Saturday, March 25, 2017

What was the most destructive doctrine of the church?

Gerald made the following comment in an earlier thread.  This is, in his opinion, the most destructive doctrine the church believed?  Do you agree or is there something else even worse?
I would say HWA's most harmful doctrine was his continued proclamation that the Return of Jesus was just around the corner---at most 2-5 years. And not only that, if I just hang on to HWA's coattails, I will be with him, ruling and reigning (quite a few rungs down on the ladder, of course) over the tribes and nations of the world!  

If you really believe in that kind of a promise/declaration, why would there be any incentive to do anything with your current life?

Why buy a house, or have it painted? Why get an education? Why look for a better job? Why plan for your children's education? Why have a savings account or plan for retirement? Why try to help the poor or feed the starving? Why vote, or become aware of political issues? Why do anything to improve the here and now? 

Very soon, it will all be taken care of for you. All you need do is wait, have faith, and presto, you will be part of the ruling class in the World Tomorrow! You may be an ignorant slob today, but in the World Tomorrow, magic will occur and you will become a decision-making, political genius.

The real problem is that this may be (most probably) the only life you will ever have to live. Please, don't waste it believing in the stupidity of false prophecy. You may be squandering the most precious gift you will ever be given. The magical promise from HWA is a cruel and devastating myth. Many generations since Jesus have wasted their entire lives, waiting on the promises of these liars.

There a ton of hurtful HWA doctrines: God will heal, divorce and remarriage, church government, avoid the world, even your unconverted family members, tithing, abusive child-rearing, Holy Days vs. pagan holidays, ministers standing between you and God. It is all pitiful, but prophecy (if you believe it) will steal your life, the only one you have, and give nothing back in return. 



Anonymous said...

Someone Needs To Write A Book Listing Every Destructive Teaching That Spewed Out Of The Mouth Of That False Prophet/Apostle Herbert Armstrong.

DennisCDiehl said...

Relationships. The real daily stuff of life.

For individuals it would be the misdirected application of Divorce and Remarriage along with relationships rules.

Frankly it's no one's damn business who you love , marry or even sadly divorce. And I also mean taking the opinions of the Apostle Paul seriously as well. "I wish that all men were as me." (single) "But to avoid fornication, let them marry..." (that's the only reason he could come up with) Strange how the single and childless men of the Bible get to tell everyone how to be married and raise their kids. It's insane. The Bible is no marriage or child rearing manual. At least not one for success at being partners or parents. It does have lots of advice however on how to alienate a mate, especially a wife who "I'm the boss" gets to lead and how to torment your children with authoritarian dictates.

The OT is a real blessing for children as well. No, kids don't make out so good in the Bible. They are used, abused, disowned, fried, burnt, slapped, kicked, hit, beat, sacrificed, speared, sold, eaten, ignored, marginalized and mauled.

The New Testament also portrays the successful Parent as one who controls the minds and hearts of their kids and dads ministry depends on making them tow the line. I can think of one who would not be waiting for Jesus to come to Wadsworth who suffers this affliction.

I am sure there are "more important" worst doctrines, but relationships in church as defined by the Bible and the men who misrepresent it or enforce it were real to me.

Anonymous said...

I believe the worst doctrine was tithing. Without tithing what could have been done? no mansions, no jets, no college, no broadcasts, no corrupt ministry, no Stanley Rader -- of course if it were of God everything could have happened without all that money. Jesus fed a multitude with a few fishes. So I say tithing, it might be nice to be in a church where money is not the number one concern.

Hoss said...

Anon 924 wrote: So I say tithing

It's the one doctrine that hit everyone, and the only one on which the WCG kept tabs.
And it was doctrine with which HWA kept threatening the Lake of Fire.
Probably the only thing worse than the "Loma letter" was Dave's Clarion Call sermon and his doctrine of Common.

And of course it's a doctrine which should not be taught, as scholarly research confirms there is cannot be supported by scripture. It was "proved" using a gross misinterpretation of the Book of Hebrews.

Miller Jones said...

I think that the most harmful doctrine/teaching was the one about the system itself - that it was THE TRUTH, and that anything/everything that contradicted it was FALSE. Without that one, more folks would have eventually seen through some of the prophetic baloney.

Hoss said...

Although I did agree that tithing the WCG way was harmful, once you're out, it's over - with the exception of the financial mess one may experience for years after.

Possibly the worst for me was the mythical One True Church doctrine, in which the "Truth" must be 100% correct. GTA used to remark how Satan loved when someone was one centillionth of a gnat's whisker away from the Truth.
But the upside for me was that the "post-apostasy" indecision it caused prevented me from joining a splinter - I was never 100% sure with any of them...

Black Ops Mikey said...

