Jun 022014
 

Many commenters over the last few years have shared their horror stories about the Restored Church of God, many providing valuable insights into the cult’s internal workings and culture, along with the sheer insanity of its leader, David C. Pack.

We’re looking to compile detailed accounts from members or the friends and family of members about how RCG has affected their lives, any particular incidents that stand out in their experience or just anything you think the world needs to know.

If you have shared your story before, feel free to share it again. We’re trying to collect all of these accounts in one place.

Send us your story via our contact form, or feel free to leave a comment on this post.

Nothing will be published without prior permission. We’re just seeking as much detailed information as possible.

Thank you.

Peace.

Apr 152014
 

Can we just say how nice Wikipedia looks right now? A huge kudos to the editors who have been diligently keeping COG-related entries clean of propaganda and other garbage. The Armstrongism umbrella page is particularly shiny.

Many of the initial edits we made have held fast against the tide of changes over the last year, so that feels good. Sweeping through and making those changes seems to have brought this otherwise neglected niche of Wikipedia articles to the attention of the wider community, so they’ve naturally only gotten better instead of worse.

Also, we haven’t had to delete any COG linkage to its literature in the body of the text for months. Hopefully the cults are learning.

But, there is one thing that needs to be fixed. COGWA, after a couple attempts, has finally setup a page. It’s okay, but it could be better and should have some tweaks made to it. It’s too…friendly. At least they had the honesty to link themselves to the Armstrongism page, which nobody else had previously done of their own volition.

Sep 222013
 

social

Considering how “amazing” the work of David C. Pack’s RCG is supposed to be, it’s kinda odd that he has such small Facebook and Twitter followings, accounts he actually tries to promote. Pack is also one of the few COG leaders who has profiles that are specifically focused on him and separate from RCG’s actual pages. Cult of personality much?

We’re wondering if we can, in fairly short order, find a way to surpass Pack’s social media audience. Silenced hasn’t done much in the way of social media work — it’s always been something kind of sitting on the back burner of our priorities. But now seems like a good time to try and build that audience.

Feel free to share and “Like” our Facebook page and follow our Twitter account. Surpassing David C. Pack’s personal audience would be awesome.

We know this is a tougher struggle for blogs like this one, when it may not be wise to telegraph to one’s friends and family in the COG that you’re tuned into cult-critical content. But it’s worth a try anyway.

We may start sharing more links from across the anti-COG blog community as well, not only our own, simply because there isn’t really a social media presence for COG critics outside of a handful of closed Facebook groups.

May 162013
 

Apparently, leftist bloggers and online daters are ripe for RCG cult leader David C. Pack to convert to his strain of Armstrongist lunacy. We’re uncertain of the logic behind Pack’s strategy to spend his online advertising dollars, but Web denizens have sent both Silenced and Banned! screenshots of websites where RCG ads have been popping up, notably Daily Kos and OK Cupid.

Similar to a Painful Truth’s pseudo-suggestion to drive up PCG’s ad costs, Pack’s Google-powered ads are also likely costing him money per click. While concerted efforts to click links over and again are usually caught by Google, if you run across an RCG on these sites, Facebook or anywhere else Pack has been advertising, don’t be afraid to click it. The radioactive stupidity can only hurt you so much, but draining some of Pack’s advertising warchest hurts him more in the long run.

Dec 312012
 

While perusing Wikipedia amid the timeline project, we’ve run across some other good articles with significant WCG information.

The first is Church of God (7th Day), aka the Salem conference), which has a section about Herbert W. Armstrong’s excommunication identical to the one in Church of God (Seventh Day). We’ve added to it our Wikipedia vigil.

The next is Bobby Fischer, which says this about the chess master’s WCG experience:

The year 1972 was a disastrous one for the Worldwide Church of God, as prophecies by Herbert W. Armstrong were unfulfilled, and the church was rocked by revelations of a series of sex scandals involving Garner Ted Armstrong.[136] Fischer, who felt betrayed and swindled by the Worldwide Church of God, left the church and publicly denounced it.[137]

That’s a good paragraph definitely worth defending and it’s been added to the watchlist.

Additionally, the article J. H. Allen says this about Armstrong’s plagiarism:

While the works of Allen and Armstrong are by no means identical, with Allen’s work being much earlier, much longer and in hard-back book format, the core of Allen’s work does appear to have served as inspiration for Armstrong, and Allen’s book was not unknown to Armstrong’s students at Ambassador College. There are many similarities between the two works, and in some places they are nearly word-for-word the same.

Then finally, somehow Garner Ted Armstrong slipped past our radar. It was a mess of uncited material and flags, which we’ve fixed. There’s some good information in there as well that we’ll look after.

We also ran into the Intercontinental Church of God, which we somehow missed as well. It had a bunch of propaganda that we’ve since removed and references to GTA’s sexual assault allegations and removal from COGI were added, since that’s really the only reason ICOG exists anyway.

