Nolo.com defines Defamation as such:
"A false statement that injures someone's reputation and exposes him to public contempt, hatred, ridicule, or condemnation. If the false statement is published in print or through broadcast media, such as radio or TV, it is called libel. If it is only spoken, it is called slander."
I am somewhat concerned that there is a minister out there who is indirectly accusing people of slander who are attempting to tell the TRUTH about Herbert Armstrong. Not only that, but this minister also commits slander against these people by insinuating they are merely a tool of Satan; a manifestation of Satan's desperation to deceive as many of "God's elect" before his time is up. Accurately, this minister paints Satan as the accuser. Inaccurately, he paints those people who tell the truth about HWA as accusers.
Now, I do not agree with the people who unfairly attack HWA. I am not writing this to throw in my money with genuine slanderers. For what it's worth, I agree with much of the minister's sermon in that he displays slander to be an ungodly act which our Lord finds unacceptable. Conversely, I do wholeheartedly support and agree with those who tell the hidden truths about the kind of person HWA really was and the kinds of things he really did that run contrary to the image of "God's chosen apostle" which he painted for the public to buy.
Am I trying to say that every story out there about Herbert Armstrong's misadventures is true? No. I am certain there are things on the Painful Truth, just for example, that are not exactly truthful. I am also certain that the vast majority of things most certainly are truthful. That is one danger that this particular minister points out - we cannot be certain of the quality of what we read. So that is why I try to stick to things I can prove.
Everyone should be fully aware that Herbert W. Armstrong was a master advertiser and the founder and leader of an organization which looked to him as a holy man and an apostle, but behind the scenes what type of a man he was most certainly did not match the image he portrayed. There is ample evidence for this. The evidence is both primary and secondary. Primary being people who were eye witnesses on the scene. Secondary being people, like myself for example, who were not there but have other evidence to show.
What is the motivation for this? I cannot speak for everyone. I simply will not accept that everyone who put forth information about Herbert Armstrong and the happenings in the Worldwide Church of God and its splinter organizations did so for noble reasons. It is obvious that some people gave information out of hurt or spite. But that is most certainly not the case in the majority of instances. Most of the people that I have read or spoken to have come across to me as being desperate to get this information to the public as a warning. And they did so out of concern for the people who are being deceived! In the majority of instances, the motivation IS noble.
Does wrong motivation equal false accusation, though? Certainly not! People turn state's evidence all the time. In order to save their own skins they sell out their friends and break sworn confidence. Is that noble? No! There is no honor among thieves. However does that mean their testimony is false? No! The testimony itself is separate from the motivation. Without this sort of dishonorable testimony, several horrible characters could never have been brought to justice. But the real question remains - is the information accurate? If so, then by the very definition it was not slander. And such, even those who put forth information about Herbert Armstrong with less than honorable motivation must not themselves be falsely accused of slander! Be careful, you who cry "slander!", lest you yourself become hypocrites!
The minister in question says, "Never circulate a negative report." Generally speaking, this is good advice. He says slander and accusation are "verbal murder" and "weapons of destruction". Genuine slander and false accusation are indeed such!
Let me say this, however, when the accusation is a revelation of the honest truth, to save the people who are in clear and present danger, then what sort of nonsense is this sort of teaching?? To say "never" makes this advice unstable!
There is a great gulf of difference between gossip and warning someone about danger. If you knew that there is a serial rapist dating your friend, would you not inform them that they are in danger from a serial rapist - thus bringing a negative report? Or if there were a known child molester living in the neighborhood of your friends, would you not warn them - thus bringing a negative report?
Is it not hypocritical that this minister warns of gossip and slander, while he himself accuses the Pope of being the Second Beast of Revelation 13 and the entire Catholic Church of being the Great Harlot of Revelation 17, and the entire Protestant community as being daughters of harlots?? I advise this minister should first pull the beam out of his own eye (MATT. 7: 3)!
Take this warning from Ezekiel, for example:
(EZE. 33: 1-6) 1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’
When a person sees a danger like a false prophet or a false minister, it is his obligation to warn people of it. Motivated by this very verse, this minister follows his mentor into a flood of unfounded defamation against Christianity. And based on what? Proof? No! Based on private speculation about prophecy. It is the stated motivation of the Armstrongite churches that they must warn the world! And indeed, their accusations are generally false. "The Pope could lead the future Beast." But perhaps not! We don't know that for a fact. What is a fact is that Armstrong has already done terrible things in the past, and those things have been covered up. However, when someone speaks the truth about Herbert Armstrong, and reveals the danger to those deceived by his ministers, then all of a sudden we hear "Slander! Slander!"
