HOME:__click here__ to see new posts on the Home/Main page

Monday, August 30, 2010

Armstrongism / Church of God / Ronald Weinland [repost]

Are you easily influenced? Do you have lots of heroes? Do you admire many charismatic people? Do you find it hard to criticize popular people, and is it easy for you to believe everything they say? Are you depressed because this is a low point in your life, and does it seem that everything is going wrong?

If so, it would not be a good idea to allow yourself to be *recruited* by any of the following churches. They are the main “splinter” groups formed at various times after certain doctrines were rejected by the Worldwide Church of God. The splinter groups have kept the doctrines of the original pastor-general, Herbert W. Armstrong. (The list below was compiled with assistance from an article about Armstrongism at the 4truth.net website.)

Church of God, International. (abbrev. CGI or COGI.)
-- Based in Tyler, Texas.
-- Armor of God television program and periodical.
-- Infuse magazine, and The International News.

Church of God, Pasadena. (abbrev. CGP or COGP)
-- Based in Pasadena, California.
-- Pastor is David Hulme.
-- Vision magazine and website

Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom of God. (abbrev. COG-PKG)
-- Based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
-- Pastor is Ronald Weinland.
-- The Prophesied End-Time book.
-- 2008 - God's Final Witness book.
-- The-End website.
-- History of church and pastor - 'false prophet Ronald Weinland'
-- A critical book review - Christian Media Research
-- June 13, 2012 - Ronald Weinland convicted for income tax evasion.

Grace Communion International (abbrev. GCI)
Name changed in April 2009.
ex. Worldwide Church of God (abbrev. WCG or WCOG)
-- Based in Glendora, California.
-- Original pastor-general was Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986)
-- Second pastor-general was Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. (1927-1995).
-- Third pastor is Joseph W. Tkach, Jr.
-- The Plain Truth magazine, plus various booklets.
-- Christian Odyssey magazine, website, and Together (WCOG News).
-- In the 1990s several of the Armstrong doctrines were rejected.
-- In 1997 it was accepted into the National Association of Evangelicals.
-- This church now appears to be less extreme than the others listed here.

Intercontinental Church of God. (abbrev. ICG or ICOG)
-- Based in Tyler, Texas.
-- Original pastor was Garner Ted Armstrong (1930-2003).
-- Current pastor is Mark Armstrong.
-- Associated Ministry :- Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association.
-- 21st Century Watch magazine.

Living Church of God. (abbrev. LCG or LCOG)
-- Based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
-- Pastor is Roderick C. Meredith.
-- Tomorrow's World television program.
-- Tomorrow's World magazine, booklets, and bible study course.

Philadelphia Church of God. (abbrev. PCG or PCOG)
-- Based in Edmond, Oklahoma.
-- Pastor is Gerald Flurry.
-- The Key of David television program.
-- The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine.
-- The Wonderful World Tomorrow book.

Restored Church of God. (abbrev. RCG or RCOG)
-- Based in Wadsworth, Ohio.
-- Pastor is David C. Pack.
-- The Real Truth magazine
-- The World To Come videos
-- _A critical article_ on the 'Living Armstrongism' blog.

United Church of God. (abbrev. UCG or UCOG)
-- Based in Milford, Ohio - east of Cincinnati.
-- President is Clyde Kilough.
-- Pastor is Roy Holladay, amongst other elders.
-- The Good News magazine and bible reading program.
-- United News, and Vertical Thought, Virtual Christian magazines.
-- World News & Prophecy website.

(A more complete list is here.)

If I can’t convince you that being *recruited* by any of those churches would be a bad idea, please carefully consider the following questions and information :-

1/ When you first join the group do you get any ‘instant’ friends?
2/ Does everyone dress more or less the same, act the same, and talk the same?
3/ Is questioning the group, or the group leaders, discouraged or frowned upon?
4/ Does everyone in the group believe exactly the same things (i.e. what the leaders tell them to believe)? Is there no room for individual belief or opinion even in minor areas?
5/ Is reading any literature critical of the group discouraged?
6/ Does the group believe that it is an elite and exclusive organisation which alone has ‘the truth’ and answers to life’s questions?
7/ Does the group pour scorn upon, ‘attack,’ and mock other Christian churches and their interpretation of the Bible?
8/ Does the group discourage association with non-members (except, maybe for the possibility of converting them to the group)?
9/ Does the group give you ‘black and white answers’? -- What the group agrees with is right and what the group disagrees with is wrong.
10/ Does the group tend to withhold certain information from you? Are the more unusual doctrines of the group not discussed with you until you are more deeply involved in the movement?

If you answered ‘yes’ to more than (say) two of the above questions you are in danger of being manipulated by con men and women who use powerful mind control techniques which bypass your ability to critically evaluate and question the group.

