Sunday, 6 September 2009

Denis Michael Rohan - "The Lion King" - Forty Years On

Denis Rohan, an Australian shearer and follower of Herbert Armstrong's Radio Church of God, entered the history books forty years ago when he attempted to burn down the Al Aqsa mosque. ABC Radio has brought together a variety of television clips from 1969, and supporting materials (including a PDF of the October issue of The Plain Truth from that year) to accompany a 50 minute anniversary documentary. For one brief, fleeting moment, Rohan became the face of Armstrongism: a development that brought on passionate rejection from the church. Rohan himself, who was deported back to Australia in the mid-70s, last reportedly attended a WCG service just four years ago.

You can access the ABC web page through Australian blogger Vridar's latest entry, or directly. For those with an academic bent, Scott Lupo's paper on The Wonderful World Tomorrow is well worth reading.

62 comments:

Dennis said...

In 1996, after winning BAR's "tell us why we should send you to dig in Israel" essay contest, I spent a weekend in Jerusalem after digging all week at Megiddo.

I hired a Palestinian to take me on a tour of the Temple Mount including the Al Aqsa mosque.

Here we were, just the two of us standing at the front of the mosque and the guide starts telling about the Westerner who tried to burn the mosque down and showing me how he did it.

Being still a minister in WCG at the time..I just said..."uh huh...wow," I always wondered how HWA got away with his Israel connections when this fellow was caught with a PT in his back pocket. Or so it was reported. You'd think the association would have been made.

The Mosque would have been easy to damage with all the tapestry etc, but the Dome not so easy.

I also asked the guide where all the stones for Herod's temple went and he said, "Back Into the valley below the Temple where they belonged." :)

It is certainly an interesting place charged with history and myth. I was alone below the Rock in the Dome which is "the well of souls" thinking of all that had transpired there in history. Not hard to see how one can be overcome with Jerusalem syndrome if one wishes to.

Over one million people have died on the Temple Mount throughout the history of it. Or so I was told. Certainly a great example of the effects the "One true" religion can have on life.

If you add up all the people God killed in the OT just based on the numbers given (not flood, not Exodus) it comes to about 2, 138,000 give or take. If you add up those "Satan" killed in the OT....it is just the 10 children of Job with God's permission.

Do not mention this fact in church however....

Anonymous said...

First Weinland, now the church; the Aussies are really cracking down on the cult of Herbie eh?

Good for them!

As for Rohan I can't believe Junior sucked him back in. Or maybe he was just looking for closure? Who knows?

Purple Hymnal said...

"One thing that Herbert Armstrong was able to do was create what could be called an alternative reality that people found quite attractive. Now often times, this kind of sense that you're living at the end, and that the future has been predetermined, then you can sort of figure out where things were going from here, and as long as you're right with God, you're going to be OK, and this can give some believers a sense of security, and actually kind of, some scholars suggest, might actually improve their mental state somewhat. But obviously other people react differently, and at one end you might have a number of people that say Well, why not help bring this about, it's taking too long, why not speed this up? And I suspect that that is what happened with Michael Denis Rohan, the idea to kind of speed this up and bring about some of these apocalyptic events that were going to take place, or believed to take place at the end."

Most powerful quote on Armstrongism I've read to date.

Thanks for the link to the ABC site, Gavin, it was exactly what I needed to read right now.

Leonardo said...

And Gavin, let's not forget that accused assassin of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy - Sirhan Sirhan - was found with WCG literature when his Pasadena living quarters was searched after his arrest down at the old Ambassador Hotel, where the tragic 1968 shooting took place.

During the '80's I used to live in a house just a couple of streets east of the Sirhan residence. I think his brother, who is a very nice man and law-abiding citizen, still lives there.

Actually, if you search the record, a number of tragedies are either directly or indirectly associated with HWA and his WCG. But it seemed we never were informed of such things in the Worldwide News!

Baywolfe said...

Purple...

It is, indeed, a powerful and compelling message. And since almost all of us were not bible scholars who could easily refute the picture HWA was painting, it all seemed to fit together.

I was not until we were "outside looking in" that we could see what a house of cards it all was and what logical fallacies were holding the whole thing together.

Is there any wonder that JT Jr. took the group mainstream before everything imploded? The sad, destructive, aftermath that is the splinter groups, is all the proof you need.

redfox712 said...

Wow. Good on ABC for choosing to tell this story.

In Scott Lupo's paper it is stated that HWA admitted that he did not know for certain what the roles of the various prominent saints would be in the World Tomorrow.

For what it's worth, I heard Meredith say in a sermon that HWA initially wanted to say with certainty that Noah, Daniel, etc. "will" (not "might") fulfill the roles HWA assigned to them. But Meredith persuaded him not to that.

Meredith said something like this. I do not have an exact quote of what he said, he said it in a sermon long ago (2000/1 maybe even 2002), which will be long gone as LCG's website's sermons only go back to 2005. This is the story Meredith told HWA as best as I recall.

"Imagine if God talked to you and said "Wow, You're right. You figured it all out. Now I hate to say it but you've filled up all the required positions so well, the only position I have left for you is that of a doorkeeper.""

After HWA heard this little story HWA decided to say "might" not "will." That is why HWA did that.

Purple Hymnal said...

"I was not until we were "outside looking in" that we could see what a house of cards it all was and what logical fallacies were holding the whole thing together.

Is there any wonder that JT Jr. took the group mainstream before everything imploded?"


See, for me, Senior and the changes was what made the house of cards fall. Having believed all my life that all religions were false (they are, but let's not quibble over small details), then to find out "the one true religion" is false as well? Yeah, that blew the house of cards away, all right. With kiloton force.

Junior is still trying to force square pegs into round holes (just talk to any GCI member "on the ground" or hell just read Larry's comments), in order to keep one step ahead of the counter-cult groups, and keep his income rolling in, and his infallible papacy intact.

The sad thing is, because church leadership now spouts all the bullshit the traditional Christians need to hear to stop the warning flags from going up, nobody gives a damn nor do they want to stop the little despot and his right-hand weasel.

But when we were binitarians, the "loving Christians" picketed us.

Never did make much sense at all, did it?

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Redfox72 said, "In Scott Lupo's paper it is stated that HWA admitted that he did not know for certain what the roles of the various prominent saints would be in the World Tomorrow."

