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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello Friends

My name is Richard D. Armstrong II, most people who were in the W.W.C.G. knew me as a youngster as "Dicky". I've been called Richard, Rick or Dick for more than 30 years now and it amazes me how time has flown by. I began looking for ways to reconnect with classmates of mine from Big Sandy Texas recently and ran across this blog and found some interesting things here. After writing the editor James, I decided I'd contribute some things when I have time - I'm very busy working now, driving for Swift Transportation. I'm able to get online several times a week, though sometimes only for a limited time.
I would just start by saying that I have had many great opportunities in my life and many of my occupational endeavors have kept me busy day to day, but some have offered me plenty of time for reflection on my life. I lived in the Chetco, Illinois and Wild Rogue River wildernesses of Southern Oregon for many years in the early 1980s, working as a Forest Service caretaker at a historical guard station built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. in the 1930s, I also worked in the same area at McCaleb Ranch. During these times I was able to form myself as a young adult and decided who I was and what I wanted to be in life. In 1985 I reunited with my grandfather Herbert W. Armstrong and was blessed to spend much of the last year of his life with him, living with him for a time at the Ambassador College Pasadena campus. I attended college there in 1985 and left after his death in 1986.
I have many great fond memories of the church and the people I knew and grew up with. When I look back on my memories of the Church, Imperial School and Ambassador College, I'm reminded of how blessed we all were to have the fellowship we shared. The tumultuous things that have transpired over the years since the late 1970s and especially since my grandfathers death in 1986 are sad and it's a shame that the Church organization was not able to continue into the future with the same goodwill and co-operation that was the hallmark of the Church and it's people from inception until the breakup and selling off of the Church and it's holdings. I think there may be a time and place to write about some of the really bad things that have transpired within the Church over time - I have personally been affected by things like Stanley Rader influencing my grandfather into terrible decisions, also the much publicized personal turmoil of my uncle Garner Ted, the accusations of abuse by grandpa by my late Aunt Dorothy, the receivership by the state of California in the late 70s, also - perhaps most disappointing to me - the way the Church was handled by those who took over after my grandfathers death in 1986. However, one thing I have been able to do with my adult life, is to not dwell on negative things any longer than is beneficially necessary. Sadly, I know many people who have been hurt and have not been able to pick up and move forward. I have had to work hard my whole life and I'm still working on my own personal dreams and goals. My purpose in writing here is to share what has been a wonderful upbringing and life within the church from my birth in 1958 until the day I left my job at the college library in Pasadena in 1979 and moved to Oregon to "find out who I was" and make a life for myself and my family. I too have been close to the negativity and harm that has happened within the Church and it's affiliated organizations - the reason I left my job at the college library in Pasadena that early summer day in 1979 was that people there were constantly trying to talk to me about "what was going on" and some were trying to convince me that my own Mother was complicit in a plot to overthrow my grandfather and put Garner Ted at the helm of the Church - NOT TRUE and I knew better. My family is very loving and supportive of each other - for the most part. In any case, I would be glad to relate these things I experienced at some point - but for the most part, I have great memories I'd like to share of happier times and that will be the purpose of my writing here. I am not ignorant of the negative things that transpired within the Church and it's affiliations, yet there were so many fine things to recall and that is what I'd like to share with people. Lots of water has gone under the bridge, so I am choosing to recall the good things, I'll let God sort out the bad things as I don't feel it's my job to focus on the negative black hole that so many people get caught in.
My intent in writing here is to share memories with any interested readers of what it was like to grow up in the thick of the Worldwide Church of God, Imperial Schools and Ambassador College. My memories are of wonderful people, wonderful gatherings, people working together and helping each other. I will share with you how lucky I feel to have experienced growing up on the campus in Bricket Wood England, then Big Sandy Texas and eventually Pasadena California. I was blessed to be part of the Church and it's workings during a wonderful period of time and my memories are 99% great memories.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of growing up at my grandfather Armstrong's home in Bricket Wood England, then eventually living in the cottage next door to the Raymond McNair family after my Mom remarried to Ben Chapman. My Mom has related to me how she basically "blacked out" upon the death of my father, after they had a very special and almost "fairy tale" relationship. It is understandable that this would devastate anyone - and it was especially hard on my Mom who was a new mother with a 6 month old baby. My grandfather suggested to her that it would be best if she got a new start in Bricket Wood and we were moved there and initially lived with Grandpa Armstrong at his home. As my Mom got involved with the Church and College there, I had allot of babysitters from the college (college students) and I remember very much of these experiences from ages as early as age 2. I distinctly remember being pulled through the snow in a cardboard box my Mom had rigged up with rope, so she could run through the snow, pulling me behind her - of course I thought life could not get any better than that! I also vividly remember being looked after by Andrew Silcox and his father, who was the groundskeeper in Bricket Wood. I'm sure that like any young boy with a tricycle and a ton of energy, I must have been a real pest - though Mr. Silcox always seemed to love having me around. He would give me "missions" to go on - "Dicky, take your tricycle out and get me as many worms as you can find!". I was so happy to go digging around the rich English soil and come back with a trunk (my tricycle had a trunk on it) full of night crawlers. I also have fond memories of my grandpa telling me he had gotten 2 shetland ponies that I could ride and at a very early age I was out riding with Andrew Silcox who was so good to me - we had an absolute storybook good time, out riding the English countryside looking for lost swords and treasure - how could a kid forget wonderful things like that? I certainly remember more than I have time to write about here, but my early life in Bricket Wood was very special and I've talked to my Mom many times about the things we did - she has been amazed that I remember that far back and I've reminded her of many things that she had forgotten. I remember playing with Ruth and Bruce Mcnair at the cottage next door - so great to have kids to play with from the church. I also remember that the McNairs had taken a trip to the English countryside and somehow ended up bringing back a wild goat, then tying it up in the back yard. One day - I think after a day at Church, they returned home to find their back yard very much re-arranged by the goat and I'm pretty sure they ate it after that, but I'd have to ask Raymond about the particulars - he might not want to admit to whatever the goats fate was - HA! I also remember every day of a car tour we took as a family in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in a Jaguar my dad Ben Chapman had purchased. Along with the spectacular scenery we saw, I remember Mom and Dad kicking me out of the back seat where I slept, when their air mattress gave way on a rainy English night. I remember being very frightened for my Moms safety as she made her way along slippery rock steps at a waterfall in Wales. We camped at Loch Ness and drove through the mountains in Scotland - I remember seeing it all like it was yesterday.
There came a point where my Grandpa thought dad (Ben Chapman) would be a good fit for the campus in Big Sandy Texas, so we packed up and boarded the S.S. United States for an Atlantic Crossing. The story has been told to me, that grandpa would have had the presidential suite, but the President happened to be on board for this trip - this is true, Dwight D. Eisenhower was on this crossing and I remember seeing him. I also remember the theatre on board, where we watched a Johnny Weismueller Tarzan film, also I recall dad tossing me into the water (sink or swim) in the Olympic pool. What a ship this S.S. United States was - the ring toss on board was very cool too - I remember stopping from the ring toss game and just staring out at all that water - it seemed so magical and so infinite. As we approached the New York Harbor, grandpa Armstrong got me out of bed early to see the sun rise on the statue of Liberty - I will never forget him telling me the story of Lady Liberty and what that meant to Americans. After a trip through Immigration, we were in an apartment in New York City for a time, then we drove the Jaguar across the U.S. to Big Sandy where we set up camp in a home that was still being worked on. I will write more later, picking up there when I have time next. Best Wishes to you all and I'd love to reconnect with anyone who I knew from the Church, College or Schools.

214 comments:

1 – 200 of 214   Newer›   Newest»
Mike (Don't Drink the Flavor Aid) said...

Hi Dick. It will be interesting to read your viewpoint. Please don't be put off by some who have a different perspective on history. Looking forward to your next blog post.

Cosmopot said...

Thanks, Dick, for coming onto this forum and telling of your experiences and memories. Looking forward to it.

And hats off to you, James, for having Dick here to share his story.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Welcome, Dick. I remember you as a little baby in your mother's arms just after your father's tragic death.

I'm sure your reminiscing and unique take on things will be interesting.

Corky said...

Hmmm. Too bad some of us don't have such good memories to cherish.

It must be nice to grow up in the lap of luxury - I wouldn't know about such things. I never owned a Jag but I owned several junkers.

I'm so happy that my 3 tithes helped you all live so well.

Purple Hymnal said...

"In 1985 I reunited with my grandfather Herbert W. Armstrong and was blessed to spend much of the last year of his life with him,"

What a way to disrespect and completely dishonour the memory of your recently-deceased aunt Dorothy, "Dick".

I didn't read any further in your post than that, because I have absolutely no desire to hear what what you have to say, for the inexcusable attitude you have demonstrated above.

See you in July, everyone!

Ralph said...

I read about your father's death in HWA's autobiography. That was a sad thing for any family to have to endure.

I am interested in the influence of Stanley Rader on HWA, just out of curiosity.


I have to admit that when I decided to leave the WCG back in 1974, I was more than ready to go.

Having spent time as a construction worker on Imperial Schools in Pasadena, I discovered there was a very large "disconnect" between the dominant values at Pasadena and the values of the local church members back in North Carolina.

The arrogance of many, not a few, but many, of those at the top or near the top in Pasadena was disgusting to me.

But there were a few, like Mr. Warner, I believe, who worked in personnel and talked to me when I took the job with the college. He was always very nice and helpful.

There were exceptions like him that made the experiemce quite enjoyable. For the most part, it was the usual kiss ass, brown nosers and bootlickers who probably did more harm than good for HWA's reputation by the way they adored and idolized him.

Since these were the very types that so disgusted me, I wondered what HWA was really like.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I'm not ready to opt out on just one blog entry. I get the outrage some things tend to bring to the fore, but let's give Dick a chance to get a little deeper.

I don't beleive in the children being held accountable for the misdeeds of their parents and grandparents.

Dick doesn't seem to have benefited all that much from the larceny of his grandfather. Isn't he driving a truck? Neither does he show great proclivity as a writer (it's pretty much one big blob).

So, I'll withold judgement for a few more blog offerings.

Byker Bob said...

Dick,

Courage, man! Keep on sharing. I, for one, am glad you are here. It has been my point of view for some time that there were some very wonderful aspects to our shared experience in WCG. Some of the best friends I ever had in my life came from that environment.

It can be very refreshing, therapeutic, and even healing to get away from the negatives at least once in a while, and to remember the positives. Although my own Christian beliefs are quite different from those taught by your grandfather and your Dad, I am very much looking forward to reading what you have to share this month!

BB

Anon said...

I agree corky. Our family went without so we could pay our tithes and offerings.

Very disappointing this month's editor was invited and even worse such a story to be published.

This blog is described as:

"A collection of Facts, Opinions and Comments from survivors of Herbert W. Armstrong - Garner Ted Armstrong The Worldwide Church of God and its Daughters"

Richard is hardly a "survivor", much more a thriver.

For July the inmates are definitely running the asylum.

So much for the Painful Truth being anything to do with helping the surivors.

The Painful Truth said...

Corky and Anon,

Do the math. How old was Richard when he went to Pasadena to visit his grandpa?

Can you hold him responsible for crimes others committed? No you cannot, anymore than you could hold him responsible for living in the lap of luxury provided by the adults in his life.

If Richard is of the opinion that Herb was a good old guy, that is a perspective he formed at an early age. Early childhood experiences form your perspective as you go forward into life as an adult.

Anon, you wrote "So much for the Painful Truth being anything to do with helping the surivors."

First it is spelled survivors and second, when did the Painful Truth ever stand for censorship of opinion? Never under my rein. I have censored only one here on this blog who was abusive and several spammers trying to sell acai berry juice.

As to helping survivors...

Understand that the PT is the voice for those who participated in the cult of Armstrong-ism. These folks do not stand alone without a voice. They express their pain through stories, e-mails, books and letters.

The PT validated your experience. It is in this that the reader starts to understand what the experience was really about and how they share a common bond with all the rest of us who suffered through the same abuse and utter incompetence of the leadership.

For you ANON to say this crap ("So much for the Painful Truth being anything to do with helping the surivors.") is an admission of cowardice, in that you cover your eyes, cover your ears, yet your mouth still speaks. Why is that?

Stewart said...

Dick have you ever been contacted by Alton Billingsley?

The Third Witness said...

I know no members of the Armstrong family personally, but, far from shocking me, Dick’s reference to reuniting with his grandfather seems consistent with the sentiments expressed by his late aunt Dorothy Mattson during the “receivership crisis” in a letter printed in the Pasadena Star-News on March 18, 1979 (and reprinted in Ambassador Report – AR9 of June 1, 1979, page 16) that doesn’t seem to be mentioned very much these days. Here are a couple of extracts: “It will be a year next month since I’ve been able to have contact with Dad – yet when I last saw him everything was fine between us. Now I hear that Dad has been told that I am against him, that I hate him! [... ] I am not a church member, as you all no doubt know, but the church, through my family, has always been a large part of my life and I am a most ashamed and concerned daughter who must finally speak out in horror and shock at this latest fiasco.”

I know nothing at all about what HWA’s family life was like, and on one level the whole subject is a matter of complete indifference to me. But if a close family member is willing to share some insights with other children of the church as part of his reflections on his own life, I’m certainly willing to listen, and I might learn something helpful (for me or someone else) in the process. To some extent we are all “survivors”, or whatever other term you prefer to use, so I fail to see how keeping the lines of communication open with one survivor is going to be detrimental to the best interests of other survivors.

So welcome, Dick! And also a big thank you, Betty, for last month – I didn’t manage to contribute any comments but I did lurk avidly, and I will be reading both of your books with great interest.

Once again, kudos to James for making a serious attempt to pursue the painful (sometimes very painful) truth without fear or favour, wherever it may lead. I don’t know where that is going to be, and I suspect that nobody else does either, but I hope we can all hang around long enough to get a slightly clearer idea.

Corky said...

James and BB,

are ya'll PKs too?

Those were the ones who failed to notice the misery going on around them among the membership.

Especially those who were campers at the FoT instead of being fancy motel/hotel renters.

Those who had to juggle bills and budget like crazy to get utility bills paid because of tithes know exactly what I'm talking about.

Those who could afford decent cars to drive and motel rooms at the FoT don't have a clue.

The Painful Truth said...

Corky said...

"Those were the ones who failed to notice the misery going on around them among the membership.

Especially those who were campers at the FoT instead of being fancy motel/hotel renters."

I noticed the misery, the misery that turned to internal conflict.

It just took years to work out the real cause which was the church and my yearning to grow close to the armstrong god.

I also played the game with the bills. Do you think I was one of the rich brethren? Hell no.

The church might have emptied your coffers, but in the years that followed I did well enough. I am sorry you did not, assuming that you are still in the same position financially.

Purple Hymnal said...

"How old was Richard when he went to Pasadena to visit his grandpa?"

That isn't the part we're picking up on, James, which you might realize if you tried looking at it from our perspective. (Were you even IN the church? I wonder, sometimes....)

What we have picked up on, was NOT the fact that Dick here spent most of 1985 with his grandfather; what we have picked up on, is the fact he considers himself "blessed" to have been able to do so.

Can't get much more typically WCG-idolatrous than that, now can you? Which is not even to get into the whole issue of how minister's kids have a VERY skewed perspective, on what the church was REALLY like, at the ground level, with the rest of the non-Levite tithe slaves.

Nor is it touching on the (for some unfathomable reason minor in your eyes) detail that the man in question Dick felt "blessed" to be able to spend his last year with, was an alcoholic, pedophilic, schizotypal false prophet, who bilked 100,000 people and their families (mostly children who went hungry, or barely survived on the thin border between poverty and comfort), out of FOUR MILLION DOLLARS A WEEK. IN THE NINETEEN-SEVENTIES. At a time when $4million was a LOT of money.

So, yes, I (and I am certain the other commenters who share my sentiments about your shoddy editorial choice this month feel the same), have a small problem with that.

Bring back the banner with Herbie and Ted! That ought to at least counter what looks to me to be a forthcoming solid month of Apostle/End Time Elijah/The Church That GOD Built, idolatry.

Which I really don't have time in my life for.

That's it. Nobody email me anymore, telling me about the comments threads on the PT, I AM NOT coming back to this site again until WELL after Canada Day, thank you!!

Allen C. Dexter said...

Corky, I've camped and been in motels, etc. I enjoyed both most of the time. If the feasts had been more truly vacation-like, they wouldn't have been all that bad.

We all have much to resent from our pasts, but let's remember it is past. We don't have to take out our resentments on a family member who had no implication in the negatives.

I don't yet know what Dick has to say about a whole lot. I'll reserve judgment until he says it.

Anon said...

Painful truth said:

"For you ANON to say this crap ("So much for the Painful Truth being anything to do with helping the surivors.") is an admission of cowardice, in that you cover your eyes, cover your ears, yet your mouth still speaks. Why is that?"

I don't understand why you refer to my statement as cowardice?

Survivors of religious abuse, like that carried out by HWA, have a right to insist on speaking out against others who paint the abusers as wonderful people.

Have a look at the outrage in the general community about some of the statements made by Pope Radzinger about the abuse that has happened within the Catholic church.

As far as Richard's claims about his grandfather being a "blessed" experience, I lived and worked in Pasadena and knew trades people that worked for HWA, their experiences as recounted to me was the exact opposite. He would throw tantrums over insignificant detail and I know the tradesmen who made that statement were very qualified perfectionists. Herbert was always about control.

The Painful Truth said...

Purple said...

"That's it. Nobody email me anymore, telling me about the comments threads on the PT, I AM NOT coming back to this site again until WELL after Canada Day, thank you!!"

That is what you said in your last post but here you are again posting something about someone you know not a thing about!

"....he considers himself "blessed" to have been able to do so.:"

Visit his grandfather. I would have consider myself "blessed" if I even knew any of my grandfathers.

This is a human experience. What is it that escapes you on this? He is not promoting his grandfathers religion or his behavior. He is simply telling his memories.

Come back next month or not at all. I could care less.

Anonymous said...

I say let the man speak! Isn't it a testimony as to how the 'other half' lived? It's like witnessing an accident and then listening to the one's involved argue over who's at fault! Aren't all of our perceptions based on our own personal experience and knowledge anyways? It may be kind of interesting as to who is going to learn something here? I only comment on occasion here, never leave my name or personal experience with regards to the past, and just wish to hear what others
have to say...whether they agree with my own personal opinions or not! My heart goes out to the ones who truly were duped the longest and lost the most in the game. Those that had little 'skin in the game' sometimes don't seem 'to get it, but it does seem as though the jury may still be out concerning the intent of some of the indiscretions committed in our 'Church experience'? I was shorn with the best of 'em and say...let the healing begin! Carry on!!!

The Painful Truth said...

Anon writes...

"As far as Richard's claims about his grandfather being a "blessed" experience, I lived and worked in Pasadena and knew trades people that worked for HWA, their experiences as recounted to me was the exact opposite. He would throw tantrums over insignificant detail and I know the tradesmen who made that statement were very qualified perfectionists."

And what the hell does this have to do with some guy who drives a truck for a living? Should he have known about Herbs behavior? Was he responsible for Herbs actions?

"Survivors of religious abuse, like that carried out by HWA, have a right to insist on speaking out against others who paint the abusers as wonderful people."

Then write an article and publish it.

"Have a look at the outrage in the general community about some of the statements made by Pope Radzinger about the abuse that has happened within the Catholic church."

I have looked and I agree that the RCC should be boarded up and sold to the highest bidder. I don't defend the bastards, but what does this have to do with some guy who drives a truck for a living and is open enough to share his memories with us?

Your outrage once again has been noted. Send me your article.

The Painful Truth said...

Anonymous said...

"I was shorn with the best of 'em and say...let the healing begin! Carry on!!!"

*You are honest with yourself.

*It was honesty that led to my healing and rather quickly I might add.

*It was honesty that allowed myself to accept the fact that I enabled others to manipulate me for financial gain.

*It is honesty with oneself that allows you to go on, accepting the facts before you and the consequences of poor decisions.

*It was honesty that corrected my relationship with my parents and family.

*Honesty allows you to make the changes that will make you whole once again.

Corky said...

