Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dennis On: "I Despise Being Bi-Polar - It's Awesome

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI believe it was during the great Elijah vs. the Priests of Baal cook off that it was said, "IF God be God, serve him.  But if Baal be God, serve him"   (I Kings 18).  At that time, it appears there were only two Bronze age concepts of God to choose from.  There was no room for any third options.  It was a simple either/or moment.  I suppose it would have been considered in bad taste to speak up and say, "Ummm...we forgot Molech or Chemosh!  Can we select one of them?"    " can't."
A few years back the Trilemma (derivative of di-lemma which is what the Priests of Baal were faced with, was introduced concerning Jesus as presented in the New Testament.  Was He  "Liar, Lunatic or Lord?"   Of course, the author chose Lord and that was the end of it.  As in the OT example of choosing only between the two  deities of the times YHVH or Baal we could have added "Legend" to the Trilemma and called it the Quadlemma I suppose.   

Religion is plainly designed to comfort the human consciousness that life ends and then what.  On the other hand, some can't imagine that there is really nothing more and so insist on finding something that is hopeful or give the impression that any falsehood you believe is better than truth that is what it is.  I don't think that way. 
This musing is not about picking the correct answer.  It is about the dilemma of stepping outside the box of what proved to be limited  or carefully controlled information handed out , to myself , in this case on the nature of the Bible and the story of Jesus as presented in the Gospels and interpreted mostly by the one man, the Apostle Paul.  I make no bones about the fact that I have lost my faith in faith  as Dan Barker experienced in his own evangelical life and wrote the book  Losing Faith in Faith.   While liberating , it is also a very bi polar feeling that I don't care for, causes all sorts of unexpected emotions and not a little anxiety at times.  It is also one of the most lonely experiences I think one can experience save for physical rejection or abandonment.  Having had both I can at least compare the emotions and they suck big time.  
"I despise losing faith in faith....It's Awesome!"
I have physically lost friends to their loss of faith in faith.  All were ministers.  Several simply drank themselves to an early death, which is a common out when wanting to escape the thinking, thinking, thinking that loss of faith can produce.  One outright committed suicide and I am sure there are others I am not aware of.  Having the rug of faith jerked out from under you is nothing to scoff at and is not a light thing.   Those in WCG/CGI who provided the majority with that experience, no matter how they viewed it as being "good" or "better" seem never to have thought of expressing any sorrow over the havoc and chaos caused all the way down the line.  Even if WCG was "wrong" , the right thing for leaders, falsely so called who come to such conclusions is to leave the organization themselves and not try to swing it to their view come hell, which it did or high water, which also did.  The miracle of WCG is not in coming to any Jesus more authentically.  The miracle is rather than leaving a faith you no longer have, you hijack the faith and make everyone else leave.  Now that's a great trick and it is the trick played by the few on the many in this WCG experience.  We're not talking about what is more correct.  We're talking about technique.  
At my mom's memorial service I sat ten feet from the minister giving the service.  Lots of memories, both in that seat and sanctuary and in doing funerals myself.  When they sang the tunes that still bring tears to me because of such fond memories and stability back when, I can't bring myself to sing them now.  I just held dad's hand and stood there teary while my sisters sang their hearts out.  A pretty bi-polar experience for me.  Sitting behind me was a former WCG minister and now CGI type looking rather worse for wear in the whole experience. I stood there looking at the same baptismal fount I was baptized in as a baby, sitting next to the woman who carried me up the same isle as that baby to my parents.  The pews were the same pews I sat in when my feet would not touch the floor and mom shoved pink mints in my mouth to shut me up.  The same table was there where I sat in catechism class asking too many questions and being asked to leave, at 14.   It was quite a bi-polar religious experience and lots of time to think about it on the long drive back to South Carolina.  
The Wild World Church of God (WCG) taught me a great spiritual lesson that still is a struggle to cope with in the fine art of  what happens when two concepts collide...
Personal losses due to the stress and shock of reckless theological change, no matter if it is more or less true, that is not the point, are everywhere to be experienced.   There is the "no one is ever again going to tell me how it all is again," stage.  In that stage you suffer the bi polar experience of learning well what you failed to learn the first time to be followed by the depression and anger felt that one had to have that kind of stupid experience in the first place.  It's easy after that to do more dumb ass stuff doesn't help but is a symptom of this stage.  
Marriage falls apart because transitions are messy and being in different books much less on different pages takes its toll.  And yes, I accept my own responsibility for it all.  New relationships seem doomed until the "can't ya just move on stage" shows up.  I found out I was not an easy person to be around or live with and as a result find myself alone again...unnaturally. I met someone from my past  who took my heart with  "I have always loved you..."  but that turned out to just be the first of several sucker punches.   I have met a couple people in my life that seemed to fall into that 'soul mate' category.  You know the kind that you just seem to have to ask, "have we met before?," or "do I know you?" and have learned that ENFP's according to Meyers/Briggs are good at that intuitive stuff.  It also tells us to beware and this is true.  Sometimes in life there is NOTHING left to do but have a good laugh!  And this is also true. 
Someone once said, "Silence is the voice of God," and now I understand what that means.  Being silent and alone is getting more acceptable to my nature, but it was and is a very painful experience.  Sometimes I wish  "I was wrong, I'm sorry, please forgive me, I love you," actually worked, but it doesn't much. 
It was enlightening to have Israel Finkelstein, author of The Bible Unearthed, tell me face to face that much of the Old Testament is made up to give a small people an amazing heritage,  and as an archaeologist and historian in his own country of Israel finds, no evidence for the reality of the story as presented.  In other words, what I suspected, he verified and had the credentials to do it.  I know some zealots scoff at the hard work of getting those credentials in the field, but the zealot would not last three minutes in his presence.  Dave Pack...maybe one. 
They say you can't go home, and this true.  I can't un ring this bell of skepticism and knowing more now that I would have wished to know back when so as to make a better life decision.  I kid about wanting to have been a paleontologist, but my love of what I thought I was learning back when theologically diverted me over a cliff.  I would have made a darn good paleo guy and you'd not be reading these musings from an authority on Neanderthal in Ice Age Europe or the Clovis Culture in America.  
Where I currently live can have it's drug selling types too close for comfort.  I spent years thinking I needed a home defense weapon.  But then I thought that might not be smart because I may have too low a moment and really screw up.  Besides, I don't want to be a story in the Journal or have to read from whatever new location I would hope to be in all your comments about it!  I don't want Dave Pack to restate his view that "all who oppose me end up dying..."   To which I say , "The only reason that is true is that it is appointed unto all men once to die sometime jerk and it's not about you." 
This bi polar experience still leaves me with a love of theology.  I admire the Bart Ehrman  and Dan Barker types who went from faith to faithless within the theological community and get to teach why and get paid for it!  The perfect theological position.  "Let's study what your Sunday School teacher and probably your pastor never knew or won't talk about."  I did get a synchronistic moment while watching Bart Ehrman's lecture on "Misquoting Jesus," and got an email from him right in the middle of it.  
Well lots to say about this bi polar feeling about the Faith and the Facts.  I'll probably always get teary hearing the old hymns of my youth but not the rather nasty and OT oriented ones of WCG fame.  I'll have to watch how much I drink and get used to the quiet which I both enjoy and hate.  I'll always read books on the why, when and who of the Bible explained better than the first two times I gave it a go and what the Bible no longer seems to hold over me. I'll be relieved and I'll get anxious.  I will forgive and then take it back and wish someone not well in their ventures.  Then I will forgive again.  I'll move on and get stuck.  I'll get stuck and move on.  I'll be lonely and love it and lonely and hate it.  I'll make friends and lose them.  I'll beat myself up and be kind to myself only to beat myself up again and be kind to myself later again.  I'll vow to give up Banned HWA and Face Book and go back to them time and again.  I'll not care about the Dave Packs of COGdom and I'll spend hours talking with those who agonize over him destroying their relationships and families by injecting his Bronze Age views into their lives.
In short, I suppose  being bi polar on all things Spiritual and Scientific along with Faith and Facts is here to stay.  
"Chose ye this day whom ye shall serve..!  What say you?"
....ok...I chose yes.
I despise being bi-polar...It's awesome!  


Mickey said...

As an INTP I usually hate to be the first to comment:) But reading this my heart hurts, because I get it lot of it.

I've spent a lot of time trying to exorcise what I've perceived as demons of my past. Those things that hurt and make me want to scream in agony of shame, humiliation and hate. Lately though, everything I'm reading and the counsel I'm receiving says that rather than bury them, I need to claim them and recognize them as part of my life story. The work of Brene Brown has been helpful for me and a therapist who has been asking me to state what some particularly hurtful thing means to me and how I interpret myself in light of it.

