What Happens in Vegas Doesn’t Always Stay There

This last weekend, False Prophet Ronald Weinland returned from appendicitis in Australia to hold a conference with his evangelists and senior elders, and also the Silent Witness.  Twenty people were in attendance, who included: Ron, Laura, Audra, Johnny and Myrtle Harrell, Terry Wrozek, Wayne and Chris Matthews, Dave Conley, Ron’s brother-in-law Scott Cameron, Jimmy Carlisle, Lori Williams, Ralph Dowd, Jim Jamieson, and Steve who’s looking for a job since PKG doesn’t need his full-time services any more.

The venue chosen for this meeting was the Venetian Resort, Hotel, & Casino in Las Vegas.  The cheapest suite in this five-star hotel is $199 per night on weekends. I wonder if Ron and Laura showed their humility by sleeping in such humble digs (pictured here).  Or maybe they showed even more humility by taking a better suite, maybe even the penthouse suite?

Assuming they doubled up, 10 hotel rooms for two nights cost $4000 plus room tax.  This cost was dwarfed by the airfare required to fly 20 people in for the weekend.  None of the attendees live near Las Vegas.  Assuming an average of $400 per person for airfare, travel expenses were $8,000, or more (Wayne and Chris came from overseas).  Add to that the costs to eat in a five-star hotel, taxes, a conference room, etc we’re looking at around $15,000 for this cozy little party in Sin City.

Those PKG members who dug deep or even borrowed money for the special offerings this holy day season can take comfort that they received good value for their money, as their senior elders, evangelists, and prophets slept on Egyptian cotton sheets under 400-count wool throws in their suites.  After all, Herbert Armstrong taught quality.  (But then that was for Herbie himself and his evangelists.  Not for lay families like mine which was clothed through Mom’s careful shopping at garage sales, which meant that my sisters were teased in school for wearing out-of-date clothes.) Perhaps the senior elders, evangelists, and prophets had time to see the Blue Man Group or to drop a few chips in the casino, particularly the ones who continued their stay through Monday.

And we have a video tour of one of the suites:

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Ron Is Not Dead

As I expected, False Prophet Ronald Weinland resurfaced today in Las Vegas, sharing a split sermon with his chief deputy sheriff Johnny.  He did not die speedily from the inside due to appendicitis, but is recovering from that as well as a hamstring.  Johnny was not accustomed to preaching from a seated position like Ron.

Ron did not elaborate about his sickness from the inside.  He did spend several minutes cautioning members against posting pictures taken at the feast on public websites.  It seems that some are posting pictures of members and twisting and distorting.  I’m not aware of that going on.  If someone could please post a link, I’d appreciate it.

Now Ron, if you’re referring to my post earlier this week about your senior elder Steve, then explain exactly how I twisted and distorted about him.  As far as violating his privacy, if that’s what happened, why are your elders ashamed to be one of your elders?  Why wouldn’t you want the publicity, so that 10 million people will know whom to look up to be baptized in the 19 months remaining before Christ doesn’t return?  ‘splain it, Ron.  I will point out that I did not post Steve’s last name, so an employer Googling him won’t find how it is that he inflated his resume.  If I got something wrong, let me know what it is.  Otherwise, we all know who the liar, twister, and distorter is.

During the sermon, Ron revisited his ban on Facebook, referring to his former elder Benjamin whom he defrocked over Facebook and later disfellowshipped.  It seems that Ron’s membership is contracting.  Some have died since the feast, someone in Virginia and a New Zealand member struck by a car.  Fred Roberts maybe?  Also, Ann Wrozek is battling a disease she contracted from a mosquito during the feast in Hawaii.  Hopefully she will not be the third elder’s spouse (and second female elder) all in their early 50s to die since the Great Tribulation didn’t begin for the second time in December of 2008.  Also, some have left voluntarily since the feast, apparently not impressed by his 4 new “truths”.  Some have been disfellowshipped, and now that Ron has recovered from his sickness from the inside, he’ll be disfellowshipping others.

I hope this is the beginning of an avalanche, as more people come to recognize Ronald Weinland is described in Matthew 24:4-5.

Urgent in Ron’s Mind

A sermon file of interest came to my attention recently. In particular, an excerpt of it which I’ve transcribed below. You can also click on the player to listen while you read and double check the accuracy of my transcription.(Hyperlink for iPod and iPad users who can’t access Flash).

http://s2.wp.com/wp-content/plugins/audio-player/player.swf?m=1236370442g

False Prophet Ronald Weinland speaking in his sermon titled “Planning Ahead” on Dec 28, 2002:

Also as a matter of keeping the church informed, I wanted to share something else with you.  Some of you I just mentioned beforehand here about Jeremy having an opportunity of going over to Austria this year. He’s going to meet up with some who came over from the feast from Holland and Belgium. And they had invited him to come over. Well, we just happened to take a look at some of the flights over and got a real good deal for him to fly over there. And so he’s going to go skiing.

