We’re All Gonna Die! …Or Maybe Not.

S. D. Bruce

On Friday, December 21, 2012, human life will be obliterated from this planet—and guess what? We won’t even get the credit. The seas will vaporize into choking, blistering clouds of steam, obscuring the cataclysmic fusion of the tectonic plates below. Volcanic ash and molten stone will smother the world’s great cities while oceans of contaminated mud bury mountain villages, fertile farmland and suburban housing developments. Military bunkers will be crushed instantly as mountain ranges topple and merge with writhing valleys. The international space station will disintegrate within the first few seconds, but any astronauts on board won’t see the impact coming: spikes in coronal mass ejections from the sun will melt communications gear days before the ultimate blow. Within a year nothing will be left of our once-vibrant, frenzied globe but a chilled cinder wafting like scorched paper through the frozen void. And there’s nothing you can do about it: no god or demon or devil to appease, no ark to build, no fallout shelter to dig. Spilled blood won’t save you, nor will repentance, faith or love. You will cease to exist, as will your children, your parents, your most bitter enemies, your closest friends, even your goldfish—nothing will be spared and there will be no place to hide. The ruins of mankind’s brief sojourn on this planet, along with every sentient organism that walks, crawls or swims, will be purged back to dust. The world will flicker and go black.

If the prophecy comes to pass, of course. It could all be a bunch of hype.

The priests, astronomers and mathematicians of the ancient Mayan and Hopi civilizations believed that this cataclysmic time of transition was inexorable at the termination of their 5,125 year ‘long-count’ calendar, when certain foreboding planetary alignments are predicted to occur. Tens of thousands today believe these ancient prognostications, while millions more live in hesitant fear that maybe the Mayans had it right all along. After all, there is scientific evidence to lend a hint of gravitas to the idea: the Sun’s normally turbulent surface has been inexplicably calm for the past two decades, with the lowest recorded solar activity in a century, and the cyclic pattern indicates that the next peak period of activity—forecasted to fall near the end of 2012—will be the strongest ever recorded. We’re over 26,000 years overdue for a realignment of the Earth’s polarity, according to the best estimates—an event which could occur as a reaction of Earth’s magnetic field to the unprecedented electromagnetic violence of our Sun. Such a realignment would wrench the planet away from its current axis causing catastrophic climate change overnight and instant famine, flooding, earthquakes, erosion, volcanic eruptions and the extinction of thousands of species unable to adapt to a drastically altered environment. Some of the more paranoid members of the 2012 movement say the precursors are visible even now: After all, no one can deny the drastic uptick in seismic activity in the last five years, with catastrophic results in Southeast Asia, South America, the Caribbean and Africa.

You don’t believe it though. It’s just an ancient superstition, a relic of a bleak and savage world long since overcome by dense jungle and Spanish imperialism. But even in a modern age full of supposed enlightenment, the pictograms of a long-dead civilization still give pause to otherwise rational, intelligent human beings. Dozens of end-time groups have sprung up—and while some subscribe to new-age philosophies or the mythos of the Aztecs, Mayans, Hopi or Egyptians, many more are Christian fundamentalists who genuinely believe that the end is upon us. The apocalyptic movement has moved beyond the fringes into the mainstream, and if you fall into that category you need to examine your position at its most basic level. After all, your day-to-day existence is directly informed and influenced by this belief.

The simplest definition for prophecy is that it is knowledge of the future obtained from a divine or supernatural source. And while you probably dismissed the predictions of the ancient Mayans out of hand, many who read this make the most important decisions of their lives based on the words of modern “prophets.” We’re going to examine that position right now.

Where’s the proof that the Mayans were incorrect? Well, you say, it’s obvious: They got other stuff wrong, so based on their historical record they were probably incorrect about the end of the world too. Quetzalcoatl didn’t show up on time, so theoretically neither will their ‘end of days.’ This speaks to the concept of a failed prediction, which is the most obvious form of fraudulent prophecy. By definition prophecy must be predictive–it must be an accurate forecast of definite future events. We’ll focus on failed predictions in this article, but it’s important to note that there are two other types of prophetic fraud which you may notice as we continue: Vague or inevitable predictions (which are basically an analysis of the facts followed by a deductive leap in the guise of divine revelation), and after-the-fact wrangling (wherein a “prophet” twists scriptures to fit his own interpretation of current events.)

