Friday, February 9, 2018

Regrets: No Unringing the Bell

While many a famous person at the end of their careers usually sings a round of "Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention,"  I think they have to be kidding themselves.  They really haven't had just a few regrets.  They are usually drunk when they start singing that. We all do it our way because it is us doing it and life lived long enough brings many regrets.

On the other hand, I might rewrite it to be "Regrets, I've had a bunch. And then again, too many to mention."  Much of that regret is not doing it my way at all but rather doing it the ways others told me I should and must do it, whatever it was.  On Banned, we all get reminded of our religious choices of the past and regrets.

In religion, HWA and the WCG told me to do it their way.  And I did.  I choose to do it their way because I thought that somehow and in some way, ( I was very young) they had an inside line to God and truth and I was really doing it God's way  (I did come to hate religious folk substitution "I did it God's way" for the actual lyrics however. ). God and truth were topics that interested me at a very early age and the hook was easily set . I wanted to be a church pastor long before I heard of WCG. I wanted to know what the Bible had to say, who Jesus was and what was the meaning of it all.  You could not have talked me out it.  I had to do that to myself after years of observing, thinking, study and deciding that I would be better off making my own choices from now on.

But now time has past, water has gone under many bridges and the hindsight of age leaves me, and I assume everyone, many regrets in life on many topics.  Banned, of course, is for us who regret our doctrinal and church choices as members and ministers and somehow find a sadistic pleasure in following those still stuck in it and especially those who think they have inherited the leadership positions they evidently craved in times gone by and now have an open shot at.

I could list several dozen personal regrets as could we all but when it's all said and done, life teaches us that fires go out, water seeks its own level and lessons, for whatever reasons, are noted.  That's probably about the best one can do with regrets.  We can take new paths, learn what we wished had known long ago and keep moving ahead with our lives older and wiser.  But we can't unring the bells of past choices and simply have to put regrets in whatever perspective helps us the most.

Not doing so can kill us from all directions and in many ways.

I found this observation long ago and find it so very true if you get to live long enough.

When I was young, mountains were just mountains and rivers were just rivers
But then  I was told that mountains are not just mountains and rivers are not just rivers.
But when I was old, mountains indeed were just mountains and rivers were just rivers

This speaks volumes to me of my own personal WCG/Member/Minister experience.  Nothing was a big deal when I was young until someone came along and convinced me that everything was a big deal only to learn years later that I was right. Nothing is a big deal after all.  

Mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health has to be directly related to how we process regrets.  I have learned that if I wait around for everyone to like, forgive , put up with or agree with me is probably going to take a very long time and actually will never happen. So it is with us all I suspect.  Fortunately, I no longer have that as criteria for healthy living. I do still wince over the term "Ministurd" but sooth myself knowing that others were "Memberturds" so it all works out. LOL

Eckhart Tolle said "All negativity is some form of non-acceptance.  Anytime you  find yourself being negative, ask yourself what is it you are not accepting."  I can't find any fault with this observation.  It is how it works.  Regrets are like this.  They produce a lot of negativity when they stir us up but in the final analysis simply must be accepted as a part of the show.  Yelling and screaming that something that is already past and over with probably qualifies as insanity. Thus the simple reality of "what," or was may be the best course to take.

When I did was a paramedic for a diversionary hobby my last years of ministry, I saw some  gruesome stuff. My first call came in as a "precipitous birth" meaning if I helped deliver a baby I'd get a Stork Pin. Someone screwed up and when we got there it was chaos. A teen had walked into the living room, spun the cylinder on a pistol, looked to see the bullet wasn't really in the chamber and told the family to watch this.  He did not know cylinders rotated one last time. He was dead before he hit the floor but we had to work as if he wasn't.   I did learn I could get to without passing out and do what needed to be done.  I could never help what happened. But I could help what happened next. Well not for him. 

And so it is with bells that can't be unrung and regrets now past. 

Whatcha think?


Allen C. Dexter said...

