Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dennis Luker Has Died



For the past few weeks this blog and others have been reporting the seriousness of Dennis Luker's health and his status as President of United Church of God.  UCG has tripped all over its self lately denying that Luker was as sick as he was and that Webber was the acting President.  They even had Luker write a letter that he was in not that bad of shape and was seeking ways to deal with his cancer.  Typical spin doctoring that caught them once again.

Today, Robin Weber reports that Luker has died.

Dear Members of the United Church of God,

This letter is to inform you that United Church of God president, Dennis Luker, died today, March 14. He spent his last physical days residing in his hometown of Seattle, Washington, surrounded by his loving wife, LeeAnn, and their immediate family.

Thank you for your prayers and fasting during this challenging time for them, and for God’s blessings on this transitional period for the United Church of God. Our Heavenly Father’s will for Denny has been made known at this time—even though it is not news that we humanly desire. At the same time, I am reminded of his constant encouragement to reflect on the promising words of Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Mr. Luker knew “that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25) and now awaits the trumpet call with so many other faithful saints down through the ages (1Thessalonians 4:13-18). I know that LeeAnn would ask us all to continue to pray for others who are challenged with spiritual, emotional and health issues—and that God will grant His peace to them (Philippians 4:6-7).

Dennis and LeeAnn, as a pastoral couple, have given 50 years of their lives in service to others. And yes, they truly came as a “couple.” They are loved far and wide beyond our own Church sphere, throughout the entire Church of God community. He brought an enthusiasm for speaking of the always-present love of God and the necessity of having Jesus Christ as the center of our lives.

Denny’s service to the United Church of God had a dynamic impact not just recently, but also in our formative years. He served on the original Advisory Council of Elders in 1995. Since then he has served as a member of the Council of Elders, as a church pastor, as a regional pastor, been part of the Ministerial Services team and of recent years, our Church president.

Please remember LeeAnn, the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren and all their family members—in our prayers that God will grant them comfort in this most challenging of life’s chapters. More details will be forthcoming regarding pending memorial services.

In my role as chairman during this transitional time, I have maintained frequent contact with the Council and the home office operation managers to ensure stability. Now, in accordance with our governing documents (Bylaw 9.5, Vacancies in Offices), the chairman of the Council of Elders becomes the acting president of the United Church of God, an International Association, until a new president is selected by the Council and assumes office.

I look forward to working with the Council of Elders in the presidential nomination process currently underway. As Council members, we appreciate your prayers for God’s guidance for all in the weeks to come.

May the God of peace and comfort be with all of you at this time,

Robin Webber—Chairman and Acting President

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

When the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy! Proverbs 11:10.

Hooray! Praise the Lord God Almighty! The bullheaded cult leader is gone!

Steve Kisack said...

Isn't Luker the one who allowed the stalker free reign? I think he was also at the helm allowing Charlie to stay in "church", later going on his killing spree in the Seattle area.But, people are always so wonderful after they die.

Joe Moeller said...

The beauty of the UCG is that it is not centered around a "persona".

There will be a smooth transition of power, and there will not be a power void, or break off groups because of Dennis Luker's death.

Groups that have "one man rule" are vulnerable and not sustainable. I have yet to see any "one man rule" COG be able to make a successful leadership transition.

It can happen in the world, say like North Korea, because of the "force of arms" ie, GUNS. The threat of force, in the physical sense, in a church is much less, and the "start up cost" is much cheaper than taking over a nation.

The UCG will be the surviving COG over the long haul for these reasons. The COG7th Day for the exact same reasons has had a relatively calm existence and progression in now its 150th year.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

There is no power in UCG to transition. There is only earthly authority typical of a revenue-generating organization with product to sell.

True power is not held by a few straggling remnants of HWA's marketing legacy. If anyone believes there is power and authority in the UCG, it is a personal denial of truth, not a virtuous expression of faith and respect.

But this is what I believe now. For 40 years I was in WCG and most recently UCG. I was a believer in the "special-ness" and defended UCG at its peak in the COGWA disaster. As I continued to seek truth, really seek T-R-U-T-H, I was blown completely away by how wrong I (we) had been.

Now whatever is "transferred" among the stragglers at UCG, is human -- and most definitely not the mantle of authority from the creator of the universe.

I am very sad for Mr. Luker's family and I am very sad for the people of the COGs ... for their grief and for so much more.

Corky said...

Another one bites the dust, as the song goes. Another one down, another one down, another one bites the dust. Amen.

Leonardo said...

"They even had Luker write a letter that he was in not that bad of shape and was seeking ways to deal with his cancer. Typical spin doctoring that caught them once again."


But this is part and parcel of COG ideology: basic denial of factual realities. It's a very common COG response whenever serious sickness strikes high-profile ministers or members. I distinctly remember back in 1995 when Joe Tkach Sr. was diagnosed with cancer, and word from HQ was that he was doing fine, and would go on to "beat this thing" and all the other warm & fuzzy yet reality-denying words COGer's love to be deluded by.

Also, it's interesting why it NEVER seems to be "God's will" to completely heal and raise up either ministers or members whenever they are struck down with deadly illnesses. God is always given credit, of course, for His "obvious and merciful intervention" when someone has the flu or a serious cold from which they eventually recover after being anointed. But would not the healing of a life-threatening illness (especially one properly diagnosed and documented in the first place) be a powerful testimonial, perhaps even revitalizing the wider COG community as a whole? But in all my decades spent with the WCG I never ONCE saw such a thing. Oh, I know HWA always claimed that there were "hundreds" of such healings after HE anointed people. And then I always heard rumors of such, but never once witnessed a fully documented case of legitimate supernatural healing. And you all know as much as I do that if there actually were ever to be one, it would be shouted from the housetops in glee.

