Timberrrrrr!

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.

Like a Boss

Gap Theory

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.

CHOP

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.

CHOP CHOP

Prophecy

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).

CHOP

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!

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13 thoughts on “Timberrrrrr!

  1. And you all have done an excellent job. I’m getting out my chainsaw. We can burn the wood.

    It’s maddening though: The ones who hang on in the face of proof that their distorted perceptions have been dashed with reality. By this time, the Armstrongist ministers absolutely know they are preaching lies, but there’s the money, you know.

    A more subtle proof of this Armstrong Delusion is the results in people’s lives: Terrible, just terrible — we’ve heard the sound of more chopping as you cover some of the horrible stories of those subjected to the villians responsible for the tortue in the Ambassador College Prison Experiment (just remembering that the prisoners can walk out free at any time, just like the other Prison Experiment).

    Here’s hoping you keep up the good work, because it is making a difference.

    • Thank you very much, Mikey; it is wonderful to have the support of the future President!

      We will be doing stuff now and then, but I think just the normal flow will slow. Also, can you think of anything we’ve missed? Or is there a “pet” doctrine you’d like us to look into?

      As for the other stuff, we’re looking into more Positive stuff–the Afterlife, if you will; as in, how does one live after Armstrongism? Secular Humanism is a pretty good philosophy (or collection of philosophies).

  2. Yes, yes, I can finally see something you may have missed. I frankly thought you had gotten to it all.

    The one thing I have not seen attacked yet, which is fundamental to falling the rotted Armstrongist tree is the topic of church eras.

    We all know it is wrong, it’s just that there aren’t enough pointed articles about how false and particularly illogical the lies about a continuing legacy straight from Christ really are.

    This is not necessarily an easy topic, but that doesn’t seemed to have daunted you in the past….

    Unless, of course, you have already covered the topic and I missed it (which is entirely possible, given your most excellent track record).

    • Thank you, Douglas, for both the suggestion and the compliments. It is a good idea, one that I thought of doing a long time ago but forgot about–to such an extent that I can’t even remember the specific arguments I was planning to make. But it will come to me, I think. Or, if not, one of us will think of something. I think you’re right to suggest that it will be a challenge: I, for one, have always enjoyed the historical research.

      Oh! And now I remember the direction I was going with it: The Weak and the Base: The True History of the (Not So) True Church will cover the whole rambling lifespan of Christianity, from its humble beginnings as a marginalized cult of the uneducated and uncivilized centered in Rome, through its burgeoning Imperial hegemony and its barbarous persecution of the Hellenes, through the “Dark Ages” and the Reformation and the transformations in the New World, all the way up to the present day schisms (focusing primarily, of course, on the Adventist branch of the Protestant tree). Within and among all of this history, of course, will be an explicit refutation of the pseudo-history of Armstrongism’s “True History of the True Church”. We may even have some fun ridiculing Armstrong’s meaningless protests about having never been a part of Radio Church of God’s mother church (CoG, Seventh Day). I know this is a wide scope, but we’ll divide it up into a series and probably lop off some aspects of it into separate articles altogether. I’m not too clear yet on the details.

      In actual fact, though, there is a lot more we have yet to cover. Watch for articles on gender roles, faith healing killing, dehumanization in the cults, Armstrongist attitudes toward sex, dating and marriage, “the world”, more pagan origins and personal stories, to name just a few of the ideas we have in store.

  3. I look forward to it all.

    My thought about eras is that the Armstrongists are factually wrong and it cannot be denied, particularly when they speak of the Waldensians who never ever kept the Sabbath, let alone the holydays, and yet, they keep nattering on about non history which never happened.

    I am convinced that by this time, they all know, but to keep their sorry behinds in their comfy seats of power, ego and riches, they openly lie about it. I know that one of them stood up and even lied, “It isn’t clear to what extent the Waldensians kept the Sabbath”. He claimed to be descended from them. Of course, he knew. He lied.

    The Armstrongist condescention is maddening. They treat us with contempt, claiming we are liars, while all the time, they take the lies of Ellen G. White knowingly while they plagiarize the history she wrote.

    It’s high time they had to give an account.

    • Yeah, I’d say it’s been a few years coming, Douglas, to say the least! But they are too cowardly to answer, as you well know. As for their condescension, I can’t imagine why you would find it “maddening”. It’s a bit like being maddened by the condescension of a garden slug. Sure, it would be maddening if it were possible, but it just isn’t. You need to consider a new interpretation of their behavior. They aren’t condescending to us, any more than a collection of pond scum condescends to the curious children who poke at it with sticks. No, they are afraid of us–shrinking back in abject terror at the prospect we hold aloft: the clear light of facts and reason, the real “plain truth”. Anytime this bowl of spiders is upturned, it explodes in a frenzy of fearful energy. No answering of critics, no valid support of positions, just a desperate scrambling for the political controls. It betrays them for the hypocritical cowards and liars that they are. We who oppose them are infinitely superior by every conceivable measure and, indeed, I would argue, more human. So, the next time one of these insectoid parasites glares up at you defiantly from their position of squirming desperation, just shrug, raise your foot…and show them why the “reasoning man” is this planet’s most successful species.

