EMAIL sent to John O., Page Six
Please make it clear if you do not want your email or name posted here, otherwise, your mail may be posted and your first name used.
I attended the WWCG in Pittsburgh from 73-78. I 'believed' for another 10 years. My parents were baptized members and now belong to United.
Your latest article "Its All Your Fault" was well done. I have enjoyed your other articles as well. I am now a practicing Christian, but try very hard to keep 'religion' out of the discussion of the practices of the WWCG. When you say that many speak of having no reason to apologize because of the 'blood of Jesus' it makes my skin crawl. Once again, they misuse, twist and abuse God's Word. To be Christian means that one accepts, acknowledges and admits sin. We are to 'confess your sins, one to another' and to atone. We are also to be trying to walk a better walk and not repeat the sins of the past. To simply say that we're to forget-and forgive the grievous wrongs done to all those hurt by WWCG without atonement is criminal.
And thanx 4 your good word. A true "Christian" (if there is such a title) to me is one who treats all others (that includes women) as equal and does unto them as they would have done to themselves.
Then we'd have world peace.
Thanx again and blessings. John
Thanks for your note-and I agree entirely. It amazed me, after pulling away from the WWCG teachings that there were actually WOMEN in the bible-with power, influence and credibility. None of that was heard in the halls of Armstrong.
Women are the equal (repeat EQUAL) of men. We're all different, but that's the blessing of our sexes. I wouldn't have it any other way. Neither would my wife. We love the diff. Dead Herbie is . . . dead. Thankfully. He never respected the sex difference or EQUALITY. From what we hear, he was a bi-sexual *************. Enuf said. Equality between men and women is common sense. If not - then please tell me how world peace can be obtained? This balance is a fundamental basis to world peace. Thanx 4 your note.
I must say, what you have written in this article illustrates exactly what kinds of thoughts run through my head from day to day. It awes me to contemplate not only the immense scale of the universe, with the countless alien civilizations that may exist within in it, but also the notion of entirely different realms, completely unknown to man. Our Milky way galaxy alone offers more than we have ever dreamed, but it likely comprises less than a billionth billionth billionth of the totality of "things." I also agree with your statement that countless parallel realms may exist considering the fact that us simple, rudimentary humans can "imagine" such a possibility; And since we are derived from something infinitely greater than ourselves, surely this infinite presence also shares the idea. I only hope, as I'm sure you do, that there are aspects of us that transcend this aspect of life, this "frequency band." I'd be willing to bet there are! --Anyway, I enjoyed your writing immensely.. (feel free to write back ) Jason P
Thank you Jason for you kind words. It's true, when we let our minds wander on the possibilities, it's literally "mind boggling." Churches limit the idea of "God" so much, they keep peoples minds in a little box. Most of this is due to the Bible and other religious "Bibles."
God is mind, thot, and life and for those characteristics, there are no limits. That's why I call God "Infinity."
Good to talk 2 U, and thanx again for the letter.
You have bats as nocturnal, but returning to a cave at night? They would return before dawn.
Minor point, but it sticks out.
First of all, understand that I agree with you. People should be fleeing the Worldwide Church of God or Worldwide Church of God+ like the plague.
In your comments, you point out how Paul and others preached without pay, but you omitted much that the people you are trying to reach can use to counter your argument.
1. Paul did preach for the most part without pay, even refusing to be taken care of for his basic needs, yet he said he robbed other (established) churches for the sake of a new or newer church. Therefore, some churches did support him.
2. Paul did state that Jesus himself made allowance that those that preached the gospel were entitled to be recompensed by the church membership... but that he decided not to avail himself of that right.
This tears the heart out of your argument. Again I am on your side, but this tactic too easily backfires here. My contention is that the ministers should all go out and get jobs, and if they feel like preaching after putting in 40 plus hours a week at a job, then they are welcome to do so, but keep their hands out of people's wallets.
The bat story was satirical, but not intended to be realistic. After all, bats don't talk to each other in English. If you read the story correctly, the bats DID go out before dawn to see the tree at the beginning of the forest.
As to the second part of your thot, the real question is: "Did Jesus ever exist as a actual person?" And after the early Church of Rome, got through redacting the thousands of manuscripts, who knows what Paul really said.