MY COMMENT - Traveling Evangelist Gerald Waterhouse, "go water the House of God", knew exactly the roles of the future resurrected saints in the World Tomorrow. Noah, for example, will solve racial issues. Each prominent hero of the Bible has an assigned role in the Wonderful World Tomorrow.

Why does Waterhouse remind me of an empty bottle of Jack Daniels?

Richard

Anonymous said...

Whatever became of Rohan, and where is he today?

James said...

Leonardo said...

And Gavin, let's not forget that accused assassin of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy - Sirhan Sirhan - was found with WCG literature when his Pasadena living quarters was searched after his arrest down at the old Ambassador Hotel, where the tragic 1968 shooting took place.
*************

Can you back that up with some links?

Leonardo said...

Baywolfe wrote:
"The sad, destructive, aftermath that is the splinter groups, is all the proof you need."


You know, Baywolfe, that's how I reason as well - simply observe as objectively as possible the overall fruit produced by them. I mean, just the many nutcase prophet-wannabes alone that Armstrongism has spawned through the years, too many to even keep track of, argues quite persuasively as to the poor quality of the tree from which they've dropped as festering, fermenting, worm-infested produce.

The bickering, ineffectual little splinter groups which are the left-overs from HWA's "one true Church" provide compelling evidence as to the mind-numbing mental effects COG religion has on its adherents when allowed to continue on unchallenged, as current members just don't seem to be able to perceive these plain facts so obvious when viewed from the outside.

Simply stated, it seems to me there are two general types of folks: those who can eventually admit they've made some seriously wrong philosophical choices earlier in life (such as becoming a supporter of HWA's nutty little fundamentalist group) - and those who refuse to because of the metaphysical upset it would cause in their lives, their marriages and families, their extended social group, their absolute supernatural certainties, their paychecks, etc.

This latter group are those who keep up the desperate resuscitation efforts preserving the religious meme of Armstrongism on artificial life support long after it should have died a natural death.

Leonardo said...

Having just read Scott Lupo's 1999 article from The Journal of Millenial Studies (which I had never previously heard of before) it triggered a memory that perhaps some readers might find interesting.

Actually, most all of the ideas contained in the 1966 WCG booklet “The Wonderful World Tomorrow – What it Will be Like” (which HWA’s later Everest House hardbound book was essentially based upon) were originally gathered together and authored by Gerald Waterhouse.

He wrote a paper in the early ‘60’s entitled “God’s Master Plan” – which he sincerely felt God had revealed to him through the pages of the Bible. This paper eventually found it’s way into the hands, first of GTA, and then later HWA, who were both very excited by it, and who then expanded it into one of the longer booklets put out by the Ambassador College Press.

The opening pages of the booklet never gave any credit whatsoever to GW, but instead just said it was authored by HWA and GTA – which was a standard Armstrong tactic: borrow heavily from the work of others and then subtly take the credit for yourself by claiming authorship and never citing sources.

I used to have long discussions over the telephone with Mr. Waterhouse back when he was retired and living in south Florida (several years before his death), and he mentioned this to me. Also, I recall him briefly mentioning it in a Bible Study he gave once in the Auditorium back in 1979 as well.

As I was writing this comment, I pulled out my old copy of the hardbound book published in 1979 (titled simply "Tomorrow...What It Will Be Like") and right there glued on the inside front cover I found a fancy org chart that I had carefully drawn up in my days of zealotry which I titled "Organization of the World Tomorrow" - amazing how motivated folks can become when you essentially tell them what they WANT to hear, and promise them some form of future power, glory and immortality!

James said...

"....amazing how motivated folks can become when you essentially tell them what they WANT to hear, and promise them some form of future power, glory and immortality!"

Brown shirts of the F├╝hrer, HWA.

Leonardo said...

James wrote:
"Can you back that up with some links?"


Actually, no, not off the top of my head, James.

But if you could find a link that has the LAPD investigation records (which I presume have been digitized and would be out there somewhere on the Internet), you'd find it there if you'd be willing to search through them. But I'm not sure such an exhaustive search would be worth the time required.

I was not at all claiming that this minor connection played a huge motivating role in Kennedy’s murder, I just mentioned it in passing, since we were talking about nutcases somehow associated in one way or another with the world of the WCG. Sirhan was never a member, a co-worker, a supporter of the WCG, or any such thing.

As best I can recall, it seemed to me I first heard about this in a documentary film I saw about Sirhan, or maybe it was briefly mentioned in an article I read some time ago about the assassination. At the time I thought it was interesting, but not enough to note the source for any kind of future reference. Any other viewer/reader would have just skipped right by the mention, it was so brief, but I locked onto it immediately because of my connection with the WCG.

It is well known that Sirhan (a Palestinian Christian - Maronite Catholic, I think, though that too is just based on memory as well) was extremely angry with folks who were pro-Israel. Senator Kennedy was, as was Garner Ted Armstrong, who by the late ‘60’s was the most visibly recognized front man of the WCG. GTA plainly was pro-Israeli in the many comments he made on the old World Tomorrow radio broadcasts and in Plain Truth articles. (Sirhan lived over on Howard street, just three miles northeast of the AC campus, with his mother and brother, so it would have been almost impossible for him NOT to have been at least remotely familiar with the work of the WCG.)

If I'm not mistaken, it seemed to me also that Sirhan's handwritten diary included mention of GTA as well, and I think I read that years ago now in an Orlin Grabbe Internet article about his days with the organization.

Perhaps some other WCG veterans who blog here can recall more specific information about this connection.

Bamboo_bends said...

Leonardo said...

As I was writing this comment, I pulled out my old copy of the hardbound book published in 1979 (titled simply "Tomorrow...What It Will Be Like") and right there glued on the inside front cover I found a fancy org chart that I had carefully drawn up in my days of zealotry which I titled "Organization of the World Tomorrow" - amazing how motivated folks can become when you essentially tell them what they WANT to hear, and promise them some form of future power, glory and immortality!



It'd be a real hoot if you scanned that and posted a URL to the chart!

Not that we'd be laughing at you, but rather with you! We've all done something similar!

Bamboo_bends said...

Speaking of twisted criminals of the 20th century...