The reason I’m mentioning that is because — backing up here, about a year ago when Laura and I went over to Belgium and to England, we also took a side trip which I haven’t mentioned to the church, I don’t believe I’ve mentioned to the church anyway, but we took a side trip to Switzerland. And one of the things, primary things motivating some of that was the opportunity to go to a bank there and talk to a banker for some time. We picked out a particular bank. Talked to them about the possibility of transferring funds over to Switzerland.

Because of considering some of the things that are going to come to pass and knowing what’s going to happen to the United States, and being convicted of those things, I started looking at some of that. It’s not just as simple as opening up a bank account like you live here in the United States. It’s much more complicated.  They gave me a book to read, basically. And I’ve gone through a few things there, discussed it with the elders. And they gave some different suggestions which I was very thankful for.  And that’s why we come together like that because as a council of elders for the purpose of counseling and listening to what they have to say and considering those different things, and looking to God’s spirit to lead, guide and direct us.

But anyway, Laura and I were going back again this year.  We’ve already scheduled to go back for Pentecost again this year to the same places. And we were going to go on down there to probably open up an account. But since Jeremy was going over in January, it became a little more urgent in my mind that we need to get this done quickly.  So we’re going to go on over there — I’m going to go over there. Laura’s not coming, but I’m going to fly over there to Zurich, straight to Zurich, and talk with a bank there. Possibly the same one that was in Geneva that I talked to, but it will be different people obviously but may be the same banking system. But talked with some in Geneva about opening up an account there in Zurich, and then flying back over and meeting up with Jeremy and flying back with him.

But I wanted to share that with the church, asking you to be praying about it.  Because we’re talking about maybe putting quite a bit of funds over there. We have quite a bit to work with, and haven’t known what to do with it. But it may be for a purpose of what’s coming.  We don’t know what’s coming, and in may be for a purpose of helping to sustain some things in the church. And it may be for a purpose of continuing doing some of the things we’re doing, being able to travel. An so we’re even going to try to get a credit card out of that, that allows us to go anywhere in the world and use those funds. Terry Wrozek had mentioned the possibility of something like that. So we’re going to check into that to be able to use those funds.

I wanted to share with you something else, because I don’t want to hold anything back. It’s going to be in my name, as well. It’s not going to be in the church’s name. So if someone hears about something like that, I didn’t want someone think “What are you going to do, take off to Europe? Whatever, these 200,000 or whatever over there?” No. We don’t want the church’s name involved. It’s going to be a personal account because Europe when it comes to religious groups and so forth, they’re not real keen on some of those things. So when we do transfer the monies we’re trying to think of different ways to put it in there.

We’ll probably put a lot of it into euros, some in Swiss francs. Nothing in US dollars. And that’s not to scare the church that people ought to be doing the same thing. Because it’s going to come down to this is just strictly, I believe deeply whether it would be for us or someone else that’s going to be able to use that money later on. And we have to plan ahead and think accordingly and I believe that’s what God is leading us and guiding us and helping us to think about and consider.

But this doesn’t mean it’s panic time for people in the church to wonder what to do with funds and so forth. The reality is that when things happen you’re going to have to rely on God, period, first and foremost in your lives, in your families, in your homes, and where ever you are. Because it’s not going to be a pretty picture on this earth. And it will be a total reliance , as we heard last sabbath, on God to bring us through these things. And that is a reality, it’s just a reality of life.

Of particular interest is that cassette tapes of this sermon were not sent out, as was Ron’s practice back in that time frame. The sermon tape of the prior week delivered by Paul Worth was sent out, and so was the tape of the following week’s sermon. The audio quality of this recording is consistent with one made at the other end of the teleconferencing hookup that Ron used.

As a reminder, it’s not illegal to have a Swiss bank account.  It is legal to have foreign bank accounts, but if the sum of your balance exceeds $10,000 (as did Ron’s accounts), you are required to file an annual FBAR report.  What are the odds that Ron did that?  The penalties for failing to file the FBAR can be quite severe. The penalties possible include:

  • a civil penalty of 50% of the account balance, or $100,000 (whichever is greater)
  • a fine of $250,000 and a 5-year prison sentence

Did I get this recording from a disgruntled ex-PKG member? No, not at all. Actually, I downloaded it myself directly from the PKG website. This recording was put up on the website in the last few months.

