Friday, October 22, 2010

UCG Troubles Expected To Extend Into Summer 2011

The blog The Shining Light has another post today concerning the current upheavals going on in UCG.  They are predicting that this 'crisis' will continue on until next summer (2011) where a significant number of Elders will have left UCG.

While I am sure some of these men are sincere in their thinking, you have to wonder when it is going to sink into their minds to actually start questioning their entire belief system instead of the politics in UCG.

When your entire faith system is based entirely upon the six month study of a man who was not happy with his wife's new found beliefs and a nightmare she had, something is desperately WRONG!.  Six months. Six months of study in a public library!  Public libraries, then as now, were/are not know for carrying highly intellectual books that really get into the meatier matters of a subject.

Libraries are stocked with books that the general public can read and hopefully understand. Usually with the education of a high school mind or less. That is why libraries are filled with so much fiction.

Libraries at the time of HWA's so-called, super intensive, 'all-encompassing', candle burning study, would still have been stocked with books from the late 1800's.
Public libraries at HWA's time were NOT filled with books on eschatology, hermeneutics, and otherwise deep theology.

The mindset of the library reader at that time was revivalist in nature.  Revivalism in the United States at that time dealt with charismatic preachers, emotionalism, altar calls and spur of the moment 'signs of the spirit.'  These people were not book readers. Many were still struggling with day to day life trying to recover from the Great Depression. Ultimately HWA knew that and tapped into the emotionalism of radio to tug at peoples emotions and feelings of wanting to feel special.

If you had been in Pasadena and checked out the 'college' library  you would have seen countless books from the late 1800's through the 1940's.  Ambassador's library was NOT up to date.  When they started the process of accreditation one of the stipulations was getting current and up to update with the books in the library.  You would have found countless anti-catholic books, books on pyramidology by Piazzi Smith, James Rutherford, W.M. Flinders Petri, and others. Lots of books on the JW's, SDA's and the Mormon's. Lots of things on Germany, Hitler, and WWII, extensive Judaism books and more.

How many more decades need to go by before UCG/COG ministers and church leaders stop living in the past.  When will they start using real books for bible study and research or open their minds to current archeology and Biblical studies, and stop relying on HWA?

UCG's so-called 'college', Meredith's so-called 'college' and Flurry's non-college 'college' all uses HWA writings as their standard of belief and formation.  Their standard form of understanding is God's pure language of the King James Bible and HWA's writings pre-1986. You will not find the myriads of books and opinions that a seminary would have in it's library (both pro and con).

A thinking person cannot get a 'rounded' education unless you understand why there are other ways at looking at scripture, theology, and beliefs.  A well educated seminary student looks at these different ways of study and mulls them over.  It does not mean they have to agree with them, but it does open their mind up to explore their own faith, but more importantly it gives them a basis to understand why people think and believe the way they do.

Armstrongism does not do that.  The most they do is read books like Hislop's The Two Babylon's, and any book that is anti-Roman Catholic.  That is as far as their mindset allows them to go.

COG's and HWA loved to mock Roman Catholics and the Orthodox for their supposed idolatry.  What utter hypocrisy!  Look at how COG's cannot carry on a conversation without mentioning HWA or his writings.

Look at the filth rising in Edmond, OK that blatantly worships all things HWA.  Flurry's Herbert W Armstrong College is the ultimate in idolatry! Even Roman Catholics don't worship the Pope this much!

They have what they stupidly believe is HWA's prayer rock that they traipsed through the Oregon woods, dug up and hauled back to Edmond.  There are pictures of Flurry kneeling beside it in reverence.

They bought articles from the Auditorium and furnishings from Pasadena, for their new House of Idolatry.

They pose their pictures, design their TV studio backdrops, books and booklets to look like HWA's version.

They eat the same kinds of foods, drink the same wines and champagne.

They imitate HWA right down to the type of suits, underwear and soap (Roger & Gallet) HWA used!  Pathetic imbeciles!

Well, enough of that rant!  :-)

I do not feel sorry for the current UCG administrations troubles. They brought it on themselves.  They are a group of conniving, greedy men who care only for themselves.  I saw them in action in Pasadena and know for a fact that they are still of the same mindset.  The stories of abuse of members in their congregations make the rounds regularly.

 Shining Light's comments:

It can also be understood that the CoE will not be sad to see dissenting Elders go.  Every one that leaves means a stronger control for themselves.  Every dissenting Elder that leaves is a step closer to the 75% needed to officially change doctrine and discard the cloak of “clarification”.  Every dissenting Elder that leaves means a better chance of reelection for the CoE liberals.  They are in control now and they want to remain in control.

Many of the laity can be expected to follow their Elders in whatever they decide to do.  If an Elder leaves, many of his congregants will follow him.  If a more liberal Elder supports the CoE, many of his congregants will follow along.  The people have been taught to follow the Elder without thinking.
This is a very sad state of affairs, but it is a reality.  We should all be following God and his Word; and following men only as they follow Christ.

That said, there will be a few in each congregation who will not want to play “follow the Elder” and will decide to leave their local Elder; either to remain loyal to the Council, or to register their objections.   This means that both; a sifting of the Elders, and a sifting of the people must come.  That may take some time and may last through to sometime next summer.

We can be sure that the Council has not been wasting their time and that a number of “replacement” Elders are waiting to be sent out to congregations as Elders object to events and leave.  The recent Larry Salyer situation should be a lesson; when an Elder is believed to be unrealiable, he will be removed and a replacement will be waiting to take over.

These replacements will have been handpicked for their liberal leanings and their support of the Council.  The CoE will not allow an Elder to leave and take his flock with him, without a fight.  This is part of what Denny meant by a “Fiery Trial”.  It will be a fight for the people and their financial support.
This is not going to be pretty.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dennis Luker Says UCG Is "...About to Go Through a Fiery Trial" (Luker Video Added)

The Shining Light blog is reporting that Dennis Luker gave a sermon this past weekend that will most likely be sent out to all UCG churches to be played for the membership.  It looks like the situation in South American has really come back to bite the UCG hierarchy in the butt big time!  There is  an immense backlash about the shenanigans that went on with that situation, with the Salyer episode and other disgruntled ministers. Rocky times are ahead for UCG.

