Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Living Church of God: The Letter....and the Current Disfellowshipment Fiasco



NOTE:  Since I know that Living Church of God employees and ministers regularly monitor this blog I want to make it perfectly CLEAR that the author of the letter below did NOT send this to me.


Below is the letter that was recently sent out by a family in the Living Church of God after Rod Meredith, Rod McNair and Bob League  disfellowshipped and marked them.  While many here, including myself, wish that they had truly moved on to freedom away from the LCG/COG movement, I nonetheless understand the mental anguish they are going through.

I witnessed this kind of behavior at the hands of Rod Meredith around the time of GTA's disfellowhipment and the Receivership time in the late 70's and early 80's.  With one broad swoop Meredith sent out hundreds of disfellowshipment letters to members that he thought were aligned and sympathetic to GTA and the people who initiated the lawsuit that led to the Receivership.  I remember one woman showing me her letter and being in a state of shock.  She had done nothing wrong and petitioned to have it revoked.  Meredith would not even listen to her.

I was speaking to a person the other day that had worked with Meredith in Pasadena in the 60's - 80's.  He said that Meredith has always been a vindictive and mean spirited man.  He thought part of that came from the fact that Meredith had no marketable skills.  He could become highly jealous of highly successful church members and the amount of income they had.  Meredith has always been on the dole of the church his entire life.  Due to his advancement through the ranks he thought that also included more and more perks, none of which he ever actually worked for.  The man is so inept at things that he could not even start his two separate splinter churches after being disfellowshipped from the Worldwide Church of God.  He had to rely on funding from financially well off church members to keep his income coming in.

I do not know the connection to the authors of this letter to the Scarbourough family that was in Pasadena many years ago.  I have a feeling they are part of that family and if so they are experiencing the exact same thing that Gene Scarborough experienced at the hands of Rod Meredith in the 80's.  Gene ran a highly successful natural food store in Pasadena called Granny's Pantry.  Meredith was also behind kicking out Gene from the Worldwide Church of God.  I remember Meredith telling the local Pasadena churches that they were to no longer shop at Granny's Pantry because Gene had been disfellowshipped and marked.  Meredith's expectation and many others was that Gene would loose his business due to the drop in income.  Many church members ignored  Meredith and connected to shop there.  Gene eventually sold the store and it is still in operation to this day, decades after Meredith's god supposedly was going to shut it down.  Once again, a successful church member (ex at this point) had succeeded.  Meredith resented this with a passion.  How could his vindictive god not do the things he expected?

The letter below is sadly like the thousands of others that flooded the Internet as the Worldwide Church of God and various splinter groups imploded over the last two decades.  These same sad stories have occurred over and over.  The same vindictive mean spirited men are still doling out punishments and retributions for every imaginable scenario.  The security and comfort of a familiar church family is ripped apart and shattered.  Friendships are destroyed and sometimes families broken up.  Spiritual lives are shaken to the core.  The ironic thing in all of this is that these same men were appalled when they got their disfellowshiment letters and were marked.  They felt the hurt and abandonment and many swore to never let that happen again.  It only took a few months or a year or tow twill these same men were back to their mean spirited ways.  It's all about control and you can see that plainly revealed in the letter below.  Meredith and crew thought they could control and manipulate this family and it has backfired.  Big time!

In posting this letter it is not really about the family moving on and leaving the Church of God and finding true freedom and peace, though I wish they had, it is more about making visible once again the control and manipulation that the COG leaders use against members.  Mean-spiritedness always seems to trump when grace is missing.



Dear Brothers and Sisters In Christ

Patrick and I have recently run into several of the Charlotte LCG brethren in different places while running errands around town. We were shocked to learn that they consistently believed that we had left the church and didn’t want to come back. I’m not sure if these was assumption on their parts or, if that is what people are being lead to believe from leadership. Nonetheless, we wanted to clear things up so you would have our side of things to put an end to the speculation once and for all. 

We love and miss ALL of our LCG brothers and sisters more than you will ever know. We think of little else. We truly considered all of you to be our family. We love you so much. Patrick and I have mourned the loss of our church and our friends like a death. The last 6 months have been absolutely awful. I cannot count the times I’ve cried or verbalize to you the profound gut wrenching sadness we have experienced over this loss. Our hearts are truly broken. We NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE LCG. We never even knew we were in threat of being dis-fellowshipped.

There have been many rumors as to why we were marked and dis-fellowshipped. At first, they believed we gave Cogwriter information about Mr. Apartian’s negative views of LCG at the end of his life which were posted on his blog. LCG called Bob Thiel and he fully exonerated us of all charges.  Next they believed that we had tried to get Charles Ogwyn to leave Living and to start a new church with us.  Again, there was not a shred of truth in this. Patrick spoke with Mr. Ogwyn and he confirmed that he had absolutely NO RECOLLECTION of any such conversation. He told us that he was going to tell Mr. McNair that his information was inaccurate and he is an honest man so we can only assume that he did exactly that. Next we were accused of causing division in the Charlotte congregation. There is again, no truth in this. I told them that they could interview all 250 Charlotte brethren and not one of them would say that Patrick and I were divisive. We fully agree with church doctrine. These offenses would possibly have been worthy of dis-fellowshipping but we were not guilty of any of them. 

To this day, 6 months later, we have still never been given so much as one truthful reason that warranted receiving the worst, most strict punishment available to LCG leadership; being completely cut off, being robbed of all our friends, having our names and reputations dragged through the mud for THINGS WE NEVER EVEN DID WITHOUT SO MUCH AS EVEN ONE COUNSELING SESSION. 

Initially, we truly believed that LCG had been given mis-information and that as soon as they became knowledgeable of our innocence they would make everything right and we would once again be in the fold of LCG brethren. Sadly, this didn’t happen. They are now fully aware that we had no hand in these things. Many of our friends all over the US have been questioned by church administration about our character, attitudes and loyalty. All have attested that we were not in any way divisive or in opposition to church doctrine.  Again we hoped that coming into that knowledge would soften them and help us return to the fold. Again, it had no effect.

