Friday, January 29, 2010

'Eight Years Later' HWA Said (in 1967)

There are still some people out there who insist that HWA did not prophesy that Christ would return in 1975.

HWA did do that.

And we have an added piece of evidence from Carla Powers' Matches in the Gas Tank.

Courtesy of Mike of the excellent False Prophet Ronald Weinland blog.

Jehovah's Witnesses and Facebook

PCG and Weinland aren't the only ones scared of Facebook.

The COGs' Adventist cousins, the Jehovah's Witnesses also seem to be moving towards enforcing greater control of members use of Facebook.

There was talk on the CA yesterday strongly warning all true lovers of Jehovah to delete their FB accounts. The talk was solely about FB. The speaker mentioned that JWs are associating with people that would not associate with in real life, often using the excuse that the person is a relative. Many JWs are FB "friends" with persons that are DF'd or that have taken a stand against Jehovah and his organization.

He mentioned that JWs are posting inappropriate pictures of themselves in addition to joining "Watchtower" groups that are not sponored by the organization. He repeated several times that the organization does not have a FB account nor does it have any approved groups on FB. That many of such groups are actually created by apostates with the aim of having one began to doubt their faith. Then he mentioned that all it takes is a crack in your faith and they can take you out of God's organization into Satan's organization. Some use it to get a taste of the world but everything you need to know about the world, good and bad is in the bible, you don't need FB for that.

Then he mentioned how many are involved in serious sins but don't realize it because its all "online". Then he stated very deliberately that Facebook sex is not for true servants of Jehovah. Then went on to explain that in some cases that chatting across FB sex groups were not enough for some and that some had went on to arrange secret rendevous and this was occuring among single, married, young, old and sadly even those in positions of responsibility within the congregation.

Mentioned how some say they are selective about who they approve to be their FB "friends". Speaker said no need to be selective if you simply delete your account. Reminded everyone of the need to get and stay close to Jehovah's organization and that you have all the friends you need in the worldwide brotherhood.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

False PCG Prophecy

Here's an excerpt from Ambassador Report concerning a false prophecy propagated by PCG.

Nevertheless, trying to predict the future is always risky business, no matter how well intentioned the prognosticator may be. For example, in the March 1991 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet ex-WCG minister Gerald Flurry wrote that California's five year drought would continue to get worse because it is a curse from God. Quoting passages from the "sacred" writings of HWA, Flurry wrote that God has put the curse on California because in 1979 the state's attorney general brought the famous lawsuit against the WCG. (Frankly, while the sins of California might make such a punishment well deserved, it is difficult to fathom why God would curse the entire state for a lawsuit that was aimed primarily at WCG lawyer-accountant-evangelist Stanley R. Rader.) In the weeks immediately following Flurry's curse-by-drought prophecy, California had weeks of heavy rain. Although the drought is still officially on, a large area of the state (the entire central coast region), which previously had emergency conditions, now reports numerous reservoirs at 100% of capacity (Los Angeles Times, April 4, pp. A1, A3). It seems Flurry's prophetic schedule is a bit off. (Ambassador Report 48, May 1991, editor's response to first letter.)

Fred Coulter, 'Zionist Jews' and the 'Synagogue of Satan'

Recently Exit and Support Network has published a letter stating that Fred Coulter's Christian Biblical Church of God has now adopted anti-Semitism.

This is from the January 23 letter in ESN's COG letters:
People need to be aware of Fred Coulter regarding the hatred that he is teaching towards Jews. He says they are evil and of the synagogue of satan.
I honestly hope this is untrue, but...

However he has indeed stated that 'Zionist Jews' are a part of the 'synagogue of Satan'.

I mean, the following sermon except, currently on their website, seems pretty convincing to me that Fred Coulter does teach that 'Zionist Jews' are a part of the 'synagogue of Satan'. This maybe found in the second to last paragraph.
Now you pick any of the names of those who are in the conspiratorial thing of the synagogue of Satan [Earlier in this sermon Coulter defined it as 'those who have ruled this world' and he seems to mean this in terms of a conspiracy theory], which includes: the Zionist Jews, the Roman Catholics, the Masons, the Knights of Columbus, and all of their various agencies and clubs wherever they are, and all of those who are the great leaders, God is going to make them come before us and bow down and worship us and acknowledge that while they were busy running the world, Christ loved us because we love Him. Now that’s something. (Fred Coulter, Love of God #14, Faith and Hope, January 13, 1996. Italics added.)
Oh no. Not another conspiracy theorist who thinks some Jews are controlling the world. Please. Give us a break.

I must say that it honestly sickens me when people bash the Jews and claim that some secret cabal of Jews are trying to take over the world.

There is no such conspiracy. At all.

These conspiracy theories build up a wall of suspicion, fear, anger, hatred, sometimes even extreme hatred that is totally unnecessary and useless. These conspiracy theories cause people to view Jews as though they were an enemy.

These conspiracy theories are used by people to make sense of a complex and often stressful world and seductively, like a siren song, tell us to blame our worries and fears all upon some convenient (and innocent) scapegoat.

These conspiracy theories are used by people to give them a sense of empowerment and fulfil our intellectual vanity as being one of the elite few who are able to see through the distractions and see 'the truth' of the conspiracy when no one else can.

(Somewhat similar to what Herbert W. Armstrong did to us in making us think we were one of the few to know 'the truth.')

These conspiracy theories hinder us from loving Jews as fellow human beings, the way Jesus, who was born a Jew, wants us to love them.

Again it is complete nonsense. The fear and the hostility these conspiracy theories produce are totally unnecessary and unfounded.

In reality most Jews simply want to lead normal productive lives just like us.

Because of that such conspiracy theories must be regarded as total nonsense.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More ESN Resources

Exit and Support Network has a truly shocking story of the abuse of power at an SEP canoe trip.

There is also another testimony from an ex-LCG member.

I very often check out the letters section of ESN (COG and PCG) to see what ESN readers have to say.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Go Back to Africa?

I was reading this interview of The Times with Nick Griffin, leader of the infamous far right British National Party. In former days the party used to be explicitely racist although it has softened its openly racist character in recent times and now professes to be 'ethno-nationalist'. Though they still oppose interracial marriage.

Here he offers this advice on what the USA should do with African-Americans.
He thinks American blacks should have been resettled in Africa “because the two peoples living side by side would cause problems forever”.
This seems very similar to advice the April, 1957, Plain Truth gave in the article, 'The Race Question'. Here Hoeh advises African-Americans to go back to Africa.
America could have solved the whole race question by providing a home in Africa and putting all Negroes [sic] back on their rightful, God-given inheritance. (p. 23.)
Doesn't he know about Liberia? That country was established in the 1820s by Americans in order to be an African home for freed slaves and gained independence in 1847. Not every freed slave went there. So this solution has already been tried by some.
The whole problem would have been solved if the Negroes had been restored to their rightful inheritance in Africa....The Negro [sic] should have been returned to his rightful inheritance in Africa, just as Egypt should have returned the enslaved Israelites to Palestine. (p. 23.)
Where in Africa? There are many different tribes speaking different languages. The African-Americans' ancestors came from all over Africa and, unlike the enslaved Israelites, they do not know their ancestors' place of origin. So, based on his thinking, they do not know what their 'rightful inheritance' is anyway.

So this is very bad advice for African-Americans. Impossible.

It also ignores the fact that there are ethnic communities scattered all over the world. This advice denies the reality of such things. It is the product of a severe dogmatism that is not based on reality.

I find it strange and disturbing to see an extremist politician offer advice very similar to that given in The Plain Truth.

Christmas Among Arab Christians

This blog from Daily Kos Iraqi Christians at Christmas time, gives us a sneak peak at what Christmas was like for Arab Christians last year.

