Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Questions For the" Born-In the church": What's Your Story?

In the days of old, generations ago, many of us in the Worldwide Church of God were victims of a culture of conformity. A culture that refused to accept that differences and diversity, not just of personality, but of opinion. The expectation was of assimilation into the precise expectation defined specifically by Herbert Armstrong as to exactly what defined not only a Christian, but a human. Not only a father, but a king. Not only a leader, but a ruler. The definitions were intrinsic, the calculations exact. You were a Worldwide-er. And if you did not fit the mold, you certainly got told. And for those who did not assimilate, in no time you were shown the gate. 

Growing up in the Church, however - was a slightly different story. There was no gate. What there was, was a two-punch indoctrination - first, from your parents, and then, when you understood, from the Church in general. Once you entered into school, the contradictory information began to infiltrate your mind. Then, the counter-information to fight the contradictory information came forth from your father, mother, pastor, and church leaders. You were told that what the counter-informers said was wrong and from the dark side, even though it made sense. You were told that what the church and parents said was right, even though it was obviously - except for some elements - wrong. 

Yes, you knew the basics were common sense and made sense. The ten commandments - sure, those made sense. Respect and honor - yeah, that made sense. It was everything else that didn't make sense. 

We have to stop eating leavening for seven days. But yet, this seems to be leavened - doesn't it? 

We have to stop eating and drinking for twenty-four hours. What bad thing will happen if we do? 

We must avoid working from Sunset to Sunset on the Sabbath. But yet, we're all working, aren't we? 

We can't eat pork because it's an unclean food. Yet, my friends eat pork, and they're healthier than I am. What gives? 

We are commanded to go to tithe three tithes - yet we're dirt poor and impoverished, and can't live, while our ministers live high on the hog and the big guys out west live in luxury. Why don't they see this as a problem? 

And this isn't even scratching the surface on the questions of a young person in the Church. There were many more questions and not enough answers. The expectation of the young person in the Church was to simply answer any question with "Maybe I don't understand now, but someday I will." Or, "Perhaps I don't get it because I'm not baptized yet". Or, and I heard this from other youth lots of times... "This isn't for me, but I have no choice, but once I'm old enough, I'm out." 

There was a sizable portion of Church Kids - the Y.O.U., if you will - who never really bought into the game. They had no choice to attend or not to attend - they were going, and that was that and case closed. So they went. They attended sabbath services that were absolutely inappropriate for them. They went to the feast, they skipped school sports and activities - but internally, they felt angry and deprived - and in some cases, even robbed. Certainly, misunderstood, rejected, and a fish out of water from everyone else. The questions, such as those examples above - were never sufficiently answered. And what this caused was, for many, a mass rebellion of the youth and a slammed door shut on the church that they grew up with. But for these young people, the damage was done. 

The Church had attempted to do damage control with such programs as S.E.P., Y.O.U., Church sports programs, talent shows, youth trips, outings, Bible bowls, district weekends and the like - but did these really do the trick in retaining the youth of the Church? The answer is a resounding no for the majority. How many of the youth in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, out of the nearly 100,000 that were in the Church in and around that time - remain in Armstrongism now? Why didn't they stay?

Here's the question that I am posing specifically for those who grew up in the Worldwide Church of God, who were raised in the Church from birth, and are no longer: 1) In Armstrongism, 2) A Church-goer, or 3) Religious. Why did you leave? 
What was your rationale? What was the breaking point? and finally, where are you now? Do you have anything additional to add? What's YOUR story? Please use the comments to answer, I'm looking forward to your answers.

submitted by SHT

Monday, June 17, 2019

Jon Brisby Says There Is An Enduring Legacy of Herbert and Loma Armstrong

Several Church of God, The Eternal members have sent me notes about Jon Brisby's new book on the Armstrongs.  They are none too happy that he is making money off HWA and Loma's name.  Others claim he has turned into a tyrannical church leader like most of the other splinter group leaders.  Others claim he is more "grace" oriented, which is unusual in Armstrongism since so many despise grace and claim it is a license to "sin."

He has now written a book about Herbert and Loma Armstrong.  Check it out here:

A Peculiar Treasure: The Enduring Legacy of Herbert & Loma Armstrong

(From the back cover)

To many, Herbert W. Armstrong was a familiar and distinctive voice on nightly radio, but little more besides. To others he was the preeminent symbol of loathsome cults that threatened beloved Christian traditions. To yet others he was the catalyst for dramatic life change—changes that affected them in ways which, for better or for worse, could never be erased.

Many of those who were affected by his work in some way since the early 1930s are ashamed that they ever responded to his message at all. Others still hold loosely to some version of what they first learned through him. But some few continue in determined personal sacrifice to hold fast to that which they believe was not the work of any man at all, but of a purposeful Creator God.

Was he a powerfully inspired messenger of God in the twentieth century, or was he, perhaps, merely an opportunistic businessman making a living off of religion? Is there anything of value still left of that Work today? If so, what might it be?

(From the inside flap)

"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people" (Exodus 19:5).

A woman's personal conviction to begin keeping the seventh-day Sabbath in 1926 would challenge her husband to begin an intensive study to prove her wrong. That study would spawn a new religious movement under Herbert W. Armstrong. A fledgling group would form in 1934, and an audacious media operation would make the Radio Church of God (later named the Worldwide Church of God) grow by 30% per year over the next 35 years. 

Proclaiming a unique understanding of the Bible, traditional Christian orthodoxy would be challenged, making that church most peculiar indeed. 

Internal and external forces would alter Herbert Armstrong's view of his own mission, and especially after Loma's death, doctrinal and administrative turmoil would stagger the church for the rest of his life. After his death in 1986, the empire would implode, and successors would dismantle everything that the Armstrongs had built.  

Was it all just a fantastic, fraudulent escapade—conceived by a lucky and opportunistic salesman—or might it have been a divine Work—God's own peculiar treasure? If it did begin with God's inspiration, why and how did it all go so wrong? Is there anything left of it today that has any redeeming value? These are the questions that will be answered, with evidence to suggest that there is yet an enduring legacy of Herbert and Loma Armstrong.

Church of God – the royalty free franchise business

With over 400 splits and splinters, the COGs have become one of the best franchises to own, especially when you consider there are no royalty fees and the marketing materials are free.

The owners have the advantages of running a pyramid style business where the benefits flow to the top tier without any fear of prosecution associated with the pyramid marketing model because it is run as a church. The other big advantage is the elimination of most business taxes because of non-profit and church taxation rules.

In the guise of church management and preaching, the owners get free travel, free cars, and tax reductions on their personal living costs.

There are several models:      
· Multiple congregations – collect money from each local group and send to HQ
· Single group – not as much money, but simpler lifestyle, plus can be run without added employee expense.
· Prophet model – need to claim some special revelation.
Marketing model is well established:
· Free literature (these days you can use pdfs which eliminates mailing costs).
· Threaten end of the world scenarios with only your followers escaping.
· When money gets tight, threaten followers with the lake of fire if they don’t send you more money.
· Claim 10% of all income, claim a portion of 2ndtithe, add a third tithe, plus 7 Holy Day offerings, plus special offerings, special project offerings, and building funds.
· Persuade people to leave you money in their wills.
If you go with the HQ model, you can have amazing perks like your own TV show, personal plane, and even your own university where the teachers can further indoctrinate your followers.

Biggest problem to overcome – since having “Church of God” in your business name is a requirement, with over 400 existing businesses in your franchise model, it is getting really difficult to come up with a unique name.

One suggestion is to use the city names used by the 7 churches in the book of Revelation.

Philadelphia is already taken, and no one wants to be called Sardis or Laodicean, but Ephesus and Thyatira are more positive names.

Otherwise you are left with adjectives like:
      · Continuing (taken – isn’t that amazing!!!)
· Bloviating
· Windy
· Sustaining
· Lasting
· Persevering
·     Loving – no forget this one – it just does not fit

submitted by TLA

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Herbert Armstrong's "Different Gospel"

Herbert Armstrong taught the following in a May 13, 1978 sermon:

And so it is. Adam had made his choice. In other words, Adam said to God in effect … And let me just paraphrase it in my own words. In effect, he said: “God, I want you to keep your nose out of my affairs. I will not accept you as my ruler. I reject you as my king, as my ruler. I reject you as my God for salvation. I reject you as a source of knowledge to tell me what is good and what is evil, and I will decide it myself.”

And God said, “Well, I’ve given you the choice.” Now, instead of choosing character, he chose the wrong way; and God allowed that. God has not going to force you to choose the right way. Adam was able to choose whatever he pleased, and so are we. But, if you make the wrong choice, you’ll never have the character of God. And God is able to take care of that too.

From then in effect, God said, “Okay. You have rejected me. You have said you will create your own knowledge. You rejected me as your ruler and my government over you. You have rejected me as a Savior and a God and as the source of knowledge. So now I sentence you and your children after you – THE WHOLE WORLD that will come (and we have all come from Adam) – to 6,000 years of being cutoff from ME. All except the few in the world that I will decide I need to call and choose to do something for me in my service. Them I will call. But otherwise, ALL HUMANITY will be cut off from me.”

Is THIS the truth according to scripture? Is this the message of the Gospel? Is this what the New Testament boldly proclaims? Is THIS the Gospel of reconciliation? 

The entire theme of the New Testament is what Jesus did for ALL of mankind. John 3:16 says God so loved the world, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. In Acts, we read how the Holy Spirit was poured out to not only Jew but Gentile. We read in Galatians that there in neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free - nor male or female - that all are one in Jesus Christ. We read in 2 Corinthians that God has reconciled the world to Himself through Christ. We read in Romans how we are no longer enemies to God but reconciled through Christ. 

Herbert's teaching that the Whole world - from Adam forward 6,000 years in his teaching (of which time we have now past, by the way), is cut off. ALL humanity. This is a doctrine that is the exact opposite of what the New Testament teaches. It is in exact opposition of what the Holy Spirit did when He came to not only Jew but Gentile. If Herbert's teaching was correct, then Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female is incorrect. If Herbert's teaching is correct, John 3:16 is woefully false. This teaching is contrary to the essential teachings of Paul, the decisions of the Apostles at the Jerusalem council, every missionary effort by Paul through the foreign lands of the Gentiles, every move of the Holy Spirit to Gentiles, every martyr of the founding fathers of Christianity, and the action of reconciliation of mankind to the Father through Christ. Herbert's teaching basically invalidates scripture after scripture of Good News for all of mankind. 

Herbert's "different Gospel" sideswipes what Christ did, what the Spirit has done and is doing, eliminates any reconciliation of the Gentiles, places bondage and restrictions on the Gentiles (which the Spirit and the Jerusalem Council outlawed, by the way!), reaffirms differences between Jew and Gentile in relation to Christ, and rejects any "Gentile" as defined in scripture as apostate because of their differences with Jewish/Mosaic Law. Herbert's teachings are pharisaical and are in absolute opposition with every teaching and effort that Paul had with great effort taught to the Gentile Church who accepted and believed in Jesus Christ. 

Herbert's teaching, along with the teachings of the Judaizers, was that observances of rituals and ceremonies and the Law was commanded and required for Christians. This very argument was resolved in the Jerusalem Council. The reality is, according to scripture, that the teachings of Herbert Armstrong - that man continues to be cut off from God - ALL of mankind - ALL of humanity - except for an infinitesimal few - is nothing less that absolutely ANTICHRIST, Anti-Spirit, Anti-New Testament, Anti-reconciliation, and anti-truth. It is the opposite of what the truth of the Gospel is - and what the Old Testament pointed to - that Jew and Gentile both have been accepted to God through the reconciliation of mankind through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the Father. The very fruits - and current status - of Armstrongism bear witness to the futility and result of going against what Jesus Christ Himself accomplished, and what the Spirit had done, is doing, and will continue to do through the Spirit of God through those - ALL those - whomever and wherever they may be - who believe - whether Jew, Gentile, Slave, Greek, Male, Female, American, British, Australian, African, or any other person on the face of this Earth who has heard and who has accepted and believes in Jesus Christ, Son of God, and for that, we give thanks.

Submitted by SHT

Friday, June 14, 2019

Whiney COG Prophet Claims You Ignore Him Just Like You Would Have The Original Amos

Another day in COGland and another prophet is whining.  Not much new with that.  Today's little rant is by our favorite self-appointed imposter of the improperly named "continuing" Church of "god".

Elijah Amos Bwana Bob Thiel is once again claiming that his message will soon be throttled by the government as it persecutes the "one true church."  Once again he trots out the claim that he is the modern-day version of Amos.  At this point in 2019, just exactly who is left from the Bible that all of these upstarts NOT claimed as their own?
Amos, an older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah,[1] was active c. 750 BC during the reign of Jeroboam II,[1] (786–746 BC) making the Book of Amos the first biblical prophetic book written. Amos lived in the kingdom of Judah but preached in the northern kingdom of Israel. (Book of Amos. viewed 02/22/2014) 
Before becoming a prophet, Amos was a sheep herder and a sycamore fig farmer. Amos’ prior professions and his claim “I am not a prophet nor a son of a prophet” (7:14) indicate that Amos was not from the school of prophets, which Amos claims makes him a true prophet (7:14). His prophetic career began in 750 BCE out of the town of Tekoa, in Judah, south of Jerusalem. (Amos the Prophet, viewed 02/22/2014)
It is interesting that he had to tell people that one becomes a true prophet in a manner that most did not expect. The Apostle Paul attempted to defend his apostleship in that same manner (2 Corinthians 11:5, 22-29)–and that was to people who were supposedly in the Church of God.
Dagnabit! When will all of you Laodiceans learn just how special Bwana Amos Thiel is! He had dreams and was doubly blessed in an unconventional way, that no one expected!
One of the messages that Amos proclaimed is that the time would come when people would not be able to find the words of God:
11 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
“That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
And from north to east;
They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
But shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)
Here we go again, its the "famine of the world." The Church of God's favorite mantra.  This time there is an additional hidden meaning in what Amos wrote above.  As a prophet of God, Amos had channeled through his brain a secret meaning for what "famine of the word" meant for those in the end times. Unfortunately, Amos just was not able to put the vision he had seen into words.  He had been shown the INTERNET and how it would be used to spread the message of the Kingdom of God in the future and then how it would be used to inhibit the work of God going forth.

What? You say? Amos believed that?  Yes Sir Bob, he did! So says the modern day Amos!
I believe that the above warning is a reference to a coming internet censorship. And in the Continuing Church of God, we have already experienced some of this.
But the major fulfillment is likely to start just before the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), also called the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).
Perhaps under the guise of “neutrality,” perhaps under the guise of “The Patriot Act,” perhaps under the guise of “public welfare,” perhaps because of alleged “intolerance,” calling parts of the COG message “hate speech” and/or national security threats/issues, something will be done to stop perhaps all of the organized media efforts to proclaim biblical truths. A short work will be done (Romans 9:27-28; see also Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word), which will trigger the end (Matthew 24:14), and likely then the famine of the word (Amos 8:11-12).
Never has the Church of God had a more persecuted leader and group than the one Bawana Amos Thiel leads. Never have true Christian been persecuted so much as has the self-appointed prophet, Amos Thiel. and the improperly named "continuing" Church of "god".

Then to appeal to Church of God members, Amos Thiel tosses in some British Israelism for the final touch. 
Amos is giving a warning to those called by Jacob’s name (which was also Israel), whom according to Jacob himself, would seem to be a reference to the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:16). In modern times, this would be the Anglo-Saxon nations such as Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and also the United States of America. The reference to trusting Mt. Samaria in Amos 6:1 could be a reference to trusting the USA to defend in the end. That will not end well for the USA or its allies of the Anglo-Saxon nations.
Of course, few in those nations believe that they will be taken over and have such calamity. But that will come to pass. Most would not listen to Amos then, and most, sadly, will not listen to Amos now.

you had better start paying Prophet Amos Thiel his proper respect!

Jaques Rubidoux: COG Splinter Group Leader Who Starved His 10 Month Old Son To Death Now Realizes How Wrong He Was

Former cult leader and convicted murderer Jacques Robidoux says he experienced a transformation in prison, and now he wants others to avoid the crooked path he trod...

When the fog lifts

In 1999, 10-month-old Samuel Robidoux was slowly starved to death because of the teachings of a splinter cult leader of Armstrongism. His father, Jacques Robidoux was sentenced to life in prison for contributing to the death of his son due to his and his father's teachings. Robidoux's father, Roland left Armstrongism and started a splinter cult called, The Body. Like most all of the splinter cult leaders that have broken off the church, he had visions and dreams that he claimed were from God. Sound familiar?

Roland and Georgette Robidoux, founders of "The Body of Christ", left the Pasadena-based Worldwide Church of God (WCOG) in Mendon, Rhode Island around 1976. The WCOG in those days was an extremely repressive, religious fringe group, whose theological makeup was an eclectic mish-mash created by founder/prophet Herbert W. Armstrong. Armstrong began this organization in 1935 and ran it with absolute authority as God's "endtime prophet" until his death in 1986. Similarities with the Attleboro group can be seen in seed form in the WCOG. Some of the distinctive beliefs and practices of the WCOG back in the 70's were: WCOG as God's endtime group and true Church, no use of cosmetics, no celebration of birthdays or holidays, avoidance of medical system, withholding medical treatment from children, radical distrust of the world and withdrawal from all government systems, use of the designation "Church of God," etc. 
The Robidouxs left the WCOG in the late 70's specifically because it was such a controlling organization and "not of God." They vowed that they would "never be involved in that kind of a group again." The repressiveness and control were too much to tolerate. However, when people leave a cult, unless they receive help to process what happened to them, they frequently enter into another controlling group or recreate the very environment they left. The latter is exactly what occurred with the Robidouxs, and what led to the eventual creation of "The Body of Christ."
The time was approximately 1997 and the group had been in existence, in some form or another, for at least fifteen years. It was also flourishing. Aside from some anti-social practices and a very intense, fringe belief system, it was a harmless and benign group that was living semi-communally in a few households. Roland Robidoux has been "ordained" a pastor. Four men had married into the group and many of the women were having one child after another. Roger Daneau, a man whose family belonged to the group, had a Masonry business that was grossing well over $100,000.00 a year. Roland Robidoux's Ash Magic Chimney Sweep business was equally as profitable. "The Body of Christ" Descent from Benign Bible Study to Destructive Cult
Another site had this to say about Rubidoux:
"...this family-oriented cult was formed by Roland Robidoux several years ago when he split from the Worldwide Church of God (a group that is itself described as a mind control cult- especially at the time that Robidoux left it) and started his own "Bible study group." We know this because Brian Weeks, now a pastor, left the Worldwide Church of God with Robidoux. Weeks later split with Robidoux because he saw that he was going further and further away from the Bible." Attleboro Sect

"Whatever the leader says, followers will do. When Robidoux read the book, ''Born in Zion,'' by Carol Balizet, it led him to make more and more extreme changes. Balizet, a former emergency room nurse who now has her own "ministry", advocates natural home births, claiming only prayer is needed. Members who are legally blind have had to get rid of their glasses, believing that God would heal their eyes if they are "faithful". Former member Mingo says that several of them are "blind as bats," but refuse to wear glasses. Members do not celebrate birthdays, holidays, read newspapers, magazines, watch TV or movies. They burned all of their old photographs in order to block them from remembering the past. They were told that looking at photographs is an act of vanity. Men wear long beards and the women all wear long cotton dresses." Attleboro Sect

