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Armstrongism - What's Behind This Cult?

Updated on March 12, 2011

Herbert W Armstrong

What Is Armstrongism?

"What is Armstrongism?" is the question many ask when they hear this word. It is actually the term referring to people who claim that Herbert W Armstrong (who founded the Worldwide Church of God - hereafter called WCG) was an end-time Elijah.

Among people who believe in Armstrongism, Herbert Armstrong was seen as a man who restored all things to the church of God. It was believed that all other churches were paganized to greater or lesser extent. Their doctrines were somewhat similar to the Seventh Day Adventists, but also with some elements from Jehovah's Witnesses - which caused some to believe he had been "inspired" by their doctrines.

Herbert Armstrong died on January 16th 1986 - now approximately 24 years ago. There has been great emphasis upon prophecy in the WCG, and break-out organizations have kept that emphasis. They see many symbols in dates and years, 19-year time cycles etc.

In the 1990s the successor, Joseph W Tkach, made numerous changes to the WCG which have been continued by his son who is now the current Pastor General - Joseph Tkach Jr. Today the WCG is known as "Grace Communion International".

In continuation to those changes, Gerald Flurry, broke off ties with the WCG and formed the Philadelphia Church of God. Some years later, Roderick C Meredith also broke off and formed the Global Church of God, and later the Living Church of God

Other dissidents have been David Hulme (who previously was a presenter on the World Tomorrow show which was financed by the WCG to get more members), David Pack andmany years before all the major changes, Raymond Cole formed the Church of God, The Eternal.

Gerald Flurry

Gerald Flurry and the PCG

Gerald Flurry is the man who acquired the entire library of literature written by Herbert Armstrong. It was purchased by the PCG from the WCG. Some of his followers have wondered why he would ever sponsor an organization he claimed had gone astray, but most who ask such questions are kicked out - the so-called "disfellowshipment" as we see in many other cults.

It was declared as a big victory to have acquired these materials, and many within that organization have great faith that this should be a signal of succession. Their tv-show The Key of David is seen in many countries, and is a continuation of the World Tomorrow program that was previously aired by the WCG while Herbert Armstrong was alive.

The PCG publishes The Philadelphia Trumpet and Royal Vision regularly - also a continuation of the publications of the WCG which were called The Plain Truth and The Good News.

Roderick C Meredith

Roderick Meredith and the LCG

Roderick C Meredith spent much time, in the beginning, emphasizing how he had worked very closely with Herbert Armstrong. He was one of the first students at the WCG-sponsored Ambassador College, and was among the first to be declared an Evangelist (one of the highest ranks in the WCG-ministry).

Roderick Meredith had acquired a doctorate at Ambassador College, and did at some point very often refer to himself as Dr. Meredith - in articles etc. Credibility lies in titles, some claim... :-)

David Pack had cooperated with Roderick Meredith, but at some point there wasn't enough room for both egos in the same organization, so David Pack formed the Restored Church of God. You can read more about David Pack below.

The Living Church of God publishes Tomorrow's World, which is also the title of their tv-show. So, once again, everything has to be done according to the WCG recipe.

Update: In the January 13th co-worker letter it has been announced that Richard Ames has been appointed as successor of the Living Church of God in case Mr. Meredith passes away.

David C Pack

David C Pack and the RCG

David C Pack previously collaborated with Don Tiger to secure all books, booklets and materials ever published in the Armstrong-era of the church. For personal reasons their cooperation ended, and it later became the doctrine of the Restored Church of God that all books (and booklets) had to be rewritten, by David Pack - of course.

David C Pack and his Restored Church of God publish The Real Truth magazine and they air The World to Come on television.

No mention is made of the cooperation with Roderick C Meredith. Only emphasis on being a succession of Herbert Armstrong.

Conclusions About Armstrongism

This hub is a continuation of the hub "Are You In A Cult?" and answers specific questions relating to the cult of Armstrongism.

As you can see everything is centered around a man - Herbert Armstrong. Being the "right" successor in their own minds - never considering what were the actual intentions by the man himself. He named a successor. Yet men, filled with ego, found reason to believe THEIR own ideas were better than the choice of the man they claim was inspired by God.

These leaders won't see that. Neither could Corah. Rebellion has many faces. The real losers are the many tithe-payers and contributors who allow this madness to continue.

They have the best of intentions, yet are caught up in a power struggle for money as happens in any cult on the face of the earth.

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    • profile image

      Raymond Conder 

      5 years ago

      I think mind control begins like this: the pastor says turn around and say to somebody........ everybody does it. This continues week after week. Congregation does whatever pastor tells them to do. Blind obedience. Next thing "we are a generous church" "giving is an important part of our worship here." We need money for this and thus who is going to be the first person to respond? Does that sound like your congregation?

