Sunday, May 31, 2009

HWA's Attitude to Leaders and their Followers

In my reading about the false prophet HWA I can't help but notice a remarkable similarity HWA took in his approach to "preach" to world leaders. HWA assumed that if he preached to the ruler, it is the same as though he preached to the entire nation.

"From the beginning, Mr. Armstrong received astonishing welcomes from kings and presidents, prime ministers and cabinet members, legislators and educators. These summit and near-summit sessions are of overriding importance because, as Mr. Armstrong stated: "When I get Christ's vital message of the Kingdom of god to the king, president, prime minister, and others high in the government of such nations, I have, in God's sight, gotten His message to that nation or Kingdom." (Outsider's Insider Update, Vol. 2, Part 2, quoting Stanley Rader, Against the Gates of Hell, Chapter 9, p. 154. Note: Against the Gates of Hell is hosted by a small Armstrongite church.)

I also recall reading something very similar in Ambassador Report.

This sounds very similar to how HWA approached the leadership of the Church of God (Seventh Day) way back in the 1920s. Once again he assumed that if he tested the leader then the whole church has been tested.

"God’s church, he reasoned, should be willing to confess error and change....His test of the Church of God (Seventh Day) assumed....that a test of a church’s leader would be a sufficient test of the entire church....Apparently it never occurred to him to ask the Church of God to test him. It was the Church of God (Seventh Day), not he, that was on trial." (Ralph G. Orr, How Anglo-Israelism Entered Seventh-day Churches of God: a history of the doctrine from John Wilson to Joseph W. Tkach.)

This is also similar to how HWA would declare that "King" and "Kingdom" are synonymous in the some contexts in the Bible. As HWA wrote in Who is the Beast? referring to Daniel 7, "the word king is synonymous with kingdom". Again the leader is viewed as somehow being one with his followers as also described above.

What are we to make of this blind assumption HWA held that if the king/leader is preached to/tested then all of his following has been preached to/tested as well? This is obviously untrue. What are we to make of this? Does this show that HWA possessed a sick sense of elitism assuming that the 'little people' are all only following their leaders? That they are only automatons following their leaders? That he thought that people are to be judged based on what their leaders did and heard? If so I feel that this is a very disturbing attitude. It is an attitude that shows absolutely no regard for people, only the leaders. This only exposes HWA's complete fixation on power and those who had it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Personal Reminisces and the Robidoux Cult

Here is a little more of my personal story of my encounter with Armstrongism.

When I first encountered Tomorrow's World in early 2000 I only ever read their stuff. This would remain true until I found Bob Thiel's website around 2001. They said on the telecast that they offered a magazine for free. I went to their website and was excited to see that these magazines were online. Nevertheless I got a subscription for their magazine.

I very quickly came to trust them. The moment I began to trust occurred when I read the first magazine they sent me. I had read some of their material before online but this was the first physical copy I was given. In it was an article that convinced me that the church is to observe the seventh day sabbath and not Sunday. Once they convinced me of that point I decided to trust them. I thought I had finally found someone that took the Bible seriously.

It never occurred to me that maybe there were others who understood what they did, it never occurred to me that maybe I should read up on what other people had to say about them. But even if I had thought it I was probably too far gone to respond to such things. Other churches also observe the sabbath but I was mainly unaware of them.

Alas I did not read anything else about LCG's religion until I happened to watch a Dateline report concerning the Ribidoux Cult at Attleboro in late 2000. It was a harrowing tale of how one man came to be caught up into this disturbing cult. It hated medicine so much members were forbidden to wear glasses. (At the time I was completely unaware of the long and shameful history of Armstrongism banning and discouraging medical treatment for its followers.) At one time they declared that the time had come to flee. They went into their cars and told to not bother refueling as God would keep the gas tank full. But the gas ran out. Nothing happened. And they were then told it was just a test. Eventually two infants died, one died at birth and was buried secretly, another died in a most shocking and criminal manner. Some of them went to jail for that.

I watched the story and I was absolutely stunned and flabbergasted to learn that this twisted cult was an offshoot of the Worldwide Church of God. The report did not get into details about WCG but I knew that LCG was an offshoot of WCG. I knew these facts only because of scattered references to HWA and WCG in their recruitment writings. I was very agitated knowing that this cult was linked to LCG. Both LCG and the Attleboro Cult were descended from WCG.

So I took a look on the Internet for information about HWA and WCG. There I was exposed to my first anti-Armstrongism web page. I think that page is no longer online. There I was told that HWA had gone through a scandalous divorce that was drawn out over several years, (the nature of the scandal was left unsaid), that HWA demanded members pay three tithes. I was unaware of the divorce or of the extra two tithes. However this page also said something that I passionately disagreed with so, alas, I chose to ignore it.

Shortly after that I stumbled onto an article by Carl Franklin on the website of Fred Coulter's Christian Biblical Church of God critiquing HWA's doctrine on Church Government (which I did not know). This article blamed some guy named Stanley Rader, (who I did not know at all. LCG never mentions him) for introducing hierarchical government. It also mentioned Meredith and his Church Government booklet made for the Global Church of God. I do not endore Fred Coulter's sect, some reasons why may be seen here.

I was very disturbed by the polemical venom which this article took towards HWA over government. It introduced all these esoteric arguments against government. I was so disturbed by all this that I was unable to go to sleep until sunrise. I was very agitated.

Looking back this was the moment went I could have freed myself from them. But I was too brainwashed already to make the right choice. I decided that the first web page could not have been written by a true Christian so I decided it was best to just ignore it. I decided that Carl Franklin did not make sense and his case was weak, but in reality I did not know what he was talking about. I banished any thought that HWA had a divorce. It was never mentioned in any of the Armstrongite materials I read. I also banished any thought of the Three Tithes away from my mind. LCG never mentioned those in any of the writings I came across, namely their booklets and magazine.

About a year later I came across Bob Thiel's website and there I discovered that, yes indeed, LCG did have three tithes. Later I discovered Pabco's Home Page and read the Autobiography of HWA and in Chapter 81, lo and behold, I discovered HWA had married another woman. But none of the other Armstrongite literature I read ever mentioned her aside from this and absolutely none of them ever mentioned that there was a divorce. I think the only reason they mentioned her was to explain her prescence when she saved HWA's life after he had his heart attack in 1978. Nevertheless I was even more brainwashed by now and so I just ignored these things and continued to place my confidence and trust in LCG.

Because I made the wrong decision I would continue to be a brainwashed slave of Armstrongism until 2008 when I finally decided to seriously look at what the other side was saying. I ran into Ambassador Report. I read this article on the many false prophecies HWA made.

I was aware of these false prophecies but I had convinced myself that they were not real prophesies, the LCG leadership implied that it was not a matter not worth thinking about, and therefore, I thought 1975 did not prove that HWA or LCG were wrong.

But that article began with a piece of Scripture that I could not deny. ""When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:22)".

The moment I saw that scripture it hit me in the gut that this religion was all just a fraud. I had been tricked. It came into my mind that John Ogwyn had written in the prophetic chart in The Beast of Revelation that God's Church understood what was going on concerning World War II. ""One IS" (Revelation 17:10)-understood by God's Church in end time". I understood that statement as saying that "God's Church" understood that Mussolini was the Sixth Head at the time. However HWA's World War II prophesies completely failed.