The Daily Free Press of Boston University had this to say about Roland Robidoux and what the cult believed:
It seems Roland Robidoux, dead Samuel’s grandfather, began the cult after a break from the Worldwide Church of God, and after parting ways with his former pastor partner, Brian Weeks, who heads the Jericho Christian Fellowship in Middleboro. 
Robidoux became more antisocial with age. He hung his number in the rafters and left the game for good, running to Attleboro with a number of his devoted followers. Together, they scorned society and technology alike, spat on medicine and worshipped the words of the Old Testament. “They really believe God is in charge,” Brian Weeks told The Boston Globe, “and that God is speaking to them.” 
To raise money, members of the community did odd masonry jobs in Attleboro, kept a chimney-sweeping business and, of course, were skilled carpenters. No small task considering sect members were prohibited from wearing eyeglasses (despite, as one sharp cookie from the Sun-Chronicle noted, “the near-sightedness of some of its members”). 
Indeed, mind control within The Body is a hot topic. Robert Thornburg, former Marsh Chapel dean, once said, “It appears they are a group that does not allow the individual to make distinctive moral personal decisions apart from the leader.” Like Koresh for the Branch Davidians, Robidoux has led his believers further into seclusion. 
This isolation remains so complete that The Body’s members don’t move to recruit new members. Instead, they sit back in their sparse rooms and languish over the ideals spread by the Old Testament, all the while dreaming of the Promised Land, of Zion, of God’s Great Kingdom. Of Maine. 
I wouldn’t lie to you. The Body believes Maine is THE holy land. It has the significance to these people that Jerusalem holds to other, more traditional religions. LIVE FROM THE HILLS: The Return Of The Body
One of the cult members, who left after witnessing the deaths of two other children, had this to say:
The Attleboro sect, founded by Roland Robidoux -- Jacques' father -- by the late 1990s rejected the outside world and handed down sometimes extreme visions, or "leadings," that members were to follow. Sect member G. Michelle Mingo claimed to have a vision from God that said Samuel must be only breast-fed. The reason? Karen Robidoux must atone for vain interest in her appearance.
The boy had already begun eating solid food. The breast-milk regimen left him dead in April 1999 after 51 days. Karen Robidoux could not produce enough breast milk for Samuel because she was pregnant at the time, according to the prosecutor and the defense lawyer. As part of the sect's vision, she was ordered to drink at least a gallon a day of almond milk, which did not provide enough nutrients.
Karen and Jacques Robidoux lived in the basement of Renee and Dan Horton's house during the time Samuel weakened. Karen Robidoux, 29, and Renee Horton, 33, are daughters of Roger and Vivian Daneau, who were heavily involved in the sect. Horton testified that, prior to March 1999, Samuel was sitting up by himself, crawling, beginning to explore. Once the diet began, she only saw him being held.
Horton said that the day she heard Mingo's vision, she told Karen Robidoux it was "ridiculous." Robidoux, she said, sobbed. Horton said similar moments would follow, with Robidoux saying she didn't know what to do and, at one point, collapsing in Horton's arms.  Witness pleaded for her nephew's life
Another of the cult members, Rebbecca Corneau kept a diary that chronicled the agonizing death of Samuel:
``Our prayers should not be for Samuel to be healed but for God's purposes to be fulfilled. This is all we can do for Samuel,'' cult member Rebecca Corneau wrote in a journal entry 12 days before 11-month-old Samuel Robidoux died.
`Our prayers should not be for Samuel to be healed but for God's purposes to be fulfilled. This is all we can do for Samuel,'' cult member Rebecca Corneau wrote in a journal entry 12 days before 11-month-old Samuel Robidoux died.
The journal's shocking details were provided yesterday by Robert Pardon, a cult expert who has studied the group for years and has overseen Robidoux's deprogramming.
Robidoux, who argued the group forced her to stop feeding her son, was acquitted of second-degree murder Tuesday for Samuel's April 29, 1999, death but was convicted of assault and battery. She was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail but was credited with time served and released.
Samuel's 51-day demise was documented by Corneau in an April 17, 1999, teaching by cult leader Roland Robidoux titled ``Trial to the End.'' Referred to as ``dad,'' Roland Robidoux told his followers they had to comply with God's will, even though Samuel was wasting away before their eyes.
`Dad feels that the end is coming soon. He asks for mercy daily for Samuel because it is for us that he is going through this,'' Corneau wrote.
The boy's aunt, Michelle Mingo, allegedly prophesied that Robidoux's unborn child would die unless Samuel was switched from table food to a breast milk-only diet. Robidoux, who was pregnant, stopped producing milk, and Samuel died three days before his first birthday.
In an April 17, 1999, entry, Mingo wrote: ``We put Samuel in God's hands and leave him there.''
``What can we do for Samuel? Nothing,'' she wrote. ``God is the master. We are his servants.''  Journal shows sect let baby starve ‘in God’s hands’

Dennis Mingo, a member of the cult had this to say about its teachings.  He later testified in court about the aberrant teachings of the Robidoux's:

