Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How PCG's Stephen Flurry Remembers WCG History

How HWA sectarians view the events of the 1970s and 1980s may be seen in an article by PCG's Stephen Flurry, The Legacy of Herbert Armstrong, in the February 2002 Philadelphia Trumpet. This article recounts in brief the history of HWA and his Worldwide Church of God.
Let us see what Stephen Flurry has to say.
In 1939, the Good News was established. This bulletin, established mainly for members and co-workers, soon became a full-color magazine and was received monthly by over one million subscribers before Mr. Armstrong’s death. 
 Soon? The first full color Good News came out in November 1963, twenty four years later.

There is also no mention of the fact that after its first issue it was not produced again until April 1951.
In the autumn of 1947, Ambassador College was founded in Pasadena, Calif. Later, colleges were started in Bricket Wood, England, and Big Sandy, Tex. 
 No mention about how Bricket Wood was disbanded under HWA's watch. 
The 1950s proved to be a decade of tremendous advancements in God’s work. In 1953, The World Tomorrow began airing in Europe on Radio Luxembourg. 
Stephen Flurry makes no mention of this but that event helped to precipitate HWA's disastrous prediction that Christ would return in 1975
Two years later, the program appeared on television.
HWA threatened his followers with being cast into the lake of fire unless they gave him extra money to get on television. Also the TV show was soon cancelled. It later returned to TV but HWA's first foray into television failed miserably.
Mr. Armstrong spent much of the 1970s traveling worldwide, meeting kings, presidents and other heads of state, including Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam, and King Hussein of Jordan, to name just a few. Mr. Armstrong was fulfilling the commission prophesied in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
In 1972, Mr. Armstrong broke ground for the construction of Ambassador Auditorium, which would be finished over two years later—constructed with some of the finest materials on Earth. At its grand opening, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra performed. 
Stephen Flurry never mentions that these visits to world leaders and highly expensive acts caused a lot of dissension within WCG among members disgusted that the money they were sending to WCG was being spent in such a frivolous manner. 
Power Struggle
In the 1970s, God’s Church also had its share of rebellion and controversy. Much of the dissension was occurring at Pasadena headquarters because of Mr. Armstrong’s absence. During this controversial time period, he was gone from headquarters close to 300 days a year due to overseas travel.
No mention is made of Garner Ted Armstrong and how it was him who attracted so many followers into WCG during the haydays of the late 1950s and 1960s. An unsuspecting reader would have little idea of how important he was to WCG in 1955-78. 
In 1974, the first major revolt in the WCG occurred. In a massive rebellion, at least 35 ministers rallied around two top men at headquarters, leading astray about 2,000 brethren. 
No mention is made over these members' disillusionment at the great disappointment of 1972, the dissension caused by HWA's acceptance of Garner Ted Armstrong's return to his previous responsibilities despite the shame of scandal surrounding him because of his extra-marital affairs.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Armstrong’s son, Garner Ted, began his attempt to take over the Church. Garner Ted had much control of the work when Mr. Armstrong was overseas—changing many of the core doctrines and pursuing accreditation for Ambassador College, which, according to Mr. Armstrong, caused the watering down of Bible truth and escalating permissiveness on campus. “God Almighty and Jesus Christ were virtually thrown out of the college—and were rapidly being thrown out of the Church!” (Good News, Sept. 1979).
Shortly thereafter, Garner Ted was disfellowshiped from the Church. 
This is total nonsense! Stephen Flurry is merely parroting the self serving propaganda HWA gave to WCG members of the time.

After researching what happened during this tragic schism of the Armstrongs it has become apparent to me that such was not the case. HWA's stated reasons for disfellowshipping his own son were largely fanciful. HWA wanted his son to be completely submissive to him. He appears to have removed him because of a terrible power struggle occurring between Garner Ted Armstrong and Stanley Rader. HWA sided with Rader and cast out his own son in order to make Rader's hold on power within WCG HQ more secure. If any one was trying to take over the church it was Rader, and until 1981 HWA supported him.
Unfortunately for the work, the troubles did not stop there. During the autumn of 1978, six disfellowshiped WCG members began to plot a conspiracy against the Church in the form of a class action lawsuit.
A conspiracy so vicious and cruel that these six ex-members nearly threw it all away hoping that if they just gave Stanley Rader an ultimatum he would quietly leave.
A Fight for God’s Church

Perhaps at no time is the true character of a leader unveiled more than at a time of crisis. The year 1979 was such a time in God’s Church. Those familiar with Herbert Armstrong and the WCG at the time witnessed an unbelievable fight by Mr. Armstrong against not only former members of the Church, but against the entire state of California! 
Would this include the time when HWA decided to cooperate with the receivers and appointed C. Wayne Cole second in command of the church, but suddenly betrayed him and disfellowshipped him? Furthermore Cole was falsely accused of collaborating with the receivers behind HWA's back. C. Wayne Cole was always loyal to HWA and had merely tried to follow HWA's commands. After betraying Cole HWA decided to oppose the receivership in every way in order to please Rader.
The main accusation made by Garner Ted was against his father’s “lavish spending.” The charges (which were later thoroughly disproven)
Nonsense! WCG was never cleared in court. WCG persuaded the State of California to change the law in order to make this sort of law suit impossible. The Arthur Andersen audit did not vindicate WCG and was incapable of finding illegal acts.

Also note how Stephen Flurry insinuates that the "main accusation" causing the receivership came from Garner Ted Armstrong. He did not start the receivership. Stephen Flurry is thoughtlessly parroting HWA's self serving propaganda at the time who often falsely insinuated that the receivership was Garner Ted Armstrong's doing.

Rather the receivership was initiated by six ex-members of WCG who were trying to save the church from corruption within its Headquarters. They had grown disillusioned with the authoritarian rule of HWA. They perceived that WCG had become a vast money making operation dedicated to letting the leaders live in the lap of luxury and fund the personal expenses of church leaders. These six members perceived this financial exploitation of WCG members to be a breach of trust with WCG members and co-workers who funded WCG that needed to be exposed and punished in the court of law.

As far as I can tell all these six members passionately believed most of HWA's doctrines. This was not 'the world' attacking WCG. The lawsuit was initiated by people who continued to passionately believe most of HWA's doctrines who were desperately trying to stop the abuses within WCG under HWA because they loved the people within WCG and its co-workers and they desperately tried to make it clear to everyone that HWA could not be trusted with peoples' money.

Perhaps Stephen Flurry is sincere, but if so, he is dreadfully ill-informed.
Describing Mr. Armstrong’s reaction to these events, Stanley Rader wrote in his book, Against the Gates of Hell, “Problems have never upset Mr. Armstrong, and he reacted even to this serious threat with serenity, courage and confidence.” 
Such talk is nonsense. HWA was mortal and he was upset by problems just as any man is. Actually, as mentioned above, HWA at first decided to co-operate with the authorities, but he soon changed his mind and the unfortunate C. Wayne Cole paid the price for HWA's sudden change of heart.
Meanwhile, Herbert Armstrong was systematically getting the Church “back on track,” while diligently fighting against the state’s unconstitutional attack. In the process, the WCG received the support of dozens of churches that recognized the danger of such an attack—support from churches with different doctrines, but all clinging to one common belief: freedom of religion.
Stephen Flurry once again parrots HWA's and Rader's propaganda of the time. HWA and Rader claimed the receivership violated their Constitutionally protected freedom of religion. This was merely self serving propaganda. 

The receivership had nothing to do with freedom of religion. The receivership was an attempt to stamp out corruption within WCG HQ initiated by ex-members who continued to believe most of HWA's doctrines. WCG was never in danger of being shut down, as HWA deceptively insinuated. The receivers had no interest in interfering in WCG's ecclesiastical affairs. No one was punished for being a member of WCG, rather the receivership was an attempt to stop corruption among its leaders. No one's freedom of religion was ever threatened by the receivership, as HWA and Rader falsely claimed. 
On October 14, 1980, the state dropped the case against the WCG when the legislature passed a law barring the attorney general from investigating religious organizations the way they had with the WCG.
At least Stephen Flurry mentions this is how the case actually ended. HWA tended to mention one decision that went well for WCG and implies that was the end of it. But Stephen Flurry glosses over how WCG never proved that they were innocent of the charges.
Stanley Rader said, about Mr. Armstrong during this time, “Over the years of my close association with this remarkable man, I have noted abundant evidence that he is the embodiment of his own message of hope and trust that the living God will provide man with the wisdom to prevail over obstacles” (ibid.). 
It also helped that Rader had access to tapes to blackmail HWA, the infamous Lochner tapes.

