Someone sent me a great link to Al Portune's story of his life. It is fascinating reading and brings back many memories of life in Pasadena. Names and places that have meaning to so many people.
Al's story begins with meeting his wife, heading off to War serving in the Coast Guard and then finding Ambassador College. He tells about his rise up in the organization with HWA and GTA's encouragement. Then he tells about his time as manager of the finance department. Being exposed to the use of money and having to sign the checks started opening his eyes. Confrontations with HWA over his begging for money started to seal his fate.
He tells of his leaving the the employ of the church and has quest for expanding his knowledge. Too few in Armstrongism have ever dared to question religion, life, where we come from, etc. Far too many prefer to have someone else tell them the answers. It alleviates any responsibility for accountability on their part.
Al has obviously advance far beyond COG thought into something far more meaningful to him.
Astounding as it may be, on honest investigation, the basis of religion has little changed from the religion of primitive man. It is still belief in gods who control everything, even life and eternal life itself. Most of mankind still feels it cannot be safe and have any kind of secure present or future without serving, worshipping, placating one or more of those gods. Religion has become more sophisticated as MAN “tweaked” it, added to it, embellished it and tailored it to the benefit of power centers, profitable institutions and self aggrandizement. However, sacrifice of one kind or another is still a requisite, predominantly sacrifice of money for those who have found that religion is a lucrative business. Promoting their religion as the “salvation for man” requires money and is perhaps the most prominent sacrifice to enable the “preaching of the gospel or “good news” to the world . One could list thousands of sacrifices and offerings threaded through manifold religions, but it is still that same primitive motivation – that sacrifice, offerings, sacraments and worship bring existential advantage.
The grandeur of religion’s leaders, their robes, their churches and cathedrals, the pomp and “sanctity” displayed, the rituals so “elegantly” displayed and on an on create the illusion of a sanctity and relationship to “god” that even those in those exalted positions are looked to as actual vicars or representatives of god himself. The desire to be recognized and acclaimed as the leader or founder of a church or religious movement is great. It even was thousands and thousands of years ago in the preeminence of being “the Medicine Man.” But it all goes back to the first primitive placation of existential apprehensions and those who devised methods of placation.
For me it has come down to an elementary acceptance of what this earth and its long, long history has brought forth naturally and spontaneously based on the “forces” at work upon it going back to a “beginning” beyond the comprehension of mankind. What those forces or “a force” has brought forth on this earth has followed a pattern. Not a religiously defined pattern but a natural pattern, verified by the “natural evidence” that has progressed from the very first elements of life down to the present highest form of life extant on earth – man. Religion ignores or seeks to refute that natural process and replace it with various creation stories that establish a power basis that is nowhere evident in the natural evidence on this earth. Creation by fiat establishes a god concept and therefore a power that controls all things and must therefore be served, placated, obeyed and worshipped according to a methodology devised by “religion” that was created by man.
Check out his story here: Religion and WCG or the Index here: Index of Memoirs