Tuesday, March 26, 2013

William Koeneke: Church of the Eternal God Minister Convicted of Four Counts Child Molestation


The Eastbourne Herald is reporting about a former deacon in the Worldwide Church of God who was convicted  for child molestations. Koeneke is a minister in the Church of the Eternal God, also known as Global Church of God in England and the Church of God, A Christian Fellowship in Canada.  He has ties to Raymond McNair, Wray Zehrung, Rod Meredith,  Norbert Link and Ed Pope.  He has also co-authored booklets promoting the myth of British Israelism and the supposed prophecies in the book of Revelation, among many others.

Former deacon who assaulted boys is jailed


Published on 26/03/2013 12:19
An 86-year-old former church deacon has been jailed for eight years for indecent assault on young boys more than 20 years ago.

William Koeneke (pictured), 86, of Pevensey Road, Eastbourne was convicted at Isleworth Crown Court on March 12 of four counts of indecent assault on boys under the age of 16.

He committed the assaults on the boys when he was working at the Worldwide Church of God (WCG).
He was a deacon at the church and would often deliver sermons.

Koeneke befriended and assaulted the four young victims between 1985 and 1989 at an address in Paddington.

He was jailed for eight years and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life. A Sexual Offences Prevention Order was also imposed. Koeneke was arrested in December 2011 following allegations made by the four victims, who are now in their 30s.

In 2010 this degenerate wrote an article about suffering.  Did this pervert have an inkling of what was in store for him?  Was he trying to minimize the damage he caused these four men in the Church of God?

Koeneke wrote:

Unfortunately, trials may tend to breed a sense of doubt, bewilderment, depression, and even of anger and frustration. They can lay heavily on our minds, whether they come upon us suddenly as when an accident occurs, or whether they creep up on us gradually, as when a sickness takes hold and lingers, and we may wonder: “Have I sinned? Is that why I’m suffering?” It is always good to ask ourselves this question, but sometimes, individual sin may not be the reason for our trial.  

Was he trying to shame these four men into thinking that they were suffering because of sin in their lives that caused him to molest them?  That is the method of intimidation many molesters use. It was their fault.  They tempted him some how.

For those of us called by God, the hardest trials are those which occur seemingly in spite of our faithfulness to God’s Word. But we should keep in mind, as David tells us: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them ALL” (Psalm 34:19). And Paul tells us: "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Was he telling these four young men to use their "trial" as an opportunity for growth instead of becoming bitter over it?

Trials can lead to either spiritual growth or bitterness. The response of those who suffer determines the result. We as Christians are bound to experience trials in order for us to demonstrate our faith in God and His promises. Our faith needs to be tried in order for it to be strengthened. Trials should never be a reason to dispense with faith—faith that comes to us through Jesus Christ. 
The trials we suffer from time to time do tend to try our patience and our faith, and necessarily so. In a familiar verse Peter exhorts us: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you [in effect] partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:12-13).

How do we cope in the meantime? We will find encouragement when we accept a three-pronged solution to our trials, i.e. faith in God’s promises (compare Psalm 34); obedience toward His laws; and patience. They all go hand-in-hand.

In another article he wrote on "Sympathy" he says:

I watch a number of newscasts on television and I find myself thinking about the events broadcast, including, for example, updates on the plight of the little Scottish girl Madeleine McCann kidnapped in Portugal over four years ago and yet still not found. One might blame the parents for being remiss in looking after this innocent little girl, now 8 years old, leaving her alone in their holiday apartment while they dined nearby. Yet that does not excuse the kidnapper nor lessen the agony of the parents or the child. I have prayed that God will give the Portuguese and British and other authorities who are looking for her an extra portion of insight and police intelligence in being able to find Madeleine and that she may be brought home to her parents and the kidnapper(s) brought to justice.

As I quite often jest, if there wasn’t so much crime and bad news these days there wouldn’t be any newspapers!... Wars in the Middle East and North Africa, volcanic eruptions here and there, increasing budget and inflationary pressures, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts and famines etc. all come to mind. It seems we are swamped with all sorts of bad news—and we in the Church know the reasons why—and our prayers should plead for the return and intervention of Jesus Christ to alleviate the suffering and death which continue to strike mankind in all sorts of ways and with greater frequency.

In the light of all these disturbing events, we in the Church need to avoid being insular or oblivious to the problems of those outside the Church.  Here in the UK where I live I quite often come upon old people having to cope with a cane or walking frame or mobility cart or who are deformed in some way, or blind, and I thank God that I am not likewise encumbered while sympathising with such people and praying silently for them as I walk on by.

