Exposing the underbelly of Armstrongism in all of its wacky glory! Nothing you read here is made up. Every crazy, weird and wacky quote is straight from the pens of Armstrongite leaders or members who think they possess some insight into God and the Bible. What you read here is the up to date face of Herbert W Armstrong's legacy. It's the gritty and dirty behind the scenes look at Armstrongism as you have never seen it before!
Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web of Corrupt Leaders
Before the age of television and radio, a charismatic minister, one who by the power of his own personality, ego and even his mental quirkiness or illnesses, tended to influence a relatively few people overall. Since these inventions, times have changed of course. Now we can be bombarded with the ideas, opinions, inspirations, knowings and outright stupidity of the sincerely misguided. The problem is that they reach millions and are supported by people who buy into their ideas, but never meet the man, attend his church or know what might be going on behind the scenes of the organization he has created.
Such men build Mega-Churches in their local communities and the sheer size of the congregation seems to be proof enough that the pastor must be right, must be really speaking for God and must be doing God's for sure, real, end time (again and still) work on earth. Surely something this big and with these many resources, which are mainly the tithes given to the man, who then decides just how to spend it with littler over site, has to be right and true.
For better or worse, the religious texts often give men more than they need to create a powerful, but false, and misguided belief system that then replicates itself and brings great ego pumping to the man who weaves the tale his way. They look into the Bible, both Old and New Testament, and what do they see? THEMSELVES! They see that, sure enough, just what Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are alleged to have said, is what I, am saying as well.
These misguided and often dangerous pastor types, and the danger is to one's finances and freedom of thought, often anoint themselves with various titles such as Evangelist, Apostle, Prophet, Watchman (watch out for this one as it's not what they watch that is so dangerous, but how they interpret what they watch to the faithful), and worse sometimes. Elections might be fine in government, but not for church. It does seem that the more bold a man or organization is, the grander the titles and the more authoritarian with YOU designated as a mere follower, it becomes... and the more dangerous to your real spiritual self it is.
Lets briefly remind ourselves of the traits a personality plagued with narcissism can bring to the Christian table.
"Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);
Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;
Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);
Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);
Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment;
Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends; Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;
Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;
Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy. " (Malignant Self Love)
(If one cannot see these traits in certain Church of God Ring Masters they are blind and in denial as it manifests itself every week in every sermon and in every way everywhere.)
Ministers and CEO's with these traits, can rise to very high positions in the world of Religion, Government and Business, on the backs and at the expense of those who would not be inclined to think this way. They may be genetically predisposed to this way of being, but the world has paid a big price for allowing such people to include us in their exploits. Since they rarely if ever seek professional help and to suggest they do can get you everything from fired, disfellowshipped or killed, others don't insist they do to their peril.
My experience is a Pastor with emotional or mental health issues often scoffs at and demonizes those that would go to professional mental health care counselors. They view it as "being weak" and prayer, Bible Study and fasting are the tools one SHOULD use to address such things.
. I often wonder if mental health counselor types in Mega-Churches don't recognize the problems in Mr. Charisma, but override it because a quirky or dangerous mental disorder can look so spiritual in a church context.It looks like a zealous kind of obedience to God when in fact it is an personality disorder able to hide in a church setting. The same actions of Isaiah, Jeremiah or Ezekiel in your school teacher, mayor or boss would not result in someone saying they are inspired by God.
So what are the problems with a one man Ring Master Church of God minster?
1. The minister, used to being believed in every area that captures his imagination and chooses to comment on is an impediment to good science. Desperate to sound authoritative and glib in their presentation to the choir, they perpetuate ignorance for those content to let others do their thinking for them.
Dave Pack's series where he ventured into dangerous territory for his actual understanding of good science which contradicts is pathetic science is a good example of this.
2. The minister or Christian Zealot that goes unchallenged because he IS the Minister or Zealot, is a threat to a good education. They often bolster their own pronouncements by making fun of a formal education. They mock Plato, Socrates and others who are symbols to them of "human reasoning" as if there is reasoning is more than human. Dave Pack dismissed Einstein because he had "wild hair." Brilliant Dave... I realize they give the impression that God pours his mind, on a regular basis, into themselves, but this is an illusion and delusion.
"When you take into account what the so-called "educated" people don't know that's essential to know, and compare it with the vain "education" they do have, it becomes clear that they are quite dumb." -- Robert T. Lee, Anti education Christian Leader.
These types tend to use the words "so-called" and put parenthesis around the words "education" a lot. They will soak their congregants in the biblical verses that mock human wisdom and ultimately, when cornered, come back with "well, the wisdom of man is foolishness with God," and "God's thoughts, (which usually mean his thoughts at the moment you are questioning,) are higher than yours!" End of discussion.
3. Many charismatic and one man churches are a threat to your good health. They often stress that ill health is a function of the devil in your life or mind, when it really might be the fact that one believes that sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are the four food groups and spends a lot of money proving it. Anointing an obese person for bad knees is like painting a car with flat tires. It still won't move.
