Desparate Measures–PCG’s Embrace of Worldly Punditry

Gerald finally gets the notoriety he deserves.

A newly published Trumpet article by one of our favorite PCG editorial tools (Brad MacDonald), entitled Welcome to the Fourth Reich, demonstrates better than most this sub-cult’s long-fermenting tryst with “worldly” ideologues and their convenient pronouncements. It is not necessary, surely, to point out that this relationship looks better on PCG’s resume than it would on that of her “lovers” (the biblical phraseology seems appropriate here, so please, bear with me–as creepy and sexist as it sounds). It is, in fact, a love affair that is wholly one-way. FOX “News”, for example, has never given PCG any lovin’ to speak of (though PCG has been “nailed” with some “fair and balanced” coverage on a local FOX affiliate station–once), nor have any of the other talking heads she refers to in her propaganda pieces.

Unrequited though her love may be, PCG does not appear in any sense jilted by the fact her lovers have nothing good to say about her. She still continues to mine their statements from afar, reading between the lines for hints of unconscious approval. And these hints she then weaves into grandiose claims of “worldly” confirmation of the Armstrongist world-view, which are subsequently fed to the little flock of credulous sheep she keeps around for fleecing purposes.

It all works so well, since these sheep never take it upon themselves to take a critical look at what it all means. They don’t ask the difficult questions and are therefore easily persuaded that a “worldly” authority’s seeming approval of cult dogma should count as irrefutable confirmation of everything they’ve been spoon-fed by Gerald and Co. But the kind of analysis that is foreign to sheep is precisely what we at AD are here for. So, we want to ask the following questions: (1) What is behind PCG’s reliance on “worldly” sources?, (2) Are they using those sources appropriately?, and (3) Are those sources reliable to begin with?

We will be referring specifically to young MacDonald’s column linked to above, but the principles revealed will be generally applicable across the vanishingly narrow spectrum of rhetorical diversity employed by PCG–this particular tactic, in fact, seems to be their principal means of expressing themselves (at least in their “flagship” magazine, The Trumpet).

What Is Behind PCG’s Reliance on “Worldly” Sources?

You might not be surprised to learn that all the sources PCG speaks of in glowing terms are, without exception, considered to be conservative in their outlook. This is certainly true of Mail Online, the online tabloid (yes, that’s right–a tabloid) that published the story our dear Bradley got such a hard-on for. Even such illustrious arbiters of truth as Conservapedia have to admit that Daily Mail (the paper version of Mail Online) has a conservative slant (although they point out it is “liberal (by American standards)”, LOL).

I noticed long ago a disturbing trend in PCG, that of a precipitous slide into lock-step conservatism. I wasn’t the only one to have noticed it, either. My good friend at the time, Mark Jenkins, a headquarters employee and writer for their publications, once told me that Flurry was, without any doubt, a staunch conservative. That is to say, Gerald Flurry is and always has been motivated by political ideology.

Flurry often described FOX’s Bill O’Reilly as the best newsman in the business, spoke disparagingly of Democrats at every opportunity and progressively became (and transformed the PCG propaganda machine into) a mere parrot of the right-wing pundits he enjoyed watching on television. They even used the same terminology. For example, the phrase “San Fransisco values” was a central theme in one of his more politicized sermons.

The last straw for me was a sermon in which Flurry spent the entire allotted time (and more, I’m sure)–on the Sabbath–railing against a recent Democratic victory, announcing at last that God was angry that Nanci Pelosi got so many votes! Yes, this is ostensibly the same God who supposedly doesn’t want us to vote–for the very reason that He puts people in office Himself! “Who was God angry at,” I mused rhetorically in my furious notes, “Himself?” Well, this god couldn’t have been half as angry as I was that day. I almost walked out, but I wanted to get more material for the letter I had then decided to write. That letter questioning Gerald on his obvious politicization of “God’s message” would within two weeks result in my suspension. I haven’t been back since.

It is this all-too-human politicization of Armstrongism in PCG that is, in large part, the explanation for their reliance on “worldly” conservative sources. PCG has a bias, and it is more political than biblical. But where did it come from? Armstrong? Not exactly. Let me explain.

Under Armstrong, WCG took an approach to the Armstrongist worldview that was politically neutral. That is not to say that it was not a largely conservative worldview (partly derived as it was from the Fundamentalism Flurry has whole-heartedly embraced), but, rather, that it synthesized its views on politically cogent matters from within the belief system itself–instead of from without. This Armstrongism, the Armstrongism to which I remained loyal most of my life, was not sycophantic with regard to the conservative politicos of Armstrong’s day. Far from courting the political Right (from afar) as Flurry has done, Armstrong was an equal-opportunity critic of both liberal and conservative philosophy.

But whereas WCG steered the course of Armstrongism straight into abstract oblivion (having to be rescued finally by the liberalizing forces of the new regime), PCG drifted off into ideological impurity of its own by looking to the political Right of the U.S. for guidance on what Armstrongism should be. This led to PCG taking up positions Armstrong would never sanction, identical as they were to those of the far Right (opposing the separation of Church and State, advocating public prayer in schools, giving credence to the claim that the Founding Fathers were Christians and that the U.S. was intended to be a Christian nation, showing explicit support for U.S. military operations and institutions, etc.), and ultimately ignoring issues Armstrong considered to be of the utmost importance (e.g., environment, sustainable agriculture and ecology–subjects which must have raised red flags in the hyper-politicized mind of Flurry, denoting aspects of Armstrongism that would be deemed “liberal” by “worldly” conservatives–the latter of which is exactly what he is).

So, Flurry and his cult have merged with the politically conservative Fundamentalist masses to such a dramatic extent that they are hardly distinguishable from “The World” they were enjoined to come out of. And it is all because, as Jenkins confided in me a couple days after the September 11 attacks, Flurry is a conservative. For him, conservative doctrine comes before religious philosophy. And it is for this reason that neither he nor any of his zombie-like followers ever balk at their leadership’s practice of relying so heavily on and, indeed, following the tack of “worldly” sources on their trek out of “the world.” They are in lock-step agreement with those sources, politically. And this political ideology supersedes the merely religious idea of coming out of the world.

Are They Using Those Sources Appropriately?

Of course, as has been pointed out, this is a one-way relationship we’re talking about. The religious Fundamentalists PCG shares their political and (often enough) eschatological views with would be hard-pressed to accept them as brethren, but would instead consider them Judaizers, what with their ultra-conservative heresies like Sabbath-keeping, etc. And those political pundits? You can be sure PCG would be a wacky cult to their lights–perhaps even a threat to national security (you can’t beat Right-wing nuts for paranoia).

So, just because Flurry agrees with and yearns for the acceptance of the subset of “The World” that is white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant and politically conservative, it doesn’t mean that the latter have the same attitude towards him (or would if they had ever heard of him or his little flock). Even the most backward Fundamentalist preacher in “The World” typically has more theological “training” than Flurry could ever hope to approximate in all his years of self-guided biblical tinkering. At the same time, the most astute of Fundamentalist theologians and apologists could, with this atheist’s tacit approval, look down upon foolish Gerald (and Armstrongism in general) with the disdain of a master craftsman surveying the woodworking attempts of the village idiot (though both master’s and idiot’s works burn the same in the fire of critical inquiry).

And, of course, the real albatross around Flurry’s neck in this regard is this “cult status” he so wishes he could (and overtly tries to) jettison. The ironic fact is that the only people who are generous to cults are certain misguided liberal scholars who take a positively naive (and for cult survivors, insulting) approach in their championing of religious tolerance (by which they mean we should refrain from strongly criticizing the views and practices of such institutions as PCG, or from referring to them by politically incorrect pejoratives like “cult”–these reality-challenged, academic wankers might change their tune if they had terminally ill grandkids being raised in a “faith-healing”–oh, what’s the PC term–“high demand group.” Pardon me if I don’t pray they never have to face that dilemma). Certainly no one Flurry depends upon for political grist, including Bill O’Reilly, would take Flurry’s religion seriously, or for that matter, “tolerate” it.

