Swindlers

Herbert Armstrong’s Crime Syndicate

Mr. Davis stood there with Mr. MacFarland discussing the repairs Mr. MacFarland had made for Mr. Davis. Mr. MacFarland was a remarkable man, since he was blind from action in a foreign war, but was still a top flight mechanic. He was remarkable in other ways. For example, he was giving his wife grief because she could not park the car. She said, “Fine, you park it!” not expecting he could respond. He got out of the passenger’s seat, measured off the distances between the auto and the two other cars in relationship to the parking space between them, got in the driver’s seat and proceeded to park the car perfectly. She certainly didn’t have much response to that. Our illustrious Mr. Davis handed Mr. MacFarland three one dollar bills and thanked Mr. MacFarland for the excellent work he did, and Mr. MacFarland thanked him for the $30 dollars owed, thinking it was three ten dollar bills. He was blind you know.

Swindlers have been an endemic epidemic within the Cult of Herbert Armstrong since the 1950s: It isn’t just the leaders and ministers, it’s the members. One estimation is that about one-third of any given micronanocult of Herbert Armstrong may be swindlers. Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak give us a clue in Snakes in Suits: Psychopaths are attracted to unstable environments that lack controls for process — and even lack process. A group that is in stages of development or drastic change are particularly vulnerable, since swindlers take advantage of the lack of standards by which “right” and “wrong” within the group are measured. They marginalize what rules there are through doubt and casting aspersions, making people within the group vulnerable to their inevitable psychopath games.

A girl named Cara, a member’s daughter, came home one day with the rest of the family from Sabbath Services and proceeded to tell them about her best friend in church: Marta was 12 years old and her father had been committing incest with her. The family also found out that Jan, Cara’s other best friend, had a father who was a psychopath with an interesting story. Barto had come into the church from the Philippines and promoted the idea he was a doctor, but because of United States rules, he could not be certified — or so he said: The real truth is that he was a swindler with a con game who had no medical training at all. Barto became best friends with Dr. Johansen, a church member who was a real licensed practicing physician. Barto proceeded to dupe Dr. Johansen into promoting him as a physician. The end result of this game was that the real doctor, Dr. Johansen, lost his license, his practice and was disgraced while the psychopath Barto dumped Dr. Johansen to leave him fend for himself after Dr. Johansen was ruined, lost his license and his practice — forced to change careers. Barto remarried. His daughter, Jan, and Cara, the daughter of the family in view here, went to meet with the psychopath’s wife, Jan’s stepmother, who just happened to have schizophrenia. They knocked on the door and from inside a voice said, “You are here to kill me! No wait, that’s not reality!” The three girls, Cara, Mara and Jan, often went off together to Nordstrom’s to shoplift expensive scarves. They never got caught.

Recently, the elder pedophile who had a penchant for young boys in the church died and had his funeral, which brought up the memory of the leading lady in the church who informed the father of the young son what the man who was his YOU teacher had been doing. She related at the Night to Be Much Observed that the leading ladies in the church tried to bring the matter to the Headquarters at Pasadena but were rebuffed. The best they could do is “keep an eye on him” during services and particularly on the Holydays.

Many are familiar with the stalkers in the cult who declared to their obsession, “You are mine!” after their obsession was married to someone else. Imagine the embarrassment of a married man returning from his honeymoon having the lurker in the church spring from behind a column where she hid herself to declare this.

There have been all manner of scams, swindles and cons, not just by the Takers who are leaders in the church with their ministers, but the members as well. The cult is a dangerous environment and that is because of what Dr. Phil in his book, “Life Code” describes as the BAITERS:

  • Backstabers
  • Abusers
  • Imposters
  • Takers
  • Exploiters
  • Reckless

Though virtually invisible to most naive sheep members, these BAITERS lurk in the background like the crows at the neglected Ambassador College before it was sold to Harvest Rock. They are dark evil beings at what may be thought of at the fringes of the cult, but are very active and very much a part of it — it’s just that people don’t recognize them.

Last time, we examined the Evil Eight properties of these BAITERS:

  1. They see the world through a lens of arrogant entitlement and frequently treat people as targets
  2. They lack empathy
  3. They are incapable of feeling remorse / guilt and don’t learn from situation to situation
  4. They are irresponsible, self-destructive and disregard the well-being of others
  5. They thrive on drama and crisis
  6. They brag about outsmarting other people
  7. They have a pattern of short-term relationships
  8. They live in a fantasy world marked by delusion

This time we will examine the Nefarious 15 “tactics,” behaviors, or strategies BAITERs will use to “get to you,” hurt you, and take what is yours:

