AMBASSADOR WATCH The Missing Dimension e-zine 

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No. 36  MAR. 2003

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Covering developments and advocating accountability in the Worldwide Church of God and related groups
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30 Mar. Christianity Today carries copyright sale story: Christianity Today has published a shortened version of the PSN article on the sale of Armstrong material to the Edmond, Oklahoma based Philadelphia Church of God. Pastor General Tkach is unlikely to appreciate seeing Reg Killingley's comments (which MD fully endorses) laid before the evangelical community whose acceptance the sect so desperately covets. 

According to a contributor on JLF, the publication has more scheduled for the upcoming June edition, which "takes a look at the past decade of the WCG movement since its initial changes - with contributions from former members." 

30 Mar. PSN Story Gets C minus: Interesting to count the inaccuracies and critical comments in the Pasadena Star News report on WCG selling MOA etc to PCG. 

"Armstrong, a former traveling salesman, was known for "Armstrongism,' a hodgepodge of beliefs including that Jesus would return to Earth and assume the throne of England." -- Whatever we all think of HWA, wouldn't "advertising copywriter" be more accurate and less instantly-pejorative? Umm, a few other Christians believe that Jesus will return to Earth. And am I right in thinking that "rule the Earth" is a slighter fuller description? 

Pre-Herbal portrayal of "the Whore of Babylon"

"Among other things, Armstrong believed the Worldwide Church of God was the "one true church' he labeled the Roman Catholic church the "Great Whore of Babylon,' according to church officials. His church observed a Saturday Sabbath, the Old Testament dietary laws and festivals, and taught that the British people were descendents of the lost tribes of Israel."--HWA was not alone in thinking his Church was "the one true church" -- check out most C19 and C20 Christian sects, including the Exclusive Brethren, JWs, the Mormons, the Christadelphians, the Unification Church, etc etc. I've heard many ordinary Evangelicals describe the RC Church as "the Whore of Babylon" -- nothing new there. Millions of people in Christian sects observe the Saturday Sabbath, and probably hundreds of thousands observe the OT dietary laws and festivals. And British Israelism is by no means unique to Armstrongism. 

"Membership dropped from about 150,000 to its current number of 67,000."--Was it ever 150,000? I thought the highest baptized membership was a shade under 100,000. And I suspect 67,000 is something of an overstatement -- like by about 50%... 

"The Worldwide Church won the initial lawsuit"--Well, no, it didn't. PCG won the February 1997 court case. 

And finally, PCG say $2 million, WCG say $3 million. Anybody have any idea why the discrepancy? 

I suspect that this news story must have been based largely on information provided by WCG -- in which case, hey guys, why not apply a little spin to the story? 


30 Mar. A history lesson: This story of Trier being an ancient Assyrian colony is quite old [see Germany in Prophecy - Warum? March 7], showing up in several medieval German sources.  Mr. Schroeder is somewhat mistaken, however:  it was Trebeta, son of Ninus, who supposedly founded and gave his name to Trier, not Ninus himself.

Interestingly enough, the Irish "Book of Invasions" claims that "Nin mac Piel" (Ninus, son of Belus, King of Assyria) was one of the early conquerors of Ireland.  Herman Hoeh mentioned the "Nin mac Piel" story in his error-ridden "Compendium of World History" -- but for some reason never inferred from that legend, as he did in the case of Germany, that the Irish were modern-day descendants of the Assyrians.  For that would have conflicted with the identification of the Irish as Danites.

It should also be mentioned that the German tradition of Trebeta existed alongside the Judaeo-Christian legend that the Germans were descendants of Ashkenaz (the Scythians).  In other words, the medieval legends do not include any tales of Assyrian migrations to Germany -- as far as I can tell, all we have is that isolated origin legend of Trier.

However, the German Renaissance author Aventinus (Johannes Turmair) identified Trebeta's father Ninus as the ancient mythical German figure known as Mannus, son of Tuisco, whom the Roman historian Tacitus mentions as the ancestor of the Germans.  If the legendary ancestor Mannus was the Assyrian king Ninus, that would naturally lead to the identification of the Germans as Assyrians.

It shouldn't need to be said that it is difficult, to say the least, to determine what basis in reality these old legends have.  In classical sources, Ninus was the legendary founder of the Assyrian Empire and the city of Nineveh.  But his wife Semiramis has been identified as Shammu-rammat, Queen of Assyria, wife of King Shamshi-Hadad V in the latter 800s B.C.  Some speculate that Ninus himself was based on garbled memories of an earlier king named Tiglath-Ninurta in the 1200s B.C.  With the existence of Ninus in doubt, the identification with Mannus and the historicity of Trebeta are also dubious.

The following quote from Frank L. Borchardt's "Forgery, False Attribution, and Fiction: Early Modern German History and Literature" is of interest:

"Trier (or Treves) was made the foundation of Trebeta, son of Ninus of Babylon, stepson of Semiramis who like Phaedra and Potiphar's wife lusted after an innocent and drove him from favor. This legend arose in the eleventh century during and as a part of the Investiture Controversy, presumably in order to make Trier worthy to be another Rome, as indeed it once had been. (See the author's German Antiquity in Renaissance Myth (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1971), pp. 213, 226-29.)"  You can find Borchardt's article at this URL:

If Borchardt is right, the legend of Trebeta was invented to buttress the Holy Roman Emperor's authority over the Catholic bishops in his realm -- part of that clash between Pope and Emperor that plagued medieval Europe for so long.

Of course it's not impossible for Assyrian colonies to have been planted in ancient Europe, but that's not something for which there is any hard evidence.  All we have are medieval and Renaissance legends, which were likely the result of medieval German politics and medieval Germans' desire to find out how their ancestors fit into the Bible.

Jared L. Olar

30 Mar. Water hazard?: How nice to see Gerald Waterhouse is being remembered with a golf classic.    Do you think they'll play one of his old-time sermons on loudspeakers all over the course -- and any group finishing 18 holes before the sermon ends wins a prize?!    Do you think the 18th hole will have its name changed to "Final Training?"  Or maybe "Petra?"    Should I assume all the entries in the classic will be divided into threesomes -- so "two witnesses" are always present?

Quitting while I'm ahead,

Richard Burkard

29 Mar. Hodgepodge to hypocrisy: From the Pasadena Star News:

Closing the book: Settlement reached over texts
By Marshall Allen (Staff Writer)

PASADENA -- The Worldwide Church of God will receive $3 million in a settlement of a six -year legal battle with one of its splinter groups in exchange for the rights to 19 books by church founder Herbert W. Armstrong.

