Tuesday, December 31, 2013

David Hulme's Call for One Man Rule

Happy New Year everyone! I hope all readers will have a happy, exiting and prosperous new year.

Now onto business:

One of the issues that prompted Steven Andrews to write his letter to David Hulme (discussed last post) was his concerns regarding a sermon Hulme recently gave in which he asserted the right to rule alone.

(Please note: Andrews' letter is posted on an Armstrongite blog operated by one James Malm.)

Here are some excepts from Andrews' letter regarding this particular sermon:
Because of its impact on everything we do as an organization, your view of government and authority is of primary concern. In your recent sermon on government, gospel and godliness, great effort was expended in an attempt to demonstrate, using scripture and the Apostle Paul, that you are entitled to rule in what can only be called an autocratic manner. What was not in your presentation was any acknowledgement that what makes government work is godliness, beginning with faith.

Unfortunately, government, more specifically, Biblically based government, is a topic about which leaders in the church, for as long as I have been in the church (40 years), seem to know very little....

Once in power, leaders seek to protect that power. Not surprisingly, by asserting their authority, based on their position, to do so. This kind of circular reasoning has been true even of Church leaders. What makes it worse when Church leaders behave in such a manner is that they misuse scripture to justify their acquisition, possession and retention of authority. That is precisely what you did in your sermon on government, gospel and godliness.
Andrews also points out that according to the rules and regulations of California it is not possible for COG-AIC to be controlled by one man and to do so would put COG-AIC in rebellion against the law of the land, contrary to Scripture.
As I have explained to you and board, The Church of God, an International Community was created for the following purposes (Bylaws Article 3.1 emphasis added throughout):

“…the corporation shall serve as an instrument of the Church of God to publicly proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world as a witness and care for those that God, the Father, shall call. The corporation shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes of this corporation…” 
The corporation is a California Nonprofit Religious Corporation under the California Corporations Code. California Nonprofit Corporations Code §9210(a) provides that a Nonprofit Religious Corporation is required to have a board of directors. It further provides that the activities and affairs of the corporation shall be managed and all corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the direction of the board. Subsection (b) of that same section allows the board to delegate management of the activities of the corporation to any “person or persons” “provided that the activities and affairs of the corporation shall be managed and all corporate powers be exercised under the ultimate direction of the board.” 
This means that under California law, the board of a Nonprofit Religious Corporation is the highest authority for the organization. No particular board member, including its Chairman enjoys sole authority and the authority of the officers of the corporation is subordinate to that of the board acting as a body. The lawful operation of the organization demands this structure and specifically eschews autocracy. Romans 13, particularly verses 1-2, require those of us in the Church to respect the laws of the land unless they contradict the laws of God (Acts 5:29).

In these scriptures, we are given clear lines of authority with respect to governing. Since there is nothing in the Nonprofit Corporations Code that contradicts the scriptures, those laws and the structure they provide need to be respected and upheld. The model of governance on which California law is based is not different in the UK, Australia, Canada or any other location in which the Church is incorporated to facilitate its work. Notwithstanding, implicit in all government and governing is authority. And while it is the California Corporations Code that defines authority within the corporate entity of the Church of God, an International Community (an instrument of the Church), the bylaws that establish operating authority for the organization have been subordinated to scripture. I did that intentionally.

So whether we are speaking of the Church of God, or the corporation established as an instrument to facilitate the work of the Church, neither primary, nor ultimate authority rests with you, any other individual or any group of individuals. Authority rests with Christ and based on his Father’s instruction, he demands mutual submission, not autocratic rule. Primary and ultimate authority rests with the Father. Your sermon on Government, Gospel and Godliness referenced none of this. Rather, it painted a threatening picture of your autocracy within the household of the Father. Not a few people felt threatened. Was it your intent to threaten the beloved children of the Father?
So we see that David Hulme's attempt to reimpose his absolute authority within COG-AIC has been exposed.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Grievances Against David Hulme

There appears to be mass dissension building up within the Hulmite church. Apostle Malm has posted a letter by Steven D. Andrews, a COG-AIC minister, addressed to Hulme, detailing certain problems he wished to help solve with him.

Among the grievances cited include one minister refusing to bless a child who wished to be blessed by him.
Two years ago, Jerry DeGier angrily misused his Pastoral authority and refused to ask the Father’s blessing on a little baby.  For the only time in my forty years in the church, a pastor did not reference the scriptures related to the blessing of the little children prior to asking the blessing.  For the only time in forty years a child, presumably present because the family was drawn by the Father to seek his blessing, was turned away.  You defended and supported Jerry in this.  Did Jerry, based on scripture have the authority to do what he did?  Did you?  Reflect on the fact that Jesus corrected his future Apostles for their efforts to limit access to the Father through him. He corrected them for attempting to do what Jerry, and later you, ultimately did. Even Jesus did not seek to restrict those drawn by the Father from coming to him (Mark 10).  The matter speaks for itself.  If the Father had not drawn them, how would they have thought to come to him?  What is most significant here is that Jesus knew that he had no authority to turn them away. So, if even Jesus knew the limits of his own authority, why is that you and Jerry DeGier felt comfortable doing something Jesus did not and would not do? 
 He also cites how Hulme gave advice that prompted three generations of one family to defect.
But the greatest wrong was yet to be inflicted, by you, on an already embarrassed and hurt family. You would to try to convince Mr. Mendez that Jesus’ example in Mark 10 was not what it appeared to be and his words in that same chapter did not say what they clearly said – that is what drove him and his family (three generations) away. Why is it ever right in our Father’s eyes for his called out ones to be driven away (John 6:37, see the NIV)?  In what way can it be said that your actions and the exercise of your authority is in submission to the will of the Father when it exceeds what Jesus, the living Christ would allow for himself?
Andrews also critiques at length an article by Hulme in which he promotes neuroplasticity as a way to improve oneself without getting into details about getting right with God and becoming an (Armstrongite Hulmite) Christian. He wonders why is it that a church is not openly preaching its understanding of Christianity in its magazine, Vision.
Your attempts in two separate board meetings and in the pages of Vision, to construct from the psychology of neuroplasticity, “our new way forward,” is nothing more than a corruption of I Corinthians 2 and the gospel.  It denies the power of the Holy Spirit.  You have no cause to be angry with me for whatever it is you think I did to prevent such a perversion of the truth. So that you know, the last sermon I gave, entitled “Curing the Defect” was not per se a response to your attempt to substitute neuroplasticity for the work of the Holy Spirit, it was the same sermon I gave on Pentecost in 1999 and one you sent to be played in all churches. The purpose of the sermon was to help us all prepare for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. Your angry reaction and that of John Anderson, to that sermon begs the question: What happened between Pentecost of 1999 and January of 2013 to make that sermon unacceptable?

He also criticizes Hulme's apparent attempt to renounce British Israelism.
I was uninvited to the Ministerial Conference this year.  I am told that there was an effort on your part to assault the scriptural truth related to Israel. [British Israelism.]  Please don’t do that.  Because, if the sun came up this morning and if it set in the evening, if the moon and stars are still in the sky, then all of the Father’s promises relating to Israel stand — and will for eternity ... If Israel’s experience can be dismissed, i.e., not even the law of God, the covenant and the Sabbaths can reform man, then maybe there still is another way for man to find to his own recovery – something like neuroplasticity?  But if the truth of Israel stands for all eternity, and it does and that is great news, then the only way forward for mankind is the power of the Holy Spirit
(It must be stated here that British Israelism is not true. It is well known that there is no evidence to support the idea that Europeans are genetically related to Jews in the way British Israelism incorrectly assumes. Also HWA plagiarized British Israelism from writers such as J. H. Allen.)

Andrews also questions how COG-AIC uses its members' tithes. He appears to feel that it should be used more for preaching then Hulme currently does. 
Of course, doctrinal corruption is a big problem.  But, as I told Joseph Tkach, it is accompanied by perhaps a bigger problem – misuse of the Holy Tithe.  I know you did not ask, but great care needs to be taken here.  It appears that the Holy Tithe is not being used for its intended purpose.  If something that belongs to our Father is indeed misappropriated because it is used to prosecute one’s personal initiative and not preach our Father’s gospel then that will surely invite our Father’s judgment.  It occurs to me that if a man can end up in the lake of fire for stealing what belongs to another man (say his wages, James 5:4), what can happen to that man if he takes something Holy to the Most High and uses it for his own purposes?  Is this not also in fact a misuse of the Father’s elect?  Is it possible that it is these matters, and not the Father’s reluctance to call, that is the source of the problem?
It seems painfully obvious that Hulme is embarrassed by the religion but he choose to opportunistically continue to preach Armstrongism simply to live off of the tithes of his followers.

