Saturday, August 29, 2020

COG Myths Concerning Our Ties To Seventh-Day Baptists in Rhode Island


The Painful Truth has a new article up today on the falsified links that the church has tried to use to tie the church to the Seventh-Day Baptists of Newport, Rhode Island.

It includes the letter from William Voyce of the Church of God, 7th Day refuted the many myths and outright lies that Herbert Armstrong and others promulgated.

William T. Voyce’s June 3, 1985 letter to the Worldwide Church of God is a veritable research paper with a “point-by-point refutation of their interpretation of American Sabbath history.” Mr. Voyce is a member of the Church of God, 7th Day and wrote the 7-page letter to the WCG after reading their article “The Church They Couldn’t Destroy.” Mr. Voyce has not received a WCG reply to his letter, the subject of which he feels is so important that “if the truth about this matter were more widely known, a good share of the Worldwide Church’s membership would never have joined in the first place.”

The article also includes research by Bruce Renhen on the same subject:

I was not alone in my discoveries concerning the Worldwide Church of God’s falsified link to the Seventh Day Baptist church of Newport, Rhode Island. As early as 1968, William T. Voyce of Des Moines, Iowa had corresponded with both the Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society (located then in Plainfield, New Jersey) and the Worldwide Church of God editorial staff in Pasadena.

Miss Evalois St. John of the Historical Society provided several photocopies to Voyce of original church documents dating back to the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries proving that A. N. Dugger (and later Herbert Armstrong) had counterfeited and altered the reading of their original documents. Miss St. John informed Mr. Voyce in her June 1968 letter to him:

A great disservice was done to both Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh Day Adventists by an Elder A. N. Dugger who now resides in Jerusalem. As you must know he was formerly a member of the denomination known as The Church of God (Adventist), with headquarters in Stanberry, Mo. In fact the U. S. Census of Religious Bodies 1926 carries the history/doctrine of this order which a footnote states was revised and approved by Elder A. N. Dugger, of the Church of God Publishing House. In 1934 (or 1933) Mr. Dugger separated from this group – Church of God (Adventist) – and established a new order – The Church of God (Seventh Day) – with headquarters at Salem W. Va. In the U.S. Census of Religious Bodies of 1936, one finds a history of this new order prepared – as the government states by Mr. Dugger. For the history of this group he deliberately “lifted” the history of the Seventh Day Baptists, added some Seventh Day Adventist history, and called it the History of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Because this pamphlet is put out by the U.S. Government – through its census Bureau – researchers and students of Church history have accepted his facts as true. One finds more of this “lifted” history in the book History of the True Church by A.N. Dugger and C.O. Dodd, published in 1936….

Check out the full article here:

Worldwide Church of God’s falsified link to the Seventh Day Baptist church of Newport, Rhode Island


Commercial Break: Keeping Perspective on the WCG Experience


Friday, August 28, 2020

Living Church of God: Why is Satan Always More Powerful Than The "Jesus" They Claim To Follow?

As usual, LCG members are being told that they are incapable of discerning what is right. Satan, that all-powerful god of the COG, is entrapping LCG members with desire and emotion. Members are told that they are incapable of discerning right from wrong because of rumors, gossip, and lies that currently abound in LCG.

In a direct attack on Sheldon Monson, Winnail says Satan is using him to sow discord in LCG. Quite frankly, LCG does not need Sheldon to spread anything in LCG. They do a really good job at sowing discord in the church all by themselves.

There is nothing wrong with members of LCG having doubts and resentment over hurts dished out by LCG ministers and leaders. Church leaders and many ministers think they are immune from any criticism. That ability of members to discern things happening to them, that they know is NOT right, is an eye-opening experience into more things wrong with the church. This is a God-given ability for people to use their minds to "fact-check" church leaders and doctrine. No COG member, regardless of which COG group they are in, should EVER have second thoughts when they dare to question church leaders, policies or doctrines. A wise and thoughtful person that follows Christ does that daily.

Is Satan After You? The Bible contains numerous warnings about Satan and how he operates to deceive, divide, and destroy—people, families, churches, and nations. He moves like a hunting lion, carefully stalking his unsuspecting prey (1 Peter 5:8). He is a dangerous adversary who is constantly searching for vulnerable individuals (1 Timothy 5:14–15; 2 Timothy 3:6–7). Satan does not hunt human beings using claws and bullets, but instead he appeals to our desires, emotions, and human vanity. He plants doubts and spreads gossip, rumors, and lies that hurt and confuse and discredit others (1 Timothy 5:13; John 8:44; Leviticus 19:16). Satan fosters dissention and division by stirring up fears, jealousies, and misguided ambitions (1 Corinthians 1:10–13), and he will use anyone—members, ministers, and self-proclaimed leaders—to sow discord and do his work (2 Corinthians 11:1–15). Satan will zero in on people who have doubts, hurts, and resentments or who feel wronged or overlooked because their ideas, opinions, or ambitions have not been acknowledged or accepted. He can use such individuals to criticize, undermine, or lash out at others. To avoid becoming an unsuspecting victim of negative or subversive thoughts and attitudes that Satan beams at his potential victims (Ephesians 2:2), we need to be alert, humble, and patient—and stay close to God (1 Peter 5:6–9).