I was speaking last week with a WCGer who said that Charles Manson stayed at their cousins house in Malibu before he formed his commune in the desert with Squeaky Fromme,

I do not know if the cousin was in the WCG, but its only two degrees of separation from it.

I wonder if Crazy Eyes Manson had read in any Plain Truth literature about race riots when he developed his plan to start a race war? Wikipedia says this: "Manson is associated with "Helter Skelter," the term he took from the Beatles song of that name and construed as an apocalyptic race war the murders were putatively intended to precipitate.

Can you imagine having Charles Manson as a your house guest?

For all you HWA-wannabees out there, think twice what fears you stir up in people, some of them may not be so sane to begin with.

The same holds true for Republican Party Agents Provocateurs.

Questeruk said...

For what it’s worth, in 1969 Dr Ernest Martin spoke in the UK. He was on his way from the Jerusalem dig, back to the US. This was directly after the Rohan incident.

After services I spoke to him, asking about Rohan’s connection with the church. He made the point that the students, he himself, and other staff had been in Jerusalem at the dig, at the same time that Rohan was there.

Rohan had made no contact with anyone of them. Had he been involved with the church, you would have expected him to make some contact, because the fact that the dig was happening was very well know by anyone attending church.

I felt this was completely accurate. I believe any church member at that time, if they had been in Jerusalem, would have felt completely happy to contact the dig, and would expect to be welcomed there.

I know had I been travelling there, I would certainly have made contact, it would have been a chance to be shown around the site. And I was just a newly attending person, of no consequence – the ‘bottom of the barrel’, as it were.

It looks like what Dr Martin told me was also told to HWA, because the October ’69 PT made precisely the same point.

In this case I believe that it is a point which is very valid.

Paco said...

I was a student at AC Pasadena at the time Rohan attempted to destroy the mosque. Several of my friends worked in the then-named "data processing center." I was told that the WCG did an extensive serarch of its files and found Rohan on the mailing list at the Australian office. His records were then exunged from the files to make it easier to deny any connection.

Anonymous said...

"Traveling Evangelist Gerald Waterhouse, "go water the House of God", knew exactly the roles of the future resurrected saints in the World Tomorrow."

Ah ha ha ha I'm glad that I wasn't the only one who read that paper and got flashbacks to those Waterhouse specials!!

Purple Hymnal said...

Questeruk,

There is no question in anyone's mind here that Rohan was absolutely not a tithes-paying member of the church.

What IS remarkable, and rightfully deserves to be remarked upon (even forty years later), is how the church's toxic theology managed to affect/infect someone who was not even a member.

Extrapolated logically, viewed through the lens of Rohan's extremism, those with compassion and understanding might get just a small taste of how that toxic theology has affected, and will continue to affect, those of us who actually were members of the church.

Church members in this day and age may not go to the same lengths that Rohan did, but far too many are still waiting, for a tomorrow that will never come.

Leonardo said...

Bamboo_bends wrote:
"I wonder if Crazy Eyes Manson had read in any Plain Truth literature about race riots when he developed his plan to start a race war?"


Just a little anecdote here related to Charles Manson.

One time there was a very nice gal who was a receptionist in one of the departments at Pasadena HQ's. She was an extremely sociable person, and so I used to chat every now and again with her about any number of topics, and I remember once the subject of Charles Manson came up, and she relayed a story to me.

One morning, very shortly before the grisly series of murders took place, she saw a short hippie kind of guy walk by her on one of the streets of Pasadena as she was walking to work. (If I recall correctly, I think it was Marengo Street, just a mile or so southeast of the AC campus.)

She told me the guy just stared at her with a hair-raising gaze as he passed by walking the opposite way on the sidewalk, which caused goose bumps to arise on her skin. She said it was a very quick but chilling experience that she kept thinking about all that day.

OK, then just a short while later the story broke, and Charles Manson's infamous picture was plastered on the front page of virtually every newspaper in America. This was about late summer of 1969, just after the first lunar landing had taken place.

She told me that she about freaked out when she immediately recognized this image in all the newspapers as the SAME guy that had walked by her on the street just a week or so before in Pasadena.

So if her account was indeed accurate, and not just a case of mistaken identity on her part, then Manson was in Pasadena shortly before his "family" went on their Helter Skelter murder spree. Not that this in any way shows a connection with things WCG, but it is interesting that apparently he frequented the Pasadena area.

Anyway, for what it's worth.

Byker Bob said...

Kooks (the Armstrong movement) generally do attract kooks. We certainly had a wide variety of them in all the congregations I ever attended. The old "self medication" or healing quest.

Was Rohan of forty years past really that much different from David ben Ariel today? I suspect that if the two of them got together for beer and pretzels they'd probably find a bunch of common ground, as did Kid Rock and Vanilla Ice when they finally got around to meeting one another a couple of years back.

BB

Leonardo said...

Questeruk, I think the overall point being made here is that a number of notable mental cases have been influenced to some degree by the teachings and literature of the classic WCG, which may have eventually contributed to their crazy actions.

Really nothing more.

It's clear from HWA's article in the October 1969 issue of the PT (since I just read it) that Rohan was on the mailing lists, taking the Correspondence Course, etc.

And if what Gavin said is true about Rohan reportedly attending a WCG service just four years ago, apparently Rohan was still (some 36 years later) somehow drawn to the WCG.

I can point to direct instances of Armstrongites committing horrific crimes, if that's what you want. It's happened more than you might imagine - the 2005 shooting in one of Rod Meredith's congregations is merely one of many.

I remember a minister - back when I was an AC student in the late '70's - shooting his wife and himself. I think this may have taken place up in Oregon. This event was all hush-hush around HQ's at the time. But I have recollections from when it happened.

Shortly before I came out to Pasadena in 1976 an AC student had recently jumped off the Arroyo Street Bridge, very near the campus.

I remember the police being called when a well-known evangelist's son shot himself in the head with a rifle. This took place when I was an employee, just down the street from the building I worked in.

A fellow student I knew at AC was eventually convicted of embezzling huge amounts of money from a bank he worked at – I was told he interpreted the opportunity he had at taking large amounts of cash without being discovered (at least for a while) as a “blessing from God” that he decided to take advantage of.

Another AC coed I knew, a Church member in Big Sandy, a wife and mother of young children, shot herself in the head.

