Sunday, December 18, 2016

Scientology and The Living Church of God



From an LCG source:

I recently happened upon a new show on A&E called "Scientology and the Aftermath". It drew me in immediately because of its similarities to my experience with the Global/Living Church of Rod.

The Scientologist have achieved what ACOGs could only hope for in in terms of their membership and size but the ACOGs, LCG and PCG especially, have nailed the member abuse just like the big guys.

I can just imagine Rod Meredith and Gerald Weston tuning in to A&E to learn new cruel and abusive ways to manipulate, control and destroy anyone who dare question them or anyone who fails to 'understand' that they are to be obeyed because they 'represent Christ'.

The leaders of Scientology practice "Disconnection" which is akin to ACOG's  "marking". Family members and friends are forced to shun whomever the leaders decide they should without evidence or explanation. To do otherwise puts one at risk of being 'disconnected' themselves and everyone fears that because their whole lives and all their friends are within the church (sound familiar?).

They also practice something called "Fair Game" which basically means it's okay to defame, lie about, set-up, etc anyone that questions the church or fails to demonstrate 100% obedience. They believe that the "ends justify the means" which is completely on track with how Meredith and Pack think (and we already know that these men are completely fine with lying if it serves them)

The manipulation of followers and the overtly evil and corrupt leadership of these groups is eerily similar to Armstrong splinters. 

Listening to survivors tell their exit stories is eye-opening and powerful. I literally prayed that as many ACOG members as possible would see this show in hopes that they would see how their minds were being controlled. I hope Meredith/Pack battered sheep with see these stories and feel empowered to make the change no matter how hard it is. I know that many of them know in their hearts that their churches are not the church of God and yet they lack the courage to brake away and truly seek God and obey him. Put not your trust in man...

Here's the link to the show:

35 comments:

DennisCDiehl said...

The NT provides all the scripture for marking...disfellowshipping... dismembering and "with one not so much as to eat" any authoritarian church could hope or wish for

DennisCDiehl said...

The COGs just have a much longer list of reasons n offences to them

Black Ops Mikey said...

So we really can view Armstrongists as Sabbath keeping Scientologists.

It's about time.

There are already Sabbath keeping Mormons.

Connie Schmidt said...

I recommend watching the show, I have found it fascinating. One take away that I see is that the COGs are NOT unique in their behaviors, so this must be some kind of flaw in humanity that allows this to exist in parallel universes.

Another take away is that good decent people, who want to improve themselves and help the world, can have these good and decent motivations exploited by assholes who are sociopathic users. There have been good and honorable people in both Scientology and the COGs, and I would not label them as bad, evil or stupid. The better word is "victim".

Byker Bob said...

There may indeed be ACOG members who see this documentary. While the practices discussed may be briefly entertained by the few open-minded members, it would be typical for most to think to themselves, "Boy! I'm surely glad that I am in God's church! See how people who reject God as part of their religions pervert God's laws and sense of justice?"

They will not expand the concepts to include what happens in their own church, will not fully appreciate the inherent abuse and evil, and as their take away, will actually feel happier and more secure in their own chosen life style. That is the extent and effectiveness of the brain washing.

BB

Black Ops Mikey said...

Yes, the Armstrongists don't see themselves as they really are.

One of the most poignant moments in the series was when the man who had been physically abused by the leader stood before a British newsman and lied that his leader did anything to him.

It then hit him and gave him clarity so that he left Scientology and divulged a great deal about the abuse in the cult.

Armstrong is not benign. There may be a spectrum of David Pack to Victor Kubic, but anywhere on the scale, it's bad. Perhaps a number of people stay out of the way and don't come to the attention of the leadership, but rest assured that when they do, they can and will be treated brutally.

Some people think that GCI is a nice safe place to be. Those of you who think that should go read about Joe Tkach Jr in the Ambassador Reports and his wife Jill. Not so benign. Belligerent abuse would be more like it.

A cult is a cult is a cult. Maybe you've escaped the really bad stuff, but at minimum your mind is a mess and you can't think straight. Again, anyone in Armstrongism, GCI, Scientology, the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, FLDS, go get your own copy of "Take Back Your Life". And while you are about it, go ahead and get Dr. Phil's "Life Code" -- and set yourself that you're never going to give people, especially cult leaders, the benefit of the doubt. We now live in a society that you just can't use that any more as a life strategy.

Byker Bob said...

