Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Corruption of an Unconventional Mind

The Corruption of an Unconventional Mind
Lonnie C. Hendrix

As one of the many folks who accepted Herbert Armstrong’s theology in part or in toto, I have given a great deal of thought to the subject of what made me vulnerable/susceptible to his teachings. After all, most of the people who heard his message did not accept/adopt it as their own. Why? Because they were too smart? Maybe, but my sense is that there was something more profound at work.

It seems to me that Mr. Armstrong’s message had a particular appeal to those who were not satisfied with traditional religious teachings and explanations about Scripture. It appears to me that the folks who were already searching for something more spiritually and intellectually satisfying than the dribble which they had been spoon fed all of their lives were more susceptible to being seduced by his message. In short, Armstrong’s target audience was in large part made up of those folks who had what we might justly characterize as an unconventional mind (those not conforming to what is generally believed or accepted as truth).

Herbert Armstrong focused on some of the blatant inconsistencies between what Traditional Christianity was teaching and what these folks were reading in Scripture. He also pointed out the hypocrisy inherent in some of the teachings and behaviors exhibited by mainstream folks. Likewise, he skillfully ridiculed the illogical nature of some of their most important/cherished beliefs and teachings. In further contrast to his fellow theologians, he appeared to base his own teachings on an uncanny familiarity with human experience and history. Finally, he seemed to have answers to the deeply philosophical questions that had been haunting humanity for millennia.

At least, that’s how it seemed as long as one read all of his material, accepted it as the revelation of the Holy Spirit and didn’t dig too deep after doing so. Mr. Armstrong had taken the time to think about these issues and study them in a little more depth than the average Joe (which isn’t saying much, since even unconventional minds tend to be intellectually lazy). At any rate, he had readied/prepared himself for when those poor unsuspecting minds opened their eyes and ears to his message. In other words, he was primed for them; and they were ready to be seduced.

In this way, Herbert Armstrong was able to kidnap minds that might well have otherwise been on their way to bigger and better things. Once they were in his grasp, he erected all kinds of internal and external obstacles to further study or questioning. He assured them that they had found what they had been looking for, and any further searching was a useless and dangerous waste of time. In fact, if they continued to search, he assured them that they would lose what they had obtained and stumble into the Lake of Fire!

And just to make sure that they didn’t turn back, he attacked the very thing that had brought them into his fold in the first place:  their intellectual curiosity. Mr. Armstrong assured his followers that they were the “weak and foolish” things of the world. He told them that they had been sheep - blindly and mindlessly following the satanic teachings of Traditional Christianity, which really wasn’t Christian at all. Thus, doubting their own unconventional disposition, they became imprisoned within the bizarre kingdom of Herbert’s ideas. Fortunately, some of us were able to recover (or never completely surrendered/abandoned) that disposition and have been able to emerge from that dark prison of close-mindedness and begin to grow again in grace and knowledge.

Looking back on my own experiences in the kingdom of Armstrong, I can see how dangerous it is for someone to ever completely shut the door to his/her mind. According to the Bible, Satan is already lurking within the recesses of that place. Hence, a door that is shut and locked provides no exit for him, and no entrance for God or further enlightenment. The real truth is never threatened by further investigation or consideration, and a truly unconventional mind is never satisfied with the answers that the rest of the crowd so willingly gobbles up.


Anonymous said...

I understand how people can be sucked into armstrongism. What I can't understand is how people who know the truth about what a pervert HWA was can still hold onto the religion he invented. HWA invented armstrongism while he was raping his daughter! The UCG is filled with people who still latch onto armstrongism even though they know what a scum bag he was. How can this be? Can someone explain this?

Byker Bob said...

That one is easy, 1:09. They deny the incestuous rape. They believe "God's Apostle" was pure as the driven snow!


Anonymous said...

I think that the argument will be that "the truth is the truth" no matter who brings us the "truth". What Armstrong did was he took the Sabbath and added the holy days and British Isrealism during the time he was sexually abusing his daughter. Shouldn't we assume that at least his teachings on the holy days and British Isrealism should be questioned because these where added during the time he was sexually abusing his daughter? Do you really think God would use a man involved in such a horrible sin as incest to restore truths?

I know that the example of David will be brought up. The difference between David and Armstrong is that David repented but Armstrong wanted to continue to screw his daughter even after she was married! No repentence there!

Anonymous said...

How about sunk cost fallacy. The more you have invested in something, the more you have to cling to it, right or wrong. I imagine that there were members who were employed by the WCG, were allowed to bow out of the Social Security program, gave all the money and equity in their homes to the church, avoided doctors, and caused family members to suffer needlessly and perhaps even die. Now, these people might be of retirement age with nothing to live on and a tail of suffering in their wake. How can they admit that they were wrong when that would cause them so much angst? They need to keep their minds closed to the truth and plow forward in self deceit.

Anonymous said...

King David was anointed by God's representative, hwa was self-appointed, that makes a big difference. hwa was a good marketing man, latching on people's basic need to believe in God.

Anonymous said...

King Saul was also anointed by God's representative, but later went astray, was rejected by God, yet remained in power. So, even if HWA was "God's anointed" at one time, he may very well have later been rejected by God, even though he remained in power. Just because you're God's anointed at one time, doesn't mean you necessarily remain as God's representative. Saul had 85 priests and their families executed. If HWA had asked you to do that, would you? Or would you find it necessary to defy "God's anointed"?

BWC said...

WOW! Is there any way HWA could have believed he was right, in all his hypocrisy?