Monday, August 31, 2009

Letter on the Vita Packatollah

Exit and Support Network has just published a letter about Dave Pack's Autobiography. It exposes the manufactured modesty of this publication.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Meredith's Double Speak

This is from Meredith's May 4, 2004 co-worker letter (emphasis mine):
Last year alone we mailed out, totally free of charge, more than 1.9 million magazine copies, booklets, letters, Bible Study Course lessons, reprint articles, videotapes and audiotapes. This Work has never asked the public for one dime, and we are not asking you now.
What a marvelous example of double speak.

HWA vs. Ellen White

In one post xHWA commented on the comparisons between HWA and Ellen G. White. Because of my readings on the Wednesday Crucifixion doctrine it occurred to me that EGW outdid HWA in gaining the trust of the denomination.

HWA tried to influence COG7 to adopt his eclectic beliefs but he got kicked out for it.

EGW on the other hand was able to rally the entire Seventh Day Adventist Church behind her.

Clearly she was far more successful in convincing people within her denomination than HWA was. EGW went into the Adventist movement and she came to gain leadership among most who accepted the Sabbath.

HWA had to go away and build up his own following.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Musings on the Vita Packatollah

Unsurprisingly this book paints a very negative portrayal of Meredith. Because Pack originally joined his organization Pack desperately needs to discredit him and "prove" that God could not be working through him. If Pack really is an Apostle as he has claimed since 2005, then why did he affiliate himself Meredith when he left WCG? It is to get rid of this problem that Meredith is portrayed in a negative manner. Pack was never involved with PCG so they merit only the occasional disparaging comment.

In the first volume Meredith was portrayed as a failure and this is mentioned again in this volume. "Mr. Pack had a detailed personal history with this man that was negative in so many regards." (Chapter 38.)

Pack claims that Meredith's reassigning another man as the designated successor was a sign Meredith would not be faithful. This is just one way that Pack seeks to discredit Meredith.

Pack is also well known for refusing to answer Here is how Pack excuses himself from answering every concern that is raised. "“As I have written before, if I continue to have to answer each and every charge written about me from now until Christ returns, one person after one person after one person at a time, the Adversary will have effectively rendered me useless as a tool in God’s hands to serve His people." (Chapter 50.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pack's Apostolic Succession -- Part 2

Previously we saw how Pack links himself with HWA by using a personal moment with him in order to associate himself with "Elijah" himself. This is just one tale of association that has been spread by his sect, RCG. There are others elements to this narrative as well that are present in his Authorized Biography.

This association with HWA is also pursued in another way, namely by RCG's acquiring of relics. In this book they proudly display photos of one of HWA's electric typewriters, which we are told was used when he wrote Mystery of the Ages (Group 4 of photos in Volume 2, p. 10), and an Elijah glass made of Steuben crystal (Group 7 of photos in Volume 2, p. 9). I thought keeping relics was regarded as idolatrous? Also he mentions that his father attended school with a then unknown HWA. All of these details are used to allow Pack to be linked with HWA.

Furthermore a picture is shown with Pack preaching to a WCG tour group at Capernaum at hill which is suggested to be the "Mount" where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. (Group 5 of photos in Volume 1, p. 4, PDF p. 3) To be fair Pack is not the only one to do indulge in such associations with Jesus. I remember once Gerald Flurry made a TV broadcast at the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem.

And so Pack is able to surround himself with tithe followers and set up his own Armstrongite sect, convincing them that he basks in the glory of HWA.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Packatolloah's Apostolic Succession

Dave Pack cannot claim that HWA appointed him his successor. Only Tkach can claim that. Therefore Pack has to find other ways to establish his legitimacy as the rightful successor to HWA.

One element of Pack's legitimizing narrative is for him to claim some sort of link with HWA himself. As part of this attempt of his to claim the mantle of leadership he has to find some link with HWA so he may bask in the halo of HWA, thus helping followers of HWA to associate the two men in their minds and accept Pack's leadership.

