Saturday, December 2, 2017

Conspiracy Theories and Armstrongism

Why do many within the Armstrong Churches of God seem to be so susceptible to conspiracy theories? Don't think they are? Check these out:  Mark Armstrong's Weekly Update and Bill Watson's Is Anybody Listening? 

Think about it. Conspiracy theorists believe that the truth is hidden - that most folks are deceived about what is really going on in the world, and THIS IS A CENTRAL TENET OF ARMSTRONGISM.

Research into the psychology behind conspiracy theories informs us that they are generated by a lack of trust in institutions and political cynicism (Conspiracy Theorists Aren’t Really Skeptics)
In that article, we read:  "The common thread between distrust and cynicism, as defined in these experiments, is a perception of bad character. More broadly, it’s a tendency to focus on intention and agency, rather than randomness or causal complexity." Continuing:  "The more you see the world this way—full of malice and planning instead of circumstance and coincidence—the more likely you are to accept conspiracy theories of all kinds. Once you buy into the first theory, with its premises of coordination, efficacy, and secrecy, the next seems that much more plausible."

Hence, if one has already bought into the idea that Satan and the Catholic Church have hatched a grand conspiracy to deceive Christianity about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible and doctrinal issues, it is easy to believe that other actors have hatched other conspiracies designed to hide the truth about other issues. And this is NOT the kind of suspicion that evokes scientific research and critical thinking. Instead, it seeks information (or to interpret information in a fashion) that reinforces the suspicion!

This is the kind of stuff that turns someone like Donald Trump into a Christian savior and his opponents into maniacal deviants bent on a program of misinformation. If you are prone to this kind of thinking, then climate change can seem like a liberal plot to undercut our free market economy and George Soros can look like he's running the entire show. Nevertheless, for those who are still willing to think for themselves, I think that it is still possible to get back to reality. What do you think?  Miller Jones

Why So Many People Believe Conspiracy Theories

The Weird Mind of Conservative Armstrongites


True Bread said...

How many buildings collapsed on 9-11...??

Byker Bob said...

Yep. This is a disease, and the conspiracy theory-addicts are now trying to turn it around to make it somehow appear that those of us who have embraced a more mainstream approach are somehow victims of the media, or out of the loop on all the secret information.

Years ago when I first began communicating on so-called dissident sites, I encountered someone who believed the government had orchestrated 9/11. Knowing the horrible sickness that British Israelism and 1975 had brought into our lives, I felt great compassion for the guy, and spent hours in research attempting to "help" him. But, he was intransigent. Apparently, whatever he was deriving from his belief in this theory more than compensated for the terror and sheer paranoia which it would have to have brought into his life. My feelings of great relief that came with the realization that HWA's theories regarding prophecy were pure crap had no counterpart in his life and thinking. Apparently a conspiracy theory in which he had become firmly invested filled some deep psychological need. Whether his mind was prewired for this from birth or this had been directly caused by Armstrongism was never clear to me. Either might very well have been the case. Regardless, that state of mind does not compare favorably to the norm, and can be very unhealthy.

Without a doubt, Armstrongism keeps giving in many strange and perverted ways. It was a powerful modifier that has produced chronic sickness in the lives of all who ever spent more than 6 months under its influence. There are so many things from which to recover, and unless people are able to recognize them and treat them, they become like some of the silent killer human diseases which can progress for years before producing noticeable symptoms.


nck said...

As one trained as a policy maker I know you are out of the loop BB. When were you ever involved in the design of your bike or the color of clothes you wear? Even if you deliberately "rebelliously" choose to buy at the outlets, the decision was made for you in 1993 for your particular segment.

Although we try to steer the process a bit on black friday or whatever.

This is the nucleus of the point under discussion. Mainstream is geared toward the modification of the common man. While Armstrongism was geared toward the aspiring rising middle class. (it is ok to spend money etc etc) The core of its message was about rulership and ruling. Whereas christianity is geared toward those being ruled.

