Saturday, June 4, 2011

GTA: The Mincemeat King?



On my favorite wacky Yahoo board filled with over zealous law spitting legalists, a person posted a comment that people should watch the John Ankerberg interviews with GTA.




There are thirteen of these videos


Another person quickly piped in, "Why would anyone watch this pervert?"

This comment did not sit well with a COG woman who thinks she also is a professional Jew.  She had this to say:
He was never convicted of a crime.
However, there were those inside and outside the church who were criminals and had a vested interest in making sure that Garner Ted and his father were kept apart permanently and that Garner Ted's reputation was destroyed in order to take down the Church of God.

The online tapes of Garner Ted  and  John Ankersberg are fun. Garner Ted makes mincemeat out of the other men he debates.
Whatever he might be, he knew his bible inside out, backwards and forwards, he knew how to prove what he said too.
A great number came into the church of God through the work on Garner Ted Armstrong on television and radio.


It's funny to read her comment that GTA made mincemeat of Ankerberg.  Almost all in the Christian community say that Ankerberg makes mincemeat of GTA.

The same foolishness is also claimed about GTA making mincemeat of those who believe in evolution.  Evolution was GTA's big moneymaker for a while.  Quick, witty, editorializing without any substantial proof, spit out to try and discredit scientists.  GTA sounded impressive to the ordinary COG member who almost assuredly did not have higher education.  Plus, by the fact that GTA had attended and graduated from God's College, he therefore knew what he was talking about.  GTA never had a real education in a real college.  He had a team of researchers who would hunt and hunt until they found someone who agreed with the stance that GTA had or the church had.  They they would reword it and make it GTA's own.

Then what about glossing over GTA's rampant adultery and sexual harassment court cases.  How many women did this guy need to have sex with, assault or rape before he was guilty? Two hundred?  75?  Or just one?





19 comments:

DennisCDiehl said...

First of all and probaby surprising, I really liked GTA because, in time, I felt I understood him. Of course I could be wrong.

I always saw a guy who had amazing talent and probably the last thing in life he wanted to be was who he ended up being. I think his brother's death made him feel he had to stay put and fill the shoes.

Ted was glib and had that charisma that comes to a few with or without their permission. Ted went for the ride probably wanting to be doing something else that he would be equally good at.

Ted was not, no matter his position, all that Biblically educated either. He was, as were and are most, a mere Bible reader. Good at it but still unsophisticated about it and a literalist are most.

His anti-evolution approach was childish and like the booklets, written to the choir and contained no substanstial science. He would not survive five minutes today with all we know about evolution today. Ted got stuck in time. I never saw him get much past 1975 in his perspectives and understanding of many topics. He went on autopilot for the rest of his life.

Because of a suspicion and of me when in college he never really let me get to know him and I was surprised a bit when I went into the ministry because it would not or may not have happened had GTA been in on it.

He was a product, as are all of us, of his upbringing so he was who he was.

HWA was aloof and filled with himself from my perspective. He could be very warm and let down his guard, but I only saw that twice. Joe Tkach Sr. was rather thuggish and truly a product of Chicago. Almost a caricature. I felt sorry for Joe Jr. and Joe Jr. turning to a more grace and loving approach is no mystery to me.

What is most interesting, and with all our backgrounds with WCG, it is amazing, sobering and "who knew" that they are all gone now.

Everyone plays a part here in Earth School, from my perspective. We're all here to learn. For what, not sure.

I went from knowing the Bible backwards and forward (Calvinist kids get a boatload growing up, memorize whole portions and get a lot of church and literalist Bible) and taking it all as stated, to totally identifying with a Bart Ehrman and Dan Barker, both starting out as literalists and the coming to their senses and able to explain it all very well.

I did like Ted. Even in his acting outs, it was difficult not to.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I, too, couldn't help liking GTA, just like I liked Dean Martin who was a fucking (literally) playboy. They would have made great buddies. He had a sense of humor and humor timing also. You are born with that or you don't have it.

