We heard the taped sermon given by Gerald Flurry at the Philadelphia Youth Camp (PYC). I think it is worth quite a few comments.
First, the announcement section was interesting. The usual letters of support were read. This time, they all expressed exultation about the new “House of God” [Armstrong Auditorium] built on the campus. Of course, they all promised to increase or even double their commitment to the Building Fund. Then there was an announcement that GF’s house was being started. Perhaps GF should rethink his priorities? Couldn’t he wait and donate some of his “hard earned money” to the Building Fund? I can only imagine what a member would be told if he wanted to build a new house of his own instead of giving all his spare money to “God’s House.” After all, they were told they must “sacrifice more.”
This sermon was primarily given to the campers at the PYC. Only 160 young people were present, and that included workers. It was mentioned that the student body has doubled this year. That means that they have about 50 students in all. I am sure that cameras filmed the campers from every possible angle to make it look like there were many more of them to show on future Key of David programs. That is how they give the impression that the “college” is much bigger than it is.
GF gave some interesting information to the members regarding his purchase of the piano for $52,500 from the Ambassador Auditorium. It turns out that they did not get the piano they were bidding for! The piano they actually bought was purchased by the WCG in 1983. Even though the members were comforted to think that it must be in better condition than the other one. Still it was not the one picked out by HWA himself.
Several minutes into the sermon, GF mentions that he just purchased a table and ten or twelve chairs that HWA had used in England for board meetings. They “only cost” about half of the price of the piano. He did not dare utter the amount. That would be about $27,000 for a table and chairs! What is GF building? Is it a “House of God,” or a “Museum of Herbert Armstrong”?
The sermon was entitled, “God’s Saving Knowledge.” It turns out that all this knowledge is contained only in the books written by HWA. This actually puts the Bible in a poor second place. People will only be “saved” if they believe what HWA wrote.
The young people who were present were as young as fifteen. These children had to endure a shouting tirade in which they were threatened repeatedly with being literally “eaten” during the Tribulation, if they dare to leave the PCG. It seems that there has been an Exodus of teenagers out of the PCG, and GF is trying to stem the tide. During the sermon, GF predicted the absolute downfall of the American economy if only one airplane is brought down by fanatics. Now he predicts the cities being burned by them. This is a change from his former prediction of riots by Blacks. He revises his “prophecies” to fit the times!
Can there be a sermon by GF any more without it? Now GF has had revealed to him that there are actually two Tribulations. First, there is a Spiritual Tribulation that involves the loyal members of the PCG, and second the Physical Tribulation that involves everybody. Therefore, if members are suffering because they must “sacrifice” for the “House of God,” they can now tell themselves that their suffering is caused by the Devil Himself.
They are told that if they endure this time of suffering for the Work, that they will be protected from the really bad suffering coming on all people.
Unfortunately this kind of “duality” does not “square” with the teachings of the “Elijah”!
How long will the members of the PCG endure this constant stream of “Changes? What Changes?” to continue before they realize that GF is just another Tkach? The reason that GF bought the books of HWA was so that he could have the freedom to change them any way that suits him. He promised that a new Correspondence Course is being worked on. It will have little resemblance to the one originally written by HWA. New members will never know the difference. Older members are being jettisoned.
The young people who endured this sermon could feel no joy. If they believe what they were told, then they must believe that everyone they care about who is not in the PCG will soon die a horrible death. I can think of no worse experience in a Summer Camp.
May God speed the day when Gerald Flurry is seen for what he is, just another false prophet.
Update 2021: The name of the camp is now known as Philadelphia Church of God Summer Educational Program or SEP.
Read: Gerald Flurry’s Tirades (very good letter that reveals the wild anger GF can have toward someone)