Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Petra. Can You Trust Your COG Leader When He Tells You It Is Time To Flee?

There was a conversation on a FaceBook page this week about whether or not people would have gone to Petra if HWA and crew said it was time to go.

I remember the Holy Day combined services in Columbus, Ohio where we were instructed to return to the meeting hall after lunch by a precise time.  At the set time the doors to the meeting room were going to be locked and no one would be allowed in or out during the remaining service of the day. A vitally important announcement had come down from Headquarters and it needed to be passed on to the members.

During this secret time, the minister had brought onto the stage a large white writing board where he proceeded to make a calendar that led to the precise date that the church would be fleeing to Petra.  My mother copied this crap down in minute detail.  As soon as she got home she made up a calendar that she put inside the kitchen cupboard on the door.  Her reasoning for this was that if the authorities came and confiscated our Bibles and notebooks, they would never think to open a kitchen cupboard to find the chart.

On this chart, she methodically marked off the days till the time would come for us to flee.

When I look back at this utter nonsense and how sick the ministry was in promoting this lie, it just comes to show how dangerous the cult think/speak of Armstrongism was at its core. Members would do and follow any instruction from the ministry.

Some people on the FB page and others in other exCOG groups have remarked how as kids they had backpacks and suitcases ready by their bedroom doors in case the call came to flee.  It was also during this time that "phone-trees" were established so that directives from the ministry could quickly be disseminated to the membership.  My mother had her list of 25 or so people to call and guarded it obsessively.

As we had been instructed, over and over, Petra was going to be our "place of safety" for 3 1/2 years as Germany raised hell around the world, particularly in the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia.  It was to be 3 1/2 years of glorious bliss as we received final instructions on how to be kings and priests as we worked to make the desert bloom like a rose.  We thought at the end of the 3 1/2 years we would be in the Kingdom of God rebuilding the world as we helped to teach the law while ignoring Christ.

Then BAM! The East Coast ministry exploded into a hotbed of dissension.  Ministers and members rebelled against authoritarian and aberrant doctrines of the church. The church was in upheaval and finances were in a mess.

Then Satan, according to WCG ministers, pulled the ultimate attack against the church.  Jim Jones led over 900 of his followers to their death in a mass suicide.  According to the ministry, Satan did this in order to put the focus upon the WCG's preparations to flee to Petra.  Satan was using the deaths of the cult members to make COG members stop and look at their blind obedience to HWA and the COG leadership.  WCG quickly shut up about Petra.

Then, Garner Ted was kicked out of the church for more adulterous affairs and insubordination.  Satan was viciously attacking the church and destroying members moral.  The church was in no state of affairs to flee as a unified body.

By this time, the Ambassador Report had hit the fan as the church struggled to maintain control.  Then the State of California swooped in to stop the excessive use of tithe money for the personal use of leaders, and for other issues.  Corruption was rampant in the church at this time.  Herbert Armstrong then fled to Tuscon where he diverted tithe money away from the Receiver who had to take over WCG's books in Pasadena.  Church employees were ordered to sign a pledge of loyalty to HWA Corp Sole in order to maintain their jobs.

The church was in such upheaval that Petra got shoved to the back burner. However, through all of this, there was a loyal group of believers that struggled to maintain the teaching.  While the Church officially stopped writing about it in most publications, it was still doctrine.

Then Satan pulled his ultimate attack and caused HWA to die.  The Tkach administration came in and the changes hit the fan.  Numerous self-appointed false prophets set themselves up as splinter churches in order to divert tithe money into their own personal pockets.  From Gerald Flurry, to Rod Meredith, to United Church of God, the money and members flowed out.  With the WCG refuting all teachings of Herbert Armstrong, the Petra doctrine was no more.  However, the doctrine followed the numerous splinter daughters of the WCG into new organizations where it gained a major stranglehold on members lives once again.

From Gerald Flurry's cult to Dave Pack's double millenniums, Petra is still alive and well.  Even UCG and COGWA still believe it, but quietly push it to the back burner hoping not many find out abut it.