One cannot help but note that an unsuspecting reader would never know just how powerful Rader was within WCG reading this article. Through most of the 1970s until late 1981 Rader strode like a colossus within WCG: he helped HWA find another wife, Ramona Martin (nee Crittenden), he had helped kick out HWA's own son, he cast Roderick C. Meredith out to Hawai'i, even HWA did not dare to remove Rader even though he chafed under Rader's hand, as he revealed to C. Wayne Cole.
The WCG had its greatest spurt of growth during 1980 to 1986—right after a tremendous amount of turmoil both inside and outside the Church, at a time when many ex-members of the WCG were claiming Mr. Armstrong was incompetent and senile. The surge forward by the WCG in the last years of Herbert Armstrong’s life proves, without refutation, just how powerfully he was being used by God. 
 Does it really? All this growth would soon be irretrievably lost.
Contrast the Church in the late 1970s to the year Mr. Armstrong died: the annual income went from $75 million to $200 million; Plain Truth circulation went from 1 million to peak at over 8 million;
I shall quote from a previous post:
John Ogwyn parrots HWA's claim that the Plain Truth had eight million issues in circulation in the 1980s. Actually, according to WCG now, it was never higher then "slightly over six million." (Larry Nichols and George Mather, Discovering the Plain Truth, p. 39) 
HWA was not telling the truth when he said the Plain Truth had eight million copies in circulation. What else is he wrong about?
 In 1981, Mr. Armstrong established Youth magazine for young people. 
HWA used this magazine to tell children that Christ would soon return, bringing them unnecessary fear and distress. What sort of golden age is this?

Stephen Flurry then talks about HWA writing Mystery of the Ages. This is hailed as the great consummation of all that HWA tried to do.

It should also be noted that HWA's Mystery of the Ages proclaimed that Christ would soon return, before 2000. (PCG has removed those words from Mystery of the Ages so you will not find those words in PCG's editions.)

HWA also forbids interracial marriage in Mystery of the Ages.

What sort of golden age is this that Stephen Flurry is promoting? A place where children are falsely told that Christ will soon return so they cannot plan for their lives. A place where oppressive Jim Crow laws forbidding interracial marriage are still in force. That does not sound very appealing at all. 

Afterwards Stephen Flurry mentions HWA's death and cites the testimonies of seven different people saying that HWA was a great man worthy of being followed, none of whom are in PCG. Odd how Stephen Flurry did not mention the son who was disfellowshipped by HWA.

In this entire article no mention is made of HWA's deadly anti-medicine superstition which he took from the Jehovah's Witnesses, or of how, until 1974, he had a cruel divorce and remarriage policy which forcibly separated families. The terrible sufferings these people endured are callously, but not surprisingly, ignored and made to disappear in his article.

So all in all Stephen Flurry has not produced an account that clearly reveals what happened within HWA's church. Many important events are left unstated in the hope that potential new members will not be put off by the failed prophesies, the broken hearts left in ex-members and other matters. It is not a trustworthy account. However such accounts are fairly typical of many HWA sectarians. These people often simply refuse to admit how bad things really were within HWA's authoritarian church.

Perhaps he is sincere, but if so, he is badly informed.

Monday, July 29, 2013

UCG Parents Shun Child Who Wishes to Leave Armstrongism

I was shocked to see the latest post from All About Armstrongism noting how one commenter on Banned by HWA has revealed that he/she has been shunned by his/her parents in UCG for the last two weeks since the person announced his/her defection from Armstrongism.
And just for the record, my UCG parents haven't spoken to me except for a hateful accusatory letter in more than 2 weeks since I told them I was leaving Armstrongism. Kinder, gentler cult my ass...
Such behavior is absolutely abominable.

How on Earth do these parents expect their religion to be taken seriously by anyone if they would treat their own child in such a vicious and nasty manner? This is inexcusable.

Did not Paul say that those who refuse to provide for their family members are worse than unbelievers? These parents claim to follow God and then ignore statements such as that.

These parents need to repent of their great offense against God, nature and society. They must continue to be parents with the child regardless of his/her worldviews, whether they contradict with the teachings of HWA and UCG or not.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Receivership LCG's John Ogwyn Barely Mentions

LCG's John Ogwyn's history of the COG, God's Church Through the Ages, makes little mention of the receivership the State of California imposed upon WCG in 1979.
In January 1979, the Church was temporarily hit by a receivership imposed by the State of California. Mr. Armstrong, from Tucson, Arizona (where he was still recovering from heart trouble), named Dr. Meredith to his old job as director of the ministry, seeking to restore stability to the Church and the ministry during this troubled time. [And was removed August 3, 1979, and replaced by Joseph Tkach, but this is not mentioned. It was in an earlier edition.] At the same time, Mr. Armstrong sought to "set the Church back on track" doctrinally after the liberal, watered-down doctrinal approach of the 1970s.
Ogwyn notes that the receivership happened and it was temporary. (An earlier edition of this booklet did not even state that the receivership ended.) But there is no mention about why it happened, when and how it ended, or whether WCG was vindicated or not.

Ogwyn's booklet hides the fact that WCG was not vindicated in the receivership. WCG got California to change the law making it impossible to prosecute WCG in that way. Many of those who were resisting the receivership were doing so at the behest of Stanley Rader (he who must not be named).

In reality the receivership was initiated by people who still passionately believed most of HWA's doctrines. The receivership was their attempt to save WCG by stopping corruption within WCG HQ and lavish expenses of tithe money for personal uses made at the expense of the welfare of WCG members and local congregations. All this is clearly revealed in John Tuit's book, The Truth Shall Set You Free.

Chapter 11
On a visit to the offices of Cohn and Lifland, I decided to discuss our idea with Pearlman and Herrmann. I said, "If we actually file this lawsuit it could hurt and perhaps even destroy the Church when our real desire is to save the Church from the corrupt leadership.
Here some of the relators who initiated the lawsuit suggest that before the suit is filed they approach Stanley Rader and announce that unless he resigned immediately they would initiate the lawsuit.

What sort of "conspiracy" is this? The initiators were willing to throw it all away if only the fear of the lawsuit could be used to scare Rader into resigning from WCG.

The lawyers wisely disregarded this idea. Rader did all he could to resist the receivership. 

Chapter 12:

The following words are of Robert Kuhn, who had learned that the receivership was coming, warning C. Wayne Cole just before the receivership that a lawsuit of some nature was afoot. He could not reveal the exact nature of the lawsuit.
I know that out of your loyalty to Mr.Armstrong, that you'll feel obligated to inform him. Then he'll immediately call Stan, and then the action may run into problems. All I can tell you is that the people behind it want to save the Church. They aren't dissidents, but feel that strong action must be taken to clean this place out."
After this Kuhn wished for reassurance from John Tuit that the intent of the lawsuit was a desire to save the church. 
As Jack had asked, I phoned Kuhn a few days after Jack had informed me of what he now called his private diplomatic mission. Kuhn's main concern was to be fully assured that we were not out to destroy the Church, but rather were sincere in our desire to save the Church. I assured him that this was the feeling of all those involved. 
The words below further reveal the reforming impulse behind the receivership. They wished to reform the church and put an end to authoritarian behavior, not destroy it.

Chapter 14:
While the officials of the court were busy attempting to do their job, I had a phone conversation with Robert Kuhn and told him, if it was at all possible, to get Wayne Cole and others of the leading ministers on some sort of a conference call that I would be able to explain what was happening.

I said, "If I could only talk to these men, I am sure that I could show them that the real purpose here is to save the Church and not to destroy it, which is what I am sure we'll be accused of doing. I know of no way to reach Herbert Armstrong directly other than perhaps through the leading ministers. Maybe after our discussion they may be able to get to Mr.Armstrong with the facts on this situation and hopefully the whole thing could be cut short." 
 Chapter 15
I outlined the entire reason for the suit and emphasized the fact that this was an attempt to save the Church and that the receiver was being placed in charge in order to protect the assets of the Church. I told them that the Attorney General's office has no right to interfere with the ecclesiastical affairs of the Church and in fact has no interest in those areas. I made it plain that this action had been in the planning stages for quite some time and that it would be pursued aggressively to a conclusion.

After explaining the entire background and purpose of the lawsuit, I said, "Our interest here as relators is obviously one more broad than that of the Attorney General's office. We want to clean up the financial improprieties and also see the Church relieved of the autocratic, dictatorial rule that has been imposed, plunging the Church into a state of complete fear. The Attorney General has determined from his investigation that there are adequate grounds to proceed with this lawsuit, and their interest is to see those responsible for wrongdoing are removed and caused to make full restitution to the Church
(No wonder Rader worked so hard to stop the receivership.)

HWA lied and shrilly claimed the receivership was an attempt to destroy the church. HWA and Rader were fighting to protect their dirty secrets of corruption hidden.