For reasons that we do not understand, Mr. Meredith and Mr. McNair have hardened their hearts toward us and it appears that no amount of truth revealed can change their minds. 

I have written literally DOZENS AND DOZENS OF LETTERS pouring out my heart, begging for forgiveness for whatever offense I committed, pleading for them to at least meet with us to talk. We have called over and over again beseeching them to counsel with us. We even called Mr. Meredith directly one day (he knows the extension from having once worked at headquarters) but he said “I can’t talk” and hung up on him.  How can you mark someone you’ve never even spoken to? One would think that marking would be a last resort after trying repeatedly to work things out! There are even men who have, in fact, left LCG to form their own groups taking with them LCG members; and THEY aren’t marked but we are.

We met with Mr. League and Mr. McNair one time the week we were dis-fellowshipped. It wasn’t a counseling session but more of an interrogation session. There were a lot of things going on at the time and they asked us of our involvement in them (we weren’t).  I fully admitted to having had a negative attitude over things that had happened to me in the past. I explained why we had been attending outlying congregations and why I didn’t like attending in the Masonic Temple but I also explained that I had IN NO WAY BEEN TRYING TO GET OTHERS TO STOP ATTENDING IN CHARLOTTE. There are others, including ministers, who share my discomfort of worshipping the Almighty from a Pagan Temple. Dr. Winnail told me specifically, in writing, that others shared my concerns. They didn’t get dis-fellowshipped. There is an altar filled with ash from offerings right behind the curtain where ministers are standing to preach to us every Sabbath. The hall is a temple. One only has to scratch the surface of research to discover the abominable things that happen there. There are so many scriptures that outline what God thinks about being worshipped from Pagan temples (Deut 12:2 , Exo 23:24, Exo 34:13, Psalm 78:58 , Deut 7:5, 2chron 31:1, 2kings 18: 4, 1corin 10:20 ). I never judged others for attending in that temple.  I never tried to cause division over this issue. I just quietly made the personal decision not to attend in Charlotte after studying my Bible on how God feels when His people worship from Pagan temples. I was told from an evangelist AND a high ranking minister at headquarters that there was NO RULE THAT I HAD TO ATTEND MY LOCAL CONGREGATION and that it was okay if we kept the Sabbath in outlying congregations if it made us feel more comfortable. 

That night, Mr. League and Mr. McNair never alluded to the fact that we were in any trouble; never hinted at dis-fellowshipment or even suspension. In fact, Mr. McNair said that 100% of the people he had talked to corroborated that we were in no way involved with any of the divisions or heresies that were going around at the time. As a side note, the people that were involved ARE STILL SITTING IN THE CONGREGATION. They were willing to write over $20,000 in checks to earn forgiveness and avoid being kicked-out while others guilty of the same beliefs and behaviors that had no money were dis-fellowshipped.  In order for “justice” to appear to be fair, the same crimes have to have the same punishments. Otherwise it looks like favoritism or vendetta.  Proverbs 11:1 says, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but just weight is His delight”.

As we left the meeting we were all hugging and talking about plans for the Feast which was just a few weeks away. We had no idea that we were going to receive a phone call from Mr. League and Mr. McNair the next morning saying that we were dis-fellowshipped per Mr. Meredith. We were caught completely off-guard and totally devastated. There was no mention of being marked. But then, two days later we were marked from the pulpit by Mr. McNair without ever being told. We found out from a shocked member of the congregation who immediately sent us a text message notifying us of the marking. We subsequently received a Fed Ex’d letter a few days later notifying us of the marking. By this time we had already begun to call and write feverishly begging for counselling; begging to work this out as Christians, as brothers and sisters. None of our letters were replied to. None of our phone calls returned. However, they hand wrote this at the bottom of our marking letter so at least we know they were aware of the fact that we wanted to counsel.





We didn’t let the letter discourage us. We continued to believe that this was all just a big mis-understanding and that eventually we would be called in to talk. I continued to write them on a nearly weekly basis; always begging for forgiveness; always pleading for mercy, love and grace; always expressing how much we love LCG and want to be a part of it; never getting a reply. Everything in us wanted to be back in our church; back with our brothers and sisters. We told them that we were “willing to do anything to clear our names”. They jumped to the conclusion that that meant we were going to sue them and so they started to spread that rumor throughout the church. To clarify, WE ARE NOT SUING THE CHURCH. 

As the 6 months drew closer, we were excited and hopeful to finally begin to work toward reconciliation. I wrote Mr. McNair again telling him how hopeful we were that we could work things out in time to keep the spring holy days with LCG. Again I poured out my heart in apology for my negative attitude and outlined many of the lessons this trial has shown me in my pre-Passover examination. My last letter got a reply, but not the one for which I had been praying for months. Rod McNair writes, “We are recommending another six months for you to examine yourselves, pray, fast, and ask God to grant you repentance”. ANOTHER 6 MONTHS?!? It was like being punched in the stomach.  How do you tell someone, we understand you want to counsel toward reconciliation but we’ve decided that we won’t even speak to you for AN ENTIRE YEAR??? Actions speak louder than words – their actions say “we don’t want you, stop begging to be back in the church”! The act of making us wait an entire year before even having a conversation with us is not love. It’s not shepherding. It doesn’t show mercy, kindness, forgiveness or any other attribute of Christian character. It’s hard and it’s mean spirited. God tells us in in John 13:34 that we are commanded to love one another and in that love He will know we are His disciples. Do LCGs actions toward us show this love John speaks of?

God says that He doesn’t even want to lose one! The job of a shepherd is to go after lost sheep, help them and counsel them so that they can remain with the flock. Not push them off the edge of a cliff, never looking back. Ezekiel 34:4 is about irresponsible shepherds and it says, “The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them”. I feel that this scripture perfectly describes what happened to us.

