Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rebellious LCG Wives Told To Respect Their Husbands




In a letter to the LCG membership, Richard Franz tells the brawling and rebellious women of LCG that they had better start respecting their husbands!  You must learn to R-E-S-P-E-C-T each other now, otherwise you will have difficulty in the World Tomorrow as you are attempting to rule your planet together.  All that is missing is that REAL LCG men spank their wives when they are in rebellious moods.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your Husband

All husbands have a deep-seated desire for their wives to believe in them. Many husbands do what they do for the admiration of one woman: their wife. Ladies, remember back when you were first dating your husband? You gladly and enthusiastically played the role of his cheerleader; you motivated him with your eyes that were filled with pride and admiration. You were generous in your lavish praise and uplifting words which deeply touched his heart. When he married you he thought the cheers would last forever.
Do not misunderstand me, ladies; all men and women have a need and deep yearning for respect and love. Just as love is the principal drive and desire for women, respect is the force that propels a man forward. All men need the respect and validation of their wives.
If you want to show your husband that you truly love him you must give him respect. Your husband sincerely desires such respect: give it and build your home, neglect it and tear your home down (Proverbs 14:1).

For some wives, respecting your husband will be a walk of faith that just may produce what will feel like a “brand new husband” at home—one who is more affectionate, helpful and filled with good will. When you step out on faith, you are admitting that you understand what God’s Word says about unconditional respect for your husband and you are ready to show him that respect regardless of his response (Ephesians 5:33).
2. Listen to his work stories as closely as you expect him to listen as you recount what happens throughout your day. Do not interrupt him mid-sentence. Be patient enough for him to finish his story.

5. Men are hard wired to fix things and solve problems. Nothing says “I love you” more than allowing your husband to fix a problem for you, so occasionally ask for his advice and be prepared to follow it through.
Wives, husbands: your marriage is the gym in which your capacity to experience and express God’s love is strengthened and further developed, preparing you for your ultimate destiny.

141 comments:

Velvet said...

"All that is missing is that REAL LCG men spank their wives when they are in rebellious moods."

It's not missing. I guarantee you, Spanky says that in sermons to the sheep that DON'T make it on TV; he even said the same at the Feast of Tabernacles in Victoria in the 1980s. Everyone I knew thought he was absolutely insane. Between him and Waterhouse, the only reason to sit through their rambling, long-winded diatribes, was an endurance marathon, and the attendant bragging rights afterward.

Yes, Spanky went on his trademark rant, even though he'd already been disfellowshipped years before AND the Church had changed its position on that, by the early 1980s.

I would also note, there was an article in the capital city's newspaper here some time ago, stating that, as late as the early 1990s, some Catholic schools in the region were still using corporal punishment; the document I've linked to (the relevant point is #6 on page 2) was produced in 1983.

I've spoken elsewhere on this site about the deaconess in Victoria who ignored both this (she was in charge of YES lessons), and repeated instruction from the pulpit, and she used corporal punishment on other members' children. People were not impressed, to say the least. Especially when the pastor began calling her out in all but name.

BTW, said deaconess never demonstrated much respect or submission to HER OWN husband; poor guy was a hen-pecked soul if ever there was one. So she was a hypocrite, as well as being rebellious, and having a generally un-Christian attitude; which more than one member of the congregation commented on, behind her back (which wasn't right, either.)

Velvet said...

Also, I have it (unwittingly) from a reliable source that Spanky still preaches corporal punishment for children. Infants as well, one assumes, because that was the garbage he was spewing in the 1980s.

Steve Kisack said...

Whoa! Somebody has an ax to grind.

Assistant Deacon said...

Changed its position? Velvet, that document deals with Y.E.S. teachers disciplining children in an educational setting, not parents disciplining children in the home. As long as HWA was alive, so was spanking in the church-with-a-capital-C, and for some years after.

Your posts include a curious mix of rants and apologetics. Is everything grey in your view?

Joe Moeller said...

WELL...

If you are going to spank your wife , make sure that you use just an open hand.

DO NOT USE... belts, coat hangers, "hot wheels" tracks, bull whips, riding crops, wooden spoons, or any other man made instruments. We are the "Holy People" after all.

However, if she cuts your "Johnson" off in the middle of the night, you are out of luck. The good book does say an "Eye for an Eye".

Thus proclaimeth Joe Moeller, Prophet General of the Underground Church of God.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

spanking mates (husbands and wives) is a kinky sex act. It's done in fun, try it some day.....haha

it did make me wonder about a minister who was spanking 16 year old girls at summer camp in Britain. Decidedly kinky.

Leonardo said...

Velvet wrote: "...he even said the same at the Feast of Tabernacles in Victoria in the 1980s...Yes, Spanky went on his trademark rant, even though he'd already been disfellowshipped years before..."

Rod Meredith was never "disfellowshipped" from the WCG when HWA was running it. Starting in 1979 he was sent to spent some time in Hawaii relieved of his ministerial duties for several months, but he was never disfellowshipped until much later under Joe Tkach Sr in 1992 when he started Global. I'm not necessarily a fan of Meredith, but it's a false claim to say he was disfellowshipped "years before" the '80's.

I think you deserve a spanking for this misstatement!

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to write to RCG/PKG/LCG etc an article ordering the ministry to respect the members...

M.T.Hall

Byker Bob said...

It'd be nice if these respect issues were put on an equal level. It's about time that the ACOGs recognized that husbands and wives are created equal, and are intended to walk side by side as partners in life. Some of these dufusses actually believe that women are going to be below men for all eternity.

BB

G.G. said...

Who is "spanky" and what is he famous for?

Byker Bob said...

Spanking his teenage daughter. Gavin gave him the nickname "Spanky" as a result, over on the older version of Ambassador Watch. His real name is Roderick C. Meredith, well known for his preoccupation with masturbation in all of his sermons, classes, and written materials. One very unusual cat!

Breaking news, apparently the North Koreans call their rockets and missiles hwasong! I thought it was totally appropriate that something so destructive would have HWA's initials embedded into it. Hopefully, this will be an emerging trend in naming bad things.

BB

Leonardo said...

The short arrogant little fat kid now leading North Korea into yet another period of mass starvation for its citizens and soldiers in order to have nuclear weapons to threaten the West every time he needs some attention while he drinks $100,000 bottles of cognac, rather reminds me of many COG leaders: both he and they live in alternative realities where the universe revolves around them and their needs.

Personally, I'd like to see the U.S. send in some representatives of SEAL Team 6 and do to that pudgy little egocentric prick what they did to Bin Laden.

Leonardo said...

M.T. Hall wrote: "Someone needs to write to RCG/PKG/LCG etc an article ordering the ministry to respect the members..."

Yeah, and when that day comes lets then send a similar article to Kim Jong-un humbly requesting him to respect the poor people he feeds off of while they suffer and starve.

And besides, those "articles" have already been written and sent to the COG ministry - it's called the New Testament, you know, he who wants to be the greatest must be servant of all, etc. But it doesn't seem to have been received too well by them, has it?

Head Usher said...

Has anyone ever asked themselves what living a large portion of your adult life as lord high mucky-muck "minister" (which is supposed to mean servant, although in the COGs it's taken on the meaning of master) does to a person?

Imagine spending your adult life correcting everyone else, telling them what they must and must not do, while standing on the authority of the omnipotent deity, but never having anyone ever put you in your place anymore.

Imagine being able to demand the utmost respect from everyone else, like a king, without having to earn any of it, and never having to treat anyone else with respect anymore.

I think it warps people's personality, destroys what character they might have had to begin with, and transforms them into unpleasant caricatures of the people they used to be. I think being ordained is like winning the lottery in that there are few for whom it doesn't bring out their worst.

Anonymous said...

One thing I never liked about such missives back in the old days, is that even though they were probably just written to fill some empty space, they were always written with a tone that made everyone feel like they were wrong and guilty of whatever offense. At least that is my perception and my memory of it. I know articles like this were always real downers for me. And I feel like LCG is an organization founded to keep the old days alive. I can't imagine anyone willingly joining LCG, and yet there it is.

NO2RCM said...

Leonardo said:
Rod Meredith was never "disfellowshipped" from the WCG when HWA was running it. Starting in 1979 he was sent to spent some time in Hawaii relieved of his ministerial duties for several months, but he was never disfellowshipped until much later under Joe Tkach Sr in 1992 when he started Global. I'm not necessarily a fan of Meredith, but it's a false claim to say he was disfellowshipped "years before" the '80's.

I agree, and I wonder how much longer RCM would have stayed in WCG if they hadn't fired him. Today, RCM makes it sound like he'd had enough and had to leave. But, he had been taking a full evangelist's salary for 3 years & 3 months for doing absolutely nothing except keeping his mouth shut when he knew full well what Tkach was up to. Why would he have left in Dec 1992? Answer: He wouldn't have and didn't. They fired him because the apostasy was now unstoppable and they had no further need to shut him up. (This is what I referred to last week as a "bribe".) Also, he was the sole perpetrator in the slander lawsuit that WCG lost in the early 80's. WCG appealed the verdict, and as long as RCM remained in WCG, he was protected by the corporate legal umbrella. The lawsuit was settled in December 1992. Global started on the last Sabbath of Dec 1992. When it comes to his personal wealth or serving God's people, you tell me which one Meredith chooses.

Angel Eyes said...

RCG is now opening its doors to many splinter groups. They have problems within their groups, poor RCG, are they willing to bear the grudges of these people?

It was noted that those who are in RCG are now creating their own clicks. They attend services and are serving, but they don't mingle well with the members.

They act like royalties, thinking they came from a bigger splinter groups anyway. They are there to serve God, David C. Pack and the ministers. As long as they are ok with the above mentioned then they are approved!

Maybe they are thinking many members of RCG are not that wealthy compared to them. They are there to help build the headquaters of RCG in Ohio. Who cares what the old members will say.

Anonymous said...

All these antics going on within the COGs is enough to scare anyone with an ounce of common decency. Why in God's name would anyone with a brain follow these cults?

Assistant Deacon said...

NO2RCM, did you say "the apostasy?"

HAHAHAHAHA, what do you think this is, Enablers Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

North and South Korea in state of war. Could someone ask them if they could hold off starting WWIII until after Doctor Who tonight? I'd be much obliged.

Velvet said...

"Gavin gave him the nickname "Spanky" as a result, over on the older version of Ambassador Watch."

The nickname was, as far as I know, was/is derived from how members actually referred to Meredith; Gavin never invented it, it was thing Meredith was (in)famous for in the mid-80s, given that the Church itself had long since moved on from Garner Ted's poisonous "child rearing" booklet.

Back in the day, it was actually the fact that Spanky advocated hitting newborns that made a lot of people pause. Though I do remember sitting, half-asleep, through one of Meredith's diatribes during the mid-80s, at the Royal Theatre in Victoria, where he advocated men to spank their wives.

Now, most of us slept through the bulk of Spanky's insane, inane rantings, so every once in a while, he would pound the pulpit to wake us all up! You couldn't sleep during a Waterhouse sermon if you were under the age of 21 or you would get called out for it...I was under 21, and usually drifted in and out, when one of the American or UK "evangelists" were blathering on in some blatantly un-Biblical vein.

Velvet said...

"Velvet, that document deals with Y.E.S. teachers disciplining children in an educational setting, not parents disciplining children in the home."

Yes, it does, but the ministry at the same time was saying from the pulpit that corporal punishment was no longer to be used at all. I heard this in sermons and sermonettes; it seemed to actually be something the lay-ministry and the pastor largely agreed upon. Which was nothing short of miraculous, in the Victoria congregation, as the lay-ministry tended to be way more hardliner than the pastors HQ sent us.

I may be misrecalling, but I believe one of the Canadian ministers from another area gave a similar sermon (against corporal punishment) at the Feast in Victoria in the 1980s. Not the year Spanky showed up, obviously. I can picture the guy, but can't put a name to the face, sorry.

Velvet said...

