Friday, August 24, 2012

Dennis On: "And You KNOW This?"

And You KNOW This?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI have to confess, I did a lot of this myself in my youthful know it all because I read in the Bible past.  If it is one thing a COG minister or member can do, it is to declare the absolute truth of matters that few humans could ever know.  Sometimes I am forced because the person telling me how it all is to ask them if they understand quantum physics?   Of course, all say "well no, not really."   But for the last ten minutes you have told me that you understand completely the plan, intentions, mind, characteristics and demands of the Deity?  Really?  And you KNOW this?  At least there are many physicists who do fairly well understand Quantum Physics, but that is because they have spent a lifetime doing the hard work required to think and run the data, do the math or launch the probe to find out such things.  Spend an evening watching ...

....and you will be exposed to more understanding, hard won, than any human before you learned in 100,000 years.   While creationists and mere Bible readers sit home and read books, real scientists are out in the real world doing the hard work to see how things really work.  They sit home thinking up ridiculous explanations for the Grand Canyon so that it ends up part of the mythic Noah story while real paleontologists and geologists are actually in the Grand Canyon doing the hard work of where did it come from and how long did it take.

I do not know James Malm.  I suspect he is very sincere.  He's an excellent Bible reader, as we were all taught to be.  This, however, is not the same as understanding it's origins, background and intent of a book that is just a book and in reality is not and was not written or channeled to men from any Deity. 

How common it is for COG zealots to tell us all:

"God wants us..."
"God is telling us..."
"We know we know the truth..."
"We know the end is near.."
"God is purifying his church..."
"We know we are God's true church..."
"I am that Apostle.."
"We have the truth.."
"Time is short...(again and still)

and so on.   

To which we simply have to say,  "And you KNOW this?" 

I will spare us all, but I always had issues with Gerald Waterhouse and his flip the switch in his head, autopilot sermons given to keep us all tuned into the "Work" and "Mr. Urmstrong."    I sat there , as did we all, listening to speculation promoted as truth and opinions portrayed as truth.  I never bought into it from the start.  I did not grow up in WCG and Gerald Waterhouse's sermons always, from the start, made me say in my head,  "And you know this?"   Of course he didn't.  From going before Kings to fleeing to the place of safety, the voice in my head always said,  "And you know this?"   The last time I ever had him visit my church area I finally told him  "your sermons cause more problems than they solve and I am directing the questions they raise to you and not bothering with them anymore."   All he said was , "Really?"   Yes....really.

I  suppose I could quote ten thousand examples of COG guru types telling the brethren how it all is.   Dave Pack is good at it and in his wildest dreams could not imagine he is simply wrong on how it all is.  Ron Weinland is the master of the same old sermon given every week where he tells the faithful how it all is, how God thinks, what God is doing and what their part in it all is."  One is simply left asking..."And you KNOW this."

Gerald Flurry, Bob Thiel, Rod Meredith, Dave Pack, Ron Weinland, James Malm and hundreds more just know how it all is, what God, Jesus and the Angels of heaven are thinking and doing...just ask them.   Sadly and of course, (my favorite Bob Thiel quote),  they really don't. 

Let's face it.  Jesus, the Apostle Paul and all the leaders of the Jerusalem Church were wrong about the times they lived in and how it all was going to play out.  If you can't admit that, then I can't help you.  Paul, Peter, James and John were just as much false prophets of their immediate times as any preacher today who thinks they have special insight into the mind of any God.   At least Paul admitted he was wrong as he left the planet and left others to fend for themselves.

How do we know that those like Pack and Flurry don't really believe or mean that we or they are in the end times?  Just look at what they do.  You don't build a campus to fuel your "Ediface Complex" when you think any Jesus is about to return.  Subconsciously, they bullshit themselves and those that follow them.  Sadly and of course, (sorry:)  , they quote "blessed is he who is found so doing," to cover their tracks.  Sadly and of course, (sorry again), that is not the context of the quote.

