Tuesday, May 28, 2013

LCG's 20th Anniversary Celebration: Prelude to LCG's Crises

On pages 20-21 of theMarch-April 2013 Living Church News is an article by Jim Meredith detailing the celebration LCG HQ held for the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Global Church of God.

It is unjust that the man who enforced Herbert W. Armstrong's divorce and remarriage doctrine, causing the unnecessary termination of many marriages and the destruction of many families, who had eye surgery to save his eyesight while followers were told to avoid doctors or else they might be cast out into nuclear World War III and the lake of fire, who spread many false fear inducing prophesies (that Christ will return in 1975, etc.) and exploited people's fear by getting their three tithes and offerings. That is how Meredith gets his money.

It is not right that a man who has caused so much trouble for what Armstrongites call "God's Church" should be honored and adored in such a manner.

One good thing that self-ordained false prophet Bob Thiel's departure from LCG did was to mar this day for Meredith and his collaborators at LCG HQ. They would not have welcomed his temper tantrum, especially at a time like that.

However since this anniversary celebration LCG seems to also be in a financial crisis caused by LCG members not sending in as much money as LCG HQ anticipated. Maybe seeing Richard Ames hand over that "Baccarat crystal eagle" to Meredith made LCG members realize they did not need to send in so much money to them. LCG HQ has even cruelly disfellowshiped Thomas Baca II, an employee in their TV department. One LCG minister, Rod Reynolds, has resigned. 

Things are far from ideal within LCG, despite what their propaganda tries to tell LCG members.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The "HWA is End Time Elijah" Doctrine Dates Back to 1966 At Least

In a Banned by HWA post about Dave Pack trying to associate himself with HWA by boasting of getting a RCG member to pay $24,000 to get a Steuben Crystal and claiming possession of it somehow gives him authority over the scattered COG members.

In that post Byker Bob gives the following comment that I feel deserve greater attention:
This guy is a revisionist, who delights apparently in inserting himself fraudulently into the past history of WCG.

The Elijah connection with HWA was alive and well at AC in Pasadena in 1966, the year prior to Dave's arrival on campus. How do I know this? Some of the less reverant amongst the student body, and I immediately picked this up myself, based on some of the sermons and Bible Studies, began calling HWA "Elijah" some times.

A good friend, whose parents were in town visiting, was given car privileges on one particular summer Saturday night. We ended up using it for an awesome joyride seeing some of the pop culture things we'd only heard about throughout the L.A. area. At one point while rounding the corner from Grove to Orange Grove, my bud wondered, as we passed HWA's home if "Elijah was home".

Pack has come up with an Al Goreithm, and is equally shameless!

COG authors have always been terribly vague about when this particular idea first arose within the Radio Church of God/Worldwide Church of God. Now Byker Bob tells us it dates to at least 1966, and it seems it was around even earlier than that.

Of course it is complete nonsense. HWA was a false prophet who made many false prophesies.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Is Dave Pack Losing his Mind?

Recently Banned By HWA devoted eight posts to analyzing Dave Pack's latest screed to the other COGs insisting that his organization is far and away the best COG there is and that God is not working through any other human being except himself.

Dave Pack Says COG Members of Other Groups Are Unclean

Dave Pack: All Non-COG People are Infidels

Dave Pack On Vile Rotten Music and Other Filth That COG Members Wallow In Like Pigs

Dave Pack: The Restore Church of God Is God's Temple On Earth and the Dwelling Place of God

Dave Pack: Any COG Minister Coming to the RCG Has To Be Reeducated Before They Can Receive God's Blessings

Dave Pack Damns UCG For Council Report on the Role of Women in the Church 

Dave Pack Says: If you Rejected HWA as Zerubbabel Then You Will Reject Me as Joshua

Dave Pack: My God Is Ready To Strike Down Ministers Who Disagree With Me

To me these posts seem to show a most disturbing turn of mind Dave Pack seems to be undergoing at this moment. Dave Pack seems determined to out do himself in pomposity and wild speculation.

Is he losing his mind?

Thinking you are someone really important and special when you are not is actually a sign of mental illness. Has Dave Pack actually deceived himself with his own propaganda?

I shudder to think what Restored Church of God members have to go through because of this man. He does not show the signs of a stable man. I fear for them.

It is terrible that he has built himself to be such a great man, because this makes it impossible for him to receive correction from other people. So if he makes a mistake no one can advise him to correct himself without being demonized as an unbeliever.

I think Dave Pack's increasing delusions of grandeur are a matter of concern. I fear for RCG members who are under the influence of Dave Pack while he is in a state of mind like this.