As we ourselves suffer trials, such trials can help us to become more sympathetic and empathetic with others going through similar difficulties. When was the last time you expressed your thoughts and prayers in sympathy with such people and in absolute faith that God heard your prayer? David tells us: “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion… and great in mercy” (Psalm 145:8; compare Philippians 2:4). Should we not, as God’s called-out ones, likewise be compassionate?  Indeed, for there is, truly, so many for whom we can, and should, offer our prayers in heartfelt sympathy.



46 comments:

Anonymous said...

He was one of MANY in the COG that molested children over the years. Sadly there still are COG ministers and members who are doing it to this day!

Leonardo said...

How terribly tragic.

On a related note, has Kevin Dean ever been found, as he was wanted for child abuse back in North Carolina as well, wasn't he? I heard he somehow ran away during a court hearing.

I'm sorry, but this is something I simply cannot remotely understand. It's so vile, disgusting and completely unnatural to take advantage of the innocence of children in this manner. But unfortunately, it must be far more widespread than most of us realize. Just consider all that happened within the Catholic Church, and that's probably just a very small piece of the pie.

Really, what is wrong with these people? What is the thinking that triggers this kind of creepy perversity? My understanding is that most of them have been past victims of child abuse themselves.

Head Usher said...

Here's a little extra hypocrisy. He co-wrote with Norbert Link at some point, an article entitled, "What is your position on the death penalty?" In this article, he basically condemns himself to death.

"Later, after God had brought the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery, He instructed the leaders of the nation of Israel that capital punishment was to be carried out for a variety of crimes, including murder, kidnapping, adultery and rape (Exodus 21:12, 16, and Deuteronomy 22:13-27)...In Acts 25:11, Paul at his trial before Festus gave recognition to the death penalty when he said: 'For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying...'

I guess William Koeneke, if I were to take him at his word, must have believed for the past 20+ years that he was deserving of a death sentence? Yet, unlike Paul, he didn't seem to want to pay the piper. He never turned himself in, no, he figured he could offend and then get away with it, right? His actions suggest he does object to dying for his crimes, exactly like Uncle Herbie.

Thankfully, there is honor even among thieves. These sickos don't last long in prisons, proving that child molestation is dishonorable even among the lowest rung of society. So, one more Holy Pervert will eventually get the death penalty (unofficially) that he himself has (officially) professed he deserves?

Unless they're using church participation as cover, I can't imagine why these sorts of people bother with church. If there were an ounce of sincerity in them, they must surely believe they're going straight to hell? Something tells me that church leaders who sexually molest children don't really believing anything they're saying, especially not hell.

Armstrongism is not immune to the statistically apportioned lot of child molesters. Why should it be? It was founded by a child molester, right? Plus, one more piece of evidence that all the special people who were "predestined" by god to be "called" into "the truth" are just a cross-section of society, no different and certainly not special in any way. There's no such thing as "the Holy Spirit" and no such thing as "conversion." Armstrongism leaves you just the way it found you.

Anonymous said...

Why is anyone surprised? All COGs are synagogues of Satan in many ways.

Leonardo said...

But Anonymous, such empty and dogmatic pronouncements don't really help us understand such tragedies. I mean, anyone can easily chalk up anything to the devil - Flip Wilson used to do it all the time in his comedy act - but does this really help anybody in any kind of meaningful way?

Why is the sky blue? Well, because God make it that way.

Why is the earth round? Well, because God made it that way.

Why do adults have sex with children? Well, the devil made them do it.

Come on.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Once again, a WCG elder - God's very elect - being a "light to the world" - NOT!

Doesn't this slime-ball look like the typical WCG deacon/elder? For some reason, he looks familiar to me although I left WCG in 1976. Glad to see justice prevail before Koeneke (in his 80s) died.

Suggest the The Painful Truth website add a page for those WCG ministers/elders incarcerated for their crimes. Ron Weinland, of course, would be at the top of the list for failing to render to Caesar what is Caesar's!

Richard

Velvet said...

"Koeneke is a minister in the Church of the Eternal God, also known as Global Church of God in England and the Church of God, A Christian Fellowship in Canada. He has ties to Raymond McNair, Wray Zehrung, Rod Meredith, Norbert Link and Ed Pope"

What on earth is your source for that, Gary? None of those groups have even the slightest thing to do with each other...unless this idiot burned through them all at one point or another.

"He was one of MANY in the COG that molested children over the years. Sadly there still are COG ministers and members who are doing it to this day!"

Not just "many", Anon, but "MANY"? MANY as in, the same sort of systematic abuse the Catholics engaged in? I quite disagree. I do think that, statistically, since we had 140,000 members (approximately) at our peak, it was inevitable that some would be hardened criminals, like this character. But MANY is just not accurate, in my opinion.

Lest anyone think I am defending this sleazeball, let me reassure you, I firmly believe he should be locked up, hung up by his thumbs, and throw away the key.

"I'm sorry, but this is something I simply cannot remotely understand. It's so vile, disgusting and completely unnatural to take advantage of the innocence of children in this manner. But unfortunately, it must be far more widespread than most of us realize. Just consider all that happened within the Catholic Church, and that's probably just a very small piece of the pie."

I agree with Leonardo.

Velvet said...

"Unless they're using church participation as cover, I can't imagine why these sorts of people bother with church."

I think you answered your own question, Head Usher.

"If there were an ounce of sincerity in them, they
must surely believe they're going straight to hell?"

Well, no, since there is no hell...though perhaps these cretins took that Biblical teaching of the Church to mean they would never be punished for what they did...which is NOT what the Church taught at all. Rather, it was, "He shall reward every man for his works."

"Something tells me that church leaders who sexually molest children don't really believing anything they're saying, especially not hell."

See above. "Hell" is nowhere to be found in the Bible, and is not a teaching of the Church. Or it was not, I should say -- the Evangelicals believe in it, unfortunately, and it's a fun thing for them to condemn the rest of us to it, at least in the videos from "denominational headquarters."

As for the Catholics....I think, if you compare these, what, three? At most, four? accounts of ex-Church members (who were never really Church members/part of the Body of Christ in the first place, in my opinion), with the systematic abuse inculcated, encouraged, and covered up by, the Catholic high priests...yeah, there's really no comparison, as to the scale of the thing.

"Armstrongism is not immune to the statistically apportioned lot of child molesters. Why should it be?"

It wasn't. And, apparently, isn't, if the tales coming from Six-Pack's corner are correct.

"It was founded by a child molester, right?"

No, actually, the Church was founded by Jesus.

Velvet said...

"But Anonymous, such empty and dogmatic pronouncements don't really help us understand such tragedies. I mean, anyone can easily chalk up anything to the devil - Flip Wilson used to do it all the time in his comedy act - but does this really help anybody in any kind of meaningful way?"

Again, I agree with Leo. Sorry, I'll try not to make it a habit, Leo. :-)

Velvet said...

"Once again, a WCG elder"

Read it again, LoFCoG; this schmuck was only a deacon. In my experience, by the early 80s, the deacons who were being ordained, were being pulled from the ordinary membership, i.e., never went to Ambassador/never received any training or counseling from the ministers to serve.

I personally think this was how so many (very) bad apples got into the ministry, by the mid-80s...and as they advanced up the ranks, often with little to no training at all (though I seem to recall, after many many many complaints, HQ started the lay-ministry equivalent of the ministers' refresher courses; I may be misremembering that though), with the results we see before us.

Also note, most of the "ministers" (I use the word very loosely) in the splinter groups were actually only deacons or, at the very most, elders. In Victoria, only the elders and preaching elders were allowed to speak, and then they were only allowed to give sermonettes! Which were about as fruit loops as you would imagine, given that these guys were now on a power trip. (It was not for the nothing that the lay-ministry in the Victoria congregation were referred to by liberals and hardliners alike, as the Gestapo.)

Sounds like this walking human excrement was one of that same number; "ordained" by mistake.

Anonymous said...

The statement made "Why is anyone surprised? All COGs are synagogues of Satan in many ways." is so true. Anyone who doesn't agree with that is really saying all the leaders of the COGs are good Christians, which clearly they are not for so many are self-righteousness, boasting with pride, performing evil acts as reported, pretentiousness, etc. Need I say more?

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Velvet said, "Read it again, LoFCoG; this schmuck was only a deacon."

MY COMMENT -Ok Velvet, I could be wrong, and if I am wrong I apologize to the readers. BUT (and, I repeat) BUT... the photo shows the schmuck with eyes open and in front of a microphone preaching what looks like a sermon or sermonette.

In my WCG experience (1968 to 1976) deacons did not preach sermonettes. You had to be a local church elder rank to preach sermonettes (Ambassador College graduate and non-Ambassador College graduates a like; employed and non-employed by WCG a like).

Richard

Anonymous said...

I think it is true that many who were just local deacons became elevated to be ministers after lots left. Some of them were idiots and power had already gone to their heads when they were mere deacons. There was a deacon where I went to Church who tattle tailed on members about every stupid thing, like whether someone was wearing makeup. He went marching around in his suit and briefcase being 'Gods servant'. Later I heard he was elevated to being a minister, and shortly thereafter he divorced his wife of over 30 years and married a troubled young woman who he had being counseling -- she was younger than his youngest child.
This man had always been a self-righteous prig from what I remember, and was instrumental in having people disfellowshipped.

As far as religious men being great sinners, I do believe this is so and that sex desire comes from the same area of the brain as the religious passion area -- you know the god spot. One thing about Christianity is that you can be a sinner and still be forgiven, in fact the greater the sinner the greater God's love is needed and utilised...... Then there is the example of David in the Bible -- HWA even used that one, saying that many of gods men had sexual problems.

