Friday, August 7, 2015

Living Church of God: Morgan Montgomery's Father Speaks To Campers

 
 
 


Mr. Martin Montgomery addressing the campers this morning.
Posted by Living Youth Programs on Thursday, August 6, 2015



I cant imagine how difficult it is for Morgan Montgomery's father to speak before the kids at LCG's summer camp in Ohio.

27 comments:

Byker Bob said...

One thing all of us have in common, and that would be that we have all lost people who were dear to us. When this happens, most of us don't get the choice as to whether we are on the front line, in terms of dealing with and taking care of final deails, or get to simply grieve passively. The people who do take a front line role are often no different from the rest of us. Somehow, they seem to be granted extra strength, do get through the situation, and are remembered as examples by the rest if us. Differences in theology aside, I admire Mr. Montgomery for being able to take a leadership role in the aftermath of this terribly sad situation, and to be a soothing, or inspiring influence on his daughter's colleagues and charges.

One facet of youth that most of us forget with age. When you are 13 of 14 years old, a 19 year old is one of the "big guys", the knowledgable big brother or big sister who helps get you over some of the rough spots associated with being young and inexperienced. The sudden loss of such a person would be devastating to each individual camper as well as the staff, and the family. And, these are things that don't go away when you try to repress them. They must be properly dealt with. You never know who is grieving, and how they are grieving. I learned this from my son. Years ago, one of the teachers at his grade school had had a heart attack and died on the playground at school. Bobby had furtively scooped up the fragments of the man's broken eye glasses, and was examing them quietly and sadly in his room the following weekend. I had to tell him that his teacher would deeply appreciate his concern, but that he wouldn't want my son to cut himself on dangerous broken glass. Prior to witnessing my son's behavior, this had all just been an impersonal news item from our local paper.

BB

Questeruk said...

It's at times like this that I wonder what several of those on this board, who ascribe to the theory of no God, and no purpose in life, can offer as some sort of comfort in these situations?

At least those who follow the theory of a creator God, a God who has a purpose for the creating of mankind, they can offer something.

Anonymous said...

A great speech…! It really is.

Anonymous said...

Questruk,

I think that no one, believer or not, has anything to offer that can bring any real comfort to a parent after the loss of of a child. For me, there is no reasonable explanation of why a loving, all-powerful God would allow or cause an innocent child to die.

Connie Schmidt said...

God Bless Mr. Montgomery and his family. His strength and dignity are inspiring.

Mish-Mash said...

God Bless this Father for having the courage to speak up to those younger and put things in a proper perspective.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering how a bereaved parent could speak so well and quote from the Bible. I was beginning to think he was a minister, and he must be, because he mentioned preaching to a home congregation. His daughter had been baptized only a few weeks ago and was 19. I think I was 19 when I was baptized also, and innocent and believing in 'the faith' completely. Three years later I stopped believing and left the church. Now if I had been plucked when I was 19 and pure and innocent...... I guess no one would have seen the real me, and would I have actually experienced real life? Now I suppose I am doomed to await eternal destruction, because it seems there is no going back once one has tasted the fruits of reality. Who knows what this girl would have done when life awoke her from the dream of her parents church.

I can't see my dad getting up and speaking consolingly to people if I died young, I think he would have cursed God as Job was advised by his friends. I see my dad cursing God and cursing the church, not preaching consoling words to others. I am not criticizing Mr. Montgomery, I admire his strength perhaps. Then no one would have allowed my dad to get up and preach either.

Byker Bob said...

Quester~

Actually, when I was led from non-belief back to Christianity some ten years ago, the idea that we had to live on for all eternity was probably the most difficult thing for me to wrap my mind around and accept. In a way, I sometimes think we derive comfort from whatever we are used to. I mean, I understand that some East Indians believe that cows are God. Imagine how difficult it would be for Indian immigrants to Americanize and to learn to enjoy a good steak!


BB

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:32 PM,

You wrote: "...I think that no one, believer or not, has anything to offer that can bring any real comfort to a parent after the loss of of a child. For me, there is no reasonable explanation of why a loving, all-powerful God would allow or cause an innocent child to die..."

I listened to Morgan's dad's "mini-sermonette" and he appeared to be comforted by the scriptures he read and he was striving to encourage others to be comforted, b/c he believes and hopes in a God who claims to have the power of resurrection, that that God would someday make his daughter live again.