    • profile image

      Vuyo 

      5 years ago

      The 1st comment about the GCI is obviously from someone who has no ties with the church and does not know its current standing and teachings. we are happy there and are happy with leaving armstrongism

    • h_blunck profile imageAUTHOR

      Henrik V Blunck 

      6 years ago from Kalundborg - Denmark

      I have given part of the answer in my hubpage "Are You In a Cult?" which you can find right here: https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Are-You-I

      Furthermore it is very important to be specific about which cult a person is involved with. Often cult leaders will have instilled a us-vs-them mindset in members that causes many of them to withdraw from critical questioning. Therefore using logic will often work far better than by using what will appear to members of cults as "attacks" towards their beliefs.

      It is important to study any cult very deeply before engaging in questions, and in that regard searching for blogs from ex-members can be very useful indeed.

      You are welcome to ask further questions if you have specific questions I may help you with, of course. :-)

    • profile image

      jenny 

      6 years ago

      how do i get a family member out of a cult?

    • profile image

      vsrahn 

      7 years ago

      Confused, The answer is in the Bible. Believers themselves are the true Church of God.

      God does not live in buildings made by the hands of men.

    • h_blunck profile imageAUTHOR

      Henrik V Blunck 

      7 years ago from Kalundborg - Denmark

      Only God knows. Presuming anything would be not only dangerous, but following in the same footsteps of mind-control...

    • profile image

      CONFUSED 

      7 years ago

      I am still confused about the true Church of God. Which is which? The real one. Please if you have any idea, tell me.

    • profile image

      Henrik Blunck 

      7 years ago

      You're quite right. That has indeed been the method used for almost a century. Incredible to think that we are just over a decade from Herbie's "doctrines" surviving an entire century in the form of many splinters, offshoots etc.

      What a mess indeed...

    • profile image

      Laraine 

      7 years ago

      Mind control? That says it all. Once you have control of someone's mind it's easy enough to get control of their money.

    • h_blunck profile imageAUTHOR

      Henrik V Blunck 

      7 years ago from Kalundborg - Denmark

      Oh yes, sadly Ambassador Report documented this so well. I would recommend looking at Armstrongism - The Ultimate Guide. That blog has links to many sources that outline this abuse.

      Thanks for your comment. :-)

    • profile image

      Catherine Walker 

      7 years ago

      I have heard that abuse was built in to Armstrongism but so far have not read about this on any related web sites.

      Was this sadly common practice?

    • h_blunck profile imageAUTHOR

      Henrik V Blunck 

      8 years ago from Kalundborg - Denmark

      I have now created a blog on Armstrongism for those exiting that cult. You may want to visit the blog which can be found here: http://armstrongism-ultimate-guide.blogspot.com

    • h_blunck profile imageAUTHOR

      Henrik V Blunck 

      8 years ago from Kalundborg - Denmark

      Furthermore, if you want further information about David Pack there is an interesting article on EzineArticles from David Ben Ariel which you might like to read: http://ezinearticles.com/?David-Pack-and-the-Resto...

    • profile image

      purplehymnal 

      8 years ago

      Grace Communion International has not changed as much as they would like their evangelical bed-fellows to think they have changed. The church still operates on a hierarchical "church government", and has http://purplehymnal.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/435/ an unelected, appointed "dummy board" that http://purplehymnal.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/435/ Pastor-General-in-perpetuity, Joseph Tkach Jr, has full control over (and who he can disfellowship at will).

      With 900 congregations around the world, now averaging at approximately 20 members each, the church is definitely no longer the force for thought-reform and mind-control that it once was, during its heyday. However, of those 900 congregations, http://purplehymnal.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/say-g... 15% of all "voluntary" donations made by the members, are sent directly to Grace Communion International's Glendora, California headquarters, with http://purplehymnal.wordpress.com/2010/01/02/answe... no financial accountability as to what is being done with the money. (Hearsay suggests that Joseph Tkach Jr., has assigned a salary of $180K per annum to himself.) Predictably, the thought-reform of those still in seems to be just as effective as it ever was, if http://purplehymnal.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/batte... this minister's response is any indication. (The pastor in question was born and raised in the church during the Worldwide days.)

      A small number of ex-members is agitating on the Internet, to make 2010 the year that Grace Communion International deposes it unelected and self-appointed dictator-in-chief Pastor General and "doctrinal President" (whatever that title means) Joseph Tkach Jr. We want 2010 to be the year the church obtains accreditation from the http://www.ecfa.org Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and 2010 is the year we want the church to provide FULL and PUBLIC financial disclosure, of what is being done with the 15% of all donations, being sent in from 900 congregations, to the church's Glendora, California, headquarters.

      Interested parties can read more on this at the http://purplehymnal.wordpress.com Purple Hymnal website. The archives also contain deconstructions of the Dwight Armstrong (Herbert's brother) hymns that we used to sing, and how they reinforced the theology that we were in thrall to.

      Thank you for your time in reading this comment.

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