(JER. 6: 17) Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
Of course they won't listen. This minister makes a distinction between "the world" [a derogatory term implying anyone who is not of Armstrong is of Satan], and "the brethren" [loaded language implying that association with Armstrong equates to favoritism from God]. And what is the real demarcation? That Armstrong was an apostle and we all must follow his cherry-picked version of the law. Accept that and you're in. See through it, and you're a slanderer.
So, it's OK to say bad things about "the world", but not "the brethren". So, SOMETIMES "slander" is more OK, and sometimes it's not. How is this not hypocrisy? How is this not a dual standard? How is this not ungodly? So, this minister looks down on people because they are not of his group, while he preaches to us to speak evil of no one. The Almighty God does not respect persons (ROM. 2: 11). There is no double standard with God. Does this minister think somehow that his own slander and accusation and verbal murder will get past God (PSA. 101: 5)? Remove the plank from your own eye and then, by the grace of God, perhaps you will see!
This minister gives himself an out and says, "criticize those people who are lying." Very good, then. Finally, we have come to an agreement. When I see Herbert Armstrong lying, I will criticize. This minister says "we must be careful of what we allow into our minds". YES! And the works of Herbert Armstrong are not exempt from that!
I will give you two undeniable truths about Herbert Armstrong:
And those are just a couple of selections from my meager blog! There are the plethora of other former Armstrongist blogs out there who have much more information than I do. Or, if you really want a site to behold, go to the Exit Support Network and read up. Listed there are many primary sources of information from first-hand witnesses of the upper echelon of Worldwide.
Is it slander to point out truths? Here is some more interesting slander from the Exit Support Network's article entitled "The Rich Apostle":
"Herbert Armstrong had five luxurious homes filled with art treasurers. (Post-Gazette, Thurs., Nov. 24, 1977, "Worldwide Church of God Amasses Wealth Amid Rising Criticism). His 1980 income tax returns showed that he gave himself and his wife Ramona an income of $387,755, paid federal taxes of $147,545, and deducted only $37,427 (or just over 9.5 percent) as church contributions. His accountant, Jack Kessler, said HWA gave himself a salary of $500,000 per year in 1981. (Jack Kessler 1981 Letter to Worldwide Church of God Board of Directors). HWA had a number of Swiss bank accounts, many foreign bank accounts, owned considerable wealth and had all his living expenses paid for by the church. (AR#26, October 1983)
"HWA's opulent Ambassador Auditorium was built for $11 million in 1974. (LA Times, January 17, 1986) "
"By the mouth of two or three witnesses..." (MATT. 18: 16) it says. Well, please allow me to point out that we have not just one, or two, or three, or ten, or fifty. There are hundreds of people who are primary and secondary witness to the destructive teachings and the deceptions of Herbert Armstrong!!
I cannot speak for everyone. This blog is not a matter of returning evil for evil. I mean that honestly! This blog is a case of warning. This blog is a case of trying to help people get away from that system of abuse. And if those who hear this warning do not heed it, then their blood is on their own heads, as they say. For those of you who are still in the COGs, you who think you needed to sound the warning and you who thought you had no need for a warning of your own, please listen to clear ringing of the truth!
So, this minister who gets up on his bully pulpit and reviles unfairly, would like people to believe all sorts of negative things about those who tell the truth about Herbert Armstrong and his ministers, all the while accuses and slanders BILLIONS of Christians, let him take his own medicine.
I sent him an email and asked him if that doesn't seem hypocritical to him. I don't expect a reply to that. (I'll let you know if I ever do get a response.)
**Well, guess what! He DID respond! Read it here.
(LUKE 6: 22) Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.
This minister isn't just lashing out at me. I'm small fish. But for what it's worth, I won't let it bother me any more than what has motivated me to write this post. I forgive him. Armstrong has no hold on me any longer. Let them rage that their tithe income is reduced. I know there's joy in heaven for my having left (LUKE 15: 7)! And I know that same joy awaits all who see through Armstrong's lies and by the grace of God step out of his yoke of bondage and into the New Covenant!