This is how he does it. This personal link with HWA is provided with this little story from the time of the Receivership in 1979. This story is used to legitimize Pack as HWA's successor.
The most important thought on Mr. Armstrong’s mind was the possibility that there were still liberal ministers in the Church. He knew they offered the most dangerous threat to God’s people.

The afternoon ended with a moment that Mr. Pack could never forget. As the elderly apostle rose shakily from his chair, he pointed his finger to Mr. Pack’s chest, and said, “Dave, you will never teach anything but the truth, will you? You will never teach these false doctrines, will you?”

“No, sir,” Mr. Pack promised. “I will not.” (Chapter 22.)
Immediately after this it is asserted that Pack had no idea of what would later happen. This introduces an element of modesty in how Pack is portrayed.
“I had not the faintest idea that I would some day have to keep, and demonstrate, this promise in the most profound way. I knew Mr. Armstrong was speaking from the crisis of the moment. I am sure that he also thought I would never have to keep my word in the way that I ultimately had to.”
This stands in contrast to how he portrays himself to RCG members as an Apostle and how he ordered members to hand over their assets to his organization.

This theme of HWA's "order to be faithful" story is recounted elsewhere in this work.
"Mr. Pack remembered the commitment that Mr. Armstrong had personally asked for while in his home in Tucson, Arizona, in the aftermath of the receivership in 1979. “Dave, you will never teach anything but the truth, will you? You will never teach these things—will you?” he asked. “If false leaders ever take control of the Church, I hope you won’t teach their false ideas.”" (Chapter 38)
I am not suggesting this story is not true I am simply showing how this story is used to legitimize Pack's leadership among his followers, and so to speak, discredit all other Armstrongite splinter groups and rivals to Pack.

Unlike Tkach Pack cannot claim any special mandate from HWA himself to "continue the work." He does not have Meredith's seniority and fame, or the largest group of Armstrongites following him so he needs to portray himself as legitimate. As part of this RCG has created a link of Pack with HWA. Pack uses this moment of private conversation with HWA as a substitute for HWA's authorizing him to continue spreading the message after he is gone.

More on this later.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good News

I have just got an email from Tempest Sixt Car Hire.

They have assured me that the PCG magazines are being removed. PCG's publications will no longer be distributed via that particular avenue.

My thanks go to the company for choosing to act in such a decisive manner.

Well done people! We did it. My thanks go out to all those who have participated in this needed protest. Your effort is greatly appreciated. Be proud with what you have done.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Want to do Something about PCG?

[Update: Please see the above post. The company in question has decided to remove PCG's materials from their newsstands. This situation is no longer relevant.]

I have just read that PCG has arranged to have their recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet, placed in newsstands in South Africa after coming to an agreement with Tempest Sixt Car Hire.

Outraged? Wish to do something about it?

Let us send them emails.

I fear that the persons behind this company may be unaware of the Philadelphia Church of God's true nature. So I sent them an email telling them what sort of organization PCG actually is.

I have a suggestion for you. I want you to tell this rental car company what sort of organization they have allowed to take up their newsstand space. Just cut and paste my example letter if you want, maybe add your own touches to it if you want, and send it at that address. You will have to fill in some details. I stuck in some pseudonyms myself, but I leave that to the discretion of the reader.

Please always be respectful and courteous if you should decide to send your own email to them.

HWA managed to get on so many radio stations because, if I recall correctly, he hid the cultic nature of his organization. "Oh it's just (mainly) a news thing," he essentially told them. Perhaps PCG has done the same here?

Well, let's tell Tempest Sixt Car Hire the truth about this organization. Let's do it in a wave of emails so they will not so easily ignore this message.

This will only take a few minutes. I encourage you to do this thing to make this company fully aware of what they have actually done.

The email you can send to them begins here:

To Tempest Sixt Car Hire

According to this page ( it seems that the magazine The Philadelphia Trumpet will now be offered on your newsstands beginning in September.

I am concerned that you may be unaware of the true nature of this dangerous organization. This publication is produced by the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG), which has its world headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma, USA.

