Sunday 13 December 2015

The Journal - 178th issue

The November 30 issue of The Journal has been released, and can be downloaded in PDF form.

In this issue, news of an Ambassador College reunion scheduled for 2017 in Las Vegas. The organizer is Bob Gerringer (who in a past life was one of the founders of Ambassador Report. I guess advancing age really does ramp up the nostalgia). Alumni from Pasadena and Bricket Wood can visit a dedicated website for more information, while there's another with details for former Big Sandy students.

The first part of a personal account relating to his involvement in the church by the late David John Hill, a former WCG evangelist, gets a repeat outing in this issue.

Lest one gets the impression that this issue is the rose-colored spectacles edition, Brian Harris, an outspoken advocate of British Israel bullgeschichte, has contributed an article entitled "Why Did God Allow 9/11 and the Paris attack?" How myopically predictable is the content of that one! And yes, it completely lives up to the reputation for racist, jingoistic pabulum that characterizes BI.

Perhaps somebody should submit it to The Onion.

This issue runs to 16 pages, including the ad section, and includes a couple of reports from 2015 Feast sites including the Ian Boyne-led Jamaican CGI (not to be confused with GCI). Exactly what relationship the Boyne CGI has to the Texas mother church is unclear to me, but they certainly seem to operate out of their own rule book. Unusually for an Armstrong group, the Jamaican brethren were treated to a debate.
Our usual speaking competition had addressed the controversial matter of divorce and remarriage. This year was unusual as it became a real debate with one of the participants who disagrees with the church’s position given the opportunity to make a full presentation to show why the church is wrong. However, her arguments could not match those of Stephen Scale, the 2014 champion of the competition, who regained his title in a sensational presentation in which he debunked the view that there were no grounds for remarriage. Mr. Scale looked at the best arguments for the no-remarriage view, drawing on scholarly sources, and refuted all of them.
Well, let's give them credit. A "real debate". Can't see that being adopted by other splinter sects. Let's see, how about the CGI in Texas inviting Lonnie Hendrix to make a presentation at their feast site? Nope, can't imagine that. Mind you, lest we get carried away with just how enlightened this all is, Boyne's reporting seems just a tad gleeful don't you think? And did you notice that Scale gets acknowledged by name, but not his debate partner?

I wonder how long Ian spoke after Scale's rebuttal to ensure that everyone fully understood that the forces of righteousness had indeed triumphed?


  1. Yet another episode of documenting why Armstrongism should have never existed -- it may be that in the end, The Journal may actually help Armstrongism wind down.

    The article about British Israelism actually made me feel nauseous. It's just so wrong-headed, there aren't any words for it.

    Perhaps the most significant feature was the announcement of the retirement of Robert Dick. It may be subtle but there are two features to be considered: First, the retirement plan sought by Dennis Luker because he was afraid of losing his salary and used United to mitigate it, has seen its fulfilment in the retirement of Robert Dick and several others -- the retirement was set in place almost immediately after the formation of the UCG.

    Second, with the retirement of Robert Dick, the death of Dennis Luker, the failing of Roderick Meredith, there is a steady trend of The Originals disappearing from the forefront of Armstrongism. The ones who actually knew Herbert Armstrong are becoming more rare. This will result in a fundamental shift in Armstrongism as a whole.

  2. Exactly right. By the time I made it to AC in Pasadena, HWA was no longer interacting with the students on a daily basis as he had in the early years. In fact, not even the layer of people whom he had built and established during the 1950's were interacting with more than a handful of students. The Bible classes were too big, and impersonal, and assistants were actually grading the papers by that point in time. Speech classes were generally taught by pastor and elder ranked ministers, with the same being true of those who presided over the Ambassador Clubs. Student body officers, and the basketball players generally had a better shot at interacting with the ministry, but by and large, you could attend AC at that time without being known with any sort of depth to speak of.

    The baby boomer ministers, some of whom are coming to the front line, all attended AC under the conditions outlined above. Of course, there were some "special" people like the Dean brothers, or the staff of the Gulfstream who were close to HWA, but for the most part the intimacy of the early years was a thing of the past by the time the '60s rolled around.


  3. I read the Nov. 30, 2015 issue of The Journal. I apologize, because I read the previous issue, and I had a comment on it at that time, but I'm only now getting around to posting a comment- belatedly because working for the needs of the homeless took precedence.
    I see the next issue of the Journal has already come out. Here is my comment (related to the Nov. 30, 2015 issue of The Journal)-

    On page 24 is an article titled,
    "Broadcaster learned storytelling in WCG", by Mac Overton.
    In this Journal article, Mac Overton tells us that Glynn Washington’s "memory is off", but I'll gladly provide multiple examples of where it was actually Mac Overton who was unable to accurately relate and/or recreate the words Glynn Washington spoke.
    Mac Overton says that Mr. Washington’s memory is off, and he said the church taught that it would flee in 1974- not 1972 or 1975.
    Glynn Washington's words were actually, "...I think it was 1974 or something like that?"
    Here's another inaccurate thing Mac Overton said-
    "Mr. Washington claims that the healing doctrine—avoiding doctors and relying solely on anointing , prayer and faith for cures—contributed to the death of his father."

    Again, these are more inaccurate claims made by Mac Overton, who claims to have listened to Glynn Washington's words.
    Perhaps Mac Overton was multitasking- and listening to two things at the same time- hence, his inaccuracy.
    As Glynn clearly states in the interview, this was about a friend's father, and not Glynn's own father. Later in the interview, Glynn even mentions where his still-living parents stand (in a religious sense), saying that his father is now a religious "lone wolf", and that his mother is in another fundamentalist organization.
    Mr. Overton even goes further in his misunderstanding of Glynn Washington's church experience-
    Mac Overton , in the Journal article, claims that Glynn Washington's benefit was that he "had learned to dance" in his Worldwide Church of God experience.

    Unfortunately, for Mac Overton, this was NOT the sense in which Glynn Washington said he had learned to dance.
    In talking about the WCG cult, Glynn said, "It taught me how to dance, narratively." It's sad that Mac Overton was unable to fathom the distinction between 'feet-on-the-floor-dancing' and what Glynn describes as a "narrative" dance.
    It's like Mac Overton was totally incapable of understanding Glynn Washington's points.
    Glynn talked about how the church's narrative was able to change failure into supposed successes. Glynn described the church's narratives brilliantly, while Mac Overton did a very poor (at best) job of interpreting what Glynn had to say.

  4. Norm: Want to send The Journal your comments here as a letter to the editor? --Dixon

  5. I'll be looking forward to David Jon Hill Pt 2 next issue. He seems to have had an independent streak, I once heard him refer to his "Hillian Heresies"(he was safely a long way from Perbert at the time). Wonder what happened to him in the 90's? Will have to wait 'til Jan.

  6. Thanks for the opportunity, Dixon. I'd like to refine my 'off-the-cuff' remarks, if you don't mind, to make them more amenable to a 'letter to the editor' situation. It may take me a day or two to do so. Either way, please feel free to do as you think best. BTW, I recently attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the WCG in Columbus, OH. Joe Tkach Jr was there. When my wife and I walked up to the door I mentioned we'd driven around the parking lot looking for out-of-state plates. The lady we met at the door, in response to me saying we'd driven around the parking lot, said, "So you could throw eggs at his car?" (Referring to Tkach.) What a church.

  7. Norm: That's fine. Among other places I'm at --Dixon

  8. The feelings surely run deep against ACOG or former ACOG ministers. It was a noble endeavor to attempt a reunion, but it sounds like it may have turned into an oil and water situation.

    Was that the only incident, Norm, or did you have a fairly good time the rest of the evening? And, I guess the more important question is, did you notice any eggs on anyone's cars as you were leaving the event???


  9. Dixon: Thanks, will send it to your address.

    Bob: Regarding the recent 50th anniversary celebration of the local WCG congregation-
    I wouldn't characterize the egg comment as an "incident", but I think it was indicative of some current GCI members' oversensitivity developed in response to criticism.
    We went because of the people we've known from many years ago, and certainly not to argue religion.
    At the 40th anniversary celebration ten years ago, many more people were in attendance, compared with this one. Then, there were lots of people who had moved to various splinter groups, especially United COG. But at this celebration, there were zero from United, LCG, etc. I guess because Joe Tkach Jr was there this time, and they didn't want to seemingly support him or get his cooties. One lady in attendance had a husband waiting in their car in the parking lot for her the whole time, because he didn't want to be in the same space as JT Junior. Joe Junior actually stood alone and pecked at his smartphone for at least half the time. All in all, I'm glad we went, although this was not nearly as good as ten years ago was.
    This year, their "celebration" was rather half-baked. It was evident that they want to distance themselves from their past (which is hard to do when it's billed as a 50th anniversary celebration!). Nothing like the better one of 10 tears ago. Basically, two or three ladies put it together by ordering mediocre hors-d'oeuvres, putting out minimum memorabilia, and setting a date. Nothing like ten years ago when about 4x as many attended and had a nice pot-luck meal. This time there was no prayer, speeches, or public acknowledgment of early members' contributions, either.
    On the way out, I took a booklet from the display near the door- "THE BATTLE OVER HELL", by Keith Stump(2001). I'd say it's written in true armstrongist style. A 'GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL' sticker covers the old WCG name on the back cover. The booklet says you can talk to a Pastor who will answer your questions, and even send for further booklets (unanswered questions and murky explanations are in the booklet's text).
    I spoke with my sister (an AC BS grad) on the phone later- during our conversation mentioning Joe Junior's odd hairstyle- and when I mentioned the GCI sticker covering the WCG name on the back cover, she exclaimed, "THAT'S A COMB-OVER!" She cracks me up.
    Anyway, I'm glad I went. It provided some insights as well as some interesting conversation.
    And to answer your "more important question", BB, the answer is that to the best of my knowledge, no eggs were thrown. :)

    1. Even this small, localized history, reported from the state of Ohio, which has always been key in presidential elections, would seem to be indicative of the further dissipation of Armstrongism. It would appear that the powers that be are continuing to implement policies that make collective or overall growth impossible. Everything continues to divide, and sub-divide.

      It is indeed fortunate that individuals can still make a difference through personal efforts to make their own areas of planet Earth a better place to live. Beats always being on the inside of the outside, just logging time.


  10. I know this does not have a lot to do with the thread, but I wonder who the "Norm" is that works with homeless people. I am Norman Edwards, and have run a ministry to homeless people for 5.5 years ( Very few Church of God folks get involved in such ministries. I was a WCG member from 1974 to 1992, graduating from AC in 1978.

  11. Norman Edwards: Yes, I just looked up "", and a quick lookover brought back memories of some years ago- of various dramas involving governmental, structural, ownership questions and other travails having to do with the Port Austin property.
    I have no ministry as you have, and I was referring to collecting and transporting donations, and apologize if there was confusion about who is who, normwise.
    To differentiate- I'm no longer a "Church of God person" (I no longer respect what HWA taught).
    My choices of where to help reflect my belief that helping others ought never be tied to a recipient's acceptance of (or even having to listen to) any particular religious viewpoint.