Best of the Letters From 2006
January 23, 2006
I wanted to thank you for your website. Yesterday I went to my mailbox and inside was a free book called, The Day Jesus The Christ Died by Fred R. Coulter. I had never heard of him or of this book. Being a Christian, I was very interested. I began to read it and was intrigued.
I read it until very late last night and planned on reading more today. But I also noticed two website addresses on the back of the book. I looked at them today and saw it was their website, the Christian Biblical Church of God. I contacted them and even thought I’d go to their church if one was close by!
Then I decided to look up and see if there was anything written against this Fred R. Coulter. That is when I found your website. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff I read! Sounds like a cult to me.
Being that I am from a cult-type background since I was raised in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I guess my mind goes back to it easily. What seems to be truth and what “makes sense” is what I am attracted to. So, I was glad to have your website to read about their beliefs, doctrines and history.
Thanks so much. You just may have saved me from another many years stuck in a cult! –Oklahoma
February 19, 2006
I am a former employee of House of White Birches, a major publishing company in Berne, Indiana owned by Dynamic Resource Group, which also owns several other major craft book trade companies.
The DRG company execs (a majority of them) are listed on their company website as having attended Ambassador College, some in Pasadena, some in Big Sandy, Texas. I have done enough research on these institutions to realize that they were run by the Worldwide Church of God. Also, the recent CEO, John Robinson (whom I understand was David Robinson’s son but died in January of this year), personally developed many church publications of the WCG. [Note: More about John Robinson, editor of In Transition, is found in OIU Newsletter 4, Pt. 4 (PDF)]
The current DRG employees who write for the “church” newsletter are involved in the United Church of God, which I understand is a split-off from the new philosophies of the WCG, and follows the traditions of the old WCG. The congregation they write for is in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the nearest large city to the DRG hub offices.
In searching for information about DRG in Berne, Indiana, I realized that the United Church of God congregation in Fort Wayne (local to DRG) was set up in the mid-`90s by several DRG employees, including the CEO (John Robinson), who was incidentally an elder in this congregation. Other employees include the DRG marketing director, Scott Moss, who is a deacon in the congregation, a DRG editor, Laura Dunn Scott, who serves as managing editor for the local church newspaper, and her husband, DRG book marketing manager Craig Scott, who serves as treasurer for the congregation. All of these people are both high-ranking DRG employees and founding members of the Fort Wayne UCG congregation, and all of these people (with the exception of the editor, whom I have not been able to determine) attended Ambassador College, either in Big Sandy or in Pasadena. Does this sound like a link to the Worldwide Church of God or not?
DRG’s owners are active, evangelical members of the Church of God and also own the church’s “Youth” teen ministry publication. Many of their employees have positions outside the company as writers and editors for Church of God newsletters. (In these newsletters these employees’ contact information gives their DRG work e-mail address.) Their website does not overtly admit any ties to a particular church, but does clearly state that an unspecified portion of their profits will go to churches (which means their own, one would guess.) Also, their “church” website states that any donation surplus over $3,000 in a given month is shipped back to headquarters on a monthly basis.
I have been investigating this company for some time as I have become aware that it appears to be a front for generating money for this cult-like church. When I worked there, I was not told of any affiliation with any church. Nor have I been told of this in my freelance dealings with them.
I would like this company exposed as the church-generated money machine that it is. This company has millions of unwitting subscribers across the country who give money to this company, without knowing they are really supporting a cult. In addition, there are hundreds if not thousands of freelance designers in the past few years, who unknowingly supported this “church” by selling their designs to DRG publications. I think this is a highly unethical arrangement, and I feel the masses who make up DRG’s customers and artisans deserve to know the true nature of this company and its subordinate companies.
There are legal and ethical basis for exposing this. It just seems underhanded and immoral to me, if not illegal, to run a massive business involving millions of customers and hardworking freelancers, without disclosing any of this religion-based orientation.
