Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Way It Was

And almost certainly the way it still is in many of the pig-pen splinters of Armstrongism even to this day.

I have every reason in the world to hate religion. And after 20 years of only talking about this subject with very very few people I thought it was high time to face myself a little and open the door to my experience to those who have been abused in the face of religion, and if I can, to ferret out as to why I still love religion itself, why I study it, and why I feel that beauty can be found in matters of faith. Above all, I hope that my personal experience will help victims of abuse, particularly victims of spiritual, physical and mental abuse in conservative Christian churches. A recent study found that abuse in conservative Christian churches is five times higher than in secular society because it is not reported...

I grew up in the Worldwide Church of God during the period 1979-1992. Worldwide is a non-denominational church that used to be fairly restrictive, very conservative, and, I suspect, like many conservative non-denominational churches had a dirty secret that nobody talked about – spousal abuse. Spousal abuse is a difficult subject to talk about anyway, but when you add religion to it, it becomes a prison like no other for the faithful who are abused. For the woman who is faithful, abuse becomes a matter of faith and submission a religious maze that is impossible to navigate through. And by the time an abused woman navigates it, she uses precious time that she could have been using getting help.


My mother was severely beaten for the entire time we belonged to Worldwide. My father claimed he was beating her in order to “get her under submission” to him because the church taught that men were head of the households under Jesus Christ. My dad would try to explain to me while he was beating her that he was “saving” her soul for God by “beating Satan out of her.” He was always careful to not touch her face. He left bruises where they could be covered up. And lest you think my dad was somehow justified for beating her, he would also call her a whore. He called her a bitch. He called her every filthy name under the sun while he beat her. He even beat her with the Bible, beat her with a book that is supposed to be holy. He beat her so hard he broke the binding on one of his Bibles. He abused her psychologically, and the mental headgames that went on was like walking through a minefield.

You never knew what would set my dad off. Ever.
My mother tried to get help. She appealed to the pastor. The pastor made more trips to our house than he made to the grocery store. And the result was not in my mother’s favor. The pastor told my dad that my dad was in the right. He told my dad in front of my mother that my dad, as head of the household under Jesus Christ had the right, even the duty to “do whatever it took” to get my mother to submit. Over and over for 15 years my mother heard that tired litany, not just from one pastor, but from three and four pastors. And she tried. She stopped talking about anything controversial. She stopped offering opinions. She stopped drawing, because drawing annoyed my dad, because pursing anything she was personally interested in took time away from him. She stopped being a person and became what she would nervously jokingly term “a puppet.” When my dad was around she did exactly what he told her to do and said exactly what she thought he wanted to hear. The difficulty was in my house, saying “pass the salt” could start World War 3.

The violence escalated to the point where there came a day that my dad nearly killed her. He picked her up and threw her under the kitchen table and he threw her so hard she slid across the kitchen and hit her head on the kitchen sink cupboard doors hard enough to render her unconscious. I lived in fear for years, and suffer from anxiety today, which I take medication for. I lived in my room, with books, because I couldn’t bear to see that evil played out, and because I felt so powerless to stop it.

We’d go to church and be all happy and normal and the abuse was effectively–hidden. But not really. Worldwide broke up in 1996, and people I used to go to church with came forward and confessed they knew “something bad” was going on, but didn’t know what to do about it. I also heard stories of horrors going on that nothing was ever done about – spousal rape being near the top of the list. Again, nothing was done, because in most Christian churches “rape” doesn’t exist if you’re married.
In the 80’s, spousal abuse was just starting to be widely publicized.

My mother never called a crisis counselor. She never sought outside help. The reason why was because Worldwide told everybody that psychology was bunk, and if you trusted psychology, then you weren’t trusting God. Marriage counseling was only for pastors, and seeking outside professional counseling was taken as a lack of faith not only in the pastorate, but worse, in God. How many countless abused women hid their abuse like my mother did, never daring to seek outside help, because they feared what God would think of their lack of faith?

Never mind that the pastorate was woefully undertrained in issues of abuse, even in marriage counselling. The pastorate of Worldwide never went to a secular college; Worldwide had their own college to train ministers and ministers’ wives, and I can assure you that Abuse 101 was never a course you could take. It got to the point where our pastor didn’t know what to do anymore. And so by his poor counseling, which effectively okayed the abuse anyway, and by turning his back on us, and this elephant in the room that nobody talked about, he allowed a great evil to perpetrate itself for years on end.

And the worst part was watching my mother punish herself. If she could be more submissive, the abuse would stop–or so she thought. She prayed more, she submitted herself to the point of subjugating who she was until she no longer knew who she was. For her the abuse was a matter of faith. If she had enough faith, she reasoned, God would stop the abuse. And of course, this never happened. I prayed too. I prayed to God to make the violence stop. And he never did stop it. And so the abuse was looked at by our family as a test of faith. Suffering makes a person more holy according to Christian tradition, and this was the very thing that enabled the abuse to continue and escalate.


The pastor eventually lost his job due to escalating complaints about him from others in the congregation. I consider the loss of his job well deserved karma. He was never a man of God, and should never have been a man of God. He was a one man dictator, and he hurt a lot of people because of the way he wielded power. He got to decide everything, from what we wore to what we ate, what we participated in outside of church.

For my part, I was never allowed to participate in school activities because most of them were on Friday night and Saturdays, and Friday night to Saturday night was the Sabbath. It was that way for all the youth in our church. Girls were told their great goal in life should not be education, or self improvement, but to be married. The pinnacle for girls was to be married to a minister, so many girls went to Ambassador College to get, a lot of us joked, their MRS. degree. Women were second class citizens in that church, and I notice in conservative churches that women are second class citizens in those churches too. The focus on Quiverfull, the conservative church in which women function as baby machines is only one example of spiritual abuse that goes on in conservative Christian churches today, which is finally starting to get attention by the media.


You may want to check out the full account. Incredibly, this is the church that published screeds of material on building happy marriages and families.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

This could happen in ANY church, sadly. I am so sorry that he and his mother had to go thru this. It was not right at all. And, shame on the ministers who did not help him. But, I don't think you should generalize that this is probably still happening in the COG's. I'm sure that it's happening in many denominations. Yes, your church should be there to help you, no doubt about it. No matter what church it is.

Anonymous said...

Read this account and then tell me that the Worldwide Church of God was God's True Church. Tell me that a "minister" who condones abuse is a minister of God. Tell me it was God speaking through this man and telling the husband that he was in the right. Tell me that the emotional trauma that this person who wrote the article was of God. Tell me that the bruises and the beatings were a product of God's True Church.

And then tell me that this was isolated, and I will tell you you are in denial. Abuse was common in those who were members of this church body in more ways then one can know or conceive.

Those who follow Armstrong claim he was a man of God because of the physical empire that was built, and the "Truths" he restored. Look at the fruit of these "Truths". Here is one more example of thousands. And then tell me Herbert Armstrong was God's "Apostle". And I will tell you you simply are blind to the reality of the horrors so many lived through, and refuse to see it for what it was and for some, sadly, still is.

This is one of the saddest stories I've read yet. Happy, Herbert? These changed lives were a direct result of Herbert Armstrong's "ministry". I Hope Herbert himself sees, or will someday see, how his teachings and his church made these lives tragically horrific.

Anonymous said...