Oh, and of the members in the Victoria congregation that my family knew/associated with, there were only two families which continued to beat their children, even after being told from the pulpit, repeatedly, to stop. And there was the deaconess I've mentioned on here before. Dunno what happened to the one family, but I do the other ones ended up going over to the Baptists during/after the changes. Presumably because, at that time, the Baptists still had similar "child-rearing" policies in place....

Velvet said...

"Starting in 1979 he was sent to spent some time in Hawaii relieved of his ministerial duties for several months, but he was never disfellowshipped until much later under Joe Tkach Sr in 1992 when he started Global"

I never did figure out how Global/United/etc came out of all that madness; but wasn't there a letter sent out AFTER the Hawaii relocation letter, telling Spanky he was out, because his attitude problem hadn't changed?

Regardless, the attitude problem mentioned in the letter "relocating" Spanky to Hawaii was still in full force, at least whenever he visited the congregations in Canada.

Velvet said...

"It'd be nice if these respect issues were put on an equal level."

That certainly seems to be the case with the Church as it is; one can hardly tell the ministers from the members in the cheap seats, these days!

Velvet said...

"I think it warps people's personality, destroys what character they might have had to begin with, and transforms them into unpleasant caricatures of the people they used to be. I think being ordained is like winning the lottery in that there are few for whom it doesn't bring out their worst."

Maybe yes, maybe no. The only ones I saw this happen to, were the deacons and elders (with a few exceptions), in Victoria; for whatever reason, the AC-educated pastors and their wives did tend to be good examples of servant leaders, for all that the highly factionalized congregation thought they were either too conservative, or not conservative enough.

Velvet said...

"for 3 years & 3 months"

You keep harping on this, Anon; I can only think that it means you're a member of a splinter group that thinks this "3 years and 3 months" is prophetically significant, OR (I lean towards this theory) you're assigning Spanky more power than he actually had. You're also assigning JUNIOR way more power than he actually had, as the Meredith relocation letter to Hawaii amply proves; Meredith and Waterhouse were absolutely uncontrollable by Headquarters; that was painfully obvious just by listening to either one of them speak for longer than 15 minutes. So much for "submitting to the authority of the government of God"!

As for your allegations, you could well be right; but unless you can provide better proof (or produce a second witness), you're not going to get very far with them. Especially sounding like a broken record over and over again.

Velvet said...

"And I feel like LCG is an organization founded to keep the old days alive."

Not likely! It has been referred to as "the party church" on these ex-member websites, and by all accounts, is far more liberal than, say, Pack or Flurry. (That said, apparently al-Qaeda is far more liberal than Pack or Flurry, going by what gets posted to the Internet.)

Velvet said...

"They are there to help build the headquaters of RCG in Ohio."

Bear in mind that there is likely a portion of these people who have jumped ship from Witless Weinland's titanic, following the lead of overseas "elder" Adrian Grey.

G.G. said...

I am aware that the various COGs considered themselves "different" than other very coservative, fundamentalist Protestant churches but Ireally don't see much difference in a lot of the day-to-day attitudes. Regarding the role of women's society, I found this website several years ago and occasionally check into see what 19th century advise they are handing out. http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/
It is "Ladies Against Feminism."

Leonardo said...

Velvet wrote: "I never did figure out how Global/United/etc came out of all that madness; but wasn't there a letter sent out AFTER the Hawaii relocation letter, telling Spanky he was out, because his attitude problem hadn't changed?"

No, there wasn't. This is yet another thing you just pulled out of thin air and then dogmatically present as fact. A very fundamentalist tactic, I might add. Your present understanding of the chronological timelines are "tohu and bohu", to use a term many WCGer's did in reference to their Gap theory of origins. There was a long letter to Meredith from HWA, but this was around the time Meredith was sent to Hawaii to calm down after the receivership fiasco in Pasadena, etc. when apparently Meredith just got too big for his britches, at least in the eyes of many ministers, Stan Radar and HWA himself. HWA never disfellowshipped Meredith.

Velvet, there's a lot you haven't properly figured out. This is made VERY obvious by many of the things you say. Just one tiny example: COG's don't have "lay ministries" as you put it. There's a ministry (pastors, local elders, deacons, etc.) and members. That's it. It's a small but vital distinction. I think you need to calm down your religious zeal, go back and read some documented history of the WCG/Global/UCG etc. - rather than blather on about things you are terribly misinformed about. Try "The Fragmentation of a Sect: Schism in the Worldwide Church of God" by David Barret. Just obtain a copy from the Interlibrary Loan System at your local library. I'm reading it now, and it contains some good information.

It seems in your zeal to correct the rest of us you somehow get many things confused.

I'm just trying to help because to make hard assertions without the willingness to do the homework required to be well-informed only creates further confusion and misunderstandings - assuming actual objective truth means something to you. I say this because it obviously doesn't carry much weight with many COGer's, especially the more ardent ones. But I'm afraid you'll find it means a great deal when trying to sort out actual facts from the endless fictions posing as "facts."

Head Usher said...

Also, I don't think it's a good assumption that whatever the situation was in the Victoria BC area was representative of the whole pie, and especially not what Pasadena was like.

In Pasadena , we had something like 4,500 people attending 5 congregations every week, the college and it's students and faculty, all the centralized administration, editorial, and support offices, plus, this is where all the refresher courses were held. All the key management positions throughout were all filled by members of the elite ministerial old boys club so there were a lot of ministers around besides the pastors.

Field pastors are going to be kind of kept in check by having to deal with everyday people from various walks of life in and out of the church, but in Pasadena, you could be pretty insulated from "the world" and kind of forget that you were living in a cocoon. It was pretty easy for people like Spanky who was the boss of all the ministers and surrounded by "yes" men to lose touch with reality and start to voice some pretty unreasonable interpretations of doctrine for quite a long time without being reigned in or checked by the real world. And then that would trickle down to the other preaching elders and the whole thing could kind of feed back on itself within the bubble of HQ.

Besides that, the political gamesmanship in Pasadena was pretty ugly. There were a lot of ministers engaging in a lot of unbecoming conduct. But once again, being insulated from the "evils" of the outside world, it was kind of easy to lose sight of how far out of hand the evils of the ministry had gotten. I think a lot of people, ministers and employees, got desensitized and slowly began to assume that this kind of conduct was what "God" wanted because this was "God's one and only true church" and we were all "God's people."

Depending on the degree a field pastor was a company man he might be more or less willing to import some of the crazier things he might have been hearing to his own congregation. So, I think there's a certain amount of unwarranted extrapolation going on here in thinking that whatever went in Victoria BC was the way it was anywhere else.

Leonardo said...

Head Usher, one of my former roommates out at AC (who eventually became a pastor in the WCG, and still is) once spontaneously told me something in conversation which perfectly illustrates a mindset that I've grown to despise. And it's especially prevalent among the COG ministry. After seriously discussing some particular point of theology, which I've now long since forgotten, he said to me, "You see, "Leonardo" - that's the big difference between you and me. You carefully think things through and aren't afraid to speak up when something coming from HQ sounds nutty or crazy or unreasonable. But me, I just keep my head down, blend in with the crowd and go with the flow."

This brief statement told me more than I could have possible understood at the time as to one of the most basic of operating principles of the WCG, and by extension the modern COG's.

Byker Bob said...

Over the past thirteen years on these sites and forums, I've run across two individuals who are adamant that the many evils we expose here were not present in their local church areas. To balance this out, we have Dennis's testimony that he personally acted as a buffer between Pasadena and the local church congregations which he pastored, protecting them against abuse.

If these church congregations did in fact exist (as opposed to the idealization process which sometimes takes place in peoples' memories with the passage of time), then, let's face it. Had this been known to headquarters, they would have been thought to be Laodecean. Possibly, stricter ministers would have been transferred in to replace the lax ones who would have been sent to HQ for a refresher course at AC.

How do we know this? By the types of ministers and splinters who profess to be the preservationists, the real "Philadelphians", and demonstrate this commitment by being the strictest, most intrusive, police-like splinters amongst the ACOGs. Extreme Armstrong legalism always leads to very bad fruits, and that statement is not even subject to debate!

Also, since the changes, some teachers and ministers have come forward to state that they never applied the principles of GTA's childrearing booklet to their own families. Apparently, they kept this secret.

BB

Assistant Deacon said...

Were there actually NINE consecutive posts by Velvet, seeking to comment on or correct previous posts?

Just start a blog, Vel.

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob, I think you're right about the more hard-core splinters of COGism - it's all about who can outperform the other in re-creating a church culture featuring the more bizarre and mind-weakening aspects seen during the "Golden Age” of the old WCG, and of the Middle Ages too.

Then there's also that ever-popular human tendency toward denial, which is endemic in fundamentalist religions, and perhaps finding it's highest expression there - well, I mean aside from the minds of Kim Jong-un, Dennis Rodman or Lindsey Lohan!

But the mechanism of denial plays a major role. I see it as the natural consequence of trying to defend the indefensible (various absolute, infallible religious truth claims the guruships loudly assert on a regular basis, like EVERY letter or sermon they produce) while attempting to balance out the requirements of living in the real world of the here and now. These two endeavors require sharply opposite methods of thought, which significantly stress the mind. Contradictions are bound to arise because dogmatic supernatural belief and the requirements of surviving through daily reality often stand in radical contrast with each other. And then denial, practiced over the years until it becomes a mind-sapping art form and highly-lauded COG virtue, is the only option left, aside from openly facing the facts of reality and acknowledging one has been wrong in buying into the infallible “truths” that religion pushes.

That last part of the above sentence is what worked for me, but what are the chances of that actually happening en masse? Probably pretty slim.

Velvet said...

" No, there wasn't. This is yet another thing you just pulled out of thin air and then dogmatically present as fact"

If I was dogmatic about it, I wouldn't have phrased it as a question, Leo. Fine, Spanky wasn't DFed. He was reprimanded, though, and that reprimand didn't seem to do a whole lot of good, at least that's how it seemed to me in the 1980s, looking back on it all.

Velvet said...

"COG's don't have "lay ministries" as you put it. There's a ministry (pastors, local elders, deacons, etc.) and members."

Everyone under the pastor was referred to as lay-ministry in Victoria.

Velvet said...

"Try "The Fragmentation of a Sect: Schism in the Worldwide Church of God" by David Barret."

I'm still waffling about reading that, actually; Gavin's review didn't give me a whole lot of hope, given that he indicates Barrett relies (heavily or not, I couldn't tell) for a large part of the history from "personal communication with John Halford" who is onboard with the changes.

Velvet said...

"Also, I don't think it's a good assumption that whatever the situation was in the Victoria BC area was representative of the whole pie, and especially not what Pasadena was like."

Okay, LOOK, guys, I am NOT making that assumption; I'm just trying to figure out where all of my experiences fit into this rather strange puzzle! OK?

Velvet said...

"Field pastors are going to be kind of kept in check by having to deal with everyday people from various walks of life in and out of the church, but in Pasadena, you could be pretty insulated from "the world" and kind of forget that you were living in a cocoon."

That actually makes a lot of sense, Head Usher, thanks. I never did understand why the Church "on the ground" was so different from how AC graduates described their experiences. Thanks, that helps. That's unfortunate, but it helps explain a lot.

Velvet said...

"After seriously discussing some particular point of theology, which I've now long since forgotten, he said to me, "You see, "Leonardo" - that's the big difference between you and me. You carefully think things through and aren't afraid to speak up when something coming from HQ sounds nutty or crazy or unreasonable. But me, I just keep my head down, blend in with the crowd and go with the flow.""

That's horrifying, Leo. Whatever happened to "PROVE ALL THINGS" and "Don't believe ME believe your BIBLE"??

Velvet said...

"Had this been known to headquarters, they would have been thought to be Laodecean."

Why do you think we had so many visits from the evangelists over the years? I've always stated, even when I was on Shadows of WCG, that the Church regarded Victoria as "a problem area."

Velvet said...

My apologies also to Assistant Deacon, as Blogger won't let me consolidate replies to multiple comments on one comment.

Leonardo said...

Velvet wrote: "That's horrifying, Leo. Whatever happened to "PROVE ALL THINGS" and "Don't believe ME believe your BIBLE"??


