Friday, January 19, 2018

The Greatest Men and Women I Ever Met in WCG.






Non-compliance to stupid ideas or perspectives that my dad thought might hurt more than help was a family trait of ours even in the Presbyterian Church.  If my dad was not about to do something he felt was stupid or harmful, ill advised or just plain wrong he would say "I'll take that under advisement", which meant "NO".

It was a phrase he used often when the doc would want to put him on some new meds.  "I'll take that under advisement" and his doc of decades knew exactly what that meant.  Dad and mom died at just under 100.

Once he was warned by the Doc he had an extra heartbeat and the doc was concerned.  "At 90 Doc, don't worry about it. You never know when you're going to need and extra one."  "Ok Fred...."

In the 70's I took two Voyager Canoe loads of SEP kids on a long week paddle and camp ordeal.  I was not in charge but we put up on an island for the Sabbath.  It was HOT!!!!  No Swimming on God's Sabbath was the expected behavior.  Did I say it was HOT!!!???   So there we sat, in the woods or on the beach rejoicing in God's Sabbath.  When I had had enough, I said "Let's all take a swim."
We all did.  Even those that felt they could not based on the expectations of others.  We saved the Sabbath with that swim.  Nothing more came of it.   Except no one died of heat stroke miles from help and I was not one to trust in divine healing back then for such things.

Once Dave Pack was chiding the men in Spokesmen's Club for not memorizing their scripture cards.  Dad, who was an Elder in WCG raised his hand and gave Dave a bit of an overview on how much the men worked during the week and perhaps they didn't have the time he did.  "I'll speak to you in the hall Mr. Diehl during the break." said Dave.  "No you won't" said dad.  lol  And it never came up again.

Dave even told my brother in law, who was very good at not being pushed around by anyone, when the new minister ordained him a deacon after Dave left,  "Ron, if I had thought you were Deacon material  (He was common sense Elder material) , I would have ordained you."  To which Ron replied,  "Well Dave...(Ron knew Dave wanted to be called Mr. Pack), if I didn't think you had shit for brains I give a damn what you thought."    Sweet!!!!!

I inherited a good a few good genes from Dad.  I won't belabor the point of my personal choices but simply put, my kids got their immunizations in the 70's and yes, the church and friends knew.  I did not expect them to do what I would not.  I made it clear when they came for excused from immunizations form that this was their choice and did they really believe it as an adult or were they going along to get along?

I took members to professional counseling sessions, to mental health facilities and to the ER and hospital whenever needed.  I tried in vain to do so with some who were suffering needlessly in Jesus name and they ended up resenting me but you can't win in this case of doing what you personally believe as opposed to group think and the decrees of higher ups.

I was told to cancel our very successful Sr Prom in Kentucky where hundreds of really good kids showed up and had a wonderful experience because some kids somewhere fornicated and "we weren't having them anymore."  Really?   Um...sorry.  No. Our prom will go on and it did.  It never came up again.

I recall a fine young guy in Club who, under Gerald Weston, before I showed up, had not spoken up during table topics.  Gerald had him stand up and told him to stand on one leg and sing the National Anthem for the violation.  Tim said "No Sir.  That's disrespectful to the Anthem." and sat down.  Yay Tim!  Nothing more came of that.



The best moment I ever heard of had to be when the rather countrified good ol' boy song leader got up after Joe Tkach Sr's "Screw the Sabbath" sermon in Big Sandy.  It was the tape sent out the next week locally.  He got up to lead the last hymn and said.....and said...."Well now...wasn't that the biggest load of shit you ever heard.  Let's all rise, take our hymn books and sing to the real God!"
That's a classic!

Finally, one woman in Greenville, testing me I suspect after my first sermon there, told me her husband that morning had reminded her that he was the King of the home and she was nothing.  I thought she was kidding but she wasn't.  I asked her what she said.  "I told him then that made him the King of Nothing."    Excellent!!!!  I told her "good job."  

That same day, women must have gotten together to test me replacing GW it seemed and asked me what a woman should do about Biblical questions  they had as they were told they had to be quiet in church and if they had questions to ask their husbands. She continued to ask, "What if my husband is idiot and can't answer questions?"   I said, "then ask me or go find a good book."  She smiled and said "I like you Mr. Diehl."