Christmas in Iraq

Here's an article from the New York Times, No Cheer for Iraqi Christians, relating the sad state of affairs Iraqi Christians have to live with last Christmas.

Because of the war about half of them have been forced to flee, many to Syria.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

J's Good Information

J has just published a post entitled What Every COG Member Should Know.

This reveals the types of behavior which no one within the Churches of God should be allowed to endure.

As the title says every COG member needs to know what is written in the post.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bye, Bye, AW

Ambassador Watch will soon be no more. The blog has ended its run and will be rendered inaccessible on February 1.

I would like to extend my thanks to Mr. Gavin Rumney for helping to bring this blog to peoples' attention.

It's going to be a bit strange not going to this website on a regualar basis to see what is going on in the world of the Churches of God/Armstrongism.

May all go well with you.

Persecution in China

Here's an article, Ignoring Christian Oppression in China, which criticizes some press releases from the World Evangelical Alliance for ignoring the sufferings of the persecuted underground church in mainland China.

It is from the right wing Front Page Magazine. I'm quite disillusioned with the American right at the moment so this should not be interpreted as an endorsement of what is otherwise mentioned on that website.

How Can Iran Be 'King of the South'?

PCG teaches that Iran will unite a large part of the Islamic world and emerge as the 'King of the South.'

This doctrine ignores the fact that Biblical geography is centered around Jerusalem, not Greenwich, and by that standard Iraq is in the East, not the South.

This doctrine also ignores the fact that Iran is Shiite, the minority strand of Islam, while most of the rest of the Islamic world is predominantly Sunni, except for southern Iraq.

Look at this, at times extremely graphic, sermon from the Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Arifi.(Update 12.11.13: You need to register with the website to be able to see the video.)

Here he calls Sistani, the preeminent clerical leader among the Iraqi Shiites, as "a sheik who is a great sinner and infidel from a remote corner of Iraq".

He also bring up historic grievances between Sunnis and Shiites both in the distant past and today, such as the Iraq War. He gets into some pretty graphic stuff here.

Therefore how on earth are Sunni Muslims going to bow to a Shiite state when there is so much animosity between them? In the Iraq War there has been an unfathomable blood letting between the Sunni and Shia Arabs. Under Iraq, from its founding in the 1920s till 2003 it was the Sunni Arabs who lorded over the Shiites and the Kurds. Now the Shiites have gained political ascendancy and some among the Sunnis, particularly Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq, have unleashed a horrifying terrorist war to once again to bring the Shia into submission. Thankfully they seem to have lost a lot of steam due to the Anbar Awakening.

With such a frightful scar between their relations how on earth are they supposed to unite under a (presumably Shiite) Iranian King of the South when there are such terrible grievances between them?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti Earthquake

Latest news from Haiti (CNN)

My prayers and thoughts are with the people of Haiti. It is astonishing and incredibly awful what has happened there.

It is inspiring to see so many responding to this catastrophe and very sad and distressing to know that much more is needed.

One UN spokeswoman called it the worst disaster the UN has ever faced.

A U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman declared the quake the worst disaster the international organization has ever faced, since so much government and U.N. capacity in the country was demolished. In that way, Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva, it's worse than the cataclysmic Asian tsunami of 2004: "Everything is damaged." (Source.)

Beware of any fake aid appeals.

Veteran Christian radio broadcaster Rich Buhler has warned his listeners to beware of fraudulent activity connected to Haiti quake relief....Fraudulent e-mails soliciting funds may appear legitimate, because the perpetrators often steal graphics from genuine websites of Christian organizations. However, donated funds usually flow into offshore bank accounts connected with criminal elements.

Buhler urged his listeners to go directly to established, recognized Christian aid organizations through their websites.

He also warns against phone scams. “Don’t respond to solicitations on the phone,” he says. “Call the organization directly.”...

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has a list of 82 Christian relief organizations working in Haiti, along with links and descriptions of their activities at www.ecfa.org/ServantMatch.aspx?Type=Haiti (Source.)

Some relevant resources:

The Livesay [Haiti] Weblog and photos on Flickr.

Ellen in Haiti

YouTube videos

Haitian Quake Survivors Turn To The Web For Help

Miracle rescues in Haiti after earthquake

Haiti Quake: Eyewitness Account

Haiti - CNN Anderson Cooper 360

Friday, January 15, 2010

HWA Plagiarism from J. H. Allen

I was just reading Exit and Support Network's letters page and there's new website analyzing HWA's plagiarism from J. H. Allen's book on British-Israelism.

This may be seen at www.Allen-Armstrong.org.

Furthermore concerning the definition of plagiarism the letter makes this very good point.
Many people misunderstand what plagiarism is. Some think it is simply copying word-for-word. They do not seem to realize that it also includes copying ideas and passing them off as one's own.
I have previously highlighted how Stephen Flurry and Gary Rethford did this when discussing HWA's plagiarism concerning British-Israelism. They pretended that the argument was whether or not HWA 'copied' Allen word for word, ignoring the fact that plagiarism also refers to stealing ideas.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Hundred Coptic Christians Arrested in Egypt

Events are not letting up in Egypt for the Coptic minority. A hundred Coptic youths have been arrested.

The article speculates that this is being done in order for the Coptic community to accept 'reconciliation' and down play criticism of the alleged negligence of the security services in failing to prevent a recent gun massacre against Coptic Christians.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Raising the Ruins and HWA's Contract with WCG

Mary Lane earlier pointed out in a comment that Stephen Flurry maintains in Raising the Ruins, Chapter 19, Part 1, that Herbert Armstrong did not have a contract with his religious organization, Worldwide Church of God.
We filed our answer to [WCG's] brief on September 1. On the point about Mr. Armstrong’s authority in the church, we said, “His control over the WCG’s earthly organizations was absolute.” [Agreed.] We even quoted from the WCG’s own bylaws, which showed that Mr. Armstrong was in charge of the “ecclesiastical and temporal affairs of the church.” [Agreed.] ... He never had an employment contract with the church. We explained that he “simply did not want” one.
The last two sentences appear to be inaccurate.

Ambassador Report 26, October 1983 states that HWA did have a contract with WCG. It was published as part of the divorce case between Herbert Armstrong and Ramona Martin. (Some of the more outrageous parts of this contract have been highlighted.)

In with the thousands of pages of court documents now on file in the divorce case are copies of HWA's employment contracts with the Worldwide Church and the Corporation Sole. HWA's 14-page Employment, Disability and Retirement Agreement with the WCG was signed August 1, 1976. Page one contains this modest claim:

Employee [HWA] is the founder, President and Chairman of Employer [WCG]. Since the organization of Employer and its related entities, which include Ambassador College and the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, both of which are headquartered in Pasadena, California, Employee has served as the senior executive of each of them. Employee has unselfishly devoted his lifetime to ensuring the success and good image of Employer throughout the world in its support of worthy humanitarian purposes. Employee's services and contributions to Employer and its related entities have far exceeded anything that Employer expected or had the right to expect.

In return for his services this is what HWA's contract granted him:

Salary. For all his services as Chairman of the Board and President of Employer, Employee shall receive a salary of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000) per year. Each year during the Employment Period, Employee's annual salary shall be payable in at least twelve (12) equal consecutive monthly installments.

Expenses: Employer shall pay for all expenses incurred by or on behalf of Employee in performing as the Chairman of the Board and President of Employer, including but not limited to all travel, lodging, entertainment and meal expenses. Recognizing that Employee will be traveling around the world meeting with many dignitaries, including Heads of States, in all cases Employee shall be provided with first-class accommodations at Employer's expense.All out-of-pocket expenses incurred by Employee in the performance of his duties as the Chairman of the Board and President of Employer shall be promptly reimbursed by Employer to Employee within thirty (30) days after Employee's incurrence thereof.