Gavin please read through this before you discard and I am really hoping you will publish it.
This very very sad on many levels. First God Himself calls us into His church not even Christ does the calling much less any human being.However God used a man Mr Armstrong to give us the message of His calling. Unfortunately there were far too many people who did not get this instead of giving themselves to God and Christ they looked to men to save them,some did not even look to the men. They did not study their bible, did not pray or fast especially fast so that they could build their relationship with Christ therefore they remained in their carnal nature not submitting to the Creator. If that father had known God there is no way he could beat his wife and mistreat his family.God in His instructions says in Ephesians 5:25-29 how husbands are to love their wives.In fact there are more insructions to husbands than to wives in that chapter. I often wished that the ministers would have started their marriage sermons with those verses first.I do admit that they stressed women,s submission too much and really did not confront men more but still a man whose desire was to please God would have seen the scriptures for himself and turned to God for the help to change. The church or the ministers are not to be blamed it the hardness of some people,s heart that prevented them from repenting before their maker.We all have to work out our own salvation that does not though that there is no church or leaders just that these men cannot do our repentance or prayers bible study or fasting.When we are converted we learn to love the men God has put in charge and dont need them to correct as much because we walking with our Lord.

lnrd said...

Where did all this come from!
CHECK the link.

Seems the group who enforced the punishment as laid out in the book (s)!

Russell Miller said...

Yeah. And the WCG was great and wonderful, and it was all the father's fault, and if he'd been truly following the teachings of Armstrong he wouldn't have done it...

Makes me wanna puke. I hope a certain person doesn't comment on this particular post, because someone's gonna have to hold me back...

Baashabob said...

Gavin, I'm confused. Who wrote this piece, you or Dakota O'Leary? Or was that you using a pseudonym?

The really sad part about this kind of abuse (spousal or child) is that it would not be tolerated if it were reported to the police or child protection authorities. But unfortunately, even when the victims know full well that what is happening to them is a crime, they are still reluctant or unable to report it. You would think that in a church that calls itself Christian, something as revolting as pedophilia would not be tolerated. But after corresponding with at least two victims I can only shake my head when they refuse to go to the police. In both cases the abuse was taken to the local minister, and then higher up the chain of command, all the way to the man in charge of the ministry. One case involved a minister in WCG (many years ago) and the other a local elder in UCG. In both cases church adminstrators not only covered it up (and in the WCG case even allowed the guy to continue abusing other kids) but made sure the victims were tossed out of the church. The UCG case resulted in the now famous "it was only a grandfatherly hug" excuse. I am sure many here will know exactly what I am referring to.

Que said...

I think this post must have taken a lot of courage to write. Thank you for writing it!
This part is a real 'eye-opener' :-
"A recent study found that abuse in conservative Christian churches is five times higher than in secular society because it is not reported...".
I guess the rate of abuse would be similar in all countries with conservative Christian churches.
Obviously it is a tragedy that needs to be tackled as soon as possible -- through the courts if necessary, just like the offending of the priests.

Gavin said...

Baashabob:

I thought it'd be pretty obvious that I didn't write it.

Hint 1: that's what the change of font signals.

Hint 2: it's excerpted from an external link.

Hint 3: I wasn't raised in the church, but was drawn in as a teen.

How come you're confused?

Russell Miller said...

Anyonymous@10:55:

Did you even bother to READ it? *FOUR MINISTERS WERE COMPLICIT IN IT*

Geez. OK. I'm going for now. This is making me angry.

Anonymous said...

This sad account is one of many I've read over the years. Interesting that in an account of a different nature, Herb blamed his "dirty secret" on Loma. Apparently she was unwilling to submit, but he spared the rod. To use a George Costanzaism, Herb didn't have hand.

I suppose the abuse of wives in the WCG supports the addage those who can't, teach.

Anonymous said...

RusselMiller
I believe the ministers should have put him out, I don,t know how that would have worked for her though. It,s only recently that even the police have an understanding of domestic violence since certain talk shows publicized the problem. I really am asking this in spirit of just wanting to know if you were a minister then how would you have handled it? I honestly am not asking in malice or anything

Anonymous said...

This was not just exclusively a "woman" victim problem.

I was married to a serial aduteress while in the WCG, and was NOT given permission to divorce her from a minister. Thankfully, after a long period of enduring this unbearable mess, she finally divorced me.

However, one had to wait on Pasadena to "pass judgement" on such cases, by a person who never even knew you, ie. Harold Jackson or Vic Kubik, by reviewing a case file you had to submit. You were required to disclose all personal information about the marriage, including intitmate details about your sex life while married. and all the other unfortunate facts.

This process of determining whether or not your were "free" took up to two years! I know of some that took even longer than that!

People in WCG were slaves and chattel. This included men too. I doubted old Herb had to go thru the same disturbing process as I when Ramona divorced him.

Yes, there was a caste system. Women were indeed lower than men, but your everyday "Joe Member" guy was only a few shades better in being abused, used, and controlled by the hierarchy and being forced to endure hostile home environments.

Macho Man Church of God said...

Dakota O'Leary said, "I also heard stories of horrors going on that nothing was ever done about – spousal rape being near the top of the list."

MY COMMENT - I remember as a teenager in the Baltimore, Maryland WCG our Pastor taught from the pulpit in a sermon that if you had a rebellious wife you should rape her.

Richard

larry said...

What a sad story! It is not, however, an indictment of the WCG, any other church, or religion in general. Such marriages occur everywhere in every culture. I believe that this particular marriage story represents the exception, rather than the rule, in the Church of God.

That doesn't make it right or acceptable, only tragic.

Russell Miller said...

If I were a minister then... well, it's hard to tell because I wasn't. But assuming I was the same kind of person I am now and was interested in doing the right thing, I'd call the police.

I realize that ministers then didn't do that. But I don't think I could ever act like a minister.

Anonymous said...

Recently I watched an old Dick van Dyke show, in which Rob (DvD) arrived home late and Laura (MTM) was upset with him for not phoning her. They argue, Rob walks out, both give a farcical accout of the story, followed by reflection, remorse and reconcilliation. Conjugal fulfilment is implied, despite the twin beds.

A WCG article (PT, GN, I'm not sure) recreated the situation, but of course the husband takes charge, pulls out some Bible verses, the wife admits she was wrong, and happiness follows. The man is happy because he again proves his dominance; the woman is happy, because she is a dutiful and submissive church wife, and has been lovingly chastised for her rebellion agains God's government. Now where's my dinner?

Anonymous said...

Baashabob said...

One case involved a minister in WCG (many years ago) and the other a local elder in UCG. In both cases church adminstrators not only covered it up (and in the WCG case even allowed the guy to continue abusing other kids) but made sure the victims were tossed out of the church. The UCG case resulted in the now famous "it was only a grandfatherly hug" excuse. I am sure many here will know exactly what I am referring to.




Baashabob,

Check out Malachi 2:13-16. Notice especially verse 16:

"'I hate divorce,' says the LORD God of Israel, 'and I hate a man's covering himself [footnote: or his wife] with violence as well as with his garment,' says the LORD Almighty."

Don't get turned off by the biblical 3-page book of Malachi just because a satanic fraud by the name of Gerald Flurry has tried to confuse people by publishing 160 pages of plagiarized and repeatedly revised garbage and calling it something like Malachi's Malarky.

Remember, this is supposedly the "Laodicean era" where the people "rule, judge, and decide." When you have perverted people like Gerald F., Ronald W., Garner Ted, etc. "ruling, judging, and deciding," what can you expect?

While Gerald's Philadelphia cult is rude and crude and evil, the United cult is much smoother with the same old lies. About half the people who hang out at the UCG act like they are completely unrepentant and unconverted. I guess the UCG's "open-door" policy allows a lot of dirt to blow in off the street. It also makes it easier to throw out any innocent victims who break the UCG rules by resisting evil or telling the truth about what goes on there.

To his credit, Roderick Meredith of the Living Church has mentioned in sermons that there were bad people in the old WCG who hit their wives and yet thought they would be in the kingdom of God just because they "listened to" HWA.

