Monday, June 9, 2014

UCG: Has It Lost Close To 4,000 Members In The Last Three Years?

UCG has been sending out glowing reports from its latest Elders conference that everything is all peachy-keen in the land of Oz.  UCG members and those no longer part of the UCG know that this is not necessarily true.  More are leaving UCG than are being drawn into full membership.

Prophet Malm has this up today about the discrepancy in UCG numbers:

To quote Roy Holladay from the GCE conference report: This past year, “our Holy Day attendance was over 8,000 in both the latter festivals of 2013 and the first festivals of 2014.”  it still represents a drop in attendance.


2011  worldwide Feast attendance was 12,800.  

2012 The total attendance for all Feast sites sponsored by the United Church of God for 2012 was 12,763. 

Now consider that an attendance of 8,000 is about 4,000 below previous Feast attendance figures, and if that does not include international; it is still a drop.
So where are they going?  To COGWA?  To Bitter Bob's personality cult?  UCG members. like most all COG members laugh at Bitter Bob's little group and have no interest.

At least a thousand [perhaps more; some being replaced by baptizing new folks with no spiritual understanding] have left over the past winter and a few are going to COGWA because of family or friends, many are going to LCG because LCG is the only alternative; and many are standing alone and turning back to God with a whole heart.

Let me be clear here; even if attendance increased above eight thousand for Pentecost, it will still be well below the Feast attendance in the years 2011 to 2013. 


Anonymous said...

Fear is the main reason why some still cling to Armstrongism. They fear that if they leave they will surely end up in the lake of fire. This nonsense has always been used by ministers to keep the sheep in the chairs and the money flowing in.

By the way it is not just Armstrongite ministers that do this. Fear of condemnation has been used through-out history to keep people enslaved in religion.

Minimalist said...

Problem is Clone Herb Booklets, even Flurry who paid millions for original "holy booklets" hides them on his website, they are that bad!

Anonymous said...

I have no idea where that data came from, but it can't possibly be right. UCG only had about 8k-9k after the COGWA split. I recall a figure in the 8k-9k range being reported for UCG FOT attendance at the time, back in 2011, which would have been 9 months after the COGWA split and Latin America divorce. UCG claiming FOT attendance above that range post-2010 is news to me.

While I doubt that UCG's KOG Seminars is going to generate lifers who will stick around for the long term, the people it currently has are mostly old-school lifers or the children of old-school lifers, and most of them probably couldn't imagine defecting to a more authoritarian regime which is everyone else. And going to COGWA at this juncture for anyone in UCG would be like committing treason.

Assistant Deacon said...

There is a fundamental problem in these groups: You cannot be in them and truly distance yourself from the embarrassingly nutty proclamations (i.e., "Hitler Did Not Die"), bad theology (British-Israelism), and aberrant behavior (incest) for which Herbert Armstrong was known.

You just can't. And so you must maintain the facade, and you must drink the Kool Aid, and you must ignore the nagging voices in your head telling you something is amiss. All because, you know, you feel that you, or someone, somehow proved along the way (primarily through Armstrong's writings, of course) that we just have to keep the Sabbath, right? Don't we? I mean, we're "Israel," right? And Armstrong was God's apostle, right? Cuz, you know, he said he was. And these are the end times, and have been for 70 years, even though, well, they never really seem to end.

If people can sail along for years pretending everything is fine and dandy, it can actually seem to be that way. So they can enjoy fellowship with others and develop friendships and seem to be living a meaningful way of life. Feasts are the "best ever" because everybody's agreeing to be happy. Sermons are inspiring because people are willing to nod while their system is being reinforced with reassuring words from the pulpit. Many of us here did it, and know the experience all too well.

But sooner or later the facts get in the way. It's inevitable. It's why the younger generations, more curious and less encumbered by tradition, so typically choose to move on. It's not a prescription for individual or organizational success.

Connie Schmidt said...

Malmy has his data points and information all messed up.

There is a difference between average weekly USA attendance and worldwide attendance.

There is a difference between FOT attendance, and average weekly attendance, with FOT attendance higher.

