Sunday, October 26, 2014

God, Rape & Abortion (according to apostlextraordinaire Dave Pack)

Long before I came to my senses about all things Armstrong, I realized that the Bible itself wasn't very keen on women's rights. (Ultimately, I concluded that it didn't advocate human rights in general, but that's another topic for another post.) But as a white male in God's one and only true church, I was content not to question that particular tenet of our bizarre religion. Until the true nature of our misguided misogyny was made clear by the one and only 21st century apostle, Dave Pack. Of course, it wasn't his intent to expose it for what it was. He simply inadvertently stripped the emperor of his new clothes stitch by doctrinal stitch through his blatant arrogance & complete lack of anything remotely resembling empathy. (Scriptural instruction and apostolic authority are of far more importance than human rights and dignity in Pack's world.) He made this clear in numerous ways, both from the pulpit and in his daily conduct at HQ.
Controversial issues were no match for Pack and his well-highlighted KJV and handy concordance. He could red-letter anything at his convenience. (Also another subject for another post.) This included the much-debated issue of abortion.
At the core of the matter for Armstrongists is their long-held doctrine concerning when human life begins. I don't wish to go into the semantics of their biology lesson, since it is really just a matter of one more way in which the ministry exercises control over the lives and decisions of their laymembers, with no regard whatsoever for their health and well-being. I don't recall whether the WCG ever taught that rape couldn't result in pregnancy, or if such a position was ever a pet theory of the most ultra-conservative Ambassadorites among their ranks. I imagine there had to be some who promoted that idea. But as grand poobah of RCG, Dave Pack made clear his god's directives on the subject: First and foremost, if a woman was raped, it was probably her fault. She was either blatantly asking for it by dressing scantily and/or suggestively, or foolishly finding herself in a dangerous place. Either way, god was off the hook and free to look the other way.
Now if Pack was simply going to leave it at that, unconscienably telling a rape victim, "You asked for it, you got it, get over it!" that would be as cold and callous as one would have to be to make plain that whatever god he was speaking for was quite worthy of rejection. But Pack takes it further, teaching that if the rape results in pregnancy, the violated woman has no choice but to endure it full-term and give birth. Nevermind that god stood idly by and witnessed a traumatizing act of violence without lifting so much as a finger to intervene. Now that same god wants to exercise control over the same woman's mind & body that he deliberately decided not to protect. Is that a god worthy of worship? Not in my book.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dave throws the book at the Devil

Although I have been free of the clutches of Armstrongism for 9 1/2 years now, there is much from that 35 years of my life that I will never forget. And especially the last 3.5 of those years (a tithe!), during which I worked for Dave Pack's RCG. One thing I can say for my time at HQ was that there was never a dull moment.
One of the many incidents that stand out in my memory involved a WCG family who were corresponding with us and inquiring about joining RCG. This would have been pretty much an everyday scenario, since we were constantly receiving letters and e-mails to that effect. As I recall, the family was corresponding through our Spanish department, although I don't now remember exactly where they were from.
Had it been merely a matter of sending literature (in this case, RCG's "Splinter Explanation Packet" -- "SEP") to this family to help them make a decision regarding RCG membership, it would have been "just another day at the office." But there was apparently a family member who was "demon-possessed" or, at the least, plagued by an "evil spirit" -- indicating this by severe and continual outbursts of irrational and extreme tantrum-like behavior. Since we were never privy to anything other than the family's descriptions of said actions (and since "demon-possession" was their stated conclusion), we accepted this as fact.
Whether or not this person was under the influence of an evil spirit, was never truly ascertained. But no sooner than we notified the family that our Mailing Dept had the SEP wrapped and on its way, they informed us that the tantrums had subsided. And Dave Pack was quick to tout this mail-order "miracle."
At the time, I was amazed at this, in awe of such a thing. It didn't occur to me to think, "Wait a minute. These people are Christians -- in fact, part of the smallest group of us that constitute the only 'true Christians.' They have a Bible in their home. Probably more than one. They study it regularly. They probably pray regularly..."
It didn't occur to me to think that through just a little bit further. To wonder why a "demon" would feel the least bit intimidated by one man's mere interpretation of Scripture. In other words, threatening to send literature was going to repel a malevolent spirit being, but having a Bible in the house wasn't enough to keep it out in the first place? God's Word itself was less intimidating? Jesus himself was only able to ward off the Devil by quoting Scripture (another topic for another post), but somehow a demon was going to cringe at the words of David C. Pack...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

How do you say #@&**!!%!! in Swahili?

