Friday, January 27, 2012

Guest Article: "Just What Do You Mean ... Church Culture?"

Just What Do You Mean ... Church Culture?

One of the things that’s desperately sick about the COGs is the culture. It is a deeply dysfunctional culture that fosters and facilitates abuse. Everyone in the world grows up around other people who are users and abusers. We have to put up with our dysfunctional families, fair-weather friends, and governments that rob you blind. But not everyone has a church abusing them on top of all that. Armstrongites are gluttons for punishment.

It’s one thing to recognize that the COGs have abusive tendencies, but it’s another thing to define it in such a way that you can see the pattern, understand what those tendencies are, and where they’re coming from. I find it necessary to do this so I can get the tentacles unwrapped from around my mind and heal.

So, where did the culture of the COGs come from? I think that many leaders would haul out the phrase “God’s government” and start declaring the culture of the church is 100% biblical. Well, if it’s so biblical, then why is it so dysfunctional and abusive? Why are the COGs so full of hypocrisy? While the COGs might PREACH out of the bible, the CULTURE of the church has little to do with the bible.

So then where does it come from? The culture of the Armstrongist churches was not woven from the fabric of the bible. It came from Herbert Armstrong and from the society of his times.

Herbert Armstrong was born in middle America (Des Moines, Iowa) in 1892. His family was of Quaker background, known today as the Friends Church. The Quaker movement began in the 1600’s with the express intention of restoring the original faith and practices of the first century apostolic church. (Sound familiar?) In a sense, when HWA decided to get religion and found the Radio Church of God, he was returning to his Quaker roots. But this is the obvious theology, which is just the decorative window dressing, not the form and structure. Where did the steel undergirders come from that hold the structure up?

The power structure of the church, the government hierarchy, if you will, was always stated as being Jesus Christ, and then Armstrong, and then ministers and then regular members in a government where power and authority flowed from the top down, just like a monarchy. Apologists today will point toward the bible, and Jesus Christ as a king to argue that HWA was trying to create the “’government of God’ here on earth” within the church. However, if you suppose that Jesus Christ is not the head of the Armstrongist churches, then suddenly it’s not a benevolent monarchy anymore, it’s a fascist state.

But there’s a better viewpoint on Armstrongist churches that sheds much more light on the dynamics driving them: the nuclear family. The family is also a top-down structure, but borne of natural necessity, not fear. HWA preached that God is in the process of creating a family, and he claimed that the church was “the bride of Christ” or a part of “’God’s spiritual nuclear family’ here on earth.” I don't dispute that there is biblical support for the idea that God is making a family. However, unless God is making a horrendously dysfunctional “family,” as HWA created within his church, the culture of Armstrongism has nothing to do with God or bible necessarily, regardless of the theory.

In Victorian society, into which HWA was born, until the cultural revolution of the sixties, children were expected to be respectful of their parents, women were expected to be submissive, and the husband was expected to be the dominant head of the family. These were times when the media presented the father figure as someone who knew what was best. To be fair, these values are rooted in the bible and come from a religiously-centered society. But since people are people, there’s a darker side, too.

For thousands of years, within the context of society, men have had a lot more power than women did, and this created an environment in which women were very dependent upon their husbands. During most of HWA’s lifetime, there was a stigma attached to being a single parent, or being a divorced woman, and the prevailing sentiment was that women should not earn a living outside the home. There was a paternalistic view that men go off to work and do important “men things,” while adult women were not very intelligent, little more than glorified children, really. Women were expected to be subservient and children were expected to be “seen and not heard.” In reality, some men were dictators who were not so benevolent and wives and children were easy targets for abuse. If a wife was abused, most people would assume she had done something wrong, and that she somehow deserved it. For the wife who HAD to escape, she wouldn’t usually have a lot of options to support herself. Overlaid on top of all this was a hypocritical whitewash as everyone pretended to be happy and that there were no serious problems. But the façade of “Leave It To Beaver” was never anything more than a flimsy fiction. Who believed that crap even when it was new?

This is not just a description of American society from a bygone era, and the traditional nuclear family from those days (which the COGs still advocate today as the model nuclear family, whitewash and all), but also the culture of the Radio Church of God, a.k.a. Worldwide Church of God. (The hundreds of splinters are all daughters with a strong family resemblance.) This stands to reason, too. It was the culture in which HWA was born and raised, it is the culture in which the church originally formed, and there is a biblical interpretation to back it up. What else would you expect? But while they claim they got these values directly from the bible, they didn’t. They got them from “the world.” The proof is that they also incorporated the dark side, wholesale.

From a church culture standpoint, the ministry are the “husbands,” the children are the children (obviously), and everyone else is the “housewife.” As the “housewife” the members are basically the minister’s bitch. This is why ministers demand an inordinate amount of unearned respect from members. This is why they expect subservience and paternalistically look down on them all as glorified children. Many of them in the past have presumed to tell the membership that their only access to God is through them, thus preaching a doctrine of dependence. And all the while, they have the nerve to call themselves servants. They are merely setting themselves up as the dated father figures from yesteryear, complete with the paternalistic mysogeny. The membership has aided and abetted them by buying into the model and playing their assigned role. The liberating thing from this understanding comes from recognizing what everyone is really doing and realizing that you have a choice.