Notice how HWA falsely insinuates that WCG would have been dissolved if the receivership were allowed to fulfill its course in Mystery of the Ages, Chapter 6.
a court had secretly appointed a receiver to TAKE OVER, RUN AND OPERATE the Church of the living GOD! ... And the OPERATION OF THE CHURCH CONTINUED! [Falsely implying that the operation of the church was ever in danger.]
(And that is not the only lie in HWA's book.)

Furthermore WCG was not vindicated in this crisis. WCG's Arthur Andersen audit could not prove that nothing illegal had occurred.

Instead WCG was lobbied enough politicians in California to get them to pass a law that made it impossible for such a lawsuit to be enacted. That is how WCG overcame the receivership crisis. They got the State of California to change the rules in their favor.

While the legal battles continued, Rader succeeded in enlisting the support of many California politicians to his cause. ...

With the added support of many church leaders of various denominations, some deceived by him, and others fearful of themselves being exposed, a bill was introduced to the California legislature by Senator Nicholas Petris. The bill states. "Except as the Attorney General is empowered to act in the enforcement of the criminal laws of this state . . . (he) . . . shall have no power with respect to religious corporations."

In effect, the bill, if it becomes law, will prohibit the Attorney General from acting on behalf of a church in an action against leaders who are suspected of misappropriating funds. The Attorney General would no longer be able to seek recovery of monies for a church. The only avenue would be criminal prosecution, a much more difficult task.

In May, the Senate passed the bill and in August it was passed by the Assembly. 
As Tuit feared once the bill became law the State of California gave up trying to enforce this lawsuit.

Incidently, this 'victory' for WCG also allowed other cults to get off the hook from the State of California. (I have made a minor alteration of the font in this next quote for stylistic purposes.)
On October 14, 1980, California Attorney General George Deukmejian announced that he was dropping any further action against the leaders of the WCG. His announcement was a result of the signing of the Petris bill by Governor Edmund G. Brown on September 30. Deukmejian also dropped any further investigations of eleven other groups, including Synanon, the drug rehabilitation organization which had become a religious cult. (Postscript.)
 WCG was not vindicated at all, contrary to what HWA told WCG members.

More on this topic may be seen in a previous post.

If the receivership went through its course it is likely more money would have been used for lowly WCG members. It was very sad to see how John Tuit described how deprived WCG congregations, unable even to receive money from higher up to build up a Sabbath school. In contrast the leaders of WCG lived in the lap of luxury, often using legally dubious ways. No wonder so many WCG congregations and members were deprived.

HWA had complete control over many WCG members. HWA could communicate with every WCG member through the Pastor's Report, his co-worker letters, his sermons, etc. But the lawsuit was prepared in secret. Many of those inclined to question HWA's line had already left WCG or learned to keep silent.

Many doctrines within WCG encouraged WCG members to view the receivership as a Satanic attack, a test of faith requiring unstinting loyalty to HWA (and he who must not be named, Rader). For years WCG members had been indoctrinated to view the world and WCG in this way. When HWA rallied his followers the years of propaganda and brainwashing now paid off and HWA used all this to fight the receivership through every twist and turn.  

It is shameful, considering these facts, that HWA sectarians such as LCG's John Ogwyn, continue to breathe life into HWA's self serving and false assurances that he and WCG were innocent and that the receivership was conducted under false pretenses.

LCG's John Ogwyn's evasive treatment of this topic continue to hold LCG members in bondage to a system of oppression designed to exploit them, not least by insisting they pay three tithes and extra offerings to the leaders of LCG.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How LCG's John Ogwyn Discusses the Stanley Rader Era

LCG obliquely discusses what happened under Stanley Rader in John Ogwyn's booklet, God's Church through the Ages.
In January 1972, the Church was shaken by the removal of Garner Ted Armstrong from his responsibilities. Four months later he was reinstated. The 1970s saw in the Church, as in America as a whole, the emergence of an increasingly liberal, permissive spirit. A number of ministers and members left the Church in 1974; increasing doctrinal confusion, coupled with accusations of scandal, assaulted the Work. After beginning recovery from massive heart failure in 1977, Mr. Armstrong finally removed his son from his responsibilities in the spring of 1978 and disfellowshipped him in June.
In January 1979, the Church was temporarily hit by a receivership imposed by the State of California. Mr. Armstrong, from Tucson, Arizona (where he was still recovering from heart trouble), named Dr. Meredith to his old job as director of the ministry, seeking to restore stability to the Church and the ministry during this troubled time. At the same time, Mr. Armstrong sought to "set the Church back on track" doctrinally after the liberal, watered-down doctrinal approach of the 1970s. By the time of his death in January 1986, The Plain Truth had a circulation of more than eight million copies printed in seven languages. Attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles approached 150,000 worldwide.
When Joseph Tkach took the helm of the Worldwide Church of God upon the death of Mr. Armstrong in January 1986, the Church was a seemingly unified body. It appeared focused on the Work of God that lay ahead and committed to the Truth. There were problems beneath the surface, however. They became increasingly obvious, at first faintly and then more clearly.
There is no mention of Rader, Gotoh or AICF and the controversy that swirled around them.

Ogwyn mentions Garner Ted Armstrong's suspension in 1972 but the fact it was over his adulterous activities is not mentioned. Also no link of that event is made towards the mass defection of 1974, which was partly caused by dissatisfaction that he was returned to his posts after just six months despite the shame of scandal surrounding him.

Ogwyn also mentions Garner Ted Armstrong's expulsion in 1978. He implies that Garner Ted Armstrong caused the problems. Ogwyn may not intend to do so, but any reader unaware of what happened would be left with this impression. No mention is made about why he was cast out: that it was part of a vicious power struggle with he who not be named: Stanley Rader.

Ogwyn states that HWA tried to get the church back on track. How he did this is not explained.

Ogwyn makes no mention that HWA reimposed his nonsensical ban on makeup for women during this time. HWA even wrote an astoundingly stupid and hateful article claiming that allowing women to wear makeup was the beginning of the "Liberals"' attempt to seize control of the church. LCG allows women to wear makeup and Ogwyn hides this embarrassing doctrinal confusion LCG inherited from HWA.

An earlier edition of this booklet that I had access to mentions how Meredith was removed as head of the ministry in June 1979 and replaced by Joseph Tkach. He mentioned that it was done during a highly political and tense time. Translation: Rader removed Meredith. However even this fact is now simply blotted out. The unsuspecting reader unschooled in COG history would not even know that Meredith was removed from his post as head of the ministry in mid-1979 and shortly afterwards was sent to paid exile in Hawai'i for six months, during which HWA sent Roderick C. Meredith a letter declaring that he was not qualified to lead the church.

In Ogwyn's new account of events Meredith is simply appointed head of the ministry and his dismissal is now not even mentioned, thus only further confusing uninformed readers.

Some may say that HWA did not understand what he was doing when he removed Meredith and that he was then under Rader's influence. But it is clear that it was not just Rader who made HWA turn against Meredith. HWA ousted Rader in late 1981. HWA had four years to reappoint Meredith as head of the ministry and replace Tkach. In all that time he chose not to do so. HWA had his own reservations about Meredith.

Therefore Meredith today has no right to portray himself as the man HWA would or should have chosen as his successor. HWA made his choice and it was Tkach.

There is no mention of Meredith's libel against Leona McNair, the former wife of Raymond McNair, in 1979, which sparked a thirteen year court case which forced WCG to pay $750,000. WCG was forced to pay for his vicious and untrue accusations against her.

John Ogwyn parrots HWA's claim that the Plain Truth had eight million issues in circulation in the 1980s. Actually, according to WCG now, it was never higher then "slightly over six million." (Larry Nichols and George Mather, Discovering the Plain Truth, p. 39)

Ogwyn speaks of "the liberal, watered-down doctrinal approach of the 1970s" but he never explains what it actually was. How oblique can you get?

It is sad to see how HWA sectarians, like LCG, continue to portray HWA and the turbulent events of WCG in a deceptive and highly distorted manner in order to keep people, such as LCG members, in bondage to an oppression of HWA's self serving doctrines, such as giving him three tithes and extra offerings.

Distortions of the 1986-7 Autobiography of HWA

Many of the historical distortions that HWA sectarians have regarding the latter days of HWA's rule stemmed from what WCG told them. One example of this campaign of remembering HWA's latter days favorably is the 1986 Autobiography of HWA that the Tkach led WCG produced in 1986-7.

It often discusses HWA's visits with world leaders in the later chapters, which are composed of extracts from his co-worker letters.

It mentions Stanley Rader, who was so instrumental in making these visits happen and for so long was the number two man in WCG, only once in Chapter 77.
March 12 [1973]: Due to my flu attack, several appointments were canceled for me. But my assistant Mr. Stanley Rader called upon our friend Mr. Adam Malik, the Indonesian Foreign Minister -- second man in the government, next to President Suharto, and until this year, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations at New York.
That is all it has to say about the man who was for a long time was the second most important man, the heir apparent, within WCG, particularly 1978-81.

