Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dave Pack: No Man Has Ever Raised Up More Churches Than Me, Even After I Inherited Messed Up Pastorates

God's greatest gift to humanity is none other than Dave Pack.  No man in human history has ever been as awesome as he is, nor have run a church that is so superfantabulous!

I’m going to get into some things that this old shepherd struggled with, because I pastored—for decades of my life—thousands and thousands of people, and I know what “organized compactly” means, because I had to do it. I don’t even know many times. Just my time in Global, I actually built 43 congregations. I know a little something about it. Then there’s RCG. and there’s decades of my experience in Worldwide, where I worked with thousands and thousands of people. So I know what it means to be together and not—and to be close-jointed together and compacted together.

And I’ve come to understand, over time, why all of my pastorates in the Worldwide Church of God, as I entered…train-wrecks, fouled up…minister after minister, as I said last week, fired, suspended, or quit. And as I said, if President Trump likes to say he inherited a mess…I always inherited a mess and I learned how to do what we’re going to have to do. I know how to do it fast. I know how to do it worldwide. I know how to do it with people in many countries and languages, and coming from many groups. I know how to do it. It is my training for my whole life. And we’re going to have to do it. We’re going to have to prepare people for what is coming.

And now you better understand our task of preparing them. I know exactly what I’m talking about, and I’ve been uniquely prepared for this. There are many things I can’t do, brethren, many things you can’t do and many you can. There are many, many things I cannot do; but I’ve been trained to do certain things. I know how to build a pastorate. It makes no difference to me, none whatsoever, whether it’s a 100…I’ve had small pastorates. I’ve built little tiny ones. I had a pastorate of 1,100 one time, or whether it’s 10,000 or 100,000, I would know how to structure it. I’m not bragging, you know, I’ve done it. 

Dave Pack: "I’ve ordained a lot of men, who were as converted as turnips..."

Now we know what is wrong with Dave's 16 ministers that are supposedly his advisors.  Yes men, all, and converted as turnips!

I’ve struggled and struggled and struggled throughout my ministry, and it just bothered Mr. Armstrong to no end that he would ordain men who were not of God at all! “How could I…” He’d beat himself up. And I tried to learn from what he did, and I made many of the same mistakes! You look and you try to see who has the Holy Spirit. And it would just…he was befuddled—“I made men evangelists, who didn’t even have the Spirit of God!” Paul worked closely with two future popes!
I’ve ordained a lot of men, who were as converted as turnips, and it would bother me, because I would read the parable of the wheat and tares, and there were people who supposedly could tell the difference between the wheat and tares. And if you had the spirit of discernment, you can do a little better. But why was it I could never tell…You’re baptizing a person…You can’t tell…Did they receive the Spirit? You ordained a deacon…was he really converted? Or a deaconess, or an elder, or an evangelist. Do you see my point?
I’ve watched this for decades and the Church, in many ways, is in the “God ordained and appointed” mess that it’s in because of a whole lot of thieves and robbers, who climbed up, and nobody could see that they were! Why? And what does that have to do with the parable of the wheat and tares? And what does that have to do with being able to see the Kingdom? I’m going to explain it to you, and when I was talking to a lady, yesterday, she immediately got goose bumps. We were talking about this…so I think you will, too, but first, let’s read the parable of the wheat and tares.

Art Mokarow Dies

Art Mokarow, a one-time minister of the Worldwide Church of God has died.  After his departure from WCG he went on to claim he was a successful business man, but could never break his ties to Armstrongism.  He was so steeped in the teachings of the church that he set himself up as another splinter with a supposed inside track to the "truth once delivered."  He went on to write a prolific number of books that he calmed "proved" he was right on all kinds of subjects.

In February fo 2010, Mokarow had a public debate with Dennis Diehl.  Following is part 1 of that debate (from the Journal).

WHITEHOUSE, Texas--Two former Worldwide Church of God pastors met for a one-of-a-kind event near Tyler, Texas, Feb. 21, 2010. They got together in a Church of God setting to debate whether the Bible is the inspired Word of God or not. 
Art Mokarow, an 82-year-old former administrator and church pastor who left the WCG in 1979, went head to head with Dennis Diehl, a 60-year-old former WCG pastor who, since his departure from the WCG in 1998, has decided he is no longer a believer in the inerrancy and literalism of the Bible. 
Mr. Mokarow, who lives in Conroe, Texas, was assisted and backed up by a friend, 62-year-old Bible scholar and former Baptist preacher from North Little Rock, Ark., Ron Moseley. 
Mr. Diehl didn't mind 
Dr. Moseley, who has two doctor's degrees and has studied at numerous colleges and universities, does not have a WCG background although he is a Sabbatarian Christian. 
Mr. Mokarow, some weeks before the debate, checked to see if Mr. Diehl--who does believe in God although no longer in the Bible--would mind if Dr. Moseley participated, even though Dr. Moseley's participation would mean the debate would pit two against one. 
But Mr. Diehl, who lives in Greenville, S.C., said that arrangement would be fine with him. 
So, sitting on one side during the invariably civil discussion were Mr. Mokarow and Dr. Moseley and on the other Mr. Diehl. 
The location was the building owned by the Tyler Sabbath Fellowship, whose membership and board, including elders Gary Woodring and Dennis Hughes, welcomed the debaters and the approximately 20 people who watched and listened for more than three hours on a Sunday afternoon. 
How did such an event come to be?