I have a number of friends who into metaphysics just as much as any Church of God minister is into the Bible and end time misunderstood prophecy.  They say things like,  "Michael the Archangel is now .....",   or " Mars is in Leo so expect a war of lions...this Wednesday.." and so on.  I think to them too,  "And You KNOW this?"  It's all the same silliness. 

I personally do not believe humans can know the future and prophecy is just the human tendency to speculate and see patterns.  Whether we like it or not, much Old Testament "prophecy" was false and never , never, never world out as advertised.  We embrace prophecy because it helps us cope with the present.  We all need to know it will be ok and work out.  That is why you hear,  "I have read the end of the story, and we win."  And you KNOW this?

 The future has not yet arrived and when it does will simply be another present moment.  If prophecy is true, then we have no free choice and are living in a Godplay video game.  I am tempted to say that the Euro and the United States of Europe is dead in the water, but the idea of it "part of iron and part of clay" sticks in my mind from the past.   Being God-Haunted and superstitious is a legacy of the WCG and all who read the book of Revelation like one would a blog or newspaper.

Even on this site we hear comments that "Satan wants you all to...."  or "The true Christian will....."    It's all the same thing.   Making statements that no one could prove in a way that sounds as if the conclusion is true and right.   All it does is hold up the self righteous and piss off the skeptic.  But having the ability to say,  "And you KNOW this?"  or even,  "and I KNOW this?"  is a skill that at least shows we have a bit of humility in all this knowing. 

If I had to look into the future, this is what I see.   First of all, I will personally grow old and die, if I am lucky.  I don't know how or when I will die, but I seriously doubt I will be changed in a moment , a twinkling of an eye , into a god or born such and such.  I would like to be, but I am being practical here and going on past human experiences with living and dying.  I don't wish to die in some nasty manner or alone, but it will be what it will be.  Next, I expect Dave Pack, Rod Meredith, Gerald Flurry, James Malm, Bob Thiel and everyone else will die in time too.  Some sooner, some later.  Life is a conveyor belt.  Some never get on it.  Some get on and fall off fairly quickly. Some ride it half way or three quarters.  Some even get to ride it out to the end.  (My parents are 97)  But eventually and somewhere along the line, we fall off the conveyor.  Our only concern is if someone sweeps us up off the floor and gives us another shot.

I predict Ron Weinland is going to prison.

On this site comments are always reactions to the comments of others.  We all know how to say, "and You KNOW that?" but we say it in different ways.  Some by discussion and some by rancor. 

There is a wonderful Buddhist saying that says,  "He who says, does not know and he who knows, does not say."   That works for me.  Those who crow the loudes about who and what God is and Jesus is doing probably don't really know and don't know that they don't know.  Those who let things be as they are , are probably better off emotionally and spiritually not letting those who know pressure, intimidate or bullshit them into living their own lives through the filters and eyes of another. 

Around Greenville, if you go to Bob Jones University, you are known as a "Joneser", not unlike those who like to use the term "Armstrongist."  I have asked students who they are and they always tell me, "I go to Bob Jones."   Really sad actually.  I asked who you are, not where you went to school, but they form themselves into the image and views of the Jones boys.  Authenticity tends to elude Jonesers. 

So, what's the point?  I suppose just developing the mental skill to ask, "and you KNOW this," when WCGers, Armstrongists, the Packatolla, Flurryites, Weiners , Malmists, and COGgers tell us how it all is.    It disarms the arrogance and frees you personally from wondering if you are missing something you just don't see or agree with.


Dennis C. Diehl


DennisCDiehl said...

The goal....

"She let go. Without a thought or word, she let go.

She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the “right” reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all the memories that held her back. She let go of all the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forever more."

~ Ernest Holmes

Assistant Deacon said...

Bingo. Well said.

"God wants us to..."
"God is disgusted by..."
"God will..."
"God says..."
and even the classic
"In Jesus' name..."

On and on these presumptuous carnival barkers go, claiming to speak for an omnipotent diety. Strikes me as incredibly dangerous ground, but, to each his own, I guess.