A person reading this book would have no idea of how important Rader was within WCG in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Osamu Gotoh is also not mentioned.

The Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, a WCG front organization created to obscure the fact that HWA was a religious minister from the dignitaries he visited, is mentioned several times, but one would have no idea of the intense loathing it inspired among many WCG members  

Garner Ted Armstrong is also rarely mentioned. His instrumental role in preaching for WCG on the radio, that it was his voice on the radio that led so many into WCG, is left unmentioned.

HWA's second wife, Ramona Martin (nee Crittenden), is only mentioned in Chapter 81 in which HWA announces his marriage to her. No mention is made of the fact that he divorced her in 1981 and went through a long and messy divorce.

It also mentions HWA's absurd idea that the literal throne of David should be uncovered in Jerusalem before Christ's return in Chapter 75.
We are not only uncovering 3,000 years of buried history. We are clearing off the accumulated rubble, decay and debris -- some fifty to sixty feet high -- over the very throne of David -- in the original Jerusalem of 3,000 years ago, also known, then, as the City of David. The biblical prophecies of Isaiah 9:7-8, of Luke 1:30-33, and of Amos 9:11, say that the Messiah -- the returning Christ in supreme and total supernatural power and glory -- is soon, now, to rule the entire earth -- all nations -- from that very spot! What a providential thing it is, that we are clearing it off -- preparing the way for His coming, in this, as well as in other ways!
Of course people have long noticed the flaws and problems of HWA's Autobiography, as may be seen in Ambassador Report 38, April 1987.
In the past, Garner Ted Armstrong has referred to his father's 1967 Autobiography as "two-thirds fiction." We suspect the new version may be no better. Here is what one of our readers wrote us after reading the new Autobiography, Volume I:

Many times HWA said he would never dignify accusations with a reply. But he did! With reference to page 8 of your April 1984 issue of Ambassador Report: "That was the year [1933] HWA began abusing his own daughter. Is it any wonder he hasn't slept well since?" Note pages 546-547 of the new edition of his Autobiography: "The year and three months (Dec. 1931-Feb. 1933) spent in Astoria, averaging perhaps less than five hours sleep per night - with one ordeal of three days and three nights with no sleep - had left me in a condition which made it difficult to get to sleep at night."

I checked the September 1960 PT, page 5, and did not find that explanation in the original version. He inserted it in the first chapter not covered in the old Vol. I, at a time frame of late March 1933.

There are many, many sentences omitted in the new version, sometimes whole paragraphs and sections. In their place are a few new paragraphs. For instance, he omits some of the references to his having visited Baptist ministers.

On page 426 of the new edition, he omits the fact that it was Taylor, an ex-SDA minister, later a "pentecostal" minister who wrote articles against the Sabbath (pages 410-411 old 1967 edition, also omitted), who first suggested that HWA be ordained (page 398, old edition). On page 427, new edition, he omits the fact that he was ordained so that he could join Taylor in the campaign at Eugene (p. 399, old edition).

He deleted references to the "Sardis church," as well as references to the work GTA is doing.

It is interesting to note that the persecution he writes about did not start until 1933, and then it seemed to be universal. The ministers of the Church of God knew he was not one of them.

On page 567, he writes that Elder Dugger had invited him to join their church, but "I never did formally join it." The word "formally" is new.

 Not new, but interesting, is the comment on page 635, "All of us at Eugene church... severed all connection and effort at cooperation with those who had proved themselves willing to serve Satan and their own personal greed, and to injure the very work of God!" This was in August 1937, when HWA's ministerial credentials were revoked. He must have known it was due to his no longer being the husband of one wife, as his god had given him his daughter....

Alas, HWA sectarians to this day continue to enthusiastically follow the propaganda that the old WCG taught them in order to minimize and deny the severe personal flaws of HWA which greatly contributed to causing the turmoil of the 1970s.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HWA Lied to Us About Grace (and Hated Amazing Grace)

Ambassador Report 52 (June 1993) contains this information about HWA: he hated the famous hymn, Amazing Grace.
The same issue of the [Plain Truth, January, 1993] gave us an article by Terry D. Warren entitled "God's Amazing Grace." It was about John Newton (1725-1807), the slave trader who went on to become a Christian minister and the composer of the popular hymn "Amazing Grace." The article by Mr. Warren is excellent. And certainly, to most of us, the Newton hymn is a classic, beautiful of both sound and sentiment. Yet, the article's author neglected to mention a very interesting point. "Amazing Grace" was one hymn that was never sung in the WCG during the days of HWA because HWA absolutely hated that hymn. With its emphasis on grace and a melody that HWA apparently found too sentimental, he simply would not allow it to be sung in his church. Now, under Tkach things are different.
Maybe HWA was scared that his followers would learn that he was misinforming them about how Protestant Christians understand grace?

HWA lied to us about grace.

HWA told us that grace meant license to sin.

I dare anyone who believes that grace means license to sin to prove that Protestants actually believe this. Read what they say.

They do not!

I did some research and learned that Protestant Christians do not believe that at all. I did this after I renounced Armstrongism.

Why did HWA think any of that could be a license to sin? 

Did he cite any Protestant author who said grace is a license to sin?

Did he?

Do Protestants sin freely, or do they try to live in a way that, in their view, tries to honor God and humanity?

HWA was lying when he told us grace was license to sin. He was simply "loading the term," a common tactic of brainwashing.

This tells me that it is quite likely HWA never properly understood how the Protestants understood grace. He never formally studied the Christian religion so it is not surprising that he misunderstood even something like this.

(Or maybe he did understand this and chose to lie about it simply to isolate followers from any church that talks of grace.)

HWA's condemnation of classic Protestant Christian hymns were simply another method to isolate WCG members so they would feel no feelings of togetherness with mainstream Protestants. He wanted WCG members to believe that they were the only "true Christians." It was easier to do this by isolating them even from other Christians' music.

Why did HWA Choose Stanley Rader over his own son?

Why did HWA choose Rader over his own son in 1978? Maybe it was because of Lochner who allegedly used his massaging duties to acquire compromising recordings of HWA possibly confessing to some sort of personal failing. Was it sexual in nature?

Did Rader threaten to release those tapes? Was Rader blackmailing him with those tapes?

Did HWA cruelly cast out his own son just to protect his reputation from these tapes in Rader's possession?

John Tuit describes what he knows of this in Chapter 21.

John Tuit reveals quite convincingly that HWA hated Rader's dominance over him, as revealed by the phone conversions he had with C. Wayne Cole just before the receivership crisis which were played in Mike Wallace's 60 Minutes news report concerning WCG and the receivership crisis.

But for whatever reason HWA was unable to get himself out of Rader's control.

He eventually did in late 1981 but he had to pay a very generous retirement pension which was faithfully paid by WCG until his death in 2002.

Seeing that HWA was unable to get out of Rader's control for so long really dents the image HWA sectarians have of HWA as a man of sterling and noble character. This shows him not as the bold and assertive leader of God's Church, the chosen one who restored truths and proclaimed the end of the age. Instead he appears as a filthy rich despot who had been eaten up by corruption.

Through all this, however, Armstrong was becoming more and more cognizant of the fact that Rader's hold on him was getting progressively tighter. The conversation [with C. Wayne Cole] then took a sudden turn away from Garner Ted, and totally surprising Cole, he said: "Wayne, I do have a problem which I would like to discuss with you in the strictest confidence. Every time I speak anywhere Stan Rader always wants to follow me and speak as well. I have been told that many of our members do not appreciate this practice, and don't know what to do about it. He always writes out his notes and pretty well reads from them in making his comments. Stan is a very brilliant man in many ways, but he certainly is not an effective speaker or preacher. He has plenty of opportunity to speak and if God were calling him into the ministry, we would have seen his development long before now." 

With a comment such as this coming from Herbert Armstrong, Rader's motives and ultimate goal were quite apparent. Armstrong then continued outlining a list of complaints that he had about Rader and Rader's constant attempts to move into the limelight and place himself in a position of authority before the people. Armstrong continued, "If I say anything to Stan, even very gently, about this problem, he flies into a rage and screams at me. He is very sensitive about this. He gets into such a rage that he is opening himself up for a demon at these times." 

Armstrong indicated that he didn't have the courage to deal with this matter directly and wanted some backup support. He sugested that Cole have the ministry write letters to him indicating their criticism of Rader. Cole told Armstrong he thought such a maneuver would not work. If such a thing were done and should Armstrong then change his mind about dealing with the Rader problem, it was obvious that any minister who would have written such a letter would be on the purge list. The conversation ended with no conclusion having been reached on the Rader problem. ...

