Oops! Somebody Didn’t Get The Memo!

UCG Bulletin Article
UCG Bulletin Article

It’s been what… maybe two years? The discussion is over. It’s now become a dead issue! We’ve won! British Israelism has been thoroughly debunked! Even Dixon Cartwright, Editor of The Journal, declared that he did not believe in British Israelism. When someone like that makes that sort of declaration, the losers need to shut up and go away! There’s no way to win on this issue. There is a growing awareness among many of the Armstrongist Churches of God that British Israelism is the key to false prophecy and to becoming a false prophet. Some of the more “progressive” ACoGs are trying to distance themselves from British Israelism because they know that it’s going to come back and bite them. Some of the Armstrongist ministers are even taking open pot shots at Herbert Armstrong. There is no future to British Israelism. It’s about as dead as it can be.

And yet… and yet… some people haven’t gotten the memo.

If you take a look at the above UCG local bulletin, you can see the ridiculously stupid attempt to invoke British Israelism as authority to evoke fear! No, the United States is not a lost tribe of Israel. We’ve settled that. Nevertheless, irrelevant Bronze Age writings of Leviticus and Deuteronomy are supposed to be relevant. What’s really insulting is using the passage in Isaiah to Israel as a prediction of a curse on “our people” — the United States. “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.” Is this some sort of prediction for the 2016 elections? Hillary Clinton hasn’t even been elected yet! No! No! No! Does not apply! Go check with Dixon Cartwright. Go check with the United ministers who are on the staff of The Journal. While you’re at it, check with them about just how viable the Bible is. You might be in for a shock — if they will admit it to you.

This UCG sinister shock-jock just isn’t with the program. He’s still sticking with all the old stuff. Does he not know what’s coming 2Q in 2015? Check out United’s plans:

Nerds with technology! How cool is that? Happy times! The format attractive, the technology sound, the message? Crap.

If you’ve watched the video, tell us, just where in all that is there even room for British Israelism? If the appeal is to the public on social media, then British Israelism with doomsday prophecies sort of kills the buzz, doesn’t it?

Dixon intimated that British Israelism is harmless. He should have checked out

Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief

Kooks

Check out Part I: Religion under The Anglo-Israelites on page 13:

One of the earliest American Anglo-Israelite treatises was Two Sticks, or the Lost Tries of Israel Discovered, by an anonymous minister in the Church of the Brethren. But it was J.H. Allen’s Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright, published in 1902, that introduced bible students, among them Herbert W. Armstrong, who would later spread the doctrine through his Worldwide Church of God.

She tells the tragic take of Randy Weaver who believed British Israelism. Here is an account of what happened as a result of his embrace of British Israelism:

The problem with British Israelism is that it lends itself to racism and people who espouse it can get into trouble for no particularly good reason except they want to be left alone.

The story of how things unfolded at Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992 isn’t always clear. This is our best take on it.

Randy Weaver was a former United States Army Combat Engineer who moved to the remote mountaintop Ruby Ridge to live in a cabin that he and his wife built themselves with no electricity and no running water.

He had grown up in a deeply religious family and accepted Jesus into his life at the age of 11. He met his wife Vicki who had also grown up with strict religious views. He married her after leaving the Army where he had become a Green Beret.

Their paranoia about the government was intensified by their intense deep religious commitment. Randy Weaver had never been a part of Aryan Nations but was a separatist. He and his wife had quite the collection of firearms. In 1989, undercover Feds purchased two sawed-off shotguns from him in hopes that he could be an informant within the Aryan Nations, but he refused to cooperate and instead he was indicted on two felony counts of making and storing illegal weapons. He didn’t show up for trial and the Feds watched. Finally, in 1992, his 14 year old son Samuel engaged in a gun battle with Federal Marshals and was killed. After that, the tragic events of Ruby Ridge unfolded and more family members died, including his wife. The trial revealed that it was ATF entrapment and eventually the government paid Randy Weaver and his family $3.1 million in damages.

Randy Weaver visited the Waco Branch Dividian site in 2000.

Timothy McVeigh cited the Ruby Ridge incident as a factor in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

Of course, because British Israelism is at the very core of the teaching of Herbert Armstrong and his teachings cannot have existed without it, the incidents of extremists in the Worldwide Church of God certainly had their roots in British Israelism. Dennis Michael Rohan springs to mind.

Look folks, for the sake of sanity and safety, all current Armstrongists need to do a dump and run — it’s not safe to espouse British Israelism and it sure isn’t harmless.

