Saturday, March 31, 2018


Pain comes in many forms. There is the pain of a headache and there are many kinds of headaches that produce various degrees and quality of pain. There is organ pain when something is wrong inside and muscle pain when they are pushed beyond the norm either by exercise or emergency. Pain can be mild and a mere annoyance, or brutal and debilitating.  
Emotional pain, and many say they'd much rather have physical pain than the kind of pain that spins the mind and weakens the body due to emotional upheaval is part and parcel with the WCG experience. I assume it is the emotional pain of having it that leads many here to BannedHWA as a means of processing the pain of good intentions gone south. 
All emotional pain is the body's reaction to the mind. There literally are molecules of emotion released into the blood by the brain, that find their ways to our cells and lock on to produce the effects we know all too well when emotional pain strikes. It may be that kicked in the stomach feeling, dizziness, crying or shock, but it all has its roots in the chemistry produced by the mind when the mind has to deal with the way things are.
It's why funerals are as they are and bad news sucks. It's why chronically bad thinking produces chronically bad health. We are both what we eat and what we think. Emotions can be checked by proper attention to the breathing which most never do properly. When we breath from high in the chest, as when under emotional stress, we literally send the message to the brain we are stressed and anxious. In response, the brain sends the appropriate chemicals for fight or flight. To change that, we simply need to breathe deeper and lower in the body which literally sends the message to the brain that "all is well." The brain then says "fine then, here comes the feel good stuff." 
Most people hold their breath more than they realize. It produces bad chemistry. Meditation skills emphasize attention to breathing for this very reason.  
The human brain is not just in the head.  It also extends into the blood where and how the molecules of emotion are delivered to the appropriate physical receptors.  We stay angry and can't calm down because the chemistry of anger is locked onto the appropriate cells and it takes time for the keys to fall out of the locks and normalcy returns.  "Just calm down" can take time physically.  It can take time in every context. 
My journey in WCG both as member for a very short time and minister for way too long a time was wrought with emotion and ,in hindsight, mostly negative as the Armstrongs  and Tkaches played out their dramas inflicting the pain of it all on those who did not come to the  Church, or any church, for such a stupid and reckless religious experience.    It almost killed me. 

Creating new problems trying to solve old ones is also a skill humans seem good at. Anger, fear, doubt, anxiety, depression, regrets and much head shaking and forehead slapping seemed pretty common. My reactions to the emotions were not always stellar or helpful to me personally or my family either. The art of numbing the painful emotions ignited by the all the problems such an organization can come up with, rather than face and address them, never solves and always magnifies negative emotions and problems that weren't even problems to begin with.
No you don't just have big bones...
In my experience we don't address problems head on because we don't feel we have the right to do so or the price of doing so is way too high. It is not uncommon to listen to a client describe the pain in their hips, knees and ankles but never mention the fact that they are obese which means they will always hurt.  I've been asked by clients that weigh 350+ pounds to "fix my hips" and again the voice in my head says "How?  I can't even find them."  I cannot, however, in my level of profession tell them they are too heavy. They'd freak out and I'd get fired for hurting their feelings. The topic of "I know I am too heavy and need to lose weight" never gets admitted to. It never comes up.
  I did get fired once when a client, after mentioning they might consider quitting smoking as their skin and breath was reeking of nicotine coming out during massage, got upset for mentioning it.  I asked the Christian owner if he'd forgive me but he said no. lol     
Perhaps there is another perspective about literal pain and that which is emotionally painful that would be helpful to keep in mind. Pain , literal or emotional, is also weakness leaving the body. Think of that. PAIN IS WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY.

