Saturday, January 25, 2014

Church of God Powder Kegs

Silenced has a great post up about the current state of affirs in COGland and it is NOT pretty!

The State of the COG 2014  It lists the Dead COG's, the Dying COG's and the Powder Kegs. IN addition, there is a great picture of COG Bingo

Part of the post includes this:

Powder Kegs

Philadelphia Church of God: Cult leader Gerald R. Flurry has long suffered ill health and recently collapsed onstage. When he dies, PCG will likely limp onward revering the memory of two “Apostles” — Herbert W. Armstrong and Flurry. What happens after that should be interesting to watch.

Living Church of God: Roderick C. Meredith is not in good health and UCG has already measured LCG’s drapes. LCG only exists to gather around Meredith, the whole reason 80 percent of Global left with him. The loyalty is to him, not to his lieutenants. When he dies, LCG will likely break and scatter and there are already grumblings and defections. We can’t predict when that break will be, since tyranny and longevity seem to commonly be associated. But LCG as an organization is unlikely to have long.

Restored Church of God: David C. Pack experienced a major embarrassment over the false prophecy that the whole COG would rally around him by the end of August 2013. It was so damaging to his image — imagine that for a moment — that he felt the need to give his version of an apology and fall silent. But aside from a failed prophecy, RCG is suffering all of the same symptoms that COGIC did before its recent explosion: malcontent members, ministerial abuses, rumors of members leavings, pastors being fired for challenging Pack, tons of money being spent on ineffective media projects and boondoggles like the cult’s Wadsworth office. What’s more, Pack is actually crazier than Hulme. RCG is not a healthy organization. We’ll give it two years or less before it experiences a major crisis that shreds it.

House of Yahweh: Yisrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins has weathered a lot of self-inflicted storms: a child labor conviction, one of his elders being sentenced for child molestation, bad press and a slew of failed apocalyptic prophecies. But he’s not in prison and continues to run his little Abilene bunker community. HOY continues to be extremely dangerous, and the mixture of crazy, dangerous and a lengthy lull in any news is a recipe for impending disaster. The cult has been increasing efforts in its front group, Peaceful Solution Character Education Incorporated, which is likely to be a recruitment tool. Watching HOY in the coming months might prove wise.

United Church of God: Bottom line: UCG is too big not to fail. It will split again. In fact, “it will split again” should be on UCG camp t-shirts. There are too many variables at play within the largest COG cult, and tensions are set to rise as their third president in five years also fails to spur growth within the church. Like COGIC, it’s pouring money into media projects and seeing nothing out of it, a problem exacerbated by its loss of members, money and congregations when COGWA split. UCG is throwing money into a black hole, even as it somehow attracts a million unique web views a month and no new members. This kind of failure won’t sit well for long before more internal strife breaks out.

Christian Churches of God: The lawsuit-happy Wade Cox hates being mentioned online, it seems. He gets to be in charge of CCG through 2019, and if he does not relinquish power by then, it could lead to major tensions. CCG is also making some disturbing gains in Africa, according to reports. This is a deceptive and vile cult that manages to do a lot of damage despite its meager size.

A Congregation of the Church of God: This tiny little bunker-dwelling cult hides in the deserts of Arizona. Almost nothing else is known about them. That’s kind of scary for anyone in their thrall. It also makes it very tough to gauge their status.

End Time Assembly: Everything we hear about David Nix’s tiny little cult — recently re-dubbed the Church of Covenant Blessings — makes our skin crawl. He micromanages his followers’ lives worse than any current COG leader we’ve heard of. He is spinning some pretty strange doctrines and keeps his handful of congregations extremely small and enclosed. This sect is set to have bad things happen.

Church of God, a Family Community: The newest COG cult was created by the vast chunk of Hulme’s COGIC he jettisoned for defying him. At the moment, its collective of newly-unemployed ministers seem content to focus on greater transparency, less corruption and abuse and more sanity. We’ll see if they will actually practice what they preach — a rare thing in the COG — or prove once again that absolute power corrupts absolutely. It may not be too long until we find out if COGFC — or whatever name it ultimately settles on — keeps making noise.


Joe Moeller said...

On Banned, the post from the Silenced website said this about UCG...

"it’s pouring money into media projects and seeing nothing out of it "

The post implies that this is at a net "cost" to the UCG, which it is not. The media effort, via TV and magazine, receives the equivalent in receipts by NON- Member coworkers and donors as the cost of these projects. They are in effect, self funding efforts from non member contributions.

There is truth that there has not been conversions to church membership in any meaningful numbers from the media efforts, but they are not at any true cost to the church and do serve as a public service, outreach or evangelism.

UCG is working on trying to bridge the gap of media outreach and new members. I believe they will find an approach that works better. Currently, the UCG is very much at peace, a bit tired, but lacking any real substantial underground movements or dissatisfactions.

