loyalty

Concerning Prophet’s Prey, the documentary about Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, Michael O’Sullivan, critic for the Washington Post had this to say:

There isn’t much here that hasn’t already been made public. Yet among many appalling things cited by “Prophet’s Prey,” the most troubling conclusion may have nothing to do with Jeffs at all. It’s the sinking realization, as Krakauer points out, that there are still thousand of FLDS faithful who continue to revere Jeffs, even after his conviction. What this says about human nature, and our ability — even willingness — to be led astray by an unscrupulous shepherd is the most depressing discovery of all.

When it comes to cults, we’re not talking about shepherds, we’re talking about wolves, which people are all too willing to not just follow, but to give every part of their lives over to. The outrageous acts of the FLDS controlled by Warren Jeffs is also documented in I Escaped a Cult. What is really amazing is how followers of cult leaders are so loyal and quick to come to the defense of the cult leaders. They can be defiantly dedicated to blindly defend the cult leaders with irrational excuses. For those watching Prophet’s Prey, this is underscored by the cinematographer’s camera operator taking video from a moving vehicle, filming people on side of the street: Women and children gave a middle single-finger salute.

Closer to home, Yisrayl Hawkins, leader of the House of Yahweh cult has much the same profile as Warren Jeffs:  performing polygamous weddings and forcing children – some as young as 11 – to work jobs at his 44-acre compound. Make no mistake: Yisrayl Hawkins is directly from Armstrongism, having split from the Worldwide Church of God in 1980. The House of Yahweh keeps the Feast of Tabernacles. The above video on YouTube shows that Dr. Phil exposes the House of Yahweh as a fraud. People comment on how his prophecies fail and he keeps making changes to his prophecies as they fail. He cries continually how he needs more money, but he’s very wealthy. Here again, the members of his cult vociferously defend and make excuses for Hawkins. The excerpt on Dr. Phil demonstrates that Hawkins can’t pronounce ‘nuclear’ correctly:

Rick Ross calls the House of Yahweh a ‘destructive cult’ and that there is no accountability. Hawkin’s followers live in poverty in trailers while he has millions. What happens with the mind control is that the other members of the group installs a sense of identity, completely isolating an individual so all ‘truth’ comes only from the group. At the same time, Hawkins claims he is being unfairly persecuted — and the loyal members support him in this allegation.

Ron and Laura Weinland -- the two witnesses of the Church of God - Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG)
Ron and Laura Weinland — the two witnesses of the Church of God – Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG)

For persecution, Ronald Weinland of the Church of God — Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG); in his Site Bio, there is this entry:

As with so many whom God has called as prophets and apostles, most all have been imprisoned and/or killed by the governments of this world. Although some history has different accounts, it is believed that all the original disciples who became God’s apostles, including Paul, were all imprisoned and killed, except for John. John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos by the Roman government, and it is there that he was given the Book of Revelation to write.

In like manner, and as his counterpart, Ronald Weinland was falsely imprisoned by the government of the United States for evading to pay taxes.

This does not reflect reality. Two jurors at the Weinland trial have testified that it was not persecution, it was prosecution. The evidence is clear. The man isn’t just a lying false prophet, he’s also a convicted felon currently serving his prison term. Nevertheless, PKG members continue to support Weinland and make excuses for him — displaying their loyalty to him.

In fact, this pattern of loyalty is exhibited across the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia, with profligate leaders with bad behavior being defended by their supporters, members of the cult sects.

Why do cultists exhibit such loyalty in the face of facts debunking their beliefs and exposing their leaders?

When Prophecy FailsWhen Prophecy Fails offers the following:

 Dissonance and consonance are relations among cognitions — that is, among opinions, beliefs, knowledge of the environment, and knowledge of one’s own actions and feelings. Two opinions, or beliefs, or items of knowledge are dissonant with one another if they do not fit together — that is, if they are inconsistent, or if considering only the particular two items, one does not follow from the other. For example, a cigarette smoker who believes that smoking is bad for his health has an opinion that is dissonant with the knowledge that he is continuing to smoke. He may have many other opinions, beliefs, or items of knowledge that are consonant with continuing to smoke but the dissonance nevertheless exists too.

Dissonance produces discomfort and, correspondingly, there will arise pressures to reduce or eliminate the dissonance. Attempts to reduce dissonance represent the observable manifestations that dissonance exists. Such attempts may take any or all three forms. The person may try to change one or more of the beliefs, opinions, or behaviors involved in the dissonance; to acquire new information or beliefs that will increase the existing consonance and thus cause the total dissonance to be reduced; or to forget or reduce the importance of those cognitions that are in a dissonant relationship.

The Armstrongists all know that Deuteronomy 18 says that the false prophet shall be put to death. They know the Scripture in Revelation 22 that says that liars will not inherit the Kingdom of God… and yet, they observe their cult leader lying and being a false prophet — and still they show loyalty by supporting him and ignoring what they know to be true: The man is a fraud. They have to. If they don’t, they will have to admit they are wrong and to do so would cause great pain.