In my therapeutic massage practice, "I'm hurting" is always the theme of the day with clients. EVERYONE tells me "I tend to carry my stress in my neck and shoulders" as if they are the only ones who experience it there.  By nature I want to say "Really?, I carry mine in my big toe," but that does not help client/therapist relations. :) 
Much pain I see in clients is caused by the underlying emotions in their life which is why we have a chat before each session on what stresses are in their life. That tells me a lot about where it's going settle in the body.  
Sometimes we talk about the words a client uses to describe themselves, "I'm getting old," "I'm a mess," etc, as those words can also translate into pain in the physical body. I tell them that we only get old if we are lucky and that seems to help.  Self labeling can be a source for dis-ease.  I have clients that I know what they are going to say before they say it because they repeat the same litany of pain and symptoms every visit.   My dad always talked about his age as just laps around the sun and perhaps that attitude contributed to both my parents living to just under 100. 
One client walked in looking like he was carrying all the weight of the world on his shoulders. When I pulled back the blanket to start working on the back there it was.  A almost life size tattoo of Jesus on the cross complete with crossbeams and red blood flowing from a disfigured Jesus face.  It stretched from his neck to his hip.  He was literally bearing his cross daily and it showed.  
One client blew out a big sigh when relaxed and said "My boss is such a blowhard. He even said he knows he's a big bag of wind at times."  Interesting I said.  Let me ask you what organ "blowhard" and "bag of wind" corresponds to those words.  "Lungs?"  Yep,  I then asked if her boss had any lung problems?  She shuddered, looking up and asked, "Why did you ask me that?  He just told me has lung cancer."  Just a theory I said and we had a chat about the negative words we use that the mind buys into as literally true delivering the appropriate chemistry, in this case, did-ease in the lungs.  Or it's just a coincidence I also said.
All that to say, watch your words and labels and certainly the tattoos you choose. They can  set you awash in the molecules of emotion. 
It's painful when people we love or we ourselves become less than perfectly healthy. It's painful when loved ones die, either too soon or very late. It's painful when life changes, jobs are lost, careers change, relationships deteriorate or change. But all pain is still weakness leaving the body.
The pain of loss wakes us up to our emotional weaknesses and we either grow through or become bitter as some do. Most grow through and are stronger for the pain that comes into their lives. Without the pain, there could be no growth and no getting stronger. I suppose this is why we cling, at times, to "what does not kill me, makes me stronger." Very true.  "What doesn't kill me pisses me off " is also true along the road to healing. 

Life is a bit like walking. Walking is, in fact,  a controlled crash that comes out looking like the smooth and flowing experience it is. For every muscle that needs to engage in support and forward motion, others have to let go so movement can even take place.  It's quite amazing.  If your hamstrings don't relax at the same time the quads/Psoas etc, engage in lifting your thigh, you aren't going anywhere.  Letting go is part of the process of moving forward.
I've learned that I could not be here today if I had not been there then.  Somehow that helps. If you had told me a few years ago that I'd have a great practice in the Pacific Northwest , I would have said you were nuts and why would that happen?  Well it did and I do. Without all that transpired then I would not be here now.  
Whether pain is literal and hurts the body, or emotional and hurts the mind and spirit, perhaps if we remind ourselves that "Pain is weakness leaving the body," we can see the bigger picture of what it might be here to teach us. It is universally true that in our weaknesses and pain, we are made stronger, if we allow it and don't allow self pity, anger and "why me" (why not?) to distract us from an opportunity to learn the lessons here at Earth School.
BannedHWA is one way the pain of religion gone bad  can leave the mind for our healing and scars to fade.  


Near_Earth_Object said...

"religion gone bad"

An understatement. I am perusing a book entitled "The Branch Davidians of Waco" by Newport. In one of the appendices is the account of a Brit who moved from the SDA church to the Branch Davidian church. I could detect a distinct Worldwide Church of God "feel" to his account. I think you had to have been a WCG member to identify this. I don't think the average reader would have a clue. Even some of the scriptures had a familiar ring. The idea that the SDAs were preaching milk and not meat. The Brit's excitement at discovering Koresh and how the Book of Revelation was of dominating importance in the Bible, how the OT was rife with prophecies about Mt. Carmel, how they ate good food and drank pure water from their well.

The Brit stated when he met Koresh: "I took a long look at the man who would show me things from the Bible that were mind-blowing, the mysteries of God. He was wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and trainers."

The pain part was a couple of ppendices later that provided a list of names of people who died at Waco. I am surprised to see that it includes a bunch of Brits, New Zealanders and Australians. Ephraim and Mannaseh were well represented. One girl, an Australian age 17, and her unborn child died of a gunshot wound. A bunch of infants and toddlers died of smoke inhalation. Most died of gunshot wounds or smoke inhalation.

This is where Millerism can lead in the hands of an ego-centric and charismatic leader. Armstrongism now has many ego-centric leaders but no charismatic ones yet.
When another GTA or Vernon Howell comes along, watch out.