This organization has been known to engage in destructive behavior and hence is widely known as a destructive, mind control cult.
  • Members hold this superstition that using medicines is somehow an offense against God and members have been known to refuse to take medical treatment. Some have even died because of this doctrine of death, such as Australian member Garth MacDonald. (See:
  • If any member should wish to leave they are shunned by all members. PCG members are required to have "no contact" with those who leave.
  • Furthermore PCG members are forbidden from having contact with members of their parent organization the Worldwide Church of God, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, or any other organizations springing from WCG. Those who belong to such organizations are denounced as "Laodiceans" who are viewed as cursed by God and not worthy of any social contact.
  • PCG members are also required to pay three tithes. They trick potential converts by offering their writings for free, thus creating a sense of obligation to them in the reader, which they use to suddenly spring this terrible burden upon them. This is a terrible financial burden which has caused many members to be impoverished and forced to go without in order to meet the demands of this cult.
  • Furthermore their publication is designed to interpret the world events within an apocalyptic narrative. They teach that nuclear World War III will soon erupt and the world will be on the brink of nuclear annihilation. This fearful interpretation is used to scare people into clinging themselves onto PCG.
  • Their leader, Gerald Flurry, is held to be "That Prophet."
  • They do not believe in the Trinity, instead they say God is a family of beings into which believers can be born into.
If you wish to see more information about this organization you might wish to investigate the following sites:

Ambassador Report on PCG

Exit and Support Network

The Plain Truth about Malachi's Message and That Prophet (written by a former member)

Ambassador Watch

Because of these facts I have put this to your attention. This is the organization which has been allowed to send its publications in your newsstands.

I have brought these facts to your attention in order for you to be aware of the true nature of this organization. You deserve to know what sort of organization PCG is.

Thank you for your attention

---End of email---

The proceeding is pretty much what I wrote to them. However the first paragraph was altered in order to make it less personal. Before it said, "I was reading this page ( and learned that the magazine The Philadelphia Trumpet will now be offered on your newsstands beginning in September." That is the only change.

Let us ensure that this company will not remain ignorant of the disturbing nature of PCG. I am not planning a boycott or anything, I simply want this company to be fully aware of what this organization is.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughts on the Packatollah's New Authorized Biography

As mentioned before, Volume 2 of The Authorized Biography of David Pack has come out. It's even longer than the first volume.

Let us see what this man, who has called himself an Apostle and ordered his followers to give up their assets to him, has to say.

I read its account of Dave Pack's last days as a WCG minister. According to him Herman Hoeh once referred to the Tkachite reformers as the "Synagogue of Satan." Pack complains that many people who promised to go with him out of WCG got cold feet and decided to stay. "The renowned “doctor” [apparently Herman Hoeh, who is not explicitly named] completely agreed that if Mr. Armstrong had still been alive, the current Pastor General would have been disfellowshipped from the Church. “The synagogue of Satan is in charge out here,” he said, alluding to Revelation 3:9." (Chapter 37.)

It has a section on Pack's infamous "Clarion Call" in which he demanded members hand over their assets over to him. This may be seen in Chapter 59.

In one of the photos in the seventh section there is a photo of Dave Pack and his present wife, the former Vernia Anstey, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Restored Church of God. A photo is shown of a big cake. It is remarkable how similar this occasion is to a birthday. I thought birthdays were forbidden. Of course this is not a birthday, it is an "anniversary," they would tell us. Birthdays are anniversaries.

Here is how Pack excuses himself from answering every concern that is raised. "“As I have written before, if I continue to have to answer each and every charge written about me from now until Christ returns, one person after one person after one person at a time, the Adversary will have effectively rendered me useless as a tool in God’s hands to serve His people." (Chapter 50)

Also if you look at some of the pictures you see the men at church wearing suits all the time. I remember reading every now and then how everyone dressed in a very formal manner while at church. Now as explained before I never got to the stage in which I got to attend church. But I think I now know what they are talking about. Every man dressed up in suits. This is a disturbing reflection of HWA's over emphasis on outward appearances rather than what is on the inside of a human being.

