Friday, July 14, 2017

Reading Mark Mendiola's Article, Watch and Warn (2000)

The ninth issue of LCG's recruitment magazine, Tomorrow's World (November-December 2000), featured an article by Mark Mendiola of Pocatello, Idaho entitled "Watch and Warn." (pp. 20-24, 30.) This was the eighth of several articles Mendiola would write for this recruitment magazine. (The September-October 2000 issue had featured an article by Rod McNair about US relations with the Philippines.) Here Mendiola scare mongers that a time of severe military conflict called the Great Tribulation will soon occur which is to be shortly afterwards followed by Christ's return. He also insists that the news media have failed to notice the signs that the Great Tribulation is about to occur implying that readers cannot trust other sources of information.

Jesus Christ told His followers to watch world events, and to warn the world of what is to come. With the Bible as our guide, we can understand how seemingly unrelated events in different regions tie together as the Savior’s prophesied return draws near. (p. 2.)
In other words these separate events are unrelated without LCG's dogmas.
Momentous changes that will dramatically impact everyone on earth are occurring throughout the world.  How do seemingly unrelated events in different regions tie together?  Jesus Christ urges us to "watch" and shows us how, giving us major signs to discern.  With that watching also comes a responsibility to warn of impending troubles. (p. 20.)
In other words keeping up with current affairs and using LCG's speculations to interpret them. In this way political and economic events are exploited to make the audience more indoctrinated into believing that LCG's 1% have God's favor.
Jesus Christ, the greatest newscaster of all time, urges His disciples to remain constantly vigilant of world events. They also must stay close to God in prayer to survive the calamitous conditions that will precede His return to earth at the end of this age. (p. 20.)
And this article seeks to convince the reader that one draws close to God through LCG.
The ultimate impact of developments in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East will be profound on the United States, British Commonwealth and other nations in the western world. Yet these major developments often are barely mentioned, if even reported, in newscasts or news publications. (p. 20.)
In other words Mendiola is casting suspicion towards mainstream media outlets to make the audience distrustful of them so that they will rely on LCG to tell them about world events.
Virtually everyone on earth will be astonished at the unforeseen direction events will take in the coming years that will change the global balance of power and plunge the world into its most severe crisis ever. The destruction, loss of life and suffering will exceed even the two previous world wars. It is a scenario that seems unbelievable, but will come as surely as the sun rises and sets. Yet beyond this time of unprecedented trouble dawns tomorrow's world ruled by Jesus Christ, who proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of God. (p. 20.)
And it is implied that "destruction, loss of life and suffering ... exceed[ing] even the two previous world wars" will soon occur. And yet seventeen years later no such thing has occurred.

Mendiola writes, "It is a scenario that seems unbelievable, but will come as surely as the sun rises and sets." It seems unbelievable because it is unbelievable. While catastrophes may well occur the possibility that LCG's leaders then based in San Diego and (after relocating there in 2003) in Charlotte could possibly know the future is utterly unbelievable.
In Luke's account of the famous Olivet Prophecy, Jesus Christ warns of conditions that will prevail prior to His Second Coming to this earth. He notes that religious deception, wars and commotions will be widespread, but the end will not come immediately as a result.... 
Wars between nations and kingdoms, however, will steadily intensify; great earthquakes will strike throughout the world; famines and disease epidemics will spread. These conditions are worsening throughout the world. One only has to witness the wars, starvation and pestilence reaching crisis proportions on the African continent for confirmation. What Christ foretells is unfolding right before our eyes! (pp. 20-21.)
But seventeen years later still in such catastrophe of the type Mendiola prophesied of has yet occurred.