I've spent a lot of time avoiding the pain, trying to numb myself against it. But I'm beginning to see that on the other side of that fire is my authentic self telling me to have faith and walk through it.

Even though I am listening more to that call to come into my own, I still fall into those old patterns because they are familiar and the fire scares me.

Dennis, you aren't alone in this struggle. Thank you for your courage and ability to share your story.

DennisCDiehl said...

Mickey said:

"I need to claim them and recognize them as part of my life story"

Yes! Reality is our friend and facing the beast disarms it. For example, I know that no Dave Pack is ever going to "debate" me. COG's don't do debates. They only tell you how it all is take it or leave it. But, men like DP represent to me ideas that need to be faced so I can let them go. I have all the personal confidence in the world to debate Dave knowing he has a very limited but highly dogmatic COG stance combined with a pushy and my way or the highway attitude. Calm explanation defeats bluster every time. But it is merely a symbol of facing the change in views and their fall out in my own life.

Avoiding pain usually means drinking too much, stupid distractions and the things the self righteous make fun of you over having no clue they'd do the same if they ever woke up and didin't know how to handle it well at first.

I have found some who went to church a day a week and getting on with other things the rest of the time telling me to "get over it." I am getting over it but having soaked in it 24/7 plus going to exhausting refreshers and the behind the scenes drama, I assume it might take 7 times longer lol

Hang in there. I know current ministers who suffer the same quiet beasts and yet still get to pastor. They have their doubts but keep it hidden. These men are both in a COG and pastors of other denominations.

"Dennis...I know that is true...but I can't teach that in church...i'll lose my job." And I don't fault them for that enigma. It is rather unique to religion and pastors as you learn things later you wished someone had taught you sooner.

Denny Luker was an aero space engineer at Boeing if I am not mistaken in his youth. At lest that seems to be what I remember. ONCE he mentioned to me the career he gave up to come to WCG and I think that was during the receivership in the 70's. He and I were friends and I knew the deeper hurt he was feeling at decisions made and now what's this all about.

Being oneself is all you really can be. Others may hate it on the outside, but inside I find many wish they could do the same but can't because they fear the price is too high, which it can be.

I had an excellent counselor who summed it up nicely once by saying, (he too had been in ministry) "Dennis, you outgrow your boxes faster than most. We all come in the box our parents gave us. Most never even look at the one they were born in. YOU have TWO CHOICES. 1. Stay in the box and everyone will love, support and praise you. You will be comfortable and on antidepressants the rest of your life to quell the anger and compliance. or..2. you can leave the box..which you already have, BUT YOU WILL GO ALONE."

That is the only prophecy I ever heard from a minister that ever actually came true.

You'll be ok Mickey.

DennisCDiehl said...

Is that INFP? There is no "T" If so, you are filtering your life exactly the way you are wired for. "NF" do and feel and see things as they are, not as others wish them to be seen. We aren't team players when it comes to unfairness and we HATE conflict. We also tend to end up as Negotiators, because we see both sides of most stories. Priest, pastors and ministers, social workers and of all things, massage therapists.

I'm still me. You be you!

DennisCDiehl said...

PS I hesitated to even hint at the gun/suicide topic but in my experience it is an amazingly common unexpressed thought and problem. I suppose that's why it catches us so off quard when it actually happens.

Here is a way I have come to see it.

First of all, of course, it is a very long term solution to a relatively short term problem but that goes without saying.

But secondly, it is a trick of the mind and ego, the false self. When our image or idea of ourselves (successful, intelligent, loved, respected, good choices etc) is smashed by some circumstance, it is the ego that that takes the hit. It is the ego that dies, which is good. We don't want to be the false self in reality but the ego controls the show too often. When the ego faces death it fools the real person, the lessons learned person, the "spiritual person" for lack of better term that it is the one that needs to die and thus suicide.

If one can grasp that the desire to end it is ego death fooling the real you to end it. Not thinking too highly of oneself and actually being the humble, compassionate and loving person the bible talks about , at least in the NT is the way. The world and most organizations are run by people who have no clue what this means.

Life long Guilt..I did the wrong thing and Shame...I am a bad person, are two of the most USELESS emotions on the planet.

I could tell stories from now til the the end of time of what members, minister and me have done through life that ends us all up just being human beings.

It's why I take exception to the Apostle Paul ALWAYS telling us "the things I should do I don't..the things I shouldn't do, I do" etc.... He was speaking of ego verses authentic self but did not know it. But he never tells ya what his struggle was.

It's like the minister who in a sermon says, "we all do , I do all of us..." but he won't tell you what thoughts or sins he actually sins lol.

Sin actually is another invention that evolved when humans lost the voice of God in their heads as we see from Genesis on. God starts out as everyone's buddy, turns into a cloud of fire or a bush and then in the Psalms we have men begging God, who is unheard from much, to get back in touch. They then concluded the reason why God "was afar off" was due to their sin, when in fact they were simply becoming more conscious and their bi cameral mind was falling apart as writing and such took hold about 3000 years ago...looooong story but excellent!!!

Off to work...

Mickey said...

Nope, It is INTP. Do a google search:) We're out there.

Head Usher said...

One thing I'm not bi-polar about is Armstrongism. If I had to do it all over again, I would be born to some nice pleasant agnostics instead. Good people, nice people. Not hippies or flaming liberals. Just people who don't claim to know tons of shit they have no clue about.

Joe Moeller said...


Here is why "I BELIEVE"...

Listen and shed a tear as I do when I hear it.


Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Douglas Becker said...

Speaking of Bipolar....

Leonardo said...

But Joe, that's the problem, the evidence you provided above for your religious belief is something very simplistic: a Youtube recording of a syrupy Frankie Laine song - which didn't make me cry, though I consider myself to be a rather emotional person. I don’t watch TV much, but I cried like baby a few months ago when the character Lady Sybil unexpectedly died of eclampsia after childbirth in the popular PBS show "Downton Abbey." Hate to publicly admit it, but it's true.

Can you imagine a scientist getting up in front of a gathering of his peers, and presenting such evidence for the new hypothesis he is proposing regarding cold fusion? Rather ridiculous? I'll say. Why? Because this isn't rigorous evidence, it's pure sentimentality on your part. This is the extent to which most Christians explain their reason for believing. Pretty shallow, don't you think?

A Muslim could sing the same song and lyrics regarding his ardent belief in Allah. Or a Hindu of his faith in Krishna? What would be the difference between you and them, except that the particular deity you believe in is the RIGHT one, at least in YOUR mind?

DennisCDiehl said...

I have to agree with Leo,

I'd probably tear up in the downside of a depressive mood, but the reality is nothing is actually learned from a song of course.

Science done well usually gets religion on the defensive much more than religion getting science on the run. When science makes a mistake it usually adds the info to what is known and keep looking. Even when some nutcase scientist fudges the info or fakes it, in time, it is clarified by good science (Piltdown etc) Religion denies there is a problem and then kills the one who brought it to their attention more often than not.

Leonardo said...

Dennis, as always, I appreciated reading your most recent posting. Really it's all about one thing, isn’t it?: suffering through agonizing LOSS. Loss of parents, loss of children, loss of mates, loss of employment, loss of health, and perhaps worst of all, loss of the tissue-thin sense of CERTAINY we all assumed we had in the WCG – and the naturally-resulting grief, anguish and the emotional roller-coaster ride that follows on the heels of such jolting life experiences.

That's why so very, very few are sincerely willing to question and rigorously challenge their most foundational beliefs about reality, especially if such are religious in nature – for they rightly fear the potential experience of opening their own particular version of Pandora’s Box, and of facing the sure consequences. Like you, I’ve personally “been there and done that” – and as you and many other commenters here well know, it’s absolutely agonizing to the extreme, and not easily worked through.

In one of his recent comments Head Usher talked of the “psychic tentacles” that the WCG experience wraps around one’s mind, and how it takes time to unwrap and pull out these barb-tipped tentacles, and often far more time than we ever thought it would at the beginning of the de-conversion process.

A former WCG pastor named Daniel Samson published an excellent book called “God And Evolution? - The Implications of Darwin’s Theory for Fundamentalism, The Bible and the Meaning of Life” back in 2006. He was a WCG minister for 20 years, a man of great intellect, and deep passion. I know because I’m a dear friend of his.

