Saturday, 3 October 2009

Complete Journal Issue Online

The Journal team have provided access to the complete September 29 issue online. That's all 32 pages including the unique offerings in the Connections ad section. It's a nice gesture, and an opportunity to see what subscribers get.

Ian Boyne (who features in this issue) has a couple of his own articles online at the Jamaica Gleaner: The problem of evil, the rise of militant atheism, and Atheists' problem with the Bible.

In case you missed it, the Living Armstrongism blog has an interesting piece about LCG leader Rod Meredith wheedling money out of his festal flock. Thus spake Spanky:

Yet, mainly because of the recession—which is now ending—the Work of Christ is experiencing a very “tight” financial condition. Though we have budgeted 5.3 percent increase in income for this year—and deeply need this in order to sustain our current programs—our current income is only running about two percent increase year-to-date. So unless we receive truly generous Feast offerings this year we will have to make more cuts in our television stations and other parts of the Work. But, in all honesty, we have tried to run a “lean” operation and do not have any extravagance that I am aware of. So we do deeply need the prayers of all of God’s people and their sacrificial offerings in the weeks to come!

Therefore, please announce this to the brethren and tell them of the unusual need at this time. Let them know that as they come to worship God and picture Tomorrow’s World at the Feast of Tabernacles, they should think of these coming Feast offerings at Trumpets, Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles in that context. This is worshiping our Creator and being truly thankful that most of us in the western world still have far more material wealth and “things” than the vast majority of mankind. Even though some of us, at times, think that we are “giving until it hurts” we do not even begin to commence to have the “hurt” others have in less fortunate circumstances. So encourage everyone to be generous—though we do not want any of our widows or less fortunate people to put themselves into financial hardship because of this.

Also, brethren, as Mr. Armstrong stated a number of times, we do want the brethren to know that it is all right to give any of their “excess” second tithe as Feast offerings—especially as part of the final Feast offering on the Last Great Day. A number of people have actually “enjoyed” this opportunity to give of their substance to the Work—knowing that they did not need to use it all up during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Ah, the joy of throwing money at Meredith! Dig deep brethren; give till it hurts!

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

No doubt Jehovah was watching out for Ron Dart! He allowed him to fall asleep at the wheel, yet saved him from any serious injuries! But why this paradox? Why not prevent Ron from falling asleep in the first place? The only answer is that God wanted to teach Ron some sort of spiritual lesson. In fact, I can hear it now at the CEM Feast, Ron on opening night:

"Brethren, are You Asleep At The Wheel? Are we going along so fast in our lives that we don't make time for God? As many of you know Allie and I were in a small accident on the way here- just a fender bender, really. But the accident, and the interruption it caused, made me pause and think... "

Or was it Satan, who caused Ron to go to sleep? And Jehovah who saved him?

Oh the divine mysteries!

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Wow, what great Journal articles! These are gems!

"Motorists believes helpful truck driver was an angel" now, there is a logical conclusion.

"Church member says learning you have cancer transforms your point of view on many matters" yes, I'm sure it does.

"WCG/CGI not a cult" yeah, right.

"Are potlucks a sin" I've been searching for the answer to this one for years.

"Was God involved in terrorist attacks?" Oh, please, enough. I can't take it any longer.

Those juicy morsels were from just the first three pages. It's sure an eye-opener to see the kind of thinking we were surrounded by back in our church days.

The Skeptic

Leonardo said...

I write this comment in a spirit of INTENSE ANGER, so if you hear HEAT in my words, you’ll know why!

Meredith's constant and pathetic begging for funds really makes me sick to my stomach.

The Rod of God writes:
"So encourage everyone to be generous—though we do not want any of our widows or less fortunate people to put themselves into financial hardship because of this."

And that's what REALLY gets my blood to boiling – has Rod ever remotely considered that the constant COG pleading for funds just might be a major reason WHY so many of these members find themselves in “less fortunate” status these days?

They’ve been milked like this for DECADES – and in many cases are just barely able to stay financially afloat!

I know from my 30 years experience in the COG that it’s often the least fortunate of members, who frequently are the most naive and least educated, who dig deep and give funds they barely have in order to support “God’s End-time Work” – which has been announcing the “soon-coming return of Christ” for what, the past 80 years now?

I have a very dear friend of mine I met many years ago at a Feast site down in Corpus Christi, Texas - and to this day we still keep in fairly frequent contact with each other after all these years.

