Oh, no! Not again!

Click on the above graphic to see the current window into the Armstrongist Insane Asylum

We’ve decided to do something new here, and, in the honor of Gavin Rumney and to help maintain the legacy of the Watchdog Site, Ambassador Watch, we plan to institute review of The Journal when it comes out. And it’s come out: This time it’s from the last day of December, 2016 which makes it the New Year’s Eve issue.

We’re much more than watchdogs!

Yes, those wily Armstrongist ministers who try to label us here at The Painful Truth as ‘watchdogs’ don’t seem to realize that we are a lot more than that and we have a bit of a bite to us, but thanks for being disingenuous to seem, oh, so smarmy, while really trying to promote your own aggressive subversive agenda to proselytize without getting caught at it. We know what you really are:

Better relationship with the Armstrongist 1%? They are still wolves!

 Yes, there has been this naive optimism that a new day is dawning and that the ministers of the sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia are kinder, gentler and more reasonable now — making admissions at The Journal, for example, exposing some negatives about Armstrongism, such as that article by David Havir demonstrating that Herbert Armstrong was no servant leader, painting him as aggressive abuser. The 1%ers are now posting on various post Armstrongist blogs, such as Banned! and the now defunct Ambassador Watch, attempting to persuade us that they have changed and it is a new world now. Indeed, they are popping up seemingly everywhere attempting to show that they have indeed entered into the 21st Century of gently agreeing to disagree.

Ah, but those of us here at The Painful Truth have taken heed that we be not deceived, for we know the word of Robert Jackall in Moral Mazes aptly describes what is represented by this list of Armstrongist publications:

From the standpoint of public relations, the journalistic ideology closely resembles the social outlook of most college seniors — a vague but pious middle-class liberalism, a mildly critical stance toward their fathers in particular and authorities in general; a maudlin of championship of the poor and the underclass; and especially the doctrine of tolerance, open-mindedness, and balance. In fact, public relations people feel, the news media are also constructing reality. They are always looking for a “fresh” and exciting angle; they have an unerring instinct for the sentimental that expresses itself in a preference for “human interest” rather than substance; and they arrange facts in a way that purports to convey “truth,” but is in fact simply another story. In reality, news is entertainment. And, despite the public’s acceptance of journalistic ideologies, most of the public watch or read news not to be informed or to learn the “truth,” but precisely to be entertained. There is no intrinsic reason, therefore, why the constructions of reality by public relations specialists should be thought of as any different from those of any group in the business of telling stories to the public. Everyone is telling stories and everyone has a story to tell. Public relations men and women are simply storytellers with a purpose in the free market of ideas, advocates of a certain point of view in the court of public opinion. Since any notion of truth is irrelevant or refers to at best what is perceived, persuasion of various sorts becomes everything.

And there it is. Armstrongism isn’t about truth; it is simply about manipulating perceptions to evoke responses to their story telling. Herbert Armstrong was an ad copy writer, after all. As such, he lined up some facts, threw in some colorful descriptions and weaved his fictional stories. The booklets in the slides presentation above is representative of this magical world of the ‘magic lantern’, creating illusions illustrating imaginary constructs of perceived ‘reality’. There is neither truth nor reality in any of it. It is all fake.

Moreover, it isn’t just about Herbert Armstrong and his ‘public relations’ advertising hirelings, it is also about The Journal, which is exposed for what it is in the brief description given by Robert Jackal; to wit: the pursuit of a “fresh” and exciting angle with an unerring instinct for the sentimental that expresses itself in a preference for “human interest” rather than substance; and the facts are arranged in a way that purports to convey “truth,” but is in fact simply another story — in reality, it is merely infotainment. The editor of The Journal reveals his true self when he speaks of the doctrine of tolerance, open-mindedness, and balance — while secretly harboring contempt for the “farmer theologians” who deign to advertise in its pages.

Moral Mazes has framed it and nailed it in the landscape of the church cult corporate of lies, deceits, conceits, fiction, fantasy — all parading as religious truth — which, if it be told, can be demonstrated as pure rubbish if you but stand back and look at the chaotic mess it represents.

Dr. James Milam, in his book, Ending the Drug Addiction Pandemic: Discovering the Liberating Truth, in Chapter 2: Core Evidence (page 17), says:

Within the big lie all of the component falsehoods have been carefully crafted to support each other in concealing the whole truth. To assemble the abundance of decisive scientific and clinical evidence comprising the biogenic paradigm it is necessary to identify, define, and disentangle each piece of the truth from the corresponding part of the shroud of disinformation that has so carefully hidden for so long. Surrounded by the support of the others each falsehood has become an inarguable given truth. It is therefor necessary to confront and discredit them one by one until the whole fabric of disinformation is disposed of.

