Who do you trust?
Do you trust your Armstrongist minister?
Should you trust your Armstrongist minister?
The answer to the last two questions is "No!" and "No!".
Let me tell you why.
Now it may be that your Armstrongist minister in whatever ACoG you
may be attending might be totally sincere. Perhaps he is very nice.
Maybe he is even helpful at times. But in the scheme of things, is that
We live today in May, 2012, on the cusp of yet another meltdown of
the membership of an Armstrongist Cult, as the target date of the false
prophet for Christ's returns comes at Pentecost and goes, without so
much as a whimper of a hint of a whisper of the event taking place.
Ronald Weinland has set up the dupes of his little cult for yet another
"Great Disappointment" to rival the one of 1844. No, Jesus isn't
returning, the Great Tribulation won't have happened, there is no Beast
Power over the 10 nations of Europe and there isn't any possible that
Witlesses Witnesses will die in Jerusalem after
prophecying there for 3.5 years and be resurrected in 3.5 days after
which Christ will take a near pass and spirit them away to heaven for
the Great Bridal Shower.
But they trust him!
If we knew the answer to why, we could know a lot more about the Universe.
In business accounting, there is something called "Goodwill". Goodwill
is an accounting concept meaning the value of an entity over and above
the value of its assets. The term was originally used in accounting to
express the intangible but quantifiable "prudent value" of an ongoing
business beyond its assets, resulting perhaps because the reputation the
firm enjoyed with its clients. This is important in the sale of a
business when the sale price is above and beyond the actual tangible
assets of the corporation and is used in the accounting ledgers to
represent the gap as a firm dollar value.
Like it or not (we don't), the branding of Herbert Armstrong is a
monetary asset advantage which trades on the principle of "Goodwill":
The religious product thus branded has earned the trust of a small cadre
of consumers, not unlike that of Amazon.com (which has a much larger
cadre of loyal consumers). To them, the Goodwill has been earned over
the decades (for no particularly good reason, as we shall see), and
anyone who trades on the trust in the religious product automagically
inherits the Goodwill.
There are limits, of course.
Some of the customers are rather picky over which particular branding
they select: For some it is United, others, the LCG, CoGWa, CoGBS or a
whole host of alphabet soup Armstrongist communities. They become loyal
to the sub brand they have selected. It's sort of like which washing
detergent a person chooses. You tend to stick with it because it works
for you: Whiter, brighter, whatever. The choices aren't, in this case,
particularly rational. It is based on emotions and feelings. It is based
on how the leader impresses and how you might fit in with the rest of
the crowd. In extreme cases, like the PCG, RCG, CCG, PKG, it makes no
sense at all: It's just how you feel about it.
Objectively speaking, there are a lot of problems, challenges and
consequences to choosing emotion over logic and it can lead to a lot of
ugly results down the road. The future is not always what it seems to
be, particularly in the Armstrongist Churches of God, where no one is
exactly what they seem to be. Sacrificing resources for the hope of some
big score at the end may feel good, but in the end, it is all a con
game whose end game is that they lie to you and then take your money. It
wouldn't be so bad if they just lied to you (no matter how sincere they
might be), if they didn't take your money, but you trust them and they
do take your money. In fact, in the final analysis, it is the love of
money (mostly in the form of salary and retirement), along with
ego-stroking narcissistic self-agrandizement, which is a root of all
evil there in the ACoG groups. The hidden agenda never becomes public
until it is too late for most folks.
There are three major things wrong with Armstrongism: British
Israelism is a fraud and it leads to false prophecies by false prophets;
church history is a provably concocted fraud (plagiarized from Ellen G.
White) and the entire religion is based on rebellious heresy. No one in
Armstrongism wants to look at the facts because it just doesn't feel
right to them. Besides, they are afraid of what is behind the curtain --
it may show them that they have been wasting their time in fear, false
hope and a sense of well-being through associating with people they
think of like mind (the WCG / GCI certainly proved how wrong that
concept was), achieving a level of comfort participating in what can be
termed "Old Testament Christianity" under Old Covenant Laws. To think of
giving up would be unthinkable.
But it gets worse.
The narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, many of whom came from
Ambassador College, have the background to grant them credibility to
gain that all-important Goodwill trust they need to prey upon duped
fools. It is a world of golden opportunity which is difficult for the
covetously minded idolators to resist as they plunge in to embrace the
con for their own gain.
In the case of the Preaching the Kingdom of God (PKG, also known as
the "Pathetic Kook Group"), the experience they are going through is a
consumate betrayal by a man plying contemptuous fraud. Ronald Weinland's
little collection of sheople will find themselves sheared, especially
after going to trial for Felony Income Tax Evasion Fraud when the Great
Disappointment is past. People are maxing out their credit cards, doing
foolish things with their careers and their associations and choosing a
path of self-destruction because it is inconceivable that God would let
anything happen to them: After all, aren't they faithful to God by
following His Apostle Prophet?
It is a tragedy, of course, but it serves a useful purpose in the
scheme of things. Think for a moment: Is Ronald Weinland that far from
someone like Roderick Meredith who, himself, has been a false prophet
for fifty years? Are any of the false prophet apostle leaders within
Armstrongism really that far from what PKG portrays? They all have the
same basic doctrines. Maybe they don't say that specifically Jesus
Christ is returning next Tuesday, but it is the very same spirit of
deception working within them.
L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology in the 1950s after a
semi-successful career as a science fiction writer. He deliberately
rebranded his alternative earth history into a religion and wrote about
it in Dianetics, specifically targeting actors
in Hollywood. It is pure fantastic fantasy, but people have bought into
it, believing sincerely with all their being that this is it! This is the truth! When
Armstrongists look at Scientology, they see a weird false religion that
is so obvious that they wonder how anyone could ever be a part of it.
The answer, of course, is trust. It is that Goodwill.
Since this is so clear to the Armstrongists, perhaps it is time they
stepped back and looked at themselves and their chosen religion. It too,
is based on an alternative earth history which never happened and
cannot happen. The future is simply not going to happen the way it was
predicted by Herbert Armstrong. In fact, all of his prophecies failed in
his lifetime. If you are skeptical, just ask a member of the PKG after
May 27th, 2012 how well their trust worked for them. There will be
reasoning and excuses even as they are proven yet again so very wrong.
All of Armstrongism is at risk because of Ronald Weinland. Even as
Harold Camping did great damage to Christianity, so has Ronald Weinland
done great damage to the followers of Herbert Armstrong. Furthermore,
all Armstrongists should consider themselves nothing more than Sabbath
keeping, Feast going Scientologists. It just isn't going to work out.
You are wasting your time. You are also wasting your money. Most of all,
you are wasting your trust.
Sometimes it is best not to just give it away: It needs to be earned.