So what do you believe? Do you think a modern man living among us today fulfills the role of prophet? Do you live your life based on his teachings and instructions, secure in the belief that his words are revelations from the Highest power? Have you ever stopped to examine his track record—to find out if it stacks up under the same rational examination which helped us so swiftly dispel any trepidation we had over the Mayan apocalypse? We’re getting there.

Since this blog is written primarily for those who have been affected by the prophecies and policies of the late Herbert W. Armstrong, let’s have a look at some of his famous (and less famous) predictions to see how well they matched the actual events of recent history. The facts will serve a simple purpose: Either they will prove his prophecies to be iron clad and incontrovertible, or they will show a pattern of error and allow us the freedom to seek the truth elsewhere. We’ll also scrutinize the prophecies of Mr. Armstrong’s most public modern successor, the self-proclaimed “That Prophet” of John 1:21, Gerald R. Flurry. Keep in mind that, just like the Mayan experiment above, we’ll be comparing undisputable historic events with the very specific writings of these famous men, published and distributed to millions as the Plain Truth of God revealed by miracle to human instruments. There is no guesswork or conjecture in this comparison. It’s a simple scorecard: hit or miss. The fruits should speak for themselves. Since we assume most who read this book will be using a Biblical frame of reference, let’s not forget what the Bible says regarding the proof required of a true prophet and the punishment exacted against those who speak falsely while claiming that rare, exalted office:

“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:22

And, if that wasn’t clear enough:

“But that prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.” Deuteronomy 18:20

Mindful of these ominous words, let’s shine the light through the cobwebs to see what Mssrs. Armstrong and Flurry have hidden away in the closet. The stakes are high: your life, freedom, peace of mind and possibly even your eternal salvation. We ask only that you summon the courage to look at the evidence.

We begin with an old quotation from Herbert W. Armstrong, who posed this simple, eminently relevant question, “Where are God’s true prophets today?” He was also kind enough to provide the answer, “This Work has been warning America of definite and tremendous events to come for many years!” His direct subordinate and confidant, Roderick C. Meredith, took it a step further, “…on THE WORLD TOMORROW broadcast and in this magazine we have dared to unlock the Bible prophecies and apply them to specific nations and events that are now being affected. Do you grasp the significance of this’?” (Plain Truth, August 1957 issue, pages 3, 6)

Mr. Armstrong exemplified this bold line of reasoning by making a prediction in the June-July issue of the 1934 Plain Truth magazine. On page 5 he wrote,

“As nearly as we can calculate from the dates of ancient history, the year 1936 will see the END of the Times of the Gentiles…. We may expect the present worldwide depression, time of trouble and fear of war to CONTINUE until the year 1936! …quickly after that time, we may expect to see the heavenly signs of the sun and moon becoming dark, the stars falling … which shall be followed by the ‘Day of the Lord.’

To give credit where it’s due, Mr. Armstrong almost had it right: World War II did indeed begin on September 1, 1939 with the German invasion of Poland. Unfortunately for Mr. Armstrong’s record, there were no heavenly signs and the ‘Day of the Lord’ remained as elusive as ever. But in his defense, he said we “may expect” and “as nearly as we can calculate,” so there’s a certain allowance for unforeseen events. He wasn’t concrete in the assertion, so we can chalk it up as an incorrect prediction, but not necessarily a failed prophecy. Unfortunately for those who claim Mr. Armstrong never spoke ‘as a prophet’ or made absolute, thunderous (though incorrect) assertions ‘with the power of God,’ the record shows the following from the Plain Truth magazine of March 1938, page 8:

“Mussolini and the Pope [Editor’s note: Pious XII] will hatch up an idea between them of setting up a world headquarters at JERUSALEM—and so Mussolini’s armies will enter into Palestine (Daniel 11:41), and eventually will capture just half of the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2).