  1. They infiltrate your life, seducing with promises and flattery
  2. They define you as a conspiratorial confidant
  3. They are way too focused on getting your approval — as though their very existence depends on your accepting them
  4. They are always gathering data and “building a file” on you. Everything they do, every interaction, is for a purpose
  5. They consistently misdirect and maintain a mystery about who they really are; they answer questions that weren’t asked; they obfuscate
  6. When confronted with problems, they always blame others
  7. They lie, either by misstatement or by omission; they understand that lies with a kernel of truth are the most powerful
  8. They are frauds; they cheat, and they steal property, information, and credit for other people’s work and claim false competencies to gain trust and reliance
  9. They isolate their victims and foster dependency to obligate you and gain leverage and power
  10. When in a position of power and authority, they abuse it with self-dealing and egomaniacal conduct
  11. They ID your sensitivities and hot buttons to gain leverage
  12. They have “selective memory” and are revisionist historians; they reframe reality
  13. They are two-faced; they spread lies and gossip — pretending to be your friend and ally to give you a false sense of security while being disloyal
  14. Because they are paranoid, they “get you” before you [can] “get them”
  15. They are masters of passive-aggressive sabotage

Our pilgrimage would be incomplete if we did not mention the methodology used by Herbert Armstrong — the one still in use today by all the cult leaders: To reduce the prospective members to think of themselves as worthless.

Those of us who were in the cult in the 1950s and 1960s remember well this indoctrination. As we came to “the truth” (which was nothing of the sort), we were taught that nothing we knew was worth anything, nothing we ever did amounted to anything and we were convinced that we were so worthless that we had to start from the very beginning to rebuild from the ground up.

Herbert Armstrong, of course, knew everything that was worth knowing — he was the Apostle and no one could trump him! He was the one that God chose who was the only one through whom any truth could be revealed — from the top down. No one could tell him anything, and if they tried… well, he had a temper and he was used to getting his way. He was the top dog and he was the only one who had the quality to take the message of Corporate Christ to the leaders of this world (by using vague stupid references to the two trees which meant absolutely nothing). He was the only one who could go to evil despots and dictators to present them with Steuben Crystal from tithed blood money. All the rest of us were pathetic nothings who needed to know our place in the hierarchy, which was pretty much to supply this egoist with $2 Billion to $4 Billion to provide for his excessive personal life style. He was so close to God, no one dare oppose him.

By the put down and treatment with contempt, the people fell into line, devoid of what might be laughingly called self-esteem.

This was doubly bad because the children of the church members were treated the same way: They needed to know their place among the gods — playing less than any insignificant role as less than anyone else, save for the domestic companions of the family. As serfs and slaves to the serfs and slaves, having absolutely no rights, knowing nothing and having not one shred of power in their insignificance, they were prepped for a future slavery of underachievement, discouraged from ever aspiring to the dreams and goals of their schoolmate peers. Many of them thought that this dysfunctional family life was the norm and everyone lived this way, not realizing that it was a profound aberration designed to keep them captive to a slave mentality system of the peasants.

You are nothing.

You will be god.

Be satisfied with that.

Or you’re out.

There’s nothing like intimidation on the worthless to keep them in the prison especially designed by the swindlers of the cult.

The Cult of Herbert Armstrong employs all of these methods. They are evil. They corrupt.

And again, there is not one reason in this world you should give them the benefit of the doubt. None. They are not worth your time, let alone your money and other resources.

To be clear: Herbert Armstrong was a failed ad copy writer with barely an eighth grade education with delusions of greatness, plying lies, deceptions and fantasies as reality upon duped naive sheep type followers. He had no real worth. The only thing he really understood was “quality” things, possessions; and his great swelling ego making him above and beyond those of accomplishment, talent and achievement who could have been great, but were ruined by his selfish meddling. He was a swindler — a BAITER.

And all his followers now making themselves leaders are also BAITERs.

This is the time to understand who these people are, understand how they work and guard against them, lest they take who you are and destroy it.

Abandon the swindlers and don’t let them claim ascendancy.

Sacrifice

 

Here is all I have; I give it to you!
Here is all I have; I give it to you!

Herbert Armstrong was certainly a proponent of sacrifice.

Perhaps it is because he read the Scripture in Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 Many of us are familiar with the ministers standing up at the Feast seven times in a year just before the offering is to be taken:

Give until it hurts!

The expectation has always been from the beginning that we all give our all to “The Work” because God demands it of us and that the Apostle (sometimes with another title with the word ‘General’ in it) is the one to whom we give the money in God’s (or Jesus’) Name. If the children of your family need to be sacrificed, who are you to question the needs of God’s Work? You need to give your effort to The Work. Something has to give somewhere, so if you are short time, you take it from your family; if you are short money, take it from your family. Your needs to even survive pale to insignificance to saving this world. You must bribe God for your salvation, but even more, you need to give everything you have for spreading the Gospel to prove that you love the Leader set here by God / Jesus. If you starve, so much the better: Consider yourself a martyr; if your family starves, they are martyrs too.

But it goes so far beyond money: It is also time, expertise, labor and any other free resource that can be exploited and enslaved — it doesn’t belong to you, it is for the Apostle (Evangelist, Prophet, …’General’).

There is a problem, however: Some of you are Laodiceans and hold back a part, like Ananias and Sapphira!

