Letters from our Readers - Part 2
( READ PART 3)
What to do
While reading Michael Harris's article on homosexuality ["Pain, Loneliness Dwell Deep in My Memory," The Journal, April 30], I had many questions relative to its cause and effect. I will try to point out both sides of the problem as I see it.
Looking at myself as a heterosexual male, I asked myself: Why are we so down on homosexuals?
I will have to say it is a fear thing. Heterosexuals are comfortable with their sexuality, and we do not have the ability to grasp how anyone could be sexually attracted to a person of the same sex.
Because of this fear we dare not ask a homosexual to explain his feelings toward another of the same sex. Why? Because we are afraid that if he explains and we should understand, we too might become sexually reoriented.
For a heterosexual to no longer be attracted to those of the opposite sex would be like a death sentence. Could this be the same feeling homosexuals have about their sexuality?
Are homosexuals mental freaks, mutations of nature? This is how we supposedly normal people see them. We are incapable of understanding their problem, and no doubt they cannot understand why we don't understand.
As a society we see only the effect of the disease, not seeking its cause. Ought not we search for the cause and not be as doctors trying to cure the effect?
God calls the least of the world into His church. Therefore He has no special calling for homosexuals apart from the rest of us. When the second resurrection comes up, will there be a shortage of homosexuals in it? I think not. They will need help too.
It is up to you homosexuals in the church to find out how and where and what made you sick. You homosexuals will have to search out this cause alone and with the help of God.
We heterosexuals cannot help other than encourage and pray for you, for we weren't there.
We heterosexuals must have more compassion for you. From this point on we can all seek God's help and work on the healing together as the Body of Christ.
Trust no one
To Michael Harris [who wrote "Pain, Loneliness Dwell Deep in My Memory," The Journal, April 30]:
My son is a homosexual 28 years old. I have been a member of the church since 1980. My son "Phil" has attended church all these years with our family, and I see the same struggle in him as you have revealed about yourself. I sent him your Web address in hopes that he will read your article. It would help him so much to learn of others in our faith who struggle with the same issue.
We have an elder in our congregation who pounds the podium all about gay and homosexual sins--interchanging the two words as if they are the same--every time he speaks. We avoid church services when he is on the speaking schedule.
I have been in contact with Melvin Rhodes, but my son shies away from counseling with him. He just does not trust anyone in the church at all.
However, I see my son faithful to our beliefs and attending all holy days with me and his younger brother.
I am not for sure why I am writing, other than I sense that you understand, and that is a precious gift to me. This is a taboo subject in our congregation except for one speaker who speaks of it constantly.
This last year he gave the sermon on the Day of Atonement all about homosexuality. I hurt so bad for my son as we sat there listening to him get louder about how evil and how sick these people are for choosing to be this way.
Then he always speaks of how it is the parents' fault in the upbringing: lack of involvement with the father and overinvolvement with the mother.
I can tell you Phil and I just shrank in our seats.
I have been removing myself emotionally from our congregation ever since then, even though I love the truth and I am a baptized member since 1983.
My son said something so sad to me the other day. He said he would probably never get baptized. There just doesn't seem to be a place for him, just as you said in your article.
Phil is aware of Anchor and Exodus, but I try to stay out of his business, so I do not question whether he uses these resources.
Phil hates all the gay-marriage stuff and the Rainbow Coalition and activist groups. He is not promiscuous and has had a male friend for almost five years now. He will not live with him and does not conform to the typical gay-couple relationship.
Phil would love to have kids one day and live "normally" within a heterosexual marriage. He tells me he has ruled nothing out for his life and that there is hope for him to become involved with a woman.
I don't think he realizes how much work that will take on his part.
I am sorry to go on and on like this, but you see there is no one I can trust to talk to about this. Mr. Rhodes warned me about who I talked to.
Isn't that just shameful in our church? We will be the ones in the world tomorrow to have to deal with these issues, yet we can't honestly and intelligently talk about them in our congregations.
I am not asking you to do anything. My son will have to seek out fellowship on his own. Hopefully, by my sending him your address he may one day reach out.
Please pray for my son. He is a wonderful man, and he strives extra hard to be a Christian.
Name and location withheld
Armstrong lineage confirmed
A legend perpetuated in the Church of God is that Herbert Armstrong was descended from the kings of England and Scotland. In fact, I even heard HWA make the claim himself at the auditorium in Pasadena in a sermon.
