End times "prophet" and head of the Church of God – PKG Ron Weinland was found guilty of tax evasion and could possibly face up to five years in jail. PKG stands for "Preparing for the Kingdom of God."
Weinland, who characterized himself as one of the "final witnesses" described in the book of Revelation, had proclaimed that Jesus was returning on May 27 this year and that he and his wife, the other final witness, would "ascend to heaven" as immortal beings. As May 27 approached, Weinland amended his prophecy to say that the various spinoff groups from the defunct Herbert W. Armstrong cult, the Worldwide Church of God, would reunite as God's "true" church. Weinland's Church of God – PKG is one of hundreds of spinoff churches.
Preaching Pays for Posh Lifestyle: Jurors Disgusted.
May 27 fell just eight days before a federal jury trial over tax evasion charges began. Jim Hannah at Cincinnati.com wrote about the trial, where jurors were told not to allow Weinland's religious beliefs to cloud their judgment. Prosecutors alleged Weinland illegally wrote off personal expenses as church expenses to evade $357,065 in taxes from 2005 through 2010. Hotel and casino stays, expensive suits, home security systems and other personal expenses were charged off to church expenses, prosecutors alleged. Some money was apparently hidden in Swiss bank accounts and some converted to expensive gems, allegedly to be used for bartering when the banking system collapses in accordance with prophecy.
The jury deliberated for almost four hours and on June 13, found Weinland guilty on five counts. Cincinnati.com reports that the minister "was placed on home detention with electronic monitoring and ordered to post a $300,000 bond to stay out of prison. Weinland faces up to five years in prison when U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves sentences him on Sept. 24."
Mike (surname not disclosed) has blogged extensively about Weinland over the years and was able to obtain comments from two of the jurors, one of whom served as foreman.
One of the jurors remarked,
Out of the 90% of $4.5 million, the Weinlands alone, spent at least 80% of that money. We are talking Lasik eye surgery, Insight cable bills, utility bills, car insurance, global & domestic shopping sprees for clothing, art, & jewelry, homes, on and on….basically everything and then some. In a nutshell these scumbags paid any and all exspenses down to groceries and morning coffee out of these church donations! The so called “church money” equals Ron and families money.
What a brazen piece of garbage. These people are sociopaths. I feel for those of you who were ever entangled with this freak! There is nothing at all Godly about this man. That is putting it lightly.
The jury foreman's opinions were not expressed quite as strongly, but he said that the courtroom experience and verdict was draining, adding that the jury carefully deliberated the evidence. He noted:
I do admit that while none of the witnesses from the church appeared to be violent people, the thought has crossed my mind that if any members of the church were to go off the deep-end, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for them to decide that we are the “enemy” and to seek vengeance, which is why I advised the other jurors to make sure to keep our actual names hidden online and in the media.
See Mike's RonaldWeinland.info blog for the full transcript of juror remarks.
End Times Preaching Continues and God is Angry that His Witnesses have been Mistreated.
Weinland, while on house arrest, appears to be continuing to run his ministry. In a June 15 article about "God's Time," he explained his end times prophecy and why "the two witnesses" (he and his wife) were being victimized:
May 27, 2012, was the beginning of the “Day of the Lord” when Jesus Christ will return on the final day of Pentecost 2013.
Zion is about God’s Family. It is about God’s Church. For 6,000 years, God’s people have been rejected, ridiculed, and persecuted by the world. That time has now come to an end! God has begun to intervene and He will now execute His judgment upon an unbelieving world. That judgment begins with the Church and will continue on with His judgment upon the whole world.[...]
We are now nearly three weeks into the “Day of the Lord.” God’s Church stands at a historic moment in time. Beginning on December 14, 2008, God began a final end-time work through His two witnesses. As with all whom God has sent, these two have been met with great ridicule, hatred, and mockery.
In the age of this 21st Century, the ability to disseminate such hatred and ridicule has been multiplied a thousand-fold over past centuries. Technology enables printed media, radio, television, and the unbridled use of the Internet to malign God’s word for mankind and the servants who carry it. It is that spirit and attitude being expressed against God that He is going to make bow down low before Him.
In this end-time, God has magnified and made manifest the kind of disdain, hatred, and haughtiness that mankind has displayed against Him for the past 6,000 years. The Eternal has done so in order to magnify the very reason why He is going to fulfill His word concerning this “day” we have entered. It is God’s “day” to vindicate His name, His word, His Church—all who serve Him.[...]
We have entered the final time of prophecy before Jesus Christ returns. We have often found ourselves with our backs to the Red Sea and when that has happened we have tended to draw much closer to God. We then become more deeply humbled as we cry out to God to lead us in His way, since we cannot move in any direction until He opens up His way before us. That is what faith is all about.
Our trials, struggles, and battles in life are beyond price, as they help to mold and fashion God’s righteous character in us, if we simply yield ourselves to the process. Such things can sometimes carry great pain and stress in this physical life, but the lessons learned are invaluable. And often as we go through these things together, it strengthens our resolve, makes us stronger spiritually, and binds us much closer together in God’s spiritual Family. What price can be placed on the value of such experiences that help to transform our minds into greater unity and oneness with God?
All of us have suffered as we have entered this final era of the “Day of the Lord.” It has not been easy to shift gears and make a hard right turn in order to follow God into a new “day” that lasts from Pentecost to Pentecost. We have shared in this pain and suffering together, yet we are blessed to take the “high road” that lives the way of God toward all others. That is priceless and noble in the eyes of God. We do not have time to find fault with others, nor to be of a wrong spirit toward anyone who might be seen as the source of some of our pain, but instead we are to practice God’s way, which is one of mercy, genuine forgiveness, and love toward others.
Here's a loving warning uploaded to YouTube by WeinlandSermons in June 2009: