Aug 122011

Mirrored via Escaping Armstrongism

This week, I have a small tale to tell.

In December 2008, I wrote a two-part post about Slandering HWA – I Think Not! In these posts, I got into a regrettable conversation with an impatient minister of Armstrongism whom I had previously held in high esteem. Well, what I did not mention is that I was a member on his website’s chat forum. I logged on one day after our exchange to see if he had remembered to cut me off. He had not. So, I posted a couple mild things.

One person (an anonymous and unsuspecting third party) had a topic in there in which he was expressing shock about censorship in the media. This stroke of luck I simply could not pass up! I replied with something along the lines of “You’re shocked about censorship? Censorship is a common occurrence in Armstrongism! How many times have you been warned about what you read, or how many times has a person been disfellowshipped and we were told to have nothing to do with them, or how many times had the church put out questionable material which they hid from us? Why, censorship is a staple in Armstrongism.” (That is an approximation of what I said. The exact details have faded from my memory.)

To prove my point, I started my own topic. Therein I posted a chunk from Herbert Armstrong’s prophecy from the June/July 1934 edition of the Plain Truth magazine where HWA stated Christ would return by 1936. I also pasted my favorite quote there, which you can see at the top of this blog whenever you wish:

“But who today understands what the prophets foretold? Why, only the ministers today whose word comes to pass!-those who are appointed and guided by God to preach the truth! Those whose utterances do not come to pass have not spoken the prophecies truly. We give you here the record of what we have been proclaiming for the past 2 years-a message which no other voices, to our knowledge, have been proclaiming…. But what we have been warning you about is happening!-precisely as we have stated…. This is how you can know that our work is not of men but of God!”
-Plain Truth magazine, DEC. 1956, p.3

You can guess what happened within two days from that time. Yes, my account was revoked. I had been censored. My point was proven.

(MATT. 23: 13-15) 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

Aug 122011

We could put this in words that are just as good. But why? We’ll allow Henrik V Blunck from Armstrongism – The Ultimate Guide say it best:

The motto of many splinters of the Armstrongism groups seems to be “pay and pray” – often referring to the fact that the ministry doesn’t want lay members to have any teaching functions whatsoever, either online or offline.

In a concrete example, one COG-leader had an issue with a member who had released information about a competing church organization simply because this was not published by himself. As Pastor General (a popular term for a church leader in the circles of Armstrongism), this person believed it was only ministers that should publish anything online.

The issue was never the actual content of the site, but what was viewed as rebellion because this person was not willing to take down the website. [Later, the webhost supplying the website was merged into another service, and the original site disappeared.]

When you go through newsletters from these COG-groups you quickly discover the negative angle in which the internet is often mentioned. It’s all part of the angle that the ministry need to make the internet appear negative – despite knowing very well that this would be like saying books were bad just because some bad novels are published every year.

Everything depends on the eye of the beholder. It’s an excellent networking tool offering fellowship through social media like we have never before seen, so on the social side, there is a big potential for friendships across time zones.

Likewise, you could take any online information database and find minor errors in details. Usually an e-mail to the webmaster with relevant documentation can upgrade their databases, and such errors are pruned constantly by people who do offer feedback on whatever might be in error.

But the intentions of the ministry in many groups is mind control, and you should never fall for this type of control. They often use “prove all things” when attracting people as co-workers and members, but once they are caught like fish, the principle becomes “pay and pray” instead of actively involving people in the development of the organization.

Stay informed – regardless of what anyone else might recommend. :-)