BTW, Dennis, your part about Gerald Waterhouse is spot-on. It's amazing how many otherwise rational, intelligent people sat there time after time, trying to execute the mental gymnastics required to wrap their brains around the man's twisted logic and unfounded claims. We've all been there.

Much better to steer clear of it all and approach things from a personal, rational perspective than to remain trapped in a mindless atmosphere of group-think.

Anonymous said...

"But for the last ten minutes you have told me that you understand completely the plan, intentions, mind, characteristics and demands of the Deity? Really?"

That makes me think of Craptastic Christian Preacher Ray Comfort who claims to be able to "save" people by having short conversations that last only a minute or two.

However, raising people from the dead may take more time- like even five minutes, LOL!


Allen C. Dexter said...

Memories. Memories.

It used to be such an ordeal to sit through Gerald's virtually endless bombast about numerology and his wild imaginings, punctuated by his nervous "mad scietist" giggle. That was near the end of my association in the mid-seventies.

Even then, while still dedicated, I could see through the nonsense. Thanks for putting up Holmes' rather profound quote.

Retired Prof said...

Dennis, your comment, "I don't wish to die in some nasty manner or alone, but it will be what it will be" reminded me of a conversation on this topic I had with two other professors, John and Brady. I had recent good memories of salmon fishing from a Lake Michigan beach, and I said, "I would like to have a sudden painless stroke or heart attack while trying to reel in a large fish."

John said, "I want to go during sex."

Brady said, "Me too. I want to go on the upstroke."

John said, "I like the downstroke better."

Brady said, "If you go on the upstroke, you get one more downstroke."

Dave said...

You "suspect James Malm is sincere"?
He's an egomaniac and an opportunist who knows shit about scripture.If he did,he wouldn't be going down the COG path

Anonymous said...

"Knowing" things that you don't know is the definition of faith, isn't it? I grew up around so many people who said things like, "God is opening this door," or "God brought us together," or "God wants us to..." o.O And you are clairvoyant enough to know this how? (If they were honest, they would say, no, I just figure that JC is behind every little detail in my life.) It's funny though, that when they "walked through that door" and the whole project blew up in their faces, they never said JC was f***ing with them. When they broke up with their significant other, they didn't say JC didn't want them to be together any more.

In the NT when Paul wrote, "prove all things" either he didn't mean it, or else it was the greatest mindf*** in the history of man. Faith and proof are mutual exclusives.

DennisCDiehl said...

Gerald Waterhouse was not just who he was but also a personal family friend which made it tough. I told the elderly they could skip him if they needed to because 4 hours was just too long to sit at some ages...well at any age! :)

I don't know Malm, but tend to err on the side of sincere in such cases :) You may know him better than I do. Dave Pack...hmmm, I know him.

Just home from five hours of chair massage clients so if I rub any of you the wrong way, come see me tomorrow at the Palmetto Center in Greenville and I can fix that har har

Allen C. Dexter said...

Don't know either Malm or Pack, but I have to think back to when I was just as deluded and stupid as they are and mouthed a lot of the nonsense you point out. So, even though I doubt sincerity, I have to give the benefit of the doubt.

I knew Waterhouse but was not a close personal friend. He wasn't quite as weird when I first knew him. At least he didn't seem weird back then.

The longer one is in a cultic environment, the deeper the mental maladies, unless you start to wise up like we did and see through the crap. Gerald never wised up. He just set about establishing his weird little niche and that got worse with the passage of time.

DennisCDiehl said...

my switch went personally totally off when I asked Gerald Waterhouse privately what he was going to do WHEN HWA died. Not if.

He said, "I'll believe it after three days and three nights."

hmmmmm....I guess the answer I should have expected from him but I heard my brain click off for the last time on his views

Anonymous said...

I don't remember the content of any of Waterhouse's sermons, except for a joke he told once.