I feel exactly the same way. I was never ordained (thankfully), but I did minister a little over a year in New York and answered mail for more that fifteen years, so I was caught up in ministerial work. I was right in the midst of it all so I could easily see the corruption and began to see the contradictions, hypocrisies, etc. I helped a lot of people along on the path of deception, gave a lot of stupid advice on a lot of subjects, and was for a long time a loyal "SS" trooper.

It's taken decades to get where I am today, and I just have to forgive myself for the past. I was sincere in what I did, but sincerely deluded and dumb. I'm glad I no longer think I'm going to come face to face with some of those people in some kind of afterlife or resurrection. And, I no longer fear that "lake of fire" I was threatened with while is was still too dumb and gullible to see through it.

Oh, and I see we're back to those damn pictures in order to post a comment again. Ugh!

Anonymous said...

Dennis, I hope you can find your way to the point of "no regrets." When I walked away from my splinter a few years ago, I deeply regretted wasting nearly a quarter-century in my WCG/splinter experience. By now, I have come to realize that regret is pointless. Yes, I could have had more financial success if I hadn't gone the WCG way. Yes, I could have had a different set of friends and experiences. Yes, I could have avoided certain personality-deforming aspects of the WCG/splinter experience.

But that doesn't add up to regret. Had I not gone with WCG, what would I have done? I went with WCG precisely because I was not ready or able to do the other things that in retrospect would have left me better off. "What if I hadn't gone with WCG?" is about as realistic a question as, "What would I do if I won the Powerball lottery?" or "What if pigs flew in formation around Armstrong Auditorium in Edmond, OK?"

So, Dennis, don't regret. Yes, go ahead and be upset with yourself that WCG made the best sense to you as the right option for you. But being upset with yourself isn't the same as having a regret. Perhaps you might even lament the options you closed off by going with WCG. But even a lament isn't the same as a regret.

Instead, be happy that you can now live as a non-dissociated personality. By contrast, your old friends in the ACOGs mostly feel, deep down, that their "sunk cost" in the ACOGs is so great that it makes no point to leave. They know many of the same things you know, but they live in fear of acting on that knowledge. So, they pretend. How sad is that?

Byker Bob said...

Personally, I wish I could have programmable Alzheimers, which would allow me to totally forget large patches of my life, and even certain people, primarily the ones affected by Armstrongism.

I see myself going to University to study mechanical engineering, rather than faking the possibility of entering the ministry at Embarrassing College. I visualize myself as dating widely from all ethnic groups, prior to my first marriage, rather than attempting to fit in a short marital experience just prior to “the end” (which never came). The cars and motorcycles and music would all remain prominent in my life, with my racing career possibly going legit as opposed to being conducted illegally on the street. I also would hope that I’d study to develop real parenting skills, having chosen a wife with whom to develop a true partnership, rather than a string of problem chicks who were at best temporarily exciting.

One thing I would not change, and that is accumulating a solid history of hard work to develop a good, strong, bankable career which has ended up helping many people earn far more than my fees, creating opportunities for them and their employees to better their statuses, and to put food on their tables. That gift is the one thing in my life that I never messed up, and it did not mess me up, either.

If I could offer any advice, it is this: Feed whatever provides you with the most positive feedback. Too many people feed lost causes, (seems like we all know of one particular one, don’t we?) and then wonder how their lives ever got so screwed up, and why they are so miserable.


Anonymous said...


I like it. Serves us right. Well, some of us anyway.

David Rickman said...

My biggest regret was getting myself mixed up in that f**king Armstrong cult.

nck said...

I find it very interesting to hear about this topic.

I spent large time of my life among survivors of one or more of the 20th century holocausts at all theatres of war extending into Bosnia, Cambodia, N Korea et all. Having paid my respect to all wariors at cemetaries foreign and domestic, some edifices containing the bones of 150.000 men. And having strolled on the beaches of Normandy I have found that one of my challenges is to learn about regret, since my experiences have never allowed me to harbor such sentiments out of knowing what others before me had experienced and paled any regrets I might harbor.

This is a problem I guess to not be able to feel personal regret and only work with the facts.