One of the other posters pointed out that behaving badly was not exclusively a male problem. Many females in the WCG and its splinters were not exactly sweet and innocent, to put it very mildly. As such women get older, they get even worse.

In closing, remember also that nobody is going to be helped by the common atheist view that God's laws do not apply and so it is all right to use and abuse multiple girls and then dump them. Denying that what they did is abuse, and pretending that they just "showed them a good time," seems to be a common word game that atheists like to play.

Byker Bob said...

The only people whom I ever knew in WCG that had successful loving and functional families were the ones who totally disregarded the church's teachings on marriage and child rearing.

BB

Baywolfe said...

First of all, let me just state how all of the Anonymous assholes (read - current splinter group members) are just apologists for that type of behavior.

Next, to all those posting really long comments - paragraphs are your friend.

Lastly, it IS all about a church being at fault, because of the psychological and emotional blackmail of "be obedient or lose favor with god."

Many, if not most, of these women did NOT grow up in that type of home and were not just fulfilling the "cycle of abuse" you see from many women outside church sanctioned spousal abuse.

The church is an external entity that people voluntarily put themselves under its authority. If any institution on this earth should understand the baser side of humanity, you would think it would be a religion/church.

Why then, do these conservative churches, WCG included, either turn a deaf ear/eye, or even go out of their way to encourage such behavior?

Authority of Gawd my Irish ass.

Russell Miller said...

Anonymous@4:41

Great example of twisting things around to make it look like the atheists' fault. That argument was disingenuous, to say the very least.

nuclearsmile said...

I grew up in the WCG under an abusive stepparent, who was eventually kicked out of church...but for being a closet smoker, not for the habitual mistreatment of spouse and family.

Smoking was one of those “unpardonable sins,” but it was acceptable to exercise one’s god-given right to pummel others into submission…

Kathleen said...

How shameful it is what one person will do to another when the abuser thinks he/she has the authority or just the upper hand.

I always welcomed the opportunity to work with college freshmen who were perplexed over writing assignments on civil disobedience, written in response to Stanley Milgram's experiments. Many of them couldn't imagine that there could ever be an occasion to challenge authority figures. I had to take them back to the part of the text they'd ignored, which explained that Milgram's experiments were to help him understand how seemingly good, normal people in Nazi Germany could have carried out orders to harm, abuse, and even kill fellow human beings, excusing such behavior because they were "just following orders."

Time after time in Milgram's experiments, the true (naive) subjects of the experiment would turn up a dial and push a button to inflict what they thought were increasing voltages of electric shocks to the presumed subject (an actor) for giving wrong answers to test questions. The true subjects were told that the experiment was to see if punishment would improve an individual's ability to learn (memorize lists). The authority figure was a man in a white lab coat, who was identified as the person running the experiment. Even when the actors begged the true subjects to stop applying shocks, the true subjects would continue, even when under obvious psychological stress themselves. Unlike the Nazi concentration camps/death camps, where those who disobeyed orders could reasonably have expected to be killed themselves, these true subjects were volunteers; nothing stopped them from refusing to participate further and leaving. Yet out of upwards of fifty true subjects, only one individual, a woman, did refuse to cooperate once she believed that to continue with the experiment would harm the "learner."

Abused women and children in any fundamentalist church are, obviously, in a double, even triple bind, since beyond the immediate problem of the abusive spouse or parent, there's the perceived threat of disfellowshipment and with that the presumed loss of eternal life. Of course that's the whole set-up, anyway. The men in white lab coats in Milgram's experiment are symbolic of any authority figure, familial, civil, societal, or religious (even God) if anyone uses the (presumed) presence of that authority figure to excuse wrong behavior.

James Pate said...

I don't understand that part of the story that tries to justify the ministers--they didn't have training in psychology, so they didn't know what to do, the article says. But one doesn't need a degree in psychology to know that hurting someone like that is wrong. How many Bible passages are there about love, being slow to anger, etc.? As far as what the minister could have done is concerned, they could've at least told the husband not to do it, but they didn't do that.

Anonymous said...

I just read a Wikipedia article on Quiverfull. Reading Mary Pride's scriptural exhortation made me longingly remember the scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian where Brian tries to explain to a witless mob in search of a leader that they don't need anyone to tell them what to do, that they need to learn to think for themselves.

This is why the mainstream Abrahamic religions need to go public with the history of the scriptures (I don't mean the history the scripture purports to tell), and disavow the scripture as a source of moral authority. Unfortunately, this means most pastors, ministers, and priests would soon find themselves out of a job, so it isn't likely to happen.

Classes like the Episcopal Education for Ministry tell the truth, but what is learned in those classes isn't preached in the pulpits. The same priest who mentors the class will be in the pulpit the following Sunday, inviting the congregation to affirm its faith by reciting creeds that the priest himself/herself does not believe in any literal sense.

Mr. Scribe said...

Any church that teaches that they alone have the secret to a happy marriage and all the answers to child rearing, should be suspect. Life is not that easy.

Byker Bob said...

Anonymous 4:41:

There is an old Crosby, Stills and Young song that you should listen to. It's called "Teach Your Children". It speaks of a code that we can live by.

Anybody is capable of having such a personal living code, regardless of their system of belief or non-belief. That is actually a totally separate issue from the issue of salvation. Do you, as an example, believe that all atheists believe that it is alright to kill?

The problem is, some people end up adapting a very bad code, and practicing it to the point of intoxication. Intoxication is a state in which all normal human decency is blurred, and the intoxicated acts well outside of the norm. Whether intoxicated on alcohol, drugs, or the false teachings of a cultic religious charlatan, the individual's behavior towards all around him/her is altered, often in a very grotesque and savage way.

That is why scripture has so much to say about false teachers, such as those we encountered in Armstrongism. I truly would rather have my children be atheist if the choices were Armstrongite or no religion at all, because I know that as atheists they would not be having their normal God-given consciences seared by false teachers.

BB

Anonymous said...

Russell Miller said...

Anonymous@4:41

Great example of twisting things around to make it look like the atheists' fault. That argument was disingenuous, to say the very least.



Russell Miller,

Many people want to do away with God's laws specifically so that they can do bad things to other people, though they certainly don't like to admit it.

God's good laws are there to show people how to behave properly toward each other. The problem that you will find in the WCG and its splinter groups is that many of the people just do not "get it." They do not really obey God's laws.

Many immoral, abusive atheists like to think that it is all right for them to use and abuse many females as long as they can talk/trick them into going along with it. By that reasoning, some guy could beat up, or date-rape, his girlfriend as long as she puts up with it.

The things that people do when they reject God's laws (either in or out of a church) are not nice at all, to say the very least.

Anonymous said...

The story is complicated by the fact that many women, including those in the WCG, are in the habit of making up false accusations and spreading them around.

However, assuming that the story is true, the guy was behaving very badly. He was NOT properly obeying God's instructions, even though he showed up at church.

Anyone who is familiar with the WCG and its splinter groups knows that many perverts (male and female) have ended up in those groups. They need to repent. Alas, many of them do not. It is also obvious that many of the ministers were unfit for the job and unworthy of any respect or paycheck.

None of this unfortunate disaster does away with any of God's laws that have said all along not to behave like that.

Russell Miller said...

Anonymous@5:36:

I am an atheist. You got a problem with me?

Anonymous said...

From Herbert W. Armstrong's May 2, 1974 letter to WCG members:

"GOD'S authority is administered in LOVE--and actually as one SERVING those under His authority for THEIR GOOD and out of loving CONCERN for them. That is the way I try to use what authority God has delegated to me, and I try to teach those under me to use it in the same manner--as a servant, not one lording it over those under him--as JESUS gave us an example. Satan DESPISES government, except as HE himself harshly and in hate employs it."

