Many who cling to their paychecks to this day, still believe that they are superior to the members of the congregation….
Not everyone in the cult was an idiot, but a good portion of the low intellect within its hireling ranks could be attributed to virtually no education. In other words, they got all their learning at the unaccredited, lame-duck, Ambassador College. The faculty, since it got its teachings at the same institution of ignorance, also contributed to the overall senseless productivity of the hireling, manpower output that was sent far and wide with all sorts of wacky mindlessness which was eventually spoon-fed to the congregations.
With such a restricted and fuzzy curriculum, it’s no wonder that so many fell for the phoney gobbledygook line that cultivated Herbert W. Armstrong’s insatiable ego. Also, because the congregations trusted the cultmasters and hirelings, they too were fooled into believing that this uneducated con-artist was “God’s” representative on Earth in these “end times.”
“I began to see that the real message of the Bible is not known or understood… by the churches that call themselves Christian. I began to see that… the blood of Christ is not the trunk of the tree. That is not the main point” (Herbert Armstrong, Ministerial Conference, May 1976).
Once Herbert W. Armstrong’s ego was in full force, the rest of the aforementioned conditions simply fell neatly into place. The problem was, to a large extent, is that we gave Herbert W. Armstrong the authority over our minds, and when that happened, he could manipulate our thinking to believe that he – and only he – was “God’s” true apostle. Again, the problem was that we honestly believed in what we were told at first, starting with the premise that man is made in God’s image and likeness.
Even if one is to literally believe the Bible (which is provably nothing more than a work of men), we cannot find that man is made in God’s (Elohim’s) image, but rather in the image of someone personal – translated LORD in the KJV. However, the minute someone can pound in the idea that man is actually in God’s image, the groundwork is then set for the biggest con of all – namely, that God somehow reflects that image into ONE specific representative. And that teaching is all motivated by the extreme ego of the cult leader.
Once this false foundation and original lie is embedded into the minds of the congregation, it’s a simple matter to preach: “God has given us all jobs to do. Since I’m here preaching to you, then my job is obviously a preacher and teacher. God has laid that responsibility on me. Not you. He didn’t call you to do it. He called me. It’s not a job I’ve asked for, but rather one that I’ve accepted, because it’s God’s will for me to do it.” And so, the congregation nods.
Then the lie is further enhanced with the repeated premise that man is made in God’s image, therefore if that’s the case, then the cult leader can easily make the transition to the fact that he, and he ALONE, who is made in God’s image has been given the responsibility for teaching “God’s true people.”
But ego has a two edged craving. Not only is the cult leader involved in swimming around with his own egotistical outlook. In elevating himself, the cult leader infers that all those who listen (and don’t argue) are really God’s true servants. When people hear that line often enough and believe it, the egotistical disease has spread to the congregation. In other words: “Everyone else in the world is wrong, because we have the real truth and the true Apostle. We are more privileged than others, and God loves us more.”
Once the ego master and cult leader has established himself as “the only channel” through which God is working, then it automatically follows that anyone called by this cult leader to “minister” must be obeyed and believed, much the same as the cult leader. And so, an organization of ego maniacs is formed. This is what happened with Herbert W. Armstrong’s cult and most of the cultmasters and hirelings that blindly followed the plagiarized teachings of this ignorant salesman and con artist. Since most of Herbert W. Armstrong’s lieutenants didn’t have a theological clue about anything of value, these ignorants were sent into the congregations, and so: “The blind led the blind . .”
With them they carried the conceited washing of the same narcissistic slop. They were to be elevated above the congregation, given the respect of royalty, and always called “Mister.” Despite the fact that: “He who is greatest among you is to be the servant,” this quotable fact became distorted over the years, and the cultmaster and hirelings became the SERVED rather than the servants. This further added to the elevation of the egos in so many of the hirelings. They actually believed that they were something special. Many who cling to their paychecks to this day, still believe that they are superior to the members of the congregation.
Meanwhile, back at Rancho Pasadena, Herbert W. Armstrong’s ego was rising like a thermal runaway. As long as there were plenty of screwballs willing to stroke Herbert W. Armstrong’s ego, then – like Hitler – this little bully continued his rise in power and authority. Naturally, if one stroked Herbert W. Armstrong’s ego, and was fiercely loyal, then the perks were forthcoming. Bonuses like money, parsonage expenses, furniture, cars and gas, overseas trips, and Herbert W. Armstrong’s willingness to “look the other way” whenever a loyalist committed even a major moral transgression. Garner Teddy is one prime example.
However, on the two occasions when Teddy refused to continue to stroke Herbert W. Armstrong’s ego anymore, he was bounced from the congregation. He had to satiate Herbie’s ego or be kicked out. I was told by an insider (who is now gone) that the second time Teddy was booted out, Herbert W. Armstrong would receive him back, IF Teddy were to sign a statement saying that Herbie, and only Herbie, was God’s chosen, anointed, and end-time Apostle. Since Teddy would NOT sign (he had his own ego problems), he left Herbert W. Armstrong and never returned. Teddy continued with his own CGI, and played around in massage parlors from time to time – whenever the Spirit led him, of course.
