Thursday, March 21, 2013

Demolition of Ambassador TV Studios and Men's Dorm Olcott


Former men's dorm Olcott on Green Street







Remains of Television Studio


41 comments:

Anonymous said...

glad to see the ministry of propaganda finally destroyed

Allen C. Dexter said...

We thought those places would endure into the millennium and become shrines. The futility of it all! Just a lot of scrap now.

DennisCDiehl said...

“The First thing to understand about the universe is that no condition is “good” or “bad.” It just is. So stop making value judgments. The second thing to know is that all conditions are temporary. Nothing stays the same, nothing remains static. Which way a thing changes depends on you.”
~ Neale Donald Walsch

Nothing can undo what is done , "It is what it is..." is the conclusion

Assistant Deacon said...

A prophecy of those gaudy campuses in Edmond and Wadsworth in another 50 or 60 years.

Anonymous said...

Damn! I guess the invading German armies will not be using the campus for their invasion HQ after all! Now they will not be able to use the TV studios to make their propaganda films regarding the invasion. Franz Joseph Strauss wont be living Herb's house, the Berlin Philharmonic wont play in the auditorium. Meat hooks will not be used in the Student Center. I am so disappointed!

Joe Moeller said...

How much dirt did they find that was swept underneath the carpets?

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Douglas Becker said...

The last remnants of The most important WORK in the world today!

Corky said...

Well, there went millions and millions of tithe dollars down the drain for the last time...not that it wasn't already gone but it kind of puts a stamp of finality on the whole affair.

But, that's what happens when one man owns your life and the buildings you built. He can sell either one, or both, at any time.

Velvet said...

No response from Six-Pack? He was pretty vocal about them demo'ing the Library. In fact, Six-Pack whining (or claiming, or both) that PCG has the original literature (it doesn't) is where I heard about Junior's reaction. Says a lot about the Church, doesn't it, when we get updates on what's going on at "denominational headquarters" from the opposition.

Not to mention the fact that we still haven't been told that Feazell isn't the VP any longer; I found that out on Otagosh, and Gavin found out a year after the fact, himself.

Gary Deddo, the new VP, is not a member of the Church, and never was, he's one of those babbling "theologians" who are on the videos all the time. Not sure what type of professing Christian he is (nor do I care), but given how one American evangelist was promoting "The Presbyterians were right!" the last time he was out this way, it's likely Deddo is one.

As for Junior's Feb 1 letter, I have no idea what he's trying to say; is he promoting the (entirely false) idea that we thought of the Pasadena campus as the Temple? That's assigning a whole other level of idol-worship to the members, than actually existed, in my experience.

I also don't know who he's trying to address; either he's preaching to the choir, so the Evangelicals can crow over it, and attempt to rub it in the faces of the faithful, or Junior's trying to rub it in the faces of the faithful. Once again proving that the only thing Junior wants more than first tithe from every minister in the Church (which is mandatory) is division in the Church.

Douglas Becker said...

For Velvet:

Request a free booklet. (U.S. addresses only). We offer the following titles:

- We Won The Battle For Hell
- The Christian Sunday
- Getting a Grip
- A Brief Introduction to Trinitarian Theology: Three Gods in One
- Procrastination: Does God Let You Choose Your Own Rut?
- Standing Outside the Light
- Statement of Disbeliefs
- The Gospel Really Is No Longer The Good News
- Take a Flying Leap

Well, that's assuming you have that sort of sense of humor.

Byker Bob said...

Olcott brings back memories! I didn't know the place even existed until finding out that that was my dorm assignment for first semester of Sophomore year. I guess that was the first time they were inhabitable.

And, yes, there were some memorable moments. A very vocal new student from New Jersey telling everyone who would listen that Olcott Place had certainly not been in the college catalogue.
And, on top of that, we had a plague of ants that even got inside the refrigerator within the first week or two of classes.