Many of the discontented members appear to be thinking of defecting to LCG according to Apostle Malm's post. I must state here that Meredith has proven himself to fall far short of any godly standard of leadership and I fear for anyone (from COG-AIC or anywhere else) who chose to submit themselves to his authoritarian rule. 

HWA Disfellowshipping Garner Ted Armstrong

Here is HWA's announcement of his disfellowshipping of Garner Ted Armstrong on June 28, 1978.

Contrary to what HWA portrayed in this letter it appears that HWA removed Garner Ted Armstrong was that he decided to side with Stanley Rader during a vicious power struggle for control of WCG. Essentially HWA had decided to removed his own son in favor of Stanley Rader in order to eventually make him the number two man in WCG. There is suspicion that Rader had damaging information on HWA and was able to blackmail him. Even though Rader later fell out of favor HWA continued to shun his own son and miserably failed to mend relations with him or his followers till the day he died.

All this and more are discussed in posts I made discussing The Truth Shall Make You Free by John Tuit (1981).

Please note, this article of HWA's disfellowshipping of Gerner Ted Armstrong is placed in a COG splinter group whose leader, M. John Allen, has now rejected much of what HWA taught and has embraced all sorts of heretical nonsense HWA never taught, as may be seen in a previous post:
Apparently M. John Allen now believes God is the Universe, and that Yahweh is not God but a leader of a bunch of space aliens who live on a planet called Nabiru. ...

I know I am wasting my sympathies but I feel sorry that he has fell into such craven nonsense. It is terrible that he is tries to lure people into believing these absurd and ridiculous ideas.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas is "a Christian-Created Holiday" (Silenced)

HWA and his imitators teach that Christmas is an adaptation of pagan festivals and are therefore forbidden by God. But, as Silenced has recently mentioned, often what really happened was far more complicated then HWA made it out to be.
Christmas, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day and even birthdays have been banned within the COG for their connections to similar-ish pagan holidays long ago. Silly books like Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” have lined COG bookshelves for decades and many, many booklets have been published where Armstrongite authors stomp their feet that mainstream Christians and the rest of “the world” are in Satan’s thrall for trick-or-treating, hanging tinsel or drawing heart shapes.

Unfortunately for the COG, pagan connections to modern holidays often aren’t as strong as Armstrongites claim them to be and vastly more complex. Taking Easter for example, rather than being a direct descendant of Babylonian celebrations of the goddess Ishtar, it instead didn’t arise until the late 2nd Century CE and its etymology is in dispute, even while clearly-pagan symbolism gradually climbed its way onboard from the wellspring of traditional folklore among peasants (as opposed to church mandates).

When it comes to Christmas, the COG and other fundamentalists like to say it’s nothing more than a repackaged version of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the birthday of the unconquered sun), a supposedly-Roman solstice holiday that took place on December 25. The problem is, there’s no definitive proof that this celebration actually ever existed. Solstice celebrations were common during the era, but this isn’t likely to have been one of them.  Some paganism associated with Christmas can indeed be found in the Bible where it discusses fastening ornate trees as something heathens do. And it’s obvious when the Catholic Church instituted Christmas, they allowed people to craft a large amalgamation of traditional pagan solstice rites into their celebrations of Christ’s birthday, in the name of converting the unwashed masses to the new religion. However, rather than Christmas being a continuation of a specific pagan celebration — the holiday didn’t arise and spread until the 4th century CE — it’s a Christian-created holiday. In fact, before Christmas was established as the “official” birthday celebration for Jesus Christ, many Christians celebrated Epiphany on January 6 in its place, after the Winter Solstice and its pagan connotations would have already passed for the year. So basically, there’s no consistent continuation of December 25 celebrations between pagan tradition and early Christianity, and any pagan elements were added gradually over time.
As is so often the case it is once again shown that HWA was profoundly ignorant about what he preached about so confidently.

Deborah Armstrong Interview

Troy Fitzgerald, former WCG member who renounced religion and is now a Secular Humanist, and author of Cults and Closets: Coming Out of Chaos, has posted an interview with Deborah Armstrong, HWA's niece, at his website, Secular Safe House.

This sounds most fascinating.

All About Armstrongism has this to say about the interview:
Probably, In my view, One of the most significant interviews to be conducted about Armstrongism in decades – from the perspective of an Armstrong Family Member, Herbert Armstrong’s Niece. You MUST listen to this, in it’s entirety.
The interview is over an hour long.

You can listen to the interview here.

Hat tip: Silenced.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Implosion of the Hulmites

Banned by HWA has a post up detailing the apparent implosion of David Hulme's cult. There has been comments detailing David Hulme.

There followed a most fascinating discussion. Here are some of the highlights from the comments.

Byker Bob:
This is certainly an interesting approach that Hulme has taken. The majority of the ministers have conformed to various ACOG structures, given their only job skill, to continue influx of income. A few commendable ones took the hard route, walked away from financial security, and started over acquiring new vocational skills. But, what Hulme has done is to exploit his ACOG base to catapult himself to a higher level than what he might have achieved had he started over from scratch. It's as if he used his ACOG as a sort of "halfway" house in his transition to secular employment. 
I am conflicted over this type of approach. Part of me wants to applaud him for finding a way out of teaching abusive and toxic theology, but I also recognize his disingenuousness in stringing his congregations along for that much longer to facilitate this. Has he taken proper care to guide and mentor them so that at the end of this process they won't be left high and dry?

I think it is very likely that Hulme has not prepared his followers for life outside of the cult at all.

Joe Moeller:
This is one of the most secretive of COG groups, and closely guards everything.  
An interesting associate of Hulme's for many years is one Michael McKinney, who writes for Hulme's publications and has been in close relationship with Hulme for many years.  
His website http://www.m2com.com  
has a wide assortment of high end goods, books, wines , and even archaeology information books about the first century. 
It all appears to be a marketing device to a high end snooty crowd, which is also the approach taken by Hulme in his publications. Hulme always viewed himself as a "wanna be" member of the elite classes, and markets himself to such, even in his evangelism. He was an elite prince in regards to AICF events and marketing during its hey day.  
One has to wonder how much "cross marketing" Hulme and McKinney do, in regards to sharing mailing lists, leads etc.
I remember him from college at BW. He really didn't stand out, but then it was usually the American basketball player types who did stand out, and Hume was not like that. I thought he was quiet and nice looking and perhaps shy (that was in 1970). I also didn't know he was an intellectual, what a waste of intelligence going to AC and becoming a minister. Who would have guessed he would have risen to a high rank, it was probably because so many of the competition left. 
Don't know who he married, but I imagine his original wife is gone and when getting a new wife, any man of importance goes for a younger version. 
An organization usually resembles the thinking of those that administer it. 
In the case of Hulme's group, the "church" seeks above all to appear educated and to be accepted by the scholarly community, rather than to espouse and advocate for any particular religious idea(s). 
"Kingdom of god" talk doesn't get you respect in academia. 
Their mission statement makes this clear, they want to "educate", not proselytise. 
Most of their articles read like run-of-the-mill university-level synopses of various researched topics. 
Fine as far as that goes, although it probably poorly qualifies as religious activity justifying the use of believer's tithe money. 
(In many cases it's difficult to determine exactly what the conclusion of the article is...?)
I wonder what the average member's perception is of the ongoing "work" of COGAIC?
Byker Bob:
Folks, that's why they call it "Embarrassing College"! 
If you lived in Pasadena, the community in many cases could tell by looking at you exactly where you were from. After having been asked about this numerous times while in stores, hitch-hiking around Pasadena, or on the bus, one did eventually tire of the suspicion. Before you had even opened your mouth to speak a single word, they had pegged you and pretty much written you off. This certainly taught me, in a kind of parallel way, what victims of racism encounter in their everyday quest for survival.  
After two years at AC, when I started going to classes at Pasadena City College, I grew the type of sideburns that were banned by HWA, and began wearing surplus army and navy jackets, which were popular at the time, to class. I already knew some of my new classmates, a couple of the box boys from El Rancho, who told me they'd been expecting to see me there for some time. They and the president of the college, to whom I had needed to do some tall talking, were the only ones on campus who ever knew of my AC background. Frankly, that type of anonymity was the only way to be taken seriously. At that time, I was a journalism major, was on the staff of the Courier, the campus newspaper, and was interviewing, and therefore known to, many of the movers and shakers on the faculty and in student government. No way did I want them thinking that my articles were filtered through WCG theology! 
When you think about it, those of us who have indulged in this type of masking or subterfuge were (to our shame) really only unknowingly imitating one of the elements of HWA's character. Honestly, I was just attempting to survive in a new environment, one in which the surrounding world had changed somewhat radically during two years of being cloistered at the Ambassador monastery. This says something very profound about Armstrongism. I believe, in retrospect, that many of us realized subliminally at our core level that it was indefensible, but somehow felt so paralyzed by it all that we could not break away. A bigger catalyst, a larger reality check had yet to be experienced. For me, that was 1975.
Yes, we've heard whispers similar to this coming out of Hulme's cult and personally know people who have been jettisoned from the organization. There is a lot of discontent right now, apparently.
How anyone can say that David Hulme was a good presented, is truly amazing, as David Hulme is one of the earth's most boring speakers of any I have heard. 
His speaking style is totally flat lined. Anyone listening to him more than 3 minutes will find themselves in zombie land.
It is impossible for me to verify this opinion one way or the other.