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Privilege and Entitlement in the Churches of God


Concretized Christianity has a blog entry up on Privilege and the Churches of God and it has a lot of good points.

If you ever hear II Timothy 3:1-5 read during a sermon on the Sabbath, you will hear it followed by the assertion that it refers to “the world,” to “others,” and not to “us.”

But is that true?

Observing the words and conduct of people who claim to be members of the ekklesia (the body of Christ is not a physical organization, but instead a spiritual organization) on social media and in other venues, I personally can attest that it’s not true.

Every word of God, as Paul points out in I Corinthians 10, applies to each of us personally. If we abide in the word of God, striving to live by every wordin it, then we abide in God and Jesus Christ and they abide in us. Every time we open the word of God, we are one-on-one with God and Jesus Christ in an intimate relationship and conversation.

So every word there is personal to each one of us. The word of God is a mirror into which we look. If God condemns something or warns about something, our response should be to ask ourselves, “Is that how I am? Does that reflect something in my character? Is that something I am thinking, saying, or doing? Does this exist anywhere in my life?”

If we look at the majority of the word of God as being for someone other than ourselves, then we miss the boat of our calling, our converting process, our transformation through the power of God’s spirit completely.

The church and a lot of its leaders have always loved to use scripture as a weapon to denigrate others. It has seldom been used as a tool to be considered with introspection to see if it was actually there for our own benefit to see how we measured up. Of course, most of the time the church and many of its leaders thought they were without blame and that they set the best example of living godly lives as possible. We are eighty-some years down the pipeline now and I think almost all of us know that has never been the case and STILL is not today in 2020. In fact, it seems to be worse today than ever in the history of the COG movement!

The blog entry continues on with this:

It’s quite sad to me to see people revealing their inner selves and to see how far we are from living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Many of us are revealing ourselves to be the very things that Paul warned Timothy of in II Timothy 3:1-5.

That is disheartening to observe. But what it reflects is ignorance in some cases. But, underneath the ignorance, is one of the main roots of why this behavior exists and that is the sense of privilege.

Anyone who has been around the churches of God for any length of time knows about privilege. First, we see it in action in every one of the church of God organizations. There is a pecking order – a hierarchy – and privilege is layered throughout that until you get to the people who just fill the chairs every week and fawn over and idolize those with privilege, while in the organizational sense, they have no privilege and aren’t even, legally, members of that church of God organization (only the organizational privileged are).

However, those people know they have privilege compared to others (the world) because they are told that over and over. They’re special. They’re the elite. One day, they will be resurrected first and they will rule with Jesus Christ as kings and priests for 1000 years.

We were set up in the church over the decades to view ourselves as the epitome of righteousness in God's sight. There were no better Christians on earth than COG members. We were endlessly told we were a privileged lot that would soon be kings and priests and would be rulers of planets throughout the galaxy. Not only that, but we were to be GOD's.

Today in some of the larger COG groups we wee that "pecking order" mentioned above as the enforcement of "proper government".  The problem with that "pecking order" is that the privilege stays at the top and leaders live lives of excess at the expense of members. That lofty deluded grandeur makes them untouchable in church members' sight and so they are afraid to rock the boat and hold leaders accountable and thus suffer greatly from spiritual and psychological abuse.

The writer above is correct in how those sitting in the seat each week have no privilege in the church. In fact, they are not even members of the churches they think they belong to. The by-laws and legal documents of almost all the COG's state explicitly that the only members of the church are the ordained ministers. Herbert Armstrong did this when he established the Radio Church of God and COG leaders have done so ever since.

Power is an idol in society and an idol in the churches of God. The lust for power is often the sole motivation for what these man-made organizations do and say.

Privilege and power often go hand in hand. Whether the power is real or imagined, organizations and people who believe they have power manifest the corruption of the idea of privilege.

We can see the above in Gerald Flurry, Bob Thiel, and Dave Pack. Their imagined power is a product of deluded minds and not something God has passed on to them. Thiel, in self-righteous anger after LCG and Rod Meredith constantly refused to follow his commands, had to start his own group in order to have the power that he has always been denied, regardless of the COG entity he was a member in. To be seen as a great person in the COG is the prime motivator of most of the current batch of COG leaders. That privilege puts them above the members and all the hurts and problems members have. They are totally oblivious tot eh world around them.

People who have not suffered and who also cannot see, relate to, nor empathize with the suffering of others is a symptom of privilege. James discusses this in the second chapter of his letter. Privilege creates a bubble of illusions that is solely focused on self: what I want, what I need, who I am, and what I think or believe.

The bubble of privilege is opaque, so that anything that is outside that bubble is invisible. Jesus discussed this bubble of privilege in Matthew 25 in His parable of the goats and the sheep.

The sheep had no bubble of privilege. They were looking for needs among the people around them and meeting those needs, no matter where they found them. They weren’t doing it because someone was “important,” or because other people would see them and applaud them, or because it made them feel good or superior. 

The sheep were doing it because it was the right thing to do. They were following God’s word (read Deuteronomy sometime if you want to see what loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength – about the first third of the book – and loving your neighbor as yourself – approximately the last two-thirds of the book – looks like in action and ask yourself if this looks like you) and they were following the example of Jesus Christ.

