About the Authors

We the editors of Armstrong Delusion boast an extensive history in the Churches of God, and specifically the PCG and WCG. We spent decades as staunch supporters of the “Work of God” and “The Plain Truth”…but our zeal backfired when we enthusiastically applied the oft-repeated admonitions to “prove all things.” We believed, and still believe, that “by their fruits ye shall know them”, and we took to heart Mr. Armstrong’s admonition to not believe him, but believe the Bible. We researched, studied, prayed and fasted, but the more we reviewed the doctrines, history, policies, teachings and politics of the Armstrongist movement, the more we realized there was only one possible action if we were to retain any moral or intellectual integrity: we had to leave.

In the intervening years we’ve been liberated by this search for truth, and our passion for knowledge and real understanding of the universe and the world has only expanded since those terrible dark days of disillusionment and moral quandary. And while each of us now lives a busy, complex, fulfilling life, many of our family members remain inured in the PCG dogmatism; they have fallen prey to the ‘no contact’ policies, intellectual oppression and financial vampirism practiced by Mr. Flurry and his top aides, and because of this we each have a very personal vested interest in helping people who are on the verge of liberation, but remain immobile due to the baseless fears which have been insinuated into their minds. In this blog we seek to provide only fact-based, logical argumentation–reinforced by the years of research which we have already invested. It may be a cliche, but the truth really does have the power to set people free–if only they will open their eyes and apply reason and logic to their decisions.

Remember how the church encourages you to dig deep, to prove all things, to test the spirits, to judge by fruits, to learn from history—from the church’s own history? If you have, then you’ll recognize your own studies in what we have to say. If not, then read on and be encouraged to conduct your own research and SEE those fruits for what they are; the mind is a marvelous device, and those powers of rational thought and deduction should not lie dormant while we allow others to do our thinking for us. We know where you’re coming from, and we’re here to help.

65 thoughts on “About the Authors

  1. I wish to ask the authors of this site some questions.

    As a long time member and growing up in an evangelical demonination I have seen church attendees and members come and go from different denominations. They seem to do this with freedom and as far as I have seen appear to be unscathed by their change of worship location.
    Yet a reoccurring theme of people who leave any of the Armstrong organizations is many experience a difficult time psycologically.
    Why is this?

    Could you explain what happens when a person is disfellowshipped?
    Do they know it is coming? Is it done publically, so there is a
    sense of public disgrace or shame?

    • There is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question, Joan, as cult-leaders find it convenient to leave their options open. They are quick to lay the burden of policy upon the sheep but are loathe to commit to any with regard to the limits of their own power.

      Typically, though, excommunication (or “disfellowshipment”) does not take its recipient by surprise. It is usually granted after one or more “counseling” sessions, wherein the ministry (whether singly or in teams) attempts to intimidate the member into submission. If this doesn’t take, the gift of excommunication quickly follows.

      The member is excommunicated in private but the event is subsequently publicized to the congregation (locally, regionally, and/or globally–depending on how threatened the chicken-hawk regime feels regarding the individual and, especially, their ideas) in an announcement from the pulpit during the weekly service. Then (in the case of some splinters) the no-contact rule goes into effect. All of this can be the consequence of merely asking the wrong right questions, for example.

      The intention behind the whole process is indeed to disgrace/shame the individual in question, a concept that strikes us as richly comical and ironic.

    • Joan, I’m not an author here, but as a former minister in several of the COG groups, I feel the need to add something the authors inadvertently overlooked.

      COG Theology includes beliefs that preclude the churches from encouraging and welcoming people to join. Rather, they are skeptical about the sincerity and depth of commitment of potential members.

      Any member in the COG movement had to invest enormous energy, of all kinds, mental, emotional, physical (time, money) to get to the point where the organization would welcome him in. And then this is always through full immersion baptism, as no prior conversion experience is accepted as valid.

      And once a member, the ongoing investment is enormous. One’s life becomes consumed with one’s faith, with substantial financial sacrifices to the church, and every aspect of one’s day-to-day life is drawn into the orbit of the organization.

      So, in my opinion, the psychological stress has less to do with any public disgrace or shame, but the very real personal loss, and the palpable fear and stress related to the doubt about one’s physical and spiritual future.

      Then, of course, the loss of one’s entire social network, the “shunning” factor, kicks in, on top of it all, which adds personal feelings of anger, resentment, and betrayal on top of the tangle of beliefs/thoughts/emotions that went along with the sundering from one’s spiritual anchor.

      The shock is so great, that it becomes very difficult for the individual to “detach” from the gigantic hairball of tangled issues, and sort things out.

      • So. You’ve been a minister in “several CoG groups.” Please tell me. What church, if any, attend now?…Why did you transfer from one to the next C0G paid ministerial jobs?

  2. Following up on Casey’s comment: Joan, a major contributor to the psychological scarring you noted is indeed the ‘no contact’ policy imposed by several of the cults–the PCG being the most notable example. According to this policy, disfellowshipped people (whose crime is usually nothing more than the presentation of logical, honest questions which undermine the dictatorial rule of the men at the top) are immediately banned from contact with all cult members–including immediate family. Family members found to be in contact with excommunicated loved ones immediately find themselves excommunicated as well, and the fear of disobedience is thereby reinforced. Ministers commonly monitor the relationships and interactions of members (especially those who demonstrate critical thinking skills and skepticism, which pose a very real threat to the absolutist power of the self-proclaimed “prophets” and “apostles” who lead these groups.) Informing on wayward friends ‘for the good of the faithful membership’ is highly encouraged and rewarded.

    Because of the isolationism which is central to these cults (a common slogan is “coming out of this world,” which basically boils down to forsaking all non-cult friends, family and loved ones) the effect of disfellowshipment is often one of immediate and profound loneliness, doubt and despair. This is a highly effective method of control, and coupled with the ingrained fear of a coming holocaust and eternal damnation it occasionally results in a wayward sheep crawling back to the fold.

    The upshot of all this is that independent thought and reflection is quashed unilaterally, and thanks the the first, second and third tithes (which are demanded on pain of disfellowshipment–often by ministers who require members to surrender bank statements to prove they’re paying up) these often undereducated, working class members become destitute and completely reliant on the cult for a sense of self worth, purpose and community. It is a diabolically brilliant system, and one which I have witnessed from both sides. It is by no means a new method of control (the Catholic church enforced excommunication for centuries,) but for these charismatic leaders it works, and it provides a very plush lifestyle for those callous enough to wield it without mercy.

    This fundamentalism is a far cry from the standard evangelical Christian model, and therefore the psychological impact is infinitely more profound and damaging for those inured in the cult mindset. Obviously we (the writers of this blog) do not subscribe to any type of religion, but we maintain a very special animosity toward the Armstrongist cults for precisely the reasons outlined above.

    • Which practices, precisely? And how do you know? Is there a policy handbook you could refer us to? Short of that, we can only go by what we’ve experienced as standard procedure in every other Armstrong-spawned CoG. If you want LCG to get special treatment then you have to work harder than that.

      Besides, even if LCG has compromised on Armstrongism to the point where it is ostensibly no longer a direct threat to the well-being of its own members, it still teaches easily disproved, sensationalist doctrines as a way to attract a following. And as I always like to say, moderates make the world safe for extremists, both within individual cults and across the Armstrongist cult-scape.

