Tuesday, January 28, 2014

PCG Fear Mongering About Ukraine Since 2005

Recently PCG has been spreading alarmist news about the crisis in Ukraine, as noted in a previous post.

PCG has long used turmoil in Ukraine as an excuse to indulge in fear inducing speculations, as they do with many other issues. This is what PCG's Ryan Malone and the late Ron Fraser wrote regarding the Orange Revolution in Ukraine way back in 2005.
You need to watch events as they play out in Eastern Europe! At issue is the future of global order. The stakes could hardly be higher!

Ukraine’s future is held in the balance. But not for long. Soon the line will be drawn between rising imperial Russia and the eastward spreading, reviving, old Holy Roman Empire, in its present guise of the EU. What you see playing out in Ukraine will seal the fate of millions—a fate, in the short term, far, far worse than anything that the first two rounds of world war ever witnessed. 

Thank God that after this holocaust, peace will finally reign under the sway of the only power with real and tangible hope to guarantee it, the very Prince of Peace Himself! (Drawing the Line, Philadelphia Trumpet, January 2005.)
This strong emphasis on fear inducing speculations is a method of social control that the PCG leadership inflicts upon their followers in order to manipulate them into remaining with PCG and continuing to pay three tithes to them.

Sudan's War Against its Southern Minorities

The doctrines of Armstrongism have caused many of its followers to have a rather skewed view of current events. Here is one story their dogmas will lead them to ignore.

Recently Sudan waged a campaign of war against its people in the South striving to destroy their local societies and forcibly unite within the strictly defined national community the leaders at Khartoum have been futilely trying to create for decades. A sad continuation of Khartoum's bloody attempt to crush the non-Muslim, non-Arabic population of the south that they have waged for decades.

A rare glimpse of this tragic and ignored war can be seen in the documentary, Eyes of Nuba, which chronicles the life and struggles of Ahmed Khatir as he documents the deadly campaign of violence Sudan has been inflicting upon the peoples of the south. 

Among the events in this program include a remarkable interview with anti-Khartoum rebels while standing around a tank they had captured from Sudanese governmental forces, an interview with a civilian whose house had been bombed by Sudanese forces, and a screening of his footage to the people at night.

At one point, Ahmad Khatir, who happens to be a Muslim, notes this war is not about religion, as it is often portrayed, noting that Sudanese governmental forces have destroyed mosques in their brutal campaign to subjugate the south. 

Here is a real news story that deserves more attention.

The documentary is Eyes of Nuba.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

PCG: Vladimir Putin is the Prince of Rosh

Gerald Flurry has stated he is about 99% certain that Vladimir Putin was prophesied in the Bible as the Prince of Rosh. I stated this in a previous post but this deserves its own post.
What is he going to say to his followers when Putin inevitably losses power and is succeeded by another?

Considering the dreadful track record COG leaders have in predicting events they are the last people who should claim they can predict the future.

Friday, January 24, 2014

How Gerald Flurry Deviated from HWA's Way

Recently I saw this intriguing Anonymous comment from Banned by HWA. The commenter appears to continue to believe much of HWA's teachings, but this is quite insightful. The highlights are mine.
"Why didn’t all the ministers go with Flurry when he split, he holds HWA in high esteem."

Everyone should THANK GOD that at least the WCG ministers DID NOT go with a drunken false prophet like Gerald Flurry. Give them some credit. For all their faults, which were legion, at least they knew better than to do that. Of course, Gerald then proceeded to set up various ignorant, wicked, power-hungry, local perverts and abusers as PCG "ministers."

Also, it needs to be clearly pointed out that Gerald Flurry from the very start has falsely claimed to hold HWA in high esteem even as he always does the EXACT OPPOSITE of what HWA taught and did, even with what HWA thought were the most important things.

For example, Gerald Flurry quickly did away with the "great commission" to the church to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God to the whole world by saying that HWA had already done that and that with a new church era comes a new commission to the church to warn the "evil Laodiceans." It was a HUGE change done quickly.

The understanding in the WCG under HWA was that the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy was Jesus, but Gerald started to teach that it was referring to himself. Even when forced to flip-flop a bit on this, he still kept for himself the title of "That Prophet." Very interesting considering that HWA had taught that there were no prophets in the church today--EXCEPT FALSE PROPHETS!

In his later years, HWA had emphasized the prophecy in Malachi that talked about turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. In direct contrast and opposition, Gerald Flurry came up with a "no contact" rule to get grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren to totally cut off all contact with each other. How satanic is that?

Any teachings about morality in the WCG under HWA got totally turned around backwards in Gerald's PCG, ...

People who just carelessly repeat Gerald Flurry's lies about how he is faithfully following HWA's example simply do not know what they are talking about.

The PCG is a satanic fraud, and satanic frauds are not known for being nice.
I was particularly taken with the paragraph about changing the commission. Let me quote it again.
For example, Gerald Flurry quickly did away with the "great commission" to the church to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God to the whole world by saying that HWA had already done that and that with a new church era comes a new commission to the church to warn the "evil Laodiceans." It was a HUGE change done quickly.
This is true. This statement is supported by evidence, namely what Gerald Flurry wrote in page 78 of the 1990 edition of Malachi's Message.
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.
I was shocked when I saw that passage. This is what I said about it when I read it. Highlights are added.
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. (Source.)
Anonymous also said:
Everyone should THANK GOD that at least the WCG ministers DID NOT go with a drunken false prophet like Gerald Flurry. Give them some credit. For all their faults, which were legion, at least they knew better than to do that. Of course, Gerald then proceeded to set up various ignorant, wicked, power-hungry, local perverts and abusers as PCG "ministers.
When I looked at Philadelphia Church of God while I was an Armstrongite I could not help but notice that the leaders of PCG were of no importance within old WCG, while other splinter groups had more prominent WCG personalities within their groups. That is a major reason why I decided to ignore PCG after investigating them for a little while.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

HWA Disfellowshipping his Son (June 28, 1978)

Let us take a look at HWA's co-worker letter disfellowshipping his son, Garner Ted Armstrong, published June 28, 1978.

Let us begin.
[Satan] used the secular and worldly faculty members -- the ONLY KIND then obtainable -- to turn Ambassador into a rubber stamp of the schools of higher education in Satan's world. There was every subtle effort to THROW CHRIST OUT OF THE COLLEGE. But Christ was on His Father's throne. I looked solely to HIM -- trusted solely in HIM. And Ambassador became truly God's college. AND IT GREW!
That highlighted statement is quite deceptive because as is well documented elsewhere HWA in fact relied on his co-workers by manipulating them with co-worker letters begging them for money.
Ambassador College was started October 8, 1947. It was started for the SOLE PURPOSE as GOD'S OWN COLLEGE of training ministers and other needed administrative personnel for the Work.
Aha! HWA finally admits what was apparent to so many observers, it was not a true liberal arts college. He many times claimed Ambassador College was not a Bible College but a liberal arts institution.

He then presents his fairly lengthy account of Garner Ted Armstrong's history in WCG.

First he mentions how Garner Ted Armstrong viewed his father's religion with more than a little weariness as a young person.
As a little boy growing up, Garner Ted was one of the most lovable boys -- with a most lovable spirit -- I ever knew. However, what Christ was preaching through his father, even then, (as he himself has said publicly many times) was merely "Dad's religion" held naturally in some degree of boyish contempt.
 Then HWA tells of how he left home to join the navy, without his parents' approval.
At age 18, as the college was getting started, he "ran off" -- so to speak -- and without our parental knowledge joined the navy. His four year "hitch" ended in, I believe, late spring or early summer of 1952. The first three years in the navy he had become assistant manager of the Naval Office at San Diego -- his last year, in the war in North Korea on the carrier "Antietan."
HWA then describes how he gave his son a job after he returned from the war.
On his return to civilian life, I made him manager of our general office. He entered Ambassador College that fall in order to hold his job -- for all such jobs had to be available for students working their way through.
HWA then describes how Garner Ted Armstrong become persuaded that HWA's group was worth following.
During his freshman year a series of articles was running in LOOK magazine on the religions of the world. Ted became enamored with the article on "What Is Christianity?" written by a famous New York minister. What grabbed his interest was the statement that first the writer would tell readers what Christianity IS NOT. It is NOT, the article said, "a way of life." Then it so happened that in freshman Bible studies Ted noticed on an open two pages in the book of Acts in his Bible that Christianity was some four or five times referred to as "THIS WAY." Ted has related publicly many times how shocked he was to see that -- IN HIS OWN BIBLE. He underscored these four or five references to "THIS WAY." That, he has said publicly, led to his conversion. And I certainly BELIEVED he had become a thoroughly converted young man.
And so Garner Ted Armstrong fell into HWA's clutches, only to be spewed out and demonized as filth twenty five years later.

