As will be seen later PCG's booklet is very similar to HWA's booklet. This is similar to how Stephen Flurry plagiarized one of HWA's booklets. Although PCG's booklet does quote HWA's booklet every now and then (PCG, pp. 3-4, 13, 15-16, 18) large parts of it are essentially repeated in PCG's booklet without attribution, sometimes even word for word as is seen below. To quote words or ideas without attribution is plagiarism.
PCG's booklet may be read on their website. HWA's booklet may be read elsewhere (html and PDF).
HWA forbade his followers from observing Christmas. This practice is continued in numerous COG splinter groups including Meredith's LCG and Gerald Flurry's PCG. HWA plagiarized this practice from the Jehovah's Witnesses. The fact that they also shun Christmas is never mentioned in either HWA's booklet or PCG's booklet.
HWA also plagiarized his ban on birthdays from the Jehovah's Witnesses. Both booklets introduce the idea that birthdays are forbidden. This ban on birthdays was used to socially isolate followers from the surrounding society.
It is important to understand that the reasons presented by HWA for abandoning Christmas are wrong and often quite badly misinformed. Both booklets, for instance, insist that Christmas is a continuation of the Babylonian religion deifying Nimrod and Semiramis. It is never admitted in either booklet that this idea comes from Alexander Hislop's book, The Two Babylons, which was made in the 1850s. It was an anti-Catholic polemic designed to vilify the Catholic Church and the Papacy. That book has been proven to be nonsense.
As Bereans Did has done great work in documenting just how absurd and fanciful many of the justifications for shunning Christmas are. Here is some of what As Bereans Did has said on this matter.
Over the years, As Bereans Did has done some great research on Christmas. Like "The Plain Truth About December 25th" which makes the case about why the December 25th date likely did not originate in paganism after all. "Jeremiah 10 and Christmas Trees" which makes the case on why Jeremiah was referring to idol worship, not Christmas trees. "On Nimrod and Christmas Trees" part 1, part 2 and part 3, which make the case on how the origin of Christmas Trees has been distorted. "Nimrod's Birthday Was January 6?" which makes the case that the claims on Nimrod's birthday are faulty. And "Quotes Before Christmas" which makes the case that most of the claims the COGs make about Christmas' pagan origins are based on questionable research. And we haven't even found the time to explain how winter was a great time of year for sheep to be in the fields of Bethlehem (see point 5 of the linked article).
HWA's Christmas ban was also a way to get more money from his followers who no longer spent money on Christmas, as HWA obliquely reveals himself in his booklet.
But I can say by years of experience, as I believe most pastors and ministers can say, that when the month of December rolls around, nearly all professing Christians forget to give gifts to Christ and His cause [HWA's group, Radio Church of God renamed in 1968 as Worldwide Church of God] almost altogether. December often is the most difficult month to keep Christ's work [HWA's cult] from dying. People are too busy trading gifts back and forth among themselves to think of Him and His Work [HWA's cult], it seems. Then, in January and even into February it seems they have to catch up from what they spent for Christmas, so they seldom get back to normal in supporting Christ and His Work [HWA's cult] before March. (HWA, p. 19.)That is the real reason HWA banned Christmas. Herbert Armstrong wanted more money.
Now that some of the facts behind HWA's self serving ban on Christmas has been exposed let us take a look and see just how similar PCG's 2013 booklet is to HWA's booklet.
HWA's quotes are from the 1970 version as shown here at herbertwarmstrong.org. I have also consulted the version at Pabco's Home Page.
Highlighting notes similar passages.
None of these similarities are acknowledged within PCG's booklet as being from HWA's booklet and thus constitutes plagiarism. One unfamiliar with HWA's teachings would have thought these words were devised by the anonymous PCG author instead of being an unacknowledged imitation of HWA's words.
And so the quotes begin:
The word "Christmas" means "Mass of Christ," or, as it came to be shortened, "Christ-Mass." It came to non-Christians and Protestants from the Roman Catholic Church. And where did they get it? NOT from the New Testament - NOT from the Bible - NOT from the original apostles who were personally instructed by Christ - but it gravitated in the fourth century into the Roman Church from paganism. (HWA, p. 6.)
Christmas means “mass of Christ,” which came to be shortened to “Christ-mass.” Nearly every person who claims to be Christian—whether Catholics, Protestant or otherwise—and even many non-Christians keep this annual holiday. But where did they get this custom? It’s not in the New Testament. We find no record of the original apostles celebrating this day. It is nowhere recorded in the Bible. In fact, it wasn’t until long after Christ and the apostles died that this holiday became an accepted Christian celebration. (PCG, p. 3.)