Other COGs will be grabbing the headlines over the next 5 years as their icon leaders die or self implode. UCG is likely the "mother church" that will survive the explosions, and will be the safe house for a certain percentage of the remnants of explosions. UCG has shown in recent years , peaceful and orderly passing of the batons, both in the chairman and president positions, and as such, indicates its fitness for longest term viability.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Byker Bob said...

The persistent problem is this: HWA did come up with some, for lack of a better term, powerful metaphors, in which Germany becomes Assyria, the Vatican becomes Babylon, and they team up to punish modern day Israel, aka the US and BC. His followers have been waiting for generations for this to come to pass and with the wasting of their entire lives are becoming increasingy desperate. So they float around looking for the splinter that has the "right" combination, the one which will rise to prominence, do that final great work, and usher in the millennium. They take turns allowing the various leaders to exploit what little is left of their lives as they try to recapture what the original false prophet so deeply ingrained in their psyches. The problem is, it was all a lie and an illusion from the moment HWA first keyed the microphone.

Some people are actually posting on other blogs that because they now realize they have followed a false prophet, they are going back to restudy the body of literature left behind by HWA so that they will know where to go next. It is so sad, because they are still chasing the illusion, and won't even consider any of the alternatives. Dave Pack could have said nothing, and most likely some of these misguided people would have gravitated towards him. But, he shot himself in the foot with his own false prophecies this past summer, and made himself like the one they are fleeing. There is no recovery from that. He's going down, too.

It's going to be an interesting year, for sure.


Anonymous said...

Joe Moeller said "UCG has shown in recent years , peaceful and orderly passing of the batons,..."

Uh ... you mean "recent" years, as in, not counting 2010/2011?

Also, it would be truly fascinating to see what's behind the claim the the TV/media operations expenses are covered by "non-member" receipts. Who are the people contributing that much money? When you say "non-members," do you mean not "baptized" but still tithing? Are these receipts tithing by "non-members" or just "goodwill" donations coming from the four corners of the planet? Please elaborate (or better, provide us a link to the documentary evidence) on this amazing claim. In all my years with UCG, I never heard this "statistic." In fact, I remember giving a VERY large sum of money to UCG for them to build their TV studio back in the day. And I was most certainly classed as a "member."

I am afraid I cannot imagine UCG as a safe haven or a mother church, under any circumstances, however sincere some membership and/or leadership may be. That is a view I had as a member of UCG prior to the very nasty and very "surprising" split with COGWA. The only thing for sure, is that no one can be sure.

Anonymous said...

Comment above: "The post implies that this is at a net "cost" to the UCG, which it is not. The media effort, via TV and magazine, receives the equivalent in receipts by NON- Member coworkers and donors as the cost of these projects. They are in effect, self funding efforts from non member contributions."

That's hogwash. It absolutely IS a net cost to UCG. Seriously, you think there is $4 to 5 million coming in from the TV/magazine viewers who are non members?

LOL. Wouldn't it be nice if it were so.

Anonymous said...

Powder Kegs
Philadelphia Church of God: Cult leader Gerald R. Flurry has long suffered ill health and recently collapsed onstage.

Powder Keg? I thought the PCG was a beer keg, and that all the alcohol was what gave Gerald the clear arteries that enabled him to last this long.

UT, The Reigning Being of Being Banned by Banned by HWA said...

Wow! If UCG’s media efforts are supported only by non-member donations, UCG would surely multiply this “self-funded” strategy into every market available.

If non-members were truly paying for UCG’s media efforts we’d be hearing non-stop fruit-bragging from their propaganda office. And then, we would just label it as the typical COG spin we always hear, as they sputter along toward self-annihilation.


DennisCDiehl said...

Little did Ron Weinland know that PKG (Preparing for the Kingdom of God) really was the "Powder Keg Church of God)

Joe Moeller said...

Response to questioners above:

I suggest that they watch and read the council reports on a regular basis, especially those from Peter Eddington, head of media operations. They are available online at UCG.ORG.

The amount of donations received by the UCG from non member viewers of the television program and subscribers to the Good News Magazine make these programs virtually self funding. The receipts of these non member donations and non member coworkers is in the several millions per year.

Yes, since the contentious COGWA split, there have been two changes of the guard that were remarkably peaceful... The replacement of Melvin Rhodes, with Robin Webber, and that of Dennis Luker by Vic Kubik. The precedent for peaceful transitions of power is now in place and exercised.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

"RCG is not a healthy organization. We’ll give it two years or less before it experiences a major crisis"

I hope so, because I see much brainwashing of this man, PACK of lies, denying the Only Savior. I see three people had the guts to post that they left RCG on FB. One didn't last six months (Art Graphic Designer out of College)and another has disappeared totally from FB (Manager of advertising). I hope they do not loose faith because of hypocrisy. We are warned throughout scripture not to follow man which leads to destruction.