Is that hope in vain? Time will tell. It is appointed that all humans will die once, no getting around it, and I believe his daughter will live again. A question may be: which resurrection will she be in? Being baptized does not make one a Firstfruit, but change in her life will surely come. Did God grant her His Spirit or not? I don't know. The father thinks, "Yes, He did," but virtually all of the cogs and probably millions of people have believed such a thing was true for them and their loved ones. God weights the spirit; He knows who has received His Spirit; the rest will later receive it.

The dad believes his daughter was a Firstfruit. Now, that may not be true, but God knows who were/are His. Again, time will tell.

Still, no one wants to have a loved one's life terminated for any reason.

If Morgan, was not a sealed Firstfruit, then, like so much of this world, it was just "time and chance" regarding her tragedy.

If you were Satan, how would you do it? Satan has the whole world in his hands (Eph 2:2; I John 3:8; 2 Tim 2:26, etc.), but not so a sealed Firstfruit. If Satan could identify a sealed Firstfruit (names are already written in the Lamb's Book of Life) he would strive to murder them ASAP, just he did to Christ; however, in Christ's situation Satan had to wait a season before fulfilling prophecies regarding his death. The Groom lives b/c He was resurrected. The Wife, the Bride? It isn't completed yet. If there is no Bride, there will be no "children," no Kingdom of God. God and Satan know that, so time and chance do not apply to Firstfruits. God does protect them until God has accomplished His will in their lives so that eventually that Bride is completed and ready. Still, it is appointed once for humans to die. Jesus Christ died. So will each Firstfruit die, but there is that hope for the resurrection of all sealed Firstfruits, and later "the rest" of humanity.

Also, I don't believe God caused Morgan's death. Consider the following:

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

And time will tell.......

John

Anonymous said...

"It's at times like this that I wonder what several of those on this board, who ascribe to the theory of no God, and no purpose in life, can offer as some sort of comfort in these situations?"

...because whatever theory is the most comforting, the most palliative, that's what must be true...

Translation: "How do you people who don't believe get through life thinking reality doesn't mollycoddle to your whims?"

Gee whiz. I dunno...

Whether you don't believe or whether you do, there are good times and there are bad for all of us. I can imagine no circumstance tougher to get through than outliving your child. My sympathies go out to the Montgomery family.

But principles are unaffected by circumstances. So, circumstances aside, let's talk about principles.

There's 2 kinds of people. Some people would prefer to lie to themselves and be lied to, just so long as it's a story that makes them feel better. Such people aren't interested in figuring out what's going on in this universe. In principle, they'd rather not know. They'd rather be in the dark if reality isn't what they want it to be, fixating on a story that makes them feel better. They'd rather spend their whole lives pretending that everything can be how they want it to be just because, you know, wishful thinking. The premise that reality mollycoddles us and ultimately gives everyone cotton candy, rainbows, and lollipops is stuff for small children. Adults who still lean on such fantasies should be ashamed of themselves. No, really, I mean it. Aside from the juvile aspects, otherwise good people do bad things in the defense of their childish fantasies when reality rears it's ugly head.

And then, there's the people WOULD rather know. And short of knowing, they'd rather not pretend like they do. They'd rather NOT lie to themselves or be lied to. Not only do they not demand to be mollycoddled, they don't even want that. At the end of the day, at the most repressed but honest level, even those who do demand to be mollycoddled know that mollycoddling is bullshit.

"At least those who follow the theory of a creator God, a God who has a purpose for the creating of mankind, they can offer something."

Q: What is this "something" they can offer? (A: It's bullshit.)

It's not like people who don't believe can't offer anything. Question is, what do you think bullshit is worth? Depends on which of the above categories you fall into, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps one should consider that it is all a fantasy. It is great to have spiritual beliefs and believe in an afterlife, but the certainty and the details which WCG etc. knew label it as unlikely. I know many religious people who believe in an afterlife but they do not have the surity of the details which WCG had, like firstfruits and how God will know them and whether a young person just baptised will be a firstfruit. Even the Bible says it is a mystery, but we in WCG were ruling planets and the world with a rod of iron for 100 years. We were already jostling for positions, didn't Rod Meredith once claim to be No. 5 or something in the universe.