You can read Part 1 of the debate here, and Part 2, here.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Tall Tale of "All things common...."

Dave Pack: "You Bring Your Assets, Don't Leave Home Without Them! No Salvation If You Don't!"

Even as a child, the "Bible Story" of a husband and wife in the early church under Peter being killed for "lying" about how much money they really had as opposed to what they gave to the church, seemed surreal. In the context, we are told the early church was more commune like and evidently shared with all that which each possessed to get them through.
Acts 2:44-45
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Acts 4:32
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
Nothing wrong with this I suppose, but one would think it was rather voluntary and something that people do when they wish to drop out of society and cling unto only those that see the world as they do. It's an early practice in any group like this which tends to break down after time and everyone goes their own way again, or at least does not feel the need to share their hard earned resources and support the loners forever.
The fact is that holding all things in common during those times was a temporary state fueled by the rabid belief in the early NT Church that Jesus Second Coming was imminent.  Of course, it wasn't and this practice died very quickly for two reasons.  1. As mentioned, Jesus failed to return in anyone's lifetime and dealing with how to explain it became a function of later Epistles.  2. More wealthy folk came into the church no doubt who were critically thinking enough and independent enough to simply say no.
But one has to ask why this story was included in the Book of Acts? Ask yourself what might be the result today of this happening in your church! What's wrong with this story and I will call it a story as I do not personally believe it ever really happened, but I do believe it had the desired effect on the "Church."
Acts 5
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. 
Comment: It was their property and they had the right to sell it for as much as they wished. It was nice that Ananias had such an open and trusting relationship with his wife, Sapphira, that he included her in how much he actually sold it for. While the "rules" called for everyone to share and share alike, no one has the right, save in that culture or in the "Church" it seemed, to demand ALL of it. Keeping your own money for yourself is no crime on earth or in heaven. And anyone has the right to change their mind about contributions to anyone. He brought "the rest" and that seems generous enough under any circumstances. "Putting it at the Apostles Feet" seems contrived, but if he literally did and Peter stood there whenever members brought in the goodies and shekels to be placed at his feet is this not an arrogant position that he has assumed for himself? I picture Peter standing at the front of the room standing like Mr. Clean, or Dave Pack,   receiving these required contributions.
Remember, this is the Peter who denied Jesus three times with three lies of never having known the man and was forgiven in John 21, when John thought Peter was better left off the roster of Apostles worth anything to the Church. (In John's Gospel he equated with Judas as in "Judas betrayed, Peter denied. No difference. Don't follow Peter") Seems at this point of his career, Peter was not much in the mood to forgive as he had been forgiven or follow any of Jesus teachings on the topic. I'd say Peter had given Jesus lots of reasons to knock him off early in the disciple game too.
3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart (That's the only reason right?) that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." (So one can't just change their mind on such things?)
Comment: "Satan" could be anyone or anything. This can merely mean that Ananias made his own decision about how much he could afford to contribute. It's not like he was sharing his days wage for making pots down the street. This would have been a chunk of family change and perhaps land that had been in his family for generations. I once went to a store in Jerusalem that was in a cave of sorts and the owner said that the cave and using it for commerce had been in his family for over 800 years!
Whenever someone makes a decision the church or minister does not like or think is the right one, "Satan" often is named as the cause for this. It often means that the person simply does not see things the way the minister or church does on this topic. Besides if a literal Satan filled his heart, then forgive him and go after Satan! I always found it difficult to resist as a mere human when a rogue spirit that had access to God and was part of God's plan for testing humans was unleashed on me. I mean, come on here, human is human! I can't even resist chocolate. So at least we see it was their's to give, and somewhere along the line, what he said he would give and what he gave was the problem in Peter's mind. The lie is not in not giving it all, the lie seems to be in saying he'd give it all and then not doing that. Again, would Peter, who denied Jesus three times remember, with three lies, in a very short time, not understand his own past in this matter?
Also we have the problem of uping the ante to lying, not to Peter, or to the board, or too the treasurer. No, this young and successful couple had lied to the Holy Spirit! Yikes. One would think that lying once about how much money you had to give was like a normal lie between men. Lying three times in a short period of time about not knowing Jesus, so sure you can kill him, I don't know the man, seems more of a Holy Spirit lie, but evidently not. Peter cannot forgive what he had done himself. Maybe Peter felt he should have been punished for denying Jesus, and projected his shame and the sentence onto this poor couple, though I still doubt it ever happened in real time.