Since I had read those early issues of the Plain Truth myself I said to myself, "No. HWA did not know what was going on during World War II at all. LCG does not know what is going on. They have no understanding." I remembered a picture in page 504 of the Picture Bible of Jeremiah confidently predicting that Jerusalem would fall when it seemed that such would not be the case. I recalled that HWA said that the USA would fall to Hitler. One man was right. The other was wrong. HWA was a false prophet.

Reading Ambassador Report I was finally able to see the truth that HWA did indeed remarry and had a most bitter divorce. The divorce is never mentioned in Armstrongite recruitment literature. It is not mentioned in LCG's Church History book, or in Raising the Ruins. The COGs have banished Ramona Martin into the memory hole. They act as though she did not exist. This exposes how much love of the truth those Armstrongite organizations truly have. It is amazing how they never mention that. The marriage was reported in the April 25, 1977, Worldwide News.

For anyone who would like to read more about the Robidoux Cult here are some links:
I only discovered what this group was thanks to a letter from ESN dated May 27 who has moved from Armstrongism. Until then no one I read mentioned them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Locher's Linked In

Remember Andrew Locher's famous sermon denouncing social networking sites? Especially Facebook. I have added an update to my post about the PCG Facebook Sermon.

"According to a letter dated May 22 someone has discovered that Andrew Locher seems to have a profile on Linked In. I have seen it for myself. Just search for Andrew Locher and you will see the profile in question. This profile also recommends Peter Fraser. There is one Peter Fraser who is a minister for PCG and his picture may be seen here, bottom right.)"

Monday, May 25, 2009

PCG Says Christ Will "Probably" Return "within a Decade" (2019)

I cannot believe this. I honestly cannot. Clearly PCG has learned absolutely nothing from 1936, 1975 or when HWA proclaimed that Christ would return by 2005 in Mystery of the Ages (which PCG may have removed). They have learned absolutely nothing.

The latest Philadelphia Trumpet (July 2009) has this headline on the cover, "Major News Sources: Will Christ Ever Return?" PCG's answer? "Yes He will. And probably within a decade."

PCG has set a date. They have placed a "probably" qualifier, but this is still setting a date. If Christ does not return by 2019 then it will be proven that PCG's "probably" statement was completely, totally wrong.

This headline refers to the issue's editorial which contains many typical fear inducing writings which the false prophets of Armstrongism have been spreading around in vain over seventy years.

So now we see that PCG has set a date. No doubt that "probably" will be used as a scapegoat when this turns out badly for them. "Oh, we didn't really meant it," they will say. Really?

This statement coincides with a similar statement Gerald Flurry made last year implying that the Great Tribulation will, he believes, "in five years or less."

We will remember this, PCG. We will not forget this.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Was the Founding of Ambassador College a Unique Experience?

Before I start this post I would like to comment that Dr. Rolf K. McPherson has died. I would like to send my condolences to his loved ones. I would also wish to send my condolences to those affected by the passing away of Dr. Ralph Winter.

Dr. Rolf K. McPherson was the son of Aimee Semple McPherson. Herbert W. Armstrong alleged in his Autobiography that he attended at least one of her evangelistic meetings, and that at one of these he met a man that he (allegedly) healed, but ever so conveniently he disappeared from his life. Bill Hohmann presents some intriguing information that suggest that HWA's story could not have happened.

And now onto the main post.

Remember how Herbert Armstrong constantly boasted about how unique his situation was when he founded Ambassador College?

Here are just some examples. This is from Chapter 58 of his Autobiography: "And that autumn [1949], for the first time, we had a real student residence on the campus. Yes, the college was growing up! To officials of any other college or university it would have seemed still to be smaller than almost any college had ever been. But to us, with only four the first year, and only an even dozen students the third year, the twenty-two -- with, at last, six girl students -- seemed like we were becoming a real college! "

This is from Chapter 60 (Emphasis mine): "Was I crazy to start a liberal arts coeducational college? There was no fund of several million dollars for such a project. There was no fund of even several hundred dollars. For this purpose, there was no fund -- period! At all!...
"There was no endowment. There was no sponsoring philanthropist. There was opposition. There were obstacles. They piled up mountain high. There were problems, seemingly unsolvable.... [John Kiesz, a COG7 minister who was close to HWA till 1945, commented that HWA had a persecution complex, and we are seeing some of that here. As though he had any right to feel persecuted.]
"Here we had no visible source of income. [What about the co-workers and the tithe payers?] No one owed us anything. We had no accounts receivable. We were on the giving end, with no assurance except faith there would be anything to give.
"You might try this experiment. Go interview one hundred college or university presidents. Briefly state the circumstances given above. Ask each what he would think of any man who would attempt to found a new college -- especially a man who was devoid of any experience whatsoever as an educator -- under those conditions. I'm quite sure every appraisal -- if each college president did not call you a fool for even asking such a question -- would be that such a man would be either an idiot, a fool, or insane."
Note that part about HWA having no funding.

Sounds very impressive, doesn't it? This sounds like a remarkable account of perseverance against adversity. HWA gives the impression that this was a uniquely difficult adversity that he ever so heroically overcame.

However this tale sounds a whole lot less impressive once we realize that very similar things occur eksewhere. Look at this story which is quite similar to HWA's story.

"In 1976, Dr. [Ralph] Winter walked away from a tenured position at Fuller Seminary to found the [United States Center for World Mission] and William Carey International University. He and his wife, Roberta, and their four daughters knew it was a step of faith. “They had no funding or backing to begin a ministry and purchase a college campus three miles away,” Parsons notes." (Mark Ellis, ASSIST NEWS, May 21, 2009, Prominent Missiologist Dr. Ralph Winter is with Jesus. Emphasis mine.)

In Dr. Ralph Winter's autobiography he writes the following: "Suffice it to say we started without backers, no denomination, not even a single congregation, no mailing list, and only
about $100 in cash. It would seem that if we went from that to a $40 million dollar set of properties that are free and clear this would be a fascinating, almost unbelievable story."

Today that college is still with us today. This sounds just like what HWA said. So now we see that HWA's adversity is not unique.

Actually there was nothing miraculous about HWA's founding of Ambassador College. HWA did have a fund, the tithes of his followers and the donations of his co-workers. Also, as Pam Dewey details here, HWA bullied his followers through his co-worker letters, into giving up as much of their money as they could, in order to solve his ever present alleged (and ever so convenient) financial crises that never ended.

Also unlike HWA I am unaware of Dr. Ralph Winter having a fear inducing radio/TV program to draw in followers. Also he was a missionary in Guatemala for ten years (1956-66). This is a far braver deed than any that HWA, who lived in the lap of stolen luxury, ever did.

So the question must be asked what is so special about HWA and his Ambassador College?

Once again HWA is shown to be merely hyping up what really happened and shamelessly applying his own self serving spin on what actually happened.

There is nothing remarkable about the founding of Ambassador College. It was not a unique experience. It is simply a foundation myth.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Unveiling of Malachi's Message

Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God's was founded in 1989. He had just been fired for making a book critical of WCG, Malachi's Message. PCG teach that it is the Little Book of Revelation 10.

One thing I find interesting is how his family took it when they were first told of Malachi's Message. Let us see what we can discover.