James said...
The church might have emptied your coffers, but in the years that followed I did well enough. I am sorry you did not, assuming that you are still in the same position financially.

No, Armstrongism had nothing to do with my present financial position. My health was the cause of that.

I started having heart attacks in the early 90s and had 3 very expensive operations since then. Of course, a bullet through the left lung in 1966 Vietnam didn't help much either.

I had a pretty good job as inventory control manager at Spirit Homes Inc. but lost that because of the illegal Mexicans who our republican governor, Mike Huckabee, encourged our company to hire. After 9-11 happened, the Dept of Immigratiom shut our plant down.

Of course, before that happened, my 401K went to hell (or somewhere) just after Bush was elected president. Anyway, that was all gone.

I just didn't move fast enough, but then, I was in the hospital at the time of the big collapse and couldn't really do much about it.

No, all my gripe with Armstrongism is way in the past, pre 1975. Besides what I have already mentioned in this thread, they were responsible for the untimely death of my mother because of their doctrines.

Call me bitter or unforgiving but no matter what they say, they are not going to bring back the dead.

Anon said...

Painful truth said: "He is not promoting his grandfathers religion or his behavior. He is simply telling his memories."

yeah right...

From richard's posting...

"The tumultuous things that have transpired over the years since the late 1970s and especially since my grandfathers death in 1986 are sad and it's a shame that the Church organization was not able to continue into the future with the same goodwill and co-operation that was the hallmark of the Church and it's people from inception until the breakup and selling off of the Church and it's holdings. "

He is saying loud and clear "Give me the good old days when HWA was in control".

The Third Witness said...

At this stage, I’d concur with Allen that it’s too early to judge. My own initial impression, for what it’s worth (full disclosure: I’ve been wrong before)is that Dick’s writing seems refreshingly candid, without the slick hype some of us have come to associate with the original family firm.

What happened in WCG after the death of HWA has been described by pastor Henry Sturcke as a “tragedy”. A lot of people who presently seem to hate each other’s guts would agree with that assessment, even if they disagree on almost every other subject imaginable – including whether a given individual “deserves” to be treated like a fellow human being or is permanently and irrevocably disqualified from the ranks of the elect due to an accident of birth and upbringing he didn’t ask for or choose but is trying constructively to make the best of.

When Adolf Eichmann’s memoirs were released a few years ago, I got a copy and quoted from it in a book about the Holocaust that I was co-editing at the time. (To allay any possible concerns about where I’m coming from, maybe I should add that I and my co-editor got a round of applause in a New York synagogue after the book was published.) The purpose of all this was to allow survivor eyewitnesses to tell their story in their own words in the hope that their children and future generations would never have to suffer the way they did. It sure as hell wasn’t fun, but it was worth doing.

Incidentally, did you know that Eichmann ended his life (in both senses of the word) as a Buddhist? Which reminds me: the Dalai Lama’s latest book looks really interesting. If I try to find the link right now, I’ll probably end up deleting this comment (cue shouts of “So what are you waiting for, Asshole?”) but, seriously, check it out sometime. One thing I admire about the Dalai Lama is that he doesn’t think he knows it all.

Funny, isn’t it? Just a few weeks ago I was wondering why a member of our church choir was reading the Dalai Lama’s previous book, “Happiness”. You wouldn’t catch me wasting my time on that kind of BS. But I now acknowledge that I was talking (to myself, fortunately) through a hole in my hat.

One final thought (from Marshall Rosenberg), and then I’ll revert to lurking mode for a while:
“The Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti once remarked that observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence. When I first read this statement, the thought, ‘What nonsense!’ shot through my mind before I realized that I had just made an evaluation...”.

Graham Buik
Brussels, Belgium

Ralph said...

Third Witness, that's good stuff. I'm glad you took the time to write it.

As for the FoT, I worked out a deal with the church to take care of a quadruplegic named Glenn. With that deal came the benefits of being stationed very near the tent on Jekyll Island each year, right on the beach.

I had reservations about a job like that, but I learned to really love Glenn(not in a sexual way) and admired his remarkable courage. I had to bathe him dress him, change the bag of urine strapped to his leg regularly, make sure every connection was sanitary. He was completely helpless physically.

He was a diver in college, an athlete whose once slim muscular ody was still in evidence after several years.

Asheville, NC, where he lived, had nominated him man iof the year back in the late 60s.

Glen had learned to use tools with his mouth and could build electronic equipment. His room was scattered with various assemblies of things from radios to remote controls for model airplanes. He told me once that before his accident(tumbing down a mountain in his car, severing his spinal column) his IQ had been about average, but the intensity of focus, learning how to adapt and use his mind and body in new ways, had increased his IQ to the area of 150. His mind was all he could use effectively, and I was astounded at how he could use it.

Glenn stayed in the Asheville church after many, including me, had left, but it took me years to realize that the church was what kept him going. The friends he made, the bonds that developed.

He died several years ago, but I will always cherish that time at the FoT, being around a man of such incredible courage.

Ralph said...

Having said that, I can also confirm from one of HWAs top men that he had a fearsome temper.

When I was in the church, one of the McNair brothers was stationed in Atlanta as a kind of regional director. I had some dealings with him, and even stayed the night with him, where he was a very gracious host. I have to say, he had a VERY nice place.

About a year later, the Greenville, SC church began to circulate articles by Ernest Martin exploring the D&R issues, along with essays challenging WCG doctrines.

A meeting was planned, where the members would have opportunity to hear the articles and essays for themselves, during the evening hours that in no way interfered with any WCG sabbaths, etc.

We just got started when Mr. McNair burst into the room and told the local elder there to sit down. That local elder was fired on the spot, but he rose to tell McNair "I already quit any way".

Mr McNair then confirmed that HWA had flown into a rage at learning of the several churches being influenced by Dr. Martin, and Mr. McNair further confirmed that the ministers did not dare speak against him in his presence. He was very intmidating.

If I was making the kind of money Mr. McNair probably made, I'd probably be intimidated by Mary Poppins if she threatened my salary. The story was that HWA had a feqarful temper, and McNair confirmed that point.

Byker Bob said...

Several thoughts. I recall about 5years ago, when Dennis Diehl made his first appearance on the old PT Forum. Because he had once been a WCG minister, seemingly fair persons verbally tarred and feathered him, without even listening to what he had to say. Now, five years after the fact, Dennis is well respected throughout the WCG expatriate underground diaspora. But, this "hazing" process has occurred several times since, with others, and frankly, most of the people hazed actually turned out to be wonderful people who were eventually admitted to the club.

Secondly, I believe what we are seeing here is a temperature taking process. We're finding out precisely how thoroughly some of the people who have been insisting that they are healed and going on with their lives actually have recovered! Someone who has recovered would have no problem sitting down over pretzels and beer with a member of the Armstrong family, and enjoying some pleasant conversation. I would certainly have loved to chat with Garner Ted before his untimely death, and to have heard some of his insights.

Thirdly, many people who knew Dick's father strongly feel that his continued presence would have had a very positive effect on the directions in which the WCG eventually went. When I was at AC, I had a speech teacher by the name of Howard Clark. Mr. Clark had been badly crippled, I believe in either the Korean Conflict, or WW II. One of the very last things Richard Armstrong did prior to his accident was to annoint and pray for Mr. Clark. He was healed to the extent that he was able to get out of his wheelchair, walk, get married and have a number of children, and enjoy very active employment at the college. Mr. Clark was one of the most sincere and inspiring people whom I ever met during my WCG experience.

Lastly, Corky asked a question of myself and of James, and in my case, he actually knows the answer. I have consistently maintained anonymity to protect my family from the trashing I've seen dished out to others. Our family name is not on the ministerial disfellowshipment page, or any of the other most hated lists. And, yes, I did camp at the Feast, early on. It was fun.

This last paragraph should be self-evident, but I'll restate it to head off the accusations: I have a personal relationship with Father God, with Jesus Christ, and now that I understand Him, also with the Holy Spirit. I am not in any way a current practitioner of the traditional Adventist or Armstrong doctrines. However, I also acknowledge that there are some very sincere, long-suffering, and well intentioned current members of the ACOG splinters, and I believe that the best approach is to show these folks a lot of love. That's part of the message which I was trying to get across in my article on the Sadducees.

BB

The Painful Truth said...

Anon,

"Give me the good old days when HWA was in control"

You sure read a lot into something the man did not say. He has some good memories of growing up in his grandfathers church. So what?

Why don't you just give me a good rant. Tell me how I love the church and wish for the good old days. Tell me something about myself. Here is some Kleenex, have a good cry afterwords.

Retired Prof said...

BB, I knew Howard Clark--not well, but enough to realize what a fine fellow he was.

I know others still in UCG who are fun to sit and have a beer with, too. They accept me with my unbelief and I accept them with their faith. A little tolerance is all it takes; with practice it becomes easy and natural. Enthusiastic approbation is not required. Not even desirable, because in cases like this it's nearly always insincere.

We all have the human tendency to give new members of a group a hard time, but I suppress that urge because I know how uncomfortable such treatment makes me feel. "Do unto others" and all that. So I join those who welcome Dick and plan to listen carefully to what he has to say this month.

And while I'm at it, thanks, Betty for your contributions last month.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I knew Howard Clark pretty well. He was a great and sincere guy. He's gone now, as I understand.

Howard was a korean war vet. We were all very happy at his apparent healing. Whether it was real or a natural occurrence, I'm not sure now. Another agnostic situation. I do remember him helpless in that wheelchair, always with a big smile.

Corky said...

Byker Bob said...
Lastly, Corky asked a question of myself and of James, and in my case, he actually knows the answer.

Actually, I didn't. But, if that means what I think it does, it answers another question that I've been wondering about for a few years.

On "The Ex-Christadelphian", my latest post was just for you, Bob.

Anon said...

Painful truth said:

"You sure read a lot into something the man did not say. He has some good memories of growing up in his grandfathers church. So what?"

So what? There are still thousands of people following the doctrines of HWA and that is causing much stress because of the toxic side effects. You don't have to look very far into UCG or Flurry's churches to see that.

Richard looks back fondly on the years where some of the abuse was at it's worst. He says he wants to focus on the positives but not acknowledging how bad his grandfather's teachings were gets outrage from those of us who don't want to see it continue to be repeated.

I attended many feasts in Big Sandy in the 60s and well beyond. Those were not the good old days. And those doctrines live still in too many places and cause too much heartache.

anonseven21

Ralph said...

There are toxic effects of 38,000 versions of christianity. In order to eliminate those effects, you have one of two choices:
1.Present something that is so powerfully true that there is no way of denying it(good luck on that)
2.Creating a system of government powerful enough to totally eliminate the right of people to screw themselves over, kinda like our wonderful US government has been doing for the past 200 years or so.

The simple fact is, you have no such truth, and neither do I, and neither does anybody elese walking the planet.

So, Anon, the veryt act of correcting the toxic effects you condemn above will require even greater toxic forces to eliminate that very freedom.

In short, nothing is gained by bitching and griping.

Mickey said...

Because Dick Armstrong saw a different side to HWA than most of us, should we expect some sort of apology or survivor's guilt for it?

We can choose to see HWA as evil incarnate or less dramatically as a bad man who made a lot of people suffer for his ideals but still loved his grandchild.

To indulge him at the expense of others was wrong. But that is not the fault of the child.

Whether we like it or not, HWA was a human being albeit not a good one. To begin to see him in a more holistic sense and not the boogey man to me is helpful in recovery.

Am I there yet? Nope, not by a long shot. But my hope is one day to be in a place where the reference to HWA and his teaching doesn't touch off this dark miserable place in my head and heart.

I appreciate the PT editor's courage in allowing this entry to be published.

Corky said...

Ralph said...
There are toxic effects of 38,000 versions of christianity. In order to eliminate those effects, you have one of two choices:
1.Present something that is so powerfully true that there is no way of denying it(good luck on that)
.

There are about a hundred pages of those powerful truths (horror stories) on the Painful Truth website in the "Email to the Editor" section. There are a bunch more on the old PT forum.

You don't hear any of these kind of horror stories from ex-members of mainstream churches - just from ex-members of cults, like the WCG.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I hope Dick has the courage to say more. After all the vitriol, I don't envy him the task of telling it like it is for him.

I, for one, want to see his take on a whole lot and sympathize with his having to deal with things like incest in his family and the blatant philandering of male family members, if he chooses to do that, but I don't see how it can be avoided.

The organization deeply hurt me as well, and the vestiges still impact my life, but Dick had no part in that, so I feel no hostility toward him. I'm sure we could all find some unsavory things in our genealogical pasts if we looked far enough into it.

My own Dad had a cousin who was often in jail for various crimes like cattle rustling. Some of our famous heroes of the old west weren't all that straight laced and upright all the time. They walked a fine line between the law and outright lawlessness and the separation wasn't always that easy to see.

Ralph said...

True, Corky. But what do mainstream religions actually believe? Get another member, go along, get along, mainstream religions for the most part are composed of lukewarm individuals who really arent; sure what they believe, and who pay the preachers to keep the books in order.

WCG members saw something wrong, they tried to understand, and they took a gamble that one man was right and all the rest were wrong.

They played, and the paid. It's tough, and there was a lot of suffering, but now you know. Religion, all religion, is a waste of time.

However, we can spend our time focusing on the WCG, or we can develop ideas that show the flaw of all religions and show compelling reasons why we can both feel good about orselves AND be free of human belief systems.

Why no horror stories from the other religions? The vast majority of them really don't give a damn one way or another.

The positive point about all those who took the risk and suffered is that they did take the risk, they did make the effort to try and reach beyond.

I see no reason why we can't reach all the way and prove that all people are free and don't need to be servants to any human authority system.

That's been my focus for the past 35 years, and I'm willing to take on all comers.

Anon said...

I would also argue there is a "duty of care" to ensure postings like Richard's are not given the permission to be published here.

Particularly when it paints such a rosy picture of when Herbert was in charge.

What? I can hear the howls of protest.

I regularly see adverts on the web showing Herberts face and the caption in bold face "He was RIGHT".

I just googled "Herbert armstrong truth" and this site came up at the top of the list.

So, you have the situation where charlatans are using HWA's picture and falsely claiming his prophecies are truthful. Then a visit to Richards posting would add weight to the claims made by people like Flurry etc that they returning the church back to what Herbert wanted before all those bad people messed it up.

I don't mind Richard posting happy memories about his grandfather. But his words were far more than that, he made the earlier days of HWA's reign sound really wonderful. He crossed a dangerous line with that kind of comment.

Think of your duty of care to those who haven't been warned. The breakaway cults aren't just mild mainstream congregations, their attitudes, much the same as those of HWA, break up families. My own father is in one of those break aways and his children aren't allowed to visit or contact.

anonSeven21

The Painful Truth said...

Anon said...

"I would also argue there is a "duty of care" to ensure postings like Richard's are not given the permission to be published here."

This blog is far from the top of google. If someone reads one post and decides to join one of the daughter cults they probable deserve what they get for being stupid.

When the prospective member hears or reads of HWA, and if they have half a brain, they will do the research. What will they find on the google search? Why the Painful Truth of course.

With all the information on the Internet about Herbert and his antics, I do not think this blog posses as an endorsement for joining any of HWA's offshoots.

Ralph said...

Someone said the best antiseptic for false ideas is the fresh air of free speech. Censorship gains nothing, but popele openly exchanging experiences and ideas, truth will come out.

Steve said...

I don't comment too much anymore on any forum, but I feel like I need to say something here. I must admit that I was was a little surprised to see Richard's post here at the Painful Truth. I would expect it to be over at a UCG, PCG, or LCG site. I agree with Anon. Anyone who is visiting this site for the first time and reading other posts here would be a little confused about where the PT stands after reading Richard's post. I was just a little confused myself...just a little:-)

The Painful Truth said...

Steve said...

"Anyone who is visiting this site for the first time and reading other posts here would be a little confused about where the PT stands after reading Richard's post."

When I invited Dick to post his story here on this blog, I well realized that some here would start to wonder what the hell is going on with the Painful Truth.

Freedom of speech and expression is what's going on. For you out there that believe that this freedom is harmful, your mind has limited horizons. You are confined to the immediate and simplistic, with the inevitable consequence that everything is banal and basic and is then leveled down until it is deprived of all reality. It is called binary thinking.

Black and white thinking is a hallmark of HWA's daughter churches today.

Byker Bob said...

There is a fundamental difference between Richard posting here, and posting on some of the ACOG forums, and frankly, I must congratulate both Richard and James for open mindedness!

First, though he has described his relationship with his Grandfather favorably, he has not gone into detail as to what his beliefs may in reality be. I believe we could infer that he does believe in God. Anything beyond that would be speculation at this point.

Secondly, if he is a member of one of the ACOG splinters, he is an amazing person, in that he is willing to contribute in an environment in which ACOG views are very unpopular, and under his own name! When have we ever encountered a true ACOG member who had the courage and open mindedness to do that?

Thirdly, our PT blog is somewhat analogous to a parent watching television with his or her children. We get to explain the content which some may find objectionable, and to diffuse it somewhat. The blog is about freedom, and usually when there is free discussion, somehow the truth manages to shine through.

Lastly, sometimes it's good to substitute a similar precept as a kind of acid test. If an openly gay person (not that I'm making a direct comparison here, you understand!) were to begin to post here, there are some people who would post homophobic responses, rather than responding with human decency or understanding. I believe we have some full blown (pun completely unintentional!) Armstrongophobes as regular posters here. In their own ways, both toxic doctrines and homosexuality are in poor taste (once again, pun may be completely unintentional). But, seriously folks, what power do others of different belief or orientation have over us? What is there to fear? And, if anyone really does have anything to fear about our past beliefs, you don't get healing by compartmentalizing or shutting it all out.

BB

Steve said...

The Painful Truth said...

"When I invited Dick to post his story here on this blog, I well realized that some here would start to wonder what the hell is going on with the Painful Truth. Freedom of speech and expression is what's going on."

MY COMMENT: I have no problem with that. What I don't understand is why you didn't give him a tongue-thrashing as you would have to anyone else who defended, or spoke so highly of old Herbert in most of his letter.

BB said...

"I must congratulate both Richard and James for open mindedness."

MY COMMENT: Is that what you call it? Open mindedness?
"Was blessed to spend much of the last year of his life with him.", "I have many great fond memories of the church...", "It's a shame that the Church organization was not able to continue into the future with the SAME goodwill(?) and co-operation(?) that was the hallmark of the Church(Before Herbie died)...", and "the way the Church was handled after my grandfather's death.".
Richard then goes on to blame Stanley Rader for influencing his innocent grandfather, and then to blame Teddy boy for all the ills. Does that sound like "open mindedness" to you?

The Painful Truth said...

Steve,

It was a matter of perspective when Dick gave his views.

You sound like you want to give the guy an ass kicking because he has some fond memories of a family member and the church that was part of his life.

Let the blame be firmly planted where it belongs. On the shoulders of the abusers.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I read through Dick's first blog again, and all I see is a man recounting fond memories. In spite of my overall contempt for Herb and the organization today, I too have some fond memories from the early days. There were some wonderful people in that organization, and some of them are still my friends.

I don't expect him to justify the evil and the abuses. Neither do I expect him to divorce hiself from his ancestry and totally trash it. He can't help but know a lot of the negatives and they are probably painful to him.

I'm hoping he will have the time to tell us more soon and reveal a little more of his inner feelings. I'd also like to know more about his life now. Does he have a family? Is life rewarding, etc.? How is his mother doing? Just because he's Herb's grandson doesn't make him worthy of my hatred.

Incidentally, I don't hate HWA or GTA either. How they could be what they were is a psychological mystery to me. I reflect on them like I reflect on other psycopaths that fill the pages of history. Even people like Hitler had a soft side to their personalities at times. Narcissism does strange things to human beings, and it would be great if we could just understand what led to it.

The Painful Truth said...

Al,

I tell you, some people have not healed after all these years.

I would recommend talk therapy as a possible solution to anyone who can hate a third party for the sins of others. This form of therapy will allow you to answer the questions yourself as you talk your issues through with the therapist.

I found this highly effective for myself and once again, recommend it to anyone as a possible solution that will allow closure and your ability to move forward with your life.

Ralph said...

I think Hoffer gave great explanations as to why it happens.

