Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 1: Prelude to PCG

Here's a little biographical sketch of Gerald Flurry I have made. I would like to thank all my sources, especially Exit and Support Network, PCG Information, and all the wonderful blogs out there.

And a special thanks go to all my readers. Without you these words would mean nothing. I hope you may find what is written here helpful and/or informative.

Every factual detail recorded here come from other sources, not me. I have no special inside source, all factual details contained here comes from sources easily accessible on the Internet.

Gerald Flurry: A Biographical Sketch--Part 1: Prelude to PCG

1935: Gerald Ray Flurry is born in Oklahoma. "I [Gerald Flurry] was born in the state of Oklahoma in 1935." (Gerald Flurry, Church Answers Fox25 News, December 3, 2008.)

He is born into and grows up in a dysfunctional family where the father is an alcoholic. It is very clear that he had a dysfunctional childhood caused by his father's alcoholism.

In one incident his father returned home and found himself accidentally locked out. Once young Gerald opened the door the father in a rage took out a gun. Gerald was able to persuade him to hand over the gun. He thought it was empty but later accidentally discovered that it was loaded when he fired it into the closet wall.

1957: His mother listens to Herbert W. Armstrong on The World Tomorrow and becomes an Armstrongite. She then tries to convert her son who refuses to listen.

"My mother had been called into the truth in 1957, and from that time...she tried endlessly to convert me. I rebelled against that and persecuted her for what she was doing. Whenever Herbert Armstrong came on the radio, she would turn up the volume so I could hear him, and that upset me. I was antagonistic against him and his message". (Gerald Flurry, Royal Vision, July-August, 2000, p. 9, PDF p.11.)

1961: Gerald Flurry becomes so desperate to find meaning in life he is even willing to try out "mom's religion". He then joins HWA's Radio Church of God. (Ibid.)

In the 1990 edition of Malachi's Message (p. 81) he states that he joined RCG on September 7.

1964: At this time Gerald Flurry was attending the congregation at St. Louis, Missouri.

In the spring Barbara Jeanne Brewer, 20, is baptized into the Radio Church of God.

She was born in Houston, Texas, on January 17, 1944, into a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father. The parents divorced before she was ten. Her mother was forced to work such long hours that the children were often left alone.

Gerald Flurry and Barbara Brewer meet each other and marry November 15. (Sarah Leap and Laura Turgeon, November-December, 2004, Philadelphia News, p. 1, PDF pp.1-2.)

They would have a daughter, Laura (Turgeon), and a son, Stephen.

1965: Gerald Flurry begins to pastor churches within RCG. (Malachi's Message, 1990 edition, p. 81.)

1970: Graduates from Ambassador College. His picture may be seen in the 1971 Envoy, p. 37, PDF p. 41.

1973: Gerald Flurry is ordained a minister of PCG. "Gerald Flurry (a minister in WCG since 1973)". (Exit and Support Network, What is the Philadelphia Church of God?) (My thanks go to ESN for helping me on this issue.)

1975: Is transferred to Pasco, Washington. There he befriends Dennis Leap. (Sarah Leap and Laura Turgeon, November-December, 2004, Philadelphia News, p. 8, PDF p.15.)

This ex-WCG member's testimony relates one unfortunate kid's experiences with Gerald Flurry before he gained his current notoriety. It is not a pretty portrait. (The Emotional Impact is Still with Me, August 22, 2006.)

1981: This photo of Gerald Flurry is taken which is later used for the Painful Truth's Hall of Shame.

1985: Gerald Flurry is transferred to Oklahoma, replacing Arnold L. Clauson. (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 13, 'Getting Turned In'.) Here's Clauson's photo in the Painful Truth's Hall of Shame.

WCG publishes Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong's last book. Although it has a lot of problems in it, including this false prophecy, it quickly gains renown among WCG members.

1986: HWA dies and is succeeded by Joseph Tkach. Gerald Flurry and his congregation sends him a letter proclaiming their loyalty.

1987: Jules Dervaes proclaim WCG to have entered the Laodicean era with HWA's death in his Letter to Laodicea. He sends this to 237 WCG ministers including Gerald Flurry and his assistant pastor John Amos. This is very similar to what Flurry would later write in Malachi's Message.

1988: According to Raising the Ruins it is around this time that Gerald Flurry begin to be suspicious of WCG's moves since HWA's death. "It wasn’t until 1988 that my father began to see this as a distinct possibility." (Chapter 13.) Could this be when Flurry read Dervaes' work?

