Thursday, October 15, 2015

Reading PCG's Article, The Origin of Easter (1997)

Let us now read PCG's 1996 article, "The Origin of Easter" by David Todd with Stephen Flurry. Here Todd and Stephen Flurry uses Alexander Hyslop's ideas about Nimrod and Semiramis as the originators of the Babylonian religion to demonize Easter. This is done in order to condemn the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches as false and abhorred by PCG's God in order to compel the reader to join PCG. (And once one joins PCG he or she is required to pay three tithes and extra offerings to PCG for life.)

This article first appeared in the August 1997 issue of PCG's recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet. It was later made available as a reprint article.

(For simplicity's sake I shall hereafter refer to Todd alone as the author of this article.)

At first Todd begins his article recounting how he celebrated Easter as a child in a Protestant church.

Todd complains about getting up early that day to perform in an Easter play.
What I didn’t like about Easter was having to get up hours before daylight to go to church and get our costumes on, so we could perform the play for all those who came. Most of them never attended church at any other time. (p. 1.)
It sounds strange to mention in print that one did not like to wake up early in order to perform in a play. That sounds like an activity one can be happy about and look back with satisfaction.

Todd then mentions going on a Easter egg hunt.
A prize awaited the child who found the most eggs. If you found the silver egg, you received an even better prize. But the best prize of all was reserved for the one who found the golden egg. That was the egg everyone wanted. To find the silver or golden egg was a real accomplishment. You had to be careful though. If you spotted the golden egg at the same time a bigger kid did, you might get clobbered trying to pick it up! (p. 1.)
Todd later adds a punch line to this anecdote on page 3 in order to demonize Easter.
When the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, Babylon, as a city, had long been destroyed and left in ruins, just as the Old Testament prophets foretold. (p. 1.)
This is wrong. Babylon still existed as a city in the time the New Testament was written. But later it fell into ruin because other cities captured Babylon's markets and ran Babylon out of business.

Todd then recites the Armstrongite dogma  that Nimrod and his wife Semiramis founded the Babylonian religion from which all the pagan religions supposedly sprang from. HWA took this idea from Alexander Hyslop's book The Two Babylons, an anti-Catholic polemic which dates from the 1850s. It insists that the Catholic religion is essentially the Babylonian religion recreated. It is nonsense.

Todd even mentions Hyslop. It was Hyslop, a 19th Century Presbyterian minister of Scotland, who, for the most part, concocted this modern day myth in an anti-Catholic polemic. HWA merely took these ideas from Hyslop's book and used them to justify banning Easter and Christmas in order to demonize Catholicism and Protestantism. (Ironically it appears Hyslop never banned Easter or Christmas among his parishioners. He concocted this myth to condemn Catholicism, not to prop up his own following.)
Basing his conclusions on information that has come from history, legend, and mythology, Alexander Hislop has written in detail of how the Babylonian religion developed around traditions concerning Nimrod and his mother-wife Semiramis. When Nimrod died, according to the old stories, his body was cut into pieces, burned, and sent to various areas. Following his death, which was greatly mourned by the people of Babylon, his wife Semiramis claimed he was the sun god. Nimrod became a counterfeit “savior.” Semiramis, being Nimrod’s wife, labeled herself the “Queen of Heaven”. (p. 2.)
Todd also mentions Herman Hoeh and his ludicrous Compendium of World History.
Baal, like Nimrod, is referred to as the sun god. That is because they are one and the same. When the nations divided after the tower of Babel, they developed their own distinct gods with different names, but all originating in Babylon (see Genesis 11:9). Notice this quote by Dr. Herman Hoeh, in his Compendium on World History (page 48): “The Egyptian god Osiris was the Baal of the Phoenicians, the Marduk of the Babylonians, the Tammuz of the Semites, the Nimrod of the Bible.” All of those gods originated from the very foundation of man’s governments—Nimrod and Babylon. (p. 2.)
It is worth mentioning here that Hoeh was imitating Hyslop in that discredited book.
And who was the wife of Nimrod? None other than his own mother—Semiramis. It is from Nimrod and Semiramis that all of these pagan gods trace their roots. (p. 3.)
This seemingly Biblical idea actually comes from Hyslop. And Hyslop's writings about Nimrod and Semiramis was very confused as noted by one blogger.
One example is in that Hislop in various pages of his book [The Two Babylons] referred to Semiramis as being Nimrod’s wife, and again his daughter, and again his mother, and again that Nimrod had two mothers, and again nine mothers. And this is history? Woodrow counters with evidence that Semiramis and Nimrod did not even live in the same century together! (Source.)
It appears to have been HWA who tried to (partly) explain away Hyslop's confused writing on this topic by insisting that Semiramis was Nimrod's mother.

Todd then cites a 1981 book by Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion, which happened to be largely based on Hyslop's book.
Here is what Ralph Woodrow asked in his book, Babylon Mystery Religion: “From where, then, did Easter observance come? Did the early Christians dye Easter eggs? Did Peter or Paul ever conduct an Easter sunrise service? The answers are, of course obvious.”

