Sunday, 19 July 2009

Painful Truth editor launches Sci-Fi Novel

The Painful Truth editorship has been handed down, a bit like the office of Pope, in a succession that has sometimes been smooth, and sometimes not. I'm just grateful that it endures. Among the holders of founder Ed Mentel's mantel has been John Bowers, who preceded (if I have this straight) James, the current editor.

Here's a bit of his bio: "John Bowers began his first “novel” at age 13. It took him nine months and was only 30,000 words, but he finished it. Before he graduated high school, he wrote four more. His teachers were convinced he was the next Hemingway, but it wasn’t to be.

Bowers was raised in a religious cult. Cults suppress creativity, demanding obedience and conformity. Though he wrote several more novels for fun, he never published them, and by the age of 30 he gave up writing entirely.

"At age 44 he broke out of the cult, rediscovered his dream, and began writing again. He wrote a juvenile adventure for his children, and then began a science fiction novel." (source)

That novel is A Vow to Sophia. The blurb reads:

When twelve year-old Onja Pedersen vowed before Goddess Sophia to free her mother and sister from Sirian slavery, she had no idea how to make it happen; six years later, when the Sirian Confederacy attacks the Solar Federation, she sees her chance and joins the United Federation Fighter Fleet.

From the day she enlists, Onja faces opposition — a skeptical recruiter, a sadistic drill instructor, a vengeful XO — but there are good men as well, and eventually she falls in love. Consumed by hatred of the Sirians, Onja lusts only to kill, and quickly becomes the deadliest gunner in the Fighter Service. In just two years of combat, she destroys dozens of enemy fighters, two troop transports, and faces down an enemy carrier. Then Fate hits back, and takes from Onja her most prized possession. The man she loves.

A Vow to Sophia is the story of a girl facing impossible odds in a galaxy gone mad. It’s a story of courage, bravery, passion, and single-minded determination. Onja’s hatred fuels her success, but in the end, love is her salvation.

BTW, if you haven't checked out the Painful Truth since its makeover, it's worth a look.


37 comments:

Byker Bob said...

I was fortunate enough to be part of a group, back in the '60s, who got to listen to John read his novels to us in real time as he was writing them. On the one hand, it was obvious that he had a talent. On the other, I wondered whether he'd ever be able to develop and maximize this talent as a member of WCG.

Somehow, we lost contact sometime in the 1970s, but upon becoming involved with the internet, I was delighted to learn that John was still writing, only this time for the Painful Truth website. His contributions to that site were insightful, and helpful.

It's just awesome to see John finally achieve one of his lifelong goals, and to obtain the recognition which he deserves.

Good job, John! (and congrats). One of our other friends (inside joke, folks!) is probably at Trader Joes, diligently searching for a bottle of vintage vinegar
to toast your success in his own inimitable way!

BB

Tom Mahon said...

>>"John Bowers began his first “novel” at age 13. It took him nine months and was only 30,000 words, but he finished it. Before he graduated high school, he wrote four more. His teachers were convinced he was the next Hemingway, but it wasn’t to be.<<

If the reports of Hemmingway's behaviour in Paris is to believed, John must be delighted that he didn't become the next Hemmingway. Unless, of course, John's teacher was hoping that he achieved Hemmingway's notoriety without any of the baggage.

>>Bowers was raised in a religious cult. Cults suppress creativity, demanding obedience and conformity.<<

If the cult referred to was WCG, this statement is simply not true! Church members were free to pursue any areas of creativity they wished, provided they were not fictional. No one was discouraged from coming up with innovative ideas in technology, such as, computers and their software
applications, mobile phones, the Internet, or even writing a book that would have contributed to the quality of people's lives.

In addition, the church never demanded obedience, it was and is God who inspired Peter to write: "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he who has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conduct." HWA just explained to members what God required of them, but members were free to disobey God, and many have!

And now that many former WCG members find the blandishments of sin much more attractive than the salutary harshness of virtue, they are now blaming HWA for preventing them from prematurely destroying themselves! Well, they now on the road to destruction, so why complain?

redfox712 said...