GTA should have been in show business. He and a few others put out a country music album that I once had, and it was good.

The problem was, as with so many, including my own father, that he existed in the overwhelming shadow of his father. Circumstances kept him in the cult and he was a powerhouse there until the inevitable split. Nobody, no matter how talented, can survive the demands of a full blown narcissist much past middle age.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

I agree with the comments of Dennis Diehl and Allen Dexter regarding their recollections of Garner Ted Armstrong.
I was just a young teenager when I first began listening to Garner Ted, first on radio and then on television. In a church consisting of “weak and base things”, Garner Ted was the Church’s public face, and actually reached a celebrity status where no other WCG person ever obtained. He was bigger than life.
The first time I saw him in person was at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jekyll Island, Ga. in the late 1960s. The Church held services in what was billed as “the largest tent on earth”. A tropical storm hit the evening he spoke, and when he was introduced to speak and he stridently walked to the podium, the applause from 8,000 brethren was almost drowned out by the sounds of the flapping of the tent, the wind and heavy rains pounding the tent. The elements seemed heaviest when Garner Ted got up to speak, and it was attributed to an attack by Satan on the Church and on Garner Ted personally.
A few years later, I shook hands with Garner Ted at Mount Pocono Feast of Tabernacles when I along with many other brethren greeted Garner Ted at the airport when he arrived piloting the Church’s Falcon jet.
The last time I saw Garner Ted in person was at the “Listen America” campaign in Richmond, Virginia. He spoke from the heart with conviction, along with the wholesome “Young Ambassadors” put on quite a performance.
Like Dennis and Allen, I too liked Garner Ted Armstrong. It’s hard not too despite his personal flaws. To date, he is still one of the most dynamic charismatic speakers I have ever heard whether you agreed with him or not. I think he knew that there were problems with the Church’s doctrine and theology. I agree with Dennis that after Richard Armstrong was killed in the auto accident, it became Garner Ted’s personal destiny to be heir apparent to inherit the family business. When father and son clashed and Herbert Armstrong threw his own son out of the Church, it left Herbert Armstrong without a successor.
It is only my personal speculation, but had Garner Ted “cleaned up his act” and inherited the WCG as expected, there would have been a reformed WCG that would have emerged that was still large in attendance and Seventh Day Sabbath keeping, but dropping the fringe teachings such as birthdays, date setting for the return of Christ, make-up, etc. There would also still be an Ambassador University to this day.
No matter what our collective beliefs are today, those of us whose families invested sometimes their entire life savings into the WCG would still have something to show for their sacrifices to support the work even today. Garner Ted’s excommunication from the Church impacted many people, and opened many peoples’ eyes to look at the Church more critically.

Richard

DennisCDiehl said...

I agree with Richard that had GTA kept it together personally, the church would have updated, gotten more humanitarian and less cultic . It would have been still a Jewish Christian Church which I now see as more "real" than what we ended up with after Paul came on the scene and stole the show for the Gentiles. Churches can't fathom that Paul is the author of gentile christianity and totally foreign to what any Jesus, Peter, James or John would have understood Jesus to be. However, they try to harmonize Paul and the NT Jesus and it simply can't be done honestly. That's why one can never figure out what Paul is for or against. It depends on which part of his real or pseudopigraphal writings you are into. For example, the Paul of I Thess is not the "Paul" of II Thess, which is why we're pretty sure he didn't write it. It is that way with a number of "Paul's" writings. Fascinating but deadly to the current fundamentalist perceptions of the perfect, infallable all one body we church of God.

I don't believe a church was what any Jesus had in mind. That evolved after things went very wrong for Jesus. When he said , "why have you forsaken me," he ain't kiddin'. The rest is apologetic just like trying to explain the non return of Jesus last month. "It was Spiritual!" "Why don't you people listen. I never said it was literal." I think Ron Weinland is pulling this rabbit out of his hat to keep his career on track when he makes a fool out of himself soon.

amen

Anonymous said...