Leaders in the Pasadena-based Worldwide Church of God now denounce the teachings of Armstrong, who founded the church in 1937 and moved it from Oregon to Pasadena in 1947.

The church split into many groups after church leaders examined Armstrong's teachings after his death in 1986 and rejected them.

Armstrong, a former traveling salesman, was known for "Armstrongism,' a hodgepodge of beliefs including that Jesus would return to Earth and assume the throne of England.

The settlement, announced March 12 to Worldwide Church of God pastors, allows Armstrong's followers in the Philadelphia Church of God to reproduce the books outlining Armstrong's beliefs made financial sense, Pasadena church leaders said.

Present Pastor General Joseph Tkach Jr., however, once wrote that it was their "Christian duty' to keep the book out of print "because we believe Mr. Armstrong's doctrinal errors are better left out of circulation.'

Among other things, Armstrong believed the Worldwide Church of God was the "one true church' he labeled the Roman Catholic church the "Great Whore of Babylon,' according to church officials. His church observed a Saturday Sabbath, the Old Testament dietary laws and festivals, and taught that the British people were descendents of the lost tribes of Israel.

After Armstrong died, church leaders examined their beliefs, eventually making radical doctrinal changes that brought the church in line with evangelical Christianity.

In 1995 the changes caused a schism among members, many of whom scattered into dozens of groups devoted to Armstrong's teachings.

Membership dropped from about 150,000 to its current number of 67,000. Annual revenue sank from $150 million to $25 million, due to the membership decline and the end of Armstrong's policy of mandatory 20-to 30-percent tithing, church officials said.

Many programs were cut, but other costs have continued. The church pays about $2 million a year to maintain its stately 48- acre Ambassador College campus. The church plans to develop and sell a 1,525-unit residential project to fund its future ministry, said Chief Financial Officer Bernard Schnippert. The settlement gives members of the Edmond, Okla. -based Philadelphia Church of God what they wanted, the legal right to publish Armstrong's work. It was their printing of Armstrong's magnum opus, "Mystery of the Ages,' that led to the Worldwide Church in Pasadena filing its complaint in 1997. Philadelphia Church of God officials did not return numerous phone calls for comment.

The Worldwide Church won the initial lawsuit, but the Philadelphia Church filed a countersuit for the right to reproduce 18 other Armstrong works. The settlement ends the costly litigation, church officials said. It also relieves the church of the burden of protecting the copyrights, since copies exist in print and on the Internet, Kelly said.

"It gets us out of the business of the writings of Herbert Armstrong, other than that it's a part of our history,' Kelly said.

Schnippert said it would have been financially "imprudent' not to accept the settlement.

"We came to an end where we received a considerable sum of money and the other party received a number of works that are out of date and inaccurate according to most of the Christian world,' Schnippert said.

Former Worldwide Church of God members many of whom feel bitter and betrayed by the church's theological changes and follow its actions closely buzzed on the Internet about the settlement.

Church leaders denounce Armstrong's teachings but are willing to profit from them, said Reginald Killingley, a former Worldwide Church of God pastor and professor at Ambassador University in Big Sandy, Texas.

"They're willing, in effect, to support what they condemn,' Killingley said. "To permit the perpetuation and promotion of heresy for the sake of money.'

MD comment: "Schnippert said it would have been financially "imprudent' not to accept the settlement." Financially imprudent perhaps Bernard. But ethical? Ethical. E-T-H-I-C-A-L. Bernie may need to look that one up in the dictionary.

29 Mar. LCG move complete: The Meredith sect, Living Church of God, has opened its doors in sunny North Carolina (2301 Crown Center Dr. Charlotte, NC 28227-7705.) But according to Charles Bryce, new author of the cult's weekly update (replacing Carl McNair) there is a slight problem.

Please remember that it is important that you send your tithes and offerings to the office here in Charlotte. The mail and income are down considerably right now, and we think the reason is probably the delay of mail still being sent to San Diego and then forwarded over here.

Oh dear, how sad, never mind. 

29 Mar. Monty Python meets Gerald Waterhouse: No, we're not kidding. There IS a "1st Annual Gerald Waterhouse South Florida Golf Weekend" scheduled May 24 -25. Well, to be pedantic, May 25. May 24 is the Sabbath and the competitors will of course be attending a special UCG service honoring the Grate, um Great, Man, rather than checking out the nineteenth hole. The guest preacher has yet to be announced, but surely any sermon less than 3 hours long would do scant justice to the memory of the late globetrotting evangelist of Armstrongism.

29 Mar. How to win friends: How to win friends and influence the neighbors.

""What the church needs is for the process to be our friend,' said Bernard Schnippert,..."

"...the WPRA represent a "small, selfish interest' group that is trying to "supervene their will by dilatory tactics.'"

Oops, guess not.

Dateline Pasadena

29 Mar. The Truth Is Out there: ...[John]Trechak stated in the AR that there are several hundred pages of trial documents due to the fact that HWA filed for the divorce instead of Ramona, and had to give a great deal of info about the WCG in those documents. I understand that they are available at the courthouse in Tucson, AZ - and that any researcher or reporter can have access to them on request.

Myra McQueen

27 Mar. Fourth-day Adventists? Everybody's favorite periodical is out. The April Worldwide News is hot off the press, and reader Jonathan Higbed was first off the block with these observations:

WN story: Greg Albrecht speaks at event in Dallas North. DALLAS,  Texas. Greg  Albrecht, executive director of Plain Truth Ministries (PTM), was guest speaker at the Dallas North worship service Jan. 18. The  Nuclear  Family  band (Jeb, Barb, John, James and Brittany Egbert) led the  congregation in praise and worship. Following Mr. Albrecht's sermon on grace and truth, he handed out a few books and CDs distributed by PTM.

Comment: Note the key phrase ".. a few books and CDs ..." What? No 12 baskets of fragments? Three theories occur to me :-

1. The congregation could only stomach " .. a few .." of Greg's books
2. They had already bought them all in response to begging letters from PTM
3. PTM is going broke paying the salaries of Greg and the Preachers.

Now when I was in the WCG, everybody got a copy of MOA, IHP, Autobiography, "Real Jesus", etc.

Yup, those were the days. Then there's this item that also caught Jonathan's sharp eye.

WN story: WORSHIP SERVICE IN AUDITORIUM. John McLean, national director for Australia, speaks March 5 at weekly worship service in the Ambassador Auditorium.

Comment: Wow! Talk about radical. March 5th was a Wednesday.