Congratulations, Mr. John Bowers! I am glad to see this dream of yours fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, John! Our time in WCG can rightly be viewed as "lost years", where many of our dreams and aspirations were put "on hold" in the false expectation of Jesus' Coming "in a few short years". I'm glad to see you've managed to get your life back on track.

The Skeptic

Anonymous said...

After reading Tom Mahon's assumption-filled, know-it-all, holier-than-thou diatribe, I don't know which erroneous point to comment on first. It's jam-packed with them. I can only pity Tom for his closed-minded viewpoint and his failure to see the larger world around him.

Tom says we prefer sin and we're on the road to destruction. I only hope that one day Tom's eyes are opened - not by god, because god seems not to be in the eye-opening business, but by that miraculous device in Tom's head - his human brain. The human brain is the closest thing there is to a god - truth be told, it invented god - and it is capable of great things. I hope Tom's human brain will open his eyes and soften his heart.

The Skeptic

Anonymous said...

"And now that many former WCG members find the blandishments of sin much more attractive than the salutary harshness of virtue, they are now blaming HWA for preventing them from prematurely destroying themselves! Well, they now [are] on the road to destruction, so why complain?"





well said, Tom. Well Said.

GL said...

Tom writes: "And now that many former WCG members find the blandishments of sin much more attractive than the salutary harshness of virtue..."

“If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly,  but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world]  we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness,  but, as Peter says,  we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.  No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.” Martin Luther

Dill Weed said...

How do you lauches a sci-fi novel?


Dill Weed

Mr. Scribe said...

Tom Mahon, this man was in the cult for over 40 years and you are saying he is wrong?

You seem to have a few thing's in common with David Hoover.
1) The worship of Herbie the false, child molesting prophet.
2) Self righteousness.
3) Narcissistic personality disorder.
4) Judging people without knowing their story. (John does not participate here.)
5) You are a wannabe authority figure.

Corky said...

It's seems kind of strange that the WCG was against writing fiction when that's all they ever did write.

Congrats on the book, John.

Gavin said...

Dill Weed wrote:
How do you lauches a sci-fi novel?

Ick. I hate typos.

Anonymous said...

"Church members were free to pursue any areas of creativity they wished, provided they were not fictional."

Reason #99645607567 why the Worldwide Church of God was a closed high-demand religious group.

Anonymous said...

"Be a sinner and sin boldly,"

What a cop-out. Christians quoting this passage often just use it as an excuse to act outside the bounds of the ethics of reciprocity.

The only sin is ignorance. Commit it at your own peril.

Vaughn said...

Tom said:
"In addition, the church never demanded obedience, it was and is God who inspired Peter to write: "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he who has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conduct." HWA just explained to members what God required of them, but members were free to disobey God, and many have!"

BS!

My question: Did you ever actually attend a Radio/Worldwide church congregation as a member? Or did you just read a sampling of the literature and imagine it as utopia? The rosy picture you paint is not what I saw and experienced in my 45 years with them.

Robert said...

>>>but members were free to disobey God, and many have!

Tom, coming from a heretical trinitarian, you are the last person to dish out advice. Start taking your own advice.

"Free to disobey" what exactly? God has not given us a set of doctrines, we have formulated them on our own. Truth is what we interpret it to be since there is no levitical priesthood that previously had direct access to God.

Now, we are in the mess of determining what truth is for ourselves, 2000 years later. God put us in this mess, so why are you blaming men for being deceived or not walking according to your interpretation of truth?

Now, if you think we are not in a theological mess today, then you just haven't studied the bible. And incidentally, God has not given us the instructions in Exodus to determine the proper calendar; nor has He defined what a new moon is, is it at the crescent, dark moon phase or astronomical conjunction? This means, most of us are probably observing the holy days on the wrong day.

How about actually studying the Bible for once instead of pouring out your self righteous indignation on others?

Robert said...

>>Our time in WCG can rightly be viewed as "lost years"

I disagree that they were lost years. Former WCG members are much more informed about the Bible than the average Catholic or nominal Protestant.

Many on this forum excel in knowledge on church history, origins of the emergence of Constantine, know some of the church councils and edicts etc. Much of this is lost on most Christians that never read the Bible or delve into church history but blindly follow a faith they know nothing about.

At least your time in the WCG caused you to study the issues and examine the evidence, even, if it has caused some of you to become atheists.