Now if untrained people, aspiring to be rulers (or at least not be ruled) get a hint or snowflake of knowledge about how this world is really structured (financially) what its underlying power structure is and the policy papers geared toward the maintenance of power, THEN we get people susceptible to conspiracy. Especially when leaders like bush and powell, flynn lied to us in our face, people start to distrust.

HWA called it a world held captive. As this blogs most knowledgeable person on trusts, off shore holdings and money flow I know for a fact that HWA was right about man held captive. And you know I am right since you do know the statistics about wealth distribution and the one percent globally and nationally.

Conspiracy is not a function of armstrongism. It is a function of political leaders who lied to our face about Iraq posessing weapons of mass destruction. The capitalist model is quuckly deteriorating through its rampant inherrent corruption and its lies benefitting the few.

Armstrongism warned about this cancerous corruption since its founder lived and suffered through 1929 crisis that was also triggered by moral corruption.

Armstrongism is a most usefull and interesting philosophy in the hands of the skilled. Unfortunately 100% of the fans and detractors are unskilled in the "ruling" business.


Near_Earth_Object said...

We all have a streak of paranoia. Most are able to recognize it and deal with it. Others are overwhelmed by it. This paranoia makes it easy to deny empirical evidence and resort to arcane knowledge. This is a kind of secular Gnosticism that is popular among certain segments of the American population. I find that many of these people have low educational levels and, in particular, have neither the skills nor the will to do the research necessary to find the truth of a matter. These combined forces, paranoia and a disinclination for education, produce a vulnerability to outlandish conspiracy theories as an explanation for reality.

I do not recall HWA advocating conspiracies as an explanation for reality. I mean something focused and cohesive like the view on the AC/BS campus that the Ashkenazi Jews were really Gentile and they ran the Federal Reserve and it all reached into our lives through Stanley Rader. A piece of this idea is borrowed from American Neo-Nazi sources.

But I also believe that HWA believed in a much more global idea that traditional Christianity was a conspiracy. So he created an alternative religion that sought to be contrary to traditional Christianity on every major point. This theological foil became a magnet for those with religious and paranoid inclinations.

I am engaging in a self-critique here because I used to believe all this malarkey taught by Armstrongists. There is a difference between being naïve and being faithful - something that Armstrongist lay members should consider.

(Let me get that genetics lick in. For those down in East Texas who still believe that the Ashkenazi Jews are nefarious Gentiles and underpin their views of prophecy with this odd idea: The Ashkenazi Jews claim descent from Abraham. This is corroborated by the fact that the Adnan Arabs claim descent from Abraham via Ishmael and are, as one would expect, the same haplogroup as the Ashkenazi - haplogroup J1. That is not surprising because almost all indigenous Middle Easterners are haplogroup J. But geneticists even know that this extends down to the detailed sublcade level for both tribes. It is J1c3d for both the Ashkenazi and Adnani. Note that J1c3d, working backward, must also be Abraham's subclade. Note also that there is no way that someone who is subclade J1c3d could possible be the progenitor of the British people who are a very distant haplogroup R1b. The only way you can believe British-Israelism, based on unsupported pseudo-history manipulated by Herman Hoeh, is to deny objective, empirical, scientific evidence. Look into it.)

Ed said...

The problem with crack-pot conspiracy theories is that they tend to de-legitamize real concerns about what is going on. An example, Hillary stating that any attack on her for being a dishonest crock is nothing but a right-wing conspiracy even though the evidence is quit clear that she has broken laws and should be held accountable for her criminal behavior.

Helen Wheels said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say that there aren't any conspiracies, but in order to accept one as fact, you should first have evidence that is as compelling as the extraordinariness of the claim.

Once an individual is willing to accept a book that begins with a talking snake and ends with a four headed monster as non-fiction, however, that individual is likely to accept just about anything else coming down the pike that fits in with the narrative of his or her already existing biases, without any evidence at all. They've already been trained to do this, and moreover, been told that it's virtuous to do it.