And I'd have to disagree with you, Joe, about the smooth transition in UCG. It may happen, and probably will. It's also true that one-man show COGs are quite one-dimensional, very fragile and not sustainable over the long term. But if you think things are presently going smoothly within the power structure of the UCG you are greatly mistaken.

It's not. There are some very serious underlying divisions both within the ministry as well as the membership. And in time this volcano will come to the surface.

Why it is you folks insist on seeing everything through fantasyland lenses? It hasn't worked out all that well in the past, has it?

Byker Bob said...

My condolences to those who are grieving at this time. May God grant them peace and comfort!

BB

Joe Moeller said...

One cannot wonder whether or not all of the stress,intrigue, heartache and division of the COGWA episode was a causal factor in him developing cancer.

To become terminal takes time, and the two to three year time window of when these events transpired fits.

Denny married my wife and me. Although I was never close to him, and had my disagreements with him, our family certainly also gives our sympathy and regards to all of those that are grieving.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

DennisCDiehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DennisCDiehl said...

gutless anon said:
"Hooray! Praise the Lord God Almighty! The bullheaded cult leader is gone! "

fuck you shithead. If you didn't know the person, shut the hell up

Anonymous said...

I do not know what Dennis Luker did or didn’t do that has done so much damaged in the lives of some of those commenting here, but I suspect there are other people who may have seen him in a different light. I am sure he has a family and many friends who may have benefited from his existence.
I will say that I do not understand how anyone can think they are so righteous that they can glory in the death of another human being who they believe has damaged their life.
AB

Allen C. Dexter said...

I'm happy to be able to say that I can attribute nothing negative to Dennis Luker. The student and young married man I knew is all I care to think about right now, and those close to him have my sincere condolences. Everything else has no direct effect on me, and I'm rather happy about that.

Velvet said...

My condolences to the family.

"throughout the entire Church of God community"

I wonder, does this mean Webber is one of those folks who believes the Church is ONLY spiritual now, and since the apostasy, there is no longer one corporate Church?

Joe Moeller, what are you hearing on the ground about this? Any official "policy" from the Council of Evil as regards this?

Velvet said...

"there will not be a power void, or break off groups"

*cough*CoGWA*cough

Sorry. Seem to have something caught in my throat.....

Joe Moeller said...

Velvet and all:

The United Church of God does not claim to be the only "corporate" body of believers. This is its official stance.

Only God knows specifically who are his.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Joe, UCG's "official stance" also includes a literal reading of James 5:14-15

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

How does that official doctrine seem to be working out for them, or any other people suffering from sickness among the COG's?

Leonardo said...

I saw Dennis Luker ordained an evangelist in the Auditorium by HWA way back in 1979. Even can remember some very thoughtful sermons I heard him give up in the Seattle area in the early '80's. Never knew him personally, but like many others here, I do feel for his immediate family regarding his passing. Death is never an easy issue to deal with, except for those who've never had to confront the demise of someone close to them. Obviously, Anonymous 9:58 AM - the first commenter here on this thread - seems to not have experienced that particular trauma along the journey of life. Yet. Maybe that explains the insensitivity and utter inappropriateness of his or her comment, Bible verses and all.

Leonardo said...

Joe Moeller said: "The UCG will be the surviving COG over the long haul for these reasons."

So what? That's really not much of a comparison. It's like saying Barnes & Nobles might be the longest surviving book seller as we progress further along into the digital age. They will eventually still go the way of extinction, sooner or later.

But you might want to consider just the pure demographics of UCG's present situation. A rapidly aging membership (and ministry) is NOT being replaced by the comparatively few younger people coming up in their midst. Sure, the fun and games summer camp bribery technique will last for awhile, but ultimately what long range benefits did that bring to the WCG? About an 85% dropout rate in terms of eventual church membership. Yes, they have their Ambassador Bible Center, but, let's face it, this minor 9-month seminar is generating nowhere near the future Church members that Ambassador College did for many years, nor anywhere near the replacements that are needed to sustain the UCG into the foreseeable future. And that's looking at it from only one dimension. There are many others, including smoldering issues that lay under the surface, but can't continue on that way for very long. Unfortunately it seems to be in the very corporate DNA of the modern-day COG's to split up into weaker and more self-righteous groups, whether they claim to be the one and only true Church of God or not. The results seem always to be the same.

Anonymous said...

"There will be a smooth transition of power, and there will not be a power void, or break off groups because of Dennis Luker's death."

Not because of Luker's absence. He was brought in from the pasture to be merely a figurehead and puppet for the council. Someone who didn't know where all the political landmines were buried, who would be amenable to being micromanaged. Someone who wouldn't get any big ideas of his own, like Clyde Kilough had done. Someone who would rubber stamp every tiny instruction which comes down from the council. With the installation of Luker, the council stripped out all executive powers for themselves. From now on it's unlikely that the president of UCG will ever be anything more than just a figurehead. No, UCG will split again in a few years when two more factions are again at each other's throats over who is going to be in charge.


"Groups that have 'one man rule' are vulnerable and not sustainable. It can happen in the world, say like North Korea, because of the 'force of arms' ie, GUNS."

Every management structure has it's own particular strengths and weaknesses. Military dictatorships are notorious for instability during transition. Monarchies, much less so, but nevertheless, because of the obvious nepotistic aspect which brings situations in which there is no heir, and alternatively kings who are too strong that abuse their power, and kings who are too weak that are not cut out for the job, we've seen over the last thousand years the development of a parliamentary Monarchy. UCG started this way, but has morphed into a system of competing political parties who each try to take over by coup. It's current power structure behind the scenes has nothing whatsoever to do with what the authors of the governing documents originally envisioned. Power is not currently vested in visible offices, but in political factions.


