Call it God’s government or top on down leadership, power inevitably follows the same principles. All government is about, is being able to payoff the ruler’s coalition. This is typical behavior within any human organization or society. The natural state of man is dictatorial. That is, if you allow it….
Leadership, at its core, is all about power and influence. The leader who runs a ACOG church franchise, manipulate it for their own benefit. This rings true within any industry and within government. These powerful leaders will do whatever it takes to remain at the top so as to enjoy the fruits of their advantage over others. Social duty towards the people is secondary, as they can be sacrificed at a whim.
Apathy allows dictatorships to flourish.
Apathy will eventually consume and shape your organization, and its culture into something that is wholly unrecognizable.
Maintaining strict control is the key to power. It is only through this ability to maintain control that keeps the leader in power. If one understand the nature of this beast, you will avoid becoming a unwitting serfs.
No one rules alone and all rulers depend on a coalition of supporters to keep themselves in power. Effective rulers always keep their coalitions small.
The one most important item for any ‘top on down dictator’ is money, for it is the source of their power.
Without resources, the power structure collapses.
To keep the coalition loyal, they are the ones who must be payed first. Only then can the leader in power take his share. Within any top on down dictatorship, the ruler controls the money and pays off those who can coerce and control the populous. These administrators in return pay the enforcers.
It is critical to understand the nature of the beast if we want to avoid becoming unwitting serfs to it.
Dictators unleash costly actions against others in order to secure their regime. They have a distorted view of themselves, and think the enemy as weaker than they.
Gerald Flurry saw himself as virtuous, and pure as he went against his diabolical enemy, Joseph Tkach. After all, he had God on his side. Or so he thought. What Flurry sought to accomplish was legitimacy as the self proclaimed inheritor of Herbert Armstrong’s legacy.
In the end, Flurry declared himself the winner of the lawsuit against the WCG, even though he lost. If he wanted to keep on printing MOA, he would have to pay.
With his legitimacy established, in his followers eyes, Gerald Flurry would go on to declare himself a messianic figure (that prophet) that was bringing a warning message to those who were in the other splits, and to those who wandered off onto other paths. Gerald was seeking to expand his cult membership, and a consistent source of money would secure his position as ruling dictator long into the future.
What Gerald failed to do was to control his
sheriffs ministers who’s narcissism or deviance has led to PCG’s long and painful decline.
“Power tends to corrupt,” said Lord Acton, the 19th-century British historian. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” His maxim has been illustrated in psychological studies, notably the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, which was halted when one group of students arbitrarily assigned to serve as “prison guards” over another group began to abuse their wards.
Perhaps the answer is in that power doesn’t corrupt, it just heightens preexisting ethical tendencies. These people never had solid ethics to start with. Just look at convicted tax cheat Ron Weinland as example extraordinaire.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” -Abraham Lincoln
The leader never cares about their subjects unless they have to
Leaders can become “intoxicated” by power — engaging in wrong behavior simply because they can, and they can get away with it. The followers are willing participants in that they collude and make exceptions for the leader. We saw this behavior with David C. Pack. Pack has spent years wearing his flock down in order to get them to believe the unbelievable. However, Pack’s followers were warned years ago by Dave himself, yet they continue to follow:
“Do you understand what I’m saying brethren? Please remember that, because I promise you that if I become deceived, I’ll forget it, and I’ll want you to forget it…And I hope you’ll remember it well enough to quote it right back to me…
But I’ll tell you what, I’m not going anywhere.”
Leadership scholar, Jean Lipman-Blumen, defines toxic leaders as those whose “destructive behaviors and dysfunctional personal characteristics generate serious and enduring poisonous effects…on those they lead.” These are the leaders who work towards their own selfish ends, and usually leave followers “worse off than when they found them.”
Examples of such behaviors can be found in the People’s Temple, or in the Enron scandal.
Some leaders are so morally corrupt and narcissistically self-centered that they make up a separate category of the very worst leaders, far beyond merely bad or toxic. These are your destructive leaders. The acog’s are inundated with these types.
“Armstrongism is not a religion. It is a sin.
The sin of idolatry.“
Traits That Cultivate Horrific Leadership
Characterized as charismatic, self-absorbed and sometimes even psychopathic, these leaders put their own self-interest above organisational goals and the common good. Narcissistic tendencies drive these leaders to believe that he or she is a special person with a unique destiny and is entitled to special treatment and wealth that comes along with the abuse of power.
Narcissistic leaders may actually be psychopaths. Shallow emotions, lack of empathy, anti-social tendencies and a penchant for risk-taking.
This concept was born out of Niccolò Machiavelli’s 1532 treatise entitled ‘The Prince’ where he describes the need to engage in ruthless behavior to maintain power for the overall benefit of society.
Machiavellian leaders will mistreat other groups seen as subversive or as potential threats to their power, in order to maintain security or achieve some grand vision. Example of this: One acog group vs. another acog group. Destructive competition mentality that divides families.
The truly terrifying leaders are often a combination of both Machiavellians and psychopath. The difference? Machiavellian leaders are motivated by their own personal view of what’s best for the group while psychopaths are motivated purely by their own self serving agendas.
Incompetent leaders can be destructive leaders. Sadly, these leaders may have good intentions and be kind, yet make terrible mistakes that destroy organisations and harm individuals. One example of this type of leader was
*Joseph Tkach Sr.
Tkach was promoted beyond his level of competence by the incompetence of Herbert W. Armstrong. Armstrong destroyed his own church by being incompetent himself, not to mention the lives he would destroy by choosing Tkach .
It has been said that Tkach was duped by his trusted advisers into making bad decisions. Decisions that would do great harm to many but landed up benefiting his son who would eventually replace him.
The rise of destructive leadership within armstrongism was caused by the cultural values, and organizational norms that were established long ago by **Herbert Armstrong. HWA used fear as a way of maintaining power over his followers. When people feel threatened, they are more willing to give away personal freedom and accept oppressive leadership. The threats can be real or perceived. Create fear, and gain power over others. We learned this from Cambridge Analytica. People make choices using emotions over facts. All a unscrupulous person needs to do is understand the psychology. With it, you can manipulate people to do your bidding. They are unaware of the deception unleashed upon them.
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
The problem with armstrongism is the people
Top on down governance which relies on the leader can, and often does, lead to over dependence and weakening of critical thought within the membership. The expression of opposing views is prevented, as is accountability. The leader will not be challenged. The membership has allowed their own interests to be undermined, and enter into a type of slavery under the leader.
If the Armstrong churches are to survive, they need to stand up to bad leadership. They must refuse to follow. The membership (working class supporters) have the power of the purse. Instead of exercising that power, they shunned their responsible by allowing destructive leaders to even exist. They should have been promoting a church culture that fosters accountability and open debate, rather than relying solely on the whims of a psychopathic leadership that could care less about them.
–For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!
-2 Timothy 3:2-5
* While I don’t believe that Tkach Sr. was a inherently evil man, he certainly was incompetent.
** This of course was not lost on Herbert Armstrong when he said he could disfellowship everyone in his church and start a new work using his ‘Japanese sons.” It was a idle threat, but effective towards those who viewed Herbert Armstrong as the author of their salvation.
Related: “End Times”