A reader here writes his first hand experience with the United Church of God:
It looks like he (Gary Petty) has a ton of makeup on. To me, the smug is overwhelmed by the fakery.
Even back when I was a member of UCG, I always thought what emanated from Cincinnati was, not smug exactly, but more of a goody-two-shoes fake super"nice"ness. It's the conceit that "we know how to live perfectly, and you don't." It's the 2nd grade schoolyard attitude of the "teacher's pet" who thinks they know more than everyone else, thinks they're better than everyone else, and condescending wants to "help" everyone else. They also think they can get away with anything because the teacher is always going to take their side. These Cincinnati "home office" folk think that they're "god's pet." It's unappealing in a second-grader, absolutely repellent in an adult! It's present at the institutional level and nobody projects this more than Steve Meyers, but runner-up would be Gary Petty. I guess the cherry on top is how hard they work to "scrub" not just their own images as "pets," but how hard they've been working to "scrub" UCG's image, trying to deny it's own history and pretend it's not still an HWA-worshiping cult. As if, with all the botox and plastic surgery, we don't know how old the aging movie star is. The deniability isn't plausible.
Not being anywhere near Cincinnati, I didn't have to worry about it too much, how fake and vain those "nice" folks might be. I always guessed they weren't "nice" at all. They just keep all that "human nature" stuff under wraps, you know, the political intrigue, the back-stabbing, the lying, cheating, and stealing. "Nice" people are capable of all the same behaviors as your typical third-world tyrant. All it takes is one little split and you can see the real people under the fake masks and the make-up they all wear. You can see exactly what turds they really are, no guesswork required. As if the deniability ever was plausible? All the scrubbing in the world isn't going to make any difference to me.
UCG wants to present itself as a "mainstream church" full of "nice" people. Is there anything about UCG that's not dishonest? Who needs a dishonest religion? Fish, I'd like you to meet bicycle.