I’m wondering why Ron had Jeremy put this recording up. My speculation is that IRS Criminal Investigation is getting closer to a prosecution recommendation (or maybe it’s already happened), and that Ron is throwing himself under the bus to protect Laura. The important part is his statement that Laura did not go with him to open his Swiss bank accounts. I’m skeptical that such a legal strategy would work. Obviously Laura knew that Ron was doing this from this statement that was public within the environs of PKG back then. And I expect that Laura signed the annual 1040 tax returns since then, Schedule B of which requires one to list foreign interest sources.  We also have Ron’s statement that Team Member Laura handled their finances.  So much for the “innocent spouse”, so I doubt that releasing this recording would protect Laura legally.

I’m interested in your reactions, and your ideas as why Ron had this previously undistributed sermon posted now for the entire world and IRS Criminal Investigation to download.

Restoring All Things

False Prophet Ronald Weinland was a few minutes late getting started since the hall in Orlando needed to be rearranged.  During the announcements, he mentioned Tyler, a child in New Mexico who is undergoing treatment for leukemia.  I view it as a positive sign that he is being given qualified medical care and hope it works for him.

Ron made a point of not giving Tyler’s address as there supposedly are crackpots and weirdos out there who like to stir things up.  That sort of thing does not happen on my blog.   I have not published any of the addresses that have come my way, including that of the false apostle and has-been Elijah.  In fact, I’m not aware that it has happened anywhere except for a couple of incidents in comments which were quickly deleted by the website management. So Ron, whom are you talking about?

During the sermon, he railed against mockers and critics, who seek to destroy Ron and his church with lies and deceit.  Ron, I would like to see your false ministry end, but my means are to show the truth.  As I’ve said before in an email to you which you probably deleted, if I’ve said something on my site that’s not truthful then tell me what it is so I can correct it.  Rather, you impugn what I’m doing because you’re afraid that if more of your members read my site then even more will leave.

dangle_carrotAt the beginning of the sermon, Ron said it would be on the par of his sermons at the 2005 Feast of Tabernacles at which he presented his unique (at least among Armstrongites) doctrine on the origin of Christ.  First he read part way through his blog posting, and then diverted to the new topic.  After reading verses from Acts 8 and Acts 19 about the laying on of hands after baptism possible only by ordained ministers, he announced that there would be additional waves of elders.  These would be termed as associate elders, whose job it will be to baptize the hordes of people wanting to join PKG due to the fulfillment of Ron’s prophecies, which although they didn’t happen when he said they would, they will eventually.

I speculated in my last post that the status of Laura would change.  Its turns out that it has in an indirect fashion.  Laura no longer is the only ordained female in PKG.  It turns out that sleeping with an evangelist gives one spiritual qualities, as Angela (Ann) Wrozek and Myrtle Harrell were ordained by Ron as senior elders last week in Georgia.  Then Ron called Wayne Matthews in Melbourne who then ordained his wife Christine (Chris) as the third senior elder.  More men and women will be ordained as associate elders.

And Laura does have a new title.  She no longer is a prophetess.  She now is a prophet.  Ron objects to the second-class status of women, although they still will not be able to speak during services.

Some of the sealed who are older and physically not capable of performing the baptism are ineligble to be ordained.  Now this doesn’t quite make sense.  If lay members can help in the dunking part, then all they have to really do is the laying-on-of-hands part.  But why am I expecting anything Ron does to make sense.

But adding more elders including does make sense to me.  It binds the ordained ones closer to Ron so they’ll continue to ignore the failure of Ron’s prophecies. Ron plans an elders conference in Cincinnati on February 27 for training.  Ron promises more waves of ordination.  And who knows?  Maybe 20-something Tony Wilson who runs the HWA Compendium website will get to be an elder too.

Ron took time to rail against mockers and critics, who are trying to weaken the church with lies and deceit and who are being eaten up with cancer from the inside.  Now that was his curse in his first timeline — Ron, you said 53 weeks ago that I was to die quickly from the inside.