HWA then relates how he worked with HWA in his brief foray into TV broadcasting, which was the start of his extremely successful career at preaching WCG's message.
As the years went by, Ted had become president of the Student Body of the College, and had begun preaching sermons in the Church. In June 1955, I went on television. I think Ted had participated in at least one radio broadcast by that time. His brother, Richard David, had spoken on a few radio programs -- once from Paris. During this TV series, I let my two sons participate with me on a television program. Ted seemed to take to television, as I often expressed it, "like a duck to water."
This TV series was consuming my entire time. It was leaving no time for my other duties of heading the day-to-day executive leadership in God's Work. In January 1956, I went off TV. Experience up to that time had shown me that it was daily radio broadcasting that was building the Work. ...
Ted had shown aptitude on the TV series -- in fact, I had let him do one program by himself. Naturally, I had encouraged him to begin doing occasional radio programs. At times his voice sounded so much like mine that people could hardly tell which of us was speaking.
HWA then relates how Meredith encouraged HWA to appoint Garner Ted Armstrong as vice-president.
Meanwhile, Rod Meredith had been making strides towards becoming one of our top ministers. Dr. Meredith began urging me to make Garner Ted vice-president. The Work was GROWING, the organization was expanding. So I did make Garner Ted vice-president and later Dr. Meredith second vice-president. As we were passing through the sixties, Ted began gradually doing more and more of the radio programs
Reading that statement I could not help but wonder if HWA was putting his son down by portraying Meredith as working within the ministry longer than him. Reading this letter it seems HWA's relations with Meredith were quite good at the time. That would not last. Later HWA turned against Meredith in 1980 and sent him to exile in Hawai'i, sent him a most scathing letter in which he said Meredith was not qualified to succeed him, and he never restored him to his previous prominence. Again it appears HWA removed Meredith to protect Rader.

HWA then relates how Garner Ted Armstrong was temporarily removed from preaching duties in 1971 but was later allowed back, but then HWA again removed him from preaching duties after his son did even worse things. He accuses his son of drinking beer and gambling in this letter, but it appears from other sources that the real reason for these acts of discipline was that Garner Ted Armstrong was having an affair with another woman.
This time I was unable to keep it private -- and the news media picked it up. But I still tried to protect Ted by refusing to reveal the real reason for his disfellowship. News media hounded me, but all they could get out of me was that he had been sent away because of "personal emotional problems."
That last statement is very misleading.

In an interview with Time magazine HWA hinted at Garner Ted Armstrong's transgression. He was quite oblique about it, he did not speak plainly, but he gave away more than he claimed in this 1978 letter. At least that was my impression when I read HWA's remarks in Time's article, Where are You, Garner Ted? HWA was more open about the scandal then he lets on here.

After Time magazine learned that HWA apparently sent a secret letter which stated that Garner Ted Armstrong was "in the bonds of Satan" a reporter from Time magazine naturally asked the question everyone wanted to know.
What sort of transgression? TIME Correspondent Sandra Burton posed the question to Herbert Armstrong in a rare interview last week. "Look up I Timothy, Chapter 3, first five or six verses," replied Armstrong, "and Titus, Chapter 1, verse 6" Both passages make two points in common: that a bishop or church elder must be faithful to his wife and rule strictly over believing children. Had handsome Garner Ted succumbed to an old and common temptation? His father was cryptic: "The fault was spiritual, not moral." In the heterodox, rigidly disciplined Christianity of the Worldwide Church of God, that could mean anything. ("Where are You, Garner Ted?", Time, May 15, 1972, p. 46.)
(Link is subscriber only, alas.)

For the sake of completeness here are the Scriptural passages HWA cited to Ms. Burton.
This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (I Timothy 3: 1-6.)

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (Titus 1:6.)
After being directed to these verses how could one not think that Garner Ted Armstrong must have committed adultery? Once again we see that HWA is not telling his followers what really happened. HWA gave a cryptic answer to the media that did absolutely nothing to stop rumors (which were later proven correct) that Garner Ted Armstrong was engaging in an adulterous relationship, but instead simply inflamed such speculation.

We now return to HWA's 1978 letter disfellowshipping his son.

HWA accuses his son of bearing an intense grudge against Meredith.
By this time, Ted had come to have a very special aversion against Dr. Roderick Meredith, who had urged me to put Ted in an executive vice-presidency in the first place -- years before. Ted had exceedingly hot and angry words against all ten or twelve of us in general and Dr. Meredith in particular.
HWA then clumsily compares himself to President Nixon and his cover up of the Watergate affair. 
Brethren, let me interject at this point to remind you of GOD'S TEACHING so contrary to this world's in regard to publicizing the wrongs or sins of another. God teaches us that "LOVE COVERS." In the worldwide notoriety about "Watergate" President Nixon was accused, condemned and forced to resign because of what Satan's world called the sin of "COVER-UP." In other words, the world regarded it a sin because Mr. Nixon did not come right out in public and before the whole world defaming the United States by reporting the whole affair. If Jesus Christ had been in office (of course He could not take such political office in this world), He would have properly CORRECTED those guilty -- in whatever punishment was in His sight fitting to CORRECT AND ABOLISH such evil and, IN LOVE for both the guilty and for this nation, He would have COVERED IT UP! I have only followed the WAY OF CHRIST, trying desperately through the years to COVER UP my son's sins and mistakes -- while at the same time NOT condoning his sins, but trying to give God's kind of punishment which CORRECTS AND RESTORES to the grace of God, rather than to act in hostility and revenge.
HWA seems to not have a very good understanding of the Watergate scandal. I would have thought perjury was indefeasible according to the laws of God and humanity.

After this HWA then gets to the point, he defends Stanley Rader. HWA claims Rader could not possibly have a grudge against Garner Ted Armstrong because he supported his reinstatement in 1972. Just because Rader did that in 1972 does not mean he would treat Garner Ted Armstrong so amicably in 1978.
I STOOD ALONE among the higher rank ministers of the Church in trying to bring my son to the real repentance and restore him IN THE WORK. The ONLY man who stood with me -- working for Ted's repentance and restoration -- was the man he now HATES apparently above all men and without cause -- Mr. Stanley R. Rader! It was Mr. Rader who was constantly helping me to restore Ted into God's grace and forgiveness and to his place in the Work! Because of the slanderous innuendos of character assassination my son has cast out of his mouth against Mr. Rader, there are some -- even ministers -- in the Church who would GO OUT of the Church rather than show any of the milk of Christian kindness towards Mr. Rader. And yet NONE of these has seen or had one iota of PROOF of any wrongdoing by Mr. Rader. He is my assistant and I regard him BY HIS FRUITS -- which are of VERY GREAT VALUE TO GOD'S WORK -- rather than unfounded emotional prejudices and hatred. After I had worked tirelessly with Ted by continuous letters trying to restore him to grace, right conduct and his position in the Work (always with Mr. Rader's invaluable help), by June 1972 I felt that PROBABLY my son -- my ONLY living son -- had made the necessary CHANGE OF MIND and attitude.
I love that last highlighted statement "(always with Mr. Rader's invaluable help)". It is so fawning to Rader. It is odd to see the leader being so docile with Rader. With servile statements such as these it is no wonder so many in WCG feared Rader would take over leadership WCG.

It appears the real reason Garner Ted Armstrong was cast out of WCG was to protect Rader's power within WCG. There was a power struggle brewing between Garner Ted Armstrong and Rader for HWA's favor. HWA eventually decided to side with Rader and cast out his own son for being in Rader's way.

It also appears that Stanley Rader might have been blackmailing HWA with help from a Dr. Floyd Lochner, who was a trusted companion of HWA's and apparently had access to embarrassing information concerning HWA. He was allied with Rader.

Rader was trying to set himself as HWA's right hand man and anointed successor so that in time he would gain control of WCG. After reading John Tuit's book, The Truth Shall Make You Free (which has often been discussed here), I am persuaded that was indeed the case. It is a remarkable testament to the dysfunctional nature of WCG that Rader nearly succeeded.

HWA says he decided to restore his son to some of his former duties and unexpectedly restored his son to his duties sooner then he had planned. HWA then complains that his son was overstepping his boundaries and covertly making decisions HWA should have made.

Apparently Garner Ted Armstrong has the power to keep God the Father and Christ out of communication.
When Garner Ted maneuvered to shut off communication of what REALLY was going on, -- when he SHUT OFF ALL AUTHORITY ABOVE HIM -- he not only shut me off, but also HE SHUT OFF CHRIST AND GOD ALMIGHTY WHO STAND ABOVE ME!
HWA then vehemently denies that Rader is in charge.
whether you realized it or not -- Satan was craftily leading my son to say -- or imply -- that his father was now old and senile -- my mind was in a fog -- I did not know what was going on -- I was being manipulated by those in top administrative positions, and Mr. Rader. He has spread the POINT BLANK LIE that Mr. Rader is now actually heading the Church and Work. Brethren, I brand that as a Satan LIE! Mr. Rader does not even have any administrative position -- except in the AICF
He then states that he has ordered Rader to fold up Quest magazine to show WCG members he is in charge.
I HAVE GIVEN THE DIRECT ORDER TO MR. RADER TO SELL OR DISPOSE OF THE MAGAZINE QUEST 78 as soon as possible. I was never enthusiastic about this magazine, but I went along with it under the understanding that I was to write the LEADING ARTICLE in every issue. I said emphatically at the beginning that the magazine could not succeed otherwise. But men of SECULAR EXPERTISE hired to run it deceived Mr. Rader. The magazine now is showing a slight profit through advertising sales and subscription price, but I have given a firm order which Mr. Rader will at once follow: "SELL IT OR GET RID OF IT!"
HWA then explains how relations with his son gradually deteriorated until HWA ordered his own son to be shunned by all WCG members.

