Saturday, December 28, 2019

Seven Years Ago Today God's Greatest Miracle In The History Of The Church Happened!

Rejoice! God is all-powerful and on his throne as he leads his church into Petra! It has been 7 (the number of perfection) complete years since one of the greatest moments in the history of the Church of God movement happened!  Prophet Herbert Armstrong, Dave Pack, Ron Weinland, and Gerald Flurry, and all the other little insignificant splinter upstarts that exist out there pale in comparison with this great man!   No other human being (a man, of course) has ever existed that carries such a mantle as this church leader. Even Jesus himself doubly-blessed this leader and sent dreams and visions to occupy his little narcissistic mind! Isn't God amazing that he does such things?????

Our very own dreamy Chief Overseer, Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Johsua Bob Thiel is touting his self-appointment as the one true end-time church with an incredibly narcissistic video sermon to his African faithful and a few deluded white Americans.

The Great Bwana tells a whopper of a lie when he claims his personality cult is a RESTORATION of the faith once delivered!  Somewhere in the world pigs are flying and jackasses are talking at this great miracle. Praise Bwana!

The Continuing Church of God officially declared itself a separate legal entity on December 28, 2012. What has it been doing over the past seven years? Is the CCOG doing what God says? Is it doing things that Laodiceans overlook because of misunderstandings as well as improper traditions? What some of the similarities between its start and the start of the old Radio Church of God? What about A.N. Duggar and the Church of God Seventh Day? Did Hebert W. Armstrong teach that his wife Loma had a dream from God? Does God still use dreams? Has the ‘mantle’ passed to the CCOG? Does the CCOG have more of the signs of Acts 2:17-18 than any other true COG group? Does CCOG have the growth and fruits to expect of the Philadelphia remnant? What about Romans 11:25 and Matthew 24:14? What about the short work of Romans 9:28? Has the CCOG restored doctrine and other information? What project is the CCOG working on? What does the CCOG plan for the future? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more.
I would put a link to his video clickbait sermon, but don't want him gloating that tens of thousands have watched it.

Friday, December 27, 2019

“Watch and pray always that you be accounted worthy to escape all these things and stand before the son of man”

A comment from the previous post that deserves its own space:

For me, this topic post was a timely topic post. A previous post topic entitled “Why the Church” got me thinking and didn’t have time to post questions that came to my mind before other subsequent topics moved it into archive.
The Radio/Worldwide Church of God once had a booklet entitled “There Is A Way of Escape”. One of the hooks that drew people into the Church was the promise to escape the Great Tribulation which the booklet explained. “Watch and pray always that you be accounted worthy to escape all these things and stand before the son of man” Luke 21:36. Classic Armstrongism taught the Great Tribulation occurring in the first week of January, 1972 (end of second 19 year time cycle) with the German attack on America. The Philadelphians are taken to a Place of Safety and the remaining “Lukewarm” Church members left were the Laodicean Church era going through the Great Tribulation. Classic Armstrongism taught half the Church would be taken to Petra Place of Safety and the other half would be tried in the Great Tribulation (another Lake of Fire type fear threat). “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your LORD will come. Matthew 24:40-42
So the question that arose in my mind when I read “Why the Church” post was how do the splinters and HWA wannabes teach Matthew 24:40-42 today? If each splinter and HWA wannabee teaches that their own splinter (and their splinter alone) are the Philadelphian era remnant and all the other Splinters are the Laodiceans in the Laodicean era, then how does the math work for the fulfillment of Matt 24:40-42 the way that classic Armstrongism always taught; i.e. half the Church taken to place of Safety and the other half remaining to go through the great Tribulation tried by fire?  
If “the elect” have been spread among all the splinters, and each is claiming that they are the Philadelphian remnant, then the numbers don’t work 50%/50%. Even if they still taught classic Armstrongism; i.e. that within their own splinter group, 50% will be taken to a Place of Safety while 50% are left behind to face the Great Tribulation with all the other Laodiceans in the other Splinters, the math still doesn’t work overall to fulfill Matt. 24:40-42, thus the question I posed.
If the Armstrong Churches of God are as many as 50,000 people today consisting of two types of people: 1) Philadelphian remnant in the Laodicean era; and 2) Laodiceans in the Laodicean era, then there is no one Splinter Group that is large enough for 25,000 Philadelphians (50%) worthy to escape all these things (Luke 21:36). Which means ALL of the HWA wannabees have to acknowledge that there are Philadelphians in other Splinter groups for the math to work. BUT WAIT, that would mean that, consistent with classic Armstrongism, we are still in the Philadelphian era and the two eras co-exist together. 
OH, BUT WAIT! It gets even better – Herbert Armstrong admitted that the dead Sardis era – the Church of God, Seventh Day – was also God’s true Church too, just doing a dead work!!! So do their membership numbers get included in the Place of Safety Matthew 24:40-42 prophecy that classic Armstrongism always taught that half the Church would be taken, and the other half left to go through the Great Tribulation? That would imply there are Philadelphians and Laodiceans in the Sardis era remnant.
Now that we are out of it, isn’t Armstrongism fun?  
Maybe the Doctor from the degree mill “Almost arrested for Sabbath keeping, doubly blessed” Thiel can prophesy an answer to my simple naĆÆve question.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Church of the Eternal God: Norbert Link and Crew Don't Practice What They Preach