It is also interesting that Satan, an untouchable spirit caused him to lie and the Holy Spirit, an untouchable spirit strikes him down. This certainly leaves any human responsibility for these deaths in the pews out of the picture. So it's a story of church members dropping dead of no known humanly provable causes. We can hope Peter did not cut them down with a sword as he unsuccessfully tried to do in the garden lopping only the High Priests ear off in the attempt to cleave his skull.
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.(Or so they say)
No confidentiality here, or "we need to talk."'re dead! It also says he fell down first and then died. I would think that having the Holy Spirit strike you down would be more of a "he died and fell down." Just a thought.
"And great fear seized all who heard what had happened."
Comment: WELL, THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT ISN'T IT? Even Peter understood that fear was the motivator even though something called "perfect love" had already been said to cast out fear. Fear is the opposite of Love, not hate. Peter evidently still had a lot to learn and this poor couple would pay for his ignorance. Peter only knew to cast out the person, not the fear, and that this example would lower contributions and donations to the "Work," if he didn't nip it in the bud. Or perhaps Paul, who said "perfect love casts out fear" had Luke tell this story to make a fool out of Peter. I mean, here is the Great Apostle Peter instilling fear when Paul instilled Love. Who would you follow?
6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
Comment: Now have this happen in your church and see if you just get to wrap him up and throw him in the dumpster. No one felt this was wrong. No one evidently would miss him or wonder why "he went to church, but never came home." His parents were either there agreeing to this or simply learned to live that their son and daughter in law, who had that nice piece of property just vanished and somehow now we find the Church has the property. This is contrived and Apostolic cruelty and abuse at it's worse, if it happened, which it didn't. But the story makes a nice motivator of the brethren to turn in ALL the goodies. In the modern Church, all the goodies would be you're complete tithe...10%, not 9%.
7 About three hours later (Gerald Waterhouse must have been preaching this day) his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?"
Comment: Three hours later than what? How long were church services anyway! Hmmm, he baits her, knowing that was not the price. Sounds like "Tell me my precious..." right out of Lord of the Rings.
"Yes," she said, "that is the price."
Comment: It would have been better to say, "we thought it over and this is what we agreed to give you." That would have put Peter on the defensive saying, "well why didn't HE say so! Oh damn, I just never asked him if maybe he told you he had agreed to something else and I just didn't know or that you both recalculated and I just phrased my question to him in a wrong way...oh my oh me." Well, no such luck.
9 Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."
Comment: I expect he meant the feet of those guys had dirt on them from the previous burial of her husband. I seriously doubt that this sweet couple said, "Hey, lets test the Spirit of the Lord and lie about this." Peter may have been meaning, "How could you lie to me." But then this is the same man who lied about even knowing Jesus, three times in a very short time, and to a little girl to boot! Peter denied Jesus and Judas betrayed him...what's the difference. Maybe this is the point of the story. is the point of the story. Luke was Paul's fan and not Peter's.  Luke was promoting Paul and mocking Peter in this story.  The original audience would have gotten that.  "These two said they would do one thing, give all, and did another, held back.  Punish them.  The Great Peter said he would do one thing, never leave Jesus, and did another. Denied him. Ha ha... Don't follow Peter"
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died.
Comment: Well so much for "come let us reason together."
Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
Comment: These young men are no doubt going to need some counseling of their own after this. Would you not love to have heard the talk while they dug the graves? "What the hell is this all about? I liked these people and they always gave more than any of the other sluggards in the group. Anyone here think Peter, who lied about even knowing Jesus, THREE TIMES, is nuts?"  (Anyone think Dave Pack is nuts?)
11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Comment: Which is, again, the whole point of the story for the early church isn't it?
So here we have revenge killings in church of people whose hearts were filled by Satan to keep some of their own hard earned money and felled by the Holy Spirit as punishment. No chance Peter, WHO LIED ABOUT KNOWING JESUS THREE TIMES, could forgive them, or just say "thank you so much for your contribution and generosity to the Church." 
No way this Peter was going to let the others think that they could get away with not having all things in common, and I mean all things. I wonder if Peter gave the Church the proceeds from his fishing boat and equipment? I guess if you said, "no way, that's my stuff," you were off the hook. The problem seems to be in saying you would and then not, but that is easily remedied by renegotiating the agreement, not MURDER!
The point is all about religious loyalty motivated by fear, guilt and shame again, isn't it? It's motivating you to stick with the church because if you don't then Satan will eat you alive or you will go to hell or burn in the lake of fire, none of which is verifiable in space and time. It's saying that hurricane Katrina was punishment on New Orleans for being full of humans who are just like the ones in Houston and Chicago and everywhere else including, of all places, Washington. It's the Rabbi saying that Bird Flu has come the the "UN-Holy Land" for that is what it is these days, because Israel allows Gay marriage, or even mixing cheese with hamburger to make a cheeseburger, when everyone knows that violates seething a calf in it's own mother's milk! No lie. I saw the posters condemning McDonalds in Tiberias...or was it McDavid's?
The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a construct to instill fear of disobeying the Church and Church leadership. We should not miss the fact that this Peter, the impetuous disciple, the "let's kick their ass for not believing in you Jesus," the "oh yeah, well I'll split your skull with my sword," LIED THREE TIMES that he ever knew Jesus and then fled. This is a contrived story to produce the desired effect...FEAR in the Church. A motivator that I am sorry to say is all to much a weapon in the ministerial arsenal of far too many churches today still.
Still there is one other motive that there might be for this rather negative story about Peter in the book of Acts. It was no secret that Luke, the author of Acts was a man of Paul. He was the apologist link, so to speak between the Jewish Church under James and the Gentile Church under Paul. It was Luke's job to make it appear that Paul got along better with Peter, James and John than he really did or they with him. There was no love lost between Peter and Paul for sure as Paul, in Galatians places Peter along with James and John in the "Apostles so called" category and reminds his readers that "I learned nothing from them."
This Peter, this man who PROMISED Jesus that he would never leave him, only to deny him three times shortly after and flee has a history. This story of the Peter, who can't abide saying one thing and doing another from Ananias and Sapphira, who SAID he was in agreement with Paul about eating with Gentiles but then withdrew when the Jewish James showed up for dinner, just might be here to poke fun of Peter, whom Paul disliked. ( I personally believe Peter's being offended with Paul was that it was obvious at dinner Paul was eating meat offered to idols which he said in Acts 15 he'd not do and did.  I Corinthians 8.  It had nothing to do with pork or gentiles.) 
Luke is chiding Peter for his duplicity in saying one thing, like Ananias did, and doing another, as the couple is reported to have done. In short, it may be that Luke was reminding the Gentile Church that Paul, not Peter was a better leader and more to be trusted. After all, the entire book of Acts is about Paul and others only as they lead up to and introduce Paul.
Peter can dish it out, but when push came to shove in his own life, he could not take it. Peter had a history of doing exactly the same thing that he is purported to have "killed" Ananias and Sapphira for; saying one thing, and doing another. The story might be a simple mock of Peter and his so called leadership in the Church. Leadership is something Peter, Paul, James and John seemed to fight over after Jesus is supposed to have left the planet.
Interestingly enough, every time John speaks of Peter in the Gospel of John, he makes a comment about Judas, then his point about Peter and then another point about Judas...every time. 
Obviously John also felt Peter's denial of Jesus was the same as Judas betrayal. John however portrays himself in his book as being the "disciple Jesus loved," reclining on Jesus breast as his best buddy, with Jesus at his trial when Peter had fled, at the foot of the cross with Jesus mom and the only one who understood what the empty tomb meant. These guys were very human and took every advantage and opportunity to put each other down while trying to elevate themselves in the eyes of the Church.
Bible guys will do that to each other in the scripture when they have a chance to point out each other's faults and foibles. Thus, I doubt the real murder of Ananias and Sapphira because they kept some of their own money ever literally happened but is a slap, by Luke, at Peter for his own duplicity. Pretty common stuff between Pastors I might add.
"All things in common" was the temporary mindset of the early early NT Church due to Jesus imminent return.  I suppose Dave Pack would say they were wrong but he is right about it all now and thus can demand it.  But , like HWA, building God's College, again, gives lie to the actual belief. Secluded and beautifully built homes for the chosen ones, belies the belief in the imminent coming of Christ.  It can only last so long before  1. Jesus doesn't return still and times goes long.  2. Wealthy converts show up, they won't, and say "WTF are you kidding me"

