Friday, November 6, 2015

Living Church of God: Member Asks Why Leadership Can't Show Kindness, Mercy and Love

Below is a comment from another posting that asks a legitimate question of the leadership of the Living Church of God.

I don't want this thread to deteriorate into an attack on why this person stays in LCG.  We all had our reasons for hanging on as long as we did.  What this person asks is a legitimate question of the leadership who has set about a chain of command that is nowhere near merciful, just and loving.  These are all qualities that any sincere follower of God wants from those who think they are the leaders.

This blog really frosts Rod Meredith and the leadership of the Living Church of God.  It has allowed LCG members to publicly air their concerns and grievances about a church that many love and had high hopes for.  The fact that a lot of LCG members are now coming here to find a free forum to do this shows how much the leadership of the LCG has turned a blind eye and is more concerned about keeping up appearances.  Sadly in the history of the Church of God (Armstrong era) power has always trumped mercy, justice, grace and love.

I'm in LCG and I love my church and my church family. The events of the last year have been so upsetting to me. Why, why, why can't these men just do right and show the kindness and love that Christ spoke of????? Why do they have to be so hard nosed and hateful. I know some of the people that they have done things to and they are good people. None of it seems fair or loving. I pray and pray that they will wake up and get back on the right path before it is too late and they end up losing everything. People are talking of splits. I have been there before and once people start to talk about it, the foundation has been laid. Please WAKE UP!

If LCG headquarters ministers are reading this right now, please remember that Christ "desired mercy". Have you shown mercy? Have you shown love?

You say you are God's true church and I really want to believe that but your actions towards my brothers and sisters in Christ say something else. It is never too late to change. Each day is another opportunity. Please, please, please don't let your egos and hardened hearts ruin the church that so many people love and need.


Anonymous said...

I'm a member of LCG and feel the same way. Why is the ministry of the church so soulless? Why is kindness, justice, mercy, and humility completely lacking in those who think they are ministers of God?

Anonymous said...

The basic answer to your question is that the leadership feels that its understanding of the organization needs to be protected, at almost all costs. Sort of, "the ends justify the means."

That means, as various ones of us have seen first hand, that the top leaders do not believe that they have to be bound by the Bible when they deal with issues that they perceive could affect the organization, including often, the perception of the organization.

Dr. Meredith believes that he is Christ's leading representative on earth, and this justifies what he does. The view he and many have is about the same that many in the Church of Rome have. It is also a view that people like Gerald Flurry have.

Anonymous said...

The leader of an organization sets the tone and climate. RCM never was known for being kind, humble, just or merciful, so we shouldn't be surprised that the organization is what it is. I remember David Antion in Pasadena. What a contrast in personalities. Antion seemed to have had the heart of a pastor. But, perhaps "good guys finish last."

NJ member said...

We have all felt this way for many years.
I moved over to Global when it first began and then the ministry were good and decent to the membership because, sadly, they needed us! As soon as sufficient others came along it was once again business as usual.
But disregard for the people began much earlier really with ministry lording over the people, using them for free labor , taking the chief seats at the feasts and the choice accommodations.
The "helpers of your joy" were few and far between.
Even back in the day many sent anointed cloths to people right in their own home towns rather than move a block or two to visit.
Truthfully even membership climbed over one another jockeying for power and position.
Isaiah speaks of people pushing with horns , taking the best for oneself and leaving the dregs for others.

The true sign of the church is the love they have one for another, bearing one anothers burdens, visiting, aiding, helping.
We have always had some of those people amongst us, thank God for them!

Anonymous said...

I left LCG over 15 years ago, for many of the same reasons. I was "used" (speaking, leadership roles, etc.) by the ministry, as long as I toed their line, which eventually became impossible to someone who could see the hypocrisy and double standard that was in place. Sadly, the mirror never seemed to reflect the double standard by which they operated, allowing so many of them to take on the naked emperor's role, all the while never seeing their own naked and blatantly wrong condition.

