Herbert Armstrong, Science Fiction Writer
Herbert Armstrong, Music

Who can forget the senior banquet hosted by Herbert Armstrong for the Ambassador College Seniors? Before graduation, he wanted to expose the AC students to culture, replete with gold and silver place settings and fine crystal, accompanied later in the evening by Herbert Armstrong himself playing the piano — nocturne in e flat major op. 9 no. 2 by Frederic Chopin, was it? Everyone who saw the video at the Feast was so impressed. We were all impressed, that is, until we learned that Ross Jutsum ‘sweetened’ the playing by, well, playing the piece. It was just another one of those situations where Herbert Armstrong cheated. You know, like claiming to obey the Ten Commandments while committing incest with his daughter, being a chancellor of a college when he hadn’t even finished high school, paying 9.75 of his income as a tithe and having a donut and cup of coffee on the Day of Atonement while 95 year old widow ladies fasted and went without. It just seemed he had to cheat and ‘fudge’ everything and even got coconspirators to participate with him.

Herbert Armstrong was high on music — he said repeatedly that it had to be ‘melodic’, which, if you think about it, pretty much defines what music is. He liked to play ragtime on the piano in his youth and was fond of most classical music (except for that demon inspired stuff, like “Let me come in, let me come in!”). Yes, Ambassador College was a real classic and even had rather famous people come play in the Auditorium. He brought refinement to the community. Well, it was Pasadena, so what can we say? Have you seen downtown?

We’re not certain that the Worldwide Church of God membership really caught on, particularly during the days of Garner Ted Armstrong appearing on Hee-Haw and what with the popularity of Bluegrass in the Southern States. We’re not sure that the members really appreciated the finer aspects of culture in their life, but that may be because they had to give so much of their livelihood in tithes, offerings, building fund and Herbert Armstrong induced emergencies when he overspent in his manic mode… or perhaps drunken alcoholic sot, three sheets to the wind mode.

It’s time, of course to reach back in time and bring Armstrongists and former Armstrongists back up to speed by presenting a video about the history of classical music (unfortunately missing one of the most famous composers, P.D.Q. Bach):

You are now cultured.

Stay humble.

11 Replies to “cultured”

  1. Yikes!….you almost killed my love for classical music with that auto-tuned vocal stuff! You triggered my homophobia, so I shall retaliate!
    How does the religious mainstream do such a great job of killing good music?

    Despite my mother being the church organist and teaching me the piano, I rarely heard classical music. It didn’t come into my life until I was a teenager going through my speed-metal stage.

    Ancient religion inspired art, now it seeks to destroy or dominate it.

    ps: Here’s one from a modern day crazed Beethoven and Chopin of the guitar. Enjoy your Labour Day!

    1. The point of “cultured” is:

      1) Herbert Armstrong cheated all his life in order to seem better than he really was;
      2) In line with that, his surreptitious expectation was that as leader of his cult, his followers would accept his opinions as doctrine and adopt his tastes — including his taste in music.

      This narcissist controlling type of personality requires quite a narcissistic source and it becomes quite draining upon those supplying it — in this case, from the members to Herbert Armstrong as cult leader: It’s like the Little Shop of Horrors — “Feed me, feed me!”.

      As a side note, not that it should make any difference, Jon Cozart (Paint) is heterosexual with quite a honed perception and loads of talent as a trend setter on YouTube. You should see his devastating rendering of Christmas carols.

      1. You should know by now that at best I’m only half-serious. Talented yes, but he is not my cup of tea. I figured that maybe he was a metro-sexual or a bisexual, but I really just wanted to throw some curve-balls at you.
        Do you remember the difference between America and yogurt?

        1. I think Jon Cozart is hilarious. You might want to see more samples of his work before making any judgments.

          He brings something to the table here — as you may have noticed, he proclaimed that he is a ‘preacher’s kid’. That means that he has an added depth of knowledge along with his talent and obvious skepticism of taking humanity seriously. He really did a number on Disney princesses.

