Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The Sugar Police


There have been stories over the years about church officials checking members' cupboards for the signs of Laodicean backsliding. Yes brethren, we're talking about Satan's subtlest refinements: white sugar and flour.

Back in the seventies, one such Godly enforcer was, allegedly, Joe Tkach Snr. In fact, if memory isn't playing tricks, the suggestion has been made that he was one of the more thuggish "home visitors".

But is there any documentation? Is there anyone out their who can recall the details, or point to a source for this tale?

A COG researcher is looking for just such published documentation for this bit of oral lore. If you have first hand knowledge of Tkach Snr's kitchen raids (on member or ministerial residences), or can point to existing references to this effect (online, or in hard copy), we'd love to hear from you.

19 comments:

Tkach's $wiss Banker said...

This must have been after he was in "management" at Hupp Aviation where he became one the greatest "Sabbath Martyrs" in the history of the "one true" church.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had one of those kitchen police right now I would not be suffering like I am now. I cant tolerate those refined foods as wonderful as you think they are and I gave in to the temptation to indulge in some desert and ate more than I should have so been sufffering for a week now. I would gladly welcome a food police anytime.

Richard said...

Can't confirm anything about Mr. Tkach. But I was stunned after several years in WCG to pick up a copy of "The Final Call" and read similar warnings about white bread, white flour and white sugar.

"The Final Call" is the newspaper of the U.S. Nation of Islam.

"If it's white, don't eat it," said a columnist in one issue.

Quite a different spin from a WCG crowd which embraced British-Israelism.

Bamboo_bends said...

My sister says during her husband's time working at Ambassador Press they saw Tkach in action vigorously enforcing "rules" on the local Pasadena membership.

Contrary to Tkach Senior's claims that he was busy helping widows, he actually was quite active in finding ways not to give assistance or removing 3rd Tithe assistance from elderly widows.

However after gaining power he seemed to be a bit more generous with those on 3rd tithe assistance.

I'll ask her about the sugar thing, I don't recall her mentioning it in the past.

Retired Prof said...

I don't know anything about Joe Tkatch's activities, sorry.

However, it may be worth noting that the sugar policy was an important source of my early doubts about Armstrong's teachings. In high school chemistry class I learned that a sucrose molecule is a sucrose molecule: sugar is the same basic stuff whether it has brown impurities in it or not.

That skeptical take on a minor matter seems to have inoculated me. I followed COG rules as a member of my family (and later as an Ambassador student) but never internalized the belief system. As a result, leaving the college after my freshman year caused no separation anxiety, and thankfully my parents respected my decision. I sympathize with former members who were traumatized and rejoice for those who have survived the pain and established some sort of equanimity.

Byker Bob said...

I only recall two or three visiting incidents involving Tkach,. Sr, although I did have several other interactions with the man.

In one, Joe Tkach and Elmer McElroy were almost stalking poor John Trechak, because they wanted to disfellowship him. I happened to be visiting a mutual friend one evening who had been gracious enough to put John up for a couple of days, as he was unfortunately put into the position of couch surfing by virtue of leaving WCG.

As we sat in the darkened apartment, listening for the inevitable knock on the door, and furtively glancing out between the venetian blinds, John could see Tkach's car parked across the street. He got the brilliant idea of taking a walk, with his encased rifle over his shoulder. While I had thought this was a very bad idea at the time, apparently it worked. Tkach saw John first, then the rifle, and promptly told McElroy to get the h out of there pronto!

On another occasion, I was staying with about 8 church single guys in a big old house in Altadena. I worked nights, but Tkach had apparently dropped in for an impromptu visit one night. I'm told that he inspected everyone's room,including mine, and that he was told by the guy who pretty much ran the place that I had a good attitude. So, there were no repurcussions at that time, although the ministers broke up that happy enclave about a year later.

One time, I knew of a bad situation ongoing, and had consulted with Tkach over it. He asked me to meet him at his house, listened attentively as we spoke on his back porch, but then informed me that I personally would be held responsible in case anything happened to the person whom I was trying to protect. I had to pray about that one, because the logic and wisdom of Tkach's counsel totally went by me.

I was known to both Tkach's, and really don't have any horrible memories of either one. Junior was a teenager at that time, and was a wild one! Senior, in my opinion, was not as bad as some of the real seriously demented and sadistic zombies whom Armstrong always seemed to attract and cultivate. Bottom line, though, is that he was still a part of a bogus and toxic system.

BB

Anonymous said...

