Romancing The Bones
It's unfortunate that the Herbiephiliacs are still praising and raising memories of HWA even after a decade of his death. They hold him in such reverence, they'd just love to raise him from the dead. Like those in another cult who killed themselves waiting for a UFO to transport them off this evil planet, some of Herbie's diehards may be holding secret rituals and candle light s‚ances, intoning their mantras praying for the old pervert's resurrection. They are so firmly ensconced in Herbert's twisted philosophy of God's master plan, that nothing, absolutely nothing, can jar them from that position. Even after his admitted guilt of sexual perversion. God called them into His True Church, and by God, that's where they were going to stay. Similar to the three monkeys, they see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil as far as their beloved apostle is concerned. They cover their ears and squint their eyes as the flood of evidence of Herbie's many misdeeds, long suppressed, blatantly appears before them in sight and sound. They fight back, accusing us who left as being "dissidents", "Armstrong bashers", "doomed to eternal hellfire", "going back to Satan's world," etc. This is typical cultic reaction to those breaking away. We also were once entranced with Armstrongism. We remember the glory days. Our smugness, our self-righteousness, our "we know something you don't know" attitude toward "Satan's" world. We remember when:
The World Tomorrow broadcast was heard by 50,000,000 people every week over 329 radio stations worldwide and 38 TV stations in the U.S. and Canada. The Plain Truth had a circulation of 2,080,000 indicating a readership of over 6,000 for each issue, adding new readers to its' mailing list at the average rate of 60,000 a month. Ambassador College occupied three campuses, two in the U.S. and one in England. Their free bible course was being received in homes worldwide. It had an enrollment of over 80,000 active students from around the world, including blue collar workers, housewives, doctors, lawyers, farmers, and even ministers. Mail from readers, listeners, and contributors had reached a total of nearly 2,000,000. A letter writing staff of ordained ministers and graduate students answered, giving guidance to those who wrote in seeking answers to bible questions.
As "converted" brethren, we were taught that Herbert held an important position in God's hierarchical government under Jesus Christ. All literature emanating from Pasadena, booklets, pamphlets, the P.T. and PGR was regarded as the gospel and was to be taken quite seriously. This outpouring of literature plus local sermons gave advice on family management, child care, sex, diets, finances, divorce and remarriage, healing, etc. Everything but how to hold the Charmin when you wipe. This, plus being burdened with Herbie's instituted rigid O.T. laws brought many households to financial and family ruin. Causing death to sick cases where doctors were forbidden. The husband, as head of the house, was placed in the same category as Christ over His Church and was to be obeyed by his more submissive mate who was considered a weaker vessel. Many husbands took advantage of this church ordained authority and became strict disciplinarians, as quite a few wives and offspring can attest to.
This resulted in sowing the seeds of discontent and frustration in the children, some now fully grown, who feel deprived of a normal childhood by Herbie's restrictive measures. Friday night games and activities were out. (Even though this was Herbie's dancing night). Attending football games and watching tv on Saturday was strictly verboten. You could not "do your own pleasure" on the Sabbath. Just stay home, read the bible, meditate and pray. It's a wonder Herbie didn't demand we wear a prayer shawl and a yamulka. All the normal pagan holidays were banned. Satan was the god of this world, that indulged in idol worship. All Christian churches were of Babylonian origin and worshipped Baal. Why didn't some one ask the old egomaniac why we kept the sabbath on a Saturday since it was named after the god Saturn? We were programmed to keep our mind on our "calling". To keep focussed on our "great commission." The teaching and preaching of the coming Kingdom of God. We were exhorted to press for the goal. To hold fast to the "pearl of great price."
When the enchantment shattered for most of us, we suddenly realized we had been duped. Anger and bitterness replaced starry-eyed dreams of becoming "kings and priests". Smoldering resentment is rising in ex-members, especially the ones who grew up in the Worldwide Church of God. As a result of the fallout, some of the 40,000 or so are completely turned off of ALL religions. Some have become atheist, some have joined Christian churches, others stay home. Many are bitter and unforgiving, having felt that they have been abused, accused and used by the top Worldwide Church of God echelon on down to the local, lowly wannabe deacon. The outcome of Herbie's warped concept of God's true purpose for mankind's existence, has proved to be a disaster. Many families were torn apart by his edicts. Lives were destroyed, figuratively and literally. Many have become financially destitute due to Herbie's constant demand for money. He would lay a guilt trip on us by repeatedly quoting that worn out scripture that he loved so well, for good reason: "would a man rob God?"