Fringe Benefits: Vacations, sick leaves, employee group insurance and other fringe benefits for Employee shall be in accordance with Employer's personnel policies governing its senior executives, and if no such policies have been adopted, as Employer may authorize from time to time, such authorization not to be unreasonably withheld.

Automobile: Each year during the Employment Period, Employer shall provide to Employee, by purchase, lease or otherwise, (at Employer's expense), a limousine with chauffeur to be used in the performance of the Employee's duties as the Chairman of the Board and President of Employer. Said limousine shall be a late model, not older than three (3) years.

The seven-year contract continues on, giving HWA protection against being fired, full compensation for partial disability or total disability, retirement benefits, retention of his titles, use of airplane, attorneys' fees in case of lawsuits, etc. The contract was signed by Herbert W. Armstrong (Employee), and by Garner Ted Armstrong and Stanley R. Rader for Worldwide Church of God (Employer).
So there is a contract between HWA and WCG after all. And it was signed by Stanley Rader and Garner Ted Armstrong.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Memory Hole 2

Here's one example of the memory hole being used to swallow up some very hard to hide things that does not involve the COGs.

Certain figures of the American right have stated that there were no terrorist attacks on America under Bush 43.

Dana Perino stated that there was no terrorist attacks under Bush.

9/11 does not count?

Mary Matalin claimed that Bush 'inherited' September 11.

Bush 'inherited' 9/11?

Sherman Patrick wrote that domestic terror in America only occurred under Obama after 9/11.

The Washington Sniper does not count as terrorism?

Rudy Giuliani claimed there were no terrorist incidents under Bush.

These are absurd assertions.

However they do demonstrate the power of the mind to forget inconvenient things.

They demonstrate how some within the American right desperately wishes to forget that 9/11 occurred under Bush's watch.

It reveals how some within the American right wish to blame all failures to curtail terrorism in the USA upon Democratic Party members and escape any accountability for such heavy burdens from themselves.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

'Children Who Are Spanked Are More Successful'-PCG

On page 10 of the January 3-9, 2009 Trumpet Weekly the PCG editors have chosen to include the following article entitled 'Children who are Spanked are More Successful.'

The original article, published by some pro-life website entitled Life Site News.com, may be seen here.

I do not object to all forms of physical punishment for kids, but having heard of what have occurred with some of those born into Armstrongism, the thought that this article may encourage abusive behavior among some PCG members just chills my heart.

Having heard how some in the old WCG just take whatever advice they are told by the organization and apply it in an over literal fashion I fear this article in this publication may encourage bad behavior by over zealous parents.

So I am not happy with this.

No Financial Accountability from WCG

Purple Hymnal has confirmed what many of us has long supposed: Tkach's WCG is not a member of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability.

It is outrageous that those who in many cases sacrificed so much, because of the false prophet Herbert W. Armstrong constant begging for money, have no idea of what is happening with their money. No accountability is given at all.

I would like to give my unreserved support for Purple Hymnal's initiative to demand change on this important topic. All current and former members of WCG deserve and need to know what has happened to their money.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Persecution of Christians in Orissa and Egypt

Meanwhile while we are living our lives, over in Orissa, India, a pogrom organized by radical Hindus against Christians conducted in 2007-8 has killed 500 Christians and drove 50,000 into the jungle.

Most of the victims were Dalits, the Untouchables, peoples held by some Hindus to be the reincarnation of especially wicked souls and therefore deserving of discrimination. So this pogrom also carries a racial component as well.

This horrific act is detailed in this article, 'After Two Years, Full Horror of Orissa Attacks Emerging; Christians Still Under Siege.'

Another instance of horrific persecution against Christians has also occurred in Nag Hammedi, Egypt. Masked gunmen shot at a crowd congregated near a Coptic church, after they celebrated midnight mass according to the Eastern liturgical calendar. This horrific massacre killed eight Coptic Christians.

In our culture in which Christianity is such a central place in our society it is very easy to forget that in many places on the earth people truly suffer to follow their conscience in such a manner.

Ramona Martin and the Memory Hole

It is truly astonishing how the human mind is capable of ignoring things it does not want to believe or focus on.

Here's one example of this in the COGs concerning Ramona Martin.

My first encounter with a non-COG description of HWA's WCG mentioned the Three tithes, which some COGs deceptively hide from potential recruits, and also mentioned that HWA was divorced.

None of the COG portrayals of HWA which I encountered while I was a believer in Armstrongism mentioned that HWA was divorced.

Because they did not mention it I actually managed to convince myself that the non-COG page was just making it up that HWA divorced.

Then I read the Autobiography of HWA and indeed it mentioned (in Chapter 81) that indeed HWA did remarry after Loma's death to Ramona Martin in 1977.

It also mentioned how she saved HWA's life when he had a heart attack in 1978.

But there was no mention of a divorce.

In all that I read there I came across no other mention of Ramona Martin at all.

This was not mentioned in LCG's 'Church History' booklet.

PCG never mentioned it. In this 2002 Philadelphia Trumpet article, The Legacy of Herbert Armstrong, no mention is made of the divorce. (The careful reader will also note there is no mention of the failed 1972 prophecy.)

I do not recall ever seeing any mention of her in Bob Theil's website. If you look for her name you will find nothing here and here.

I avoided this thought, even half believing that they must have stayed together, (but there was no mention of her at his death as one would expect if they were still together).

It was not until I read the Ambassador Report that I learned the truth.

HWA indeed did divorce.

It was very messy as the original non-COG webpage described it.

I saw that it was HWA the Apostle himself who applied for the divorce. It says so right here in Time Magazine.

Ramona Martin has been sent down the memory hole and the COGs act as though she never existed.

It should also be noted that HWA dedicated his last book, Mystery of the Ages, to Loma with these words:

I would like to dedicate this book to the memory of 50 happy years, Loma Armstrong.

When I was an Armstrongite believer I thought this was a beautiful expression of HWA's love for his (first) wive.

Now I view it as HWA's final vindictive jab at the wife he divorced, Ramona Martin (nee Crittenden).

It is amazing how the COGs have excised her from their collective memory.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 6: PCG to Today

Previously we saw how PCG advanced from gaining some (though far from all of) HWA's works. Yet some people got out of PCG. Clearly not everyone is happy with the situation in there.

We now continue.

May 1: In a sermon Gerald Flurry implies that Jordan will be protected in order for Petra to be the Place of Safety. (Flurry ("God's Prophet") Hints at Jordan for Place of Safety)

June: J. Tim Thompson dies of cancer. (Death of Tim Thompson) Apparently his wife has since remarried and no longer works at Headquarters. (See last 2005 letter.)

July-August: (Exposé on the Royal Vision.) Frank Borg writes a confusing article on health insurance. aaaaa

In a July 17 sermon Gerald Flurry confides that he spent $107,500 for stuff WCG sold off, including a Steinway Grand Piano and a candelabra. (Gerald Flurry Spends $107,500 for Items Auctioned Off by Worldwide Church of God) This spending binge cause some to worry that Gerald Flurry is losing it. (What Has Happened to Gerald Flurry??)

August 7: Gerald Flurry's Sermon Tirade at P.Y.C.

August 26: Gerald Flurry sends a co-worker letter announcing the publication of his booklet The Last Hour.

September 5: Barbara Flurry, Gerald Flurry's wife, dies. Mrs. Flurry's Condition is Getting Worse and Mrs. Barbara Flurry Suffered For Years With Health Problems.) Her obituary is published in the November-December, 2004 Philadelphia News.