And let's not forget RCG's annual Fruits & Nuts letter. The world is going to hell in a handcart, and the only thing the two most important people in the world (D. Pack & "Dr." Thiel) can come up with is a Swahili website. 2,000+ years in and that's what the world needs. Two religious fruits duking it out in Swahili. Problem solved. Now Christ can return. What relief...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Noah

There was a time when a film like the upcoming "Noah" would not have been on my must-see list. It would have been labeled as tabu by church hq, much like Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," because of its "biblical and historical inaccuracies," not to mention that it would have been considered "blasphemous," "heretical," etc. Of course, the COGs have always been notoriously closed-minded to anything that remotely deviates from their belief structure, instead of acknowledging points of similarity or agreement with other churches, and apostle Paul be damned.

The veracity of the Bible's flood account is no longer an issue for me (other religions also include a flood story in their mythology, just as others include stories of god-man heroes), so, just as with "POTC," I will be able to watch this film with a bit more objectivity than would have been possible prior to 2005.

The trailer that I have seen for the film paints it as "A Beautiful Mind" meets "Waterworld" meets "Braveheart." Russell Crowe hears voices in his head telling him that Kevin Costner should have been cast as William Wallace and that Mel Gibson was better suited for dry land, motorcycles and souped-up RVs. (Well, God doesn't actually tell him that, but he did say that Jennifer Connelly would be better cast as Mrs. Noah -- she doesn't have Tina Turner's legs, but her initials are J.C., so the superstitious among us will have something viable to sound off about.) The only real problem I can see so far is Crowe passing for 900+ years old. The availability of botox was certainly limited back in B.C., but then again, I might have skimmed over that when misreading Hislop and Josephus...

Actually, this post wasn't going to have anything to do with Noah, but rather another, more famous, biblical figure, David C. Pack, whose 965th birthday was yesterday. (Ok, it was only his 65th, but Pack certainly possesses the maturity, wisdom and insight of someone 15 times his earthly age. After all, he is specified throughout the Bible, and is the onliest man of God on earth today, the end-time Apostle, Watchman, Messenger, Joshua. He might even be the end-time Noah, leading all the little coglets into his splintered ark two-by-two.) And although he gets such detailed press in the good book, I delayed posting this until today because Dave isn't worth mentioning on Pearl Harbor Day.

Truth be told, Mr. "Sixty is the new thirty" isn't particularly worth mentioning on any given day, but he was the last "Mr. Minister" I will ever address in such fashion, no matter how much of my income he would claim that I am unduly withholding as my own instead of splitting it appropriately between himself and god. I can only imagine the look on Dave's face if we were to have a chance encounter. Then again, Dave being the utmost pious that he is, the only individual who ever sees "Dave" is the Mirror, Mirror hanging on his wall.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dave Pack: "I was wrong, but I'm still right..."