She is an 85-year-old elderly lady, has been in the Church for almost 50 years now, and is as genuine and sincere as they come. She has no income except a paltry monthly Social Security check. But when she hears the COG leaders begging like this for funds, she just responds in typical fundamentalist knee-jerk fashion by sending in more than she can afford, truly believing that world events are about to wrap up and usher in the Millennium.

Meanwhile her roof flooded recently, and her carpet is all damp and musty, and she should really use this money to make the necessary repairs to her modest living quarters. But instead, such scarce funds will most likely be sent into Rod’s racket – or one of his despicable equivalents in some other COG organization, who obviously will ALL be desperately begging for cash this fall festival season just like he has.

(And yes, for all you cynics out there, through the years I have indeed sent a lot of my own personal funds to help this wonderful old lady out. But when I consider the fact that at least some of it no doubt goes to support the despicable COG money-making rackets through her “generous giving,” I seriously question how wise helping her out this way actually is.)

RB said...

They're only up two percent -- so it's big trouble?!

Oh dear. Whatever happened to thanking God for the "small things" -- and any gain at all?

Vaughn said...

Armstrong, Meredith, Pack, Flurry etc... have absolutely no idea what it means to hurt financially. They live in their isolated comfort at the top of their cult's food chain and look out upon their loyal tithe slaves and say: "let them eat cake!"

Leonardo said...

Thank you for this link, Gavin.

You know, I haven't browsed through an ENTIRE issue of The Journal since way back in the late 90's, and if I recall correctly perhaps it was still titled “In Transition” at that time.

Wow, in one sense I'm kind of stunned what ex-WCG folks are writing about and trying to push these days - it seems they've fallen headlong into ideas every bit a wacky, zany and as blatantly indemonstrable as many of those the old WCG used to teach.

And the "Connections" section! What a hoot! And yet, on the other hand, how tragic.

I must say I was a bit disappointed to see Art Mokarow’s name and picture pop up there in that smorgasbord of metaphysical mishmash.

In all my 30+ years in the COG’s, by far the most memorable, practical and mind-expanding sermons/Bible studies I ever heard were given by Art Mokarow.

He was a wide and ravenous reader – and it showed so plainly in the high-quality of presentations he would consistently give. I seem to recall him mentioning to me once how he tried to read three books a week. Perhaps that’s why HWA apparently accused him one time of reading TOO many of all these “books from Satan’s world and educational system.” Perhaps it was also why he would literally fill up the Auditorium for Friday evening Bible Study, such that there was barely a seat available, when it was announced he would be giving it.

And I can still remember, some 35 years later now, the many life-enhancing points and concepts he would bring up. He was a tremendously gifted teacher, with a penchant for explaining abstract principles in easy-to-understand ways, and showing how to apply such principles in the everyday practical sphere of life.

But judging from his article/ad in the “Connections” sections it seems he’s changed direction these days.

RK said...

Leonardo said...
"She is an 85-year-old elderly lady,......Meanwhile her roof flooded recently, and her carpet is all damp and musty, and she should really use this money to make the necessary repairs to her modest living quarters."

Whether anyone believes the Bible or not, some of the things in there (I say some) hit the nail right on the head.

"Which devour widows houses, and for a pretense make long prayers, these shall recieve greater DAMNATION."

I just hope the last part of this particular scripture turns out to be as true as the first part.

Mr. Scribe said...

The Journal stands as testimony as to the mental fitness of the leadership and members of the various cog'lets.

How does Dixon put up with it?

Anonymous said...

"But, in all honesty, we have tried to run a “lean” operation and do not have any extravagance that I am aware of."

O RLY? What about the pictures of your 1/2 million dollar house that got posted a couple years ago Spanky?

Bamboo_bends said...

Anonymous said...
"Are potlucks a sin" I've been searching for the answer to this one for years.


Dear Anonymous, potlucks in and of themselves, are not sin.

But one must be careful not to invite Satan in with Waldorf salad or meatloaf that can be confused with cookies on the dessert tray.

redfox712 said...

Thanks for highlighting what I found from Meredith and exposing what he is doing to his followers in the LCG.

Anonymous said...

I made a prediction,in an earlier post, that the esteemed Spanky and Gerry would be touting for funds,again.

And it came to pass!!

Hypocrites.de-luxe.As Christ said,let them sell their possessions in order to assist their pet projects.But,oh no.

