Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Pay and Pray"

The motto of many splinters of the Armstrongism groups seems to be "pay and pray" - often referring to the fact that the ministry doesn't want lay members to have any teaching functions whatsoever, either online or offline.

In a concrete example, one COG-leader had an issue with a member who had released information about a competing church organization simply because this was not published by himself. As Pastor General (a popular term for a church leader in the circles of Armstrongism), this person believed it was only ministers that should publish anything online.

The issue was never the actual content of the site, but what was viewed as rebellion because this person was not willing to take down the website. [Later, the webhost supplying the website was merged into another service, and the original site disappeared.]

When you go through newsletters from these COG-groups you quickly discover the negative angle in which the internet is often mentioned. It's all part of the angle that the ministry need to make the internet appear negative - despite knowing very well that this would be like saying books were bad just because some bad novels are published every year.

Everything depends on the eye of the beholder. It's an excellent networking tool offering fellowship through social media like we have never before seen, so on the social side, there is a big potential for friendships across time zones.

Likewise, you could take any online information database and find minor errors in details. Usually an e-mail to the webmaster with relevant documentation can upgrade their databases, and such errors are pruned constantly by people who do offer feedback on whatever might be in error.

But the intentions of the ministry in many groups is mind control, and you should never fall for this type of control. They often use "prove all things" when attracting people as co-workers and members, but once they are caught like fish, the principle becomes "pay and pray" instead of actively involving people in the development of the organization.

Stay informed - regardless of what anyone else might recommend. :-)

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