And what’s more, it’s not going to be at all what you expect….
We know what you’re thinking! We think so too! Dr. Robert Thiel just could not have written this! After all, Bob Thiel is a spirit led Christian Prophet of Jesus with the Spirit of a sound mind and this just isn’t it!
We think we have an explanation. We believe you will find it compelling.
As some of you may know, Google has an impressive language translation feature called, appropriately enough, Google Translate. Now Google has brought us some of the finest technology available to mankind and has advanced civilization to an unprecedented degree.
Unfortunately, language is highly complex reflecting millenia of evolution. Technology is constantly being honed to bring better and better translations to the table. Google has mostly done that, bridging the gaps of communications throughout the world to connect societies. In some cases, however, the message suffers in the translation. We believe that is the case here.
In this multinational corporational world, publishing is often accomplished using various subcontractors in different countries. Let us suppose that Dr. Robert Thiel created his manuscript and submitted it for publication. You can click on the above cover illustration and it will take you to Amazon.com where you can either buy the paperback edition or read the Kindle edition online for free if you are a Kindle Unlimited user. The question is, how did these products come to be? Suppose the manuscript was sent first to India for initial setup. Now while the people in India have 500 million English speakers, it would be much simpler to translate it using Google Translate to the local Indian dialect. Next in processing, suppose the partially transformed manuscript was sent to the Philippines for further processing where it was translated into one of the Philippino dialects. After that, the Russians get it and transform it into Russian via Google Translate. Finally, the Chinese take it and format the final copies into first Chinese, using Google Translate and then to English using Google Translate again.
This is not as far fetched as you might think. In fact, any number of people have been experimenting with Google Translate doing just that to improve the product (we suppose). We can completely remove all your skepticism with an example of a Miley Cyrus Song, “Wrecking Ball” using this method.
In the following example you will be able to extrapolate what has happened to Robert Thiel’s publication and settle in your own mind that nothing you read there was Bob Thiel’s original intention. It’s unfortunate that it appears that he is accusing Hillary Clinton of being the Antichrist and the one responsible for the coming World War III when she becomes President in 2016. Frankly, we can’t be sure what the book was about. Maybe it’s about Hillary Clinton’s efforts to bring world peace when she was Secretary of State. Who knows? Maybe we will never know.
Anyway, after you view the following, you will be convinced that the whole thing was a ghastly mistake:
Herbert Armstrong wrote The Proof of the Bible in 1958 (no one can be quite sure if he plagiarized the material or who he might have plagiarized it from). Unfortunately, the so-called “proofs” are all based on Old Testament Prophecies — touted by him to be absolute proof because they were fulfilled, thus “proving” the Bible. Now those of us who have our own copy and have studied Pseudoscience and Extraordinary Claims of the Paranormal: A Critical Thinker’s Toolkit by Johathan C. Smith can spot the problems with The Proof of the Bible almost instantly. We won’t bore you with the disproved theory that Tyre was actually not destroyed — it still exists. No, we ask you to skip forward to page 22 and read the section Why Egypt is a Weak Nation. Herbert Armstrong quotes Ezekiel 29:15-16 where he makes a point that Egypt will be the basest of kingdoms! How did he do? How did the Bible do on this one?
It’s hard to get our arms around this because, really, the statement is pretty vague. Nevertheless, let’s use a commonly agreed upon measure of a country’s viability and ranking by selecting the List of Countries by GDP (PPP). Data from the World Bank ranking Gross Domestic Product for the years 2005-2013 rank Egypt #25 out of 179 countries with a GDP of $910 Billion. That’s fairly respectable. Of course, the United States, China, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Brazil, France, United Kingdom are ranked at the top above Egypt as you might have suspected. What’s interesting though, is the nations ranked below Egypt: Countries such as Netherlands, South Africa, Columbia, Venezuela, Philippines, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland (who knew?), Iraq (Iraq?), Sweden and Switzerland. The most interesting one, though is… wait for it… Israel! Israel was ranked at #54 with a GDP of $264 Billion.