Around 1987-8 Jules Dervaes, after sending his Letter to Laodicea to Joseph Tkach Sr., then proceeds to send it to 237 WCG ministers. The list may be seen here. Among these 237 are Gerald Flurry and John Amos.

1989: February 14: Pastor's General's Report announce that publication of Mystery of the Ages is to be discontinued.

February 17: Disturbed by this announcement Gerald Flurry confides some of his doubts to his son in a telephone conversation.

"He said, “Some of the things ministers are saying today would have gotten them fired if Mr. Armstrong were around.” I listened in disbelief. Could it really be that bad? He went on to explain that they had discontinued Mystery of the Ages because of “minor errors” and “money.” This was the first time I had ever heard that."(Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, Chapter 13.)

Thus Stephen Flurry witness one of the first signs of the Gerald Flurry's gradual disillusionment with WCG under Tkach.

I would like to take a moment to deconstruct that particular part of Raising the Ruins, a book with which I have quite a few issues with. Leaving aside the question of whether we believe this or not, we should note here that this story very effectively links Mystery of the Ages, a book which PCG members greatly admire, with the desire to begin a new organization. Thus MOA becomes the maiden in disstress, so to speak, who will later be saved. This also serves as a foreshadow of the lawsuit over that book, a subject that will dominate the second half of this book.

And within one unremarkable WCG minister thoughts are stirring which shall have a high impact upon the world of the COGs.

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Letter About Christmas

Exit and Support Network has just released this informative and touching letter concerning what HWA & Co. told us about Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Thought About Cults' Devaluing of Jesus

I was wondering around and I this audio lecture entitled Marks of the Cults, by an ex-Mormon, at this conservative, rightist web site, Summit Ministries.

Part of the blurb says this describing the nature of cults:

They add to the Word of God, subtract from the deity of Christ, multiply the terms of salvation and divide loyalties.

(He seems to be using the word 'cult' in the sense of the Christian anti-cult movement.)

I highlight this as this is an objection often directed against the false prophet of 1975, HWA. He is often criticized by Christian ex-COGers for downplaying Jesus by emphasizing legalistic observance of the Law at the expense of grace, or for how he portrayed Jesus as mainly a messenger, as Kelly Marshall points out in this Critical Review of Mystery of the Ages.

Another useful resource is Bill Hohmann's critique of Which Day is the Christian Sabbath by HWA.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the Necessity of American Health Care Reform

Here is president Obama on the necessity of Health Care reform in America. These words may be found from 4:45 of this news video:

A lot of the critics of this entire process fail to note what happens when nothing gets done, and the American people have to be very clear about this. If we don‘t get this done your premiums are guaranteed to go up. If this does not get done more employers are going to drop coverage because they can’t afford it. If this does not get done it is guaranteed that Medicare and Medicaid will blow a hole through our budget. Those things are guaranteed. That is the status quo. That is the trajectory we are now on. I don’t intend to have that happen.

I have seen this tendency in how some opponents of health care reform used the word 'death panels' as though Obama wanted to institute the regularization of euthanasia, but it is clear to me that that is not what the president, or those pushing for this reform, are seeking.

They warn that this is going to 'ration' health care yet ignoring that health care is already severely rationed in the USA. These reforms are an attempt to alleviate the terrible private rationing of health care that is now the case in the USA.

Here's a video which demonstrates starkly the present day private rationing of health care that is with us today.

This video is so terrible that when I first saw this on TV I honestly thought it was just a prank. It was only when I saw a TV news report about this very segment that I realized that this is what far too many people in the USA are forced to deal with. I am very sorry that I doubted at first.

That is why I hope reform will be able to find a way to alleviate this terrible problem in America.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Persecution in Eritrea

In Eritrea only four religions are allowed to operate. "In 2002 the Eritrean regime outlawed religious activity except that of the Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran or Muslim religions." (Source) Consequently any other religious activity faces severe persecution.

Here's one recent example of this persecution.

"On 5 December Eritrean authorities arrested 30 mostly elderly Christian women who were praying together in a house in the capital, Asmara. According to International Christian Concern, most of the detainees are members of Faith Mission Church, an evangelical church with a Methodist background. It had been active in evangelism and development activities in Eritrea for over five decades until 2002 when it was forced to go underground." (Source.)

This article states elsewhere that about 3000 Christians are imprisoned in Eritrea.

At least nine of them are known to have died in prison, including one Yemane Kahasay Andom on June 23. More of these tragic deaths are recorded here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Washington Times and HWA

I am indebted to Scoobie Davis for this information.

