Wednesday, April 26, 2017

LCG to start enforcing pre-engagment "counseling"



Several LCG members have commented to me about how appalling they think this invasion into their lives is.  It is all about control.  Members are still too stupid to make good decisions on their own.

The Bible tells us that good counsel is critical for making good decisions (Proverbs 1:5; 11:1412:15). Marriage is one of the most important decisions of one’s life (second only to baptism). The ministry must never become a “blessing factory,” just putting the Church’s stamp of approval on a marriage, no matter what. Rather, the ministry is here to help couples seeking marriage discern God’s will as they consider making a covenant with each other, before God. 
While the Church has historically suggested premarital counseling for all couples considering marriage, it makes much more sense to seek pre-engagement counseling. The intended purpose of counseling has always been to help couples themselves better determine if they are “right for each other” in God’s sight and to increase their opportunity for success in a potential marriage.  
Regrettably, in all too many cases, once a couple is engaged, the couple’s focus is no longer on evaluating their relationship and whether or not they are right for each other. When their main concern is planning the wedding, they are far less evaluative of their relationship. Counseling can be simply an afterthought. 
Pre-engagement counseling makes far more sense. The couple may be dating seriously but they have not yet publicly committed to marriage in an engagement and they are much more open to honestly evaluating themselves as potential marriage partners. This, in turn, gives much more opportunity for God to guide their decision-making. To better serve our membership in these critical decisions, the Church requests that all couples considering marriage seek pre-engagement counseling from the ministry before any formal engagement.




God is NOT guiding their decision making, it is the minister, plain and simple.  It is his opinion and has nothing to do with God.  Just look at the horrendous mess Rod Meredith made in the church with his "divorce and remarriage" policies he instituted in the 1960/70's.  Could there have been anything viler?  Given that sickening track record, why would ANYONE even think about using an LCG minister for pre-engagement counselling?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was David Meredith required to complete pre-engagement counseling before LCG would approve either of his two engagements or perform either of his two marriages? Of course not!

Ask yourself: Why is there one standard for ministers' children and a different standard for your children?

Anonymous said...


And knowing this:
Anything divulged to Armstrong-cult toughs will go on the dreaded Dossier - the file of intimate information WCG kept on members - that was supposed to be 'secure', but had a way of leaking to ministers' wives, then gossips!

Once an ex girlfriend who was a potential member wanted to marry a conservative member and was directed to baptism & marriage counseling, where she apparently dumped on me to expediate her fast track to sainthood. I know because an extreme gossip fed back to me details of the counselling stating: "..'they' are disappointed in you.."

Byker Bob said...

Well, Jiminy Cricket Apple Butter! Maybe if they had had this counselling in place back in 2005, Terry Ratzmann (he's now got his own Wikipedia article!) might never have been depressed, or sought relief through murder-suicide at LCG sabbath services!

Seriously, more Gestapo stuff is just going to increase the misery factor at the Living Church of Rod. Now they are making themselves the gatekeepers for another thing that you've got to qualify for. The bad that comes from this is going to far outweigh the good! Pretty soon the ministers will want to set up and arrange all the church marriages!

BB

Redfox712 said...

It is terrible and awful that LCG's "ministers" insist on interfering with the lay members' lives in such a way. This gives the "ministers" far too much power. It is intrusive. There is so much potential for abuse within these counseling sessions.

***

Meanwhile in PCG's latest attempt to hide the fact that hardly anyone important in WCG chose to join them PCG has persuaded a British newspaper columnist, Melanie Phillips, to give a free public lecture at their headquarters on Sunday, May 7. The lecture is entitled "Melanie Phillips: A World in Turmoil." I call upon people not to attend this lecture because it is hosted at PCG's headquarters.

Let it be known that this lecture will not catapult PCG into fame and prominence. The market is filled with people claiming to know the future looking for recruits just like PCG. Many people will look up PCG on the Internet and learn about its troubling aspects. May this latest attempt by PCG to gain fame, prestige and more tithes payers fail miserably.

Anonymous said...

I remember when LCG started with the "pre-engagement" counseling about 10 years ago. There was a young couple in my congregation that went through it and the higher ups were determined AFTER the fact that the couple was too young and therefore couldn't marry. They were absolutely heartbroken and split. AFTER both of the fathers of the couple were ordained deacons the couple magically got back together and were engaged within a month. I know of other couples that were practically forced together by ministers and given the fast forward past go and ended up in horribly miserable marriages. These counseling sessions have nothing to do with God or the couple but control.

Anonymous said...

Doug Winnail's wife divorced him 20+ years ago and became a Southern Baptist. Winnail thought it was appropriate that he remarry the woman a few years ago, even though she wasn't in the church. Does anybody here think that LCG pre-engagement counseling will allow less senior people to marry women who aren't in the church? The double-standards within LCG are sickening.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!!

