Friday, July 31, 2009

How I Came to Read the Truth about HWA

(Before we get in the main topic I just have to say that LCG apologist Bob Thiel has broken the news: the "Apostle" Dave "Hand me your assets in a" Pack has released the second volume of his Authorized Biography. However RCG's website is down at the moment. We now continue onto the main topic.)

While I was a believer in Armstrongism I had made it my habit to spend the Sabbath reading religious materials and meditating on such things as best I could.

Very rarely I allowed myself to read negative material concerning HWA. But any criticism they had simply washed over me since I was totally convinced that HWA was who he said he was.

One time out of curiosity I was looking for the Global Church of God's website and somehow I found's article on the Wednesday Resurrection doctrine. However since I was a believer at this time I did not find it convincing and continued to believe HWA.

I did not read this site's argument that the distinction made in Armstrongism between the "Law of God" (The Ten Commandments) which is said to be eternal and the "Law of Moses" which is said to be temporary and ceremonial, is false. You can read that article here.

Nor did I read Question 10: "How could Adam, Noah and Abraham keep the Sabbath, when Deuteronomy 5:2-4 says that the 10 commandment covenant...was "not made with any of the fathers of Israel who lived before Moses.""

Or Question 11: "If we must follow the example of Jesus in all things like keeping the Sabbath, then why do Sabbatarians not follow the example of Jesus in circumcision, animal sacrifices and keeping Passover?" I wish I kept this in mind when LCG persuaded me to become a Sabbatarian. Although this web site is mainly focused on Seventh Day Adventism much of that material is just as applicable to Armstrongism.

Later I ended up reading about PCG, and thanks to Wikipedia I found Mike's Enlightenment Page, the PCG focused section of Exit and Support Network. Intrigued I looked at his testimony. Today I now see this as a beautiful story of how one man came to be free of the PCG. But I was a COG believer at the time. Hence at the time I felt very sorry for him for leaving "the truth" because of PCG. I did not believe in PCG, but I did believe in LCG, so I (naively) believed that had he got in contact with Meredith's sect he would have continued n the truth. I did not go back to see what else they had to say. I assumed I had read all I needed to see. I did not read what they had to say about HWA. But back then I was a brainwashed slave and did not even know it. I thought I was free but I was enslaved.

I had very little exposure to critical material. No one forced that on me but I, overawed by their fine words, decided not to bother reading such things. I was totally convinced that I had proved these matters satisfactorily and did not need to prove "the truth" again.

How I came to allow myself to read critical material that made see the truth about the COGs was the result of what seemed at the time to be a trivial chain of events.

I was quite a quiet person till recently. I struggled with conversing with other people. I yearned to master what HWA called the art of conversation in his autobiography. Then one night I had an epiphany. I realized that I was holding myself back. I thanked God for this. Once I had seen this I became more open and tried to talk to people more.

One day I listened to a certain friend of mine and this person mentioned a religious radio station that I had not heard of before.

Fascinated I looked and found this religious radio station. I came to love various songs on it. At one time I listened to it quite a lot. I was still an Armstrongite, but I wanted to hear people speak about Godly matters.

One day I heard this radio station mention this Christian news website, ASSIST News. I quite liked it and read it occasionally. I was intrigued by its subject matter of what was happening among Christians all over the world. Readers may be interested to know that it carries a link to Plain Truth Ministries.

One day I found through ASSIST News some British Christian website. It mentioned issues typical of such sites. It was very new and there wasn't much, but it was refreshing to read a British perspective on these issues rather than that from America, as is usually the case.

However I lost track of this website. I could not find it.

One day I tried to find it through Google. I typed words based on the fact it was British and a Christian web site. There I found I was immensely fascinated by the fact that the author of this web site, Mr. Robin Brace, was a former WCG member.

I read his testimony of being in WCG and leaving it. Because I still believed HWA and Roderick Meredith I felt really sorry that he left "the truth" to embrace apostate "Churchianity." I (naively) believed that if only he had joined Meredith's group all would have been well. But nevertheless I became fascinated with what he had to say. Finally I became determined to read the other side of the story.

Then I read of Robert Kuhn and learned how he became a multimillionaire and even a respected author after his stint in WCG ended. This did not coincide with my belief that those who left the truth would be subject to curses and find life miserable. Instead I found this man who "left the truth" actually prospering.

Then I somehow ended up reading the Ambassador Report's interview with Bobby Fischer. I found myself noting how similar his experience was to mine. When I read how he felt guilty for not paying WCG for their written materials I thought it remarkable how similar this was to my own experience.

Then I went to read the rest of Ambassador Report. I was looking at the names of the articles, excited that I had found such a treasure trove of information, and then I saw this title: A Treasury of Famous Prophecies. A sick feeling of dread filled me. I knew that HWA thought Christ would return in 1975. After his failure HWA denied he set a date, but Roderick Meredith stated in some sermons that he did set dates. I also knew that HWA predicted that Mussolini and then Hitler would be the Beast after reading early issues of The Plain Truth, although such is now clearly not the case. Somehow I had persuaded myself that these issues did not matter. Although I feared what it would say I decided to look and see.

The article began by quoting Deuteronomy 18:22: "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." Once I read that I knew that I had been tricked. They had deceived me! So that day in 2008 I was finally free of the deception spawned by HWA.

Let me assure you that Satan did not "get to me." Instead I realized that HWA was a false prophet and therefore God could not have worked through him. I woke up.

Then I read more from the Ambassador Report, seeing the venality of old WCG. I read of the extravagance built on the systematic exploitation of impoverished, deceived and robbed triple tithes payers. I learned about Stanley Rader. I learned the horrors of HWA's anti-medicine superstition and the many lives lost or permanently affected by this doctrine HWA stole from the Jehovah's Witnesses, and yet he hypocritically used medicines. I learned how HWA stole practically all his ideas from other sources, especially Adventism, Jehovah's Witnesses and the British-Israelism movement.
I read about HWA's incest.

I now see that HWA was just a deceitful false prophet. A liar.

It was only while I was writing this blog that I perceived how such small, seemingly trivial occurrences contributed to my journey out of the darkness of Armstrongism. To me I feel that this is evidence that even in my deceived state God was looking after me. I find it truly remarkable how such little things could have caused me to find freedom from Armstrongism.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Nation of Islam's God

I remember very well the moment I discovered the God Family doctrine of Armstrongism. The discovery of it took me to Cloud Nine. I felt so wonderfully fulfilled. It just blew me away. It made perfect sense to me. I was already an Armstrongite by this time but this only made me even more so. So I know how special this belief makes the believers.

However many religions teach that us humans are God or have the potential to gain such powers. Some go even further than HWA and tell us we are Gods now. HWA, on the other hand, said we are to become God beings later on.

