Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sabbath Day Journey: Chernobyl

There is a great new blog up about one man's journey through Armstrongism and out of the madness:

I turned 18 years old in Russia. What I wanted most at the time was to be a journalist. The jacket and the trip to Moscow seemed to be an auspicious start. Immediately after high school I went to work in the editorial department of the Worldwide Church of God, famous or infamous for its widely circulated magazine, The Plain Truth. I landed a job as an assistant editor for the church’s magazine for teenagers. They issued me a laminated press card just in time to declare my occupation as ‘journalist’ on my first passport.
When I wrote about the trip for the student newspaper at Cal State L.A. it was full of snark and posturing. I had a costume, and I struck a pose. I was a worldly correspondent, like Mel Gibson in The Year of Living Dangerously. I had even secretly snapped a few photos from the roof of our hotel in Moscow, a transgression that could have had serious consequences. In my imagination I was a true journalist, not like the propagandists at Pravda or Izvestia.
But even then I was embarrassed by my employer. I was an unquestioning believer in the doctrine of the One True Church, but I hated the name of our flagship publication. For me, the The Plain Truth was too cheesy, too on-the-nose. Not worldly enough. (I might have noticed that Pravda means Truth in Russian, but I didn’t see the irony then.)
A decade later, as I lived through the collapse of our cult, the educational field trip to Russia began to offer some lessons, a lens through which I could frame what was happening. As I understood it, reform in the Soviet Union began small, with a bit of openness to the world, a little glasnost, a little letting in of some light from the outside. There were deep social and economic forces underneath, but that new openness gave people a taste of intellectual freedom that couldn’t be contained. It would lead inexorably to a complete restructuring of the state, and then to the state’s collapse.
Herbert Armstrong died a few months before our trip, on Thursday, January 16, 1986. He was the unquestioned, absolute leader of the flock, the Apostle that God raised up to restore the final era of the One True Church in 1933. He was “the voice crying in the wilderness,” Elijah and John the Baptist rolled up into one, the faithful servant whose radio, television and publishing empire would at last preach the gospel to the nations, paving the way for the return of Christ.
There were stories of abuses, some of them well publicized. In a divorce case, Herbert Armstrong’s son accused him of molesting his daughter for years. Mike Wallace found enough financial and moral scandal to devote an episode of 60 Minutes to the church in 1979. But inside we had a word for people who made unpleasant accusations. They were “dissidents,” a word usually associated with authoritarian states. To label someone a dissident was to discredit and dismiss them with a single breath. My mother was a dissident.
When Armstrong died, his appointed successor began to let in just a crack of light. He lifted restrictions on women wearing makeup and no longer forbade the use of medical doctors. I’m certain he never realized how far most people would go when given just a little taste of freedom. I’m sure he had not the faintest idea how new technology, the internet, would open a flood of ideas and conversation that could no longer be centrally monitored and controlled.

Check out  Sabbath Day Journey
Somewhere on the road between paradise and the world's end.


SHT said...

I recognize the name of the writer.

If I am correct, he was a very gifted photographer or contributor to the "Youth" magazines in the 1980s. Frequently I would see this name in conjunction with a lot of different things in "Youth". His writings are excellent, and his memories are vivid and accurate.

His name was one of many I would associate with the Youth Magazine. If this is him, it is nice to see what has happened and the memories he shares.

TLA said...

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers , lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Why didn't we pay more attention to that? Did WCG/HWA/splinters ever even try to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice versa?

What About The Truth said...

TLA said...
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers , lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Why didn't we pay more attention to that? Did WCG/HWA/splinters ever even try to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice versa?

If you look up and watch the Behind the Work 1984 video on YouTube, you will see what the WCG thought was the fulfillment of that verse in Malachi.

It is a good question to ask why didn't we pay more attention to "that". I finally sat down and looked at it some four plus years ago and it didn't take long to figure out that HWA was not Elijah and he in no way turned the hearts of either the fathers or the children to each other in a biblical sense. When Dave Pack (no joking) one week later declared that he was now the Elijah and said he would now focus on turning the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children in the RCG, it was amusing. I mentioned to the congregation after the sermon that I don't think Dave Pack turning the hearts of the 250 children in the church of whom at least half had no father attending was anyway close to fulfilling Malachi 4:5-6. When a man lusts for biblical titles, there is a lot of foolishness associated with it.

