herbert w. armstrong and the worldwide church of god the painful truth about the worldwide church of god
30 years in the
Worldwide Church of God
Part 4
(Part one, Part two, Part three, Part four Part five)


Bill Fairchild
Douglas, Mass

Still more musings, ideas, opinions, and rantings from my 30 years in the Worldwide Church of God and 57 years of life.

I sent in an email earlier in which I mentioned that I might have known the stewardess involved with Garner Stud. I was wrong. Since I sent in that email I remembered the first name of the stewardess, which was not the same as the woman I knew who was raped and then moved to New Zealand. Just a coincidence, I guess.

(1) "Religion is the opium of the people."

This saying was first written by Karl Marx in 1844. It was modified slightly by another who later quoted him but wrote instead "religion is the opiate of the people". Was he right? What does opium do? Opium is a drug that depresses the central nervous system. It makes you enter a dream-like state in which you feel that everything is all right regardless of reality. Other chemicals that similarly depress the central nervous system are ethyl alcohol and heroin.

Now that I have left the Worldwide Church of God and all other religion behind, I no longer feel that everything is all right. I don't feel protected by God any more. I don't feel special any more. I don't feel like one of God's chosen people any more. I don't think that God will always heal me any more. I now feel that if my city gets vaporized in a nuclear holocaust I will not be in a place of safety when it happens but will instead get vaporized along with everybody else. When I eat a nice meal I don't feel safe believing that God will remove the poisons from the food just because I ask him to while thanking Him for providing me with the poisonous food. I'll probably get poisoned just like everybody else by eating that piece of steak. So be it.

One major reason why I don't feel special any longer is that God let Herbert W. Armstrong die in spite of the fact that all 100,000 people in his wretched little cult were praying and asking God to intervene, heal the old lecher, keep him alive, let God's kingdom come quickly, etc. If God would let His number one dude die when 100,000 people were trying to convince God otherwise, what chance do I have? I used to be able to count on the fact that at least one person (myself) was praying for me. Now there is none. I no longer pray for myself. So now I have zero chance. That makes me totally unspecial.

On the other hand, I no longer fear that I might end up in the Lake of Fire. Nor do I fear that someone else might take my crown. I don't mind at all not qualifying to rule over ten cities. And the salvation of the rest of the world no longer depends on me, my tithes, or my fervent prayers. What a great burden has been lifted from my shoulders. I also no longer have to suffer the mental torment of obeying a human leader who leads a despicable, hypocritical, and evil private life but who had me convinced I had to obey him anyway.

Another attribute of chemical depressants is that humans are easily addicted to them. Anything that makes you feel everything is all right is sure to be used more and more frequently. What often happens is that someone taking such a drug becomes addicted to the feeling of euphoria, has to keep increasing the dosage to get the same feeling, and ultimately dies due to an overdose. All such drugs are toxic, but in small quantities our robust human bodies can withstand being attacked by them. In huge doses, however, our bodies fail, nerves become incapable of firing their electrochemical impulses, muscles necessary to life stop functioning, we stop breathing, our heart stops beating, and we die of drug overdose.

Do people ever become addicted to religion? How about to religious cults? Or to any kind of destructive cult? I remember in the early 1980s when I was starting to give sermonettes that I decided I would increase my daily one half hour of Bible study to an hour. After a few weeks of that I began to feel that an hour was nowhere nearly enough to read everything I wanted to read, study all the Hebrew and Greek word roots in my lexicons, look up extra background information in my commentaries, find all other references to a given word in my concordances, etc. I realized that if I didn't consciously control myself that I would soon escalate into hours and hours of daily study. I knew I couldn't be "balanced" if I did that, so I cut back to a half hour and forced myself to stop after my study time was up. Being balanced was also something we were told we had to do by the cultmasters. I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how to be both zealous and balanced at the same time.

Can people die from an overdose of religion? Read the Painful Truth's web pages on suicide to see what has happened. Weird, destructive cults tend to attract people who are mentally unstable. That doesn't mean that if you were in the Worldwide Church of God supercult that you were mentally unstable. It does mean that a higher percentage of people in the Worldwide Church of God were probably mentally unstable than in the general population. Once in the cult, the teachings tend to make an unstable person even more that way, in spite of the teaching that God's spirit leads us to having sound minds. Maybe there wasn't much of God's spirit in the Worldwide Church of God teachings. There certainly wasn't much soundness.

Here is a definition of opium that I copied from a dictionary found on the Internet: "an addictive drug derived from one variety of poppy, containing various narcotic substances, and producing calm, stupor, sleep, or relief from pain; anything that produces effects similar to those of this drug." The British shipped opium from India to sell in China because it was a lucrative business for British traders, but also because opium produced passivity and submission in whoever smoked it, and Britain wanted China to be passive and submissive to their colonial rule. Many of the world's great religions (e.g., Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity) teach their adherents to take life passively, go with the flow, whatever will be will be, if it's bad it was God's will, if it's good it was God's will, etc. I included Christianity in that group because of Christ's command in the sermon on the mount not to resist evil with yet more evil. Most people would not consider Christianity to be a passive religion, since Christ's original teachings have pretty well been ignored by almost all organized Christian churches. Some religions also force their adherents into submission, like cults founded on personality worship, power, and fear. Like the Worldwide Church of God. I would mention Scientology, too, but I am too afraid of what they might do to me if one of their slaves reads this and reports me to their secret police.

Once you become passive and submissive, you can be lulled into sleep, your beliefs bring you relief from pain, you feel calm while listening to the leaders preach to you or while reading their printed words, all's right with the world, God's in charge, we have read the book and we know we win in the end, blah blah blah. We know that everybody else will swing from German meat hooks but we won't have to because we are special. And all the while you are being raped and pillaged, spiritually as well as financially. And sometimes even physically. Especially if God has given you to a leader to satisfy his filthy lust, as God gave Herbvert's teen-aged daughter to him so he could commit incest with her for 10 years. Herbie said God gave her to him, he was God's apostle, infallible, God never let Herbie make any mistake so great it would hurt the work, so therefore it most definitely was God's true will to give Herbie a daughter to molest. Either we have a monstrously evil God, we had a monstrously evil apostle, or both. Which could it be?

If you try to withdraw yourself from an addictive drug, you suffer withdrawal pain and are pulled back into the drug. Religious cults do this, too. People love to have others make their decisions for them, run their lives, and free them from the responsibility of being responsible. Examples: Ancient Israel, when being led out of Egypt, complained to Moses, lusted after the leeks and garlic they had grown used to eating in Egypt, and wanted to go back to the slavery in Egypt rather than be free and wander around in the desert. Many people today who live in the ashes of what used to be the Soviet Union long for the good old days when Stalin was in charge, because he sure knew how to make things work right. If anybody got out of line, Stalin would have him shot. He was their "little father". The only problem with this is that Stalin also had a lot of other people shot who weren't out of line. Some people will always resist being free to make their own mistakes.

Smoking opium causes us not to be able to see reality for what it is. It addicts us to ever-increasing amounts. And it makes us passive, submissive, calm, stupefied, sleepy, and gives us relief from pain. Just like religion.

People with wacky ideas can be right once in a while. The nasty old fart Herbert the Pervert was right once in a while. So was Karl Marx when he said religion is the opium of the people. That doesn't mean Marx was right about everything else he wrote. Karl Marx wrote words that inspired several power-mad saviors to foment revolutions, lead millions of others to believe in their destructive cult of communism, overthrow governments, and enslave hundreds of millions of people. So Marx was a cult founder just like Perbert. Another interesting parallel is that Marx led a private life almost as evil, horrendous, and manipulative as Herbie. Check him out. Read a biography of that twisted bastard some time. Marx was a horrible monster. Just like Herbvert.

But he sure was right about opium.

And religion.

(2) An anecdote on the healing doctrine.

In August, 1971 I was working at the Data Processing Center at Worldwide Church of God headquarters. I unexplainably developed a case of iritis (an inflammation of the iris) in one of my two eyes. My eye hurt so badly that I couldn't work. I had to keep my eye closed and stay in a darkened room. I knew this needed to be "healed" very quickly. I went to the official doctor who was resident on the Ambassador College campus. He immediately told me to see an ophthalmologist. This doctor also told me that it was OK for me to go see a pagan doctor of Satan because Rod Meredith had also been to see this same ophthalmologist, and anything that Rod Meredith did had to be spiritually correct by definition.

I went to the ophthalmologist, he prescribed a pagan Satanic ointment which I immediately bought and started putting into my eye, and a few days later I was back to normal.

Thank God that Rod Meredith knew the real plain truth about healing several years before Herbert W. Armstrong did and that I had enough luck to learn about Meredith's version of "the truth" as early as I did. Thank God for Satan and all his evil doctors. Interestingly enough, I don't remember now if I was "anointed" that time. I guess I must still be guilty of the physical sin I committed against my body that caused my iritis.

(3) An anecdote on Herbert W. Armstrong's lifestyle.

I remember seeing Herbert W. Armstrong give a sermon once in which he was telling us dumb sheep about a time when he was at some fancy-schmancy party with lots of wealthy and powerful people, dignitaries, politicians, ambassadors, and such. He was in a little group standing around talking while they sipped their champagne and daintily ate their caviar. One of the people in his conversation group at that party was the ambassador from some country to some other place. Herbert W. Armstrong told us drones that he commented to the ambassador "Look around the room at all these people. We're all able to live in peace with each other right now. We're talking, enjoying each other's company, being friendly, etc. Why can't the whole world live in peace with one another?"

This was supposed to demonstrate to us dumb sheep that only someone so deeply converted as Herbert W. Armstrong was could possibly know how to live in peace with his neighbors. I remember instantly thinking at that time, in my still slightly rebellious mind, "Why, you fat old moron you. You and everyone else in that room has 100,000 people back home paying tithes or taxes to pay for your being there in that party, eating those expensive hors d'oeuvres, drinking that expensive champagne, wearing that expensive tuxedo, etc. No wonder all you people at that party are happy. You have plenty to eat, clothes to wear, your party is inside and not outside in the cold rain."