"I really liked GTA....I always saw a guy who had amazing talent and probably the last thing in life he wanted to be was who he ended up being."

I was in his last little group, and I liked the man too, even when I came to realize the truth about his prior activities. It was impossible not to. He was witty, charismatic, and totally arrogant. I feel that he could have done anything he wanted to, and that his talents were wasted preaching about imaginary beings.

I felt sorry for him, too, after I came to understand just what it was like for him at the height of the WWCG, contrasted with his life in the ICG.

Perhaps he was so likeable because the other high profile ministers were so unlikeable- Meredith, the Concentration Kamp Direktor, etc.

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Ted, like most, had no idea what information was out there. He cobbled his teachings together based on emotion and literal Bible reading. He knew nothing of the finds in human origins, even then, much less now. He knew nothing of early church origins and issues. He knew nothing or precious little about the disharmony in the Gospels or the contradictory nature of Paul's teaching compared to the early disciples/apostles and even to Jesus himself. He knew nothing of which came first, the Gnostic Paul with his Cosmic non human non gospel Christ or the Jesus of the Gospels. Gospel Jesus was not Paul Christ and neither were the Jesus of Revelation.

When he wrote, "The Real Jesus" he was merely cobbling together the small details you found in the Gospels themselves to spin a new tale. He spent more time on the length of Jesus hair than who and what he was compared to who and what he was after he was gone and has become in the last 2000 years.

He thought it was all so simple and plain, as do the COG's to this day.

There was a time when sitting down with Ted and talking to him about the Bible would have been very intimidating. Now I would crave it and would leave him sputtering.

If I really wish drive myself nuts, I go to "The Surprising God" blog where WCG/GCI babble on and on about their smoke and mirrors Trinititarian doubletalk. When Ted Johnston writes, it is truly one of the few times in my life when "what the hell are you talking about?" crosses my mind.

And they still get paid and can live off the hard work of thousands of good folk like my parents and others who supplied their every need and the millions tucked away will for a very few, do so for a very long time.

M.T. Heart

Homer said...

Thanks for posting this. I was able to go through all of the videos and have a side by side comparison of both of my prior views about what I thought I knew concerning “God”, "Jesus” and the book we refer to as the “Holy Bible”. As can be seen by both views, each has a variety of understandings of what the book says and means. During the presentation, both GTA and JA stated that the certain scriptures could mean “this” or it could mean “that”.

A few months ago the following statement was made by an acquaintance after having a small discussion concerning apparent discrepancies in the book, “I don’t believe God would make it so difficult for us to understand what he wanted us to know.” I didn’t reply at the time because of the circumstances. However, if the opportunity ever presents itself, my reply will be, “Maybe God is not responsible for the words in the Bible.”

GTA summed it all up with a statement he made in the 8th video. (Starting at about 3-1/2 min) Immediately following his comments about doing research in an attempt to get to the original “Holy Scriptures”, he said the following,

“If I believe one portion of that is in error and contradicts any other then I have, in my opinion, no basis for any faith at all. I’m dealing with a book that is capable of gross errors and at most limitless errors.”

Does anything else need to be said?

Douglas Becker said...

That's just it, isn't it? So charismatic and likeable. He had a few problems, but....

OK then. Let's go through the 15 characteristics of psychopaths and sociopaths as applied to cult leaders:

1. Glibness and Superficial Charm.
2. Manipulative and Conning.
3. Grandiose Sense of Self.
4. Pathological Lying.
5. Lack of Remorse, Shame and Guilt.
6. Shallow Emotions.
7. Incapacity for Love.
8. Need for Stimulation.
9. Callousness and Lack of Empathy.
10. Poor Behavioral Controls and Impulsive Nature.
11. Early Behavior Problems and Juvenile Delinquency.
12. Irresponsibility and Unreliability.
13. Promiscuous Sexual Behavior and Infidelity.
14. Lack of Realistic Life Plan and Parasitic Lifestyle.
15. Criminal or Entepreneurial Versatility.

