Friday, February 28, 2014

Roderick C. Meredith's Terrible Reputation Exposed by David Robinson

Anyone thinking of joining Roderick C. Meredith's group would do well to read this letter written by David Robinson, dated September 19, 1979, to Roderick C. Meredith and later published in his book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web (Chapter 16, pp. 207-9).

David Robinson was deeply disappointed that Roderick C. Meredith chose to collaborate with Stanley Rader and resist the State of California's receivership of WCG. Robinson presciently foresaw that Meredith aligning himself with Rader would not work to his advantage and told him so at the time. As he had foreseen Meredith was quickly neutralized and then thrown into exile at Rader's say so.

The following particularly illuminating passages of this letter is from page 207 of Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.
Rod, I wanted to review for all to see some of what happened during recent months, and to especially review those events from the vantage point of my own eyes. Ministers of the church agonized all across the country and, I am sure, the world while things were boiling. But of course, they still are and will until sin has been removed from the very top.

During the ten years I have been an employee of the Worldwide Church, you have been poorly spoken of by most of the ministers and employees I have known. I vividly remember the absolute unbounded glee that was openly expressed by a good number of respected men in the church when you were first "shanghaied." [In 1972.] I could begin by naming names, which I am sure would shock you. I was one of the few who stood, where possible, for you. Your tenure as superintendent of ministers, as I believe the office was then called, was looked on as nightmarish. While you held office during the years of growth, most of those whom I know gave you very little credit for that growth. Almost everyone whom I know, whether they be former friends of yours, or continuing foes, recalls insensitive and terrible things you have done. Without exception, at least among my acquaintances, they all credit you with an unbridled lust for power and list you as one who is willing to pay the price of gaining that power, no matter what. I have, through many of the last few years, believed you had principles you would not violate. Many a man of experience in the church assured me of my error. Events have proven me wrong and them right.

Mr. Armstrong has himself been widely quoted as saying of you that you were so righteous that you were so "righteous you were unrighteous." You have also been quoted as saying of yourself you wanted the job in the church of playing a modern "Phineas." You wanted to be the one who thrust the spear through the belly of the chiefest fornicator in the church and his girl friend. You longed to be the avenging arm of the church and to avenge with great zeal.
Why anyone would trust him after selling out to Rader is beyond me.

You can access Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web from Exit and Support Network. Just email them and request it. It is well worth reading.

PCG's Richard Palmer Says Farmers Must Observe Land Sabbath

PCG's Richard Palmer has written an article insisting that farmers must stop working the land once every seven years. 
While scientists and the rest of mankind must respect certain physical laws that govern our daily lives, many people view the laws revealed in the Bible—governing civil life, morality and personal conduct, and religious life—with scorn and contempt. However, defying those laws leads to trouble just as surely as breaking the physical laws does.

One law in the Old Testament that critics ridicule is the land sabbath. God commanded that every seven years, the land be allowed to rest—there was no pruning or planting (for commercial harvesting), and nothing was to be harvested except what people picked for their own personal consumption (Leviticus 25:2-7, 18-22). To many, this law seems obsolete: Modern farmers can get around resting the land by using fertilizers.

But scientists are now beginning to learn that there is no getting around this law. The use of fertilizers to avoid letting the land rest is a shortcut that wreaks considerable damage to the land in the long run.

God’s law doesn’t give us all the details we need to be successful farmers. But without keeping these laws, we cannot maintain healthy and productive soils. This land sabbath was probably a time to allow plants that put nitrogen back into the soil to grow, and let animals fertilize the land with their microbe-rich manure. The soil even benefits from just being left still. The microbes can grow much faster without the physical disruption that comes from plowing the fields and sowing seeds. 
So farmers apparently are forbidden from planting and harvesting once every seven years.

I wonder how that would work out. Has anyone else tried that before?
Several years ago, we [WCG's leaders] finally discovered that one particular law that we'd taken from the old covenant, and we sliiiiiiiid it over into the new -- or if you like the word, "transplant." In case Dr. Christian Bernard may be here.  

We took over into the new -- that was the seventh-year land Sabbath -- and we imposed that upon Christian farmers. We said it was a law. We said it was "a test of faith," didn't we? And farmer after farmer went to the wall financially and some went into bankruptcy! 

Why didn't someone over the years say "wait a minute! Let's go back and study this law more carefully. It seems to me God is reneging on his part of the bargain." Because you see, God said he would give a three-fold harvest in the sixth year. But I know of not one case of a Christian farmer receiving a three-fold harvest in the sixth year. Now why then did we impose upon people their part of the bargain, and never, ever ask "why isn't God fulfilling his part?" 

Oh, we are great "blue pencilers" of Law. We pick and choose various laws out of the old covenant that, somehow, we think are convenient, suitable, or should be imposed. We will take whole sections of Law and slide them -- or we will pick and choose parts of laws and them slide them. By what method do we do this? (Richard Plache, 1976 sermon, as archived by the Painful Truth.)
(In the linked sermon Richard Plache also talks about a lot about HWA's medicine ban and discusses how Christians are under a new covenant.)

So there you have it, Palmer. WCG farmers have tried this before and experienced financial trouble over this and even bankruptcy because of this ignorant attempt to apply Old Testament laws upon people it was never intended for

We see that Palmer is dangerously ignorant of WCG history.

Also he is dreadfully ignorant of church history as well. The vast majority of Christians historically understood that the law in the Old Testament, and this included the land Sabbath, did not apply to them because of grace. It must be emphatically said that grace is not a license to sin as HWA deceptively taught.

Alas, Palmer has given dreadful advice to farmers. I hope farmers in PCG are wise enough to ignore this dangerously inept advice.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Overview of April 2014 Philadelphia Trumpet

The April 2014 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet is out now. Let us see what they have to say.

Gerald Flurry has a preface saying the Trumpet is somehow different.