With US&BC a pivotal doctrinal position in the Worldwide Church of God, having HWA descending from the royal line added all the more to the mystique of the Israel-in-prophecy theory.
I decided to do some investigation, especially with the resources now available on the Internet.
The results: Yes!
Thanks to the Latter Day Saints Church and its exhaustive Internet genealogy records, I was able indeed to trace the Armstrong lineage back to the royal line. The line I traced does not come through the Armstrong name but in fact through a paternal grandmother named Lydia Hole, who married Nathan Armstrong, who in turn produced Horace Elon Armstrong, who was HWA's father.
The HWA autobiography (final 1986 edition) has a picture of a young HWA (age 1) with his grandfather Elon Hole shown in the photo pages after page 120. Elon Hole was 92 in the picture according to the autobiography, having been born in 1800, and, according to the LDS site, dying in 1895 in Des Moines, Iowa (HWA's birthplace).
The Hole lineage goes back to 1400 to Devonshire, England. Through marriage to the DeUmfreville line, the royal lineage starts to emerge. From the DeUmfreville line comes Maud, princess of Scotland, Henry, prince of Scotland, David, king of Scotland, and Malcolm III, king of England, way back to before A.D. 1000.
Additionally, kings of Denmark and Sweden bless the Armstrong bloodline.
Here is how to confirm this yourself. Go to www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp, then type in "Elon Hole" in the listed spots. Click on the name when it comes up again and then click on "pedigree."
Keep clicking on the arrows for the "Hole" family line until it links up with the DeUmfreville line. Trace backwards from this line to find the royal links.
I traced my own family history back to 1350 using this site. Unfortunately, Lussenheides are a long line of peasants and serfs from Osnabruck, Germany, whose only claim to fame was defeating the Roman Army in A.D. 9 near Westphalia.
Oh, well, somebody has to harvest the potatoes for the bluebloods.
As you may or may not know, Perino's Restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard was one of Herbert Armstrong's favorite hangouts. This morning there was an item in The Los Angeles Times discussing the coming auction of Perino's "Old Master and 19th-century paintings, brass and crystal chandeliers and custom silver."
Of Perino's the news item said that Judy Garland, John Huston, Bugsy Siegel and Frank Sinatra had all been regulars. It didn't mention anything about HWA. The whole area is being razed to make way for luxury apartments.
HWA often took his big-shot guests there. I never made the list. But I think Wayne Cole did, and quite a number of the evangelists.
Another part of HWA's world disappears into history.
He's lying if he says it was satire
Concerning John Sash's article, "What Is Woman if Not the Mother of All Harlots?" [April 30 issue]: My answer: What is woman if not the creation of the Father?
John Sash starts his article quoting an old Pharisee prayer, "Blessed are Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a gentile."
Then he quickly adds two more statements that thank God that he is not a slave or a woman. Mr. Sash comments: "I like that prayer. I can identify with it."
I was immediately reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 18:9-11: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.'"
The attitudes of utter disdain for women and self-superiority in these Pharisee prayers are soundly rebuked by Jesus. See Luke 18:14. Jesus Himself tells us that one with such an attitude of disdain towards women will be humbled.
Had Mr. Sash said he thanked God he wasn't a black or a Mexican, everyone would have rightly charged him with horrible racism. Yet indicating that there is something wrong with being a woman is also cruel, destructive and evil prejudice. Has he made his own wife's life so totally miserable that he is glad he isn't she?
God Himself designed women: their personalities, their bodies, their emotions and spirits. It is a fine and wonderful thing to be a woman. A woman has a more-caring attitude, tends to be more perceptive to the needs of others, is more intuitive and is aptly suited to mother and nurture either a child or a person new in the faith.
When such a woman is teamed with a good, deeply converted man who loves her unselfishly in a kind and caring marriage, there is no stronger union on earth.
Mr. Sash treats us to the sins of every woman he can name, much like the old Worldwide "woman" sermons. He leaves out the righteous Deborah, for there is nothing negative about her leadership or her role as prophet, leader and judge of all Israel.
I was told this article was "satire," and as a former English teacher I certainly can recognize satire--when it is satire. His article attempts to be an analogy at the end, but it is not satire.
The article is a slap in the face and insulting to all women. I would remind Mr. Sash that a woman is also the mother of every righteous man.
He ends the last third of his article with a rather hollow and transparent attempt to soothe the hurt feelings of the women he's alienated with the rest of the article, much like those old sermons ended.
