Last month I sent an e-mail to Ron Weinland, yet another deluded “prophet of God” who has been discussed at length on my blog before. Ron had the balls to predict a specific date for the Return of Jesus, which to his credit lends his prognostications the attribute of falsifiability. Unfortunately for him, that date was last Sunday, May 27, 2012.
Some can’t wait for me to say that I am not a prophet or to say that I’m a false prophet. Indeed, no one has long to wait, do they? May the 27th 2012 is not too far away. And if Europe hasn’t arisen by early 2012 and if China does not begin destroying the earth before that date, then the reality would be manifest much sooner. Obviously. You have to wait until 2012. Then the question that they ask “What would I do?”
Well, first I’d repent before God and the church. I’d acknowledge my sin and pray that God have mercy on me for being so horribly presumptuous. Candidly, I’d deeply repent of all those things that concern prophecies that I’ve given in the office of a prophet.
On the strength of this, I wrote him the following message last month (to which I received the standard faceless autoreply.)
April 30, 2012
I grew up in Armstrong’s WCG, believing we were living in the last days. I grew up during the Cold War, having nightmares of nuclear armageddon. I was a true believer from my childhood and later, a baptized adult member. And, I still live in the world today: I see the ongoing threat of humankind to itself. So, I think I understand what you’re going through now. And, I just wanted to say a couple things to you.
I think you’re sincere in your “prophecies.” I think that, right now, you really think you are one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation, and that somehow, in just a month, a whole bunch of things must surely come to pass that will astound the world and prove you and your God ultimately right.
However (and I’m sure you realize this already) I don’t think it will happen. I don’t have faith: I only have evidence and reason to go on. So please forgive the presumption of what I’m about to say, as I know you don’t agree.
When May 27th passes with just the typical unrests and instabilities in the world that humankind has always experienced (albeit reported instantly by the electronic media) and when you and you wife wake up on May 28th and Jesus still hasn’t returned, and when you watch the sun set on the evening of the 29th, I hope you will finally turn from the ways that so many of your predecessors have trodden before you… the ways of self-righteous denial that Yisrayl Hawkins and Harold Camping, and yes, even Herbert Armstrong (although his predictions were not nearly as precise as yours) have trod… they who said that, in all their earnest calculations about the precise day of the End, they simply forgot to carry the 1— and that God’s word is true even if they, God’s “true endtime prophets”, somehow got it wrong. Or, that God has decided to show mercy for the “sake of the elect,” or other such hogwash. I hope that after reflection, and being a seeker of truth, you’ll come to see the need for a quite different path to your life: the path that begins with you awakening to the fact that you have been living and teaching a lie… the path that continues with a thoughtful examination of how you came to fall into a trap that has ensnared so many others… the path leads to an ongoing dedication to healing the harm the lies have caused, and educating others on how to avoid repeating the lies and mistakes.
You wrote, “There are many examples of events in the lives of God’s people that did not seem reasonable to them and to those around them.” That is because these stories of “God’s people” are myths, so of course they are unreasonable— even to the fictional characters that inhabit them. When viewed from that context, the only thing that is truly unreasonable about them is that some people still believe them. You know exactly what I’m talking about: the story of Muhammad riding to heaven on a winged horse, or Joseph Smith scrying the Book of Mormon from hieroglyphics etched into golden plates, are completely unreasonable to you too, yet millions of people believe them literally. After May 27th, I hope you will pause, step back, and see the world from that larger perspective. From that vantage, you will see that you have been preaching a myth exactly like all the others. If you can see that (and I fully understand how big an “if” that is) I hope you will discover the strength to admit it: to yourself, your wife, and your followers. If you do, I applaud you in advance: I think admitting a delusion is one of the bravest things anyone can do.
Since 1995 I’ve run a web site for former WCG non-believers. It is a chronicle in the words of people like you and me, of the harm experienced at the hands of other believers (usually) sincerely living the lie. Their expressions of pain and anger are part of their healing. I have also seen former ministers go through the posts there, leaving heartfelt comments sincerely apologizing for their role in harming others in the name of God. Clearly, they have learned their lesson and are now living better lives.
I also want you to know that there is a thriving, growing, and vibrant community of former-believers who have moved beyond the myths: who love and live their lives to the fullest. They have healed, and they are ready to help you heal and find purpose… once you’re ready to admit the lie. I know that time isn’t quite yet— you have a big day of reckoning just ahead of you. But your opportunity is coming quickly.
After May 27th, if you want someone to talk with or correspond with, my contact information is below. I’ll be there for you.
Despite my plea, and despite his Ultimate Prophecy’s spectacular failure, he has apparently decided to maintain his public wall of denial and assert that he is still God’s True Prophet. This is a quote I have transcribed from his Pentecost sermon (link to MP3) that he posted on Sunday (17 minutes in):
So what about us? Well, Pentecost 2012 is proving to be incorrect as the date of Christ’s return. Because deep down inside I still hold to a desire that somehow on this day these things could still come to pass; that somehow, because the time zones haven’t completely gone around the world that perhaps somehow God would intervene and change this; that if there be some other way that it could still happen this way. But I feel I know where it’s going. And so I still have that hope— a desire— to the end of this day in the Earth, and the beginning of Pentecost, the last portion of the timing that goes around the Earth. So if indeed, as it appears that it’s headed that way, Pentecost 2012 has proven to be incorrect as the date for Christ’s return,does that make everything else untrue? Does that negate the fact that I am God’s prophet and apostle at this End Time? Absolutely not!
Now that Weinland’s own words have revealed the depth of his insanity, I of course expect nothing but more of the same drivel from him forever— he is a lost cause and therefore I can now happily ignore him, knowing that those who search for his name on the Internet will see all that has gone before and have the tools they need to make up their own minds.
In fact, at this point I have decided to retire from calling out false prophets entirely. I’ve made my point and gotten it out of my system. I have better things to do with my life.
However, I would make a final plea to anyone religious reading this: Weinland’s path took him to an obvious cliff of failure— one that is easy for the religious and non-religious alike to ridicule. But although you may smugly quote from Matthew that “No man knows the hour“, you really should consider that those still firm in their apocalyptic faith (which pretty much includes the vast majority of Christians who believe that these are the “End Times” and Jesus is “coming soon”) have no more to go on than Weinland did. Sadly their path never ends but only leads, generation after generation, deeper and deeper into the woods.