Gerald Flurry has an article insisting that Germany is getting ready to go on the war path. (As the COGs have been saying ceaselessly since 1945. It was supposed to happen in 1972, then by 2005 at the latest.)

Brad MacDonald has a little side article condemning the German President (who is a figure head with no power by the way) for saying German needs to be more assertive in foreign policy.

Richard Palmer has an article accusing President Obama of forgetting World War II and foolishly letting Germany decide things.

Richard Palmer also asserts France has given up somehow and is just waiting to let Germany tell them what to do.

Richard Palmer also talks about agriculture and condemns farmers for not observing the land Sabbath every seven years. That is the cause for agricultural problems Palmer confidently asserts.

Dennis Leap has an article asserting his religion must be true. So no Christmas and no Easter.

Jeremiah Jacques has a full length article condemning the use of drugs and fear mongering about them.

Gerald Flurry speculates on how close the Great Tribulation will occur.

There is a small "bible study" lesson taken from their "correspondence course." This course does not study the Bible but actually indoctrinates people into accepting PCG's highly flawed interpretation of the Bible and to dismiss any other interpretation.

On page 29 they make sure to bemoan Serbia's condition and blame Germany for it in order to fear monger that Germany is just about to destroy America at any moment. The Serbs are only used as a prop to fear monger about Germany. PCG does not give a hoot about Serbia.

Stephen Flurry has a little article insisting that the God Family doctrine is true. Never mind that the Mormons have similar ideas.

Brad MacDonald has a little article calling upon people to find some alone time to think things through.

One would have no idea that PCG requires members to disfellowship (shun) any Laodiceans (ex-members or members of other COGs who did not join PCG), or that Gerald Flurry is hailed as That Prophet, or that PCG teaches that its booklet, Malachi's Message is the Little Book of Revelation 10 and that it was largely influenced by the writings of Jules Dervaes.

So we see an unsuspecting reader would not have a very clear picture about PCG reading this magazine issue.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

HWA's Other Lovers

It is well known that HWA was married to Loma Dillon for nearly fifty years (1917-67) and, although most Armstrongites would much rather forget about it, he also married Ramona Martin (nee Crittenden) in 1977. He later divorced her in 1981, which turned into a long drawn out process before it was finalized in 1984. 

David Robinson in his book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web states that HWA appears to have had two romantic relationships in the period between his two marriages (1967-77). If there were others Robinson did not hear of them.
Herbert Armstrong has been "in love" a number of times during the past decade. He said himself he had been "in love" with "Amy" when she was 25 years old. He reported this to a group in Big Sandy. he did say, when it was over, that he thought it might have been infatuation.

But earlier there had been the young Filipino girl whom he had brought over to this country, according to widespread reports. However, he never did bring her to church with him! He apparently kept her under wraps. (Chapter 7, p. 88.)  
Robinson also notes how HWA told him in great detail how he lost his virginity to a prostitute in New Orleans.

I had not heard about these romantic relationships HWA had before reading this book.

You can access Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web from Exit and Support Network. Just email them and request it.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gerald Flurry did not Foresee the Revolution in Ukraine

In the last twenty four hours it appears the government of Ukraine has been overthrown by the brave protesters. President Viktor Yanukovych has fled from Kiev. The opposition have taken control of Parliament and called for the president's ouster and elections in May. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been released from prison and has addressed the brave protesters. 
She addressed the crowds there from her wheelchair. "You are heroes, you are the best of Ukraine," she told the vast crowd before breaking down in tears. ...

But she warned that the protesters should not think their job was done. "Until you finish this job and until we travel all the way, nobody has the right to leave," she said. "Because nobody could do it - not other countries, nobody - could do what you have done. We've eliminated this cancer, this tumour." (BBC News.)
Tragically about eighty-eight people have killed in the recent violence, largely because of heavy handed and brutal actions by the security forces of the Yanukovych government. I think it is premature to say the revolutionaries have won yet, but it is so hard to imagine Yanukovych coming back from this.

This revolution was sparked after Yanukovych axed negotiations for closer relations with the European Union and decided to pursue closer relations with Russia. When this happened Gerald Flurry, who calls himself "That Prophet", viewed this as a sign of the greatness of Vladimir Putin's power. He even declared him to be the Prince of Rosh from Ezekiel 38-39. This topic has been discussed in previous posts here, here, here and here.

Gerald Flurry thought Putin getting Yanukovych was a sign of Putin's great power, instead this move has caused the overthrow of Yanukovych and the protesters have seemed to have seized control of western Ukraine, including the capital city, Kiev. Putin cannot even keep Ukraine in check. The brave protesters took to the streets and have, for now at least, cast the government out of Kiev and western Ukraine and taken power at least there.

Unlike Gerald Flurry I am not going to pretend to know what will happen. Anything could happen. But it must be pointed out that he was totally wrong about this. He did not foresee this revolution occurring. What sort of spirit is he listening to in order to become so wrong about these events?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

HWA and Polycarp

HWA and his imitators taught that the true, Apostles church was suppressed shortly after the Apostles died by anti-law, Sunday observing, grace preaching heretics, who later became the Roman Catholic Church.

Although it is insisted that there was a great falling away from the truth shortly after the time of the Apostles there is one church leader that the COGs tend to view quite favorably, namely Polycarp, who was a prominent Christian leader, a disciple of, and then the successor to, the Apostle John.

