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Monday, January 28, 2019
Wes White: Lesson From Albert Speer’s Daughter
Lesson From Albert Speer’s Daughter
By Wes White
During World War II, Albert Speer (German Armaments Minister) was known as Hitler’s Architect. He and the Fuhrer spent countless hours poring over their postwar plans to rebuild Berlin. Hitler considered Speer a friend, confidant, and peer. The Allies sent Speer to prison for twenty years after the war.
Speer’s daughter, Hilde Schramm, still lives today. Even in her old age, she remembers the times that she and her family spent socializing with Hitler. She was nine years old when the war ended. Today, Schramm rejects Nazism and recognizes the cancer on humanity that the Third Reich was.
Further, she wants no benefit from her father’s position in Nazi Germany. For example, she inherited several paintings that had been collected by her father. It was determined that those paintings probably had not been looted from Jews. Nevertheless, she did not want them. So she sold them and gave the money from the sale to support Jewish women’s creative projects in Germany. She has spent her life trying to give back or make some small amount of restitution for what her father and the other Nazis had done to millions of innocent people. She knows that, for the first nine years of her life, she lived well as a result of Hitler’s evil regime.
As a former Armstrongite, I find Schramm’s story compelling. And sobering. It makes me ponder certain aspects of my life.
I came into the WCG in 1971. I paid tithes for three years. I then attended Ambassador College for three years. Upon graduation, I was put on the college faculty for three years. In 1981, I came to my senses and resigned from my position. I resigned from the church two years later.
Here is why I bring up these dates. Financially speaking, I benefited greatly from my involvement in WCG. My three college years were subsidized by the tithes and offerings of thousands of church brethren. I am fully aware that many widows’ mites helped me through college. And there is no way that my three years of tithing from 1971 – 1974 covered the subsidy of my tuition from 1974 – 1977. On the balance sheet of my personal finances, I came out way ahead when comparing what I GAVE financially to what I GOT financially between the time period of 1971 thru 1977.
And none of this equation takes into account the benefits (which were many) and salary I received between 1977 and 1981. Unlike the thousands of people who were unfairly gouged by the WCG, I can never complain of being a victim.
I can’t even claim emotional abuse. Even while a student and instructor at the college, I was the kind of guy who would say (usually in a nice way), “Screw you. That’s not gonna happen.” That’s one of the reasons I didn’t last long in that organization. So I have zero to complain about when it comes to my WCG experience.
Like Schramm who wants no financial benefits from Nazism after its fall, I want no financial benefits from Armstrongism now that it has fallen. I have not been on any church payroll since 1981.
Like Schramm, I don’t need to add to my feelings of guilt.
Like Schramm who feels a sense of obligation to those who suffered from Nazism, I feel a sense of obligation to those who suffered from Armstrongism.
The purpose of this post is NOT to suggest that those of you who benefited from Armstrongism owe a debt to those who were bled dry financially and emotionally. I don’t know your circumstances. I can’t judge anyone else’s actions in this matter.
Sure, there is no doubt that many received much more from Armstrongism than they gave. Is my hope that those people are somehow (in their own small way) trying to achieve some degree of restitution for those who were oppressed. Again, it is not my job to identify those persons who, in the end, found themselves on the plus side of the ledger when it came to these benefits. Nor is it my job to judge any efforts they may be taking to try to make things even a little bit right. We can only do so much within the limitations of reality.
For those of you who ended up on the short end of the stick after being in the Armstrong organization, please be aware that there are some who recognize the need for restitution and healing. Those of us who feel guilt will never be able to completely make things right for Armstrongism’s victims. For example, some people who were mistreated and gouged are long dead. Their full restitution and healing will have to come in the Kingdom.
Finally, I believe it is totally inappropriate when people suggest that those who have been hurt “need to just get over it.” Or “they need to move on.” Or, “they need to heal.” Only the victim himself can make the decision as to when it’s time to move on. No one else can make that decision for him. It is wrong for anyone else to try to make that decision for him.
I have publicly apologized for my evil acts such as condemning interracial dating & marriage, promoting a three-tithe system, teaching end-time theology, advocating authoritarian church government, etc. I am also sorry that I financially benefited from the sufferings of others. One of the ways I try to help those victims is by participating in this blog site. I feel it is important to tell the injured, “It’s not you. It was that organization that was messed up. You were well-meaning in your quest to follow God. Don’t blame yourself that you were taken advantage of by dysfunctional people who lied and stole repeatedly.”
And, if my attempt to provide some comfort causes today’s arrogant church leaders to accuse me of “sleeping with the enemy,” so be it. To those who make that statement, I ask, “When will you learn an even minuscule amount of love from the teachings of Jesus?”
Let’s try to show some compassion for those who struggle with their Armstrongite experience.
See more on Hilde Schramm: