Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Fine Example On How The Church of God Regarded It's Members



Here is example of how the Worldwide Church of God treated it's members and how it lusted after money. 
This is a truly a disgusting story that was on Facebook this week. 

This is not the first time that the WCG did this to members and families of the deceased.  It was standard practice. There are many documented cases over the decades of the WCG suing family members to get money that the church believed they deserved. There are even instances of families left destitute because the WCG took all the money.

This is not something left to the old dusty bin of WCG history. It still goes on in every large splinter group out there today.  Beware of putting the COG in your will at the expense of your family!

My father was an elder for 30 some years with no pay. Dad died at age 62. Leaving my mother a widow. A church member who my parents took care of for years left my mother his money. WWC took my mother to court and got part of it. They then asked my mother and my brother for the rest of it. And My Brother FD who was an elder got up in front of the church and resigned and left the wwc church. My mother owned the church building that they were meeting in. Headquarters Pasadena [was] a bunch of crooks!

By the way the mans body wasn't even cold yet. The same day of his funeral the lawyers called my mother and I into a meeting. And across the table was you guessed it. [A]World Wide Church of God minister and headquarters on the phone guiding them all the way.

22 comments:

Douglas Becker said...

When my brother died, the church demanded that our mother give them the money, because they were just sure that he left everything to the WWCoG (which he did not). A minister even wrote my mother and told her that my brother had called the church as he was dying and the minister told him to go to emergency and didn't offer him any help whatsoever.

It didn't stop there.

My brother had lots of nice expensive things, like cameras, telescopes, expensive stones etc. When our mother went to the apartment to clear out his things, church members came by wanting his stuff.

Don't leave the rank and file members out of this: In many cases, they are just as sanguine about acquiring the possessions of a dead member as the church was.

And then there's the wonderful story in "Showdown at Big Sandy" about how there almost wasn't a Feast in 1975: The church wanted all of the second tithe -- proving that the WCG not only treated its members with contempt, it didn't even care about keeping the Feasts, because its all about the money and always has been.

That and Ego.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I'm surprised none of them seem to have gotten into the vampirish game Romney got into. Maybe I just am unaware. Or, none of them were educated enough in financial chicanery to know how to do it.

That guy got his millions by pirating it from businesses in trouble and then walking off with millions in such things as pension funds the rightful owners could kiss goodbye. And, he pretends he cares about you and me! Sheeeesh!

DennisCDiehl said...

this practically make me puke. I am ashamed to have been part of something like this that i did know about , no matter what you all think,

I would have defended the member against this stupid church approach. It was wrong and those who did this need to be exposed for the bullshit artists they were.

argh....

Byker Bob said...

This is a complex issue. WCG was certainly not known as a tolerant group, especially in cases where if they put their mind to it, they could have been instrumental in alleviating human pain and hardship. And, I feel strongly that they are very much in conflict with Jesus (and therefore
God) in that respect.

WCG lawyers could make a very strong case that members did will their earthly goods to the church, (although a good attorney for plaintiffs could also make the case that they did this under the worst possible duress (threat of the Lake of Fire). But Jesus did teach that if you didn't see to your own family's needs, even in cases where you said your goods were "corban" and for the church, you were worse than an infidel. Paul taught that Christians were not to use the court system, especially on one another. Any way you stack it, this blog entry illustrates another area in which a group that called verifiably charitable Christians "Christians falsely-so-called", is itself guilty of some very non-Christian behavior itself.

You can only speculate about the actual accounting for the moneys we're discussing, but from the victims' standpoint, most certainly it must not be very comforting to know that most of it probably went for a fake apostle's extra homes, swimming pool, jet and or jet fuel, gold table settings, art collection, Armani suits, etc. that he supposedly needed to be respectable enough so that people would listen to his gospel about a strong hand from somewhere.

Sadly, you can almost hear the united chorus of stalwart Armstrongists who might read this tale. The chorus is saying "Let the dead bury the dead." Nice.