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Updated: Restored Church of God Former Staff Member: My Exit Story

I first began working for the Restored Church of God Headquarters at the age of 18. Prior to that, I had only been attending with the local congregation for about a year. 

As a young man, the idea that I would be getting the ultimate privilege of working for the Church’s Headquarters and being near to the Apostle conjured enough excitement to disregard my family’s many hesitations and warnings. To completely stop talking to all of my childhood friends, because I knew I was going to aspire to become different enough and I would no longer be able to associate with them. I was told my calling had drawn me out of the world, so therefore If I had friends with the world God hated that. Which actually is scriptural, but I took it to a place farther than I should have. 

One of the all-encompassing lessons I was taught in the beginning was that we were to live the “Give Way” of life. That it was better to give to others and more satisfying to our lives to be living sacrifices than it was to expect from others and be given things. 

I worked at the RCG HQ for only 4 years. It would have been longer but this is how it went: 

At first, it was inspiring. There was a focus on studying, the truth, the people, unity, becoming wholesome people, elevating our standards to reflect God’s glory, and being lights to the world. Several ministerial trips were being made and slideshows put together, the whole HQ staff and congregation gathered for us to see our brethren from around the world and make the connection that we had a family much bigger than our minds could see. I would spend many weekends with brethren, where we would have family movie nights, dinners, game nights, and more. The camaraderie was just something to behold. 

My first impression was that everyone was stiff and acted like robots. They all spoke the same, dressed the same, their hair combed, and cut perfectly.  People walked fast, always In a rush. Whenever Pack would enter a room everyone would eagerly look for him to be the first to rise up in his presence. He is towering figure and a bit intimidating. We greeted each other in an awkward way the first time. And every encounter after was just me trying to get away from him as much as possible because I did not later want to be the subject of a staff meeting about how people constantly get in his way and make it difficult for him to do the work. 