One religion that insist we humans are Gods (or Devils) now, rather than after the future resurrection, is the Nation of Islam, the sect of Wallace Fard Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan and related offshoots. This particular sect, originating from the activities of W. D. Fard in Detroit in the early 1930s, is very different from mainstream Islam. It claims to be Islamic, but in reality its roots may be found, not in Mecca or Islam, but in the Moorish Science Temple of America.

Now I am aware of the differences of between this particular belief system and that of HWA. I am simply presenting this information as intriguing material that has recently caught my attention. I am not suggesting a direct connection between these belief systems.

They teach that non-Whites are divine, they are Gods. Evidence of this doctrine may be seen in the landmark 1959 documentary, The Hate That Hate Produced (2 of 10).

Early on in this report journalist Louis Lomax recites some of the teachings of the Nation of Islam to their leader Elijah Muhammad. He said that it is taught that "all of the members of [the Nation of] Islam are God, and that one among you is supreme, and that one is Allah [referring to the sect's founder, W. D. Fard]. Now have I understood you correctly?" Elijah Muhammad replied, "That's right." (0:08-20)

Later on Malcolm X comments that Elijah Muhammad "teaches us that the Black man by nature is divine" (3:44-9). Malcolm X would later leave the Nation of Islam and convert to orthodox Islam.

More on this topic may be seen in this article from a mainstream Christian perspective.

"The first five chapters of [Elijah Muhammad's] Message to the Blackman [1965] in America attempt to reinterpret biblical statements that "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24), that God is invisible and "not a man" (Num. 23:19, 1 Sam. 15:29, Job 9:32, Hos. 11:9). Elijah Muhammad wrote, "In the past, we have been taught that God and the devil were something other than human, while the truth from Almighty God, Allah, who is now among us in Person, makes it clear that these two characters are human beings."[Message, p. 210.]"

In the teachings of the Nation of Islam W. D. Fard is the supreme God above every other God, but every non-White is held to be a (lesser) God as well.

Furthermore they do not believe in a literal Satan the Devil, but insist that the "White Man" is the Devil.

Also they do not believe in an afterlife. Once a person dies he or she ceases to exist. However exceptions are made for W. D. Fard and Elijah Muhammad. It is taught that these two individuals are alive today.

This doctrine of the Nation of Islam, which contains extreme departures from mainstream Islam, represents a religion which redefines God in such a manner that the boundaries between God and humankind comes to be lost. Again I am not suggesting a connection between the Nation of Islam and HWA. I am simply presenting this doctrine as an intriguing topic that may find relevance for those of us familiar with HWA's doctrines.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Source of the God Family Doctrine?

Earlier I commented that Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, seemed to believe at one time that believers are able to become God beings. This doctrine seems rather similar to HWA's God Family doctrine. The Watch Tower Society today does not teach this doctrine.

Here is more information on this topic courtesy of this article by Mr. Ken Raines. (Bolding mine.)

On theology, [Nelson Barbour, an early and important influence upon C. T. Russell,] taught in the book [Three Worlds and The Harvest of This World (1877)], as Russell would later in The Watch Tower, that the Church and Jesus together constituted The Christ (pp. 5-6). Jesus and His bride, the Church, constituted the "Second Adam and Eve" (p. 11). The church will become Gods, in fact, they would "become part of the Godhead" (p. 13)... These 144,000 "spiritual beings" would "materialize" as men on earth at will during their Millennial reign...thereby keeping tabs on the spiritual development of mankind during this period (pp. 43 47). Mankind's worship would in part consist of serving and obeying these "rulers" or "instructors" in the Millennium (p. 68).

So not only did the Mormons teach this God Family doctrine but also the early Watch Tower Society. Maybe HWA actually stole this idea from the Watchtower Society.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Encounter with Tithing

When they offered their magazine they said it's free. There's no obligation. Just call now.

So I did. I got their stuff and read them. They absolutely blew my mind away. I soon came to trust them and became convinced that God was working through the Living Church of God.

Then I read Meredith's article, Should You Tithe?, in the March-April, 2001, Tomorrow's World. This article very quickly convinced me that I needed to serve God by tithing. So I was convinced that I needed to tithe. However I was lazy on this matter and didn't get around to it for a long time. I trusted them when they told me tithing was the right thing to do. Nevertheless, far in the back of my mind, I wanted to do this.

Furthermore they told me that God would reward me for tithing, that tithing would effectively make God my business partner and he would cause to prosper anything I tried to do. No doubt the blessings produced by tithing would more than make up for what I gave. As Roderick Meredith put it in the cited article, "Do not get to thinking you cannot afford to pay tithes. You cannot afford not to! (p. 8.)" How can one refuse such an offer? How can one argue against what seems so logical?

One day I ended up attending a little get together with some friends at one of those "false churches." I had to pay a dollar to get in. I came to be ashamed that some church I hardly knew had financially benefited more from me than the true church that had done so much for me by revealing the truth to me.

Also I became fascinated with all the church buildings I saw around me in my area and I decided to become a tourist of churches. I knew very well that they were false but I believed that since I knew the truth nothing I would see there would persuade me to renounce the truth. Indeed I would not lose the faith because of visiting those churches. I was touring those churches. While there I sometimes placed a coin, the smallest I could, in the collection plate. This would prompt me to pay LCG back for the marvelous truths they gave to me.

Nevertheless it was only after I had given some (little) money to some of those false churches that I was ashamed of myself for letting them benefit financially more from me than the true church which has done so much for me in revealing the Truth to me, the true way to understand the Bible. It was then that I finally resolved to pay the tithe.

"This is it. I am going to do the right thing and hand over God's tithe to His work." I put the envelope into the mail box. How well I remember going to that mailbox and just letting it slip into the slot.

I was so happy that I had done the right thing. My head was in the clouds knowing that I was proving to myself that I was willing to repay them for giving me the Truth. I was so happy and satisfied that I had finally done the right thing.

Now I don't make that much money so I did not give them that much. I only paid the first tithe. Since I was not participating within this church organization, thus unable to observe the Holydays with church brethren, I saw no reason to pay those extra tithes at that time.

Later I discovered that Armstrongism is a lie. And yet even after I discovered this a part of me still wanted to send one more payment to them as I had saved up some more money to send to them. Even after my renunciation a part of me still felt obligated to send it. But thankfully I came to my senses and did not send it to fund their false work. I stopped tithing immediately. I canceled my subscription.

Today I now recognize that my happiness when I tithed was an implanted perception. They had managed to push all the right buttons in my mind to make me want to do this. "This is the right thing to do," they told me. "God will richly reward you." These appeals were targeted towards my idealism and my vanity. They made that which is planned and orchestrated seem spontaneous. My happiness at tithing was the response they had carefully manipulated me into feeling. It seemed an authentic and spontaneous response to me. In reality I was simply doing that which their appeals had lead me to do. I was simply doing as I was told. They had craftily convinced me to follow their prescribed ways. They convinced me it was the right and profitable thing to do. And so I did it.

It is also important to note that as far as I know LCG never mentions in their recruitment literature the fact that members are required to pay three tithes to them.