The tape subject was “Fiery Trials”  and it was stated the the UCG/AIC was going through or about to go through a “Fiery Trial”.
It is very important to understand that the only fiery trial, is one being placed on United by the Council of Elders.  All that is needed to prevent such a trial, is for the CoE to confirm and support the previous long standing policy on working or paying others to work on Sabbath; and to begin an honest and sincere effort at reconciliation with the offended Latin American brethren. 
What is so very difficult about that?  In short, all they really need to do to prevent a fiery trial, is to maintain the doctrinal status quo; and reach out to those they have offended in true Godly concern.
So why is Dennis warning of a fiery trial?  Is it because the Council has no intention of maintaining the long standing doctrinal position of United?  Is it because the liberal faction is irrevocably commited to changing the present teaching in favour of the Roig family position?
Why is United’s Council of Elders and President FORCING such a fiery trial on United?

Shining Light also had this to say about Luker:

At one point Dennis says that he is a hard tough man who will do whatever it takes.  He then tried to go on and say;” in love of course”: yet his statement and body language was certainly belligerent and defiant against any possible questioning of his position.

This seems to have become a matter of personal pride with the liberals; who seem to be willing to fracture United rather than back off their agenda.
This tape was a rather obvious attempt to intimidate  the elders and people before the important decision come up.

It looks like UCG is starting to go through the same issues that their Mother Church went through.  Those pesky liberals are at it again!

To hear the message yourself check it out.  NOTE:  This is NOT an endorsement of UCG!

Larry Salyer Suspended and "De-credentialed By UCG Honcho's for "Unacceptable Conduct by a Minister"

One has to wonder now which COG Salyer will join next. He has been in so many already. Gotta keep that free money rolling in!  God forbid if he got a real job!

Dear fellow ministers and employees,

We are sad to inform you that we have relieved Larry Salyer of his ministerial duties. He was suspended after he held meetings in the congregations he pastors after services in which he openly criticized the leadership of the Church. This is unacceptable conduct by a minister and the action is what has always been taken against anyone who openly speaks to our brethren in such a manner.

Roy Holladay, regional pastor, was sent to Texarkana, Texas and Ruston, Louisiana to speak to the congregations and let the brethren know of Larry Salyer?s suspension. Roy Holladay mistakenly announced, though, that Larry Salyer?s ministerial credentials were removed. While Ministerial Services can relieve someone of their duties, it is only the Council of Elders that can remove credentials. Roy realized he made a mistake in wording and apologized to Larry Salyer. He also contacted the elders in both congregations and asked them to notify the brethren of this error.

We have wanted to keep this personnel matter just between the parties involved, but write to you because news of this has spread through the Internet. Larry Salyer wrote an open letter that he encouraged be freely shared with all. Because of this we are letting you know the basic facts of this unfortunate situation.

Victor Kubik

Ministerial Services


Larry Salyer’s Letter

Hello Fellow Elders, (oops! maybe not)

In the midst of great confusion in the United Church of God and especially in the small congregations of Texarkana, Texas and Ruston, Louisiana, it seems appropriate to share the latest events of which I am a witness and a participant. Let me give you a little history before you try to make sense of the message copied below.

On Sabbath, October 9, I chose to bring the brethren up to date on what is going on in the Church. Actually, I had committed to them before the Feast that I would discuss the latest information coming out of the Home Office when we got home from the Feast. (I was only able to be with them on Atonement after the papers came out, due to medical issues with Judy).

The format was the same in each area. First, we had a regular service in which I gave a sermon on the role of shepherds in God’s flock, both in Israel and in the Church. I also explaied how shepherds must deal with “wolves” or lions or bears as David did (I Samuel 17:34-37 are instructive here). After the closing prayer, I invited anyone who wanted to stay for a briefing on the papers and events in the Church. Virtually all stayed. I gave a brief overview of the past several months of conflict and friction in the Church. I then summarized the errors in the two papers and stated unequivocally that they were wrong. I cautioned the brethren to be very alert to any doctrinal drift and not just assume everything that comes out is legitimate. I explained the failure of the unknown authors of these papers to pass them by the doctrine committee. In closing, I mentioned that my saying these things openly, as a shepherd must according to Scripture, would not be well received at the Home Office and that if I were not here next Sabbath they could guess why.

On Thursday evening I returned home to find a message from Denny and Vic asking me to call. When I returned the call Friday morning, I got Denny only. Just let me add that during that phone call Denny said, (very nearly verbatim quote here) “Larry, you have put me in an awkward position. I have to suspend you from ministerial duties until you have talked with Roy Holladay. Roy will come back and write up a report.” He indicated that after that it would be determined what comes next.

For the record I will add here, that I said to Denny ( a long time friend and fellow evangelist in WCG), “Denny, you said I had put you in an awkward position. Let me state here, as one evangelist to another, that I believe you and Roy and others have put me in an awkward position. As a shepherd, I have a responsibility to my flock to help them discern truth and error.”

At that point Denny expressed again that he would have to suspend me until I had talked to Roy. The rest is below.

This information is free to be shared if you think it will be helpful to anyone. I have a limited number of private addresses and do not want to use corporate email. Please see message below from me to Council, President and MS team.

Larry Salyer, October 17, 2010

Following is the email from Salyer on how UCG Honcho's were ticked that he disagreed with the 'Sabbath and Fasting' papers.

Sent: Sunday, October 17, 2010 2:11 AM

To: dennis_luker; melvin_rhodes; bill_eddington; aaron_dean; darris_mcneely; jim_franks; scott_ashley; david_baker; robin_webber; mike_blackwell; david_treybig; bob_berendt; mario_seiglie

Cc: roy_holladay; victor_kubik; gary_anition

Subject: De-credentialing process


The phone call this evening caught me completely by surprise for a couple of reasons. First, as I am familiar with the process for approving or removing elder credentials, it seems unlikely to me that such a process could have been followed within the past week, the ostensible reason for such action being statements I made to my congregations last Sabbath. Further, nothing has yet been communicated to me about my credentials as an elder in UCG.

Second, in a phone conversation on Friday morning, President Denny Luker had asked me to confirm or deny accusations that I had addressed the congregations about the Sabbath and Fasting papers and said that I did not agree with them. I said I most certainly had and I believed it was my pastoral duty to the flock to do so. Denny immediately suspended me “from ministerial duties” He instructed me not to attend services on the Sabbath of October 16. He informed me that Roy Holladay would be coming to the area to speak in both churches. I asked him to review that prohibition as I thought it important to the congregation that I be there to hear what was said and to be able to follow up later if I were allowed to continue to pastor. Mr. Luker said he would seek counsel on that and call me back, which he did, saying it was unanimous among the MS team that I should not be at services. Mr. Luker in no way indicated that I was being removed, but repeated that I was being suspended. He said that he and Roy would like for me to meet with Roy and talk. I agreed to do so. He said he hoped I would not make a bunch of calls and stir up trouble. I assured him I would not.

