Thursday 29 October 2009

Same old, same old...

The self proclaimed "bishop," Brian Tamaki, is in the news in my little corner of the multiverse. The New Zealand Herald, via columnist Garth George, is labeling the prophet of many hairstyles a cult leader. In a sudden rush of blood to a bodily appendage unused to such things - his head - Bishop Brian, founder and boss of Destiny Church, has had seven hundred male members, uh, yes that's the term the Herald uses, swear a loyalty oath to him. And, oh whoopee, they even get to wear loyalty rings!

...the church document says that proof of a man's covenant with God is how they "submit to God's chosen man ... We are blessed to our spiritual father through whom this principle is being restored."

God's chosen man? Deja vu: I think I'm going to be sick. I'm told some ex-WCG members now sit in Destiny services each week. Out of the frying pan...

Now, to be honest, I'm no fan of Garth George. He is a former editor of the loathsome Challenge Weekly, the fundamentalist tabloid. I have never yet read a column of his that I agree with, though that may partly be because I make a point of not reading his columns. Nevertheless, in this case, I was prepared to make an exception after a copy of this one was emailed to me by a former WCG member (thanks Seamus.) Tamaki reminds me of a tithe-sucking vampire, preying on the credulity of decent, everyday folk who are just trying to make sense of life.

So Garth George - and it pains me to say it - does have a point. And if someone doesn't slap Tamaki down, the very stones may cry out. One positive aspect of the Herald column is that George does have a degree of "cred" with the very people who are most vulnerable to Tamaki and his ilk. Hopefully this punch will have connected.

There is a real difference between the blather that comes from the fundagelical heartland, and the loon-call of someone like Tamaki, but the irony is that it's arguably people like Garth George who prepare the ground for movements like Destiny. Tamaki simply takes the same fundagelical agenda and drives it off in the direction it's already pointing - over a cliff. Garden-variety evangelicals, on the other hand, may picnic at the edge of the cliff and admire the scenery below, but usually have enough nous not to jump.


redfox712 said...

This is very disturbing.

"If any "son" is honoured either by the church or secularly, he is to mention his "mentors and role models" - Mr and Mrs Tamaki - "because Bishop is one of God's best-known representatives in our country"."

It is often the case in cults that the leader must have ultimate preeminence in everything.

"They should come to church anticipating that God will speak through Mr Tamaki and should always be dressed well at all meetings with him. "His dress code is your dress code.""

This reminds me of how COG members are practically required to dress up in a very formal manner for services.

I've been to a few mainstream churches to see what they like and many of them I see some who

"They should also look happy and smile and be friendly to all and encourage people."

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with being nice to people, but this reminds me of what ESN said, that cults often force people to become extroverted in order to gain recruits.

"They must never tolerate anyone (regardless of who they are) speaking or talking critically of Mr Tamaki and his wife/family or the church. "You are not only to stop them in their tracks but warn them that they criticise you when they criticise Bishop.""

Personal loyalty to the man, not to God. That is very disturbing behavior.

Anonymous said...

Tamaki sounds like a Japanese surname. Is that a Maori name?

Cult leaders are energy vampires. The suck the life force from their followers.

Captain Midnight said...

Sounds like this Theo-Freak has learned that if you give the kids a decoder ring, secret messages, wrist radios, a certificate of belonging and a sense of specialness as long as you send in those boxtops, you can have a following.

Personally I prefer 3-D glasses as gifts to the faithful so they can see realities others can't see.


Paco said...

I think it was 1979 when wcg employees in Pasadena (and perhaps everywhere) were required to sign "loyalty pledges" in order to keep their jobs. I had just recently been fired so it was a moot point for me.

Leonardo said...

Many other fundamentalist-oriented groups like Tamaki's are often built around and centered upon, not God, but incredibly narcissistic, ego-centric leaders like HWA, GTA, Flurry, Pack, Weinland, etc.

Secular political movements regularly result in the same kind of arrangement – Hitler and Stalin immediately come to mind, where millions of human beings can be sacrificed in order to further the goals and satisfy the emotional whims of such leaders. The cult of personality.

And contrary to what one might suppose, I’ve very often observed that religious people, who are taught by their religions to be other-oriented, in reality tend very often to be astoundingly ego-centric in their everyday thinking and behavior.

I’ve known many COG members in very “up close and personal” ways through the years, and this always used to bother me.

THEY have been specially-chosen by God.

THEY will rule with a rod of iron in the Millennium.

God’s Master Plan revolves around THEIR lives.

THEIR church organization is the one, true one.

God answers THEIR prayers.

And, as is commonly witnessed here on AW, when THEY make a dogmatic assertion or truth claim, how dare you ask for evidence or proof to support it, because if THEY say it, it must be true!