Warren Jeffs was shown in a video where he said, “I am a liar. I am not a prophet.” Those are hard facts. The FLDS members simply ignore his statements as some sort of test. He had rousted his followers in his compound at 6 A.M. to stand in a field because he told them that they were to be taken up. They stood for 12 hours. At 6 P.M. he told them that they weren’t taken up because it was their fault for not being righteous enough. Cult leaders can play all sorts of games to give their membership premade excuses they can use to salve their cognitive dissonance.

We don’t have to pursue the cognitive dissonance generated within the membership following Roderick Meredith, David Pack, Gerald Flurry, Robert Thiel and the whole host of others because they are all well known false prophets and liars. The real problem is loyalty.

It is time to abandon loyalty to those who are cult leaders — they are not worthy of our time and attention.

Only when inappropriate loyalty is abandoned can sanity begin.

3 Replies to “loyalty”

  1. Thank you for the insight and educational material presented here. It is indeed unfortunate that this article is ignored by the infotainment junkies over at Banned by HWA. But that is the American way. It is all about entertainment and laughs. I cannot understand the mindset of the Americans. They seem to be ignorant or do not desire useful information.

    The reason I say this is because I look at all the other blogs and they seem to be dead also. As Bereans Did is a useful blog but the responses are very low for some very good articles. Same with the Silenced blog. Useful but ignored. What is the point of living if you are not learning. Little I say, very little.

  2. No one should be surprised, Jon: Who wants to admit — even to themselves — that they were (or are) in a cult? It’s embarrassing. Those of us who were in it have to admit to being fools. That’s not something that raises the dopamine levels. I realized that I should have followed Byker Bob’s example and left the WCG after 1975 — after all, I knew as did everyone else that the prophecy had failed, Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet and a con man. Yet (and I remember the moment well), we looked at each other and said, “Oh, well….”

    Those who think they have left Armstrongism can feel that they have isolated themselves from it forever, but I suspect that there are still significant problems that really won’t go away. This is especially true of the still boozing alcoholics. The WCG was a terrible influence and a worse example.

    Perhaps it is the worst of all that people are not actually self-aware. Those who remain in Armstrongism think they are just fine and the rest of us are all wrong. Nevertheless, I still hear people in it talk about when “it is all over with”. They cannot wait to escape their terrible lives of depression. Herbert Armstrong fed that with his doomsday predictions creating a worse pathology for those who already had mental problems. He also played successfully to the paranoid, conspiracy theorists, those weak just looking for a better world for themselves and some how making it worse by submitting to Herbert Armstrong and surrendering their loyalty to a man who cared not one whit for them, wallowing in his own narcissistic hubris, expecting his prey to provide him his narcissistic source in the confines of his mood swings of his own manic depressive illness and alcoholism.

    So it’s no wonder that people can’t respond to information on cults because after all that is said and done, it is just too personally painful.

  3. You know, there are always going to be some people who have so much of their lives invested in a bogus cult, that they anxiously seek solace in Biblical examples that just don’t totally explain what happened to all of us.

    How many times has the example of Noah been cited? Supposedly prophesying for 100 years as he and his family built the ark. Of course we read nothing about dates (or figs for that matter) in Noah’s personal ministry, or the failure of and reforecast of such dates. Also, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, (and it has now been 40 years since the failure of 1975), but Moses never set any dates or attempted to create any artificial sense of urgency amongst the Israelites, and when he finally passed, the people judged him as having been a fair and ethical leader.

    Now, we have people attempting to describe the miniscule ACOG splinters in terms of Gideon! Yet, no great end times work is being done through any of the splinters, though some of the people who have ordained themselves as prophets and apostles are heavily applying smoke and mirrors.

    I gotta tell you, it was not a pretty thing when I left WCG, even though the prophecies about 1975 had clearly not been validated by God! It took about 5 years to quasi-normalize, even though a bunch of us at AC Press left on the buddy system, and I had a good friend in John Trechak! We had all based our entire lives on the “fact” that Jesus was going to split the Mount of Olives early in 1975. So, believe me, I know the trauma, and mental conundrum that the followers of the splinter group leaders are going through, even now. Your life can be bucked as if from a wild bronco, and it is an especially poignant experience to watch the members of your own family reprogram themselves in their alignment with HWA, just somehow not “getting” it. The problem is, there is never a shortage of events or human experiences for people to falsely draw upon to scare them back into the major premise of Armstrongism (the end). As 9-11 unfolded, Ron Goff, a career military man who had left the WCG back in the ’70s, became convinced that the apocalypse was upon us, and went looking for the remnant of WCG, presumably to turn himself in in time to qualify for the place of safety. As legend would have it, he made a slight reading error and contacted the Painful Truth, and fortunately was set straight! Had he not done this, who knows what additional deception, exploitation, and personal agony he might have experienced?

    It boggles the mind how deep and insidious the black hole of Armstrongism actually is, and how fortunate those of who have escaped its snares really are!

    BB

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