The elephant in the room with Scientology is the same as the elephant in the room with Armstrongism. Members are forced to insert into their lives another authoritarian structure which comes between member and higher power. Ideally, this would be benign, unintrusive, and primarily of a guiding nature. Inevitably the guides morph into policeman, judge, and jury, taking way more power and control than a member signed up for. Pretty soon, there is a loss of free will, which invalidates any growth or goodness because it is forced. They believe they can even command you to be happy in the face of their oppression.

BB

Anonymous said...

Well put Connie.
There were some very fine people within the cogs.
Victims indeed.
And the cogs attracted it's fair number of nut cases as well.And now a number of these sadly run their "own churches".
More victims.
The nuttiness,the lunacy had it's impact on us all.To verying degrees.No one was unaffected.
It is so good to leave that all behind,and so sad to still see many still ensnared in it's grip.
People I loved and still do.

Anonymous said...

TITHE AND GIVE GENEROUS ENOUGH OFFERINGS, AND YOU WILL QUALIFY TO BECOME AN OPERATING PHILADELPHIAN! FROM OP-1 (EPHESUS) TO OP-6 (PHILADELPHIA), REMOVE YOUR BODY THETANS (AKA "CONSCIENCE" AND "ETHICS") AND SUCK UP TO THE RULING ELITE UNTIL YOU QUALIFY TO JOIN THE AC-ORG AND SIGN A BILLION-YEAR CONTRACT TO SERVE THE LEADER IN HIS KINGDOM OF GOD!

Mark NPM said...

"The Scientologist[s] have achieved what ACOGs could only hope for in in terms of their membership and size..."

Not that much bigger than the ACOGs, and certainly nothing like the size of Herbie's empire at its horrible peak; two years ago prominent Scientology critics were putting the worldwide membership at around 30,000 all told:
http://tonyortega.org/2014/08/31/sunday-funnies-oops-scientology-reveals-a-key-fact-about-the-size-of-its-membership/
http://www.mikerindersblog.org/10-million-scientologists-where-are-they/

Since then Scientology has continued to lose members steadily, despite its pernicious policies of 'disconnection' (shunning) and 'fair game' (persecution), and there may be fewer than 20,000 active Scientologists left by now.

It does differ from the remaining ACOGs in being obscenely rich, with assets of around $3 billion. Though L Ron Hubbard's original pay-as-you-go scam doesn't really work to pull in new rubes nowadays — that's still enough to ensure the survival of his heir, the even more loathsome David 'Dwarfenf├╝hrer' Miscavige (and his moneygrabbing rackets) for some time yet, sadly — even if Scientology lost its IRS tax-exempt status and its small clique of rich supporters tomorrow.

P.S. Sorry to hear of Gavin Rumney's untimely demise — like John Trechak, he was everything HWA wasn't, and died far too soon.

Black Ops Mikey said...

It is enlightening after watching the video, to watch The Stanford Prison Experiment. At the same time, read "The Lucifer Effect" by Dr. Philip Zimbardo upon which the video was based.

Further back, The Milgram Experiment (http://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html) was established by Dr. Stanley Milgram because he was interested in how easily ordinary people could be influenced into committing atrocities for example, Germans in WWII.

Here's the reality. People introduced into a rigid controlling hierarchy will be roughly divided into two groups: The prisoners and the guards. It seems as if, for the most part, EVERYONE is subject to this unless there has been some effective training and discipline early in life. It is something of an imperative.

The truth probably is that the leaders who establish a group set the tone. Herbert Armstrong was an unconvicted selfish sociopathic felon who rebelled against any valid authority and convinced people to follow him in his evil delusions. Once the group was established, it took several decades for the evil to develop into the abusive cult that evolved from the initial stupidity.

In the case of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology was deliberately developed from recycled science fiction, much to the horror of such luminaries as Isaac Asimov. The entire science fiction community was aghast. Scientology was deliberately set to appeal to actors and actresses for the specific purpose of making money and creating a power base for Hubbard. Scientology is really stupid. It is very much like British Israelism, but while BI sort of developed haphazardly as a mind numbing delusion, Dianetics was developed on purpose.

Those in Scientology have related that Hubbard had the practice of seducing wives of members that appealed to him, with the full knowledge of their husbands in a rather sick artificial belief system.

The best thing that could happen is what happened at the end of the Stanford Prison Experiment: "This experiment is over. You are all free to leave."

In the movie, Dr. Philip Zimbardo said "There was no precedent for how far this could go." Wrong. He was stupid. He should have known. He had to have known the Milgram Experiment. At minimum, he should have known about Nazi Germany under Hitler.