Little did I know at the time what a monstrously selfish bastard that old moron was. Little did I realize at the time that there are vast areas of the earth where most of the people do in fact live in peace with each other. The United States of America, which tries as hard as it can to be the most affluent nation on earth, has managed to become the world's most criminally violent society. Perhaps our obsession with affluence has some correlation to our violence and our inability to live in peace with ourselves.

(4) Fasting and eating raw lemons.

The Worldwide Church of God cult taught me that I should fast about once a month in order to grow close to God. I kept doing that for 25 or so years, then gave up fasting for the last few years I was in the cult. The only real good I got out of fasting was that I learned how easy it is to go without food for one day. Big deal.

I even fasted for three straight days when Loma Armstrong was about to die in 1967. I wanted God to show me what a rotten sinner I was, then I would change, and Loma's intestines would miraculously disgorge the giant turd she had in there that was blocking everything. I didn't learn a thing except how easy it was to go without food for three days. Big useless deal.

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his autobiography, which was obligatory voluntary reading, about how he had gotten into the habit of eating a raw lemon every day for health reasons when he was young. I thought I would try to emulate him in this area as well as all the other ways I was worshipping him, so I started eating one half of a raw lemon every morning. After about three months I stopped doing it. I could not tell any difference in my health. The only difference was that now I could eat one half of a raw lemon fairly easily. Big deal. Big fucking deal.

(5) God allowed such and such to happen.

One thing that bothered me more and more each time I heard some cult leader say it was that "God allowed such-and-such to happen." Another way to say this same loser expression is "Such-and-such was God's will." This lame excuse has been used to justify an enormous amount of evil. What has God ever not allowed? Since God has given mankind free moral agency (so we were told), literally everything that has ever happened involving mankind must therefore have been according to God's will. Maybe God didn't really want it to happen, but once it started happening God decided to "allow" it to happen. God has sure done a lot of allowing. Here are some examples.

First the earth was filled with violence in the days of Noah (assuming Genesis is accurate). God must have "allowed" this to happen. But then God decided to intervene, kill all but eight people, and start over. Why didn't God intervene before everything went bad? Think of the millions of people who wouldn't have had to die in Noah's flood.

In the last century God "allowed" all of Europe to go on a civil war rampage with itself twice and to suck many non-European nations into their stupidity (called World Wars I and II). Just think what might have happened differently if God hadn't "allowed" Adolf Hitler to survive his being gassed when fighting in the German army in World War I. So many others died from their being gassed. Why couldn't Hitler have died, too? Maybe God intervened to spare Hitler's life. I bet several people gave God thanks that Adolf Hitler survived his World War I wounds. Hitler, his close relatives and friends, and at the very least his mother must have been thankful. I'll also bet they were really surprised when their good buddy Adolf turned into such a nasty bastard a few years later. Then they probably started praying that God would undo His mistake and "allow" Hitler to die.

God also allowed a large Japanese city and about 80,000 of its inhabitants to be vaporized in an instant in WW2. Then God allowed another Japanese city to be vaporized only three days later. This is the same God of the Japanese people that Herbie was telling his Japanese sons about thirty years later in the phase of "the work" that Herbie told us was so super-important. Whenever he would go to some country like the Philippines, Ethiopia, Japan, Thailand, or Jordan he would always tell the leaders with whom he talked that he was the human representative of their God. Presumably people all throughout history have prayed to whatever they felt was their god in whatever manner they thought they were supposed to pray in moments of crisis, such as when they were about to be killed by an invading army or vaporized. So even though they might not have been "Christian", ancient pagans in 2000 B.C. were praying to the real God without even knowing it, according to the theology Herbie told the despotic world leaders with whom he rubbed elbows. Of course, before he went over to meet them he told us that they were pagan, deceived, and their god was really Satan. Then when he came back he let us in on the secret that the god of these deceived despots was really God and not Satan. Of course he never explained this change to us.

Even more recently God "allowed" Herbert W. Armstrong to go terribly wrong in his leadership of God's true, real, sincere, one and only, bunch of special called-out ones. God allowed Herbie to get away with huge amounts of evil for 50 years. I seem to remember somewhere in the Bible about how getting away with evil hardens your heart.

Just exactly what did God ever not "allow"? If God would allow World War II and its multiple holocausts, what is so heinous that God would refuse to allow it? Which of these two choices is more heinous: (1) God "allowed" Hitler to cause the death of 40,000,000 people in World War II; or (2) God "allowed" the other western nations to force Germany, after World War I, to pay such horrendously high punitive damages that it underwent an astronomical inflation, the German people began to cry out for "a strong hand from somewhere" to save them, foreign investors, such as the father of U.S. President George H. W. Bush, secretly maneuvered Hitler in charge in order to make vast profits, and then the German people willingly voted Hitler in as both president and chancellor? "Allowing" something to happen is a lot like the butterfly effect in answered prayer; i.e., if you are omnipotent and you choose not to allow "X" to happen, then you are automatically allowing many other things, including the opposite of "X", to happen. So if you decide not to allow Hitler to cause 40,000,000 deaths, exactly how do you do that? Do you intervene to kill him? Do you intervene to cause some human to assassinate him? Do you intervene to cause George Bush's father not to put Hitler into the political leadership? Do you intervene by causing Hitler never to have been conceived in his mother's womb? How do you give humanity free moral agency, free will, and the ability to make choices without allowing them to do whatever they conceive of doing, no matter how evil? In other words, God allows everything.

(6) Playing the counseling game.

When I was first sucked into the mega-scam known as the Worldwide Church of God, I did what I was told, part of which was not to lean to my own understanding, get wise counsel, stand in line for 30 minutes after services to ask the local minister how to overcome my desire to masturbate, should I take a better-paying job (DUH!), etc. Then I moved to Pasadena to work in the Data Processing Center. After being there about 10 months I found myself engaged to be married. My fianc,e and I believed we should counsel with some minister about this big step, so we scheduled an hour with a preaching elder named Bill Rapp. He asked us both how old we were. I was 26 at the time and my fianc,e was 24. Rapp told us that in his opinion we were both old enough to know what we were doing. As soon as he said that, I immediately realized that if I didn't need to counsel at any great length on a subject so important as marriage that I sure as hell didn't need to counsel ever again about anything else. My self-esteem took a big boost that day thanks to Bill Rapp. And no more waiting in line. It was a lot of fun rapping with Rapp.

(7) More thoughts on mind rape, mass movements, and cults.

Herbert W. Armstrong and his sycophant minions committed a gang rape of my mind. Some of them did so knowing they were lying, thieving bastards, and some of them were sincere in their misguided beliefs, but they all eagerly took turns raping my mind.

First I was taught that everything I had learned in my first 22 years of life was wrong, to unlearn it all, and to start learning "the truth" for the first time in my life. So now black was not white anymore, black was really black. 30 years later I was told that I would have the rare privilege of unlearning all "the truth" I had learned for 30 years and could start relearning wrong teachings I had unlearned as well as trying to absorb all the newer "truth" from the same bunch of crackpot experts who had taught me all the wrong "truth" 30 years earlier. Black was no longer black, but had become white again. I felt like someone who is suddenly transported into the world of "1984" and reading Big Brother's slogans on the wall: "War is Peace", "Freedom is Slavery", and "Ignorance is Strength". I became dazed and confused, but I had enough sense to quit listening to the lying asshole crackpot experts and started thinking for myself.

I realized that I still did not know the truth, if there is such a thing as truth anywhere, but what I did know was that I was a gullible simpleton who could be convinced of literally any absurd concept. I tried for a while to learn all the new shit (OK, so maybe I should call it feces, dung, or manure instead, but shit seems much more accurate). Since I have a pretty high IQ, I became quite angry with myself for allowing myself to have been duped. I remembered Willard High's sermon in the late 1980s in which he "proved" to us in the Washington, DC church congregation that the Worldwide Church of God was not a cult. Then around 1995 the cult leaders were openly admitting we were a cult. I also saw for the first time that literally any idea can be proved from the Bible, and I also remember hearing Garner Stud say on the radio in the 1960s how wrong it was to claim that you could prove anything you wanted to from the Bible. I guess he wasn't quite so infallible after all.

Now I understand a lot more about the subtle techniques that were used and I'm not so angry any more about my gullibility and being brainwashed. At first I still thought of myself as special, but now I see that all humans are pretty much the same, meaning we are all gullible to some extent, none of us is special, and we can all be manipulated by others fairly easily.

I also see now that I had been psycho-trained to respond not as someone who thinks but rather as someone who feels. We were manipulated into becoming emotional slaves of Perbert's theology. We were told to prove all things, think for ourselves, research, check it out, etc. Then we were given scriptures taken out of context to prove the point, encouraged to "see the obvious", patiently worked with until we could see it, maybe even told to fast and pray over some particularly difficult scripture or teaching, and ultimately condemned and thrown out if we dared question the "truth" after all that study. An outside observer, however, who might use cogent, logical arguments to disagree with something we published would have his points taken seriously by the "experts" and "scholars" at Deadquarters who would research the matter and might even suggest to the old perverted jowl-shaker himself that something was wrong in the official teaching.

We drones were very much like the drugged slaves of the evil sorcerer in the movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Our minds had been drugged with thoughts of ultimately becoming God, of having all power over others, of being able to force others into being happy, and of becoming teachers over people who despised us now. Old Testament prophecies were dredged up by the bucketful at the Feast of Tabernacles to show us how the vast physical wealth of the whole world would be at our command in the wonderful world tomorrow, that we would be able to travel at the speed of thought (far faster than light), that we would someday understand all mysteries, and we could even find out the truth about who killed JFK. Man, this was heady, enticing stuff. I remember sitting on hard wooden chairs at the Feast, listening to these prophecies, and salivating so hard that I would have to get up, go out, and change my drool bucket several times in the middle of a sermon. (I exaggerate only slightly.) No sacrifice would be too great to reap the rewards these brainwashers promised us IF THESE PROMISES WERE REAL.