I am very embarrassed that this evil heresy has managed to manipulate my idealism into giving them money to help them manipulate other people into their monstrous heresy. I want to say I am sorry that I helped them. I am sorry that somewhere out there, most likely there is some guy or lady looking at their "fascinating" TV show, or seeing a magazine of theirs in a doctor's office or something, and I know that I, in my small way, helped them to continue their evil and exploitative work of deception.

The God they preach is not the God of the Bible. Therefore tithing with the hope of gaining a reward from the false God of the Armstrongism doomed any such hope.

Another thing that must be mentioned is that this article never mentioned the fact that LCG members are required to pay a second and third tithe as well. There is no mention of such tithes in the article mentioned above. I first heard of these extra tithes in an non-COG web page as I have mentioned elsewhere and then later from LCG apologist Bob Theil. Because LCG never mentioned these things I chose to trust LCG and assume that the web page was wrong. It was only when I discovered Bob Theil's web page that I discovered that LCG indeed expect three tithes from members.

LCG never mentions these extra tithes in their recruitment writings. The extra tithes are not mentioned at all in the 2001 article cited above or in their tithing booklet.

In their Statement of Beliefs they state the purposes of the three tithes individually in the following manner.

"Through tithing, Christians serve God by supporting the preaching of the Gospel, attendance at His festivals and the care of the Church and the needy."

These are the stated purposes of the three tithes but the Statement of Beliefs does not mention that these causes are funded through three tithes. No mention is made. An unsuspecting reader, unaware of the intricacies of Armstrongism will just assume that this is all done with just one tithe.

Later, after I gave up on Armstrongism, I again read the 2001 LCG article mentioned above and was incensed by the fact that the article very carefully prevented itself from saying there was only one tithe, yet it also carefully hid these extra tithes. An unsuspecting reader would have no idea there were Second and Third Tithes to pay as well. I thought I could find a statement of him saying only one tithe had to be paid. Instead it carefully eluded making any such categorical statement, leaving room to mention these tithes later. It hid those extra tithes from the reader. This is not being truthful.

Because so few articles in their magazine mention tithing I carelessly assumed that this was was not an important matter compared to the other Truths they were teaching me. Oh! how naively trusting I was. Tithing is their income. It is extremely important to them and to those paying.

Truly this abusive and heavy handed practice must be regarded as one of the most shameful facts of life of Armstrongism. This practice brings the name of God into disrepute. The dishonest way in which LCG does not present this doctrine when discussing tithes is not defendable. As far as I am concerned this is false presentation of themselves. Meredith himself has defined false advertizing as a form of thievery.

These abusive practices expose LCG to be a destructive cult and not a church through which God is working through.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Encounter with an LCG Minister

I began reading LCG's writings in early 2000. I read and encountered many of their ideas: British-Israelism, the Sabbath, and so on. All of this was very interesting.

In the first issue of Tomorrow's World that I received in the mail was one article that convinced me that Christians are now required to observe the Sabbath. It mentioned that Jesus observed the Sabbath, therefore it argued that I should observe it as well. I was totally convinced on this matter. This made me trust them. I chose to trust them.

(It never occurred to me to ask the following question: "11. If we must follow the example of Jesus in all things like keeping the Sabbath, then why do Sabbatarians not follow the example of Jesus in circumcision, animal sacrifices and keeping Passover?" Thus it is clear that not everything Jesus did in His earthly life is to be imitated. Those who wish to learn more on this issue would do well to read this critique of HWA's Which Day is the Christian Sabbath? All of these issues were unknown to me at the time.)

I was quite impressed when I read some of their articles stating that their predecessor Herbert W. Armstrong, a name I had never heard of before, predicted the fall of the Iron Curtain back in the 1950s. (At the time I had no idea about HWA's inaccurate prediction that Christ would return in 1975.)

I was impressed with their doctrine that Queen Elizabeth II is the continuation of the House of David. I was also impressed with their assertion that Britain and America are descended from Ephraim and Manasseh. I had always wondered where the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel went. This doctrine seemed to explain many peculiar scriptures which I did not understand. (They never mentioned that Americans and British are not genetically related to Jews. If such genetic evidence existed we can be sure that LCG and Co. would never let us forget it. These issues were unknown to me at the time. I was also unaware that HWA plagiarized this doctrine from the British-Israelism movement.)

Yet it wasn't till I read A Different Gospel? in the July-August, 2000, issue of Tomorrow's World that it dawned on me just how unusual this group was. This article seeks to link radical feminist theology with the ancient Gnostic heresies. It contained this statement denying that the saved go to Heaven:
The ultimate goal of Gnosticism—to be freed from the fetters of this world (spirit from matter, light from darkness) and to return to a Kingdom of Light—is remarkably similar to the belief about going to heaven to behold the beatific vision (look on God) for all eternity. This differs dramatically from biblical promises that the saints will rule with Christ when the kingdom of God is restored to this earth (p. 27.)
When I read that statement it hit me: "Oh my goodness! Going to Heaven is a lie. They are a teaching me a very different religion. All those churches are false." Yet I had by this time trusted them and instead of running away I only embraced them even more.

Alas I completely believed them. The memory of my shock after reading this stands out in my mind. It was a strong indication to me that this was not just your regular religion. Now I had come across some intriguing ideas, and I was aware of their Sabbatarianism, but this was the first time I realized that believing in them meant rejecting such a widespread belief. Some people would have been shocked and said to themselves, "Wait. That's not right. These people have got this wrong. I have no need to listen to them." Or they were like me and just accepted this bold assertion and went along with them. (I was completely unaware that the Jehovah's Witnesses also teach this doctrine about (most) believers not going to Heaven.)

I was also very impressed with their observance of the Holydays. I myself had read of these days in Leviticus 23. In fact once I decided to fast on the Day of Atonement before I had encountered Tomorrow's World. Seeing them teach me to observe those days further persuaded me that I had found where God is working today. This reminds me of what Pam Dewey wrote about the allure of this religion, "For those with previous specific doctrinal beliefs derived from their own Bible study, such as observance of the annual Biblical Holy Days, the WCG may have been the only organized group they were aware of which believed and practiced such things." (I did not realize that this church has in fact changed the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles.)

I must say here that I was very unschooled with Christianity. Although I was a believer I was not very knowledgeable about Christianity, hence why I found Tomorrow's World's writings to be so convincing. I never tried to understand why Christianity does not observe these festivals or does not teach what they teach.

And so I ended up writing to LCG saying I would like to attend services with them. I got a phone call from their minister. He seemed like a nice enough chap. He gave me a little small talk about what a minister like him do. He said something about visiting but it didn't seem that important to me. Naturally I was very happy that I had finally talked with one of God's True Ministers. A man ordained by the true church which had endured for 2000 years under everyone's noses. He asked me when he could visit. I wasn't interested in that. I wanted to go to services. Then to my horror he dismissed me, told me we'll talk another time. I could not understand why he rejected me like that.