But that does not stop PCG from pretending the reverse is true, or from attempting to sell that pretense to their readers.

The term “quote-mining” doesn’t do justice to the operations over at The Trumpet. First of all, they employ a small contingent whose sole purpose it is to trawl the headlines for anything that could be used to support cult dogma. Once they’ve found some piece of (often questionable) journalism that fits the bill, they go to work on it, taking statements out of context, ignoring originally intended nuances and generally bastardizing the comments of the author and abusing them into something they can use. They treat these sources the same way they treat their members, as raw material they can pervert to do their bidding.

This column by Brad MacDonald is a case in point. The whole modus operandi here is to manufacture the appearance of respectability for what is essentially a New World Order conspiracy theory. This is done by recruiting this article by a “respected British journalist” (more on this later), who happened to have chosen a completely inappropriate (but sensational) turn of phrase for a dramatic hook. Welcome to the Fourth Reich! Well, that’s titillating, for sure–but it’s not exactly accurate, is it? The phrase “Fourth Reich” conjures up images of Nazis, concentration camps and the Holocaust. But notice two facts: (1) none of these horrors are brought up in the article, the subject of which is economic sovereignty, and (2) despite the actual subject of the article in question, Brad MacDonald invites you to be terrified of the very things it is not about: Nazis, concentration camps and the Tribulation.

So, we have Heffer making a calculated decision to engage in sensationalism and MacDonald taking the bait and running away with it, right off the deep end! Do you really want to take that leap with him? If you do, you need to ask yourself just what it would take to get from Germany as relative economic powerhouse in a financially troubled system to Europe as Nazi war machine–the Beast Power with Great Harlot astride and drunk on the blood of the saints (presumably it would at least take some Nazis–where the fuck are they?)! That’s a mighty big leap down the rabbit hole. A logician would call it a non-sequitur: it doesn’t fucking follow. But, yes, Bradley, he did use the phrase “Fourth Reich” and aren’t you clever for noticing it? Will someone please pat this boy on the head?

Are Those Sources Reliable to Begin With?

Usually not. It could be argued that this question should be answered on a case-by-case basis, since PCG is more than willing to distort anything they come across. But remember that they are in the business of citing biased sources, since that is conducive to their propagandist agenda. Favorable citation in the Trumpet is a damn good predictor of a source that wears its conservative bias on its sleeve. Just check it out for yourself. Next time you see something favorably quoted in a Trumpet article, click the link and identify the bias (though, if you’d like to skip a step, just identify the pro-nonsense bias in the Trumpet article itself).

It should go without saying that a heavily biased source is hardly reliable. But what about other aspects of reliability? Quality of content and author’s credentials are important considerations. Generally speaking, an expert in a given field is more reliable than some armchair philosopher promulgating incredible and unproven ideas. Similarly, a source that is known for its sub-par content should be taken with a grain of salt, if at all.

How does MacDonald’s source, The Daily Mail, rate?

We’ve already discovered its bias, and we have also pointed out that it is considered a tabloid. Everyone knows that tabloids are infamous for putting a premium on sensationalism at the expense of accuracy and journalistic integrity. This is why the title of the article was “Welcome to the Fourth Reich” instead of something more apropos, like “German Economic Strength a Threat to National Sovereignty?” It is also why the content of the article was entirely yellow journalism instead of something more measured and objective–like this BBC article on the same subject.

And, far from a ringing endorsement of its reportage, the fact that Mail Online is, as MacDonald noted, “the second-most popular online newspaper in the world” has mainly to do with (1) its fervent focus on search engine optimization and (2) its status as a racy tabloid. Its front pages are incessantly plastered with gossip stories about celebrities–who they’re dating, what cell phone they use, how many gerbils they can fit up their anus. That kind of thing. Notice what one Guardian commentator (rojillo) wrote concerning the Daily Mail’s recent good news:

I think if those of us who go on the Daily Mail site to titter at the frightened little curtain-twitchers who believe their stories, stopped doing it, we could bring this statistic down to where it should be. I pledge not to go back on – honest..

No wonder it’s so popular! But that doesn’t mean it’s reliable–any more than Oprah Winfrey or the Pope are reliable sources for objective information about the world. Anyway, the popularity doesn’t necessarily translate to its back pages, which are apparently reserved for opinion pieces like the one Brad quotes from. He might as well have been appealing to the geopolitical authority of The National Enquirer. Inquiring minds want to know: Does Brad MacDonald think you are an easy mark? All it takes is the barest of research to catch him stretching the truth so thin you can’t see it.

And how about this author, Simon Heffer? I would venture to say that MacDonald knows less about him than the authors of this entry on him. He probably didn’t know that Heffer is an atheist. Unfortunately, though, merely not believing in gods does not make one intelligent or knowledgeable (it often works the other way), and Heffer is, apparently, neither. And that fact has implications for his reliability as a source of truth and understanding.

Remember what we’ve already discussed about armchair philosophers? Heffer is the definitive armchair philosopher, bloviating ineffectually on subjects he knows nothing about–and, as such, he is not quite as “respected” as MacDonald would have you believe. Oh, sure, he’s a loud and obnoxious conservative, but his record on the facts leaves much to be desired (a common correlation, as it happens). The most glaring example of his penchant for getting things wrong was the run-in he had with professional linguists in 2010 after publishing a book on English grammar. Apparently he thought that because he went to “grammar school” as a child, and turned out to be a pedantic prick as an adult, he was qualified to preach the doctrines of “proper English”. No linguistics training required. Funnily enough, though, his book was a huge embarrassment for him (or at least it could have been if he was smart), met as it was with mostly negative reviews–including one that called it “staggeringly erroneous.”

This over-confident, under-educated and unqualified buffoon is not the kind of person you want to rely on for penetrating analysis of world events. But he and the tabloid that printed his Chicken Little editorial were good enough for the likes of the Trumpet, and you shouldn’t have to wonder what that implies–the Trumpet itself is as reliable as its sources.

After all, Trumpet staff could choose less dodgy sources if they wanted to–but they don’t want to. That would open the door to readers accessing truth unalloyed with political bias and fallacious propaganda–which would not be conducive to the effort to twist worldly punditry into a passing image of Armstrongism.


83 thoughts on “Desparate Measures–PCG’s Embrace of Worldly Punditry

  1. Thank you for yet another stellar well-researched logical factual article.

    It introduces a question of its own: Just what would it take to actually embarass these Fanaglers? Dr. Stanley Schmidt has already given these nim nuls editorial attention in “Analog”. That’s quite an achievement in negative notice.

    I appreciate the efforts, but wonder just what it would take to make a dent on these, these… crappy opportunistic parasites? Nothing seems to slow them down. Worse, the membership never seems to catch on.

    Your articles are encouraging, but their solidarity in progressing forward to their own ersatz Fourth Reich seems unabated.

    I myself have printed up business cards and plan to put them under windshield wipers at ACoG meetings and hand them out to members. [I’m not certain I’m yet up to publicly making a scene by confronting the ministers personally, yet. Maybe….] Having “They lie to you Then they take your money” on the cards is about the least subtle message I could think of to get the message across on a 3 1/2″ by 2″ venue with all the pretty graphics behind it. I also plan to advertise in Analog and Asimov’s shortly, but those who are in the sort of position the PCG is in just doesn’t have to worry about anyone assailing their gates of hell, do they?

    • “Dr. Stanley Schmidt has already given these nim nuls editorial attention in “Analog”.”

      What’s this about? I always loved Analog, but never got around to actually subscribing.

