Thursday 27 January 2011

Journal charts UCG split

The latest issue of The Journal is out, and carries a number of features relating to the recent UCG split, including an interview with one of UCG's founding elders, Ray Wooten. Spare a thought for members of the Big Sandy, Texas UCG, most of whom have defected to the new organisation, leaving their church building in the control of their former affiliation. (UCG congregations rarely own or meet in church buildings; Big Sandy was one of the few exceptions.) Of course almost everyone is willing to rattle their tonsils with an opinion, and a previous Otagosh post occasioned by the turmoil appears on page 3 (the original can be found here.) The Dave Havir piece is worth reading for a little objective insight on the people behind the splinter sect.

One other item I can't help but mention. A group that calls itself the Church of Christian Commandment Keepers has created a website called - wait for it - Herman is described there as "a spiritual successor to Herbert W. Armstrong," and I guess we're expected to believe that this little band are now Herman's spiritual successors. Sadly there are no downloads of the famous Compendium of World History, just a collection of Her-manic sermons.

A sampler of the current Journal is available as a free PDF (pages 1, 3, 5 and 32), but if you're into the COG scene, now would probably be the time to get a full subscription.


  1. You have got to be kidding...

    Just what would happen if Herbie's x-wife started a church, would the sheep follow?

  2. Good job, Gavin.

    Now then.

    Excuse me. All of this looks so very silly. In light of the history of Armstrongism, the religion itself looks rather preposterous. Note the origin of British Israelism by the madman, Richard Brothers at:

    The Cult Awareness and Information Library under the article title, History of British-Israelism in the Revival Centres -- HISTORY OF BRITISH-ISRAEL (THE AOG SPLIT).

    Here is the relevant excerpt:

    Hundreds of years before the first Revival Centre, the first 'British-Israel' manifesto was issued. British-Israelism was first hinted at by the British Member of Parliament, John Sadler, in his Rights of the Kingdom (1649). But the movement began in the eighteenth century after the self-styled 'Nephew of the Almighty', Richard Brothers, published his book A Revealed Knowledge of the Prophecies and Times (1794). Brothers was, as one source puts it, "a Canadian madman". He became troubled by visions, and said that the British parliament was the 'beast' of Revelation.

    Brothers believed he was a descendant of King David, and that only he had the right to be king of England. Unfortunately for him, King George III disagreed. The Cambridge Biographical Enyclopedia (1994) says:

    Brothers, Richard (1757-1824) British religious fanatic and ex-naval officer, born in Newfoundland, Canada. He announced himself in 1793 as the 'nephew of the Almighty', apostle of a new religion, the Anglo-Israelites. In 1795, for prophesying the destruction of the monarchy, he was sent to Newcastle and subsequently to an asylum.


    We all know the rest of the story. Herbert Armstrong picked up a book based on this nonsense, rebelled against the Church of God Seventh Day and founded a nutty religion with no sensibility whatsoever.

    The current tempest in a teapot is just plain stupid. The problem can be solve easily by all the Armstrongist ministers and administrators sending the troups to the Church of God Seventh Day and then disbanding their own wrong-headed organizations.

    Or they could get treatment at the hands of mental health professionals in an insane asylum just as their ultimate founder of the 18th century did.

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  5. Ephesians is not authentic Paul? That's blasphemy, Gavin. You could be disfellowshipped from all the wcg splinters for that one.

    But, on the bright side, if everything in the NT was discarded except for the 7 letters of Paul, xianity would take on a whole new face.

    Just look what you wouldn't have:
    No virgin birth, no bodily resurrection, no empty tomb, no tomb, no torah, no paid clergy, no clergy, no John the Baptist, no Mary, no details at all really.

    Since everything beside those 7 letters is post 70 AD and can be discarded as apostate writings, no Xianity. Wouldn't that be nice?

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  7. PH, I think the justification for the use of violence by the RCC came from the words of Jesus in Luke 19:27 and forcing the pagan population to accept Christianity came from Luke 14:23.

    Of course, you're right though, because Luke is Pauline.

  8. Oh dear -- how many Journal subscribers are cancelling, after seeing Gavin's picture in it? They might think the publication has gone completely over the edge. :-)

    But anyway: if Herman Hoeh is considered "a spiritual successor" to HWA, does this group realize Dr. Hoeh either wrote or edited the December 1994 bombshell sermon Joseph Tkach Sr. gave? At least, that's what my WCG Pastor said weeks later.

  9. "does this group realize Dr. Hoeh either wrote or edited the December 1994 bombshell sermon Joseph Tkach Sr. gave"

    If they do realize it, they probably file it away in the same lockbox of unexamined truths as this Ambassador Report from '91.

    "I first became aware of Hoeh's double life in mid-1977. We had just published AR2, our large "In Bed With Garner Ted" issue, and the revelations it contained were prompting many headquarters personnel to resign from the WCG. One such individual was Ron Lepeska, a gifted photographer and graphics artist who had been employed at church headquarters for a number of years.

    One day, Ron received a phone call from Hoeh. "I understand you've left the church," said Hoeh. As Ron answered in the affirmative, his racing thoughts were that Hoeh had phoned in his capacity as a WCG minister and was about to counsel him to rejoin the church. Instead, Hoeh responded, "That's good. I've got a job for you." He explained to Ron that he had an extensive collection of photographic "art" - with some photos having cost him $200 apiece - but that a handful of photos had slight defects which required a bit of "touching up." While surprised at Hoeh's indifference toward his new non-member status, Ron agreed to assist the evangelist.

    Later, after Hoeh dropped off twenty or so photographs, Ron was flabbergasted at what he saw. Ron - who had become sympathic to AR's goals and was even then designing AR's new letterhead - phoned Report co-founder Len Zola. Shortly thereafter Len and I visited Ron's home to see the photos for ourselves. We discovered that most of the photos were clearly homoerotic. About half were of naked young boys with exposed genitals and naked buttocks. A few shots combined black leather and Nazi motifs. Most surprising, however, were three full-frontal nudity photos of very pregnant women - all of whose faces we recognized from WCG church services!

    How, and from whom, Hoeh obtained his photos is unclear. It is interesting, however, that for years we have heard stories about WCG headquarters in Pasadena having its own secret group of nudism afficionados. We know, too, that Hoeh is a skilled amateur photographer who in the past has talked of leaving the ministry to become a professional photographer.

    The photos of naked boys in Hoeh's collection raises the question of whether Hoeh - in spite of his church's teachings - is latently bisexual or gay. At least one former Ambassador College instructor thinks Hoeh is. He told me:

    Back in 1969, when I showed up to teach at Ambassador, there was to be a formal faculty reception. Herman Hoeh, aware that I didn't own a tuxedo, offered to loan me one of his. He invited me to his home and in his bedroom told me to disrobe so I could try on a tux. I did as he said only to discover the tux didn't fit me. It was only years later, after I was married and knew more about the ways of the world, that I pieced the puzzle together. Hoeh - who had sat on the bed leering at me - should have known all along his tux wouldn't fit me. He is five inches taller than I am! But then, he did get a chance to leer, didn't he.

    What exactly is Hoeh's state of mind at present is difficult to say. Observers note that in recent years his obsession with Buddhism, Buddhist monks, reincarnation, and the nation of Thailand has steadily increased. Insiders say Mrs. Hoeh has not taken well to her husband's continuing weirdness. One of our readers recently observed her aimlessly wandering about a supermarket with a dazed look, talking to nonexistent companions. In the meantime, Tkach keeps Hoeh on as editor of the Plain Truth. The two men remain close friends."

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