I had no idea of the elaborate steps one must go through to attend an Armstrongite church service. It is expected that a minister visit a prospective member before he is allowed to attend. The prospective member must get pass the minister before he can even attend. If the prospective minister does something the minister disapproves of (for example, smoking tobacco) then the minister will insist that the prospective member change before he or she can attend.

And I, like a lamb among wolves, was completely unaware of this practice and simply wanted to join their church. I had already given them my allegiance earlier. He wanted to see how much I knew and I told him that I had been studying the truth for years. I was expert in it. I saw no reason why I should have him visit me in order to attend church. And then he just dismissed me. Call back later.

After my renunciation I remembered that many times they appealed to me that if I was called by God to be a part of the First Resurrection I needed to be in contact with them and be a part of the Work. To me it seems that making people panic about World War III, and that they are called and they need to join together with other believers now. One would think that this organization would allow anyone who felt called to come and gain needful fellowship with fellow believers, that they would make it easy for you to join and begin to be saved. Instead they have forced those sincere and deceived people who wish to be right with God to pass through their minister. Rather than showing a sincere desire to save those (alledgedly) called they are made to undergo frustrating tests in order simply to get into church. This is not right.

Some, I imagine, would have given up on all this, or switch their allegiance to another COG splinter. But this was not enough for me to give up on them. So what if the minister rejected me. I have proven to myself that they are God's Church and I want to be a part of the work God is performing now. LCG is where God is working and being treated like this does not prove that they are not the work God is working through. My allegiance was still with them.

Friday, July 17, 2009

LCG's Rotating Council of Elders

LCG has just released another weekly update. Here Meredith says income is up 2.7% from this time last year. Despite the stroke he's "still working almost full-time every day." And he announces that some members of the Council of Elders will be rotated. Meredith insists that none of them have a problem, but it is simply desired for more persons to have experience in that role.

And then its pretty much normal, except that LCG has sent some relief funds to members in the Philippines and and Kenya. I hope all will go well with those affected.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Divine Pattern Myths from PCG

The entire Armstrongite movement is descended from the Millerite movement of the 1830s-1840s. William Miller used various esoteric numerological patterns he believed were encoded in the Bible and divine in origin to determine that Jesus Christ had to return in 1844.

They produced the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which produced the Church of God (Seventh Day), and from there came HWA. Also the Jehovah's Witnesses, a cult from which HWA derived many of his teachings, are descended from a non-sabbatarian branch of the Adventist movement.

With such roots it is no surprise that Armstrongism has from its very beginning used such divine patterns to determine the (supposed) workings of God. Hence HWA's predictions that Christ had to return in 1936, 1975, by 2005, etc. (PCG have removed that reference in their edition of Mystery of the Ages as may be seen in the October 21, 2004 Pastor General's Report, p.4, paragraphs 4 and 5, top left hand column.) Chronological patterns were sought for in such events as HWA's ordination which was linked with Christ's Resurrection, or the Radio Church of God beginning to broadcast on Radio Luxembourg in 1953 which was linked with the supposed beginning of the Great Tribulation in 1972. The failure of the 1972-1975 prophecy and many others proves that Armstrongism follows a false prophet.

This Armstrongite tradition continues with Gerald Flurry's PCG as may be seen in his article "James, Part 6: Elijah's Prayer" on pages 36-45 (PDF pp. 38-47) of the January-February, 2006 Royal Vision.

He starts this article off with a real mind bender with his teaching on the (supposed) true meaning of James 5:17-18.

These verses read, "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."

Those verses may seem rather straight forward, but according to Gerald Flurry that is actually a prophecy of the latter Elijah (HWA) praying for God to stop sending the church revelation for three and a half years. This is supposedly fulfilled in the time period January 16, 1986-July 16, 1989. Note that the "pagan," Roman, Papal Gregorian Calendar is used for this pattern and not God's Sacred Calendar which "Elijah" supposedly restored to "God's Church." No actual historic evidence from the life of HWA is produced to support this remarkable assertion. We are simply to accept "That Prophet's" word that those Scriptures are to be understood in that manner. In the same way that Tkach tried to convince us that HWA wanted to dismantle his own ideological edifice now Flurry tries to put this alleged prayer in HWA's mouth. Flurry is clearly projecting the present into the past.

We will focus on July 16, 1989 in due time, but before that there is another supposed prophecy that Flurry says was fulfilled before then.

One divine pattern is taught in this article to be been fulfilled on March 11, 1989.

Here Gerald Flurry suggests that he began writing Malachi's Message on March 11, 1989 in order to place this event within an alledgedly Biblical pattern. Gerald Flurry links this alleged beginning of Malachi's Message with a prophecy from Daniel 8.

"The very elect were crying out to God, How long before you cleanse the sanctuary? And in [Daniel 8] verse 14, God answers that it would be after 2,300 sacrifices--or 1,150 days... Mr. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986. After 1,150 days, or around March 11, 1989 (probably the exact day), God began to revealing to me the truths contained in the book Malachi's Message. In God's eyes it was at that point that the sanctuary was cleansed. (p. 38, PDF p.40.)"

This was the beginning of what would later be entitled Malachi's Message. It is to be noted that this places the beginning of Flurry's writing of Malachi's Message after Jules Dervaes completed the Letter to Laodicea, which was completed in January 1988. Hence "That Prophet" is wrong to say that "God began to revealing to me the truths contained in the book Malachi's Message" when Jules Dervaes already wrote down the supposed revelation over a year before Flurry began to write Malachi's Message and he even sent it to Gerald Flurry and John Amos, as this list proves.

Another divine pattern is attached to July 16, 1989.

As earlier stated Gerald Flurry taught that HWA prayed for God to shut down any new revelation to "God's Church" for three and a half years. This period supposedly started upon HWA's death on January 16, 1986. What event happened three and a half years later that Gerald Flurry can use to once again impress his followers with some "new revelation"?

In Raising the Ruins Stephen Flurry relates how his father first showed him Malachi's Message. On July 14, 1989 Stephen Flurry returned home to Oklahoma and when they met Gerald Flurry presented to him the unfinished manuscript of Malachi's Message. However Stephen Flurry did not read until two days later on July 16.

What he did not mention in that book length recruitment narrative is that Gerald Flurry, following the long tradition of Armstrongite numerological chronology, tries to bestow a divine significance to the date Stephen Flurry first read Malachi's Message.

"Finally, MY SON READ THE ROUGH DRAFT OF MALACHI'S MASSAGE ON SUNDAY, JULY 16, 1989--EXACTLY 3½ YEARS AFTER MR. ARMSTRONG DIED! (January-February, 2006, Royal Vision, p. 38, PDF p. 40.)"

It needs to be noted here again that similar to PCG's January 16 doctrine, once again Gerald Flurry is using the "pagan," "Roman," "Papal" Gregorian Calendar to produce this chronological and numerical pattern. He is not using "God's Sacred Calendar" which "Elijah" (HWA) supposedly restored to "God's Church."

