Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Matches in the Gas Tank

Here's a new autobiographical account about growing up in the WCG/GCI: Matches in the Gas Tank: Trial by Fire in the Armstrong Cult - due for release in a week's time.

Carla Powers was Daddy's princess back in Arkansas in the late 1950s. Then Daddy got religion. That religion, based in the teachings and deprivation of narrow-minded, punitive ministers, tormented her dangerous alcoholic father and her entire family. Growing up, Carla never knew a woman could do anything more than she was asked—or demanded—to do. She definitely never imagined that other worlds would open up to her and she would rise to become a powerful attorney.

Matches in the Gas Tank tells the story of life inside the Radio Church of God and the influence of Herbert W. Armstrong, the Church's founder and prophet. Under his influence, Carla's family moved away from relatives and friends to Big Sandy, Texas, an enclave in which everyone lived by strict and unforgiving rules arbitrarily determined by Armstrong. His vision of how to get to the "Kingdom of God" and avoid a sea of flames consisted of unending lists of rules covering everything from food consumption, to financial responsibilities, to sexual behavior. The only way to rise above the poverty level was to become a minister, and the only way to become a minister was to continually police your neighbors for sin. Ministers were allowed to barge in a home any time of the day or night to inspect everything from the cleanliness of a family's kitchen to the contents of their tax returns.

This is the story of how Carla escaped the control of the church and found a way to deal with the legacy of abuse and shame left to her by her father. As she embraces her difficult childhood, she comes to understand that while those we love have the power to hurt us, they can't destroy us. We can find strength in unexpected places.

Anyone who has had a less-than-perfect family, has struggled with the faith of her fathers or has gone through recovery from abuse, perfectionism, or any cult of personality will connect with the power of redemption in this moving memoir.

The author heads the litigation department of a major multinational energy company (Shell). Before entering the corporate world, she was a trial lawyer in Houston for more than 20 years and an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

It promises to be quite a story. Perfect for post-FOT reading!

56 comments:

Tkach's $wiss Banker said...

"The only way to rise above the poverty level was to become a minister,.."

Ain't that the truth!

Anonymous said...

"Ministers were allowed to barge in a home any time of the day or night to inspect everything from the cleanliness of a family's kitchen to the contents of their tax returns."

WOW!! Now I have lots of problems with the way ministers did things...and even blew the whistle on a couple of them, but honestly, being in WCG from 1965-1995 never, ever heard that ministers could do this....any time of day or night???
Even one that we had who was stated to be one of the most abusive ministers ever...did not barge into anyone's home at any time of day or night. And during my entire tenure in WCG, thru numerous ministers no one ever inspected my kitchen or looked at my tax returns. Now if she can provide real examples of when a minister barged into someone's home in the middle of the night and demanded to see tax returns or to inspect someone's kitchen, then I would be able to put more credence into her writings. But I just have a problem with hysteria on either side of the issue. Don't bother to tell me all the abuse anyone suffered, because I am quite aware!! But when someone says something that is blatantly NOT true, then their credibility goes right out the window!!

larry said...

Looks like required reading for any successful person seeking the much-coveted status of "victim" or "survivor". Gimme a break.

Leonardo said...

This book most likely will not tell us anything we haven't already heard MANY times before - but perhaps the author’s story may be articulated at a much higher level than most WCG survivor books usually are.

Based on her career accomplishments this gal seems to be pretty sharp, in spite of her sad childhood involvement with the WCG.

Anonymous said...

Armstrongism seems to have been a lot of things to a lot of people,Carla's experience is 100% different than mine. As a member in WCG etc. for 40yrs. never once did I experience the type of things she mentioned in her book promo. So I think that this is the reason why so many continue and remain in the various COG groups our experiences are so different. Until I read AW I didn't know that these things were happening in places. How sad and how terrible.

Byker Bob said...

Well, the mountain of empirical evidence just keeps on growing!

It's just amazing how people from the past just keep on surfacing and sharing. There was a Mrs. Powers working either in the kitchen or the offices during the first years of SEP in Big Sandy. Going purely by memory, and similar facial features, I'd say she must have been Carla's mom, although the mom had much darker hair.

BB

Anonymous said...

I once presented a summary of income and expenses for an exemption from my first third tithe year.

In retrospect, I should have refused and walked away then.

Then the next third tithe year cycle rolled around, and this time I presented my case to the minister but without all the supporting documentation. I was told that I had THREE FULL YEARS to save, and had no excuse this time. The ministry was always so very quick to negatively judge and accuse, with no interest in gleaning the facts or circumstances.

Congratulations to Carla Powers for her success.

gladlad said...

Yeah, I never saw any of that from my purgatory in wcg from 1970 to 1996.
Maybe that's what was going on in Big Sandy where she was?? Perhaps the monsterial ministerial wannabes were trying to impress the bignobs up higher in the sharkfrenzied foodchain?
Glad she got a brain though!

Anonymous said...

You somehow keep linking WCG to GCI. When someone mentions growing up in the WCG in the 60s, 70s and 80s it is absolutely nothing like GCI today. To claim that they are even remotely similar shows that you really haven't a clue.

Yes, there are still some issues with "leadership" but the abuse, control, wacko doctrines were left for the other COGs to claim.

Gavin said...

Get used to it Anon. GCI is WCG with a radical makeover, but this blog at least isn't going to let anyone forget the connection. No-one is suggesting the current admin is as wacko as its predecessors, but they sure have profited from the accumulated misery of the past.

Mr. Scribe said...

Here are some pics of the make-over of the wcg former cult campus. Photos supplied be Wild Bill's little cult of horrors.

Bamboo_bends said...

Gavin wrote:

...they sure have profited from the accumulated misery of the past.