The problem is, once we decide what ought to be done, and how we ought to do it, we start forming a "shorthand" as to how it ought to be done for everyone. Everyone follow the formula, and presto! Nirvana, or utopia, or Kingdom of God.

It really is a math problem. If you attempt to define anyting with a strict measurement, you end up with a plus or minus that always creates inequality.

The fundamental assumpton of religion is that we eliminate inequality by eliminating difference.

If you eliminate difference, there are certain things you simply can not think, or are not permitted to think, because such thinking leads to the very chaos from which you try to escape.

Ultimately you end up with a near infinity of partial representatives of infinity. Unfortunately, the partial representations are themselves, of necessity, finite, so they will remain incomplete.

The problem is further complicated by the fa ct that there exist truth which cannot be proven, for example, developing a decision procedure by which we may discover a finite quantity of real numbers, such as pi or the square root of 2. The probability of such a finite number is 0(zero).

Yet we also know that real numbers do exist, and we can recognize them and "compress" them meaningfully simply by looking at the first few digits to know what they represent.

A grand example was Fermat's last theorem. We know that there exist solutions in which A squared plus B squared will equal C squared, but Fermat stated that this existed only in case where numbers are squared. Of the infinity of numbers, any higher power, from A cubed, plus B cubed, will never equal C cubed, or any higher power to the nth power. It only works for squared numbers.

400 years later, he was proven correct. Fermat claimede it was true, but the proof simply couldn't be written in so short a space.

The brain is mathematical. If faced with uncertainty, it creates certainties. All decisions are limited to a finite, understandable process, and all is contained within "God".

The resulting evil is when we are forced to kill those who do not agree with our limited idea, or convert them if possible, as Pythagoras did when one of his students said "Teacher, I noticed that if your theorem, A squared plus B squared equals 2, there is no way to reduce it to a rational number".

It is said that Pythagoras had that student drowned to avoid heresy. If you are determined to be certain with any answer about infinity, you could certainly kill others, thinking you do God a service.

Ralph said...

Of course you could also slander and hate others, thinking you do "no God" a service.

The Painful Truth said...

Ralph,

The above two statements indeed does show the problem with humans.

They destroy or kill what they do not understand.

Steve said...

To Painful Truth,

I don't hate anyone, nor do I want to kick anyone's ass. Where did this come from? All I said was that I don't understand why you are being so kind to the guy when you certainly haven't been very nice to ANYONE else who has defended old Herbert in the past. And, I can't see how what Richard said is considered "open mindedness"...as BB has so stated. That's it. I think you need to read Richard's letter again to see where he is coming from, or, as you so aptly put it..."his perpective".

Dr Zoidberg said...

Thank you Dick for your thoughts. I think you have the right to see your grandfather in terms of a grandfather.

I have my own mixed emotions about my 34 years in the WCG, it really is a mixed bag.

I've spent a good 15 years fighting the spiritual legacy of HWA, and the harm HWA did as the leader of the WCG. I came to a point where I had to cut it loose from my life, so that I could go on to new things - only I didn't have a forest to go to and contemplate - but that was an excellent choice of yours. We each have our ways of decompressing, some in blogs, some in videos, and some in quiet conversation with the creation.

The fact that you have come out it all as well as you did is probably more a testament to your mother and Ben Chapman than it is your Grandfather - and that probably confuses people.

My sister once spoke highly of Chapman during the time she and her husband were in the Pasadena. He was one of the few she speaks highly of.

When it comes to evil, humans like to personalize it, whether its Osama Bin Laden or Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich. But all these somewhere had a mother who loved them. What went wrong in them is hard to know. The History Channel says Hitler was hooked on methamphetamine, and if that's true, that explains a lot - but not all. We are not comfortable in knowing that a man who can kill millions in genocide, also loved architecture, patted little girls on the head and loved dogs. But these are the images history leaves of the man.

They say to do real evil requires a bureaucracy, its the facelessness of slavish obedience to procedure and edict that crushes mankind.

A dictator can order tanks to run over civilians in Tianmen Square, but sometimes even a tank driver has a conscience and is deterred by one brave individual.

The problem with religion is that it teaches people obedience to the system of religion is more important than treating people right. They call this "Loving God" and they insist it come before "Love fellow man". This is the creeping slime mold that comes about when men claim to speak for God, and cut other men off from their natural connection to God by acting as intermediaries.

My gut wishes a special circle of hell for such people, but my heart tells me there is a merciful God who will simply make them learn the lesson in another life and that no human is ultimately lost, but some humans sure take a long detour through the dark side.

Ralph said...

Dr. Z, good stuff!

Allen C. Dexter said...

Don't recognize your name, but I agree with Ralph. Very good comment.

Anonymous said...

Steve...I see where you are coming from. It is pretty
weird that (for some) this guy becomes the litmus test for 'fair and balanced' concerning the past! I believe you should just use this forum like any other source for info or opinions on the perception of facts. No need to be confused. You know what happened to you and others that went through the 'church' experience. Some had more negative experience than others because of the lines that they crossed. Like I stated before, it will be interesting to see who learns something here!
Anon 7:51

Byker Bob said...

I do have one point of interest to bring up. Do any of you people who believe that Dick should be excluded from the PT site have relatives who still subscribe to the classic WCG doctrines? If so, how do you treat them? Do you at least consider them to still be people, and are you willing to listen to them when they speak? Do you love them, even when they express thoughts with which you disagree? Would you like to see them ostracized or tortured because of their beliefs? Would you prefer to have a functional or dysfunctional family? If you prefer functional, how far are you willing to go to facillitate this?

Prejudice and bigotry are ugly in any form. Try substituting a nasty ethnic term in the descriptive pharases you'd normally apply to an "Armstrongite", and see if you like where that takes you! Some of you folks have more love and understanding for Islamic terrorists than you can muster up for for people who remain in the ACOG splinters!

BB

Ralph said...

I'm reminded of Jewish comedian Robert Klein, who told of his educational experience at a midwestern university, where he was the only Jew. He received so much negative attention, that he decided to speak before the students and quote from Shakespeare's "Shylock" in "The Merchant of Venice":

"If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you ticke us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?"

The entire student body, said Klein, rose as one person and shouted "No! Jew boy! Jew boy! Jew Boy!"

But Shakespeare had yet a remaining line for self reflection:

"And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in all the rest, we will resemble you in that".

Anonymous said...

I happened to find his recollections to be interesting reading. I am looking forward to reading more of his postings, too. I don't think he should be assigned blame that belongs elsewhere.

what would be a shame, would be if he decided to not share any more of his unique perspective of growing up as HWa's grandson, because of the negativity some here have for him.

Looking back, I can see how I and others were harmed by the teaching and practices of the WWCG and its splinters. Yet I don't blame him for what was not in his control. If he felt he was "blessed" to share some time with his grandfather before he died, who are we to criticize that?

I would have loved to spend a year with one of my grandfathers, but one died before I was born, and another was murdered when I was very young.

Let's see what else he has to say before condemning him for the deeds of others.

Thomas Munson

The Painful Truth said...

Steve said....

"you certainly haven't been very nice to ANYONE else who has defended old Herbert in the past."

That would be the Kooks, Nuts and Loonies Page.

Dick and I went back and forth for some time with our e-mails. He never once gave me a bad time, and said that he found the Painful Truth to be very interesting. He was polite and respectful. I have no problem with some guy who wants a chance to tell his story.

Dick said some things that I decisively disagreed with.
It is what it is.

maxcarey77 said...

I'm glad that Dick had pleasant memories of growing up in the church and that he made alot of friends. I also had good memories and made a number of friends but I didn't become a part of WCG in search of a social club. I left my job, my family and even my country to be a part of something special. It turned out to be the ultimate in false advertising.
One of the things I learned in spokesmens club was to know your audience. I doubt this audience finds any value in learning about HWA's trans-atlantic trips on our dime.
I feel no ill will toward Dick but in view of the devastation that was caused in so many lives I'm simply in no mood to listen to pleasant church stories.

Neotherm said...

I agree with Painful Truth throughout. We should not be trying to censor the views of Dicky Armstrong but should be trying to evaluate these views. For instance, Dicky writes:

"I'm reminded of how blessed we all were to have the fellowship we shared"

Clearly, his experience was diffent from ours. But his Armstrongite experience was just as valid and real as anything that any of us experienced.

There are people for whom Armstrongism was extremely rewarding. It is no doubt very difficult for these people to understand what we are so upset about. Dicky may fall into this category.

I recall Dicky from the AC Big Sandy campus. He was at ground zero. I think his experiences should go into the pot with everyone else's.

-- Neo

Neotherm said...

Just to gig some of you a little, I am related to both Herbert and Loma Armstrong. Dicky is a distant cousin of mine. And further, I never believed the allegation that HWA committed incest with his daughter. All kinds of people say all kinds of things about people they don't like and are trying to destroy.

Maybe I should be marked and disfellowshipped from he Painful Truth Blog. It is remarkable how some of you have retained Armstrongite procedures so well.

-- Neo

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
For instance, Dicky writes:

"I'm reminded of how blessed we all were to have the fellowship we shared
"

I agree with that. I don't know if "blessed" is the right word but I do remember the fellowship.

I thought that I had a lot of friends in the cult but when my mother died because of the doctrines and I left the cult, they seemed to vanish. So much for real friends and fellowship.

Still, those were good memories, that is, while they lasted.

Corky said...

Neotherm said...

Maybe I should be marked and disfellowshipped from he Painful Truth Blog.

I don't think so, who would the evil evolutionist, atheistic, sensible, realistic people have to argue with if you left?

Ralph said...

I never really suffered in the WCG. My parents separated for about two years and then re-united, due to D&R doctrine. Before the separation they argued and fussed all the time and made the kids' lives miserable.

When they re-united and realized how much they could have lost, they made extra efforts to appreciate and love each other and us kids.

Just before I left the church, I intreoduce a couple, Eddie and a girl called "Deeny". As I remember, her name was Dina. "Deeny" had just returned from Ambassador College. I had dated her a couple of times, and my friend Eddie had spent some time in the military before he became part of the church.

Eddie was smitten with Deeny, but couldn't bring himself to start conversation. I remember Eddie just looking at her as she walked by with this terrible sadness in his eyes, and finally I said "Come with me".

I don't think he really wanted to, but he couldn't resist. He followed along, I introduced them and Eddie stood silently the whole time. I thought, after about ten minutes that they had broken the ice, and I excused myself. I looked around and Eddie was right behind me. I asked "Why are you here? Why are you not talking to her?"

He grinned sheepishly. "I couldn't think of anything to say".

I looked at him in total disgust and said "Come on, let's go back".

I stopped Deeny and said "Eddie would like to ask you for a date".

The confused look on Deeny's face was priceless. Eddie was looking for a hole in the floor. He did manage to smile and nod his head in agreement. I assured her that Eddie was a nice guy, trustworthy, honest, trueblue etc, and she finally agreed.

They got married not long after that, and I heard several years ago they were still happily married.

Haven't heard anything since then, but I'm wondering how they're doing now.

maxcarey77 said...

Ralph, That's a very nice story. It must have been very satisfying for you. I'm sure both you and both of them are glad you made the second effort.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Tom. Let's hear him out first...then hang him! :) All kidding aside, it is only fair to listen to what everyone that experienced the 'cult' has to say. HWA's grandson is like a lot of people here that really had no choice in the matter of being brought into the group? It seems as though his experiences are valuable, in that delusion knows no boundaries. In other words, those at the top were just as deluded as those at the bottom. Being human, they seemed to experience the same loss and pain, in some respects, as everyone else, although they may have had more creature comforts in the process? I say let Dick Armstrong tell his story. Maybe ask him questions as a valuable witness rather than drive him away as a
condemned scoundrel by association? Maybe he has some questions as well?
anon 7:51

The Painful Truth said...

To all,

Dick wrote me and said he will post again in the next couple of days. He is on the road seven days a week. Not a job I would enjoy.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I've known people who loved that kind of life, which is good as such service is very necessary in our world.

Thanks for letting us know more will be coming. I, for one, want to learn where Dick is really coming from and as much as possible about him and the effect WCG had on him in the end.

Ralph said...

Certainly I'm intetrested in Dick's statements, and I want to encourage him to give us the Armstrong's eye view.

I keep coming back to that statement of the French queen (Marie Antoinette?) who, when told the people had no bread, said "Let them eat cake".

There's always a disconnect, in the most forgiving of circumstances.

I always thought I'd like to be a truck driver, until I found out how many rules you have to keep. The mariens have taught me to hate rules in all forms.

I took the course at JB Hunt several years ago, conducted on an abandoned section of an Air Force base in Lousiana.

Right off the bat, they instructors started treating me like a recruit, which led me to quit right away.

Besides that, I had to go to a local Social Security office to get a new SS card, and was greeted, not by a smiling receptionist, but a police officer wearing a smoky hat, which pissed me off by itself.

Instead of speaking, he gestured to his left, where I saw a computer.
I said "What's that?"

"Read the instructions"

"What if you can't read?"

"You can't read?"

"Yes, but I was wondering what I would do if I couldn't read".

"Press the 'enter' key and you will be assigned a number".

Basically I knew what the procedure was, but I had to ask "A number for what?"

"A number to tell you when you will be called".

"You mean on the phone?"

I could see this look of cold hatred slowly building on his face. I recognized it because I had seen it so many times in the marines. It always brings a near orgasmic experience when I see it in the faces of authority figures.

"No, you will take the number and wait your turn".

"What number?"

The policeman sighed. "The number which will be printed out by that little machine below the computer screen."

"Oh, you mean this one?"

"You see any others?"

I did as told, got my number and then walked over to the desk.

"Why do I have to do all this if all I want to do is ask you a question?"

"Why didn't you say so?"

"You didn't ask".

I could see him battling for composure at this point.

"What's the question?"

"I just wanted to know what forms of ID I needed to get a copy of my SS card".

He pulled out a book and put his finger on a paragraph.

"What does it say?" I asked.

"You can read".

"Yes, but I love the sound of your voice".

He told me what it said, I thanked him, and walked out.

Imagine what we'll have when Obamacare is fully instituted.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Ralph, that was hilarious. You are one ornery SOB, and I think the world could use a few more. Just use judgment so you don't step over any lines that could involve serious penalties.

My wife is a little like that. She got short tempered one time while dealing with automated phone messages that got her nowhere and shouted into the phone: "F++k you."

The respnse was that they didn't understand her answer, to which she shouted: "What part of 'F++k you' don't you understand?"

They then told her to hold for a live person. I call that success. I have a feeling the recording of that exchange was preserved and enjoyed immensely by employees of that company.

The Painful Truth said...

Ralph,

That was a nice story, but what would you have done if the cop said this? Have your speakers on.

Ralph said...

For automated messages, I don't even talk on the phone. Sharon does that. We used to make paymenyts on our Verizon cell phone, and Sharon would send me in with the money, which had to be paid in to a computer. After one trip, I patently followed the instructions four times, and four times the damn thing told me to repeat the process or just ignored me.

I finally looked around the store and said "Who the fuck knows anything about this? I'm about to throw it through the door!"

Immediate service from actual persons. Sharon was so deeply embarrassed that she paid the bill from then on.

PT, wouldn't it be son nice if the cops apologized for putting us through such unconstitutional processes?

I've been sending James regular discoveried I've made regarding due process and search warrants the way they were once practiced.

Did everyone know that due process is common law? That no person can be deprive of life, liberty, or property without common law courts? No constitutional courts, but common law courts? 5th and 14th amendments.

Did you know that common law say any restraint of the smallest amount is imprisonment, and imprisonment is subject to habeas corpus remedy?

IOW, if a cop stops you and deetains you for any reason wiythout probable cause, it's imprisonment under common law, and he is subject to prosecution, because common law says there can be no detainment without a warrant, and the 4th amendment says no warrants shall issue except for probable cause supported by oat or affirmation, and oath or affirmation actually WAIVES the cop's protection of due process!

Originally you could actually prosecute a cop for such things, but the Supreme Court protects police now and claims they're protecting citizens.

As Blackstone said in his "Commentaries": "To make imprisonment lawful, it must be by the courts of judicature, or by warrant from some legal officer".

That appplies to any detainment on the street for any reason!

BTW, common law actually recognizes a fetus as a "person' undetr law, with full legal protection. Since the Supreme Court derives no power from common law, it cannot interfere with abortion in such manner. They don't tell you that, however.

Casey Wollberg said...

Wow. An Armstrong posting on an anti-Armstrongist blog. How interesting (bold move, James!). I look forward to reading more, Dick. Be encouraged that most of us don't hate your family, just your granddad's foolish ideas. What I'm really curious about is whether Grampa Armstrong was duplicitous or just self-deceived, or a complex mix of the two. I hope you can throw some light on this question, since you were obviously close to him. (By the way, I'm also not really convinced by the charges of incest/pedophilia, but I wonder if you would at least give some details as to why you reject them). Good luck on the road, man.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Really? Some of you out there don't believe the incest charges?
Next I'll be hearing GTA didn't really go to bed with any coeds.

If those charges weren't true, Rader, Helge and company would have sued Robinson and a host of others into ignominy. They never hesitated to bring a legal hammer down on anyone they could. Wake up already.

Casey Wollberg said...

Maxcarry77: "I feel no ill will toward Dick but in view of the devastation that was caused in so many lives I'm simply in no mood to listen to pleasant church stories."

A part of me agrees with this sentiment, but the curious side of me is a fact hound and thinks Dick's stories may yield some nuggets of real information that may be useful for several purposes. For this reason I am grateful to both James and Dick for their forthrightness and courage. I consider this a rare opportunity to, perhaps, pick the brain of a relatively valuable primary source.

So, don't spook the guy, mkay?

Casey Wollberg said...

"Wake up already."

How about you calm down a bit. I didn't say I denied the charges, I just said I wasn't convinced they were true. Could be I haven't seen all the evidence you have. Could be charges of incest aren't as important to me as the fact that the belief system was total bullshit--so I've been focused on that. Could be I don't have as much time to investigate accusations that, even if true, would not convince my family members and loved ones that they have been taken in by a delusion, because, you know, it wouldn't change "the Truth (TM)." I have a day job and a life (if you can believe it) on top of being a counter-cultist as a passionate hobby, so, you know, I pick my battles, and I think I'm being pretty efficient.

That said, if you feel so strongly about it, maybe you can direct me to some good resources on the subject that will cut down my research time (what certain people "would have done if it weren't true" is a nice theory but it doesn't exactly prove anything). Thanks.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I gave sources in my book, Believing the Unbelievable. The best, in my opinion, is Robinson's book. Others are to be found on this very site.

I'm not worked up, just shocked that anyone is this unaware of the facts and still in doubt.

Anonymous said...

Denying incest? Why? The evidence is all over.

http://www.hwarmstrong.com/xoom/images/incesthwa.jpg

Casey Wollberg said...

"I'm not worked up, just shocked that anyone is this unaware of the facts and still in doubt."

Doesn't take much to shock you, I guess. I stumbled across a lot about it in the beginning, but made a conscious decision not to pursue it--as I said, I favored other routes of inquiry, as they seemed less sensational and more relevant to my objectives. Who buggered whom was never really on my radar, to tell you the truth. I never did like soap operas.

Anon: "Denying incest?" No. You know, a little reading comprehension goes a long way. By the way, on its own, that was not very good evidence, and if I have to explain why then you aren't worth my time.

Ralph said...

Regardless of what HGWA did or did not do, the issue of abuse or rape lies only between him and the one who accuses.

Thatr is the essence of the law which HWA preached but ignored. It's called "accusatorial law", and must have due presentment and indictment by at least two witnesses. That's also due process in the US, BTW.

I'm not defneding him. It's not my problem.

The real problem is, did he have actual authority to be "God's apostle"? NO.

But even assuming he did, accusatory law would have forced him to relinquish that role if proven guilty.

The fact is, he ignoreed the law in either sense, and disqualified himself from being an authority from the start.

Byker Bob said...

I've always said that I wish the allegations of incest had never surfaced. The reason is that this issue diverts attention away from the core issue, which is that the classic WCG doctrines are totally bogus. The minute we get a large number of people focussed on a human being's sin is the instant that a loyalist will point out that human behavior has nothing to do with whether a belief is true or false.