The problem gets back to the fact that Herbert Armstrong tacitly proclaimed that he was THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH and people believed him.

Everything... EVERYTHING proceeded from that. It doesn't matter what you pick: Tithing -- you had to do that because Herbert Armstrong was the most important man on the face of the earth; prophecy and the return of Christ -- you had to do that because Herbert Armstrong was the most important man on the face of the earth; The Truth (contradicting everyone else) -- you had to believe that because Herbert Armstrong was the most important man on the face of the earth; doctrines and his opinions -- you had to do them because Herbert Armstrong was the most important man on the face of the earth.

If Herbert Armstrong were just some crank bonkers daft kook nutcase everyone ignores Armstrong would never have happened, period.

But he sold himself as the most important man on the face of the earth ever, people bought it and we were all off and running.

DennisCDiehl said...

Lots of churches and major denominations have their congregants on the edges of their seats with the soon and "behold I come quickly" of the Second Coming. But life also goes on. Only in the WCG and slivers like PCG and RCG does one get the more radical kind of soon where it effects your daily life, for the most part. Those who "send it in" or think that sharing all things in common is the way to go are simply being foolish and will regret that in time. Even the all things in common era in the Book of Acts was because of an unreal immediacy of the Second Coming and died away, no doubt , as more wealthy types adopted the faith but also said, "Hell no, I'm not doing that."

I bet Dave Pack would not disfellowship a wealthy member who still held their ground on enough is enough. Those who had little to give in the first place, not so much.

The worst teachings are the ones that affect you day to day and in your long term future while you are alive. Anointing vs medical care, D and R, avoidance of "the world" with extreme foolishness being avoiding family etc seems the most hurtful to me.

And also totally unnecessary in reality.

DennisCDiehl said...

....and unreasonable Sabbath/employment issues that no real God would give a rats ass about. It's hard to call a Sabbath belief "a delight" when what one does best in life requires a bit of Sabbath attention. No one ever told a doctor he can't "do good" on his Sabbath or in emergencies when his/her skills are needed. It was the high school teacher who had Friday night student activities that suffered, moving job to job in despair of how this Sabbath view was a good thing, that needed a different view of it all to enjoy their life and keep some quiet time to reflect.

Byker Bob said...

Well, isn't this like the old joke about the man whose biggest mistake was that he was born?

It may not be a doctrine, but the most destructive aspect of Herbert W. Armstrong's church was that it existed in the first place. And, the administrators of it were of such a mindset that they never would accept correction. Even if you were to try to correct the most damnable or toxic aspects of it, where would you start? And, further, why would you even want to? Much better to walk away, to start anew, and to go about the task of correcting the personal damage which has taken place.


Anonymous said...

Two major points not mentioned so far, is verbal murder by the ministers. They would constantly attack members self confidence, self esteem, and self image to gain power and superiority over them. This is in big contrast to Joshua and Solomon being told to 'be strong, brave and courageous.' This is the same tactic used by Satan when he's described as 'a murderer from the beginning.'

Another major point is the church teaching socialism, but doing so under the table. They did this using communist style brainwashing with their incessant 'give, help, S-E-R-V-E, outgoing concern, be generous, etc.'
Whether one agrees with socialism or not, the church should have been open about it rather than using mind twisting techniques. They are still doing this today.

Anonymous said...

The all things in common era, might have been the new Christians trying to live up to, what was considered a abstract ideal by their society. Since it clashed with reality, it would have been abandoned eventually.

Steve D said...

I think that if HWA had never lived, some of the members of the WCG would have ended up in another cult. Some people, dependent personalities, don't feel comfortable making decisions for themselves. They want others to direct their lives. I saw this in the military and the WCG. Some people just want others (NCO's, pastors, etc.) to tell them what to think, what to wear, where to live, what to do. Whether it is church doctrine or Army regulations, some people need the structure, dogmatic answers, tight guidance, etc. that such organizations offer. This might be in part why when members leave one cult, they sometimes end up in another. It's safety, security, and predictability that is attractive to some.

Byker Bob said...

Steve, a certain percentage of the general population (some say 15%), is totally incapable of taking care of themselves. They need a lot of hand-holding, constant supervision, and a high level of structure in their lives. If they do not have this, they can easily end up in some part of "the system", like jail or prison, long terms in halfway houses, in mental institutions, on welfare, on psychotropic medication, under the care of psychiatrists or various other counsellors, cared for by close relatives, etc.

Inability to care for oneself without having someone "in charge" is not necessarily an indicator of intelligence, either. There are many highly intelligent, or otherwise talented individuals, who are mentally unstable, and need handlers to help them maintain a normal (whatever that is) life.