You wrote: "...But, what Hulme has done is to exploit his ACOG base to catapult himself to a higher level than what he might have achieved had he started over from scratch. It's as if he used his ACOG as a sort of "halfway" house in his transition to secular employment..." 
It's interesting that you wrote that David Hulme used his ACOG as a sort of "halfway house." Is that anything like a home: a halfway home? 
On May 1, 1995 mentioned a couple of reasons for why he was there in Indianapolis at a conference that ended up with the establishment of the United Church of God, an International Association.
David told all of those attending that conference about the conversation he had with his son Mark about a "home," and I'll quote from the videotape transcript of that day's meeting: 
"...You know, Mark, all I really want to do right now is be with a small group of people who believe as I do. I just want to be with a group of people and keep the Sabbath. I guess I was saying, I need to go home. I need the familiarity of my foundations. So that's one of the reasons I am here. I am looking for my home..." 
Well, as David Hulme's history shows David over time didn't care for that UCGaia home. He apparently may not be liking his current "church" home either with the dwindling numbers, but he did end up with a small group of people who believe as he does. How small will it get? Time will tell. 
When will David finally find the home he thinks he is looking for? Who knows?
David made another interesting comment before he spoke about that "home." He said: "...I know that in the few days between resignation and starting to come here, I went up and down, kind of like a yo-yo, up and down on a roller coaster." 
Well, if nothing else, it appears he is still moving up and down, like a yo-yo or on a roller coaster.............and I hope he is still enjoying the ride. 
It's not over for him........... 
"Is this really correct?" [That students of Ambassador College can legitimately claim to have an accredited degree retrospectively after accreditation in 1994.]
I was on the faculty in Big Sandy when the college achieved accreditation and one of the deans told me that accreditation is not retroactive. However, as a practical matter it usually doesn't matter because very few colleges and even fewer employers ever compare the date of accreditation with the date of graduation. 
Also, an institution is accredited and not a degree or a degree holder. It is correct to say "I graduated from an accredited college" (if in fact you did) but it is incorrect to say "I have an accredited degree" or "I am an accredited degree holder". 
However, I don't recall that the administration made much effort to point out this distinction. They mostly let people draw their own conclusions and I don't think Joe Sr. ever understood this at all.

Lake of Fire Church of God:

By strange co-incidence, I was cleaning out a closet over Thanksgiving weekend, and found in a box my complimentary inaugural copy of Ambassador International Cultural Foundation’s (AICF) large slick magazine titled “Human Potential”. Later, AICF changed the name to “Quest”. The Executive Editor was Stanley Rader, and while the publication personnel credit box had names familiar to those of us from the WCG – people like Dexter Faulkner, Brian Knowles, Garner Ted Armstrong, etc.; there is NO credit mention of David Hulme in the forerunner publication. 
There were plenty of slick ads throughout the publication including a back full cover advertising Dodge Chrysler.  
Of course, I took one look at it, and said to myself, “What a waste and a piece of crapola”.

wow, James Tabor exposed (Dennis mentions him). I just began reading a book by him "The Jesus Dynasty". Not a book I would normally read, but I found it in the "discarded" pile at the library.
It had started to sound a bit familiar. Now I find out he used to be in WCG........my first impulse is to throw the book away immediately, but then he is a good writer and no capitals.
It makes me feel like I have come full circle, reading a book from an ex-WCGer. Yes it definitely dilutes his credentials to me, so I understand why it would not be mentioned. But N.Carolina, isn't that the new headquarters of a lot of the left over WCG, Meredith for instance.
So this is why so many people pretend to have no association with WCG.

Thoughts Regarding Christmas

Soon it will be Christmas. Many people will be gathered together to celebrate.

Traditionally the COGs have forbidden their followers from observing Christmas say that it is of pagan origin. So is the Latin alphabet that is used to write English and which is used in your Bibles. This is an absurd argument.

Let me say here that the true reason HWA and his imitators forbid Christmas is that they are trying to isolate their followers from society in order to control them more effectively.

Persuading people that they are forbidden from observing gatherings in Christmas isolate them from their families. This inevitably causes tension. The COG follower is indoctrinated into believing he or she is being tested by God and must stay away. It does not occur to them they are being led into isolation within an authoritarian cult.

I am reminded of what one commenter said, saying that it is an extremely wicked thing to isolate people from their families. This person is correct.

Many ex-COG members have resumed celebrating Christmas in their own ways with family and friends after years of cultic oppression by HWA and his imitators. Some do so religiously, others more as a secular celebration because everyone else is doing it. Either way this is a good thing allowing people to come together for this happy occasion.

Recently some COGs have started holding Winter Family Weekends. I remember fuming when I heard about this long after I had renounced Armstrongism. Perhaps it is a good things for the COG members but it certainly goes against what HWA taught.

The COGs desperately need to abandon this useless self righteous ban on Christmas, this artificial way of pretending to be morally superior than everyone else. HWA banned women's makeup claiming they were a sign of vanity. How vain is it to say you are morally better than others by not celebrating Christmas and condemning it as sinful? 

Let me say Happy Christmas to everyone celebrating this important occasion, especially to those who have renounced HWA's self serving ban on Christmas. Whether religious or secular this celebration is a good thing and is to be encouraged. Every Christmas must seem especially important to them as a step out of Armstrongite oppression.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bloody Purge in North Korea

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jung Un, has executed his uncle and mentor, Jang Song Thaek, in an apparent purge to dispose of potential rivals.

Previously when there was a purge among the leadership it was done discreetly. But the young and impetuous Kim Jong Un appears anxious to cement his authority and so has executed his uncle with unprecedented fanfare.

The blood curdling news announcement of Jang Song Thaek's execution from North Korea's KCNA, Traitor Jang Song Thaek Executed, is eerily reminiscent of previous bloody purges among authoritarian Communist regimes such as Stalin's Great Purge in the 1930s or Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s in which high ranking officials were demonized as traitors to the nation and falsely accused of being covertly hostile to the leadership for decades.

The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state. ...

A decision of the special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK was read out at the trial.

Every sentence of the decision served as sledge-hammer blow brought down by our angry service personnel and people on the head of Jang, an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element and despicable political careerist and trickster.

The accused is a traitor to the nation for all ages who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system.
Among the accusations that earned him execution by the North Korean authorities included not clapping with sufficient adulation.
[After Kim Jong Un became the leader Jang Song Thaek] behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people.
He also instructed that the current leader's words be memorialized in a shaded corner.
Jang turned down the unanimous request of the service personnel of a unit of the Korean People's Internal Security Forces to have the autograph letter sent by Kim Jong Un to the unit carved on a natural granite and erected with good care in front of the building of its command. He was so reckless as to instruct the unit to erect it in a shaded corner.
The regime also took advantage of this purging to blame him for the problems with a currency reform in 2009.