Did the so called "Jesus" take a salary? Shouldn't the Master or any of His apostles follow that example? There's NO example where Paul or any other "Apostle" took a salary. If so, quote me where it says, that you MUST pay me for services rendered. It just ain't there. He earned his own living and accepted the charity and blessings from the membership. Taking food or lodging is far different from Herbie's tithing system.
WHAT A TRAGEDY!
After my exhausted studying :
You made so much sense here and this is the same way I feel about this myself. This tragedy of America I believe is just one of many to befall America. And my heart goes out to all these people who have been injured hurt or killed in this event. We have the freedom of thinking on our own. God does know our hearts and our minds! Its more spiritual than physical.
We do not need anyone to teach us ( As like the false ministers of the world) God in his time gives us the answers, what he wants us to know.
My true findings were when I came out of religion which I call Babylon. In all of this tragedy in NY people either started to discount God - or went to their churches. ( Oh I cannot criticize people for going to churches ) I was
in two major ones and one I thought to be true was WWCG. What a lie and a farce. But in all it would have never made me understand and know what I have learned today, As I have studied like many people did after getting out. I myself hope I will never join an organized religion ( Religion is a business and a moneymaker for the higher ranks) Even these non denominational ones. The people in churches do not realize this and in all take in the message that these ministers preach to them, whether or not they believe it or not it is like subliminal suggestion that stays in their minds. It was like when we were in WWCG. I believe in staying at home, and in no church no longer being intimidated and scared. I still believe there is a God. But a God that gives us the freedom we as Americans need.
I believe we all do not have all the answers yet. Maybe one day we will know for sure . Your site sheds a lot of answers to a lot of things that people do not yet understand. I found more compassion and love on this site!
You may print this - however under anonymous. In all I am closing - take care with love!
Thanx for the good words. I think we all shed a few tears when we saw those TV pics of the WTC. We've shed a few more when we realized that we were conned by Worldwide Church of God too.
Thanx again. John.
You are right when you compare the Worldwide Church of God/HWA to Jim Jones and other religious zealots/fanatics. Remember when Herbert W. Armstrong sent out a letter to the church membership saying that we should not drink Kool Aid, no matter who said to do it? He obviously knew that we were so programmed that some of us would have done it, if an authority figure in the church told us to do it. 20
In the 1960s and 1970s, I used to be so terrified of the "soon coming" Great Tribulation and worried endlessly (obsessed is the way they would describe it these days) if I would be accounted worthy to "flee" with the church (you know the drill). But, when the first scenes in Jonestown came over CNN I remember standing in front of the TV and thinking, "my God, this could have been us". I started thinking of some of the arrogant deacons, elders and even ministers in the church, and of Gerald Waterhouse and some of his more rash pronouncements, and of members who said that if Herbert W. Armstrong told them to do . . . whatever . . . they would DO IT! I remembered that I had thought and said that, as well. And I knew that our church was perfectly capable of something similar. A few years later, when Herbert W. Armstrong sent out the letter to the membership saying that he was on his way to Jordan to negotiate with Hussein about securing Petra for our church to stay in during the "soon coming great tribulation" and then came back and said we shouldn't be concerned about the great tribulation, but focus on the "wonderful world tomorrow" I knew that he must have been obviously perceived by the Jordanian king as some kind of religious fanatic, and was tap dancing a little to make up for the fact that the king hadn't wanted to host "our people" while the world went to hell.
The weird thing is, it took me another almost fifteen years to get sufficient brain cells together to realize that I was in a cult and didn't have to stay. Do you know how frightened I was the first time I admitted to myself that if I thought there was any other church I could go to and still be in "God's church" , I would leave? The problem, of course, was I still thought there was nowhere else to go. In spite of learning circa 1990, about Herbert W. Armstrong and his daughter; and being told straight out by a friend who was an Ambassador College grad that the books of Moses were myths which were in large part lifted neatly from the early Mesopotamians It still took several more years and a before I realized I could leave.