Anyway, in his book he talks of the evening, after a long night of research at a Canadian library, when he first seriously confronted the fact that virtually everything he had been taught at AC regarding the Bible was almost totally erroneous. He vividly describes how, after the library had closed, and as he was walking through a grassy area out to his car in the nearby parking lot, how the previous months of reading and study suddenly came together in his mind and psychologically hit him like a tons of bricks. He stood there crying uncontrollably like a baby for some time.

Existential crisis at it’s worst.

I’ve read Dan Barker’s book “Losing Faith in Faith” – and many similar titles: “Leaving The Fold” – “Jesus Doesn’t Live Here Anymore More” - and others. They ALL document the same existential crisis you and Dan describe, though I think we all experience it a bit differently depending on our personal temperaments, family backgrounds, life experiences, etc.

My question has been, is, and I hope will always remain to be: Is knowing the objective truths about reality we can know about during this all-too-temporary, five-sensory earthly sojourn worth it? I answer with a loud, passionate and resounding “YES, IT MOST CERTAINLY IS!” Give me hard, factual, demonstrable truths any day as opposed to the comforting yet ludicrous lies, pseudo-history, pseudo-science, bromides and utterly empty clichés that religion offers.

Oh, and I'm an ardent Meyer’s/Briggs ISTJ, just for the record – though I don’t think that’s what the popular temperament test is referred to as anymore!

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe Moeller: The instant I started listening to the song "I Believe" I had an instant flashback to SEP in Orr, MN in the 60's and GTA singing that very same song to us campers. He completely ruined that and many other ditties for me for eternity. I kinda like "Hakuna Matata" from the Lion King myself; no worries for the rest of my life.

Leonardo said...

And not to be outdone by Joe's sugar-coated Youtube link, I present this 6-minute thought-provoking video someone just sent me last night. Do take the time to sit back, relax and watch it. Whether you be religious, or secular in outlook, I think you'll find it to be psychologically nourishing.

DennisCDiehl said...

Leonardo Said:

"Really it's all about one thing, isn’t it?: suffering through agonizing LOSS."

Absolutely, it is all about loss and how humans deal with loss. Religion's origins is to answer the question of loss. What happens when we lose, in the case of religion, oxygen!

I deeply appreciate Buddhism in this area of thought. Clinging and attachement is the cause of all suffering. It is nice to "have" but everything eventually goes away. Everything.

"The Four Noble Truths

Understanding the Buddha's teachings about attachment begins with the Four Noble Truths. Very briefly, life is stressful (dukkha) and the cause of this stress is craving, or thirst.

The Buddha taught that this craving grows from ignorance of the self. Because we see ourselves as something separate from everything else, we go through life grabbing one thing after another to ease our stress. We attach not only to physical things, but also to ideas and opinions about ourselves and the world around us. But physical things can be lost, and we get frustrated when the world doesn't conform to our ideas and opinions.

There is a way to get off the hamster wheel of chasing happiness. By practicing the Eightfold Path, we can realize the true nature of self-and-other, and put an end to craving. The Buddha also taught us that this realization releases our fears of death and enables deep compassion and loving kindness for others."

Gospel Jesus aludes to this human behavior as well which is why some feel he was, if a real person, influenced by buddhism in some way, which would not have been uncommon though just as the Gospels don't reflect the fact that Rome had the Jews by the throat during the time of Jesus, so this concept would not be recognized in the Gospels.

DennisCDiehl said...

Bingo Leonardo :)

may I add...

Anonymous said...

I was sliding down the slippery slope of depression more and more as I tried to decide whether to join a particular group (LCG in my case) or not. I had many sleepless nights. Somehow I came across the site below and it prevented me from making probably the biggest mistake in my life. I am so happy now.

Leonardo said...

I agree, Dennis - some tremendous insights into reality can be derived from Buddhism - in many respects more a philosophy than a religion, though over the centuries later practitioners added some supernaturalistic elements to it - much like barnacles attaching themselves to the hull of a ship - which Siddhārtha Gautama wouldn't have recognized!

I've come to greatly value the wisdom of the Dali Lama, for instance. His book "The Art of Happiness" is an outstanding read, and so tangibly applicable to everyday life. He truly attempts to build bridges between conflicting worldviews, rather than erecting self-righteous walls of separation. The same thing can be said of the Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh as well. My dear friend the late Dr. Hoeh too, at least during the 28 years I knew him. The world truly needs more of this approach. And I'm sure Mr. Boocher will appreciate and agree with that statement!

Dennis, at one point in my life I was heavily involved in the martial art of Shaolin Kung Fu, and even took a trip to China to learn from the masters at the Shaolin Temple located near the modern city of Dengfeng in Henan Province.

Learning the arts of tai-chi and kung-fu inevitably brought me into contact with very ancient Asian concepts of reality and how to best deal with it - the constant flux and interaction of opposing opposites which in actually flow together to become one, etc. I realize these concepts can seem like nonsensical flibbertigibbety to narrow minds steeped only in Western thought alone. But I've found such insights to be of great practical value in life, that is, once I stopped ridiculing them as "doctrines of demons" and started instead to try understanding them for a change. What a concept, huh? Just one of the many negative mental leftovers from my 38-year-long experiment with WCGism, I guess!

Anyway, this tangible experience with Asian concepts via a very physical means helped me to understand why Dr. Hoeh had such a tremendous respect for Buddhism, which I had never understood before. A respect, I might add, that caused quite a few members out in Pasadena to question his "conversion." People would ask such things as "Why does Dr. Hoeh always keep bringing these short, bald-headed monks dressed in flowing orange robes onto the campus? Doesn't he know they are representatives of Satan and the demons? And besides, they don't keep God's Sabbath!"

And Dennis, I know that you know exactly what I'm talking about here!

Yet I'm fairly sure Dr. Hoeh was one of the few Church members who were honored by a troupe of Buddhist monks performing a very special ceremony of great honor at their funeral service. The Buddhist community of the wider Los Angeles metro area had tremendous respect for Dr. Hoeh, far more than HWA ever had.

Anyway, I profit from your posts and comments here.

Hey, Joe's earlier Youtube link has put me in the mood for posting another one of my own - from the popular TV series in the early '70's:

DennisCDiehl said...

Losing faith in faith is depressing but over time, liberating. No longer do you have to see things the "one way," or filter your world through the minds and eyes of others, especially the one others who think God speaks through them, which of course he does not.

Everything a Dave Pack type says is just an opinion. Frankly, the way the Apostle Paul filtered his Jesus or hallucinatory Christ experience was also just his opinion and don't get the idea any Peter, James or John saw it Paul's way.

No real God speaks through these men or any men for that matter. If so, He blows a very uncertain trumpet. When a COG minister says "and God wants us to...." or "God is now leading me to...." It is all BS. It is that man doing what he darn well pleases but as a minister can fall back on a Deity to back him up and FEW question it or him.

I wonder if anyone said to Ron Weinland..." you think you and your wife might be living a little too high on God's non-hog?" It took an obvious outside force to override the blindness of the membership to put an end to it.

I'd rather be bi polar than schizophrenic

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 12:11 wrote: "I was sliding down the slippery slope of depression more and more as I tried to decide whether to join a particular group (LCG in my case) or not. I had many sleepless nights. Somehow I came across the site below and it prevented me from making probably the biggest mistake in my life. I am so happy now."

Just as there were many paths that lead us INTO the wacky world of COGism, so there are many paths which can lead us OUT of it - the main thing being to escape by whatever path one can from the dangerous vortex of fundamentalistic supernaturalism.

And whoever you are, I admire your courage for TAKING a path, because far too many folks just passively skip over from one COG splinter group to another, in search of the comfort and security they once derived from the classic WCG. But those days are long gone, and will never come again in our lifetimes.

Dave Pack and Bob Theil will find this out soon enough, though not, I'm afraid, without first leaving behind them untold amounts of human wreckage in their wacky and misguided attempts to re-create HWA's movement in the 21st century, and within the cultural climate of a far more sophisticated world than HWA could have ever imagined. They might as well try to eliminate modern chemistry by resurrecting a version of Dark Age alchemy to put in its place. It just ain’t gonna happen.

Leonardo said...

Dennis wrote: "I wonder if anyone said to Ron Weinland..." you think you and your wife might be living a little too high on God's non-hog?" It took an obvious outside force to override the blindness of the membership to put an end to it. I'd rather be bi polar than schizophrenic.

Yes, indeed, it took the outside force of objective reality (with a slight assist by the Internal Revenue Service!) to get Weinland's attention, but I would suggest he still didn't quite get the message, as he continues on at full bore in his raging spiritual delusions.