He said, "There was a young boy who turned to his father during one of my sermons, and whispered, 'Daddy, what does it mean when Mr. Waterhouse takes his watch off and sets it on the lectern in front of him?' The father turned to his son and said, 'Nothing, son. Absolutely nothing.'"


DennisCDiehl said...

That's funny Norm. My kids used to watch the water glass on the table that would migrate towards the edge of the table a bit more each time he pounded the table. They'd bet how long it would take to fall off the edge.

I think he was a good example of the problem HQ and ministerial services had with ministers they could neither understand or get rid of. In his case, I think he was kept away from Pasadena on purpose so they'd not have to deal with him.

Others, like DCP, would turn a congregation on it's end in short order with drama and anger and then when it reached the breaking point, DCP would get moved to do it all again, and again and again.

In all my years, I don't recall anyone ever being taken aside and told they just didn't seem to have a heart for ministry and are being terminated. It was always amazing to me the reputation some would make for themselves and not in a good way and keep on and on.

In the world of church I grew up , that would never have happened. And of course, in the world of Church I grew up in, the minister had a good education and paid his dues to get in any pulpit.

lostchild said...

Retired professor quoted a friend as saying "I would like to have a sudden painless stroke or heart attack while trying to reel in a large fish."
Sorry friend, I have witnessed people having sudden heart attacks and it is very painful and very horrifying. I myself had a ruptured aorta and should rightly have died, but I was scooped up and taken to the hospital. The pain I experienced was absolutely unbearable and awful, worse than the pain of childbirth (which up to then had been my most painful experience). As I lapsed into unconsciousness I almost welcomed death as a relief from pain, but my impending death was even marred by that past indoctrination, I was reminded of the frightening thought that my next moment of consciousness might be some horrible judgement day and me of course being on the side of the goats gnashing my teeth.
Instead I woke up the next day in a hospital bed thinking I will have to go through that all again.
As for the stroke.....I think a heart attack would be better. The horror is that the stroke doesn't kill you but leave you at some half way station. There is no easy way out of here.
Sorry to be so miserable, I am feeling better these days and enjoying my reprieve a little.

lostchild said...

PS: oh and retired professor, it took me a while to figure out the last option about "I want to go during sex" and downstrokes and upstrokes. I thought you were talking about fishing for a while. I realise it is a joke and I am not offended but I imagine it would not be too wonderful to have a dead guy on top of you. A bit selfish you know and inconsiderate of the other person.

Retired Prof said...

Of course you're right, lostchild, about the bad taste in that joke--in regard to both death and sex. To my colleagues I would explain that our department was charged with the task of guarding the bounds of good taste, and I was one of the scouts. In order for scouts to survey the bounds accurately, we have to make forays outside them. A lecture I have given more than once (including at a meeting of the Popular Culture Association) is titled "Sex and Death in the American Joke." Unfortunately, Brady and John had not performed this joke yet, so it was not included among the examples.

To get deadly serious for a change, let me tell what happened to John. A few years after that conversation, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and informed that he had about a year or so of misery ahead before he died. He told me he was certainly dreading the coming months, but he seemed resigned to the fact that we don't get to choose.

A week or so later he was taken to the hospital with pneumonia, and a couple of days after that he died. It was widely suspected, though never openly declared, that he had aspirated something (spray-on cooking oil?) to promote the pneumonia. Brady and I have yet to learn what threatens to do us in.

Thankfully, none of the three of us has been tortured by fear of the Lake of Fire. Brady and John never paid any attention to Armstrongism, and I got over it.

lostchild said...

Thank you for the reply Retired Professor. I think we should joke about sex and death, what else can we do? You know all those stages of grief "anger acceptance blablabla", once you have worked through those all that is left is humor. I hope I am smiling when I leave this planet. As for pancreatic cancer, that is a nasty one, but you usually don't have to wait around too long and at least we have fairly effective painkillers now. As for sex, I hate those serious people, it is supposed to be fun, maybe it is just too much work for men.
I left wcg in the 1970's, so I have had a long time to put that Lake of Fire vision to bed. And that isn't what I imagined either, it was the great white throne judgement with everyone being divided why wake us up if it is just to be destroyed forever? Is that a lesson to who? At least I have a bit more time to go through some of these things.

