“The unexamined life is not worth living.
Socrates believed that the purpose of human life was personal and spiritual growth. Growth is not possible unless we seek a greater understanding of our true nature and take the time to examine and reflect upon our lives. Understanding our pattern of behavior gives us the conscious understanding of ourselves and the path that we are on. We see those blind spots and set a into a course of action that will correct our deficiencies.
Not so with Herbert W. Armstrong. Indeed, his life was a lavish and rich experience for the time he ran his family business. A life of elegance, surrounded with the finest things that life has to offer….for those with the money to afford such luxuries. His source of wealth was a group of people who decided to shelf their own self-respect and self-worth and hand it over to a man who made great and boisterous claims. Herbert and the great Creator of the universe were forging the tools necessary for salvation within the 20th century. The “Church of God” was born to rule!
For over 1900 years the world lost sight of the “true gospel” we were told, and Herbie was here to correct that along with his Pal who created it all! Working his little fingers to the bone, the same fingers that fondled his daughter, Herb typed out all the things “god” told him. As his family business grew, the appeals for money went out to all those with insomnia, begging them for their lives. For ones time is their life. God was unable to provide the “true gospel” without these folks contributing their lifeblood to “God” and Herbie’s cause.
Herbie’s “god” was willing to starve families and destroy lives for the work. Starve them through the three tithe system, force divorce between spouses who remarried, and had Herbie hire on men who abused those who made his groups existence possible, and that also allow pedophiles to have their way with the children of other contributors. This was after all, the work of “GOD”!
On the flip side, shall we mention the contributors that find themselves driven towards suicide? Those believers who believe that eternal death (the lake of fire) is better than serving time in a Armstrong church? Herbie didn’t want you to know about that little fact.
Sins of the Apostle
For those who cover over Armstrongs many sins, may a pox be on your house. You continue to close your eyes and enable these type of men with your financial and monetary support. The bible and Christian living is not part of your equation. Your idolatry is however.
You follow men and not the “God” you claim to love and pray too. It is your cult of personality, your elite status of being part of the hoax known as “Gods True Church” that hinders your eyes and plugs your ears! You never live the life that Socrates spoke of and you never even tried to lived the life that Jesus Christ spoke of. The life that is constantly “examined” and that bears the fruit that the “Golden Rule” exemplifies.
Fruits of the Work. Immorality Justified
- The practice of drunkenness. Those who never drank come into the church where they are taught “Drink your wine with a merry heart” or “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” These people become alcoholics and their lives are skewed by living the “unexamined” life. Much of this is learned at the FOT. Ask any maid who had to clean up after these groups.
- HWA’s Incest. To the shock of many, time ago it was revealed that Herbert was fucking his own daughter. For those of us with a moral compass, we studies the matter and drew the conclusion that indeed the evidence was overwhelming, that this man who claimed he and “God” were on a mission of salvation for all of mankind, did things that should never be done to a innocent child. From AR59 we read:
“It recently occurred to me that I’ve given the WCG thousands of dollars and only about thirty to AR in the last two years. Yet you folks have done more with the little you’ve been given than the WCG did with the billions they’ve spent over the past five or six decades….I owe you and the other AR contributors a large debt of gratitude. By late 1992 I’d developed several doctrinal disagreements with the WCG but still wanted to remain a member. About that time a friend lent me copies of every issue of AR which I finally had the courage to read. I was left shocked, enraged, and liberated from my blindness. Especially infuriating was the information on HWA’s sexual abuse of his daughter Dorothy between 1933 and 1943 (AR27). Initially I doubted it, but an inquiry of Mr. Gary Antion confirmed the awful truth and it prompted me to send a letter to 35-40 members who I knew personally. They received them on April 19, 1993 as the Branch Davidian compound burned on TV. But few of them were ever opened because the local ministry (Ray Meyer and Warren Heaton) ordered an emergency hotline message to all members saying I was disfellowshipped and commanding them not to open any mail from me. Most of the letters were returned unopened.The following Saturday I was “marked” from the pulpit and called a liar (even though Meyer, days before, had admitted he knew about Armstrong and his daughter). My old church friends and acquaintances were gone. The few who read the letter reacted with a “so what?” response and couldn’t believe I would consider this significant in any way. A decade of incest and hypocrisy had no impact on HWA’s credibility or his “apostleship.” One of those people was Victor Kubik who said he was amazed that I would be concerned about this “blip of history,” as he put it.Like you, I endured accusations of slander and malicious gossip. The truth isn’t for everyone. But for those of us who appreciate it, it is a gift from God. Thank you for helping me end my idolatry and grow closer than ever to God and His truth.”-Mark Thornton Wisconsin
- Innocence lost. Many of us newbies, including myself, believed in and respected the God we were taught about in our early years. Years that were outside the confines of armstrongism. Most of us I would imagine had a religious background (conventional Christianity) from either our childhood or our early adult lives. I certainly did. We may have laughed at the obvious religious charlatans running their horse and pony shows over at the Trinity Broadcast System, and laugh we did. We thought that we could never be deceived by the religious charlatan. We thought wrong in our arrogance. So we spent time in the gulag participating in the rituals that we were told “pleased” God. After a time, when the scam was exposed, we accepted that we had been taken as fools for the benefit of unscrupulous men.