October 6: Gerald Flurry's 2004 Feast of Tabernacle Sermon

December: Minister's wife disfellowshipped for attempting to reveal shortcomings within the ministry. (Ministerial Evils in Philadelphia Church of God)


2005: Gerald Flurry imposes the CD Ban. PCG Tape Libraries were suddenly shut down around May. (PCG Shutting Down All Tape Libraries) This practice is commented upon in this letter, We Were Told to Destroy the CDs. Details of the CD ban may be seen in the December 10 Pastor General's Report, pp. 3-5.

This is a particularly disturbing and paranoid practice taken up by PCG. All CDs of PCG sermons are to be destroyed once they have been shown to PCG members. Such radical measures, however, have still allowed some sermons to be leaked out.

April 16: Listening to the Dragon sermon played to members. This sermon has been criticized for making fear inducing statements. (Gerald Flurry's Sermon: Listening to the Dragon)

May: Alex Harrison Has Done a Lot of Damage in India.

August 24: Meeting held. Minister Wickramasinghe disfellowshipped. They would come to found the Gentile Assembly and teach that they are the Two Witnesses. (Ministerial Evils in Philadelphia Church of God)

PCG publishes new Habakkuk booklet. Notably it features Gerald Flurry's name in all capitals at the top of the book. See September 12, 2006 letter. This also occurs on the covers of Daniel Unlocks Revelation and The Epistles of Peter-A Living Hope.

December: Imperial College is renamed as Herbert W. Armstrong College to avoid confusion with Imperial College, London. ("College" Name Change, Imperial College Photo Gallery (c. 2004-2005))

Explanation for the name change is further expanded in Raising the Ruins. "Herbert W. Armstrong College was a name we almost used when we started the college in 2001, but since we were then embroiled in a lawsuit over Mr. Armstrong’s literature, we didn’t think it would be wise to use his name for our college as well. But by the end of 2005, after winning all that literature, [note how "winning" is used as a euphemism for buying from the Man of Sin] and with our first crop of seniors months away from graduating, changing the name to Herbert W. Armstrong College seemed like a perfect ending to the story of our legal struggle—and a fitting tribute to Mr. Armstrong’s legacy."

2006:

Dennis Leap demoted.

In the May 6, 2006 Pastor General's Report Gerald Flurry asserts that Lucifer had the opportunity to bring light to the entire world. (Does Gerald Flurry Misquote and Fail to Understand the Scriptures?)

June: In the July issue of Philadelphia News Gerald Flurry unveils a personal appearance campaign. (Gerald Flurry Heralds "New Phase" of Work)

August: (Dennis Leap No Longer Regional Director or Minister)

September: Around this time Garth MacDonald dies, aged 24. (Garth Macdonald Dies Due to Lack of Medical Care)

November 11: Dennis Leap returns. See November 13 letter.

Raising the Ruins by Stephen Flurry released in bookstores. This book attaches criticism for selling the truth. (Selling the "Truth") This book, I am afraid to say, contains many flaws, including omissions of various doctrines and practices of PCG, that cause this book to be an unreliable portrait of PCG.

More on this book may be read elsewhere on this blog.

Minister John Durrad disfellowshipped for relaying a member's question asking who is the human head of the Laodicean church. (Gerald Flurry Disfellowships PCG Minister John Durrad.) He later joined the Church of God's Faithful, a PCG splinter sect. (Church of God's Faithful is a Splinter of PCG)

2007: Announces the creation of a "House for God" (Armstrong Auditorium) in his February 22 Co-worker letter. (Gerald Flurry Plans to Build a "House for God"!)

September: By this Marvin Campbell becomes legally blind, allegedly due to untreated diabetes. (Marvin Campbell Now Legally Blind.)

November 3: Gerald Flurry made comments sympathetic towards Charles Manson.

November 23: Stephen Flurry publishes an article, "You Are Saved by Grace." An analysis of that article by Mr. William Hohmann was later released, What Does Saved by Grace Really Mean?

December 8: In sermons it is announced that Aaron Eagle will assist Marvin Campbell. Jacob Toews was marked and disfellowshipped. Ron Fraser and Frank Borg, a married student at Herbert W. Armstrong College who had written articles for Royal Vision, are suspended. (Three Big Announcements in PCG An account of why Jacob Toews resigned from a Board of Directors in Canada was later published on the Internet. Toews then joined The Restored Church of God.

Trumpet Weekly founded, beginning with the December 8, 2007 issue. Clever Gerry.

The Epitle of James: A Message to the Spiritual Exiles "in the Last Days".

Hosea: Reaping the Whirlwind and Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible revised.

2008: Within two weeks of his suspension Ron Fraser is reinstated. See first letters of 2008.

March: Frank Borg leaves PCG and joins the Church of God's Faithful. (Frank Borg Has Gone With Church of God's Faithful)

Around this time in late March Micki Campbell, wife of Marvin Campbell, dies.

According to the April 5 letter a big tithe payer in Australia leaves.

Presents two sermons to Philadelphia Youth Camp students. Commentary may be seen in Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Youth Camp Sermons - 2008. In the second sermon "That Prophet" predicts the Great Tribulation will come "in five years or less."

First report of this statement on the Internet made in August 11 letter. (Gerald Flurry and His Five-Year Prophecy.) Similar statements are published suggesting that PCG members expects the Second Coming to be very soon (2008, a couple of years, Great Tribulation by 2010, etc.) See the second August 11 letter which says Gerald Flurry predicted the Great Tribulation to occur by 2008 in 2005. Also note the letters of September 14, November 17 and November 19.

After the Feast of Tabernacles Dennis Leap is suspended from the ministry.

Fox 25 Report is published. Part 1 and Part 2 are still available.

This report sparks a lot of discussion on PCG.

December 27: According to the Pastor General's Report leaked onto the Internet some within the PCG leadership are not impressed with how few PCG members are completing the tests for the Correspondence Course.
So far, 2408 members have signed up for the course. Of those, 150 have completed it. On the other hand, nearly 800 have not yet completed the first test. Another 300 have not past the second test. That means about half of the members enrolled are at lesson 8 or less. While some no doubt signed up recently, some have signed up but failed to continue with the course.
(See May 7, 2009 letter.)

2009: January 3: Revealing Satan sermon.

February: Tornado appears near college.

April: AC Big Sandy Swan sculpture purchased by PCG to be used on the grounds of Herbert W. Armstrong College.

April 11: Andrew Locher presents the Facebook sermon denouncing social networking sites as window to Satan and condemning young members for maintaining relations with those who have been suspended or disfellowshipped. (The Evil of Social Networking Sites(According to Philadelphia Church of God) ) This seems to be part of a wider crackdown upon the liberties upon Herbert W. Armstrong College students.

April 11: Andrew Locher delivers the sermon Beware Satan's Subtly, also known as the Facebook sermon. Social networking sites (Facebook, Bebo, MySpace) are condemned evil tools used by Satan which young members should leave alone.

June: One PCG member chooses to leave. May there be many more.

This is only a basic sketch of the events surrounding Gerald Flurry and his Armstrongite sect. Much more needs to be done in this regard.

The end.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 5: From Mystery of the Ages to Auditorium

Previously we saw some of the events in Gerald Flurry's life up to 1997 when he made the decision to publish and distribute a pirated version of Mystery of the Ages.

We now continue.

PCG is featured in another profile in Ambassador Report 67, December 1997

Ezra and Nehemiah: Building God's Temple is published. This was originally credited to Gerald Flurry and Dennis Leap but Leap has now been removed.

1998: January: Royal Vision magazine established. It essentially fulfills the role The Good News magazine held in the old WCG.

Ministers Ron Roth, Mike Okamura and Randy Schafer leave PCG. (Ambassador Report 69, July 1998.)

October: More ministers defect.
In recent months we have learned that such prominent PCG figures as Don Tiger, Don Roth, Jim Mortensen, Charles Bishop, and Arlen Berkey have left the PCG, are critical of Gerald Flurry,...