Its blood money.

Anonymous said...

How come you folks only remember the psychopaths in the church? The majority of the ministry and the members were sincere about their beliefs. Many still are. For those of you who stopped believing in our way of life (not the perverted and decrepit life that you folks remember), we are truly saddened that you never really understood what it was, and you only have twisted memories of such a great concept as God's church. Its really sad. Our whole purpose it serve humanity when our King returns to displace failed human governments. To bring healing to the sick and liberty to the oppressed. We don't want destruction for mankind. Our God is coming to end misery and suffering. I don't doubt that many of the horrible things you speak of on this site actually happened. But you are really rejecting the source of goodness that this world needs.

Bamboo_bends said...

WOW!! Now I have lots of problems with the way ministers did things...and even blew the whistle on a couple of them, but honestly, being in WCG from 1965-1995 never, ever heard that ministers could do this....any time of day or night???

I began attending as child in 1963.

The church seemed to go from being fairly innocuous to very severe control during Rod Meridith's tenure at Church Administration.

The worse I saw was under Ron Reedy. We went from kind and helpful Keith Thomas to a Hitler brown shirt. My dad was good friends with Keith Thomas.

When Ron Reedy arrived to take over Keith's job (I think he got transfered to Minneapolis) Reedy broke the window on Keith's house so he could see what kind of office he'd have. Our new minister was guilty of breaking and entering another man's home.

The first week after his arrival he gave a fire and brimstone sermon about how stupid women were and that men had to tell their wives how to cook and control every little detail of their wives lives.

My dad was very upfront, he told Reedy, "I'm not telling my wife how to cook, I know nothing about cooking!" That didn't get him on the S*** list, but the following week Reedy gave a sermon and made the comment "God will not allow his ministers to make mistakes!" My father, fearless as he was, said "How do you square that with the story of King David, a man after God's own heart? Are you better than him?"

Reedy kept dossiers on members. Reedy did all kinds of wonderful things like disband the local youth program for boys that Phoenix started without Pasadena's help. My dad was heavily involved with that, although the leader of that was Roy Sampson.

From then on Reedy made my dad's life a living hell. He sent deacons to his place of business trying to trick him into saying something that they'd have grounds to kick him out. Dad had a big mouth but he was smart enough not to take the bait.

Gradually dad found other like minded souls and they formed a quiet network of resistance to this idiot fresh from AC. Reedy's authoritarian approach soon backfired on him and nobody paid him much attention. And nobody ever trusted the deacons who collaborated with him.

Pasadena eventually moved Reedy out to the midwest somewhere, and sent Vernon Hargrove (who started the Phoenix church) back to the area.
The first thing Vernon did was throw out Reedy's files on members.

Dad liked Vernon and life became more bearable. But as a boy I swore to myself I'd never ever trust a minister with anything anything confidential. I saw what these pricks did to my father. They'd only use it against you, or talk about you in DELS meetings.

I only wish my father could have seen the organization for what it was then, which he eventually did when the receivership happened. It was me who hung on for another 12 years in the organization - and I actually pitied my father and prayed for his salvation because he left Armstrongism! Gag... The things I used to believe!

When Joe Tkach Jr had Reedy working for him after the reformation, I told Joe "Are you out of your mind?" Reedy has all the people skills of a sock puppet.
Rod Meredith broke Joe Tkach Jr's mother's mind, and here's Joe using one of Meredith's little protege's as his own aid! Simply mind boggling!

Joe defended all the biggest jerks, like Mark Flynn.
They'd cry crocodile tears to him.
"They're changed people..." Yeah right. If they're so changed why haven't they found an honest line of work?

Baywolfe said...

"Many still are. For those of you who stopped believing in our way of life (not the perverted and decrepit life that you folks remember), we are truly saddened that you never really understood what it was, and you only have twisted memories of such a great concept as God's church. Its really sad."

Many of those so-called wonderful people practically spit in our faces before they left to join their various splinter groups. The veneer was stripped away and we found out that "God's Church" was no different from any other human organization.

Anyone who says different is either deluded or selling something.

larry said...

Anon 02:50,
You are quite correct. And, it is sad. Anyone who witnessed that disgusting spectacle at the UN today has to be fearful for the future of mankind. Christ's return will not come one moment too soon!

Bamboo_bends said...

How come you folks only remember the psychopaths in the church? The majority of the ministry and the members were sincere about their beliefs. Many still are.

I believe Hitler was both psychopath and sincere!


For those of you who stopped believing in our way of life (not the perverted and decrepit life that you folks remember),

The problem is that people like you didn't call them that when they were doing their handiwork!


...we are truly saddened that you never really understood what it was,

What do you mean WE Kimo Sabe? You French or something?

...and you only have twisted memories of such a great concept as God's church. Its really sad.

What's sad is you simultaneously acknowledge the truth of the memories and then have the balls to say that having those memories make us twisted!!!

The worse censorship of all is self-censorship, and your writing is full of it.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Bamboo Bends said, “Gradually dad found other like minded souls and they formed a quiet network of resistance to this idiot fresh from AC”.

MY COMMENT – I think I have mentioned before on AW that in my opinion the older WCG ministers who had real life/real world experience were much better ministers than the young kids fresh out of AC. In Baltimore, we had Vince Panella as our minister. He was an older minister with real life work experience becoming a WCG minister later in life. My recollection of him was that he was very practical. In contrast, the younger AC newbie ministers had no real world experience to share and relate to members.

Bamboo Bends mentions Keith Thomas. Keith Thomas appears to have been one of the good guys. My father and Keith Thomas became good friends. Here again, Keith Thomas, like Vince Panella, were older ministers who had prior professions before becoming a WCG minister later in life. In Thomas’s case, he was a landlord and WWII veteran. My father was also a landlord and WWII veteran as well, so the two had common experience.