Notice that the Bible itself proves, in Song of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra 10:9, 13, that winter was a rainy season not permitting shepherds to abide in open fields at night. (HWA, p. 8.)
Song of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra 10:9 and 13 show that winter was a rainy season, thus confirming that the shepherds would not have been in open fields on December 25, during the dead of winter. (PCG, p. 5.)
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religous Knowledge explains it clearly, in its article on "Christmas": "How much the date of the festival depended upon the pagan Brumalia (Dec. 25) [This is incorrect, according to As Bereans Did - Redfox712.] following the Saturnalia (Dec. 17-24), and celebrating the shortest day of the year and the 'new sun'...cannot be accurately determined. The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia WERE TOO DEEPLY ENTRENCHED IN POPULAR CUSTOM TO BE SET ASIDE BY CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE...The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and manner. Christian preachers of the West and the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ's birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia ACCUSED THEIR WESTERN BRETHREN OF IDOLATRY AND SUN WORSHIP FOR ADOPTING AS CHRISTIAN THIS PAGAN FESTIVAL." (HWA, pp. 9-10.)
“The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in manner,” says the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. ...
Schaff-Herzog further says, “Christian preachers of the West and the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ’s birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival.” (PCG, pp. 4-5.)
[Note: HWA's quote regarding dating is very misleading, as is shown by As Bereans Did.]
Since the celebration of Christmas has come to the world from the Roman Catholic Church, and has no authority but that of the Roman Catholic Church, let us examine the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, published by that church. Under the heading "Christmas," you will find: "Christmas was NOT among the earliest festivals on the Church...the first evidence of the feast is FROM EGYPT." "PAGAN CUSTOMS centering around the January calends gravitated to Christmas." (HWA)
The Catholic Church’s own encyclopedia, the Catholic Encyclopedia, makes many startling admissions about this subject. Here are just a few from the 1911 edition. “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church.” That’s right—Christmas was not instituted by Jesus Christ, nor was it observed by any of the apostles personally instructed by Christ. “The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt” (not Jerusalem). About A.D. 200, Egyptian theologians began celebrating the birth of Christ on the 25th of Pachon, which corresponds to May 20 on our calendar. “Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas.” (PCG, p. 6.)
But if we got Christmas from the Roman Catholics, and they got it from paganism, where did the pagans get it? Where, when, and what was its real origin? (HWA, p. 10.)
The Catholic Church adopted the custom from pagans. But where did the pagans get it? (PCG, p. 6.)
Nimrod, grandson of Ham, son of Noah, was the real founder of the Babylonish system that has gripped the world ever since - this system of organized competition - of man-ruled governments and empires, based upon the competitive and profit-making economic system. Nimrod built the tower of Babel, the original Babylon, ancient Nineveh, and many other cities. He organized the world's first kingdom. The name "Nimrod," in Hebrew is derived from "Marad," meaning "he rebelled." (HWA, pp. 10-11.)
Nimrod, grandson of Noah’s son Ham, laid the foundation of a system of organized competition. He ruled based on the competitive and profit-making economic system. He built the tower of Babel, the original Babylon, ancient Nineveh, and many other cities, and organized this world’s first kingdom—all in defiance of God. (PCG , p. 7.)
Nimrod was so evil, it is said he married his own mother, whose name was Semiramis. After Nimrod's untimely death, his so-called mother-wife, Semiramis, propagated the evil doctrine of the survival of Nimrod as a spirit being. ...
Through her scheming and designing, Semiramis became the Babylonian "Queen of Heaven," and Nimrod, under various names, became the "divine son of heaven." Through the generations, in this idolatrous worship, Nimrod also became the false Messiah, son of Baal the Sun-god. In this false Babylonish system, the "Mother and Child" (Semiramis and Nimrod reborn) became chief objects of worship. (HWA, p. 11.)
Nimrod was so evil, it is said he married his own mother, whose name was Semiramis. Semiramis, through her schemings, had become known as the Babylonian “queen of heaven.” That made Nimrod the “divine son of heaven.” Together they became a perverted mother-son tandem. (PCG, p. 9.)
This worship of "Mother and Child" spread over the world. The names varied in different countries and languages. In Egypt it was Isis and Osiris. In Asia, Cybele and Deoius. In pagan Rome, Fortuna and Jupiterpuer. Even in Greece, China, Japan, Tibet is to be found the counterpart of the Madonna, LONG BEFORE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST! (HWA, p. 11.)