      This is a proliferation of sects and individuals that is steeped in the practices discussed above. Your mere say-so is no indication that the ministry of LCG, either as a group or individually, has not, does not, or will not at some point practice what has always been preached (and practiced assiduously) by “the wife of their youth.”

      I call on you, therefore, to show us in print where LCG repudiates the absolutist, totalitarian practices of its parent and sister cults, and lays down a strict no-tolerance policy with regard to such abuses. Be aware, however, that any such evidence will in no way sanction or verify the mind-warping belief system this particular sect still clings to. And that’s dangerous enough all on its own.

  3. My say-so is precisely as valid as your say-so. Take it or leave it, I don’t really care. Joan is concerned about her son and the simple fact is LCG is a far cry from PCG. There are many lives enriched by their membership of COG splinters. Deny it if it makes you feel better.

    • “My say-so is precisely as valid as your say-so.”

      Absolutely correct. But unlike you I am not relying on something so invalid as my say-so. See, my position rests on a sound argument, which you may try again to absorb by re-reading my comment.

      “Joan is concerned about her son…”

      Quite, and you are obviously concerned about your precious sect. Guess which of these two concerns is worth a damn.

      “LCG is a far cry from PCG…”

      There’s that say-so again. You have a fine soapbox here to support your claims; why don’t you use it?

      “There are many lives enriched by their membership of COG splinters.”

      If you call delusion enrichment then this is true. They say ignorance is bliss. However, the undeniable abuses that are the norm for these cults are not smoothed over by the thrill you get from your religious fantasies, including those pertaining to the prospect of torment and violent death for billions of your fellow humans.

      “Deny it if it makes you feel better.”

      Is that an argument? You know what would make me feel better? You going away. You were gone for a long time and it was nice.

  4. Of course, in any fundamentalist cult setting, this is always a possibility too. You’ll find more information here. When brains are addled by such warped perspectives as dispensed by these groups, the results can be truly unpredictable. Again, Joan, good luck and forgive the polemics if you can (it’s kind of the culture around here).

  5. Quite, and you are obviously concerned about your precious sect. Guess which of these two concerns is worth a damn.

    Well, let’s see what happens to Joan’s relationship with her son if she seeks to intervene to protect him on the basis of exaggerated horror stories. I think you can predict the outcome as well as I can. She would be better off properly informed.

    Of course, in any fundamentalist cult setting, this is always a possibility too. You’ll find more information here. When brains are addled by such warped perspectives as dispensed by these groups, the results can be truly unpredictable.

    And now who’s guilty of confirmation bias? Terry Ratzmann was mentally ill, and it was not because of where he was going to church.

    • “Well, let’s see what happens to Joan’s relationship with her son if she seeks to intervene to protect him on the basis of exaggerated horror stories.”

      This is coming from a believer in end-time prophecy and the Tribulation. That’s rich, shortstack. Listen, you have been given an opportunity to show that these concerns are “exaggerated horror stories” with regard to your sub-cult. Why haven’t you done so? And remember what I said: “Be aware, however, that any such evidence will in no way sanction or verify the mind-warping belief system this particular sect still clings to. And that’s dangerous enough all on its own.”

      “She would be better off properly informed.”

      Properly informed by what? You don’t even have an argument, merely an assertion. Again, show us LCG’s written policy on the matters under discussion, or concede that you don’t have any information to offer. Why don’t you just admit that your purpose here is not to inform, but to defend? And because you refuse to inform, you have been doing a poor job of defending.

      “Terry Ratzmann was mentally ill”

      How the hell do you know that?

      “and it was not because of where he was going to church.”

      You mean the warped perspective of the cult he fell in with. And, again, how the hell do you know that? Were you Terry Ratzmann’s shrink? No. Did you sit down with him and diagnose him with a mental disorder? No. What did you do to determine that this imagined mental disorder did not originate with a psychologically damaging reaction to the cult’s indoctrination program? Nothing. You did nothing to determine the veracity of the claims you are making, yet you make them because they are convenient to your position. It is just like a cultist to make claims of knowledge where there is only belief.

  6. Listen, you have been given an opportunity to show that these concerns are “exaggerated horror stories” with regard to your sub-cult. Why haven’t you done so?

    Why should I help you tear down the ridiculous straw man you set up? Evidence of my argument is best obtained by seeing it for yourself. If Joan attended a service with her son I don’t think she would be sucked into their clutches, and many fears would be laid to rest. Her son might even be interested to hear her opinion.

    As for Ratzmann’s mental illness, it was widely reported at the time.

    • “As for Ratzmann’s mental illness, it was widely reported at the time.”

      Source please.

      “Why should I help you tear down the ridiculous straw man you set up?”

      You’re kidding right? A straw man? The practices discussed here are standard procedure for Armstrong cults. That’s not a straw man, it’s verifiable history. If your sect is indeed different it should be a trivial matter to demonstrate that by, as I keep saying, producing a document that lays out the policy regarding these issues. You’d think a group desiring to shake its cult status would be keen on renouncing the practices for which its parent and sisters are infamous. Why is such an official repudiation not available?

      “If Joan attended a service with her son…”

      Are you insinuating that LCG espouses an open door policy? Again, this would be a break from Armstrongist cult tradition. Can you verify that this is indeed true, or are you just arguing in the sophistic fashion, as per usual?

    • “If Joan attended a service with her son I don’t think she would be sucked into their clutches, and many fears would be laid to rest.”

      I forgot to ask: do you honestly believe one service would be sufficient to dispel this albatross? Over 75 years of lies and abuse and you propose that attendance at one dog and pony show would constitute compelling evidence that this sect has jettisoned its totalitarian legacy? Get serious, shorty.

    • “Evidence of my argument is best obtained by seeing it for yourself.”

      Again, you have not made an argument, you’ve made an assertion. Please learn the difference. The argument is over here being neglected by you. I’m willing to concede your assertion regarding reform, if you would but provide some evidence. Even an argument to support your assertion would be nice. Or you could try countering my arguments with something other than more unsupported assertions. Didn’t you learn anything about debate in your university career, big shot?

  7. That’s not a straw man, it’s verifiable history. If your sect is indeed different it should be a trivial matter to demonstrate that by, as I keep saying, producing a document that lays out the policy regarding these issues.

    Argumentum ad ignorantiam and, yes, straw man because you are setting arbitrary demands on the evidence you will accept.

    I don’t know if LCG has an open door policy, but visitors can readily attend by simply asking to.

    • “Argumentum ad ignorantiam”

      No. Argument from ignorance requires, oh, I don’t know, ignorance? By contrast, I’ve argued from my knowledge of the large majority of Armstrong-spawned cults. I’m not saying you haven’t proven false the claim that your cult exhibits these tendencies, therefore they do. Rather, I am arguing that your cult is derived from and within a milieu of cults that practice such things as a general rule–a fact that is non-controversial. As such, if your cult is the exception, then the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate this (and, no, your mere say-so is not sufficient). Why are you having so much trouble with this?

      “setting arbitrary demands on the evidence you will accept.”

      Do you have a mental problem? I’ve explained my demands exhaustively, and here you are making an arbitrary assertion that they are arbitrary. I really don’t like people who force me to quote myself:

      “You’d think a group desiring to shake its cult status would be keen on renouncing the practices for which its parent and sisters are infamous. Why is such an official repudiation not available?”