I find myself coming back to Armstrongism to have another look (mostly via this blog) over and over again despite my personal pain. It is fascinating to be in the presence of insidious danger.

Connie Schmidt said...

For the record-

Dennis, I found this to be a productive and wonderful post, and indeed , very true!

Byker Bob said...

Pain is an inevitable part of life, and there are numerous ways in which humans deal with it, in its various forms. It can be an educator, a motivator, a stimulus for art. Some even learn to enjoy it. I’ve often wondered how many people raised under the WCG childrearing booklet didn’t have their significant others spank them, years after the fact, in their adult lives, for pleasure.

Amongst the physical fitness set, there is even the old adage “no pain, no gain”. Extremely spicy foods that you actually get to experience twice are popular and enjoyed by millions. (I’m digging on a huge burrito with Diablo salsa as I write this!)

There is a category of pain through which permanent damage is experienced. That’s the most destructive type, and the most damnable as go the person or persons who willfully inflict it. An example would be a minister insisting that in order to qualify to “take” Passover, a lady must cease taking glaucoma medication, the lady complies, and goes blind due to having been deprived of what was protecting her eye sight. Or, another example, financial ruination suffered through a “clarion call”, with the splinter administrators turning a deaf ear to the donor’s survival needs years down the line. These and other examples demonstrate that there is no doubt that ACOGs cause permanent damage, and therefore pain, in the lives of their members, and then rationalize and excuse themselves, only to turn on and to blame the victim. (Or God!) These are not spiritual guides, they are ravenous wolves. These are not nurturing church groups, these are exploitative and sadistic ones, and they make no secret of this!

Best we can do with pain is to sublimate it in ourselves or to help others deal with theirs. Sooner or later, everyone has it. Sometimes, helping others with their pain even helps us to forget our own. It also builds a karmic reserve for us. Cinderella did an awesome song in the early ‘90s called “Shelter Me”. Check it out, it’s on youtube.


A said...

"I've learned that I could not be here today if I had not been there then."

How true. I have to remember that when I think back over what has transpired in my life. If I'd taken a different path, I'd have made different mistakes (nobody gets through life without mistakes). I'd have had a different job and career paths, different marriages (maybe divorces too), different children, etc. I might not have ever been pushed into examining the nonsense of all religion and still be caught up in the ridiculousness of it. I've learned to try to be at peace with the past. I just didn't know any better at the time and did the best I knew how to do at that time.

nck said...


Your ignorance on church history is showimg in the "milk not meat" comment.

The transition of wcg to mainstream protestant during the nineties was not a standalone event.

The SDA church went through a likewise process distancing itself from its cultish past, distance itself from eg white, join the world council of curches, subscribe entirely to the "christian" criteria for membership of the world federation and be accepted among them as a respected member of the christian community.

Much to the chagrin of many ministers forming split offs or independent groups.

This occured at the same time wcg tried the same. Wcg problem however was the criminal incompetent leadership, whereas sda membership widely and democraticallt welcomed the changes and ammendments to its cultic past.

Disgruntled SDA may have found shelter in the davidians thereby recognizing some of "the old ways" which you mistakenly recognize as wcg ways.


nck said...

I believe both the sda and wcg changes to have been part of a larger wave following the end if the cold war. The collapse of the soviet union, south africa ordered to regime change by ronsld reagan who actively supported apartheid before the collapse of the su.

It seems the age of political mind control had gone and a new wave of unprecedented freedom set in. (cinton even released the banks upon mankind inban unprecedent change of controlling regulation and nanagement if human greed) Clintons move in 1999 brought us nearly to the collapse of society in 2008 for those who were sitting behind the graphics on their monitors.

Now control is being regained in a manner of unprecedented speedand use of technology.

These things come in waves.


True Bread said...

Letting go is part of the process of moving forward.

Banned's new motto....

Well written Dennis...


Anonymous said...

Those of us that spent many years in the Worldwide Church of God and have come to realize exactly what the environment is that we were in. It was an environment that actually fosters and promotes stress, an environment that heightens and magnifies fear, an environment that magnifies and increases guilt and shame. Though those who currently reside in the mucky soup that is the culture of spiritual abuse, they would deny this until the cows can solve some physics questions with the pigs. But the truth is, Armstrongism is an environment that fosters and produces everything that the fruits of the Spirit are not.

