Friday, April 17, 2009

HWA "Plagiarized" or "Copied" - Which?

Did HWA plagiarize J. H. Allen and stole his British-Israelism doctrine for himself? How have those who insist otherwise respond to this grave assertion? Did HWA claim to have gotten the doctrine from God alone though his word?

From HWA's sermon on May 16, 1981 (I am indebted to J for bringing this quote to my attention, in the random quote section. Bolding is mine throughout the article.):

Now, I say the same thing. Neither did I, when God began to open my mind, go to other people. [Really? Would this statement mean you did not used information from other written sources?] I did not go to a religious seminary. I went to this Bible. I began to find that EVERYTHING I’D BEEN TAUGHT WAS WRONG! AND I THREW IT ALL OUT. I began from scratch!

In 1953 HWA wrote the following in his article No! I was Never was a "Jehovah's Witness," or a Seventh Day Adventist!:

I learned God's TRUTH directly from GOD - thru His WORD - the Holy Bible. I did not learn it from any sect or denomination....No, MEN did not teach me what I preach to you [that would include British-Israelism]. I was not taught of men, but of GOD!

From Chapter 20 of HWA's Autobiography:

After exhaustive study and research [which we are told was done only from the Bible. After all God's Apostle just told us above "I learned God's TRUTH directly from GOD - thru His WORD - the Holy Bible."], I had found it PROVED that the so-called "Lost Ten Tribes" of Israel had migrated to western Europe, the British Isles, and later the United States -- that the British were the descendants of Ephraim, younger son of Joseph, and the United States modern-day Manasseh, elder son of Joseph -- and that we possessed the national wealth and resources of the Birthright which God had promised to Abraham through Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

This is the story HWA would have us believe.

Is this really the case? Did he only use the Bible to discover his revelations? Surely he would have us believe that no "MEN" were responsible for giving him "the truth". Did he, as he said 'learned God's TRUTH directly from GOD - thru His WORD - the Holy Bible'? Is this true?

A most uncharacteristic crack in the facade appeared in 1969. Look at what HWA wrote in his personal on p. 4 of the August 1969 Good News:

Also, even during the initial six-months' study before baptism, a minister in Florida I had contacted by mail, wrote saying that unless I knew of the identity of the United States and the British as the Birthright people of Israel--heading the so-called "Lost Ten Tribes," I was IGNORANT! So I obtained all the literature I could find on the subject [would this include J. H. Allen?], comparing every point with the Bible. I found many errors--errors in every book or pamphlet I could find on the subject. But what I did find in the Bible PROVED our identity. This was the needed KEY to unlock all the prophecies!

WCG, in this marvelous expose' article which proves that HWA did plagiarize, identifies this Florida man as one Lincoln McConnell. He found many errors in the books teaching British-Israelism yet he decided to trust them anyway despite their 'many' errors.

When I first read him insisting he "learned God's TRUTH directly from GOD - thru His WORD - the Holy Bible" I certainly did not expect him to have discovered British-Israelism by reading books that discussed it.

Also observe these similarities as reported by Ambassador Watch. (The citations may be seen at the AW post.) Half come from HWA, the other half are from J. H. Allen:

1a. Remember that the term "Jew" is merely a nickname for "Judah." Hence, it applies to only to the one nation, or House of Judah only - never to the House of Israel.

1b. The name Jew is derived from, or rather is a corruption of, the name Judah.... Hence it is that the names Jew and Jews are applied only to the people who composed the kingdom of Judah.

2a. But the great bulk of Israelites are not the Jews, just as the great bulk of Americans are not Californians, and yet all Californians are Americans.
2b. Jews are Israelites, just as Californians are Americans. But most Israelites are not Jews, just as most Americans are not Californians.

3a. That Dan's leap landed him in Ireland is evident, for in that island we find to this day Dans-Lough, Dan-Sower, Dan-Monism, Dun-dalke, Dun-drum, Don-egal Bay and Don-egal City, with Dun-glow and Lon-don-derry just north of them.

3b. And in Ireland we find they left these "waymarks": "Dans-Laugh," "Dan-Sower," "Dun-dalke," "Dun-drum," "Don-egal Bay," "Don-egal City," "Dun-glow," "Lon-don-derry,"...

Note that none of them are quotes from the Bible.