The time was right to “examine” our lives and the investment of time badly spent. The results of this examination varied between all of us. Some became rabid militant atheists, some embraced conventional Christianity, and others kept looking for that pipe dream, “Gods True Church”. Many of us claimed agnosticism as our mantle. We don’t know if a “God” exists. It is however the most honest answer one could make. You could always change your mind. Whatever decision that was made by the individual, that decision was based on whether or not we “examined” our lives and what values we held dear. For those who were born into the church, this process was life changing and the most difficult of times ever! One had to study a great deal to come to a conclusion. The results of this “examination” bore the results of knowledge accumulated and moral decisiveness on the part of the former Armstrong believer.
- Suicides. Of all the crimes these cults are responsible for, suicide is the most hideous. How do you get another human being to destroy themselves? Is this not murder when you carelessly discard a person because they cannot meet an impossible criteria? Is it not murder when a person is disfellowshipped and believes his or hers salvation is lost forever? Then they kill themselves because they believe that there is no more hope left? Yes, this is murder! The latest example : Janet C. Privratsky, died by suicide. Her church, the Philadelphia Church of God led by Gerald Flurry, cited their no contact policy and cut her off from any contact from her family members who wanted nothing to do with the cult.
Think for a moment. We were all in a ACOG at one time. What do you think drove Terry Ratzmann to commit mass murder that Saturday back in March of 2005? The man was not disfellowshipped, nor was he in a bad standing within the organization. Could it be something to do with the sermons? Sermons that spoke of endless hopelessness and death? My summation says yes. The LCG is a doomsday cult. They have no hope to offer that one could embrace and gain strength from in order to endure the trials of life. Gerald’s PCG, and Pack’s RCG are the same sorry sacks of shit that were molded from Herbert W. Armstrong’s vision of the world tomorrow. A bogus vision that created a vast empire of wealth and opportunity for those who pull the strings of fear and compromise the integrity of the membership. Such is the conman. Amoral.
Another Horror Story
I was sexually abused by an elder over probably a longer period of time than I choose to remember. He wrote to them and confessed, but I had no knowledge of this confession until I was twenty-one and the abuser had long since died in a sanatorium. I have four brothers and a sister. Out of the six children, five were sexually abused by people within the church. There have been several suicide attempts.
I am finding unraveling memories from childhood an extremely painful and emotional experience, as I recall instances and experiences which I now know were wrong and evil.
The damage done by this cult to the innocent victims, i.e. the children who did not choose to join and embrace this strange way of life, is irrevocable. My personality was shaped during the sixties and seventies to a degree that I don’t feel a part of “normal” society at all.
Your site disturbs me as the implication seems to be that pedophiles were quite common within the church. Is this the case? If so, what are the reasons?
I never felt loved or wanted as a child and this also seems to be a common thread. The child rearing booklet was probably responsible for that. Were children supposed to be merely a part of a great master plan?
Anna’s Horror Story
(This story was the most disturbing until former members from the Philadelphia Church of God started coming out of the darkness and into the light)
I apologize for the lack of proper English text, spelling etc…..I have just stumbled across your website. I am very glad to find that it exists. I don’t know if you want to hear another horror story…but here mine is….I am not pointing fingers at anyone…I don’t want to do that….this is still too painful for me…and I might go to hell if I point a finger and judge someone now won’t I?
