|William & Margie Hinson|
I know Robinson was by no means without fault. I know the book had to be extensively rewritten before publication to remove virulent antisemitic comments. Knowing that doesn't invalidate his whistleblowing. Robinson was a senior minister in the WCG, and we can be grateful he decided to blow its cover. Marion McNair was one of Herbert Armstrong's evangelists. Again, not a man without fault, but though he wrote several years earlier, it was the same basic story.
There was a third exposé; William Hinson's Broadway to Armageddon (also 1977). This was more difficult to acquire, and I eventually gave up. It wasn't as though more dirt was needed to demonstrate the rottenness at the heart of WCG. When David Barrett was writing The Fragmentation of a Sect he had trouble hunting down a copy and asked if I had one (as I'm sure he also asked others). The 14-page list of references to his study includes both Robinson and McNair, but not Hinson.
Fast forward thirty-five years, and I've had a chance to read Hinson at last. I didn't think I could be shocked all over again, but I am.
It's not a well-written book. Hinson was no wordsmith nor, despite acquiring ministerial credentials, a particularly well-educated man. I skimmed the first few chapters, though not without a growing sense of horror as to the way things were through to the mid-1970s. If the writing is a bit rough, it also conveys the rawness of life in a sect that was, without doubt, abusive in the extreme. D&R and healing in particular.
But it's the supplementary material that is a real eye-opener. The exit letters from ministers, the leaked papers, the adultery, the deception.
We have Bill Hohman to thank for making all three books - Robinson, McNair and Hinson - available for downloading in PDF format. I stumbled on Bill's Facebook page while updating the links on AW. If you have a FB account you can avail yourself of this trip back in time. Not a particularly pleasant journey, but one that might help with closure by putting those missing pieces from times past in place.
William Hinson's book is truly a most horrifying book. Truly shocking.
First I must say Ambassador Watch has returned with a bang! I am most delighted at your frequent updates as well as the high quality nature of them Ambassador Watch has regained its place as a primary and highly informed source on Armstrongism Gary, Gavin is coming for your number one position ! Watch out! Reading about Hinson's book as well as your comments about the effect Dave Robinson's book had on you reminded me of that Monday night in 1977--I remember it as vividly as yesterday-- when I first read The Broadway to Armageddon I had been frequenting a seminary library to keep up with my theological and philosophical studies particularly the journals and had learned of the publication of Hinson's book I asked an American professor there who had to go back home for a visit to pick up a copy for me I remember it was a Minday when he brought me the book I was emotionally devastated when I read it I literally never slept a wink that night,experiencing an intensity of depression I had never experienced before It was like my world had turned upside down Sure I had read of the corruption and gross immorality of the Armstrongs before I had read that March1974 article in Time magazine Trouble in the Empire which reported on the Great Rebellion led by Westby and Carrozo But nothing prepared me for what I read in Hinson's book It was after reading that book that I was forced to begin an intense period of trying to reconcile my belief that I had found the true church with the fact of the gross immorality and abuse among its leadership I subsequently read John Tuit and David Robinson's books as well as every issue of Ambassador Report and then later Marion Mcnair's book which I could not find for a long time before the link you mentioned Today I have every book written by former members ,ministers and independent scholars including Joseph Martin Hopkins Armstrong Empire and David Barrett's Fragmentation of a Sect I also gave some doctoral theses done on the movement Why then have I not rejected all Hwa taught simply because he was corrupt and authoritarian? And no I don't receive a salary as a minister and have a thriving career as a journalist in television, radio and newspaper so I have no need for financial support or am desperately seeking an audience Perhaps one day I will explain why unlike you I have not rejected rejected Armstrongism titally but embrace Refirmed Armstrongism. Ian Boyne
Pardon my typos I meant "totally" and "reformed" Armstrongism Do ignore any other typos Don't simply assign them to "the illiteracy of the typical Armstrongite" Lol Ian Boyne
I beg your pardon I meant I have(not "gave") some doctoral theses John Buchner from Australia has done an excellent one and my former WCG pastor who was Caribbean Regional Director and who got his doctorate from the famed Evangelical Fuller Seminar in Pasadena has also done one Plus, Paul Benware's book Ambassadors of Armstrongism is based on his doctoral thesis A really engrossing work is Greg Doudna's book based on his Big Sandy years Greg is now an accredited Biblical scholar We have really attracted some very fine minds like Lester Grabbe, George Geis, Robert Kuhn ,James Tabor, Phillip Arnold, Gunnar Freibergs,Wayne Antion,Orlin Grabbe and John Trechak ,among others I regret deeply that through the Armstrongs corruption, immorality and abuse as well as our pathetic anti-intellectualism, fanaticism and obscurantism, we did not manage to keep them Today the Armstrong movement is largely an intellectual wasteland Ian Boyne
I've never competed with Gavin. I am glad to see him back with a bang! Gary
Glad you appreciated my jiving,Gary But we all know you are hard to beat as a source of information For me as a journalist and a news hound, I welcome the liveliness if the market! And I continue to be impressed with the effort you guys put out Of course ,as a current Armstrongite this is not an endorsement ---as I am ,indeed ,conflicted;appreciating your information gathering prowess but not unmindful of its influence in turning people away from some doctrines I still believe are true But isn't that what life is like anyway? I have learnt to live with paradox ,which is quite unArmstrongite! Ian Boyne
LOL. Nope, Gary has nothing to be worried about. He has excellent sources and as I said at the outset of this relaunch, I'll be happy just to tag along as part of the chorus. Now I'm not working full-time the stress levels are back in the green zone and it felt like time to do something like this, but in a more relaxed way than before.