"The UCG will be the surviving COG over the long haul..."

I doubt that very much. The reason why is that COG7 does not have the same culture as Armstrongism has. Both Armstrongism and COG7 have an Adventist flavor, but COG7 and Adventism as a whole do not have an Armstrong flavor. HWA built a personality cult predicated upon centralized command and control, and also created a corporate culture in which power and prestige are coveted. Meredith is the embodiment of that culture. COG7 is more of a congregationalist structure where power is decentralized. Sure, loose power structures have their own weaknesses and COG7 had its fair share of splits, but they've grown by amalgamation as much as anything, collecting congregations under the COG7 conference umbrella. After more than 150 years they have 200,000 members around the world. For United to even retain that name is a farce. If I were in the prophecy game, as you seem to be, I would guess that all of the Armstrong splinters will continue to covet power, and fight over it, and divide, and divide, and divide...

Anonymous said...

I rejoice in the death of Dennis Lucre. Why?

1. Because I enjoy seeing evil people get theirs. He harmed a lot of people and was part of an evil machine. I only hope the other COG leaders will suffer a similarly miserable death.

2. I get satisfaction out of watching the suffering of those individuals who harmed me. It is part of the healing process for me. Forgiveness does not come without repentance first, and these people never repented to me for the harm they caused. I feel supremely gratified knowing they were made to suffer just as they made me suffer needlessly.

3. The COG world is now that much closer to complete demise. Eventually it will only be a forgotten endnote in American religious history.

4. With each passing COG member, the youth of today's COG have a growing chance of liberation from a despicable cult.

5. Such a death can serve to encourage COG sheep to begin questioning their beliefs about healing, the bible as the divine and infallible word of god, and the supposed omnipotence of god. Questioning these topics could lead to liberation from the smaller cult of COGs and the greater cult of christianity.

Feel free to add to this list. I'd love to know some reasons others are rejoicing.

P.S. Steve Kisack - you are correct, Lucre gave the stalker free reign and also enabled Charlie to murder those people. He also constantly moaned about his perceived lack of monetary compensation for ministering to an audience made up of many people who likely made half of what he did.

Anonymous said...

"...If you didn't know the person, shut the hell up"

Ye shall know them by their works. He was bullheaded. There is tons of proof the COGs are wrong wrong wrong and very destructive. The leaders should know these things. He must have known, yet he never fessed up.

Anonymous said...

If Dennis were a good person he would have stood up at the feast and shouted "save yourselves from this untoward cult!" and led a mass exodus.

Evil "Shithead" (as some call me).

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, this isn't about Denny Luker at this point, not just because he's gone now, but I mean for a long time already. Forgiveness is not something you do for others, it is something you do for yourself.

It isn't healthy to hold onto things that others do that have affected you. Yes, you might not be able to fully recover from whatever damage he might have caused you, but if you don't take stock of your situation, put the past behind you and resolve to make the most out of what you have left, you take over and become the the one who is doing the damage. That's something you have to come to grips with and take responsibility for. It sounds to me like you've been pushing that responsbility off onto Denny Luker, and in so doing, preventing yourself from gaining control over that part of your life.

You've got to find a way to move on. If you don't, the past is going to continue to eat you alive. I wouldn't be surprised if in carrying on this way you wind up giving yourself cancer.

Anonymous said...

"I enjoy seeing evil people get theirs."

Same goes for anyone who has watched an Arnold movie.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Anonymous 5:26 PM I feel sorry for you! I agree with Anonymous 5:59 PM. This is no longer about Mr. Luker with you.

Believe me when I say have a lot of reasons to hate Armstrongism. My family was in it knee deep starting with my grandfather in the 1950s. I was estranged in many ways from my mother for many years after I left the Church in 1976. But I don’t find any joy at all in the death of Mr. Luker or any other of the Armstrong lieutenants. That would include the idiot Rod Meredith when his time comes.

Who are you to be Judge and jury of Mr. Luker’s life condemning him as evil? Did it ever occur to you that he might have been sincerely deceived like so many of us? Or more bluntly, bamboozled! Mr. Herbert Armstrong was a very persuasive man.

This afternoon, I pulled out my 1970 Worldwide Church of God Feast of Tabernacles brochure given to me in Mount Pocono as a young teenager. In the back, were pages of sermon notes. On October 17, 1970, I sat in the morning service listening to Mr. Luker give a sermon which I entitled, “Our purpose in the World Tomorrow”. Our lives are like books. The book of Dennis Luker is now complete and finished! Mr. Luker’s personal “World Tomorrow” began when he took his last breath of life.

Anonymous March 14, 2013 at 5:26 PM (AKA "Shithead"), you cannot judge a complete book by its cover and you are not the judge of Mr. Luker’s character. It never occurred to me sitting in the big Mt. Pocono building in 1970 that 43 years later I would be alive in this present age in this present world defending the character of a man I never met or knew, but listened to his sermon(s). YOUR book, however, is still incomplete and unfinished. Make the most of the rest of YOUR book and use the WCG experience as a learning tool and grow beyond it.

Richard

Anonymous said...

Anon March 14, 2013 at 5:26 PMsaid: I rejoice in the death of Dennis Lucre. Why? ------Feel free to add to this list. I'd love to know some reasons others are rejoicing..

A personal comment:
The person who posted this is going to be in a rude awaking at some point in life. The idea that the death of Dennis Luker’s death was an enormous punishment for all of the supposed wrongs he had done is an indication that the person looks a death as a punishment. What he overlooks is that every human being is doomed to die and there is no escaping it.