Velvet said...

"...the photo shows the schmuck with eyes open and in front of a microphone preaching what looks like a sermon or sermonette."

Yes, it does, but this is endemic in the splinter groups; schmucks who would never have been allowed to speak (because they were only deacons), have either promoted or brown-nosed themselves, into preaching positions in the splinters.

Byker Bob said...

As a group, and I'm borrowing this classification from the insurance industry, WCG was a "Sick" group.

There were many who came into the church looking for healing that most of them never found. This type of pathology stems from a deep inner sickness, and often the perps were at one time victimized themselves and never recovered. I've been told by a friend whose career was that of a correctional officer that victims often take on the guise of predator themselves.

While there are many negatives which can be shared about WCG, there is nothing in the doctrines which would encourage child molestation. I'm sure there was a subliminal undertone emanating from HWA, but nothing overt.

My prayers are with the victims.

BB

Anonymous said...

Have you reported them to the authorities?

Anonymous said...

Who is flip Wilson?

G.G. said...

Off-topic (more or less)
My basic question is why people accept certain religious doctrines as truth.
In Armstrongism, as in many other religions, it always seems to come back to some bible verse or another, or perhaps many.
This is based on the assumption that the bible is the literal, inerrant word of god, which I and many others do not accept.
Therefore, the "truths" that follow from that assumption may or may not be true, but one cannot "prove" an argument with a false premise.
Quote from basic logic: All arguments have the same basic structure: A therefore B. They begin with one or more premises (A), which is a fact or assumption upon which the argument is based. They then apply a logical principle (therefore) to arrive at a conclusion (B). An example of a logical principle is that of equivalence. For example, if you begin with the premises that A=B and B=C, you can apply the logical principle of equivalence to conclude that A=C. A logical fallacy is a false or incorrect logical principle. An argument that is based upon a logical fallacy is therefore not valid. It is important to note that if the logic of an argument is valid then the conclusion must also be valid, which means that if the premises are all true then the conclusion must also be true. Valid logic applied to one or more false premises, however, leads to an invalid argument. Also, if an argument is not valid the conclusion may, by chance, still be true.
Religious "faith" is a different matter. By definition, faith does not require proof or logic. I wish religions would not confuse faith and logic. G.G.

Anonymous said...

One grave danger of ACOGs goes like this. Here's the thought pattern of a sinner in WCG/ACOGs:

"HWA said if you aren't called/converted, you can be a sinner but you won't go to Hell; you'll just come up in the White Throne Judgment for your one chance at salvation. I know I'm not called, as I really enjoy [insert sin of choice here]. Since I'm not called, I can keep sinning without worrying about it, but since I know these nice and gullible ACOG folks I'll just blend in and exploit them in a way I couldn't exploit more discerning non-ACOG members."

If these perverts left the ACOGs they might have to face the reality that they ARE accountable for their sins. So they stay.

Head Usher said...

Velvet, if I understand correctly from previous posts, you're still a member in Joe Tkach Jr's organization, is that correct?

Please don't be obtuse. You know that when I say "hell" it's just shorthand for "rewarding every man for his works" or "eternal damnation" or "the lake of fire" or "the second death" or ...

You know that there are more than three or four cases. I personally know of two other cases of fathers who sexually molested their children while in "good standing" in the then-WCG organization who have never been brought up on charges or been publicly outed as the perverts they are. One of these men is still a pastor for Grace Communion Int'l in the Denver, CO area, the other has since splintered away to form his own self-righteous ministry. How many other perverts are there who have never had to account for their misdeeds? Zero? That's not very realistic, now is it?

So, no, I don't think I have entirely answered my own question, Velvet. The man who is still a pastor in your church, he could be doing it for the money, I suppose. But why is this one ultra-legalistic pervert conducting his own ministry? I don't think he's receiving much in the way of donations, so it's not money. The cognitive dissonance must be a thing to behold for this guy. And the world is not as simple as you need it to be to allow you to justify your organization's rhetoric about itself.

Since you didn't take issue with their being no such thing as "the Holy Spirit" and no such thing as "conversion," I guess you're in agreement with me on those points.

Also, if you think the organization known as Radio Church of God/Worldwide Church of God/Grace Communion Int'l was founded by Jesus, in my opinion, you're crazy.

Anonymous said...

Poor Velvet. It must be hard having to face reality after being a member of the most perfect Canadian COG ever to exist with the most perfect ministers who never did anything wrong, that preached the most perfect doctrines to the most perfect members who have ever been a part of the Church of God.

Having to admit that there are child molesters in the COG is a hard thing to do when your world is so perfect.