One of the big conundrums during the WCG years that I could never think about was this:

I remember hearing a scripture preached in a sermon. It was 2 Timothy 1:7 which states:

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

And I remember thinking, 'If God has not given us a spirit of fear, then why is there so much fear here? Why are people so afraid of the ministers? And of somehow breaking the Sabbath or the rules and the law?' It clicked when I realized that the spirit in Armstrongism IS a spirit of fear. It's a spirit that says you're not good enough. You did something wrong. You don't have enough faith. You're weak. You're slacking. Tow the line or you're put out. And the list goes on and on. So, putting two and two together - if God has not given us a spirit of fear... then why is the culture here so full of people fearful of what God will do to them all the time if they screw up? Where's the grace and the love?

I heard the scripture, recognized the conflict, and the only answer that fit was the one answer I did not want to recognize - that a spirit of fear was not given to us by God. And then - if God did not give it to us, then who - or what - did?

All the time we heard the Germans are coming. The place of safety is near. We have to flee in a few years. Don't be left behind in the tribulation. Dress and makeup could keep you out of the Kingdom! Not obeying the minister on trivial things could keep you out of the Kingdom. And then there were all the demon scare tactics we were always hearing from both the pulpit and the members - AND the Worldwide News too! And the BIGGEST fear that was that we'd do something trivial that pissed off a minister, getting us kicked out to the curb, to be "handed over to the bonds of satan" and lose the "protection" that came from being a member of "The Church". THIS was a small piece of the environment of constant fear I refer to.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind But then you'd hear if you're fearful, then you're not close enough to God. - then how do you get closer to God? Get more involved in the Church. An when you get more involved in the church, the more brainwashed you became.

For me, breaking free was realizing that the church was not a spirit of fear, but those who exhibit the fruits of the spirit - love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Not the fruits of Armstrongism which were anger, judgemental ism, self-righteousness, pride, conceit, cockiness, guilt, depression, and ego. Realizing that the fruits of Armstrongism is what helped cause emotional pain was a huge and a first step in healing. And then, you can finally learn how to breathe in an environment that is clean and cool and purer. Fresh air after a rain really does smell wonderful.

Thanks, Dennis, for a really honest and truthful article.

Near_Earth_Object said...

What the ministry in the WCG did was:

1. Convince you that they were in control of your salvation. Even if when they disfellowshipped you, they made the wrong decision, God would abandon justice and mercy and back up the decision of the self-important little men running the WCG. They had full authority to roast you in Gehenna whether they were right or not.

2. Because they had you by the short hairs, they could then control you and extort money from you.

3. They were able to divert 2 Timothy 1:7 to their own purpose by defining love as the keeping of the law. Only the "law" wasn't what Christ stated in the Sermon on the Mount but what Herman Hoeh wrote up in his article about that topic - a mix of Old Covenant and New Covenant ideas with the OC trumping (pardon me, no offense meant)the NC.

It was a simple and highly effective formula and it pivoted on fear. But to make this work, they had to run a Jesus Plus cult. They had to deride grace and elevate works as a condition of salvation - that was their leverage.

Happy Easter said...

I can't say that I understand the "hurt" & "pain" that the people here claim to have experienced in the church when HWA controlled it, but when I joined WCG in 2005 I found it to be absolutely wonderful and the changes that were being made and are still being made even changing the name to Grace Communion International reflects the openness of which love for all no matter what. I am now 40 years old and having the time of my life.

Anonymous said...

Well said BB @ 12:36

"Or, another example, financial ruination suffered through a “clarion call”, with the splinter administrators turning a deaf ear to the donor’s survival needs years down the line. These and other examples demonstrate that there is no doubt that ACOGs cause permanent damage, and therefore pain, in the lives of their members, and then rationalize and excuse themselves, only to turn on and to blame the victim. (Or God!)"

RCG is an organization that does cause much "pain", with no help or support in sight. They preach it and pretend it, but do nothing to help the members in need in the field. It's the same scam with 3rd tithe, which by the way, goes directly into the general fund. It is not even separated out to be used for the intent that it was given for. Since it is never intended by Pack to give it out.

