The Painful Truth has reached out to Dixon Cartwright and inquired as to why he is shuttering the doors of the Journal after 21 years of providing all the churches a forum in which to express themselves. The following is the reply back I received. Continue reading “Dixon Cartwright. Why he is closing down the Journal”
Armstrongism is dying.
Grab your shovels, it’s time to get ready to bury it.
There’s no better indicator of the health, or lack of it, than The Journal: Over at Banned!, NO2HWA, in the article, Latest Issue of The Journal: News of the Churches of God is out. he asks the question, “Is it me or are the people that pay for those ads getting crazier by the day?” The answer is that it’s not him and it’s not just the people that pay for the ads, it’s Dixon Cartwright, the staff at The Journal, the people contributing one way or another and the Armstrongists who read it. No sane person would even begin to accept the premise that it’s as benign as it postures itself to be. There’ neither any objectivity nor is there one shred of sanity. The editor fancies himself to be a Journalist, but he’s something quite different.
In fact, let’s see what a real journalist says about journalism:
The Journal is Fake News, but rather than pretend that it’s a sincere attempt to find truth, let’s call it what it is: An attempt to put a Public Relations spin on a cult using the old corporate magic lantern technique, casting shadows and creating the story. After all that is said and done, it is creating the mythology using the story, no matter what chapter of the story is being presented at the time. This is an attempt to make a toxic waste dump an appealing magic fairy land by covering it in a pure white newly fallen snow to disguise the ugliness underneath. It is the kicking of the flat tires on a dead hearse. No new life will come from the stinking feted death beneath, no matter how well the story is told.
At the center of the problem is Dixon Cartwright, the Editor, who has embarrassed himself, first at Ambassador Watch and then at Banned! with his childish tantrum hissy fits that finally left commenters wondering, “Gee, what’s with him?” He has been exhibiting narcissistic borderline tendencies lately, making him as friendly as an angry hornet when someone even suggests that his worth as a journalist is somewhat less than a first year student of the subject. He wants and demands respect, dammit! No matter how stupid or crazy his topic may be. He has the talent to transform ox manure into a blooming rose garden, and you’d better be respectful or you’ll be sorry!
This behavior came to light further this past March at Las Vegas as partially reported in Issue No. 193 (March 31, 2017) episode of the continuing soap opera of The Journal. It was the first all-campus Ambassador College reunion. Yes, highlights of the event were reported on page 1 and page 4, and there were even pictures! What is blatantly NOT mentioned is the honor bestowed upon the Editor of the Painful Truth for the work done on the color version of the first three issues of The Ambassador Report by Bill Hughes and many of the other contributors to the Ambassador Report. It was a big deal. It was not reported.
This is typical Dixon Cartwright, looking daggers and gritting his teeth as he saw someone else getting some credit, while knowing in his heart that he should get ALL the attention.
Here is a comment at Banned!:
And of course Dixon never mentioned the Ambassador Report get together March 16th what so ever. Like it never happened.
Of course if any member never heard of the Ambassador Report and started to read it on line that could start a different type of shit fest for old Dix. There are after all a few who write the Painful Truth to mention that they just discovered the Report and they are in shock at what they read.
In my opinion, it was very dishonest not to mention the meeting as if it was a non event. He ate their food and drank their booze at the party that evening.
It seems Dixon has something in common with CNN, the fake news channel. Don’t report what might damage your own selfish interests. After all, the Journal is Dixon’s bread and butter.
That certainly exemplifies the approach that The Journal has.
James received a standing ovation. Dixon Cartwright gave a bland account of the event without context or real meaning, having confused writing down what happened instead, with journalism.
On Page 3 of The Journal is the article “Think about lessons concerning leaven” by David Havir. We’d rather not. There are several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that recently both Banned! and The Painful Truth have pointed out that there was no Exodus, so keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread based on a myth of an event which never happened is rather senseless. There can never be, as was written in his stupidly moronic article, any Old Testament lesson, because said lesson doesn’t exist. The New Testament ‘lesson’ is partially based on the Old Testament lesson, so no joy there. It’s hard to believe that Jesus’ sacrifice is our Passover, since the Passover itself never happened. Does this mean there’s no salvation? Is there any relevance to grace? In fact, if none of this is true, what opinion should we have of sin?
It’s not so much what David Havir says, though. It’s his codependent relationship he has with Dixon Cartwright which should be of concern. While it is true that David Havir says some brilliant things, such as that Herbert Armstrong was no servant leader and proves the point, there’s a lot of chaff as mental noise (often based on book reviews) which has to be sifted through. Since David Havir provides Dixie with lots of narcissistic source, though, we should be cautious about what we read from both of them. The Journal shouldn’t exist anyway and does because of useless nostalgia for curious atheists who once attended Ambassador College. It’s that temptation to resolve the mystery of what happened to all those people your curious about but certainly don’t really care about any more.