The only difference is the cause of death and the suffering that precedes it. In Dennis Luker’s situation it appears there was a very short period of suffering, which can be attributed to God’s mercy. I have seen death stretched out for 3 to 5 years with people begging to die due to their suffering. I have see people cursing everybody caring for them, because of the agony they were going through. In many cases the medication they cry for will eventually cause death.
Most of the people I know who have a faith in God no matter what that faith was associated with have died a peaceful death when the lights go out. If you are gloating over Dennis’s death it is all in vain. His trials are over. I do not know what kind of death you will experience, but you will experience it.
AB

Anonymous said...

Finally a picture of Denny Luker where his eyebrows and creepy smile don't make him look like Satan sans horns.

Steve Kisack said...

Even the apostle Paul said that he wished that those who troubled the saints would go all the way and not just circumcise themselves, but end it and mutilate themselves, and Alexander the coppersmith did him much harm, and he said, "May God reward him according to his works".

Anonymous said...

This is such sad news. I pray he, as I hope all are who have departed this world, is resting in the peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who alone is the resurrection and the life (1 Cor. 15:22). My heartfelt prayers and commiserations go out to his family. And I hope God will assuage their grief and they take comfort from the cherished memories of the loved and lost. May all who have lost loved ones hold onto the Almighty God's promise that we will all be reunited someday in another time, a different place and in a better tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

It is not sad when an old man dies. It is a celebration that an old person had a long life. I am sad to hear of a child who dies or a middle aged person but not an old person. He was over 70, and it sounds like he didn't suffer too long. Am I horrible or abnormal for feeling this way. Of course if it was someone I knew and loved I would miss them, but still, a long life is a blessing.

Anonymous said...

COG ministers love to tell us we are not their judge, that we don't know their hearts, etc, etc.

In the mean time, they assumed authority over us that God did not give them, they accused us falsely, judged us harshly, destroyed our lives, etc. What a load of crap. It's a double standard.

If they were sincere, they would have stood up for the "truth" a lot sooner. Even Gerald Flurry had more integrity than they did. Later, when the people were ready to revolt, they saw their paychecks going, and then they "bravely" "led" the way out.

Don't forget that for decades they have had the inside scoop on all the things that go on. What the heck is the matter with these guys? Armstrong was going around in the "flying whorehouse" and a lot of them knew and they still thought they were in the right place. You can't get any denser than that.

Sorry, but that is not good enough.

How could they be sincere if they were hiding all that from us?

Assistant Deacon said...

Too much hate. Good grief, look in the mirror, people. Some of the things being said here are ignorant of the human psyche. You suggest that the ministry hid everything from the membership. That's ridiculous. Members knew of all sorts of indiscretions and downright doctrinal or administrative errors, yet stayed. I learned about GTA's affairs when I was a teenager growing up in the church. But I stayed until I was in my 40s. Why? In large part it was because of the grip that HWA and the end-time mentality had on all of us. It's the grip that powerful and persuasive individuals have had on masses of people at various times through the ages. It ranges from persuasion to downright fear.

We were all part of the same mind-control experiment, whether we were members, deacons, elders, what have you. Stop blaming everybody else for your own choice to be in the WCG or any of its offshoots. We all share in the blame. If you've moved on, move on. Just being bitter suggests you aren't interested in a reasonable discussion or debate about the theological underpinnings of the COG system and its long-term effects; rather, you're more eager to condemn, make excuses and blame people for what you chose to do, and wish ill on others. There's a mental disfunction there that is unbalanced and unhealthy.

A man died. You may think his theology was faulty, as I do, but he was just a man. Let him rest. Get over it. Be an adult, and be human, for crying out loud. I can't imagine how miserable it must be to be in the regular company of some of you holier-than-thou critics. If you observed the Sabbath and attended the Feasts and gave your tithes and looked down your noses at "the world" for even a minute, you're as much to blame for the perpetuation of Armstrongism as Dennis Luker or anybody else. Grow up and grow a pair.

"Oh, yay, so-and-so got his." What a bunch of whiny crybabies.

Anonymous said...

I have a collection of e-mails from a leading minister of a different Sabbath-keeping group, which were sent to UCG in recent weeks - finding fault with that group with not appealing to God enough to spare Dennis Luker's life.

That outside minister claimed UCG seemed resigned to the worst, instead of urgently petitioning God for mercy and healing.

Yet a weeklong period set aside by UCG for prayer and fasting about Mr. Luker ended Wednesday - and he died less than 24 hours later.

May God grant His peace and comfort to the Luker family. And to UCG. And even to the commenters who almost seem to compare this news to the death of Osama bin-Laden.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo said "But you might want to consider just the pure demographics of UCG's present situation."

You are correct. The demographic situation in all the COGs is dire. That is why a central part of UCG's mission is "make disciples" as commanded in Matt 28:19. It is an uphill battle, and may fail, but at least UCG is trying. The other churches don't even have making disciples as a goal. They use John 6:44 as a convenient excuse for their failure. The other churches may hear one day, "I told you very clearly to go make disciples. And you didn't. I said I would be with you to the end and you didn't even TRY! And then you have the gall to blame your failure on me??? Depart from me...."
I repeat, I challenge anyone to find one shred of evidence that Rod Meredith has the slightest intention of doing any part of the Matthew 28 Great Commission.

Velvet said...

"Forgiveness is not something you do for others, it is something you do for yourself."

Yes! I agree with this. I may not always get there myself, with regards to the current leaders of the Church, but at least I am making the attempt. Anonymous, your fruits do indeed show the spirit in which they are steeped, I am sorry to say.