Then there was the high-energy and highly motivated pastor of a congregation in Pasadena who eventually jumped off the Golden Gate bridge.

A boss I used to work for out at HQ told me once that of his high school graduating senior class at Imperial Schools, roughly half of them ultimately died of drug overdoses.

The list goes on and on and on – and I’m just citing SOME of the cases, mainly suicides, of which I am personally familiar.

But hopefully you get my point. Take off your blinders and let’s get real here – the collective fruit of HWA’s organization is not very impressive.

bear_track said...

The WCG interpretation of prophecy indicated that a temple would be built at some point in a certain location. That was not an encouragement for Mr. Rohan to try to blow up the mosque.

Rohan did that on his own. At this moment, there are all kinds of mentally unstable people in all kinds of settings that may do something that the rest of us would have trouble explaining. We have all done inexplicable things ourselves, like joining the WCG.

I do not believe that we can lay this at the doorstep of the WCG or any of its leaders.

The Bear

birdog said...

questeruk said:

"Rohan had made no contact with anyone of them. Had he been involved with the church, you would have expected him to make some contact, because the fact that the dig was happening was very well know by anyone attending church."

To set the record straight, Rohan, prior to
doing his thing, did not attend any WCG church services nor did he receive any "member" letters/literature, although he did have access to all the other
WCG Propaganda.

Because of his obvious mental state (obvious to anyone who interacted with him) he was kept at
arms length from services and members.

He visited the Australian office on numerous occasions, then
located in the MLC Building at Victoria Cross, North Sydney. Offices
were on the 6th floor, which enabled the receptionist to actually see him approach
the building via Miller St., whereupon she would
freak out because he would often carry a weapon with him. On one
such visit he was carrying a bow and arrow.

Once, it fell my lot to talk to him, when all the ministerial types happened to be conveniently out of the office, upon his arrival.
That one exposure was enough to convince me
all his brain synapses
were not firing in the proper order.

There was great relief
when he ceased showing up
-- that is until the "fit hit the shan"!
Damage control was then the order of the day.

I remember the comment made by John Halford, reflecting on the incident, "he went to all
that trouble and ended up torching the wrong Mosque."

The Israelis locked him
up in an asylum for a while, then dumped him on the Aussies until he was released some time
in the 80's(?), after which he began attending church(according to a correspondent on the PT Forum who claimed to know him, post release.

This it would seem to be,was one of HWA's most
noteworthy achievements
--to effectively catalyze Arab terrorism
By his looney doctrines
being applied by a receptive

ConnedNoMore said...

Questeruk commented,

"Rohan had made no contact with anyone of them. Had he been involved with the church, you would have expected him to make some contact, because the fact that the dig was happening was very well know by anyone attending church."

To set the record straight, by one who was there, Rohan was not a member nor was he allowed to attend church
services and did not receive any member letters/literature(GN).
He did receive the PT, Correspondence Course
and other literature as well as Co-Worker Letters.

Prior to the "incident"
he made several visits to
the Australian Office over a period of several
months. At the time the
office was located on the
6th floor of the MLC Bldg
at Victoria Cross, North Sydney. From her vantage
point the Receptionist could often actually spot
Rohan approaching below on Miller St. and subsequently freak out,
since he would typically
be carrying a weapon of some sort. Once it was a
bow and arrow.

On one such visit, it fell my lot to talk to him, since all the ministerial types. happened to conveniently
be absent from the office. On that occasion
it was clear to me that
all of Rohan's brain synapses were not firing in the proper sequence.

Then to everyone's relief
he suddenly stopped dropping by -- that is
until the "fit hit the shan". Then it was all out damage control!

The Israelis locked him up briefly in an asylum
then fobbed him off on the Aussies, who kept him
locked up until his release sometime in the 80's (?), after which he apparently started attending church, according to a correspondent on the PT Forum who claimed to know
him post-release.

Ironically, perhaps HWA's
most noteworthy legacy
was the catalyzing of Arab terrorism through
the dissemination of his
looney doctrine to an equally mentally challenged disciple who
chose to act upon it.

Way to go Herb and all of
us who helped oil his machine.

ConnedNoMore

ConnedNoMore said...

Richard wondered,

"Why does Waterhouse remind me of an empty bottle of Jack Daniels?"

As one who spent nearly a year under his thumb, I would be inclined to say
that I am more disposed to suggest that he reminds me of the CHUNDER that often follows the consumption of a full bottle of Jack Daniels.

ConnedNoMore, reflecting
upon the worst year of his life, bar none.

Bamboo_bends said...

Paco said...

I was a student at AC Pasadena at the time Rohan attempted to destroy the mosque. Several of my friends worked in the then-named "data processing center." I was told that the WCG did an extensive serarch of its files and found Rohan on the mailing list at the Australian office. His records were then exunged from the files to make it easier to deny any connection.


The International mailing list records were maintained locally. Pasadena just got copies of the international lists, HQ only directly handled American and Canadian addresses.

If he were expunged from the list, it would have been done locally in Australia.

International regional offices were largely autonomous.

Questeruk said...

Both Birdog and ConnedNoMore made identical word for word comments.

Thanks for that, it’s interesting to get greater details. Both were posted as if it was your own experience, with identical wording.

Can I ask which one of you actually had this experience, or are you both quoting a third source?

If it is from a third person, any chance of a reference where you got it from?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"We certainly had a wide variety of them in all the congregations I ever attended. The old "self medication" or healing quest."

My congregation(s) specialized in schizophrenics and conspiracy theorists. With surprisingly little overlap.

Purple Hymnal said...

ConnedNoMore probably IS "birdog", just forgot hit the "Name/URL" radio button, and posted under the Google account. I've done that before.

ConnedNoMore said...

Blogger Questeruk said...

"Both Birdog and ConnedNoMore made identical word for word..."

Sorry about the confusion. Somehow the Birdog (my Google account name) message
got sent before I was finished editing it and before I could correct the name. I assumed it was lost and re-wrote and posted the second message.

Yes, it is a first hand account and Bamboo Bends
is correct, the Australian maintained its own files. After it all came down, the phone and telex lines from Pasadena were very busy
figuring out how best to distance
the organization from Rohan. But,alas, it was a bit late. Investigators had already found WCG literature in his possession.

What happened after his release, I have no personal knowledge, having been long gone by
then.

