Friday, May 15, 2015

Reading PCG's Booklet, Education With Vision

Let us now read Stephen Flurry's booklet, Education With Vision. This booklet was first printed in 2003. It has since been republished in 2007 and 2009. In this booklet Stephen Flurry says you need "spiritual knowledge", which is an attempt to get readers interested in and eventually convinced that PCG is the one true church and must be supported by giving PCG money. Here I am reading the original 2003 version of this booklet. You can read the current 2009 version of this booklet on their website.

Parts of this booklet are from a February 2001 article by Stephen Flurry which was entitled 'Education With Vision' which was published to celebrate and advertize the opening of PCG's Imperial College. (Now renamed Herbert W. Armstrong College.)

Loaded Language

One of the ways authoritarian groups are able to gain recruits is to "load the language". They use familiar words but then use it in a specific way that only follow members understand. There is an added meaning to the word or phrase not immediately apparent to outsiders. This loaded language is designed to shut down critical thinking and force the reader to view things in a very specific and narrow manner.

This booklet is filled with loaded language:

"Spiritual knowledge". In the booklet described as something vitally necessary but lacking outside of PCG. Actually refers to PCG dogmas and the conviction that PCG is the one true church.

"Material knowledge" In the booklet described as everything else aside from "spiritual knowledge". Not defined as bad in itself. But it is vehemently insisted that one unaware of PCG's teachings ("spiritual knowledge") is severely lacking in understanding the world they way it should be, meaning from the viewpoint of PCG's 1%.

"Physical knowledge". Same as "material knowledge"

"True education". That is to be taught PCG's dogmas by PCG.

"Foundation". This is loaded with the strong connotation that one is unable to view things as they truly are unless he or she is well versed in "spiritual knowledge", namely PCG dogma.

"God's vision". In this booklet it is a euphemism for PCG dogma.

"Rationalism". Here this word is redefined to mean rebellion against PCG's God. It is insinuated that failure to have "spiritual knowledge", namely by not conforming to the many rules and dictates of PCG's leaders, is a major cause for the many problems facing the world today.

This booklet is filled with loaded language designed to make the reader convinced that he or she needs to learn what PCG teaches. Essentially this booklet exploits the widespread desire to better oneself by gaining a College degree to try to gain more converts for PCG.

Chapter 1

Stephen Flurry recites the Tower of Babel. He cites The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary but really he should have cited The Two Babylons by Alexander Hyslop. Armstrongism has long been fixated on the Tower of Babel, partly due to the influence of Hyslop's 1850s anti-Catholic screed.

Stephen Flurry insinuates that all knowledge outside of PCG is tainted. This is done to make it seem absolutely necessary to join PCG.
Rationalism, nihilism, value relativism and academic freedom are all terms that essentially mean no boundaries! And the first students to pursue this type of education were Adam and Eve. For 6,000 years now, the rest of mankind has followed suit. (p. 13.)
Again Stephen Flurry is redefining those terms in a narrow sense in order to prop up his contention that only PCG has "true education" and therefore must be joined.
Anciently, the great scholars in Greece and Rome placed great impetus on constantly gaining new knowledge—some new thing. Both of those empires eventually crumbled. In the United States today, many of the most prestigious schools are located in an environment of moral and social decay. And like those great empires before us, we will also eventually topple as a society, unless we come to realize that education is not something you go out and get! It’s a way of life. But the “great” educators of this society are ignorant of this fact. And their masses of pupils never stop to question their educational methods. (p. 14.)
Infamously HWA's Ambassador College was not accredited. So its degrees were not recognized outside of WCG. Contrary to HWA's many claims to the contrary the purpose of Ambassador College was to build up a hierarchy of like minded individuals who would devotedly work for HWA.

Also PCG's own college is not accredited as well. This was recently confirmed by The Journal.

Could this be why Stephen Flurry here redefines education as "a way of life"? His college cannot give accredited degrees. But this fact is never mentioned in this booklet. 

Chapter 2

Note the loaded language which is highlighted below. This booklet is filled with such terminology.
So we see from the earliest point in man’s history that he had to know how to deal with things (physical knowledge), and how to get along with God and other people (spiritual knowledge). Acquiring the physical knowledge is possible because of the human spirit created in man. The spiritual knowledge, however, comes only through help from a spiritual being—that is, revelation from God. To become truly educated, man needs both kinds of knowledge! (p. 21.)
In plain language the author of this booklet is trying to make the reader feel inadequate and think that he or she desperately needs this "spiritual knowledge" the booklet promises to provide. All this jargon filled talk is designed to get more people to join PCG and gain more tithes paying members.