If you stay with the group for longer than the indoctrination period, these questions will become more relevant :-

1/ Do you feel that no matter how hard you try, the ‘good deeds’ you perform for your group are never quite enough? As a result of this do you often feel plagued with feelings of guilt?
2/ Have you attempted to disable your own critical thinking abilities by ‘shelving’ various doubts about the group or group’s teachings?
3/ Are others in the group, who do not conform to the requirements of the movement’s teachings, treated with suspicion and treated like second class members?
4/ Do you feel fearful of leaving the group? Many ‘cults’ use subtle fear tactics to stop members from leaving. For example, the group may imply that those who leave will be attacked by the Devil, have a nasty accident, or at least not prosper because they have left ‘the truth’.

However, do not become depressed - because all is not lost!
The option to leave the cult will always be available.
The last three paragraphs in this blog page should help you achieve that aim: Mind Control by Cults

Professional help from Christian counselors is available through this site :- http://christiantherapist.com/
(If possible, it would be wise to check if counselors have relevant qualifications. Recommendations from previous patients would also be very valuable.)

(Questions above originally supplied by Spotlight Ministries - page - Used by permission.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Space Exploration by NASA

Exploration and Investigation

History recalls that there have always been explorers in the human race -- people who want to expand their horizons, investigate their surroundings, and understand the complex nature of the environment, the Earth, the Solar System, and Space itself. Apart from space exploration, there are countless scientists around the world 'expanding their horizons' in many fields of endeavor. Who decides how much funding those fields of endeavor will receive, and who decides which ones are worthy of receiving funds? In the end it is likely to be a political decision. A wealthy country can probably afford to fund scientific investigations as well as looking after the poorer members of its society.

This is part of a speech given by Michael Griffin (ex NASA Adminstrator) to the 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference on March 10, 2008

"To me, the person who best captured NASA’s true mission was Gene Roddenberry, with his immortal line about the mission of the Starship Enterprise, “To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no [one] has gone before.” That’s almost perfect; I think we’re more likely to create new civilizations than to find others, but I love those lines, and if it wasn’t for the royalties we’d have to pay, and of course the split infinitive…

"All joking aside, there are several nuggets of wisdom in these words, nuggets that speak not only to the public’s perception of what we do at NASA, but also serve to provide a deep sense of purpose to the work you all perform as lunar and planetary scientists. You here today are the ones who explore strange new worlds, seek new life, and who go where no one has gone before. Do you ever think about what life might be like for working scientists a few hundred years from now, maybe by comparing the trails we are blazing today with those cleared for us by Galileo, Tycho Brahe, Kepler and many other astronomers and planetary scientists? Could they have ever imagined what we are doing today? Can we possibly foresee anything of the world of, say, the 26th Century? We are living today in exciting times. Planetary science is going through a true Renaissance age; some of the discoveries of this age will be discussed at greater length right here at this conference. For example, it had been 33 years since NASA last flew by the planet Mercury with Mariner 10. But just two months ago, MESSENGER recorded spectra and snapped over 1,200 images of previously unseen features on the planet Mercury’s surface, and we will see even more this October during its next flyby. I can’t wait. Meanwhile, in orbit around the planet Saturn, Cassini will fly within 50 kilometers of Enceladus this Wednesday to sample water-ice samples and other gases. Previously, Cassini revealed that Saturn’s planet-sized, organic-rich moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves here on Earth. And who among us was not awed last year by the time-lapse images from New Horizons when it observed a spectacular 200-mile-high volcanic eruption from the Jovian moon Io, and spotted the infrared glow from at least six other active volcanoes?

"We are exploring strange new worlds today, and you are the scientists who are making it happen. It may not be as dramatic as portrayed in science fiction – but it’s not fiction. It’s real. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is currently operating over fifty flight missions in the various Earth and space science disciplines, and Alan Stern’s team has heeded the advice of the science community in formulating a more balanced portfolio of missions – large, medium, and small missions – while addressing the priorities articulated by the Congress, President, and various science communities.

"While we might all wish we had more money to fund each and every space mission ever desired or proposed, it is a fact across, stretching across multiple Presidential Administrations and Congresses, that NASA simply does not have the budget resources to accomplish all of the many and varied space and aeronautics missions that our many constituencies would like us to do. The President’s request for NASA in FY 2009 is $17.6 billion out of $3.1 trillion for all U.S. government spending, less than 6/10ths of a percent of the entire Federal budget. We don’t get anything like the 24% of the budget that the average American thinks we receive, and so we must set priorities, establish a careful balance between them, and ask members of the space community to respect these priorities as well as NASA’s other mission areas, human spaceflight and aeronautics research, as worthy and noble endeavors in their own right."
[emphasis by me!]