BB

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, my mother, a member since 1958, remarried a man after my father died. He was made a local elder 2 weeks after they married, and he insisted that she put all her savings into buying a house, as he wanted to make a killing on the stock market, "one more time before the end times, when all the banks would fail". So she did, used us kids college savings etc. Well the man was SATAN, was a drunk, and physically abusive to my mother and brother. They divorced after 5 years, and when he died, the house proceeds were to be split 50/50 with the church and my mother. The local minister called my mother and me into a side room one day at church, and he basically browbeat her into giving her share over to the church. She did, and now has zilch. A few years before she moved in with me,she struggled horribly financially, barely able to eat. When I asked the minister about giving her some "widows and orphan funds" that she paid into for 50 frickin' years, he turned a deaf ear. Some of the local members banded together and helped her out. That did it for me, I never went back to church, and never will.

Anonymous said...

@Dennis, I left that last message, and I DO believe you. Actually, the minister who did
the "browbeating", in our case, was generally a great guy. I am convinced that headquarters put him in a terrible spot. After the "changes" around 2000, he retired, and moved away. I feel bad that too many of you ex ministers never were able to put into social security, and now have no retirement. But then, we should've been in some mythical place of safety by now. bah.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any idea how much money Rader obtained from all the corporations that he started to provide services to WCG? As he said, "I don't take stupid pills." But he knew who did- church members.

Steve Kisack said...

I hope when the "ministers" burn, they don't die right away.

Allen C. Dexter said...

"I hope when the "ministers" burn, they don't die right away."

Oh, c'mon. Such a statement is hateful, no matter who it's directed against. Besides all that garbage about lakes of fire and related nonsense is so much crap. It was invented to keep people bound up in fear so they'd do just what we are discussing here.

Anonymous said...

One thing I never have understood is how the COGs have always taught according to 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 that you shouldn't take "brethren" to court, but when the chips are down, the COG corporations have never hesitated to sue their own membership, or else members of other COG groups, which at other times they willingly admit are part of the "church," "ekklesia," or "body of Christ." Nowhere in the bible does it make a reference to a corporate organization, it only uses the words "ekklesia," or "body of Christ" but this is just another case of the willful misinterpretation of their own rules whenever the situation deems it inconvenient to follow them.

During the whole UCG/COGWA scandal I heard of all kinds of law suits being threatened or actually filed in various areas over various assets.

I guess they just rely on the ignorance/short-term memory of the sheeple?

Anonymous said...

Loma once confessed that the real reason Herbert got into the business was "for the money!" Even when you look at the tithing system that was heaped on WCG members--and still is today in splintering sects and other "Christian" churches--you can see that it always is/was about the money! Nothing demonstrates it more to me than the fact that Herbert stole the third tithes of members allocated for widows and orphans to buy jet planes (which led to Al Portune's resignation)! Utterly disgusting! As Jesus rightly said, "They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden." (Mat 23:4)

Anonymous said...

Fellow victim(s) of COGs,

I feel for your situation, but you haven't experienced the greatest degree of cruelty and avarice until you have come up against a COG outside of the U.S. and Canada.

My story would hardly be credible even to me, except that I personally experienced every part of it.

I live in an Asian country which has particular COG propensity (you can probably guess which one).

The three regional heads preside over virtual kingdoms, personally-owned compounds funded by decades of COG peasant tithes and guilt offerings begged from the U.S. brethren.

I had attended the local church for a year when my alzheimeric mother died on Passover a few years ago. The regional pastor became furious when he found out I (a former minster) was going to fulfill my mother's last request and conduct her funeral myself.

He quickly threatened me and when ordered him out of the funeral home, he then told the local congregation that they could not participate.

After the funeral, we were disfellowshiped and three of our families branched off and began attending in a nearby room in the facility.

That's not the half of it....

Two months later, the local elder there actually told the congregation to 'make trouble' for us so that we would stop meeting at their facility. I was told this by a reputable source whose family afterward joined our group.

Within a few days, we came home one night to find my wife's 23-yr-old retarded son dead in the street of our neighborhood with 19 stab wounds.

Coincidence? You decide.

The regional pastor flew the coup in the COGWA/UCG scam with all the tithes and offerings he could carry, and the local congregation there dwindled down so small that the elder and one deacon's families were all that remained.

Anonymous said...

Is there a God? If so is He the Christian God? If so, is there a Holy Spirit who empowers human beings to live transcendent lives?

