Torah to Tampons

women

It should not be a big surprise that the churches spawned from Herbie Armstrong’s teachings would choose to interpret the bible in a way that generally denigrates women. Much of the doctrine of “the church” seems to have stemmed from his own personal misgivings about things such as going to the doctor, military service, and—of course—women. After all, women in the bible typically fill the roles of wives, mothers, and daughters. In their relation to male figures, they are given their own unique voice within the biblical realm, but it is one that mostly revolves around familial ties and responsibilities. The vast majority of women in the bible are characters who act in supporting roles while the men produce action, and the teachings of the COGs reflect that about women.

The assumption that the bible discriminates against women is largely based on two accounts: Eve’s creation and the words of Paul in books such as 1 Corinthians and Colossians.

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The Kessler Letter–Corruption in the Cult

A bowl of spiders--revisited?

I just found this surprisingly eloquent and lucid piece of anti-corruption polemical from one of WCG’s disowned top officials. It’s obviously old news, but I’ve never seen or heard of it before. I wonder if anyone else knows about it or about what became of the author’s promised effort to hold Armstrong and his henchmen legally accountable for their alleged financial corruption after the state failed to zero in on the real problem: Armstrong himself.

Well, anyway, enjoy this scathing indictment of the lying fools who cramped your style and played like high-rollers with your hard-earned money (oh, and be sure not to miss the reference to Herbert’s prosthetic dildo! After all, you paid for it)… … Continue reading.

A Cult In Decline – Armstrongism In The 21st Century

Hoeh officiates at Armstrong's funeral.

Armstrongism’s death knell?

This is a subject that I’ve been wanting to write about for some time now. In fact, I started writing the article several months ago but it’s taken me a bit longer to get all of the pieces assembled than I thought it would. The subject? The slow but inevitable decline of the religious movement known as Armstrongism (my former religion and possibly yours). The irony should not escape us, considering that decline appears to be their favorite subject. For over 75 years, the general theme of Armstrongism has been “Nation in Decline” (regarding America, Britain and other western nations). Today, I’d like to focus on the tragic irony of this theme.

I’ll be discussing the factors that ultimately led to the success of the movement in the first place and those which have led to its steady decline in recent years. I’d like to take a look at the most “successful” splinters of Armstrongism, to see how they’ve succeeded at all. Lastly, I will hypothesize on the bleak future that will be faced by so many people still caught up in the grip of these cults.

This is a subject of great importance to those with friends and family still stuck in these cults. Understanding the decline of these groups will enable us to help these people when they need help the most. To be there for them when their religious “support system” no longer operates. But first, a look back at how it all started… Continue reading

The Memory Hole

We have a section here at Armstrong Delusion called “the memory hole”. It is a section dedicated to long forgotten Armstrongist teachings. But we didn’t just come up with something that sounded kinda clever; no, the idea came from George Orwell’s masterful 1984. It is a dystopian novel about how life would be in 1984 (the book was written in 1948) under communist world rule.

Space Commies create a Cosmic Memory Hole

Within easy reach of Winston’s arm, [there was] a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This…was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.” The purpose of these “memory holes” was the destruction of any printed material, any picture, book, newspaper, whatever, that was “out of date” or “inconvenient”. It was a destroyer of evidence.

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F-16s Fly-over of Church Campus in Edmond Raises Questions.

WTF?

On June 28, 2011 the Edmond Sun announced that “Armstrong Auditorium’s 2011-12 performing arts series will kick off July 3 with the screaming thunder of F-16s from the 138th Fighter Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard … when four F-16 Fighting Falcons fly over the campus of Herbert W. Armstrong College …” Armstrong’s marketing director Shane Granger said the fly-over was “part of our Independence Day celebrations at Armstrong,” the Sun reported.

So the Pentagon is helping Gerald Flurry’s Philadelphia Church of God kick off their concert series. This might seem innocuous at first, but if we take a closer look, it raises some disturbing issues. … Continue reading.

Totalitarianism and the Churches of God

Eric Sell

Ignorance is Strength

The fact that the term “dissident literature”, a term we are familiar with from the world of Armstrongism, was originated in communist Russia is far more relevant than it might first appear. The defining aspect of totalitarianism is the control of all areas of life—public and private; the easiest way to control people is to control what they think, and the best way to control what they think is to control information. Thus the stricture to avoid “dissident literature”.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. I can’t be serious, can I? How can I compare the Armstrongist churches of God to a totalitarian dictatorship? The church doesn’t have enough power to control what info the laity have access to! Almost all the members live in the countries of the Western industrialized world! Democracy! Freedom of speech! Freedom of the press! The internet! Nobody except, maybe, China or North Korea can control all that! Oh really? Actually, its easier than you might think. … Continue reading

The Armstrongist Hydra: Why the Movement Survives its Prophetic Failures

By Matt Hilhorst, Contributor.

I’ve been following several of the Armstrongist splinters for a while now. I stumbled across them while researching cults and their internal mechanisms, and they struck me as a particularly interesting example. Not only do they subscribe to an end-of-days worldview, but several have gone so far as to repeatedly set dates–often only five to ten years in the future. These dates then pass without anything untoward happening, but the cults simply rearrange their teachings slightly and then carry on.

On the surface it seems ludicrous that any organization (or person) which claims to be in direct contact with an all-powerful supernatural being should make clear predictions and have them fail repeatedly without this having a serious impact on their follower base. But while it is true that some leave, or head for a different Armstrong-based group, the essential belief in prophesy and the core tenets of Armstrongism often remain intact despite the perennial reality checks.

This phenomenon seems to defy all logic. In a logical world, people would see a ‘prophet,’ listen, and then simply watch to see if the prophecies come true. In the event of a failure, then the ‘prophet’ is either mistaken or out to deceive people. In the event of a mistake the ‘prophet’s’  judgement is obviously impaired–it’s a big step to go out and declare yourself the direct recipient of a divine message, and then tell people to arrange their lives accordingly. On the other hand, if the ‘prophet’ stands to gain power, influence or money by propagating a fraudulent belief system, then it is much more likely that he is seeking personal aggrandizement to the detriment of his followers.

So how do the Armstrongist splinters defy the logical outcome? What keeps people inured, even after they witness failure after failure? … Continue reading

Mark of Truth: An Open Letter to the PCG Ministry

Greetings Cowards,

We’ve been made aware through our network of contacts within your organization that you have excommunicated and “marked” us. We have been waiting for this. We know you have been reading us, and that our content has frightened you. We are also certain that you have been hesitant to speak our names aloud from the pulpit, for fear that you might pique the curiosity of your impressionable teens and stragglers. But now the die has been cast: we have crossed the Rubicon, so to speak…and you have a wolf by the ears. … Continue reading

We’re All Gonna Die! …Or Maybe Not.

S. D. Bruce

On Friday, December 21, 2012, human life will be obliterated from this planet—and guess what? We won’t even get the credit. The seas will vaporize into choking, blistering clouds of steam, obscuring the cataclysmic fusion of the tectonic plates below. Volcanic ash and molten stone will smother the world’s great cities while oceans of contaminated mud bury mountain villages, fertile farmland and suburban housing developments. Military bunkers will be crushed instantly as mountain ranges topple and merge with writhing valleys. The international space station will disintegrate within the first few seconds, but any astronauts on board won’t see the impact coming: spikes in coronal mass ejections from the sun will melt communications gear days before the ultimate blow. Within a year nothing will be left of our once-vibrant, frenzied globe but a chilled cinder wafting like scorched paper through the frozen void. … Continue reading