I've actually been associated with several other COG's since then, and can truthfully state that the pattern of duplicitous actions and self aggrandizement is in most of these men, with very few exceptions. Number one, is ALWAYS, always remind the people who is in charge, less they forget or become suspicious....POWER is the game and in all these groups, it is always the same, even for those who state all they want is peace, love etc.

Money is only the fuel that enables them to stay in power, BUT FINALLY, people are waking up to see the raw ambition and total lack of concern for us, for what it has always been....the Holy Ghost they all embrace known as their own grail of Me, Myself and I.

I've often wondered for all the groups that are out there that proclaim their superiority and proclaim the loudest, who has continually embraced the "Trunk of the the Tree" beliefs of WCG, which one, if any, would God recognize as doing his will and not their own version of it? Which one, if any, would ever come under anyone else's rule and jurisdiction, humbling themselves to the same place and condition they've been so willing to subjugate the membership to all these years? The answer is pretty easy for most of us to see, who are able at the moment, since they continue to break apart, each seeking their own minuscule crumbs of the role of Caesar.

People are scared to move, because we have been conditioned to believe to do otherwise would bring the wrath of God down upon us. That is changing, as many have left these corporate entities and begun to think and act for themselves, not as dictated or prescribed from the bully pulpit they have so expertly utilized. Hopefully, more and more of us can begin to make the decision to rehabilitate ourselves away from these heinous individuals who demand we stay at their holy feet and continue to suckle at their organizations teat.

As many can attest, breaking away is hard, with the brainwashing that has been such an integral part of the COG culture, but we all must at least be honest and willing to admit that what has happened and continues to happen, probably doesn't have God's stamp of approval either.

I can easily see why many even on here who now have atheistic, agnostic or other leanings have arrived at the place they are now. We for so long were playing from such a horrible and contentious place, that it begins to cloud over many things that should be like this person has stated....where has the mercy, humility, etc. been all these years, from our Korah like leadership?

That's the mirror these leaders truly need to look into and then fall on their knees and beg for God' forgiveness, for trying to essentially take his place.

Anonymous said...

nj member, this is why I always say that among all the different factions are the true Believers, the true faithful, whom God has Commanded that we endure until the end, and that we should let no man take our Crown;

we know through the Scriptures that there are tares in the Church, and there are those who will say the Lord delays his coming and start to beat their fellow servants...

but we also know that the Scripture says that many will become offended: hence the Command that we must endure until the end, and not be overcome by the wicked among us...

Mark said...

The Social psychologist Phil Zimbardo recently talked about bad apples, bad barrels and bad barrel makers. Basically, some people are just bad, but oftentimes its the situation that makes people bad. Any religion that focuses on being Kings and priests creates a lust for power, and power is often consolidated by trampling on and controlling others. I've seen it a million times.

Mark said...

As a follow up: God says we will know them "by their fruits" - not doctrinal idiosyncraticies.

Byker Bob said...

Well, Elvis Costello once asked the musical question "What's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?"

Over the years, many people came into Armstrongism with a desire to be healed, a desire to find genuine brotherly love, a salve and nourishment for the soul. What they found instead was a dictatorship, with love having been redefined as fanatically following the "god" that supposedly was behind that dictatorship. (does "try the spirits" ring any bells?). What the brethren in LCG are finding in their church today is not any different from what we all found in the classic dictatorship of "old school" WCG. If the church were a person, you would be forced to realize that it always acts in its own self interest, is high maintenance and very difficult to get along with, and makes you a codependent to the point of being extremely capable of doing dastardly damage to your life. The cause is the legalistic, Pharisaic doctrines which are taught and used as criteria for judgment. Brotherly love, and love for fellow man are accomplished in a much more optimal fashion apart from the doctrines and bogus authority of an ACOG.

My advice for LCG members would be that if you are looking for Christian brotherly love, by all means, that is the noblest of causes! Don't follow your church, follow your dream!!!!


Ralph said...

on November 5, 2015 at 6:05 PM
Byker Bob said...