He adds this sentence in Chapter 3: The Language of Denial (page 34):

The familiar comes to seem normal and every big lie develops its own familiar language of deception that conceals the truth while purporting to represent it.

In the end, Armstrongism promises the truth and fails to deliver. What it delivers instead is empty promises which can never be fulfilled.

The Journal is particularly disingenuous, managing to make the trashy low rent apartment look every bit like the gleaming high end Executive Suite on the top floor of a prestigious upscale condo; that talent to make a toxic dump site look pristine like the morning after being covered in  freshly fallen snow: Yes, the redactions and deliberate excluded news makes us all believe that Armstrongism is a near utopia with artifice uplifting what would normally be quite disturbing. An exclusion here, a modification there — it’s all better. It’s partly in the well-crafted emphasis on what the staff there wants us to see — just like the Magic Lantern outlined in Moral Mazes. Never mind the stuff behind the curtains and in the smoke-filled trashy store room doubling as a staff lounge, which, if you could get a look, might have half-empty boxes of cold left-over pizza and littered with empty beer bottles.

This issue of The Journal is no different, and, in fact, becomes representative.

It starts off page one with the announcement of two deaths in The Journal ‘family’: Gavin Rumney and Ken Wesby. Less than a quarter page is dedicated to Gavin Rumney, plus a short obituary later on in the obituary section. Not only does Ken Wesby get about a third of a page, but his life and experiences are covered in depth on Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 14, Page 15 and Page 16. Not only that, but Gavin’s picture is in black and white while Ken has a color picture (with his wife) (that Dixon Cartwright took). And it’s BIGGER! Dixie only mentioned Otagosh, conveniently forgetting about Ambassador Watch and Missing Dimension [which The Painful Truth is hosting as a legacy], while the article goes on and on and on and on about Ken Wesby. OK, sure: The guy was a minister and he rebelled and started his own cult sect, just like something the other 700+ sects have done. Sure, the split was interesting on its own right, not unlike reading the first three Ambassador Report Magazines in color, but then, on the other hand, The Journal pretty much did not pay any mind to him during his life time, which pretty much answers the question, “Hey, what do I have to do to get noticed around here? Die?!!”.

Given that The Journal is all about presenting events within the Armstrongist ‘community’ (if that’s what you want to call it) in the best possible light to keep the social groups together, we aren’t a bit surprised by the fact that Dixon Cartwright never mentioned anything about the content of Otagosh (although he felt free to come there and give flaming vents in his special borderline mental disorder way); to wit: Gavin Rumney absolutely nailed both Armstrongism and the Grace Community International, but that isn’t all — he spoke of Protestant Religious dichotomies and aberrations as well and there is a certain Lutheran Synod worse off for it. Moreover, he tackled many uncomfortable religious topics with aplomb, scuttling the Apostle Paul and providing convincing evidence that the Bible isn’t to be taken so seriously that it is an Authority — the entries he presented showed that much of the Bible is actually forged and should not be taken at face value. This, is, of course, something that would be inimitable to The Journal careful alignment of positioned ‘facts’ to lead people to the conclusion that it’s rainbows and lollipops while the Armstrongists hold hands singing Kumbaya. Of course, occasionally they feature the clouds and suggest that it might rain, but that’s only for Category 5 Hurricanes.  They handle a few controversial items, but always in the framework of a discussion where all opinions should be respected as valid. Dixon Cartwright avowed that he didn’t believe in British Israelism on Otagosh, but Oh Gosh, it’s a harmless belief that keeps the social groups together (while mentioning not ONE thing about the rampant boozing alcoholism). No, The Journal paid a little respect to Gavin Rumney. It paid a LOT of respect to Ken Wesby.

Of course, there’s the insane advertisements in The Journal that are so daft, it makes the Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy look like daily life reality and we will only mention one of them of note:

Paid Advertising? Really? The Journal makes it look like a public service announcement! Thanks for the warning!

