Sunday, February 3, 2019

And We Thought the God Family Doctrine Made Us Special

And to think we thought it was so amazing that we would become God beings as fully God as God is God though of lower rank. Turns out back in the ninth century some Sufi Muslim mystics yearned to be one with God. Is that not even more impressive then being some sort of a lesser God being?
[Abu Yazid al-Bistami] also learned the disciine of fanah (annihilation): by gradually peeling away the layers of egoism ... [he] found an enhanced self in the ground of his own being that was nothing other than Allah himself, who told al-Bistami: "I am through Thee; there is no god but Thou." ....
Husain al-Mansur (d. 922), also known as al-Hallaj, the Wool-Carder, is said to have made a similar claìm, crying: 'Ana al-Haqq!' ('I am the Truth!' or 'I am the Real!'), though some scholars have suggested that this should read: 'I see the Truth!' (Karen Armstrong, Islam: A Short History, 2000, pp. 63-64.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

PCG Accuses "Many Young People" of Being Disloyal to Britain

While condemning a certain advertising campaign by the British Army PCG's Christopher Eames accuses "many young people" of being somehow not loyal towards the United Kingdom.
These new posters drew inspiration from the classic World War I Lord Kitchener posters, with some key differences. One is that the Kitchener poster declares, “Your country needs you.” The new posters read, “Your army needs you.” This helps solve the problem that many young people in modern, deeply multicultural Britain don’t actually feel loyal to the country. The distinction may help new recruits feel more comfortable entering a separate entity. (Source.)
And who would these disloyal people be? What evidence does Eames have to make this inflammatory accusation? Doesn't his readers deserve to know who these allegedly disloyal people are? Why won't Eames tell his readers?

What disgusting scare mongering. I cannot help but be reminded of the scare tactics of McCarthyism.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

WCG During the Rise of the Religious Right (1981)



Back in 1981 two Presbyterian ministers, Dr. William R. Goodman, Jr. and Dr. James J. H. Price, wrote a book entitled Jerry Falwell: An Unauthorized Profile, discussing Jerry Falwell and the rise to political prominence of the Moral Majority. Both men were then based in Lynchburg, Virginia, the same city Falwell was based in.

On pages 72-3 the authors mentioned an article by WCG's Jeff Calkins ("The Plain Truth About the So-Called Christian Right," The Plain Truth, February 1981, pp. 26-9), criticizing the Moral Majority for not agreeing with certain WCG doctrines. Reading this passage I will say that I wish the authors were a bit more critical about WCG.

Below is the quote.

******* 

One interesting reaction to Falwell and the Moral Majority has come from Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. While claiming that The Plain Truth and the Worldwide Church of God share the Moral Majority goal of restoring a proper family life in America, Armstrong says they do not want to be considered a part of Falwell's organization. In the February issue of The Plain Truth Jeff Calkins, writing for Armstrong and the church, says:
. . . We are not part of the Moral Majority or of any like or unlike groups. We take no part in this world's politics! God's true Church must remain "unspotted" by political involvement.
While attacking left-leaning critics of Falwell and the Moral Majority, Calkins goes on to point out the real danger of the Christian Right:
If the Christian Right may pose a possible danger, it is in an area largely overlooked by the left-leaning critics. While there is a smattering of Jews, the Christian Right is made up almost completely of Sunday-keeping churches. It would be a tragedy if the Moral Majority--which has fought against secular atheistic humanistic propaganda being forced on believers in the public school system--were to try to enforce Sunday keeping under the guise of blue laws, which forbid work or shopping on Sunday. Thus far, Sunday keeping is not one of the causes of the Christian Right. We hope it will stay that way.
Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God need not worry right now about the laws regarding the keeping of Sunday becoming a concern of the Moral Majority and Falwell. Championing free enterprise as a God-given right seems to be more important to Falwell and Moral Majority judging from the emphasis of their spoken and written words.

Herbert Armstrong and his followers find that Falwell's shortcoming lies in his failure to follow the Bible. Calkins states for Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God:
Jerry Falwell and other leaders of the Christian Right profess, of course, to follow the Bible. It is a shame, then, that, outside matters of basic morality, many of their doctrines are nowhere to be found in Scripture. Mr. Falwell should know, for example, that reverend is a title appropriate to the Eternal God (Psalm 111:9), and therefore not something that he should attach to his own name. Likewise, nowhere to be found are beliefs that you go to heaven when you die, that you should worship on the first day of the week, that you should observe Christmas and Easter instead of God's revealed Holy Days, that God is a Trinity--or that it is a sin not to vote, as Mr. Falwell claims.
*******

End of quote.