There were 4 in the area I grew up in that we knew about because they got arrested. Others were covered up by the ministry and family members. That is just one little church area of around 150 people.

I knew people that used to work in Church Administration in Pasadena and it was a regular occurrence that molestations made it to the member files.

Velvet is also complaining that the Eternal Church of God, Global Church of God and the Church of God a Christian Fellowship in Canada have no relationship to each other. That's a load of bullshit! If she had bothered to look at the church website she would have seen all three of them are listed as the incorporated identity of The Eternal Church of God. One in Canada and the other in England. Same group, whether she likes it or not.

This pig molested these boys when he was part of the WCG before the break up in 1995 when he was a deacon. After that point he joined these apostate heretical groups, where he preached as an Elder/Minister, taught, wrote and continued to molest.

Anonymous said...

Right on Anon! Its time for Velvet to be called out!

Head Usher said...

One thing I guess I am at a loss to understand is the recent rash of Armstrongite apologists who come and hang out at a clearly anti-Armstrongist blog to put in their daily two cents about how great Armstrongism is or at least their particular splinter of it. Nevertheless, I guess they keep the rest of us honest regarding the few points of dimly glimmering light in the otherwise hopelessly black sky that is Armstrongism. Without them, I guess we might be tempted to paint them too black, oversimplifying and overlooking the few tiny positive aspects. So, by all means, don't go away because of me. But still, I just can't help but wonder what their reasons are.

Questeruk said...

Head Usher said:- “I am at a loss to understand is the recent rash of Armstrongite apologists who come and hang out at a clearly anti-Armstrongist blog.”

Imagine what it would be like if only ‘anti-Armstrongists’ were on this board.

One person would say – ‘all Armstongists are stupid’, the next “I agree, morons they are’. ‘Yes, and perverts’, ‘That’s right – close minded self-seekers’ – and on and on – it would be so boring.

It’s the posts where there is some controversy that spark the most interest, and even, might I suggest, are the most productive.

On a mainstream Christian board, acceptance of the Trinity is the badge of conformity – question it and the pack attacks.

On this board being against ‘all things Armstrong’ is the badge – query that, and the pack attacks.

It doesn’t really matter what else you believe, as long as you are united in anti-Armstrongism. Douglas Becker has a view on DNA which is refuted by the US Governments ‘Human Genome Project’, Dennis has a view of the origins of scripture that the majority of historians would not go along with, even ‘mainstream’ Byker Bob is tolerated, despite his beliefs, because they all wear the badge of ‘anti-armstongism’. That is the common, uniting bond.

But without the likes of Velvet, Joe Moeller, various odd anonymous contributors, and dared I even suggest myself, this would be a very dull place, and would fester and die.

Velvet said...

"While there are many negatives which can be shared about WCG, there is nothing in the doctrines which would encourage child molestation."

Well, Bob, something on which we actually agree! Though I think you are stretching a bit, to suggest "subliminal undertones from HWA" would have influenced these criminals to act. I mean, really? That is assigning far more power to Armstrong than he actually had. In my opinion.

Velvet said...

Head Usher,

"Velvet, if I understand correctly from previous posts, you're still a member in Joe Tkach Jr's organization, is that correct?"

Hm, well, yes and no (I'm sorry I can't give you a black-and-white answer). I still attend Sabbath services with the Church, and I still attend the Feast of Tabernacles at one of the Church's few remaining Feast sites, overseas....but to say I am "a member in [Junior's] organization" is incorrect, because Junior's organizations seems (to me) to encompass about fifteen people in Glendora, whom nobody really listens to, anyway.

"Please don't be obtuse. You know that when I say "hell" it's just shorthand for "rewarding every man for his works" or "eternal damnation" or "the lake of fire" or "the second death" or ..."

Sorry, I didn't mean to be obtuse. Was it you or Assistant Deacon who said you grew up in the Church? I am also going by what non-members of the Church used to post on Ambassador Watch.

"You know that there are more than three or four cases."

Statistically, though, can it be proven that there were more than could be found in the general population? Realistically looking at the terrible situation for exactly what it was, was it nearly as bad (in the Church, I'm talking about; the subject of this post is NOT in the Church, as far as I'm concerned) as the Catholics?

"I personally know of two other cases of fathers who sexually molested their children while in "good standing" in the then-WCG organization who have never been brought up on charges or been publicly outed as the perverts they are."

That's horrible, and horrifying, and I feel bad that that happened.

"One of these men is still a pastor for Grace Communion Int'l in the Denver, CO area,"

Charming. Thanks for the heads-up, Head Usher. So, my question to you would be, since you know this, why didn't you report the guy? Or at least do the same thing the Deaf victims of the Catholic high priest down in the States did? (They put posters up all over town, proclaiming what he had done to them.)