Also, incest is such an outrageous sin that most people are very cautious about believing it, whether they happen to be church members or dissidents.

The whole issue has proven to be one big diversion. For me, the resolution of the entire issue is that Armstrongism has done a Gamaliel. And that is a certainty!

BB

Ralph said...

Actually a person's behavior has nothing to do with whether a doctrine is true or false. It's true or false, period.

What do you mean "done a Gamaliel"?

Byker Bob said...

The Pharisees were having a discussion as to what to do about the Jesus movement. Gamaliel responded that they should do nothing. If it was of God, it would last, and if it was of man, it would self-destruct.

BB

Allen C. Dexter said...

Where I stand on all this is that doctrine isn't important to me because I consider Christianity as bogus as all other manmade religions and reject all their doctrines. I make up my own mind on things and don't get over impressed with my own understanding. Been wrong far too many times.

Herb's sexual crimes Just show further what a hypocrit and psycopath he was. It just reinforces everything else we now know about him.

I wish I knew more about psychiatry. Maybe I could figure out a bit of what made him what he was. Because I don't know, I certainly can't pass any kind of judgment on him, and I don't believe any god is going to either.

Dorothy is gone now. If there is survival past that point, the meeting on the "other side" must have had some interesting components.

Ralph said...

BB I thought that was what you were referring to, but I had a problem tying it in to your comment. I finally realized what you were saying.

One truth I am certain of. All doctrines about God are false. Of course that doesn't mean there is no God. It just means we don't know Jack.

Herb kept saying in his autobiography that he was driven to be important. That was really all he ever thought about. His wife, as he admitted, gave him the idea and the market that made him realize his ambitions.

He really never denied that, but in the end, he couldn't see what it had done to him.

One of the things I've discovered on leaving the WCG is that this society demands believers. No matter what you do, if you work for someone, it seems to really piss them off if you don't give it a hundred percent.

I always tell people when I take the job that I'll work hard, I won't question policy, and I won't wrangle for a raise, but I didn't come to join their religion, and I expect to be left alone.

For some reason, they don't want to hire me. Can't figure it out.

Herb fit well into the system because he promoted that gun-ho attitude among his followers. They learned to be obedient cogs in the machine, just like most other religions. The Mormons are that way, SDAs, JWs, every new successful cult creates an eager army of laborers who think they're making the world better, whle all they're doing is serving the machine.

In my home county we have a cult called the Word of Faith Fellowship, and they've alreadyt used their wealth to buy businesses and train management along with labor to run companies.

The people who join actually sell all they have, like the converts of Acts and live together wiyth all things in common, sharing houses while women separate from husbands, children are watched carefully by the house parents, and if someone is needed to help out with a business he or she is sent to whatever place they are needed.

You think the WCG was bad, this cult is absolutely fanatical, but the peope are among the humblest, nicest people you will ever meet, except for those who realize they've been scammed, and boy are they assholes!

That sounds familiar, somehow.

Neotherm said...

The allegation that HWA committed incest with his daughter is much cherished by many anti-Armstrongites. (It is a characteristic of Armstrongites to relish the downfall of others to enhance their own self-view) Yet all the evidence I have ever seen came from people with an axe to grind.

I was acquainted David Robinson and he had some very unusual ideas. He was a right winger and believed that the Jews are really Gentiles. I sat next to him in a dining room and found him to be a very unpleasant person with a withering derision for other people. This does not make him wrong about HWA but it does cast doubt on his credentials as an unbiased reporter in my mind.

If it were worth the effort, I am not sure how one would prove HWA was guilty of this charge. Certainly collecting hearsay is not the answer. More hearsay does not prove the case, it is only more hearsay.

-- Neo

Steve said...

I may be mistaken, but didn't the Painful Truth prove that HWA committed incest with Dorothy? Of course, how could it really be proven if neither party ever admitted to it? Then, we'd have to have it in writing, signed, and certified by a public accountant before anyone would believe it. Even then most Armstrong lovers wouldn't believe it unless they saw a video tape of the two of them in the act, and then they'd blame Dorothy, or Loma. Even then, there would be many who would say that the tape was doctored. I guess we'll just have to wait for old Herbie to be resurrected. :-)

Allen C. Dexter said...

Steve, you're right. Nothing will convince some people. Their minds are made up.

I remember while I was still a student and went on a visit to someone who brought up a lot of things she said Herbert had done in Oregon. It never dented our consciousness and I don't even remember the details now.

Those who hold people like him in awe will never acknowledge he could have been so rotten. In the same way, they will never believe the Bible to be anything else but the inspired word of god. Minset is a powerful force.

Ralph said...

Actually the bible IS the inspired word of God, AND HWA was a liar.

Whether he screwed his daughter is irrelevant to the argument of the truth or falsehood of hios statements.

He could have been a rapist, mirder, or serial killer and still told us the truth, or he could have been a saintly man who never harmed anyone, and still told us a lie.

What he taught was either true or false, in and of itself, or it was true, and we know it was false.

David was called a man after God's own heart(or maybe he had a heart on), yet he killed one of his most loyal generals just to screw the man's wife.

If I had the power, and the wife looked good enough, I don't know if I'd be an improvement. I do feel fairly certain that I wouldn't molest my daughter.

When I first met Sharon, I learned that her daughter had been molested by her step-father, which gave neither Sharon nor her daughter a good view of men. His statement to Sharon was "If you wave a piece of meat in front of a man, he's gonna bite".

Sharon's daughter, to him, was a piece of meat. When I met Shatron, her daughter was about 17 and a gorgeous knockout of a woman, who was fully determined to seduce me just to prove to Sharon I was only another man who thought with his penis. Believe me, she was incredibly built, and while I certainly enjoyed the opportunity of seeing her parade in front of me in near nakedness, a fact which I admitted to Sharon, I never raised the first finger or anything else to touch her. As I pointed out to Sharon, after leaving the marines, it was like coming home from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of triple-D.

Nope, didn't touch her. Thoroughly enjoyed the view, though.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Ralph, I don't agree that the Bible is inspired by any god, but I do agree with the rest of what you say. Some of us have the control to turn away from such temptations. Some do not. It's all a matter of psychology.

Ralph said...

What? You don't agree? How dare you not agree! :)

Neotherm said...

On HWAs alleged incest, it is not like there is a body of incontrovertible evidence around that anyone would be absurd not to believe. There has never even been the simple stuff. Like an accusation from a wronged party or any kind of legal discovery or affadavits collected. All we have is a portfolio of unverified hearsay. I don't think expecting something more than this portfolio from the disgruntled falls into the category of "mind made up already."

-- Neo

Casey Wollberg said...

"I don't think expecting something more than this portfolio from the disgruntled falls into the category of "mind made up already.""

Exactly, Neotherm. Allen, you need to learn about the burden of proof. I would be happy to have some actual evidence, but hearsay (which is all we've got) and unsupported accusations from obviously biased people with an agenda do not count as evidence. You obviously want to believe (and in a way I don't blame you) but that doesn't make it a supported claim.

And besides, as I said earlier, and others have also pointed out, these accusations are a diversion from the more generally important issue: Armstrongism is bullshit. If it were a valid belief system, it would be so even if Armstrong had raped a thousand children and ate a baby for lunch every day (its defenders will not be so blunt in pointing this out, but this is what they mean when they say it doesn't change "the truth."). But Amrstrongism isn't valid, as it contradicts itself, relies on psuedo-historical claims, and flies in the face of verifiable scientific facts.

This is what is important, and what Armstrongism's defenders will gladly bury under the kind of unsupported sensationalism the incest charge represents. One of their favorite tactics is to silence their critics by dismissing them as wild-eyed, bitter cranks with a personal vendetta. I'd prefer it if they had less ammunition for this ad hominem attack, which is already persuasive enough among the mesmerized sheep they are "protecting."

Casey Wollberg said...
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Casey Wollberg said...

"Where I stand on all this is that doctrine isn't important to me because I consider Christianity as bogus as all other manmade religions and reject all their doctrines."

You're missing the point. Of course Christianity is bogus. But *if it weren't bogus*, Armstrong's (alleged) incest wouldn't change that. The purveyors of Armstrongist nonsense understand this basic principle of logic and use it to their advantage. When we focus on the man instead of his doctrines, what do they say? "There's no evidence for what you say, and, in any case, I'm not following any man! I'm following God's Truth!"

Justifiably satisfied in their impression of us as propagandists, they will understandably ignore anything else we have to say. So, it's best to focus on doctrine, as it is the doctrine that is their prison. This is not a cult of personality that we are dealing with; any elements of personalism are far outweighed by direct condemnations of such in the doctrines. They can (and do) use this to evade personal attacks, when it is convenient; what they can't evade so easily are direct attacks upon doctrine that are sensible, reasonable, and factually sound.

Ralph said...

Good points Casey. In many ways, the old WCG was an intellectual religion. It took basic arguments of mainstream christianity such as the paganism of Christmas/Easter etc, and showed us the world was very different from what we had always assumed.

For me, on my introduction to these ideas, this was liberation. You have this feeling that something is wrong, but you have no way of beginning to define it, and HWA/GTA come along and say it's okay to question religion, even to poke fun at it.

We all reached our forms of final liberation in different ways, but for me, the nicest thing I ever discovered, at the tender age of 24, was that in every sense, philosophical, religious, even mathematically, I was free! I could look at every authority figure from my employer to the pope and say "Bite me!".

What I have discovered may not really be all that different from what you have discovered. If you look for truth and be honest with yourself, at some point you must either give up religion and servitude in all its forms altogether, or at some point you must simply let yourself slide back into the muck of accpetance, whether it's simply to remain in the WCG or slip from one religion to another until you finally realize they're all crap, and you're free.

So HWA deceived me. Fine, but if he hadn't started me down that path, I'd probably never have reached the level of individual freedom I now have. I also know it's highly unlikely anyone else will ever do it again.

He was wrong, completely wrong. But every time his dedicated followers form another branch, splinter off into another little cult,it creates new potentials for freedom of other individuals.

That's how truth works. It catches who it will, and it draws them out. You might even say "called and chosen".

Casey Wollberg said...

"In many ways, the old WCG was an intellectual religion."

Exactly right, Ralph. And the way you described the deconversion process is exactly how I have conceived of it for the past few years I have been going through it. Even while I was still "in the Truth," I thought of what it might mean to be "drawn from the breasts." I never really felt like a sucker, you know? That, I think, is the difference between people like us and people who will never leave: we took it seriously.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I have to agree that the incest thing is unprovable and therefore not something to argue about in perpetuity. Both the alleged perpetrator and the victim are now among the deceased, so it's a moot point.

The important thrust has to be to show how destructive WCG and its offshoots have been and are. Ralph is also right that our experiences have helped us find freedom we might not have found any other way.

Excellent discussions, eveyone. That's the goal of this blog and site.

Casey Wollberg said...

Well said, Allen. By the way, no hard feelings here and certainly none intended.

Tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

allan said

"I wish I knew more about psychiatry. Maybe I could figure out a bit of what made him what he was."

Look up "narcissistic personality disorder". You'll see significant matches to Herbie there.

One of the causes listed is:

"Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback"

The members of WCG certainly gave plenty of that to him.

Ralph said...

Yup. That's why power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Another aspect to it is that, once a sufficient number of people become emotionally or financially dependent on a certain process of organization, the organization becomes self perpetuating, conforming to aspects of Parkinson's law.

The more successful the system, the less those at the top are willintg to offer alternatives.

That was not simply an isolated problem with HWA, but a problem associated with human governments in general.

The biblical parallel to this is leavening. A system expands and grows until it finally collapses of its own weight. Or, becoming topheavy, it simply falls.

As Dawkins points out, this comes right down from the genes themselves. Genes succeed by making exact copies, and exact copies are made by controlling their immediate environment. That's basically why religion developed its proselytizing zeal as a meme extending from the genes.

Problem is, whenever somebody examines the system for reall authoritative truth, they merely find air, not substance. I think Proverbs referred to it as vanity.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Anonymous, I read those sites and still want to know what could have made him what he was. Is it a genetic predisposition? More likely, I suspect, things that occurred in infancy, childhood or early adulthood.

I no longer take the religious approach of condemning someone for their disorders or failings. Even old Herb, for all that I have to ciritcize him for, had to have come to be what he was through some understandable process. I'm afraid we'll never know in any detail because the facts needed for analysis are buried in the unknowable past.

Ralph said...

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Hoffer nailed it. The very need to organize, to do good in God's name, or any "name" that makes things better if we just all fall in line, do as we're told, etc. Hoffer pointed out that it is the organization itself that leads to greater evil.

HWA wanted so badly to be somebody, and he got his chance.

But really, if he told us we don't have to simply march in step or do as everyone else does, was that terrible?

Yup, but it ain't any worse than what the government is trying to do to everybody now.

For me, the lesson in life is that somewhere, sometime, you have to stand up and act against something because its wrong. Not because you have others to back you, not because you want to be part of something bigger, but because its friggin' wrong, and somebody has to say something.

There's no rewards in that kind of stuff.

In the marines, I stood against the whole damn system and told them they were wrong. I didn't think I would win, and if I had lost, I was prepared to take my own life. No one had ever deserted, defended himself, and won. But as sure as I knew I exist, I knew they were wrong, and I had to take a stand.

That's you, that's me, that's any person who ever took responsibility for his/her own actions. It's freedom, it's righteousness, it's the human soul.

Really, we should all feel blessed we got there.

Allen C. Dexter said...

I do feel blessed to have gotten there. In many ways, I've been just as rebellious as you, Ralph. I won't go into details as I'm not sure statutes of limitation apply, and I'm not going to press my luck.

We're not much different from our primate cousins when it comes to the urge to dominate. There are a whole lot of alpha chimps sitting in positions of great power and prestige.

Byker Bob said...

Allen,

Although I've basically learned to forgive, we'd probably have to fight these things a lot less in our lives if Herb's parents had only known about condoms! Back when I was a non-believer, there were even times in my life when I've wished that my own parents had known about them, because I'd never have been involved in such a mind rotting cult. Just because one is Christian doesn't mean that the long lasting effects of all this stuff magically and mystically go away! If anyone wonders why I post on these sites, that's why. I'm still involved in the fight we all must face, just like everyone else.

BB

Casey Wollberg said...

"I no longer take the religious approach of condemning someone for their disorders or failings. Even old Herb, for all that I have to ciritcize him for, had to have come to be what he was through some understandable process."

I'm of the opinion that accepting a deterministic explanation for behaviors and condemning people as evil are not mutually exclusive propositions. Our sense of justice (and righteous indignation) comes from a deeply ingrained drive to reduce the detrimental effects of evil behavior. This "works" for survival reasons, and it has the added benefit of being ethical from my perspective (i.e., they are the same thing).

They say you can't get an "ought" from an "is;" I say all "oughts" *are* "ises," some of which we are inclined to embrace for good reasons (we aren't always aware of), and some of which we are on the verge of discarding as we evolve along with our social environment.

(Take this all with a grain of salt, as I'm no expert in anything at all.)

Ralph said...

It's about chimps and genes and narcissism and all that stuff.

Unfiortunately, we live in a society that produces many HWA types. I remember the old profile questionairre they gave us at Pasadena to evaluate our abilities. I think everybody was a salesman, mostl likely because Herb was. I wanted to be like GTA. I wanted to build a successful business, be respected in my community, all that stuff.

Herb tapped into that, but he just had a different angle. It's like Hoffer wrote. No matter the content of these beliefs, in reality they're all about the same thing. To some extent it's about power, but mostly it's about becoming immortal. HWA started somwething of incredible potential, and it get so easy to think you must be special before God.

Herb saw himself as that same humble, broken man of the depression who allegedly had to pray for a nickel to get milk for his kid.

Herb said "I am beaten, I am humbled, I am proven wrong by my wife....oh look! I must be God's apostle!"

If not Herb, it might have been somebodyt else. That's the dynamic of our society, and the rich people push it as the ideal. I'm sure they encourage growth of cults and cult leaders, because that's what produces the human cogs for the economic machine.

Byker Bob said...

I believe that he appeared deceptively complex in his relative simplicity. The most astounding discussion I ever encountered was on a website about the British "Pirate Radio" ships of the '60s. Someone had inherited the financial records for one of these ships, was somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer presence of The World Tomorrow program on these, and had come to the conclusion that WCG was a front for the CIA. He had then researched backwards to the genesis of Ambassador College, and the seeming financial voodoo and miracles supposedly associated with all of that. I have no idea whether this is yet another case of two plus two equals five, or if this gentleman was actually on to something. As a general rule, I normally reject conspiracy theories, but this one was almost credible.

BB

Byker Bob said...

I believe that he appeared deceptively complex in his relative simplicity. The most astounding discussion I ever encountered was on a website about the British "Pirate Radio" ships of the '60s. Someone had inherited the financial records for one of these ships, was somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer presence of The World Tomorrow program on these, and had come to the conclusion that WCG was a front for the CIA. He had then researched backwards to the genesis of Ambassador College, and the seeming financial voodoo and miracles supposedly associated with all of that. I have no idea whether this is yet another case of two plus two equals five, or if this gentleman was actually on to something. As a general rule, I normally reject conspiracy theories, but this one was almost credible.

BB

Stan Gardner said...

On the AmbasssadorReports.blogspot.com entry of 01/31/2009 "Herbert Armstrong: Guilty of Incest!", regarding the subject of HWA's purported incest, Mary commented about a phone call she made to the home of Vern and Dorothy Mattson:

"I did call that phone number in Sun City, AZ, and talked with Dorothy. She was very defensive, but did not deny the incest. She seemed more interested in protecting Ted than HWA. I got the feeling she even had some contempt for HWA. No wonder.

I certainly would like to see the Lochner tapes come forward now, for the benefit of those hung up in that false system"

So Dorothy(Armstrong)Mattson, up to the very end, continued to be defensive and NOT specifically deny HWA's incest in fact happened.

If Herb's purported incest did not occur with Dorothy Armstrong, why did she not specifically deny the incest allegation, let Herb off the incest hook, and laugh it off as being utterly preposterous?

What would Dorothy have to lose - nothing, and money Herbert to gain- by having Dorothy swear to God (or affirm) to the complete falsity of such an incest fabrication? She has had over two decades to do so since the Robinson court case, well after HWA's and Rader's death, and the breakup and dissolution of Herb's controlling WCG.

According to Mark Armstrong, the Mattsons have cordial relations with the Armstrong family in the Big Sandy area, and are COG supporters. Mark recently visited his aunt Dottie in the Phoenix area shortly before she died.

So after HWA became a dead hand, Dorothy Armstrong still had family and church ties to weigh in on the effect of which if she specifically and categorically admitted what HWA did, this even well after both her parents died. Her nephew Mark Armstrong continued to market her brother GTA's end-time videos through Mark's necro-evangelism television program and internet ministry, which her sister-in-law also benefited from financially.

Should HWA's incest not have been factual, Dorothy (Dottie) Mattson could have done many faithful COG people, and others affected by HWA, a great favor by publicly, categorically, specifically and strongly denying the incest allegations, to put it to rest.

Should HWA's incest be the truth, Dorothy Mattson may not have been inclined to directly affirm the incest did take place to others, other than those who already knew the truth about Armstrong. She could have had strong personal or religious motivations involving ongoing family ties and friends in COG affiliation- meaning a cover-up to 'protect' the church relations, from a scandal which would utterly destroy HWA's reputation for good.

Will Vern Mattson finally tell what he knows to be the truth about HWA? Time is indeed getting short.


Stan Gardner
AmbassadorReports.blogspot.com

Allen C. Dexter said...

Thanks for those thoughts, Stan. Those are the things still in my mind, but like I commented a short time ago, it's mattering less and less as it all gets buried in the past. New converts to the splinters are about as swayed by HWA's past as we were in the 50s and 60s by rumors about things that happened in Eugene, Oregon.

Ralph said...

Myself, I left long before any of that came up. I saw he was wrong, and I left. About all he can produce now are new splinters, which produce still more...sorta like the fractal patterns produced by using the same mathematical formula over and over. Life seems to be embedded by such patterns at all levels.

I planted some onions in my garden last year, and forgot about a small patch planted in the corner. New onions came up this year, producing bulbs at the end of the stalk, of which some gre stalks prosucing smaller bulbs, and I realized I was simply looking at a type of fractal structure.