Mark my words, all of these guys - Weinland, Pack, Thiel, along with many other of the 21st century HWA wannabes desperately jockeying for the Divine nod to prophethood - are themselves victims of some very serious cases of undiagnosed mental illnesses, compounded and greatly magnified by COG-brand religious fanaticism. Yes, we can lampoon them, and watch their wacky "performances" unfold. But at the end of the day, this will prove to be a very serious business, because ultimately human lives are at stake here, both physically and psychologically. I fear another Jonestown-like disaster may be needed to finally wake people up.

DennisCDiehl said...

I was always the most happy when I knew Gerald Waterhouse was in the Philipines and would not be swinging by for at least a couple years! lol

Corky said...

Good post, Dennis.

When we get right down to it...people believe what they want to believe, that is, until they can no longer believe what they want to believe. When that comfort blanket is removed we search for another comforter (this is not a play on Jesus' words to that affect).

Some will go on to find comfort in another belief and some will realize that belief is not the same as knowledge. I don't know which is the better off for it but for me, I would rather accept an uncomfortable truth than a comforting lie.

To me, the reality is that the resurrection to eternal life from the dead is a lie, religion is a lie. However, it's a lie that people want to believe because it would be insane not to want to live.

But, like the apostle Paul, who was in a hurry for this live to be over so that he could get the next life started and be with Jesus, belief in that life can be insanity too.

Yes, it is far better to only believe what we have real evidence for than to believe in some comforting fantasy. The afterlife is one such comforting fantasy with no evidence to support it. However, it is a pretty good money making fantasy which is a good reason for some people to keep other people believing in it.

Did the people who wrote the bible believe what they wrote? Maybe they did and maybe they didn't, it's impossible to know what was really in their own minds. People deceiving other people to their advantage is what we homo sapiens do. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. We deal with it on a daily basis, people lie, cheat and deceive and that's the way it is. Dogs, OTOH, are open and honest.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Leonard. All I needed to avoid what I now see would have been a catastrophic mistake, probably leading to the destruction of my family life (eg, divorce) was to see the experiences of those who did follow such cults as the COGs. The same reasoning applies to other cults, like the JWs. Although I do have a friend who is a devout JW, and he has tried many times to make me join his cult I initially criticized his views using COG teachings. Now that I realize the COGs are cults too, I now use a different tact to try and show him he is a member of a dangerous cult, and in some ways far worse than any COG. I doubt I will ever succeed in opening his eyes though.

As for the likes of Bob Thiel, I can assure you any Orthodox Jew would laugh at his claim he is obeying the Mosaic Law. Bob and other COG leaders can say it as often as they like but they are of course not obeying the Law. They are fakes, and God hates fakes and false prophets. Besides, as stated earlier, Acts 15 (and many other places in the Bible) explain that Gentiles need not obey the Mosaic law nor be circumcised to be saved. I know Bob is circumcised because he told me so. He certainly obeys some of the Law but certainly not anywhere near that of an Orthodox Jew. If he really wants to get as close as possible to doing so then he has to revert to Judaism, which means he would have to renounce his Christian faith what little he has. At best he is a confused man since he's not sure if he wants to be a Jew or a real Christian, and as a result he is neither.

Leonardo said...

You know, Dennis, I knew Gerald Waterhouse. I never was much of a golfer (if I hit the ball left it was hook, if I hit it right it was a slice, if I hit it straight down the fairway it was a MIRACLE!) so we didn't play golf together. But during his final years down in Florida when poor health simply removed him from being much of a force in the COG scene, we used to talk on the phone with each other, sometimes for hours at a time - which I'm sure won't surprise you!

He said some pretty crazy and bizarre things during his world tours, that's for sure. Virtually nothing he said came to pass as he passionately and very publicly predicted - GET THE POINT??!! I know in his final years he thought God was going to heal him and raise him up for yet another tour around the globe, which would have been his 12th, a fact he made much of, as you can imagine!

But I liked talking to him, and cherished those last few phone conversations with him. Somehow in private conversation he just seemed far more normal and balanced than he did when he was behind the pulpit. He told me things that I never ever heard him say publicly in the capacity of traveling evangelist.

From Mr. Waterhouse I learned that raw, ardent and absolutely unyielding CONVICTION just isn't enough. Somewhere along the line facts, evidence, rationality and just plain common sense have to come into play. It's just the way it is. Fanatical religious faith will only take you so far, and usually in the wrong direction!

Can I hear an "Amen" Brother Diehl!

DennisCDiehl said...

" Besides, as stated earlier, Acts 15.."

Once I understood that Acts 15 was answering the question How does a Gentile become a Christian with the Noahide Rules that previously answered the question, how does a Gentile become a Jew, it was over for me.

The same way...obey the Noahide rules as given in Acts 15. Paul is made to look compliant about "not eating meat offered to idols" in Acts, but in I Corinthians he mocks that rule and tells the Corinthians, "we know the idol is nothing, but in all men...ahem..the Jerusalem Apostles, is not that knowledge..." Paul was no team player either and did what he darn well wanted without any input or oversight no matter what Acts says. Luke makes Paul look a lot more compliant and one of the boys than Paul ever let on to being in Galatians 1-2 himself.

Or as he said of Peter, James and John....."I learned nothing from them..."

Gal 2:
6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. (Galatians 2:6, ESV)

Paul was an arrogant, self serving big headed braggart who tried his best not to seem to be.

Anonymous said...

Corky you asked the question "Did the people who wrote the bible believe what they wrote?" Of course they did. They were willing to be killed for what they believed, and many were killed. In fact thousands of early Christians died for what they believed to be true. Whether what they believed was in fact true though is a different question. The answer to that is only ever found by each individual in their own way. It can't be proved or disproved. For me, I do believe in Jesus and what he did and why through faith. I find peace in my mind in that I'm saved and will have eternal life with him one day. I'm in no hurry to get there but I do know when the time comes I will not be sad to depart from this fractured word that's clearly falling apart. If I'm wrong and thee is no eternal life with our Lord then nothing really matter since then there would be no meaning to our lives and we might as well all be dead right now. I rather be optimistic and believe, and if I'm wrong them I'm wrong. I'm so happy about my future I don't have any concerns about what happens to me in this life. It's temporary anyway, whichever side you take. I respect your views and I hope your respect mine.

DennisCDiehl said...

Leonardo said: "But I liked talking to him, and cherished those last few phone conversations with him. Somehow in private conversation he just seemed far more normal and balanced than he did when he was behind the pulpit. He told me things that I never ever heard him say publicly in the capacity of traveling evangelist.

I can totally see that. I met minister of "repute" who when I got one on one with them sounded more human and even vulnerable than their public persona. I would never question GW's sincerity, just his message and inability to think for himself at times. Denny Luker was open with me in that way when there was that opportunity as was Dave Albert and others.

Everyone wears masks. Everyone seems more confident in public than they are in private and more self assured than they really feel. Ministry makes a man into a split mind human being if he does any futher thinking and research after his youthful years. Sadly, to me, I know few COG ministers who read outside the box .

Even when I debated Art Mokarrow in Dallas two years ago..guys that were current ministers were very very supportive of my views and how I explained topics from evolution, Genesis to the Apostle Paul and the errancy of the Gospels. They said "that was great!" I said "Teach it next week?" They just laughed....

Douglas Becker said...

Seriously, the way out of the ACoGs is science -- looking at the evidence objectively without coloring it with emotions, passions and lusts.

Unfortunately, most of the people in the ACoGs are not at all scientific and lack structural visualization as well as the objectivity to say to themselves, "Really, this is crap," and walk away.

This is complicated by the mental disorders and mental diseases within the ACoGs, particularly within the ministry. There's something about the extreme position of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong that attracts the crazies along with the narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths.

Going cold turkey and dispensing with the multiple problems at the same time can be difficult, and for some, devastating. Nevertheless, all the problems have to be resolved for a good solution and to prevent seeking another diseased organization to merely treat the symptoms.

Douglas Becker said...

The ministry compromise so they can continue their income and ego building -- so many of them continued in Worldwide after the doctrines were all changed and taught the new doctrines, only to emerge from the other side in some offshoot, only to teach the old stuff again.

It isn't confusion, it's outright dishonesty.

DennisCDiehl said...


Leonardo and anyone else!

I am off until friday am and soooooooooooooo freakin' bored to talk to someone , male or female who wants to chat , you pick the topic, Few if any ever take me up on this, but tis sincere. Let's talk and put a voice behind the names!

Email me at for my cell number. I'd post it but I just want to talk to friends indeed and not get whacked. I'm here this evening or whenever.