The Washington Times, a newspaper founded and owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, is now undergoing drastic cut backs with 40% of staff being laid off. This development is discussed by Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America in this column.

Here he describes how Sum Myung Moon used this paper in ways similar to how HWA used his magazine. Bolding mine.

The messianic Moon, who has referred to himself as "humanity's Savior," never cared about journalism in the traditional, American, free-marketplace sense of the word. Yes, he launched a product that looked like a newspaper, but [The Washington Times'] central goal was never really to inform its readers. Its goal seemed more often to misinform and to enhance Moon's reputation outside the United States. Moon and Unification Church leaders used the newspaper as a symbol, most often in Asia, to suggest that Moon moved freely among world leaders.

This is very similar to how HWA used his visits to world leaders, which were highlighted in The Plain Truth and in the intro of his World Tomorrow program in order to enhance his reputation among his followers and to overawe potential recruits.

However the paper itself was not very impressive. It never made any profit and was always run essentially on the Unification Church's charity.
That the newspaper in 2009 had a modest circulation roughly matching that of the Chattanooga Times Free Press was irrelevant to the paper's publishers, although the newspaper's evaporating readership probably was not lost on the Times' shrinking band of local advertisers.
It's circulation is also rather low. According to Wikipedia it's average circulation in the period October 2008-March 2009 was 83,511. Even LCG's Tomorrow's World has a higher circulation. In February 2008 LCG apologist Bob Theil reported that LCG produced 361,000 of the March 2008 issue.

The Unification Church teaches many doctrines contrary to Christianity and is widely regarded as a cult, both theologically and behaviorally. A fascinating outline of some of their beliefs may be found here from Steven Hassan's Freedom of Mind Center.

The way Sun Myung Moon used this newspaper to enhance his prestige is very similar to HWA's visits with world leaders. I find it intriguing to find such parallels with HWA.

Visual Racial Stereotypes in HWA's Early Days

Recently I found this fascinating documentary, The Distorted Image, about cartoons that employed racial stereotypes in the period 1850-1922. It is from the website of the Anti-Defamation League. Here are the links for it: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

While watching this the thought occurred to me that this was the world in which HWA was born in and grew up in. Alas, he never got over the racialist thinking that was so pervasive in his younger days.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some Miracles I Have Read

Mr. Russell Miller has renounced atheism and has embraced a different worldview.

This has made think of some stories of miraculous incidents that I have read. I'm not trying to convince any skeptics out there. I am simply relating how common it is for naturalistically unexplainable events to be reported or stated in print.

In My Forbidden Face by Latifa, a memoir of one woman's life under the Taliban in Kabul, she relates how one day she was at an Islamic shrine, the tomb of Ali if I recall correctly, and saw a man become miraculously healed there.

In The Autobiography of Malcolm X he relates how once one night while he was in prison he was lying in his bunk. Then he saw a man who should not have been there. They looked at each other and then he disappeared. Later Malcolm X became persuaded that he was W. D. Fard (pronounced far-RAD), a man who is held by the Nation of Islam to be God himself. Fard started up the Nation of Islam in the early 1930s. Later after some legal troubles he left town and mysteriously disappeared in 1934. I have written about this peculiar religion previously on this blog.

Among Muslim converts to Christianity some of them report having dreams of a man in white who is later identify as the Christian Jesus Christ. Examples may be found in the Why They Converted section of and the Dreams and Visions section of

No doubt many of you have run into many others.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

British Israelism and 'Christian' Identity

Here's an article discussing British Israelism from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

This is the movement from which HWA plagiarized the doctrine that Anglo-Saxons are descended from Israel. He did not just get it by reading the Bible.

This article also shows how British Israelism was used by racists in America to produce the 'Christian' Identity movement. SPLC also profiles some of the leaders of this virulently racist movement and disturbing activities that some of them commit.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Post on PCG

(Update 12.11.13: Both links appear to be dead.)

Just found this thread discussing PCG from Worthy Christian

This thread also mentions this 'Christian' Identity group called Shepard's Chapel, led by one Arnold Murray. Here's a scary blog discussing Murray's cultic beliefs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

PCG Still Watching Stoiber

PCG still devotes articles to Edmund Stoiber. In their new Philadelphia Trumpet magazine they have made an article about him entitled 'German Youth Celebrate Edmund Stoiber.'

They still seem to be hoping that he might be 'the Beast' in the hope that 'That (failed) Prophet's' failed speculation that Edmund Stoiber could win the 2002 German elections and become the Beast will be proven right.