The core belief of Herbert Armstrong he called “The Key to Prophecy” carries with it an enormous amount of baggage. The above United Church of God bulletin article from the pastor of a local church is case in point: The article caused distress and near hysteria in some of those in the congregation that read it. It is unfortunate that Armstrongism attracts the spectacularly unstable types. It’s even more unfortunate that Armstrongist ministers never really get to know their congregants. There’s no time to visit them in their homes. No time to have lunch and dinner with them. No time for their families to get to have one-on-ones. So the minister is blissfully unaware of the extreme fears prompted from the little opinion pieces in the local bulletin: People terrified that ISIS is coming — it’s right across the border and that the United States is going to be attacked because they are a lost tribe of Israel to be punished by Islam extremists because Americans don’t obey the laws of Judaism. Maybe minister in question knows that Americans are Gentiles or maybe not. The big question is, why is this garbage in a church bulletin? It brings misery, not comfort.

Donna Kossy rightly labels proponents of British Israelism kooks. For Armstrongism, the kooks include:

  • Roderick Meredith and Guy Ames
  • Gerald Flurry and Stephen Flurry
  • John and Richard Rittenbaugh
  • David Pack
  • James Malm
  • Robert Thiel
  • Victor Kubik
  • Jim Franks
  • Fred Coulter
  • David Hulme (on the edge…)
  • Ronald Weinland
  • Eric King (in a kook class all of its own…)

And so many more. There are at least 700+ of them. All kooks.

Only in the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia does a local church bulletin create concerns for mental health issues….

7 Replies to “Oops! Somebody Didn’t Get The Memo!”

  1. This exemplifies two profound schools of thought common to the ACOGs. One is that Armstrongist leaders will grab even the faintest hint of a rumor to support the pet theories inherent in their theology, and that their parishioners will eagerly seize upon it and take it as evidence that God is finally going to start kicking some serious butt. Assuming that Snopes didn’t come along and spoil it all, and assuming there were further developments, these folks would take it as validation for what would otherwise be the wasting and valuelessness of their entire lives.

    Secondly, it illustrates how vulnerable Armstrongists are to fear. British Israelism, in addition to being racist at its core, automatically foments fear when it is coupled to certain interpretations of the book of Revelation. And yet, if we take apart some of the items which they have presented as absolutes, there is more room for reasonable doubt than there is for belief and fear. 6,000 years for man, 1,000 years for God is an extrabiblical theory. Even if it were rock solid, Ussher’s chrononlogy of the history of modern man differed in the 1970s from what was available from Jewish sources by 250 years.
    The pilgrims settling the new magic land that was stolen from Native Americans came from the melting pot known as England, from Germany, France, and various other Western European countries. This was not the clear cut separation of two pure and distinct tribes into those who left to colonize, and those who elected to remain behind. And, the melting pot process has continued to this day, when everyone is everything.

    There well may be an ISIS camp in Juarez. There are terrorist cells that have been identified and are being watched in a number of cities and states here in the USA. However, Mexico has no need for anything that Islamofascists have to offer. First, Mexico has its own very rich oil resources. Secondly, the economic well-being of Mexico in many ways is tied to that of the USA. There is not sufficient dissatisfaction to support revolution. In fact, the Mexican government would most likely appeal to the USA for help if sufficient threat existed. Nobody is suggesting that ISIS is amassing tanks or huge caches of weapons, or dirty bombs just south of our border. Here in the southwestern states, the Second Amendment is revered and celebrated. It is not uncommon for business people to discuss their choices in weaponry with one another, even showing the weapons to one another. Strategically, it would be the wrong place for terrorists to cross over and launch attacks. There is more danger posed by those who would come over furtively, on international plane flights, or from internet recruitment. The Border Patrol would certainly detect significant numbers of Arabic peoples crossing the border into the US. OTMs (other than Mexican) are detected, but statistically negligible. There is also extensive camera surveillance taking place in virtually all areas where people commonly congregate and act, and satellite surveilance of wilderness areas.

    Wars, disease epidemics, financial collapse, and natural disasters have all happened throughout history. In the cases of the victims of the Armenian and Jewish holocausts, worst case scenario even happened. But, as much as the leaders of the Armstrong movement attempt to fan the flames, it is just not unfolding in any way that resembles the Armstrong mold. Until just recently, none of them used to even speak of the Arab nations other than as a regional threat to the security of Israel. Now, they seem to want to portray them as having a future league with Germany and the Catholic Church. Once the baby boomers raised in Armstrongism have passed, one wonders what the next generation will seize upon.

    BB

  2. If United is attempting to recruit new folks into the UCG with this new campaign of theirs, if people start showing up to services with expectations from the Internet and then they read stuff like this, what are they to think? There is instant disagreement between what they’ve been presented publicly and the gloom and doom in the local congregation.