Sheriffing Ron

False Prophet Ronald Weinland spoke from the London UK area today.  Ron went into full-sheriffing mode this week on a visit to the home of his UK elder Benjamin Ikwueme.  The outcome  of this meeting was that Ron de-ordained Benjamin as one of his elders.   After the two witnesses left Ikwueme’s home and returned to their hotel, Mrs. Ikwueme called to say that they were quitting COG-PKG.  Perhaps the issue for Ron was that Benjamin kept his Facebook page despite Ron’s fatwa and edict that elders were not to be on it.  In his sermon on August 29 in which he strongly suggested that his members should not be on Facebook, Ron said:

That’s why I told the elders a long time ago to not be on those sites. Do you understand why I would have said something like that to elders a long time ago? Not to be on some of these open forums and so forth? If you don’t understand, think about it, pray about it and you’ll come to understand what’s healthier for the Church and why. And if it is good for elders to not do, I  wonder… hmmm, it might be good for us.

Or perhaps Benjamin did not come through with the 419 millionaires Weinland expected since ordaining Benjamin in September of 2008. 😉 Joking aside, I hope that Benjamin and Grace will soon be able to put PKG behind them and that they and their sons will recover from the cult.  And that they will reflect on their experience in PKG and avoid making the same mistake with another false prophet of which there are too many.

This trip has been an anniversary of a sort.  It was 10 years ago, in late November of 1999, that Ron and Laura started their false prophecy globetrotting with a trip to the Belgium and Netherlands using air miles donated to them by Steve Dalrymple.  While on that trip, Ron and Laura went to Paris and then London on or about November 25, 1999 and met the Ikwuemes.  So Benjamin and Grace have had a long association with PKG.

Ron promises some timeshifting sermons to be delivered leading up to the fast on February 6.  He’ll need to explain why the Great Tribulation has still not arrived well after the first trumpet blew for the second time.

Ron recycled one of his “News Watch” articles from the May 1998 issue. Looks like Ron’s not going to write another book, since he stated that everything in “2008 – God’s Final Witness” would happen exactly as written. And the timing would be right on target.  Except for the 8 month delay between timelines which was qualified in the book as “a marginal 6-month window of time”. So does that mean:

  • The US will no longer be an independent nation by June 21, 2009?
  • The five specific ministers named as the first phase of the fifth thunder of the 6th seal who are still alive will indeed die during the 6th seal which ended on Feb 2, 2008 Nov 14, 2008?
  • The economy is the 4th thunder and not the 1st trumpet?
  • where “2008 – GFW” describes the 1st trumpet as “When we are told that a third of all plant life will be destroyed, that is exactly what it means.” that that’s exactly what it means, and that it’s not talking about the economy?
  • That somewhere is an archive of interviews not arranged by Ron’s publicist?  Since “2008 GFW” states “Radio and television interviews will become more the norm as curiosity, news, controversy, and fear increase in proportion to the growing intensity of these thunders.”  This statement was in the chapter entitled “The Seven Thunders of the 6th Seal” which ended on Feb 2, 2008 Nov 14, 2008.

cartoon-vulture-nasty-review-hurtful-writerAnd where “2008 GFW” says:

The fire proceeding out of their mouth is symbolic of the power to pronounce exacting judgments upon anyone who would do them harm. Whatever the two witnesses pronounce will come to pass.

does it mean that I died a speedy death shortly after the Spokesman Witness pronounced his curse on me 49 weeks ago? That makes me so special. Not only am I a vulture picking on Ron’s putrid corpse, I’m a zombie vulture picking on Ron’s putrid corpse. How unusual. Somehow I manage to avoid picking on my own corpse and continue picking on Ron’s.

Team Weinland

Awhile back, False Prophet Ronald Weinland promoted senior elder Terry Wrozek to evangelist, and at the same time promoted Johnny Harrell to senior evangelist over the other evangelists Terry and Wayne and all the elders.  At the time, the promotion of Harrell seemed to me to be counter-productive — should Ronnie end up taking an extended vacation as a guest of Club Fed, Laura could maintain control by dividing up the equally ranked evangelists and playing them off against one another, having them take turns delivering the sermons.

Since then, I’ve heard a sermon that gave me a new perspective on the issue.  In the sermon, Ronnie is discussing how some husbands are overly controlling and their wives don’t even know what’s in their bank account, because they’re not a team.  Then as an aside, Ron states: “she does my finances, thank God.  I learned very early on, I don’t want that job.  I’m very glad she has it.  She has talent in that area, I don’t.  I mess things up — I just want an overview.  That’s all I want to know — I’m happy”. Audio Clip

irscibadgeThe following is somewhat speculative and we may never know, since the IRS does not release the results of their investigations except as disclosed during a court trial or in court filings.  The IRS began its criminal investigation of Ronald Weinland last year, issuing administrative summonses during July of 2008 for financial records for Ron, Laura, and the Church of God.  According to court filings, at that time only Ron was a target of the investigation, so Laura would have been considered an “innocent spouse” who didn’t really know what was going on.  But who knows what the investigation has turned up?  Given that Laura handles Ron’s finances and is fully on his team, it may be that the target list of the investigation has expanded.