Now, however, the PCG breakaway group has begun distributing many of HWA's writings for free in CD-ROM format and, of all things, Flurry, has threatened them with a lawsuit for doing pretty much the same thing that he, himself, claims he has a right to do. In other words, Flurry would like to have a monopoly on the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong.
Don Tiger would later distribute many of the writings of old WCG.

It is to be noted that Don Tiger is given no credit for his work compiling HWA's works in Raising the Ruins.

1999: A PCG minister who has expressed skepticism about Malchi's Message is unable to continue the charade any longer and is disfellowshipped. (Gerald Flurry: A Religious Fraud?)

Gerald Flurry writes Conspiracy against Fatherhood. Although it appear to be a booklet denouncing the widespread absence of fathers in their children's lives it is actually a discourse teaching the God Family heresy.

May: In the ministerial conference he declares himself to be "That Prophet". This doctrine is later enshrined as a core doctrine of PCG. PCG would later publish a Royal Vision magazine and booklet on this topic asserting that Gerald Flurry is That Prophet.

Some time after the Feast of Tabernacles PCG member Robert S. Kuhne discovers the existence of Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea and comes to see Gerald Flurry as illegitimate. He leaves and starts up PCG Information.info.

December 6: The copyright case is presented before the Ninth Circuit Court. Mark Helm, while presenting the oral argument states, concerning Mystery of the Ages, that PCG "believes that Mr. Armstrong was inspired by God when he wrote the book. There is no rewriting of the book that can happen. They believe that this is God’s word as was handed to Mr. Armstrong. So it’s not a question of, Oh, we’re going to now make up some views that we think are like it. Those are the views. And you can describe it either accurately or inaccurately, but those are the beliefs that they have and they can’t be rewritten." (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 19, under the heading 'Divine Inspiration'. Bolding mine.)

Later Gerald Flurry would call this speech divinely inspired. Stephen Flurry records that Gerald Flurry believed that "God inspired Mark Helm’s oral argument at the Ninth Circuit". (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 20).

None of this would prevent PCG from altering Mystery of the Ages, and other HWA booklets, when they gained the copyrights.

"We Have Had Our Last Chance" is published. (revised 2002 and 2007). Contains a nuclear mushroom cloud on the cover. For whatever reason I was given a black and white photocopied booklet.

2000: July 19: Mark Nash preach a Headquarters sermon which identifies Laodiceans as those who 1) are in WCG or 2) had left WCG and had not yet joined PCG. This decision has a terrible impact upon PCG members and their loved ones as many PCG members are obliged not to have contact with 'Laodiceans' or else they too may be forced to be disfellowshiped as well. (Disfellowshiping.)

In the July-August issue of Royal Vision Gerald Flurry proclaims himself to be "That Prophet". The entire issue may be read here.

This issue also contains some information about his early life which is critiqued in Does Gerald Flurry Deify Herbert W. Armstrong?.

Ron Fraser writes an article on child rearing in the May-June 2000 Royal Vision. (Spanking Babies and Harsh Discipline of Children in Philadelphia Church of God)

Michael renounces Armstrongism. He would later establish Mike's Enlightenment Page.

"Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" in is published in the December issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet. (Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, November 21 letter.)

2001: Gerald Flurry announces that the Last Hour began on May 5.

PCG given a profile in the Watchman Expositor.

May 19: Meredith condemns Malachi's Message in his sermon, The Elijah Question.

2002: January 13: Jacob Winters, son of Graig Winters, dies of Addison's disease. (Jake Winters a Victim of Abuse)

Gerald Flurry acquires the Prayer Rock. (Gerald Flurry Finds Herbert W. Armstrong's Prayer Rock!, Prayer Rock.) Pictures are taken. (Herbert W. Armstrong's Prayer Rock)

Gerald Flurry writes that there are few rules within PCG for members in the January-February 2002 Royal Vision.

In the September-October issue of Royal Vision Gerald Flurry declares the Book of Habakkuk declaring it to be a prophecy about the court case. Furhtermore he teaches that Christ will make a personal appearance at Paran. (Flurry's Ramblings)

December: PCG loses court case in which an old man willed his entire estate to PCG. Instead the man's family gained possession. The court case may be seen here.

2003: February: WCG sells the copyrights to 19 of HWA's works to PCG for $3,000,000. This was not a legal victory but a forced settlement. (PCG did NOT Win a Victory in the WCG vs. PCG Court Case.)

Once PCG gained the copyrights they changed words in Mystery of the Ages. (Flurry Has Already Changed Mystery of the Ages!)

March 8: While commenting about a local elder who had left PCG in his Mantle of Elijah sermon Gerald Flurry declares that such persons are traitors.

"And those people who leave the PCG and have been here, well, if you just want to look at it the way it really is, we're in a war and they are deserters, and in the civil wars, war, deserters were shot! So its not a small little sin." This statement has been documented here and from the February 21, 2007 letter.)

Jake Winters, son of Graig Winters, dies. (Jake Winters a Victim of Abuse)

June 13: Georgina Sanders allegedly commits suicide. (Suicide in PCG?)

Gerald Flurry declares California to be under a curse. (Quotes From The Philadelphia Trumpet: "Is California Under a Curse?")

2004: January 27: Wilbur Malone dies.

February 2: Gerald Flurry announces the intention to create Armstrong Auditorium which is to be funded by a Building Fund. (Gerald Flurry's Building Fund Letter)

And so PCG has now acquired copyrights from WCG. So Gerald Flurry decides to build an Auditorium just like HWA did with Ambassador Auditorium.

To be continued...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 4: During the Court Case

Previously we saw how Gerald Flurry made Malachi's Message the Little Book in 1992. And now, in early 1997 PCG began to publish and distribute Mystery of the Ages.

We now continue.

1997: PCG is featured in another profile in Ambassador Report 67, December 1997.

Ezra and Nehemiah: Building God's Temple. This was originally credited to Gerald Flurry and Dennis Leap but Leap has now been removed.

1998: Ministers Ron Roth, Mike Okamura and Randy Schafer leave PCG. (Ambassador Report 69, July 1998.)

October: More ministers defect.
In recent months we have learned that such prominent PCG figures as Don Tiger, Don Roth, Jim Mortensen, Charles Bishop, and Arlen Berkey have left the PCG, are critical of Gerald Flurry,...

Now, however, the PCG breakaway group has begun distributing many of HWA's writings for free in CD-ROM format and, of all things, Flurry, has threatened them with a lawsuit for doing pretty much the same thing that he, himself, claims he has a right to do. In other words, Flurry would like to have a monopoly on the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong.
(Ambassador Report 70, October 1998, 'Philadelphians Fight over HWA Writings.' )
Don Tiger would later distribute many of the writings of old WCG. He is never mentioned in Stephen Flurry's book, Raising the Ruins.

1999: A PCG minister who does not believe in the alleged status of Malachi's Message is unable to continue the charade and is disfellowshipped. (Gerald Flurry: A Religious Fraud?)

Gerald Flurry writes Conspiracy against Fatherhood. Although it appear to be a booklet denouncing the widespread absence of fathers in their children's lives it is actually a discourse teaching the God Family heresy.

May: In the ministerial conference Gerald Flurry declares himself to be "That Prophet". This doctrine is then established within PCG. (That Prophet, PCG Information.)

Sometime after the Feast of Tabernacles PCG member Robert S. Kuhne discovers the existence of Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea and discovers that Malachi's Message is not original. He comes to see Gerald Flurry as illegitimate. He leaves and starts up PCG Information.info.