Here is how Stephen Flurry reacted when his father first showed him Malachi's Message according to this remarkable testimony (Emphasis mine):

"We had a nice conversation [with Stephen Flurry], but Dale was very unhappy at PCG and he wanted some straight answers, so he was very direct with Stephen and asked him what his first thought was when his dad had told him he was "a prophet" and that Malachi's Message was the "Little Book"? Stephen said that he had come home from Ambassador College for a break when his dad asked him to read it (the book was still unfinished at the time). His dad stood and watched over his shoulder while he read it, waiting for a reaction. Stephen said his initial thought was that his dad was crazy. He said his dad kept asking him what he thought. If it was really God's divine revelation (revealed by a "mighty angel" [as Gerald Flurry alleged in this article in September-October, 1992 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet, p. 8, third column, fourth paragraph. The page itself may be seen here.]), would you ask your son what he thought of the book so far? We never saw or talked to Stephen or his wife after this 1998 lunch conversation. (In 1986 WCG printed a camp newspaper as a souvenir for the campers. They printed our pictures and our addresses and the Flurrys later used these addresses to mail the original Malachi's Message books to.)"

Gerald Flurry's desperation to hear what his son thought of Malachi's Message is corroborated by Stephen Flurry's own account of his first encounter with it. Of course, for obvious reasons, this book gives no indication that Stephen Flurry thought he was crazy, but it does confirm Gerald Flurry's nervousness at his son's possible reaction. This may be seen in Raising the Ruins, Chapter 13, heading "My Dad's Initial Feedback":

"I put off reading it [Malachi's Message] until Sunday morning, two days later. We had planned to head back home that afternoon. As I read, I could tell my dad was anxiously awaiting any kind of feedback. He was very fidgety—constantly in and out of the cabin, trying to “keep busy” while I took the time to read.

"I got through about half of it before we had to gather our things to leave. “So, what do you think?” he asked when I stopped reading. “Well, that definitely will get you fired,” I responded."

It must also be noted that this book never reveals PCG's teaching that Malachi's Message is the Little Book.

On another matter here is the official account of how the late Barbara Flurry, wife of Gerald Flurry, first came to accept Malachi's Message as reported in the November-December, 2004 Philadelphia News, p. 8, or p. 16 in the PDF download.

"This excitement for grasping new truth was shown when she proved Malachi's Message for herself in 1989. Mr. Flurry didn't tell his wife much about Malachi's Message at first. Now he was getting a new and radically different perspective. He had taught her to always look to headquarters and stay with the WCG. In the beginning his wife was not receptive. Whenever he would talk about the problems in the WCG, she would change the subject to avoid thinking about it. Plus, Mr. Flurry didn't think events would happen as quickly as they did.

[As was related in a previous post Gerald Flurry originally planned to unveil Malachi's Message in January 1991 in order to coincide with "the Work's" 19 year time cycles (1934-1953-1972-1991). These are the same time cycles that produced the 1972/1975 Disappointment.]

"After he was fired from the PCG, [Sic. This is obviously just a misprint.] their son, Stephen Flurry, said his mother was shocked and didn't really know what to think, but "after a few days, she was with it.""

Of course these testimonials only serve to hide the fact that Gerald Flurry plagiarized the writings of Jules Dervaes when producing Malachi's Message as may be seen here, here. His interpretation that WCG has entered the Laodicean era may be seen in his second letter. It was delivered on February 11, 1987, long before Gerald Flurry started to write Malachi's Message. It was later delivered to 237 WCG ministers including Gerald Flurry. No mighty angel necessary.

Also it appears that Gerald Flurry did not know that Malachi's Message was the Little Book until at least 1991 since in page 3 of the February 1991 Philadelphia Trumpet Gerald Flurry wrote that "The little book is the Bible." This may be seen in the center column, paragraph 1. More information on this topic may be seen here.

And so that is what may be made known concerning the Flurys initial reaction to the unveiling of Malachi's Message.

More on Raising the Ruins may be read here.

More PCG Numerology

Here's some more numerology from Stephen Flurry's book length recruitment pamphlet Raising the Ruins that I forgot to mention previously. Some of my thoughts on this book may be seen here.

This comes from Chapter 19, Part 1, heading Oral Arguments, describing the oral argument against WCG in 1999:
My father [Gerald Flurry], Dennis Leap and I arrived at Burbank Airport Sunday night, December 5 [1999]. We stayed at the Pasadena Holiday Inn. As it happens, it was the same hotel my dad and John Amos had stayed in 10 years earlier, the night they were fired [which spurred the creation of PCG]. (We checked out of the hotel on December 7, the same day they had checked in a decade earlier.)
Note how they use the "pagan" Roman calender and not "God's Sacred Calendar" here. And why is 10 important all of a sudden? That number is rarely used in COG numerology. This shows that they are willing to devise any highly artificial numerology to bolster their power. It is was such numerology that gave us the 1972/1975 debacle which proved HWA to be a false prophet. PCG follows a false prophet.

"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:20-22.)

More on Raising the Ruins may be read here.

2520 Years

Well its been awhile since I last blogged.

Remember how HWA kept telling us that the Israelites would be denied their birthright for 2520 years as part of their punishment? Well, as mentioned before HWA actually stole this idea.

The 2520 year doctrine was originally devised by one John Aquila Brown in 1823 and he dated the end of this 2520 year period at 1917.

This idea would later be adapted by William Miller to support his 1844 prophecy, as is related here.

Later Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, would use this doctrine, adapted to his own ends, to say that Armageddon would occur in 1914, as is seen here. He did not believe that it was merely the beginning of the Time of the End as the Watchtower Society now teach.

HWA simply changed the start of these 2520 years to the fall of the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC. That means it ends in 1800 and he then asserted that this represents the beginning of "Israel's" greatness and then made us think that this was a wondrous and unique discovery that had been hidden all these many years. When really he just stole an idea long present in Adventist circles.

What a liar.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The God Family

How well I remember when I first leaned of the God Family doctrine. I read LCG's booklet on the subject on the night of December 31, 2000-January 1, 2001, often considered the real beginning of our present Millennium. I had been reading their material since around March but it was only now I comprehended their belief concerning the state of the saved, that we are destined to become as fully God as God is God. At the end of that booklet, Your Ultimate Destiny, Meredith said to look at the stars at night and thank God he has given it all for you.
So go out under the stars some clear night—try counting as many stars as you can see and think of the billions of stars scattered across the vast universe which you cannot see—and then meditate on this awe-inspiring purpose for your life and thank God for it! Then, get down on your knees and begin to zealously do your part to make it all possible!
What a fabulous promise that "God's Church" offers to those who will accept them.

A part of the cult of personality of Roderick C. Meredith, which I have discussed before, is the emphasis placed on the fact that he was there when "God's Church" discovered the God Family doctrine.