Sometimes people become cult followers because their leader knowingly and willfully manipulates and feeds lies to his followers. Other times it happens because the leader is just as misguided as the people whom he is unintentionally deceiving, the group evolves into worshipping the leader's personality, he responds naturally by controlling and manipulating them even more, the group gets into a vicious cycle, and they end up being a destructive cult.

What was the case with Herbert W. Armstrong? Did he get accidentally caught up in the Worldwide Church of God's evolution into mass hysteria or did he knowingly cause it all himself? There is much evidence in the Ambassador Reports and on the Painful Truth website that Herbert W. Armstrong knew what he was doing to us, that he deliberately chose a religious cult as the means by which he would scheme and fraudulently create for himself vast wealth, and that he strenuously resisted ever changing any of his teachings that would cause him to lose power or have to admit he was wrong. He excused this resistance to change by telling us that he would change anything whenever it was proved to him but until it was clearly proved he would "hold fast to that which was good" (meaning that which he had previously proved). He held this up to us as a virtue. We admired this great leader God had given to us who would hold fast to God's great revealed truths regardless of temptations to change and water down the "precious truths" we all believed in. He would hold onto these truths even if threatened with death.

I personally believe that most of the minister-minions who got sucked into Herbert W. Armstrong's cult and then gravitated towards high positions of oppressive authority over the dumb sheep members started out being sincerely interested in religion, obeying God, learning about God, etc. Perhaps the "unconverted" lawyer Stan Rader is the only one who was duplicitous enough to try from the beginning of his involvement with the cult to manipulate Herbert W. Armstrong into putting him in control over more and more of the cult, until finally Rader was placed high enough that he actually thought he could have it all whenever Herbert W. Armstrong died.

Whether the top minister-minions started out sincere or not, nevertheless they quickly began to absorb Herbert W. Armstrong's arrogance, high-handed approach, and his filthy temper. They were simply going along with the program, and, happily for them, time, chance, and the luck of the draw had put them in the right place at the right time to have wealth, pleasure, the good life, and rulership over a great number of drugged slaves. They were free, white, male, and over 21. Perfect candidates for being groomed for the ministry.

Here are some other historical examples of mass movements, destructive cults, etc.:

In 1692-1693, the whole town of Salem, Massachusetts got caught up in a mass hysteria believing that many young girls there were actually witches. A total of 20 people were executed for being witches before the town came to its senses. The witch hunt happened because the Old Testament prescribed a punishment of death for witchcraft, and the residents of Salem were Puritans who believed fervently in the Old Testament. These same people were those who had left England for the new world so they could find religious freedom. What they really found was the freedom for them to become the new religious tyrants.

In 1917 a very small number of radical intellectual freedom-seekers in Russia seized enough power in one city to overthrow the Tsar, then they overthrew the democratically elected government that replaced the Tsar, took all power, murdered the Tsar and all his immediate family, bought peace with their war-time enemy Germany by giving one third of the country away to Germany, and then began forcing the entire nation to be happy by giving them the only form of government that can really bring peace, prosperity, and freedom (frighteningly similar to what we were told we were to do as junior Gods in the wonderful world tomorrow). 73 years later this absurd Russian experiment in freedom through terror collapsed. Stalin sent tens of millions of productive fellow citizens to their deaths, either by having them immediately executed or by sending them to labor camps where they were worked or froze to death. Many people close to Stalin contributed to his sick reign of terror because they had power, others joined in because they thought it was the right thing to do, and most people who had no power had to go along in order to survive.

In the 1930s the whole nation of Germany, which many historians consider now to have been the most highly educated nation on earth by 1900, got caught up in a mass hysteria under their new leader who promised to lead them out of the financial misery they were in. Their new society, which would be perfect and rule all nations on earth, was going to last for 1,000 years (again frighteningly similar to what we were supposed to do as junior Gods in the wonderful world tomorrow). First Germany had to be purified by eliminating all inferior people, such as Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, criminals, Communists, and all the Slavic peoples in Europe. Just like in the USSR, many people close to Hitler joined in with his lust for power so they could wield power, others joined in because they sincerely believed Hitler's rhetoric, and many people at the bottom of the power structure acquiesced with the evil around them out of fear for their own safety.

Hitler and Stalin were clearly insane. Stalin was much worse than Hitler, since Hitler only killed people of certain ethnic groups, but Stalin was killing large numbers of all groups. Hitler wanted to purify Germany and the whole world racially. Stalin wanted political purity, which meant you had to obey and worship Stalin.

In the late 1940s Mao Tse-Tung came to power in China, and his political party rapidly evolved into a destructive cult with him at the apex. In the late 1960s the entire nation of China, which at that time had about one billion people in it, either became obsessed with purity of Mao thought or else went along with the national obsession through fear for their own survival.

In like manner, Herbert W. Armstrong's destructive cult evolved into another absurd experiment in gaining paradise through terror. Some saw an opportunity for gaining power and wealth, and helped perpetuate the tyranny for their own personal gain. Others sincerely believed Herbie's rantings and teachings, and thought it was the best way humans should live (like me). Others were unfortunately born into the cult (like all four of my children) and had no choice in the matter. Many of them undoubtedly went along with the cult program just to survive long enough in order to get out quietly.

It is my belief that any cult will in time, if left to itself, advance to a similar state of insanity. And if it is allowed to grow large and powerful enough, it will ultimately destroy an entire nation. Can you imagine the state of the world if we drones had actually been turned into junior Gods and given rulership over ten cities each with Herbie over us all? Who would want to be a human ruled by us?

(8) Used clothing, church libraries, and other humiliations.

After four months of spare time, I have finally finished reading the entire PT website, and am surprised that so far I have not seen any mention of used clothing. This was one of the ways we "showed love" for one another in local church congregations. Since we were all giving so much of our money to God's true anointed leader Pervert W. HARMstrong, we had little left over for the necessities of life, such as food, clothing, and shelter. One way to make up for this was to give our used clothes to other members whose need was greater than their pride.

I remember many times after Sabbath services were over that the used clothing person (whose appointment to this prestigious post was always announced with great fanfare) would disappear into the back room in the dingy old rented hall where we met, then a minute later he would reappear pushing a big clothes rack on wheels with all manner of suits, dresses, shirts, etc. on the rack. Then the neediest of all the members would line up to await their turn at being given someone else's outgrown, cast-off, secondhand clothes.

I never had need of used clothing myself, so I never thought much about it then. Now I have to believe the people who lined up to get their free clothes must have gone through some pretty intense humiliation to line up in public to get their welfare clothes. But that was OK, because humiliation helps promote spiritual growth. And those in charge who were closet Nazis sure did like to dish out the humiliation. It was all done to help us grow spiritually, of course. There could not have possibly been any other reason why they might have wanted to humiliate us.

Another really useful item that was wheeled out from a back room after services were over was the church library. This was a motley collection of various oddball books that gave corroborative proof of "God's truth". These books were typically in secondhand or even worse condition. Official cult publications were stored in the library, but most of the contents of the church "library" were books like "Foxe's Book of Martyrs", Hislop's "Two Babylons", Ralph Woodrow's "Babylon Mystery Religion", Abrahamson's "Body, Mind and Sugar", Immanuel Velikovsky's "Ages in Chaos" and "Worlds in Collision", "Why the world-famous scientist So-and-So believes in creation instead of evolution", and such like. You could also probably find well-researched works in there showing that Hitler was still alive, or that the Vatican was secretly conspiring with the Masons, Bilderbergers, Council on Foreign Relations, Rothschilds, Wall Street, Zionists, Illuminati, and Opus Dei. God was apparently calling the "weak of the world" and then nurturing their minds with trash like this to make them even weaker.

The halls we rented were pretty humiliating, too. I can remember many Sabbath services spent in various places rented from the Odd Fellows, American Legion, high schools, college auditoriums, and even movie theaters. I remember once in Greensboro, NC when our normal meeting place had been used the evening before (Friday night) by some rowdy drunks who held a big party. When we got there two hours before services began on Saturday to prepare and set up for services, some unlucky junior deacon wannabe had to clean up all the vomit still there from the previous night when someone had one too many beers.

(9) Prayer.

I remember the first time I ever prayed as one of Herbie's new mind slaves. I had been growing more and more guilty about not praying as I went to more and more church services, heard more sermons, read more literature, had more fellowship with members, etc. Finally I couldn't stand the guilt any more. I kneeled down and asked God to help me learn how to pray. That was all I could bring myself to do that very first time. Pretty soon I was praying every day in the morning before going to work just like a well-conditioned dog in Pavlov's laboratory.

What were we supposed to pray about? The success of God's "work", of course. That was very important to God. In fact God's work was more important than our own salvation. The top dogs in Pasadena told us what to pray about. We were supposed to pray that God would help us reach more people in Xxx, Yyy, and Zzz (fill in the names of every nation, province, city, ethnic group, etc., on earth). This first one alone could take 15 minutes. Then we were supposed to pray for the ministers in charge of the cult. There were hundreds of ministers, so pray about each one. Another 15 minutes at least. Also their wives. Another 15 minutes. The needs of the local congregation (just a few seconds on this one, since Deadquarters was so much more important than our grungy little congregation out in the field). And the incredibly important, world-shaking decisions ministers had to make. Like whether to buy eight or twelve 6-piece or 8-piece settings of goldware from Harrod's for Herbert W. Armstrong to entertain lavishly in his fifth mansion. Or whether to buy a private jet for every evangelist (there were dozens) or just the highest ranking two top dogs Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong. Or just how much of the tithe money should Garner Stud take with him to Las Vegas for his weekend of gambling and whoring. Should he grab one or two handfuls of cash? That was a really urgent need of "God's work". Maybe we should have fasted as well as prayed over that one.

How effective was all this? Since the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man was supposed to avail much, I guess I wasn't very effectual, fervent, or righteous. Practically everything I ever prayed about or for went all to shit. The whole cancer known as "God's work" fell apart. Those clowns are not reaching more people every year, they are reaching fewer and fewer. Yeahhhh! Maybe some actually righteous people somewhere are praying fervently for the termination of "God's work".