Little did anyone foresee that Armstrongism would splinter into hundreds of competing organizations leaving Armstrongites as being less able to command attention from the surrounding, mainstream society.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Notes from Plain Truth Issues (1961-2)

Continuing from a previous post let us continue taking a look at HWA's recruitment magazine, The Plain Truth. In this post issues from 1961 and 1962 are discussed.


February 1961

Even back in 1961 HWA's organization was complaining about the US debt and stirring up hostility among their readers against other nations.
Today, thanks to altruistic and naive "give-away" programs, the most stable economies of the world are the former bitter enemies of two decades ago. Germany, Japan, and Italy have the largest surplus of GOLD and DOLLARS of any countries in the world INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES! The devastated axis powers of fifteen years ago have embarrassing surpluses in their treasuries while the Rich Uncle who GAVE THEM their strong economy has the greatest deficit in governmental history and a GREATER DEBT than all the REST OF THE WORLD COMBINED! (David Jon Hill, What the US Gold Crisis Means to You, p. 9.)
Actually per capita the US debt was larger back in the 1940s due to World War II when compared with the size the nation's economy but Hill seems to be utterly unaware of that fact.

March 1961

Here we see the Armstrongite madness towards the corporeal punishment of little children begins to take hold.
"No!" Brings Results  
"When I say 'no' to my year-old daughter she really knows what it means. She is very well behaved and is a very happy girl. I am proud of her wherever I am. Other children are sassy, have no respect for anyone, disobey, and don't seem to know what the world 'no' means. Thanks to you I don't have this problem. I didn't know when to start to discipline my baby. Well, I read an article in The PLAIN TRUTH that said to start in their early months say a sharp 'no' and then to follow it up with a slap on the bottom. This is exactly what I have done."  
Woman from Kittery, Maine
This woman in all likelihood had little idea that the people behind this recruitment magazine were not professionally qualified to give advice about parenting. This attitude towards raising up children would cause much misery for children raised up by within or otherwise influenced by HWA's Radio Church of God.

The main purpose of this publication is to attract new tithes paying members so no wonder it should fail so dreadfully at accomplishing other goals such as giving parenting advice.

April 1961

Herman Hoeh's article, "The Astounding Truth About Easter," (pp. 16-19) features passages that were later plagiarized into HWA's 1973 booklet, The Plain Truth About Easter. It is a reprint of an article published in the April 1955 issue of The Plain Truth (pp. 3-6, 16).

On page 30 it is stated that in the early days of The Plain Truth it once had a circulation of 108 copies.

The last page features a frightful letter from a person who had run out of money and still seeks mental health attention and this person asks the Radio Church of God for help.
For years I have gone to a psychiatrist, but have received no help. Besides this, my money is almost gone. To whom can I go for help?
It is to be hoped that this person sought and found help elsewhere.

May 1961

In the world of Armstrongism the blind leads the blind.
"Dear Mr. Armstrong: 
Today I met a girl from Germany who will go back next August. She told me that Frankfurt was 90% destroyed, bur that Germany today is very modern. I asked her which country she liked best, America or Germany. She replied America was nice, but that she liked Germany much better."  
Man from Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Editor's Comment: Many Germans remain loyal to Germany even when they move to other nations. Germans are often strongly nationalistic.
Well of course she liked Germany better. She grew up there. She probably had to learn English as a second language but in Germany she could speak her first language freely. She would have had citizenship in Germany and not in America. She would not feel like a foreigner over there.

Also one reason West Germany advanced so well was that the United States supplied a lot of military spending that West Germany otherwise would have had to pay. Also much of the debt incurred by Germany during World War II was written off to avoid the problems of what happened after World War I. Both the letter and the response are crassly chauvinistic and narrow minded.

Here's another letter once again stirring up resentment toward West Germany.
Germany Will Rise Again  
"A school teacher who had recently returned from Germany told his West End Club exactly what you said in your magazine about the bustle and prosperity of Germany. Said that country was coming ahead with leaps and bounds, and building underground. There are some neighbors in back of us who claim that Germany will rise again, that in the eyes of the German youth Hitler is not dead. His teachings still remain. These neighbors back of us are German immigrants and they want to go back to Germany."  
Woman, Regina, Sask, Canada
It is just awful that immigrants dreaming of returning to the land of their nativity is viewed as a sign that these Germans are going to conquer the United States in a military invasion. Fifty-eight years later Germany remains firmly aligned with the United States. When will anyone within the Armstrongite organizations apologize for promoting bitterness and hostility to people who have proven to be such loyal allies to America for all those years?

Garner Ted Armstrong writes,
Why is childbearing considered such a painful, torturous ordeal by many women? Shouldn't it be the moment of supreme JOY for a young mother? 
And why does a man presume to lecture about childbirth in this manner?

