Aug 052011

These are the “Additional Ten Commandments” of Herbert W. Armstrong, still enforced in many COG cults today:

I. Thou shalt not celebrate birthdays.

II. Thou shalt not celebrate Easter.

III. Thou shalt not celebrate Halloween.

IV. Thou shalt not speak of the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, or any other imaginary deity.

V. Thou shalt not play or observe sports on the Saturday Sabbath.

VI. Thou shalt not eat any form of pork.

VII. Thou shalt not eat any form of shellfish.

VIII. Thou shalt not wear makeup, get piercings or tattoos.

IX. Thou shalt not grow a beard.

X. Thou shalt not celebrate Christmas.

Aug 042011

COGWA board member and pastor Mike Hanisko has given us an update on his fledgling sect’s finances. Please bear in mind that COGWA has only existed since January 8, 2011.

Several members have asked recently how COGWA is doing financially. I thought you would appreciate reading this encouraging financial update from Steve McNeely, one of our accountants: “We were blessed with a generous Pentecost offering and steady deposits during the month of June. Total income for the month was just over $800,000, and for the year it stands at approximately $3,880,000. Expenses continue to be well managed and held to a minimum, and we are very grateful for everyone operating on a frugal budget as we become more established in the early organizational stages. As of June 30, 2011, we have approximately $1,430,000 in the bank, of which just under $400,000 has been restricted to use for preaching the gospel. We also have set aside temporarily restricted income that will be used during the year for specific purposes, such as assistance and Feast expenses. The low point for cash flow is historically right before the Fall Feast Days so we are trying to build our operating reserves. We currently have about one month’s worth of expenses in reserves, which is not a lot, but it is significant considering we started with nothing.

“We are continuing to work on entering detail for contribution receipts. The mail detail is processed through May, and we are working on the holy day offerings. It is a big job. Our goal is to provide a combined first and second quarter contribution receipt in the next two or three weeks.”

“While the money in the bank gives us only a relatively small margin for needs and reserves, given the amount of time we have been in operation, we are very grateful for God’s blessings and the continued, generous financial support from the brethren. This is a very important part of building an organizational foundation upon which we can do the work God has commissioned to us.”

They brought in $3.8 million in less than eight months. Also keep in mind that COGWA only boasts approximately 15,000 members, meaning that each member, on average, has tithed about $253 thus far this year.

Also keep in mind that COGWA, like the rest of the COG, does not build its own church buildings, and simply leases or rents cheap spaces for its congregations, which are few in number. They also don’t have any major media projects at this time, their most expensive holding being their website and all of the associated stock photography they seem to have purchased to show pictures of shiny happy people.

If they have $1.4 million in the bank, it probably stands to reason that most of the remaining $2.4 million has been divided among the ministry, which again, compared to their parent cult UCG, is rather small.

The motivations of the pastors splintering from UCG becomes quite clear when one considers each of these men were taught by “the best” when it comes to conning people out of their money and living off the backs of the destitute slaves that comprise their membership, and if they don’t have an opportunity to wield that power, they will be forced to take power for themselves elsewhere.

This is all assuming they’ve been even remotely truthful about their financial numbers, which is not a given at all, since it’s beneficial to appear weaker to spur more tithes, offerings and donations from their fervent victims.

Aug 042011

Dennis Diehl’s series of articles about Biblical scholarship and challenging COG pastors is a great read. Check them out!
Questions Your Pastor Will Hate – Part One
Questions Your Pastor Will Hate – Part Two
Questions Your Pastor Will Hate – Part Three
Questions Your Pastor Will Hate – Part Four
Questions Your Pastor Will Hate – Part Five
Why Does the Gospel of Mark Have No Positive Ending and John Has Two?
via Banned by HWA!