Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Why does failed prophecy not convince followers of the lack of integrity of the prophet and his/her theology?"

Neo made the following comment about COG prophets and their failed prophecies:
The question is why does failed prophecy not convince followers of the lack of integrity of the prophet and his/her theology? 
He continues with this:
In my case, I believed at that time that the WCG was the true church but its members were sometimes weak. Hence, someone, even someone of importance, could make a mistake in prophecy. I believe others viewed it the same way so Hoeh's error, as large as the failure of 1975, was overlooked - I assume - I never heard anything else about it. The whole thing vaporized leaving the WCG intact - no crisis for anyone I knew.   
This willingly beneficent attitude of those deceived works in favor of all the nouveau prophets who rise up(compare Trump). That is why this blog will never erode the base that supports these guys. We ex-Armstrongists view the words of the nouveau prophets as fixed but their followers view the words as fluid. Sometimes I think they even see prophecy as a kind of entertainment - like watching Ancient Astronauts on the History Channel - everyone knows it is not true but it is kinda fun. These ad hoc prophecies will fail and these nouveau prophets, like the artful dodger, will duck away unscathed to prophesy again. And they know it. That is why they are so bold in their error. It is for the momentary affect on their base, not us critics.  
-- Neotherm

I remember attending combined services in Columbus, Ohio in my youth for some Holy Day.  It was one of those double services days and we were told before we went to lunch that we were required to be back in the room and in our seats by a certain time.  At that time the doors to the auditorium would be locked and no one would be admitted or allowed to leave.  There was news from Headquarters that was vital to the church.

We came back from lunch early to make sure we were safe in the room.  They promptly shut the doors and had deacons stand and guard the doors.  The minister rolled out a large board onto the stage where he proceeded to map out, in detail, the exact date we would be fleeing in 1972.  My mother copiously copied all of it down, took it home and made a chart for the kitchen cabinet, that she put on the inside of the door.  As the days and months went by, she crossed them off.

I was told I was never going to graduate from high school or ever go to college.  They sent me to SEP  Orr in 1971 for one last experience of this "world."

As we all now know, it was an epic failure.  Not one single thing they predicted came true.  Herbert Armstrong was deep into collecting money to build his auditorium in Pasadena.  Jets were needed to fly the apostle around the world for yet one more final witness and push.  And still, nothing happened.  Church members went with their lives because we were told that God had delayed things so that the church could correct itself and a huge final witness could be proclaimed.

Of course this delay was all the member's fault.  We were not ready.  We were not 100% behind the apostle, the work, and many other excuses.

I think Neo's comment above is spot on as to why COG members that follow Pack, Flurry, Weinland, Thiel, and others will sit there, year after year, listening to them tell one whopper of a lie after another, and yet remain loyal.

I would add to that the teaching ingrained in COG members was the duty to remain true to the "one true church" that God had miraculously raised up.  We were taught to never question that belief and that to do so placed ones salvation at risk.  Thus, it is easier to sit there and chuckle at the absurdities of our COG prophets, knowing deep down they are fools, than it is take a bold leap and reject them as scripture commands.  How many times were we told, "God is in control and he will correct them when needed.  It is not up to us to question our leaders, they are only human, after all."

So what response to you have to this?

"Why does failed prophecy not
convince followers of the lack of integrity 
of the prophet and his/her theology? "


Dennis Diehl said...

Because the prophecy didn't really fail. We forgot some now found piece of God's Puzzle and need to work it into the picture as God mercufully given us more time....

Endless denial of reality

nck said...

As a post 1972 happy camper I never knew the extent of what expired in Ohio or other places. I do remember a sermon in 1979 when our pastor jokingly mentioned that only HWA knew the exact timing of events as jotted down in his "blue booklet" kept in a safe in is home.

Some kids asked about the "blue booklet" later on and needed to be explained that our pastor was kidding.

Neo's statement is very true. I could discuss his short essay for days. I also like his observation that most detractors on this site take or "have taken" many things that were said and done far more serious than practitioners of said religion do. That is the case in most religions. Across the road of ALL Cathedrals in France and Germany are cafes and pubs. Something 20th century atheists must find hard to understand.

I remember tens of sermons in which HWA states that prophecy was merely a base to strengthen ones faith. That is the approach he took in his very first book USandB in prophecy. He states with emphasis that the propecies regarding the "bloodline" must be true or God is a liar. So prophecy served as some kind of "proof" or validation of the MAIN point.

So technically. When someone states the disclaimer. "I don't know the time, they are technically not liars regarding prophecy. It is alway interesting to see that detractors of any human devised system often are pharisees in telling the people in that system how to do it right. While all such systems have their "safety valves". I believe the mennonites even have a time for youth to go wild or at least live out of the system for a while.


Anonymous said...

"Why does failed prophecy not convince followers of the lack of integrity of the prophet and his/her theology?"

Pride and/or Fear: I honestly believe that the answer to this question is that the followers of the prophet and his/her theology are too prideful and/or afraid to actually admit to themselves and to others that they've been had! They've been took! They've been lied to! They've been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Deceived! Led astray!

Pam said...

Most COGgers are painfully unaware that their experiences are not in the slightest unique in the world of religion. The phenomenon of what happens to "True Believers" when dogmatic prophecies fail in their organization or movement has been studied by Social Psychologists since the 1950s (and before.) The WCG just happened to be a convenient "text book case" of the psychology involved.