Also Jang "confessed" (possibly under extreme coercion) that he was guilty of what he was accused of and that he was plotting to overthrow the government. This is very similar to what Stalin did to various high ranking officials in the Communist Party by forcing them to falsely confess to plotting to overthrow Stalin's Soviet government for years.
He fully revealed his despicable true colors as a traitor for all ages in the course of questioning by uttering as follows: "I attempted to trigger off discontent among service personnel and people when the present regime does not take any measure despite the fact that the economy of the country and people's living are driven into catastrophe. Comrade supreme leader is the target of the coup."

As regards the means and methods for staging the coup, Jang said: "I was going to stage the coup by using army officers who had close ties with me or by mobilizing armed forces under the control of my confidants. I don't know well about recently appointed army officers but have some acquaintances with those appointed in the past period. I thought the army might join in the coup if the living of the people and service personnel further deteriorate in the future. And I calculated that my confidants in my department including Ri Ryong Ha and Jang Su Gil would surely follow me and had a plan to use the one in charge of the people's security organ as my confidant. It was my calculation that I might use several others besides them."

Asked about the timing of the coup and his plan to do after staging the coup, Jang answered: "I didn't fix the definite time for the coup. But it was my intention to concentrate my department and all economic organs on the Cabinet and become premier when the economy goes totally bankrupt and the state is on the verge of collapse in a certain period. I thought that if I solve the problem of people's living at a certain level by spending an enormous amount of funds I have accumulated under various names after becoming premier, the people and service personnel will shout "hurrah" for me and I will succeed in the coup in a smooth way."

Jang dreamed such a foolish dream that once he seizes power by a base method, his despicable true colors as "reformist" known to the outside world would help his "new government" get "recognized" by foreign countries in a short span of time.
It is horrific that the terrible dramas of Stalin's Great Purge and Mao's Cultural Revolution are being replayed in North Korea at this present time.

HWA's Plain Truth on South Africa

Regarding the discussion on how the COGs view Nelson Mandela now and historically I have copied this list of articles in the Plain Truth regarding South Africa. This is from Don Tiger's website, herbert-w-armstrong.org, specifically from its index of Plain Truth articles.
This list is presented in the hope of further clarifying the views held by WCG leaders regarding South Africa.

These articles may be read by looking up the appropriate issue from the Plain Truth issues of the 1970s and the 1980s.

Note: The 1980s archive only goes up to December 1986 so the last two articles mentioned are not present in Don Tiger's archive.


















Friday, December 13, 2013

PCG Condemns The "Communist" Nelson Mandela

Silenced has reported that most COGs have chosen to speak positively about Nelson Mandela upon his death.

Not Flurry's PCG however. PCG has released a Trumpet Daily video entitled The Truth about Nelson Mandela and South Africa, in which Stephen Flurry presents a message regarding Nelson Mandela.
Amid all the praise for the former president of the “Rainbow Nation,” virtually nothing is said about his links to Communism—or the disastrous state of South Africa today.
As the world celebrates Nelson Mandela’s role in ending Apartheid in South Africa, few people are telling the truth about his disturbing ties to Communism and acts of terrorism. Fewer still are telling the truth about South Africa today—a nation worse off than it was when it was governed by the United Kingdom. 
Pretends that the problems of present day South Africa are being ignored. Claims Mandela has been bolstered by a "fake biography that's been written by Western officials about Nelson Mandela. A story that leaves out so much of the truth. A story that really tells a few lies."  (4:50.)

Stephen Flurry says Mandela had links with Communism. He tries to demonize him by citing comments Nelson Mandela made towards Communist Cuba and Yasser Arafat.

Stephen Flurry then cites an article that says Mandela was a Communist. (8-9 minutes.)
After citing the article Stephen Flurry says, "So he was a good Communist. Not quite as brutal as Mugabe, or maybe his successors in South Africa today". (9:37-9:44.)

Those are his words. Not those of the article he cites.

Never mind that Nelson Mandela was not in the Communist Party. He was in the African National Congress. Never mind that opposition parties operate freely in South Africa. At present they are unable to gain power (because more people vote ANC) but they can operate as they please.

Labels the ANC as a terrorist organization. Never mind that it started up as a political party way back in the 1910s long before Nelson Mandela. This only demonstrates how ignorant this presentation is.

Wealth redistributed to a few blacks. (15:40)

Denounces violence against white farmers as genocide. (18:30)

First mention of the Bible. (19:00)

Uses false teaching of British Israelism to claim the genocide against white farmers was prophesied in the Bible. (21-22 minutes.)

Mocks respect for Mandela on the occasion of his passing as an idolatrous search for a savior when people should cling to (PCG's version of) Jesus Christ.

So as we can see, although even the other COGs have chosen to be circumspect and respect PCG has chosen to simply label him a Communist.

(Also I find Stephen Flurry's speaking not very well done and somewhat odd. His speaking manner did not impress me. Just watch for yourself to understand what I mean.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Semiramis Lusted After Her Son, Nimrod (Hoeh)

One bad habit the some of the Armstrongite COGs have is a fixation on sexual behaviors they define as contrary to God's will.

This is not a new thing among the COGs. This tendency may be seen in an article by Herman Hoeh,  ST. VALENTINE'S DAY Christian Custom? -- or Pagan Holiday?, in which he asserts St. Valentine's Day and the Catholic image of the Mother and Child and even the shape of the heart are actually derived from the incestuous relationship between Semiramis and her son Nimrod.
But why should the Romans have chosen February 15 and the evening of February 14 to honor Lupercus -- the Nimrod of the Bible? (Remember that days in ancient times began at sunset the evening before.)

Nimrod -- the Baal or sun god of the ancient pagans -- was said to have been born at the winter solstice. In ancient times the solstice occurred on January 6 and his birthday therefore was celebrated on January 6. Later, as the solstice changed, it was celebrated on December 25 and is now called Christmas. It was the custom of antiquity for the mother of a male child to present herself for purification on the fortieth day after the day of birth. The fortieth day after January 6 -- Nimrod's original birthdate -- takes us to February 15, the celebration of which began on the evening of February 14 -- the Lupercalia or St. Valentine's Day.

On this day in February, Semiramis, the mother of Nimrod, was said to have been PURIFIED and to have appeared for the first time in public with her son as the original "mother and child." 

The Roman month February, in fact, derives its name from the "februa" which the Roman priests used in the rites celebrated on St. Valentine's Day. The "februa" were thongs from the skins of sacrificial animals used in rites of purification on the evening of February 14.

Cupid Makes His Appearance

Another name for the child Nimrod was "Cupid" -- meaning "desire" ("Encyclopedia Britannica", art., "Cupid"). It is said that when Nimrod's mother saw him, she LUSTED after him -- she DESIRED him. Nimrod became her Cupid -- her desired one -- and later her Valentine! So evil was Nimrod's mother that IT IS SAID SHE MARRIED HER OWN SON! Inscribed on the monuments of ancient Egypt are inscriptions that Nimrod (the Egyptians called him Osiris) was "the husband of his mother." 
How did Hoeh know Semiramis presented nimrod to the people after forty days?

How did Hoeh know what Semiramis was feeling in regards to Nimrod?

Why do the actions of Nimrod and Semiramis, which supposedly occurred over 4000 years ago, require us to now isolate ourselves from society by shunning harmless customs? (Using hearts to express love for one another. Refusing to observe Valentine's Day.)

HWA and Hoeh forbade Valentine's Day in order to isolate WCG members from society in order to exploit them more effectively.

Since so many holidays are forbidden by HWA WCG members were forced to cling to the church in order to have a meaningful social life. Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day were forbidden so to compensate for those lost social opportunities they came to embrace holidays practiced by the church.

This is a textbook example of what Robert Lifton termed "Millieu control," that is, making a group of people to tend to only socialize among themselves, such as a church in which members are told repeatedly to only associate among themselves, or to believe the only real friendships are those within the church and that all others are less spiritually important.Such thinking can be used for other kinds of groups as well.