Years later guys are still relating what a wonderful guy he was -- with just a caveat or two about his problems.

Doesn't anyone wonder what became of his illegitimate children whom he could never acknowledge? How charming was he as a father to them?

His alcoholism isn't mentioned much, but I know a deacon or two who got slapped because they didn't have the booze ready for his church visit.

My view: He was a sick man who did a lot of damage and is not anyone for whom I would have any time nor interest.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I knew you'd get around to all that..ha. Sounds like half the people where I work. The more we learn about mental and emotional problems in humans the more we can at least understand that the one who suffers can't always explain it either. Ted let his ego overcome him as do many in church settings and certainly in business and Hollywood.

These mental problems both attract and repel us at times. I find Dave Pack to be one of the strangest and yet most interesting personalities I have ever met. I don't buy into anything he thinks he is or says, but it is fascinating to watch the behavior and I wonder more about those who follow him.

I wonder what we would think about the Disciples of Jesus if we really could know the lives they lived. Single guys all running around the country side together with a guy who thought he was or wastn't the Messiah or King of Israel depending. I bet there are some great stories we will never know in there somewhere .

And Paul...don't even wonder what his problems were.

M.T. Hall

Steve said...

In short,,,he was an asshole just like his fuckin' father!!

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not folks, people generally or not all good or all bad. It's fashionable as of late to put labels like "sociopaths" on individuals. I'm not saying GTA wasn't one- just lacking a professional opinion I'll put some stock into those who knew him.

Allen C. Dexter said...

GTA was, in my opinion, all that Douglas outlined, but still in many ways, a victim of circumstance. Sure, he was a dumb ass theologically, but to dumb to know he was a dumb ass.

He was a hypocrit and I think he knew all to well what a hyporcrit he was. He related one time how he'd spent an afternoon staring at a pistol on his desk, tempted to put it to his head and pull the trigger. I thought at the time it was just the overwhelming pressures of his position that led to that. Now, I know better.

Everybody has struggles in life, and I've had plenty of my own. I'm glad i haven't had the struggles of conscience and guilt I'm sure GTA had. He lived a very privileged life in many respects, but like his father, he evidently had a lot of guilt driving him to drink. I'm glad I don't have that problem. Alcohol at night gives me acid reflux. Maybe it gave him the same.

I'm not meaning to excuse Ted. Nor am I going to be like the self-righteous Christians and condemn him. If there is an afterlife, both he and his father are there now, and I'm certain they're not roasting in some divine barbecue pit. I really don't know what may be going on in any such possible afterlife, but it can't be what so many are so cocksure about.

Allen C. Dexter said...

GTA was, in my opinion, all that Douglas outlined, but still in many ways, a victim of circumstance. Sure, he was a dumb ass theologically, but to dumb to know he was a dumb ass.

He was a hypocrit and I think he knew all to well what a hyporcrit he was. He related one time how he'd spent an afternoon staring at a pistol on his desk, tempted to put it to his head and pull the trigger. I thought at the time it was just the overwhelming pressures of his position that led to that. Now, I know better.

Everybody has struggles in life, and I've had plenty of my own. I'm glad i haven't had the struggles of conscience and guilt I'm sure GTA had. He lived a very privileged life in many respects, but like his father, he evidently had a lot of guilt driving him to drink. I'm glad I don't have that problem. Alcohol at night gives me acid reflux. Maybe it gave him the same.

I'm not meaning to excuse Ted. Nor am I going to be like the self-righteous Christians and condemn him. If there is an afterlife, both he and his father are there now, and I'm certain they're not roasting in some divine barbecue pit. I really don't know what may be going on in any such possible afterlife, but it can't be what so many are so cocksure about.

Anonymous said...