While still on the subject, MD noted an interesting caption accompanying Ralph Helge's article explaining how the church handed over Herb's books to the Oklahoma cult that now owns the copyrights.

Shown above are books the Worldwide Church of God reprinted for historical research purposes to aid those researching Armstrongism. A preface explains that most of the doctrinal material in the books is not biblically sound. These books are no longer available. The WCG website at describes the biblically unsound doctrines contained in Herbert Armstrong’s writings.

Armstrongism? Biblically unsound doctrines? Then how come they've been delivered, gift wrapped to the compound of self-proclaimed prophet Gerald Flurry? Oh, oops, sorry. There are apparently three million good reasons...

27 Mar. Schnippert spits the dummy: From the latest Pasadena Star News.

Ambassador campus plan inches forward, by Gary Scott, Staff Writer

The Worldwide Church of God's development plan for its 46-acre Ambassador College campus was moved one step forward Monday when the City Council approved a contract for an Environmental Impact Report.

The church will pay for the $430,000 study to be conducted by Los Angeles-based Environmental Planning Associates. City staff estimates the final EIR will be completed in April 2004.

Councilman Steve Madison, whose district includes the campus, said he thought the timeline might be "ambitious' considering the size and scope of the project...

But representatives from West Pasadena neighborhood associations said their concerns "haven't been assuaged in the slightest' and their membership does not want to see 1,525 homes "plopped down in their neighborhood.'

After hearing the comments, Councilman Chris Holden said he felt "very pessimistic' that the two sides would strike a compromise before the final plan comes to the council for approval. "From what I heard tonight, it is like a pre-fight conference,' Holden said. "The council is supposed to be the referee and that is not going to be fun.' ...

"What the church needs is for the process to be our friend,' said Bernard Schnippert, director of finance and planning for the church, in an interview before the meeting. "We are not asking for it to be rushed, but let's move it along with dispatch.' ...

"We do not, nor have we ever, opposed development of the Ambassador College property,' wrote Charles McKenney, vice president of the WPRA. "We opposed the Legacy project, for well-reasoned and documented reasons. We oppose this project as it is proposed.'

The church plan calls for 735 homes on the western campus, which is bounded by Orange Grove Boulevard, St. John Avenue, Green Street and Del Mar Boulevard. Opponents want the housing density lowered here even if it means increasing density on the east campus.

"They went to the church with an ultimatum on density,' said Schnippert. The complaints coming from the WPRA represent a "small, selfish interest' group that is trying to "supervene their will by dilatory tactics.'

Schnippert said the church will refine its plan when the WPRA "comes up with a better idea for everybody.'

27 Mar. Speaking for God: The allegation that HWA carried on an incestuous relationship with his daughter will never be proven for sure, although it is probably true.  But even if it were NOT true, does anyone really think it means HWA was an asset to those whom he reached?  HWA did a terrible damage to people's lives through false teaching, which continues today through the many splinter groups which trace their existence back to him.  I cannot think of a greater damage than to misrepresent God to people.  How can that be measured? People ARE responsible for what they believe.  But God holds those who say
they speak for him under greater judgment.  And if there was ever a man who demanded that he spoke for God, it was HWA.


27 Mar. Stand by and watch the show: Bob Thiel has announced on his Web site: "I do not plan to add any further comments at the Ambassador Watch site regarding my HWA research." He then makes mention of "unprovable negative accusations against HWA." Bob, my accusation that Herbert Armstrong was double-tongued on the subject of hierarchal church government is not unprovable. I gave you a link to quotes irrefutably proving what he taught on the subject. There are many more areas of church government where he and his administration taught two ways, and they're listed on the homepage of this site:

There's an easy way for anyone to find out the truth about the particular man they're following whether he be Rod Meredith or Gerald Flurry or Dave Pack or any other man claiming to follow the church government teachings of Herbert Armstrong. It's a simple test that will prove whether or not the accusations that these men are hypocrites and dictators are true. Simply print Herbert Armstrong's quotes linked to above regarding the image of the beast, Peter as chief apostle, the centralization of church funds, refusing to let men muzzle you, and pagan priests infiltrating the church, and distribute them where you attend services. That's it. You won't have to do anything else. Just stand back and watch the show.

Karen Ray

27 Mar. Desperately seeking Ralph: I've been searching for a booklet by a former WCG member Ralph Helge. The name of the booklet is  "Proclaiming the Gospel by your last will and Testament". pub. 1978, printed 1983 21 pages. I  am most anxiously searching for this booklet. I would be very thankful if you could let me know where I could obtain a copy. Please respond to


27 Mar. Don't Trash those booklets! To all ex-WCGers. Did you throw away a (small) fortune? I did when I dumped a load of WCG literature in the paper recycling bin. Look on the second-hand books site, and you will see what I mean. These are prices that booksellers are asking for. (All prices are $US)

3 Envoys @ $165 each  $495
1 Incredible Human Potential  $   35
1 Mystery of Ages  $   25
1 US and BC in Prophecy  $   28
1 Missing Dimension in Sex   $   43.75
1 Real Jesus  $   35
1 Autobiography   $   69.95
1 Tomorrow What will etc.  $   55
1 Are we in the Last Days   $   20

A total of over $800 ... In the long-run though all books decay to dust. But some leave more of a stink than others.

Jonathan Higbed

26 Mar. Saint Herb?  In light of the most recent attempts to whitewash Herbert W. Armstrong it might be helpful to quote from Ron Russell's 1997 article, published in New Times Los Angeles. Excerpts:

Once only whispered among the church's elite, details of Armstrong's controversial and contradictory lifestyle have become widely disseminated as more of his followers, including numerous formerly high-ranking church officials, have exited the organization. The revelations include his alleged 10-year incestuous relationship with one of his daughters during the church's formative early days and his lengthy tolerance for the sexual escapades of his flamboyant evangelist son -- and onetime heir apparent -- Garner Ted Armstrong...

Relatives were said to be routinely using the church's corporate credit cards for personal expenses. Armstrong had the habit of carrying at least $10,000 in cash each time out, which he often passed out as "fun money" to those around him. On a whim, he once spent $30,000 to rent a yacht in Monte Carlo. Another time, according to a former insider, he flew to London for the sole purpose of buying a specially made prosthetic sex toy, which he reportedly carried in a Hermes pouch...

According to former church officials, and the founder's own grandson, Richard David Armstrong II, Herbert's younger daughter, Dorothy, began to tell family and friends during the '70s that, years earlier, her father had molested her. John Tuit, an ex-church member living in North Carolina, recalls Garner Ted Armstrong telling him of his sister's startling revelation and that Herbert had not denied it when his son confronted him.