      • Yes, it was several years back and I quoted the material a couple of places. Dr. Schmidt was disquieted about Flurry’s approach and didn’t even get to the more meaty stuff.

        I don’t have the physical magazine any more.

        As a side note, Analog has done nothing but get better. The science articles are stellar and the science fiction is quite thought provoking.

        I am planning to get back on the Analog and Asimov’s forums again. Several years back, they were very helpful with the British Israelism topic. These are really smart people and they are very scientific and logical as well as extremely sharp.

  2. Our articles may not make a dent in the articles they write or the politico-religious bent they follow, but it is our hope and expectation that they will be of use to those who are already out and have any lingering doubts (which can be very hard to shake). And if they prove useful to some on the fence, then that would be lovely, too!

    Just for the fun of comparison, here is what the very highly respected BBC said in their coverage of the story:

    • “but those who are in the sort of position the PCG is in just doesn’t have to worry about anyone assailing their gates of hell, do they?”

      Besides what Eric said, we are basically the reason they banned Facebook, and you know what kind of mess that led to (ultimately, fewer members for PCG, so our efforts paid off even on that front–and I’m sure the dividends will continue to roll in). We push, they crack down, the sheep get uncomfortable and the lions roar. Beautiful. By design. We have these fools right where we want them, and we always did. Keep playing by our rules, numbskulls. What other choice do you have? Today Facebook, tomorrow…who knows? Just see how many sheep grow fangs when you’re reduced to prohibiting the Internet altogether. LOL! The Information Age is a bitch, ain’t it?

  3. In the end, perhaps next year, the collapse of the euro will become a reality. They are falling apart due to debt. Just what will old six-pack tell the sheeple? How will they reinvent the ten toes with a Forth Reich at the head? Creative mathematics?

    Flurry injects his political ideology into his religious ideology. This is the making of a fascist group. What’s the difference between Flurry and Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, or even Al Sharpton? Flurry is laughable now, but at what point may he turn the group into another Waco “event?” Just what will it take to crack that egg and have the blood flow onto the plains of Edmond?

    Serious questions. If I was part of that group or had family involved in that group, I would get to work now to save those I love and care for.

      • Sure they implode quickly, and yes they do enough damage as it is, but I really can’t see any of them going Waco unless they just get so far away from the Armstrongist roots as to be totally unrecognizable as a CoG. Armstrongism was never about violence (except mental/emotional…tearing apart families, etc). Guns have always been highly discouraged as evidence for a lack of faith (though, of course, having a hunting rifle is fine). Of course, w/ the exception of hoarding weapons, PCG HQ is already a Waco compound–gated, fenced, mind-control cult. I would hope that the mental damage being done to people could be enough for something to be done about the organization w/o having to have the risk of guns entering the picture.

    • Yes, well, I happen to agree with Herbert’s infamous line, “most of you just don’t get it.” It’s far too easy to conflate the classic Fundamentalist morality of Armstrongism with political conservatism, and I know from experience your typical local elites in WCG were just as intellectually lazy as Flurry (he was one of them, after all). But these fellows lost sight of the fundamentals of Armstrongism, which were essentially a kind of Adventist Utopianism, including a radically liberal theology (open godhead), an idealistic philosophy of “human nature” (diametrically opposed to that of conservatism), and a necessary disapproval of the status quo. The whole point of conservatism is resistance to social change, whereas the whole point of Armstrongism is social change on a universal scale.

      And what does this change entail? A return to the ultra-conservative authoritarian bliss of the common conservative wet dream, where faith in the baby Jesus and anti-intellectual worship of ignorance are the rule of the day? Hardly. The Kingdom was envisioned as a government of “top-flight” personnel, rigorously qualified for rule through a process of ego-minimization and education in practical knowledge that would be applied in the pursuit of serving the needs of the people (the latter–education as preparation for rule, “education is salvation,” as Armstrong put it–being the single most ignored teaching of Armstrongism). It was to be a system wherein power could no longer corrupt, because the only individuals entrusted with power would be incorruptible and not seeking power (according to conservatism, “human nature” is immutable–whereas molding it in the image of God is absolutely central to Armstrongism).

      Armstrongism was, if anything, elitist, which is ostensibly a “liberal” quality. All of its supposed “conservative” ideals were not derived from conservative politics but from biblical literalism–Flurry and those of his ilk merely short-circuited this connection and drew the wrong parallels, worldly as they are. It takes an abstract, “true believer” like I was to really get what Armstrong was laying down.

      • Casey, brilliant. You’ve just upped the ante. I can’t say that I consciously ever thought about what you just said — but there is a very strong resonance with it.

        What you say brings up an interesting proposition: The cult leaders surviving after Armstrong died, believe in a very delusional way that they are continuing the work Herbert started, but they are not. I had fallen into the fallacy that the Armstrong success was because of the venue of the Cold War and the fear people had — from which Herbert Armstrong would deliver them. There’s still that, but you are right in the assessment of the elitism and Adventist Utopianism being the success factors. The current crop of nim nuls really don’t get it (and I hope they never do). They think that they are following Herbert Armstrong’s successful formula, but they are not.

        So by following a pathway far from the process and patterns Herbert Armstrong used, they are using unsuccessful process which fails consistently. I had not seen this until your posting. This means that, all things being equal, they are doomed to spectacular failure, forever making transfusions from one arm to the other, losing the blood in the process, until they are completely drained. It may take awhile.

        So thanks for the most encouraging attenuation of perceptions: It really helps give an objectively based logical hope for worse things to come for the small group of liars and con men.

      • Well, you’re the lucky one LOL! I’m thinking about a piece that will cover this rather personal subject, with the working title, “The Losers of Armstrongism.” It will explain how Armstrongist cults not only attract a certain socially low-functioning personality type, but cultivate that type among the children of converts through indoctrination and behavioral conditioning. I think that cultivation takes especially well to the abstract thinkers among us, and that this difference in social development at least partly explains why some ex-CoGers find it more difficult to adjust to life outside the cult. As a corollary to that, it also could explain the different classes of reasons people have for leaving (the abstract “true believer” types leave because they’ve discovered a critical flaw in their beliefs, whereas the more socially grounded types leave for reasons that have to do with personal freedom–sex, typically; and the latter often wonder why the former have such a hard time at life on the outside, whereas the former wonder why the latter have such a hard time shaking the nagging question, “What if they were right?”–even after they’ve seen it all thoroughly debunked a thousand times).

      • Awesome post–and I absolutely love the picture. By the way, do you allow comments on your blog? If so, how the hell do you get to them? As for the article in question, it might be a while: I have to get my copy of The True Believer from my brother first, for some juicy quotes.

  4. All it would really take is enough PCG members leave, the income drop and the Ambassador Auditorium go to the creditors. $9 Million is a big chunk of change.

    There are actually a number of scenarios which could play out. Another one is that Flurry let fly on a beloved leader in the PCG (I don’t know who that might be), like Wade Cox did, and the majority of the members leave in protest.

    I would personally think that if the members have the choice of eating or sending in tithes, they would probably choose eating, and if they did in a bad economy, the PCG could fall like a boulder.

    • You bet; hope we can send some more traffic your way. The interactivity and audio-visual orientation you’ve incorporated should be useful in piquing the interest and ultimately educating those who respond well to such things (apparently most people–myself included–favor some form of visual/spatial learning strategy).

      • Just added: Mega menus at the right side — the icons stay put as you scroll. It really helps to navigate.

        It is designed for both the visual / spatial appeal, but imparts the written word for those who respond to that — but with short “bites”.

        My thanks to you extends to various kinds of inspiration you’ve given me in the project (which will continue for awhile), without which it would not be as rich in content (although it is bit annoying to think that it’s nailed, and you come along with all your blasted facts and logic and it has to be reframed!)

        Thanks again.