Ian I'd really like to hear your explanation of 'reformed Armstrongism' and how you still find it meaningful.
Some folks have a point when they say that corruption is a completely different issue from a basic system of beliefs. However, over the years, many of the ministers in the Armstrong movement have called the doctrinal package "the truth" or "God's True Church" and have used that to authenticate their prophecy package. As in "Brethren, God would not reveal His end time prophecies to someone who didn't keep the sabbath and holy days, or know the "truth" about tithing and unclean meats!" Normally, the lack of fulfillment of their prophecies would logically also invalidate the doctrines by their same reasoning, however, they say the prophecies have not failed, they have just been postponed for "reasons we do not yet understand but they could begin to be fulfilled in the next 3-5 years". And, the people thrive on that. But, then there is the whole science of genetics, (which really was in its infancy during HWA's life) among other factors, which make the theory of British Israelism simply not possible.
Really, "reforming" Armstrongism would probably take it in a direction where it resembled Seventh Day Adventism, or the Messianic Jewish movement. Dump British Israelism, dump any pretences of actually understanding so-called end times prophecy, and just keep picked and chosen Old Covenant oracles. The hard core conservative stalwarts of the movement have proven over the past twenty odd years that they just won't tolerate such logic, or changes. They believe that HWA was a quasi-Biblical figure, and they believe that keeping the faith entails sticking religiously to his supposed 18 restored truths.
Ian, the offer still stands that I would post your ideas on what "reformed Armstrongism" means to you. Personal stories carry far more weight and create lively discussions than reporting on the whack-a-doodles in leadership positions in the various COG's. Gary
I suggest that the "Trilogy" of books mentioned here be coalesced into a movie script and offered to Hollywood. It may have to be toned down to be able to have the movie receive an "R" rating though!
I am challenged for time, Gary, but you have been so gracious to me in our interactions that I think I owe it to you, as well as to Gavin, to at least outline my version of Reformed Armstrongism. You and Gavin, as critics of our movement, are clearly not highly favored among us , yet I have had the most amiable and affable discourse with both of you. I thank you, Gary, for the time you have taken to correspond with me personally, sharing your journey and telling me about your current engagements, which I find absolutely fascinating -- and surprising.
I think our example of civil--indeed, hospitable-- discourse should be instructive to belligerents on both sides. Ian Boyne
"Reformed Armstrongism" means transitioning from sending tithes to receiving tithes. Comes in real handy in Jamaica where cost of living, electricity, internet are expensive.
I'm glad Bill Hohman has made the three books available to the masses now! I had my own hard copies of them since clear back in the early 80s. And I'm not sure where I got the PDF versions, but I've had them on my harddrive since 2010.
Like you, I found the Hinson book to be amateurish...but heart rending. More gut wrenching than the other two, which were more matter of fact. Hinson made it very, very personal, from the point of view of someone way out in the boonies rather than from a high-up insider. That gave his anecdotal stories of what it was like as a peon real impact.
I think I had some of the very last "fresh" copies of Tangled Web ever available...the main site that had provided them for purchase got down to only five copies over a decade ago, and I bought all of those up so I could loan them out if requested. I had my own original HIGHLY underlined and personally footnoted paperback copy that was pretty raggedy by then. So I kept an extra one out of the fresh copies and eventually gave the others away to desperate people.
Minimalist exemplifies that same attitude of speaking pass each other which characterizes a dialogue of the deaf Which is a conversation stopper I made it absolutely clear that I receive no salary as is the case generally with CGI ministers Which he would have known had he done his research i(if I get the gender right)But despite my declaration,his addictive cynicism forces him to dismiss my reformed Armstrongism as simply moving from giving tithes to receiving them Is Armstrongism so difficult to critique without employing straw man arguments and ridicule? Ian Boyne
In the interest of transparency,
where can we see Mr Boyne's full pecuniary declaration?
Waiting, but still no link for a Full Balance Sheet of CGI-Jamaica accounting.
In a more recent post , Ian Boyne claims to not make a salary as a CGI minister. Most of the ministry in CGI are unpaid.
Then is the collected money exported to Texas or kept locally?
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