Saturday, August 25, 2018

Garner Ted Armstrong: We Used Mind Conditioning and A Careful Psychological Approach In Our Book!

I wonder how many actually recognized that the Church had carefully written their material with the sole attempt of "Mind Conditioning" and Psychological manipulation? 

It's true. While perusing through the "Bulletin", which was the predecessor to the "Pastor General Report", I noticed that Garner Ted Armstrong was writing to the local Pastors about the practice the church was implementing about local church areas conducting Sex Classes. Apparently, there were long, drawn out classes on exactly how to "do it". Notice the careful wording in this segment: That there was "careful" Mind conditioning being said in the classes of the past. They were certainly well aware of exactly what they were doing, conditioning the minds of their members. 

That was not all that was said about mind conditioning. 

Garner Ted Armstrong, a little farther down, said clearly that the book "God Speaks Out on the New Morality" was carefully produced to condition the mind with what he called a "careful psychological approach". 

This was not just a book on sex. This was a "carefully" constructed book meant to "psychologically" impact readers that Garner Ted Armstrong said could not be duplicated under "lecture" conditions. 

In case you did not need any further evidence that the Worldwide Church of God was a Cult - using Cult techniques - here's something you need to read on Brainwash and Mind Control of the Cults:

Here are some points that are listed within the article:

22) GUILT 
23) FEAR

It is clear, that by the admission of Garner Ted Armstrong, that the Worldwide Church of God was educated in the very psychological techniques they condemned as satanic or demonic. Could it be they were afraid if members learned about these techniques from psychologists, that members would be "on to them"? 

It is clear that by the admission of Garner Ted Armstrong, that the Worldwide Church of God was actively involved in mind conditioning the brethren - admittedly, and knowingly using Mind Control on the members of the Church. It is clear that this conditioning was most likely not only just used on the "New Morality" booklet, but most likely by every booklet written by the church. 

The Church used a careful psychological approach to brainwash the members. Yes, Garner Ted Armstrong admitted that. These booklets were not written in a way of chance. The approach was clear and fully aimed at complete control of the minds of their members for their own gains and purposes. The Worldwide Church of God was a Cult. And The Leaders of the Church knew it all along.

contributing writer SHT

Herbert Armstrong's Protestant Baptism and Receiving of the Holy Spirit

Hinson Baptist Church 

March 10, 1965 Co-Worker Letter:
I was dumbfounded to discover that in boyhood Sunday School

days, I had been taught in many basic doctrines, the precise
opposite of what the Bible plainly teaches. I was astonished to
find that, taken to mean what it plainly says, THE BIBLE MAKES
SENSE! It became the most interesting study of my life. I saw
that I had to surrender my will to GOD. I did. I accepted CHRIST.
I was baptized in a Baptist Church, though I did not join it. My
understanding was opened by receiving God's Holy Spirit -- just as
God promises all minds may be. Now I could begin to UNDERSTAND the
Bible. It was a thrilling experience.
  • Herbert Armstrong was baptized in a Baptist Church.
  • Herbert Armstrong received God's Holy Spirit from a Baptism in a Worldly Protestant Church.
  • If Herbert Armstrong received God's Holy Spirit from a Baptism in a Worldly Protestant Church, then the Protestant Churches are NOT Satan's Churches - making all of Herbert Armstrong's claims and the backbone of his theology invalid.
  • If Herbert Armstrong WAS correct that the Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church and all the rest are SATAN'S CHURCHES, then the Baptism he received from these worldly Churches was not God's spirit, but an EVIL SPIRIT. 


submitted by SHT

Friday, August 24, 2018

From Financial Gain to A Ho-Hum Call: The Idiotic Commands of Fasting in the COG's

The Living Church of God, as we all know, pathetically instituted a voluntary fast for little reason but to do it because they used to - oh, and to get a little humility, I guess. It was little more than a drizzle of ecclesiastical power, since fasting is supposedly one of the most spiritual acts of humility to God that one can do. More than this, it is intended to be intrinsically personal. Mandating a fast in a weak and lethargic manner is just as wrong as yelling that you're fasting to everyone on Facebook. Those who do that should be responded with every picture of a burger, steak, potato salad, soup, and prime rib you can find, in my opinion! Why not, the minsters did that to us on Atonement - verbally. 

Even so, the wrong use of the fast didn't start with Gerald Weston. All one has to do is look back in history a little bit to see the wrong use of fasting - that started back with Herbert Armstrong in the mother church. The lack of respect for fasting went back decades ago. 