Knowing what we know today about the sick and twisted lies of Flurry, Pack, UCG, COGWA, Thiel, Malm and many others, the question needs to be asked, "Would you go to Petra if these men said it was time to flee?"

How can any of us ever trust these professional liars to be correct when the announcement is made?  We all sit here week after week watching one lie after another come out of these men.  We watch the lives destroyed, the marriages and families ripped apart.  Many of us have buried family and friends who have died because of these men.  Most of us know that not a single one of these men can be trusted.  Yet, there will be thousands who obey every word their lord and masters utter to them when they deem it is time to flee.  People will sell homes, cars, and businesses to send in for the final push.

Has anyone ever thought what it would be like having Dave Pack ruling over you in Petra?

What about living 3 1/2 years with Gerald and Lil'Stevie Flurry subjecting you to Irish dance as your final millennial training?

Who in the right mind would even consider going to Petra with Bob Thiel in charge?  Even God is embarrassed at this one!

What about James Malm standing at the narrow gate determining who gets to enter Petra by determining how zealous you are?  Wise people would turn around and walk back to the Petra Marriott and have a margarita.

What about living 3 1/2 years with United Church of God leaders regaling you with tales from the blue sock puppet as they try to install useless billboards on cliff sides?

What will happen when all of these buffoons all arrive at the same time at the narrow gate?  Which leader and his people get to go in first?  Which groups have to stand on the sidelines as the chosen traipse by them first?  Who will ultimately be in charge?

Do people honestly think that when the time comes all division and animosity will miraculously cease and everyone will dwell together in millennial harmony for 3 1/2 years?  If not a single COG today can get along with another COG why should we expect a sudden change of heart once in Petra?  People are deluded if they think it will happen.

After the first month or so with all the bickering, backbiting and power struggles, members will start to realize they would have been better off being German captives.

So the question remains when your phone rings and a voice tells you it is time to flee, will you believe these professional liars?


DennisCDiehl said...

Most here know I had little to no use for Gerald Waterhouse or his church visits that I, as the local pastor, got stuck with attending at least two and sometimes three times depending on the number of congregations I had at the time. As a minister, I had determined to never tell anyone "it is time to flee" The concept was stupid, the theology mere speculation with ample proof texting and scripture cobbling. There was also a 100% chance the command to "flee" would be 100% dangerous and mistaken.

In the 90's I told Gerald Waterhouse to his face at dinner before having to listen to the last 4 hour dirge ever that his speculations, and that is what they were, and visits caused more problems than they solved. He frightened people and kids and I was no longer going to try to answer the questions they came up with about it all as I did not believe it to begin with. I worried HWA might instigate fleeing in some denial of his own mortality and mistaken ideas about himself. Rather than admit them, he might try to fulfill them? I even asked Waterhouse what he'd think WHEN HWA died as I knew he would ...fate of all mankind. He said "I'll believe it after three days and three nights." I was done with him from then on.

In every congregation there were Petra Zealots. There were Waterhouse Zealots as well that I personally found difficult to maneuver around but managed somehow. In the 70's I also told the elderly and widows, or anyone who found it difficult to sit for so long listening to GW that they should not feel badly if they simply did not come for that service. I envied them.

To me, the place of final training will simply be the last moments before death. Then the training is over and whether there is a graduation on to bigger and better things remains to be seen. No one knows. How could they know?

Faith in the extra Biblical drivel about Petra is believing what you strongly suspect ain't so...or should be.

Byker Bob said...

The answer to the title question has to be a resounding "No!".

Once the church had to backpedal to cover up 1972, many of us realized that we got very lucky that they turned out to be wrong BEFORE we all fled. What would happen next time if we didn't find out they were wrong until AFTER we fled?. It became a 50-50 chance the first time, and who would want to endure a second 50-50 chance? The Holy Spirit was supposed to make it a 100% sure shot, but since He hadn't, it became obvious that He had never been involved in the Armstrong movement in the first place.