This tactic is often used by high demand groups in order to coax and persuade members to only socialize among themselvesThis makes members more vulnerable to persuasion by other group members, in order to make it easier for them to be manipulated by the cult leaders. That is the true reason HWA and Hoeh banned Valentine's Day.

All this nonsense about Nimrod and Semiramis is simply emotive window dressing to persuade WCG members to isolate themselves from society.

Cult leaders like HWA and Hoeh are just trying to control you. It really is that simple.

Thankfully it seems Hoeh later abandoned the inane dogmas of Armstrongism. If only more people chose to look at things and way and act on it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pabco's Home Page is No More

(Update (1.11.14): You can go to Pabco's Home Page. It simply changed address.)

Pabco's Home Page, the first archive of HWA's writings I found on the Internet, and the website I most often link to in order to link to HWA's writings, is no more.

I am saddened by this because now there are going to be a lot of dead links in my blog. I often linked to it to show readers HWA's works.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Scary Sermons are Used to Control COG Members

Recently I was reading Steven Hassan's book, Freedom of Mind, chapter 10, Unlocking Phobias. In the chapter Mr. Hassan relates that while he was a Moonie many Moonies within New York were summoned to view The Exorcist.
Moon made efforts to instill more direct, personal, and graphic phobias. In 1974, all New York members (myself included) were taken to see The Exorcist, a movie about a young girl who is possessed by an evil spirit. Moon then held a meeting at his Belvedere estate in Tarytown, NY, and told members that this movie was made by God, and was a prophecy of what would happen to anyone who left the Unification movement.
That reminded me of another story I heard about David Koresh. He only allowed his followers to watch three violent war movies. No doubt for the same foul purpose.

Thinking about this I then realized that HWA's WCG and the Armstrongite COGs also employ this method of social control by having their ministers talk at great length upon what would supposedly happen in the future. As just one example I could cite how Gerald Waterhouse insisted, with much emotion in a 1979 sermon, that Laodiceans would have to be beheaded by fanatical European imperialists in order to make up for their 'lukewarmness'.

I well remember how Richard Armstrong made a sermon in 1957 in which he justified having children sit through their long sermons. He essentially said that the children would get something out of it. He would say that it gave the children an awareness of 'the truth'. We know that it is a method of social control to scare followers into staying in the church. What the kids really got out of it was that they were told they must always stay with the church or else they will be sorely punished in a horrifying manner. It is a method of implanting phobias into COG members in order to keep them in the church paying their three tithes. No wonder so many of these precious children left the bizarre, fear based world of Armstrongism as soon as they could. Their defections are glorious acts of resistance against tyranny.

Many ex-members have spoken out against how children were forced to listen to scary, fear based sermons designed to keep COG members fearful in order to keep them in the church.

The old WCG ministers and COG ministers do that because they are cults.

Sheryl Meredith's Obituary

Here is Sheryl Meredith's obituary as provided by LCG.

Hat tip All About Armstrongism.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Can We Trust Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theories?

Fred Kaplan has a most fascinating article about the Kennedy assassination entitled, Killing Conspiracy.
Fifty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 59 percent of Americans still believe it was the work of a conspiracy. I was once among them. Back in the early 1970s, as a high school senior and college freshman, I read Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment, Richard Popkin’s The Second Oswald, Penn Jones’ Forgive My Grief, and other tomes, some of them best-sellers, that argued the case for a dark plot. 
Then, one day, I looked up the footnotes in those books, most of them leading me to the multivolume hearings of the Warren Commission. I was shocked. The authors had taken witnesses’ statements out of context, distorted them beyond recognition, and in some cases cherry-picked passages that seemed to back their theories while ignoring testimony that didn’t. It was my first brush with intellectual dishonesty.
Alas, many of us who used to believe what HWA taught, upon further investigation, were forced to conclude that we had been badly misinformed about many things by HWA and his collaborators.

I found Mr. Kaplan's article quite fascinating. I was particularly impressed with his account of the "magic bullet". The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald fired all three shots, but the Zapruder film seemed to indicate otherwise. Kaplan now takes up the story.
The inference was inescapable. Either there were at least two gunmen—or Kennedy and Connally were hit by the same bullet. The Warren Report argued the latter. The “single-bullet theory,” as it was called, set off a controversy even among the commissioners. Three of them didn’t buy it. Under political pressure to issue a unanimous report (preferably one reassuring the American public that there was only one gunman and he was dead), the skeptics stifled their dissent, at least publicly; in exchange, the report’s authors toned down their assessment of the single-bullet theory from “compelling” (the first draft’s term) to merely “persuasive.”
That section of the Warren Report drew the most biting attacks. Critics drew diagrams tracing the absurd path that a bullet would have had to travel—a midair turn to the right, followed by a squiggly one to the left—in order to rip through Kennedy’s neck, then into Connally’s ribs and wrist.

For many years, long after I’d rejected most of the conspiracy buffs’ claims, the “magic bullet”—as critics called it—remained the one piece of the Dealey Plaza puzzle that I couldn’t fit into the picture; it was the one dissonant chord that, in certain moods, made me think there might have been two gunmen after all.
Then, in November 2003, on the murder’s 40th anniversary, I watched an ABC News documentary called The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy. In one segment, the producers showed the actual car in which the president and the others had been riding that day. One feature of the car, which I’d never heard or read about before, made my jaw literally drop. The back seat, where JFK rode, was three inches higher than the front seat, where Connally rode. Once that adjustment was made, the line from Oswald’s rifle to Kennedy’s upper back to Connally’s ribcage and wrist appeared absolutely straight. There was no need for a magic bullet.
I had heard about this story of the "magic bullet" but I had never heard of this explanation before.

How Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

I recently came across this fascinating article by William Saletan, Inside the Minds of the JFK Conspiracy Theorists, trying to understand conspiracy theorists, the types of people who think there is some sort of sinister cabal secretly running the entire world. 

Conspiracy theory psychology is becoming an empirical field with a broader mission: to understand why so many people embrace this way of interpreting history. As you'd expect, distrust turns out to be an important factor. But it's not the kind of distrust that cultivates critical thinking.

Mr. Saletan discusses some research which seems to suggest that conspiracy theorists tend to indiscriminately distrust people in authority.

They also seem to have
a tendency to focus on intention and agency, rather than randomness or causal complexity. In extreme form, it can become paranoia. In mild form, it's a common weakness known as the fundamental attribution error – ascribing others' behaviour to personality traits and objectives, forgetting the importance of situational factors and chance. Suspicion, imagination, and fantasy are closely related. 
The more you see the world this way - full of malice and planning instead of circumstance and coincidence - the more likely you are to accept conspiracy theories of all kinds. Once you buy into the first theory, with its premises of coordination, efficacy, and secrecy, the next seems that much more plausible.
It is a fascinating article.

The COGs have a long history dealing with conspiracy theorists. At one point in the 1990s Meredith's Global Church of God had a split in which many conspiracy theorists were kicked out to prevent it from falling into ill repute. Alas many of those once associated with HWA's WCG have fallen into these sorts of delusional thinking.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

PCG: Germany was Evil in 1902

PCG's Richard Palmer has written an article, The Foolishness of Ending the Monroe Doctrine, that denounces John Kerry's recent announcement that the Monroe Doctrine is no more.

As is to be expected Palmer thinks this is terrible and views it a sign that America is growing weak and that the present government is leading the US to ruin.

What surprised me is how he dredged up the Venezuela Crisis of 1902-03 to continue demonizing Germany in order to scare PCG members into remaining in PCG and paying their three tithes.
For years, America was ignorant of the fact that it had come within hours of war with Germany over the Monroe Doctrine in the winter of 1902.

That December, Germany, Britain and Italy began to blockade Venezuela in an effort to force the nation to pay back the debts it owed them. [Theodore] Roosevelt sympathized with their motives and did not oppose the blockade. He was, however, deeply suspicious of Germany. Britain, he knew, respected the Monroe Doctrine, and during the 19th century probably did more than America to uphold it. But Germany resented it. German naval chief Adm. Alfred von Tirpitz, for example, wanted naval bases in the Caribbean and Brazil.

In their communications with Britain, Germany noted that it was considering “the temporary occupation on our part of different Venezuelan harbor places.” Roosevelt was concerned they would repeat what they did in Kiaochow, China—where a “temporary” occupation turned into a 99-year lease.