The clip that I will use for this writing will be the Co-Worker letter of November 2, 1972. At this time in our collective past, the financing for the jewel-encrusted, gold-leafed Auditorium was completely secured. Also, commitments were made that actually caused Armstrong to say that if the funds had to be taken out of the so-called Gospel Proclamation to pay for the Auditorium, then that would be what would have to happen. 

After the traditional "You're letting down and now you are in MORTAL DANGER of the Lake of Fire" guilt-trip threat to the members, because the members' interests had been gravitating toward "material and worldly concerns and interests" (WOW - Never mind he just guaranteed MILLIONS of dollars on an extravagant Gold-ridden auditorium which would be used for worldly interests!! I can do it but don't you!), HWA then turned to issuing a proclamation in presidential style, using Abraham Lincoln as a template, saying in his most west-wing prime-time authority:

"And whereas, it is incumbent on us (there's that word, incumbent again - sorry)  at all times to revere the Supreme Government of GOD, [ ME] and to pray earnestly "Thy Kingdom come -- quickly -- thy will be done" -- and to bow in humble submission to His chastisements now laid upon us in this present financial dilemma,[My, Herbert Armstrong's, pleads to you because we're running short on money] and to CONFESS and deplore our SINS in becoming LAX in prayer and personal Bible study, [Yeah, this too, but I really mean what I am about to say] as well as our SINS in allowing worldly interests and pleasures to start drawing us away from our God, [Spending money on other things besides sending them here to pay for the Auditorium I just committed to and financed]  and our zeal for HIS WORK, I call on all Brethren to CONFESS this lukewarmness [Not giving me as much money as you used to] and this drift from the needed CLOSE WALK WITH GOD, [putting your priorities in line with MY priorities] and to PRAY, with all FERVENCY and CONTRITION, for God's pardon for these offenses, [DARING to use the money earned for your own purposes] and for a permanent BLESSING on HIS WORK henceforth, continuously to its final completion. [Sending the money to me until I get these friggin' loans PAID OFF!]"

And whereas, when this beloved WORK OF GOD and His Church was, until three or four years ago, blessed, united, and producing abundant fruit for God's Kingdom, it is now AFFLICTED WITH FINANCIAL PROBLEMS OF UTMOST SERIOUSNESS  [I just spent MILLIONS of dollars to finance this auditorium, and now I'm scared ****less], it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of GOD in this terrible visitation, and in
repentant remembrance of our own faults, and laxities, and neglects, [Yes, I may have gone over my head with this thing but it's your fault because you aren't doing what I thought you'd do when I signed those papers] TO HUMBLE OURSELVES before the living Christ, [I'm his representative, so I'm really saying, ME] and to cry out to Him in deep earnest for His mercy, and HELP in overcoming -- to pray that we may be spared from further punishment though justly deserved.

"Therefore, I, Herbert W. Armstrong, by God's grace His chosen Pastor over His Church, do appoint Sabbath, November 18th as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all members, in all humility and solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the whole Body of Christ may ascend to the Throne of Grace, and RESTORE THE INCOME FOR GOD'S WORK TO THE PREVIOUS 30% annual INCREASE!"

Well, FINALLY, at the very end of this very veiled financial complaint, we get the truth. Yes, as the director and the chosen founder of his tithe slaves - er, I mean, Church, he wants to appoint November 18th as a "day of humiliation" (type faster, you know what you're getting to), to the end that every member of the Worldwide Church of God may run up to God, the throne of the Law, and Restore the income of the Church to what it was. 

Yup. A fast for money. Many may say, yeah, so what? Actually, it's the highest point of deplorable atrocities from HWA. 

Luke 18:11 actually puts the pharisee in a bad light for fasting and giving money - thinking that that's what earns his salvation. What a coincidence that these two things are the very things Herbert Armstrong is asking the brethren to do: Fast, and give money. 

Let's look at Isaiah 58:3-7. Since HWA always looked at the old covenant for guidance, this should be most appropriate:

 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 
 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 
 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? 
 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 
 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 

Compare this with Matthew 23:31-46:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’  “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

"When did I see you build an auditorium and I failed to pay for it" is not in there. You'll never find it. Look all you want. 

For Herbert Armstrong to call a fast for financial increase to fund an auditorium that did the exact opposite of what the purpose of fasting was intended for - to loose the chains of injustice, to untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, to break every yoke (which is what Jesus came to do! - Are you listening Dave Pack?) and then to completely reverse that process for the purpose of money? That's morally reprehensible, wrong, and absolutely evil to demand and extort money the way that it was done. Untold harm resulted in the financial damage that Armstrong caused to finance his projects - the worst of which was that building. But to call for a fast to increase money? There is absolutely no biblical, moral, or ethical standard to okay this. There never was. There never is. 