Well, my problem was that I got a bit carried away with the "prove all things" principle, and over time began actually applying it to the Bible itself - something I think you'll find HWA wasn't all too willing to do, nor did he encourage others in this pursuit either. Same with present-day ministers. You'd be surprised how ignorant so many of them are about the history of the Bible, it's canonicity, etc.

And the "Don't believe me, believe your Bible!" bromide, well, I'm afraid it just doesn't go deep enough, Velvet. It carelessly starts with the totally unproven presupposition that the Bible IS an infallible piece of literature authored by a perfect deity and therefore carries with it absolute authority. This line of reasoning worked well during a time in American history when HWA began his ministry – a time when most folks just accepted the Bible as God’s Word to man because that was the widespread cultural idea at that time.

Sorry, but that famous line of HWA’s requires blind faith from the very beginning, long before the relevant facts are even considered. If it truly was inspired by the all-knowing God of Christianity, then it would seem this deity didn’t realize that the earth wasn’t a flat, immovable island-like disc (instead of the sphere in constant motion along six different dimensions we now KNOW it to be) where the cosmos was envisioned as being like a three-layered cake: the earth, the sky and the firmament dome containing all the stars. An ancient yet wrong cosmology known by any biblical scholar to have been borrowed by the Hebrews from the ancient Babylonians.

Kind of an odd, oversight, don’t you think, especially for the Supreme Creator of the universe?

Leonardo said...

Velvet wrote: "Everyone under the pastor was referred to as lay-ministry in Victoria"


OK, fine, just so long as you realize this was NOT official WCG doctrine. I spent 17 years out at HQ and never once heard anyone refer to the membership as "lay-ministers" - well, except for in 1995 when Joe Jr. and Mike Feasel starting referring to the Church as a whole by the Protestant term "priesthood of all believers."

Velvet said...

"something I think you'll find HWA wasn't all too willing to do, nor did he encourage others in this pursuit either. Same with present-day ministers. You'd be surprised how ignorant so many of them are about the history of the Bible, it's canonicity, etc."

I'm not surprised, and yes, the stuff like proving evolution is wrong (which was easy to do with the science that was available in the 1930s...not so much, 50 years later). With very few exceptions, most of the ministry in the Church has turned more towards "pop culture books" written by "theologians" or self-appointed ministers of other denominations. There are exceptions, though, and their sermons are (in my opinion) worth their weight in gold...even when they disagree with what the Church used to teach, they are still in agreement with scripture.

You may disagree this is a good thing, but that's okay too, Leo. :-)

As for the "flat earth in the Bible" I'm afraid I'm not a Biblical inerrantist, so that argument doesn't hold much weight with me, sorry. The "four pillars of the earth" were accurate to the human understanding of the day and, guess what? Inspired by God (or not, depending what you believe), they were still human, and human error was still imparted to the text.

"OK, fine, just so long as you realize this was NOT official WCG doctrine."

Absolutely, I realize this; part of what I'm trying to figure out is why/how these discrepancies existed/came about.

Velvet said...

"Joe Jr. and Mike Feasel starting referring to the Church as a whole by the Protestant term "priesthood of all believers"

Eh, so which is worse, "priesthood of all believers" or "kingdom of priests"? FWIW, I don't recalling hearing either very much. Though "priesthood of all believers" is still used heavily by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), they mean it in a far different context than Junior and Feazell did.

Glenn said...

RE: "Don't believe me, believe what you read in your bible" - HWA in the 1970's at HQ Pasadena made it clear that the concept no longer applied once you became a member of the church. You were to prove all things to lead you to the church but then do whatever God's government (HWA) told you to do from that point onward. No one ever got to seriously disagreed with HWA once he made up his mind about something, no matter how much you "proved" it to your own satisfaction. If you expressed disagreement on a major point, you were out. HWA saw only two reasons that anyone could disagree with him. (1) They were deceived, or (2) they were rebellious and in the bonds of Satan.

Leonardo said...

Velvet, you're now the second ex-WCG person I've heard say this: "I'm not a Biblical inerrantist."

So I'm curious, could you explain and clarify your view here a bit further. It seems like COGer's are now trying to backtrack on this issue - or perhaps it's merely a quibble about semantics. Infallibility, inerrantcy, inspiration - all these terms have rather specific meanings in theological circles as applied to scripture, but most people use them with their own customized private definitions, so that's why I ask. What then is your position on the inspiration of the Bible? I sense that it's nothing at all like most COGer's. But perhaps I'm mistaken.

Also, I gather you aren't a rabid anti-evolutionist either. This for sure is NOT the standard COG view.

You have so many views that run contrary to many traditional views of WCGism, that's why I've often wondered if we were ever part of the same organization!

Leonardo said...

Glen wrote: "HWA saw only two reasons that anyone could disagree with him. (1) They were deceived, or (2) they were rebellious and in the bonds of Satan."


Ha! I remember talking with Aaron Dean once - and he mentioned this with a smile. Seems HWA was always thinking Aaron was somehow being used by Satan in an attempt to "destroy the Work" simply because Aaron had made some honest mistake or another.

Perhaps old age had something to do with this distinct proclivity in HWA - or maybe he was a far more insecure person than he appeared to be from the outside. I know he was often very intimidated by folks with more formal education than he. Anyway, it seemed he was extremely "demon-haunted" to use an expression from Carl Sagan.

Questeruk said...

Leonardo said...
“If it truly was inspired by the all-knowing God of Christianity, then it would seem this deity didn’t realize that the earth wasn’t a flat, immovable island-like disc (instead of the sphere in constant motion along six different dimensions we now KNOW it to be)”

Six different dimensions we now KNOW it to be? Really, could you list these six different dimensions please?

I would be particularly interested in dimension numbers four, five and six.

RSK said...

"Lay ministry" became a popular term in WCG post-1992, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was applied to all non-employed officials for convenience's sake prior to then. Deacons and deaconesses, elders and preaching elders, ya know.

As for "prove all things", that was a red herring from the get-go. If "proving all things" meant "because Hislop/Hoeh/Dodd's falsified history says so", than it really wasn't proving anything. My favorite is still "prove it from the Bible", which is little more than a justification for prooftexting - which is not proving.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of good shit in the old WCG stuff on relationships. Throw out the false doctrines, and keep the wheat. A good old-fashioned woman is worth a zillion bucks.

Head Usher said...


Velvet wrote:
"There are exceptions, though, and their sermons are (in my opinion) worth their weight in gold..."

Sermons don't weigh anything. Zero. Zippo. Zilch. So, therefore, I am in complete agreement with you.


Glen wrote:
"HWA saw only two reasons that anyone could disagree with him. (1) They were deceived, or (2) they were rebellious and in the bonds of Satan."

Exactly! And that's how it's been ever since. You can't disagree without getting these accusations. You can't leave without getting these accusations.


Questeruk wrote (in response to Leonard):
"Six different dimensions we now KNOW it to be? Really, could you list these six different dimensions please?"

Well, the fourth dimension would be time. After that you got me. I assumed he meant six directions: up, down, forward, back, left, and right, divided by two are just three axes. Also somebody said, "terrestrial gravity" as though gravity were unique to earth... But hey, who's paying attention to the technicalities of physics? You say potato, I say something that makes no sense but figure everyone knows what I meant.


Velvet wrote:
"That's horrifying, Leo. Whatever happened to 'PROVE ALL THINGS' and 'Don't believe ME believe your BIBLE'"??

That's not horrifying. That was Pasadena SNAFU.


Leonardo wrote:
"Well, my problem was that I got a bit carried away with the "prove all things" principle, and over time began actually applying it to the Bible itself."

I did the same thing. Reason = Iceberg, Religion = Titanic, Outcome = Predictable...


Velvet wrote:
"My apologies also to Assistant Deacon, as Blogger won't let me consolidate replies to multiple comments on one comment."

See, all one comment. Are you using a Blogger App on your mobile phone or something?

Anonymous said...
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RSK said...

Oh, and I just got out of work, but I'm gonna go naturally-use my wife first.

(I always thought that passage in Romans was humorous.)

Anonymous said...

"I'm not surprised, and yes, the stuff like proving evolution is wrong (which was easy to do with the science that was available in the 1930s..."

It's actually a lot easier to show evolution is wrong with the science we know today. That is the truth that many atheistic scientists like to avoid debating about with theistic scientists. On a related issue, unless one is an atheist, there is no room at all for any form of theistic evolution that's propagated by some so called Christians. Theistic evolutionists are not Christian simply because they reject the Biblical account of the origin of everything and hence the Word of God.

Assistant Deacon said...

"Don't believe me, believe your Bible."

The vast majority of people did.

Head Usher said...

The evidence for the Judeo-Christian god is indistinguishable from the evidence for a hoax. As is the evidence for any other specific deity/pantheon.

About 40% of scientists today are theistic. About 15% of elite scientists today are theistic. These scientists who also express blind faith in a deity are irresponsible because the premise of science is skepticism of any claim for which the evidence is poor or nonexistant. Faith is the acceptance of a poor claim.

Any scientist who has blind faith in a deity, why doesn't he have blind faith in other untested and untestable hypotheses? Why bother with clinical trials or experiments? Why not just publish what he's sure his findings would be on the basis of his "faith" in the non-null hypothesis? Why bother being skeptical of anything? Why not just accept everything as probably true, and just go smoke some quality hashish in your hookah? Oh yeah, because that's what the Arabs decided to do about a thousand years ago, which means the ones who didn't win the petroleum lottery are pounding sand right now. Accepting things for no good reason is irresponsible. It gets you nowhere. That's why it's the infidels who brought cell phones to all the faithful Muslims, not the other way around.

It's true that scientists in the old days were all more or less theistic. It's true that Isaac Newton believed in "god." Incidentally, he also believed in alchemy. If I should believe in "god" just because Isaac Newton did, should I also believe in alchemy on the same basis? It's also true that wherever his ability to explain the workings of the universe ended, suddenly, that's when he invoked "god" and not before. If he could explain the trajectory of a fired cannonball mathematically, then there was no need to assume it was carried aloft by invisible winged cherubim, even if he still believed that invisible winged cherubim were responsible for other natural phenomena. "God" only entered the picture when mathematics failed. Same thing holds true today.

If self-replicating strands of RNA were suddenly shown to arise spontaneously under the right conditions in laboratory beakers, how many scientists of any note would continue to believe that life was created by "god." Not one.

Using the existence of the universe as evidence for YOUR specific deity is a non-sequitur. If you're a Christian, then the universe was created by Logos/Jesus. If you're a Muslim, then it was created by Allah. If you're Hindu, it was created by Brahma. If you're Chinese, it was created by Pangu. And these are just the mythologies that are still popular today. If we were to get into the ones that have fallen out of favor, how many more creator deities would there be on my list? The existence of the universe would count as evidence for the existence and omnipotence of which one of these deities? Or is it okay to just pick the deity/deities that you just happen to like? I like Ptah, the Egyptian creator deity, for no particular reason. I just like that one. Which one do you like? It's just like a Muslim at the mall trying to choose between cell phone covers.

Science will continue to push back that boundary of what cannot be explained by naturalistic principles, "god" will continue to retreat in the face of that advancing boundary, and the percentage of scientists who believe in "god" as an explanation for anything will continue to approach 0.0% because as time goes on, it will become more and more glaringly apparent how irresponsible "faith" is.

The evidence for "god" is indistinguishable from the evidence for a hoax. If you believe it, you should also believe that email you got from the son of the late Nigerian government official who just needs a little help moving $23M into an American bank account. Go ahead, be a good citizen and help him out. Seems legit.

Joe Moeller said...

Hey , the hit counter for this website just blew through...

777,777

Is it a sign of the "end times"??

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Velvet said...

"You have so many views that run contrary to many traditional views of WCGism, that's why I've often wondered if we were ever part of the same organization!"

I certainly wonder that too! Although it seems to me most of my views (which I derived from regular prayer and Bible study, attending services, and reading Church literature, particularly the Good News and Worldwide News, as well as the full run of Youth Bible Lessons, during my formative years) run contrary more to "Pasadena-ism" and the more I hear, the more I am inclined to think that's correct. As Head Usher pointed out, there was a goldfish bowl effect at the colleges, which those of us in the cheap seats, who had lives and jobs and attended school, etc.