So Roosevelt conducted America’s first large-scale naval exercises. Under the command of America’s most distinguished—and anti-German—military leader, Adm. George Dewey, these exercises had been long planned and had nothing to do with the Venezuelan blockade. Except for the fact that Dewey was ready to sail to war at an hour’s notice.

Germany backed down. Although the German Navy almost certainly could have beat America’s Atlantic fleet, it was dispersed and unprepared for war. Germany didn’t invade Venezuela, and instead allowed America to mediate in the disagreement.

Was Roosevelt right to be so bellicose? In 2002, historians discovered that as the Venezuelan crisis was unfolding, German strategists were drawing up plans to take Puerto Rico and launch a surprise attack on the American Atlantic coast. Roosevelt’s naval build-up soon made the plan unfeasible. 
(I would strongly encourage people to study matters such as this for themselves and no take PCG's word for it.)

So PCG members are once again being indoctrinated to fear and loathe Germany. They are being told that they were evil as early as 1902 and that they plan to do that and much worse in the near future.
America will have its vital sea lanes cut off by foreign powers. That simply couldn’t happen without Latin America: It will require closing the Panama Canal to American traffic and having naval and aerial superiority in the Caribbean. 

Just as Roosevelt oversaw America’s arrival on the world stage, President Obama is overseeing its retreat. The rest of the world sees a still-rich America becoming weaker and weaker. The temptation to undermine the nation has never been stronger. If America were concerned about its future, it wouldn’t reject the Monroe Doctrine, but rather increase its vigilance all the more.
And so the German hating madness in PCG continues unabated.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sheryl Meredith Passes Away

Banned by HWA has reported that Sheryl Meredith, the wife of Roderick C. Meredith, has died, November 29.

This is sad news. I wish all those affected by her passing my condolences. No doubt her family are going through a dark time with her passing.

I just found this from a previous post:
1977: November 20: [Roderick C. Meredith] Marries Sheryl Ann Hensley of Bakersfield, California (Worldwide News, January 2, 1978, 'Evangelists Honored on 25th Anniversary', pp. 1, 3). They would later have two children.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Roderick C. Meredith The Matchmaker

Keith Hunt, a former WCG member who continues to believe and teach many of HWA's teachings, has left for us this anecdote regarding Roderick C. Meredith, showing once again the highly authoritarian behavior that was so common among WCG members under HWA's rule.

In his website's reproduction of Chapter 6 of John Tuit's book, The Truth Shall Set You Free, Keith Hunt has inserted the comment shown below. This chapter discusses the release of the second issue of the Ambassador Report. After John Tuit discusses the infamous Manpower Papers Keith Hunt inserts this comment.
(You think the above "screening" was the invention of AR [Ambassador Report] ... well it was NOT, listen to this. As a young guy in the WCG, I had a friend (a young guy also) who was accepted to AC (Ambassador College) - two years later he returned to the town where I was and called me on the phone and wanted to speak to me in person. We met. This is the story he related: He had fallen in love with a young lady in AC and she with him. Rod Meredith and company pulled him into their office and told him that he must have nothing to do with her as he was NOT ministerial quality, but she was the quality to be a minister's wife. He was shattered. What could I tell him, there was nothing he could do; obviously she was not about to leave AC and both of them go off and get married. I never saw my friend again - Keith Hunt) 
Once again here is more evidence of the abusive behavior that appears to have been so common within HWA's WCG.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Stephen Flurry Says Teens Taking Over Society (Like HWA)

Stephen Flurry has written an article or the December 2013 Philadelphia Trumpet, The Teens have Taken Over!

This article slavishly imitates what HWA wrote in The Missing Dimension in Sex. This only shows once again how PCG's leaders slavishly imitate HWA in order to bedazzle PCG members into thinking they are in the one true church. Never mind that PCG have altered HWA's writings or teach doctrines contrary to what HWA taught for their convenience, such as claiming Prophets have a right to rule church members. (HWA taught that New Testament Prophet had no administrative power over anyone and are unnecessary because we have the Bible.)

It is sad that PCG continues to oppress their followers.

Cult Leaders Use Fear of "Race War" to Manipulate Followers

Recently I bought Freedom of Mind by Steven Hassan. In Chapter 10, 'Unlocking Phobias' he lists some of the phobias cults seek to implant into their followers in order to exploit them more effectively.

One of them is "Fear of race wars".

I admit it. I chuckled when I read this as I instantly recalled how PCG has recently been fear mongering as I noted in this previous post in which I discussed a post written by Joel Hilliker in which he exploited news regarding one extremist African American to say "devastating racial violence" would soon occur.

Most likely Hassan is thinking of Charles Manson, the Ku Klux Klan, and other types of extremists but this sort of fear is often used by cult leaders to exploit their followers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eighty North Koreans Publically Executed for Possessing Bibles, Watching Foreign Films, Etc.

Korea JongAng Daily has reported that eighty North Koreans were publicly executed on November 3.
Some 80 people were publicly executed earlier this month in seven cities in North Korea excluding Pyongyang, the first known large-scale public executions by the Kim Jong-un regime, the JoongAng Ilbo reported.

The executions occurred on Sunday, Nov. 3, according to a source familiar with internal affairs in the North who recently visited the country.

The people were executed for relatively light transgressions such as watching South Korean movies or distributing pornography. ...

In Wonsan, eight people were tied to a stakes at a local stadium, had their heads covered with white sacks and were shot with a machine gun, according to the source.

According to witnesses of the execution, the source said, Wonsan authorities gathered some 10,000 people, including children, at Shinpoong Stadium, which has a capacity of 30,000 people, and forced them to watch....

The Wonsan victims were mostly charged with watching or illegally trafficking South Korean videos, being involved in prostitution or being in possession of a Bible.

Accomplices or relatives of the executed people who were implicated in their alleged crimes were sent to prison camps. 
Oh what monstrosities! Once again the elites of North Korea inflict yet another atrocity upon their oppressed subjects just in order to maintain their power and control.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dave Pack's Followers Discouraged from Using Medicine

Kerwyn Rand, a commenter at Silenced, has reported a most disturbing trend that seems to be happening within Dave Pack's Restored Church of God. (Hat tip Banned by HWA.)
the recent sermons are also (yet again) reminding the chosen fools that they are not to use modern medicine under any circumstances unless it is a dire emergency. “Pray on it, and God will take care of you” is their suggestion. I suppose if the flock really adheres to this mandate there will be far fewer of them in the next few years since many are elderly and infirm.
This is a most disturbing development. How dare Dave Pack spread anti-medicine superstition! As if what he has already done was not terrible enough.

The COGs have a long and shameful history of preventing people from getting necessary medical treatment. It is tragic that Dave Pack willfully chooses to continue this shameful and deadly superstition.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Branch Davidians Committed Mass Suicide (1993)

Regarding the tragic demise of the Branch Davidians in their compound, some people believe that the US government was at fault for causing the deaths, that the US authorities were responsible for the death of the Branch Davidians, or that it was some sort of sinister mass murder committed by an evil government out of control. Is this true?