Watch again at Xmas time for these two rascals.

Cheers.

Jorgheinz

Vaughn said...

Bamboo Bends said: "Dear Anonymous, potlucks in and of themselves, are not sin.
But one must be careful not to invite Satan in with Waldorf salad or meatloaf that can be confused with cookies on the dessert tray."

That's funny! You've got the topic for a great sermonette!

Maryann said...

Let the ministry take pay cuts or sell their half million dollar homes.

redfox712 said...

"What about the pictures of your 1/2 million dollar house that got posted a couple years ago Spanky?"

If you want to see Meredith's house looks like just look here.

Bamboo_bends said...

The W in HWA guy said...
I let loose the quizment..


Who on earth today speaks like that? Quizment? Is this guy writing a merchant ivory movie script?

....somewhat as follows: “Mr. Armstrong, I have read your autobiography in The Plain Truth and do not see what the W in your name stands for. You know, that W between the Herbert and the Armstrong. Just what do you mean by the W in Herbert W. Armstrong? Mr. Armstrong, what does the W in your name stand for?”

The slight jerk of the head, the eyes now near slits, a metathought could well be arising in his brain

Meta-thought? Is that like a brain fart?

...that the young man standing before him might be one of those deviant [wanker] students who came to question, to distort, to wreck[his Holy Apostle's image].

Alas! It is but me, your obsequious footstool...kick me, beat me,oh please make me write bad checks!

But then the double take and doubt lifted like a misbegotten mist [the pond before the egrets parted, the rays of the sun shone through the Pasadena smog!], and his face softened, like his hand [so creamy and smooth and sensuous to touch], and he matter-of-factly replied [while thinking to himself, who is this pantywaist?]:

“Nothing. It stands for nothing. I added it years ago.
[ya bother me kid!]” I believe he said something about needing to add an identifying letter for postal purposes and that he wanted a letter that worked well with his name.

Well that sure was anti-climatic after the "misbegotten mist" build-up.

Can't we find this guy a nice cargo cult somewhere to join? What a minute, Armstrongism is a Cargo Cult! It looks like a church! It sounds like a church! But those bamboo cargo planes in grass aren't going anywhere! And no celestial WWII GIs are coming to Armstrong island anytime soon!

Like we didn't know what the W stood for that back in 1986? What kind of editors let that slip through? Joe Tkach Sr was saying that about HWA for years! Its every bit as phony as the W in Joseph W Tkach!

It stands for nothing! Just like HWA himself "...but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Anonymous said...

I think the staples of Ron's Rug have made too deep an impression.

But that said, I think a bear should come and maul Ron Dart for thinking it was more important to pretend he had hair, while protecting a sexual predator.
That would make this the BEST FEAST EVER!

nuclearsmile said...

"Though we have budgeted 5.3 percent increase in income for this year—and deeply need this in order to sustain our current programs—our current income is only running about two percent increase year-to-date. So unless we receive truly generous Feast offerings this year we will have to make more cuts in our television stations and other parts of the Work." -- Every LCG member should write a letter to HQ to this effect: "Lack of planning on thy part doth not create an emergency on mine..." (KJV language optional)

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 4:35 (The Skeptic) wrote:
"Are potlucks a sin" I've been searching for the answer to this one for years.”


Your "tongue in cheek" comment reminds me of a sad yet true story that proved to be the “final straw that broke the camel’s back” with respect to my departure from the wacky world of the COG’s back about 4 ½ years ago now.

Meredith devotee Terry Ratzmann had gone on his horrific shooting rampage up in Wisconsin just the previous Sabbath (final tally: 22 bullets fired, eight dead, several others physically wounded, countless others psychologically wounded), and so obviously every church member who had a heart was talking about the tragic event the following Sabbath.

Back in 1980 I remember having shared a delightful dinner once with the pastor (who was killed) and his wife (who was terribly shot up) when they lived in Big Sandy, or somewhere near there. I had been traveling through the area, attended Sabbath services on the Big Sandy campus, and the man and his wife (who were not in the ministry at that time) kindly invited me over to their place for dinner since I was a visitor.

Another gal in the congregation I was attending back in 2004 (and remember, this was just the next Sabbath after the shooting) not only personally knew some of the folks shot and killed, but at one time, long ago when she was single, had actually dated Ratzmann. So, understandably, she was extremely upset over the tragedy.