Now that Mr. "We don't set dates" is laying out his own template for blaming and backpedaling, how long will it be before he realizes that "If I build it, no one will come..."? How long before he has to come up with new tactics in order to reel in tithepayers who don't even remember HWA much less believe he was the "final Elijah"? How long will Mr. "Sixty is the new thirty" be able to convincingly threaten his members with Tribulation and Lake of Fire if they don't give until it hurts and then give more? How long will he be able to bash from the pulpit any unemployed members who don't go out and "collect cans" in order to not "appear before the Lord empty" on any given "holy day"? How long will he continue to berate his members for not exceeding the previous holy day offering? (That particular mandate isn't even in the book. Maybe the Hebrew for "give as you are able" really means "Fork over every last red cent.") How long will he continue to threaten members who dare to take it upon themselves to determine whether or not they should pay "third tithe"? (At least he is gracious enough to extend the ministry's "guidance" to anyone who is "confused" about the terms of "eligibility/exemption"...) How long will he continue to promote his idea that "Heresy = sin, and sin = heresy" while defending HWA's alleged indiscretions? (He actually stated that even if he knew that HWA were guilty of everything he was accused of -- even incest -- he would still follow him. He loves to shuffle the deck of "doctrine vs. conduct" at his convenience.)
How long will Pack preach that his biblical heroes' mistakes are recorded in order for his members to learn from them (and not make the same), while condoning his and Herbert's date-setting (false prophesying) by pointing to the "apostle Paul," etc.? How long will he continue to promote the idea (in regards to other false prophets) that "If a man predicts an earthquake for Friday, and it happens even a minute into Saturday, the man is a false prophet"? (paraphrasing, but that's basically what he wrote) -- but come up with excuses as to why that doesn't apply to HWA or himself? How long before he acknowledges that he is no different from Flurry when it comes to title-grabbing, lying, stealing, and just blatant hypocrisy? How long before he acknowledges that the term "servant leadership" is the greatest oxymoron he has ever pronounced, and that it in no shape, form or fashion describes his position? How long before he admits, from the pulpit, behind-the-scenes facts that prove HWA's double standards? (Many will be tempted to argue that those things don't matter -- but if a man's own actions contradict what he thunders from the pulpit, then he himself does not believe the words coming out of his own mouth, so why should anyone else?) How long will Pack get away with preaching, "Prove all things...except the things you can't prove -- just take my word on those"?
How long will Pack (and all those like him) get away with such things? As long as there are enough people willing to close their eyes and believe...

Monday, September 2, 2013

Three "leaders," three resurrections -- which one?

In light of Dave Pack's failed predictions, a question arises pertaining to the 3 "obstructionists" that were supposed to die prior to the holiday weekend. It is a question that came to mind for me over eight years ago, when I was still working for Pack. I recall Pack saying once, back when Raymond McNair was struggling with cancer (or whatever his condition was), that if McNair were to die, he would definitely“come up” in the “1st Resurrection.” This might have been at the time Pack and McNair were in “negotiations,” or it may have been later, after those talks fell through – I don’t now remember the exact timing.

The point is, all RCG lay members should have been extremely insulted (at the least) by such a statement from the head of the “one and only true Church,” who expected them to make unreasonable sacrifices to meet his every demand, who ranked such trivial things as “Spokesman’s Club” as “essential for salvation,” who would condemn a “backsliding smoker” as destined for the “Lake of Fire,” etc. Here they were trying to “hold fast” to every tenet of Armstrongism, had been doing so for decades in some cases, and yet Pack was at the least insinuating that all it really took to obtain salvation was an HWA-issued diploma from Ambassador College. (And Pack had even stated once that even if Armstrong’s long-rumored 10-year incestuous relationship with his daughter – or any of his other known indiscretions – were a proven fact, he still would have followed the man. That, in spite of his own teaching that “sin=heresy, and heresy=sin.”)But if you’re a mere lay member, you’re pretty much screwed.
And if the “3 Resurrection” system doesn’t really work that way (if you really do have to “hold fast”), then God is still being unfair. What if someone like Rod Meredith were to die before the “Great Tribulation”? (He is at least in his 80s.) If he is “Laodicean,” then he would be cheated out of his chance to “repent.” And if God decides that he will be in R1 anyway, why should anyone else in LCG have to go through the GT in order to make it? He obviously won’t be in R2, since that is for those who weren’t “called” in this life. And if he dies of old age before the GT in an “unrepentant state,” how would it be his fault that he didn’t get his “chance to repent” in the GT? And what would be the motivation for those in RCG to hold fast? (And then there’s Christ’s parable of the “laborers,” which should be equally insulting to long-time believers.)
Of course, there are over seven billion people on earth – supposedly all made in God’s image – for whom God couldn’t care less, simply because they don’t have the right religion. And, according to the very Bible that Christians tout, the reason all those billions don’t have the right religion is because God himself hasn’t “called” them. And, supposedly, God hasn’t called them now because they would reject him and ultimately “fail,” and God doesn’t call anyone who would fail. Yet, according to COG theology, 50 percent – exactly half(??) – of the “Laodiceans” will fail and be thrown into the “LOF.”

Saturday, June 15, 2013

No matter the issue...

"People fear that which they do not understand, and ultimately hate that which they fear..." --