Norbert Link's man-made empire called the Church of the Eternal God, has a blurb up on its web site about people who give selflessly of their lives, sometimes even to the point of death.

That article is written by Robb Harris and is titled, "Reckless Endangerment".
While many have selflessly given their lives to help those in dire need, what about those who place themselves in danger by their own choice or ignorance?  The desire to climb Mount Everest has become a worldwide endeavor since Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. Since then, “Some 290 people have died climbing Everest in more than a century of attempts, according to the Himalayan Database, an archive that tracks expeditions in the Nepalese Himalayas going back to 1905. About a third, 94, have been Sherpas (”
While many might argue that Sherpa deaths are part of the job they have chosen to take part in, it still doesn’t excuse so many deaths merely for man’s folly in desiring to conquer a mountain.
Like any typical COG leader, the brethren, in their eyes, are incompetent idiots who can never do anything right. So as usual. the blame members for not being in the right frame of mind.  That wrong thinking then allows "believers" to be led astray by unscrupulous men like Bob Thiel and James Malm...and Norbert Link.
When we seek to conquer and overcome our own mountain of human carnality, are we being conscientious in how we attain that goal?  Spiritual recklessness can cause our own defeat and quite possibly that of those around us. Christ warns of this mindset and the dangers it poses, “‘But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea’”(Mark 9:42).
There is no place in God’s Family for those that lead believers astray. Those words are terrifying in implication and will be the ruin of many who have walked this earth lead by deceit. But the warning given by Christ should not dissuade us from trying to do good. We must continually lead by example and be lights to those in darkness. Christ didn’t call us IN perfection, He called us TO perfection. Paul, with all of his troubles, understood this quite well. “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
All of these men who have started the various splinter groups set themselves up as the chieftains of their empires.  God had no part in it.  These self-appointed upstarts are the ones leading brethren astray and down paths that lead them further and further away from the One, they are supposed to be following and finding their rest in. Jesus Christ died and is still on the Masonic Lodge or high school gym floor where he remains till next year. They never seem to go any further than that death. What it did and accomplished are rarely discussed.  If they did, there would be zero excuses in running CEG or any of the other splinter groups that these charlatans use to deceive members.

Adult Wake Up Call ":Will Christians flee to a place in the wilderness? "

Dr. Robert Thiel

In my view and experience, the concept and teaching in WCG and now most splinters,  of  fleeing or going to the Place of Safety to experience God's protection during the final times before the Second Coming was and still is one of the most dangerous misapplication of scripture they ever came up with.  It was the theme of Gerald Waterhouse's long winded and fanciful sermons, along with loyalty to HWA and belief in his all wise leadership, as he toured the churches spreading the Gospel of Fear and "How the hell is THAT going work?"  

Waterhouse added the extra fact, one of many,  that it was not just a place of safety but a place of final training to be, as I assumed, God as God is God and ruling over the nations.  I detested Gerald's visits, from my youthful self until the end  and told him in the end that he caused more fear, worry and questions in the congregation than he answered and that I was no longer going to answer for him after he left.  I have related that at the same time I asked him what he was going to do when HWA died. I never thought he wouldn't. He said that he'd believe it after three days and three nights.  That was one of the last straws for me and he never had many straws to deal with from me to begin with over the years. 

