Friday 14 July 2006

Making a virtue of necessity

Down in Alabama the WCG remnant is trying to convince themselves that the Tkach revolution has been worth the grief. Here's a condensed version of how the July 7 Huntsville Times tells it:

A little more than 10 years ago, Paul Kurts pastored a congregation of 200 close-knit members. Today, his flock sometimes numbers as many as 20 - and he's never been happier.

For Kurts who, with his wife, had joined the church when he was a college student, it felt like someone had shifted the magnetic pole of the Earth.

There's a lot more in this pathetic little report. If this is typical of those who remain then you have to suspect that self loathing and self justification are mixed in nearly equal portions. Read it and weep.


Anonymous said...

The congregation I grew up in closed up shop about a month ago. It had gone from around 320 in the mid-80s to 12-15 in 2006.

What's strange to me is this sense of joy about it all, both in my old congregation and in this article. Maybe that's the Holy Spirit in action; maybe it's just severe denial.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the joy comes in part from the fact that on some level they know it's a very good thing that Herbert Armstrong's religion has proven to be false and has come to nought and is gradually fading away.

Richard said...

Pathetic? I don't know if I'd go that far.

But being happy to lose 90 percent of your members (have they gained any at all?), and with one of them unwilling to give his last name in public -- why, I'm a bit tempted to say those are signs of a cult.

Anonymous said...

The WCG's membership figures are certainly inflated. First of all, the WCG has never had 150,000 members, unless you count unbaptised children and pet goldfish. Membership and church attendance are not the same thing, and before the Glorious Reforms of the 1990s, the WCG always spoke about how many baptised members it had (a figure that maxed out around 85,000, I think), and only occasionally mentioned the number of people who probably attended Sabbath services. It's also highly unlikely that the WCG currently has 64,000 members worldwide (a figure that no doubt includes unofficial "members," unbaptised people and children). My hunch is that the true number is closer to 20,000 (and that's counting the pet goldfish), but who can tell for sure?

Anonymous said...

As I recall, when I left the WCG in 2000 and joined the Catholic Church , it took me two or three tries to convince the WCG that I was no longer a member.

Anonymous said...

"First of all, the WCG has never had 150,000 members,...."

If the average congregation had 150 attendees including children and there were 300 congregations that would give us 45,000 persons inclding children and the unbaptised. I doubt that there was ever 150,000 attending at any one period.

Paul said...

60,000 members? Maybe they are counting pets.