The goats had the bubble of privilege. Inherent in their response was, “well, Jesus, if You personally had come to us and asked us, of course, we would have done these things for You.” In other words, if the Son of God had made the first move, knocked on the door of their bubble of privilege, and said, “I need…,” they would have done it. Otherwise, they didn’t see, know, or care to seek out the needs they could meet right outside their bubble.

I remember the stories in Pasadena as the church was imploding and departments had to start laying off employees. The one that stuck in my mind all these years was one about Bernie Schippert and a woman he laid off. She said he sat there behind his huge rosewood desk with his Rolex on his arm and told her that the church owed her nothing as they laid her off, despite working for the church for over 20 years (this was while the church was sending him to law school and footing the bill).

The church has a sad record over the decades of never being able to see the needs of people in the congregations, or even with employees. When people did go in and ask for assistance it was denied a large percent of the time.  Can you imagine a Restored Church of God member asking Dave for assistance when he is constantly milking them for money!

The best part of the article is the last part and the COG response to COVID.

People across this country are murmuring about COVID-19. Some people, even among those in the ekklesia have bought into the spiritual insanity we see everywhere around us, and believe COVID-19 is a hoax

Some people are clamoring to get back to “normal,” complaining that they’ve been confined to their homes, working their fulltime jobs with benefits, and paying the bills and enjoying extras, for too long and they want to get back together with other people, including those in the ekklesia, because, “people die every day, and if people die because we get back together, so be it, because us being together is more important than a few thousand people, who are going to die sometime anyway, dying.” (This is not made up. It is a synthesis of much of the sentiment you’ll see on social media.)

I want to address some of these points of privilege. While people are complaining about being confined in their homes, they are ignorant of the fact that there are many people both in the United States and around the world would simply be happy to have a home to be confined in, as opposed to, if they’re fortunate, living in a vehicle, and, if they’re not, living on the street.

People with privilege will counter with, “Well, it’s their fault they’re homeless. They’re either lazy, addicts, or ‘trash,‘ and they’re where they are because that’s what they deserve.” Some among the ekklesia would be among the people saying these things.

While people are complaining about having to work fulltime jobs with benefits, paying their bills and enjoying extras, they are ignorant of the fact that the American economy over the last 12 years has left many well-educated, highly-skilled people scrambling to find gig work (American work is now highly tilted toward a gig economy, which is freelance with no job security and no benefits and no set amount of income to depend on) just to cobble enough money together to try not to end up homeless.

People of privilege haven’t had to look for work for a very long time. They have absolutely no idea how much the employment landscape has changed. They have been fortunate enough to remain in jobs that, so far, have been insulated from the economic upheavals that have roiled the United States since 2008.

So the response of people with privilege to these gig workers is, “Well, it’s their fault if they don’t have a fulltime job with benefits. They’re either lazy or not trying hard enough, and if they really wanted a job, they’d have a job.” Some among the ekklesia would be among the people saying these things.

The disregard for human life among people of privilege is most appalling. There are some among the ekklesia who would rather people die so they can all start congregating again rather than to have to continue virtual services at home.

There’s some kind of magical thinking about the physical presence of other people and socializing. As if that’s the key, and you’ll hear people say this, to fellowship and unity.

And it is, from a purely physical point of view. But it’s not spiritually. Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4 that a physical place of worship was irrelevant because those that God has called and chosen worship Him in spirit and truth.

But that’s not the focus for many of the church of God organizations or many among the ekklesia. Why? If we’re a spiritual organism and we “say” we love each other, why are we in touch with people in the ekklesia on a regular basis, whether that’s an email, a text message, a digital meeting, or some other means to check in and make sure everyone – not just our little group of friends – is doing okay, doesn’t need anything, and has whatever assistance they made need?

Frankly, most of us just don’t care. As long as everything’s okay in our little world, we simply don’t think about or care about anyone else. In fact, the only reason we want to get back together physically is to see “our friends.” The same people we don’t see in isolation, we won’t see when we’re in the same room with them. 

With this insanity of wanting to be physically together right now comes more insanity, among which includes being asked to disobey God.

Pastors of church of God congregations are already scouting for people to volunteer to do a lot more work on the Sabbath than is already being done. People who have no idea how to truly sanitize (they don’t even have access to the commercial chemicals and machines) a space are being asked to work to clean the meeting facilities before services and after services. Other volunteers are being asked to screen people for temperatures before they let them inside.

When they get inside, everyone must wear a mask and stay six feet apart from everyone else. There are no hugs and no handshakes. In fact, there is no conversation. Instead, you’ve got the people of privilege screaming across the room at each other while the invisible, who know that no one will notice whether they are there or not, are home, resting as God commanded (and this virus has enforced a true Sabbath rest, which has been delightful) and worshiping God with like-minded members of the ekklesia in spirit and truth.

Where did we get so off track? This is definitely not God’s way, nor is it agape. It, instead, is the system’s way, the way of the curse, the product of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

Will we ever see and repent?

That is between God and me and God and you.

What are you personally going to do?