Intriguingly HWA notes what his son said during their last personal meeting.
we had one more private talk in which he rose and said to his father, "I could DESTROY you, Dad!"
It was later revealed that this was a reference to Herbert W. Armstrong's incestuous relationship with his daughter from around 1933-44. At the time the incest was not public knowledge so WCG members at the time had no idea this statement was about HWA's incest.

Relevant to this discussion is what Ambassador Report 27 (April 1984) has to say about this meeting.
In spite of church upheavals, arguments with his father, personal emotional problems and considerable notority about his own sins, Ted said nothing about his father's shameful past. Not until 1978.

That year, during a heated argument between GTA and his father, HWA threatened to "destroy" Ted through making public certain information about his personal life. But Ted responded in kind saying he could destroy HWA with the information he had. Ted charged his father in no uncertain terms, yelling: "You fucked my sister!" Herbert, shocked at Ted's knowledge of the incestuous relationship, could only reply, "Well there have been times in my life when I have gotten far away from God." The conversation - overheard by GTA associate Benny Sharp - was the last face to face meeting between the two men. And Ted has since related how the hateful look he saw in his father's eye made him suspect they would never see each other again. 
Alas, Garner Ted Armstrong proved correct with that suspicion.
Yesterday I sent to him the official letter, heartbreaking as it was to me, disfellowshipping him from the WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD! That means, brethren, that on pain of being themselves disfellowshipped and PUT OUT of God's Church [WCG], you are all, according to CHRIST'S COMMAND, restrained from contact with, or conversation with, Garner Ted Armstrong -- no longer a member of this Church!
How terrible it is that HWA falsely assumes to himself the authority of Christ to inflict this vicious and hateful order upon WCG members. A group ordering people who they can or cannot talk to is a telltale sign that it is a destructive cult. This is a terrible abuse of power and it should never be given to any self appointed false prophet like HWA.

HWA ends the letter with these words.
The Work GREW AND GREW with God's blessing for the thirty-five years up to 1969 -- SINCE THEN GOD'S BLESSING HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN. We had been tending to forget GOD, letting Laodicean lukewarmness leaven us. CHRIST SAYS NOW, AWAKE! Rise up from this stupor that has drugged us! RALLY BEHIND CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLE! LET'S GET ON WITH GETTING THE JOB DONE.

Brethren, THANK YOU for your loyalty!

With deepest love in Jesus' name, 
Herbert W. Armstrong 
It is nonsense for HWA to portray WCG before 1969 as being some sort of golden age as he does here. This is nonsense. 

And so now we have seen how HWA announced the disfellowshipping of his own son to WCG members and co-workers. It is a sad reminder of the viciously authoritarian nature of HWA's rule over WCG members. It reveals once again what a terrible cult HWA had created around himself.

(Update: March 29, 2014. I have changed the link to HWALibrary.com.)

Is Ukraine Crisis is "a Giant Step [towards] World War III"? (PCG)

No doubt the current crisis in Ukraine must be very severe. It is a terrible crisis Ukraine is going through at the moment.

But is it a sign that World War III is just around the corner?

PCG seems to think so.

Here is the blurb for a recent episode of their Key of David show.
There has been a supreme crisis in the country of Ukraine, located between Russia and Europe—some of our best media journalists have said it is a monumental crisis. This event will change the course of world history. It’s going to take us a giant step closer to World War III, and you’re going to see that happen.
PCG has been utterly shameless in trying to claim that they predicted events before they happened when in fact they did not. They did that after 9/11. They did that when the Libyan Revolution began. They are doing that again. Other COG splinter groups such as LCG and the unordained, self appointed false prophet Bob Thiel have indulged in these absurd and ludicrous ideas and speculations.

Gerald Flurry says he is 99% certain that Vladimir Putin is the Prince of Rosh mentioned in Ezekiel 38.

HWA, the man PCG claims to follow, said Jesus Christ would return in 1975. He said in his last book, Mystery of the Ages, that Christ had to return within twenty years, by 2005, at the latest. (PCG has since removed this statement.)

I wonder how many Key of David viewers know that Gerald Flurry has historically been bizarrely fixated upon shunning unwanted people.

I wonder how PCG will hide this when this false prophecy fails?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Stephen Flurry on the Situation in Fallujah, Iraq

On January 8, 2014 edition of PCG's Trumpet Daily, Where Americans Died in Vain, discussing Iraqi insurgents' capture of Fallujah from the Iraqi government.

Considering that the PCG leadership were going to discuss recent events in Iraq I was curious what they had to say. The following are some notes I took while watching this show.

Let us begin:

Steven Flurry says these events are not surprising. "Not that any of this surprises us by any means. But still to see how fast America is falling ... it's stunning in many ways."

Says of Fallujah's fall: "Devastating blows to America's might and prestige around the world."

Brings up Leviticus 26 within two minutes.

"As if we've shifted into the fast lane" towards national destruction since 9/11. (2 minutes.)

He cites HWA's book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. Says you should read it and study it.

He says "sins curses". It should be "curses sins." (3)

Seven minutes in and it is just a rehash of HWA's false prophecy that America is doomed.

Says Iraqi insurgents' take over of Fallujah is a foretaste of what will happen once America falls.

Afghanistan invasion was "fairly impressive show of strength." (In Stephen Flurry's speaking style faint praise is damning, at least in these Trumpet Weekly shows.)

Mentions how George Bush labeled Iran as a member of the "axis of evil." Says it is one thing to say it is, another to actually do something about. Says we, meaning the PCG leadership, identified Iran as "the head of the snake." (9)

What more should the US have done? He does not say. As far as I can tell he seems to imply the US should have invaded Iran.

(I hope no Iranians are watching this. I hope they understand PCG is a pathetically small and insignificant group outside of the small bubble it has.)

Let me digress here. It is PCG's peculiar dogma, set by Gerald Flurry, that Iran will be the King of the South. He is following this dogma. This idea that Iran is somehow the mastermind of terrorism, the head of the snake, is based on delusional dogma, not on reality. It completely ignores the complicated political situation in the Middle East. This is why PCG stated Iran is the true threat immediately after 9/11, even though Iran had nothing to do with 9/11.

He quotes November 2001 Philadelphia Trumpet article saying Iran will survive intact and survive stronger than ever.

Again, why bring up Iran? They had nothing to do with 9/11. Iran is hostile towards Al Qaeda. They went to war with each other in the Iraq War.

He quotes Melanie Phillips, a right wing commenter from Britain, who says America faces the prospects of seeing its sacrifices in Iraq rendered in vain.

He says Iraq has returned to chaotic state and is now more dangerous than before 9/11, he says. (12)

Says Iraq is under Iran's control. Even if there is a civil war Iran will maintain a secure hold over Iraq.

He portrays a 2003 Philadelphia Trumpet article as a remarkably far seeing prophecy that Iran will seize control of Iraq. (13)

What have we show for what we did in the war? he asks. Strength spent in vain. (15)

The same thing will happen in Afghanistan, he assures us. Quotes Melanie Phillips to support his speculations and says that things will get even worse. (16)

Laments that McCain and Kerry are unwilling to do anything to gain victory. He cites this as evidence of America's weakness. Says Iraq was certainly better with US troops in it. (17)

Scares people by citing larger US debt and then punch line: says it will get worse. (18)

Quotes Melanie Phillips to say the US is extremely foolish to loosen sanctions against Iran and claims it is setting the stage for Iran to get nuclear weapons. (19)

At one point Phillips says Iran is now America's best friend. This is a factually absurd statement. She is simply being dramatic with her words, which is part of her job as a columnist.

Stephen Flurry uses these to say that PCG's prophecy that Iran would survive the initial lashing out in 2001 to become stronger than ever has been fulfilled. (19-20)

"We have empowered the King of the South." (20)

Fallujah "tiny preview" of the chaos soon to come. This will lead to world war. (21)

If you scoff at that look at the articles in 2001-3 and you will see that what we said occurred as we predicted. (21-22)

I remember very well reading the November 2001 article when it first came out. What Stephen Flurry does not mention is that his father (and leader) Gerald Flurry also stated that 9/11 symbolized the start of "the last hour." Later, in 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, an article in the Philadelphia Trumpet stated we had entered the last half of the last hour. All of this is well documented in Bob Thiel's article regarding PCG. (Please note Bob Thiel runs his own COG cult group and will try to persuade you to support him.) None of this is mentioned by Stephen Flurry. He selectively ignores these statements because he knows it will not sound persuasive if he mentions these inconvenient facts.

