Sunday, April 5, 2009

Raising the Ruins and Medicine

One of the most disturbing issues with Stephen Flurry's book, Raising the Ruins, is how it tries to hide Armstrongism's long and tragic history of banning medicine to its followers, a practice which PCG follows to this day. A practice which continues to kill people to this day.

William Dankenbring, an Armstrongite preacher who to this day believes that HWA was a man used by God, is willing to confront this issue head on. He recalls the tragedy of this terrible doctrine in an article of his:
Also, [HWA] was a man who was extremist and unbalanced in his early view of condeming [sic] all medical science, calling all drugs "poisons," and insisting that people have faith in God for all healing, not acknowledging that in some cases God could work with and through doctors. Because of his extreme teaching about "faith," little children sacrificed their lives, and elderly men who could have preserved their eyesight by seeing a doctor instead went blind from glaucoma! I know of personal, tragic examples, heart-rending examples.
Examples of PCG's dangerous superstition in regards to medicine in response to this teaching may be seen here, here, here and here. This PCG member died following this doctrine. This attitude is inherited from WCG, as may be seen here, here and here.

And yet increditably this book tries to ignore all this! This issue is carefully sidestepped. The unsuspecting reader will be unaware that PCG practices this deadly doctrine. Notice how this burdensome fact of life is never categorically stated in this book:
Mr. Tkach Sr. [wrote about the Healing doctrine] in the March 18, 1987, Pastor General’s Report, sent to the ministers of the church. He explained the change one week later to the entire membership. Tkachism has led people to assume, incorrectly, that the “healing change” meant that it was no longer a sin for WCG members to go to doctors. But Mr. Armstrong NEVER said it was a sin to go to doctors.
[This is a very cunning statement that obscures what actually happened under HWA. This book now tries to confuse the unsuspecting reader by quoting statements of HWA's that appears to support doctors. This is actually a clever omission of the anti-medicine superstition that plagued WCG and PCG today. He now proceeds to selectively quote HWA from The Plain Truth About Healing in such a way as to hide the medicine ban from the unsuspecting reader.]

...[HWA] asked, “Do we ever need doctors?" Answer: “Yes we do—but the true people of God do not need them to compete with God as our God-healer ….” Mr. Armstrong’s teaching on this subject was similar to any other church doctrine:
PUT GOD FIRST. [HWA's requirements sound very easy, does it not? Notice how the issue of the medicine ban in PCG is carefully sidestepped. Very selective quotation has been used to effectively hide the medicine ban from the unsuspecting reader.] And even then, if someone lacked faith in God, he actually encouraged them all the more to put their trust in doctors! [A quote by HWA used as evidence for this assertion follows.]
[Later on we come to this paragraph, which is the closest this book ever comes to acknowledging the existence of the medicine ban.]....With members did often judge each other—and usually the ones judged most harshly were those who chose not to rely on doctors for “healing”! In some cases, ministers even refused to anoint members, despite God’s clear command in James 5:14, because the members did not first go to a doctor. [This entire section very cunningly hides from the eyes of the unsuspecting reader the practice of old WCG and PCG members today of refusing medicine even to the point of death.] (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 7, heading 'Jesus Christ's Sacrifice'.)
This topic is approached again in Chapter 21.
Feazell continued in the preface, “Based on Armstrong’s interpretation of biblical passages, WCG members were taught that use of prescription drugs and most forms of surgery constituted a lack of faith in God’s power to heal.” Yet another classic example of doublespeak. Notice what Tkach Jr. wrote to a member who was leaving the WCG in 1990: “Actually, if you carefully read the latter portion of his [Mr. Armstrong’s] own booklet on healing, it will become clear that he was acknowledging that there is much good that doctors can do.” Indeed, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “[I]t is true that today most doctors prescribe medicines that are NOT poisons but rather are designed to help nature do its own healing.” Today, of course, their story portrays Mr. Armstrong’s teaching as dangerous and fanatical. [Again this book has cleverly omitted mentioning the medicine ban. It has side-stepped the issue.] (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 21, heading 'And On It Goes')
These statements obscure and hides from the unsuspecting reader the long and tragic history of the medicine ban that has done so much harm to the followers of Armstrongism.