Polycarp is often mentioned within the COGs when they condemn Easter. One example of this may be seen in Herman Hoeh's deeply flawed 1959 booklet, A True History of the True Church. (It is actually very misleading and badly informed.)
Among the Gentiles the churches in Asia remained the most faithful to the word of God. We pick up the story of the true Church in the lives of such men as Polycarp and Polycrates. They were called "Quartodecimani" because they kept the true passover celebration instead of Easter.
Here is what the early Catholic historians admit about the true Church:
"But Polycarp also was not only instructed by the apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church of Smyrna ... He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus" -- bishop of Rome around 154 A.D. -- "caused many to turn away from the ... heretics to the CHURCH OF GOD, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles ... While at Rome, Polycarp discussed with the Roman bishop the matter of the introduction of the pagan Easter in place of the passover.
Irenaeus continued: "For neither could Anicetus (the bishop of Rome) persuade Polycarp not to observe it" -- the passover -- "BECAUSE HE HAD ALWAYS OBSERVED IT WITH JOHN THE DISCIPLE OF OUR LORD, and the rest of the apostles, with whom he associated; and neither did Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it, who said that he was bound to FOLLOW THE CUSTOMS of the presbyters before him" (Quoted from Eusebius' "Ecclesiastical History", book V, chap. 24, in the "Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers", Vol. 1). (Armstrongite Source.)
Although the COGs bring up Polycarp because of this one issue they rarely discuss anything else about him.

This illustrious Polycarp wrote a letter: Polycarp's letter to the Phillipians.

Let us see what Polycarp had to say. 
I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because you have followed the example of true love [as displayed by God], and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and our Lord; and because the strong root of your faith, spoken of in days long gone by, endures even until now, and brings forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, (Chapter 1.)
Here is a beautiful statement confirming that the Christians in Phillipi continued and, it would seem, even now remained staunch in their faith. I find this a wonderfully reassuring picture compared to what HWA and Hoeh ignorantly taught about the post-Apostolic Christians, insisting that the original Christians were overpowered by some sort of proto-gnostic, anti-law heretics, inspired by Simon Magus, centered in Rome, and later to become the Roman Catholic Church. Instead we find that even fifty years or so after the time of the Apostle Paul Polycarp praises the Phillipian Christians as continuing to be steadfast Christians, saying "the strong root of [their] faith, spoken of in days long gone by, endures even until now". How very different from what HWA and Hoeh said about early church history.

He later speaks of the Apostle Paul's letter to the Phillipians.
For neither I, nor any other such one, can come up to the wisdom of the blessed and glorified Paul. He, when among you, accurately and steadfastly taught the word of truth in the presence of those who were then alive. And when absent from you, he wrote you a letter, which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards God, and Christ, and our neighbour, "is the mother of us all." (Chapter 3.)
(As far as I can tell "the mother of us all" here refers to faith.)

It is very good to see that Polycarp had should happy words to say to the Christians at Phillipi.

Now the COGs tend to view Polycarp quite favorably. This is because the COGs ministers often cite Polycarp's visit to Anicetas, the bishop of Rome, to resolve the Quartodecimian Controversy. This is often mentioned in the COGs' condemnations of Easter.

On the other hand the COGs tend to disparage Polycarp's contemporary, Ignatius of Antioch, as part of the evil conspiracy to suppress the truth. Notice how LCG's John Ogwyn portrays him in his booklet, God's Church Through the Ages.
Ignatius of Antioch, in about 110AD, wrote, "It is monstrous to talk of Jesus Christ and to practice Judaism" (Magnesians, 10). He also talked of "no longer observing sabbaths." ...

These claims were being made to hold brethren in an organization that was rapidly developing into what we know today as the Roman Catholic Church. ... While they increasingly abandoned what the Apostles taught, these deceivers [referring to Clement, Ignatius and Cyprian it seems] sought to hold brethren together by appeals to unity and to the memory of the Apostles.
Other reasons why Ignatius would be viewed with suspicion among the COGs is that he apparently speaks of observing the Lord's Day as opposed to the seventh day Sabbath.
If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death ... (Magnesians, Chapter 9)
He also was the first Christian author to refer to the church as the Catholic Church.
wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. (Smyrnaeans, Chapter 8.)
Polycarp and Ignatius are viewed as being on two different sides. Polycarp part of the true church, a part of the era of Smyrna, on the one hand. Ignatius, a deceiver working for what would eventually become the Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand. Is this true? Were Polycarp and Ignatius rivals?

Notice what Polycarp himself wrote in his letter regarding Ignatius.
I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the word of righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as you have seen [set] before your eyes, not only in the case of the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles. [This do] in the assurance that all these have not run in vain, but in faith and righteousness,
Polycarp mentions Ignatius most favorably, even compares him to the Apostles and calls him "blessed".

Ignatius also mentions Polycarp most favorably.
My soul be for yours and theirs whom, for the honour of God, you have sent to Smyrna; whence also I write to you, giving thanks unto the Lord, and loving Polycarp even as I do you. (Ephesians, Chapter 21.)

The Ephesians from Smyrna (whence I also write to you), who are here for the glory of God, as you also are, who have in all things refreshed me, salute you, along with Polycarp, the bishop of the Smyrnæans. (Magnesians, Chapter 15)
It is clear they were on the same side.

Ignatius also wrote a letter to Polycarp. What did he have to say to Polycarp, his supposed rival?
Having obtained good proof that your mind is fixed in God as upon an immoveable rock, I loudly glorify [His name] that I have been thought worthy [to behold] your blameless face, which may I ever enjoy in God! I entreat you, by the grace with which you are clothed, to press forward in your course, and to exhort all that they may be saved. ...

Let not widows be neglected. Be, after the Lord, their protector and friend. Let nothing be done without your consent; neither do anything without the approval of God, which indeed you do not, inasmuch as you are steadfast. (Chapters 1 and 3.)
There is not the slightest trace of dispute between the two. Not only that but Ignatius supports Polycarp as a leader among the Christians. 

John Ogwyn and the others are talking nonsense in besmirching Ignatius as a heretic.

It is also noticeable that Polycarp never mentions tithing in his letter.

So we see then that Ignatius and Polycarp appear to have been perfectly friendly with each other and supported each other. HWA and his imitators are once again shown to have badly misunderstood things regarding early church history.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What the Early Church Taught About Circumcision

I am shocked that James Malm is now ordering his followers to circumcise their sons, as now reported by Banned by HWA, in his post, You Are Still Required To Circumcise Your Children or God Is Not Going To Let Them In The Millennial Temple!