Maybe Laura wasn’t an investigation target then, or not understood by Weinland to be a target back in December when he ordained her as prophetess and placed just below him in authority over the rest of the Church of God – PKG.  And perhaps since then it has been recognized that she is a target, leading them to cook up Plan C which leaves Johnny in charge to keep things going and manage the millions of people who join PKG as the Great Tribulation develops while the Two Witnesses turn water into blood and call down plagues from their cells.   According to Ron, the decision to promote Johnny was agreed to by his other team member, prophetess and silent end-time witness Laura.

It’s now 16 months since the IRS issued administrative summonses for Weinland’s financial records.  With an average length for an IRS criminal investigation of 14 months, an end either way is likely in sight.  The Two Witnesses are planning to travel to Europe next week.  Likely they’ll be coming back to the US this time, but I’m beginning to wonder.  Lately, Ron has again mentioned plans to live in Germany.  Jeremy, how comfortable is your couch to sleep on?  You may be finding out soon.

Ron’s Special Diet

A few weeks ago, False Prophet Ronald Weinland gave part 2 of a sermon series called “Judgment”.  I don’t know how he’s edited the sermon since I downloaded it from the PKG website during the following week,  so I’m providing the version I downloaded.  The following quotes are from a segment beginning at about 1 hour and 39 minutes in this MP3 file (Right-Click the link, then Save-As to download to your hard drive).

“When you get into conversations, we’re not all going to be on the same page.  And we don’t have to correct each other in everything that’s said……  So we give people time and just let some things go by the wayside unless it’s going to cause real harm or great damage.”

A bit later, at 1 hour and 43 minutes in the sermon MP3:

“Another one is: maybe it’s because of something physical that they’re weak.  As an example I’ve know of people because of their bodies, because people who know their bodies, see.  Don’t you love it when people come along and they have to tell you they tell you what to do to have better health yourself  that they see you doing wrong.  ….. Sometimes people get all worked up about those things, ….   You don’t want to give a doubtful disputation and start butting heads.

Let’s compare Weinland’s teachings to the experiences of a couple I’ll call “John and Jane Doe”.  The first part of their story was related on the Weinland Watch blog, as the “Does” started attending CoG-PKG early in 2005  and later attended the Feast of Tabernacles where Weinland rolled out his Origin-of-Christ doctrine.  Here is some more of their story, as related by “Jane”:

Between DUB and Pentecost, we had the opportunity to see Weinland in person for a church service. The service itself was uneventful, but after the service the brethren were gathering for a meal at a member’s nearby home and we inadvertently offended Weinland for the first of two times.

Our family has dietary sensitivities making it difficult to eat at restaurants and even most food that most folks eat and would serve in their homes. For this reason, we always travel prepared to feed ourselves when we are out and about. This day being no different, we came prepared with the food we needed. We also were not anticipating this invitation. Anyway, we were happy to be included with the brethren, but when we politely declined most of the food served,

Weinland was not happy. We later learned that he felt we should have abandoned our special dietary restrictions and should have just eaten what was offered us so as not to offend our hostess. Be assured, we are very accustomed to dealing with situations like this and we have learned how to tactfully decline food we can’t eat.

The story continues with the “Does” attending the 2005 Feast of Tabernacles.

As I mentioned earlier, our family follows a special diet due to numerous sensitivities. Eating out is very difficult for us. CoG-PKG has a standing tradition of a buffet dinner on the first and last holy days. Again we inadvertently offended Weinland when we did not attend the buffet on the first holy day. We had no idea that attendance at these buffets was expected and almost seemed mandatory.

In the middle of the Feast after services one day, our family was leaving the hotel for the afternoon. I took our children out to the parking lot to our vehicle.  When quite some time passed and my husband did not join us, I went back in to the hotel to find him. I found him in the hallway just outside the conference room talking to Weinland. I can’t tell you what transpired before I happened upon them.  But as I stood there a few feet away from them listening to the conversation in progress, I was absolutely stunned.

Weinland was in the process of threatening my husband with disfellowshipment if he did not bring his family to the buffet dinner scheduled for the Last Great Day. Not only was my husband being ordered to bring his family, but he was also being told that he must allow our children to eat anything and everything they desired regardless of the impact or affect on their fragile health. My husband was told to decide quickly whether or not he would comply because if he decided not to comply he would not be welcome back at services.