My parents joined the church when I was 5. I remember the Christmas before…it was beautiful…the tree glowed in the living room…I remember opening one of many presents…a doll-which actually walked if you held her hand and walked besides it. That was my last happy memory spent with my parents while growing up. After my parents joined the church they both turned into strict authoritative parents–us kids went from calling our parents Mom and Dad to sir and ma’am. we were struck 20 times with a belt one at a time in a closed bathroom for minor infractions…as the church taught and believed in “spare the rod spoil the child”. Someone stole 15 cents….it was worth us all getting a turn with the belt. Thou shalt not steal after all……anyway the riches stopped for us kids after we joined the church….my parents went from being generous and loving parents to cold cheapskates, for lack of a better word. I remember not having any clothes….except for a pair of pants and a few shirts. I didn’t realize at the time that any extra money my parents had were being tithed.–and since my parents had quite a few children, money didn’t go far. I didn’t even own a pair of underwear. …it wasn’t until I grew up and left the house that it made sense why we never had money for clothes-boots-underwear-pillows for our beds-and mittens (our mittens were socks with sandwich bags over them, and our boots were sneakers with bread bags over them….all tied on with rubber bands.)
In a way I am glad I grew up so poor….I learned frugality…it taught me survival skill….but this is America after all………….and yet I also remember days of atonement where we all fasted for our sins. I remember being 10 years old and starving so much I was sick…I remember finding an old crusty hotdog roll that must have been left out for at least a week wadded up with some dirty clothes–and I remember eating that…just to make the pain in my stomach go away.
But yet I digress,,,,I have many stories, but I should get to the point here….and here it is: from my formative years me and my brothers and sisters sat in that church for the 2 to 2.5 hrs every Saturday….we didn’t talk to many people in the church…we always felt like outcasts…maybe because we wore the same clothes week after week…..I don’t know, but we did feel like outcasts…so us kids kept to ourselves. During sermons we played tic-tac toe, connect the dots and hangman. None of us really listened much to what was being preached…but somehow some of there message got thru to us…to me in particular…I truly believed that the church drove me crazy…as a young child i started having nightmares…I dreamt that my brothers and sisters and parents were all dying around me…I could do nothing to save them…for the days of tribulation and the end times were at hand…night after night. I dreamt of their miserable deaths…and me? well I loved my brothers and sisters more than anything….but truly I believed I would see this….I remember praying every night to god in heaven and in Jesus Christ’s name to please please let me die first in exchange for my families life…i lived each day straining to hear the trumpets blow…and not knowing what to do if i ever did hear them but to run….and not even stop to put on my shoes, just run!!!!!—-so I grew up in fear….and later my parents quit the church when I was in my mid teens but the damage had already been done…now my parents were certainly doomed. I believed that we kids all had a chance if my parents were still in the church but with their quitting and all we would certainly all starve to death and die of thirst at the shores of lake Erie with sores all over us while a big ass scary horseman chased us down to torture us some-more.
Within months of my parents leaving the church I had my first nervous breakdown….where instead of dreaming of the great tribulation I also lived it while awake! Constantly I lived in persecution while the devil sat outside my bedroom window trying to break in…..after a year I came out of it and returned to school…and lived a somewhat normal life, hiding my insecurities from the world…and being as nonreligious as possible therefore blocking that part of my mind out that I couldn’t deal with. 15 years later I suffered another devastating nervous breakdown that took everything including my children from me….again,,,this nervous breakdown occurred when I tried to go back to the church….which only served to throw me back into the living hell that I believed in and still believe in….that nervous breakdown lasted 2 years…I have since moved on…I have won my children back from their father. I own my own home. I work…I am a professional…I haven’t set foot in another church since….I am still afraid to pray, thinking it will drive me crazy if I do. I am still afraid of the monster that could be lurking outside my bedroom window (whether Satan the devil or one of those horseman from god) I still feel that I am going to watch everyone around me die…I am still miserable…..I am clinically depressed though i receive no treatment for it…a huge part of me is still trying to die….I do not go on dates…I try not to be close to anyone….I am waiting for doomsday…I am waiting for the day of reckoning…I am waiting to watch everyone around me die while I live on in a modern day Hiroshima…I am waiting for god to come down and say ….you and yours just aren’t good enough…so good bye…I never loved you….another big part of me thinks maybe it will be okay …maybe I am forgiven…maybe it’s okay not to attend church not to ever be baptized…maybe I’m forgiven because the church destroyed me…so much that I am not allowed in my own mind to think of god but briefly without feeling unsteady in my own head….for fear of another nervous breakdown…I have no church…but I miss my god…I am sad for myself that not only did the worldwide church of god give me so much to dread and be terrified of in this world but they have also taken my ability to worship Jesus and god as I feel that they should be worshipped. They have in a sense taken my god from me…and replaced him with a nightmare…not to be picked up, not to scrutinized but to be shut away in a dark corner of my mind…33 years later I am still traumatized still afraid of the things that go bump in the night.