Stephen Flurry uses selective quotations from The Plain Truth about Healing that hides the history of the medicine ban. HWA in that booklet also compared medical vaccines to poison. Many people died and are forced to live with preventable afflictions to this day because of evil words such as these which are cleverly omitted in Raising the Ruins:
Medical "science" operates primarily on that method -- trying, with medicines, to prevent God's law from exacting its penalty. That theory says, in effect, we can transgress God's law and then prevent God's law from exacting its penalty. The theory is: The sufferer has in his body one poison, so we add another poison in the form of medicine. And one poison plus one more poison equals NO poison! (HWA, The Plain Truth about Healing, Chapter 3, heading 'The Scourging')
Later in Chapter 5, he also wrote 'Why do YOU go on PAYING THE PENALTY or else paying the DOCTOR BILLS or probably BOTH, when Jesus Christ paid it all FOR You?...Once more to the question, Did God raise up the medical profession for our day? EMPHATICALLY NO!'

These reassuring words HWA made did not end the deadly ban. PCG publishes the book Stephen Flurry cited and, contrary to what such seemingly accepting words to medicine may appear to mean, PCG continues to enforce this medicine ban as can be seen above.

How Stephen Flurry deals with this issue reminds me of this comment from AR 54 February 1994:

[The following words in italics are Stephen Flurry's in the September/October 1993 issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet.] Very few of these publications try to disprove the teachings, or THE MESSAGE Mr. Armstrong taught. Instead, they put down the man and then THROW OUT THE MESSAGE WITH IT.

...It is very difficult to view this statement as anything other than a calculated distortion of the facts. Obviously, the author is familiar with the AR, as well as the writings of Robinson, Tuit, Dankenbring, and others. AR has criticized HWA, not just for his life style, but for many of his teachings. Robinson, Tuit, and Dankenbring have criticized HWA's life style and, in addition, have been quite specific about where they thought HWA was doctrinally in error [such as Dankenbring's excerpt above] and where they thought he was correct. Nevertheless, isn't it interesting that the author nowhere attempts to disprove the serious and well-documented allegations made against HWA.
Woe to the unsuspecting reader who enters PCG unaware of this monstrous medicine ban!

These people have made the ultimate sacrifice and when PCG makes a book such as Raising the Ruins their sacrifice is simply hidden away like an embarrassment. That is all the thanks these devoted souls get in that book from the leaders they trusted to the point of death for trusting their lives to the PCG even unto death.

More on Raising the Ruins may be read here.


  1. One of the most tragic things I've ever heard is how Loma Armstrong died of a simple bowel obstruction. A minor trip to any doctor could have saved her life.

    HWA, however, thought it best to save trips to the doctor for the times when he needed medical help. He saved his own skin but allowed his wife to die.

    Then at last he changed the doctrine that he supposedly received from God. And that change came after untold believers suffered and died along with his wife. It cannot be stressed enough that this is no light matter whatsoever!

    If HWA was an Apostle of God who received the teaching from God, why did he not follow it, preferring to make exceptions for himself while outspokenly condemning it for all others? If it was from God, why did HWA change it? If it was from God, was that originally or after he changed it? At which time was he making false claims of divine inspiration; before the change, after the change... or both?? If we can't trust HWA on this matter (of life or death), on which other teachings is he suspect?

  2. HWA] asked, “Do we ever need doctors?" Answer: “Yes we do—but the true people of God do not need them to compete with God as our God-healer ….” Mr. Armstrong’s teaching on this subject was similar to any other church doctrine: PUT GOD FIRST.

    This is one of those subtle manipulations of Amrstrong. To put it more plainly, If you go to a Dr. then you are not one of the true people of God. You will hold out and not see a Dr.

    The inference that most people in the church would conclude would be that their salvation would come under question because of their weak faith.

  3. It is with interest that Herbert put trust in men and not God to build his overpriced temple. If Herbert had trusted God there would, one morning, be an auditorium standing there that if as magic appeared out of thin air.

    You see, Herb trusted in men to build his auditorium. He knew through logic that this magic appearance would never occur. So why not doctors?

    It is because Herbert needed control of the dumb flock. It was all about control and nothing to do with faith. If someone used a doctor they would be looked down on as weak. How many like to be looked down on like a dog? Few if any. So what can you do when sickness hits? You stay within the confines of this control even if the illness can kill you. It is called peer pressure from the top on down. It is the way of "the world" in which to control others.

  4. Note, on 12 April I altered this post. I did not cut anything out but decided to shift some material around in this post.