Velvet said...

"Yet a weeklong period set aside by UCG for prayer and fasting about Mr. Luker ended Wednesday - and he died less than 24 hours later."

I would say their prayers were answered...Luker went quick, instead of suffering protractedly.

Silence said...

Our thoughts are with his family.

Can't help but wonder how long he knew about the cancer? It was only announced a couple weeks ago. It's a tragic reality in the COG that cancer among members isn't detected until it's too late due to the cultural aversion to modern medicine prevalent in many households.

Velvet said...

"that cancer among members isn't detected until it's too late due to the cultural aversion to modern medicine"

I think that's a bit of a stretch, Silence; having had several completely non-religious family members pass from undetected-until-end-stage cancer, all of whom got regular checkups/were in the modern medicine system/had family doctors/etc., from where I'm sitting, even "modern medicine" can't catch the bad cancers (not that any cancer is good), until it's too late.

Also, I want to reiterate the point that I knew many people in the Church when I was growing up (late 70s-mid-80s) who availed themselves of doctors, hospitals, and medicine, with no issues whatsoever. A deacon in the Victoria congregation took chemotherapy for his leukemia in 1985. A friend of mine had her appendix out, and had to stay in hospital for six weeks due to complications. I spent the first eleven years of my life in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals, and I would not be sitting here typing this comment, if I had not been allowed to receive that medical treatment.

But, as I said on another post, the Church in Canada was clearly a much different animal than anywhere else in the world.

Anonymous said...

Checked the COGWA website tonight - and unlike Dr. Thiel's COG Writer, it's saying nothing about Dennis Luker's death, even though new updates have been added in the last couple of days.

Perhaps that group is playing by that old rule: If you can't find something nice to say about somebody, don't say anything.

Anonymous said...

I've been in the Church most of my life. The harshness of the old Worldwide Church of God toward gays made my life truly miserable as a young man. Yet, I believed that the WCG was God's true Church - and I stayed. Fear was a factor back then - but so was a love of what I believed (and still believe) about the magnificent Plan of God for mankind.

During those years of distress, I met Dennis Luker. I've heard that Denny was "mentored" by Rod Meredith - a man known for his contempt toward gays. Yet, Denny was kind and caring toward me. Back in the 80s, he was one of the few ministers in the WCG who spoke openly - and with compassion - toward gays. I thank him for that!

Denny forced me to make some painful, life changing decisions many years ago. He may have saved my life. I thank him for that!

Some folks here have harsh things to say about Denny Luker. Perhaps he started out "rough" and lacking maturity (as we all do). But Mr. Luker, over the years, became a kind and caring man! I thank him for that! I am a witness to the kind and caring example of a spiritually mature minister of Jesus Christ. He showed me respect, gentleness and kindness - and always upheld and never compromised the Church's teachings about sin.

Denny was criticized by others for his compassion and respect toward homosexuals that God called into His church. Yet despite his critics, he marched on and never stopped caring, about me and all of God's people. He was a minister who upheld God's laws and principles through the expression of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. His detractors and critics are "mistaken" in their views.

Various things have been said about Mr. Luker by bitter people who seem imprisoned by the past.
Some of those things may be partly true - but some of what is said has been twisted, embellished, or perhaps intentionally falsified.

For those who are entangled in bitterness - get past it. The main victim of that bitterness is you! Get past it - I had to in order to survive.

Time has moved on... and things have changed. The Denny Luker I knew was a kind and decent man. I'll miss him.

"Michael"



Leonardo said...

"Michael," I agree with much of what you've said about Dennis Luker. Unfortunately, there's some regular commenters here on this website who are clearly very embittered, unhappy people who can't really find it within themselves to say anything constructive about anyone, and who, at least thus far, haven't seemed able to deal with a lot of the negative experiences they endured in the WCG and move on to more greener pastures. As we all realize, this can often be far easier said than actually done.

Anyway, I worked out at Pasadena HQ for many years and witnessed a lot of unsavory things during my time there. But many decent things as well. One involved a minister much despised by most COGer's these days - Greg Albrecht. There was an employee that I was acquainted with who was homosexual in orientation, though I never knew it until I had left the Pasadena area in 1995. I later found out that the guy really suffered out there at HQ's, and just could no longer deal with the rejection of both ministry and members, along with the resulting loneliness, so he started visiting gay bars in West Hollywood. To make a long story short, he eventually contracted AIDS, and died a horrifically slow and painful death.

I also heard that Greg Albrecht spent a great deal of time with him as he was dying there in a hospital bed, and I think was there when the fellow finally passed away.

After learning of this my estimation of Greg Albrecht rose quite a bit. The COG's need more of these kinds of folks who seem far more compassionate than the standard COGer generally is.

Steve Kisack said...

How hypocritical! I remember when Joe Tkach died, the vast majority of people in UCG were elated. I heard no condolences, no prayers for the family, no praises about the man, not a peep from the pulpit about Joe being a kind and decent man. One lady was dancing down the aisle, singing, "Ding dong the witch is dead".Others were laughing. No one said,"I'll miss him". I guess you could say that people's prayers were answered.

Silence said...

Velvet,

Yes, the church in Canada sounds like an interesting creature. And indeed, just because you go to the doctor doesn't mean you'll be saved from terminal illness, just as not going doesn't mean you're to necessarily suffer one. But there have been many, many, many documented cases - at least in certain U.S. regions - of cancers that should have been easily detectable at early stages not being treated because of an unwillingness to see a doctor for symptoms members try to tackle by "natural means" instead of through modern medicine. And this comes from personal experience on many unnecessarily tragic occasions.