I'd like to offer up some suggestions that the real men and women Lurkers here on Banned can and should use when confronted by Deacons, Elders, Pastors, Apostles or Zerubbabel's who rule over them.

"Thanks for your concern. NO."
"I'll take that under advisement" 
"That makes me uncomfortable."
"I'm sorry you feel that way. No"
"It's really none of your business what I do or think about that."
"That's the most stupid thing I've heard all week."
"And you really believe that?"
"You're on drugs aren't you?"
"Think what you like and leave me out of it."
"Do what you like and leave me out of it."
"And you think that's talking about you in the Bible?"
"Hell  no..."
"You're kidding right?"
"That's fine for you but not so fine for me"
"Believe what you want. Just don't expect me to ."
"It's none of your business."
"Get the tree out of your own eye before you come to me with that."
"You got to be kiddin'?"
"Where do you come up with this stuff?"
"I'll decide what's best for me and my family, not you."
"I'll give what I choose to give."
"I'm busy that weekend."
"I'm too tired to go to Club"
"I'm too tired to go to Bible Study and besides, they are shallow and boring."
"That was the most stupid sermon you ever gave. You can't prove that!"
"I ain't sayin 'amen' to that!!"
"My children aren't your children to raise."
"I'm sorry you feel that way. How can we make that better."
"Oh we can't unless I comply?  Well if I didn't think you had shit for brains I'd care about that."
"Yes sir...I heard you.  No sir is what I said."
"Sorry, not giving anymore for your airport."
"Sorry, not giving anymore for your buildings, ponds, fish and ducks."
"That's fine.  Then me an my family will find another church."

....and so on.

The greatest WCG members, aside from those as well who actually lived their faith in a balanced and humble way, were those who spoke up.  I would say my best friend, who stuck by me all these years until his untimely death last year , Gary Benjamin of Findlay, Ohio exemplified that quality that taught me how to embrace it even back in the 70's.  Gary was a self made man. The first words out of his mouth , as a deacon who came to help this 23 year old kid minister move into our first house right along the railroad tracks in Findlay were...."So...this is where my tithes are going..."  I glared at him and wondered what the hell that was all about.  But that was Gary.  He never changed nor would I want him to.  He gave me hell at times and was my friend. He helped me find the voice of my father.  He spoke his mind and I didn't mind and grew to admire the gutsy "that's just how it is and just how I think" personality he embraced.



He was a rather hard and cold person at times. It had to do with upbringing and baggage I'm sure.  Finally he got bounced out of the deaconship he had for decades by Ron Weinland, who he thought was a jerk and we know he was right. I came for an anniversary visit where all the deacons were brought up front and honored. But not Gary. He sat quietly musing just in front of me and watched them praised and get their awards blah blah....  I took a piece of notebook paper and made him a Certificate of Appreciation to the best and most honest deacon I knew and passed it to him from behind.  He read the torn piece of paper. Turned around with the only tear I ever saw in his eyes and said..."Thank ya..."   Gary always said "Thank ya...."  He taught me  how to speak up even it makes my lips quiver....



27 comments:

Allen C. Dexter said...


Loved this, Dennis. I owe some of my orneriness to my Dad (and also my mother) too. The local ministers continually belabored him to sell his ranch and move to Bismarck. He ignored them and stayed until he was 72. Then, he sold quarter by quarter and had money to give to us kids when he died. It took me a while to start thinking for myself, but by age forty, the examples started to have an effect and step by step I completely cut myself free from the old superstitions and nonsense. Like you, I don't hesitate to say what I think, and I know that would make my parents proud.

Anonymous said...

Back in 1990 I should have told John Cafourek to go f**k himself after he refused to baptize me.

Near_Earth_Object said...

I never thought I would have words with a WCG minister. I was always well-behaved. I also tended to think of the WCG as a "work in progress" so some problems were to be expected. But I was taken beyond this by a difficult event. My wife had a long and uneven labor with my son. Her contractions would seem to be going somewhere and then they would back off. This was gradually exhausting her. So we permitted the doctor to break her water and give her Pitocin. I must have mentioned this to a church member because I thought nothing of it.