Herman Hoeh also has an article condemning the New English Bible. He insists that the translators relied on unreliable manuscripts. He insists that the translators made errors because they disagree with dogmas taught by HWA's organization. He even complains that certain passages disagree with HWA's teaching of a Wednesday crucifixion.

June 1961

In this issue HWA asserts that Yuri Gagarin was not the first man into space. It is claimed that one Colonel Ilyushin was sent into space a few days earlier but something went wrong and he returned a few days days driven insane. He cites a "correspondent" of his in Britain named William Pee. Whatever you say, Herb.

Garner Ted Armstrong encourages his female readers to give birth at home.

HWA has this ridiculous article insisting that you can determine how you would have reacted to Jesus Christ if you had encountered Jesus while teaching. HWA says that if you believe in what the Radio Church of (HWA's) God teaches then you would have had sided with Jesus if you had lived back in those ancient days. What narcissistic nonsense.

This issue contains pictures of HWA, Herman Hoeh, Roderick Meredith, Garner Ted Armstrong, Basil Wolverton, Albert Portune, C. Paul Meredith and others.

July 1961

HWA pontificates on when is the best age to marry.

This issue's installment of Basil Wolverton's The Bible Story discusses clean and unclean meats, teachings that HWA took from Judaism. HWA failed to understand that Christian leaders in the apostolic era taught that Gentile converts to Christianity were under no obligation to become a Jew by undergoing circumcision and observing Jewish religious rules and regulations in order to believe in Jesus Christ. Historically speaking if they had not made it easier for non-Jews to embrace Christianity in this way then Christianity would never had become the world religion it is today.

This letter claims many employees of the Ford Motor Company listened to HWA's recruitment radio broadcast.
Motor Company Employees Listen  
"Many of my fellow employees are listening to The WORLD TOMORROW. I work at Ford Motor Company which employs around 2,000 men on the day shift. The WORLD TOMORROW precedes the UAW-CIO program which comes on at 5:30 a.m. One of the head union committeemen, whose job it is to wander around the plant and keep a check on the men and talk to them, stopped to ask me if that was my church's program. I replied, 'Yes.' He told me that I would be surprised to know how many of the men in the plant were listening to it. Some of the comments about the program from men are: 'Mr. Armstrong is really sharp.' 'Mr. Armstrong has some good points, but I don't agree with everything he says.' 'Mr. Armstrong uses very good English and has a good speaking voice.' Another head union man says he would not miss the program."  
Man from Kansas City
How would they have reacted once they learned how anti-union HWA was?

August 1961

HWA wrote his preface article in Copenhagen, Denmark. Even before he started meeting with world leaders HWA was already going overseas using the tithes and offerings his followers sent to his organization.

HWA has an article fearfully asking, could you be brainwashed?

Charles Dorothy has an article stated that he and Herman Hoeh visited "the annual convention of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis held in New York" and were utterly shocked at what these Protestant leaders were teaching.

In this issue's installment of HWA's Autobiography he demeaningly compared Palestinian Arabs who had, according to him, superficially converted to a certain missionary, to guinea pigs. He relates that around 1936 he cooperated and financially supported a preacher of a formerly Jewish background to go to Palestine and make Christian converts out of the Jewish people living there. This preacher went there and, at first, told HWA he was gaining many converts. A year later he went back to HWA and reported that most of the converts were Palestinian Arabs and most of them had not really been converted at all. While discussing all this HWA compared these alleged Palestinian Arab converts as being as converted as "a guinea pig."
The "converts" being made in Palestine, he reported, were not Jews at all, but Arabs-who were no more converted than a guinea pig. (p. 22.)
This passage did not make HWA look good so it was quietly sanitized in later printings. Also Palestine was replaced with "the Holy Land" in later printings. Here is the sentence as presented in the 1973 version of HWA's Autobiography.
The "converts" being made in the Holy Land, he reported, were not Jews at all, but Arabs -- who were not really converted. (HWA's Autobiography, 1973 version, Chapter 38, p. 527.)
Here is the sentence as presented in the 1986-7 version.
The "converts" being made in the Holy Land, he reported, were not Jews at all, but Arabs -- who were not really converted. (HWA's Autobiography, Chapter 38.)
This issue features the following letter which elicits a response which bizarrely implies that Americans were not being told about West Germany's economic growth by media outlets.
Poorly Informed??? 
"You apparently cannot see beyond your nose. Referring to Berlin, you are either poorly informed, or choose to purposely omit the truth. For your information, the United States has pumped $26 billion (?) into Germany just to build up West Berlin and create a 'false front.' Let's keep religion out of world politics. Your place is in the spiritual." 
Man from Vancouver, Canada. 
(Editor's Comment: West Berlin is only part of the West Germany that has been built up. The West German Treasury is now the richest in the world! We have published many pictures from different parts of West Germany showing her absolute resurgence -- her victories in the TRADE WAR! These pictures were taken by leading reporters and correspondents. WHY HASN'T THIS MAN SEEN THESE PICTURES AND REPORTS IN OTHER NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES?)
Here's another letter on the same topic.
Germany Growing 
"Dear Mr. Armstrong: 
"While I was stationed in the States I had many times read The PLAIN TRUTH or heard you speak over the radio concerning the rising of Germany as a major power in economics. Since I didn't know the news too well at the rime, I have since been reading all the news magazines I can get my hands on. I wasn't taking your word for it. The Air Force transferred me to Germany and there I saw that your preaching was true. Germany is a major power and growing each day. The unemployment in the States is extremely high, while the Germans have to import foreign help to fill the empty gaps. The military newspaper 'Stars and Stripes' stated recently that there were approximately 100,000 vacancies begging for filling." 
Man, USAF, Germany.
A lot of that "foreign help" mentioned above were workers from Turkey.