ConnedNoMore

Questeruk said...

Thanks for that,ConnedNoMore.,

Anonymous said...

Rohan wasn't one of us.

With free literature, GTA on the air everywhere, great performers on the Ambassador Auditorium stage, how could one not be aware of the WCG and AC? The law of averages insists that a few screwballs would have noticed, along with the majority of more normal folks.

What percentage of our readers sought to destroy mosques, murder senators or smash great art like the Pieta? Most of us worked at building good character, did we not? Don't we still?

President Reagan's response to HWA's death was noteworthy on the positive side, with, "Mr. Armstrong contributed to sharing the word of the Lord with his community and his people and with the people throughout this nation. You can take pride in his legacy. Our prayers are with you. God bless you." One might prefer Reagan's response over that of Rohan the nutcase.

We were far from perfect, but seriously working in that direction. We were misled in several important areas, but that was then and we've learned better since.

A few years ago I urged a person touring Israel with Zola Levitt to abandon thoughts about damaging the Dome of the Rock. She didn't get the urge from Zola, and in fact was just venting her evangelical Messianic frustration. But there must be something potentially dangerous in the air around unbalanced believers, and troubled individuals act out now and then. David Koresh comes to mind, however one might view that tragedy, and he was a branch off the SDA world.

Asi es la vida.

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to visit this site, so I can visualize just how corrupt men become when they reject God's spirit. Were any of you ever really converted? I would hope not.

larry said...

I too have stood in "the well of souls". It is an awe-inspiring experience for anyone who appreciates history. It is the very essence of history.

It is the peak of Mt. Moriah. While one is standing there, one wonders why such a place is coveted by so many? What is it about this rock that creates such emotion?

Is it "holy ground"? To some it is. To some, possession of that rock is more important than life itself. One thing is certain, there will more "Dennis Rohans". (from all three major religions who venerate that place)

Psychoses in the Middle East are approaching epidemic proportions.

Phrontistes said...

Leonardo said:
"Then there was the high-energy and highly motivated pastor of a congregation in Pasadena who eventually jumped off the Golden Gate bridge."

If we are talking about the same person, that would have been Ron Howe. He was the pastor of our congregation when he was assigned his duties at the Pasadena congregation. He was a truly kind and generous man, not at all like the treacherous beasts who normally became members of the ministry.

When he went to Pasadena and began to witness on a daily basis, the greed, corruption, and perverseness that characterized the hq culture, it may have become too much for him to bear. It has long been my speculation that the realization that everything that he had represented was a giant con game and a sham, was, if not the primary reason, at least a factor in the taking of his own life. Good job Herbie! That's one more notch you can carve in your Romanian dildo in the hermes pouch.

Byker Bob said...

Anonymous 5:41, what do you mean by "reject God's Spirit"? How would you personally determine whether or not an individual actually has God's Spirit?

I know we have posters here who do not believe that God exists in any form, but I have not noticed that they were particularly corrupt. Most of them actually do practice Christian values in a secular manner, although they would disagree with the usage of the label "Christian" to describe their values.

We also have posters who no longer subscribe to WCG definitions of God's spirit, or utilize WCG guidelines for discerning how the HS works. I fall into this general category, as I no longer believe that the HS is simply an impersonal power which helps us to keep the Law of Moses. I also don't believe that you recognize a person with the HS because that person will always be drawn to the sabbath, holy days, clean meats, and tithing to the ACOGs. I believe that you recognize one with God's Spirit because he or she naturally flows with the fruits described in the NT, and a Christlike love for all human beings, not just individuals who are in the WCG. And I believe that a true Christian obeys the NC commands which Christ gave in Matt. 5, rather than attempting to explain that these commands are actually the Law of Moses reexpressed in deeper or different terms.

I assume from your remarks that you are a member of one of the ACOG splinters, or perhaps a member of one of the unaligned Livingroom Churches of God. If so, do you believe in extremely intrusive authority, as one of the "restored" truths? Do you believe that the ACOGs should continue to fake the gift of prophecy, and to use that fakery as their primary evangelistic tool, when it is obvious that they are in reality just guessing as HWA did? Do you believe that the ultimate indicator that one has the HS is whether one recognizes that HWA was God's chosen apostle for the end times? If so, I believe you may be in for some unpleasant awakenings in the future.

You may want to pray about this, and perhaps do a bit more research, exploring this topic more deeply, expanding upon the self-serving brainwashing normally provided by Armstrongite ministers. Try reading the epistles to the Romans and Galatians, and the gospel of John with your Armstrongite filters switched off. Explore and evaluate what clergy members from outside of Armstrongism have to say on these topics. There are many good books at Berean Bookstore, Barnes and Noble, or Borders. Remember, your mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open!

BB

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
It is refreshing to visit this site, so I can visualize just how corrupt men become when they reject God's spirit. Were any of you ever really converted? I would hope not..

Yes, unfortunately most were so converted as to be brainwashed by the Armstrong cult. So brainwashed, in fact, that they gave up all they had to the "end time work". Next question...

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:41, you say, "It is refreshing to visit this site, so I can visualize just how corrupt men become when they reject God's spirit." I disagree.

I don't knowingly reject God's spirit -- but in 40 years of life at HQ, one had to cope with corruption at the highest levels of "spiritual" leadership, and STILL manage to look past the sometimes gross misconduct to the impeccable standards of a Biblical lifestyle.

It takes serious application of God's spirit to glean spiritual riches from a sermon by a man who just got caught porking a coed in his executive office -- or to hear from a devastated babysitter of her rape by the same man. These were the obstacles to holiness that we had to ignore just to stay out of executive gunsights.

In this blog you read the unfettered responses of honest men struggling with the aftermath of striving to live by godly principles often taught by gifted men with vile flaws.

In this picture, who was/is rejecting God's spirit?

Because I have atheistic friends, I find encouragement in statements like Byker Bob's candid response to Dankenbring's YouTube offerings, AW, Sept. 10, 7:04: "Godlessness seems like freedom at first glance, but turns into one's worst nightmare with time. God is just totally awesome for allowing His children to check it out, though!" It wouldn't hurt to read the whole thing.

I think that God's spirit is too-easily shackled in environments less free than this one. Putting on a holy face when pressured by corrupt leaders to manifest spiritual fruits, must give the Holy Spirit migranes.

