Con Games – Part 1

Armstrongist Venn Chart
Armstrongist Venn Chart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus we validate our Venn Diagram.

The Venn Diagram also explains such people as Ronald Weinland.

But what of the followers?

We will cover that next time in Part II.



Who do you trust? Do you trust your Armstrongist minister? Should you trust your Armstrongist minister?


Douglas Becker

Who do you trust?

Do you trust your Armstrongist minister?

Should you trust your Armstrongist minister?

The answer to the last two questions is “No!” and “No!”.

Let me tell you why.

Now it may be that your Armstrongist minister in whatever ACoG you may be attending might be totally sincere. Perhaps he is very nice. Maybe he is even helpful at times. But in the scheme of things, is that enough?

We live today in May, 2012, on the cusp of yet another meltdown of the membership of an Armstrongist Cult, as the target date of the false prophet for Christ’s returns comes at Pentecost and goes, without so much as a whimper of a hint of a whisper of the event taking place. Ronald Weinland has set up the dupes of his little cult for yet another “Great Disappointment” to rival the one of 1844. No, Jesus isn’t returning, the Great Tribulation won’t have happened, there is no Beast Power over the 10 nations of Europe and there isn’t any possible that the Two Witlesses Witnesses will die in Jerusalem after prophecying there for 3.5 years and be resurrected in 3.5 days after which Christ will take a near pass and spirit them away to heaven for the Great Bridal Shower.

But they trust him!

If we knew the answer to why, we could know a lot more about the Universe.


In business accounting, there is something called “Goodwill”. Goodwill is an accounting concept meaning the value of an entity over and above the value of its assets. The term was originally used in accounting to express the intangible but quantifiable “prudent value” of an ongoing business beyond its assets, resulting perhaps because the reputation the firm enjoyed with its clients. This is important in the sale of a business when the sale price is above and beyond the actual tangible assets of the corporation and is used in the accounting ledgers to represent the gap as a firm dollar value.

Like it or not (we don’t), the branding of Herbert Armstrong is a monetary asset advantage which trades on the principle of “Goodwill”: The religious product thus branded has earned the trust of a small cadre of consumers, not unlike that of (which has a much larger cadre of loyal consumers). To them, the Goodwill has been earned over the decades (for no particularly good reason, as we shall see), and anyone who trades on the trust in the religious product automagically inherits the Goodwill.

There are limits, of course.

Some of the customers are rather picky over which particular branding they select: For some it is United, others, the LCG, CoGWa, CoGBS or a whole host of alphabet soup Armstrongist communities. They become loyal to the sub brand they have selected. It’s sort of like which washing detergent a person chooses. You tend to stick with it because it works for you: Whiter, brighter, whatever. The choices aren’t, in this case, particularly rational. It is based on emotions and feelings. It is based on how the leader impresses and how you might fit in with the rest of the crowd. In extreme cases, like the PCG, RCG, CCG, PKG, it makes no sense at all: It’s just how you feel about it.

Objectively speaking, there are a lot of problems, challenges and consequences to choosing emotion over logic and it can lead to a lot of ugly results down the road. The future is not always what it seems to be, particularly in the Armstrongist Churches of God, where no one is exactly what they seem to be. Sacrificing resources for the hope of some big score at the end may feel good, but in the end, it is all a con game whose end game is that they lie to you and then take your money. It wouldn’t be so bad if they just lied to you (no matter how sincere they might be), if they didn’t take your money, but you trust them and they do take your money. In fact, in the final analysis, it is the love of money (mostly in the form of salary and retirement), along with ego-stroking narcissistic self-agrandizement, which is a root of all evil there in the ACoG groups. The hidden agenda never becomes public until it is too late for most folks.

There are three major things wrong with Armstrongism: British Israelism is a fraud and it leads to false prophecies by false prophets; church history is a provably concocted fraud (plagiarized from Ellen G. White) and the entire religion is based on rebellious heresy. No one in Armstrongism wants to look at the facts because it just doesn’t feel right to them. Besides, they are afraid of what is behind the curtain — it may show them that they have been wasting their time in fear, false hope and a sense of well-being through associating with people they think of like mind (the WCG / GCI certainly proved how wrong that concept was), achieving a level of comfort participating in what can be termed “Old Testament Christianity” under Old Covenant Laws. To think of giving up would be unthinkable.

But it gets worse.

The narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, many of whom came from Ambassador College, have the background to grant them credibility to gain that all-important Goodwill trust they need to prey upon duped fools. It is a world of golden opportunity which is difficult for the covetously minded idolators to resist as they plunge in to embrace the con for their own gain.


In the case of the Preaching the Kingdom of God (PKG, also known as the “Pathetic Kook Group”), the experience they are going through is a consumate betrayal by a man plying contemptuous fraud. Ronald Weinland’s little collection of sheople will find themselves sheared, especially after going to trial for Felony Income Tax Evasion Fraud when the Great Disappointment is past. People are maxing out their credit cards, doing foolish things with their careers and their associations and choosing a path of self-destruction because it is inconceivable that God would let anything happen to them: After all, aren’t they faithful to God by following His Apostle Prophet?

It is a tragedy, of course, but it serves a useful purpose in the scheme of things. Think for a moment: Is Ronald Weinland that far from someone like Roderick Meredith who, himself, has been a false prophet for fifty years? Are any of the false prophet apostle leaders within Armstrongism really that far from what PKG portrays? They all have the same basic doctrines. Maybe they don’t say that specifically Jesus Christ is returning next Tuesday, but it is the very same spirit of deception working within them.

L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology in the 1950s after a semi-successful career as a science fiction writer. He deliberately rebranded his alternative earth history into a religion and wrote about it in Dianetics, specifically targeting actors in Hollywood. It is pure fantastic fantasy, but people have bought into it, believing sincerely with all their being that this is it! This is the truth! When Armstrongists look at Scientology, they see a weird false religion that is so obvious that they wonder how anyone could ever be a part of it.

The answer, of course, is trust. It is that Goodwill.

Since this is so clear to the Armstrongists, perhaps it is time they stepped back and looked at themselves and their chosen religion. It too, is based on an alternative earth history which never happened and cannot happen. The future is simply not going to happen the way it was predicted by Herbert Armstrong. In fact, all of his prophecies failed in his lifetime. If you are skeptical, just ask a member of the PKG after May 27th, 2012 how well their trust worked for them. There will be reasoning and excuses even as they are proven yet again so very wrong.

All of Armstrongism is at risk because of Ronald Weinland. Even as Harold Camping did great damage to Christianity, so has Ronald Weinland done great damage to the followers of Herbert Armstrong. Furthermore, all Armstrongists should consider themselves nothing more than Sabbath keeping, Feast going Scientologists. It just isn’t going to work out. You are wasting your time. You are also wasting your money. Most of all, you are wasting your trust.


Sometimes it is best not to just give it away: It needs to be earned.