Many of today’s End Time Apostles / Prophets have called you on this. David Pack, Ronald Weinland, Gerald Flurry, to name a few, are not pleased with half-hearted participation! They demand more! For example, some of them, like David Pack insist that you gouge your unconverted spouse for the money. You should leave your inheritance of real property to the church and not your worthless family who will just waste it on such things as having a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat. The Work needs a new campus! You need to give to that building fund! The Work needs a new studio for TV and Internet work! The Work needs an extra million dollars this year (and the UCG isn’t the only one) to preach the gospel in Islam Countries, like Saudi Arabia! You must sacrifice. This is all explained by The Supreme Commander of The Supreme  Cult. Please note that there are Five Tithes on your income before you even get one penny before taxes!

Note what the leaders have said in the past, like what Garner Ted Armstrong said that we give to God (well, not actually, we give to some guy in an expensive suit) and that is where our responsibility ends: After that, it’s God’s responsibility — He will take care of it and we need not worry our little heads about whether or not The End Time Apostle uses the money frivolously! Or maybe we are supposed to check up on it — there seem to be different readings on accountability.

Nevertheless, we are to GIVE, freely, thankfully, because God just loves a cheerful giver! No grumbling. Just because those leaders in your church have taken everything away from you and have all the good stuff you want and even more than you could have imagined, doesn’t mean that you have to ruin it all by having an ATTITUDE! Heavens no! Some day, if you have just the right faith and you have done absolutely everything you should do quite perfectly and you have the right attitude and wait in patience, willing to suffer loss quietly, then you certain just might have a glorious inheritance! Maybe! You could inherit the Kingdom. No promises though, since you have to give to just the RIGHT cult! See, if David Pack and the Restored Church of God is the absolutely only place of salvation and you are in the Living Church of God with Roderick Meredith (should he live so long), you lose big time. You have to be in exactly the right cult to make this work! You can’t just join any old church and be sure of salvation. On the other hand, if Gerald Flurry with his Philadelphia Church of God (the name sounds right!) and you are with James Russell in the Church of God in Truth, you will be sure out of luck! You may be bowing down to the Meredithites instead of the Russellites! God is definitely a respecter of persons! You need to get it right or repent and then get it right!

God looks at your attitude, which, at the moment is a pretty awkward position. You need to be on the straight path with the narrow gate or else you are on the broad road to perdition with a whole lot of company. It’s all rigged, of course, since all of the Armstrongists are wrong at the core, so you can’t possibly pick the right one!

Give Me the Money!

As the decades roll by, realities crop up and the First Love of sacrificing all you have gets to be not just tedious, but progressively more difficult: You don’t have enough money to cover your expenses; you don’t have enough vacation to cover all the Feasts; you don’t have enough time to give; you don’t have enough energy for yet another cult function.

And then you find out where the money has been going.

And it gets to be ever more difficult to justify your sacrifice.

Laodocean!

That’s what your cult leader accuses you of. He makes you feel guilty. He tells you that holding back is a sin of selfishness. He implies that you don’t have gratitude toward God who gave you everything! He threatens you by saying that you will not continue to receive God’s blessings (not that you’ve been noticing them lately). He then tells you that if you don’t give, you will be under a curse.

This is known in some circles as extortion.

In some limited legal circles it is considered a crime.

Certainly, in the case of Ronald Weinland and his silent witness wife, it was considered a crime by the Internal Revenue Service that they didn’t pay Income Tax on $3.5 million of undeclared personal income from member monetary sacrifice. Weinland spent the money on luxury BMWs for himself, his daughter and his son. He went to Las Vegas to an expensive hotel to hold his ministerial conference. Laura had expensive jewelry designed for her to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is the sacrifice that the members of his church made for him: Personal luxury living, having nothing to do with “Preaching the Gospel” whatever that might mean. In this case, the Gospel was in the form of books written to predict what was to happen in 2008, which never did, making him an obvious false prophet. No matter, his cult followers continue to sacrifice for him. Heck, the widow lady across the street attending his church got a lien on her house to pay for his $300,000 bail money. You just can’t sacrifice enough for your leader.

Herbert Armstrong was wont to do the same thing, back in the day. The Kessler Letter refers to the incidents where Herbert Armstrong routinely grabbed $50,000 personal spending money before each trip. The Ambassador Report mentions the trip to Monaco where he rented a yacht for his family to sail around the Mediterranean. If this were done today and it came to the attention of the Internal Revenue Service, it is likely the Justice Department would have had Herbert Armstrong convicted of felony Income Tax Evasion too. We’ll never know. The internal mechanisms for cover up at the time were too sophisticated for anyone to actually get caught.

Web Cult Criminal

Others of the Armstrong cults have other various means to absorb all that their members can sacrifice. Currently, the United Church of God, an International Association, is promoting their “million dollar faith initiative” to extract an extra $1 million this year not in the budget to go preach the gospel to Islam nations. It won’t have any real impact in preaching the “gospel” (of British Israelism) to the Arabs, but it does wonders for member’s morale!