Also, do you have evidence the Church has covered for this idiot, the same way the Catholics covered for their own? Because there is absolutely no excuse for that, in my opinion.

"the other has since splintered away to form his own self-righteous ministry."

In other words, he was never in the Church in the first place.

"How many other perverts are there who have never had to account for their misdeeds? Zero? That's not very realistic, now is it?"

No, that's not very realistic...but it sounds me like they ARE having to account for their misdeeds; after all, the subject of this post was arrested; there's a manhunt for Kevin Dean; and I'm sure the Denver pastor will eventually be made to answer for his crimes as well. (Especially now that they have come to light. Assuming, that is, if the "denominational leadership" reads this blog.)

"So, no, I don't think I have entirely answered my own question, Velvet."

Velvet said...

"The man who is still a pastor in your church, he could be doing it for the money, I suppose."

Nope. He takes his travel expenses out of the tithes, that's it. Plus, the "denominational leadership" insists that he (and ONLY he) HAS to give first tithe, mandatorily, from both his actual job, and from the travel expenses he takes from OUR tithes.

Income for the entire province amounts to approximately $5K a year, by the way.

"But why is this one ultra-legalistic pervert conducting his own ministry?"

So he can get away with it? So he can delude himself he has power over others? So he can convince himself he's special and chosen, and therefore doesn't have to answer for his sins? (Which is the opposite of what the Church used to teach, which is, "the wages of sin is DEATH.")

"I don't think he's receiving much in the way of
donations, so it's not money."

It's a power thing, isn't it? Isn't that what drives these scumbags to do what they do in the first place, the need for power?

"The cognitive dissonance must be a thing to behold for this guy."

Certainly must be.

"And the world is not as simple as you need it to be to allow you to justify your organization's rhetoric about itself."

I DON'T "justify my organization's rhetoric about itself;" in fact, I pretty much disagree with everything Junior spews out of his smug little mouth.

"Since you didn't take issue with their being no such thing as "the Holy Spirit" and no such thing as "conversion," I guess you're in agreement with me on those points."

With respect, Head Usher, it's not you I need to be in agreement with, on those points, it's God.

"Also, if you think the organization known as Radio Church of God/Worldwide Church of God/Grace Communion Int'l was founded by Jesus, in my opinion, you're crazy."

You are 100% entitled to your opinion. I trust, however, you will extend the same courtesy to me.

Velvet said...

"Poor Velvet. It must be hard having to face reality after being a member of the most perfect Canadian COG ever to exist with the most perfect ministers who never did anything wrong, that preached the most perfect doctrines to the most perfect members who have ever been a part of the Church of God."

If you think that's what I've been saying, clearly, you haven't been paying attention.

Velvet said...

" If she had bothered to look at the church website she would have seen all three of them are listed as the incorporated identity of The Eternal Church of God. One in Canada and the other in England. Same group, whether she likes it or not."

I don't have time to spend trawling splinter groups' websites, and they all present themselves as totally separate groups. But, OK, yes, I was wrong.

Head Usher said...

Kudos and respect to Velvet for the equanimity and fair handed nature of her response. :)

Leonardo said...

Velvet, I sense the underlying spirit behind your comments, and I think I do understand where you're coming from.

All I can say is that at one point I too used to be an ardent defender of most things COG - doctrine, allegations against HWA and the ministry, etc. I did this sincerely and in good faith for years until the cognitive dissonance began to seriously weigh on me like an ever- expanding massive block of lead. But over time - and it was an extremely uncomfortable process - I eventually had to face up to the rapidly accumulating facts that much of what I had previously defended was simply unjustifiable and not worthy of defending. That's not to say that everything I learned or experienced during my years in the COG was all wrong. On the contrary, it appears my experience on the whole was far more positive than many other posters here. But in retrospect, now as I look back, I was in far more personal denial, especially in my later COG years, than I ever would have thought at the time.

One thing I’ve observed about current members, many of whom are still my friends: they often tend to so aggressively defend their group or individual stance that they end up exhausting themselves tying themselves up into all sorts of mental knots. Maybe, at least to some degree, this is the result of trying to defend the indefensible.

Hopefully some of the comments made on this site can help folks take a few steps backward to get a wider perspective, and perhaps even a different more accurate one, on the things they so desperately cling to as "God's Truth." Myopia almost to the point of crippling blindness is running rampant in the COG's nowadays.

I learned recently from a Navy SEAL commander that Al Qaeda's leadership has been so decimated in the past ten years that they are currently running around in chaos like a chicken with its head cut off, being "lead" by ever less educated, less effective and often utterly incompetent men compared to what they once had. The COG's seem to be in a very similar situation today as well: incompetents (Flurry, Weinland, Pack, Theil, to name just a few) are quickly trying to take over the wider COG community, though they seem far more capable of arrogant verbal bluster than any sustained and meaningful action. Just like Al Qaeda - mostly talk, but little action.