As for the “Ashes to Ashes” title, there is definitely a rationale. It turns out that someone at Banned! took umbrage at a presentation of entropy — a rather brilliant one — because they insisted there was a balance in the universe and stupidly quoted a Wikipedia page to ‘prove’ their insane non 3 dimensional little mind’s inane belief, not understanding one thing about STEM. The mentally deficient should realize their limitations.
Here’s the deal: It’s cold; you have a fireplace; you have wood that’s been burned down to ashes. Now… light the ashes and burn them to keep you warm! It should work. There’s this… this… equilibrium, you see. The ashes should burn. All the materials were there are still there somewhere, so just recycle, dammit!
How’s that working for you? Still cold are you? Are you finding it’s taking more energy to burn the ashes than you get out of burning them? Sure, it’s possible, but you have to take energy from somewhere else to locally reduce the entropy in the fireplace. Magnesium strips would be handy right about now. It may cost you more than it’s worth, but darn it all, you’re going to burn those ashes just to prove there’s equilibrium.
And that’s the way it is with Armstrongism. It’s been burned down pretty much to ashes. Now people like the staff at The Journal need to keep it going because… reasons. It’s just that it’s going to take more and more to get less and less. Armstrong is dying. Grab your shovels. It will soon be time to bury it.
And entropy? For those who are mentally deficient, we’ll try this again, but we’re not hopeful for the enlightenment of scientifically challenged Armstrongists:
We’ve decided to do something new here, and, in the honor of Gavin Rumney and to help maintain the legacy of the Watchdog Site, Ambassador Watch, we plan to institute review of The Journal when it comes out. And it’s come out: This time it’s from the last day of December, 2016 which makes it the New Year’s Eve issue.
Yes, those wily Armstrongist ministers who try to label us here at The Painful Truth as ‘watchdogs’ don’t seem to realize that we are a lot more than that and we have a bit of a bite to us, but thanks for being disingenuous to seem, oh, so smarmy, while really trying to promote your own aggressive subversive agenda to proselytize without getting caught at it. We know what you really are:
Yes, there has been this naive optimism that a new day is dawning and that the ministers of the sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia are kinder, gentler and more reasonable now — making admissions at The Journal, for example, exposing some negatives about Armstrongism, such as that article by David Havir demonstrating that Herbert Armstrong was no servant leader, painting him as aggressive abuser. The 1%ers are now posting on various post Armstrongist blogs, such as Banned! and the now defunct Ambassador Watch, attempting to persuade us that they have changed and it is a new world now. Indeed, they are popping up seemingly everywhere attempting to show that they have indeed entered into the 21st Century of gently agreeing to disagree.
Ah, but those of us here at The Painful Truth have taken heed that we be not deceived, for we know the word of Robert Jackall in Moral Mazes aptly describes what is represented by this list of Armstrongist publications:
From the standpoint of public relations, the journalistic ideology closely resembles the social outlook of most college seniors — a vague but pious middle-class liberalism, a mildly critical stance toward their fathers in particular and authorities in general; a maudlin of championship of the poor and the underclass; and especially the doctrine of tolerance, open-mindedness, and balance. In fact, public relations people feel, the news media are also constructing reality. They are always looking for a “fresh” and exciting angle; they have an unerring instinct for the sentimental that expresses itself in a preference for “human interest” rather than substance; and they arrange facts in a way that purports to convey “truth,” but is in fact simply another story. In reality, news is entertainment. And, despite the public’s acceptance of journalistic ideologies, most of the public watch or read news not to be informed or to learn the “truth,” but precisely to be entertained. There is no intrinsic reason, therefore, why the constructions of reality by public relations specialists should be thought of as any different from those of any group in the business of telling stories to the public. Everyone is telling stories and everyone has a story to tell. Public relations men and women are simply storytellers with a purpose in the free market of ideas, advocates of a certain point of view in the court of public opinion. Since any notion of truth is irrelevant or refers to at best what is perceived, persuasion of various sorts becomes everything.
And there it is. Armstrongism isn’t about truth; it is simply about manipulating perceptions to evoke responses to their story telling. Herbert Armstrong was an ad copy writer, after all. As such, he lined up some facts, threw in some colorful descriptions and weaved his fictional stories. The booklets in the slides presentation above is representative of this magical world of the ‘magic lantern’, creating illusions illustrating imaginary constructs of perceived ‘reality’. There is neither truth nor reality in any of it. It is all fake.