A wise man once said it is fine to love and obey God, or to rage at Him, disagree with Him, be completely appalled and disgusted with Him -- but one ignores Him at his peril. I only partially agree.

As Byker Bob so articulately explained, we also need space to disbelieve. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." If I were God, I would kvell over those who might like to but couldn't believe I exist. There can be no gain in sucking up to the Creator.

Anyone who is honest will eventually come to greater understanding, and must be given ample space and time to do so at his or her own speed. Does the Holy Spirit coerce? Who then can say God's Spirit is not alive and well in this place?

Purple Hymnal said...

"With free literature, GTA on the air everywhere, great performers on the Ambassador Auditorium stage, how could one not be aware of the WCG and AC?"

And the delusion persists. Clearly Anon 9:43 is still on the inside.

Reality check for you, Anon 9:43: Of all of the many many many people in "the world" who I have interacted with, since the church and I parted ways in 1996, NOT ONE of them recognized, nor did they even know, the name of the church when I told them (if they asked).

These have included Pagans, Quakers, atheists, Christians, Catholics, Anglicans, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs.

The only person in the world who has ever, ever mentioned the church (or even knew anything about it) was a philosophy professor, who was doing a thesis on totalitarian systems, and how they impede individual ethical and moral codes. This was ca. 2002 I believe.

(Oh, and one Gnostic priest, but he had a conspiracy theorist buddy who was in, so that doesn't count.)

The fact of the matter is, hardly anyone outside of the church watched the telecast, or had anything more than a passing interest in the PT (the subscription numbers were inflated). Even fewer numbers than that, recognized the name of the church, even at the height of its popularity before HWA died.

Step outside the bubble Anon 9:43. The world is not under Satan's dominion, and is a vast panorama of opportunity, happiness and good, none of which has anything to do with the church. The church is not nearly as important as it wants you to believe it is.

That's part of the illusion, and they're not even doing a good job with that, these days. The Branch Flurridian compound, UCG's "Go Ye Therefore Into All The World" and Spanky's little mouthpiece Thiel, notwithstanding.

Baywolfe said...

Anonymous said...

"It is refreshing to visit this site, so I can visualize just how corrupt men become when they reject God's spirit. Were any of you ever really converted? I would hope not."

Ahhhh, I was waiting for that. Thanks for not disappointing. For myself, I'd say "never converted" as I refused to drink all the kool-aid even after baptisim.

However, in case you think I'm just justifying things in case you people turn out to be right, I assure you most seriously that if all the insane nonsense you believe turns out to be true, I won't be able to jump into the Lake O'Fire fast enough.

I couldn't imagine living in an eternity with you lot to put up with.

larry said...

PH said,
"The world is not under Satan's dominion, and is a vast panorama of opportunity, happiness and good, none of which has anything to do with the church."

PH, apparently you haven't seen much of the world.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous wrote:
"It is refreshing to visit this site, so I can visualize just how corrupt men become when they reject God's spirit."


Are you serious? You actually find it REFRESHING to "visualize how corrupt men become when they reject God's spirit?"

Is this an expression of the Christian agape love we hear your kind preach about so often?

Have you never read Proverbs 24:17…

"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles."

You are one sick person, Dude - and a warning of what happens when folks buy into your corrupt religious beliefs.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous wrote:
"It is refreshing to visit this site, so I can visualize just how corrupt men become when they reject God's spirit. Were any of you ever really converted?"


Oh, and remember, folks: the person who made the above comment is one of God's specially-selected and hand-chosen servants, destined to RULE over the nations with a rod of iron in the coming wonderful World of Tomorrow.

You see what a delightful time of peace and love mankind has to look forward to!

And then this guy actually dares to wonder whether the rest of us were "ever really converted?!"

I'll tell you, you "truly converted" Christians never disappoint, do you?

matty said...

Hi, wow, thanks for the great information about Armstronism. I always wondered who put the bible together. So now when I read the scriptures about keeping the Sabbath and holy days, it was this man and his cult that got these strange ideas about how we should live our lives. Lets hope the ccoming swine flu and economic meltdown hits within the next few months, maybe then you will return from your stupidity. Prepare to meet your Creator, when you see these things happening don't panic it's just old Herbert messy about.
google if you dare. Jane burgermeister the swine flu case. also Alex janes prison planet. And Alan Watt cutting through the matrix. Have a nice day! Here comes the new world order.Herbert was just forty years too early in his interpretation of the scriptures. But now at last it's time to wake up, if I were you I would work at getting right with your Creator while you still have the time!

Byker Bob said...

Matty,

Christians don't gloat over the events which you itemized! We also don't fear them. We realize that God is in charge, and trust Him to bring us through them.

Many of us do not expect a "place of safety", either. That's "save own your ass" Christianity, and the concept does not lend itself to sincerity.

If things unfold as you enumerated them, they will have nothing at all to do with HWA. He already proved that he was just guessing, by setting and exploiting dates. Whatever happens, we Christians will be trusting God, and perhaps remaining behind at ground zero, helping our neighbors and the unbelievers in understanding and dealing with it all.

BB

Leonardo said...

With Matty's lunny rantings (he just HAS to be a fundamentlist Christian), gloating over the death and carnage to come at the hands of his much-anticipated One World Government, and Byker Bob's usual powerful and tightly-reasoned rebuttal, I guess this particular topic has pretty much run it's course!

Purple Hymnal said...

"PH said,
"The world is not under Satan's dominion, and is a vast panorama of opportunity, happiness and good, none of which has anything to do with the church."

"PH, apparently you haven't seen much of the world."


When I was in the church, I saw none of the world, Larry. After I left the church, I had the freedom to see the world, and it is as I attest above: A vast panorama of opportunity, happiness, and good, and good people, of ALL walks of life, within it.

Hmmm, isn't that what GCI wants its members to believe, Larry? How come you haven't gotten with the program yet, and still believe the old Armstrongist cliche "the world is under Satan's dominion"?

Oh, that's right, because GCI has only changed its doctrines externally, to appease the Christianizing cult-watchers. On the inside, as you so amply demonstrate, Larry, GCI is just the same as it always was. Teddy Johnston's fruitless begging for the tithe slaves to believe in trinitarianism notwithstanding.

larry said...