Chewie the Wookie like Shih Tzu is great company, but she don't say much.

I mean it!

DennisCDiehl said...

Someone just sent me this and it speaks the truth.

""Religion is one method by which human beings attempt to bind anxiety. The higher the anxiety level and/or the more chronic it is, the more likely people will seek a religion that provides a high degree of structure, reassurance and guidance from authority."


Anonymous said...

I'm a "T" as's out there. "Thinking"

Dennis describes it as bi-polar. I like to think of it as Life Cycles...all of life goes through cycles. And cycles and cycles and cycles. No linear "end points" for us to "leave" stuff along the way. We're bound to meet up with it again on another round in the cycle.

Good writing lately, Dennis.

Leonardo said...

Corky wrote: “To me, the reality is that the resurrection to eternal life from the dead is a lie, religion is a lie. However, it's a lie that people want to believe because it would be insane not to want to live. But, like the apostle Paul, who was in a hurry for this live to be over so that he could get the next life started and be with Jesus, belief in that life can be insanity too.”

You bring up some excellent points, Corky. You know, many aren’t aware of this, seeing that the epic 18th work of history “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” was so frequently (mis)quoted, or shall I more accurately say misused, to support certain WCG doctrines, at least in the old days it was. But Edward Gibbon blamed the decline of the Empire, among other things, not on the acceptance of homosexuality, as is ardently claimed by fundamentalist Christians nowadays, but on Christian belief in an afterlife:

I have a hardbound copy of the entire 8-volumne set of the complete unabridged work, not just a cheap paperback abridgment, the kind that was used out at AC when I was there. Let me look it up...OK, here’s the quote I was looking for, which, of course, Gibbon expands upon in greater detail, but here’s the main essential sentence:

“Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire."

I’ll bet you’ll never find that particular passage quoted in past WCG literature!

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 1:42 wrote: "...when the time comes I will not be sad to depart from this fractured word that's clearly falling apart. If I'm wrong and thee is no eternal life with our Lord then nothing really matter since then there would be no meaning to our lives and we might as well all be dead right now."

But don’t you see the blatant, plan as day, self-evident flaw in your reasoning there, Anon? You just carelessly ASSUME that if Christianity does indeed prove to be false, then there simply cannot be any other overarching or transcendental purpose to life, no other ultimate meaning except the Christian one.

I call this the "My way or the highway" line of non-reasoning. Some call it the either/or false dichotomy. Call it what you may, the practical end result remains the same, as it severally limits your thinking. It’s either this, or that, which in one verbal fell swoop removes all other possible alternatives or potentialities with which you may be totally unfamiliar with at present. I would invite you to NOT limit ultimate reality in this way. As it is, you’ve foolishly allowed Christian truth claims to box you into a corner of it’s own choosing. Don’t you see? Your current reasoning plainly shows how intellectually limited you've become as a result of swallowing the comforting promises of supernaturalism.

Like a Christian I was talking with said directly to me once, “If the Christian God doesn’t exist, then why not go out and kill everybody!” This shows the utter vacuousness of Christian reasoning, and how it limits the human imagination! It’s simply unbelievable how stupid Bible-believing Christians can be under the absolutely stupefying spell of their religion!

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
I rather be optimistic and believe, and if I'm wrong them I'm wrong. I'm so happy about my future I don't have any concerns about what happens to me in this life. It's temporary anyway, whichever side you take. I respect your views and I hope your respect mine.

I do...but, only because I'm in a good mood today. You choose to follow Pascal's Wager and that gives you peace of mind. As long as I don't have to believe it, It's cool.

DennisCDiehl said...

z'I would invite you to NOT limit ultimate reality in this wayz'

Right! What if we actually do live in a holographic universe and we are the imagination of ourselves? What if there are parallel worlds and a multiverse? What if we are the SIMS? What if we do live in the matrix and are something higher experiencing matter and life through the senses, limited though they be.

The Bible says we are worms, deceitful, wretched, blind, poor and naked...that's no fun!

Ok, what if we are hairless apes? LOL. We are very cool hairless apes . Chimps went to the zoo. We went to the moon...and built Hubbell.

Leonardo said...

And I might add that Pascal's Wager (along with all it's modern-day hybrid versions) is a VERY unsound and precarious argument to base your life on. Do you want mental comfort, or verifiable truth? The two are not necessary exclusive of each other by any means, but so many seem so desperate for temporary psychological security that they are willing to short-circuit their minds for the false hopes of a religion. I think that's the key issue here. There are many websites out on the Internet that analyze Pascal's Wager in some detail, showing how specious it is as an apologetic. Just type it into Google and see what comes up that may be of interest. To me it just shows how utterly empty, irrational and ungrounded Christian claims are, and to what extreme they are willing to go to hold onto them. For Blaise Pascal, an otherwise brilliant man who probably had a natural intellect a hundred times what mine is, knew that it took blind faith to accept the claims of Christianity. That's WHY he devised this line of reasoning in the first place. Buy or borrow a copy of, then read, or at least selectively peruse through, his book "Pensées" (the title comes from the original French he wrote in which translated into English means "thoughts" or "reflections") which was a defense of the Christian religion of his time - the early/mid 1600's.

It'll expand your mind!

Corky said...

Leonardo, don't forget what Tacitus said about why the Christians were despised in his day...their hatred for mankind.

The hatred for mankind is still taught in churches. It is taught that humans are totally depraved and any righteousness is nothing but "fifthly rags" and in our flesh dwells no good thing. And besides all that, Jesus is coming and he will destroy all kingdoms of the world and every knee will bow to him.

We are "not worthy" of being saved because we have sinned but yet while we were sinners, Jesus died for us...and on and on it goes. It's only by God's grace that anyone can be saved because you are not good enough no matter what you do. Christians hate mankind, while at the same time they proclaim "love" for the world.

I imagine that rich folks like Tacitus couldn't see the love for all that hatred.

Leonardo said...

And one more thing, Anonymous 1:22, you ask us to respect your view - "I respect your views and I hope your respect mine."

I'm sorry, but I don't think you respect my view at all here. Because you seem to have no respect for reason, facts, evidence, rationality or anything else we tend to champion as means of honestly arriving at real knowledge. You don't seem at all willing to dialog, only to proclaim your Dark Age faith, or your hope that it might be right, or else if it isn’t then what’s the point of living through this “vale of tears.”

I tell you up front that I know I can't respect such a weak-kneed view. And why? Because it's totally undeserving of respect. It's not a well-considered, well-reasoned view - it's just a passive default position you hope is true, an act of desperate blind faith that has no substance to it other than that it soothes and comforts you. Which I understand, I really do because I was an ardent Christian for many,many years before I finally woke up out of my stupor.

But respect in this area, like any other area of life, is not merely doled out as a given that you can demand just because you happen to show up. Instead it has to be earned. The "all beliefs are equally valid and are deserving of respect" crock of crap that post-modernists professors spout off in their insulated Ivy League classrooms has infected you, my friend, and I care enough about you as a fellow human being to tell you this directly and with no apologies.

End of rant!

Leonardo said...

Corky, yes, Tacitus (and others both ancient and modern) saw through the gushy proclamations of love, and exposed the underlying animosity toward this life, this body, this world, this existence that is part and parcel of Christian ideology, though often not well-examined or considered. Christianity, just like its theological cousin, Islam, is, in many ways, a very death-oriented religion, not necessarily in expressed doctrine (though Islam DOES openly express it in the pages of the Quran), but all too often by way of implication in it's practical real-world consequences.

Remember all the folks in the heyday of the WCG who didn't plan for the future in terms of education, retirement, dental care, and a hundred other areas important to life in this world? MANY folks died prematurely instead of risking being tagged with the label of "weak in faith." Such folks rather sent in their hard-earned cash to HWA, whose fantasy was always "on the bell lap" or just 5-7 years away at the most! Or the Building Fund needed replenishment. Or the Auditorium needed to be financed. Or a new private Gulfstream III jet needed to be purchased. Most members had no idea that their tithe check payed for maybe 30 seconds of the premium jet fuel that G3 required to take off down the runway and onto another photo opportunity for HWA. And on and on it went with an endless supply of costly projects that often hard-working and low-earning members were just expected to pony up for every time HWA sent out one of his urgent member/co-worker letters announcing the latest "crisis" that threatened "God's Work."

And this went on for many DECADES, and here we are in the Roman year of 2013!

So yeah, I'd say Christianity does indeed have some very unpleasant real-world consequences for those who buy into it claims and promises, like we all did at one time.