Mendiola then belittles those who may disagree with him by insisting that most people are too self centered to notice his dire proclamation of catastrophe.
In other words, He strongly admonishes His disciples to wake up and be aware of world events around them. However, He also notes that most people will be so consumed with seeking their own pleasure and concerned about their own personal cares that they will be oblivious to the ominous trends happening around them.... Most people will not expect the rapid chain reaction of events leading to a great tribulation that will engulf the entire world prior to Christ's return. (p. 21.)
He shrilly insists all life on Earth is in danger.
As prophecies in the Bible show, we are to watch developments throughout the earth that will lead to a grand smash collision threatening the existence of all life on earth.... (p. 21.)
Future European Superpower

First he focuses his attention on Europe. LCG teaches that America is destined to soon be conquered by a European military power said to be destined to arise in the future and conquer the United States. He claims that Europe is arising as a mighty military power and insists that this is happening without the media's notice and scrutiny. Once again he seeks to slur the media as unreliable and unworthy of trust.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union about 10 years ago, a significant power vacuum was created, leaving the United States the world's only major superpower. What was a bipolar world suddenly turned into a unipolar world, with the U.S. the undisputed dominant nation. However, a shift in the balance of power, eroding U.S. supremacy, is under way, which has not been widely reported in the news media. Yet this development on the European continent is extremely significant. (p. 21.)
He implies that most people are obsessed with trivial matters and so have failed to notice Europe's supposed rise as a military power. By belittling the many he flatters the attentive readers that he or she is better than most of society.
A United States of Europe that threatens to rival the U.S. on the diplomatic, economic, political, and even military fronts, is emerging. It is a development that looks innocent on its surface, but has sinister ramifications for the entire world. Most people in the western world are so obsessed with celebrities, scandals, sensations and other inconsequential news, they are not aware of what Europe's unification means for their future. (p. 21.)
He cites a speech by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on May 15, 2000 to imply that the European Union would somehow remove some members in some sort of closer union. After that he once again casts suspicion towards the media to imply that they have failed to notice the supposed rise of Europe.
Yet when this United States of Europe rears its head for a final time as a monstrous beast, the Bible also shows the world will be astonished. Because the news media devote little attention to international affairs, when that powerful empire arises, it will seem to come out of nowhere, astonishing the vast majority of mankind! .... 
Watch news trends leading to a more powerful united Europe militarily, politically and economically. (p. 22.)
The Middle East

When it comes to the situation in the Middle East much of the COGs have this misconception that the problems are all about Jerusalem. This is largely ignorant nonsense. It is true that the political status of Jerusalem is an issue but it most emphatically not the only issue.
In His Olivet prophecy, Jesus Christ emphasizes the need to watch not only developments in the Middle East in general, but also Jerusalem in particular. (p. 22.)
He calls for readers to be informed about events concerning the Middle East region and Jerusalem.
Diplomatic negotiations in the Middle East between the Israelis and Palestinians, as the European Union and Vatican become more heavily involved, will not mean peace in this volatile, strategic region. Christ warns that Jerusalem ultimately will be surrounded by gentile armies and trampled by foreign troops! .... Yet are we keeping ourselves informed about what is happening in that explosive region? (p. 22.)
And how is his audience supposed to be informed about these things if (he implies) the news media are so incompetent as to not notice the important developments? Through LCG.

He scares mongers that "Islamic power" will somehow be magnified in the future.
In March 1999, Stratfor, Inc., an intelligence consulting firm in Austin, Texas, launched an experimental Web site In December 1999, it predicted three events that will, in this decade, magnify Islamic power in the Middle East.... (p. 22.)
Page 22 features pictures of various Middle Eastern leaders to further emphasize the theme of scare mongering about uncertain succession.
The Middle East remains the world’s most explosive region, with leadership a volatile issue. From left to right: Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd; Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Hussein; Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak; Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi; Bashar al-Assad of Syria; Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Hussein and Bashar al-Assad of Syria are the most recent changes in Arab leadership; both assumed power after the deaths of their fathers. (p. 22.)
King Fahd passed away on August 1, 2005 but Saudi Arabia remains a stable nation. King Abdullah is still in power and Jordan remains a stable nation. President Mubarak was overthrown in a popular uprising in 2011. Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in a popular uprising and armed insurgency but tragically to this day Libya has been divided and politically unstable. Since 2011 Syria has been the scene of severe political instability partly caused in no small part by police brutality against what was initially a peaceful protest movement. Since then the crisis has escalated into a full scale armed conflict that among other things allowed the terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIL to exploit the troubled situation to seize power for themselves. However with its armed forces and aid from Iran and Russia the Assad regime is still intact in its territory. Yasser Arafat passed away on November 11, 2004 and was succeeded by Mahmoud Abbas. In 2007 Abbas' faction, Fatah, lost control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas. Saddam Hussein was overthrown by US led military intervention in 2003 and hanged on December 30, 2006 after being convicted for leading a campaign of state terror in Dujail in 1982 after a failed assassination attempt. Alas, Iraq has and continues to be travailed by many troubles.