This numerical pattern is not mentioned in Raising the Ruins.

Then there is January 16, 1990 and the baptism of Stephen Flurry into PCG.

As part of PCG's fixation on January 16 Stephen Flurry was baptized into PCG. Stephen Flurry was baptized on the anniversary of HWA's death at his own suggestion. His father bestowed a significance to this date using his son's baptism. This is taken as (generally) the cut off point for the legitimacy of baptism within WCG. Anyone baptized into WCG after this date are regarded, in general, by PCG as having been baptized in the Laodicean church and therefore must be rebaptized into PCG. Those baptized into WCG before this day are not required to be rebaptized for PCG. (See p. 41, PDF p. 43, of the January-February, 2006 Royal Vision which is quoted in January 16th, PCG Information. Also see Pastor General's Report, November 12, 2006, cited as Document 3 in Examples of a Tightly Controled System (Philadelphia Church of God). Note that this PGR is not in PCG Information's archive.)

Again this is not mentioned in Raising the Ruins.

One is struck by how much prominence Gerald Flurry gives to his son. His first reading of Malachi's Message heralds the fall of the "latter rain." His baptism signals the end of WCG's ability to bestow the (non-trinitarian) spirit of God upon baptism. He is allowing his son to be a part of the Gerald Flurry Personality Cult. Even more he is fostering Stephen Flurry's own personity cult through the propagation of such myths.

After all this Gerald Flurry attack Tkach's reform of the anti-doctors healing doctrine further asserting that God will heal in each and every case, continuing HWA's deadly anti-medicine superstition. Several months after this article was published a young Australian PCG member died a premature death because he did not take necessary medication.

Then he warns that Laodiceans are spiritually sick and they need to go through the Great Tribulation to be healed. "THANK GOD for the Tribulation! Without it, it appears 95 percent of the Laodiceans would die forever! [Instead "only" half will die forever after the Great Tribulation.] What a loving God we have! (p. 43, PDF p. 45.)"

Then he speculates that God must have revealed enough of what will happen for HWA to pray that divine revelation will cease for three and a half years. HWA must have known what would happen but asked for God to fulfill his plans.

Flurry is wrong. HWA actually expected Christ to return by 2005 as may be seen in Mystery of the Ages, so he anticipated any problems to be over now and the church enjoying Year 4 of the Millenium. So HWA's perspective was very inaccurate. (As stated above PCG have removed that reference. See the October 21, 2004 Pastor General's Report, p.4, paragraphs 4 and 5, top left hand column.)

Furthermore Flurry offers absolutely no evidence that HWA prayed for divine revelation to cease entering into "God's Church" for three and a half years, beyond his peculiar interpretation of James 5:17-18. We are expected to believe that God revealed this information to him. Why? Because he said so. We are supposed to just take his word for it. So much for "proving all things."

Flurry then ends by playing his readers' heart strings with an appeal to warn the Laodiceans (with whom PCG members are forbidden to contact), telling the readers that the greatest act of love they can do to them is to warn them and appeal to them to repent (by joining PCG). "IF WE DELIVER JAMES' MESSAGE, IT WILL BE ONE OF THE GREATEST ACTS OF LOVE WE HAVE EVER COMMITTED!... GOD IS CONCERNED ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE! (p. 45, PDF p.47.)"

This statement makes PCG members convinced that Flurry loves the Laodiceans, even though he has ordered PCG members to shun them and have no contact with them.

Also as discussed in a previous post one of Flurry's appeals is that he teaches a narrative of redemption in which half of the Laodiceans will repent and be saved after the Great Tribulation after which all shall be reunited in one big happy family just as it was under HWA. Although the thought of having half of the Laodiceans die forever may seem a very frightening thought (it is) it also gives believers the assurance that half of them will repent and be saved. By presenting this future redemption of Laodicea narrative in this way, that the Great Tribulation will save half of them but if it did not happen then 95% will be lost, Flurry convinces the PCG members that the Great Tribulation is actually a very merciful and loving act.

Flurry tells his followers that this "revelation" from James is from God. "I now know what James means--because GOD REVEALED IT! (p. 45, PDF p.47.)"

All of these supposedly important divine patterns are part of Gerald Flurry's conscious attempt to expand upon the various foundation myths of PCG. These foundation myths serve to establish his (and Stephen Flurry's) authority and legitimacy as the true successors of HWA, that God is working through them.

However it is not possible to believe that God is working through PCG as Malachi's Message plagiarized Jules Dervaes' works. As others have mentioned, all of this fixation on numerical patterns is just a smokescreen hiding the fact that Malachi's Message is a plagiarized work based on Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea which could not have been revealed by God to Gerald Flurry and cannot be the Little Book.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

HWA introducing Meredith in his Autobiography

HWA in his autobiography made mention of Meredith in his Autobiography. I am unaware of Meredith using these quotes as part of his cult of association with HWA.

From Chapter 58 of the Autobiography: "Among the five new students that fall was Roderick C. Meredith. Although he was a new student with us, he was a transfer from a college in Missouri, and consequently rated as a sophomore."

From Chapter 59: "In the second issue of this reborn Good News [June 1951] appeared the very first article we ever published under the by-line of Roderick C. Meredith. It was the lead article starting on the front cover: "College Atmosphere at Ambassador." [pp. 1-2]."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thoughts on the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

One of the positions of Armstrongism that has caused it to be rejected by the mainstream of Christianity is its assertion that when Jesus was resurrect he became a spirit being and did not have a material body.

When I accepted Armstrongism I did not even know that this was an issue. I knew about Jesus being resurrected but I never thought to ask myself whether he was resurrected into a spirit creature or bodily, that not only was he resurrected but his body was redeemed as well. This issue was unknown to me.

Now Armstrongism asserts that Jesus was resurrected as a spiritual being as opposed to being resurrected bodily, having his human body revived as well, as may be seen in HWA's article, Was Jesus Dead?

"Jesus was DEAD - but was REVIVED! And the resurrected body was no longer human - it was the Christ resurrected IMMORTAL, once again CHANGED! As He had been changed, converted INTO mortal human flesh and blood subject to death, and for the PURPOSE of DYING FOR OUR SINS; now, by a RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, HE WAS AGAIN CHANGED, CONVERTED, INTO IMMORTALITY".

According to Armstrongism Jesus' physical human body was not revived. "Now notice carefully. God the Father did not cause Jesus Christ to get back into the body which had died."

On this topic I also recall hearing Roderick Meredith once commenting in a posted sermon on John 21 saying that it is obvious that Christ's appearance was different from what it was before his resurrection. I remember vaguely thinking even then that I saw nothing in John 21 that said that. I did not perceive that this was part of this Armstrongite heresy.