Davy Pack is having a high time building a multi-million dollar campus in Wadsworth, Ohio these days. The members are encouraged to sacrifice as much as they have, as much as they can wheedle from their spouse and in the happy fortune that member with money dies, Davy is to get the inheritance money (don’t leave it to the kids — not providing for your own cult makes you worse than an infidel).

Who knows how much money Gerald Flurry still owes on Ambassador College out there in the wilds of Oklahoma. It’s millions for sure. Members should sacrifice to be able to make payments. Perhaps one day after Gerald Flurry dies, the campus will be sold, just as Ambassador College in Pasadena was, with buildings being razed for some commercial enterprise, although none of us can think of what sort of enterprise would want property out in Oklahoma unless oil was discovered underground.

With over 700 subcults from which to choose, those people with borderline personality have a cornucopia of a plethora of unworthy causes to make their sacrifice, to pretty much engage in practices guaranteed to reduce their quality of life for a very long time to come.

The point of all of this is not to point out that the Armstrongists are charlatans and thieves — they are that — it is to uncover something much more sinister.

In The Last Days, we examined the disturbing chaotic immorality embedded within Armstrongism. Even though the venue seemed benign, behind the scenes lay an horrific hypocrisy of unacceptable cover ups perpetrated within the Armstrongist Community: Armstrongism is rife with moral ambiguity which systematically destroys people and families within the cult environment.

There can be no claim for self-righteous right-wing pandering pseudo Republicans (who don’t vote or supposedly participate in governmental involvements — even to refusing jury duty, let alone military service) to say that they are for God’s Law and support Law and Order. The truth be told, and we’ve told the Painful Truth over and over — that the founders, leaders, administrators and ministers live a privileged life above and apart from the masses where crimes are committed and covered up, immorality abounds and everyone seems to have lost their moral compass, if, indeed, they ever had one. There can be no real trust and there is absolutely no justice. This self-absorbed community of ego, power, privilege and money built on the sacrifice of those treated with contempt has absolutely no socially redeeming qualities.

Moreover, if we accept the somewhat skewed view of Charles Darwin with evolution being “the survival of the fittest”, we have a dead end religious evolution in which the dinosaurs left over from the devastating mass extinction event of the death of Herbert Armstrong are slowly dying off, having not adapted well to the world around them, attempting to do the same useless things they have always done without realizing that they will never get anywhere near the same results with a depleted environment long subjected to entropy. The rule is to change and adapt, or you die. They are not changing or adapting. They don’t even repent of the evil and wicked they do as a matter of course.

Note this letter to the Exit and Support Network entitled, “Nothing Less Than Hoodlums and Gangsters (February 12, 2012):

Much thanks for your work. The fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 were very disturbing for me as I “unbelievably” came to learn that the WWCG and its splinter groups are nothing less than hoodlums and gangsters. This is sad but what is more sad for me is that I knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior and this knowledge was diminished gradually as a result of all the indoctrinations of The Restored Church of God headed by David C. Pack.

I am repulsed that these men, in these splinters, continue in the shadow of Herbert Armstrong. Yet, I am more confused and saddened that their members don’t see what seems so obvious–that they are caught up in a religious cult where they sacrifice the God-given gift of their intellect. And for what? I have spent much time deliberating why these so called ministers and “apostles” would continue as they do. I could take the easy road and say that they themselves are/have been deceived by HWA. But, nay, not all! Surely they have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof: from such turn away.” (II Tim. 3:5).

I remember asking one of the members why is it that Mr. Pack has such a nice and large home and nice vehicles. The member said to me, “he has to because no one will follow or listen to him if he does not have them. You know how people are.” I could not believe my ears because if David Pack truly believes that he is God’s appointed then surely he would not depend upon his worldly possessions to entice new membership. But then again, that’s what their business is all about–to attract, allure, persuade… Tragic.

Surely, these men have not a clue as to what it really is to present their bodies a living sacrifice and that they be not conformed to this world and the ways of this world. (Romans 12:1-2)

Finally, I have just read the critique of Mystery of the Ages, chapter two. All I can is gangsters, gangsters!!

I pray that you all be increased with right knowledge and wisdom from above. Thank you again.

With my warmest regards, –Impacted by Restored Church of God

Those of us at The Painful Truth approve this message.

So those of you who are still addicted to making sacrifice for Armstrongist cults, understand that your efforts are futile: The leaders will waste your money, you will live a diminished life and, in the end, there will be nothing left to show for it.

Meanwhile, you will find that with being surrounded so long with immorality under the covers, you will eventually be so warped that you cannot even determine right from wrong.

And that is the real sacrifice you have made.

 

The Last Days

 

Apocalypse

II Timothy 3:1 says —

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

In Apostolic Incest, Jon said:

“Why would the Armstrong crowd care about incest? Incest to them is nothing to sneeze about. It is normal to them. They approve of it and by endorsing the old pervert they endorse his ways. All of them.

Moms and dads, don’t forget to have the elders of the church babysit your kids. They might not be the same ever again but heck, you need a break!