The allegation surfaced publicly in a book written by David Robinson, a former Worldwide minister in Oklahoma. The church tried unsuccessfully to suppress it. Robinson recounted a bizarre late-night conversation with the then-widowed Herbert during a church festival in the Poconos. Armstrong, who had been drinking, was alleged to have confessed to Robinson that he had molested his daughter between 1933 and 1943. Then, to the astonishment of the younger minister, Armstrong was said to have produced a small black book in which he had carefully documented the many times he had masturbated, a practice he had frequently railed against from the pulpit. "It was a shattering experience for my dad," says Mark Robinson, a Dallas-area businessman, whose father died in 1995. "Until then, he had no reason to doubt Mr. Armstrong's spirituality."

The issue arose again in 1984, during divorce proceedings between Armstrong and his second wife, Ramona Martin, a former switchboard operator 46 years his junior. The breakup, after seven years of marriage, was nasty. Armstrong, playing hardball, had accused her of stealing church property and was pressing criminal charges while refusing to bend to Ramona's demands for a large settlement, including a large amount of cash and the couple's sprawling ranch-style home in Tucson, Arizona. Until, that is, shortly before a court hearing at which her lawyers had threatened to introduce a purported "understanding" between Herbert and his wife regarding the alleged incest. The divorce was quickly settled to Ramona's satisfaction, and the criminal charges were dropped.

Although damaging, the fallout from such disclosures didn't debilitate Worldwide for as long as Herbert was alive. The amicable and grandfatherly Armstrong continued to enjoy the adoration of rank-and-file members. Among those who heard about his shortcomings, many chose not to believe. "You blocked those kinds of things from your mind," recalls Joyce Renehan, who grew up in the church. (She and her husband, Bruce, left in the early '90s). "You might see a newspaper headline, but you were told not to read that stuff or Satan would get you and you'd be out of the church, and then where would you be?"

The full text of the article is available.

26 Mar. Friendly bunch: I was, understandably, a bit taken aback by the posting that says that Hulme's group has placed guidelines (why not just say rules?) that no member may date an unconverted person. My reason for this is that for over a year I have been dating someone from their group... I attended last years FOT with them, and found them to be a very friendly bunch of people. My partners family is a very loving and friendly family, who, thus far, have not mocked or questioned my faith as a normal, mainstream Christian. Confirmation on the above would, obviously, be quite welcome.

26 Mar. More on Thiel article: I, too, visited the COGwriter website, and read the entire Bob Thiel article, but have been withholding comment, as  I watched the controversy unfold here on the MD/AW website.   First, during HWA's lifetime, Thiel would probably not have been permitted the freedom to write such an article, or to operate his website.  Having said that, the basic problem with the article is that it neither breaks new ground, nor is it definitive.  In the debunking of Herbert W. Armstrong, many hidden truths have surfaced over the past several years.   Logic and reasoning are effective in combating faulty logic and reasoning but tend to be ineffective tools in counteracting eyewitness accounts, such as those of David Robinson.  If Dr. Thiel had come forward with the proper exculpatory evidence, such as sworn statements from, let's say, Dorothy Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, or the sons of David Robinson, stating that Robinson's account was all a horrible lie, readers would be forced to admit that Dr. Thiel had been effective in his stated goal of refuting the rumors.  Having not done this, his article became a weak effort, inflicting more damage to his stated cause than he would have by remaining silent on this subject.  Rehashing the rumors, without obliterating them beyond the shadow of a doubt, will simply give them broader exposure, piquing the curiosity of the otherwise  unsuspecting.   This being so obvious, perhaps the article was an effort of self-reassurance in the face of overwhelming evidence. 

Some folks might forgive apostolic masturbation after a good belly laugh, but incest is a symptom of very deep, very serious sickness.  When one factors this in with the failed or vague prophecies (indicating a lack of God's inspiration), the total myth of British Israelism (now debunked by modern genetic science), and an assortment of doctrines and teachings which can just as easily be disproven as proven by the Bible, one realizes the extent to which voluntary intelligence suppression is a prerequisite to following HWA. 

Bob E. 

PS.  Best wishes to the (real) Assyrians in Iraq in helping the US and UK overthrow Saddam!

26 Mar. B**** not Botha: The perpetrator of the Manhattan Advisory Council hoax was not Steve Botha. While I do not share Mr. Karnes' enthusiasm for Botha, the blame for the advisory council farce cannot be laid at his feet.


26 Mar. World News and Fantasy: There is a very interesting article in the latest United Church of God publication of "World News & Prophecy". Its title is, "Words No One Wants to Hear From God", and its author is Cecil Maranville. The purpose of this article is, no one wants to hear God say, "I am not with you".

It's content is about the prayers God is hearing from people here on earth. Christians pray for God to bless whatever they are doing, they pray for the safety of their sons fighting a war, they pray for their country, Muslims pray for their side, and their sons, etc.

It is ironic that a so-called church of God would publish an article like this, when they are doing the same thing. Aren't they claiming that they are the church of God, we are doing the work of God, God is blessing us tremendously, etc. etc.

What are the other churches claiming? The same thing! So what is God to do? Which church is His? Which church
will he bless?

All of the churches are, in one form or one degree or another still preaching and teaching the false doctrines that they started out with in the original false church, with the original false ministers, teaching the original false doctrine.

I was foolish enough to belong to 3 of them, including United. God was not, and is not with any of them.

25 Mar. Hulme ghetto culture? The following incredible report was received yesterday.

So, what's wrong with cold showers?

David Hulme's "The Church of God, an international association" has recently given new guidelines from Pasadena. No member of his church is permitted to date the "unconverted". Unconverted is defined as anyone not in Hulme's church. It seems that those in other Armstrong offshoots (United Church of God, Living Church of God, et al.) are among the "unconverted". In addition,  nonmembers will not  be allowed to attend the Passover service or his feast of Tabernacles sites.  I think the dating aspect will be hard on the singles in Hulme's group since they are a small group. I think less than two thousand worldwide. I wonder if anyone has the statistics on that.

If confirmed, this would indicate COG-AIC is evolving into one of the more exclusivist and isolationist versions of Armstrongism.

25 Mar. God Votes Republican: Out in Modesto the post-Billingsley COG-EIM sect is now led by Steven LeBlanc. These comments come from his "minister's comments" for March 21.

Did God put President Bush in the office of the Presidency instead of former Vice President Gore for a specific purpose?... God says in Jeremiah 27:5:  “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me.”