On Friday, I sent an email to all three elders telling them that I would not be there, but that Mr. Holladay would take the sermons. I said nothing about suspension. I spoke to one other member by phone, who asked who would be speaking on the Sabbath. I mentioned that Roy Holladay would be there. Later Roy called me and asked if I could drive to Ruston to meet with him on Sunday morning. I agreed, as he had a long drive to Chattanooga ahead of him.

So what about the phone call? A member called me and gave me a summary of the service. He said that it was announced that my “credentials had been removed.” Incredulous, I said, you mean he said I was suspended. He said no, Mr. Holladay said your credentials had been removed. This was confirmed in another call a little later. Still, I did not believe it and so called the sound person who dubs the CDs. I was allowed to listen to that portion of the announcements (sermonette time) and sure enough Roy said, and repeated in response to a question, that my credentials had been removed and that I was no longer the pastor. Later, I received a call from the other congregation. I asked if the same announcement had been made. The answer was an unequivocal “Yes.”

A couple of questions: When did the COE meet and remove my credentials? If they did not, does the MS team or president now have that authority? If so how and when did they get it? Is it appropriate, prior to a planned meeting on Sunday morning to announce to the members on the Sabbath that my credentials have been removed? Did Roy know what he was talking about? Did he know before he made the appointment with me? Will MS and the Council posture that this was just another misstep? Will they try to retract it after the damage is done? Is somebody lying about the process, or making it up on the fly?

Finally, what is the value in driving 230 miles round trip to meet with a man who has come here in a professional capacity and conducted Church business in such an embarrassing manner?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paradise Recovered Movie Premiers (Recovery From Fundamentalism)

Andie Redwine was raised in Armstrongism.  After leaving the abuses behind decided to do a movie on helping people escape from abusive religion.

Here are his comments from his blog about the movie, himself and what he hopes to achieve:

 Paradise Recovered

Putting Them Out of Business

For the past decade, I (Andie) have been involved in assisting those whose lives have been devastated by abusive spiritual groups, as well as those silenced by church-sanctioned domestic violence.

This film is for them.
For years, I've looked into the eyes of the walking wounded, and for years, regardless of who they are or what their situation is, they have wondered out loud if anyone gets it. Does their story even matter?
It does matter. It matters enough to be told.
For years, I personally have struggled to come to terms with my own upbringing in a fundamentalist group. The members who helped raise me were and are (for the most part) some of the most loving, dedicated people I have ever known, and many remain close friends. Some are still heavily influenced by this group, some are indifferent, some are atheists, some are healed, some have a radically different faith, and some are no longer with us.
I've been pretty private about this. I am often asked if the script of Paradise Recovered is about me. Certainly my own experiences shaped the story somewhat...a rented hall where services meet...a preacher on a TV screen up front...metal folding chairs and spiral notebooks...lots of rules and regulations necessary for salvation.
But a lot of these stories have come from those who so willingly and often tearfully shared them with me in late night conversations, over coffee, or in Internet chat rooms and forums.
So the layers of the characters came from all of those experiences, but this isn't solely autobiographical. And given the content, there are some difficult moments, but there are definitely some light-hearted ones. It's good to be entertained while you learn.
To answer a question that I am often asked very publicly, yes, I am a person of faith, but my faith looks very different than it used to growing up.
My faith is very much about sharing love with others and caring for their hearts as if they were my own. And it certainly isn't about demanding that someone believe exactly as I do or deciding where someone's eternal destiny lies. It is about demonstrating what I believe to the best of my limited human ability and seeing with spiritual eyes that which I believe God does in spite of my failings. It is about being grateful for what I have been given and giving back as a response.
Often, when I am trying to show someone how abusive groups operate, I will watch a movie with them. Like M. Night Shymalan's The Village. Or the great '70's documentary Marjoe or the more recent Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp. Or a Norwegian film called The Other Side of Sunday.
Once, while I was watching The Other Side of Sunday with a friend, we both noticed how the film dealt with getting out of the group, but it never really dealt with what happens once you get out.
"There needs to be a movie like that," she said.
There did. But I knew nothing about movies, so I decided to write a book instead. A fictional tale called Paradise Recovered.
Sitting around a campfire one Indiana night, a good long-time filmmaker friend, Denis Hennelly, suggested that the story that I was telling really needed to be a narrative film.
"But I don't know anything about writing a screenplay," I countered.
"Well," he said, confidently, "I do."
And so I started writing Paradise as a narrative feature film.
About a month later, I met an old friend, Storme Wood, over breakfast to talk about filmmaking. And, to make a very long story short, we decided to make this film. Together.
Without Denis and Storme and an amazing group of talented actors, producers, and crew, there would be no Paradise Recovered: A New Film. Everyone gave me far more than I knew to ask or even imagined. Many involved had their own stories of abuse and difficulties with sorting out belief, and yet, despite all of the emotional buttons we were pushing, everyone gave everything they had to make this film everything that it could be.
This entire project continues to be a labor of love as a testament to those who have been wounded spiritually by those who were misguided zealots at best, criminal sociopaths at worst.
At the beginning of this project, a very good friend pleaded with me to do all that I could to "put the bastards out of business." It is for her and for the thousands of walking wounded that I continue to press forward.
And it is for a few that I never wanted to help bury that I make this film. I continue to do so in memory of them.
I feel loved and supported by my family, by my extended family and friends, by my community of faith, and by my generous cast of fans on Facebook and in the community who ask, "Now, when is it coming out? What's the movie about anyway? Is it going to be at a film festival in my area? Did you cut the part with me as an extra? Because my mom really wants to see me on the big screen."
As a brief aside, no one is getting rich here. There's this myth that indie filmmaking is about making crazy profits. I hope we do make crazy profits, because this will mean that a lot of the walking wounded will have access to mental health services through either an existing foundation or one that we set up.
And it might just mean that we shared information effectively enough to show that some of these self-proclaimed emperors indeed have no clothes. And maybe they'll be driven to the unemployment line. Permanently.