The Place of Safety is, by far, the most dangerous and ill conceived teaching of WCG and HWA or those around him. Let me be clear. I never believed it and like BI, divine healing only and divorce and remarriage, never gave a sermon on it. I handled questions on it personally and privately and reminded folk that much of this was speculation and simple opinions that we could wait and see about.  BI never made a big impression on me as the NT did not care who your ancestors were from all I could tell nor made a point of it.  But the prophecy based WCG/HWA was hooked on it for any number of reasons.

 I took it as wild speculation based on scripture hoping along with cut and paste theology and wasn't about to tell any church I might have pastored at the time that "it's time to go."  I may have lacked faith, but I did not lack common sense.  That was just never going to happen. 

It is an insane teaching based on taking practically all scriptures related to the topic wildly out of context, both in historical and even some kind of future context.  Ass kissing Evangelicals are trying every way they can to put their idea of how such end time fantasies can be brought about by POTUS, who we all know said  with a straight face , "No one loves the Bible more than me" and Evangelicals fanaticize as being chosen by God.   (I like the concept that this might be so only if God has run out of Locusts:)

Nevertheless, Bob Thiel teaches it as in days of old.  

"Are some of God’s people actually going to flee right before the tribulation?
According to Jesus, the answer is yes."

"Let this be perfectly clear, there are two groups of God’s people mentioned in Revelation 12–one which goes to a place of safety and one which does not." 

"The idea that those going to the place will undergo final training is one that we in the Continuing Church of God also embrace. We do not believe that the faithful are simply going to save their physical lives, but also be trained so that they can be more effective servants of God. To learn to better spread the love of God to more of humanity.

Most end time Christians, however, are not Philadelphian, but Laodicean and are not promised the type of protection that Jesus promised the Philadelphia Christians."


I believe most here know the routine and most of the reasonings and meanderings through scripture to "prove" that a Place of Safety, most likely in Petra, Jordan or vicinity is a supposed very real promise for the true church (there is no one true church) today. .(Or ever).

 It falls on deaf ears to say that the Book of Revelation is a failed first century prophecy meant to encourage Jewish Christians trapped in the final days of the Temple in Jerusalem under Roman assault. In this case, as in the days of the Maccabean uprising, the Romans won again. Any fleeing to be done has been done or was unable to be done but it is all done. Take the Book of Revelation as a guide to our times at your own risk.  I'd be a bit careful following a Bob Thiel out into the Jordanian countryside to get away from chaos in the Middle East or anyplace else on the planet. Certainly a Dave Pack, as failed a seer as he has proven to be cannot be trusted to get this right as if was the right thing to teach or do in the first place, which it is not.

The Book of Revelation is not for today and of course, that will start a brawl right there.  It does not predict helicopter gun ships with the faces of men and is full of hyperbole which was a perfectly fine way to write apocalyptic literature. "So only today could we get a 200 million man army" is a bogus and inappropriate response just as much as trying to figure out how the stars of heaven could fall to earth knowing, as we do today, the nature of stars.  It is, however, exaggeration at its best. It was most likely written sometime between January and September of 70 AD,  just prior to the Fall of Jerusalem and never even made it to the three and a half year mark where Messiah would come. The Romans put an end to that pipedream in 8 months.   Whole other topic.

As noted in The Religion of the Orient, which I have quoted in the past:

"Revelation was the swan song of Militant Jewish Christianity. When Jerusalem was destroyed, when Rome waxed grater and more powerful, when the False Prophet gained more and more followers, when the book itself was proved totally false within two years, when it became evident that the Jewish Messiah-Christ would not come, the Hebrew Christians lost their virility and their cult faded under the combined assault of orthodox Judaism and of Gentile Christianity."
pg 479-

So to the point.  The teaching of a Place of Safety and/or Final Training is the most dangerous and anxiety fraught mistaken belief of the WCG and now most splinters of note. It is foolish and a formula for a disaster in religious shenanigans. While the writers of the day may have themselves felt this to be true if one just waited to see, they were as mistaken then as they would be now again.

Christians and humans have always looked for safety and hope in troubled times. Revelation was written for just such a purpose.   Relying on the proof texting waltz through scriptures by those so inclined or the cobbling together of scripture on the answer to this troublesome question of physical survival until the Second Coming is looking for deliverance in all the wrong places.

