Thursday, September 15, 2016

UCG's Subtle Brainwashing of it's Youth

It has taken 20 years for UCG to get where it is today.   Most of its members were already WCG members when they jumped ship, so they have been indoctrinated for many more years than this 20.  So with a minimum 30-40 years now they have heard all of the teachings of Armstrongism, yet they still lack the wherewithal to truly explain what they believe, especially to their children. Its no wonder they are struggling to remain relevant.  Decades  of booklets, articles, tv programs, and sermons have told them what to believe, yet they have never experienced it for themselves. That's what happens when law trumps grace and mercy.  Rules and regulations are more important that freedom.

One key subject was discussion of the Christian living theme. For the coming year it will be “Building Your Relationship With God.” Each day a sub-theme will delve deeper into the main topic. Our camps are not activity camps to just have a lot of fun. Camps have a carefully crafted plan to educate our young people throughout the day about spiritual values that we hold true and dear. We start by speaking of the Zone that all are to live within while at camp and beyond. From morning till night the camp theme is impressed on campers from prayers, compass checks, Christian living discussions, assemblies, storytelling and almost any other opportunity in communication.
We spoke about the Mission Statement of the Church, which includes the important component of making disciples. Are we making our children disciples of God the Father and Jesus Christ? Are they students and followers as a result of our teaching and example? Are we doing the best we can in making them students and learners of the spiritual values that we hold true?5When we went over last year’s exit surveys from campers, staff and parents, we noted that one area that needed attention was to give our youth a stronger ability to explain God’s Word. What could we do better? How can we instill more confidence in our campers to expound God’s Word? Update from President September 15


Anonymous said...

"Expound Gods word?" The churches have never done that. All their teachings are Tele Evangelist type religious talk. The ministers worship power and superiority, so giving understanding to the members is unthinkable. In fairness, people on the outside of the church are also told what to believe by society. But they can lock out toxic voices, something members can't do.

Anonymous said...

'Are we making our children believers?". In other words, "How good of a job are we doing brainwashing them?".

Anonymous said...

Being a member of UCG was like being enrolled in a high school that you're not allowed to graduate from. You're supposed to keep repeating the same material your entire life, and you're condemned for wanting to grow up and go to college.

Although there are many "tests," there are no progress reports. Only after you've died, after it's too late to find out if you were going to the right high school, after it's too late to make any course corrections at all, do you get to find out if you should have made some course corrections. If you should have made some, of course, you'll bear the consequences for not having acted upon this information, which you were systematically denied, and you'll be told that it's your fault you didn't have this information.

As an Adventist sect, preaching the obligatory doom and gloom of imminent supernatural apocalypse—no matter how toned down—the service that Herbert Armstrong, and all of his one-time lackeys like Meredith and including the few who have kept rotating themselves through the top jobs at UCG, promise to offer is access to this information, the recipe by which myself, or anyone else, could reliably move from a position of divine judgment as unworthy to a position of divine judgment as worthy.

I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to realize that this was the core service that Armstrongism claims to offer, that members pay dearly for every month, and to realize that neither Herbert Armstrong nor any of his lackeys ever possessed such a recipe to give to members in the first place. In fact, all organized religions subtly and obliquely claim to possess this information, yet I doubt any of them have even a coherent recipe, let alone one proven to produce the advertised results. Without this critical information, the "christian walk" cannot be managed.

The key problem here, is that the bible is too incoherent and contradictory for there to ever be such a recipe per the bible. Even within Armstrongism, the hundreds of splinters cannot agree on what the christian god will find pleasing or displeasing, let alone the 42,000 other christian sects. Were he real, there is literally no way of having any clue as to where you stand with the christian god. I doubt this information ever existed.

The religion suffers fatally at every critical juncture from a convenient lack of definition. An undefined problem has no handle by which it may be grasped, which all things with referents to reality have, and therefore cannot be solved. What you're left with is a game in which you're put in a circular room and told to sit in the corner and then you are blamed for failing to follow instructions. The fault is with the religion, but the religion tells you the fault always lies with you. The reason why religion forbids doubt of itself is because at this point in the vicious cycle, it needs its followers to turn their doubt inward, toward themselves. Thus you wind up spending your life chasing your own tail. Finally, I realized the fault was with the religion, not with me, and that therefore christianity could not be real. I am simply not interested in playing such mind games. This is the stock and trade of a con.

Christianity winds up being a very small, fear-based box for your mind, and within that box are no end of mind games that you are asked to play with yourself. I can see how the ignorant can be comfortable in it for their whole lives. I can see how educated people can be comfortable in more liberal forms of religion, because they don't have to stay inside that box. But I don't see how educated people can remain comfortable in fundamentalism.

nck said...

