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Friday, February 27, 2015
Flippant Living Church of God Correspondence Dept. Rude Replies To Questions About Members Being Disfellowshipped Without Recourse
From a reader here:
Some of the victims of the recent LCG purge actually wanted to stay in LCG.
I know someone who met a few of them at the UCG Feast. My friend wrote LCG to ask how they justify kicking people out without offering counseling or making attempts to "help" these supposed sinners. He was shocked at the flippant, rude replies given by the LCG Correspondence Department (an LCG minister).--------------------------------------------
John Doe Question:
Hello. I met exLCG members at the Feast this year (UCG) that said they were disfellowshipped and marked for having a bad attitude. They also claimed that nobody tried to help them or counsel with them. My question is what is your policy on disfellowshipping/marking members? Do you try to help members that go astray? Is a negative attitude enough of an offense or do you have to commit adultery or something like that? Thank you.
LCG Reply:The Living Church of God does not arbitrarily disfellowship or mark individuals. These things happen because of individuals not obeying God, or causing division or other disruptions in the Church. It has been our experience that talking with disfellowshipped members will always result in them stating they were unfairly and unjustly put out of the Church. We can assure you that this is not the practice of God’s Church.If you need further information, please let us know.PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENTJohn Doe Reply:I can imagine that it is usually true that getting kicked out would result in the person or people feeling upset and negative. These people seemed to be sad more than anything else. My concern was that they seemed to be converted and they seemed like kind people so it lead us to wonder what kind of horrible thing they might have done that would result in an immediate disfellowshipping without a minister trying to counsel or help them in any way. We decided that they would be in jail if it was something that bad and they were at the Feast so they obviously weren't child molesters or killers. That leaves us wondering what kind of offense would result in a converted family getting kicked out? I'm sure you can’t say. But I still wondered 2 things that your email didn't answer. Does LCG disfellowship/mark members without trying to counsel them first? What type of offense warrants disfellowshipping/ marking church members? It seems like you would try everything possible to help before giving up a member as "Gods Church". Maybe these people are good actors and we were fooled. It has made us and our friends curious and we have thought of them many times since getting home from the feast. If these people want to be with you it seems like they would be helped instead of removed. I would think that Christian love would cause their minister to do everything possible to keep them in the church and to help them, not keep them out when they obviously want back in.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questionsLCG Reply:The question we ask is why would you think that the ministry would not do all of those things? That is what ministering means. Yes, we are supposed to be forgiving, but we are still given the task of protecting the flock. How would you personally respond to what God inspired Solomon to write in Proverbs 6:16-19?Your further statement seems to indicate that these people were not treated fairly, that ministry did not try to help them. Why would you state that, if you were not being influenced by the individual(s) themselves. Isn’t that a fair question for us to ask of you? You “seemed” convinced that they were “converted.” People can be converted and still be in bad attitude and cause division because they feel their position is righteous. Paul’s epistles are full of these types of issues. Would these people admit that they were guilty of causing discord, etc,?Please don’t be misled, the Church takes itself very seriously in these matters. Jesus warned that to offend one of the little ones, it would be better to tie a millstone around the neck and be cast into the sea.You are asking us to answer a matter without full knowledge of the circumstances.John Doe Reply:I wouldn't "think that ministry would not do all those things". That is precisely why I took the time to write you in the first place. I only had one side of the story and I wanted to know if it was true. I was serious when I said that I have thought about attending with LCG in the past. I have been disappointed with character traits that became apparent after the UCG split. I'm looking for evidence of the fruits of the Spirit and Philadelphian love.
I am not being "influenced" by these people like you say. I can find the facts and make decisions on my own. I also did not see anything in them that indicated that they had a "bad attitude". They didn't say anything bad or negative about anyone in LCG.
The only reason I thought they weren't counseled is because they said they were disfellowshipped and marked without being counseled. Are you saying that they lied about that fact? I didn't include their names in my original email because I assumed that you would not be willing to discuss the details of other people with a stranger. I was only asking in broad generality if LCG would kick people out without first trying to help them and if so, what circumstances would warrant such a severe reaction. I thought that you knew who I was talking about because I would think that there wouldn't be too many people disfellowshipped/marked right before the feast. So I also assumed that you did in fact know the circumstances. Its fine though.
It seems like your answers will be non-direct, evasive and somewhat offensive. It seems accusatory of you to say that I am being "influenced" by them. I wasn't trying to be argumentative. I was trying to get both sides to make a fair judgment on these people like the Bible instructs me to. At this point I have their word and you answering my questions with questions! I don't like feeling like I'm on the defensive for asking a simple question so I will leave it at that and not bother you again. They answered our questions openly and directly. It didn't seem like they had anything to hide. Your evasiveness makes it look like you are hiding something. I pray that you did try to help them because it is very serious indeed if you turned away a family of little ones without trying to work one-on-one with them first!LCG Reply:Thank you for completing the circle.
John Doe Reply:I clearly won’t need to look in the direction of LCG in my search for a church with Godly character and Philadelphian love. This has been a surreal experience! I wish I knew who you were so that I could share your immaturity and flippant attitude with your superiors. Is this how Christ would have responded to a potential church member who was asking a genuine question in peace? I don't think so. If you do, you know a different Christ than I do! My opinion of LCG has been greatly molded by my correspondence with you Sir. Thank you.LCG Reply:Thank you.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
I think we see what Pack is doing (has been doing for a while). It's the way he's manipulating the RCG members who are already fully brainwashed to believe everything he's saying, but then there are some who aren't completely there yet so he's weeding them out.
He's presenting himself as being as surprised as anyone to discover these things and his followers are totally swallowing it. These individuals are already drawn so deep into the lie as to have the response, "I know Mr. Pack is Elijah we just have to let him discover it on his own." Then any other claim of Pack's would follow suit, such as being one of the witnesses (if that would be greater than Elijah).
