Children and the Church and the Culture of Death
This is a depressing post to write. It may even be a depressing post to read. But it has to be said. I would rather, in the long scheme of things, be wrong and have said something, than have been right, and said nothing at all.
There may be too many children in this church. Too many by far.
I have been in direct contact with three different believers of Weinland’s theology, who are respectively, 18, 23, and 26. They may not be representative of the church as a whole, and they may be only a very small demographic amidst the larger one of aging members from the United Church of God (from which Weinland drew the initial bulk of his members in 1996) and from the even-greyer heads from the Worldwide Church of God . That doesn’t explain the children.
I don’t know how many children or young adults are in the church. Membership numbers are a closely-guarded secret, due in large part to the large sums of money Weinland is getting from his members (and will not be sending back, unless “unconverted” family members agitate successfully, the way Weinland claimed in last Saturday’s sermon that they did in the case of the family member who gave the church two thousand dollars that was supposed to be for education), and the near-secrecy of where they meet. We only know, from the weekly sermons, the cities in which they meet, and that they usually meet at mid-size hotels. They often rent time at local swimming pools for their baptismal drives.
At least two of the male “elders” may be young adults (in their twenties). There are a few elders (and allegedly both of the initial two evangelists) drawn from the United Church of God. The initial congregants who formed the fledgling CoG-PKG in 1996 were made up of United Church of God members, and new recruits Weinland had indoctrinated on his own, in two different cities.
The majority of new recruits to the church in recent months seem to be coming directly via the Internet, thanks in no small part to Weinland spending money to keep his book ads ranked the highest in Google ad searches. (Money that is coming directly from the pockets of the members one must remember.) The majority of these recruits, given the admittedly small sampling of them who have participated in public online discussion of Weinland and his church, have no idea of the true history of Armstrongism, or a factually undistorted history of the Worldwide Church of God. They are young and self-admittedly, in the case of the letter Weinland read from the pulpit on Mar. 1, “gullible”. They claim they “don’t know the answers because I am still learning myself”.
(That last was according to an 18-year-old commenter I had, who refused to answer the questions why Tuesday did not contain the global shock and horror pp. 23 of 2008: God’s Final Witness claimed it would, and why, if the seventh seal was supposed to be a spiritual awakening as per Daniel, Weinland’s book contradicted the bible.)
These children and adults alike are all relying solely on “god’s end-time prophet” to tell them what to do. As Weinland himself instructed members on Feb. 9th: “You don’t have to look anything up, you don’t have to go read anything you just know it’s true.” He was referring to British-Israel doctrine, but the same could be (and clearly has been, by the believers) applied to any of the doctrines of the church.
Combine all of this with the fact that Weinland believes (if he truly believes what he’s selling) that he’s going to die in 3.5 years, and please, please, if you or your loved ones are members in this church, or thinking of becoming members, or if you suspect your child has joined this church over the Internet please consider the following:
Two members of Weinland’s congregation requested there be no funerals when they died recently.
“During that period of time, we[the two witnesses] will, together, completely fulfill all that God has given us to witness to this whole earth. Then, at the end, we will die in the streets of Jerusalem; and finally, exactly three and one-half days later, we will be resurrected.” [pp. 16, 2008: God’s Final Witness]
“You may die a week from now you may die a month from now but if you’re in the 144,000, you may die three and a half days before the end, but if you are sealed, then you are going to be in that [the first] resurrection. That’s what this is all about.” (From sermon 45 Days to the Seventh Seal)
“It is important that everyone, primarily elders, do exactly what is given to them, no more, no less.” [quote beginning 14:08:00 The Mystery of God Part 3 unedited]
“I look forward to this time we’re getting ready to go through because until people are humbled they won’t quite understand what is true because they won’t reject what they believe. And so people have to be brought down, and it’s a horrible thing what mankind has to go through to be humbled.” [1:03:43-1:04:02 The Mystery of God Part 3 unedited]
- “When Washington DC doesn’t exist anymore. When several port cities in the United States doesn’t exist anymore, and we have some of the things take place. Nuclear weapons that go off in some areas. You know, Katrina, there, crippled that part of the country. We have no comprehension what it’s going to be like when Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Houston Texas, and Los Angeles, and different places like that, have nuclear weapons go off in them.” [1:08:11-1:09:00 The Mystery of God Part 3 unedited]
- “The remaining few, who were yet to be added to this total count of 144,000, and are alive at this end-time, will be sealed (completed their training) by the time this last seal is opened.” [pp. 115, 2008: God’s Final Witness]
- In Worldwide, we were instructed that this “final training” was to take place over three-and-a-half years, in the “place of safety” (long assumed to be the ruined city of Petra, in Jordan). Weinland is apparently saying that the remaining few have now completed their training. Worldwiders were instructed that a rapture-type event would take place, after the final training had taken place.
- Weinland has allegedly said somewhere in a radio interview (I don’t know which one as I haven’t listened to them all), that the church is not making any plans to flee. What, one then wonders, do they plan do when those “port cities” are taken out by the nukes? Or when the first trumpet sounds?
- “It should also be noted, that in the first trumpet there is fire mingled with blood. Blood means there will be much death when this event occurs. Most of it will be the death of animals and birds, but also a large number of people will die—into the tens of thousands.” [pp117-118, 2008: God’s Final Witness]
- The church may be making plans to spend the Passover weekend together—April 18th to 23rd. (This according to last Saturday’s sermon.)
- The CoG-PKG is not making any plans for the Feast of Tabernacles this year (in the fall). A family member reports on another discussion board that their loved ones in the church told them there would be no Feast this year. (Because the church believes the world will be in the throes of the great tribulation by then.) Are the members still giving 2nd tithe, if that is the case? More than likely. They will have been convinced that the second 10% of their income has to go to “warn the world” now that the end truly is upon them.
- “Nearly two-thirds of their populations will die within months of the start of great physical tribulation on the earth. The last third will experience a sifting process in the remaining time of tribulation.” [pp. 51 The Prophesied End Time]
- “God specifically declares that this Asiatic power alone will destroy a third of all mankind—over one billion people.” [pp. 226, “The Prophesied End Time]
- “Those that die coming up Father, that it’s just a break in time, and in your mercy you will reveal to them a great, wonderful period ahead of them in the Great White Throne Judgement and that they will have the very same opportunity that you have given to millions now to know you.” [From the closing prayer after Wayne Matthews’ March 8 sermon, Who is the Church of God PKG?]
If these quotes do not suggest a culture of death, then I will happily be proven wrong when Weinland is, and his disillusioned followers either make up excuses for his mistakes, or continue along as if nothing had happened. (Similar to the thought-reform used after The 1975 That Never Was.) They may only be predictions of death, and not premonitions of self-fulfilling prophecy.
The possibility that they could be more, however, that is what scares me. That and the fact that there are at least a few children (and an unreasonably large amount of adults) who believe these things absolutely. When you think about it objectively though, are any of the above quotes things that should be drilled into the heads of children?
There may only be a handful of young adults in the church who believe absolutely that the world is going to end on April 17th (even though inconsistencies in Weinland’s statements about the opening of the seventh seal this past Tuesday have been repeatedly pointed out to them). Even a handful is too many.
Even a handful of adults is too many, to believe absolutely with concrete, unshakeable faith, that the world is going to end on April 17th.