Here's a letter from Nigeria.
PLAIN TRUTH Helps College Students in Africa 
"We thank you very much for all the help we have been getting from your organization. Your PLAIN TRUTH is generally admired with great interest by all students of the Commercial College. We have been getting and stocking The PLAIN TRUTH in our college library since we started getting it many years ago. It is now an indispensable journal to our college library. We are greatly thankful for this." 
From the Principal, Commonwealth College of Commerce, Nigeria.
September 1961

This issue features a letter which reveals that most Americans viewed West Germany's prosperity positively and considering that Germany has remained a strong ally of the United States these fifty-eight years since this letter was written they were correct and those taught to be fearful of West Germany by HWA were and are wrong.
Professor Unaware of World Affairs 
"Dear Mr. Armstrong: 
"Ever since I have been listening to The WORLD TOMORROW and reading your literature, my interest in world developments has been alerted. I am a student at the University. . . . 
"Last semester I enrolled in a non-credit evening course on Communism and Democracy. During one of these discussion sessions, the rising economic power of the European Common Market was brought up. Literally everyone, with the exception of myself, was completely in favor of this alarming threat to America. I brought out several points (which I had read in The PLAIN TRUTH) showing that the ECM was already underselling us and producing higher quality merchandise. The instructor, a brilliant political scientist, promptly stated that this competition from Western Europe was a wonderful thing for the free world. He also said this was necessary and would stimulate the U.S. to increase production, lower the prices on our goods, and produce higher quality products. 
"Apparently he is not very well aware of the danger ahead. I am thankful I have come to some understanding of world developments." 
Man from Eunice, Louisiana
October 1961

HWA discusses the Bay of Pigs invasion and the fact that America then had a President who was Catholic.

Charles Dorothy has an article scare mongering that many Protestant ministers are liberal in regards to the Christian religion.

Here's a letter from a person wanting information from HWA's recruitment magazine to be used while in discussion with parliamentary representatives of the people of Britain.
Parliament Warned 
"In your May issue of The PLAIN TRUTH I was most interested to read the article 'Behind the Congo Crisis.' I am a student of prophecy and thoroughly agree with the writer. I am most intrigued by the Madrid Circular as quoted, and would like more derails on this document so that I may use its contents in Parliamentary circles with some authority." 
Commander from England.
Here's a letter revealing a young, female fan of Garner Ted Armstrong admiring his handsome appearance. If only the mother knew about his womanizing ways. That issue did not become public knowledge until his brief suspension in 1972.
TV Loses Out 
"I received a packet from you today containing the May, June and July copies of The PLAIN TRUTH. My 17- year-old daughter nearly 'flipped' when I showed her the picture of Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong. She was absolutely overwhelmed with his handsomeness. This is what she said: 'Well, I just never think of Christians looking like that!' Television lost out tonight to The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast via KRLD." 
Woman from Commerce, Texas.
November 1961

Garner Ted Armstrong has an article entitled "War with Russia This Year?" Even though HWA and Co. taught that it would be a German led European Empire which would be fated to conquer the United States they were perfectly content to attract readers by making them scared of other nations going to war with the United States even though HWA and Co. insisted such a thing would not occur except at the hands of a unified Europe led by Germany.