Soon the feast of booze will be upon us. The members of the so called churches will imitate Herbert and drink themselves silly. Those who run the hotels will be busy cleaning out the empty bottles and cans. Maids and janitors will be busy indeed. Cleaning up puke, spilled drinks off carpets, but hopefully they can make a little more money doing their mundane jobs and return these bottles and cans for the deposit.

The feast is a bore, the sermons painfully repetitive. The fun starts at family day where your children can mix with a selection of ministerial brats and the local pervert can have his way when your not looking. Again, your children may not be the same, but it is your church. You own your decisions lock, stock and barrel.”

Jon’s comment might seem a little over the top: After all, from the external view, the Armstrongist Churches of God seem benign, if not warm and cuddly — well, cuddly might seem to be stretching it a bit with Roderick Meredith and the Living Church of God, but if you look at say, United’s Muppet type videos for the kids, it could seem like you have finally found a church home. That is sort of a point of view because the ACoGs don’t seem to have many church buildings nor do they seem to have much presence in the community, because they are now TV based and Internet based church groups renting places for their services and various rare occasions. The point is that they don’t seem that extreme and bizarre on the surface. Be sure you don’t scratch because what lies just beyond the surface is ugly and often deadly.

One could argue that many events lay in the past with Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God, but the tie to those times is far too tight with today because the same people, Roderick Meredith, Dennis Luker and some of the minor leaguers like Jim Franks, John Rittenbaugh, David Pack, Gerald Flurry and Ronald Weinland are still running things and the same problems keep cropping up over and over and over and over.

Back in the days of the WCG in Seattle / Bellevue, Washington while Dennis Luker was in charge as Regional Pastor, there was a lot going on. Chuck Harris was showing his pistol to folks under his suit coat in the holster after Sabbath services and trying very hard to date and marry Brenda James. At the same time, an elder and his wife in the church were pursuing The Tracker — an outdoors survivalist type of guy — with great enthusiasm, even mentioning him in Sabbath services. Glenn White was also tapped into this. It seems as if The Tracker was sort of an extension of the last days mania where people were stocking up for the Great Tribulation and the horrible things to come (while living in faith, we suppose). The elder spent a lot of  “outside time” with The Tracker. His son was spending a lot of “outside time” with Chuck Harris and so was another teen of a prominent and respected family in the church.

A number of things all seemed to happen at the same time. I remember the nice summer afternoon when my wife and I went down to the Seattle Center by the fountain from the World’s Fair and met the elder and his wife. We had a pleasant chat for a few minutes and headed off to the cat show. What none of us knew at the time is that the two teens who had been BFF with Chuck had been with a drug dealer the night before. The drug dealer wanted more than money and when he proceeded to attempt to seduce them, one of the teens whipped out the gun and shot the dealer dead. Subsequently, the elder’s teenage son went to prison and so did his friend, who wanted to be with Chuck Harris in prison where he had been sentenced after shooting Brenda James and several other people in the church. Chuck Harris was black and Brenda was white and the WCG was still in racist mode and would not permit them to marry. What Dennis Luker failed to fathom was that Chuck was already married to a woman in Canada who showed up rather unexpectedly.

Meanwhile, my daughter was BFFs with two other girls in the same congregation. One of them was the daughter of a psychopath and routinely took my daughter and the other girl on shoplifting tours of places like Nordstroms to take expensive items like scarves from the store. Her other friend shocked our daughter by revealing that her father had been committing incest with her and had raped her for years. These and many other events have scarred my daughter so horribly that she is terrified of attending any Armstrongist church again, even though it has been decades past: She just couldn’t stomach it. The sermons about demons didn’t help much and neither did the graphic descriptions of death, destruction, dystopia of the soon to come last days.

Somewhat earlier, a brilliant young teen with an unwed mother in the church experienced the benefits of having a WCG parent by ending up in a Juvenile Hall and being raped there by the other teens. He had done nothing, but his mother just wanted him to learn to stay in line. The situation ended up so bad that the State of Washington gave guardian custody rights to a single man in the church.

After dinner at the Night to Be Much Observed, the host sat with me and told me about the elder in the church who was a pedophile favoring young boys. He taught the Sabbath School. She told me the leading women in the church reported him to the local ministry. When they did not respond, they reported it to headquarters. Headquarters and Herbert Armstrong did nothing. She told me that the only thing left to them was to “watch” him on the Sabbath and the Holydays. I wondered what moves he may have tried to put on my son.

By this time, nearly everyone is familiar with the UCG stalking case where the ministry, supported by Dennis Luker, defended the protagonist instead of following Scripture and putting him out of the church. The couple had to pursue getting a court to issue a restraining order. What many people did not know is that there were other stalkers in United. One weird and creepy woman stalked a young man up until he married and left on his honeymoon. When he returned, she confronted him and told him (and this should sound so very familiar to people who have been stalked), “You are mine!”. A single woman in the Midwest had a man stalk her, also under the watchful eye of Dennis Luker, and he had the gall to sign her up secretly with an insurance agent for life insurance, with his wife and him as the beneficiary! We are all familiar with the Philadelphia Church of God under Gerald Flurry where young women are pushed into a relationship with weird creepy older bachelors.