But the opposite is also true. To call a fast just to call a fast is just as wrong. If you don't know what you're fasting for, what's the point? If you don't understand why you're doing what you're doing, why do it? Throwing around a fast like it's leftover thanksgiving dinner or some kind of water balloon on a hot day is spiritually irresponsible. Besides. Any fast that is done besides Atonement (for those of COG persuasion, had to put that in there, because I know it would end up in the comments if I do not) is personal between YOU and GOD. No one else. It is intrinsic to the relationship between you and God, as are the reasons for it. No pastor can, or should, just throw it around because you can. 

Christians need to take responsibility for their personal relationship. It is not God to Gerald to You. It is God to You and You to God. Gerald needs to be kicked off the party line in this manner, because he is becoming more of a nuisance and a hindrance then a help. Take charge of your personal relationship between you and God. You don't need a middle-man to tell you how and when to fast. You just need God's Spirit. 

And last I checked

Yes, Gerald Weston reminds me of that character on Office Space. You know the one. 
"Yeah,, yeah, I neeed you to fast... on, ohhhh...... let's say.... um.... Saturday....yeah. I'll need you to fast on Saturday. That'll do it. Thaaaaaaaanks."
Maybe the directive was actually sent by the guy who always wanted the Red Stapler. Sounds more like it would come from him than a denominational leader of a "Living" church. Because that call - not to harp on it too much - seemed dead to me.

contributing writer: SHT

Richard Ames' Bible - Revised Armstrongism Version - 1980 Envoy

And church members think this is normal.

One of the first things I did when leaving Armstrongism was to get a new Bible with no wide margins and was not a Moffitt, Scofield, Orginal King James or had a dispensational bent.

With most of the markings that the church instructed members to use in the Bible, it was little more than highlighting proof texts to confirm preconceived notions as to what certain scriptures were supposed to mean.

Picture ht: SHT

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Pam Dewey: Strange Brew Video

Pam Dewey has had a website up for many years chronicling the various religious groups in America as well as the Church of God movement.  She has also been tackling many of the myths in American lore and history. Her Myth America site seeks to "Dispell MythInformation and MythPerceptions about American history.

Here is her latest video production:

You can continue to part 2 & 3 on her YouTube channel:  Meet Myth America

The Petra Countdown

ht: SHT

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Methodology of the Churches of God: Confirmation Bias on Steroids

This afternoon, during a nice nap, I had one of those “Church of God” Dreams that most people who grew up or were in the Worldwide Church of God often seem to have.

In this dream, I was led in the back of a large arena – obviously, where there was a convention going on. For some reason, I had the opportunity to have a conference with the Big Person in Charge, who happened to be Joseph Tkach. He was sitting behind a glass window, and I was in a line to talk to him. There were several behind me also waiting to talk to him.

When it was my turn, I asked him if I could return to the Orr, Minnesota SEP site. He began to answer with a rambling of some sort, I dared interrupt him, and his voice raised about two octaves with a “I am talking” in no uncertain terms intent, and I immediately shut up to let him speak. He then proceeded to tell me that the best times of a person's life are when they are 16 or 17. I told him that I was 16 or 17 when I went to SEP. He said something like “There you go”, and gave me a special green/white envelope of “Request to see the SEP Campus” that I had to fill out. I thanked him, and started walking down the hall to exit. As I was walking down the hall, I could hear the distinctive “Tkach Voice – Raised In Annoyance” lam-blasting someone else about something. When I left, someone else tried to get in to talk to Tkach, but the Secretary denied access and closed the camera-thing above the hall access-door.

A few years ago, I had another “COG” dream. In this dream, Herbert W. Armstrong himself – in spirit form – came down to Earth – alone. I was in the basement of what seemed to be a large, giant library. I heard Herbert call my name. I opened the box, and the “Spirit” of Herbert called out to me. Herbert apologized for everything that he did. I asked him why he did what he did, and he very remorsefully said: “I don't know.” He said he had to go, and I heard what sounded like a bell. I closed the small box that he was trapped in, and then, that was it. The voice was Herbert's, but a very, very mellow, humble, and contrite Herbert. I woke up, and thought “what a dream”.

I've had other “COG Dreams” because the COG was such a large, massive, overwhelming presence in my life over the years. I've had dreams where I'm back leading songs – but somehow screwing it up, or not having the proper hymns coordinated with the piano player, or forgetting I had the song service until the last moment. I've had dreams where I was giving the Sermonette, but was wearing an awful, pathetic suit. I've had dreams where I felt that immense, consuming, powerful pride that I was in a higher position within the local church – and woke up completely disgusted and shameful about those untamed attitudes.