To find the answer to what constitutes Malachi 4:5-6 you have to define "who" are the children and "who" are the fathers. The answer is as plain as it gets. The bible talks about who these are over and over again. The fathers are at the core Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The children are the children of Israel. Elijah will be a man that comes in the future to accomplish it.

The author figured out long before I did that HWA was not the Elijah. The main proof of this is that the fathers attending a COG have their whole heart in it. The children of the COG for the most part didn't, and when the first opportunity came they bolted.

Sorry to throw up a spoiler for the video, but at the same time the WCG put on film in 1984 the great effort they were doing in trying to fulfill Malachi 4:5-6, the retention rate of the children staying in the church was only 20%. This was probably the first visible cracks in the Chernobyl that came to a head in the early 90's.

With the majority of the splinters having departed in some way or another what HWA taught, they certainly can't claim they are turning anyone to him. And if they can't retain their children, there is no application for Malachi 4:5-6 in the COGs.

Malachi 4:5-6, yes, why didn't we pay more attention to it?

Anonymous said...

7.18 PM
"Why didn't we pay attention to that?"
Because members were programmed to believe that whatever HWA and his ministers said was the truth. This phenomenon still exists in the secular world with people blindly believing the Party and/or Party line.

Anonymous said...

TLA said: “Why didn't we pay more attention to that?”

Because HWA was an expert at cherry picking from the Bible emphasizing certain passages while de-emphasizing others even in the same verse or chapter! Like a magician he would misdirect you to look at what he wanted you to look at and see what he wanted you to see while be blind to what he wanted you to be blind to even though it was hiding there in plain sight staring right back at you at your face!

nck said...

I have many things in common with MW.

During my student years I had a copy of Pravda on my desk.
My journey instead did not go through Russia but through chopping the wall in East Berlin as I came to the same conclusions regarding the Tkach changes and the end of the Church's journey and mission after the Fall of the Soviet Empire and "The End of History". I witnessed the Soviet flag being changed for the Russian 3 color as I saw "the incredible human potential" booklets rot away unused.

Interestingly Michael quotes spiritual guidance from a writer whose name was on the building where our wcg congegration met for years. A great way of describing the dichotomy that was our youth. A mix of strangeness and greatness. Surrounded with the great names, like the movie he mentions about a certain topic and then HWA visiting the main protagonists for real life after a million people died in that battle against communism as is the topic of that movie.

It's a generational thing. Today I could within 2 days inform about 500 former friends (SEP campers) about something that we all share. Then again I do not wish too and only post here now and then.


Anonymous said...

nck, you have to be the greatest bullshit artist the church has ever seen since Gerald Waterhouse. The Human Potential booklets deserved to rot away as did Mystery of the Agee.

nck said...


Hi 11:51.

In my posting I only mentioned the transition in a neutral way. It is you attributing value aspects to that transition. Moreover "the booklet mentioned" is a tribute to individual purpose individual aspiration and individual potential.

Therefore it served its purpose as THE antithesis versus the communist ideology and system.

You sir are an example of the nimkompoops being "had" since you know nothing.


Anonymous said...

10.36 PM
There's also the brainwashing techniques used by HWA, such as repetition, phobic Pavlovian conditioning, word associations etc.

TLA said...

What about the Truth: interestingly, the TJC2 is sort of trying to accomplish this by turning the hearts of the Christian world to the Jews and all the Jews to Yeshua (Jesus).
They believe this is necessary to complete before Jesus returns.
With all the anti-Semitism these days, it is a noble aim, regardless of whether it brings about Jesus' return.
Toward Jerusalem Council II

Working for worldwide reconciliation between leaders of both Christian and Messianic Jewish communities.

Anonymous said...

Michael Warren wrote: "...Herbert Armstrong...was the unquestioned, absolute leader of the flock, the Apostle that God raised up to restore the final era of the One True Church in 1933..."

Herbert Armstrong believed he was involved with the 6th, not final, era of the One True Church.