To pretend this is some kind of righteousness makes my stomach turn. They would have you believe that they are modeling the “coming government of God” here on earth and thus preparing everyone to play a role in the real thing when it arrives. BARF! That is not what is going on at all. In truth, “ministers” are just a collection of Willy Lomans: sad sack salesmen with a dwindling client base who are attempting to repackage something used as though it is new, and then selling it for more than it’s worth.

If you’re buying what they’re selling, then I suppose it’s also easy to believe this is all “godly” and “biblical” too. But all of it is “worldly” albeit a pre-1960’s world, to which it is possible, if you are foolhardy enough, to attach a certain amount of nostalgia. There are some places where this model does agree with biblical principles, but this is accidental, because the model was taken from a Christian society, not because HWA got any of it from the bible.

One of the problems with the culture is that the cultural values are more important than the biblical ones. If you violate all the commandments in the bible, you’re just a sinner, like us all. But if you violate cultural values, you are promptly disfellowshipped as though you had committed the unpardonable sin. Obviously I suppose you have, though not in a biblical sense. Which begs the question, what are these churches teaching? Are they teaching people not to sin, or are they teaching the opposite? Or perhaps COGs are just societies dedicated to a particular brand of nostalgia? Or maybe it’s just whatever keeps the money coming in. However you look at it, the bottom line is, you can sin all you want, just so long as you keep the cultural commandments.

In the mean time, American society has marched on. There have been vast changes to the prevailing societal values, expectations, and norms, and I would agree, not all for the better. But Armstrongism has stayed anachronistically fixed in the past, like a cultural time capsule, as though the hypocritical society of middle America 100 years ago were somehow the pinnacle of godliness. It wasn’t then, and it isn’t now.

Just as surely as so many COGs want to recreate WCG in its heyday, if it were up to them, I suppose they would also take the whole world back to recreate Victorian era America. That’s what they’re expecting the millennium to be like, I guess, where God comes back to Earth and forces nostalgic American values upon the whole world? If I were given a choice between that and the lake of fire, I think I’d rather take the hot bath. Who in their right mind would want to live inside of an eternal “Leave It To Beaver” marathon?

That makes me curious, besides Sabbath vs. Sunday and holy days vs. holidays, what else did Herbert Armstrong have to rail against in 1934, when the cultural values of the church were identical to the cultural values of America? Perhaps a better question is what a Quaker preacher would have had to rail about, seeing they don’t even have the difference of Sabbath and holy days like the COGs do? Oh, nevermind, the Friends Church, like the Amish, are probably dedicated to preserving and recreating the culture of the 1600’s! Get thee hence!

As time continues to march on, society will continue to change, and, like the Amish, the COGs will also continue to get further and further out of step with the world around them. They will seem more and more odd, their solutions will seem more and more out of touch, and their client base will continue to dwindle. Meanwhile, they will continue to bicker and argue and divide. Soon, the last embers of Armstrongism will blink out and grow cold. Amen.


The F Word

You have to wonder looking at this site what would have happened if the Worldwide Church of God had been courageously humble and had held conferences like this for the ministry instead of the heavy handed "edicts from above" conferences the Church was known for.   What if our ministers had had a chance to get together and share stories of failures, heartache, disillusionment, anger and frustration?  Done in a safe environment where when it was over, no heavy hand would come raining down from above with vile punishments.  Where would we be today if such courageous things had happened?  Would we have 650 some splinter groups roaming the earth today?

You have to admit that there was no support for the ministry in the WCG.  We know this because there was no support for the members! Counseling and therapy was frowned upon as tools of Satan. Admitting failure was a sign of weakness and all men in Armstrongism were to be hyper-masculine and strong.  Can you imagine Rod Meredith, Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, David Hulme, et al., ever doing such a thing?


You might be wondering: Should I participate in an event like this?

Yes. Yes, you should.

We are convinced this is significant enough that - regardless of your position, role, track record, past experience (or lack thereof), failures, wounds, gaffes, hurts, hiccups and screw-ups - you belong at a space like this. We have kept the price low ($89) because we know that ‘Super Pastors' don't always have a lot of money or resources or budgets to come to something like this.

We are dreaming of a place that is unique from other events. It's a risk, we know, but it is one we believe is worth taking (So what if it is an epic failure?). We long to have purposeful spaces to listen & share stories, not of our successes, but of our failures. Seeking to understand how God works through the failures. We'll be having our ‘experts on failure' share their stories and God's faithfulness.

In our time together:
We'll share stories.
We'll reflect and process.
We'll have space to just be.
We'll connect with other pastors and leaders who are experiencing the ache that we feel in ministry.
We'll pray. A lot.
We'll laugh (and probably cry).
And we'll take communion together - celebrating the work of Christ and how He is enough for us. Even failures like us.