There's a big difference between the dreams that any one of us hundreds of thousands of people who lived in the COG's have – and the dreams that our current splinter leaders have. It's directly proportional to who we think we are in the grand scope of the universe, the church, and life.

When a typical person with a COG history – like me – has a COG dream, they do exactly what I did. They wake up, say “Wow, what a dream”, think about it, then go about their day. When a Current Splinter Leader has a dream (I'm thinking of one person in particular who needs straighter bookcases and nicer curtains), they think about it in the form that it is of world-impacting significance and importance. They think of themselves in such high regard and importance to the world, that every parcel and fractal of the dream takes on a divine significance – to them, to the other characters in the dream, and eventually, to the world. Their feelings of grandiose importance are so tremendous that they nearly take on their own prophetic ministry and theology based on what went on in the dream.

I recall when our Cheap Bookcase Prophet wrote a pretty lengthy oratory about a dream he had where “someone's line went down”, like a graph, and “his line went up”. Suddenly, this dream about “lines” went from dream to blog post to our Bookcase King of Bad Curtains suddenly using this dream as a divine affirmation that he was to take over the place and position of the owner of the “first line” that was going down on his dreamland bar graph. It went from dream to affirmation, to using the dream as a basis for an elevation in his position! The Mighty Waver of Gestures then had to tell everyone how this somehow was linked in to his own assumptions about The Mighty Double Blessing That Wasn't – somehow asserting what he thought in his head that a healing-anointing somehow was a hidden and morphed Ordination that elevated him from a simple layperson to a role he's always wanted but never got of an Important Dude in the church.

If I was to use the methodology that he uses with dreams, I could start a whole new belief system. I could say that the Spirit of Herbert Armstrong is trapped in a prison, and that he has become remorseful and contrite, and that I was granted a lone audience with Herbert to convey his apology and remorse for his actions. I could say that Herbert was timed and a bell signalled that “he had to go”. But I recognize it was a dream. I could also say that somehow I was in a parallel universe with Joseph Tkach, where he was now reduced to a receptionist – a rather forceful, assertive, and mean receptionist at that. I could think on that and somehow come to a bunch of conclusions about what that meant for Tkach's ministry, and all sorts of different conclusions – based on a dream. And to me – that would be naive, stupid, and dangerous.

Of course, Bob, and any COG member who ever listened to these stories would never buy their authenticity in a million years, even if they were! Why? Because these dreams contradict the beliefs they have already formed in their head. There's no immortal soul, there's no heaven, there's no conscious spirit, they would forcefully say – so obviously, it's just a complete figment of imagination and needs to be summarily dismissed. However, if you have a weird dream where one bar graph line goes down, and one bar graph line goes up, then, because it seems to affirm an already held strong belief, it's lauded up to some sort of divine affirmation.

This is a methodology that the COG's have down to a science, and a methodology that Kairan Underwood said that the PCG used in writing many of its own articles for its own flagship magazine. Look for anything you can find to confirm your beliefs, then throw out everything you can find that dismisses them. Take the smallest rock and elevate it to universal proportions. Or, take the biggest evidence and dismiss it completely because it contradicts already concreted viewpoints.

It was this methodology that Herbert Armstrong used over and over again in his ministry to legitimize his dogmas and doctrines. It was this methodology that Herman Hoeh used to support Herbert Armstrong's dogmas and doctrines. It was this methodology that field ministers used each Saturday while preaching to their congregations on their own belief divergences – within the lines of Armstrong's dogmas and doctrines. All of this led to variances of belief – within the confines of Armstrong's beliefs – which is why one local congregation sometimes varied considerably with another local congregation's experience. Every minister had, within the confines of their rank, that extreme hubris – only tempered by the dictatorial hand of Herbert Armstrong, who forcefully shot down any challenge or rise on his beliefs or his authority.

Once Herbert Armstrong died, once the Church collapsed, and that dictatorial hand of Herbert Armstrong was no longer holding down the hubris, pride, and self-beliefs of field ministers and evangelists under him – the individual dogmas and doctrines held by all the field ministers exploded without temperance. Now, 23 years later from the collapse of the church, we have one of them preaching a horrifying “All things common” doctrine, another one idolizing a simple garden rock, another one claiming to be a minister but never was ordained to the position, another one trying so hard to hold down the fort of his own rapidly crumbling splinter, another one who went to prison for trying too hard to replicate Herbert Armstrong's luxurious lifestyle – and then you have the weird and wacky ones who've only been able to grab a few hundred viewers on YouTube – literally the bottom of the barrel in YouTube Statistics and video viewers.

