Exit and Support Network

The Evil of Social Networking Sites

(According to Philadelphia Church of God)

 

The sermon, "Beware Satan's Subtlety" by Andrew Locher, was given on April 11, 2009 and was played in all PCG congregations. Included are excerpts of the sermon with comments by ESN. This message incorporates control of information and uses shame, guilt and fear in order to cause those in PCG (especially the teens) to abstain from having Facebook (and other) social networking site accounts online. Also mentions the "strict policy" Gerald Flurry has now enforced on church-owned equipment.

Update: As of 2017 Andrew Locher was a PCG HQs pastor and Department head of Mail, Business, Legal, Security, Information Technology, Headquarters Office, Festival, Chief financial officer; Council of Elders.

Note: This transcript includes comments by ESN. Locher's words will be indented but not all of his words are quoted.

 

BEGIN SERMON:

Begins by telling some stories about children who were killed after they had been left home alone.

"It's not the thing that's wrong, it's the use or abuse of that thing that can be wrong."

Locher says he has been asked to speak on a subject that is "incredibly serious" and that it was a subject "brought to Mr. Flurry's attention by several regional directors and other ministers." This subject was addressed several years ago (i. e., with those on MySpace) but "seems to continue to plague the church of God."

"It's a slippery subject in many ways. It affects both the young and the old, and it has all the hallmarks of Satan's subtle, deceptive traits all over it."

He quotes Ephesians 2:1-5 and then gives it the interpretation of their being delivered from a disobedient, evil existence so they--"God's Philadelphians"--can be used as an example. Talks how they are called out of this world and from pursuing their own lusts and desires.

"Today I want to talk to you about the dangers certain technologies that can and often do affect our personal eternal lives."

Goes on to talk about Joshua and how he and the Israelites drove out the inhabitants of the land but God left some of the previous inhabitants behind to "test" the children of Israel. (Quotes Judges 3:1-8) These verses are talking about how Israel intermarried with the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which God had forbidden, adopting their religion. Is there anything here about "the dangers of certain technologies?"

"What happens when you mix good with bad? ... The second generation is often tested and found considerably weaker than the first generation--not in every case. ... There is a faithful remnant that holds to God's Law."

Locher focuses on the nation of Israel in the O. T. and tries to parallel it with the N. T. church. He ties all this in with how being on the Internet is "mixing the bad with the good."

"God does help us to drive the sin out of our lives. ... But if we return to those sins... go back to this worldly pursuit that we came out of, then it can become a snare and a trap to us. ... God says, know for a certainty that it is going to lead to your destruction."

For those who have trusted Christ as their personal Savior, the sin question has already been settled. Christ died for all our sins, once and for all. But these words of Locher are filled with fear and dread, causing his listeners to feel they must keep striving to stay one step ahead of falling into a "snare or trap" that will be their destruction.

"It can cost us our eternal lives. That's how serious this is to God."

These words are absolute foolishness to those who know they have received eternal life, which cannot be taken away. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (I John 5:13); "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

Our salvation doesn't depend on us; it depends on God who will keep us. "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 1:24); "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil" (II Thes. 3:3); "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" (Philippians 1:6).

"The spirit of O. T. history is what we need to be studying during these days of Unleavened Bread."

Why? Why focus on the old covenant and sins if we have been delivered from our sins and God no more remembers them? The only thing that can separate us from God and keep us from eternal life is unbelief in His Son.

Locher rambles on about the "second generation," God's statutes and judgments, how Israel did "evil in the sight of God" and how these laws were to "prolong our lives" and are to be "passed onto our children." He says, "God knows that we are going to have to go through time and time and time again in the process of conversion until we get it," and "God tests us." (In PCG everything is a "test.") Conversion is not a "process." Mind control is a process. He emphasizes that if they are to be "preserved and protected," they are to teach these laws to their children.

