A symptom of the COG’s problem of automation is anger. Whether a pastor is trying to replicate Armstrong’s scam or simply function as they were taught by their forbears, anger pervades the ministry and COG in general.
Armstrong’s acolytes try to replicate his fiery temper and brimstone dissatisfaction with a world that’s ignoring their message and attempts to grow the COG’s power and notoriety. They have additional rage at a long stream of failed prophecies, the wealth lost upon WCG’s collapse and their lack of control over the church’s disunity as fellow ministers battle over tithe money and try recapturing the glory days with themselves in charge.
The second and third generation ministers are angry because they’ve inherited their parents’ persecution complex and plugged into the rightwing culture war where they see themselves as holy crusaders in a battle to “prepare a people” for the end. The threats presented by a liberal, permissive, scientifically-enlightened society erodes at the tenants of their faith, provoking them to fight back in the name of God and country while weaving an intricate conspiracy of rationalization in their brains where Satan is directly opposing them.
Laymembers are angry after decades of living in a toxic church culture saturated with rage at a world refusing to end within their desired timetable. Older members are bitter they may not see Christ’s return in their lifetime. Many Ambassador College grads who were promised positions in the ministry were turned away, something they seethe about to this day as they struggle to justify a life fully invested in a failing church. The world has changed rapidly in their lifetime while they have anchored themselves in place, refusing to adapt.
The younger people in the COG are simply drifting in a fog, uncertain of the reasons for their parents’ and minister’s anger, while slowly being infected by it over time.
The COG is caught in a recursive cycle of rage that acts as the cornerstone of its irrational theological ramblings and cultural corruption. Decades of conditioning prevent them from stepping back and recognizing the true source of anger and fears the cult has been effectively exploiting for years to the financial benefit of its leaders, both the professionals and the zealots. The COG has become addicted to anger as a forceful antibody against the deadly threat of logic, one that confirms their myriad insane biases each week.
Douglas Becker points out:
I don’t buy into being apologetic for someone like, say, Terry Ratzman. I say this with a background of someone who knew Chuck Harris. I’d say that if this ever entered the fictional court of Law and Order, Assistant District Attorney, Jack McCoy would fry Ratzman in the court if he had survived the LCG shooting. You can almost hear his final address to the jury: “He doesn’t get a free pass! It doesn’t matter if he was “lonely”. It doesn’t matter if he had a mental illness. He knew right from wrong, but he took it upon himself to commit premeditated murder because he was Angry!”
And so forth.
Over at the Ronald Weinland False Prophet blog, I asked the question whether or not Ronald Weinland was an angry man (because I didn’t really know). The answer is that he has cursed those who mock him as a false prophet — the answer is that he is angry.
In fact, if you examine the current leadership of all the ACoGs, you will find that all of them are angry. This is not just a legacy from the very angry Herbert Armstrong with his legendary temper and J. Tkach, Senior, who yelled 5 hours at a poor innocent woman who had done nothing, because he was angry (and his son who exposed his anger at his first wife). Roderick Meredith is an angry man. So is Gerald Flurry. So is David Pack. And some may be surprised, but so is Dennis Luker.
Angry men attract attention and they attract a following. Some are impressed with the forceful “leadership”. Some follow a Nimrod hero. Others want to hear someone attack the world with anger because they are disabused.
If we look at the membership which has to know they are following false prophets and are accepting crap eschatology, the more we dig, the more we find that there is something very wrong with them. Most of those who I know are angry people who have their anger fed through the CoGs.
Not convinced? Then consider this question: Why are there so many splinters? Is it not because both members and ministers are angry with the Church Corporate with which they find themselves bound and are quite disatified with it, in spite of the fact that a casual outsider would be mystified because differences are indiscernable?
I think that pretty much all of the ministers have inherited the “Warrior Gene” and the base membership has the TC / TT variant of DARRP 32. They can’t have peace and they don’t want it.
And the man who started it all was able to yell the loudest and longest. Through his anger and temper he was able to attract a following and hold it together. The time of the kind of anger with the Cold War he could manipulate is gone now and it’s a whole new ball game. The glory days are not returning. People are no longer impressed with the yelling and waving of arms.