Blast from the Past…
By John O.
It’s usually pretty windy on the Valley Isle of Maui in Hawaii. It’s especially noticeable when it’s regularly blowing across the commercially, sub-divided and sea-level land mass that’s comfortably sagged low in between the two mountain areas. Sugar cane is the main product grown there, and the yellow-green stalks are usually bent to a flattened top by the blustery, humid winds. The lively airport at Kahului has a reputation – besides Aloha – of having bouncy runways to land on, and since a buddy of mine and I fought a choppy landing there down Runway 2, in a Cessna 150 many years ago, we can confirm the constantly blustery and often touted gusts of ten to thirty knots. You flair for landing, start to settle, get a gust and fly again. And people wonder why aircraft often bounce their landings on Maui. Wonder no more.
It was on such a gusty day and in a state park near the Kahului airport that I spoke to a deep-rooted Worldwide Church of Goder may years ago. He and his wife were seemingly nice enough, outwardly, but they had an inflexible loyalty to Herbert W. Armstrong, and supported the Worldwide Church of God madness that was coming to one of its climaxes at the time. It was near the end of my Worldwide Church of God stay and it was obvious that I wasn’t getting through. It had finally occurred to me what the whole she-bang at Pasadena was doing. This was all a business, and every current member was getting screwed. I tried to explain. The two of us sat on a log in the park, and he confidently spoke to me with his observation.
“You know,” he said, “my wife and I have thought it all out, and we’re convinced that what God really wants from us in this end time, is LOYALTY.” When I left for Oahu, I was depressed. He didn’t get the obvious. And I felt I’d failed him . . . and her.
Loyalty was a big thing in those times, and still is – from what I hear, and a person is judged by the cult as to how “loyal” they are. The nazi approach is “in” and to question anything is “disloyal” and anathema. Some people may think I exaggerated when I say that members would (like the Jim Jones cult) have gladly drank poison in 1979 if Herbert W. Armstrong had said asked it. This is NO exaggeration, as I heard people say it. Cult madness goes this far . . . and beyond.
This is the extent to which blind loyalty can take a person . . . to their death. And the unfortunate thing is that people who are still in cults cannot see that their brains are continually being so fried that they lose all objectivity and perspective. We all know about the Jim Jones case, but David Koresh was similar. From what has emerged later, we know that Koresh ran a cult that was willing to stick together to the end. They actually thought (from ex-members) that this was the end, and whatever happened was God’s will.
Personally, I feel that it’s no one’s business as to what a person thinks or believes. Nor do I give a hoot what weapons they may have had on the premises (2nd Amendment rights), as long as it was all legal. While it now seems evident that the FBI and ATF possibly started the fire that killed those dozens, the whole situation would never have evolved if it hadn’t been for blind loyalty on the part of the followers. This aberrant behaviour (and snitchers) is what attracted the authorities. While it’s no one’s business what the cult LEGALLY did within the confines of their own boundaries, such loyalty should never have reached such a hysterical level. Koresh was wrong, but did anyone learn from it? There is a spirit of dumb, blind, and unswerving loyalty that magnetizes certain of us, sucks us in, and if we don’t escape it in time, it could undoubtedly kill us. History is our best teacher.
Herbert has multiplied. Cultic madness, it seems, appears to flow like sewerage. It’s amazing when so many upper “rank” hirelings KNEW of the falsehoods of Worldwide Church of God that they now continue to teach this rubbish under their own cult banners. And the loyalty issue is no different. It’s all a part of the same deceptive package. If any of these ego-driven characters can really convince a congregation that they are truly God’s servants, then who knows what the outcome will be? What happens if there’s an investigation into their own predictably profitable corporations? Can the Guyana syndrome be far behind? NO, many will scream, that could NEVER happen. But who could have predicted the 1979 insanity?
A cultmaster will always keep his congregation following on an “alert” basis. The brethren are always looking for the enemy “out there,” and cannot see that the real enemy is actually standing right in the pulpit. This is because they have been duped into a false idea of “fear” loyalty. They surely all feel they’re right, but they haven’t really proved all things – much like we didn’t – and as such, they’ll surrender their thinking over to the leadership to take them into the fires of hell, if need be . . . right to a brightly colored and sugar flavored vat of cyanide.
It may be easy to scoff at the possibility of a “loyalty call to the death,” but to ignore the lessons of history would be unwise, and to disregard the capabilities of malevolent cults is simply irresponsible. Hindsight is great. We’re all philosophers when it comes to the past. But no one predicted Jonestown. No one predicted Waco. No one predicted Pasadena 1979. We came so close. And which town is next?