"Dennis B. Mingo had become a foreigner in his own home.
The increasingly strict commandments of his small religious sect made him question his faith -- the faith subscribed to by his wife, her parents and her brother and sisters.
"They were ideas at first," Mingo testified yesterday in Superior Court. "If you want to call them rules later, that's what they became."
Eyeglasses were forbidden, along with visits to the doctor and taking medicine.
All books, except the Bible, had to be discarded.
Family photographs were destroyed.
And familiar holidays and birthdays were outlawed.
"Birthdays are a very selfish day, and you're supposed to live a very selfless life," Mingo testified. "And bad things happen on people's birthdays in the Bible."
He questioned the new rules, sometimes privately, sometimes to his wife, G. Michelle Mingo, the daughter of the sect's founder, J. Roland Robidoux. Distance grew between him and other members of the group.
"They felt that I had a wrong attitude, a negative attitude. I was made to feel the group was following God and there was something wrong with me," Mingo testified. "I was unwelcome on the premises -- my home."
Mingo left the group in November 1998, moving out of the house he owned with his wife and her grandmother.
But Mingo would be back.
And his return would spell trouble for the sect." Ex-sect member describes notes about boy's decline
Sadly, the abuse of Jacques son by his father was just the tip of the iceberg.  14 other children of the cult were also abused.  One of their teachings was one of the teachings of Armstrongism concerning corporal punishment.  They beat their children to "break their spirit".  Like some other exCOG members who left Armstrongism

Fourteen children were physically abused and medically neglected in The Body, a cultlike organization controlled by their grandfather, Roland Robidoux, and his son Jacques Robidoux. When they were rescued, the victims included: 4 children of Jacques and Karen Robidoux; 5 children (ages 3 to 10) of Dennis and Michelle (Robidoux) Mingo; 4 daughters of David and Rebecca (Robidoux) Corneau; and 1 infant daughter of Mark and Trinette (Robidoux) Daneau. Three additional children (Jacques’s son Samuel and two of the Corneaus’ children) died before they could be removed from their parents’ custody. All the children were homeschooled.
Roland encouraged sect members “to beat their children with paddles to ‘break their spirit’ and encouraged spanking babies who were just a few months old.” Sect members opposed traditional medicine (including eyeglasses), practiced unassisted homebirths, and never took their children to a doctor. The Corneaus’ two dead children—Jeremiah, born in spring 1999, and an unnamed child born in late 2001—were stillborn due to complications in unassisted homebirths. Samuel Robidoux was 11 months old when he was deliberately starved to death after a religious vision by Michelle Mingo. Homescooling's Invisible Chidlren: 14 Children by Roland and Jacques Robidoux
Dennis Mingo also had this to say about the corporal punishment in the cult:
"Attleboro cult leader Roland Robidoux taught his brainwashed minions to beat their children with paddles to ”break their spirit” and encouraged spanking babies who were just a few months old as ”training,” an ex-member testified yesterday.
”As soon as they could crawl or walk, that’s when the training would begin,” former sect member Dennis Mingo said from the witness stand in Taunton Superior Court. ”Roland had a saying: All he needed was two weeks and a paddle and he could straighten out any child. That was his philosophy.” 
"Mingo acknowledged that children in the sect were struck with wooden paddles which some members wore around their necks like necklaces. He testified the children’s beatings were designed by Roland Robidoux to ”break their spirit.” Children as young as 1 were made to stand at attention and remain quiet while adults held religious pow-wows in Mingo’s Seekonk home, he said.
”I found myself disciplining the kids not because of what the kidsStrict discipline: Ex-member testifies cult beat children
Living Armstrongism had this in 2013:
The following are quotes from articles as preserved by the Rick A. Ross Institute:
"Weeks [a former associate of Roland Robidoux] said he and Robidoux broke from a California branch of the fundamentalist group, Worldwide Church of God, and established their own small churches in Mansfield and Mendon, R.I. Back then, Weeks said, Roland Robidoux and his wife, Georgette, were community-oriented and ''great role models'' and parents to Jacques and their other children. 
A few years later, Weeks left the group over philosophical differences and joined another congregation. 
It was in the decades following, Weeks said, that the Robidouxes joined with a few other families and cut themselves off from society, living frugally off money earned through masonry work, carpentry and a chimney sweep business. 
The church cut themselves off entirely from outside society, he said. Some sect members intermarried, including Jacques, who wed Karen, the daughter of another group member. "
"Missing children reveals insular sect in Attleboro  
Boston Globe, February 7, 2000 
By Erica Noonan) 
Visitors to the park with video recorders captured 23 group members on tape, hands clasped, celebrating something they called the "Feast of the Tabernacles," the men wearing long beards and tall hats and the children learning to follow the dance their parents practiced, authorities said. The women wore long-sleeved cotton dresses that covered them from neck to ankle, and avoided the eyes of strangers and ignored greetings from neighbors and strangers alike. "
After little Samuel died, his father and mother prayer over his dead body for a week expecting him to be healed and resurrected.  How sick can people get!