So if Egypt is the basest of nations, are we to assume that Israel, the specially selected country chosen by God, is even more base? If you use the objective measurement of Gross Domestic Product, the answer is obviously, yes. So much for Herbert Armstrong’s Bible Prophecy (not that he wasn’t a huge failure in this department anyway). The Proof of the Bible is no such thing. And not to put to fine a point on it, The Proof of the Bible doesn’t even begin to address the New Testament, it’s provenance and the questions about such books as II Peter, the gospels and Revelation being forged: The Proof is more than a little thin — it’s only about a small part of the Old Testament and a few prophecies given there — it does not address the Big Picture at all.
Some of the ministers in the Armstrongist churches seem to have realized that no one can actually prove the Bible is true and may believe the information from Theologians, such as David Fitzgerald at Skepticon 3 “Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus”:
Byker Bob wrote, over at Banned!:
Many groups over the millennia have taught the sabbath, the holy days, clean meats, the ten commandments, and either a tithe or voluntary giving of a generally recommended percentage of 10% as God’s basic standard.
People have been happy, they’ve lived exemplary lives, and they have raised fine families in peace and tranquility under those customs. Whether they are New or Old Covenant, whether certain facts are known or unknown that would make it possible or impossible to still observe those tenets, and whether the act of teaching them is the way of identifying “God’s True Church” rather than love, faith, and other Christian fruits, has been the subject of ongoing unresolvable debate for many years. Still, a once a week “special date with God” would certainly not harm self, or others, in and of itself.
What elevated Herbert W. Armstrong’s church and his heirs into cultic status was the addition of an extrabiblical theory (which can actually be disproven using the Bible, let alone archaeology, history, linguistics, and genetics) based on British Israelism and German Assyrianism. This was compounded by Armstrong’s pretentiousness in claiming to know something that Jesus said could not be known, I.e, when the end would come. Now, that is all cultic “gnosticism”, but it doesn’t yet rise to the label “toxic”.
Toxicity entered through Herbert using the apocalypse of Revelation, bolstered by the prophecies of Daniel, asserting that these would occur during our lifetime, applying it all to civilizations initiated by Anglo-Saxon gentiles, and leaving anyone from his primary broadcast audience who wanted to be spared and protected from these with the sole alternatives of joining his church movement, or suffering the brunt of the tribulation. It was a black and white ultimatum. He then introduced another bit of speculation, that the churches enumerated in Revelation were actually eras, thus branding anyone more liberal or conservative than himself who actually taught the same doctrines as “Sardis” or “Laodicean”. Some over the years have considered all of this intimidation to be special, privileged truth, while in the face of continued failure of the root prophecies, and witnessing horrible fruits, others have seen it as blatant, deliberate, false entrapment.
The final and worst toxicity came from Herbert’s doctrine of “government from the top down” (rather than the power of Jesus Christ converting and transforming one Christian heart at a time from the bottom-up), thus opening the door for all of the cruel, arbitrary, “our way or the highway” enforcement practiced in original WCG and the ACOG splinters. Basically, this is the “we OWN you” doctrine, making the leaders of these groups the gatekeepers to the so-called “place of safety” and supposedly to the kingdom itself. Members in good standing do not question their gatekeepers’ authority!
I have no problem with the people who think that the New Covenant is simply the Infusion of Jesus into the Old Covenant. But, I have a huge problem with the people who would contaminate all of that with the various ingredients that Herbert W. Armstrong added as his own modifiers to that. The use of a special set of Armstrong gnosticism, combined with totalitarian enforcement, is what makes the ACOGs toxic. That is in no way spiritual guidance.
Unfortunately, most of the Armstrongist churches have resorted to tactics which make them look more like George Orwell’s 1984 than a church.