The methodology of the splinter leaders – Look for anything you can find to confirm your beliefs, throw out everything else that dismisses them, is how the Armstrong Churches of God have operated for decades.

In a recent expose' by a former writer of the PCG's Magazine "The Trumpet", and a true PCG Insider himself published right here on Banned By HWA, Kieran Underwood confirmed himself that this methodology has been used to write several publications by that splinter. But it's not only that splinter. One can easily see the exact personalities and attitudes that each of the COG leaders have. You can tell who is greedy, who is angry, who is physically oriented. You can tell who is jealous, who is wanting, who is child-like, who is wishing they were important, and who wants to bring back the glory days. By using this formula, you can tell very easily what an individual person's COG-Beliefs are – but more than that, you can tell who they are as a person. It is said that "By your fruits shall you know them." Equally true is that by their methods, you can see right through them, I would say.

And if you go by facts alone, the Splinter Leaders themselves have proven themselves to be completely enraptured in jealousy-driven, greed-oriented, physically-minded, money-loving, Herbert-worshiping religion that is not, never has been, and never will ever pass as any form of Christianity. All this is is a sham and a scam, exposing exactly who and what these splinters are – a reflection of those that lead them. They will do anything to confirm their own beliefs of their own minds, and do everything they can to destroy everything that exposes them for the falsehoods that they are. This is the methodology of the Splinters to it's core, and it is not the methodology ever practiced by Christianity, the Early Church, or any person who claims to be a real servant minister of those who put their spiritual well-being in their hands.

The methodology of the Armstrong Churches of God is no way to find truth. The only thing this methodology does is enhance confirmation bias, which is defined as "the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories." For more information on confirmation bias, visit the following links:

When Services Are Over On A Double High Day

After listeing to two 1 1/2 hours sermons on the same day.

Photo: SHT

Philadelphia Church of God Hides Behind Slick New Web Sites

The Philadelphia Church of God has a new website up in an effort to legitimize their standing as a church and its Armstrong Foundation.  Like Herbert Armstrong, Gerald Flurry is embarrassed at many times by his Philadelphia Church of God and its crazy teachings.  In efforts to mask those dangerous and heretical teachings, he places great emphasis on his Armstrong Auditorium Concert Series, his Jerusalem dig with Eliat Mazar and its recent Ophel coin find, and his new website called Watch Jerusalem.  The interesting thing is that this site is copyrighted by Gerald Flurry and not the Philadelphia Church of God.

It is a mixture of wild prophetic speculating and pseudo-news beefed up in a slick new formula.

The same goes for their Key to David's City, masquerading as an educational site through the auspices of Herbert W Armstrong College.

It is these kinds of deceptive tactics that rope innocent searching people into the madness, just like the church did under Herbert Armstrong.  The problem with PCG doing this is that it has developed into a dangerous personality cult with an abusive leader and equally abusive ministers.  Families are being destroyed and lives are literally being lost.  This sickness is not unique to Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God, it is equally applicable to the Restored Church of God, Living Church of God, Bob Thiel's African cult and James Malm bastardization of whatever it is he thinks he is doing.  United Church of God and Church of God A Worldwide Association, while may appear to be more benign, are just as sick as the more dangerous ones mentioned above.

For a church that claims to be the end time restoration of true 1st century Christianity, it is in such a theological and spiritual quagmire that it is amazing that anyone even finds it beneficial.

Two COG Related Books Make List of Top 100 Books On Escaping From Cults

There is a list up of 100 Must-Read Books about life in cults and oppressive religious sects and two books by former Church of God members have made the list and #1 and #90.

The first book on the list is The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult by Jerad Walker.

Amazon has this to say about the book:
A memoir of growing up with blind, African-American parents in a segregated cult preaching the imminent end of the world

When The World in Flames begins, in 1970, Jerry Walker is six years old. His consciousness revolves around being a member of a church whose beliefs he finds not only confusing but terrifying. Composed of a hodgepodge of requirements and restrictions (including a prohibition against doctors and hospitals), the underpinning tenet of Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God was that its members were divinely chosen and all others would soon perish in rivers of flames.

The substantial membership was ruled by fear, intimidation, and threats. Anyone who dared leave the church would endure hardship for the remainder of this life and eternal suffering in the next. The next life, according to Armstrong, would arrive in 1975, three years after the start of the Great Tribulation. Jerry would be eleven years old.