So is that remarkable that the religious right has made a conspiracy monger their latest cult figure? Or is it exactly what we should expect from them?

nck said...

NEO, very clear explanation. I have no time to double check but you sound convincing.

One major critique of your expose where you state:

"The only way you can believe British-Israelism, based on unsupported pseudo-history manipulated by Herman Hoeh, is to deny objective, empirical, scientific evidence."

This is of course poorly worded.

There are hundreds of ways to BELIEVE BI. Especially when one examines the history and success of the Anglo Saxon model from the early 1800 on... It is extremely believable without the genetics and dna evidence or historical data. (although the linguistic reasoning was extrenely poor : Saaxons - Isaaxons WHAAAAAT.....)

Perhaps you meant to say: The only way BI is scientifically viable ........etc etc


Connie Schmidt said...

When exposed to Armstrongism, there are elements of truth that are there. IE, Xmas and Easter have pagan extrabibilical roots. There is a season of disillusionment with the delivery mechanisms of information and culture of society.

Letting this run amok, one can become disillusioned with EVERYTHING or any source of information. It takes great wisdom and discernment to navigate the playing field, for in society , there is arguments and counter arguments for virtually everything.

Do some political leaders meet at the Bohemian Grove and practice weird ritualistic ceremonies ... YES. Does this mean that all politicians are "in on it" and are Satanic... NO

Are some medical practices perhaps more harmful than beneficial... yes... does this mean that the medical and drug industries are all massive conspiracy and

However, some in Armstrongism (certainly not all) doubt EVERYTHING that society has accomplished, and have taken on an anti empirical scientific methodology to their thought processes.

Ofen times you will find this in the lower socioeconomic strata of the churches (again , not always), and is used as a substitute validation of self worth. IE "I am worthy because I have the special understanding and others do not. God values me above others , because he gifted me with this special knowledge. ", which acts as a substitute empowerment over their very poor present circumstances. In other words, having this "inside knowledge" is a form of vanity.

However, such knowledge does not seem to produce much useful productive actionable fruit in peoples lives, such as self improvement or contribution to society. It ends up being a means unto an end, and in that sense can be classified as a kind of gnostic system where somehow "knowing that stuff" is what matters to God, whether it be chemtrails, 911, guru leaders who are supposed Bible characters, or flat earth, Packism, Flurryism ad nauseam.

True Knowledge that is not applicable is often useless. Irrational goofy knowledge that has no application is even more useless!

Connie Schmidt said...

Ron Dart use to have a great saying...

Remarkable claims, require Remarkable Evidence!

Byker Bob said...

Sorry, nck, you really don't know me, or my buying habits, or level of conformity. I don't do "black Friday", actually have been responsible for design revisions of certain machinery, and generally borrow whatever is useful or appeals to me from the varied pallette which surrounds us. This often includes choosing the "wrong" side of an ultimatum which is imposed, and making it work. I don't give a crap about policy-makers, and have even been gifted with the ability to perceive their subliminal manipulations. I am not a joiner, but am frequently sought to join. I'm the kind of person who might hear a song by Blodwyn Pig only once in 1977, spend the next ten years attempting to learn who the group was and the name of the song, and five more years searching swap meets and antique record stores, actually finding and purchasing the album. Of course, that is now an easier and less time-consuming process with the advent of the internet, but even now, there are elusive searches.

All of the conditions you outlined above are part of the human condition. Call it predestination, hard-wiring, false illusion of free-will, or whatever. Allude to the fact that even in nonconformity, humans simply conform to a different, possibly narrower or less popular preset of conformity. There are those of us who extract eclectic elements from what surrounds us, and we use and exploit these things to produce a functional life which is somewhat unique to us, despite Madison Avenue and various think tanks, and even considering the limitations imposed upon carbon-based life forms on planet Earth in 2017.

