Sometime ago, IWWB began to publish "testimonials" on the (now renamed TryingTheSpirits) Aionios (anus?) website. To those of us who were still invested in the group, or who had recently left, this was a serious red-flag in terms of the denominational leanings IWWB were beginning to take.
The basic premise of these testimonials is that such and such has now found "the truth" now that they have arrived at the feet of God's messenger - Mike Vinson - and his writings on the IWWB website.
Coupled with what they titled the "Milk Doctrines," which was simply a re-packaged version of what other groups call a "statement of faith," along with the legalistic demands Vinson and Kuhn were placing on the groups members, in terms of forbidding contact with others who had left, or in terms of denying group members the liberty to partake in wedding anniversaries, or birthdays, the truth was undeniable to those of us who were still waiting and watching what was taking place - IWWB was indeed a cult group.
The evolution had taken place gradually, but it was now here.
I recently took at a look at the testimonials on the recently re-vamped IWWB website.
As expected, these members unknowingly discredit IWWB as a simple gathering of like-minded souls and instead, point out what I have known for sometime - IWWB has become a denominational hierarchy with Vinson and his writings at the top of the structure.
Here are some select quotes of these testimonials, taken from here.
The quotes are centred and certain phrases underlined and bolded to highlight particular points. My comments appear underneath some of these.
Victor Torres _____
I migrated here in Utah, USA and met my wife Ann who is a member of achurch called Iglesia Ni Cristo. I converted to that church back in 1998… They believe that their members are the only ones who will be saved.Interesting. Just as Mike and his elders believe they are the only ones who will be "saved" in the first resurrection. Mike teaches that only those with the "one mind" of Jesus Christ, specifically, those who agree and teach all of his own doctrines, will be able to take part in the first resurrection. The rest he says, will be subservient to him and his minions in the coming age.
I started listening and reading Mike Vinson’s teachings. God was starting to open my eyes to his truths: the law of Moses is for a carnal nation, the old testament are types and shadows of us, the words in the bible has spiritual meanings.Note how Victor words this? "God's…truths" are seemingly equated with "Mike Vinson's teachings."
Ronel Cornish _____
In the past, I suffered because I was a false witness, but now I suffer because I am a true witness filling up what is behind in the afflictions of Christ for His Body’s sake.A "true witness?" Again, you see the totally black and white thinking associated with IWWB. They are the "true disciples" and anyone else, in another group, with different doctrines, are simply deceived.
I moved to Cape Town and one night in 2003-2004, the Lord showed me in a vision that the traditions of men nullified His commands. I was shocked and immediately decided that I was leaving church that Sunday. This was the dramatic beginning, because this is the way the Lord always works with me. Through the internet I encountered many “angels of light” and many books. After a period of time, these prophets and books did not offer the answers I was looking for.Ronel shows her own confirmation bias by stating "did not offer the answers I WAS LOOKING FOR…" Clearly, she was looking for something specific, and in IWWB, she appears to have found that - a person who claims he has the indisputable truth to the exclusion of all others.
She also discusses the "traditions of men." This is rather ironic, as IWWB carry on many of the (religious) traditions of men such as publicly praying in their studies, promoting religious asceticism and more.
James Berini _____
I get married at 20 but become a father at 19… I had within two years of marriage been exposed to the Worldwide Church of God at age 22 and started attending for 3 years until the Church changed direction in their doctrines and I stopped fellowshipping when they began teaching a Trinitarian God. I then stopped going to church for the next 14 years as I allowed the cares of the world to choke the word.James appears to be yet another former World Wider who has been attracted to Mike's website and following. As I have noted before, Mike has openly admitted that his group is populated with many former WWCoG members, thus qualifying IWWB as a WWCoG splinter group.
So after 40 years in the wilderness and 5 years in Babylon God led me to His true body and at last being able to worship in spirit and truth.Again, we see this idea rear its head, that a disciple has at last arrived at the truth, and the true body, by joining themselves to the IWWB group, and teachings of God's true end-time prophet Mike Vinson.
