Caste System

And so it begins: We don’t care, we don’t have to — we’re the ministers!

You lost your job; you’re struggling to exist? We don’t care, we don’t have to — we’re the ministers! Now send in more money so we can keep our elite privileges of easy living with our Luxury Fund.

You desperately need transportation to get to work? You need new clothes because you are threadbare? You need health care you can’t afford? We don’t care, we don’t have to — we’re the ministers! Now send in more money so we can keep our elite privileges of easy living with our Luxury Fund.

You face retirement and don’t have enough? We don’t care, we don’t have to — we’re the ministers! Now send in more money so we can keep our elite privileges of easy living with our Luxury Fund — we have our own retirement to worry about.

Any problem you face, from having mentally ill teenagers, to having a teen pregnant out of wedlock, to having to live in a poor neighborhood threatened by crime? We don’t care, we don’t have to — we’re the ministers! Now send in more money so we can keep our elite privileges of easy living with our Luxury Fund.

The ministers live a life of power and privilege not accorded to the average person in the congregation. The ministers never have to pay more than one tithe: Their feasts are paid for by you, the Prole at the bottom; their homes are paid for by you, the peasant; their fleet autos are paid for by you, the untouchable. You are lower than the low. You are worth nothing. You deserve nothing. You only exist to provide for those in the lofty castes above you. Know your place: You are nothing like the ministers who are so far superior to you in every way, led from the top by the all glorious grand leader of your cult religion.

We don’t care, we don’t have to — we’re the ministers!

You need to care about us! It is your destiny! Make every sacrifice so we don’t have to make any sacrifice.

An anonymous commenter at Banned! says:

In the early 1980s, when I was attending Worldwide in Pasadena, I was hit with a stomach virus and couldn’t seem to shake it after a pretty rough couple of days. I regained enough strength to make a trip to the store for some Pepto, juice, etc. and decided to stop at the Hall of Administration to be anointed. It was a Friday afternoon.

I entered the local church office and was face to face with one of the pastors who now chairs the council of elders of one of the splinters. He was dressed casually and was sitting on the corner of a desk in the lobby, talking to someone in a side office. I knew him, said hello, told him I’d been ill and asked to be anointed. I was shocked at his response. He said they were getting ready to leave for a department camping trip that afternoon and that he was too busy, and referred me to the Church Administration office upstairs. I stared at him for a moment with, I’m sure, a look of disbelief on my face. He just looked back at me. I thought, we’re supposed to call on the elders of the church, and that’s what I’m doing, so there’s no way he could be saying no, is there? So I asked again if he could just take a minute to do this for me. He reiterated that he was too busy but that someone upstairs would be able to help. He was doing nothing, just sitting there shooting the breeze with someone else in the office. Even the look on his face let me know that he couldn’t be bothered with my request. I was stunned. I turned around slowly and left.

I very nearly walked out of the building and out of the church. Instead I went upstairs to the Church Administration office, and was able to be anointed. But the attitude of that Pasadena “pastor” was not lost on me. It was, from my experience, consistent with the attitudes of so many pastors and Pasadena department heads who regularly lorded over people with a lofty view of their titles and offices.

Over the years I began to realize that it was not possible to separate such attitudes from the doctrines and practices taught by HWA and Co. The hierarchy, the control, the capriciousness, and the downright shoddy scholarship had everything to do with what was taught and why. It appears that it continues today, which I guess shouldn’t come as a surprise. Personally, I moved on 20 years ago. It’s sad to see that people remain under the grip of such controlling tactics in the various COG organizations.

Don’t bother us — we’re busy! We are so important that you need to drop everything for what we need and want because nothing you do has any importance in the scheme of things at all.

Failed Experiment
Failed Experiment

Certainly one of the most illustrative examples of the hubris of the elite is contained in The Failed Experiment as illustrated by the treatment of 1-W Conscientious Objectors on the Ambassador College Big Sandy Campus. The stomach turning disgusting behavior of oppressing the helpless by the members of the higher class and their teen children represent some of the worst examples of humanity.

All of Armstrongism is a failed experiment: The caste system is unChristian, artificially promoting stratification of social classes where the elite does not care because it does not have to.

7 Replies to “Caste System”

  1. Most excellent article. And the book! This is something that should be told. It explains so much about the mindset of the elite of that failed organization.