Ultimately this book must be judged as simply part of an attempt to deceive people into adopting Pack's version of the Armstrongite heresy. Pack invites the unsuspectingto place their trust in Herbert W. Armstrong, a man who made numerous false prophecies, predicted Christ's return in 1975 and by 2005, and he taught many things which are not true. This maybe a useful resource in coming to grips with what HWA really tried to inculcate into us.

May the Lord save those that RCG are trying to deceive.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Internet and Information Control

Here's a very thought provoking article about the Internet's effect on cults which wish to control members' access to information: The Truth vs. the truth by Stephen Cox.

It mainly focuses on Jehovah's Witnesses. Did you know Jehovah's Witnesses are allowed blood transfusions in Bulgaria?

It even mentions WCG's transformation briefly in one paragraph near the end.
Only one modern American institution has ever admitted that it was fundamentally in error — the Worldwide Church of God, an Adventist church that, influenced by the Witnesses, once referred to its members as "in the Truth," and to everyone else as out of it. During the 1990s, the WCG leadership surveyed its distinctive teachings and announced that they could not be squared with the Bible. The reward for its courage was the loss of 50–60% of its membership. This is an example that the Watchtower Society will be very reluctant to follow.
I don't often hear WCG described as "an Adventist church" but he is completely justified in calling it such.

It is a very intriguing article.

Those who might be offended at the positive portrayal of WCG might be interested in seeing this blog from anti-cult activist Rick Ross, Do cults collapse when leaders die and/or they give up the exclusive claims that define them? Unlike many others who have been quite welcoming of WCG's entering the fold of the majority, this gives a brief critical examination of the new WCG.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another British-Israelite

This is from Chapter 40 of the Autobiography of HWA.

"This man was well impressed with our program and also with The Plain Truth, which he carefully examined. It happened that he was familiar with the truth of our national identity in the House of Israel, and he was glad to see this truth published in the Plain Truth magazine."

What HWA cleverly obscured from his Autobiography was the information that British-Israelism had long been circulated within Britain and America. This person would have heard of this from people influenced by the teachings of such men as John Wilson and Edward Hine.

Some to this day deny that HWA was a plagiarizer. Some have tried to narrowly define plagiarism as simply copying words, when in fact plagiarism has a wider definition than that. It involves taking other peoples' ideas and not acknowledging them.

HWA was a plagiarizer. That is why he happened to find this fellow British-Israelite. HWA did not get it by studying the Bible but by acquiring this doctrine while reading of these beliefs.

Monday, August 17, 2009

History on the Global Church of God Split

Some will be familiar with this, but here is a website chronicling the split in the Global Church of God.

The author appears to be COG, hence there are a lot of old WCG recruitment writings, but he has a lot of resources about the GCG split.

Highlight for me: an email from Aaron Dean confirming that the 1980 letter from HWA to Meredith is indeed authentic, and a list of contradicting statements Meredith made during the split.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Witness Lee: Are We Divine Now?

There are many religions out there that teach that mankind is somehow divine in nature. Some also claim to be Christian. Here is one more that seems to teach this.

This is from Witness Lee, founder of Living Stream Ministry, which possess teachings contrary to mainstream Christianity. Here he seems to teach that we somehow possess the divine nature now.

I am not suggesting a direct connection with HWA, I am simply giving out an example of a religion that think we are God-like in nature now.

"Christ is of two natures, the human and the divine, and we are the same: we are of the human nature, but covered with the divine. He is the God-man, and we are the God-men. He is the ark made of wood covered with gold, and we are the boards made of wood covered with gold. In number we are different, but in nature we are exactly the same." Witness Lee, The All-Inclusive Christ, (Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 5th ed. 1989), p. 103. (Source)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

HWA: The Philadelphian Messenger

The traditional COG understanding of the messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 is that they are prophecies predicting the conditions of seven church eras stretching from Apostolic times to our time, supposedly just before the Second Coming.

However an alternative interpretation was presented by HWA in his last book, Mystery of the Ages. The messages in Revelation 2 and 3 are addressed to "angels" of those seven churches. Usually these messages are understood to be referring to the church era as a whole. Yet HWA claimed that the "angel of Philadelphia" was also a description of himself.