This assertion may be seen in their "Church History" booklet God's Church Through the Ages:
However, in modern times, it was not until the spring of 1953 that Mr. Armstrong and the other ministers began to develop a clear understanding of the biblical teaching that God is a divine Family into which converted human beings will be born at the resurrection. At first, they attempted to prove this understanding false, from the Bible. Instead, they found this vital truth reaffirmed throughout God’s Word. Though this understanding was the clear implication of much that had previously been taught, Mr. Armstrong and the others found it challenging to accept this simple—yet profoundly important and overwhelming—truth. This key teaching of Scripture—that we can be born into the Family of God—is perhaps the single greatest truth that God restored, through Mr. Armstrong, to the Church of God.
A more detailed account of this moment may be seen in Roderick C. Meredith's January 16, 2005 Co-worker letter.
At this special time, thinking back on the inspiring life and service of Herbert W. Armstrong, I cannot help but remember the late spring of 1953 when I sat in the graduate class under his immediate guidance. For right in front of our eyes, Mr. Armstrong began to postulate and finally to fully understand the awesome purpose for human life.
In a sermon I heard Meredith said that HWA one day approached his students and used Genesis 1:26: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness". HWA used this verse to suggest that God is reproducing himself. Now this scripture refers to the act of the creation of Adam at that moment. To stretch this out to suggest that this refers to a later act of creation that occurs (6000 years) later seems utterly preposterous.
As far as we know, no other man and no other church in modern times has grasped the fact that the great God of creation is in the process of making true Christians His full sons!
How can he say that? What about the Mormons? Or are they excluded because they first started that doctrine before "modern times"? The Mormons also teach a similar doctrine saying that believers will become God beings. They have been teaching this since at least 1844. Because of this fact it is often asserted that HWA plagiarized the God Family doctrine from them.
God is making those who are fully surrendered to Him into a Kingdom and Family of Spirit Beings who are totally capable of ruling this world and teaching all humans the entire way of God!
He then uses various verses in John 17 to try and support the God Family doctrine as is often done in Armstrongism. After that he writes the following:
As I sat there with Mr. Armstrong and with Herman Hoeh, Raymond Cole, Richard David Armstrong, Kenneth Herrmann and my uncle, Dr. C. Paul Meredith, I began to realize that Jesus Christ was indeed inspiring our discussion and revealing to us a transcendent truth of tremendous significance. Over several weeks of discussion, Mr. Armstrong directly asked those of us in this class to challenge him—to disprove him if we could—on this exciting "new" truth that seemed almost "too much" to grasp at first glance. We tried.
Did these Ambassador College students really prove the God Family doctrine? What about these verses here?:
Isaiah 42:8: "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."

Isaiah 43:10: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."

Isaiah 44:6: "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God..."

Isaiah 44:8: "Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any." (From Mike of Mike's Enlightenment Page.)
How can the obvious meaning of these verses be denied?

Meredith continues:
But, as the class continued through that spring of 1953, Herman Hoeh contributed a number of key scriptures and concepts which simply added to the validity of what Mr. Armstrong was beginning to realize. As I was already in earnest preparation for teaching a class on Paul’s epistles, I was able to explain how certain inspiring statements of Paul also added to and amplified this vital understanding. It was an exciting time. In the years since those hearty discussions, it has become increasingly obvious to me that God led His servant, Herbert Armstrong, to a full understanding of one of the most inspiring truths ever revealed to mankind. This revelation by God to Mr. Armstrong—through His Word—was certainly a major highlight of Mr. Armstrong’s life!
This God Family doctrine is nonsense. Mr. Felix Taylor Jr. also shows the scriptural unsoundness of this doctrine in this excellent post.
Here is the nail in the coffin of my belief in the God Family doctrine in my study in 1991. Continuing on page 104 [of The Armstrong Empire by Mr. Joseph Martin Hopkins], "The vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 goes completely against the doctrine that men can become God. The Apostle John describes,
A great voice from the throne saying, "Behond, the dwelling of God is with me. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death sall be no more...for the former things have passed away"(vv.3-4)
Far from being identified with God as God, the redeemed are described as being in fellowship with God while at the same time remaining distinct and seperate beings. Verse seven promise that "He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be HIS GOD and he shall be MY SON"--a flat contradiction of the teaching that the destiny of the faithful is to be God."...
Once again the God Family doctrine has been proven to be scripturally untenable. The Bible does not support it. Mr. Taylor continues:
Another reason why I reject the God Family doctrine is that that [it] produced hierarchial government (and when I speak hierachial, I mean "papal" not "episcopalian" like the Anglicans and Episcopalians have).
If there will be billions of God beings then they will have different levels of authority. I have commented on this elitist tendency within Armstrongism before. As LCG minister Syd Hull once put it, the Church will be the Wife, but those saved afterward are just the children, for Jesus Christ cannot come back to an incomplete wife.

And so the God Family doctrine stands as totally discredited. Why should we believe this unsupportable and elitist doctrine?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Unclean Foods

Douglas Winnail has unleashed another article demonizing "unclean foods".

My heart goes out to all the people who will decide to abandon such foods because of this article.

When I was first hooked onto Armstrongism I vacillated over whether these food laws were in effect today. One day I decided to study the Bible and I came to the conclusion that unclean meats did not apply to Christians today.

But then I read Winnail's earlier article (which is very similar to the "new" article) on this subject and from that point on I steadfastly resisted eating unclean meats until the day I discovered that Armstrongism is a fraud.

Why did I act that way? Because they had won my trust and so when I read this conclusion from Winnail I assumed that they know much more than me so I had better do what they say. "God will be pleased by such things and it will be good for me," I said to myself. This placed a totally unnecessary burden upon my loved ones that I regret.

Today I now see that Armstrongism is not a reliable interpretation of Scripture. Therefore I see no need to follow this practice. I should have followed my first interpretation but I was tricked.

An alternative view on this issue by xHWA may be seen here.

False prophecies and HWA's plagiarism prove that God is not with Armstrongism. We cannot rely on their instructions on this or any other topic. They are in a kingdom of error. We do not need to listen to them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Are Ossetians and Scots Israelites?

Rod King has made an article entitled Who are the Scots? insisting that the Scots and Ossetians have traces of knowledge concerning their Israelite identity.

This only hides the fact that LCG is only teaching British-Israelism, a doctrine that was developed by Richard Brothers in Britain, a man who was sent into a mental asylum.

This article also serves to hide the fact that HWA stole this idea from J. H. Allen. He certainly did not get from the Bible. This appeal to anecdotes do not change the fact that Anglo-Saxons and Celts are not related to the Jews.

We are also not told who made these anecdotes beyond the fact they were made by the "Ossetians", an Icelander taxi driver who identifies Iceland as Benjamin, ignoring the fact that Benjamin are part of the Jews that never got lost.

This article also implies that the Ossetians are Israelites. I have never heard of that idea within the fold of Armstrongism. As far as I know this is an innovation if I am wrong in this matter please tell me so. The Ossetians speak a language related to Persian, and LCG certainly cannot fool themselves that Persians are related to the Jews.

And as for that Declaration of Abroath, even if we assume that that historical account of their origins is true, this would only prove that they came from Scynthia. It is a completely different thing to say that they were Israelites and cannot overturn the genetic evidence against this doctrine.

Also one is struck at how there is no appeal to genetics. If there was genetic proof LCG and all the other Armstrongites would take it up and never let us forget it.

The old, discredited, stale doctrine continues to be taught to new people unaware of this doctrine's severe problems.

Jehovah's Witnesses and the God Family?

(Update September 29, 2014. The link has been updated.)

Herbert W. Armstrong taught that God is a family of divine beings presently composed of the Father and the Son and human beings can be born into this family and become fully God as God is God, though of a lower authority.

It is generally accepted that HWA plagiarized this doctrine from Mormonism which also teaches this pluralistic view of God and also believe that human beings can become God beings. I see no reason to believe otherwise.

But I am not sure what to make of this.

I was reading this page which contained this intriguing quote. The article is discussing some of the various doctrines taught by Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Watchtower Society, which are now no longer believed by the followers of the Watchtower Society. Among these now rejected teachings cited was this:
[C. T. Russell taught] that Christians “are divine beings -- hence all such are Gods, thus we have a family of the resurrection we will rise in our true character as Gods.”... Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1881, pp. 2-3 (Reprints p. 301) [Emphasis in webpage.]
So it would seem that Mormons were not the only other ones to believe in a God Family.

Again I wish to emphasize that the Watchtower Society does not teach this doctrine today. They say only God the Father is God and they do not believe anyone else, not even Jesus, can ever be actual deity worthy of being considered God.

