Friday, January 2, 2009

A Lie That Tricked Me

I first encountered Armstrongism back in early 2000. I had watched some TV and my program had just finished so I changed the channel looking for something else and I saw the man I would later know as Richard Ames presenting some program concerning the prophecy of Daniel 2. Now I had always believed in the Bible and naturally I was quite interested in what this man was saying. So next week I saw the next show and this time I saw the man I would know as Roderick C. Meredith. He was presenting a show on how to show love to one another. They had a magazine that was free so I got a subscription. Alas, many unwary souls have been ensnared in this manner. I also went to their website and was very happy to see that all the magazines were readable over the internet. As I read more and more I became totally convinced that they had the truth, and, as far as I could, or could be bothered to, I tried to live the way they recommended for me.

Unknown to me I was simply being tricked. Like low down scam artists they were tricking me to accept their beliefs and to make me submit to their dictates. They would tell many impressive things to me through their telecast and writings, but now I see that a lot of their heady claims of divine sanction are flat-out wrong or presented in a highly distorted manner. One assertion they made that really had me impressed and willing to accept them was the claim that their predecessor, Herbert W. Armstrong (I had no idea who that man was at the time) had successfully predicted the fall of the Iron Curtain nearly 50 years ago.
It was an understanding of [biblical] prophecies that led Herbert W. Armstrong, our predecessor in this Work of God, to write in the April 1952 Plain Truth, at a time when the Russian boot seemed permanently planted on eastern Europe, that East Germany would be reunited with West Germany and that Russia would "be forced to relinquish her control over Hungary, Czechoslovakia and parts of Austria" (p. 16). (John Ogwyn, 'NATO at 50--Historic Past, Hopeful Future?', Tomorrow's World, May-June 1999, p. 11.)
Similar claims were also made in his booklet 'The Beast of Revelation'.
As far back as the April 1952 Plain Truth, Herbert W. Armstrong had written that East Germany would be returned to West Germany and that Russia “will be forced to relinquish her control over Hungary, Czechoslovakia and parts of Austria” (p. 16). In 1956, following Russia’s invasion of Hungary, when it seemed that the “Iron Curtain” had inexorably fallen on the nations of eastern Europe, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “The way is being prepared for a colossal third force in world politics—a European Federation of Nations more powerful than either Russia or the United States!… We have shown years in advance what would happen to Russia’s ill-fated Empire in Eastern Europe” (Plain Truth, December 1956, p. 3). (John Ogwyn, 'The Beast of Revelation', p. 2.)
(Note: I am quoting from the first edition which incorrectly identified the first article as coming from The Plain Truth instead of The Good News. LCG have now corrected this.)

This seemed like astonishing prophetic accomplishments. Surely the hand of God must be working through these people, and this Herbert W. Armstrong. No one else foresaw the fall of the Iron Curtain so accurately, I thought. So I wholeheartedly accepted their religion. I believed that they were the possessors of the truth.

This presentation of HWA is astonishingly deceptive. This gives absolutely no indication of the many failed prophecies he and his associates made, including Roderick C. Meredith. This gives no indication that HWA, from at least 1953, made many of his prophecies on the assumption that Christ would return by 1975, and that furthermore HWA made many other false prophecies before adopting his 1975 doctrine.

Eventually I all this when I used the Internet to read up on this Herbert W. Armstrong. I read an awful lot about him. I discovered that HWA wrote in 1956 a booklet, 1975 in Prophecy, that confidently predicted that the Great Tribulation would occur by 1975. I also read Herman Hoeh's history of the church which mentioned something about the Apostolic Church having only two 19-year time cycles (whatever those were) from A.D. 31-69 and therefore the church of today (1950s) only had two 19-year time cycles (1934-1972) until the work would be cut off and restrained.

Later I found a website that contained many old copies of The Plain Truth. Being the believer that I was I began to read them from the very beginning. I ended up stopping around 1952. Reading those I learned many things that they had deceptively hid from me. I learned that HWA announced that Mussolini was the 'Beast', then around 1940 he changed his mind and made Hitler the 'Beast'. Consequently his 'understanding of [biblical] prophecies' led him to declare that the USA was doomed (wrong) and would not only lose the war but be totally conquered by the Nazis (wrong) and sent into exile to work as slaves until Jesus Christ returns at the last minute and liberates 'Israel' from Gentile oppression (wrong). Then when Hitler lost HWA continued to insist that Hitler was alive (wrong), and not only was he alive but he was hiding in a secret base nestled within frozen Antarctica (wrong), and he would return to power (wrong), claim to have been divinely resurrected (wrong), the Pope would proclaim his return to be a miraculous resurrection (wrong), and the people of Europe would rally around him and destroy Britain and the USA (wrong again). (Shows how well he understood the situation in Europe! Everyone, including the Germans had had more than enough of Hitler. If he emerged out of hiding he would have taken out by a lynch mob unless he had strong police protection. As HWA would say, 'What poppycock!') He was still saying Hitler was alive in 1952. (Later I would learn such ridiculous statements would again in The Plain Truth appear as late as 1965!)

They never mentioned any of this to me in their telecasts or magazines! If someone, anyone had told me of the many false prophecies of HWA and his followers before I became hooked on them I never would have accepted them. Reading all this information should have made me suspicious of this religion, but alas! I had long ago suspended critical thought towards Armstrongism. I had firmly shut out any critical thoughts towards Armstrongism out of my head. I was utterly under its spell. So totally was I a believer. I had all the 'proofs' in my head which made me disregard anything that should have made me have doubts towards my religion.

Then last October I finally got out of it. I decided to read the other side of the story and began to read Ambassador Report on the Painful Truth website. I was looking at the contents for #1 and I saw one article entitled 'A Treasury of Famous Prophecies.' Knowing what HWA said in the 1930s and 1940s I knew with a sinking feeling what to expect. I saw those words of scripture 'When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath NOT SPOKEN, but the prophet hath spoken it PRESUMPTUOUSLY: thou shalt not be afraid of him.' (Deuteronomy 18:22, emphasis mine). I then read all the many preposterous things that the Armstrongite prophets had said. I knew then that I had been deceived by Roderick C. Meredith! I had entrusted my soul to a lie! The Living Church of God had deceived me! Oh how often they denounce other churches for deceiving all the 'professing Christians' and yet they had lied to me in such a low down way. They praised the prophetic accuracy of their Apostle HWA when he most emphatically he and those with him including Roderick C. Meredith had made 200 false prophecies! That organization had lied to me. I knew then that God who cannot lie could not possibly be working through them. I renounced Armstrongism. It is a lie. I am very glad to have finally gotten over that religion.

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