This issue feature the following letter praising HWA's autobiography.
Autobiography Reassures Faith 
"Mr. Armstrong's autobiography has confirmed my faith in Ambassador and The WORLD TOMORROW. The way he has had to fight, it is a sure thing he did not do it alone. God had to be with him for him to stay on cop and for things to turn out as they have. His life story surely has given me a lift," 
Man from Bloomington, Indiana.
This issue also features a letter from what was then named Northern Rhodesia, namely modern day Zambia.
Wants Lifetime Subscription 
"I am very thankful for the continual supply of The PLAIN TRUTH to me during the past year. It is the only magazine which, as long as it remains in publication, I would wish to read. I am beginning to understand the Bible, which did not seem to be an interesting book at all before. I was suffering from lack of understanding." 
Man from Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia, Africa.
Whoever the editor was for the letters section in this issue petulantly criticized in print one woman who wanted to no longer receive HWA's recruitment magazine, even comparing  her to an ostrich.
Ostrich!! 
"I am not well, and have not been for over a year and what was in your magazine seemed to upset me terribly. I never read more than a page or two, in a month. The news makes me very nervous. I feel it's about all I can endure. I have my own small world to reckon with, and am unable to do anything toward world situations. Just hearing how dreadful the conditions are over the whole earth makes me lose much of what small energy I have. Being just a woman with home and husband to do for takes my strength. Recently I have had a heart attack which puts more strain on my nerves. So please take my name off your list of subscribers." 
Woman from Kansas. 
Note the pathetic, self serving response from the editor below. There is no sympathy for this woman's distress. The purpose of this magazine is to get readers recruited as co-worker or members of HWA's organization who will pay tithes and offerings to it. But this woman did not fulfill the organization's intention. The editor spitefully lashed out against her.
Editor's comment: Running from reality never has helped anyone. God commands you to be conversant with world affairs and trust Him for deliverance. God help you not to follow this onetime subscriber's example.
Here's one letter asking why HWA thinks Christ will return in ten to fifteen years.
Agnostic Wonders 
"Last Sunday evening on WOW I heard you discuss prophecies made nearly 2700 years ago by men who were supposedly inspired by some supreme Being. For over 20 years I have been an agnostic. I must confess I was stunned at the impact of your program. The realization that these prophecies also embraced our era left me questioning my own established beliefs. For this reason I am writing to ask you upon which sections of the Bible do you base your theory that within 10 or 15 years we will witness the Lamb's conquest of His enemies. I do not ask this idly. I am deeply interested." 
Man from Carter Lake, Iowa.
The booklet he would have needed to read to answer that question is Herman Hoeh's 1959 booklet, A True History of the True Church, which insisted that HWA's organization had been given two 19 year time cycles (1934-72) to preach their teachings before the Great Tribulation would begin. He insisted the first 19 year time cycle began on January 7, 1934 when HWA first began to regularly broadcast on the radio and the second 19 year time cycle began with their first broadcast over Radio Luxembourg in 1953. Therefore it was taught that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972. However that false prophecy failed miserably.

Here's a letter from Sierra Leone.
Finds His Purpose in Life 
"At this time last year I was wondering what was the purpose of life. Despite my attendance at church services, I felt hollow; but today life is different. Our Heavenly Father has revealed to me the purpose of life, and the great plan He has for mankind is being unfolded before my eyes through the Correspondence Course." 
Man from Sierra Leone, West Africa.
In this issue's installment of HWA's Autobiography HWA bizarrely pontificates that a boy of about eleven years of age is the happiest a person ever is.
Meanwhile, our four children were growing up. ... The boys ten and eleven-Dick about twelve. For the boys, this, I believe, is the happiest age ever enjoyed by any person. Surely nothing to compare is experienced by girls. ... At eleven and twelve a boy has few responsibilities--devotes himself primarily to "fun"--and yet, he does nor altogether take a vacation from disappointments, humiliation and painful suffering. His problems are far more serious to him than they are to Dad or Mom or other grown-ups. (pp. 20, 22.)
Even back when I believed in Armstrongism this statement struck me as odd. What a strange thing to say. What a way to devalue life after being twelve years of age. HWA also bizarrely demeaned every women's childhood as being less enjoyable than the childhood of boys.

And as if that is not odd enough he states in this section of his autobiography that his nine year old sister, Mabel Armstrong, died of spinal meningitis when he was eleven. A picture of her is even included on page 25. The more one thinks about this passage the more strange it seems.

December 1961

This issue features Roderick C. Meredith's infamous article, "The Shocking Truth About Queer Men!" Even compared with the other purveyors of Armstrongism Meredith was especially bitter towards LGBT individuals and constantly condemned them and stirred up hostile feelings against LGBT communities among his followers.

Ernest Martin has an article dating Jesus' birth to about September, 4 BC. Information like this is often used by Armstrongites to insist that one must not celebrate Christmas. However HWA's ban against Christmas was plagiarized from the Jehovah's Witnesses. However Armstrongites as a rule will not mention that fact when trying to convince other people to stop celebrating Christmas. We deserve to know the truth about this matter.