Not saying that's the case with
Dennis Luker either. It's just notable he died so shortly after the announcement, considering how often that seems to happen in the church.

Anonymous said...

Most or all the people saying we should not say hateful things about Luker probably say hateful things about Ahmadinejad, Bin Laden, the Palestinians, Hitler, Nazis, Commies, or Gerald Flurry. Did they personally know these people? Probably not.

Anonymous said...

Or they say hateful things about neo-cons, or the left, or Bill Gates, or whoever they don't like.

Byker Bob said...

Here's the real deal. Nobody is totally good, and nobody is totally bad.

When I first came upon all of the underground dissident recovery sites, there was a former WCG minister whom we all knew as "John O". He was one of the good ones, one who repented and came clean. And, I remember thinking at the time, "Isn't this wonderful? There are some of the old ministers floating around actually helping us in our recovery!" Yet, I encountered a few people who, repentence notwithstanding, wanted to hold him just as responsible for their pain as we all hold HWA.

A certain percentage of the human population is only capable of thinking in black and white. Some secretly wish that they could exterminate anyone whose views are polar opposite to their own. However, growing minds can make room for dissenters (even though our past religion taught us to shun and make them into non-persons, or "tools of Satan the devil.)"

Enter Dennis Diehl. He wanted to help, but refused to categorize his every act as a WCG minister as having been ill intentioned, malignant, or dictatorial. That got into a lot of people's faces, and initially, he suffered a monumental drubbing. But, he refused to go away. One of the things Dennis Diehl has done for us, is that he has humanized some of the ministry. He has exposed us to intentions, to the good deeds which were mixed in with those we feel worked against us, and, for some, this has opened up the possibility for forgiveness, shedding of bitterness, and transitioning into a better life.

It must, then, be very frustrating for Dennis, when either a new blogger here, or one of the regulars posting anonymously regresses into such destructive bitterness and hatred towards a person that wasn't even seen as the worst of the worst.

Were some of the WCG ministers deeply flawed, and even sickos? Absolutely. But, the best thing to do is to avoid reflexively letting that create in us an equally repugnant sickness. How long are we going to allow the worst of them to have the power to jack us around into various types of aberrant thinking and behavior?

It is not any of our faults if we are or have been angry and bitter.
And, the devil didn't do that to us, either. We were on the receiving end of a cause and effect process. Nothing we can do about that. It happened. However, the one thing we can repair is what is wrong about our lives in the present. Nobody says we have to ask our tormentors to enjoy nachos and beer with us. But, we can totally cut loose the destructive pain and anger some of us have allowed to fester for far too long! Time to forgive, and to recognize others' humanness, and humanity!

BB

Velvet said...

"How hypocritical! I remember when Joe Tkach died, the vast majority of people in UCG were elated."

How? UCG didn't get off the ground until Junior started DFing ministers and brethren wholesale, in 1996...Senior died in 1995....

I tried to watch the UCG service today. Out of morbid curiosity, a sense of "hey, he used to be in the Church," or something else, I don't know. Between the Protestant hymns they sang at the beginning and for the special music, and the video eulogy (I fast-forwarded past the standard "cleaning for DUB" sermonette -- though the speaker was a bit holier-than-thou, saying he'd already been cleaning for a week! That's a little much, IMO.), I couldn't stomach it at the point where Myers went, "He was a warrior priest." I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as soon as he said it, and turned it off. Poor Dennis Luker. Looks like they worshipped him, too.

To add icing to that already-nasty cake, UCG is all but Protestant in name at this point, between its choice in music, and constantly reading from "commentaries" --- I even saw a member in the audience applauding for the special music in today's video!! Though the camera techs had turned the sound off at that point.

My apologies to Joe Moeller if I have said anything which offended you; I realize you are our "resident UCGer." I am feeling a bit queasy because I watched the 1983 Feast film today. Hard to believe we have gone from 1100 ordained ministers and elders, serving 760 congregations, to the mess that faces us today. Then again, it's all been prophesied, and won't end until long after all of us are dead.

Again, my condolences to the Luker family, and to anyone who knew the man personally. I never knew him, in fact, I never heard a sermon by him, before the changes.

Velvet said...

"One involved a minister much despised by most COGer's these days - Greg Albrecht."

I requested literature for the congregation library from Surrey headquarters; I was quite surprised to open the package and find a few copies of PTM's 1996 booklet on prayer (which I haven't read yet--it's more than enough to keep up with my Bible study, most days).

Now, this was just extra literature they had around the office; I don't know if the Americans actually publish/promote PTM, since "official" word is there was a split between Junior and Albrecht; which is why I was surprised to see the booklet. No word on whether or not it's any good. I guess I should read it, one of these days, when I've got absolutely nothing better to do with my time......

Velvet said...

"But there have been many, many, many documented cases - at least in certain U.S. regions - of cancers that should have been easily detectable at early stages not being treated because of an unwillingness to see a doctor for symptoms members try to tackle by "natural means" instead of through modern medicine."

Silence,

I absolutely agree that this was the case; there were also a few crackpots in the Church up here who did this, and while they were tolerated, they were in the minority, and NOT well-liked; in fact, my father almost got DFed in the late 1980s because he tried to take advantage of this small minority of the membership.

So, I don't dispute at all, that what you say did happen in certain regions of the Church. In fact, I feel terrible about it!

It has been my experience that the Evangelicals left in the Church now, are MORE likely to be into these crackpot "therapies" than any of the faithful I dealt with, growing up. But that could be a particular quirk of my region. Though I've met members in both the UK and here who are the same......