I have contacted others regarding this. Please pass my research on. –[name withheld]
Spiritual Blindness in Present WCG Members:
February 27, 2006
I speak to several WCG members at present, but the spiritual blindness is truly amazing. They acknowledge that they are being told lies, etc., but they cannot bring themselves to leave. I appreciate the work which you have done and I spread it far and wide amongst WCG, as is possible. Although a member for a very long time myself, your material was an eye opener. –Former member of WCG
March 5, 2006
Around 1985 or 1986, I remember viewing a film at the Feast of Tabernacles where HWA was showing off the Pasadena campus to Armand Hammer. HWA was bragging to Armand about what he had accomplished and kept saying, “Not bad, eh?” Armand’s father, Julius, co-founded the American Communist Party and Armand laundered money for the communist government and was involved in pro-Soviet activities. I recently read that Armand was considered “an accomplice of every Russian leader from Lenin to Gorbachev.” It always bothered me that Herbert Armstrong and Armand were friends. That made me suspicious. –H. N., Former WCG member
Comment: HWA also met without communists; i.e., Alger Hiss at the first United Nations meetings in San Francisco, 1945. Read this part in OIU 5, Pt 3 (OIU available as PDF download) under “Communism is the
Result” as it shows HWA’s November 24, 1967 letter to Plain Truth subscribers where he boats about hwo Alger Hiss signed his entry pass into that meeting. also see the 5-29-07 letter: “HWA Used Mein Kampf as a Guide in Controlling People” which tells about HWA, Armand Hammer, and Alger Hiss.
Worldwide Church of God in the UK Links to Evangelical Alliance:
March 8, 2006
Worldwide Church of God website in the UK has a link to Evangelical Alliance at the top of their site and could therefore be seen as endorsing their methods. I wrote the Evangelical Alliance, but got no reply from them. –UK
Comment: Evangelical Alliance is the United Kingdom’s version of the stateside National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). The NAE is under the umbrella/authority of the global World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF). The WEF was originally named the Evangelical Alliance and was founded at a global gathering of missionaries in 1846. Very significantly, this meeting was held at the United Grand Lodge in London England and “dedicated to the purposes of Freemasonry.” It was renamed the World Evangelical Fellowship in the U.S. in 1951; other nations, such as the UK, still retain the name Evangelical Alliance. They are involved in ecumenical compromise. For more info, read: The Evangelical Alliance/World Evangelical Fellowship .
Deception by David C. Pack Gaining Foothold in United Kingdom:
March 9, 2006
Just a quick email to say thank you for your site. I was listening to David C Pack and found some of his biblical subjects very helpful (or so I thought), until I tried to find out some more about him. I’m grateful that my search eventually ended up on your page. I also found some Armstrong leaflets useful as I could see that David C Pack’s sermons were direct copies of HWA’s leaflets. Pack speaks very clearly and convincingly, but, as always, when you dig a bit deeper and actually check the Bible passages, they are not quite as he states in his positive manner. I was amazed at the size of this deception and was so sorry to see that it is gaining a foothold in the UK. This is the first time that I have heard of this organisation and its offshoots.
Keep up the good work. Sadly it is needed.
In Him, –UK
March 29, 2006
I once met with and talked with Anthony Buzzard. I find that his connections (mentioned in the report you link to) are very interesting. I marked some in red for quick perusal. I used to talk to Gene Bailey and I was the one that told him about the files on the WWCG with the FBI, etc. He later tried to obtain them, but they were blacked out and the information hidden. However, I obtained and viewed the files from the early 1970s that weren’t blacked out. I had written the Un-American Activities Commission in 1972 and received information that HWA and WWCG were under surveillance and suspected of UnAmerican activities. I also received a letter from the Congressional Library.
This all documents the connections between the evil powers of the underworld and the WWCG. –Former WCG member [name withheld]
Comment: The report being referred to is The Conspiracy Was Strong – The Discernment Ministries. Herbert W. Armstrong and Anthony Buzzard and their connections are mentioned in Parts 1-3. (Just search for the words “Worldwide Church of God” in Pt. I.) The FBI files on Herbert Armstrong and Stanley Rader are mentioned. Anthony Buzzard was formerly a lecturer at Ambassador College in Bricket Wood, England. The Ambassador Report #48, May 1991, has a section entitled, “The FBI’s Files on the WCG.” Ambassador Report #51, October 1992, followed up by saying these files were later released to Gene Bailey but with much blacked out. (Note: Read ESN’s comments about the AR.) It is alleged that many groups known as “cults” have a hidden agenda and work together to create a passive people. They have similar methods of deception and abuse are often fronts for intelligence activity. Read more about this and WCG / HWA activities from OIU Newsletter #6, pt. 3. (OIUs available as PDF download)
April 24, 2006
I studied for years to figure out how WWCG was able to remove God as the true God in my mind and replace it with the Worldwide Church of God. I now understand.