And here’s another statement, made with absolute confidence, by Mr. Armstrong in the Plain Truth of August-September 1940:

“The Italians will capture both Palestine and Egypt.”

This is preeminently straightforward: Mr. Armstrong quoted holy scripture and interpreted—with the supreme power and unambivalent authority of the Author—the meaning in no uncertain terms. It doesn’t get much more prophetic than this. But history shows that, while Italy did indeed invade Egypt, Mussolini was pushed back from Libya by British forces and the Italians never occupied Jerusalem or Palestine.

But that’s not all: here’s an even more forceful prophecy from Mr. Armstrong (in ALL CAPS, as was his wont) delivered in the January 1939 Plain Truth on page 4:

“MUSSOLINI WILL FIGHT CHRIST!”

Benito Mussolini was shot twice in the chest at Giulino di Mezzegra during a failed attempt to flee Italy for Spain on April 28, 1945. The executioner was not Jesus Christ, but a communist partisan commander, Colonel Walter Audisio.

But Mr. Armstrong continued in the same dogmatic prophetic vein in the August 1939 Plain Truth, when he stated on page 6:

“Once world war is resumed, it must continue on through the Great Tribulation, the heavenly signs, the plagues of the Day of the Lord, and to the Second Coming of Christ, at the last battle, at ARMAGEDDON!…But this you MAY KNOW! This war will be ended by CHRIST’S RETURN! And war MAY start within six weeks! We are just THAT NEAR Christ’s coming!”

That dogmatic certainty drew thousands of worried people to the Worldwide Church of God, but most of them had already forgotten these words when World War II ended on September 2, 1945 with the surrender of Japan following the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by American atomic bombs. As far as we can tell, Christ didn’t return at that time.

On page 7 of the September-October 1941 Plain Truth, Mr. Armstrong extolled the prophetic virtues of his magazine and made a statement which would have haunted him until the end, had WCG members taken to heart the biblical exhortation to ‘Remember those things which you have been taught.’ (II Thessalonians 2:15) Luckily for Mr. Armstrong, most people forgot this little blunder:

“PLAIN TRUTH readers know world events, before they occur!…Bible prophecy does indicate that Hitler MUST BE THE VICTOR, in his present Russian invasion!Hitler will emerge from his Russian campaign stronger than ever, free to turn the entire might of his forces against Britain—and AMERICA!”

The worst defeat of German forces in World War II, and the beginning of the end for Hitler’s Third Reich, occurred at the gates of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia during the same campaign Mr. Armstrong referred to in the above quotation. During a brutal battle which stretched from July 17, 1942 through February 2, 1943, the German advance was halted and then repelled in one of the bloodiest battles in the entire history of warfare. The German Sixth Army began its campaign with 600,000 soldiers and a vast array of weaponry supported in the skies by the nigh-invincible Luftwaffe, but following the battle the Russians recovered 250,000 German and Romanian corpses in and around Stalingrad. Total Axis deaths (Germans, Romanians, Italians, and Hungarians) were estimated at over 800,000. The 91,000 soldiers of the Sixth Army who remained alive were sent to Russian hard-labor camps and of those taken captive, only 6,000 lived to return to their homeland. Germany never recovered from what is recognized as one of the most decisive and bloody defeats in history, and Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945 following the Allied invasion at Normandy.

The prophecy above was categorically wrong, and in the Plain Truth issue which immediately followed the German defeat at the hands of the Russians Mr. Armstrong was more wary of making ‘divinely inspired’ dogmatic statements regarding current events. His assertions in the March-April 1943 Plain Truth (page 6) were characteristically forceful, but he wisely allowed for the possibility that Hitler could be defeated.

“But Hitler (or his successor if there is one), and the False Prophet shall FIGHT against Christ!”

