We all knew it would happen, but now that the end is so close it is hard to imagine. As I sit here and think back to the various meetings, emails, and phone calls involved in planning this site I really am amazed at how much we’ve accomplished! I mean, to be honest, I didn’t expect us to do half as well as we have at what we were eventually able to articulate as our goal–to cut down “the trunk of the tree” (as Herbie liked to phrase it) of Armstrongism.
Why didn’t I think we would do well? Mostly it was because I felt the goal was too big. I mean, we were talking about using logic and evidence to disprove Core Truths I had been brought up to believe. Sure, we could easily find evidence of Herbert Armstrong being a bad person (financial mismanagement, sexual abuse of his daughter, etc), and argue that a “man of God” wouldn’t behave in such a way. But, in the end, that wouldn’t really prove that what he taught was wrong.
Happily, my co-conspirators had more confidence than I, and we went ahead. As it turns out, it was almost disturbingly easy to factually disprove the foundational teachings of Armstrongism (and thus simultaneously snuff out all the 400+ CoG splinters who all claim to be following him/his teachings better than the other 399+). I say “disturbingly” easy because I had been taught that these were the foundational truths of the Bible, and thus the basis for understanding God’s Purpose for humanity; how could they actually be disproved with a week’s research (or usually less)? How could I, and my family and friends, buy into something so easily shown to be false? Well, there are a lot of reasons people believe in anything, but suffice it to say that a lot of the teachings just seemed to make sense–it looked like there was good evidence for our belief.
Take, for example, HWA’s take on creation as expounded in MOA:
Now another surprise for most readers. Here is another bit of the missing dimension in knowledge, actually revealed in the Bible, but unrecognized by religion, by science and by higher education.
From verse 2 of Genesis 1 on, the remainder of this first chapter of the Bible is not describing the original creation of the earth. But it is describing a renewing of the face of the earth, after it had become waste and empty as a result of the sin of the angels.
What is described from verse 2 on, in the supposed creation chapter of the Bible, did occur, according to the Bible, approximately 6,000 years ago. But that could have been millions or trillions of years after the actual creation of the earth described in verse 1!
This is describing something called Gap Creationism, which we have covered here and here. You notice how his explanation of the gap between Gen. 1:1 and Gen. 1:2 is “unrecognized by religion, by science and by higher education”? That is a lie. The idea has been around at most since the 1600s, but was popularized in the 1800s. Admittedly, it is a clever way to reconcile a 6000yr history of man with the overwhelming evidence for an old earth, but being clever is far from being novel, or accurate.
And, really, to be accurate, it is actually Gap Hypothesis, for there are several lines of evidence refuting it (as you’ll read in the links above). It is a hypothesis proposed nearly 400yrs ago, forgotten, brought up again, and latched on to by an out of work ad-man (before being discarded in favor of Young Earth Creationism) who must have been smart enough to know that the kinds of people he was after for his new religion were not the kinds of people who actually went to the library and studied theology.
Anyway, so much for that God-inspired unique understanding of the bible.
British Israelism/German Assyrianism
This was the very key to understanding the whole bible! It was the Key of David! It was not understood by any religion! And it was a plagiarized idea done up in a plagiarized book called the United States and Britain in Prophecy. You can read all about it here. I had always heard rumours that it was copied from somewhere else, but my faith helped me dismiss them pretty much out-of-hand. To find out that this great God-inspired truth was a shameless copy of an old idea was rough.
And, of course, we must remember that British Israelism requires German Assyrianism! I mean, how can God use Assyria to punish Israel if neither nation exists? So, if the Brits and Yanks are modern Israel, who can be the Big Bad Wolf? Hmmm…aha! Germany was scary in the World Wars! OK, now that we have a conclusion in mind, let’s see if we can figure a way to prove it (instead of looking at the evidence and seeing the conclusion it leads to). Well, we did look at the evidence and it didn’t hold up–as you can see here, here, here, and here.
True, it could easily be said that the whole BI/GA bit is all about Prophecy, but British Israelism is more of how to understand who the other general prophecies refer to; things like 1975 in Prophecy, or when, exactly, the Great Tribulation was really going to happen, or when the End was finally going to start.
Our catalog shows (as I peruse) a considerable affinity for prophetic articles. Probably that is because of how important it is in the grand scheme of things. I mean, if Herbert Armstrong, or Gerald Flurry, or whoever Johnny-come-lately is claiming to be sent by God really is sent by God, then they will either make prophetic statements that come true, or as Mr. Armstrong used to like to explain, be given special understanding of the prophecies already hidden in the Bible that aren’t meant to be understood until the very time of the end.
Surprising as it may seem, this is a biblical principle, too! Deut. 18:20-22 is God explaining that he will send prophets, but watch out for those who come in his name but whom he didn’t really send. “But how’ll we know?” Because if the prophet says this or that will happen, and it don’t, then he’s a lyin’ motha and you ain’t gotta be scared of him.
Our articles dealing with “general prophecy” are too numerous to list here, but to summarize: “He Was Wrong”.
Sure, there are some who will say, “but he was just off in his timing! It doesn’t mean that what he said won’t actually happen!”. That argument goes over like a lead balloon. For starters, he said the Great Depression was the Great Tribulation and that the world would be over in a couple years (a couple years meaning about 1936). Then he said Hitler would win (well, first he said Mussolini would win and fight JC in Jerusalem at the Second Coming). Then there was 1975 in Prophecy. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And now he has been dead 26yrs. I’m pretty sure that fulfills the requirements of the above scripture (not to mention the requirements of reason).
The slow realization that the Truth we had built our lives around was a lie was painful. It was infuriating. It might have even been scary on occasion, though what is scarier is not knowing whether the doubts you’re having and the things you think you’re seeing are a recognition of reality or cruel deception from Satan. But in the end, we followed the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, for he admonished us all to read both sides of the story and prove all things (even though he also taught against most higher education and forbade “dissident literature”…hmmm…). The anger lingers, but the fear is nowhere to be seen. There are no Tribulation nightmares. There are no Lake of Fire nightmares nor fearful daytime musings.
The articles we’ve written have been helpful to us, but we hope also that they have been helpful to those who have read or will read. We started this project with the intent of helping others through the initial “what the?” stage of first seeing problems and inconsistencies. Because we are the kind of people we are, we will still on occasion post something here; however, in general, we will be moving on to other pursuits and other blogs (that we’ll link to once we have something to link to).
Armstrongism is a terrible thing to have to suffer through, but it is our hope that seeing the key doctrines thoroughly thrashed will give the inner Doubting Thomas in everyone the invigorating boost that the CoGs are always so good at beating out of us. If there are any other doctrines you would like to see receive our “special treatment” (or that you think would withstand said treatment), please let us know!