Maybe if we had all had really effective prayers for God's kingdom to come and the world to be made perfect under Christ's rule of justice, then God would have answered our prayers by letting the old pervert die even sooner that he did. Herbert W. Armstrong and all similar cultmasters are seriously impeding there ever being a perfect world.

Does prayer ever work? I sure as hell don't know. The most wonderful piece I've seen yet on the subject was on this website, where a woman wrote that she is finally free to pray if she wants to rather than being forced to. From my personal experience, I think a prayer is much more likely to be answered if it has absolutely nothing to do with the person doing the asking and is instead totally centered on someone else's benefit.

(10) God's Auditorium.

I was working at Deadquarters in 1974 when the great auditorium was completed. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the inaugural concert and a few weekly Sabbath services there before my job was declared redundant, I was sacked, and I moved away in August, 1974. About three years later I was back in the Los Angeles area on a two-week business trip. A good friend of mine named Fred, who also used to work at Deadquarters, told me he had two tickets to a mid-week performance of Oscar Brand in the auditorium. Fred had given up on the cult around 1975 and was already well on his way to becoming a real human being again. Fred and I went to this performance together and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. While there I noticed almost every seat had a plaque on the back of it telling who or what organization had donated money to the auditorium in return for getting its name on the plaque on the back of that very plush seat. I immediately wondered why we church members had not been made aware of the possibility of donating money and also getting our names on the back of a seat in "God's auditorium." I reasoned that a few of us members might have had enough extra money to be able to donate for this purpose. Upon leaving the hall, I noticed posters on display telling of all the various world-famous entertainers who were scheduled to appear in the auditorium that year. I also wondered why we church members had not been made aware of the artists' schedule in case some of us might also want to pay to attend some of the concerts. Most church members did not live in the greater Los Angeles area, and could not have easily attended any such concerts. But still there were several thousand members in the L.A./Pasadena area who might have been able to go.

Yes, indeed. Why weren't we told of these things? Can anyone who worked in the "management" of the auditorium shed some light on this vital question? I assume it was just more of Herbert W. Armstrong's typical anti-member arrogance. Since we were all dumb sheep drones, had no extra money with which to buy tickets or donate since he already had all our money, and since we were such cretins when it came to public entertainment that he had to tell us in a sermon when to applaud at a concert, it did not surprise me at all that Herbert W. Armstrong never saw fit to let any of the common rabble whom he was scamming have anything to do with the concerts in his precious auditorium. He let us go in there on Saturday to attend church services. But just barely. We were even told that if we had young nursing babies we should not sit in the main part of the auditorium but should rather sit downstairs in the extensive mothers' room area.

(11) Asking God's blessing on meals.

This little charade was both the best and the worst thing most of us men ever had to do. Our poor wives had to do all the work of preparing the food and cleaning up afterwards while we men surfed the TV channels looking for more prophecy being fulfilled on all the news programs. But when it was time for the meal to start, we men got to shine. All the attention was on us. We had our 15 seconds of fame. We also had to screw up our courage because asking God's blessing on the meal was a very scary thing. Finally it would be over, everyone else could say "Amen!", and then we could all start eating our well-deserved food. I say well-deserved because any man who made it through the life-threatening chore of asking God's blessing on the food surely deserved an extra share of whatever was being served.

If there were more than one adult male present, we would all quake in our boots secretly while waiting for the man of the house to utter the dreaded words "So-and-so, would you please ask the blessing on the meal this time?" Once the host had chosen to call on someone other than me, I was safe. Of course the best way to ensure this would happen would be either to avoid eye contact with the host or else to be in another room gathering the children to come to the table.

Some of us men really enjoyed this charade, since it gave us an opportunity to show everyone else how spiritual we were. We could drone on and on about this and that, and God please bless your work blah blah blah as well as this food blah blah blah and bless Mr. Armstrong blah blah blah, and everyone would know we had our hearts in the work.

Whenever we would hear someone else ask the blessing we could learn more about how to do it, too. We could either learn what not to do (like talk for more than one minute) or what to do (be sure to mention God's apostate, oops, I mean apostle Mr. HARMstrong). One thing I heard many others do, however, that I could never bring myself to do, was to ask God to "please remove the poisons" from the same food I had just asked Him to bless. All these evil poisons were being put into our food by the disgusting Satanic deceived food processing companies "out there in the world". The food we had to eat was evidently just slightly less evil and toxic than prescription drugs made from that damned monkey pus.

(12) The Worldwide Church of God reflected cultural values of the USA.

Since the Worldwide Church of God was ruled by an American charlatan, it is only natural that the peculiarly American cultural values he absorbed while growing up would be perpetuated in his religious scam and promulgated as "God's true values" to all the congregations around the world.

One of the things we Americans have to get over is the viciously pro-American arrogance we learn by growing up in America. One example of this is when an airplane crashes in some remote part of Asia or South America it is reported on by our American TV news journalists, who are increasingly turning into morons who can do no more than just barely read the material in front of them while staring into the TV camera. The news will be given that 250 people died in the airplane crash, none of whom was American. Once we listeners hear that, we all relax, because then we know that no real human beings had to die. Only non-Americans were killed, and they don't count. The same attitude was obvious whenever the Worldweird News magazine would print an article telling about the devastating earthquake, hurricane, avalanche, typhoon, explosion, or whatever it was that killed 500 people in East Podunk, Iowa, but fortunately no church members were injured. As soon as we heard that, we could relax, because once again we knew that no real human beings had been involved. Only non-church type people were killed, and they didn't count.

The great American way of doing business also permeated the way "God's work" did its business. [Please forgive me for smirking as I write this because of the double entendre of when a dog "does its business".] Some national cultures believe in slow growth, such as Swiss watchmakers who, when they unexpectedly get orders for twice as many watches, tell all their customers they'll have to wait twice as long to get the watches they want. Other cultures, like the USA, believe in instant gratification, so an American company that makes and sells widgets would instead hire hundreds of new employees to deal with the sudden influx of orders. Of course, as soon as the orders were filled and business got back to normal, all these new employees would be fired (laid off, sacked, pink-slipped, downsized, reengineered, given opportunities for personal growth, retrenched, made redundant, and other euphemisms). The great Work of the Living God was no different, since it was set up mostly by Americans who (1) had a great sense of urgency for "doing the work", (2) had no clue how to manage a large organization, and (3) had never studied the science of business management. One of the top "leaders" was Less McCullough, who was well-named since he was less capable of anything than almost all the other top morons. He gave one of his famous boring sermons once in which he told us that before being "called" he had been a vacuum cleaner salesman. What a great way to be trained to manage all the operations of an international church organization inside the whole Republic of South Africa, which he did for probably 20 years. Anyway, whenever there was more money available (translation: God was giving his work another shot in the arm) more employees would be hired; six months later as the income dropped many of those same employees would be fired. Church officials didn't even have enough brains to know they ought to have a savings account with several million dollars in it out of which daily expenses would be paid. This was in spite of telling us dumb sheep members we should have an emergency savings account as part of our own personal financial responsibility. After many years of piss-poor financial management, the Worldwide Church of God actually started getting its financial act together in the late 1960s. Unfortunately, about the same time that that happened, the looting of funds also began to escalate without limit. [Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lord Acton. Scamming tends to multiply, and absolute scamming increases exponentially. 1 book of Fairchild, chapter 3, verse 17]

Americans are filled with jingoistic, nationalistic, racist narcissism. We are convinced we have the best form of government on earth, and we have a national messiah complex about forcing the rest of the world to share in our wonderful discovery. The Worldwide Church of God was exactly the same way. We had the only real truth, the knowledge of how to live, the answer to all known problems, a message to warn the world of what was coming, etc. It's no wonder the cult picked up the messianic urge that permeates America.

Fundamentalism and paranoia also permeate the USA. Where else in the world is the entire nation so obsessed with space aliens, Armageddon, huge comets hitting the earth, Y2K doomsday scenarios, ghosts, helpful angels, everything occult, mysticism, pyramid power, magic crystals, etc.? All these things found their way into the mind set of many, if not most, church members. I remember going to the Feast of Tabernacles in Israel in 1982. After the feast was over, a small group of 30 of us went on a five-day tour of Egypt. We had about 20 minutes scheduled by the tour guides to show us the Great Pyramid. We had to wait for 30 or more minutes for one guy who had gone inside the burial chamber and just sat there meditating, because he had finally gotten to the place he had read about in God's inspired article showing how Job had built the Great Pyramid, and he didn't want to be rushed on to the next tourist site until he had fully experienced what it was like to sit in the very burial chamber where Job had been 4,000 years ago. It must be right, because Herman Hooey said so.

(13) Worldwide Church of God congregations in other countries reflected those other countries' cultures.

It's not to hard to see how your national culture would influence how you, as the top decision-making executive in country X, would think and want things to run. This is not necessarily bad. After all, I have been on three visits to Rome now, and whenever I have been there I have done as the Romans do. Whatever that means.

I attended the Feast of Tabernacles in England in 1976 at a nice little holiday camp on the shores of the Bristol Channel. We had a 5-month-old baby with us. I knew right away upon our arrival in England that many of their attitudes were different from my American attitudes. After flying all night long to get there, we rode on a bus from Heathrow Airport to downtown London to get to our hotel. Sitting right in front of us on the bus was a nasty-looking 50-year-old man who kept glowering at us whenever our little baby made any noise that the nasty guy didn't want to hear. It was then that I remembered the English/British concept of nannies. When you have a baby (if you can afford to do this) you immediately hire a nanny to take care of the little screaming brat for the first four or five years. Then you pack him off to boarding school until he grows up enough to behave like a proper Englishman. You certainly would NEVER take your young baby out anywhere in public, unless you were a stupid American or some other kind of uncultured barbarian. I remember thinking then about wanting to say to the glowering guy on the bus "Small children always are fussy, aren't they, sir? I'll wager that when you were this young you also made a lot of noise. Ah, 'tis a great pity that your mother didn't believe in abortion, for then you wouldn't have been a bother to her, nor would you be here now having to put up with all this noise, you shitty old bastard."