A partial transcript of a sermon on God's Government Part 1 given about May 1997 expressed one perspective of that "final era:"

"...Joe Tkach, Senior was God’s servant! Mr. Armstrong didn’t make a mistake. He was God’s servant. He was chosen to do the job, and he was called to do it and then he died! Now, you can look at what happened and he accomplished the purpose that God set for him; didn’t he?
Who else could have ever torn apart an established church organization having a hundred and fifty thousand people in it worldwide, bringing in two hundred million dollars of tax-free dollars a year, having eight or nine million subscriptions of the Plain Truth magazine, a worldwide work, visiting kings and prime ministers, all over the world, having three colleges at one time, having all of these churches and all of the ministers out there? Who could destroy that so fast?......
......Did you ever wonder why all kinds of people, in fact, the entire Church should have just risen up and kicked him out? Well, who did? No one did, because God’s Spirit was present and He didn’t allow us. Even though we didn’t know what was going on: He didn’t allow us to come against His Government; did He? People just left and that’s okay. They left, and they were scattered and God said that the Church would be scattered.
It was Mr. Tkach, not ever Mr. Armstrong: it was Mr. Tkach who started using committees and received a multitude of counsel, oh, but from men! He certainly didn’t get a multitude of counsel from God! It’s from men!
The Laodicean era has different parameters. We know; the man of sin has sat in every Church era! Right back with the Apostles: they warned us. They showed us it was already happening in their time: that the mystery of iniquity did already work within the Churches. It didn’t go away, but it was allowed in this Laodicean era. The parameters are almost unknown. It’s almost like: “Satan you can do anything you want; just don’t kill my Firstfruits,” because, obviously, they’re throwing everything out and we see that.
Joey Tkach now, his son, is not a servant of God. Whether he is converted: I don’t know. I don’t make judgments on that, but he is not a servant and he is not being led by God’s Spirit!......
......You know; if God’s not smart enough and strong enough and has enough power to inspire through one man, then how can He possibly inspire through fourteen men?......
......Joe was the right man for the job for the Laodicean Church! It was all gone in less than 10 years and right now the Church is blind! It will stay blind until the two witnesses come on the scene, and somehow the Laodicean era of the Church and they may be scattered all over as well: the Firstfruits of that era. When the two witnesses come on the scene, of course, we read that somehow God is going to protect those Philadelphians, do some more training with them, but He allows Satan to come and kill all of those Laodiceans.
But it does say that they keep the Commandments and they have the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is prophecy, the spirit of prophecy, which means they will know also the True Plan of God. Their minds will be opened at that time. To how much of it, I don’t know, but to a lot more than they have right now, obviously......
......God does not have “churches of God.” Right now, there is the true Church of God: the Philadelphian era and also the Laodicean era, but all of these other scattered ones are not His true Churches. God does not work in confusion!..."
And, of course, there are plenty of other perspectives available and for now it still seems like a lot of scattering and confusion.

Will there be an "end of the 'era' matter?"

Time will tell...


Opinionated said...

Anon May 26, 2019 at 11:51 PM

NCK is full of crap. He claims to be someone who is important (in his eyes) yet won't say who that is. He appears to be narcissistic which would explain his behavior and attitude towards others. We have become his source here at banned that he feeds off.

nck said...

Opinionated has shown to have been up to this day a sad loser espousing conspiracy theories on several blogs, who doesn't deserve empathy.

Lack of Empathy the one element I would agree with from a full description of narcissism.

The one thing I have proven by participating on this blog is not to strive to be admired,.........Again people labelling and using scientific sounding descriptions without actually knowing ANYTHING about what they write.

It is people like Opinionated that Feed on those telling the truth in order to receive recognition or confirmation from other losers.

I really liked MikeW writings in Youth Magazine. Far more insightful at age 17 than ANYTHING opinionated ever contributed here.


Tonto said...

It is interesting to note that the 1995 destruction of the WCG and all things HWA, also had a smaller parallel event happen in 1995. It was the fall of GTA with his infamous "masseuse" video.

Both events marked the end of the 80 year Armstrong era. It was an era that in the world contained massive centralized governments and control, like the Soviet Union , China etc. The COG was a centralized, non free market entity as well.

Information and freedom of thought are great enemies to such regimes. The personal computer and the internet, which burst on the scene in the mid 90s forced great change in paradigm for such empires and also the COGs.

There is still a remnant and hanging on to the archaic in both the COGS and places like China, but they are in the death throes. The cultural wave for the future in terms of society and socially , is decentralized, personal choice, and niche providing of services.

