Jun 112012
 

For decades, the COG has promoted the myth of “free literature” with booklets and magazines produced only at vast member expense rather than public cost. Of course, this has always been a joke, since the a majority of those consuming COG literature are members themselves, who are thus being charged through the nose for the privileged of receiving one of these divinely-inspired doctrinal masterworks.

UCG was so proud when it released its “free” booklets on Amazon some months back, and has ardently defended them with a censorship campaign again dissenting comments and bad ratings. But now, the cult has covertly shifted its tactics, without noticeable announcement or fanfare.

Amazon is now charging for the digital Kindle versions of UCG booklets. This must have been a very recent development, since we keep a pretty good eye on the Amazon scene as UCG members pile praise upon books they likely haven’t read in years.

We have no idea why the prices vary by a few cents for each (perhaps page count), or why after decades of producing printed copies of literature at no cost to the public, there’s now a price attached to ebooks, which have little-to-no production cost. Is UCG’s financial situation really that dire?

We aren’t aware of any taxes or fees being levied by Amazon on Kindle offerings that would necessitate the price inclusion, though it could have something to do with its Select program and a 90-day window allowing the free distribution of ebooks, which it would seem UCG has surpassed. This could be Amazon’s default minimum price for Kindle books, and they’re likely to be the primary financial beneficiaries.

But if UCG is really serious about offering free booklets, why not eat that cost? Only 30.5 percent of its revenue is spent on stuff like this. Can’t a pastor go without an extra bottle of bourbon for a month? Sure, it’s only $1-something, but in a recession, everything counts.

And of course, once again, most of the readers are likely to be existing COG members with their Kindles, who have already paid to produce the literature, so they’re being charged again for the same thing.

Also of note is that The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy is at long last available on Amazon and has been reincluded into UCG’s literature library. We’re looking to scan through it for any notable changes to see whether Dennis Luker is sticking to HWA’s old guns about British Israelism or whether there’s been a change in tone in the light of contradictory scientific fact.

Edit:

Thanks to S Harris for the link with the explanation from UCG. As we previously speculated, it’s Amazon’s minimum price.

But that link also verifies our other suspicions, which is UCG’s call for a propaganda campaign of positive reviews from members:

We Need Your Help

When we post a new e-book to Amazon we need your help to let them know its available at other online locations for FREE. Right now we have one e-book that is still listed for 99 cents—How to Understand the Bible.

We need just a few minutes of your time. All you need to do is have an Amazon.com account and follow the instructions listed on our Amazon volunteer webpage or visit our main How Can I Help? volunteer page (under the “I have free time” section). Once the e-book is listed for free at Amazon.com we will remove the request for that particular e-book.

You can also help by submitting a review of any of our e-books and leaving a comment that you feel would be helpful to any potential readers.

Please take a few minutes and help us with this project. It will really help our Web team at the homeoffice!

Of course, how many are going to identify themselves as UCG “volunteers?” Very few, if any. Trying to artificially bump up the positive reviews and deleting any negative ones on your own literature is intellectually dishonest. We put out the call for honest reviews from those familiar with these books and doctrines to share their thoughts. We haven’t added any of ours yet, but others who have tried had been met with deleted comments, tags and ratings. C’mon UCG.

Silence

  12 Responses to “New Charges for UCG Amazon Booklets”

  1. Can’t a pastor go without an extra bottle of bourbon for a month?

    Now, now! The UCG won’t allow the ministry liquor allowances any more. Who knows how many lives that might save. They aren’t too happy with alcoholics and really do discourage the use of alcohol at socials and such, and that’s a good thing. Besides, some of these senior centers would get mighty cranky and not let them have their meetings and socials there any more if they found out members were imbibing. Passover might be OK, I guess, but in the “other” churches of God which don’t preach British Israelism, they use grape juice, since Scripture says to use the “fruit of the vine” which is pretty vague, except in an age with no refrigeration, I would guess that grape juice was something special (especially in the spring time) and wouldn’t last long before fermenting.