Following the Axis defeat in 1945, Mr. Armstrong and his associates attempted to provide evidence that, rather than being blatantly incorrect, the above prophetic statements were still true—but God had decided to postpone those events for a few years as part of his mysterious plan. In a June 1953 Plain Truth article titled “Man’s Greatest Battle”, Roderick Meredith provided the following explanation:

“Yes, it seems that God is allowing us another 19-year cycle to COMPLETE THE CARRYING OUT OF HIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM TO THIS SICK AND DYING WORLD…. There is a tremendous job to be done in the very short period that lies ahead of us.”

Thus he provided an excuse and, more importantly, a purpose—a call to arms which mobilized Church members who might otherwise have looked back and wondered if just maybe Mr. Armstrong lacked the God-given prophetic abilities which supposedly drove his ‘Work’ and the powerful, unambiguous statements he had made during the previous two decades. Following this subtle reversal in tone Mr. Armstrong was careful to provide ranged timelines for his prophecies. For instance:

“God prophesies that finally, within the next fifteen years, fully ONE THIRD of our whole population will die of disease and famine.” (December 1957 Plain Truth)

And here’s another:

“Somewhere along about seven to ten years from now the REVOLUTION IN THE WEATHER will become a national and international calamity. Drought, epidemics of disease, will reap a mounting harvest of death across North America-and in Britain. Economic depression will strike.” (January 1963 Plain Truth, page 21)

And, just for giggles, another:

“Our strength further sapped: 1963 shall increase drought and upheavals in the prophesied revolution in the WEATHER pattern. We may have an occasional good year in the weather, but the trend in general will continue until-probably by 1971-1972-it will become an acute disaster, especially to the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia.” (January 1964 Plain Truth, page 4)

If you examine the chart above you’ll notice an interesting fact: World population doubled between 1957 (the time of Mr. Armstrong’s prophecy concerning the deaths of one-third of all Americans) and today—from under 3 billion to over 6 billion, and population is projected to grow by an additional 4 billion in the next 40 years. Here are three more widely circulated, public prophecies which were clearly incorrect: A third of our population didn’t die of disease and famine, nor has the “Revolution in the Weather” led to unusual drought or disease epidemics in North America, Britain and Australia as Mr. Armstrong predicted. We are currently experiencing what might be termed an “economic depression,” but it resulted from a collapse in mortgage securities and a breakdown in financial order, not the weather.

And, while Mr. Armstrong’s “1971-1972” range isn’t a specific date for the end of the world, it was certainly close. Roderick Meredith took that theme and ran with it in the May 1965 Plain Truth (page 44), when he said:

“It is the most interesting date because Bible prophecy indicates that the final attack on the U. S. and Britain by this coming ‘Beast Power’ could easily be launched perhaps as early as the Spring of 1972—or earlier if this final work of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is cut short.”

Although he was careful to never overtly set a date for the end of the end, Mr. Armstrong capitalized on the uncertainty of the 1960s by broadcasting a ‘warning’ of the immediate, catastrophic fulfillment of biblical events. And while he continued to utilize the ‘ranged strategy’ to dodge the nasty problem of predicting actual dates while maintaining the frenetic urgency of his followers, he in no way denigrated the necessity of his own ‘Divinely revealed’ message to understanding the modern meaning of biblical passages.

“That is NOT a message to ancient Israel-but to OUR NATIONS of TODAY. The ‘Day of the Eternal’-a time foretold in more than thirty prophecies-is going to strike between 5 and 10 years from now!” (February 1967 Plain Truth, page 47)

Roderick Meredith sought to clarify Mr. Armstrong’s message and stir up a little more urgency among the Plain Truth readership in a March 1968 article (page 41):

“Although we do not set exact dates, every indication from the time table of prophecy is that this will take place within the next five to seven years or less!…This revival of Germany’s dominant interest and influence in the Middle East, the building of a literal Temple, the eventual takeover of Israel and Egypt by a revived Roman Empire of European nations culminating in a great religious leader making his Headquarters right in that Temple in Jerusalem. This is a definite ‘SIGN’ to the true believers of God heralding the END of this age!”