I did not realize this until I renounced Armstrongism but this is just one more reason why "mainstream Christianity" rejected HWA. They take a different position, namely that Jesus' physical human body was revived. Jesus in His resurrected state was not an immaterial spirit being but was a glorified fleshy body who could be touched and handled, who could eat and walk.

Dr. Walter Martin, for instance discussed this in his Kingdom of the Cults. He responded to this position by citing John 2: 19-21. "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body." Body here is the word soma and according to Dr. Walter Martin, "The Greek word as has been observed (soma) refers to a physical form not to an immortal spirit! (1984 edition, p. 329.)"

Exit and Support Network has this to say in its article, Any Good Doctrine in the Herbert W. Armstrong Era?:
(6) We believed that Christ was resurrected from the dead:

The truth: HWA taught that Christ's resurrection was not physical; i.e., He was not resurrected with the same body, but a different body than that placed in the grave. The body that was placed in the grave simply "disappeared." (See Luke 24:38-40 and John 20:25-27). This is a false Jesus.
Further evidence that Jesus Christ was resurrected bodily and did not become a spiritual being is Luke 24:39, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."

Kelly Marshall argues at length in Chapter 6 of the critical review of Mystery of the Ages that the belief in the bodily (not as an immaterial and spiritual being) resurrection was an essential belief of early Christianity, and furthermore this belief in a bodily resurrection made Christianity incomprehensible to many of the classical Greeks as they believed that the material body was a prison for the soul and they could not comprehend why it should be necessary to gain a body in the resurrection.

It is also to be noted that this is the teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Thus it seems possible that HWA has once again plagiarized their doctrine.

Now while I was an Armstrongite believer I always just vaguely assumed that Jesus' physical body was revived from death as well as His consciousness. I did not understand that HWA taught that Jesus is now in a completely different spiritual, non-material body. Alas I was so unaware of this topic I did not see how this issue was important.

This teaching of the resurrection of Christ as a spiritual being clearly contradicts Jesus' appeal to Thomas to touch him in order to prove His resurrection to him.

And so once again HWA has been shown to be in error.

This teaching is against Scripture.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thoughts on the Wednesday Crucifixion

Was Jesus crucified on a Wednesday? Well those interested in this topic might wish to see this Answers in Genesis article about this. It goes in very well with ESN's article on this matter.

I remember how HWA boasted in his Autobiography that "opponents of God's Sabbath can invent some fifty-seven varieties of arguments to explain why they don't keep the Sabbath. But they have only one argument for observing Sunday -- the supposition of a Sunday morning resurrection."

Then he "discovers" the Wednesday Crucifixion doctrine. "It was about this time, summer, 1927, my wife and I had learned an exciting, shocking truth. The resurrection of Christ did not occur on Sunday morning!...The crucifixion was on Wednesday." (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Chapter 19. All quotes from the Autobiography here come from this chapter.)

HWA, however, neglected to mention that he was not original with this teaching. It is amazing how often he does that. "Sabbath historian, John N. Andrews, [who was not an Armstrongite but a Seventh Day Adventist] said that the crucifixion was on Wednesday, and the resurrection on Saturday." (Ivor C. Fletcher, The Incredible History of God's True Church, Chapter 13.)

It needs to be stated here that the Seventh Day Adventist Church appears to believe in a Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection. Some of them have even written articles on the web arguing that the Wednesday Crucifixion could not have happened, as may be seen here and here. Another article critiquing this belief from a Protestant perspective may be seen here.

It is intriguing that HWA made no mention about Esther in his booklet. Some of the anti-Wednesday Crucifixion articles comment that in Esther 4:16 it is written, "Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." It is clear in the next verse that Mordecai followed these instructions. "So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him." The New American Standard Bible puts it this way: "So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him." And then later in Esther 5:1 we read, "Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther...stood in the inner court of the king's house". As one writer puts it here, "these two expressions are identical and used interchangeably".

HWA never specifically addressed Esther. He does discuss this argument concerning idioms in his Autobiography. Here he pretends that this is a Greek idiom and pretends that it does not exist in Hebrew. "The usual argument employed to discredit Jesus' statement, that this was an idiomatic expression in the original Greek meaning only three parts of days, or either a day or night, did not stand up. We had the same three days and three nights duration expressed in Jonah, inspired in Hebrew which knows no such idiomatic twist -- or idiotic twist."

Notice how he makes it appears that Hebrew did not possess such an idiom. Yet he conveniently ignored the fact that this very idiom occurs in Esther 4:16 and 5:1. Therefore his statement that Hebrew possess no such idiom is shown to be yet another ill informed assertion. No wonder he was called Mr. Confusion.

Furthermore HWA then relates how he related this doctrine to a COG7 minister who had earlier healed his wife and he decided that this was not a matter worth preaching on. After that he (allegedly) lost his gift of healing. This story is carefully designed to make his followers fearful of ever getting any doctrine wrong. This is done in order to make the reader more dependent on him. "The servant of God cannot stand still. Either he advances, and grows spiritually against opposition and obstacles, or he falls by the wayside to be rejected."

In reality this story is used in order to make his followers fearful of ever doing the wrong thing. Hence when the prospective member discovers second and third tithes that one will remember this fearful story and, afraid that God will leave him should he or she reject this "new truth" revealed by "God's Apostle," will accept this great burden despite the weak basis for those practices. It is clear that HWA mainly used this story to impact us. He makes that point clear at the end of this fear inducing story. ""Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall!" How about YOU?"

Such fear inducing statements reminds me of another similar fear inducing statement made by Herman Hoeh in his booklet, A True History of the True Church, under the heading Church Grows in Truth: "Here is the KEY that proves which individuals are in God's Church. It is composed ONLY of those who are GROWING INTO TRUTH as God reveals it. The moment anyone ceases to GROW, but wants to retain only what he had five or ten years ago, FROM THAT MOMENT ON THE HOLY SPIRIT CEASES TO LIVE IN HIM."

These are merely statements made to implant fear into the reader in order to make that person more willing to submit to this cult's dictatorial rule. These statements are not parts of "the truth," but simply attempts at mind control.

When I read Exit and Support Network's article on this matter it argued that when the two men walking to Emmaus said that "and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done" (Luke 24:21) it is argued that this Scripture proves that a Wednesday crucifixion could not have occurred.
No matter how you count, whether you assume parts-of-days or 24-hour days, there is no way you can come up with a Wednesday crucifixion: If you count parts-of-days backward, the crucifixion occurred on Friday. If you count 24-hour days backward, the crucifixion would have occurred on Thursday at 5-6 p.m. I have checked the Greek on this verse, and the Greek totally supports the "third day" rendering. This verse blows a hole the size of a barn in HWA's claim and utterly destroys it.
When I read that I remembered that when I first read HWA's booklet on this subject, The Resurrection was not on Sunday, I had a momentary doubt about this doctrine when I read his discussion upon that Scripture. "These things" refer to what? Observe the previous verse, "how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him." HWA's contention that "these things" refer to the posting of the guards the day after the crucifixion is weak. I do not see that in Luke 24. He is just using what he would call "human reasoning" to justify his pet doctrine.