It never seems to occur to these folk that "If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed" found in Job might be safer for all concerned.  But then facing death graciously as all have in the past and must still is not a strong view of the Church either.  Getting out of it seems more the way to go and the teaching of The Place of Safety goes a long way in the specialness that does not really belong to the Churches of God to begin with.  They will be as mistaken about "we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed" (I Cor 15:51) as Paul was when he had to come to grips with his own mistaken views on the soon and shortness of his times.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Gerald Weston: Why is he always so smug, self-righteous and condescending?

Of course, we know the answer to that question. Herbert Armstrong and his spiritual guru, Rod Meredith, taught him well. Having spent most of his life in a church that proclaimed itself superior to all others and that claimed to have the answer to EVERYTHING spiritual and most of all represented "original Christianity" why shouldn't we expect him to always act like a self-righteous jerk?

Weston recently wrote an article for the Living Church of God News about "Why are we here?".

In typical Church of God fashion, he mocks other Christians and people outside the LCG as inferior to the superior LCG members. He starts off by mocking Christians and others because of funerals.  As we are all well aware of by now, due to the many years we spent in Armstrongism the church always thought they held the monopoly of the proper way to conduct funerals and what to say.

Westons says:
Funerals tell us a lot about how people think. Family members often speak emotionally of the deceased, while others tell humorous anecdotes as a means of coping with their emotions at such a difficult time. When one tries to discuss the big questions of life and death, however, most who are not of God’s people sit there bored, looking down or off into space.
I have to say that the many funerals I have been to outside the COG have been far more loving, gracious and God-centered that most of the bunk I heard in COG funerals and memorials where ministers mocked heaven and other Christian beliefs. 

Weston continues to mock them with this:
Deep down, people do want to know “what it’s all about,” but most do not think there is a real answer. “Heaven” does not excite them. Clerics of various persuasions try to make their ideas about the afterlife sound exciting, but although they rarely agree with each other, they even less often consider that the deceased have a productive future ahead. But you and I understand what most do not. Why would God create beings to go where there is nothing productive to do? To most outside God’s Church, the afterlife is what I often call a “candy store in the sky” or some kind of celestial LSD trip. For Roman Catholics and many others, it may be the so-called “beatific vision”—staring into the face of God for eternity—that brings supreme happiness and satisfies all our longings. But is this what God is doing—creating beings to find final happiness just staring into His face for eternity?
And yet Weston and his cronies believe they are going to become a god as God is God, which is just as ludicrous as people floating around on clouds playing harps for eternity.

Weston then goes on to talk about his finding of the "truth" and the kingdom of God. Weston and most in Armstrongims love to claim that Christians never talk about the kingdom of God that is expected to come.  I have heard more said about that kingdom by Christians I am in contact with than I have EVER heard ministers and members ever talk about on a personal level.
When I was first beginning to understand the Truth, I thought the difference between Heaven and the Kingdom of God was only a matter of location. Rather than exist up in the sky, Heaven would come here on earth. I certainly never thought that my reward would be to stare into God’s face forever, but my ideas were vague and, frankly, not exciting. Heaven, though, certainly seemed like the better of the two options, and attending church services seemed to be essential to reaching the better alternative.
He continues, with the typical smug COG belief
We should all know that the Gospel is about the Kingdom of God, and that Christ is central to the Gospel message. The good news is that His Kingdom is coming, and that we can be born into it. Christ, the King, is the way into that Kingdom (John 14:6). The Bible is an expression of His will, and it shows us what our part in the Kingdom will be. But let us not get ahead of the story. 
The sad part with Armsgtrongism is that Jesus Christ is rarely ever part of the picture. Weston and many splinter cult leaders are embarrassed by Jesus. Their focus is upon themselves and their great wisdom and of course the asinine prophecies and predictions they all make or are obsessing on the law till it is nothing more than swill being tossed to swine.

If the COG and LCG are filled with such glorious knowledge that is unknown to Christians, then why are so many in the Church of God so miserable? Church members are leaving the groups in droves.  Others are driven to suicide, perversions and even murder. Why would any real Christian ever what to be in a kingdom governed by these people?

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Spreading Christmas Shade

Spreading Christmas Shade

Growing up in an irreligious home, I hardly saw a connection between Jesus and Christmas. I could tell even as a young teen that it was more about marketing to maintain the health of a consumer-based economy. So when I turned into COG-land in college and was told Christmas was pagan and should not be observed, it was an easy sell. 