The need for precision and formality, the focus on "God's law" that HWA taught, this is just a fractalization at a different level. It produces smaller and smaller copies of itself.

It's also called recursion, which is why some scientists are wondering we're not actually computer simulations of a yet higher reality.

I suppose I'm veering wide of the discussion, but as Allen points out, HWA's actions become less and less important. Life does what it will.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Ralph, sounds like you have some Egyptian walking onions in your patch. I deliberately planted them last season and now have lots of sets coming on to establish the kind of bed I want. They're perennial and keep multimplying from the root as well as the seed sets which fall over and "walk" across the terrain.

Fractalization occurs everywhere in nature and also in human endeavors and organizations.

Ralph said...

Thanks, Allen. My sister-in-law gave them to me two years ago, but she didn't know what they were(except they were onions). They do form both in the ground and produce seeds or bulbs just as you describe.

Purple Hymnal said...

I keep trying to get out, and they keep dragging me back in, it's like The Godfather.

The only useful (I think) comment I have to add, after reading all 116 of the comments above (which I recommend everyone visiting this thread does), is to do with the "why" of Herbert Armstrong, and his genetic/mental makeup. I, too, once subscribed to theory that he was a psychopath, narcissistic, etc., but now I am more convinced he was Schizotypal.

Schizotypal. Look it up. There's a fascinating video by Robert Sapolsky out there on the Internet about it, plus reams and reams of other information. By extension, we members of the WCG, as products of thought-reform, had that schizotypalism overlaid onto us. We're still battling it today, otherwise we wouldn't all be here.

That is my current thinking.

Mr.Scribe said...

Purple writes>
Rates of schizotypal PD are much higher in relatives of individuals with schizophrenia than in the relatives of people with other mental illnesses<

If HWA had schizotypal he would have been saying that god told him this or that...as the auditory illusion cannot be ignored.

The key here is genetics. If Herb was schizotypal, you would see his grandkids, nephews, going through the same issue.

Here, take the test...

Allen C. Dexter said...

Purple, all definitions break down at some point. I looked this up and can see where much of it applies. Narcissism would seem to be a natural component of the disorder.

Thanks for bringing it up. It helps me understand what I've been seeking to understand. As I've stated, I get less jedgmental and condemnatory the longer I live and understand the psychological forces to which all humans are subjected. I'm beginning to see that everybody is a little bit crazy.

Mr. Scribe, Herb didn't claim direct auditory or telepathic communication with the deity, but he always did claim guidance. He alswys deluded himself by stating he got his doctrines from no other man (we can see that was nonsense) but was guided by God to find them. Of course, he couldn't give credit to those sources for fear people would check them out and not see him as so special.

Ken said...

>Of course, he couldn't give credit to those sources for fear people would check them out and not see him as so special.<

I agree Al.

Casey Wollberg said...

Armstrong indeed drew heavily from older source materials for the fundamentals of his teachings, and his claim of supernatural guidance is not so much evidence of a mental disorder as it is of plain old every day lying.

The simplest explanation, the one which doesn't multiply entities unnecessarily, is that he was a duplicitous fraud. (We all know they exist, and they were abundant back in his day.) A simple case of opportunism in the midst of economic hard times. Sure, he was probably a little crazy too, and likely self-deceived to some degree.

But self-deception can only get you so far. I'm betting he mostly knew what he was doing, whether he believed his own bullshit or not (probably less than is commonly assumed, I'd argue). Back when he got his start there were a lot of similar charlatans trying to eke out a living by capitalizing on the hopes and fears and intellectual pretenses of the masses. There was a booming market for it (a credulous public is as much to blame for this Armstrongist debacle as the man himself). The desperate ad man discovered his next business opportunity is all, and it succeeded beyond anything he could have imagined.

That's a simpler explanation than proposing specific mental illnesses as candidates for the role of scapegoat. And it is better supported by the evidence at hand.

Ralph said...

I took the test. It ain't me. Of course, I am aware that people notice me, especially women, because I'm incredibly handsome and modest to boot.

I really don't care for crowds, and I never did. However, I do love really good parts in performing arts, such as "MacDuff" in Shakespeare's "MacBeth" (a real Charles Bronson type of role).

I do find that men don;t really like me, but that's because I'm an asshole. perfectly logical. Women, however, throw themselves at me.

I'm pretty normal, all in all.

Casey Wollberg said...

@ Ralph:

That's pretty much what I was thinking, too.

Purple Hymnal said...

"If Herb was schizotypal, you would see his grandkids, nephews, going through the same issue."

Like, for instance, Ted, and Mark?

The DSM version of schizotypal disorder is highly pathologized; and that Internet test is not worth the paper it is(n't) printed on....I was thinking more along the lines of all the bells that started ringing for me when I watched this video, and really hit home for me when I read a paper detailing the case studies of several schizotypal patients undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy (I can't find the paper now, and am not sure where I saved the file; searching both my hard drive and the Internet prove fruitless).

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying we're crazy; if you think you're crazy, chances are nine times out of ten you're not. But it's long been a measurable phenomena, that cult members take on the personality traits of their leaders, as I'm sure we can all agree, we (those of us who drank the Kool-Aid that is) very much did!

Which is also not to say that Armstrong was crazy, not fully crazy at least; but watch the Sapolsky video I have linked above, and tell me that doesn't ring all kinds of bells for you, WRT Armstrong and his approach to the church and its doctrines.

In a way, it's a good thing it's a false variant of schizotypalism, at least for those who had fully-formed personalities, prior to "being called". For those of us who didn't, the "cult" or pseudo-personality, is essentially, and always will be, a part of our integral makeup/personal characteristics...but knowing is half the battle, right?

If I find that paper, I'll post a link to it. FWIW, I have no one in my family tree, either past or present, who is or was schizophrenic; yet I see a lot of commonalities with my base personality (if I don't keep tight control over it), and with the spectrum of schizotypalism; which is not to say that I'm schizotypal, either.

Rather, I feel I have inherited or been imprinted with, some of the schizotypal traits that filtered down to the believing church members from Armstrong himself, through the telecast, The Plain Truth, the booklets, the correspondence course, the ministry, and our fellow brethren in the trenches of our congregations.

We were NOT, as the Evangelicals who "reformed" the church insisted, "doctrinally" sick --- we were psychologically ill!

And if you think I'm overstating things....Dennis Michael Rohan, Terry Ratzmann, and similar examples from any number of congregations, can surely be found; at the rate the church exacerbated latent schizophrenia in its vulnerable members, is it any wonder some of we children of the church have ended up on the fringes of schizotypalism ourselves?

(And you cannot tell me that video isn't ringing ANY bells at all, when it comes to Pack, Flurry, Meredith, Weinland, Holladay, Ritenbaugh, et al!)

Ken said...

Like I said, it don't fit Herbie.
Pack, Gerald and Merrydeath are in it for the money like so many others.

If Herbie had it he would have promoted tongues. This film did hint at what is going on in Tkach's little cult with tongues and all that crap.

The Orange papers point this out.

>Disturbed Gurus................
Cult leaders are often charming, charismatic figures with above-average intelligence. The "charismatic charmer" is one their personalities — a pseudo-personality.

Many cult leaders suffer from borderline, disassociate or multiple personality disorders. Members feel honored to be with, and be seen, around them. But their personality can change dramatically in a flash.

Cult leaders are always very disturbed individuals. They are usually victims turned persecutor, having a history of involvement in other social, political or religious cults and/or suffering the effects of a traumatic childhood.

Behind their strong and confident exterior (pseudo-personality) they need their leader position to compensate for a very fragile sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-identity<

Ralph said...

The issues you present may be highly relevant in terms of personality disorders and in terms of who needs to follow the leader, and Purple, I have no doubt you are probably correct in terms of the actual children who grew up in the church.

It's not my intention to belittle anyone's opinion, but it is exactly that problem I looked into when attempting to uderstand truth.

Would truth be subect to disorders or psychological disruptions of individuals?

The simple fact is, whatever his disorder, Herb was wrong, but in a lot of ways he was right, just as any deceiver must be in order to deceive.

Quite probably he completely believed in what he taught, and that makes the best deceivers, because you look in their eyes, and you see nothing but sincerity and concern.

My personal encounters with GTA, however, gave me an impression of a man who was not at all comfortable with his iconic image.

I almost felt that he would have simply liked to get to know people as GTA the man and not the icon. However charismatic he may have been on TV and radio, that was not my personal impression when I met him at Pasadena, and in more relaxed settings at Orr, Minnesota.

Truth, however, is not dependent on the manipulations of any personality type. A statement is either true or false of itself, regardless of who makes the statement or how distasteful we may find the person.

Herb, quite simply, was not telling the truth, and that can be shown regardless of his personal nature.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Quite probably he completely believed in what he taught, and that makes the best deceivers, because you look in their eyes, and you see nothing but sincerity and concern."

Which correlates with the description Sapolsky gives in the video. And while he refers to shamanistic/guru-like/speaking-in-tongues crap, those are only superficial examples; so I disagree with Ken, since it's the underlying system, and not the beliefs in and of themselves, that was psychologically disordered, from the top down.

Which is NOT letting Armstrong off the hook, don't get me wrong: SOMEONE should have stopped him, once they realized what was going on; problem is, back then, no one really did, because psychiatry and psychology wasn't really as big business as it is today.

Of course the Gracie-bots think they stopped the delusion, but they just dropped another FORM of delusion, into the same schizotypalism; this is painfully apparent, from any ten-minute conversation with a current Grace Communion International minister.

So it's NOT about the beliefs themselves; it's the system itself that is psychologically detrimental, especially when children of the church are born and raised within its confines with NO other intellectual/emotional input, than the psychologically disordered schizotypalism of the system.

(This is also apparent in the comments/blog posts from children of the church who grew up during the Tkach era, and speak glowingly of Grace Communion International, despite the ongoing financial and psychological abuses inherent in the system.)

"Herb, quite simply, was not telling the truth, and that can be shown regardless of his personal nature."

Right, but schizotypalism is (IMO) a bang-on explanation as to why. It's a good enough explanation for me, at least, and reading about the psychological implications/ramifications of schizotypalism, have certainly made me, personally, more self-aware.

Which, at the end of the day, is really all that matters. If these insights help others, that's gravy!

Ralph said...

I watched the video. Very interesting! I was reminded at the beginning of Dr Sharon Moalem's Book "Survival of the Sickest", in which Dr. Moalem points out that what we recognize as disease today may have been adaptive behavior in a different time. Diabetes and excessive sugar storage, for example, may have been a necessary adaptation to much colder climates in the ice age for energy purposes.

In ritual behavior, this is certainly evolutionary, since a study of sociobiology shows that animals maintain ritual behavior for species to recognize each other, especially when those species live in close proximity, such as some types of crabs that are similar in virtually all respects, but in order to maintain genetic immunity, perform intricate rituals of recognition.

Philip Slater writes of ancient civilizations in which a fairly isolated culture may send a "different" individual out in the desert, after which he returns with a new vision to be accepted or rejected by the community.

Slater points out that this individual "prophet" might have his message accepted, or it may be so intense that the prophet is killed.

However, in order to kill the prophet, the community must absorb his message to the degree that it becomes a kind of innoculation, contained within the community "body" for future reference.

This is not entirely different from the process by which a virus, now thought to be the driving force of evolution, enters an organism, and is "accepted" as part of the reproductive process until it rreaches a threshold in which it threatens the integrity of the organism.

The organim then must identify it and create antibodies for future reference, after which it is innoculated against the infection.

However, the infiormation prodced is stored in the organism's "library" enlargng its defenses and therefore its intelligence, and the virus itself has become part of the genetic structure of the organism, altering the reproductive process to the degree necessary for adaptation.

Ritual behavior evolves as a defense against change. It is generally part of the gene pool's strategy of controlling its environment by minimizing necessary change.

Ritual behavior develops as a result of this strategy, and technology tends to threaten that behavior byt giving us greater options, causing, as Alvin Toffler wrote, cults and sub-cultds as a reaction against the uncertainty caused by excessive change.

This is where, if the timing is correct, schizotypal people become honored because they prescribe a type of ritual that gives meaning against excessive change. Religin is evolutionary, but ritualism often causes extinction since the culture becomes overspecialized.

The shaman provides alternatives, allowing a bridge into the world where knowledge has no roadmaps.

But it;s all evolutionary.

Ralph said...

Now, of you take the ideas provided by the video and compare them to Paul's teachings, as well as Jesus, you see that both men taught of "circuit breaking" patterns.

More directly, Paul said there exists no decision procedure, no works, that can earn salvation. Ritual was ineffective. Paul stated beyond doubt that there simply exists no process by which we may get closer to God.

Any attempt to find such rituals, however, must result in continual speciation and adaptation to smaller environments, leaving gaps of greater unexplored territory.

That would be the result of Paul's statement in Romans 8:7:
No man can claim authority by any ritual, since no natural mind can be subject to God, and any attempt to do so would result in infinite ritualistic practices trying to get there.

This has a beneficial purpose. First, it causes a constant necessity of conscious adaptation by recognizing alternative around us(fractalization), and it gives options to escape the "feedback loops" caused by isolation.

From the genetic level of organisms to civilizations, the process is basically the same.

Corky said...

Then why, Ralph, did God give the Israelites a law to obey and a covenant that depended upon obedience to that law?

Better yet, where in the Jewish scriptures do gentiles get to be under a "new" covenant when they were never under the "old" one?

A person would have to convert to Judaism to even take part in any of the promises and covenants of the old covenant to start with. None of those covenants were made with gentiles but with the Isralites only. No messiah is promised to gentiles anywhere in the Jewish scriptures.

Purple Hymnal said...

"Now, of you take the ideas provided by the video and compare them to Paul's teachings...."

I find schizotypalism applies quite well to the christological figure (the literal christological figure modern mainstream Christianity promotes, that is), but the character of "Paul" in the ancient Middle Eastern narratives exhibits most of the symptoms of what we know today as temporal lobe epilepsy.

Speaking of ritualism, it's fairly easy to see how the Christian "lectionary" (the rituals played out through the span of the year) maps almost identically to the movement of the Earth around the sun (although they had it backwards, in ancient times), and how it's verbatim the same physical narrative (albeit with slightly different elements) as the "Pagan" Wheel of the Year. The christological figure really is a SUN-god, whether the Christians want to accept that fact or not.

Not that there's anything wrong with the the christological figure being an anthropomorphized sun-god (akin to the Egyptian god Horus); as a matter of fact, a growing minority of Christians are actually starting to acknowledge that this is so, and embracing those who have always had that understanding. Much to the horror of their fundamentalist "brethren".

Where it all goes off the rails, is where things become "The One True Truth"/exclusivist cults, &c., but I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone here that.

Ralph said...

Corky, if you look at development of empires, you see this tendency toward excessive growth with god-kings overrunning territories and forcing adaptation to common rituals. The pre-Marxist concept of class struggle gets this pretty accurate, by showing that, as empires conquer invading cultures, they absorb the differences within the various cultures, which then provide a gradual informing process within the empire. Like a cell bursting with new viruses to expand having absorbed the combinations of various cultural influences, the older conquered cultures spawn similar extensions of the conquering culture.

Most interesting is that ancient Babylon seemed to consciouls practice this process of absorption, taking whole cultures captive and removing them from their own territory.

What is most interesting about israelite culture, similar to Muslim culture, is that it was born in a harsh environment with very littel to sustain the culture other than strict, ritualist demands from a God who tolerate no discrepancies.

Being captutred and absorbed by Babylon, Israel(Jews) went through an intense repentance process and began developing a deeper awareness of their culture with the development of commentaries resulting in the Talmud.

When the Babylonian "cell" burst open from the conquest of Persia, Jews had already adapted the laws of Babylon and expanded concepts of trade and commerce on the borders of Babylon.

When Cyrus permitted them to travel back to israel, only a few returned, sponsored by the majority of wealthy Jews who had absorbed and adapted to Babylon's ways.

As you probably know, this blending extended to Persian mythology and Zoroastrianism, with Pharisees probably deriving their name from "Parsi" or "parsee".

Israel was specially prepared for this type of migration because their culture was born in a forbidding climate that forced them to "hardwire" their culture into their own minds wherever they found themselves.

By comparison, the Jews acted to inform civilizations and "cut and paste" very similar to the process by which viruses do in their informing of organisms.

The growth of Islam, as a kin to Judaism with Abraham as "father", probably were adaptive for the same reasons. A culture with very little to offer it in a forbidding climate would tend to focus on a future time with more inviting climates.

But Israel never focused on heave or resurrection. Theirs was the kingdom of God, right here.

Ken said...

>I find schizotypalism applies quite well to the christological figure (the literal christological figure modern mainstream Christianity promotes, that is), but the character of "Paul" in the ancient Middle Eastern narratives exhibits most of the symptoms of what we know today as temporal lobe epilepsy.<

You are corret on this. The video also mentioned Paul's vision indirectly.

Ralph said...

Corky, by Israel's law, they were, to use Purple's word, "schizotypal". They were not to take part in the "leavening" of nations, but always remain separate, clinging to their law.

Rather than spreading and expanding over territories, their culture was programmed inside them, regardless of where they found themselves. Again, probably due to the fact that they really had nothing from which to spread in harsh desert climates. They really were like spores(diaspora), waiting to be carried by winds of fate into biological systems more capable of reproduction.

However, as we see from thdeir history, they were incapable of perfect adaptation to their law. They couldn;t find perfect obedience and their systems of adaptation were always incomplete.

This incompleteness allowed them "gaps" in their cultural development that permitted a kind of fitting of "antibodies" to their owen culture for further development, becoming both organism and virus, adapting and informing. The fact that they couldn't keep their own law led them to adapt a host of expansive commentary on law that resulted in Talmud. It was a type of legislation applied to a constitution of the Torah. Instead of absorbing it within their cultural "DNA", they recorded it externally for future reference.

Instead of interal DNA code, they adapted to external written code, unchanging and not dependent on the necessary adaptation as DNA was.

While organisms stored "junk DNA" as a type of library for future reference, Jews stored information in external libraries for future reference, available to all who wished to read.

Ralph said...

Purple, you would be correct, IF traditioal interpretations of Paul was correct. Christianity as we know it certainly is descended from the SUN-god and the matrilineal cultures of other nations, but Paul taught something entirely different. Paul said that those born of Abraham were born specifically in a certain fashion, just as Isaac was, not only of promise to Abraham, but foreknown(as isaac was), predestined(as Isaac was) and called and chosen(as Isaac was, see Galatians 4:28 and 3:29).

There was no decision procedure of men to absorb or inherit this promise by choice, and it was not part of the physical covenant with Israel(Gal.3:17). The "promise" involved only certain individuals born according to specific agreement between Yahweh and Abraham. Everything else was merely imitation. Israel, and later the Jews, acted according to what they believed was a covenant exclusive between them and YHVH.

The difference was that Israel developed an external code that could be expanded to others by choice, which evolved into christianity and Islam, while YHVH made a deal with Abraham in which no such choice was available. Just as a virus enters any organism and informs it, cutting and pasting along the way, absorbing new DNA and carrying it to other species, Jews carried an external code based on human consciousl choice, which "informed" cultures by creating the same incompleteness and inability to adapt, by its nature creating a conscious sense of guilt and imperfection. Systems that are forever incomplete are far more adaptive, but their adaptive strategy is usually to overcome their environment via conversion of more and more, like cancer(or christianity). Their constant attempts at such conversion, however, results in fractalization, because in any consistent axiomatic formulation of numebr theory or any sufficiently complex formal system, there are an infinity of undecideable propositions.

It's reducible to math and biology.

Ralph said...

BTW, I haven'tg really said anything more than Max DiMont wrote in "The Indestructible Jews".

I merely wed it to epigenetics and sociobiology.

Corky said...

So, in other words, the god of Israel was impotent to give them a perfect law. Therefore he gave them a law they couldn't keep and then punished them because of it.

Makes "perfect" sense to me, Ralph.

So, since Israel couldn't keep that law, their god gave the nation to another that was not a nation (the RCC) and started over.

Smart god there. Wow, I don't know why I couldn't see that all along.

Neotherm said...