      • Just saw your new site, Mikey…those Mega Menus are super cool! Haven’t looked in depth yet, but it is clear there is an abundance to dig through!

      • Eric, just so there won’t be any charges of being deliberately duplicitous, it should be clear that Mikey is my cat. It’s sort of like Dillweed Jr.

        As the most hated man in Armstrongism (I think, at least, near as I can tell from the sermons I overhear) [with you guys close second with NO2HWA, probably both about to surpass me], I figured that Mikey for President is a better moniker than my real name.

        It’s sort of like the running joke on Dr. Who: “I’m Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister,” “Yes, we know who you are!” all the way up to the Daleks. Even my former Director in IT said, “Yes, we know who you are” to me — all a bit disturbing when you see who said it in Scripture.

        I’ll just keep shlogging along, but I didn’t want to have anyone believe I’m someone I’m not.

        But then…

        Remember the words of G’Kar to the Rangers as they were on their way to visit Babylon 5 (as applicable to Armstrongism land): “Just remember, no one on Babylon 5 is exactly who they seem to be….”

  5. Oh yeah! The PCG god is republican. When a republican wins election, god put them there and granted them the political office (think Bush-Gore contest) for a purpose. However, when a democrat beats a republican, then the election was not fair. Just think of all the talk about this Obama administration being bad blah blah blah. Obama must be clever than their god to have cheated their god off the election. As the OT Elijah mused of Baal: “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”

    At least they could have come up with “Well, god must have let Obama come into power so that we can have more time to do the work and warn the nations.” But of course that would have legitimized a democrat’s presidency.

    • Or “god orchestrated the Democratic victory as a sign that the end is nearer at hand than we might have thought…b/c we all know that the democrats will bring about the collapse of this nation faster than the Republicans…”

      I cannot now point to specific issues of the Trumpet, but I do remember the transition from “all politics/politicians are evil” to “both parties are evil, but the liberals are more evil than the conservatives” to “god is angry at the democratic victory”. I was in by Feb ’94…so the transition was a few years ago.

      • I also seem to remember a transition from “See what a deceived mankind is doing to the environment?” to “Anthropogenic global warming is a liberal myth.” I wonder how many of the splinters take the latter stance; PCG certainly does. Maybe this is a litmus test for conservative politicization of Armstrongism (as though we needed another one).

    • The Armstrongists lied to me, they took my money, they mocked me, they treated me with contempt, they neglected and abused me, made my life miserable, killed off my brother, slandered and libeled me, told me I was worthless, wrecked my family, destroyed any number of my friends.

      I am someone who has had enough.

      I am a good man who has gone to war.

      And I’ve been at it for awhile, but not officially declared it until now.

      I have “little strength”; I don’t have the resources they do; I might not even be anywhere as smart; there are only a few who will fight with me and they have far more troops at their command; they have superior force.

      But what I have has often won wars.

      Let the demons run.

  6. Here is the reference where Dr. Stanley Schmidt talks about The Philadelphia Trumpet in an editorial in “Analog”:

    In the Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine, Dr. Stanley Schmidt wrote an editorial, “Useful Illusions & Deadly Faith” in which he argued that religions consist of two parts: Cosmology and Morals; and that the two can be separated–that a religion can be wrong about the cosmology of how the Universe was created, but still have effective morals which are useful to society.

    But, he adds:

    “The idea that dogmatic and more or less incorrect belief can have real individual and/or social benefits may be hard for a very rational person who cares about facts to understand and accept. About as hard, for example, as for a conventionally religious person to accept that a strong moral code can exist independently of belief in a supreme being. To many readers of this magazine, I suspect, it’s clear that it can and often does. To them, the notion that people can’t behave decently without being afraid of punishment by somebody bigger and stronger implies that all people are, in effect, perpetual children. But children are expected to grow up and do right things because they are right, not just because of fear of what somebody else will do if they don’t. Maybe species should be subject to the same expectation. It’s quite possible to develop moral principles–even some that most people can agree to enforce–by rational consideration of what’s good for individuals and society.”

    He posits this idea later:

    “…The only qualification I can make is that while I may hold the opinion that someone else’s belief is harmful to him or her, it is not my business to try to change it if it is harmful only to him or her. People are entitled to make their own mistakes, and it may be that I am the one who is wrong.

    “But by the same token, when someone else tries to impose his or her beliefs on me, or to hurt me or my property because of those beliefs, that becomes very much my business….”

    Dr. Schmidt concludes:

    “… A reader sent me an editorial from The Philadelphia Trumpet (a magazine apparently dedicated to exposing modern science as “a false messiah–about to destroy us all!”) quite blatantly envisioning a future ruled entirely by Christians, not “hampered [author’s own emphasis] by multiculturalism and diversity.”

    “This kind of stuff is scary, no matter who spouts it. Depth and sincerity of belief, and the courage of conviction to act on if even at great personal risk, can indeed be a real and admirable virtue–sometimes even if the belief itself is not entirely accurate. But when that belief leads to persecution of others who don’t share it, it is no way to be admired–or even tolerated!”

    Useful Illusions & Deadly Faith Editorial [Analog Science Fiction and Fact], by Stanley Schmidt. Montreal: Dell Magazines, February 2003, Vol. CXXIII No. 2. Pages 4-7.

  7. This month’s editorial is “Simple Solutions”, discussing the simplistic way people want to go about solving global problems, patently ignoring profoundly important issues in the process.

    Case in point: Alleviating world hunger as humanity approaches 7 Billion by eating less meat (go on a fruit and veggie diet), while ignoring the proposition of having fewer children.

    The premise is something with which we are all familiar: Downplay important concerns to peddle your own vision. [I am reminded about measurements about global warming based on guages next to the output of air conditioners and sitting on black asphalt, then having buried emails pop up that scientists were lying about the problems for their own agenda (also covered in Analog).]

    Dr. Schmidt concludes: “Tastes differ (which is one reason we need other homes for hmanity). But if we want as many people as possible not just to survive, but to have comfortable and rewarding lives, we’re going to have to improve our management of all those variables, and stop pretending that population growth, along among them, is off limits.”

    We have someone like Gerald Flurry [pick a Warlock false prophet cult leader] who insists that certain truths are off limits. Then he can fill in the holes with chewing gum and spackle and make it look glowing. An objective inspector can see right through it, but convincing the one who’s bought the whole package is an almost impossible proposition, because of the investment and because everyone he believes is a credible authority tells him what he wants to hear. It’s tough to get through that kind of silly prejudice as a perceived outsider.

    I read Analog to help counterbalance the absolutely nutty weirdoes of the ACoGs with something sensible and often scientifically sound. It helps me to clear my mind, especially after indulging with the magical thinking of the Armstrongists (as a part of the ongoing war to defeat their insanity).

  8. Casey, I thought you might find this interesting: As you may know, I have been pursuing advertising in “The Journal”.

    What we found is that the various ACoGs have paid for Google Advertising to pop up ads to direct people to their church website when people search for “The Journal”.

    I think that the per click price got up to over $4 at one point — all because the CoGs want people from being diverted to go to a website which might undermine them in some way. Some very spectacular way.

    If some folks wanted to do searches, click on the ad and then clear their browser and repeat, it could cost the CoGs real dollars.

    It amazes me the lengths to which the Armstrongists will go to continue their delusions.

    • Yeah, I’ve heard of that trick before and I endorse it to all who have too much time on their hands. It’s not just practical; it’s hilarious. But I personally don’t have the gumption for it, as I would surely get distracted from such a menial task too quickly to effect any real damage. Another useful but tedious job is monitoring Wikipedia entries and engaging in editing wars with CoG apologists. I consider myself as having done my time in those trenches since I succeeded in getting the “no contact policy” to stick to the PCG entry, a small but important victory to be sure.