The Internet, Email and Cell Phones:

Then Locher begins to talk about "some specific applications of technology--namely the Internet, email and cell phones." He lets us know he has "researched this subject quite a bit." It is hard to tell how much has been research and how much has been "spying." He goes on to tell how he has "created accounts on some of the most popular sites," "worked with another minister" and spoken to "students, employees, and young students" who have had some experience on these sites and "know how they work." He's "read hundreds of articles and books" and "educated" himself. Was all this work really for the purpose of getting a "broad overview of the subject" as he says? Or was it for the sole purpose of further controlling the minds and lives of those in PCG?

He tells how they should Bcc people's addresses because shared email addresses "make their ways into the hands of the disfellowshipped, dissidents that are bent on attacking God's people." In other words, those who have been abused and mistreated by PCG, those who would dare to speak out against the wrongs that Gerald Flurry and his ministers have perpetrated, are considered the enemies of PCG.

"If you are not careful, you could actually serve as a tool of Satan...to make it much easier for him [Satan] to spread dissident material when you don't protect the identity of God's family. It's that serious."

Translation: "If you're not careful others will break the control on information we are trying to maintain, and that wouldn't be good for our organization." (Ask yourself why does Gerald Flurry not want you to read any literature on the Internet without PCG's stamp of approval?)

"Social networks and the Internet. These social networking sites are frequented by members, prospective members, youth--all in God's church. ... There are literally hundreds of websites out there that can accomplish the same harm. I might mention one in particular one today--Facebook."

He says these sites are "unregulated and unrestricted in many ways but they especially have tremendous appeal to the youth." Then he goes on to tell how "dangerous" these sites can be and gives "specifics" (i. e. instructions) that aim at asking parents how much attention they are investing as they "watch over" their children and teens when they interact on these sites.

While there will always be potential problems and pitfalls on the Internet, does this imply that PCGers must cut themselves completely off from the opportunity to make new friends, even talk to those outside of PCG, and be unable to read material not endorsed by PCG? Since PCG has a "we versus us" mentality (and a "no-contact" rule), this is exactly what is implied.

"Pay attention, humble yourselves, and just think of the real world dangers that you are interacting with. Don't assume that God is going is just going to throw His blanket over you and protect you from these things happening to you."

Translation: Since none of you in PCG have the ability to think for yourselves, or make wise decisions, you must listen to everything your PCG leaders are telling you--especially since this all hinges on how you might uncover some facts about PCG that we don't want you to know; you could even discover there are actually others no longer in PCG that are not all that miserable.

(Quoting from The Daily Mail in the UK): "Social websites harm children's brains. Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientists. Such sites as Facebook, Twitter...are said to shorten attention spans, encourage gratification, and make young people more self-centered."

And what are the harmful affects of mind control? That isn't brought out, only the "dangerous possibilities" of the Internet. He says these sites "could be monitored by the government" and that "the authorities" see a danger in them. If this isn't enough to frighten them into abstaining from visiting these sites, he tells them that "one out of every five kids are sexually solicited online" and "nine out of ten kids are exposed to pornography online" and finally, "thirteen teenagers organized their little group on MySpace and hung themselves and died."

[Reading a message from a Regional Director to Gerald Flurry]: "I want to draw your attention to something that I think is a massive problem in the church worldwide concerning some feast photos online. They said they had been posted via the social networking site called Facebook, which is similar to MySpace. ...wife related to him how she had searched the site unaware of what it was to encounter how literally hundreds of PCG members had pages linked to each other. Not only do sites like these have the potential to be a huge time waster, I believe they are only more dangerous satanic attack on our people. The nature of the site is often to post messages but the way these messages spread is nothing short of grapevine--emotions, opinions, inaccurate, or incomplete information that is spread to hundreds of people with the push of a button. Sadly, these networks prove how easily it is for dissidents to infiltrate these networks. In less than three steps we got from a PCG employee to dissidents (and then he named several former ministers who are now actively and aggressively attacking this church). Two clicks. I believe this crack in our armor...and if unaddressed, potentially as dangerous as an open door policy or lack of a CD policy. Mr. Flurry, this is a problem of huge proportions ... I had grossly underestimated this. ... My opinion is that it is a massive snare that Satan uses to draw people away from spending time in prayer, study and proper fellowship. It opens us up for infiltration from dissidents [Quotes how HWA said in the June 24, 1985 WN that dissidents seem to be more interested in hearing of false reports, accusations and innuendos against God's Church."]