I believe God has placed President Bush in office for a purpose we do not yet fully understand.

Puts a whole new spin on "the divine rights of kings." 

Meanwhile Billingsley, now fronting the miniscule Church of God - Faithful Flock, has instructed the "true few" with this sage advice on how to deal with questionable issues.

Always, we should keep at hand, and use as necessary any questionable teaching we hear with his last book, The Mystery of the Ages, and other writings of his as needed to study more in depth of any questionable area.

It might not be grammatical, but it certainly conveys the message. MOA is the supreme interpreter of truth, holding the same position for Billingsley's devotees as the Book of Mormon or Science and Health do in their respective communities.

25 Mar. Recent comments from Bob Brinsmead: Robert D. Brinsmead is the former publisher of the theological journal Verdict, and author of Judged by the Gospel - A Review of Adventism. In a recent Ekklesia posting he made the following remarks.

There is such a thing in this world as the spirit of life that knows no boundary lines, no distinctions of religion, race, religion, gender, culture, age or anything else. Everywhere that we encounter human beings there is a spirit that is life-affirming. Just as the body when injured or sick tends toward, works toward recovery and health, so there is a human spirit that is bent toward life.  This spirit of life may also be called the spirit of love or the spirit of freedom... this spirit is not forced upon us as a predetermined choice or destiny. We are free to respond to this spirit of life/love/freedom, and we are free to reject it and go against it. Evil is a real thing. There could be no such thing as evil without freedom and human choices. There is no reason (excuse) for evil. If there were a reason for it, then it would not be evil. There is such a thing as the spirit of anti-life/anti-love/anti-freedom.

"The spirit of life is... like a river that flows on. We can step into it or out of it... It is in us, among us and spread out upon the face of the earth."

Humans make choices to indicate whether they are moved by the spirit of life or anti-life. This is something that transcends race, religion, culture, gender, age, status or anything else. I would suggest that the spirit of life is by its very nature something that is indestructible. It is like a river that flows on. We can step into it or out of it.  To find life is to find immortality, yet that could be misunderstood as some grand achievement.  It is not, as it says in one place, ... in heaven so that one has to climb up to it, or over the sea that someone has to go and fetch it for us.  It is in us, among us and spread out upon the face of the earth. To use the words found in Acts, it is not far from every one of us.  It is stronger than death.  It overcomes death.  It turns death into a stepping stone to another dimension of life.

Anti-life, on the other hand is death. It puts out the light, it quenches love and human freedom. We encounter this spirit too on every hand – in the church, in politics, in the family, at work and at play.

The question that confronts us at every turn, therefore, is the great ethical question, the thing that is always the real moral question,  whether this action or this response will foster, enhance, encourage and promote life and love and freedom or will it do the opposite.

25 Mar. Brendel bites back: In an earlier comment I wrote, "And if "certain alleged audiotapes" did indeed turn up, would Bob Thiel then accept the testimony of Armstrong's immorality? Or would he resort to the tactic commonly used against Robinson, by assassinating the character and motivations of the one who recorded the tapes?" ...

Thiel responded with:

"If there were real tapes that had the alleged confession on them, I would have reported it.  I spent more effort trying to track down those tapes than any single portion of any of the accusations.  I even got others involved to try to assist me.  I did not attempt to assassinate the character, etc., of the one who allegedly made the audiotapes.  Nor did I attempt to assassinate the character of D. Robinson--I just stated that I did not accept what he wrote based on my research."

Thiel's response demonstrates that he either did not carefully read what I said or simply chose to recast my comments for other purposes. The words "if," "would," "then," and "or" had specific, intended meanings in the context in which I wrote them. I did not accuse him of hiding information; I was asking how he would react to such information if he did find it in the future. Notice, also, how he began his comments with, "If there were real tapes…" rather than with "If I had been able to find the tapes," in a further attempt to recast the issue being discussed.

The rest of the paragraph, indeed all his responses to me demonstrate an important point. It took Bob Thiel less than twenty-four hours to respond to my comments regarding Armstrong's gross sexual improprieties. Decades after Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web was published, no family member has made any attempt to refute its testimony.

Thiel then quoted me, "First of all, we have Bob Thiel telling us about a spokesman for GTA who allegedly told him GTA allegedly told the spokesman, thus demonstrating he applies a far less stringent standard towards evidence he presents to others than towards evidence others must present to him."

To which Thiel responded, "I did everything feasible to talk with GTA personally, but GTA refused to talk to me directly.  I spoke with one spokesperson, plus one of GTA's children.  The GTA comment is not less stringent, it is what I was told.  I also found out that GTA had made a near identical comment in a letter on this matter some time earlier.  Plus GTA's comment was not intended as conclusive proof, it was just his current position on this matter.

I was warned by one source to not contact GTA, because this source felt that GTA might have a motive to continue various allegations, but I called his office (several times by the way) anyway.  I contacted various people who I felt may have motivations to be against HWA, but I did it anyway.  I do not appreciate Brendel's suggestions that I would not have reported what I learned, because I did report it (though some was edited out by Dixon Cartwright).

Thiel's response again demonstrates that he either did not carefully read what I said or simply chose to recast my comments for other purposes. The point is Thiel rejects eyewitness evidence contrary to his point of view (for example, David Robinson) while presenting third hand evidence himself. It is not GTA's alleged comment that is "less stringent" evidence than Thiel demands of others, it is Thiel's own so and so told so and so who told me such and such approach.

Thiel states he "did not appreciate [my] suggestions that [he] would not have reported what he learned." I suppose I could also take umbrage at his misrepresentation of my words, but since I made no such suggestion to begin with I'll leave Bob to deal with his own issues.

I noticed there was no response to the following comments of mine:

"Once again a family member, according to the third-hand evidence Thiel has presented, declined an opportunity to defend Armstrong's honor and forcefully deny the testimony of his gross sexual impropriety. Which of you, readers of Missing Dimension, would hesitate to forcefully defend YOUR father from accusations you knew to be false?"

Ron Brendel

25 Mar. A follow-up question: Just a few comments regarding Bob Thiel's response. He said that "the only grape grower in the church I knew allowed people to take grapes (there is no mention of 'free lunches' in Deut 23:24-25)." Deut. 23:24-25 says, "When you come into your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure, but you shall not put any in your container. When you come into your neighbor's standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor's standing grain" (NKJV). The statute permitted people to eat their fill of grapes while in a vineyard, but they were not allowed to take any with them. I consider that a lunch. And it was free. Maybe "free eats" would be a better term. I believe this was the statute Christ and his disciples were observing when they ate grain as they went through the grainfields (Matt. 12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1).HWA's administration did teach and encourage the observance of the other O.T. agricultural laws (as agricultural laws), but did not convert them into laws to be applied to monetary income as they did with tithing. The question still remains, Why?