The WCG wife beaters just did not "get it."

Russell Miller said...

"The WCG wife beaters just did not "get it.""

I agree entirely. Neither did people who committed incest.

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
In closing, remember also that nobody is going to be helped by the common atheist view that God's laws do not apply and so it is all right to use and abuse multiple girls and then dump them. Denying that what they did is abuse, and pretending that they just "showed them a good time," seems to be a common word game that atheists like to play.

I thought that was the kind of game college boys like to play. Are you a college boy, anonymous?

Of course, I've heard the same thing about Pentecostal boys and military boys . . . . .

What I would do if I were you, anonymous, I would remain anonymous.

You should take the foot out of your mouth before someone puts one up your ass.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I am a bit off in my perception that the position of some anonymous posters here contend that this is wrong (abuse) and contrary to scripture/Gods law. No problem.!!
Yet as this story unfolds the Church (WCG) had assumed the role of enforcer and arbiter . Where do the defenders of these self appointed servants of Gawd suggest those who have had their lives devastated and futures fractured go for restitution ? Can the Church give them back the losses that are a direct result of the implied contact that was broken ? What is their obligation to those cheated out of a portion of life.
Anyone have creative thoughts on this?

Wess

PG said...

Anon wrote:

"Classes like the Episcopal Education for Ministry tell the truth, but what is learned in those classes isn't preached in the pulpits."

I think you will find that many do teach what is taught in EFM. However the ultra right conservative Episcopalians do NOT like the class because they feel it is too liberal and causes people to ask questions and t delve into the back ground of the writers of scripture. Also, priests do NOT normally mentor EFM unless it is in some small parish in the middle of no where.

I am an EFM mentor (3 years). Graduated from it in 2006. It is not a class for equipping people to be preachers from the pulpit but to be 'preachers' in everyday life as they live a life filled with awe and wonder as people who have been blessed by grace and willingly share that unconditional grace with others.

I took EFM to unlearn most of the putrid teachings of Armstrong. You quickly find that 95% of Armstrongite pasturd's are theologically ignorant in their understanding of scripture. They only have a superficial understanding of the Bible. Because of their ignorance of scripture and God's grace they turn into abusive and even spiritually violent men.

Mr. Scribe said...

The problem in the Armstrong churches is not the good and bad in the people, it is the attraction that Armstrong-ism has on the mentally ill. Not all, but a good percentage of folks I met were good candidates for evaluation. If only Terry Ratzmann got the help he needed there would be some kids alive today that would grow up and be able to enjoy life. That was a terrible tragedy that I pray will not be repeated. People in the churches need help, not a slap in the face from some elder that tells you to "suck it up."

Does this remind you of the WCG?

Mental illness is sometimes referred to as a “no fault disease.” It can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Baashabob said...

Gavin said:
"I thought it'd be pretty obvious that I didn't write it.

Hint 1: that's what the change of font signals.

Hint 2: it's excerpted from an external link.

Hint 3: I wasn't raised in the church, but was drawn in as a teen.

How come you're confused?"

Well, sometimes I just am. Hint 1 (the change in font) doesn't show up on my system. When quoting someone else it is better to enclose the passage in quotes and/or increase the margins. Then there is no question.

Hint 2 doesn't mean you couldn't be writing under a pseudonym on the other blog.

Hint 3: I was unaware of when you had your WCG experience.

But thanks for clarifying, now I am no longer confused :-)

Baashabob said...

Anonymous 04:41 warns me not to get turned off by Malachi's Malarky.

Just so you know, I wouldn't waste my precious time by reading any of the garbage that HWA's clones have written over the years. You seem to be confusing my hate of religion in general, and the cogs in particular, with a hate for God. I can assure you that the two things, God and religion, have absolutely nothing in common, other than the latter's appropriation of the name of the former. Christian behaviour has little to do with what is taught in churches.

I get the distinct impression that while you realize that guys like Flurry and Weinland, and lots of others, are evil men, Meredith is a good man.

You should be aware that RM is the man I referred to in my original post. As head of the ministry in WCG he was made aware of the minister under his charge who not only had his way with several married women in his congregation, but was having his way with young under age girls as well. Meredith was in charge of this guy, yet he was allowed to continue while the victims were either intimidated not to speak up or disposed of if they did. After the WCG collapse he migrated to Ritenbaugh's CGG. Ritenbaug was working Pasadena for many years and I would be very surprised if he were not aware of this guy's history. But there he was giving sermon's in CGG. They are ALL rotten to the core. But if you wish to delude yourself that Meredith is a cut above the other mythsters, have at it.

Anonymous said...

Remember Dave Pack's tithing sermon, and how he told men to deal with wives who may resist the call to alms?

Mary said...

Very sad story! Having experienced abuse first hand I know how this type of behavior destroys families. Dakota's article is a good reminder of what can happen when emotionally unstable (mentally ill) people are in control.

If parents are narcissistic, self absorbed and toxic they will abuse their children and each other one way or another. Many churches, like sick parents, made it possible to justify evil and promoted the cycle of abuse. Often, the man who did this sort of thing to his wife and children did so in the name and by the authority of God. "I'm doing this for your own good" was their way of rationalizing their behavior. And, when confronted they twisted the truth and made themselves out to be the "victims." They played the blame game: "the devil made me do it" or, "it was a dark time in my life."

Truth be told, deep down inside, these abusers were/are too cowardly to face the truth of who they are and admit they have serious problems...they will blame the church and churches, in many instances, are complicit, they will blame their spouse or their children...anyone but themselves and their own lack of self control.

Anonymous said...

Baashabob said...

I get the distinct impression that while you realize that guys like Flurry and Weinland, and lots of others, are evil men, Meredith is a good man.



Baashabob,

Nope! Not at all. I was just surprised that RCM would even mention in a sermon that there were drunks and wife beaters in the old WCG. That is a (very small) step in the right direction.

I am actually very well aware of the sort of godless bums that RCM sets up in his churches to help bring perverts into his churches and kick out their victims. When word started to get around about one of them, the bum just left the Living Church and got a new position in the United Church.

Anonymous said...

"Many people want to do away with God's laws specifically so that they can do bad things to other people..."


That's correct. I always wanted to murder people, and store their remains in my deep freezer. But alas, God's Holy and Just Law prevented me from doing it! So to get around God's Perfect Law in order that I may indulge in cannibalism, I became an atheist- Presto! Problem solved! Now my deep freeze is brimming with human flesh, and I feel no guilt about it! Thanks, atheism!


Paul Ray



I thought about putting up a disclaimer, but I realize in the eyes of the Sabbatards, I probably am a serial killer despite any protestations.

Anonymous said...

“A recent study found that abuse in conservative Christian churches is five times higher than in secular society because it is not reported...".

I once had a young lady walk right out of my life during an argument about just this subject. Any “study” which makes an estimate about unreported cases of anything is inherently flawed. Although it might make sense that most cases of domestic abuse are not reported, there is no proof of such and no science whatsoever in any estimate. Why even state it?

“Many immoral, abusive atheists like to think that it is all right for them to use and abuse many females as long as they can talk/trick them into going along with it. By that reasoning, some guy could beat up, or date-rape, his girlfriend as long as she puts up with it.”

What planet are we on? If the woman in question has “gone along” with it, without coercion, on the front end, then it is not rape or abuse in the first place. (The wonderful world of later regrets notwithstanding.) What it is, is stupid and there’s no cure for that.

