Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dennis Muses: Cognitive Dissonance: A Church of God Malady



"In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the excessive mental stress and discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, and/or values at the same time. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction."

Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:
  1. "The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance"
  2. "When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance" 


"Humans are not a rational animal, but a rationalizing one" -Leon Festinger

Sound Familiar?

"If you read last week’s announcement you know we hold no doubt that God’s prophecy in Haggai and Zechariah is still very much “on.” This announcement explains additional expansive elements of the Haggai/Zechariah prophecy that none of us had yet understood. In fact, what you will read this week and next time may help you understand why more time was needed for us to prepare for God’s fulfillment of the prophecy. This included understanding more of what was going to happen. As mentioned in previous announcements, this one will OPEN YOUR EYES to things God has long intended to do with His end-time Church and Work.
God’s Word is crystal clear!"
Apostle David C Packstrong--Awesome Knowledge and a Great Parallel



"Dissonance is aroused when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one's belief, the dissonance can result in restoring consonance through misperception, rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others.
An early version of cognitive dissonance theory appeared in Leon Festinger's 1956 book, When Prophecy Fails. This book gives an account of the deepening of cult members' faith following the failure of a cult's prophecy that a UFO landing was imminent. The believers met at a pre-determined place and time, believing they alone would survive the Earth's destruction. The appointed time came and passed without incident. They faced acute cognitive dissonance: had they been the victim of a hoax? Had they donated their worldly possessions in vain? Most members chose to believe something less dissonant to resolve reality not meeting their expectations: they believed that the aliens had given Earth a second chance, and the group was now empowered to spread the word that earth-spoiling must stop. The group dramatically increased their proselytism despite the failed prophecy."


Wikipedia--Cognitive dissonance







19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to have a different definition of what cognitive dissonance is, which renders the term pretty useless.

Glenn said...

Random personal thoughts - I was baptized 46 years ago today by Howard Clark in the Ambassador Hall pool despite my refusing to pledge eternal loyalty to HWA. Should have paid a lot more attention to all the other dissident thoughts and feelings rattling around in my mind at that time. Twelve years later I was out of the organization and working to put my life back together. Still working on my recovery.

Glenn Parker

DennisCDiehl said...

I emphacise it in particular to the many contradictory ideas and statements in the Bible that most struggle to not mean what they say and actually say the same thing no matter if they don't.

DennisCDiehl said...

Hang in there Glenn. You did good.

Byker Bob said...

Cognitive dissonance is indeed a phrase that has been floating around in ACOG dissident circles for a number of years now, and yes, people have kind of personalized the definitions to match their own experiences. But two things. For his post, Dennis went back to the original source. And, all the derivatives, variants, and shades of meaning still seem to do a darned good job of describing a fundamental problem area of Armstrongism.

BB

Head Usher said...

When I was baptized, I was careful to tell them I didn't want to be baptized into the organization. My fears were allayed because the suggested baptism text already read "not into any creed, sect, or denomination," or something like that. However, my subsequent experience has caused me to suspect there's nothing else to baptized into, all the religious texts in the world notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Everyone seems to have a different definition of what cognitive dissonance is, which renders the term pretty useless.

I believe this view would be one of the symptoms lol

Joe Moeller said...

Say this 5 times fast without screwing up-- I dare ya!

"Lets Diss On COG Cogntiive Dissonance"

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

(UCG Write In Candidate for Council 2014)

Anonymous said...

I just watched a couple of other videos by NonStampCollector-

Bible Slavery: TOTALLY DIFFERENT, and
HITLER: THE ATHEIST (Quiz Show)

Good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Joe,
Stand up and say this 5 times loudly at your next UCG service without screwing up-- I dare ya!

"Herbert W Armstrong raped his daughter!"

or,...

"Let's break into UCG Headquarters and pull that large portrait of HWA right off the wall and burn it! Let's do it for Dorothy - Who's with me?!"

Joe Moeller said...

Anon above:

Many people if not most, including the ministry in UCG are not HWA fans in the least.

Anyone under the age of 55 has no real memory of HWA.

HWA is rarely if ever mentioned in services. UCG cannot be classified as a "GROUPIE HWA' organization.

Many in the UCG are aware of the Armstrong abuses of all types, and have no love for the man. The incest incident is simply so distasteful, and disgraceful, who wants to dwell on it?

Many would love to see the pictures go of HWA in the home office be taken down. It is a political issue, and will likely happen in the next few years.

Sabbatarianism , and many of the doctrines of the UCG cannot be classified as "Armstrong Doctrines" and exist in many other organizations such as the COG 7th Day , and preexisted HWA by nearly 75 years.