Purple Hymnal,
I don’t know what your life is like, but I do know what life is like for most people on this planet. You are quite right in that there is nothing inherently evil in the vast majority of people. Most are neither bad nor saintly, they are just trying to live their lives as best they can and make the most of the circumstances they find themselves in. In other words, they are just like you and me. They want security, good relationships, freedom, and happiness. There is nothing wrong with this.

Sadly however, the circumstances are not good. Most people live lives of quiet (or not so quiet) desperation, rolling with the blows that life delivers them……disease, poverty, ignorance, war, oppression, natural disasters, difficult interpersonal relationships, and whatever. Ultimately, death follows and they are forgotten. If they are really lucky, they may be remembered for 2 or 3 generations, but eventually their lives are not remembered at all, even by their progeny. THIS is the result of Satan’s influence and ruler ship.

Do you believe that what I have described above is what humans were designed and destined for? I certainly hope not. But, that is life for most people alive today and certainly has been throughout history. Even being wealthy doesn’t change all the circumstances. Money won’t buy good relationships, perfect health, or eternal life.

And how many in wealthy countries are still caught in economic slavery? From your posts, I have noted some suggestions of class warfare. You seem to think a six-figure income makes one rich. Boy do I have some news for you!

Anyway, Jesus Himself said that He came to proclaim liberty, to heal the sick, blind and brokenhearted, to open the prisons (and not all of them have walls), and to bring true joy and justice to a world desperate for it. That has nothing to do with “religion”, it is about life!

Leonardo said...

Larry wrote:
"Anyway, Jesus Himself said that He came to proclaim liberty, to heal the sick, blind and brokenhearted, to open the prisons (and not all of them have walls), and to bring true joy and justice to a world desperate for it. That has nothing to do with “religion”, it is about life!"


Larry, it IS about religion, whether you like it or not - about YOUR indemonstrable religious assertions and their ACTUAL, in contrast to their ADVERTISED, results in daily life.

And would the "true joy and justice" you mention be the kind that is so apparent where Jesus is worshipped as the Son of God by HUGE majorities of people, like in the many countries of Central and South America?

Have you ever been there, Larry - not exactly a just and non-violent place to live - yet extremely religious in nature, the Roman Catholic version of the Christian religion to be more precise, but the supernatural basics of Christianity nonetheless as practiced on a wide scale.

As I've pointed out many times before on this website - and a claim that you fundamentalists have never been able to seriously rebutt (as opposed to ridicule) - many statistics (such as those from various organizations like the United Nations, etc.) show that the more secular nation's become in terms of their actual civic practice, the better living conditions their populations actually enjoy.

I know this may come as a surprise to you fundamentalists because it directly counters your view of the world, but this is the actual documented and objective record. And IF you are brave enough to see this argument developed in much greater detail with more real-life examples given, then consult the book "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris.

Though it's a powerful read, it's only a very SHORT book, so don't worry, you won't have to expand your mind too much.

But give it a try - and then come back here and try to assert how the applied teachings of Christianity improve living conditions where Christianity is rampant.

Purple Hymnal said...

"You are quite right in that there is nothing inherently evil in the vast majority of people. Most are neither bad nor saintly, they are just trying to live their lives as best they can and make the most of the circumstances they find themselves in. In other words, they are just like you and me."

Well, I'm glad you've at least moderated your view of the worldly, Larry. If GCI has, indeed, stopped preaching that all non-converted are under Satan's dominion, just this short of demon-possessed, then perhaps the church has made one positive change.

"Anyway, Jesus Himself said"

In the allegories to which you refer, Larry, the point the christological figure is making (in the narrative) is that we must liberate ourselves from just such a worldview as you espouse; the negative, all-consuming "under Satan's dominion" perspective.

The world is not posed on the brink of eschaton, Larry, neither is it inherently good or inherently bad; it merely IS, and how we individually choose to see it, is what limits or frees us, based on the individual realities we each choose to believe as true.

Byker Bob said...

"Byker Bob's usual powerful and tightly-reasoned rebuttal"

And yet, you and others keep responding as if my writings actually had merit. It's possible that you simply have nothing better to do, but sincere thanks for all of the notoriety and popularity anyway!

My prayers are with all who are trying to recover from the Armstrong problem, irrespective of their current spiritual conditions.

Blessings 2 U,
BB

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob wrote:
"And yet, you and others keep responding as if my writings actually had merit."


Well, that's the entire POINT of a blog site, isn't it, to actually respond to each other's comments? At least that’s how I view blogsites.

So don't get too excited there, Bob! In general, I would say your responses, at least the ones attempting to support and add credence to supernatural religion, actually have very little merit, and those are usually what I respond to in order to point out that fact.

(Although, to be totally fair, Bob, I do find what you have to say on other subjects to sometimes be insightful and relevant. And who knows - if your basic theory is correct, about the various stages of recovery from COG’ism, then several years from now I may be arguing the same things you argue for now! I seriously doubt that I will, but I’m not as closed-minded as you and others often accuse me of being.)

What I try to continually point out in my responses is the utter paucity of your arguments in support of supernatural religion. Actually, I should more accurately use the word "assertions" not "arguments" - because your standard comments aren't arguments in the classic definition of the word, but rather unsupported claims that you seem completely unwilling or unable to flesh out and seriously develop or defend. The same goes for all your other fellow fundamentalist friends who comment here as well.

So please don't misinterpret my responding to you as somehow being evidence of the merit or quality of your comments on religious ideology, because it isn't. Let’s not descend to the level of the dictator of North Korea, who made a gleeful media circus out of his being visited and negotiated with by a former American President to secure the release of the two journalists found guilty of “spying” in his land of freedom and plenty. Such antics and shallow “victories” may be expected from Kim Jong-Il or Islamic militants, but not serious seekers of truth.

Sometimes, and in certain contexts, foolishness has to be responded to and countered. And I happen to think that this blogsite is one of those times and contexts.

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob also said:
"It's possible that you simply have nothing better to do..."


Oh, Bob, you little rascal - you just can't make any kind of serious comment without including a cutting little sarcastic ad hominem, can you?

Better be careful though, Bob, because your Saviour might not appreciate such a snotty approach to your fellow man, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt 12:37)

Actually, my life is busy enough, too busy at times - but thanks for your genuine Christian concern anyway.

