(This article was a popular article published in Gary Scott’s now defunct site XCG on April 20th, 2006. I am also planning in the works a sequel to this article ‘Tkachism hates Judaism, not cultism. What’s with the picture of the woman with whip marks? This is a clip from “Submission” a short movie directed by the late Theo Van Gough and former Somali-Dutch member of Parliament, Hirsan Ali discussing abuse (including physical) against women perscribed by millitant Islam. Wicked religions like Armstrongism who worship submission is not exempt by using abuse (some physical but mostly mental and spiritual) to achieve their goals)
—The Editor, Felix Taylor
The bold headline title above is a loaded statement and I intended to be it that way. I will have to admit I borrowed the concept from U.S. radio talk show host Dennis Prager, from his internet column “Liberals hate inequality, not evil” making his case that modern liberalism in America values fighting inequality of material outcome over the oppression of human rights. I guess one can conclude rather quickly that the historic WCG promoted inequality of outcome, whether materially or spiritually, and it no doubt promoted oppression of not only human rights but human thought, reason, creativity, freedom, liberty and spirit, to say the least.
One thing that those in Armstrongism, whether the historic Worldwide Church of God or its splinters, must remember is that submission to authority was everything. Submit to your husband, your schoolteacher, your parent, your pastor, your apostle. Submit to your mayor, governor, or president (if you are Canadian—your premier and prime minister). Do not ask questions, because it is rebellion. If you do not like decisions made, keep it to yourself anyway. You must submit to authority, because this is what God wants and desires. It brings peace, order and blessings. These people have been ordained by God to watch over you. This obsession with submission never ended there. I could remember a local minister saying that “Satan has an office and it must be respected.” Looking back, that statement deserved ABC’s 20/20 host John Stossell’s statement of “Give me a break!” I can agree that we should seriously and solemnly acknowledge the destructive power of a cosmic liar, a demonic spiritual psychopathic madman of the entire universe and tyrant of the ages, but to respect his “office” as one would respect the office of the President of the United States? That is just tantamount to wickedness itself (and I would even dare to say it is sooo close to satanic worship; if I may be a little crass, it is the end of foreplay and close to penetration to submitting to Satan), but this is what the “minister” said and we (the members) must submit. I could remember my friend of 20 years when he first came into the WCG, saying that he watched a religious program where Christians were sneaking Bibles to then-communist Russia and its satellite states in Eastern Europe and concluded that was wrong on the “Christians” part. The sin, my friend assessed, is that they are not submitting to the authorities that God has ordained. So Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” but the attitude in Worldwide was “tell that to someone who gives a fuzz!” Another lame-brained wicked excuse was “We stay out of politics!” In truth, the leadership of the WCG engaged in church politics all the time, and lowly members were victim of this sick game which was designed for them to lose anyway. I could remember one person telling me a story about a woman who’s husband was not in the WCG but made damn sure she attended every time. This man was of course abusive, and it was alleged that he raped a woman overseas. It doesn’t take an Albert Einstein why he wanted his then-wife to keep going to services with the Worldwide Church of God: it taught her to be submissive.
The historic Worldwide Church of God was a religion of theonomy, which meant it was a religion that attempted to legislate every single aspect of a person’s life. The way he (or she) ate, slept, thought, acted, dressed, even coming down to what suits to wear, what car to buy, what music was appropriate, how one should date, whom to marry, what was proper Sabbath-keeping, etc. If one was a creative imaginary thinker in Worldwide, you can forget about it! It seems if one was creative, artistic, innovative or an independent thinker, just be prepared to be belittled, perhaps slightly teased and made fun of or rashly evaluated “immature,” or maybe the word that got on your nerves (as it sure got on mine), “rebellious”. Herbert W. Armstrong talked a good smooth talk about “free moral agency,” but it was an empty plateau in reality. Herbert Armstrong, whom I believe fit the pattern of a psychopath to a perfect T, had a perverse mentality of not caring about the emotions, thoughts or feelings of his constituents, but was contented when his constituents “submitted”. That was the end all and be all of everything, and you can thank a religion of theonomy like Armstrongism to be responsible for this.
You will still ask me, “Felix, what do you mean that Armstrongism does not HATE evil? Didn’t it speak about the moral ills that effected society?” Well I will answer, it was only a selected list of moral evils, for some reason limited to sexual issues (but fundies, regardless if they are cultic or orthodox—hate sex anyway). In fact, Armstrongism distorted members’ minds about what evil was. For example, some take the recently celebrated Easter to be strictly a “pagan” celebration to be avoided, and that when the ancient Israelites were weeping for Tammuz in Ezekiel, it was a proto-Easter celebration. In the mind of an Armstrongite that was bad and evil. Try telling them (rock headed and proud of it!) that those who are celebrating it are remembering the resurrection of Jesus Christ! It doesn’t compute. Or how about another distorted perception of Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, that they are antinomian, do-as-you-please, worldly Babylonian daughters of Satan. The Armstrongist, of course, has little concept that the “so-called daughters of Babylon” believe in carrying the cross of Jesus and a call to live a righteous and holy life. Or thinking that grace is a “license to sin” and real grace is that God just covers you for the “mistakes” you’ve made.
Where am I taking this discussion? What is my point? Armstrongism takes things that will not submit to it’s world view and labels it evil. In reality, things are sometimes “neutral” to the world of Armstrongism and have no agenda whatsoever. Armstrongism, with it concrete, black-and-white mentality, sees things differently and creates division.
As one who believes in divine perseverance, that it is possible that God will make a righteous provision for the unevangelized dead, I am compelled to make this point as well. Think of it, rhetorically speaking: a lowly member of the historic WCG or its current offshoots, supposedly “qualifying for the kingdom of God,” who is “keeping the Sabbath, tithing regularly and keeping the laws,” but is under constant barrage from an authoritarian minister because this lowly member’s skirt was too short, wore makeup, saw this movie that wasn’t church sanctioned, listened to music that wasn’t church sanctioned, and my goodness made a decision without a minister’s approval! Oh my! This person is definitely on the road to perdition to the Lake of Fire. At the same time you have a minister saying that, “Hitler, Stalin, Nero, Arafat—even the fictional J.R. of Dallas (or hey, fill in any other dictator’s name that you chose!) will have a chance to accept God’s way in the judgment!” Well duh! After Adolph Hitler wanted to be a priest, he discovered he “hated” Christianity and thought it had “Jewish” teachings. Hitler made his decision on earth for 56 years. Why on earth would God Almighty give him another one? For the sheer joy of it trying make the rest of us miserable? This is typical of the promotion of injustice in Armstrongism: Hitler gets eternal life but the lowly member receives the Lake of Fire. The rationale: the member just could not submit to church government.
Proverbs 17:15 states, “He that justifies the wicked and condemns the just, even they both are an abomination to the Lord.” In the distorted world of Armstrongism, whether the historic Worldwide Church of God or its current splinters, we truly have a religion which fits that proverb to a perfect T. It is contemptuous of the autonomy and independence of the human being, drunkenly deceiving themselves of the notion that if human beings were robotic automatons, mankind’s problems are solved and utopia is around the corner. In reality and in cold hard fact, the opposite is thoroughly evidentially true. To suppress or forbid human free-will and thought (while double-talking a smooth game about free moral agency at the same time) is the essence of evil and tyranny. It justifies that people are stupid suckers who deserve to be mislead, deceived and conned. It breeds terror and misery among the underlings. This is probably the reason why Armstrongism doesn’t hate evil because it is evil, and in its perverse thinking that non-submission to their worldview is evil. In times like these, we need to be zealous in loving the righteous and fighting the truly wicked.