Now personally I am somewhat skeptical that HWA got this idea from Watchtower, but that is just my opinion.

Is there a connection? Did HWA stole the idea from Watchtower and not Mormonism? What do any of you think of this? I find this fact quite fascinating and intriguing. I do not know what to make of it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

HWA and Healing

In his 1952 booklet Does God Heal Today? Herbert W. Armstrong condemned medicine as idolatry. One heading was entitled "Medicine Condemned as Idolatry".
[Under the heading "The Pagan Origin of Medicine"] The Gentile nations had many gods. They had their gods of medicine as well as their gods of war. They had medicine men or doctors. Their method was to go to these human doctors who would use their medicines and their drugs and then they would pray to the god of medicine, and, they believed, the god of medicine would cause these medicines to heal. Now there, my friends, is where medical "Science" (falsely so called) came from. From the heathens....

[Later under the heading "How People Today Misunderstand". The link between medicine and paganism that HWA would have us believe exist is stated quite plainly here.] So many seem to believe we should go to the doctors, then pray for God to cause their medicines to heal. They assume God raised up medical science and blesses it and works thru it. But this is merely the same old Pagan practice of idolatry, tho very few realize it today. Truly all nations have been DECEIVED into practicing Pagan idolatry believing it is true Christianity! For the real Christian who has faith in God there is a better way!
Was there really a better way? Is HWA correct in his understanding of this topic?

Instead of medicine the believers were instructed to trust in God and healing will come. HWA taught that it was always His will to heal (as though the author of over two hundred false prophecies would understand matters such as these).

What was the result-the fruit that this doctrine caused? The Ambassador Report exposed the results--the true fruits--that this doctrine caused. After all Jesus did say,
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7.)
(Jesus was discussing the results of their teachings, not church membership growth as HWA would have us believe.)

What was the fruit?
"So the child is a vegetable and can't move anything except her eyes and is lying there when she could have had a normal life. It's too late. You can't go back and change that. Now, does God lay that at the door of the entire church? Is that Mr. Herbert Armstrong's fault?" (Garner Ted Armstrong, ministerial meeting, March 7, 1974.)

The preceding tragedy occurred after a young couple with a very sick child decided, based on the Worldwide Church of God's teaching and their minister's advice, to abandon confidence in modern medical science and instead "trust in God." The consequences of that decision were, as Garner Ted indicated, not only tragic but quite permanent. Unfortunately, the case is not an isolated one. (John Trechak, "Modern Moloch").
More on this subject may be seen in the linked article. It also reveals how one church article The Origin of Medical Science by Donald G. Wofford which declared that Satan was the pagan god of medicine and condemned vaccines, calling at least some them "monkey pus".

Thus it can be shown that this doctrine has caused increditable suffering and astonishing harm to his followers.

This is no doubt one of the worst abuses that HWA inflicted upon his eternally abused flock.

Where did HWA get this deadly superstition that medicine is idolatrous?

HWA would have us believe that Loma became dreadfully sick and nearly died, but she saved only by divine intervention. This foundation story may be seen in Chapter 18 of his Autobiography. It served to entrench the belief of the uselessness of medicine among his followers. After this story he relates how he studied the doctrine of healing in this manner.
And now came a new subject to study, and new enlightenment. We entered into it with vigor and joy. We searched out everything we could find in the Bible on the subject of physical healing. We discovered that God revealed Himself to ancient Israel, even before they reached Mt. Sinai, under His name "Yahweh-Ropha" which means "The Eternal our Healer," or "Our GOD-HEALER," or, as translated in the Authorized Version, "The LORD that healeth thee."

He revealed Himself as Healer through David: "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who HEALETH all thy diseases" (Psalm 103:3). And again: "Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of food; they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Eternal in their trouble, and ... He sendeth His word, and HEALETH them (Psalm 107:17-20).

Then I made a discovery I had not read in any of the tracts and literature we had been sending for and gathering on this subject. Healing is actually the forgiveness of transgressed physical laws just as salvation comes through forgiveness of transgressed spiritual law. It is the forgiveness of physical SIN. God forgives the physical sin because Jesus PAID THE PENALTY we are suffering IN OUR STEAD. He was beaten with stripes before He was nailed to the cross.
And so HWA taught that since sicknesses are produced by physical sins only God is to be allowed to heal sickness, even though he knew faithful believers could very well die just like his elder son. HWA interpreted the scourging Christ underwent as being taken in order to atone for physical sins. Is that really so?
Referring to the verse in Isaiah 53:5: "...and with his stripes we are healed," the late J. Vernon McGee takes us to I Peter 2:24 which says, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." Then he asks the question, "Healed of what?" He goes on to answer, "Peter makes it quite clear that we are healed of our trespasses and sins." Jesus came to be the Great Healer--but the Great Healer heals of sins. (Vol. 3, p. 314; Vol. 5, p. 695)
Thus it can be seen that HWA's fleshy understanding of healing was in error.

HWA writes in Chapter 18 of his Autobiography that he "made a discovery I had not read in any of the tracts and literature we had been sending for and gathering on this subject." What were these "tracts and literature" that he and Loma were studying? In his 1952 booklet he wrote that "But this [medical science] is merely the same old Pagan practice of idolatry, tho very few realize it today." Who were these "very few"? Did they include others not involved in Armstrongism?

Could they have been sources such as these?
"Readers of The Golden Age know the unpleasant truth about the clergy; they should also know the truth about the medical profession, which sprang from the same demon worshipping shamans (doctor priests) as did the ‘doctors of divinity.’" (Golden Age, Aug. 5, 1931 pp. 727-728)"...

"medicine originated in demonology and spent its time until the last century and a half trying to exorcise demons. During the past half century it has tried to exorcise germs." (Golden Age, Aug. 5, 1931, p. 728) [From Jehovah's Witnesses and Blood - History.]
Just like HWA the Watchtower Society at the time HWA became religious viewed doctors as being derived from paganism and ultimately Satanic. From 1921 the Watchtower Society banned vaccinations. In one 1939 cartoon, which may be seen here, vaccines were labeled as "calf pus", "horse pus", "cat pus", and "dog pus". This is very similar to how vaccines were denounced by WCG as "monkey pus". In the April 16, 1984 issue of Time magazine the following is reported:
Herbert W. Armstrong, leader of the Worldwide Church of God, calls vaccines "monkey pus" and likens the use of physicians to worship of pagan gods.
This "monkey pus" assertion may also be seen in the previously cited Ambassador Report article in connection with Wofford's article.

The Watchtower Society abandoned this vaccination ban in 1952, ironically the same year HWA unleashed his infamous and deadly 'healing' booklet upon his unfortunate followers.

Considering the other links Armstrongism share with the Jehovah's Witnesses it seems highly likely that this is the real source that HWA used to concoct his doctrine of death. So even this doctrine seems to have been plagiarized. He certainly was not the only man of his day to imagine that medicine was somehow wrong. This is yet another "revealed truth" that others were aware before he came onto the scene.

This is a terrible, ghastly ongoing tragedy created by a man who can only be described as evil. Proof that HWA was a false minister of God. We most emphatically do not need to follow his abominations to find God. Let us be free of him and of this false doctrine.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fred Dattolo Goes Up High in PCG

In the May-June 2000 issue of Tomorrow's World there was an article on fatherhood written by one Fred Dattolo. I was quite taken in by this article. Too bad I was unaware that this was a mind control cult that used such "interesting" material to make me dependent on them.