          1. Getting back to my original point, I was born into a Christain cult and my mother was the church organist and pianist. She taught me some piano but mostly I learned from a tutor who didn’t even go to our church. She was fine with that until my tutor taught me Van Halen’s Jump. I eventually got Eddie’s solo correct and I wanted to show off to a couple of my friends but I made the mistake of playing it on the church organ. No more lessons and I was grounded from the piano for 6 months.

            To my ears, religious music sounds and feels superficial. I’m talking about the musicians who label their music as christian or God’s music. It’s as if they listen to music with their eyes and with the eyes of others that might be watching them. The more flawless and pleasing to the eye, the better the music should be, or so they think. Also, being seen as enjoying the right kind of music so that others will hold them in higher regard. “I listen to only the best music because I am highly cultured and everybody else should hear how cultured I am.” They seem to take their music too seriously and they set themselves up for that, because they gotta get it right or they will make God frown in disapproval. Take PCG’s Ryan Malone for example, he will educate you in how to enjoy the ‘right kind’ of music and be pompous about it at the same time. It’s NOT about the music for these kinds of people. It is all about the propaganda that rides in on the music. And that is probably their biggest mistake and the reason why christain music is medíocre. Even plagiarized. Have you ever heard christian instrumentals, other than xmas songs?

            Ancient religion used to inspire art, cathredals, etc., now it seeks to destroy or even plagiarize it. This may be a stretch but I’m going to say it anyway. Closed-minded religious fundementalists approach music like voodoo-cult-cargo science. They only use music to gain favour with God or to be seen by others as pleasing God with their music.

            You were right about Jon Cozart. I quickly jumped to a conclusion about him. Having said that, I can laugh at some of the stupid crap I liked when I was a teenager. I think it mostly had to do with teen angst and rebellion. So, when I hear some music from my youth, it’s not so much the music but the anchors and memories from when I was younger. I wonder what my future retirement home would sound like 30-40 years from now.

  2. Long before HWA’s John Lennon “eulogy” GTA regularly aired his dislike of the Beatles. It was apparent from some of his rants that he didn’t really understand what some of the songs were about. I try to hold to Bob Dylan’s advice, “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand”. Apparently GTA didn’t care for Debussy either.
    So when I attended my first WCG party, at the home of a few young male members, I was surprised that they were playing music of the Beatles and other groups. And one young man was trying to recover from criticism of his classical records. I had thought that what the leaders liked, everyone liked – obviously not.
    And one young man explained how he could tell when composers were “under the influence of Satan”, citing Lennon/McCartney and JS Bach. I wonder what he thought about AICF’s performance of Berlioz’ Symphanie Fantastique?

    1. Your examples are enlightening to demonstrate how kook leaders add to the nuttiness of their cult madness by influencing follower’s opinions.

      There are those who claim there is no right or wrong when it comes to taste. However, there are elements of biology which contradict that, seeing as how, for example, there is a golden mean which prescribes pleasing proportions accepted by those within the standard mean as being ‘good’ art / sculpture and there is a light frequency commonly accepted across all societies around the world as ‘red’. Of course, definition is one thing… whether or not people happen to like that particular light frequency is open to question as opinions vary.

      Nearly everyone can agree that scratching fingernails across a chalkboard is unpleasant. Some can leverage that into their hatred of some kinds of music. On a personal note, I am not at all particularly fond of Christian Rock Death Metal and would not particularly like to share an association with those who have an appreciation of it.

  3. Somehow, I am reminded of Mark Twain’s satiric comment, “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.”

    Also Duke Ellington’s dictum, “If it sounds good, it is good.”

  4. On a side note, I remember hearing at church in the 60’s that Christmas music was Satanic because it was composed in minor keys, and that the minor’s were Satan’s keys. It was Raymond Cole I believe. As a kid, I thought just HAD to be so! You just can’t make this stuff up!

  5. A friend of mine, who came into the Christian Cult that my family belonged to, told me that the Youth Pastor from his family’s former Christian cult said that Hendrix was demonically-inspired because he could play musical notes that never existed before.
    “Do you mean a sequence of notes?”
    No, but that Jimi Hendrix could actually play a single note that nobody else has been able to play before!

    1. ‘… Hendrix was demonically-inspired because he could play musical notes that never existed before.”

      That’s like saying that an invention is Satanic because no one ever did it before.

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