      And this…

      “The practices discussed here are standard procedure for Armstrong cults.”

      “Gird up your loins like a man” and simply respond to these arguments directly. I’m getting a bit sick of having to guide you through this debate by your limp wrist.

      By the way, I’ve done a bit of your work for you and discovered that several sources, both promotional and critical of LCG, consider them to have an open door policy. You’re welcome.

      Aren’t you a member of this sect, for Christ’s sake?

  8. No. Argument from ignorance requires, oh, I don’t know, ignorance?

    Come again? How about you revisit that definition?

    Point being, absence of a written policy denying a practice does nothing to prove that practice occurs. No matter how much you insist there should he a policy. That is an argument from ignorance.

    And no, I have never been a member of LCG. I am a member of UCG, as I have said before. Not that they differ in any way that would matter to you.

    • “Point being, absence of a written policy denying a practice does nothing to prove that practice occurs. No matter how much you insist there should he a policy. That is an argument from ignorance.”

      No kidding. And that’s not the argument I’m making, as I’ve explained several times already. You are a goddamn sophist.

  9. Oh, and the rest of your reasoning I’ve been ignoring because your argument is circular: “All Armstrongists abuse the sheep. LCG is Armstrongist. Therefore LCG abuses its sheep.” I’m simplifying because it is slow typing by phone.

    • And you’re an idiot. That is not a circular argument, it is a valid syllogism. And you’ve been ignoring it because it directly contradicts your ridiculous charge of argumentum ad ignorantium. But even worse, it’s not even a precise treatment of my argument.

      I suggest you stop using the argument from fallacy until you take a course in logic. Even then, I don’t know what you can do about your intellectual dishonesty.

  10. Short of that, we can only go by what we’ve experienced as standard procedure in every other Armstrong-spawned CoG.

    Lie. You haven’t experienced every other Armstrong-spawned COG, and these aren’t standard procedures in all of them. The first is fact, the latter is my assertion at this point.

    Your mere say-so is no indication that the ministry of LCG, either as a group or individually, has not, does not, or will not at some point practice what has always been preached (and practiced assiduously) by “the wife of their youth.”

    Conceded about my say-so, but where is your evidence to support your claim about what are standard practice? So far all I see is your say-so – which doesn’t match my experience.

    But unlike you I am not relying on something so invalid as my say-so. See, my position rests on a sound argument, which you may try again to absorb by re-reading my comment.

    Sound argument? You mean your own counter-assertion about what you’ve experienced? What COGs have you experienced? I’m guessing just WCG and PCG.

    However, the undeniable abuses that are the norm for these cults…

    And more say-so, with no evidence provided.

    When brains are addled by such warped perspectives as dispensed by these groups, the results can be truly unpredictable.

    A little appeal to the emotions, with no evidence to support the connection drawn.

    This is coming from a believer in end-time prophecy and the Tribulation. That’s rich, shortstack.</blockquote.

    Irrelevant.

    The practices discussed here are standard procedure for Armstrong cults. That’s not a straw man, it’s verifiable history.

    To some extent I’ll agree about the verifiable history part, but not to the extent you paint it – which is important since your argument rests on these practices being universal to Armstrongism. It wasn’t even universal within WCG (assertion; source: my experience). So where is your evidence to verify it as universal – or at least likely to be so?

    The argument is over here being neglected by you.

    Really? Feel free to point it out. It seems to be hiding among your assertions.

    By contrast, I’ve argued from my knowledge of the large majority of Armstrong-spawned cults.

    This is mere say-so that you are attempting to repaint as sound evidence. I bet I have more “knowledge” by experience of these “cults” than you. I’m guessing most of your knowledge comes from other people’s say-so.

    I am arguing that your cult is derived from and within a milieu of cults that practice such things as a general rule–a fact that is non-controversial.

    Not true. Only non-controversial in your world of anti-COG blogging. Is this what you are calling an argument? Where is your evidence for this assertion?

    (Repeated) You’d think a group desiring to shake its cult status would be keen on renouncing the practices for which its parent and sisters are infamous. Why is such an official repudiation not available?

    This claim is based on your prior assertions about the universality of abusive practices within Armstrongism. First provide evidence (not say-so). Also, I’m not sure about the “group desiring to shake its cult status” part – I don’t think LCG, or possibly any of the COGs, bother too much about that. Even if they were, your assertion that they would have such a policy may seem logical to you but I’m not buying it. This is the straw man: you try to set this up as some obvious piece of evidence that should be out there, which it would be easy enough to show isn’t. But, as I’ve said, its absence proves nothing.

    No kidding. And that’s not the argument I’m making, as I’ve explained several times already.

    Yes it is. You are just pretending otherwise.

    And you’re an idiot. That is not a circular argument, it is a valid syllogism.

    Concede, I have used the term incorrectly. But it only becomes a valid syllogism if you support your premise, which you haven’t.

    I don’t know what you can do about your intellectual dishonesty.

    How about you address yours?

    • Actually, I retract my concession on using circular argument incorrectly, I was struggling to recall my reasoning. The point is if your premise is “All Armstrongists abuse the sheep” (as it seems to be), this premise is dependent on LCG abusing the sheep to be true. Therefore it cannot be validly used to support the proposition that LCG abuses sheep. But I did construct it in such a way my point was clear (enough that I even forgot it). And I’ll concede that you are perhaps not depending on such a strong premise as “all Armstrongists…” – although you do seem to be.

      Apologies for the disordered quoting above. Missing >, can’t edit.

      • Well, you need to re-concede. When I pegged your syllogism as valid I was operating under the assumption that the first term, “all Armstrongists,” was to be defined as those who follow the teachings of Armstrong and the policies he set forth, including those having to do with ministerial counseling, excommunication, and the no-contact policy. As a stark syllogism, it is perfectly valid in its formulation. Of course, the reality on the ground isn’t that simple, and to use it as an argument (and I didn’t, as you have conceded here, which means you were setting it up as a straw man, perhaps inadvertently) would be to commit the syllogistic fallacy. Case in point, some Armstrongists have begun to liberalize away from some of their traditions. It remains to be demonstrated whether this is true for LCG regarding these specific abusive practices. And this is another fact you must concede.

    • There you go, shortstack, that’s how you address an argument. Why do I have to cajole you into debating properly?

      I’ll condense this down a bit.

      My argument was that the culture within which Armstrongist spin-off cults have developed is one that has a history (indeed a policy) of abusing those who do not toe the line, through intimidating “counseling” sessions, threats of excommunication, and turning family members against them. Because of this history, and because of my experience of WCG and PCG, specifically, and the experience of an abundance of ex-members of many other such groups, it is reasonable to assume that LCG is not different in what has proven otherwise to be a fundamental characteristic of Armstrong sects. On this basis, I argue that anyone who wishes to claim that a specific group does not follow in the footsteps of its mother organization, bears the burden of proof in that regard.

      Your argument, now, is that my own experience is limited to two groups. This is true. But now you must address the similar experiences of all those ex-members who have also reported that these policies are alive and well in the CoG groups they have been a part of. You, yourself have never been a member of LCG, so, by your own logic here, you must admit that you have nothing valid to say on the subject.

