Sunday, June 5, 2022

Overview of the November-December 2021 Issue of PCG's Philadelphia Trumpet

Around late October 2021 PCG published the November-December 2021 issue of their recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet. Let's see what the PCG leadership have to say this time.

Gerald Flurry has a personal article scare mongering that the European Union will suddenly transform into a frightful military power which will militarily conquer the United States just before Christ's return. Armstrongites have been shrilly insisting that this would happen any moment now since the 1930s. This prediction has never been fulfilled because they are but false prophets.

Richard Palmer has a side article exploiting France's anger over the establishment of the AUKUS alliance between the United States, Britain and Australia to make it appear more likely that the Europeans will soon turn against the United States.

Jeremiah Jacques has an article exploiting tensions regarding Taiwan. This is a tragic issue that is ever with us and Armstrongites have long exploited this issue to make their followers fearful of the future. 

Joel Hilliker has an article discussing commercial space travel. Armstrongism teaches that it is humanity's destiny to become God beings as fully God as God is God though of a lower rank. They often claim that such persons are able to traverse the Universe at the speed of thought. This teaching is drastically contrary to the Bible and what is taught in mainstream Judaism and Christianity.

Mihailo Zekić has an article discussing the civil war in Ethiopia. He speculates that it may be mentioned in the Bible. It is not. But PCG's interpretation of Daniel 11:40-45 makes the PCG leadership ever fixated on Ethiopia. They believe that Ethiopia will join forces with a resurgent Iran and provoke the future European Empire into conquering Iran, the Middle East and Ethiopia in the war the PCG leadership says will occur before Christ's return.

Andrew Müller has an article insisting that the infamous "audit" of presidential election votes in Maricopa County, Arizona revealed that things were wrong with the presidential election. PCG is committed to promoting what many experts, journalists and commentators often refer to as the big lie, namely the claim that Donald Trump somehow won the 2020 election. This claim has been discredited in the courts of law dozens of times but certain political demagogues know that most people do not tend to read such court rulings so they can get away with promoting this false claim. As a result many Americans do not realize that Biden won. 

Andrew Müller also has an article discussing inflation and the supply chain crisis.

Andrew Müller also has a side article (which is left with no byline in the print version for some reason) insinuating that the "radical left" is plotting to "exterminate" capitalism. The website lists this side article's author as Andrew Müller.

The side article makes the following polemical accusation against Saule Omarova.

Is it a coincidence that the woman Joe Biden nominated as comptroller of the currency is a Moscow State University graduate who received the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship? It is becoming more apparent with each passing day that the radical left’s coronavirus response is revolutionizing the nation in ways that socialists like Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore and Rachel Maddow always hoped for.

Saule Omarova's nomination was withdrawn. Will the PCG leadership tell their followers that now there is hope to defeat those the PCG leadership view as the political left? Of course not. They will continue presenting events in a dire, heart rending manner because it is easier to move people to do what you want when people are distressed and afraid.

The side article also quotes Vladimir Lenin saying that he was producing too much money in order to destroy capitalism. However that quote can only refer to a brief period in the early history of the Soviet Union when the Bolsheviks imposed so-called "war communism." In 1921 the regime under Lenin moved away from this policy by adopting the New Economic Policy which adopted certain capitalistic features in society. Hyperinflation was not generally relied upon in the old Soviet Union. All this context is ignored in PCG's article. 

The Infographic discusses the supply chain crisis.

Joel Hilliker has an excerpt telling his male readers that they need to be manly men. At one point he complains that women and children are oppressing men.

When there are no strong men to lead, something else fills the void: “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them” (verse 12). Some say more work needs to be done to secure women’s rights. God says the opposite! He says women and children already lead society!

That passage of Isaiah was talking about the ancient Kingdom of Judah. To say that passage refers to modern American society is taking that passage out of context. Also Americans of European descent are not descended from the northern Kingdom of Israel. This dogma is named British Israelism and happens to be untrue. Nevertheless Armstrongites continue to base most of the prophetic predictions based on this incorrect dogma. 

Jeremiah Jacques and Mihailo Zekić have an article discussing the development of the Loess Plateau in China. Without doubt this is a great and praiseworthy achievement. But none of those responsible are Armstrongites.

The PCG leadership has included an excerpt from their Bible study course telling their readers that humanity is now existing in the "last days" just before Christ's return as Armstrongites have been constantly insisting since the 1930s.

Joel Hilliker has an article telling people that they need to focus.