We are also familiar with Terry Ratzmann and the Living Church of God in 2005 when he entered into Sabbath Services and shot the minister and several members. Attending church could very well be hazardous to your health (not that the other stories here diminish from that concept). Roderick Meredith’s little group isn’t particularly impressive in the realm of the fruit of the spirit and neither is the apologist Robert Thiel.

The positioning of the “leadership” in the hierarchy makes the following scenario believable:

The minister in Topeka has committed murder.

Do we think he can get away with it?

Yes, I think so.

Good! What can we do to cover it all up?

Byker Bob had an interesting comment in the last PT blog entry:

“I think this issue is simply too mind boggling for stalwart Armstrongites to even consider, let alone believe and react accordingly. The greater majority chalks it all up as persecution, and considers Satan to be the author.

The period of incest coincides with the time period when Herbert alleges that God was revealing to him the restored truths, which are the backbone of Armstrongism. Anyone who reads the Bible knows that the God described in its pages did not work directly through individuals involved in ongoing and systemic sin. Sin whores up the spiritual channel, so to speak. God does convert evil, kind of like spiritual karate, and turns it against itself, ultimately producing good, but in every case of perennial sin in the Bible, it had to be cleared up and corrected before God worked with and through different individuals as His spokespersons. Even the most diehard Armstrongite would recognize that basic truth, which is why there is such a wall of denial. To acknowledge ten years of this type of sin, they’d have to question and ultimately reject the so-called restored truths.

BTW, incest is an example of “mala in se”, an act considered so totally evil by all society, that a perpetrator is automatically reduced to non-person status, and anything that person had to say, or any good activities throughout his or her life are totally invalidated.”

BB

Herbert Armstrong was the source of this mess: His actions were so totally evil that by the standards of all society, that he would be automatically reduced to non-person status, and anything that he had to say, or any good activities throughout his life would be totally invalidated. Yet here we are. He is thought to be a great man. People idolize him. They call him, “Mr. Armstrong”. They say (in excusing his behavior): “But he brought us the truth!”. The reality was that Armstrong was responsible for warping and twisting the thinking of his followers — and worse, his ministers — so badly that they accept the weirdness and the risk of attending church in a completely dysfunctional environment fraught with danger. It might not seem so, but lurking behind those smiles and quality wool suits, there is a darkness that would never accept a message from any Holy Spirit.

Here we are, just days away from Ronald Weinland of the CoG-PKG being sentenced for 5 felony convictions of Income Tax Evasion by the Justice Department.

We also have other history, such as the minister who ended up in John Rittenbaugh’s Church of the Great God. The man was originally in the WCG where, as was related to me by Rex Sexton in the United Church of God, an International Association over lunch at Azteca, he raped 16 teenage daughters and 8 of their mothers. The man went from the WCG to Global under Roderick Meredith where he eventually was fired and he went with John Rittenbaugh and the Church of the Great God. In 2003, at the Feast of Tabernacles in Redmond, Oregon, I talked with John Cafourek — who, incidentally, has a degree and certification in counselling — who told me that he was the first one to report this man to headquarters in Pasadena. Their response to Mr. Cafourek? “Oh, but he gives such great sermons!” We’ll wait while you roll your eyes.

The reason I met with Rex Sexton in Azteca was to present to him my “Ministerial Guide to Mental Disorders” and discuss it with him: I knew that there was a dearth of material from which to draw and there were many problems in the Armstrongist Churches of God in this regard. (Later, I sent information and a link to the leader of every major church of God about the solution to the problem of alcoholism in the church — Rational Recovery — which was also ignored and rejected, particularly by Gerald Flurry.) He proceeded to tell me about a woman in his congregation who was married and had a job with a governmental agency. Once a month, she received her paycheck and disappeared for three or four days: She went binge drinking and sleeping around with other guys; then she would go back to work, to start the whole cycle over again. I’m not certain why he told me this in front of the other patrons and the wait staff.

Part of the reason I presented my Guide was because I knew of the terrible problems with mental illness in the church, not just among the members, but the ministers as well. One of these ministers wrote an article in the Good News about The Bible Keys to Mental Health. I knew that he had a mental illness when I met him — people in the church told me that he was just not coming to grips with his problems with mental illness, which is certainly clear in the Good News article. If you read it and know something about the issues, the advice to just be positive conveniently sidesteps the potential danger of not having the disease treated. Scripture claims that those with the Holy Spirit have the power of a sound mind. If that is true, there is something very wrong with the Armstrongist Churches of God. Do you really want to have mentally ill ministers giving you sermons and then advise you about mental health, when they have unresolved issues themselves and their advice (of non treatment from mental health professionals) could lead to your death?