For a week after Samuel died, Karen and Jacques knelt over his body and prayed for resurrection. A few months later, one former member who had left because of concerns returned to visit family members who remained. He noticed Samuel was gone and informed government authorities. They arrested Jacques, held him on contempt charges when he refused to cooperate with attempts to locate Samuel, and began investigating the cult.
They learned that an apparently healthy baby, according to the cult’s journals, died during a home birth in the Attleboro commune because of lack of medical attention. Later, after Samuel’s death, another baby died: Investigators concluded the baby was stillborn.
As Jaques has been sitting in prison these many years he is starting to wake up to what he did.  Of course he "found God".  While I want to believe that, it is an all too frequent a convenient excuse for those convicted of crimes.  However, Rubidoux also reached out the cult  recovery people who originally help prosecute him, the Pardons.
Investigators eventually discovered Samuel’s body. Trials came and Jacques went to prison for the rest of his life. Karen and Jacques’ prophecy-wielding sister had short prison stints on lesser charges. Jacques’ initial prison time was almost fatal. Other inmates beat him unconscious for being a “baby killer.” When he came to, he said, he spent an hour not knowing where he was or anyone’s name. But he says he remembered God’s name, and prayed.
Jacques says he maintained an “anti-system” outlook over this time, thinking his sentence was just something to be endured while God’s bigger plan for him and his family appeared. He still had appeals left. But about a year after his sentencing, Jacques received divorce papers from Karen and realized what he had done: He had starved his son to death. 
Robidoux began questioning which of his beliefs had come from God, and which hadn’t. He began to feel emotions for the first time in years. He wanted to die. He fell on the floor of his cell and cried out, “How many times in my life, prior to these events, had You kept me from doing something really stupid? Had You sent someone into my life to give me good counsel? How many times had You blessed me with this, that, and the other? … You couldn’t have kept me from starving my son to death?”
He realizes now he was blaming God for his son’s death, but that began a conversation. Jacques mostly spent the next years alone, wrestling directly with God. The Massachusetts Department of Corrections eventually transferred Robidoux to the protective unit at a medium-security prison in Bridgewater—15 minutes from the Pardons. He reached out to them. They began visiting him, and those conversations became crucial to his healing, he says.  When the fog lifts

Like almost all of the other splinter groups of Armstrongism that have broken off, it started as a "benign" Bible Study group.  It did not take long for dreams and visions to start appearing to the leader of the group.  People get all hot and huffy when I continue to expose Bob Thiel and this is why. Thiel, while claiming he is benign is filled with one idiotic dream after another that sounds halfway plausible for anyone easily sucked into these kinds of groups.  That need to feel special, that Armstrongism instilled in church members, is still a dangerous mentality that far too many in the various splinter groups still hold dearly to today.  It is easier for a man who has dreams and visions to tell them what to do than it is to think for themselves.

Bob Thiel, Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack, Ron Wienlnad all exhibit the things mentioned below:

Two years ago we received a call one afternoon from a very distraught woman. With great concern and distress in her voice, she explained that her nieces and nephews were in a shopping mall parking lot up in Maine. They were with this strange religious group that her brother was a member of. They had no food or gas, and "were just waiting on God." They had also been in this condition for days, and she was deeply concerned that something was going to happen to the children. The caller was the sister of one of the members of "The Body of Christ" (as they referred to themselves), and that was our first introduction to this group that resided in Attleboro, Massachusetts. 
Thus began our odyssey with one of the most totalistic, destructive groups we have ever worked with. Within a matter of one year, two children would die and be secretly buried in Baxter State Park in Maine, all according to the will of God. One child, Samuel Robidoux, by God's "leading" was slowly starved to death. The other child, Jeremiah Corneau, was supposedly "stillborn." When the authorities were eventually notified of this by a former member of "The Body of Christ," thirteen children were immediately removed from the group's compound by the Department of Social Services, and criminal charges were brought against many members.When this case first appeared in the press, we were introduced by an investigator to the presiding Judge. After he interviewed us, the Judge requested we serve as Guardian Ad Litem ("next best friend") for the children removed by Social Services. Our responsibility was to produce an investigative report for the Judge that would help the court decide what was in the best interests of the children. 
High-control, destructive groups like "The Body of Christ" exist on a continuum. Some exercise a minimum of destructive control over their members' lives while others destroy the very emotional fabric, and even physical lives, of those who come under their sway (People's Temple, Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate, etc.). Groups become totalistic when they invade every area of a person's life. They become destructive when the member's individuality, personhood and freedom are manipulated and destroyed. "The Body of Christ" Descent from Benign Bible Study to Destructive Cult
There is nothing Innocent, benign or Biblical about Bob Thiel and the rest of these sick groups.  More and more visions and dreams will come from these professional liars and more and more people will be sucked in till someone dies and there is a public outrage.  Sadly even then, their most loyal followers will claim Satan is punishing them and will believe this is just one more test they have to endure.

The article about Rubidoux ends with this:

Robidoux wrote about his transformation: “The heart is a complex thing. … Thank goodness we have a Creator who knows its inner workings better than we do ourselves. Some walls come down in a day, while others take years. … The payoff is a true healing, where hurt and fear and doubt and anger no longer hold sway.”
As Robidoux considers the rest of his life in prison, he hopes his story is useful for others who might get sucked into a destructive cult. He advises those in similar circumstances to beware isolation, analyze critically, and ask questions.  When the fog lifts
The people who follow Thiel, Pack, Flurry, Malm, Weinland, Kubik and all the other various splinter cult leaders of Armstrongism should follow the advice of Rubidoux in the comments above. They need to analyze critically and ask questions!