Even if the church truly believed that they had a genuine grievance with us they are incumbent in the spirit of Matthew 18 to at least TRY to work things out as brethren. Simply refusing to talk to us or return our emails is not a demonstration of following Christ. We should know the accusation and be given the opportunity to face our accusers, if for no other reason, than to be able to apologize to them.

God says in Romans 12 that Christians are not to repay evil for evil. Verse 18 says “if it possible live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”.  If the Living Church of God really thought we were in trouble or slipping in anyway, the Bible instructs that they should have helped us. Matthew 5:43 admonishes us to do good to those against us. If LCG felt we were enemies worthy of marking, they should have showed us the love, mercy and “goodness” that Christ is speaking of AND THEN GONE THE EXTRA MILE. They should have showed us the fruits of the Spirit in kindness; NOT throw us out to the world to die. Again I tell you, WE NEVER WANTED TO BE OUT OF THE CHURCH. 

Forgiveness opens the door to reconciliation. An unforgiving spirit blocks the flow of God’s Spirit in our own lives. An unforgiving heart is paramount to the unpardonable sin. Mercy acknowledges that mistakes have been made BUT FORGIVES ANYWAY. True leadership is character in action. 1 John 4:20 says that if someone says ‘I love God’ but hates his brother, he is a liar. Mr. Meredith and Mr. McNair may say they love us, but their actions show otherwise. Friends who have dropped us like lepers may say they love us, but their actions say otherwise. 

Matt 5:23 says not to make an offering to God if you remember that your brother has something against you. First we are to make peace with our brother and then return to the alter to make the offering. This is God’s instruction, not our opinion. Not working to make peace is a direct violation to obedience to God.  Matt 22:9 says that the greatest commandment is love. The entire law and commandments are based on love. It’s legalistic to strictly keep the Sabbath and Holy days but to completely neglect the weightier matter of the law. THAT IS WHAT THE PHARISEES DID.
The God we worship cannot be pleased. The Christ I know prayed “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. In His love and mercy He found forgiveness for the very men that were calling for His death!  His disciples betrayed Him, denied Him AND YET HE FORGAVE THEM. He is our perfect example. Yet LCG can’t find forgiveness for Patrick and me AFTER 6 month of shameless groveling, begging, pleading, praying for the trite crime of having a negative attitude???

Mr. Meredith used to always say, “follow me as I follow Christ”. I tell you brothers and sisters, Biblical principles HAVE IN NO WAY BEEN FOLLOWED in this situation.  Matthew 18 was not adhered to. As I mentioned, we still don’t even know what the accusation worthy of marking/dis-fellowshipping is. We were never given the opportunity to face our accusers or the opportunity to try to work things out as brothers in Christ through counselling or conversation.

We have been shocked at the number of very close friends who have completely severed ties with us to follow Mr. Meredith’s instruction even though they know we are good people, totally converted and not guilty of any crime worthy of the punishment we have received. I ask you, is that Godly character? Is it better to follow a man or to follow the instructions that our Savior left us with in His short time on earth? Christ preached that love was more important than even faith and hope. Christ preached that love covers a multitude of sins. Christ preached that we are to forgive our brother 7 times in a day if he repents and asks forgiveness.  We have felt completely abandoned by so many that we believed were true friends. It’s been devastating.

I understand and respect government but if what they are telling you to do is un-Christian and un-Biblical should you blindly follow? They are trying to put government over God’s written instruction. God is grace, mercy and abounding love and fairness. What is more important, man’s government which is tainted with ego, pride and self-will, or the Word of God? If a fallible man tells you to shun us but you know that it’s wrong, will you do it anyway? If they tell you we are bad but you have never seen evil in us, will you believe what they say or what you know based on personal experience? Sometimes God puts us through trials not just to see our reactions but to see if others will do the right thing. Will you stand for what is right or condone questionable behavior in blind submission? If you know the truth but don’t act on it God says you are just as guilty as the one telling the lie. 

Many of you will say, “I want to be faithful to the church, that’s why I’m choosing to shun you”. Faithfulness means to God, not to an organization of men. To confuse that can cost you your salvation! They do not speak for Christ. There is but one mediator between God and men and it’s not LCG. It’s Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5).

As individuals we ask you to remember what you know of our character, review what God says about forgiveness and then decide if you are going to believe that we are enemies of Israel, dangerous and to be avoided; or, if we are begotten children of God, your brother, your sister; worthy of your love and your friendships. We love you all so much and pray you will choose the latter. 

We have come to the sad realization that LCG does not want us based on their actions and refusal to speak to us for a minimum of one year. We have done everything we know to do to try to get back into the church. I can’t force them to meet with us or forgive us any more than I can change the orbit of the earth. We have prayed our hearts out. Many friends have also prayed their hearts out. For reasons we may never understand, it is now clear that we won’t be allowed back into LCG.

Many have advised us that we should not attend with other groups as it will prove our loyalty to LCG. We have 2 children at impressionable ages so we must attend church. We have attended with COGWA and UCG and had excellent sermons across the board. It is clear that they too are God’s people. There are good and bad in every group but the good by far outweighs the bad. We can’t tell our kids that we have to obey God by keeping the Sabbath and the holy days and then stay home alone. We want them to love God and keep His ways so we need to set the example. Again, expecting us to stay home from church for AN ENTIRE YEAR would be suggesting that we put the word of man above the word of God. That is something that we are not willing to do. Besides, we will all be judged as individuals, not a group or corporate organization.

We love and miss all of you so very much. We realize that you cannot openly be our friends out of fear of retaliation from the authority. Ruling by fear instead of leading by example is a scary precedence.  People have literally told us that they want to see us and that they love us but that THEY ARE SCARED THAT THEY WILL GET IN TROUBLE if Mr. McNair or Mr. Meredith find out.  I don’t think they realize how crazy that statement sounds. We are each responsible for our decisions and our friendships. They do not have the authority to scare you into staying away from converted brothers and sisters for unfounded reasons. There are multiple members of the council of elders who know our character and know that we are not guilty of any offense worthy of dis-fellowshipping but they too are scared to openly defend us.  It leaves us wishing that people had more courage but that is beyond our control. Will no one stand up when they see blatant injustice?