I guess we were blessed in Baltimore /Washington not to have experienced the worst of the WCG little Gestapo’s for ministers. I am unaware of any extremist WCG ministers “allowed to barge in a home any time of the day or night to inspect everything from the cleanliness of a family's kitchen to the contents of their tax returns”.

I can tell you if a WCG minister had barged into our family home to inspect everything from the cleanliness of our kitchen to the contents of my father’s tax returns; my father would have kicked the WCG minister out – lake of fire eternal damnation notwithstanding.

Richard

Dennis said...

Some WCG ministers, as in all churches, were of those unfortunate souls who probably entered the ministry with a form of mental illness that could hide out in the ministry disquised as righteousness and "sincerity". One would have easily questioned it in any other context, but not in the ministry. Well I take that back...it was often questioned, but I found no one willing to intervene. In WCG you just moved the problem minister to a new place where he had a new congregation to bash and ruin.

Leaders of many of the splinters were the type of WCG minister that was often moved around to get him off the backs of his congregation.

Years ago I suggested a personality test to see if a guy was even inclined to ministry....well that was rejected out of hand big time.

I worked one church away from one mentioned here and was forever being asked to "Please help us." He seemed to mean well and also seemed oblivious.

Also, please know that kids are abused by all shades of evangelical and literalist Christianity. The parent often finds it and uses it to enhance their already runaway insecurities and ignorance. Children end up being raised by rules the Taliban could only think up and the result is predictable.

I know many Bob Jones University grads who also would write a similar book as this based on their own experiences with parents intent on living God's way Bob Jones style.

In hindsite, a balanced parent will expose a child to any number of ways to think about God and leave the final decision to them as they mature.

Seems the chance a child just happened to be born in to the exact true and one church of God is pretty slim.

Dennis said...

In my experience, as a minister, members were often victims of a particular minister, many of whom have now gone on to head their own slivers of the WCG, and not of anykind of "this is how a minister is" teaching in school.

There was no "how not to act like a fool" class either however.

I watched year after year the antics of the few really weird ministers that seemed to get to go on and on without restraint. I called in on a few and was basicallly ignored. I went to a few and learned not to EVER do that! The offending minister got moved around to torment even newer congregations until they could not take it any more...and then they got moved again.

I had calls from all over during my experience asking if I could please "do something." I tried to help but can't remember anything getting done to help.

It was not uncommon to get calls from the area where a minister mentioned in this posting worked to please "do something."

Our greatest family coup with a pushy minister was when a certain very tall, former "swimmer but I gave it all up for God," splinter leader told my Brother in law how he disapproved of his being made a deacon after this man left the area.

My Brother in Law said "Well....____, If I didn't think you had S___ for brains, I care." Woo hoo...the minister went to the new minister and the new minister laughed it off and simply thought it was well stated.

Sometimes there are small victories.....

Mickey said...

I think I'll check into buying this one. It's encouraging to hear her life has become a successful one despite the circumstances.

Bamboo,

your decription of Mr. Thomas's replacement is thought provoking to me.

We too received an AC grad in the 70's and he was a heavy handed authoritative type. His overweening trait was perfectionism. His goal was to make his church area a mini AC. Thankfully he didn't have some of the overly intrusive tendancies that earmarked some of the other church leaders. Of course we may have been saved by being spread out as we were.

What makes me wonder is, were AC grad ministers from the latter 70s more prone to this because HWA attempting to put the church "back on track"?

Anonymous said...

" ...and you only have twisted memories of such a great concept as God's church. Its really sad."

The only proof we have that this is God's church is the fact that HWA said so. That is hardly proof.

Anonymous said...

Bamboo Bends,

Like I said I have heard all the horror stories like this and could even top it probably. Personally, I never shared ANY personal info with ANY minister, and was never really personally abused either. Yeah, I have heard such ridiculous sermons from one we blew the whistle on. He was an idiot. But my point is...unless this author can give an example of a minister barging into someone's home in the middle of the night to inspect someone's kitchen or tax returns, then she immediately loses credibility, including with anything else she reports.

I for one just don't get why people would share their tax return with a minister. Some people are needy though, and can't handle things themselves. I am not talking about someone who is perhaps elderly or disabled who might need such help (and could find someone legitimate to help). I am talking about those of us with at least normal intelligence. If someone did share such info, then they are at least also responisble for bad advice.

Personally, though I still beleive in certain things like the Sabbath and Holy Days, I feel I have proven those things to MYSELF, and find benefit in keeping them. I have taken PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for my beliefs and practices. I have also taken PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for any religous decisions I made in the past...at least since I have been an adult. If I could do it over, I would have left the ORG much sooner...I am not independent. But hind site is 20/20 and no one forced me to stay as long as I did, so therefore I AM RESPONSIBLE. I hear way too much blame placed when we all get to decide these things for ourselves. I have found that it is so much healthier to take personal responsibility and put the past behind (I am not saying forget). Otherwise folks are perpetual victims and that is very unhealthy!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:52 - Perhaps you never heard of the "Visiting Program".

Bamboo Bends - I can verify your take on Ron Reedy. He was an abusive controlling, and an outright nasty rude man.

He would have made a very good member of the SS-SD.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 10:45 wrote:
"You somehow keep linking WCG to GCI. When someone mentions growing up in the WCG in the 60s, 70s and 80s it is absolutely nothing like GCI today. To claim that they are even remotely similar shows that you really haven't a clue."


Anon, who REALLY doesn't have a clue here about the connection?