That's the only thing that makes sense.

And there can be no excuse for staying.

How many times are we going to repeat the same experience over and over?

The insane stupid by this time is inexcusable.

Ed said...

I think that we need to remember that "all" religions are inventions of men and "all" religions are abusive or have the potential to be abusive. The difference between armstrongism, scientology and mainstream religion is the degree of abuse. In mainstream religion the abuse is much more subtle and isn't as easy to recognize as abuse then armstrongism and scientology.

Retired Prof said...

Ed, you're right that all religions are inventions of men and that they have the potential to be abusive. However, they do not all fulfill that potential; they are not abusive by nature. When you claim that all religions involve some degree of abuse, you sound like the kind of feminist who claims that all sex involves rape.

Let me defend religion. Most readers of this blog know my defense will be secular, not spiritual. I look at religion from the outside. What I see is that religion occurs in all cultures. We humans have been inventing religions as long as we have existed, and have kept practicing many of them for centuries. We would not do that if they weren't doing us some good. Here are a few of the benefits.

Tribal Unity: We are a social species dependent on a cooperative network; we survive poorly as loners. Rituals give us warm feelings for our fellows that inspire mutual loyalty.

Moral Guidelines: The rules embodied in our religion teach us how to act on the loyalty inspired by rituals.

Explanations of Existence: Most religions include myths about how the universe is structured and what place human beings have in it.

Guidance Through Life Transitions: We create rituals to mark birth, puberty, marriage, illness, and death, designed to intensify our joy and mitigate our anxiety and grief.

Counseling: We need to supplement rituals with discussion of their significance. Also many difficulties arise that no ritual has been devised for. A congregation offers both peers and elders for support.

Any group of human beings offers abusers opportunities to exploit poor schnooks lower in the pecking order. Religious groups offer fertile ground, but not necessarily more so than athletic teams, business enterprises, academic institutions, and so on. Herbert W Armstrong created a business enterprise that exploited the unique power of religious belief to establish a pecking order that delivered him a lifetime supply of poor schnooks to exploit.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Here's a fun fact: A&E plans an 8 episode feature on the KKK.

Stay tuned....

Anonymous said...

Another "proof" about LCG that has zero substance with reality. You folks here are too funny!

Anonymous said...

The person who wrote this is basically illiterate, either that or English is a distant third language for them. Either way it reflects the truth and substance of this blog.

Byker Bob said...

Well, it would improve things at LCG if the Kardashians were to join, but, you know........

BB

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:10 are you claiming that LCG doesn't practice "Disconnection" and "Fair Game" but under different names? Because they most certainly do. I have family members and friends who have had it done to them. I keep my mouth shut about it because I am a coward and so even though I want to leave and feel disgusted with the actions of our leading men, I stay. I pray that one day I will know where to go and have the courage to make the move.

Anonymous said...

It is an excellent program!
Jesus says, "Watch it, or I'll get all 'Old Testament' on your ass!"

LCG Expositor said...

I keep my mouth shut about it because I am a coward and so even though I want to leave and feel disgusted with the actions of our leading men, I stay. I pray that one day I will know where to go and have the courage to make the move.

If it helps, please know that many of us have left, found a good church home where the work is being done better than in LCG, and the government is more Biblical than LCG's. Also, know that you have been brainwashed by Dr. Meredith to think there is no such church besides LCG. You know the technique -- say the same simple thing often enough and you will be amazed what people believe. He is a master manipulator, and you won't know it until you have distanced yourself.

LCG Expositor

Hoss said...

In a city where I once worked, I avoided several streets where Scientology scouts were lurking, asking passers-by if they would like to take a survey.

About that time, a WCG member got involved with Scientology. He explained, citing a number of circumstances, how he believed God must have been leading him to them, but offered no reason for why. Soon after, a friend of his invited me to dinner with her boss, an editor of a small science journal, who, it happened, was aware of the devices Scientology used. Use of these tactics were confirmed by the friend.

The WCG member eventually realized Scientology wasn’t for him, and, contrary to a warning by the editor, had no difficulty getting out without being badgered by the Scientology crowd. Another interesting observation the editor made stuck with me, and that is groups that seem to be able to identify problems can lead one to believe they also have the solutions.

Anonymous said...

LCG Expositor is right.

If you are still in LCG, ask your minister about why you never hear Meredith brag anymore about any actual statistics. For years, LCG would promote their big numbers of TV responses, or their huge magazine circulation, or their big increase in income, donors, and coworkers.

The truth is that LCG has become just like all the other ACOGs, spending tithe money on the family's pet projects and on sending HQ ministers on junkets around the globe to stroke their egos and keep them loyal to Rod Meredith.

In my experience, LCG members who were mostly happy with LCG before Doug Winnail became CAD Director are more likely today to be happy in COGWA. COGWA teaches what HWA used to teach about prophecy, without RCM's "doctrinal upgrades." COGWA church government does emphasizes the importance of hierarchical government, like LCG, but it teaches the hierarchy of family, not of dictator and slave.

Another benefit of COGWA is that you will not hear the same sermon eight or ten times a year from your leader. COGWA's ministers are expected to teach, not to browbeat, with their sermons. Do they do it perfectly? Of course not. Do they do it much better than the angry, arrogant, sex-obsessed Meredith? Absolutely!

Byker Bob said...

Depending on peoples' starting point, there are actually some who have been helped by Scientology, just as some folk had such a low starting point that Armstrongism actually helped them. There are those who are lost without some sort of structure and set methodology, as well as people whose social skills are not sufficiently developed to where they could build friendships without being part of a trusted group. Now, could something else meet their needs, do a better job without the unintended consequence of inflicting damage? Absolutely. But, as with sales, the person who is at the right place at the right time is often the one who completes the seduction. People let the wrong people close them.

Obviously all of us are the ones with buyer's remorse, because it turned out that we bought a defective product, one that the manufacturer did a piss poor job of backing up. We returned the product, and none of us got a refund!

The key is to keep seeking answers, leading to an upward trend to life. There will always be people who try to drag you back, but those would be the people who stopped looking because they have been made to feel that they have all the answers. They do this in spite of red flags, and the fact that their beliefs do not work. It's almost too difficult a thing to watch.

BB

Byker Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Retired Prof said:"Let me defend religion."

If it wasn't for religion, we Homo sapiens would have probably gone the way of the neanderthals. But interestingly enough, it is now turning out to be a possible achille's heel for humanity today. Those religious kooks and would-be soothsayers may not believe in scientific naturalism but they can still use the fruits that it provides. There will always be HWA's roaming around, just waiting for the opportunity to abuse others with it. It's the religions that can ACTUALLY benefit people and the people themselves that need protecting, and not the wolves who choose to do otherwise.

DBP

Byker Bob said...

One thing is for sure. If God intended for select portions of the Old Testament rituals and oracles to be kept as part of the New Covenant, the Armstrong movement really shot themselves in the foot in terms of making that a shining showcase. If God intended for British Israelism to unlock the books of Daniel and Revelation, Armstrongism has turned that into an open ended farce, making a mockery of it. They continue to get an "F" for presentation.

When you've seen such downsides and have contorted yourself for a high demand religion, it can seem natural to extrapolate the badness to all religion. However, religious faith or belief have been shown to be beneficial in many peoples' lives, adding value and quality of life. To optimize this, we need to find a way of worship that isn't toxic.

That means leaving cults that bear bad fruit behind.

BB

nck said...

BB

I understand what you are saying. I do like sometimes to be reminded of the root of modernity though.

One can state that mankind made a mockery of marriage with a 40% divorce rate.
Especially in a modern society where marriage is completely obsolete because women are in no need to find themselves under the protection of powerful men and succeful reproduction and upbringing does not require the traditional man - woman contract in affluent society.

But I like the ritual as a stark reminder of the past. And perhaps a future after a war or when oil runs out. Values that seemed old fashioned might then perhaps become life savers again as they once were.

But hey. I know. Anything old is obsolete when there is younger and better replacement. And that goes for the NT aswell I guess.

nck

Retired Prof said...

nck, I used to make the observation that maintaining a healthy society requires us to pay close attention to both conservative and liberal voices. Conservatives keep us from discarding old ideas before they have outlived their usefulness, and liberals come up with new ideas to be tried when consensus says the old ones do not work any more. That's the optimistic view.

In my old age, I lean toward the pessimistic one voiced by a now-deceased colleague.

"Socially, politically, and economically, our lives are governed by the interplay between two conflicting human tendencies: the liberal tendency to change things for the worse and the conservative tendency to resist all attempts to change them for the better."

Anonymous said...

I just watched a BBC documentary and highly recommend it for those who have the time-
Click here to view it.

Anonymous said...

BykerBob said:"However, religious faith or belief have been shown to be beneficial in many peoples' lives,..."