Byker Bob said...

The extreme ascetics appear to be the most endangered species. How long can one go on shunning medical attention, shunning family members, allowing intrusion into personal matters by the ministry, mortgaging and liquidating accumulated wealth, and alienating youth through extreme and barbaric child rearing methodology? This accompanied by a series of ridiculous, self-aggrandizing, continuously failing prophecies, deliberate belief in readily disprovable pet theories, and an irrational world view making modern nations extensions of the Israelites (cue Desmond Dekker's 1960s Top 40 classic), the Babylonians, and the Assyrians.

There is probably a longer life cycle in store for the groups which are willing to rethink and make corrections, but in the immediate future, a certain small percentage of members will revolt against any change and temporarily fuel the growth of the more extreme groups, or form their own. The splintering will ultimately continue until the Armstrong movement is undetectable. It is already statistically negligible.


Anonymous said...

Joe M.,

If you are relying upon the August 16, 2013 Council Report where Peter E. shows a graphic claiming that media-generated income outpaces the media budget, you are not remembering a qualifier that he made which is that that income is "including members who have come from our media efforts." So first of all, it DOES include members, therefore tithe-paying, card-carrying UCG-ites. Also, you should keep in mind the context of Peter's pitch in the meeting, which was his argument that if they "spend more" they'll "make more." Now anyone who has done any amount of accounting knows that numbers can be "classed" and "clustered" and "expressed" in ways to make persuasive arguments for budget increases. In order for us to confirm what "media-generated" income is, we would need to know a bit more about the tracking of contributions as tagged "media-generated" and where in the Accounts line items they are reflected in the financials. Also, when he used the word "outpace," he could easily be referring to the growth percentage comparison rather than actual numbers, which would not mean that it is self-funding. In fact, Peter E. outright contradicts the notion that the media operations are self-funding by non-members when he comes back to the council December, 2013 asking for more money (to be pulled from the church reserves) because of shrinking GN subscribers and therefore, non-member revenue. Here's an excerpt: "...the number of Good News magazine subscribers has declined to the lowest level in more than 14 years. This is mostly because of recent budget cutbacks from the media budget totaling $1.4 million. As a result, the number of coworkers and donors has likewise decreased, resulting in falling income from this category.

The proposal was for the Council to approve an addition of $398,000 to the media budget to spend for print (mostly direct mail) and Internet advertising to begin to rebuild The Good News subscription list.

When you have to pull from reserves to subsidize revenue-generation, it ain't "self-funding."

A more accurate and reliable understanding is taken from the actual Treasurer (rather than the guy running the media cost center), in his last Strategic Operation & Budget Plan report 2013-14. In his cover letter to the Budget, Aaron Dean explicitly tells us that "Co workers and donors contribute nearly 2 million of our income." That's it. Non-members send in NEARLY (not even) $2 million. Now, looking at the same budget prepared by Mr. Dean, we see that the media account category expenditures are -- well -- most certainly MORE than $2 million. See this: (pages 21-25). Moreover, Aaron Dean's summary makes it patently clear that NON-members (donors and co-workers) don't even count for HALF of the media budget."

So, really. Let's not kid ourselves about any self-funding UCG media operations. It's fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Well, imagine that! Joe does an excellent job of whitewashing UCG's media program, and apparently a CoE or,board member comes back to shoot themselves in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Plus, there were "peaceful" transitions numerous times before the COGWA split, but that didn't mean things were okay.

On the GN readership, it's interesting to note from UCG documents that they can only keep about a third of their readers. Two thirds never say "yes" to renewal of a free magazine. How's that for compelling content?

Sad. Most of them are just deluded and can't or won't admit the failures. Although, Vic Kubik seems somewhat ready and willing to admit it -- for that, at least, he deserves some credit.

Joe Moeller said...

Annon, immediately above:

For new, first time, subscribers of virtually any magazine, industry standards are around 30% renewal rates. Previously renewed subscribers go at around 70% renewal. This applies very similarly to the Good News magazine as well, certainly this is no surprise and expected.

The Plain Truth actually had a lower renewal rate amongst first time subscribers , in the range of about 25%.

It is also stated by yourself that there is at least $2 million a year currently generated from media efforts in income. This is virtually all from coworker and donors. There have been very few converts to UCG from media that are church attendees. What you are seeing as a budget discrepancy is the difference in "self sustaining" to the cost of EXPANDING the media base.