Hearing those types of words definitely throws up red flags. Telling members that they can’t fellowship with us even after they know we are not guilty of causing division is very much like the obedience demanded by people like Gerald Flurry. Members being “scared” of the ministry is cause for question. Anytime friendship is contingent on membership in the same group, it’s cause for alarm. Shepherds are to teach you right from wrong ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD and then trust that you are mature intelligent adults capable of discerning good from bad, right from wrong. You should all be free to make your own decisions. It is a shepherd’s responsibility to seek out the truth; to be slow to act; to avoid false accusations of the brethren. Only pride, arrogance, inability to admit they have made a mistake and plain out-right meanness is to blame for the refusal to show Philadelphian love; the refusal to be peacemakers.

Over the years we have been completely dedicated to the Living Church of God. I used to spend hours baking so that I could fill each hotel room with snacks and bottled waters when there was a ministerial conference. Patrick worked at headquarters at his own expense for nearly 5 years. He provided computers, paid for all his own business expenses for trips to set up Feast sites and to attend  the Religious Conference Meeting Association conference each year to network for better deals for the church and its brethren. We used our personal vehicles as a church taxi service for years at all hours of the day or night, rain, sleet, ice or snow anytime anyone was in need. I would make snack packs for ministers to enjoy as they arrived to their 2nd or 3rd Feast site completely worn out from travel and work. I hosted cocktail parties and dinner parties, not for myself, but so that visiting members would have a place to fellowship instead of being stuck in a hotel room with nothing to do as was often the case. We opened our home like a bed & breakfast FOR YEARS to visiting ministry. We single-handedly paid for the Tomorrow’s World television program to air on Kansas City channel 29 for a long time. We helped brethren be able to attend the Feast of Tabernacles when they otherwise would not have been able to afford to attend. Patrick paid to hire a software programmer to develop what you know as the Festival Registration Program when the church was stuck in the dark ages using paper registration forms that had to be manually entered to figure out how to plan on the correct numbers of brethren at each Feast site. Patrick has always been there when ANYONE needed him. He took care of widows, installed fireplaces, laid carpet, graded backyards with a Bobcat, cleaned houses, poured yards and yards of concrete to build patios, towed cars, fixed cars, picked up brethren the side of the highway after they totaled cars, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. We have always tried to be there for our brothers and sisters in need. We did these things NOT because we are enemies of the church trying to cause division but rather because we loved the church, believed they were doing the Work and loved our brothers and sisters

Some will say that this very letter is divisive. That is not the message we hope you take away. We feel we have a right to say our side of events without being accused of causing division. After all, they proclaimed their side when they stood in front of 250+ members and read our names as enemies of the church. Justice is blind. One should have both sides prior to making a determination. Shining the light on how wrongly this situation has been handled will likely upset them.  They don’t want you to know how hard we have fought to be back in the church because it makes them look bad. We have not attempted in any way to cause division. Separating best friends, brothers and sisters... that’s divisive. Not following Matthew 18 and not showing mercy and love to fellow begotten children of God… that’s divisive. If anything, THEY are causing division by acting unfairly and unequally with the brethren.

We didn’t leave LCG and we never committed any crime worthy of being dis-fellowshipped or marked. We pray you will remember who we are, truly are, instead of believing the false narrative that is being portrayed. We treasure our friends and understand the fear that many have expressed regarding openly being our friends. We would love nothing more than to continue positive brotherly private relationships with our LCG family members; summer BBQ’s, boat rides and family fun. We love you all!

Patrick & Elizabeth Scarborough

62 comments:

Black Ops Mikey said...

The congregation needs to verify ministerial Qualifications.

Anonymous said...

The folks in Charlotte are online viewing this right now. It shows on the map!

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to this family. Rod Meredith kicked my parents out several years ago. He is a vile detestable little man.

Anonymous said...

A sad situation echoed many times throughout the years as disfellowshipment is used as a club to control the people.
These people were used and abused then tossed aside and I say that because I have seen it played out again and again.
If the attitude of the ministry were loving and serving toward the people the church would not have splintered. But serious attitude problems amongst some in the ministry have caused splits and splinters, not problems with the brethren.
I pray for this family and their happiness and I hope they remember that the Church of Jesus is not a corporation.

Dan said...

Dave Pack is reportedly loving the LCG turmoil right now. He is hoping that the Restored Church of God will stand to inherit the disgruntled LCG members and their money. Since all that money belongs to Dave it is only a matter of time till the jump ship and join with Dave.

Anonymous said...

They are being way too nice about all this and if they want to go to church they should just go...

Anonymous said...

From the Live Statistics page for this site (by the way, Hawkins is the town just west of Big Sandy):

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Anonymous said...

That hand written note from League and McNair says it all.

Can you imagine if God was that unforgiving. We'd all be screwed.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't even read more than a few paragraphs of this letter. I somehow feel that the ministers they sent it too didn't bother to read it either. These things should always be expressed concisely, like one paragraph, otherwise it will just annoy whoever is reading it. Did they think those ministers really want to hear all these points and scriptures and whatever. Obviously the ministers don't really care about all this stuff and whatever is the reason they were thrown out could probably be expressed in a few words...... perhaps it is "they bores us to death with voluminous accounts of idiocy". Do those ministers want their own idiocy parroted back to them, that is like being forced to look at their own hideous reflection in a mirror.

I just hope they didn't keep tithing during this period.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

"Meredith has always been on the dole of the church his entire life".

MY COMMENT - No truer words have ever been spoken. Here is the Plain Truth - Rod Meredith is an idiot and has never worked in the real world his entire life! He has only "worked" in his "make believe world" advancing the Armstrong cult.