Boasts six million copies of United States and Britain in Prophecy have been sent since it was first published. (22)

Britain's sun has already set and America is afraid to use its power. Raises his voice. (23)

Quotes HWA's lament that the US could not conquer North Vietnam. (24)

Promotes PCG's booklet, He was Right, insisting HWA was correct. (24-25)

There are numerous false prophecies that most powerfully states that HWA was wrong again and again and again. HWA was wrong when he said Mussolini was the Beast, that Hitler was the Beast, that Christ would return in 1936, then after World War II, then in 1975, then in Mystery of the Ages he said Christ would return by 2005 (PCG has removed this statement in their copies), etc.

Cites an article, America has won its last war. Insists no war has gone well for the US since World War II. Can you think of any? he asks. "No You can't." (24-25) 

I can. Grenada in 1983. Libya in 2011. (You try telling Gaddafi the war did not end well for the US.) America won the Gulf War of 1991 in that it succeeded in forcing Iraq to leave Kuwait. This is contrary to HWA's insistence that America won its last war. HWA was certainly wrong on this matter.

Also The Painful Truth has useful comments on this matter.
39) 1950's/60's/70's [Plain Truth]: US will never win another war; note - 1982 Grenada [sic]; 1989 Panama; 1991 Iraq, then rated 4th largest army in the world, destroyed in 40 days.
Stephen Flurry states He was Right will be updated and reprinted in April or May. (25)

Says of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, "You need it. You need this book today. ... It explains what is happening in the world." (25)

The United States and Britain in Prophecy does this by insisting that Americans are descended from ancient Israelites. This idea is known as British Israelism, an idea which has been around since at least 1794. There is a problem. British Israelism is not true. The DNA evidence is 100% clear. There is no genetic link between the ancient Israelites and white Europeans. HWA was wrong again.

And so the show ends.

I will also say now this show would be misleading to the uninitiated as there is no indication in this show that PCG believes it will be Europe that will destroy America. 

All in all it is an utterly derivative and unimaginative regurgitation of HWA's false prophecy that America is doomed based on the completely false idea of British Israelism. There is nothing worth seeing here. He hardly even discusses what is actually happening in Iraq.

David Hulme The Shunner

I just read this horrifying story written by Sasha Veljic, an ex-member of David Hulme's cult, (who apparently devised the group's name), which may be read on page two of the latest issue of The Journal.

(Hat tip: Gavin Rumney at Otagosh.)
I have just learned of the most recent developments in the Church of God an International Community [CGIC] organization. [See the related articles beginning on page 1 of this issue of THE JOURNAL.]

As you know, I used to be a very active member in it once upon a time. In fact, it was I who suggested its name in a letter and that is how it got the name. In fact, I was one of the founders of that organization in Europe.

However, I constantly faced all kinds of obstructions coming from David Hulme. Eight years ago I was silently removed from it by the order of David Hulme. The reason was that I maintained contact with various Sabbath- keepers and I refused to be fenced into the boundaries of the CGIC.

Anyway, my point is not to dwell on David Hulme and his fallacies. I would rather say a word of condolence to the grieving brethren.

I was strictly forbidden eight years ago to communicate with anyone from that organization. So what is going on right now with other members is what I experienced eight years ago. Therefore I empathize with their pain and sorrow.

If I could offer a comforting word, an encouraging comment, an optimistic statement, that would be fine with me. I will be happy to answer any questions in that regard.

One major change that happened with my beliefs is that I have rejected entirely the hierarchical “government of God” concept and, over the years, especially from 2009, I have strengthened my belief about Israel.
What a horrifying glimpse of the cruel oppression David Hulme and collaborators imposes upon his followers. One good thing about this presently unfolding schism is that it has brought cruel acts such as this to public attention.

Rumney also points out that The Journal "includes a photograph of Hulme's house on Marengo Avenue in Pasadena, which also serves as church HQ. How convenient." You may see this photo on page 8.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Confirmed: Gerald Weston Now No. 3 in LCG

Back on January 13 I posted an overview of the latest Tomorrow's World issue and I commented that Douglas Winnail did not have an article in that issue. On January 15 I devoted another post to this topic after reading an Anonymous comment at Banned by HWA saying it was Gerald Weston had displaced Winnail.

We now have confirmation from James Malm's blog, who has reported that Gerald Weston has been chosen as LCG's number three man, behind only Richard Ames and Roderick C. Meredith.
I have been waiting for confirmations and it is now confirmed that Rod Meredith has announced on several occasions that Gerald Weston is now #2 in the LCG succession list, right behind Richard Ames.

James Meredith has managed to offend most of the leading elders and has proved himself unworthy of the succession at this time.
I would like to thank the anonymous comment for helping me to bring this news earlier.

Dave Pack's Latest Announcement

Banned by HWA has reported (here and here) that Dave Pack has released another letter (about 7779 words long) insisting his church is the one true church.

I was amused when he said
great numbers of brethren have become content to let their leaders do their thinking for them—and with ETERNAL LIFE at stake! This letter will not help such ill-informed, easily seduced, “obedient” people.
What a blatant example of projection. The COG members were taught to behave obediently by HWA and the leadership in old WCG, including Dave Pack, and are simply faithfully following what HWA and Co taught.

I was disgusted when I saw this. 
United’s leaders are now working in a “cooperative” tandem with a large group that Mr. Armstrong’s son led away in rebellion over 35 years ago [Church of God International] is merely the latest outrage they commit against God, Mr. Armstrong’s legacy and their docile membership who are so willing to let them get away with their deceit.
It is disgusting that Pack wishes to incite that old hatred against those who courageously resisted HWA's tyranny out of loyalty to HWA's teachings. It seems to me many COG followers have moved on from that feud.

At present, despite his humiliating prophetic failure last year, there is no hope that RCG will be moving in a positive direction or that Pack will be moving away from his authoritarian way in the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Humbling of LCG's Douglas Winnail?

While reading through the latest issue of LCG's recruitment magazine, Tomorrow's World (January-February 2014), I could not help but notice that Douglas Winnail did not have an article in it. I then saw that the previous issue (November-December 2013) did not have an article of his either. I then went through all the other issues. He had an article in every previous issue without exception since the magazine's founding in 1999.

This immediately caught my attention because previously he had always had an article within Tomorrow's World. I well remember when I got caught up within Armstrongism he always had an article in Tomorrow's World.

He also had no article in the latest issue of Living Church News.

However he still writes the weekly update as he has done since November 2005. 

I cannot help but wonder if this is a sign that Douglas Winnail has fallen out of favor with Meredith and the leaders of LCG.

I decided to share this information at Banned by HWA. In response an anonymous commenter stated that Winnail has been displaced in LCG's pecking order by Gerald Weston.
LCG Power Struggles-- At the feast in Indian Wells, Rod Meredith announced that Gerald Weston was now #3 behind Meredith and Ames, but in front of Winnail! Is Winnail on the outs? Is Weston preparing to assume the hammer from Meredith?
Of course it is impossible for me to independently confirm this.

However I will say that Weston did have a full length article in the latest Tomorrow's World issue. This would support the idea that Weston has supplanted Douglas Winnail.

Gerald Weston first appeared in Tomorrow's World with a short article in the September-October 2003 issue. Then from 2005-7 he wrote a "Tomorrow's Youth" column which appeared every two issues. He appears to have replaced by Phil Sena starting in 2008. He then wrote one article in 2008 and did not appear again until 2012 when he got a column discussing events in Canada entitled "Oh Canada". It appeared once in 2012 and twice in 2013. Now in 2014 he appears to have been promoted with a full length article in the January-February 2014 issue, which I thought was dreadfully vague. I struggled to summarize it when I made my post about that issue.

Also Weston is also one of the presenters for the Tomorrow's World telecast. Winnail never presented the TV program.

I cannot help but wonder if LCG's post-Meredith power struggle is already beginning.

UCG Members Practicing Shunning

Here is a tragic post left by an anonymous commenter at Banned by HWA.
I live somewhat near UCG's HQ, so most people around here who "left the fold" who I'm in contact with are people who have been shunned in a nasty way by current UCG members- people who were once their longtime friends.
I know that UCG doesn't "teach" shunning like Pack's church does, but apparently many of it's members think it's the thing to do.
That is a terrible thing to do. It is utterly dreadful that UCG members choose to shun or punish people for not conforming with UCG's authoritarian rule. Such behavior is disgusting.

If these UCG members wonder why their church is not respected by others it is because of such terrible behavior as that.

Gerald Flurry Bossy Even in his Youth

Just saw this fascinating comment by Byker Bob at Banned by HWA.
I forget the name of the movie, but there was one a few years back in which the younger Christian men and women of the early Church era would visit St. John, the last surviving apostle, and ask him questions to which only he knew the answer, like what it was like to see Lazarus raised from the dead. They really displayed a lot of love and reverance for him because of his close relationship to Jesus.

