(Faith Or Futility?)
In every age of history, we’ve had the risk takers, and those who are content to sit back and not do anything. I’m NOT talking here about daredevil stunts, like movie stunt people do, but rather taking a risk to explore the secrets of something unknown. While there is nothing wrong with this exploration itself, since the subject matter can be easily rejected if it’s proved wrong, the risk taken, however, is in the initial willingness to step out and prove what we believe might be -or might not be – the truth.
Margaret Mead once said that we should never underestimate the influence that a small group of risk-takers can have. Indeed, she said, that the only ones who have ever changed anything consisted of a small group of people, and these people – by observation – are always the risk takers. John Trechak, Bob Gerringer, and the rest of the AMBASSADOR REPORT editors took a risk when they went out on a limb and published the expose on “God’s College,” and its hierarchy.
Many years ago, the well known Hollywood director, Blake Edwards, was directing a romantic comedy set in New York. Blake was a risk taker and decided that this movie really needed a theme song. It needed to be actually sung in the movie, as well as providing the background music. So, he went to the producers, with this addition in mind, and was flatly turned down. The reasons were: (1) It’ll cost extra money, (2) Romantic comedies don’t have songs in them, (3) It’ll cost extra money, (4) No one in the cast can sing worth a damn, (5) It’ll cost extra money, (6) Songs ruin comedies by turning them into musicals, (7) It’ll cost extra money, (8) No one’s ever heard of this upstart composer, (9) It’ll cost extra money . . . etc.
But Blake insisted on including this song, as he had recently met this new composer and was impressed with his work. The producers again said NO. However, as a risk taker, Blake kept encouraging this new composer during the former’s wrangling with production company, and he nagged incessantly at the producers until they finally bent. Reluctantly, they allowed Blake to have his way, and released the extra budget money for the inclusion of the song. The rest, as they say, is history.
Blake’s movie was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Audrey Hepburn sung the words and music to that particular song – “Moon River” – which eventually won an Oscar for its “upstart” composer, Henry Mancini.
The producers never doubted Blake’s judgment again. From there, Blake went on to direct the “Pink Panther” series, using (the now late) Mancini’s music in all of them and with many follow up musical successes for Henry. It happened simply because Blake was a risk taker, who stuck out his neck for what he honestly believed was right.
We don’t find that sort of exploration and risk-taking in cults. Check out the attitudes with members in the ex-Worldwide Church+ categories. We certainly would never see it with hard core cult members who systematically goose step off to services and Bible studies while giving unswerving allegiance to the cultmasters who call the shots. While no one’s suggesting that anyone “shoot from the hip,” let me ask the obvious question. What can be wrong with simply exploring the practices and teachings of their particular resident cult? To look, examine, and prove all things, surely cannot be deemed as antichrist. However, the cultmasters would have their congregations believe different. There must be NO risktakers, according to cult teaching, among the gullibly obedient congregations. Quite often the aspect of fear to simply question anything is heavily emphasized to keep the followers in line. That’s the exact, same way the Catholic Church kept its congregations in line for centuries.
It takes a certain amount of faith to step out on one’s principles – after a detailed analysis and study of the cult is accomplished, and the cult is finally seen for what it really is. But most folks don’t bother. It’s far easier for many to let someone else call the shots. So, most simply send in their checks, and this is the fuel that continues to re-charge these cults.
“Help me take back this country for God,” yells Rod Parsley, an egotistical, evangelical screamer and notable browbeater, from his pulpit and stage. This character hails out of Ohio. He is often seen on TBN. Take a look at this aggressive combatant sometime, and judge him on his fruits. But he has a following of blind loyalists who keep this barking, prancing, and sweating mouthpiece going, despite the hallucinogenic rubbish he continually spouts.
While it takes a certain amount of faith in following a proven path of logic, reason, and wisdom, it also takes misguided faith to fall into the ditch. In actual fact, this is not faith, but futility. And we see it in the congregations of religions all over the world. The offsprings of Worldwide’s cult are prime examples. Few, if any, are willing to take the risk to prove these shysters, right or wrong, and as a result they lack the right type of faith that breeds the courage to (at least) question these cultmasters.
Futility can be described as the misdirection to the right balance of proper faith and trust that lies within ourselves. Quite often, our consciences will prod us to go in one direction or to examine something that will prove advantageous. But, far too often, a follower’s conscience is drowned by the nonsensical babblings, the evasiveness, and the threats that spew forth from the cultmaster’s mouth.