I am currently taking History of Western Civilization at a local university. Our instructor told us that the Western Civ. classes used to begin with the history of the ancient Greeks, as if they were the beginning of civilization. Now they realize that so much of vital importance happened far back in Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East and that is where they now begin the course. It was startling to read excerpts from the epic of Gilgamesh and find Noah's story of the flood, and to read Hammurabi and how "God" gave him the 128 commandments to him and wrote them on steles; and to find out that basic story of Job is of that same vintage and was later doctored to add the portions where Job talks back to God. Then there was the real jolt Osiris was basically a prototype of Jesus as Saviour and judge. "River and land deities included Osiris and Isis with their child Horus, who was related to the Nile and to the sun as well. Osiris became especially important as a symbol of resurrection. A famous Egyptian myth told of the struggle between Osiris, who brought civilization to Egypt, and his evil brother Seth, who killed him, cut his body into fourteen parts and tossed them into the Nile. Osiris's faithful wife Isis found the pieces and, with help from other gods, restored Osiris to life. As a symbol of resurrection and as judge of the dead, Osiris took on an important role for the Egyptians. By identifying with Osiris (emphasis mine), one could hope to gain new life, just as Osiris had done. . . . The flood of the Nile and the new life it brought to Egypt were symbolized by Isis gathering all of Osiris's parts together and were celebrated each spring in the festival of the new land. Later Egyptian spiritual practice began to emphasize morality by stressing Osiris's role as judge of the dead." Spielvogel, Western Civilization, A Brief History, Volume I: To 1715, second edition, page 17. Now, none of this was new to me in one sense, since it was taught to us so we would understand that holidays like Christmas and Easter were pagan. What I never thought of before was that the whole Jesus mythos is so much older than itself. 20
As I read these texts, I also had this weird feeling of deja vu. It reminded me of when I checked Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright out of my local church library nearly 20 years ago and saw how closely the writing resembled that in the U.S. and Britain in Prophecy. I really didn't understand about plagiarism in those days. But some years later I did ask our pastor about it and he said, very matter of factly, that Herbert W. Armstrong knew that he was plagiarizing the other author's work, but felt that the subject matter was of such importance that it didn't matter. One sad thing is that History of Western Civilization, which used to be a required course in college, is now an elective. I think that's a big mistake, but maybe this info gets picked up in World History, which would be taught to high school sophomores. Just a little basic education could make such a difference, and people might be less susceptible 1) to present & future HWAs, and 2) the idea that the Bible is the infallible "word of God". After all, even in the liberal protestant churches, the Bible is read every week, after which the reader will conclude with some variation of "The word of the Lord" and the congregation responds "Thanks be to God" (or, humorously "Thus endeth the lesson"/"Thanks be to God").
This whole tragedy last week is such a grim reminder of the dangers of religious fanaticism, and as they say on the Painful Truth Website, "Biblio idolatry". I am concerned that as people become more afraid as these current events continue, and in some sort of primal way, revert to the Bible & religion as a way to feel less out of control. What a paradox. The ancients believed that there were no rational causes everything was beyond their control and happened by the whim of the gods. Now we say "it's in God's hands" or "It's God's will" to feel more in control.
I was so disgusted to read in the news the remarks by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, laying the blame of the terrorist acts (or at least the fact that "God has removed his protection from us") at the feet of the ELCA, gays and lesbians, abortionists, etc. etc. I had so many emotions last week: Sorrow, grief, pain, extreme pride in the valor of the rescue workers and in the decency of the people as they evacuated the World Trade Center. But I felt such anger and was so deeply ashamed of what these two had said. And then I realized: It could have been me thinking or saying something similar. In fact at one time it almost certainly would have been. One reason it wasn't is because of all the work you and the others on this website have done. Thanks for all you do.
P.S. The editor of this website may want to add a couple more titles to the good books list: A History of God and The Battle for God, both by Karen Armstrong (former Roman Catholic nun and Oxford scholar). Also, check out the website for Westar/the Jesus Seminar and also, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism and Why Christianity Must Change or Die both by the Rev. John Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, N.J. and a non theist. Really good, thought provoking books.