(of course I have regrets as to not knowing enough, or handling things correctly at a younger age) Choosing ones parents however is simply beyond the scope of personal control and therefore cannot be regretted. Even the bible's first admonishment is to seperate oneself from those most of influential people.

So I have no advice. And my personal experiences with depressed people have me shut them out immediately (psychologically not physical on the contrary) as to not have them drag me down.

The true miracle to me is when I see snow and sandstorms disappear. Dark clouds replaced by sunshine. But I am unfamiliar with the processes making that happen.

The brain is a miraculous thing. And we cant help being human. But we can study what propels us forward. For some it is silent contemplation on a rock along a river. For others it is working in a busy homeless shelter. Others find pride in their own business and others in supporting their boss or manager.

I never allowed regrets because of the torpedoed ships taking my kin to the asian railroads, my friends storming Omaha Beach, inlaws taken to the european death camps, younger generations having been unable to prevent mass murder in recent times because of crooked politics.

But I am as a novice starting to learn about compassion or understanding for those stuck with unfortunate consequences of personal decisions. At a theoretical distance however. Since I am hardly a person having the patience to positively affect the afflicted. Since any attempt on my part to assist led to accusations of increasing feelings of guilt which is counterproductive. So I have focussed my live only around that which is productive. Which is highly unbalanced I realize.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed talking with you a few days ago on the phone. Yes we all have regrets, we all look back and wish we had done many things differently. I want to thank you for so many of the posts you have made here. You, me, Baker Bob, Allen, Gerald and many others had the AC experience. We worked either at Hq or for Hq. We believed we were doing “doing Gos’s Work.” Was it all a waste? I don’t know. Dennis I do know this, you were a caring minister and you are still a caring person today. You will never know how your council helped many to get through another day. You are still doing what your life’s ambition was, caring for people. I have leaned a lot from you. I never got to know Baker Bob, but I am sure I rubbed shoulders with him from time to time. I relate to many of his experiences. I was at AC with Gerald, Allen was a few years ahead of me. We lived it, we did it now we have moved on....let’s live the rest of our lives making the best choices we can. Dennis keep rubbing your clients the right way and keep sharing your life’s experiences. Dennis, BB, Allen, Gerald and others thumbs up!!

Anonymous said...

Err, God did create the emotion of regret for a reason.
Hence I'm outing myself, I'm coming out of the closet. I have many regrets about the past. I'm proud of it, and won't be intimidated. The regretaphobes can go cake.
So there!

DennisCDiehl said...

I suspect that for all of us back in the day, as with myself, you could have not talked us out of it. It's the hindsight that gives us the regrets which are ever present and probably the most useless feelings and emotions to have. I found the writings of Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now and The New Earth to be very helpful. I could not argue with NOW being all we actually have and the past being where our useless regrets lie and the future our easy to worry anxieties. It's a human thing I suspect.

My regrets leave me with lifelong consequences having trusted that when getting older came a calling, if it did, "we'll be there for you." I love my work but will have to do it until someone notices I am dead. I love living in Portland but feel guilty about not sucking it up and moving back to South Carolina nearer kids etc.

I can't express how much I detest SC as a place of many bad memories with church and messy transitions. The culture is not me. The weather is not for me. The place soaking in religion is not for me. I think it's the last symbol of compliance and going along to get along for me and I simply don't want to end my life doing that against my own wishes for a change.

I love my kids of course and am very proud of them and their beautiful families. I have a hell of a better relationship with them than Dave Pack has with his. The butterfly effect of my going to SC is that they have beautiful partners and I have beautiful grandchildren which would not exist had Papa Diehl not gone to SC. Weird huh? lol.

I never wanted to go there but was the good soldier for the sixth time. The Seventh move was to hear and the first one since I was 18 that I chose to make. Being alone here is a challenge at times but you all get the "benefit" of me writing what you don't want to hear and repeating myself! heh heh... I have my room, my artifacts, my meteorites and most of my sanity and health so it's all good. Life is too short now to bitch and moan about it all. At trip up the Columbia Gorge can heal anything

Near_Earth_Object said...