Having heard more rumors about a lawsuit, Cole thought that he should bring up the subject. He told Armstrong that he had heard sufficient rumors from various sources to believe that there may be some substance to them. ... In spite of the fact that this entire matter between Cole and Armstrong was for the purpose of discussing the removal of Rader from executive and administrative positions, Armstrong's first reaction was, "I'm going to have to talk to Stan about this." Would Armstrong really be able to release himself from Rader, when at the first sign of alarm, his immediate reaction would be to "call Stan"? (John Tuit's The Truth Shall Make You Free, Chapter 13.)
He was highly dependent upon a mere accountant and lawyer.

He was so hopelessly under Rader's control that he shunned his own son.

HWA waged a long, dreary, vicious campaign of demonization against his own son.

HWA wildly and shrilly claimed that his son was responsible for WCG's problems, reduced growth and secularization while hypocritically ignoring his own roles in contributing to these problems.

HWA did this because he was so utterly dependent on Rader he chose him over his own son.

The whole Stanley Rader affair, as related by John Tuit, reveals HWA as an astoundingly corrupted and pathetic creature.

In the same way he deceived others in order to exploit them, he was deceived and exploited by Rader.

No wonder HWA sectarians try so hard to forget about Stanley Rader.

Recently the PCG cult has published an article by Gareth Morgan about HWA's 1979 visit to China. It is adulated as the night HWA changed the world.

There is no mention of Rader.

There is no mention of the fact that HWA's expensive visits to world leaders was a major cause of the turmoil of the 1970s.

That is how many HWA sectarians try to portray HWA's expensive visits to world leaders but they forget these important facts.

LCG Still Teaching Petra is the Place of Safety

I first posted this as a comment on Banned by HWA:

Another reason Jordan would never let the COGs take refuge there. They are already taking in many Syrian refugees fleeing the tragic civil war.

I well remember seeing LCG's Richard Ames on a Tomorrow's World telecast mentioning Daniel 11:41:

He [the European Beast power] shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon."

Ames said this is referring to Jordan and then said this has implications. He did not say what those were, he kept going on other things. It was a very long time before I realized he was obliquely referring to the "Petra is the Place of Safety" doctrine.

It has to be said sometimes LCG does say that members should focus more on Christ protecting them, as opposed to any place of safety. But it is clear to me that they have not repudiated the doctrine at all, contrary to what Dave Pack loves to say to criticize them.

They de-emphasized it but never repudiated it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Defining HWA Sectarians

Recently I have been making posts seeking to analyze how those who stayed with HWA in the 1970s and continued to follow and teach HWA's doctrines remember past COG events and how others view it.

While making these posts it has occurred to me that I need a term to better describe the situation within the COGs. Saying "those who stayed with HWA in the 1970s and continued to follow and teach HWA's doctrines" is dreadfully unwieldy.

Therefore I shall now refer to them as HWA sectarians.
I define a HWA sectarian as 1) a WCG member who stayed in WCG during the troubles of 1970s and later left WCG because Tkach changed WCG's theology to evangelical Protestantism.
And 2) a COG person who believes (or wants to believe) that HWA bears no responsibility for causing the 1970s turmoil and presents him as not being responsible for the 1970s turmoil.He was merely responding to crises caused by others, they say.
This is to distinguish HWA sectarians from the Armstrongites who left WCG during the various schisms under HWA's rule.

The reason for this is that among Armstrongites who left WCG during HWA's time they remember events in WCG quite differently from those who stayed with WCG in those days. They are often more honest about HWA's character flaws and personal failings that contributed to the troubles. They tend to admit that HWA had character flaws, often quite severe, that caused the troubles.

In contrast HWA sectarians tend to avoid admitting HWA bore responsibility for causing these troubles and tend to give the impression that HWA was rationally responding to crises caused by other people, but that HWA was blameless.

So for my purposes I define the following COGs as HWA sectarian:
Most COG groups formed after Tkach's changes in order to continue perpetuating HWA's doctrines. (But not Dankenbring's group. I will explain why later.)
Any COG that asserts that one could only be a "true Christian" by staying in HWA's WCG during the turmoil of the 1970s.
Philadelphia Church of God

Living Church of God

Restored Church of God

Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom of God (Weinland)
Any WCG member who continues to believe most of HWA's doctrines.
Church of God - An International Community (Hulme)
Church of God, A Worldwide Association

United Church of God
I hear that there are still some people within WCG/Grace Communion International still continue to believe most of HWA's doctrines but simply stay in WCG because they feel that God has called them to stay in that organization even though the organization has renounced HWA's doctrines. Those persons I would define as HWA sectarians.

I freely admit that because I am not that well versed in the affairs of UCG and its offshoot Cogawa it is possible that I would not classify them as HWA sectarians. If one is willing to consistently admit in print and in public that HWA bears responsibility for helping to cause the 1970s turmoil I would not classify such a person as a HWA sectarian.

The following groups I would define as not being HWA sectarian. Indeed it is to distinguish the HWA sectarians from these COGs groups and members that I felt compelled to coin the term.
Any COG that left WCG while HWA ruled.

Offshoots of any COG that left WCG while HWA ruled.

Church of God International

Church of God the Eternal

Intercontinental Church of God

Triumph Prophetic Ministries
Keith Hunt
WCG members who have embraced Tkach's evangelical Protestant views. (Although I would not classify them as COG at all.)
Because many of these groups left WCG while HWA ruled they often talk about why they felt HWA gave them no choice but to leave WCG.

Church of God the Eternal are somewhat unusual among these COG people because they left WCG because they felt HWA was changing too much. They left WCG in 1974 because they felt HWA had no right to change divorce and remarriage and adopting a Sunday Pentecost. In contrast most other non-HWA sectarian COGs were formed because they felt HWA refused to make necessary changes and was too rigid in his teachings and practices.

I would not classify William Dankenbring or his group Triumph Prophetic Ministries as HWA sectarians because Dankenbring is often describes and condemns HWA's personal faults. He does not try to hide it from his followers or anyone else.

These COG people remind me of Trotskyites. In the 1920s there was a schism within the Communist movement when Stalin cast out Trotsky from governmental roles because he viewed him as a rival and was determined to crush him. Many Communists chose to leave the Communist Parties of their countries and formed political parties aligned with Trotsky. They continued to believe most of the dogmas and assumptions of Soviet Leninist Communism but regarded Stalin and his regime as a negative aberration of Communism as it should be. They were viciously hated by Stalin and his Communists and were often viciously persecuted and even murdered by them.

I still hope to make a few posts about the 1970s turmoil and I wish to be clear in how I use that term. 

I am indebted to Keith Hunt for inspiring me to coin this term. He once used a phrase that is somewhat like the term I have coined: HWA idolater. For my purposes I find that term too polemical.

I am also indebted to sociology which defined a "church" and a "sect" as different things within its jargon. It is partly inspired by these things that I devised this term.

Repost: Analysis of Raising the Ruins Abridged

Back in 2009 I made several posts concerning Stephen Flurry's book, Raising the Ruins. This post summarizes what I wished to comment on and links to many of the posts regarding Raising the Ruins.

Here is the post:

I covered at some length the various deficiencies I saw when I read Raising the Ruins by PCG's Stephen Flurry. In the order that I posted on the topics here are the various points that were raised:

Raising the Ruins:
  • Condemns Tkachite WCG for using its authoritarian power to unleash the Changes while to this day his own organization (PCG) is just as dictatorial as he claims WCG to be.
  • Hails Ambassador Auditorium in Chapter 2 as a 'legacy that was neither heavy nor burdensome' naively ignoring the reality that it was a severe financial drain. This may explain why PCG decided to build Armstrong Auditorium.
  • President Reagan's condolences were misleadingly presented as an endorsement of HWA ignoring the fact that President Reagan was a Sunday-keeper who never accepted Armstrongism.
  • Shows contempt for Tkach Jr. calling Armstrongite acceptance 'spiritual rape' and implies that only Tkach Jr. (PCG views him as the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2) would be so wicked as to label 'accepting the Truth' in such a manner, when in reality that phrase is often used by many ex-members, not just Tkach Jr., the alleged Man of Sin.
  • (All those points above may be seen here.)

  • Approvingly quotes HWA's statement in Mystery of the Ages that 'Scholars and church historians recognize' that there was a 'Dark Curtain' upon church history in 50-150 AD when it has been conclusively proven that none of the historians HWA quoted believed in such a ridiculous theory. In reality the Dark Curtain (50-150 AD) theory was used to bestow a numerical significance to the World Tomorrow's first broadcast in Europe in 1953 so HWA could say the Gospel was suppressed for 100 19-year time cycles (1900 years). (See Raising the Ruins, Chapter 4.)

