to your son Garner Ted who who is reported to have bed 100s of Church women and walks around campus with his fly down. Thank you!

Richard

Anonymous said...

To be honest, the intent of the comments are appropriate. I was a 19 year old woman with a nice figure in the RCG/WWCG. I had the equipment. I was not upset by the intent of this message. Well, except for the spanking comments - please!

Society has gone way overboard in dress and issues of modesty. It isn't difficult to find a lot to grouse about in the past but I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water. (That was used a lot!).

I had lunch this week with a friend I met from WWCG back in the early '70s. We moved and have not been close for 20 years. She asked me if I regreted the "church" and being a part of it. I told her no and she agreed. (She still attends a local WWCG and I a UCG and others) Yes, I know some of the issues were insane but we also had a good education overall in many ways which I won't elaborate on now but you all know what I mean.

And please in reading these remarks do not think that I had it easy in the "church" I didn't as I was publicly marked back in the '80s from the pulpit and lost most of my friends. My situation made me fodor for abuse by the ministry to the point of being accused of being a lesbian which was the lowest to them because I complained of an abusive husband for years. If I didn't like my husband then I MUST be a lesbian, right? Stands to reason!

Enough already. This article is heavy handed in its approach however, there is common sense attached. It is too bad that common sense and personal choice were not taught so real spiritual growth cound transpire by each individual. Seems to me that is the way of God.

Peace, Adele

Planet of the Apes Church of God said...

I remember a lady from West Virginia who took the Church’s ban against the use of cosmetics one step further. Apparently, she didn’t believe woman should be attractive at all – so she didn’t believe in shaving her legs! Grossly protruding out from under her dresses each week at Church were the hairiest legs you’ve ever seen rivaling any of the ape characters in the movie Planet of the Apes.

Richard

Weinland Watch said...

It wasn't just the female body they had contempt for either; women were like children, meant to be seen but definitely not heard.

Anonymous said...

HWA should have spanked his own son GTA into behaving better.

Anonymous said...

C'mon guys, everyone knows that men can get turned on if a girl is wearing a cardboard box! Personally, I enjoy seeing women wear clothes that flatter them-instead of seeing them wear-gangsta style clothes-if you get my point!God doesn't say hide every inch of your body-nor does He say show it all-there is a limit and I believe each person knows their own limits. So, I agree with you, Rodroid...
---Cap'n Jack btw-I thought creases were what you put in papers!

Anonymous said...

Right on, Adele.

A woman's public display of all her charms does not always lead where she wants to go:

http://meek-and-quiet.blogspot.com/2006/12/public-vs-private-women.html

Anonymous said...

"Candidly, when I see a woman with a skirt tight enough to call attention to the shape of her hips, especially when tight below the hips and under the buttocks, I know that she is either careless and needs sharp admonishing or else she is wearing it deliberately to attract male eyes and arouse lust toward her in men's minds."

Including Dorothy, Herb?

Byker Bob said...

Let's face it, the birds and the bees apply equally to both sexes. Men and women will dress in such a manner as to be attractive to one another. It's only natural. Whether it's the woman with the short tight skirt and low top, or the guy in form fitting shirt, the top three buttons unbuttoned, tight jeans with no underwear, you have a typical primal mating situation ongoing. Cosmetics and perfume for the ladies, the guy smelling like he took a bath in Musk, or something with a similar reputation.

Dancing so that the guys know how you fight, and the gals know how you are in bed. People spending lots of time in the gym to be ready for vigorous sexual activity.

After marriage, in social situations it continues. Power couples being admired for their trophies, who are sitting right next to one another.

Personally, I don't believe that the people in the church deliberately behaved in the manner I just described above. I believe they simply wanted to dress in clothing which helped them feel positively about themselves.

Hubble Dubble and his spankings surely made any number of people's lives hell on earth, though.

BB

Burgers said...

"This article is heavy handed in its approach however, there is common sense attached."

I agree. It is written for a different era, and it's no wonder that strong words against "showing the whole knee" would be laughed at in a society now where the standards are of a much different ilk.

Anonymous said...

Check out "A Stranger Among Us," starring Melanie Griffith.

Ann said...

I think the men in Gods church should have been given blinders so that they could control their "lusts" if the view bothered them so darn much.
Also, if your eye offendeth thee.. they could have plucked them out!