Anonymous said...

Leo said: "...I cried like baby a few months ago when the character Lady Sybil unexpectedly died of eclampsia in the popular PBS show "Downton Abbey"...

Me too bro! I was left screaming inside "Not Lady Sybil! Nooo!" Of all the characters on the show I loved her the best! She was the most georgeous and graceful gal and I couldn't believe they'd kill her character off like that! :-(

Secular-Humanist....Buddhist?) said...

Sybil and the guy who married the sister and died in a car accident in the last episode wanted to leave the series and there was no easy way to just send them to Europe for awhile or anything like that. Therefore, they died. (I read that somewhere.)

No need to cry. You might see them on the big screen if they are fortunate.

Head Usher said...

"It was enlightening to have Israel Finkelstein, author of The Bible Unearthed, tell me face to face that much of the Old Testament is made up to give a small people an amazing heritage."

I think the same thing holds true for all the mythologies. All this magical, unbelievable stuff happens, like Achilles getting dunked in the river Styx and then he becomes coated in invisible Kevlar or something. And this could only happen if WE are the chosen people, who are descended from the gods, had contact with the gods, amazing heritage, etc., and therefore, our ancestors received "the truth" from the gods (because they know everything) and if it weren't for our mythologies, we would have forgotten what the gods told our ancestors, but because of it, we remember, and so we also know "the truth" about everything, including our amazing pedigree. And that's why our city/nation is the best city/nation on Earth. (Just like every other one...)

Only thing is, now there is a collective, consistent awareness of the entire globe, and now we know that there is nowhere you can go to find this river Styx, for example, otherwise, mothers everywhere would be making pilgrimages to throw their children into it. Before the whole globe was charted, it wasn't obvious that there wasn't someplace you could go to get to this river Styx, but now it is. So now everyone knows that somebody made that shit up.

A long time ago, somebody made up Jehovah too, and Allah, Krishna, Brahma, etc. as well. And all these gods linger on for as long as there exists the shield of uncertainty to protect them from being completely flushed out as fakes. But if you take a step back and survey the whole landscape of religion, it's obvious that the writing is all over the wall. It's just a matter of time until the rest of the gods are flushed out and debunked by more information, just like the river Styx was. And there will, in fact, be no faith left on the Earth, but it's okay, because the Son of Man won't be returning to discover the distressing reality that nobody believes in him anymore, so he'll never know. Shhhhhhh, when you pray, don't tell him!

I guess, believing a pleasant fiction doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy. It makes me feel like an idiot who was duped too easily. It makes me feel like a fool.

Anonymous said...

K.I.S.S. enjoy!

another seekeroftruth

Head Usher said...

Leonardo wrote:
"...hard-working and low-earning members were just expected to pony up for every time HWA sent out one of his urgent member/co-worker letters announcing the latest 'crisis' that threatened 'God's Work.'"

HWA's church was just a one-armed bandit or a lottery that payed out 100% of the time. HWA's last co-worker letter should have read:

"Whenever I pull the arm or scratch the ticket, I always win! After I built this easy-money machine, I never needed to work anymore. I just write a letter and send it out to everyone on my mailing list and watch the money pour out of the slot and into my casino bucket. I write for one hour, and then I get paid to play for a whole 'nother month. When my bucket starts to get low, then I write another letter, and fill up my bucket again. So it's not really true when people say my financial crises were made up. I can spend a lot of money, yaknow!"

HWA had two faucets in his house. One had running water, the other, running cash. Just turn the appropriate handle and liquidity comes right out.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 4:52 wrote: "Me too bro! I was left screaming inside "Not Lady Sybil! Nooo!" Of all the characters on the show I loved her the best! She was the most georgeous and graceful gal and I couldn't believe they'd kill her character off like that!"

The thing that I heard was that Jessica Brown Findlay's ("Lady Sybil") three-year contract ran out, and it wasn't renewed because she wanted to do other things. Same thing with Dan Stevens ("Matthew Crawley"). Siobhan Finneran ("Miss O'Brian") won't be coming back for the 4th season either. But I think the epic series is now much bigger than any one of the individual characters.

But the sudden and completely unexpected death of a beloved character is a classic plot device in literature, as it's been repeated many times before. Gradually draw the reader in to really like, sympathize and identify with a character, and then, WHAM, death takes them away. And it works! It worked when the character of Melanie Hamilton in "Gone With The Wind" died. And Lady Sybil's death worked for me! And for you! And for the many millions of Downton fans worldwide. I didn't know it was coming, so I was caught totally off-guard.

The problem now with the show is that many of the actors who were relatively unknowns when it first began, have become quite popular and in demand, and filming Downton Abbey takes up a large portion of their schedules. As many have noted the show is top-of-the-line along all the aspects of production, but this demands a lot of time to get things just right. Especially filming the scenes. I heard EACH episode costs about one million British pounds (over US$ 1,600,000) to shoot. But the final product is well worth it. In my view Downton Abbey is hands down THE best show on TV today, and beats the daylights out of 99.9% of all the other shows being offered on TV these days.

Julian Fellowes - the series creator and writer - is now working on a prequel, which details the circumstances of how Robert and Cora first met, and all the events leading up to the present series. I love back-stories, assuming they are done right, and I'm fairly certain Fellowes will. He's a superb storyteller. I just hope he's able to maintain artistic control of the whole thing, because I think the show might most likely be ruined if they start bringing in other writers.

Anyway, a prequel could be interesting because it would require totally new actors, and yet fans would clearly be familiar with the essential storyline. I hope they actually can produce it.

Leonardo said...

On another recent thread Head Usher posted an interesting 20-minute TED talk video given by Michael Shermer back in 2010. Shermer is a former Christian turned skeptic, and presents a wonderful talk covering certain of the things that, in principle, Dennis touches upon in his post.

Please give such videos a watch, because if you're smart, there are many things people post here, like videos, or book recommendations, that can really expand your mind and deepen your well of knowledge. They might not bring tears to your eyes like Joe's audio of that maudlin Frankie Laine song "I Believe", but they will widen your understanding of life and reality.

Or you can just remain stupid and an easy target for charlatans of various sorts the rest of your life! Your call though. We can only lead the horse to water, but...

Leonardo said...

And here's the video, courtesy of Head Usher:

Anonymous said...

$1.6M per episode for Downton Abbey is nothing. By the 10th season of Friends, each of the 6 main cast members of Friends was making $1M each, so that's six million dollars just to have six people show up.

Leonardo said...

And yet, on the whole, look how far superior BBC shows are when compared to American productions. In my book, one episode of "Downton Abbey" is worth ten seasons of a silly, corny, unenlightening show like "Friends" or "The Office."

But then, I seek wisdom, rather than mere mind-dulling entertainment.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

"If I had to do it all over again, I would be born to ... people who don't claim to know tons of shit they have no clue about."

Tweet: Well, you wouldn't be the son of a journalist.

Anonymous said...

"Even when some nutcase scientist fudges the info or fakes it, in time, it is clarified by good science..."

Science has been hijacked by Creationists, Al Gore, the BBT, and journalism.

Anonymous said...

If we don't start sterilizing sociopaths soon it will be the end of civilization. With modern technology, it only takes a few Packs, Hoehs, Herberts and Obamas to destroy multiple thousands or millions of people.

Anonymous said...

Leo, do you ever shut up? I think you have diarrhea mouth.

Anonymous said...

I'm with ya' Leo! I reckon the popularity of "Downton" was because of its plot and dialog. So kudos to the writers of the show! To me the 1st season though was the best season. Even the 2nd was better than the 3rd. What I had heard was that the creator originally intended it to go for 3 seasons only, but then for whatever reason (probably money of course and ratings!?) he decided to stretch it out for a 4th. But, with Sybil dying it upset me hugely and then when at the end Matthew dies too in a f---ing car accident I thought to myself "Hell no! Not the f--- again!" and you see Mary singing a lullaby to the newborn it was so sad. It just made me upset all the more as I thought why kill them both off?! I mean Sybil could've gone to live happily ever after in Ireland with her hubby for one thing so they didn't need to have killed her off~ Stupid literary device! :-( Anyway I hope they do a better job in the 4th season specially if it's to be the final one since I didn't like the 3rd so much primarily because of the way both of these characters were written out. Surely they could've devised a more creative way to have done so without resorting to the easy way of just killing them off! Unbelievable! Anyway I'm sure I'll get over it and I hope to see the actress who played Sybil in the future on the silver screen as she's a goddess! ;-)

casper said...