  • Cites a PCG lawyer as saying that 'There is no rewriting of the book [Mystery of the Ages] that can happen....they can’t be rewritten.' (Chapter 19). An utterance which Gerald Flurry hailed as divinely inspired. 'He [Gerald Flurry] reminded Dennis Leap and me about what we had seen....God inspired Mark Helm’s oral argument at the Ninth Circuit.' (Chapter 20). And yet Gerald Flurry chose to go against what he himself acknowledged as divinely inspired words and altered Mystery of the Ages, going against an aspect of Armstrongite understanding of church government that dates to at least 1953 concerning the role of New Testament Prophets.

  • Deceptively hides and obscures from the unsuspecting the hard facts of the medicine ban which is imposed on PCG members to this very day.

  • Advances PCG's fixation on January 16 despite the many problems this doctrine has.

  • Desperately tries to portray Tkach Sr. as just a puppet and that instead Tkach Jr. was the mastermind of the Changes. This is done to hide the fact that Gerald Flurry made a failed prophecy in which he originally labeled Tkach Sr. as the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2. He now says Tkach Jr. fulfills that role.

  • Focus solely on the struggles between WCG and PCG, almost totally hiding from the unsuspecting readers knowledge of other Armstrongite splinter groups.

  • Gives the impression that only PCG is trying to preserve HWA's writings. Yet others have been involved in the task of preserving HWA's writings, including one Don Tiger who used to be associated with PCG. Their contributions to spreading HWA's writings and Mystery of the Ages are contemptuously ignored.

  • Says PCG must expose the wrongs of WCG completely hiding the fact that many others, Armstrongite and non-Armstrongite, have fulfiled that role with gusto.

  • Idolatrously extols Mystery of the Ages for much of Chapter 16. This among other things, hides the fact that PCG has given themselves the liberty of corrupting the words of Mystery of the Ages, the very book they supposedly love so much.

  • Omits much vital information that would cause many potential recruits to ignore PCG, such as: 1) Gerald Flurry being hailed as That Prophet, 2,3) Second and Third Tithes, 4) that Malachi's Message is the Little Book and 5) was revealed to Gerald Flurry by a mighty angel and 6) unsurprisingly hides the fact that Malachi's Message was plagiarized, 7) that ex-members and 'Laodiceans' are shunned by PCG members.

  • Claims that the Book of Habbakkuk was a prophecy about the Court Case predicting the outcome of the Court Case. Would God help an organization that has been as deceptive as has been shown here?

  • (The last six points may be seen here.)
As may be seen there are many distortions and misrepresentations to be found in this book, Raising the Ruins. God could not work with an organization that so consistently fails to tell the truth. Therefore God cannot be in PCG and it is an illegitimate organization.

May the Lord help those within PCG to see the light, and to see that it is totally unnecessary to follow some self-proclaimed (false) Prophet to find God. May the Lord protect those to whom this deceitful book, Raising the Ruins, is targeted at.

GTA's CGI Forbade Interracial Marriage (c. 1993)

From Ambassador Report 52 (June 1993)
Cosden A. Foland, a security guard who was recently in the news for his heroics in foiling a store robbery (see The Indianapolis Star, 8/18/92), was a loyal [Church of God International] member who discovered that by entering into an interracial marriage he was no longer welcome in CGI (see AR45, p. 4). As a result, Foland ... formed his own small fellowship group. He, nevertheless, still wanted to consider the CGI brethren his friends and hoped to occasionally fellowship with them as he and his family did with other groups. Here is what happened to him:
My family and I were sitting in CGI services listening to the sermon when four men came up and asked us to leave. I said, "Why?" They then said that if we didn't leave they would call the police. I said, "Call the police!" But the police never came. A few days later, however, the police did come to my place of work and served papers on me.

We were all on the TV stations. And in court my lawyer made them look sick. They are sick, but I continue to pray for them. Anyway, the judge said that I could visit or go to the church if I wanted. I no longer want to, however.
Ironically, GTA claims his church is nonracist,
There are very few things more racist than forbidding interracial marriage.

It also should be stated that HWA also banned inter-racial marriage and even made this astoundingly racist proclamation in his last book, Mystery of the Ages. 

Account of a Former Follower of Garner Ted Armstrong

Exit and Support Network has this beautiful, bitter sweet story about one man who fell into Garner Ted Armstrong's spell.
Enter Garner Ted Armstrong at this time. Boy, was I a prime candidate for a cult! I was searching at the time for some kind of meaning, some role model, someone and somebody to feel connected to or accepted by. ...

I was on the Church of God International tape list and after a few months I had boxes of sermon tapes by GTA. I used to listen to him for hours every day. I'm not kidding. I am a janitor and I can listen to my walkman all day if I want. I listened to GTA everyday at work. I could hear up to 5 or 6 tapes during my shift. It didn't stop there. I listened to him at home, cutting the lawn, washing the car, diving around, while I was shopping at the grocery store. All I listened to or read was the Bible, world news and Armstrong. I had allowed Armstrong to pretty much take up residence in my mind. ...
I  met GTA on two occasions and spoke to him on the phone. We corresponded through the mail. I wasn't a member of the GTA cult because the [Canadian] group of the CGI met downtown and that was too far for me to go every Saturday.
  One day his wife, who did not approve of Garner Ted Armstrong, handed him a newspaper.
The story that was highlighted was about GTA and a masseuse in Tyler, Texas and a lawsuit. I could not, would not, believe that GTA did the deeds that he was being accused of. But one very sad day in my life, I watched one of these trashy, daytime news type talk shows and they played the Video that the masseuse from Tyler had secretly taken of GTA. I tell you, as I sat there in my TV room, watching this tape of GTA doing his perverted acts and going after a woman who was not his wife, I broke down and cried. I felt like an absolute fool. Everything spun out of control for me mentally and spiritually.
 You can read the whole story at the link above.

Many CGI Members Happy to Have Left WCG

From Ambassador Report 52:
During the eighties, [Ambassador Report] frequently received letters from folks who said they were much happier in the CGI than they were in the WCG. Many have told us they found CGI less authoritative and more open. In regard to the latter, it is interesting that GTA, unlike Tkach, has frequently allowed himself to be interviewed by members of the press. Some have also pointed out that CGI has courageously taken a strong stand against the rabidly racist "Seed of Satan" teaching [so-called Christian Identity] that some former Worldwiders have adopted. Not only do most CGI members say they believe in CGI's doctrines, there are many who remain GTA admirers. 
 Now not all was rosy within CGI by any means. This article is mainly about the concern of some CGI members that Garner Ted Armstrong was leaning towards authoritarianism like his father.

The Lecture Garner Ted Armstrong Should Have Made

From Ambassador Report 52:
Some of us can remember a Garner Ted in the seventies who, as a former navy man with a naked girl tatoo, would casually tell dirty jokes while guzzling beer and playing cards after basketball games at Ambassador, and who wondered aloud about how a masculine Jesus could ever possibly have had anything other than normal sexual urges. We are supposed to believe now, however, that the new GTA is a much more sensitive individual. GTA now even offers a cassette sermon entitled "How to Have a Happy Marriage." Actually, the lecture many have been waiting to hear is, "How I Screwed Around and Still Kept My Wife, Family, and Ministerial Credentials." (Ted: No kidding. As a book it would be a major best-seller. Think about it.)

Larry Flint Threatened to Expose Garner Ted Armstrong's Sexual Shenanigans

From Ambassador Report 52:
When Larry Flynt announced in June, 1978 that the September issue of his Hustler magazine would make those same sordid facts known nationally, GTA was coincidentally disfellowshipped, this time for good, by HWA within days. While HWA's June 26,1978 disfellowshipment letter to GTA gave other (nonsensical) reasons for the disfellowshipment, the fact is GTA's reputation for womanizing within the church and gambling in Vegas played a major role in his being permanently banished from the WCG. Yet, to this day [1993], GTA has not publicly (or, perhaps, even to himself) acknowledged the part his own sins played in his fall.

GTA's CGI Often Used as Halfway House to Other Things

Ambassador Report 52, June 1993, has a most fascinating report on the state of the Church of God International, then led by Garner Ted Armstrong.
While there are those who are happy with their membership in CGI, our mail indicates that many who leave the WCG for CGI do not remain there for long. For many, CGI is a half-way house, only a stepping stone to other things. As one of our readers wrote us, "GTA's church is in a time warp. They are essentially just holding onto the few truths they had ten or twenty years ago. Those who really want to grow spiritually find themselves moving on."
I recall Mr. Gavin Rumney, author of the Ambassador Watch blog, commented that the this very thing happened in his journey out of Armstrongism. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

HWA's Disfellowshipping of His Son, Garner Ted Armstrong

Among post-1979 WCG members who continue to believe HWA's doctrines, HWA's disfellowshipping of Garner Ted Armstrong in 1978 is usually viewed as a regrettable but necessary measure he took to protect the church.