When I was involved with LCG I always understood that physical circumcision is not required of Christians. Acts 15 was cited to support this position.

Recently I have been reading some of the writings of the early Christians. They were vehemently opposed to any self proclaimed Christian insisting that circumcision is required for the Christian faith, or who wished to add the customs and observances of Judaism upon Gentile converts to Christianity. This train of thought can be found even in Acts 15 and Galatians.

Read Acts 15 in which a council is held in Jerusalem and it is decided that Gentile converts do not need to be circumcised.

Galatians is actually a polemic against those who said it was necessary to be circumcised and to observe the Old Testament law to be a Christian. That is why Paul talks about circumcision so much in that letter and he explains it is unnecessary for Gentile Christians. This is obvious once you start reading it without the Armstrongite indoctrination. It was never explained to me in that way by any Armstrongite. They try very hard to make COG followers not see this obvious fact.
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth ... ? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:1-3.)

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5: 1-6.)
For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. (Galatians 6:13.)
Galatians was not a condemnation of anti-law Gnostics as some in the COGs, like Meredith, pretended it to be, but was actually a condemnation of those seeking to make non-Jewish Christians to observe the customs and practices of Judaism such as circumcision.

Also let us see what some of the early Christian writers had to say about circumcision.

(Now let me be clear. Unfortunately these early Christian authors tend to speak harshly regarding some practices and customs of Judaism. I mean no disrepect to the adherents of Judaism. No Jew ever tried to deceive me, or manipulate me into paying three tithes to them, or claim that God could only be reached through them, or tried to convert me. However HWA and his imitators have taught that the true church was suppressed shortly after the Apostles died by anti-law, Sunday observing, grace preaching heretics, inspired by Simon Magus, who later became the Roman Catholic Church. I present what these early Christians said to examine this dogma of HWA's. I am talking about the COGs, not Judaism.)

Observe what Ignatius of Antioch had to say about those who wished to "live according to the Jewish law" in his letter to the Magnesians.
Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace.(Magnesians, Chapter 8.)
The COG followers are indoctrinated to believe that Ignatius was part of a great apostasy from the truth that occurred immediately after the time of the Apostles. But in fact Ignatius is continuing Paul's line of thought as expressed in Galatians. This is very similar to what Paul said in Galatians.

Paul argued that if a Christian is under the law, which is signified by circumcision, then grace is useless and worthless. Ignatius is imitating Paul in this matter. There was no dark century in which the true, Apostolic church was suppressed by Gnostic, proto-Catholics inspired by Simon Magus, as HWA and Meredith falsely teach. Ignatius is clearly continuing what Paul taught in regards to grace and the law.

He also said this in his letter.
It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. (Chapter 10.)
Ignatius talked about this issue again in his letter to the Philadelphians.
But if any one preach the Jewish law unto you, listen not to him. For it is better to hearken to Christian doctrine from a man who has been circumcised, than to Judaism from one uncircumcised. (Chapter 6.)
Also observe what the Letter to Diognetus, an example of early Christian writing, had to say about circumcision while explaining how Christianity is different from Judaism.
But again their scruples concerning meats, and their superstition relating to the sabbath and the vanity of their circumcision and the dissimulation of their fasting and new moons, I do [not] suppose you need to learn from me, are ridiculous and unworthy of any consideration. ...

Again, to vaunt the mutilation of the flesh as a token of election as though for this reason they were particularly beloved by God, is not this ridiculous? ...

That the Christians are right therefore in holding aloof from the common silliness and error of the Jews and from their excessive fussiness and pride, I consider that thou hast been sufficiently instructed (4: 1, 4, 6.)
This author speaks quite harshly regarding Judaism. Let me again state it is not my intention to criticize Judaism but to analyze the teachings of COG leaders like James Malm.

Those early Christian authors, including the Apostle Paul, would have been disgusted and horrified that James Malm is teaching circumcision while claiming to be a Christian. It is quite likely they would say James Malm is not a Christian.

The COG leaders leaders love to use Galatians 1:6-7 to claim a great apostasy suppressed "the truth" immediately after the death of the Apostles. These COG leaders are so ignorant that they do not know that Paul was talking about those who wished to impose the Old Testament law, which is signified by the act of circumcision, upon Gentile converts to Christianity. Walter Martin, author of Kingdom of the Cults, was quite perceptive when he called HWA's teachings the new Galatianism. 

Also I have no doubt that the vast majority of Jews would be disgusted at James Malm for confusing these things so badly. They would be annoyed that they are unintentionally brought up in this debate started up the ignorant James Malm.

It is wrong for James Malm to insist his followers circumcise. He has no biblical right to impose this requirement upon his followers who wish to be Christians, but pursue this goal in erroneous ways.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Catastrophe in Ukraine

Events appear to have taken a most terrible turn in Ukraine. The police have hurled themselves at the protesters and up to twenty persons, including seven police offices, have died in the ensuing violence. May peace soon return to Ukraine.

This terrible turn of events only make Gerald Flurry's assertion that Vladimir Putin is the Prince of Rosh in Ezekiel 38-39 even more absurd. When the Ukrainian government abandoned negotiations with the European Union "That Prophet" Gerald Flurry cited this as a sign of just how powerful Vladimir Putin is. Just one man stopped the Ukrainian-EU trade negotiations, Flurry said. This event may have even caused Gerald Flurry to proclaim Vladimir Putin to be the Prince of Rosh prophesized in the Bible. 

But like so many COG predictions this has proven to be complete nonsense. Russia's move has backfired terribly. Many Ukrainian protesters have most powerfully resisted this attempt to have closer associations with Russia.