We're not promising everything will be perfect or that you'll be impressed or blown away. We're not after that. We want to create a space where you can experience something deep within you that can't possibly happen simply by mere external circumstances.

To be honest, we're not exactly sure what will result from our time together - and we're okay with that. The last thing we want to do is over-program such a sacred space. We will facilitate a space where the Spirit can speak to us, affirm us, remind us of His no-strings-attached love - then we will get out of the way.  We anticipate that God may stir something in us - to begin to talk about our identity, our temptations to be important and powerful and charismatic and significant and notices and praised.

We anticipate it will be messy.
We're convinced that while nobody is talking about this stuff, somebody needs to.
Why not us?
Why not here?
Why not now?

 The Idea
The idea for this conference came from two sources: A blog post from J.R. Briggs, a pastor at Renew Community in Lansdale, Pa and the wildly popular site
A few dangerous questions were asked:

• What if we offered a space that is gutsy, hopeful, courageously vulnerable for pastors to let go of the burden to be a Super Pastor?

• What if we could hold an event that was free from the thrills and frills of other pastors conferences?

• What if we came together as epic failures and sought not successful models or how-do's but instead celebrated faithfulness in ministry because of the reality of Jesus?

•What if we were reminded that we're not responsible for being ‘successful' in ministry, but we are responsible for being faithful to the calling that God has laid out for us - regardless of the outcome?

•What if we had a conference that was led not by famous pastors who are household names, but by scandalously ordinary ministers and leaders who are faithfully attempting to join with God - even in the midst of glaring obscurity and anonymity?

That post attracted more hits than any other post that J.R. had written in seven years. People from all over the world began contacting J.R. through the blog, email, phone and text messages saying, ‘I'm in! Where do I sign up?” We knew we had struck a nerve. We were on to something significant.
This excited us and freaked us out.

One can only dream of what could have been.

LCG Makes An Astounding Discovery: The Universe Is Full of Planets!!! Shocking, I Know!!!!!!

One of the banner headlines on their weekly email summery of LCG prophecy news was this headline:

The universe is full of planets!
For thousands of years, mankind has known the universe is full of stars. When the Hubble space-telescope was launched in 1990, scientists began to number the stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone at more than 100 billion. But the assumption, based on Hubble data, was that there were very few planets outside our own solar system. Now, NASA's new and more powerful Kepler space-telescope is sending back evidence of planets outside our solar system--thousands of them. Based on the newly arriving data, scientists now think that the galaxy has "at least" one planet per star and likely more. This means hundreds of billions of planets! One Harvard University astronomer commented, "We're awash in planets where 17 years ago we weren't even sure there were planets outside our solar system." An astronomer from San Diego State University wrote, "Nature must like to form planets because it's forming them in places that are kind of difficult to do." 
As Homer says:

Reading the above I bet you can guess where the story is headed.  That's right, you will be ruling over the worlds and planets!

Meredith goes on to write:

Then, on the night just before His death, Jesus promised the Apostles: "And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 22:29–30). If we believe that Jesus meant what He said, then we know that the Son of God specifically promised that "overcoming" Christians will join Him at His Second Coming in ruling over the cities and nations on this earth!

Notice these direct statements by Jesus, the Christ, as recorded in the book of Revelation: "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potter's vessels shall be broken to pieces'—as I also have received from My Father" (Revelation 2:26–27). "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21). Then note the prayer of the saints as recorded in Revelation 5:10, "[You] have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."

As usual the part that stands out for Meredith and a lot of Armstrongites is this, "...shall RULE them with a rod of iron.  Armstrongism has taken great pleasure in stating that church members would be rulers over vast worlds and galaxies where they would rule with rods of iron.  It's like they are giddy with delight at the prospect of beating people into submission.  All I can say is that having seen many of these people in action and seen how their own lives are horrible messes, there is no way in hell I would want to live in a world they were ruling over!  I don't know which would be worse, being thrown in the lake of fire or suffering a thousands years under the heavy brutish hands of ruling Armstrongites!

Apostle Malm Caught Mooning

Apostle Malm is really getting ticked that all of you reprobates that are not paying any attention to his endless rantings about worshiping new moons.  He is so ticked that he has decided to take the moon all for himself.

ht: Dennis

Book On Life In Armstrongism: FAITH, by Mary Ellen Humphrey

The Painful Truth is running a series of excerpts from Mary Ellen Humphrey's book based on her life in Armstrongism.

Amazon has this to say about her book:

October 2, 2008
In the 1970's three young girls become best friends when they are drawn into a fundamentalist church which promises them safety, love and salvation. They discover that membership comes with a price when they must forsake their families and give up all that is important to them. This is the story of their spiritual journey through several years in this group and the experiences that challenge their endurance and their faith.

Here are a couple of selections from the Painful Truth blog.  Check it our for more selections and further updates.