“The story is complicated by the fact that many women, including those in the WCG, are in the habit of making up false accusations and spreading them around.”

Again, what planet does this supposedly happen on? It has been my experience that those who hate gossip also hate the truth.

Mark Lax

Anonymous said...

"I was just surprised that RCM would even mention in a sermon that there were drunks and wife beaters in the old WCG."

I'm surprised too, and I don't buy a word of it, not for a minute.

"Spanky" didn't get that nickname for nothing, you know. He used to preach to men how to spank their wives like children.

The only reason a man with his ego would change his tune, is threat of litigation, or our changing times, that make preachers advocating wife and child abuse more than a little bit not okay.

(Which is one good side effect the atheist movement has had, thank you very much.)

Anonymous said...

"It has been my experience that those who hate gossip also hate the truth."

Surely you mean those who spread gossip hate the truth; or those who claim to hate gossip really hate the truth.

Or maybe I just need coffee.....

Anonymous said...

Years ago, due to a family incident involving WCG teenagers, my wife and I spent an afternoon talking with an Armenian family. They were prominent Pasadena area people, and familiar with local families of all religions. They told us that no other religious group in town, including their own, had a reputation as admirable as ours. Nonetheless, the problem existed, just as it does in all groups.

I had a relative, not a church member, who drank too much and beat his wife and children; and I've heard of men in the church, men I thought I knew well, who I later learned had physically and mentally abused their wives. It's a tawdry, lowdown, loathesome, cowardly thing when lowlife (they aren't men) use their strength to beat women and children. It destroys whole generations because kids tend to become what they see, no matter how much they hate it.

But like the Armenian family, I always felt that there were far more good than bad folks in the church. AC never taught students to beat wives into submission, although I'm quite sure I remember both GTA and RCM recounting occasions when each of them had found it necessary, at least on rare occasion, to spank their wives. Hundreds heard them, so it's no secret, even if they deny it now. That's pretty disgusting -- but it doesn't approach the cruel conduct of the fellow described in the letter, and the minister who supported him in his gross misconduct.

What really bothers me is that other men didn't come to the rescue of these helpless victims and either beat the bloody hell out of their abusers or threaten them so convincingly that they knew better than to repeat it. I once heard of some brothers who did that for one of their sisters, and the bully suddenly saw the light. NO minister of God would support wife beating. Why would a God-fearing congregation tolerate a so-called minister who would? Not even a decent atheist would tolerate it.

If defending innocent victims would get heroes tossed out of their church, then the church would have to be sick. Why retain membership in such a body?

Anonymous said...

Church excommunicates mother of 9-year-old rape victim –but not accused rapist.

Leonardo said...

Sad but true - this little publicized "family secret" was indeed more extent than most supporters of the old WCG would have liked to admit at the time, or are even willing to face up to now, as it probably still IS extant to some degree, especially in some of the more unbalanced of the 500+ WCG splinter groups.

One long-time evangelist out at Pasadena HQ, whose unfortunate job was to sort through and make decisions regarding the many divorce and remarriage cases, once commented that he felt the vast majority (80-90%) of marriages in the Church were not what he would consider to have been "happy marriages."

But the author of the article hits the nail on the head when she writes: "Religion has the great ability to destroy lives for it encourages people not to think for themselves."

That observation says it all.

Ayn Rand, through her character John Galt in the novel "Atlas Shrugged," cites faith as being "the alleged short-cut to knowledge" that proves ultimately to be "only a short-circuit destroying the mind."

It's fairly easy to see that religion in general is based on faith - which is earnest belief in concepts for which there is no (or extremely scanty) logic or evidence. To quote that widely-known answer given by the little boy in the Sunday School class when asked by his teacher to define faith: "Faith is believing with all your heart in things that your mind tells you just ain't so."

I know many of the more fundamentalist "Anonymous" bloggers here will disagree, but a little educated reflection brings us to the painful conclusion that much of religion as practiced throughout human history is based upon the use of violent force. The historical record clearly supports this view.

Much of religion’s motivating and foundational beliefs are based not on rational evidence or human experience, but instead on simple faith in some of the most nonsensical of ideas. And ultimately faith, to be culturally “accepted” on a large scale, must be enforced with ecclesiastical or political violence since it cannot be logically demonstrated via evidence-based reasoning to the rational human mind using persuasion.

So why is it a shock to us when such violence, here in the form of domestic abuse, percolates down into the marriages and families of ardent, unbalanced believers?

And if folks think the psychological and physical abuse of women as practiced within the confines of fundamentalist Christianity is shocking, they should research into how much it is a major part of Islamic family life, especially as practiced in Islamic dominated countries.

Leonardo said...

And just another brief little comment:

I once knew a very sweet gal at AC who married a fellow who eventually became a WCG pastor, and when she discovered some years later, after they had children, the horror of his sexually abusing their little daughter, she had, not the FAITH, but the RATIONAL COMMON SENSE, to immediately leave the marriage in order to protect the abused daughter.

She had the sound judgment to do the right, moral and logical thing in that particular circumstance - for had faith, as commonly practiced in the WCG with regard to family abuses instigated by men, been the motivating factor instead, the situation would most likely have exploded into something much worse and long-range in it's terrible effects.

As it was the sexual abuse only took place a couple of times (though obviously once is TOO much), before the mother discovered it, and the daughter eventually grew up to be, in spite of her father's immorality, a very well-adjusted young lady who is now an adult. But only because COMMON SENSE was followed rather that faith.

Anonymous said...

"The story is complicated by the fact that many women, including those in the WCG, are in the habit of making up false accusations and spreading them around."

This statement is utterly reprehensible. Women certainly do not have a corner on that market.

Anonymous said...

I was perplexed when I saw an ad from 1952 where a man is spanking his wife. It is a cigarette ad that apparently was showing what was acceptable behavior in those days. The author of this should name names of the pastor and others who know and be put on a minister wall of shame.

Anonymous said...

That's correct. I always wanted to murder people, and store their remains in my deep freezer. But alas, God's Holy and Just Law prevented me from doing it!

Paul Ray



Paul Ray,

Aha!!! I knew it! I knew it!! I KNEW IT!!!

Baywolfe said...

I think we're getting a little far afield here. We're not talking about indiscriminate spousal abuse, we're talking about Church Sanctioned Spousal Abuse. (emphasis mine) In Ye Olden Days, Church Instructed Spousal Abuse.

We're talking about the systematic deconstruction of the female sex into a demi-human status based on the writings of a person who, from an outside perspective, comes across as a latent homosexual.

All male based religions, whether gods or clergy, have no place in a truly enlightened society. They should be scoured from the face of the earth.

Leonardo said...

Baywolf wrote: "All male based religions, whether gods or clergy, have no place in a truly enlightened society. They should be scoured from the face of the earth."


And how exactly would you recommend we achieve your goal - mass extermination?

People like you who make such ridiculous assertions without thinking through the real-world implications and consequences are, in many cases, worse than the problems they presumably are seeking to solve.

Would you recommend a policy of genocide against all male-based religions, only to replace them with Gaia-worshipping, crystal-gazing New Agers, or what?

This reminds me of a female Church member I knew years ago who once proclaimed loudly and proudly that all scientists who engage in animal experimentation should be tortured and put to death!

Female-based religions have proven to be as nutty and dangerous as what you would term "male-based religions." Religion is religion - the specific beliefs, rituals and bizarre practices may differ – but at the end of the day, the vast majority of faith-based ideologies have rather tragic track records when it comes to the practical results they produce in the real world of hear and now.

Mary said...