Wake up out of your fundamentalist-induced stupor and look at the facts. The only reason the GCI even exists today is because of the wacky world of the old WCG from which it has sprung. And in spite of the superficial name change and the adoption of mainstream Christian doctrines, many of the same corporate disfunctions have carried over in spades.

It all has come from the same stinking kettle of fish.

Hiding your head in the sands of denial and ignorance will only work for so long.

As the famous Russian novelist Dostoevsky has written, to continue to deceive oneself is “a most futile and unprofitable pastime.”

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 2:50 wrote:
"For those of you who stopped believing in our way of life (not the perverted and decrepit life that you folks remember), we are truly saddened that you never really understood what it was, and you only have twisted memories of such a great concept as God's church. Its really sad.


Anon, I sense that you genuinely and sincerely mean what you write.

But I’ll also write straight from the heart, and tell you what's even SADDER: and that’s those folks who are in complete denial about the massive amount of rotten, putrefying fruit "our way of life" so consistently produced through the decades, and STILL continues to produce.

And trotting out the old "you never really understood" defense is getting old and wearing thin. Aging Marxist's around the world use the very same excuse - that the reason communism as a way of life failed so spectacularly was not because it was bad from the start, but because folks “didn't really understand” it.

Bovine excrement! And again I say bovine excrement!!

You can’t sweep the stench-laden corpse of a 700 pound dead gorilla under the carpet and then expect people to NOT notice it.

Do you actually believe that by just skipping over and blissfully ignoring the obvious past that it will somehow lead to a better future? I tell you, NO, it won’t - but only to a dreadful repetition of the same given enough time and human gullibility.

Would you tell the Jews, "Get over your experiences in the Nazi death camps - it wasn't all THAT bad! Hitler died 64 years ago!" - or something similar?

I would agree with you that it’s not wise to angrily obsess exclusively on the negatives of the past. But I would also argue that it’s equally unwise to ignore that such life-scarring tragedies ever occurred, and subsequently fail to learn the lessons that can be drawn from them.

It just seems to me that folks like you, as sincere as you may truly be, just want to mindlessly skip and dance into the future like Dorothy on her way to the see the Wizard of Oz, and completely forget the many lives that have been negatively affected by supernatural fundamentalism gone wild in the convincing guise of “God’s way of life.”

Anonymous said...

Translated for clarity:


"How come you folks only remember the psychopaths in the Party? The majority of the party leadership and the members were sincere about their political ideology. Many still are. For those of you who stopped believing in our way of life (not the perverted and decrepit life that you folks remember), we are truly saddened that you never really understood what it was, and you only have twisted memories of such a great concept as the Nazi Party. Its really sad."

The Apostate Paul

Phrontistes said...

"...you never really understood what it was, and you only have twisted memories of such a great concept as God's church."

-=-=-
... There are none so dangerous as the willfully ignorant and the conscientiously stupid. Martin Luther King
* TagZilla 0.066 * http://tagzilla.mozdev.org
-=-=-
... It is hard to free fools from chains they revere. ~ Voltaire
* TagZilla 0.066 * http://tagzilla.mozdev.org

Byker Bob said...

After decades of detachment from the world of Armstrongism, one gains a bit of perspective, and can ask some objective questions.

Would a loving God allow any (no matter how many or how few) "predatory" or "Hitlerian" ministers in His church?

Why did HWA and his disciples utilize lying and speculative testimony to support their major doctrines? Is God's truth and power so weak and impotent that there would be a need for disingenuous "support"?

Why are the allegations of abuse and the ensuing grief so numerous and pervasive amongst the ex-members? This is a topic about which no deeply involved person has ever expressed neutrality!

If God had anything to do with this totally FUBAR organization, what happened with 1975??? And why has the alleged only true mouthpiece organization for the end time message been so divided, confused, and become all but unnoticeable? Is there any Biblical precedent to support the premise that God makes corrections to man's error by elliminating His message?

My suggestions to those who love the OC laws so much would be to let your fingers do the walking, and find a good non-abusive Messianic group in the Yellow Pages of your phone book.

To those whom WCG totally disillusioned about God, and who have fallen into the heartbreaking abyss of non-belief, I'd suggest going to your library or bookstore and getting some good logic and encouragement from the works of Dinesh DeSouza.

BB

PG said...

Anon self-righteously writes:

"unless this author can give an example of a minister barging into someone's home in the middle of the night to inspect someone's kitchen or tax returns, then she immediately loses credibility, including with anything else she reports."

You have not read the book yet so how can you sit there making such absurd statements? Plus, the fact of the matter is you are NOT interested in knowing if what she reports is true or not. Even if she had documented details of everything that is in her book reviews, you still will not care. How do I know? I know because for decades countless documented proofs of the degenerate immoral lives of HWA, GTA, Meredith, Flurry, Pack, Weinland, etc. have been made public. Yet you chose to ignore these facts and live in your rose colored Herbalist world.

Your comments are disgusting and are slap in the face of those who HAVE had pasturd's invade their homes examining things in their kitchens, showing up at their work places to examine records,, who have been told that they should not be living in homes nicer than the pasturd, etc. etc. etc. I have seen it happen in Pasadena, I saw it happen in Dayton, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. But, you are not interested in knowing the truth. Ignorance is bliss in Armstrongism. That's why we have to this day well over 650 splinter cults of the harlot mother church.

Leonardo said...

Dennis wrote:
"...please know that kids are abused by all shades of evangelical and literalist Christianity. The parent often finds it and uses it to enhance their already runaway insecurities and ignorance."


Dennis, my friend, you hit the nail right on the head!