But Baal was not Nimrod’s only other name—he had many names. In Babylonia he was known as Tammuz. In Syria and Greece, Adonis—which also meant lord. In Egypt he was the god Osiris, and was identified in “mystery” symbolism as the bull. (PCG, pp. 9-10.)
The original Madonna and child symbol of Christmas came from Semiramis and her son Horus, illustrated by this rare Egyptian sculpture. (HWA, p. 13.)
THE ORIGINAL MADONNA The original Madonna-and-child symbol of Christmas came from Semiramis and her son Horus, illustrated by this relief from the Ptolemic period in Dendera, Egypt. (PCG, p. 9.)
But when it comes to the most important part of all in this Christmas observance - the Christmas shopping season - the buying and exchanging of gifts - many will exclaim triumphantly, "Well, at least the Bible tells us to do that. Didn't the wise men give gifts when Christ was born?"
Again, we are due for some surprises, when we learn the plain truth. First, let's look at the historic origin of trading gifts back and forth, then see exactly what the Bible DOES say about it.
From the Bibliotheca Sacra, volume 12, pages 153-155, we quote: "The interchange of presents between friends is alike characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and MUST HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY THE CHRISTIANS FROM THE PAGANS, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows." (HWA, p. 18.)
But what about what many consider to be the most important Christmas tradition, that of buying and exchanging gifts? At least that is in the Bible—right? After all, didn’t the wise men give gifts at Jesus’s birth?
The facts show that, even here, Christmas-keepers are in for some surprises.
Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 12, notes, “The interchange of presents between friends is alike characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows.” (PCG, p. 15.)
The name "Santa Claus" is a corruption of the name "St. Nicholas," a Roman Catholic bishop who lived in the 5th century. Look in the Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 19, pages 648-649, 11th edition, where you'll read: "St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, a saint honored by the Greeks and Latins on the 6th of December... A legend of his surreptitious bestowal of dowries on the three daughters of an impoverished citizen...is said to have originated the old custom of giving presents in secret on the Eve of St. Nicholas [Dec. 6], subsequently transferred to Christmas day. Hence the association of Christmas with Santa Claus..." (HWA, p. 16.)
“St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, a saint honored by the Greeks and Latins on the 6th of December …. A legend of his surreptitious bestowal of dowries on the three daughters of an impoverished citizen … is said to have originated the old custom of giving presents in secret on the Eve of St. Nicholas, subsequently transferred to Christmas day. Hence the association of Christmas with Santa Claus …” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition). (PCG, p. 16.)
Through the years, parents punish their children for telling falsehoods. Then, at Christmas time, they themselves tell their little children this "Santa Claus" lie! Is it any wonder many of them, when they grow up and learn the truth, begin to believe God is a myth, too?
One little fellow, sadly disillusioned about "Santa Claus," said to a playmate, "Yes, and I'm going to look into this 'Jesus Christ' business, too!" Is it Christian to teach children myths and falsehoods? (HWA, p. 16.)
Parents work all year to teach their children not to lie, yet when Christmas comes along, they themselves tell the “Santa Claus” lie. A small child is taught to believe in a man who goes around giving gifts to everyone on Christmas Eve, but no one ever sees him. That child is taught that Santa Claus knows everything about him, and that he better behave or he won’t receive a gift. Then when the child grows older, he is told there really isn’t a Santa.
Consider it! What ultimate good comes from teaching our children this false idea and setting them up for disillusionment? This bizarre tradition could actually do much to damage the foundation of their faith in the very real, living God! (PCG, p. 16.)
And so the quotes come to an end.
Another similarity of note is the following:
Page 14 of HWA's booklet contain pictures of burning yule logs at the top and of a holly wreath below.
Page 14 of PCG's booklet contains pictures of a holly wreath at the top and of burning yule logs below. Yes, they are on the same page number.
It is not amazing how PCG's writers imitate HWA's booklet?
Having seen that there is no good reason to ban Christmas for Christians, that HWA banned Christmas to get more money and that the myth of Nimrod and Semiramis is nonsense from a discredited 1850s anti-Catholic polemic, I wish every reader a happy and merry Christmas.
Also it needs to be stated that there is no good reason for a Christian to avoid celebration of Christmas or to isolate him or herself from family and friends because of this. If there is a Christmas celebration or family gathering they would like to attend then they should go if possible and not worry about HWA's ban on Christmas.