      • Casey, what is really fun here is that all the ACoGs are watching us and trying to find some way to subvert the truth getting out there. To actually pay Google to divert people from through searches of “The Journal” (mentioned as an ad option on another blog), is such an announcement of their desperation. It’s a weird sort of conspiracy for them — not a successful one, because they are competing against each other: Hence the bidding wars driving up the price. I’d love to see the searches costing them $100 a pop. Unlikely, but fun to think about.

        Best of all, they know and see us talking about them and their pathetic strategies and they can’t do one thing about it except pretend we don’t exist and continue to pay higher and higher prices to suppress us without one shred of success.

  9. Ha, Douglas, just for kicks I do that frequently. I’ll google search and click on PCG, and sometimes RCG, paid ads, just to cost them money. The only downside is that then I am part of the numbers they then announce to their tithe slaves to reassure them that their money is being used to “reach the world.”

    • Ah, yes, the old canard that “the gospel has been preached to all the world”. If we could conduct a survey of a large, random sampling of the world’s population, asking them if they’ve ever heard of Armstrong or his message, we would doubtless find that he failed in his “great commission,” notwithstanding all the internal proclamations to the contrary. The performance of WCG’s churchly spawn is even more dismal. Flurry who? Hell, I never even heard of Pack before I left PCG, and I just discovered Weinland less than a year ago. These guys aren’t even reaching “the church”, much less the world. As for Flurry, nobody on the inside takes him seriously except his own dwindling flock: even among Armstrongists he’s a laughingstock, as his claims are either transparently absurd or plagiarized–or both. And the splinters keep splintering, with every little local bumpkin wanting his shot at lordship, regardless of the lack of any lordly qualities like basic communication skills or intellectual competence. They just put up a tacky website and call it God’s work. And they write books that “will shake the foundations of the entire world”–if only anyone would read them (and then the only shaking would be from laughter). It’s a truly pathetic display. It really is a shame they don’t reach a larger audience with this drivel: the dividends in terms of widespread ridicule would make our job easier and more rewarding.

      • Still, you must admit that Flurry did achieve SOMETHING by coming to the notice of Dr. Stanley Schmidt, editor of “Analog” with a readership of around 12,000 people.

        It should be duly noted that it isn’t the sort of notice that could do any good at all for the PCG and it was long ago.

        Us readers have already forgotten it. Well, except for one of us readers.

      • Oh yes, I had briefly forgotten that little piece of negative exposure. I guess that’s an exception that proves the rule. But with PCG’s obvious SEO efforts, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that they get innocently stumbled onto with some frequency. They really should invest that money elsewhere though, and keep a low profile. Every time they opine on something they make a public spectacle of themselves. On the other hand, as long as they don’t discuss their doctrines, their target audience (i.e., conservatives) eat that political bullshit by the shovel-full. So, I guess they know what they’re doing: attracting “co-worker” dollars, I suppose, is the name of the game. But that strategy certainly isn’t converting anyone to Armstrongism, and the occasional reasonable person who finds them either ignores them altogether or (less frequently) skewers them. The latter is precious precisely because it is so rare.

      • WOW! Casey, I followed your link to the “little liocal bumpkin” and read his book on 7 thunders (finished within 24hrs in addition to sleep, family time and other responsibilities.) That book would have made a good read IF ONLY it was consistent and better written. I say a good read for its value in exposing some of the dealings going on between “wannabe leaders” who smile and laugh with you and then go talk to the ministers about all your problems. In my years in the PCG, I have come across a bunch of those and every now and then I used to amuse myself by throwing in a few juicy “facts” for them and waiting to see how long it took before some minister mentioned them in a sermon/sermonette or even Spokesman Club! Anyway, this Gary guy seems to have an obsession with Mr. Wilbur Malone that makes GRF’s obsession with HWA pale in comparission. But, as you said, his intellectual competence leaves a lot to be desired. The story doesn’t flow well, jumps all over the place, promises are made to address certain issues later but it never happens, one paragraph tries to hide identity of other people by using initials, then he later uses the full names and helps make the connection (and hence implicate certain still “reigning” ministers in PCG.) Worst of all, he contradicts himself by saying his mother only gained 12 pounds yet he was born at 7 pounds. Towards the end of the book, he changes it to 10 pounds and 7 pounds ….oh, need I mention the way that he pulls in the “magic” numbers? 7×7, 1-16-86, 3 etc. His “7 plus 1” points (dude, just say 8 and stop trying to force the “magical” number 7 in there!) are just absurd as they are hillarious.

        Nice try, though, little local bumpkin! Maybe I may order a few of sermon tapes to see if I can glean a few more morsels of how the “leading men” are played along by ministers and RD’s.

  10. I’m expecting the hyperbole will really hit shrill as the 2012 elections come our way.

    No matter how the SEO is manipulated, it won’t make much difference to finding any evidence of the ACoGs amidst the… Flurry of politics.

    Sites and blogs like this might be the only exposure they have.

    • You’re asking all the wrong questions, of course. For one thing, the burden of proof is on the claimant, not the skeptic. If a Zionist conspiracy exists, you should be able to prove that it does–if you can’t, no one is obliged to take your word for it (or Duke’s). As for “facts,” Duke has offered none–all this is is spin. This Jerusalem Post article you link to is a case in point. Far from representing a “mainstream” Jewish view (as Duke claims), Duke’s source itself describes this religious nut’s rants rather differently: “Yosef’s Saturday night sermons have seen many controversial statements from the 90-year-old rabbi. In August, Yosef caused a diplomatic uproar when he wished a plague upon the Palestinian people and their leaders, a curse he retracted a few weeks later…” Obviously, I don’t accuse Duke of lying–that would be giving him too much credit. He’s a bullshitter.

  11. You self-supposed masters of logic are using hateful personal attacks against myself and Duke. You should know that carries no weight in logical discourse. Looks like I’m outclassing you guys.

    • Sure, Chuck. But just remember that just because “hateful personal attacks” carry no weight in logical discourse doesn’t mean that their use cancels out the logical discourse that accompanies them. Moron. See how that works?

    • Yes,
      it is all about those rich, powerful (yet very scattered and
      numerically inferior) Jews who somehow manage to control everything
      (which, if true, means that we should all do what they do b/c they must
      have an amazingly brilliant strategy…or god truly is behind them)–the
      “New York Jews” control the futures exchanges (like the price of
      beef–real story from a real Oklahoma farmer I knew), and it was the
      evil Jews that spread the Black Death, and the Jews that invented and
      spread socialism and communism. Etc. Please forgive us for being
      skeptical. Also, if the Jews are so stinking powerful, why is it they
      have large chunks taken out of the one tiny country they control–chunks
      inhabited and controlled by Palestinians (whose leaders are Hamas) who
      are able to launch rocket and terrorist attacks against Israel w/o ever
      worrying that Israel will just roll in heavy and wipe them out?

      Sure, I watched some of Duke’s videos–I guess if Washington, Edison,
      Tesla, the Wright Brothers, Einstein, etc hadn’t been white, then none
      of their darker shaded counterparts would have ever thought of this
      stuff and we’d still be living in pre-industrial, or possibly
      pre-information age societies. You do realize that the different colors
      of humans aren’t actually indications of different KINDS of humans,
      right? Certainly you know that white people are white b/c they have
      lived in cold, cloudy environments long enough that those w/ fairer
      skins that soaked up sun-produced Vitamin D better had a survival
      advantage? And you, of course, know that black people are black b/c of
      the more direct equatorial sun that damages the skin (and overall
      health) of lighter coloured humans…right?