It is easy to demonize HWA but most of us ended up in the WCG because of personal deficiencies of different sorts and with various causes. The WCG appealed to us. It was the canvas on which we painted our personal dysfunctions. I wonder how many of us are bitter that Armstrongism wasn't true?

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

I'm certainly not bitter that Armstrongism isn't true.

That would have been a sick end to things.

Ralph said...

How exactly do you get it that God gave them over to RCC? As I pointed out, Paul presented a clear teaching that there exists no decision procedure by which we can become a son of God, and as I presented earlier, this follows from very logical reasons extending from the Church-Turing thesis and and from Godel's theorem.

It follows quite logically, from your statement, that if there had been a perfect God who created a nation for perfect obedience, the choice for that nation would have been to rule over others in complete and absolute power. Either that, or everyone would be created with such a mind that they were as fully able to keep God's law as any other person.

So why even have a special nation in the first place? No point in it.

However, as Paul pointed out, the natural mind, that means my mind, your mind, all minds, are enmity against God and cannot be subject to God's laws(or any proposed moral laws for that matter).

Assuming that statement is true, and there is no reason to believe it wouldn't be, since in order to prove it wrong, you would have to demonstrate that your mind IS somehow subject to God and CAN determine morality and truth.

If you can do that, I'm listening. You can't. I can't, no one can.

But suppose they could. Then such processes can be translated into language, into algorithms, and into programming, meaning that any machine could be as moral as we are, or perhaps even more moral since it would have no "reason" to violate its programming.

Your reasoning above fails, in trying to denounce a perfect God, because if there was such a God who created perfect laws with perfect understanding and perfect obedience, then we would be the very mechanical creations, nothing more than computers, fed data and coming up with generally predictive results.

That, essentially, is what collective religions do, whether it's Jews, catholics, or whatever. They seek a form of "programming" by which many individuals can be subjected to purely mechanical developments.

As Slater points out in "EarthWalk", a machine-like response had little use until men began to make war on each other. Consequently, there was a powerful evolutionary tendency for cultures to be centralized, war-making, collective, and mechanical in their approach to forming of civilization. This is the evolutionary power of the schizotypal process for developing cultures, as it is extremely mechanical, and its rituals produce calmness and a collective sense of certainty.

But such developments, as we know from Godel's theorem, cannot ever arrive at a complete and consistent truth.

The problem, however, is that god-kings of ancient empires were conditioned to believe that they DID have, and represent, that complete, consistent truth.

Israel, given a law which they simply could not keep, merely "informed" surrounding empires with that same self questioning ability.

I'm curious to know why you would think the RCC would have any authority at any point in representing God? Or any church, for that matter? Esecialy since such churches derived their authority from the very schizotypal processes Purple describes?

Especially since, as I've emphasized, both Paul and Jesus pointed out the impossibility of choosing and joining a "true church" by any mechanical reasoning process?

Your response lacked discipline, which is a shame, because I know you to be an excellent thinker.

Ralph said...

I just had another thought on the schizotypal concept. Rote, repetitive behavior works quite well in the organization of cultures. Since the video introduces the idea, such behavior reinforces genetic replication, since such ritual allows for the genes to control their environment to the degree they do not need to alter the replicative process.

In this sense, religion is the predictable evolutionary outcome of social organizations.

Marshall McLuhan, who introduced the idea that "the medium is the message", pointed out that the first publication of the Gutenberg bible reinforced this tendency toward ritualism and standardized behavior because the book itself was based on mecha nical principles of standardization, repeatability, and an unchanging message that would derive its "holy" nature from that very principle, as religious leaders had made themselves "holy" through the same ritual, mechanistic process for centuries.

By this process, however, we took away ritual from the shaman or priest, and placed it within the confines of a standardized published book, a "Holy Book" which became the ritualized code we could all reference without regard to special shaman or witch doctor to be the bridge to the "other world". "Holiness" became merely a schematic or blueprint which we could consult at any time for ourselves.

The blueprint, however, was subject to the same mathematical incompleteness as any other system reduced to a formal standardization. It could not prove its opwn truth from within itself, and it could not proceed to demonstrate truth without confronting the undecideable propositions which it created.

It enabled us to talk "about God", and it allowed us to organize "in Gd's name", but we still craved the actual "experience" of God, and for that, we still needed a shaman.

The shaman, however, was subject to the same standardized text for his training as we were. He was recognized as the proper interpreeter of the text, and could represent it to justify the needs of the people.

In fact, this is not far from what the Pharisees claimed after they began to influence Jewish law. They were the "populizers" of the law, and rabbi Hillel had developed his Seven Laws to aid the human mind in comprehending the law of God.

And that is precisely what both Jesus and Paul condemned.

The question is, are we all somehow equally shaman, or should we seek a shaman qwho can properly interpret these NT teachings?

Paul said it couldn't be done, and in fact, Romans 8:7 would cancel any appearance of a Shaman, since there would be no way for a natural mind to decipher the meanings of such a person. If you choose to follow one, you are merely following your own preferences, and that is a matter of taste, not truth.

The shaman has no purpose in today's society because we've managed to ritualize all knowledge into various forms that can be consulted by any person who wishes to look, and the internet merely expands that ability. A secret that can be examined by anybody is not much of a secret, so there goes the occult, and traditional religion along with it.

Corky said...

Ralph said...
How exactly do you get it that God gave them over to RCC?

Because that's what came out of the lst century Jesus movement. The cream rose to the top, so to speak, and the Christian Church became "spiritual" Israel (so the christian churches claim).

It follows quite logically, from your statement, that if there had been a perfect God who created a nation for perfect obedience, the choice for that nation would have been to rule over others in complete and absolute power.

Exactly, and that's what the Jewish scriptures say - "the law shall go forth from Zion" etc etc and "all nations shall go up to Jerusalem" etc etc.

So why even have a special nation in the first place? No point in it.

Then why did he have one? And, why Israel as that special nation?

However, as Paul pointed out, the natural mind, that means my mind, your mind, all minds, are enmity against God and cannot be subject to God's laws(or any proposed moral laws for that matter).

Assuming that statement is true, and there is no reason to believe it wouldn't be, since in order to prove it wrong, you would have to demonstrate that your mind IS somehow subject to God and CAN determine morality and truth
.

Exactly, but Paul claimed that they did have that mind 1Cor. 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."

Emphasis should be on "we" because he is talking about himself and his followers.

The fact that you and I don't have "the mind of Christ" doesn't change what Paul said and it leaves room for folks like Neotherm and BykerBob to claim the same thing as Paul.

Ralph said...

Good points raised, except for one small detail: who's "we"?

Neotherm and Byker Bob can certainly claim anything they wish, but proof? Again, the stumbling point is Romans 8:7. If the natural mind is enmity against God, and the spiritual mind is not, how would you ever go about proving you have a spiritual mind?

Works? Paul said not.
Choices? Same thing.
Logic? Nope.

What resulted from the first century Jesus movement, however, will not square with the plain teacings of Paul and Jesus in Matthew 24:23, Romans 8:7, etc. Whatever Paul claimed as "we", he gave no organizational, mechanical premise for making such conclusions. In fact, the "we", according to Paul's teachings, would be those who actually followed no human, as Jesus stated, and which would logically follow from Romans 8:7, 8:29-30, and 9:16-22.

Byker Bob and Neotherm can claim anyting they wish, but proof? Nope.

I explained to you why Israel served as a nation of "God's law", and the explanation doesn;t require the existence of God.

Whatever Israel's beginnings, the formed collectively in the harsh environments of a desert that was not going to serve their needs. It is quite possible, for whatever reason, that they may have been slaves who escaped from time to time, entering into the only possible environment where they could be reasonably free, and that was the desert. As such, their laws would have to be harsh, enficed by a God who accepted no compromise or excuses, resulting in a punishing culture.

There is no reason to assume this did not happen, since it fits quite well. That they believed in a God who forced them to "hardwire" their laws into themselves wherever they found themselves, they were merey "junk DNA" ready to be absorbed by any culture that innocently absorbed them, like Babylon.

Ralph said...

To continue, Keep in mind that no actual God is necesary for this. It does fit logically into the history they teach, whether fictional or not. According to Genesis, they gradually became slaves in Egypt after the promise made to Abraham.

Recent discoveries, as I read a couple of years ago, but I can't now quote the source, stated that a form of alphabetic texts were found in caves in Egypt, corresponding to the time periods of the ancient israelites.

Suppose an identity was created for a group of slaves, built on this new alphabetic text, that created an ancient identity for slaves. Suppose, like some form of "Stalag 13", they gradually were able to filter a few slaves at a time into the desert, with the knowledge of this "law of God" to be taught to those who gathered there. Rather than a mass exodus delivered by YHVH, they simply developed a culture of law but being escaped slaves, their law would not reflect a human God, but a God of law applied to each and every freed slave.

Then you have such laws as "treat the stranger as your own, since you were once slaves in Egypt" etc.

None of that rwequires a supernatural God, but it certainly helps their sense of destiny.

Any law, however formal or explicit, is subject to the analogue of Godel's theorem. It will always contain judgements that can never be fully determined in a complete consistent fashion. There will always remain "undecided" judgements.

Trying to reconcile those undecide judgement is exactly what contributed to the adaptability of Israel.

Nothing about Israel's history would require a supernatural God. All they would need was a group of people dedicated to the idea of freedom for those who chose to live among them, to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself".

Or, "he that says he loves God and hates his brother is a liar, and the truth is not in him".

Nothing supernatural in that. It merely comes from a culture forced to become self aware as individuals, to become the collective shaman that had their laws of God "hardwired" into their individual systems, without regard to their environment.

The harshness of their adaptive process would certainly reflect such strictness of their God as one who fed them manna in order to make them dependent only on his laws for guidance.

Anonymous said...

I can see where most serious Christians would have quite a bit of difficulty in participating in some of these discussions. I realize that this is a sweeping statement, but there is also a sweeping problem. It seems that some posters have a very superficial understanding of the Bible, and of the Christian walk. There is so much disinformation posted and discussed that it would require a full team 24-7 to address it all. If that were indeed to happen, and people were confronted with the truth from real historians, and real Bible scholars, probably most would leave. BTW, I am not a splinter group member, or a GCI member.

Purple Hymnal said...

"...most of us ended up in the WCG because of personal deficiencies of different sorts and with various causes..."

Speak for yourself, Neo. There are at least a couple hundred thousand of us (remember, large families were expected, and the 80-100K stats were only baptized members) who were born and raised in the church....We didn't "end up in the WCG because of personal deficiencies" --- but we sure left with a hell of a lot of them!

". There is so much disinformation posted and discussed that it would require a full team 24-7 to address it all. If that were indeed to happen, and people were confronted with the truth from real historians, and real Bible scholars, probably most would leave. BTW, I am not a splinter group member, or a GCI member."

No, but you're just as condescending as one! If you have no history with the church, why are you on a blog discussing it? Why are you here trying to preach to us that we don't know YOUR bible? Of course we don't know YOUR bible, we weren't Christians! And we're certainly not (well, Corky and Allen and James and Ralph and I aren't) Christians now! So tell me why we have to be "corrected"?

Hmmmm, seems to me that's what the church promised us...."The Truth, hidden, for 1900 years!!"

Your anti-Semitic, exclusivist, racist, prejudiced Christian "truth" ain't much better, you know.

If you're not a member of a splinter group or WCG/GCI, and if you were never a member of WCG, why are you even here on this blog, telling us how "wrong" we are, by your particular version of "the truth", Anon 1:07?

Purple Hymnal said...

This isn't the paper I was referring to above, but it fits our discussion nicely, vis a vis children of the church, I think:

Psychological Trauma and Schizotypal Symptoms

Abstract:

"In a sample of 75 women recruited from the community,
we measured trauma/maltreatment history and symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder, using both questionnaire and interview measures. As
hypothesized, individuals with histories of trauma/maltreatment had elevated levels of schizotypal
symptoms. Among types of trauma/maltreatment,
reported childhood neglect was especially strongly associated with schizotypal symptoms. Although posttraumatic stress disorder symptom severity, depression, dissociation, and difficulty identifying one's emotions were all associated with schizotypal symptoms, they could not account completely for
the association between trauma/maltreatment and
schizotypal symptoms."


Which, in plain English means, "The church made us the freaks and weirdos that we are today", and it's not as much "post-traumatic stress", as how the psychology of the group shaped our personalities, from the very outset.

I'm still looking for that paper I read, that had the case studies. Most of what I read (albeit on the Internet) about the disorder does indicate it is a chronic, uncorrectable condition...which is what I've always said, anyway. I've always said my post-church life/survival has been like trying manage a chronic disease!

Allen C. Dexter said...

"Why are you here trying to preach to us that we don't know YOUR bible? Of course we don't know YOUR bible, we weren't Christians! And we're certainly not (well, Corky and Allen and James and Ralph and I aren't) Christians now! So tell me why we have to be 'corrected'?"

Amen, Purple.

Of all the stupid religions humans have invented, Christianity stands out as one of the stupidest, and its holy book is a total travesty. I'm amazed that I could have been stupid enough to fall for it for so long, but psychological quirks and needs do strange things to us humans.

When somebody tells me the Bible says something, my response is that I don't give a damn what they say it says or what it really does say. It's totally irrelevant to my present reality and if anyone wants to judge me or my lifestayle by it, I simply laugh in their face.

Allen C. Dexter said...

As a further comment, I'm glad James attached that very outstanding video to this blog. Except for comments, it's been dead for three weeks now. Where are you Richard? I thought you had a lot to say.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am glad he's had no more to say, especially after listening to the video talking about his grandfather's ghastly legacy in the PCG.

Ralph said...

"Anonymous" above makes the "sweeping" statement that there is so much disinformation it would take 24/7 to correct it. Not only is it a sweeping statement, it falls within the category of the ad hominem fallacy, telling us nothing at all as to what may or may not be wrong.

Anonymous, Romans 8:7 will nail you. Since the natural mind cannot be subject to God, you would have to demonstrate that you have access to some type of mind that CAN be subject to God, but how you gonna do it?

You can't since every argument you present, to be demosntrated, would have to be consistent with truth, and you would have to prove it with logic.

If you can do that, you've just proven that Paul was lying in Romans 8:7. Further you would have demonstrated that we have no need for all the varieties of christianity, and no need for deception, since you would have proven a logical, mechanical truth.

And once you do that, you will have proven that we canbuild a computer that will have every necessary attribute of God, a substitute for both church and state.

There is nothing you can show about the "christian walk" that can ever demonstrate a singular truth, and even Jesus himself says there's no point in trying in Matthew 24:23.

I'm sure you have some rationale to explain that Jesus didn't mean exactly what he said, or that the natural mind is, in some undefined ways, subject to God.

Allen and Purple and the rest don't care what the bible says. Me? I can open the bible with any of your so-called experts and intellectually rip your head off and shit down the hole.
Try me.

Ralph said...

The doctrine of death video is powerful, and deserves a separate discussion. I've already told of my friend whose conscious control gradually slipped away as a result of refusal to take a blood transfusion. His was most sad because it robbed him of enjoyment of life over a period of several years.

Mind you, I still don't resort to drugs if I can avoid them. Sharon takes synthroid every day for the simple reason that she will die if she doesn't. She had thyroid cancer.

I do, however, believe that running to a drug or pain killer for every little twinge robs your body over time of its defenses, and may well contribute long term to cancer, since cancer is merely the growth of cells that do not respond to bodily cues.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Ralph, I agree that drugs are taken far too much, but there comes a time one has no choice, as is the case with Sharon.

I have my thyroid, but at 75+ it doesn't produce enough, and my strength was dropping into the abyss.

Synthroid has reversed that some. Tomorrow, I'll be getting a testosterone implant for the same reason. It's either that or shuffle around like so many other older people for whom life is a burden.

I guess we're just living too long now. When the juices dry up, we just go around progressively more and more dead, stumbling around like some zombie.

The Third Witness said...

As a card-carrying member of the choir in a “mainstream” Christian church and a former member of WCG, I personally consider this comments thread one of the most valuable discussions I have ever particpated in in my life (currently defined as “52 years and counting”). If James’ decision to invite Dick Armstrong to be guest editor for June results in nothing more than this comments thread, it will have been well worth it, as far as I am concerned.

Anybody who comes here to discuss with rigorous theological precision the finer points of Christianity (traditional, “orthodox”, specially-and-exclusively-trademarked-and-copyrighted or any other possible variety) is barking up the wrong tree. What we are doing here is something entirely different: processing our WCG experience and (in my case, anyway), trying to improve our thinking faculties.

As for who we are, if we keep on communicating like this, we may be in serious danger of finding out!

Corky said...

As for who we are, if we keep on communicating like this, we may be in serious danger of finding out!

A bunch of one-time gullible people is who we were. Fallible human beings is who we are. Some still fall into the gullible category.

Corky said...

Ralph said...
Good points raised, except for one small detail: who's "we"?

Obviously Paul and the Corinthian church to whom he was writing. Whom would you think?

Ralph said...

Allen, I'm only 60, I wake up tired, and I have the usual prostate problems of men my age. I told my younger brother that you know you're getting old when your conversations mostly are concerned with regular bowel movement.

Corky, Paul wrote to specific people. If you would include yourself in the "we" group, you'd still have to qualify it by all the other statements regarding what group that would be, how it would be defined, etc, and then you'd end up with just another version of the already existing 38,000.

If you start believing in God, that's one thing, but if you start defining how it should be done, you can't help getting into that schizotypal behavior Purple brought up, and then you start arguing with everybody on what's right and wrong, like Southern Baptists, or you simply keep your mouth shut and trust the so-called authorities, like we used to do.

I guess if I had to choose a religion, I'd be Southern Baptist. They don't know what the hell they believe, and they'll still fight you over it.

We have a Baptist church on every street corner where I live, and the libraries are closing for lack of money. That's scary.

Sharon asked me to attend church with her because a business associate, a really fine and humble man, asked her to come to services. Generally, neither of us go to church, thank God.

I hate to make fun or criticize, but those services reminded me of a cargo cult. They go through the motions and do things the way they're supposed to, but like cargo cults building airplanes from wood and vines, they seemed to have no conception of what the hell they were doing. And yet they were all really nice people.

I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.

Purple Hymnal said...

"If James’ decision to invite Dick Armstrong to be guest editor for June results in nothing more than this comments thread, it will have been well worth it, as far as I am concerned."

Ditto. It provided pretty good closure for me, personally, being able to run one of those damn smug minister's kids, out of town on a rail! Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I can't tell you how many of those supercilious rotten little brats have tried the "OBEY ALL THAT I SAY PEON!" shit on me over the Internet, despite the fact that I am no longer a church member and, in one case, the stupid little bastard ordering me around wasn't even still in the church or any of the splinters, either!

(Even had a Gracie minister try that on me once, but he backed down when I called him on it. The fucking hypocrite.)

Corky said...

Ralph said...

Corky, Paul wrote to specific people. If you would include yourself in the "we" group, you'd still have to qualify it by all the other statements regarding what group that would be, how it would be defined, etc, and then you'd end up with just another version of the already existing 38,000.

That's what I've been saying for 30years. Not only would you have to have apostalic succession, you would also have to have an unsplintered ecclesia succession (the Catholic makes that claim).

No good saying that your church is the "truth restored" church. That would be like saying the truth is an antique that got tossed in the trash. Not only that but you would have to have a holy spirit succession too, passed from father to son - hands on, of course.

I'd much rather be a fundy atheist than a fundy christian any day. When an atheist says that they don't believe in a god - that's honest. When a "christian" says they believe in a god, you can't tell if they really do or not.

If a so-called christian really believed, they would be scared to death to do the things they do. The god I've read about is no one to play pretense with. He takes no shit off anybody - I respect that.

Ralph said...

Corky, we seem to agree, but I came to the same conclusion by actually looking at the logical results of Paul's statements.

How do you get "truth restored" if the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God? How you gonna prove it's true?

'Bout the only way you can do it is like the catholics di, and hook up with government.

THAT'S the point I was making earlier. The early catholic church had no power of vengeance, because they well understood that vengeance belonged only to the "higher powers" of Romans 13.

While the pope was recignized to be the highest power, he couldn't do squat to stop heresy.