They are so similar it is hard to tell which is which. Look at 3a and 3b. They are so similar!

Remember when the July 1953 Plain Truth told believers that the British Coronation Stone is actually the stone Jacob slept on at Bethel? Well, imagine my surprise when I learned that this idea was also taught by British-Israelism, as may be seen in the picture here.

Yet despite such overwhelming evidence of plagiarism some true believers continue to insist otherwise.

In one example Gary Rethford of PCG wrote an article in the November-December 2003 Royal Vision entitled Herbert W. Armstrong Not Guilty! discussing the plagiarism. This article may be seen in a three page PDF file.

First various quotes from personal letters by WCG during the Changes are used to define the charge against HWA. They are used in such a way that "plagiarism" is subtly redefined as "copying". This is from p. 1:

"one major reason we discontinued Mr. Armstrong's book The United States and Britain in Prophecy was that it copied major portions from Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright, an earlier work by J. H. will find that many of the chapter headings are identical and large sections of the text match virtually word for word." So, according to Mr. Hunsberger, plagiarism is the copying of the entirety or major portions of another author's text without giving credit. Using similar phrases to to describe standard terms and concepts, however, is not plagiarism.

Notice how Hunsberger's writings are used to define plagiarism as requiring that "large sections of the text match virtually word for word." This article is trying to turn "plagiarism" into "copying" hoping the reader will not notice this slight of hand. The possibility taking an idea and rewording it without giving credit is subtly ignored in this article.

if we were to compare, word for word [Note the emphasis on "word for word".], the two manuscripts in question...we would see that according to Hunsberger, Mr. Armstrong had copied "large sections" of the text.

It then claims that HWA never claimed to have developed the doctrine of British-Israelism. "The truth is, Mr. Armstrong never claimed to have been the originator of the teaching."

Then how are supposed to explain the fact that he never acknowledged J. H. Allen in the US&BIP, or the previous quotes shown above, where HWA clearly say, "I learned God's TRUTH directly from GOD - thru His WORD - the Holy Bible"?

"Earlier editions plagiarized vast portions of... Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright. ...[W]e can see that he copied it ..." Now, that is a lie! They never saw that it was copied, because it wasn't!

Note the use of the word "copied". He is subtly using a slight of hand to change "plagiarism" into "copying".

Pretending that "plagiarism" means "copying" does not prove that HWA is not guilty of plagiarism.

He then cites the statement saying all Californians are Americans but not all Americans are Californians. Notes that at first HWA used Oregonian in earlier editions but this is just a confusing distraction that obscures the other similarities including those cited above.

Now we move into p. 2.

Then referring back to the July 22, 1993 letter the article say, "[WCG] charged that Mr. Armstrong plagiarized two basic ways: 1) vast amounts of copied text, and 2) the same format J. H. Allen used." [Again note the emphasis of "copied". Also the letter cited did not say "vast amounts".]

Then he mentions that PCG did a word test with Wcopyfind 2.2. It identifies identical words and phrases within the two documents. The result of their test was that "the greatest portion of "hits" (approximately 99 percent) WERE FROM QUOTED PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE, or references back to those scriptures....IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE to write on the subject without using those quoted scriptures!" This last sentence tries to make it appear that all the similarities are caused by the abundance of quoted scriptures. Were any of the HWA/J. H. Allen quotes shown above Scriptural quotations?

"The TESTS CONCLUSIVELY DISPROVE the charge that any copying of J. H. Allen occurred....In fact, it is demonstrable, over and over again, that no indication OF ANY KIND exists to show that Herbert W. Armstrong plagiarized any information from J. H. Allen, or anyone else!"

This is nonsense.

Observe the HWA and J. H. Allen quotes above. Are they copied word or word, or rather do they present the same ideas in a similar fashion?

It seems safe to assume that this program searches for word for word matches and would have missed such close similarities.

Then this article presents a 1980 Bible study tape by HWA. This is supposed to show HWA disproving the plagiarism charge but in reality it shows a man totally caught in the grip of cognitive dissonance.

Observe: "[a certain religious scholar, Mr. Melton] says I burrowed all of the truth from the Sardis people except that I burrowed some truth from some other people. Now THAT IS A BALD-FACED LIE! I did not get it from people!"

