Minority Report

The JournalWait!

What?

Really?!

Well, no. Just no.

The Church of God Seventh Day website reveals that the CoG7D has a worldwide membership of over 300,000 members. This is approximately 10 times the membership of all the Armstrongist churches combined. United, the largest of the Armstrongist churches (the CoGWA lies about their membership count!) would be about 3% of the size of the CoG7D. Many of the other Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia sects have something like a fraction of a percent. The Journal basically covers the Armstrongist churches with very few mentions of the Church of God Seventh Day, let alone any of the other Sabbath keeping churches of God, such as the Seventh Day Church of God and the New Life Church of God Seventh Day. To say that The Journal is the “News of the Churches of God” is hype and quite an exaggeration. At best, The Journal is a minority report.

 2015 is a significant time for the Church of God Seventh Day, as suggested by the cover of the latest Bible Advocate:

Bible AdvocateThe CoG7D has just completed church conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

CoG7 at the CrossroadsDid Dixon Cartwright attend? Will we see an article in The Journal covering what the some 1,200 attendees did and said? What were the significant developments? How was this conference different from those coming before it? What impact did Wellspring Fellowship have on church policy concerning ownership of facilities?

For that matter, will The Journal have an article about Shine?

CoG7 ShineAt 10 times the membership of the Armstrongist churches of God, one would think there would be serious coverage of the graduation at Vale Academy and coverage of the Bridge Initiative, including the background of the founder. Where is the coverage of the Super Sabbath celebrations with participation of the CoG7D and other Sabbath Keeping Churches of God?

The problem is that The Journal is a bit parochial:

Big Sandy Texas DowntownA street view of downtown Big Sandy is revealing… it’s about what you’d expect for a little town of ~1,300+ people. It’s the sort of town where the people are so narrow their ears overlap, which is about the same description we can give to the membership of the Armstrongist churches of God. They seem to ignore the fact that there is an entire world outside of their immediate sphere which is much bigger than they can imagine. Herbert Armstrong made the Worldwide Church of God believe that it was the biggest and the best, while, at the time, it wasn’t even half of what the Church of God Seventh Day was, but people believed the hype. Herbert Armstrong made every effort to convince his followers that the CoG7D was minor, just a remnant — the Sardis Era, which barely existed and had a name that it is living but was dead — an appellation which justifiably applies to the Living Church of God, if they weren’t so Laodocean. That’s what psychopaths do: They wreck the credibility of those who could be a threat to their con games — it’s the first thing they do after the assessment phase, and Herbert Armstrong was a master of it.

The truth is that in the scheme of things, the Armstrongists just don’t matter and they barely exist. Furthermore, they are growing smaller and blowing away. They generate a lot of noise for such a small collection of small minds, but in the end, no one is much paying attention to them, except for The Journal — the minority report.

 And given the circumstances, The Journal — that window into the insane asylum of Armstrongism, written by the patients — cannot possibly by any stretch of the imagination be called “fair and balanced”.

The Corporation of God™

I AM CEO, there is none beside ME
I AM CEO, there is none beside ME

Herbert Armstrong claimed that he was the very first to bring the gospel of the Kingdom of God to this earth in over 1,900 years. The gospel Herbert Armstrong brought was far different from the one described in the New Testament — the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”  and told the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The gospel of Christ was one of redemption. Herbert Armstrong brought a far different gospel — not of the person of Jesus, but of a kingdom of laws, rulers, power and a fierce hierarchy with little room for sinners. To attain this ‘kingdom’ of power, glory and authority, you would have to be absolutely PERFECT! In fact, there was so little latitude for those with flaws, Herbert Armstrong had the perspective that only he had a lock on salvation and that the members of the Worldwide Church of God did not: The only use he had for them was related to how well they served and supported him as God’s Apostle and they might have salvation on his coattails depending on how well they fulfilled their subservient role. He saw the members as lesser ciphers which he held in contempt.

He had this attitude early on in his ministry as he told the story of when he met the leaders of the Church of God Seventh Day: He did not sense in them greatness and power — they were too ordinary, after all, he had dealt with multimillionaire Corporate CEOs and highly placed executives in major American Corporations. He viewed those not exuding the personal high power of Corporate Executives as being beneath him. In fact, when he was reduced to financial hardship, he was not only embarrassed to do manual labor, he was embarrassed to associate with the ‘simple folk’ of the Church of God. He was just out of place, having to deal with the lowly and humble, particularly since he had not only associated with the high powered Corporate types, but also since he spent so much time at the Central Library in Portland, Oregon where he had found the writings of G. G. Rupert, which in his mind — with its focus on Old Testament physical rituals, such as the feasts and British Israelism — was an enlightenment far beyond what the simpletons of the Church of God Seventh Day knew. He, as a novice, attempted to enlighten them without success, their having rejected his wrong-headed heresies.