Sad that this couple had to live through such drama and trauma. However, in the end and in the long run, it will be a good thing for Patrick and Elizabeth to be rid of the idiot Meredith. The truth shall set you both free - no longer tithe slaves!

Accept your disfellowshipment freedom and run, don't walk, from the idiot Meredith and his fear religion family business. Twenty years from now you will be glad you did. I speak as some who lived and watched the Armstrong Church drama for 50 years! It produces NOTHING!

Richard

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

"Meredith has always been on the dole of the church his entire life".

MY COMMENT - No truer words have ever been spoken. Here is the Plain Truth - Rod Meredith is an idiot and has never worked in the real world his entire life! He has only "worked" in his "make believe world" advancing the Armstrong cult.

Sad that this couple had to live through such drama and trauma. However, in the end and in the long run, it will be a good thing for Patrick and Elizabeth to be rid of the idiot Meredith. The truth shall set you both free - no longer tithe slaves!

Accept your disfellowshipment freedom and run, don't walk, from the idiot Meredith and his fear religion family business. Twenty years from now you will be glad you did. I speak as some who lived and watched the Armstrong Church drama for 50 years! It produces NOTHING!

Richard

Anonymous said...

Mr. Meredith disfellowshipped the entire Scarborough Family ( there were over 80 of them) a few years ago. Patrick and Elizabeth were the last ones left.
These same Scarborough's were the same family that gave Meredith a bunch of computers when Global and Living split. They drove them to San Diego and set them up and loaded the software all for free. They also owned an Internet company and gave Living free internet service and email for about 11 years. And this is how he repays them. Maybe he is so senile that he thought they were the Scarborough that were in Pasadena. And went after them because of that.

Anonymous said...

This was about money. They have it. RCM wanted it. They didn't fork it over so he kicked them out without one word of explanation.

Miller Jones said...

The really sad part is that the Scarborough Family seems not to have learned anything of lasting value from their painful experience. Why would you exchange one bunch of tyrants for another? NO ONE has the authority to do what the LCG did to them. When I was disfellowshipped from the WCOG, one of the first questions that came to my mind was "If they're wrong about this, what else are they wrong about? The Scarborough Family may want to do a little more digging before they settle into a new offshoot!

Anonymous said...

League was a destroyer of men.

Hopefully these people learned who their real friends were. I pray that some stayed loyal.

Assuming they have friends that remain in LCG, I'm curious how those people view RCM and McNair after this.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember Gene and his wife as a little kid when they were running Granny's.

I don't know if there's any relation between this Scarborough family and Gene.

While it is too bad that the Scarborough family has not seemingly learned any lessons from this, after you see ACOG ministers show their true colors enough times, eventually, perhaps, sense does start to creep in around the edges of the otherwise god-haunted life. How many times does one have to be abused before they become disabused?

Having watched repeated bad behavior among ministers during splits made me eventually realize that behind the scenes the ministers are the worst, most badly behaved people in the ACOG scene, even though in my experience they usually reserve their worst behavior for other ministers. There is a code of silence among the secret world of ministers however, so no matter how badly one minister is treated at the hands of another minister, a lowly laymember will not usually hear of it. Otherwise, it might begin to dawn upon too many lowly laymembers what minister's true colors really are.

If it were not for the secrecy of the inner world of ministers, I think many more people would lose faith in the promises of the ACOG system and abandon ship, because they would realize that the behavior of ACOG ministers is typically so much worse than that of your typical, average, "unconverted" person in "the world." Which would mean, if "conversion" were a "thing" at all, it would be reserved for the lowly laymembers, like the Scarborough clan. Which would mean, the ministers in general aren't "guides," but stumbling blocks and obstacles, sent by, oh, I don't know, satan? Whatever you may or may not believe, how much better to be free from them and their entire iniquitous, corrupt, and spiritually bankrupt system?

I feel that RCM and his henchmen have done all these good people a fine favor out of the blue, though it may not feel like it. I only wish that more henchmen would show their true colors like this more often and do more fine, if god haunted, folks the same favor. It would spare a lot of people a lot of suffering.

Sweetblood777 said...

By your letter I discern that you all have surpassed all expectations of what one should do in your type of situation.

The LCG on the other hand has acted demonicly. They have shown that they lack any resemblance of one having the Holy Spirit.

For the LCG members who have been following LCG over the clear instructions of the Word, I fear for them, as they have shown that they are spiritual cowards and Yahweh will judge them accordingly.

These so-called ministers have shown that they are the ones that are unconverted and will feel the rod of Christ when the time comes.

Anonymous said...

To the Scarboroughs,

Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. A number of us here have been in your situation, it is definitely sad and unsettling. From experience, the best thing you can do is stay away from cog's and use the time to read the bible with your own eyes, set aside the doctrines you have been taught all these years. One year from now, write again and tell us how much truth you have found out and how much God loves you and your family.

Michael said...

"People have literally told us that they want to see us and that they love us but that THEY ARE SCARED THAT THEY WILL GET IN TROUBLE if Mr. McNair or Mr. Meredith find out."

This kind of sums it up. In COGdom, power-drunken authority has always trumped the natural human proclivity toward friendly relations.

So mixed up.
These men are not worthy of the deference being shown them even in this letter.

While at this point it's certainly much too big a step to take for this sincere couple, a shortcut would be to realize that it's all wrong - utterly, completely totally wrong, the organization, the beliefs, the basis of the faith, the concept that a god would conduct such a drama in the first place.
That would be big step, but it would make what's going on a lot easier to understand.
Because this is exactly what you'd expect if men had developed their own pet ideas of how to worship, and because there is no god, they are forced to adopt such highhanded tactics to enforce people to adhere to them.
In other words (for the purpose of this context), the entire COG history, splinters included, is not much different from what you'd expect if there were no Christ or holy spirit, and humans were simply bungling around on their own in a mutual display of power plays.

It's exactly what you'd expect.