Didn't I read or hear that an LCG minister in Atlanta (or somewhere in GA)facilitated the divorce of one of his members so he could marry her himself???

And wasn't he old enough to be her grandfather???

LCG doesn't just have a double standard - they have many different standards for many different people all determined by where you are on the food chain and who you are related to or who's boots you routinely lick.

Anonymous said...

This has Gerald Weston written all over it.

He made me take a fill-in-the-bubble scantron test to determine if my husband and I were well suited to marry.

Subsequently, he determined that we were not and refused to give us consent to become engaged and made his recommendations to headquarters that we not be married in the church.

We made a couple of large offerings coupled with Mr. Weston being sent to Canada and voila! We were married in the church.

Thank God too because we have been blessed with the most loving, happy marriage I could have ever imagined. We've been together for 17 years now. All of our friends are enamored by how well we fit together. We truly complete one another. I can't imagine having a better mate or loving anyone more.

I sometimes reflect on how different my life would have been if I had submitted to Gerald Weston's opinion.

Alternately, I know a couple that were raised in LCG and passed all the LCG pre-engagement tests with flying colors (much of which is assessing your loyalty to LCG). They had an absolutely miserable marriage. They separated once for over a year and ultimately ended up having a nightmarish divorce.

These men have no clue. They have had zero training to counsel or assess such things. The man on the moon would know as much as they do. But yet, these blindly obedient LCG zombies will no doubt submit to this insanity without question.

Hoss said...

In my church area, a number of men avoided all the difficulties by making sure they got married just before joining. There were cases of wife joins and stays, joins and drops out, doesn't join.
The only case I know of pre-engagement counseling was a friend, whose girlfriend wasn't interested in joining and was a smoker. The minister approved and they had a church wedding.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that in LCG, if your spouse dare have questions, read the Book of Enoch, have private Bible studies, not submit to doctrinal "upgrades" or a handful of other random, arbitrary offenses, you will be expected by LCG ministry to "walk away" from him in an effort to cause him so much pain and heart-ache that he will realize his error and come running back whole-heartedly to the church with his tail between his legs begging in submission.

Many LCG ministers employ this tough love technique but Rod McNair is the master of it.

Maybe if Dana left him and took the kids until he straightened up and stopped acting like such a dick there would be hope for him? Maybe, but I doubt it.

In all seriousness, telling one mate to leave the other mate to force them into submission is the worst advice ever. Even if it were to work in the short-run, long term it will be a disaster!

Martha said...

I have no doubt that this is another way LCG is trying to grab even more control of its members lives.

Once upon a time, Martha dated a COG boy. They got baptized, and everyone thought it was great. They got engaged at the Feast of Tabernacles, and everyone was ecstatic. They went through pre-marital counseling, and everyone applauded. What a great match!

Then, about six months before the wedding, Martha's fiances' parents followed a dissenting minister out of the COG group everyone attended. And suddenly all the people who had been so excited about his upcoming marriage suddenly thought it wasn't such a good idea. Now, Martha's fiance didn't live with his parents, or often even attend the same congregation his parents had. But Martha's parents were worried. Martha's minister even counseled her to put the wedding on hold six months.

Some of you on this blog have some experience with Martha, and can probably guess what kind of man she'd be likely to marry, so you can also probably guess what our answer was. And while the ignorance of their reaction was the main issue, issues like expensive diamond rings, facility contracts and cake orders did come up, so LCG is right on that matter.

Years later, and several years post-COG now, we are still married. Thankfully, our families, and even our COG minister, were relatively reasonable. But if we had been in a more controlling COG group, things could have gotten ugly very fast.

This is policy will no doubt be used to control and dominate young people even further. Don't say we didn't warn you.

DennisCDiehl said...

After several years of giving "pre-marriage counseling" because I was supposed to and for which I was eminently unqualified to do properly or even wanted to do in church mode, I learned to just ask, "Do you zing each other?" If they said yes with a smile or smirk, they were good to go. If they did not understand the question I told them to wait or forget it.

Anonymous said...

Herbert W. Armstrong on page 23 of the January 1957 Good News Vol. VI, Number 1 writing on the subject of "Christ Did Put Authority and Rule in His Church" gave all of the hirelings, his little helpers, the following advice:

******
"...Does God's RULE in His Church give
ministers authority to intervene even in
affairs of the personal life of members?
The answer is, YES, but of course rarely,
and only in extreme cases where this is
necessary...God's ministers arc required to use
wisdom and judgment, and they are
never going to interfere in private lives
unless there is a Bible reason..."
******

That sounded like some sound advice back in 1957, but what a mess over the years since those words were written.