This was too much for Herbert: He was great, he knew he was great — and superior too — and they didn’t have his understanding, wisdom and vision. At the same time, for the first 10 years from the beginning of his ministry, he committed incest with his daughter, which, undoubtedly, gave him the feeling of power with the complete domination of another human being who was at his mercy. It is fairly clear that Herbert Armstrong never really repented and did not have anything which could be deemed to be conversion. Add to that the record of his being difficult and uncooperative with the other ministers of the Church of God and the record is complete. In Chapter 23 of his book, The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day), Robert Coulter clearly demonstrates that Herbert Armstrong was a liar and he also broke his pledge with the church. Herbert Armstrong insisted that he broke away from association with the Church in 1933, but actually continued until 1938 as one of the Salem Church’s seventy evangelists and reports in The Advocate show this very clearly. Mr. Coulter added this observation in “Demise of Armstrong’s church empire”:

But Armstrong, like most autocrats, reigned over his religious kingdom. Unilaterally he always had the last word! And as usually happens with autocrats, he failed to develop a plan for the succession of leadership in his church. During his lifetime, Armstrong assumed that the title of apostle and may have become a victim of the speculation of some of his members and clerics who reportedly speculated he would “live until Christ returned to establish his kingdom”.

Mr. Coulter adds:

God forbids gloating over the calamity of an individual. But if one believed in church eras, Armstrong’s church of his assumed Philadelphia era was short-lived and now looks more like the Laodicean church. It was advised, “You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17, NIV).

Armstrong’s Philadelphia church has disappeared, while the Church of God (Seventh Day), which he described as Sardis, never experienced the “flash in the pan,” wealth or prominence he enjoyed. But it still lives! It continues to travel toward God’s eternal Kingdom proclaiming the gospel of Christ. It had no allusions of grandeur for itself. Its pace, while slow and faltering at times, never has been flashy, but its worldwide membership is approaching four hundred thousand, which matches or exceeds that of Armstrong’s church at the height of its glory.

As for the glory Herbert Armstrong enjoyed, he was a Corporate CEO of a multimillion dollar world wide enterprise with a central headquarters with some impressive facilities, including an IBM Mainframe and full scale printing presses. While it was a small to medium corporation, it had the trappings of a major modern corporation, replete with all the internal politics and problems.

Moral MazesThose who have not experienced life as a manager in a Fortune 500 company as I have as a Manager at Weyerhaeuser simply cannot understand what it is like. The best guide is Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers. It isn’t just about the fact that what is right and moral is what the guy above you wants from you — it’s a whole superstructure hierarchy geared to amoral preservation of existence whose central core is that the end justifies the means. The book contains:

  • Introduction: Business as a Social and Moral Terrain
  1. Moral Probations, Old and New
  2. The Social Structure of Managerial Work
  3. The Main Chance
  4. Looking Up and Looking Around
  5. Drawing Lines
  6. Dexterity with Symbols
  7. The Magic Lantern
  8. Invitations to Jeopardy
  • Moral Mazes and the Great Recession

It’s appalling and I’ve experienced it personally. There is a certain surreal quality to what can be laughingly called reality — an interaction of dysfunctional environment with distorted perception. If you experienced this for yourself, you would seriously be questioning your sanity — not that it made any difference because as a sane person among crazies, you simply aren’t any better off in such a disturbingly chaotic insane asylum. You should pay attention to The Magic Lantern which is used to shape people’s opinions about the unreality of the Corporation: Every effort is made to make truth disappear to supplant it with feel-good emotions evoked by image making. A good example of this is the Ethyl Corporation making Carbon Tetraethyllead to prevent engine knock as an additive to gasoline, ending up progressively poisoning the world. We can all appreciate the the quote from the THE JUNGLE by Upton Sinclair that “It’s nearly impossible to convince a man of anything when his paycheck depends on it being otherwise”. Corporations do appalling things to survive and it’s especially bad when the corporation is headed by a wrong-headed autocrat. The Magic Lantern in the hands of an expert advertising marketer such as Herbert Armstrong can make the crazy, dangerous and expensive look benign and appealing — consider the topic of three tithes in lesser hands.