Anyhow, the first two years were marvelous, I found myself working seven days a week, If you didn't know, any setup and break down of the hall and other certain work at HQ was considered okay. We did a lot of it. But I didn't care I was doing something 7 days a week because I was determined to be the best serving Christian I could be. I had rose colored glasses on.

So many people at the time were moving to HQ, the staff was growing fast! There were rumors that a building was in the works. 

Pack would always mention he always believed there was not enough time to build a campus so therefore we were going to focus the Church’s assets on doing the work. Resources were devoted to the Real Truth Distribution Program, Advertising was expanded. We got on to television. A hardcover book on prophecy was written. Ministers were coming to HQ for training and being sent out. Everything seemed really ok!

You almost never heard about having to give up your assets. That is…until the land was purchased and the entire Church was told a campus was going to be built. Then all the recent hires made sense. But also, an entire sermon came out on how we needed to give all that we had to the Church. From there, things took many twists and turns. 

Fundraising was stressed on the members as a role they needed to partake in as part of their Christian duty. The example of Israel giving everything for the building of the temple was widely used to exhort us to do the same. We were told this would be far greater than what Mr. Armstrong had accomplished with the Pasadena campus. And the timing was so that the Pasadena campus had been demolished, which led Pack to believe beginning the process of building the RCG Campus was permission from God to do so. 

But as I video documented the entire build of the lower campus as part of my Job, then, I began to notice some things were off. 

First off, contractors were brought from the outside to help make the buildings possible. But Pack solely relied on the HQ staff to do the bulk of the work inside and landscaping. As the months progressed the first building began to take shape quickly but at the expense of tired staff. As I recorded, the few doing too much with too little time, they appeared terribly exhausted. Agitated. I focused a lot of the camera on the buildings themselves getting a lot of before and after. 

Many would share with me their experience, often complaining. I’d listen but never went to the ministry telling them what they had said. People needed to vent. I was learning that the rose colored glasses that had kept me in delusion were beginning to wear off. 

Pack championed himself as a man of the people and a pastor at heart. Openly stating he didn't want the role of Apostle, this was a method to solicit people to feel sorry for him, a tactic I believe he loves using often to tug at the heart strings of the membership and make them believe he cares about them. 

Pack is one way with the church and different with the staff. Certain things he says in a sermon is often cut out because he does not feel the entire church or the world should know it. You can find him even saying this in his transcripts made public. 

But during the entire build of the campus, many were overworked. Losing weight rapidly, often enduring poison ivy all over their bodies, sickness and, heat exhaustion. At times there were time crunches where lunches only lasted 30 minutes. Not enough time to get full nourishment for the hard work ahead. 

Many were coming and going, that is because many were being fired. The pressure was on, suddenly Pack became so obsessed with the campus he began attacking the very people who with blood, sweat and I believe tears had dedicated everything including assets to build the buildings. 

Anyone fired for a disagreement or failing to do the Job correctly were looked at as spiritual weak. IT'S NO WONDER! They had no time nor strength to study! People were driven to alcohol, smoking, escapades probably out of the volume of stress and feeling of emptiness. 

If it were not for the faithful women there, who brought the young men food from time to time, I believe some would have gone the day without eating. 

The first building was eventually completed in a year. But you could tell it was done in a hurry, there were all kinds of troubles with the first building. It was a headache. The whole staff was moved into the new building and eventually, everything became about appearance and standards and keeping the campus clean to a T. 

Pack instituted a big brother is watching you type of feeling among people, often encouraging the staff and congregation that if they saw anyone drop trash on the campus to tell the ministry immediately. He went as far as to say during a staff meeting that you were not spiritual enough if you walked by a piece of trash on the campus and did not pick it up. What if your eye didn't catch it and someone else saw you walk by it? I’m pretty sure they’d see you as not spiritual. 

You would see people scour the campus hoping to find trash so they could appear more spiritual. It was shocking! 

What was supposed to be a campus for the people, for the city, for the congregation, wasn't really for those people, It was more of an empty palace! As time went on, many of the staff were laid off, even more, were fired, their sins made public by Pack from the pulpit to the entire church, probably to discredit them if they spoke to other members about what was going on. Soon, entire floors were closed off with only those being in executive having access. It was a hassle anytime you needed to go up to the third floor you either had to take three flights of stairs or catch the elevator at a perfect time. And if anyone saw you wondering on the third floor you were asked the reason for being up there. It was as if Pack was paranoid and began to isolate himself and those who were his loyalist also loved being enclosed up there! They had the best views, best furniture, best desks. Meanwhile, staff elsewhere had broken and falling apart desks. And we couldn't even get the latest access to software for work. 