Somehow, back in SEP, as I listened to my friend Don bitterly complaining about his brother Gerald lording it over him, It never occurred to me that his oppressor would one day be revered as a similar kind of Armstrongite apostle. I can't even fathom the mindset of these Flurryites.

One would have thought that this would have dried up back in 1975, but somehow it has reinvented itself into countless parallel planes of human existence.

A joke for the day: Why does God allow Armstrongism to exist? To keep bad ministers away from the Christian Churches.
So it would appear that Gerald Flurry had tendencies to lord it over others even when he was a young man.

Bob Thiel Condemns Women's "Immodest" Dresses

The self appointed, unordained false prophet, Bob Thiel, has released yet another screed condemning supposed immorality in order to isolate and alienate his followers from mainstream society.

Western cultures['] increased acceptance of public displays of flesh.

Whether it is on television or the movies, or a sunny day, there seems to be an increased acceptance in Western societies to display more and more uncovered, and normally female, flesh. 
Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? How are Western societies becoming more accepting of it 
It used to be the pornography was considered to be obscene and much of it was illegal.
Until at least some time in the 1970s, full frontal adult female nudity was not even allowed in the USA in what have been called “dirty magazines.”  This, for one example, had been considered as obscene. 
The USA, and much of the rest of the world, has gone beyond full nudity in pornography. From what I have read, various heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual acts are now portrayed. And while I have never seen what used to be called a “X-rated” movie, it is my understanding that they show those type of sexual acts.
He blames pornography for helping to spread the Internet and making the Internet a part of modern life.
Sadly, pornography is growing in acceptance in the Western world at least. 
For a significant amount of time, revenues from pornography are what primarily propelled the initial growth of the internet. And while there are many additional commercial and other purposes for the internet, the pornography is still big business on the internet. The internet tends to reduce the embarrassment and personal shame some have about letting others know that they view pornography. 
Mostly, on the internet from what I hear, internet purchasers of pornography go for what is called ‘hard-core pornography’ and viewing a variety of sex acts of a wide and often perverse nature. But it is not just porn websites, “adult’ book stores, and dirty magazines that feature pornography.
Also Thiel makes sure he states how he hates how women are dressing themselves today. As is so typical in the COGs, the leaders feel bizarrely compelled to control "their" women by ordering what they can or cannot not wear.

Why are COG leaders so desperate to control women? It is disgusting behavior. They need to grow out of such madness.

The real purpose of these dictates is to isolate his followers from society so that they only associate with fellow CCOG members. It becomes harder to disregard what Bob Thiel says if most of your friends are also listening to him and doing what he says to a greater or lesser degree.
Furthermore, what was considered immoral dress in the mid-20th century is now more modest dress than many young females wear. Another trend, which is appearing in the USA as well as Europe is the trend for women’s clothing to become more and more sheer.  So sheer, that one can often look through the clothing to the skin (slips and other covering items are often missing). This is not a positive trend but is another that I wanted to mention and it is a type of pornography. ... 
The Western nations no longer seem to highly prize modesty in female apparel (though female politicians tend to remain modest in their dress).  Immodesty in dress is now mainly considered to be acceptable or simply daring, as opposed to being immoral by many. 
What is considered to be acceptable dress for public display (mainly for females) continues to the trend to show more skin, more cleavage (and more and more women have decided to have “breast enhancement” apparently for display), and more of their figures.  This is not good. And this is not just limited to television or the movies. 
For one example, America Online (AOL), on a more than weekly basis, seems to have a news item about some female celebrity who has made the news for how sexually-inappropriately she was dressed.  AOL seems to feature this to get more page views so that it can generate more advertising revenues.
Even dancing is too sexually suggestive and is accursed.
AOL, of course, is not the only organization to utilize what is probably now considered to be “soft pornography” (now considered nudity or near nudity, as opposed to “hard-core” which apparently has more to do with nudity combined with various sexual acts/positions) to get people’s attention–a highly popular “conservative” news program on Fox that I try to avoid uses sex and semi-pornography as well, as do other organizations.  Although I do not personally watch it, popular television shows like Dancing with the Stars seem to promote a type of erotic soft pornography that “respectable people” in the past would have shunned.  Yet, Dancing with the Stars has been one of the most popular television programs in the USA. 
From what I have been able to determine, because of the inappropriate actions, combined with media success of female singers such as “Lady Gaga,” Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, and Jennifer Lopez, many female celebrities seem to think that they need to resort to taking actions somewhat closer to their levels in order to get media coverage.  Instead of this turning the media off, the media often publicizes and promotes such poor immoral behavior. 
...these females (and their promoters) believe that this is harmless entertainment that will help careers, it is not without cost...
When I heard how in olden days some religious ministers forbade dancing I thought they were crazy. I now see that Bob Thiel has joined the ranks of such people.

What an astoundingly narrow minded and pathetic view to maintain about mainstream culture.

How terrible it is that Bob Thiel seeks to isolate his followers by alienating them from the surrounding society in order to isolate them within his cult and, through the peer pressure of follow members, force them to conform to his authoritarian rule (and pay tithes to him).

Thankfully very few people will listen to his nonsensical screeds.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Overview of Jan-Feb 2014 Tomorrow's World (It Condemns Tattoos, Douglas Winnail Not Included)

Here is an overview of the January-February 2014 issue of LCG's Tomorrow's World magazine.

Meredith's personal column is an utterly unremarkable regurgitation of the COGs' insistence that modern social problems are a sign the end is near, which the COGs' have been breathlessly (and falsely) insisting since the 1930s. 

Richard Ames has an article encouraging people to study the Bible. Unsuspecting readers do not know that LCG members in fact simply follow whatever interpretation LCG leaders agree upon. They do not study the Bible, but simply indoctrinate themselves to believe LCG's interpretation.

Meredith has an article detailing the Armstrongite interpretation of the seven festivals the Armstrongite COGs observe, interpreting them as signs foretelling end time events and the establishment of the Kingdom of God upon Earth at the return of Christ.

Gerald Weston has a rather vague article teaching that God is the source of life.

The late Charles Knowlton has an article linking peoples' dreams of what they would like to do and to become and then saying the ultimate dream is to be reborn as an eternal God being as a member of the God Family. (Which is also what Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, taught as well.)

J. Davy Crockett III (he who said obelisks are pagan sex symbols) has an article insisting that the social problems of today are a sign that the end of the world is near. This is a tired rehashing of HWA's doomsday message that he falsely preached from the 1930s till his death in 1986.

Phil Sena has an article insisting that it is immoral and wrong to have tattoos. Here is what he says.
Consider the recent surge of interest in the ancient practice of tattooing. For many years, tattoos carried a negative stigma, as they were commonly associated with sailors, bikers and gang members. More recently, however, a 2012 poll found that as many as one in five (21 percent) adults in the United States have at least one tattoo—that is a sharp increase from the 14 percent reported in 2008 (The Harris Poll, February 23, 2012). Inking has become so commonplace that it is not uncommon to see grandmothers sporting tattoos!  And instead of subtle, easily hidden markings, many today make multiple trips to the parlor to cover large portions of their bodies with intricate and complex “body art.”

Making Your Mark?

Marking the skin has been practiced in many different civilizations, going back at least as far as 3000bc (“Tattoos: The Ancient and Mysterious History,” Smithsonian.com, January 1, 2007). People’s reasons for getting tattoos appear to be as varied as their cultures, as ways “to place protective or therapeutic symbols upon the body, then as a means of marking people out into appropriate social, political or religious groups, or simply as a form of self-expression or fashion statement” (ibid.).

Today, the inked often say their tattoos make them feel sexy, attractive, strong or spiritual (The Harris Poll, February 23, 2012). However, there remains an element of cultural defiance associated with tattoos. This same poll reports that 25 percent of the respondents say they feel rebellious wearing tattoos—and half of those without a tattoo view people with tattoos as more rebellious....

Yes, tattoos are a powerful personal statement, and they proclaim a “me first” attitude that does not mind getting “in your face” to show off one’s pride in his or her own body, for all to see. Yet, for those who follow God, the approach of “pleasing myself first” is the exact opposite of the outflowing concern for other people that defines God’s love. The Apostle Paul wrote that “love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:4–5). That kind of love is not what most people associate with a tattoo! 
The real purpose of the many rules and regulations COG ministers impose upon the lay members is to isolate them from the surrounding society in order to make the members dependent upon the COG and even more susceptible to the controlling influence of the ministers. This is what is known as 'milieu control.'

Rod King has an article noting that even though slavery has been banned many people are still forced into human trafficking.

Stuart Wachowicz has an article detailing how fishing in Nova Scotia has severely declined in recent years, possibly due to over intensive fishing and/or the destruction of the coral beds. A surprisingly ecological article. Too bad the COGs' real response to environmental problems is to say Christ will solve it after the second coming.

And Wallace G. Smith has an article meditating upon the complexity and wonder of the human hand.

As a side note I find it curious that Douglas Winnail does not have an article here or in the last issue of Tomorrow's World. His last article in the magazine was in the September-October 2013 issue. I find this curious as he has had an article in every single issue of Tomorrow's World since its founding in 1999 until the November-December 2013 issue. He also has no article in the current issue of Living Church News, but he does have an article in the November-December 2013 issue. On the other hand he is still firmly in charge of LCG's weekly update, which he has been in charge of since around November 2005.

Of course this may mean nothing, but it is certainly noteworthy that Douglas Winnail is not writing for Tomorrow's World at the moment.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

WCG Kids Feared to be Away from their Parents

Members of HWA's WCG endured many things that non-members would find quite curious and bizarre. One such feature of WCG life was that many kids within WCG always kept themselves close to their parents and did not spend the night with other people because they feared that the call to flee to Petra might come at any time and if they were simply away from their parents they would not go to Petra and be forced to endure the horrors of the Great Tribulation without their parents. This destructive belief appears to have been fairly common among the children raised up within HWA's WCG.

Exit and Support Network has published a survivor's account that notes this belief.  
I have been dealing with issues that I believe stem from my time in the Worldwide Church of God (1973-1989). I was a child when my family began attending and left a mess. I had severe stress as a child because "end times are here" and "you won't ride the coattails of your parents to the place of safety." Dying a horrible death in the tribulation was horrific for a kid to imagine. I never spent the night or wanted to do anything for fear that my family would leave me behind.
The fact that this belief existed is also confirmed within Carla Powers' book, Matches in the Gas Tank, who also said that she always stayed close to her parents so that they would not flee to Petra without her.
Before Armstrong settled on the date of the Feast of Trumpets 1975 for Christ's return, we had no idea when the call to flee might come. It scared the bejesus out of me. What would happen if I weren't at home when the call came? What if I was out on a long bike ride when my family were told to flee? Members were ordered to leave everything and immediately get to the campus [at Big Sandy] when the moment arrived. My parents might wait a few minutes for me, but if I had decided to look in the woods for huckleberries instead of coming right home, I would be toast. I never ventured too far from home and made sure Mother knew where I was at all times. (Chapter 15, p. 90.) 
(Incidentally Ms. Power's book is very good. If you can, do you yourself a favor and get it and read it. It is a wonderfully detailed account of what it is like being raised up within HWA's WCG. Her account details many of the dysfunctional behaviors that were so common within WCG. It is important to note that she describes what things were really like before the turmoil of the 1970s. It was not a golden age of truth as many COG followers seem to think pre-1972 WCG was.)

To get an idea of what sort of things the children were hearing I recommend listening to Gerald Waterhouse's sermon, Get the Point (December 1, 1979). Unlike most churches the COGs do not have any form of Sunday School for the children and they are forced to listen to the same fear inducing sermons the adults hear.

I listened to that sermon and made many notes of it in a previous post. In it Waterhouse describes what he claimed would happen to the Laodiceans in graphic detail. He often states that the Laodiceans (WCG members who did not flee to Petra) will be beheaded by hordes of war hungry Europeans.

Here are some of the notes I took as I was listening to the sermon. This excerpt starts about 97 minutes into the sermon.
Franz Josef Strauss will be the military dictator of Europe. ([1:37])

The Laodiceans will speak up and oppose the Pope. He shouts. (38)

Europeans will behead Laodiceans. (39)

Laodiceans will proclaim that HWA is God's man to the triumphant Europeans. (39)

The beheading of Laodiceans will shock some of the Europeans. (40)

Every time the heart beats, blood squirts. Europeans will be traumatized and begin to wonder why they are fighting HWA's followers. (41)

Laodiceans' witness and mass murder is necessary to make Europeans aware of WCG members in Petra and of HWA. (42-43)

When the Laodiceans die in the Great Tribulation proclaiming the words of HWA it will prove to God that they have repented and submitted to HWA's authority. (44)

Submitting to HWA proves they will rule properly in the World Tomorrow. (45)
No wonder so many children were so scared within HWA's WCG and stayed close to their parents at all times.

The fact that little kids within HWA's WCG severely curtailed their socializing with their peers because they were afraid they would miss the call to flee to Petra, the alleged place of safety, once again exposes the severe destructive influence that HWA and his minions imposed upon WCG members in order to exploit them effectively, not least by persuading them to pay three tithes and extra offerings.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"My Best Friend Has Been Sucked into [LCG]"

Exit and Support Network has posted letter by a person worried because a friend of the author has joined Meredith's Living Church of God.
Friend Sucked Into Living Church of God:

January 10, 2014

I just wanted to say thank you for having this site. My best friend has been sucked into Living Church of God.
I didn’t realize how bad it was and how badly they distort the Bible until recently… I am deeply concerned for him. He’s not the same person he was and it's not good. Please continue to run this website and helping others. --[name withheld]
As documented on this blog LCG has a long history of using deceptive and misleading information to recruit new members under false pretenses. Often Roderick C. Meredith falsely implies that only LCG are presenting the sort of information it presents. LCG often portrays HWA deceptively, passing over HWA's prophetic failures and HWA's personal failings.

Most LCG recruits, such as this unfortunate friend, will have no idea that Roderick C. Meredith engineered the forced divorce of many Radio Church of God members to enforce HWA's draconian "divorce and remarriage" policy.

I fear for those who fall under Meredith's destructive influence.

The New Pabco's Home Page

Pabco's Home Page has launched at its new address:


Hat tip: Michael at Banned by HWA.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Debbie Armstrong on HWA's Incest: A Comment

I saw this comment by Head Usher at Banned by HWA concerning the Deborah Armstrong interview. Most intriguing are his comments regarding what she knew about HWA's incest.

Here is the comment in full.
I listened to the Troy Fitzgerald interview with Debbie Armstrong, Dwight's daughter, in part because since she's wound up about the same place as I have in terms of believing I figured she might offer some straight scoop into the inner workings of the Armstrong family, but also because I never heard or knew anything about Dwight except for the hymns, of course. In the last 15 minutes, they cover the incest issue.

I had already come to the conclusion that incest rumors were true only because it came up as an issue in the Ramona divorce proceedings. Rumors with no substance are not real issues and would be a frivolous waste of time for high-priced lawyers and busy judges acting in official capacities.

Debbie said that it was kept quiet in the family, mostly for the sake of Dorothy, which is understandable. However, she says that her mother and one of HWA's grandsons both confirmed to her that was true. In addition, she said that neither Dorothy, nor anyone else in the family ever denied it. She said that HWA definitely had hang-ups with sex, and that the one thing he ever gave her was an autographed copy of TMDIS, which she though was a very strange gesture. Kudos to Debbie for being willing to set the record straight to whatever limited degree she can.

These two testimonies may be the closest to "proof" that HWA was, in fact, not just a criminal for his white-collar crimes (fraud), but so far from anything we'd consider "godly" that he's also the type of criminal who has a life expectancy of only weeks if locked up with other criminals (child molester). The HWA this country bumpkin is imagining doesn't correspond in the slightest to the real, genital warts-'n'-all HWA. Say what you will, but hardly a man I'd expect to be "used by god" in any case.

The other thing is that HWA's total disconnect between what he preached and his sex life isn't unusual for highly successful conservative preachers. It's a phenomenon I'll never understand. For my part, religion is questionable, but organized religion is an anathema.
Further evidence, as though any more were needed, that Herbert W. Armstrong committed incest with his daughter, Dorothy Armstrong.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Eric Keefer Defends Hulme and Vision Magazine

Among the documents released by Silenced regarding the unfolding Hulmite schism is a transcript of a sermon by Eric Keefer defending David Hulme. We looked at part one in the last post.

We now look at part 2 of Unity and Division by Eric Keefer.

In this sermon Keefer addresses dissatisfaction with Vision magazine and the claim that it is not preaching Armstrongism, the religion of COG-AIC, or preaching it in a very oblique manner.

Keefer insists that the dissenters are behaving irrationally and out of emotion.
And I guess I would like to begin, this afternoon, just summarizing where we’ve been, what has transpired, and what are the issues. I think that’s really the underlying thing that people continue to ask themselves. It simply doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense when you think about what has been presented as issues. What seems to be very erratic behavior on the part of many, including some prominent ministers, makes us stop and ask ourselves, “Well, what are the issues? What’s going on? Why are we seeing these kinds of responses?” Let’s rehearse for just a moment what has transpired.

We know a number of weeks ago a prominent minister in the Church sent a letter to Mr. Hulme and the Board, and he himself made that letter public. In that letter, nothing new, he criticized Mr. Hulme about his leadership and understanding of government, and he characterized Vision as not preaching the gospel. I think those are two of the main issues that were a part of that letter. (p. 1.)
He discusses some of the events that have happened and insists that he finds the dissenters' complaints hard to understand and incomprehensible.
A third minister and pastor, which I think probably most of you already know by now—but if you don’t—Mr. Rodzai resigned recently. His letter was not made public in the same way that Mr. Andrews’ letter was, but the way things work, I did receive a copy of that letter through members who support Mr. Rodzai.

