Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 1: Prelude to PCG

Here's a little biographical sketch of Gerald Flurry I have made. I would like to thank all my sources, especially Exit and Support Network, PCG Information, and all the wonderful blogs out there.

And a special thanks go to all my readers. Without you these words would mean nothing. I hope you may find what is written here helpful and/or informative.

Every factual detail recorded here come from other sources, not me. I have no special inside source, all factual details contained here comes from sources easily accessible on the Internet.

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 1: Prelude to PCG

1935: Gerald Ray Flurry is born in Oklahoma. "I [Gerald Flurry] was born in the state of Oklahoma in 1935." (Gerald Flurry, Church Answers Fox25 News, December 3, 2008.)

He is born into and grows up in a dysfunctional family where the father is an alcoholic. It is very clear that he had a dysfunctional childhood caused by his father's alcoholism.

In one incident his father returned home and found himself accidentally locked out. Once young Gerald opened the door the father in a rage took out a gun. Gerald was able to persuade him to hand over the gun. He thought it was empty but later accidentally discovered that it was loaded when he fired it into the closet wall.

1957: His mother listens to Herbert W. Armstrong on The World Tomorrow and becomes an Armstrongite. She then tries to convert her son who refuses to listen.

"My mother had been called into the truth in 1957, and from that time...she tried endlessly to convert me. I rebelled against that and persecuted her for what she was doing. Whenever Herbert Armstrong came on the radio, she would turn up the volume so I could hear him, and that upset me. I was antagonistic against him and his message". (Gerald Flurry, Royal Vision, July-August, 2000, p. 9, PDF p.11.)

1961: Gerald Flurry becomes so desperate to find meaning in life he is even willing to try out "mom's religion". He then joins HWA's Radio Church of God. (Ibid.)

In the 1990 edition of Malachi's Message (p. 81) he states that he joined RCG on September 7.

1964: At this time Gerald Flurry was attending the congregation at St. Louis, Missouri.

In the spring Barbara Jeanne Brewer, 20, is baptized into the Radio Church of God.

She was born in Houston, Texas, on January 17, 1944, into a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father. The parents divorced before she was ten. Her mother was forced to work such long hours that the children were often left alone.

Gerald Flurry and Barbara Brewer meet each other and marry November 15. (Sarah Leap and Laura Turgeon, November-December, 2004, Philadelphia News, p. 1, PDF pp.1-2.)

They would have a daughter, Laura (Turgeon), and a son, Stephen.

1965: Gerald Flurry begins to pastor churches within RCG. (Malachi's Message, 1990 edition, p. 81.)

1970: Graduates from Ambassador College. His picture may be seen in the 1971 Envoy, p. 37, PDF p. 41.

1973: Gerald Flurry is ordained a minister of PCG. "Gerald Flurry (a minister in WCG since 1973)". (Exit and Support Network, What is the Philadelphia Church of God?) (My thanks go to ESN for helping me on this issue.)

1975: Is transferred to Pasco, Washington. There he befriends Dennis Leap. (Sarah Leap and Laura Turgeon, November-December, 2004, Philadelphia News, p. 8, PDF p.15.)

This ex-WCG member's testimony relates one unfortunate kid's experiences with Gerald Flurry before he gained his current notoriety. It is not a pretty portrait. (The Emotional Impact is Still with Me, August 22, 2006.)

1981: This photo of Gerald Flurry is taken which is later used for the Painful Truth's Hall of Shame.

1985: Gerald Flurry is transferred to Oklahoma, replacing Arnold L. Clauson. (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 13, 'Getting Turned In'.) Here's Clauson's photo in the Painful Truth's Hall of Shame.

WCG publishes Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong's last book. Although it has a lot of problems in it, including this false prophecy, it quickly gains renown among WCG members.

1986: HWA dies and is succeeded by Joseph Tkach. Gerald Flurry and his congregation sends him a letter proclaiming their loyalty.

1987: Jules Dervaes proclaim WCG to have entered the Laodicean era with HWA's death in his Letter to Laodicea. He sends this to 237 WCG ministers including Gerald Flurry and his assistant pastor John Amos. This is very similar to what Flurry would later write in Malachi's Message.

1988: According to Raising the Ruins it is around this time that Gerald Flurry begin to be suspicious of WCG's moves since HWA's death. "It wasn’t until 1988 that my father began to see this as a distinct possibility." (Chapter 13.) Could this be when Flurry read Dervaes' work?

Around 1987-8 Jules Dervaes, after sending his Letter to Laodicea to Joseph Tkach Sr., then proceeds to send it to 237 WCG ministers. The list may be seen here. Among these 237 are Gerald Flurry and John Amos.

1989: February 14: Pastor's General's Report announce that publication of Mystery of the Ages is to be discontinued.

February 17: Disturbed by this announcement Gerald Flurry confides some of his doubts to his son in a telephone conversation.

"He said, “Some of the things ministers are saying today would have gotten them fired if Mr. Armstrong were around.” I listened in disbelief. Could it really be that bad? He went on to explain that they had discontinued Mystery of the Ages because of “minor errors” and “money.” This was the first time I had ever heard that."(Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, Chapter 13.)

Thus Stephen Flurry witness one of the first signs of the Gerald Flurry's gradual disillusionment with WCG under Tkach.

I would like to take a moment to deconstruct that particular part of Raising the Ruins, a book with which I have quite a few issues with. Leaving aside the question of whether we believe this or not, we should note here that this story very effectively links Mystery of the Ages, a book which PCG members greatly admire, with the desire to begin a new organization. Thus MOA becomes the maiden in disstress, so to speak, who will later be saved. This also serves as a foreshadow of the lawsuit over that book, a subject that will dominate the second half of this book.

And within one unremarkable WCG minister thoughts are stirring which shall have a high impact upon the world of the COGs.

To be continued...