"That's just it, isn't it? So charismatic and likeable. He had a few problems, but...."

Yes. But I'd still rather hang out with GTA than Meredith. What can I say? He was chick magnet and could fly a jet! What isn't to like?

At least GTA never murdered the entire planet in a global flood. Looking at it that way, everyone is a saint. Even HWA. Even Hitler.

I think I'll start a GTA fan club. Does anyone have any photos of him from back in the day with a drink in hand? GTA kicks ass!

Paul Ray

Douglas Becker said...

Yes. Just like the people you work with. Or more like, work for.

I don't care how charming or likeable the sociopath / psychopath is, they are bad for you. Sooner or later you will regret giving them an opening because they will take you for all you are worth.

And it isn't mental problems, it's mental disorders. Mental problems are chemical / physiological. Mental disorders are a choice. It's just that the choice for the sociopath / psychopath is satisfying: They don't find life alternatives appealing. It's all a con. It's what they can get away with.

They lie to you. Then they take your money.

It is at best counter productive to try to make them sympathetic characters. They made the choice to be what they are and they will not change.

This isn't that people like Roderick Meredith is any better. He is a proven liar, false prophet and con man in his own right -- right up there with the same sociopathic behavior which is such a hallmark of Armstrongist cult leaders.

I can see no worth for any of them.

They offer nothing but abuse, but they sure charge for it.

Anonymous said...

"I don't care how charming or likeable the sociopath / psychopath is, they are bad for you."

Okay, now you are just making me angry. Why do you hate GTA so much? Why are such a bitter, angry person?? It won't do much good to hold on to your hatred of one of God's Watchmen. Look, GTA made a few mistakes. We all do. Why can't you forgive?

Paul Ray
President of the GTA Fan Club

Douglas Becker said...

Paul, as much as appreciate the sarcasm, it's nothing personal. And it's not just GTA: It's all the narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths.

Heck, Wade Cox can be pleasant enough. I suppose you could have a WC fan club too. I made my special cream of chicken artichoke dish for him after the Day of Atonement. There's nothing like feeding your enemies.

The point here is that psychopaths are so... so... so... unreliable. Can't depend on one thing from them. They make promises they never intend to keep.

I suppose that if you know the rules and you absolutely no expectations and you keep your guard up so they don't drain you dry and then betray you, keeping company with them is wonderful. They are charming, witty, charismatic. Some of them are also good looking too. I don't mean handsome -- I mean they look like they are good people.

That's just it though. They aren't. They are superb actors. If you like that sort of thing. Absolutely worthless, empty, deceptive, but pretty and charming on the outside while being miserable and chaotic on the inside.

I wonder what that says about people who want to be around them?

Byker Bob said...

When GTA passed away, I caught a lot of flack for stating on the forums that I had admired certain of his qualities. So, it's great to see that some more people are coming out of the shadows, and admitting that GTA was a somewhat likeable guy.

When people remark that "GTA knew his Bible", that is a matter of perspective. He certainly knew the Biblical foundations used to support Armstrongism, and in a way that he was able to convince a certain percentage of his listeners that Armstrongism was "God's True Church". It was a narrowcasting thing, much as could be expected of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, or other groups with specific doctrinal bias.

I saw the Ankerberg debates several years ago when Felix posted them on his site. GTA did a good forceful job as an apologist for Armstrongism, but he certainly did not come off as being any kind of decisive winner. His performance could not be described as embarrassing, but clearly he did not make mincemeat of Ankerberg or the other guest speakers.

In retrospect of both my personal experiences and GTA's life, I do see him as a fellow victim of his false teacher father. I've also come to recognize that I admired and imitated many of GTA's worst attributes. Probably he would have been better off as an actor, novelist, newscaster, commercial pilot, or international playboy.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Probably he would have been better off as an actor, novelist, newscaster, commercial pilot, or international playboy..."


Or all of them at the same time! And let's add masked vigilante, too.


Paul Ray