Monday, November 6, 2017

Dixon Cartwright On Why he Is Shutting Down "The Journal"



The Painful Truth blog reached out to Dixon Cartwright regarding the reason he has chosen to shut down The Journal in January of 2018.

One of the comments Dixon made in his letter to the PT was this:

My original intent for my newspaper was to help people maintain contact with other COG Christians across the boundaries of the various COG groups and also to provide a forum. We were kind of like a blog before there were blogs. We were different from In Transition in that John’s aim was to have two of his trusted friends check out articles before they were published in In Transition for correctness of doctrine. The friends were Ron Dart and Leon Walker. I did not share the view with John that that was an appropriate consideration for my newspaper. Rather, I welcomed creative essays, even those advocating unorthodox versions of doctrines, and did not feel the need to make sure they were correct or for me to agree with them. As a result, we printed many such opinion pieces — editorials, letters, essays — with many of them disagreeing with each other, frequently in the same issue of The Journal. My main consideration was that writers deal politely with each other in their doctrinal and political discussions, especially since people with different interpretations of Scripture can reasonably prove their varying doctrines from the Bible.
I think this is what made The Journal more widely accepted than some other venues.  As crazy as some of the ads and articles were, he gave them a place to share their viewpoints.  Armstrongism has had a horrible track record in doing everything its power in shutting people down over the decades.  The Internet has changed all of that and none of them have any control over the flow of information anymore.

I think the Ambassador Report was the forefront in starting all of the blogs, websites, and other venues that have popped up over the decades since the late 1980's.  Church members were hungry for information and news about the constant upheavals, whether over doctrine or administration problems, that they eagerly read anything they could get their hands on.  After Ambassador Report stopped being published, John Robinson started In Transition to document the ongoing issues in the Churches of God. The Journal filled a unique void in the church news sphere and was also instrumental in sharing the constant drama during all of the doctrinal changes in the Worldwide Church of God.

Read the entire letter here:  Dixon Cartwright. Why he is closing down the Journal

29 comments:

The Painful Truth said...

Well I wish Dixon and his wife well in their retirement. I think they will find even more peace when they don't have to deal with all the nuts except those found locally.

One of my wishes over the years is that he would have call out some of these people who he had presented in the Journal writing articles/opinions. Some of that was outright Herbal worship. But over the years it was refreshing to see people criticize the apostle wannabe. Many didn't like it but the show went on.

The debate between Dennis and Art was a highlight. Refreshing indeed.

Anonymous said...

John Robinson (same family, but a son, not the same guy) now produces Living Church of God publications. How ironic!

Anonymous said...


“In January [2018], after a run of 21 years, The Journal will come to an end”


Where will all the rebels, kooks, liars, and small-time false prophets put their advertisements now? Where will they get to explain how they were right on their pet point and HWA was wrong now?

Anonymous said...

Nice post about how liberty results in the exposure of lies and distortions, and gives people access to the truth in the marketplace of ideas. Because of it's positive connotations, liberty has been given the label competition, which Herb unsurprisingly smeared with the word strife. As the philosopher Frederic Bastiat pointed out, liberty results in harmony among men rather than antagonism (the theory of discord) as claimed by Herb and the commies, which is used to justify the police state. Liberty also results in better and cheaper smartphones.

Anonymous said...

I submitted an article idea to "The Journal," and was pleasantly surprised to see it make page 1! Best wishes to the Cartwrights.

nck said...

"Liberty also results in better and cheaper smartphones."

It is great to have a philosopher or at least someone with braincells aboard.

It is my hope that you will have an open eye for the wages of those actually getting you some of that "cheap" material in the cellphones. Or the chocolate bar you're eating while calling on that magnificent machine.

Just as a general remark.
In my opinion most people in WCG actually had access to ANY information in the public domain. All of my kin were members of the local library, read newspapers and had a black and white television set.

It seems there are other processes at work than the "availability of information."

When I was a kid I remember looking up books written about cults and especially about "my church." I remember deciding that indeed it was an autocratic cult, but a benign one since it was led by a benign leader as compared to the really weird cults my mom and I watched on television.

Later of course I learned that ALL autocratic systems are doomed to fail due to the span of control limitations. Modern technology is rapidly solving the "problem" of limited span of control.