On page 22 is a one page insert. In it is the following paragraph.
Do you know one of the biggest mistakes people of religion make? They assume the Bible was written merely to inform the mind when in fact God wrote it to change your mind! Only a fraction of mankind even bothers to read the Bible, let alone apply the words of the world’s best seller. True education is nothing if not the persistent and determined training of the mind to think, act and reason like the mind of God. (p. 22.)
In plain words "true education" is loaded with the added meaning of learning about and then submitting to PCG's teachings and joining it. That is what the "true education" this booklet advertizes actually is, an attempt to get more converts for PCG.
God’s revelation [Here this is a loaded term referring to PCG's dogmas - Redfox712.] is the foundation of all knowledge. It’s not all knowledge—just what’s most important. The Bible is like a magnificent summary of the way our Creator thinks. Yet very few people—even those who consider themselves religious—actually study it. (p. 24.) 
And so we see how this booklet redefines PCG's dogmas as "the foundation of all knowledge" and "just what's most important." In other words this booklet is trying to get the reader to join PCG.
Those who ignore this magnificent summary, however, miss out on the most important element of their education. They fail to grasp the basic premise of Scripture—that from cover to cover, it is a book about law. It is the Instruction Manual God sent along with His handiwork—human beings. Its instruction tells us how to live.

Though men have tried and tried to produce their own instruction manuals, nothing even remotely compares to or supersedes God’s inspired Word. The Holy Bible is the indispensable building block of any true and right education. (p. 24.) 
Unlike most Christian churches PCG (along with the other COG groups descended from HWA) insists that the Old Testament laws are still in force for Christians (PCG members). They worship on the Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) and observe the festivals described in Leviticus 23. These practices are not mentioned by Stephen Flurry in this booklet.   
This is the well-balanced education Mr. Armstrong later established at Ambassador College. Early in his life, Mr. Armstrong learned that education is not something you go out and get. It’s a way of life! Education is rightly developed character. This is not to say that all college courses are wrong. But a college degree does not make you educated. (p. 31.)
Note how Stephen Flurry subtly denigrates getting a college degree. Is this an oblique reference to the fact that PCG's own College is unaccredited?

What is not mentioned here is that later on HWA was given honorary degrees. If having a degree is so meaningless then why did HWA himself get an honorary degree?  
As an indication of where we have arrived as an “educated” society, one only needs to compare the role models and wise counselors children looked up to years ago, with those they look up to now. Yesterday’s role models, like Jesus Christ, Abraham, David, Paul, Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Herbert Armstrong, could hardly be compared with the athletes and rock stars most teens worship today. Neither can the wisdom and counsel of parents, relatives or the elderly, be compared with the instruction most young people now seek from their peers.

Living in an immoral society where the family is disintegrating makes the acquisition of a proper education difficult. It can be done. But if you are to be educated, you are going to have to seek after that spark of ambition and then drive yourself with all the will and determination of a great warrior. (pp. 32-33.)
More condemnation of mainstream society. Mainstream society is denigrated in order to make PCG look more attractive.

We now continue. Note the loaded language highlighted in the next quote.
1) Build a solid spiritual foundation. We were put on Earth to become educated in spiritual and material knowledge. Unless proper spiritual knowledge is our foundation in life, everything will be established on the wrong premise. (p. 33.)
In other words Stephen Flurry is insinuating that it is necessary for one to have "spiritual knowledge" which, in this booklet, is a loaded term for believing that only PCG is the one true church and that one must join it and pay the three tithes that Stephen Flurry lives on.
It does require much sacrifice to follow God. But notice what Christ promises to those who do .... We’ll receive much more even now! Seek first the Kingdom, and “all these things” will be added (Matthew 6:33). This is a promise. There is a definite correlation between physical and spiritual prosperity. (p. 37.)
And so we see Stephen Flurry insinuating that having "spiritual knowledge" (that is, becoming convinced that PCG is right and acting accordingly by joining them) will grant physical blessings as well. For many people struggling to make a living this promise of physical blessings upon gaining "spiritual knowledge" from PCG will make joining PCG seem an attractive option.

Some wonder why so many stay in PCG despite the many problems there. Partly it is because they are told by their leaders that some kind of blessing will be theirs for the taking if only they stay within PCG.

Chapter 3

But if the educational institutions outside of PCG are so terrible then Stephen Flurry must think there is a positive educational institution he wishes to promote. And indeed there is. Namely PCG's Imperial College, which was later renamed Herbert W. Armstrong College. And Stephen Flurry uses this chapter to promote it.
True education is a life-long process. It’s about realizing your incredible human potential. That cannot be accomplished in school or in college alone. But with God’s vision as a foundation, those few years of college can certainly serve as a springboard for greater success and happiness in life. (p. 44.)
Infamously Ambassador College was not accredited during HWA's time. And PCG's Herbert W. Armstrong College is unaccredited as well.

Stephen Flurry ends his booklet with the following words.
Imperial College of Edmond is but a small foretaste of what colleges will be like in the World Tomorrow. It’s not like other colleges and universities today—those institutions suffocating under the increasing pressure of gross materialism, godless science and politically correct nonsense. Imperial College’s uniqueness is best summed up by the school motto: “Education with vision.” (p. 44.)
In other words Stephen Flurry is advertizing for his college. It's advertizing. Education outside of PCG's control is denigrated to get people to join PCG or even go to their (unaccredited) College.

February 2001 issue.
And so this loaded jargon filled, advertizing booklet comes to an end.

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