But what always struck me as bizarre was the sheer vitriol expressed by church members toward the holiday and those that celebrated it. The historical arguments tying every little element of the season directly to rank paganism and Mystery Babylon the Great, while interesting, failed in bolstering their arguments with direct Scripture. I learned later that there was another school of thought with compelling historical evidence that first and second century Christians were observing Sundays and celebrating the birth and resurrection of Christ, completely unrelated to paganism. In fact, paganism specifically related to the Roman cult of Sol Invictus was not part of the Roman culture until the fourth century. This would suggest that Roman paganism had very little influence on Christianity for three centuries. And from a logical standpoint, it makes no sense that Christians were regularly filling the first chapters of Fox's book of martyrs if they were socially engineering the empire, syncretizing with their persecutors.

For years, I've watched ministerial wannabe's parade up to the lectern every December with sermonettes to end all sermonettes on the greatest evil to ever befall mankind. In between all their spit and rage, I would have to ask myself: what does roasting babies in Babylon have to do with present-day Christians like my brother and his lovely family who partake of normal family rituals like eating together, singing together and worshipping together at a time when they all acknowledge that Jesus was the Christ that came in the flesh? He was born a man and every year, Christians re-enact nativity scenes, acknowledging that belief.

I was surprised when I came across an article by COGWA about Christmas this year that was trying to take a rather new (to me) and novel approach to throwing shade at Christmas.

The title, "The Incarnation: How Christmas Hides Its Meaning" caught my attention. Mike Bennett asks, "If Christmas is really about the birth of the Son of God, why do so many concentrate on Christmas shopping and whitewashed pagan customs, while so few focus on the incredible, life-changing truth of the incarnation?"

Mike goes on to argue that very few people focus on the incarnation of Jesus. His evidence is all the extras surrounding the holiday and the growing number of secularists around the globe who could care less about the incarnation.

While all of that is true, what Mike fails to realize is that people who do consider themselves devout Christians, DO, in fact, care about the incarnation and do put that at the center of their observance. Every year, my brother's family (even if not historically or Biblically accurate completely) re-enact the nativity story at their church. There is absolutely nothing about their Christmas observance that hides the "incredible, life-changing truth of the incarnation."

What is fantastically ironic about Mike's attempt at throwing shade at the holiday, only highlights how the COG's never celebrate or acknowledge the incarnation whereas Christians observing Christmas, rehearse that truth every single year without the prompting of Scripture. How is celebrating Christ's birthday, the incarnation (not solicited in Scripture) actually any different from Armstrongists that observe Independence Day and Thanksgiving (not solicited in Scripture) to honor God or Jews that observe Purim and Hanukkah to honor God for delivering them from their enemies?

120 years of additional research and scholarship has transpired since the Adventist movement took aim at everything Catholic as being directly adopted from the Babylonian Mystery religions. There is evidence that suggests Christians adopted Sunday and celebrated the Resurrection and the Birth of Christ within the first 100 years and it had nothing to do with the paganism and secularism that surrounded and persecuted them. Were they man-made observances not sanctioned by Scripture? YES! Does that automatically make them pagan? NO! Not anymore pagan than Thanksgiving that Armstrongites observe or Hanukkah that Jesus and His apostles observed.

HWA and his followers have always used various forms of faulty logic.  "Dichotomous reasoning" is a COG mainstay used to proffer "proof" for some of the faulty doctrines in the church. This is the faulty logic whereas everything is black or white, all or nothing. A two-dimensional worldview that is symptomatic of many forms of psychosis and various personality disorders.

COG's love to quote Jude when he exhorts the brethren to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." This faith, they claim, is the same truths HWA restored to Christianity after 1900 years. Ignoring Biblical and historical context, another mainstay of Armstrong theology, has left them in the dark whereas scholars have been shedding light  through dark glass since the invention of the printing press.

What was the faith that needed to be contended for so earnestly? What was the biggest threat to Christianity at the close of the first century after the death of all the original apostles, save John?

