Man has created codes to keep secrets and has broken codes to learn those secrets since the time of the Pharaohs. For 4,000 years, fierce battles have been waged between codemakers and codebreakers, and the story of these battles is civilization’s secret history, the hidden account of how wars were won and lost, diplomatic intrigues foiled, business secrets stolen, governments ruined, computers hacked. From the XYZ Affair to the Dreyfus Affair, from the Gallic War to the Persian Gulf, from Druidic runes and the kaballah to outer space, from the Zimmermann telegram to Enigma to the Manhattan Project, codebreaking has shaped the course of human events to an extent beyond any easy reckoning. –The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet.
There are times in which my mind grows weary with fools who believe they have found hidden codes within the bible. One such person who recently wrote the Painful Truth was cock sure he was on to something big. Really big!
Throughout history, amateur sleuths have been driven in part by the knowledge that steganography—the art of hiding messages—has long been practiced. Enter Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell. He was was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, founder and Chief Scout of the Scout Movement. He was posted in Malta for three years, working as an intelligence officer for the Mediterranean under the Director of Military Intelligence. He frequently traveled disguised as a butterfly collector, incorporating plans of military installations into his drawings of butterfly wings. His work was one of stealth for the benefit of his nation. The intelligence community of Britain had the knowledge and the ability to decipher his drawings from foregone knowledge of the spies mission.
There are those who have been convinced that through divine revelation or the assistance of extraterrestrials, the builders of the Great Pyramid embedded the sum total of scientific knowledge within the dimensions of the structure. Pyramidologists persist in their claims despite a 1992 effort to debunk them by Dutch astrophysicist Cornelis de Jager. Jager demonstrated the dimensions of any object can be manipulated to yield a desired outcome; he derived the speed of light and the distance between the Earth and Sun from his measurements of a bicycle.
This past May, a Venezuelan state TV host announced he had discovered a conspiracy to assassinate the elder brother of President Hugo Chavez. The evidence could be found in a newspaper crossword puzzle. This kind of amateurish investigation is called “pathology of cryptology.” A term coined after a chapter title in David Kahn’s book “The Codebreakers”
Perhaps these people are altruistic in that they may receive an intrinsic reward in the form of personal gratification or that they see things they desperately wants to see even if they are not really there. I believe that these people have a need for recognition, to be the first to find a secret code with secret information. It is what they “believe” that will propel them to the status of scientist (authority figure) within their minds.
Another Type of Nut.
Hence we have seen in the cog’s an array of “new knowledge” “new pronouncements from God” from those who deem themselves as Gods number one man and utmost authority. The only difference from those mentioned above is that in the “churches of God” altruistic behavior is non existent. There is no sign of this behavior within the leadership. So just why do these clowns go to great lengths to convince a limited supply of Armstrongist blue ribbon tithe paying patrons of their spin?
The answer is found in money. The ability to collect large amounts of wealth and enrich oneself. For it is money that can build a life of leisure, a life free of burdensome toil that most of humanity cannot even imagine.
Their greed is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.
The way to bring meaning into life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community that surrounds you, and devote yourself to creating something useful that gives you purpose and meaning and that you can share with others.
It has been said that there are three great forces that rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed. Being stupid at times is to be human. But fear and greed, these are the tools that destroy individual emotional responses. We call this the “herd mentality” or “herd behavior.”
One example of this is Adolf Hitler. He used herd behavior and crowd psychology to his advantage by placing a group of German officers disguised as civilians within a crowd attending one of his speeches. These officers would cheer and clap loudly for Hitler, and the rest of the crowd followed their example, making it appear that the entire crowd completely agreed with Hitler and his views.
The “tools” of fear and greed that the churches unload on the membership affects the everyday decision-making, judgment and opinion-forming behaviors of the individual. No longer can they think for themselves but they think as a collective. One mind, one thought. One good example is the Borg from the Star Trek series. A collective that robs all individualism from its members.
SO, when you hear your church leader say “God has revealed a new truth to me” recall this Psalm:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you (God, not the minister) are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
It’s so amazing that the world of the intelligent laugh at them as being stupid fools and they can’t see it: They assume that the ones who don’t adopt their religious beliefs are “unconverted” without “understanding”. The Armstrongists actually mock people who are educated, scientifically brilliant and knowledgeable. It is a tragic mistake for them to do so — to treat those who could help them out of their superstition with such contempt. It is a defense mechanism.