Finally we arrived at the Feast site in our hired motor car (see how much Brit-speak I have absorbed) and quickly learned that all those with very young children were supposed to sit in the outer darkness far away from all the proper English people. I saw how the English proclivity for hiding small children away had permeated the thinking of the church's congregations in England. There was a large central area where most of the congregation sat, and an adjoining room was reserved for the likes of us with our noise-making babies. Actually, this was a good thing, because it was a lot more comfortable in that side room.

The best thing that ever happened to me in 30 years of attending services happened in that side room. The room where we were made to sit was also used for serving lunch to all of us Feast-goers right after services were ended. There were sliding wooden windows that would be rolled up immediately after services were over, and we could step up to the window and obtain food and beverage. One day I remember hearing all sorts of little sounds coming from behind the closed, rolled down wooden windows. The scullions were sculling around the scullery and getting ready to serve us lunch as usual. I could hear glasses rattling, plates being handled, etc. Finally we stood up to sing the last hymn, then the closing prayer, and within one second after we all said "Amen!" the windows were all rolled up simultaneously with a thundering noise. I happened to be sitting on the very end of the row that day. As I was already standing for the prayer, I simply executed a militarily precise right face, walked about six paces, and ordered myself a pint of Guinness Extra Stout. Best Sabbath services I ever endured.

(14) Everything we did was "most important".

I remember reading a member letter Herbert W. Armstrong sent us a few years before he died in which he told us that we needed to dig a little deeper to support financially the summer camp in Orr, Minnesota for teen-agers because it was "the most important part of God's work". I distinctly remember that letter because I remember how I felt when I read those words. I thought to myself "Why, you deceitful, lying old man. How can this also be the most important part of God's work? How many different parts of the work can simultaneously be the most important part?" Since I had a college degree in mathematics (from a pagan, Satanic, worldly college), I knew how hard it was for two or more of anything to be the most important. Only one item can have the superlative form of an adjective or adverb applied to it at one time (I learned that in my perverted, Satanic, worldly high school English class). Whenever he would talk about his world tours he would remind us that meeting with world leaders was the most important part of God's work. But then wasn't the series of concerts in Ambassador Auditorium the most important part of God's work? And whatever else struck his fancy was "most important", too. How many times per year must you read a member letter with a new definition of "most important" before you realize you are being had? How many times per month? How many times per day did that which was most important have to be changed, rewritten, or redefined to suit the crisis of the moment? And it was all shouted out at his lackeys in his normal filthy temper.

The fat old perverted bastard used to emphasize how important everything he wrote was by grossly OVERUSING capital letters. I have learned that in email etiquette when someone writes a word in all upper case it is the same as if he is YELLING AT YOU. So you shouldn't write that way unless you really want to yell angrily at the reader. And if you are reading upper-cased words you should mentally yell those words at yourself. Since Herbvert used upper case so often, he might as well have been yelling at us. Which he did quite often in his sermons, by the way. What was that Bible verse about how a meek and quiet spirit were in the sight of God of great price?

Reading the silly things Herbvert wrote is like listening to Warner Wolf read the sports news on the Don Imus radio show. EVERY other WORD is EMPHASIZED!!! People pay Warner Wolf big bucks to talk like that on radio and television. At least he overemphasizes what he is reading in an amusing and entertaining manner rather than shout and pound the podium while preaching in a filthy temper. I can't stand to listen to Warner Wolf any more, because he reminds me too much of an evil old dead man who founded a cult that raped my mind, took almost all my money and my self-esteem, and who abused, manipulated, and yelled at everyone.

(15) Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, had much to say about rotten government. The government that Herbie the Pervie wielded over us was supposed to be "God's government". I will now offer a few choice quotes from the finest document Jefferson ever penned, to show what we should have done while the fat old bastard pervert was still alive.

"...all men are ...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...". As long as we gave Herbie all our money, he would leave us alone to be happy. We had all the liberty we needed in "the perfect law of liberty", which is mentioned by James in the New Testament, and we were taught that that meant whatever Herbert W. Armstrong said it meant.

"...to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...". Herbert W. Armstrong instituted his government over us and we went along with it. We consented to it, because we didn't know any better. We weren't allowed to know any better. Part of "God's government" was to keep us all ignorant of the alternatives through fear, intimidation, threats, shouting, etc.

"...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...". Herbie's rule of iron became destructive of these ends (right to pursue happiness, etc.). We are now altering and abolishing that filthy government here on the Painful Truth website, among other places. We have abolished the perverted, tyrannical government of Herbie's false God. How much better would it have been if we could have altered or abolished it while that old lying-ass dog was still alive?

"...Right of the People ... to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." So many revolutionaries have broken away from the Worldwide Church of God and instituted new governments, like Gerald Furry, David Whom, Rod of iron Merrydeath, and all their ilk. Too bad they created clones of the old evil government they rebelled from rather than a new government. The owner of the Worldwide Church of God has forced all his top dogs to sign a loyalty oath, and is attempting to force all his congregations to remain at least financially loyal while simultaneously and hypocritically proclaiming liberty throughout the land, a breath of fresh air is sweeping through the church, the old legalism of the past has been repented of, blah blah blah, among other deceptive statements.

"...mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." Boy, were we ever disposed to suffer. For some, evils became insufferable, and they committed suicide. Others left amid a hail of denunciation and condemnation, then tried to overcome their mental torment, loneliness, and guilt.

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism...". How long was the long train of abuses by which we were abused? Herbert W. Armstrong abused everyone with whom he ever came in contact. He abused his daughter through incest, his first wife through that same incest, his son Garner Stud by excommunicating him, his loyal followers by demanding more and more and MORE AND MORE money, and even his top dog minions by shouting at them and treating them like dirt. Were there ever any usurpations? This is a fancy word meaning someone gets away with wielding power to which he is not entitled. The whole cult scam was a gigantic power trip. Virtually everything the cult ever did was a usurpation. We were reduced under absolute despotism. The only recourse we had was to commit spiritual suicide, which was what the tyrants told us would happen to anyone who left the cult. Satan would sift us as wheat, life would get worse and worse, and finally God would do really horrible things to us.

"...it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..." We dumb sheep drones had an unalienable right endowed to us by our Creator, according to Jefferson, to overthrow the evil pervert, and we failed. The top minister minions who all knew the disgusting, shameful hypocrisy and criminal actions of Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, Rader, and the whole Board of Directors had a sacred duty to throw the filthy moneychangers out of the temple. We poor dumb sheep didn't really know what was going on. All we knew was that we were hurting. Those to whom much had been given (i.e., much knowledge of the real Herbert W. Armstrong), of them much more was expected. If Herbert W. Armstrong is consigned to burn in hell, so are those lazy cowards who aided and abetted him by silently going along with his criminality. This means virtually ALL the ministry for 20 or more years.

"...such has been the patient suffering of these Colonies...". We all suffered patiently under the "benevolent dictatorship" of Herbie's cult.

"The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States." Read the horror stories on the Painful Truth website to see the history of repeated injuries and how absolute was the tyranny imposed on us by God's faithful apostle Herbert the Pervert.

"He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries." Substitute "ministers" for "judges" and see if it works.

"He has ... sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." Did we ever have a swarm of ministers and ministerial assistants who subsisted on our tithes and offerings? Did our local ministers "encourage" us to help paint their houses, move their furniture, baby-sit their children, etc.?

"... cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world...". We were cautioned against having anything to do with the world, to come out of the world, and not to learn the ways of those around us (like all those evil people in western democracies who actually believe in liberty).

"... imposing Taxes on us without our Consent...". First tithe, second tithe, tithe of the second tithe, third tithe, Holy Day offerings, building fund, SEP donations, frequent member letters requesting special sacrifices in the form of ever more $$$, encouragement to borrow money to "lend" to the church, put the church in our wills, ask our employers to match our donations, etc.

"...depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury...". Trial, judgment, and execution was by ministerial fiat, often without the benefit of being able to face one's accusers.

"...abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government...". How arbitrary was God's government as practiced by King Herbert the First? Just look at the flip-flops over makeup for one example.

"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury." Many church members over the decades humbly petitioned for redress from oppression, only to be ignored, lied to, then thrown out, humiliated in public, labeled Satanic heretics, vilely defamed, and sued.

"A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people." We were supposed to have been made free by the truth. In reality we were made slaves by lies. Herbert W. Armstrong was manifestly unfit even to clean out the outhouse, as his mindless minion Gerald Watercloset used to say about certain world leaders.

"We, therefore, ...appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do ... solemnly publish and declare, ...of Right ought to be Free and Independent...; ...absolved from all Allegiance ...; ... as Free and Independent ... have full Power ...to do all other Acts and Things which Independent ... may of right do."

Finally the painful truth has made me free. Now I really do live by the perfect law of liberty, which is the golden rule and not the 666 commandments of HARMstrong that evinced a design to reduce me under absolute despotism.

Don't you just love Jefferson? I sure do.

(16) Downsize yourself.

I have worked for many employers over the years and have been retrenched, let go, laid off, made redundant, sacked, terminated, re-engineered, or downsized a few times. Whenever I hear an employer tell all its employees about the current budget crisis, sales slump, hard times, or whatever that is causing some employees to have an opportunity for personal growth, I always wonder to myself when will a manager ever have the balls to terminate himself? I wondered this a lot during the four and one-half years that I was an employee at the Worldwide Church of God headquarters data processing center, since they were continually having financial crises due to the pathetic mismanagement, fraud, and theft of funds. So far, I have never seen anyone retrench himself. I'm sure a few managers have done this somewhere some time, but it is always so much easier to let shit flow downhill and whack somebody else.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if we could ever hear that one of the Gang of Four had decided to save "the Work" $100,000 or so per year and was giving up his own job? Even if he didn't give up his job, how about just sacrificing and donating 25% of his salary for a whole year, as all the rest of us were always being not asked but told to do? Did someone force all the top dog minister-minions of Herbert W. Armstrong to remain obscenely wealthy while the rest of us dumb sheep had to sacrifice year after year?