Anyway, I hope this couple is somehow able to regain their lost friendships in the future.

RSK said...

It is overly lengthy - I am guessing that they thought it better to go ahead and try to address all the counterarguments possible while they had the chance.

Anonymous said...

Great scriptures.

LCG members reading this should tremble in fear that they are following men who don't believe these scriptures apply to them (which clearly they don't).

Imagine what it will be like when God judges Meredith. He's been so hard and unforgiving and destroyed more people than the average Pharisee. I almost feel sorry for him in the end. How sad to be so spiritually immature after so many hours with your thick head in the Bible.

Byker Bob said...

Hypothetically, if the Armstrong doctrines and prophecy mold were true, and if LCG or any of the ACOGs actually were God's one and only true church, then any amount of pain, poverty, or human suffering that one had to endure in order to get and remain in the good graces of the church and its leadership would be worthwhile and understandable.

Unfortunately, that is not at all the case. This is yet more rottenness from the bountiful harvest of bad fruit. The vast majority of the gains these churches make are purely the result of splinter-surfing. Some allegedly powerful people do not realize the effects of the negative P.R that ministerial abuse and injustice generate about them in an era of 700 choices. I can't forecast the size or volume of the negative backlash which this situation is guaranteed to produce, but it will definitely affect the size and income of LCG over the coming months.

It would also be incredibly foolish for Gerald Flurry or Dave Pack to expect to be beneficiaries to the fallout, as their activities have earned even worse P.R. over the past several years than has LCG. A percentage of the members who leave or are forced out from these groups do permanently leave the ACOG tithe pool. Others will send in for some Ron Dart materials and begin to practice Armstrongism independently, purely to escape the tyranny. If there are any remaining splinters with any semblance of fairness, some may join up with them.

It is just crazy to place greater value on HWA-style authority than on survival of the flock. But, that this is emerging as being the rule rather than the exception is hardly shocking. Had there been genuine love and concern for the flock, and its ability to get out the most powerful possible end time message in the first place, there never would have been any splintering.

BB

Anonymous said...


“Living Church of God: The Letter...and the Current Disfellowshipment Fiasco”


Roderick C. Meredith wants to preach a “hybrid gospel” that makes it about the kingdom of God and about the life of Jesus. He wants to teach that the “falling away” is something that is yet to happen with the world, rather than something that already happened with the Worldwide Church of God in 1995 under the apostate Tkaches. He wants to teach that the “wedding supper” will be in heaven. He wants to teach that almost nobody in the whole world had ever heard about HWA and his WCG with their 150,000 people but that RCM and his LCG with their 8,000 leftover losers are going to “shake the nations.”

And those kooks who wrote that letter want so desperately to get back into the Living Church of Rod so they can fully agree with and support such things? Maybe they need to take an additional 12 months (in addition to the LCG's recommended 6 months + 6 months more) out and away to fast and pray about their rotten attitudes! Maybe they need to truly repent so they don't end up back in the LCG.

Anonymous said...

The church of God, both WWCG and Living and UCG etc have done little to preach the kind of peace Paul evidently had to know that he ran a good race, etc.
Instead it is a religion of fear. Fear of not keeping the holydays as strictly as I should for FEAR of losing my salvation. Always fearing that I can't be good enough.
Yes I know Jesus died for my sins but the church keeps hammering away at how you need to keep the holy days and sabbath in perfection or you go into the lake of fire/tribulation/whatever.
And the worst is that if you go to the ministry for comfort and more understanding you would be thrown out.
It is awful, yet I remain and I am not sure why.
I despise the fear. I truly hate the fear they engender.

Byker Bob said...

This is like deja vu all over again! People back in the great awakening of the mid 1970s were also victimized by a witch hunt mentality. There was spying, intrigue, rumor, and innuendo back then, much like we are witnessing with LCG. And, people from that era also wrote long letters chronicling their new conclusions, disillusionment, and angst. What have become the modern day epistles of the Armstrong dissident movement, the Gerringer Letter, the Jack Kessler Letter, and Orlin Grabbe's letter to his mother, all went on for pages, and are now considered classic.

It is, of course, amazing that nothing substantive was learned from all of that, nothing that would change the basic methodology or management style of your typical card-carrying ACOG leader or minister. The "flaming asshole" as spiritual guide is obviously still the guiding model for one who is thought to embody the "qualifications" for a bishop within all of the Armstrongist churches. The good news? We could be witnessing the final frontier, the final collapse of a flawed system that could never really rise to the level of actual functionality. The bad news? As before, good people are getting hurt.

BB

Ralph said...

Can someone point me towards a dictionary that defines the word 'disfellowship'?

Ralph said...

In addition to that, can someone refer me to any scripture that defines 'income' as 'increase'?

Anonymous said...

I heard that Meredith is so pissed off about this letter that he is going to mark them AGAIN next Sabbath. How funny! How many times can he do the same thing before he realizes it makes him look like an even bigger idiot?!

Meredith, "How dare you tell your side of things? I double super mark you! When I'm a spirit being I will zap you with a bolt of lightening!"

The behavior of McNair and Meredith is frightfully demonic.

I hope the light being shinned on the ungodly actions of LCG leadership will wake people up.

Meredith want them to think that he has the power but it is the members who have all the power. If they stand up against this type of blatant abuse instead of doing nothing maybe things could change.

I believe everything in this letter. Not because I know the victims but because I know how Meredith has ALWAYS operated and because of his worldwide reputation as a big fat LIAR.

My heart goes out to these people. I can't imagine writing "dozens of letters" and wanting to be with the people you perceive to be your "family and friends" but being left out in the cold "to die". I'm sure that they will look back on this in a year and be glad they are no longer subject to this type of unchristian rule.

Fly free little birds...

Anonymous said...

These folk have not been disfellowshiped. They have been dis-membered.

Retired Prof said...

Ralph, there's no need for a dictionary to define "disfellowship." You can tell by the prefix that it means more or less the same thing as "unfriend," "excommunicate," "exclude," "delist," and many other words with negative prefixes attached to a root suggesting affiliation.