From her school bag she pulled out a small travel
case. Inside she kept her makeup. Her mother had
almost found it last week when she started rummaging in
the bag looking for Faith’s lunch container. Faith knew her
mother would have punished her severely if she found the
makeup. It was forbidden for women to wear any makeup
in God’s True Church. The worst punishment would be
her parent’s disappointment, and that was Faith’s greatest
fear. She didn’t want to let them down. But they didn’t have to go
to school, and if they did, she knew they’d understand why she broke the rules just a little.
She applied some pink lipstick, blue eye shadow and
mascara. She untied the tidy black velvet bow holding her
hair in a ponytail and let her straight strawberry blond hair
flow along her shoulders.
I’m not as strong as the other church girls are, Faith
thought. They think I’m strong. They assume I am because
Mom and Dad are so deeply converted. But I’m not.


They walked while holding hands. Faith loved this
new feeling—this friendship feeling was like none she’d
ever experienced. Often she would date older men in the
church, but none of them ever made her feel this way or
this happy. “Do you know what you are doing after
graduation?” Billy asked.
“I’m not sure,” Faith answered carefully. “College
probably. My parents want me to go to the school they
both attended in California.” She didn’t tell Billy that it
was a religious college run by God’s True Church,
designed to prepare young people for roles in the ministry.
Males were to become ministers. Females were to
become help-mates and proper minister’s wives.
“Why so far away?” he asked somberly.
“Well, I’m not sure yet that I’m going,” Faith
answered. “It’s a pretty choosy college. Not everyone
gets in, and they don’t decide until July.”
“Do you want to go there?”
“It’s an honor if I’m chosen. And my folks will be very
pleased.” Faith answered.
“You didn’t answer my question. Do YOU want to

Dennis On: "It's Just A Story...Remember-Repeat-React-Resist

It's Just a Story...

Remember-Repeat-React-Resist is Not the Way

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThe experiences in all our lives is just a story.  With a little change here or there, a look, a wave a mistake or an event outside of our control, every story changes.  

When I was 14 I wanted to go see my sister in Idaho.  I was in NY.  Shortly after getting the airline ticket, the airlines went on strike.  Guess that idea was on hold and school started soon.  Then I saw a train and wondered if I could take a train.  So I did.  It was there at 14 I found them reading the Plain Truth.  Being weird and curious I devoured everything they had.  I went to church with them. I heard a good sermon for a change...and the rest is part of my story in life.  Had I not taken that train, the story would have been different for years to come.

I postponed a flight once just for a day and didn't die on Big Bear Mountain in Duarte, California

I waved at somone once across a parking lot and the story swerved and changed.
I got several times where that story would play a part in more stories years later
I made a phone call or two in life that changed the whole story again.

While that story unfolded, the stories of others unfolded around me and those stories began to affect my story.  Various people came and went in and out of my story and the story kept turning into another one and not the original story I had envisioned for myself.  Finally the stories of others pretty much ruined my original story and a dramatically new story, yet just another story, came into my life to play out.  That story changed too into yet another and another and another. 

Everyone has a story to tell and yet one of the real skills in life is not to identify too much with the ever changing story  of one's life.  If it was not one story, it would have been another complete and replete with different characters, experiences, offspring, relationships, drama and outcomes.  Yet in it all, it is still just a story.  

Eventually, if we are lucky and live long enough to accumulate stories, we begin to look back and remember, repeat, react and resist the stories that were burned much more deeply into our memories and self more than others.  These are stories that leave deep impressions on us, have hurt us deeply or put us in situations where we had to come up with yet another story to fix or at least learn to accept the consequences of the last story.  Yet again, it is all just another story.

I don't believe we here have to speak in code.  The WCG story, which for whatever reasons, we allowed into our lives and become a major player in our own personal life story , has left some pretty big scars, lessons and , if we are not present in the moment of our current life story, can easily put us all back into the ever looping cycle of remember, repeat, react and resist.  What we resist persists as far as I can tell.   
In other words, we get stuck. 

Personally, and in the context of my own story, I am not confident of what may be really true and what is not.  Well meaning friends or readers sometimes will try to explain it to me or sometimes we all endeavor to explain it to  each other, but I don't ever see myself or others finding much encouragement in the stories and conclusions of others in their stories.  I'm thinking we each have our own unique story, experiences and such to learn our own life lessons.  It is why we find so little success in using our own stories to influence the story of others.  It's certainly why we see little "success" in bringing one sitting in their own story to "their senses" and filter their lives through the opinions, views, truths and discoveries of our own stories.  Simply put, it is why few change much from their own story to ours, yours or mine.  

I have noted that one of the reasons, if not the main reason, people of all kinds of faiths and beliefs don't easily give them up is that they/we adopt our beliefs to protect us from the fear we have of death.  All religion is born out of this fear and conscious awareness that we only seem to have that we will go through the cycle, no exceptions, of "Not here---Now here---No longer here" whether we like it or not.  The Apostle Paul, in his-story, for a time thought that others would die in the faith, but of course, WE who will be alive shall be changed.  Bzzzzzzzzz..thanks for playing Paul, but you got that wrong didn't you.  