So the event was on everybody’s mind. The members were talking about it both before and after services. But during that entire two hour Sabbath service, not ONE single mention was ever made of the unfortunate event.

Surely if anything was on the collective mind of most COG members as they came together for the first time since the March 12th shooting, it was that horrific event. Yet no mention whatsoever was made of it; from the opening prayer, to the sermonette, to the announcement portion, through the main sermon itself and the closing prayer — nothing was ever spoken of it, not one word, as if not discussing the sad event would somehow make the horror of it magically disappear.

During announcements the speaker (a local elder who also gave the sermon) appeared to be in quite the jovial mood as he talked about the fine improvements being made to the feast site he was planning to attend that coming autumn, how he occasionally had to tune-up the rickety old piano there in the rented hall, etc. — anything EXCEPT that which was quite understandably weighing on the minds of most people.

His sermon message, something about “improving your Sabbath-keeping,” was eerily inappropriate to the occasion. Preaching to people that God is not pleased when they bake potatoes or pies on the Sabbath, while at the same time blatantly disregarding their feelings as they were responding to and having to come to grips with a church service massacre so fresh in their minds seemed to me an incredibly poorly-chosen sermon topic considering the sobering context of recent events.

I walked out of services that afternoon back in 2004, absolutely stunned by the cold-heartedness I had just witnessed, and never returned to the COG’s. One of the best decisions I ever made in my life, though sad that it took such a tragedy to really open my eyes.

So, the incredibly vital topic of “Are Potlucks appropriate for the Sabbath day?” or whatever, really doesn’t surprise me all that much.

The COG’s specialize in asking, making fetishes out of, and finally giving “God’s” answer to, all sorts of trivial matters of no consequence whatsoever outside of the bizarre world of their fundamentalist universe.

And I think that fact is more tragic than words can describe.

Leonardo said...

Ah yes, Bamboo_bends - Macbeth, Scene 5, Act 5.

One of most favorite of historical characters, Abraham Lincoln, loved to quote Shakespeare as well.

By the way, the "W" in Joe Tkach Sr.'s name did actually stand for a real name - Wilhelm, I think it was.

I remember Gerald Waterhouse making a big deal out of the three names of JWT right after HWA died.

The lunacy, the lunacy...

Bamboo_bends said...

Leonardo said...

Surely if anything was on the collective mind of most COG members as they came together for the first time since the March 12th shooting, it was that horrific event. Yet no mention whatsoever was made of it; from the opening prayer, to the sermonette, to the announcement portion, through the main sermon itself and the closing prayer — nothing was ever spoken of it, not one word, as if not discussing the sad event would somehow make the horror of it magically disappear.



Did I understand your post correctly? Were you in Ratzlaff's congregation?

Betty Bowers said...

Maryann said...

"Let the ministry take pay cuts or sell their half million dollar homes."


I just listed Meredith's home "FOR SALE"!

I hope he appreciates this!

Leonardo said...

Bamboo_bends, no - I didn't mean to imply that I was in Ratzmann's congregation when the shooting took place.

I was talking about being in ANOTHER congregation, in ANOTHER state, in ANOTHER COG group, the Sabbath AFTER the shooting had taken place a week earlier up in Wisconsin.

But there were folks in my congregation (in Colorado) who knew some of the victims, and, many years before, in Texas, I had once had dinner at the house of the pastor and his wife whom Ratzmann targeted.

It was a terrible event, and what upset me was how heartless and clueless the local elder was that next Sabbath in giving the announcements and the sermon that day in my congregation in Colorado (a week after the shooting) and didn't even mention the tragedy, not once, and gave a totally inappropriate sermon considering the terrible event that had just recently taken place within the wider COG community.

I walked out that day of the COG I had been attending for the past seven years - and never returned, never looked back, and never regretted it.

The pastor of the congregation I had been attending called me up via telephone the next day (Sunday), very angry.

I asked him politely, yet point blank, "Mr. So & So, are you telling me that, given the context, and the fact that this terrible occurance had just taken place the previous Sabbath up in Wisconsin, and thus was obviously on EVERYBODY's mind that day, that you don't think it was just a little bit odd that absolutely NOTHING about it was ever once mentioned during the official service?"

He paused and arrogantly responded with these EXACT words, "No, I do not." And then went on to correct me on how I was in conflict with God's Government, or some such nonsense.