Just a few thoughts to ponder.

Anonymous said...

Like the farmer who was talking about the tortoise he found one day balanced on top of a fencepost.

"You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he's elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb jackass put him up there to begin with."

Byker Bob said...

Questeruk:

ABA members usually do tolerate one another (ABA meaning "Anything but Armstrongism").

However, so long as we attack ideas, and not personalities, there is a sweet spot in which measured discussions can take place.

Apologists for various philosophies or beliefs are generally "called out" by other posters if their presentation is sugar-coated, naive, or simplistic.
I don't believe anyone here is prepared to tolerate zombie-like repetition of old WCG cliches, and let's face it, we've all seen plenty of that thrown about on the various Armstrong-related forums and blogs.

Balance of ideas is a good thing.

BB

Leonardo said...

"Apologists for various philosophies or beliefs are generally "called out" by other posters if their presentation is sugar-coated, naive, or simplistic."

The problem is they never seem to be able to respond intelligently, if they respond at all. These folks are drive-by tweeters, and rarely can they hold up their end of a serious exchange of ideas.

Balance of ideas IS a good thing, but how many here who assert an idea are prepared to offer evidence or sound reasoning for accepting it as true. There really is a noticeable lack of that here.

Anonymous said...

A personal comment:
In reading many of the comments here I find it a bit frustrating since my experience with the organization did not affect my personal religious beliefs the way others seemed to have been affected. I supposed my religious foundation was more secure when I made the decision to be baptized and commit myself to God and Jesus Christ.
I cannot go into all the details, but my focus was on the moral standards more than all of the picky details that people get involved with. I will admit I would never have chosen the Armstrong organization had I been aware of the many things that have been reveal as far back as the 1970’s, but when I began attending in the 1950’s these moral problems were not known issues.
Even after some of these things surfaced those in the local congregations in the mid-west were somewhat sheltered or naïve perhaps due to the strong bonds of fellowship and the social activities that local congregations enjoyed.
What seems to be overlooked is the Psychology of Religion. Realistically all the problems in life are psychological problems not just physical problems. Attitudes and motives play an important role in determining whether religion is a healthy influence or an unhealthy influence.
If we can recognize that everything has a positive and negative side we would find that religion serves an important purpose if we can better understand its purpose before trying to build stronger faith and/or destroy faith.
A. Boocher

Anonymous said...

A. Boocher, I'm unclear why you'd find it frustrating that your experience with herbie's cult org didn't affect your personal beliefs the way others' were affected.
We are all individuals and have our own responses, and it would grieve the Holy Spirit for you to think other people's responses are not justified.

Velvet said...

"Kudos and respect to Velvet for the equanimity and fair handed nature of her response."

Eh, I'm working on it. That's not to say I'll always get there, mind you. Thanks for your kind words, Head Usher!

Velvet said...

"All I can say is that at one point I too used to be an ardent defender of most things COG - doctrine, allegations against HWA and the ministry, etc."

Sure, and I agree that many in the Church were like this (myself included, in the past). But if anything living in the world taught me that that was NOT the right kind of mindset, and the world was not, is not, and will never be, easily definable in black-and-white terms.

I hope I have more clearly made my case here (and on Mike's blog, but there's probably not a whole lot of overlap in readership between those two), that I am NOT an "ardent defender of all things CoG." There are indisputably things the Church did wrong, which led to the state it is in today. That's my belief/opinion/what have you. I fully admit I could be wrong in that opinion, and if I discover I am wrong, I will correct my course.

"On the contrary, it appears my experience on the whole was far more positive than many other posters here. But in retrospect, now as I look back, I was in far more personal denial, especially in my later COG years, than I ever would have thought at the time."

Maybe that's the case, and if so, good for you for looking at your past with more critical eyes. I don't think anyone can say I've "paved over" the various cracks (or crackpots, more accurately) that existed in the Victoria congregation. Which, ultimately, is really the only experience of the Church that I can comment on, because that's the only experience I had. It had good parts and bad parts, and interesting parts...but then, so does the living of life itself.

"they often tend to so aggressively defend their group or individual stance that they end up exhausting themselves tying themselves up into all sorts of mental knots."

In my opinion, that seems to be true of those ex-members of the Church who turn towards professing Christianity. Though I do know members IN the Church (the hardliners I have mentioned before, whom the Evangelicals are deftly manipulating like marionettes) who are like this as well; given that they preach and believe the exact opposite of what the Church taught and wrote, when I was growing up anyway, I don't know if their attitude problems can be laid at the feet of the Church and its doctrines. Especially since they tend to carry those problems with them, wherever they end up.