Secondly, these people believe that the Old Covenant is God's permanent law for all eternity, and that the New Covenant simply adds a Messiah/Savior but that you still have to qualify for the Kingdom by keeping the Old Covenant. And that the ACOG ministers are a spiritual version of the Levitical priests. So you have to realize that there will be stonings in Armstrongite places of "safety" and that women will be reduced once again to being chattel. Members become slaves. Your splinter leader says "Shit!", and you'd better come sliding in on a shovel asking, "What color, sir?" Oh, and imagine being marked and disfellowshipped without appeal or due process and being sent out into the desert! 2 bad 4 U! Where are those nice beer-drinking Germans when you need them?

So, even before Jim Jones, many of us could see through this place of safety. All it ever was was an alternative version of a concentration camp. Still is, today.


Helen Wheels said...

When the time comes to flee, I'll flee to the Petra Hotel & Casino on the Vegas Strip.

Don't tell me that putting your life in the hands of these COG con artists isn't gambling. For my money, I'd rather play the penny slots. And hey, free booze as well.

RSK said...

Oh wow. I had completely forgotten tbe phone trees.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop laughing at your comment about God being embarrassed about Bob Thiel. It is so true!

DennisCDiehl said...

...and too.

The cherished "no it really is speaking to us today" lovers of Revelation are sadly mistaken in taking their cues about Petra and "a place of safety" from it.

Revelation WAS a Jewish/Christian prophecy, written to encourage the Jewish Christians stuck in Jerusalem as the Romans closed in on it. It plays off Daniel which was written to encourage the Maccabean Jews in the same situation.

Probably written in the last months of the siege between January and September of 70 AD. It failed to deliver in the promise that Rome would be ousted and the Messiah would come in 42 months... hence in '72. The Romans crushed them by 70. It is a failed Jewish/Christian prophecy. The 144,00 are Israelites and the innumerable multitude from the nations are Jews "out of" those nations, not gentiles.

The Seven Mountains had Seven Kings. "Five are fallen...the sixth , "one now is" was Nero, the Seventh was Galba who continued for a short time. The Eighth who was and is not, yet is was Vespasian, the last ruler, the man of sin who will be destroyed by the Jewish Messiah to come shortly.

Vespasian was also consider the Beast and to Jewish Christians, the Apostle Paul, hated beyond measure and probably the Ephesian false Apostle/Prophet who the Ephesian Church (John's territory) rejected and were congratulated for it by Christ, was the False Prophet because of his gentile leaning views which they hated. Most do not grasp the rancorous relationship between Paul and the Jerusalem Apostles but you can get a good glimpse in Galatians 1-2.


"Revelation was the swan-song of militant Jewish Christianity. When Jerusalem was destroyed, when Rome waxed greater and greater....when the False Prophet gained more and more followers, when the book itself was proved to be totally false within two years, when it became clear the Jewish Messiah-Christ would not come, the Hebrew Christians lost their virility and their cult faded under the combined assault of orthodox Judaism and Gentile Christianity (Pauline)"

Fleeing to Petra in the modern age would be a grossly mistaken view of Revelation and the biggest mistake a person could make in their life.

Anonymous said...

As a kid/teen in the mid 60's I had a dream, (we lived off the highway about a tenth of a mile on a dirt road .... and had no telephone), and in this dream I walked to the mailbox and found a letter from the church telling us where to gather to flee or whatever, but that date was already past. I soberly realized that our family had missed the date because we had no phone, and in my dream was resigned to the 'fact' that our family would be subjected to the tribulation. I was so sad, knew that we had to accept whatever was to come our way. But then I awoke!!!

50 something years later we have cell phones, so maybe we are saved??? ;-)

Michael said...

Certainly, HWA had absolutely no intention of ever ordering everyone to flee to Petra.
To do that would be suicide to his empire he had built. All his tithe payers, leaving their jobs and going to the desert? The Amb. Auditorium and other loans, not to mention the GulfStream jet and his lavish lifestyle had to be paid somehow...

No, the Petra thing (which my mother also firmly believed and, hypothetically had there been an order from HQ, she'd have been the first to send herself and her kids there, unfortunately), was nothing more than a fear tactic by HWA to constantly keep the membership on the edge of their seats in anticipation so that flow from their wallets into the church's income-receiving dept. was kept as smoothly constant as possible.

That's all Petra was about. HWA wasn't about to fly his jet there and start living in the desert away from modern amenities and top-notch medical care. No frickin' way.