Jerry’s parents were particularly vulnerable to the promise of relief from the world’s hardships. When they joined the church, in 1960, they were living in a two-room apartment in a dangerous Chicago housing project with the first four of their seven children, and, most significantly, they both were blind, having lost their sight to childhood accidents. They took comfort in the belief that they had been chosen for a special afterlife, even if it meant following a religion with a white supremacist ideology and dutifully sending tithes to Armstrong, whose church boasted more than 100,000 members and more than $80 million in annual revenues at its height.

When the prophecy of the 1972 Great Tribulation does not materialize, Jerry is considerably less disappointed than relieved. When the 1975 end-time prophecy also fails, he finally begins to question his faith and imagine the possibility of choosing a destiny of his own.
The second book is Matches in the Gas Tank: Trial by fire in the Armstrong cult by Carla Powers.

Amazon says:
An empowering story of the survival of the spirit, this heart-wrenching memoir recounts a girl's stifled and abusive childhood in the Radio Church of God-a cult founded by alleged prophet Herbert W. Armstrong in Big Sandy, Texas. Rules imposed by Armstrong were arbitrary and unforgiving, covering everything from food preparation and appearance to arranged marriages and earning income for the church. Overcoming a childhood of warped teachings and deprivation, the wrath of narrow-minded, punitive ministers, and a dangerous, alcoholic father, Carla escaped the control of the church and surpassed the legacy of abuse and shame to become a highly successful corporate lawyer.
Gavin Rumney's old site has this about Carla Powers:
Carla Powers was Daddy's princess back in Arkansas in the late 1950s. Then Daddy got religion. That religion, based in the teachings and deprivation of narrow-minded, punitive ministers, tormented her dangerous alcoholic father and her entire family. Growing up, Carla never knew a woman could do anything more than she was asked—or demanded—to do. She definitely never imagined that other worlds would open up to her and she would rise to become a powerful attorney.Matches in the Gas Tank tells the story of life inside the Radio Church of God and the influence of Herbert W. Armstrong, the Church's founder and prophet. Under his influence, Carla's family moved away from relatives and friends to Big Sandy, Texas, an enclave in which everyone lived by strict and unforgiving rules arbitrarily determined by Armstrong. His vision of how to get to the "Kingdom of God" and avoid a sea of flames consisted of unending lists of rules covering everything from food consumption, to financial responsibilities, to sexual behavior. The only way to rise above the poverty level was to become a minister, and the only way to become a minister was to continually police your neighbors for sin. Ministers were allowed to barge in a home any time of the day or night to inspect everything from the cleanliness of a family's kitchen to the contents of their tax returns. 
This is the story of how Carla escaped the control of the church and found a way to deal with the legacy of abuse and shame left to her by her father. As she embraces her difficult childhood, she comes to understand that while those we love have the power to hurt us, they can't destroy us. We can find strength in unexpected places.

Anyone who has had a less-than-perfect family, has struggled with the faith of her fathers or has gone through recovery from abuse, perfectionism, or any cult of personality will connect with the power of redemption in this moving memoir.

The author heads the litigation department of a major multinational energy company (Shell). Before entering the corporate world, she was a trial lawyer in Houston for more than 20 years and an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Dixon Cartwright Hospitalized

This was in last nights mail, it is from the Ambassador Reunion site.  Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Dixon Cartwright is in the hospital in Tyler. He had another stroke. The last one was about ten years ago and he followed the doctor's orders and lost weight and such.

I e-mailed him a couple of days ago with no response, which was unusual. So, I called him last night and he told me what had happened. He has congestive heart failure and is scheduled for another stent (he has two) or possibly by- pass surgery today. He cannot walk at all. Linda is supposed to bring his laptop to him today.

Please all pray for him and Linda.

XII Legions: Sabbath Keeper Motorcycle Ministry

I was looking for something unrelated to COG things on Google the other day and an article I posted in 2015 popped up about a COG member in New Jersey who was starting up a Christian ministry for motorcycle riders.  It referenced an article in The Journal about a new ministry starting up.
A new Christian motorcycle-riding group, XII Legions Christian Motorcycle Ministry, has started up in New Jersey with the intent to develop chapters in other areas of the country.

The bikers are “looking for other bikers who have an interest in motorcycles, riding and the Word of God, including God’s holy Sabbath day,” Mr. Paparella said. The group is nondenominational and open to all regardless of church affiliation and “wants to promote the gospel of the Kingdom of God on two wheels,” he said. The founders are longtime Church of God members, with past and current fellowships with the former Worldwide Church of God, United Church of God, Church of God (Seventh Day), Beth Israel Messianic Congregation and Church of God Flemington (an affiliate of Church of God Ministries International), as well as several private-residence-based church groups.
I decided to look them up to see if they were still in existance.  They are, and have now taken on a more Sacred Names bent in their ministry.

