From the standpoint of the Memorial Day Weekend in the United States, May 26 – 28, 2012, many former members of the Armstrongist Churches of God have questions: How does an obviously insane lying false prophet con men become so entrenched in a cult like the PKG and why do people continue to follow him even though it should be obvious that he has failed spectacularly.
As we introduce the answers anticipated by puzzled people, we call attention to the Armstrongist Venn Chart above. Some people may say, “Are you serious?” and “That can’t possibly be true!”. We are quite serious and it is true, but it does require an explanation.
Venn Charts are graphic representations of the intersection, overlap and exclusion of mathematically based sets. In this case, we represent the intersection of the Abuser, the Narcissistic Psychopath and Liar. At the region these three sets intersect, we find the Armstrongist Church of God Minister. While an initial skepticism is anticipated, we will go through the reasoning process to explain the conclusion.
First, we want to make it clear that every major problem in the Armstrongist Churches of God came originally from Herbert Armstrong. These problems are rooted in the narcissistic personality disorder of Herbert Armstrong where he had no empathy for his followers. It should further be noted that he had a set of delusions now thoroughly disproved which formed the “collective conscience” of the basic church cult. At the center of the delusions was British Israelism, the proposition that the United States and British Commonwealth are supposed lost tribes of Israel and that British Israelism is the Key to Prophecy for the understanding of all key events to follow. This heresy of a preposterous science fiction style alternative earth history was and is indeed the Key to the failed prophecies of the Armstrongist ministry and leaders from the very beginning in the Radio Church of God starting with Herbert Armstrong, following down to this very day, where Ronald Weinland has prophesied that Jesus Christ will return this weekend. British Israelism is at the heart of it all and it completely invalidates all the teachings of the Armstrongist Churches of God.
The delusions were extended through the silly history of the church stolen from Dugger and Dodd who plagiarized it from Ellen G. White who just made up the whole thing. We know and can prove that the Waldensians considered themselves good Catholics and nothing more, never kept the Sabbath, let alone the Holydays. This “True History of The True Church” was nothing of the kind. It is thoroughly debunked and has been long rejected by the original Church of God Seventh Day. In fact, The Church of God Seventh Day had an article showing the folly of British Israelism in The Bible Advocate in this past year.
Unfortunately, the mind set is obsessive and the current members of the Armstrongist Churches of God simply refuse to look at the truth, let alone accept it, particularly those following Ronald Weinland in the CoG-PKG.
A regular contributor to this forum mentioned in a posting that the military made him a psychopath. This stems from the misunderstanding of the difference between a psychopath and sociopath — a distinction which is important to make because the goal of all major entities today, including the Military, Corporations, Academia, Government and Religious Corporations is to produce sociopaths to run them.
A psychopath has three major components [those who are interested in the details may check Snakes in Suits by Dr. Paul Babiak and Dr. Robert Hare]: Narcissism encompassing a complete lack of empathy, being devoid of conscience and game playing. Psychopaths have a cycle of three acts: Assessment, Execution and Abandonment. The first step of Execution is to wreck the credibility of those who can expose the con for what it is. Psychopaths love to play games and cut it close in brinkmanship to see just how far they can push their “mark”.
Sociopaths, by contrast, usually don’t actively play games, but more important have something called a “conditional conscience”. This “conditional conscience” is extremely important because it sets the bounds of what the Sociopath generally will do and won’t do. An example of this is the Mafia where any illegal or immoral act may be committed from prostitution, murder, drug trafficking to identity theft, upon those outside the Mafia. The “conditional conscience” is endemic to protect the Mafia itself and such activities are severely proscribed from being transacted against the internal members of the Mafia.
This is important, because of issues of loyalty which underlie the core basis of a group. In the military, for example, the soldiers have their conscience suspended to go out and kill the enemy, but if the military goes too far and produces psychopaths instead of sociopaths, there will be a discipline problem and internal chaos will result. The same principles apply to Corporations, Academia, Government and particularly Cult Religions. Certainly, the end justifies the means, but the Leader is sacrosanct, raised to the level of a saint or even a god; his lieutenants also have a great deal of prestige for the purposes of group survival and stability.
