Monday, March 31, 2014

HWA, GTA and Rader's Contracts with WCG (1976)

Years ago Mary Lane noted in a comment here that Stephen Flurry asserted that HWA did not have an employment contract with WCG.
It is interesting that Stephan Flurry would say in chaper 19 of "Raising the Ruins," that HWA never had an employment agreement or contract with the church, because he most assuredly did. In fact it was a 14 page contract and you can find a copy of it in AR 26 & on the Painful Truth website and it is very specific in it's demands for this "employee"
I looked up on this tip. She was indeed correct and I discussed this in a previous post. HWA did in fact have a contract with WCG, it was discussed in Ambassador Report 26, October 1983, and Stephen Flurry denied that he had such a contract.
He [HWA] never had an employment contract with the church [WCG]. We [PCG's leaders] explained that he “simply did not want” one. (Raising the Ruins, Chapter 19, Part 1.)
Why Stephen Flurry thought it was a good idea to deny something that is so well documented is very strange. Either he was ignorant or he was lying. Either way it does not look good.

I bring this matter up again because David Robinson, in his book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web (1980), provides more information regarding these contracts as HWA mentioned that he, his son and Rader had made these contracts. HWA mentioned this in a conversation with David Robinson at the Pococos, around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles in 1976, shortly after these contracts were made and signed.

HWA signed this contract because he was fearful that WCG ministers would compel him to reduce his personal expenses and force him to manage WCG's money in a more frugal (and responsible) manner. To protect their lavish income HWA, GTA and Rader signed these contracts in order to keep their income at the same high levels. They feared the WCG ministers might cause them to cut back their personal income.
HWA said he, Stan, and Ted had just signed contracts calling for salaries "well into the six figures" for the three of them. He said he expected the church to soon be run by a committee, and they had seen to it that contracts had been signed that guaranteed their standard of living, or as he said, "my life-style" would not be diminished. They would continue to have the plane, etc. No one could take that away from him. (Chapter 6, pp. 76-7.)
David Robinson was disturbed by this piece of information as it appeared to him the three were putting their trust in contracts, not God.

Later this contract was brought to public light during the course of HWA's divorce case with Ramona Martin and publicized in Ambassador Report 26, October 1983. Indeed, as David Robinson accurately stated long before the contract came to public disclosure, this contract was signed by HWA, Garner Ted Armstrong and Stanley Rader. 

Furthermore it was also revealed to be a seven year contract and HWA had a yearly salary of $200,000. It was signed on August 1, 1976, just two months before HWA's fateful conversation with David Robinson. It was later superseded by another contract signed in 1980 which raised HWA's salary to "$258,426.96 per year." (Ambassador Report 26.)

It is curious, considering how David Robinson's word was vindicated in this manner back in 1983, that some COG believers should have insisted that he was lying about HWA's incest. Recently both HWA's niece, Deborah Armstrong, and his own grandson, Larry Gott, have publicly stated that the incest did in fact occur.

C. Wayne Cole was also offered a similar contract but he refused, feeling it to be an anomaly to have a contract in a church.
But one interesting thing Wayne did tell me was that HWA had offered him a contract when he came down from Canada to replace Ron Dart - an offer he immediately refused.  He felt to write a contract for his job in the ministry was an anomaly. I think he was right. (Chapter 13, p. 153. Emphasis in original.)
Why would Stephen Flurry try to hide the fact that HWA had a contract with WCG when he most certainly had such a contract? (At least two in fact.) If Stephen Flurry could get a fact like this so wrong what else is he wrong about?

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

HWA's Other Romantic Relationship

Recently when reading David Robinson's book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, I read him discussing that after the death of his first wife, Loma Armstrong, in 1967 and before HWA married Ramona Martin in 1977, he had had two romantic relationships. One with a Filipino woman, and another relationship with a woman referred to as Amy who was 25 years of age at the time of this relationship.
Then, he [HWA] told us about his romance with Amy, a church employee who I believe he said was 25 at the time. He said he had actually been in love with her, but maybe it had been infatuation. He mentioned several incidents of his relationship with Amy, but never mentioned a young Filipino lady whom he reportedly brought over to the U.S. earlier. (Chapter 6, p. 67.)
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. (Chapter 7, p. 88.)
What I did not know at the time was that this woman was later revealed to be one Amy Bowman. This is made clear in the pages of the Ambassador Report.

Her name first appears as one of many persons who had resigned from the editorial staff of WCG. Her name appears in the list of the executive exodus from WCG in both issue 1 and issue 2.

But it was during the proceedings of HWA's divorce from Ramona Martin that the identity of Amy Bowman in this matter was first revealed, as is seen in Ambassador Report 26, October 1983
HWA is discovering just how expensive a divorce can be. It can also be a very nasty business. For instance, notice this line of questioning at one HWA deposition: ...
Q Do you recall, sir, when we talked about Amy Bowman before? Do you remember we talked about Amy Bowman who was a secretary to your secretary at some time before 19 -

A [HWA] She was an assistant to my secretary.

Q Do you remember, sir, I asked you if you had a romantic relationship with Amy Bowman?

MR. BROWNE [HWA's lawyer]: Object to the question...
Her name is again mentioned in a list of various persons Ramona Martin's lawyers hoped to summon as part of the divorce case.
A look at the list of witnesses Ramona's lawyers hope to have testify hints at the nature of the forthcoming trial. Along with various WCG officials, accountants, and bank officers are these probable witnesses: Jack Kessler, John Kenniston, Henry Cornwall, Rona Martin, Stanley Rader, David Dahlgran, Nikki Rader, Dr. Floyd Lochner, Melvin Olinger, Myrtle Horn, Dorothy Mattson, David Robinson, Jim Johnson, Layla Upton, Amy Bowman, Helen Styles, Ilene McManis, Virginia Kenniston, Jerry Wylie, Ken Hopke, Bill Stacey, Dorothy Moore, Wes White, Hillel Chodos, and Judge Weisman. Some of those listed have already thought it wise to obtain legal representation.
She is mentioned again in Ambassador Report 27, April 1984.

In court one of Ramona Martin's lawyers try to question HWA about this whether HWA had mentioned to David Robinson that he had a romantic relationship with Amy Bowman. HWA denies that any such romantic relationship occurred and even insists he had forgotten her name.
Q Do you recall telling Mr. David Robinson in May of 1974, at Big Sandy, that you had been having a romance with Amy, a church employee, that you believed to be approximately 25 years old at that time?
MR. BROWNE [HWA's lawyer]: Object to the question as being irrelevant and immaterial, instruct the witness not to answer it. What's the relevancy, counsel?
Q (By Mr. Deckter) Do you accept that instruction?
A [HWA] On the advice of my counsel I won't answer. Some of these things I would like to answer, but I know your legal, well, methods. And I think you know my opinion of them. I don't approve of such methods at all .... there was no romantic relationship whatsoever, but there was sort of a grandfather and granddaughter affection, nothing more, and nothing more ever happened.
MR. DECKTER: That is not the question that was submitted to the witness.
MR. BROWNE: I will object to the question, that it's irrelevant and immaterial.
THE WITNESS [HWA]: The whole question is designed to put me in a wrong light, and it is not true.
MR. BROWNE: State your question, Mr. Deckter. Go on, what's the question?
THE WITNESS: The whole thing is an attempt to defame me.
MR. BROWNE: I understand that.
THE WITNESS: And defame my character, and it is not true. There was never anything in any manner, shape or form wrong. The relationship with this Amy Bowman. I had even forgotten her name.
MR. BROWNE: All right.
Q (By Mr. Deckter) The question is, sir, isn't it true that in May of '74, at Big Sandy, you had a conversation with Mr. David Robinson and during the course of that conversation you discussed your romance and romantic relationship with Amy Bowman, a person who you believed to be 25 years old at that time?
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question, that it's irrelevant and immaterial. But you may answer it. Did you tell that to Mr. Robinson?
THE WITNESS: I don't remember the conversation at all, but there never was any romantic relationship with Amy Bowman.
What did Amy Bowman have to say about all this?
HWA may not remember the conversation, but David Robinson certainly does. A detailed account appears on page 67 of his book. As for Ms. Bowman, she has stated that HWA tried to fondle her breasts, but that she objected. Soon afterward she was transferred from being one of his secretaries to a position in the editorial department.
That is what HWA did? What a disgusting man! HWA thinks woman should just be treated like that? What sort of godly conduct is this, he who so loved to lambast mainstream society for its failings but seems to be utterly morally depraved himself. 