So HWA has denied that he got 'the truth' from 'people'. Now observe the very next thing he says. "It's true that I had read one or two other writings [so much not getting the truth from people.], and that book of J. H. [now we move into p. 3.] Allen on the truth about the lost Ten Tribes, but...'

And then he confuses the listener by suddenly switching the topic and going back into his typical story about how he was prompted to study the Bible because of his wife's sabbatarianism. (He is trying to confuse us.) He tells of how he disproved evolution, and proved the Bible is the word of God. This has nothing to do with British-Israelism or plagiarism.

Eventually he gets back to the topic: "I did examine their beliefs--some of them. I examined this so-called Anglo-Israel theory ... but I checked it very carefully with the Bible, and I only believed what I saw in the Bible, and I didn't believe and even threw out a lot of what they had." Saying he believed only what was in the Bible is his way of saying he took what HE liked and took out what HE (not God) did not like.

Then he gets angry, accusing Mr. Melton of characterizing British-Israelism as a racist belief and he passionately denied that. Again, this issue of racism has nothing to do with plagiarism. He is again distracting us. He is demonizing Melton and trying to arouse his followers' anger.

"and I'm supposed to have gotten most of what I believe from the Sardis people, and I got this from the Anglo-Israel people...but they can't understand that you could get truth from anybody but people--because he got everything he believes from people. Most people do." I don't know any religious leader on the face of the Earth who received what he knows except he got it from other people." He has completely contradicted himself. One moment he says God revealed it to him, now he says he read it but only took the parts he liked. He admits that he did take some ideas from British-Israelites, then the next moment ridicules Melton for saying what he himself just admitted.

And this is supposed to prove he did not plagiarize and he cannot even keep a coherent thought when discussing this.

PCG also address this issue in Raising the Ruins, Chapter 4. Or does it?

In Transformed by Truth, Mr. Tkach Jr. wrote, “In fact, it is no secret that Herbert Armstrong’s The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy was copied from a book titled Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright by J.H. Allen.” He offers no support for this plagiarism charge. [Stephen Flurry rubbishes Tkach Jr.'s lack of cited evidence, but, strangely, SF has not sought to see if anyone else might have evidence to substantiate this charge, such as this non-premillenialist example which features even more side by side comparisons. This focus solely upon Tkach Jr.'s criticism as though he is the only one who needs to be refuted, as though only WCG and PCG exist and no one else matters, is a problem that occurres elsewhere in this book.] It’s just true because he says so—it’s “no secret”—everyone knows Mr. Armstrong “copied” it. But if you actually take the time to examine the two books, you will find that they are entirely different. Yes, ENTIRELY.

"Just because both books discuss the modern identity of the lost 10 tribes of ancient Israel does not mean Mr. Armstrong “copied” Allen.

Did you see what Stephen Flurry just did here? He has subtly changed the area of debate. The book has just done a slight of hand. The issue is not "Plagiarism" now, but "Copying". Using Tkach Jr.'s quote as a platform he has subtly changed the debate. This subtle change is done so quickly the reader may very well miss it. "Plagiarism" has been changed into "copying" and the reader may very well miss it.

The unfamiliar reader will have no idea of that the charge with HWA was that he plagiarized. This section allows the uninformed to think the issue has been properly addressed, while in reality "plagiarism" has actually been ignored and replaced by "copying".

The rest of this section is then used to emphasize the differences between J. H. Allen and HWA.

NONE of those differences disprove the plagiarism charge AT ALL!!

What cunning wordsmiths these people are.

This book only pretends to answer the plagiarism issue. It has cunningly side stepped the issue.

When I first read that section I was taken aback by it and wondered just what had been done here. It only a few weeks later, when I looked at it again, that I saw how the issue is subtly defined as being about "copying" instead of "plagiarism".

Despite what the few desperate true believers would like to pretend it must be painfully acknowledged that HWA just stole British-Israelism from J.H. Allen. Their desperate attempts to change "plagiarism" into "copying" cannot prove that HWA did not plagiarize J. H. Allen. This article shows in exquisite detail precisely how HWA acquired the doctrine of British-Israelism. He certainly did not gain it just by studying the Bible.

HWA is a plagiarizer.

1 comment:

  1. "He certainly did not gain it just by studying the Bible."


    "HWA is a plagiarizer."