Gerald Flurry Bizarrely Obsessed with Shunning "Laodiceans"

Banned by HWA has a very good post about PCG leader Gerald Flurry's vicious No Contact policy with "Laodiceans", namely ex-PCG members, ex-WCG members who did not join PCG, and anyone baptized into another COG. 

I posted the following comment to that post:

Gerald Flurry has always been bizarrely obsessed with shunning "Laodiceans". This was true even in a 1990 edition of Malachi's Message.

Once I did a blog after I read a 1990 edition of Malachi's Message. Here's one part of it relevant to this discussion.

I quote:

""If the work to the world is basically finished - most of what remains to be done is separating the Laodiceans and the Philadelphians.... That should not taken very long - but it will be painful! Very painful - in some cases it will break up families." (p. 78.)

"My word! This has to be one of the most disgusting, horrid and shocking statements Flurry ever says in this book. Here is the terrible no contact policy in embryo. Although (as far as I know) the no contact policy was not yet in force then, it seems clear that the seeds of self-righteous hatred against so-called Laodiceans (WCG members and members of other COGs) is already there in Flurry's heart.

"He knows the hatred he is teaching towards those he defines as Laodiceans will tear up families. But it seems clear from these words he is determined to do it regardless, as early as February 1990.

"It is a terrible tragedy that Flurry found himself in just the right time to gain enough converts from WCG to became one of the major Armstrongite COGs."

End quote.

I have always been particularly disgusted at PCG's no contact policy, even when I was an Armstrongite.

Will PCG Aid Oklahoma Victims of Tornado Disaster?

Recently No2HWA dared Gerald Flurry and his collaborators to set an example for other COGs and aid the victims of the terrible tornado disaster that recently hit Oklahoma, practically on Gerald FLurry's doorstep.

Alas, I am quite sceptical that the PCG HQ ministers will help after reading this from the 1990 edition of Malachi's Message, as I noted in a previous blog about the book mistakenly called Malachi's Message.

Flurry condemns WCG considering giving aid to disaster victims. "Instead of spending money to warn the people why it's happening, we help them financially....Tithes and offerings are going to be spent in vain if they continue this approach." pp. 54-5.

Pp. 69-70 also condemns aid to disaster relief.

I find this quite grating. To me it serves as a very bad sign for where Gerald Flurry is going to lead his followers. In several places in Malachi's Message Gerald Flurry says one should be concerned about the direction in which WCG teachings appeared to be heading in. The early readers of Malachi's Message should have been concerned about the direction this teaching indicated within PCG.

To self-righteously ignore the plight of those afflicted by disasters seems like a very bad way to start up a new COG.

One time, infamously, HWA condemned sending money to aid the refugees in Nigeria during the Biafra War (1967-70) and called upon co-workers to instead send that money to him instead to preach.

Coworker letter  2/27/70 
"THE APPEAL [to help refugees] WAS TO TREAT THE EFFECT, NOT THE CAUSE!… THIS WORK OF GOD is DOING SOMETHING BIG AND IMPORTANT TO STOP THE CAUSE—to PREVENT MORE BIAFRANS from starving… you are having A PART  in spreading Christ’s Gospel… Right HERE is the MOST IMPORTANT WORK ON EARTH TODAY… GIVE generously as you are able.. The way to DO SOMETHING about the starving and dying in Biafra, India, Egypt, and other such areas suffering evils, is to DEAL WITH THE CAUSE, not the effect—to HELP IN THIS GREAT WORK OF THE LIVING CHRIST!" (From Pam Dewey's website.)

Alas, it would appear that Gerald Flurry took this advice to heart.

It's also sad to see that one of the reasons Flurry gives for opposing donating to charity is that soon there will be so many colossal disasters coming before Christ's return that giving to charity will be useless. It's been about 24 years since he wrote those words and nothing has changed.

It would be good if they helped out, for themselves if nothing else, but after reading this I highly doubt they will.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tornado Disaster in Oklahoma City

Recently heard about the terrible tornado disaster in Oklahoma that killed so many people. When I heard that had happened my very first thought was that that is when Gerald Flurry's cult is based. I could not help but think of them. I do not want them harmed in a tornado. I want them to stop dividing families, stop imposing the infamous no contact rule against "Laodiceans" and ex-PCG members, stop making making people scared of using medicine and going to see a doctor.

I shudder to imagine what fear inducing nonsense they will say about this terrible tragedy. So far they have released an article by Jeremiah Jacques which leaves itself to advertizing a booklet peddling fear inducing nonsense.