The above is a prime example of controlling one's information that religious cults make use of. It would seem that too much vital information is getting out over the Internet that is exposing Philadelphia Church of God. This is bad news for Gerald Flurry, but good news for those who have been deceived.

Let us take a look at ways information can be controlled:1

  1. Use of deception (deliberately holding back information; distorting information to make it more "acceptable"; outright lying)
  2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged (books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio; critical information; former members; keeping members so busy they don't have time to check things out)
  3. Compartmentalization of information; outsider vs. insider doctrines (information is not freely accessible; information varies at different levels within the pyramid)
  4. Spying on other members is encouraged (Individual behavior monitored by whole group; Leadership decides who "needs to know" what and when)
  5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda (newsletters, magazines, video-tapes, etc.)
  6. Unethical use of confession (info about "sins" used to abolish identity boundaries; past "sins" used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution)
  7. Need for obedience and dependency

(Excerpted from Releasing the Bonds, Chapter 2.)

"Those that leave this body are out there just struggling to know what's going on in this body."

Why would a healthy (non-authoritative) church worry about others finding out what is going on in their organization? The answer is they wouldn't. Why would those on the outside of a this kind of church have to "struggle" to find out what is going on inside? It is only leaders of secret, authoritarian organizations that want to keep things on the inside hidden from anyone who is not a part of the group and who might expose their deeds of darkness.

Next, Locher launches into a correction of the parents of PCG youth and how some are "woefully inadequate in their supervision of their children on these sites." He tells how some of their youth have been turned down for Philadelphia Youth Camp, not accepted to Armstrong College (a.k.a. "God's college"), and/or suspended, because of either pictures they posted on the Internet, or such online activities as having a listing of "ex-members as friends." Locher tells how "half of everybody's listing of friends" that he looked at on Facebook had at least one ex-member in their list. (And Locher lets us know that he has access to HQs files that the teens don't have and which show the names of who is disfellowshipped.) Isn't this "spying" carried out in order to force teens to conform to PCG rules and to determine for them who their friends will be?

Andy Locher makes the world (especially the Internet) out to be a very scary place with Satan lurking around every corner, waiting to draw them away into all kinds of "risk and filth." Young people are "not showing clear judgment." These youth better watch out because, if he wanted, Locher says he could pay to find out enough information about them to cause them a great deal of trouble. He asks the parents if they have looked at the pictures of their teen's friends and questions whether they are providing a godly influence if they are not "monitoring their children."

He talks about how the child rearing booklet says when the child is too young to make his own decisions the parents have the God-given responsibility to make his decisions for him. Otherwise, the parent is responsible. Then he quotes Proverbs 19:18 and says not to fear their crying or worry about how the child will respond, but to "lay down the law." He says that some parents are not fulfilling their responsibility and are not being "aggressive enough." (Read: Screaming Sessions at Children in PCG.) Furthermore, he says the young people in PCG are "not listening to God's warning message." He says there are "more using these sites today" than when they last addressed this problem and it shows they think they are "immune" to these sites.