They say that Garner Ted Armstrong was seeking to secularize the church and was spiritually unfaithful to God thus weakening its ability to serve God, spread the gospel, and causing God's divine blessings to be withdrawn which, if things were not corrected as they were, could cause the church to disintegrate and be unable to fulfill its duties before God and humanity.

HWA portrayed those who fell out of his favor as covertly conspiring against him to seize power.

He also used highly emotive, yet vague, phrases (Bible truth was being rapidly watered down, God Almighty and Jesus Christ were virtually thrown out of the college -- and ... the Church!) to convince WCG members to be scared of those who fell out of HWA's favor and rally under the banner of HWA.

An example of this type of account can be seen in an article of his in the August 2, 1979 Pastor's Report. Here Garner Ted Armstrong, C. Wayne Cole and others who fell out of favor are portrayed as having tried for years to overthrow HWA. (Note that sometimes in this article HWA refers to himself in the third person.)
In those early days I used Raymond Cole, a pioneer student, as a "trouble-shooter," to restore peace where frictions had developed. He set up an office at Big Sandy, Texas. I moved him to Pasadena. Soon he moved to Eugene, Oregon. It was becoming extremely difficult for him to direct the growing ministry from there. ...

My son, Garner Ted, about this time began his own conspiracy to TAKE OVER the Church -- and if his father did not oblige him by dying, to put Herbert W. Armstrong [he meant "me"] into retirement. Ted brought four or five men in from the field to work on a peer basis with Wayne Cole in supervision over the ministry.
My comments regarding C. Wayne Cole may be seen at the end of this post.
After a period of time Mr. Cole managed to eliminate the others. Mr. Cole managed to set himself up as "the head" of the Ministry. ...

[Later] he was dispatched to Canada and Garner Ted put Ron Dart in as "head" of the Ministry. He was to a great extent a "Yes-man" to Garner Ted, and Ted's conspiracy to take over the Church -- by cutting his father [he meant "me"] off from the ministry, and by taking authority never delegated to him in two areas -- Policy setting and doctrine.

Ted and others had lobbied aggressively to get the college accredited. I refused for some time, saying it would be impossible to achieve accreditation and keep it GOD'S college. Their persistence, assuring me we could achieve accreditation and still keep it God's College, finally caused me to say, "Go ahead, then."

Result? A number of Ph.D's from various universities were brought into the college , and the Big Sandy student body was moved to Pasadena. Bible truth was being rapidly watered down and permissiveness escalated. God Almighty and Jesus Christ were virtually thrown out of the college -- and were rapidly being thrown out of the Church!

During these years from 1970 on, I was overseas a great deal of the time -- even up to 300 out of the 365 days of the year. Garner Ted had threatened ministers, or those who knew what was going on, with being fired if they communicated to me what was being done.

There came to be a total lack of response from ministers when I repeated requests during 1975 and thereafter. I was being SHUT OUT of all authority in the Church Christ had used me in starting and building. ...

Meanwhile, in these same years, a small group of self-professed "intellectuals" were busy preparing the STP (Systematic Theology Project).

I had repeated asked ministers to contact me personally on problems in the field -- but my requests fell on deaf ears.

Mr. Dart was sent away by Ted to Texas on a sabbatical for further study at the University of Texas. Garner Ted then brought C. Wayne Cole back as "head of the Ministry." He was Ted's tool working with Dr. Robert Kuhn and the "intellectuals."
Those who fell out of HWA's favor are accused of having long conspired against him.

In truth Herbert W. Armstrong cast out his own son because there was a vicious power struggle between Garner Ted Armstrong and Stanley Rader.
Rader had found out many years ago where all the ripe plums were, and finally [in 1978] it appeared that Garner Ted was going to stop him from picking them. ...

behind the scenes, Rader was not about to have his heavy influence over Herbert Armstrong undermined by Garner Ted. It wasn't long before confusion was to reign supreme over the entire organization. ...

There was no way after twenty years that Rader was going to let go of the Worldwide Church of God. After all, he recognized an opportunity at the beginning of his career [in 1955] and had patiently and masterfully moved himself into a position of power. He was not going to lose it. ...

now he [Rader] was going to take care of Garner Ted. The fact that he had supported Garner Ted on his return from exile in 1972 meant nothing. His support of Garner Ted at that time was only a practical consideration, since he realized that someone would have to be the front man for the organization and it may not be Herbert Armstrong for much longer. It was easy for him to support Garner Ted's return at that time knowing of his weakness for women, as this would be a tool that he could use to manipulate and control Garner Ted. But now things were different. Rader and Garner Ted had locked horns, and Rader was determined that this would be the last time.

On a Thursday, early in May 1978, Rader instructed Dr. Germano, the dean of Ambassador College, to call an emergency faculty and student meeting, complete with newspaper coverage. Garner Ted was never informed of this meeting. Germano then announced that the entire Ambassador College operation at both campuses was to be closed. This was the final blockbuster. No board meeting had been called, no vote taken on this move. Yet Ambassador College, a separately incorporated non-profit organization, was being capriciously closed at the whim of one man. Student acceptances were cancelled and faculty members were to be terminated. ...

It was becoming more and more obvious that Herbert Armstrong's ego problem did not allow for the sharing of the limelight with a son who had an ego just as large as his. Herbert Armstrong wanted his son to be a carbon copy of himself in all areas - except ego. He expected a grown man of forty-eight to say, in effect, "This is Sonny speaking for my Daddy." 
(This reminds me of what happened with Malcolm X. He tried to show his submissiveness by saying, in effect, I, Malcolm X, am speaking for the leader of my religion, Elijah Muhammad (who was born Elijah Robert Poole). He said this many times. Even this did not work for him. After discovering Elijah Muhammad's extra-marital shenanigans he left, converted to actual Islam, and was tragically murdered for leaving the cult. Bizarrely enough the Nation of Islam later embraced actual Islam, similar to how Tkach's WCG turned mainly Protestant.)
Herbert Armstrong seemed to feel that whatever he did was inspired directly by Christ, and that anyone else who did not do it his way was falling into the ways of the world. 
In 1973, after Garner Ted had been back from exile for some months, Herbert Armstrong, in turning over the reins of authority to his son, referred to Garner Ted as his "anointed heir." Now here is the great patriach five years later complaining that the anointed heir to whom he had given authority is making decisions on his own. Herbert Armstrong, the self-appointed apostle over a multimillion-dollar church, is trying to run the organization as though it were a candy store, exhibiting the best in tree-housemanagement mentality. ...
In the end HWA sided with Rader and this is why he cast out his own son.
One must wonder what type of a man this is, who, as a result of personal differences and jealousies, would ever treat his son in this manner. These developments, coming as they did only a few short months after everything seemed to be going so well in the Church, must make one wonder about the influence of Stanley Rader over Herbert Armstrong. What was it that enabled Rader to have his major threat, the son of the apostle, removed by that very same man? [Tuit later suggests Rader had embarrassing information on HWA and used it to blackmail HWA.] (John Tuit, The Truth Shall Set You Free, Chapter 7.)
(Much more valuable information about this tragic schism of the Armstrongs can be found in Tuit's book.)

Garner Ted Armstrong was not secularizing the church at all. It was HWA who actually secularized it. He was embarrassed of his tithe paying followers. When HWA met world leaders he hated admitting that he represented a church, the Worldwide Church of God.

That is why he created the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF). It was a front organization created to hide HWA's religious profession from the dignitaries he visited.

Also look at what Garner Ted Armstrong did in his own churches, the Church of God International, and, after he was caught on film committing shameful lewd acts, in the Intercontinental Church of God. Just look at the long list of religious articles he wrote. It is clear that he continued to preach many of the doctrines HWA taught until the day he died.

It should be clear that HWA's accusations that Garner Ted Armstrong was trying to secularize the church were total nonsense. He never tried to make his church anything other than teaching most of what HWA taught. There are some slight differences in doctrines and practices but what Garner Ted Armstrong taught after 1978 was essentially the same as what HWA taught.

HWA was lying when he claimed Garner Ted Armstrong was trying to secularize the church and that he was a threat to the religion HWA taught. No doubt there would have been a few differences between what HWA did and what Garner Ted Armstrong would do, but he never would have deviated from HWA's teachings as drastically as later happened.

HWA claimed his own son was destroying the true religion. Ironically he chose a man who really would destroy what WCG was and change it into essentially a mainstream evangelical church.

It is clear that HWA cast out his son out for base reasons. His justifications for disfellowshipping his own son were mainly lies or because of his own jealousy.

Sadly many those who stayed with WCG and later left Tkach's rule in order to continue with HWA's doctrines, HWA's sectarians, are still not aware of the sordid facts behind this schism and continue to believe HWA's false assurances that his disfellowshipping was a regrettable yet necessary act.