What a powerful and balanced statement here by 5:22.

I can imagine that those that have tried to read my recent postings on Game Theory find it a difficult read or hard to swallow. They are not for the faint hearted.
5:22 However is exactly communicating in understandable language that what I have tried to say in perhaps way to complicated language.
Thanks for clearing my mind 5:22.


Black Ops Mikey said...

Yes, but... even though we can prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Armstrongism is wrong, that the leaders are corrupt -- sometimes beyond belief -- the cult is expensive, that there aren't any real 'community' churches with facilities that the church owns (but they have to rent as they can), we must (for no particularly good reason) -- by fiat of Dixie Cartrite over at Da Journal -- keep the social group together. Sure, it teaches lies, promotes alcoholism, is suspiciously racist, is delusional, still... it must be kept together. It would be too painful to disband (well, at least for those who get their salaries from it, which was the real reason United was formed).

It's called emotional extortion.

And after all that is said and done, it's really far too expensive -- beyond even monetary considerations -- to support.

The rest of the world has moved on without them and in spite of many problems of the world, the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia has most of the same problems and have added quite a few of their own.

But keep it together.

No, we don't have a really good explanation as to why....

Anonymous said...

5:22 – It’s understandable that HWA’s version of the Truth would be difficult to connect to. HWA’s new Truth – the Sabbath, Holy Days and the Law were old truths in 33 AD. The real new Truth revealed by Christ was his loving example. He gave his disciples a new commandant to love each other as He loved them. That message was lost to HWA and his protégées. The Bible’s main theme is that a loving God created man to share in His existence. But Love is not very masculine. So it was ignored for a more effective end time warnings and “brag” how we had the “truth” about the Sabbath and Holy Days, Heaven, Hell etc.

The terminology of “person relationship with God” is of recent origins. Mostly from the heretic Billy Graham. I find it difficult to have a “personal relationship” with my wife and family. We are asked to have Faith in our Creator that we cannot see or have a verbal conversation with. Is. 55:88 says “my thoughts are not your thoughts”. The Bible says God’s plan is a mystery that was purposely hidden from most of mankind. The Apostles were with Jesus for 3 ½ years and didn’t get the program with their Creator as teacher. It takes a supernatural event for a mind to be changed and then there is no guarantee it will stick.

I was talking to someone who worked as an aid at “headquarters”. We had the same perceptive. That person mentioned how HWA and his splinter groups have dropped the ball. The Holy Day salvation plan offers HOPE, unknown to most Christianity. But while the booklets mention God’s Grace and mercy, the LAW was focused on to show how different and “right” we were.

I don’t pretend to be able to fully relate to God’s plan of making feeble clay models that are designed to fail and suffer, but in the end all tears are to be wiped away. Not a plan I would make, but my thoughts are human and not of higher intelligence of a Spirit Being. I have proved there is a Creator, but I would never pretend to fully comprehend His Ways. P.S. – humans will always in the end disappoint you, especially if they claim to represent their Creator.

Anonymous said...


What HWA preached wasn't difficult to connect to. I was raised with it from the day I was born. Nor was the theme of the love of god, though arguably not the bible's main one, lost on me. Nor am I claiming that humans let me down.

I am claiming that the judeo-christian god himself let me down, and he's done so by failing to provide necessary information, at minimum. Of course, if he doesn't exist, then that is exactly what we should expect. But I won't be saddled with the blame for its lack of existence any longer. The buck stops with this god, and I won’t let him shirk his responsibilities.

If you think the information exists to give you, or me, or anyone, a recipe, or a roadmap to getting right with this god, or any other god, then get in line. So does the leader of every single sect of every single religious organization in the world.

Let me guess, you think the recipe is an incredibly general Judaizing fundamentalist lawkeeping of sabbaths, holy days, and other various cherry-picked "laws," combined with turning the other cheek, looking out for the needy, and a steady regimen of talking to an invisible man, reading an ancient book, and not eating for 24 hours at a time. And after you're doing all of that, then what? Is something magical going to happen? No. Is there a next level? No. Do you make any progress? No. All there is, is just "keep trying really, really, hard." As if going in circles like this were a plan.

But lemme guess, you think this tail-chasing constitutes a recipe. James Malm has his own circular recipe too. Bob Thiel has his own circular recipe. Rod Meredith has his own circular recipe. Etc. All of them use a dollop of cherry-picked bible verses (conveniently ignoring the other bible verses that contradict those bible verses) a dollop of confirmation bias, and a dollop of wishful thinking (faith). Who is right? Who's word should I take for it? The guy who can manage to sound the most confident? That's what my parents did when they decided to follow HWA.

Can you demonstrate that yours works? Of course not! You're simply conducting an experiment, the same as I was, and you'll see what happens. The difference between you and me is, you think that if you chase your tail long enough, the information you're waiting for is eventually going to show up. I don't think it will. But I invite you to see for yourself.

The fact of the matter is, nobody has a roadmap to "the kingdom," any more than anyone has a roadmap to Oz or the Big Rock Candy Mountain. Why does everyone else's roadmap take you in neverending circles? Where is the detail? Where are the specific milemarkers? There are none. Nobody, including yourself, is even trying to figure out what they would be, if they did exist, which they don't.

One thing that is for certain, however, is that what HWA preached was neither "truth," nor was any of it his own. All of his ideas came from others interpretations of the bible. Judaizing fundamentalist lawkeeping, British Israelism, the perpetual fear of the return of Jesus within the next 3-5 years, all of this was just lifted from others. He cobbled it together and made a possible "sense" out of it. But of course indispensible parts of it have been falsified rendering it impossible.

Anonymous said...

Are those words written by Kubic ? Is he being serious ? What could they do better? Are they succeeding ? How deluded are these people??? Maybe stop slaughtering each other, switch their computers off, engage the brain stop being sooo arrogant and stop the meow nastiness that goes on. Throw that puppet in the trashcan and walk the walk.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:56

Instead of guessing what I think, I’ll tell you. Sorry to hear of your anger on the issue of God and what seems a deep hatred for HWA and his lieutenants. This site tends to focus on the failings of HWA and his groupies and there is plenty of examples to use to make that point.

I never felt I was going in circles. Part of my point is that we all “see through a glass darkly” as Paul and share his frustration of the inner man (human nature) fighting against what we want to become which is Christ like. I was raised catholic and so was totally ignorant of the Bible. What GTA did for me was to point to God’s word which was never used in my catholic school. I was shocked as to how I was lied to by the priests and nuns. Then I quickly learned of the major character flaws of the Armstrongs and many of the ministers who came from AC. I learned “to trust no man” But I wasn’t about to give up the “truths” of the Sabbath, Holy Days, Immortal soul, Heaven and Hell stuff, just because humans behave badly. I expect humans to behave poorly and am happy to see when they get it right following Christ example.

I do believe of what is written in Romans 1, that the Creator is easily seen in the creation. If you study microbiology and particle physics you can see the awesome mind of God. If you study the fulfillment of prophesy you again can see proof of God’s plan.

I’m just admitting how limited I am to fully understand how the Savior will “covert” tens of billions of totally confused and suffering humans in a future Kingdom. But then Jesus did convert a mass murder Saul in to Paul. I’m frustrated but not going in circles.

nck said...

John Hale: Theology, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small.
― Arthur Miller, “The Crucible” (1953)


Anonymous said...


Oh, the old cliche, "Why are you so angry at god?" I'm not angry at "god," just like I'm not angry at Santa or the Tooth Fairy. I do feel like I was lied to and deceived. I'm sure a lot of them weren't aware that they had been lied to and deceived as well.

I guess there is some animus for Herbie, simply because I do not think he was deceived, and knew both that he was a con man, and that he did not possess the recipe, or the roadmap, to lead people to "the kingdom" or be counted worthy to escape the apocalypse that was supposed to have happened within 5 years 50 years ago. But to say that I have a "deep hatred" for anybody is simply more cliche christian labeling. Knock yourself out.

I didn't feel I was going in circles either, or else I would have quit a lot earlier. Until, of course, I DID realize that I had been going in circles, which is when I had to stop. The fact that I didn't FEEL that I was going in circles had no bearing on whether I was or not, however.

Yes, the fact that we see through a glass darkly is my point as well. So dark it's opaque. And the complete absence of information is exactly the problem. You have no idea where you stand with god. If you say you do, you're just making it up. Christians always seem to think they know exactly what "god" wants them to do in every specific situation, yet there's no alignment between different worshipers of the same god. Funny, it's almost as if there was no god and everyone was just making it up.

No, you didn't learn to "trust no man." If you "believe" Romans 1, you're trusting a man. If you think sabbath, holy Days, immortal souls, heavens and hells are "truth" you trusted the people, both ancient and modern who fed you these ideas and told you they were "truth." Unless you claim to be a prophet and claim revelation direct from the gods, you're still trusting in men. Sorry.

"...just because humans behave badly... is not my argument. Never was, never will be. My argument is that there's a thousand good reasons to suspect there aren't any gods.