The ESN article argues that "HWA focused people's attention on picky, physical, irrelevant matters, and away from Jesus Christ, His sacrifice, and the New Covenant." This assessment of HWA's priorities is true. When HWA (allegedly) presented his latest pet doctrine to the man who healed his wife that man also made similar comments. HWA claim that this man spoke in this manner: "There are more important things for you to think about and study into. It's best to just keep your mind on Christ....Now we are saved by GRACE, not of works. We think there are more important things in salvation than which day Christ rose on, or which day we keep."

(By the way, I find it curious how HWA chose to capitalize "grace" here as though to ridicule this man's conception of Grace. I find this ironic in light of HWA's insistence that he believed in Grace. So why is he seemingly attacking this man's conception of Grace in this manner? Is Grace to be treated lightly then? HWA always claimed he believed in Grace but in fact he was talking of a different conception of it. The fact he chose to attack this man's conception of Grace here proves that.)

I wish I knew where this doctrine came from. Some may have read articles that cite old historical writings which appear to testify to the existence of this Wednesday Crucifixion doctrine long ago. Although some people seem to have developed this doctrine it needs to be stated that only a few seems to have believed this doctrine. What about all the church fathers who testified that the Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected on Sunday? As this article shows even such early figures as Justin Martyr, the authors of the Letter of Barnabas and the Didascalia believed that Jesus was resurrected on Sunday.

Why is it whenever something seems to support HWA's plagiarized teaching it "must" be true, and if any ancient writer should say that Jesus must have been resurrected on Sunday he "must" have been a part of the evil Apostacy? This is dangerously selective reasoning.

For one who believes this theory anything that seems to support HWA's plagiarized doctrine is deemed authentic, but if anyone sees anything that disagrees with HWA's conclusion it is simply dismissed as something from the Apostate church. If some ancient authority should say that Jesus was resurrected on Sunday it is simply viewed as proof that they "must" have been deceived, a part of the Apostasy. The believer in the Wednesday Crucifixion may breathlessly declare that some ancients believed it yet completely ignore all the many, many other ancient testimonies that disagree with the Wednesday Crucifixion. In fact if they believed that Christ was resurrected on Sunday that "proves" that they must have been a part of the Apostasy. This is weak and selective reasoning. Such selective reasoning has already decided on this matter and has made itself deaf to any evidence that may contradict the conclusion.

New ESN Articles

Exit and Support Network has released an article by a former LCG member and another article written by a former WCG/PCG member.

I would just like to wish them all the best in their journey out of Armstrongism.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

PCG's Polemic at Michael Jackson

Upon Michael Jackson's tragic death recently Mr. Gavin Rumney remarked in this Ambassador Watch entry upon HWA's infamous "obituary" for John Lennon. Instead of mourning for the loss of a man cruelly taken away from us before his time, HWA chose to condemn him and made it very clear that he did not understand the widespread appeal John Lennon held. One cannot help but wonder if HWA was jealous of him and wanted the attention to be on him rather than on someone else.

In that blog Mr. Rumney mused whether any of HWA's wannabe successors would imitate HWA's shameful example: "What's the bet that one or more of the grumpy old men who represent the hierarchy in today's COG's will leap into smug mode and bewail the attention given to the departure of the king of pop? How many sermons this coming Sabbath will take cheap shots?"

Here's the cheap shot.

PCG's Ron Fraser's column, America's Decline--From Sinatra to Michael Jackson. This article slavishly adapts HWA's article for today's situation.
Reading [a certain Newsweek article by David Gates] brought back memories of the timeless piece written by Herbert W. Armstrong about society’s reaction to Beatle John Lennon’s murder. (Bolding mine.)
There is no shame or embarrassment at HWA's spiteful reaction to John Lennon's death, instead it is viewed as a work of genius worthy of emulation.
"Before Michael Jackson came Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beatles …." Thirty years ago, Herbert Armstrong nominated the same entertainment icons of the postwar era as being part of a trend that indicated "[t]his world is fast losing all sense—if it ever had any—of true social values."
Observe how Ron Fraser tries to link the same targets HWA chose to use in his article and then tries to link them with Michael Jackson. This only shows just how slavishly PCG tries to wrap themselves around with Elijah's words to establish their legitimacy.
It is interesting that journalist David Gates would choose exactly the same trend, employing exactly the same examples, as Herbert Armstrong to describe this postwar phenomenon.
"If any secular journalist is found to be saying anything close to what HWA said then he must be a genius" seems to be the criteria of evaluation employed here.
What effect does having such a confused individual as their “idol” have on young minds? Believe it or not, it has a deep effect on the molding of a child’s mind, particularly influencing what it ultimately accepts as normal.
It seems to me that the author is here confusing admiration for one's music and dancing to it, with the imitation of one's personal life. Just because one may be a fan of his music does not mean they wish to imitate his personal behaviors or eccentricities.

And on and on it goes. Before we leave this topic I wish to share what one anonymous poster had to say concerning HWA's attitude towards John Lennon's death:
When you think about the doctrine we all shared in CoGdom, namely, the dead being judged at the end when the Millenium is over. If we truly believed or believe that, then, how can one judge someone like Jackson if his judgement has not come as yet? Where is Christian love, compassion, patience, forebearing? You would think sermons would resonate with; "I am not his judge." "His time is coming to know what we know." Instead, snide comments from individuals who really have never done anything for themselves, let alone doing things for those who pay their salaries.
When I read that AW blog I was actually hoping that the COG ministers would not slavishly follow HWA in this error. Alas, such hope was bound to be disappointed.

And so we see that this particular COG ministry really has not learned anything thirty years after HWA's vicious and jealous parting shot at a deceased pop star, but they wish to continue following his many errors.

The Origin of Meredith's Recycled Words

Some readers may recall my post concerning Meredith's recycled words in his booklet, The Ten Commandments, about some African Christians who became atheist as a result of revulsion at the widespread materialism of "western" civilization. Recently I traced the story's ultimate source. That story originated from the November 1960, Plain Truth, p. 9.

Meredith introduced that story giving the appearance that it came "Several years ago". One looking at that booklet's 2004 date would be forgiven for not realizing that this story actually occurred about forty-five years before this booklet was published!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Profiles on Armstrongism

Here's a somewhat random sample of various profiles of Armstrongism placed on various church websites. I do not necessarily endorse everything these churches. The reader may judge for him or herself what is the truth on this or that matter. But these have been mentioned because they include at least brief articles on Armstrongism. The links will take you what they have to say about Armstrongism.
Also relevant to this topic is this blog: David's Underground Hostel

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Kingdom of the Cults (1984) Armstrongism Bibliography

I have read what Walter Martin's The Kingdom of the Cults had to say about Armstrongism in both the 1984 and 2005 editions. I actually preferred the 2005 entry, as it mentioned some of the many false prophecies made by HWA, which are not mentioned in the 1984 version. The 1984 account of Armstrongism is mainly focused on doctrinal issues, critiquing British-Israelism, Armstrongism's understanding of the nature of God, Jesus' incarnation, etc.