My husband reacted to Weinland’s tactics by saying something about NEVER having been treated this way by a minister before. To this Weinland coldly retorted: “You have never dealt with a TRUE minister of God before.”

While witnessing this exchange between Weinland and my husband, it was very obvious that Weinland began to attempt to use my presence to unnerve my husband. Many things he said were said to try to influence me against my husband.

We left the hotel that day shaken and not sure what we should do. In the end, my husband acquiesced and we continued to attend the rest of the Feast. On the Last Great Day we went to the buffet. Our children made us proud that day by making decisions about what they ate that did not have any harmful affects on their health. Under Weinland’s watchful eye our family ate our mid-day meal without incident.

The Feast concluded and we returned home feeling like we had made a huge error in judgment to think that PKG was where we belonged.

For whatever reason, we did continue to listen to Weinland for a few more weeks. Until his WITNESS announcement, that is. That, I’m happy to say, was the last straw and we haven’t listened since.

“John” and “Jane”, I’m glad that you made your escape from this false prophet.  Weinland is no longer attempting to force you to eat the physical food to which you’re allergic, nor eat at his table of spiritual garbage.   I expect the experience has given you the defenses to stay out of the snare of another such false prophet.  Thank you for sharing your story.

I’m going to let Ronnie have the last word on the topic (brief audio clip).  That is before you comment.

It’s Hot in Here

Yesterday False Prophet Ronald Weinland was in Orlando delivering another sermon mostly devoid of his false prophecy.  The venue was saving money on air conditioning making Ronnie jacketless after awhile.

Ron read from the recent post on his blog about Quarantines.  He starts with the somewhat reasonable, and soon segues to:

The second and more serious concern is that this strain could mutate into an extremely deadly strain and do so very quickly. The potential for this is great, and with the time we live in it is likely. Even if this does not occur, a completely new strain will emerge that will prove to be much more fatal.

And continues to

Compulsory vaccinations: Along with pandemics there is the likelihood of some governments enforcing compulsory vaccinations.

I doubt that compulsory vaccination will occur should the H1N1 virus mutate to a more deadly form.  It takes time for vaccines to be developed.  I rather think that there would be a shortage of vaccines for those who would want them — in which case the military will not be rounding up people at bayonet-point for forced immunizations.

During the sermon, Weinland accused his critics of looking for things to take out of context.  The fact is, I don’t have to take his statements out of context to find contradictions.  Unless the context he’s talking about is hie preference is that only his latest statements should be considered and any prior statement on the topic is “out of context”.

For example, his defenders will point out the weasel words such as “may” in Weinland’s quarantine post in the paragraphs just prior to the part I quoted.  However, I’ve noted that people prone to following false prophecies ignore the weasel words and are only made aware of them after the prophecy fails.  And if the prophecy comes true, then the weasel words are not needed. Herbert Armstrong was adroit at the use of weasel words.  In any case, it would be a stretch to pull the weasel words into the paragraph I quoted.

The fact is that Weinland is not a virologist, and has no idea whether or not a “completely new strain will emerge.”  And neither do I.  For either of us to make a firm prediction on the matter is … well, presumptuous.

In the comments section of my previous post, the topic of whether or not Weinland controls his members’ communication. I can point out a definite example.  At the Feast of Tabernacles in October 2005 held in Nashville, Weinland imposed his new doctrine on the origin of Christ upon a following which at that time largely comprised of people from a WCG background who believed that Christ existed before being born to Mary.  In his October 19, 2005 sermon (at 21 minutes in the version downloaded from the PKG website) Weinland stated:

Because what will not be allowed in this body, in this church, by God — and he works through his ministry — will be any division.  Will be anything that speaks against these truths.  NOT ONE WORD!  For if that one word comes out it is against God Almighty, and he will not take it lightly.  And I would not want to be in your shoes.  For you will have things of the wrath of God upon you and your life.  Not a small thing, is it? You will most definitely be encouraged to make a rapid exit from this fellowshipNOT ONE WORD!  So any of you who hear one word against God, stand your ground and be firm and tell them “You should leave.  Get behind me.”  …. You’ve never heard anything in this period of time, in the last ten years stated quite as strong brethren.  That’s how important this is before God.  And where we’re headed next, and where we’re going, and what God is doing.  For you’re going to hear far greater things as time goes on.  [And it was exactly one month later that Weinland kinda-sorta announced that he was one of the Two Witnesses. And less than two months later that he made it totally clear.]

It is quite clear that Weinland controls the communications of his members.  One of the aspects of COG-PKG defining it as a cult.