Many were made to feel bad. I was once told that Pack personally apologized to a family he had antagonized. However, he never made that public. He shared a story to the entire church of a young man working at HQ who asked another staff member about a bump he had gotten on his hand, the other staff replying to the young man it was a callus. When Pack heard that he used that story to show how young people were weak and didn't know what hard work was, thus he effectively killed the desire in that young man to do any more volunteering. That is what you got when you volunteered. 

During a time that was so difficult for everyone, a time that was full of exhaustion, a desire to be better, a time where everyone was trying to get on Packs level, all he ever did was bash people, most often the young people caught the brunt of his anger. He often publicly shamed the young people, for having awful work standards and not being able to have the attention to detail he did. He once said the young people in the church couldn't take care of a gold fish let alone a cat. He made us feel bad because we didn't have the stellar upbringing he did and he couldn't understand that during that time the morale had dipped so low in the church that people needed to be uplifted.

Instead, he hunkered down and would watch from inside the air conditioned third-floor glass windows like a hawk as the staff worked tireless laying out sod and mulch around huge areas and gardens. Anyone who stopped working for more than three minutes he called out. 

Pack often stated that if he could he would demand the entire church work on the campus on Sundays because God said six days shall you work.  Staff meetings were intense, and the entire time it was him chastising the staff for things that were being overlooked or things that were being done wrong inside and outside the buildings. 

The staff was being laid off on a huge scale, many such as myself constantly reassured we would not be affected. Until we were laid off. There went four years of my life, I had given it all up. With nothing to show for, because for the four years, I struggled financially so badly my family would regularly take up fund collections to help me afford my rent not get evicted. I once ate bread for a week. Never told anyone. Once trying lifting up a stack of chairs because there weren't any dolly’s or help around, I ended up pulling a muscle, my medical bill for that hospital visit was $7,000. 

Many young people are routinely relocated, the same people working on the buildings, never having a feeling of being settled. One day you could be at peace the next day, your household would be shuffled and you could find yourself living with someone who secretly worshiped Pack. 

I am thankful I had thick skin from the start. Some of the things I was told and made to feel would have been enough to make anyone feel insecure for a long time. But I believed I was doing something good. I believed and many others that we were helping out humanity. 

Instead, we were helping out Pack by bringing to life his vision of a campus he could eventually live on. He is in his own bubble. As he has stated, he has this ability to “see things that are not real”. Thinks people will eventually try and kill him, hence why he must be on the campus. The 82 part and counting series on correcting much of the prophecy he says the church misunderstood has left people even more confused. 

During the almost two years that this sermon series has taken place, many have left, and the new people will have no idea that Packs failed prophecy of August 2013 has effectively ruled him as a false prophet. 

He is now claiming to be the end time Elijah and therefore if Elijah was a type of Christ, he is. He has trained the staff and ministry to tell people who disagree or question something that is wrong as spiritually weak. 

One particular sermon that was given during a conference explained the higher a Christian is in the pyramid of government that God laid out, the higher your vantage point is spiritual. So the people work hard to achieve that level of awareness that could allow them to “see other peoples intention and spiritual level”. It almost sounded at times like some Scientology nonsense. 

The Staff is underpaid. When they no longer need you, they let you go and don't even bother to check up on you only if there is a need of you again. Some staff are brought back when it's in the best interest of HQ. Staff meetings are basically, Pack yelling and staff never able to ask the questions they really want to ask. The buildings are mostly empty. Not enough money is coming in, so the existing number of people there have to work even more to maintain the income that is needed to pay for the campus. While others struggle to pay three tithes, Pack is enjoying a new home with a huge deck none of the members who have given it all up will ever have the pleasure of being on or having one of their own. Some of the loyal ministers at HQ routinely share with each other what was supposed to be private counsel sessions. They try and persuade you, that there must be something wrong with you. They regularly ask you about other members not keeping up with the status quo. If your haircut is off, they pounce on you like a pack of wolves, meanwhile, the same ministers walk by you as they walk into Sabbath services with their crisp pressed shirts, shined shoes, and clean shaven faces never saying hello.

The arrogance and egos and the people building up a wall around Pack are the same people no one likes to counsel with. There is no trust in them. People vent all the time. Anyone would welcome a conversation, a sincere genuine conversation where you openly talk about frustrations bothering you with the way things are done. It's considered murmuring, but some people cannot go to the ministry to release the pint up anger and hurt.

Now I am 26 years old and I realized I could no longer bear this all in, I spoke my mind several times, left the Church three months ago after giving it another shot, I was told I had been spiritually weak for a long time. No, I just got tired being told to believe the bible and then see actions that were different. I got tired of seeing peoples live uprooted, good people. People who were willing to do the right thing. Widows removed from the body for being a burden on the church. Young people shamed. Great ministers being fired or leaving. Always helping but never being helped. Played with your emotions. Confused about prophecy. Made to feel like people in the splinters were stupid and our enemies. On and on and on! What happened to the Give way of life I was told to honor? Pack has turned into something of a mad man even more so than what people already claim he is. 