The homeschooling didn't really start to come into fashion until after the Evangelicalism crept in; I homeschooled, but through the government (so it was a legit education), and because I was conveniently outside the catchment area at the time. I also had troubles in the public school system that were wholly unrelated to the Church.

My point being, I think there definitely is a disconnect, between how the general membership (those not under the rule of any of the current splinter group leaders, anyway) proceeded forward, and how HQ members/ministry acted. Where or how or why that disconnect arose, that's what I am trying to figure out.

To answer your question, no, I don't believe the Bible is inerrant, and there are many articles in the GN and the Personals (and, if I am recalling correctly, one of the old WT broadcasts) where Armstrong himself states the self-perpetuating problems with the "inerrancy" view. To wit, if you say the Bible is inerrant, than the stuff the Constantinian government added, as well as all the other accumulated contradictions over the centuries, renders any "faith" (I use that word loosely) null and void, and amounts to little more than Bible-worship or idolatry (bibliolatry).

This was a standard teaching of the Church, you can read back through any of the texts ("Read the Book," "How to Study the Bible," etc.) the Church published during the 70s and 80s and you'll see that they always said it was a living text.

I will also point out, that the Bible Correspondence Course in the 1960s was, to my knowledge, the first religious organization to point out the mistranslations in the Gospel of John, i.e., Easter for Passover, and during/after supper.

The Church never shied away from saying the Bible was wrong, in places, due to human error. Which is definitely part of the reason why the Evangelicals wanted to destroy us so badly, in my opinion.

We were always exhorted that the Bible was and is a living text; where the false religions of the world objectify it, and place the texts in some unreachable theological fog, instead of reading in ninety-five dollar theological-dictionary terms to, say, the letters of Paul, what we read (and what I still do read) was (is) letters to a congregation. Not holy proclamations of some "saint in heaven."

If anything, the disciples and apostles that the Church taught about when I was growing up, were way more human and accessible, and reality-based (OK OK I apologize to the atheists for that remark) than the remote, far-off and forever-dying god, that the Evangelicals in the Church venerate today.

I hope that answers your question somewhat.

Velvet said...

"Seems HWA was always thinking Aaron was somehow being used by Satan in an attempt to "destroy the Work" simply because Aaron had made some honest mistake or another."

Given Dean's politicking and grandstanding since the changes, it's hardly a surprise. I personally believe everything that was allegedly written by Herbert Armstrong, in the last year of his life, actually came from the poison pen of Aaron Dean. Which includes MoA, of which I am not the world's greatest fan.

Oh, by the way, Leo, I have probably mentioned this in the evolution thread, but when I was growing up, there were three distinct "theories" being floated in the Good News at the time; Keith Stump was pushing Young Earth Creationism, and Herman Hoeh was writing on Pre-Adamic Man, and I think there was a third writer (John Halford? He was the astronomy buff, so it seems to fit) who was dancing around the edges of what would become Intelligent Design.

I lean towards (but neither dogmatically believe nor disbelieve) the Pre-Adamic Man theory posited by the Church in the 80s...but as I said on the earlier thread, for me, the focus is not (and should not be IMO) HOW we are here but WHY we are here. Which is what the Church certainly focused on, when I was growing up!

Velvet said...

"See, all one comment. Are you using a Blogger App on your mobile phone or something?"

Velvet said...

As you can see, Assistant Deacon, I am on a mobile Android with a mobile browser. :-P

Leonardo said...

Questeruk wrote: "Six different dimensions we now KNOW it to be? Really, could you list these six different dimensions please? I would be particularly interested in dimension numbers four, five and six."

Well, my exact quote was about the motion of the earth, a "sphere in constant motion along six different dimensions we now KNOW.."

Perhaps I should more correctly have used the word "planes" rather than "dimensions."

Here they are:

1. The earth you are on goes through periods of day and night because it is spinning (approximately 1,000 M.P.H. at the equator, and about 500 M.P.H. in North America).

2. Earth is also orbiting around the sun in an elliptical path (causing what we perceive as the four seasons) at 66,000 M.P.H.

3. The solar system of which earth is a part rotates through space at 500,000 M.P.H.

4. Taking another giant step outward our Milky Way galaxy is rotating like a pinwheel.

5. And this galaxy (and thus our solar system and everything in it) is moving outward from the point of the initial big bang.

6. The sixth plane of motion would be Einstein’s motion through space-time—which I cannot even comprehend!

Leonardo said...

Anon 11:06 wrote: "Leo'tard: get a job."

Anon, get a 2nd grade composition book and learn how to write a meaningful thought. As it is you just keep sending the same "Leo'tard: get a job" message, what is this, the third or fourth time now in a row? I realize this 4-word tweet stressed the daylights out of your pea-sized brain when you initially put it together a couple of weeks ago, but might it be possible for you to compose a sentence that actually contributes to the on-going conversation in some intelligible way? What a novel thought! After all, this is a blog using the English language, not some moronic situation comedy.

Leonardo said...

Anon 12:03 wrote: "It's actually a lot easier to show evolution is wrong with the science we know today."


And that's why it's the basis of many modern-day fields of scientific research around the globe and across cultures by virtually all scientists, including many CHristian ones, because it's utterly wrong and so easily refuted? A total hoax? A complete scam?

OK, Anon, the stage is now yours. Since you wrote in a previous comment that modern evolutionary theory is riddled with "holes" and so easily proven wrong, can you provide us with just a few specific examples?

Just a one or two - summarized and well-articulated in your own words (no endless links to Answers in Genesis, etc.) - so we can see how 99.9% of scientists are completely duped.

Do you realize how many scientific awards and accolades will be yours if you can do this?

We await your response.

Leonardo said...

Velvet wrote: "Keith Stump was pushing Young Earth Creationism, and Herman Hoeh was writing on Pre-Adamic Man, and I think there was a third writer (John Halford?)"

I knew all three of these men, especially Dr. Hoeh. But I never knew Keith Stump advocated Youth Earth Creationism, at least based on anything he ever wrote or spoke, or any private conversation we ever had together. I question your assertion about this. Though he may very well have, and I just didn’t know it. Can you provide me a reference? An article? Anything. Sorry, I need documented evidence, not just hearsay.

Dr. Hoeh did propose prototype humans starting around the early ‘70’s (pre-humanoids, pre-Adamic man, or as some would jokingly refer to as Hermanoids! I mentioned this to Dr. Hoeh once and he got quite a kick of out it! He was not aware some in the ministry were using this term!). Dr. Hoeh was forced to face the accumulating facts found in the geological column.

He was also able to admit that his "Compendium" was mostly in error because he based his work to a large degree on a Russian writer, Immanuel Velikovsky. Velikovshy made the same mistake modern creationists do by disputing the validity of Carbon-14 radiometric dating. Such arguments have been and still are very easily refuted. But Dr. Hoeh spent some time with a scientist at the university of Arizona in the early '80's. The scientist took Dr. Hoeh step by step through the Carbon-14 process and explained in some detail the theoretical underpinnings. Dr. Hoeh became convinced that Carbon-14 dating was indeed valid, especially when used in conjunction with the other 75 or so dating methods available (potassium argon dating, tree ring chronology, ice layers, etc.). No one method is totally accurate alone, since they have certain time frame limitations, and that’s why they must be calibrated with others for a more complete picture. I had breakfast with Dr. Hoeh shortly before he died back in 2004, and we discussed many of these issues. He told me that his famed “Compendium of World History” wasn’t worth the paper it was written on! His very words. And yet many diehard COGer’s still swear by the pseudo-history in the compendium!

I had lunch with John Halford back in 2006, and he completely accepts the findings of modern evolutionary theory. In fact, John told me that he asked Joe Jr. to retract all his past anti-evolutionary writings/videos, etc. John realized how wrong he had been, as were all the WCG’s evolution-bashing booklets and pamphlets. I applaud John because he honestly faced the quickly-accumulating and overwhelming evidence that completely validates biological evolution – which does NOT remove a Creator or deity from the scene, as too many moronic creationist (and rabid atheists) so foolishly assert.

Head Usher said...

Mmm. Yeah. Neither dimensions nor planes is an accurate word to use for this. All of this is motion through Einstein's "space-time continuum." Which is to say, while it is a very complex motion, it's still just motion through 3 spacial dimensions and 1 time dimension. All of it can be described in it's simplest form with just 4 variables.

Leonardo said...

Head Usher wrote: "Using the existence of the universe as evidence for YOUR specific deity is a non-sequitur. If you're a Christian, then the universe was created by Logos/Jesus. If you're a Muslim, then it was created by Allah. If you're Hindu, it was created by Brahma. If you're Chinese, it was created by Pangu. And these are just the mythologies that are still popular today. If we were to get into the ones that have fallen out of favor, how many more creator deities would there be on my list?"


I read somewhere once that anthropologists estimate that throughout the known history of mankind about 112 different deities have been attributed with the initial creation of the cosmos. That's not the total numbers of gods proposed, just the ones that have claimed to have gotten the universe started - creator deities. 112.

Let's see how our resident creationist responds to our posts. My experience on this and other sites is that 99% of the time when some religious person makes all his standard anti-evolutionary rantings, they never respond back seriously, if at all. They usually just slink back into the anonymity of Internetland, satisfied that they have "witnessed" to the unbelievers. It gets so boringly predictable dealing with these ignorant folks. What I can't quite figure is why they aren't willing to read some good books on the general subject. There's many out there now. But they refuse to broaden their scope of knowledge, and insist on bringing out the same "refutations" repeatedly, which have been completely demolished time and again, some decades ago, even by their fellow Christian scientists, like Francis Collins, etc.

Astonishing. But like an old wise man once told me, "Never underestimate the endless boundaries of human stupidity."

Leonardo said...

Head Usher wrote: "Mmm. Yeah. Neither dimensions nor planes is an accurate word to use for this. All of this is motion through Einstein's "space-time continuum." Which is to say, while it is a very complex motion, it's still just motion through 3 spacial dimensions and 1 time dimension. All of it can be described in it's simplest form with just 4 variables."


That's my fault for misusing the word "dimension" - as that seems to have been what threw everybody off. My mistake. My point was to simply illustrate the many separate planes or tracks of motion the earth is currently in. An astronomer once at a seminar explained that in some detail, and I thought it quite interesting. But I honestly have forgotten the exact word or technical term he used for such motion.

Questeruk said...

“Perhaps I should more correctly have used the word "planes" rather than "dimensions."”

Thanks for that Leonardo. When I first read your original statement I was thinking dimensions, i.e. length, breadth, depth, time etc.

Re-reading your comment, I realized what you were meaning.

I suppose to be pedantic there would be a seventh movement. The earth and moon effectively orbit around each other, like a binary planet system. Only thing is, the earth being so much more massive, the mutual centre of gravity is actually within the earth, around 70% from the centre. However it does have the effect of the earth’s centre veering inside and outside of its orbital path every month, as the moon moves in the opposite direction. Not a big movement, but still several thousand miles from the mean orbital path.

While ‘God hangs the earth on nothing’ it travels quite an interesting route, influenced by all these 6 (or 7!) different planes interacting together.

Leonardo said...

Questeruk, I think mankind will ultimately find the universe to be infinitely more fascinating than we even presently understand it to be. There's just so much more out there yet to be discovered!

(But please, don't tell that to Plasma Dude, or else it may burn out his 13 remaining neurons!)

Leonardo said...

Velvet wrote: "I hope that answers your question somewhat."


It answered some, but I think it actually triggers many more than it answers!

Velvet, I was in the COG for 38 years (17 of them at HQ), went through AC, took most of the theological courses offered there, including Biblical Scholarship with Dr. Stav, Doctrines of the WCG, etc., and yet you claim the WCG taught things that I've NEVER even remotely heard of before - either in four years of formal classroom instruction, in sermons, in HWA's old radio broadcasts, in the old Correspondence Course, in my many personal conversations with old timers like Dr. Hoeh, Dean Blackwell, Gerald Waterhouse, Raymond McNair or in the official WCG literature itself!