A moron has an IQ of 50 to 70.
An imbecile has an IQ of 25 to 50.
An idiot has an IQ under 25: Mental age of 3 (or less).
A fool can have any IQ.
The Armstrongists mock the intelligent as a defense mechanism — defense against truth, reality and sanity.
Consider the fact that Herbert Armstrong, born in the 19th Century, barely made it past eighth grade, but became the profound guru filled with all spiritual understanding and knowledge. Just how does that happen? In a word: Advertising.
Create your myth cobbled together from unreliable sources like Ellen G. White and John H. Allen, not to mention William Miller, flesh out the eschatology with impressive sounding credentials including Biblical proof texting, put up your shingle, be patient to wait awhile and the money will come rolling in. Be sure to sell, sell, sell your idea with tenuous connections to current news filtered through hyperbole based prophecy and it is sure to make you a success — especially if you make empty promises of supernatural rescue in false prophet style “the end is coming” prognostication.
Establish a religion. Send out booklets. Put up a Magazine. Clutter the airwaves with your claptrap. Make sermons. Get a social group together to support each other in their stupidity. Make it sound reasonable and attractive and you can sell any kind of kooky crap to the weak minded careless fools. Make it so they will agree with some of your major points without reservation and then they will swallow the rest, hook, line and sinker. Then prepare to live in a mansion, eat the best, wear the best, associate with the best and travel the world. It hardly matters that the religion makes no sense at all and can be readily proved objectively with science. Make empty promises and they will come with money in hand, ready to pay for the privilege of being duped and abused.
Just be prepared to dumb yourself down to their level.
Anyone who is suspicious about all this may want to examine the evidence provided by Ronald Weinland who represents all of Armstrongism in a microcosm. His prophecies about the end of the world were proven false. Moreover, he is now a convicted felon. Yet, a widow in his church provided $300,000 out of the collateral of her home to insure his freedom for four months when it has been amply demonstrated that his trustworthiness is less than stellar. His Evangelist dupes are still supporting him without one shred of any evidence that they have two active brain cells left to rub together to support a spark of intelligence. His infantile followers lap up his swill with abandon.
Take note that Ronald Weinland is very little different from the original Herbert Armstrong who did much the same things — using income of the church as his own personal cash machine to use as he saw fit for his own personal lust fulfilment. Gold, diamond rings, travel, staying at posh hotels, taking vacations, spending money on his wife and children: Except for the name on the door, you can’t tell whether we are talking about Herbert Armstrong, Ronald Weinland or any of the other host of 700+ cults of Armstrongism. They are all pretty much the same. For example, United spends 80% or so on minister’s salaries, retirement and other maintenance and some of the percentage left is used for evangelism. The UCG doesn’t have local church buildings for the greater percentage of their congregations and renting halls hardly inspires confidence in the abstract notion of stable churches. In fact, they have had split after split after split over who knows what — mostly “governance”. This, in turn, seems to be reduced to the concept that only the money is important, but that may not be fair: Egos also must be considered.
Given that British Israelism as the core belief of Armstrongism and their Key to Prophecy has been disproved and that their church history has been shown to be a fraud, it is a wonder that anyone with half a brain is left hanging on to the dying proposition of false prophecies and false hopes of a world which will never come. It would be better if they all grew up, left and got a life. Alas, that does not seem to be happening because it appears that people get some sort of enjoyment in being terminally stupid: This is not an issue of faith, it’s an issue of intelligence.
Armstrongists can be fat, dumb and happy, believing that they are rich and increased in goods (but are, blind, naked, poor and going bankrupt supporting their cultmeister in the lifestyle to which he wants to become accustomed) as long as they don’t look at the environment around them and see reality.
Consider the realities of SIGMA, for example. Arlan Andrews, Senior presents the article, “SIGMA: Summing up Speculation,” in the September 2012 Analog Science Fiction and Fact, with the subheading:
In a fast changing world, who’s best qualified to anticipate future problems–and solutions?
Certainly, not the Armstrongists who have a dismal record of such things — failed on all accounts.
Dr. Andrews writes:
As a science fiction writer speaking to U.S. government authorities at meetings in 2008 and 2009, I had said that dictatorships would fall when people had cell phones and texting and other communications devices: “Think of the revolutionary social changes, spreading around the world at the speed of light.” I used the term “flash mobs” back in those ancient days.