Crawling up through the ivy covered hill at 2:00 AM, drunk, and with a whole pack of Juicy Fruit gum that the girls had stuffed into my mouth. Ditching sabbath services and sunbathing on the roof. Pranking all of the good little boys who had attended the ministerial ball by making their beds on doors that had been removed from their hinges, filling the makeshift prayer closet with empty Budweiser cans, and sheeting rolls of toilet paper, neatly stacking it, and hanging a sign above it that read "For Sabbath Use". It was a blast, but they reassigned key members of our merry band to other dorms for the second semester. Of course, that just meant that more dorms got infected with our rebellious nonsense.

Lots of Colt 45, and the occasional cigar or cigarette. The little old ladies "in the field" would have freaked, to say nothing of the majority of the student body. Seems tame compared to what happened 5-6 years later, though, when people weren't just smoking cigarettes on the sly!

BB

G. G. said...

Byker Bob--
You mentioned "the little old ladies" who would have freaked. That's about the first mention I have read that even mentions the female sex in connection with that crazy church. What a bunch of sexist pigs were involved in that organization, not to mention child abusers and A #1 Scam Artists. Why would any woman have gone near the place. Oh well, I guess they were brain-washed too. Evil!
G.G.

Byker Bob said...

GG,

Many of the ladies who attended thought that the church was what they were told it was. God's one and only true church during the endtime era. Of course, they wrestled with the many red flags just as the men did. However, we were conditioned to attribute our natural defense mechanisms to Satan and the demons, and to work very hard at circumventing them.

It was a negatively based religion, not one that was terribly nurturing or anticipating of blessings during this lifetime.

Add racist British Israelism, and you can imagine the additional difficulties brethren of color must have experienced in controlling their natural defense mechanisms.

Most of us were very conflicted, and suffered from varying degrees of depression and paranoia, but you are quite right that it went way beyond this for some.

BB

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob wrote: "...they wrestled with the many red flags just as the men did. However, we were conditioned to attribute our natural defense mechanisms to Satan and the demons, and to work very hard at circumventing them...Most of us were very conflicted, and suffered from varying degrees of depression and paranoia..."

Psychological cause and effect. A primary example of how primitive supernaturalism in many ways cripples the human mind. Any kind of natural internal warning system - like asking questions or seeking out reasonable evidence - were (and still are) discouraged to the point of atrophy. Why? Because they directly threatened the very foundations of the ideology.

“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.” Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1793)

G.G. said...

I apologize for sounding angry at the Worldwide Church of God. I had a teenaged relative who killed himself after being born into and growing up in that church and possibly a splinter group later. I don't know how much the church was to blame but it couldn't have helped. I just kind of put god and religion on the "back burner" until the 3 days of the Beslan School Massacre in Russia, which I followed closely onTV. It was the first day of school for innocent little children and their excited parents with special welcoming events. The terrorists held the 1000 children and adults without food or even water in extreme heat. That was when I knew their was no loving god father figure up there. No god would allow that! That was just the final straw. I never could buy the story even before that. Quote:. "Over a thousand people were taken hostage in Beslan’s secondary school on September 1, 2004. For over fifty hours, the hostages were held at gunpoint and denied water, food or medical help. On September 3, the disaster was finally brought to an end – apart from the fact that families were still to learn who died and who survived. "
G.G.

Michael said...

Ouch that hurts :-) The TV dept bldg was where i worked for several years!

As a tangential note, i recall it was there where i briefly met and was introduced to HWA face-to-face for the one and only time, entering for one of his tapings. A very awed and serious young sophomore, I was nonetheless left a bit confused as he, the one and only Apostle in these End Times, struck me as rather "out of it", or senile if you will, much too obviously overweight given the church's preaching on being an example leader ("your body is the temple of god"...), and a rather high-pitched whiny voice unlike what one heard on the processed broadcasts. I wondered, this is the fellow meeting world leaders with god's urgent message ....? :-)

Leonardo said...

G.G. wrote: "I had a teenaged relative who killed himself after being born into and growing up in that church and possibly a splinter group later. I don't know how much the church was to blame but it couldn't have helped."

You're right, G.G., its hard to come to definite cause and effect conclusions about such a horrible tragedy of teenage suicide, which often have multiple causes.

But the WCG did have a higher-than-average rate of suicide than occurs within the general public. Though like many other unpleasant things associated with it, the Church tended to sweep such events under the carpet and be hush-hush about it.

Here's a link that discusses this tragic issue in a little more detail, though I'm quite sure the list it includes is not comprehensive:

http://hwarmstrong.com/suicide.htm

G.G. said...

Thaks Leonardo, for the link. I wonder if these COG groups had any idea of the pain and harm done by cutting children off from extended families and other potential social supports. Not to ever celebrate Christmas, get a birthday gift from your grandmother or aunt, exchange a valentine with a friend. The true evil was that old man in Pasadena that people worshipped as they put their brains far, far back on the back shelf. I had figured out long ago that the less spent on gifts or family holidays the more there was for the old bastard in Pasadena and I had never gone near a COG, not that I could have, as they keep the locations hidden. No church building --- more money for Pasadena.
G.G.

Leonardo said...

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” — Blaise Pascal

Velvet said...

Doug,

The Surrey office actually already sent me those booklets. :-)

Velvet said...

GG,

My condolences on your loss. The suicide list at the PT is sobering, to say the least. The couple on the list that I find really disturbing, are the people (one minister as well I believe) who killed themselves after (because of) the changes. The Church always was sorely lacking in ministerial support, but I find it horrifying and ironic that, for all the Evangelicals screaming about how their Jesus is love, after the changes, they became even more hateful than they were before, as faithful(??) leaders(??) of the people.

Anonymous said...

What really needs to be demolished is the ability of men to control the minds of people that are easily swayed by their smooth words. We need to help people develope critical thinking skills.

Leonardo said...

Amen to that, Anon! And the American public school system indeed used to teach such a vital subject in principle all throughout a student's academic career!

But then something to consider: if we once again re-instituted the teaching of basic critical thinking skills much of the huge marketing and advertising industry would be neutralized in its intended effects very quickly, the pop Hollywood culture would pretty much collapse due to lack of interest, and perhaps worst of all, politicians in Washington would actually have to work in the best interests of their constituents instead of duping them by their fancy rhetoric that they care when in reality they undermine such interests virtually every chance they get.

Joe Moeller said...

The rate of suicide in the United States is about 12 to 15 individuals per 100,000 per year.

Suicide is actually a top cause of death around the world, and 1.53% of ALL deaths in the USA can be accounted to by suicide.

If we give the WCG universe a minimum of 200,000 who attended at one time or another, then the 51 collective suicides over the years, shown over at the "Painful Truth" website seems very low.

If statistics be a guide, then there should be about 28 suicides a year amongst those who once part of the WCG. This would mean over the last 20 years, a number of about 500 suicides would equal the "normal" rate for the rest of society.

It appears to me that the suicide rate for the COG community is lower than average.

The top reasons for suicide are schizophrenia , PTSD, BiPolar disorder, Substance abuse, Gambling addiction, financial problems and severe medical conditions.

This post is not to deny any situation or tragedy of those who have been in the COG and who have committed suicide. Please note this disclaimer carefully before you flame me.

However, in any large group of people, statistically, you will have a reversion to the mean. COG people have their share of problems , hangups, dysfunctions etc. It appears though that suicide has a lower incidence amongst them than average though.

Peace Brothers.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Suicide is not surprising. What does surprise me is that there were not more homicides. Imagine having your health, family, wealth destroyed by this cult. Should we not be surprised that leaders were not assassinated? Think of the damage they did do so many individuals and families.

Head Usher said...

I have personally known several young people who have committed suicide, although I was not in contact with any of them immediately prior. While I'm not glad that they did it, because it is tragic, it remains a rather obvious fact that they felt so unhappy and so completely trapped by their circumstances that they couldn't proceed. I respect the fact that they needed to get out of their situation, even though it is sad that they couldn't find any other exit.

If all the hullabaloo were right about Armstrongism being the one and only way to find god, then you would expect the suicide rate to be at least lower, if not nonexistant. If the church provided so many answers and solutions, and that "way of life" really did produce "true freedom" and happier lives, as promised, the suicide rate would not be on a par with the evil outside "world." If god were really at work exclusively with members of the cult, intervening to help in people's lives, instilling them with divine peace and hope, those people would be really remarkable. How many remarkable church members were there? More to the point, how many people were transformed into remarkable people as a result of their contact with "the church"?

One of the people I knew who committed suicide was born into "the church." He was about 30 years old when he hung himself. All those years steeped in Armstrongism. Where was god? Where were all the supposed benefits?

The suicide rate is just one variable, but it is a very telling one. It is just another proof that Armstrongism offers none of the answers to life it claims to offer. All it does is take your money and fill your head with lies and empty promises that make you even more trapped and hemmed in than you otherwise would be. Either you're part of the solution or you're part of the problem, and Armstrongism is definitely part of the problem.

If you are considering joining or are a new convert, learn from us, the survivors, who have been there and done that. Especially those like myself who were born and raised in Armstrongism, but survived because we eventually came to see through its smoke and mirrors to recognize it for the empty, dangerous cult that it is.

Anonymous said...

While the suicide information at Painful Truth is informative, I don't believe we would be correct in using it as any basis for statistics. Most of that info was probably provided by former members.

It is probable that suicide was very much underreported in WCG. Actually, where would you even be able to report it? I think it was much more prevalent than believed.

BB

Anonymous said...

I think suicides in general are under-reported. If you are a family member, it's easier to say it was an accident with a gun than to say it was an intentionally self-inflicted wound. If you're a parent, it makes it look like you're a terrible parent. If you're a family member, it just avoids lots of uncomfortable questions about what was wrong. If you're also under all that pressure to appear "perfect" put on you by the church, I can imagine suicides are even more under-reported. In addition to any normal stigma, there's the added church stigma that it casts doubt upon everything that everyone is doing, so there's a whole bunch more uncomfortable questions that it poses, that no one is too keen to face.

Leonardo said...

Head Usher wrote: "If god were really at work exclusively with members of the cult, intervening to help in people's lives, instilling them with divine peace and hope, those people would be really remarkable. How many remarkable church members were there? More to the point, how many people were transformed into remarkable people as a result of their contact with "the church"?


Exactly. Those are just the kind of practical real-world questions I'm interested in.

Of course we would not reasonably expect to see an unrealistic degree of perfection, but I think it fair to say that the actual fruits produced over many decades were considerably less than what could have realistically been expected, and FAR less than "advertised." The actual results did not come anywhere close to what the theory predicted.

Though the diehards will be quick to point out that various parables in the gospel accounts predicted that the failure rate would be high. I once knew a long-time minister who had a quite poor reputation in virtually all the areas he served in, as such areas apparently had fairly high drop-out rates for members during his tenures. But the minister, instead of humbly asking himself some serious questions, arrogantly (and publicly in a sermon) said that this is exactly what the Bible predicted would happen.

Anonymous said...

Correlation is not necessarily causation. Those who committed suicide in the WCG may have been tormented by the church which led to suicide or they may have been tormented before their WCG experience and joined the church to find answers. What types of personalities are drawn to the WCG and other cults? To what degree does insecurity, suggestibility, lack of critical thinking skills, pessimism, paranoia, etc. play in someone joining a cult? What do cults offer people that some find so appealing?

Velvet said...

"It appears to me that the suicide rate for the COG community is lower than average."