I find this absolutely astounding!

For example, I’ll cite this comment particularly, because it runs contrary to virtually everything I was ever taught out at AC or in my 38 years as a member:

“I don't believe the Bible is inerrant, and there are MANY articles in the GN and the Personals (and, if I am recalling correctly, one of the old WT broadcasts) where Armstrong himself states the self-perpetuating problems with the "inerrancy" view. To wit, if you say the Bible is inerrant, than the stuff the Constantinian government added, as well as all the other accumulated contradictions over the centuries, renders any "faith" (I use that word loosely) null and void, and amounts to little more than Bible-worship or idolatry (bibliolatry). This was a standard teaching of the Church, you can read back through any of the texts ("Read the Book," "How to Study the Bible," etc.) the Church published during the 70s and 80s.”

Velvet, I need documentation for such statements – which you never seem able to provide. And by that I mean specific sentences or passages from WCG literature. You mention MANY articles in the GN referring to these views. For instance, when you claim that HWA talked about “the self-perpetuating problems with the inerrancy view” are you talking about TRANSLATIONS of the Bible, or the original Hebrew, Aramiac and Greek versions? And if it’s the latter, then what specific manuscripts would you be referring to? Because I’ve heard HWA many times in live sermons refer to the Bible in it’s original languages as the inspired Word of God. Do we need more specific definitions for words such as “inspired” or “inerrant” of “infallible” or what?

Is anybody else familiar with what I think Velvet is saying? Or is this just a semantic quibble? Because I see this as an extremely foundational topic with regard to what the WCG teaching was as to what exactly the Bible was.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

PlasmaDude, we aren't interested in hearing your rambling, simplistic conspiracy theories. It's too late, you have no credibility here whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

"...the Bible is the ONLY true book ever written." - Basil Wolverton in WCG's Bible Story, Volume 1.

RSK said...

"This was a standard teaching of the Church, you can read back through any of the texts ("Read the Book," "How to Study the Bible," etc.) the Church published during the 70s and 80s and you'll see that they always said it was a living text."

I do not see that assertion in the booklets cited. Am I looking at an older version or something?


Anonymous said...

Five-step recovery program for internet trolls like PlasmaDude:

1) Begin a serious reading and education regime.

2) Avoid conspiracy websites like the plague.

3) Sign up for an anger management program.

4) Use the spell-check feature.

5) Do everyone a favor by reading a simple elementary school primer on grammar and proper sentence construction.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo said... But like an old wise man once told me, "Never underestimate the endless boundaries of human stupidity."

You can say that again. Anyone who believes in the theory of evolution and the atheistic view of how life began in the first place must be in that camp.

Velvet said...

"Can you provide me a reference? An article?"

Let me comb through my GN back issues. I did find GN December 1980, which has an article by Raymond McNair on the Church's stance on "inerrancy." The whole issue addresses the very topic, in fact.

Ha, got it! Youth '81 Fall Festival Edition, Stump's article "It Won't be Long Now," which contains the sentence in the opening paragraphs, "When animals were created 6,000 years ago."

As for the ID article, as I stated, I'm unsure who wrote it, I just dimly remember reading it in the late '80s and asking my father about it, who asked the pastor, and the resulting comment from the pulpit was, as I have stated here before, "It's not important HOW we are here, what we need to focus on is WHY we are here." Which I still believe, to this day. (FWIW, a 2009 issue of "Northern Light," Canada's answer to the Good News, which is no longer being published in the US, pushes ID pretty heavily. I can provide the link if you're interested.)

By contrast, here are someone's sermon notes from what Hoeh was preaching in 1977/1978.

Haven't run across the ID article yet, but when I find it, I will let you know.

I also want to apologize if I said anything offensive; growing up as the child of a member in a far-flung corner of the Church, I sometimes forget that most of you posting here have actually met these people, or knew them well. I couldn't even put a face to the names, if my life depended on it, all I knew them by was their by-lines. I guess that must have played a huge role in the disconnect I have discussed here before.

Velvet said...

"But Dr. Hoeh spent some time with a scientist at the university of Arizona in the early '80's. The scientist took Dr. Hoeh step by step through the Carbon-14 process and explained in some detail the theoretical underpinnings. Dr. Hoeh became convinced that Carbon-14 dating was indeed valid, especially when used in conjunction with the other 75 or so dating methods available (potassium argon dating, tree ring chronology, ice layers, etc.)."

I dimly, dimly, dimly recall, a Spring Holy Day combined service, where half of the split sermon was taken up by Hoeh discussing this very thing. It was all very dull and dry to me, as a pre-teen. But this would have been mid-80s, so that fits.

Velvet said...

"I had lunch with John Halford back in 2006, and he completely accepts the findings of modern evolutionary theory. In fact, John told me that he asked Joe Jr. to retract all his past anti-evolutionary writings/videos, etc."

Well, if it makes you feel any better, the Church in Canada was promoting ID; but the Americans still burble on, in the inane videos we get every so often, about the evil atheists and their evil-utionary "theory." Most of the idiots on the videos from the Americans are pretty clearly crackpots, though.

Velvet said...

"It answered some [questions], but I think it actually triggers many more than it answers!"

Well, if anything my experiences with the Baptists on Shadows of WCG taught me, it was that blind dogmatism is a bad thing, no matter WHAT you believe! And I extend that to our past in the Church as well. I may get confused and confuddled at times, with what's going on in the Church (never mind all the splinter groups outside of it), but at least I know if I'm still asking questions, and examining my beliefs from every angle I can, I'm on the straight and narrow path. That's my current understanding, anyway.

"Velvet, I was in the COG for 38 years (17 of them at HQ)"

Thanks for sharing your story; I think that proves just how different the Church was, from generation to generation.

I was born in the Toronto East congregation in 1976, at which time there were 1200 members. I can recall we met in Sir John A. MacDonald Collegiate (Felix Taylor can verify that), when I started YES Lessons at the age of four, there were so many kids, they had us separated by "grade level" into different classrooms!

Combined services with Peterborough for the Holy Days usually totalled around 3,000 members. We were very multicultural, and had members from all ethnicities in the city at the time; we also had a significant number of ex-Mennonite brethren, some who still dressed "plain" (with the bonnets) and others who did not. I think they tended to set the standard for what the other women wore, as well!

The only thing I remember about "Church politics" from that young an age, was my father pointing out Garner Ted on Robert Schuller on our brand-new colour TV, and explaining how GTA had left the Church, and was now involved with false ministers in the world.

When I was eight, we moved to British Columbia, and going from the Toronto East congregation to Victoria was a DEFINITE culture shock. Victoria was much smaller (300 at our max, I think) and NOT multi-cultural at all (unless you count the two or three members who had German or Eastern European ancestry). Which was, as you can imagine, quite a contrast from the Toronto East church! But, it was what it was.

The changes were a terrible time in Victoria. Families broke up, the congregation literally split in half, fellowship after services would see half of the congregation on one side of the hall, and half on the other, with intermittent fights breaking out.

The aforementioned "lay-ministry" became even MORE Gestapo than they were before, only instead of ferreting out how we weren't keeping God's laws up to THEIR standards, NOW they were calling out everyone who KEPT God's laws at all. Meanwhile, we were hearing things from the pulpit like, "I'm so happy we're Protestants, now, brethren!" and "If you keep the Sabbath, you are SINNING AGAINST GOD," etc.

It was a horrible time, and eventually the pastor at time (I think to relieve the tension) said it wasn't mandatory to attend services anymore (although they had stopped taking attendance at the door prior to him announcing that, if I recall). My father and I started attending less and less, and finally, in 1996, my father said, "There's really no point in going to services anymore, is there?" and I agreed.

I have told the resulting story elsewhere, but I came out of that mess a fairly open-minded agnostic, with leanings towards the Religious Society of Friends...then in 2007 I encountered the Shadows of WCG forum, and I chose to become a pretty bitter atheist.

In 2011, I was shown the error of EITHER path, and called back to the truth. And to the Church.

So, that's my story. I hope it clarifies some of where I am coming from.

Velvet said...

"I do not see that assertion in the booklets cited. Am I looking at an older version or something?"

How to Study The Bible.

Read the Book

Are you reading The Authority of the Bible? Because I remember The Bible: Superstition or Authority?

Assistant Deacon said...

To what you currently perceive to be the truth, and church-with-a-capital-C. Important distinction. :)

Velvet said...

The 2009 issue of Northern Light that promotes ID can be found here. Note the author is one of the travelling evangelists from the Headquarters churh who still makes the circuit once a year (the other travelling evangelist is John Adams, but he hasn't been up here in a while).

Velvet said...

"To what you currently perceive to be the truth, and church-with-a-capital-C. Important distinction. :)"

Well, yes, I thought I had made that quite clear by this point in the discussion. Remember, I also believe in progressive revelation! :-)

Although, yes, I do believe the Church is THE Church, from what I hear talking to other members, here and overseas, I am not in the minority on that view. Which probably causes Dixon Cartwright no end of heartburn when he is editing my articles for The Journal. :-)

Velvet said...

For Leo, I am currently listening to this; perhaps you will connect better with it, as you most likely will recognize the names stated therein.

It is a good sermon, but the minister in question was targeted by the Evangelicals at the Feast last year, and his very good sermon was censored as a result. (UK National office will deny this of course.)

Also, I don't agree 100% with what this minister says, but he's one of the few ministers left in the Church I find to be both edifying and on message with the Bible.

Anonymous said...

A personal comment: I find the comments post here very interesting, but it is a little difficult to understand how they are connected to the subject “rebellious wives respecting their husbands”.
I would nice to separate some of the subjects discussed here and have separate discussions on them.
Is there of the subjects touched here that others would like to comment on under a different subject heading?
A. Boocher

RSK said...

The best I can gather is the position of the WCG pre-1986 was that the original writers of the Bible were divinely inspired, and the writings without error or contradiction, but the preservation of such was not necessarily 100%. (HWA himself noted issues with the chapter/verse layout, punctuation, etc., and other WCG writers noted perceived interpolation or copyist error.)

I think what Velvet is referring to is a comparison with some groups who insist (at least as a catchphrase) that the KJV is perfect and direct from God's pen and so forth.


Velvet said...

" The best I can gather is the position of the WCG pre-1986 was that the original writers of the Bible were divinely inspired, and the writings without error or contradiction, but the preservation of such was not necessarily 100%. (HWA himself noted issues with the chapter/verse layout, punctuation, etc., and other WCG writers noted perceived interpolation or copyist error.)"

Don't forget the willful mistranslations like the gender-neutral pronoun of the HS being changed to "he" and the substitution of Easter for Passover (which modern translations have corrected). RSK has summed up my understanding fairly accurately. :-)

"I think what Velvet is referring to is a comparison with some groups who insist (at least as a catchphrase) that the KJV is perfect and direct from God's pen and so forth."

Actually, I was thinking more of the splinter groups that have departed from the doctrine stated above, and claim inerrancy jnstead.

Though there are Evangelicals in the Church who are KJV-Onlyers, I have only seen them on the videos from the US, I've never met any who personally subscribe to such a...focused...view.

Assistant Deacon said...

Ok, V -- to whom are you referring when you say "the Church?"

I ask because you generally cite HWA's writings in your posts, so it would seem you are advocating Armstrongist theology, which to many is nothing more than a dizzying hodge-podge of arbitrary inconsistency and confusion.

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Velvet said...

"Ok, V -- to whom are you referring when you say "the Church?"

The organization currently in captivity to an American "denominational leadership." Still known in some parts of the globe as the Worldwide Church of God, because the change to GCI was apparently a deal-breaker for some. Not for me, but I try to take a bigger picture view. Operative word being try.

"I ask because you generally cite HWA's writings in your posts,"

Do I? We were talking about Keith Stump, Leo and I, and at least one of the booklets I linked to above, was written by someone else; in discussing my experiences growing up in the Church, I refer to what I heard in my congregation, on a week-to-week basis.