This is no joke, this will ruin your self-esteem and once you are either kicked out or muster the courage to leave, you are left to pick up the pieces and try to make sense of the whiplash that is being a part of RCG. You will feel unable at times to relate to people in the world. You will feel like you completely lost your sense of purpose in life. You will miss your friends who will no longer speak to you. You will fight hard to unlearn being critical of others and being a robot and all about appearances. 

More and more people are coming out and saying the exact same things, down to precise details that cannot be made up. This stuff just cannot be made up!

It has affected my friendships and sometimes my relationship with my family. Now they are the ones helping me and encouraging me and giving me bits of happiness. I don't think Christ meant for a person to feel this way. But my hope for any who read this is that at the very least some faith in God can remain intact in your hearts and that you too make the decision to begin the healing process. 

Also see a previous story of a former RCG employee:

Former RCG Member/Employee Talks About Abuse In David C. Pack's Cult Compound In Wadsworth


Restored Church of God: Dale Schurter Back In The Fold Ready To Minister To Surging RCG Membership

From the Church of God News:

Dale Schurter was sidelined 18 months ago, but he has now been restored to the fold. David Pack began part 82 of his latest sermon series by announcing that: 
“Mr. Dale Schurter is actively serving in the ministry again; doing much better and that’s wonderful - at the young age of 80, about two weeks ago today ... So he’s serving as the Associate Pastor with Mr. McElroy in Dayton, Ohio.” 
Both Dale Schurter and Larry McElroy moved to RCG from the United Church of God.
COGNews continues with this bit from Dave on the almost ready to surge membership of the RCG.
Pack then talked once more about the surge of people who will be wanting to join RCG ... “it should be obvious if you think this through, that it becomes exponential. The people who are excited enough to get others to come and who come, are therefore, going to react, logically, the same way that the excited people who urged them did, and they’re going to go out and do the same thing. And then, that’s going to double and so forth.”
Using the concept of a penny doubling every day and becoming $11 billion after 40 days, he muses ... “here in Ezekiel 33 we’re talking about people. So if one tells two and then two tell four and four tell eight ... it would be on about Day 36 when you get to almost 700 million ... and then if you went four more days, you would go way beyond the total population of Earth. 
Dave is anticipating 2,000 members to soon join up with his group, but more importantly, he has his eyes on their money!
Now obviously, God has to bless that process...” Is that where his analogy fails?
Two weeks previously, in part 80, he exclaimed ... “we’re starting to take off again. You can imagine with our budget. And staggering numbers. I would anticipate within 2, 3, 4 months at the most, over 2,000 households are going to ask to come to church. An awful lot of them are going to stay 12 weeks, or they don’t come at all, the vast majority. Low, single digits will be the only ones that come, and then how many even stay?” 
“Staggering numbers” ask to come to church, but hardly any come, and fewer stay, even for a short time.
Of course, those newcomers are in for a rude shock.  Dave has set up strict incorporation guidelines for any potential members.  A loyal RCG minion MUST first visit with them in their homes.  Then, if approved, they will be forced to go through the same "eye washing" that Dale Schurter went through.
Before being allowed to come to church, each household must be visited by an RCG minister, and that seems to be enough to put most people off attending.

The Dale Schurter Propaganda/Resignation Letter

Dave Pack Drags Dale Schurter Out of the Reeducation Camp to Introduce the Most IMPORTANT Agricultural Program On Earth

Glynn Washington: NPR's Great Black Hope

From The Atlantic:

NPR’s Great Black Hope

The radio network’s stereotypical listener is a 50-something white guy. Can Glynn Washington, the fastest-rising public-radio star in memory, change that?
Glynn Washington is a former COG member who shares stories of his life growing up in Armstrongism.

Many NPR hosts come from NPR-ish families. Not Washington. “I grew up in a cult,” he told me. His parents were members of the Worldwide Church of God, a sect founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, an apocalyptic radio evangelist based in Pasadena. Washington got out—a story he tells with an escapee’s pride—and went on to the University of Michigan and its law school. He studied in Japan, then worked for the State Department, then ended up directing a program at the University of California at Berkeley. Some of the best Snap Judgment segments are drawn from his own life, and you get the feeling he could carry several episodes a year by himself.
Read the full story here.

More stories that appeared  here on Banned:

Glynn Washington weaves his childhood in the WCG into his stories on PBS

Glynn Washington: The Reunion

Glynn Washington: The Son of Ham

Glynn Washington Snap Judgment: Choosing Sides

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dave Pack: What Life Is Like On The Restored Church of God Compound

A comment from the  Dave Pack's Land Grab  posting:

