This extensive article in its length requires some working knowledge of high demand authoritarian religious groups.
An extensive study on the Armstrong utopia ideology and how the Kingdom of God on earth philosophy turned into a dystopian experience for tens of thousands.
“Utopian” describes a society that’s conceived to be perfect.
Noun: 1. An imaginary island described in Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) as enjoying perfection in law, politics, etc.
2. An ideal place or state.
3. Any visionary system of political or social perfection.
(example: religious collectivism, or kingdom of God on earth)
“Dystopia” describes a Utopian society in which things have gone wrong.
Noun: 1. As bad as can be; characterized by human misery, squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding. (example: experiments in socialism)
Characteristics of a Utopian Society:
• Information, independent thought, and freedom are promoted.
• A figurehead or concept brings the citizens of the society together, but not treated as singular.
• Citizens are truly free to think independently.
• Citizens have no fear of the outside world.
• Citizens live in a harmonious state.
• The natural world is embraced and revered.
• Citizens embrace social and moral ideals. Individuality and innovation are welcomed.
• The society evolves with change to make a perfect utopian world.
- Utopia society is highly planned.
- Utopia has no official state religion.
- Money is not a function of society.
- The population of each city is maintained at about 6,000, and in the event of a marked rise in the birthrate, some families are sent to other cities where they can be accommodated.
- Utopian government is actively involved in the process of making sure everyone is working at one task or another. (e.g. Farming. The one job at which everyone works)
- Population control measures, as overpopulation will mean discomfort and under population will mean a labor shortage. This maintains harmony.
- Permission to leave a city, as economic planners decide that if one is needed, then the individual cannot leave.
- Marriage: Women must be eighteen and men must be twenty-two before they can be married. Clandestine premarital intercourse if discovered and proved. Guilty parties are forbidden to marry for their whole lives, unless pardoned. Second offense penalty: Enslavement.
Characteristics of a Dystopian Society:
- Propaganda is used to control the citizens of society.
- Information, independent thought, and freedom are restricted.
- A figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of the society.
- Citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance.
- Citizens have a fear of the outside world.
- Citizens live in a dehumanized state.
- The natural world is banished and distrusted.
- Citizens conform to uniform expectations. Individuality and dissent are bad.
- The society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world.
Controls of a Dystopian Society:
Most dystopian works present a world in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through one or more of the following types of controls:
- Corporate control: One or more large corporations control society through products, advertising, and/or the media. (See Edward Bernay video)
- Bureaucratic control: Society is controlled by a mindless bureaucracy through a tangle of red tape, relentless regulations, and incompetent government officials.
- Philosophical or Religious Control: Society is controlled by ideology often enforced through a dictatorship or theocratic government.
They believe or feel that something is terribly wrong with the society in which he or she lives.
Starting Lesson From History:
From Wiki we read :
Intra-religious utopias are based on religious ideals, and are to date those most commonly found in human societies. Their members are usually required to follow and believe in the particular religious tradition that established the utopia. Some permit non-believers or non-adherents to take up residence within them; others (such as the community at Qumran) do not.
The Jewish, Christian, and Islamic ideas of the Garden of Eden and of Heaven/Paradise may be interpreted as forms of utopianism, especially in their folk-religious forms. Such religious utopias are often described as “gardens of delight”, implying an existence free from worry in a state of bliss or enlightenment. They postulate freedom from sin, pain, poverty, and death; and often assume communion with beings such as angels or the houri. In a similar sense, the Hindu concept of moksha and the Buddhist concept of nirvana may be thought of as a kind of utopia. However, in Hinduism or Buddhism, utopia is not a place but a state of mind—a belief that if one is able to practice meditation without continuous stream of thoughts, one is able to reach enlightenment. This enlightenment promises exit from the cycle of life and death, relating back to the concept of utopia.
Some Jews believe that, at some point in the future, the prophet Elijah will return with the Messiah and set up a worldwide religious utopia, heralding in a Messianic Age.
In the United States and Europe during the Second Great Awakening (ca. 1790–1840) and thereafter, many radical religious groups formed utopian societies in which faith could govern all aspects of members’ lives. These utopian societies included the Shakers, who originated in England in the 18th century and arrived in America in 1774.
A number of religious utopian societies from Europe came to the United States from the 18th century throughout the 19th century, including the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness (led by Johannes Kelpius (1667–1708)), the Ephrata Cloister (established in 1732), and the Harmony Society, among others. The Harmony Society was a Christian theosophy and pietist group founded in Iptingen, Germany, in 1785.
Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government in Württemberg, the society moved to the United States on October 7, 1803, settled in Pennsylvania. On February 15, 1805, about 400 followers formally organized the Harmony Society, placing all their goods in common. The group lasted until 1905, making it one of the longest-running financially successful communes in American history. The Oneida Community, founded by John Humphrey Noyes in Oneida, New York, was a utopian religious commune that lasted from 1848 to 1881. Although this utopian experiment has become better known today for its manufacture of Oneida silverware, it was one of the longest-running communes in American history.
The Amana Colonies were communal settlements in Iowa, started by radical German pietists, which lasted from 1855 to 1932. The Amana Corporation, manufacturer of refrigerators and household appliances, was originally started by the group. Other examples are Fountain Grove (founded in 1875), Riker’s Holy City and other Californian utopian colonies between 1855 and 1955 (Hine), as well as Sointula in British Columbia, Canada. The Amish and Hutterites can also be considered an attempt towards religious utopia. A wide variety of intentional communities with some type of faith-based ideas have also started across the world.
The Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible depicts a hypothetical time in the future after the defeat of Satan and of evil. One interpretation of the text sees it as depicting Heaven on Earth, or a new Earth without sin. Many details of this hypothetical new Earth, where God and Jesus rule, remain unclear, although it is implied to be similar to the biblical Garden of Eden. Some theological philosophers believe that heaven will not be a physical realm, but instead an incorporeal place for souls.
The proverbial war of all against all is a staple of a dystopian society. Sometimes it entails the most brutal struggle for survival and other times it gives rise to rampant paranoia.
Everybody is suspicious of everybody else, and they can’t tell a friend from foe as the lines between the two are so blurred that virtually everybody and everything poses a potential threat to life and limb.
Though dystopias vary in things like the system of government, level of state control and living standard, to name just a few, they, nonetheless, all have a lot in common, so much so that just as you can easily distinguish one dystopia from another you can also always tell a dystopian society from one that is not.
Category One: The Dystopian Society
Just what is a dystopian society?
- A dystopia is considered a fictional society usually portrayed as existing in a future time, when the conditions of life are extremely dismal due to deprivation, oppression, or terror.
Sound familiar? Remember the Good News magazine that spewed out the WCG’s view of what God’s utopia would look like? It was heaven on earth. But to enter into this wonderful time (the kingdom) would require you to do unending somersaults of law keeping, tithing, and blindly obeying those who really did not care for you or your family.
Remember the Plain Truth? Have you ever read Meredith’s or Flurry’s rag? They fill your mind with a hopeless air of despair.
The propagating of these ideas and others into the minds of their audience that future race wars are coming, or economic collapse is just a few short years away, are an ideology the ACOG’s place into print within their magazines in order to form opinions, prejudice and to mirror church doctrine. This conditions the membership not to jump ship and chance that they will be caught up in the fray when the projected SHTF moment materializes. Anyone who has spent a decade or more in one of these groups can attest that a SHTF moment is always just a few years off.
What the ACOG’s fail to foresee is the results of their endless negative prognosticating. When a human has confidence and optimism, the very joys of life itself stolen from them, you take away the zeal for life, you squelch the will to live. You destroy the individual. What you have left is a shell of the former and a slave which needs to be constantly managed in order to maintain his or her direction forward.
The Dystopian standard-bearer (an advocate or champion of a particular cause or ideology) often feels trapped and is struggling to escape and questions the existing social, political, or in our case, religious systems. From the now defunct “Random Observations” website we read:
* What do we think of a man who places great effort into his religion, but then, when his own leadership, who he has previously accepted as God’s true leadership on earth, gives evidence showing it might in fact be wrong, apparently breezes by the evidence without even consideration? It means he is not interested in the truth. Instead, he is just interested (in) the beneficial effects of the message being delivered. In Ratzmann’s case: he is one of the few saved elite, others are not, period. He is not interested in examining himself and his beliefs to see if they might be true. He wants them to be true, and that’s that. Before, one might have thought he was merely misled. Now, it’s clear he’s a willing party to that, uninterested in soul-searching.
Why Terry Ratzmann lost it and shot up his church may have been his latest attempt to recapture his former self. If this is so, then he waited until the stress was so overwhelming that he could not deal with it in a logical and rational way.