Hey, I have an idea. I keep getting invited to various AC reunions, but somehow the thought of being with a large number of aging people who I last saw when they were in their 20's is not that appealing, particularly as most of them are still believers in something. No arguing or negative comments are allowed I believe, and for me that would be ignoring the elephant in the room. Most of them think their time at AC was the best time in their lives and want to fondly reminis, which makes me wonder how awful and boring their lives must have been since then.

So my idea is a get together of those who don't believe anymore, or anyone who still believes can also come as long as they don't try to convert anyone. It will be kind of like a retreat with healthy food and meditation sessions. No weapons allowed of course, but arguing and discussion will be allowed. It's pretty hard to organize anything though if you don't have some motivating belief, so maybe we would have to hire a minister to take charge as long as he took a vow of silence. Perhaps we could all book a cruise and then a lot of the arranging is taken care of and those there can participate as much as they like.

Leonardo said...

Casper, I just talked to someone who attended the AC reunion recently held out in Las Vegas, and one thing she mentioned was that most of them were no longer even associated with any COG or other Christian ideology. This really surprised me, but that's what she said. For what it's worth.

Good luck on your proposed reunion! The WCG had a 50% turnover in membership every 10 years, so you should have no problem in terms of finding enough people, though they might not show much interest anymore!!

casper said...

Leonardo, I need someone else to organise it though, I doubt if I could pull anything like that off. My understanding of the Bricket Wood reunion is that most of the attendees were believers of some sort, but not all. They even had a hymn singing sessions, and not everyone attended, though most did. I know some of these people on facebook and quite a few of them are still believers. I guess it is nice if they can get together without too much argument, but I would find it hard perhaps to overcome my own bitterness that when I left WCG I faced being ostracised and viewed as a sinner. Now some of these people have complimented me on being "smart" for leaving when I did (early 70's). I guess I still have a few anger issues associated with WCG, or maybe I am just a coward.

casper said...

Plus many of the people I would really be interested in meeting again seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth. I guess they just got on with their lives like I did also. Someone I knew I found out he went to jail, so I guess all kinds of things happened to these people.

Leonardo said...

Casper, it's true that old church friends are all the place these days, both geographically and otherwise. I've known some who, for whatever reasons, have ended up on the streets, some in nudist camps, some in prison, and some have gone mad - while some have gone on to become physicians or successful business owners, though I think most have otherwise gone on to live fairly normal lives.

I'd say residual anger issues are very normal, even long after the WCG experience is far behind. But ex-WCGer's are not the first (nor last) of people to have been betrayed by an all-encompassing ideology whose actual real-world results didn’t exactly turn out “as advertised.” Sadly, it seem to just be part and parcel of the human life experience.

And old bud of mine from college, who served as a WCG pastor for 20 years before resigning, wrote a book. And in it recalls the tragic story of Nikkolai Kruchina, who was General Secretary of the Communist Party at a time the Soviet Union was obviously collapsing before his eyes. He decided to commit suicide by jumping from a window of his 7th floor apartment. This would have been around August of 1991. The Berlin Wall had been pulled to the ground two years before. The new leader of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, had proclaimed “perestroika” (literally, new thinking) as the core belief of the Soviet government in a desperate attempt to stimulate new production in the quickly-failing economy. But everyone knew it was too late, and the 70-year Marxist experiment aimed toward the creation of a “workers paradise” was on it’s last legs and crumbling into the ash heap of history.

Kruchina left a very brief note before taking his life – it simply said: “All that I have believed and worked for all my life has proven to be false.”

To one degree or another we’ve all gone through a similar existential crisis, a life-altering jolt that forced us into a reevaluation of everything that we at one time cherished, a dream that perhaps meant more to use than life itself. G.G. Rupert bought into the dream in the late 19th century. HWA bought into in the late 1920’s - and the people he taught bought into it throughout the 20th century, including us.

Like Soviet Marxism was the foundation that many people built their lives one, yet which ultimately proved false – many COGer’s built their lives on a foundation, which we were forced to reevaluate due to outside forces that pushed us to that realization.

And here we are. Thankfully, still alive – though perhaps a bit bumped and bruised for the experience, but hopefully a little more wiser too.

Secular-Humanist Buddhist (?) said...

"But ex-WCGer's are not the first (nor last) of people to have been betrayed by an all-encompassing ideology whose actual real-world results didn’t exactly turn out “as advertised.” Sadly, it seem to just be part and parcel of the human life experience."
Watch "Downfall" the story of Hitler's last days in the bunker. Mrs. Goebbels, in particular, expressed the despair of things not working out before poisoning her 5 children. She could not imagine a world without Der Furher. It's on Netflix.

Byker Bob said...

I've reached the conclusion that it is part of the human condition to one degree or another to be bipolar. Life has its ups and its downs for all. Nobody is "on" all the time, and most do not linger indefinitely in the depths of despair.

It's only when these cycles begin to "wag the dog" that they become a treatable disorder. Belief, or a cause greater than self, or thing to be much defended can often help each of us to balance out the hills and valleys.

It's staggering, though, to know how many folks are on medication, or medicate themselves with alcohol or street pharmaceuticals.


Leonardo said...

"Watch "Downfall" the story of Hitler's last days in the bunker. Mrs. Goebbels, in particular, expressed the despair of things not working out before poisoning her 5 children. She could not imagine a world without Der Furher."

I saw that movie when it first came out. An excellent film! In fact, I have it on DVD, and saw again recently. That scene of Mrs. Goebbels killing all her children with the poison capsules was very troubling to watch, but it is historically accurate. It shows how even highly intelligent, refined and otherwise cultured people can fall prey to an irrational ideology, be it secular or religious in nature, or a combination of both.

Cult researchers find that the sects and odd groups that they study are often frequented, not only by social outcasts, folks with mental issues or those going thorough personal traumas, but also by highly intelligent people as well. Strange.

casper said...

Leonardo, I also found that movie about Hitler very interesting -- what a shame for the children, they could have gone on to have good lives in post-war Germany. It is a lesson that we should not force our dreams on our children. I was in WCG because my father joined when I was a child. He got thrown out shortly after I left.

My father always said he wanted to believe in something bigger than his own life, and maybe we all want that. I guess I have been a "believer" in many things. After WCG it was the hippy movement, then the drug culture. I enjoyed the exclusivity and rebellion, but left when it became outdated and stupid. I probably would have joined the communist party if I had been born in the 1920's, or maybe worshiped Hitler too. I do wonder sometimes. Then when I needed to make a living I became a computer nerd and quite a fanatic where my whole life revolved around technology. At least this provided me with a well paid career. But I tire of things too, and now am without a consuming interest - just makes life so empty. Perhaps this is the journey someone like me has to take towards maturity, all those interests/obsessions were the drugs that I needed to make life exciting. I remember a quote from some well known person that went something like "life is exciting threatening, frightening or it is nothing at all"

John said...

Byker Bob wrote: "It's staggering, though, to know how many folks are on medication, or medicate themselves on street pharmaceuticals"

Have you heard about Rat Park Bob? I learned about it after reading Marc Lewis' "Memoirs of an addicted brain"." It's basically a study that showed a boring, isolated and impoverished environment leads to self-administration of morphine in lab rats, wheras rats housed in a rich, diverse, social environment preferred water to morphine solution. A beautiful demonstration of self-medication if ever there was one. (From Marc Lewis "Addiction as self-medication" 08/02/12). Every one on the planet I believe is an addict in one way, shape or form. It's how our brains were wired. Be it alcohol, drugs, food, sex, smoking, shopping, etc. We all follow the same pattern i.e. we like something due to the opiates and then want more of it due to the dopamine! It's an endless cycle. So who would condemn a guy for choosing his poison when you look around and see a depressing world full of liars, cheaters, rapists and killers that everyone wants to escape from?

Leonardo said...

Though I think you'll acknowledge, John, that some addictions are more constructive and life-enhancing than others. I remember reading the famous book POSITIVE ADDICTION by William Glasser M.D. when I was at AC, and he talked about the mechanisms you mention above, and how they can be uplifting and positively directed, or can quickly reduce a person down to a quivering, useless pile of human flesh, depending on the specific "addiction" one chooses.

Leonardo said...

Casper, I hear what you're saying. But like I always say, there's a huge difference between healthy, robust skepticism, and life-crushing cynicism. Many people don’t draw this vital distinction. Yes, it’s true that most of us have to learn the hard way by dear-bought personal experience, though as that old saying goes "Experience is the best teacher, but its tuition costs are often way too high!"