We are RCG survivors who were also in the ministry.We never worked at HQ but we can easily see that the HQ ministry's allegiance is expected to be that your heart, mind, money and time go to Dave Pack with little scraps of time for your family. 
These men and women are stressed out from wearing many hats and constantly having to take on extra tasks to make up for the losses of the revolving door of employees at HQ. They are even expected to help out with planting, mulching and weeding at HQ when that needs to be done so there goes their Sundays! 
We have known many of those at HQ and the changes we have seen in them over the years is sad - their lives are not their own - they are tired and stressed and there is no joy in their eyes.At the last conference we attended, we could notice obvious changes in some of the ministers and wives personalities.They are so programmed that they don't even realize it!!They are automatons!! 
Now that Dave Pack has most of the ministry moved into the string of houses surrounding his compound those ministers are now paying the rent to pay the mortgages on houses they will never own. They work for Dave Pack and live in his houses. So, basically he owns them, or at least has a very unreasonable amount of control over their lives. They fear to disagree with him or they would lose their job and place to live in the same day. This has happened! 
It breaks our hearts to see these young people devoting their lives to a false apostle who will praise them to the skies if they please him and kick them to the curb if they ever dare disagree with him! 
How we wish they would realize that there is life after RCG, a life of peace and freedom to serve God and not a man who thinks he is Christ himself! They could learn what it is to have a life and function as a normal family!

We pray daily that these deceived brethren will see Dave Pack for the wolf he is and run for their lives away from him and his destructive hold on their lives!

All of the things mentioned above are classic cult indoctrination and manipulation tools in order to wear people down and to instill fear in them.

Loaded language

The jargon in cults has multiple effects. 
  1. The group members feel understood because they all use the same words and it generates a sense of camaraderie (and elitism - see below). 
  2. New people may feel left out and often want to learn what the words and phrases mean, drawing them deeper into the mindset of the cult. 
  3. Complex situations are often reduced to a few words, and this begins to shut down the critical thinking of the members. 
  4. The words and phrases can dictate how the members should act in certain situations without having to make decisions. For example, one group had a phrase that meant that seniors in the hierarchy of the group were always right. So if there were any problems or disagreements, the phrase sorted everything out! 
  5. When the jargon is second nature, talking to outsiders may become tedious and awkward and this keeps group members isolated from outside influences.

Elitist mentality 

As part of cult tactics,  members are made to feel special. They are part of an elite group that is going to, for example, change history, save the world, change humankind in some way or be saved by god. They have a strong sense of mission or purpose which binds them together and keeps them working hard and giving of themselves - in other words, slaving and sacrificing!
This sense of elitism makes them feel more important or superior to those outside the group, especially to people in other cults, which they can easily spot! 
This gives rise to one of the many contradictions in cults. While members are obedient and humble before the leadership, they can be arrogant to outsiders.
This elitism also brings responsibility, because they feel more responsible for saving the world. And of course, this sense of responsibility can be used by the leaders to manipulate them even further, inducing guilt if they don't properly perform their duties, earn enough money, recruit enough people, and so on.

The end justifies the means 

Because they are doing very important things like god's work, or saving the earth, rescuing mankind, or simply doing 'The Work, members are led to believe that lying, cheating, and deceiving outsiders for money or getting them to come along to the group is justified.
And remember that many group leaders are psychopaths. This means they have no empathy, guilt or remorse. Ever!
Add to this their inflated sense of self worth, grandiosity and sense of entitlement, and they believe they can do whatever they like, take what they want, abuse whoever they please etc. etc. without any consideration for others. For them the end always justifies the means.
And then consider that the leader is creating clones of himself...!!!
Think you might know a psychopath? Here's a quick test...

Group dominates individual 

In destructive groups, the group comes first. Loyalty and obedience to the leadership are very highly regarded parts of the cult psychology. 
Members learn with to distrust themselves and trust the authoritative leader, looking to him or her for direction and meaning in their lives. They put aside their own wants and needs in favor of those of the group. To a large extent, cult control causes their own well-being to become enmeshed with the well-being of the leader.

Sense of community 

When a new member first joins a destructive group, there is a very strong sense of community, unconditional love, joy, happiness etc. Later, when the member is indoctrinated, he or she learns that this sense of belonging very much depends on good behavior.  
If they break the rules, criticize the leadership, express negative emotions such as anger or distrust of the leader, they quickly find themselves ostracized by the group until they sort out the 'problem' (any problem is usually the fault or responsibility of the member, not the leader!) 
It's another contradiction in groups that while everybody is encouraged to be equal and the same, competition is used to shame members who are not working hard enough, and to spur the hard work workers on even more.
The members feel quite close to each other, in fact, they may feel closer to people in this group than to anyone ever before in their lives. However, closer examination shows that the relationships are quite shallow (they tell on each other; they can be hyper-critical of mistakes; members may know little or nothing about each other's pasts, families or friends; there is often little or no consideration for the problems or needs of others, unless there is a benefit in it for themselves; and when members leave a group, it is often as if the remaining members simply forget about them; and in reality all they know is the pseudopersonality, they have little real contact with the real identity!) 
Besides, true friendships are discouraged because the leader wants all the adoration and attention for himself.  
On top of this, if one person leaves he may bring his friends with him. Of course, if someone does leave, the anger, frustration, disgust and hatred are directed towards them. (In these situations, anger and hatred are encouraged, of course!) A supposedly close bond between ' friends' can change in an instant if one person becomes a nonbeliever or a traitor!

Understanding Cult Psychology