"Of the Philadelphia era of God's true Church we read: "To the angel of the church...." This word angel translated from the Greek aggelos means messenger or agent. This is not necessarily always referring to a spirit angel but can refer as well to a human may also apply to the human messenger or agent God has raised up to lead this era of his Church [HWA]." (Mystery of the Ages, Chapter 6, under the heading 'Restoration of God's Truth to Church.' This is discussed in this critical review, under the heading 'Philadelphian Era.')

Where did he get this idea? Did he devise it himself? That seems unlikely because as far as I can tell every idea he taught came from somewhere else (except maybe Second and Third Tithes). Is there some other source which we can find from which he gained this idea?

There is.

On the grave of Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the members of which would later be named Jehovah's Witnesses, it is declared that Russell was "The Laodicean Messenger."

While HWA was only willing to identify the Philadelphian messenger (himself), the Watchtower Society went even further than HWA and claimed to identify each of the seven messengers. They were Paul, John, Arius, Waldo, Wycliffe, Luther and Russell. Notice what is related here.

"While [Russell] implies that there were precursors to his work (who of course had a very different theology than Russell accepted [very similar to HWA's "church history" doctrine]), it was only in The Finished Mystery (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7) published after his death that a direct line is sketched from Paul and John through Arius, Waldo, Wycliff, and Luther to Russell." (Gene Edson Ahlstrom, The Church in the Thought of Charles Taze Russell, under the heading 'Sectarianism and Church History.')

So this is where HWA got the idea that the "angels" of the seven churches were actually individuals and allowed himself to call himself The Philadelphian Messenger. It is simply another idea stolen from the Watchtower.

A Russell Quote Reminescent of HWA

While reaching this article noting concerns about the Watchtower Society's 1993 book, Jehovah's Witnesses: Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, I came across this quote from their founder, the false prophet of the 1914 "End of this System of Things" that never was, Charles Taze Russell.

"Many are the inquiries relative to the truths presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN and ZION'S WATCH TOWER...Were they the results of visions? Did God in any supernatural way grant the solution of these hitherto mysteries of his plan? Are the writers more than ordinary beings?...No, the truths I present, as God's mouthpiece, were not revealed in visions or dreams nor by God's audible voice, nor all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880." [July 15, 1906, Watch Tower, p. 229, as quoted in Jehovah's Witnesses: Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, p. 622, as quoted in Alan Feuerbacher's article.]

This quote reminds me how HWA claimed not to have received any supernatural visions and how he claimed that "the truth" did not emerge all at once. "I had to learn one doctrine, and one truth, at a time." (Chapter 23 of the Autobiography of HWA.)

Also just like C. T. Russell HWA claimed to be the only one through whom God was presently working with.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

C. T. Russell and HWA's Examples of Humbleness

C. T. Russell, the founder of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the followers of which would later become known as Jehovah's Witnesses, the false prophet of the 1914 end of Man's World which did not happen, who based this false prophecy on the erroneous belief that Jerusalem fell in 606 BC, this man wrote a series of six books entitled Studies in the Scriptures. A seventh volume was released after his death.

The False Prophet Russell once stated that these books were essentially the Bible in an arranged form.

"If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible topically arranged, with Bible proof-texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes -- the Bible in an arranged form. That is to say, they are not merely comments on the bible, but they are practically the Bible itself."

Shortly after this Russell made his infamous comment that those who studied the Bible alone would leave, but those who studied Studies in the Scriptures would remain among his followers.

"Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years -- if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and had not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of the two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures." (C. T. Russell, Watch Tower, September 15, 1910, pp. 298-9. Courtesy of Alan Feuerbacher, Notes on the Proclaimers Book.)

These are quite similar to statements HWA, the false prophet of the 1975 Advent which did not happen, made upon the publication of Mystery of the Ages.