 If there is one thing we know about The Corporation, it is that it is soulless without a conscience, a non person person which is relentless in its goals without regard to humanity. This is what the Worldwide Church of God became under Herbert Armstrong with the ever expanding goal to influence more and more people. It is what the core of the Armstrongist churches is about today. Make no mistake, I gave United Weyerhaeuser corporate documents which were incorporated into their ‘governance’ — which is why the Council’s endless discussions of exactly the right word and phrase in their organizational documents made the minutes of the meetings look like Novocaine in print. Along with the other sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia, it is The Church Corporate with little internally to even imply there is a spiritual side to the business.

What Herbert Armstrong was pushing as the Kingdom of God was nothing more than his vision of The Corporation of God™ replete with God as CEO, Christ as President, himself as one of the high ranking executive vice presidents and a very strong powerful hierarchy of laws, standards and procedures very much like a modern American multinational corporation — or maybe the 1800s version of the same. Be sure that it has a dress code. You can be assured that there are definite classes in a highly defined class structure. Unlike modern politically correct corporation (that way because it’s easier than dealing with litigation from the government), women are lesser creatures relegated to Their Place as are those of races other than whites. There certainly are favorites.

God as CEO isn’t that nicey-nice, lovey-dovey, kind, grandfatherly type of warm and fuzzy deity. He’s harsh, hard, implacable, nasty, arbitrary, touchy with a vile nasty temper and you never know what will set Him off to send floods to Texas, drought to California, earthquakes, tsunamis, lightening strikes for forest fires, mud slides, volcanoes or even an asteroid or two. He’s a God of Power and He exercises it in a reign of terror. As CEO of The Corporation of God™ He knows His brand of justice and fires people (as in the lake of fire) when they do not measure up to His impossible and secret standards of perfection. His Office is a place where even angels fear to tread.

And as it is in many corporations and as I have seen for myself, there is going to be a great deal of boozing going on. The Corporation of God™ doesn’t just allow alcohol, it promotes it. Wine cheers the hearts of God and man, don’t you know. Herbert Armstrong won’t have to give up Dom Perignon as it will be a staple in his diet, unless there is a higher quality vintage that’s more expensive. Know too that those in the upper echelons will have the nicer stuff, not available to the ones on the lower rungs of the God Corporate (“Hurray, we’re on the bottom” as Gerald Waterhouse would say). Rank, privilege and power along with heaps of lots of narcissistic source attention will be granted to such as Herbert Armstrong by the rest of the few of us who make it, albeit by accident. (I’ve seen the corporate drinking parties first hand and it’s just another reason I abstain — note that the old guard Church of God Seventh Day ministers are not in favor of drinking alcohol, which might have been another minor incentive for Herbert Armstrong to jump ship.)

What is the real reason Herbert Armstrong would promote The Corporation of God™ instead of the Biblical Kingdom of God?

It’s the only thing he knew.

Sourcecode

Herbert Armstrong can be seen as bad source code of particularly malicious aggressive religious malware, difficult to detect and even more difficult to remove.

 On the False Prophet Ronald Weinland blog, an anonymous contributor commented:

I am ashamed for becoming caught up in this. I am very naive and trusting, and was really hoping for a better more just world, and excited to have a sound framework to live by. But that leaves people open for being taken advantage of. I have learned now to be yourself and trust your instincts no matter what anyone says, I just hope it is not too late to rebuild a life.

 Those of us who have been infected with the Armstrongism malware understand and empathize with this perspective. We can heartily recommend Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias from Bay Tree Publishing as a recovery and guard against cult malware. It has the best in-depth coverage of the religious cult malware of any resource and can serve to inoculate unwary users from the nasty effects of religious malpractice hackers, such as Roderick Meredith, Dennis Luker, Jim Franks and others dedicated to spreading debilitating religious viruses and worms to the public.

The original source code for this religious malware stems from Herbert Armstrong, who used snippets of script from various religious hackers of previous decades and centuries. He was no Biblical coding expert, but he was able to cut and paste from various illicit sources like some novice teenager unqualified to produce viable products but plagiarized source in order to create havoc and chaos. Although, at first, he set upon his discoveries in the Portland Public Library, his repertoire, as we will see later, was built upon a foundation of another whose influence can be seen in his works and was expanded by the pseudo-intellectual, Dr. Herman Hoeh.

Some may wonder how the Source Code is built. It’s not that difficult to understand, even for the naive novice unfamiliar with the processes to create illegitimate applications destructive to their users. The basic process is to build on snippets that are created out of the imagination. Once someone creates the snippet, another comes along and quotes the first “creator”. Then the first creator quotes the second source, forming a double-bond of self-referential substantiation with no substance at all. This is scalable to a much larger community of sources.

