Saturday, September 14, 2019

Herman Hoeh and Rabid Squirrels

"Plagues are coming-and, according to this prophetic warning, in about two years from now! Our cattle have already suffered from the drought. Soon we shall find that the hoof-and-mouth disease will spread out of control! Rabid foxes, squirrels, muskrats will attack our children. For seven long and frightful years, we are going to suffer as never before-until we be left 'few in number.'..." -- The Plain Truth, Herman Hoeh, April 1956, p. 22.

File this under "Stupid Things Church of God Ministers Say..."


Retired Prof said...

Yep, I remember those days. My father listened to The World Tomorrow without fail, and he kept an eye on the news in search of signs of the coming tribulation. And by golly, he found them. He would see any disaster in the region, state, or nation, or any grave illness, as the onset of seven years of misery. In our part of the country we did have a 7-year drouth, which was unusually long. He was certain it was the tribulation in progress even though all of the other signs and portents went on at about the usual rate rather than an apocalyptic one.

So by the time I went to Ambassador in 1959 I was sort of jaded. One of my fellow students commented on a rabies case and some other alarming incident I can't remember. He agreed with the consensensus that it showed the tribulation was revving up. I said it didn't seem realistic to pick a few examples out of the randomness and try to establish a trend. He said it was okay to do that, "because we know it's true!"

nck said...

Wow. And then Hitchcock thought. Hmmmmm it could work with birds Tippy.


Byker Bob said...

They always grabbed at any piece of sensationalism that appeared to support their prophecy mold and deadlines. Argentine fire ants (which had made it to Tejas by the time of the first years of SEP) killer bees, rabies, hoof and mouth disease, and abnormally high insect populations were all cited. Then there were disease epidemics (especially those resistant to antibiotics), phenomena attributed to demons, riots, a plethora of different weather conditions, acceleration of criminal activity, anti-Americanism overseas, somehow there never was a shortage of activities that could be pressed into service to support the trib.

Here’s another condition that I’m sure we’ve all had to fight during our recovery: know how they taught us to just write off our non-WCG loved ones? Not to be close to them, not to be overly concerned that they were going to be tortured or possibly killed by the Germans? Make the church members your family instead? Well, I never did manage to get rid of the natural love and concern for those relatives. But, when it came time to cut my losses and leave the WCG, I had no problem in writing off all the friends and relatives who remained in the church. It seemed perfectly natural and normal to do so, since they had taught us to do it to others. That really goes against some of the innate good parts of our human nature, and once you are programmed, it’s damned near impossible to get it back.


Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between wholesome motivation and terror religion.
The only reason the church teaches its members to ditch their family and relatives is to increase their stranglehold on its members. Threats of being disfellowshipped would be intimidating to members whose only friends are inside the church. Having all of ones eggs in one basket is not a good idea. It's prudent to diversify.

Anonymous said...

Though I still don't celebrate Xmas or Easter I learned many many years ago that it's not going to kill me if I gather for an extended family get together and meal on those days.

That is, when I can get away from our Winter Family Weekend xmas decorating and singing xmas carols. 😉


Anonymous said...

Hoeh was really a strange bird. Heard some disturbing things regarding him in his later years. Was amazed that he went along with all the changes implemented by Tkach considering what he wrote earlier. I heard he was heavily influenced by Thai buddism.

TLA said...

Favorite COG scripture- in the last days scoffers will abound.
Least favorite- let their be no schisms among you

Tonto said...

I think that Pack, Flurry, Malm, Thiel , Weinland et al, should all be checked for rabies! They do froth at the mouth!

Anonymous said...

“Soon we shall find that the hoof-and-mouth disease will spread out of control!”

Well, close.

Foot-in-mouth disease has spread totally out of control.

TM said...

Anon 7:35. Yes, as early as 1973 (maybe even earlier), he was visiting the Thai Bhuddist Temple in Los Angeles. I was in his Ambassador Club October to December 1973 and he talked about it; supposedly HWA allowed him to do it because Bhuddism does not have a god, although the real reason was probably different. After the schisms of 1995, I heard a rumor that he was the only minister allowed to give sermons in both the WCG and UCG. In about 2017 a writer named David Goodhart divided society into two "tribes", the "somewheres" and the "anywheres". Hoeh would have been one of the "anywheres".

Redfox712 said...

It is so important that we remember just how absurd their fear inducing false prophecies were to make it harder for the current COGs to spread unwarranted fear among the people.

Anonymous said...

"Threats of being disfellowshipped would be intimidating to members whose only friends are inside the church."

From someone who's been disfellowshipped three times, and having grown up in "the church", it's not as bad as you think. 😉

I was disfellowshipped and marked once in the WCG after I had already called and quit. I quit because of the exclusive "We're the only true church" and "The sabbath keepers we just found in the Ukraine aren't part of God's church until they join the WCG!" Also because of Stavrinedes (sp?) 1991 doctrinal changes.

I was disfellowshipped from the UCG though never a member, ok maybe not technically disfellowshipped, just told I was no longer welcome unless I quit writing anti-minister posts on the internet. Posts like, telling a friend of a widow lady, who asked what to do about said widow lady who was about to lose her house, she had asked the UCG minister thrice for help, but nothing.

