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Meditations on Hypocrisy

"Mr. Armstrong never compromised with God's Law." How many times have we heard that? He said it himself repeatedly. Gerald Flurry says it. Hindsight is 20/20 they say. Let me look back over the past 33 years and dredge up some memories.

There was great happiness among the members back in the `70s when Herbert Armstrong changed the ruling on divorce and remarriage. After all, many loyal members had broken up their marriages of many years to obey the "Elijah." Others gave up the hope of marriage and children. Still others turned their backs on people they truly loved. How wonderful that God revealed this "New Truth" to HWA just in time for him to marry Ramona Martin, a divorcee.

Wearing makeup was a sin. It was considered pure vanity, and an attempt to make oneself attractive to the opposite sex. This was changed temporarily. It seems that Ramona wanted to own or run a boutique. We were not told that she wanted to wear makeup when they went to fancy dinners with Heads of State. Makeup was allowed until the rather nasty divorce. Herbert Armstrong tried to blame the whole makeup thing on other people, but we knew that it had been his decision. We were never told just how nasty the divorce was. Any whispered rumors were quickly suppressed. We heard that somehow she and Stanley Rader were working together. We couldn't understand why they both were given such large sums of money. She is hardly mentioned in Herbert Armstrong's Autobiography, Part 2. Any new member, who takes the time to read it, will never know that they got divorced. I don't think that the makeup issue is addressed at all. If it is, it is very briefly. However, it was very traumatic to many women. At the time, we were told that we must have only "natural" beauty. I asked the wife of a minister what that meant as far as shaving our legs, etc. Her response was, "Don't ask."

We were to strictly obey the forth commandment. Read Exodus 20: 10. The Sabbath was to be for servants and even animals. The Elijah, however, decreed that it is all right to go to an expensive restaurant on the Sabbath. That ruling is still in effect. How many ways does that break the Sabbath? The hostess works for you. The waiter works for you. The chef works for you. The bus boy works for you. The dishwasher works for you. You pay their salaries by buying the food. Do you enjoy your meal? Is that seeking your own pleasure? By the way, that wonderful steak you just ate was cooked on the same grill as a pork chop. According to God's Word, that makes it unclean meat. Check out Leviticus 11. Why did HWA allow it? Read Philippians 3: 18-19.

On the other hand, if your mother, father, sibling, child, etc. (who are not in the "Church"), dies and is buried on the Sabbath, you are not allowed to attend the funeral. If you should die and be the only one in your family that is in the "Church," and your family by choice or necessity has you buried on the Sabbath, or a Holy Day, no minister will come do the service. That is called "letting the dead bury their dead." This is a rather twisted version of Matthew 8:22.1

If you are in the "Church," and have a baby that is seriously ill, you will be told that it is a sin to take that child to a doctor.

It was widely known that HWA had to get "shots" in order to do his world travels. This was in spite of the fact that he was allowed many times to go around customs. I imagine that Gerald Flurry and his entourage also have had to have their immunizations to travel overseas. How sad for them that they have to "suffer and sin" in order to complete their commission!

These are just a few examples to meditate on. I hope that others will share more. After all, I haven't even mentioned Garner Ted Armstrong.

Perhaps we would all benefit from a study of what Jesus had to say about hypocrites. [See Matthew 23]

By K. J. (former member of WCG/PCG)

Footnote by ESN:

1 The late J. Vernon McGee related a story once about this verse (Matthew 8:22). He said that Dr. Adam Smith (who was an authority on the Middle East), told about an incident where he wanted to hire an Arab guide. After being told where he could find a young man in a certain village who would be an excellent guide, he went there and was told, "I first have to bury my father." However, his father was alive and sitting there in the hut. What the young Arab meant was that he had to take care of his father until he died because he was the son's responsibility. In this passage of Scripture Jesus was telling the young man to let someone else take care of his father or let his father take care of himself. This was not being unfeeling, as Christ was trying to see if the young man was going to put Him first. When the young man made the decision to do that, He probably said, "Then you go back home and take care of your father." (Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 4, p. 50.)  


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