      You also claim that my argument outlined above is mere assertion. This belies your failure to distinguish between an argument and an assertion. An assertion is a claim unsupported by evidence or argument. That’s what you were doing. I argued that it is plausible that LCG maintains the same abusive practices as its mother cult, based on the reasoning I laid out, namely its cultural and doctrinal legacy and the albeit anecdotal evidential accounts of multiple hundreds of ex-members. Your initial response was, “No it doesn’t.” That’s it. No argument. Just assertion. See the difference?

      Now, you also claim that the policies we have laid bare here and consider abusive were not universally practiced by WCG. WCG liberalized considerably in the years following Armstrong’s death. I don’t know when you were a member, but long before it embraced mainstream evangelism and worked to become a church instead of a cult in the eyes of the cult-watchers, WCG was ruled with an iron fist. There is ample evidence of these policies being in place, since you asked for it. For example, the no contact policy was established by Armstrong himself. The accounts of excommunication for not toeing the line should be overwhelming enough to convince any honest person. Perhaps you weren’t around for the purging in the 1970s. I wasn’t either, but I at least am not pretending it didn’t happen.

      You say the absence of a policy statement from LCG regarding these abuses doesn’t prove they are practiced there. Agreed. But then I’m not trying to prove that, am I? I’m merely arguing that, without evidence to the contrary, it is eminently plausible that these groups continue the practices which made their cultural and doctrinal forebears so successful at controlling people and information. The policies thrive because they work, and because sheep are sheep.

      However, it is true that many CoGs are liberalizing. For example, I have heard that LCG follows a policy of conducting combined services with other willing CoG groups. How nice! But, again, I would be surprised to learn that they do not follow the “counseling” and excommunication practices of their admittedly long-dead mother. Short of evidence to that effect, I will stick to my theory (supported by the arguments I’ve laid out) that they do. And besides all of this, they are definitely in the business of churning out life-warping bullshit that is used to poison the minds of innocent children, just like UCG.

    • “Lie. You haven’t experienced every other Armstrong-spawned COG, and these aren’t standard procedures in all of them. The first is fact, the latter is my assertion at this point.”

      By the way, it wasn’t a lie. I was referring to my experience of reading the many hundreds of accounts from abused ex-members of the various sub-cults, besides my own account. Also, I will go so far as to say that I doubt that the no contact policy is standard procedure in all the splinters. So far. There is another aspect to all of this that has to do with the corrupting pressures a burgeoning flock impose on the shepherds it feeds. But that’s another subject.

    • ” I don’t know what you can do about your intellectual dishonesty.

      How about you address yours?”

      You have to point it out for me to address it. Really, shortfriction, I’ve been absolutely forthright with you and all you’ve done up until now is dance around my arguments and sophistically utilize the fallacy fallacy. Saying, “I know you are but what am I,” does not change this observable fact. It’s all up there, preserved for posterity, for any poor soul who’d like to check.

  11. You, yourself have never been a member of LCG, so, by your own logic here, you must admit that you have nothing valid to say on the subject.

    No. I have attended LCG numerous times as a guest. I have had close friends in LCG, including family of one of the ministers.

    Now you must address the similar experiences of all those ex-members who have also reported that these policies are alive and well in the CoG groups they have been a part of.

    Yes, there are lots of those stories – but then certainly lots of groups they could be coming from. You are being conveniently vague. Look, I’m sure we could dig up at least a few of those stories from people who’ve been in LCG – but a lot of abuses that are official doctrine/practice of a group like PCG just aren’t so in other CoGs. Unfortunately at the level of individual ministers there are always differing applications of the “official” practices. The long history of the CoGs and changing doctrines and policies exacerbates that problem. I still maintain, though, that a person attending LCG is unlikely to become victim of a no contact policy, be dis-fellowshipped for simply asking questions or be encouraged to “dob” on other members.

    • “Yes, there are lots of those stories – but then certainly lots of groups they could be coming from. You are being conveniently vague.”

      It has little to do with convenience wrt my argument. It has more to do with my own laziness. But I can be specific with respect to the mind-warping worldview LCG members (and their children) are indoctrinated with, a practice I (and most normal people) consider abusive. They don’t have to have a no-contact policy (etc.) to be harmful. This has been a major theme of my argument the whole time, one which you have not responded to and, indeed, cannot–not without an(other) absurd attempt at defending your ridiculous, mind-warping beliefs.

  12. how do you folks justify the Ratzman killing spree? Were those members not “close enough to God” to warrant his protection? Was this just a test/trial from God to gauge your collective loyalty? If the latter, why would anyone want to worship that God in the first place?

    Here are the options:
    There is no God;
    There is a God but He is not all perfect, all loving;
    There is a perfect God and there is a reason bad things are allowed to happen.

    I obviously subscribe to the third view. But I don’t expect to be able to work out what the reasons are. Suggesting sin of the victims or that they weren’t close enough to God would be presuming to understand the mind of God, besides being insensitive to those affected. If Romans 8:18 is true I’d happily cop being a victim. Being a survivor – much more challenging. But I’d rather be a survivor with the hope of seeing my loved ones again than without… I can definitely love a God who promises that.

  13. Again, if God exists, and he is “allowing bad things to happen for a reason”, then what kind of God is that? The God that you believe in (holding to the third view) allowed Bart Oliver, age 15 and James Gregory, 17 to be brutally murdered in front of their families for the sake of some reason that only He knows? Those boys probably received the blessing of the children too. A lot of good that did them.

    It is difficult to judge an omniscient God when you are working from the position of limited knowledge. You say, “A lot of good that did them,” but how do you know? Maybe being gunned down was better than what might have happened. I have met some people who would have been better off shot dead in their youth than to have gone through what they did – if they will get to live again.

    If I were in their shoes, I would have been “WTF… uh… sir”

    But you’re not, and you haven’t been shot dead. Everyone reacts to things differently, and an omniscient God will know that, too. For that reason I figure I am safer to judge God on the basis of what happens to me. Even then, some things are unknowable – and that is what faith is about (not belief in the absence of evidence, as Casey argues).

    I honestly have no freaking clue how I sat there for 27 years and never had these kind of thoughts. Well, I guess I do have a clue. These thoughts border on heresy. My programming would have immediately thrown up a warning flag at the first sign of a critical thought pertaining to the creator and I would have stopped right away.

    See, I have freely had these thoughts throughout my life and have no “heresy warning flag” programming. I was free to talk to my parents about them – in fact, I think they were sort of encouraged. I struggled with the “true church” doctrine from as young as five and asked my father lots of questions about it. Questions like, “But everyone in all the other churches thinks they are right, what makes us different?” Repressing independent thought never ends well.

    I hope that now you are free to have your independent thoughts those years of repression don’t hold you back from sound conclusions.

    • “For that reason I figure I am safer to judge God on the basis of what happens to me. Even then, some things are unknowable – and that is what faith is about (not belief in the absence of evidence, as Casey argues).”

      You need to clarify. It sounds like you just defined faith as belief in the absence of evidence (which is the biblical definition, not mine).

      “I hope that now you are free to have your independent thoughts those years of repression don’t hold you back from sound conclusions.”

      Give me a break, shorty. You are misrepresenting the extent to which you have questioned your beliefs. We’ve been through all of this, but I’d love to go through it again if you’re up to it.