For example, take this absolutely ridiculous blog comment recently posted:

“The point, Leonardo, and please forgive my bluntness, is that the Divine inspiration of Genesis should be self-evident to anyone able and willing to probe its depths…Genesis has always been open to scrutiny, and the more thorough the scrutiny, the more congruence with Science. The geologic and fossil evidence behind evolution is all presaged in Genesis…”

And in the final analysis, following all this blogger’s many bold truth claims, that’s all the “proof” he had to offer. After failing repeatedly to argue persuasively for his views, let alone offer any tangible, empirical evidence in support of his dogmatic assertions, all this blogger was finally able to provide was the standard, pathetic and poorly-reasoned yet darling of the fundamentalist mindset, “Well, the divine inspiration of Genesis is self-evident!”

But in the wacky world such believers live in, this is seen as all the proof they need – that it’s just “obvious — and if you weren’t so evil and unbelieving, then you’d see how obvious it is too!”

Why? Because THEY said so!

Anonymous said...


Perhaps Bob Thiel could come up with a 2012 Mayan,Chritian,Chinese, Tibetan decoder ring that upon adjusting the dials, you get the prophecies all lined up along with the galactic plane. Hey it could work!

It could be the Jesus/Quetzalcoatl edition

Anonymous said...

Well our own Dave Pack has recently meandered and justified his way to being the Angel of the Church of Laodicea and the Joshua who has shed his filthy garments, of course with Dave explaining it does not mean what it says and does not mean DAVE has filthy garments.

What's the diff between David C Packs lunacy in title taking and this?

Don't you think Dave will also come up with he and the Mrs being the Two Witnesses. We can't let titles out of the family.

Then he will see himself as John the Final Baptist and then Dave the Third Adam and the David C Pack Incarnate Brother to Jesus..oops I mean Jesus himself well ok God himself.

Call 911 and psych ward.

We also know that Dave's decoder ring for the faithful will not quite be like any decoder ring ever made. It will be stupendous, overarching and amazing in every aspect. Church of God quality and made of Moldivite as God instructed his servant the watcher, witness, angel, Joshua Apostle.... 911

Dennis said...

The First Sign of Trouble.

When a human sees themselves personally spoken of in the scriptures, should we not assume mental illness?

It's certainly common. The Apostle Paul saw himself, like only Jesus and Jeremiah, called from the womb.

If that was not good enough, others made up his Damascus Road story where we have three different versions of what happened and none of them agree.

Paul even said he was wisked to the third heaven...hey Dave, Gerald, Bill, Ron..are you listening? It's a great ploy. Funny how Paul said that while he took the trip, he was not allowed to tell anyone what he saw. Kinda like Dave telling us big things are in store, but he can't quite reveal them at this time. It's bullshit of course.

Gerald see's himself as That Prophet.

Dave sees himself in the scriptures as at first a watcher, then and apostle, then an angel and the Joshua. This is also bullshit.

Ron sees he and the Mrs as the Two Witnesses. Dave would disagree as they must come from him under his training. This is also cowpoop.

Mr Dankenbring is now the only apostle in the only church...cowpoop too.

At least Mr. Meredith has the common sense to be merely the presiding evangelist which would imply he knows the time for replacement will come. Good on him.

Of course HWA was the Elijah to come, or Zur..Zer...well you know..the Z guy.

What a strange virus these men pass on to each other and those who follow them. I actually would love to know the mindset of those that do follow them and listen to the cowpie slinging at every sermon.

Ron Weinland is a terrible speaker.
Dave Pack takes hours to lead you to his foregone conclusions
Bill Dankenbring loves fake Tsunami wave pics for effect
Don Billingsley loves bold red annoying single spaced writing.

And Art Mokarrow writes a "commentary" in the Journal for the entire book of Hebrews giving each chapter two sentences. Wow...the depth is stunning.

After all these years, WCG and all it's crackups still have us intrigued to where we can't let go. I guess we gotta know how it all ends...

Coco Joe said...

"...the church document says that proof of a man's covenant with God is how they "submit to God's chosen man ... We are blessed to our spiritual father through whom this principle is being restored."

Principle (or truth) being restored?

Submission to God's chosen man?

Those two things sound awfully familiar to me.

Can somebody say "Herbert"?

Paco said...

Dennis said,

"After all these years, WCG and all it's crackups still have us intrigued to where we can't let go. I guess we gotta know how it all ends..."

It ends with each of them (and us) dying our separate deaths and signing off forevermore.

Anonymous said...

Re “Well, the divine inspiration of Genesis is self-evident!”

One of the things that caused me to lose my faith in faith was rereading the creation story in genesis and realizing the order of events just didn't add up. Things like there being light before the sun and moon were created.

I realized then that it had to be either fable or an indication that god was really not very capable, even his story telling was so flawed that even a young child could read it and say, hey, that just doesn't add up.

Self evident? Divine? Hardly.

Anonymous said...

"Of course HWA was the Elijah to come, or Zur..Zer...well you know..the Z guy."


Holy Feck whyyyyyyy do I remember these things??????? WHHHHHYYYYYY???

I'm a Little Teacup said...

What a great sermon it would be if Dave Pack would spend four hours in a sermon coming to the conclusion he was only a guy named Dave Pack!

I'm Just a Man said... said...

sigh...however he came to the conclusion his last name means "Passover" "Isn't that interesting brethren..." sigh again.....

Actually it means "to close up shop and leave," "to close down," to get your stuff together and depart." We could hope.