I'm disappointed that the question regarding the image of the beast was not answered. Bob mentioned that he was more interested in addressing allegations against the character of HWA, so I'll turn my original accusation into that. Herbert Armstrong was double-tongued. Double-tongued is listed as a character defect in 1 Tim. 3:8-9 (along with other character flaws that sound a great deal like those he already addressed regarding HWA): "Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience." How was Herbert Armstrong double-tongued regarding the image of the beast? He taught that if you submitted to hierarchal church government you were going to be punished by God, while at the same time teaching that if you did not submit to hierarchal church government you were going to be punished by God. Talk about being caught between a rock and hard place!

Bob, can you admit that Herbert Armstrong was double-tongued on the issue of hierarchal church government? Again, here are quotes proving what he taught until the end of his life on the subject of the image of the beast:

Karen Ray

25 Mar. Another view from Manhattan: I feel the need to respond to the letter regarding Manhattan. My association with WCG extends from the early 1960's, (ca. 1962,) attending from 1966 until the last time in 2002. In all those years, I have found fewer than five ministers for whom I have ANY respect, and Mr. B**** (... I'm betting that it's Steve Botha...) is on that very short list. He was my minister for several years, and baptized both me and my wife, and in the years I knew him, I have only the greatest respect for his character. Far be it from me to defend the WCG, but in this case, I think I must add at least this caveat. My judgment of character, as well as my wife's (especially hers!) is very good, and I would have to say I trust Mr. B****. He could have changed since I was in direct contact with him, but I know he was very wise in many situations, including some involving me personally. 

Love your site, I visit every week! Keep up the good work! 

Randy Karnes

24 Mar. Remind you of anything? The Good News, Tomorrow's World... titles of publications long abandoned by the Worldwide Church of God. Years later they've been scavenged in the cause of schismatic groups hoping to bask in the fading glow of past glories. The UCG even took a double-helping when it subtitled its reincarnation of The Good News as "a magazine of understanding."

But what do you do when the bones have been picked clean? The Hulme COG-AIC has at least broken the mold with its flagship magazine Vision, which has a look utterly unlike anything produced in COG history. But originality is a scarce commodity among the feuding principalities that once acknowledged Herb as Lord.

Enter Dave Pack. Here's the cover of his "Real Truth" magazine. Slavish imitation, supposedly the sincerest form of flattery, has obviously been taken to the next level.

24 Mar. Headed for the Wrecking ball?  This posting from JLF:

Tucked away in a small part of today's Pasadena Star News is an announcement that the Pasadena City Council will be considering [an Environmental Impact Report] contract for the preliminary development plan submitted by the WCG...

For the EIR to mean anything, the City will need to know what WCG HQ has pretty much settled on.

Let's do the math. The East Campus is to have 790 units. The West campus "A" plan is 675 units with the Auditorium preserved. The West Campus "B" plan is for 735 units with the Auditorium torn down. The Worldwide Church of God's submitted plan for the EIR is 1,525 units (East Campus plus West Campus "B")

IMHO, this seems to indicate that the Ambassador Auditorium maybe headed for the wrecking ball.

Here's the PSN article:

Ambassador College plan due for review

PASADENA -- The Pasadena City Council on Monday will consider a contract to prepare the Environmental Impact Report for the planned 1,525-home Ambassador College campus redevelopment project.

The city is proposing contracting with Environmental Planning Associates for $430,000. A pre-development plan for the Ambassador campus, owned by the Worldwide Church of God, has already been submitted to the city for its review.

Also on the agenda, the City Council will certify results of the March 4 municipal election, will consider a development agreement with Pasadena Housing Investors for an affordable senior housing complex at 730-790 N. Fair Oaks Ave. and will discuss the issue of day laborers in the city.

The meeting convenes at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave., in City Council chambers.

24 Mar. Remembering Herb: This rather sensible view of HWA, for a COG insider, is from the latest "Outreach" newsletter from COGUK, part of CGOM, that split from CGI when GTA refused to step down, a year or so before he was finally ousted.  I assume the writer is James McBride. 

A Note On Herbert W Armstrong: Although we severed our links with Herbert Armstrong twenty-five years ago in 1978, some of our readers remain attached in some way to his teachings. Here's my  position.

I believe that Herbert Armstrong was used by God despite character flaws evident from the earliest available records. How he will be judged is not my responsibility. Much of what he 'discovered',  however, was derived from other sources. But I think he had a 'genius' for packaging it, and presenting it to the church. Some of what he taught stands up to scrutiny, some needed adjustment, some was wrong.  It is claimed by some Churches of God that he was directly inspired by God, and probably the only one so inspired in our day. Truth, therefore, is now a closed book. Yet HWA changed his teachings from time to time - so which era was 'inspired'? My view is that there are no inspired apostles today. We get our 'inspiration' from careful and prayerful study of - and submission to - the inspired Scriptures. So we sometimes get it right, sometimes wrong! As he did.       


24 Mar. A mouthful of beer and snags: I must've blinked, or dozed off or something. (Or maybe I just got a life!) The famous (or infamous) Aussie SEP site "Moogerah" appears to have been (secretly?) sold??? The back page of the on-line Oz WN talks about the appointment of a new National Youth Coordinator... It mentions that the "money from the sale of Moogerah" will be used to "invest in the youth", and so they've put on this new job. 

Camp Moogerah

So what do you know about this? Was it a 'Freudian slip' on Rod's part? Is it sold? Being sold (secretly)? And how much for? A story worth pursuing perhaps? 

Talking of titles, have you seen our illustrious Grand Poobah leader's new title? (Cue deep-voiced famous American announcer's tone) "Denominational Director for Worldwide Church of God in Australia and New Zealand and Pacific and Asia" ! What a flipping unbelievable mouthful! Try saying that with a mouthful of beer and snags! The smaller the Empire gets, the bigger the titles!

MD: Back in April last year, just before the news page was changed from "Update" to AW, we reported: 

Crikey Dick Cobbers!  The news in Australia for the Tkach church seems to reflect the situation in the US.  Just as the SEP facility in Orr has recently been sold, Down Under the Aussie branch has moved to rid itself of Camp Moogerah.  The likely purchaser is the Presbyterian Church.  According to the Australian WN "the church has been unable to develop the property in recent years and it now falls outside "core business"."