And the pattern continued. Here’s an excerpt from a November 1968 Plain Truth article (page 39) by Mr. Armstrong which again exhibits the ‘ranged strategy’ of prophetic prediction:

“The 6000 years are about up. We may have another three, five, or ten years to go.

At the same time Mr. Armstrong continued to apply biblical roles to modern nations and power blocs in a successful bid to retain the relevance (and terror) which other religious movements lacked. The following quotation from the June 1967 Plain Truth (page 2) is not precisely wrong, but the events outlined certainly haven’t occurred in the 43 years since it was made:

“There will very soon be a Temple in Jerusalem, with daily sacrifices once again being offered…. Jerusalem will be surrounded and captured (Zechariah 14: 1-2) by the Fascist-Nazi armies of the European Empire, already starting to rise now out of the Common Market. They will invade Jerusalem, and take charge of the temple.”

The fixation with the European Common Market—the power bloc now known as the European Union (referred to by Mr. Armstrong above as the ‘European Empire,’ and below as the ‘restoration of this prophesied Roman Empire’) continued throughout Mr. Armstrong’s lifetime. Unfortunately for his already less-than-sterling prophetic record, Mr. Armstrong decided to predict the composition of this rising European community:

“But your Bible reveals Britain will not be one of the ultimate ten nations that will unite to resurrect the final restoration of this prophesied Roman Empire.” (October 1967 Plain Truth)

As any student with a moderate knowledge of geopolitics knows, Britain has been a key member and power player in the European Union—the bloc of nations Mr. Armstrong chose to label ‘the restored Holy Roman Empire’—since 1973. When Britain accelerated its involvement with the Common Market in early 1970, Raymond F. McNair (another close associate of Mr. Armstrong and an editor for the Plain Truth) attempted to moderate the Church’s public stance. The February 1970 Plain Truth carried the following statement on page 27:

“Will Britain ever be admitted into the [European] Common Market? Probably not!

While Mr. Armstrong was stating his ‘divinely inspired’ opinion on Britain’s coming role in the EU, he also made an unfortunate proclamation about God’s direct role in the Worldwide Church of God’s broadcasting contracts. From a Co-Worker Letter dated April 17, 1967:

“Right now, just prior by probably not more than five to seven years to the coming terrible DAY OF THE LORD, the Living Christ has moved swiftly to OPEN THE ALL-IMPORTANT DOOR THAT HAS BEEN CLOSED SINCE THE DAY OF THE ORIGINAL APOSTLES. After TURNING HIS BACK on Jerusalem ever since 69 A.D….after turning Jerusalem, because of the rebellious transgressions of his people Israel, over to be ‘trodden down of the Gentiles’, since 69 A. D., ALMIGHTY GOD HAS OPENED TO THE WORLD TOMORROW, EXCLUSIVELY, THE GIGANTIC DOOR OF THE SUPER-POWER RADIO FROM JERUSALEM...further we have signed with the Hashemite Government of Jordan a FIVE-YEAR BINDING CONTRACT, with option to RENEW another five years!…and when the time came, to WHOM did God open up these precious radio facilities? Not to the Roman Catholics—though they have shrines and buildings there! Nor the Protestants! Nor the Coptics, nor the other professing ‘Christian’ sects. No, He has opened it EXCLUSIVELY, by binding contract with the government of Jordan, to HIS WORK, to which He has called YOU as a Co-Worker! This PROVES which voice on earth today is GOD’S OWN VOICE, through human servants He has called! If you ever had any doubts whatever about where the real WORK OF GOD is, you can be SURE now!”

Note how Mr. Armstrong holds this contract aloft as proof that the he is “GOD’S OWN VOICE.” He says “If you ever had any doubts whatever about where the real WORK OF GOD is, you can be SURE now!” Yet, unbeknownst to the man who claimed to be the human conduit of God’s message to the world, just two days before the first broadcast was to go out (Wednesday, June 7, 1967) there would be no Jerusalem, Jordan. The famous Six-Day War nullified the WCG’s radio contract and effectively canceled whatever declarations Mr. Armstrong made about the hand of “ALMIGHTY GOD” in opening the “EXCLUSIVE, GIGANTIC DOOR” of radio in Jerusalem. Mr. Armstrong responded to this poorly timed event on page 5 of the June 1967 Tomorrow’s World magazine:

“Jerusalem Radio, over which I have a contract with the Jordanian government, was not destroyed…. If indeed the Living Christ wants His message to go, NOW, from Jerusalem, as certain prophecies surely seem to indicate, then NO MAN CAN PREVENT IT! He will give us favor in the eyes of whoever controls that powerful station. If God does not so will, then we surely don’t want to broadcast over it.”