  4. It is a legacy from my work place: The Armstrongists are as dense and insufferably stupid as the management where I once worked — the last words of the IT Director said to me as she RIFfed me (about herself): “I don’t know what I am doing”. My response is quite visceral, even though the narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and nutjobs are subhuman fools, it is quite irritating that they consider us beneath them to treat us with contempt. And in my case, because I have suffered personal attacks — some of them rather extreme — I am not in the mood to suffer fools.

    The comforting thought is these inferior coward predators are an evolutionary dead end at the shallow end of the gene pool and are dying off.

    My heartburn is that it is just taking too long for the last dinosaur to gasp its last.

    But you are right and 2012 has been a very good year for us and a very bad year for them.

    Let them be contemptuous as they want to be and like the losers at the casino, they will disappear and be no more except as a minor footnote in someone’s dusty history tome.

  5. Ah, Robert Reed, that fun Science Fiction writer with a wry sense of humor has done it again with his short story, “The Pipes of Pan” in the December 2012 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction — a story of a biologist who changed the world because he declared we aren’t really humans and should be classified among the primates as Pan foetus. The story can be quite convincing that we aren’t quite sentient and haven’t earned our position in the taxonomy table as homo sapiens.

    As if to confirm the observation, religious nuts became violent in their protests that we are civilized and not just animals, proving that we’re nothing but primates with technological tools. The world had a meltdown: “Ash rising over fifty burnt-out cities brought the long nuclear autumn. Endless frost and radioactive rain meant famine and more wars. A billion chimps were dead and dying, nations fell every day…”.

    So, Casey, you surely have a good point. Note that the Roman Catholic Church calls their Cardinals, “Primates” which is about as mixed metaphore as you can get.

    Armstrongists have sprung forth as warring tribes from an aggressive hairless ape with little more than an 8th grade “education” and convinced other knuckle draggers of his intellectual brilliance in sort of experiment in dead end evolution.

    Some of us may very well be more advanced than that and have some intellectual prowess beyond the norm of empty headed twit religionists. If that be the case, then evolution is moving forward and we need not concern ourselves with the subpar opinions of useless empty headed twits.

    We have no need of killing them off, since they will take care of that themselves by killing each other off — reminiscent of the murders of the great religious councils of the past where the “Christian” representatives murdered each other to gain ascendency: Nothing says you’re ahead than killing off your opponent. It’s civilization in name only at this point.

    And while we have no need of actively killing them off, as tempting as making them an object of target practice, we can and should give nature a little nudge by exposing their deficiencies to the light of day: Consider it one of nature’s little redundancy measures.

  6. cog destroyed my family. cog leaders should have been prosecuted. i will never forgive or forget what happened. anyone associated to any part armstrongs bs needs to steer clear of me.

    • The Armstrongists also destroyed my family — leaving my brother to die was just one event in a long line of reprehensible things they did. I was also there when a couple in the WCG / United was pursued by a stalker in the church and the ministry actually defended him. There are no words adequate to describe the horrible psychopaths in the Armstrongist Churches of God.

      Some few have been prosecuted. Ronald Weinland is up for sentencing in 20 days. Some of them are actually on the lam. Nevertheless, for what they have done, there doesn’t seem to be anything adequate to measure up to justice for what they have done.

      On the other hand, punishing these people are like torturing a cobra: It doesn’t help the victims and the perpetrators won’t learn a thing. These people are cold, heartless, wicked, crue, without one shred of conscience as they lie to people and take their money, oppress them and then dump them when they are finished with them. They are predators of the worst sort.

      The only thing I can see that we can do is to get the word out there that they are wrong and no one should follow them. That is often a frustrating task because the followers are addicted to the swill being fed them and things haven’t gotten bad enough for them to wake up and leave. People like Ysrael Hawkins are especially opprobrious — rotten to the core — but none of us have enough power to do much more than expose these for all they are worth.

      While it is an admirable thing to work to expose and discredit these losers, we all need strategies to cope with the damage they have done and not obsess on revenge — which can eat you up inside. Now it is true that if it is successful, revenge can be particularly satisfying as a tool of justice. Just remember that it is the long game that makes us successful, because with people with the power, money and influence they have, none of us alone can usually take them on and be successful.

      And none of us want to get into worse trouble by acting unwisely.

      • For what it’s worth, they say that “the best revenge is a life lived well”. I understand how unsatisfying that can be, from a “slake my thirst for revenge” point of view, but I suspect it is true.

        Yeah, in the meantime, just expose them all you can. It isn’t much, but it helped me! I mean, one of the things that really helped me get free was the Ambassador Report (I know, huh!). So every little bit helps…

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