UCG does not use HWA's writing for authority, and is attempting to be a Sola Sciptura group. There is still work to do, but I am pleased with the continual progress and evolution. The UCG is definitely "Post Armstronist" in its nature, and will continue to develop in that manner.

Your Friend,
Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

(Write In Candidate UCG Council 2014)

Retired Prof said...


Anon February 12, 2014 at 8:54 AM proposed: "Let's break into UCG Headquarters and pull that large portrait of HWA right off the wall and burn it! Let's do it for Dorothy - Who's with me?!"

Not me. Even if I had a taste for burglary and any skill at it, I would not. Someday, when the present context fades from memory, that portrait will be seen as an example of 20th century portraiture. Even if no future generation deems it to be good art, people in the distant future will surely consider it has historical significance.

Remember how indignant everybody got when the Taliban destroyed those monumental Buddhist statues back in 2001? Same deal.

I felt the same way when a bunch of yahoos pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein. As much as he himself deserved to be taken down, that statue was not him. It was an example of contemporary Mesopotamian art that might, if preserved, have awed museum-goers a thousand years from now.

Your proposal to express well-deserved contempt for HWA by burning his portrait falls in the same category. Wouldn't do a damn thing to right the wrongs done to Dorothy. It would be like burning books or melting down firearms collected in a gun buyback--wasteful, empty symbolism.

Head Usher said...

First you say, "Lets Diss On COG Cogntiive Dissonance," and then you turn around and make this textbook display of cognitive dissonance reduction???


"Many people if not most, including the ministry in UCG are not HWA fans in the least."

Joseph 18:32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found in the UCG who are not HWA fans in the least? And the Lord said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

What's your definition of "many people if not most," and "HWA fans in the least?" You're a slippery SOB when you need to be. Forgetting the fact that you've said nothing at all here, and instead addressing the fact that you're implying UCG is not a splinter of HWA, spouting all of HWA's many doctrines, teachings, and mantra's right down to the very turn of phrase, I doubt your implied claim. Have you done any polling? No? Empty rhetoric, Joe. Ever considered a political career? I think you should try to get yourself ordained into UCG's GCE.

"Anyone under the age of 55 has no real memory of HWA."

No, you've misstated that by at least 20 years. I wouldn't complain if you'd claimed no one under 35 has any real memory of HWA.

"HWA is rarely if ever mentioned in services. UCG cannot be classified as a "GROUPIE HWA' organization."

Yes it can. UCG is a direct splinter of WCG, and owes it's entire theology, doctrines, and fundamental beliefs to HWA. Compare the statement of fundamental beliefs written by Herbert Armstrong with the statement of fundamental beliefs put out by UCG. The differences are superficial. The Good News was originally a WCG publication for members, but under UCG, it's a knock-off of The Plain Truth (which was anything but). Beyond Today is a knock-off of The World Tomorrow. United News is a knock-off of the WCG newsletter, Worldwide News. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then the entire organization of UCG is the most sincere form of HWA flattery. To top it off, they publish stories like this one.

Continued...

Head Usher said...

...Continued

"Many in the UCG are aware of the Armstrong abuses of all types, and have no love for the man. The incest incident is simply so distasteful, and disgraceful, who wants to dwell on it?"

If it's true that many in UCG are "aware" of the "Armstrong abuses of all types," then "refusing to dwell on it," (meanwhile continuing to follow his every dictum) is merely more cognitive dissonance reduction, is it not?

"Many would love to see the pictures go of HWA in the home office be taken down. It is a political issue, and will likely happen in the next few years."

"Many"? "Likely"? These are statements of faith, Joe. Faith in the knock-off of WCG that UCG is.

"Sabbatarianism , and many of the doctrines of the UCG cannot be classified as "Armstrong Doctrines" and exist in many other organizations such as the COG 7th Day , and preexisted HWA by nearly 75 years."

If it were not for the legacy of HWA, would UCG be a sabbatarian church? No. Go ahead, keep trying to argue that HWA is not the proximate cause of UCG's sabbatarian doctrine. Will anyone think you're not lying?

"UCG does not use HWA's writing for authority, and is attempting to be a Sola Sciptura group. There is still work to do, but I am pleased with the continual progress and evolution. The UCG is definitely "Post Armstronist" in its nature, and will continue to develop in that manner."

No, they use his "mantle" for authority. "Attempting" to be a sola scriptura group? Do you think they'll ever be successful? I don't. They depend upon HWA's interpretations of everything for their interpretations of everything.

