Monday, February 15, 2010

Carl Franklin's Bad History on WCG's Government

I am very sorry to report that there has still been no response. But at least we can have the satisfaction of knowing that they must know what sort of organization LCG is.

But the show must go on. There are other things that will need to be discussed.

Recently I had an encounter with a blast from my COG past and discovered some disturbing things about it.

Around 2000 after seeing a horrific news report of a murderous cult that happened to be descended from WCG I went exploring on the Internet to found out more about Herbert W. Armstrong and his Worldwide Church of God. Alas I was hopelessly sucked in already and nothing I saw helped me to get out of it.

First I ran into an anti-Armstrongism page, then I discovered a paper produced by the Christian Biblical Church of God, Fred Coulter's sect. The Rise of a Ministerial Hierarchy in the Church of God by Carl Franklin.

This 50 page paper argues that the church is supposed to elect ministers, there is to be no hierarchy within the church, and it blames Stanley Rader for the introduction of dictatorial rule within WCG.

Specifically it asserts that the Radio Church of God was not a hierarchy until 1956-7 and charges Rader as implementing this change in order to comply with unstated IRS regulations defining the nature of a tax exempt church (pp. 10-16).

Truth be told I find it very difficult to believe that Rader was responsible for that. Franklin presents it as though before 1955 all was well and implies that the church was being properly run and not as a dictatorship.

However this ignores the fact that HWA's doctrine of Government was developed before Rader's meeting with the IRS. It insists that before early 1957 RCG was not dictatorial. On p. 4 there is this section heading, "Hierarchical Church Government Condemned in 1955". Then he quotes a 1955 Hoeh article which condemns the Catholic Church for creating a dictatorial form of government.

On pp. 7-10 Carl Franklin quotes an article by Hoeh, entitled 'GOVERNMENT in Our Church,' from the June-July, 1958 Good News (pp. 3-5), and presents this as evidence that a drastic change had occurred in RCG's approach to government since 1955 and they had adopted a hierarchical form of government.

One problem: that article, cited as evidence of a drastic transformation in government since 1955, is actually a reprint of an article which first appeared in August, 1953 Good News, pp. 3-4, 7-8.

IT'S THE SAME ARTICLE! It was published three years before Rader supposedly changed RCG into a hierarchical institution.

This is what Hoeh was saying in the 1953 article, p. 7, column 3, paragraph 3:

"The members do not elect and dismiss elders, nor do they vote on doctrines which the elders are to preach. Rather elders are to be chosen by the apostle, or as he directs and authorizes, by an evangelist, according to the qualifications given in the letters to Timothy and Titus."

These very words are quoted in Franklin's paper on p. 8, paragraph 4.

But they are presented as being made in 1958.

(You may also find these words in the 1958 article at p. 5, column 1, paragraph 4)

This completely destroys Carl Franklin's argument that Rader and the IRS were somehow responsible for WCG's dictatorial system. Hoeh was already teaching this doctrine in August, 1953, three and a half years before Rader came along!

Another piece of evidence that must be discussed. In HWA's co-worker letter of May 24, 1974 he justifies his style of government by appealing to articles written in 1952-3.

"We published an article revealing new truth about church organization in The GOOD NEWS, November, 1952, and again in August, 1953, "GOVERNMENT in Our Church," and in November, 1953, "JUDGING and DISCIPLINE in God's Church.""

If the dictatorship was set up in early 1957 as Franklin charges, why did HWA justify his dictatorship with articles written when RCG was supposedly not a dictatorial organization?

How can this Carl Franklin do this to us whether by ignorance or willfully?

If you really want to know how WCG became the dictatorship we all know you would be far better served reading this article by John Robinson. Here he mentions many others things that contributed to the dictatorship. The adulation followers reserved for HWA, the consensus that top down government was the way to operate. This was further enforced with the unveiling in 1953 of the Prophecy of 1972-5 and constant demands via co-worker letters for more money which engineered a permanent sense of crisis within the organization in which any reluctance to obey orders meant you were (somehow) siding with the enemy (who must be Satan!).

The emergence of the dictatorial hierarchy had nothing to do with fulfilling some vague regulatory demands by the IRS in early 1957.

Is this another conspiracy theory? Are they just trying to blame a Jew? I honestly hope that such is not the case, but their disturbing willingness to accommodate anti-Semitic world conspiracy theories has been noted earlier. (I do not care if only a few, wealthy powerful 'Zionist' Jews are part of the conspiracy. It is still anti-Semitic. And absurd as well.)

So this charge that Rader and the IRS caused RCG to become a dictatorship is found seriously wanting.


  1. "IT'S THE SAME ARTICLE! It was published three years before Rader supposedly changed RCG into a hierarchical institution."

    Awwwww snap! Pwned!
    That is some fine researchin', my friend! Praise God for leading you to that little gem!

  2. Thanks for the compliment, xHWA.

    I just found this paper again after many years. Naturally I just had to reread it. Then I saw what he was saying and I just said to myself, that's not true. I cannot believe because all the other evidence tells me that there were other reasons why RCG became a dictatorship. And they had nothing to do with Rader and the IRS.

    And I was particularly incensed when I saw him presenting an article originally published in 1953 as though it was made only in 1958. I just had to share this information with the world.