 This is the University which has a course of British Israelism in it’s  Course Prospectus For THL 215: The Lost Tribes of Israel in History and Prophecy. The instructor for this class is Dr. Douglas Winnail. We wonder if it will be offered. There seems to be neither hide nor hair of him recently over at the Living Church of God. You’d expect The Journal to tell us what has happened to him, where he is and what he is doing, seeing as how they claim to present us with “News of the Churches of God”. It’s funny though, we don’t see much news about the Church of God Seventh Day and don’t see any for the Seventh Day Church of God, Caldwell, Idaho, nor cover their Feast of Tabernacles in Fruitland, Washington. Not ‘churchy’ enough, we guess. Anyway, The Journal doesn’t seem to even come close to fulfilling its empty promise on its masthead.

Here’s a quick note from note from David Antion on Page 1 and 2 and 3: Get something new for the Last Great Day! It’s a new tradition he wants to start:

Dr. Antion explained that the something new does not have to be an entirely new outfit but simply a new watch, shirt, socks, scarf, tie or accessory.

Dandy. You have extra second tithe. Get something new. Something to wear. Bling. His reasoning is:

in recognition of his or her new life in Christ and in anticipation of the new heavens and new earth

Almost all New Covenanty, but still buried in the Olde Testament Christianity rituals of Bronze Age Religion (mentioned a lot at Otagosh). And while you are at it, buy a photo album (with a camera, if you don’t have one, you know, one that has the Herbert Armstrong ‘quality’) to put pictures of you and your family in so that in your children’s old age when Christ hasn’t returned yet, they can remember all the ‘good times’ when they had to balance the Feast celebration, Y.O.U. activities (if any), eating and drinking (non alcoholic if they are underage) with coping with a boatload of homework and class assignment (missed chemistry labs can be killer). Hopefully, they won’t be too bitter and burn the album at some point out of spite.

And finally, we’ll stop with David Havir’s article on page three about how God just doesn’t seem to make up His mind on whether to micromanage civil leaders or not and makes the point that we should “be skeptical of dogmatic proclaimers of their own truth”. That’s good advice, particularly if you believe what Gavin Rumney researched on Otagosh to show that the dogmatic proclamations of Scripture may have a lot less authority than any Bible believer previously thought. At this point, some of us aren’t quite convinced that the Book of Daniel is so much prophecy as history (and maybe not that accurate history either), written after the time the supposed prophecies came to pass. Ask Dennis Diehl, he’ll give you straight scoop on it.

That’s about as much as we have the stomach for, seeing as how the antacid is beginning to wear off, meandering through the insanity of a ‘newspaper’ being a palliative sop apologetic vehicle for a brain dead cult.

We’ll try to do this again each time a new issue comes out. We’re just so sure, that, as always, it will be so edifying with infotainment.

5 Replies to “Oh, no! Not again!”

  1. The Journal is a societal newspaper designed to give Dixon a living and the cults a say as they expound their theological felonies. And yes, its a crime against all those who seek true theological food for thought, as not one of these people mentioned have a degree in anything but hyperbole. Meredith? Where did he graduate from? Billingsley, Wesby? Just what legitimate credentials have they earned?

    It is rather unfortunate that Herbert Armstrong is their credential for their theological arguments. They either knew him, sat in his classes, or claim to have been taught by him personally. This is a credential?

    1. Non Armstrongist Sabbatarians who absolutely reject British Israelism very strongly, such as Paul Woods of the Seventh Day Church of God, Caldwell, Idaho and Rich Odegard of the New Life Church of God Seventh Day, also not from the line of either the Church of God Seventh Day nor the Seventh Day Adventists, actually graduated from accredited colleges and have been proved in the field before being ordained. In fact, Rich Odegard was the Pierce County Jail Chaplain for over 16 years under the Aegis of the Tacoma Rescue Mission. Both men are excellent ministers, but they can tell you exactly what is wrong from the Bible with the teachings of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia. Armstrongists want people to ignore those who are imminently qualified in order that you’ll accept their proselytizing without question as being transformed from the hireling wolves that they are to ministers of light.

      Of course people like Meredith, Billingsley, Wesby, Pack, Flurry, Weinland all graduated from a glorified high school unable to be accredited, run by a man declaring himself to be chancellor, but so stupid and without academic credentials that he didn’t even graduate from high school. I do believe that both Duggar and Dodd graduated from accredited colleges, though it isn’t really worth the effort to look up that information. Why should any of us? Armstrongists won’t listen to any of us, won’t listen or even read the truth, won’t accept even what the Bible says — as Oren Grabbe said in his letter to his mother, these men are Biblical illiterates.