For future reference, here’s our current watchlist:

Dec 082012
 

Thanks to Banned! for the heads up on this. Wiki Answers has a question posted asking whether RCG is a cult. It has been descended upon by Pack’s acolytes filling it with pro-cult propaganda. Could we get some real answers up in there?

When people search “Is RCG a cult?” this is the first link on Google, so this is pretty important to fix. We’ll throw our own answers up there too, but quantity and quality are both needed to drown out Pack’s lies.

Nov 212012
 

To whom it may concern,

We understand that Amazon tries to hold itself to a high standard as an online retail outlet where even independent sellers can promote their products, and that the company tries to hold its community to a high standard of ethical business practices.

In recent weeks, Amazon has reportedly started removing user comments and ratings deemed suspicious, fake reviews both positive and negative being flagged for attempting to artificially alter product ratings, something practiced by both sellers and competitors.

The use of “sock puppets” or fake accounts is only one way that sellers attempt to artificially boost their ratings. Others attempt to curate comments by flagging negative comments or ratings for removal and leaving only positive feedback on their products, the latter of which they attempt to increase through concerted efforts.

We would like to call attention to one such organization that has been using Amazon as a platform for promotional propaganda of their religious e-books. The United Church of God is currently offering some of its religious literature through Amazon for free electronic download. However, it’s been brought to our attention that many who have attempted to leave dissenting comments against either the literature or the organization have had their feedback censored and removed.

Meanwhile, UCG has publicly asked its members to “help” its gospel efforts by leaving ratings, with the obvious suggestion to write rave reviews about its digital booklets.

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!

Aaron Booth—Internet Manager

It seems that for whatever reason, positive comments and ratings are being left alone while critical feedback is being mostly removed, leaving very few negative comments left. Months ago, our blog had asked our readers to leave their own comments to counter UCG’s attempt to artificially boost their own ratings, with the full understanding that our readers would primarily leave critical commentary. We are uncertain how many actually attempted this, but we have seen comments disappear from UCG’s offerings. A handful of lower ratings remain, but not as many as we had seen previously.

This becomes important because buyers should beware, even when the price tag says “free” and readers should be made aware of who exactly is selling them what.

We would humbly ask Amazon to examine whether UCG is abusing your website as a platform. If not, we would ask that negative comments not be treated as any more suspicious than the positive ones currently boosting UCG’s ratings. It could be interpreted that there are competing efforts to purposely raise and lower the ratings on UCG’s booklets. We ask only that parties on both sides have their feedback treated fairly rather than having one side favored at the exclusion of the other.

Thank you.

With sincerest regards,

The staff of “Silenced” – http://silenced.co

Nov 102012
 

Hi. Again, we’re not dead, just busy working on things. It seems the faster the cults collapse, the more there is for us to do, which leaves us less time for posts.

Operation Amazon progress
We’ve drafted an open letter to Amazon about UCG’s behavior regarding its curating of good reviews and culling of poor ones on its e-books and will send it to the proper Amazon employees and post it here soon. It might not do any good, but at least we will have tried and brought it to their direct attention.

Timeline progress
We have lots and lots of data from multiple sources. We’re working on cleaning it up, doing a bit of editing and working on a visual design to present it. This is a big project, but it is coming together and will hopefully be useful to the world at large.

Pack…sigh…dude, just don’t
He keeps finding new ways to baffle and piss us off. More details are coming up, but lots of stuff has been thrown our way regarding David C. Pack and RCG, and one of the reasons for our lull in activity is wading through that stuff. We won’t overhype what we have, since honestly, we aren’t quite certain what it is yet. We’re still in the process of researching and vetting things. Sorry for the vagueness, but for those of you who have emailed us asking when we’re going to focus on RCG again, and especially those who have sent us information, don’t worry: it’s in the pipeline and we haven’t forgotten about you.

A word about recent discussions
There have been some pretty heated discussions in recent months. Trolls have trolled trolls, sock puppets have run amok, there has been some name calling, many personal attacks and some comments have veered wildly off-topic. All of that said, we only moderate for spam, not content, and this is a free and open forum for discussion. Just know that there is only one official voice of this website, and it’s posted under this account. Our contributors have very valuable things to say and their help has been extremely appreciated. But we’re only going to say this because we’ve been receiving complaints about things said on this website: their opinions are their own. They have a right to them and a right to post them. If you have a problem with what they say, bringing it up with us isn’t really going to do anything to change what they’ve said. We don’t censor comments and never will. So we would urge those who have been offended to remember that when wading into a flame war, there are going to be some burns.

We would, however, like to point out we always strive to elevate the discourse. A bit of understanding goes a long way and that applies to all sides of the discussion. We do regret not being able to respond to each question that has been left for us in comments recently. We will eventually address everything.