Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why They Don't Want to be in Heaven

I remember reading once on J's old Shadows of WCG blog a post which related that once, during the Changes in WCG, some were discussing the new beliefs that were coming in. Among those beliefs was the belief of going to heaven. J told us that one Armstrongite spoke with contempt about such people, saying with disdain, "They think they're going to heaven." J said he was shocked to hear someone be so dismissive of such people. J said, in effect, what's wrong with simply wanting to be close to God? To want to be with Him?

When I read that blog I immediately thought of why that person would be so contemptuous.

I watched one Tomorrow's World broadcast and Meredith was talking about not going to Heaven and was trying to discredit that idea, as is typical of this religion. He cited the typical 'proof texts', supposedly proving no one, such as David, goes to Heaven and then, as a contrast, he cited Isaiah 14 about Lucifer.

Now HWA taught that Lucifer was placed on the earth before Adam came to be and he then rose up to Heaven in revolt trying to overthrow the Lord. Meredith cited verse 13: "For you [Lucifer] have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven'." Then he shouted, "Now there's someone who wanted to go to Heaven!" That is actually quite a shocking statement, and I think he knew how divisive it would be to viewers, so he proceeded to try and make it sink into his hapless viewers' heads.

Quietly, as though he really wanted you to think about it for your own good, he said, "Think about that. Meditate on that." He wanted us, his unsuspecting viewers, to convince ourselves of this "truth" that only the Devil wanted to go to heaven. He knew some would be horrified and jerk back away from him, but he wanted us, those who would listen, to internalize this thought in our heads. He knows once he convinces you of this idea your options will be very limited, thus forcing you to join the small fold of Armstrongism.

Is this really so?

One scripture often cited for this belief is John 3:13. But as Kelly Marshall shows in a critical review of Chapter Six of Mystery of the Ages Jesus was referring to a bodily ascension. He was not talking about spiritual ascension. No one had been bodily resurrected and Jesus was the first. He was referring to that sort of ascension.

It is also pointed out there that confusingly HWA also taught that Humankind has a "spirit essence" (or whatever) that imparts intellect to the individual and that this "spirit essence" ascends to Heaven! So, according to HWA, no one goes to Heaven but everyone's spirit essences do.

So something human does ascend to heaven after all.

Why should going to heaven be demonized as something only the Devil wanted to do when our "spirit essences" are all going to Heaven anyway?

That makes no sense.

In Armstrongism everything that is disapproved is compared to the Devil. When HWA got annoyed at COG7 for defrocking him he called church government the Image of the Beast and said it comes from Babylon in his 1939 article, and then he wholeheartedly embraced this Babylonian system. (The details of how that happened may be seen in this In Transition article by John Robinson.) This thought Meredith tries to implant into you is just standard Armstrongite demonization. Whenever an Armstrongite minister disapproves of something he just says, "Satan did it!" "It's the work of the Devil!" and some such nonsense. And then if they change their minds they just forget all about it, like HWA in his flip-flops over church government and makeup. We have nothing to fear from the words of these false prophets. (Deuteronomy 18:22.)

Update: More on this topic may be read here.


  1. RedFox... I don't know what to say. I think this topic has actually hit a chord in me. I'm glad you addressed it. I'm a bundle of conflicting emotions just reading about this.

    I remember reading Incredible Human Potential recently and just thinking "my gosh, how did I ever buy into this?" But the way you tie it in with going to heaven...

    Would you do more posts on this topic?

  2. Thank you for your thoughts, xHWA. If that post helped you in anyway I am happy for you.

    I must say I was somewhat reluctant to publish this but you have made me more comfortable in relating this.

    I've just made a new post on the topic. Hope you like it, though I cannot guarantee that I will go onto what interests you. Maybe you should make a post on this.

    And to J, thank you for making that blog on the old Shadows. These posts would never existed unless you made that post.