Despite the fact that the COGs all pay lipservice to these propositions, their behavior only seems to demonstrate that they are more likely to be false than true.

Steve Kisack said...

Allen C. Dexter said...
"I hope when the "ministers" burn, they don't die right away."

Oh, c'mon. Such a statement is hateful, no matter who it's directed against. Besides all that garbage about lakes of fire and related nonsense is so much crap. It was invented to keep people bound up in fear so they'd do just what we are discussing here.

MY COMMENT: What difference does it make then what I said about them? According to you, it isn't going to happen anyway...whether they burn slowly or burn quickly. If they burn quickly, they won't have a chance to think about all the rotten, evil things that they did to people, but if they burn slowly while they're thinking about all the rotten, evil things they did, at least they'll know why...for a little while. So, who cares if it's "hateful" or not. In the end, we'll all be dust never to pass this way again...according to you.;-)

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
@Dennis, I left that last message, and I DO believe you

Thanks...many lump those like me, as a former WCG pastor, into some generic group of "they."

I can totally live with myself as I know I was nothing like the image of a WCG minister. My Presbyterian upbringing made me a questioner and anyone can see that by reading what I write about.

If I could not live with myself, I would have apologized for the ignorance exhibited and moved on. Apology is not a sign of weakness to me and I have done it in other areas of life, usually to no avail.

WCG has left me go fish. I work as I can in my new career of choice, help people as I can and have not strayed far from my healing/helping self.

As far as retirement, I am screwed. I live day to day, help my kids when I can and am frugal being true to my Dutch roots.

Life to me is for learning. Getting stuck in bitter to me is a waste of time, though I spent some time there. All I ever wanted to know is the truth of everything. I don't abide theological bullshit well even though in my youth, I unknowingly taught it.

The end of this story will be interesting...

DennisCDiehl said...

PS I have never minded being honest and open about feelings. I find everyone has them and most hide them.

The WCG experience has sucked my brains out. I never could have imagined how it would go and had I , of course, would never have taken the first step towards it. When I was naive and young, it made sense.

I'd love to go to a FOT but would make a lousy member of the audience. I want to teach not preach. My last sermon on the politics of the NT was the most fun giving a sermon I ever had for the 10,000 in Mytle Beach. I pushed a few too many buttons and the end came quickly when I got home and was told "we think you know a lot about Jesus, but we don't think you know Jesus." Wow...quote for me of my life.

I've lost relationships and ended up alone. There have been times where had I been a gun person, I'd have had to give them over to friends to keep or sell.

Stories like those here on this posting make me sick. I can barely imagine such a church taking property and such from children who had no clue their well meaning, but frankly stupid, parents made arrangements for. I cannot understand why a church would not grasp this and while having the technical right to property etc, would not give it up to the children who were shocked and left out demanding it be returned fromt he church.

"Why don't you rather take the wrong.." comes to mind, even though no church, to me, has a right to ask people to will their stuff to a church. How fucking materialistic and greedy is that...

I don't belong on this planet evidently....and probably am not from here...lol

Retired Prof said...

Mr. Kisack, some of believe it's worthwhile to treat others decently, in word as well as deed, without regard for whether or not there is a lake of fire or a god to throw us into it. I know the threat is an empty one, and that your curse on the "ministers" is only rhetorical and all, but still.

Your comment lends support to theists' charge that we unbelievers choose not to believe so that we can feel free to act as nasty as theists would except for their fear of punishment. I for one feel insulted when believers accuse me of an ulterior motive, whereas actually my lack of belief derives simply from a lack of evidence.

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof said: "whereas actually my lack of belief derives simply from a lack of evidence"

excellent!

Assistant Deacon said...

I didn't do the stuff described here.

I also didn't advocate it.

The more of it I found out, the more out the door I was, until I was on the outside looking in.

Bad people do bad things. Unfortunately, a lot of sincere people do bad things when they think they're doing it for good, or for God, or whatever.

One of the most productive things derived from the past 20 years of COG-dom is that people think more for themselves than ever before. Some still don't, but my observation is that most do. Even many within the various splinter groups think, and they don't just buy everything they're told.