    By ‘not getting the memo’, anachronisms of this type doom the organization to failure.

    As for ISIS in Mexico, just leave them to the drug lords….

  3. If fear motivation were as effective as it was in the 1950s and ’60s, people would be hysterical about climate change, and everyone would have a sense of urgency about reducing carbon footprint. There have been many more global existential threats to dull our senses over the past several decades than just the bomb, and a series of international enemies has emerged to replace Germany, the vanquished threat from the World War II era, in peoples’ consciousness. Fear motivation, as a marketing technique, has already been maxed out. Also, nobody is really going to be motivated by a message portraying a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic melting pot superpower as modern day Israel, and claiming imminent punishment at the hands of World War II vintage enemies, even misidentifying them as the wrong ethnicity along the way, for the sake of prophetic license.

    Yup. ISIS in Mexico can’t be the silver marketing bullet that these ACOGs seek. Just another straw. HWA’s “hook” has long since passed the expiration date.

    BB

  4. In my early years of Armstrongism, I really annoyed people with fringe teachings, mostly BI. I was even given the nickname ‘Manasseh’… But mostly thanks to Ralph Orr’s history of HWA and BI, I saw the light: it was another scam.

    Since part my career has involved fixing problems other people created, there’s an out for those COGs willing to re-engineer BI away from the genetic link – which has shown the average American and Brit is no more part of Israel than the average Native American.

    The easiest fix for the BI doctrine, made by at least one COG teacher, is to change the fulfillment of the Genesis prophecy from ‘physical’ to ‘symbolic’. The bulk of the people of the countries linked to the 10 Tribes are not the physical descendents, but a ‘type’ because they ‘appear’ to match the prophetic description. Even Dr Hoeh’s matching tribes with European countries was a matter of weak and esoteric similarities at the time of his ‘research’. Not convincing enough? But wait, there are two other strategies handy.

    Despite the ‘deportation’ of the northern tribes of Israel, many fled to Judah. The core of the Jewish population prior to the Great Diaspora was considered to represent portions of all the tribes. This means that some nominal ‘Jews’ could be descendents of Ephraim or Manasseh, or have a mixed background. There were also a sprinkling of Gentiles who assimilated, and some who went through ritual conversion to Judaism. To say that the Jews in the USA contain many from Manasseh, and the UK from Ephraim is far more believable, satisfies BI teaching, and can still be used to force prophetic misinterpretation. Would this refinement work for the COGs?

    There is another choice, which may not sound good for the COGs, as it dispels the ‘true church’ myth. The general Christian understanding is that at some point in time ‘Israel’ was replaced by ‘the Church’ as the vehicle for salvation – despite ‘salvation is of the Jews’. Well, if one looks at the letters to Galatians and Ephesians, beyond being sources for out of context quotes, it’s apparent that Gentiles are ‘grafted in’ to Israel. The main point in Galatians is that Gentiles do not need to go through ritual conversion (“Circumcision”) to Judaism; becoming ‘Christian’ is sufficient, as one becomes a ‘son of Abraham’. So that is another way to have an updated and possibly more palatable BI teaching. But what tribes do Gentile converts become? As Ko-Ko sang in the Mikado, The task of filling up the blanks I’d rather leave to you.

  5. I am an ex-member of the WCG and don’t believe in BI and even I’ll admit that this is not the right way to debunk BI. Frankly, it’s dumb. I could waste my breath here explaining why, but what’s the point? People believe what they want to believe. Sensible people already know why. The phrase “guilt by association” kind of sums up one half of the argument, and “condemnation by consensus opinion” the other half. Neither are valid arguments.

  6. Ex-member: Your comment is non specific and thus not helpful. It is also the case that this was not an effort to debunk British Israelism: We’ve already done that.

    This was a reaction to a real member of the United Church of God who became terribly distressed over the article in the church bulletin. She was terrified. The article had evoked intense fear. She wanted to know more about the website and the people who wrote about ISIS. She actually expressed the fear that someone might try to disprove the article in the bulletin.

    Your comment made in ignorance not realizing that this is a recounting of a very real trauma for an actual member (and there were others) smacks of blaming the victim in a self-righteous, “Well, I know better and if she wants to believe this junk, it’s her problem”.

    When you personally see the terror and the trauma caused by cult leaders, do you just shrug your shoulders and roll your eyes, in the assumption that “Sensible people already know”?

    It’s nice to know you are out, but to discount the suffering of the victim is rather cruel, don’t you think? Perhaps you can share your experience of how you finally left the cult.

    That would be helpful.

  7. It appears that “Ex-Member” walked in at the middle of the screening of the movie. But, better late than never. You can always catch up on the things that were missed.

    BB

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