FYI Speaks his mind on the XCG Splinters

This was excerpt from the Worldwide Church of God Alumni message board, posted by FYI during January this year in relationship to a child abuse/custody case that involved an XCG couple.

[T]he COG’s themselves ARE changing – some more, some less, but they are changing. Aside from the ultra fundamentalist groups like David Pack’s “Restored” COG and Gerald Flurry’s “Philadelphia” COG, most of the COG groups out there are drifting further and further away from Armstrong and many of his more outlandish (and obviously wrong) teachings. Even Rod Meredith’s “Living” COG – which I was an active and enthusiastic part of for many years, and which is considered by many to be one of the most conservative groups – has been downplaying Armstrong and moving away from some of his doctrines. The nut cases like Pack and Flurry constantly point this out – it’s how they manage to siphon off tithe payers from the larger groups. And they are correct – these changes are happening. I saw it first hand. I’ve cited a number of examples of this over the years, not only in LCG but in other groups which I have knowledge of.

During the years prior to my complete departure from the COG’s, I carefully investigated many different COG groups. I wasn’t happy with LCG and I was searching for some other group where I might feel more at home. I did my homework. I read their literature, listened to their sermons on the web, spoke to members – and even ministers and elders. I visited their congregations, sometimes only once or twice, sometimes more. I checked up on them on the web, looking to see what people were saying about them – good or bad – and tried to objectively evaluate them.

I’m not saying all this to brag, I’m just trying to show that I KNOW the COG’s of today quite well. Probably better than most people. I certainly know them a lot better than those who only ever experienced WCG during Armstrong’s nightmarish dictatorship. When people who only knew that era speak of today’s COG’s, they are nearly always speaking of things they know little or nothing about.

As I’ve said before, I’m no longer a part of any COG and want nothing further to do with any of them. But I also don’t like to see them judged unfairly based on the actions of a few nut cases, nor do I like to see the sins of Herbert Armstrong unfairly branded on their foreheads like some kind of scarlet letter. This kind of mentality is dangerous – it’s how pogroms get started. When people start saying things like “Somebody should DO something about these people”, sooner or later sombody WILL do something about those people, and it WON’T be pretty. You could ask the Jews who once lived in Germany. Oops, sorry, you can’t, most of them are dead. Or maybe you could ask those black folks who were lynched by the KKK… oops again, you can’t. Too bad.

And the worst part of it is, most such talk is based on ignorance. It’s easy to do, just take a handfull of extreme cases and then draw the false conclusion “they’re all like that”.

Even though I no longer have a stake in the matter, I will fight such ignorance as often as I notice it and am able to do something about it. No doubt some will igorantly consider me an “Armstrongite” for doing so. That’s their problem, not mine. Such people can kiss my shiny hiney. [Editor’s note: “Shiney Hiney???” FYI Again if you are from the isles say “arse” and if you are from North America—say it “ass!”]

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Welcome to Armstrongland, FYI Again’s perspective

 

Here’s FYI’s take on why an Armstrongist American state or Canadian province cannot handle nor understand modern society.

Hey Felix.  Interesting subject.

OK – I’m trying to imagine a modern US state or Canadian province populated largely by Armstrongites…

Such a state would have some severe problems in direct proportion to the size of the Armstrongite majority.  That majority would:

1) Refrain from voting or running for elective office
2) Keep the Sabbath
3) Refrain from non Church related activities
4) Send anywhere from 20% to 50% or more of income to the Church
5) Refrain from any activity which might involve killing or violence
6) Adhere to Old Testament dietary laws
7) Adhere to Old Testament Holy Days

OK, given those assumptions about the majority, I would conclude that such a state or province could only survive in the modern world if its non-Armstrongite minority picked up the slack.  Why do I say that?  Simple.

Because the majority would not vote or run for any office, only the minority of non-Armstrongites would do these things.  It would therefore be entirely up to them to 1) vote, 2) run for local mayors, governors, legislators, etc, 3) serve on juries.  This would place a tremendous burden of civic responsibility on the minority.

Because of the Sabbath, the non-Armstrongite majority would have to perform ALL the duties of those who work on the Sabbath, whether it be at local restaurants  or hospitals.  Doctors, nurses, police, fire & rescue… all of these things would have to be done by the non-Armstrongite minority – again placing an undue burden on them.

This would also hold true for the state militia – the majority would not join, thus placing an additional burden on the minority.

