Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Do You Realize That Armstrong Demanded 76% Of Your Income?

Over on the All About Armstrongism Blog he has up all of the expected tithes and offerings that the Worldwide Church of God expected/demanded from members.  Do you realize that if you had participated 100% in Armstrong's expectation that you would have given the Church 76% of your income?

Flurry, Meredith and the others carry on this same obscene tradition today.  The worst offender is Dave Pack who expects members to turn over all retirement programs, mortgage homes and businesses and give every last penny you have to him.

Here is what was expected of true followers:

  • First tithe – which was 10% of gross income.
  • Second tithe – which was another 10% of gross income.
  • Third tithe – which was another 10% of gross income.
  • Regular Offerings  3% of gross income
    • Holy Day offerings.  4% of gross income.
    • Emergency Fund – No percentage given.
    • Fourth Year Fruit From Trees  (I remember my mother doing this)
    • First-fruits – estimate the value and give the money to headquarters
    • Firstborn male of cattle  (I know farmers who did this)
    • Firstborn child – buy back with an offering to headquarters.
    • Building fund expectations were 4% of gross income
    • Tithe of Tithe expectations were 10% of gross income
    • Loans to the work were also expected of members (I remember when the receivership happened and Tkach and Webber stood up in the Hall of Ad and told members to mortgage their homes and businesses to help stop Satan)
    • Gifts to the Church
    • Special Emergency gifts when the Work was in trouble were also expected of members
    • Also mentioned were library funds, recreational funds, spokesman club dues, and social funds.

    Check out his entire article at the link above for much more detail on what we were conned out off.  These percentages and giving opportunities were from John Pruner's sermon.

    All of this to fund a work that was embarrassed to talk about Jesus or God.  What impact did HWA have traveling the world talking about a "strong hand from someplace?" 


    Anonymous said...

    It's odd, because these numbers are given as a percentage of a weekly income, so annualizing something like the holy day offerings (4%) but which only occur on 7/52=13% of weeks yields .005%. But the numbers here are completely beside the point anyway. What we're really talking about is a totally abusive system.

    All these other offerings, who ever did any of that stuff? I never heard of a regular offering. Redeeming your children from the church? Fourth-year fruit? Not even the IRS is after your fruit (yet). What a load of bullshit.

    Anonymous said...

    Actually, a max around 50% would go to the Church if as written on the All About Armstrongism blog from the sermon by John Pruner were followed exactly - the other 26% would be tax with-holdings. That's why only around 24% would be available to the member following that system exactly. But I agree with the other commenter - numbers are beside the point.

    Sweetblood777 said...

    We all know about the financial abuse, especially since tithing is not a NT doctrine, but we should try to get our facts straight when condemning an abusive system.

    The tithe was a salt covenant that was to go to the Levites and no one else.

    One can read this in Num.18:Num 18:19 All the heave offerings of the holy things which the sons of Israel shall lift up to YAHWEH, I have given to you and to your sons, and to your daughters with you, by a never ending statute, a covenant of salt, it shall be forever before YAHWEH to you and to your seed with you.

    The Armstrong organizations do not have the legal right to the tithe. They are in fact, stealing.

    Anonymous said...

    I guess "my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" amazes me that so many fell for those tatics...

    the first time anyone from home office ever blames me for their "lack of funds" I'll be gone...

    actually a conversation came up a while back about the need for more money, and my comment was that if everyone is tithing (10%), then the Church has enough money, they just need to be better stewards of it....(it caused a few raised

    it sounds to me like HWA didn't have an income problem, he had a spending problem.

    Anonymous said...

    It's the slippery slope of Armstrongism. You start off with free literature and no obligation and end up being charged half your gross income. Damn, that's the most expensive literature ever!

    Anonymous said...

    For the Scripture says, "You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain." And in another place, "Those who work deserve their pay!" - 1 Tim 5:18

    Anonymous said...

    For the Scripture says, "You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain." And in another place, "Those who work deserve their pay!" - 1 Timothy 5:18

    Armstrongism is all about money. We had a PCG sermon a couple of weeks ago about money- and how we need to be giving more to support the work. I never heard Christ deliver a sermon on the mount about giving the church all your money. His focus was never on money!

    Anonymous said...

    Levites, if the biblical account is to be believed, would have spent pretty much every day butchering animals and cleaning up the mess. thats some serious work.

    never saw a CoG minister work quite that hard.
    -RSK (mobilesite doesnt let me fill in the blanks)

    Anonymous said...

    Anon at 8:45

    Since when has any COG minister ever worked that hard? Did HWA? Does Meredith? Flurry? Pack?

    Anonymous said...