If you are in need, obviously, you are not close enough to, or trusting God enough to get you out of trouble. Or, could it be, since you gave "common", everything you own, retirement funds, etc, that you might need some money to get by. Since Pack demands everything, some give way too much, then are left to wonder how to survive. Since Pack's 3-5 years scenario still has not panned out yet, years added on to that number. This is the "pain" of the average RCG member.

Dennis Diehl said...

By this point in Dave's failed ministry and foolish theology the member is in pain, why do they enjoy it so and allow it to continue?

Byker Bob said...

It’s like the old joke, Dennis. The masochist says to the sadist, “Hit me!”. The sadist joyfully replies, “Nnoooo!”

By this point, surely Dave’s version of natural selection has eliminated all but the masochists in RCG.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous on April 1, 2018 at 6:50 AM:

The traditional tithing idea was that the church got only a “tiny, little, measly” 10% of your money and you got to keep the other 90%. Church need and greed led to “tithe creep” where the church was not satisfied with just the “first tithe” (used for preaching the gospel) but also tried to help itself to some of the “second tithe” (saved up to attend the annual festivals) and “third tithe” (used to help the poor).

If things got completely inverted, the church would take 90% and leave you with only 10%. Dave Pack has now gone even further than that, saying that if you have a million dollars, you could keep maybe $15,000.00 for emergencies and just hand over the rest. That would mean keeping 1.5% and handing over 98.5%. Of course, the emergencies would come when Dave Pack blows through the $985,000.00 and still needs more money, and comes back for the $15,000.00 that he initially let you keep.

This money will not be used to teach what HWA had taught. It will get worse than wasted on complete nonsense like Dave Pack's lengthy series of sermons about the “First Dominion.” HWA had taught near the end of his life that he was the Elijah who was prophesied to “restore all things” since all the teachings in the WCG had come through him. Now, Dave Pack has come up with “130 proofs” that he, rather than HWA, is the Elijah with the power to edit, change, delete, and restore doctrines. One of the big proofs of this was the fact that klepto-Dave had already restored the doctrine of “common,” which in his version means that everything of everyone's is his--and it certainly does not get distributed to anyone else as they have need!

A lot of people probably have no idea how totally satanic the false prophets on the COG scene have become. They misuse God's name (see commandment #3) to steal (see commandment #8) everything that they covet (see commandment #10) .

RSK said...

"A lot of people probably have no idea how totally satanic the false prophets on the COG scene have become."

Maybe not. HWA died in 1986, the final straw for many people was 1994. All those backyard prophets and pastor generals and apostles have had plenty of time to get bored and start manipulating doctrine to their own advantage. And that assumes that they werent doing that initially. (not that WCG didnt do enough of that itself.)

The big joke of it all is that theres some number of COG members who will tell you "Oh yeah, we know (leader/group) is a little out there. Its just the best we can do right now."
Not all of them, you still have your "When Mr. (whoever) speaks ITS GAWWWWD SPEAKING" types, but I've noticed an awful lot of public shrugging lately.

What About The Truth said...

Dennis Deihl said:

By this point in Dave's failed ministry and foolish theology the member is in pain, why do they enjoy it so and allow it to continue?

The answer to that is not a simple one sentence explanation. Here are a few answers from my personal experience and conversations: The core of the headquarter's workers and members are people that were in congregations that Dave Pack pastored through the all the years he was a church pastor. These members are tied to Dave Pack come hell or high water. A second class of members have bought the company line that Dave Pack is the legitimate successor to Herbert W. Armstrong and therefore will only believe what those two men teach/taught only. A third class of people being mostly elderly, can't understand the new theology and therefore proclaim it doesn't matter whether it is right or wrong because they will always believe it is the true church. A fourth class of people are the ones coming from the splinters having had at least one of their questions answered by Dave Pack and figuring if he has answered one of their questions, he can answer all of their questions. A fifth class of people are those coming from the outside via the HWA marketing pattern. Fear or answered questions got them to come, but Dave pack is having a hard time keeping this group there right now.

That is a short version as to why they still reside in the RCG, but of course the dynamics of it all go deeper because at the head of it all is a well seasoned very capable sensational speaker providing the glue to keep it all together.