Brad Macdonald has an article telling his readers that one does not necessarily need to be saddened by the current state of affairs because a new world will soon arrive following Christ's return.

In this article Macdonald unscientifically refers to Covid-19 as the "Fauci-China virus" associating that dreadful disease with a nation and an individual when medical practice is to not name diseases after nations or people. The Chinese government has made it clear that they object to having that dreadful disease be named after their nation. Since this pandemic began there have been numerous attacks against people of Asian descent. This wave of hate crimes is clearly motivated at least in part by blaming Chinese people for starting this pandemic.

The reference to Dr. Fauci refers to a nasty rumor that the political right was pushing at the time that Dr. Fauci headed some governmental department that funded the Wuhan Institute of Vironology. The insinuation here being that he funded the creation of that dreadful disease. None of these sensationalist claims can be proven. The lab in question has denied that there was any leak. 

Efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated are mischaracterized by Macdonald as "vaccine tyranny." To their eternal shame PCG has made it a habit to stir up hesitancy regarding the Covid-19 vaccines leaving their followers and readers more susceptible to contracting that dreadful disease.

Macdonald claims that "immanent civil war" awaits America but it is only the political right that contemplates such an occurrence happening.

Macdonald also alludes to the homophobia, transphobia and opposition to feminism that PCG so often promotes when he writes that the "new world" after Christ's return will have "no confusion about gender, sex or family." Some Republican led states 

And so we see that the PCG leadership has produced yet another issue of their recruitment magazine to keep their followers persuaded that PCG is worthy of loyalty and to try to persuade other people to join PCG. However since their founding in 1989 the PCG leadership have produced numerous false prophecies that prove that they cannot see the future. There is no need for anyone to fear their dire predictions of the future.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

PCG Absurdly Compares USA to Sri Lanka Crisis

As is well known Sri Lanka is currently stuck within a severe economic and political crisis. PCG has published an article about this crisis. However instead of explaining what is happening the crisis is exploited to imply that the United States may also soon end up like Sri Lanka. (Richard Palmer, Could America Soon Look Like Sri Lanka?, April 20, 2022.)

Palmer says Sri Lanka has a corruption problem. But many nations have problems with corruption and they are not falling apart like Sri Lanka. That does not explain this situation in and of itself.

Palmer says Sri Lanka is allying itself with China. He says Sri Lanka has been making trade deals with China and not getting good deals with them. But many nations have made trade deals with China and they are not falling apart like present day Sri Lanka. That also does not explain this situation in and of itself.

Palmer says Sri Lanka has a lot of debt. But many nations have a lot of debt without falling apart the way Sri Lanka is. That also does not explain this situation in and of itself.

Then finally Palmer mentions something truly specific to Sri Lanka.

The government also made things worse, abruptly banning the import of pesticides and forcing the country to switch to organic farming last year. In the long run, moving away from pesticides and herbicides has a lot of advantages. But it’s not a change that can easily be made at the drop of a hat. Food output plummeted, and the country had to import more, worsening its economic situation.

That is what really set Sri Lanka onto its path to catastrophe. Back in April 2021 the Sri Lanka government banned certain pesticides and essentially ordered the nation's farmers to switch to organic farming. With this sudden switch productivity declined to such an extent that it began to cause many other horrible negative consequences that are now sorely evident to everyone. 

But PCG relies on a lay membership mainly based in the United States so Palmer has to scare monger that a similar situation will occur in the United States.

The big difference is, the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Despite a series of horrible decisions, people are still willing to buy it: They need to, to engage in international trade. Even so, inflation is starting to bite, at 8.5 percent.

No one thinks that corruption, inflation or debt are good things. But it’s easy to lose sight of how destructive they can be. Sri Lanka shows that they have potential to be nation-destroying problems. And the U.S. is walking down the same path.

It is very unlikely that the United States could collapse in this manner. Especially since the US has not tried to impose all farmers to organic farming. It is unfortunate that PCG tries to scare a predominantly  American readership by absurdly implying that something similar to the crisis in Sri Lanka will soon happen to the United States. Since their founding in 1989 PCG have produced numerous false prophecies that have failed miserably. There is no need to fear PCG's dire predictions about the future.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Roe v. Wade Overthrown

Politico broke the story. The US Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade and let the individual states decide how to manage abortion instead of following the 49 year old precedent of respecting abortion as a right guaranteed by the federal government.