One would think that after 80 years of hearing what we SHOULD be doing that the church today in 2020 would be doing that. It still cannot. Or, won't.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

PCG Takes Delight In "Torturing" Church Teens At Summer Camp


As we come to the end of 2020 I would think that we should never be appalled at the disgusting things COG ministers say, but then along comes Brad McDonald of the Philadelphia Church of God cult.

McDonald has an article up on the latest Trumpet on PCG's website about the youth summer program it runs in Edmond Oklahoma each summer. If you have ever been in the midwest and especially in Oklahoma in July and August it is not a pleasant place to be at times due to the heat and humidity. McDonald loves that kind of weather so that church teens can become "utterly exhausted, physically."

This past July, 120 teenagers descended on the campus that houses the Philadelphia Trumpet offices in Edmond, Oklahoma, and participated in our 17th annual youth camp here. This camp, sponsored by the Philadelphia Church of God, is designed to ensure these young people go home mentally charged and focused, their attitudes and spirits refreshed and renewed.

They also tend to arrive home utterly exhaustedphysically.

For three weeks, these teens spent their days mountain biking, canoeing and practicing archery, as well as playing basketball, water polo, soccer, softball, volleyball and flag football. They walked, and often jogged, between activities, as well as to breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the evenings they often engaged in other taxing activities, including a track and field event and camp dances. And if all that activity wasn’t strenuous enough, much of it occurred in daytime temperatures that hovered in the mid 90s.

Then McDonald goes on to claim the god of the Philadelphia Church of God takes pleasure in this suffering and finds this "...three-week display of physical strength and endurance was glorious and honorable!"

For some, just reading that paragraph is enough to make us sweat. Personally, as much as I love sports and the outdoors, the thought of spending six to seven hours a day out in the sizzling Oklahoma weather—chasing balls, paddling across lakes and biking through ravines—isn’t nearly as appealing as it once was. But to the teens who attended camp, God says this three-week display of physical strength and endurance was glorious and honorable!

You can read His admiration in Proverbs 20:29: “The glory of young men is their strength.”

Of course, it’s true that physical health, strength and vitality in any person is praiseworthy. Isn’t it interesting though, that God identifies explicitly physical strength and energyas a defining and glorious quality of youth? In God’s mind, being a physically fit and healthy teenager—a young man (or woman) with strength and agility, someone who is robust and energetic—is a splendid and honorable accomplishment.

It’s also a state of being that God wants all teenagers to experience!

This is why, beyond merely seeking to make camp fun, we have our teens engage in so much physically demanding activity. Together with the high-quality meals and snacks we feed them, the slew of sports and outdoor activities serve to improve the overall physical health and strength of the teens. It works, too. In virtually every case, teens depart camp stronger, fitter and healthier than when they arrived. Beyond the short-term goal of improved health, one of the longer-term goals of our youth camps is to encourage the teens to embrace healthy and active living as a way of life—a lifestyle.

Once embraced, this lifestyle will help them develop a state of physical health, strength and vibrancy that God says will be to their glory and honor!

There is absolutely nothing wrong in training young adults in healthy ways that will lead to healthy adult lives. But, given the track record of abuse that PCG dishes out on members, this is NOT something to be bragging about when how kids are being abused by its leaders. 

As parents, the responsibility is on us to cultivate within our teens the desire to be physically healthy and strong, to be active and energetic—to be motivated to make their strength a trait worthy of glory and admiration! Read the full article here: Wanted: Healthy, Vibrant Teens!

The abuse that PCG dishes out is not confined to the physical activity in the heat of Oklahoma. but then moves inside to the classroom where spiritual torture is poured out upon the impressionable minds of these youth.

In Balance

Of course, these efforts to cultivate strong, healthy teens must be balanced. They must be complemented with similarly strenuous mental and spiritual exercises. This is why, in addition to all the physically demanding activities at our youth camps, teens take Bible classes, and classes on leadership and womanhood. It’s why we teach them public speaking and ballroom dance. It’s the reason we have them perform on stage and encourage them to play music and embrace art. And it’s why, particularly in this technology-ridden age of perpetual distractions, we encourage our teens to develop a love for reading, study and meditation.

As the 120 teens that came to camp returned home, it was our hope that amid their meditations about camp they think about the strenuous activity they engaged in over those three weeks. Not how difficult or hot it was, or how much they sweated, or how sore they were. But on the wonderful opportunity they had to develop and display physical strengthand vitality—traits God admires as the glory of youth.


Exit and Support Network has this up in relation to the same article: 

August 23, 2020

Brad Macdonald wrote a propaganda article about Philadelphia Youth Camp (“Wanted: Healthy, Vibrant Teens!” July 7,2020 ).  He wrote about the “wonderful” experience PCG teens (age 13-19) will have if they attend. In it he not only went through what teens will experience (endure) at camp for 3 weeks but he put the blame on parents if they don’t turn out the kind of teens he described.

They start the day with a “15-minute calisthenics warmup before breakfast.” During the day their time will be “filled” with sports instruction on every sport imaginable.