December 6: The copyright case is presented before the Ninth Circuit Court. Mark Helm, while presenting the oral argument states, concerning Mystery of the Ages, that PCG "believes that Mr. Armstrong was inspired by God when he wrote the book. There is no rewriting of the book that can happen. They believe that this is God’s word as was handed to Mr. Armstrong. So it’s not a question of, Oh, we’re going to now make up some views that we think are like it. Those are the views. And you can describe it either accurately or inaccurately, but those are the beliefs that they have and they can’t be rewritten." (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 19, under the heading 'Divine Inspiration'. Bolding mine.)

Later Gerald Flurry would call this speech divinely inspired. Stephen Flurry records that Gerald Flurry believed that "God inspired Mark Helm’s oral argument at the Ninth Circuit". (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 20).

These statements would not prevent PCG from making changes to Mystery of the Ages (and other booklets) when PCG later gained ownership of its copyright.

2000: In the July-August issue of Royal Vision Gerald Flurry proclaims himself to be "That Prophet". The entire issue may be read here. This issue also contains some information about his early life which is critiqued in Does Gerald Flurry Deify Herbert W. Armstrong?.

Ron Fraser writes an article on child rearing in the May-June 2000 Royal Vision. (Spanking Babies and Harsh Discipline of Children in Philadelphia Church of God)

Michael renounces Armstrongism. He would later establish Mike's Enlightenment Page.

"Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" in December issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet. (Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, November 21 letter.)

2001: Gerald Flurry announces that the Last Hour began on May 5.

PCG is given a profile in the Watchman Expositor.

May 19: Meredith condemns Malachi's Message in his sermon, The Elijah Question.

2002: January 13: Jacob Winters, son of Graig Winters, dies of Addison's disease. (Jake Winters a Victim of Abuse)

PCG acquires the (alleged) Prayer Rock. (Gerald Flurry Finds Herbert W. Armstrong's Prayer Rock!, Prayer Rock.) Pictures are taken. (Herbert W. Armstrong's Prayer Rock)

Gerald Flurry writes that there are few rules within PCG for members in the January-February 2002 Royal Vision.

In the September-October issue of Royal Vision he declares the Book of Habakkuk to be a prophecy about the court case. Furthermore he teaches that Christ will make a personal appearance at Paran. (Flurry's Ramblings)

December: PCG loses court case in which an old man willed his entire estate to PCG. Instead the man's family gained possession. The court case may be seen here.

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 3: From Little Book to MOA

Previously we saw how Gerald Flurry wrote Malachi's Message and using that book established his legitimacy as 'God's man' and created his own organization, the Philadelphia Church of God in 1989 after getting fired in 1989.

Over time his organization emerges as one of the most severe challenges to WCG.

We now continue.

Gerald Flurry's legitimacy rested on his authorship of Malachi's Message. Further cementing the importance of Malachi's Message, and thus further enshrining his own authority, he makes the declaration that it is the Little Book of Revelation 10.

In page 4 (PDF p.3) of the September-October issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet Gerald Flurry declares Malachi's Message to be the Little Book, even saying that it came from a mighty Angel on page 8 (PDF p.7). It was only in the summer of 1992 that Gerald Flurry decided that Malachi's Message is the Little Book. He admits as much in page 39 (PDF p. 41) of the January-February, 2006 issue of Royal Vision: "in the summer of 1992, I received the understanding that Malachi's Message was actually the Little Book spoken of in the 10th chapter of Revelation." He first publicly revealed this new belief to the students of the Philadelphia Youth Camp that summer. "I first delivered this revelation at our Philadelphia Youth Camp that summer. (p. 39, PDF p. 41.)"

With Malachi's Massage now occupying such a high position for PCG this solidifies its (and the author's) place in what can be called The Key of David's Tale.

However this doctrine contradicted HWA's understanding of the Little Book. Herbert W. Armstrong asserted in his November 19, 1976 co-worker letter that the Little Book referred to his ministry to world leaders after the passing of the 19 year time cycle in 1972. This was a desperate attempt by HWA to obscure the failure of the coming of the Great Tribulation which was due in 1972.

December: Roderick C. Meredith leaves WCG and establishes the Global Church of God, which soon establishes itself as one of the main splinter groups from WCG.

1993: March: In The Philadelphia Trumpet PCG responds to the challenge of Meredith's Global Church of God by insisting that they (and all other ex-WCG members who do not belong to PCG) are 'Laodiceans.'

Or course, there are different groups of lukewarm and dead churches. But Mr. Armstrong ALWAYS PREACHED THAT GOD WORKS THROUGH ONLY ONE MAN AND ONE CHURCH! The rest are deceived....

This leader I quoted earlier [Meredith] is teaching a satanic doctrine! IT IS VERY UNBIBLICAL TO SAY THERE ARE BRANCHES OF GOD'S TRUE CHURCH!....

Where did I get this new revelation [MM]? As Paul said, it was "NOT AFTER MAN." It came from God! Members of God's Church who can't see that revelation are BLIND!....(Quoted in Ambassador Report 54, February, 1994, 'Flurry's Philadelphians.')


[In reality Malachi's Message was plagiarized from Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea which contains many ideas found in Flurry's 'Little Book.' The proof may be seen here. Furthermore Dervaes sent his work to every WCG minister including Gerald Flurry and John Amos. Furthermore in 1990 PCG sent unsolicited mail to Jules Dervaes and he immediately wrote a September 26, 1990 letter where he states

"Whether it was done unknowingly or deliberately, many of your ideas [in Malachi's Message] are a direct and clear plagiarism of my work The Letter to Laodicea which was in stages published from December, 1986 through January, 1988." (The Letter to Laodicea is underlined in the original.)

So the last sentence is in fact untrue. We now return to our main topic.]

Gerald Flurry compared the siege on the Branch Davidian compound with the persecution he said PCG would later face in the end time as may be seen here.

PCG publishes Lamentations and the End-Time Laodiceans. Interprets Lamentations as being primarily a prophecy of the fate of the Laodiceans. It comes with a fear inducing cover of a pitiable woman in rags mourning with a nuclear mushroom cloud in the background. This is a prime example of the fearful preaching that is often used to frighten people into joining PCG.

September 18: The drinking incident. That Saturday night, around 10:22 pm, Gerald Flurry was found by a cop in a drunken state. While in this intoxicated state he started up the car and put it in drive, then reverse, and proceeded to do this several times. Eventually he was persuaded to leave the car, and was asked for his driver's license. After saying he did not have it he tried to give him a twenty dollar bill, later adding a five dollar bill as well. The officer refused to take the money. He then took and failed three sobriety tests. He then underwent a breathalyzer test and was found to be over the legal limit.

1994: John Trechak exposes PCG as a particularly destructive group. (Ambassador Report 54, February 1994.) Some highlights from this important article.

[Gerald Flurry's] own published writings reveal him very clearly to be a cult leader of the first magnitude. And (2) we expect him and his followers to [be] in the news in the future....

In the last few years we have received a good number of letters from individuals who have made the mistake of leaving the WCG for PCG ("out of the frying pan and into the fire" was how one put it). Each told us that the experience cost them many thousands of dollars and much mental confusion. We have heard from a number who have said the experience cost them their marriage. We have even been contacted by mental health therapists who were attempting to treat some who had come out of the PCG, but who found their patients' mental problems overly complex. While Meredith's B&D church may chastise with spiritual whips, Flurry's group likes to chastise with spiritual scorpions. Flurry's outfit is for those into spiritual S&M - real pain. If you want to be spiritually brutalized, the PCG may be the church for you.

It also contains Don Marshall's warning against PCG.

I knew that something was not right within the WCG because of the way our two ministers, Gerald R. Flurry and John Amos, were fired and disfellowshipped. Another man, J. Timothy Thompson, and I helped raise up the "Philadelphia Church of God" in Edmond. If I knew then what I know now, I would not have been a party to that effort. Being very naive, my wife and I helped him produce and distribute Malachi's Message. Little did I know that Flurry would turn out to be a duplicate copy of Armstrong. I regret I had anything to do with promoting the same fraud upon the hundreds of people who became members of the PCG just as HWA had done upon the thousands who became members of the WCG.