Moreover, it isn’t just about Herbert Armstrong and his ‘public relations’ advertising hirelings, it is also about The Journal, which is exposed for what it is in the brief description given by Robert Jackal; to wit: the pursuit of a “fresh” and exciting angle with an unerring instinct for the sentimental that expresses itself in a preference for “human interest” rather than substance; and the facts are arranged in a way that purports to convey “truth,” but is in fact simply another story — in reality, it is merely infotainment. The editor of The Journal reveals his true self when he speaks of the doctrine of tolerance, open-mindedness, and balance — while secretly harboring contempt for the “farmer theologians” who deign to advertise in its pages.
Moral Mazes has framed it and nailed it in the landscape of the church cult corporate of lies, deceits, conceits, fiction, fantasy — all parading as religious truth — which, if it be told, can be demonstrated as pure rubbish if you but stand back and look at the chaotic mess it represents.
Dr. James Milam, in his book, Ending the Drug Addiction Pandemic: Discovering the Liberating Truth, in Chapter 2: Core Evidence (page 17), says:
Within the big lie all of the component falsehoods have been carefully crafted to support each other in concealing the whole truth. To assemble the abundance of decisive scientific and clinical evidence comprising the biogenic paradigm it is necessary to identify, define, and disentangle each piece of the truth from the corresponding part of the shroud of disinformation that has so carefully hidden for so long. Surrounded by the support of the others each falsehood has become an inarguable given truth. It is therefor necessary to confront and discredit them one by one until the whole fabric of disinformation is disposed of.
He adds this sentence in Chapter 3: The Language of Denial (page 34):
The familiar comes to seem normal and every big lie develops its own familiar language of deception that conceals the truth while purporting to represent it.
In the end, Armstrongism promises the truth and fails to deliver. What it delivers instead is empty promises which can never be fulfilled.
The Journal is particularly disingenuous, managing to make the trashy low rent apartment look every bit like the gleaming high end Executive Suite on the top floor of a prestigious upscale condo; that talent to make a toxic dump site look pristine like the morning after being covered in freshly fallen snow: Yes, the redactions and deliberate excluded news makes us all believe that Armstrongism is a near utopia with artifice uplifting what would normally be quite disturbing. An exclusion here, a modification there — it’s all better. It’s partly in the well-crafted emphasis on what the staff there wants us to see — just like the Magic Lantern outlined in Moral Mazes. Never mind the stuff behind the curtains and in the smoke-filled trashy store room doubling as a staff lounge, which, if you could get a look, might have half-empty boxes of cold left-over pizza and littered with empty beer bottles.
This issue of The Journal is no different, and, in fact, becomes representative.
It starts off page one with the announcement of two deaths in The Journal ‘family’: Gavin Rumney and Ken Wesby. Less than a quarter page is dedicated to Gavin Rumney, plus a short obituary later on in the obituary section. Not only does Ken Wesby get about a third of a page, but his life and experiences are covered in depth on Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 14, Page 15 and Page 16. Not only that, but Gavin’s picture is in black and white while Ken has a color picture (with his wife) (that Dixon Cartwright took). And it’s BIGGER! Dixie only mentioned Otagosh, conveniently forgetting about Ambassador Watch and Missing Dimension [which The Painful Truth is hosting as a legacy], while the article goes on and on and on and on about Ken Wesby. OK, sure: The guy was a minister and he rebelled and started his own cult sect, just like something the other 700+ sects have done. Sure, the split was interesting on its own right, not unlike reading the first three Ambassador Report Magazines in color, but then, on the other hand, The Journal pretty much did not pay any mind to him during his life time, which pretty much answers the question, “Hey, what do I have to do to get noticed around here? Die?!!”.
