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**Do you have history in the Worldwide Church of God? Are you still attending one of its offshoots? Do you see cracks in the doctrine and want more information, or do you not know why you're still there anymore? Is there a hole in your heart and just don't know why God isn't granting you the happiness you were promised would come through tithing and following a man? Do you find that no matter how hard you try you cannot live up to your own standards, and you feel like a failure? Do you find your pursuit of God to be based on fear?
Investigate with me the answers to these questions and more!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Funny Little Story

I'm trying to space out my posts a bit to give you, the honored guest here at my humble blog, more opportunity to read without feeling pressured. I will try to post at most 1 or 2 times per week.

This week, I have a small tale to tell. 
In December 2008, I wrote a two-part post about Slandering HWA - I Think Not! In these posts, I got into a regrettable conversation with an impatient minister of Armstrongism whom I had previously held in high esteem. Well, what I did not mention is that I was a member on his website's chat forum. I logged on one day after our exchange to see if he had remembered to cut me off. He had not. So, I posted a couple mild things.

One person (an anonymous and unsuspecting third party) had a topic in there in which he was expressing shock about censorship in the media. This stroke of luck I simply could not pass up! I replied with something along the lines of "You're shocked about censorship? Censorship is a common occurrence in Armstrongism! How many times have you been warned about what you read, or how many times has a person been disfellowshipped and we were told to have nothing to do with them, or how many times had the church put out questionable material which they hid from us? Why, censorship is a staple in Armstrongism." (That is an approximation of what I said. The exact details have faded from my memory.)

To prove my point, I started my own topic. Therein I posted a chunk from Herbert Armstrong's prophecy from the June/July 1934 edition of the Plain Truth magazine where HWA stated Christ would return by 1936. I also pasted my favorite quote there, which you can see at the top of this blog whenever you wish:

"But who today understands what the prophets foretold? Why, only the ministers today whose word comes to pass!-those who are appointed and guided by God to preach the truth! Those whose utterances do not come to pass have not spoken the prophecies truly. We give you here the record of what we have been proclaiming for the past 2 years-a message which no other voices, to our knowledge, have been proclaiming.... But what we have been warning you about is happening!-precisely as we have stated.... This is how you can know that our work is not of men but of God!"

You can guess what happened within two days from that time. Yes, my account was revoked. I had been censored. My point was proven.

(MATT. 23: 13-15) 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."

5 comments:

xHWA said...

I would like to remind everyone of a comment which Mary Lane kindly left us on my post Slandering HWA? I Think Not - Part 2, where she said:

"Armstrongism continues to be promoted on some of the links, like Messianic News(on the Shadows site)and they have cut off the passwords of those who disagree with their recent blog called "A Tribute to Herbert Armstrong" showing videos that promote his corrupt system."

Thanks for sharing that, Mary. I'm certain there are more examples of censorship in Armstrongism. Anyone care to share some?

Byker Bob said...

You are obviously having too much fun!!! I wonder seriously what goes through the mind of current splinter group members when they are actually confronted with the words of HWA from that 1956 Plain Truth, or similar materials.

As one can see from that 1956 excerpt, the "HWA Method" was very effective. He would first frame or define an argument or issue, in his own terms. Then he would show how his church totally fit that framework, leading many people to single source all of their spiritual guidance from him. And, of course a one person radio broadcast is at best a one way conversation. The listener can internally process what is being said, but there is no back and forth give and take. If you refuse to allow the speaker to frame an issue or debate, it's not like you can verbally counter him, so you either let him get away with it, or you turn the dial.

As for censorship, it is repugnant to me, but many people do practice it to one degree or another. I've seen it done on some of the blogs and forums, and sometimes it is justified because some posters become disruptive. When the intent is mind control, such as not wanting members to see factual materials that would tend to alter their beliefs, then it becomes especially heinous. It can be a form of deception, since the censorer is not allowing the censoree full access to truth, truth that the censorer himself knows. How could the censoree then make an intelligent decision? Obviously he could not, and would then probably end up as an ACOG member.

Censoring out filth or blasphemy, otoh, is just good common sense if you want to reach a broad cross section of humanity with intelligent ideas.

BB

xHWA said...

Bob,

You're pretty much straight on with how HWA manipulated things. Man, was he slick!
IMO he would have made a great politician in the secular arena.

The bully pulpit is a powerful tool, aint it?

I am not a grand opponent of all things censorship. I make exception for the motivation behind the censorship. Like you said, people sometimes need to be kept on topic, or sometimes a comment can be unacceptably offensive, or whatever. For example I will disallow comments that are, IMO, unfairly bashing HWA, or which would work against the point of this blog, which is to help people leave Armstrongism. (By that I don't mean pro-HWA comments, which are fine in most instances, but other things entirely.) So, some censorship is a must. When it becomes a tool for mind control, well, that's crossing my line. So I agree with you there too.

And yeah, it was kinda fun. I don't think I should be finding it fun, though. I though it needed to be done. I was going to be banned anyway. I figured, why not get some utility out of it?

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you!

Bill H.

xHWA said...

>:D