HWA is dead and the "little helpers" were no longer needed. After the death of HWA many of the little helpers to HWA fled Pasadena's Worldwide Church of God, leaving their ministerial credentials behind, fled in a scattered condition and went out to do their own thing......hence numerous confusing xcog associations, groups and today, thinking they never needed to obey HWA's rule about losing their credentials when they left the organization they were ordained to serve...now foster so much confusion today.

I suggest professing ministers of God (god? 2 Cor 11:13-15!) take HWA's 1957 advice to stay out of the private lives of others. And any needing marriage counseling? Go see one trained in Marriage Counseling. Avoid fake ministers!

In another sense, the example of ancient physical Israel had been preserved for all mankind.

What would happen after Moses' death? Moses knew!

"For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?" Deuteronomy 31:27

And spiritual Israel? Same thing? Supposedly, HWA felt "compelled" to "choose" Joe Tkach senior even though something was lacking in Joe, that Joe could not walk in HWA's shoes the same way HWA did. Ooh, was there a prophet amongst us? So, Joe walked in HWA's footsteps, which only went backwards. Huge reversal! Little helpers scattered all over the world, in confusion, blind leading the blind, etc...most still believing that "time is short," that Christ will soon reign on planet earth for 1,000 years, that spirit being angels can't be destroyed, that God would lose a bunch of people and needed some fake, make-believe, 3rd resurrection, that we today live "in the last days," etc.

Various "church" peoples would like to get-together as one whole again, but the fake ministers won't allow that b/c each thinks their group is the greatest and fight over sheep, and mammon, that don't even really belong to them...and they all know very little "good news!" There are reasons for the United Ass. getting rid of that "Good News" magazine title. Beyond Today? Huh? What?

They, like so many groups, illustrate the existence of such things as another gospel ("good" news), another spirit, and even another Jesus in their doctrines. Even United hoping to require less votes (what did HWA teach you about voting?) to pass watered-down (laodicean?) doctrines to replace existing doctrines can't "see" what has/is happening. Life goes on!

So, will any of these former credentialed WCG little helpers ever yet learn NOT "...to interfere in private lives unless there is a Bible reason?"

And when it comes to Bible reasons.......watch out!

Time will tell...

John

Anonymous said...

Continuing the soap opera from 8:20..
..I happened to run into her unchurched sisters a couple of years after the WCG-engineered union. They said "have you heard, xxxx punched xxxxx in the face; she went to hospital for observation, now she's home with mom!" I was decked by the news (like she was decked by the punch). For all their ballyhoo about "upholding God's law", armstrong ministers actually ignored it: when there is premarital hanky panky, indicative of pheromonal compatibility, the couple must marry, deut.XXII - not be rematched with someone from a locally favored family. The same book says not following this brings a curse, deut.XXIX.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Oh, dandy, the organization founded by a boozing alcoholic pedophile committing incest was the apostle and so the perverted alcoholic sex cult of his devising insists that prospective marriage couples come to incompetent unqualified idiots for counselling.

So two people are very much in love, committed to one another, open, honest, stable, mature -- just what do you think a mystic myth promoter could bring to the two guys about to marry?

RSK said...

Hard to believe that anyone would submit to such... and yet, I remember similar things in WCG as a kid. A Scantron test, really??

RSK said...

Nowadays, I would say that any man who thought he could dictate that sort of thing to me wouldn't walk away on two legs. Amazing how the COGs can rob someone of basic self-determination... and how many will give it up.

Connie Schmidt said...

The COGs have a hierarchy and "status system". You only get to move up in status with permission of the "higher ups". Its starts with permission to be baptized and moves up ladder. You get "permission" or are designated the "hymnal passer outer" , deacon, elder and so forth.

Being married puts you higher up in the pecking order than being a single member, so of course you have to be granted "permission" to do so, or even being involved in a "serious relationship" , which too requires "monitoring" and permission.

I have heard plenty of stories of dating people being grilled about any sexual activity that they may be engaged with and the "wanting of details", level of activity and the like. Im not advocating for fornication, but , it is not anybody else's business what your private sexual practices or struggles may be, if not public or shouted to the world. Certainly not for it to fulfill some prurient interest of some "beat off" minister's voyeurism.

RSK said...

Yes, of course they do. And as people advance in the hierarchy, some get big heads trying to show off for their perceived "bosses".

Now, someone's going to read that and say "Its like that everywhere". They are correct, I can name/describe some disgusting individuals I work with who engage in similar behavior. However, in the COGs, that tendency was magnified to absurdity.

I'm reminded of a humorous anecdote that was on the Painful Truth site decades ago where a former member described a local situation in which two deacons were in charge of setting uo folding chairs in the rented hall each week. They had divided the hall between them because one insisted on using a specific measuring stick to place the chairs (was it a cubit? Cant remember now) while the other used a bucket and string, and using the stick in the bucket-and-string turf or vice versa would earn a meltdown from the affronted deacon. :)

Anonymous said...

