Brilliant, smart, clever, shrewd, cunning, witty, sophisticated, precise, complex, accurate — you can be all of those things and more. You may be highly educated with an M.B.A. from Harvard, a PhD in Nuclear Physics from M.I.T., an Aeronautical Engineer from Princeton and / or a whole host of other credentials. You might be an experienced and highly regarded linguist, archeologist, astronomer, Corporate Director / Vice President, historian, nutritionist, Medical Doctor, Lawyer, C.P.A, Network Engineer, automotive designer or working in a whole host of other careers.
Last week, I interviewed with Boeing at the Aeronautical Engineering Division where jets are engineered to fly. It’s complex and engineers are treated well — they are respected professionals and their time is highly valued. I’ve known any number of people in the WCG and United who have worked at Boeing and even IBM. One engineer I knew designed the Boeing 737 autopilot. He went to retire, but Boeing kept calling him back to work on it up to the age of 75 years old. I’ve met a man in the church who actually writes assembly language code for started tasks on the IBM Mainframe z/OS environment. He designed and wrote an interface to an artificial package which was bought by IBM. The IMS team shipped him over the code to use as a pattern. He quickly noted that the IMS started tasks had a fatal error and showed them how to fix it, before he went on with his own work.
There have been any number of brilliant people in the Armstrongist churches of God.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t mean a thing.
God only reveals his truth to His Apostles and Evangelist leaders in the cult of Armstrongism.
Nothing you say has any credibility.
No matter what facts, data, truth, witnesses you may bring to the table, if you disagree with the Cultmeister over you, you are rebellious, know nothing and have no status or standing to say anything.
It does not matter if you can absolutely prove beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt six ways from Sunday that British Israelism is a steaming pile of horse manure.
It does not matter if you can absolutely prove that church history is fabricated and there is no such thing as eras.
It does not matter if you can absolutely prove there is no such thing as second tithe.
Your job is to be lied to and provide the money: Only The Leader matters and you are wrong and nothing, no matter what.
If you violate this #1 law, Frances Horibe, author of “Creating the Innovation Culture: Leveraging Visionaries, Dissenters and Other Useful Troublemakers in Your Organization”, tells you what comes next (note that the illustrations are for the Corporate environment):
Stage 1: Arguing
At Stage 1, it is assumed the dissenter just doesn’t know any better and is amenable to “rational” discussion. Some of the arguments you’ll her:
“It’ll never work.“
“The boss will never go for it.“
“It’s not what we do around here.“
“Things are okay as they are.“
Stage 2: Listening But Not Hearing
If the dissenter persists in his wrong-headed view, things stay polite but subtle messages are sent.
“Yes, we’ve heard from you on that. Anybody else got some different ideas?“
“Thanks for your contribution.“
“Maybe you should put that in writing so we all have a good idea of what you mean.“
Stage 3: Laughing It Off
Before they hit this stage, most team players are astute enough to realize they need to tone down their advocacy. But those who don’t get it begin to get teased about their persistence.
“This is a real hobbyhorse, isn’t it? When are you going to get off and give somebody else a chance to ride?“
“If you’re so smart, how come you ain’t rich?“
“Can I give you a quarter to phone somebody who cares?“
You note that nowhere are people talking about the real issues — like how inconvenient, threatening, or difficult it will be to implement the dissenter’s idea. Often, it’s because the idea is inconvenient, threatening, or difficult that this whole process gets invoked to begin with. It is at this point that the focus moves from the dissenter’s ideas to the dissenter himself [the ad hominem argument]. It stops being about whether the idea makes sense and starts being about the dissenter’s personality flaws.
Stage 4: Ignoring
If ridicule doesn’t work, the powers-that-be start to get a little ticked. Although they’d never say it, they’re beginning to feel that if the dissenter had any sensitivity or even manners, he’d stop bothering them. They bring into play one of the most powerful weapons–silence. When the dissenter speaks, no one replies; the conversation continues as if he had never spoken. If he persists, he gets:
“We’ve been over that ground before. I was looking for new ideas.“
“I don’t think we’ll get to your item today. Maybe next time.“
While in the previous stage people kept their expressions carefully neutral, now nonverbal cues are more evident. Rolling eyeballs and sighs are prominent.