Just think, many of you would still be going to a sunday church swallowing up the lies from the pulpit had it not been for the WCG's insistence that you read the book, that you proclaimed to follow!

Tom Mahon said...

Robert said...

TM>>but members were free to disobey God, and many have!

Robert>>Tom, coming from a heretical trinitarian, you are the last person to dish out advice.<<

To whom have I offered advice? I quoted the passage from Peter first epistle thus:"As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he who has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conduct"(1 Pet.1:14-15). The quote is intended to show that God requires obedience from those who worship him, rely on him for blessings and hope to be in his coming kingdom.

I then went on to say that HWA taught church members that they were required to obey God, but members were free to accept or reject that teaching; and many have! As far as I am aware, ministers didn't put a gun to members head and insisted that they obey the teachings of the church. If your experience is different, you may want to share it with the forum.

Robert>>God has not given us a set of doctrines, we have formulated them on our own.<<

From this comment it is obvious that you don't believe the bible is the inspired word of God. Therefore, we are not on the same page.

Tom Mahon said...

Anonymous said...

>>After reading Tom Mahon's assumption-filled, know-it-all, holier-than-thou diatribe, I don't know which erroneous point to comment on first.<<

Please take your time, and when you are ready, comment on as many points as you feel are worthy of your time and effort.

Anonymous said...

Tom Mahon wrote "Please take your time, and when you are ready, comment on as many points as you feel are worthy of your time and effort."

OK, here goes ...

"the church never demanded obedience": you're kidding us, right?

"It was god who inspired...": you erroneously assume god inspired Peter to write this. This cannot be proven and in fact the errors and contradictions in the bible are extensively demonstrated in Biblical Errancy and Skeptic's Annotated Bible. An omnipotent god could never have inspired such an error-filled book.

"HWA just explained to members what God required": Where does the bible say that God requires we not write fiction?

"Members were free to disobey God": not in WCG they weren't. Punishment took the form of suspension or disfellowshipment, which given our brainwashing was a death sentence. We were free, alright: free to get thrown into the lake of fire if we disobeyed. Some freedom!

"... many former WCG members find the blandishments of sin much more attractive than the salutary harshness of virtue:

1. We left the church because our eyes were opened to its falseness, not because we prefer sin;
2. You've got a hell of a nerve to imply all who are not still believers prefer sin:
3. In my experience, many non-believers are more virtuous than many believers;
3. I try to live a virtuous life and I don't find it harsh at all. Virtue has many rewards, while doing wrong can have very harsh repercussions on the wrongdoer. Do you really think living an evil life is more satisfying than living a virtuous life?

"They are now blaming HWA for preventing them from prematurely destroying themselves"

1. I blame HWA for conning me into living a lifestyle that god did not require and that HWA himself did not live, and for conning me out of my money.
2. It seems to me HWA caused quite a few people to prematurely destroy themselves. I don't recall him preventing anyone from prematurely destroy themselves. Name one he prevented.

"Well, they are now on the road to destruction". How smug. Maybe YOU'RE on the road to destruction. Take heed, thou hypocrite, lest you say "I am rich and increased with goods" and this very day you may be undone! Don't be so sure of your own standing, Mr. Mahon. Your statements are based upon an extensive set of unproven assumptions that are flimsier than a house of cards!

The Skeptic

Anonymous said...

"This means, most of us are probably observing the holy days on the wrong day."

The further and further the Judaic festivals move from the Wheel of the Year, you are.

For a good perspective on the true Jewish holidays, click here.

Anonymous said...

"Just think, many of you would still be going to a sunday church swallowing up the lies from the pulpit had it not been for the WCG's insistence that you read the book, that you proclaimed to follow!"

Not me, Robert; we would have been quite the happy little atheist family, if the converted parent had never found Armstrongism.

Sadly, that was not the case.

Questeruk said...

Tom Mahon said...

“If the cult referred to was WCG, this statement is simply not true! Church members were free to pursue any areas of creativity they wished, provided they were not fictional.”

Excuse me Tom, but isn’t this exactly the point. We are talking about someone whose “teachers were convinced he was the next Hemingway, but it wasn’t to be.”

In other words this was exactly what his talent was, crafting a work of fiction. That is what a ‘novel’ is.