(Hey Gavin, feel free NOT to post this if you think it's no longer pertinent. I'm just trying to understand the root cause of why these atrocities happened and continue to happen. Personally, I think Baywolfe comes very close to nailing the coffin closed, yet all blame can't be put on churches...lots of men belonged to these churches and did not beat their wives. When all is said and done, the abuser is to blame. Thanks.)

"Church sanctioned spousal abuse" starts with the view and teaching, IMHO, of women as property...and with the notion that women are inferior to men either because they were created second, or because they sinned first, or both. In some churches it's a catch 22: Women are "keeper of the home" yet, at the same time, blamed for the fall of man (garden of Eden)...so they are pinned with this dual image. Unfortunately, some sickos find this reason enough to beat and/or humiliate their spouses.

And, abuse justified by religion is widespread. It wasn't just the former WCG...just take a look at the legacy of abuse in the Catholic church, as well as Islam. And, it's not simply a matter of saying it is the concept of the patriarchal structure that is responsible for abuse. It's MENTALLY ILL people that take this concept and use it to justify their lack of control and/or alter egos. They perceive the actions of the leaders of a church (aka: RM or GTA, and/or HWA) as legitimizing their warped sense of reality. I remember hearing a man say to his wife, "you are nothing more than a door mat, a place to wipe my feet." Sadly, they are still together...she has been so degraded into thinking she is worthless...

Guess, what I am trying to say is, these types of animals will do their dirty deeds whether they are part of a patriarchal structured church or not. They simply feel "safe" to continue their abuse (what an oxymoron) in some churches because of weak and misguided ministers!

Religion is suppose to encourage people to live the "golden rule" not enslave, harm and degrade them.

Anonymous said...

For a man to hold the admiration of his wife and family he must be an admirable man. His wife is designed, by God, to resist him if he is unworthy. A helpmeet fit for him is more accurately a helpmeet opposite him. If he's a sorry excuse for a man, behaving himself ungodly, then her makeup will incline her to resist. Slapping her around will only heighten her resistance, and that is how it ought to be. I hope there is a place in hell, or its legitimate equivalent somewhere else, where men who savage their wives will themselves be savaged in kind. This kind of horror cannot be forgiven and forgotten with a simple wink and nod. God willing, what goes around comes around, and these drooling stooges will get their just due, generously, in full measure.

ConnedNoMore said...

Mr. Scribe said...

"Any church that teaches that they alone have the secret to a happy marriage and all the answers to child rearing, should be suspect. Life is not that easy."

How ironical it is that the couple
pictured on the cover of the Australasian edition of the "Happy
Marriage" booklet did in fact get
married in the seventies, only to
have the husband murder the wife
with a hammer in 1997.

The wife was apparently in the process of leaving the WCG and her
husband and he found it necessary
to step up and 'take action'.

Having attended their marriage,
I was appalled to learn of the outcome.

ConnedNoMore

Anonymous said...

"And how exactly would you recommend we achieve your goal - mass extermination?"

No. At least not in America.

I think ridding the world of religion (and simple belief in imaginary beings) will only occur through education. It's going to take a long time. Forcing people to abandon their fairy tales will only encourage them- just think of the victim complex built in to many religions.

A start would be to create a shift, through mass media and cultural thought, that belief in imaginary beings is not something to be lauded, but frowned upon, as it should be- and is when it comes to leprechauns and Reptoids from Planet X (Jehovah and Allah are exempt for some reason).

Secondly, we educate the children. Public schools should start teaching children how to actually reason instead of rote memorization. Teach them critical thinking. Belief in imaginary beings will not stand long in the face of intellectual honesty.

And for those Sabbatards who are reading this post and thinking that this only further proves the existence of The Great Atheist Conspiracy, I can only say that it is no longer a conspiracy.


Paul Ray,
Enemy of the Church

Leonardo said...

Paul Ray wrote:
"Public schools should start teaching children how to actually reason instead of rote memorization. Teach them critical thinking. Belief in imaginary beings will not stand long in the face of intellectual honesty."


Well, I can agree with this wholeheartedly. It all boils down to sound THINKING and INTELLECTUAL HONESTY - the greatest enemies religion ever HAS had or ever WILL have, which is why blind faith in ancient assertions about reality is an absolute requirement in being a true believer.

Just yesterday I received from a Church member (via email) video captures that were excitedly touted as being “proof” of the exodus out of Egypt (pictures of gold chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea, etc.) - along with a final sentence of "God's Word once again confirmed!”

When I sent back a rebuttal documenting that such "discoveries" had long ago been proved forgeries of the pseudo-archeologist Ron Wyatt (a fundamentalist with absolutely no credentials or training in the field whatsoever), they responded that they still believe anyway, in spite of the forgeries.

It's amazing how religious folks are so eager to grasp onto supposed "evidence" of fantastical events recorded in the Bible, and then when such "amazing findings" are shown to be phony (which they eventually are, repeatedly), they still demonstrate the fact that their faith in such events is just that, blind faith, not based on any kind of legitimate historical evidence whatsoever.

I just wish that fundamentalists would be up front and honest about this, and admit they believe because they WANT such things to be true, and not because there exists any kind of legitimately documented or persuasive evidence that such things actually happened.

At it's very foundation, religion is essentially based upon subjective imagination, not on empirical evidence or sound reasoning. And in the realm of subjective imagination, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING truly IS possible, just ask any Hollywood script writer! And this is exactly the kind of world fundamentalist want to live in, and many are willing to kill for.

Anonymous said...

"At it's very foundation, religion is essentially based upon subjective imagination, not on empirical evidence or sound reasoning. "

Heb 11:6 But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him

ConnedNoMore said...

Anonymous regurgitates:

"Heb 11:6 But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him:"

However irrational.

Anonymous said...

"...and admit they believe because they WANT such things to be true, and not because there exists any kind of legitimately documented or persuasive evidence that such things actually happened."


That's an accurate definition of "faith" itself.


Paul Ray

Leonardo said...

ConnedNoMore, I think the massive chasm between rational and irrational has very little MEANING to the minds of most fundamentalists.

Ultimately, the only "defense" they are left with is to mindlessly parrot back some scripture that supports their assertion that faith is all important. In other words, to mindlessly quote the very source that is being questioned – circular reasoning being endemic within their methodology. That way, they can passively evade their responsibility to demonstrate their evidence (like science must do, for instance) and to fulfill the biblical injunction to “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” (I Peter 3:15).

To question their assumption - their faith - that the Bible is the absolute, inerrant Word of God would be like a fish questioning the water it swims and exists within. They never can quite seem to come to the place of questioning the very concept of faith itself. It's a cherished "warm and fuzzy" for them, which they don't dare subject to a rigorous rational investigation because deep down they know that faith is the only fragile cane they have to lean on with regard to the many dogmatic assertions they arrogantly proclaim, and mistake for objective knowledge.

Of course, if they tried to live that way in the course of everyday life, they wouldn't survive for very long. But somehow, when it comes to the metaphysical assertions they make about the ultimate nature of reality, they can get away with faith because the consequences aren't as immediate and as tangible as they would be if they were to literally apply such careless methodology in the here and now of daily life on this earth.

I remember once several years ago now talking to a long-time Church member, and a long-time friend, an AC graduate, and a loyal supporter of the teachings of HWA. When near the end of a long discussion of exactly WHY he believed what he did, which clearly showed he could not defend his beliefs, even to a minimal degree, all he was able to pathetically say was a weak "But what about faith? We have to live by faith."

To me this was a tragic admission, and it almost brings tears to my eyes as I write about it, because here was an otherwise articulate person whom I respected, someone who had been a loyal Church member for decades, who had graduated from AC, and yet had absolutely no idea why he believed a number of the nutty assertions so foundational to HWA's brand of fundamentalism, and thus couldn't articulate his reasons anymore than a little boy could explain his belief in Santa Claus.