      It isn’t surprising to learn that you were raised in the cult. Guess what the number one predictor of religion is. Most people (you included, obviously) do not come to their religion by way of investigation and truth-seeking. They come to it by default, by indoctrination, by being trained to confirm the biases of their parents. Speaking of which, what was the answer to the question you asked and why did you accept it? Because daddy told you? Of course. There is no reasonable answer to that question except, “Nothing.”

      Splintersurfer has demonstrated more of a spine in his few blog posts than you are probably even capable of developing. He’s willing to go beyond merely asking the really hard questions, to the point of accepting the really hard answers when the soft answers just aren’t true. You’ve proven unwilling to go that far, so ix-nay on the false equivalence, alright?

    • I have met some people who would have been better off shot dead in their youth than to have gone through what they did…

      Oops, that should read “who would seem to have been”

    • “It is difficult to judge an omniscient God when you are working from the position of limited knowledge. You say, “A lot of good that did them,” but how do you know?

      “Maybe being gunned down was better than what might have happened.”

      Maybe? It would have to be, wouldn’t it, for your position to make sense? So, you claim to know that being gunned down was better than what might have happened, for the sake of confirming your bias. If you truly believe you can’t know that being gunned down was better than what might have happened, then pointing out splintersurfer’s ignorance with regard to the same does nothing to support your position. You don’t come out and say it, but what you’re trying to do is to tie your opponent down to his own ignorance by pretending not to share it. The best you can do is to respond that your god might not be omnibenevolent if he is omniscient and omnipotent. In other words, if you are going to claim ignorance, then claim ignorance. You are going from supposed ignorance to a position of certainty about the nature of your god. The only way you can argue otherwise (which is what you are doing) is to claim that you know that being gunned down was better than what might have happened. You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth, with half your brain.

      “I have met some people who would have been better off shot dead in their youth than to have gone through what they did – if they will get to live again.”

      Who the hell are you to say? You just claimed that this can’t be known, and yet, here you are claiming to know. I rest my case. This is the mind-rot that derives from and maintains theism.

      “Repressing independent thought never ends well.”

      Most cults never need to go that far, since independent thought is something most people never attain, especially those who have been indoctrinated from childhood in the slogans and “proofs” and confirmation strategies of their parents’ religion. You get children into the thought-track you want them on and then let them run with it. Repression is never required, for they will never turn a critical eye upon the beliefs they have come to identify with, the beliefs with which their ego is inextricably tied up.

      You are a case study of this process. When challenged to defend your supposed “critical examination” of your beliefs, you offered up some of the most common logical fallacies as rationalizations for why it all must be true, and this “independent thought” was quickly revealed to be something quite a bit less impressive: you were merely using fallacious reasoning to confirm what you had already been taught to believe.

      But the point is that you really believed you were thinking independently, critically even. Thinking barely entered into it, and it was far from critical or independent. For that, you have to cast aside your belief in the claims and examine them from that epistemological distance. That is to say, to think independently, one must first leap out of the track of belief she has been traveling along since childhood.

    • “It is difficult to judge an omniscient God when you are working from the position of limited knowledge. You say, “A lot of good that did them,” but how do you know?

      “Maybe being gunned down was better than what might have happened.”

      Also, while it is reasonable to argue for ignorance with regard to whether worse things could happen to someone than being shot dead, it is unreasonable to assume that, in light of this ignorance, being shot dead is preferable to the opposite. It is eminently more plausible (to say the least) that not being shot dead is better than the alternative. To test this, ask yourself if you would like to be shot dead, right now, in order to avoid any worse conditions in the future, since, after all, you don’t know what your own future holds and you might be better off.

    • “I have met some people who would have been better off shot dead in their youth than to have gone through what they did – if they will get to live again.”

      And where was your omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god when these poor souls needed his tender, homicidal mercies most. Was he out of bullets, or what?

      BAM! QED.

      This was the test for your just-so story and it failed, by your own account. Thanks for the laugh though, that was fun.

    • Nice try, but… no. You have proven nothing but your own lack of comprehension, or that you didn’t read my earlier correction to my statement. Even without my correction, it is obvious that my whole point about not knowing works both ways. The exact point is that it doesn’t matter what my judgment is of what would be better for a person, it matters what is actually better. While it is likely that our judgment is right a percentage of the time, it is still impossible to point to any situation and say it is proof that God is unjust. It is equally impossible to point to any situation and say it is proof that God is just. Unless you are omniscient. Which you aren’t, Casey.

  14. what was the answer to the question you asked and why did you accept it?

    I think the answer went through the standard steps – something about the name and whatever else it was. You are assuming I accepted it. It is a question that still remains unanswered to some degree. The important thing is I am allowed to have that question.

  15. “The important thing is I am allowed to have that question.”

    You are allowed to have and ask the question because you (like all sheep) are not likely to ever answer it correctly. They have you right where you want you, namely, not caring about the truth.

  16. Maybe? It would have to be, wouldn’t it, for your position to make sense?

    The “maybe” refers to only a subset of possibilities – i.e., the things that might have happened to the victims in their physical lives. There are other ways that what happened might be for “the greater good”, which is what you took me to mean. If I know that an omnibenevolent God exists then I, logically, have to know that they were better off. But since I believe on the basis of the evidence I have examined that an omnibenevolent God exists, any amount of doubt still allows a “maybe”. Remember, Splinter’s question was how can I justify such suffering while believing in the God I do. I was not asked to provide any proof of my position, just how it is not inherently contradictory. So your argument is rambling around other issues. Now, as for your assertion that I haven’t critically examined these issues, evidenced by our previous arguments, I am tired of all your assumptions. There is always some assumption you are ready to make about unstated aspects of my reasoning that supports your position.

    • “I was not asked to provide any proof of my position, just how it is not inherently contradictory.”

      And you failed. My argument is not “rambling around other issues,” it is speaking precisely to this issue of contradiction. You want to protect your position from its inherent contradiction, revealed by your opponent’s argument, by arguing for your opponent’s ignorance with regard to whether those kids (or the world? The cult? Who knows?) might be better off if they were dead. The problem, as I said before, is that you are also ignorant.

      So, in the absence of any knowledge about worse possibilities, it is far from reasonable to presume that the boys would be better off dead. On the other hand, it is reasonable to presume the opposite. Therefore, the contradiction remains.

      What you are attempting to do is to use a just-so story as an argument, which is the ad-hoc fallacy. Doesn’t mean you are incorrect. It just means you are being unreasonably favorable to your own position. The only way out of this is to admit that there is a contradiction in your position, which may translate either into a contradiction in reality, or the falsity of your position. Your god may very well be omniscient, omnibenevolent, or omnipotent–but he apparently can’t be all three.

      • “Your god may very well be omniscient, omnibenevolent, or omnipotent–but he apparently can’t be all three.”

        I forgot to add that he may also be non-existent, which would look the same is if he did exist but didn’t care about those boys. There’s another way out of this dilemma for you, shortfriction. Atheism. Come to the light.

    • “Now, as for your assertion that I haven’t critically examined these issues, evidenced by our previous arguments, I am tired of all your assumptions. There is always some assumption you are ready to make about unstated aspects of my reasoning that supports your position.”

      Then state them! I dare you! The only assumption I’m making is that you presented your best arguments. If you’ve got some better reasons for believing what you do (that survived your viscous gauntlet of “critical examination”), I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t have released them upon me. Were you perhaps showing Christian mercy? Letting me win? That doesn’t sound like you, sophist. I think the most plausible answer is that you’re just bullshitting me now. Call it an “assumption” if you like.