But that's just etymology. It helps us decipher a word the first time we see it, but the primary way lexicographers define words is by their contexts, the same way the rest of us do. And the contexts for "disfellowship" make it clear that it means the same thing as those words I listed and also carries the same churchly connotations as "shun," the Amish word for "excommunicate."

Erin McKean, an erudite lexicographer I know, said, "If it's used by a native English speaker in an English sentence, it's a word. We dictionary editors have to decide whether it's been used often enough to be worth listing in our dictionary." If you can't find "disfellowship" in any dictionary, that's because no editor has noticed it, or else has decided it's too obscure to warrant an entry. We ex-cogger's know perfectly well what it means.

Dictionary? We don't need no stinkin' dictionary!

Anonymous said...

I can tell you now that LCG is shitting bricks right now over this letter becoming public. Now it has reached a wider LCG audience and Spanky is NOT happy!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many LCG employees it takes to monitor Banned, Facebook and headquarters emails....

I like to think of them all sitting in tiny cubicles getting a pat on the head like obedient dogs each time they find a nugget for the master.

Anonymous said...

I served with Patrick at LCG camps and I have been to his house many times. He is a bright light. He is kind, compassionate, generous and loving.

LCG has a huge problem here because so many people, including a lot of ministers, know how dedicated he was and know he has a heart of gold. We often wondered why he wasn't a minister himself. I have never heard him speak divisively. Quite the contrary. He was always saying there are so few of us we all need to stick together.

I don't understand why his minister friends aren't going to bat for him.

Anonymous said...

The people who worked at LCG and were disfellowshipped had to sign letters that they would not hold LCG liable for anything, before they would give them their severance pay.

Anonymous said...

And because they are a non-profit. They do not pay unemployment. So if they did not sign they got nothing. And would be destitute. So they had them over a barrel sign the document or starve till you could find another job.

Dan said...

I know at least three people who monitor this blog and report back. A lot of thIs is dome during work hours. Do the poor LCG members who struggle to send in tithe money know that it goes to pay employees to play on the Internet all day?

Anonymous said...

"I heard that Meredith is so pissed off about this letter that he is going to mark them AGAIN next Sabbath. How funny! How many times can he do the same thing before he realizes it makes him look like an even bigger idiot?! Meredith, "How dare you tell your side of things? I double super mark you!"

Is getting double-disfellowshiped the polar opposite of Prophet Bob's double-dose of the holy spirit? Will the Scarborough's be left with a -1 quanta of the holy spirit? Does that mean they'll have to be thrown into the lake of fire, resurrected, and then thrown in again?

So then, that begs the question, was Prophet Bob ever adequately disfellowshiped from LCG?

The goofy stuff that happens when you start drinking the kool-aid...

Anonymous said...

One person got fired and disfellowshipped because he took two of the others into his home. One had absolutely nothing, no money, no car, no home, no food, because his wife had thrown him out and everything was in her name.
So he did the christian thing and took him in.
League and McNair came to him and told him he had to put them out on the street. To make them grovel and repent to them. He could not do it. It just seemed so unchristian. So they fired him and disfellowshipped him. And to make matters worse his wife was undergoing cancer treatment.

Anonymous said...

I'm sad to read this letter, but what saddens me the most is the desperate attempts to rejoin LCG. I left LCG a few years ago, for very good reason, and have never looked back. True, I left friends in the organization. But, those people are still my friends! There's a difference between being friends with someone you happen to attend church with, and being friends with someone only because they attend church with you - and letting that church dictate your friendship status. It's called a cult, and while I don't agree that every COG is a cult, I do believe LCG has become a cult because of the overtly oppressive attitude coming from its leadership, not to mention its elitist attitude about members status as the "special chosen ones" and the only truly converted. I hope these people can find peace and happiness among another group.

Anonymous said...

PATRICK & ELIZABETH

MANY OF US LOVE AND MISS YOU!

YOU ARE IN OUR PRAYERS!

DONT LOSE HEART!

Ralph said...

April 1, 2015 at 8:11 AM Retired Prof said...

Ralph, there's no need for a dictionary to define "disfellowship."
- See more at: http://armstrongismlibrary.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/living-church-of-god-letterand-current.html#sthash.lpQJFNyF.dpuf

Thanks Prof. My Merriam-Webster (very reliable)gives a definition of 'disassociate' that I think is more apt than 'disfellowship'.

Anonymous said...

I received this letter. What this post doesn't show is the scripture that was the header.

Matt 18:17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church.

I'm proud of these people for following scripture although I'm sure COGs will view it as divisive instead of Biblical.

The COGs like to pick and chose which scriptures to keep and which to ignore.

I didn't know these people well but they seemed nice. I don't understand what's going on in LCG.

Anonymous said...

Meredith and McNair should be ashamed. Christ is about love and forgiveness. This whole thing makes me feel ashamed to be a part of LCG.

I'm glad they sent me this letter. The rumors going around grow by the week. Gossips have carried questionable stories from Charlotte to my church area. I've known these two for years and believe in their character.

I was studying today and came across this scripture which reminds me of what's going on right now in LCG - Romans 1:29
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.

RSK said...

As for the business of sacrificed ash in Masonic altars, I don't know anything about that and a google search turned up nothing. Every lodge has an altar, but I've never heard of ash being used in that way.

I suppose it is an inconvenient point for the COGs, tho, meeting in the same Masonic lodges that Hoeh railed about in the past.

Anonymous said...

Carl McNair would be so ashamed of Rod. How can such a great man create such a heartless, evil troll?

Anonymous said...

What Hoeh say about Masonic temples? I'm relatively new in the COG and have never heard of Hoeh. I will say that it makes me feel uncomfortable to meet at the Scottish rite temple. The building is creepy and the alter and king chairs behind the pulpit seem a little wrong. I know better than to say anything to the ministry though. I've seen what happens when you do. God will work it out.