In other words, ‘God did it—I don’t know why he chose to call into question the proof I so boldly advertised for His divine intervention on our behalf, but he must have a reason.’

After that things got really interesting. Thousands were disillusioned and left the Church when 1972 came and went without the catastrophic ‘end of days’ which Mr. Armstrong and his aides had hinted at since 1964. He attempted to staunch the WCG’s hemorrhaging membership with the following statement, printed in the February 1972 issue of Tomorrow’s World:

“We do not set dates!…Yet in our human zeal and enthusiasm for getting this greatest mission on earth done, we have a few times come close to it or appeared to-and that we deeply regret…if we…appear to set a date, I FEEL I DO NOT NEED TO APOLOGIZE!”

The statement above seems slightly contradictory—“we deeply regret” but “I FEEL I DO NOT NEED TO APOLOGIZE!” Nevertheless, Mr. Armstrong soldiered on in the same article:

“If we KNEW of any error still remaining now, we would CHANGE it! If and when we find one in the future, we shall correct it!”

To those who became angry over the continual prophetic windup and letdown pattern, Mr. Armstrong addressed another passage in the article:

“And the greater pity is that the very ones most deceived are the ones who RESENT having the Scriptures opened to CORRECT them, to REPROVE, and to set them right!”

And finally, Mr. Armstrong leaned on the now infamous pseudo-historical scholars of Ambassador College (Roderick Meredith and Dr. Herman Hoeh among them) to reinforce a point which is abundantly illustrated by his own track record:

“As of the present I, and a majority of our historians in Ambassador College, and researchers in the School of Theology, feel that it is utterly unsafe to try to set dates in regard to prophesied events.”

If only he’d realized that at the beginning of his ministry. They say hindsight is 20-20.

This may seem like overkill, since we’ve already dismantled the prophecies of the self-proclaimed ‘Apostle’ whose ruins Mr. Gerald Flurry claims to have raised, but a promise was made at the beginning of this article and I intend to keep it. Here, then, is a brief review of Mr. Flurry’s own recent prophetic record. (I apologize in advance for the horrendous syntax and crimes against grammar in the quotes below; they are copied verbatim from the original source materials.)

Here’s a passage from a sermon delivered by Mr. Gerald Flurry on March 8, 2003, entitled “The Mantle of Elijah, Part II,” from tape 1 side 2 of the recorded version:

“We have, first we have the seven years and then we printed Mystery of the Ages. And now we have the six years of the crisis years, and uh, seven more years will take us to January the 16th, 2010. What do you suppose might happen then? I’ll tell you this, it’s a 19 year time cycle—January the 16th [2010]. I would think probably something pretty dramatic is going to occur. Tribulation gonna begin? Well, I certainly think, uh, it could. Something is gonna happen, and I don’t think it’s gonna be good for this, this uh, world, and certainly for Israel, it’s not gonna be good.

Admittedly this is a prediction, an allusion to a possible future event—not a prophecy. Nevertheless it is our job to pursue the question: What did happen on January 16, 2010? You probably remember it as a quiet Saturday when nothing made the news. Sure, the earthquake in Haiti occurred on January 13, 2010, but that had no effect (other than the rush for humanitarian aid) on the “Israelite Nations” Britain, America and Australia, or the literal Israeli state. The Tribulation did not begin.