He was a member of WCG. He confided to Associated Press about his reasons for leaving WCG for Roderick C. Meredith's Global Church of God (GCG).
That’s why Fred Dattolo, an accountant at Worldwide until last year, chose Global, the church that most strictly follows Armstrong’s old theology. “The way of life, for me personally, my wife, too, brought us so much understanding, peace and fulfillment,” Dattolo says. “The church was able to explain to me the mysteries of life in a way nobody else could.” (Amazing Grace that Saved the Church, Associated Press, June 14, 1997, hosted at Religion News Blog.)
When GCG disintegrated he chose to side with Meredith's faction and joined Living Church of God. His role may be seen in CESNUR's report of the GCG Split. More on the split may be seen in Ambassador Report 71, February 1999.

Later I came across Bob Theil's website and learned that he left LCG and went to Gerald Flurry's PCG. This is how Carl McNair reported on his defection in the June 1, 2001 weekly update.
I am sorry to report that Mr. Fred Dattolo has resigned as CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and Treasurer of Living Church of God, and decided to join and support the Philadelphia Church of God. Fred concluded his letter of resignation saying, "Therefore, in light of what I have come to believe, I have no other option than to resign from all my positions with Living Church of God. I do this with a heavy heart, knowing that I will miss my co-workers and especially my staff that has made my job such a pleasure. I have enjoyed working with you."
In PCG he seems to have done quite well for himself. He is now a minister for PCG, he has written articles for The Philadelphia Trumpet, has updated the 58 lesson correspondence course (see September 9, 2004 Pastor General's Report, p. 2) .

One member sent him a study critical of PCG's disfellowshipment practices, as LCG apologist Bob Theil reported. This study, Reign of Error, may be read courtesy of PCG Information.

Today he has been entrusted with the donation history of PCG members in Canada. Any requests for such information by PCG ministers in Canada must go through him. "All requests for the donation history of members and [prospective members] in Canada should go to Fred Dattolo only. (PGR, 8/2/08)" See May 9, 2009 letter.

Yes, he seems to have quite well in PCG.

Friday, May 8, 2009

No Time for Movies, HWA

Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that his wife Loma had a dream just a few days after their wedding. HWA would later claim this was a sign that God had called him, but this was unrecognized at the time. This story may be seen in Chapter 10 of his Autobiography. This dream has also attracted outside attention, as this article from the Watchman Expositor shows. This story was first published in the August 1958 Plain Truth, on pages 12 and 18. This was when HWA was teaching that Christ would return in 1975.

In this dream Loma was concerned about her new husband because they often went to movies together. "At that time, we had been going quite regularly to motion-picture theatres. She asked the angel if this were wrong. He replied Christ had important work for us to do, preparing for His coming -- there would be no time for "movies." (Those were the days of the "silent" pictures.)"

So it would appear that HWA would have no time for movies. It must also be remembered that back in 1917 many movies were of short duration. Lasting from ten minutes or a half hour. It was only two years earlier that D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation brought full length movies to the fore. So if there was no time for movies this would include the short movies as well.

I wonder, was this story ever used to make members feel guilty for watching any movies?

Is it true that HWA had no time to watch movies as this angel told Loma?

At the end of his booklet The Plain Truth about Healing, published in 1979, HWA wrote these words (emphasis mine): "After writing the above lines, intending them to be the conclusion, I turned on television for a moment's relaxation. A medical drama was on. In a heated argument between two doctors -- actors taking the part of doctors -- one said to the other, angrily, "You're not a miracle worker -- you're a doctor!" "

So much for having no time for movies.

If this TV "medical drama" was an hour long, or even only a half hour long, this contradicts what this (alleged) Angel said to Loma Armstrong. Maybe the failure of the 1975 prophecy had caused him to relax.

Monday, May 4, 2009

PCG's Facebook Sermon

Some PCG sermons have been released. You can listen to them here. I encourage everyone to download them all before PCG tries to gets them suppressed again.

One sermon that has gained a lot of attention is the sermon given by Andrew Lochner condemning social networking sites like Facebook. His picture may be seen here, top row. Exit and Support Network has released an excellent critique of this sermon.

I listened to it myself. I must say it was quite hard for me to listen to this. He shouts a lot in this sermon.

He throws up all sorts of horror stories of social networking sites. While these horror stories do exist, to restrict PCG members access to social network sites for these reasons make as much sense as saying you should not get in a car because you might get into a car crash. These stories are used to frighten people.

My heart just aches at the thought of some parent, who does not understand how social networking sites works, taking all these horror stories in and thinks that they are just evil, foul and disgusting. He will make his children cut themselves off from their beloved friends.

He thinks he is doing the right thing, protecting his children from "Satan's World". He does not understand that he heard only horror stories. These things are comparatively rare. He does not understand that he is being used by those above him to insure that his children are under PCG's information control.

What really horrified me was that the complaints of PCG members keeping in touch with those who left, or at least keeping them as Facebook friends. This is an encouraging sign that some are not willing to just mindlessly follow what they are told. This shows that they really have a true unconditional friendship that truly means something to them.

And PCG just wants to kill it off.

How shameful.

Andrew Locher, vilifies those who are trying to keep in contact with suspended/disfellowshipped friends.

"They [the disfellowshipped ones on Facebook] might write good poems; they might put up good pictures, or friendly music, or come across in a very sweet way, where 'I just want to still talk to you; I still need to have some connection back to God's church; my parents won't talk to me; I can't go to services'..." [Quote from ESN ends. Does Locher have any compassion for this person who has just lost his parents? He continues with these words:] Whatever they use it deceives the simple! It gets you to question if that person was treated right. It gives Satan that little foothold he needs later...they can cause you to start to doubt."

Now we see the real reason for these draconian laws, paranoia that members may gain knowledge that PCG disapproves of. And yet knowledge can never harm the truth. If their truth is so full proof why do they need to restrict information in this manner? If there have been errors within the conduct of the ministry it should be confronted honestly. It should not be hidden away to fester unseen. "A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent. (Proverbs 15:5)". Why is PCG unwilling to listen to correction as Locher indicates with such words?

This example Locher uses haunts me. Here's this poor soul, his (or her) parents suddenly ripped away from his life, and this minister expresses absolutely no compassion to him here. Instead he demonizes him. This is done to strengthen the barriers they have made.

Obviously these youths are not too open about the friendships with those out of PCG, and yet the ministry still hunts them out, once again striving to extinguish any genuine love and friendship that these friends have. And still this so-called ministry still are not satisfied.

Oh I know the excuses he and those who follow these draconian rules have up their sleeves, "by disfollowshpping this person we are trying to convince him to repent and come back. This shows that we love him."


This "love" is not love.

This is wrong and totally inexcusable.

This is not a sermon, it is just an authoritarian diatribe.

Let me express my thanks to whoever is responsible for this leak. Thank you for show us the true face of PCG which yearns to shatter any genuine friendships that dares to go against their cruel laws and create loveless slaves, willing to jump through whatever hoops the ministry wishes to have.

(Update: According to a letter dated May 22 someone has discovered that Andrew Locher seems to have a profile on Linked In. I have seen it for myself. Just search for Andrew Locher and you will see the profile in question. This profile also recommends Peter Fraser. There is one Peter Fraser who is a minister for PCG and his picture may be seen here, bottom right.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Raising the Ruins-Is It Reliable?

To any who are members of PCG or who sympathetically read the Trumpet, or watch the Key of David, or who believe what they say let me ask you a question. If you were wrong in something and I told you how would you react? Will you be angry and defensive, or will you be willing to weigh the evidence, to prove all things as is advised in the Bible. Knowledge can never harm the truth.

I feel it is now the perfect time to re-post my thoughts on Stephen Flurry's book, Raising the Ruins and also include some further thoughts I have had since I made that post.


Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God is now offering Stephen Flurry's book Raising the Ruins for free.

The chapters that were formerly online at can no longer be read. Though some links are still available there that lead to nothing.

Also when you order for your "free" copy it is required that you inform them how you learned of the book. Are they that desperate to find out how their recruitment efforts are going?

Because of this I wish to re-post my thoughts on this book with a few later additions. This is just a summary of my thoughts, the reasoning behind them may be reach through this post. Do not assume I rushed to these conclusions. Please look up on me and see if what I say is true. Knowledge cannot harm the truth.

"Raising the Ruins:
  • Condemns Tkachite WCG for using its authoritarian power to unleash the Changes while to this day his own organization (PCG) is just as dictatorial as he claims WCG to be.
  • Hails Ambassador Auditorium in Chapter 2 as a 'legacy that was neither heavy nor burdensome' naively ignoring the reality that it was a severe financial drain. This may explain why PCG decided to build Armstrong Auditorium.
  • President Reagan's condolences were misleadingly presented as an endorsement of HWA ignoring the fact that President Reagan was a Sunday-keeper who never accepted Armstrongism.
  • Shows contempt for Tkach Jr. calling Armstrongite acceptance 'spiritual rape' and implies that only Tkach Jr. (PCG views him as the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2) would be so wicked as to label 'accepting the Truth' in such a manner, when in reality that phrase is often used by many ex-members, not just Tkach Jr., the alleged Man of Sin.
  • (All those points above may be seen here.)
  • Approvingly quotes HWA's statement in Mystery of the Ages that 'Scholars and church historians recognize' that there was a 'Dark Curtain' upon church history in 50-150 AD when it has been conclusively proven that none of the historians HWA quoted believed in such a ridiculous theory. In reality the Dark Curtain (50-150 AD) theory was used to bestow a numerical significance to the World Tomorrow's first broadcast in Europe in 1953 so HWA could say the Gospel was suppressed for 100 19-year time cycles (1900 years). (See Raising the Ruins, Chapter 4.)
  • Cites a PCG lawyer as saying that 'There is no rewriting of the book [Mystery of the Ages] that can happen....they can’t be rewritten.' (Chapter 19). An utterance which Gerald Flurry hailed as divinely inspired. 'He [Gerald Flurry] reminded Dennis Leap and me about what we had seen....God inspired Mark Helm’s oral argument at the Ninth Circuit.' (Chapter 20). And yet Gerald Flurry chose to go against what he himself acknowledged as divinely inspired words and altered Mystery of the Ages, going against an aspect of Armstrongite understanding of church government that dates to at least 1953 concerning the role of New Testament Prophets.
  • Deceptively hides and obscures from the unsuspecting the hard facts of the medicine ban which is imposed on PCG members to this very day.
  • Advances PCG's fixation on January 16 despite the many problems this doctrine has.
  • Desperately tries to portray Tkach Sr. as just a puppet and that instead Tkach Jr. was the mastermind of the Changes. This is done to hide the fact that Gerald Flurry made a failed prophecy in which he originally labeled Tkach Sr. as the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2. He now says Tkach Jr. fulfills that role.
  • Focus solely on the struggles between WCG and PCG, almost totally hiding from the unsuspecting readers knowledge of other Armstrongite splinter groups.
  • Gives the impression that only PCG is trying to preserve HWA's writings. Yet others have been involved in the task of preserving HWA's writings, including one Don Tiger who used to be associated with PCG. Their contributions to spreading HWA's writings and Mystery of the Ages are contemptuously ignored.
  • Says PCG must expose the wrongs of WCG completely hiding the fact that many others, Armstrongite and non-Armstrongite, have fulfiled that role with gusto.
  • Idolatrously extols Mystery of the Ages for much of Chapter 16. This among other things, hides the fact that PCG has given themselves the liberty of corrupting the words of Mystery of the Ages, the very book they supposedly love so much.
  • Omits much vital information that would cause many potential recruits to ignore PCG, such as: 1) Gerald Flurry being hailed as That Prophet, 2,3) Second and Third Tithes, 4) that Malachi's Message is the Little Book and 5) was revealed to Gerald Flurry by a mighty angel and 6) unsurprisingly hides the fact that Malachi's Message was plagiarized, 7) that ex-members and 'Laodiceans' are shunned by PCG members.
  • Claims that the Book of Habbakkuk was a prophecy about the Court Case predicting the outcome of the Court Case. Would God help an organization that has been as deceptive as has been shown here?
  • (The last six points may be seen here.)"
Furthermore this book also
  • Inaccurately imply that WCG wanted to suppress their religion what in fact all they did was try to stop them from distributing WCG copyrighted works. WCG was not trying to stop their recruitment efforts or prevent PCG from creating their own Armstrongite writings respecting their freedom to believe this heresy.
  • Cites seven men (Seven the supposed number of completion) to show what a great man HWA was when none of those seven men have chosen to associate themselves with PCG.
How can anyone trust a book or an organization so misleading? Would God who cannot lie support such an organization?

Why have PCG made this book free?

They know if they can conquer one's mind the money from the three tithes will flow into their coffers. They want peoples' minds. Having stock of the book which will not sell is no good to the Organization. So they have calculated that if they give it "for free" they will be able to influence enough minds who will give them a tithe and then the three tithes. An example of how these tactics work may be seen here.

Raising the Ruins is not a reliable book. We cannot trust it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cults of Association with HWA by Meredith and Pack

Some of the modern day lords of the various splinter groups of Armstrongism, such as Meredith and Pack, try to portray themselves as having some special personal relationship with Herbert W. Armstrong. Can a man be chosen to lead "God's Church" based on what sort of friendship he had with HWA while he was alive? Is this really a proper way to decide who should lead "God's Church" in the wake of the Tkach Changes?

Such assertions of an intimate friendship with HWA reminds me of what happened when Lenin died. The "great genius" neglected to leave instructions on how a successor should be chosen or appointed a successor, a vital instruction that he should have given. So after his incapacitation a vicious power struggle erupted within the Communist Party. As misfortune would have it was Stalin who emerged victorious.

One of the ways Stalin legitimized his power was to portray himself as being intimately associated with Lenin, similar to what Meredith and Pack have done. He perceived that the Communist movement idolized Lenin and he cunningly decided to place himself between the Communist believer and Lenin. That was how someone in Anna Larina's This I Cannot Forget put it. He portrayed himself as being Lenin's close friend, that he was there when Lenin made his triumphant return to Petrograd (actually he was not there). At Lenin's funeral he famous made a speech that contained a vow to Lenin, pledging that the Communist Party would continue his work. Others who were closer to Lenin, who threatened Stalin legitimacy, were demonized as traitors, such as Trotsky, or marginalized into submission and then demonized, such as Zinoviev and Kamenski. They were rendered illegitimate. Thus only Stalin was left as the legitimate continuation of Lenin.

Similar attempts to place one self close to a revered leader have also occurred in the world of Armstrongism. Two notable instances are those associations HWA is alleged to have had with Roderick C. Meredith and Dave Pack.

Let us analyze Meredith first.

This Cult of association may be found in how various facts of Meredith's life are emphasized as may be seen in these examples.