Now indeed it must be said that Amy Bowman was listed as being a part of the editorial department when she was listed as having resigned, as mentioned above. 

So now we see another curious fact of HWA's far from ideal personal life being revealed again. Once again we see HWA was far from a paragon of virtue, as he so loved to claim.

Before this ends I would like to say that I hope Amy Bowman is well and happy and is having a prosperous life.

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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

David Robinson on HWA and Garner Ted Armstrong

David Robinson, in his book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, has a lot to say about the relations between HWA and Garner Ted Armstrong.

Chapter 3 discusses the scandal that erupted once it was learned from 1971 onwards that Garner Ted Armstrong was committing adultery with numerous women. About 30 to "more than 40" women were later known by name by those who investigated this matter within WCG. (Chapter 3, p. 43.)

Some of these women, it seems, were later married to WCG ministers.
Sometimes these stories [of Garner Ted Armstrong's adulteries] came from the women themselves, especially when some of them began to suspect they were not the "only one" who had "led Ted astray by their irresistible personal charms," as they had been led to believe. When women, many of whom were married to men in the ministry, began to compare college notes, the sordid story circulated. (Chapter 3, p. 41-2.)
Later, after Garner Ted Armstrong was reinstated into power.
Ted was named HWA's successor, formally. This was too much for ministers whose wives had shared a bad with Ted during their college days. The number of "disaffected" ministers grew. (Chapter 3, p. 42.)
No wonder these ministers, fueled partly by this sexual humiliation, stood up and protested at HWA's quick reinstatement of Garner Ted Armstrong and proceeded to lead a mass defection from WCG.

Oddly enough, despite the adultery scandal, Garner Ted Armstrong was still greatly beloved by many WCG members. David Robinson states that in 1973 it was Garner Ted Armstrong who held the love of the people (pp. 59-60). HWA had become used to simply reusing the same sermon again and again, but his son spoke in a much more dynamic and lively manner. The crowds of WCG members came for his son, not HWA. Security had to be careful that he was not mobbed by devoted adherents who yearned to even so much as touch him.

When HWA deposed Garner Ted Armstrong in 1978 he alleged that this was because he was liberalizing WCG doctrine and leading WCG to fall under God's curse. HWA claimed this liberalizing was done covertly behind his back.

This is what WCG's leaders said to the lay members. But the picture was quite different for the WCG ministers who were closer to the action. Although HWA insisted that Garner Ted Armstrong was conniving to lead WCG into doctrinal error and to overthrow HWA in fact HWA had always been firmly in control of WCG during the entire "liberal" 1970s era. David Robinson succinctly shows us this was the case. 
But let one thing be made clear -- nothing was ever done without Herbert Armstrong's knowing, if he wanted to know! And, if he chose to do something, nothing stopped him. The idea that major changes were made without his knowledge and approval is incompatible with reality. Also it should be noted that Stan Rader advised him in church matters years and years before he was ever "baptized." (Chapter 5, pp. 55-6. Italics in original.)
During the Feast of Tabernacles of 1977 Garner Ted Armstrong met with his father and HWA, shortly after his heart attack, begged him not to seize control of WCG. Garner Ted Armstrong promised not to do so and he did nothing to overthrow HWA. But HWA would later show no mercy when he decided to cast out his own son. (Chapter 7, p.89.)

Robinson believed HWA had been plotting to oust his son since 1975 and he probably would have done it far earlier if he was not so obsessed with sex at the time. (Chapter 8, p. 95.)

HWA's letter disfellowshipping and shunning Garner Ted Armstrong is reproduced on Chapter 8, p. 101.

Alas, HWA seemed to have a strong and constant paranoid fear that others were conspiring against him. 
Many of those who have known him long, including some of his own family, report he has always talked of conspiracy against himself. He saw everyone, including members of his own family, as collaborators against him. His persecution complex was always strong. (Chapter 10, p. 116.)
Robinson mentions that Dr. Floyd Lochner (of Lochner tapes infamy) speculated that HWA grew a vastly over sized ego as a way of compensating for his short stature. (Chapter 10, p. 113.)

Later when David Robinson met HWA for the last time
He [HWA] then asked if I knew why he had put Ted out of the church. I just sat and looked interested. He repeated the question, demanding a response. I was quite sure I knew the reason why, that reason being that Ted tried to correct some of the almost unbelievable abuses of the church's resources. I still think Ted was coming to maturity and really hated the terrible practices of his father's party. So, not wanting to get into that, I replied, "Because of Ted's insubordination to you."

"Oh, no," he replied. "Not that. And it wasn't because of the problems of 1974. It was because Ted believes nothing that his father does. That is the reason I disfellowshipped him." (Chapter 19, p. 256. Italics in original.)
What madness! How could HWA believe something so utterly divorced from reality? When Garner Ted Armstrong started up his own COG group he continued to teach much of what HWA taught.

When reading Robinson's conversation with HWA one is caught up in a sense that this man, HWA, is a state of near madness and that anything is possible. It is a most remarkable portrait of this dreadfully dysfunctional man.

David Robinson has revealed a remarkable account of the destructive relationship between father and son that led to so much turmoil within WCG.

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

Friday, March 28, 2014

David Robinson on Roderick C. Meredith

For my 800th post here is a discussion of some of what David Robinson had to say about Roderick C. Meredith in his book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.


On pages 22-3 David Robinson discusses deaths caused by HWA's medicine ban. He then mentions how, in 1970, Roderick C. Meredith had medical surgery to fix (heal) a detached retina. This was spuriously justified WCG's leaders as "repair surgery," not surgery and therefore allowed. One WCG minister was outraged by this because he knew one WCG member who had the exact same problem as Meredith and, because of HWA's medicine ban, did not see a doctor for it and lost his eye.

Concerning this matter David Robinson was moved to say...
Ministers in the church still, ten years later, rankle over Rod's requiring one thing from the people and doing another himself. (Chapter 1, p. 23) 


Garner Ted Armstrong reports that Roderick C. Meredith was envious of his lifestyle. (p. 43.) Even if this is true it is too easy to believe this was said out of spite therefore I regard this assertion as not worthy of use in discussing Meredith. I have mentioned it here but have no plans to use it regularly. More well documented failing of Meredith are known elsewhere.


Roderick C. Meredith learned of Garner Ted Armstrong's infidelities in 1965. He reported it to HWA who was already aware of them and said he had been forgiven. Robinson believed that his knowledge of Garner Ted Armstrong's infidelities gave him great power within WCG. (Chapter 12, p. 138.)


David Robinson portrays Roderick C. Meredith as being very powerful, but despite his strengths he possessed weaknesses that insured he was unable to be in a position to be HWA's successor.
Rod was very powerful and may have been in many ways number two. But he never had control of, nor did he understand, money. (Chapter 12, p. 138.)
Of course he does not understand money. He just gets it from devoted WCG members who pay three tithes and then lives off of that and use to sustain a COG group in order to continue persuading people to pay him and his collaborators the three tithes and extra offerings.


Robinson says Roderick C. Meredith tried to de-emphasize HWA and Hoeh's 1972-5 prophecy but was rebuked by HWA for doing so and ordered him to not contradict WCG teaching of the 1972 prophecy. From this incident Robinson believed HWA honestly believed the 1972-5 prophecy as late as 1970. (Chapter 12, pp. 142-3.)


Roderick C. Meredith admitted to Robinson that he did not believe the Petrine doctrine that HWA and Rader were teaching at the time. Meredith also stated that he wished there was a greater emphasis on the Ezekiel message (which is based on the inaccurate dogma of British Israelism) and that it had not yet been properly delivered to the people of the US and the world. (Chapter 13, p. 167.)

In the September-October 2006 issue of LCG's recruitment magazine Tomorrow's World Douglas Winnail wrote a little article condemning the primacy of Peter. There is not the slightest thought given to the fact that during the Stanley Rader era this doctrine was vehemently taught by HWA.

If HWA could be wrong on a matter so important what else could he be wrong about?


HWA did not have the most flattering view of Roderick C. Meredith. Robinson reports that HWA viewed him as being so righteous he was unrighteous.
Mr. Armstrong has himself been widely quoted as saying of you [Meredith] that you were so righteous that you were so "righteous you were unrighteous." (Chapter 16, p. 207.)
Later events would further prove Robinson correct on this matter.


David Robinson also reveals that Roderick C. Meredith tried to orchestrate a coup within WCG in 1977. However this was somehow never enacted. (Chapter 19, p. 257.)