Given that The Journal is all about presenting events within the Armstrongist ‘community’ (if that’s what you want to call it) in the best possible light to keep the social groups together, we aren’t a bit surprised by the fact that Dixon Cartwright never mentioned anything about the content of Otagosh (although he felt free to come there and give flaming vents in his special borderline mental disorder way); to wit: Gavin Rumney absolutely nailed both Armstrongism and the Grace Community International, but that isn’t all — he spoke of Protestant Religious dichotomies and aberrations as well and there is a certain Lutheran Synod worse off for it. Moreover, he tackled many uncomfortable religious topics with aplomb, scuttling the Apostle Paul and providing convincing evidence that the Bible isn’t to be taken so seriously that it is an Authority — the entries he presented showed that much of the Bible is actually forged and should not be taken at face value. This, is, of course, something that would be inimitable to The Journal careful alignment of positioned ‘facts’ to lead people to the conclusion that it’s rainbows and lollipops while the Armstrongists hold hands singing Kumbaya. Of course, occasionally they feature the clouds and suggest that it might rain, but that’s only for Category 5 Hurricanes. They handle a few controversial items, but always in the framework of a discussion where all opinions should be respected as valid. Dixon Cartwright avowed that he didn’t believe in British Israelism on Otagosh, but Oh Gosh, it’s a harmless belief that keeps the social groups together (while mentioning not ONE thing about the rampant boozing alcoholism). No, The Journal paid a little respect to Gavin Rumney. It paid a LOT of respect to Ken Wesby.
Of course, there’s the insane advertisements in The Journal that are so daft, it makes the Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy look like daily life reality and we will only mention one of them of note:
This is the University which has a course of British Israelism in it’s Course Prospectus For THL 215: The Lost Tribes of Israel in History and Prophecy. The instructor for this class is Dr. Douglas Winnail. We wonder if it will be offered. There seems to be neither hide nor hair of him recently over at the Living Church of God. You’d expect The Journal to tell us what has happened to him, where he is and what he is doing, seeing as how they claim to present us with “News of the Churches of God”. It’s funny though, we don’t see much news about the Church of God Seventh Day and don’t see any for the Seventh Day Church of God, Caldwell, Idaho, nor cover their Feast of Tabernacles in Fruitland, Washington. Not ‘churchy’ enough, we guess. Anyway, The Journal doesn’t seem to even come close to fulfilling its empty promise on its masthead.
Here’s a quick note from note from David Antion on Page 1 and 2 and 3: Get something new for the Last Great Day! It’s a new tradition he wants to start:
Dr. Antion explained that the something new does not have to be an entirely new outfit but simply a new watch, shirt, socks, scarf, tie or accessory.
Dandy. You have extra second tithe. Get something new. Something to wear. Bling. His reasoning is:
in recognition of his or her new life in Christ and in anticipation of the new heavens and new earth
Almost all New Covenanty, but still buried in the Olde Testament Christianity rituals of Bronze Age Religion (mentioned a lot at Otagosh). And while you are at it, buy a photo album (with a camera, if you don’t have one, you know, one that has the Herbert Armstrong ‘quality’) to put pictures of you and your family in so that in your children’s old age when Christ hasn’t returned yet, they can remember all the ‘good times’ when they had to balance the Feast celebration, Y.O.U. activities (if any), eating and drinking (non alcoholic if they are underage) with coping with a boatload of homework and class assignment (missed chemistry labs can be killer). Hopefully, they won’t be too bitter and burn the album at some point out of spite.
And finally, we’ll stop with David Havir’s article on page three about how God just doesn’t seem to make up His mind on whether to micromanage civil leaders or not and makes the point that we should “be skeptical of dogmatic proclaimers of their own truth”. That’s good advice, particularly if you believe what Gavin Rumney researched on Otagosh to show that the dogmatic proclamations of Scripture may have a lot less authority than any Bible believer previously thought. At this point, some of us aren’t quite convinced that the Book of Daniel is so much prophecy as history (and maybe not that accurate history either), written after the time the supposed prophecies came to pass. Ask Dennis Diehl, he’ll give you straight scoop on it.
That’s about as much as we have the stomach for, seeing as how the antacid is beginning to wear off, meandering through the insanity of a ‘newspaper’ being a palliative sop apologetic vehicle for a brain dead cult.
We’ll try to do this again each time a new issue comes out. We’re just so sure, that, as always, it will be so edifying with infotainment.
A review by William E. Adams at Amazon.com says:
This work first saw print in 1956. It is the story of a UFO cult in a large city in the Midwest…how it developed, how the leaders recruited followers, how predictions about the coming end of the world started flowing from the psychic members who allegedly channeled messages from the spacemen/pilots. The cult members were told they would be saved, picked up by saucers on an appointed date. The members quit jobs, sold possessions, and gathered, only to be disappointed. Did they all quit in a huff? No way. The first failure only made them more determined they were right, more anxious to be ready for the next announced departure date. Then a second failure. A few members fell away, a few suffered doubts, a few challenged for leadership themselves. The point of this book is that it takes “three disconfirmations” to kill a movement of true believers, and even then, some still hang on to the discredited “theology” by grasping at excuses. I found this book by accident about 30 years ago, and have read it at least four times. I find it fascinating. In the 1970’s I knew two women in Albuquerque who were amateur psychics. They started bringing forth “space brethren messages” and eventually, although they failed to attract a following, they went up into the nearby mountains one night sure they would be lifted off before the coming unspecified disaster. They waited, but no ship appeared. I think people inclined toward UFO beliefs haven’t changed much since this book was published. The basic data shown in this study can apply to religious or political groups as well. I am sorry it is out of print, but if you have an interest in this field, get a used copy…the prices are reasonable and the book will not disappoint!