Joe Moeller,

Statistically speaking, you might be correct (though your peak membership numbers are sky-high; the last membership numbers I recall being reported were in the 140K range and this was in the mid-80s, when Church growth began to stagnate), your argument highlights a more distressing point.

IF (big if) statistically, the suicide rate in the Church was lower than in the general population, then the fact that certain individuals in the Church, actively drove individual members to suicide, makes your suggestion sound worse.

Which doesn't even touch on the fact that there are suicides listed on the PT site, of those who killed themselves because of the changes (I consider anyone who takes their own lives in one of the splinter groups to be in this category as well -- yes, even Ratzmann); I do believe their blood is not on their own hands, however (nor any of those mentioned) but instead, their blood is on the hands of those who drove them to it.

Generally speaking, I mean; I am sure every case is different.

Velvet said...

"It is probable that suicide was very much underreported in WCG."

This might be true; I can't recall any suicides being mentioned from the pulpit when I was a kid, but the suicide of one (adult, never raised in the Church) schizophrenic son of one of the members was discussed.

In the Church of the present day, it seems any "sudden death" that's reported, without qualifiers (i.e. heart attack, stroke, etc. especially if they are young) is likely to be; but they won't say that from the pulpit! (Although there seems to be no problem discussing it amongst the members during fellowship.)

That could be endemic to my area, though, because the local newspaper has a habit of doing the same. So, they may just be following the example of the world around them in that.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 5:40 wrote: "What do cults offer people that some find so appealing?"

Probably first would be the absolute sense of CERTAINTY cults pretend to offer with their overly-simplistic answers to life's biggest questions. Not a whole lot of thought or reflection is required to comprehend the simple and appealing explanations they tend to offer.

Second may be the sense of personal importance such "answers" offer new recruits - the heady feeling that "I'm special now that I possess secret knowledge known to only a select few." Let's not underestimate the tremendous appeal this has to human vanity, which we all have to one degree or another.

Third probably would be the strong sense of community and tight-knit social cohesion that cults almost always offer, and which recruits often find hard to escape from once formed.

These, and other factors unique to each separate recruit coming into the cult, account for much of what lures them. And like you mentioned, a person's pre-existing insecurities, suggestibility, lack of critical thinking skills, paranoia and so on all exert their influence.

I think it important to think upon such things, because as American culture continues to split apart at the seams this will create a dumbed-down society more and more desperate for the simple answers cults specialize in.

Leonardo said...

Velvet, I agree with your comments above about COG suicides. I've seen this happen a lot: a relatively young or otherwise healthy person suddenly dies. And then it becomes almost a dead giveaway (and truly no pun intended) when the cause of death is never mentioned. But what tends to be the very first question that pops up in your mind when you initially hear such unexpected sad news?

Yes, of course: "What happened?"

I had to directly deal with a suicide in my family many years ago, and I choose to inform relatives and friends of the tragic news with the unvarnished truth, because I figured covering up the reality would only serve to promote rumors and all manner of unseemly speculations among those concerned. And the sad part is that I learned this principle from the very same person who chose to end their life in this manner. They told me once to always tell the simple truth as best as you know it, because telling falsehoods is so much more complicated a business, and in most cases gets you tangled up in more and more as time goes on.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"

And besides, 99% of the time people will eventually find out the truth anyway. Does not the long and often sordid history of the WCG prove this in spades?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I ate a bottle of chemicals from my chemistry set as a WCG child, and fully intended on it being a permanent solution to chaotic, random, excessive punishment experienced in daily life.

Two things happened. I had a horrible case of gas the following day, and when I confided in a fellow church teenager who told his parents, I ended up getting spanked, reprimanded for bringing dishonour to the family, and told never to do it again.

Leonardo said...

You know, Anon 1:43, that account is so tragic, and sadly, it was experienced in principle by far too many kids raised in the WCG, especially in its more oppressive era - i.e., the time following the initial publication of GTA's epic treatise on proper child-rearing, 1963, I think it was, though it continued to be published into the mid '70's.