Heartland Film Festival, October 16, 18, 20, and 21, 2010

Indianapolis Metro Area 
Individual passes may be purchased.
After-party on October 18 to be announced.
Saturday, Oct 16, 2010 at 5:30pm - AMC Showplace 17 Indianapolis
Monday, Oct 18, 2010 at 8:15pm - AMC Castleton Square 
Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010 at 7:45pm - AMC Showplace 17 Indianapolis
Thursday, Oct 21, 2010 at 2:00pm - AMC Castleton Square

Austin Film Festival, October 21 and 24, 2010

Austin, Texas
Individual passes may be purchased 30 minutes prior to showtime. 
Discounted badges and passes are available until September 30.
After-party on October 24 To Be Announced

Film Courage Interactive, November 29, 2010

Los Angeles, California
Sponsored by LA Talk Radio's Film Courage with David Branin and Karen Worden
Tickets now available for this one-night event.
Monday, Nov 29, 2010 at 7:00 - 11:00 pm - The Downtown Independent Theatre

An Open Letter to Former Members

An Open Letter To Former Members

Hey everyone! Wow, we've been receiving some really great, heartfelt letters about how the Paradise trailer is affecting you. It's really encouraging to us as we continue to tighten up the rough cut. Here's an excerpt from one of the letters:

“I'm very interested in seeing this movie...after viewing a documentary about a month ago called 'Join Us', it brought back the pain of leaving a cult several years ago…I'll never forget the heartache, even though I'm mostly on the better side of it now."

Two weekends ago, we did a screening with Cara Jean Wahlers and Grover Parido to give them a feel for the film, as well as to discuss the score that they have been working on and ideas they have. At the end of the movie, Cara asked, “Is this what it is like for people who are trapped in these groups?”

Yeah. We think so. The letters and notes that we are getting from people confirm that we have hit a nerve, and that’s just with the trailer.

Here's another part of a letter from a former member:

“I was in a fundamentalist church for 15 years with an authoritarian leader…I was preached against and shunned. Still to this day, I do not go to a church, but still the Lord has me. It's been a journey…There are many of us out on the hillsides.”

Because of these notes and many others, we have decided to put a resources tab on our website to help hurting people network with those who might be able to help, regardless of your desire to have or to not have faith. Healing is possible, and there are some great resources out here…people who will be gentle, recognizing where you have been. It will take me a while to assemble all of that and get it uploaded, so if you want information in the meantime, please use our ‘contact us’ tab.

Additionally, as time permits after we finish the film, we intend to put together some podcasts or videos with cult experts who can provide some understanding about cult recovery and mind control. We have some great friends of this movie, and we indeed intend to help promote their work and passion to raise awareness about how cultic and religious abuse happens.  Helping people heal from abuse is one of the greatest callings on this planet.

Keep the notes of encouragement coming. It means a lot to us to hear how the issue of spiritual abuse has affected you or your loved ones, and we are excited to continue to do what we can to bring this issue to light to bring healing.

We continue to obsess over the rough cut, and we feel a strong gravity to get this story right.  We're not just making a film here -- we are telling the precious stories of people who have had the guts to share them with us.  And truth is always worth telling.

While we are not therapists or trained counselors, this we can say with certainty: no one ever joins a church or a cause expecting to be abused. Some of you were born into these groups without any type of consent whatsoever. Your stories? We believe you. And you deserve to live life to the fullest. There are a lot of great people out here who will be gentle with you.

It wasn’t your fault. You deserve to heal. And it is a long road, but freedom is worth every step.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

UCG Crisis Continues To Boil: Income Down, Less Ministers, Less Members

Just another sunny day in the wild and wacky world of Armstrongism!

Abigale Cartwright (ucgcurrent crisis) has listed the following leaders (see below) from UCG that have been suspended in the last few days and through the last year.  It looks like United is not so 'united' as they all claim.

The convoluted background of United's existence started  in the 360/380/390 apartments on the Pasadena campus.
 Ground Zero for the formation of UCG

It was a group of men that gathered with Kubik, Webber and others to plot their separation from WCG.  They had refused to follow in the changes in doctrine that WCG was establishing.  They knew their jobs, their free cars, their homes, their standard of living, paid feast travel, their $10,000.00 +  year-end bonuses, etc was about to change if they did not start toeing the line.  This process went on for several months.  All the time they had these little meetings they continued to stay on the salary of WCG.  Money was their first priority, plain and simple. They certainly were NOT martyrs for the truth as so many claimed they were.

Those of us who lived in the Pasadena area also saw them in action as they 'served' the church in their 'ministerial' duties.  These men were FAAAAAAAR from being ministerial and pastoral in their actions.  Conceited, self-serving jackasses tyrants would be a better description of some of these men.  They were not all bad, but the overwhelming majority were rotten to the core.  They continue their controlling, power hungry ego trips to this day in their splinter cults, UCG included.

UCG recently removed all the regional pastors from their duties:

Excerpt from Kubik letter to ministry: October 13 Letter to Ministry

When United began in 1995, not only was the Regional Pastor system put in place, but a Ministerial Services team was added. It was recognized that this was perhaps too much structure, but we hoped that the Church would “grow into” this structure.

But, today, 15 years later, we have not grown. In fact, we have fewer full-time pastors than we did in the beginning , yet we have continued with this top-heavy structure. It served a much-needed function in its first years by helping write some of the Ministerial Services policies that are now more or less complete and available to the ministry on disk or in the notebook binder.

With the recent change of Presidency and Ministerial Services Operation Manager, it is a good time to reevaluate the Regional Pastor structure. We do not need ten RPs plus a ministerial team to oversee an experienced ministry totaling about 90 full-time pastors and 300 local church elders.
We believe that it is the right time to restructure the management levels within Ministerial Services.

We have decided to discontinue the regional pastor structure as it currently stands. A newly appointed ministerial team will function as regional pastors and perform many of the duties that the former RPs carried out. They will be actively involved in most aspects of current RP duties. Policies that related to the regional pastors will not be changed; they will be fulfilled by the Ministerial Services team who will now act as the new Regional Pastors.

Since United has experienced a downturn in revenue, this leaner management will afford savings as well. We thank all of you for your ministerial support functions over the years. This change will be effective Friday, October 15.