The above situation is also common in business. Usually, if you stroke the boss’s ego, then you can go far. In biz vernacular, it’s called “kiss ass.” In Worldweird, the ass kissers abounded, all those hookers competed for a piece of the money and bonus pie, and the eventual liberal greasing of their own egos.
It was incredible to see what was happening at the end of our tenure with Worldweird. Cultmasters and hirelings goose stepped around Pasadena with an arrogance that only a black shirt, jack boots, and swastika arm band could have complemented. They were brutally loyal, and since most couldn’t do anything else for a living, they swam in the ocean of their own egos, and those egos were only to be outdone by Herbert W. Armstrong’s own mental aberrations of power.
However, ego is only the beginning. Ego demands satiation, and if the congregation doesn’t provide the craving of such ego-masters, then retaliation will come down on the congregation. This retaliation comes in the form of hatred. The philosophy of any ego maniac is simple: “If you don’t elevate and highly respect me, I’ll hate you and find some way of punishing you.”
Not to grovel is bad enough in respect to any cultmaster/ hireling, but to challenge them is unforgivable. Many hirelings have reacted so badly to a simple questioning of their motives, that they’ve taken out revenge on such questioners with methods like public disfellowship, a maligning of that person’s character, and a long term smear campaign that poisons the thinking of all this questioner’s previous friends. The intent here is to isolate anyone who does not stroke their egos, follow orders, and become a Worldweird clone. Once isolated, the Worldweird campaign of hatred starts with gossip, letters, rumor spreading, and a degrading of the victim’s character. I know – it happened to me. It also happened to anyone else who challenged “authority,” and so, the subsequent churchly administered hatred, with all its fruits, simply flourished.
No one wants to be hated. Our egos invariably demand that everyone loves us. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and there are always cases of people who don’t like us. But in a church situation, this is a little different, especially in the case of Worldweird. Our whole extended family was ensconced in cultic behaviour. If we lost their friendship, they we’d lose all our “friends.” In essence, we’d be all alone. So, many buckled down, compromised, and kept the fellowship of the gutless who were afraid to resist the hireling’s ego, question his ignorance, and openly challenge his authority.
This led to the departed ones being hated because the reluctant congregation felt their egos were also bruised, in so far as one of their previous number had bucked the system and escaped. What made it more aggravating to the congregation is that NONE of them could prove the accusers to be wrong. So, they were left with a choice. First: “Prove all things, and hold fast to the good,” or second . . . they could bury their intellects and then make a compromise.
Naturally, all this was fanned by the cultmaster/hirelings with their spiteful sermons, letters to members, and any poisonous gossip that could be dredged out of the Pasadena sewer. It wasn’t long before those in the congregation, who would not think for themselves, simply forgot about the departed ones, and simply consoled themselves that they were indeed right after all. They continued to stroke their own egos, maintaining that they were correct all along, and then they subtly hated the departing people for having the guts to expose the phoney, lying leadership and then expose the sheepish congregation for their own secret cowardice.
And so, false theology leads to a misleading focus on the cult leader. This then leads to a mandatory ego fondling for this leader and a similar development for his odious and supposedly “ordained” offspring. Anyone within the church groups who challenges such edicts is worthy of hatred, shunning, and is then disfellowshipped. The people of “the world” may be tolerated, according to this twisted thinking, since they have not been called at this time, because God felt that the Worldweirdos were more worthy to be appointed to be: “ . . kings and priests on the Earth,” with all sorts of “ . . . power over the nations,” and to: “ . . . rule them with a rod of iron.”
When ego is challenged in the biz church of modern day, hatred automatically follows. When that happens, all sorts of damage can be done to individual people, families, and any truth is violently attacked and suppressed. Lies are spread, and this has been done so much so in Worldweird, that the victim – in reading the twisted church’s version of his supposed crimes – does not even recognize the person (himself) that is being attacked. This is, and has been, the modus operandi of Worldweird, and later, in its cesspool channels that propagated the filth and sickness that have damaged the lives of thousands.
“Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don’t let our people have guns. Why should we let them have ideas?” Josef Stalin.
Had someone pulled out the rug from under Herbert W. Armstrong’s gargantuan ego back in the forties, the people damage, the heartbreaks, and the ensuing financial debacles may never have taken root. But there were many, in those and the following days, who saw the errors and were in a position to do something to stop any future suffering. Instead, they chose a position of theological prostitution, and smothered the truth with all sorts of chicanery. That truth could have freed those thousands of folks from a mess of debilitating psychological, physical, emotional, and financial nightmares.
But . . . I guess it takes courage to stand up for the truth.