Exploiting this tragedy to cause people to fear and then using this fear to extract three tithes and offerings from this is of course a terrible thing. The COG leaders, if we take them at their word, seem to think they are doing their duty, but actually such crass behavior only reveals the terrible spiritual decay Armstrongism has thrown itself into. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Unaccredited HWA Collage Graduation; Gerald Flurry Calls Tocqueville's Opinion a 'Prophecy'

Recently Banned by HWA released a post about Gerald Flurry's speech at the graduation of HWA Collage, a collage built on the sweet and tears of thousands of tithe paying PCG members.

The video starts with brief introduction by Stephen Flurry.

Then at 0:24 the student body president, Reniel Padua, speaks of the many things they learned there.

At 2:07 we are shown the choir singing two songs, first 'May the road rise to meet you' by Mark Jenkins and (4:50) 'We are the pillars' by Ryan Malone.

At 8:55 we are introduced to a speech by 'That Prophet,' the cult leader, conceiver of the No Contact policy towards 'Laodiceans' and ex-PCG members, the one who forbids PCG members from getting medical treatment, who forbids women from wearing make up, Gerald Flurry.

Listening to it I was amazed to see that his speech closely echoes what he wrote in his article, The Law of History, in the February 2002 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet. (You need to sign into the website to read the article.) For a brief time I was a subscriber to PCG's recruitment magazine from 2001. That issue was the last one I received. In both that article and his speech he laments how historians tend to portray history as an unfolding process of historical forces, marginalizing the importance of individual great figures in history. It surprises me that he speaks about the very same things even after so many years.

I was also amused how he referred to an opinion of Tocqueville's as a 'prophecy'. He discusses how Tocqueville comments that historians of a democratic, republican society such as the US will be inclined to view history as a process of social movements and shared ideas. This is in contrast to historians of an aristocratic society who would be inclined to describe history as a succession of great individuals, such as aristocrats who pass on their power and wealth from father to son. He called this opinion of Tocqueville's a prophecy. See 9:59 onwards. He says, "And there's just a painfully obvious prophecy that was fulfilled and certainly should alarm us." Surely it must be a slip of the tongue.

After that at 15:11 we are shown the graduating students being handed degrees by Gerald Flurry. It is mentioned that students from the US, Canada, the Philippines and Zimbabwe are among the graduating students.

At 15:55 the video ends and so does this post.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Map of COGs of the World

Silenced.co has released an interactive map of COG congregations all around the world after aggregating the data the various COGs provide on their websites.

Whenever I see maps like these I cannot help but wonder about the Armstrongites out in the Third World.
I see Meredith's cult, LCG, has a congregation in Kalaymyo, Sagain, Myanmar. There is another in Imphal, Manipur, India.

Within Thailand LCG has congregations in Ta Song Yang, Mae Sot and Chom Thong.

If I recall correctly in the pro-Tkach hagiography Called to be Free there is a WCG/GCI minister who states that he spread Armstrongism within Zimbabwe and now hopes that one day he might return there to make clear his renunciation of Armstrongism. Looking at the map it would now appear that most Armstrongites there are now affiliated with UCG or its offshoot, Church of God, A Worldwide Association.

Amusingly, outside of Oklahoma, Flurry's PCG does not appear. This is because
However, there are some big gaps in our data, most notable from PCG, which claims to have 200 congregations across 50 countries without listing a single one, just some PO boxes for regional offices. So outside of Oklahoma, PCG isn’t represented on the map.
What a fitting self inflicted wound to their prestige PCG has given to themselves. Being secretive did not pay for PCG this time. On this map they are practically non-existent. The world would be better off if that were true. It would be good for the many families divided by PCG's vicious 'no contact' rule.

All in all, I would have to say Silenced.co's map is a most welcome addition to our knowledge of the COGs.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Meredith Claims LCG Members in Rebellion; They Should Leave Themselves Before They Are Forced Out

Banned by HWA has the perfect blog title for one blog entry discussing a recent sermon Meredith made.

Rod Meredith Says Jesus Was Filled With Surging, Pulsating, Sexual Lusts and Desires; Who's Sex Drive Was "Bigger Than Any Man's In This Room!" All Because of Real Wheat Germ 

After reading that how can anyone take him seriously?

In the sermon excerpts discussed Meredith at one point claims that some LCG members are in rebellion and if they choose not to obey him, or those who will succeed him after he dies, then they might as well leave before they are ordered to do so. 

Is Meredith still fuming at his followers in LCG for not handing over as much money this year as before? What an immature way to handle that problem.