Many things have happened since 2000 when this article was published. But the Great Tribulation and other predictions of LCG's 1% remains as distant as it was in 2000.

Mendiola insists that the Arab nations will join themselves together in some kind of alliance to be led by a future political leader named in Armstrongite dogma as the "King of the South."
The Bible strongly indicates Arab nations in the Middle East will band together to form a confederation led by a "King of the South" that will provoke a remilitarized European power to take swift action in the Middle East. (p. 22.)
The King of the South has changed over the years among the COGs. Before 1945 HWA taught that it was Ethiopia. Later in the 1960s the dogma was changed to label the Arab nations with this role. LCG teaches that idea to this day but other COGs have different opinions. In 1994 PCG's leader, Gerald Flurry, proclaimed that Iran, not the Arab nations, would fulfill this role even though Iran is east, not south, of the Holy Land. RCG's leader, Dave Pack, chose to only accept Ethiopia as fulfilling that role.

It is taught among the COGs that the King of the South is fated to somehow provoke the future European superpower into launching a decisive attack and crush the King of the South and seize control of the Middle East.
This provocation could be prompted by Arab nations in the Middle East cutting off supplies of petroleum to the western world, prompting a swift response from European nations, or a controversy regarding the status of Jerusalem, which requires foreign troops. This crisis in the Middle East, in turn, will pull in nations from other regions like a vortex. (p. 23.)
He ends this section of the article with these vague words.
Watch for future changes in leadership among key Arab nations. And watch the geopolitics associated with the production and marketing of Middle East oil. (p. 23.)
Russia, China and Other Nations

Mendiola then scare mongers about Russia, China and other nations in the east. He teaches that Russia and China will lead some sort of alliance of eastern nations fated to fight against the future European superpower just before Christ's return.
Once this King of the North invades the Middle East, other major military powers in Russia, India, China and Southeast Asia will mobilize to counterattack the brazen move by the Europeans.... 
He [the future European leader supposedly fated to conquer America] will eventually meet his end at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.... This King of the North will face the massive armies of Eurasia. Even now the populations of China and India each exceed one billion people! (p. 23.)
He scare mongers against Russia and China presenting them as working towards weakening the United States.
Russia and China, both nuclear superpowers, will probably be in alliance with the kings of the east and supply most of the 200-million-man army that will launch a major offensive against the European beast power in the Middle East. Russian and Chinese leaders recently stressed the need to offset American power by encouraging a multi-polar world. (pp. 23-24.)
Why have the readers scared of only Russia and China? Why not get them scared of other nation states as well?
Watch continued cooperation between Russia and China as well as among India, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and other heavily populated Asian nations. These geopolitical developments in various regions of the world do not bode well for the U.S. and its western allies. (p. 24.)
Fall of the United States

Mendiola claims that since there is no King of the West mentioned in the Bible that it is a sign that the United States will be rendered powerless in the days just before Christ's return.
The Bible speaks of a King of the North, a King of the South and kings of the East, but remains almost deafeningly silent about a king from the other compass point—the West. There is no "King of the West" per se named in the Bible. Yet the United States undoubtedly is the leading nation in the West. 
When the King of the North retaliates against the King of the South, which will compel the kings of the East to respond, Bible prophecy shows the United States and other nations of British descent will be either conquered, enslaved or on the verge of captivity. (p. 24.)
Mendiola then makes the inaccurate and nonsensical claim that white Americans are descended from the Biblical Israelites of the Old Testament. Elsewhere LCG teaches that white Americans are descended from Manasseh, the son of Joseph mentioned in Genesis.
America and other British-descended and northwestern European nations are identified in Bible prophecy as modern descendants of Israel, the Old Testament patriarch whose name was changed from Jacob. (p. 24.)
It will not be immediately apparent to readers unfamiliar with Armstrongism but much of Armstrongism's fearful proclamations are based on the misconception that white Americans are descended from the Biblical Israelites. But white Americans are not descended from the Biblical Israelites. Genetic evidence shows conclusively that there is no such ancestral connection as is imagined by Armstrongite dogma. It is nonsense and any news of doom and gloom arising from that misconception is also wrong.