They both “just believed” - and that was it.

larry said...

ConnedNoMore said,
""Heb 11:6 But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him:"

However irrational."

You are absolutely RIGHT!

And that is why it makes perfect sense for God to do it this way. What God has in store for humanity is so unbelieveable, incredible, and mind-blowing, that it will require the suspension of disbelief and "rationality", at least for the leaders.

Remember, God has already tried it your way, and it didn't work out quite the way He had hoped.

The Moon was reached, the Pyramids were built, the Panama Canal was dug, and Masada was taken...by people who first said that those projects were "impossible", and then they did it. But to do so, they first had to change their BELIEFS.

Look folks. This IS impossible. We are talking about raising the dead back to life, living forever, and exploring the universe. How much more impossible do you want to get? And that is just the beginning.

Leonardo said...

Larry wrote:
"The Moon was reached, the Pyramids were built, the Panama Canal was dug, and Masada was taken...by people who first said that those projects were "impossible", and then they did it. But to do so, they first had to change their BELIEFS."

Larry, these accomplishments were not achieved through faith, they were achieved through rational minds painstakingly observing what was required, harmonizing with such realities, plus a LOT of human "trial and error" efforts.

For instance, take the Apollo moon landings: an older cousin of mine worked for NASA in the late '60's and helped design the Saturn V launch tower. And I can assure you that such an effort had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with religious faith. There is a HUGE difference between surmounting conventional cultural beliefs and our self-imposed mental limitations, and religious faith of the sort displayed by fundamentalists such as yourself.

Recall that the "faith-filled" WCG organization once dogmatically predicted in print for all to see that God would NEVER allow man to land or walk on the moon. See a copy of the old WCG booklet "Who Will Rule Space?" for reference. You can find it out on the Internet, in all it's embarrassing arrogance.

So please stop mixing "apples and oranges" here - because these are two entirely different concepts.

Larry also wrote: "Remember, God has already tried it your way, and it didn't work out quite the way He had hoped."

Would you mind explaining exactly what you mean by this? God tried it our way? And failed?

You seem to know an awful lot about God - do you go golfing with Him on the weekends or something? If so, would you mind asking Him for me what He did to keep Himself busy for all past eternity in the vast eons before He decided to create angels, the universe, the earth and mankind?

I'd like to know, and since you seem to be a self-proclaimed expert on God and what He thinks, has planned etc., surely He'd tell you.

Or are such heights of knowledge closed to me because I actually demand extraordinary EVIDENCE before I ever again base my life upon extraordinary CLAIMS and ASSERTIONS for which no logic or evidence can be shown?

Fooled once, shame on the fundamentalist organization that I was duped by as a naive, uneducated, unquestioning teenager - but fooled twice, then shame on ME for believing in ridiculous fantasies for which no real proof whatsoever has ever been produced, and most likely never will.

larry said...

Wow, Leonardo, you never let up, do you?
Of course, it is comparing apples to oranges. Any and all analogies to God will fall short because we are limited to the physical. I am reminded of what happened when Roosevelt wanted to counterattack Japan immediately after Pearl Harbor. He spoke with the best military minds the USA had to offer. Finally, after many hours of exasperation, FDR gave up and said, "Look gentleman, get me someone in here who actually BELIEVES we CAN do this. That's the guy I want to talk to!" They searched and ultimately found one guy. And the rest is history.

But, you seem to think that you are entitled to evidence.

I seem to recall Jesus having similar conversations with the Pharisees. His response was, "Tough, all you're getting is the sign of Jonah, and that's it." (I am paraphrasing)

And yes, we have a regular tee time at Royal Troon at midnight on Mondays with Hogan and Snead. When there is a full moon, Tiger occasionally joins us. (so he can see)

Byker Bob said...

I know I won't get his name right, but I'll try anyway. I liked what Deeprock Chokra had to say on the God and Satan debates on Nightline Thursday night. He said that the minute we come up with a concept of God, we are limiting Him.

Confidential to Leonardo: How do you know that God wasn't involved with NASA and the moon shot? What do you think the chances would be that there would be absolutely not a single praying believer on a team the sheer size that NASA assembled for that project?

Believers pray for guidance and help in doing their jobs. Despite many years of deep technical training and experience, I always know when I'm into something way over my head. Prayer has made a big difference in "my" success rate on these projects, which occasionally involve hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Prayer has made a big difference in "my" success rate on these projects, which occasionally involve hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment."


Horse manure, BB. There are people all over this globe who have a high success rate at challenging, even impossible tasks, all without praying to Jebus or any other imaginary being.

And I find it horrifying that your god flatly refuses to heal a single amputee, or refuses to rescue humans from rape, torture, and starvation, yet finds the time and interest to help you out at work.


And Larry, you'd better believe we are entitled to evidence. It's a sign of rationality. Of sanity.


The Apostate Paul

Mel said...

Someone wrote,

"To his credit, Roderick Meredith of the Living Church has mentioned in sermons that there were bad people in the old WCG who hit their wives and yet thought they would be in the kingdom of God just because they "listened to" HWA."

Well, "not to" Roderick Meredith's credit, he made fun of his first wife's cancer, laughing about it and calling it "only a skin condition"

She then died because of her condition that Rod had laughed about.

Is that any worse than if he had beat her to death?

Mel said...

Still reading and catching up, here.

KScribe talks about the mental illness, and Mary talks about the story at hand, alluding to the instability of those in charge.

The point I want to make is this:

Within the HWA-era WCG milieu, even formerly mentally stable individuals would act in an ill and unbalanced manner.

(And fortunately, most of those affected folks are able to lose those negative traits after leaving the church and maintaining distance from it, with the help of some time.)

Leonardo said...

Larry wrote:
"Wow, Leonardo, you never let up, do you?"

What other alternative do I have, Larry, you NEVER seem to be able to answer my questions with any kind of intelligibility.

It just seems to me you don't dialoge, or reason, you preach mere assertions, and seem upset when folks don't just gobble up your fundamentalist gibberish "hook, line and sinker."

Your responses prove my point perfectly - you look down on me for daring to ask for evidence. Imagine that - somebody makes fantastical claims, and I actually ask for some evidence before I accept them, and it's me who is the bad guy.

How terrible of me!

Karen said...

Anon 10:55 said,
"The church or the ministers are not to be blamed it the hardness of some people,s heart that prevented them from repenting before their maker."

EXCUSE YOU!

These minister's who were "agents" of the WCG counceled women to stay in abusive homes! Abuse is a CRIME and advising people to stay is criminal! Today, if a preacher told a women (especially with kids) to stay in the home, he could be sued (and his employer the church) and would LOSE in court. These ministers had NO BUSINESS counceling people. They were NOT qualified! If WCG or their splinters are ignorant about the law enough to "council" people, and give unlawful council, they deserve to be sued, and pay damages.

You are either an idiot are crazy!

Would YOU take serious council from someone without a degree in the field? I wouldn't.

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob wrote:
"Confidential to Leonardo: How do you know that God wasn't involved with NASA and the moon shot? What do you think the chances would be that there would be absolutely not a single praying believer on a team the sheer size that NASA assembled for that project?"


I never made a claim one way or the other, the point I was making is merely that Larry was waffling around on the definition of "faith" - confusing religious faith as typically understood, with a "belief" that rises above metal limitations, and accomplishes a goal others thought impossible.

Since much of NASA's work was done in the southern United States, I'm sure there probably were many Christians praying for the success of the missions, but you'd have to provide evidence that such was the case. Otherwise all you've made is a subjective assertion, and assertions don't constitute legitimate evidence or proof.