Desmond Taylor _____
I had a thought when I was younger that there must be someone who God will put on this earth like a prophet who will be able to explain what revelations really meant. There are always prophets why not now I thought. Would God just leave us like that?Herbert W. Armstrong was referred to by himself and his own propaganda machine as "God's true end-time prophet." I have to wonder, does Mike now consider himself the same? It appears that his disciples do!
He left me and gave me bibletruths.com to look at and iswasndwillbe.com. After he went I read and read and read just soaking up as much as I could and trying to find gaps in what was being taught. I looked up the meaning of the words to make sure I wasn’t being misled. I even asked my former teachers son to check the website to make sure it is ok. He did not give me any feedback. However, I kept reading everything. I have been reading ever since...Note that it wasn't "the bible" that was given to brother Desmond. It was rather, the specific teachings of two former World Wide Church of God men, Ray Smith and Mike Vinson. Even though I personally disagree with 99.9% of all that Ray Smith teaches, to my knowledge at least, Ray never went so far in trying to be the personal high-priest of his flocks live as Vinson does.
However through the comfort of the scriptures provided through the Frequently Asked Questions in iswasandwillbe I was able to deal with many issues. I thank God for the work Mike has been doing and all those involved in iswasandwillbe.com as they have been able to show me light where there was darkness and continue to reveal the truths of Gods word for our edification.Again, it's all about the writings of Mike Vinson, in much the same way a WWCoG die-hard would rave about the work and writings of father Herbert, or the way a Pentecostal brain-dead may rave about the latest Joel Osteen DVD, or book. No different at all.
Mary Morgan _____
My brother finally told me about BibleTruths.com about 6 months after he started frequenting the website. He also found IWWB from there as many others have. We started fellowshipping once a week, studying the bible together — he and his wife, my sister and her boyfriend. This was around 2006.For those who don't know, Mike used Ray Smith's bible-truths.com website to garner himself a following in the early days. He then put out what he felt was going to be a groundbreaking achievement; a commentary on the book of Revelation. In this commentary, he pronounced himself, and another spiritual side-kick (Rob Jones) sinless, and declared, in the commentary "…WE NO LONGER COMMIT SIN…"
Suffice to say, his groundbreaking work was torn to shreds by Ray Smith, and many others, as the work of pride that it was.
Mike, ever the expert at playing the victim, was able to convince many people (including myself) that Ray was simply jealous of him working with another person on the commentary. Read more about this epic fail, on this blog post.
Tom Piecyk _____
Well to make a long story short, in 1986 right on my 30th birthday I came to acknowledge Jesus Christ as my savior; I saw so clearly how lost I was and no one else to turn to but Jesus Christ. So I left the Catholic Church and went to another church in search for the truth.
In search of "the truth." A noble endeavour but not found in the writings of those with a specific religious agenda to push, such as the pages of the buy-bull.
Now for how I came to iswasandwillbe.com. I was getting sick and tired of being lied to and all of the lies out there God gave me such a strong desire to know the truth. This is when I cried out to God, don’t let me deceived.
So within one hour after asking God not to let me be deceived I stumbled onto a website. I started to read about God’s sovereignty and was soaking up so much like a sponge and finally found someone who really is in control of my life, all of life in general and the specifics of life. I found Mike Vinson’s website (iswasandwillbe.com) through this other website that I was reading.Here yet again, this brother claims he was searching for the "truth." Don't let me be deceived God, he claims to have prayed. And then magically, up pops the IWWB website on the computer. He has found the truth, at last. All because of the work of one Mike Vinson.
And now that I fellowship with other believers that I met through Iswasandwillbe.com (IWWB- which is just a website not a denomination) and I thank God for Mike for teaching us God’s word the way it should be taught. God has blessed him in this capacity as a teacher. One of the biggest reasons we need to keep Mike in our prayers to stay faithful to God’s word is because teachers like him are a rarity in this day and age.Note that brother Tom "protests too much?" It's not a denomination, really it's not, I promise! Hah. Too funny. Of course it is, it is obvious to all who are looking rationally and objectively at this group. Again, take note that father Mike Vinson is heaped with praise as the purveyor of the truth in these end times.