As founder of the science fiction thhink tank SIGMA, making such forecasts is one of the things I am privileged to do. My forty SIGMA colleagues, science fiction writers all, do the same thing.
Armstrongists are having their own experiences of having their dictatorships undermined by modern technology.
Dr. Andrews continues:
I wanted to provide this new service to government bureaucrats who never had the opportunity or the mindset to appreciate science fictional ways of thinking. Too busy worrying about their funding and the political aspects of their decisions, they seldom ventured far from the straight and narrow. Never did I hear any of them discuss disruptive technologies, destructive political events, or widespread natural calamities. Linear thinkers, all.
Not unlike the Armstrongist leaders with their “linear thinking”. They may talk about disruption, destruction, doom and death, but they offer not one whit of thought to preventing it or dealing with it in a productive way — other than making money off of it.
The original SIGMA team started by Arlen Andrews included, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Doug Beason, Dr. Charles Sheffield, Dr. David Brin, Dr. Geoff Landis, Dr. Robert Forward, NASA astrophysicicist Dr. Yoji Kondo (“Eric Kotani”), Dr. Stanley Schmidt of Analog and Dr. Gregory Benford.
Some may wonder what these and other highly qualified luminaries did for the United States since the establishment of SIGMA?
Over the intervening years, though not acting as a group, individual SIGMA members were called upon to participate in government projects, some brainstorming for DARPA on new technologies for education; other members maintained paid consulting arrangement with other agencies. I even lobbied unofficially for the Air Force’s DC-X Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO) project in the White House, bringing in Air Force officers to brief the new Administration on it, and continued that effort for several more years. While at OSTP, I also wrote the first White House endorsement of molecular nanotechnology, published in The President’s Report to Congress on Science and Technology in April 1993….
…We made other suggestions to DHS (Department of Homeland Security), many along low-tech lines, items that would help first responders in emergencies, ideas for border security, comments about how the chemical/biological detectors in cell phones that DHS was proposing should be utilized. The ideas and comments were technical, social, cultural, and political….
…Other government agencies, some that prefer not to be named or even mentioned, have called on SIGMA to brainstorm on future developments in communications, computer applications, politics, sociology, demographics, and culture.
These forward thinking futurists were the first to introduce NATO planners to the concepts and importance of social networking and texting. They also predicted the potential for drastic overnight, overwhelming social change, facilitated by handheld devices in the hands of disatisfied or revolutionary “flash mobs”. Further, the influence on government has been to affect the thinking patters of those SIGMA has worked with to think realistically about the future and has produced tangible benefits.
Contrast this with the “stick in the mud” thinking of Armstrongism: A vision of the dark ages unleashed upon the people with a tightly controlled government preceded by anarchy and followed by a static rigid society making no social progress whatsoever. It isn’t just the false prophecies of Armstrongism based on their “Mythunderstanding” using the Key to Prophecy, the thoroughly discredited British Israelism and their insistence upon deceiving people with their fraudulent church history, it’s the ugly missteps of people like Roderick Merdith writing such stupid crap as The Shocking Truth About Queer Men and claiming that Hitler is still alive, ready to usher in the Fourth Reich. All of Armstrongism is centered on fears, uncertainties and doubts with an eye to building empires with lots of money and power for those at the top — certainly not as a public service to do what can be done to make the world a better place today. In place of futurists like SIGMA helping build the future and find solutions, Armstrongism is a degenerate cancer undermining the very fabric of society, causing it ultimately to deteriorate wherever it goes. The 700+ splinters should have taught us that.
Armstrongism has also brought us something else for which we need to find a new term: Herbert Armstrong was one to take advantage of those at the bottom of the social pyramid to put himself near the top. Ronald Weinland has followed in his footsteps along with his peers, such as, but certainly not restricted to David Pack, Gerald Flurry, Roderick Meredith, John Rittenbaugh, Don Haney. People have been searching for the words to describe these reprehensible people and we now have our suggestion from the Urban Dictionary.
1) leech, or in other words a total lack of responsibility to provide for oneself. Relies heavily upon friends, neighbors or anyone really for sustenance. a slacker through and through.
2) a loser who profits from the fortunes of others. A low or despicable person.
5) The absolute lowest and filthiest form of life, that is so much of a scumball that every living and non-living piece of matter would benefit from it’s/their death.
8) One of higher social standing, attractiveness, or intelligence level whom chooses to prey on those whom are poor, weak, or vulnerable.