Quite a few drop outs have become emotionally disturbed and others mentally scarred, perhaps for life. Many, exiting other cults are suffering from the same symptoms. In my own 27 year Worldwide Church of God experience I don't believe there has been another cult that was so mind-controlled, so demanding, so corrupt, and exacted such cruel hardship on it's members as the Worldwide Church of God. In Walter Martin's book "Kingdom of the Cults" there is an entire chapter on Armstrongism. He exposes it for what it is with such statements as "The Worldwide Church of God is outside of the historic Christian Church because it denies foundational Christian truth". And "The essential doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God are absolutely heretical and without any biblical foundation." Quoting an ex-member, Charles F. DeLoach in "The Armstrong Error" (1971) "By many concerned church leaders, Armstrong has been labeled a heretic". And quoting Armstrong on page 41, "if you appropriate the sabbath for your own business or pleasure, you are STEALING from God and you are guilty as a thief and a violator of the eighth commandment!" DeLoach answers him on the following page: "It is a fact that keeping the Sabbath was to be a "sign" between God and the Hebrew people, and it has been so from the time of Moses down to this very day. The Jews, who are the only people who know for a certainty they are descended from Israel, still keep the seventh day, in all the lands which they have been scattered. But the pact made at Mt. Sainai was between God and the Israelites. That pact was ratified by the Hebrew elders (Deut. 29;10-15). It was meant for the Hebrew people.
But Armstrong and his ministers insist that Christians today are just as bound by this "sign" as were the Hebrews because Christians are "Spiritual Israelites". On the fly-leaf of this booklet appears this endorsement; "Herbert Armstrong's Radio Church of God, while appearing Christian, is in reality a perversion of Christianity. This is clearly revealed by the author who was a member of the Armstrong cult before his conversion. This book should be read by all Christians, and should be given to those who have become confused by HWA and the Radio Church of God". James Bjornstad Assistant Director Christian Research Institute Author, 20th Century Prophecy Jean E Dixon, Edgar Cayce. and, "Charles F. DeLoach has produced a highly readable and thoughtful refutation of Armstrongism. He obviously possesses a deep concern for the souls of those who are being deluded by a cult which is a masterpiece of Satanic deceit, and his study will be of great value both to concerned Christians and those who have been themselves deceived. Every evangelic Christian should read this book so that he may be prepared to help others who are less informed." Herbert Vander Lugt Re search Editor Radio Bible Class Grand Rapids, Mich. 49501
This booklet was copyrighted in 1971. Even way back then a tight lid was kept on the perversion and corruption at Pasadena. We in the boonies didn't have an inkling. But apparently the entire Worldwide Church of God clergy were aware of it.
So, after attaining an exhilarating high back in the 70s we have arrived in the late nineties and landed with a dull thud. What is the status now of the Worldwide Church of God? It has shrunk and Viagra wouldn't help. The old pervert is dead, so it won't help him either. The Russian is also dead and his son has taken over as head crook. The diehards are circling the wagons and making a last ditch stand. Joe bides his time, bags packed, engines idling ready to flee with the loot at a moments notice when the crap hits the fan. He'll make a brief stop at a Swiss bank before continuing on to his "place of safety". The little pipsqueak COGs are crowing about growing but facts prove otherwise. Members hop from one church to another. These are the only ones the little churches can get. Who the hell in his right mind on the outside would even THINK about joining such kookie cultic groups? Their locations have stayed the same for years: school auditoriums, Masonic halls, school libraries, abandoned storerooms etc. And by golly, no way are you going to tell them they ain't God's True Church. They have been "called" and that's that. Case closed.
In the meantime the little churchettes (also the mother church Worldwide Church of God) are in dire financial straits. They are all desperate for dough and can't wait for the holy paydays. To show you how desperate, here is a quote from a UCG newsletter dated June 18 1998 from President Les McCullough: (After David Hulme absconded with 200 of the brethren) "It was our hope that Mr. Hulme would be willing to serve in another capacity and work with us to solidify the Church and move forward. with our collective mission. We understood that there was a group who were strong supporters of him and that they might choose to start another organization. Sadly, this has come to pass. It has bled away members and diluted our efforts. The many rumors, innuendo, and accusations flying around have discouraged others. All this has affected us financially". later, "The tithes and offerings of God's people are the only finances we have with which to operate. They have fallen off for whatever reason. Why? (It's our fault, remember? the accused? Here it comes--) have some forgotten Mal.3;9- 10? Look at what it says. (That scripture goes along with "would a man rob God? which old Les apparently overlooked.) and later the devil gets his due." I believe Satan is taking his best shots at the people of God. He wants us to fail in carrying out the mission of our church". (poor old Satan is getting blamed again, and again and again.) Les learned well from Herbie. Now the clincher-- "I don't like asking this but can you help? (Herbie wouldn't have begged. He would have ORDERED them to take loan out on their house as he once did.) It is imperative. We need the largest offering you can personally make. We need help from the congregations as a whole. Will we all join together to resolve this problem?
Altogether now, folks: HELL NO!
I'm writing this on July 4th. which I think is quite apropos. This is Independence Day. This is the ideal time for COG fence straddlers to declare their independence from cultic abuse. Today we proclaim our liberty from tyranny and oppression. Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, Jefferson asserted. When government ceases to become the servant and becomes the master the people have a right to bring about changes, by force if necessary.(Didn't Christ say something like that, but not quite so radically?) Thomas Jefferson went on to say "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
(And I personally want to add Freedom From Religion.)
ONLY FOOLS RUSH IN WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD AND WISE MEN NEVER GO.
And oh what fools we were......
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