Now no one needs to give up the Bible. It can still be used for inspiration. In fact, in some segments of the Armstrongist community, there are those who actually seem to be fine with the fact that the Bible might not be the inspired Word of God, absolute, with Authority. It is a growing community and there are some prominent leaders out there directing the charge. One such group is the Church of God Big Sandy, led by David Havir who is, in turn, supported by Dixon Cartwright and The Journal. Dixon Cartwright has declared that he does not believe in British Israelism: He responded to the PT Article, The Journal is Cursed! by saying:
Yes, the aspects of Armstrongism that I judge to be silly I try to be above it all, as you put it. You can say false prophet all you like, I don’t care. But I don’t think terms like that are appropriate for a journalist to use (except in quoting other people) because those are terms for Bible scholars and farmer theologians and church members. I don’t think Herbert Armstrong was a prophet, therefore I don’t think he could have been a true or false prophet. Just as I tried to remove myself from the Bible fray when I wrote my canon articles (because one cannot prove or disprove the validity of the Bible in the usual conservative-Christian sense by arguing from within the Bible), I think it’s advisable for a newspaper not to report from inside the Bible. Interesting you guys are always talking about British Israelism. I am not a British Israelist, but I don’t think BI is any weirder than certain important doctrines of mainstream Christianity.
It seems likely that David Havir and others at the CoGBS hold the same disbelief. Since the staff of The Journal has ties to the United Church of God an International Association, it is also likely that many of the ministers in the UC Gaia also tacitly realize that British Israelism is a dead issue, although, behind the scenes they still have a United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, they have backpedaled the issue and don’t promote the booklet actively. Certainly, Dennis Luker was moving United in another direction away from Armstrong during his tenure as President. In addition, “False Prophet” and “Heresy” are irrelevant terms, as Dixon Cartwrite wrote over at Otagosh:
To Black Ops: You do not understand where I’m coming from. I pick up from Gavin and his little comments now and then that he pretty much does. “False prophet”? Interesting that you still are tuned in to the concept of false prophet. That strikes me as a religious and conservative-theological way of thinking that I try not to do anymore. It’s like saying someone’s a heretic. For a person trying to stay above the fray, some of those concepts make little sense. People obviously have strong religious convictions, and I think that can be an objective statement. But lamentations about false prophets and heretics and interpretations of Scripture and doctrine are not. –Dixon C.
This would make absolutely no sense at all in the highly conservative pragmatic Biblical based world of Herbert Armstrong and the Radio Church of God. But if it is rooted in venue of high concept religious abstract fuzzy thinking of modern Christian Theology, it makes perfect sense. The Bible is not absolute — it’s just used for inspiration to pad out sermons and written material. No, what’s really important is the social group. Dixon Cartwright has validated this.
Now if you take a look at the Church of God Big Sandy, you can clearly grasp the concept. Youth Day includes the activities of the Boy Scouts of America chapter at Big Sandy during Sabbath services. The Journal reports on all the personal items of interest (as well as doing the Boomer thing of allowing everyone to have their say and go their way). People can believe whatever they want to and even have discussions about it as long as they don’t get too loud or pushy. As long as it doesn’t threaten the group in any way, it’s allowed — this gives people the Byker Bob standard, acknowledging that as long as the environment isn’t toxic and works for the group, it’s (mostly) OK. In this case, the Bible is just a prop and has no real relevance and neither does doctrine, heresy, false prophets, prophecy. In fact, the ministers could all be humanist atheists (and they may well be) and it would make no difference: The social group is together and everybody’s OK. Of course, some of the more retentive types soaked and locked into the ultra conservative arcane religious beliefs espoused by Herbert Armstrong haven’t got the memo (clueless, deliberately excluded from being able to understand what’s going on) but that’s OK too — there’s a safe place for them to hold their superstitious delusions.
Now it is the case that for the sake of the social group, there are still some unique Armstrongist things. The biggest of these is the so-called Feast of Tabernacles. There is no such thing, of course, because there is no Temple, no Levite priests (no matter how Herbert Armstrong tried to make his hirelings into them), no altar, no animal sacrifices… well, OK, sometimes they do have a barbeque at the “Feast” but you know what we mean. The “Feast of Tabernacles” allows people to get together for social activities, meet friends, make new friends, eat, drink and be merry, have a generally fun time. People can have the best of everything (up to a point) more than they can have any other time of the year. The physical rituals help bind the community together, and that’s all good. There are also all those Christmas / New Year socials for various social activities. With this approach, there’s absolutely no conflict with “Feasts of the Lord” because if it benefits the social group, there’s nothing wrong with it. They do it because they can. [Note: United recently published in The Good News that it is OK for the elderly and those with medical problems to eat and drink on the Day of Atonement, meaning that those “Festivals” aren’t as much an obstacle any more for those who don’t really want to keep them fully and it also means that it was just fine for Herbert Armstrong to have a cup of coffee and a donut on the Day of Atonement to “keep up his strength”. Nothing’s all that sacred any more.]