And since the universe of the COG's tends to attract such clueless and/or unbalanced types, it's just a small step for them to start using the various doctrines and other oddities so common to the COG's as outlets for their pre-existing mental issues, and so such problems continue on and probably only get worse by being spurred on to even further heights by fundamentalist belief.

As Blaise Pascal once wrote:

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

Anonymous said...

"we had Vince Panella as our minister. He was an older minister with real life work experience becoming a WCG minister later in life. My recollection of him was that he was very practical."

Richard, I'm glad you had a positive experience with Mr. Panella. I'd be curious to know what years he was there.

Vince Panella was our pastor in New Jersey from approximately 1979-1986 and he was an absolute tyrant. Perhaps it was part of the "back on track" movement, or perhaps it was his bitterness from losing his first wife to cancer. He was disfellowshipping and suspending people left and right, for makeup, for smoking, for bad attitudes, you name it. We had a farmer in the congregation who always wore a clean flannel shirt to church: Mr. Panella told him he was suspended until he bought a suit to wear to church. He threw me out of Spokesman's club because I missed one meeting to take the CPA exam. I just tried to stay out of his path so I wouldn't end up in the Lake of Fire. Many of us did. We attended Sabbath Services in fear.

The Skeptic

bear_track said...

When Adolf Eichmann was asked why he was so industrious in killing Jews, he said that doing this was his job and how he got promoted. That fact that it involved real people with real lives did not seem to register on him. It was about him and not about them.

I don't think she looks like Mrs. Powers from the AC kitchen staff.

The Bear

Bamboo_bends said...

Lake of Fire Church of God wrote:

Bamboo Bends mentions Keith Thomas. Keith Thomas appears to have been one of the good guys. My father and Keith Thomas became good friends. Here again, Keith Thomas, like Vince Panella, were older ministers who had prior professions before becoming a WCG minister later in life.


I believe Vince Panella was known as Tulleo Panella in Phoenix. I think his first name was Vincent. I remember visiting his home which was a subdivision built in a date orchard (palms still intact).

He was in Spokesman Club with my father, Keith Thomas, Elis LaRavia, and others. Dad absolutely loved that Spokesman club! That was due in large part to Keith Thomas, God rest his soul.

Somewhere my mom has a photograph of my father and "Tulleo" at a Church "Italian Night" social that was held in the hall belonging to the Phoenix Women's Club, about a block from Central Avenue and Thomas Road.

Dad and the other club men, were dressed in red Italian vests and poured Chianti and served really good spaghetti. The picture shows my dad and Panella with their arms around each other shoulders and each had a bottle of Chianti in the other extended arm. Its a priceless photo. Dad looked the happiest I ever saw him that night.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pack.............

Anonymous said...

And look where the WCG/GCI is going now. This Ted Johnson and his wacky blog now has this --
Ted Johnston (WCG official) "Announcing the Trinitarian Worship blog" -- and that is how wacky and way-off-course this "reformed" outfit has gone. I'm pretty sure that if HWA were somehow watching, he would be shocked at the WCG/GCI and the direction. Didn't HWA wanted the successors to continue with preaching the coming kingdom of God?

Anonymous said...

"I once presented a summary of income and expenses for an exemption from my first third tithe year."

Yes, my family had to do this too, the times that we were too poor to pay third tithe.

My mother kept the house cleaner than most ministers' wives kept theirs --- so we never got the white glove test. But plenty of opening cupboard/closet doors, looking in the medicine chest, and seeing what was what!

Purple Hymnal said...

"The parent often finds it and uses it to enhance their already runaway insecurities and ignorance."

Yes, THIS. In spades. My life as a child of the church was far from normal. The rules of the church went a long ways towards exacerbating an already-bad situation into something that was barely tolerable. There's no way I can or will deny that there was pre-existing dysfunction in my family.

Armstrongism just raised that pre-existing dysfunction, from annoying, to pure hell.

larry said...

Anon 02:50 wrote a heartfelt and sincere comment suggesting that there is a different point of view than the one some of the people here hold....and some folks just couldn't resist trying to rip him/her apart. Is that really necessary?

Don't you understand that some of the people who disagree are just as right as you are? And, perhaps their motives may be far more pure than yours? Some of you look at everyone in Church as completely deceived beyond hope. I understand this.

But, just because you see things this way, doesn't make them true. In "deference to Leonardo", I am going to actually make an "assertion" (this time); as Anon 02:50 tried to point out, your perceptions can be misleading. It is wise not to be too sure of one's self. Consider opposing views.

Of one thing there can be no doubt: this world desperately needs righteous leadership. It is overwhelmed with corruption at the highest levels. No one here should resent any desire for a benevolent world-ruling kingdom controlled by those who believe in mercy, truth, and justice, and are incorruptible.

Mel said...

Larry, I'm just thankin' Jesus for you being here to set us all straight!

You win a free "CULT APOLOGIST" T-shirt!

But wait, there's more!

You also win a free spiral slicer to slice into your frontal lobe, just in case you want to make the "changes" permanent!

larry said...

Why, thank you Mel. My voice of civility is much needed because Rudeness Runs Rampant here. But, then you already knew that.

Since MY frontal lobes are highly developed, I can let that last statement slide.

Barb said...

Isn't this pretty phallic?
http://www.cog-ff.com/assets/college-photos/DSCF0017.jpg

The church always criticized others for this.

Anonymous said...

The Bear wrote: "I don't think she looks like Mrs. Powers from the AC kitchen staff."

I agree with this. I worked in the AC kitchen in Big Sandy during the 1960s and Mrs. Powers' daughter would frequently be there with her mom. That young girl had completely different facial features. Even given that many, many years have passed, and people change as they mature, I think this may be a completely different family.
AnnMarie95

Dennis said...