It is always awkward when talking to true believers who have just suffered tragedy because it is cruel to burst their bubble which is insulating them from unbearable grief. So probably it is best to leave them alone and let them console each other with their awaiting planets and rulership.

R.L. said...

May God comfort the Montgomery family during this difficult trial. His words about forgiveness are something people in many COG groups need to consider deeply.

Questeruk said...

When, some years ago now, I was in the position of holding my dead daughter in my arms, knowing that there was nothing I could do, the last thing I would have wanted to hear was someone telling me that there was no God, there is no purpose in life, and my daughter was dead, and would stay dead, with no hope of me, or anyone else, ever seeing her again.

I don't understand how anyone can feel that is a positive message. Yet this is the message that is constantly being feed into the comments on this board.

I myself, and medical science, could do nothing for my daughter. Any hope of any help was from some higher power, God if you like, who could bring something about, so she would not remain non-existent for an eternity.

It was, and is, that hope and expectation that she and millions of others will not have lived for no purpose, but that they were created by a loving God, who created them having the same type of mind as He has – so that in due time God can have many more children, who will develop into companions and friends of God.

My understanding, both from the Bible, and just looking around at both the universe, and life itself on earth, shows me that this creation could not have just happened.

Am I right? Well, I can't prove it, any more than anyone can prove that God does NOT exist. But I know which scenario is the more positive, and that is the one which I will hold on to, unless or until there is proof positive of anything else.

Byker Bob said...

Probably what set some on their present path of non-belief was the WCG teaching that in the Kingdom, you still would not have direct access to God and Jesus. In the Armstrong version of the Kingdom, the insufferable tyrants who made lying prophecies, exploited you throughout your physical life and made your life a living Hell were going to be the gatekeepers in charge of you for all eternity. That's unacceptable. TLoF would actually be preferable. I don't want RamRod, or Herbie, or the Pack Rat, the Abominable Snowman, or any of the rest of them anywhere near me for eternity. If indeed they make it to the Kingdom, I don't want to hear about them, and I don't want to know about them, or hear any more of their sermons. They can live their reward, and I'll live mine.

BB

Anonymous said...

"I don't understand how anyone can feel that is a positive message."

...because if it isn't positive, then it can't be true...

"Any hope of any help was from some higher power, god if you like, who could bring something about, so she would not remain non-existent for an eternity."

God of the gaps? Let's just speculate that there does exist "some higher power." Will the REAL "higher power" please stand up? The odds, which can be calculated, suggest that it's pretty unlikely that such a "higher power" is YOUR god, instead of somebody else's. But lemme guess, YOU'RE the lucky lottery winner?

How positive a message it is for those who worship other "higher powers" when you or other christians tell them they're "wrong" or "deceived" for worshiping a "higher power" by a different name? Don't you see how your "positive" message is pretty damn negative for just about everyone else?

"It was, and is, that hope and expectation that she and millions of others will not have lived for no purpose, but that they were created by a loving god [blah blah blah]..."

Millions? Is that it? While implying a "hope and expectation" that other estimated 100 billion people who have ever lived get thrown in the lake of fire? Way to stay positive...

"My understanding, both from the bible, and just looking around at both the universe, and life itself on earth, shows me that this creation could not have just happened."

Your understanding? Oh, well I guess that settles it then. Or not. Even if "this creation" were brought about by some "higher power," it's very unlikely you've stumbled upon the REAL "higher power."

"Am I right?"

You mean, are you holding a winning "god lottery" ticket? Chances are dismal, and that's being "positive" (optimistic). Math alone says this is NOT what you should expect, considering how astronomical the risks are of being wrong, and how infinitesimal the likelihood of being right, about any sliver of it, really.

And there are many aspects of your "god hypothesis" that make predictions that are testable by observation, and these predictions always fail.

"Well, I can't prove it, any more than anyone can prove that god does NOT exist. But I know which scenario is the more positive, and that is the one which I will hold on to, unless or until there is proof positive of anything else."

Way to shift the burden of proof. Your idiosyncratic "god hypothesis" may seem positive to you, but it's simultaneously very negative for everyone with a different "god hypothesis."