A preface: Keep in mind that Armstrongist readers of this blog relish your admissions of regret. They live in a world of "all is well, all is well with my soul" and are ashamed and secretive when they have certain kinds of life issues. Their hearts leap with excitement when they hear that something bad has happened to someone they don't like. They do not have genuineness or heart. This is because they are Cult members and not Christians.

That being said, I am not a Calvinist. I do not believe everything in life, including your next breath, is pre-determined. I also do not believe in untrammeled free will. I do believe that some artful design has been applied to our lives, especially at the level of the broad strokes.

I believe life is instructional and the unexamined life is not worth living. I have experienced many regrets, lost opportunities and weird events. For example, I was a part of the WCG for 30 years. But within that milieu I was regarded as a subhuman because I was racially mixed - I am about half Native American. This had a lot of direct personal consequences for me because I was a part of an organization that was essentially White supremacist. Now what was I doing in a racist organization? Odd. I thought the one and only true church was a small, heretical, racist, Millerite church. I believed that the attitude that "the church" had toward me was the attitude that God had toward me. Ugly.

I can't believe I wasted 30 years trying to make something work that would never work and shouldn't work because it is toxic. On the other hand, I did learn a lot about God, theology, people and organizations. And I learned a lot about me.

Dennis Diehl said...

NEO, part or all Native American is a gift. I like my mere 4% Neanderthal bit some would argue it is closer to 100%

Dennis Diehl said...

610...must be so because "God" ended up within 4 chapters of Genus is regretting the whole sorry mess he created and be holding it as "good". Guess he was not all knowing after all

Anonymous said...

Banned opened my eyes to the proposterousness of not only COG, but all religions. They all got it wrong because they are based on a ancient concepts of the universe; and they are stuck there still trying to justify belief in their forefathers’ religion. So sad they can’t move on. I have discovered that I am in agreement with deistic views. To be honest, I guess I never really believed the supernatural stories of the Bible. And thanks to the wise and free thinking contributors here, I am unshackled from the clergy who would like to tell me how to think, what to do, and how to act. Thank you for your thoughts, you have made a huge difference in my life. I believe that I will have fewer regrets because of you.

Byker Bob said...

We should note that regret is a normal human propensity for all sane people. Try as we might, nobody gets everything perfect on the first go. To learn from one’s mistakes is to grow. A brain surgeon who specializes in capping aneurisms became a reliable specialist by losing a few patients, some with families who needed them, and whose lives changed forever as a result of their deaths.

I believe that our little group’s perceptions and regrets are directly proportional to the percentages of our lives that were wasted in the Armstrong heresy or scam, to the damages inflicted, and to the residual effects. As a member of what I call “Class of 1975” versus others of my peer group who became part of “Class of 1995”, my perspectives are going to be different from those who spent an additional twenty years having their lives and resources falsely and needlessly drained. My personal reaction after leaving was to attempt to make up for the many normal and wholesome aspects of life of which we had been deprived. But, I was still relatively young, and there were still doors open to me that gradually close with age. Oh, yes, and there were also some tests along the way of reality, stretching the boundaries and thinking outside of the envelope in ways that those who had been permitted “normal” lives might not have done. Still, I had established some well defined boundaries for these activities, carefully picked the people who were closest to me, and always maintained my stability. Unfortunately, I watched some of my peers get in trouble with the law, or sink into addictive behaviors. I also watched people who were stalwarts in the church suffer cumulative loss at the hands of the church because they were committed to the Armstrong false prophecy mold. At this point, that part of the HWAcaca is completely irrelevant, because even if “the Germans” were to suddenly land tomorrow, those of us who believed we would never make 30 actually got to live the long lives which we had imagined as not being possible. In that sense, and assuming most of our life experiences were good, or at least neutral, worst case scenario never touched us. We won!

That is something to savor, regardless of all the negative residuals! That which we feared most, that which was used to defraud and manipulate us, never came upon us.


Connie Schmidt said...

