Con Games – Part 1

Armstrongist Venn Chart
Armstrongist Venn Chart

From the standpoint of the Memorial Day Weekend in the United States, May 26 – 28, 2012, many former members of the Armstrongist Churches of God have questions: How does an obviously insane lying false prophet con men become so entrenched in a cult like the PKG and why do people continue to follow him even though it should be obvious that he has failed spectacularly.

As we introduce the answers anticipated by puzzled people, we call attention to the Armstrongist Venn Chart above. Some people may say, “Are you serious?” and “That can’t possibly be true!”. We are quite serious and it is true, but it does require an explanation.

Venn Charts are graphic representations of the intersection, overlap and exclusion of mathematically based sets. In this case, we represent the intersection of the Abuser, the Narcissistic Psychopath and Liar. At the region these three sets intersect, we find the Armstrongist Church of God Minister. While an initial skepticism is anticipated, we will go through the reasoning process to explain the conclusion.

First, we want to make it clear that every major problem in the Armstrongist Churches of God came originally from Herbert Armstrong. These problems are rooted in the narcissistic personality disorder of Herbert Armstrong where he had no empathy for his followers. It should further be noted that he had a set of delusions now thoroughly disproved which formed the “collective conscience” of the basic church cult. At the center of the delusions was British Israelism, the proposition that the United States and British Commonwealth are supposed lost tribes of Israel and that British Israelism is the Key to Prophecy for the understanding of all key events to follow. This heresy of a preposterous science fiction style alternative earth history was and is indeed the Key to the failed prophecies of the Armstrongist ministry and leaders from the very beginning in the Radio Church of God starting with Herbert Armstrong, following down to this very day, where Ronald Weinland has prophesied that Jesus Christ will return this weekend. British Israelism is at the heart of it all and it completely invalidates all the teachings of the Armstrongist Churches of God.

The delusions were extended through the silly history of the church stolen from Dugger and Dodd who plagiarized it from Ellen G. White who just made up the whole thing. We know and can prove that the Waldensians considered themselves good Catholics and nothing more, never kept the Sabbath, let alone the Holydays. This “True History of The True Church” was nothing of the kind. It is thoroughly debunked and has been long rejected by the original Church of God Seventh Day. In fact, The Church of God Seventh Day had an article showing the folly of British Israelism in The Bible Advocate in this past year.

Unfortunately, the mind set is obsessive and the current members of the Armstrongist Churches of God simply refuse to look at the truth, let alone accept it, particularly those following Ronald Weinland in the CoG-PKG.

A regular contributor to this forum mentioned in a posting that the military made him a psychopath. This stems from the misunderstanding of the difference between a psychopath and sociopath — a distinction which is important to make because the goal of all major entities today, including the Military, Corporations, Academia, Government and Religious Corporations is to produce sociopaths to run them.

A psychopath has three major components [those who are interested in the details may check Snakes in Suits by Dr. Paul Babiak and Dr. Robert Hare]: Narcissism encompassing a complete lack of empathy, being devoid of conscience and game playing. Psychopaths have a cycle of three acts: Assessment, Execution and Abandonment. The first step of Execution is to wreck the credibility of those who can expose the con for what it is. Psychopaths love to play games and cut it close in brinkmanship to see just how far they can push their “mark”.

Sociopaths, by contrast, usually don’t actively play games, but more important have something called a “conditional conscience”. This “conditional conscience” is extremely important because it sets the bounds of what the Sociopath generally will do and won’t do. An example of this is the Mafia where any illegal or immoral act may be committed from prostitution, murder, drug trafficking to identity theft, upon those outside the Mafia. The “conditional conscience” is endemic to protect the Mafia itself and such activities are severely proscribed from being transacted against the internal members of the Mafia.

This is important, because of issues of loyalty which underlie the core basis of a group. In the military, for example, the soldiers have their conscience suspended to go out and kill the enemy, but if the military goes too far and produces psychopaths instead of sociopaths, there will be a discipline problem and internal chaos will result. The same principles apply to Corporations, Academia, Government and particularly Cult Religions. Certainly, the end justifies the means, but the Leader is sacrosanct, raised to the level of a saint or even a god; his lieutenants also have a great deal of prestige for the purposes of group survival and stability.