As I keep saying, I am not inside (nor am I even anywhere in the vicinity of) the neat little black-and-white box some here seem to need me to fit into. I agree with much of what I was taught growing up, but there are things I disagree with (the ministry as the Levitical priesthood, as one example), and other things that I don't find necessary to salvation, but I have no opinion either way on whether they are correct or incorrect" pre-Adamic man and BI fall into the latter category for me.

Anonymous said...

Yeshua was scourged for not respecting the law of Moses and the Roman Government.

Velvet said...

For some more perspective, here is a sampling of some of the WT programs I grew up watching; you will note, I hope, the number of presenters who spoke on the program during those years; towards the end of Herbert Armstrong's years in the Church, you can hardly say it was a "one-man show"; if it had been, then we would have not had any other speakers at all!

Velvet said...

Nor would the magazines I have linked to, have had any other contributors, if the Church by the mid-1980s really had been a "one-man show" -- but maybe the insular nature of the AC experience made it seem that way to those of you here.

As I have already outlined my story above, I think it's safe to say that if I am saying different things to what you knew to be established doctrine, maybe that was due to the mitigating influence of the congregational community, combined with liberal pastors, and a considerable deal of both physical and emotional distance from "God's Headquarters" (which I don't think was a wise move either, personally).

Leonardo said...

Velvet, thank you for all your comments above, and I look forward to looking up all the specific links.

The most salient point you made that jumped out at me was "...at least I know if I'm still asking questions, and examining my beliefs from every angle I can, I'm on the straight and narrow path."

I can only congratulate you heartily if this is truly your overall approach. Asking questions and rigorously examining one's beliefs is virtually unheard of religion, especially fundamentalistic COG religion.

Anonymous said...

What do the post- Hwa presenters have to do with anything? Tkach was not the best presenter and they tapped PR man Hulme to do the first few on the old set before bringing in Ames and Albert (Kelly came later). HWA could barely get out of bed towards the end, but nobody was going to default on airtime contracts.

Assistant Deacon said...

V, you're picking and choosing. It's ok, that's what everybody does, and always did. Just admit it; after all, "the Church" you refer to simply does not exist.

Regarding the WCG's telecast, multiple presenters didn't happen until post-HWA. It was very much a one-man show until his death; at the most, two-man, when GTA was heir-apparent.

GTA began reforms, and got the ax. After HWA died, and his autocratic method of setting doctrine and policy was removed, reforms began again. Botched or no, they were inevitable once people began to see how arbitrary HWA's decision-making process was.

Sabbatarianism is one thing. Holding to Armstrongist tendencies and interpretations is another. I'm not trying to be confrontational here; I just think it's healthy to see and acknowledge the vast difference between the two. In particular, I would strongly suggest that anything that smacks of British-Israelism -- which is essentially the basis for the entire HWA catalog -- is based on particularly errant thinking and should be reconsidered.

Anonymous said...

Hulme, I remember amusedly, bounced quite wildly in HWAs old padded chair.

Anonymous said...

File this in the Conspiracy-Theory folder:

The 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll [Hunt] was on Monday April 01. The betrayal of the Son of Man was on "April Fools Day" 30 A. D., a Monday.

See no connectedness between the two events? Look again.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher write: "I find the comments post here very interesting, but it is a little difficult to understand how they are connected to the subject “rebellious wives respecting their husbands”.


Mr. Boocher, I think this is just in the nature of Internet blogsites in general, one comment leads to a related though slightly different topic, then on and on it progresses. But there almost always is a connecting theme that runs through the more serious comments, even though it may stray from the original post. It’s just like face-to-face conversations in person, where folks don't generally stick to only ONE sole topic throughout the talk, although usually one topic may have initiated the discussion at its very beginning. But then it expands to cover other somewhat related issues.

I'm extremely interested in the overall topic of effective communication, and often find it quite educational and enlightening to go back to the beginning of a thread, then slowly and carefully re-read all the comments in sequential order. I’ve done this for years now, and it’s got to be worth at least a formal Master’s degree in practical human communication. This allows you to observe how certain commenter’s almost always take the time to make cogent, thought-provoking, factually-grounded, well-articulated responses - while others consistently make vapid, immature, angry, insulting, boorish comments and dogmatic assertions often completely unrelated to anything anyone else is saying. Here on this particular blogsite, the latter tend to be just a few sloppily presented sentences, and more often than not “Anonymous” in nature. These folks are often referred to as “trolls” – an internet slang term for people who make idiotic, intellectually empty comments merely intended to provoke anger, but which never really intelligently contribute to the overall discussion.

As the ancients used to say "Speech [or in this case, writing] is the best and most accurate index of the mind behind it." Or, for the more religiously inclined, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

L said...

If I could just point out here, Velvet mentioned above that she was born in 1976. (That was my first year at AC!) So in all fairness, she can't be expected to have as solid or accurate a historical or chronological understanding of the old WCG as the more seasoned veterans that comment here do. This would of course extend to doctrinal understanding as well. Her experiences have been of more recent vintage, so we need to cut her some slack, and I'm saying that to myself as much as to anybody else.

I've learned that Velvet sometimes makes absolute statements as if they were documented fact, but that's to be expected given the circumstances.

For example, it seems to me she made mention in one recent thread that only ordained folks spoke at services. Perhaps I misinterpreted her exact comment, but that's how I understood her. Maybe this was the case in her particular congregation. But that wasn't the case for virtually ALL congregations of the WCG with which I was familiar. I used to give sermonettes, and I was never ordained. Perhaps this was the way it was done in her local congregation in Canada, but I'm slowly coming to see that her church experiences and understanding of formal WCG doctrine was VERY different from the norm, and she naturally extrapolates it to the rest of the Church.

Another example I immediately recall is Velvet’s reference to the membership up in her area as the "lay-ministry." But I am absolutely CERTAIN this term was NEVER used within the cultural context of the WCG when I was there, either in the many field congregations I was a part of, nor at Pasadena HQ itself. The very tone of this term reeks of evangelical Protestantism, and that was something not popular at all in the classic WCG.

Velvet mentions those at AC or HQ as living in a bubble. Though that statement may not totally be without some merit, still, I would humbly suggest it was her congregation that was, in fact, the bubble, as it didn’t seem to reflect a large number of the standard teachings and practices of the classic WCG under HWA’s administration.

Velvet, I came into the WCG in Detroit back in the mid '70's, and recall Felix Taylor! I very much liked Toronto as a city back in those days during visits there. You must have spent many wonderful hours at the Ontario Science Centre, which I'm assuming is still there.

Velvet said...

"Asking questions and rigorously examining one's beliefs is virtually unheard of religion, especially fundamentalistic COG religion."

I quite agree. And, truthfully, question-askers were not looked upon with great favour in the Victoria congregation. So I imagine I was quite a thorn in their sides, but due to my youth, they let it slide. I have heard more than one member, on both sides of the "theological fence" (and both sides of the pond) say that they pretty much kept their own counsel, and they didn't swallow everything dutifully like a good little robot.

"Regarding the WCG's telecast, multiple presenters didn't happen until post-HWA."

Anon directly above you answered this. I'm not denying the Church WAS a one-man show in the past, Assistant Deacon, I'm just saying that that was not my experience in the Church, even prior to 1986. I would also refer you back to the magazines and their many contributors. The Church was, at that point in time, a rather large (and largely self-running) machine, or that was the impression that was given, between the PGRs, the letter answering department, and the various publications, as well as the 1100 paid ministers who worked for the Church.

"Sabbatarianism is one thing. Holding to Armstrongist tendencies and interpretations is another."

I quite agree. But I consider myself to be a second-generational non-denominational Judeo-Christian follower of Jesus. Somewhat more towards the Anabaptist end of the tradition than even the Church itself was, I admit.

"I'm not trying to be confrontational here; I just think it's healthy to see and acknowledge the vast difference between the two."

Rest assured, I see the vast difference between the two, every time I run across an idol(HWA)-worshipping splinter group's website.

What I want to ensure that you see, Assistant Deacon, is that I fall more to the former end of the spectrum than the latter. But, again, I don't fit into a neat and tidy little black and white box. I'm sorry if that confuses anyone here.

"In particular, I would strongly suggest that anything that smacks of British-Israelism -- which is essentially the basis for the entire HWA catalog --"

Some would argue that. In my experience, it began to be preached very heavily (again, I suppose) around 1985 or so. Some of the splinter groups insist that one must believe in British-Israelism for salvation. I disagree, most vehemently, and I have yet to find the phrase "salvation by British-Israelism" in any of the Church literature.

"is based on particularly errant thinking and should be reconsidered."

Reconsidered? Or just laid aside altogether? I neither believe nor disbelieve BI, Assistant Deacon; I don't see it as essential to my salvation, so it doesn't really register with me at all. But, again, that doesn't fit into the neat little box you want to put me in, so. *shrug* Sorry?

Byker Bob said...

Good grief! Am I the only blogger here that actually has a life? It's gotten to the point where I can no longer keep up with all of the comments!

But, I'm happy for Gary, as this has probably put Banned by HWA at the top of the charts!

BB

Velvet said...

"in all fairness, she can't be expected to have as solid or accurate a historical or chronological understanding of the old WCG as the more seasoned veterans that comment here do."

Thanks, Leo. I also think this is why I'm rather nonplussed, for instance, when I hear people in the Church speaking favourably in ANY way about GTA; that definitely was not my experience, either!

"This would of course extend to doctrinal understanding as well."

Yes, for instance D&R had always been "repealed" when I was growing up, and I never ever attended Pentecost service on a Monday. So those are two major, major differences, right there.

"Her experiences have been of more recent vintage, so we need to cut her some slack, and I'm saying that to myself as much as to anybody else."

Eh, I knew when I started posting I was going to be in for a lot of flack. Thanks, though. :-) And I don't think you've been too rough. After all, what is one's faith worth, if you cannot even defend it to yourself, never mind anyone else?

"I've learned that Velvet sometimes makes absolute statements as if they were documented fact, but that's to be expected given the circumstances."

And I'm working on that. Although any absolute statements I make about the congregation I grew up in, are statements based on my actual experience in same. If that seems to be "an absolute statement" then I guess I will have to qualify each time that it's not?

"For example, it seems to me she made mention in one recent thread that only ordained folks spoke at services. Perhaps I misinterpreted her exact comment, but that's how I understood her. Maybe this was the case in her particular congregation. But that wasn't the case for virtually ALL congregations of the WCG with which I was familiar."

Someone else (Lake of Fire CoG?) confirmed this on the same thread.

"I used to give sermonettes, and I was never ordained."

That would have been completely outside of my experience. Preaching elders gave sermons. Hence the "preaching" bit at the front. :-)

"Perhaps this was the way it was done in her local congregation in Canada,"

Well, there were 300 of us, and IIRC about 30(ish?) deacons, elders, and preaching elders. So I guess the speaking rota was always well-filled. In the smaller areas, maybe it would have been catch-as catch-can? How big was your congregation?

"but I'm slowly coming to see that her church experiences and understanding of formal WCG doctrine was VERY different from the norm, and she naturally extrapolates it to the rest of the Church."

I think I have tried to make the point that this was ONLY my experience...any extrapolating going on, might be occurring because people EXPECT me to "dogmatically defend the faith" and so they THINK I'm extrapolating. Which I'm not.

But you mentioned communications skills, above; I have tried to qualify my "absolute statements" with "in Victoria" or "when I was growing up." If that's not qualification enough, I will attempt to be more precise in future. :-) (cont.)

Velvet said...

(cont.) "Another example I immediately recall is Velvet’s reference to the membership up in her area as the "lay-ministry." But I am absolutely CERTAIN this term was NEVER used within the cultural context of the WCG when I was there, either in the many field congregations I was a part of, nor at Pasadena HQ itself."

I think RSK mentioned it was a catch-all for those not ordained as pastors. That could have been the case, or my memory could indeed be faulty, and this was a part of the post-'92 "slow creep" of the changes.

"The very tone of this term reeks of evangelical Protestantism, and that was something not popular at all in the classic WCG."