My family has Regrets about paying for the Egrets !

nck said...

NEO. I do not believe in free will at all, warped by half a life in advertising having sat in board room meetings quite some time before the "general public" "discerned" what they were going to acquire. While the postal code and other algorythms told us about what was to happen far more precise than broad strokes.

You might have been regarded "sub anglo saxon" but not sub human by wcg definition.

On a personal note this contradictory life path if yours might be in your genes and warped relation with history. After all you represent those that brought the people who eventually killed the buffalo to make subjects of your other half.

To me you're constitution is one of the most interesting and fascinating of persons I met on this blog.

Since we are talking about regrets I will apologize in calvinistic manner to you for having called an inuit ac student an eskimo at camp. It was ignorance on my behalf being a kid and all. I will overspend on beer if we ever get the chance to meet at the red star dock. Yesterday I met with the master of one of the largest groups on facebook regarding ocean liners posting many of the star ships. Not a day goes by without me having a chuckle on your illustrious forebears.

I am extremely proud of one of my little cousins carrying more interesting genes than any before her having added sioux gene toward those I regard as kin.

(although I have reason to believe her mama's side chose white star for voyage early 1900's.)

It is a great thing to be reconciled with the many aspects of ones constitution and no use to regret what is beyond ones control.


Lake of Fire Church of God said...

I think Garner Ted Armstrong sang "My Way" as good if not better than Frank Sinatra. Do you think Garner Ted might have had some regrets looking back at the end of his life after being excommunicated as heir apparent to the Worldwide Church of God and being reduced in broadcast reach in his own Church of God, International - only to be thrown out of the Church he founded and becoming an even lower wattage work with his grossly misnamed Intercontinental Church of God? Do you think Garner Ted might have some regrets?


Near_Earth_Object said...

From another angle, it is good to be in a position to have regrets. It means that we have come to be able to assess our lives by a non-Armstrongist reality. We are fortunate enough to be Exiters.

On the other hand, a small number of Branch Davidians are still hanging around the Waco Compound (Mt. Carmel, the refuge of Elijah), meeting on the Sabbath and waiting for David Koresh to be resurrected - another Millerite delusion just like some of the beliefs in the Armstrongist branch.

Sorry to say, these faithful Davidians have no regrets.

Near_Earth_Object said...


I have trouble with your writing but let me make one comment.

The term "sub-human" is correct. Adam, according to HWA, was a White man and was made in the image of God who was also a White man. People of color are a departure from this original Aryan ideal.

I admit that Dean Blackwell altered this notion back in the late Sixties by stating that God probably intended that people of color should exist - something that was not believed before then. Up to that time it was thought in the WCG that people of color were sub-humans that originated as bad mutations. But Blackwell was pointed in his belief that even though God may have planned for people of color to exist, they were clearly inferior.

I think the idea of sub-human persisted in the WCG congregations culturally if not as an articulated belief.

It is an ironic twist that I am part Jewish and I am also distantly related to HWA through the Wrights, a Quaker family. At AC/BS, where I received a lot of maltreatment, I was one of the few people, among the Western European Goyim who dominated the campus, who was actually descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and also connected to Herbert himself.

Anonymous said...

But Blackwell was pointed in his belief that even though God may have planned for people of color to exist, they were clearly inferior.

North-East Asians have an average IQ of 105. Whites: 100. Africans ... I can't say because it would be considered offensive. You have to go look it up.

Anonymous said...

Banned opened my eyes to the preposterousness of .... all religions. ...I have discovered that I am in agreement with deistic views.

Isn't that a religion?

Anonymous said...

wow, Dennis, I'd be very careful about your comments about our Creator. How can a mere man judge God??????? Please think about your comments ... not judging YOU, but ....

Byker Bob said...

@ 5:49 ~ Oh brother! Another one who is totally ignorant of the fact that “standardized” measurement of IQ is keyed directly to favor a specific compilation of experiences which would be typically accumulated by middle class citizens of modern, civilized nations, taking the test in their own native language.