He concludes, "Most of all, I'm thankful I'm a woman, adorned and adored as the Bride of Christ."
Frankly, Mr. Sash, I think Christ would adore you much more if you would stop bashing His women under a thin veil of dubious scriptural analogy and instead earnestly pray as Jesus suggests, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!"
Dianne D. McDonnell
I cannot believe that The Journal printed John Sash's article about women. It was written in such horrible taste and without an ounce of Christian charity. John's gimmicky attempt at the end of the article to justify what he had written with such obvious enjoyment does not exonerate him or compensate for the highly questionable logic he used to write it.
There have been not a few men in the church over the years who have used Scripture to justify their sexist and unchristian attitudes toward women. While I (generally) appreciate The Journal's attempts to give equal time to proponents of many difficult issues, printing this particular article can only be considered to be hurtful and damaging to the women in the Churches of God.
We women already have more than enough burdens to carry the way it is. Remember what Jesus Christ said: "Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these My brethren you did it unto Me."
It was tongue in cheek, ladies
Just got my Journal and read John Sash's article ["What Is Woman if Not the Mother of All Harlots?," April 30]. Wow!
I got all excited about his article's beginning: "Chauvinist pigs of the world unite!" I started to say.
Then, when he said there was not enough "woman bashing," I knew I was being set up with a tongue-in-cheek preface to something more profound.
I was impressed with the typology he laid out. I especially liked his explanation of how "Joseph marries the woman who, typologically, caused his torture and death."
I have only one negative critique of the article: Why didn't you publish the last two columns as Part II to be published the next month? That would get the letters to the editor flowing.
W. Robin Wansley
The sin of Miriam
Today many are sinning against God by speaking out rashly and insolently against those who have taught us the gospel. Their sin is the sin of Miriam, who provoked the Lord with her arrogant and tempting question, "Does the Lord indeed speak only by Moses?" (Numbers 12:2).
By doing so, we rebel against spiritual authority instituted by God and distance ourselves from the Lord Jesus Christ.
To those who question the source through which the Lord has delivered His truth, the Lord asks, "Why are you not afraid to speak against [Me]?" Thus He has divided us and stands outside knocking on the door.
Hamilton, Ont., Canada
Rise of the two witnesses
And what if God decides, in order to measure the Temple,
The Two Witnesses will "rise" from their earthly graves?
Waves of shock would reverberate, Laodiceans would tremble;
Assemble, all Philadelphians, in the Place of Safety caves.
To unify the scattered Church, God may bring back Elijah
To raise the Midnight Cry that wakes the Sleeping Bride.
Electrified, Philadelphians would all unite, confer.
Stirred, half Laodicea would admit what they denied.
Would this explain how Zerubbabel laid the foundation
Of God's third and end-time Temple, on the one hand?
And, on the other, how he can finish this spiritual Zion
So there's no denying that he is the Eternal's man?
And what if God forgave all the sins of Joshua?
Won't that great act of mercy be a sign to all
Stalled in sin, no matter how poor or posh you are?
Scarred Laodiceans can repent, and rise from their fall.
And what if Elijah stood beside his son, to garner the harvest
Of subscribers, viewers, and listeners from all clans
Spanned across the world? The countless millions they used to assist
Enlist their remnant anew, point them to the Promised Land?
What two servants of God would be more widely recognized
By Heads of State and average me and you?
Who could the Church worldwide more unify and galvanize?
Realize Elijah and son may have a second coming too.
And what if these Messengers, by Heaven selected,
Interjected: "We are the Olive Trees of the two final Eras;
"Wearers of Sackcloth for the Tribulation expected;
"Resurrected, mortal, to lead all God-fearers"?
Are these the reasons all Israel will know for certain
That a prophet has been among them? Who long warned--
Scorned though he was--of Jacob's final Dispersion?
Conversion will come quickly to them when Tribulation dawns.
And, if so, will Elijah's ire cleanse the Auditorium dedicated
To The Great God? Sweep away all the prophets of Baal?
Assail their abominations with fire? Eradicate?
Exterminate? Make them and their heresies disappear wholesale?
And what if this is the final test of your heart and mine?
Would we follow Elijah-to-come a second time?
Or would our new loyalties seem more sublime?
Would we be Philadelphians, measured by Zerubbabel's plumb line?
Geoffrey R. Neilson
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God