How thoughtless one has to be. The sweeping, patently absurd assumptions one has to hold to. The fallacies one has to use. The blinders one has to wear. *Sigh*

Glenn said...

Questeruk,

I would like to offer my condolences regarding the death of your daughter. I don't recall seeing you post anything about that before. I cannot imagine anything causing more grief.

Anonymous said...

The comments to this posting show an interesting contrast in spirit between the longer comments and those that are brief and to the point. To the wordy writers I suggest--

Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2


Lake of Fire Church of God said...

A very difficult thing for any parent to have to do - officiate their own child's memorial service. My brother, a local elder in the WCG had to do it. It was painful, and I agonized for him.

Two things that struct me from the video clip:

1. Reference that his daughter was baptized 19 days prior to her death - the harden Armstrongite would find that to be a significant parallel to the 19 year time cycles. I could imagine a Gerald Waterhouse drawing a comparison.

2. He made comment that "God is building a family" - typical traditional Armstrongite teaching except the teaching is "God is a family" as I remember it. What struck me is how is God building a family by the premature death of this young lady. A very strange way for God to build his family.

Richard

Anonymous said...

John 4:23 insists that Christian worship must be "in truth."

Several posts in this thread suggest that Armstrongist belief is either harmless or desirable because it is a "comfort" to the family of the deceased. The problem is that this logic leads to the conclusion that lies are OK if they serve some greater good.

This is the same logic HWA used when he had coffee, donuts and orange juice before preaching on Atonement. It's the same logic that justifies covering up the sins of the leadership in the various splinters.

If Christianity has any value, it should be able to withstand truthful scrutiny. Fortunately, Elder Montgomery's sermonette on his daughter's tragic death does a great job of revealing the truth of Armstrongism's death-loving agenda.

Maybe you think "death-loving" is too harsh a description of ACOG belief, but the fact is it's quite apt. Elder Montgomery wants us to believe that his daughter's three weeks as a baptized Christian represent the successful achievement of the Armstrongist goal.

What is that goal? The goal of Armstrongism is to die in the faith. In Armstrongism, it is better to die as a teenager three weeks after baptism than to spend 60+ years practicing Christian virtues and making this world a better place. If you are honest about it, Armstrongism is a death-positive religion, in which the members endure lives of depression and cognitive dissonance, desperately trying to avoid sin, looking forward to the day when they "die in the faith."

Questeruk said...

Thanks for your kind words Glenn. I have never mentioned this on this board before. It was, as I said, some years ago.

Reading the vitriol of Anonymous August 8, 2015 at 3:09 PM, its unlikely that I will feel able to share anything of such a personal nature on this board again.

Anonymous said...

That was one of the most inspiring messages that I have heard from almost anyone in a COG.
And I have been a member for over 35 years of various organizations.

Mr. Montgomery is truly a fine, and a real man. What a wonderful example of a father and Christian he is. If the majority of us in the COG had his attitude, all of the organizations wouldn't be in such disarray.

May you and your family find peace and comfort in your time of need.

Anonymous said...

Millions of people in the history of human civilization have died without the benefits of literact, and you whine about having to read "wordy writers". So sorry that they're not speaking in ready-made slogans for you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 8:06pm,

Were you not able to discern the attitudes which, in the main, differentiate the brief positive, supportive comments and the wordy negative, critical comments? Those attitudes are blindingly obvious. It was not the wordiness but the attitude revealed with the many words that I was commenting upon.You chose to overlook the point I was clearly making.

Questeruk said...

When I said “Anonymous August 8, 2015 at 3:09 PM” I did of course mean the crass comments of “Anonymous August 8, 2015 at 3:49 PM”, whoever he/she may be.

Byker Bob on the other hand, who wrote the 3:09 PM comment, I can respect, although disagree with the point he is making in this instance.

Firstly Bob, the point you make of “the WCG teaching that in the Kingdom, you still would not have direct access to God and Jesus” I have been around a long time, and have never heard that being preached. Surely the whole point of the sacrifice of Jesus was the 'tearing of the veil' which allowed personal contact with God the Father and Jesus, without ANY intermediary, here and now, and on into the Kingdom and eternity.

I never heard any other idea. Are you thinking of the chart showing God, the Jesus, then HWA, and then his direct minions? Surely that was supposed to illustrate church government, (incorrectly, of course), rather than an individuals relationship with God.