But here’s an even more telling prophecy which never materialized. Gerald Flurry’s son Stephen, a top ranking evangelist in the PCG, provided a perfect review of the facts in a November 2005 Philadelphia Trumpet article entitled “Tragedy of Biblical Proportions” on page 20:

“Earlier this year, on June 4, our editor in chief [Gerald Flurry] announced in a sermon that the world had now entered the last half of the last hour. Less than five months after his 2001 announcement, 9/11 jolted the United States. After the June announcement, in less than three months, Katrina smashed into the Gulf Coast.”

Stephen Flurry makes the claim that the 9/11 terror attacks and the catastrophe in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina were directly related to his father’s predictions regarding the prophetic “Last Hour” and the “Last Half of the Last Hour.” Mr. Gerald Flurry, who has publically claimed the title That Prophet (a role Mr. Armstrong and nearly every other biblical scholar ascribe to Jesus Christ) announced that the “Last Hour” began on May 5th 2001. He announced on June 4th 2005 that the world had entered the “Last Half of the Last Hour.” Simple arithmetic reveals that, according to Mr. Flurry’s own prophetic reckoning, the second and final half of the “Last Hour” must necessarily have come and gone in the early months of 2009. So what happened? Civilization did not crumble and fall. There were no worldwide conflagrations or pandemics. In fact, the newspapers recorded nothing out of the ordinary: The same wars continued, the same inane TV shows were broadcast in the same time slots, Congress continued its ridiculous crawl through another legislative traffic jam and George Bush washed the sheets and told Barack Obama how to get the Oval Office coffee pot to work. Unless Gerald Flurry didn’t actually mean the last “Last Hour,” this was an undeniably abysmal start to his prophetic career.

Prophetic material in the public record is plentiful, and I encourage you to continue comparing it with history if you have any lingering doubts. I’ll summarize this article with one of Gerald Flurry’s favorite quotes, penned by George Santayana in his book “Reason in Common Sense.” He said simply, “Those who ignore history are bound to repeat its great mistakes.” Any man who claims a Divine mandate as a prophet is taking a great risk; it’s easy to make dogmatic predictions with the thunderous authority of God, but it’s far more difficult to make the actual events match the hyperbole. History is the best gauge of prophecy, and it always will be. Even if you’ve now dismissed the prophetic or apostolic roles played by Mssrs. Flurry and Armstrong, don’t forget the phrase both men were most fond of, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)­­­­­­­­

Special thanks to the Ambassador Report and The Painful Truth for their ongoing curatorial efforts with regard to Herbert W. Armstrong’s prophecies and public statements.

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12 thoughts on “We’re All Gonna Die! …Or Maybe Not.

  1. Since you are my hubby, I think I should respond! I really like this article; you make good and solid points. I would love to see more articles as an expansion on this thought. HWA’s prophecies and teachings are the base for all Armstrongist Cults. To go “back to the beginning” and debunk the prophecies will debunk HWA and as a result, all of his cult sprouts. Genius!

  2. Thanks for the comments. I’m glad this information is proving useful; my hope is that it will help people who are on the verge of finding real freedom but continue to struggle with the fears which are so intrinsic to the Armstrongist dogma. Please pass it along if you know somebody who is struggling. I’m planning to do a sequel in the near future…I know of at least 250 additional prophetic failures from HWA’s long career, and I’m sure more will surface as I continue my research. I’ve only scratched the surface. Thanks again for the comments–especially Sarah (@ SGB), who has been a perfect sounding board during my disillusionment, research and subsequent philosophical liberation. Also, my compatriots Casey and Eric deserve kudos for their tireless help and camaraderie. Be sure to check out their articles as well.

    • Looking forward to the follow up (especially 250 additional failures!). I will certainly pass this along to any Armstrongers that are struggling with their beliefs. I just wish I can get the devout ones to be skeptical in the first place.

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  5. Reading the OLD stuff HWA wrote is very enlightening. It shows what a cover-up the churches of God have been involved in and how their members (not just the ministry) are complicit in this because the old members who knew such blunders were made (many are dying off now) were afraid to talk about them and continued to give their money to an organization which was hiding the truth from new members. The PCG still does it by editing out of HWA’s writings things they don’t want people to read and passing them off as his original words. People who give their tithes to these organizations are helping them promulgate deceits.