A cultmaster is in biz for three fundamental reasons. (1) Personal glory, (2) Money, and (3) A golden parachute for retirement. And they will fight – at the membership’s expense – to preserve those goals, no matter if it means the destruction of any person’s finances, reputation, or their future mental and psychological well being.
So, when anyone places their “faith” in such futile expostulations that come from cultmasters, they are – in essence – taking out their brains, leaving them at the doorstep, and entering into church services, only to be filled with the cultmaster’s ideas, idiotic ramblings, personal goals, and the fear that is instilled from the pulpit, into the trusting minds and hearts of those who foolishly left their brains outside. We all made that mistake, but in time, most of us thankfully corrected our course of action.
Some examples of futility are Apostle Herbie’s overseas trips. There were no risks taken here. He marched into dignitaries offices with Steuben Crystal, money to give, and then threw lavish banquets in which the privileged could revel and drink themselves stupid. From what I’ve heard from those (now ex-church people) who accompanied Herbie on his jaunts, this bombastic little egotist spent only a couple of minutes (or much less) with each of these “dignitaries,” was then photographed giving each a block of Steuben Crystal, and we saw the results in the next month’s PT. The titles invariably read, something to the effect that the gospel had now spread to some new place or other.
However, many at that time, like the information given in the AMBASSADOR REPORT, labeled all this folderol as a rip-off to the membership, and nothing more than a futile exercise in personal glory for the man who held control of the money in the Worldwide cult. Herbie’s trips were finally seen as nothing more than a good time bash, together with the reported accompanied whoring and binge drinking, for he and his “loyal” companions. And thus, according to this Pontiff, the gospel was finally being preached to the world for the first time in nineteen and a half centuries.
But, while many others KNEW of these futile shenanigans, very few had the proper type of balanced faith to take the necessary risk and challenge this con-game. Paychecks were at stake. And in the case of the upper cultmasters, there were investments to be protected, future and generous bonuses waiting to be received, and the glory of the much valued (but totally undeserved) titles to be coveted.
While many at the time saw the wrong doing, few if any, every challenged what was happening. Al Portune did. Ron Dart did. Charles Hunting did. Even the late Ray Cole did. There was also a few others. But the gutless majority kept quiet, preserved their paychecks, and their futures, while a hideous burden was dumped onto the membership to keep this deranged theology alive and well, and adequately financed. People lost homes, incomes, investments, and their retirements, simply because so many spineless cultmasters didn’t have any balance of proper faith, and very few took the risk to question those at the very top. And so, lives were destroyed, many ex-members could never be the same, some folks committed suicide, and many – even today – sunk to the depths of despair when looking at their bleak futures.
But in looking back on the cultmasters who ruled all churchfolk with a rod of iron, we can now see the substance from which they evolved. The basic essence of which such cultmasters are made is invariably the same. It consists of (1) Ego, (2) Greed, and (3) Cowardice. And they protected those disgusting aspects of character, ingrained in themselves, with an iron fist. Inwardly, bullies are always cowards.
No wonder they literally hated the risktakers who took on the challenge to oppose them. No wonder they tried to twist the correct faith of these challengers. No wonder they launched into such opposition by openly saying that any and all challengers were: Demon possessed, heinous, plotting, backstabbing, accursed by God, and disloyal to His only government on Earth. And consequently, the membership heard all this crap, and they trembled. Without a thought, many members simply erased the memory of departed previous friends from their memory banks because (in their personal thinking) these rebellious and troublemaking outcasts were undoubtedly bound for the Lake of Fire. The cultmaster had spoken, and so, who among the congregations would take a risk and question “God’s anointed?”
Each of us has to find the right balance of risk for ourselves, and the right time to practice the balanced faith to put that risk into practice. But, there need by no fear in simply and directly querying anything. If anybody is to receive any cultmaster’s resistance to simple queries, then this should raise a BIG red flag.
The weak, loyalist cultmasters or hirelings will be shaken by anyone’s doubts. When they are, they can retaliate like an inflamed T-Rex. Then they will seek to either quickly change the questioner’s mind, or else, they’ll attempt to destroy that spark of intellectual curiosity which could expose such cultmasters for their own corruption. Cultmasters know that such challenges from the balanced risk takers will eventually lead these cultic parasites down the pathway to their own personal destruction.
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