"Why, thank you Mel. My voice of civility is much needed because Rudeness Runs Rampant here. But, then you already knew that."

These are all symptoms Larry of unresolved or perhaps unresolvable grief, anger and dissapointment with something all invested heavily in.

The more one is invested in something, the more difficult it is to let go. Attachement, grasping and holding on to this unresolved "stuff" is what keeps AW alive.

Is it good? Is it right? Is it helpful. Depends on how it helps in the process of accepting the way things turned out.

Eckhart Tolle notes: "You can't argue with what is...well you can...but then you will suffer."

We, I, whoever are all endeavoring to live with what is and the individual consequences and prices paid for years of loyal belief, behaviours, actions and financial support. It was for "nothing" though I believe philosophically that "Nothing is for nothing." That was my last sermon title ever given. I hoping I was right.

If we all got together at a picnic for an entire weekend, we'd probably all become best of friends, laughing, crying and regaling each other with stories that would draw us into a better understanding of the people behind these names annonymous or real and the whole nature of AW would change.

We're all just folks having shared a common path for a time that was in fact a minefield.

At the end of my life I stil have the feeling my last thoughts might be "what the hell was that all about?" I"m hoping I wrote the script before i showed up, get a time to rest and then get to write another one.

If I am just a conscious hairless ape that thinks too much and is too sensitive, well so be it.....

Anonymous said...

PG said...
Anon self-righteously writes:

""unless this author can give an example of a minister barging into someone's home in the middle of the night to inspect someone's kitchen or tax returns, then she immediately loses credibility, including with anything else she reports."

You have not read the book yet so how can you sit there making such absurd statements? Plus, the fact of the matter is you are NOT interested in knowing if what she reports is true or not. Even if she had documented details of everything that is in her book reviews, you still will not care. How do I know? I know because for decades countless documented proofs of the degenerate immoral lives of HWA, GTA, Meredith, Flurry, Pack, Weinland, etc. have been made public. Yet you chose to ignore these facts and live in your rose colored Herbalist world.

Your comments are disgusting and are slap in the face of those who HAVE had pasturd's invade their homes examining things in their kitchens, showing up at their work places to examine records,, who have been told that they should not be living in homes nicer than the pasturd, etc. etc. etc. I have seen it happen in Pasadena, I saw it happen in Dayton, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. But, you are not interested in knowing the truth. Ignorance is bliss in Armstrongism."

Now here is another example of someone losing credibility REAL fast. I HAVE read all this about all of these men and largely believe it to be true...YOU have erroneously declared otherwise,,,so there goes your credibility.

Honestly, can ANYONE give a real life example, with names, dates, places...where a minister barged into someone's home in the middle of the night and examined their kitchen or tax return. That is my one and only point. If this author makes such a statement, but cannot give an example...then how can she be credible???

PG....you do not know what you are talking about in regards to what I believe or don't believe. I am not in any of the COG orgs...nor want to be. Yet you say, "live in your rose colored Herbalist world." I do believe that HWA and GTA were sexual predators, not to mention ego maniacs. So on what did you base this above comment? Hysteria on either side is not productive. Just because I don't buy into the hysteria on EITHER side?

If someone can give an example of the above...then that is fine with me....I just posed the question...can she or anyone else give an example of this happening? Not just say it did and not be able to back it up with evidence. I am a pragmatic, fact driven person....

ConnedNoMore said...

Larry Reasons,

"No one here should resent any desire for a benevolent world-ruling kingdom controlled by those who believe in mercy, truth, and justice, and are incorruptible."

Wowee, a kingdom ruled by
the likes of Herb, Ted, Gerald. Stan...

Where do I sign up?

ConnedNoMore

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob asks:
“Is God's truth and power so weak and impotent that there would be a need for disingenuous "support"?”


Good question, Bob. And the answer is clearly “YES!” Because that’s what ALL Christianity ultimately is forced to depend upon. Just do some serious research into Christian apologetics. And I’m talking REAL research, not just skimming through the laughable works of Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel.


Bob also writes:
“If God had anything to do with this totally FUBAR organization, what happened with 1975??? And why has the alleged only true mouthpiece organization for the end time message been so divided, confused, and become all but unnoticeable?


Bob, do you mean divided and confused like much of fundamentalist/Evangelical Christianity is, and always has been? The supernatural ideology you’ve tried to promote here on this blogsite is just as much in a state of illogical circular reasoning and tohu and bohu as one finds in any of the WCG spin-offs. So, really, I don’t see what your point is.

And Bob, the old WCG is not the only group that has set false prophetic dates – many other fundamentalists organizations, many times, have as well. Have you ever read anything about the LONG history of failed prophetic predictions? You might try starting with a book called “End-Time Delusions” by Steve Wohlberg. I don’t agree with where Wohlberg ends up, but his book might be a good way to remedy the blatant ignorance your comments reveal in this area.


Bob further wrote:
“To those whom WCG totally disillusioned about God, and who have fallen into the heartbreaking abyss of non-belief, I'd suggest going to your library or bookstore and getting some good logic and encouragement from the works of Dinesh DeSouza.”


Bob, someone clearly as inarticulate and as guilty of constant circular reasoning as you are in your unfounded assertions in defense of supernatural ideology is HARDLY in a position to offer advice about going to the library or bookstore for some good logic. You would be wise to follow such advice yourself FIRST, and then, after you actually demonstrate some sound logic in your comments, perhaps you might have a little more credibility with which to persuade readers.

And by the way, Dinesh D'Souza is a Catholic, not a fundamentalist, and someone whom I happen to share many views with. And I must say that I detect none of his logic, nor his clarity of thought and expression, in any of your comments attempting to defend your brand of fundamentalism.

Anonymous said...