Unlike Flurry I will not pretend to know what will happen here. But it certainly will not take the world "a giant step closer to World War III" as the PCG leadership have been telling viewers of its TV telecast.

Monday, February 17, 2014

HWA, "Pope" Clement and Grace

HWA asserted that from AD 53 onwards the church was engulfed by a terrible "dark century" during which many of the truths of the true faith were viciously and systematically suppressed by dark, anti-law forces inspired by Simon Magus which eventually became what we now know as the Roman Catholic Church. The truth was only restored by HWA in the twentieth century.

Is HWA's assertion that the church was suppressed true? Was there really a radical break between the New Testament and the Christian writings that came afterwards? Let us look at the Christian writings that came after the New Testament.

Let us now look at the Letter of Clement

Clement was the bishop of Rome. Traditionally his time as bishop of the Christians of Rome was dated AD 92-99. His letter was written to the church of Corinth. This is regarded as one of the very earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament. There are some other writings that had been attributed to him but all others are now regarded as spurious. This letter is the only one left by Clement.
At one place Clement seems to speak of grace.
And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Chapter 32.)
HWA indoctrinated his followers to believe that grace is a license to sin. Did Clement teach this? Notice what he says right afterwards. 
What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works. (Chapter 33.)
So we see once again that HWA was talking utter nonsense when he claimed that grace was a license to sin. He was either astoundingly misinformed or an audacious liar.

Also note in Clement's letter there is no appeal to observe the Sabbath or the annual Sabbaths. If these doctrines were so essential to the Christian faith as observed in the Apostolic church, as HWA insisted they were, why did the writers of the New Testament also never call upon Christians to be observant of the Sabbath and annual Sabbaths?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

David Robinson on HWA's Incest

David Robinson's book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Wed, is most well known for first relating to the public the fact that HWA committed incest with his younger daughter, Dorothy for about ten years (c. 1933-44). Exit and Support Network has long posted online Chapter 20 of Robinson's book in which he first revealed to the public HWA's most horrific incest. So I will not discuss that chapter here.

However, earlier in the book, there are several places in which he alludes to the incest which he only discusses specifically in the last chapter. In a way the revelation of HWA's incest is the grand climax of Robinson's narrative of horrors.

Here are what he also had to say about the incest earlier in the book.
Stories from HWA's past suggest deep troubles all the way back to his early life. ... His own son reports his dad's autobiographic account is at least 30% false. (Preface, p. 10.)
Robinson also alludes to the incest in discussing how HWA once pledged that he had never committed adultery. HWA said this in a meeting of ministers shortly after appointing Meredith as head of the ministry during the receivership crisis in January 1979. This was done as part of HWA and Rader's decision to oppose the State of California's receivership. HWA also made this declaration as a way to further belittle the deposed Garner Ted Armstrong, now his hated and feared rival.
Herbert Armstrong, in his own firm voice, pledged that he had never committed adultery. And he assured the assembly that if his wife Loma were to be raised from the grave, she would firmly deny any such charge as well. ... This very strong statement, given in a firm voice, was reassuring to those assembled who had very deep-seated reservations about the church leadership. 

Was this a higher duty Herbert Armstrong was performing? Was he lying when he said that? Since then, reports, many reports, have come from members of Herbert Armstrong's own family that show him gravely in error when he so reported to the ministers formally and officially! According to those reports, now widely circulated, he had conducted an adulterous relationship of long standing and of the sort that has traditionally carried the death penalty in many of the American states! (Chapter 4, p. 54.)
(Elsewhere in the book Robinson mentions how Stanley Rader told him that it is acceptable to lie in order to serve a higher duty. Robinson could help but wonder if that is why HWA made that deceptive statement.)

Robinson also alludes to the incest in Chapter 13. While talking with Stanley Rader about many things Rader began criticizing the deposed Garner Ted Armstrong. Robinson responded that he thought HWA bore a lot of responsibility for causing his infidelities to do so much harm to WCG by covering it up.
While talking to Stan I did not know how bad Herbert Armstrong's own sins were, from way back. He really was in no position to clean up anybody's sins unless he first cleaned up his own. (Chapter 13, p. 163.)
Later, it turned out that it was not only HWA's family who reported this was the case. Bruce Renehan interviewed some members of the Church of God (Seventh Day) who reported they were aware of the incest. This most fascinating correspondence is at the Painful Truth web site
I'm not exactly sure what constitutes proof to everyone. Before I began to author my book [Daughter of Babylon], my wife and I visited the Church of God, Seventh Day, both in Bakersfield and in Fresno. That is the church that Herbert Armstrong started attending in 1927. I first heard of the incest from some of their members, two of whom--Israel Hager and John Keiss--had known Armstrong in the 20s and 30s. Keiss, who was Armstrong's closest friend in the COG7 had actually discussed the incest with Dorothy Armstrong who confessed to him. Not wanting to believe hearsay from just one group, I placed a call to a friend of mine (Bob Mizell) in Pasadena. Bob was a very close friend to Joe Tkach Senior and, if anyone would know if the stories were true or not, he certainly would. Bob told me openly that both he and Joe Tkach had known about Armstrong's incest with his daughter and then he quickly brought up the David was a man after God's heart" ploy.
Also, recently, Robinson has been yet again vindicated as two of HWA's close family members, his niece, Deborah Armstrong, and his own grandson, Larry Gott, have both confirmed in interviews with Troy Fitzgerald, founder of Secular Safe House, that the incest did take place. (Written comments of these interviews by Head Usher may be seen here and here.)

Contrary to what some like the unordained, self appointed false prophet Bob Thiel would have us believe, this was not a lie. Instead this case of incest is a remarkably well documented relationship, confirmed by many sources, including two of HWA's own niece and grandson. How can Thiel and Co. delude themselves and others that even HWA's own family can be in error on this most serious matter?

More information about HWA's incest may be seen in this previous post.

[Update: March 29, 2014: You can access Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web from Exit and Support Network. Just email them and request it. It is well worth reading.]