Steve Kisack said...

Velvet said...
"How hypocritical! I remember when Joe Tkach died, the vast majority of people in UCG were elated."

How? UCG didn't get off the ground until Junior started DFing ministers and brethren wholesale, in 1996...Senior died in 1995....

MY COMMENT: UCG got off the ground here in Houston in 95, my dear. We were all gathered together, and everyone had already heard the "bad" news.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm evil, but when Tkach Sr. died I was still in the church, and I felt he got what he deserved, and I heard he died a horrible death. And when Tkach Jr. goes, I can't think of one good think I could say about him. These men were contemptible deceivers and hypocrites, who lived a lie for years. I do not have the slightest sympathy for them.

Leonardo said...

Wow, the Christian kindness and charity here is in such abundance it almost makes me want to break into a stanza of "Onward Christian Soldiers"!

As I always say, and like history shows, if the Christian religious fundamentalists ever could gain political/legal control of the western democracies, a bloodbath of the most cruel and vicious kind would be sure to follow.

Steve Kisack said...

Anonymous said...
Maybe I'm evil, but when Tkach Sr. died I was still in the church, and I felt he got what he deserved, and I heard he died a horrible death. And when Tkach Jr. goes, I can't think of one good think I could say about him. These men were contemptible deceivers and hypocrites, who lived a lie for years. I do not have the slightest sympathy for them.

MY COMMENT: And, how were they any different from, say, Luker or Franks, or any of the other hirelings that stuck around for their paychecks until they knew they had enough "tithe" payers in order to stay high on the food chain?

Anonymous said...

Steve Kisack said: " And, how were they [Tkach & Jr.] any different from, say, Luker or Franks, or any of the other hirelings that stuck around for their paychecks until they knew they had enough "tithe" payers in order to stay high on the food chain?"Let's not leave Meredith out of this. He compromised more than all of them. He was the one guy who actually had a chance to stop Tkach. Tkach knew that so he bribed Meredith to keep his mouth shut for 3 years and 3 months while Tkach garnered his forces. When the coup became unstoppable, he fired Meredith. Is Meredith more loyal to his paycheck or to the people of God?

Anonymous said...

Most or all the top men, e.g. Herman Hoeh, Waterhouse, most or all the evangelists, went where the money was even if they had to change what they preached. I don't see how they could have been sincere.

Velvet said...

Steve Kisack,

"MY COMMENT: UCG got off the ground here in Houston in 95, my dear. We were all gathered together, and everyone had already heard the "bad" news."

I was going only by the dates of the mass DFing listed in In Transition; during the midst of all the chaos, my father and I had started skipping Sabbath services by '95, and so didn't keep up with a lot of the developments; so any timeline errors I've made are due to getting the info long after the fact. In actual fact, we didn't get "the Christmas sermon" until well into January, 1995, in my congregation!

Charming, that they would so rejoice in Senior's death, however. I mean, there's no disputing he was struck down by God, but that is NOT something to be grateful or sing praises for! What horrible, small-minded people, IMO.

Velvet said...

"These men were contemptible deceivers and hypocrites, who lived a lie for years."

I disagree.

Deceivers? How? Deceived, most certainly, but that's because Satan's errors crept into the Church thanks to Ross Jutsum being brainwashed by his Communist professing Christian (truly falsely-so-called) physiotherapist, after he broke his back. Apparently, the cancerous "theology" spread from Jutsum to the rest of the administration like a spiritual version of the Black Death.

And, you have to admit, Jesus DOES say that even those who teach others to disobey the commandments, will "be the least in the Kingdom" --- those last three words being the key part of the verse, though the Church never used to believe that.

Hypocrites? I wouldn't say so. Heretics, worshippers of Satan, and lovers of idolatry, most certainly...but at least they are consistent in their worldly "theology" of men that they spew out. And they have, to the Church's credit, stopped DFing those who disagree with the beliefs of the whore of Babylon..they are also welcoming to those of us who still hold to the Church's original teachings...which is a far cry from how things were, immediately after the changes.

Forgiveness is huge. Forgiveness is key. We must forgive Senior and Junior and all the rest of the Church's Babylonian overlords...for they crucify Christ afresh, and know not what they do.

Which is the key point; if they were WILLFULLY blaspheming the power of the Holy Spirit by worshipping the idols of the trinitarian pantheon, then they will be resurrected to contempt and oblivion, no two ways about it; but quite frankly, that is GOD'S call to make, not mine, and not yours.

And yes, the Church was a living hell on earth, while it was being taken into captivity. But reading Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel in hindsight, there really was no other way it could have been.

God's knowledge IS so far above ours, and even though we can't see it, or can't see how, or are still bitter about it sometimes (like when the Evangelicals try to snidely insinuate, in a back-handed manner, that I'm not a Christian, when I have been nothing but loving and forgiving and accepting of them--or I try to be, that's my goal, anyway), ALL THINGS work to God's glory.

Which is the long and short of how and why I was called back to the Church.

Velvet said...

"Tkach knew that so he bribed Meredith to keep his mouth shut for 3 years and 3 months while Tkach garnered his forces."

And your proof of this is what, Anonymous? I can't speak for the ministry, obviously, but amongst the bulk of the members I knew in the Victoria congregation, "Spanky" was just as much of a black sheep as he was, BEFORE he was DFed!

Velvet said...

"When the coup became unstoppable, [Junior] fired Meredith."

Which is neither here nor there, because Spanky had already been DFed from the Church, thirty years prior.....

Anonymous said...

"Satan's errors crept into the Church thanks to Ross Jutsum being brainwashed by his Communist professing Christian"

A conspiracy theory! We all believe in them, just different ones.

