I think Todd has it right. I think he knows the deception he is peddling, but he is stuck with it and has no easy way out, plus it provides his livelyhood and he is the boss - answerable to a seemingly absent God. The lifestyle, travel and being your own boss (more than less) and being the authority closes the deal - as they have for so many preachers. It is enjoyable to have people look up to you, to defer to your wisdom.
Despite his outlandish claims Ron appears rational. He must certainly come face to face (at least weekly), if not more, with the lack of evidence substantiating his claim to prophet and witness hood. He boldly and desperately reaffirms his role - so he feels the pressure - even though now he seems to have eased that pressure until the LGD, so he just gives regular sermons.
It takes a determined and calculated effort to make and reaffirm his claims to everyone, including himself. I mean when he eats dinner he looks across the table and faces a woman he knows is not a prophetess or the second witness. What can that be like? She is his silent partner in religious crime, I contend.
How can they do this?
I simply find it staggering and it is why I stay tuned in.
Can anyone see this ending well?
I have difficulty conceiving of Ron getting out of this with any credibility. I suppose it could happen. But PKG members out there are counting down. They are invested spiritually, emotionally and financially. This is heading for one big wreck.
Reflecting on my own experience, this grips a person hard and for a long time. I don't ever expect to see myself believing 'I have the truth.' Alarm bells go off in my mind the first step down that road.
That said, the bible especially Proverbs and Eccliasiastes contain useful guidance. I think the most valuable trait a person can cultivate is humility. (not to echo Ron by any means, in fact, a lot of the railing he does against pride seems calculated to establish his authority and to prevent any challenge or questioning.)
You won't see me chiming in on doctrinal matters. I haven't the desire to.
Agree or disagree, I feel connected to everyone here. I wish I had more answers than unanswerable questions, but I don't. I think that is the 'cold' reality in which we all actually live - so best to embrace it.
Do I like it? No, not especially. It is more comfortable thinking you do have the answers - 'the truth'.
I've drank the heady brew of certainty and felt its comforting, intoxicating and powerful embrace. But we pay a price for the beliefs we allow ourselves to hold, often painful ones.
I think it is important to recognize the limits of one's beliefs - that our beliefs can and do have limits and that a good many of them may not be correct and can't be fully trusted. And that only in the testing of our beliefs can we protect ourselves, our relationships and futures from certain harms. Above all, the others we surround ourselves with, can provide a healthy check on and connection to reality. We cut others off at our own peril.
Reality's comfort may be cold at first , but it brings peace when we recognize and accept it.
How will Ron's saga end? I don't know, but I see more bad endings than good. All I know, is that if he does what he does knowingly then he deserves everything he gets, but it should be tempered with mercy. I think he's written a story for himself out of delusion and desperation that he can't get out of and unfortunately has sucked a lot of vulnerable people in after him.
I know what I don't know. I know what I cannot know. I accept that.
I believe in God and when there is a clear choice, I'm confident I'll make the right choice.