I've started reading about all this (The Painful Truth & Ambassador Report) around the beginning of April this year. And did an "intense six-month-day-and-night-study" (I can plagiarize this as well as Herbert W. Armstrong did from Rupert!) Couldn't resist the funny! But the bottom line is it took me a long time to see and accept the "truth" of Worldwide Church of God & HWA for what it really is: a cult. At first I almost couldn't believe my eyes of how could "God's Apostle" be accused of sins that had been kept hidden for years from the church & membership! After reading and re-reading, I felt angry, cheated, deprived (financially!), & bitter (which has replaced the feelings of guilt from leaving the church, shortly after Joe jr took over). (I can see how it easy for a person to become an atheist from all this turmoil, I've seen other websites like that. There are so MANY websites about Worldwide Church of God & HWA.) But back to my feelings, now as I've been reading your articles as well the rest of the Painful Truth articles, I have come to learn a sense of "release" or a "closure" on this cult, even though I've made past choices (with a good intention to follow God's way of life), I guess it's safe to say, "It's not my fault!" Even though I have to live with my mistakes, such as no retirement funds is a classic example!! But I find it hard to forgive myself for the wrong choices and I'm still learning to become a better Christian (without all this "religious hypocrisy"), at the same time. This website has been (still is) therapeutic for me and writing this to you (John) is helping me to cope with the turmoil & mental "brainwashing". I've come to a point of not trusting any "religion" of this world. Still learning to be FREE. To worship Christ freely. And learning to think freely.
After being with the Worldwide Church of God for 20 years since ('76 to '96), it's really sad how one's life can be so messed up after going through so many different religions prior to this and really thought that this was the "real McCoy". What led me to this website, I really got a lot out of The Painful Truth website, especially the Ambassador Report section. It literally blew me away to see how much corruption and greed that existed at the Worldwide Church of God! I should have known better that if a "prophet" prophesizes in the name of God and it if didn't come to pass, then he has not been sent by God! After making over 200+ prophesies that didn't come to pass, would just one failed prediction be enough? Go figure!! Keep up the good "work" and your "enlyten-ment" (pun intended)!!!
I can go on and on but I want to say THANK YOU for lending your "ear" and your heart, (maybe I'll write again) and helping to get this off my chest. It's good to talk to an ex-minister who's been through all this dirt as well.
Hi David: And thanx 4 your letter. Yes, we were all fooled, but that doesn't mean we must stay foolish. You were correct in leaving Worldwide Church of God, as we all were, because it mainly saved our sanity. So many are still connected. I will keep your ID private. Best. John.
Just wanted to say that my family would have been destroyed by Herbert W. Armstrong had it not been for my dear Mother...who abided by my father's membership in Worldwide Church of God...but also kept the peace with all of her children by letting them chose their own way. My mother NEVER joined or listened to HWA, but for the sake of her 11 children, she did abide by the "laws" that my father believed so deeply in. (MY mother is a Southern Baptist) I am now 57 years old and can say that I still feel the affects of what that "man" did to our family. My father died believing every word Herbert W. Armstrong uttered and 2 of my brothers are still following his teachings. I just hope someday their eyes will be opened. I've been reading your website for about a year and it has helped me tremendously understand there are many others who have suffered and still suffering from what that man's cult did to our lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you are doing. Sincerely.
Hi Wanda: You're welcome, and as long as possible the site will stay in action. The editor is doing a fabulous job of opening peoples eyes.
Best 4 now. John
Just a quick note to let you know I truly enjoyed your article in "The Painful Truth". I couldn't of said it better myself. I went through the same thing as you. I'm very angry and seriously considering bringing suit. I'm pissed off that there's no accountability from these guys. I want all of my tithes refunded plus pain and suffering. And punitive damages. I'll never have closure to that chapter of my life unless I take some action. I was raised in a cult and I'm still suffering after all these years. I was privy to a lot of inside information regarding misappropriation of funds and gay sexual harassment by a few of the ministers. I've got plenty of stuff on them. I want them to pay.
Would love to hear back from you.
Thanx 4 the letter. I'd like to see these scumbags pay too, but as yet I don't know how to do it. One way MIGHT be to let the IRS take its course (if they could ever get off their rear ends), and let the government come down on them. They HAVE violated the law. But would the government make them pay and then hold the money for themselves?
The PT Site Editor has said may times that if enough people are interested in a class action suit, then let him know. The problem is now that the Worldweird Cult is dissipating at such a rapid rate . . . who would we sue? Personally, I'd like to see the IRS get into this one, because Worldwide Church of God ain't gonna get away from them.