That whole unpleasant situation was all I needed to see that I no longer belonged nor fit in, either in that particular congregation, nor in any other congregation in the wider COG community.

That was it for me.

Mickey said...

It makes me sick to hear how the congregation to which Leonardo refers was handled by its pastor after the shooting

While the scale between 9/11 and the Ratzman shootings were different the horror wasn't.

When 9/11 happened many of the churches opened their doors for people to go to come together in prayer and grief. Hopefully to be as comforted as one can be in such horrific circumstances.

It says a lot that a COG congregation would try to sweep the incident under the rug by pretending to "business as usual". I understand that denial is an aspect of grief but it says volumns about how little leadership considered the pain of the people they were supposed to be shepherding.

The communities who left crosses and flowers cared more about the people in LCG than their own leaders.

Leonardo said...

Mickey wrote:
"It says a lot that a COG congregation would try to sweep the incident under the rug by pretending to "business as usual."


But just to clarify with an important distinction, Mickey: the CONGREGATION itself was indeed very upset at the tragedy, and showed the understandable human sympathy which such a tragedy would normally evoke, and which was perfectly appropriate in that context.

It was the MINISTRY that was so cold and uncaring, not the majority of the members.

That experience not only shocked me to the very core of my being, but it greatly angered me.

As a result of the absolute hardheartedness I witnessed on that day on the part of certain “men of God” they lost forever a long-time member (30+ years) who up to that time had been a dedicated, financially generous, service-oriented, authority-respecting, loyal and passionate supporter of the COG, and turned him into an eternal enemy of the kind of ideology that gave rise to such hardness of heart and lack of sympathy in the first place.

On that day I did not become insanely bitter - only totally realistic.

Bamboo_bends said...

Leonardo said...

It was a terrible event, and what upset me was how heartless and clueless the local elder was that next Sabbath in giving the announcements and the sermon that day in my congregation in Colorado (a week after the shooting) and didn't even mention the tragedy, not once, and gave a totally inappropriate sermon considering the terrible event that had just recently taken place within the wider COG community.



This is not uncommon in America in general. We do not process death well. I think it started after WWII when all the GIs came back from such horrible warfare (and we've been in war pretty much off and on since then). The returning men shielded children from death, I remember my own parents refusing to let me go with them to a funeral. But kids should know about death.

If a person doesn't know what to say to a grieving person, they can alway say "I'm sorry for your loss".

Pretending it didn't happen is an insult to the dead and their survivors.

I've had a half dozen relatives and friends die in recent years. Its never easy. But it is part of life. And it has a way of refocusing a person on the importance of relationships. Of course the COGs never valued relationships, they broke up families over D&R, and they still break up families and friends over differences in doctrines or even more silly - leadership affiliations.

I walked out that day of the COG I had been attending for the past seven years - and never returned, never looked back, and never regretted it.

GOOD ON YOU! That's why I now longer worry for friends still caught up in that stuff, I know, sooner or later, that their leaders will show them what they really are - its inevitable.



The pastor of the congregation I had been attending called me up via telephone the next day (Sunday), very angry.

I asked him politely, yet point blank, "Mr. So & So, are you telling me that, given the context, and the fact that this terrible occurance had just taken place the previous Sabbath up in Wisconsin, and thus was obviously on EVERYBODY's mind that day, that you don't think it was just a little bit odd that absolutely NOTHING about it was ever once mentioned during the official service?"

He paused and arrogantly responded with these EXACT words, "No, I do not." And then went on to correct me on how I was in conflict with God's Government, or some such nonsense.


Pulling imaginary God-bestowed rank upon the membership is not working like it used to. Those men are responsible for what they teach, and they better learn to face the music.

That whole unpleasant situation was all I needed to see that I no longer belonged nor fit in, either in that particular congregation, nor in any other congregation in the wider COG community.

If only my journey through the organization was that quick and that easy to see. It took me 34 years.

Bamboo_bends said...

Mickey said..

The communities who left crosses and flowers cared more about the people in LCG than their own leaders.




Well said! Its the cross cringing LCG'ers that need to consider who followed in the steps of Jesus that day!

Mickey said...

Leonardo,

My appologies. I mispoke. I did mean the minster's handling of the congregation. I think I was thinking in terms of congregation corporate rather than congregation attendees (if that makes sense)

I don't doubt the horror and pain felt by everyone touched by the tragedy.

Leonardo said...