  17. Casey you really, really don’t get it. You are so far from getting it that I am stunned. Existence of omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent God is not logically impossible. Ad-hoc fallacy is irrelevant here, because I am not trying to present a proof of anything, just show how a belief is not necessarily logically contradictory. Probability is totally irrelevant if you start from the premise that God is in the picture. I already addressed the alternatives in my initial reply, noted the premise from which I am starting and explained how the questioned situation can be understood from that premise. Splinter didn’t ask for proof of the premise – that wasn’t the point of the question. Are you with us yet?

    • “While it is likely that our judgment is right a percentage of the time, it is still impossible to point to any situation and say it is proof that God is unjust. It is equally impossible to point to any situation and say it is proof that God is just.”

      Who said anything about proof? I was talking about plausibility. Try again.

      “Existence of omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent God is not logically impossible.”

      Yes it is, demonstrably so.

      “Ad-hoc fallacy is irrelevant here, because I am not trying to present a proof of anything, just show how a belief is not necessarily logically contradictory.”

      There are more things wrong with this sentence than it has words. Again, we weren’t talking about proof. Ad-hoc fallacy is something you obviously don’t understand. And the belief is contradictory, as I (and you) have established.

      “Probability is totally irrelevant…”

      Nobody was talking about probability. Do you mean plausibility? That’s different. Maybe you weren’t aware of the distinction.

      “Splinter didn’t ask for proof of the premise – that wasn’t the point of the question.”

      Nobody was talking about proof. The plausibility of the premise is what is being questioned. The only plausible explanation is one that you are not prepared to concede–thus, the just-so story.

      “Are you with us yet?”

      Can the histrionics; you haven’t earned that privilege.

      I want you to answer this:

      “I have met some people who would have been better off shot dead in their youth than to have gone through what they did – if they will get to live again.”

      And where was your omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god when these poor souls needed his tender, homicidal mercies most. Was he out of bullets, or what?

      You claim that the reason God allowed those ostensibly under his protection to be mowed down was because he is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent: out of love for them, knowing they were going to suffer some horrible fate worse than violent death at a young age, and having the power to prevent it, he decided to prevent it the only way he could manage–by sending an assassin after them. That’s what we call a just-so story. Classic case. And using it as an argument is what we call ad-hoc fallacy. It matters not one bit that it is not used as an argument to “prove” anything. Get your head out of your ass.

      But it gets better: you then claim to know of people who “seem” like they would have been better off if they had been culled in the same fashion–and yet they weren’t. Unlike our blessed dead youth, they were left to their earthly torment. So, your just-so story fails to apply to them, somehow.

      It is special pleading that you are resorting to, since your “explanation” only applies in certain (for all we know) completely arbitrary cases. And focus on that last bit. Don’t get distracted. Your “explanation” only applies when it confirms your beliefs, otherwise it is arbitrary. Therefore it is invalid, as a just-so story. You might as well say, “God works in mysterious ways,” for all you’ve explained. (Again, not proved, but explained.)

      And I will remind you that nothing was said here about proving the existence of god or gods, probability, statistics, pancakes, fir trees, or red herring in general. So please don’t bring any of that shit up.

      Seriously, if you keep pounding on the Stupid button like that you’re going to finally convince me.

  18. ” I have met some people who would have been better off shot dead in their youth than to have gone through what they did…

    Oops, that should read “who would seem to have been””

    Uh-huh. Out of the abundance of the heart and all that.

  19. Nope, you still don’t get it. Stop perseverating, abandon your hang-up on what you think I’m saying and examine it logically.

  20. @shortfriction. You would do wise to research the people that you are coming up against. You pretend to know more than you really do. Im sure you do have a good bit of HWA splinter group knowlegdge, but you DONT know what WE know. Attacking our opinion is a very shallow and low blow. Opinions can always be attacked with more opinion (such as you are doing) but the point remains–
    “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”

    And you said… “I have attended LCG numerous times as a guest. I have had close friends in LCG, including family of one of the ministers.”

    Personally I can say the same thing as can Casey. I have experience in WCG, UCG and PCG. I am even an HWA college graduate! I have family and close friends that have extensive experience in TCG, LCG and RCG– you know what, they are all of the same cloth.

    Have a nice day!

  21. XYZ is true.
    How do you know?
    God says so.
    How do you know god said that?
    The Bible says so.
    Who wrote the bible?
    God. It is God’s word.
    How do you know it is God’s word?
    The bible says so.
    What if I don’t believe everything the bible says. Is XYZ still proven true?
    Well, yes if you accept “circular thinking”

  22. “Danny” was asking me why I transferred from one paid ministerial COG job to the other. The “Reply” link took me here, but I don’t see his comment. Here is the exchange I’m responding to – note, the first comment is from a comment of mine, the questions at the bottom are Danny’s to me.

    ” in response to wfransson:

    Joan, I’m not an author here, but as a former minister in several of the COG groups, I feel the need to add something the authors inadvertently overlooked. COG Theology includes beliefs that preclude the churches from encouraging and welcoming people to join. Rather, they are skeptical about the sincerity and depth of commitment of […]

    So. You’ve been a minister in “several CoG groups.” Please tell me. What church, if any, attend now?…Why did you transfer from one to the next C0G paid ministerial jobs?”

    I am a Baha’i today. I resigned from the WCG in 1995 with the primary goal of separating my paycheck from my faith. My subsequent service to various COG’s, as I sorted through what was true and what was not, was pro-bono – as a “local church elder” – i.e. unpaid.

    Hope that helps explain the situation Danny,

    Sincerely,

    Wade

    • Taa. Noticed many ex ‘WCG ers’ meander from one splinter off shoot to the next; hard to cut themselves free! Paycheck + faith separation: good answer, I understand. Did you have trouble receiving your legally earned + required Superannuation pay out? One ex minister had to take WCG to court before he received his fair, legally required ‘Super.’ Seems the worship of ‘Mammon’ : rife!

  23. If the bible is not true and if Jesus is not who he said he is mankind is doomed. There is no hope for us without God. Mankind cannot and will not solve our problems. If ones hope is in man I will say it again we are doomed. I see no love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, etc. in the comments of this sites authors. All I see is bitterness, resentment, and hate. Of course if there is no God what difference does it make. My faith is not in any man. My bible indicates the whole world is deceived, the natural unconverted mind is hostile to God and His moral laws, there are many false ministers who misrepresent true doctrine, that only those that God calls and choses can come to truly know Him, that this is not the only day of salvation, that mankind has been given 6000 years to learn apart from God we will fail and suffer greatly, that man’s ways are not God’s, that God will save mankind from himself by sending Jesus to finally take control of this world, etc. God is so merciful that He allows us to be critical of Him and He will forgive us when/if we wake up. Most do not and will not believe this, but that does not change what God will do. Just because we cannot understand completely what and why God does what He in His wisdom and love will not change God’s purpose. You are free to rely on your logic and anti God position, and can belittle anyone who disagrees, but that does not make you right. Romans 1:28 is an apt description of why you are the way you are. Yet I am foolish enough to belief God loves even His enemies and will offer them salvation when and how He determines. The God of the bible is a God of love, forgiveness, patience, and justice. Hopefully someday you will see that.