There are very simple answers to why people put up with it. You can read all about the research on this topic in an article I wrote for my Field Guide to the Wild World of Religion website back in 2000. Click on the link below. Just to be clear, I had been involved with the WCG since 1965, was around when 1972 failed, and for several more years while the "extensions of time" played out. Once I finally got free, I discovered our experiences were almost carbon copies of events and actions that had played out in the Millerite movement of the 1840s, the Jehovah's Witnesses throughout their history, and many other such groups.


Anonymous said...


We forgot some now found piece of God's Puzzle and need to work it into the picture as God mercifully given us more time....

A trickster god who treats His followers in that manner is not worthy of being followed. Trickster ministers who keep revising the puzzle are no more worthy of being followed.

Steve D said...

Imagine if you have given your time, money, energy to the church or other cause. You didn't go to doctors, family member suffered needlessly, perhaps even died. You reach your 65th birthday and you don't have any equity in your home, no Social Security, no pension, no private savings. You gave it all to the work because you were sure that the end was within your lifetime. Besides this you were arrogant in your views and dismissive of other religions. How could you possibly admit you were wrong? This is the sunk cost fallacy. Like unwisely sinking a lot of money into an old car that breaks down again. You can't get rid of it, you just paid $2,000 for a new transmission. Who wants to admit that they impoverished their family or made them suffer needlessly because of false teachings? You just push ahead and stay the course.

Connie Schmidt said...

Maybe everything DID happen in 1972 as was prophesied , but because of your unbelief and sin, you just weren't able to see it!

---Dont laugh, some of our modern day "prophets" use this kind of logic for their failed predictions!

DPR567 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
What About The Truth said...

"Why does failed prophecy not
convince followers of the lack of integrity
of the prophet and his/her theology? "

I can honestly say I stayed in the RCG after the failed "Three shepherds die" prophesy failed to come to pass on the date specified. I continued to stay even after the leader said he would apologize if the prophesy didn't happen on the date he predicted and when it didn't happen, he stated that he felt he didn't have anything to apologize for. Why did I stay? I looked at myself first and realized I am not perfect. I looked at forgiveness and knew I had to forgive for I had been forgiven. I knew I couldn't have a festering issue with a fellow brother (Love thy brother) so I let it go. In my mind it was the true church and when looking into the bible, the record of conduct of both the member and the leader was not upright all the time. The worst part for me at the time of the failed prophesy was the public stain upon the church and us fellow members. We give up so much to be a COG member. Our families are so distant to us because we are not of their world. The financial contribution for the final witness (The work) of the individual members is huge. So in the conclusion of the failure, we (The member) are thought of as fools by our families, our fellow brethren in the splinters and the public as much as any these would know of the event that didn't happen. So in the end it comes down to Christ's words in Matt. 15:14, "The blind leading the blind" and we all know where all of them ended up.

Near_Earth_Object said...

In January 1972, I was on the AC Big Sandy campus. As this time approached, many believed that we would be fleeing to the place of safety just in time to miss the tribulation. One of my buddies and I talked about how exciting it was to be on the AC campus at the time of the flight. Then nothing happened. I recall that Les McCullough used to open sermons in the Field House on holy days with the rhetorical question "why are we here?" On one of the Sabbaths in January 1972, he stood in the Field House and said he may need to ask this same question. There had been no flight to Petra.

There was some shuck and jive about the auditorium in Pasadena offered as an explanation why the debacle. But the brilliant piece, worthy of any great arch villain in history, was to blame the "delay" in Christ's return on the lay membership of the WCG. The members could then be brow beaten in sermon after sermon to sacrifice more. And, lo, Armstrong and Hoeh had not been wrong after all.

The perversity of it is stunning to me to this day. But it did not generate a mass exodus from the WCG. Impunity creates a liberal and forgiving context for false prophets.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

the bible makes it very clear the nature of the human being: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9...

its in the nature of mankind to deny reality, and its not just limited to the followers of false religious prophets, as the current political situation in america is so demonstrably indicating...

Allen C. Dexter said...

I have to say that I saw the light back there in the mid-seventies and it was clear that it was all a big batch of nonsense. It took much longer to realise that the Bible itself was a big load of the same, decades in fact. Most lifelong indoctrinated people cannot let go of the illusion of an inspired Bible, divine creation, etc. It took me a lot of time, but I got there. I'm a humanist atheist to the core today, right back to the scepticism I had up to age 18, when I embarked on two decades of total insanity.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I must add that it helped to have been somewhat on the inside where the hypocrisy, class awareness and many other obvious inconsistencies were glaringly obvious.

Ekklesia said...

To deny the prophecy was to deny the prophet was to deny the organization was to deny our being more special than other Christians was to deny our purpose was to deny our individual identities.

It is simply too risky and too painful to walk down that path that challenges who and what we are. Much sacrifice of time, money, friendships, and family had occurred already. It was too much to then lose the replacement meaning, friendship, and family as well as much of our individual identity. Being a Christian that trusted in Christ was not enough. Best to not question a failed prophecy...

Anonymous said...

Armstrongism literally promises its adherents a slice of the universe to rule over if they stay true to it, while also constantly threatening them that it can be taken away in an instant over the slightest lapse of faith. For people unfortunate enough to be indoctrinated with this nonsense from a young age it can be such a powerful carrot and stick that they'll rationalize almost anything to avoid missing out on the megalomaniac dream reward they've been expecting their whole lives.