"Hopefully some of the comments made on this site can help folks take a few steps backward to get a wider perspective, and perhaps even a different more accurate one, on the things they so desperately cling to as "God's Truth." Myopia almost to the point of crippling blindness is running rampant in the COG's nowadays."

I agree with that. :-)

Anonymous said...

Good on the victims for coming forward. If only HWA's daughter and ministers who knew about other abuses had come forward a lot of people would have been saved from the cults. Gutless jerks.

Anonymous said...

I read here occasionally because you discuss Jewish things. There is something wrong with your old church, though, because we didn't experience the same badness as a result of the laws of Torah that you all have.

I'm also a holocaust survivor, but please don't feel badly for me. I was interned in the extreme northern part of Germany and didn't suffer the same things at the hand of the Third Reich that other survivors have written about. In fact, our SS officers made sure we were well taken care of. They gave us kosher pizza and beer on the sabbath sometimes.

Leonardo said...

What camp would that have been, Anon 3:56, and what exact time frame?

Velvet said...

Anon @ 3:56PM, are you aware of the Jewish Friends mailing list? They are Quakers, and the list is open to Friends of any (or even no) religious bent, and they do discuss things like being Talmud-observant, etc., although there are a couple Torah-observant Friends as well.

I refer you to them because they are generally a decent group (being Quakers after all) and you won't find some of the attendant arguments/complaints/craziness of false prophets that you will see on this website.

http://universalistfriends.org/weblog/a-brief-history-ofjewish-friends

Velvet said...

"One of these men is still a pastor for Grace Communion Int'l in the Denver, CO area,"

Hey, Head Usher, is this the guy?

Head Usher said...

Before we make a public accusation against a specific person, remember that it's best if the one who was molested and who can claim to be a first-hand witness to the crime does the accusing, as in the Koeneke case. Koeneke basically hanged himself by creating several witnesses with corroborating stories, and enough of them decided to come forward together.

The extended family knows about it, and why they have chosen to handle things the way have is not entirely clear to me. However, bear in mind, it isn't necessarily fair for you or I to force the offended party to have to handle it in the way we would like it to be handled.

Velvet said...

"Before we make a public accusation against a specific person,"

Soooo, didn't you already do that, by posting the info here? I mean, garbage scumbags like Koeneke, and the subject of your comment, definitely need to be exposed. All things hidden will come to light, etcetera.
"However, bear in mind, it isn't necessarily fair for you or I to force the offended party to have to handle it in the way we would like it to be handled."

I see your point, but still. The reason the systematic abuse was carried out by the Catholics, was precisely BECAUSE the membership was cowed into thinking the priests were gods, and they could get away with anything. (There's a verse about men setting themselves up in God's seat, after all.) Plus, the popes and managers or supervisors of the Catholics who were doing the crimes, basically let the criminals off the hook, because THEY thought/think they were/are gods as well. (At least, that's what documentary on CBC said.)

Now, in our day, the ministers set themselves up as "the Levitical priesthood" at least that's how they phrased it in Victoria (it may have been different elsewhere), which I don't agree with, but they were absolutely NOT regarded as gods (even though they still had too much power, IMO), AND they were still able to be held accountable to the o; just ask the Gestapo in Victoria managed to get the pastor who preached that we "should evangelize for Christ" in 1993 booted out pretty fast!

Now there's no one left to hold these dirtbags accountable. So it behooves those of us who are made aware of issues such as these, to at least play our roles in exposing all things hidden to the light.

Besides which, if the example of the Catholics (and of Koeneke) is anything to go by, it is highly likely that there were/are more than just family members who were harmed by this guy.

What's especially disturbing to me about what you've said, is the fact that the American Evangelicals in the Church are very very very very heavily pushing a lot of "youth ministry" garbage south of the 49th (on the Internet, they are, anyway). Which, if what you say is correct, has the potential to become as bad as the Catholics, given how the Evangelicals are regarded in almost exactly the same way, by a certain deluded faction. (These would be the same Evangelicals who like to refer to Junior as "the Saviour of the Church"; instead of, oh say, Jesus.)

We don't bother with any kind of "outreach" or anything like that nonsense up here, we're much more chill about who God decides to bring into the Church in Canada. And there are hardly any children around, except for the rare occasion when a member will bring their grandkids in.

There seem to be many more kids in the UK congregations, but there are also more stable nuclear families as a whole, and they've got a labyrinthine set of checks and balances overseas that, when one of them tried to explain it to me, just made my head swim.

Also, the UK ministry does not pushing the whole "Youth ministries" thing. Which is basically, "Send us your kids and we'll brainwash them into pagan trinitarianism for free!" Beyond a limited number of poverty-stricken youth they get their clutches on for SEP, that is.

Velvet said...

accountable to the o; = accountable to the ordinary members;