It was alarming when he said: [bolding mine]

“In the evenings they often engage in other taxing activities, including sports games, a track and field event and camp dances. And if all that activity isn’t strenuous enough, much of it will occur in daytime temperatures that hover in the mid-90s. … spending six to seven hours a day out in the sizzling Oklahoma weather—chasing balls, paddling across lakes and climbing ropes…”

Yet he says this is “glorious and honorable” to God and quotes Prov. 20:29.

How many teens will end up suffering from heat exhaustion, or injuries?

Next he goes on a rant about “strong, healthy teenagers have become a dying breed” and they “display embarrassingly little strength and vitality!”

After he says the majority of teens today have poor physical health and display “embarrassingly little strength and vitality,” he puts the blame square on the shoulders of the parents for the condition of their teen: too much chicken nuggets and french fries; the Internet, video games, lazing on the couch. The parents are “the ones failing to cultivate within our teens the desire to live a healthy and active lifestyle.”

To keep everything “in balance” Macdonald adds “similarly strenuous mental and spiritual exercises” one of which is “Bible classes” (which are sure to be reading GF’s literature) and listening to haranguing sermons.

The reality of this camp and the horrific parts are going to be left out. PYC is patterned after SEP (WCG’s summer camp) and if one remembers what it was like attending that, they have only a hint of what PYC will be like. [Note: My Horrible Experiences at S.E.P. comes close.]

This article was draining to say the least. –[name withheld]

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Are We On a Great Quest to Munson the World?

It sure doesn't take much to enact splits among the remnants of the Armstrong cult. Forget about dividing over the Sabbath or doing the Work. Those days are long gone. No, today, God is sifting His people for the purist of the pure, the couragist of the courageous, the faithfulist of the faithful.

For all of you who were dead certain this shake up was about way more than masks and singing...well, you were wrong. Sheldon made two things very clear at the very beginning of his 2nd sermon post-LCG: 1) He did not quit, he was fired. 2) He was fired over his stance on masks and singing.

I have seen many men come and go over the years on a quest to fill Herb's shoes, to take up his mighty mantle and crusade forward in full British-Israel armor, coconut special effects and all. There is a definite script they all follow when they themselves have not come to a come-to-know-Jesus moment or at the very least, everything-Armstrong-is-bullshit moment.

[Full Disclosure: I am by no means siding with LCG in this matter. This is like watching two teams you "love less" in the Superbowl.]

First, they cast themselves as the victim of unfair (nay, Satanic) treatment by those in power. I did not quit, I was fired and I was fired simply for standing up for God's Word. Of course, this always means according to the new narcissist on the block's interpretation of God's Word.

Second is the justification doctrine(s) for boldly holding their ground for Christ's sake. While many men and women of faith have fallen on swords for refusing to deny God's name and denouncing Jesus, some do so to avoid the medieval torture of temporary mask-wearing when fellow-shipping or having your tongue cut out (metaphorically) when you really want to sing whenever you want and around anyone that you want.

Sheldon does point out that what many are trying to get through his thick skull is that the masks are to protect others. But Sheldon very easily brushes this aside as tomfoolery because everyone knows being asymptomatic is nothing new, but a reality concerning diseases for thousands of years.

This was immediately followed up with how once we are called and given God's Spirit, we now know the answers to many things and no longer need science (I know no one is going to believe he said that but go listen to it yourself). He goes on to say that the Bible is the greatest gift to mankind, a sure foundation and so simple to understand, you don't need a high I.Q. to understand it. Life is like a box of chocolates.

Third, build upon one's strengths, especially those brought out by the vicious treatment of the oppressors in power. Sheldon spent time in Acts showing the various acts of great faith and courage of the first Christian leaders. He goes on to say that God loves people with great courage and faith. Again, as he dons the superhero persona of Captain No-Doubt, I am left wondering once again if God does not love brethren that are new or weak in the faith? Does God ignore those who struggle with doubts and uncertainties? Are they expendable until at such a point, they prove themselves worthy of God's affections...of His admiration?

Fourth, the Biblical analogy/story that perfectly aligns with the current situation. For this, Sheldon takes us to Daniel's example who purposely, defiantly, and recklessly disobeyed a direct decree from the king himself by not ceasing (temporarily for 30 days) from praying with his window open. See, the bad guys want to tell us that mask-wearing and not singing is just a temporary situation. These same devils would have told Daniel to stop being a putz and do what you are told for 30 days. But no, Daniel kept throwing that window open in sheer defiance and dared anyone to try and bully him.

He actually went on to liken this to the time of the receivership. Herb was just like Daniel, thumbing his nose at the government, daring them to raid his offices and jail the women he ordered to hold their ground via Raymond McNair. Just like Daniel, the mighty Herb refused to "roll over."

Fifth, build the resume. Sheldon reminded everyone that like Paul, Herb always told us to follow him as he followed Christ. So all of you likewise being "Munsoned" by my sermon, follow me as I follow Christ. Don't be men-pleasers (obvious shot at the LCG COE) and go through life fearful. Support true leaders, even going to jail with them. And now the credentials: Sheldon went to AC from 81-85. He tended to Herb's gardens and got to know Herb quite well. In fact, Sheldon went on to say, "...and HWA knew who I was."