      • Casey, Thanks for your thoughtful and logical response. Why waste your time and energy trying to convince others that HWA was a fraud and that God is a hoax? Enjoy what time you have on this earth before death calls. I assume no one forced you to believe in God and that when you came in contact with WCG no one forced you to believe what was being taught. You seem intelligent enough to think for yourself. You don’t seem like someone who would blindly follow someone. When HWA said believe your bible not me you were free to disagree with HWA when you though he was wrong. You were free to leave WCG anytime. What is important is (is the bible a fairy tale or is it really God’s word, did God create humans or are we an accident, does this life have meaning or not?) The evidence to me says humans and creation is not some fluke accident but the work of a creator. The human body and mind is a marvel, a miracle if you will, not the result of time and chance. I think it more logical to believe something so complicated as a human being is not and cannot be an accident. I think it more logical to believe the universe was created and not an accident. It takes just as much faith to be an atheist as it does a believer. The question is which do you put your faith in.
        I believe the bible answers many of our questions about why the world is the way it is. It even explains false religion, yes even false “Christian” religion. It warns us to beware of false teachers who would devour even the followers of Jesus, the flock. It claims Jesus was God, savior of mankind. Of course you once believed this. I am sure you feel betrayed because of human misunderstanding about prophecy, some doctrines, etc. Either Jesus himself was a fraud or he was who he said he was. If he did die and was resurrected he is worth listening to. If a fraud then we are fools to follow him or any claiming to be his ministers/representatives. However, if he was God and did build his church then our responsibility if called and chosen is to support those he is using in this world. Of course there are many false teachers, many who claim to be Jesus representatives and deceive the many. You know the bible shows there is a devil who deceives the whole world. He has done his job well if he is real.
        Thank you for allowing me to say what I want. As a believer I do not hate or look down at non believers. We all have to be honest with ourselves. I believe what I believe because the evidence says to me it is so. I am sure you believe what you do because that is what makes sense to you.

      • Why waste your time and energy trying to convince others that HWA was a fraud and that God is a hoax?

        Because I love truth, unlike yourself. You love the feelings your delusion provides, the feelings of superiority and of fitting into a larger scheme. But those things just don’t appeal to me. I was involved in this cult because I actually thought it had the truth–and I thought that because I was indoctrinated as a child to believe such things. If at all possible, I’d like to help others avoid getting caught up in a delusion like I was. And, in fact, I have done just that. I think it’s worth it, your blind bias notwithstanding. Perhaps someday you’ll thank me as others have.

        I assume no one forced you to believe in God and that when you came in contact with WCG no one forced you to believe what was being taught. You seem intelligent enough to think for yourself.

        I am now. But I wasn’t when I was five. That’s when my father dragged me into a cult and offered me up to its indoctrination program on the altar of his self-importance. Not exactly my choice, there, pal. But I will admit that once I was old enough to start thinking things through, I should have been more critical. Unfortunately, that indoctrination program I mentioned took with me, and critical thinking was frowned upon. But I’m sure you know all about that, despite the fact you will not admit to it.

        The evidence to me says humans and creation is not some fluke accident but the work of a creator.

        How amazing! Someone who already has a belief in a particular god mistakenly thinks the evidence supports its existence. Yes, you and thousands of other motivated reasoners and wishful thinkers.

        The human body and mind is a marvel, a miracle if you will, not the result of time and chance. I think it more logical to believe something so complicated as a human being is not and cannot be an accident.

        You’ve betrayed a common and crucial misunderstanding of evolution. It isn’t an accident, but rather a deterministic process based on several selection methods (natural selection, sexual selection, etc.). But I’m sure you don’t wish to learn anything.

        It takes just as much faith to be an atheist as it does a believer.

        Nope. It takes a lot of work, actually. Atheism is the result of a lot of education and careful thought. The faith is all on the side of the theist, who doesn’t bother to learn the facts s/he rejects out of hand with the simplest of canards. Uncritical belief is what allows you to wave your hand and embrace easy (but stupid) answers when superior ones are available.

        I believe the bible answers many of our questions about why the world is the way it is.

        Every important scientific, moral, and philosophical question is asked and answered elsewhere, through human effort. With regard to these the Bible is redundant, obsolete, or irrelevant.

        It even explains false religion, yes even false “Christian” religion.

        Indeed it does. But then you wouldn’t want to apply it to itself. If you did, you’d discover it is self-defeating. Love the truth, says your Bible. And yet the religion derived from it enjoins its practitioners to engage in selective science denial. If a prophecy fails, says your Bible, that man is a false prophet, do not fear him. And yet all of the prophecies within its pages have in fact failed, forcing the stubborn believer to become a liar for his Jesus–using special pleading and a raft of logical fallacies to defend the indefensible. It just goes on and on. The Bible does not recommend itself to the honest reader.

        Either Jesus himself was a fraud or he was who he said he was. If he did die and was resurrected he is worth listening to. If a fraud then we are fools to follow him or any claiming to be his ministers/representatives.

        That’s right.

        You know the bible shows there is a devil who deceives the whole world. He has done his job well if he is real.

        And the world would look just the same if he weren’t real. In fact, there is no more evidence for a devil than there is for a god. Or leprechauns, for that matter. Mythological creatures all.

        We all have to be honest with ourselves. I believe what I believe because the evidence says to me it is so. I am sure you believe what you do because that is what makes sense to you.

        The difference, of course, is that I once believed and so was once motivated in my reasoning just as you are now. But, unlike you, I eventually stopped rationalizing my belief and started thinking critically instead. That is how one becomes an atheist–by finally being honest with oneself.