Support for the study was obtained through the Laboratory for Research in Social Relations of the University of Minnesota and help received through a grant-in-aid from the Ford Foundation to one of the authors. The study is to answer the how and why people take on new fervor when they have contradictory evidence which they should not be able to avoid. There are five conditions under which the authors would expect to observe the increased fervor:
- A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he behaves.
- The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it; that is, for the sake of his belief, he must have taken some important action that is difficult to undo. In general, the more important such actions are, and the more difficult they are to undo, the greater is the individual’s commitment to the belief.
- The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.
- Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.
The first two of these conditions specify the circumstances that will make the belief resistant to change. The third and fourth conditions together, on the other hand, point to factors that would exert powerful pressure on a believer to discard his belief. It is, of course, possible that an individual, even though deeply convinced of a belief, may discard it in the face of unequivocal disconfirmation. We must, therefore, state a fifth condition specifying the circumstances under which the belief will be discarded and those under which it will be maintained with new fervor.
- The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of dis-confirming evidence we have specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, we would expect the belief to be maintained and the believers to attempt to proselyte or to persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.
Luckily, the authors found a group they could observe during the study. A woman of a very religious persuasion began writing messages she just ‘knew’ was from a contact in outer space. This ‘source’ warned her to tell the world that there was going to be a great flood to purge the world.
Along the way, she was told that those within the inner circle of her group would be rescued by flying saucers.
And in the end, we all know how that turned out. They waited again and again to be picked up, but, alas, there was no saucer shuttle and no flood. Yet, many of the group continued to believe even after a number of disappointments, illustrating the workings of the 5 premises. The people really did hang on to their beliefs even after they had been demonstrated to be patently silly.
Of course, those of you currently in the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia know perfectly well there are no such things as flying saucers and the whole thing is patently silly on the face of it.
Just in case you Armstrongists get off the hook because you don’t believe in flying saucers, think again! The authors of When Prophecy Fails spend over seven pages of the first chapter on William Miller! The CoHAM should be getting mighty nervous. After all, those of us blogging to refute Armstrongism have shown that the Worldwide Church of God and its successors are cults. We’ve debunked British Israelism and shown up the same sort of ‘prophecies’ ‘disconfirmed’ by the book. There are no excuses. You Armstrongists are doing exactly what the study predicts you would do. For example, consider the British Israelism Church of God: It has the gall to just make up excuses why DNA doesn’t disprove British Israelism. The problem is that Y-Chromosome DNA has been found to be stable over thousands of years and just doesn’t magically morph to some other haplogroup. Idiots.
Then we need to consider Herbert Armstrong’s Prophetic Record:
Major fail. Again and again. And yet, people keep believing and making up excuses, just like the study says. If you really want to be embarrassed by what you believed, re-read 1975 in Prophecy:
If there is any group that illustrates the truth of When Prophecy Fails, it is the PKG. Ron and Laura Weinland — the two witnesses of the Church of God – Preaching the Kingdom of God (CoG-PKG) — have conned the PKG to continue giving them money even after their major prophecies failed… again… and again. What’s worse, Ronald Weinland is currently serving his sentence for felony Income Tax evasion, but the PKG membership sticks with him and continues to make excuses.
Others, such as David Pack continue to exhibit hoof in mouth disease — Dave prophesied a specific date that three major leaders in the other churches of God would die and members of all the ACoGs would come flocking to him. That was years ago and still… nothing.
Now it is true that the Armstrongist Churches of God have something that little group in the Midwest in the 1950s didn’t have. It would have been so much better after the flying saucers failed to show and take them away from the flood that didn’t happen if they had some way to find out how the various members of their group fared after The Great Disappointment. They should have had the benefit of some sort of periodic newspaper which had stories and articles about the group and the individual members. They could keep up much better, even if the editor didn’t particularly believe in the tenets of the group and held the ‘floodists’ and ‘farmer UFOlogists’ in contempt. He could still publish something called The Journal. Maybe out of some town like say, Big Sandy. What’s important is not what the group believes — what’s really important is to keep the social group together in its completely delusional dysfunctional existence.
It’s called journalism.