    Anyway, when the Church Corporate gets involved with this world’s Corporations, you know that mammon of this world has to be exchanged and the gospel — the good news of salvation and redemption, not some sort of Corporate Kingdom — has to take second place to the realities of commerce, which would be a real bummer if United had one shred of what one might call “spirituality”, but fortunately has none of that, near as anyone can tell. When they lie to you and then take your money, there’s not much room for God and the Holy Spirit, is there? In fact, if you follow these folks with their fondling and stalking, it’s like you would never know that they believe in Jesus at all, except as some sort of Corporate advertising icon.

    Click once and you’re really done.

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  2. Actually, this is nothing new. Well, maybe it is for UCG, but I have an original hardback copy of Mystery Of The Ages from 1986 with the price of $12.95 printed on the inner dust jacket. I’ve owned several originals over the years and they did not all have this. Basically, WCG printed two batches of MOA. One to give to the members and people who wrote in for it, and another that was sent to bookstores to sell. I’ve already got video footage of it to incorporate into the film, whenever I get my shit together and finish it.

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  3. Amazon has a minimum fee (99 cents I believe) for kindle editions of books. However, they will “price compare” if enough people report a cheaper price from another website. Since iTunes provides all UCG e-booklets for free, people just report that competitive cost of $0.00 to Amazon. If enough people report that competitive cost, Amazon will reduce it down to $0.00. UCG has encouraged the local congregations to notify Amazon of the Amazon/iTunes price difference so that these booklets can be free for whomever wants to download it. When I came across this post, it hurt to read it. No research was done on why a booklet from a church (that traditionally provides free literature) has a booklet for the Kindle that costs more than $0.00. When I read this post, I felt like its purpose was to defame a church. I feel like this website is designed to tear down and not build up or improve anything. I am sorry that you believe UCG (or any church of God) is corrupt. There is probably no amount of evidence to convince you otherwise. I question myself as to why I even visited this site, knowing its reputation of negativity and slander. This will be my first and last post on this website. I just could not let this utterly misinformed post go unanswered.

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  4. @ Scott:
    Oh, not to worry: Any church which teaches British Israelism and has “The United States and British Commonwealth” in one form or another is preaching lies of a dead false prophet, and is thus corrupt. It doesn’t help that many of the ministers in United also know that their “True History of a True Church” is also nothing but a lying myth, long ago disproved.

    Furthermore, though most Armstrongists churches teach that we are to keep “God’s Law” as in the Ten Commandments and certainly specify that it is wrong to break the Fourth one about the Sabbath, they go ahead and support eating out on restaurants in clear violation of the Law itself, explicitly given that no one is to work within your gates, expanded upon in Ezra and Nehemiah that commerce was not to be conducted on the Sabbath. Well, keep it or not, but if you teach it, keep it. It’s a double standard and by definition this makes most of the Armstrongist churches of God corrupt and that certainly means the UCG.

    Moreover, I remember the President of the UCG back during the time of the 1970s, supporting a married couple who were becoming doctors and were in their residency. As I recall, the very Sabbath, the women were to wipe that “colored dirt” off their faces and take off their lipstick, these two had their beepers go off in church and headed out to the hospital during Sabbath Services. This all reminds me of the Woody Allen movie “Bananas” where Woody Allen was fighting a dictatorship and became the dictator himself. As part of his new powers as despot he declared that everyone should change their underwear every four hours. It got inconvenient, so he had a law that people should wear their underwear over their outer garments so they could be checked more easily. The point is this: All cult leaders generate random rules of conduct which change at their whims and are declared doctrines, such as “do we wear lipstick today or not” and other patently silly things not related to redemption or salvation. You can be certain that these constantly shifting “doctrines” are based on the hidden agendas of the leadership and help keep the people confused so they won’t question the basis of the doctrines. The final goal in reality is to keep the income rolling in for salaries, perks and retirement.

    So, yeah, all of Armstrongism is corrupt and has no redeeming qualities, seeing as how it is all a corruption and heresy against the Church of God Seventh Day.

    And if you don’t believe that, look at the fruit. Go ahead. Where is it? What is it?

    But act now! Limited time only! Because it’s going away! And when it’s gone, it’s not coming back.