It is reasonable to assume that the Armstrongite groups will be pleased with this development. Similar to evangelical churches and the Roman Catholic Church the Armstrongites tend to teach that abortion is forbidden within their religion. (Fred Dattolo, "Is Abortion Murder?," Tomorrow's World, March-April 2001, pp. 14-17.) At times LCG even compare abortion to the Holocaust even though most American Jews support abortion being legal. (Douglas S. Winnail, "Abortion: A Modern Holocaust?," Tomorrow's World, March-April 2005, pp. 10-13, 29.) But despite this stance it does appear that the old WCG did encourage abortion under certain extreme circumstances as is evident in an article for The Plain Truth which was published in 1985.

Having read the draft opinion by Justice Alito it cannot help but be noted that there is little discussion about the inevitable negative effects of such a ruling upon women in the United States. One cannot help but think about Savita Halappanavar, a woman who died on October 28, 2012 in Ireland after her request for an abortion was denied. The outcry over her death help lead Ireland into legalizing abortion. 

Also noteworthy is what happened to Agnieszka T., a woman in Poland who died of sepsis after being denied an abortion on January 25, 2022. She was the mother of three children. Recently Poland passed a law making abortion very difficult to get. Because of that restrictive law tragic events like this are now happening in Poland.

Knowing of such events it seems certain that harrowing events like this will happen in the United States once a ruling allowing states to restrict abortion is made law. It is to be wondered at if the right wing judges in the US Supreme Court are not worried about these consequences of their ruling.

(Knowing how passionately views are held on this issue on both sides I am not interested in trying to change peoples' religious views on abortion. Many unconnected to Armstrongism also condemn abortion. So if one were to criticize the anti-abortion stance such a person would be criticizing many other people outside of the Armstrongite groups. On this blog I wish to focus on Armstrongism. But I cannot help but express sadness at what will inevitably occur under laws that severely restricts access to abortion. We need to see things as they are, not what we wish them to be.)

Sunday, April 17, 2022

PCG Fails to Anticipate Diplomatic Tensions Between Iran and the Taliban

Recently Iran and the Taliban have been having a quarrel over accusations that Afghan refugees are not treated well in Iran.

DUBAI, April 12 (Reuters) - Iran summoned the Afghan envoy to Tehran on Tuesday, Iranian state TV reported, a day after protesters threw rocks at Iranian diplomatic missions in Kabul and Herat over what they called "mistreatment of Afghan refugees" in the Islamic Republic.

The protests began after videos posted on Twitter in recent days showed young Afghan refugees in Iran being harassed and humiliated by ordinary Iranians. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the videos. (Reuters, "Iran summons Afghan envoy after protesters throw rocks at diplomatic missions," April 13, 2022.)

The PCG leadership, who claim to know so much about what will happen in the future, failed to anticipate such disagreements occurring. When the Taliban conquered Afghanistan PCG produced an article saying that Iran and the Taliban are working together.

The Taliban and Iran are not enemies. They are fighting for the same team, and Iran is king. ...

The Taliban gaining power will not counter Iran’s hegemony in the region. In fact, not only did Iran plan for America’s eventual exit from Afghanistan—there is proof it also worked with the Taliban for almost a decade to bring it about.

The Taliban takeover gives the forces of radical Islam a massive economic, military and ideological boost. And the power that will benefit most is Iran. (Brent Nagtegaal, With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends?, October 2021.)

Back in 1998 Iranian diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif were killed by the Taliban and there was much fear that Iran could have gone to war against the Taliban in retaliation. Iran and the Taliban are their own political actors but PCG is devoted to scare mongering about Iran. 

Since the 1990s Gerald Flurry has dogmatically declared that Iran will be the 'King of the South' fated to fight and get routed by the future European Empire. Consequently scare mongering about Iran is a way for PCG to portray their leader, Gerald Flurry, as one able to see the future. This motive makes PCG less inclined to pay attention to news that does not fit their dogmas about supposed future events such as Afghan protesters throwing stones at Iranian diplomatic property over rumors of mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Iran.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Reading Mark Mendiola's Article, The Bible: A Book for All Time (2001)

The fourteenth issue of LCG's recruitment magazine, Tomorrow's World (September-October 2001), featured an article by Mark Mendiola of Pocatello, Idaho entitled "The Bible: A Book for All Time." (pp. 16-19.) This was the twelfth of several articles Mendiola would write for this recruitment magazine. Here Mendiola praises the Holy Bible and cites Christians who disagreed with many of Armstrongism's dogmas to praise the Bible but then he says the Bible cannot be understood until one chooses to obey (LCG's interpretation of) God.