"Since last December I have been working diligently on the largest and most important book of my life. In real fact I feel I myself did not write it. Rather, I believe God used me in writing it. I candidly feel it may be the most important book since the Bible. It is named "Mystery of the Ages". Actually it might be called a synopsis of the Bible in the most plain and understandable language. ... This new book "Mystery of the Ages" unveils all these mysteries. It puts the many different parts of the "jigsaw puzzle" together. It is, in fact, a synopsis of the entire Bible." (Herbert W. Armstrong, September 12, 1985, Co-Worker Letter, Chapter 84 of HWA's Autobiography.)

Such similar behavior is uncanny, and exposes the fact that these false prophets are of the same nature.

The Unjust Nature of the Interracial Marriage Ban

In the last post I discussed HWA's ban on interracial marriage and how it was based on faulty understandings of Scriptures. I was never really comfortable with it, but I was convinced HWA worked with God, and I thought there was so much more to this religion than that, and it did not effect anything I did, so I just passively accepted it.

However I did not then realize just how utterly unjust this belief is, as some writers on this question revealed.

Many states of the United States of America used to have anti-miscegenation laws forbidding interracial marriage. These laws were overturned following the 1967 Supreme Court decision in the case Loving vs. Virginia. The couple in question was convicted of breaking this anti-miscegenation law in trial in 1959. The judge used arguments very similar to what HWA would later use in banning interracial marriage, as may be seen here. This shows both were drawing on common erroneous beliefs to perpetuate this oppression.

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." (Judge Leon Bazile.)

Some analysts have concluded that this restriction on marriage choice was an even worst violation of liberty towards African Americans than the infamous segregation of public schools imposed upon them.

"In 1958, the political theorist Hannah Arendt, an emigre from Nazi Germany, wrote in an essay in response to the Little Rock Crisis, the Civil Rights struggle for the racial integration of public schools which took place in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, that anti-miscegenation laws were an even deeper injustice than the racial segregation of public schools. The free choice of a spouse, she argued in Reflections on Little Rock, was "an elementary human right": "Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs."" (Wikipedia: Anti-miscegenation laws)

Gunnar Myrdal also ranked this ban on interracial marriage as among the most fundamental and severe injustices inflicted upon African Americans.

"In his essay, Social Trends in America and Strategic Approaches to the Negro Problem (1948), Myrdal ranked the social areas where restrictions were imposed by Southern whites on the freedom of African-Americans through racial segregation from the least to the most important: jobs, courts and police, politics, basic public facilities, "social equality" including dancing and handshaking, and most importantly, marriage. This ranking was indeed reflective of the way in which the barriers against desegregation fell.... the bans on interracial marriage were the last to go, in 1967." (Ibid.)

He had no right to take things out of context to produce this oppressive doctrine. Like the Pharisees Jesus condemned HWA added burden upon burden upon his deceived followers. Why do those in the COGs continue to support a man who placed such heavy unnecessary burdens on his followers and who decided to perpetuate such an unjust institution?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thoughts on HWA's Interracial Marriage Ban

After being spurred on by seeing the Dateline report on the Robidoux cult I soon found a copy of HWA's anti-Christmas booklet, The Plain Truth about Christmas. It absolutely dazzled me with its Hyslopian (and false) vision of the evil Nimrod who started Christmas. I wanted to find out more.

Eventually I realized this booklet was on an unofficial web page that contained many of HWA's writings. I saw that HWA's last book was a book that was highly spoken of, namely, Mystery of the Ages.

When I read it it said many things. (If you want to truly understand it you need to read this review.) But one thing that surprised me was how it condemned interracial marriage. I was somewhat put off by it, but I believed HWA so I just accepted what he said.

I did not realize at the time that other groups, racist in nature, also share this belief, and also how this doctrine is not supported in the Bible.

Consider how this doctrine is also taught among the extremist Identity movement. Similar to HWA Identity believes that White Americans are descended from the allegedly lost Ten Tribes of Israel. This extremist movement also forbids interracial marriage. Their approach to this topic is somewhat different as they follow the racist doctrine that only Whites are descended from Adam, while the other races are descended from "inferior" "pre-Adamites."