If you have info on misdealing in Worldwide Church of God, then pass it onto the Editor at the PT Site, but if any one person is accused, the name and evidence must be given. Anyhow, thanx 4 the letter and the good word.
I just finished reading your article about religious organizations and their tax exempt status. I thoro-ly enjoyed it! I would make it required reading for any and all who are thinking about joining a church, cult, or religious movement. I am also going to send a link to it around to some e-mail buds who will also enjoy it (all ex-Worldwide Church of Goders).
Question: do you know of any way of getting the low down on Rod Meredith's and Free Agent minister Raymond McNair's salaries? Is there any freedom of info act or request that one can file with the State of Calif? Don't all of these "charitable" organizations have to report this as public information? (I believe the LCG is incorporated in Calif.)
I was recently banned from the new Children of Worldwide (C.O.W.) forum for daring to state the obvious about men like Herbert the Pervert and Lord Merrydeath. Some of the cultists there accused me of being too abusive. (Yes, I really have to laugh at that one, considering who they are still following.) And I would like to make these salaries public, if there is any way to get the figures.
I just thought I would ask you before I might go on a wild goose chase here. And, in light of what you wrote about how the IRS and other State authorities look the other way, I'm betting there is no way to get at those figures. But I may be wrong.
Thanks for any help you might be able to provide.
Hi there, Richard:
Thanx 4 the good word.
No, I don't know how to get the inside info on those cultmasters' salaries. In any case, the figures would NOT tell anything. Their ultimate profits are loaded with perks, and bonuses, etc. What they would declare as an income of (let's say) $20k per annum, might actually be a million bucks when it comes to all the "accessories." The full salaries would have to include all the perks, and those figures would be inaccessible - except for an IRS audit.
That's how they scramble around the law. And yes, as I understand it, the LCG (Lousy Church of God) is incorporated in CA, as well as other states.
Like you, I'd like to get these figures public, but I doubt whether they'd be accurate, or give a true accounting of the truth.
Thanx 4 the letter. Best 4 now. John
2nd Letter (copied to others):
John O. has done it again, written another fine article, this time about how "charitable" organizations are ripping us off via their tax exempt status. Even tho most of us no longer support these con artists with our tithes or contributions, they are still getting away with murder and enjoying the high life, all at taxpayers expense, while the IRS looks the other way. Je$$e Jackson comes to mind here.
Check out John's article at:
p.s. I think I will also send this link to Bill O'Reilley, who has been after Jackson for years, trying to get his empire audited. Maybe he will finally get the point.
I always enjoy your contributions to The Painful Truth website. Recently you wrote a piece on your current concept of God.
There's no mistake that the Worldwide Church of God tried to create an image of God after HWA, or at the very least, Moses. I don't recall what the correct term is for this act, but the word anthropomorphism is floating around in my head.
Supporting your premise is one of the laws of physics, "energy can neither be created nor destroyed" It just changes forms, thus giving it an eternal nature. That is why I believe in some kind of afterlife. The energy (and matter) of which I am composed, will change forms upon my demise. What happens after that point is the subject of much speculation.
I vaguely remember from half a lifetime ago, Ramrod's first year theology class at AC, in which he discussed the nature of the Holy Spirit. The attributes which you postulate to the supreme being are generally how he described the Holy Spirit.
It was described as being the energy or power which God used to create or guide. I personally have toyed with many ideas, including the Eastern concepts of an individual plan for each of us, with many incarnations. It seems that the early Christian church at one time believed in reincarnation, and the speculations concerning Jesus and Melchisedek would seem to support this on one level or another.
I guess Pete Townshend of the Who said it best in one of his songs, when he stated "We both don't know what's right, but we sure do know what's wrong", although he probably was not referring to the Worldwide Church of God. At any rate, it's fun speculating with you, as most of the people whom I've discussed this with recently do not share the background that you and I and all the visitors to the Painful Truth website do.
Keep the fine articles coming, as I know you are helping a lot of people!