Bamboo_bends wrote:
"This is not uncommon in America in general. We do not process death well."


Yes, you are absolutely right. In many other cultures, death is both taught and understood from youth as a natural part of the cycle of life.

But Americans (along with many other western nations), who have developed into an extremely successful society in terms of material comforts and security, tend to be very squeamish about many of the realities of physical existence. As you point out, the ugly realities of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the more recent conflicts in the Middle East, no doubt have played a role. But I also think a lot of this “run away from reality” mindset was triggered by the move from an agrarian culture, where folks are directly exposed to the natural cycles of birth, the wonder and fragility of life, sickness and death every day. Whereas industrial societies tends to shelter people from such things, and thus they seem more frightening than they need to be.

Bamboo_bends also wrote:
“I remember my own parents refusing to let me go with them to a funeral. But kids should know about death.”


Agreed. A lot of parents do this as they reason that they are somehow protecting young and impressionable minds. As I’ve learned from hindsight, my experience was very different. My parents were in their 40’s when they had me (their third and last son), and so as a young child I attended many funerals for much older relatives. I also always had little pets, and these pets eventually died, which was a great (though sobering) lesson for a young mind to learn. My dad and mom never tried to shield me from the reality of death, and they sat me down and tried to explain it to me as best they could – which, from the perspective of an adult, I greatly appreciate now. In fact, both my parents were dead by the time I was 21 years old, so this too has a way of forcing one to confront and deal with the realities of life, and death. Each has their season, and a wise person has to humbly and appropriately respond to both.

Perhaps that’s why I reacted the way I did when the ministry in the local COG congregation I was attending acted so coldly the week after Ratzmann did his atrocious thing up in Wisconsin, as if nothing had happened. This was WAY beyond denial – it was eerie, icy, unfeeling, bizarre and completely inappropriate considering the context.

To this day I still can’t understand this non-response. And then the next day on the telephone the pastor actually tried to defend it!

Bamboo_bends further wrote:
“Pretending it didn't happen is an insult to the dead and their survivors.”


Absolutely right. For example, what if you lost a close family member (a mate, a child, a sibling, a parent, or whomever) to a sudden and unexpected tragedy, and the next time you saw one of your close friends they came up and acted as if absolutely nothing had happened (even though they fully knew of the death) and started frivolously talking about sports or cars or work or anything but the loss you had just sustained. I’m quite certain 99.9% of people would consider that kind of non-response to be pretty weird, inappropriate and totally insensitive behavior on the part of the friend.

But not among certain COG ministers – who apparently would think that behavior somehow normal. I realize the vast majority of COG ministers would not react this way, but the fact that SOME would (and actually DID) is still beyond my comprehension.

Leonardo said...

Bamboo_bends continues:
“…the COGs never valued relationships, they broke up families over D&R, and they still break up families and friends over differences in doctrines or even more silly - leadership affiliations.”


Unfortunately, this is another truism about COG culture – it’s extremely fragmented and fissured in nature.

I remember many years ago reading a book (I think it was called “The Secrets of Strong Families”) that mentioned one factor about strong, solid, successful extended family units was how they tended to slowly accept into the family new members (in-laws from marriage, etc.) yet were very protective of such once they were accepted in, and very hesitant to let these people drift away and outside the orbit of the larger family. Whereas weak, failure-oriented families were just the opposite, they brought people in very quickly and haphazardly, yet very much resembled leaky buckets, in that what came in the bucket tended to drain out about as fast.

The sieve-like COG’s very much fit this latter description.

Bamboo_bends concluded:
“If only my journey through the organization was that quick and that easy to see. It took me 34 years.”


Well, I wasn’t exactly a quick learner either – having spent 20 years in the WCG, 3 years in UCG, and 7 years in David Hulme’s group (COG-AIA). But then again, we must consider the stultifying and stifling effects that 30+ years of fundamentalist religion has on the human mind. Let us be grateful that many (including ourselves) somehow found a way to escape such mental imprisonment.

But that’s the nature of fundamentalist religion: it doesn’t promote critical thinking, it doesn’t promote wide reading, it doesn’t promote REAL education, and so overall it tends to have an asphyxiating effect on the mind. As I look back, there were many times during my time in the COG’s when subtle red warning flags began (metaphorically) waving inside my mind, but the teaching of the COG’s (which I took VERY seriously) is to interpret the natural voice of reason as satanic or demonic in nature, and thus as something to be resisted and extinguished.