In Christ’s service,

Victor Kubik
Ministerial Services

Dennis Luker

Individuals who have resigned or been removed from their positions in the last year

Posted by Abigail Cartwright on October 18, 2010 at 6:30 AM 

Larry Salyer, October 2010, suspended from ministerial duties - status pending.

Paul Suckling, October 2010, relieved of his position as Senior Pastor of the United Kingdom

All Regional Pastors removed to be replaced by Ministerial Team October 2010.  These Regional Pastors were: Bruce Gore, Todd Carey, Greg Sargent, Jim Haeffle, Jim Servidio, Larry Grieder, Lyle Welty, Larry Neff and Mike Hanisko. Denny Luker was an RP when he was made president; he was not replaced.   

Mr Hendren  - August 2010 - removed from ministry
Mr. Mendez - August 2010 - removed from ministry
Mr. Garcia - July 2010 - removed as Deacon
Mr. Lovelady - July 2010 - resigned as Treasurer / HR Director
Mr. Walker - June 2010 removed as Director of Spanish Work, removed from the ministry
Mr. Roybal - June 2010 - removed from UCG ministry
Mr. S Langarica - June 2010 - removed from UCG ministry

The following ministers have been removed from the church website in June of 2010 but remain in limbo as an official announcement has not been made

Mr. Dimakis
Mr. Sanchez
Mr A. Lanarica
Mr. Gonzalez
Mr. Mundo Tello
Mr. Ortiz
Mr. Avila
Mr. Hernandez
Mr. Ouijano
Mr. Nain
Mr. Gunez
Mr. Arboleas

The following individuals while removed/resigned or asked to resign continue to be employed as paid elders

Mr. Johnson - May 2010 - not reconfirmed as Corporate Secretary
Mr. Horchak - May 2010 - position on the Ministerial Services team was eliminated when Vic Kubik came in as interim operations manager.
Mr. Thompson - May 2010 - position on the Ministerial Services team was eliminated when Vic Kubik came in as interim operations manager.
Mr. Register - May 2010 - resigned as Director of Educational Services, his position on the Ministerial Services team was eliminated when Vic Kubik
Mr. Kilough - April 2010 - asked to resign as President
Mr. Franks - April 2010 - asked to resign as Operations Manger of Ministerial services
Mr. Salyer - April 2010 - resigned as Operations Manager of Media
Mr. Kilough - July 2009 - resigned from CoE
Mr. Thompson - July 2009 - resigned from CoE
Mr. Foster - July 2009 - removed as Council Reporter

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sex Crazed Long Haired Teens in Prayer Booths and Inter-racial Walking in LCG Camp

A while back on the LCG Yahoo board there was this serious comment about the horrible state of affairs at LCG Summer Camps.  Is it any wonder people mock Armstrongism when there are yahoo's like this posting their stupidity on newsgroups?

Who would have dreamed that prayer booths would be connected with rampaging fornicating teen boys at a Living Church of God Summer Camp!  And what the hell is the problem with walking next to someone of another race.  Is it going to rub off on you?

This stupidity is tied directly into the absurd teachings of British Israelism that still permeates the COGlets to this day.  Whites are superior to all other races.  Meredith still believes it.  Flurry believes it.  Look at both of their splinter cults. White as white on rice.

Photo from Spanky's childhood photo album

Given Spanky's obsession with sex, his constant talking about it in sermons, writing about it in his magazines is it any wonder the kids in his cult want to try it!

Masturbation seems to occupy so much of his mind.  The same goes for Six Pack and his teachings to his cult college students.  I guess HWA's flog log has had a permanent imprint on their minds. (Read about HWA fascination with certain anatomy parts here AR 27 )

The second Sabbath at camp on 7-28-07 RCM gave a sermon about prayer.
During the course of the sermon he suggested that the church give "a
few thousand dollars" to the camp so they could build some prayer booths
for the teenagers. 

The first question about that idea is whether or not
it is an appropriate use of tithe money to give it to a facility they do
not even own? 

The second question regards if RCM is so naive as to not
realize what teenagers could end up using those booths for instead? 
I happen to have firsthand knowledge that one teenage boy and girl
successfully fornicated despite the so-called watchful eyes of
supervising adults at the camp. Thankfully this situation was not
further complicated by a pregnancy! 

Another eye catching event was the presence of at least 4 boyswith long hair. How long? It covered their ears and the back of their necks. The previous year this was non-
existent. I was told by a minister and staff member that the staff
camp manual had a grooming guideline of no long hair for boys. Yet last
year it was allowed. Did the camp director not have the courage to
contact the parents and tell them the boys would have to get haircuts
or go back home?
Does this alleged evangelist not understand I Cor.
11:14 ?

Last noteworthy occurrence was the teenagers given the latitude to decide whether or not to couple up interacially in the march to
Sabbath services. This decision should be the domain of the adults not
the children. This was not allowed in WCG camps under HWA. The only
exception was an odd number of teenagers per race which made 100%
coupling impossible. This was a sound practice put in place by the last
living Apostle and no one in a lesser office has the authority to
change it.

The Truth Shall Make You Free: Herbert Armstrong's Empire Exposed Part 1

Herbert Armstrong's Empire Exposed
John Tuit
(Tuit was the man who initiated the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of California against Herbert W Armstrong, Stanley Rader,and other leaders of the Worldwide Church of God)
Published by
The Truth Foundation
Freehold Township, New Jersey
307 pages

This book is filled with so many interesting facts.  It is too bad it never received the recognition that Robinson's Tangled Web book did.  This book is just as devastating to Armstrongism.  It exposes the scheming, conniving, manipulative, hierarchy manipulating the church behind the scenes. 

Some of these people are dead, some are running splinter cults where they continue the abuse to this day as they proclaim themselves God's anointed endtime servants

Part 1

Chapter 1

(pg 3)  Little did I realize that my first contact with the Worldwide Church of God, about eighteen years ago, would lead to this moment, nor could I ever have imagined what it  would lead to in just a few years.  Only a few years alter my wife and I were to make the decision to institute a lawsuit against the Worldwide Church of God and its officials, alleging that the officials were misappropriating funds.  This lawsuit was destined to become one of the most massive church/state confrontations in recent history.

(pg 7) (In searching for a church they wrote to Pasadena)…I later found that Church meetings were kept rather secret so that outsiders wouldn’t wander in.  Looking back at this, I wonder how the Worldwide Church of God could ever have expected to do the work that Christ commanded when they spent so much effort at keeping themselves hidden in the local community.