January 1962

In this issue three letters written in response to Meredith's condemnation of gay men are published. The first letter praises Meredith's screed and complains of the LGBT people living alongside him in Los Angeles.
Long Overdue Article 
"Congratulations on the December issue which was received today contain the article 'The Shocking Truth About Queer Men.' Articles such as this have long been overdue in the press. In my opinion this is the most outstanding and moving article to appear on this subject. I live in the Hollywood area and am disgusted daily about the existing homosexuality. These 'its' come out at night) frequent the many 'gay' bars in the area and rove the streets in packs. I have seen grown 'men' crossing the street wearing high heel shoes. As the article mentions, something must be done to reverse the trend. The suggestions mentioned are excellent," 
Man from Los Angeles, California.
The second letter condemns Meredith's screed. The editor replies with a snarky comment.
From a Critic, Too 
"The article by R. C. Meredith really stirred up my ire! Let's assume all he said seems to be true. What about it? Has he really shown how to remedy it? To me he is like a teacher scolding a group of students for not working a problem in mathematics correctly! He scolds and scolds and points out all the mistakes but does not point out the right or rather the underlying principle of the problem!" 
Woman from Hermosa Beach, California. 
Editor's comment: Apparently some people don't understand the answer even when they read it. 
The third letter praises Meredith's screed.
Timely and Virile 
"I think the article by Roderick C. Meredith 'The Shocking Truth About Queer Men' in the December PLAIN TRUTH is one of the most timely and virile articles I have read. I give thanks to God for it, for it paints in clear colors the picture of a righteous way of life both for man and womankind, and that picture is pure, noble and Godly. On the other hand, it makes very clear the fruit of a filthy way of life, so that no man can deny the Truth. More and more I see how really wicked are the ways of the flesh, and in what danger we are in because of them. More and more I lose respect for nominal churches and their so-called 'pastors' who really know little or nothing of the God they profess to preach about!" 
Woman, Kingsville, Missouri.
Meredith would continue to preach hostility and bitterness toward LGBT individuals and communities until he died in 2017. He is still revered among LCG members and presumably a sizable portion of other Armstrongites. His words continue to have the power to negatively influence people.

February 1962

This issue features a letter from New Zealand by a family that decided to stop eating meats deemed unclean according to HWA's teachings, an idea he incorporated into his syncretic teachings from his superficial knowledge of Judaism.
Bible Story Stirs to Action 
"I must tell you what happened after we had read the first chapter of The Bible Story char we received. It was the one dealing with unclean foods. The children started looking around to see if we had any foods that were unclean, and we found that we were eating bacon and ham. Now those two items are off our menu." 
Family from New Zealand
And with that testimony of just how quickly people can be influenced by an organization like HWA's this post ends.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Overview of the January 2019 Issue of PCG's Philadelphia Trumpet

PCG has now released the latest issue of their recruitment magazine (January 2019).

Let's see what they have to say this time.


The editors of this issue are Gerald Flurry, Stephen Flurry, Joel Hilliker, Brad Macdonald, Richard Palmer, Jeremiah Jacques, Dennis Leap and Phillip Nice.

This issue have a circulation of 264,989 issues.

Gerald Flurry has a personal article scare mongering that "a new king" will soon take over Germany after Chancellor Merkel leaves power. Since 2009 PCG's leadership have constantly scare mongered that Baron Karl Theodor zu Guttenburg may soon become the man destined to conquer the United States just before Christ's return.

David Vejil has an accompanying article insisting that Germans are descendents of the ancient Assyrians. That is incorrect. It is an idea inherited from British Israelism.

Gerald Flurry also has an article denouncing French President Macron for calling for the creation of a European military force to protect the European Union from the United States and for criticizing the nationalism in the prescence of PCG's preferred president, Donald Trump.

Joel Hilliker has an article insisting that there are four signs occurring that prove that Christ will soon return. Armstrongites have constantly insisted on promoting such scare mongering since the 1930s and still their predictions always fail to occur.

Ryan Malone has an article encouraging parents to develop the talents of their children.

Jeremiah Jacques has an article scare mongering that the United States will somehow be crippled by some sort of cyber attack from China.

The Infographic condemns using smartphones too much.

Gerald Flurry also has an article discussing the composition of the US Supreme Court. He is still smarting from just how close President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh was from failing to pass the Senate.

Andrew Müller has an article insisting that the left are to blame for the increase in politically motivated violence in the United States. Any research made outside of the PCG information bubble will reveal that most politically motivated violence in the United States is committed by individuals aligned with the far right. 

Joel Hilliker also has a little article encouraging older people to teach those who are younger.

PCG's 1% have also included an article by HWA insisting that if one just listen to him and his organization such a person would escape and avoid the Great Tribulation. With such words life outside the organization is rendered as worthless compared to life within the organization by making the reader afraid that the organization's prophesied cataclysm will soon occur. So they do not worry about problems within the organization. Fear keeps them in.

And so PCG's 1% have once made another issue of their recruitment magazine seeking to lure in new members and keep members in awe of the supposedly divinely backed leaders of Gerald Flurry's organization.

***
HWA and his imitators have constantly used fear to keep their tithes paying followers in line. One fear they teach is to say that Christmas and birthdays are forbidden. They fear to lose God's favor if they celebrate Christmas or birthdays. There is no need to live in fear. There is nothing wrong for a Christian to celebrate Christmas and birthdays. We do not need Arstrongite preachers. They are the ones who need followers to pay tithes to them.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

PCG on the Hunter Gatherers of North Sentinel Island

Following the murder of John Allen Chau on North Sentinel Island there has been much discussion about this tragic affair. PCG has released an article discussing this topic (Callum Wood, Be Thankful You're Not Sentinelese, November 23, 2018).

First of all the title is very problematic. It sounds so horrible if you replace the word Sentinelese with any other ethnicity or social group. What if the title was "Be thankful you're not Jewish"? Or "Be thankful you're not African-American"? We need to be respectful of peoples' identities. Clearly Wood and whoever proofreads him have failed to note the unfortunate implication of the article's title.

Let's see what else Wood has to say.
The Indian government restricts tourist access to the region. And for good reason. North Sentinel is home to the Sentinelese--one the of the most dangerous tribes on Earth.
Considering that the Sentinelese have no access to modern weaponry it seems odd to refer to them that way.

The Indian government does not restrict only tourist access to North Sentinel Island. It banned anyone from going to the island to avoid problems, just like the tragic death of John Allen Chau. No one is allowed to go to the island. And it is not just because this isolationist hunter-gatherer society happens to choose to maintain their isolation.
[The Sentinelese] have their own way of life, and they defend it violently. This didn't stop Chau, who was determined to make contact with the tribe.
While preventing violence by the Sentinelese is a major reason for the Indian government to ban people from going to North Sentinel Island there is another reason stopping contact with them.
Due to its statehood, no charges can be laid against the islanders. The tragic event has led to some people calling on the protection of the Sentinelese "culture." Chau's efforts were a "misplaced adventure" that should never have happened. 
Survival International, an advocacy group for remote communities, urged people not to intervene. They warned that if the Sentinelese weren't left alone, "the entire tribe could be wiped out..." 
Yet the islanders are managing to do so by themselves: A recent Indian census estimates the population has plunged from 117 a century ago to 39 today.
Amazingly Wood never explains to his readers the main problem problem about making contact with the Sentinelese people. The Sentinelese people have weakened immune systems. This is a common problem when interacting with such isolated communities. Many diseases that we are able to endure and survive would simply kill them. Any attempt to arrest any Sentinelese for Chau's murder could very well start a disease epidemic which would decimate the community. This fact is never explained in the article.

Incidentally that is a major reason why the United States now exist. The various Native American communities had already been ravaged by diseases introduced by Europeans and this made it impossible for these communities to protect their sovereignty from colonial advances. HWA and imitators have insisted for decades that the great power possessed by the United States was a miraculous wonder from the Armstrongite version of the Christian God. It is rarely acknowledged that this power was partly made possible because so many Native Americans were killed off by diseases introduced from the European settlers.
It is incredible to think that such a backward lifestyle still exists in tandem with a world of astounding achievement.
It is not incredible. It has always been this way. But since there are not that many such hunter gatherer societies still existent the topic of interacting with hunter gatherers is rarely needed for most people. 

Wood then goes into this absurd discussion of how different our lives are compared to those of the Sentinelese people. Reading this one cannot help but wonder if the author is complaining of the difficulty of imagining a drastically different perspective?
Take Thanksgiving, for instance. A single family meal on this annual holiday likely contains more variety than someone on North Sentinel Island has tasted in a lifetime! 
As we hunt for the right-size turkey or that pumpkin pie recipe, a Sentinelese forager literally hunts for food. He has never been to, let alone even imagined, a supermarket. 
We dine in comfort with family and friends, the temperature regulated by air conditioning. The Sentinelese, meanwhile, live in thatched huts. 
At the end of the day, our guests drive home in their cars—reaching speeds never thought possible by those living remotely in the Bay of Bengal. As we drive, we listen to music or perhaps tune in to the latest Trumpet Daily Radio Show. What a different life we lead! 
Imagine taking a Sentinelese islander and putting him in downtown Manhattan, which is roughly the same size as North Sentinel Island. Imagine the reaction. What would he think of the skyscrapers? The cars and trains? The planes overhead? The day-to-day things we take for granted would be almost beyond belief for him!
Even if a Sentinelese person wanted to move to the outside world he or she would probably get really sick and quite possibly die from various common diseases. That issue is never explicitly mentioned in this article.