It's not popular in the current WCG either, let me tell you! :-) All kidding aside, I can see where that would have rung alarm bells. Maybe I am misremembering, and that came about after, or just shortly before, the changes.

"Velvet mentions those at AC or HQ as living in a bubble."

I was referring to Head Usher's comments to that effect, on another thread. Also, things I have heard from people in my own, current, congregation, who attended AC, about how shocked they were, at the difference between the people at AC, and the people in their home congregations.

"Though that statement may not totally be without some merit, still, I would humbly suggest it was her congregation that was, in fact, the bubble, as it didn’t seem to reflect a large number of the standard teachings and practices of the classic WCG under HWA’s administration."

Maybe it didn't; but I would think, given that, as far as I am capable of knowing, none of the worst abuses that are listed out on these websites occurred in my area, that the bits we jettisoned were definitely for the betterment of the Church. "Velvet, I came into the WCG in Detroit back in the mid '70's, and recall Felix Taylor!"

I actually don't recall Felix from Toronto East, I "met" him through Shadows of WCG. We ran in very different age groups at that time. :-)

"I very much liked Toronto as a city back in those days during visits there. You must have spent many wonderful hours at the Ontario Science Centre, which I'm assuming is still there."

It was still there in 2006, as far as I know. :-) When I was still living there (went to find work in '99), I saw Chris Hadfield speak there. This was long before he became the ruler of all known space, though. ;-) We lived in very rural Northern Ontario when I was growing up, so we didn't get there much when I was a kid, and I was too busy with work when I was living there to get out there that often.

After services on summer Sabbath afternoons, my father and I usually wandered around the Royal BC Museum, though. :-)

Velvet said...

It's the last Day of Unleavened Bread, Bob, how else are we to "meditatively" spend our time?? ;-)

Leonardo said...

No, Byker Bob, I can absolutely assure you that you're not the ONLY person here that has a life outside of internet blogging - the false implication contained in your statement being that those who DO have a life wouldn't take the time to comment on timely issues and important subjects that sometimes, though not always, arise here.

Some people value genuine and constructive human interaction on interesting topics that can potentially expand their minds, even if it's just a virtual forum, as it is on blog sites like this.

But look at it this way, Byker Bob, would you rather spend the time reading through meaningful comments on meaningful topics of interest - or just skim through the shallow, foolish comments the "dude" generation so frequently make on the shallow, foolish topics they so often obsess over?

"What's the nature of ultimate reality, and what would be the best method of finding out?" seems a far better subject of discussion as opposed to Lindsey Lohan's latest probation violation, or Lady Gaga's newest tit tattoo.

Wouldn't you agree?

Anonymous said...

Leo Discussing Velvet said: I'm slowly coming to see that her church experiences and understanding of formal WCG doctrine was VERY different from the norm, and she naturally extrapolates it to the rest of the Church.
I can relate what you are saying and will add a little to what you said. I was baptized in 1958 when the only congregation east of the Mississippi was Chicago and possibly Pittsburg Pa. We did not attend a congregation until one started in Indianapolis Ind. The next was Cincinnati Oh., then Dayton. OH. I was ordained a deacon in 1968 and an elder in 1975. If you think things had changed between you time and Velvet’s I can honestly say the changes I have experienced are mind boggling. When I withdrew my membership in 2000 I spent 6 years publishing a newsletter the encourage those who had been cut adrift to not give up on God when people disappoint you. I ceased that due to the fact that those receiving the letter had adjusted their lives or died. That may explain why I may be a little defensive when I see aggressive efforts to present things that appear to be designed to destroy a person’s faith without a better option.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Velvet, yes I would very much agree with you that normal field members were far more warmer, balanced and, well, just NORMAL, than many folks from Pasadena. Numerous others shared this distinct impression as well. And I’d say that this especially applied to those kids who came up through the Imperial School (the WCG's private K-12 school), then went onto AC, and afterwards were hired by one department or another at “God’s Headquarters on earth.” The impeccably groomed and landscaped Pasadena campus did sometimes have an artificial, surreal-like quality or aura about it that is hard to put into words. It was sort of like being transported into one of those artist conception paintings portraying a lush, vibrant green, idyllic, futuristic city of tomorrow. You get the picture.

To this day I vividly remember when I showed up on campus for the very first time, January 4th, 1976, newly baptized, freshly groomed and clad in my secondhand polyester waffle-weave suit, with two suitcases and $375 in cash. That was my entire life savings up to that time. But I was greatly impressed by the campus, and so excited I could hardly contain myself. I must have had the wide-eyed look of some farm kid from the far-flung rural reaches of the Empire showing up in the city of ancient Rome during the height of it's imperial splendor!

Being at the Grand Central Station and epicenter of "The most important Work on earth" had it's exciting moments, to be sure, heavy in lots of soap opera-like dramas, and some run-of-the-mill experiences – like the time I accidentally came upon Raymond F. McNair standing somewhere in his boxer shorts and got a lecture on why men should wear them and not briefs! “Man was meant to hang!” opined Mr. McNair to me with great sincerity, and pale white hairy legs! I was immediately converted, and shortly thereafter dutifully went down to the local J.C. Penney’s and bought the first pairs of boxer shorts I had ever had in my life!

But on the whole I think the Pasadena experience could somehow often make people feel a bit superior to just the “average” run-of-the-mill church member. On the other hand, though, some of the finest, most genuine and loving folks I've ever met in my life where from out there too. So it was a mixture, as I'm sure could be said for any field area.

I remember once HWA blowing his top off in a sermon at the Auditorium talking about how cold and cliquish Pasadena WCG members were becoming. I mean he was FUMING and going at full bore! I was sitting maybe only 20 or 30 feet from him and remember hearing the loud voice, and seeing the red face, bulging jugular vein, flailing hands and bouncing jowls. I thought that perhaps "the end time" had come to me personally on that particular day!

So yeah, 17 years of that was enough.

Retired Prof said...

A. Boocher, I am not saying this to try to destroy anyone's faith; but it may give heart to someone whose faith is already crumbling.

I have been thankful for the past half-century and more that I did not give up on people when God disappointed me.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "If you think things had changed between you time and Velvet’s I can honestly say the changes I have experienced are mind boggling."


Yeah, I bet! That's why I always like listening to older folks who have such a vast array of life experiences. Come to think of it we sort of represent three different generations of WCGism - the World War II generation, the Baby-Boomer and Velvet representing Generation X!

Once back in 1984, on the 40th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy landings, I was honored to have been in the company of a lot of older church members who participated in that epic event as young, terrified soldiers. Selmer Hegvold, who was my pastor at the time, along with many others gathered together there in the old Library Annex Building, and told story after riveting story of their memories of that day and the subsequent drive toward Paris and on into Berlin, and how surprised they were that they survived through it! Like I always say, you can read all the books you want to about World War II, and I’ve read a boatload, but there’s nothing like hearing it directly from the mouths of those who actually participated in it.

I have a very dear friend of mine whom I've known now for many years - an older black lady who is an 89-years-old deaconess. She was baptized right around the time you were, and during our phone conversations she regularly regales me with her endless collection of stories, both good and not-so-good, from the white-hot time of the "Golden Days" of the WCG, which weren't always so golden, especially if you were black!! (British-Israelism had it's practical downsides, she can assure you!)

But she just continues on, in spite of all she's witnessed and experienced, as dedicated as she ever was to "the faith once delivered."

But yeah, when I first began reading Velvet’s comments on her church experiences up in Canada, initially I really thought she may have found this website and accidentally assumed it was the wrong group, her experiences were so different from what mine were! But when she mentioned earlier today that she was born in 1976, then I suddenly understood.

If I may ask, who baptized you back in 1958? May I guess – was it Dean Blackwell? And what was the name of the newsletter you published for six years after the classic WCG collapsed in the mid ‘90’s? I’m a historian by nature so these things are of far more interest to me than they probably would be to most folks. Not directly related to the initial subject of "Rebellious LCG Wives" but then I think we veered quite away from that some time ago!!

Retired Prof said...

Leonardo, you must be one tough sumbitch to hang in there for 17 years!

One semester in Pasadena was enough for me, although I stayed at Ambassador through the next one as well, to give me time to write out applications to other colleges.

Worst year of my life, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. It turned me into pretty much what I am now--a thorough skeptic who enjoys delving into the kinds of questions raised by you and by Assistant Deacon, Velvet, A. Boocher, Byker Bob, and the rest of you. Thanks to you all
for sharing your thoughts, and to NO2HWA for maintaining the venue for these discussions.

Anonymous said...

Retired Proph said: I have been thankful for the past half-century and more that I did not give up on people when God disappointed me.

I can agree with that also. We all need to recognize that human life is unique and each individual has value with personal beliefs that have been developed through the process of living. I have respect for those who recognize the flaws in thinking and show that our human life isn’t dictated by some invisible god. No one should live a guilt ridden life (unless they are hypercritical). Those that perpetuate the guilt process don’t recognize their own flawed nature. There is a delicate balance in discussing the subject of religious beliefs that determines who we help and who we hinder especially in this type of communication.
Thanks for your bit of wisdom.
A. Boocher

Leonardo said...

Retired Prof wrote: "Leonardo, you must be one tough sumbitch to hang in there for 17 years!"

Yeah, it's amazing what massive amounts of blind religious faith and youthful naivety can allow a person to endure!

But I ardently, passionately, whole-heartedly BELIEVED 100% in the whole enchilada – everything: warning the world of impending nuclear destruction at the hands of a reunited Germany, funding HWA's globe-trotting journeys to get him before world leaders, getting the Church ready to flee to the place of safety, preparing for rulership in the coming World Tomorrow, etc.

I wanted this stuff so badly I could taste it. It's about all I thought of morning, noon and night.

Once at a foreign Feast site in the ‘80’s I met a very sweet, absolutely dropdead gorgeous church gal from New Zealand who looked just like Catherine Zita Jones, only better, and for some reason she took a very obvious liking to me. My response: I was too busy preparing for a sermonette, serving here, doing this, doing that to ever pay her much attention! I look back at things like this and think “What in the world was wrong with you, you brainless moron!”

Behold the effects of unreasoning religious belief upon the human mind!

But yet, and this is something I STILL can’t quite grasp, all these many years later: I wouldn’t have traded the entire roller-coaster ride for the world! I don’t really know why I think that way, but to this day I truly do.

Can you EXPLAIN that to me?

Byker Bob said...

Leo,

Basically, the forums and blogs ignited a process in my life through which I went back and restudied the many problematic issues surrounding the Armstrong movement. Over the past ten to twelve years, I've been a voracious reader.

What I discovered as I continued to participate in discussions is that facts do not seem to be as important to some folks as the opportunity for endless arguing. You might say I've become somewhat jaded, because it's difficult for me to believe that some posters even believe the points which they often viciously argue.

So, I'm down to attempting to apply what I've learned in my own life, but continuing to scan the blogs for fresh facts and ideas. Frankly, those are now few and far between. It often seems that new people continue to argue the same ol' same ol'. I must say, I do appreciate some of the ideas which you have expressed, and some of the others as well. But, my lifestyle demands a certain level of efficiency at this point. While I once wrote articles for the various sites, and even got a lot of hits on them, there just doesn't seem to be time any more to do them properly, and that's the only way in which I'll do them.

BB

Velvet said...

"Velvet, yes I would very much agree with you that normal field members were far more warmer, balanced and, well, just NORMAL, than many folks from Pasadena. Numerous others shared this distinct impression as well. And I’d say that this especially applied to those kids who came up through the Imperial School (the WCG's private K-12 school)"

I pretty much directly blame the abusiveness of the Imperial Schools for the ongoing vengeance that Junior and Weazell (now just Junior, since Mikey quit, "due to health reasons" -- all that bitterness catching up with him, I guess) are taking out on the few remaining ministers, some of whom have been with the Church for decades. Most of whom believe what they want to believe, and let the members believe what they want to believe, but I get the distinct impression they get a lot of hassle from the trinitarians for doing so.