The disconnect still seems to occur with the majority of those when it comes to clearly distinguishing the fact that it all relates to a faulty system based on the say-so of one man, HWA. Sooner or later, that fact will become more abundantly clear to all. Until then, progress continues.

Meanwhile, lawyers will be lawyers. Can't live with'em, can't live without'em. They do the bidding of those doing the paying. Sometimes it's pretty nasty, what they do.

Hopefully, we'll hear stories like this one less and less often. People thinking for themselves will encourage that trend, to be sure.

Anonymous said...

"...theists' charge that we unbelievers choose not to believe so that we can feel free to act as nasty as theists would except for their fear of punishment."

In my experience theists and atheists both act the same way. And that lines up perfectly with the research that says that within the criminal justice system differing punishments including the death penalty have no effect upon rates of criminal activity and no effect upon rates of recidivism. Neither the lake of fire nor the death penalty have any effect upon day-to-day behavior.

Steve Kisack said...

Retired Prof said...
Mr. Kisack, some of believe it's worthwhile to treat others decently, in word as well as deed, without regard for whether or not there is a lake of fire or a god to throw us into it.

MY COMMENT: I have no problem with that.


I know the threat is an empty one, and that your curse on the "ministers" is only rhetorical and all, but still.

MY COMMENT: You're right. It was just rhetoric.

Your comment lends support to theists' charge that we unbelievers choose not to believe so that we can feel free to act as nasty as theists would except for their fear of punishment.

MY COMMENT: No support intended.


I for one feel insulted when believers accuse me of an ulterior motive, whereas actually my lack of belief derives simply from a lack of evidence.

MY COMMENT: I agree with you. I wasn't trying to insult you, or anyone else. As I said, "So, who cares if it's hateful or not(what I said about the bastards). In the end, we'll all be dust never to pass this way again...according to you." And, Allen may be right. I don't know. Who am I to argue with him with lack of evidence.

Byker Bob said...

WCG was in so many ways a conundrum. For a legalistic philosophy, they certainly relished anarchy when juxtaposing themselves with either traditional Christian decency, or what they categorized as "man's law". In fact, HWA equated his own rulership with that of God, making himself the sole arbiter in these types of situations. In other words, he invoked the name of God to promote his own self-serving brand of anarchy! There was no right of appeal, and no due process. This is the type of authority which was at the root of, or has fomented virtually all revolutions in the history of mankind. Since many who were part of the Armstrong problem see God as being a kind of HWA on steroids, there has been incredible and irreparable damage reaching into the spiritual and going way beyond the simple financial, in members' lives.

One commonly practiced technique of logic involves seeking solution by pursuing the exact opposite of something found to be unworkable in one's life. Since we were overburdened by law even regulating personal choices and tastes as members of Armstrongism, in addition to losing belief in God, I became an anarchist for probably about ten years. What I eventually realized is that one can only be an anarchist in an environment where one enjoys certain protections produced by law. In other words, if everyone's behavior had been exactly like my own, we would degenerate into a Darwinnian scenario of law of the jungle or survival of the fittest. The weak, the poor, and the helpless would no longer survive, including many of our loved ones. This realization provided me with the valuable lesson that binary thinking can never provide effective solutions!

Law can be used to produce good, and to protect, or it can be used in an unfair and exploitative manner. By equating his authority with that of God, HWA elliminated due process, right of appeal, protection of the rights of the weak and powerless, and much of the basic fairness inherent in the most successful systems of law. The consequences of this were hardly benign! His legalism was lopsided and slanted towards his own corporate entity, and for the enrichment of his carefully chosen circle of insiders. Usually his language was carefully crafted to deflect suspicion of his actual intentions, but occasionally his contempt for his charges would spill out as he blamed the membership for the death of his wife, "Satan's" alleged attacks on the work, the postponement of fulfillment of HWA's prophecies, or blanketly tarred and feathered his own members as "dumb" sheep.

Fact is, HWA came just about as close to claiming to be God as one can possibly do without actually saying the three words. Venerating him as an apostle is the fundamental motivating tenet of Armstrongism, the tenet on which all others hinge, and therefore, the most spiritually damaging.

BB