And thanx 4 your letter. You've said it correctly. An "anthropomorphic" God is one that has human characteristics. That started (as I understand) with the Catholic Church. They made God in their own image, and modern "Christianity" has done pretty much the same. Thus, you have a Biblical God that is loving for a moment, and mad as a hornet in the next. Since the Catholic Church redacted the Bible, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
Also I'm agreed with you on the subject of energy and matter - since one is a function of the other. This life (or lives), give us the experiences that are unique to us alone. Thus the Infinite sucks up this knowledge from every human, every lifeform, all life on every planet on every galaxy, and every dimension in all types of continuums and parallel dimensions. No wonder that IT's growing at an infinite rate. And yes, the early church (as well as many world leaders over the years) have also believed in reincarnation.
Thanx 4 the letter, Bob. I'm passing it onto the Editor with your last name and email deleted, as I normally do.
Best from here. John.
Your response was even more thought provoking, and I think that a new model is beginning to gel. We are all sensory appendages of God's. We are literally pieces of God. Some of us are collecting knowledge of good experiences, while others are collecting knowledge of bad experiences, with good and bad defined in accordance with the karmic laws. The primitives had a difficult time expressing this knowledge, and failed to grasp that the Supreme Being, an aggregate of knowledge of both good and evil, embodies what they called both God and Satan.
God, in accordance with this model, does not watch over us, see that we have done something good (?) such as contribute tithes and offerings to the Worldwide Church of God, waive a magic wand, and yell "Bless!", and suddenly have us win the lottery.
Conversely, he does not observe us having some fun in a gentleman's club, yell "Curse!", and cause us to have an accident on the way home. Rather, our good acts produce good results (karma) while bad acts generate bad karma. Following the natural laws of the universe causes your DNA to be preserved throughout history through your descendents, hence, eternal life. Or, when you die, that energy which is composed of your experiences, attitudes, likes and dislikes, literally becomes a part of God.
Since God is similar to both Rembrandt and Salvador Dali, some of his preceptors are imbued with incredible intelligence, while others may be what is known as mentally impaired, psychotic or schizophrenic, or impaired in some way. All experiences are of equal value, and random by nature. So, a good acting person can experience bad or tragedy, while a bad acting person can have apparently good fortune. Life becomes an equation with infinite permutations.
Those of us who took part in the Worldwide Church of God were collecting a certain type of experience for God. It was not unlike the much-cited Stanford study in which student volunteers were recruited to act out rolls typical of a penitentiary. The majority of those recruited as guards, with some noteworthy exceptions, became brutal and sadistic, using violence on their fellow students and forcing them to perform wretched tasks such as cleaning clogged toilets with their bare hands. Those recruited as prisoners became sneaky, violent towards one another, and ultimately bailed out of the study, bringing it to a halt. Because of the prison system, being a guard of good conscience, even though this was roll playing, would have been every bit as difficult as being a Worldwide Church of God minister of good conscience---which is why so few have signed the apology page on our favorite website.
The reality is that everybody who walks the face of the earth probably has their own concept of God, which makes it such an interesting subject to discuss. All the concepts are fine with me, as long as they don't involve hurting someone.
But, I ramble. I've enjoyed your ideas.
As far as I'm concerned you've NAILED it. The religious concept of "God" is loaded with error, and - as you said - is really primitive. Most of mankind today still lives within primeval thinking. He regards "God" as nothing more than an extension of his own being. And this is wot religion enforces, which in turn, keeps mankind in bondage.
We are all segments of original thot. However, we're physically manifested on this physical Earth in a universe which is locked into a time and space continuum. We're here for a reason - to learn. We're here to learn what it's like to be human. And when that's finished, we return to "God," or the energy that bore us originally.
We have such cruelty on this planet. And it takes all forms. Whether it be government or religion, each tries to bleed out of us their "pound of flesh." And in turn, each must reap his own karma.
Love talking 2 U, and the best from here. John.
If you have anything you would like to
submit to this site, or any comments,
email me at:
CLICK HERE FOR EMAIL ADDRESS.
Back to "Painful Truth" menu.
The content of this site, including but not limited to the text and images herein and their arrangement, are copyright © 1997-2003 by The Painful Truth. All rights reserved.
Do not duplicate, copy or redistribute in any form without prior written consent.