However, because of the Armstrongite majority, that state would have to accommodate their practices by 1) closing schools and many businesses on Holy Days, 2) making kosher products available at local restaurants, grocery stores, etc. 3) schedule large public events around the Sabbath

The economy of such a state would be permanently crippled.  The amount of money sent to “The Church” would directly affect state tax revenue, and would also be unavailable in the general economy.  The majority would still buy basic items – food, clothing, shelter, etc – but the people who made the economy tick would of necessity be the non-Armstrongite minority.

All activities which require public participation would – with few exceptions – be performed by the minority.  Civic participation would be far lower than in other states.  Communities would be even less cohesive than normal because Armstrongites don’t trust each other any more than they trust outsiders.  There would be no community spirit.  Few would show up for school activities.

All in all, it would be a very bad place to live.

Intelligent Quote of the Day

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 …HWA’s teachings in this regard were very similar to Catholic teaching – HWA was the “Pope” of the WCG.  And like the Pope, he saw himself as 3rd in command of the universe, after God the Father and Jesus Christ.

They also agreed that their Church government superseded – was higher in authority than – any human government and was answerable only to God.

They agreed on the “One True Church” doctrine.  Both the Catholic Church and HWA’s WCG laid claim to being the one and only true Church founded by Jesus Christ.  The Catholic Church tends to downplay this doctrine when dealing with other faiths in an “ecumenical” setting, but it’s still their official doctrine – the Pope recently reiterated it.

They agreed on the “give till it hurts” philosophy of supporting the Church.  Both the Catholic Church and the WCG grew rich on the backs of hard working people and widows mites.

They agreed on building massive, opulent shrines to their own greatness – again, on widows mites.

The agreed on the “minister is always right” philosophy – WCG imperial ministry was every bit as arrogant as the Catholic Church’s imperial priesthood.  Anyone who disagrees simply has a bad attitude.

I’ll stop there, lest I provide yet another list of 7 things 😉

—FYI Again briefly touching what Herbert W. Armstrong and the Roman Catholic Church had in common in J’s Shadows of WCG message board August 9th, 2007

Who are the Armstrongist Refuseniks???

Refusenik

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Refusenik originally referred to:

The term has since been expanded to cover other “refusals,” especially those related to human rights. This includes:

Etymologically, it is a portmanteau of the English language word “refuse” and the Russian suffix “-nik” (-ник) for a person’s activity.

 Actually, if I could add a fourth type of refusenik, it would be an “Armstrongist Refusenik” and it would be would be derivative of fellow Canadian Irshad Manji’s Muslim Refusenik. As Muslim Refuseniks described by Irshad as “independent-minded, liberal, anti-fundamentalist Muslims”,  the Armstrongist Refusenik is pro-intellectual, scholar-embracing, forward-thinking people who by in large reject the notion that Herbert W. Armstrong was God’s Apostle or least used by God in some way. To be blunt, they believe that God had NOTHING to do with him. They reject his other belief that church government is hierchial and that is the only way. Like the Muslim Refusenik, the Armstrongist Refusenik doesn’t care for the fundamentalism and fanaticism in the Church if God splinters. At the same time they view how the Worldwide Church of God’s approach to implementing  New Covenant Theology was just as authoritarian and cultic.  The late Dr. Charles V. Dorothy, a former WCG minister (and true scholar) seen no tension or dichotomy of believing in New Covenant Theology and celebrating the Biblical festivals of Leviticus 23, whereas Joe Jr. and Mike Feazell felt polar opposite.  The Armstrongist Refusenik is neither evangelical  and of course, definately not fundamentalist. They are not necessarily an organized unit or in other words they are not monolithic in their thinking. They are here to stay and are will continue to interpret how to worship God in their own way. I hope this blog site is somewhat a place of refuge for them. Here are few individuals (and one organization) whom I either know via the internet or in person who I believe fit the terminology “Armstrongist Refusenik.”

Douglas Becker , I owe this guy big time! When there people who didn’t want to comment or afraid to comment on my blog, he stepped up to the plate and gave the blog some attention! An encourager, uplifter, supporter and a person who has stuck his neck to believe in me and my blog.  A man of extraordinary intelligence and extremely sophisticated in the words he writes (and probably even speaks) that deserves immediate respect.  A former dedicated United Church of God member who discovered that his association was not the “liberal” or “moderate” xcg that was made out to be and left. Has an affinity with WCG’s parent church, the Church of God (Seventh Day). Believes that the WCG and its splinters could learn some valuable lessons from the parent church. I do applaud his efforts for people disillusioned with Armstrongism but are not totally comfortable with evangelical Christianity to try the CG7. It’s Conference President Whaid Rose whom I met over 7 years ago is a Christ-centered and Christ-loving man deserves all the support he can get. I have called Brother Whaid “the anti-Armstrong” and pray that him and Douglas have a partnership for a looong time!