(Update, April 25, 2002)

24 Mar. Believe the Bible? One of HWA's "most cherished" statements was "Don 't believe me, believe the Bible."  This statement was then, and is now, used by HWA fans to show that HWA was open and honest about his teachings.  In fact, a quick
inspection of pro-HWA websites reveals that revisionist history is the norm, with this statement front and center.

Let's be honest.  If there ever was an organization which did not allow people to believe the Bible for themselves, it was the WCG under HWA.  The many firings for disagreeing with HWA theology is proof that the real motto was, "Believe ME, don't believe the Bible."  Indeed, if you were at Ambassador College as late as the mid-1970's, and I was, you know teachers and professors were being fired because of disagreement with HWA on doctrine.  Certainly the 1974 crisis is indisputable history.  And that was only the beginning of the parade out the door.

But there is more.  I probably heard at least 50 sermons or Bible studies given by HWA.  Anyone will tell you that it was always the SAME boring sermon, every time, all the time.  Most of it was irrational yelling about his authority, and how we just didn't understand what he understood. And one of the consistent themes in that one sermon was that we did not have the right to decide what the Bible meant for ourselves.  HWA always made sure we understood that it was HIS job to interpret the Bible.  It was our job to follow him.  Anyone who says HWA behaved otherwise is either misinformed, deceived, or lying.

I heard with my own ears HWA say, and I quote, "Jesus Christ is not the trunk of the tree.  This work is the trunk of the tree."  [Not] just once. Many times.  I remember the first time I heard it well, stated in 1975, because it was a day that put me well on my way to understanding I was in a cult.  I also heard with my own ears HWA say he was God's apostle, which some people today deny he ever said.

One of the most humorous, although tragic events, occurred in 1974. While HWA was out of town, GTA gave a student forum wherein he said that girls and women were permitted to wear pants or pantsuits.  When HWA returned, and GTA was then out of town, HWA stood up in the student forum ONE WEEK LATER and not only contradicted fully what GTA had said -- in his usual tirade of anger -- but openly stated again and again that "he and Ted were NOT in disagreement."  I can tell you that despite the fact that the man made a complete fool of himself in front of hundreds of students who
knew better, that it was a welcome thing to see the man exposed for what he really was, an egomaniac who thought he could, through force of will and anger, get everyone to deny to themselves what they had heard with their own ears only a week before.

As someone who was often backstage at Ambassador Auditorium, I can tell you that it was common practice for someone in a high position to come down to the Auditorium a few minutes before HWA was to arrive, just to make sure that nothing was there to make HWA angry when he arrived.  A tense and often frantic situation.  Quite a man of god we had there to strike fear in the hearts of those he could easily fire.  Add to that the reports of students who went to dinner at his house as seniors, and were shown porno pictures (sex education, we were told), and about a thousand other examples I could give of craziness, and you get the message.  I was not anywhere near to HWA's inner circle, and I saw this much.  Those who were certainly must know much, much more.


24 Mar. Thiel responds to comments: ... here are some brief comments, regarding some comments posted at your site today about my HWA article.

Brendel quoted the following statement, "After reviewing the details of one particular allegation regarding sex and what I uncovered, Dixon Cartwright, The Journal's publisher, asked me to remove them from this article because of the lack of proof and because certain parties are not alive to defend themselves and because The Journal is a family publication."

The above paragraph came about because the publisher of The Journal edited out what I learned.  And the above paragraph is how the editor wanted to leave it.  He also edited out several names in the article and asked me to leave them out.

Brendel also wrote, "And if “certain alleged audiotapes” did indeed turn up, would Bob Thiel then accept the testimony of Armstrong’s immorality? Or would he resort to the tactic commonly used against Robinson, by assassinating the character and motivations of the one who recorded the tapes?"

If there were real tapes that had the alleged confession on them, I would have reported it.  I spent more effort trying to track down those tapes than any single portion of any of the accusations.  I even got others involved to try to assist me.  I did not attempt to assassinate the character, etc., of the one who allegedly made the audiotapes.  Nor did I attempt to assassinate the character of D. Robinson--I just stated that I did not accept what he wrote based on my research.

Brendel also wrote, "First of all, we have Bob Thiel telling us about a spokesman for GTA who allegedly told him GTA allegedly told the spokesman, thus demonstrating he applies a far less stringent standard towards evidence he presents to others than towards evidence others must present to him."

I did everything feasible to talk with GTA personally, but GTA refused to talk to me directly.  I spoke with one spokesperson, plus one of GTA's children.  The GTA comment is not less stringent, it is what I was told.  I also found out that GTA had made a near identical comment in a letter on this matter some time earlier.  Plus GTA's comment was not intended as conclusive proof, it was just his current position on this matter.

I was warned by one source to not contact GTA, because this source felt that GTA might have a motive to continue various allegations, but I called his office (several times by the way) anyway.  I contacted various people who I felt may have motivations to be against HWA, but I did it anyway.  I do not appreciate Brendel's suggestions that I would not have reported what I learned, because I did report it (though some was edited out by Dixon Cartwright).

Karen Ray asked, "If it were true that the agricultural laws of the Bible must now also apply to industry, then the commanded land sabbaths (Exo. 23:10-11), gleanings for the poor (Lev. 19:9-10), and free lunches (Deu. 23:24-25) must also be converted into monetary equivalents. Can Bob Thiel explain why Herbert Armstrong's administration did not do this?"

All I can say on the above, as I have little knowledge of how HWA's administration did it, is 1) I always have observed the land Sabbath by not planting on those years 2) I have allowed the poor to glean our land and 3) the only grape grower in the church I knew allowed people to take grapes (there is no mention of 'free lunches' in Deut 23:24-25).  Although in my primary occupation I am not sure how I would do a land Sabbath without shutting down (and there is no biblical example of shops, for example, closing for a year to observe the land Sabbath), I do attempt to assist the poor (which I supposed you could consider gleanings) in my job.

Anyway, the point of my article was to address various allegations I heard against the character, more than the teachings, of HWA.  And I honestly and earnestly tried to do that.

Bob Thiel 

24 Mar. More research please Bob: Dr. Thiel's defence of HWA was pathetic, especially the segment on the incest accusation. Bob calls up GTA, and GTA denial of it is regarded as solid proof (Of course he denies it Bob! Do you think he wants to lose tithe and offering money by admitting the sordid truth about Daddy Dearest!?)