A day or so later I attended a local evening Bible study and when I walked in the atmosphere was grim. Apparently, everyone had been talking about this induced labor and continued to deplore it openly while I was there. The minister was angry and interrogated me in this public venue. An old guy, a machinist, who styled himself as an expert obstetrician made some criticizing comments. Another guy bragged about how his wife had no medical intervention of any sort - he had been bucking to become a deacon. And it went on.

I had thought of these people as friends but it felt like I had walked into a group of Grand Inquisitors. They seemed to rejoice in being able to make a group attack on a single person, me,like it was some kind of bonding experience. After the Inquisition I went home feeling angry and sad.

I never thought I would speak up to a WCG Pastor but I called the guy a day later and chewed his butt. He did not dis-fellowship me but he was cool toward me for the rest of his tour of duty in our region. I never felt the same respect for the other people. I never had the same respect for the ministry. I knew they had no love.

Anonymous said...

But the reality is that many ministers verbally bash and tear down members (by attacking their self image) for saying what they think. This post fails to address this.

Dennis Diehl said...

That's an amazing example NEO. Good on you for speaking up at least. I worked alone most years and was not overly exposed to those types nor do or did I understand who taught them to be so stupid

Anonymous said...

I spoke up and got the boot from the church. Now I'm glad, but you better prepare yourself for what is coming down so you can land on your feet...somewhere else. People these days are raised up in the age of anti-free speech political correctness which is all about shutting up and towing the line no matter how much every thinking person should know it is bull. Pretense, pretense, pretense. Posturing, posturing, posturing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this Dennis. I remember back in the day when a super deacon asked me to take all the chairs down a set of stairs by myself. I got about six people to help me. He was furious. He started railing on me about not listening to his directions and following through on doing it myself. He then said I would amount to nothing in the church. I railed back at him. First of all, I have one suit and I use it for work too. I do this work here and I don't have the suit for work. Frankly I don't care about amounting to anything in if I have to listen to garbage like this. Also, don't ask me to help again if you are going to be a nut about it.

DennisCDiehl said...

I always wanted to ask HWA and the upper echelon types what they thought of "He that is "greatest" among you, let him be your servant." Seems we always ended up serving them. Same with the when I sat, even as a teen hearing HWA say, "God's way is the way of giiiii...ve" and thought to myself, "yeah.. to YOU,"

Why did I not listen better to that small niggly voice which came to be a stomach ache?

nck said...

Dennis

When I saw HWA he was quite aware that many people and especially youth sometimes or most of the time lived in large cities or areas where they were probably the only person associated with wcg.

hwa was not ignorant. He knew that not for all, life centered around the church.

On the day he said that and inquired about peoples situation, he preached at extremely advanced age for over an hour in scorching heat to people who had no material posessions to give. But rather share with their communities as "pioneers" of a better world.

If he had spoken for 10 minutes people would have been satisfied but he "gave" an entire sermon.

He was also extremely aware that many in the top echelon had been spoiled. Some have argued that it was his management style who produced such spoiledness. I do agree, but hey the force is weak in many.


I know and have met many "hero's" as you describe. People with plenty of real experience who were not burdened by any wcg task master. I was raised among people with real voices, real experience, real education, real accomplishments in the oil industry or whatever, veterans, ex pats who had served collapsing empires, or common people just serving in what they saw as the nucleus of a newer and better empire.

Many of those were "unequally yoked" and pastors serving in my area better behaved on their best in order to earn respect amongst those who commanded respect because of their succes while being gentile and of exemplary character and standing in the community.

My own grandfather requested many a visit by the ministry in order to grill them or ask difficult questions in order to wean his family back to the adventists. The ministry usually sent former wwII veteran ministers to my granddad, since at least there would be some common ground to agree on a topic after lengthy discussions on why the passover was to be kept on whatever day. And why the PT had again featured another corrupt 3rd world dictator on his cover who worked contrary to Jesus' plan according to him.

There was plenty to agree to disagree. But in my days I do remember mutual respect amongst those who seemed to place the peace of God above any disagreement they might have had. As I said, perhaps set in a common understanding in what true disagreement and war meant.

As you can tell, in my area we never had the privilege of being lectured by a wet behind the ears graduate from Gods own West Point. The only AC graduates who got to speak in my area talked on "human interest" and for sure were raised by people who were firmly grounded in a cultural setting that your father, I'm pretty sure, would have deemed old fashioned but as "coming home" at the same time. It was a civil outspoken generation with plenty of experience.