Ministers give sermons every week and tell stories.  Ministers are story tellers and because of our story, we get to have access to some pretty amazing stories that are spun and woven every week called sermons in the COGs.  Ron Weinland spins a tale, as if he really knew, and draws people into his story.  Dave Pack has a story to tell as does Gerald Flurry, Rod Meredith, Joe Tkach Jr and hundreds of others, all competing to include others and even sometimes each others audiences in their story.  The real trick is to tell a story so compelling or in such a way as to seem to be the "True Story of the True Church," that others drop their current story, include them in yet another story of their lives and give up their resources to perpetuate the story.  All this is designed to alleviate the fear of death and , of course, to give meaning to all the previous stories no matter how crazy they were.  

Most of us here have dropped out of the previous story and gone on to create new ones.  In many ways, the old story infects our new one.  It keeps coming up and I imagine most of us think about it in some form or another every day. And of course, doing so, pushes our own new story this way and that affecting our present lives.  We remember, repeat, react and resist a bit and get a bit screwed up, if just for a moment, in our present moments.  

But no matter the story each human being finds themselves acting out, all stories tend to teach us the same lessons.  It seems not to matter how we learn but that we learn the real truths of life that will serve us well and give us peace.  Because when it is all said and done, all I ever wanted to have and teach was peace, kindness, compassion and the kind of love which passes all understanding.  I can't say I have that kind of love and part of the reason is that , like most humans, I get stuck in the story and it impedes the progress I envision as being more meaningful than how I learned it.

So, I can't speak for anyone but me, but here is a sample of what the story of my journey into, with and out of the WCG has left me with.  They are in no particular order nor will I classify them as the bad things, the good things or the in between.  Of course I could make up a list of really negative ones like, "never trust anyone,"  "everything is bullshit," or "everyone is a liar (except me) and just out to screw you out of your mind, money and moments,"  but those aren't so much lessons as results of a perceived bad experience which was painful.  I suppose when we use the words, "everyone, everything, never and always," it is the pain speaking (painbody:) and not our genuine self.

So here are the biggies I learned up to this present time as a result of my personal story as connected and played out as a minister in WCG.

I had to resign as Master of My Universe, and admit that we actually control very little in life.

The story of others can infect my story and change my own story.

I don't have to allow the story of others to become my story but in not allowing that, I also change my own story 

We really are all small conscious parts of the same one big thing and we are all equal in it. 

I was/am responsible for my conscious and unconscious thoughts, actions, perceptions and views and that anyone of these can dramatically change my story whether I like it or not.

I chose to include WCG in my story.

I chose to want to be in the ministry of WCG aware or not aware of what may lie ahead. 

Life is not fair nor are humans who play a part in your story.

Good mental health depends on the ability to tell the story yet remember that is all it is. 

I am not my story.  I do not define myself by my story.  I cannot allow the story to define me.  

The only moment we really have is this moment.  The story is in my head and exists nowhere else.

Anger and depression lies in reliving the story or refusing to remember it could have been so many other stories.

Anxiety lies in using the story to create fear over what will happen in the future when no one on earth knows what will happen in the future.  (Sorry Dr. Bob and company)

One needs not to judge the goodness or badness of a story.  Good stories can lead to bad ones and bad stories can play out into very good ones.  Be careful what you wish for applies here. 

All suffering that comes from the story is the direct result of non-acceptance that the story happened. 

Clinging to a particular story keeps me stuck and living anywhere but the present

Sharing a story can help others with their own story

Sharing a story can be of little help to others with their own story

Pious conviction with marginal information is not good enough for me

Seeking may be more satisfying than finding

Once one finds a new story, it starts to change into another one

Some stories I wish I never read or heard of

I look forward to the stories that have yet to play out or I have never read or heard of yet

Realizing that I neither need to forgive anymore or require forgiveness is liberating

Never take anything personally as the reactions of others are based on their own perceptions of their own story

I spoke my truth as I understood it in the past and speak it today as the story has changed

Present truth is neither plain nor simple or set in stone

There never was nor ever will be one True Church or human beings who are more chosen than others

Any Deity who is omniscient and all knowing will completely understand my story and why I am who and what I am at this point in time.

That Deity will not judge me for my story that is different from all others as they are from mine and even HIS.

I did my best or I would have done better back then.

How about you......?  What life lessons has your story as reflected in your Church experience left you with?

Dennis C. Diehl

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Tales From The Darkside: William Behrer Eye Anointings!

Here we go again with the eye anointings at Apostle Davie's Restored Church of God.  Our latest "minister"is William Behrer. He had his eye anointing and has now seen the light.