This is real freedom!
So now, people can whine about false prophets. Irrelevant. People can whine about heresy. Irrelevant. People can get all bent out of shape about doctrine and a million things associated with it, particularly the calendar. Irrelevant. British Israelism. Irrelevant. The Bible can go poof! No problem. Gee, about now, Joe Tkach probably wishes he had the idea back in the day with the Worldwide Church of God: Just allow people to have their local church buildings and build a local social community and people would be happy and it would all be good. None of this mucking about trying to change absolutely everything Herbert Armstrong stood for as a vendetta. Just let the people do what they want to do anyway, and sit back and collect the dough. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier? This is a successful business model that really works! It’s all good as long as the music’s good! After all, it’s just a social club.
Well, live and learn.
And yet… it’s hard to know what to call these fun folks — Unarmstrongists, perhaps?
We do believe that those who have rejected British Israelism should be praised, it’s just that we would have hoped they would have been more obvious and public about it.
These days there are accounts of atheists yearning for a social group. They’d like to have something like a church, just without the religious nonsense that goes along with it. They’d like to socialize with get togethers, pot lucks, conventions, all without having to argue that the Bible is so much superstition. They need to take a page out of the book of these former Armstrongists. They could learn a thing or two.
Make no mistake: Most of those such as Roderick Meredith, David Pack, Gerald Flurry, Ronald Weinland claim to obey God and believe the Bible but prove by their behavior that they don’t.
Thanks to Neotherm over at Gavin Rumney’s Otagosh, we now have the complete picture and proof that the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia is the Synagogue of Satan. Using Scripture and Scientific Proof, including British Israelism, Neotherm has settled any dispute over who really runs the Armstrongist Churches of God. Following is the composite of his posts:
I will not repeat the incontrovertible genetic evidence against the validity of BI. But let me argue within the more restricted boundaries that Franz uses. In his line of reasoning and other similar lines of reasoning, the Irish records are held in high esteem. But these esteemed records address the racial origins of the Irish people and the monks who kept the records did not trace them to Hebrews. In fact these records trace the Irish people to Japheth. One can examine publications containing these records to establish that. When Herman Hoeh encountered this fact, he altered the ancient genealogies to reflect a descent from Shem. His justification for doing this (I think mentioned somewhere in the compendium) was that the monks had changed the genealogies to hide the true identity of Israel. But Hoeh offers no historical support to establish that the monks did this and Hoeh, in fact, is the distorter of genealogies.
The identification of the US and the UK with Israel does not by itself unlock prophecy. One must know the other nations as well, such as the Assyrians. For this one must resort to the Table of Nations in Genesis 10. (Sorry for the genetics again.) But these people are really a family that lived in the Middle East and are descended from one man, Noah. Geneticists know approximately where and when the diverse haplogroups of the human family developed and it was not within the confines a few generations in a single family in the Middle East. I believe that the Table of Nations is historical because we can find references in classical history to these people migrating to and living around the shores of Mediterranean (where they remain today). But these people all had the same haplogroup as Noah. And Noah had the same haplogroup as other people in that region of the world. And that is haplogroup J. Essentially, all the people in the Table of Nations are closely related and are haplogroup J. They all looked like Mediterraneans in appearance. This family, though historical, does not account for all the people in the world. They were strictly regional.
To verify this observation, if the Table of Nations accounts for all the racial diversity in the world then this idea should harmonize with genetics. Hoeh and other WCG ministers long maintained that the Blacks brought to north American as slaves were Canaanites. This means that Canaan should have had one of the sub-clades of the haplogroup E1b. But National Geographic extracted Phoenician DNA and discovered it to be haplogroup J. This means that Noah and Ham, only a generation or two earlier, were haplogroup J. Canaan was not the progenitor of Sub-Saharan Africans. He was the progenitor of Phoenician people who were Middle Easterners and were indistinguishable from Jews and other Mediterraneans. When we look at ancient representations of Phoenicians, we do not find Sub-Saharan Blacks. We find graphical renderings of Mediterranean people. Hoeh would have made the argument that Noah, Ham, Shem and Japheth were racially the same but he would not have accepted the argument that Canaan was racially the same as Noah, Ham, Shem and Japheth. He would have asserted that Canaan’s mother was Black and that is how Canaan became the progenitor of Black people. This is nonsense from a genetic and historical perspective. We should then expect to find all the Black people with the haplogroup J instead of E1b, as in reality.