Employees used to be deceitfully told by their employers, or the subtle vibes were there for them to absorb, that employees were expected to be loyal to the employer. That's actually not a bad idea. Within limits. But beginning in the late 1980s or early 1990s most employees began to catch on to what was going on in American industry, which was to treat all employees as disposable assets in the insane and insatiable quest for greater profits. From now on whenever an employee hears talk of loyalty, he should ask if his employer also intends to be loyal to him, and, if so, exactly what that means. I will be very happy to sign a loyalty oath to my employer as soon as he signs one vowing loyalty to me.

If a manager were truly loyal to those whom he manages, he would at least consider the possibility of laying himself off in order to save his employees the suffering of being out of a job. The fact that we never hear of this happening must mean that not very managers ever even consider it.

(17) The game of "planning."

When I was a church member in North Carolina, I would hear the local pastor read the news of the work to us every Sabbath. There was usually a sentence or two telling everyone of the percent increase in income and "white mail". Income was easy to understand, but the meaning of "white mail" was not intuitively obvious to me. After a while in my new-found church my self-esteem had recovered enough to where I could ask the pastor what white mail was, and I found out that that phrase was used by the managers in Pasadena to describe letters from new radio listeners or other people who had never come into contact with the church before. When someone had corresponded with HQ a while and had donated at least twice, thus unwittingly volunteering himself to be considered a co-worker, colored envelopes would be sent to him to use in sending in donations. Envelopes were color-coded or had some numeric code on them so that members could be differentiated from co-workers and easily sorted by machine. Anyway, white mail was how the Mail Processing Center could quickly tabulate all mail and tell if we were reaching more new people than ever before.

Even before I moved to Pasadena I had grown skeptical about all the statistics emanating from HQ, because someone in Pasadena kept trying to compare the income to date for the month of September with the income to date for the month of September one year earlier, and there were always reasons why anyone could see that the two numbers could not be compared. E.g., the previous year's September had three Holy Days in it, each of which dumped a huge extra amount of income into the work, whereas this year's September had no Holy Days in it. There was almost never any part of the year that could safely be compared with the same part of the previous year. And the people who prepared these statistics for Herbert W. Armstrong never could understand the obvious impossibility of what they were trying to do. Or maybe they did but Herbert W. Armstrong insisted on having the statistics prepared the way he wanted. Since I had a college degree in math, had studied statistics, and still had the use of my common sense, it seemed pretty obvious to me that a much better way was to use a 12-month moving average.

Then I moved to Pasadena to work at the headquarters data processing center. After a while I became good friends with a man named Fred who specialized in direct mail and marketing analysis. He knew all about statistics, how to measure the effectiveness of marketing approaches, how to get better results, etc. In short, how to manage a business based on real, workable techniques instead of by using faith. Before moving to Pasadena as a married student, he had been a college professor. He was never ordained and never became corrupt, even though he was allowed into the planning group at the highest levels of management in Pasadena. I have maintained contact with Fred over the years, and got some input from him in writing this anecdote. Fred wants the truth to be told, but he is too honest to think he knows it all. He would prefer to get together with the others who were involved way back then in some kind of retreat (if I were involved I would want to lubricate our memories with Scotch or bourbon) to try to get the history correct. Fred knows that things went wrong, feels that the power could probably have corrupted any of us, and believes that the men who did wield the power did not start out as evil, because most of them did not have the intelligence to be diabolical.

Fred told me of one budgetary planning meeting he attended where the income and expenses for the whole church and all its operations for the next year were being discussed. Someone wrote two numbers on a board in front of the room, the number on top being the projected income and the number on the bottom being the anticipated expenses. The others in the room were lamenting that the expenses were too high and the income was too low, so what could they do? What part of God's great work would have to be cut back and suffer so that the more important parts could go forward? Fred, waxing bold, offered to help solve the crisis. He went up to the front of the room, erased the income number on top, and wrote a much bigger number for the expected income. The others in the room were aghast. "Where did you get that much bigger income number?" they angrily asked. Fred said "The same place you got your original income number from. I just made it up. Exactly where did you get the first number you had? If you are simply going to make numbers up, I thought we might as well make one up that gives us the results we all want." Then he sat down to receive his denunciation for not being a part of the program, not knowing how God works, not having faith, etc.

Fred even went so far as to suggest and start working on a five-year plan for operating the Church and its various programs. All the departments were to be put into one big business model, with a lot of help from the large computer that was then at HQ. Fred's novel ideas at management planning were generating a lot of euphoria among young gifted employees. At that time Fred was in the Data Processing department, managed by Keith Hunter, who in turn reported to Al Portune, Sr., who in turn reported to David Jon Hill. Fred and two other whiz kids in Data Processing did a lot of breakthrough stuff for several years. One of these whiz kids was Gary Reid, one of the founding fathers of the Ambassador Report. The other one was Robin Connelly, with whom I was a roommate for much of 1970. The whiz kids gave their results and recommendations to Keith, who knew the politics involved. Keith would meet with the evangelists who needed the information while keeping them away from Fred and the others who actually did the work and had the ideas. That way the evangelists would not automatically reject the good advice, which they viewed as coming from one of their own, since Keith was married into the Herbert W. Armstrong family somehow (can't remember exactly how now). When Hill learned of Fred's excellent ideas, he created a new department called Marketing Information Services and named Fred to manage it. There remained a close connection to Data Processing, as Gary Reid and Robin Connelly remained in Data Processing and the computer was needed to crank the results, but the political heat was removed from Data Processing and placed squarely on Fred's new department. Hill knew the ideas were too good not to try, but he also understood that politically they would very likely be rejected, so he wanted to protect the computer center from destruction.

Some time around 1972 or 1973, a high-level manager from some successful enterprise who knew all about how to run a big organization was brought in to Headquarters as a management consultant to help organize things better. This man, whose name I cannot now remember, was tossed aside later when the attempt at scientific planning was overthrown by those higher up who knew that faith based on guesses, hunches, and intuition was more righteous than science and math.

My good friend Fred has emailed me four management planning anecdotes, not always in time sequence, which he vouches for as true. Here is Fred's input in his own words:

(a) When I was a freshman gardener (my humbling year from college professor to azaleas) the guy in charge of the Letter Answering Department complained at a Friday night Bible Study that he never knew the volume of mail he was going to get and couldn't predict the number of students he needed to answer mail.

I got the past three years' monthly data and ran some moving averages on it and left the figures he would have for the next year on his desk. (It would have been presumptuous to go over my gardener boss's head and request that I be allowed to speak to such an august person from on high with the idea that I might have something he could use.)

Years later he asked me, "Was that you? I didn't know you and I didn't know how you got the figures, but I kept the memo and was shocked at how accurate they were and how you knew the numbers in advance."

Later my team, using regression analysis, moving averages, and other statistical techniques, was successfully predicting income within 2%, 6 months in advance. We were actually able to project the time it took for a new subscriber to become a coworker and then a tither. This allowed us to know a lot about our database and future income.

For instance, less than 50 people were donating one half of the income. I never got management to take them off the list and treat them delicately. I know of more than one whose business was ruined by some new 20-something minister we sent out who thought God gave him the wisdom to run a member's business.

I kept saying they were so important to us that we should start a businessman's Worldwide Church of God group and have meetings with them and important international consultants at one of our retreats, so that we could support them in their growth. (And order the local minister to leave them alone.)

(b) As for planning, whenever management (I use the term as nomenclature for those in control, not in the operative sense) would save money by cutting advertising expenditures (causing a drop in new subscribers) or move to a "tougher renewal" policy (which hurt renewal numbers), or decide to put some "real meat" into the Plain Truth (which always produced mass cancellations as the magazine immediately became something we did not advertise it to be), I would get yelled at for the predictions were not what they wanted to hear.

As I could trace forward the effect on the gross income their decisions made, it seemed to terrify those who wanted to believe whatever God inspired to be "true" was true, regardless.

If they had ever bothered to ask, we could have told them fairly accurately the effect a decision would have, before they made it, but of course that would have affected the total inspiration climate they enjoyed.

We always dreaded a constipated evangelist for he might spend more time on the throne and think of new stuff to screw up the progress. Or if he called to have us do some study, the results were used, only if it fit what he had been inspired to do (and ignored if it didn't). I was sophisticated in technology but na

We must remember, I think, that these were men who had power and enjoyed the execution of it and the only way they knew they were viable was to change things constantly. You will see the same syndrome at work in Washington, DC constant new laws with no idea of whom it will impact or what other areas of American life it would screw up.

(c) Never forget my first top level meeting, Meredith had asked me for some help in organizing some data he was going to use to back up a policy decision he wanted changed.

The same week Keith Hunter had asked me to put together some data which he was preparing for Al Portune to be used in a meeting. (Officially, at the time, I reported to Keith who reported to Portune.) I never realized that it was the same meeting until about 9:00 the night before when Meredith called me and asked me to come to a meeting he was having with Portune to explain how my calculations backed up Meredith's point of view. He flattered me by saying that I understood them better than he. I had never been in a meeting with evangelists Keith always went.

That means that Portune's Fred data would have been countered with Meredith's Fred data. I think we call that a hot seat. It was an introduction to politics that a pure researcher should never have to face. Statistics were used to buttress a point of view, and usually used out of context.

One time in reading a report I had produced (they generally referred to my correlations as percentages which I gave up trying to change) one of the top financial people, Frank Brown, noted that wherever we were high in PT zip code penetration that the presence of black people in that zip code was low. He asked me what that meant and I ironically said straightforwardly, that it implied that if we could avoid black people that PT subscriptions would rise.

He went on to discuss the validity of the idea of racial separation and purity. I was aghast at what I had done while assuming that the others would recognize my statement as a joke, but I did begin to realize the power I had to manipulate in that environment of idiots.

Years later I remember the trumpet of "Who does he think he is" and "We are not going to run this work with statistics".

I recall a memo I sent that compared the law of statistics to gravity and suggested that all I ever did was participate in the learning of one of God's laws that He had set up. The Stability of Mass Data and the Central Limits Theorem wasn't mine -I did nothing but report that gravity worked.