David Robinson was bitterly disappointed that, during the receivership crisis of 1979, Roderick C. Meredith decided to ally himself with Rader to oppose the enforcement of the receivership. In fact many WCG ministers were hopeful the receivership would bring order and stability to WCG. They also thought that as (Armstrongite) Christians it was their duty to submit to the authority of the State of California in this particular matter. But Roderick C. Meredith chose Rader and fought against the receivership, thus protecting HWA and Rader from any potential legal troubles the receivership would give them.
Very likely there not another man in the whole church who could have saved the day for the financial faction [Rader and his allies] -- the unordained element -- except Rod Meredith. Many had long known his burning ambition to again have control of the ministry. During his twelve years in power before, he had regularly referred to himself as the "number three man". (Chapter 14, p. 178.)

Roderick C. Meredith was persuaded to work with HWA and Rader to resist the receivership. It was obvious to informed observers within WCG that he would not last long in this new role. They were right. (Chapter 14, pp. 180-1.)

If Meredith was so smart why could he not perceive this?


Very soon after deposing C. Wayne Cole Roderick C. Meredith tried to assume control over WCG but Rader's clique would not be pushed around by him and by March it was widely suspected Meredith would be deposed before Passover. (Chapter 14, p. 184.)

One way Rader and his clique were able to discredit Meredith was to simply wait for him to blunder into disgrace.
With time it could be made to appear that Rod had done it to himself. Rod could be made to appear what his enemies already claimed; namely, that Rod was a person without compassion or the slightest concern for anyone but himself. (Chapter 14, p. 184.)

On January 22, 1979 a ministerial conference was held. According to Robinson this was a show of strength to see if Rader's clique had succeeded in subduing and co-opting the ministry thus completing the coup which began with the overthrow of C. Wayne Cole. The ministers who opposed Rader's takeover were disorganized. Most WCG ministers loathed Rader's seizure of power and could not see how it was fit and proper to let the then unordained Rader be granted so much power over the ministry.

In response to Rader's seizure of power an anonymously written letter was made and circulated among dissatisfied WCG ministers. It appears on pages 188-193 of David Robinson's book.

The letter is fairly similar to how John Tuit described the receivership.

The letter argues that WCG should cooperate with the State of California's receivership. The letter said the receivership was investigating how WCG used its money and that there is no scripturally justified reason to defy this order. It stated that the receiver had assured WCG's leaders that WCG's freedom of religion would be respected. There would be no attempt to change doctrine. WCG members were free to assemble. The receivership was concerned with finances, not doctrine. It said that WCG's defiance towards the receivership indicated that WCG's leaders were trying to hide something.

So we see that HWA's paranoid claim that this was somehow an attempt to destroy or nationalize WCG is not true. It was about finances, not religion.

Later WCG's leaders published an Arthur Andersen audit to claim they were innocent of illegal acts. But in fact this audit did not have the power to determine if anything was illegal. It did not have the power to vindicate WCG's leaders.

Eventually Stanley Rader was able to lobby the State of California into passing a law that made it impossible for a receivership of this sort to be imposed upon a church. WCG was not proven innocent, they just got the law changed.


In Chapter 15 Robinson reports he had a meeting with Roderick C. Meredith and Raymond McNair. They assured him that Rader would not be able to take over WCG.

Robinson was convinced they completely underestimated Rader and so were doomed.

At one point Robinson points out that Roderick C. Meredith was mentally smarter then Raymond McNair, but Stanley Rader was much more smarter than Roderick C.Meredith. Robinson came to this conclusion based on his conversations and meetings with the three. This is one reason why it was no surprise to him that Rader deposed Meredith

Meredith chose to collaborate with Rader in opposing the receivership and casting out C. Wayne Cole. This collaboration crippled Meredith's standing among the ministry and made it impossible for Meredith to build a power base to oppose Rader. So when Stanley Rader struck Roderick C. Meredith could not prevail and was dismissed and sent to temporary exile in Hawai'i. (Chapter 15, p. 198.)

During this exile HWA sent Meredith a most scathing letter condemning him as unworthy of succeeding him. It is clear, whatever Rader's influence was at the time, that HWA viewed Meredith as unworthy of the succession till the day he died.


David Robinson's conversation with Meredith and Raymond McNair later took a dramatic and severe turn for him. In this discussion Meredith suddenly ordered Robinson to leave his congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma and train at Ambassador College. (Chapter 15, pp. 201-2.)

Meredith assured him he would have his friendship to help out. Robinson was suspicious and, he persuasively argues, he was correct in being skeptical as so soon afterwards they had been deposed by Rader. Meredith's would then have been useless and quite likely a liability.

In Chapter 16 Robinson gives with a heavy heart his assessment of what sort of man Roderick C. Meredith had been in a letter he wrote to him. Although I have mentioned this in a previous post it is worth mentioning again here. This letter was written after Rader had removed him from power, as Robinson accurately foresaw.
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.
Perhaps it would be enlightening to see what Roderick C. Meredith said about David Robinson when he disfellowshipped him shortly before Rader threw him out of power.
However, because of very serious wrong attitudes and wrong accusations he made, Mr. David Robinson, the former pastor there, has been terminated from God's ministry. ...

And I am very sorry to report that David Robinson whom we worked with personally for many, many hours on his problems, has had to be terminated and now disfellowshipped because of gross disloyalty to Mr. Armstrong and this Work.  
Meredith always claimed to be sorry when he shunned WCG ministers who resisted HWA's tyranny.

Shortly after Meredith disfellowshipped Robinson he was dumped by HWA and Rader. It was after his fall from power that Robinson wrote his letter to him.


So now we see some of what David Robinson had to say about Roderick C. Meredith. A man who chose to betray the interests of WCG ministers in order to gain power from Rader. (He hoped he would depose Rader but he was hopelessly outmatched and miserably failed.) A man who chose to shun men he had long known and worked with in order to advance himself within WCG's pecking order. A man who healed his detached retina with doctors while WCG were suffering and brainwashed in refusing such help.

Why would anyone chose to follow a man like that if they knew the truth.

[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.]

Testimony from Ex-WCG/UCG Member

Exit and Support Network has published the testimony of one brave man who reveals the story of his life within WCG then UCG and how he eventually got out of Armstrongism.

Childhood Memories of Growing up in Worldwide Church of God.

Why I Left United Church of God.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Anecdotes of Stanley Rader's Power (From David Robinson)

Among the many things discussed by David Robinson in his book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, is the great power Stanley Rader had within WCG, and seemingly over HWA himself. Rader appears to have grown increasingly close to HWA in the 1970s. It is often speculated that Rader fulfilled the void in HWA's life after the death of his wife, Loma Armstrong, in 1967. Rader was instrumental in helping HWA visit world leaders from 1968 onwards His power peaked around 1978-1981, from the disfellowshipping of Garner Ted Armstrong until Rader himself was deposed by HWA. Rader was very much in control of HWA.

Several incidents in the book highlight Rader's great power within HWA's WCG.

During the mass defection of 1974 HWA wrote a co-worker letter insisting the dissenting ministers were simply power hungry, ungrateful traitors who wanted money. Most of their grievances (Garner Ted Armstrong's lenient treatment for his numerous adulteries, the failure of HWA's 1972 prophecy, etc.) were not even discussed. According to David Robinson this letter was actually largely composed by Stanley Rader.
(Stan claimed later that he wrote it!) (p. 42. Emphasis in original.) 
Chapter 12 discusses Rader a lot, including the creation of Quest magazine and the general disgust with it among WCG members because it behaved contrary to WCG teachings. In it Robinson speculates that HWA was attracted to Rader because he was already familiar with many of HWA's distinctive teachings due to his Jewish heritage. (Chapter 12, p. 141.)

Robinson makes it clear that Rader was a man of great mental dexterity. But he did not know everything. Robinson mentions how once in a press conference Rader said Garner Ted Armstrong's church, the Church of God International, was not a church but a corporation. Robinson cites this as evidence that Rader did not understand religion very well. (Chapter 13, p. 149.)

It is also noted that Rader said the ideal of equality was inaccurate and untenable. (Chapter 13, p. 153)

Robinson criticized Henry Cornwall, a non-WCG member, using WCG money to attack and demonize Ron Dart, a high ranking minister closely associated with Garner Ted Armstrong. However Rader seemed quite pleased with himself for using Dart in this manner as a sort of training exercise to later depose Garner Ted Armstrong. (Chapter 13, p. 159.)