Those people might like to look at the facts regarding the Branch Davidian siege as noted in the following article from noted anti-cult activist Rick Ross, at his blog Cult News, Associated Press perpetuates Waco myths.
Republicans, not particularly friendly with President Clinton or his Attorney General Janet Reno, concluded within their report that such conspiracy theories about Waco were completely false. Here are some excerpts:
  • The Davidians started the fire.
“The evidence presented to the Subcommittees conclusively demonstrated that three distinct fires began in three separate parts of the Branch Davidian residence within a two minute period on April 19. In light of these facts, the Subcommittees conclude that the fires were intentionally set by Branch Davidian members in order to destroy the structure. Supporting this conclusion is that fact that the fire review team found that a number of accelerants were present in the structure, including gasoline, kerosene, Coleman fuel, and other accelerants.
Given that these accelerants were used to contribute to the spread of the fire, the Subcommittees conclude that the Davidians used them as part of a plan to destroy their residence.”
  • The use of “tear gas” (methylene chloride) specifically did not cause the fire.
“One of the theories forwarded to the Subcommittees comcerning the origin of the fire is that methylene chloride, a chemical used as a dispersant to carry the CS riot control agent injected into the Branch Davidian residence, may have ignited and started the fire. During the hearings Dr. Quintiere testified that it was his opinion that the methylene chloride in the CS agent neither caused nor contributed to the spread of the fire.
In light of this testimony, and the other information reviewed by the Subcommittees concerning the flammability of methylene chloride, the Subcommittees conclude that the presence of methylene chloride in the Branch Davidian residence did not cause the fire nor contribute to its spread.”
  • The Davidans could have left the compound freely, but chose to stay and die instead.
“Throughout the morning of April 19, none of the Davidians left their residence. After the fire broke out, however, nine persons left the building. This indicates that at least some opportunity existed for the Davidians to safely leave the structure had they wanted to do so. One of those who escaped the fire left the residence almost 21 minutes after the breakout of the first fire. Clearly, some means of escape from the residence existed for a significant period of time after the fire broke out.
An important question, however, is whether the Davidians might have been overcome by smoke and prevented from leaving the residence. The autopsies of the Davidians indicate that deaths from smoke inhalation or asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning accounted for only half of the Davidians who died in the residence. The other causes of death were gunshot wounds, burns, or other trauma. Thus, even after the fires began to consume the structure, at least half of the Davidians were not so affected by the smoke and fumes from the fire that they were physically unable to leave the structure.
Additionally, the location of the bodies of the Davidians indicates that few of the Davidians actually attempted to escape the building. Many of the bodies were huddled together in locations in the center of the building. Few of the bodies were located at points of exit from the building, and the cause of death of several of the bodies at exit points were self-inflicted gunshot wounds or gunshots from very close range.”
The subsequent independent Danforth Report came to the same conclusions.
  1. Government agents did not start the fire at Waco;
  2. Government agents did not shoot at the Branch Davidians on April 19, 1993;
  3. Government agents did not improperly use the United States military;
  4. Government agents did not engage in a massive conspiracy and cover-up. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Attorney General Reno, the present and former Director of the FBI, other high officials of the United States, or the individual members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team who fired three pyrotechnic tear gas rounds on April 19, 1993.
  5. Responsibility for the tragedy at Waco rests with certain of the Branch Davidians and their leader, David Koresh, who shot and killed four ATF agents, wounded twenty others, shot at FBI agents trying to insert tear gas into the complex, burned down the complex, and shot at least twenty of their own people, including five children.
Likewise, the Davidian survivors legal claims for damages were repeatedly rejected.
Despite these clear facts some people choose to believe that the Branch Davidians were not an extremist authoritarian cult that behaved in a dangerous way, but they are instead romanticized as ordinary Christians who were bullied by some evil government.

These people choose to believe that the Branch Davidians did not commit mass suicide, as the evidence shows, but instead delude themselves into thinking they were martyrs murdered by the US government.

They ignore the fact that by murdering four government employees and refusing to let US law enforcement officers into their compound the Branch Davidians were effectively in a state of aggressive armed rebellion against the US government.

They ignore the fact that David Koresh murdered the Branch Davidians and instead falsely claim the US government killed them and use this thought to produce all kinds of wacky, inaccurate and paranoid anti-government conspiracy theories.

One man believed these incorrect ideas regarding the Waco siege so strongly he launched a terrorist act against the United States that killed 168 people. He was later executed for that monstrous act.

Some within the COGs have also incorrectly taught that the Branch Davidians were murdered by the US government, such as M. John Allen, as was shown in a previous post:
This attitude [claiming there was a government cover up regarding the siege of the Branch Davidian] exists among other COGs, such as M. John Allen, leader of Restoration Ministries, as may be seen in his book The Restoration of Truth, Chapter 7. After speculating that Christians should live in a commune he somewhat abruptly changes the topic to say that Waco was an act of tyranny and compares US law officers with Nazi storm troopers. He even suggests, without any evidence (he has "a feeling") that Jim Jones' mass suicide in 1978 was the same thing.
I feel it is no coincidence that government storm troopers were sent into Christian communities like Waco and Jonestown, with cover stories that these people committed suicide. The facts have come out about Waco, showing it was really a government hatchet job against innocent, law abiding people. We will probably never know about Jonestown, but I have a feeling it was the same type of thing.
How can he say that about Jonestown? He has no evidence, just "a feeling".
I present this post in the hope of allaying unfounded concerns caused by paranoid conspiracy theories centered upon this incident.

(Incidentally the Branch Davidians are an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventists and thus related to Armstrongism as a common descendant of the Millerites of the 1830s-1840s.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Kennedy Assassination As Told by the Reporter who was There

The Daily Telegraph has a fascinating article regarding the Kennedy assassination as encountered by a reporter, Richard Aynesworth, who was there at the Kennedy assasination.

I found his comments regarding the widespread conspiracy theories regarding it particularly worthy of note.
Over the 50 years since, he has gone deep into the background to events ... and running down “oh gosh, dozens and dozens of conspiracy theories”.
Watching fruitcakes and frauds get rich peddling hokum to an eager world (he reserves special contempt for the Oliver Stone film JFK) has been tough for him. “The only lucrative business from a reporting standpoint has been conspiracy,” he said. “For every book that tells the exact truth, or tries to, there are 25 conspiracy books.”
But he has always refused to make a killing from the killing. “Who do you think, given my background, would like to 'solve’ the assassination more than me? God! All I can say is, there’s not one scintilla of evidence to the contrary [that both Oswald and Ruby acted alone].”
“He’s a beautifully humble man,” chips in [his wife] Paula. “If he was a liar, he’d be so rich.”
Aynesworth’s conclusion should be the final word on the events of half a century ago, but he knows it never will be. “We all love a conspiracy. No one wants to believe two nobodies could change the course of world history. But they did.”
He wrote two books about the Kennedy assassination, November 22, 1963: Witness to History, and JFK: Breaking the News.

How One Man Left a Cult and Started an Anti-Cult Group

Here's the story of one man, Ian Haworth, who was recruited into a cult. 

What it's like to escape from a cult (Daily Telegraph).
Six years into my stay in Toronto, I was doing some shopping at a major intersection in town when a very attractive woman approached me. I was very single at the time, so I was quite amenable when she asked if I’d like to take part in a survey.
She asked me a series of short questions and ticked off my answers on a clipboard. What did I think of the world? Could the world be a better place? The whole thing was done in less than a minute. At the end, she said: "The way you’ve answered these questions I think you might be interested in joining a community group." I wasn’t sure. She said: "Isn’t it time you gave something back to to the community in which you live?" Part of me respected her to have the guts to say that, and part of me felt rather guilty and selfish. So I agreed to go along the following week. 
Find out what at the link above.

Hat tip: Cult News Network.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The COGs' Hostility to Movies and Fiction

Traditionally the COGs tend to be quite critical of mainstream fiction, whether they are books, movies or TV shows.

This tendency may be seen in one of HWA's very first religious articles, 'What's Wrong with the Current Gerneration?' written around 1927, long before he started publishing the Plain Truth.
The average church is now about two-thirds empty, the other third being populated with gray heads. The average sermon today is lifeless, boring, lacking in fire and power. The church no longer serves a social need. The automobile, good roads, modern movies, dances and entertainments, have usurped the churches' social ministration. The teenagers are no longer interested.

Some churches have attempted to compete with the lure of modern amusements by bringing movies, amateur plays, dances and other entertainments into the church. But, in the amusement game, our churches have proved themselves pitiful novices. The crowd still prefers its entertainment where it is presented with professional and worldly skill. ...

The churches have failed them [young people]. They don't understand - how can we expect that they should? - and they are merely seeking the spiritual food they really need, in movies, in dances, in wild entertainment, in "necking," sex and debauchery, and all too often finding the "inspiration" in bootleg liquor! They're getting - and buying at a dear price - cheap Woolworth jewelry, when what they really crave is the pearls of a heart-warming, Spirit-firing Christian experience! ...

Religion has come to be considered, by these youngsters the oldsters condemn, as a dark, gloomy, profitless, penance-paying life. The average adolescent's conception of Christianity is a whole flock of "Don'ts," beginning with capital Ds. The churches shout "Don't dance," "Don't play cards," "Don't go to movies," "Don't bob your hair," "Don't smoke." The church offers no alternative. Christianity is viewed as a sort of living painful penance. ...