"Don't follow your church, follow your dream!!!!"

Better still, take Peter's advice viz:
"1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1Pe 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:"
remembering the words of John:
"1Jn_3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."


Ralph said...

on November 5, 2015 at 6:05 PM
Byker Bob also said...

"....if you are looking for Christian brotherly love,...."

Then take the initiative and exercise it towards all with whom you come in contact. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results!

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." [Eph.6:12]

DennisCDiehl said...

In my experience the New Testament goes out of its way to put Apostles and ministers on pedestals and with special insights and "callings."

The "double portion" nonsense Bob Thiel has bought into for himself and the ridiculous titles and "well darn...that's me Haggai is talking about!" baloney Dave Pack comes up with in the name of such authority and NT admonitions by ministers are good examples. The NT tells ministers they are watchers over the well being of the "flock". They are told to mind the business of others and if need be, "turn such a one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit might be saved." They are told to mark and note rebels and scoffers in the congregation. Single men who have never had a family we can know of end up being told to tell everyone how to raise their kids and be married. Some think marriage is the cure for fornication.

Ted Armstrong hauled me up to his office once to tell me to cut my hair. His reason was that hair on the forehead blocked the intellect. In hindsight I wish I had said "So....I got straight A's in high school with this hair, and my skin and skull don't block my intellect?" I guess I'd have been thrown out.

The NT promotes a pecking order from Apostle to "helps." It is a set up for authoritarian leadership and attracts those so inclined. A man like a Dave Pack or a Bob Thiel, or HWA for that matter are not men who can work with or for anyone. They simply have to have the final say and it all has to go their way. Bob Thiel approaches others to get them to see the error of their ways and the correctness of his. Dave Pack approaches others , it seems, for narcissistic supply and resources. Both use the NT and OT to justify the self absorbed behaviors.

While ministry can attract men and women to office because of their own mental illnesses, where they can hide out better, their behaviors and quirkiness seeming like obedience to God etc, they get much backing to do so from the Book.

I loved and enjoyed the vast majority of positive hopeful folk I met as a minister in the many local congregations I ended up in along the way. I often did not enjoy working around ministers in the ajoining church areas. It was not uncommon to get calls from members asking me to help them cope with Mr so and so, their minister. Try calling a minister like that to have a chat about complaints and see how that goes! Never worked for me.

I never liked Ministerial Refresher Programs. They were exhausting, some classes were beyond stupid, childish and not well prepared. I left in the middle of one where Robin Weber, now of UCG, told us all how to make a 3x5 card file , and went to a rock and mineral how in Long Beach. Leroy Neff read every scripture from Genesis to Revelation on marriage over four hours, which only tell me he threw it together that morning. I'll spare you the one on "Does God approve of oral sex."

All this to say there is a NT imperative for men in ministry to mind everyone's business. It's a formula for what we see today where love, mercy and compassion seem being "weak" and fall by the wayside with "because I said so" and stupid winning the day.

Organized Bible literalism simply does not work to promote love, joy and peace.

DennisCDiehl said...

PS Organized religion promotes fear, guilt and shame as the great motivators. The opposite of fear is not courage. It is love. Perfect love casts out fear but in many churches and ministries, perfect fear casts out love.

Anonymous said...

Ralph's advice to those of the Living group was/is: "...
Better still, take Peter's advice viz:
"1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1Pe 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:"
remembering the words of John:
"1Jn_3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."..."

Excellent advice; however, I would add another verse to the list, namely:

"He that committeth sin is of the devil;..." I John 3:8

And how does that sin of that spirit being happen?

"Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?" James 4:5 (Eph 2:2; I John 4:6)

And as a result of human beings being the "workmanship" of that evil spirit's hands we may observe some of the following fruits/works in their human lives:

Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

See also Galatians 5:19-21.

Note that last fruit mentioned: unmerciful!

And Satan does have "his ministers!" 2 Cor 11:15

Yes, by their fruits we know them...and the one(s) who "inspire" them...


Anonymous said...