Many pages in Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web by David Robinson (e.g., 55, 63, 97, 98, 113, 127, 130,154, 165, 176, 187, 212, 233, 236, 280, 240) either fully illustrate or give clues to the manner in which mind control was applied in the Worldwide Church of God.
Page 113 says, “And he [HWA] realized that power came from a transfer of authority from God to himself in the minds of his followers. He must always identify God and himself very closely in the minds of his believers.”
I believe the above statement is a testimony to the methods used and is a reason that, upon my disfellowshipment, I could not find God. God and the Worldwide Church had become one in my mind.
The same kind of “transference” was used both in verbal language from headquarters and the pulpit, as well as the written word. In the written word, brackets were inserted to show the “true” meaning of a verse, or to give the preceding word a meaning. Example: “The Church [the vine] is moving to get back on track.” This is transferring (subtly) the meaning of the word “Church” to be the Vine, which is reserved to only Jesus Christ.
Headquarters told the people that many did not understand the new changes because “some were slow learners” (our fault) and “if they wait long enough, they will finally understand.” This was a lie. The facts are that “scrambling” is a cult practice of mind control, and then “flooding” is next. [Note by ESN: These methods are covered in OIU 1, Pt. 1] They never deprogrammed people from the old doctrines. They just scrambled the doctrinal message (made it confusing), and next they overwhelmed them with the new message. By the time the members got out of the scrambling mode, they were so grateful to understand anything that they accepted the new message (new doctrines). It was a process in mind control–planned and perpetrated on the unwary. That is why it was/is better to leave, with “no place to go,” than stay in and get trapped into the new mind control.
Another word WWCG used was “division.” That was a scare technique to quiet the truth and stop helpful [critical] reasoning with each other. The Apostles reasoned together. It is okay to talk about your misgivings. Instead, Worldwide wanted to have everyone muzzled so that they became isolated.
There were many other mind control techniques used which are simple to explain and understand if one studies such things as self-hypnosis, trance, coercive persuasion, and thought reform.
Milton Erickson was a master at hypnosis. He did it outside of the client’s knowledge or perception. The cults have perfected this method (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) [Note by ESN: Neuro-Linguistic Programming involves subliminal messages; i. e., the act of tapping into the unconscious mind apart from the person’s conscious knowledge.]. WWCG used it. If we got un-hypnotized, they would lose their control over us. We were trained to dissociate and trance out. Cults take the normal feelings away from you. Other cults use the reverse. They hype you up and make you feel false feelings. It’s a splitting of the personality.
Cults try to get between you and family members and break bonds. When we cut off from people, we did it under duress, with the influence of their using methodical guilt to get us to change our behaviors. Their causing us to withdraw from our families was all part of the conditioning process for total control–and they set out to victimize us. Many of these people have breakdowns, or get mixed up with another religious cult, if they don’t investigate what happened to them.
Mind control techniques were taught across the board, and I believe still are being effectively used upon the membership and ministry, as a matter of course. They use the most compliant men to become ministers, except the ones at the top who know exactly what is going on. The membership, of course, has no idea of such mind control, as it cannot be detected by the five senses. It is completely out of the victim’s awareness. That is why Herbert Armstrong always told us, “A deceived person does not know he is deceived.”
There’s not a lot of difference between a cult and communism, except religious cults do it under the guise of a “church.” –H. N. (Former member of WCG)
Comment by ESN: “Another topic for research is ‘dialectical materialism‘ (double-speak; i.e. the combining of opposites. Whenever a person or people can be seduced into simultaneously accepting, two opposing beliefs as true, they are, by that, rendered docile, passive and indifferent to the advances of their enemy. The goal is to neutralize the people. … Totalitarian governments of all sizes use these techniques to gain control of their people. Karl Marx was very fond of this technique!” (From OIU Newsletter Vol. 1, pt. 1 [OIUs available as PDF download])
Samuele Bacchiocchi Presenting Himself in a Less Than Accurate Way:
May 16, 2006
I was browsing your site just now, and find it really very interesting. Thanks for the good work you’ve done helping these people. Considering Samuele Bacchiocchi’s influence in the areas of the Sabbath and Holy Days in the branches of the Church of God movement, there may well be something to the words in a letter from the Gregorian University [a Jesuit university in Rome]. It was mailed June 11, 2004 by the Secretary General of the Pontifical Gregorian University to James A. Murray, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan concerning Bacchiocchi’s credentials. It reads in part as follows:
I am writing in regard to Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, who resides in Berrien Springs, Michigan. My understanding is that this city is within the geographical territory of the Kalamazoo Diocese. It has recently come to our attention that Dr. Bacchiocchi is presenting himself and his degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University in a less than accurate way. Both his publicity and website indicate several errors about his degree and awards he claims to have received here. Further, our information…indicates that Dr. Bacchiocchi is actively engaged in anti-Catholic teaching.