What young person would want to listen to a "warning message" about God's wrath and anger, along with the continuing, blasting sermons about "Laodiceans" and how we are in the "last hour"? How many young people are getting tired of all this? Another thing to ask is, how many of these teens have even had an opportunity of knowing what a saving and close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is? How many have been taught about how God loves them? PCG doesn't believe young children can be saved. They consider these things "sanctimonious" and false. But it is religious cults that not only teach a false gospel but also cause the ruination of many innocent lives, including the youth. (Read: Remember the Children to see how important children are and how, even at a very young age, they can understand the Gospel and come to Jesus). Sadly, many of the youth in PCG will want to leave PCG as soon as they are able and will want nothing more to do with "churches."

"So if parents aren't going to do their jobs; if young people refuse to listen, then God says He will intervene. The church will take a stronger stand because parents don't understand how severe this risk is. That's the responsibility of the church. I will prove that."

Then he quotes Proverbs 29:15 and says a child "left to himself" brings shame to his mother. He refers back to the beginning of the sermon where those children left to themselves led to their death. He explains that the church is portrayed as "the mother of us all" and "God's church will not leave God's children alone to make decisions for themselves." In other words, the PCG leaders are to make all their decisions for them because there are "consequences" in "messing around with these sites." He brings out that this is especially true for children and the youth in PCG that "cannot discern right from wrong." At this point, the word "shame" is used several times, which will serve the purpose of causing those teens who have been on these online sites to feel very ashamed of themselves. Fear is mixed with shame, as he says it will affect their "future status in the church," (i. e., not being accepted to PYC, Armstrong College, or employed by the PCG), and whether they are employed by "any other self-respecting company out there" because those companies will research Facebook, etc., "making sure they aren't tarnishing their reputation." Furthermore, he says Facebook can sell their information because they (the teens) have given them legal license to use their personal information however they want.

Making all of a teenager's decisions--and especially causing them feel afraid that they may make a wrong decision on their own, or ashamed that they have already made one--only causes them to grow up unable to make decisions of their own. Many who have grown up in high demand groups have a much more difficult time functioning in society as an adult.

[Quotes from a 1979 Good News article, "Your Children--Future Gods?" by HWA]: "God's church is not showing even half the growth it should have from the oncoming generation of our members. This shows we have neglected the teaching of our children. ... He [God] intended that your children should also be called and enter into the Work of God's church."

PCG is indeed interested in "training" their children as this will ensure they grown up to become members in the organization. Fortunately, the majority of young people end up leaving PCG when they are of age (this was also true in WCG). Unfortunately, much damage has already been done. One reason so many of them leave is because they did not have any say-so about being raised in an oppressive environment, plus they were not as mind-controlled as their parents--unless they attended the group's college. Parents in such groups will try to "break the spirit" through physical punishment, use of fear, emotional abuse, and other methods of thought reform, in order to keep the child obeying everything they are told, but this does much damage psychologically.

"Where are those children today?"

Many of them have severe ongoing problems, including Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and are struggling to recover from all the harm and abuse that has been done to them. (See our section: Child Survivors (Raised in Worldwide Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God & Offshoots.)

"God gave us The Plain Truth About Child Rearing booklet which is a wonderful booklet."

This was an appalling booklet by Garner Ted Armstrong that likened raising children to the way one would train a dog (but in fact was worse).

"And it [this book] does address discipline--very effectively, time tested, proven methods of child rearing. [Quotes Proverbs 23: 13-14 about using the rod to beat a child] ... It's not going to kill them if administered properly in love."

The Apostle Paul in the N. T. instructs parents to disciple--not beat or damage--their children, and not to provoke them to wrath or anger lest they become discouraged (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21), which many parents in these groups have done and still do.

[speaking to the youth in PCG]: "You risk supporting God's Work by not listening to His commandments and judgments and statutes."

Parents are made to believe that if they use this form of "discipline" their children will grow up to "have the character to choose God's way." "God's way" is merely a buzzword which means to unquestionably obey whatever their leader says (i. e., obey the government), stay in the group, and remain controlled. Locher quotes the often used verse in WCG, which is, "your sins will find you out." (Numbers 32:23)

"We're not as ministers up there [on Facebook] poking around, looking for trouble, looking to find what you guys are posting; what's being said. God reveals it. And it usually comes at the hand of a concerned member, or a youth, that alerts the ministry."