That's when pope Innocent III came up with the slick idea of the "oath ex officio". Once you took the oath, you were bond to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, about any damn question the inquisition asked.

But it was also understood that if a person was made to speak an oath when he did not believe in it, the power of the oath was brought on the inquisitor.

This seems to be the reason when the high priest "abjured" Jesus to admit to his "crime", Jesus said "You have said it". That was a reversal of the blasphemy, which is why the priest tore his clothes.

He legally screwed up. This was a version of the little game played by inquisitors and the accused. The inquisitor would try to trap the accused, and the accused would dance around the oath, until people like John Lilburne came along and said no man can be made to accuse himself.

That is confirmed in our Supreme Court by Abe Fortas, who pointed out that mea culpa belonged only between man and his God. No state had the authority to declare a man guilty.

It's very important to understand that, simply from the viewpoint of law, because if you do, it might save you a bunch of money.

For example, the Puritans in the US might force an accused person to take the oath and confess to a particular sin, but once confessed, the Puritans did what the bible said(generally). They let him go, because confession, biblically. demanded forgiveness.

If you confess before the law today, it brings punishment. Not common law prescriptions.

James prescribes the exact opposite of this. he says don;t swear(or affirm) at all, because it leads to condemnation. Instead, confess your sins often to each other for the sake of forgiveness.

This may sound nutty to you, but that's actually how our legal process worked from ancient times.

Church today may be separated from state, but all courts are supposed to be common law, and as common law, they are required to accept the authority of God, reason, and nature. Read Blackstone on the rights of man.

Paul, by saying we are "dead to the law", actually taught absolute habeas corpus, corresponding to Blackstone's statement that:

"Let a man therefore be ever so abandoned in his principles, or vicious in his practice, provided he keep his wickedness to himself...he is out of the reach of human laws".

That's the difference between accusatorial law and inquisitotrial law. The courts, by asking "do you swear/affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth..etc actually borrow from the authority of the church, since all 50 states recognize the sovereignty of God. Whether you swear or afirm, you have just waived rights guaranteed under common law(due process).

I know, it's stupid, it's a scam, but it gets the state over on you, and you play along in ignorance.

The Painful Truth said...

Found this in my mail box today.
Enjoy!

"Ten Commandments: Basis for American Law?"

http://tinyurl.com/32eggdk

Ralph said...

Obviously we have the first amendment. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and of course the 14th amendment keeps the states from such prohibitions. So what does it mean? It means if I see something in the bible that contradicts the constitution, the constitution can kiss my ass.

Take birthright citizenship in the 14th amendment. John 1:12-13 says you can choose your birth by choice, and you are not born of the will of men, which would be constitutional law, so screw 'em.

No person can be deprived of life, liberty or property without common law(due process) and common law recognizes only God, nature, and reason. Due process, therefore, is outside constitutional law, so the Supreme Court can kiss my ass.

This is stated by an old case, "Us vs Hudson and Goodwin", justice Harlan stating that "life, liberty, and property, which experience has proved to be essential to the safety and security of the people, should be placed BEYOND ALL DANGER OF IMPAIRMENT OR DESTRUCTION BY THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT THROUGH LEGISLATION BY CONGRESS....IN ANY LEGAL PROCEEDING ENFORCED BY PUBLIC AUTHORITY....MUST BE HELD TO BE BY DUE PROCESS OF LAW".

For further clarification see Chief Justice Chase's ruling in "Calder vs Bull".

The Ten Commandments are NOT the basis for the Constitutuion, but by due process you CAN claim the authority of God for your defense, and if I'm given a horse for free, I ain't going to go looking around its mouth.

Ralph said...

Alexander Hamilton points out: Some gentlemen hold that the law of the land will include an act of the legislature...the words 'due process' have a precise technical import, and are only applicable to the process and proceedings of the courts of justice. They can NEVER be referred to an act of legislature(emphasis mine)."

"Calder vs Bull", Chief Justice Chase, 1798(real original intent!).

Justice Chase defined "ex post facto laws as:
1.Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was when it was committed.
2.Every law that alters legal rules of evidence(like using a cop, sworn to the constitution and paid by the state, as a witness against you in traffic court).

Ex post facto laws, said Chase, are "laws that create or aggravate the crime."

Is speeding a crime? Not evemn technically. It's merely a violation. Of what? Of a law that says you are guilty of a violation. Of what? Of the law.

Justice Chase declares: "A law that punishes a man for an innocent action(like forgetting to fasten his seat belt),a law that destroys or impairs, the lawful private contracts of citizens; a law that makes a man a judge in his own cause(forbidden by both Madison and Hamilton in "Federalist 10 and 84). How is a man a judge in his own cause?

Say you walk into traffic court, tjhe witness against you is emploted by the state, sworn to the state. The prosecutor is sworn to uphold the laws of the state, as is the judge. This is the combination of executive, legislative, and judiciary, which Hamilton, Madison, and Justice Joseph Story says is the very essence of tyranny and despotism.
It's also ex post fact laws, as defined by Justice Chase, who also says this is "against all reason and justice for a people to entrust a legislature with such powers..."

Purple Hymnal said...

Damn. Here I was, thinking I could quit this place cold turkey, when the site went bye-bye.

At least Gavin's done me the favour of censoring me from Otagosh, so he and his "faithful" readers won't catch my eebul non-Christian cooties, now that he's soon to become a real live pastard himself. :P

Ralph said...

Your state government is scamming you, since all traffic courts are administrative law, and the constitution plainly declares for both federal and state governments that NO PERSON shall be dweprive of life, liberty, or property but by due process(common law).

You're being ripped off, scammed, "had".

Corky said...

Purple Hymnal said...

At least Gavin's done me the favour of censoring me from Otagosh, so he and his "faithful" readers won't catch my eebul non-Christian cooties, now that he's soon to become a real live pastard himself.

Gavin may have finally caught on to where the easy money comes from, doncha think? Hey, and you can get a "degree" in theology on line - for a lower cost that attending a college. But then, who needs to know that other college garbage when you only need a degree in money making theology?

Start you very own cult, live big, die rich.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Corky, that is the route some take, but I like to sleep well at night and not be a sotted alcoholic like old Herb. I got ordained to legally do weddings which harm no one and are a lot of fun to do. No guilt there.

Corky said...

Allen, I agree. I sleep well at night - when I finally decide to go to bed, that is. I still do weddings but nothing else and I'm sure your credentials are just as good as mine so far as the state is concerned. In fact, you don't even need a church of any kind to register as a minister at the court house - there is no law to prevent it, freedom of religion and all that, you know.

Ralph said...

If you register as a minister, are you considered "dead to the law" as practiced in common law?

And what's wrong with a sotted alcoholic?

I stayed that way during my time in the marines, far from religion.

Ralph said...

Purple, I thoroughly enjoyed the ideas on schizotypal behavior. I passed it on to the kurzweilai web page, where it will probably be considered in the broad range of Artificial Intelligence.

I'm wondering how useful schizotypal behavior is in the continuing programming of computers and rote, repetitive processes so necessary for it.

Corky and Allen, you guys are ministers? I can't fuss, since I have a Doctor of Divinity degree.

I would suggest that people are going to try and find any crack in the law that gives them freedom, and right now, the 1st amendment is the most obvious bet.

Allen C. Dexter said...

As I pointed out in my book, I later found out I could have ordained myself or just started using the title "Rev." Here in Arizona, you don't even have to register anywhere. It's one of the freest states in the union.

I just give people one of my very generic ceremonies which most people love, and they don't mention a deity once, or they can write their own and I'll read it as it is. It's their wedding, so they get what they want.

People are generally relieved that they don't have to endure "counseling," -- nothing but a control strategy and proselytizing effort. I've also done a few un-legally recognized committment ceremonies for gays -- in my case always women. I provide them a certificate that plainly states in smaller print at the bottom that it is not an official State of Arizona document.

Ralph said...

When I was asked to run for state office a few years ago, I was interviewed by a radio host who asked if I would legalize homosexual weddings. I said "Of course. Why should the state decide what God joins together?"

I knew that would sink my camapign for sure, but I really didn't care.

BTW, since I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body, and I like to wear men's clothes, would that make me a gay transvestite?

Purple Hymnal said...

"I'm wondering how useful schizotypal behavior is in the continuing programming of computers and rote, repetitive processes so necessary for it."

It isn't (useful, that is). Matter of fact, the best way to describe schizotypalism is "There's a glitch in The Matrix." Rote, repetitive processes can actually be severely disrupted by it or they can even exacerabte the full-blown disorder, as a matter of fact.

Until I started reading up on schizotypalism, and others' experiences with the disorder as a genetic, heritable condition that they were diagnosed with, I never realized that the way my brain operates sometimes, was not the same way everyone's brain does!

Fortunately for me, since I do not have the congenital nor the hereditary variant of the condition, I have zero risk (I'm also well outside the age range) for schizophrenia, and I am also able to objectively assess the "glitches" when/if they occur.

In other words, I'm able to say to myself, "Well, that's cool/freaky/disturbing/funny/weird/annoying/confusing/hilarious/strange/random, but I really must get on with my day now," so I'm (mostly) unaffected by these "glitches", in my day-to-day life.

This is why I believe the schizotypal traits I may (or may not - I'm not a fan of those who diagnose themselves via the Internet) possess are a part of the cult personality I was raised with, as opposed to a congenital deficit, over which I would otherwise have little to no control over, nor insight into.

Purple Hymnal said...

"exacerabte"

exacerbate. I've got to stop triple-tasking.....

Rachael said...

I wonder if any of you have seen this show on the science channel?

http://science.discovery.com/tv/through-the-wormhole/episodes/creator/

Interestingly they profile a physicist at Cal Tech who believes we are currently in a simulation programmed by our god-like descendents. He believes this because so many parts of our world behave as if someone has programmed them, and the nature of sub-atomic matter.

If so - it only confirms that we can't get there from here.

Ralph said...

Rachel, much of this type of thinking goes several years back to such people as Ed fredkin of MIT who developed the idea of a digital universe which I think is now known as digital philosophy.

As he might say it, the universe is not made of atoms, electrons, etc, but actual bits of information that interact, corresponding to what we recognize as atoms, etc.

One of the problems in all such attempts is "at bottom, there is no bottom" or we have "turtles all the way down".

Then there are those who propose that if this is a simulation, how do we know that we are not a simulation of a simulation of a simulation...to infinity?

Then you see comparisons of that with the inflation theory of the universe in which there are an infinity of infinite universes...

Most of the problem of tracing our beginnings is entropy. Over time, enetrgy is lost and never retrievable in any coherent fashion, so even though we know there was some kind of beginning, the complete loss of orderly energy in the process of development allow us very little possibility of discovering how it came to be.

It's the billiard ball problem. If you see balls on a pool table lying in random relational positions after the "break", is it possible to travce every possible random trajectory of the balls?

Each time you rack and break them you will always have different trajectories not entirely predictable from the last time.

The universe doesn't have a great memory.

Fredkin, however, points out that if we everr develop reversible computers that perform any function and then re-trace their steps to their original position, no energy will be used! Full memory is contained within the reversibility.

But will we have learned anything from experience if we can simply return exactly to the beginning?

Allen C. Dexter said...

I watch that program every week, and the theory strikes me as totally ridiculous. I think advanced humans would have a much more rewarding way to spend their time.

I'm much more concerned about the human race being around to do much of anything much longer. Our technological wonderworld is hanging by a thread right now, and there are a host of situations threatening to destroy it and us.

There is plenty of reason to believe that the universe and we are a rare happenstance. There just may not be anything else out there to compare with us or our earth.

Byker Bob said...

I've had a fake ministerial credential for years now from Universal Life Church. But, in my case, and with my conscience, I won't use it. Unlike Allen, or Corky, I never was a bonifide minister. A couple of years ago, I was asked by a a Wiccan priestess to perform a marriage for some of her friends, but I declined. I can't imagine that my performing such a wedding would have been pleasing to God!

BB

Ralph said...

I wrote to Mars Hill College several years ago and told them that since I already knew evetrythng i needed to know, why didn't they just mail me a degree?

I even offered to challenge their faculty on any major religious issue. The director of admissions sent me a nice letter saying I woulnd't fit in with their curriculum.

I replied that I didn;t need to fit their curriculum, I merely needed a degree so I could officially tell others what I already knew. I got no further response.

Corky said...

BykerBob,
Weddings don't have anything to do with pleasing gods. A Vietnamese Buddhist and his wife are just as married as a Christian and his wife or an atheist and his wife.

If you are thinking of Adam and Eve, God just presented Eve to Adam, like in: "here is a woman for you". Like a gift, more or less, depending on how well they ended up getting along. There was no wedding ceremony involved.

The rest of the time in the OT it looks as if a wife is merely purchased from the father, kind of like a household slave.

Then if he decides to get rid of her, he tells everyone that she wasn't a virgin and then it becomes her burden to prove that she was.

Tell me, how is she going to do that? Heh heh, the Jews in the babble sound a whole lot like the modern Muslims don't they? Yeah, and they probably used to wear veils and burqas too. That's probably why Jacob couldn't tell one sister from the other and had to work another 7 years to get the one he wanted.

Evidently, Jacob having two wives who were sisters was okey dokey with God - and you are worried about performing a wedding ceremony? Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Corky said...

Gee Ralph, I wonder why the college treated you so unfairly?

Allen C. Dexter said...

Ralph, I like your style. Might as well have some fun along the way.

Corky is right. What's a god have to do with it? Marriage is an agreement between two people. First, families got involved, then religions and governments, solely for contol and orderliness. Records are very handy, you know.

Stan said...

Obviously we have the first amendment. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and of course the 14th amendment keeps the states from such prohibitions. So what does it mean? It means if I see something in the bible that contradicts the constitution, the constitution can kiss my ass.<<

Ralph, you make a most novel interpretation of the establishment clause [that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion", together with the free exercise clause ("... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof")], and the fourteenth amendment.

Having a Bible translation (whose?) overrule the constitution should it contradict something in 18th century English...well, that idea speaks for itself.

Take birthright citizenship in the 14th amendment. John 1:12-13 says you can choose your birth by choice, and you are not born of the will of men, which would be constitutional law, so screw 'em.<<

No person can be deprived of life, liberty or property without common law (due process) and common law recognizes only God, nature, and reason. Due process, therefore, is outside constitutional law, so the Supreme Court can kiss my ass.<<

United States law holds our protections of due process are found in the federal and state constitutions, the various amendments, and federal and state statutory laws. I fail to fathom your reliance only on the common law as the one proper basis for due process.

This is stated by an old case, "Us vs Hudson and Goodwin", justice Harlan stating that "life, liberty, and property, which experience has proved to be essential to the safety and security of the people, should be placed BEYOND ALL DANGER OF IMPAIRMENT OR DESTRUCTION BY THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT THROUGH LEGISLATION BY CONGRESS....IN ANY LEGAL PROCEEDING ENFORCED BY PUBLIC AUTHORITY....MUST BE HELD TO BE BY DUE PROCESS OF LAW".<<

Ralph, just what case opinion are you referring to?
The first Justice Harlan could not have written any opinion in U.S. vs. Hudson and Goodwin. He was born decades later after the opinion you cite in U.S. vs. Hudson and Goodwin was issued, so he could not have rendered it.

The first justice Harlan did render a dissenting opinion in a completely different Supreme Court case (which) from the one authority (I think) you might be citing. I don't have time to bother finding your Harlan case or tracking the possibilities down. But as it was a dissenting opinion in the case – not the majority holding of the case, the losing opinion you cite would have little weight given to it as Supreme Court precedent in federal constitutional law.

Stan said...

For further clarification see Chief Justice Chase's ruling in "Calder vs Bull".
The Ten Commandments are NOT the basis for the Constitutuion, but by due process you CAN claim the authority of God for your defense, and if I'm given a horse for free, I ain't going to go looking around its mouth.<<<<

Just rhetorically Ralph, if you claim the authority of God for your defense, then to be fair should the prosecutor then claim the authority of God for your prosecution, and get it?

The holding In Calder vs. Bull is that that ex-post facto clause applies to criminal, not civil cases. If that is supposed provide further clarification to some point of yours, you are going to have to explain how...

Stan said...

Alexander Hamilton points out: Some gentlemen hold that the law of the land will include an act of the legislature...the words 'due process' have a precise technical import, and are only applicable to the process and proceedings of the courts of justice. They can NEVER be referred to an act of legislature(emphasis mine)."
"Calder vs Bull", Chief Justice Chase, 1798(real original intent!).

Justice Chase defined "ex post facto laws as:
1.Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was when it was committed.
2.Every law that alters legal rules of evidence (like using a cop, sworn to the constitution and paid by the state, as a witness against you in traffic court).<<<<

Hamilton also said in No. 78 "The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void."

Hamilton also thought the Bill of Rights constitutionally unnecessary.

Justice Chase defined what constitutes an ex-post facto law in Chalder vs. Bull through four different ways:
“I will state what laws I consider ex post facto laws, within the words and the intent of the prohibition.
1st. Every law that makes an action , done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2nd. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed. 3rd. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender. [3 U.S. 386, 391]   
All these, and similar laws, are manifestly unjust and oppressive. In my opinion, the true distinction is between ex post facto laws, and retrospective laws. Every ex post facto law must necessarily be retrospective; but every retrospective law is not an ex post facto law: The former, only, are prohibited. “

Stan said...

Assuming that the legislature's resolution was a “law” within the meaning of the ex post facto clause, Justices Samuel Chase, Paterson, and Iredell agreed that the clause was addressed only to laws imposing retroactive punishment (by creating criminal sanctions for actions that were legal when carried out or increasing the punishment set for a particular offense and applied retrospectively) and thus was inapplicable in civil disputes.

Chase and Paterson, in addition, rested their rejection of the Calders' argument on the grounds of textual interpretation. Citing such sources as Blackstone, The Federalist, and the constitutions of other states, they concluded that the expression “ex post facto” was a technical legal term that, long before the Revolution, had come to apply only to laws imposing or increasing criminal punishment, and the Constitution's makers must have “understood and used the words in their known and appropriate signification” (p. 397). Both justices buttressed this reading of the clause by noting its close proximity to provisions such as the impairment of Contracts Clause that would be redundant if “ex post facto” were extended to cover civil legislation.

Alone among the justices, Chase raised and then rejected another possible ground for invalidating the Connecticut resolution: its incompatibility with “the very nature of our free Republican governments” (p. 388).

In a long and rambling paragraph Chase denied “the omnipotence of a state Legislature” even in the absence of express constitutional limits on its power. Using language reminiscent of Locke, Chase insisted that “the great first principles of the social compact” determined what actions of a legislature could be regarded as “a rightful exercise of legislative authority” (pp. 387–388). He went on to list a number of actions that could not be deemed legitimate regardless of the absence of any express constitutional prohibition; among them were ex post facto laws in the technical, criminal sense and “a law that takes property from A and gives it to B” (p. 388).

Chase avoided applying these fundamental principles in Calder v. Bull itself, if indeed he even meant to suggest that judges were entitled to enforce them against the legislature, on the ground that whatever rights the losing heirs might have had to the property had not yet vested when the legislature acted and thus were still subject to interference by law.

Iredell appears to have interpreted Chase's opinion to assert a power in courts to pronounce a statute “void, merely because it is, in [the judges'] judgment, contrary to the principles of natural justice” (p. 399). Observing that persons of intelligence and good will disagree about the dictates of natural justice, Iredell denied that judicial invalidation of a statute on such a basis could express anything but a difference of opinion, and he expressly limited the exercise of judicial review to the enforcement of express limitations on legislative power.

Stan said...

The subsequent career of Calder v. Bull has been controversial.

Early nineteenth‐century critics attacked its limitation of the ex post facto clause to criminal statutes. Justice William Johnson appended a long note to the report of an 1829 case, Satterlee v. Mathewson, arguing with considerable force that Calder's actual holding rested on the characterization of the Connecticut legislature's action as judicial rather than legislative in nature, and criticizing the Calder justices' use of legal authority.

In the modern era, the case has been the subject of widely varying interpretations. Some scholars maintain that Calder is direct evidence of an “original understanding” that courts would enforce unwritten fundamental‐law limitations on governmental power, while others insist that the case reflected the transition from the Revolutionary era's political rhetoric of social compact and natural rights to the text‐bound interpretivism of the later Marshall Court.