The Bible is about the Jews (haplogroup J). It is not about Celts living in the British Isles (haplogroup R1b). BI is nothing less than an instantiation of the principle contained in the Book of Revelation referred to as the Synagogue of Satan – people who represent themselves as Jews racially but are not. Some of the Armstrongite ministers from the South (always the source of repugnant racism) have taken this anathema further and have claimed that the people we know as Jews are not really Jews. As one of their prominent evangelists told me, the real Tribe of Judah is located somewhere on the North American continent and the Jews look like just regular British-derived Americans. (Hence, Jesus must have looked like and Anglo-Saxon – not one of those dark-skinned Middle Eastern people.)
Another observation: I do recall that Hoeh addressed the issue of why the people in the Middle East do not resemble modern “Israelites” who were Northwest Europeans as we know from BI. Hoeh claimed that the Canaanites were Negroid. They were racially Blacks and were to be identified with the modern day West Africans. (This was later subtle justification why the slavery practiced in early North America was really not that bad to many in the WCG. God prophesied that the Canaanites were to be enslaved. Israel was just God’s tool for doing this.) Hoeh claimed that the Negroid Canaanites spread widely through out the Middle East and intermarried with the locals. This resulted in the Negroidization (that may be a pejorative word – I am not sure – if so, I apologize) of the Middle Eastern populations, hence, darker skin, curly or kinky hair, black hair and black eyes. But the Israelites escaped this admixture.
Though Hoeh never discussed the appearance of Jesus to my knowledge, the direct deduction from his claim of Negroidization of non-Israelites that one may make is that Jesus looked like a Northwest European not a dark Middle Easterner. In fact, through genetics, we know this model of racial development is false. The early Palestinean Jews were haplogroup J as they are today. They were surrounded by other peoples, including the Phoenicians, who were also haplogroup J. They all looked alike – like modern day native Middle Easterners. They were not darkened by Negroidization. One does not find the appropriate subclades of E1b among them to posit a Negroid admixture. What we find instead is the Europeanization of the Jews who filtered through the European sphere. The Ashkenazi populations reflect a substantial fraction of haplogroup J1 and J2. But they also reflect significant fractions of R1a and R1b – classic Indo-Europeans. The Jewish community absorbed people from the resident Gentile population in Europe. At one point, they absorbed an entire tribe of people called the Khazars who are thought to have been haplogroup R1a. I do not think the Khazar absorption is even controversial among Ashkenazi Jews. I read an article on it in Commentary Magazine a few years ago where it was treated as mundane fact.
The net effect of this is that Christ looked like a Middle Easterner. He did not look like a Northwest European. His appearance would have made him totally unacceptable in the First Baptist Church in Cleveland, Mississippi. And you can understand why Armstrongites from the South breathe a sigh of relief when considering the doctrine of British-Israelism. This makes Jesus a White guy. And since Jesus is the express image of God, it makes God a White guy. And since Adam looked like God, it made Adam a White guy. All those people of color are mutational outsiders (and this is what the WCG originally taught). What more could a White Supremacist ask for than a religion like Armstrongism that apotheosizes the White race.