Richard Burkard,  writer and voice broadcaster I have described this man many times  as a cross between Rush Limbaugh and my former WCG pastor Neil Earle. I had the pleasure of meeting him right here in Toronto in 1998 when we were both in the Worldwide Church of God when one of the last Feast of Tabernacles was sponsored. He’s quite a character and we clicked quite nicely. We both didn’t care for Joe Jr.’s anti-feast stance, it was one of the contributing factors of him leaving the WCG and eventually joining the United Church of God. Now he’s seeing the narrow-mindedness in United and is contemplating a second look. After the end of the feast of tabernacles next week, we will see whether he holds his nose and extends his stay in the United Church of God OR he will make a clean break. I am definately hoping and praying for the latter instead of the former. At last count Richard said on Mark Tabladillo’s JLF message board, “My search for a new place of worship already is a bit complicated.  The messianic congregation in my city seems to have folded.  So we’ll see what happens post-Feast….”  I say to that Messianic Jewish congregation (provided it is NOT hyper-charismatic), “Can you guys UNfold? There is a guy that needs to be spiritually nourished and have some sanity and stability which his current association is deliberately denying him the opportunity!”

Pam Dewey, a favourite of Gavin Rumney. Here is what he had to say about her in his blog, “[T]he best woman minister the COGs never had, Pam Dewey. Pam is a popular speaker, loyal COG member, website creator and published author. More than that, despite never being ordained as an elder (husband George has that distinction) Pam is a fine role model for confident women’s ministry, a truly remarkable person and, in the best British sense of the word, COGdom’s leading Dame.” I have seen a portion of the video in which she describes the movie, “The Matrix”. A very intelligent woman and is very cordial in her e-mails. A former member of the Church of God International and has her own independent ministry. Check out her website called, “Field Guide to the Wild World Religion” and The Nitpicker’s Guide to The Galaxy  .

Jesse Ancona (circa 1957-2003). I cannot believe that it is over  4 1/2 years that she has been with the Lord. Cancer finally destroyed her body in March of 2003. A woman who spent 6 years in the Worldwide Church of God from 1978 to 1984 and seen a dramatic difference between two decades. The WCG in the 1970’s was becoming more open minded and forward thinking at the time and when HWA claimed to “get the church back on track” in the 1980’s, the WCG re-emerged as the stern, severe, bizzare, narrow-minded sect as Time magazine described in the early 70’s. Jesse Ancona was the Buddha of her time—in the sense that Buddha found that Hinduism was being corrupted as a religion and needed reform. Eventually Buddhism emerged and became a religion to itself. It would have been nice to see Jesse live a lot longer on this earth and have “Anconaism” vigourously competing and eventually eclipsing the “corrupted” religion of Armstrongism in the coming decades of the 21st century. I am sure something like it will give Armstrongism a run for its money. I still have the website linked here on my new blog and I will give it again here.  Make sure to read her splendidly written e-book. Thank God Almighty her writings will live on.

FYI Again,  In a half-joking way, I thought this man was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Both are slick (in a positive way), they are very careful in the way they choose their words, and at the same time very convicted, principle fervent in what they believe without the dogmatism.  I was eventually told (by FYI Again) who he really was and he is NOT Governor Huckabee! A former dedicated member of both Rod Meredith’s Global and Living Church of God who was ruthless with dissenters of Merdith type Armstrongism.  I felt some of the brunt of that (as a member on the opposition side of the bench).  Around 2002, FYI Again began to realize that the Living Church of God was not all that.  Though he could see some positive aspects of Rod Meredith, he really never cared for, loved nor admired Herbert Armstrong. If FYI Again could personally dedicate a song to HWA, it would be Carley Simon’s “You’re So Vain”.  Since the early 2000’s being still a theist, FYI Again has been on a journey to re-examine his belief system on how to express that faith. As one knows too well, it is not always easy to determine what it should be. It is an adventure but it is worth it. I can only pray that FYI Again will see at least “some” dividends to know that the “guy upstairs” really loves him.

 The Original Refuseniks: The Associated Churches of God which was started in 1974 which became the Association for Christian Development. Headed by Ken Westby with fellows Ken Ryland and Brian Knowles.  The late Dr. Charles V. Dorothy was involved with them until his death from cancer in 1996. Grace and Knowledge’s Doug Ward occasionally contributes to their site .