The fact is that people of all ethnicities have risen to the highest levels of academic, financial, and managerial achievement. But, I suppose that there is always going to be some ignorant schlub who attempts to invalidate a brilliant over-achiever such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, solely based on skin pigmentation.


nck said...


I hear Blackwell a lot regarding this topic. Fortunately I never had any doings with anything he has produced. During my 25 year stint in wcg I never heard that people of any color were regarded less than human. Less than Anglo Saxon I have encountered, but NEVER sub human.

BB great reproach of the 5:49 person.
It is about what standard of measurement you take. In all probability 5:49 would be considered "beyond stupid" in the Australian outback taking the aboriginal iq standard. Probably dead within 30 hours or at least in dire need for some applicable knowledge out there.


Ron said...

Just another try to see if I can get a comment to actually post.....what say, Dennis?

This is Roger Barnett, by the way...

Dennis Diehl said...

Roger, A lot of people think this is my blog. It is not. I don't know why your posts don't make it at times

Byker Bob said...

Even for long-term posters, not every attempt makes the cut. There are electronic reasons sometimes, and occasionally some of us get a little too rad. The important thing is to just keep hanging it up there. Most of it’s going to get through, and we’ll get to enjoy it or be edified.


Retired Prof said...

February 10 5:52 PM asks, "Isn't [deism] a religion?"

Not really. It's a worldview. All religions include a worldview, so there's that similarity. However, to qualify as a religion, a belief system needs to also include ritual practices (either individual or group), a system of morality, and a promise of some kind of salvation. Individual deists may adopt any or all of these ideas, but the deistic worldview does not automatically include them. There's not much point, since the hypothesized creator/designer no longer pays much attention to creation. He/she/it/they started up the universe and walked away to let the mechanism run on its own.

NO2HWA said...

I rarely delete anything except for the race baiting posts. Google is not the greatest platform for commenting.

Byker Bob said...

What I’d like to know, nck, is where 5:49 has been living since about 1969! Chicanos attending Garfield High in East L.A. had been routinely guided towards trades rather than college, based on their IQ scores from the so-called standardized tests. Starting in the late ‘60s, university professors and students in think tank projects compiled alternative IQ tests which were based on things typically learned while being raised in barrio or ghetto settings as opposed to suburban, predominantly white areas. When they administered these alternative tests under double blind conditions, minority students scored consistently on a near genius level, while the scores of participating white students made them appear not to be suited to succeed in a college or university environment.

Shortly thereafter, the guidance counsellors in high schools across the USA began to amend their practices away from decades of unfair and unwarranted bias, actually steering minority students towards higher education, rather than towards manual labor or trades. It has worked amazingly! This has been responsible for the emergence of the minority middle classes which are so prominent today. And, of course there are some white people who unfortunately see that as being a very bad thing. Reality is that given a level playing field, equally fair to all participants, there is no such thing as white supremacy. And, that is yet another proof that HWA was f.o.s.

Whoever this slug is, promoting his racist ideas and Naziism, he is most certainly not an academic, or a humanitarian. The only way that his paradigms could be implimented would be through some new dark ages totalitarianism accompanied by massive “ethnic cleansing”. He is the enemy, and it is encouraging that he is not gaining any traction amongst the thinking people here on Banned!


Anonymous said...

It was my fault that the ministurds tricked me before I was an adult?
Dennis is such an unrepentant perpetrator of Armstrongism!

Anonymous said...

Is deism a religion? A religion to be a 'true' religion must have a religious spirit. The commies, Nazis, and todays left wing socialists have this. A religious spirit gives people great drive and resolve. By contrast, some 'religious' people only pay lip service to their religion. It gives them some benefits, but there is no religious spirit.

Does Dennis have a religious spirit? Absolutely, he writes these non stop posts to get people to see the truth of atheism. Dennis is very religious. He is the pastor general of the church of God doesn't exist and the bible is crap.

Gerald Bronkar said...

Anon 5:28, thanks for your post. Wish I knew who you are. Happy you have escaped the mind-numbing ignorance, and hope you have a decent and comfortable retirement.