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Armstrongism Testimonies

Ruth's Testimony in LCG from As Bereans Did. As a former follower of LCG myself I am always very interested to hear anything about that splinter group.

Here is a sample of her remarkable and moving testimony.
Gradually, during conversations with members at Sabbath services, which are clearly outlined as mandatory from that first visit, the teachings not only embedded themselves further and further by group think and peer acceptance, I began to adopt the language, devout loyalty and understanding that we were a secret organization that had knowledge and privilege granted to so very few. Leaving was akin to abandoning God’s call on your life, and falling from grace. Leaving meant you had rejected your only chance at salvation; there remained no longer redemption for me if I did. I invested all I had in the doctrine, fully convinced by their teachings that they had the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  We spoke of fleeing to Petra, and integrated within sermons that reinforced the soon coming doom upon all mankind (except we very elect ), to have ready to go backpacks by our doors, as the call would come any time, without notice. Perhaps even the police would pretend to be arresting us, but actually be escorting us to jets heading to the place of safety.
Also noteworthy are the following.

How Do You Like Them Apples? by Martha at As Bereans Did. Notable for showing how many COG members are badly misinformed about what Protestant churches actually teach and believe.

Oppression and Evil in the Philadelphia Church of God. Exit and Support Network has posted another testimony of life within PCG and how the testifier escaped.

Sharing our stories is very important in order to make the situation within the COGs more clear, and to explain to ourselves our own experiences within the world of Armstrongism.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Serb War Criminals Convicted

During the tragic Yugoslav Wars of 1991-2001 PCG, contrary to most commentators of the time, staunchly defended the Serbs, insisting that those defending the unity of Yugoslavia (predominantly Serbs) were the victims of a plot by Germany to dismember Yugoslavia simply to expand their power as part of the creation of a European Empire that (PCG says) will soon conquer and enslave the white, Israelite people of America and Britain.

Some of PCG's articles insisted that knowledge of atrocities committed by the other sides were being deceptively hidden from the people by a biased, Western media, who had been unwittingly deceived by the Germans.

Who are these people that PCG decided to support with their words and sympathy? Maybe this BBC News article, published February 11, 2014, can give us an idea.
Nine Serbian former paramilitaries have been found guilty of killing more than 100 ethnic Albanian civilians during the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s.

A war crimes court in Serbia sentenced the ex-members of the so-called Jackals unit to up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors ruled that the men had raped, murdered and robbed victims in four villages in western Kosovo.
The crimes were among the most brutal of the 1998-99 war, in which ethnic Albanians fought against Serbian rule. ...

Crimes committed by the Jackals include the massacre of 41 people in the village of Cuska in 1999.

Serb forces rounded up the residents and, after separating women and children from men, locked the male villagers into houses, where they were shot and set on fire.

"[The nine] committed murders, rapes and robberies in an extremely brutal way, with the main goal to spread fear among Albanian civilians in order to force them to leave their homes and flee to Albania," judge Snezana Nikolic Garotic said in her verdict.

The court in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, handed down jail sentences ranging from two to 20 years. Eleven paramilitaries had been on trial in the case, but two were cleared of all charges. (BBC News.)
I am glad these men have been convicted. Their horrific crimes, murdering over 100 ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, caused much pain and suffering to the victims, help to plunge Yugoslavia into disaster by causing NATO to intervene to stop atrocities such as this (NATO's intervention also soured relations between the West and Russia), and as a direct result of these atrocities Kosovo is now an independent nation, which is ironically exactly what this murderous gang was trying to prevent. Many of the ethnic Serbs in Kosovo to this day reject Kosovo's independence but it must be said that these crimes caused Kosovo to become independent of Yugoslavia.

Will PCG discuss this? Will they mention the fact that most atrocities against civilians were in fact committed by Serb forces? Or will they simply ignore it and leave PCG members in ignorance of this facet of the tragic Yugoslav Wars?

Very likely PCG will do the latter. Considering PCG once published an article by Richard Palmer which disgustingly and absurdly minimized the Sebrenica massacre, in which 8000 Bosnian Muslims were murdered by Serb forces, as "a crime of passion" it is highly doubtful the PCG leadership will let themselves be honest enough to discuss these recent war crimes convictions with their readers.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Why Could Angels Celebrate Christ's Birth, But Not the COGs?

During last year's Christmas season As Bereans Did had a fascinating post regarding HWA's ban on Christmas.

One of the commenters made the following statement.
Since birthdays are sinful, why did the angels celebrate the birth of Christ? Why did they rejoice? Since angels know all of Scripture, won't they have boycotted rejoicing at the birth of Christ at the manger? Shouldn't God have said,"Angels, since Tammuz's birth was celebrated every year, we should not celebrate the birth of My Son." 
Another commenter shared this touching experience with how this person came to understand how HWA had deceived his followers about what Christmas meant.
I was a second generationer, in for about 30+ years, out for at least 10. Well, this year, driving around town, I always have my XM radio on, and they always have a classical station that plays only Christmas music. One evening I felt thunderstruck with the realization that almost ALL of these beautiful hymns/songs have one clear message: Hope, love and unbounding joy that we DO have a Savior and He came here for us! After almost 50 years I got it! I got the message of the carols! Ever since, I freely sing all the ones I know the lyrics to, and listen intently to the words of those I don't. Such beautiful music!
Oh how deceived we were by HWA and his imitators about so many things, including Christmas.

The real purpose HWA banned Christmas was to isolate his followers from society and avoid family and friends who are celebrating Christmas in order to render the members more susceptible to his influence. He wants his followers to be offended when their families and friends do not buy what HWA says and continue to act in a way that HWA taught them is vile. So HWA's followers run away in their hearts to cling to HWA and his followers and away from their family and friends.