It’s hard to write this: It brings such pain. If it were just history, I wouldn’t mention it, but it never really gets any better. The only thing that happens is that there are fewer opportunities for the sociopath and psychopath ministers and members who do such things — but make no mistake, they still go on and that’s the point! The injustices go on and on and there is no real advocate. Joyce, whose husband is the Living Church of God, related the tragedy that her husband has become a terror in following Roderick Meredith: She wanted to know what she should do? Their long term marriage was falling apart. The only real advice I could give her was to try to find what she needed in “Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships” by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias. Though the book as a resource is not specific to Armstrongism, you will certainly find that it has all the elements of it and does a good job on how to escape and recover from such cults as Armstrongism.

So while it may seem like Jon was over the top in his comment, the truth lies in the horror that many people face in the mean spirited practices of the ministry and membership of the Armstrongist cult. As a side note, the man whose father was the publisher of a sacred names newspaper who also debated with Herbert Armstrong in the 1940s, told me that he had an inside memo from Squaw Valley, telling the Church to clean up the bottles and cans of booze the members had left around. Jon’s comment, “Those who run the hotels will be busy cleaning out the empty bottles and cans. Maids and janitors will be busy indeed. Cleaning up puke, spilled drinks off carpets, but hopefully they can make a little more money doing their mundane jobs and return these bottles and cans for the deposit.”, may be sarcasm, but it is on spot. Armstrongism has a history and that history has taken us into the new millennium — but certainly not the millennium the Armstrongists were promised, and they should all think really hard about that.

If there is one thing we should have learned is that people in the WCG absolutely did not know one another. We may have been told, “We are family,” but it simply was not true — it was all artificial. When the WCG began changing the doctrines and when it all came to a head, people went their separate ways: People who sat together in services for decades simply did not know what their “brethren” in the church really believed. When it was all said and done, people were spun off in all sorts of directions and certainly did not speak the same things.

The reason that everyone stayed together as long as they did should be evident: It was, as Herbert Armstrong said, the Worldwide Church of Gossip. People were addicted to curiosity to find out what was going on. Many think it was because they had a social connection, but it is clear that they wanted to get the goods on their church “neighbor”. That yellow sheet journalism experiment, The Journal, continues the stupidity with Dixon Cartwright knowingly maintaining a newspaper filled with strange articles, with stranger advertising, written by extremely strange people, all in an effort to make the entire Armstrongist community seem genteel and civilized when it is nothing of the kind. People are addicted to infotainment involving perceived celebrities at the center of their eschatology with a slavish dedication to watch church news so they can be counted worthy of attention of their associates in the church. If people left, they would sorely miss the continuing soap opera of “as the church turns”. They just can’t leave — they are slaves of their passion to get all the news of the other church people that can fit in their minuscule minds. It’s like a small town, best described by Bob Hope: People are so narrow, their ears overlap.

If you are disfellowshipped, you will learn instantly that you really didn’t have any friends in the Armstrong community, particularly if you brought to light something the cult wanted to keep hidden. It could be worse than that: In some of the extreme Armstrongist cults, people have found themselves stalked or worse. Many have had repeated phone calls late at night with those who hang up immediately when they answer. Some have had to contact the police and the FBI. A few are threatened in other ways, such as being threatened with lawsuits or other forms of extortion. If you leave, it depends, but under some circumstances, you might just want to drop off the grid when you leave.

Indeed perilous times have come.

So yes, we do seem to be in the last days.

The last days of Armstrongism.

And we’re just fine with that.

Summary of the Gerringer Letter

High points of Gerringer’s letter posted below.

A must read for those Weinland followers.


 

 

To see how inspired and Godly this supposed “understanding” has been, I would like to quote from just a few of the writings of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and others in the Worldwide Church of God. I would first like to refer to one of the original issues of the Plain Truth, June, 1934. On page 3 Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong has drawn a chronological chart of end-time events.” In this chart the “tribulation” is diagrammed as ending in 1936. 1936 is also labeled “End of Age.” Immediately thereafter are the “heavenly signs” and then the “Day of the Lord.”

Now to quote Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in the May/June, 1941 issue of the Plain Truth: “Since the last issue many things have occurred, every one in accordance with prophecy! … War events thunder on, rapidly approaching the prophesied climax! … Hitler now emerges as the “BEAST” of Revelation! Bible prophecy shows the Roman Axis forces will take Egypt, Suez, Palestine, –even Gibraltar. Britain will go down. And, unless we turn as a nation to God our beloved United States will have to go under … We lack space for more detailed comment on specific prophesied events in this number. Without (a spiritual turnaround) we (USA) lack TOTAL Defense, without which we shall never win. We are at the END of the present order. ARMAGEDDON is now just a short way off.”

Now to quote Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, September/October, 1941 issue of the Plain Truth, page 7: “What does Hitler’s invasion of Russia mean? What does BIBLE PROPHECY say about it? As usual, there are many ideas. So FEW, it seems, have a right understanding of the Bible and its prophecies (You can say that again!) Plain Truth readers know world events, before they occur. … Hitler MUST BE THE VICTOR in his present Russian invasion! A settlement will be reached, giving Hitler the supplies and resources he must have and undoubtedly part of Western Siberia. The terms will give Hitler assurance that the Red army is unable to attack him, as Hitler turns his wrecking machine to the British Isles, the United States, and Palestine. Hitler will emerge from this Russian campaign stronger than ever, free to turn the entire might of his forces against Britain — and AMERICA!”