Then after HWA was dead, Tkach called Sheldon into his office and demanded information about someone else. Sheldon assured him that he did not know anything and was promptly fired. But, the next day, Tkach apologized for he found out Sheldon really was ignorant, rehired him, and sent him off in a limousine to go buy him a few new suits. (You can't make this stuff up) Sheldon went on to say that he accepted his job back and the new suits and went on to serve Tkach for several years BUT I DID NOT LET HIS GENEROSITY BUY ME! Okay, Sheldon.

Sixth, promise to lead the Philadelphia remnant faithfully into the place of safety. There are yes-men everywhere in the churches. The path is narrower (yes and always growing narrower with each new Herb) and a very precious few are chosen (and this justifies why we will never amount to anything either in numbers or effectiveness when it comes to work).

Sheldon closed by saying that stories of faith are easy to read but we must live it. Let no man steal your crown. Unfortunately, Sheldon will choose not to live by faith. He will set up a top-down corporation and demand 10-30+% income from anyone he can "Munson" into his low I.Q. ignorance cult. He used the same worn out playbook so many before him have used to create their own fiefdoms. He will join the hall-of-famers like Thiel, Pack and Flurry but never come close to accomplishing anything like Herb. Thank God!

May thee internet continue to be thy holy hand grenade.

by Stoned Stephen Society

One Man and One Woman? Jerry Falwell, Garner Ted, Herbert Armstrong, and Your Ordained COG Leader Here _____________________)

One Man and One Woman?

Jerry Falwell Jr. has joined a distinguished/notorious list of Evangelical Christian leaders whose private sexual morality has not matched their public pronouncements. Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Herbert W Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, and Jimmy Swaggart promoted the "one man and one woman formula" when it came to homosexuals, but not so much when it applied to themselves. Likewise, we have learned that Jerry Falwell Jr. apparently welcomed a third person into his marriage for eight years (we are told that he liked to stand in the corner and watch his wife and the pool boy get jiggy with it).

I can hear it now: "Their moral failures don't make homosexuality right!" Which I am not at all reluctant to acknowledge is certainly true. However, it does negate the moral authority of these folks to discourse on the sexual morality of others. And, if we compare such behavior to the list of credentials which the Apostle Paul outlined for Church leaders, we are forced to reach the conclusion that they are disqualified from serving as leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ.

"What about David and repentance?" some of my religious friends will demand. It is one of the foundational tenets of Christianity that ANY time we are willing to repent and ask for God's forgiveness in Jesus' name, God is willing to forgive. Nevertheless, when Paul composed his list of qualifications for Church leaders, we have to assume that he was fully aware of how grace, mercy, and forgiveness worked when he recorded them. God forgave David, but we are told that he and his kingdom suffered horrendous public and private consequences for his sins. Paul said that no one can separate us from the love of God, but it is evident that he felt that folks could disqualify themselves from Church leadership!

Lonnie Hendrix

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Vikings: Your Ancient Tribal Ancestors...Does it Matter?

Our one and only self-appointed COG prophet and ONLY true teacher of history and the Bible is back with a wonderfully written craptastic post about the Vikings being our spiritual ancestors, thanks to the British-Israelism myth the COG embraces. 

Thanks to Herbert Armstong plagiarizing John Allen's, Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright when he jumped on the money-making British-Israelism train, the Church of God got stuck with the 12 tribes nonsense as the ideal diversion to not have to talk about Jesus. After all, what is more interesting, fictional speculative history or hearing about Jesus, that effeminate emasculated dude that Protestants talk about. The Armstrong Church of God movement made a clear choice in the matter on which path to follow. From Herman Hoeh to Bob Thiel to Craig White, BI is the doctrine of the day, Jesus be damned, but Woo-hoo 12-Tribes!

Our amazing Doubly-blessed and almost-arrested Bob Thiel is enthralled by a former COG member's (Bert Otten) speculation that some of the Vikings are from the tribe of Benjamin! Who knew! 

Thiel writes:

Retired teacher Bert Otten, who was once part of the old WCG, sent me a paper with his reasons why he feels that many ‘Western Vikings’ are the descendants of the biblical tribe of Benjamin. He told me that I could edit and/or use what he sends in any way.

Here is some of his article:

The tribal area of Benjamin was a buffer area between the House of Israel and the House of Judah. People tended to stay in their cities and homes and thus a number of the Benjamites were taken along into the Assyrian captivity of the Ten Tribes. …

Vikings in the British Isles

During the Viking Age many Vikings settled in the British Isles. Many Britons have some Viking blood. … Vikings from Norway circled the whole and came from the north and settled in Scotland, Ireland (Dublin), Wales and the Isle of Man. Benjamin embraced Joseph in the Bible and in a sense Benjamin embraced Joseph on the map and mixed with Joseph.

Thanks to the Vikings we now know where the words come from when we talk about the berserk COG leaders and the ugly muck they continually thrust upon us in their sick quest for power! Again, Who knew! 

Linguistic Loans

No wonder that the English language has many Old Norse loans: anger, awe, are, berserk, call, cast, egg, fellow, fog, gap, get, gun, happy, husband, ill, kid, kindle, knife, knot, law, leg, loft, low, mire, muck, odd, outlaw, wrong, wing, window, whirl, weak, until, ugly, trust, till, tidings, thwart, thrust, thrift, though, their, teem, take, sway, sick, etc.