This is how they manage to maintain such mental strangleholds on members, as dampening the flickering flame of reason and rationality just becomes part and parcel of the overall lifestyle, which is most often referred to as “God’s way of life.”

In reality, it’s a way of death, not life.

Anonymous said...

"To this day I still can’t understand this non-response."

I take it you were attending a non-LCG congregation, and if so, it's easy to explain.

The majority of the COG's (the main groups-UCG, LCG, PCG, ect) do not officially recognize each other in a sense. They are all competing with each other, and in many cases the leadership are very antagonistic and suspicious of each other. The leadership of each group views the other groups as one-time fellow workers who fell aside and now dwell in some sort of iniquity, disrupting "unity" and The Work. To them, the other competing groups do not exist outside of the boardrooms. The ministers do not speak of the competition to the laity except only in vague, critical terms. At the coffee urn or at the dinner table it's quite all right. But not during services.

At least, this was the way it was in GTA's ICG and in the few LCG services I attended. The ministry of the COG are like men who went to West Point together, fought alongside each other in some great war, and now find themselves at the head of separate armies in a terrible civil war.

And if you were in a LCG congregation, then it's even easier to understand. You don't discuss such things with the enlisted men (or the servants, or the children); it's bad for morale.

The Apostate Paul

Bamboo_bends said...

Leonardo said...

As I look back, there were many times during my time in the COG’s when subtle red warning flags began (metaphorically) waving inside my mind, but the teaching of the COG’s (which I took VERY seriously)is to interpret the natural voice of reason as satanic or demonic in nature, and thus as something to be resisted and extinguished.


They start that programming early, with the verse "the heart is deceitful above all things". From there, a person is disconnected from both common sense and natural intuition. You're in serious trouble when you start ignoring your emotional heart. Another example of the dangers of literalizing poetic imagery. Just imagine what they'd do with Edgar Allen Poe if he was included in the Bible!

This is how they manage to maintain such mental strangleholds on members, as dampening the flickering flame of reason and rationality just becomes part and parcel of the overall lifestyle, which is most often referred to as “God’s way of life.”

Well, it is their god's (HWA) way of life isn't it? Its a lie. That God's government rot. God is not Pol Pot in the sky!

In reality, it’s a way of death, not life.

Exactly!!!!

You dive head first into life. You don't wall yourself up into sectarian ghettos like Pasadena, Big Sandy, Cincinnati or the virtual ghetto of the saved and unsaved. They all talk about letting their light shine but the first thing they do is put the bushel basket over their lives.

The whole meme of Armstrongism is about saving your skin from the fury of God's wrath to come on humanity. Yet Jesus said "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

In other words, life is a bit like fruit, it has a shelf life. If you don't eat it, it rots. Get on with living don't waste the life you've been given. None of us knows when our next breath will end.

Leonardo said...

The Apostate Paul wrote:
"The leadership of each group views the other groups as one-time fellow workers who fell aside and now dwell in some sort of iniquity, disrupting "unity" and The Work."


Yes. I would often bring up the fact that ALL the various COG splinter groups essentially believed in, and were devoted to, the SAME identical major doctrines.

But the pastor in that last congregation I attended always referred to other groups outside of the one he was a paid, full-time minister within as groups "to one degree or another in varying degrees of error."

Although I’ve found the actual MEMBERS to be more open to talking to folks outside of the particular group they currently attend with (at least for the most part), the ministry show little such willingness.

RB said...

About those potlucks -- I heard SDA media minister Doug Bachellor say one day potlucks are a sign of people's faith.

After all, you're willing to eat other people's food. :-)

Leonardo said...

Years ago back in the ‘80’s I was standing once behind Dr. Hoeh as we were both making our way through a pot-luck line one day after a church service.

After scanning over the food on offer he looked back at me, and said with a smile, "Well, now we know why the men in the Church tend to die sooner than the women!"

We both got quite a chuckle out of that wry statement, delivered in classical Dr. Hoeh form!

I miss his wonderful Lincoln-like sense of humor. You had to love the guy!

Anonymous said...

We both got quite a chuckle out of that wry statement, delivered in classical Dr. Hoeh form!

I miss his wonderful Lincoln-like sense of humor. You had to love the guy!