"I believe Vince Panella was known as Tulleo Panella in Phoenix"

Yep, that's him.

Vince/Tuleo wasn't all bad. He was a GREAT speaker - you could tell he put a lot of preparation into his sermons. They were inspiring. He was also very sincere. But man, was he tough.

Late in his New Jersey tenure, he was called into Pasadena and reprimanded by Tkach Sr. for being too tough on the brethren. Go figure. Panella took it to heart, came back and told the whole congregation about it and repented.

Shortly after that, he was transferred to Akron Ohio. A few years after that some Akron brethren we met at the feast told us what a wonderful person he was. He died of pancreatic cancer while pastoring the Akron church.

The sad part of Panella's legacy was the junior ministers and deacons who tried to emulate his "tough guy" approach. Formerly nice, gentle guys like Jim Stokes and Ross Flynn were suddenly trying to act like little Hitlers. Very sad.

The Skeptic

Corky said...

larry said...

Of one thing there can be no doubt: this world desperately needs righteous leadership. It is overwhelmed with corruption at the highest levels. No one here should resent any desire for a benevolent world-ruling kingdom controlled by those who believe in mercy, truth, and justice, and are incorruptible.

Since that's only wishful thinking and is never going to happen, what is the next best thing?

I can't honestly see immortal WCG/GCI members being kings and priests and reigning with Jesus. In fact, that thought seems really frightening.

It's right up there with the 144,000 of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

People who wait for Jesus to come back and fix everything will still be waiting when there's nothing left to fix.

larry said...

Barb, yes, that is a fairly interesting photo. I had not thought of it that way.

But, it is good to know that YOUR limbic system is functioning well.

Leonardo said...

PG wrote:
"Ignorance is bliss in Armstrongism."


Another dead-center bull’s-eye! I can see the arrow still quivering!

Oh, absolutely, PG - and if the many irrational, inarticulate and illogical comments made here on this site by the fundamentalist camp are any indication, then ignorance has become not only a lifestyle, but a cherished badge of honor to be worn and displayed with great pride.

For example, I’ve actually heard Church members proudly BOAST of their ignorance, that they don’t waste time absorbing “Satan’s false knowledge,” etc.

As I mentioned last week in a response to Dr. Larry, the best index of a person’s mind is the manner in which they verbally express themselves, especially in writing – because writing allows one to articulate one’s thoughts more slowly and carefully than does spontaneous speaking. That’s why I prefer debates taking place in writing over spontaneous ones in front of a live audience.

But if the supernatural fundamentalist’s comments here are any indication whatsoever, then there’s not a whole lot of carefully reasoning thought or legitimate knowledge in their minds at all. It’s mostly Stone Age truth claims about reality expressed with great outward bravado, yet having no real substance whatsoever.

And yet, they never seem to tire of making bold and daring ASSERTIONS by the score, do they? Of course, they NEVER are able to back up or clearly explain such assertions with any kind of precision, but they sure can PREACH pretty well to those willing to just uncritically accept anything they hear.

Leonardo said...

Larry wrote:
"Don't you understand that some of the people who disagree are just as right as you are?"


No, Larry, not in certain areas were objective facts are in abundance and easily verified, I DON’T understand, simply because they AREN’T - and the proof is plain for anyone to see in the very words of those I attempt to counter.

You seem to have bought into the “politically correct” nonsense that “all opinions are equally valid.”

Well, all expressed opinions are NOT equally valid or in equal accordance with the plain facts of reality.

In Matthew 12:37 Jesus said "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Words are important. Words mean something. They express a person’s thoughts and views. And “if you want to dance, then you’ve got to be willing to pay the band” so to speak, you've got to be willing to accept counter comments to ones you carelessly make that obviously collide with verifiable facts.

Sincerity and purity of motive are indeed important, yes, I grant that - but not nearly as important, in the final analysis, as factual ACCURACY.

Who denies that Adolph Hitler was absolutely sincere? I’ve read books on Osama Bin Laden and I sense that he is truly genuine in his motives to destroy infidels who oppose Islamic teaching. Saddam Hussein was sincere in his butchery of many thousands of people. And who can doubt that HWA and some of the more Nazi-like ministers were completely sincere in many of their motives, though ultimately and totally WRONG?

SINCERETY, as genuine and as heart-felt as it may be, doesn’t make one RIGHT. A toddler may sincerely want to walk into the path of an oncoming truck, but sincerity can often result in false and sometimes tragic consequences.

Larry, you and anyone else here who frequents this blogsite knows that I am more than willing to “consider opposing views.” And I truly do listen to what others may have to say, because this is how I learn and improve my own views. I will often read over numerous times someone’s comment because I want to truly understand where this person may be coming from before I respond.

But I also am equally as willing to unashamedly (and hopefully humbly) confront patent nonsense when I hear it - and though I, like you, immediately sensed Anonymous 2:50’s words to be sincerely spoken, that still doesn’t make them CORRECTLY or ACCURATELY spoken.

Larry also wrote:
“Of one thing there can be no doubt: this world desperately needs righteous leadership. It is overwhelmed with corruption at the highest levels. No one here should resent any desire for a benevolent world-ruling kingdom controlled by those who believe in mercy, truth, and justice, and are incorruptible.”


And who would those leaders be, Larry – the ministers who ran their congregations like the SS? Or maybe people like yourself who repeatedly CLAIM great academic qualifications (in your case, that you’re a scientist with a doctorate from a world class university), and yet who deceptively refuses to reveal the specifics about such qualifications? Or perhaps the world’s many problems will be solved by the fundamentalists who comment here on Ambassador Watch, who are so patently uneducated and inarticulate in their “preach and run” style of dialog.