Aftermath of Weinland’s Seizure of The Church of God Inc.

This is the third in a series of posts (Part One , Part Two) on Weinland’s governance tactics during his 2000 takeover of The Church of God Inc.   One of the former board members of The Church of God Inc. summarized the conflict succinctly.  Paraphrasing heavily:

The entire issue was that Ron wanted one-man rule.  We weren’t having any part of that.

One reference Weinland has made several times when discussing former associations is about “walking side-by-side to God’s house, in counsel blended sweet”.  This is a misquotation from Dwight Armstrong’s song “But As For Me, I’ll Call ocounsel_blended_sweetn God” which is derived from Psalm 55:14 “We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.”  To me the terms “sweet counsel together” or “counsel blended sweet” means a civil discussion where everyone’s opinion is respected and the truth determined.  Ron’s version of “counsel blended sweet” is when his followers counsel each other to observe the latest pronouncement from the mouth of their spiritual idol.

xHWA, who has contributed comments on this blog, was actually there during these events. I’m going to let xHWA contribute most of the material in this post.  First is some new material which summarizes an email exchange between Weinland and xHWA after the split.  After that, I have compiled some of xHWA’s comments on the previous post so you don’t have to sort them out from the other comments.

After the tumultuous events of Feb 5, 2000 and the following week, the bleeding still had not ended.  Life continued on, as xHWA relates:

We had a wedding to attend of a young lady whose family was split by this – half staying with Ron and half leaving. Ron refused to talk to us. He refused to shake my hand. He even tried to avoid eye contact. Then he left immediately after the service. .

xHWA has provided a copy of his email exchange with Ron Weinland after the wedding.  Here it is (emphasis mine):

Continue reading “Aftermath of Weinland’s Seizure of The Church of God Inc.”

Ronald Weinland Seizes Control of the Church of God Inc

In last week’s post on Don’t Drink the Flavor Aid, I described a 3-hour sermon from Weinland delivered on January 29, 2000 as he maneuvered for control of the Church of God Inc.

During the sermon of the following week, February 5, the tone changed. Early in February 5th’s sermon, Ron states that he knows there will be a split, no doubt about it. Those who don’t accept Ron should find another pastor. He canceled a trip to Tyler, Texas that weekend to stay in Toledo and deal with this grave crisis.

During the prior week’s sermon Ron had stated that he wasn’t going to hide anything by not sending out cassette tapes as normal. On February 5, Weinland said that he wasn’t sure whether or not he was going to send them out. Ron titled the sermon “For Unity, Nothing Will Remain Hidden.”  (Just in case you missed the irony, reread the paragraph.)

Weinland challenged the members by telling them that if they thought they were going to keep everything, they weren’t. He had corrected the board. The board had the gall to push Ron to find his true position, and he had pushed back with strength and authority by disfellowshipping some of them.

He read a letter from one of the board members that was very critical of Ron. After that, a survey was handed out among the congregation, asking whether the member agreed or disagreed with the following statements:

  • I have seen your [Weinland’s] fruit for the past few years and believe that you have been following Jesus Christ.
  • I do not believe in a congregationalist form of government ….., but believe that those matters are guided by Jesus Christ through His ministry
  • The issues before us is whether the congregation or the ministry administer the government …, I believe I need more time to study and pray about the subject in order to come to a definite conviction one way or the other.

(Downloadable PDF copy of the survey) After the surveys were collected, there was an intermission as Ron adjourned for 20 minutes or so to read them. When he returned, he had envelopes addressed to a number of members. Inside the envelope was a letter (downloadable copy). Without computer equipment or adequate time, these were obviously prepared in advance. Weinland spent the remainder of the sermon reading from the letter.

The letter reiterated his position and reasoning and then announced that those receiving the letter were not disfellowshiped but were no longer members in “good standing”. It ended with:

As this letter has been addressed to you, you know whether this probation period is being given because you need more time to prove matters to yourself or whether you have state [sic] opposition to this ministry, either directly or by divisive action on your part. ….. This probation period of seven week [sic], beginning with this Sabbath, means that you are no longer classified as a member in “good standing” until this matter is resolved.

Ron took an aside to point out that as members not in “good standing”, they were not eligible to vote during the corporate meeting the following weekend on whether to replace the bylaws with the Ron-friendly version.

He closed with: “With genuine love for full reconciliation and in the service of Jesus Christ.” One estimate is that about 3/4 of the approximately 20 families in attendance were made members not in “good standing”. That did not end matters, though what transpired after is less clear.