Tony Cullen _____
The day came that dad gave me an ultimatum, “you either join the army, the RCMP or get out!” At this point I was already attending the World Wide Church of God and there was no way I was going to join the military or become an RCMP officer.
Brother Tony is but another former WWCoG-ite who was attached himself to the IWWB denomination.
Without the mind of Christ I don’t think that our educational systems nearly reach their full potential…Not sure what Tony is getting at here. Obviously, he'd he thrilled if Vinson was appointed the head of some national educational think-tank, in order to direct curriculum the way it ought to be taught?
By this point in my life I had given up on church, and music as a career, and marriage, and I was unemployed and living at my mother’s. Had it not been for the Lord leading me to Ray Smiths site some years earlier I would not have come to know of the true fellowship of the saints and all the work that God had manifested through Mike Vinson and others at www.iswasandwillbe.com. Our Lord graciously took me from reading many of the things Ray had written and within a few months I was devouring everything I could read and listen to on www.iswasandwillbe.comBrother Tony was yet another fish lured by Mike Vinson while he cast a net for acolytes at the bible-truths.com website. And yet again, Vinson is lauded as the leader of the IWWB website, despite his ridiculous assertions that it is a body, and not a denomination.
Steven Crook _____
Well, I asked this first of many questions to come, to the preacher, and you guessed it …. DOUBLE TALK. This is the double forked tongue at its finest. I may have been new to “all this stuff,” but I knew what “fish smelled like”… as it all seemed a bit “fishy” to me.
I asked more questions, and I received less answers. There were even “special sermons” dedicated to me, which were to basically state that those as yet “unlearned” were to learn first, THEN as questions. Don’t question authority, we were told in those sermons. After the questions were just too much to deal with coming from me, I was more or less asked to keep quiet until I knew more about what I was talking about.This is hilarious, this whole spiel from chief IWWB pharisee Steve. I say this because the double-speak from Vinson and his elders (incl. Steve himself) has been captured via audio on my YouTube channel over and over and over again.
Mike also chides new disciples about not asking too many questions. Instead, the standing order is that one become "like a child" and pay their dues in the fellowship before they attempt to bring correction or teach anyone else. No different to the supposed "double talk" Steven laments in the statement above.
I have had some exchanges with Steve Crook. He was one of the first to throw the boot in when I aired my issues with Mike, shortly after being elbowed out the back-door.
Although I never had many personal exchanges with Steve because, in his words, "I don't have the time," he somehow found an abundance of time to write me screes of email and Google-chats, condemning my videos and my emails about Mike, shortly after I was kicked from the IWWB fellowship.
My entire family outwardly hates the Gospel of our Christ. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. However, my grandfather asked me what I would tell my daughter when she asks about God. My “religious” grandfather and leader of our family spiritually, hates the Truths of God though he doesn’t realize it, as mostly everyone doesn’t realize it…Steven is a Mike-ite through and through. He subscribes to the notion that if you happen to question the teachings of IWWB, then therefore, this must mean that you "hate the truths of God." This black and white thinking is classic cult-speak. They see no shades of grey - instead there are those who are disciples, and everyone else secretly hates Christ.
I came to a point where nothing mattered except the Truth. I tell you as God is my witness through Jesus Christ, that Mike Vinson’s writings were used to help “calm the storm”. The Lord works all things after the counsel of His own Will, and Mike Vinson was used as Christ’s messenger to me in my time of need.Again, Mike is placed up on the pedestal of truth. Mike Vinson is the high-priest of IWWB, and all the disciples must kiss the ring and bow to the authority of this man. Sad!
An angel sent to me, to witness the Lord’s love to me. Hallelujah! God’s fruit was being manifest in a Son of God, by the Grace of God, because He chose Mike Vinson and those around him to show me, “with a pointed finger” to the WAY, TRUTH, AND LIFE! AMEN! Praise GOD!Steve puckers up and kisses the ass of Mike yet again! I should point out that Mike took great offence when I left the group and referred to Mitch Kuhn, Steve Crook and others, after the fact, as "Mike Vinson fan boys," or "Mike-boys."
As you can see, my comments are grounded in the kinds of statements above, where the holy father of IWWB, Mike Vinson, is lauded as a celebrity of the work of God.