It is one of the reasons that you are seeing things like Brexit, Catalonia cessesion, and other social movements that are decentralizing. The COGS are going thru a similar process, and those that demand central monetary and hierarchical control will inevitably shrink and fade away.

Sabbatarianism will survive in some form, and will be locally based, democratically governed by local boards, and reflect local custom and social mores in areas like music, empowerment , dress etc.

Anonymous said...

4.24 AM
"Gods government" has been, and still is a false God within these ACOGs. It usurps God and the work of His holy spirit. Satan doesn't have a monopoly in trying to exalt his throne above Gods.
"Gods government/Administering Gods Government" is Baal worship.

nck said...


Interesting to read your opinion.

My take is that the span of control enabled by technology seems to gravitate toward centralisation. Perhaps even one world government.

One business controller today can have real time data at the worldwide headquarters of a multinational.

China calls the chief wcg strategist one of the 10 most influental foreigners as I noticed in my Kirgistan hotel flipping chinese tv channels.


Byker Bob said...

It still amazes my ox, ass, manservant and maidservant that there could even have been a WCG after 1975!

Still, it’s good to be able to read the writings of those who endured the cult in the years after the Great Disappointment, and have now escaped. Apparently, the worst elements never changed, and persist even today in the sphincter groups.


Tonto said...


You are indeed correct about the counter trend of more centralization in terms of business and production. Amazon as an example.

But in areas of thought, and freedom of expression, personal identity and association, I maintain that the internet age has created a whole new paradigm of liberty.

How these two divergent paths will reconcile themselves and balance each other will be fascinating to watch as time progresses.

Opinionated said...

NCK lied when he said: Opinionated has shown to have been up to this day a sad loser espousing conspiracy theories on several blogs, who doesn't deserve empathy.

Not once have I embraced a conspiracy theory. You LIE.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the world is unfortunately becoming more rather than less tyrannical. While the collapse of the Soviet implied a more free world, what happened was that the tyranny sank into the lower levels of society such as the media, workplace and colleges. The attempt to ban plastic straws is one example of this Pharisaic control.

Byker Bob said...

Well, one used to see cigarette butts all over the place, or plastic bottle caps. Now, there are dreadful plastic dental floss forks laying all over the place.

There was a news item the other day to the effect that divers had reached the bottom of the great blue hole of Belize. Past the layer of hydrogen sulphide and at the bottom where only anaerobes can survive, plastics such as a Coke bottle were found. It’s amazing how we’ve polluted even the most remote areas of our planet, so I understand the angst over plastic straws.

My grandparents purchased a non-working farm back in the 1950s. They cleaned and gentrified it. Much old junk was hauled away. The previous owners had dumped all of their garbage down a ravine. My grandparents cleaned all of that up, and found soda and whiskey bottles from the 1920s, still intact. And, this was before ecology or urban anthropology were ever even a consideration.


Anonymous said...

More 1996 than 1995 with GTA

Anonymous said...

They are now trying to ban beach umbrellas because of the occasional accident. This, despite people having a higher change of being injured driving to the beach. Try intellectualizing that away. There's no end to these zealots meddling.

nck said...

Tonto and 1:59

It is a fascinating topic. Since I defend the opinion that HWA was a Mercury type, one sent forth or "messenger for the gods" I defend the opinion that he was right.

Since the World Tomorrow was to be a centralised guvment brought about by a rod of iron I gravitate toward centralisation. Or perhaps centralised capitalism like the chinese model.

I know opinionated is fighting that model alongside POTUS. So wether something is conspiracy theory or "seeing clearly" remains in the eye of the beholder at this stage in time.

I see a lot of girls having anxiety problems through the perceived pressure of social media. Again I dont know if we are in an adjustment phase or a phase toward global assimilation.

Opinionated is sure where we are, like the people in the videos he distributes.


nck said...

Another example of centralisation.
Trumps pressure on the Fed prompts prominent members to discuss (NIRP_ Negative Interest Rate Policy) and (YCC) Yield Curve Control, meaning a maximum interest rate. This would mean the end of the free market economy and western interestmarkets would after the fact be as "free" as the Soviet Union at the time.

My thoughts are prompted by Mr Warren's relating of experience in the Soviet Union and the blending of my personal theory that HWA indeed was announcing a future society given the people he associated with.