The 8000 average weekly attendance number in the USA is actually HIGHER than it was 3 years ago by about 500 a week.

There is no 33% loss of membership as Malm states. The information is readily available in the United News and is also stated quite openly on the Council of Elders videos. I like number and have tracked the trends for many years.

Malm would yell FIRE in a movie theater if it would generate interest in his stupid website.

Byker Bob said...

The Armstrong movement is experiencing negative growth at this point. Anyone who actually expects anything different is being irrationally optimistic.

There is nothing that a James Malm, or a Bob Thiel, or anyone else could do to reverse the effects of prophecies that never take place, or to prove and revive a now dead theory such as British Israelism, or to counter and reverse the spirit of self-righteous splintering which has pervaded the entire body.

Sometime in the future, certain of the doctrines may become part of some sort of new amalgamation, and it may also be cultic, and may actually resemble Armstrongism in certain ways, but it will be an entirely different movement.

Activity on the dissident forums and blogs is an indicator of the health and strength of the movement itself, in that such activity displays interest, and reflects the level to which people are still processing the experience. Frankly, we've even watched that taper off to a trickle of what it once was.

It's too soon to declare victory or to party, but I believe the handwriting is pretty much on the wall.


old EXPCG hag said...

It's all about "how many", as if more is better.

Have they not read:

32 Fear not, (little flock); for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

Redfox712 said...

This is very fascinating. It is most intriguing to see these things regarding UCG membership numbers.

But I would just like to mention here that I have just found a false prediction by Gerald Flurry. He set the date for Christ's return to be 2013 to 2018 or less in the 2003 version of his booklet, The King of the South.

"Here we see a small group of people with a God-sized message. The whole world should heed today. But most people won’t become converted until Christ returns—which is probably within 10 to 15 years or less." (p. 43.)

Furthermore these very same words appear in the current 2011 booklet.

"Here we see a small group of people with a God-sized message. The whole world should heed today. But most people won’t become converted until Christ returns—which is probably within 10 to 15 years or less." (p. 47.)

Just look at it on their website if you wish to verify that. Those words are right there.

Dating that statement from 2011 this means Flurry says Christ return will "probably" be within 2021 to 2026 or less.

old EXPCG hag said...

These prophets love to apply OT scripture to others not keeping "the law". Well here's one for them:

7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
8 But ye are departed out of the way; (ye have caused many to stumble at the law); ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law. Malachi 2:7-9

Black Ops Mikey said...

I wonder if there are more dissidents out there against Armstrongism now, like those of us posting here, than there are within the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia?

Anyway, isn't the income more important than numbers of people? Is the money increasing?

No money, no future.

It's just an economic reality (ha! ha!).

Black Ops Mikey said...

Sometimes Malm is spot on and sometimes he's just plain daft. It's doubtful that the UCG has dropped by 30% some time after the CoGWA split. This also doesn't count those who freely go between UCG and CoGWA. In fact, now that Dennis Luker is gone, some in the CoGWA are asking why they are there in the first place.

United membership seems happy in their delusions over all. It's fairly stable. That doesn't mean they won't face terrible problems in the near future, but for now, in 2014, they seem to have reached an equilibrium.

Long term survival seems dubious at best, though, as entropy continues to eat away at United around the edges.

A couple of years ago, a very bright young man interested in United because of his friend there, asked me whether or not it was necessary to keep the feast. I told him the truth -- that the New Testament support for the feasts was weak (the same comment made by Allan Knight to me later). The last time I attended, he had disappeared from the congregation for good.

My take is that if United does get new members, they won't be very bright and they won't ask many questions -- they'll just accept what they are told and hope for that which will never come in their lifetime.

Those who stay seem rather apathetic. There's not a lot of fire and life left -- at least that's what it seems to me. It reminds me of how Dr. Who brought down the Prime Minister with six words: "Doesn't she look a little tired?"

Doesn't United look a little tired?

Anonymous said...