Really? Refer back to "Spying on other members."

Locher goes on to say that God not only wants them to address and acknowledge their "sins" (which evidently is what being on Facebook is), but to "do something about it and to make a change." (Refer back to "Unethical use of confession.") He quotes Rom. 16: 17-19 to show how they can violate God's commandments by being on these sites and that they are causing divisions and strifes and are to be "avoided."

One interesting thing noticed was that when Locher quoted this scripture he did not say, "The Lord Jesus Christ," but instead substituted another word and said, "The eternal Jesus Christ."

After all he said previously about this being a serious matter of eternal life and how God will find their "sins" out, how they need to be ashamed, etc., he says they should "be a Bible scholar" and "an expert at prayer" and then begins to use the word "maybe." "Maybe take a little time away from developing webpages and profiles on social networking sites. Maybe focus a little more attention on reading a classic book or sitting down and writing Mr. Turgeon after camp, or writing to somebody you met at the feast, or drawing a picture." He says they are to "focus on those things that are good and start to turn their mind away from those things that are evil" (which he has made clear entails making friends online with those who are not in PCG).

"God disfellowships people because they live contrary to His Law."

Where exactly in the Bible does it say God will do this? The Law was given to the nation Israel under the old covenant. That has nothing to do with the N. T. church today. But these words are used by authoritarian groups to keep their members in line.

Locher goes on to say that they also have "proven that they will not repent" (evidently referring to how this subject was brought up before when some of them had accounts on MySpace), and this is why they have to be disfellowshipped. Since the children in PCG (as was the case in WCG) cannot be baptized until they are close to age 21, how can they be "disfellowshipped"? This probably refers to parents and older people in PCG that are not doing as they have been told. He goes on to say that some of the ones that are out there in a disfellowshipped condition want to "drag you down with them." All exclusive groups talk in this manner about those who have left or have been thrown out. It is supposed to be far worse to be out of the group (where Satan can get to you) than stay in the safety of the "true church." (Read the lies: "Don't mix in with the people in the world!" and "Don't listen to those that have left; they will pull you away!")

[Quotes verse 18 of Romans 16 again where it talks about "deceiving the minds of the simple"] "They [the disfellowshipped ones on Facebook] might write good poems; they might put up good pictures, or friendly music, or come across in a very sweet way, where 'I just want to still talk to you; I still need to have some connection back to God's church; my parents won't talk to me; I can't go to services' ..."

Totalistic, secret organizations always forbid contact with those who are no longer a part of the group, even if it's their own family members. This is not something good churches do. (Read: How Do I Know if It's a Religious Cult or Healthy Spirituality?) This does not have to do with "getting you to question whether this person was treated right" and "letting Satan get a foothold," but it has to do with allowing oneself to think critically and start asking some difficult questions in order to get both sides of the story. Religious cults are known to cover up the truth. (Refer back to: "Use of deception" above.) But Locher says doing these things can cause you to "begin to doubt." In this case, entertaining doubts is a good sign because it shows the one in PCG is beginning to think, something controlling groups don't want to happen.

"God says to avoid them."

God doesn't say to avoid having friends who help you to think or who are good for you. The verse Locher uses (Rom. 16:17) is taken out of context. This text goes on to talk about those behaving in a "disorderly" fashion. Isn't the real reason they are to avoid these people on Facebook is because it might cause PCGers to gravitate away from domination of Gerald Flurry?