You know, I really don't know why you've been such an apologist for Herman in the last couple posts, Leonardo. For a more balanced view of Hoeh's (many many many many) shortcomings and failings as a minister of misery, read this (courtesy of James at the Painful Truth, main article linked on the AW entry "The Haj").

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 1:38 wrote:
"You know, I really don't know why you've been such an apologist for Herman in the last couple posts, Leonardo."


How have I been an "apologist" for Dr. Hoeh? I just thought I'd relay a couple of accounts regarding him. I don't worship the man or anything, like Flurry tends to worship HWA's memory.

No doubt Dr. Hoeh had his faults - as we all do. I don't contend the fact.

In many ways he was caught up in the whole HWA ponzi scheme like the rest of us - and as a high-ranking minister undoubtedly did his share of harm through the years. And in no way do I try to defend this side of him.

But really, he did have some very wonderful traits of character as well. And this is what I tend to focus on and remember about him.

All the role-models I tend to look up to in my life like Leonardo da Vinci, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, etc. – all had terrible faults. But I don’t allow those faults to take away from what their examples can teach us and thereby enrich our lives by.

Anonymous said...

"Also, brethren, as Mr. Armstrong stated a number of times, we do want the brethren to know that it is all right to give any of their “excess” second tithe as Feast offerings—especially as part of the final Feast offering..."

Growing up in WCG and becoming a member many years ago, I recall HWA stating that 2nd Tithe was specifically for the Feasts, not to be used as an offering. I remember Joe Tkach (the one you can tell is lying by when his mouth is moving) stating that HWA said it was ok. Does anyone here have any link to anything that would show absolute audio of HWA making the statement it was ok to use 2nd Tithe as an offering... would help clear up a few things in my mind...

Anonymous said...

"But, in all honesty, we have tried to run a “lean” operation and do not have any extravagance that I am aware of."

New studio for LU? Was it a necessity, or would the old one used for a few years served a purpose? When does being #1 at any cost (he got a school, so i need one too...) running a lean operation...?

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone here have any link to anything that would show absolute audio of HWA making the statement it was ok to use 2nd Tithe as an offering... would help clear up a few things in my mind..."

So what are you trying to do, my fellow anonymous? Do you want to prove Herbie right and Junior wrong? Or are you hoping we will prove Junior right and Herbie wrong?

Break out of the box, anon 2:06! Neither one of them deserves the attention!

Anonymous said...

I'll be sure that my house is never a nicer one (or, even as nice) as Rod's. That way I'll never feel guilty of living too high while others are suffering.

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
I'll be sure that my house is never a nicer one (or, even as nice) as Rod's. That way I'll never feel guilty of living too high while others are suffering.

Hey! Good idea. However, I bet you don't have to worry about that though, right?

Anonymous said...

well Corky, actually.....their homes (Rod's & Ron's) look just like some in my neighborhood. the one across the street looks a lot like Rod's.

i've never been one to check my brain at the door though. i can read and i know what God says to do, and i do it to the best of my ability. God has blessed us greatly.

we don't dwell on money. we are very generous toward those in need. we give a more than God's minimum requirement to the Church as well, but we don't cough up cash every time it's suggested. (which, thankfully, is rare in our organization)

we understand that the Church leadership is composed of men, and they can make mistakes, so we don't take their every word as gospel. if they are suffering a budget shortfall it's most likely due to their own mistakes with the funds they have available.

we're not trying to buy our way into the kingdom by kissing up to anyone. money grubbers like Rod and Ron, and Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar, and the rest of the scam artists really chap my cheeks.

we just use common sense. i think most Church members do too. (the man follower is a different story, however)

Corky said...

You did good Anon. until you came down to that last innuendo.

Oh, and by the way, the pronoun "I" should be capitalized.

Anonymous said...

yes i realize that it's not the proper way to write, so just look at it as my style ;-)

to clarify my position concerning money grubbers, i do feel anger when anyone is taken advantage of. it's not right and i don't like it, but i know it's part of life. the taker bears some of the blame, but so does the takee.

the world is a confused place, and i don't see the situation improving at the present time.

it's easier to understand the TBN crowd taking people's money under false pretenses (although they could be as sincere as the day is long about what they're doing), but one would assume that folks like Rod & Ron know better, but then again, how do we know that they are really any different from the TBN'rs? (they too could be as sincere as the day is long about what they do) we can only judge the actions, not the heart.

maybe that's why were told to "prove all things", and to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"...