This comment brings tears to my eyes.

Bob League and Rod McNair "cast me to Satan" in 2014. They asked me to headquarters, sat me down in League's office and told me that it was their "duty as God's true ministers to cast me to Satan".

To this day, they have never given me any explanation or reason for why they did what they did. I have racked my mind searching for a reason that would justify their actions, but have found none.

I begged, cried, pleaded, prayed, wrote letter after letter beseeching them just to talk. They ignored it all and never saw me again after that fateful night. I was dead to them which wasn't such a stretch because in my heart I felt dead myself. That was the point after all. They wanted me to die and a huge part of me did die as a result of what they did to me.

In one fail swoop they took from me nearly every single person that I loved. Nearly every single friend that I had ever had in my adult life.

To put salt in the wound, they spread lies about me to tarnish my name and to ensure that they kept LCG members away from me.

I cried every day. Didn't want to even get out of bed. The profound sadness and despair that occurs when you lose everyone you loved without a single goodbye is literally the worse thing I have ever battled in my life. It feels like everything has been taken away from you and you've been left out in the cold to die a slow, painful death completely alone. Isolated, tarnished and alone.

Never knowing why made it even worse.

I still think about it every day. I ask God "why me"? I always tried to be a good Christian. How could God allow me to be falsely accused and 'cast to Satan'? How could God allow me to hurt so badly for no obvious reason?

After over a year of prayer, begging God for understanding, I have finally come to a place where I can see that none of those people every really loved me in the first place. None of them were ever really my friends at all. How can you just cut someone that you have spent countless hours with over the years out of your life without even speaking to them on the word of your minister? What kind of a person does that?

It has been a hard, slow road but I get a little more numb with each passing day. I pray for the day that LCG no longer occupies space in my head but at least the acute, daily sobbing phase of this loss seems to have passed.

It's so easy for people to say, "be glad you are out of that toxic environment, count it as a blessing" but I am flesh and blood. I really loved those people and thought we would love each other for the rest of my life. I never thought our relationships were disposable. It's a hard reality with which to come to grips.

I feel I will never be able to trust any group of people ever again, never give my heart over fully ever again. I don't think I would survive this kind of loss a second time. To avoid it, I have learned that I shouldn't give more than I can afford to lose.

If you are in LCG and reading this now, you are not immune. You may think you are safe, that your friends are real. But they aren't. If Meredith ordered them to shun you, they would.

The whole thing is fake. Real men of God would never do such a thing. Christ would never do such a thing. Shepherds keep the flock safe. I wasn't safe and neither are you.

Mark said...

Dennis - I agree and disagree with your statement on the NT and Ministerial Power. I think, like much in the Bible, what one focuses on becomes magnified. If you look at the pecking order defined, yes it will seem like the NT promotes a culture of power. But if you look at the beatitudes, Paul's suffering in prison, Love your Neighbor etc. you get a different picture. Like a lot of things in life, you find what you're looking for. With that said, the COG Ministry often focus on such things b/c they think their sole purpose on earth is to qualify to be Kings and Priests..actually, as ministers its leaders of Kings and Priests..

Anonymous said...

My family came into the WCG because of my father. Per the church's instructions, our family largely dropped ties with family. The "church" became our new family.
My dad wasn't in it for the 'power', although he was anointed Local Elder and was much liked by the members who he'd always help in any way he could.
While in the Armstrong-era WCG, information about things very very wrong in that org made him decide to leave. He never joined another church. (He was a kind of 'lone wolf' in that respect.) He never encouraged others to leave, either.

However, as is expected with cults, right after he left, it was preached from the pulpit that no members were allowed to ever have any contact with my parents again.

And Dennis, I know what you mean. Parts of a political book are to blame. There lie problems within the Bible. Hopefully, some people will read Richard Elliott Friedman's 'Who Wrote the Bible?', the book that Glynn Washington's WCG minister recommended he read.

Anonymous said...