Actually they know what a boat or a helicopter is since some of them have seen such things in previous encounters with outsiders. Also in 1981 a freighter ship ran around off the island and the wreck remains there to this day.

He then complains that we are not thankful enough what modern civilization offers to us.
But as it stands, the Sentinelese know no differently. They certainly seem content in their lifestyle. But how thankful are we as recipients of the incredible blessings of modern civilization? Whether we’re American or not, this time of year is as good as any for considering our blessings. Put yourself in the shoes—or lack thereof—of the Sentinelese. Consider the incredible world we live in. Could we, perhaps, be more thankful for the comforts we enjoy?
Among other things PCG's 1% insists that PCG members are the only "true Christians" on the face of the Earth. This denunciation of all churches not belonging to PCG as false churches is alluded to in Wood's article.
Think of your Bible—the foundation of all knowledge and understanding. The very mind of God in print. How often do we thank God for that? John Chau carried a Bible with him on that tragic day on the beach. He wanted to take it to the isolated people on North Sentinel Island. The sad irony is that most of the people where he came from do not understand this book either.
Based on what he wrote in this article Wood seems so abrasive. There is little attempt to try and comprehend a differing perspective and little sympathy given to anyone. If Wood simply kept writing articles demonizing Iran at least it would not seem too strange since, alas, the COGs are so used to demonizing Muslims it seems normal for them.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Herman Hoeh's Muddled Quoting of Irenaeus (1955)



In his article, "The Astounding Truth About Easter," (Plain Truth, April 1955, pp. 3-6, 16) Herman Hoeh twice quoted the second Century church leader, Irenaeus, but misleadingly implied that his two quotations were taken from the same piece of writing when, in fact, he was quoting from two different sources, the first of which is not given any citation.

This fact may be seen below (pp. 6, 16).
Irenaeus wrote even more regarding the observance of Easter at Rome and elsewhere as follows: “But Polycarp also was not only instructed by the apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church of Smyrna . . . He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus”- bishop of Rome around 154 A.D.- “caused many to turn away from the . . . heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles . . . ” While at Rome, Polycarp discussed the matter of Easter with the Roman bishop.  
Irenaeus continued: “For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe it”--the passover--“because he had always observed it with John the disciple of our Lord, and the rest of the apostles, with whom he associated; and neither did Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it, who said that he was bound to follow the customs of the presbyters before him” (Quoted from Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, book V, chap. 24, in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1 ).  
The highlighted quote is from Irenaeus' polemic, Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 3, Section 4. Irenaeus wrote this book around AD 184 in order to combat Gnosticism.

In the second paragraph, right after he wrote "Irenaeus continues", Hoeh then switches to quoting Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter 24. That quote is from a book written over a hundred years after Irenaeus' life. That passage quotes a now lost letter written by Irenaeus.

Hoeh does not disclose the source of the first quote. He misleadingly implies both quotations were from the same piece of writing when says "Irenaeus continues" after the first quote.

Hoeh's statement that "Irenaeus continued" is quite galling. What possible explanation is there for Hoeh to mislead his readers in this way? Hoeh speaks so confidently in this article of various sensationalist assertions he makes about Easter and yet he strangely presents quotations from two different books as though he himself saw them placed together.

Was this was a malicious lie? Of course since Hoeh died in 2004 he is not able to explain or defend himself. It is not possible to make definitive conclusions about why he muddled his quotations here.

If it was a malicious lie it is hard to determine why he misleadingly implied that a quote from Irenaeus' Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 3, Section 4 was from Eusebius' work or why he failed to note the source of the first quotation.

But we should take that these quotes are from two different books, written by different authors, one of which was written over a century after Irenaeus' life. When Hoeh encountered these passages he likely would have seen them in different books or maybe even different parts of the same volume. It is hard to imagine him seeing these passages together.

And yet right after he finishes quoting from Against Heresies he writes, "Irenaeus continued", but then quotes from a book written a century after Irenaeus' death. Hoeh even cites Eusebius' book but never mentions Irenaeus' Against Heresies.

Later in 1973 HWA's organization began to publish a booklet entitled "The Plain Truth About Easter." The author was listed as Herbert W. Armstrong. However a long section of the booklet was plagiarized from Herman Hoeh's 1955 article, "The Astounding Truth About Easter." This section contained the muddled quotes discussed above. There the error remained uncorrected.

So many thousands of people had put their trust in Herman Hoeh's writings, many of whom did not know he could muddle quotations like this. People need to know about problems like this in the writings of HWA's organization.