There are three Rachel tribes: Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin. The Rachel tribes camped west of the Tabernacle, under Ephraim’s leadership. I believe that the western Vikings (from Denmark and Norway) are descendants of Benjamin and ended up in Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands. Ephraim and Manasseh ended up in the British Isles, all three far to the west.

Quite a few Vikings settled in the British Isles. Many Danes settled in Normandy, which got its name from the Norsemen. Many of these Normans (with Viking blood) crossed the Channel with William the Conqueror (1066) and settled in the British Isles too. So, in the Viking Age many Vikings went west.

Norse Vikings

About 500 years before Columbus (1492) and the English (1497), the Norse Vikings arrived in America. The Norse Vikings sailed their ships westwards to Iceland, Greenland and Vinland (New Foundland, Canada). The Viking colony in Greenland survived for about 450 to 500 years. The Viking Benjamites were the first in the New World and the first of the Israelites to go west. Later on to be followed by many others of the Lost Tribes.

Benjamin is A RAVENOUS WOLF, in the morning devouring the prey, and at even dividing the spoil.” (Gen 49:27, RSV).

Jewish Encyclopedia

The Jewish Encyclopedia states about this: “[According to the rabbis]: His comparison to the ravening wolf (Cant. R. to viii. 1), “who devours his enemy” (Gen. xlix. 27) is referred to the men of Shiloh who stole their wives (Judges xxi.) or to Ehud or to Saul. By others it is referred to Mordecai and Esther (Gen. R. xcix. and Tan., Wayeḥi, 14; so also in the original text of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs [Benjamin ii]; whereas a Christian interpolation refers it to Paul). …

Vikings – wolves

There is no people that fulfilled this verse as the Vikings did during the three centuries of the Viking Age. In gangs they attacked early in the morning in hit-and-run style, and at evening they divided the spoil. The common sword of the time was the Ulfberht sword. Ulfberht probably was the name of a bladesmith or of a group of bladesmiths. Ulfberht translates into English as Bright Wulf.

Benjamin & Violence (Sword)

There are tribes that are quite peaceful, like Asher, Zebulun and Issachar. Then there are militaristic tribes like Ephraim, Gad and Manasseh. The tribe of Benjamin was often involved in violence. That’s why Jacob prophesied Benjamin to be a devouring wolf.

Lefthanded Ehud single-handedly killed the king of Moab. The men of Gibeah raped a woman a whole night long so that she died. The Benjamites did not want to hand over the culprits, so they started a civil war of 1 tribe aginst 11 (Vikings avant la lettre). Abner, Saul’s army commander killed Asahel with a backwards thrust of his spear. Saul fought 40 years for his kingdom and died on the hills of Gilboa with his sons. Jonathan conquered a Philistine outpost all by himself and Saul/Paul persecuted the church with the sword.

Benjamites are good organizers and kingdom builders. At the time of the judges Israel was a loose confederation of tribes. There was no central governance, no king. God used the Benjamite Saul to build the kingdom, which was later taken over by the House of David. …

Paul was instrumental in building that Church with his missionary journeys and his epistles. Paul wrote 13 of the 26 NT books. Paul was an able organizer and he was of the tribe of Benjamin. …

Vikings – organizers & kingdom builders

Vikings were not just plunderers in hit-and-run actions, but also good organizers. Otherwise they would never have been able to make these long journeys. …

Benjamites (Vikings) are good organizers and kindom builders. The Scandinavian kingdoms today are well organized states.

Then our amazing prophet makes this mind-boggling declaration that seals the above speculation as fact:

Perhaps I should add that my wife and I have been to Iceland once.

WTH????? What does this have to do with anything?  I have stood at the crossing of ley-lines in England where ancient Celts and Druids had sacred places on which Christian churches exist today, but again, who cares? But, I am not a true prophet sent by god in this perilous end times to preach the truth lost for 1,980 years. Sigh....

Our Icelandic visitor ends with this:

While there are various ways to look at those and other prophecies, let me conclude by stating that I do believe that those of Iceland and Norway are essentially descended from biblical Benjamin, though there is ethnic intermingling.

As far as Bert Otten goes, he tends to be more of a Messianic than a Church of God leader, but we do have some points of agreement.

That being said, knowing where various peoples have come from, help us better understand how the Bible teaches that various ones will be affected by end time events that are still to come to pass.

That's a load of bullshit! While knowing about speculative mythology and history may be eternally fascinating, it has absolutely NOTHING of value for any follower of Jesus. This is just more crap to get in the way of people who should be told about Jesus and how to practice grace, love, and mercy as they make the kingdom of God tangible in the world around them, today. Sadly the COG movement places its emphasis in minor irrelevant things instead of focusing upon the bigger things in which they seem to be eternally embarrassed.

If this kind of mythology  interests you, then check it out here: Bert Otten on Western Vikings as descendants of the Tribe of Benjamin

Commercial Break: How to Be Ultra Spiritual


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Defending Sheldon Monson and What It Is Like To Be Mistreated By Living Church of God Leaders


I have gone back and forth several times about commenting here. But, ultimately, I feel that I need to comment more than I care about what people think about the fact that I'm posting on this forum. You see, although I am no longer a part of Armstrongism, my family is and I love and respect them all and would hate to upset them. That being said, I can't remain silent. 