And then there is the case of Rahab the Harlot. Back in the early Seventies, I witnessed an explosive sermon given by Dr. Charles V. Dorothy in the Field House in Big Sandy, Texas. Dr. Dorothy was a “kinder, gentler” version of Herman Hoeh. I believe this occurred near the Spring Holy Days. His sermon dealt with the invasion of Palestine by the Israelites. He spent a considerable amount of time establishing that Salmon was one of the spies sent to have a look at Jericho and gave Rahab a “scarlet thread” as a symbol of the Royal Line of Judah. Salmon and Rahab also became an item. In accord with orthodox Hoeh preachments, Dorothy described Rahab as a Canaanite and Negroid. Then at the conclusion of the sermon he stated that this same Rahab is represented in the genealogy of Christ and that Christ had some Negroid ancestry. At this point, Dorothy stopped for a moment and scanned the audience. There was complete silence – what one might call “explosive” silence. Recall that this is a huge issue. Noah was pure in his generations and Gerald Waterhouse used to preach that HWA was, like Noah, pure in his generations. This racial purity seemed to be essential for being used as an first-class instrument of God. Then Dorothy, in a raised voice, told the audience “I know you are shocked at this. I can see it on your lilly-white faces.” I would not have been surprised if Dorothy had been bodily removed from the pulpit but there was no response – just silence.
Hoeh had inadvertently, through his argument that the Canaanites were Negroid, made Jesus to be of some Negroid descent and mixed racially. A wholly unacceptable outcome to the racist WCG. There was never any further discussion of Dorothy’s sermon that I knew about but I was at the periphery in Big Sandy. I do not know what ever happened to Charles V. Dorothy. I do know that some time later Ken Hermann had an article in one of the WCG publications about Rahab. Without historical support, he asserted that Jericho was Moabite city and that Rahab was a Moabitess. Thus he transformed without quibbling a city that has been considered by everyone to be within the Canaanite pale into a Moabite (read Hebrew) city. Thus, Ken Hermann purified the racial pedigree of Christ and a loose end was tied down.
The fact is, this is all nonsense. The Canaanites were haplogroup J just like the Jews. Jesus no doubt descended from a long line of haplogroup J people and because of the isolation of these populations, he was very likely to have had no admixture, if that were to make a difference. I just saw a special on the History Channel about excavations taking place in some of the ancient Palestinean cities. The anthropologist/archaeologists involved posited that the similarities between the indigenous Canaanites and the invading Jews was so great that the Jews might have been a branch of the Canaanites. They suggested that the differences among these people were political rather than racial. There is nothing in the genetic analysis that would invalidate this view. These people were all in the same gene pool, patrilineally and matrilineally. Canaan was Shem’s nephew, the Bible tells us.
My last observation: British-Israelism is an occult belief. In the Book of Revelation it is described as emanating from the Synagogue of Satan. It is described as the idea that there are people who claim to be Jews but are not. Armstrongites would be on this like a cheap suit with the idea that they are not saying that they are Jews. They are saying that they are Israelites and that is different from being Jew. You know, the Northern Ten Tribes, the Anglo-Saxons, etc.
But that is begging the question. They are assuming BI is true in formulating their response to this issue when BI is the issue at question. Genetics tell us that this debate cannot be addressed in that way. There is no way in biology that Jacob with haplogroup J, like all the people of the MIddle East at that time, could give rise to people who are haplogroups R1b and R1a (Celts, Anglo-Saxons). That is just as farfetched as your pet dog giving birth to a cow. We know that R1b and R1a were already in existence at the time of Jacob. We know that R1b and R1a did not originate in the Middle East. And to seal the case, we know that R1b and R1a developed from haplogroup P not haplogroup J.
So the writer of the Book of Revelation was referring to the correct model and not the BI model, if you believe in the inspiration of the Book of Revelation. Under the correct model both the Northern Ten Tribes and the Jews, Levites and Benjamites in the south were all at the same place in the gene pool and can be subsumed in the generic term Jew. The Lost Sheep of Israel were just the Jews in Diaspora.
I would not on my own think of the gross error of BI as anything but silliness. Like the various stripes of conspiracy theories. It would be on the par of all that droll malarkey about the Federal Reserve being run by the Illuminati. But Revelation says it is different. It is in fact an occult belief. Something that pulls you close to the Synagogue of Satan. To me BI is like a Hazard sign. We have many of these signs on the doors of facilities around where I work. It is warning to the innocent. If you see this sign stay away, be warned. And Armstrongism wears that sign. But as with every hazard, sometimes the naive will enter in just to satisfy their curiosity, much to their regret.