MP3 copies of the sermons are available for playing or downloading (right-click, then save-as to your hard drive).

Weinland “left the building” after the services and serving notices.  The members remained for awhile to sort through their reaction to these developments. In a letter dated Feb 7 (PDF download), Ron explained the reasons for the suspension of membership in the third paragraph:

The reason for giving those letters was based on what I believed to be the only option open to me to protect the church. Some people needed more time to pray and study about these matters and this seemed to be the only legal means to insure that they could, while at the same time protecting the best interest of the Church.

So the reason for this ecclesiastical action was not ecclesiastical, it was legal. Ron presumes to determine the best interest of the Church. Never mind that the bylaws set up a board of directors to handle the financial interests of the Church. In the fourth paragraph, Weinland talks about further ecclesiastical actions to seize legal control, talking about how he quelled a movement to have an emergency board meeting to fire Ron:

I had to explain to the individual seeking to call the Board meeting that his efforts were now futile, as I had already started the procedure to disfellowship one Board member and that I would not hesitate to disfellowship any other Board members who continued to threaten the welfare of the Church.

Lawyers were fully involved at this point, with Ron naming his own multi-partnered law firm. He defended his actions as being legal, and that the bylaws gave him great power. But after consultation with his attorneys, he had reached a new understanding of the legal situation and did not need to deal with the members. The only thing needed for him to control the situation was to disfellowship board members of the corporation which hired him. This allowed him to reinstate the members, never mind their spiritual deficiencies.

By this statement, he acknowledged that the letters handed out the prior Saturday were a legal maneuver rather than an ecclesiastical action. He ended this letter with “In Christ’s service and deep love to all”.

Weinland’s legal power was based on precedent, with no mention of any disfellowshipping powers given in the bylaws.  Therefore a matter that could be litigated. With litigation threatened, it seems that there was some negotiation that followed.  First there appeared to be an agreement that the departing local members would keep their share of the funds or about 1/3 of the corporation assets. Then Weinland changed his mind and said he would let them have a much smaller amount, calling it a gift. It’s unclear as to whether the splitters received anything at all in the end.

Further details on the turmoil from the opposite camp’s view is available in this post on the Weinland Watch blog and the comments of this post on As Bereans Did.

In a letter dated February 14, 2000 (PDF download) Weinland sent out the tapes for the prior two week’s sermons after all. These letterheads on all these letters included the phrase “Preparing for the Kingdom of God” as a slogan under the Church/corporate name “the Church of God”(Inc). (The logo was created by one of Terry Wrozek’s daughters. Terry became one of Weinland’s first “elders”, formerly delivering several sermons each year, but has not delivered one since October, 2007. During all the promotions of 2008, he was bypassed as others were promoted to evangelist and senior elder. Ron rectified this partially in the past week, rewarding his long-time ally and elder with a spot as senior elder.)

In letter, Ron indicated that there was an attempt by “some” to take control of the corporation.  Yes, there was an attempt.  But it was not an attempt by “some”, it was an attempt by “one”, Ronald Weinland, and was a successfully attempt as he seized control from the board that did already have control.

It seems that the turmoil was not fully under control, as Weinland had to set up yet another new PO box address in Toledo, replacing another recent PO box address in Toledo which had replaced a Temperance, Michigan PO box. In his February 14th letter, Ron claimed the church was reorganizing under that as a full name. While “The Church of God – PKG” was incorporated in New Jersey on February 11, 2000, the legal entity “the Church of God Inc” continues to this day with an address at the same Cincinnati PO Box address as Weinland’s church. There is also a tax exemption registration in effect for “The Church of God, Inc” but not a similar one for “The Church of God — PKG, Inc”. So it seems that “Church of God — PKG” remains as a “doing business as” name.

In this letter, Ron states that the corporation will be reorganized with no members, not even the board. I wonder if this is the actual case. I am not a lawyer, but as I understand it a corporation is a legal entity which must maintain a relationship to actual people. In the case of a for-profit corporation, this is done by ownership of shares. In the case of a non-profit corporation, this is done by membership. So I doubt that the Church of God Inc. is a corporation with zero members, nor could it be a stock corporation as a non-profit.

Ron’s spiritual idol, Herbert Armstrong, set up a separate corporation during the 1979 receivership crisis of WCG. This new corporation was a “corporation sole” with Herbert Armstrong as its only member. I highly suspect this is how the Church of God Inc. was reorganized, with Ronald Weinland as the corporation sole. In which case the Church equals Ron both financially and ecclesiastically in perhaps we should instead call it “The Church of Ron — Prophet Keeping the Gold”.