If you think the "creator" can be seen in the "creation," I won't contradict you, even though theism predicts a universe that looks very different from the one we happen to observe. Whatever. But your argument can only be used to support deism, not theism. Any claim to know the identity of said "creator" is simply special pleading and can go nowhere.

If you study the bible, and by that I do NOT mean just read the bible, you'll realize that there's no evidence for the fulfillment of prophecy, because the evidence in the details of the bible and the archaeological record show that the bible was written later than the bible claims it was written.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, however, is that you DO think that what I call tail-chasing DOES constitute a recipe, even if it's not what you call tail-chasing.

You too use a dollop of cherry-picked bible verses (conveniently ignoring the other bible verses that contradict those bible verses) a dollop of confirmation bias, and a dollop of wishful thinking (faith). I know this not because the bible is incoherent, contradictory, and suffers from a fatal lack of definition, so you don't have much of an option.

Do you make any progress by solving problems permanently so that you can devote your energy to solving new problems? Year-in and year-out, you're just dealing with the same problems. Nothing changes.

Do you have any better strategy than "try really, really, hard"? As if we humans had barrels of extra "effort" just lying around.

If it were a roadmap, what's the first mile marker? What's the second mile marker? The third? Such things defy definition. To try to assign them would be like trying to assign landmarks along the road to Oz. Sure, you can make stuff up, but that doesn't count as having defined anything.

Can you demonstrate that your recipe works, and is more than just one more experiment, like the billions of other experiments that other religious people on the planet are performing?

Miguel de la Rodente said...

You don't give up on the "truths" of the sabbath, holy days, immortal soul, Heaven and Hell, etc. because people behave badly. You give up on the Armstrong versions because there is much better, much more deeply anchored theology available, and it is all over the internet. The Armstrong doctrines produced the bad behavior. It is no accident that such bad behavior exists in any and all of the splinter groups. Just as communism always produces corrupt leadership, Armstrongism does as well. I believe you stated your situation quite eloquently when you mentioned that the Catholicism to which you had been exposed had left you ignorant of the Bible. Had you been better prepared, you would have had a solid frame of reference, and would never have been taken in by a bizarre, fruitless, Judaizing, apocalyptic cult!

Anonymous said...

Anon said,"I do believe of what is written in Romans 1, that the Creator is easily seen in the creation. If you study microbiology and particle physics you can see the awesome mind of God."

I agree anonymous. It is beyound our words.

Anonymous said...

The United Ass. President 15 Sep update stated: "...We spoke about the Mission Statement of the Church, which includes the important component of making disciples...making our children disciples of God the Father and Jesus Christ...we noted that one area that needed attention was to give our youth a stronger ability to explain God’s Word. What could we do better? How can we instill more confidence in our campers to expound God’s Word?..."

What could be done better? Stop the lying to those children and themselves about such things as a Mickey Mouse Millennium (Jesus Christ "soon" coming to reign on earth for a 1,000 years), when Jesus Christ told us He would be at His Father's right hand until all enemies are made a footstool. It makes Jesus Christ out to be a liar.

Besides, when did the United Ass. determine it was their responsibility to make disciples of children? That is God's job, isn't it?

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD.

The United Ass. can't even stop telling lies to their children, let alone the adults amongst them, so how make a disciple of God the Father? They can only make disciples of themselves.

Again, God makes His own disciples:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to HIS PURPOSE (SEE John 1:12-13 above).

:29 For whom HE did foreknow, HE also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

:30 Moreover whom HE did predestinate, them HE also called: and whom HE called, them HE also justified: and whom HE justified, them HE ALSO GLORIFIED.

Called? God foreknows and predestinates...soup to nuts, sort of speak.

Where does UNITED fit in that equation? The United Ass. was set up as a manmade association composed of hirelings who left their ministerial credentials behind in Pasadena. That was the rule, or law, of HWA and Joe Tkach Senior for any who left the former WCG organization.

It is being presumptuous for those of the United Ass. to think they have been tasked to convert their kids into disciples. What a burden to place upon their kids! What happened to that having fun?

The President said: "...Our camps are not activity camps to just have a lot of fun..." So, while they are at it, teach them some Bible if they want, but to make disciples for God the Father and Jesus Christ?"

That, the United Ass. will never do, but/and...

Time will tell...


Gerald Bronkar said...

I am impressed with some of the profound comments posted above on the subject of "brainwashing our children".
From my limited perspective, it seems that evolution could advance so much more quickly within the human race, if most children were removed from their parent's influence at about six months of age, or even earlier. Our sick belief systems and prejudices truly mess up the basic ideas and thought process of our innocent newborns.

