Friday, August 9, 2013

Richard David Armstrong's Sermon on Child Rearing

Recently we have seen what was Richard Armstrong's attitude towards raising young kids at All About Armstrongism, here and on Banned by HWA.

I found this sermon of his, Child Rearing, delivered October 13, 1957.

In this sermon he is not mainly talking about juvenile delinquents, he was talking about little kids who had not reached puberty.

One minute into the recording he says in response to any parent who dares complain having to take the kids into church:
And I know this as well as you do, that that [sitting in church] implants something in your mind. That these children that are here. Sure they're fidgety. They move about. And they're nervous and they have nervous energy. And no they can't understand the way you can.   
But don't ask not take the kids with you. If the kids hear what is taught it will make them more a part of the church even though they are unbaptized. They will remember what they are taught. They will not forget. (I have no doubt that last part is all too true.)

Ten minutes into the sermon he states that those resurrected at Christ's coming will be superior in position to those resurrected afterwards in what COG members call the great white throne judgment. Those people will have the same opportunity to be saved...
But they won't have the same opportunity for position that you have because now you now have a chance to prepare in helping and teaching them later on. You see. They are still going to have a lot to overcome but they won't ever attain to the same position that any of us could in the government of God. And that's a fact.
Recently I mentioned how LCG's Syd Hull said essentially the same thing in 2000. My opinion on this may be seen at the link.

Some of what Richard Armstrong says is eerily similar to what he wrote in his letter as seen in a previous post.

20 minutes into the sermon he uses a verse in Proverbs to state that it is a command of God that children that should stand up when old men walk into the room.
You know that the Bible says that the youth should rise up before the hoary head. That's a command. Did you know that? How many of you did know it? I just wonder. It's in your Bible. I've read it. That means the child is to stand up and rise and show that honor to those who are of white hair and of age and show that respect unto them.

Now how many of our children actually do that? Very few. We think we're being horribly strict with our children if we taught them to do things like that, wouldn't we? [He's being sarcastic.] Children are actually to be seen and not heard. That's a fact. They should be quiet and learn to respect their elders.

But we say in this day and age that we can't do it. And I tell you we can.
He then misuses a verse in Proverbs and then says, "We're to paddle our children. And that's a fact."
Our children are to be obedient. They're to learn to sit there and don't think they can't sit in church and get something out of the message.
He then complains about some people who would not take their children to church. (23 minutes.)
Some people I've known in the past wouldn't come to church because they were afraid to bring their children. Their children were too unruly. And they actually, week after week would go by and wouldn't come, right where they lived, and in a town where we had a local congregation because their children were so unruly. Well, I just had to let them know that if that situation wasn't rectified they weren't in the church of God anyhow and they'd better not come.

But you know your children should come, and they should sit there and they should learn to be quiet.
"They should learn to be quiet". He writes how children are to "KEEP QUIET" in his letter of March 1958.

He then complains that whenever the ministers make a sermon like this (there are more!?) some members punish children too much and he tries to tell members to do so. He then tells the members they should discipline and do so diligently. How is anyone supposed to make sense of that? His attitude that children should "KEEP QUIET" encourages unreasonable behavior with little children.

He seems convinced that most indiscipline among children is caused because men are not the leaders of the house in those households. (28-9 minutes in the sermon.)
If the husband isn't the head of the house and if what he says doesn't go you can expect the children to know that they can get away with it too. Because what they see happening between husband and wife they can get away with. And that's the biggest cause of a lack of discipline in your home. Believe it or not brethren, it is not, in most cases, a lack of spanking the children. Sometimes, I think, you even spank the children too much. Now I think that that's a fact. In some cases hey spank the children too much. What they lack is the husband being the head of the house and having authority there.

And sometimes it is, frankly, just the wife that needs a spanking and not the child.
Now, before I mention this part, I must emphasize that in this next section he is clearly joking. He is being humorous, or at least trying to be. I say this largely because the audience laugh and that tells me that in this part of the sermon he is joking. But it is still disturbing to me that he thinks this is funny.
I'll tell you this, its happened. Amongst the ministers. I've never spanked my wife. (Audience laughs.) I would if the occasion arose. Told her that right after I asked her to marry me. Of course you realize now what this means. She knew it right from the first.
He later says how a wife can blaspheme God. Such judgmental behavior does not impress me.
I wonder how many wives have stopped to think that they could be blaspheming the word of God in even speaking in the wrong tone of voice to their husbands. Ah. Now that's a fact.
32 minutes into the sermon Richard Armstrong insinuates that households that do not have the husband as head of the house might not make it into the Kingdom of God (the God Family).
I know a lot of people. They just say, well, we can't help it. The husband won't be the head of our house so the wife's just got to be and that's just the way it is. Well, too bad. I wonder if you'll get into the Kingdom of God. I frankly do.
Clearly he is insinuating that people like that might go to the Lake of Fire.

Here is this sick little anecdote he relates. Strangely enough, he and the audience, seems to think this is quite amusing. He is describing what one little boy did with his father. Just take a look.
One of the cutest things I've ever seen....And I've seen, and it's fantastic. I've never seen anything like this before. I've seen that boy ... take off his belt, hold it up to him, and say, Daddy, I was supposed to get a spanking this evening. (Audience laughs.) I'm not lying either. That's a fact. I've seen it happen. I've seen him remind his father that he had a spanking coming. I never did that. (Laughter.)

Near the end (41 minutes) he claims that humanity will breed monsters. Seems to have something to do with x-rays. Who knows?

After listening to this sermon it is clear that the attitude he showed in his March 1958 letter was firmly in place in his mind as early as October 1957. His letter was not some sudden change of heart caused by fear of getting kicked out by the landlords, but the attitude that children must sit through the service, that they are not allowed to be unruly within the church, that children require diligent disciplining, all these were already firmly implanted in his mind long before he wrote his March 1958 letter.

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