(I regard Floyd44 among them I sense his civility and interact with him now and then, RSK seems to me a person with lots of experience with younger generations) and Allen Dexter usually takes the extreme view and that's ok, but now and then he signals he is part of that generation who were superior through merit)

I have spoken about my hopes for the millenials as the next generation.
I am not sure what part religion plays in their culture. Not much I suppose.
I should ask a millenial once what their stomach says about religion.


nck

nck said...

Dennis

We used to live in a truly conservative part of the bible belt. And polio epedimics were rampant among the protestants. Luckily our local ministry at the time were former doctors and "men of medicine" (who had given up the practice to answer mail at AC). So when inquired by my mom on vaccinations the answer was that "she should be able to look us in the eye in 18 years on all decisions taken by her in consciousness.

She decided to have us vaccinated and I believe 9 children that year in our local community contracted polio.

Now, for that reason I am up to this day able to listen to her cog stories and confirm in discussions that God heals. If on the other hand I would have been in a wheelchair because of a sin of omission from her side we would perhaps not be on speaking terms today.

nck

Anonymous said...

I guess some folks think that a high position in the Church leads to a high position in the Kingdom....I've never seen it that way, and it might be just the opposite for a great many.

my main concern is what God says, not what fallible humans say, so I don't expect (or desire) a high position in the Church...if God wants me in a visible leadership position, He'll put me there...but I think I'm right where He wants me, where I'm doing the most good for His people....and I think there are many many others just like me in the Church.

we tend to forget that not everyone AT church is IN the Church.

set the captives free said...

Dennis said, "Why did I not listen better to that small niggly little voice which came to be a stomach ache?"

Because we were taught from waaaaaaay back, to be obedient little drones? To submit to those in authority over us? Taught that the only way we would matter or have worth and value was to do what we were told, don't rock the boat, etc. ?

Still Learning said...

I enjoyed this post very much; thank you, Dennis!

R.L. said...

Never have I heard or read anyone mention the last song after the Big Sandy "Christmas Eve" sermon. You'd think after 23+ years, that would have received more attention in COG's - especially by spinoff groups.

DennisCDiehl said...

RL Was it "Twas not a foe who did deride, for that I could endure....but thou it was my friend and guide, we did as equals meet, we walked to God's house side by side and blended counsel sweet...."?

DennisCDiehl said...

Thanks NCK for adding more to the discussion. In hindsight, it was my pre-WCG background that saved me from a lot of guilt now telling people to do what I had a stomach ache over thinking I had to.

For example, We had the hideous job of determining whether a couple, previously married was bound to this partner or the last. Really stupid stuff and definitely fell early into my belief that the past is the past and this kind of topic is none of anyone's business. Life goes on. However, the prospect haunted me at times but I got off easy. First of all I read a book by a minister , Guy Duty on "Divorce and Remarriage" and realized the church was way off base with even the NT scriptures, which even then I had issues with "so what if the NT says THAT!!? But it turned out to be miracle for me because EVERY couple that came into the church with previous marriages was NOT BOUND, according to all I could ascertain and HQ went with it. LOL

I'm a people person through and through and struggle with being the classic "fixer" and "rescuer". Those traits brought me to the PNW, and of course, much in life won't fix and it is up to those affected to fix themselves. I failed. lol.

I also have learned along the way that people don't want to be rescued. We have to come to our own conclusions in life. Change is an inside job and while others can offer insights to think about, they won't change us until we see the need and benefit. Most people I have met don't really take advice. It sounds too much like criticism which it is not but we even hear things as dictated more by our past than present experiences. It is no mystery to me why I ended up in ministry. It is , however, a mystery how I ended up with WCG but only saw the real drama and trauma of it after I was well into it as a young man.

nck said...

Yes Dennis.

I am qualified to confirm about your pre-wcg background. I have hinted before that I am quite familiar with your fathers way of thinking (through his particular heritage stemming from a long tradition).

I have told the story about the 1639 ship captain paying a cordial visit to protest the growing Puritan colonies up North in New Haven.

First he notices that they whip people on poles for excessive use of alcohol "like we do with thieves".