"...those who teach others to disobey the commandments, will be the least in the Kingdom"

Well, he did say that. I put it down as a bible contradiction.


"...those of us who still hold to the Church's original teachings..."

With a few modifications, which is the same thing Flurry et al. do.

"...GOD'S call to make, not mine, and not yours...."

Well, it's mine too because I have to decide who to follow and where I should be. Jesus said could know them. By fruits.

Assistant Deacon said...

There's no disputing Joe Tkach was struck down by God?

Heresy was introduced by Ross Jutsum's physiotherapist?

"Earth to Velvet, earth to Velvet...come in, Velvet."

Velvet said...

Assistant Deacon,

OK, you explain how Senior went in for regular gallbladder surgery, and they found a fast-growing tumour that seemed to have developed overnight.

As for Jutsum, that's exactly what he admitted himself, at various Feast sites, in 2011. Now, mind, he framed it as a good thing that he was able to bring a false gospel into the Church, as he "gave testimony" of during a very disturbingly Baptist kind of service.

Obviously, I disagree that this was a good thing. But those with the ears to hear, etc. Jutsum was the one who brought the error into the Church. He admitted so himself. Though he doesn't see it as an error, obviously.

Anonymous said...

If I recall, Jutsum broke his hands, not his back and it was a huge deal b/c of his career and training as a musician. The therapy thing was a long and grueling chapter.

Though he might be taking credit for spreading "heresy" in the WCG, he can hardly be called the "source" of it all. It is much more complex than that. So -- let's stop giving Ross the blame or credit. Let's just agree that he did his part to perpetuate those changes.

As to whether God took out Tkach. Not a single rational individual can say God took out Tkach. The only thing you can do is say you believe it. Period. The fact is that people far and wide, a gazillion times, have gone in for simple health events and discovered terrible news and very soon after deceased. It has happened in my own family (where there were zero ministry chops at stake) and many other families that I know personally and have heard about ... Tkach died and it all unfolded quickly. Whether God was in charge of that can only be speculation and never asserted as a fact.

Anonymous said...

9301I wish people would stop saying God killed people (like Tkach). Gallbladder issues are often confused with all types of abdominal cancer. Lots of abdominal type cancer is only found in surgery. God doesn't need to kill us, we die pretty easily without his help, especially after 50 or 60, and especially people who don't go to doctors very often.

Anonymous said...

Remember, AD. not everyone on blogs believes all the points they argue.

Some take on controversial positions just because they like the negative attention.

Anonymous said...

" not everyone ... believes all the points they argue. Some take on controversial positions just because they like the negative attention."

No, I think Leon actually believes his own shit.

Leonardo said...

Grunt Boy! So, how are those Dick & Jane readers coming along? Have you made it past "There is Spot. See Spot Run. Run, Spot, run" yet?

Of course I don't believe anything I write here. I just show up to compose long-winded dissertations so you can have a reason to crawl out from under your slimy rock and make yet another lame-brained comment!

And it works like a charm, doesn't it?

Velvet said...

"A conspiracy theory!"

Quite the opposite, in fact, and not even remotely as lurid as some of the conspiracy theories that are/have been floated about HOW the Church came to "the changes" -- I have read everything from Junior actually controls the UCG, to Junior is the puppet of a Christian right political organization, and it's all FAR wackier than what Ross Jutsum inadvertently admitted; to wit, there was no grand conspiracy, no overarching plan to overhaul (some might say keelhaul) the Church.

Instead, the change came in through one (presumably) faithful man being corrupted, who then corrupted one man, who then corrupted one man, and so on down the line it went. It was slow, and painful, and bore bad fruit...but it was in no way planned or schemed out by men.

Unless, of course, Jutsum was lying. That's entirely possible, too.

"'...those who teach others to disobey the commandments, will be the least in the Kingdom'

Well, he did say that. I put it down as a bible contradiction."

A contradiction with what? Or are you saying they will NOT be in the Kingdom? Because I'm more inclined to believe Jesus on that, namely when He says the "denominational leadership" will be "IN THE KINGDOM." Which is not something that the Church ever taught before (quite the opposite) but it is what I believe now.

" "...those of us who still hold to the Church's original teachings..."

With a few modifications, which is the same thing Flurry et al. do."

I disagree; it is far more than "a few modifications"; from where I'm sitting, NONE of the splinter groups even remotely teach the same things the Church did, when I was growing up.

" "...GOD'S call to make, not mine, and not yours...."

Well, it's mine too because I have to decide who to follow and where I should be. "

I agree? I was saying that it's God's right to judge others, and no one else has that right; of course everyone has 100% free will, we were all born with it and still have it, I do believe that.

"If I recall, Jutsum broke his hands, not his back,"

Interesting. In his "testimony" at one of the English Feast sites in 2011, I thought he said he broke his back. That certainly sheds an unfavourable light on the veracity of the rest of what he said, if true. Thanks for providing a well-rounded perspective, second Anonymous!

"Tkach died and it all unfolded quickly. Whether God was in charge of that can only be speculation and never asserted as a fact."

Actually, you are right, and you're right with the rest of your comment, that it is either something one is convicted of (believes) or is not (disbelieves).

Obviously I fall in the first category, but in future I will definitely make it clearer that I could be wrong, and this is only what I believe to be true. Or lean towards believing.

It honestly didn't occur to me that Jutsum might have been lying, and yeah, it could have gone either way in actual fact, he might have contributed or might not have had any part at all, in the changes. I just thought his version made a lot more sense than some of the wilder theories going around on the Internet (like Dankenbring's, just for example).

I guess there really are no simple answers for what happened.