    Let's see:

    10% - Sent to Headquarters.
    10% - Save for Feast
    10% - Sent to Headquarters
    3% - Regular offerings
    4% - Holy Day offerings
    5% - Emergency fund (my best guess)
    5% - Fourth Year Fruits (my best guess)
    5% - Firstfruits (my best guess)
    4% - Building Fund
    5% - Special Emergency Gifts

    Just counting 1st, 2nd, 3rd tithes, Building Funds, and regular offerings, that's 37% and adding firstfruits is 42%. Pumping in there those special gifts and loans absolutely could push it up to near 50%, especially so when you add club dues and local church activity fund costs, even if you don't do anything else, and we still haven't talked about taking out taxes and stuff! Didn't even add the fourth year stuff or loans!

    Byker Bob said...

    I currently enjoy tithing, and although I'm not sure that it is a permanent command that predated the law of Moses, or a new covenant command, 10% seems to be the fair basic figure that God works with and expects from His children.

    The reason I enjoy tithing is that I'm not enslaved to a demanding and intrusive cult which positions itself as God's gatekeeper. I can look around, and determine who is doing work for God, (also practicing good stewardship and making themselves accountable), and then allocate tithes to them. In the past five years, I've been able to help support several international efforts, and a couple of local churches. It's such a joy to tithe when those you support aren't continually demanding that you bend over further! And, it's nice to tithe to organizations that help little children rather than making up theories and stories about the Germans to scare them and cast a pallor over their lives.

    I would challenge anyone to show me how the tithe and offering situation with classic WCG differed one iota from alcohol or substance addiction, or any other obsessive-compulsive behavior. It fomented guilt and financial worry, destroyed lives and families, and forced members to live in poverty in crime-ridden areas. That's as destructive as any common street drug! And, bottom line is, what is left to show for it all? Nothing! It's all gone, been liquidated, or splintered away, just as Gamaliel warned.


    Anonymous said...

    "Since when has any COG minister ever worked that hard?"

    The UCG's council of Elders does, if you do the math correctly.

    First, add up all their work to lie and disfellowship people(for believing the same things they ostensibly believed) while they plotted to start their own church to assure themselves of their pensions and salaries.

    Then, add the hard work of going to court to defend a stalker member.

    Then, add the hard work of praying that a few cows wouldn't make half their ministers leave.

    Then, add the hard work of explaining to their members that a few cows made half their ministers and a third of the members leave, and that it's all Satan's fault.

    Add all this work up by UCG's Council of Elders, and consider it's all the work of one virtual person, and IT'S PRACTICALLY LOTS OF WORK if it were all done by one person!

    No doubt, Jesus is totally blown away (Tornado-Style!) by all the fine work the UCG's Council of Elders has done.

    Corky said...

    What seemed kind of strange (and illegal) to me was the fact that many members of my old Little Rock, Arkansas congregation were on food stamps. Paying tithes and robbing tax payers at the same time...but, they didn't see it that if the government owed them a living.

    Maybe, if they weren't paying so much in tithes, they might not need food stamps? I'm pretty sure it still goes on today too. So, people paying tithes does actually cost others in taxes. Maybe not much but the point is that they don't think about that part and are perfectly happy for the taxpayer to pay for their food while they tithe their own money to a cult.

    Did anyone ever end up homeless and destitute because of paying tithes to Armstrong? You bet your ass they did and would have remained that way except for relatives outside the ACoG. Not at all sure that some didn't remain homeless and never got back on their feet again.

    Tithes didn't amount to 76% though, around 40% in a third tithe year, I'd say. Some, however, did overly sacrifice on offerings and such, thinking the end of the world was coming in 1975. Lost their farms, their homes, threw away their insurance, education and retirement plans etc. So, many people lost a hell of a lot more than just money.

    These ACoG pigs, calling themselves "apostles", should be in jail for theft by deception. But, freedom of stupidity, you know. Any other con game that doesn't deliver what is promised ends up getting prosecuted. But, not the religion con game, oh no, the con men get a free pass unless they break some tax rule or get caught doing something else illegal with the money.

    All those buildings that the members pay for belongs to the apostle con man - he's not out a dime on them. But, when they get sold, guess who gets the money? Yeah...and tax free too.

    Joe Moeller said...

    Here is a good question that deserves and answer:

    If the early New Testament church practiced all this tithing, what did they do with the money?

    They didnt have television, or campuses, or church buildings, or advertising, or booklets, or magazines or jets.

    Paul states that he worked with his hands. Wouldnt he had been making the local church sin by not tithing to him? Paul in effect "waived" tithing in his gentile church?

    The NT church could have spent money on things like "town criers" who either rode chariots or were the sandwich board men of their day. They could have bought advertising by having messages engraved on buildings or even on the outfield fence of the Roman Coliseum itself!

    They could have at least bought church buildings. Yet, you find ZERO evidence of these expenses at all in the New Testament.