Dr. Bacchiocchi did indeed graduate with a doctoral degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was the first non-Catholic to do so. However, other claims he makes do not match those in our records. Those include:
1. He did not receive a summa from the Gregorian as he maintains.
2. He did not receive the Pope’s Gold Medal (this is presented each year in a public ceremony to only a handful of students who have achieved the highest quality of work in their dissertations).
3. He was not allowed to publish his dissertation in whole. Due to extensive problems with the text, he was only allowed to publish one chapter of his work and this only after extensive revision. The publication of one chapter signifies the minimum requirement to receive the doctoral degree at the Gregorian. His publicity and website indicate that the whole dissertation has been published in book form with surrounding claims about its quality as a Gregorian publication. He has also used the official signature of the Gregorian University Press on the cover page of a book published by Biblical Perspectives.
4. At one time an imprimatur was claimed by Dr. Bacchiocchi, though we understand he later said this had been rescinded. As you know, this does not happen, nor does the Church find a need to give an imprimatur to non-Catholics who write on a variety of topics.
God bless, –S. K.
Comment: There seems to be more to Samuele Bacchiocchi than meets the eye. He’s mentioned several times in OIU Vol. 4, pt. 4: “The immediate and timely introduction of Samuele Bacchiocchi was strategic in countering any possible critical thinking by ex-WCGers. Bacchiocchi’s Adventist spin provided the necessary distraction…” In Chapter 2, p. 159, of Roger Chamber’s book, The Plain Truth About Armstrongism, the author states, “Bacchiocchi’s book fails the test of historiography, not only in that he offers an argument without data, but that his conclusion contradicts the evidence that does exist, some of which is surveyed in this chapter.” [Update: Samuele Bacchiocchi died in December 2008.]
I Thank God I Walked Away From WCG:
August 14, 2006
I’m a 3rd generation of WCG and attended Imperial School. One of my brothers committed suicide in 1972, the other died of a brain tumor at age 9, and the third is agnostic with no spiritual life. I thank God that I walked away from the WCG in 1992. I stayed in confusion until two years ago when I found Jesus Christ. My mother is sold out to Gerald Flurry’s PCG group in Oklahoma. By God’s will (and with little seeds planted here and there in conversations), I think she will be renewed with the truth someday.
Sad to say, I was a victim and when I read the truth two years ago, I was so mad and angered. I read your letters and how we all were betrayed and used. Prayer is the answer through Jesus our Lord. God is using me today and I am so glad to be a vessel for Him. My dream is to reach all the ones who have strayed from Him and are lost and don’t know what to do. I was there. We are winners through Jesus. –M. D.
I Appreciate the Grace of Christ So Much More:
September 3, 2006
I am a long time former member, now under true grace. I have renounced the WCG and all its offshoots.
I know after the WCG cult experience that it makes me truly appreciate THE GRACE OF CHRIST so much more I think than I would normally have done.
I just want to say how valuable I think your ESN site is. It’s a wake up call for many.
May Jesus bless you and ESN. –Australia
Ambassador College Didn’t Want Thinkers For Students:
October 6, 2006
Lots of men who had no degrees taught theology at Ambassador College. This didn’t fly when WCG tried to go after accreditation for AC. They started scrambling, trying to get some of the men to get doctorates at Fuller Theological Seminary in the fields they were teaching, but many ending up leaving WCG after finding out about all the Armstrong lies they had been fed. It was a fiasco.
I remember being told that AC graduates made “above and beyond” average salaries, most of them making “$90,000 a year or more.” This was not true at all. HWA would also quip that “the best and the brightest were used in the Work.” But it was the hard-nosed student at AC that followed the party line without question that was employed. The ones that had any brains were also the ones that tended to question things, and they were not considered for employment after graduation. The “instructors” couldn’t stand it when students showed them up, and pounded on them as a result.