There is a broad spectrum and many causes within this subset, so most of the members of the subset would have great difficulty in realizing that they and their peers all share the commonality of limited ability to care for themselves.

Unfortunately, these folks share one more characteristic in common. They are highly subject to exploitation. So many are attracted to cults because they sense that something is deeply wrong with their lives. Life is not working for them. And, there is less stigma associated with being a member of a domineering cult than there is with being institutionalized.

I'm not saying that everyone who ever was part of Armstrongism was part of that 15%. But, it certainly appears in retrospect that a significant portion of the core of the membership may have been. Denial of this is extremely easy. People rarely have a realistic picture of themselves. If there is a point to this, it is that there are far better solutions to this problem than Armstrongism. HWA's religion took from troubled people who had very little strength, very little to give.


Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Great topic and discussion. I have "enjoyed" reading each and every comment - I use the word "enjoy" in quotes simply because each of us can relate to one another in our HWA/WCG experiences even though we may have never met in person as brethren. A couple of comments:

Dennis Diehl said, "and unreasonable Sabbath/employment issues that no real God would give a rats ass about. It's hard to call a Sabbath belief "a delight" when what one does best in life requires a bit of Sabbath attention".

MY COMMENT - I couldn't agree more, particularly about the rats ass comment. It reminded me of Danny Thomas who played for the Major League Baseball Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the Sabbath-keeping Worldwide Church of God in 1976 and 1977. During his brief major
league career, he became known as the “Sundown Kid” because of his well-publicized refusal to play on seventh-day Sabbath. According to Wikipedia, Thomas suffered from mental health problems beginning not long after his promotion to the major leagues. One can only imagine the stress and pressure he was under from the Brewers management. Major League Baseball is played on Friday nights and Saturdays. Ultimately, the Brewers demoted him despite having good stats. His life thereafter went into a downward spiral. He raped a young girl and he commit suicide while in jail.

Arguably, for Danny Thomas, the Sabbath doctrine of the WCG was the most destructive for him personally.

Byker Bob said, "Well, isn't this like the old joke about the man whose biggest mistake was that he was born?"

MY COMMENT - Reminds me of George Bailey and the movie "It's a wonderful Life". A gift to have seen what life could have been without Herbert W. Armstrong. The problem I have is that I have nieces and nephews whom I love, but I would never have had but for the Worldwide Church of God. My brother and his wife met in the WCG. No HWA = NO WCG = No Marriage = NO nieces and nephews! I can't be the only one reading this blog that could say the same thing.

It's a wonderful life! We all that are here together on this blog would not be here if Herbert W. Armstrong were never born :)

Lake of Fire Church of God

Anonymous said...

Recommending what amounts to child abuse to parents.

Byker Bob said...

Without a doubt, relatives who came to me thru WCG, or were born as a result of WCG have been a blessing to me. And, I don't know how God chooses how to incarnate souls. The Bible tells us He knew us from before the foundation of the earth. I do wonder if some would have had much better lives if they had passed into this world through non-WCG members, though. Regardless, so long as they are alive and healthy, there is always the chance that their lives can improve by leaving these horribly toxic cults.

So far as being here goes, I'd much prefer that we didn't need to be having our stimulating discussions on a site that was dedicated to doing a post mortem on and recovering from something so terrible. Seems like that would be so much more uplifting!


Anonymous said...

Steve D
I wonder whether being a dependant personality is part of growing up. Don't children need 'structure, dogmatic answers, guidance, etc?' The point is that the church should have been teaching and encouraging people to outgrow dependency, but instead they did the exact opposite. They kept jumping and stomping on its members for the sake of maintaining power. Not allowing people to grow up is murder.

anonymous63 said...

I feel the most damaging is the "we're the only church/person that teaches the truth" doctrine. Being the ONLY one with "THE TRUTH" led to all the other expectations, rules, and doctrines being followed without question, or, maybe with some doubt but followed anyway.

I don't have anywhere near perfect understanding of the love or rules and expectations of our Creator. In fact the older I get it feels like I have less and less "figured out". Though that could possibly be from all the controlling, manipulative garbage that was poured into my wanting to believe mind by those that sat and sit on their earthly, high and mighty thrones and proclaim to be the "prophet /apostle / guru /appointed /annoynted" whatever.

Thinking about that now, makes me ask how ANYONE could be so smug and arrogant as to say or act like they do have perfect understanding (all truth) concerning Almighty God. Maybe it's time for a little humility for the acogs and the individual guru's to say, 'Hey, I/we don't know or understand everything, in fact what I think I do know is up for debate, let's learn and reason TOGETHER'.

That's part of why I like this blog. Thoughts and questions and some pretty hard things are allowed.There are some fine revelations and insights, which those who come here can take or leave as we so choose.