I was shocked to learn that at the time of Christ, Judaism was the only religion, philosophy, worldview and culture on the whole planet that believed  or ever believed that physical fleshly life could be restored from death. This belief of a resurrection from the dead is what was "foolishness" to the Greek. The centerpiece to Christianity is accentuated by Paul in I Corinthians 15:1-4

"Now brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to Scriptures, that he was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

Paul goes on to list all of the eye-witnesses to the resurrected Jesus. We can see among Gentiles during Paul's apostleship, the resurrection of Jesus in the flesh was already in question 20-30 years after His death and resurrection. John tells us what was being questioned and in doubt 60 years after what Jesus accomplished in I John 2:18-23 and says plainly in 2 John 7, "I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is a deceiver and an antichrist." Jude says ungodly men are turning grace into license to sin and deny the Christ.

It does seem to appear that the biggest problem Christianity faced at the beginning was the unbelief that Christ came in the flesh as a man, died, and was resurrected in the flesh. This makes perfect sense. Once a generation arose that did not have first-hand experience with Jesus, it only stands to reason that it now may be taken by the next generation and new adherents from a non-Jewish view that compromising ideas would arise to account for who and what Jesus was and what actually happened. 

What literally came into question was the incarnation. This may be why there is evidence as early as the early 2nd century of Christians observing the birth of Christ. This was an annual acknowledgment in their faith of the incarnation that many were doubting and began filling the ranks of a new Gnostic Christianity.

This is a valid working theory that is fitting with our addition of scholarship and research over the  last 120 years. For all of the shade the Adventist Movement has thrown at Christmas down to this very week, is it even possible that the COG's could revisit the topic and reconsider just how awful they have been in portraying fellow Christians all these years?

My own opinion is that Christmas is no different from other man-made holidays that have non-pagan foundations. That means we are free to take it or leave it. I stopped observing the holiday as a teenager for non-religious reasons. I will continue to do so but without passing judgment on fellow Christians who do so for reasons completely unrelated to roasting babies in fires and participating in drunken orgies.

by Stoned Stephen Society

Monday, December 23, 2019

God and Evergreens

Cultish to Feature Expose on Herbert Armstrong and the Church of God

Cultish has scheduled a program on exposing Herbert Armstrong and Armstrongism.  They have done recent exposes on Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Mormonism.

With the rise of several aberrant Church of God leaders over the last 20 years and who have serious mental health issues, it has become important to expose these charlatans for the liars they are.  It will be interesting to see how they deal with Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, Gerald Weston, Bob Thiel, Ron Weinland and the other self-appointed frauds that are destroying the lives of thousands of COG members around the world.

Here is just small sampling of some the topics In 2020 we want engage if we can reach our year end goal of 25k. ⁣
This will allow us to fund and support our research team going into next yeah so they can laser focus in on creating weekly podcast, video and blog content for the following topics that many of you have asked us to talk about! ⁣

-The Hebrew Roots Movement⁣

-7th Day Adventists⁣

-The Passion Translation⁣


-Herbert Armstrong and The Worldwide church of God⁣

-Another Cultish/Sheologians Crossover⁣

-Reiki Energy Healing⁣

-An in-depth series exploring all the origins of yoga šŸ§˜‍♀️ up and to it’s current and present forms ⁣

-The world Mission Society Church of God⁣
(The Mother God Cult) ⁣

-The Manson Family: A Cultish True Crime Story⁣

-William Brahnam ⁣

And much much more⁣

Thank you all for listening and supporting and sharing our content this past year and participating in these conversations and please consider supporting us so this type of program can continue! ⁣

Please help us now hit our year end goal of 25k by donating here 

Whatever Your Reason for the Season...

... and as we wrap up another year hear at BannedHWA together, I'd like to wish you all a safe and restful holiday. 

Thank you for sharing all your experiences and views on our common experience and no matter where your journey through it all has taken you, I wish you a positive acceptance of the experience, a grateful appreciation for lessons learned in life and a kind heart through it all. 

I can only speak for myself, but I've learned a lot along the way this year with all your observations and shared experiences.

Nothing's for Nothing

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Adult Sabbath School: We all have a Story .....

….but who we are is not that story

During the peak of my own experience with transitioning out of WCG, when there was more going on in the story of my own life than I evidently could handle, I found counselor with some foresight to give me some insight on what was going on and how to maneuver through it all.  After I had filled out the appropriate forms and answered some questions prior to our first session, he finally walked in the room and his very first words to me were  "Wow!  You got fired by God!"  Perhaps at another time I would have thought this funny and I told him that but at the moment I said I hoped he would not utter any scriptures to help me along my way.  He apologized and told me he used to be a minister too to which I said, "I hoped he would not utter any scriptures to help me along my way and we had a good laugh.