UCG is investing $2Million above replacement value to EXPAND their base of media, a form of "pump priming". The investment will come back from future revenue stream. Many televangelist organizations run at profits from donations, and this is not unusual, and will plow back revenues to expand their revenue base. Again, many television ministries do not have large member bases, but are able to do so by "initial seeding" and eventual revenue recapture. This is the same approach.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Whenever anyone says anything negative about UCG, Joe Moeller, self-professed UCG member and non-Armstrongite, always has to come forward and shill for them. I'll never cease to be surprised by the things that some religious folks will try to bring together, such as calling themselves an "Agnostic Christian" or a "Non-Armstrongite UCG-member". I have to wonder if Joe Moeller hasn't been put up to this by Peter Eddington or the likes, as a service project to his church not to allow any negative comment about UCG on anti-COG websites go unopposed. It would certainly fit with UCG's image-scrubbing initiatives in recent years, especially as they try to fill a multitude of vacant seats with new butts.

The whole point of shilling is to appear to be disinterested, and therefore unbiased, when in fact you're not. Your lies about UCG would be a lot more convincing if you had started out by lying about your UCG affiliation. I mean, what's one more lie, right? Worldly Protestant "Nice Jesus" will forgive you -- until HWA's "Vengeance Jesus" dips you in molten magma. Jesus is kind of like a box of chocolates. You never know where you stand with Jesus until you stand before him, so you never know what Jesus you're gonna get.

But the abysmal odds of Christianity being the "one true religion" out of about 4,200 currently practiced religions (and a vast unknown number that aren't, which doesn't disqualify them from being "one true religion" candidates), makes it pretty unlikely you're gonna to get any Jesus.

But even if you get lucky and Christianity does to turn out to be the right religion, the abysmal odds of being one of 144,000 "true Christians" out of over 2.1 billion Christians, or being the "one true sect" out of over 40,000 Christian sects makes it pretty unlikely you're gonna to get "Nice Jesus".

In the grand scheme of things, Joe Moeller, I'm 99.9...% sure it won't matter what kind of lies you tell for UCG or Jesus. Because the afterlife is like a box of chocolates. You might as well just start telling us you're not a UCG member, and pretty soon nobody will recall UCG Joe Moeller anymore. It will help you achieve UCG's objective, a non-Armstrongite false-facade for UCG. Though Armstrongism is famous for preaching scruples, it's infamous for not having any, so I'm not advising you to do anything but behave like the Armstrongite I'm trying to forget that you are.

Anonymous said...

Joe M.,

You clearly do not understand financial analysis much beyond your checkbook,and apparently have not taken the time to actually read and understand the budget, to which a link was provided.

The discrepancy between $2 million and the $5 plus million media budget is a shortfall, not an investment calculation. The $2 million is not being used to EXPAND anything except your lungs with hot air. In one of your earlier comments you thought it was "several millions." The monies budgeted for "expansion" were less than $400,000 and did not come from windfall, but were the result of shortfall, so do NOT by any measure represent a "re-investment." LOL! When you are at the lowest level in 14 years, any efforts are to RECOVER, NOT TO EXPAND. That is exactly what the December 9th Council Report and the Strategic Plan make extremely clear (did you not read them?). And given the two-plus years it takes for any new subscriber to send any money in, the bottom line for UCG is that they will never self-fund and never recoup expenditures on the media operations. One could even logically point out that UCG as an organization has had nearly 20 years to build a donor/co-worker base outside of the membership that should be much more robust at by now. Remember, donors/co-workers are not the ones that would have "jumped ship" in the 2010 split, so one cannot whine about losing any of THEM in the turbulence of disunity. Whatever percentage of those non-members who might have become aware and "left" supporting would be very few indeed.

You simply are wrong about the self-funding and should move on to something else in defense of UCG. It's beginning to get embarrassing to see your lack of grasp on public display.

But desperation (and the only way to characterize your grasp of the financial analysis is "desperate") to "save" a church's reputation has caused many o' folk to toss and tumble in spite of the hard numbers. Hell, it even caused you to try and positively compare UCG with "other" churches doing a work. LOL. UCG should never be compared with "other" christians, who really are not.

P.S. I did not say "$2 million a year currently generated from media efforts in income." I quoted Aaron Dean saying "Co workers and donors contribute nearly 2 million of our income." Do you see the difference? How can anyone seriously consider your arguments when you do not even read carefully enough to understand the details and when you regularly re-cast written statements in your mind with statements that were not made?

P.P.S. I suggest you call or write Aaron Dean and ask him to confirm that the media operations are self-funding by non-members and see what he tells you.

Anonymous said...

Any news on COGWA? Group seems to be holding or is there a facelift brewing?


Anonymous said...

I've contacted NBC and suggested they do a series called, "The Real Housewives of UCG and COGAWA Ministers", where they fight like the dickens to prove which church has the true HWA anointing.