Friday, June 26, 2009

WCG and LCG's Fuzzily Presented Image

It is sometimes commented that WCG would often not make it clear in their recruitment materials that they were actually a separate church organization. This, presumably, would allow some people to be more receptive to their message if their were unaware of the presence of a separate church organization behind this message. I recently came across something that reminded me of this.

According to LCG's June 11, 2009 Weekly Update LCG sent out a DVD of last year's Feast of Tabernacles film along with Meredith's Semi-annual letter to all Tomorrow's World subscribers. For the curious you can see this Feast Presentation on YouTube. Part 1 may be seen here.

This move was accompanied with a few words by the Presiding Evangelist Roderick Meredith. His words are mainly devoted to expressing hope that the DVD may produce good results. Most of his words are in this vein.

Nevertheless there was one statement that to me poked out like a sore thumb. "Of course, it could have a negative effect on a few who only want to think about “their church” and did not fully realize that our Work is backed directly by a church."

Now he then immediately speculate that most people will be aware of that LCG is a distinct organization. "However, most of our longtime readers have seen our references to the Sabbath, the Holy Days, keeping God’s Commandments, etc. So, they should not be shocked."

A part of me thinks, Why are there some people unaware that LCG is a separate organization? Why does LCG seem to allow some people to imagine or simply not realize that Tomorrow's World is run by a separate organization?

In some accounts of how WCG members came to be recruited it is mentioned that some of them were unaware that the World Tomorrow was run by a "church" organization. D. W.'s testimony is just one example of this. In this case they were told they needed to be baptized by immersion yet they were just told to get their booklet. Another example is the testimony of Pam Dewey who was not informed by the WCG minister that there was a church organization behind the World Tomorrow until they were baptized.

There is also a difference in that before WCG publications were portrayed as being produced by Ambassador College, but when I got caught up in LCG they could not do that trick as Living University was not established yet and even now they have tried to portray themselves as coming from "Living University."

Now most of my awareness of the existence of the organization was because of Bob Theil's website. If it was not for that my conceptions of what this Living Church of God is would have been extremely fuzzy and uncertain. I would not have known that LCG is a dictatorship had I only read LCG official materials, for example. I would not have known many of the controversies within Armstrongism unless I had read Bob Theil. In many ways I was only aware of the organizational nature of LCG and its history only because of Bob Theil. Had I listened to them I would not have known their history until I read their "church history" booklet (that was not online when I was first lured into Armstrongism). And that booklet only gives very thin details concerning LCG's recent history.

Furthermore in this topic I must state that when I was first lured into Armstrongism back in 2000 LCG would begin each program of Tomorrow's World with the announcer saying, "The following is a presentation of the Living Church of God." Now though the announcer says at the beginning this, "The following is a presentation of Tomorrow's World." And so this tradition of not openly stating what this organization is seems to be continued.

However they do have the LCG announcement at the end of the telecast. But if TV audiences are anything like movie goers who often get up the instant ending credits begin, some might ignore what is going on in the ending credits or switch to another channel and miss that announcement.

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