We have a section here at Armstrong Delusion called “the memory hole”. It is a section dedicated to long forgotten Armstrongist teachings. But we didn’t just come up with something that sounded kinda clever; no, the idea came from George Orwell’s masterful 1984. It is a dystopian novel about how life would be in 1984 (the book was written in 1948) under communist world rule.
Within easy reach of Winston’s arm, [there was] a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This…was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.” The purpose of these “memory holes” was the destruction of any printed material, any picture, book, newspaper, whatever, that was “out of date” or “inconvenient”. It was a destroyer of evidence.
Our Memory Hole section is dedicated to the idea of rescuing from the ashes old articles or teachings that the current church administration would rather be forgotten. Fortunately none of the old stuff has ended up in actual memory holes. However, constant streams of new material, “new revelation”, and half truths about what has been said in years gone by has created a mental memory hole in the minds of the members. Nobody has time (what with the flurry of new booklets, Trumpet, Royal Vision, and Phili News articles) to go back and see what the Jun/July 1934 Plain Truth actually said, and until the internet came into its own very few had access to such documents even if they made the time. So, an effective memory hole was created.
Why was this done? It is because, as the Party Slogan ran, “who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past”. We are who and what we are, either as individuals, groups, or nations, because of our history. History has made us who we are now. The events in your youth have all shaped you as the person you are today. If a group can control what history we know or see, then they can control who we are, what we think, and what we think about who those in power are. But no more! It is time to sift through the ashes of forgetfulness and call forth the Phoenix of Truth!
Arguably the most important document of the PCG is the book Malachi’s Message. It is the seminal work! It is the reason for the PCG’s existence; supposedly it is revelation from God explaining why the PCG had to form and the work it had to do.
Or, that is what we’re told. I think we are all fairly familiar with the allegations of plagiarism from an earlier work called Letter to Laodecia. The evidence appears pretty solid in support of MM being plagiarized. But most people don’t even know about the earlier work thanks to the church’s mass media campaign proclaiming the book to be theirs and to be revelation from God. Thus, anyone else who comes up and says, “hey, I wrote it first!” is clearly a lying tool of Satan. Popularity implies credibility.
But let’s forget all that for a moment. Let’s say the book was original with Flurry. If it is all he claims, why has he edited it on several occasions, releasing new editions? In the early days they said it was to keep the book up-to-date with all the changes in the WCG. But eventually that was no longer an issue, yet they keep making revisions. Why?
One day I sat down with a couple people and we went through three editions of MM—1992, 2004, and 2008. There were a few minor differences, but nothing really noteworthy…until we got to page 17/18. In the ’92 version, an article by Mr. Armstrong from the Jan. ’84 Good News was quoted in which Armstrong explains how world events were held up in the ’70s and that since then he has been fulfilling the mission of Rev. 10—to prophecy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings. “So the time of this prophecy is just shortly before the work of the Philadelphia church is finished. After that shall come the Great Tribulation…” (Jan ’84 GN pg 1).
Hmmm…where have I heard that before? Well, for one, the Rev. 10:11 scripture was used in the Feb. 2002 Trumpet in the article This is the Philadelphia Church of God to describe the Commission of the Church. I guess that is why the paragraph or two from the ’92 edition of MM telling how HWA fulfilled that scripture was conspicuously absent from the 2004 version.
By 2002 the WCG was hardly even recognizable and the enthusiasm of “warning the Laodecians” and “breaking free of Laodecia” was wearing off. So, how now to rally the troops (and their wallets)? Aha! A “new commission”!
Since the church doesn’t have the kind of control that Big Brother had in 1984, they can’t just blatantly confiscate everybody’s old copies and throw them in a giant furnace. However, they do strongly urge people to keep up with the latest edition at the expense of the older ones—citing minor yet important edits. And because the people are willing to listen the memory hole deepens.
Remember: who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past. Changing who people are and what they think involves changing the past—or at least changing the people’s conception of the past.
The 2005 booklet Prophecy Again started with what sounds like new truth:
Down through the centuries, people have talked about prophesying again and wondered about this commission discussed in Revelation 10:11. When you study what people thought it meant, you see how deeply confused they were. But here we are at the end of man’s rule on Earth, and God’s ‘little flock’ understands for the first time ever what it means to prophesy again. We are not guessing—we know. God has given us abundant proof (Pg 1…emphasis theirs).
Of course, later, they quote in full the passage from the ’84 GN about HWA saying he fulfilled that prophecy. Hmmm…so they understand “for the first time ever”, and the End Time Elijah fulfilled it?? How are they fulfilling it when it has already been fulfilled? Are they prophesying again…again? I’ve heard of duality, but tripality? Aside from that, people are kept from questioning too much through a reinterpretation of what was actually written. Armstrong said, “But our Work is not yet completed. This prophecy indicated it will be soon—and apparently during the decade of the ’80s—though we cannot set definite dates.” Even though he was talking about “no more delay” in that article, and even though it had been 21yrs since it was written, Flurry writes, “But still, there is no more delay”!
So the fact nothing has happened yet doesn’t mean nothing will ever happen (apparently)! It isn’t (yet another) failed prophecy—we just don’t understand God’s timing, even though we know we’ve been in the time of no more delay for about 20yrs. Revising history without changing a word…brilliant!
The Tape Library
Of course, in some ways, the memory hole is not as abstract.