Armstrongism "worked" on a statistically negligible portion of humanity. It created a Stockholm Syndrome existence in its followers. It was manipulation, and exploitation, and worked in a similar fashion to much broader philosophies such as Communism and Naziism. Not to the benefit of humanity. Only to the benefit of the rulers. Any process or philosophy which involves taking control will be successful in bringing wealth and power to the one who has mastered the art of taking control. So, yes, Armstrongism worked for HWA as a dictator. It just never got around to working on that same level for those enslaved by his philosophy. You said as much in your final sentence.


Dennis Diehl said...

True Bread

Anonymous said...

Near Earth Object
A near law is that if someone is very knowledgeable in a certain field, and you are not, it is very easy to be misled or deceived in that area. Which is why many members, including people posting here, were initially misled by Herbs package deal of truth and error.
And now we have a repetition of this phenomenon with this DNA 'proof' which supposedly disproves BI. It's a new set of snake oil salesmen, with their own brand of scientific mumbo jumbo. I doubt whether most Herb members even studied high school chemistry, yet they are expected to digest all the micro biology gobbledygook and 'see the light.'

I surrender, I'II be your slave for life, but no more DNA gobbledygook.

True Bread said...

Very good Dennis....someone is paying attention.

One does have to wonder why the third one fell on its own, at free-fall speed into its own footprint though...

True Bread said...

Armstrongism "worked" on a statistically negligible portion of humanity. It created

a Stockholm Syndrome existence in its followers. It was manipulation, and exploitation, and worked in a similar fashion to much broader philosophies such as Communism and Naziism. Not to the benefit of humanity. Only to the benefit of the rulers. Any process or philosophy which involves taking control will be successful in bringing wealth and power to the one who has mastered the art of taking control. So, yes, Armstrongism worked for HWA as a dictator. It just never got around to working on that same level for those enslaved by his philosophy. You said as much in your final sentence.

Perfectly stated....I have a sister still stuck in the LCG, suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome.

Near_Earth_Object said...


Let me give the objectionable statement a logical construction: If you believe in BI, then you must deny the empirical evidence of genetics. There are many ways of trying to support the idea of BI but all the ways I have ever seen rely on pseudo-history. There are some pseudo-scientific ideas that have been put forward but nobody who knows anything about genetics would even remotely take the ideas seriously. I saw a BI related website that tried to explain how Noah gave rise to all the haplogroups within a few generations - really facetious. The Bible does not assert that the peoples listed in Genesis 10 comprise a "Table of Nations". It only says "these are the clans of Noah's sons."

The "Table of Nations" is a misleading gloss added by the KJV translators. Through this error, the translators morphed an account of a small number of haplogroup J clans descended from a man named Adam into the nations of the entire world.

Anonymous 11:51,

You make the serious error of placing the science of genetics on the same level as Herb's package. Herb's package is gobbldegook, as you say, because it is, in fact, gobbledegook. Genetics is gobbldegook only because you have not taken time to understand it. You will find that genetics is a hard science taught in universities and colleges. It is not something that someone pulled out of the ether while sitting in a library in Des Moines. And it does demonstrate incontrovertibly that BI is purely bogus.

-- Neotherm

Anonymous said...

2.43 PM
You have ignored my point. Since people here are not trained in DNA, your 7.45 AM post cannot convince any readers here of your conclusions. You might as well be talking to a dog or a cat.

A cursory glance at history suggests the validity of BI. The British empire was physically the largest in human history for instance. The official doctrine of the two million member Anglican church in the nineteenth century was that the British empire is Gods fulfillment of His promise to Abraham. This is before Herb was even born. The BI belief is not far fetched, as many insist.

Anonymous said...

Some conspiracies are nonsense but some are mostly bang on. Lumping them all into one group and then dismissing them all is just dumb. It's the un-thinking lazy man's way to justify getting all his info from the usual liars, the same liars who get to define what's supposed to be a conspiracy theory, i.e. anything they are not telling you.

Anonymous said...

The number one baseless conspiracy theory of the year: Trump is in bed with the Russians.