Thus it is that Herbert Armstrong established Ambassador College for the effective generation of Sociopaths. Given the characteristics of Sociopaths and having had Herbert Armstrong as the first Mafia Don, the success of a consistent generation of Sociopaths to “do the Work” is consumate. It was an amazing job to take moral, even decent students entering the machine in their freshman year and to have their consciences turned and burned into conditional ones in four short years. Delusion, fear, guilt, avarice and many other clever devices were used to transform simple students into polished socially ept attractive Sociopaths.

The real problem was that the world has changed and eventually, the one holding the entire cult together with the force of his will died. The 700+ cults are having difficulty with the competition from Sociopaths within and outside the Armstrongist “community” in at “dog eat dog” world of survival of the fittest. Evolution has left Armstrongists in entropy.

Sociopaths and psychopaths traditionally have poor behavioral controls. This is well exhibited in the temper of Roderick Meredith or Don Haney. This is further degraded precipitously by temptations: Both money and narcissistic appealing ego stroking are nearly irresistible to those who have been brain washed into the thinking “quality” of things is superior to actual intangible values. It is no accident that there is a heavy dependence on rigid rituals: What to wear to church, what you can and can’t do on the Sabbath and Feast Days, what percentage of your income you give and for what purposes, what you can and cannot eat and so forth. These are set as limits for the Sociopath “contextual conscience” because making real moral and ethical choices can be quite confusing to the Sociopath. When in doubt, have an explanation for every little thing and have rules which can be remembered easily (or better, written and posted by the door).

As the personal restrictions were lifted from those who were under the Draconian and arbitrary control of Herbert Armstrong after he died, those who had sufficient power threw off the shackles to indulge themselves to wallow in the new freedom from behavior controls and restrictions. There was War. As things sorted themselves out, many became leaders in their own right with a fiefdom of their own to be absolute gods over the hapless and often clueless sheople.

Abuse abounds in such venues as both assault and neglect. Abuse may simply be a matter of collateral damage of self serving self interest amongst the narcissists in power who really don’t care much about anyone but themselves.

Whether conscious of it or not, those in power have been liars from the beginning. Since those of us in an Anti Armstrongist role have exposed the fraudulence of the lies, particularly in the last two years, the ministry and administration has no excuse and at some level know the truth, but they continue to lie to you and take your money.

These are only part of the temptations they face and they yield to them, thus passing from Sociopath to the games playing psychopath role.

There is one more factor to complete the picture of our Venn Graph: A new term known as “Psychopath by Day”.

This should be familiar — at least in principle — to those who have read “Moral Mazes” by Robert Jackall. As a mid manager said in an interview for the book, what is right and moral is what the guy above you wants from you. That is to say, a “conditional conscience” loyal to the leadership in the hierarchy.

This is made possible by bracketing misdeeds through compartmentalization. Thus a CEO can lie, steal, even murder, pollute the world, outsource, destroy careers and the competition, then go home, be a wonderful father, husband, sit down to tea with the utmost social graces and recycle. Make no mistake: Many of the Armstrongist Ministers are monsters, but can appear pleasant and affable to those who may have impact on their agenda. It should also be pointed out that neurology research has demonstrated that those who deliberately lie actively destroy portions of their brains to make it into white mental mush. This, in turn, makes it easier to practice deception effectively. Being able to practice deception and lie convincingly is called “Executive Ability”. In recent studies, it has been shown that these “Executive Abilities” stem from childhood and set when children learn to lie effectively. So remember, the higher the rank of the minister, the more “Executive Ability” he has, and it is likely you can determine exactly how much he has if you were able to be privy to his brain scans (which would also reveal tangibly whether he is a psychopath or not).

Thus we validate our Venn Diagram.

The Venn Diagram also explains such people as Ronald Weinland.

But what of the followers?

We will cover that next time in Part II.

War!

WW III 2012 Armstrongist Church of God Style
World War III, 2012: Armstrongist Church of God Style

The Armstrongist Churches of God are not war-like tribes — they are warring tribes, at war with one another, to the point that they not only don’t look Christian or necessarily godly, they look downright barbaric and uncivilized, as though they are waiting for civilization to catch up to them some time in the future — a future which will never come.