* On a side note, there are other ACOG groups that may also experience such a painful future event. For instance, Banned by HWA has run a series of articles on Dave Pack and his Restored Church of God, who by the way, seems to be endorsed by the Wadsworth, Ohio mayor which is oblivious to Pack’s behavioral history. What Banned has uncovered in disturbing detail, is Pack’s latest set of rants that seem to be on the edge of delusional fantasy. In all fairness, we wait for Dave Pack to present his arguments in such a way that the common person can understand what he is attempting to communicate. Until that time, we remain gravely concerned for the membership.
Truly, no one ever enters such authoritarian high demand groups with fully informed consent. Deceptive groups deliberately withhold their secrets and refuse to let potential recruits fully understand how the group actually works, what it is really all about and what its ultimate demands may be. Full disclosure does not serve the organizations best interest. It is up to the recruit to do his “due diligence” before committing themselves to a collective.
The process that leads to having self doubt about your decisions in life is healthy and can lead you into a more fulfilling existence as you bid your time here on earth. Being truthful with yourself and having the skills to refine new information as it comes available must become a lifetime process. The inability or unwillingness to deal with new information in a logical and orderly fashion will always lead you towards a faulty conclusion.
When the conditions of your life are extremely dismal due to deprivation, oppression, hardship, or even terror, it is due to the choices you made. Your decisions and your abilities to act on them will result in endless joy or a deep despairing scar upon your soul.
CATEGORY TWO: Conditioning
- Science fiction, particularly post-apocalyptic, often feature dystopias. In most dystopian fiction, a corrupt government creates or sustains the poor quality of life, often conditioning the masses to believe the society (their society) is proper and just, even perfect.
Read that again. “a corrupt government creates or sustains the poor quality of life, often conditioning the masses to believe the society (their society) is proper and just, even perfect.”
The poor quality of life as all of you know (or should know) was caused by the church’s three tithe system, accompanied by the burden of federal and state taxes. This life choice impoverished the membership. Then to add to our financial hardship, we had the endless building funds, financial emergencies, and other extraordinary fund raising activities that these group leaders scamed their members with.
But this is “God’s church” we would tell ourselves, justifying our staying in the group as we suffered silently. All the while as you suffer, the leadership lived among palaces. If you think about this a bit longer this is what happens in third world countries where el presidente rules from the gold plated palace, and you suffer in your filthy dirt covered shanty. They dress as kings and you wear the rags of a peasant.
But you dear member, you can justify this….
Hebrews 13: 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Is it your excuse to be a lazy sheeple and allow these men of the church to do with you as one would with a slave? Many in past years sacrificed their entire families, their way of life, and the future of their little children to remain in compliance with the church (God). Back in those day we were told and we believed that to rebel was to say no. We submitted by turning our backs on our families and bowed before the altar not of grace, but of Herbert Armstrong.
Talk was always cheap in the WCG. When it came to the government of the USA, well I heard many a time, talk of rebellion against the ruling authority. But that is just talk. Cowards are cowards and sheep minded people are sheep, readying themselves for the slaughter. Generally speaking, the Armstronites are inconsistent, hypocritical, and abusive to those on the outside that do not share their views. And to my shame, as a member of the WCG at the time, I (was once) as they still are, speaking evil of outside groups (as the WCG no longer exists.)
To the current membership of whatever ACOG you belong to, you take pride in your ignorance, laughing at those of us who don’t share your confirmation bias. You think of yourselves as the salt of the earth but have become fools with your narrow minded views and magical thinking. However, this is not entirely your fault. You have been conditioned to believe that which you hold sacred, all without having a clue as to what is being done to you. You have been promised utopia if you endure to the end, and live your life never bothering to questioning the promised future, made by men who make claim that they speak for God.
Listen to your inner voice and discover who you really are and then act on it. Logic and rational thought cannot be long suppressed. To do so jeopardizes your mental health.
And as with Edward Bernays, his tried and true theory on conditioning the masses toward conformity using the vehicle of propaganda, your conditioning was based on religious theory and propaganda. (Much of it stolen from other religious groups by Herbert Armstrong.)
This is why I say “Herbert Armstrong constituted the one who was to lead us to our great and shining future. Instead we were taken on a drunken wild ride with Herbie as the driver, impairing our lives with his debauchery, half-submerged logic that was contaminated by perverse inclinations most prefer not to acknowledge.”