Robinson was greatly disturbed by how Rader seemed to believe that in certain circumstances it is necessary to lie for a greater good. During a conversation with Robinson, Rader accused Garner Ted Armstrong of destroying "the Work" (the supposedly expending operation of WCG) for ten years. Robinson protested that Garner Ted Armstrong was not an intellectual as WCG was then accusing him of. Rader agreed that this was so. (Chapter 13, pp. 159-60.) 

Soon after that Robinson was summoned by C. Wayne Cole who asked him why he was spending time with Rader. Robinson said he wanted to understand the situation between HWA and Rader. Robinson asked Cole if Rader was converted. Cole said Rader was not converted. Rader had business interests unlike most other church people. (Chapter 13, pp. 160-1.)

Robinson confronted Rader on why WCG needed Quest or the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation in the first place. Rader gave an evasive and waffling response. Then Robinson asked Rader about the Ezekiel message and pleaded with him that WCG needed to prioritize sharing this message to the people of the US and the rest of the world instead of having power struggles among themselves. Robinson never felt as though Rader understood what the Ezekiel message even was. (Chapter 13, pp. 162-3.)

Robinson then asked about WCG's stance regarding homosexuality and asked why was WCG not doing more to prevent its acceptance in mainstream society considering the success Anita Bryant had in Florida. Robinson found it incomprehensible how she was doing more about this topic then WCG. Surely WCG could do more he thought. Rader then promised that something would be done about it. (Chapter 13, p. 163.)

At one point Rader relates a story of how HWA first commissioned the purchase of his own plane, but he knew nothing about how to get one. He found himself hopelessly unaware of what to do. While telling this Rader said, "I know my man. I know my man." The implication being that HWA was quite inadequate in many ways and Rader knew how to do what HWA could not. Robinson could not help but wonder if Rader used his knowledge for his advantage in working with HWA. (Chapter 13, p. 167.)

While talking with him Robinson noted that Rader also wanted to be ordained. Robinson wondered if Rader's influence upon WCG would have developed in a more positive direction if the receivership had not occurred, but it is impossible to know. (Chapter 13, p. 167.)

Robinson also identifies one major problem why things went so wrong within WCG.
At that time there was no machinery in the Church of God to purge itself. (There never has been.) (Chapter 13, p. 168.)
Pages 170-1 contain a letter by David Robinson's son, John Robinson, respectfully appealing to Rader to use WCG money to let WCG ministers stay in hotels during a ministerial conference instead of staying in members' houses.

Page 172 contains a letter of Rader's citing this letter as a reason for firing John Robinson and accuses him of covertly editing HWA's articles.

Pages 173-4 contain David Robinson's respese in which he notes that Rader had previously admitted to him that John Robinson did not edit HWA's writings, but instead Rader had accused Garner Ted Armstrong and Robert Kuhn of doing so. He also notes that John Robinson never blamed Rader for the problem regarding WCG ministers having to stay in members' houses but rather presented Rader with an opportunity to correct this problem.

Chapter 19 again shows Rader's power. When David Robinson talks to HWA in his home in Tucson Henry Cornwall, a man closely associated with Rader who was not even a WCG member, constantly stayed with HWA and Robinson during their climactic conversation.

We have David Robinson to thank for helping to reveal just how much power Rader had over HWA at this time. Later, in 1981, somehow HWA turned against Rader and deposed him, but unlike previous perceived rivals he treated Rader very cautiously by agreeing to pay him a generous pension which was faithfully paid by WCG to Rader until he died in 2002.

[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.]

Monday, March 24, 2014

HWA's Grandson, Larry Gott, Speaks of HWA's Incest

Recently Troy Fitzgerald, founder of Secular Safe House, conducted an interview with HWA's own grandson, Larry Gott, the son of HWA's first daughter, Beverly Gott.

In the interview Larry Gott confirms that HWA did commit incest with his daughter as has been publically known since 1980.

You can listen to the interview here.

For those who have not listened to the interview here is an enlightening comment regarding this interview by Head Usher.
Interviews don't always produce nice summary soundbites, but in this case, it did. As a public service, I post the following transcription which I made of Larry's answer to Troy's question about Herbert's character:

"He was a person who craved and used authority over other people. That was sort of the essence of him. No one was close to him ever, not even his wife. He was an authoritarian. And I would tell people that he was not completely honest with everybody about himself because he expected people to hew to a line that he couldn't follow himself, including the divorce thing, and of course the incest. That did happen ... And then he didn't even bother to deny it. He said, 'Well, my people won't believe it anyway.' He was so smug about it. One time I was going to, there was an open house, over at Jet Propulsion Lab and I was being taken over there by David Antion who was Shirley Armstrong's sister's husband, and there was a couple who were not in the church, from back east, and they knew that I was Herbert Armstrong's grandson. And they just asked me, 'Well, is Herbert Armstrong the wonderful, caring, loving, kind, gentle, Christian kind of man that he seems to be?' And my answer was a single word, 'No' ... It was embarrassing, but I just had to tell her the truth. No, he wasn't as he appeared at all. And so if people are basing their beliefs and their desire to be in that church upon the character of its founder, they're making a mistake."

Herbert claimed to be the one and only representative of a heavenly Jesus Christ on earth. He claimed that he was an end-time "Elijah." A long-missing link between heaven and earth. He claimed that his church was the one troo church. He claimed that his (heretical) ministry was the one troo "work" of the christian god. And he said all these things upon his own authority. He asked people to place their trust in him first, and having committed to that, then, secondly, in his interpretation of the christian bible and his interpretation of its god. And by preaching over radio and television, exhorting people to believe his message, he also promoted the impression that he was a paragon of virtue, not a compulsive liar, a pedophile, and in churchy lingo, a totally "unconverted" person.

The bible doesn't mention Herbert Armstrong. It nowhere prophesies Herbert Armstrong's (insignificant) arrival upon the world scene. No supernatural beings came down from heaven above and vouched for Herbert Armstrong. If we made the mistake of being members of his church, it's because we first made the mistake of accepting that anyone who so boldly and unwaveringly claimed to be all that he claimed he was could not display so much confidence unless it were true, and decided to misplace our trust in him on that basis. It's good to remember that the "con" in "con artist" is short for "confidence." Many thanks to Larry Gott for making it undeniably clear, in a way only someone in his position can, that it is impossible for any of Herbert's grandiose claims about himself to have been anything but the calculated deceptions of a man with an amazing talent for confidence.
There is also this comment.
An exact quote from the interview, at 1:02:55:

"We all knew it happened. Nobody spoke about it because of Dottie, we didn’t want to disturb or upset her. None of it was her fault. She was 14 or 15 when it began, so she was not capable of consent in the first place, so what it was, was basically rape. It went on for quite a while. Yes, he did commit incest with his younger daughter."
Direct from HWA's grandson. Let the deniers refute that.
Indeed. This commenter is most correct. How can persons like Bob Thiel continue to deny that the incest happened? HWA most certainly committed incest with his own daughter for ten years.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

PCG Praising HWA as the Answer to Personal Immorality

Here is one fascinating article by PCG, Forgotten Platform, written anonymously for the November 2004 Philadelphia Trumpet. This was published during the height of the 2004 US Presidential elections.
Sadly, we have heard little or nothing about another dangerous threat facing our nation—the breakdown in family. Our politicians, our commentators, our academics, the media—have all but given up the struggle to promote and safeguard traditional family values. Indeed, many of these powerful voices are actually working actively to undermine the family.
The author then speculates that this may be because some of these persons have failed to live up to these ideals.
Consider the speakers at one political convention [the Republican National Convention] a few months back. One had previously admitted to sexually harassing women. He is also a strong defender of abortion and homosexual rights. Another speaker has a homosexual daughter—he too is a proponent of same-sex marriage. Two other speakers at the convention got caught up in high-profile, messy divorces. One was in such a bad marriage that he had to move out of New York City’s mayoral mansion—that city’s first mayor to ever do so.
How does this writer respond to this?

He quotes HWA.
Herbert Armstrong wrote in The Missing Dimension in Sex, “this fact means only one thing—civilization as we know it is on the way down—and out—unless that great ‘Unseen Strong Hand from Someplace’ soon intervenes and saves today’s sick society.”
Why is this PCG writer not disturbed or embarassed by the fact that HWA divorced his second wife, Ramona Martin (nee Crittenden)? Although many Armstrongites behave as though she never existed Herbert W. Armstrong married Ramona Martin in 1977. The marriage later broke down and he applied for the divorce in 1981. It was finalized in 1984.