When my wife, Jackie, and I anointed our eyes (Rev. 3:18) we were living in northwest Connecticut. In addition to my five-hour daily commute to NYC via car and train, we traveled two hours to attend a United Church of God (UCG) congregation in Worcester, MA. My wife and I were both baptized into God’s Church (WCG) in the early 1970s and we attended the Worldwide Church of God until February 1994. I was ordained as a deacon in 1985 and as a local church elder in 1987.

Of course, like Schurter and Vidal this story is all about him. William and RCG's PR Department want to make sure you know that only the world's most important men are joining the most important and worlds largest end times ministry. These men have to come with huge qualifications in order to make it into Davie's spotlight.

My name is William Behrer, and I have been serving as the executive director of operations at The Restored Church of God Headquarters in Wadsworth, OH. My previous employment was as the chief operating officer of an international non-profit organization in New York City, dedicated to strengthening ties between the people of the United States and Israel. My first trip to Jerusalem was through my work with the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF) and the International Cultural Center for Youth in Jerusalem (ICCY), an endeavor dear to Mr. Armstrong. I have been to Israel 40 times, most recently introducing Mr. Pack and others to senior government officials.

Oooooooooh impressive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

William then gets right into the gist of his letter.  Attacking the United Church of God.  It's all UCG's fault that he had to leave and join the RCG.  It seems that William was really upset that UCG had married a young man from UCG to his Roman Catholic fiancee!  The Great Whore of Babylon was infiltrating the church!  It was time to flee!

What finally got my attention was a young man from our congregation calling me from ABC (UCG’s Bible learning center). He said that he had been advised by a teacher to marry in the church—“if” he could find someone. What?! I participated in this young man’s baptismal counseling and covered this point clearly with him, i.e., that we should not marry outside God’s Church (I Cor. 6:14-18). He was confused by the counsel he had been given by his “teacher” and his statement hit me like cold water in the face. I began to see how “lukewarm” I personally had become regarding the Truth, standards and traditions God restored to the Church through Mr. Armstrong (Rev. 3:16-17). Shortly after this phone call, I saw the error of this “teaching” demonstrated when the local pastor consented to perform a marriage between a UCG member (man) and his Roman Catholic fiancée! Though my wife and I received an invitation to the wedding, we could not tacitly approve such disregard of Scripture by our attendance. When I later asked the pastor why he performed this marriage he said, “Well, they were going to get married anyway.”

William's wife then immediately started looking for another "true church" to attend.  That lead them to Davie Pack and his little 2,200 member cult.  William was at first blinded by the Internet blogs and web sites that were making fun of Davie.  William was a little confused and he wants to make sure you are not confused now by this little blog and the other blogs and web sites that ridicule and expose the lies of Davie Pack and the Restored Church of God.  William writes:

My wife began to look for God’s Church because we knew it had to exist somewhere—somewhere else (Matt. 16:18). To my deep regret, in 1999 and early 2000, I had allowed the stories and avalanche of lies promulgated about Mr. Pack to keep me from seriously considering The Restored Church of God (RCG). I urge you not to make the same mistake. Do not let the several self-appointed Internet “watchdogs” (of varying perspectives) who espouse hatred, venom and disregard for the Truth to keep you from looking into RCG.

Brethren, do not let the stories you have heard or things you have allowed yourself to read on the Internet—about Mr. Pack, Mr. Schurter and others—keep YOU from investigating for YOURSELF as to where God is working today (Ezek. 14:14, 20). Examine fruits (Matt 7:20)—not accounts from others.

William and Davie Pack are not happy that this blog and others are mocking their "anointing eyes" malarkey.  William has this to say:

Anointing your eyes is NOT simply reading a book, and it is not a mantra from Mr. Pack as “watchdogs” accuse. It is an overt biblical command from Jesus Christ (Rev 3:18). It is a process that all those in the seventh era of God’s Church must undertake! Again, so says Christ. I had to come to understand that I was a branch cut off from the Vine, and to repent of thinking that I wasn’t. Though I still had a small dwindling amount of the Holy Spirit, like all in the seventh era of God’s Church, I had become blind to my spiritual condition. I needed to anoint my eyes, as Christ commands all in the Laodicean era to do (Rev. 3:17-20). It was the knock of Jesus Christ—NOT MR. PACK—that my wife and I heard. Open your ears to hear if He is “knocking” at your door.

William, I hate to tell you but there is another ministry that is "Knocking" and it is NOT the RCG.  Though it is a fraud just like RCG.

William goes on to write about the world's most amazing Church of God:

The Restored Church of God does not claim to be the only place where people have God’s Spirit. But RCG is the only place where Christ is working, through the government in which He is Head. Many in the organizations of the seventh era (the Church [ecclesia] of Laodicea, composed of “called out ones”) DO have the Holy Spirit—and that is the reason for the urgency of our message! Christ is standing outside and knocking on the doors of individuals who are sitting in organizations HE DOES NOT LEAD. He is not the Head of your organization, else He is divided, no matter how your leaders spin this. In Laodicea, the people rule, not Christ!