I'll tell you a secret. Just because the rightful idea that Paul was a braggart might have sent Loma Armstrong's tits spinning in different directions doesn't make it any less true.

Allen Dexter said...

The New Testament was invented by the Romans to foster Titus as the returning "son of god." It's a Roman creation, so it fosters Fascism, the Roman system of government. The second coming already occurred in Titus, but that had to be abandoned when he died like all other mortals and the story switched around to be about a yet to come return. One of the happiest days of my life is when I turned my back on that system of Fascism and it seized to have any control over me. Yeah, I had to start over from scratch, but it was worth it. I'm very happy with how my life turned out as now a humanist atheist.

Zippy said...

Nice conspiracy theory, Allen. Stay away from those grassy knolls.

Anonymous said...

One reason I didn't leave the church sooner was because I believed that the only relationship that really mattered was the relationship I had, or at least was trying to have, with Jesus Christ.

However, when I decided to get serious about "working out my salvation," and trying to figure out exactly what it was that Jesus Christ expected of me, and what I would be judged upon, it gradually became more and more obvious to me what an unanswerable mystery that was. The bible certainly did nail that down, and that Christianity is a fractious bunch of more or less warring tribes, each of whom thinks they have answer, but since there's no consensus, it's readily apparent that it's not possible for anyone to satisfactorily answer it. And that's a problem with the bible itself. Gradually I began to notice many other things about the bible that caused me to doubt that it's god was in fact the god I had been told, or that the bible was the book that I had been told it was.

Then it dawned upon me, that if for years I had been trying to have a conversation with a human being, and that this person had refused to see me, or to communicate with me in any way that I could detect, that no one would call that a "relationship." And simply substituting a celestial being for a human one wouldn't suddenly transform that kind of neglect into a viable relationship either. Therefore, I didn't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and the most likely reason for that, in my mind at least, was that he's not there.

So, my advice to you is, if you want to stay faithful, cut verses that say things like "Prove all things," and "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" out of your bible. Do not attempt to do those things, because it will only lead to the destruction of your faith. The reason why there's ~2.2B Christians is because none of them have ever taken those verses seriously before. You don't want to try to be too good of a Christian, or it will backfire. The best Christians remain below a certain threshold of attentiveness.

DennisCDiehl said...

Mark noted: If you look at the pecking order defined, yes it will seem like the NT promotes a culture of power. But if you look at the beatitudes, Paul's suffering in prison, Love your Neighbor etc. you get a different picture. Like a lot of things in life, you find what you're looking for."

The problem or facts are that all of the ministerial admonitions, marking and pecking order are in Paul's writings or general epistles which were written before the Gospels ever saw the light of day. The NT gives the impression it is "Jesus The Gospels," Acts, Paul's and general epistles and then Revelation. In fact it is Paul, Gospels after his death. Acts to make Paul and the Early Jewish apostles like James, Peter and John look more on same team than in reality they
were, and maybe Revelation. Some feel Revelation was written in the late 60's as a failed prophecy meant to encourage the Jews an Christians in Jerusalem just before Rome crushed it.

The Gospels, which Paul never read, never quotes and never heard of as they were not in existence during his life, are kinder and more gentle probably to counter Paul's one man show and uncooperative nature an bring Paul's gnostic and heavenly Christ down to earth as a man/God in the flesh, not just born of a woman as only Paul said.

Different agendas in the writings of the authors at different times make for cherry picking

Scared by LCG said...

LCG preached government, GOVERNMENT, G O V E R N M E N T to us each week.
And we ate it up . . . until we encountered a needed for love.
Then, we discovered Jesus, yea verily even the entire Bible, speaks much more about love.
Love, with the nary a mention of government, except how government should be love.
So we ditched LCG’s hateful government to seek love.

Anonymous said...

LCG's counsel of elders is meeting in Charlotte this week. Ten bucks says the question of how to deal with this website is on their itinerary.

Anonymous said...

LCG's counsel of elders is meeting this week in Charlotte. I'd bet ten bucks that discussions regarding this website are on the agenda.