Not to mention the fact that ministers are forced to tithe. For the rest of us, it's "free will offerings." Other than that, every now and again Headquarters will siphon a few thousand here and there from areas that have surplus accounts, allegedly to build stuff/do stuff in some place like Africa or Bangladesh, but I really don't believe a single penny of that goes to what they claim it's for, because A) It goes directly to Headquarters "first" and B) they've lied for so long, about so much else. (Like "the healing doctrine being changed in 1988" which is a direct falsehood, because I literally WOULD NOT BE ALIVE if that had been the case.)

They wouldn't have been nearly so bitter, if they hadn't been so badly mistreated at the Imperial Schools, IMO. But, they were, and they are, and twenty years after they came to power, the Church still suffers for it.

Which, to be fair, is a sin the Church does need to "work off" because to my knowledge, no one ever repented of it to the ones it might have meant the most to....Junior and the other kids who were so harmed by the PEOPLE of the Church (not people who were IN the Church, IMO), that they ended up being turned against God and the Church, and they turned others whose faith was weak (or maybe they weren't really converted in the first place--that's my theory) against/away from God, as well.

I mean, think of it: Joseph Tkach Jr., and Mike Feazell were so badly mistreated when they were kids, that even idol-worship was a preferable alternative for them! There's a special reward on Judgement Day, for those adults who inculcated that in them.

Velvet said...

"I wanted this stuff so badly I could taste it. It's about all I thought of morning, noon and night."

We all did, Leo, though in my case, that only really got ramped up at the Feast with the Festival films and all the activities, and the satellite transmission, etc.

In our daily lives, it was easy to forget sometimes, because the only time we got into that mindset was once a week or on the Holy Days. (More during all of the Holy Days, than on the Sabbath.)

Unlike you being steeped in it 24/7, we had to actually "Be IN the world but not OF the world." Something I think the kids at AC did not get a lot (or enough) of, and so they lost a lot of the mitigating factors that allowed for emotional and spiritual maturity.

I do believe this was one of the basic errors the Church made, and was one of, if not the, major reasons for why and how it all played out like it did. Just my opinion.

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob wrote: "What I discovered as I continued to participate in discussions is that facts do not seem to be as important to some folks as the opportunity for endless arguing."

Yes, I've noted the same thing. Though I must admit I like a well-reasoned argument in the classical sense of the word, not merely the unending haggling and bickering over doctrine, which has become endemic in the COG's.

What I always find interesting is the blog & run folks, who makes some arrogant boast about this, that or the other thing, and then never stick around to actually defend what they so boastfully assert. I mean, what bunch of mental midgets.

Velvet wrote: "Unlike you being steeped in it 24/7, we had to actually "Be IN the world but not OF the world." Something I think the kids at AC did not get a lot (or enough) of, and so they lost a lot of the mitigating factors that allowed for emotional and spiritual maturity. I do believe this was one of the basic errors the Church made, and was one of, if not the, major reasons for why and how it all played out like it did."

Yes, those are excellent points that have proven themselves out over the years. You just can't argue against the fruits. Though Pasadena was no easy cake walk either. Many folks who came out thinking they'd "get on board the gravy train" noticed there was a great deal of pressure and stress out there, and left maybe six months or a year after they arrived. The millennial bubble (sounds like the name of Hans Solo's second space ship!) had it's own unique sorts of trials and stresses. It broke the physical health of many an employee, and all too many sought escape in the form of the bottle, sadly.

Anonymous said...

Leo said: If I may ask, who baptized you back in 1958? May I guess – was it Dean Blackwell? And what was the name of the newsletter you published for six years after the classic WCG collapsed in the mid ‘90’s?
No it wasn’t Dean B. It was Carlton Smith & Roger Foster on a tour through our area. My wife and I were both baptized in a creek in our area. My newsletter was the ABCM Fellowship Letter with the first issue published in Nov. 2000. I funded it personally and when it started it was sent to family and local members who were disconnected, later I was sending it around the world on request. I do not remember what the max mailing was, but there were a few in Australia, Canada, India, Philippians, Africa, and several states. Like everything else it changed through the years. ABCM was A. Boocher Christian Ministries. It was an interesting experience and I had requests from people who never heard of Armstrong. Some went to nursing homes. It was a simple letter with a variety of small articles of encouragement. It was subtitled as a letter of encouragement, edification, and education for fellow Christians and friends. Most of what I wrote was simple common sense or basic Christian teachings about everyday life. I still send newsletters to about 30 members in my family, but these are not ministry letters.
A. Boocher

Head Usher said...

Leonardo wrote:
"You just can't argue against the fruits."

It's a funny thing that the COGs frequently quote the bible verse that says "you shall know them by their fruits," but you're never supposed to use that principle to know about the church orgs or ministers. No, no, no! You're only supposed to use it know about people you already don't like. So, these self-appointed apostles, prophets, and their lackeys have made careers out of arguing against the fruits.

Velvet said...

"No, no, no! You're only supposed to use it know about people you already don't like."

I see a lot of hardliners left in the Church with this attitude. (I refer to those hardliners being unwittingly led down the broad and wide path by Evangelicals masquerading as "God's government" for their benefit.)

Unfortunately, exactly the same narrow-minded judgementalism is brought to bear on the faithful by the Evangelicals. I personally think that attitude exists apart from, or in defiance of, Christian fruits. And quite apart from what one believes.

Anonymous said...

It goes without saying that common sense, the basic principles of logic and often some of the very concepts in the Bible itself are NOT to be applied when it comes to Christian truth claims. Yes, they can be selectively applied to some other religion you don't agree with or particularly like, that's OK. But not to Christianity itself.

Religious faith requires you to bend the rules constantly like this, and very inconsistently, in order to preserve cherished "truths."

I'm sorry, but this requirement is just too much to ask of the human mind.

Leonardo said...

A. Boocher wrote: "My wife and I were both baptized in a creek in our area."

Wow, I hope it was a hot summer day outside! Thanks for telling me about your newsletter. It does help me to understand you better.

So why did you end up leaving the new WCG (Joe Jr. & Company) in 2000? Why not in 1995 when most folks left. Or why aren't you still with them? I'm honestly not trying to pry, just a bit curious.

Leonardo said...

Retired Prof wrote: "One semester in Pasadena was enough for me, although I stayed at Ambassador through the next one as well...Worst year of my life, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything."

You went to AC about 15-20 years before I did. My understanding was that it was far more strict and unbalanced in those days. Of course, it was considered "liberal" when I went (1976-80), at least up until the time HWA came back and started cleaning house, which was 1978. What specifically didn't you like about your year at AC? The overall feel of the environment? The gung-ho, ultra-zealot ministers of the time? How did you first hear about AC as a college? Where did you eventually end up after leaving AC?

Retired Prof said...

Leo, rather than answer your questions here, let me refer you to my reminiscences over at the Painful Truth. Most of them can be found under the heading "2007 Articles." Thanks to James, by the way, for indexing them again. For some time they were not readily accessible.

Leonardo said...

Is the Painful Truth another COG-related website? Do you have it's address?

Anonymous said...

Leo said: So why did you end up leaving the new WCG (Joe Jr. & Company) in 2000? Why not in 1995 when most folks left. Or why aren't you still with them? I'm honestly not trying to pry, just a bit curious.

I have nothing to hide so I do not mind answering questions as long as it is acceptable to others here. I was very active in helping people decide whether to stay or leave. My advice was always “follow your conscience” if it’s wrong you can always change later. In our area it took 5 years for people that didn’t want many of the changes to leave or relocate.

Many that stayed wanted to go to Sunday services and have random communion, but my presence seemed to create fence sitters, so I decided I was a hindrance not a helper. We had spent a large portion of our life living what we sensed was in harmony with the bible and were contented with the life we were living. My wife and I still follow many of the old traditions privately. I will admit that I do not believe these traditions make a contribution to salvation, but neither do I believe they violate new covenant.

Shortly after we withdrew our membership they started Sunday services, I do not know what they do for communion, but some meeting with HQ people that were in our hall held communion, but I knew I wasn’t going to stay with the group and opted not to attend.

I will add another little bit about the congregation we were with. It was in our home town of Tipp City, Oh and through my business connections we leased and modified a building next to our business. We as a congregation had it for whatever use we wanted. It was great! After I ceased attending they had a dance and the sign on the door said “Come Jiggy with Jesus”. That may indicate who they were targeting.

I am not sure what happen or who financed it (I have suspicions) but they bought the Catholic Church building on Broadway here in Tipp when Catholic Church move to a new location. It is now the Church on the Broadway. (actually they are Crossroad Christian Fellowship) I talk to the pastor occasionally when there is a chance meeting, but he is a little uncomfortable since he doesn’t quite know where I fit. It is hard to get an indication of the size of the congregation, but Pastor Jim Valekis is involved with local community service organizations.

As have often stated if there is any hard feelings it is not on my side of the fence. I am glad for all of those who find there spiritual needs met. My wife and I have joined the Tipp City Seniors who have varied religious affiliations and we fit right in. Actually that group is more spiritually minded than the church was when we withdrew.
A. Boocher

Retired Prof said...

The URL for the Painful Truth is http://www.hwarmstrong.com/

You can see from the address that it is a CoG-related site. Lots of fascinating stuff there. Highly recommended.

Velvet said...

"My wife and I still follow many of the old traditions privately. I will admit that I do not believe these traditions make a contribution to salvation, but neither do I believe they violate new covenant."

I feel exactly the same, and there is a significant, non-vocal minority still in the Church, which does likewise.

"Shortly after we withdrew our membership they started Sunday services,"

Maybe they were waiting till you were gone? I know that most here voted to continue meeting on Saturdays, but one congregation did not. Whether people voted out of their consciences, or voted not to cause further division in the congregations, only God knows.

Allegedly, the congregation in Castlegar was strong-armed into Sunday-keeping and trinitarianism, and those who disagreed were given the "Junior's way or the highway" choice.

That's not how the Church spun the situation in Northern Light (same as the GN), though. They claimed the membership was eager to receive new teaching (after nearly twenty years, it's still "new") and the Northern Light article makes mention that there were some problems, but they soon disappeared.

Which I would understand to mean that the few faithful in the congregation, were basically driven out of the Church. This happened in 2009, by the way.

Now, what these "few problems"' attitudes were like, I couldn't tell you, because I don't have any direct details on this, I'm just speculating, based on what I know of the Evangelicals and the hardliners, both.

Perhaps these "problem members" really were troublemakers, and made "the faith once delivered" seem a burden, when it's not meant to be.

Or, maybe they were just quietly faithful, not being any trouble to anyone else, until they were driven out by the final straw.

Or, it could have gone down in another manner entirely, like I said, this is all just my own speculation. But the Church spinning it like "We converted them all to Sunday-keeping and trinitarianism, yaaaaayyyyy!" makes it sound very suspect, to me at least.

Anonymous said...


Albert wrote:
"My wife and I still follow many of the old traditions privately. I will admit that I do not believe these traditions make a contribution to salvation, but neither do I believe they violate new covenant."

Velvet wrote:
"I feel exactly the same, and there is a significant, non-vocal minority still in the Church, which does likewise."

MY COMMENT: Why bother with the unnecessary bullshit "traditions" then? What's the point? Feelings? From my point of view, there was an amazing amount of intellectual dishonesty in the old school WCG, and roughly twice as much in the reformed WCG/CGI. This just seems like so much doublespeak to me, but what the hell do I know?

Anonymous said...

You know how to reason clearly, and see right through such doublespeak in the first place. Certainly far more than Velvet and Albert do.

Velvet said...

Okay, I'll answer for myself (even though Albert declined--we don't speak for each other, despite the comment of the anon above): What Albert calls "the traditions" of the Church of God do not make ANY (as in no, none, zero, zip, zilch, nada) contribution to salvation; for myself, personally, they help me build/strengthen a personal relationship with God.

I think Albert calling it "traditions" might be what's tripping everyone up; I see it as the path(s) of righteousness (NOT SELF-righteousness, although I was accused by Steve of being that before, and I apologize if I came across that way, as it was not intended), and choosing to walk in them.