What an ungrateful attitude Meredith has to people who in many cases have genuinely sacrificed in order to pay three tithes! It is disgraceful how Meredith chooses to lash out at LCG members instead of taking personal responsibility and trying to improve himself and the LCG leadership.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Why Do Armstrongite Leaders Wish It was the 1950s?

One thing that strikes me about the COGs leaders' worldview, and this is true in both LCG and PCG, was this strong nostalgia regarding the 1950s. Often they would say that society had been degrading since the 1960s onwards. Douglas Winnail's article, Cultures in Crisis, from the May-June, 2000 issue of Tomorrow's World is quite typical of this sort of thinking within the COGs. American society before the 1960s is portrayed by Winnail as being essentially noble because of its Protestant Christian nature, joyously maintaining their religious and cultural heritage causing their great prosperity until  ""progressive ideas" promoted by secular, liberal, New Age propagandists" gained widespread acceptance starting in the 1960s causing today's culture to decline and coarsen to an alarming degree.

Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish economist wrote: "In every civilized society… there have been always two different schemes or systems of morality… the one may be called the strict or austere; the other the liberal, or… the loose system" (Himmelfarb, p. 3). The Bible reveals one of the fundamental challenges of life involves choosing between two different ways of living (Deuteronomy 30:15–20). In America and Britain the strict or religious scheme dominated our culture until the mid 20th century. The loose schemes of morality existed on the fringes of our society, primarily among the so-called "decadent elite" who had nothing but disdain for Bible-based morality (Ibid. p. 7). This fringe element found fertile ground in the growing secularization and urbanization of society, the decline of religious influence, the increased power of the media and the "dissolvent effect" of two world wars on traditional behavior and belief (Ibid. p. 10). The explosive growth of higher education in the 1950s gave increasing numbers of young people "access to the worldview-changing experiences of university life" that undermined traditional values (Ibid. p. 13; Hunter, p. 63).
When I read this article in the early days of my journey into Armstrongism I found this article very persuasive.

Today I find it has many problems. It is a very simplistic ways to view modern day events. There were lots of problems in the1950s. At the time lead paint and asbestos were often used while people were left ignorant of how deadly they were because big corporations that profited from them intimidated people who knew to stay silent on such matters. (See How You became a Guinea Pig for the Chemical Corporations.) It was only in the 1950s that scientists began to discover how toxic and viciously deadly tobacco is, thus letting people know for the first time the true nature of that terrible poison and the urgency to quit.

Another problem was the lack of sex education. Many Americans, while growing up, were not educated about sex but instead were left to discover such things for themselves. One can only imagine the world of trouble and hurt letting the young being ignorant of such an important facet of life. Now that people can freely talk about and teach about these things people are more able to avoid the pitfalls that predecessors were forced endure. Young people receiving sex education is a good thing. Of course no one will be entirely satisfied with what is taught but it is better for people to know and talk about such things rather than being told not to talk about it. If one is not happy with what is taught I cannot see why contrary viewpoints cannot be taught by the parents at home.

Also another problem is how Winnail ignores the issue of racial discrimination in this article. Until the 1950s several states in the United States, mainly in the South, imposed the Jim Crow laws and all kinds of legal restrictions upon African Americans that made it impossible for them to participate in society on an equal basis with white people. Also every now and then some white people, sometimes organized like the Ku Klux Klan, sometimes by themselves, enforced this terrible system of racial oppression by lynching African Americans to terrorize them into submission.

These terrible problems within American history are casually ignored by Winnail. Try and find a reference to these problems here or anywhere else within Armstrongism. No wonder so few African Americans joined Armstrongism. All my time within Armstrongism I can hardly recall anytime they deeply thought about those terrible and painful issues. It is largely ignored. Because most members are white, as far as I can tell, they do not see these issues as worth discussing.

But no, to confront historic and ongoing racial injustice runs counter to the narrative of America's decline and fall that the COGs so desperately push at to anyone willing to listen and get sucked into the cults. Because of this Winnail ignores these issues.

Furthermore it needs to be stated that Herbert Armstrong taught that racial intermarriage was sinful. He even wrote such an obscene idea into his masterpiece of deception, Mystery of the Ages. With such a teacher it is no surprise that most COGs are far from satisfactory regarding racial matters and that they do not take these issues as seriously as they should.

Also, it strikes me as deceptive to claim that before the 1960s America was mainly Christian when in fact Armstrongism teaches that all Sunday observing Christians are heretics and not true Christians at all but instead must convert to connect with God.

After seeing these things I now find it absurd to be so nostalgic for the 1950s. One always wishes that life was more simple, happy and well ordered than it is now but it is not possible to go back to the 1950s, and we should not even want it to be so.