Jared Olar said...

“Many on this forum excel in knowledge on church history, origins of the emergence of Constantine, know some of the church councils and edicts etc.”

There’s no doubt that I wouldn’t be anywhere near as knowledgeable about those kinds of things, and biblical matters, if I hadn’t been raised in the WCG. It gave me my initial interest in this things. However, it’s also the case that a lot of what I “knew” about those things have turned out to not be true at all, or only partly correct. That kind of “slanted” grasp of church history and scriptural knowledge does show up here not infrequently, both among the former Armstrongists and the unreconstructed Armstrongists.

“Just think, many of you would still be going to a sunday church swallowing up the lies from the pulpit had it not been for the WCG's insistence that you read the book, that you proclaimed to follow!”

You say that like it’s a good thing that the WCG got people to leave their churches and join up with them. I now realise that, on balance, lies, bogus “history” and erroneous interpretations of Scripture are far more likely to come an Armstrongist pulpit than from the typical Sunday church pulpit. Probably most of the WCG’s converts would have been better off had they stayed in their churches and hadn’t been seduced by Herbert Armstrong’s siren song. The typical Sunday church also insists that you “read the book,” only without the Armstrongist overlay of obsessive end-times speculation, cock-and-bull British-Israelist race theory, Sabbatarianism, tithing, life-endangering rejection of medicine and physicians, spurious anti-Trinitarian theology and incoherent christology, and the warping of the Bible and the very meaning of one’s life to make it all about Herbert Armstrong and the allegedly divine work of the WCG. It’s not unfair or inaccurate to say that reading the Bible while wearing Armstrongist lenses can be worse than not reading the Bible at all.

Robert said...

>>From this comment it is obvious that you don't believe the bible is the inspired word of God. Therefore, we are not on the same page.

The Bible is the Word of God when it was first given, but today, we have different versions of it via greek manuscripts, evidence suggests these were copies of originals from Hebrew or Aramaic sources. Yes, the Hebrew and Aramaic ones were much more reliable, but, the Good Lord, chose not to preserve them for us.

I am a simple man and not a biblical scholar, and every church organisation and self appointed authority (including yourself) slants the bible in favour of their own preconceived ideas. Doctrine is something we have made up, the Jewish Christians in the first century didn't have or formulate doctrine. They would have disputed and talked about many issues with varying degrees of interpretation from the Jewish schools.

My argument is that God could have made these things a lot easier for us. That was all I was saying, and to assume that there are not unexplainable inconsistencies shows me that you don't study the Bible, just spout soundbites. My intention is not to disprove the Bible but to prove its validity, but, in the process, I have to be honest, and say, there are some inconsistencies.

Tom Mahon said...

Questeruk said...

>>In other words this was exactly what his talent was, crafting a work of fiction. That is what a ‘novel’ is.<<

But Christians are called to deal with reality, not fiction!

Byker Bob said...

The latter half of my childhood was spent being raised in WCG, and I do consider it to have been a cult.

We were:

Separated from our "carnal" or "worldly" relatives (those not in WCG), and were not even allowed to pray for them.

Not permitted to seek second opinions on doctrinal issues, or to study other than official church literature, except as recommended by the ministry.

Mercilessly beaten and starved into submission, per the church's childrearing beliefs. My parents, when they apologized later, told us that they thought they were supposed to "break our spirits".

Prevented from relating to our colleagues in school and the neighborhood by being forced to wear out of style clothing and hair styles, forbidden to listen to contemporary music, and not being allowed to participate in all but a very few of the after hour activities at school.

Any optional reading, usually from the list of works recommended for those who intended to pursue a College level education, had to be carefully selected or censored to make certain that it conformed as closely as possible to the principles embodied by WCG, or the Armstrongs.

Imagination-stimulating works of fiction, television shows, and movies were all but forbidden.

It is up to the individual to determine whether he/she thinks the above practices make the WCG/Armstrongism a cult, but the statement in John's biography remains true in that these practices most certainly did limit and impede one's creativity and or development of one's personality.