I suggested to the Armstrongs that they were like Elijah praying for rain. It was Elijah who wanted to end the drought, for he had determined that a change was in the best interest of Israel. The decision to ask for a change did not depend on statistics. The seeking of a policy change was his.

I referred to the small boy Elijah sent to the top of the hill and asked to report on what he saw. He said I see nothing. Elijah didn't get pissed at the kid, claiming he lacked vision and trust in the voracity of the God's selected and ordained leadership. Elijah just prayed some more and the boy then reported, I see a small cloud the size of a mans hand. That was statistical feedback it did not change policy -it was not running the work.

My department was finally closed down by Frank Brown.

(d) The computer was no more than a power base to effect change and we used it ruthlessly.

When Jon Hill made his ascendancy and he got Keith from Portune, he also called me in and said he was not going to send me out into the field (a shocker for that is why I came to A.C.), that he needed me here and just to be patient.

I was then transferred to Keith from Mail Processing, where I had been doing, among other things, selecting the readers' comments to be published in the Plain Truth. I received many accolades on how much better the letters to the Editor were after I took over of course, I rewrote them. A marketing man with no shame. (Aside one of my favorites which I got in trouble for sending on to Herbert W. Armstrong he had to approve them was "Please cancel my PT my canary died."

-end of Fred's input.

Herbert W. Armstrong liked faith best. He would just spend as if there were no tomorrow. Then when tomorrow came and the mailman brought the bill, he would write another desperate member letter to suck even more sacrifices out of us all and bail his religion business out of another stupid mistake.

Hey, whatever works.

Here is one last comment from Fred: "I think we prove our superiority as humans when we admit we were wrong and change (wasn't that what we called repentance?) and contrast that with a Meredith who continues to belch fire while holding onto the past."

(18) The garbage jeep.

I attended the Feast of Tabernacles at Jekyll Island, Georgia from 1966 to 1969. One of those years I heard an announcement asking for volunteers to collect the garbage at the main camp site every morning. Since I was a young, hard-charging, go-getter true believer, I decided to volunteer. The next morning I showed up at 5:00 A.M. ready to help collect the garbage. I was 23 or 24 years old, and all the other volunteers were much younger than I. The man in charge of organizing us volunteers said someone would need to drive the jeep that pulled all the wagons onto which the full garbage cans would be loaded. I had never driven a jeep before, but I took one look at those heavy cans filled with nasty, stinking garbage and decided that I could learn to drive a jeep in no more than five seconds if need be. Since I had driven a VW quite a bit, I was accustomed to using a standard shift transmission, which is what jeeps have. I raised my hand to volunteer to drive as I looked around at the rest of the volunteers, saw no one else raise his hand, so the cushiest job of all in the garbage crew was mine.

I learned a valuable lesson that day in how quickly we can learn new things.

(19) Waiting for "god" to return.

Somewhere on this website is the story of the five gorillas who were trained in a laboratory experiment to respond to electric shocks whenever one of them touched a banana, one of their favorite foods, that was put in a certain place in their cage. Whenever any gorilla would touch the banana, all the gorillas would get a shock. Then one by one all the gorillas were replaced with new gorillas who had never received the initial shocks to train them to ignore the succulent banana. Each time a shock-trained gorilla was replaced with a new one, the other four would physically prevent the new one from touching the banana because they knew they would be shocked if the new gorilla touched the banana. Finally all five gorillas were ones who had never received any shocks but rather had been trained by the others in the group to ignore the food item. This shows that new members can enter a society and be trained by the society around them into doing very stupid things because group tradition is so strong.

Similarly, there have been many human cultures where all the people have been trained to expect a divine savior to "return" to them some day. The first such example of this was when Cortes invaded central Mexico in the 1530s. The local Aztecs had been taught that someday god would arrive in their land and he would have white skin. So naturally many of them thought that Cortes and his followers were all gods, which helps to explain why about 200 Spaniards could so easily conquer the entire nation of Aztecs, which was hundreds of thousands if not millions of people.

Another case is in the novel "The Man Who Would Be King" by Rudyard Kipling. It was made into an excellent movie in 1975 starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, and Saeed Jaffrey. In this story two plucky British army buddies go exploring into some hitherto inaccessible area near India where primitive mountain people think one of the two men is god, because he is wearing a certain ornament around his neck that looks like what Alexander the Great left behind when he passed through the same area 2,200 years earlier. In fact, they think he is the reincarnated and now immortal Alexander. Their god had finally returned as he had promised millennia earlier.

Then there are the cargo cults in New Guinea created during World War II. Allied planes would fly over certain isolated areas inhabited by primitive people and unload cargo for ground troops to use in the war effort. The natives saw the planes land, unload vast quantities of goodies, then fly away into the sky. Surely the planes must be gods! So there are now areas in New Guinea where natives burn sacrifices to the gods that bring precious cargo at unexpected times. They gaze up into the sky waiting for god to return with more cargo. I first learned of this true phenomenon in the movie "Mondo Cane" (I think).

In each case the original event which was later thought to be the appearance of a god was definitely not a god. But the people wanted the event to recur so badly that over time it evolved into a religion with a god. Then more time passed and everyone forgot the details of the original event. So everyone was trained from birth in these cultures to expect the return of their "god".

The original apostles started doing this, too, according to the book of Acts. Two men in white apparel asked them why they were steadfastly gazing up into heaven right after a cloud received Jesus out of their sight. If this question hadn't been asked, I suppose all Christian churches today would believe we should all stand around gazing up into the sky just like the cargo cult people.

I can still vividly recall Garner Stud Hamstrung's voice on the radio in the late 1960s, when I listened to him every night so religiously, as he talked about why people don't go to heaven after they die. Why should God take souls finally made perfect away from earth, where all the problems are, and make them live in heaven where everything is perfect and there are no problems? This made a lot of sense all by itself. He repeated the same emotional idea in his "America, Listen!" campaigns in the early 1970s. It never occurred to me to ask our local ministerial minion the following question: If what Garner Stud says is true, why then does the Bible tell us to "seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God; set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."?

(20) Another possible source for Herbert W. Armstrong's plagiarism

Considerable effort has been spent trying to determine the source(s) for Herbert W. Armstrong's various doctrines. We don't know what books he allegedly studied during the six month period in which he claimed to be studying night and day in order to prove his wife Loma wrong on the subject of keeping the Sabbath. What is remarkable is that in only six months he could become the world's greatest authority on anything. He wrote in his autobiography that he read books on evolution during this period as well as books on the subject of the Sabbath. It may even be that he read "The Kingdom of God Is Within You" by Leo Tolstoy then, too, since it was available in English ever since 1894.

Count Leo Tolstoy was one of the most famous novelists in the entire world in the late 19th century. He wrote "Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace", to name the two novels that are probably his most famous. He also evolved into a writer of essays on fundamental Christianity. In 1893 he published a book entitled "The Kingdom of God Is Within You". It was immediately suppressed by the Russian Orthodox Church and was forbidden to be read anywhere within Russia by the Tsar. An interesting irony is that Russian Orthodox Church seminary students were encouraged to read and discuss all the books that proved Tolstoy wrong, but they were forbidden to read Tolstoy's original work. All Tolstoy did was to read the New Testament and believe Jesus meant what He said. Today we would say he had accepted the literal interpretation of scripture. E.g., when Jesus gave the sermon on the mount and told the throng not to resist evil but to turn the other cheek, Tolstoy believed this teaching literally as the highest morality to which mankind could aspire.

Tolstoy developed this theme of non-resistance to evil into the following: a true Christian could not kill another human being, could not serve in the military and be made to kill other people, could not obey any government policy that was based on force, could not vote, could not serve on juries, could not pay taxes, and could not avail himself of any government services because those services were paid for by forcing other citizens to pay taxes. He wrote that Christians ought to obey God rather than man, that they should humbly refuse to obey human laws that were at variance with God's clear commands, and that, if required, a Christian should submit to the government's punishment for peacefully refusing to obey. This is surprisingly similar to what Herbert W. Armstrong came up with in his teachings. Tolstoy even went so far as to write that a true Christian could not profess loyalty to any human government or nation. He also showed how all major Christian churches were deliberately distorting Christ's teachings in order to maintain their position of authority over people. No wonder his book was suppressed in his own country of Russia.

Tolstoy was much more influential than Herbert W. Armstrong ever dreamed of being. He was a world-famous novelist. His forbidden book on true Christian morality was published all over the world in many languages, and Mohandas K. Gandhi read a copy of it in 1894 in South Africa. By 1906 Gandhi was in jail for his political actions, reread the book, and decided that Tolstoy had proven to him the moral validity and effectiveness of using non-violent means of protesting politically oppressive policies. He began corresponding with Tolstoy. The very last lengthy letter that Tolstoy ever wrote was to Gandhi. Tolstoy did not go to jail as did Gandhi. He was too popular and wealthy. But he continued writing essays on Christian topics in his last few years.

When Tolstoy began researching his idea of taking Christ's sermon on the mount literally, he learned of several other authors who had written or taught the same. He read everything he could get on the subject, some of which came from obscure American religious leaders and some from a Czech writer of three centuries earlier. The impact Tolstoy's book should have had on the world would be similar today if someone like Stephen King, James Michener, or Tom Clancy were to get religion and start publishing books on morality. Tolstoy's book was devastating to all human governments and to all organized Churchianity since almost all organized churches support the human political governments over them and vice versa. E.g., when the government conscripts a new soldier and tells him to go war and kill people, the churches all say "Go right ahead and kill people, since Christ says it's OK." Churches have been in league with politicians for millennia. Tolstoy was threatening not only the Russian Orthodox Church's hold over Christians in Russia but also the Tsar's ability to raise an army to beat back foreign armies or to help expand Russian power.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean another brilliant and radical thinker was writing essays proving the exact same conclusions but for profoundly different reasons. In Massachusetts in the early 19th century a young lawyer named Lysander Spooner had become obsessed with the idea of human liberty, was reading the USA's constitution and actually assuming the words meant literally what they said, and was acting on his ideas. He saw that the US government was constitutionally required to provide a mail service, but that the constitution nowhere gave the government a monopoly over mail service. He therefore started his own private mail service, became instantly quite successful at it, and also began to have to fight off many legal problems brought upon him by the government. He finally had to abandon his immensely profitable business because of the constant lawsuits. He wrote of the horror of slavery and promoted freedom for all people. He praised the radical actions of John Brown, who had started an armed insurrection against the US government over the issue of slavery. Spooner was extremely radical in his thinking about human liberty, to the point of being an anarchist.