CATEGORY THREE: Nightmarish Extremes
- Most dystopian fiction takes place in the future but often purposely incorporates contemporary social trends taken to extremes. Dystopias are frequently written as warnings, or as satires, showing current trends extrapolated to a nightmarish conclusion. (Editors note: In this article religious or societal trends based on group think are considered ‘social trends’.)
Any social/cultural change big enough to shape an entire nation or society happens in long waves spanning generations. One example of this that comes to mind is the scripture that the church is so fond of quoting, and that would be the one where “women shall rule over you”. As social trends go, women are now found in offices and local governments around the USA and contribute to the support of their families, paying taxes, and bettering the lives of everyone around them. Why the discrimination? Is a man better than a women? Label this as: nightmarish that a women be over a man.
Then there is the funny nightmarish comedy story fiction from the Armstrongites that comes to mind about a time yet (so saith the Armstrongites) to come where women and men shall eat their children due to the lack of available food. (Was that with A-1 sauce or without? I forget!) Now of course they took this from some ancient scripture and have been twisting it endlessly for the last eighty years. Label this: dystopian fiction, satire.
The current trend that will be (current & future) exploited upon from the pulpit will be that of Europe who is now creating its own defensive force separate from NATO, who currently is the protector of the EU. As this military force is cultivated, the old, tired and dire prediction that the USA will be invaded by the EU, led by meat-hook swinging Germans, who will starve or country into submission, causing us to eat our children, and killing two-thirds of our population, will continue on and on as it has for the last eight decades. (current political trends taken to nightmarish extremes.)
It is true that mass murders based on political actions have happened in the recent past, this during the time of Stalin and Hitler. But the USA is not Russia, it is not Germany. It is an island to itself. What country could travel over the vast oceans and expect to invade this land when there is a gun behind every blade of grass? Don’t you think that if the USA was under such duress it would not resort to a thermonuclear solution? Has this logic escaped from you?
Another item. The ACOG’s are always harping on the tune that “God controls the weather” or “He will starve you unto submission” and other twists of scripture that distorts reality. When there is a drought like the one we experienced this last decade, we hear the likes of Thiel, Weinland, Flurry or Meredith, all spouting the same ignorant doom and gloom bullshit time again.
Like the politicians, everything they say, is extrapolated to a nightmarish conclusion and taken to extremes. The reality is, rain storms earlier this year (2016) filled California’s reservoirs to the rim. Authorities had to open the flood gates early on into the season to prevent flooding. However in some areas like Texas the drought continues. It should be asked, if God is ‘punishing America’ should He not be consistent and punish every state in the Union? Label this: Weather trends taken to extremes.
Race relations. There has been talk of race wars (soon to hit America) currently being exploited by the various groups that make up Armstrongism. These ministerial misfits have spent decades warning of a race war “when blood shall run as a river in the streets of America” and all around the world. This is not journalism, but sensationalism. They are taking societal fears to extremes, extrapolating them to a nightmarish conclusion. Instead of educating the people of the church as to current race issues, and expounding the golden rule to prevent the few who may fall into the trap of hate, they instill the worse fears of human behavior that humanity has to offer.
Gay marriage, gender theory, immigration, equality among the races, economic and philosophical progressions, etc, these are changes that ALL societies go through during their life course. At some future point, our democracy like those of the past will collapse due to the lack of cohesion within the society. Division is what destroys societies, and like all nations of the past, this is human behavior, albeit at its worse. The destruction of our society will not be the work of a God, but the inevitable decay that all societies experience. Don’t let those ACOG charlatans tell you any different. They are chasing dollars at your expense.
Now this is one item the ACOG’s have as their Achilles heel. Division. Oh yes! All the groups, which number into the hundreds, all of them are hopelessly divided. This division is bringing about the demise of Armstrongism. Now don’t think they have no clue. They do. But the lust for power and the pursuit of wealth knows no bounds. It is American Greed.
So when we wrote above… “Most dystopian fiction takes place in the future but often purposely incorporates contemporary social trends taken to extremes” know that we are talking about the “extremes” that the ACOG’s have historically used and abused us with. There are always fears in life, but when you take the bible and use it to create an army of mindless insects, well that is criminal. It is for this very reason I hope there is a lake of fire for the corrupt and heartless leaders of the Armstrong cults. Let their fate be that of whom they unjustly accuse.
CATEGORY FOUR: cONCLUSION
The Handbook of Human Slavery:
Universals in Human Behavior
As long as humans remain a single species, Homo sapiens, which can be clearly separated from other species on the basis of genetic, anatomical, or other criteria, it is perfectly legitimate, and scientific, to speak of human universals.