Anonymous said...

I was reading the "NZ Herald" for the day,at my favourite coffee spot,and up pops Brian Tamaki in more than one location.

He gets far more press than he deserves.

And he was given more than adequate cover on the "NZ Herald's website,

Like Gavin, I am not a fan of Garth George,either, but he does have his uses.

Tamaki's crowd are Looney Tunes stuff.On Newstalkzb last night,Destiny dominated 4 hours of solid talklback.All sorts of people came out of the woodwork...3 of Brian's covenanted sons, and believers of every kind.

We thought Worldwide was dippy but Destiny takes the cake.Admittedly,Destiny has reformed hundreds of ne'er-do-wells and "socially deprived' which then gives them some sort of "allegiance" to Brian.

And as for the ex-Worldwiders who now attend Destiny,you wonder about their cognitive processes or rather lack of them.Some people like being led around by the nose like a prize bull at an agricultural show.

Brian was once interviewed on a morning TV chat show by Mary Lambie and she made a comment about his upmarket gear."Ah,but the Lord has blessed me" was his reply.Take away the scam of tithes and Brian would be like Paul,having to work fulltime for a living.But,then again,Destiny is more of a business than a church.Tamaki comes from a family of entrepreneurs.I pity the poor saps who do obeisance to him.

The cartoon in yesterday's "NZ Herald" shows a parade of black-suited,goose-stepping adherents marching in line,with Brian waving to them.His wife,Hannah,herself a pastor,told Brian that he should be saluting instead.


Den said...

Paco noted:

"It ends with each of them (and us) dying our separate deaths and signing off forevermore.

What do you want to bet your last words are "and goodbye friends"


Jethro said...

As it is with animals, so it is with humans: some are the hunted, some are the hunters. Most of us just want to live our lives in peace and not be a bother to other people. But other people are predatory: they crave power and riches and they will use fear, guilt, discontent, etc., to take advantage and get subservience and money out of other people. It happens in politics, it happens in business, it happens in religion, it happens in all areas of life. Sometimes the predators are so bold that they cross the line into criminality; all too often, though, their predation is perfectly legal and done in the name of political expediency, free enterprise, or freedom of religion. Caveat emptor.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Dennis said, "Gerald see's himself as That Prophet".

MY COMMENT - When the Bible refers to "That Prophet", is it refering to that prophet like Bill Clinton when he said, "I did not have sex with That Woman?"


Dionysius of Greenville said...

I look into the scriptures and tend to see myself as "the adversary", "the lightbringer" Since I get up early ..."Son of the Morning Star" fits too.

Jesus is also called "the son of the morning star" in Revelation, and since the morning star is the SUN, seems Jesus, Satan and myself are brothers and dad is the SUN-God

Since this is true, I would like you all to "Send it in." I'd like to build a TV studio, a college, an auditorium and of course, a nice home on the golf course. I don't play golf but I need my space to come up with even more stuff to amaze the brethren with.

My name does not mean "Passover" but it does come from Dionysius, the god of revelry and wine. Wine gives me a headache and I don't revel too much but since God calls things as they are, I can't shed the name easily. I'd rather have a "Strong Arm" be "A Weaver" but it's not to be.

If need be, I can pick up a few more impressive degrees from Namibia or Uzbekistan or even U-bet-U-believeit. Since the Mayan thing is overdone now, I will use the entrails from Somali goats to show unto the brethren things which must shortly come to pass.

My magazine of prophecy unveiled at last will be "The Goats of Somalia-They Won't Have the Guts To Say This Twice, so listen America." A little long, but catchy. Iexpect it will be known as "The Gut Honest Truth" in time.

Since I am the adversary, lightbringer etc...the goat is appropriate.

Well, if I have over looked anything, your input is always appreciated. If I don't like it, I can just disfellowship you.

Seamless said...

There once was a guy named Dave
Whose pronouncements became all the rave
To a small group of clones
Oh leave us alone
Like HWA, Dave will cave.

There once was a guy named Flurry
That Prophet he became in a hurry
To a small group of fearful
Leaving many quite tearful
Like HWA, him shall they burry

There once was a guy named Ron
One Witness was he with mom
To a small group of brain dead
He got deep into their heads
Like HWA, he too shall be gone
(Tick tick...I love that)

There once was a guy named Gavin
Who God sent himself from Haven
To a large group of good folks
Giving COG's those good pokes
A good time by all we be havin'

For if in this life we can't look back
And see that our brains once were so cracked
By religion gone bad
Guess it's all that we had
But now wisdom in these things we don't lack.

Blather on Dude said...

Been listening to Ron Weinland give his sermon. The man simply can't speak about specifics. He has no theological background and just blathers. He rambles and generalizes, hems and haws and comments on his own comments. This guy is wasting money traveling big time.

I would have expected more of the two endtime witnesses. I can't imagine the man uses notes or researches anything he says.


Anonymous said...

Ron Weinland is like the Oracle of Delphi.

"Prophetic" utterances are couched in ambiguous language.


Anonymous said...

"Been listening to Ron Weinland give his sermon."

See that's your mistake right there.