For them these sermons are Pack's way of working through the process of discovering his destiny, and they only need the slightest nod to believe whatever he wants them to believe. All Pack has to do for these people is say "that's interesting" or "this is big," or ask any leading question and he knows the brainwashed mind will fill in all the blanks.
They view him as being so humbly intelligent that he is having a hard time seeing himself as whom they already see him as, which is whoever he tells them he is. That sounds like a paradox, but what I mean is he tells them who he really is, and their response would be, "See, I knew it." It's okay if he makes some mistakes, because he's just trying to figure it out. All the talk he does about his own nature, his childhood, his wife, his parents, his school days, etc. only serve to endear the followers to him. They see it as his way of opening up his innermost feelings to them, and they love him for doing it, and they reciprocate. For those who are so won over, Pack is sealing their devotion to him further and further.
Yes he has pushed the boundary so that some can't take it and have bailed out recently, but that's his way of shaking the tree. Those who remain have allowed themselves to be in prime condition to accept more outrageous claims, all from the point of view that Pack is further coming to understand that he is the chosen one. To hold onto them so tightly there has to be more frontiers to cross, it will never stop with "Ok, we've figured everything out, time to chill." To them, all these proofs and points are his way of having an abundance of caution, and coming to the moment that there cannot be any other conclusion other than for him (and them) to accept his role.
Make no mistake, Pack's followers see him as extremely humble!
Those who break free suddenly see him as extremely arrogant, but before that there is not a glimmer of doubt of his humility. All the talk about Mr. Armstrong (Moses) being greater than Elijah is designed to simply feed into this notion that Pack is extremely humble.
At some point for those who remain there will be no boundary too unbelievable for them, and the few who are left will be willing to follow any command he gives them. They want to be pioneers of the new Kingdom, the chosen few who dine at the table of Christ. They are envious of the early members of brother Herbert's congregation in Oregon, and Pack is nurturing that for all it's worth.
Many of your commenters have expressed how dumbfounded they are that anyone would stay with Pack, but I think it will get much more extreme. What surprises me is how public Pack is with it, which tells me that he must really believe all of it too. Otherwise perhaps his focus is solely on retaining his own membership, and he actually has no expectation of impacting the world outside RCG, but he needs to inflate the importance of his work in there minds, and bringing all this negative attention helps to accomplish that.
To that end I suppose providing these transcripts helps him in a way to garner more of the criticisms and attacks that he has predicted. Nonetheless I do feel the transcripts are valuable because they do not convey the coercive voice and nearly hypnotic effect that he can have on his followers. Hopefully if some of them read these things apart from him speaking them they will see how insane it is. I fear we're going to end up with a group of people who see themselves as soldiers of the kingdom who will fully commit their minds to Pack, and then either follow his dangerous bidding or come to a catastrophic end when it is proven to them that it was all in vain. I shudder at the thought of what Pack will tell his followers that their Biblical parallels are, likely martyrs whose blood cries out from the earth.
Here's some thought provoking multiple choice items pulled from Wikipedia. Which does Dave Pack most fit into:
A) Grandiose delusions (GD) or delusions of grandeur are principally a subtype of delusional disorder that occurs in patients suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses, including two-thirds of patients in manic state of bipolar disorder, half of those with schizophrenia and a substantial portion of those with substance abuse disorders. GDs are characterized by fantastical beliefs that one is famous, omnipotent, wealthy, or otherwise very powerful. The delusions are generally fantastic and typically have a supernatural, science-fictional, or religious theme. There is a relative lack of research into GD, in contrast to persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. About 10% of healthy people experience grandiose thoughts but do not meet full criteria for a diagnosis of GD.B) Megalomania is a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, omnipotence, and by inflated self-esteem. Historically it was used as a name for narcissistic personality disorder prior to the latter's first use by Heinz Kohut in 1968, and is used today as a non-clinical equivalent. It is not mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD).C) Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις) means extreme pride or self-confidence. When it offends the gods of ancient Greece, it is usually punished. The adjectival form of the noun hubris is "hubristic". Hubris is usually perceived as a characteristic of an individual rather than a group, although the group the offender belongs to may suffer consequences from the wrongful act. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.
D) Egocentrism is the inability to differentiate between self and other.
Although egocentrism and narcissism appear similar, they are not the same. A person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention, like a narcissist, but does not receive gratification by one's own admiration. A narcissist is a person whose ego is greatly influenced by the approval of others while an egotist is not. Similarly, egocentrism and absolutism appear to be the same but are not.
Egocentrism and absolutism differ in the sense that an egotist's opinion must always allow everything to center around themselves, while an absolutist can form an opinion that does not center themselves, yet believes their idea and opinion is non contest. Although egocentric behaviors are less prominent in adulthood, the existence of some forms of egocentrism in adulthood indicates that overcoming egocentrism may be a lifelong development that never achieves completion.
Therefore, egocentrism is found across the life span: in infancy  early childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. It contributes to the human cognitive development by helping children develop theory of mind and self-identity formation.
E) Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a Cluster B personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process. It is estimated that this condition affects one percent of the population, with rates greater for men. First formulated in 1968, NPD was historically called megalomania, and is a form of severe egocentrism.
Grandiose delusions. (2015, February 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:54, February 26, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Grandiose_delusions&oldid=647338657
Megalomania. (2015, February 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:55, February 26, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Megalomania&oldid=646375329
Hubris. (2015, January 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:56, February 26, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hubris&oldid=643288327
Egocentrism. (2015, February 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:59, February 26, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Egocentrism&oldid=648371488
Narcissistic personality disorder. (2015, February 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:02, February 26, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Narcissistic_personality_disorder&oldid=648689101