One of the many occurrences of the evidence of the constant battles of the war of ascendancy is the schism within the United Church of God, an International Association (UCGaIA), which resulted in the formation of the Church of God, Worldwide Association (CoGWA). The split wasn’t even about doctrine. It seemed to be about governance, but from the outside view away from the intimate internal dealings of the Church Administration, no one can be really certain why the split occurred.

Now, if it were a matter of Christian Soldiers fighting the war in the good fight against Satan and this world, that would be one thing, but it isn’t that at all: They are battling against each other in a manifestation of the works of the flesh.

The Apostle James in his epistle wrote:

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

That’s part of it: The founders and leaders of this ancient religion of the War gods certainly is based on the lust for salary and retirement, along with the lust for power and narcissistic fulfillment by pathetic idolatrous narcissistic source borderline personality types hanging on every word of delusional pronouncements of the promises of future godhood and false prophecies of a short work, ended by a mythical Great Tribulation. People lust after that. It is emotionally satisfying.

But there is convincing evidence that that is not all of it: It’s just a part of the puzzle.

Why are the Armstrongist Churches of God at war — with one another?

Some of the explanation may lie in the fact that their religion does not appeal to even a miniscule segment of fresh blood out there in the world any more. The time of the cold war is past and the threat of nuclear holocaust just isn’t an inducement like it used to be. No, in these days of technological wonders of advancement beyond the wildest imagination of three decades ago, the world has changed so significantly that the old inducements for new membership just won’t cut it. As a result, with the severe entropy restricting the options and opportunities for a continued flow of money into the sub cults, the only solution is to resort to cannibalizing the remaining sheople amongst the various 700+ splinters, offering each one a “better deal” to sweeten the pot for preserving the life style to which the leadership of each cult would like to become accustomed. And make no mistake, this is ranchers quibbling about the branding on their livestock.

However, there seems to be a much deeper and sinister motivation lying behind the constant war going on, wherein there is no peace, and indeed, cannot be, as in the words of Isaiah:

For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.

The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

They are, in short, the very flower of the example of humanity.

The cults have inherited the warlike nature of Herbert Armstrong who fought and railed against everything from the Catholic Church to the Church of God Seventh Day (as being Sardis). The world was of Satan and he was the conquering hero to usher in the golden age of the War to come which was to bring ultimate peace after there was no one left who had any energy left to fight him — or at least that was the vision that he created. He created an environment geared to war from the very beginning, rebelling against society and science so he could have his own way. He often turned against his own employees in a fit of rage. His temper was legendary. He left a legacy of anger and war, and who of those guards he personally trained in his Ambassador College Prison Experiment could rise above the overwhelming tsunami of the West Point of God’s Work?

Science and genetic research has revealed interesting developments of late, with the discovery of the so-called “Warrior Gene”, DARRP-32 TC / TT variant allele of damaged chromosomes. Not only is there a basis for the reality of continuing chaotic strife for those with this sort of genetics, but there are tests for it — even to the point that Dr. Phil uses the test on his show to identify the cause of family disruptions by those with this damaged genetics: It’s built in.

It should be pointed out that this particular form of anger has no real evolutionary advantage: It will not promote the continuing life of the Armstrongist Churches of God, but will hasten their demise in an ever increasing downward spiral of entropy where the resources become ever less available.

Given the history of Herbert Armstrong and the history of such people as Roderick Meredith, whose pride is rooted in winning a Golden Gloves Championship in his teenage years, it is not difficult at all to believe that the War amongst the various Churches of God are spearheaded by the leadership who just can’t help themselves to engage in endless battles.

Any members who are still delusional about the opportunity for the path to peace, need to heed the words of II Timothy 3: “From such turn away”. Proverbs 22:24-25 add to the wisdom:

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

But then, Armstrongists never have been very careful to follow “The Word of God”, otherwise, they would not have followed Joseph Tkach. The Ambassador Report tells of the anger management challenges of Dr. Tkach with his first wife, Jill. The temper of Senior is legendary and there is at least one account where he yelled at an innocent woman in his office for five hours straight, doing great emotional damage to her. There are much more recent examples of the fury of Armstrongist leaders in the churches of God today because it is a continuing problem which will not abate.