The Gerringer Letter.
Even though many knew Herbert W. Armstrong as an evil man, and that the world would have been a better place without him, the facts remain that this man had a profound negative influence on the world. Plain Truth subscriber Denis Michael Rohan tried to set fire to the al-Aqsa Mosque. An event that started a global Islamic political movement. From Ambassador Report we read:
“Soon after Rohan’s attempted Mosque burning Mr. HWA began saying that neither he nor anyone else in the WCG had ever proclaimed that a literal temple had to be built in Jerusalem. When I heard him say it, I believed it — unquestioningly. After all, it would be virtually a sin to question Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.
Could Mr. HWA’s denials represent a possible credibility problem? situation ethics? expedience? deception? The following quotes helped me decide:
PT, Oct., 1958, page 4, column 31 paragraph 4, HLH: “A temple or sanctuary is yet to be built by the Jews in Jerusalem! … it shall happen in less than 14 years from now!”
PT, June, 1967, page 2, column 2, paragraph 6, HWA: “There will very soon be a Temple in Jerusalem, with daily sacrifices once again being offered … They will invade Jerusalem, and take charge of the Temple.” Page 4, column 2, paragraph 3, HWA: “So there will have to be a temple there!” Page 5, column 1, paragraph 4, Herbert W. Armstrong: “So there will be a temple built on the spot of the old temple in Jerusalem.” Page 5, column 2, paragraph 4, HWA: “Then Revelation 11 shows there will be a temple in Jerusalem.”
PT, Mar., 1968, page 8, column 2, paragraph 3, RCM: “…. a religious center and Temple will be built there (Jerusalem) within the very next few years!” Page 41, column 1, paragraph 2, RCM: “The building of a literal Temple” and “a great religious leader making his Headquarters right in that Temple in Jerusalem” are to be signs that “the END OF this age” is near.
PT, Aug., 1968, page 41, column 2, paragraph 4 GTA: “Bible prophecy specifically states that there WILL BE A TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM.” Column 3, paragraph 3, GTA: “This reveals clearly. that the TEMPLE of which these prophecies speak must be a Temple IN JERUSALEM — on the same site as the one in which Christ spoke; the same site on which Solomon’s Temple had stood. This cannot be some other “temple” in some other area — it must be a temple IN JERUSALEM — or the prophecies of your Bible fail! … He will SIT IN A TEMPLE OF GOD” — ON THE TEMPLE SITE — IN JERUSALEM!”
Why did no one in the WCG speak out against Mr. HWA’s denial of the above statements?”
Another whack job from the 1990’s
Ray Willie Lampley a former WCG member and self-proclaimed “Prophet of the Most High” was arrested for conspiracy to manufacture and possess a bomb. “Sheriff Gray told the Enid News that it was his belief that the bomb about to be assembled was intended for a “test run” near the white separatist community of Elohim City. Said Gray, “From what I’m thinking they probably would do some bombing there and try to lay it on the federal government.” ~AR61
“Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
The founder of the Worldwide Church of God was a morally deficient man. Herbert Armstrong’s lifetime work has bore the fruit of death and destruction. Ruined lives and suicides. Poverty and mental illness. Therefore, Armstrongism cannot be a moral religion. It is amoral. And those who are of the tree of Armstrongism should consider:
“The unexamined life is not worth living.