I told her that if she believed in tithing, to give her tithe to the widow lady and Jesus can say to her in that day, I was homeless and you gave me a home. That it would be better for the widow lady to receive $60,000 a year than a wolf in sheep's clothes.

Then several years later, after that "minister" was transferred, I was "allowed" back, but after the next minister left, the new one threatened to kick a young guy out for reasons that he had no proof of, so it wasn't biblical if he had no proof. I stood up for the fella so I was again told I was no longer welcome. That wolf is now in cogwa. So I'm not welcome in cogwa or ucg, though I did attend the feast at a cogwa site last year. 😉

Stand up to the wolves and prove yourself to God!


Anonymous said...

But there's people who have friendships spanning decades in a church. You don't seem to be in that category. For others, their only friends are other church members. You don't seem to be in this category either. It's easy to be 'brave' when you have little to lose.

Anonymous said...

9:56 I believe in my second sentence I said that I grew up in the church. From 2 years old, I'm now 55. I had loads of friends in the church. Still do and they belong to differing acogs, though I've been out of the acog business for nearing 30 years Besides, you'll make new friends.

Not meaning to be an asshole but what did Jesus say about family turning against his followers, did that not apply to friends too? Which is more important?I

Little to lose? Hmmmm. My father and sisters were still in the WCG when I quit. They were told they couldn't discuss religion with me. Finally about six years later my dad wised up and is now as independent as I. So much for little to lose.


Byker Bob said...

Bottom line is that if and when you leave, most of your church friends will have nothing to do with you. To me, that means that they never were actually your friends. The only thing you shared in common was a church, and not a very good one at that. Your status was always less than the status of that church in members' minds. They care too much about themselves to dive into hell to rescue you as a true friend might do. What else could you possibly expect from a "save your ass from the tribulation" based church?

I believe, if I understand conditions today, there are at least three kinds of leaving. 1) Totally leaving Armstrongism, in which you do lose friends and possibly family. 2) Splinter-surfing, which in many cases means leaving one subset of friends, and rediscovering some old friends who had gone with your "new" splinter back in '95. 3) Going independent or "Livingroom". (See #2 for the friendship opportunities)

Back in '75, after the "Great Disappointment", many people were waking up and leaving. So, bunches of friends left using the buddy system. We passed around doctrinal study papers amongst ourselves that disproved most of the tenets of Armstrongism, and read Ambassador Reports. It was also party time. Gradually, we all got on with our lives, and as we made new friends, lost contact. With the advent of the internet, there were opportunities to catch up, as you can tell from the groups of people here who knew each other back in the day.


nck said...


I see many friends on Facebook with former ties to wcg (especially SEP) with at least 300 up to 900 former church friends.

If I were to be the charismatic head of the former SEP facebookcog I would easily have 6000 members within a month.

However, non of them discusses religion on the internet only their ongoing lives sometimes exciting sometimes boring, just like reality.


Byker Bob said...

Yes, nck. SEP and some of the other subsets of the membership do provide common ground for discussion and catching up on a nonreligious basis. I found it significant that the Ambassador College reunions were more or less co-opted by people who were no longer church members. That had to have galled the grads who are still drinking the Kool Aid. Most likely, if the college were still extant, the ad hoc alumni committee which organized the reunions would have received cease and desist letters. I never attended any of the reunions because most of my closest friends were either expelled, or have died over the intervening years. I never really got close to most of my fellow students, never actually let more than a handful "in", especially the good little boys and girls, because it was a "ratting" community that ate their own. I especially avoided the ministry, wanting them to know as little as possible about me. At SEP, though, it was a different community because most of us were rebels. The price for being a rebel at SEP was swats, and it was worth it. The price at AC was that nobody really trusted you, because you hadn't really declared yourself for Mr. Armstrong or the work. I'd imagine that many of the people at AC would have expected me to be dead by now, or to have gotten into major trouble in life because of many of my attitudes as a student, but realitiy is that I was always into health and physical fitness, and did apply myself to the opportunities in life that I actually valued.


nck said...

7:37 BB

I do understand!

One time we had a Philipino ex Navy Seal direct the Obstacle Course.

He introduced it to our dorm as "specially prepared" so that we all would learn lessons, like perseverance, SINCE HE FIGURES THAT NOT ALL OF US WOULD REMAIN WITH THE CHURCH".

I remember thinking..... Ooh boy what would our counsellor think about that remark since he was one of the 'princes".

The following 45 minutes turned out to be one of the most profound courses in leadership for me personally as our entire unit got completely disqualified under my "leadership" while we celebrated for making the best time ever.

That day I learned about what people expect of leaders as I was ruthlessly confronted with my personal wiring of teamwork and looking after the laggards.

A tough personal lesson I could more easily accept because I relate to the warrior caste.


Renaissance913 said...

RE: BB on 9/19/19--

Just curious, if you considered yourself a "rebel" at SEP, why did you go on to AC? AC was like SEP on crack.