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.)
Adam and the Genome– Part Thirteen
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