Sorry, Larry (and by extension, BB), there's the "E" word again, but unfortunately for you, that's the way the real world (and the human mind) actually functions...on empirical evidence as opposed to subjective faith.

larry said...

Sorry Leonardo, the evidence that you seek, which would satisfy you, will not be forthcoming. And I think I understand why. There was a time when I was just like you. As a scientist, I tend to be extremely skeptical, which is necessary for the scientific method.

But, I learned long ago (or maybe it was just a product of receiving the Holy Spirit) that science CANNOT answer even basic philosophical questions. One has to look beyond science and "evidence" for the answers. Now, you can choose to be completely concrete (as you are), that is your perfect right. But, until you are WILLING to see the abstract, the invisible, and even the future, you never will.

I truly believe (and you can criticize me if you want) that God has perfectly valid reasons for demanding an attitude of FAITH, ie blind trust, for the folks that He is dealing with now. There is historical "evidence", if you will, to justify His method. Thousands of Israelites watched the sea's waters' part, and were miraculously delivered. But, they did not believe afterwards.

I don't know what miracle or supernatural event in your life it would take to convince you, but I personally doubt anything would. Yours and Paul Ray's posts indicate that both of you have an inflated opinion of your own self-importance in the grand scheme of things, and for that reason alone, God would not offer you what you seek.

Anonymous said...

"As a scientist..."

Now you aren't required to answer, but I have to ask (for the fourth time) out of simple curiousity- what exactly is it you do, Larry? What is your field of study? What is your degree in?

Holding my breath,
The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

"But, I learned long ago (or maybe it was just a product of receiving the Holy Spirit) that science CANNOT answer even basic philosophical questions. One has to look beyond science and "evidence" for the answers."

What questions? And why should we expect science to answer "philosophical" questions? Do we expect to understand psychological behavior through advanced algebra? No- but this isn't a failure of science, nor is it a reason to assume that there is a supernatural realm, and this realm can only be understood through a vague and slippery "method" (ie blind faith and wishful thinking) that the "learned" of the world have willingly blinded themselves to.

Basically, it's all a self-fullfilling prophecy you've set up, replete with strawmen.

I propose that your rejection of the Farie Realm (including leprechauns) is due to your reliance on "evidence" and a confining, self-imposed humanist world view. If you would just consider that "science" isn't everything- and that there is another world around us not bound by mere "science"- then you may have the open mind required to see what is so clear. Then you could begin to understand that leprechauns do indeed exist.


The Apostate Paul

Leonardo said...

First of all, Larry, just to clarify, what specific field of science do you work in?

And what was the exact topic of your dissertation again?

As you know, these questions have been asked many times before by other bloggers on this site, and clear, exact answers have NEVER been provided by you, only vague generalities.

Why are you so hesitant to give us your specific credentials that you boast about in such hazy terms?

Or am I to be scolded once again for actually asking for some evidence to back up and establish your repeated claims that you're a scientist?

Sorry, Larry, but your comments about my "inflated opinion of your own self-importance in the grand scheme of things" just smacks to me an awful lot of the uneducated rantings of a fundamentalist mindset that simply has no other way to respond to my inquiries, rather than of a legitimate scientist who has been educated at a world-class university, which you've claimed in the past.

Your "response" to my desire for some actual evidence for your claims is ALWAYS some version or another of "Well, God just demands blind trust! He won't give scoffers like you any evidence!!"

When will folks like you understand that this "A-curse-on-all-your houses" mentality just doesn't fly in the post-Dark Ages world of the 21st century? It may have worked when your spiritual ancestors had the ecclesiastical power to pour molten lead down the throats of non-believers, or slowly twist their arms out of their joint sockets (in the name of God, of course), but we don't live in those horrific days anymore, at least here in the western democracies.

The scene repeats itself with astounding predictability: whenever you fundamentalists are cornered by those who challenge your nutty truth claims about this, that or the other topic you so arrogantly pontificate on, and you realize your inability to provide any kind of intelligible rationale for your beliefs, you then evade the questions by lashing out in typical "ad hominem" style and start attacking the character and motives of the questioners. Can’t you see that this pathetic response gets you nowhere? Oh yes, your fellow religious fanatics cheer you on from the sidelines, but reasonable dialog is stunted, and nobody ends up actually benefiting.

No wonder your mindset always HAS, and always WILL, produce ghoulish and nightmarish societies so violently hostile to rationale inquiry and true scietific pursuits.

If you truly were a scientist, you would not respond this way. It would be your mental habit instead from years of scientific research to actually engage in a legitimate dialog, which you seem completely incapable of doing. At least you've never given us any proof whatsoever of such capacity anywhere here on this blogsite, considering your past claims of being a working scientist educated at a world-class university – your words, not mine.

And don’t you think if you really had the Holy Spirit that it would lead you to fulfil the scriptural demand to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” as it says in I Peter 3:15?

But no, instead all you can do is resort to wild assertions - anything to avoid answering my inquiries.

This is why historically, when religion has political power, it MUST sooner or later use violence to force it’s views on others, because it can’t use logic or reason or evidence in order to persuade – it’s claims by their very nature are not verifiable, and so faith must be cruelly ENFORCED by molten lead, or the rack, or a sword, or a gun, or some other religiously-inspired form of violent coercion.

And all your continued refusals to answer any of my inquiries shows is this exact dynamic in action on the personal, verbal level.

larry said...

Leonardo and Paul Ray,
Sadly, your responses were exactly what I expected. Ignore the message, and criticize the messenger. Nothing ever changes.

Corky said...

This is why historically, when religion has political power, it MUST sooner or later use violence to force it’s views on others, because it can’t use logic or reason or evidence in order to persuade – it’s claims by their very nature are not verifiable, and so faith must be cruelly ENFORCED by molten lead, or the rack, or a sword, or a gun, or some other religiously-inspired form of violent coercion.

That's Xian history in a nutshell, right there!

Anonymous said...

Larry, no one ignored your message- in fact both I and Leo addressed your message and exposed the faulty reasoning behind it.

I'll ask for a fifth (or sixth? seventh?) time- what is it you do? What is your degree in? Just curious.


The Apostate Paul

Leonardo said...

Larry, if our responses are always so predictable and exactly what you expected (which, of course, fundamentalists almost always end up saying when they are stymied by good questions), then why aren't you ever able to formulate an intelligent answer to them? Why aren't you ever able to publically refute the unbelievers? Surely your great self-proclaimed prescience should give you an advantage, don't you think?

But instead – almost without exception, on virtually every single comment you've ever written here on this website – you end up somehow EVADING and IGNORING the specific issues at hand. Just go back and review your comments. The pattern is clearly evident. Not exactly the kind of reasoning ability I would expect from “a scientist educated at a world-class university” – yet another self-proclaimed assertion you’ve consistently failed to address in specific terms, as “the Apostate Paul” pointed out in his above comment.

And yet it's precisely what we've all come to expect from the high numbers of mindless fundamentalists, living in their worlds of fantasy, who for whatever reasons, seem drawn to this website. If only objective reality would conform to the way you believe the world SHOULD be, in all your divinely inspired self-righteousness, certainty and hubris.

It seems you all come from the same cookie-cutter mold - make dogmatic, indefensible assertions about your religious beliefs, then AVOID, SHUN, IGNORE and EVADE all the tough questions and legitimate issues that such assertions naturally engender in those with even just half a brain, questions and issues you simply cannot answer.

And then, after such a clear pattern of intellectual evasion has been established by you time and time again, you have the blatant arrogance to accuse OTHERS of "ignoring the message"?

Simply unbelievable!