Locher goes on to remind them that "over half" of the profiles he looked at had ex-members or suspended individuals on them as friends and one member in the room had "eight people" on there. He says "Don't fool yourself. You're not going to bring them back in. That is not how God does things." [Quotes II Thessalonians 3:6 about withdrawing from every brother that walks disorderly]

"I found dozens of students, Headquarters employees, local area teens, and adults worldwide with accounts on some or many of these social networks. If I were to spend $9.95 I had enough information to steal the identity of a couple of students with the information that they posted on their Facebook pages. ... And I would have had enough to cause you a lot of trouble. I'm the dope in knowing how to do that. There's people out there that are professional that make their living by doing such things."

How do we know he didn't spend $9.95 just to dig around and see what he could find out? He certainly has revealed that he has uncovered a lot of information already.

[Quotes from a PGR where another regional director is quoted] "[As GF has said] each of us must use discernment and caution in dealing with those that have left God's church. This includes not only being careful with baptized ex-members, but also being wary of non-baptized teenagers and young adults that have chosen to depart from the church." [end of quote] "In other words, in most cases, those of us who remain in the PCG, whether young or old, baptized or non-baptized, are not to have any casual or on-going contact with anyone who has left this church... By casual contact, we mean any sort of communication, whether it be in person, over the phone, via text messaging, over through the Internet, or by some other means."

When controlling groups like PCG feel they are in danger of losing people within their organization, they tighten the controls. This is one reason Gerald Flurry instigated the "no-contact" rule.

"It has come to our recent attention that several ex-PCG youth have been trying to remain in contact, primarily via internet chat rooms and social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook, with some of the youth that are still attending in the PCG."

Could one reason be because they simply miss their old friends?

"...In the majority of cases everyone in the PCG, young and old alike must cut off regular contact with those who have left the PCG whether those people are technically classified as Laodicean."

This new ruling is going beyond the "no-contact" rule in that it now covers those who are not even classified as Laodiceans. Locher tells parents they are to "closely monitor" their teens and "especially supervise them when they are using the Internet." This is all in the guise of "protecting them from bad influences" of those who have left PCG and from the "satanic influences" ("dissident material") that exist on the web.

He quotes I Corinthians 5:1-8 about the person who was put out of the Corinthian church and how the brethren were to purge out the old leaven. Locher then says "this is God's tough love" and they are to "cast him out" and "turn him over to Satan."

"God knows how to correct his children. Don't fool yourself that you know better than God!"

Evidently PCG leaders think they do know better than God since they have a multitude of rules and regulations that members must circle their life around, and they are threatened if they "violate these laws." Locher tells them they are "interfering with God" and they "don't know better than God." Again, fear is put into them that "God sees what they are doing."

He quotes from Revelation 12:9 about how Satan has deceived the whole world and reminds them of how "Ninety-five percent of God's people have been deceived" and are "in rebellion against God." The words, "God's people" is referring to those that knew the "truth" as taught by Herbert Armstrong, but who are not now in PCG. He says that human beings (even those in PCG) are "not capable of out-foxing Satan."

However, the Scriptures don't say we need to "out-fox Satan"; it tells us that we need not worry about his being able to pull us away.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).

"...Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

"...I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one." (I John 2:14).

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (I John 4:4).

Locher admits that when he was preparing this sermon he "asked several young people for their input." Which young people did he choose that were "very helpful"? Were they those whom he knew would have no hesitation in spying on others and who would even receive favoritism for revealing such information?

"Yes, 99 out of a 100 of you don't use the site to communicate with disfellowshipped ex-members, though you still have them listed in your group of friends."

Yet this is supposed to be a "massive problem" in PCG that has called for extreme measures because, as Locher says, "God's people are misusing it!" [the Internet] He tells how some in PCG have questioned this policy (he calls it "arguing") about social networking sites and then states, "I caution you to not be too careful about your position, about your level of understanding. Don't be so sure you know better than God." He lets them know that he counseled with those who "were pulled away by these sites" and are "no longer in PCG." He says these people are now using the tools to "attack you and attack me."

Is this true, or are these people simply passionately getting out the message about the dangers of PCG in order to warn and help others?