(pg 15) We didn’t realize at the time that most of what was written about Church history and Herbert Armstrong was just a subtle device to condition people’s minds to blindly following the Church’s teachings as expounded by Armstrong.  I should have realized at the time that any man who claimed to be the only servant of Jesus Christ would not put out a 540-page autobiography which only covered the period from his birth in 1892 up until the year 1938.  This book, significantly, was the largest publication ever issued by the church. There is more written about Herbert Armstrong in this autobiography than there is written about Christ in the entire Bible.

Chapter 2 Beginning of Troubles

(pg 21)  When we first contacted the church in early 1974, we did not realize then, and in fact did not realize for some time, that we were coming into the Church during one of its most tumultuous periods.  A series of events took place in 1974 that were actually setting the stage for the legal action that we were to initiate in 1978. In 1974, over forty ministers and an estimated two thousand to three thousand members left the Church.  This was later to become known as the 1974 Rebellion.  This rebellion was actually the aftershock of a double crisis in 1972. Church members had for many years been told in sermons and in Good News, a publication only for church members, that they should be prepared to flee to a place of safety in 1972.  This place was to be the ancient and now uninhabited town of Petra, located in Transjordan, Petra is described in the Pictorial Bible atlas, as follows: “In the small basin of Petra was situated the famous Nabatean.  Impressive gorges and impregnable faulted walls of crystalline rocks rise into the southern Edom Mountains to over 5,000 feet.”  The entrance to Petra is a mile-long canyon with cliffs three hundred feet high. It was to this town in the wilderness that the entire Worldwide Church of God expected to go and live for three an one half years awaiting the return of Christ in 1975.

(pg 22)  During the late 1960’s, in anticipation of this flight to safety many members had put off important matters, such as  necessary dental care, home purchases, or any other long-term commitments, expecting that such things would not be necessary.  Of course, 1972 came and went, but there was no flight to Petra.

Armstrong wrote a co-worker letter, dated March 25, 1975, “Some years ago I saw factors indicating the possibility that our work might be completed in early 1972, and immediately followed by the Great Tribulation. I NEVER SET A DEFINITE DATE, I NEVER SAID IT WOULD DEFINITELY HAPPEN-but cautioned there were indications of the possibility.  Yet some misunderstood it as a definite prophecy for a definite date.”

Nonetheless, 1972 was a momentous year for the Worldwide Church of God. It was in that year that Herbert Armstrong announced to the church, in a letter dated April 25, 1972: “Last autumn I was dismayed to learn that my son had been overcome with personal emotional problems, that it Ied to conduct inconsistent with the high standards of the Work of the Church of God and the scriptural qualifications for a minister of Jesus Christ, and rendered him incapable of carrying on the duties of a minister, and of his responsibilities of Executive Vice-President.”

(pg 23) This event rocked the Church in 1972.  Garner Ted Armstrong had been for years the radio and television voice of the Church, and was known and respected as not just a great evangelist, but a man with tremendous insight and understanding regarding world affairs….There was much speculation at the time, and also allegations that Garner Ted Armstrong’s problem was one o f sexual infidelity.  I was to find out much later that whatever the depth of his emotional problems, it was amazing that he survived the ordeal at all, considering the constant struggle that he had been having with his father on some of the harsh doctrines of the Church.

The whole period of turmoil actually had its start around 1968, after the death of Herbert Armstrong’s wife Loma in 1967. It was at this time that Stanley Rader began to assume a more prominent position as an advisor to Herbert Armstrong.  Rader was a non-member and had been in the employ of the Church for approximately ten years as an accountant and legal counselor.  It was during this period, starting in 1968, when the massive building program was embarked upon, including the commitment for the elaborate Ambassador Auditorium.  This also marked the beginning of Herbert Armstrong’s visits to political leaders around the world, as part of what he called his ‘great commission.”  Garner Ted Armstrong’s disagreement with the direction his father was going, as well as the doctrinal differences, were one of the many causes of a complex emotional problem.

Three of the doctrinal points which seem to be of major contention (pg 24) were those concerning divorce and remarriage, healing, and make-up.  A fourth one, to a lesser degree, concerned birthdays.  On the matter of divorce and remarriage, the Church taught that a divorced person could not remarry, as to do so would be adulterous.  Even harsher was the part of the teaching which required one who had been divorced and remarried before entering the Church to dissolve the second marriage and return to the first mate.  If that was not possible, the remarried couple were to live apart from each other, since to continue together would be adulterous.  There was no scriptural basis for this teaching, and many lives were virtually destroyed by a forced adherence to this doctrine.

On the matter of healing, members were taught that to use doctors or medicine for anything other than “mechanical” repairs, such as fixing broken bones or repairing teeth, was a sin.  Members were to rely only on God for healing, and were to have a minister anoint them with oil and then pray over them for healing.  It is certainly true that God does heal and the He does perform many miracles, but He does expect us to do what we can physically as part of our reliance upon Him. Many members and, even more tragically, young children actually died as a result of the member’s fear to use a doctor of medicine.

Members were also forbidden to wear make-up as it was considered to be a sign of vanity and, according to Herbert Armstrong, something used by prostitutes. The celebration of birthdays was forbidden as being pagan, although there is no Biblical proof of this. 

The expenditures for Armstrong’s world trips in the Church owned Gulfstream II jet were also becoming a cause of dissention among many of the top officials…All of these various factors – the 1972 ouster and later return of Garner Ted Armstrong, serious doctrinal questions, and the massive expenditures of money on round the world trips – all combined to set the stage for serious discord within the ministry.  The final result of all this was the event that became known as the 1974 Rebellion.

Another point of serious concern among many of the top Church leaders was the growing influence of Stanley R Rader on Herbert Armstrong.  Rader, born in 1930 in New York, was not a Church member and had never been baptized.  He was first employed by the Church in 1956 as a certified public accountant and later became legal counsel to both the Church and to Herbert Armstrong.  He was a member of both the accounting firm of Rader, Cornwall and Kessler and of the legal firm of Rader, Helge and Gerson.  Both these firms represented the Church in a professional capacity.

Chapter 3 The Great Commission

(pg 34)  Armstrong said further, “One thing that has been a serious handicap, and caused me and my touring team no little embarrassment.  We have had to say that we represent either Ambassador College or Worldwide Church off God.