But one thing really irritated me in the 2005 edition. If I recall correctly, aside from footnotes of some old Plain Truth issues, it only refers the interested reader to a few books on this topic which are all written from a very pro-new WCG/GCI perspective. Thus the interested researcher in Armstrongism, reading this book, is only referred to WCG's and their supporters' side of the story.

This is in great contrast with the 1984 edition which mentioned many resources on Armstrongism in its bibliography, though doubtless many are now extremely difficult to find. Hence here is the bibliography of the 1984 edition. Since they are not using it someone might as well find some use for it.


Ambassador Report
. P.O. Box 4068, Pasadena 91106.

Campbell, Roger. "Herbert W. Armstrong: Does he Really have the 'Plain Truth'?" Moody Monthly, October, 1972.

Campbell, Roger. "Herbert W. Armstrong: Mr. Confusion." The Kings Business, February, 1962.

Darby, Knutson and Campbell. The Delusions of Herbert W. Armstrong. A reprint of The Discerner, January-March, 1962.

Hopkins, Joseph Martin. (No title) Christianity Today, December 17, 1971.

Eternity. "Mr. Jones, Meet Herbert W. Armstrong," October, 1972.

Tarr, Leslie. Herbert W. Armstrong: Does he Really have the 'Plain Truth'" Moody Monthly, September, 1972.


Anderson, Stanley E. Armstrongism's 300 Errors Exposed by 1300 Bible Verses. Nashville: Church Growth Publications, 1973.

Benware, Paul N. Ambassadors of Armstrongism: An Analysis of the History and Teachings of the Worldwide Church of God. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1975.

Buchner, J. L. F. Armstrongism Bibliography. Sydney, Australia: the author, 1983.

Chambers, Roger R. The Plain Truth about Armstrongism. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1972.

De Roach, Charles F. The Armstrong Error. Plainfield: Logos International, 1971.

Grant, Robert G. The Plain Truth about the Armstrong Cult. (No imprint)

Hopkins, Joseph M. The Armstrong Empire. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974.

Kirban, Salem. The Plain Truth about the Plain Truth. Huntingdon Valley, Pa.: Salem Kirban, Inc. 1970.

Larson, Egon. Strange Cults and Sects. New York: Hart Publishing Co., 1972.

Leyendecker, Ruth and Wayne, with Roger F. Campbell. "We Escaped from Armstrongism." In James R. Adair and Ted Miller, eds. We Found Our Way Out. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1965.

Lowe, Harry W. Radio Church of God: How its teachings differ from those of Seventh-Day Adventists. Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1970.

Marson, Richard A. The Marson Report Concerning Herbert W. Armstrong. Seattle: The Ashley-Calvin Press, 1970.

Ord, David R. The Jet-Set Galatians. Exeter, Devon, U. K.: The Paternoster Press, 1982.

Piepkorn, Arthur C. Profiles in Belief (vol. 4). San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1979.

Petersen, William J. Those Curious New Cults. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats Publishing, 1973.

Smith, Noel. Herbert W. Armstrong and His World of Tomorrow. Springfield: Bible Baptist Tribune, 1964.

Smith, Paul B. Other Gospels. Denver: Gospel Advance Press, 1970.

Sumner, Robert L. Herbert W. Armstrong: False Prophet. Murfreesboro, Tenn.: Sword of the Lord Foundation, 1961.

Wilson, Paul. The Armstrong Heresy: A Brief Examination. Denver: Wilson Foundation, n.d.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

HWA and Begging

This is from the Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Chapter 7:
Arriving in Danville one morning, stone-"broke," not even a dime....

I had no money for lunch. I had no money for a place to sleep that night. I was too proud to beg. Actually, that thought didn't even occur to me -- I'm merely stating it now. My experience indicates that no honest man ever begs. I have given to many beggars on the street, and have put many of them to many different tests to see if I could find an honest one. Some had a "line" that sounded real sincere. But not one ever proved honest. I think the police will tell you there is no such thing as an honest beggar.

Perhaps some are like one I knew of in Vancouver, Washington -- though most are not as successful. This fellow could throw his body into a pitiful-appearing contortion, put a pleading, pity-arousing expression on his face, hold up his hat with some cheap pencils in it from his squatting position on a busy corner, and wring the hearts of passers-by. Then every evening he would get up, limp a few blocks to his Cadillac parked on a back side street, unkink his legs and spine, and gingerly hop into his car and drive home to his wife who wore an expensive mink coat!

King David knew human nature. He said, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Ps. 37:25). No, honest people just never do beg!
It is extremely hypocritical of HWA to condemn begging in this manner. HWA often begged for money in his Co-Worker letters, and tried to make his eternally abused flock feel guilty and even threatened them with damnation if they did not respond to his insistent calls for more money. He constantly insisted that "the Work" was the most important thing on earth thus causing the members to view their own vital needs as of secondary importance, impoverishing them.

He even has the gall to use Scripture to justify his hypocritical dismissal of beggars.

Pam Dewey has collected a fine collection of such memorable examples of HWA's begging.

HWA got as far as he did by begging. He has no right to condemn begging. He was an eternal beggar.

How HWA Learned to Discredit All Competition?

This is from the Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Chapter 7:
I took the job that appeared, at the time, to be most promising. It was with the Benjamin Piano Company, selling pianos. I devoted a month or two in determined effort, and never sold a single piano!...

I managed to get pianos in many houses, on trial, and never sold a piano!...

I soon found that our competitors also had piano teachers working for them! I knew, of course, that our store paid a commission to their piano teachers if the sale was made. What I didn't know was that our competitors paid a commission to their teachers if they could knock the sale of a Benjamin piano, once it had been moved into a home on trial.

When I called back at a home a few days after placing a trial piano in it, I usually found the woman angry.

"Why did you talk me into letting you bring that old tin pan into my home?" she would demand. "....Miss Anderson is a music teacher, and she happened to call on us, and she tried out this piano and told us it was no good!"....

That kind of competition seemed to me so absolutely rotten, foul, and unfair I simply refused flatly to try to combat it. Getting a local music teacher to recommend a good piano, which I knew was worth recommending, and paying her a commission, seemed legitimate. But employing a teacher to go into homes and lie about competitors' pianos was a dishonest method I refused to engage in. Instead I permitted disgust and resentment to discourage me on the entire dirty business.
I cannot help wondering if this was how HWA learned to discredit all other religions when preaching Armstrongism.

What a hypocrite this man was. He condemns these competing music teachers for discrediting his pianos yet he spent about half a century illegitimately discrediting all the other forms of Christianity out there in order to gain a following of triple tithe payers who follow his faith which was just whatever HWA picked and chose. That was his commission for illegitimately discrediting Christianity.