      In fact, Gavin Rumney was far more qualified to take on Scriptural issues with his advanced degree in religious studies: He was legit. For the most part, the Armstrongists are not… ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! They should have not one shred of credibility and on the outside of their little cult compound, they don’t. But they define what is credible themselves as foxes guarding the chicken house, or, actually worse, wolves guarding the chicken house. And people wonder where the eggs, the hens, the roosters and the sheep have gone and why the watchdogs are badly wounded.

      It’s outrageous for them to claim any authority at all! They have none. And it’s obvious that God isn’t with them.

      But it gets worse. Just who does John W. Ritenbaugh (along with his son, Richard) think he is? Why is it necessary for him to have a niche cult?

      Moving on, Robert Thiel is a special case: One who has claimed an advanced theological degree, but utterly debunked by Gavin Rumney. Thiel is a deluded fraud who even claims to be a prophet chosen by God but shows not a single proof of bearing fruit of being anyone but a pathetic little man who has inherited a brain of a much too high ideaphoria (and little else). Honestly, the self-righteous drivel he vomits in a diarrhea stream of consciousness is an embarrassment. It’s a wonder anyone follows him and it certainly suggest that they are likely brain dead.

      Not only, as you suggest, are these men not qualified, they are a total worthless waste of time.

      1. Aside from the general critiques of the Journal, its relationship to the movement, and its limited editorial policy, I did feel as if much of the material in the Ken Westby obituary is more or less consistent with some of the things we’ve been saying right here for years.

        We have to remember that he was just as much in the forefront of the reform movement of the 1970s as were John Trechak, Dr. Ernest Martin, Al Carrozzo, David Robinson, or the parties that initiated the receivership lawsuit. We’re talking major rebellion and scandal centered on Westby at that time, although as things developed, he seems to have receded into the role of just another splinter leader because he retained so many of the original Armstrong doctrines.

        Basically, though, he’s given us, postmortem, more insights and materials that demonstrate the corruption of both the Armstrongs and the organization. Your typical ACOG attending Journal reader is probably going to react negatively to this, wishing it had never seen the light of day.


        1. “Basically, though, he’s given us, postmortem, more insights and materials that demonstrate the corruption of both the Armstrongs and the organization. Your typical ACOG attending Journal reader is probably going to react negatively to this, wishing it had never seen the light of day.”

          Disingenuous: This is exactly what we are talking about. Armstrongists will read this and have an immediate ‘disconnect’, compartmentalizing the truth about the situation and relegating it to interesting history. This is how Dixon Cartwright works (along with all the other CoHAM PR guys): You bring up damning stuff, particularly about Herbert Armstrong, but you make it all past tense — “Well, this is the way it was, but times have changed and it just isn’t RELEVANT today”. This is the equivalent of the manager’s “you may be right” to defuse an otherwise fatal situation.

          The thing is that Boomers buy this. They have their say and go their way and assume because they had their say someone was listening and someone will take care of ALL the problems they brought up.

          What happens though, is that actually numbs the senses of these people and the read it, don’t really absorb it and the implications and five minutes later they forget, move on and have their morning coffee. In effect, Dixon Cartwright has done the ‘Magic Lantern’ thing, casting images on the wall and as soon as the projector is turned off, the images disappear.

          You have to admit that it’s a brilliant strategy for today to defuse any rebellion which may have fomented as people absorbed the knowledge.

          Another glaring factor is that it is a very long article, spread over many pages. This also defuses any concerns about the content. It’s another brilliant diversionary tactic which lulls the reader into a false sense of security.

          And finally, the guy is dead now. This is history. We can all move on.

          And… forget it ever happened.

          1. The hardcore insiders are going to deal with anything thrown at them in such a way as to preserve their current mindset. Until perhaps something happens in their lives to make them reexamine their premises, and of course they will even resist that until it becomes impossible.

            I remember an old AC buddy, years after the fact, walking into a trade show booth in which I was working, actually happy to see me. I told him I had left in 1975, and his response was very much as you outlined. “Oh, yes, there were so many things going on in the church at that time, and so many people left.” He did dismiss it all as history. The “approved” mindset is one in which members are proud of having had the strength to endure bad patches of history even in the context of the boiling cesspool in which they live out their own ranidaein existences.

            One significant factor in the Westby article is that apparently Ken had quite the taboo breaking friendship with Dixon. That suggests a certain amount of evolution, albeit a very slow one. There are, however, other bad evolutionary trends, such as LCG ads, and coverage of Bob Thiel’s activities. But we know that entropy is inevitable.


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