"Because Identity teachers hold that the other races are of a different creation, they consider interracial marriage a sin. Identity teachers insist that interracial marriage was the cause of God's judgment on the people of Noah's time." (Viola Larson, Christian Research Institute (CRI), Identity, p. 2.)

This is eerily similar to what HWA wrote in Mystery of the Ages as part of his rationale for this ban on interracial marriage, as may be seen here.

"Marrying, to be evil, had to be as in Genesis 6:2, when men "took them wives of all which they chose." There was rampant and universal interracial marriage--so exceedingly universal that Noah, only, was unblemished or perfect in his generations--his ancestry. He was of the original white strain....God originally set the bounds of national borders, intending nations to be SEPARATED to prevent interracial marriage." (Chapter 4, "End of the Antediluvian World.")

Interracial marriage was held to be a cause of the Great Flood. Also a verse in the Song of Moses was cited, and interpreted as saying God wanted the races to be separated.

But a) the assertion that interracial marriage was the cause for the Great Flood is not Biblically supportable, and b) the verse in the Song of Moses was referring to the Twelve Tribes of Israel. That verse is not a decree for all time that interracial marriage is forbidden. These points may be seen here.

However he is wrong to suggest that the Bible bans interracial marriage.

HWA has plucked out one or two lines from the Song of Moses, which was made for Israel, and used it improperly justify his peculiar belief in the racial segregation of marriage.

He also cited Ezra, in which some of the Jews were ordered to put away their Canaanite wives. However, as is shown here, this measure was taken to prevent the Israelites from falling into idolatry, not to maintain some imaginary racial purity as HWA imagined. Racial purity does not exist anywhere in the whole wide world. We all have mixed ancestry.

Furthermore interracial marriage did occur early in the ancestry of the Israelite nation. Judah married a Canaanite, the daughter of Shuah (Genesis 38:2). Simeon had a son with a Canaanite. "The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman" (Genesis 46:10). So HWA's confused assertion that Israel was of pure or nearly pure racial stock is not true. Clearly there was intermarriage.

This does not dilute or lessen the identity of the Jewish people in any way, unlike what some anti-Semites, including Identity, would have us believe. It is the same as an African American with some White ancestry. Such mixed ancestry, which we all ultimately have, does not in any way compromise one's ethnic identity.

The ideal of racial purity is an anachronistic concept that HWA read into the Bible. He had no right or legitimate claim to ban interracial marriage.

Furthermore those commands were given to Israel, not the church. The Anglo-Saxons and Celts are not descended from ancient Israel. So any attempt to say we should follow that law today is a complete misuse of those laws.

Despite my disquiet at this particular doctrine it did not change my belief that God worked through HWA. Because I never joined any COG it never really affected me. However, for personal reasons, I was never a huge fan of this belief. But there was so much else to this religion I thought this did not really matter. I thought God was worked through HWA so I accepted it. It did not cause me to make any sacrifices, it did not have a significant impact on my life. So I was blind to the evil and impropriety of this doctrine.

[Update: August 1, 2013. More on this topic can be read at this post: The Unjust Nature of the Interracial Marriage Ban.]

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thoughts about the Sabbath Doctrine

In the first issue of Tomorrow's World that I received in the mail was one article that convinced me that Christians are now required to observe the Sabbath. It mentioned that Jesus observed the Sabbath, therefore it argued that I should observe it as well. I was totally convinced on this matter. This moment made me trust them.

It never occurred to me to ask the following question: "11. If we must follow the example of Jesus in all things like keeping the Sabbath, then why do Sabbatarians not follow the example of Jesus in circumcision, animal sacrifices and keeping Passover?"

Though who wish to learn more on this issue would do well to read this critique of HWA's Which Day is the Christian Sabbath? written by William Hohmann. This argues that the Sabbath commandment was only made for a people living in a specific area (the Holy Land). Outside of this area it is impossible to know which day is the Sabbath.

"This holy time of the Sabbath was in relation to the nation of (and therefore the location of) Israel. In order to make the Sabbath work for other locations, a problem arises as to which day you determine is the Sabbath based upon which direction you travel from Israel. If you travel east to America, then the Sabbath would be on what Americans call Friday. If one lives in the Arctic or Antarctic, then there are times there is no sunrise or sunset for very long periods of time." (Hohmann, Chapter 2.)