    As it is, human behavior is the same no matter where you find yourself. One difference is in cults where they try to break you in order to control you. And to think that this still goes on anywhere there is a armstrong college in session.

  2. The problem in Armstrongism is that the largest caste was analogous to India’s “Untouchables”. Of course, Herbie renamed them “dumb sheep”. Possible relief from oppression was only possible through getting into the authority structure, even if this only meant being an usher, assistant deacon, or officer in Spokesman’s Club.


  3. James, the original article by Neotherm was a single web page, but it is so long that it is more appropriate in book form — it’s a lot easier to read.

    Byker Bob, you bring up an interesting point about oppression. There may have been some relief from oppression moving up the hierarchy of the cult church corporate, but in truth, there was oppression at level except at the very top. Herbert Armstrong was wont to throw hissy fits at his evangelists as it suited his widely swinging moods and ever present temper. Anyone who was in the least bit threatening to the fragile ego of Der Führer risked angry confrontation.

    It didn’t just stop with Herbert Armstrong. Joseph Tkach, Senior was known to haul people into his office and yell at them for hours at the top of his voice. One woman who did absolutely nothing wrong was summoned and was subjected to five hours of grueling accusations. She was never the same afterward.

    The problem with the lack of accountability is that it makes people be completely comfortable with being the officious jerks they really are, oppressing and persecuting all those innocents in their purview that come into their cross hairs.

    My friend Jim, who was extremely talented as an engineer, trained at Washington State University, was a program manager at Boeing and also had his own business at one time designing, producing and selling fire place inserts, went to Big Sandy for the 1-W program. He worked in the transportation department. Some of his work involved maintaining and repairing various fleet vehicles and the big trucks that were used as moving vans. He served from time to time at the filling station. Cars were lined up to be filled up, and here came this 240z passing all the other cars in line to be serviced first. Jim balked at this snooty pushy woman cutting in line. He very nearly got sent to prison. He learned later, quite pointedly, that this was Mrs. Leslie McCullough and that he was to service her first without question OR ELSE!!!!

    An Armstrongist minister of my acquaintance has related his experience at the Feast of Tabernacles in the Poconos shortly after he had been ordained a local elder. He was sitting at a table waiting for Garner Ted Armstrong to come to speak to the ministers at the Feast. Across the table from him was a woman who asked him when he attended Ambassador College. He told her that he had never attended. She then proceeded to turn her nose up into the air and turn to the person sitting next to her, never to speak to him again. I asked him personally if he had ever attended Ambassador College and he told me “no”. He has turned out to be one of the more reasonable Armstrongist ministers I have met — but don’t put too much stock in that, considering the fact that Herbert Armstrong founded a cult and all Armstrongist ‘churches’ are cults (even GCI).

    Rank doesn’t just have its privileges — it stinks.

  4. Because nobody expected a church member, let alone a minister and his family to own and drive such a vehicle, it took on the role of a kind of undercover surveillance vehicle, at least temporarily. Members and students in Pasadena and in Big Sandy during that era knew when they were off campus and out in the public to watch for the approach and impending presence of a late model Chrysler product, but ministers just didn’t drive foreign cars, let alone sports cars. I was never a student on the Big Sandy campus, but a relative who was shared that some students got busted for hitchhiking back to campus. Of course it has been many years since I even remembered that Les Mac owned that car, but the reason the specifics of the hitchhiking incident stands out is that I frequently hitchhiked myself in Pasadena.


  5. When I lived in India – back when Bangalore was like a former mountain retreat for the English – the caste system used selectively, along with wealth and power, by those who chose to use it. The British had made it illegal, and imposed their own ‘class’ system, which is another analogy of the WCG structure. My only experience above ‘sheep class’ was temporary peerage as an officer in Spokesman’s Club.

    I remember the novel, ‘The Admirable Crichton’, in which the lord of the manor had an ‘equality’ day for the servants – but the servants still felt the constraints of class. The real change occurred while being marooned on an island, and ability and practicality created a new power structure.

    And once out, the ‘structure’ disappeared to those who freed themselves. But for many, the damage has been done, and one may still be trapped in a ‘class’ beneath what their ability may have provided. I’m waiting for the success film, “Dumb Sheep Millionaire”.

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