Not once in Williams story or in Schurter's and Vidal's, have they talked about the new amazing life in Christ.  They never talk about the things Jesus did or what he accomplished.  It's all about Davie, the RCG, church government and law and law and law and law and law and law.

William then goes on to list several sins that are in all the other COG's (partucarly UCG).

Some of the egregious sins are:

Rejection of the government of God as Mr. Armstrong taught it—every aspect of it.

Use of makeup is permitted, even though Mr. Armstrong said time and again this is the very thing that permits the devil to get a toehold in the Church.

Members in some groups no longer have the responsibility to keep third tithe (denying them the blessings promised by God – Deut. 14:28-29), and instead are encouraged to depend on social security and other government aid to care for widows, orphans and others in need.

Most physical standards from the past have been thrown out—proper hair length (men and women), proper dress, Sabbath or otherwise (men and women). If your congregation is a little closer to “Ambassador” standards, but others are not, how is that “all speaking the same thing” (I Cor. 1:10)?

Voting is permitted in a host of settings

An “open door policy” now exists 

allow birthday celebrations, a wide liberalizing of how the Sabbath is observed, as well as Sabbath attendance, 

allow true ministers to retire (being temporarily or permanently forced aside by bad health is different), with the church (really the brethren) giving them a pension to do nothing.    

But there are two really important sins that they are committing:

 Assistance to worldly relief organizations in times of disaster is encouraged—instead of following the clear command of Christ to care for the brethren (Matt. 25:40).
The injection of the Person of Christ into the gospel. 

How dare these people bring Jesus into the picture!  Damn them!  Everyone True Christian knows Jesus is a long haired pussy boy and has nothing of value.  Their standard is Herbert W Armstrong and Davie Pack who carry on the Restored Gospel!  Enough of that wimpy Jesus crap!

In light of that, William closes his missive with the following quote from Jesus, sorry Christ, sorry,  Herbert W Armstrong:

Finally, I leave you with a quote from Mr. Armstrong, from the October 1962 Good News article “Must God’s Ministers Be Ordained by the Hand of Man?”
“The Word of God clearly teaches us that there is but the one Spirit, and the one Body. (I Cor. 12:12-13, 20.)” 
“That one body of Christ, carrying on His work, must function as a unit. It must work in harmony and unity, with teamwork, for God is not the author of confusion. There must be no pulling off in different directions by different men in that one Body. There must be no competition, or division. And any who knowingly promotes, or encourages anyone in promoting, such disharmony, competition, and division, becomes the enemy of God, and is serving the devil and not God! 
“In order that this oneness—this unity of purpose and action—this harmony and co-operative teamwork, be maintained and preserved in God’s work, God has ordained government in His Church. And He has empowered His Church with divine authority. 
“That government in God’s Church is government from God, thru Christ, thru apostles, thru evangelists, thru pastors, thru other elders, in that order!
Did Mr. Armstrong’s statements apply only to his time? Or are they timeless, and applicable today?

You can read Williams entire missive here:  Don’t Allow Others To Do Your Thinking

World's Foremost Prophecy Scholar Lists 20 Of His Prophecies That Have Come True

Prophet Thiel has listed several updates to his book that he claims to have ACCURATELY prophesied.

They are:

  1. The replacement of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency by many nations is happening.
  2. The Vatican amended its constitution to compromise.
  3. A major European Empire has officially formed.
  4. Barack Obama has encouraged the above formation.
  5. European leaders have called for a Middle East peace deal that they want to confirm.
  6. More look to gold to back up paper currencies.
  7. The Large Hadron Collider has discovered technologies that could have military ramifications.
  8. The USA has greatly increased its debt.
  9. USA budget priorities have shifted from defense.
  10. An altar for sacrifices has been finished in Israel.
  11. The leadership of the Eastern Orthodox Church has indicated that there could be an ecumenical council.
  12. The U.S. military agreed to rely on Europe’s upcoming Galileo for part of American defense.
  13. Civil unrest has started to develop in Europe.
  14. Vatican Fatima changes support the position that Marian apparitions will be used ecumenically.
  15. Foreign creditors have started to question US debt.
  16. Barack Obama has encouraged sinful practices.
  17. China indicated it could take-over Australia.
  18. Odd weather patterns are occurring.
  19. Barack Obama has encouraged a multi-national power in the Islamic world.
  20. An Islamic confederation in the Arab world has began to form–and it will get larger come together for a time.

He also wants you to know that he can predict solar flares:

Additionally, the strong solar flare up yesterday (see Strongest Solar Storm in Seven Years Expected Tuesday) is also consistent with what the 2009 edition of 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect indicated would happen, as well as what the new second edition which is now being announced shows.

In case you feel you are missing out on Prophet Thiel's amazing predictions you can now buy his book in Kindle form on Amazon.  This is obvious proof that God's work cannot be stopped..........

Guest Letter: "An Open Letter to All COG Churches, Leaders and Ministers"

An Open Letter to All COG Churches, Leaders and Ministers

Twenty –two years have past since 1990 when the first of the splits occurred with with WCG by PCG leaving.   Subsequent splits occurred year after year.   I beg to ask the question, where has this gotten any of us?   In recent letters from a prominent minister who has joined RCG, he stated that when UCG was formed, “The idea was to keep our eyes open --- to watch for fruits of a work that might emerge in or from one of the “Church of God” organizations. It would reflect the Government of God at work, and have fruits similar to the WCG when it was on track and being so obviously blessed by God. THIS would be the signal for all the groups to reunite as one”!    Well then, why even form United under the guise of a voting democratic state if all you wanted to do was look for another organization that was exactly the same as WCG was under Mr. Armstrong?  Why not start United, right off the bat as that organization that was exactly the same as WCG?  If the majority of ministers would have stood up in 1993, you could have ousted Joe Jr. a long time ago and got control of things.   Now you have the “big fish in a little pond” syndrome.    Why didn’t all the ministers go with Flurry when he split, he holds HWA in high esteem.   Or, with Meredith.  They tried to keep things close to HWA too.    There were several opportunities to join forces before further fracturing the church.

But no, split after split occurred dragging brethren and their spiritual lives through the mud of each “leader” thinking that they would restore the “true church” just as Mr. Armstrong had the church on the track.   Who’s to say Mr. Armstrong had everything correct in his day.  There are many examples of failed prophecies, abuse of brethren and sheer avarice on his part.  Does that show a church that Jesus Christ founded?   Did the Lord not criticize a church that was rich and increased with goods?  Did he not criticize people who hoard up earthly treasures unto themselves?   Many members are tired of all this silliness perpetrated by the leadership.   Many are opting to stay home.   Many of them discuss amongst themselves how sick and tired they are that the ministry cannot work together, and think that a churches fruits are how many buildings and riches it has.

As you may remember, HWA taught that the age would end in 1975.   An observation that a few of us have made is why was he building a college and auditorium prior to 1975, if we were just going to flee and leave it?   The Pasadena Campus was built on the blood, sweat and tears of the brethren sacrificing their financial future.   For what?   The present owners are beginning demolition of part of the campus.   If this was God’s campus, wouldn’t He have done something about it?  Hence I cite the Temple in Jerusalem, a place where God’s presence dwelt.  Did He spare that?  He saw that it became a monument to a religious organization and men, not to God.   If we are now in the “last years of the last days” then why is RCG building a new building, new college?   Why can’t he buy a commercial property and refurb it?   Why another monument to nothing paid for again by the sweat and tears of the brethren.   PCG and Gerald Flurry have just built a $5million debacle (in debt and ready to go bankrupt) all in the name of preserving God’s government.   Is God going to dwell in any of these places or are they going to become defunct wrecks of human ambition?  

Who among any of the leaders and ministers can say that they are fulfilling the roll of an apostle when Jesus Christ Himself said that “whoever of you would be great must be a servant”?   That those who exalt themselves will be abased?    That the greatest will be the least in the Kingdom.   What constitutes the office of Apostle?  One who is sent forth.   Not one who sits in their edifices of glorification to themselves and their organizations.   Or, by merchandising the brethren to pay for trips abroad and not preaching the name of Jesus Christ does not equate with being sent forth.   The apostle John sat in a cave on an island in the middle of nowhere.   The glory he received was the Revelation of the coming of the Lord and also a vision of heaven.   John’s writings are in every Bible that has circled the world.   Are the writings of any of these groups as popular as the Bible?   The example of all the apostles were not that of setting themselves up on pillars, but of poverty, rejection and sometimes dying as martyrs for their faith.    So what constitutes  David Pack claiming to be an  apostle?     Is he healing people by the hundreds?   Is he performing miracles?    The way he departed from Global was less then honorable.   The membership is not blind, they are aware of what happened when Global split.  The same with Gerald Flurry.   He is not “that Prophet”.    Even Jews know that that title is reserved for the Messiah himself.

I’m not saying that any leader, organization, or person has to be perfect.  But seriously there is one small word that has been forgotten over the years.  Its HUMILITY.   Hey, I’m not claiming to be perfect.  I’m a poor, broke person who is a sinner just like everyone else.     I’m not putting my 2 cents in here because I think I’m better than anyone else.   The reason for this letter is too many people have been hurt for too long in the name of “the Church of God”.    Taking God’s name in vain isn’t just cursing.  Its usurping God’s name and God’s word to fulfill your own ambitions, no matter how many scriptures you use to support your position.   If you hurt people by lying, cheating, stealing, in God’s name you are breaking the commandment of loving your neighbor.   Taking titles that you don’t deserve is receiving your reward now.  

In conclusion, I just ask any minister or member who reads this to ask themselves what are the fruits God is looking for?   Buildings, magazines, booklets, or are they, love, peace, mercy, kindness, justice?
Reread the New Testament and for once, listen to what it really says.

A Lowly Nobody