“I am regarded as an Ambassador of WORLD PEACE. But if I represent a CHURCH, immediately that shouts to them RELIGION.”
Somehow in Herbert Armstrong’s convoluted way of thinking he was convincing Church leaders that he could deliver the Gospel, a religious message, by not sounding religious and hiding behind a secular organization.  Most ministers kept this to themselves.  When it was mentioned in congregations, it was put forth in such a way that the people swallowed the whole story without even realizing what was going on.

(pg 38)  In contrast, our way of serving was to be one of supporting the Armstrong’s or as some call it, “Pray and pay!”

Only later did I come to realize that that was not the complete statement.  More accurately it was, “Pray and pay while the Armstrong’s play.” Herbert Armstrong was jetting around the world in the Gulfstream II visiting foreign dignitaries, while Garner Ted Armstrong was jetting across the country in his Falcon jet, on his way to hunting or fishing trip.  Still oblivious to so much of this, I said to Maceo Hampton one day, “How can I serve?  I want to serve.  I feel like just going to Church every Sabbath and being a (pg 39) member isn’t enough. What can I do?” To which Paula added, “What about me?  It seems that all the women do is have their ladies club.  If the Church were to have a Sabbath school for the kids, the women could certainly be much more effective and helpful!”  Hampton responded, “You two are really something!  You always want to help.  Don’t worry, just be patient. Your time will come.  I know that you will get your opportunity to serve, I can assure you of that.”

Little did any of us realize how significant his statement was to be.

Chapter 4 Crack in the False Facade

(pg 41) The first significant wedge to be driven into the crack developing in the façade of the Worldwide Church of God came in June of 1976 with the release of a publication called the Ambassador Review. The Ambassador Review was put out by a group of former Ambassador students, led by J. Timothy Nugent, John Trechak, and Leonard W. Zola.  In their opening statement they say, “The Ambassador Review is a journal by and for students, alumni, and friends of Ambassador College.  Its goal is to provide an open forum for those who have shared in the ‘Ambassador Experience.’  It has grown out of an increasing need for a response to censored and ideologically-controlled articles found in the official Ambassador College and Worldwide Church of God publications.”  This publication was a fifty-two-page magazine, and while it had a strong impact in the Pasadena area, it did not receive wide circulation.  I was unaware of it at the times, but did find out later that some people in our local congregation received copies in the mail.  Most of those copies were immediately given over to the ministers and destroyed.

Another article by Nugent states, “None of the ‘great purposes’ seem pertinent anymore.  Bricket Wood is gone, Imperial Schools is gone.  The Ambassador Press has been sold. The computer department is being phased out, The Ambassador Television Studio is being bartered off.  And it doesn’t help to be reminded (pg 42) that THE PLAIN TRUTH look starved for  content, while the pages of the once-again delayed HUMAN POTENTIAL are so bloated with content that it appears to be wallowing in its own galleys, perhaps never to see the arrival of a second edition. Yes, it’s hard to be optimistic.”

Referred to here as the College at Bricket Wood, England, which had been closed and was in the process of being sold.  The sale was finally consummated in 1978. The Imperial Schools were elementary schools in the Pasadena area which were operated by the Church.  It was becoming quite obvious to some that great sums of money were going into cultural endeavors and allegedly great humanitarian causes, while some of the very basic operations of the Church such as its schools, its colleges, and even its printing plants were being liquidated.

The selling of the printing plant is a case in point.  The Ambassador Press was one of the most modern color printing facilities on the West Coast.  In a short-sighted move to raise cash, the entire facility was sold to large magazine publishing company in an arrangement whereby the Church would then contract with the purchaser for the printing of THE PLAIN TRUTH and the GOOD NEWS magazines. Soon after the sale of the printing plant the buyer closed the facility due to insufficient business, as a result of the 1974-75 recession.  The same basic recessionary period that motivated the Church to sell the printing plant resulted in its total closing, with the presses being dismantled and sold off to some distant buyer.  This resulted in the Church being in the position of having to job-shop, or farm out, its major printing assignments.

One of the main points of Armstrong’s teaching was that of Church authority.  He would constantly remind the membership that he was God’s apostle and that God’s form of government was government from the top down. This meant that, he, Armstrong, was in charge of everything and in a sense, the only human capable of governing the Church.  He more than once made the statement, “God would never allow me to do anything or make any decision that would adversely affect the Church.” In this he even goes the Pope one better.  At least the Pope limits his claimed infallibility to matters of faith and morals; Herbert Armstrong, in a more subtle way, claims infallibility on any decision affecting the Church.

(pg 44)  Attention was also called to the fact that the accounting firm of Rader, Cornwall and Kessler didn’t operate exactly as an arm’s length auditor of the Church’s books.  Rader, of course, was on the payroll of the Church.  Henry Cornwall, a partner in the firm, was not a member of the Church.  Ambassador Review states: “Another individual worthy of note was Henry F Cornwall, long time friend and business associate of Stan Rader.  He holds the office of Secretary-Treasurer within the Foundation.  His position in the entire Worldwide Church of God empire is even more covert than Rader’s, but sources within the organization have revealed that Cornwall yields incredible power in the area of fiscal affairs. Cornwall, a Certified Public Accountant, has kept the financial records of the Church and College for years and reportedly acts as the sole ‘independent’ auditor of the corporate conglomerate.  From their office suite in Century City, Cornwall and Rader discreetly exercise almost absolute control over the purse strings.  It is they who authorize the ultra-extravagant expenditures by the AICF using Church monies.

Herbert Armstrong was taken strongly to task in another article entitles “Herbert W Armstrong, A legend in His Own Mind”.  One of the more shocking disclosures was the fact that the church conducted what were known as ‘tithe checks’ on members and especially employees. If a member was being considered for ordination as an elder or deacon, or if someone was being considered (pg 45) for promotion as an employee, a check of their tithing record would be made.

Ambassador Review further states: “The ministerial letter of January 28, 1969 emphasized once again that the ministers should check with headquarters to determine the loyalty of suspected brethren under their charge.”

Little did I realize that I was a member of a church that conducted  its operations more like a Communist police state, while Herbert Armstrong was running around the world telling people that God’s way is the way of love and man’s way is the way of get and selfish greed.  Which way was he practicing here?

…It is difficult to determine the effect the first issue of Ambassador Review hay have had.  While it may have caused some people to begin thinking critically about Church leadership, it appears that most of the people who received copies of the Review did the same thing as those in my Church area.  They turned them into their minister.