The origin and meaning of Easter has no connection with the first-century Church. Woodrow continues, “The word [Easter] comes from the name of a pagan goddess—the goddess of the rising light of day and spring. ‘Easter’ is but a more modern form of Eostre, Ostera, Astarte, or Ishtar, the latter, according to Hislop, being pronounced as we pronounce ‘Easter’ today.” (p. 3.)
Woodrow is cited at length in this article on pages 3 and 5.

Woodrow later concluded that Hyslop's book was nonsense. Woodrow proceeded to explain this fact in his book The Babylon Connection? It was published in March 1997 several months before Todd's article was published. At much financial cost Woodrow renounced his 1981 book Babylon Mystery Religion. The reader of Todd's article would never know of Woodrow's renunciation of Hyslop's ideas. Why is it that so long after Woodrow exposed Hyslop's words as nonsense that PCG continues to promote this article using Woodrow's 1981 book?

It is intriguing how Todd cites Hyslop, HWA, Hoeh and Woodrow to insist that Nimrod and Semiramis founded the Babylonian religion. But in fact all of these persons are citing Hyslop. It is Hyslop who devised this modern myth about Nimrod and Semiramis. No one else.
The sun was considered to be the “golden egg” by the ancient Egyptians. (p. 3.)
This ties in with Todd's recounting of his childhood Easter egg hunt. What rank fear mongering.
Mr. Armstrong then concludes by asking the question, “Then why should you do it today?” Good question! (p. 4.)
Banning Easter is a tool that PCG (and the other COGs groups) use to make people socially dependent on them. This attempt to demonize Easter and make it utterly abhorrent to the reader is an attempt to isolate and control the reader. Those who join PCG are required to pay three tithes and are even ordered not to contact ex-members or the members of the other COG groups.
We can begin to see how this pagan custom celebrating the resurrection of Tammuz infiltrated its way in the “Christian” world under the guise of Jesus’ 40-day fast. Like so many of the customs of this world, no matter where they originate, people assume them to be of God as long as someone along the way stamps “Christian” on them. Yet God tells us not to trust man (Jeremiah 17:5). If God says to observe it, you can be sure it will be found somewhere in His inspired word—the Holy Bible. (p. 5.)
Everything is interpreted in a hostile and paranoid manner. Instead of seeing that using Lent to focus upon Jesus' devotion would be most useful in keeping people focused on the Christian religion it is condemned as a sinister infiltration. 

"Yet God tells us not to trust man" is loaded language that really means, Believe what PCG tells you. All else is wrong.
For those who might doubt these ancient pagan origins, ask yourself, where in the Bible does it teach us to abstain from meat on Friday and to instead eat fish? These traditions and customs are not of God. (p. 5.)
And, considering that Todd comes from a Protestant church in Oklahoma, why is he here fixated upon these Catholic customs? Because Todd is mimicking Hyslop's original purpose in concocting this Nimrod-Semiramis myth: to condemn Catholicism.

Near the end Todd gets to the point: He uses his demonization of Easter to condemn all other churches as false, Catholic and Protestant.
It is true that Jesus came and established the true Church. But as we have already seen, Satan has his pagan customs and beliefs. And he also has his church and false Christs . Few people realize that the Bible actually prophesies of two churches—one great false church and one small, persecuted true Church of God.

The great false church is pictured by the woman riding the scarlet beast of Revelation 17. On her forehead is written, “Mystery, Babylon the great.” Yes, the ancient city of Babylon has long been destroyed. But the pagan customs and traditions originating there have continued in Satan’s false churches. This false church is labeled the mother of harlots. She has many daughter churches that have come out of her in protest, calling themselves Protestant. The very name Babylon means confusion! Certainly, the hundreds of different denominations, sects and religions of this world point to nothing but confusion. God is not the author of confusion .... Satan is! (p. 6.)
How hypocritical it is for PCG to mock the hundreds of Protestant churches while Armstrongism itself has also splintered apart into hundreds of competing groups. PCG is but one of them.
These days of Lent, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas and other pagan holidays the world holds sacred, are an abomination to God. (p. 7.)
The demonization of Easter by PCG is an attempt to isolate the reader from mainstream society in order to control him or her by compelling the reader to join PCG and pay three tithes for the rest of his or her life.
Fortunately, God has recorded which days and observances are actually holy and sacred to Him! They are the annual holy days and His weekly Sabbath. These days do not originate in Babylon with Nimrod and Semiramis. They began with the God of this universe! Rather, they keep us in remembrance of God’s great master plan for mankind. Together, God’s holy days reveal the incredible human potential—the fact that God is a Family and that man, who has been created in the very image of God, has the opportunity to be born into that Family. Now that is exciting! (p. 7.)
This refers to the God Family doctrine which, unfortunately for those who believe in it, happens to be completely non-biblical. It is a doctrine concocted by HWA very likely taken from another source, possibly the Mormons or early teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses. (Also is the God Family doctrine really that much different from pantheism?)

Todd's article ends with a section condemning hot cross buns as originating outside (PCG's version of) Christianity and also accursed by (PCG's) God. It seems odd to stick this section at the very end when the previous section seemed stylistically more fitting as the end. Perhaps it was an insert in the original magazine issue.

And so this article which demonizes Easter to get more tithes paying converts for PCG comes to an end. Too bad the reader has little idea of the extreme things PCG members are historically known to commit such as refusing medical treatment or shunning family members.

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