Ilija Korac said...

Mr. Armstrong know that it was not his job to call people to Petra. It is God job and He will do calling.

Michael said...

Anon wrote:
"As a kid/teen in the mid 60's I had a dream, (we lived off the highway about a tenth of a mile on a dirt road .... and had no telephone), and in this dream I walked to the mailbox and found a letter from the church telling us where to gather to flee or whatever..>"

What, only one such dream? :) Only one?
More like, once a week for me...

I knew Bob Thiel in LCG said...


Since you had a dream you now qualify to be a COG leader!

Byker Bob said...

How about this for a dream? A call goes out to all of the Armstrongites. The voice uses all of the politically correct pronouns, and properly acknowledges global climate change, so the Armstrongites assume it's bogus and ignore the call to go to Petra. Suddenly, Bob Thiel and Caitlyn Jenner appear in Jerusalm as the two witnesses, with Caitlyn clearly in the lead position. The Germans and Catholics who have actually studied the prophecies of Herbert W. Armstrong laugh their asses off and persuade the UK to rejoin the EU. The Rothchilds, the Bilderbergs, and the Trilateral Commission unite, and begin tackling the ills of the planet on a global basis, ushering in a new era of peace and sustainability, and we all live happily ever after.


nck said...


Could you please set a date for that scenario so that I can follow you?

Perhaps you are mistaken on the two witnesses. CJ could be the two of them, like the wienland duality, no? Of course in your scenario God would resemble a black man I presume?

"The Germans" actually DID study HWA literature. Strauss was a high profile leader and the security community would have recorded his visits to the AC campus. (no I'm not Grabbe in cyberspace)

As a matter of fact the ONLY thing that the Rothschilds, Bilderbergs and the Trilaterals had in common was HWA and WCG sponsoring their projects. (you know, worldwildlife fund, royal opera house, state of israel, tel hazor digs and hundreds more)

Cargill, Monsanto, Musk are working on this new era of sustainability, I hope the techies leave some space for democracy, But hey, we were taught that the utopian agricultural juggernaut, having defeated hunger and technology (AI) having defeated (hu) man kinds flaws, would not be a democracy albeit politically correct hebrew will be spoken.


The first cracks in Anglo Saxon power are that yesterday NON of the European countries supported the UK in their bid against Mauritius over some islands. One of these islands happens to be Diego Garcia leased to the US and pivotal in the control of Afghanistan.

The times of the gentiles creep upon us as a melting iceberg. I gotta to study their ways.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me at what point 1972 became the big year? How far in advance was this "prophecy" made?

Was it a short-term ploy to raise some quick cash, or was it more of a long-term "suck 'em dry" strategy?

Anonymous said...

They used the threat of the tribulation to keep members in line and beaten down. After all, why make a fuss about your abusive minister, if WW3 is about to hit.
It's all about mind control.

Connie Schmidt said...

Bet you can't say this FIVE TIMES in a row quickly ! ...

Petrified People Prayed Persistently Pertaining Petra Passage.

Anonymous said...

Waterhouse was a brown nosed heretic. He was like a barker at a carnival, only he was the freak show. Once at a combined service in Chicago, he said that if the Armstrongs weren't the two witnesses, then the Bible is not true.

After he said that I got up and walked out. He was a vile person, screaming for hours at the members, trying to intimate them. The Armstrongs have to take the blame for letting this abusive nut case wander the planet promoting (worshiping) the Armstrongs.

As far as United still secretly believing in Petra, I never heard or read an article that supports you claim. Just the opposite. Last week I listen to sermon that stated that God promises protection for his people, but it doesn't require everyone to be in one place. It's mentioned in Rev. that the angels will come and gather the saints from the four corners of the world at the return of Christ.

The fear religion WWCG taught was cultish and currently United is not playing that game. United is far from perfect, but nothing like HWA days, except for a few nut cases here and there in some congregations. I call the nuts "old school", who still need deprogramming.

Anonymous said...

Petra is the reason Bob League and Rod McNair say we should blindly follow LCG ministry.