John D. Keyser at Mysteries of the Bible website, in the article The Coronation Stone — Jeremiah in Ireland, debunks the whole idea of Jeremiah being in Ireland, ably assisted by Dr. Greg Doudna’s Showdown at Big Sandy: Youthful Creativity Confronts Bureaucratic Inertia At An Unconventional Bible College in East Texas. John Keyser debunks the myth that Jeremiah was in Ireland, establishing that the premise that he  (in the company of his scribe Baruch) took King Zedekiah’s daughter to Ireland where she founded a line of Davidic kings that has continued on down to this day. It never happened. Herbert Armstrong wrote in The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy wrote:

Then, in 569 B.C. (date of Jeremiah’s transplanting), an elderly, white-haired patriarch, sometimes referred to as a “saint,” came to Ireland. With him was the princess daughter of an eastern king and a companion called “Simon Brach,” spelled in different histories as Breck, Berech, Brach, or Berach. The princess had a Hebrew name Tephi — a pet name — her full name being TEA-TEPHI.

Modern literature of those who recognize our national identity has confused this Tea-Tephi, a daughter of Zedekiah, with an earlier Tea, a daughter of Ith, who lived in the days of David.

This royal party included the son of the king of Ireland who had been in Jerusalem at the time of the siege. There he had become acquainted with Tea-Tephi. He married her shortly after 585 — when the city fell. Their young son, now about 12 years of age, accompanied them to Ireland. Besides the royal family, Jeremiah brought with them some remarkable things, including a harp, AN ARK, and a wonderful STONE CALLED “LIA-FAIL,” or “STONE OF DESTINY.”

….many kings in the history of Ireland, Scotland, and England have been coronated over this stone — including the present queen. The stone rests today in Westminster Abbey in London, and the coronation chair is built over and around it. A sign beside it labels it “Jacob’s pillar-stone” (Gen. 28:18).

The royal husband of the Hebrew princess Tea was given the TITLE HERREMON upon ascending the throne of his father. This Herremon has usually been confused with a much earlier Gede the Herremon in David’s day — who married his uncle Ith’s daughter Tea. The son of this later king Herremon and Hebrew princess continued on the throne of Ireland and THIS SAME DYNASTY CONTINUED UNBROKEN through all the kings of Ireland; was OVERTURNED and transplanted again in Scotland; again OVERTURNED and moved to London, England, where this same dynasty continues today in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II….

In view of the linking together of biblical history, prophecy, and Irish history, can anyone deny that this Hebrew princess was the daughter of King Zedekiah of Judah and therefore heir to the throne of David? 

Well, yes we can!

It’s all nonsense.

Here’s the answer from John D. Keyser:

No References! In preparation for the writing of this article, and several others on the royal house of Britain, I searched out and read literally DOZENS of books written by British-Israelites in order to more accurately understand the BASIS for the Jeremiah/Tea-Tephi legend so eloquently penned by Herbert Armstrong. I also consulted primary and secondary sources on the Irish and Scottish annals.

To my surprise, I found that the British-Israelite books all REPEAT the same Tea-Tephi story (with slight variations), each aggressively claiming that the story is found in the ancient annals. In my research I have NOT FOUND a single British-Israelite book that actually gives a REFERENCE to WHERE in the Irish and Scottish annals the supporting material may be found! Armstrong’s booklet does not — nor does Joseph Allen’s earlier book on the subject.

As also discovered by Greg Doudna (former Ambassador College student, now with the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University), “they all seem to draw from previous British-Israel writings. They speak so confidently it sounds like there must be something in the annals to which they refer. The NAMES mentioned in the Tea-Tephi legend appear in the annals, true enough, but I have discovered they are TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSONS IN THE ANNALS than the British-Israel legend makes them out to be. The annals simply don’t say what the British-Israel literature, or the Worldwide Church of God, SAY they say. It is a LEGEND that someone somewhere within British-Israel circles began, stated it as fact, and it has been repeated as fact within British-Israel circles ever since, down to the present day in which the Worldwide Church of God repeats it to millions. It may make an interesting story, but IT IS COMPLETELY FABRICATED.” (“Afterword on British-Israelism”, p. 121).

 The bottom line here is that one “expert” historian quotes another and that one quotes the first and a third one quotes the previous two and so on and so forth. It’s like an urban legend where you can never find the original source. Scratch that — it’s not like an urban legendit is an urban legend. This is a #1 law for religious malware: If you don’t have the source, just make something up, then find someone else to quote you and then quote that as a legitimate source to make the whole thing legitimate. No dishonesty has been harmed in the making of the myth.