    You’ll have to adapt to some other kook.

    And if you take an analytical look, UCG at its core is based on the same stuff the PKG is made of. You should look at the decades of false prophecy and flee the corruption, because once it sets in, you’ll have a Devil of a time recognizing it, let alone evading it.

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  5. Scott, I think you missed something in the article above. In fact, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you missed it and that you aren’t just omitting it from the dialogue so you could throw your little tantrum. Silence wrote:

    Silence wrote:

    We aren’t aware of any taxes or fees being levied by Amazon on Kindle offerings that would necessitate the price inclusion, though it could have something to do with its Select program and a 90-day window allowing the free distribution of ebooks, which it would seem UCG has surpassed. This could be Amazon’s default minimum price for Kindle books, and they’re likely to be the primary financial beneficiaries.

    Guess you missed that, eh?

    Scott wrote:

    I question myself as to why I even visited this site, knowing its reputation of negativity and slander

    I question why you came also, it seems you only are interested in reading things that support your viewpoints. Wouldn’t want you to actually have to think critically.

    Scott wrote:

    Amazon has a minimum fee (99 cents I believe) for kindle editions of books.

    Let me throw some scriptures your way, Scottie. 2 Corinthians 2:17? Do not sell the word of god? and how about 1 Thessalonians 5:22 – avoid the appearance of evil. Perhaps it was poor planning on the part of UCG to knowingly enter into an arrangement with Amazon that would cause them, for however brief a time, to appear to sell the “word of god”?

    Then again, I suppose the temptation of free publicity via Amazon was simply too hard to avoid.

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  6. I’d have to say I agree a little bit with Scott on this one (except for UCG not being – at least a little bit – corrupt). I don’t see the issue here. From what it looks like to me this seems to be just a technical glitch of sorts, and I’m sure UCG has every intention of offering their literature on Amazon for free. How else would they figure to attract possible new members (if those prospects actually exist)? Besides, aren’t all those tithes and “free will” offerings doing enough to feed the gravy train?

    Though, on the other hand:

    Tohu wrote:

    I question why you came also, it seems you only are interested in reading things that support your viewpoints. Wouldn’t want you to actually have to think critically.

    Yes, well confirmation bias and the presumption of a moral high ground has always been a bit of a stumbling block for critical thinking, hasn’t it?

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  7. Some proof that UCG is in fact trying to lower their booklet price back to being free

    http://realtimeunited.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/update-ucg-booklets-on-amazon-we-need-your-help/

    The bigger issue with UCG’s Amazon adventure is the “censorship campaign” of limiting negative comments or at least encouraging lots of positive ones from the membership. If UCG and others are (supposedly) opening themselves up to the free range that is the internet, shouldn’t they allow the public to have their fair say?

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  8. Thanks for the link. We were looking for that yesterday but it didn’t pop up. It verifies our previous suspicions.

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  9. Post updated with a couple new findings.

    Scott wrote:

    I just could not let this utterly misinformed post go unanswered.

    You obviously didn’t read it. Looks like you just skimmed, made some assumptions, and got mad. Our point was this “free literature” now has a price, which is absurd because it’s already being paid for over and again by members. And the reasons we speculated about turned out to be correct, and now the full information up there, along with some other information about the UCG propaganda campaign we’ve been complaining about for months.

    Scott wrote:

    I am sorry that you believe UCG (or any church of God) is corrupt.

    UCG believes other COG groups are corrupt. COG-PKG, RCG, COGWA, all of them are called “wolves” by your own pastors. PCG is called a cult. Pay some attention, please.

    Scott wrote:

    negativity

    COG buzzword: check.

    Scott wrote:

    slander

    That’s a serious charge. Care to back it? Also, the word you’re searching for is “libel” as slander is spoken, not written.

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  10. Total Spiderman flashback!

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  11. S Harris wrote:

    Yes, well confirmation bias and the presumption of a moral high ground has always been a bit of a stumbling block for critical thinking, hasn’t it?

    Indeed it has.

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  12. […] particular COG needs volunteers for church activities (for instance, news stand programs or writing bogus reviews for COG literature on […]

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