Heedless of the painful history of US slavery Mendiola insists that slavery awaits the United States at the hands of Germans, Europeans and Arabs in the future just before Christ's return.
The Bible shows these nations will bear the initial brunt of the unprecedented Great Tribulation.... He [Jeremiah as interpreted by Mendiola] also shows foreigners will enslave these nations of modern Jacob and even those considered allies will severely wound them.... Psalm 83 is prophetic in that it illustrates major powers in Europe and the Middle East conspiring to annihilate Jacob or Israel as a common enemy.... Arab nations and Assyria, the ancestral nation of modern Germany, are then described as the conspirators. They have shared anti-Semitic sentiments historically. (p. 24.)
It is also complete nonsense to claim that Germans are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians. This idea arose within the British Israelism movement due to World War I. Before 1914 the British Israelism movement taught that Germans were fellow Israelites but during the course of that cataclysmic war the teachers of the British Israelism movement changed the Germans' purported ancestry.
Watch trends in the moral decay of western nations, particularly the modern descendants of the ancient patriarch, Jacob. (p. 24.)
When Mendiola talks of "moral decay" he speaks of behavior contrary to what is taught by LCG's 1%.

Appeal for More LCG Members

The main purpose of this article and the entire magazine is to gain more recruits to join the organization behind the recruitment, namely LCG. After spending so much time insisting that catastrophe will soon occur he implies that reader has a responsibility to act on this message of doom and gloom.
As we watch the decline of such nations as the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Jewish state of Israel, there comes a responsibility to warn people in those nations as well as the rest of the world about the punishment that will ensue. (p. 24.)
Mendiola slurs "secular and religious leaders" for not sharing telling the same message of doom and gloom that is taught by LCG.
Yet the prophet Isaiah also foresaw a time when the secular and religious leaders, who should be trumpeting a warning to their people, would not because they are too wrapped up in the cares of this prosperous age and hope its comforts and luxuries will continue indefinitely. (p. 24.)
He slurs other sources of information to make his own organization and his paymaster look good.
By contrast, God's true servants are to be faithful watchmen. For more than 50 years, evangelist Roderick C. Meredith has been involved in this work of teaching, preaching and warning the world. Thousands of co-workers are supporting the Tomorrow's World magazine and telecast and are committed to crying aloud, lifting up their voices and showing mankind its sins and warning of the consequences. That is coupled with proclaiming the wonderful news of the Kingdom of God that Jesus Christ will establish beyond the horrible times that lie ahead. (pp. 24, 30.)
He ends this article with an appeal to the reader to respond to the article.
Those involved in this Work are soberly striving to heed Jesus Christ's command to watch world events and, like sentries, sound an alarm out of love, about the terrible times ahead for all people on the earth. They fully realize that the message will not be popular, but an urgent warning is needed. Beyond the gloom and doom of the immediate years ahead lies a glorious world governed by Jesus Christ. But meanwhile, we all need to sincerely hope and pray people will repent and turn around as a result of this message of warning and hope. You have just read that message! How will you respond? (p. 30.)
What is intended is for the reader to be moved into sending money to the organization behind this recruitment magazine and perhaps even the organization. And yet sixteen years later his message of doom and gloom is still unfulfilled. While many things have happened since this article was written what he and LCG teaches has not occurred. The United States is still the most powerful nation state on Earth. Europe still relies on the military protection of the United States under the NATO alliance. No "King of the South" has arisen in the Middle East. Russia and China are strong but LCG teaches that it will be a German led Europe that will conquer the United States.

There is no need to listen to LCG's dire proclamations. They are but false prophets.

In September 2006 Mendiola left LCG and joined Dave Pack's Restored Church of God. Around 2008 he left RCG and joined Don Billingsley's Church of God-Faithful Flock.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus Christ told His followers to watch world events, and to warn the world of what is to come.

    This expedient exaggeration has ranged from a side issue to a cottage industry to the main focus of various COGs. Jesus did warn about some very specific events, but "watch" is more frequently used in the context of one's personal conduct and preparedness.
    When I read "we are told Watch!" I think, yes, watch, not speculate and opinionate and scare monger.