So I have seen that letter and I’ve read it probably a dozen times. It’s not as long a letter as Mr. Andrews’ letter, it’s a two page letter; and I’ve read it over, and over, and over trying to make sense of that letter. (p. 2.)
Despite finding the dissenters' behavior incomprehensible he endeavors to explain that they are acting irrationally and that you can trust Hulme and you should stay loyal to him (and keep sending in those tithes to COG-AIC).
My response comes from the only sources I know to go to, and that is Mr. Andrews’ letter and Mr. Rodzai’s letter. There is a commonality. There is a very strong dislike that probably verges on hatred for the magazine Vision. (p. 2.)
Keefer says he is very surprised at this unfolding schism. It has come completely put of the blue and as recently as November 1, 2013, he had not the slightest inkling that a crisis was about to erupt.
Discontentment grows with a common cause. Ministers who have a common dislike for Vision have found sympathetic ears with each other, and together they have helped one another grow more discontent. And I can tell you, I didn’t believe it a few weeks ago, but I can tell you now, ministers have been talking. Pastors have been talking. They’ve gotten together, they’ve discussed these things, and they have sort of—I don’t know what degree plans have been made—but they have gotten together and talked about these things privately. It’s happened. It happened, I believe, at the minister’s conference, although I wasn’t involved in those conversations so I didn’t see them, but I do believe that that has been the case. (p. 5.)
Keefer accuses the dissenting ministers of conspiring together. (Perhaps he is subconsciously recalling what happened when UCG split from WCG.)
It’s abundantly clear that these ministers have collaborated. They use the same words, the same jargon in their letters, they use the same concepts, they quote the same scriptures, and they clearly support one another. (p. 6.)
Keefer insists that Hulme is not trying to change church doctrines contrary to the assertion of some of the dissenting ministers that Hulme is planning to renounce British-Israelism. Keefer insists there will be no rejection of Armstrongism as occurred under the Tkaches.

He also implies that any doubt COG-AIC members may have regarding the trustworthiness of Hulme and Co. are implanted by Satan.
Now, many folks think to themselves: “There must be more to their discontentment. How could so many ministers be upset over what at least has been proposed as the problem?” There must be another shoe to drop, because it doesn’t seem to make sense that this is really their issue. There must be something more.

And the result of that is many of us begin to have doubts about our leaders. It’s very easy to interject doubts in the mind of a human being. It’s very easy to say something, interject some doubt, and then you start to wonder, “Well, maybe there’s more to it. We’ve been through situations where somebody said there was more to it, we didn’t believe it, and there was! So maybe there is something to this sort of thing.”

“Maybe Mr. Hulme’s hiding something. Maybe he’s just like Mr. Tkach. What’s the rest of the story? What is it that these ministers know about Mr. Hulme that we don’t? Is he ready to change something?”

These are the sorts of questions that get thrown out that maybe even have gone through your mind because the seeds of doubt have been planted in your mind. That to me is incredible. Those are tactics that Satan the devil uses undeniably.

Now I am confident, brethren, that there is no more. There is no shoe that’s going to drop. There’s nothing that’s going to come out that we did not know about. I’ve talked to Mr. Hulme personally over the past couple of weeks. He’s not this monster. He does not have a hidden agenda. There are not things that these ministers know that nobody else knows. (p. 6.)
Keefer insists that the dissenters are simply acting emotionally. There is no reason or substance behind their mass dissension, Keefer insists. Their complains have nothing else behind it and do not merit this mass dissension, he says.
It is an issue of emotion. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to many of us. That’s why the issue doesn’t make sense, because it’s an emotional issue. It’s people being upset over decisions that have been made, and unless you are in that group of emotion it won’t make sense to you. It doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to many of you that I’ve talked to. But you see, I’m confident there is nothing else hidden.

If Mr. Andrews thought there was more, why didn’t he put it in his letter? He certainly didn’t hold back in that letter. He had to know it wasn’t going to be a good result when he delivered that letter. So if there’s more, why didn’t he deliver it in his letter?

If Mr. Rodzai thought there was more, why didn’t he put that in his letter? The fact is, there just isn’t any more. The facts are on the table.

Does Mr. Hulme have the authority, as the person that God has placed as the physical head of the Church, to set the direction of how we will preach the gospel? Ask yourself that. Does he? Our teaching has always been yes. Always! Fifteen years ago it was absolutely. There was no question in anybody’s mind.(pp. 6-7)
He then emphasizes that Hulme has the authority to lead COG-AIC. He then cites Acts 15 and insists that James was the leader and he made the decision, that the church was run by one man rule.

He then once again states that he is completely shocked that this schism is happening and insists even as late as Novmeber 1, 2013, he had no idea a schism was about to erupt. I find his nostalgic insistence that there was "peace" hard to take at face value. Silenced reported way back in late 2012 that problems were rumbling within COG-AIC.

Keefer also claims COG-AIC had "growth" for the last fifteen years. That is certainly total nonsense. I find it impossible to believe. Could he mean spiritual growth? A growth in membership within COG-AIC within the last fifteen years is impossible to believe.

Notably Keefer admits that most of the Phoenix congregation "are now aggressively against Mr. Hulme."
Now for fifteen years we’ve had peace and growth. Oh, that we could return to the months of October and September, and the summer. Oh, that we wouldn’t have to be going through what we are going through now. We had peace. And the sermons were focused on things we need to do to move forward to prepare ourselves for God’s Kingdom coming to this earth. Ministry and members submitted according to their role. That’s why we had peace. What has now changed is that some simply have refused to submit to decisions. It’s as plain and as simple as that. Ministers, pastors, have taken their refusal to support to the members that they serve. That’s unconscionable in my mind, causing doubt and leading members away from Mr. Hulme.

Please consider something with me for a moment. At the 1st of November most of us—perhaps all of us—I’d certainly include myself in that—had no clue that there were any problems in the Church. I got a call from my sister who said, “Have you heard something going on? Because I’m getting—people here are telling me there are disagreements between this person and that person.” And I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just got off a Pastor’s Conference call, and to a man every single pastor reported peace and calm. So I think somebody’s blowing smoke. I don’t know what to make of that. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Every pastor said, “Everything’s fine, everything’s peaceful, everything’s calm.”

How is it in a span of less than a couple of months, brethren, entire congregations— or a majority of congregations—were very aware and completely on board with their pastor who had such strong disagreements with Mr. Hulme? How did that happen? Are you telling me in a period of two months those people, large numbers of people, had no problem, and then all of a sudden in that short period of time that now they’re on board against Mr. Hulme?

That didn’t happen, did it? It’s taken months—who knows—a year? I don’t know! But this has been going on for quite some time underground. This level of dissent does not occur over night. Let me be frank and speak plainly. Most of our Phoenix congregation, a congregation that I once pastored with people that we dearly love, are now aggressively against Mr. Hulme. How did that happen? How did that happen so quickly? When you didn’t even know there was an issue two months ago? Think about that! Let that dwell in your mind. How did that many people, members, all of a sudden become so angry at the Church leadership, when two months ago we didn’t even know there was an issue?

When I was pastor there, there was no indication of any kind of disagreement ever with Mr. Hulme, or with Vision. Now you might have said to yourself in the past, “I don’t like this article, or that article in Vision.” You might have even said, “I don’t even really like the magazine.” That’s fine! Disagreement and difference of opinion is a part of being human, isn’t it? We disagree on all kinds of things. That’s a part of being human. (pp. 12-13.)
I find it curious how he seems to focus on so much on the dissatisfaction with Vision as opposed to complains about authoritarian behavior. Now, to be fair, he addressed that issue more in part 1. But I find it curious how he seems so focused on complaints in regards to Vision.

He goes through the Winter 2014 issue of Vision and insist that it is preaching Armstrongism.
As we bring this to a conclusion, let’s look for a few moments at the latest issue of Vision Winter 2014, and let’s take a survey of the articles in there. Is there something to this; that Vision doesn’t preach the gospel; Vision doesn’t talk about God; Vision doesn’t talk about repentance?

Now it takes months to plan an issue of Vision, so the current issue has been in production for quite some time, long before the current crisis started. And even if it was, what difference would it make? Isn’t this what individuals want anyway?
After going through a few articles he then insists that the dissenters' complains are baseless. You should instead submit to (what old WCG members would call) the Government of God. God did not appoint you as a leader of COG-AIC and therefore you should submit to what the leaders decided.
Brethren, you and I may not like the way Vision is written. Maybe this article, maybe that article, maybe the way the magazine is written, but I think it is simply untrue that Vision does not preach the gospel. Whether you would do it personally one way, or I would do it personally another way, makes absolutely no difference. We’ve not been placed in that position to decide, have we? We’ve been placed in the body where it pleased the Father, and those the Father has put in place make those kinds of decisions. It’s foolish to say that Vision doesn’t preach the gospel because it most assuredly does.

