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...