I still can still picture hoards of Sabbatarian hog riders storming into Wadsworth, Charlotte and Edmond, proclaiming the gospel of the Herbert Armstrong or riding through peaceful neighborhoods on Sunday mornings, revving their bikes in order to disturb the heathen Sunday worshipers.

Just imagine the scene at some future Feast of Tabernacles site as the Charlotte Spankers, Wadsworth Narcissists, Edmond Idolaters, Double Blessed Africans or the Malmite Law Bastardizers clash over which one is the one true Sabbatarian biker group.

I highly doubt any of them will put John 3:16 or Colossians 2:14 on their jackets. Can't have any of that Jesus stuff, just the law.

Like everything else in the Church of God, this is nothing new. There have been Adventist Sabbath Keeper motorcycle groups for many years that attend all the motorcycle gatherings around the country. One of those events is here in California in Hollister.  

and their Facebook Page

The SKMM seems to be doing an actual ministry witnessing for Jesus, unlike any of the COG groups around today. While COG groups wince at mentioning Jesus or even emulating his actions, they much prefer prostrating themselves at the highly revered altar of the law.

Here is what the SKMM do:
Lambert said SKMM is the oldest and largest Adventist motorcycle ministry in the world. The Hollister, Calif., based ministry currently has 19 chapters and nearly 300 members, but the original SKMM members didn’t even own a motorcycle. Their first motorcycle was donated by National Sunday Law author Jan Marcussen.
SKMM members focus on the major biker events that attract hundreds of thousands of bikers annually. They’re all about bringing Jesus to the motorcycle community, using literature, prayer and testimony.

“We pass out a lot of literature during these events,” said Lambert.
The biker events have a combined annual attendance of over 1,000,000, which is more than 300 SKMM members can reach, but they keep at it, and not without results.
While at biker event Reno Street Vibrations, Kevin and Kellye Simpson stopped by SKMM’s booth. Kevin had left the Adventist Church in high school and Kellye had never been Adventist, but her grandmother had taught her Saturday was the Sabbath. Intrigued by the group, the couple took some literature. Later they were baptized into the Ceres Seventh-day Adventist Church, Calif., where they soon began a new SKMM chapter. SKMM’s influence has gone well beyond ex-Adventists, even touching the upper echelons of the Hells Angels and Mongols. 
About six years ago during a biker event in Los Angeles, a biker gang member killed a member of a rival gang while wearing the cut (leather vest) of another gang. In an effort to find the killer, the Hells Angels and Mongols began a shake down of each club in the surrounding area. However, the word was out the SKMM and Christian Motorcycle Association were not to be touched. God was looking out for them.
Can you imagine a COG motorcycle group associating with Hells Angels members, Mongols, or other biker gangs? I can see them now going to Sturges or Hollister and isolating themselves in their own cordoned-off area waiting for their god to send them prospective members, instead of getting off their privileged white asses and hitting the streets and proclaiming the good news they CLAIM to have.

We all know that would never happen.  Church of God organizations cannot even get along with each other so how can a witness of a peaceful kingdom ever be shared?

A Reminder for New COG Lurkers

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care whether people love me or not. I do not believe that that's the problem in HWAs church splinters. All I care about is people not harming me by respecting my rights. What's in peoples hearts is between them and God, but if people respect my right to life, liberty, my property rights, my right to freedom of expression, my right to choose my own beliefs, my right to be free from abuse, my right to privacy, my right to be left alone etc, I' m satisfied.

Not surprising, rights are taboo in these splinters.