John,
You like most in the church, do not understand rights. You quote Herbs ministers intervening 'even in the affairs of the personal life of members.' This is NOT 'sound advice' as you claim. Herbs instruction means that members act by permission rather than by right. It means members have NO rights. Herb tries to make this palatable with his 'of course rarely ' qualification comment, but once the principle is established. the 'rarely' is meaningless.

It is a psychopathic trait that 'I have all rights, and you have non,' and it is a psychopathic trait of secretly feeling that they own other peoples lives.
Neither are 'sound advice' but rather vile and demonic.
By contrast, Americas Founding Fathers believed that the role of government is to defend peoples rights rather than steal them.

Anonymous said...

My mother and father were one of those marriages that was split up by Rod Meredith. They loved each other deeply and split up because some jackass minister told them to and they thought they were pleasing God. By pleasing God that meant following government. Following government is one of the biggest lies the church has spread over the years. It was nothing more than a tool control members. Thankfully both of my parents had sense enough a few years later to remarry and tell the church how far they could stick it. I look forward to the day Rod Meredith dies. I despise the ungodly man!

Anonymous said...

This is clearly the LCD ministry acting like overbearing micro managing popes. Why carnt brethren seek God's opinion themselves through prayer, fasting, meditation, bible study...
This is blatant control. LCD seem to be taking a leaf out of PCCG and RCG on the controlling ways.

Anonymous said...

LCG is becoming more and more like Flury's group week by week.

I think because it has been happening over a prolonged period of time, members are less outraged.

That plus the fact that members have been fed the lie that UCG and COGWA aren't doing a work (they are easily equal to LCG in that regard). Then there's that load of crap about one-man, God-ordained government they love to ram down the members throats (pretty sure God DID NOT ordain the abusive bullies at LCG HQs). Oh and the fear of change and/or losing ones friends.

LCG members are going to get exactly what they deserve. People treat you how you allow them to treat you. LCG members refuse to stand up collectively to the abusive behaviors they see their ministers committing year after year and so the problem just gets worse.

Anonymous said...

Lol, they've been enforcing it for some time now. Me and my husband got put out a little over five years ago for not getting pre-engagement counseling (actually, they kept switching the story of why we were being put out), but that's basically what it stemmed from, even though at the time they said it was more of a suggestion than an actual requirement. But the minister didn't like my family and had a vendetta. Accused me of being pregnant, tried to get me to exchange info on how my parents felt about him as a minister for us being able to attend services, and told that God would not bless the union, etc. We fought it all the way to the top, where we were told by Rod Meredith that he doesn't really deal with these little matters. They pushed baptism counseling on us and said that we would NOT be getting married without being baptized first (although we had been informed previously that this was not something they enforced either), something we knew we were NOT ready for. In the end, we refused to capitulate and we stopped trying to get back in...we still attend one of the churches of God, but not such a nazi-ish one, and we've learned a lot about where a minister's place in one's life is and where it is NOT.
Ended up being the best thing that ever happened to us =D

LCG Expositor said...

This idea of “threading the needle” is wrong. The problem is the conflict between God’s instruction in Isaiah 58 to “cry aloud and spare not” and LCG’s mission to “preach the gospel to the world as a witness”. Nowhere did Jesus tell us to preach the gospel to the world as a witness (Matt 24:14 is a prophecy). So, Meredith had to decide. And he clearly said, “We cannot speak as loudly as we would like on television on subjects like homosexuality and abortion.” How does such a statement square with “Cry aloud and spare not”? It doesn’t. Meredith rejected God’s mission in favor of his own mission. And LCG is doing the work of God better than anyone? Hogwash.
Why doesn’t Meredith just do what God says and trust God for the results? Because that would take faith.

Anonymous said...

Herb built his church on the sands of tyranny and oppression. So when he kicked the bucket, 'great was the fall of it.'
The splinters have learnt nothing, and keep following the deceased Herb into the ditch, over and over again.

Anonymous said...

The new requirement for pre-engagement counseling is LCG's attempt to solve the increasing "problem" of LCG singles dating outside of LCG.

Anonymous said...

Why would any LCG single date ANYONE in LCG? There is too much baggage.

Anonymous said...

Connie said:
I have heard plenty of stories of dating people being grilled about any sexual activity that they may be engaged with and the "wanting of details", level of activity and the like.

Well there you have it, reflects my story @ 8:20. The person who dumped on me became a "made" (like in the Mafia*LOL*) Armstrongite and did XX hard years (being working class schmucks) in the Armstrong-cult.

Anonymous said...

so we are born knowing nothing, but we behave as if we know everything; we reject good advice and sound doctrine in the name of some vain desire to assert independence, despite our inexperience...

and when it all goes wrong we partition off in a corner, lick our wounds and pretend nothing bad ever happened...

Anonymous said...

A SCAMTRON test is more like it