(Also it is particularly sickening to see how HWA demonizes C. Wayne Cole as being against him for years and years. Nothing, and I really mean nothing, could be further from the truth. In fact he was a loyal follower of HWA. After the receivership at first HWA was inclined to cooperate with the State of California. To do so he made C. Wayne Cole second in command of the church and sent him to Pasadena with this authority. Cole did not seek the limelight. In fact he was extremely nervous and even physically sick at the prospect of bearing such great responsibility. (Not least because he would have to face Rader as a rival.) But a few days later HWA changed his mind and decided to resist the receivership all the way. He appointed others and betrayed Cole by falsely accusing him of trying to overthrow him and of being a collaborator with the Receivers. He then accused Cole of being a traitor against him for years. He used such wild rhetoric against him because he was desperate to hide the fact that Cole was a loyal man that he viciously and cynically betrayed. Despite this vicious betrayal Cole continued to believe many of HWA's doctrines.)

Thoughts on Names in COG History

It has always irked me that some of the dramatic events in the history of the COGs do not have names. Here are some suggestions of mine.
  • Great Disappointment of 1972: From 1953 onwards HWA taught that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972 and culminate with the return of Christ in 1975. HWA wrote a booklet entitled 1975 in Prophecy. As it turned out 1972 came and went by with nothing. In a desperate attempt to make people forget his failed prediction he deceptively claimed WCG getting on a few new radio stations and getting more advertizing spaces in a magazine in early 1972 fulfill his expectation that something dramatic would happen two 19 year time cycles (38 years) after he started broadcasting on the radio regularly in 1934. There was no one single moment when WCG members as a whole were forced to confront the fact that HWA's prophecy failed, but the general disappointment helped set the stage for the turmoil of the 1970s and encouraged WCG members to resist HWA's tyranny.
  • Changes of 1974: HWA was persuaded to change two doctrines in 1974. 1) He stopped the horrifying practice of ordering marriages to be dissolved in order for people to join. 2) He instructed WCG to observe Pentecost on Sunday instead of Monday as had previously been the case. Some WCG members left refusing to adhere to these changes, most notably Raymond Cole who started the Church of God, the Eternal. Among most COGs these changes are accepted and observed.
  • Mass defection of 1974: In 1974 about 35 ministers and 2-3000 members left WCG. (Source, p.2.) Factors that led to this included disappointment that HWA's prophecy that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972 did not come to pass, dissatisfaction that Garner Ted Armstrong was allowed to resume his responsibilities despite the shame of scandal that surrounded him because of his many extra-marital affairs, and HWA's rigid refusal to change most doctrines despite many ministers concluding that certain doctrines were wrong, such as Earnest Martin's repudiation of tithing. (John Tuit refers to this event as the 1974 Rebellion, but because "rebellion" is a loaded term in the COGs used to demonize non-conforming behavior I would prefer another name.)
  • Schism of the Armstrongs: On June 26, 1978 HWA disfellowshipped his son and second in command, Garner Ted Armstrong. This was done as part of a vicious power struggle between Garner Ted Armstrong and Stanley Rader to decide who would be number two in WCG. HWA sided with Rader. Many WCG members chose to side with Garner Ted Armstrong and joined him in starting up the Church of God International. Many more were coerced, threatened with the lake of fire, threatened with disfellowshippment, and in other ways were persuaded to continue with HWA's WCG. (This term is inspired by the War of the Roses.)
There are my suggestions. Feel free to make your own contributions.

How Armstrongism Produces Narcissists

Saw this enlightening Anonymous comment from Banned by HWA:
It was the very doctrines of Armstrongism that exaggerated, condoned, and blossomed Narcissism within the church, instead of servant leadership, servitude, and humility. Notice these Armstrongism narcissism feeders that fed a person's self-importance and warped many minds:

1) You were born to be a King.
2) You were destined to rule.
3) You were special, one of a very few called in this whole world.
4) God chose You out of everybody else
5) You were a part of a very special work.
6) You were important.
7) You were going to be GOD HIMSELF. [It is a bit more accurate to say that we were taught that we would become God beings as fully God as God is God in nature, but we would remain under God's rule.]
8) You were keeping the Law right where everyone else weren't.
9) You are going to recreate the whole universe.
10) You're the first of many brethren. You'll be in the FIRST resurrection.
11) If you're a minister, you're even MORE important! You're the special of the special, the best of the best!
12) The World is not important, you are, the church is, and Herbert Armstrong.
13) You're a part of the biggest work in the whole wide world.
14) NO ONE ELSE in the WHOLE WORLD knows what YOU know or understands what YOU understand.

This is what Armstrongism taught. Those with narcissistic tendancies could not have ever been in a better environment then Armstrongism to completely shut themselves out to reality and feed narcissism with the strongest "fuel" possible. It's missing the whole message about Jesus: Focusing off of service and focusing on self. This is one of the biggest ways to see a false religion from an attitude of true service and love. 
It is embarrasing to say but in one letter Meredith sent me he assured me that God had chosen me to understand the truths (Arstrongism). I wholeheartedly believed him. And so I further fell into the terrible heretical madness of Armstrongism. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

HWA's Visits to World Leaders

These COG people believe that HWA's many meetings with world leaders were a sign of how important he was. A sign of divine favor made manifest among us. I recall one time reading HWA claiming that Elijah, the one who lived in ancient Israel, may have visited world leaders as he did.

The truth is a lot of tithe money which was selflessly sent to WCG was squandered by HWA, Rader and Osamu Gotoh to arrange these meetings.

Contrary to what HWA claimed, he did not preach the gospel to these world leaders. He just muttered some inane comments about a strong hand from some place. He was just satisfying his vanity. Most who knew him remarked on how egotistical he was.

Often COGs will mention his visits to world leaders as though it was a sign of divine favor and glory. Rader and the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF) will not be mentioned.

WCG members who stayed under HWA and left after the Tkach tend to recall these visits proudly.Some mention how HWA opened a children's playground in Jerusalem. They will say how the Israelis loved him so much they even named a square in his honor. Often these COG people will glorify HWA's visits to world leaders. One example may be seen in this Armstrongite website.

It proudly displays photos of HWA visiting five world leaders, that he was decorated by President Marcos of the Philippines with a Presidential Merit Medal, visited two judges of the World Court.

But this page makes no mention of Rader, Osamu Gotoh or the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, HWA's front organization he create to hide from these world leaders and dignitaries that he was a religious leader.

This is true with many COG peoples' account of these times. They tend to be more likely to mention the AICF but Rader and Gotoh are less likely to be mentioned despite all that these men did to make HWA's visits to world leaders possible.

Bob Thiel, the unordained, self appointed false prophet, mentions HWA relations with Israeli leaders in an article in which he condemns Martin Luther (and thus all of Protestantism) in order to glorify HWA. It is well known that in his last days Martin Luther made a shameful speech in which he demonized Jews and called for them to be persecuted. (Of course today most Lutherans and Protestants do not hate Jews in that way. Recently the Lutheran Church apologized for this.) In contrast to Luther's disgusting anti-Semitic speech Thiel cites HWA's friendship with Israeli officials.
We've been participating in this foundation for twelve years. A whole square in front of the main headquarters building in the newer area of Jerusalem is named ‘The Herbert W. Armstrong Square’ (Armstrong H. Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 2, 1986/1987).

Actually Herbert Armstrong was photographed with the Mayor of Jerusalem who showed him a plaque that read:
Herbert Armstrong also reported that the then Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin said to him, "Mr. Armstrong...we all do deeply appreciate your interest in Israel" (Armstrong HW. Keep Your Eyes on Jerusalem. Plain Truth. October 1976). 
Actually, as John Tuit argued in Chapter 3 of The Truth Shall Set You Free, HWA never dared to preach the gospel to them lest he offend his Israeli hosts. What is so great about a little playground? Many people do stuff like that all the time. Why is tithe money going to them and not to WCG members? How is the gospel being preached to the people in Jerusalem through this playground? Notice how the plaque cited above does not even mention WCG, Tuit lamented. The people of Jerusalem using this playground would have no idea that it was a church which funded it.

These are some of the insights John Tuit reached in his book.

The disillusionment caused by these expensive visits was a major reason for the various acts of resistance that occurred during the 1970s.

HWA was just grandstanding.

But the WCG members were deprived and left with inadequate resources to manage their local congregations.

In summary, post-1979 WCG Armstrongites tend to remember HWA's as a glorious sign of divine favor pointing to the greatness of HWA. They tend to make no mention of Stanley Rader, Osamu Gotoh or the AICF and the instrumental role they played in setting up these visits.

In reality his extravagant spending caused severe discontent within WCG, and despite the severe punishments WCG's leaders could impose many WCG members heroically resisted these abuses of authority.