Also so:

When the fog lifts

"The Body of Christ" Descent from Benign Bible Study to Destructive Cult

The Robidoux Family Cult: A Deadly WCG Splinter Group


New hearing for ex-leader of cult

Attleboro sect exhibits cult behavior (Sept. 3)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Wonderful World Tomorrow. What It Could Be Like

Shit Talkers for Jesus
Why the Old Testament is not quite the best book ever written

“All extreme opinions consume themselves.”
Marty Rubin

“People are never so completely and enthusiastically evil as when they act out of religious conviction.”
Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery

“What can you say to a man who tells you he prefers obeying God rather than men, and that as a result he's certain he'll go to heaven if he cuts your throat?”
Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary

“You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.”
Flannery O'Connor, The Violent Bear It Away

“Fanatics can justify practically any atrocity to themselves. The more untenable their position becomes, the harder they hold to it, and the worse the things they are willing to do to support it.”
Mercedes Lackey, Changes

“If I were asked for a one-sentence sound
bite on religion, I would say I was against it.”
Salman Rushdie

Heretic of the week: HWA

In today's newsfeed:

Heretic of the week: Herbert W Armstrong
Catholic Herald. UK 
Charles Coulombe 
Herbert W Armstrong (1892-1986) was an American prophet, in the mould of Joseph Smith and Mary Baker Eddy – though his doctrines were far removed from theirs.
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, to a Quaker family, he married a distant cousin, Loma Dillon, in 1917. The newlyweds moved to Chicago. Early in their marriage, Mrs Armstrong had a dream in which she was told that her husband had a divine mission. In 1924, following some business reverses, they moved to Eugene, Oregon, to live with her parents. There the intrepid couple joined a Seventh Day Adventist splinter group, and Herbert began to develop his distinctive doctrines. These combined some of the usual Adventist beliefs – adherence to the Saturday Sabbath, for example – with a refusal to observe “pagan” Christian holidays and the adoption of certain other Jewish beliefs. Added to that was a highly developed and unusual set of Bible prophecies, as well as British Israelism. This is the idea, dating back to the 19th century, that the peoples of the British Isles are the descendants of the children of Israel, and the Royal Family are the successors of the House of David – Queen Elizabeth II, in effect, being the true successor of David and Solomon, not Christ.
Using radio very judiciously, Armstrong spread his message so successfully that his Worldwide Church of God was soon supporting a four-year university in Pasadena, California, and providing millions in humanitarian aid to struggling nations – which in turn allowed him to hobnob with heads of state and gather decorations.
A very public falling out with his son damaged Armstrong’s work, and after his death his successors purged his beliefs from the denomination’s teachings. But Armstrongism continues to be held by a large number of splinter groups.

Rain, Floods, Wind, Tornados, Heat, Oh Noes! The World Is Coming To An End!

I always wonder how long it will take for Church of God false prophets to get all smug and self-righteous anytime there is a report of weather-related issues. Yesterday, the official self-appointed, know-it-all Church of God, Bawana Elijah Bob Thiel, got his homeopathic knickers all in a wad over recent heat, rain, and flooding.  He quotes several news articles and says this:
Extreme weather is hitting various parts of the world:
As it has for tens of thousands of years. Now, you just have the internet making instant news available which allows COG false prophets to take advantage of it.

He then goes on to quote out of one of his book he self-published:
The Bible repeatedly warns, especially in the Hebrew scriptures, that various sins will result in destructive weather (see Weather Blessings and Sorrows). Weather is not as random as most seem to want to believe.
Back in 2009, in a book that accurately laid out what would and would NOT happen in 2012, I mentioned the following was about to happen:
Considering all of the natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, food shortages, and economic problems in the past few years, perhaps this would be a good time to explain that the Bible shows that these problems were expected to occur prior to the great tribulation. Those outside the Bible have sometimes referred to a time such as this as a time of transition or chaos. … 
There will be a generation that will experience end-time events, beginning with “sorrows,” including the Great Tribulation, heavenly signs, and finally the return of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:5-34). … 
Mark recorded the same account of this time from his perspective: 
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” 5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troublesThese are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit…” (Mark 13:3–11). 
Thus, in both Matthew and Mark it is clear that a time called “the beginning of sorrows” precedes the Great Tribulation. 
Notice that in Mark’s account he uses the term troubles. Troubles would seem to include economic and political problems, in addition to those specifically mentioned, such as wars, famines, natural disasters, and pestilences. .. 
Odd weather patterns result in food shortages and natural disasters.Matthew 24:7
The world is actually in a berserk transition, as the real age of peace is not yet here. It may be a period of chaos. It is the beginning of sorrows.Matthew 24:8
(Thiel B. 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect. Nazarene Books, 2009)

The above was published because it was consistent with Bible prophecy. We have been seeing odd weather patterns.
Extreme weather should be a wake-up call to repent.
The warnings from the Bible are going out, but many will ignore them. Will you?
The people who need to repent first are all of the false leaders, teachers, and defenders of Armstrongism.  How can any sane person believe the crap that flows from Thiel, Malm, Pack and all the other professional COG liars out there?