The interesting point in all of this was that they did not just throw out something that they did not consider worthy of their attention; because they did not want to be suspected of ever having such a think in their possession, most members turned them in as an outward show of loyalty to the Church and the Armstrong’s.  This is a perfect example of what can happen to someone’s thinking process after being conditioned with propaganda that Herbert Armstrong is an apostle of God, and as such could not be questioned.  For to question him is to question God, and to question God is to risk losing your eternal life and ending up in the lake of fire. 

(pg 51) Elbert atlas is one of the few black ministers in the Church and he only black area Coordinator  Unfortunately, he (pg 52) appears to very sensitive to this fact and ever-mindful of the feeling of some of the top officials in the Church.  He will probably never forget the statement, by Roderick C. Meredith, a top-ranking evangelist who was later to become Director of the ministry “that one of the signs of God’s displeasure with America was the fact that many blacks were ruling over us.”  And he called particular attention to the black mayor of Los Angeles [Tom Bradley]. He further stated that no black man should ever have authority over whites.

Chapter 5 The Apostle’s New Helpmate

(pg 55)  In the spring of 1977, Herbert Armstrong, after ten years a widower, remarried.  At age eighty-five, he married a woman in her late thirties, Ramona Martin.

Many members wondered about Armstrong marrying such a young woman at his age.  Again, this point was handled well by the (pg 56) ministry.  Picking up on Herbert Armstrong’s statements that his original wife could not have stood the rigors of travel, they told the members that God mercifully allowed her to die, so that Armstrong could conduct his world travels and bring the Gospel to other nations.  Because he needed a wife who could act as his hostess in various social functions, we were told that God provided him with his new young wife who was able to handle such heavy travel.  Could there be some further significance to this?  What about the fact that the new Mrs. Armstrong had been a secretary to the mysterious Osamu Gotoh and them later an assistant to Stanley Rader?  One wonders wither God really did send her to Herbert Armstrong or someone else made the arrangements.

Church members were told in letters from Herbert Armstrong that he had gone to this clinic [Otopeni Clinic] to rest up after a grueling trip.  Yet Garner Ted Armstrong in a public speaking engagement in Hackensack, New Jersey, in September 1978 was to say something quit different.  He said, “My father, before marrying this younger woman, went to a clinic in Romania where they give these special treatments for sexual rejuvenation, and it didn’t do any good.”Again, one must wonder where a lot of heard –earned donations had (pg 57) been going.  Had it preached the Gospel, or to pander to every whim and desire of the self-appointed apostle?

Garner Ted Armstrong was to state in an interview, regarding his father’s marriage to Ramona Martin, “I felt that every woman over fifty in the Church would be outraged.”  He stated further that he strenuously objected directly to his father and through intermediaries regarding his father’s interest in Ramona Martin during the entire two-and-a-half-year courtship.  Garner Ted said that he was told that his father would drink too much at dinner in some of the fanciest restaurants throughout the world, and in his inebriated condition pound his fist o the table, making public spectacle of himself as he proclaimed his anger against his son and his love for Ramona.

Garner Ted was so opposed to his father’s marriage that he says, “As I was walking through the front door of my father’s Tucson home, I was saying to my wife Shirley, “No, I will not perform (pg 58) this ceremony. It’s not right, it’s not good.  I won’t do it.  She kept begging me, all the way up the steps.  I won’t do it.  But when I opened the door and walked in there and I saw him surrounded by all these strangers, my heart went out to my father.  Suddenly, the family tie was there, and I said, ‘I can’t do this, I’m Garner Ted Armstrong, the executive vice-president and the person right next to my father and in the position at the top.  How can I let an insignificant young, new pastor of a little tiny church, whom I  had know since the time he was a baby boy, perform the wedding of the Chairman of the Board and the President of the Church and the Founder of the Church and the College and so on, when he is my father.  I walked over to my dada and asked him if I can perform the ceremony. He broke down and threw his arms around me and just almost with a weeping voice said, “O Ted, that’s the greatest wedding present you could have ever given me.”

“Stan walked in and my father said, “Stan, isn’t it wonderful Ted has consented to perform the ceremony.’ Stan’s face blanched and he looked at me like he would like to have me disappear on the spot.  He was furious.  My wife saw it, I saw it, we felt it, it was just blazing anger, you couldn’t believe how angry he was.  And it was unreasonable. Because he saw me suddenly winning, he thought it was political of me.  It wasn’t political. It was totally accidental. Nothing political about it.  It was just a heartfelt feeling that I had had.”

What very few people know, was that the events leading up to the marriage of Herbert and Ramona Armstrong, over Garner Ted’s constant violent objections, were setting the stage for a crisis in the Church such as had not been seen before.  It was during this same period of time that Garner Ted had been having some disagreements with Stanley Rader and had also become increasingly suspicious of Rader’s motives and increasing wealth.  When Garner Ted observed Rader’s blazing anger at the fact that he was going to perform his father’s wedding ceremony, it became fully apparent to Garner Ted that this marriage had a great significance to Stanley Rader.

(pg 59)  Strangely enough, this woman, whom Herbert Armstrong married, suddenly had better things to do, than to accompany him on his trips.  This, in spite of the fact that Herbert Armstrong made a major point of the fact that a young wife would be able to stand the rigors of travel, whereas had his first wife Loma lived, she would not have had such endurance.

Shortly after his marriage, Armstrong was to embark on another international trip.  Ramona, however, could not travel with him in order to attend to matters of greater urgency.  She stayed home in Tucson, in order to oversee the landscaping project of their new home.

It seems strange that Church headquarters had no Sabbath school materials at all for use in the program.  All lesson materials had to be developed locally, and Harriet, with a group of assistants, did a fine job preparing a complete set of lessons.  What seems so strange was that in discussing the financial needs of the program with a minister, Harriet was told that (pg 60) there was no money in the budget from headquarters to fund a Sabbath school program.  All such funding had to be done on a local basis.  We had no idea, at the time that we were told this, that Garner Ted Armstrong, at about the very same time, was being instructed by his father to sign checks for tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewels and furs for his wife Ramona.  There was plenty of Church money for pearls of adornment, but no money to bring the pearls of great price to our little children.  Money for international trips and gifts for world leaders, but no money for Sabbath school lessons.