The biggest sugar Nazi that Pasadena ever had was Gwen LaRavia. Wacko Gwen had Gloria Swanson come to the campus to do her talk on "Sugar Blue's". There after Gwen went into shouting fits when she saw white sugar being used in the kitchens. That did not last too long thankfully.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tkach Sr. was the very first minister to visit our home in 1966. My grandmother had just passed away that July as a result of complications from diabetes. I remember Mr. Tkach pontificating to my mother that if Grandma had followed the dietary health laws, than this wouldn't have happened to her and she would still be alive. And then, as he was leaving, he pulled out a chocolate bar to eat! Perhaps he should have followed his own advice.
Pepsquare

Anonymous said...

I remember a sermon in which GTA said there was white sugar in his kitchen closets, and that anyone who didn't like it could lump it. Still puts a smile on my face.

Mr. Scribe said...

Anonymous said...

I wish I had one of those kitchen police right now I would not be suffering like I am now...

It is called rational recovery. You are in charge of yourself, not anyone else.

Anonymous said...

"I remember Mr. Tkach pontificating to my mother that if Grandma had followed the dietary health laws, than this wouldn't have happened to her and she would still be alive."

Yeah, and if Meredith hadn't followed the dietary health laws, he wouldn't be suffering from sugar diabetes either.

Anonymous said...

It still amazes me that people would submit to such nonsense. I mean, really! Who in their right mind would allow a pastor, elder, or whatever to come in and inspect their home? I certainly would not allow it, and any elder that thought he had that kind of authority would be ignored by me then, as they would be now.

camfinch said...

"I remember a sermon in which GTA said there was white sugar in his kitchen closets, and that anyone who didn't like it could lump it. Still puts a smile on my face."

Ted could be contradictory; I remember him saying, or writing, long ago that he and Shirley raised their three sons on whole foods, raw milk, no white flour, no white sugar, etc. And he claimed that the boys never had dental cavities or anything like that. Who knows what's true? It could be that he actually didn't have white sugar in the kitchen, but said so simply because he didn't like what he considered to be fanaticism among church members in things like diet/nutrition, etc. I heard him on numerous occasions say that folks shouldn't get obsessed with things like that. So whether he did or didn't have the white sugar, he was using his position to try to "de-obsess" the lay folks.

Anonymous said...

From the northern files:: Neil Earle and Richard Pinelli were known as the Gestapo Twins in the early days of Neil's Tyranny Over Toronto. Toronto members were also encouraged to buy from Amway.

Corky said...

I remember the gestapo type home inspections back in the day.

Telling of it years later people were incredulous about it, "a church wouldn't do that", they'd say. You know what? They'd be right.

Anonymous' Dietician said...

Anonymous,
rather than have food police why don't you just learn some self control and stop shoveling desserts that you as an individual can't tolerate into your mug?
Simply no?

Mike (Don't Drink the Flavor Aid) said...

I asked a family member if their cupboards had been inspected for white stuff (sugar or flour). Hadn't happened to them personally.

But this person had heard from others that during a home inspection, some Misters would run their finger over the top of a door frame to see if there was any dust there. Shades of military basic training.

Anonymous said...

"But this person had heard from others that during a home inspection, some Misters would run their finger over the top of a door frame to see if there was any dust there."

Yep. The super-deacons in my area were bad for that. Although most members were never "convicted" of any such crime.....Church members' houses were ALWAYS spotless. This was why.

Anonymous said...

Just spotted this in Chapter 17 of "Daughter Of Babylon,
The True History of
The Worldwide Church of God"
by Bruce Renehan --
http://ejm.tripod.com/Bab_17.htm

"Was this the same Tkach that had bragged a few years earlier to the Pasadena congregation that he had just confronted a member's unconverted husband? He had threatened to go to the hospital with him so he could get his cowboy boot back after it had been removed from the man's ass! Was this the same Tkach who had claimed to have Mafia connections in Chicago? Was this the same Tkach that many had claimed was the very personification of the dreaded and feared "super-deacon?" The super-deacon was the type of man who would not be opposed to physical violence to enforce church rules.

"Those church members who had lived in Pasadena in the late 60's and early 70's were familiar with a different Joe Tkach. He would often burst into member homes unannounced and in military fashion place the home under his rigid inspection. This would include checking the sink for dirty dishes, looking into cupboards and examining the contents of the refrigerator. When the home failed inspection, Tkach would fly into lecture mode. One member was caught by surprise once and had to listen to one of Tkach's lectures after stepping out of the shower and only draped in a towel. "

No mention of white sugar, but he's looking in cupboards and the fridge. He sounds a really lovely guy...