The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

Box Of Books

Mike Minton

Part Two


It took a few seconds, but I was up the hill and around the house. In any real situation I woulda been knocked off easily, but hey – I’m dealing with meth heads here, not a frickin’ SWAT Team.

Making the corners, I saw nothing broken out, no windows, nothing outside to get me too jumpy.

Coming to the front I saw the white shape of the pit bull through the jasmine fence.

Turned and came up onto the deck, past the cardboard box, into the house.

There is a very strange, freezing, sensation when you look at your life after it’s been molested. When the drawers have been turned out, the cabinets left open, the bed sheets ripped off by strangers. When Others have touched your private places, your memories, your delicate points.

History begins…right now… as we speak…. Who writes it is another matter entirely.

I crept through the house looking for moving shadows, seeing nothing to shoot at… Dammit…

It’s bitter to revisit history. To dwell on the past.

Some say, in response to bad, painful  history,  to “get over it.”

This works, I guess. To a point. Folks need to “move on”. To “get past this”.


But standing in the middle of my living room, looking at Immediate History, I see no reason to “get over it”. The couch is upside down, stuffing torn out, books knocked off shelves, keepsakes stolen off the fireplace mantle. TVs, VCRs, the usual electronic equipment are gone. The bedroom is standing on end: king size mattress on its side, closet torn apart.

There is missing a small Harley Davidson Fatboy model from  my bookshelf, with a head scarf. A gift from a friend. 

There is no “getting over” this. This is anger. And I will not forget… If I ever forget, it makes it easier for Them to do this to me again…



Two months later….

Thunderstorms a mile above the trees were dumping sheets of rain on the roof of the porch. It was a steady drumming rain, machine-like, billions of hammers. The woods bent down and took it like slaves.

The box of books sits in front of me, on the porch, waiting.

How did I forget about it?

I had moved the thing several times, telling myself to get to it.

But life got in the way: finding crooks and meth-heads, doing my day job, being a Dad, playing Tonka Trucks and such.

So I take a sip of a cold beer, listen to the thunder overhead, and slit open this box. Of books. From a friend and, I guess, yes he is, in a way, a mentor, Ed.

Inside….yes, sure thing: books.

But history….

“Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web”

Something from a Paul Benware: “Ambassadors of Armstrongism”

A 12 year old booklet from Garner Ted: “The Origin and History of the Church of God, International” (Oh man….1992 huh? Where was I…..? Oh yeah. The Persian Gulf… Hmmm…)

Marion McNair, “Armstrongism: Religion or Rip Off”?

Bruce Renehan, “The Daughter of Babylon, The True History of the Worldwide Church of God.”

On and on the books, the history, came out of the box. The rain thundered down, and the day sunk into a dripping night. Looking out across the road, I no longer saw the white pit bull, nor the people there. They had moved away, leaving the rotten shell of their camper trailer behind, dark circles from the constant fire they had in the front yard..  Where they went, I don’t know. Maybe to a better place. More than likely, however, only a cold touch away from a chemically induced gravestone.

The box had cuttings, clippings, fragments, copies of legal documents and inter-office memos. A complete set of paper Ambassador Reports. On and on...


When does it start?

Our history here, on the PT site, started a long time ago, across the planet. And it is a history full of lies, deception, control, and manipulation. Of pain and of suffering. It continues, in various ways in the multitude of splinter groups which all scramble like roaches as the light clicks on above them.

But not all is rotten, I thought to myself. The splinters could very well continue at their pace and end up splitting into churches of One, as JohnB recently put it on the forum.

As it is, the smaller groups seem to be building their local buildings, meeting together, enjoying their company, doing what they do without some High Priest in Pasadena’s “divine” permission.

They strike me as good folks, even IF we may disagree on some fundamental issues. These folks seem to not like the idea of a High Priest in some faraway Kingdom who dictates to them how they should live, how to love, whether it’s permissible to use science and medicine. They seem to treat women as real human beings.

Imagine the gall of these good people, being independent…

I stared off into the rain, the dark, and I had to grin.

Herbert? I have to thank you.

You are the reason I’m an atheist. You and your son made me Think, and that thinking brought me to my current place of thought. Without you, I’d have probably just been another brain-dead automaton mouthing “I’m a Christian” when asked, like so many I meet.

Cult Think and blind belief and allegiance to a Priest lead to very bad things. And that Priest can take many forms, actually: ever listen to a rapidly devout Republican or Democrat?

A friendly fellow recently said this to me, echoing my thoughts:

I personally don’t give a damn what people believe as long as they’re thinking it through honestly to the best of their ability – which is all any of us can do I guess – and are not prepared to stomp over other folk’s petunia beds in their zeal to be “right”.

Couldn't agree more, Gavin

The night was an absolute, onslaught of roaring water now. I need a damn ark, this keeps up….

I recall thinking this recently: 

"But I DID know some things. And one of them was that people are divided in society into three distinct camps:

  1. Good Ones
  2. Bad Ones
  3. Absolute Vermin"

I wondered in which camp I fit.

I box up the material again, chunk the empty beer can into the trash.

When does history start?

It started a long time ago for all of us, and we shouldn’t ever forget what happened.

But history also starts right now. This very moment.

We can write it however we want to now…. We don’t need no stinkin’ Priest.

Thanks Ed, for the box of books. For the history. We should not, cannot, will not,  forget.






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