HWA's Christmas ban was also to stop WCG members from spending money because of Christmas. He even whines in his booklet banning Christmas, The Plain Truth about Christmas, that income for Radio/WCG went down for about two months after Christmas. He did not want "his" church members spending money on themselves. (Note: I have decided to strip away the cult jargon and add in what HWA really meant in this quotation.)
I can say by years of experience, as I believe most pastors and ministers can say, that when the month of December rolls around, nearly all professing Christians [Although this term is usually used for non-WCG Christians he seems to really mean WCG members and co-workers here.] forget to give gifts to Christ and His cause [WCG] almost altogether! December often is the most difficult month to keep Christ's work [WCG] from dying! People are too busy trading gifts back and forth among themselves to think of Him and His Work [WCG], it seems. Then, in January and even into February it seems they have to catch up from what they spent for Christmas, so they seldom get back to normal in supporting Christ and His Work [WCG] before March! ...

This year, instead of gift trading, why not put that money into God's Work [WCG]?
What a cruel and heartless cost saving measure this was. No human knows how much pain and turmoil this cursed booklet has caused all over the world among family and friends.

There is no legitimate reason for a Christian to refuse to celebrate Christmas or to condemn those who do as unwitting pawns of Satan.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

David Robinson's Book: A Denunciation of Rader's Power

David Robinson's book is most well known for first bringing to public attention the fact that HWA had committed incest for ten years with his daughter Dorothy Armstrong. But there are many other things David Robinson had to say.

Similar to John Tuit's book, The Truth Shall Set You Free, Robinson's account is greatly concerned with the extraordinary power held by Stanley Rader at the time. He greatly feared that Rader was plotting to seize control of WCG using his particularly close relationship with HWA. His book is greatly colored with this fear. After reading Tuit and Robinson I am firmly persuaded that Rader was indeed seeking to seize control of WCG. This was also the opinion of the writers of the Ambassador Report.

After reading these works it is easy to see that Rader had an absolutely devastating effect upon WCG. Many of the most detailed and damaging critiques of Armstrongism (Ambassador Report, Tuit and Robinson) were written, in part, as attempts to prevent Rader from seizing power over WCG.

Although Rader must bear a major share of responsibility for the turmoil within WCG ultimately HWA must bear the main responsibility for the troubles within the 1970s. The ultimate problem was HWA making himself the absolute ruler of WCG. There was no outside accountability. There was no one to whom he had to be make himself accountable for. This allowed HWA to abuse his power.

Among many abuses HWA committed was to allow Rader, a man who was not a minister (until 1979) and did not have any link to WCG members. Rader did not have the support of a majority of ministers or members but he expertly used his connections with HWA to assume power as the second most powerful man within WCG and heir apparent.

Eventually, in 1981, Rader was deposed by HWA. No doubt the heroic acts of resistance against Rader's power grab, as detailed in the Ambassador Report, and John Tuit and David Robinson's books helped cause Rader to be removed. In one sense Rader's disposal could be viewed as a popular revolution by WCG ex-members, members and ministers that forced HWA to remove Rader. It is an added layer of tragedy that HWA never thanked the people who did so much to liberate him from Rader's influence.

Now I wish to state that I have heard that apparently David Robinson may have held some anti-Semitic views. Gavin Rumney reported about this.
Anti-Semitism has always existed in a precarious balance with philo-Semitism in the Armstrong sects. John Trechak [editor of the Ambassador Report] reportedly pleaded with David Robinson to remove openly anti-Jewish passages from his book, Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web. Robinson eventually agreed. Robinson saw Stanley Rader as the “Jewish threat” to the church, a view that Garner Ted Armstrong may have exploited. Whether Rader was the Rasputin figure he was made out to be is beside the point: whatever issues surrounded him, they had everything to do with personal ethics and nothing to do with his Jewish heritage. (Source.)
I agree with this opinion. Any praise I may have for Robinson's book is not intended to promote negative views towards Jews.

Despite this unfortunate flaw Robinson's book is essential reading for anyone wishing to properly understand HWA's character and what really happened within WCG in the turbulent 1970s.

You can access Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web from Exit and Support Network. Just email them and request it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

HWA and the Ancient Didache on Prophets and the Poor

Recently I read the Didache, a very old Christian text. Quite possibly one of the oldest pieces of Christian writings outside the New Testament. I wanted to see what it had to say about Christianity and how it compared to what HWA and his various imitators taught.

One fascinating detail about the Didache is how it discusses Prophets. It was HWA's teaching that outside the New Testament there were no Prophets because we now have the Bible. New Testament Prophets had no administrative power. Their purpose was to directly reveal the will of God to believers.This was necessary because there was no New Testament at the time. This was discussed in a previous post (Bolding mine.).
This teaching which That Prophet Gerald Flurry has sought to suppress was the teaching of the alleged end time Apostle and end time Elijah HWA from at least the August 1953, Good News, as may be seen in Herman Hoeh's article 'Government in our Church', pp. 3-4, 7-8.
Even though evangelists were next in authority under the apostles, next in spiritual order and above the evangelists are listed the prophets (I Cor. 12:28). Often in the Bible, prophet means preacher or poet. But in the New Testament history there are several instances mentioned in which prophets-both men and women-were used to foretell by special and personal revelation from God (Acts 11: 27-30; 21: 9-10). They spoke and exhorted the brethren and, if men, sometimes preached, although not usually evangelistic for the purpose of raising up churches.

Those who evangelized had authority over local churches, whereas the prophets had no government office or authority. Even in the Old Testament, where both men and women were used as prophets, none of the prophets had government authority unless they were also judges. In the New Testament, the only prophets with government authority were also apostles, evangelists, or elders (Acts 15:32; I Tim. 4:14).' (p.4).
Also in Mystery of the Ages, Chapter 6, HWA further confirmed this teaching.
No prophets are mentioned as having either administrative, executive or preaching functions in the New Testament Church.
(This statement has since been removed from the book by the present copyright holder, PCG, because it contradicts their dogma that their leader, Gerald Flurry, is "That Prophet" allegedly prophesied in Scripture)

So how does the Didache discuss New Testament Prophets? (Chapters 11 and 13.)
But concerning the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the Gospel, thus do. Let every apostle that comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet that speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one that speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he hold the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit eats not from it, except indeed he be a false prophet; and every prophet who teaches the truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him; but if he says to you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him. ...