So let the Armstrongist founders and leaders take the test.

We already know what they will find.

We Were Deceived—Who Should We Blame?

Copyright © 2011, Gun Lap


After an experience in an abusive group, the victim needs to understand how he got himself into that predicament in the first place. He needs to ask questions like: How did this happen to me? Whose fault was it? Answering those questions can help prevent being deceived again.

Well, there is a lot of blame to go around. According to the “buyer beware” principle, the victim is partly at fault for being too trusting and deceivable. But the main culprits are the liars who trapped him. We don’t put victims of other frauds (e.g. financial fraud) in jail even if they were naive. We only put the perpetrators in jail.

I put together a list of people, institutions, and organizations who share some of the blame. A few of the items on the list require a bit of explanation, which can be found in the footnotes.

In no particular order, here are some of those who deserve a share of the blame.

  • All those ministers who lie (no shortage of those).
  • All those ministers who are opinionated (there are a lot of those too!).
  • Downright bullheaded ministers who have seen proofs they are wrong but refuse to accept them (there are a lot of those too!).
  • Governments, IF they legally protect the “religious rights” of dishonest church leaders to lie and deceive, but not those of the abused church members to not be lied to and not be robbed of their time and money (see footnote 1).
  • Schools and parents for not teaching children to recognize scams, deceivers and sociopaths.
  • Schools and parents for not teaching children how to think more logically (what we get is mostly memory training).
  • Parents for leaving education to inept and politically correct schools.
  • Parents, if we grew up in a Church of God.
  • A ruthless, crazy, global political system that offers no security and threatens the safety of everyone on earth (see footnote 2).
  • Corrupt, predatory, sick societies that make people long for a better world (the blame here must be shared by everyone to one degree or another, but mostly by those who are the most corrupt and predatory).
  • Corrupt mainstream churches that make people seek better alternatives.
  • Mainstream churches with no inspiring vision, that make people seek better alternatives.
  • Mainstream churches that cannot properly refute many claims made by leaders of unorthodox sects.
  • The people who wrote the books of the bible, the scholars who defend it, and the preachers who promulgate it.
  • The news media for scaring people with the idea that “runaway global warming” is producing abnormal weather that is only going to get worse (see footnote 3).
  • The victim himself for being too trusting (gullible) and maybe too hasty, not doing enough research beforehand.
  • Church members who knew there were serious problems and should have got out a lot sooner, but set a bad example by continuing to attend, and helped the churches to deceive others by continuing to support the churches financially.

Well, that’s my list. I hope I didn’t miss anything major.

In my view, most of the blame goes to those who knew, or should have known, that they are promulgating error but did little or nothing about it.

Footnotes:

1. Actually, certain religious frauds are already illegal. It might be possible to sue some of these churches in some jurisdictions. I don’t know if that is possible, but I wouldn’t rule it out. It’s been done before, e.g. the Church of Scientology has successfully been sued.

I’m not talking about making doctrinal errors illegal, just outright frauds, e.g. publishing altered versions of someone’s writings without informing the reader of the alterations or why they were made. If that’s not illegal, it should be.

By the way, if some church publishes material with the author’s name on it (e.g. Herbert Armstrong’s name) and they misquote the author by altering his words, is that not bearing false witness to what he said and stood for? How can a church can justify such actions? Yet it is our understanding that some of Herbert Armstrong’s works have been altered and republished without the readers being told about critical doctrinal changes that were made.

2. The insecure global system makes people seek safety in religion. It also makes people uncertain of the future, which makes prophecy seem attractive because prophecy claims to explain where world events are leading and the basic causes behind them.

3. After spending over 100 hours (estimated) researching “global warming” I’m now convinced most of what we hear is hype. Many religious people think weather is getting worse and that this is proof that the end is near, as prophesied by Jesus. Therefore I blame the media for unwittingly creating end-time hysteria. Their intent often seems to be to exaggerate what they think is a real phenomenon in order to “save the planet”, but the effect is to play into the hands of apocalyptic groups. Many of the increased costs from bad weather are just due to monetary inflation and increased populations in urban areas.