Whenever most people hear the word "anarchy", they immediately assume it's a bad thing. They correlate anarchy with chaos, mobs running wild in the streets, people killing and robbing each other with no restraint, etc. The word anarchy does not mean this at all. It simply means without government. In current philosophical literature, anarchism means not having an oppressive state (national government) ruling over you. Humans left to themselves without any government controls at all will almost certainly degenerate into such chaos. Spooner did not go that far. He believed that government was necessary, but that the government itself would become evil and oppressive unless it was firmly held in check by the citizens belonging to that government. People were to agree among themselves that a certain law should be enforced over them all and for the good of them all. As long as all the people being affected by that law were in agreement with the law and its enforcement, this was viewed as a good and desirable law and the government could legitimately enforce that one law. Citizens would elect representatives, perhaps, who would then create laws to be enforced over everyone, but the citizens at the bottom level of government still held ultimate power over their own government through the right to a trial by a jury of one's peers. No matter how oppressive the government might become, individuals could still live under liberty if they were continually being found innocent of violating laws which were viewed as oppressive by the common people.

Spooner took his thinking to its logical extreme, and concluded that he personally could never serve on a jury, run for office, or have anything at all to do with the government in the USA or Massachusetts because both had so perverted the original and obviously clear meaning of what was written in the US Constitution.

So Lysander Spooner, the American anarchist theoretician, and Leo Tolstoy, the wealthy Russian nobleman who became a novelist and then a religious teacher, both concluded that the most moral way to live was to avoid all entanglements with any human government. One based his research on the US Constitution, and the other based his research on Christ's sermon on the mount. Each started with a different written document, and both came to the same conclusion. And both used the novel approach of assuming that the documents they were reading were written with words that meant what they said. A very interesting coincidence.

Since Herbert W. Armstrong came to the same conclusion as Tolstoy, it can reasonably be said that Herbert W. Armstrong espoused non-resistance to evil. Since he also came to the same conclusion as Spooner, it can reasonably be said that Herbert W. Armstrong also espoused libertarianism if not anarchism.

I am still reading through Tolstoy's works. I haven't gone over the edge yet as he and Gandhi did. Tolstoy's logic starts out assuming the New Testament is an authentic source for knowing what God wants us to do. There is much reason to dispute this assumption. I am still reading, learning, and thinking. But I thought it was an interesting coincidence that Tolstoy taught exactly the same things about human politics that Herbert W. Armstrong did, albeit about 40 years earlier. This is also one more example of how God did not suddenly reveal any new truth to Herbert W. Armstrong.

If the New Testament is indeed inspired, authentic, and binding on us, then all modern large Christian church organizations are obvious frauds. If the New Testament is not inspired, authentic, and binding on us all, then all modern large Christian church organizations are completely irrelevant. Which is it to be? Churches are either fraudulent or irrelevant. And some, like the Worldwide Church of God, are both.

(21) Where I am now.

I have finally finished reading everything on the Painful Truth website. I have written up comments and anecdotes as I made my way methodically through the information as certain memories came into my mind.

This part of my posting must be inspired, since it is number 21, 21 is equal to 3 times 7, 3 is God's number of finality, 7 is God's sacred number of completion, so this article is my completely final one. Unless I think of something else to write. After all, if God is not finished writing the Book of Acts then why should I finish submitting posts to the Internet? And more will be posted to the PT site next week for me to read.

I have learned much about myself through 30 years in the Worldwide Church of God and now five years after leaving the Worldwide Church of God and living "in the bonds of Satan", without hope, and just marking time until I get tossed into the Lake of Fire. Yeah, right.

I now know how gullible I am. It is humiliating to know this. I want to be strong, perfect, immortal, with no weaknesses, but I am not. I believe what other people say. When someone else tells me he will do X, I believe him, trust he will do it, and expect it to happen. Only after I see him fail time after time to keep his promises will I start automatically and cynically disbelieving him. I am optimistic about individuals, but pessimistic and cynical about humanity as a whole. People are good, but people also suck.

I have tried twice in my adult professional career to make a go of it as an independent consultant and/or an entrepreneur. I now understand that I do not have the necessary skills (DNA). In order to be a successful businessman, one has to be a salesman. I cannot sell anything. I take no for an answer. I refuse to lie. I am doomed to failure in marketing, sales, or anything else related to business. I will have to be content with life as a salaried employee for a few more years until I am old enough to retire. That's OK, because my salary is sufficiently large. I could earn a lot more money if I were a lying, cheating, thief, but then I wouldn't like myself anymore. I could earn a lot more money if I were a corporate executive, but that will never happen. I refuse to jump on the envy bandwagon.

I like simple, easy answers. I want to be able to read only one book and have all life's mysteries explained. If there is ever anything mysterious happening, it must be demons doing it. That explains hypnosis, UFOs, space aliens, dreams, evil, and so many other things. Herbie gave me all the answers. All I had to do was believe him. Herbie was an incompetent and incorrect asshole.

Even though I still want to believe what individual people tell me privately, I now distrust God. God called me out of this world, put me into His true Church, commissioned me into His army to help do His Work, warn the world, make disciples out of all nations, gave me an inspired ministry to direct my life, etc. The Church was supposed to be the spiritual mother of us all. Instead the Church was an angry, incestuous, drunken old lecher that raped my mind and took most of my money. If God did this to me on purpose, then He is a monster. If He didn't do it, then everything connected with the Worldwide Church of God is a total fraud. Which is it? In either case, the only rational response is never again to have anything to do with God or churches.

I like secret information. I like to learn occult things that are hidden from most people, like the "fact" that Job built the Great Pyramid, the USA is Manasseh, the UK is Ephraim, and all that cool stuff.

I read through the whole Bible five times in English. In 1992 I bought an interlinear, bilingual Bible (Spanish and English) at the Ambassador College bookstore in Pasadena and started reading the Bible yet a sixth time, only this time in Spanish. I didn't learn any more about the Bible that last time, but I sure did learn a lot of Spanish. I also started trying to read through the Bible in Russian, but only got as far as the end of Genesis chapter one. Russian is a lot harder than Spanish.

I used to have a pretty big library of Bible helps. I had the whole three-volume set of Clarke's commentaries, and started reading through that. My former brother-in-law gave me a complete set of Soncino's commentaries on the Old Testament, and I started reading through that. I gave up on Soncino after a few chapters in Genesis, because almost all of the comments were absurd and obvious fables handed down from a long, ancient line of Rabbis. And I even had one minister who claimed Soncino was the best. Sweet fucking Jesus! What a load of shit. Soncino is total rubbish. But it makes you appear erudite and scholarly if you quote from it. Just as when you describe the emperor's new clothes.

My mind prefers to work in the binary mode. That means there are only two possible values for any variable. The answer is either true or false. The digital bit in the computer memory is either one or zero. The current is either flowing through the circuit or it is not. This is why I am a computer programmer, and have been one since 1965. I accidentally found myself in a career that exactly matches my inner nature. A computer always works correctly, instantly, and predictably. I like all my answers to be either true or false, and I like to get my answers immediately. When I started out as a programmer trainee in 1965, it took almost two full years before I came to accept that it was always going to be my mistake whenever my computer programs would not work correctly. In 36 years of dealing with computers, it has always been my fault. I have never yet seen any computer malfunction while running my programs. How can this be, since computers are made by humans and all humans make mistakes? The reason it is true is that there are 20,000 people working for the computer manufacturer, all of whom are at least as smart as I, and they have thoroughly tested the computer before I get my hands on it. I know theoretically that there are still mistakes lurking in the computer, but if I set my mind to finding one of them it would probably take me 500 years before I could find the first one.

People do not work like computers. People do not respond correctly, instantly, and predictably. People suck. Computers are cool. I am a people. Therefore I suck, too, at least in some others' opinion. I can accept that.

I have tried being a manager twice in my career. I am not genetically capable of managing others. I am a programmer, an individual contributor, a grunt, a worker at the lowest level of the food chain, a drone, a dumb sheep. I will never be an apostle with 100,000 people fawning over me, looking to me for guidance, paying me 25% of their income. I will never be a successful entrepreneur, leader, or politician. I also don't want to be a leader or politician.

I can live with the shame. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. Since I am so gullible and I know it, I have learned to refrain from reading cleverly worded and enticing ads. I avoid salesmen the way recovering alcoholics have to avoid being around alcohol. Whenever I get an unsolicited phone call from a telemarketer, I hang up immediately. If I get junk mail telling me about such and such a wonderful deal for which I am already pre-qualified, I write on the form "Please pre-cancel" and send it back.

I have an intelligence level that puts me in the top one percent. I tend to be intolerant of others who are less gifted. Then I remember that if there are six billion people alive now and I am in the top one percent, then there are 60 million others who are at least as smart as I am. That makes me a lot less arrogant and intolerant.

I now understand why humans cry. It is because we feel a sense of loss. This simple explanation works for loved ones who have died, loved ones who are still alive but whom we no longer see everyday, opportunities missed, fortunes squandered, lives wasted, hurts we have endured, hurts we have given others, etc. I know I have hurt others and let them down, so I feel a sense of loss at this, too, because I was unable to act perfectly. I have lost a lot in my life. Whenever I think of certain loved ones now, I tear up and start to cry. The longer I think about them, the more I cry. I cry most every day now, at least a tear or two. But I still have plenty of interesting things to do with my mind, like solve computer problems and get paid well for doing it. So it keeps my mind off the things I have lost or caused others to lose. And I have some friends and companions. Life is still good. The current is still flowing, and the bit is still one. And I know enough now to avoid slick-mouthed salesmen and churches like the plagues they are.


 

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