These spokesman for God emphacise that having hands laid on you is more important than a good check up or good treatment of maladies contracted in the course of living on the earth as a human or old age. Some teach that it's either God OR Doctors, but can't be both. Some mix it up but give false reasons in sermons for human illness and often cause a person to postpone getting genuine help and finding a solution to the problem. When these ministers contract an illness themselves, they tend to re-read the scriptures and hear the voice of God telling them that it's now OK to seek professional help and a good Doctor for themselves, and thus have to reveal this a new truth to the congregation who'd catch on if he didn't. When they need it, they tend to change over to "God has given us medical knowledge as a gift and we should recognize it...now and for me at least."
4. Charismatic and One Man Shows aren't accountable for their use of your generous tithes and offerings. As such, they are a grave threat to your finances. Such members often tell themselves after they send the money, "I just obey God and tithe, and what he does it it is none of my business. I trust God and his Church." That gives Mr. Charisma a free hand which is why we see Tel-Evangelists and Religious CEO's sporting hot cars, expensive watches and amazingly expensive homes in exclusive neighborhoods. Even the original scripture, "blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven," was changed to "blessed are the poor, IN SPIRIT, ...." to give some very wealthy and materialistic ministers and churches some wiggle room throughout history. Somehow these men embarrass and anger us, but nothing is ever said or done that changes them and the giving goes on, along with the lifestyle abuses and offenses to common sense. Sheeple love Shenanigans I guess.
5. The One Man Show can define the world to the members as it serves him. He can spew out why the world is this or that way and just what exactly God is doing and thinking. He can motivate the masses with the imminent (again) return of Jesus. Everything is watched with baited breath and is just around the corner. The world can't go on for more than 3 or 5 or 10 or 15 more years, so give, give, give, give. Of course the numbers of years "just ahead" never change and often match the number of years the minister wants the show to go on for him, but no one notices or cares. Granted, it's a dangerous and discouraging world, but frankly it is the Christian, Jewish and Islamic religions that want their form of peace on earth to come that are pushing us towards the edge. As I have said before, they might bring nothing but a sanitation problem for their false efforts and beliefs about what God might be thinking.
6. The One Man Show can leave you high and dry when they DIE! Uh oh...now what? These men often act as if they simply can't die "before all be fulfilled," and rarely make provision for a change in leadership, if that is what the group wants. Why would you have to make provision for new leadership when you are the End Time Apostle or both of the Two Witnesses of Revelation? I once asked a group that was just smitten with the talent and "knowledge so called" (sorry couldn't resist) of their pastor in his Mega-Church. I asked if they had a plan B. I asked what they would do if he failed to live up to his own press or died and they simply insisted that would never happen. Uh huh...It's the people who work for such jerk that end up paying the price in having given their lives to a false vision and were lied to about the outcome. Of course, life is choices and we make our choices don't we? If your grand poopa minister does not have a way to be replaced, you need to make a way, for your own good and spiritual safety. If he refuses to entertain the idea, he's an idiot and you need to vote with your feet. (See Narcissism above.)
7. A One Man Show presupposes that you must see life, religion, God, the Bible, the world, your family, your thoughts, your finances and every other aspect of your personal freedom to be who you are, through his eyes. You really don't have a life. You have HIS life. You aren't a player in your own life. You are a player in HIS life. You can't see the world and receive knowledge as see fit. You have to receive knowledge and receive it from HIM and as HE sees it. In short, you have given up your mind and all you now are is an agreerer. You just agree with your ministers views, opinions and perspectives on who and what God is and when Jesus simply must come back for all of the big US, not them. If he says dinosaurs are less than 6000 years old and fossils are deceptions as is any book outside of the Bible, you just say, "yes sir." If you are really hooked by the one many show, you become a virus for him and spread it to others. If he says one man is God's political leader, but the other is Satan's, you just say "well ok," and vote as the minister says you should, for GOD. It's all bullshit, but many love bullshit and smear it on themselves every week in church as a Holy Excrement, I mean Sacrament. (Hey, that was pretty good!)
8. And finally, the one man show is dangerous because men are men and women are women and when they fall from grace, they tend to take everyone with them in one way or another. People are people and get into all sorts of wants, needs, desires, lusts and experiences. Religion and the need to be good, godly, perfect, righteous and sinless, well at least not "big" ones, forces people wear masks.
No man is above being normal, but the demands of religious obedience is abnormal in a real world. The congregation can "sin" until the cows come home and often, but they expect the pastor to be their sacrifice for sin by his living an unreasonable life full of unreasonable expectations and unresolved personal needs. The reason so many ministers "fall from grace," is because few can meet the expectations of religion and the few that think they can, can't but won't admit it. Many are pushed from grace by ego.
Don't be overly impressed by the religious who know everything and demand you pay, obey, pray and stay just because they say so. Question religious authority and those that demand your righteousness at the expense of your sanity. The person demanding your devotion or obedience is just a human being as well with all the foibles that go along with that.