Anonymous said...

All animals, plants, and even single-celled organisms - every living thing on this planet - is connected by a shared genetic code. The natural world is absolutely clear that mankind is a part of the natural world.

Yet the bible is all over the place on mankind. First it says we were created very good, but then it says our natural state is evil and bad, and that we must become somehow unnaturally better just to be okay. First it says we were created along with the rest of nature, then it suggests we are not connected to nature but are above it, aligned with angels instead except a little lower.

Taking everything into consideration, why would we be the only species being judged and thrown into the LOF? There ought to be a heaven and LOF for germs, spinach, and even those cyoot widdle bunny wabbits too (evil fornicators!).

Anonymous said...

If you take the lines of thinking contained in the bible, so many of them flatly contradict each other. Extending those lines of reasoning into a supernatural future, even more conflicts and capricious arbitrariness becomes apparent. The "plan of god" just doesn't seem to fit with the world that modern science has found. People in the late bronze and early iron ages had no idea what the future held, did they? What a ridiculous thing to even suspect. Why do so many today still get caught up in their ancient supersitions?

Byker Bob said...

I guess this post illustrates how profoundly my thinking processes have changed. Rather than trying to limit or quantify God, I find myself constantly wondering what God has in mind, or what He is trying to teach me through my various daily experiences. It's often not until after situations have processed that we can begin to appreciate the lesson, or see the value in what sometimes seems to be a useless situation.

I never really got the feeling that things were on an upward trend while I was either an Armstrongite or nonbeliever. That's part of the reason why I am so grateful for the stage I'm now going through.


Anonymous said...

Of all the known COG bobbleheads out there, Pack is the one I want to bitchslap the most!

Sorry, but, I just had to get that off my chest.

Anonymous said...

Applying Dennis' post to "preaching the gospel", consider the following:

Evangelism for a religion is a bad idea. Why should it be a good idea to try to convince someone else to believe something that you yourself do not know to be true? One's beliefs should be entirely a private matter. If someone else decides to convert of their own free will, then that is entirely up to them. But it seems wrong for someone else to sell something which has a vastly greater chance of being false than it does of being true.

It's like selling sugar pills as medicine (at full markup). If it turns out you're not sick, then you've been cheated, but other than that, you'll be fine. If you are sick though, and you think you're being treated with medicine and you're not, that can cost lives.

Evangelizing is like selling bottles of something which you dogmatically claim is medicine, but in reality you have no idea whether what's in your bottles is medicine or not, (although the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of them containing just sugar pills).

Anonymous said...

Did any of you ever have to sit through Gerald Waterhouse on the Day of Atonement? Worst kind of torture I have ever experienced.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I don't think that ever happened to me, but I remember one particularly brutal Day of Atonement we spent in the old Shakespeare Club during a brutal heat wave. We were so dehydrated by the end that we drank literally gallons of water right after sunset.

When we got home in the late afternoon, my wife and I stripped and showered repeatedly and laid on our bed without drying off desperately trying to cool down.

I'm so grateful to no longer be wedded to such nonsense. It gives me great pleasure to eat an drink all I desire if I happen to remember the date. Maybe there is a place for a little fasting once in a while, but fasting for religious reasons is more bullshit.

DennisCDiehl said...

Allen...symptoms sound like heat exhaustion which if not addressed can lead to fatal heat stroke.

Dying to keep Atonement?

Allen C. Dexter said...

I don't think we were as far along as heat exhaustion but we couldn't have taken much more.

At least Herb had sense enough to exempt small children from the fasting. We would have had some fatalities if he hadn't. I'm thinking of a particular guru and his sweat lodge debacle. Tragedies can happen very easily when we get carried away by misplaced enthusiasm and certainties.