I'm a close observer of current culture, and I note that nihilism has pretty much become the passive default philosophy of many people these days, especially, very tragically, the upcoming younger generations. Whether they realize it or not, that's why they dress like ghetto gang members, color their hair florescent pink, tattoo themselves all over, poke holes their faces and ear lobes, indulge in so-called "extreme sports" and listen to rap and all the other mind-rattling, discordant noise they mistake as music.

And nihilism is what really lies behind the hateful, angry, cynical, racist, genocide-promoting, insulting and otherwise unintelligible "tweets" of the dudes that occasionally comment here, folks such as Plasma Dude, for example. I’ve learned that behind such asinine comments lies shriveled, nihilistic souls SCREAMING for help, screaming for attention, screaming for significance, screaming for vengeance. The vacuous spirit behind such unimaginative comments is easily recognizable. In the final analysis I strongly suspect that many if not all of them are victims of the WCG’s bizarre child-rearing practices at their worst. And for this I really do sympathize (because in that they had no choice in the matter), though not with the particularly morbid way they’ve chosen to deal with this misfortune - misfortunes we all face in one form or another.

We all get tossed around in life, that’s for sure. But through it all, if we can survive, we are steadily accumulating a data base of useful real-world information that I can’t help think will be helpful at some point far out into the future.

I appreciate your comments.

Anonymous said...

Wow, reading about all you big manly men crying over Lady Sybil's untimely death has me impressed! I thought just overly emotional women cried over movie and TV tragedies! I have to share a couple, and I know I'm off topic. The first movie I ever wept over was the last few moments of The Elephant Man. Although pretty much dramatized, the life of John Merrick bowled me over. But the film that surprized me the most for making my eyes sting was The Field of Dreams, when at the end Ray Kinsella introduces his father to his wife and daughter. My Dad died whe I was 11, and I would have given anything to have him meet my kids, anything. Still gets to me, even now. Thanks for letting me share.

Leonardo said...

Men have far deeper emotions than our present culture allows them to express, which really leads to a boatload of psychological repression, passive/aggressive behavior, etc. "The Elephant Man" was the first thing I thought of when I read that other thread regarding David Renz.

Leonardo said...

And old wise man said to me once that crying is good, because your tears clean your eyes, that way you can see more clearly afterwards.

The basic formula I've found to be true is "think clearly in order to feel deeply" which feeds into "feel deeply in order to think clearly."

Part of the interacting swirl between the yin principle and the yang principle of life, as the Asians would explain it.

Velvet said...

"I was always the most happy when I knew Gerald Waterhouse was in the Philipines and would not be swinging by for at least a couple years! lol"

You, and everyone else, except the stricken Filipinos. :-)

Velvet said...

"Somehow in private conversation he just seemed far more normal and balanced than he did when he was behind the pulpit."

You're the second person I've heard say this, Leo. Having endured far too many "marathon sermons" thanks to both him and Spanky, I still find that hard to believe. Not even Thiel is as crazy as Waterhouse was.

Velvet said...

Here's a quote on Pascal's Wager for everyone:

" he uniquely unrestrained human mind is totally different. It can envision the absolute certainty of an eternity of time -both before and after its own particular existence. This ultimate awareness may express itself in an awareness of death. But it is not limited to an involvement of the self. Economists and sociologists are visualizing the 21st century. Astronomers have calculated the number of billions of years it would take for the sun to become cold.

As the eminent ethnologist, W. H. Thorpe, states, "Man has a language which can denote and specify the past and the future far beyond his own life span."

It was Dostoevski who wrote: "Man needs the unfathomable and the infinite just as much as he does the small planet which he inhabits."

And what animal could ever comprehend enough about the concept of past and future epochs of time to wonder what the 17th-century philosopher, Blaise Pascal, wondered:

When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant and which know me not, I am frightened and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then. Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time been allotted to me?

Here, then, is the human mind racing through the endless corridors of time before and beyond its own life span, wondering, speculating, searching."

Professing Christians pushing "Pascal's Wager" seem to have reduced the original quote to little more than an out-of-context prooftext, if you ask me. Hardly surprising, I suppose.

Leonardo said...

There's far more to Pascal's Wager than just this quote, which, frankly has little to do with it. But a good quote nonetheless. Pascal was a very profound thinker, but I think he missed it with his Wager argument.

John said...

Leonardo said: "Though I think you'll acknowledge, John, that some addictions are more constructive and life-enhancing than others. I remember reading the famous book POSITIVE ADDICTION by William Glasser M.D. when I was at AC, and he talked about the mechanisms you mention above, and how they can be uplifting and positively directed, or can quickly reduce a person down to a quivering, useless pile of human flesh, depending on the specific 'addiction' one chooses."

Yeah you're right Leo. I'm in full agreement with you here. And moderation is key. I mean, look at sex for instance, we're all sexual beings and God's original directive to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28) was basically to "Go have lots of sex!" And knowing what I know about sex it's probably the most powerful addiction there is IMHO anyway. But, like other things that were probably intended for positive enhancement like alcohol and food, for instance, the potential for addiction exists that can quickly turn it into a negative and life-or-death battle! (e.g. alcoholism, obesity, STDs, etc). But, it does make me wonder what paradise would've been like if we'd never sinned to start off seeing that sex is extremely pleasurable and extremely addictive. So did God have a giant orgy party in mind?!

casper said...

what kind of joke is it on us humans that the most pleasurable things in our lives also have such punishment attached to them -- sex, drugs, eating, drinking, power, extreme sports, I am sure there are more..... and we were made and wired to find such pleasure in our senses. Then religion comes along and seems to specialise and obsess about these pleasures. Save me the thought that one can be happily married to one person forever and enjoy the thrills of sex, or look at a sunset and feel great sensations, it just aint so. HWA and GTA both knew that, that is why they had multiple sex partners and flew around the world meeting leaders and spent huge amounts of money on pleasurable living.

Head Usher said...

When I was a church member, I never liked Pascal's wager. To me it seemed like the very worst reason to believe. It's a totally conscious and knowing insincerity. In practice, if the reason why you're religious is because of Pascal's wager, then you're just keeping religion around as an insurance policy, in case it turns out to be true. I figured the fine print would make you ineligible to collect if it was merely insurance to you anyway. At least, any real god would have to be pretty stupid to reward that. Whatever. The sincere and the insincere both die, and if religion is a sham, as I have come to expect, then no one will ever be the wiser. But there's no way I'm going to pretend to be religious just in case my expectations are wrong.

Head Usher said...

"what kind of joke is it on us humans that the most pleasurable things in our lives also have such punishment attached to them -- sex, drugs, eating, drinking, power, extreme sports, I am sure there are more..."

Actually, that's not completely accurate. The brain is programmed to reward us with nice chemicals when we do our evolutionary duty. In the world we evolved in, there was no refined sugar, no hard drugs, no big macs, etc. When you take a hit of coke, meth, or E, you're essentially shortcircuiting your brain's survival apparatus, accessing those chemicals out of context, and getting a huge reward without doing your evolutionary duty. When you're eating refined foods, it's easy to overeat, because fats, sugars and other things are removed from the context your brain was built to expect.

casper said...

Head Usher, my experiences in pleasurable things is not of the refined, hard drug, big mac type. I only eat healthy food, believe me that is the most enjoyable, big macs are disgusting to my taste buds, don't like refined sugar either. Do you think HWA ever ate at MacDonalds?, no, only the best food for him like organic grass fed beef steak. Don't think hard drugs are enjoyable at least not for long, but marijuana, alcohol, coffee etc., can be wonderful. As far as the evolutionary duty, I've done that too -- had children which is one of the most enjoyable things in life, but it is easier to have children than to prevent having them -- again another kickback. As for sex, regular sex is exciting enough.....but still all these things have punishments attached. Like getting pregnant too often, having a broken heart, etc. ok, STD's another risk. Drugs well they do get tiresome, so does drinking, and not everyone gets addicted when they try these things. The thought of heaven being a non-stop orgy would make me not want to go. Sometimes the most enjoyable thing is just to go to sleep in a comfy warm bed.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget about a nice, healthy bowel movement - one of life's most greatest and simplest of pleasures. And it never gets old!

Anonymous said...

Even--maybe especially--in the case of bowel movements, we must follow John's caution "moderation is key" in a comment above. In the interest of pollution control as well as self control, we should not indulge in any more nice, healthy bowel movements than we need.

Acton Weiser

Carrie said...

My green pen is dry. I've asked four, five, six times for a new one but there's no understanding. They offer me blue, they offer me black. I mean is green so hard? Is green elusive? I mean my kingdom for a fucking green pen!