Note how this is casually brushed aside as though it did not happen. He belittles these Republican politicians for their personal failings and then raise up and praise a man who divorced his wife.

But there is more to this. Ramona Martin happened to be divorced. Normally this would not be an issue but until 1974 HWA imposed a particularly draconian rule that remarried members had to divorce from their present spouse before being allowed to join his group. Roderick C. Meredith played an instrumental role in getting WCG ministers to impose this frightful rule. In marrying her he did something that many WCG members were forbidden to do.

It is also well known that HWA committed incest with his daughter for ten years (c. 1933-43) during the very time he was supposedly raising up the Philadelphian church era. None of the criticized Republican politicians is accused of committing such a heinous thing. Recently this has been confirmed to have happened by HWA's niece, Deborah Armstrong, and his own grandson, Larry Gott, in interviews with Troy Fitzgerald.

But in order to be remain a member in good standing within PCG you have to just go along with what this writer says and ignore any lingering doubt that there is something wrong.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Former Hulmites Now LCG Ministers

So Roderick C. Meredith has now appointed the two former Hulmite ministers to positions of authority within LCG, as reported by Banned by HWA. Oh what darkness these Hulmite ministers are placing themselves under working for LCG. I fear their bad example will cause others to follow them in their grievous error.

Here are some intriguing comments.

One commenter said this.
In the early 90's when I first went over to the Global C of G, they were placing ministers who had taught the new doctrines in power without apology or explanation. These men never seemed to change their new doctrinal opinions, just kept it more quiet to get a paycheck.
There was even a minister teaching that Christ was an African man with dread locks.
They could not care less who their ministry is.
It is so hard to find good information about the Global Church of God before the split in 1998. I find this quite an intriguing comment. Just shows how lackadaisical the ministry has been in practice.

Byker Bob also provides his perspective.
In a way, this makes sense. Iirc., Bummer Bob Thiel left LCG partially because Uncle Roddy included "the world's" Christians in his "great falling away" scenario. And, by Armstrong standards, that is a very liberal inclusion, indeed! Bad faux pas! If Sunday keeping believers in Jesus Christ are thus hypothetically included in the great falling away, then unlike David Pack, Uncle Roddy would most certainly consider any sabbath keeping ministers who believed in the Binity, kept the Old Covenant Holy days and dietary laws, and maintained the sanctity of British Israelism to be fully qualified pastors or teachers, righteous keepers of the flock.

It is either that, or at least some of the involved parties secretly know that the whole thing is a man-made KKK (krock ka krap), rendering micro doctrinal differences totally irrelevant as compared to the harvesting of the tithes. Actually, that is what I would tend to believe, if it were not for two of the names on the list. I just don't know how radically a person's soul print changes over 40 years, but there was a time when I would have sworn to the personal integrity and sincerity of those two, one of whom is or was Doug Winnail's brother-in-law. But, this is Armstrongism, and I have to remember that one of my favorite coworkers at AC Press grew up to stab his wife to death, and is now serving life for his crime. That suggests that, yes, indeed, a person's soul print can become corrupted.

It surely gets complicated. You'd think these guys were simply managers from a secular company who had been hired away from a competitor. Come to think of it, that's probably the closest we can come to the reality of it all.
 He later states:
Having now slept on this, it appears to be yet another sign of the end of Armstrongism. No growth, either in the membership, or the ministry. In an attempt to reverse this downward spiral, they will take anyone who knows and can preach the basic doctrinal pattern, and is familiar with the authority structure. At this point, the larger groups are more than aware that people, including ministers, often have personal opinions which can differ from official doctrine.

Nobody is going for the scary stricter groups who claim to be preservationists. This is due to the prevailing lack of empathy and cruelty which accompanies that, the unreasonable level of financial sacrifice required (and the oft corrupt stewardship of the income produced!), and the very pervasive suppression of freedom of thought. These groups have tried to foster an artificial sense of urgency amongst their membership by fanning the flames of British Israel-based prophecy, but clearly, nothing is happening in this realm other than the same old isolated incidents pulled from context and irrationally amplified as Armstrongism has always done.

"Class of '95" has now had about 20 years to process what they see as having happened to their church. At this point in time, it appears that the fierce preservationists have lapsed into obvious cartoonish cultic behavior, while most others have reached some level of equilibrium. And, there is finger pointing and name calling, with the fanatical cultists who have exaggerated Armstrongism branding those who have not as being Laodecean, but even this is dying down. This, amongst largely invisible groups whose numbers do not even approximate those of your average community based mega-church.
Also Connie Schmidt has a great comment comparing the turn over of ministers to members of a music band leaving and starting up their own band.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Ex-PCG Member Testimony

Exit and Support Network has provided another harrowing testimony from an ex-member of Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God.

One remarkable aspect about this testimony is that the author states that Gerald Flurry predicted that the Great Tribulation would begin on January 16, 2010 during the Feast of Tabernacles in 2000. Four nineteen year time cycles after HWA began his regular broadcasts on radio. (This conveniently forgets that HWA actually began broadcasting on Monday, October 9, 1933.)

It is well known that Gerald Flurry likes to state that Christ's return will soon come. The cover of the July 2009 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet insists that Christ will probably return within a decade, by 2019 at the latest.

It is a most fascinating read.

I wish the author well on the journey of recovery and self empowerment the author has now embarked on.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Some Mid-1970s Plain Truth Articles

(Note: Aside from Dankenbring's article regarding child rearing all articles are only available within PDF copies of the Pain Truth issues.)

I decided to see the listing of Plain Truth articles during the time of the Vietnam War. I took note of these articles that for one reason or another took my fancy.
He says the following.
General Franco has named a successor - Prince Juan Carlos. Some expect his coronation may take place in April. Where is Spain headed from here? And what about the powerful, little known organization called Opus Dei, which is now beginning to exert an influence on the Spanish government?
Opus Dei? Wow. We can't even blame that historically inaccurate novel, The Da Vinci Code, for this piece of madness. This was written in 1973.
HWA says here...
WHEN I WAS a boy, age 12, 10¢ worth of steak fed our family of six. ... In 1900, round steak was 13¢ per pound. In 1970, it is $1.25 and more. Remember when milk was 5¢ per quart in cities? Remember when you could enjoy lunch at the lunch counter for 15¢? 
It is called inflation, HWA. It is perfectly normal. There is nothing to worry about.

At the time this article was written there was great worry within the US about inflation. But this problem was eventually resolved well enough that irresponsible persons would devastate the world economy again in 2008.
This could be intriguing.
HWA visits Saigon (allegedly) to understand the causes behind the Vietnam War.
Here Dankenbring condemns the abuse of children.
Most incidents of child abuse stem from crude and improper attempts at discipline. Parents become provoked by the child's apparent inability to follow orders, his misbehavior, or rebellion. They lose their tempers and punish their children in violent anger. To call this child rearing is a tragic misnomer.  
In a comprehensive survey of all child-abuse reports for 1967 and 1968, the United States Children's Bureau found that nearly 63 percent of the cases involved an adult response to a specific act of a child. Seventy-three percent involved "inadequately controlled anger of the perpetrator" (Gil, Violence Against Children, p. 126). ... 
Dr. Brandt F. Steele, one of Dr. Kempe's original colleagues, and Dr. Carl B. Pollock, in a study of 60 families with battered children, discovered a remarkable fact: All the parents who battered children were abused or neglected by their own parents! As children, all had experienced inhuman parental demands, constant criticism and abuse. 
It ends this way.
One of the major causes of "battered babies," today, is a general widespread lack of right instruction in child rearing.  
What can you do about it? If you take this problem seriously — if you feel a deep responsibility as a parent or parent-to-be — then take note.
Ambassador College has been deeply concerned about proper child rearing for many years. We have published a 143-page book on this vitally important subject. Some of the chapter titles are: "What Is a Child?" "Criminals Are Made, Not Born!" "You Can Punish Your Children — In Love!" "How to Get Results!" and "Your Children At Play."
No parent can afford to be without this vital instruction — it should be read in every home.
Here is a free copy of the book for you The Plain Truth About Child Rearing.
There are no words to say how disturbing this advice is. Most people remember that booklet with, to paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, fear and loathing.
A guest writer discusses the Arab-Israeli crisis from the Arab perspective.
HWA's foreword article about the Vietnam War.