Let’s not kid ourselves, while there are cults, there’s a danger to people in them. While people listen to ANYONE as “God’s servant,” then there’s a danger of mental and spiritual abandonment to some man whose ideas will always fizzle. Men die, and that includes this one, and our ideas will ALWAYS be replaced. Please, watch always for the cultic signs. There are many agendas and different approaches, however, that we can look at to guide all of us. And one big one is LOYALTY.
Loyalty, of itself, is NOT bad. We all have loyalty to our families, friends, neighbors, and naturally, our country. This loyalty is good, and for the most part, healthy. But this is a loyalty based on LOVE. We love our families, friends, country, etc. And we hold to those ideals because we believe in the love of one another, and the love of our country and the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights, and the forever spirit of a great people. But all this is a loyalty spawned from love. We hold and treasure these things. This is loyalty because we love these things.
But there is another type of loyalty, and that is a loyalty based on fear and coercion. This is where Communism gathered so much momentum over the years. This is where the teachings of Mao’s madness once earned domination. Loyalty in China didn’t happen because of love. Loyalty only happened, because if you weren’t loyal, then you’d earn 2ozs of brass-coated lead propelled through the back of your head at over 2k fps. And so, everyone sang the ego-maniac Mao’s praises. And they all read his silly little Red Book which, in the spirit of Herbert W. Armstrong, he plagiarized from Confucius, Lao Tsu, and other earlier Chinese philosophers.
And so it was, in the 1930’s and early 1940’s in Germany and it’s dominated territory. So many people knew they were dealing with a bunch of lunatics in the Reichstag. But, when the S.S. passed by, all smiled, clicked heels, and chanted “Heil Hitler.” Fear dominated over so many of those people of Europe, but the average person had no recourse. They either conformed or they were shot.
However, if we are to chart the rise of Hitler or Mao in their early years, we can see that neither had enough power, at that initial stage, to ensure unswerving loyalty to their causes. In their earlier times, anyone who disagreed with them was simply kicked out of the organization, ridiculed, ostracized, and ostensibly . . . marked. Sound familiar? That was the beginning. But, it was allowed to grow.
Cancer starts from a single cell. If unobserved, it can take over a whole body. That’s why doctors recommend regular checkups. And spiritual cancer starts also with a single premise. One cancerous premise is – loyalty based on fear. If undetected, it can take over the whole congregation, organization, and who knows what will happen from there? Remember Jim Jones? Remember David Koresh? Remember 1979?
Alarmist? Maybe. But let me direct the reader to the 1930 Jewish attitude in Berlin, Warsaw, and Vienna. All this led to Dachau, Treblinka, Belsen, Auschwitz, et al. No one took any notice there either. No problems, guys. It could never happen, people said, but it did. And that SAME, IDENTICAL spirit of human domination and cruelty washes through the cults of Worldwide Church of God+ groups to this day. While this is NOT an accusation, it IS a call to watch the progress of your favorite cult.
Where will it all go? Who can tell? If many of these Christian cults (and we’re loaded with them – more politically called “Organized Christianity”) ever get together, then this will form a solid barrier of problems for any ensconced member. Fear can control a lot of people. The State of California learned this in 1979. Herbert W. Armstrong always bellowed that Worldwide Church of God was the “one and only” true church, but when push came to shove, like always, apostle Herbert took the coward’s way out. He invoked the right of ALL religions to do their own thing, and yelled (from a great Tucsonic distance) that “we” are all being persecuted. And suddenly, a remarkable thing happened . . . and – like the theme of CAMELOT – it came for only “one brief, shining moment.” Worldwide Church of God was an integral part of everything it hated. It had suddenly now become as Protestant as everyone else. And all the Worldwide Church of God loyalists gullibly nodded in approval.
We’ve seen the brainwashing and what has happened. So, what COULD happen?
The loyalty syndrome in the hireling ministry is usually based on one thing. And that’s security. There’s always a fear of losing that mammon, and I’ve spoken to many who’ve made that decision. Since I had a previous career, the transition was easier than most, but for those who did it without question with nothing to fall back upon, then my hat is off to them. Many, I’ve since heard, have fallen on hard times, but many have prospered. I don’t know why many have it hard and others don’t, but I do know the hirelings that stayed with their cults, invariably do so out of “loyalty” to their mammon – a pittance of what’s absorbed totally by the cult. Sure, these hirelings always try to justify their behaviour, but they’re fooling no one. Money talks.
Loyalty should only be based on love, and can never be honestly based on anything else. If anyone’s loyalty is driven by demand, fear, greed, or guilt, then please – from a former cult member and hireling – please question EVERYTHING.