When I read what LCG was doing to Sheldon Monson I was completely shocked. Not that LCG would over-react or be unfair, because that has come to be their standard method of operation, but that they would do this to Sheldon.

Reading about what they did to him has triggered so many emotions within me. Mr. Weston's letters literally create a physiological response within my being. The trauma that LCG inflicted upon me was the worst thing I have ever gone through and reading about Sheldon brought all that pain back up to the surface. I wonder if I will ever be completely free of it. 

I know exactly how it feels to lose all your friends. I know how shocking it is to be going along, thinking everything will work out after being called into to HQ to "talk" only to be blindsided by the men at LCG headquarters a few days later. I know what it feels like to be shunned by friends that you truly loved with all of your heart only because the Presiding Evangelist tells them they can't associate you any more without risking their own security within the church or worse. I know what it feels like to find out you've been marked via a FedEx letter instead of a personal phone call or meeting. I know exactly how Sheldon Monson,his wife and his kids feel right now and it pains me.

My heart goes out to Sheldon and his wife and children who were as integrated into LCG as much as anyone could possibly be. This is a wound from which they will never fully recover. Sure, they will move on and hopefully they learn from this but one can never really be the same after being butchered by the high and mighty men at LCG.

All of that aside, the comment that was burning within me so much that I ultimately decided to post on this forum, is in defense of Sheldon Monson.

I first met Sheldon and his wife when they were in ministerial training in Kansas City (2002 or 2003 I think). We became friends. He is a genuinely nice person. He is loving and sincere. He has a huge heart and is fun to be around. He loves God and is a talented speaker and excellent camp leader. More than anything he is genuine which is not a characteristic of minsters (or members) in LCG. Whether you liked it or not, he had the courage to be who he really was without pretense. In a church full of fake people, he had the bravery to be real. He was the same person to your face and behind your back. He was the same person whether he was with the COE or drinking beer with you on the back porch. Did I agree with everything he believed? Hell no! In fact I ardently disagreed with many of his beliefs. But I appreciated his candor, openness and courage to be who he is, like it or not. I loved that we could utterly disagree and openly debate topics and then continue to be friends. People like that are rare in this life. People like that are almost non-existent in Armstrongism. His reputation deserves to be defended. He's a good guy and Mr. Weston should be ashamed that he couldn't handle this situation more maturely with the Fruits of the Spirit.

I was shocked that hardly anybody had the courage to stand up and defend my husband and myself When LCG unjustly marked us. People who know our character sat in cowardly silence instead of saying something as they watched them destroy us and tell lie after lie about us. But guess what? I am not that person. I will defend those who deserve it. I will stand up when good people are brutalized by LCG headquarters. I will openly love those whom I chose to openly love and no man will ever have the authority to tell me who I can fellowship with. I am not afraid. I am ruled by God Almighty and not by the small, egocentric, insecure men that sell fear in an effort to control their members. I am free.

Sheldon Monson was one of very few in LCG that went to bat defending my husband and my character repeatedly during my fiasco with LCG in 2014. After that, he continued to make a concerted effort to remain our friend and to show us out-flowing love and concern. He was the only minister in all of LCG that acted like a shepherd. The rest of LCG ministry scraped us off their shoes like dog poop. Even ministers that knew us as well as a person can possibly know another and that includes Gerald Weston. Mr. Weston knows us better than most. He counseled us for marriage prior to leaving KC and he baptized my husband. He has stayed at my home more times than I can count. We are very well acquainted. Yet he did nothing because he lacks the fortitude to do the right thing. 

Sheldon was specifically told not to affiliate with my husband or me in 2014 but he refused to comply on the grounds that until we gave him a reason to believe we were bad people, he simply wouldn't cut us out of his life just because Rod Meredith told him to. if only more people in LCG thought like him! He continued to go out to dinner with us and check in on us even after the marking. One night we got busted by Jim Meredith who promptly ran to his daddy to tattle tail. When Rod Meredith called Sheldon up to his office the next day to ask if it was in fact true that he had gone out to dinner with us, he courageously said, "yes" and defended our character once again. That is the kind of character Sheldon Monson has. He is a stand-up guy. 

Is he perfect? No. But who is?

I know that ultimately this will be one of the best things that ever happens to Sheldon, even though it might be insanely painful. It was for me. I saw the true character of people who called themselves my friends. I saw the true character of men pretending to be ministers of God. My eyes were opened to the nature of these people. I have found happiness and I have a connection with the Almighty that I could have never attained in a church that can not even begin to conceive of the love of God because they themselves only understand conditional love. I am love. The love of Christ flows abounds within me and fills my being. I have a connection to Source that no man can ever alter. He is mine and I am His. I wish the best to all who read this. Be real. I promise it's worth it.

PS: If you are in a "church" that tells you not to be friends with good people, you might be in a cult
PPS: I would like to personally thank every minister and member of LCG for setting me free through your harsh and unloving actions. 

With Love & Light,
Elizabeth Scarborough