Here's my favorite line in the article.
General Suharto drove them [the Indonesian Communists] out of Indonesia, setting up his new military government over Indonesia, with himself as President.
The truth is Suharto did not drive then out, he killed them. Over 500,000 people were killed off in a military led, anti-Communist purge. It was not a battle, but a purge. No doubt many non-Communists were also killed off as well. It was one of the horrific blood lettings in the entire twentieth century. Even if a few Indonesian Communists were orchestrating an underhanded coup such atrocities cannot be justified.

But in this article HWA describes his meeting with Suharto and gives the reader no indication of the blood thirsty manner in which he seized power.

Alas Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God has since followed HWA's shameful example in minimizing the atrocities of those they favor.
This sounds like a spiritual article.
Rader writes...
Now that the Watergate affair is behind us - President Nixon having resigned, the major and minor defendants in the various trials having been convicted or having submitted a plea of guilty - one might not immediately connect the fall of Cambodia, the collapse of South Vietnam, the failure of Mr. Kissinger's peace, mission in the Middle East, the concern of our allies throughout the world and the dismantling of the Nixon-Kissinger foreign policies with the events of Watergate. 
As a matter of fact many writers discussing the events of the war in Vietnam after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973 often mention that the Watergate scandal made it very difficult for Presidents Nixon and Ford to aid South Vietnam in those days. This is often noted.

While reading this article I was amused to see these two misprints.
the Congress was already doing battle with Mr. Nixon over Vietnam and the inclusions of ARVN [South Vietnam's army] into Cambodia.
Rader means incursions.
the domino theory, which had first been promulgated by President Eisenhower in 1964 ... 
He probably meant 1964.

Oh what fools these leaders of WCG were.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

WCG in 1969: "Nothing Can Stop Famine in the Mid-1970s"

Recently found this intriguing news piece from the February 1969 issue of the Plain Truth. It is intriguing not so much of what it says but or what it reveals about the mentality of the writers of the Plain Truth in 1969. 
Nothing Can Stop Famine in the Mid-1970's

By the mid-1970s, a massive famine is inevitable in the developing nations of the Far East, according to Dr. John Rock.

"There is nothing we can do" to stop it, trumpeted Dr. Rock, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Gynecology at the Harvard University Medical School.

"It's too late to stop a famine in this century; it has started already," said Dr. Rock from Boston. "Despite all the advances in agriculture and the increases in national output, the population has increased faster than the food supply." 
This is from the Plain Truth, February 1969, PDF p. 50, p. 48.

Who on earth listens to a gynecologist to listen to (inaccurate) alarmist assertions that famines will occur in the 1970s and takes them seriously? The leaders of "God's Church" producing the Plain Truth magazine. That's who.

And to think many people think of WCG before Garner Ted Armstrong's initial suspension in 1972 as a glorious utopia of people united under HWA and having far more truth than anyone else on the Earth. And their leaders at the time were foolish enough to publish something like this.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stephen Flurry's Cult of Personality

Recently Banned by HWA has released a post noting how PCG members have trips to Robbers Cave State Park because Stephen Flurry first read Malachi's Message there on July 16, 1989 during a WCG camp outside for the youth.

Of course Stephen Flurry has great power within PCG being Gerald Flurry's son. Stephen Flurry wrote PCG's deeply flawed book Raising the Ruins. He seems the obvious successor in waiting to replace Gerald Flurry once he passes away.

What is not so obvious is that PCG fairly often claims events concerning Stephen Flurry have some sort of special significance. It is part of a cult of personality PCG has created around him. Banned by HWA has touch upon part of this, here are a few more details of what PCG's leaders say to their triple tithe paying followers.

Gerald Flurry once asserted that Stephen Flurry first read Malachi's Message three and a half years after HWA's death as quoted in a previous post.
Finally, MY SON READ THE ROUGH DRAFT OF MALACHI'S MASSAGE ON SUNDAY, JULY 16, 1989--EXACTLY 3½ YEARS AFTER MR. ARMSTRONG DIED! (January-February, 2006, Royal Vision, p. 38, PDF p. 40.)
Exactly how Stephen Flurry reading Malachi's Message after three and a half years after HWA's death relates to the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation is not clear. Also the Flurrys had yet to go through getting fired by the Tkach led WCG's leaders and establishing PCG. Those days would seem to be more turbulent then the time  Does this mean Stephen Flurry is a type of Christ returning?

Also it is asserted within PCG that after Stephen Flurry was baptized on January 16, 1990 this was some sort of cut off date in regards to church eras. (But they seem to make exceptions to this rule when convenience dictates however, as may be seen later on.)
The PCG began on December 7, 1989. My son was ready to be baptized soon after. He requested that his baptism take place on January 16, 1990, in order to coincide with the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong's death. That was a good choice! ... So, on January 16, Stephen became the first member baptized in the Philadelphia Church of God. ... But in general, ANY BAPTISM BEYOND THAT DATE - JANUARY 16, 1990 - IN THE LAODICEAN CHURCH IS NOT VALID.
(From Royal Vision, September-October, 2006, p. 41, as seen at PCG Information.)

However this seems to be not taken quite so literally in practice as the following words from Gerald Flurry seem to show.
My son, Stephen, was baptized in the Philadelphia Church of God on January 16, 1990. Prior to his baptism, he had studied Mr. Armstrong's writings and Malachi's Message. In my sermon at Edmond last week (November 5), I pointed to his baptismal date as a cut-off point, after which baptisms within the Laodiceans churches became invalid.

This, however, is not true in every case. I should have stated that Stephen's baptismal date should be used only as an overall guideline for our ministers to work with in their counseling with God's people and with prospective PCG members. In considering this subject further, I am convinced that many, if not most, people baptized outside the PCG after January 16, 1990, and who then came into the PCG in the early 1990's, were undoubtedly counseled and baptized properly.

Today, however, it would be safe to assume that anyone baptized by a Worldwide Church of God minister would be considered invalidly baptized. In 1990, the Laodicean era was in its beginning stages. Today, the Laodicean ministry has rejected all, or most, of God's revealed truth.
(Pastor General's Report, November 12, 2005, p. 3 as seen at Exit and Support Network.)

Why the baptism of one man should signal the start of a church era is not clear. I cannot recall HWA or his collaborators ever suggesting to look towards something like that as a sign of prophecy being fulfilled. Does Revelation 2 and 3 indicate that one man's baptism would signal the start of a church era? Did one man's baptism signal the transition of eras in any of the other church eras? Did "God's Church" before HWA's arrival ever think of this idea that a baptism could somehow start a church era?

Also the idea of church eras is complete nonsense and in fact was plagiarized by HWA from other sources as is revealed in Bruce Renehan's book, Daughter of Babylon.

So we can see that PCG's leaders have been developing a sort of cult of personality around Stephen Flurry in order to set him as Gerald Flurry's successor once his father dies.

Now they just need to hope that relations will not sour between father and son as it did with Herbert Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Will LCG Schism Again?

There has been speculation that LCG will soon once again split apart. Banned by HWA has highlighted a remarkable comment hinting at tensions laying beneath the surface amongst LCG's ministers.
Rumor is that the three Hulme elders who defected to LCG are already reconsidering their decision, in light of the fact that several prominent LCG elders will soon be announcing their move to another Church of God group (not Thiel's group, and not RCG).
Since the death of Sheryl Meredith, a new wave of discontent has rocked LCG. For years, conservatives in LCG were told privately that Sheryl was the behind-the-scenes cause of many of Rod Meredith's liberal or nepotistic decisions. Now, with Sheryl out of the picture, people are realizing that the problem has been old Rod all along.
Rod is a liar.
Rod will lie to protect his family.
Rod will back other liars who defend him and make him look good.
Rod will soon have a much smaller church to give to his children.
It is good that these ex-Hulmite ministers appear to be reconsidering joining LCG. Whatever their motivation I believe it is good that they get out of LCG.

This is the second time it has been stated that Sheryl Meredith's death has caused dissatisfaction among LCG's lay members. I never anticipated that her death could lead to that.

Judging by the tone of this comment it seems as though the latent hostility seems to feel that Meredith is too "liberal" in regards to some of HWA's teachings. It may be helpful to recall that during the turmoil of 2005-6 (then largely incited by RCG's Dave Pack) several LCG ministers left claiming Meredith was too liberal and criticizing him for allowing women to wear makeup and not teaching that HWA was the end time Elijah.

I find sad to see that some in LCG chose to blame Sheryl Meredith when they were dissatisfied at Meredith's alleged "liberalism" and alleged nepotism. It is sad they blinded themselves to Roderick C. Meredith's role in these matters.