British Israelism is another example of this phenomenon. As nearly all Armstrongists know by this time, originally — and though there may have been a few others who threw around the idea previously — Richard Brothers was the primary source of British Israelism. Oh sure, there were predecessors as is told by The True and Noble Origins of the Anglo-Israel Message, but Richard Brothers was a focal point, with his first publication, released in 1794, The Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies & Times. The prologue had this to say:

First wrote under the direction of the LORD GOD & published by His Sacred Command, it being the first sign of Warning for the Benefit of all Nations; Containing with other great and remarkable things not revealed to any other Person on Earth, the Restoration of the Hebrews to Jerusalem by the year 1798 under their revealed Prince and Prophet. London, Printed in the year of Christ, 1794.

He only had 4 years to wait before his prophecy failed. The rest of us have had to wait a lot longer.

It should be noted that Richard Brothers, in connection with his odd ideas of British Israelism, was committed to an insane asylum as being a danger to himself and others. Thus it is that British Israelism was popularized by a kook madman.

It took John Harden Allen with his Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright published in 1902 to truly give Herbert Armstrong the fodder he needed as he preached the True Gospel as The End Time Apostle and Great False Prophet, the source code basis for the Key to Prophecy. Low and behold, major portions of it were plagiarized for The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, all of which has the curious propensity to prompt us to recall the riddle posed by Professor Maximillian Arturo, played by John Rhys-Davies, in the science fiction television show, Sliders:

Why doesn’t the sun set on the British Empire?

Because God can’t trust the British in the dark!

British Israelism was the source code to set the stage for the angst ridden prophecies of hyperbole, aptly described in the November-December 2012 Church of God Seventh Day Bible Advocate article, It’s Doomsday Again!

Written into the folk memory of all peoples is the concept of an “end”. It may be a subconscious memory of the worldwide destruction of the great Flood. But disasters do happen and failed predictions of such an end abound.

The article notes:

Such fearsome factors can be found in Scripture and are highlighted by most who write about prophecy, often with a barely suppressed sense of glee!

As it turns out, fear of gloom and doom are big business:

Many prophecy buffs are excited by the thought of the end.

If you are still wondering about the source code which produced Herbert Armstrong, one might consider “Questions and Answers” in the latest Bible Advocate:

Andrew N. Dugger became editor of the Bible Advocate magazine in 1914 and a popular president of the General Conference (1921-27; 29-30). He injected futurism into the Church’s prophetic interpretation, and championed futurist doctrine amid the controversy that led to the 1933 division between Stanberry and Salem.

In Summary, Elder Dugger believed 1) the two-horned beast would be a revival Roman Church, enforcing its mark of Sunday keeping on Sabbath observers; 2) the Church of God’s main task was to give the third angel’s message, warning believers against the mark of the beast; 3) the seven plagues were literal and future judgments upon those who received the mark; 4) the giving of the third angel’s message and the outpouring of the plagues would lead to Christ’s return; and 5) Christ’s descent from heaven to receive His kingdom would occur in the midst of Armageddon.

Elder Dugger’s argument for the imminent fulfillment of his end-time prophecies in the 1920s, 30s and 40s led the Church to become disinterested in his failed version of them. For more than a generation, the Church struggled to recapture its true mission to preach salvation in Christ and His grace alone, rather than serve as a prognosticator of events.

The Church’s return to its heritage of preaching Christ and His advent without enigmatic add-ons was reflected in its doctrinal revisions of 1994 and 2006, which dropped the futurist predictions and suppositions that prevailed for much of the past century.

Elder Robert Coulter

It is difficult to imagine that the fiery preachments of Andrew N. Dugger did not impress the impressionable Herbert Armstrong as he began on his quest for ministerial truth. The extremism of futurist ideas of Andrew Dugger impressed on Armstrong’s impressionable young mind was enough to provide the source code upon which to build the religious malware foundation of the heretical extreme cult religion. Apparently, the Church of God Seventh Day eventually outgrew it, while Armstrongists remained trapped in the eternal childishness of seeking the thrills of thinking they have special knowledge of what comes next. This foolishness has spun off over 700 versions of the original malware, just waiting to infect the uninoculated unsuspecting innocent.

Protect yourself: Prevent damage by avoiding downloading any more malware from the Internet pages of the UCG, LCG, CoGWA and the whole host of religious malware servers.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t allow them to charge for the service.