More startling, he witnessed a young newly wed couple sentenced to "6 weeks of separation and a good whipping", for having engaged into pre-marital relations. like man and wife, weeks before their wedding date.

I have his diary notes here on my desk:
"To punish these people for this in that manner I can only consider a farcical joke."

So there you have it. You know from what strain you hail, whereas scottish hwa hailed from the new england strain now and then.


(btw the catholic church's official doctrine and practice is quite like the old wcg D&R, only slightly moderated today.)

Your last paragraph is true. My wife is a licensed coach and tells me that all the time.
I believe one of her insights is to ask the question "why" five times after answers are given. Only then it seems, people come close to revealing the true need, which is a necessary requirement for finding a solution to that need, to accept that solution as beneficial and implement change.

nck


nck said...

From a religious point of view this "defiance" stems from a belief in the sovereignty of God, the sacredness of the written texts and the necessity of Gods grace. This and a particular background can at best, ensure protection from random powerplay by authority figures. Its not that some philosopher woke up one morning and thought, hey lets have this thing called "the rule of law."

Its woven into parts of america, both culturally and regionally as part of the original fabric to support and protect individual sovereignty from random exercise of power.


Nck

Byker Bob said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of nck, in which we constantly reinvent HWA in an effort to prove that he always was the wonderful quasi-Biblical figure which he had aspired to be!

BB

Anonymous said...

NCK's reinvention of Herbert into a whitewashed CIA operative who apparently was working with the governments of countless countries as God's mighty apostle, though slightly flawed, is about as stupid as Robert Petry's earth opening up and swallowing all the remnants of the Exodus walk. NCK's Armstrong is even more fantastical than Gerald Flurry's, and that is a mighty accomplishment! His comments are becoming so absurd they are hard to even read any more. At least he isn't reverting to his tirade about "trade" in every comment like he did in the past.

Connie Schmidt said...

I think NCK is a secret, closeted, bastard son of HWA with a secret mistress.

Anonymous said...

When the Jews saw that Herbert was promoting their Sabbath and Holy Days and attacking traditional Christianity, they made Herbert into a hero. They let him come to Israel about, what 40 or 50 times (according to the PCG) and meet with top Jews including the mayor of Jerusalem and the Prime Minister of Israel. They gave him accolades and a statue of David slaying Goliath, which represented HWA attacking traditional Christianity. They said he was fighting "giant lies".

Anonymous said...

"we tend to forget that not everyone AT church is IN the Church."

Most of those on this blog were probably never converted, or not deeply converted.

Anonymous said...

Converted to Herbert's made up beleifs or to God? They are opposite things.

nck said...

This is the one topic I m hardly talking about HWA, only relating personal experience. So whats the beef suddenly?

I am not trading guy.
Although I have explained that, "the invisible hand" by educated elites, to whom he was speaking, is understood to be the forces of the free market as promoted by the american empire during the cold war. The first things my friends started talking about during my recent high school reunion.

Nck

Byker Bob said...

Nothing wrong with business and commerce, however, I’m not sure that a minister of Jesus Christ (if that’s what HWA really was) should be replacing the gospel of the Kingdom with the gospel of the unseen hand, which is secular and based on man’s doings. Imagine going to the Philharmonic to discover that the members of the symphony have abandoned their normal instruments and are doing Wu Tang Clan music.

BB

nck said...

BB

My comments on here were coded to speak with Dennis on his family heritage.

Until people read it and inserted HWA into this, which was not my intention.

Well I am aware of the flack modern "prosperity gospel evangelists" get from the preaching in their megachurches.

I believe it is kinda Quaker to have the Kingdom on earth as a literal kingdom, not in heaven. Work towards its establishment unceasingly, to ultimately prove in the end that all man does will come to naught.

Philharmonic and Wu Tang Clan. It can be argued that those in the respective theaters just exactly got what their ticket said. Kinda like being a greek to the greek and a jew to the jew. It's kinda buzzword this "unseen hand thing" but it's toe cringing how many times HWA did mention Jesus to non receptive audiences like the communists or Buddhists. Although he preached the "rod of iron" one which was apropriate for the leverage of the American empire during the Cold War.

But hey, on this thread specifically I was actually only talking to Dennis about presbetyrians as I said.

nck