Church Member Bill of Rights

The following are basic human, religious and spiritual rights any person has as a member of any and all religious organizations or church congregations.
You have the right to expect the church to keep your personal contributions private and should be able to expect that any who deal with such things for accounting purposes will do the same.
You have the right to expect that your membership in any church or congregation is not contingent on how much you give or do not give. You should also expect that jobs, positions, opportunities or offices are not given based on the amount anyone gives to the church.
You have the right to say I can only give this even if it is not a tithe of your income gross or net.
You have the right not to be spiritually judged or have your loyalty or sincerity questioned based on what you are able or unable to give financially to the church.
You have the right to ask a Pastor if he checks tithes and offerings for any of the above reasons before giving to a church.
You have the right to say "I'm tired and won't be there, " to any and all activities, plays, fundraisers, studies, seminars, prayer groups, rehearsals, practices and sermons.
You have the right to say "I don't care about that."
You have the right to question the advice, counsel or sermon of any minister, elder, deacon or any other person in authority. 
You have the right to question authority and to still expect to be allowed to attend your church. 
You have the right to question a minister who declares himself one or both of the Two Witnesses of Revelation, a Prophet, the Supreme Watcher of Mankind for God, The Only True Apostle in this Age and any other title or position he can come up with to impress you as to why you need to support him.
You have the right to suggest a pastor get spiritual or psychological help should the need arise. You have the right tell him that the congregation is noticing a trend here.
You have the right to ask why the church believes what it does when the Bible might say otherwise, or why the Bible says something that the church practices that seems scary, weird, inappropriate for this time, out of date or controlling. 
You have the right to notice that ministers often quote scriptures out of context or fail to enforce or address the rest of the story that does not agree with the point they are trying to make.
You have the right to ask all the "how can that be," "how could that happen," "why does it say this here and that there," questions you can come up and expect an intelligent answer. If you are told that you are using human reasoning, ask the pastor what kind of reasoning he uses. If he says "God's," find another church.
You have the right to not want elders, deacons or your friends accompanying the minister on visits to your home to talk to you.
You have the right to discuss or not discuss your life with the minister as you see fit.
You have the right to expect absolute confidentiality and for your story not to show up in the sermon next week, even though "I won't say the name."
You have a right to be called ahead of time when the pastor wants to ask about stopping over.
You have the right, when he calls to say, "I'm tired," "I'm busy," "No, but I appreciate the call," without repercussions.
You have the right to keep a dirty home, grass not mowed perfectly, an older car, red in color and kids that don't say "yes sir, nice to see you sir," in just the right way.
You have the right to watch and read what you wish even if the pastor just got done bashing that particular program, movie or book from the pulpit in his sermon on "Demons in Your Home--Six Ways to Assure Your Eternal Death."
You have the right to ask the pastor not to call on you at work, even if you own the business.
You have the right to say, "I can't afford to take you to lunch." "I can't afford to give you free wood or brick." "I can't afford to fix your house up free," "I can't fix all your teeth," to your pastor should he expect professional courtesies, even if he offers to do your funeral free.
You have a right to expect free use of your church for weddings and funerals.
You have the right to expect these usages are not dependent on you, your parents or children living a sinless life six months prior to the date of the event.
You have the right not to answer questions your pastor may ask you or your children about your sexual practices. If he insists, then insist that you all share together.
You have the right to not let the pastor inform you as to who you can and cannot date or marry.
You have the right to enjoy your sexuality free of church or pastoral approval. Something that is wrong for the pastor is not necessarily wrong for you in how you express yourself to your partner. There is no Bible prohibition against....well you know. And if there were, you'd have the right to disagree with that too.
You have the right to not share which or if you are taking medications of any sort with the pastor.
You have the right to take such medication and not be judged as having a lack of faith or trust in God to heal you.
You have the right to seek professional help without informing your Pastor of the nature of the help and you have the right to not be helped solely by the pastor under threat of repercussions.
You have the right to insist the pastor get professional help should the need arise and the man is causing more harm than good. 
You have the right to remind him that God does not directly speak to him nor express His will only through the mind of the pastor and that makes you uncomfortable if he thinks that is so.
You have the right to be wrong about a many things.
You have the right to believe you are correct about many things without repercussions.

You have the right not to care about everything that others think you must care about to be a good Christian.
You have the right to tell the pastor he is wrong, mistaken or exaggerating.
You have the right to dress as you wish, wear the jewelry you wish and make up you wish or not wish without being labeled a whore or a goody goody.
You have the right to feel that dressing as if it was still 1957 and only watching Disney Movies or How the West Was Won as proof of your pureness is baloney
. You have the right to not be told that the best times for entertainment, movies and TV was when the Pastor was a boy. You have the right to like the food he does not like and to not like the foods he does. 
You have the right to like the schools he doesn't and not like the ones he does.
You have the right not to bear your soul to the ministers wife.
You have the right to like or not like, agree or not agree with the ministers wife.
You have the right to not view the world through the pastor's eyes morally or politically. You have the right to hate the war while he believes the war in Iraq is God's will and thinks it's all in the Bible.
You have the right to expect him to speak clearly where he thinks the Bible speaks for us today and to walk slowly and drink cool water where it doesn't.
You have the right to tell the pastor that that is his opinion and not necessarily the only true opinion on earth.
You have the right for you, your children, your partner and your friends to be themselves.
You have the right to read whatever you wish to read

And too...Since two wrongs don't  make a right, you are allowed to point out one or more than three times where you feel the pastor's sermon or booklet was a bit off the track.  
These are but a few of the rights any member of any Church, congregation or religious organization has. In short, you have the right to not be required to check your brains, your insights, your perspectives and your free will at the door to be welcome and a member of any church.
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