Meredith emphasize that he was one of the first Evangelists ordained into the ministry (as may be seen in their "About Us" page).

In his May 15, 2002 semi-annual letter (which is sent to magazine subscribers who have not yet donated), on page 2, paragraph 6 he relates that he was the one who informed HWA of the possibility to buy the Merritt Estate in 1956 as HWA related in Chapter 68 of his Autobiography under the heading "A Fabulous Property Offered".

Their church history booklet God's Church Through the Ages cites Ivor Fletcher's citation of a flattering advertisement for Meredith's speaking engagements in Britain in 1960 in Chapter 14 of his COG book. There Meredith is portrayed by HWA as "fully consecrated, utterly sincere and in earnest, stirringly dynamic."

(The sources cited above teach the Armstrongite doctrine of church history. Alternative explanations which test this theory may be seen here, here and here.)

The emphasis placed upon these details obscure the disagreements HWA and Meredith had and the strains that existed in their relations.

Five men were ordained as Evangelists with Meredith. If being one of the first ministers ordained by HWA is a fitting and proper manner to determine who should succeed him then what has become of the others with him? Are they not any less senior than him? Richard David Armstrong and C. Paul Meredith died within the old Radio Church of God. Raymond Cole left because of the 1974 Changes and founded the Church of God the Eternal which he led till his death. Herman Hoeh went along with the Changes and remained with WCG until his death. Using that reasoning we should follow either the Church of God the Eternal or the Tkachite WCG.

HWA effectively dismissed Meredith as a possible successor in a letter he wrote in 1980. In that letter HWA wrote "But as time went on I began to realize very deeply that God has not prepared ANYONE to take my place. You, Rod, could never take it. I know that is 100% contrary to your own estimate of yourself. You have a WILL to lead, but not the qualifications." So much for being "fully consecrated" and "utterly sincere" as HWA described him back in 1960. Even if Meredith was "lied on", as LCG apologist Bob Theil claims, it seems that HWA never revised this opinion of his. Otherwise why did he choose Tkach instead of Meredith?

Also Meredith disagreed with HWA's revival of the makeup ban. His sect, the Living Church of God, does not enforce that cruel prohibition. Clearly there was disagreement on this issue.

Also there exist evidences that HWA specifically did not want Meredith to succeed as leader after him. According to Tkach Jr. HWA specifically excluded Meredith from leadership according to Chapter 6 of Transformed by Truth. Also Stephen Flurry in Chapter 3 of Raising the Ruins, based on a telephone interview with Aaron Dean, asserts that HWA appointed Tkach partly in order to insure that Meredith could not take over.

This is a remarkable correspondence of testimonies. Here are two witnesses on this matter, who belong to two different organizations, WCG and UCG. These evidences seem rather convincing to me.

Now it must be frankly admitted that these sources belong to rival churches who have every motive to discredit Meredith. Also, as I have shown previously, Raising the Ruins is a profoundly misleading book. But nevertheless I am still inclined to believe them because of one simple fact: HWA, indeed, did not choose Meredith but Tkach.

So it can be shown that the emphasis placed on the seniority of Meredith is used to obscure various problems for his legitimacy. When these various moments of his life are recited they form an incomplete picture of Meredith as a man closely in tune with HWA, when in fact they had some doctrinal disagreements and by the end of HWA's life it appears that they were not on good terms with each other.

Now let us examine Dave Pack.

This cult of association is also imitated by Dave Pack. His wife happened to be a secretary of HWA. Thus he was able to gain some acquaintance with the Glorious Leader himself. In his Authorized Biography he uses this fact to the best of his advantage. The intention is to make HWA an intimate friend of Dave Pack thus giving him a direct line of continuation from him.

His attempt to bask in HWA's glory may be seen in the Preface of his Authorized Biography:
David C. Pack was personally trained by Mr. Armstrong during the last 15 years of his life. (This was in addition to four years of Ambassador College.) In part because of this unusual training, Mr. Pack was in a position that God could use him to restore again, as did Mr. Armstrong, everything that had been lost. Today his ministry is a continuation of the same Work.
Notice how his relations with HWA is described: "personally trained" and "unusual training". He wants to be seen as someone special, as one worthy to embark on the (not a) "continuation of the same Work". Dave Pack's sect seems to be particularly determined to disassociate themselves from their COG siblings.

Again, later in the preface, he also tries to portray himself as being in a more advantageous position than HWA himself:
God called Mr. Armstrong when he was already 34 years old and married for 10 years with two children. He first opened Mr. Pack’s eyes to the truth when he was half as old—a teenager of just 17. Then, Mr. Armstrong had very little time to prepare for the role of leading the Church, while Mr. Pack was blessed with many years of comprehensive—and intensive!—preparation before coming to the same position.
Observe how this book tries to portray Dave Pack as having advantages compared to HWA himself.

Again his past achievements are praised further creating his cult of personality.
This biography reveals the life of the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The Real Truth, The Pillar and Ambassador Youth magazines, and the author of many books, booklets and articles also published free of charge on The Restored Church of God’s websites.
And that is just what can be found in the Preface.

Clearly Dave Pack is trying to portray himself as having a special relationship with HWA. He is trying to bask in his glory and using this to legitimize his authority.

These writings from Meredith and Pack show that both are seeking to legitimize themselves by claiming a special relationship with HWA.

If one believes that the leader of "God's Church" should be decided based on which minister had the most close relationship with HWA I propose that there are really only two options. It cannot be Meredith, indications seem to be that HWA had disqualified him as a potential successor. Yes he placed him back into an important role but it seems clear that HWA never quite got over it with Meredith. Thus HWA rejected Meredith as a potential successor and chose another man. It cannot be Dave Pack. Why will be explained later.

If this is the method to decide upon a successor I feel that there are only two realistic alternatives.

1) Aaron Dean: During the last years of HWA's life he was the personal secretary of HWA. In Mystery of the Ages HWA thanked him for his extensive help in producing the book. If HWA progressively grows into truth then he was at his most enlightened in his later days. So that means Aaron Dean with close with him at his greatest moment of spiritual maturity.

2) Joseph Tkach: I know many followers of HWA will completely reject this proposal for rather obvious reasons. But it must be admitted that out of all the persons HWA could have chosen he chose Tkach.

In his last co-worker letter he wrote the following:
After much counsel and prayer over the past months God has led me in announcing a decision last week to appoint Mr. Joseph W. Tkach, Director of Church Administration, to the office of Deputy Pastor General, to assist me while I am in a weakened state, and should God choose to take my life, to place himself totally in Christ's hands to lead God's Church under Christ, succeeding me as Pastor General, in the difficult times ahead.
But of course there are severe problems with both of these options. Tkach renounced HWA's doctrines so to place oneself under his authority means to be followed by a non-Armstrongite. If we choose to follow Aaron Dean we must join UCG, but they did choose their leader based on how close so-and-so was to HWA, and Aaron Dean acknowledges their authority, so it is impossible to follow Aaron Dean himself.

Therefore claiming a special relationship with HWA is not a legitimate way to decide who should be the successor as leader of "God's Church". Meredith and Pack's attempts to portray themselves as having a special relationship with HWA are thus severely flawed and are based on a supposition that should not be considered in choosing a successor. The fact that these two have to use such a flimsy method to establish their legitimacy only shows the severe problems of legitimacy they have.

This method of choosing a "faithful" successor to HWA has failed. It is illegitimate.

Why are they relying on an illegitimate method of succession?