Keith Hunt, a former WCG member who used to be associated with Fred Coulter, writes a critique of Malachi's Message, Gerald Flurry and Herbert Armstrong: The Falsehood and Idolatry!, condemning it as idolatrous towards HWA.

John Trechak provides the following report:

In Britain it appears that PCG is more successful at gaining recruits from WCG than even GCG.

"Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God continues to grow. One of our Scottish readers tells us that Flurry is picking off more WCG members in Britain than even Rod Meredith. One of Flurry's new fans in the U.S. is Gwen La Ravia, wife of WCG evangelist Ellis La Ravia.
" (Ambassador Report 56, October 1994.)
Isaiah's End Time Vision.

1995: Gerald Flurry writes Habbakkuk booklet. Today he teaches that Habbakkuk is a prophesy predicting victory in PCG's court case with WCG. (It actually ended in a forced settlement.) Originally this booklet presented a completely different interpretation of Habbakkuk. In the 2005 reprinting it was updated with PCG's new understanding. Essentially the new understanding was tacked onto the older booklet. The 1995 version may be seen here.

A letter appear in Ambassador Report 59, June 1995:
A Michigan friend told me about the Philadelphia Church of God's internal problems. He said he learned about ministers disfellowshipping ministers and Mr. Flurry getting rid of rebels. Can you fill me in on this?

-New York

Editor: We've heard the same thing. But Flurry's Oklahoma organization is secretive to the point of paranoia and getting the details from them is virtually impossible. However, a couple of interesting bits of data about the former WCG minister: Flurry apparently likes some of the ideas of Dr. Ernest Martin. In the April [1995] issue of his Trumpet, he ran an article which plagiarizes many of the discoveries made by Martin regarding the Bible. And, for reasons we cannot fathom, Flurry seems to be trying to recruit U.S. military people. He has been running ads in Stars and Stripes, the armed services newspaper.


The Little Book
is published. I actually have a copy of this booklet. For some strange reason they ended up sending me two copies. This booklet asserts that Malachi's Message is the Little Book of Revelation 10 (rather than a plagiarized work).

The Prophet Joel: Christ's Bride and the Day of the Lord (revised 2003, 2004 and 2006) is published. I actually have a copy of the 1995 version of this booklet. I found it quite unmemorable. Also that booklet had a plain red cover with no illustrations. Now it has a fear inducing picture of a nuclear mushroom cloud looming over a silhouetted cityscape.

1996: Around this time Dennis Leap made a sermon in which he made the mistake of treating Malachi's Message as something worthy of criticism and criticizing some parts of Malachi's Message. Gerald Flurry alledgedly becomes enraged at this and this is said to become a permanent stain on their relationship. (Hard Feelings From Flurry Towards Dennis Leap)

From the Beginning is published. My thoughts on that booklet may be read here.

Ambassador Report estimates that PCG has about 7000 members. (Ambassador Report 62, July 1996.)

August: Gerald Flurry condemns the decision by the British government to move the Stone of Scone from London to Edinburgh. (Ambassador Report 63, September 1996.)

The King of the South (revised 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2008). Gerald Flurry dogmatically teach that Iran will fulfill that role.

He discovers that a minister no longer believes in Malachi's Message. Yet Flurry lets him continue preaching. (Gerald Flurry: A Religious Fraud?)

1997: Beginning in January PCG offers Mystery of the Ages. With this event Flurry claims PCG's primary mission has shifted from being a warning ministry to 'Laodiceans' (ex- and current WCG members) to a warning message to the world.

WCG sues claiming this to be a breach of copyright. A hearing held February 18 denies WCG's request for a temporary restrainig order. The case was then dismissed by WCG and taken before another court. PCG then produced several newspaper ads hailing this moment as a great victory. (Ambassador Report 65, May 1997.)

And so began the court battle over Mystery of the Ages.

To be continued...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 2: Founding of PCG

Previously we saw Gerald Flurry's early life, from a dysfunctional family in Oklahoma, how he became converted to Armstrongism and became a minister of WCG. However with Tkach beginning to change some of the doctrines of WCG tension is building between Gerald Flurry's desire for things to stay the same and the beginning of the changes.

Gerald Flurry had just confided to his son, Stephen, around February, 1989, first voicing his disquiet over the Tkach regime.

We now continue.

Gerald Flurry in some writings suggests that he began writing Malachi's Message on March 11. He does this in order to place this event within an alledgedly Biblical pattern.

Here's one example of this myth he has developed.

"Mr. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986. After 1150 days, or around March 11, 1989 (probably that exact day), God began revealing to me the truths contained in the book Malachi's Message." (Gerald Flurry, 'James, Part 6: Elijah's Prayer,' Royal Vision, January-February, 2006, p. 38, PDF p. 40.)

It is clear here that he is uncertain that he actually did start writing at that time. This was the beginning of what would later be entitled Malachi's Message. (It is to be noted that this places the beginning of Flurry's writing of Malachi's Message after Jules Dervaes completed the Letter to Laodicea, which was completed in January 1989.)

The authorship of Malachi's Message is described in the following manner in Stephen Flurry's Raising the Ruins.

"For four months [since July 14, the unspoken implication is that it is supposed to have started on March 11], my dad had been working on his paper, telling no one about it. He occasionally worked on it at home in his office, but that was inconvenient and nerve-wracking with my mom around. His favorite workplace was a vacant building in Enid, Oklahoma, where he pastored a small second congregation of about 100 people. The church area rented a room in a vacant building for services and Bible studies and the owner liked the congregation so much, he just gave my dad a key and said he could use it whenever he wanted. Thoreau had Walden Pond—my dad had a remote second office in a small Oklahoma town. He may have looked funny hauling a typewriter in and out of that vacant meeting hall, but it worked well for him. He wrote the bulk of his manuscript at that secluded location, about an hour and a half from home." (Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, Chapter 13.)

When Stephen Flurry returned home Gerald Flurry introduced Malachi's Message to him for his feedback. Stephen Flurry came home on July 14. Gerald Flurry showed him the unfinished manuscript but the younger Flurry did not read it until two days later on July 16.

Gerald Flurry has since used this date and has claimed that it follows some sort of alledgedly Biblical pattern.

"Finally, MY SON READ THE ROUGH DRAFT OF MALACHI'S MASSAGE ON SUNDAY, JULY 16, 1989--EXACTLY 3½ YEARS AFTER MR. ARMSTRONG DIED! (January-February, 2006, Royal Vision, p. 38, PDF p. 40.)"

It needs to be noted here that once again, just like Flurry's January 16 doctrine, Gerald Flurry is using the "pagan," "Roman," "Papal" Gregorian Calendar to produce this highly artificial chronological and numerical pattern. He is not using "God's Sacred Calendar" which "Elijah" (HWA) supposedly restored to "God's Church."

The younger Flurry records his father's reaction to his son's reading of the clandestine manuscript: "As I read, I could tell my dad was anxiously awaiting any kind of feedback. He was very fidgety—constantly in and out of the cabin, trying to “keep busy” while I took the time to read." Stephen Flurry records that he found it inspiring and states that it seemed to ring true. (Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, Chapter 13.)

An alternative account of this happening is presented by Exit and Support Network. In this remarkable testimony it is related that Stephen Flurry told these now ex-PCG members that "His dad stood and watched over his shoulder while he read it, waiting for a reaction. Stephen said his initial thought was that his dad was crazy. He said his dad kept asking him what he thought." (Emphasis mine.) Not surprisingly that particular negative impression is not stated in Raising the Ruins.