It would surprise few if LCG split apart again. It now appears this may happen even before Roderick C. Meredith's death.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Roderick C. Meredith and Laodicea (1979)

HWA and Hoeh taught that the true church would go through seven eras from the Apostolic era until the return of Christ after the Great Tribulation. The sixth era, called Philadelphia, is held to be the work raised up by Herbert Armstrong, namely the Worldwide Church of God (by the will of God they claim). This sixth era is to be followed by a seventh era, named Laodicea, which would be lukewarm and consequently when the German led European combine attacked the US these lukewarm, Laodicean Christians would be denied protection and experience the wrath of this European Empire. 

Who, precisely, these Laodiceans are has been the subject of much speculation among Armstrongites. Would it be a separate group, organized together similar to HWA's WCG, though separate and somehow lacking? Was it just individual Armstrongite Christians who would not be taken to the place of safety? Or is it any other Armstrongites who simply choose not to join your own group.

Gerald Flurry and his PCG later decided that Laodiceans were any WCG member or a member of any other COG group who simply chose not to join PCG and PCG members were instructed to shun any such person.

Historically the idea has been very ill defined within the world of Armstrongism. A particularly telling example of this is revealed in the following account from David Robinson's book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web (Chapter 19, pp. 255-6), in which David Robinson describes a meeting he had with HWA (and Henry Cornwall, a man apparently aligned with Rader) in 1979.

During the course of this conversation many matters were discussed, including this intriguing conversation Robinson had with Roderick C. Meredith and Raymond McNair during the brief time Meredith was head of the ministry in 1979. Roderick C. Meredith had been deposed by Stanley Rader by the time Robinson had his meeting with HWA.

At the time Garner Ted Armstrong had been cast out the previous year and Stanley Rader had been frantically setting himself up as the second most powerful man in WCG. Many ministers and members were disgusted that Rader was trying to gain power. 
I told HWA I had been in Rod Meredith's office the day following Memorial Day. At that time, Rod had asked me if I thought Ted's group could be "a Church of God."  Mr. Armstrong quickly interrupted to ask what I had said.

I said I had asked Rod what he thought. Rod had said he didn't know. He thought it was possible. He didn't think God would use a "whoremonger" to raise up a church, but he might let Ted's name and remarkable charisma be used and then have him killed in a plane crash. This would be a means of gathering all of the lukewarm people together.

Mr. Armstrong then interrupted to say Rod had no right to bring up those charges against Ted. He would have to speak to him about that. ...

I had asked Rod and Raymond McNair, who was also present that day, about Laodicea. "If, as we say, we are Philadelphia, and again, as we say, time is very short, where, then, is Laodicea?" Raymond and Rod then had a discussion between themselves about how Ted might be the catalyst for that lukewarm church and later be removed from the scene so the last church age could form.

I then asked, "If this be the Laodicean church forming, would it be a church of God?" They both said it would. Then, I asked, "Should this group, if there is a good chance they be of God, be attacked by another group of the church of God?" 
They said, "No, but we aren't sure Mr. Armstrong thinks that way."
I was amazed reading this. These are prominent ministers within HWA's WCG making speculations that now seem total nonsense today.

Among the COGs today the main interpretation seem to be that Laodiceans are individual COG members who are somehow deficient and will not be allowed into the place of safety. Now that Armstrongism has splintered apart so drastically and severely hardly any one expects to see a prominent COG group arise as some sort of counterpart of HWA's WCG.

Perhaps PCG does, in a way. As far as I know they seem to think Tkach Jr. is the false prophet who will sit in the temple of God, not the last Pope as HWA taught. At least that is the impression I got after reading their 1995 booklet, The Little Book, and other sources. Although they still love to fear monger about the Pope. They still seem to think he will play an instrumental role in creating the alleged European Empire.

[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.]

The Story of Qusai Zakarya, a Refugee from Syria

Found this tragic story from the Huffington Post of how a liberated town in Syria was gradually forced to submit to the Assad regime as told in the story of one courageous man, Qusai Zakarya, who after the infamous gas attacks in Moadamiyeh on August 21, 2013, became most vocal in exposing the Assad regime's repression of the Syrian people. Among other things he helped expose how the Assad regime was starving liberated Syrians in order to seize control over them.

May the Syrian people soon be at peace and liberated.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

PCG Says Now is "the Most Dangerous Time in Man's History!"

Gerald Flurry is advertizing his latest Key of David telecast in this way.
Russia is rising up as a great superpower, and is causing the German-led EU to rise as well. We are living in the most dangerous time in man’s history! (Pro-PCG source.)
Is this really "the most dangerous time in man's history!" as Gerald Flurry seems to say.

Worse than the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Worse than the Vietnam War?

Worse than World War II?

Worse than World War I?

I fear for PCG members who are constantly told that the world is terrible and degraded, that it is necessary to cling to PCG in order to be protected.

Such alarmist fears are constantly stirred up by PCG's leaders. PCG members are kept in a constant state of fear that makes them panic and submit to the authority of PCG's leaders. They are told if they stay on good terms with PCG they will be taken to a place of safety and escape from nuclear World War III. In practice such fear mongering becomes little more then a pretext for exploiting PCG members by living off of their three tithes and extra offerings.

And another thing to say about the current crisis in the Ukraine. As bad as things are in the Ukraine (and it is very bad) it is not unprecedented. Russia has splintered former Soviet republics before.

When the Soviet Union dissolved two provinces of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, seceded and became effectively independent but unrecognized by any country. The Georgians claimed they had Russian support. Later in 2008 Georgia tried to reclaim control of these two provinces and Russia attacked and defeated Georgia, keeping Abkhazia and South Ossetia apart from Georgia. Afterwards Russia recognized them as independent countries, as retaliation against the US and the EU recognizing Kosovo as an independent state.

Also in Moldova, a part of it, Transnistria, also seceded in 1992, and has been continued to be effectively ruled by Russia. These initial secessions events occurred under Boris Yeltsin's time and were merely continued under Putin.

Gerald Flurry is wrong. This is not "the most dangerous time in man’s history!" The leaders of PCG simply want their followers to fear the non-PCG world so they will not try to reform the society within PCG.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Overview of Living Church News (March-April 2014)

The latest issue of Living Church News (March-April 2014) is out . Let us have a look and see what they have to say.

Roderick C. Meredith has a heart felt preface discussing his recently deceased wife, Sheryl Meredith, and thanking LCG members for their support in what no doubt must be a very difficult time for him.

He also uses this stressful time to indulge in more nonsensical speculation that persecution is coming in order to scare members into staying within LCG.
In the months and years to come, brethren, I want us all to realize more fully that the time of terrible persecution is growing closer and closer. We will really need to help and encourage one another. We will really need to deeply appreciate one another in the midst of a dark and perverse world. For this world hates the way of God, and you will begin to realize this more and more as this Work grows in power and the world turns on us because we preach the Truth.

At such a time, if we have already built a deep feeling of family within God’s Church—if we have already built a network of friends and brethren who are like “family”—then the hard times just ahead will be made much easier. We will need to visit one another in prison. We will need to help and encourage one another in sickness, in trials and persecution. With God’s help, we will be faithful to the end and make it into God’s Kingdom. (Pro-LCG source.)
I am sorry his wife has died. It must be very hard for him. But it must be said, there is no persecution of LCG members and there will not be any either. Nobody is out to get LCG. He has been saying this since the 1950s and nothing has happened. 

Roderick C. Meredith also has an article insisting that it is necessary for the world to be ruled by an organized group of God Beings (the Armstrongite Kingdom of God) and that it is necessary to live a life of righteousness (obeying what LCG's leaders say) in order to do this.

Dexter B. Wakefield has an article calling upon LCG members to eat the bread of life given by God, which translates into submitting to what LCG's leaders say. Also, since it is that time of the year, he alludes to the Days of Unleavened Bread. They are held April 15-21 this year.

Scott Winnail has an article discussing the difficulties of raising children to be faithful Armstrongites, noting that there are many opportunities for them to start thinking contrary to LCG dogma so he encourages parents to be diligent in teaching Armstrongite dogma to their children. He fear mongers about how young people outside of LCG are morally bankrupt and degraded. At the end he advertizes several courses taught by the unaccredited Living University on this topic.

The LCG Editorial Staff have an article calling upon LCG members to take up his or her own cross and follow God, even if it means throwing away your job. It also notes that if a relationship is getting in your way of living a godly life (as defined by LCG's leaders) you might need to cut off contact with them.
Are we holding on to relationships that keep us apart from the will of Christ? Yes, it may hurt to separate ourselves from friends and family whose conduct drags us down. The Apostle Paul wrote powerfully about this. “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33–34).
How dare the writer here pervert Paul's writings to now claim the right to order LCG members to cut off relations with other people!