I think the spanking bit was his lust gone wild frankly. HWA's reaction to women is bordering on hysteria.
If something like a hemline makes you so hysterical there has to be a reason behind it.

Juan Rheinland said...

The approach to human sexuality was and still is fairly pathetic in most churches. Women have to struggle not to be whores and men have to watch out not falling into the "shocking truth about queer men" trap.

Righteous men protest too much and repressed and controlled women rarely stand up for themselves and tell men that how she dresses is none of their business.

Sometimes the balance on a "problem" is like riding a bicycle. When you feel the bike beginning to fall over, you turn into the direction of the fall. If you don't, you'll crash.

Like so many topics, disallowing it, avoiding, shielding, correcting and even writing long letters pointing it all out causes one to become more aware of it as a "problem." I have never believed that any man was nearly as offended as he let on to be. If a minister, he is suposed to be offended for God but I doubt he is. God could care less. He's watched humans slaughter humans for thousands of years. Body parts aren't much of an issue for "him"

I remember the "attack speech" I sat through where a guy tacked a centerfold on the lecturn and then preceeded to yell and shout, while telling us all to "look at this...this is an abomination to God." Ummmm, yeah right. We laughed our asses off, praised God for the beauty of women and wondered if the guy would every be allowed to attend church again.

Anonymous said...

I am curious what did GTA say about adultery. I am sure it was limited at best.
I wonder what the dress code of the number of women he had adulterous affairs was????

Bamboo_bends said...

Adele wrote:

And please in reading these remarks do not think that I had it easy in the "church" I didn't as I was publicly marked back in the '80s from the pulpit and lost most of my friends. My situation made me fodor for abuse by the ministry to the point of being accused of being a lesbian which was the lowest to them because I complained of an abusive husband for years. If I didn't like my husband then I MUST be a lesbian, right? Stands to reason!


Adele,

I hate to sound like Dr Laura but why would you return to an abusive Church?

The similarities between the behavior of abusive husbands and the abusive ministry are uncanny.

Not all abuse is physical in nature. If I can think of one thing over the years that the WCG has bragged about, is the idea "we're not as awful as we once were".

"Remember D&R?".

"Remember when we couldn't wear makeup?"

"Remember when we had to sit thru 4 hours of sermons on Holy Days?"

"Remember when they made young kids fast on Atonement".

Our memories are always of the awful things we once had to do.





Unattractive women Church of God said...

All right Gavin, I'll re-phrase my post although the original post can be found at http://meek-and-quiet.blogspot.com/2006/12/public-vs-private-women.html.

Why do the the most unattractive women have an issue with the public display of the female body?

As for HWA's comments, well, we all know what was on his mind.

Richard

Anonymous said...

If his mind did all that when he looked at women, it only confirms to me that he was one sick puppy.

I'm surprised we didn't have to wear burkas...

Anonymous said...

HWA would have to contend with our Sue Bradford if he tried to have a woman spanked.Today,this is litigious stuff,and was probably then, even in the good ole USA.

And this action is not even getting to the seat of the problem, either.

Wonder what Spanky would say about this?

Jorgheinz

Anonymous said...

I remember a minister making some obscure analogy of the Kingdom (or something along that line) to a woman's breast. He blurted this gem out at a "singles" Bible Study, consisting of about a dozen young guys and one girl of ample proportions.

Anonymous said...

Living COG needs a good spanking since they claim to be God's reps but they wink at the continual immodesty and embracing that goes on within its members and members'children. Too bad they threw HWA out of the church. As a result, many of their members and children are spiritually Sardician, I mean dead! And as a result, many are going back into the world's ways, and many of those children have embraced the ways of this world, the ways of death.

Anonymous said...

There's something to be said for modesty, and society isn't saying it. For Godliness in everyday life one must seek guidelines, hopefully at home, and in churches and synagogues. Paul expected as much, "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety."

To be fair, this is one of the things HWA got right. I have to take Adele's side on this one. There's no credibility in the jaded position that everything HWA and company did was wrong.

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
Living COG needs a good spanking since they claim to be God's reps but they wink at the continual immodesty and embracing that goes on within its members and members'children. Too bad they threw HWA out of the church. As a result, many of their members and children are spiritually Sardician, I mean dead! And as a result, many are going back into the world's ways, and many of those children have embraced the ways of this world, the ways of death.

There is a name for those who think that it is immodest for a woman to wear nice clothes that are flattering to her figure.

"Dirty Old Man".