It is related that Gerald Flurry planned to unveil Malachi's Message to the public in January 1991. He wished to do this in order to make this event align itself with HWA's 19 year time cycles which date from the first regular broadcast of HWA's radio program in January 1934. This time cycle theory was responsible for HWA's infamous false prophesy that Christ would return in 1975.

November 5: Gerald Flurry meets with John Amos, his assistant pastor, Don Avilez, Stewart Powell and Dan Elliot where he shows Malachi's Massage to them.

(John Amos' 1981 photo may be seen at the Painful Truth's Hall of Shame.)

Early December: A follow up meeting with those men is held. Don Avilez criticize Flurry's criticism of Pastor General Tkach. Flurry then asks them to return their copies of the unfinished manuscript of Malachi's Message. Later Avilez relates this incident to Arnauld Clauson who then relates this information to Tkach Jr.

December 7: Gerald Flurry and John Amos are summoned to a meeting with Tkach Jr. After a long and heated meeting Tkach Jr. fires and disfellowships Flurry and Amos. Around this time Flurry's daughter, Laura, quits her job at the Church Administration.

Laura returns to Edmond via plane, while Gerald Flurry drives home, returning on Sunday, December 10.

Following this expulsion their own organization soon begins to be formed.

(It is to be noted that in Raising the Ruins the role of Tkach Sr. in the "Apostasy/Transformation" of WCG is deemphasized by implying that he was merely a puppet, the implication being that Tkach Jr. was the true mastermind of the Changes. This is done to obscure the fact that originally Gerald Flurry identified Tkach Sr. as the "Man of Sin" who would live to see Christ return. But this was changed to Tkach Jr. following Tkach Sr.'s death in 1995. I had earlier addressed this topic here.)

December 16: The first service of the Philadelphia Church of God is held with twelve persons. In Armstrongite numerology twelve represents the beginning of organization.

December 20: The Philadelphia Church of God is officially incorporated by Gerald Flurry with help from Tim Thompson.

PCG Information provides some intriguing information concerning how PCG gained its name:

"Gerald Flurry has preached how God preserved the name "Philadelphia Church of God" just for use by the PCG today. This idea also came from someone else, Colin Sutcliffe, and is in fact not true. The name "Philadelphia Church of God" was in use by a local Edmond church, from which Gerald Flurry had to obtain permission to use. There is a legal document in the Edmond Court House (?) granting this permission, and the story can be verified by contacting Mr. Fred Elliott or Mr. Don Marshall (he may even have a copy of the document). Please write me for contact information. There is also a Philadelphia Church of God located in Safford, Arizona; and another one in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania." (Revelations?)

Malachi's Message is rapidly finished at this time.

1990: Malachi's Massage is published.

January 10: 921 copies of Malachi's Message are packaged at the home of Tim Thompson. The next day, Thursday, January 11, they are mailed out at the post office.

Around this time Gerald Flurry tries to bestow some sort of numerical pattern upon this pivotal event for his organization. His previous attempt, waiting to unveil Malachi's Message in January 1991 had failed. Now PCG latched upon the connection of the anniversary of HWA's death on January 16. Curiously PCG used the Roman calendar to hallow the anniversary of HWA's death rather then using "God's Sacred Calendar" which they hold is the true, divinely sanctioned way to measure time. More discussion on the peculiarities this doctrine poses for Armstrongism may be seen in this previous post.

January 16: Another notable event on this day was that Stephen Flurry is baptized into PCG. Stephen Flurry was baptized on the anniversary of HWA's death at his own suggestion. His father bestowed a significance to this date using his son's baptism. This is taken as (generally) the cut off point for the legitimacy of baptism within WCG. Anyone baptized into WCG after this date are regarded, in general, by PCG as having been baptized in the Laodicean church and therefore must be rebaptized into PCG. Those baptized into WCG before this day are not required to be rebaptized for PCG. (See p. 41, PDF p. 43, of the January-February, 2006 Royal Vision which is quoted in January 16th, PCG Information. Also see Pastor General's Report, November 12, 2006, cited as Document 3 in Examples of a Tightly Controled System (Philadelphia Church of God). Note that this PGR is not in PCG Information's archive.)

According to information published by Exit and Support Network the early core of the PCG ministry were composed of the following: John Amos, Tim Thompson, Vyron Wilkins [his story, from his daughter, may be read here], Dennis Leap, Frank Garcia, Wilber Malone and Don Marshall (who would soon leave). Others who soon joined afterward were Jim Mortenson, Don Roth and Winston Davis.

September: PCG gains its first mention in Mr. John Trechak's Ambassador Report #45:
The ministries that have openly criticized Tkach for deviating from HWA's teachings and then lying about it include:...The Philadelphia Trumpet (Gerald R. Flurry and John R. Amos, two ministers who recently exited the WCG and distribute Flurry's 83-page book Malachi's Message, a scripturally based critique of corruption at WCG headquarters), P.O. Box 1787, Edmond, OK 73083-1787. Ironically, while none of these four ministries seem to subject their followers to fear tactics, claims of extravagant spiritual rewards, or totalitarian yokes of bondage, such descriptions do perfectly fit the WCG!
Alas this rather benign portrayal of PCG would soon turn out to be quite mistaken.

1991: January: Ambassador Report #46 relates Colin Sutcliff's defection to PCG.

With Tkach changing so many WCG doctrines, it is not surprising that there are more and more reports of groups of members and some ministers leaving the WCG. The latest minister to make his exit is Mr. Colin Sutcliff of Christchurch, New Zealand. Sutcliff, who is the father-in-law of WCG broadcaster David Hulme, reportedly left with about 40 members to align with Gerald Flurry's breakaway church in Oklahoma. He will not be the last WCG minister to exit because of Tkach.


In page 3 of the February issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet Gerald Flurry writes that the Little Book of Revelation 10 is the Bible. That would soon be changed. This is very significant, as this is proof that Gerald Flurry had not yet settled on teaching Malachi's Message to be the Little Book at this time. And this is just over a year after Malachi's Message was written.

May: The following is reported on PCG at Ambasador Report here: Just how many HWA teachings have now been changed by the Tkach cabal is difficult to calculate. An article in the Nov./Dec. issue of Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Trumpet (P.O. Box 1787, Edmond, OK 73083) reported that Tkach had already changed 26 HWA doctrines and policies. But since that article appeared, there have been more changes.

Flurry is also caught peddling a false prophecy by Mr. John Trechak:

Nevertheless, trying to predict the future is always risky business, no matter how well intentioned the prognosticator may be. For example, in the March 1991 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet ex-WCG minister Gerald Flurry wrote that California's five year drought would continue to get worse because it is a curse from God. Quoting passages from the "sacred" writings of HWA, Flurry wrote that God has put the curse on California because in 1979 the state's attorney general brought the famous lawsuit against the WCG. (Frankly, while the sins of California might make such a punishment well deserved, it is difficult to fathom why God would curse the entire state for a lawsuit that was aimed primarily at WCG lawyer-accountant-evangelist Stanley R. Rader.) In the weeks immediately following Flurry's curse-by-drought prophecy, California had weeks of heavy rain. Although the drought is still officially on, a large area of the state (the entire central coast region), which previously had emergency conditions, now reports numerous reservoirs at 100% of capacity (Los Angeles Times, April 4, pp. A1, A3). It seems Flurry's prophetic schedule is a bit off.

If you ever hear PCG boasting of any prophetic successes it has just remember that.

The Lion has Roared (revised 1992 and 2006) is released by PCG. A critique of this booklet may be seen here.

1992: John Amos, who used to Flurry's assistant pastor, dies. (What Did John Amos Really Die of?)

And so PCG begins.

To be continued...