A copy I have of the Dec. 10, 2005 PGR reiterates a policy from Aug. 2003 that abolished the tape library system, saying all sermon and bible study tapes/CDs were to be destroyed after listening to them.
Immediately one wonders what it was they felt they had to hide! Sure, there’s the line about “this is dangerous knowledge” and there are “leaks” where people not intended to receive the tapes do get their hands on a copy. But is it really out of fear/concern for the poor souls who are exposed to these dangerous messages? Do you really think so?
Watch This Man
Back in the ’70s and ’80s, Armstrong told us to be careful of a “strong man of Europe”, one that would become the King of the North—ruler of Europe! Seemingly up until his death in ’86, HWA thought that man was (or could be) either Franz Joseph Strauss, or Otto von Habsburg (or Hapsburg). This son of an Austrian Emperor only died this past July.
But long before his death (Strauss died in ’88), the PCG was already warning of others. By 2000 Trumpet articles were already looking to be gleefully fearful of the Italian Romano Prodi (especially the evil way he used to rub his hands together during speeches). However, by May 2002, they had come to their senses and refocused on the scary Germans due to the rise of one Edmund Stoiber…protege of the once feared Strauss! Flurry writes, “If he is elected, it will dramatically change the course of European and world history—and we need to understand why.” But he lost the election for chancellor. Awww, too bad. Better luck next time.
By ’06 they had gone back to their first love—the Italian. Why? He was actually still around. But that didn’t last long, for scandal and Papal pressure forced him to resign. But they are a silly bunch…poor Prodi never had a shot, for deep in their heart they love the German men! Now, as of Feb. 2010, they have found a young, handsome, strong fellow—a Baron no less! He is Baron Karl-Theodore zu (sir) Gutenberg! Well, that is a shortened version of his name…there are about 4 or 5 more stuck in the full version. Part of what makes him exciting is he is somewhat related to the one, the only…Otto von Hapsburg!
In this article I’m not going to get into why they say watch him, because it really doesn’t matter. What matters is they’re always wrong. But nobody seems to notice, caught up as they are in the excitement of the new man to watch (and rather reminiscent of the switch, in 1984, from being at war with Eurasia to being at war with Eastasia). But perhaps all these shifts have helped the people develop a skill they are unaware of—a skill from the world of 1984: 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 as 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.
Doublethink is a system of reality control used to ease the discomfort of cognitive dissonance, since it is a discomfort caused by holding contradicting ideas simultaneously. How else other than Doublethink can you explain going from one “man to watch” to another to another without loss of faith? Faith induced doublethink (or is it doublethink induced faith?) is the real power behind the mental memory hole system the Armstrongite CoGs have set up.
Deutsche Zwickmühle (German Catch-22)
So far as the church message goes, Germany is in a real Catch-22. Since WWII Mr. Armstrong has warned about Germany, and a conquering Germany fit well with Armstrong’s eschatological vision as put forth in US & Britain in Prophecy. And so today, the Splinters warn about Germany. So, no matter what happens within that particular European state, we are always to fear them.
Case in point, The Mar/Apr ’05 Trumpet with the lead article Germany in Crisis. “The majority of Germans are not happy, and when the German people are unhappy, it is time for the world to take notice.” They go on to quote from a 1983 book by Luigi Barzini called The Europeans, in which he talks about possible dangers arising from an unhappy Germany. But the most dangerous thing Germany did after ’83 was tear down a Commie wall that was cutting their country in half.
Then they were happy again. But in ’05 apparently they weren’t, and that meant trouble! Why? Because wasn’t it extreme unhappiness that led to the Nazi party taking control? Don’t the Germans historically try to conquer half of Europe when they’re unhappy at home? Hmmm…well, I don’t know about Germany specifically, but I do know most countries don’t go to war when they’re happy. So, to make the argument of unhappy = war apply specifically to the Germans is just as accurate as saying unhappy = shooting applies specifically to the North Hollywood Bank Robbers.
But everything isn’t hunky dory now that Germany is one of, if not the, strongest economy in Europe. Now that they’re strong they’re a huge threat—just read the Sep. ’11 leading Trumpet article Germany Dominates Europe Again!.
When Germany joins NATO forces in some military mission or other, it is all so the German military can get some experience for when it goes to conquer the world; when Germany elects not to join in (such as in the recent bombing campaign in Libya) then it is Germany showing that it is strong enough to do whatever it damn well pleases.
Really? Yes, that is the drivel they give us. There is a mention in this article about “he was right!” where, apparently, since the first Plain Truth in 1934 Mr. Armstrong warned of a resurrected Holy Roman Empire (HRE). Yep, he sure did! He told us all about how Mussolini would restore the HRE! He then went on to say that for the past three years the world has been passing through “this great world-wide tribulation”.
Talk about cherry picking! Talk about the mutability of the past (another big 1984 theme)! Talk about those who control the present control the past! Flurry & Co. are telling their readers that HWA warned since 1934 of a coming HRE—and that is technically true. But they leave out the fact that he said it would be Mussolini; and they leave out the fact he said that, as of 1934, the world had already been in the tribulation for three years! He was right?! He was colossally wrong! But the PCG is controlling people’s futures by controlling the past!
This is why we have the Memory Hole section. This is why we see writing this e-zine as being so important. We have friends and family still under the Armstrong Delusion because of the mental memory hole structure the church has created. Yet we have hope that the powerful shining light of inquiry will pierce the darkness of the memory hole, and bring forth from the ashes the phoenix of truth.