Anonymous said...

I like the pic of the note from Rod McNair.

"I know you want to counsel but piss off"

So Christian.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cogperspective.org/2014/leadership/what-is-leadership/


He explains that what he have in LCG is not leadership, but a bunch of Alpha males. Leaders put others interests before their own. "Alpha's" just want to be on top and put others down.


It would be interesting to ask all the people in our congregation and get them to honestly answer the question "Does your minister(s) put your interests above their own?" and listen to the answers. Or, when danger comes, do you think that the leadership would rather throw you under the bus?

--- Pete

Anonymous said...

Herman Hoeh, former WCG "historian", if you want to dignify his writing by calling it that. He authored a WCG booklet on Masonry back in the 50s or 60s, I believe.

Anonymous said...

Yet WCG never had any issues rentong Masonic halls at least by the 70s, if not earlier.

Redfox712 said...

What a horrifying testimony. These are the kinds of people in charge of LCG at present? My word. How horrifying.

So these sincere people wonder why they are meeting in a Masonic temple when they (LCG members) are told that they must shun practices like Christmas, Easter and birthdays. This inconsistency bothers them and they are shunned for being logical about what they have been told?

So these sincere people try to resolve whatever the issue is but they are just ignored and crushed by those in power.

Anonymous said...

As for the large chairs, they are designated for particular officers of the Lodge - but you can read more of that on the internet.

Anonymous said...

I am a Master Mason and there is no ash involved with any rituals.

Anonymous said...

I saw a small child get into what looked like ash on or near the alter in Charlotte. It was all over his hands. Maybe it was something else. It's really of no consequence either way. My guess is that even though these people were told they didn't have to attend their local congregation,it pissed the local ministry off because it was an exercise of free will instead of blind submission. In other words, if the ministry say the hall is fine then the people should just believe it to be so. Whether right or wrong, these people obviously thought for themselves which is a big no no in LCG.

RSK said...

Its not very common or part of official rites, but some lodges do burn incense for atmosphere during some meetings/rituals. That's the only source of ash I can think of. Who knows, maybe the Senior Warden of that lodge enjoys a cigar occasionally :)

Anonymous said...

I attended a feast in the islands with these people and thought they were lovely. They made it possible for all of us to take a 3 hour sail after church one day. It was very enjoyable. Based on the character I witnessed first hand it is difficult to believe what has happened to them. I feel very sad for them and will be praying for them. After reading this blog, my LCG friends and I have questions about what is going on in Charlotte. How could they do this to such kind people? It seems very obviously wrong.

Anonymous said...

Notice, they had addressed their comment to Partick only, and not mentioned his wife. This is a ploy LCG use to get a husband and a wife against each other and split up families. Keep together, don't let these dog's split you apart. We have this method used on us as well over the years in LCG. Every year at the Feast a certain minister (regional director) would try to get myself and my husband not to spend much time together, giving him jobs to do to make him too busy to enjoy outings with me during the Feast. Even on Holy Day luncheons he would drag my husband to do some meaningless job and not to enjoy eating a meal together with friends. We know what it means to be used up and spit out. They take, take, take, there is no give, give, give. They mistreat and abuse you. There needs to be dramatic change in LCG, if not I am sure the Brethren will move on to greener pastures. They have changed since the death of leading ministers John Ogwyn, Dipar Apartian. I feel these departed ministers had compassion on the Brethren and treated them fairly. Also it is most noticeable the subtle changes in doctrines since 2005 onwards, once the Truth is watered down, there can only be trouble. But LCG ministers will not change on 11 Thes 2: and Petrine doctrines etc, they are diametrically opposite to what HWA taught. Anyway my friends Scarbourgh family, God will always make a way for his people, he will never forsake you or leave you. I hope LCG HQ are reading these blogs, because they have to learn how their people are feeling. They CANNOT continue in Gestapo tactics and place fear in members of being disfellowshipped if they don't submit to the party line. Also others are used to spy on the fellow church members and report back to the ministers. While others can go about disorderly. All things should be done in love and concern for each other, not jealousy, envy, competition and power. Mr Armstrong spoke many times about these problems, it seems to have overtaken many in the ministry and brethren who want to get up in the ranks.

Anonymous said...

I feel awful every Sabbath as I sit in LCG services and have hateful feelings towards the 2 families who bribed and lied their way out of trouble as mentioned at the end of this letter. They make me sick. They should have been vomited out of the church. Not the Scarborough's.

Anonymous said...

Meredith probably used this letter to wipe his butt with.

He's such a vindictive narcissist, there's no way he cares about these people or their letter!

He doesn't need a "reason" to kick them out of the church. It's his church. He can do what he wants! If LCG were Christ's church this wouldn't have happened in the first place.

Anonymous said...

It seems unprofessional and somewhat childish to just go on ignoring people who keep calling and writing letters.

WWJD? I'm pretty sure NOT this.

Anonymous said...

According to my sources, LCG headquarters still hasn't responded to the Scarborough's and all of this happened in September. It seems wrong to completely ignore people who have made so much effort to try to communicate and make peace. Many of my friends in Living think that the Scarborough's will be welcomed back as soon as Meredith dies because it is obvious that this is vendetta. Nothing else makes sense. I knew these people and there is no reasonable explanation for what happened to them.

Others think that they will remove the marking and invite them back at the end of the one year term outlined in McNair's last letter. I have never heard of anyone being "unmarked" so I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Has anyone ever been "unmarked" from a COG?

I haven't been in the church long enough to know but it doesn't seem in character with the difficulty they seem to have admitting wrong or in being forgiving.

No matter how you slice it, this whole event has made a lot of people question the seeming unchristian behavior coming out of what is supposed to be God's church on earth.

Unknown said...

If the disfellowshipped members wanted to be reinstated, the best course of action may have been to spend 6 months fasting and praying about the matter; and not continuing to contact members of the ministry and other brethren.