UCG is the child of WCG in every way. It is softened, and some of the rougher edges have been sanded off, but when you stand back, UCG is still nothing more than an obvious clone of HWA's church. CARM.org correctly identifies UCG as "a non-Christian cult." They go on to say, "This is a false religious system that teaches a false God, false Christ, and false gospel. Stay away from it."

Sorry about that...

Anonymous said...

I just clicked on the link to the United Church of God's "news article" in their UNITED NEWS publication, entitled "A Forgotten Hero: Herbert W. Armstrong"

It appears that they "luv luv luv" their HWA!

When people in my area left or didn't join UCG after the turmoil, the typical response they got from long-time close church friends was a lifetime shunning, with the only message from those UCG former friends being something like, "You have turned your back on the TRUTH that Herbert Armstrong taught us!"

One can claim that the UCG does not practice shunning all he or she wants to, but the truth is that the members did, big time, around here, along with the truth that "HWA-worship" is a strong force within the UCG.

Calling whether or not a large portrait of Herbert W. Armstrong should continue to hang prominently at UCG's headquarters a "political issue" is another way of saying that too many members would be pissed off if it were to be removed (and consider withholding their tithes or moving to a different organization such as PCG, LCG, or other options).

Byker Bob said...

I'm not a part of, or an apologist for any of the splinters.. However, what I'd like to know is whether UCG at this point in time more closely resembles classic WCG, or COG-7.

Some might say it does not matter, as COG-7 was a derivative in part of William Miller's Great Disappointment. Others, who consider HWA to have been quasi-deity, would still see it as apostasy. However, what religious analysts and historians have been forecasting is that the Armstrong movement would gradually shed its extremeness and its cultic and toxic aspects, and "normalize", evolving towards a Seventh Day Adventist model. I know of at least one individual, that when he is not in an area where a splinter holds sabbath services, will actually attend SDA services. That is somewhat practical, because the SDA church is just about as benign as most Christian churches, and there is an SDA church in just about every community in the USA.

BB

Joe Moeller said...

I agree with you Bob.

Over time, because UCG has the ability to "pass on the torch" without revolving around a single ego, the UCG will sociologically resemble the SDAs or the COG 7th day over time.

William Miller, was never a Sabbatarian, and was a Baptist Minister. Nonetheless, the concept of the "Second Coming" and the interest in prophecy were the hallmarks of the early SDA/ COG 7 groups.

The Sabbath understanding to both the early SDA and COG7 groups came from one Rachel Oakes, who was a young lady who was a former Seventh Day Baptist, and who convinced a couple of ministers of its validity.

A major influence in the early COG 7 came from a couple of leading ministers who came from a group called "Christian Connexion" (yes with the X in the spelling and in existence prior to 1844).

They believed in the concepts of "soul sleep" , military pacifism, millennium and many other doctrines that would be familiar with most in the UCG.

Ellen White is an ever decreasing factor in the SDA church, this about 100 years now since her passing.

The Jehovah Witnesses lost about 80% of its membership when Charles Taze Russell died around 1917. It reinvented itself and moved forward.

Even the Mormons have evolved and softened over the years. It recently saw the inevitable and allowed Blacks to be members of the "Priesthood".

In order for any organization to grow, it must become simpler , not more complex, as it does grow. Otherwise, in its complexity , will be found the seeds of its own demise. The UCG is on track to soften the edges, empower the individual, and "normalize" itself from a more cultic background.

It is heading the right direction, albeit, obviously not fast enough for some readers here. It will be a generational process, and the UCG you will see in 20 years will be much more progressive and enlightened , beyond what it has already achieved already. Still a lot of work and progress to be made, but heading in the right direction.

One reporters opinion.

Your Friend,
Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Joe Moeller said...

Bob, (Part 2)

Although there are still Armstrongist apologist in UCG, they tend to be an over 70 crowd, and with decreasing influence, due to death and attrition.

I easily can say that the direction of the UCG is more towards the COG7 model, and moving away from the WCG CLASSIC model.

WCG Classic is the purvey of Pack/Flurry. On the continium , Meredith and COGWA can be seen as WCG CLASSIC LITE.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

(Write In Candidate For UCG Council 2014)

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

Joe said, “Many in the UCG are aware of the Armstrong abuses of all types, and have no love for the man. The incest incident is simply so distasteful, and disgraceful, who wants to dwell on it?”

Joe believes the HWA incestuous rape story and champions the rightness of his church while UCG has a huge perp portrait hanging in UCG’s most esteemed place of honor.

Joe’s preference for doing away with any mention of HWA is noted; however, perhaps Joe has pledged his de facto support for incest and rape by supporting UCG and choosing the “who wants to dwell on it approach”!

Simply distasteful indeed!