Thursday, February 12, 2009

Called to the Truth? Will all in the God kingdom be Equal?

One of the things that really fooled me into embracing Armstrongism was the insistence that I was 'called' by God to understand the truth. No one else understood what I understood. If some other person listened to Armstrongism being explained and did not agree it was simply because he or she had not yet been called yet.

Now to fully understand this teaching of theirs, of being called to the truth, involves an understanding of Apocatastasis (that most people will be saved eventually, most after the Second Coming). However here I wish to focus on the elitism that traps people into Armstrongism. It is a heady elitism. It appeals to one's vanity, of feeling important. Once in one of Roderick Meredith's semi-annual letters he sends out to non-co-worker subscribers he said that I, out of all the people on the earth, had somehow been led to the truth. 'Wow!' my thinking went, 'God blinded the vast majority of humanity after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit but not me! I understand the truth and many others do not. The vast majority of humanity cannot understand the truth until after the Second Coming or the Great White Throne Judgment.'

Once I watched a sermon by Syd Hull, which would have been deleted once he left LCG in 2006, and he ended it saying that we (the church) are not called just to be saved but to be the elite of the saved. When Christ comes he will come to his glorified church, and the church will be complete. Because of this those that are saved afterwords can never be a part of the spiritual bride of Christ, but merely children of Christ and the glorified church. He said that those to be saved during the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment will be saved, but they will not be as great as us who had to overcome Satan while they did not, who were called to the truth before them. He said that when Christ comes he will marry his bride, the glorified church, and it not be an incomplete wife, therefore those to be saved afterward will not be part of the wife but be one of the children of Christ and the Church. This sounds likes a beautiful fulfillment of the family unit, but really it is a nasty attempt to make an elitist hierarchy of relations with God in the afterlife, an attempt to say that they can never have as close a relationship to God as we will have after the resurrection at the Second Coming. This sends the sad message that those who will be saved later will not be as close to God as we (the church) will be. I remember feeling momentarily sad hearing this for those who are to be saved later. But because I was one of the elite, chosen ones, and because I was sure Armstrongism was truth, I didn't dwell on this distastefully elitist doctrine too much.

A logical and tragic outcome of, not necessarily the doctrine but their common elitist attitude, can be seen in this former LCG member's testimony. Here the member, who had not been 'called' under HWA but later, is discriminated against as not being as worthy as those called under HWA. Although that may not be directly linked to Syd Hull's sermon in this case, the elitist attitude is the same. 'Because you were not called by HWA,' this attitude says, 'you are not as close to the truth as we are. Because you were called only after the Second Coming and the banishment of Satan, and because we are the wife and you are only children (forever) we are closer to God then you are. Our light shines brighter then yours.' Syd Hull has made such elitism into a fact of eternal life.

But at the same time one is fooled into thinking that it is not elitist at all. But everyone is going to be saved, they say. All will become God beings, being as fully God as God is God. That's egalitarian enough isn't it? But as Syd Hull shows there are ranks within the God family. This is also made plain in HWA's The Wonderful World Tomorrow where a carefully organized hierarchy is laid out for the God beings ruling over the earth in the Millennium. The tyrannical hierarchy of Armstrongism is to continue for all eternity.

Often Meredith tries to excite people, stir them up, by saying you might only get a small position if you are not active in helping the work. He tries to lure you to give yourself more and more to 'the Work' by making you lust after a higher position. Is that how a minister of God supposed to lead members? Bribing them with a big reward in the afterlife that he himself does not have to pay you, instead of focusing on higher ideals.

Alas, when I renounced Armstrongism, I also came to the realization that all that was complete nonsense. The reason why so many people do not full heartedly embrace Armstrongism the way I did is because they actually did understand this truth: It is not worth pursuing. Those who rejected Armstrongism did so because it was a bad tree. It produced terrible fruit. I was not privileged to discover knowledge unattainable for the vast majority of people this side of Christ's return, I had simply accepted an idea that most people did not accept, the same way how today some insist that Karl Marx's philosophy explains how societies work and we must follow his prescription of revolution. They are persuaded of an idea, a belief. The vast majority of people decide not accept it. But those who do can always say that everyone else is simply unable to see 'the truth'. Those few who do believe 'the truth' are an elite that the vast majority cannot aspire to. It is the same with those who think they have been called to 'the truth' of Armstrongism. It is terrible to say such things but it is true and they must be said.


  1. Very true! I see this continually in the LCG traditionalists that love their idol, and Rod knows that his main hold over the people is his ability to project Herbert Armstrong(not Jesus Christ)
    As Robinson notes in his book("Tangled Web")Rod Meredith wants power above all things in this life. His condition now after the stroke leaves him with left sided weakness in his extremities, and, as a nurse, I can tell you that once a person has a stroke, it is usually only a matter of time before the next one.
    I am sure that Rod and his minions know this, and so the wannabes are lined up for the power play that eventually will come. It will not depend on who Rod selects. It will depend on who plays the best game

  2. What you've posted is true across most COGs. I'm with Mary Lane on agreeing with you.

    "By the mouth of two or three witnesses"

    Here are some quotes from a former member of the WCG that I think go well with your post:

    "The member is told that 'Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong is closer to God and has more of His Holy Spirit than anyone else, which is the reason he is the leader of the Church' or 'Since Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong is the leader of God's Church, he must be closer to God and have more of His Holy Spirit than anyone else.'"

    "The Holy Spirit isn't simply to help us agree with the way the Worldwide Church of God explains it. In this way, the 'weak of the world' are being made weaker. It doesn't take a spiritually strong person to merely accept exactly what the Worldwide Church of God teaches and to obey it strictly. But it does require strength of character and spirit to question, research, prove, and then abide by your convictions, regardless of what the Worldwide Church of God or anyone else says."

    "Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong is a victim of his own quotation -- he indeed perverts the gospel of Christ and preaches another gospel -- the gospel of Herbert Armstrong."
    ...substitute Rod Merideth, in this case.

  3. Number 12 from the Orange papers:

    The cult and its members are special.

    Brother, do they ever believe they are special:

    * "We are different from ordinary people."
    * "Only another cult member understands."
    * "We are special because we belong to the right religion."
    * "We are special because we have the new technology."
    * "We have the new dispensation."
    * "Our leader is the new messiah, and only he has the new wisdom, which he is giving to us."
    * "Our organization is a wonderful new movement that is sweeping the world. We will usher in a new age of peace and enlightenment."
    * "Our organization is the latest manifestation of God's generosity towards mankind." [Moonies]
    * "We are God's Chosen Children."
    * "We are the wave of the future."
    * "We have been trained, processed, audited, purified, tested or prepared in ways that no one else has."
    * "No non-Scientologist has ever seen a thetan, much less checked it for electricity, so how could anyone possibly disprove this [L. Ron Hubbard's] theory?"1
    * "Our group is so special that only another group member can even understand how wonderful it is."

    In spite of the fact that the individual cult members are often told by their higher-ranking mentors and superiors that they are very stupid and foolish, the cult members are also told that they were very smart and very lucky, on the whole, to have joined the cult: "The vast majority of the human race is stupid and lost. Only these few select ones had the good fortune and wisdom to come here."

    Frequently, the cult members even regard themselves as The Chosen — the elite, chosen people who will do something grand like save the world, usher in the New Age, or go to Heaven.

    Cult members believe that what they are doing is of a higher purpose than anything.....