Opinionated and I have more in common than we think, but we seem to have chosen to engage at times in some dialectic feud. As a matter of fact. All of us have more in common than we would believe at first sight. It is what brought us together in the firt place.

On the other hand only a few times on this blog people resonate with me as contemporaries. Others offer a glimpse of "eternity in reverse', by offering insights from a past before my time.


Opinionated said...

NCK said >Opinionated is sure where we are, like the people in the videos he distributes.

What videos do you speak of? More false accusations idiot?

Anonymous said...

HWA was right about some things, but wrong about many others, eg, over a hundred mistaken prophesies. One of the ACOGs has a booklet called He was right. In all fairness, they should also have a booklet called He was wrong.

nck said...

Living Armstrongism is plastered with them.

Opinionated April 28, 2019 at 4:45 PM
Bullshit Redfox.


Hi 5:50
Name one "prophecy" where HWA was wrong and I'll try make a story up explaining it to you!
-The one about Japan attacking California from 1933?? It did happen by submarine.
-The one about Hitler invading Ukraine from 1940?? It did happen.

The one about a strong hand from someplace establishing a centralised governance body on earth by a rod of iron?? The internet has established the span of control to make that possible and the Chinese are experimenting it on a quarter of the world population at present.


nck said...

And this one Opinionated???

This is clear conspiracy theory.....

OpinionatedJanuary 1, 2019 at 10:41 AM
To have a truly free mind is one hell of a lot of work.

I believe nothing in print, no opinion pieces, government propaganda, etc. I do the leg work of studying to come to my conclusions.

Many people say they are free thinking individuals. They are not. One must dedicate themselves to thought, be able to visualize and realize that there might not be a answer that awaits them for some years, if ever.

You have foisted on the readers here at LA, climate change. For laying blame on mankind you have missed the reasoning behind this invention. Carbon taxes and population control. See if you can visualize why they are doing this. The motivation of fanatics is a terrible thing.


Opinionated said...

Yes, NCK, I stand by that. Read this. It is one of many.


nck said...

Interesting Opinionated.

It made me think of the squalor in 1860 London and Manhattan. 7 person families living in an apartment and rampant coal use and foul air.

BB's answer to you was more than excellent. And here or the other thread I talked about the 4th industrial revolution or the rapidly aproaching Singularity as the fulfillment of the World Tomorrow promiss.

An idea copied by hwa from the 1939 technology fair and being fulfilled within 40 years from now according to Moores Law.

If.............and I agree with you....human nature will not thwart the working of law.


Opinionated said...

you owe me a apology.

Anonymous said...

Opinionated: Don't hold your breath for an apology from nck. God's most perfect church member has never done anything wrong. As the most educated and most traveled member to ever be a part of the church, and due to his narcissism, you will never see an apology. Herbert created the most perfect devotee imaginable.

Opinionated said...

May 28, 2019 at 4:19 PM

I did not expect a narcissistic sob to ever give a apology. I just want to warn folks who might consider and listen to the cancer among us. He is disinformation and a pox on all those who suffered under Herbert Armstrong.

Opinionated said...

I think NCK is in need of some recognition and I am happy to oblige.

NO2HWA said...

Enough of this constant crap! Either stay on topic or don't comment. It is frustrating watching these posts devolve like these over and over with constant silliness! No one here is illiterate and no one here possesses all knowledge. Give it a rest.

nck said...


I don't think the article provided supports your line of thinking.

I would apologize for inapropriate namecalling. But remain brief for the sake of no2hwas admonishment.

People who know how to search information on the search engines know that I do not lie.

You stand accused of what you call me by your own behavior.

Case closed by no2hwa, the people rests.


nck said...

Just one more thing........


What is the Plain Truth is that we had that Pink Panther Movie as one of the FOT activities in 1977. We also had Animal Farm in I believe 1978 and really believe it or not, I don't care "Herbie."

I can't say more since it is giving away my location. Although I do not expect people visiting this blog to know about the more exotic fringe experiences that I constantly harp, rave and comment about, but rather only the boring, shallow, standard (harmful) procedure.

Again I am not lying.

Of course we also had the regular Armstrong propaganda like "The Sting", "Lawrence of Arabia", Square Dance and IBM's "Power's of 10". But yes Inspector Clouseau, Herbie and Animal Farm, all FOT family day experiences in the seventies for me.