      An excellent book about why the “whites” were so much more successful
      than the “darks” is “Guns, Germs, and Steel”. It delves into
      environmental factors, which influenced which species of plant and
      animal thrived, which species were domesticable, etc, etc. What if
      Zebras or Rhinos were domesticable? They would have had parity, or
      simply crushed European cavalry forces! The Africans could have invaded
      Europe! And why were European viruses more potent to American natives
      than the other way around? The viruses had their start w/ domestication
      of animals–viruses mutated and transferred from animal to human, and
      due to vagaries of geography and climate there weren’t domesticable
      species much in the Americas….there are good, reasonable explanations
      that have nothing to do w/ racial superiority or inferiority (w/ the
      notion of race being a complete misconception in the first place).

      Now, there you have it: evidence, logic, and no name calling. Of course, this is a gift–the burden of proof is on the one making the claim…but you wanted reasons why we doubted? Here’s some real good reasons why.

      • and this “anonymous” post was supposed to be me…had some browser problems. Also ended up double-posting–the one under my name is down at the bottom. Oopsy.

  12. Sorry, that last link was the wrong link. Try this instead.

    Why is it racist of me simply to expose the Jewish racism and Jewish supremicism of some Jews? There are radicals in all camps. What is moronic about quoting radical Jews in their own words? Aren’t you guys being judgmental and one-sided? What is homophobic about exposing Jewish racism? It has nothing to do with homosexuality.

    Armstrongism appealed to me not because it was “racist” but for other reasons. The “fulfilled prophecies” seemed logical and factual at the time. It had nothing to do with racism. Please be logical rather than insulting and judgmental.

    • “Why is it racist of me simply to expose the Jewish racism and Jewish supremicism of some Jews? There are radicals in all camps. What is moronic about quoting radical Jews in their own words?”

      That’s not what you’re doing: stop being a little weasel. You are promoting David Duke’s delusional sermons on Zionist conspiracy theories and his white supremacist propaganda. Own up to it–don’t you have the courage of your convictions?

      I think we need to do a corrective article on this delusion of “race” as well, since it is so central to Armstrongism. Duke’s nonsense involves the same brand of magical thinking as Armstrong’s, namely, that Western civilization’s success has something to do with a socially constructed property called “race” (although in Armstrong’s case, there was a divine blessing involved–ostensibly bestowed upon a particular “race”–with Duke, the racism is more direct). The paranoia behind Duke’s profoundly unfortunate statement about “whites” becoming an “endangered species” is indicative of a poor (or non-existent) understanding of what drives cultural progress (not to mention biology). What is he afraid will be lost in the unlikely scenario he has manufactured out of thin air? Does white skin predict higher technical, moral or intellectual capabilities than other hues and shades? Or is it blue eyes that make one better suited to civilization? He doesn’t address such implications of his stated concerns because he knows as well as I that doing so would expose those concerns as racist in nature. Only Chuck, here, falls for his charade–likely because he wants to believe in the grand narrative behind it all, the ever-present Zionist conspiracy theory (although I suspect he’s also a bit of a white supremacist himself).

    • White Supremacist: The world is going to hell because of all these Jews running things–meanwhile, all those worthless darkies are outbreeding us proper white folk. What’s gonna happen when everybody in the whole world is a goddamn nigger? Can you imagine Nascar in a world like that?

      Reasonable Person: You’re a moron.

      White Supremacist: Heavens to Betsy, I’ve never heard anything so insulting in all a’ my life!

  13. Yes, it is all about those rich, powerful (yet very scattered and numerically inferior) Jews who somehow manage to control everything (which, if true, means that we should all do what they do b/c they must have an amazingly brilliant strategy…or god truly is behind them)–the “New York Jews” control the futures exchanges (like the price of beef–real story from a real Oklahoma farmer I knew), and it was the evil Jews that spread the Black Death, and the Jews that invented and spread socialism and communism. Etc. Please forgive us for being skeptical. Also, if the Jews are so stinking powerful, why is it they have large chunks taken out of the one tiny country they control–chunks inhabited and controlled by Palestinians (whose leaders are Hamas) who are able to launch rocket and terrorist attacks against Israel w/o ever worrying that Israel will just roll in heavy and wipe them out?

    Sure, I watched some of Duke’s videos–I guess if Washington, Edison, Tesla, the Wright Brothers, Einstein, etc hadn’t been white, then none of their darker shaded counterparts would have ever thought of this stuff and we’d still be living in pre-industrial, or possibly pre-information age societies. You do realize that the different colors of humans aren’t actually indications of different KINDS of humans, right? Certainly you know that white people are white b/c they have lived in cold, cloudy environments long enough that those w/ fairer skins that soaked up sun-produced Vitamin D better had a survival advantage? And you, of course, know that black people are black b/c of the more direct equatorial sun that damages the skin (and overall health) of lighter coloured humans…right?

    An excellent book about why the “whites” were so much more successful than the “darks” is “Guns, Germs, and Steel”. It delves into environmental factors, which influenced which species of plant and animal thrived, which species were domesticable, etc, etc. What if Zebras or Rhinos were domesticable? They would have had parity, or simply crushed European cavalry forces! The Africans could have invaded Europe! And why were European viruses more potent to American natives than the other way around? The viruses had their start w/ domestication of animals–viruses mutated and transferred from animal to human, and due to vagaries of geography and climate there weren’t domesticable species much in the Americas….there are good, reasonable explanations that have nothing to do w/ racial superiority or inferiority (w/ the notion of race being a complete misconception in the first place).

    Now, there you have it: evidence, logic, and no name calling. Of course, the burden of evidence is upon those making the claims…but you wanted reasons for our skepticism (besides the obvious)? Here you go…

    • LOL @ Guns, Germs and Steel–I was just about to bring that up but you beat me to it! Aren’t we just a well-read bunch?

      You see, Chuck, this is how to be right. You educate yourself, you read well-vetted books, you learn to distinguish between credible sources and crackpots, you check facts, you think critically and, most importantly, you never trust your emotions. To be wrong, you just keep swallowing the bullshit of whatever propaganda machine stirs you and avoid thinking for yourself at all costs (feeling right is more useful for being wrong than is thinking things through clearly)–certainly never pick up a book that is respected by the academic establishment (they’re all Jewish bogeyman remember); instead, fill your shelves with tracts that read as though they should be typed in comic sans.

      My impression of you is that you are far more sure of yourself than is warranted. I suggest a bit more humility: instead of coming on here thinking you have something useful to offer us, you should instead hang back and focus on comprehending what you’re reading. After all, I’m not sure what made you think we would be interested in this half-wit, David Duke. Were you just trolling? This article had nothing to do with white supremacy or Zionism.

      Your behavior exhibits all the hallmarks of the fervor of the true believer. Have you exchanged Armstrongism for Dukism? If so, you’ve lost a lot of ideological density but gained nothing except a different flavor of hot air: you were better off before. Either way, you still haven’t learned the art of applying critical thinking to your own beliefs.

  14. There is no point in arguing with haters. Gerald Flurry was an angry man who attacked his opponents. His followers absorbed that mentality.

    Casey and Splintersurfer, you haters might have left the cult, but the cult has not left you. You are still in the image of Gerald Flurry.

    Your hate site will remain ineffective until you grow up.

    • Leaving accusations of hate aside (even though I would argue that talking about how Jews run the world and the Darkies are taking over would tip the hate ration strongly in your favor), let me ask a question: Do you plan on seeking other viewpoints against the Duke vids? I mentioned Guns, Germs, and Steel specifically. I read that maybe 2yrs ago and thought it had many good arguments. Then you presented the arguments from Duke. After exploring both sides I reject Duke’s arguments as lacking merit. After you have done some more research on the other side then your opinion will likely carry a bit more weight…and who knows? You might actually change your mind!

    • YAWN. Snoregasbored. Like I haven’t seen that reaction every time I’ve proven someone wrong. Here’s the exchange in a nutshell:

      Winner: …in light of these points, I conclude that your position is incorrect.