Herr Professor Doktor Hermann Hoeh: I don’t know about you but I find it an excursion into black humor to think that the WCG theorist in racial pseudoscience was a mid-Twentieth Century German. I do not believe that Hoeh carried a torch for Nazism. But his role seems archetypal for that time period. I spoke with Herman Hoeh in the Field House in Big Sandy back in the early Seventies. I had just read a book entitled “America B.C.” by Barry Fell. I was enthusiastic about the book because I thought it seemed to support some of Hoeh’s ideas from his Compendium of World Historoy. I was disappointed to find that he did not share my enthusiasm. Instead he took the side of the critics of the book. I was also disappointed in his demeanor. He was unfriendly, unpersonable and unsmiling. He coldly answered my question and gave me short shrift. I walked away with the impression that my interest in history, his professional field, was just an irritation to him like a fly that had landed on his sleeve. (I think many WCG lay members naively were not familiar with the vast differences between the public and private personas of WCG leaders.)
A friend of mine was a married student at Big Sandy. He met Hoeh after church services one day. My friend was carrying his toddler son. When my buddy introduced himself, Hoeh turned to the people standing around and said “Look, he has a long, sharp nose and his son has a short nose.” That was all that Hoeh said to him. While Hoeh’s eccentricity was legendary, oddly his credentials as a historian within the WCG were unchallengable. Early in my years with the WCG, I learned that Hoeh was related to history in the same way that HWA was related to doctrine in the eyes of WCG lay members. If an historical concept bore the imprimatur of Hoeh, it was fact and if you didn’t thoroughly believe it maybe you had an attitude problem.
But for those of us who were history weenies, something about Hoeh rises to the surface over time. He did not just document and verify history using published sources. He actually created history. It was as if someone had given him the mandate to research historical sources and find anything that could be used, with a great measure of creative license, to support HWA’s world view and, in particular, British-Israelism. His Compendium is really a story about how Israel (read the British derived peoples) have always been the important people throughout the history of the world. Nothing that ever happened that was important happened without the influence of Israel. This was similar in principle to Nazi archaeologists directed to dig up the evidence for an Aryan-centric history from the ground. Of course the archaeologists found what bits and pieces they could and laid on a thick and “creative” shellac of misinterpretation. One of Hoeh’s favorite creative techniques was to find two names that are similar and from this, without any other support, postulate a real connection of some sort, causal or derivative. Hence, Saxon is really ‘Saacs Sons. Most of you are trained in this.
I always wondered how the Hoeh of later years regarded the Hoeh of earlier years. My theory was that he would mellow and maybe even recant. I heard a rumor that he had renounced the Compendium saying that “it was all wrong.” Ray Kurr, whose family befriended Hoeh, told me in the Eighties that Hoeh hated to be asked questions concerning history. Hoeh just wanted to be treated like any other lay member. Kurr also told me that people mistakenly believe that Hoeh does not want to be called Dr. Hoeh anymore but that Hoeh actually preferred the title. Somewhere along the line, I heard that a German AC student was going to marry a Southeast Asian AC student and that Herman Hoeh was in support of this. All these events, though secondhand, made me think there was now a kinder, gentler, less eccentric Herman Hoeh.
But this was not the case. I carried on a correspondence with Hoeh, then a member of what is now GCI, just before he died. I asked him about the racial theories that supported both WCG theology and WCG policy in the early years. He would not admit that there was any such thing. He would only offer that the WCG was merely reflecting the mores and values of the larger society in which it was embedded. In other words the WCG was “going along to get along.” I cited numerous documented arguments against his claims from WCG literature. But Hoeh would not admit to any of it. He sent me instead newspaper clippings about how Blacks were treated in the Fifities in the United States, as if I did not know about that already. He had a guy I knew from AC and who used to work in the correspondence department in Pasadena write me a hypothetical letter of apology as it should have been if the WCG had recanted of its racism. This just seemed contrived. He finally sternly asserted that I should be more forgiving and referred me to a recent article that appeared in a GCI’s Odyssey on forgiveness. My question was if WCG had been guilty of nothing like he asserted, what do I have to forgive? I finally concluded that his total lack of transparency might have been because he thought a lawsuit of some sort was lurking in the shadows. But a plausible answer is that Hoeh always fabricated history. And, perhaps, this “history” that he was now relating to me that provided a sinless backstory for the WCG was what he had created for himself in his last days.