In fact, sometimes I would indeed like to devote considerably MORE time responding here than I actually do, but, contrary to what you and your other fundamentalists occasionally like to impugn about me, I actually DO have a life, and other responsibilities that must be attended to.

It’s just that I sense that, as Walter Cronkite once pointed out, religious fundamentalism (of the kind you so unspectacularly try to push and defend here on this website) will most likely prove to be the greatest threat facing mankind as it moves out into the 21st century.

This is of some concern to me – and if you would actually use your reason, rather than suppressing it in the service of your bogus religious ideology, you would be too.

And so whatever little bit I can do to intelligently point out the nonsense of such fundamentalism, I gladly will.

Now, any other smart-ass little comments you'd like me to address, Bob?

Byker Bob said...

Leo,

Hi Pot! This is the kettle calling.

It is as it always was. Logic, facts, and reasoning never were the tools by which one could obtain or foment spiritual enlightenment. Though you personalized this, and attributed this process to me, and it really has universal application, you have articulated a basic truth. God does the work. He's got the keys to all of our minds, and He alone knows how to unlock them, and does this in His own perfect timing. There is absolutely nothing I can do to, as sales professionals might say, "educate you out of a mindset." That is not the way spiritual enlightenment is spawned. Otherwise, the educated people during Jesus' days would have come to Him by simply buying into His logic.

That is somewhat difficult for many who have come from the Armstrong movement to understand. The blueprint which they used for conversion was Mrs. Runcorn convincing Loma that the doctrines for COG-7 were "the way" via her superior knowledge of COG-7 eisegetics, and Loma "realizing that they were correct", and accepting them. It's yet more embedded and residual flawed methodology from the Armstrong movement.

BB

Leonardo said...

Well, Byker Bob, you certainly have explained yourself quite plainly and unambigously in your above comment.

NOT!

The essential elements of your so-called "spiritual enlightenment" all arose during the Stone Age. This is indisputable, and clearly established in the historical record.

So really, who's calling the kettle black here?

You just keep carelessly ASSUMING your Deity's existence in your many comments - you have never ONCE attempted to prove it as a demonstrable factual reality.

Your primary error lays in the fact that you want to run with the big boys before you've even shown any of us that you can even crawl.

You have to start your case for the invisible, supernatural, biblical God at the beginning, not just magically jump to conclusions that you WISH to be true, but which you are incapable of showing as actually being true.

As it is, the one major premise that you built all your other claims on stands painfully undemonstrated.

Man, it's a good thing you never had ambitions of being a trial lawyer!

camfinch said...

Please pardon my reference to a comment left a couple of days ago (I've been away from the AW site for awhile, and am just catching up). Someone had commented that a young woman they knew who worked at Pasadena HQ had possibly walked by Charles Manson shortly before the murders committed by his "family". As Manson was/is quite distinct in his looks (and indeed, as was noted, is quite short), it might well have been him. However, there is some problem with timing. Here is part of the earlier comment:
"OK, then just a short while later the story broke, and Charles Manson's infamous picture was plastered on the front page of virtually every newspaper in America. This was about late summer of 1969, just after the first lunar landing had taken place.

She told me that she about freaked out when she immediately recognized this image in all the newspapers as the SAME guy that had walked by her on the street just a week or so..."

The murders were committed during the second weekend of August 1969; I think the dates were the 8th and 9th, or very close. This was less than a month after the first lunar landing (July 20). But she would not have seen Manson's photo shortly after the murders. Manson and his murderous followers were not apprehended until near the end of 1969, and not for the killings, but for auto theft and associated crimes. It was only when Susan Atkins, imprisoned and awaiting trial for being an accessory to an earlier murder, that of Gary Hinman, "spilled the beans" to two other inmates at the female prison facility, that connections were finally made by the police between the Mansonites and the Tate/LaBianca killings. But again, it's quite possible that she did see Manson that summer day; but she didn't see his picture until about December of that year.

Byker Bob said...

OK Leo. I guess you feel as if you've won then. Perhaps congratulations to you are in order, but my beliefs remain the same.

BB

Byker Bob said...

Re: Charles Manson.

Anything is possible, of course, but there are one heck of a lot of urban legends tied up in the Armstrong movement and Ambassador College.

Manson's habit pattern was to squat from the famous and near famous. There's additional material on him in the biographies covering the lives and career of the Beach Boys. Manson did actually live in Dennis Wilson's mansion, and he was not just a passive tenant. There were massive orgies, prodigious amounts of drugs ingested, and several of Dennis' cars were totally trashed by the guys in the cult. Manson was anything but low profile. He would have raised a ruckus and major suspicion in any neighborhood that he happened to be squatting in.

BB

Leonardo said...

Camfinch, that was me (Leonardo) who made that post about Charles Manson.

You are correct, and that's when the gal freaked out, when they eventually were apprehended - whenever that exact date was, as you say apparently later that year. I did not lookup the exact date when I wrote my post, which I should have.

So, my mistake.

But I thank you for calling me on it - as accuracy is something worth striving for.

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob wrote:
"OK Leo. I guess you feel as if you've won then. Perhaps congratulations to you are in order, but my beliefs remain the same."


Now stop talking like that, Bob - our goal here is not to rack up "debating points" per se, but rather to see the clarity or illogic of various statements and arguments made in support of assorted metaphysical propositions. At least that’s the end result I’m aiming toward.

Therefore our actual objective should be the expanding of the accuracy of our understanding in these vital areas.

And I don't really expect you to ever admit error and actually change your perspective in any significant way - after all, you ARE a supernatural fundamentalist, and it's not in their nature to alter their God-inspired views of reality when confronted with evidence, logic or demonstrable facts disconfirming of their cherished ideology.

I think we pretty much all understand this.

But perhaps other readers who CAN detect the difference between a sound, rational, demonstrable argument and the mere assertions of wishful thinking will be benefited somewhat by the assorted discussions that take place on this blogsite.

And yes, you are indeed right about a lot of urban legends accumulating around Armstrongism. Remember the one that asserted that the famous Led Zeppelin song "Stairway to Heaven" was originally written as a poem about HWA and the WCG by an AC student, then sent to Jimmie Page, who made it into the song we baby-boomers far and wide all love?