When for the first time I saw the Chinese smartphones and what chinese consumers are able to do with them I knew the West would want to catch up with the possibilities of centralized information flow where "God" would know our needs and desires even before we realized them ourselves.

Ok. rambling. I will study your/Bastiat's point about whether liberty could ultimately lead to harmonisation or perhaps assimilation of the human race's and therefore peace.

The first philosophers laying the ground work for the future EU, in the 1930's dreamed of one amalgemated race. A tower of Bable. Star Trek if you will.

Economic liberalism must include care for the weaker parts of the species or they will turn against it. There were very clear and justifiable reasons for most revolutions trying to overturn social injustices.

Thanks for sparking ideas.

nck

nck said...

"how liberty results in the exposure of lies and distortions"

I was just contemplating another topic related to your statement.

It now comes to light that the Russian government had 5-10 percent stakes in twitter and facebook (and many other social media) in their critical start up phase.

Many in the American media will focus on "what level of influence they might have had in these companies" through these stakes. In my opinion they will find nothing. It is not the level of influence in those companies that matters but their very existence is what matters.

Through your comment I am suddenly reminded of our WCG pastor preaching feverishly from Alan Bloom's "The closing of the American mind."

Interesting stuff in retrospect, today 30 years forward in time.

nck

Gordon Feil said...

Wow! Someone else actually knows about Bastiat!

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Has Mr. Cartwright considered selling the paper to a COG member or group of members? I am sure it is a labor of love and the financials probably aren't good given the overall state of the print media.

I always enjoyed The Journal. I use to have a subscription but let it lapse recently. I enjoyed reading about people who I once knew or knew of in the WCG during my years of attendance (1968 - 1976). I published my mother and brother's obituaries in the Journal in 2009 and 2013 respectively since both stayed on in the Church long after I left. I also wrote a letter to the editor which Dixon published when the Journal was running a series on Angelic intervention. I described an experience I once had that could only be explained by divine intervention. I received a nice e-mail back from Dixon who seemed to indicate that he knew who I was.

All the best to Mr. Cartwright and family. Thank you for the Journal. I know Dixon opened the paper up to include the parent Church, Church of God Seventh Day. To obtain better economies of scale if it were sold, perhaps new publishers could widen the tent and include Seventh Day Baptists and even reach out to Seventh Day Adventists given what we know of the SDA and COG common origins.

Richard

Opinionated said...

Where will all the rebels, kooks, liars, and small-time false prophets put their advertisements now? Where will they get to explain how they were right on their pet point and HWA was wrong now?
November 6, 2017 at 7:50 PM


They are going to advertise on the Painful Truth.

Byker Bob said...

You've got the same problem that HWA had, nck. Nobody disputes the fact that HWA travelled, or that a log might exist for the G-II. The question is, do we trust nck to analyze it and to reach logical conclusions. So far, you have proven yourself to be an apologist for HWA's secular activities. Others, such as the Kitchens, maintain records of his allegedly spiritual activities and present their apologetics in favor of those. Accepting HWA apologetics goes to credibility.

BB

Near_Earth_Object said...

I believe that the people who are most pleased at the end of The Journal are the ministers of the various Armstrongist splinters. Now they can more effectively manage the information flowing into their congregations. I think The Journal had the status of being quasi-official. No doubt this was a control issue to the Armstrongist ministry. They could condemn a blog like this one but condemning The Journal was not so easy.

I argued earlier that this informational isolation would lead to more dysfunction, greater autocracy and more radical heresy in the splinter groups.

Anonymous said...


RE: “The Painful Truth blog reached out to Dixon Cartwright regarding the reason he has chosen to shut down The Journal in January of 2018.”


Maybe in the final issue of The Journal Dixon Cartwright could direct his readers to the Banned Blog for future information.

Anonymous said...


RE: “The Painful Truth blog reached out to Dixon Cartwright regarding the reason he has chosen to shut down The Journal in January of 2018.”


It is time for the Banned Blog to put an advertisement in the final issue of The Journal so people will know where to go next for their information.

Anonymous said...


Both The Journal and the Banned Blog mention all sorts of different people and groups--rebels, freaks, weirdos, false prophets, abusers, liars, thieves, destroyers, killers, hoaky ministries, abusive imposter cults, etc.

The Journal covers them all without warning as if their behavior is all equally acceptable.

The Banned Blog covers them all with a warning that their behavior is all equally unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Why scuttle the Journal? Shouldn't it be turned over to Larry Watkins of CGI, instead?

Anonymous said...

Larry a Watkins would destroy the Journal like everything else he has touched.

Anonymous said...

5.18PM
Please point where the Journal states or implies that all behavior is equally acceptable. In case you missed it, the Journal leaves it up to the reader to discern the wheat from the chafe.
Unlike the Gestapo ministers, the Journal believes in treating people as self responsible adults rather than children.

Anonymous said...

Why he is shutting down the Journal? The reality is that all the XCOGs and it's members are in the process of shutting down. It's called growing old. The average age in these groups is the mid 70s.
The Herb Splinter Church of Old Farts.

PS I assume that in the place of safety there will be many wheelchairs and angels present to push around these oldies. It will be like a retirement village. It will also need to have a good medical facility, including oxygen tanks for those with old age breathing problems. Christs bride is going to be a bunch of geriatrics.

James said...

Anon wrote
"Unlike the Gestapo ministers, the Journal believes in treating people as self responsible adults rather than children."

Correct. And after some time one could discern the truth from the bullshit. All Dixon did was present choices.

set the captives free said...

1:04 AM said, "Christs bride is going to be a bunch of geriatrics."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sometimes I wonder about that. The bible says, "The last shall be first and the first shall be last."

Sounds like maybe the final generation will be the "first". Maybe that's the way it will be. They have had to live with the results of everybody else's sins, errors, bad choices, mistakes and the mess we have all made of this present world from the beginning of time till the end.

Anonymous said...

I think Dixon was a go-slow reformer. He was willing to undermine COG dogma at a pace that some here thought was way too slow, but which was slow enough to keep his audience from all cancelling their subscriptions, which would not have been conducive to reforming their thinking.

Anonymous said...

Gestapo ministers? Oxymoron alert! Actually, I admire the Gestapo; I think they got a bum rap. Not so for the ministers.

Anonymous said...


James on November 8, 2017 at 5:37 AM said...“All Dixon did was present choices.”

Yes.

A lot of bad choices and confusion.


“Rather, I welcomed creative essays, even those advocating unorthodox versions of doctrines, and did not feel the need to make sure they were correct or for me to agree with them. As a result, we printed many such opinion pieces--editorials, letters, essays--with many of them disagreeing with each other, frequently in the same issue of The Journal.”--Dixon Cartwright

What good does it do to be presented with a lot of choices when they are all bad?

If only each article and advertisement in The Journal had come with a warning that it represented still more heresy from yet another heretic!

Thankfully, the 21 years of The Journal's confusion appears to be coming to an end.

Byker Bob said...

So, are you saying that The Journal was an awesome Simon Megas gas?

BB

nck said...

12:13

"To be presented with choices that are all bad"

In the guardian is an article about the Russian "fake news" strategy.

The variety of fake choices makes people loose confidence in the institutions and system as a whole.

So the continuation of the journal in the end would do Armstrongism as a system great harm.

As others have observed. Closed groups must be fine with the discontinuation of Dixons service. They were never featured there anyway and only randomly on this blog.

Nck

nck said...

In that sense, the journal highlighted and emphasized the disunity among those identified as COG Armstrong.

Contrary to BI theory that presented a unified identity among groups and units that were distinctly different.

A case can be made that some might still be able to assemble the common denominators.

Nck

Anonymous said...

12.13 PM
Sure, let's not have choices. Let's have another inquisition and book burning. And only the ministers should have bibles to guard against disunity in doctrines, and members disagreeing with Herb.
All these choices create so many problems and confusion. As my minister used to tell our congregation, just listen to HWA and everything else in life will fall into place.

Anonymous said...


Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

“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 anyone 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!”


Dixon Cartwright wrote:

“Rather, I welcomed creative essays, even those advocating unorthodox versions of doctrines, and did not feel the need to make sure they were correct or for me to agree with them. As a result, we printed many such opinion pieces--editorials, letters, essays--with many of them disagreeing with each other, frequently in the same issue of The Journal.”