Bob League once said, "if I told you to get in your car and circle the block for 3 hours.. you need to do it". He justified that statement by saying "one day I might be calling to give you instructions to flee to Petra and if you don't obey them, you won't make it to the place of safety".

I swallowed hard and tried to look convinced.

Anonymous said...

You are so right, Dennis, "Revelation WAS a Jewish/Christian prophecy, written to encourage the Jewish Christians stuck in Jerusalem as the Romans closed in on it." And the Messiah has returned and is reigning, the lion has laid down with the lamb, swords have been beaten into plowshares, war is no longer taught, the curse has been lifted and isn't the new heaven and the new earth wonderful?

Anonymous said...

Of course you carn't trust your leader to inform you when to flee, are you kidding me. It was always for the elite we were and still are the plebs who will pay for it. The brethren in the leaders eyes were always and are always destined for the concentration fema camps.

Byker Bob said...

I can only attest to the time frame from 1956 on, 4:27. 1972-1975 was what we baby boomers were raised believing in. While I was at Ambassador College in the mid '60's, in 2nd year Bible Class, we were taught 3 math equations supporting these dates. One involved HWA's alleged 2 19 year time circles to do the work. The second involved taking the purported date of creation and subtracting it from 6,000. Using the date HWA had selected, Trumpets 1975 became the date Jesus would return, and subtracting 3-1/2 years gave us 1972 as the start of the trib. The other equation was more complex involving the "times of the Gentiles, and I've forgotten the details. These equations were the ironclad proofs provided at the time by the church, and were conveniently forgotten as WCG began to backpedal during the second half of 1971.

Most people who came into the Armstrong movement since 1975 would not have read the member letters and Plain Truth articles from the '50s, '60s, and very early '70s. However, these have all been collected and carefully preserved on the internet by people wishing to perpetuate Armstrongism, and the 1972-75 dates are thunderously supported in those materials. Oddly enough, many of the preservationists of this damning information repeat the late 1971 mantra of "Mr. Armstrong never set dates!"

In retrospect, it's just as ridiculous as Pack or Weinland.


Anonymous said...

Waterhouse was asked by his Philippine members why he taught the Joe T changes which he believed were untrue. The answer he gave was that members having trust in church government was all important. So he taught these changes least members question and lose confidence in church government.
Hmm, so what happened to 'obey God rather than man?' And putting human government before following Christ.
Sad to say, his eternal prospects don't look good.

Hoss said...

I've heard sermons from Dave Pack and Bob Thiel with their mantra, Unless you follow ME, you won't know when to Flee...

The best sermon on Petra was by GTA, when he told how the doctrine started with his mother reading an article in National Geographic.

Anonymous said...

10:03 AM

The truths I learned were totally polluted by the obvious intimidator, Waterhouse. Just for the sake of the Armstrong's ego and keep the poor members afraid and in line.

Totally against everything Christ taught.

Anonymous said...

You missed the part where it is a failed prophecy, methinks.

Hoss said...

Are they going to apply for visitor visas, or enter Jordan illegally? Perhaps claiming persecution, they may try to enter as refugees...

"I'll build a wall" - King Abdullah II

RSK said...

Next time, Korac, read the post instead of just the header.

Anonymous said...

Christ comes for his bride, as in the ancient Jewish wedding rituals. The bride waits at her home. The church has always pushed this puzzle piece into a spot that doesn't fit. The Bible never says to flee to Judea. It said, "Those who are IN Judea (already there) flee to the mountains". Obviously the jews a;ready living there. They will have to accept Christ. As a church we have forgotten, puposeully, that they have a huge role, those who accept Christ, in God's plan. Gentiles are "grafted in", we didn't replace them, we may just have a different destiny.

Elizabeth Teklinski said...

Is The Bible's Book of Revelation A Plagiarism of the Sibylline Oracles Written in 510 BC? http://mooglemeow.blogspot.com/2014/05/is-bibles-book-of-revelations.html

NO2HWA said...

Elizabeth...that was interesting. I had never heard that before. Revelation was so controversial that it barely made it into the canon, yet COG leaders base their entire ministries upon it. But then most COG leaders have no real theological education.