If that wasn't the case, just who do you suppose the individual member was talking to in their individual prayers? It was never remotely suggested that prayers to God should be directed via HWA.

Secondly you say “I don't want RamRod, or Herbie, or the Pack Rat, the Abominable Snowman, or any of the rest of them anywhere near me for eternity. If indeed they make it to the Kingdom, I don't want to hear about them, and I don't want to know about them, or hear any more of their sermons. They can live their reward, and I'll live mine.”

There is going to be a lot of reconciliation in the future. E.g. murders reconciling with their victims. If both the killer and their victim are together in the Kingdom, they are going to have to sort out their differences, and reconcile. Can you imagine an eternity where billions of people have a long list of others that they never want to see, ever, at any time.

The same thing would have to apply to ministers and those they ministered too. Without reconciliation it really would be a living hell.


Anonymous said...

I watched the talk by Morgan's dad earlier, as well as reading the comments.

Where to begin?

1) I think her father held up well and gave a talk not unlike a eulogy given in a mainstream Christian service where the main point seems to be that the person has gone to Heaven.

2) My heart goes out to her family. Her father obviously loved her deeply, and I guess they were a close family. I hope they were.

3) "Sealed Firstfruits"? Aw, come on John, I've seen you go on and on about that for years, and it's beginning to smell worse than Rod Merideth's discarded adult diapers.

4) The idea that a belief that imparts maximum comfort is superior to "less comfort imparting" beliefs is astounding to me. To name just one of a multitude of examples, there's people who strap explosives to their bodies- ready, willing and able to explode others along with themselves; all in the "comforting knowledge" of an imagined afterlife.

5) When I was in a kooky church after the WCG, I almost drowned because the person driving the boat thought we were all a joke and didn't seem to give a hoot about us.(He was not a church member.) I was dragged underwater for a long time before he looked back and noticed I was tangled in the rope and underwater. So, I wonder who the boat that hit Morgan was piloted by- An LCG member, or someone hired by the LCG who may have been somewhat amused and less careful ?

6) An interesting question- "Who knows what this girl would have done when life awoke her from the dream of her parents church."

7) And finally, to Questeruk, my condolences on your daughter's passing.

Byker Bob said...

It's OK Quester. I knew who you were referring to regarding the foul comments.

In the WCG, we of course did not believe in praying to HWA. In fact, we were taught not to pray to Jesus or God the Holy Spirit. Only to Father God. But, we were taught that what we experienced in this physical life would be a foreshadowing of the Kingdom, with HWA and the others still being the leaders over us. That places them between ourselves and God, much the same as today when members of the ACOGs are required to believe HWA's ridiculous theories in order to be members in good standing. HWA actually wrote a Good News article while he was alive stating that disagreeing with him was tantamount to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Personally, if these guys are not thrown into the Lake of Fire for being horribly misleading false prophets, I believe they will be simply equal to the rest of us in the Kingdom, with no exceptional fame, influence or stature. And, forgiving someone does not mean that you make them your best buds and party with them. They can be acknowledged as valid beings, but avoided, and not always in your face. I virtually never run into the people from whom I've received badness today in this physical life, even randomly in the supermarket. If they are not famous, and don't have influence on me, they just fade into the background of the billions of others.

Amstrongist theology was always presented as something people could either choose to embrace now, or would be required to embrace later, by force, after suffering meted out to adjust the reluctant ones' attitudes. As I said before, TLoF would be preferable.

BB

Anonymous said...

This is truly heartbreaking. For those of us who once found comfort in the "hope" of resurrection to the kingdom of the future and reunion with our loved ones, this man's view is entirely understandable. Some of us no longer believe in that future idea, but it does not mean that there can be no comfort during grief over loss of a loved one. We take comfort in something different than the future, trying to spend our moments fully living and loving right now, those we love. Our purpose is (at least) to make the most of what we already have and keep close the memories and shared love of those who are no longer with us in the now. Whether there is a kind of reunion later is entirely unknowable to us in the present form. It seems that this father and family did make the most of the "now" as well -- and that is a blessing for all. May they truly find peace amidst the certain groundlessness that will now never depart, no matter how many reassuring words may be read or spoken.