Frankly, I rarely discuss my WCG background with anyone these days. But, if people show interest, I usually state that I grew up in a very toxic Satanic cult, one in which we were horribly abused on a daily basis.
Why do I use the word "Satanic"?. Well, WCG and my parents largely formed my outlook towards God. They made him into an arbitrary, cruel being, one who salivates at every opportunity to punish. If that is not Satan's work, I don't know what is!

BB

Anonymous said...

"But Christians are called to deal with reality, not fiction!"

My friend, you are a laugh a minute. Where do you come up with these lines?

The Skeptic

Anonymous said...

A number of comments have taken place in the last several weeks which have troubled many members of our blog community. What follows is the story of how Tom Mahon can be so rich in the rhetoric of democracy and yet so poor in its implementation.
More prosaically, we must soon make one of the most momentous decisions in this blogs history. We must decide whether to let Tom dupe people into believing that his mind games will spread enlightenment to the masses, reestablish the bonds of community, bring us closer to God, and generally work to the betterment of Man and society or, alternatively, whether we should maintain our social tranquility. Upon this decision rests the stability of blog and its future peace. My view on this decision is that to the fullest extent that my own age and health will permit, I will resolve this disputes without name calling. I have to wonder where Tom got the view that cannibalism, wife-swapping, and the murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior by the God of the bible. This sits hard with me because it is simply not true.
While Tom is undoubtedly entitled to ignore good advice from intelligent people, he once had the audacity to tell me that the most hateful deviants you'll ever see have dramatically lower incidences of cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, and many other illnesses than the rest of us.
My riposte was that I am convinced that there will be a strong effort on his part to develop a Pavlovian reflex in us, to make us afraid to stop his encroachments on our religious heritage as soon as our backs are turned. This effort will be disguised, of course. It will be cloaked in deceit, as such efforts always are. That's why I'm informing you that the pen is a powerful tool. Why don't we use that tool to confront and reject all manifestations of absenteeism of logic?
In conclusion, let me just say that out of all of the unbridled, querulous upstarts I've ever known, Tom Mahon is clearly the most diabolic.

Corky said...

But Christians are called to deal with reality, not fiction!.

I'm . . . speechless.

The Third Witness said...

I guess the parables must be literally true, then.

Tom Mahon said...

Anon said...

TM>>"the church never demanded obedience"<<

Anon>>you're kidding us, right?<<

This does not say that it demanded obedience.

TM>>it was and is God who inspired Peter to write: "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he who has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conduct."<<

Anon>>you erroneously assume god inspired Peter to write this. This cannot be proven and in fact the errors and contradictions in the bible are extensively demonstrated in Biblical Errancy and Skeptic's Annotated Bible.<<

You are free to believe the skeptic's Annotated bible, and I am free to believe that God inspired Peter. The problem is, you are upset with my belief but I am not upset with yours.

TM>>"HWA just explained to members what God required of them":

Anon>>Where does the bible say that God requires we not write fiction?<<

Why asked for a reference from the bible, when you believe it is filled with errors?

TM>>"Members were free to disobey God, and many have":

Anon>>not in WCG they weren't. Punishment took the form of suspension or disfellowshipment, which given our brainwashing was a death sentence.<<

I think you are confusing freedom with punishment. Are you not free to rob a bank or jump a red light? Of course you are! But not with impunity.

Similarly, you were and are free to disobey God, but not with impunity.

TM>>"... many former WCG members find the blandishments of sin much more attractive than the salutary harshness of virtue:<<

Anon>>1. We left the church because our eyes were opened to its falseness, not because we prefer sin;
2. You've got a hell of a nerve to imply all who are not still believers prefer sin:<<

I never said that anyone prefer sin. I think you need to accurately quote what I said.

TM>>"They are now blaming HWA for preventing them from prematurely destroying themselves"<<

Anon>>I blame HWA for conning me into living a lifestyle that god did not require and that HWA himself did not live, and for conning me out of my money.<<

Your experience was obviously different from mine, so I can't comment on your WCG lifestyle nor on out of how much money you were conned.

Anon>>I don't recall him preventing anyone from prematurely destroy themselves. Name one he prevented.<<

Well, what about Tom Mahon? He was not destroyed by HWA.

Byker Bob said...

This attitude towards fiction is the reason why some extreme religious people are so easily tripped up! They place themselves into a state of being incapable of thinking in the abstract.