I had a friend who attended AC and he told me how Greg Albrecht liked his students to “kiss his behind.” This man quit AC because he felt like he was wasting his time, and he enrolled in a regular college and got his masters in Industrial Hygiene. He was definitely a “thinker” and I think a thorn in their side. –Former member of WCG
Was Part of the Mind Control for 27+ Years:
October 10, 2006
Many, many, many thanks to you who have poured so much into this website and offering to help those of us in great need!
I just found this website a few days ago and am a very recent exiter of WCG.
I had been unhappy with the way things were going for quite awhile and had only been attending intermittently with my husband over the last several months. We have both been part of the “mind control” for 27+ years. (I was brought up in WCG from 12 years old.) –Former members (and child survivor) of WCG
October 20, 2006
Our local WCG church was having a special meeting in approximately 1998 where those who wanted could have a say over the microphone. It was more a theme, supposedly, of how well things were going. I hadn’t planned to say much, maybe nothing at all, but as the microphone went round, my spirit slowly but surely began to become quite empowered to want speak my mind. When I got the microphone, I very firmly began to point out how hypocritical the WCG was. I pointed out the duplicity with which “the new truth” was being handed out, that is, the old covenant was still being preached while certain selected parts of the New Covenant were being preached. If you liked the old ways, sure keep doing it. If you liked the new ways, fine go for it. A mixture of both, even better. Further, I blasted some false doctrines, the regal lifestyle of the WCG elite (the limousines, the fancy table ware and gold cutlery at special functions), the unaccountability of those in power above us, etc.
I received a poor response. One person even went out of their way to ridicule me. Nevertheless, God led me to a good and kindly reply.
After the meeting, as chairs were being put away, the minister of our WCG church, came up to me, responding to my claim of duplicity and confided in me, “Well, you know, if I had told them the truth, they would have just shot through for the hills.” Although this comment nearly took my breath away, I knew what he meant, he was suggesting that if he had preached the truth of the New Covenant boldly and not allowed a duplicitous teaching also of the old covenant, clearly quashing old false beliefs, to him and Head Office, this would have caused so much confusion, that the members would have left in droves. I wondered at this lack of faith and paternalism. Lack of faith, in that, he, did not simply just trust in Christ (and also His words, that the truth will set you free). Paternalism, in not trusting the members to make the right decisions, when spiritual truth was released, that the Holy Spirit would not leap in their chests for joy and guide all through any difficulty.
So I judged the matter by its fruits! What was the result of this duplicitous, unfaithful, paternalistic control? This particular church, my former church, slowly but surely began to die. Split offs occurred to Philadelphia COG, Seventh-day Adventist, United COG, etc. Doctrinal confusion and argument reigned. A good number simply just dropped attending anywhere. Old friendships broke up, some families broke up with divorce. Some teenagers were frustrated, rebelled against parents and became reckless. Depression and anxiety was not uncommon. Some older people died not having this confusion resolved. One deacon/minister had a heart attack and died due, in my opinion, to the stress of it all. Members still kept the old covenant holy days, even though clearly they are just an OC shadow of the NC. This church no longer meets, except for a handful of diehard’s who still fellowship, about once a month under the WCG banner, at some other town a fair way off.
If only the elders and minister in this church had the courage to simply trust Christ with the pure delivery of New Covenant truth. If only they did not fear the loss of their jobs and income and did not slavishly follow WCG HQ orders of duplicity. If only they did not constantly and selfishly think about what was expedient for themselves. If only they acted like the Apostle Paul, trusting Christ and loving the brethren, even to their own hurt.
To be honest, in the end, I think the Tkach control of the new mainstreaming era, was still a calculated desire with the WCG Upper Echelons to continue to control us and a good portion of our income. I am coming to believe, as has been pointed out in some ESN articles, also with the benefit of hindsight, that the Tkach management foresaw that without Herbert W., the WCG would crumble and it had to mainstream for survival. To me personally, it is becoming unlikely that they simply changed to bring about pure biblical New Covenant truth. If they were genuine, the Gospel of Grace would have been delivered much more forthrightly. The awful fruits of their controlled duplicity, now speak for themselves. –Former WCG member [name withheld]