  6. I often wonder what drives these people. In the case of Flurry, he seems to be more of a deluded puppet than a con-artist. I feel sorry for him and his followers. I think some demons are having fun giving him thoughts and impressions that make him look stupid. They must find all this entertaining. Would someone who is just out to con people discredit themselves by making big pronouncements that fall flat? I don’t think Flurry is that stupid, he really seems to believe in himself.

  7. It could be true that he is both duplicitous AND believes in himself. I mean, after all, if you tell a lie often enough you begin to believe it yourself. Or, and I rather like this answer more, all the lies and scheming and everything were just causing a little too much cognitive dissonance, and so a little Doublethink had to be employed.

    Doublethink: The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

    I think that may be the very thing that’s happening among those who still have a conscience about all this.

  8. It may be helpful for many to recognize that Gerald Flurry is a practicing alcoholic. We have his DUI online… somewhere.

    There are a number of characteristics for the practicing alcoholic, among them is the addled headed thinking that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Alcoholic males are predictable in their testosterone poisoned shrunken brain of distorted perceptions. Heterosexual male drunken sot preachers will ALWAYS glom on to “HOMOSEXUALS ARE AN ABOMINATION TO GOD!”, ignoring the fact that the drunken cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, and, anyway, if they really want to change the world, why don’t they preach against fornication? Why? Because they are cowards! Fornication is everywhere, and, folks, anyone who attacks it is going to get creamed! So there they are: Nitwits who condemn the easy mark while ignoring the warnings of Scripture.

    The other thing which is not so hard to understand about alcoholics is that they are miserable and they want to make everyone else share in their misery. Tipsy males want to dominate everyone else because, darn it all, THEY KNOW THE TRUTH, and, dagnabit, they’re going to force everyone to live their own way of life — even if they are supposedly ministers of Jesus Christ who was so perfect he didn’t get drunk and didn’t have a DUI on his record.

    So the conscience of Gerald Flurry is perfectly preserved, in the same sense that a brain in formaldehyde is perfectly preserved. Yeah, we know that some how people find him fascinating. I sure do, since getting a copy of “Under the Influence” and the DSM IV.

    I reserve special bile for Flurry because he knows perfectly well what the qualifications of a minister are. He’s chosen to ignore them because he covets money, power, influence and adulation. Is not covetousness idolatry? And did not Jesus warn against false prophets? Gerald Flurry is an idolator, and if you have any sort of religious bent, you need to avoid him like the plague, lest you end up as he is.

    If you do not have a religious bent, there’s no reason to every pay one whit of attention to a covetous drunkard false prophet.

    What part of “From such turn away” don’t you who continue to hang on every word understand?

    • “if they really want to change the world, why don’t they preach against fornication?”

      Um…I’m pretty sure they do. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with fornication, either. Whether it’s straight and vanilla or something more interesting, as long as it’s consensual it’s perfectly ethical behavior.

      “Gerald Flurry is a practicing alcoholic.”

      Far be it from me to defend Gerry, but this is a stretch to put it mildly. The editors of Armstrong Delusion do not wish to pursue sensationalist character assassinations. Our purpose is to expose the falsity of Armstrongism and shed some light on the devious and abusive practices of the cults that embrace it. In a word, we are interested in truth regarding these matters, rather than the often slanderous personal smear campaigns that are, I dare say, virtually ubiquitous in the ex-CoG community.

      With that disclaimer out of the way, yes, it is true that Flurry was once arrested for being stupid drunk behind the wheel of a car, and that he tried to bribe the arresting officer…twice (We hashed this whole thing out on our old blog, in the comments section of this article).

      None of this proves that Flurry is an alcoholic, however, but it does go a long way toward demonstrating that he is far from the “godliness” he preaches. He is a man of diminished intelligence and character who has been entitled beyond all merit by the miserable sheep he depends upon–and this unwarranted power has corroded the pittance of integrity with which nature has seen fit to endow him. That much I think we can provide good evidence for.

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