Let's not make the fatal mistake of thinking we can steer them safely from the shoals of worldly temptations merely by saying: "Don't dance! Don't go to movies! Don't smoke! Don't drink!"

Their starved emotions, their pent-up energies, are going to find an outlet, one way or the other. If we don't want them to fall victim to this world's tawdry imitations, then we must show them the REAL THING. If you don't give your children something constructively BETTER, they will dance, they will drink, they will dissipate, in spite of you. Never have we needed the help and the power of God as we need it now!
(HWA later became exactly what he was criticizing in this article.)

HWA also stated his contempt for fiction in his Autobiography as noted in a previous post of this blog.
HWA in his autobiography, in which he completely 'forgets' to tell us about his many false prophecies, (1936, Mussolini as Beast, Hitler as Beast) he does remember to tell us that he has not read much fiction.

That winter, beside the warm fire of burning oak logs, I read through three or four books of fiction -- about the only fiction reading of my entire life. I did what I could to help on the farm, but that wasn't much, and my wife, of course, did the cooking, and housework. (Chapter 13.)
He also remembered to tell us his personal views on fiction.

I confined my reading in magazines to informative and thought-provoking articles, resisting fiction almost altogether. Fiction is the lazy man's reading. Like the movies, and today's TV programs, it is merely a ready-made daydream, inducing habits of mind-drifting. (Chapter 8.)
And then (strangely) just a few words later he lecture us about 'vision.'
This is the quality, rare among people (but why should it be? [It might have something to do with your authoritarian ways, HWA.-Redfox712]), called VISION....the big majority never think beyond their present jobs -- never think out ways to do the job better, or to develop or expand their own job into something bigger, or to be preparing themselves for the better jobs ahead and promotions to them
How is vision, which here means dreaming about future possibilities, different from dreaming about possibilities experienced through reading fiction?
When I read that in his Autobiography I seriously contemplated giving up fiction. Thankfully I read Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling and the joy of reading that story firmly put that delusional idea behind me.

This hostility towards movies and other forms of mainstream entertainment is also seen in Roderick C. Meredith's booklet, Restoring Original Christianity. (The booklet was originally called Restoring Apostolic Christianity.)
Satan “broadcasts” a selfish, rebellious attitude throughout this earth. He is the one who is influencing deceived men into injecting enormous amounts of licentious sex, violence and a general spirit of disrespect and lawlessness into the so-called “entertainment” you and your children see or hear on television, at the movies, on the radio or when playing various kinds of perverted computer games which simulate almost indescribable acts of perversion or violence. Do you know who is really laughing at all this “fun stuff”? Satan is!

For by perverting mankind’s normal interest in sex and excitement, and by cleverly injecting sick humor into so many of television’s “situation comedies,” Satan is able to cleverly mislead mankind into abusing, degrading and ultimately destroying itself if God does not intervene at the last minute to stop it (Matthew 24:21–22).
I have also seen similar comments from PCG.

Why are HWA, Meredith, Mendiola, PCG and so many others within the COGs like this?

It is very simple, they are simply trying to control their followers. COG leaders fear that the works of art may cause COG members to deviate from what they are told. The leaders do not want to their followers spending money on movies but would prefer for them to not go in order that more money ma be given to the leaders as tithes and offerings. The COG leaders claim many works of art are immoral but they are simply trying to control their followers.

Also many works of art contain messages contrary to what is taught by the COGs. The COG leaders are simply trying to make sure their followers do not wonder around and start to embrace contrary ideas, or, even worse, start thinking for themselves and disrupting the leaders' rule over the tithes paying flock.

The COG leaders are simply trying to control their followers by keeping them focused only on what the group teaches and ignoring and avoiding anything that might contradict what is taught.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

HWA Says People Are Like Sheep Ignorantly Led to Slaughter

I saw these words written by HWA in The Missing Dimension in Sex, Chapter 12. 
People are like sheep. They all follow the leader to the slaughter. But they don't know they are being led to the slaughter. They are just a little stupid. Yes, quite a little! But they still want to belong! It's natural to just go with the group.
In context HWA is talking about supposedly Satan influenced humanity, specifically teenagers, rushing to throw away traditional restrictions regarding sexual relations.

But I cannot help but wonder, is this how HWA really viewed the people around him?

Is this how he really viewed the people he led and commanded?

COG Alexa Rankings (October 2013)

I loved Gavin Rumney's old Alexa lists. Here is another list to see how popular the websites of the various COGs compare to each other.

For comparison here are other Alexa lists from June and July and August.

I have chosen not to check the rankings of quite so many COGs as before. It is too burdensome to look at so many splinter groups.

UCG: 56,226
RCG (Pack): 110,874
The Trumpet (PCG): 149,238
Grace Communion International (Tkach's WCG): 150,941
COGWriter (Thiel): 170,727
Tomorrow's World (LCG): 383,704
LCG: 374,184 (See below. LCG still seems to have more web activity than Bob Thiel.)
COGWA: 381,818
Life, Hope and Truth (COGWA): 444,240
Real Truth (RCG): 584,486
PCG: 612,013
Continuing COG (Thiel): 634,117
Vision (Hulme): 1,052,990
Plain Truth Ministries (Albrecht): 1,435,137
Triumph Prophetic Ministries (Dankenbring): 1,690,715
Shining Light (Malm): 2,049,385
COG International: 2,209,458
CCG (Wade Cox): 2,460,918
Intercontinental COG: 2,677,031
The-End.com (Weinland): 4,485,229
Cogl.org (LCG): 5,419,663
RonaldWeinland.com: 10,925,350
COG-PKG (Weinland): 24,224,507

UCG remains unassailably ascendant. A COG that decided to change their method of government to a somewhat more democratic way, as Bob Thiel often liked to say, continues to be the main COG. Despite the constant scheming, criticism and plotting against them by Flurry, Pack, Thiel, Malm and others, UCG remains ascendant. King of the COG world.

Dave Pack was wrong. The COGs are still very much active. He predicted they would be destroyed by August 30, 2013. RCG is still well behind UCG, LCG, COGWA and PCG in terms of members. We know there has been no great migration to RCG. Dave Pack would certainly tell us at great length if such was the case. Also RCG's web site has remained static.

Here is the recent timeline of Alexa rankings for Dave Pack's websites:

June         87,220
July          105,715
August     115,494
(August 30, 2013, Pack's prophesied reunification does not happen.)
October  110,874

There was certainly no great expansion within RCG as Pack insisted would happen by August 30, 2013. 

The decline for Real Truth's web site is particularly noticeable.

Real Truth:
June        448,357
July         435,144
August    456,355
(August 30, 2013, Pack's prophesied reunification does not happen.)
October  584,486

These figures indicate that in the build up to Pack's falsely prophesied reunification due August 30, 2013, there was an increase in web activity but after the prophetic failure activity has gone down on Real Truth's website, while RCG has remained stable but certainly shows no indication of any great reunification happening.

Ronald Weinland's imprisonment for tax evasion has been a disaster for his cult group. Hardly anyone is reading his stuff. Most dramatically RonaldWeinland.com fell from 2,571,463 in August to 10,925,350 at present.

LCG's websites have gone down. Tomorrow's World is down from 221,574 in August to 383,704 now. LCG is down from 289,043 in August to 374,184 at present.

LCG in all probability still has more web activity then Bob Thiel, despite what the list seems to show. If you add Tomorrow's World and LCG's websites together there is probably still more web activity for Meredith's cult then Thiel's. I do not know how one could combine the statistics for those two websites together and then compare them to Thiel's websites, but it seems most likely that more people are still reading LCG's writings then those of Thiel. There is no evidence of any great massive membership growth within Bob Thiel's little personality cult.

James Malm's blog has gone down from 1,217,186 in August to 2,049,385 today. Perhaps some followers of his are starting to realize that Malm is not worth their attention and moving on elsewhere.

PCG's Trumpet has come down from 108,171 in August to 149,238, falling behind RCG. A far cry from the supposed destruction PCG was supposed to face by August 30, 2013.

Web statistics do not tell everything. For instance the most viewed website for any political party in Britain is a certain far right, racist party that is not even present in Parliament. Just because people are reading your stuff it does not necessarily mean they are going to join or pay tithes.