Think of the racism, idiotic theological concepts, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and other harmful attitudes that could be reduced or eliminated in a few generations.

Of course this would be considered Fascist and radical by today's permissive and politically correct society, and in some ways I agree, and the problem is where do you place these innocent minds to be taught (indoctrinated). No easy solutions. It is a very slow learning process. I am impatient.

There are far too many people having children that are totally unqualified. Racists, religious nuts, criminals, drug addicts, the mentally unstable. As long as these people are free to breed, the problem cannot abate.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Fascist tactics is what I would call it, Gerald. Look, if the power of authority didn't work in Armstrongism, then how would it work anywhere else? Punishing those that don't Love properly would first require a perfect judge. We don't have one of those yet. Sure, people will claim to speak for Him, but just look at all that rotten fruit that they seem to produce.


Gerald Bronkar said...

DPB, like I said, I am very impatient, and don't like to wait for the slow course of evolution, and natural selection. In addition, I hate seeing little minds corrupted, without a chance of being taught love and tolerance.

You are right, there is no ideal place for these young minds to be shaped. Our current society is doing a poor job of providing a safety net. Look at our prisons and the rise of the homeless population.

There must be a better way. I see no perfect judge in our future. Do you?

Anonymous said...

"There must be a better way. I see no perfect judge in our future. Do you?"

No. But realizing we will never be the "Perfect Judge" could cause us to be more humane towards each other even when we have little doubt. I'll bet that you have left the cult without the aid of a cult-deprogrammer. Those hard-lessons learned well by you, will stay with you for the rest of your days and beyond by sharing your experiences with family and friends. But turning them into a 'fiat law' would be too presumptuous.


Anonymous said...

Pressentially Kubic writes about the Zone campers are to be in. That's it's not an activities camp. Has he given any thought to what zone his leaders are in ? What type of zones are ucg congregations ? Do they start with the children or should they have already started with themselves ? Horrific bullying has sadly become the hallmark of ucg. With bullying starting with the very leaders themselves. If kubic sees things to be sorted with the camps is that not a reflection of wider issues at hand within ucg.

Gerald Bronkar said...

I am not sure if you presume that I am trying to turn my lessons learned into "fiat law" of some sort. I hope that I am not. My only concern is for the innocent children, and I let my mind roam into the field of solutions or partial solutions.

You are right, I had no cult-deprogrammer, and if you feel I need to be corrected for my views/comments, I accept your criticism as valid. I do not want to be too presumptuous.

Anonymous said...

John said "Besides, when did the United Ass. determine it was their responsibility to make disciples of children? That is God's job, isn't it?"

John, you are usually spot on with your insights, but I have to disagree with you this time. Jesus commanded us in the Matthew 28 great commission to go and make disciples. The KJV is poorly translated, as the word in question is the verb form of disciple, disciple-ize, if you will. Whatever a disciple may be, Jesus commanded the Christian to go and make people into disciples. So, as poorly a job as "United Ass." might be doing, at least they are trying. As opposed to "the idiot Rod Meredith", who takes your position, refusing to do what Jesus commanded, and instead, preaching the gospel as a witness and letting God do the rest.

LCG Expositor

Anonymous said...

"DBP, I am not sure if you presume that I am trying to turn my lessons learned into "fiat law" of some sort. I hope that I am not...."

Maybe I was being presumptuous in jumping ahead to that conclusion. Sometimes, I'll take the ball and run further ahead in order to demonstrate that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

"I had no cult-deprogrammer, and if you feel I need to be corrected for my views/comments, I accept your criticism as valid."

What I intended to say to you is that you figured it out, and without the need for a man-made law to protect you from making that mistake. I'm sure that your sharing of your own experiences may have helped others from making that mistake. And that works better than any law.


Gerald Bronkar said...

My goal would be to break the cycle of prejudice, confusion and misunderstanding. I have no serious idea of how it could be done, but sometimes I dream. The ancient holy books area a major stumbling block, along with our superstition and gullibility.

Anonymous said...

"My goal would be to break the cycle of prejudice, confusion and misunderstanding."

Then our intentions are the same. To make myself more clear, you succeeded in breaking that viscous cycle within yourself. You were able to resolve it without any law that would have been made to protect us from the "cycle of prejudice, confusion and misunderstanding." I just wanted you to know that it is your ability to share your experiences and attitude with others, and especially those that are willing to listen, that will work better than any man-made law. So, dreaming of a utopia is fine, but we run into trouble when we try to enforce it or at least our versions of it.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." by anonymous?