Today we determine what day it is based on our position relative to the International Date Line. HWA, unlike many other "man-made" institutions, chose to accept the Date Line. As Gavin Rumney has pointed out this line has underwent some changes recently. Thus Seventh Day Adventists in Tonga observe both Saturday and Sunday. Furthermore the Date Line has also been altered in 1910 and temporarily in 1921, before HWA became got involved in religion.

Knowing how often the "authority of men" is viewed negatively within the COGs it is not surprising that some Sabbatarians have come to assert that because the Date Line was "set up by men" everyone east of Jerusalem is keeping the Sabbath on the wrong day.

Here is how one former member described it: "More and more people who are Sabbath keepers now believe that everyone between the International Date Line and Jerusalem are keeping the Sabbath on the wrong day because the dateline was established by man, not God, and that God counts time from Jerusalem westward." (See fifth comment.)

Mr. Hohmann in his critique cited above argues that God foresaw that this practice would be abolished before any Sabbath keeper wandered too far away, or into the polar circles. Wherever the Sabbath exists, on the other side of the world it is not holy time at all. In the polar circles such concepts become meaningless.

Because of these matters I am persuaded that it is not now necessary to legalistically observe the Sabbath as those in the COGs do.

On another matter if the Holydays are a part of the Law of God which is to observed today why is it that this church has in fact changed the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles?

All of these issues were unknown to me at the time I was persuaded into adopting Sabbatarianism. I would not have listened to them had I understood the true nature of the COGs and the flawed nature of their doctrines, including that of the Sabbath.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Encounter with a Christian Advent Church

One time as mentioned in a previous post, while I still believed HWA, I went visiting some churches in my area. I was completely convinced that HWA spoke the truth, so I was not afraid of having my faith challenged. Indeed I would not have my beliefs changed while there.

But one day I went into a church which I did not know. After the service I looked at some of their writings, and I was most surprised to find that they believed in soul sleep and the mortal soul.

This was a Christian Advent Church. Similar to the COGs it is descended from the Millerite movement of the 1830s-1840s. Many of them later formed the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The COGs sprang from an offshoot of the that church. Others accepted some of the distinctive Adventist doctrines, yet continued to observe Sunday. It was from such people that this Christian Advent Church emerged from. The Jehovah's Witnesses also derive from a non-Sabbatarian branch of the Adventist movement. Hence all these churches' similarities.

At the time this did not change my beliefs at all. But it did surprise me that these people should share such doctrinal commonalities. I do recall reading of a nineteenth century minister who taught soul sleep being cited in LCG's "Church History" booklet, but it was still quite a shock to me to see doctrines that I thought were so distinctive being taught by this church I had never heard of.

I did not then realize that HWA simply stole practically all his doctrines from other sources, one of which was the Adventist movement.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How I Came to Read the Truth about HWA (Addition)

I have made an addition to the previous blog just after I discussed Here is that addition.
I did not read this site's argument that the distinction made in Armstrongism between the "Law of God" (The Ten Commandments) which is said to be eternal and the "Law of Moses" which is said to be temporary and ceremonial, is false. You can read that article here.

Nor did I read Question 10: "How could Adam, Noah and Abraham keep the Sabbath, when Deuteronomy 5:2-4 says that the 10 commandment covenant...was "not made with any of the fathers of Israel who lived before Moses.""

Or Question 11: "If we must follow the example of Jesus in all things like keeping the Sabbath, then why do Sabbatarians not follow the example of Jesus in circumcision, animal sacrifices and keeping Passover?" I wish I kept this in mind when LCG persuaded me to become a Sabbatarian. Although this web site is mainly focused on Seventh Day Adventism much of that material is just as applicable to Armstrongism.

Perhaps here would be a good place to say I have added two articles concerning RCG's Dave Pack in the links section. I have also been able to link back to a good article detailing how HWA actually discovered British-Israelism.