      Loser: WAAAAAAAAAaaaaAAaaAAAAaaaaa!

      Also, I love this over-used syllogism: someone who wins an argument must be an asshole; particular asshole happens to be an ex-CoG member; therefore, CoG causes assholes. News flash, assholes are EVERYWHERE! And, it needs to be said, correlation is not causation. I challenge you to go here and parrot David Duke–see how many “haters” you encounter who have never heard of Armstrong. Or you can try your little experiment in East Saint Louis. I think you’ll discover pretty quickly what hate actually feels like.

      Thanks for the article, by the way (this is exactly why new contributors aren’t automatically given the power to take down their own posts).

      “Your hate site will remain ineffective until you grow up.”

      Grow up? GROW UP?! Hate site!? What is this I don’t even… Actually, I do: all this charge represents is a childish reaction to being exposed as a fool, translated into marginally adult language and garnished with the kind of bullshit projection that only a grown-up can produce. What do you mean, “ineffective?” We have demolished your entire belief system with the thoroughness that it deserves–and that’s just in a few offhand remarks in the comments section–using only your own sources to do it! I’d say that’s pretty effective. This David Duke obsession of yours is like a little fly that landed on our hardy meal of Armstrongism. We barely put any effort into swatting it away and there it is, dead on the floor. Do you want us to go through the tedium of squashing it underfoot? Why? Let the dogs lick it up. It is no more worth our notice than that. As to the effectiveness of our site in general, how would you know? Well, you wouldn’t, of course–but a bullshitter must bullshit.

      Now, when you come back (as I’m sure you will), I expect an apology for all of this nonsense–the same way I apologized to many people when I finally saw the light and discarded my delusion. It is in the hope of that outcome that we “hate” you as accurately and with as much intellectual rigor, skepticism and extensive knowledge as we have shown in this debate.

  15. “I’m sure my co-authors would disagree with this assessment, but in my opinion 98% of these people are simply not worth the time or effort to try and save from themselves. ”

    Jace, you have to decide whether the 2% who don’t have their heads up their butts are worth it.

    • In my world, patience is just another word for being accustomed to disappointment with others, and life is just a carnival full of games and rides. This debunking game can be enjoyable on its own: maybe we’re not in it to change people’s minds. The carnival is teeming with clowns, after all–they outnumber the customers to a surprising degree, and most of them are incorrigible. I suspect it has always been this way, and probably always will be. We can bewail that or we can choose to enjoy the show–especially since the show can be interactive. What’s the saying? You can’t fix stupid–but you can point and laugh.

  16. I enjoy laughing at stupidity too…but god (some god or other) damn-it! If we accept that we’re not changing anyone’s mind, but simply being entertaining then there’s no point! Yeah, point and laugh at the stupid…lovely past-time. But if we don’t fight w/ the will of those who think SOMETHING might change, then we might as well all go to Europe (w/o blogging) and abandon America to the likes of Perry/Bachmann…or the likes of Flurry/Armstrong…sure there are idiots to fight against, but we have enough logical ammo to counter the religious “human wave” attacks if only we have the will to do so. Of course, w/o religious zeal that is a bit more difficult for us, but of course that is a point to our advantage…

  17. Splintersurfer, I appreciate your efforts and sincerely hope you will continue. I know that I felt the same way and dropped out completely from this madness for three years. It was 3 years of peace and quiet, devoid of the mental noise. It was nice. I needed the time off.

    I returned without any illusion that I would influence one single person to leave the delusions of Armstrong. I am always quite surprised when someone does leave.

    There is, however, manifest satisfaction in proving the liars wrong. Making evident their fabrications of fraud is empowering, particularly when there is irrefutable scientific proof.

    While they will never admit their are wrong — in fact they dig in and build their bullwarks to defend themselves — they do feel threatened. Creating an atmosphere of fear and even terror for the scoundrel is worth it. They DO lose sleep over it. Don’t kid yourself: They see what you’ve written. They can’t resist.

    It’s also nice to watch as they steadily sink into the quicksand of their own making. They are going down. The Original Armstrong Titanic cannot be recreated. They are all in their own little toy Titanics, playing in the bathtub with other people’s lives and money, and their own ship is sinking. Unlike Global, this time they will go down with their ships.

    The world at large doesn’t even notice this drama of the tempest in the thimble.

    So whether you go or stay, or leave for awhile and return, you have made your own impact, one which several of us really appreciate.

  18. @splintersurfer, your work plus Eric’s and Casey’s was the impetus for me abandoning the Armstrong ship.

    On a sabbath after the 2010 FoT, during the international announcements, I recognized Eric’s name as one of the people disfellowshipped. Eric and I had been good acquintances over the years and I was shocked. Of course, I already had other “seeds” planted in my mind (MoA changes, That Prophet doubts, Raising the Ruins doubts etc etc) but didn’t have any real solid thing. However, I knew that people get marked for trying to ‘poison’ others, so I decided to do a web-search on Eric Sell that evening. And, voila! I hit the motherload! I read the blogs you guys had been writting and started expanding my thinking. It didn’t take long for me to start seeing sense in the doubts that I had been having.

    Then Office of Apostle nonsense came out and that sealed it for me. I knew I had to get out of that stuff. However, I was a bit concerned for family members still in the PCG so I laid low for sometime. Gradually, other family members started seeing things too and throwing hints at me and I caught on. We all took action at different times and in different ways. I am happy to say that at this moment, 80% of my immediate family is no longer attending (including me.)

    Oh, remember the Mark of Truth: Open Letter to PCG Ministry? I read that a few days after you posted it and then we heard a bible study from Brian Davis in which he used that letter extensively (of course without saying who or where it came from.) That was one interesting BS (pun intended.) From that moment I realized that the ministry are reading your stuff (hello, folks! thanks for reading this post too!)

    To cut the long story short, I didn’t last long myself in the PCG after that. In addition to reading your posts and doing my own research while using my intellectual thinking (oh, the horrors of intellectualism!), I am continously pulling back the veils of what is really happening to these groups. I was in the PCG for close to 20 years and in the WCG for over 10 years and I still get amazed at all the deception that was (and is) there. Some of the things there greatly influenced my life and I am still working on getting rid of most. Granted, I had fun at things like feasts, socials and camps!

    I am still not bold enough to use my real name purely for the reason that I am still in touch with some friends in the PCG who are also starting to see things but haven’t taken action yet. Most important, still got some family in there and the rest of us are working on them. As for now, the PCG has me as suspended and as long as I am not “known” to be causing trouble, the remainng family is allowed some contact with me. I feel that the moment I come out in the open, I get D&M’ed and family and friends might grow cold feet or might be on a watch list. I’d hate for this to happen because I know the toll that this can take on a family (no contact policy has broken up families and strained relationships so bad; some of them can never be recoverd because some of the people have died. As far as I am concerned, its the worst poison, EVER!)

    In short, you are doing a marvelous work here (another pun intended) and you need to keep it up. AD has readers within the ranks of the PCG, with the stuff that appears here, those PCG folks who revisit the site have the spark of revolt within them and we need to keep fanning it. I wish I could be able to write more and often but I fear (oh, yeah: FEAR – that word again) that my cover would be blown and risk the above. I know the PCG ministers read this and I know that they might start trying to figure out who I am especially now that I have said what I am doing. But hopefully, by the end of the year, I would be able to pluck the people dear to me from the fire (sounds familiar?!) and I will reveal myself.

    Some may call me a coward for remaining undercover, you are entitled to your view just as I am entitled to mine. As long as I know and understand what I am doing, then I don’t mind being classified coward. But this I know: Armstrongism destroyed my family from my youth more than it helped. Some of the effects have grown into my own kids, but hopefully I have curtailed them before its too late…and all I want is to help my nephews and nieces and friends to see it as well.