They didn't kick HWA out of the CoGs, the dirty-minded, perverted, doomsaying old codger finally kicked the bucket (although he prophesied himself that he would still be alive when Jesus came back).

He was wrong starting out and he was wrong all the way to the grave in his prophecies. Why would anyone in their right mind still worship the ground he walked on?

Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel posted a picture of his wife in shorts last week. Knees and thighs ! Living is still far too "top down" and Herbalish for me, a liberal CG7.

Anonymous said...

I have never understood why armstrongism, and society at large (At least America / Canada) have always had such a problem with breasts and women's bodies? Why is a boob so threatening to society but it is perfectly okay to let Jr. watch blood, gore, and violence on the television? Why does a nice looking young lady need to be covered from her adams apple to her ankles at church but the ministurd can get up at the pulpit and paint the most violent of pictures to the congregation which is full of young children???

Black is white and up is down.

I've never had a nightmare or felt my way of life threatened because I happened to catch a glimpse (or more) of thigh or breast. I have had nightmares as a child and teen about that fictional tribulation.

Maybe the hippies had it right; make love not war!

Libro 66 said...

Anonymous: /-- Too bad they threw HWA out of the church. --/

They did?? Well then, how come I had to sit through a must-play sermon this month (by Rod Meredith, as with nearly all must-plays) titled "Are We All the Same?"

He had five main points -- in Roman numerals, no less -- explaining why LCG is superior to all other COGs:

I) Other COGs don't really live by every word of God (like Mr. Armstrong taught us).

II) They don't accept God's form of government (as given to us by Mr. Armstrong).

III) They (well, the other big COGs, anyway) don't truly emphasize doing the Work (which, according to Mr. Armstrong, means they aren't deeply converted).

IV) They don't really have a deep, abiding respect for and desire to follow Mr. Armstrong. (This is about where I nearly through my pen across the hall and went to the men's room.)

V) They don't really understand faith -- if they did, they would see that Mr. Armstrong was right and LCG is the group that is truly following him.

It was the most Armstrong-centric sermon I'd heard all year. But at least he also mentioned God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Six months ago, it was actually getting better -- the living Jesus Christ was actually getting more press than the deceased Herbert Armstrong. But now this. I thought we were supposed to Christians, not Armstrongites.

Libro

(By the way, as a kid in WCG, I always thought my mom was pretty -- even in the days of long skirts and no makeup. Style and fashion only augment the beauty that's already there.)

(And despite what others may naysay, the COGs still have a few good-looking gals -- my wife Libra is better-looking than any stock photo Living University would care to put up.)

Anonymous said...

Charlie, during a brief flitation with a semi-Open Door policy, it was reported that some wandering liberated ladies started fronting up for services. ("Open door" in that curious passers-by weren't barred from entery to services.)

I don't know if these ladies were informed (let along spanked) or just conformed, but after a few weeks they started wearing appropriate undergarments.

Corky said...

Libro 66 said...
Anonymous: /-- Too bad they threw HWA out of the church. --/

They did?? Well then, how come I had to sit through a must-play sermon this month (by Rod Meredith, as with nearly all must-plays) titled "Are We All the Same?"

That's a good question, why did you have to sit through that? Were you tied to the chair? Were the doors chained and locked? Or, were you just "afraid" not to sit through it?

Anonymous said...

What a load of rubbish, the sad and scary thing is that there is still men out there in the various Churches of God groups who still agree with all that.

What about doctors who have to see naked parts of womens bodies to help them? what about art students who learn to draw by doing life drawing classess of naked art models?

Its about maturity of the mind and not being obsessed with sex like a imature teenager.

Knees being exposed is near evil give me a break.
No wonder the is loads of older women who hate themselves in the church.
Its all about POWER. Power over others.

May Jesus Christ deliver His sheep to safer pastures.

Anonymous said...

minister in RI once had all the women get up on the stage and kneel down. If their knees showed they were sent home.

Anonymous said...

GTA (or Ron Dart, not sure) mentioned how a teacher at an Imperial School had all the girls line up so he could measure their skirt length.

A friend mentioned how a minister's sermon featured a list of regulations relating to grooming (such as hair length, cosmetics) and appropriate attire. This was during the early 70s, when the cosmetics argument toggled. The next week, the same minister went through the list, substituting the rule with "there is no rule". At least the guy was honest enough to make light of these arbitrary regulations.