There is no proof of any kind but if you throw enough mud some of it will stick and that's the reason for the entire lame-stream media attack on Trump. They only discredit themselves further to anyone who actually checks out various sources and is led by fact rather than innuendo and insinuation and lies.

Near_Earth_Object said...

anonymous 2:43

You are setting thin circumstantial evidence that is coincidental over against scientific discovery that is directly to the point. You will never get to the truth with this methodology.

My guess is that the Anglican Church in their assertion did not intend to make the British literal biological descendants of Abraham. BI is founded on such misinterpreted, misunderstood and misapplied statements. When compared to scientific evidence it is nothing more than hearsay.

nck said...

Neo. Thanks for sharpening. The only point I raised is that genetic science is only around for about 10 years. I also deal with business that occurs when just enough people start believing and endorsing that idea.

It works in all industries. Ideologies and ideas or narratives as they call it these days are interesting phenomenon or drivers for change within the human experience. Empires have been built on stories like 2 boys being suckled by a wolf. Until you come up with some proof that the human stomach cannot process wolf milk.


Redfox712 said...

I remember when I first heard about conspiracy theories such as the Illuminati and other fantasies I could not help but wonder why people would believe such things? What good is it to believe that there is some sinister cabal out there controlling you and/or society? It took awhile before I learned that the elitist sense of supposedly "knowing" what no one else knows is a potent motivation for such beliefs. Also the idea of being powerless because of some sinister cabal relieves oneself of the responsibility or the possibility to change things for the better.

Thanks for the links, No2HWA.

In regards to the post about PCG scare mongering about the Bilderburg Group I would like to mention that in January 2017 I listened to one broadcast hosted by PCG's Robert Morley and he dismissed fears of the Bilderburg Group as a conspiracy theory. But back in June 2016 PCG's Andrew Müller posted an article talking about the Bilderburg Group. Can PCG's 1% agree among themselves whether fears about the Bilderburg Group are just a conspiracy theory or not?

nck said...


I went to University with members of the Bilderberg group and know some of them quite well.
My family in one way or another was linked to one of the leading founding members of the illuminati in the 1700 hundreds.

Since not many (perhaps non) people will believe me anyway I suffice to say that they are real humans. No lizzard blood. (blue perhaps) I have seen them make many mistakes (politically and personally) proving to me that they are not all powerful or all knowing.

They do have a remarkable network (even on occassion talked to the parvenue nouveau riche hwa) and share common goals toward the betterment of mankind. (as they see it)

One of the groups was born out of the network that naturally formed during the allied cooperation in WWII. Members tried to establish an unbreakable tie between Europe and across the atlantic. The elites in London saw the remarkable benefits of strengthening those ties. Whereas the general hard hit impoverished general population living on food stamps after WWII was also prone to see the benefits of Communism.

Most of it is very practical. Altough the shroud of secrecy draws contempt. But what does one expect from sitting politicians who are freely philosophying, brainstorming, or speaking their mind among knowledgeable peers. It needs to be in secret.

Some months ago I took a leak at the hotel where a G7 summit was stayed and placed my bum on Obama's seat. I was not so much surprised by the exclusivity of the resort as by the daily program it provided for its guests. Renowned speakers, classy musicians, literature and arts performers on a daily basis.

On occassion I encounter those people at such venues or see them off from the helicopter deck. There is not much that suggests evil conspiracy when I see them. They are burdened with heavy responsibility, they cannot prevent random accidents for family members or are insecure before a camera. But they have this charisma and inner drive to propel humanity to a place where it is not now. Really inspiring, but perhaps disappointing in their humanity once a shroud of secrecy and mystery is taken away.

They are not a theory nor are they able to control anyone. A lot of them do operate outside of the realm of democratic control and have unimaginable privilege. I have come to see them as "thought leaders" in a world where the masses have and have always had ultimate power but are due to daily set backs not always able to strategically philosophize about extrapolated data and intelligence.


Anonymous said...

Only an idiot would assume that only religious people have conspiracy theories.