    Eric, once I come out of the woodwork, we have some catching up to do! I have tried to find you on facebook or a way to contact you but so far I have been unsuccesful.

    In the meantime, I am working on getting my life back and look forward to every single blog article and comment post by all the readers of this blog!

    • What? Really?? Boy, this is good news! Some of my stuff (and the AD blog in general) has helped someone who was having doubts! That really makes my day! And it is heartening to know we have other readers on the inside; the reason we do this is for them, to help them.

      You shouldn’t have much trouble finding me on fb unless maybe I have my security set too high or something. As for the other, if you’d like, you can reach me at

      Thank you very much for sharing your story of how we have helped you! It really makes it all worth while and certainly counter-balances the crazy we have to deal with–if dealing w/ crazy comments (and debates at other sites) is the cost of helping some of our friends and family shake the delusion, then it is totally worth it.

      • Wow! Look at that! Faster response than some of the ministers I dealt with!

        Eric, I dropped you an email. And thanks to you and everyone else for what you do.

    • @GiveMe: Someone suggested you might have left too many clues to your identity. If you think this might be a problem and you want us to delete/edit your comment, we will be happy to do so. Just send a message to Eric, and include any revisions you’d like to make. After we get a response from you, I’ll delete this.

    • “@splintersurfer, your work plus Eric’s and Casey’s was the impetus for me abandoning the Armstrong ship.”

      “In short, you are doing a marvelous work here (another pun intended) and you need to keep it up. AD has readers within the ranks of the PCG”

      Etc. All in all, I’d say that’s a pretty good testimonial for an “ineffective hate site”. It’s a cliche but I feel it truly: if only one person is helped along the path of reason, I consider all the late nights and pedantic fussing over just the right words, all the hours of albeit amateur research and the sparring with Apologists and trolls, all the careful attention to detail in editing and site layout–all of it–to be a worthwhile endeavor. But it hasn’t been just one. We knew you all were in there, reading us, since before we were marked, which is why we were so bold in our open letter. (But I didn’t know it was quoted from in a Bible Study, so thanks for sharing that detail–and please let us know if it was one of those super-important, “play in all churches” numbers!)

      On the other hand, as has been said, even if no one was ever helped, I for one would find this all rewarding, as I still am the kind of person who enjoys wading into a conspiracy and attacking untenable truth claims. Any time you do that well, you are forced to learn new things and you gain a deeper understanding of the world we live in. And fighting the good fight is its own reward in a lot of ways. Depending on your perspective, the point of, say, dancing could be to succeed in courtship, or the point of dancing could be to dance. Similarly, a reason to keep attacking harmful delusions is that it is enjoyable. But if you don’t enjoy it anymore, it may take a superhuman altruism to keep you in the game. Anyway…Zen hat coming off.

      “Some may call me a coward for remaining undercover”

      My old friend Bill always used to say that discretion is the better part of valor.

      “Armstrongism destroyed my family from my youth”

      Yep. I feel your pain. That’s what it is best at, in fact, just like any other common cult out there. They work to break down any loyalties that are not directed to the cult, and then realign them in such a way that they will serve the cult’s uses. It is only for this reason that all their talk about “family” fails to be ironic: they are perverting real families into cult-centered parodies of themselves. They likely don’t even consciously realize what they’re doing–it’s a tactic that abides for the simple reason that it works to perpetuate the cult that uses it. This is part of my theory of cult evolution: these kinds of memetic adaptations are selected for at a macro level. Groups and movements that don’t use them don’t enjoy the kind of success that would make them harmful enough to talk about. We’re going to do a piece on this at some point, I think.

      GiveMe, when you’re in the clear, I encourage you to submit something to us for publication. I have a feeling you’d produce some good material for Armstrong Delusion, and this “marvelous work” needs “laborers” to get the light of reason out to the “largest audience possible.” (I’ll stop this impression here, just short of asking for “free will offerings”. We don’t want your money or your soul; we just want your intellectual and rhetorical efforts–in other words, we value you as a person with a mind of your own that you know how to use.)

      • @Casey, I just checked my sermon notes, and it should have been a Bible Studytitled “Behold Your God” or something close to that. Unfortunately, that was one of the sabbaths when I was not on audio booth duty so I didn’t get to note if it was a “Play in All Churches.”

        I later heard that Mark Nash spoke on faith and he brought up the Ancient City of Tyre and how some try to use it to refute the bible. My source wasn’t so sure if he quoted AD but was highly suspicious of it. The one thing my source confirmed was that Nash did use wikipedia to prove that modern Tel-Ashkelon (or Ashkelon) is not in the same original spot as mentioned in the bible. I wasnt there for that message nor was I able to get to another congregation when they played the message on CD so I cannot really vouch for him using AD as source though I know AD had posted the “Crossing the Rhine” article (which pokes hole at the Tyre prophecy) prior to this message by Nash.

        And. yeah, I have been contemplating writing something either on AD or a personal blog.

      • LOL Tyre. Yes, the apologists try a just-so story to save their prophecy, asserting that the ancient Tyre was a different city from the modern Tyre. Their prevarication apparently consists in pointing to some archeological site on the coast (but still within the metropolitan area of modern Tyre) and saying, “Behold, Tyre.” This is all in vain, though. The ancient city called Tyre was on an island, and Ushu was the associated settlement on the mainland (itself not a city but more like a suburban outgrowth of Tyre).

        The prophecy says that the ancient island city would never be rebuilt and that the island on which it had stood would be bare rock forever. Bad call, Yahweh. Nature abhors a vacuum, you know. Not only has the island been continuously inhabited for all the centuries between the writing of this prophecy until now, but so has the mainland settlement. It has survived numerous sieges, overthrows and occupations to be revived again and again into a thriving metropolis. Today it is home to over 200,000 people and is the fourth largest city in Lebanon.

        All of these facts can be found on the Wikipedia page Nash apparently referred to. The takeaway is that he, specifically, is a duplicitous fraud who knows better and is smart enough to be confident in the sheep’s distaste for independent research (but what should you expect from a convicted felon and a chiropractor?). For more thorough debunking see this.

      • Ohhh, Casey! I wouldn’t put Nash down too much b/c he’s a chiropractor. I know the profession has gone off the deep end in recent years, but I don’t think it has always been so. On the other hand, it seems certain that he is smart enough to know what he’s doing. I mean, a relative of John Nash can’t be THAT stupid, can he? But I’ve never heard him utter any of the other recent insanity that has gone along w/ chiropractic.

        But yeah, him saying “well, if you look in grid 38C, you’ll see that ‘Tyre’ isn’t there, thus the prophecy is fulfilled”, even though the city is all around is supremely lame. Nash has to be smart enough to know that…and sadly smart enough to know that nobody he preaches to will know/appreciate the difference. That does make him particularly despicable.

  19. Go read it in the “NewStandsmam” and on nont he NewsVine the article was written by a German fellow. Armstrong was right!!!!

    • What was that? Did I hear, “Baaaa baaaaa”?

      Just another sample of abysmal stupidity from the sheep-fold: they completely ignore everything and keep trumpeting their delusion, without so much as an argument–and of course they can’t figure out how their own first language works. Add to that the courage and moral fiber of an amoeba and you’ve got the recipe for the typical Armstrong fan. I thought this was a spambot until I read the last sentence. Wipe the drool off your chin, Anonymous, you obtuse idiot.

      Wait. I’m being inappropriately harsh. The proper response is compassion: the great tragedy is that Armstrongism preys most successfully on the mentally handicapped–like our brave new “Anonymous” here. I’m looking forward to never hearing from this one again.

  20. I’m not sure which is more realistic Gerald Furry who believes the British are one of the lost tribes of Israel, Akron Ohio’s Earnest Angely who can magically heal your hemorrhoids through the TV or Professional Wrestling.

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