I was not raised in the Church, and during my early years in it I foolishness looked upon those who were as being far superior to me, very fortunate and blessed by God to have gotten off to such a proper start in life. Seriously, I had absolutely no idea at the time what many of these kids had endured growing up. When I first went out to AC (1976) I distinctly recall that many of the students (about 95% of which had come from church families) seemed to suffer from a LOT of repressed anger, even to the degree of rage. Then I started hearing the stories, began connecting the dots slowly over time, and finally saw the utter futility of GTA's advice, at least how it was put into practical action in many church homes, at Imperial Schools, etc.

There was a friend of mine at AC who confided to me once that he tried to take rat poison as a young teenager, with the same intent you had with the chemicals.

Just terrible.

On the humorous side, though: first, I'm glad your knowledge of and expertise with chemical compounds at the time wasn't all that well developed! And two, that following day with the horrific case of intestinal gas must have been a doozy, I should think, depending of course upon what specific components were involved!

But the kid who ratted on you, whatever became of him, the little rascal?

Joe Moeller said...

Velvet:

You are correct. Peak attendance in WCG (which included man, woman and child) was about 140,000 in the early 1980s.

My 200,000 guess (which is likely low) would have included EX-members as well. I actually think that it was likely about 300,000 or more people attended WCG at one time or another. There has been a high attrition rate in WCG, and I once heard someone in Pasadena give me some stats on it.

Pasadena was always stat crazy, and the COG as a whole still is. Similarly, the Nazis were also stat nuts too! LOL! The number that I heard as the average "HALF LIFE" of a WCG member was around 11 to 12 years. WCG grew by being able to bring them in faster than they lost them.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Leonardo said...

Joe, the stat I heard from the Mail Processing Center (which was a primary source of many stats issuing out of HQ's) was that in terms of sheer numbers every ten years the WCG lost roughly HALF it's membership due to attrition. And of course certain biblical references were used to explain and justify such a dreadful record.

And I think the height of WCG membership was around the FOT of 1989, if I recall correctly. The numbers started a slow downward spiral from about that point onward, culminating in 1995 when the WCG as a viable organization collapsed in upon itself fairly rapidly.

Velvet said...

"They told me once to always tell the simple truth as best as you know it, because telling falsehoods is so much more complicated a business, and in most cases gets you tangled up in more and more as time goes on."

I agree with your relative, Leo, though if there is anything that would unequivocally qualify for "the straight and narrow path," that would be it. My condolences on your loss.

Though I should point out, the "sudden death" announcement actually occurred in the present-day Church (it was a relative of a Church member), not in the past; in the past, from what I can recall, suicides were treated as DFs; and never mentioned again. Though I am a bit fuzzy on that, as I can only just barely recall the two suicides in the Victoria congregation. (Membership of about 300, for those looking for statistics.) One of whom was not a member of the Church.

"And besides, 99% of the time people will eventually find out the truth anyway. Does not the long and often sordid history of the WCG prove this in spades?"

Perhaps. Though I don't think the ex-member websites promote the whole truth. Our discussions here certainly seem to reinforce that.

Velvet said...

"GTA's epic treatise on proper child-rearing, 1963, I think it was, though it continued to be published into the mid '70's"

When I was growing up, Arch Bradley's booklet was far more widespread; but GTA had long since been volubly discredited, and all the garbage he ever spewed, dumped by that point in the Church's history. Though it doesn't surprise me that such evil as Anon @ 1:43 recounts, happened as a result of the writings of someone who quite clearly followed the devil, instead of God.

Anonymous said...

Velvet, in the Kingdom, Ted will be the boss of Herbie, since Herbie was a better friend of Satan than Ted was.

(Ted certainly tried to outdo his pop in that area, but when he discovered his sister had a copy of the secret booklet 'Hop on Pop', he realized his efforts were in vain.)