But every true prophet that wills to abide among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have not a prophet, give it to the poor. If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the prophets; and of money (silver) and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.
The Didache taught that Prophets were to be housed by Christians but they were to only remain no more than three days. Christians were taught not to listen to any Prophet who "says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him". How very different from HWA these New Testament Prophets were.

Christians were taught to support Prophets with the first fruits "of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep," but if there are no Prophets around they are to be given to the poor. Notice the Didache does not talk about giving money to Prophets.

Already the Didache has shown more concern for the poor than HWA did, who told WCG members not to give to charities supporting refugees in the Biafran War of 1967-70 in Nigeria but instead to send that money to WCG. HWA had indoctrinated many WCG members to believe the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972.
Coworker letter  2/27/70
"THE APPEAL [to help refugees] WAS TO TREAT THE EFFECT, NOT THE CAUSE!… THIS WORK OF GOD is DOING SOMETHING BIG AND IMPORTANT TO STOP THE CAUSE—to PREVENT MORE BIAFRANS from starving… you are having A PART  in spreading Christ’s Gospel… Right HERE is the MOST IMPORTANT WORK ON EARTH TODAY… GIVE generously as you are able.. The way to DO SOMETHING about the starving and dying in Biafra, India, Egypt, and other such areas suffering evils, is to DEAL WITH THE CAUSE, not the effect—to HELP IN THIS GREAT WORK OF THE LIVING CHRIST!" (From Pam Dewey's website.)
There was also the time HWA criticized an ad appealing for donations to feed the hungry in poor third world countries as "an emotional appeal for money" as he did in his December 16, 1984 co-worker letter
It is Sunday morning. I was especially impressed by two TV programs this morning. One showed a television evangelist in a camp of emaciated, starving and dying children and adults in Ethiopia. The evangelist and a doctor were working over dying people. Victims were dying almost by the minute. Many were without any clothing. The doctor was telling of the need for blankets to spread over the starving people. It was a sickening, revolting scene, almost turning the viewers' stomachs inside out. The purpose was an emotional appeal for donations. ...

The program first mentioned above sought to deal with the effect. Just physically feeding the illiterate, poor and hungry does not eliminate the wretched condition, but rather perpetuates it. As Jesus said, the poor you always have with you. And always will if we do not correct the CAUSE of the evil.
So we can see that even though the Didache has only a little to say it still leaves a better example to follow than HWA.

HWA and the Ancient Didache on the Nature of God

Recently I read the Didache, a very old Christian text. Quite possibly one of the oldest pieces of Christian writings outside the New Testament. I wanted to see what it had to say about Christianity and how it compared to what HWA and his various imitators taught.

HWA taught that God is a family presently composed of the Father and the Son. He also asserted that this was the teaching of the original apostolic church.

If this is true then why does the Didache, in Chapter 7, echoes Matthew by saying new Christians are to be baptized "into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" as may be seen here.
And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 
Can HWA really be so sure that the apostolic church taught the God Family doctrine?

It also needs to be said here that there was no dark century as HWA taught. I strongly encourage you to read the previous link if you think there was such a dark age.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Just Read Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web

I have just finished reading David Robinson's book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.

If you have not read this book yet, do yourself a favor and read it. You can access it from Exit and Support Network.

Email them and request it. That is what I did. There are also other books available from them in this manner.

There will be more about this book will later appear on this blog.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bob Thiel and Garner Ted Armstrong on 9/11

Bob Thiel has a reputation for constantly correcting people on many topics. He criticizes American Football, refusing to even watch it. He condemns artistic portrayals of Europa for showing women in immodest dresses. At times he can be very inappropriate about condemning what he disapproves of. The most infamous incident occurred shortly after the tragic massacre of LCG members in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 2005. He criticized some of the locals for making crosses in memory of the fallen. The cross is condemned as a pagan symbol in Armstrongism and is not used by them. Even Meredith felt compelled to distance himself from Thiel's poorly judged words.

He has been like this for a very long time. To show this point here is another incident that I cannot recall being mentioned elsewhere.

I remember when Al Qaeda's 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred Bob Thiel mentioned that Garner Ted Armstrong was in the air at the time when all planes in US airspace had to land. He was attending a reunion with fellow veterans of the Korean War. I cannot remember if he was heading there or returning home.

Bob Thiel made sure to mention that serving in the military is forbidden within Armstrongism. HWA taught against serving in the military. From what I recall he did not mention that Garner Ted Armstrong served in the military before he decided to work for HWA's group.

Serving in armed combat is no doubt a most profound experience. It is very hard for those who fought in combat to explain such things to those who never served in combat. So naturally many veterans wished to associate with fellow veterans who intuitively understand what many civilians are unable to. No doubt Garner Ted Armstrong was motivated by such perfectly natural motives in wishing to attend that Korean War veterans' reunion. No doubt he wanted to see how his follow soldiers were now and meet up with them again.

What is wrong with that? Why did Thiel feel compelled to mention HWA's prohibition on military service in this context?

Unfortunately I am under the impression that these entries are now gone and inaccessible, though not through Thiel's fault.

Leroy Neff Passes Away

The sad announcement has been making its way through the COG blogs. Leroy Neff, a long time minister within the religious movement founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, who worked with WCG, then UCG and lastly COGWA, has passed away, January 28.

My condolences to his mourning family and friends.

I often encountered his name while reading about COG history. Happily I can say there seemed to be little controversy surrounding him.