Plain Truth, May, 1950, page 5, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Most certainly it is easily possible the thing (US of Europe) will be fully developed and ready to strike in seven years! Yes, time is running out on us … One third of our people will die from starvation … and in the next FEW YEARS!”

Plain Truth, Aug., 1952, page 10, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Thus it has been proved conclusively and beyond doubt, that Hitler did not die — his body was not there — HE HAD ESCAPED! … The next Pope will be a professed miracle worker, as supposed proof that God is using him to order and pacify the world!”

Plain Truth, April, 1956, pages 3, 23, 24, Herman L.. Hoeh: “PLAGUES are coming –and, according to this prophetic warning, in about two years from now. … For seven long and frightful years we are going to suffer as never before –until we are left “few in number!” We have about reached our population peak, despite the guesses of our political and industrial planners. In another ten years for fear of Communist terrorism it won’t be safe to live in Asia or in Africa.’… This most important Work will in all probability be completed in 1972: The coming Fascist-religious revival of Europe will conquer us within a prophetically indicated 17 years!”

“1975 in Prophecy!” 1956, pages 10, 12, 20, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Indications of prophecy are that this drought … will strike sooner than 1975 — probably between 1965 and 1972! At the outset of article I stated that the KEYS that had kept prophetic doors locked and closed from human understanding have now been found — or, more properly, been given to us by God …

Yes, millions of lukewarm inactive professing Christians will suffer MARTYRDOM — and that before the anticipated push-button leisure-year of 1975 dawns upon us!”

Plain Truth, August, 1957, page 5, Rodrick C. Meredith: “We will soon find that hoof-and-mouth disease will spread COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL! These things are not far off. They are here and NOW! DISEASE EPIDEMICS are prophesied to begin soon! America, WAKE UP! After 1965, we are destined to run into increased trouble with the Gentile nations. America and Britain will begin to suffer from trade embargoes….We will begin to experience the pangs of starvation and of scarcity of goods!”

“A True History of the True Church”, 1959, page 27, Hoeh: “God has given His Church — THIS CHURCH — just two nineteen year cycles … The first cycle passed. Then God suddenly opened the door for the second cycle in January, 1953.”

Plain Truth, December, 1962, page 42, Herman L. Hoeh: “Russia and China Will NOT Split . -. Russia and China are to remain allies!”

Plain Truth, Jan., 1963, page 21, Herbert W. Armstrong: “Somewhere along about seven to ten years from now the REVOLUTION IN THE WEATHER will become a national and international calamity. Drought, epidemics of disease, will reap a mounting harvest of death across North America — and in Britain. Economic depression will strike …And the time will be right for the new United Europe to strike!”

Plain Truth, June, 1963, page 46, Rodrick C. Meredith: “This coming, revived Holy Roman Empire which is prophesied to arise in Europe and CONQUER America and Britain within the next ten to twelve years …

Plain Truth, Mar. 1964, page 48, Herman L. Hoeh: “We face a national catastrophe before 1975!”

Plain Truth, Nov. 1964, page 32, Eugene Walter: “In the next few years it is entirely possible that some of the satellite countries will break away from Russia altogether. East Germany could well become reunited with West Germany. Rumania and Hungary are also good candidates to join the West.”

Plain Truth, May 1965, Page 21, Raymond F.. McNair: “The greatest proof that the ‘times of the Gentiles’ have not yet ended is the simple fact that the Gentile Arabs are still in possession of the old city of Jerusalem. They will remain in control of this city until the second coming of Christ.”

Plain Truth, Mar. 1966, page 22, Charles Dorothy: “Hitler escaped, probably to Argentina!”

Plain Truth, Feb. 1967, page 47, Herbert W. Armstrong: “The ‘Day of the Eternal’ … is going to strike between 5 and 10 years from now!”

“The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy,” 1967, pages XI-XII, Herbert W. Armstrong: “The events prophesied to strike the American and British peoples in the next four to seven years are SURE! That is why the events of the next four to seven years may prove this to be the most significant book of this century. These colossal world events, shrinking the first two world wars into insignificance, WILL COME, on schedule.”

Plain Truth, Feb., 1970, page 27, Raymond F. McNair: “Will Britain ever be admitted to the Common Market? Probably not!”

I have given you about twenty quotes out of about one hundred which I have collected — predictions made by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and others which did not materialize. The Worldwide Church of God always tries to speak with dogmatic assurity; however in the case of prophecy, their absolute-ism has been quite reckless.

In the Feb., 1972, Tomorrow’s World, pages 30-31, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong tries to claim they never really made specific predictions: “It has never been our intention to SET DATES! Yet, in our human zeal and enthusiasm we have a few times come close to it or appeared to.. Yet, in our zeal, we have used ‘possibles’ and ‘probablys’ and even appeared to set dates we really didn’t intend to set.”