I stress again that it always boils down to the people that make it work better and not just solely inherent in the dogma or law. Let's take the Grand Poohbas of Armstrongism as an example who believe they are the most sinless by entitlement of their position. Pointing out all the wrong that other people do does not automatically make you right or better, nor can it. Projectionism is NOT the path to enlightenment, but stagnation. Which then requires even more projecting of their bad feelings, which now includes stagnation, on to others by nit-picking, arguing, and worrying over the stupidest and most benign shit imaginable.

The Book of Eli, is yet another good movie we can draw some metaphors from. Religious despots are like Gary Oldman's powermad character, while the good-intentioned flock are only concerned about themselves and staying on the path, whatever that happens to be for them. At least they were not overly concerned with coralling others.

DBP

nck said...

I like how you/he put that.


Nck

Anonymous said...

That documentary is good, I've seen it before. Here's one from his Jack Parson's and occult daze. The Babylon Working, moonchild crap. Click here.

Anonymous said...

Many people have benefited by embracing 'religious' types of teachings which helped put their out of control lives onto a less stable track.

For instance, conversion to Islam while in prison has helped countless prisoners prevent themselves from having further legal problems.
So has conversion to Skinhead Christianity and Scientology, along with many other groups that demand a more rigid control on one's life.

Indeed, it's easily shown that some personality types have been helped to live more stable lives because of their adherence to the tenets and demands of COG groups like Armstrong's, Pack's, Flurry's etc, as well as many whacko Christian- and other- religious groups.

It's more of a comment on some people's psychological shortcomings, than it is on any purported excellence of those organizations.

Anonymous said...

As a member of one of the COG's, watching this show confused me. I was thinking that Scientology which is not a bible based religion cuts off family, friends as SP's (aka suppressive persons) which is the same as the churches of God. Of course, the Jehovah Witnesses do this as well. However, Ron L. Hubbard was a science fiction writer who based his beliefs on aliens and sci-fi. Churches of God give all these verses from the bible about marking and cutting off those who leave the churches to make them see what a terrible thing they have done and make them regret their evil ways. But I am now questioning this reasoning based on the fact that a sect like Scientology does the exact same thing as we do.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Leah Remini, Mike Rinder and all the ex-Scientologists who are willing to help expose Scientology for what it is! It is an excellent series! What an eye-opener! We are RCG survivors who were also in the ministry and there are so many similarities between the tactics of mind control and taking believer's money and controlling their whole lives that it is chilling!! When you work at their compound they also try to separate families and have them "report on each other". They want the #1 focus to be on serving the organization with your heart, mind, money and time going to Scientology with mere scraps of time for your family! We never worked at HQ but we can easily see that the HQ ministry's allegiance is expected to be that your heart, mind, money and time go to RCG with little scraps of time for your family and it's hard to imagine when those who work at HQ even squeeze in time for prayer and Bible Study. They are stressed out from wearing many hats and constantly having to take on extra tasks to make up for the losses of the revolving door of employees at HQ. They are even expected to help out with planting,mulching and weeding at HQ when that needs to be done so there goes their Sundays! We have known many of those at HQ and the changes we have seen in them over the years is sad - their lives are not their own - they are tired and stressed and there is no joy in their eyes.At the last conference we attended, we could notice obvious changes in some of the ministers and wives personalities.They are so programmed that they don't even realize it. Now that Dave Pack has most of the ministry moved into the string of homes surrounding his compound those ministers are now paying the rent to pay the mortgages on houses they will never own. They work for Dave Pack and live in his houses. So, basically he owns them, or at least has a very unreasonable amount of control over their lives. They fear to disagree with him or they would lose their jobs and place to live in one fell swoop. Sounds very similar to Scientology, doesn't it??It breaks our hearts to see these young people devoting their lives to a false apostle who will praise them to the skies if they please him and kick them to the curb if they ever dare disagree with him! How we wish they would realize that there is life after RCG, a life of peace and freedom to serve God and not a man who thinks he is Christ himself! They could learn what it is to have a life and function as a normal family!

Wouldn't it be great if we COG survivors had the means to go on TV and expose all of these false apostles who are leading all the splinters and slivers? They are all going off in different directions with their own personal delusions but of course with that one main purpose of making merchandise of the brethren! That is the thing that unites them all! But, of course, since the COGs have never attracted any Hollywood stars, we don't have the funds to expose the leaders for what they are!We can encourage our friends and loved ones still in the COGs to watch the Scientology Expose and hope something will "click" in their minds!
And. of course, we can continue to pray that they will wake up, see their leaders for the imposters they are and escape these evil cults!!!