      • Casey,

           I wonder who has the feeling of superiority you or me. I never said I was superior to anyone. Tell me what words that I have written to you give you that impression? You like to generalize about believers in God. The bible makes it plain God chose the weak of the world, not many wise, not many mighty. I thought you would have know that from your days in WCG. I consider myself in this group. I am sure you probably are more intelligent than I and certainly have superior  communication skills, but that does not make you right. These are gifts (talents) from a creator God not evolution. I am sure you know the God of the bible looks for humility not arrogance or feelings of superiority. A true follower of Jesus should be humble yet firm in ones believe based on truth not feelings and emotion. Just because someone says he or she is a believer does not mean that person is called and chosen of God. Once again didn’t you learn this in WCG? Many give true Christianity a bad name because they are not truly chosen of God and that includes many in Worldwide Church of God and some of its offshoots like Jerry Flurrey. But, this does not mean God does not exist or there are not true followers of Jesus. My bible says the true church would be very small and it would be faithful to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus indicated so when He stated the gates of hell would not prevail against His church. Didn’t you learn this from the bible when you were in WCG? God’s true church has come close to becoming extinct but has remained because of God. Jesus said many would come in His name declaring He was the Christ but deceive many. This has happen. How did He know?This prophecy has and is being fulfilled some 200 years from when Jesus said it. If the real Jesus of the bible is not who He said He was mankind is doomed. Look at what is happening in the world. Do you think mankind is going to solve the problem of war, hatred, etc.? How long can mankind survive? Humans need a new heart one that lives the way of give not get. One that lives by God’s laws and teachings not mans. We need another spirit, God’s, to transform us. The lesson of what man would do without knowing and obeying the true God from the heart are evident in man’s history. When in history could Jesus words that no flesh would be saved unless God intervened? Did Jesus know mankind would develop weapons of total destruction? That could not have happen until our generation.     Unlike you I was not raised in Worldwide Church of God. I was born into a catholic family. I rejected my catholic faith in my late teens. While a student in college I came to realize most of my fellow students did not believe in God or where not sure. One thing was clear they did not want someone (God) telling them how to live. They wanted to party and have sex and God was someone who offended their conscience. Romans 8:7. In college I was taught  evolution was the cause of creation not a creator God. I also took electives in history of religion, etc. I wanted to know if God really existed or not. I did not want to believe in a fairy tale about some make believe God. I wanted answers. After 3 years of trying to uncover what was truth and what was not I heard the World Tomorrow  program by “accident”. If there is a God maybe He was calling me! No chance, right?  I began to search the scriptures and study early church history to see if what was being taught by HWA was true or false. My bible study, etc. led me to a conclusion you disagree with.  After much study I became a member of WCG. Did I always agree with everything? No. I let my reason and study dictate what I thought was correct, not some man. I did not check my mind at the door when I read or heard various messages. I did not assume HWA was always correct. My relationship was and is with God, not some human. Of course, I realized God uses humans (flawed ones at that) but truth is truth regardless of who says it. Did I think there were many in WCG who were not true followers of Jesus? Yes. Wasn’t this the case in the apostles days? Yes. Jesus said let the wheat and chaff grow together. The time will come when He will separate the two.    The God I serve has a plan of salvation which I am sure you learned about. If I am one of the chosen it is not because I am more worthy than anyone else. It is only because of God’s grace. The beauty of God’s plan is He wants all to be saved unlike many who teach this is the only day of salvation. Yes, I know you think this is a myth, that I am deluded, and you are right. I the fool will sleep well tonight knowing that life is not meaningless, that the God of the bible and Jesus are real, that Jesus rose from the dead, so all who would believe in Him could have eternal life in His kingdom. I wish I could prove this to you but since you reject the bible and its teaching for now this is not possible. Someday, hopefully you will see. Hopefully I am right, because if you are as Solomon said “Life is Meaningless”.  

      • I wonder who has the feeling of superiority you or me. I never said I was superior to anyone. Tell me what words that I have written to you give you that impression? You like to generalize about believers in God. The bible makes it plain God chose the weak of the world, not many wise, not many mighty. I thought you would have know that from your days in WCG.

        Oh, yes, I’m well aware of the teaching. I’m just not so confused and credulous as to think mere teachings reflect actual reality. You got my point backwards, anyway. I didn’t say you have feelings of superiority; I said you crave them. Most who join these groups do. They are the weak and base of the world, just like the Bible tells us. And so they are looking for something to make them feel better than they are. And the cult delivers, soothing them with titles like “peculiar people”, “very elect”, “called and chosen”, “jewels”, etc. You know them as well as I do. And you also know what it’s like to pretend you have access to secret knowledge the rest of the world is blind to. You cultists convince yourselves that the whole world is deceived and you alone understand what is going on. The litany of facts that denote an inferiority complex in search of redress goes on and on. Mass movements are notorious for attracting misfits who are dissatisfied with their lot in life and their lack of relevance to the wider society. The Armstrongist belief system promises the cultist an ultimate recognition otherwise denied them in this world. They are a group of individuals who need to be considered important, and society just isn’t meeting that need for them.

        These are gifts (talents) from a creator God not evolution.

        This is an unsubstantiated claim on your part.

        A true follower of Jesus should be humble yet firm in ones believe based on truth not feelings and emotion.

        What is “truth”? It is clear that, to you, “truth” is something you find in the Bible. But I have already discussed how mistaken such a position is. No, truth is what persists despite your belief to the contrary. It is something one can demonstrate with logical argumentation and the presentation of observable facts. References to fairy tales and superstitious delusions do not in any way qualify as truth-telling.

        But, this does not mean God does not exist or there are not true followers of Jesus.

        Point to an atheist that makes the case for atheism by reference to false prophets (a redundancy) and “heretical” sects. I certainly don’t. It just isn’t needed. Atheism is the null hypothesis because there is no evidence for any god’s existence. There were atheists long before there were “true” Christians.

        Look at what is happening in the world. Do you think mankind is going to solve the problem of war, hatred, etc.?

        I know it won’t be solved by your imaginary friend. If anything, a great many of the world’s problems are the result of unwarranted belief.

        Humans need a new heart one that lives the way of give not get.

        Ah, yes, the Way of Give. As though there were only one and it involved hoary fantasies about messiahs and tribulations, prophecies and divinely ruled Utopias. What is left of your “way of give” when you strip away all the idiotic eschatology? What has Armstrongism given the world? Nothing. Instead it has indoctrinated children into a delusion, wasting what would be their most productive years on service to a backward and dying cult, and withering their minds with ideological rot. Incredible human potential indeed. How the CoGs squander it on foolishness! Speak to me not of the “way of give”. It is a fiction, like the rest of your world view.

        One that lives by God’s laws and teachings not mans.

        The Jews’ laws were made by men just as surely as the Catholics’. I suggest you cast aside the pseudo-history your cult preaches at you and start looking into the origins of Judaism and Christianity yourself. You’ll find it’s “pagan” all the way down.

        In college I was taught evolution was the cause of creation not a creator God.

        Did you pay attention? No, you didn’t. We’ve already established that you don’t understand evolution. Yet you rejected it. Where is the wisdom in that?

        I also took electives in history of religion, etc.

        Again, you didn’t pay attention. Else you would know that monotheism itself was a human invention. There were no monotheists in the Ancient Near East before the Babylonian captivity.

        I did not check my mind at the door when I read or heard various messages.

        The very fact you were attending a cult service is evidence that you had already abandoned reason.

        I wish I could prove this to you but since you reject the bible and its teaching for now this is not possible.

        It will never be possible to “prove” the Bible using the Bible. That’s circular reasoning and it is completely illogical.

        Hopefully I am right, because if you are as Solomon said “Life is Meaningless”.

        Solomon wasn’t as wise as his reputation would suggest. Life is not meaningless without your particular god, or any god. Gods don’t make life meaningful, we do. And I would appreciate it if you would not insult me by presuming my life has no meaning just because you can’t imagine living without your imaginary security blanket. Now, if you please, take your ineffectual bleating elsewhere. I was already bored of you when you started your first sermon.

  24. I wonder if he has actually read any of our articles? I would think that if he had, he would have commented there about what aspects were wrong. I mean, either German Assyrianism/British Israelism is true or it isn’t.

    Was HWA correct when he wrote up his timetable of the end in his first Plain Truth back in ’34? Was he right when he declared “Moussulini IS the Beast”? Was he right when he said “Bible prophecy shows that Hitler MUST win in his current fight against Russia”? Is prophecy fulfilled or does Tyre still exist? Is there evidence for the Gap Theory creationism Armstrong taught as if it were special revelation to him (as opposed to already being a very old idea when he was born)?

    But this religion makes the world look as awful as possible–even Doctors Without Borders is in some way evil, I’m sure. And, of course, since we KNOW that things are just getting worse and worse, then Stephen Pinker’s book “Better Angels of our Nature”, about this being, actually, the most Peaceful time in mankind’s history, well that can’t be true. So, since there is NO redeeming value in humanity, and since there is no Meaning or Hope without the God of the Bible, well…let’s not look behind the curtain.

Say anything you want. We do.

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