He quotes Matthew 18:2-6 (verses often used by religious cults to keep members humble and obedient. He says that if we offend one of those in PCG (whom he calls "God's called out ones") with their page on Facebook, MySpace, etc., or with a photo they share, God says it is better that you were dead!!" (These horrifying words may be directed at one youth in PCG who was caught with a Facebook account and breaking the PCG rules.) Is it not rather PCG that is offending (and destroying) many innocent minds in their midst by words such as in this sermon?

"Be careful about jumping to the defense of these sites. You had better see the facts. They are affecting God's church. Just count how many people you know who have left the church. I'm not saying it's all tied into social networking, or email, or cell phones, but you know the influence that that media has on young people, and old people alike."

The facts are that much information about PCG is getting out since the Internet and many more are leaving. This has Gerald Flurry concerned. It has nothing to do with that "one sheep" at home whom, as Locher says, "thinks they know better than God."

Strict Policy Now Enforced on Church Owned Equipment:

"Mr. Flurry has asked me to enforce a strict policy which restricts and forbids the use of social network sites on church owned equipment. That means you will not have access to social networks on the college network, or on the church's network. If you use a church computer, or the church connection to the Internet, you must cease using that equipment on those sites immediately. We will enforce this policy."

After he talks some more about the "dangers of the Internet," he declares, "Have you noticed that you don't find a minister with a Facebook page?" The key word here is "find." How many ministers might indeed be on Facebook but using a pseudonym or fake profile in order to secretly find out information? He says the reason the ministers "aren't on there" is because they have to deal with the affects on God's people and have to "clean up the mess that Satan leaves behind." Some of these effects are supposed to be "broken families and young people that can't come to God's college." Of course, none of it is PCG's fault for enforcing all these rules and controlling people's lives; it's the "Internet sites' fault."

"God will use His government to protect His children."

The word "government" is referring to Gerald Flurry and his HQs policies. (Read: Why do members emphasize the government of God?)

"Humble yourself before God who is trying to save you from Satan's attack."

Translation: Submit and obey Gerald Flurry who is trying to keep you from leaving the PCG organization.

"We have been working on developing features for the church's websites to create an outlet for you young people and older people alike to come and chat and share photos and communicate with one another. The church encourages communication."

The PCG encourages communication only with those who are in the PCG. This sermon makes that abundantly clear. This is one of the marks of a totalistic, exclusive group. He says only those who qualify (those who are "worthy") will be allowed in these chat rooms. If any have been "suspended" or are in some "negative church administration status," they will be excluded.

As he ends his sermon, he states, "We are in the last hour" (Quotes Revelation 18:4-5)

Make sure, absolutely certain, that you are in line with God's approach. And be sure that you are aware of Satan's subtle attack against you.

The words, "God's approach" is nothing less than PCG HQ rules. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the true God of love and how He views His children. (Read: Comforting Words About the True God of Love.)

Is Andy Locher, Gerald Flurry, and their the regional directors, really concerned about the "evils" on social networking sites, or does this have to do with stopping the flow of information to PCGers that will have the potential of causing them to leave PCG? If and when PCG has their own private chat rooms (where members are carefully screened), how will the ministers know if members and teens are still not discussing things they shouldn't? They won't, unless these ministers are able to silently monitor what is being said.

If anyone is beginning to recognize the increased control in PCG as spiritually unhealthy and unbiblical, they do not need to be afraid of Gerald Flurry or his ministers. Fear is their biggest weapon--but only if you allow yourself to succumb to it. Don't be afraid to educate yourself on how these groups work and their purpose. Have the courage to break through the lies. It is the Lord Jesus that will accept you and give you eternal life. Go to Him. He will not cast you out.

By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™

Update: PCG Using Facebook to Promote Themselves (January 13, 2013 letter to ESN)

Footnotes:

1 Also read the book: Snapping by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman where information control and emotional control are discussed. Also see: Milieu (Environmental) Control..


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