Mendiola quotes Queen Victoria, William Gladstone, George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Sir William Herschel and Sir Isaac Newton as persons who revered the Bible. However all of those persons believed things very different from what is taught in the Armstrongite organizations. They all belonged to churches that worshipped on Sunday, a practice Herbert Armstrong and his imitators insist is the mark of the beast of Revelation 13. Newton was alleged to have held dissident religious views. George Washington at times refused to take communion in his Episcopal church. Abraham Lincoln was alleged to believe in universal salvation. The British monarch leads the Church of England. William Gladstone was a member of the Church of England. Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the Reformed Church in America. Since they do not share the views of LCG why did Mendiola cite them in this article? How is this not a lie? Mendiola cites these famous persons to say the Bible is revered and true in a publication designed to get recruits for LCG, an organization that teaches things contrary to what those famous persons actually believed.

He extols the Old Testament and the New Testament and then he quotes a Jewish archaeologist even though Judaism does not view the New Testament as canon.
Dr. Nelson Glueck, a renowned Jewish archaeologist, observed: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to discoveries” (Rivers in the Desert, Glueck, p. 31).
Dr. Glueck was also a rabbi of Reform Judaism. It is reasonable to assume that in the passage above Dr. Glueck was referring to the Hebrew Bible, namely the Old Testament. This is misleading to the readers. Mendiola glides over this flaw in his article and refuses this address the problem of quoting a Jewish rabbi while promoting the New Testament. Was he hoping that his readers would not notice this flaw? The fact that Mendiola did this indicates that this article was directed at people who only have a very superficial knowledge of Judaism.

Mendiola also cites some other persons like Jeffery Sheler and Grant Jeffrey but, again, they belonged to Christian churches which worship on Sunday thus, according to Herbert Armstrong and his imitators, they bear the mark of the beast. Why does Mendiola cite people who worship on Sunday when he belonged to an organization that teaches that worshipping on Sunday is a terrible thing?

He also cites Charles Sellier and Brian Russell but those men did not appear to have been affiliated with any Armstrongite organization. Mendiola cites all these people to praise the Bible but he does so selectively. He chooses to cite certain words of theirs to say the Bible is of religious importance and reliable but, at the time this article was written, he disregarded anything they say contrary to Armstrongism by choosing to be a follower of LCG.

Then after praising the Christian Bible he insists that the Bible cannot be understood unless one chooses to obey (LCG's interpretation of) God.
Amazingly, the Bible even predicts many would not understand it and would consider it cryptic. Most people in the world are drunken with false doctrine and ideas that blur the precious truths contained within its pages. Many consider it sealed. Others think they are not educated enough or must be fluent in Hebrew or Greek to understand it. Even ministers are confused about its teachings....

Jesus Christ said that His disciples would be given the spiritual discernment to understand the hidden truths of the Bible. He told His disciples that He spoke in parables so only they would understand the mysteries of God, and the world at large would not ....

The Living God who inspired the Bible must open our minds to understand it as we show Him a willingness and humility to obey His instructions. ... Obedience to God is the key that will unlock for you the truths of the Bible: a book for all time!
Among the Armstrongite organizations it is taught that one cannot join unless (Armstrongism's interpretation of) God open that person's perception to begin to believe Armstrongism. This explanation is quite useful in explaining away why most people do not convert to Armstrongism after learning about it.

This article seems to be merely a paean to the Holy Bible but it is actually deceptive in citing persons who revered the Bible while being used in a magazine designed to attract recruits into an Armstrongite organization. The people Mendiola cited did not adhere or believe in what was taught by Armstrongites including LCG. It is deceptive to cite these persons and then insist that they are wrong in every stance contrary to Armstrongism.

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. He was credited as helping to produce COG-FF's magazine, The Philadelphia Remnant, as late as 2012.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Reading Mark Mendiola's Article, A Powerless America? (2001)

The thirteen issue of LCG's recruitment magazine, Tomorrow's World (July-August 2001), featured an article by Mark Mendiola of Pocatello, Idaho entitled "A Powerless America?" (pp. 20-24.) This was the eleventh of several articles Mendiola would write for this recruitment magazine. Here Mendiola cites energy management issues as evidence that the United States will soon collapse.

Simultaneous energy and water shortages jeopardize the faltering U.S. economy’s chances for a strong recovery. Bible prophecy indicates that conditions may grow much worse before they improve.