Stage 5: Making Invisible
Still some people don’t get it. They persist despite the increasingly unfriendly environment. The heat is turned up. Not only will the boss refuse to engage in further discussion but also funny things start to happen. Somehow, the dissenter’s name gets left off distribution lists. Invitations to important meetings aren’t forthcoming. Decisions are taken without his input. It’s as if he has disappeared.
Stage 6: Forbidding
Some dissenters won’t take their invisibility lying down. Then the big guns come out. If the dissenter continues to push his unpopular views, someone will finally drag him into a room and say:
“You are to focus on assigned projects, not just on the ones you want to do.“
“Stop wasting other people’s time by pushing your pet project.“
“I forbid you to work on that idea.“
Sanctions may or may not be threatened. If the dissenter has taken the issue this far, he may see his fight as a matter of principle. Backing down would be a comment on him, on his integrity. But equally, the boss has had it, and the idea the dissenter has will be implemented only over several dead bodies.
Stage 7: Getting Rid of the Dissenter
If the situation gets to this stage, war has been declared and both sides are focused not on what’s good for the company but on winning. And, just given the way of the world, the power is on the side of the higher-ups. If the dissenter ignores the previous injunctions, any number of things can happen.
“I don’t think your skills are up to this position. There’s a job for paper-pusher in Division M.“
“You need to report through Bob now. He’ll vet any of your ideas.“
“Somebody has to be laid off. I regret it has to be you.“
“We don’t have a place for you in this organization.“
For those of us who have read The Ambassador Reports, this is all too familiar — since it was standard practice in the WCG in Pasadena and Big Sandy Texas and is the methodology of the GCI. Of course, it goes on within the rest of the Armstrongists, all the way from Arguing to Disfellowshipment. This doesn’t always work out, as United might be able to tell you, having lost at least 40 congregations in ten years (we’ve lost count, sorry) to the split with the Church of God, Worldwide Association. With Weinland and his PKG group, he seems to alternate between laughing it off and ignoring the dissidents — the only problem is, he’s about to be sentenced, so whatever he does probably has very impact on the dissenters except to make them more determined to expose him for the fraud he is.
All the people in the Living Church of God under Roderick Meredith need to perform the following experiment: Gather your facts and go to him to prove once and for all that British Israelism is nonsense, church history is a fraud and that he is a false prophet. You might even be a Pastor ranked minister or a Regional Pastor. You know, he’s the legacy from Herbert Armstrong who said, “Prove us wrong and we will change”. Of course, you need to keep firmly in mind that Roderick Meredith has proclaimed that he has not committed a major sin since his baptism, so be certain to document in writing the major sins he has committed to show them to him. Then stand back and see how quickly he runs through the seven stages.
One of the more, shall we say, colorful, of the gurus which sprang forth from the high school dropout with just an eighth grade education, turned Chancellor of a College, Herbert Armstrong is Yisrayl Hawkins. It’s interesting to see his former wife’s book, The House of Yahweh: My Side of the Story by Kay Hawkins is treated at Amazon.com. A comment by James A. Schmelig says: “Now that you’re read the obviously biased hand wringing of a woman scorned, maybe you would like to read the most authoritative investigative report about The House of Yahweh ever published. It is titled “The House of Yahweh EXPOSED! – Saints or Sinister?” by James Arthur. When we look up The House of Yahweh EXPOSED! – Saints or Sinister?, we spend so many pages looking at how corrupt the United States government is and how the truth has been covered up, until we find that James Arthur is actually for Yisrayl Hawkins. We also learn that The House of Yahweh started in the Garden of Eden. The author also tells us a bit about himself: A former (?) alcoholic (no such thing), drug abuser, liar, thief, sexual degenerate, despot, convicted felon and ex-convict who spent 10 years in prison by the time he was 28 years old. (Page 215) He tried the shallow superficial dogma of Christianity, but (darn it all!) Yisrayl Hawkins brought him the light and reformed him! Of course, Yisrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins is a proven false prophet, not unlike Ronald Weinland. He did, however, write his own version of Scripture, The Book of Yahwey. Many reviewers question the source of the translation and not a few reject the book as being heretical. One reviewer noted how many references were changed in favor of polygamy.