Whatever they may have meant originally by their remarks, Chase's invocation of constitutional principles transcending the constitutional text and Iredell's insistence on the textual nature of judicial review continue to play a role in the debate over the legitimacy of the Supreme Court's jurisprudence.


>>>Is speeding a crime? Not evemn technically. It's merely a violation. Of what? Of a law that says you are guilty of a violation. Of what? Of the law.

Speeding in a vehicle can be legally defined as a criminal act, depending on the facts and circumstances of the speeding, and the applicable statutes. Ralph, should you speed in violation of the law, are you going to tell the judge it wasn't a crime technically, because your circular logic invalidates the charge?

Justice Chase declares: "A law that punishes a man for an innocent action(like forgetting to fasten his seat belt),a law that destroys or impairs, the lawful private contracts of citizens; a law that makes a man a judge in his own cause(forbidden by both Madison and Hamilton in "Federalist 10 and 84). How is a man a judge in his own cause?

Say you walk into traffic court, tjhe witness against you is emploted by the state, sworn to the state. The prosecutor is sworn to uphold the laws of the state, as is the judge. This is the combination of executive, legislative, and judiciary, which Hamilton, Madison, and Justice Joseph Story says is the very essence of tyranny and despotism.
It's also ex post fact laws, as defined by Justice Chase, who also says this is "against all reason and justice for a people to entrust a legislature with such powers..."<<<

Ralph, your hypothetical of a man in traffic court “being a judge in his own cause” is less than convincing as an exemplar of what Justice Chase was attempting to convey in his opinion when judges have an ethical and legal duty to be legally independent from prosecutors, juries, or even the accused.

The Federalist Papers, which admittedly give some historical insight into the political thoughts of Hamilton and Madison, are not the law of the United States.

From what I gather, you may have been surveying the history and jurisprudential theory of the common law.

That's an admirable pursuit, but some "Common Law court" adherents declare themselves exempt from the laws of the United States. Using pseudo-legal theories based on selective and often bizarre  interpretations of the Bible, the Magna Carta, state and Federal court decisions, and the U.S. and state constitutions, “common law court” proponents try to nullify the rule of law in an attempt to defy the authority of legitimate courts.

Ralph said...

All good points, Stan. Even justice Iredell, while agreeing in general, pointed out the same things you do in regard to Connecticut legislative power.

In fact, based on the decision of that time, Chase overstepped his boundaries even though he made excellent points.

However, if you look at his decisions regarding "ex post facto" and "Bill of Attainder laws, and compare them to the 5th amendment in its entirety, he had some very good points.

First, no person can be compelled to testify against himself(self incrimination). Any law which, of itself, incriminates an individual becomes ex post facto culminating not in Bill of Attainder, but Bill of Pain and penalty, which Chief Justice Marshall combined.

While Chase correctly interpreted the idea in terms of the 5th amendment, he wrongly assumed that it lay within his power to make such a decision,because the 5th amendment described life, liberty, and property, which Madison clearly stated was reserved exclusively to the states under due process which is clearly defined as common law.

However, under 14th amendment provisions today, Chase would be correct in his statements. In fact, he was correct in overall terms, but wrong in terms of his authority to make the statement as a federal judge.

Actually, both Hamilton and Madison prohibited this idea in the Federalist, and while trhe Federalist may not be law, the constitution is not common law, as St george Tucker, Chief Justice Marshall, and several justices such as Harlan agree.

Not only is life, linberty and property to be reserved to the states, but no person could be deprived except by due process which was and is common law and nothng else. On this there is no doubt.

Actually, seat belt violations, speeding, and such treaffic violations are not crimes. They are not considered crimes, since the constitution plainly states that crimes are subject to due process which has been clearly defined by Justice Story as due indictment and then trial by jury as guaranteed under common law which is due process.

Traffic court is administrative law, not common law, since the rules are laid down clearly form common law proceedings.

In fact, vast amounts of evidence come from the founders demonstrating that due process and common are one and the same, and in the wording of both the 5th and 14th amendments, you see it plainly written "NO PERSON may be deprived of life, lierty, or property without due process(common law). Nothing bizarre or interpretative. That's just what it says.

No state can violate that law.

Does the federal government derive authority from common law? No. The 5th amendment ensuring due process(common law) protection was added to protect from the federal government.

This is evident within the statements of the founders themselves, law or no law.

Allen C. Dexter said...

All these points about common law, the constitution, judicial opinions, etc. are very interesting, but they leave me kind of confused. So far, I've had to need to go into such things and I know I would make a mess for myself if I tried.

I admire the mental capacity of you guys and see your points, but I doubt they will ever be any use to me.

Stan said...

Ralph,

Due process and and common law can be difficult terms to define operationally in specific legal contexts. Although due process and the common law are interrelated concepts, they are not necessarily interchangeable, perfectly synonymous legalities, as you tend to oversimplify in your last post, due to the following:

The term "common law" originally derives from after the Norman Conquest. The "common law" was the law that emerged as "common" throughout the realm, as the king's judges imposed a unified common law throughout England. The doctrine of precedent developed under the inquisitorial system in England during the 12th and 13th centuries, as the collective judicial decisions that were based in tradition, custom and precedent. Such forms of legal institutions and culture bear resemblance to those that existed historically in societies where precedent and custom played a role in the legal process, including Germanic law.

The form of reasoning used in common law is known as casuistry or case-based reasoning. Casuistry is the basis of case law in common law, and the standard form of reasoning applied in common law. The common law, as applied in civil cases (as distinct from criminal cases), was devised as a means of compensating someone for wrongful acts known as torts, including both intentional torts and torts caused by negligence, and as developing the body of law recognizing and regulating contracts. The type of procedure practiced in common law courts is known as the adversarial system; which is also a development of the common law.
-continued

Stan said...

Ralph, I think you will accept that at both the federal and state levels, the law of the United States was originally largely derived from the COMMON LAW system of English law, which was IN FORCE at the time of the Revolutionary War.

However, U.S. law has diverged greatly from its English ancestor both in terms of substance and procedure, and has incorporated a number of civil law innovations.

Before the Norman conquest in 1066, justice was administered primarily by county courts, presided by the diocesan bishop and the sheriff, exercising both ecclesiastical and civil jurisdiction. Trial by jury began in these courts.

In 1154, Henry II became the first Plantagenet king. Among many achievements, Henry institutionalized common law by creating a unified system of LAW "COMMON" to the country through incorporating and elevating local custom to the national, ending local control and peculiarities, eliminating arbitrary remedies and reinstating a jury system – citizens sworn on oath to investigate reliable criminal accusations and civil claims. The jury reached its verdict through evaluating COMMON LOCAL KNOWLEDGE, NOT necessarily through the presentation of EVIDENCE, a distinguishing factor from today's civil and criminal court systems.

Henry II developed the practice of sending judges from his own central court to hear the various disputes throughout the country. His judges would resolve disputes on an ad hoc basis according to what they interpreted the customs to be. The king's judges would then return to London and often discuss their cases and the decisions they made with the other judges. These decisions would be recorded and filed. In time, a rule, known as stare decisis (also commonly known as precedent) developed, which is where a judge would be bound to follow the decision of an earlier judge; he was required to adopt the earlier judge's interpretation of the law and apply the same principles promulgated by that earlier judge if the two cases had similar facts to one another. By this system of precedent, decisions 'stuck' and became OSSIFIED, and so the PRE-NORMAN system of disparate local customs WAS REPLACED by an elaborate and consistent system of law that was COMMON THROUGHOUT the WHOLE country, HENCE THE NAME, "COMMON LAW."

Henry II's creation of a powerful and unified court system, which curbed somewhat the power of canonical (church) courts, brought him (and England) into conflict with the church, most famously with Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Eventually, Becket was murdered inside Canterbury Cathedral by four knights who believed themselves to be acting on Henry's behalf. Whether Henry actually intended to bring about the assassination of Becket is debatable, but there is no question that at the time of the murder, the two men were embroiled in a bitter dispute regarding the power of Royal Courts to exercise jurisdiction over former clergymen. The murder of the Archbishop gave rise to a wave of popular outrage against the King. Henry was forced to repeal the disputed laws and to abandon his efforts to hold church members accountable for secular crimes.

JUDGE-MADE COMMON LAW operated as the primary source of law for several hundred years, before Parliament acquired LEGISLATIVE POWERS TO CREATE STATUTORY LAW. Common law is the older and more traditional source of law, and legislative power is simply a layer applied on top of the older common law foundation.

Stan said...

AND SINCE THE 1100s, courts have had parallel and co-equal authority to declare what the law is-- an essential function of courts, which was carried over into the U.S. system as an essential component of the "judicial power" specified by Article III of the U.S. constitution. There are legitimate debates on how the powers of the executive, legislature and court systems should be balanced.

The Magna Carta established the rule of law in England by not only requiring the monarchy to obey the law of the land, but also limiting how the monarchy could change the law of the land. It should be noted, however, that in the thirteenth century these provisions may have been referring only to the rights of landowners, and NOT to ordinary peasantry or villagers.

Shorter versions of Magna Carta were subsequently issued by British monarchs. The phrase DUE PROCESS OF LAW first appeared in a statutory rendition of Magna Carta in A.D. 1354 during the reign of Edward III of England, as follows: "No man of what state or condition he be, shall be put out of his lands or tenements nor taken, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without he be brought to answer by DUE PROCESS OF LAW."

In 1608, the English jurist Edward Coke wrote a treatise in which he discussed the meaning of Magna Carta. Coke explained that no man shall be deprived but by legem terrae, the law of the land, "that is, by the common law, statute law, or custom of England.... (that is, to speak it once and for all) by the due course, and process of law.."

Stan said...

Following the American Revolution in 1776, many newly independent states adopted the English body of COMMON LAW to the extent that American legislation or the Constitution had not explicitly rejected points of English law. The COMMON LAW was generally ADOPTED BY LEGISLATURES, CONSTITUTIONS, OR COURTS. British traditions such as the monarchy were REJECTED by the U.S. Constitution, but MANY English COMMON LAW TRADITIONS such as habeas corpus, jury trials, and various other civil liberties WERE ADOPTED in the United States. Much English common law PRIOR to 1776 STILL REMAINS IN EFFECT IN MANY JURISDICTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES, unless later overturned by American courts or legislatures.

For example, the New York Constitution of 1777[3] provides that:

“ [S]uch parts of the COMMON LAW of England, and of the STATUTE LAW OF ENGLAND and Great Britain, and of the ACTS OF THE LEGISLATURE of the legislature of the colony of New York, as together did form the law of the said colony on the 19th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, shall be and continue the law of this State, SUBJECT TO such alterations and provisions as the legislature of this State shall, from time to time, make concerning the same."

Alexander Hamilton emphasized in The Federalist that this New York constitutional provision expressly made the common law subject “to such alterations and provisions as the legislature shall from time to time make concerning the same.”

Thus, even when reception was effected by a constitution, the common law was still subject to alteration by a legislature's statute.

The Northwest Ordinance, which was approved by the Congress of the Confederation in 1787, guaranteed "judicial proceedings according to the course of the COMMON LAW". Nathan Dane, the primary author of the Northwest Ordinance, viewed this provision as a default mechanism in the event that federal or territorial statutes were silent about a particular matter; he wrote that if "a statute makes an offence, and is silent as to the mode of trial, it shall be by jury, according to the course of the common law.”

In effect, the provision operated as a reception statute, giving legal authority to the established common law in the vast territories where no states had yet been established.

Over time, as new states were formed from federal territories, these territorial reception statutes became obsolete and were re-enacted as state law. For example, a RECEPTION STATUTE enacted by LEGISLATION in the state of WASHINGTON requires that "[t]he COMMON LAW, so far as it is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, or of the state of Washington nor incompatible with the institutions and condition of society in this state, SHALL BE THE RULE OF DECISION in all the courts of this state."

In this way, the common law was eventually incorporated into the legal systems of every state except Louisiana (which inherited a civil law system from its French colonizers before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, adopting a code similar to, but not directly based on the Napoleonic Code of 1804).

Ralph said...

Yup, that's what I read too. Now let's look at a statement from Hamilton:

"Some gentlemen hold that the law of the land will include an act of the legislature....the words 'du process' have a precise technical import, and are only applicable to the process and proceedings of the courts of justice. They can never be referred to as an act of legislature".

Basically, Hamilton was referring to federal laws, as you point out, each state developed the common law as it was needed to adapt to the evlution of each state. Each state had a form of common law that was its own, and each state was recognized as sovereign in that law.

While the common law DID become gradually incorporated into the fabric of the various states, it was not part of the Constitution. George Mason, for example, refused to sign the Constitution on the grounds that it had no Bill of Rights and gave no common law protection to each man, as well as the fact that it neither condemned nor condoned slavery.

Slavery, a big issue in itself, demonstrates that the federal constitution neither derived no claimed any jurisdiction of common law, since common law, as Justice Story points out, allowed for any escaped slave to beome free if he escaped to a free state. That was constitutionally prohibited by the fugitive slave clause. Such practice was also aviolation of biblical law(Deut. 23:15-16).

As I've already stated, St George Tucker pointed out that the constitution derived no authority from common law since "if it were admitted, that the federal government, by implication, possesses general jurisdiction over all cases at common law, this construction could not be carried into practice, without anihilating the states."

Ralph said...

Now, let's look at Madison's statement in "Federalist #45":

"The powers reserved to the several states will extend to ALL the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the LIVES, LIBERTIES, and PROPERTIES of the people".

While you point out rightly that the common law was gradually instituted as legislative law through all the states except Louisiana, you fail to recognize that the constitution nowhere granted common law protection until it was stated as due process in the 5th amendment. Justice Story says these proceedings are merely an "enlargement of Magna Carta".

So, simply by putting Madison's statement above with the 5th amendment, we may rightfully conclude that no person can be deprived of life, linerty, or property, except by due process, and that such deprivation was exclusively reserved to the states, NOT the federal government.

To say it was is absurd. It's like saying "You can have the freedom to do anything you wish, except what I decide you cannot do."

That would be a violation of the earlier statement in "Entuick vs Carrington", that an individual may do anything except what the stoe prohibited, but the state can ONLY do that which is expressly granted by the law. And what does the law say?

"No state shall make or enforce any law which abridges the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States".

Also we have the Supreme Court saying in "Miranda" that where rights named by the Constitution are concerned, there can be no rule making or legislation to abrogate them. The 14th amendment says there can be no laws to even abridge them.

Here's the monkeywrench which you ignore: since the federal government obviously had no authority over common law as did the states, and since the states now have no more authority than the federal government, the common law proceedings can ONLY belong to the people, and in fact the common law is defined as "lawful judgement of peers".

Adding to that, we have the 9th amendment, which is law, and thre 10th amendment, which is law.

The rights enumerated in the constitution are not all the rights retained by the people, and any power not delegated to the constitution(by whom? the states) nor prohibited to the states by the constitution reamin within the power of the states RESPECTIVELY(common law rights) or the people.

However, since the "privileges and immunities" clause now deprives the states of such power, the only "default" power left is neither to the federal or state government, but TO THE PEOPLE.

That IS the law, Stan.

Ralph said...

Let's go back to the glaring case of slavery as a violation of common law, demonstrating that the federal govco didn;t recognize common law jurisdiction.

In Lincoln's most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, he began it with "fouscore and seven years ago". If you take 1863, the year it was delivered, and subtract 87 years, you get 1776, not 1789. According to Lincoln, the actual nation was founded NOT by the Constitution, which gave him no power whatever to free slaves, but the Declaration of Independence, which DID state that all men are CREATED equal.

So Lincoln made the very illogical statement that the union should be preserved NOT by the Constitution that granted the right to slavery and ignored the common law, but the Declaration which nowhere stated itself to be a law. That is, Lincoln declared that NO LAW gave him the right to free the slaves.

You also know that the Republican radicals after the Civil War argued for the same "higher law" that Lincoln declared at Gettysburg. If no state could make or enforce any law that abridged the privilegs, etc, of citizens of the US, what higher law than the Constitution?

Due process, the very next clause. You will not find anything in the constitution granting power to the federal government over due process. It was never given, and Marshall recognizes it in "US vs Aaron Burr". ANY power the federal government claims over due process rights automatically allows the states to make the same claim, since no state shall ake or enforce any law that abridges privileges or immunities of citizens of the federal government.

By the opposite implication of the privileges and immunities clause, whatever power of abridgement of immunities the feds claim, the states can claim, no more and no less.

This means that either the federal judges are dedicated to being the "bulwark against the encroachments of a limited constitution" as Hamilton wrote, or there are no privileges and immunities.

Ralph said...

So what does the modern Supreme Court say? How about Justice Kennedy, "Planned Parenthood vs Casey":

"At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and the mystery of human life".

All 50 states recognize sovereignty of God. All of them may allow you to sear on the bible. They can't compel you to do so.

Why? God is sovereign. He stands for the defendant(Isaiah 50:8), and he presumes innocence (Isaiah 54:17).

Bizarre? That's the basis of due process of law.

Once upon a time, as James Wilson pointed out, the laws of the constitution were limited strictly to what was delegated, while the states' power was complete. Now, however, the states are restricted to the same limits as the federal government, and since the feds never had power over common law, and since the states can neither make nor enforce any law abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens of the US, there is quite logically no legislative power given over common law.

Ralph said...

Stan, for further reference, let's look at the law in its relation to religion.

I've already pointed out the idea of the Church-Turing thesis in relation to "God", but a quick review.

If we could define laws that are perefectly in alignment with God, then those laws can be translated into algorithms and then are programmable, such that we could worship God in perfection, having a mechancial computer embodiment of God.

Question on right and wrong? Go to GOD(Governor Over Departments).

Any category can be refenced and there you have it.

Basically, that's how government works. Can't get a good answer? Go to the law. The law says you must pay a fine for seatbelts. Don't like it? Who gives a damn?(Sounds a lot like the old GOD). Get with the program or walk.

Law sufferes from the analogue of Godel's theorem. No matter how complete you try to make it, or how consistent and perfect, there always remain judgements undecided and undecideable.

Why? Because the same human brain that developed the legal ideas reprresenting God also developed law. If I can say "fuck you" to God, there is no reason I can't say "double fuck you" to law, since the only advantage of law over God is the law has guns.

OTOH, whether I relate righteousness to God or to law, once I prove the truth, what authority can punish me? If God is truth, he ain't going to screw with me, and that leaves the law.

Does the law represent truth? Obviously not, since if it did, we could program the entirety of the law into computable form and fire all the lawyers.

We must assume that a legitimate purpose for lawyers is NOT to simply represent the law as is, but to represent his client by every possible lawful means to get the client acquitted. And a prosecutor, obviously, must do the opposite. They are bound by oath/affirmation.

The question becomes, then, why should the law be the monopoly of lawyers? The principal complaint of the Anti_Federalists, as you know, was that if the Supreme Court had power to judge of itself, who could stop it from extending its power indefinitely?

The law could have legitimate monopolistic control over people if and only if the law can be proven to be co mplete and consistent in every respect.

Not only is the law not complete and consistent, but even if it were, we would have no way of proving if it were! Godel's theorem. We must, as a mathematically proven fact, assume that judges and lawyers know more about justice than the people themselves, which is merely substituting faith in a non-provable God with a faith in non-provable law.

Purple Hymnal said...

Haven't read any of the latest yet, I just wanted to say, TWO HUNDRED COMMENTS?!?!

James...you need to install a discussion forum, not an off-site version of Blogspot's crappy software! (Yeah, ignore me, see below.)

Now, onto the latest:

"If so - it only confirms that we can't get there from here."

Yeah, no, it only confirms that gearhead at CalTech has done too many drugs, Rachael.

"All these points about common law, the constitution, judicial opinions, etc. are very interesting, but they leave me kind of confused."

I'm Canadian. All this shit about American law (and, by extension, the US of effing A) being the centre of the universe is irrelevant to me (cf US of effing A), uninteresting, and really really not as important outside your own borders as you guys think it is.

"By the way, for those who care, the PT forum is back with management that will moderate and not sit on their hands when some nasty remarks are posted."

I'm 12 and what is this?

Purple Hymnal said...

Page Two doesn't want to get Left Behind.

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