Mendiola discusses strain upon the energy supply in west coast states of the USA. He cites President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. He also cites a future Governor of Washington.

“You can today see blackouts coming, as big as life, and an energy crisis going into the fall,” said Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.

In the entire article there is no discussion about climate change.

He ends this article claiming that these energy supply problems are signs of an impending catastrophe about to hit the United States.

Is it merely coincidence that the U.S. is confronting major crises on several fronts that threaten to cause major hardships and suffering? Most experts are reluctant to cite it as a source, but the Holy Bible plainly shows a cause and-effect reason for what can accurately be described as curses plaguing the nation. Our actions— the choices we make—determine whether we are blessed or cursed. The Living Creator God who inspired the Bible warns of adverse consequences if we disobey commandments, but blessings if we are obedient to His spiritual laws. ...

God then describes curses that would result—including terrorism, disease outbreaks, farm disasters and defeat by enemies. He also describes a drought that symbolically turns the heavens and earth dry and hard. ...

U.S. energy, water and economic crises are worsening as snowpack, spring runoff and reservoir levels dwindle due to drought conditions gripping major regions of the nation. Those setbacks further weaken the nation’s power and prestige. ... Breaking God’s commandments brings national as well as individual curses on us. T he choice is ours.
LCG and the other Armstrongite groups teach that white Americans are descendants of the ancient Kingdom of Israel described in the Bible which was conquered by the Assyrians around 720 BCE. This idea is called British Israelism. This idea is used within the Armstrongite groups to insist that the frightful fate of military conquest and exile that the ancient Israelites and Jews endured will occur to the United States in the near future. The Armstrongites have been teaching this since the 1930s. But the idea called British Israelism happens to be false. Non-Jewish Americans of European descent are not descended from the ancient Israelites.
In this article Mendiola cites Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 11 as evidence that the United States will soon endure terrible things but those passages were describing warnings to the ancient Israelites and Jews. These warnings were alluding to the conquest of those kingdoms by the Assyrians and the Babylonians and the subsequent exiles they were forced to endure. Those Biblical passages were not talking about 21st Century America. Those Biblical passages were cited out of context. There is no need to fear the dire predictions of the Armstrongites.

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. He was credited as helping to produce COG-FF's magazine, The Philadelphia Remnant, as late as 2012.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Russia Launches Armed Campaign Against Ukraine

That which many feared has begun to occur. Russia has chosen to fight Ukraine. This is a terrible, awful moment the world is now witnessing. The potential death, destruction and humanitarian crisis this will cause is dreadful.

With such terrible news some within the Armstrongite organizations or their former members may start to fear that this is somehow the beginning of the dire predictions Herbert Armstrong and his imitators have taught. This is no such thing. Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet who made many false predictions thus proving that he is a false prophet. There is no need to fear his dire predictions. 

And since Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet then anyone seeking to produce prophecies and predictions based on what Herbert Armstrong said are also false prophets. There is no need to fear their dire predictions either.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

PCG Creates an Archaeology Institute

PCG has announced the establishment of their archaeology institute, the Armstrong-Mazar Institute of Biblical Archaeology. (Brad Macdonald, Trumpet Followers, Meet AMIBA, January 20, 2021.) This move was largely expected after PCG's leader, Gerald Flurry, printed a co-worker letter promoting the idea back on November 1, 2021.

Macdonald says that the PCG leadership hopes to excavate again.

AMIBA will also continue to sponsor and participate in archaeological excavations in Jerusalem. Even now we are working with Hebrew University and the various authorities and organizations in Israel to plan a new excavation. We hope to announce this new dig over the next few months.

Macdonald states:

The ultimate mission of this institute is to showcase and share Israel’s biblical archaeology with the largest audience possible, especially the people of Israel.

Let us note. PCG, an Armstrongite organization predominantly based in America, is going to all this trouble and expense to promote archaeology to Israelis. Why not let Israelis promote archaeology among themselves?

There can be no misunderstanding. PCG is doing this for themselves. This move promotes PCG. Presumably the PCG leadership hope this will give them an opportunity to gain respect and trust from Israeli society.

And there might be another reason the PCG leadership are devoting so much time and money to reaching out to Israeli Jews.

The State of Israel has plenty of problems. The best thing PCG could do to the nation is to leave. Leave them alone. The vast majority of Jews, in Israel and elsewhere, are not interested in joining the Christian churches or Armstrongites organizations like PCG. Also they do not need PCG to learn about archaeology.

May PCG's efforts in the Holy Land fail.