The issue here is how people are silenced and certainly the comment, “Now that you’re read the obviously biased hand wringing of a woman scorned…” is designed to question the credibility of someone who actually lived with the cult leader.
Armstrongism is based on silencing visionaries, dissenters and troublemakers, because Armstrongism itself is based on lies, deceptions, weirdness (the favorite of which is the guy who claims demons are coming to earth through a stargate at the bottom of the ocean), insanity (Richard Brothers who invented British Israelism was in an insane asylum because he was a danger to others) cast by narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and nutjobs. Yet, they expect us to swallow their Flavorade with a straight face.
In the book, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, authors Dr. Paul Babiak and Dr. Robert Hare answer the question, “What is the difference between a sociopath and psychopath” beginning on Page 19:
Psychopaths are without conscience and incapable of empathy, guilt, or loyalty to anyone but themselves.
Sociopaths may have a well-developed conscience and a normal capacity for empathy, guilt, and loyalty, but their sense of right and wrong is based on the norms and expectations of their subculture or group.
In other words, sociopaths have what is known as a “conditional conscience” based on the beliefs of those with whom they associate. The best example of this is the Mafia, where the behavior toward members of the group is far different — and the expectations are far different — than from the rest of the world: You can lie, steal, cheat, murder in order to advance the cause of your group, but not to those in the hierarchy within the group. As a Mafia Don, people were loyal to Herbert Armstrong and it was fine for both he and the members of the WCG to lie, steal, cheat and practice deception as long as the goal was to advance the WCG. The ministry was indoctrinated with “the end justifies the means” ethic (which is no ethic at all), so by implication, most of the Worldwide Church of God and the Armstrongist churches of God is basically populated by sociopaths, with the exception of the narcissists, psychopaths and nutjobs which occupy various levels within the hierarchy. Nothing matters except to protect the viability of the organization (which has no socially redeeming qualities within itself). All dissenters will be dealt with in the manner revealed by Frances Horibe. If you don’t believe that, just try dissenting and see what happens.
Those who leave Armstrongism need to be very much aware that their conscience has become warped and twisted in ways to adapt to the nature of the thinking of Herbert Armstrong. You’ve been adapted to accept injustices which would not be acceptable to the normal ordinary member of the rest of society because you have become a sociopath with antisocial behavior: You are looking for the end of the world, the destruction of society and, in most cases, have come to believe that people in terrible circumstances out in the world must attend to the dead burying their dead. You’ve been conditioned to do absolutely nothing but stand by, watching the horrors of others in your life, waiting for Jesus Christ to return to fix everything. You’ve accepted the idea that even if you could do something about it, you won’t because you feel that it’s just not your job. As Robert Dick in the United Church of God, an International Association said, “This is not the time of justice”. And folks, he also means it as far as the church is concerned. You have a conscience that was not bothered by false prophets spouting false prophecies and you have been satisfied to just sit back and prove exactly nothing. You take your cult leader’s word for it. You march on as a loyal soldier in your cult and never question your General, whether it is the Pastor General, Coordinator General or General kook leader, no matter how corrupt and wrong he is — up to and including becoming a convicted felon. If you know of a crime committed by a minister or you Leader, your job is to cover it up, ignore it and act as if it is normal.
It will take a very long time to construct a valid conscience, if it is even possible.
So you can be brilliant, smart, clever, shrewd, cunning, witty, sophisticated, precise, complex, accurate, but not within the confines of the craziness of the Armstrongist cult. They will find ways to make you submissive, for example, they will tangibly lower your IQ by making you feel stupid. Research has shown that the IQ of people can be lowered by as much as 40 points by convincing people they are stupid — and the Armstrongists certainly do a good job of that. They have these secret wonderful “truths” (lies) to which the world is not privy — which means that you are a novice when you take up with them to enter into their ranks: Nothing you say, do or are means anything, because the leadership has all the truth and your vision, perspectives and knowledge is irrelevant. You can’t know the truth. It is only revealed to the incompetent false prophet End Time Apostle. Only when you realize this and become nothing more that a stupid drone can you become someone.
It means nothing unless you have the power.