    So the question remains... what of the money or tithes of the NT church, where did it go?

    Furthermore, the NT church was effective without it! The modern church must learn to "recapture true values" and realize that building on money is a corrupt way of doing things! Nothing wrong with a little money, but what we see in the COG today is FAITH IN MONEY, and very little FAITH IN GOD, and very little of the gifts of God or the power of God in it all.

    If we can get away from having faith in iconic one man rulers who appropriate undeserved titles of Biblical characters, and faith that "Money" is what builds the church maybe we can remove the curse that has been upon us. God built the church and changed the world of its time using peasants.

    It could happen again... if we let it!

    Build on the right foundations.

    Joe Moeller
    Cody, WY

    Anonymous said...

    "Tithes didn't amount to 76% though, around 40% in a third tithe year, I'd say."

    Yes. 40% plus, then the taxes taken out of payroll. After that, what's left?

    Assistant Deacon said...

    Joe, you keep trying to put lipstick on a pig, which is why you have that "if only" mentality. How can you stand it? Move on, guy, it's much more fulfilling.

    As for tithing, it is incomprehensible to me that people willingly try to shoehorn it into Christian belief. It has nothing to do with money and has nothing to do with any "church," and never did. Once I dared to think for myself years ago, that was the very first thing I came to realize -- well, that and the fact that British-Israelism was conjured up by some nut unacquainted with reality.

    But, you know, let's listen to our councils of elders as they major in the minors in this, Year 13 of the 21st century.

    Anonymous said...

    When I tithed, this was my tithing scheme:

    First tithe – 10% of net income.
    Second tithe – 10% of net income.
    Third tithe – WTF? I'M poor!
    Holy Day offerings – $50 x 7

    Regular Offerings – WTF?
    First-fruits – WTF?
    Firstborn child – WTF?
    Firstborn cattle – WTF?
    Fourth Year Fruit – WTF?
    Tithe of Tithe – WTF?
    Building Fund – WTF?
    Library Fund – WTF?
    Recreational Fund – WTF?
    Socials Fund – WTF?
    Emergency Fund – WTF?
    Gifts to the Church – WTF?
    Special Emergency Gifts – WTF?
    Loans to the work – WTF?
    Spokesman club Dues – N/A

    Anonymous said...

    Not sure about all the math here, regular offerings and holy day offerings? Maybe from earlier years there were regular offerings, and one could hear Dick Ames going on and on about the building fund. (of course the end of the world was coming as they had a building binge going on.) Tithe of a tithe was basically one percent of someone's income, it was 10% of the second tithe you predicted to make, however, what did those who lost jobs do for that since they never knew what their tithe would be let alone what 10% of that would be.

    So, usually 10%, plus 1%, then 9% for the Feast with the remainder given in the last great day offering. So, we have 20%, with maybe 3-5% for holy days, not sure where the rest of the numbers come from. But, there is an old article somewhere where HWA actually said things about deducting expenses you needed for work I wonder why the rest of us never heard of that? So, if someone made $35k a year and had car, gas, clothing, parking and occasional meal expenses or other, then the tithe would have been on less and maybe even much less. So, one has to wonder why, why, why we never heard his decision or discussion on the matter. Maybe it was the same liberals who wanted everyone to donate their homes to the church before they died, who knows?

    Anonymous said...

    Lived in abject poverty for almost 13 years, that when I finally left, I felt like the richest person in the world. Even felt guilty about it.

    One third tithe year, I told the minister that after tithes, taxes and business ownership expenses, I would have .09 cents on the dollar left to live on for food, rent, transportation, clothing, medical, etc. They somehow didn't see that as a problem.

    Anonymous said...

    No one NEEDS to tithe, unless they have an internal need that's arisen from them or others convincing then that they need to.

    It's sad and stupid that anyone would feel the need based on an ignorant theology.

    Mainstream Churches almost ALL teach that people should tithe, and of course, that's because they want people to give them money- NOT because their leaders have done an honest and impartial theological study on the subject.

    And it's sad that some Christians contribute to charities and call it "tithing"!
    Contributing to charities and helping others monetarily is just that. It isn't tithing. It's contributing to charities and helping others monetarily. And all kinds of people do it, not just Christians. And yes, it's nice to do, and it does make one feel good to help others!
    We, as humans, are wired for helping others, and the proclivity doesn't come from being a member of any particular religion.

    But helping others, contributing to good causes, and monetarily helping others is not "tithing", although some apparently need to redefine tithing, to make a square peg fit into a round hole in their head for some reason

    Byker Bob said...

    Listening to HWA about tithes and offerings is reminiscent of Boss Hogg sugarcoating and explaining to Roscoe P. Coltraine what his cut was going to be on the old Dukes of Hazzzard TV program.