Larry, you need to get real. You talk about assertions – well, I can make an assertion here, and unlike you, I can actually provide facts, evidence and rationale that actually backs it up: and that is the assertion that your religion is “corrupt at the highest levels” in terms of it’s many absurd and indemonstrable claims. I can demonstrate this at length to anyone with a open, objective mind who values factual truth rather than subjective or traditional dogma.

Many thinkers and writers considerably more educated and articulate than me have done so in the past, and will continue to do so in the future, so long as the unshackled mind of man has the freedom to point out the obvious.

Leonardo said...

Larry writes:
"Why, thank you Mel. My voice of civility is much needed because Rudeness Runs Rampant here. But, then you already knew that. Since MY frontal lobes are highly developed, I can let that last statement slide."


Once again, Professor Larry (PhD.) imagines himself to be the “voice of civility” while providing us with yet another one of his snide remarks, empty of anything meaningful as usual, but all done out of sincere purity of motive, and in Christian love, of course.

Larry, you very unfortunately mistake rationality, logic, facts, evidence and articulateness for rudeness - and this is your problem, not ours.

And if your frontal lobes are as highly developed as you imagine them to be, then why is such cerebral power NEVER apparent in the many comments you make.

Remember, a man’s words are the truest index of his mind.

I mean, seriously, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read even ONE single comment you’ve made here on this website that has either been well-expressed, or has any merit or substantive insight in it whatsoever. Not ONE! And I must tell you, I find this especially puzzling since you are a self-proclaimed scientist with a PhD from a world-class university. Yet you write like someone who hasn’t even graduated from middle school. Strange.

Larry, it appears that in addition to mistaking rationality for rudeness, you also appear to be mistaking the phylacteries hanging on your forehead for massive frontal lobe development.

Byker Bob said...

Leo,

I know your type. You, like Eric Von Zipper in the Beach Blanket movies of the sixties, are your own idol! Also, regardless of the topic being discussed, I can tell that you are simply looking for a fight with anyone whom you think is willing to take you on. Your last "book" proves this, because you even attacked my expression of some things which I know you agree were wrong with Armstrongism.

I'm not worried about your assessment of my abilities to articulate ideas, because others have expressed the complete opposite of your opinion of this over a number of years in times past. I was not aware of your presence on these forums and blogs during my agnostic days, but I can tell you that back then I often earned kudos from some of the same atheists and agnostics who now regularly denigrate my intelligence and the logic of my posts. But, that's ok, as Democrats and Republicans have been doing this to one another for years!

I do wonder, though, whether the very idea that God could open the mind of an agnostic or atheist might seem scary or threatening to some. If I were still agnostic, I'd probably be joining in to repudiate and annihilate every word that such a person posted. Because of my unique perspective, I don't take most of the negative comments personally. They just make me pray all the more diligently for you non-believer type folks. Also, I admit to being new to the Christian faith after over thirty years of agnosticism, so I may not be the best possible witness for Father God and Jesus Christ.

BTW, I've found that the greater Christian community, of which we were all once kept largely unaware, does enjoy a great deal of diversity. But there is also quite a bit of unity in spreading the gospel, and in administering to poor and oppressed peoples around the world. And, I suspect that this will remain true so long as we continue to live our physical lives in a cursed world. The wonderful fact is that even in spite of the curse, God's goodness does often shine through for those who seek Him.

BB

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob strikes out in anger with:
"I know your type. You, like Eric Von Zipper in the Beach Blanket movies of the sixties, are your own idol!"


Excellent, Bob, just what I expected - your initial parry is another meaningless, snide and accusatory "Christian" comment completely unrelated to the immediate topic at hand. You just “know” so many things, don’t you? But remember these words: it is the things we know least about that we speak with such confidence and certainty of. And you most definitely are the poster boy for that truism.


Bob continues his perceptive analysis:
“regardless of the topic being discussed, I can tell that you are simply looking for a fight with anyone whom you think is willing to take you on.”


Actually, wrong again, Bobster! In reality, my primary motive is to seek to further the depth, clarity and accuracy of my understanding of reality – not to engage in endless verbal tangles. Though, admittedly, I do not shy away from them, especially when it comes to major metaphysical issues, such as we discuss here.

Bob also writes:
“I often earned kudos from some of the same atheists and agnostics who now regularly denigrate my intelligence and the logic of my posts.”

OK, so what? I don’t seek kudos or recognition from anybody here, just meaningful dialog. That’s what I’m really interested in.

And Bob, don’t worry about what other people say or think – it’s my observation that your very own WORDS denigrate your position far more than what others could ever do.

Bob continues:
“Because of my unique perspective, I don't take most of the negative comments personally.”

Bob, your perspective is NOT all that unique. I know you like to imagine that it is, and that you somehow have an advantage over the rest of us because of your re-conversion to supernatural religion – but your standard lines of circular reasoning are very typical of the average fundamentalist mindset. I know because I’ve engaged in many conversations with them – COG and many others, either in person or on-line. You bring nothing new or especially enlightening to the table when it comes to your religious views and opinions, believe me.


Bob concludes his words with:
“The wonderful fact is that even in spite of the curse, God's goodness does often shine through for those who seek Him.”


Well, then, Bob, perhaps you’re not seeking Him as hard as you should be. Maybe that’s the explanation, I don’t know.

And then the standard sound-bite religious slogan conclusion: Bob, did you not learn anything in Spokesman’s Club?

Once again, you’ve only provided yet another in a long line of meaningless comments. For someone who has an inside track to the Eternal, and a clearer view of reality (remember your claim to such in a comment you made several weeks ago?) you really do disappoint in your bland rebuttles.

Gavin said...

Bob, Leonardo, time for a breather!