Some Unleavened bread recipes are also provided.

Jim Meredith has a gushing article describing the Charlotte Family Weekend.

Shirley Young has an article citing the examples of Deborah and Esther as examples of truly noble women who submitted themselves to God's righteousness and that this is better and more worthy then being an aristocrat, like those in Britain.

Local Church News also contains Sheryl Meredith's obituary.

Wallace G. Smith has a commentary at the end saying that LCG members must not observe Easter. Again this ban on Easter causes LCG members to be isolated from mainstream society and forces them to become more dependent upon LCG. 

So we see that LCG continues to teach the same blend of Armstrongite teachings in order to persuade LCG members to pay three tithes and extra offerings to fund themselves.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

PCG's Gerald Flurry Says Putin is the Prince of Rosh

Recently Gerald Flurry has decided that Putin is personally discussed in the Bible, specifically Ezekiel 38 and 39. This is will shown in Brad MacDonald's column, Bible Prophecy Comes Alive in Sochi. (Source.)

I do not for a moment believe God would use a man who calls himself That Prophet and who divides and tear apart families with his cruel No Contact policy or falsely claim Christ would probably return within ten years could possibly be used by God.

(Note: Sections underlined are capitalized in the original.)

Over the last three months, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has delivered three separate Key of David programs featuring Vladimir Putin and events in Ukraine and Russia. In the cover story of the February issue of the Trumpet (“Is Vladimir Putin the Prophesied ‘Prince of Rosh’?”), Mr. Flurry examined and explained the prophetic significance of the Russian president. “This world has a lot of authoritarian rulers,” Mr. Flurry wrote. “But Vladimir Putin is one we need to keep a particularly close eye on. His track record, his nationality and his ideology indicate that he could—and I strongly believe he will—fulfill a linchpin Bible prophecy that was recorded millennia ago. The time frame of his rule makes it almost certain.”

That prophecy is in Ezekiel 38:1-3. The events discussed here occur right before the return of Jesus Christ. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (verses 1-2). It’s not hard to discover who this prophecy is directed at. Ancient maps and ancient history, as well as many Bible commentaries, teach that “Gog” and “Magog” refer to the modern nations of Russia and China. The same sources also show that the names “Meshech” and “Tubal” are the ancient names of Moscow and Tobolsk, two prominent cities in Russia today.

Now notice verse 3: “And say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (New King James Version). You really need to study and prove all this yourself. However, the term Rosh, as Mr. Flurry comprehensively explained, is the ancient name of modern-day Russia. It’s also called Rus, or Rush. So, in modern terminology, Ezekiel 38:1-3 is a prophecy about the dramatic emergence just before Jesus Christ’s return of the “prince of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk.”

Is there another personality in Russia or China right now as dominant as Vladimir Putin? As Mr. Flurry wrote, “Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? I see nobody else on the horizon who could do that. … Vladimir Putin already has the power—and the will to use it. I believe there is not enough time for a competitor to arise and challenge him.”

Now, consider all this in the context of the Sochi Winter Olympics, which were the creation of Vladimir Putin, and which many aptly termed “Putin’s Olympics.”

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are sensational, divinely timed proof of exactly who this end-time “prince of Rosh” is!

One final important observation needs to be made about this prophecy in Ezekiel 38. Study the prophecy and you’ll easily see that two personalities are actually discussed here. In addition to the “prince of Rosh,” there’s also the “son of man.” This is God’s messenger. Notice, God not only reveals the end-time identity of the “prince of Rosh” to this individual, He also commands this messenger to “set thy face against Gog” and “prophesy against him.” In other words, God uses this man to warn the world about the “prince of Rosh.”
This would be hard to believe, were it not written in black and white in God’s inspired Word. This prophecy in Ezekiel 38, written 2,500 years ago, says explicitly that just prior to Christ’s return, a powerful leader who behaves as if he is royalty will emerge to take control of Russia. Not only that, this prophecy says that God will send an end-time messenger who will reveal the identity of the “prince of Rosh,” then deliver a dramatic warning from God. Is it coincidence that the 2014 Winter Olympics, hosted by Russia, have put the spotlight on Vladimir Putin? And is it coincidence that Russia’s prince is the center of global attention at precisely the same time Gerald Flurry identified Putin as the prophesied “prince of Rosh”? 
What nonsense.

They want to make PCG members fearful of the future so that they think it is necessary to submit themselves to the doctates of PCG's leaders and to continuing paying three tithes and extra offerings for the benefit of PCG's leaders.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cheers All About Armstrongism Blog

The All About Armstrongism blog has dissolved.

I would like to say here that I greatly enjoyed All About Armstrongism's contribution to the community of those of us making sense of our experiences with Armstrongism.

I wish to particularly praise the author for bringing to attention
  • Some of the truly callous things HWA said in some of his co-worker letters.
  • Richard David Armstrong's chilling 1957 letter ordering children to be quiet in services and threatening parents with humiliation in front of the congregation if their children was found wondering away from services.
  • Several instances in which HWA implied that Christ's return would come very soon within the pages of WCG's youth magazine.
I wish the author all the best on the journey we call life.

(Update: I also wish to compliment the author for the many enlightening cartoons that illustrated life within WCG.)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Regarding Crimea Crisis in Ukraine and PCG

It has been very sad to see recent events in the Ukraine. I think the Russian government has been irresponsible in making Russian forces seizing the Crimea away from Kiev's authority. They seem to say that it is not a foreign occupation but it is very hard to see how anyone else could believe this. I so earnestly hope that war will not result. 

As terrible as this is I will say again that Gerald Flurry did not anticipate this. When Russia persuaded (now ex-)President Yanukovych decided to abandon closer ties with the EU and look towards Russia Gerald Flurry sort this was a sign of how powerful Putin was. He even proclaimed him to be the Prince of Rosh mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Flurry did not anticipate that the people of Ukraine would rise up in a popular uprising that overthrew the Yanukovych regime. The fact that the Ukrainian people overthrew Yanukovych shows how weak the Putin government's hold over Ukraine was. The fact that the Russian government has decided to seize control of the Crimea shows how fearful they are at losing influence and control over territory they regard as their within sphere of influence. They are attacking out of sense of weakness.

Also Russia seems to be facing diplomatic isolation for this irresponsible act. AlsoRussia's economy has taken a severe hit because of this irresponsible act.
1) The Russian benchmark stock index, the MICES, is down 10% or more (it has been down as much as 11.2% earlier today), the biggest drop in at least five years (depending on the close).
2) The Russian ruble reached all time lows against the euro and the dollar. To prop it up the Russian central bank—on a "temporary" basis—raised interest rates 1.5%, from 5.5 to 7.0%, and spent $10 billion toward the same end. This will significantly hamper growth in Russia unless they lower those rates fast.
3) Shares of the corporation Gazprom, the Russian Federation's gas monopoly, are also down 10%.
4) The yield the Russian government has to pay on its state bonds is near a record high.
5) Foreign capital reserves for Russia are at a multi-year low. (Source from Forbes.)
Will PCG mention these facts in their coverage of their crisis? Or will they simply stoke up fear of war as much as possible in order to keep PCG members fearful of Russia in order to distract from the abuses of power so many PCG members suffer from their leaders?

Recently PCG has published an anonymously written article with this lead.
Vladimir Putin is exposing Europe as a feeble, disunited lightweight. Yet the Trumpet continues to forecast that the Continent will soon unite to become the world’s most powerful and frightening superpower. Are we wrong?
Yes. PCG is very wrong in this manner.

They are unimaginatively continuing to follow HWA's dogma that a European superpower will destroy the USA. HWA taught this from the 1930s onwards. At first he said Mussolini would destroy the US, then he said it was Hitler, then after 1945 he said Hitler survived and would later destroy the US, then he gave that idea up but continued to say Germany would lead Europe into destroy the US by 1972, then he abandoned that date after his 1972-5 prophecy failed. He was always wrong that Europe would do this.

If anything this crisis will cause the US and the EU to be closer to each other, contrary to PCG's dogma that the EU and the US will become mortal enemies.

Gerald Flurry and Co. will use this crisis to make glorify themselves in order to continuing exploiting PCG members. It must be said here that the leaders of PCG's are not prophets and they have little idea of what will happen. And Gerald Flurry is absolutely wrong about Vladimir Putin being the Prince of Rosh.