There is a huge number of exCOG people who speak out against Armstrongism now. There is a Facebook page that has close to 700 members that is filled with exCOG folk. Some of the horror stories these people tell are appalling. The depravity that some COG ministers went to is truly sickening. Lots of exUCG, PCG, WCG, LCG, and others.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't recommend the UCG to anyone. It is not the worst cult you could belong to but it is a cult. Your life "will" be negatively affected if you get sucked into this cult!

Silence said...

This seems hard to believe. Losing 4,000 members all at once due to a schism (COGWA) is expected and easily understood. A slow and significant bleeding like this in post-schism UCG would be catastrophic. Losing a third of your followers for no apparent reason doesn't make a lot of sense.

EX-UCG said...

The UCG is headed right where it needs to go. COGWA isn't much better. I have been involved with both and would rather stay home.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I've stayed home for nearly forty years now. Saved me bucu bucks and led to sanity for a change.

Anonymous said...


Speaking of staying home-

Thanks to the Holy Spirit, I've found that staying home Saturdays and grilling shrimp on the barbie in the afternoon with friends is a very fine, enjoyable and rewarding endeavor.

-Evangelist Hot C. Cole

Byker Bob said...

Ah. Got it. Everything has moved to Facebook, even Armstrongism. Heh. I'm still not going to join.


Black Ops Mikey said...

Yes, I was with the group for awhile before I concluded that being on Facebook for no particularly good reason is a great opening for identity theft.

And of course, the Armstrongists have found Facebook a great platform for identity theft where they can pretend to be real Christians.

Anonymous said...


What's your take on COGWA? Do you think it is losing ground?


Lake of Fire Church of God said...

I honestly do not see how anyone who listened to what was preached from WCG pulpits in the 1960s/1970s starting with Herbert Armstrong, to every Evangelist, to every Church Pastor and every Preaching Elder - can still remain in the cult or its splinter groups 40 to 50 years later.

Perhaps people are "brain dead" after all these years of being "tithe slaves" after pissing their lives away supporting "the most important work on earth" that in the end made no real difference whatsoever in witnessing and warning to a generation that has already passed.

Mr. Armstrong use to say that this generation would not pass. With all due respect to Mr. Armstrong, he was wrong!


Allen C. Dexter said...

Your choice, BB. I'd be lost now without Facebook.

EX-UCG said...

sineyedtI have attended with both UCG and COGWA. They are pretty much the same. UCG is doing a larger work (especially in reaching the public.

Who really knows about COGWA aside from COG members? I honestly can't see how they will grow. A lot of the members are old. COGWA will die out over a period of time.

Many of the teens and young people will leave. I have seen several leave already. In my opinion, COGWA is a sinking ship. Bail out while you can.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Debunked British Israelism, abjectly stupid church "history", elevating alcoholism to a virtue, oppression, outright lies, deceptions, false prophecies, no admittance of error when they've been proven wrong, stalking.


Can't think of any reason I wouldn't want to attend.

Anonymous said...

En Chile el pastor COGWA Langarica acaba de anunciar ndesde el atril el matrimonio blasfemo entre una persona que se4 acaba de divirciar en le UCG y un miembro de la astilla COGWA de USA, es penoso como lo anuncia con bombos y platillos sabiendo que es una bloasfemia ante Dios, pobre COGWA, son los nuevos fariseos de este siglo, cuelan el mosquito y se comen literalmente el camello, uno de sus ministros de hecho casi separado entrega sermones como si nada engañando a toda una congregacion en santiago de Chile.

Anonymous said...

If all the members of the UCG would stop tithing the ministers would leave in a heart beat. Very few would preach for free.

Anonymous said...

Anyone care to translate the Spanish above? Something about a marriage between a UCG member and a COGWA member being described as 'blasphemous' by a COGWA minister?

Anonymous said...

Who really knows about COGWA... A lot of the members are old. COGWA will die out over a period of time.

This sounds like a description of the UCG, too.
Two peas in a rotting pod.

Byker Bob said...

It also appears that he is calling the splinter COGWA the new Pharisees of the century and compares them to one who swallows a camel and strains out a mosquito. In addition to being in Spanish, there are either typos, or it is the Chilean Spanish, but it looks as if he's saying that a minister deceived enough people to split up a congregation in Santiago, Chile.