-Dario Maestripieri, Ph.D. Professor of comparative human development, evolutionary biology, and neurobiology at the University of Chicago.
Taxes or tithes? On the game board of life, human ownership is the farm. Governments and religions are different farms.
Government tax farmers collect taxes from business farmer owners, and business farm owners confiscate taxes from those who work at the business farm for the benefit of the government tax farmers so that the government tax farmer can increase in size and expand out into an empire which enables it to control other tax farms throughout the world.
Religious tax-tithe farmers collect tax-tithes from the farm laborers who work for the business farmer, who previously had their taxes confiscated by the business farmer for the benefit of the government tax farmer, who now pay 30% to the religious tax-tithe farmer, which enables the religious farm to expand out into an empire, which enables it to steal and absorb smaller tax-tithe farms, all the while never having to pay the government tax farm.
The first Great Awakening 2.0, a period reminiscent of the first Great Awakening that provided the intellectual, philosophical and spiritual ammunition that ignited the American Revolution. The “Awakening” has begun, so says trend forecaster Gerald Celente.
“Throughout 2014, and beyond, you will hear the Wake Up Call. It will be loud and distinct.
In 2013, the White House and Congress proved their extreme incompetence with a series of public failures. From closing down the government, to the debt ceiling debacle, to the aborted attack on Syria and, ultimately, to the disastrous launch of Obamacare, the ineptness of our political leaders was overwhelming. As polls show, a majority of citizens registered levels of scorn and ridicule unparalleled in modern America.”
I quote this dear reader in case you have been asleep. I realize that most of us are aware of what’s happening during these most interesting time we live in. No matter what the future holds for us, know that the ACOG’s will exploit those who have small minds and shrinking wallets. They will take the news and distort it, taking any downturn or disaster to the extreme. New fears shall be planted into the minds of those who are gullible enough to believe that the end is near. It is not. The end is only near for the ACOG’s as they grow more and more irrelevant. There is no future for the dystopian society. In the information age, Armstrongism is now obsolete.
When You Reach Utopia you’re in Dystopia
There are many visions of Utopia from the Marxists and their dreams of worldwide communist revolution, to the racial and eugenic purity of some Nazi Utopia or even the ‘aborigine’ vision of life put forward by some environmental nuts. The various version of the perfect society ideology all aspire to create a new world, a heaven on earth, the ideal society where everybody is happy and no one is dissatisfied with their lives.
In the world of the fictional Utopia, the highly structured society is operated under strict authoritarianism, limited freedom and scarcity. What seems to be a life of harmony and peace is anything but.
The idea of dystopian Utopia’s have a very long history within science fiction stories. One example: In H.G Well’s Time Machine, we are given a example of a post apocalyptic society. Here is a group of young people who have no desire for work, everything is provided for them. The day is spent lounging by the river, frolicking with the opposite sex, not a feeling of pain or want. They have available to them many books who’s care has not been looked after and they rot upon the shelves. The very thought of further education has never come to mind. They are in Utopia. With a serene and stress free life, the Eloi find themselves dependent on the cave dwelling Morlocks, who in return for such a blissful life, are used as a food source. Source: The Time Machine (YouTube)
In the end game, there are so many conflicting visions of what an ideal society would look like and all of them are radically at odds with one another and probably irreconcilably so. In the hedonistic paradise of Brave New World, with a rigid caste system of Alphas, Beta, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilon’s, all are conditioned from birth and seem to be happy in their place. Content to be nothing more than a cog of a societal machine. But this is fiction. Such a society cannot exist as a reality.
So here we are at the end of the story, which is really the beginning. The collective utopia known as the Kingdom of God and the Wonderful World of Tomorrow is still preached with little variation from what the Armstrong’s taught. Try as they may, few in this information age are buying into the tall tale of a utopian world tomorrow. *The Armstrongites lack of foresight crucifies them in the end, for they fail to realize that when you reach utopia, you have arrived at dystopia. Your pursuit has destroyed you.
* Utopia always reverts back to Dystopia and never vice versa. This is why Utopia is fiction. It cannot be attained. The tyrannical governance in the various church of God leads to human suffering, oppression, mental illness, suicide, etc, therefor they cannot be the kingdom of God in waiting. They have always been a dystopia collective since the beginning. There can be no change.
-Article by James. The Painful Truth © 2016