I talked at length , imagine that, as he listened. I shared personal fears, guilts and regrets.  In hindsight, I was in a bout of clinical depression with a heavy dose of anxiety gifted me by the whole transition in my life and woven deeply into the story of it.

One particular subject I brought up was how it made me feel to be divorcing, not only as a former minister who would have "frowned" on such things and had a bunch of scriptures in my holster to back me up on the topic, but that, in the personal story of my life, I was the only divorce of the siblings and the minister son at that. I mentioned that I grew up with parents who were married for, at that time, 55 plus years (They went on to 75 plus and died at just under 100 about a year apart as we suspected they would), but I could not match that success etc.

Then he said something that produced in the classic "ah ha" moment and has served me ever since .  He said,  "Dennis, that was their story.  They did not live your story. It is just a story and you and I are not our stories."  I felt a great burden simply lift from my shoulders.  This is the same man, who in the same session told me, "Dennis, you leave your boxes quickly. We all come in the box our parents gave us and most don't even take a good look at that one just living their lives sitting down in the corner of it.  You have left another box and you only have two choices.  Stay in the box you were in and everyone will love you. However, you will be on antidepressants the rest of your life because you will never again be able to speak up and be yourself. OR, you can leave the box, which you have....but you go alone."  Truer words were never spoken.  And so it was.

Here on Banned we do what?  We share stories, hurts, personal pain that came as a result of our various Church, minister, member and Organizational associations.  We poke at each other at times and support at others.  Sometimes we project our pain on others and question motives or reach for an experience that tops the one someone else had.  All well and good an part of any healing processes we need to experience and go through.

We all have a story to tell. Our stories are all different with different causes and effects. Some lighter than others and some way too heavy for which we can all feel sorry for those who had to go through "that" as part of their own personal story.

I simply wish remind us, not because we don't already know it, but because so often we forget it in the heat of processing it all.   We all have a story but we as a person are not our story. Our story is not our identity or who we actually are. It's just a story. 

It's just a ride
Bill Hicks/George Carlin

Personally, I came to recognize and realize that if it had not been the WCG story it would have been another one. If I had chosen the Roberts Wesleyan Seminary I had been accepted to over Ambassador College/WCG, I would have had a different story, different children, relatives and partner. I suspect some of the story would have been similar to the one I actually wrote, but yet much different with different experiences.

Had gone down i with a member who badly judged the weather over Chicago in his Beechcraft Bonanza , as it seemed was inevitable, the story would have been much different. Head a couple of head on crashes not been diverted, the story would have been different. You know, zig vs. zag.  Had the pneumonia been just bit worse or my wife's first bout with cancer at 33 been too much, (my first personal experience with prayer and anointing seems to fall on deaf ears and not prove effective after all,  the story would have been different.

Had I not been asked to work just one night on a campus job someone of import to me asked me to stay and consider for the summer instead of leaving for Boise, Idaho the next morning, the story would have been different. I wimped out and deferred to the faculty member instead of my airline ticket because me and LA did not get along in summer.  But still, it just would have been my story and not who I actually was as a person.    When driving together in LA this past summer with Gary of BannedHWA, I did ask him to drive well as if we both went in the same accident I could only imagine the comments about that! LOL.

For years it seemed, when asked about who I was or what I did, I tended to preface it with "I used to be a minister."  That stage is long gone. That was not and is not who I am as a person. It is not the definition of me and I slowly found that I naturally dropped that preface as I continued to write other chapters of the story.

So, for all our experiences, the good, the bad and the darn right ugly, disillusioning and more than a bit annoying, those are just our story. Neither you nor I or anyone we know here or have never heard off and are just "out there", , though we all have a story, are not our story and should not let it define us for the rest of time. It is not always easy and there is a tendency to resist it, but recognizing this fact will always serve us better than sticking to the "story of me" as if it actually was who we actually  are as a one unique person among billions, in our experience of being here in the first place.

Someone once told me:

"You know Dennis, we write our life stories before we incarnate here on earth"
(Just as in religion, you meet a lot of people lost in Woo Woo in Therapeutic Massage)
I said, "Well, that may or may not be so, but if it is so, I am going to suggest that there be no drinking during the story writing time because I had to be drunk to write this one!".