Thus it is that Herbert Armstrong established Ambassador College for the effective generation of Sociopaths. Given the characteristics of Sociopaths and having had Herbert Armstrong as the first Mafia Don, the success of a consistent generation of Sociopaths to “do the Work” is consumate. It was an amazing job to take moral, even decent students entering the machine in their freshman year and to have their consciences turned and burned into conditional ones in four short years. Delusion, fear, guilt, avarice and many other clever devices were used to transform simple students into polished socially ept attractive Sociopaths.
The real problem was that the world has changed and eventually, the one holding the entire cult together with the force of his will died. The 700+ cults are having difficulty with the competition from Sociopaths within and outside the Armstrongist “community” in at “dog eat dog” world of survival of the fittest. Evolution has left Armstrongists in entropy.
Sociopaths and psychopaths traditionally have poor behavioral controls. This is well exhibited in the temper of Roderick Meredith or Don Haney. This is further degraded precipitously by temptations: Both money and narcissistic appealing ego stroking are nearly irresistible to those who have been brain washed into the thinking “quality” of things is superior to actual intangible values. It is no accident that there is a heavy dependence on rigid rituals: What to wear to church, what you can and can’t do on the Sabbath and Feast Days, what percentage of your income you give and for what purposes, what you can and cannot eat and so forth. These are set as limits for the Sociopath “contextual conscience” because making real moral and ethical choices can be quite confusing to the Sociopath. When in doubt, have an explanation for every little thing and have rules which can be remembered easily (or better, written and posted by the door).
As the personal restrictions were lifted from those who were under the Draconian and arbitrary control of Herbert Armstrong after he died, those who had sufficient power threw off the shackles to indulge themselves to wallow in the new freedom from behavior controls and restrictions. There was War. As things sorted themselves out, many became leaders in their own right with a fiefdom of their own to be absolute gods over the hapless and often clueless sheople.
Abuse abounds in such venues as both assault and neglect. Abuse may simply be a matter of collateral damage of self serving self interest amongst the narcissists in power who really don’t care much about anyone but themselves.
Whether conscious of it or not, those in power have been liars from the beginning. Since those of us in an Anti Armstrongist role have exposed the fraudulence of the lies, particularly in the last two years, the ministry and administration has no excuse and at some level know the truth, but they continue to lie to you and take your money.
These are only part of the temptations they face and they yield to them, thus passing from Sociopath to the games playing psychopath role.
There is one more factor to complete the picture of our Venn Graph: A new term known as “Psychopath by Day”.
This should be familiar — at least in principle — to those who have read “Moral Mazes” by Robert Jackall. As a mid manager said in an interview for the book, what is right and moral is what the guy above you wants from you. That is to say, a “conditional conscience” loyal to the leadership in the hierarchy.
This is made possible by bracketing misdeeds through compartmentalization. Thus a CEO can lie, steal, even murder, pollute the world, outsource, destroy careers and the competition, then go home, be a wonderful father, husband, sit down to tea with the utmost social graces and recycle. Make no mistake: Many of the Armstrongist Ministers are monsters, but can appear pleasant and affable to those who may have impact on their agenda. It should also be pointed out that neurology research has demonstrated that those who deliberately lie actively destroy portions of their brains to make it into white mental mush. This, in turn, makes it easier to practice deception effectively. Being able to practice deception and lie convincingly is called “Executive Ability”. In recent studies, it has been shown that these “Executive Abilities” stem from childhood and set when children learn to lie effectively. So remember, the higher the rank of the minister, the more “Executive Ability” he has, and it is likely you can determine exactly how much he has if you were able to be privy to his brain scans (which would also reveal tangibly whether he is a psychopath or not).
Thus we validate our Venn Diagram.
The Venn Diagram also explains such people as Ronald Weinland.
But what of the followers?
We will cover that next time in Part II.