Someone once said that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. If that is the case, then the spiritual is true reality, and the physical stage on which we act is similar to the Holodrome on Star Trek.

BB

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, I have to rebut Tom Mahon's responses.

TM "I never said that anyone prefer sin. I think you need to accurately quote what I said."

Skeptic: Please explain to me the subtle difference in meaning between "find the blandishments of sin much more attractive" and "prefers sin". It seems to me I paraphrased your intent accurately.

Skeptic>>I don't recall him (HWA) preventing anyone from prematurely destroy themselves. Name one he prevented.<<

TM: "Well, what about Tom Mahon? He was not destroyed by HWA."

Skeptic: Do you really think "not destroyed by HWA" is the same thing as "prevented from prematurely detroying themselves by HWA"?

Lots of people were destroyed by HWA. Lots of others were not. You and I were not, thankfully. Although you failed to name one person who was prevented from destroying themselves by HWA, after giving it some consideration I have to agree that there were probably some such persons. Although, in my opinion, HWA and WCG hurt a great many people, I think there were some people who benefited from WCG, i.e. they were better off living the WCG way than living their prior lifestyle. I don't think it was the majority, and I think the number of people benefited is dwarfed by the number hurt, but I can agree that some did benefit.

Most of us, in fact, received some good and some bad from our WCG experience, its just a matter of how much good and how much bad. For most of us, it was a lot of bad and a little bit of good.

TM: "I think you are confusing freedom with punishment. Are you not free to rob a bank or jump a red light?"

Skeptic: is English not your first language?. We seem to have two different meanings of the word "free". To me, if something is against the law or against the rules, or if doing it brings punishment upon you, then you are not free to do it.

Your definition baffles me: is there anything under your definition that we are not free to do?

TM: "The problem is, you are upset with my belief but I am not upset with yours."

Skeptic: Well, maybe that's because your belief causes you to write in this blog that I'm evil and heading to the punishment I deserve. Statements like that tend to upset people. My belief, on the other hand, just causes me to point out that you're mistaken. Which I guess can also be upsetting, but I suppose you're so sure of yourself that you do not get upset at all but just look down on me as an ignorant fool.

The Skeptic

Tom Mahon said...

Anon/Skeptic said..

>>is English not your first language?.<<

Is it?

Anon>>We seem to have two different meanings of the word "free". To me, if something is against the law or against the rules, or if doing it brings punishment upon you, then you are not free to do it.<<

Freedom has to do with moral choices, whether they are good or bad. Or as the bible puts it, man has to choose between good and evil. You can choose to rob a bank or obey the law that says don't!

The fact that you will be punished if you make the wrong choice, does not take away your freedom to choose, as you seemed to think.

However, I believe we have almost flogged this horse to death. Won't you agree that we should stop beating it, so that it might live a little longer?

Anonymous said...

Tom,

It seems to me you're confusing the word "free" with "able". I suggest you look up "free" in a dictionary. In my opinion, and I think most would agree, there were lots of things we were not "free" to do as members of WCG.

I agree, 'nuf said on this subject.

The Skeptic

Mel said...

Tom, you would not watch anything that's fiction on the TV, or in the theater, whether live or projected?

That's interesting.
It's always interesting to hear of how those who were once in the 'classic' WCG now believe.

Is even Big Beak "of Satan", in your view?

Byker Bob said...

There always were two components of the gospel message. One is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, facillitating salvation. The other is that He will return. Mainstream Christianity recognizes both of these aspects.

However, either by design or by random accident, HWA somehow glommed on to the aspects of the gospel which most readily lent themselves to exploitation for commercial purposes. You're really not going to generate a heck of a lot of income by preaching the beatitudes, the principles from the Sermon on the Mount, or the concept of living in the Spirit. Those all allow for transformation of humans by non-human means.

HWA selected all of the humanly measurable quantities, those which lent themselves to human exploitation, manipulation, and the financial enrichment of the leaders. That is how his "gospel" ruined lives, and why his emphasis was so totally wrong as compared to that of the purest forms of mainstream Christianity. I say the purest because certainly there have been others who have used Christianity as an exploitative tool to control others, self-aggrandize, and self-enrich.

BB