Brethren, let’s stay the course. Please don’t get caught up in the negativity that has pulled so many under. It is not about substance. It’s about emotion, it’s about anger, it’s about resentment, it’s about bitterness. Don’t get pulled in to that.
Noticeably he does not discuss whether Vision proclamation of Armstrongism is effective and how to make it more effective at preaching and gaining converts.

So that seems to be the way Hulme and his collaborators have chosen to view this schism, as an incomprehensible revolt that has no legitimate reason to act against Hulme's interests. God has placed the members and ministers were they are and all must submit to the leaders because they are appointed by God. If you have complaints and they are not dealt with, then you must trust that God will resolve the problem for you.

After reading this I have absolutely no encouragement that Hulme and his collaborators know what they are doing or that they will be able to resolve this in a good manner. They have said, it is our way or no way, essentially. How can the grievances of the dissenters be satisfied if all they get is precisely nothing? That is no way to deal with problems of this nature.

Keefer to COG-AIC Dissenters: "We Have No Business Demanding Our Way"

Eric Keefer delivered a sermon, Unity and Division, defending his boss and paymaster, David Hulme, from the criticism given by Steven Andrews.
During the course of the last several weeks now, the peace that we’ve enjoyed for over the last fifteen years has been threatened. (p.3.)
I find fascinating how those who defend Hulme's rule keep insisting that they had peace before.

Early in the sermon he gives an outline of Andrews' letter.

What does Keefer think about Andrews' criticism that Hulme is acting autocraticly? 
there seems to be an implication at this juncture, in the letter, that Mr. Hulme is trying to lord over us as the church and not serve as a servant. I don’t know about you. I don’t know how much contact you have personally with Mr. Hulme, but I find this very hard to understand how somebody could think that Mr. Hulme lords over the church. 

Frankly, he’s been accused of being too soft. He’s been criticized for not taking action against people who don’t always do what the church teaches. (p. 11.)
He later says this.
Now this has consistently been Mr.Hulme’s approach over the years, and also the direction he’s given us as pastors. We don’t threaten people. We don’t try to intimidate them into doing things. (p. 19.)
Then why did David Hulme disfellowship Steven Andrews in his November 20, 2013 member letter? Keefer's statement is nonsense.

He continues.
We try to teach brethren in hope that they will consider what we have to say and be willing on their own to do what are shown from biblical principles. That’s the approach that we’ve been given from Mr. Hulme, that’s the approach that he follows, and that’s the approach that’s been in the church during the entire fifteen years we’ve been in the church. This hasn’t always been the case in the church.

Especially for the younger generation, you wouldn’t understand that years ago there were apparently some ministers who in fact did lord over members. I experienced it. Perhaps some of you did too. But I can tell you categorically Mr. Hulme does not support that approach, never has, and never will. I have even personally heard ministers tell Mr.Hulme that we need to be tougher on members who don’t always do what the church teaches. He simply won’t support that. And I think he’s absolutely right in his approach.

We’re not to lord over. We’re to serve, we’re to set examples, we’re to teach what is right and hope that people will do that based upon their own free will, because coercion and lording over does nothing for anyone. So I find it very peculiar that somebody would suggest that his policies are somehow lording over. (p.19.)
Keefer then spends a lot of time going through the Biblical accounts Andrews discussed in his letter.

Andrews discussed these New Testament incidents to argue that Hulme is behaving autocratically and acting in a manner contradictory to the example of the Apostles in the New Testament.

Keefer seeks to contradict Andrews. Keefer says Andrews is wrong in his understanding of these New Testament incidents, but rather, Keefer insists, these support and justify Hulme's authority over COG-AIC.

After that he then praises Hulme for de-emphasizing the importance of hierarchical ranks within the church. He insists that Hulme is a good leader worthy of the membership's loyalty.
Now, frankly, we used to have a huge emphasis on structure in the church. I mean we used to have what we called an apostle—Mr. Armstrong was the apostle—we had evangelists, we had pastor rank ministers, we had preaching rank elders, we had local elders, we had deacons, we had deaconesses, and at one time we apparently even had super deacons.

All this emphasis on rank became just that, an emphasis on power. If you weren’t ordained then you were some sort of nobody, or that at least is how you were made to feel. I hope you understand that under Mr. Hulme’s direction we no longer have this heavy emphasis on rank. Mr. Hulme was ordained as an evangelist. When is the last time you have ever heard him refer to himself as an evangelist? He doesn’t. He’s a minister, just like I’m a minister. And our local elders are ministers. So we’re in different roles and different responsibilities at any given time, but this idea of a hierarchical emphasis on power is gone, and it’s been gone the entire time that we’ve been in the Church of God. (p. 19.) ...
Now let me make something clear at this point. Mr. Hulme has not misunderstood his role as a leader in the church. He has led the church as a loving father leads a family. He has given himself in service, working extremely long hours in overseeing every aspect of the work. He doesn’t dictate to us as members, he doesn’t set church rules and try to enforce them through the pastors. At one time Mr. Hulme was being pressured to give us rules on what we should do and shouldn’t do on the Sabbath, you know. What are things it’s OK to do on the Sabbath? He’s not going to do that. He’s not going to set rules for us in that manner. He’s not an autocratic leader. He teaches, and he wants us to voluntarily do the right thing without being forced, compelled, or threatened.

He doesn’t get angry and resentful, but he’s calm and firm. Is he perfect? Absolutely not! He has his flaws certainly. We all do as humans. But he’s striving to do the right thing. And I find it very difficult to think that somebody would think differently. Especially when you look at where we have been as a church and what we’ve been under in the past. (p. 21.)
So after a long talk regarding various incidents discussed in the New Testament and insisting Steven Andrews has misunderstood those events he finally gets to the point.
We are called to a body, with Christ as the head, and we are members serving where God has placed us. Now, that means we have to be confident of Christ’s leadership. We have to be confident of his ability to address or correct whatever he thinks might be wrong within his body. God doesn’t need the hand trying to be the eye. He doesn’t need the ear trying to do the walking. If a member demands to have a say in an area that he or she has not been given, then that member is rebelling against the body. (p. 30. Underlining in original.)
What does Keefer have to say to those COG-AIC members complaining that their magazine is not honestly teaching the tenets of Armstrongism and is failing to gain converts. One dissenter even went so far as to say this about Vision magazine.
After 15 years and an estimated expense for Vision of $3+ million dollars for salaries, advertising, publishing, design, shipping, PR, video, travel and whatever, there has been no fruit from Vision or the Vision website. The only new members, other than children of members, have come because of a personal relationship with a member—not because of Vision. (p. 2.)
 How does Keefer respond to this problem?
Mr. Hulme, as the leader of the church under Jesus Christ, has been charged with leading the church, and that includes setting the direction of how we will go about preaching the gospel. Now, we might disagree with an approach, and that’s fine. I mean we’re all beings, we all have brains, we all have experiences, we all have ideas. We might have even better ways of doing things than what are currently being done. But the bottom line is if God has not placed us in a position to change something within the body, then we have no business demanding our way. We have to be content with just offering our ideas. If those ideas are not taken, if they’re not accepted, then they’re not accepted. And we have to be content that God will oversee what is chosen and what is not chosen. 
But when we demand our way we create a crisis. When God has placed us in a prominent position within the body and we demand our way, we create an even greater crisis because we create division. With position within the church comes great responsibility. (p. 31.)
 He then exploits Paul's words to justify disfellowshipping dissenting ministers. 
Paul had some very harsh words to say about those who cause division. When we cause division we put ourselves into this definition. Everybody who goes about doing something that they know is going to cause division puts themselves into this definition. (p. 31.)
So there you have it. If you do not like seeing your magazine (which you paid for) not teaching your own religion and failing to gain any converts; if you are dissatisfied by this because your ministers keep telling you that COG-AIC has to give a warning message to the world and then spectacularly fails to do so; "then [you] have no business demanding [your] way."

And if you do demand your way then you "cause division" and are therefore liable to being disfellowshipped.

How dare Eric Keefer claim, "We don’t threaten people. We don’t try to intimidate them into doing things", and then at the end of the sermon states that those who "cause division" are liable to being disfellowshipped. And dissenters are indeed disfellowshipped, as Steven Andrews was in David Hulme's November 20, 2013 member letter.

So we see that Eric Keefer has decided to support Hulme in this crisis are is telling members that if they are dissatisfied then they must trust that Christ will correct Hulme. It is not for members to correct their leaders, but the leader can disfellowship dissenters. He is chosen by God and must be obeyed.

No wonder so many members and ministers are dissenting against Hulme's one man rule. After reading this it is no mystery to me why so many members and ministers felt compelled to put everything on the line and risk Hulme's autocratic wrath in a desperate attempt to get their voices heard.