However,  if Thiel would've been a little more diligent, he could have found a statement by an Armstrong relative who would have confirmed the incest story. Richard Armstrong II, the son of the late Richard David Armstrong, Herbert's first-born son, said in New Times Magazine, the LA Times weekend supplement that the charge is true...

Steve Dalton

MD: In private correspondence Bob Thiel has advised MD, in light of our introductory comments to the item on March 21, that he holds an earned PhD from the Union Institute and University.

24 Mar. Dictator Dave: From Bob Thiel's site ( "RCG's D. Pack reports, 'RCG has had numerous tares (exactly as the WCG did) enter the flock.... Ironically, these very people covered their own behavior by manufacturing stories about mine.... Some will protest that "In the mouth of two or three witnesses, truth is established." Yet these same people forget that thousands charge falsehoods against Mr. Armstrong. But that does not make them true. How sad that so many cannot add two and two and reach four.'"

In other words, your only choices are to blindly believe Dave Pack or blindly believe his accusers. Of course, we shouldn't do either, but he is highlighting the missing dimension in dictatorial hierarchal church governments such as his (and Herbert Armstrong's). How can one receive accusations against an elder from two or three witnesses (1 Tim. 5:19) in an organization where there is no forum provided for doing so, where there is no recourse whatsoever, and the dictator in charge refuses to answer his accusers? The very fact that Dave Pack has instituted such an unbiblical, dictatorial system lends credence to his accusers' claims that he behaves like a dictator.

Karen Ray

24 Mar. Homosexuality and GN correspondence: It might help your visitors to know UCG's  November/December Good News 2002 - 'Health Issue' not only generated controversy over circumcision, but also an email debate on homosexuality. For the current position visit  

MD: Thanks for the link. No further correspondence on this matter will be published at this time.

23 Mar. Joe keeps tight grip on Aussie franchise: Just as WCG leader Joe Tkach exercises heavy handed control in the operations of the sect in Great Britain (AW 9 Feb.), so too with the business "Down Under." These comments by Rod Matthews from the March WN (Australian version), emphasis supplied.

It is the decision of the Australian board [MD: who, we wonder, if anyone, elected the Australian board?], confirmed by headquarters, that the national director should be appointed to a three-year term of office... The appointment is renewable subject to the input of the board [MD: no mention of vote, just "input"], the NPT and the pastors, and international headquarters [MD: Joey holds the leash!]. Since the national board is legally the employer of all employees of the church in Australia, the ND is a board appointment - but one that must be confirmed by the pastor general [MD: surprise, surprise!]

The board, with the confirmation of the pastor general, has endorsed John McLean to fulfill this role...

While Joey insists on using the word "denomination" to describe WCG, the structure of the cult provides clear evidence that it is actually something else altogether. The British and Australian WCG branches seem to have little more autonomy than the Queen's corgis.

And it makes an interesting - and ironic - contrast to the Australian UCG which has much greater independence from US headquarters in Cincinnati than the supposedly "mainstream" WCG permits.

Strangely enough, Dateline Pasadena has expressed the view that the crown may rest somewhat uneasily on Tzar Joe's brow.

Tkach wants to turn over the office of the President to a person that will serve a limited term.  He does not want the hero worship to start again as it did for HWA and Tkach Sr.  This was supposed to have taken effect by now, but will not happen until after the Pasadena property sells.

Our advice to Joe: no time like the present. But first the anally retentive hierarchical culture must be overhauled, and that's a task Joe seems to have little taste for. Perhaps when the troops are finished in Iraq they could be sent in to liberate South Pasadena.

23 Mar. CGI not dead in Jamaica: Remember the Church of God, International? CGI was Ted Armstrong's first splinter group following his ouster from WCG in 1978. Although now stripped of its "superstars" - GTA and Ronald Dart - and impacted by defections, CGI struggles on. In fact it's doing remarkably well, at least in Jamaica. Earlier this month well known Jamaican journalist Ian Boyne attracted respectable numbers to a CGI campaign in Kingston. This report from the CGI website.

Ian Boyne, Pastor of the Kingston and Ocho Rios CGI congregations and coordinator of the Caribbean work, reports that 148 attended the March 2, 2003, campaign in Kingston... Mr. Boyne addressed the Sabbath issue, and reports that 34 visitors ("new people") were present...

On the following night, Mr. Boyne expected a maximum of about 55 people, so he had 60 chairs put out... As it turns out, a few more than expected did turn up. In fact, a total of 140... And, amazingly, 38 of them were visitors! 

For an hour and a half, Mr. Boyne exposed the flaws in the popular "rapture" doctrine. No one left during the presentation...

An hour and a half! Kinda makes you nostalgic for those long sermons of yesteryear, huh? The article continues: ... there were no questions during the questions-and-answers session that followed the 90-minute presentation. Perhaps they were just too exhausted to raise their hands...

23 Mar. Brendel responds to Thiel article: Bob Thiel wrote:

Accusation No. 4: HWA was guilty of gross sexual impropriety.

After reviewing the details of one particular allegation regarding sex and what I uncovered, Dixon Cartwright, The Journal's publisher, asked me to remove them from this article because of the lack of proof and because certain parties are not alive to defend themselves and because The Journal is a family publication.

COMMENT: In Tangled Web David Robinson stated he was an eyewitness to Armstrong’s account of both his masturbatory practices and an encounter with a prostitute, both of which are gross sexual impropriety according to Armstrong’s own teachings. Robinson also stated he was eyewitness to the confessions by members of Armstrong’s family of his incestuous relationship with his daughter. If Robinson testified falsely, then he was guilty of libel, a tort neither Armstrong, family members, or the Worldwide Church of God ever attempted to sue him for—although the church did sue him (and lost) for other reasons related to the book. Tangled Web stands as credible, eyewitness, un-refuted proof of Armstrong’s gross sexual impropriety.

“Eyewitness” is “a person who has personally seen something and can testify to it firsthand.” “Testify” means “to serve as evidence or proof.” “Proof” is “evidence that establishes the truth or validity of something.”

“Certain parties” not being alive “to defend themselves” is a meaningless qualification, as the parties chose not to publicly defend themselves regarding gross sexual improprieties while they were alive.

Thiel continued:

Various versions of this accusation are extant, most of which seem to be based on a chapter of David Robinson's 1980 book Herbert W. Armstrong's Tangled Web. (A version of the accusations appears in Tuit's book as well.)

I investigated four allegations related to this specific accusation and concluded that unless certain alleged audiotapes (which have never been made public) surface (and I made diligent inquiry to attempt to find them, including dozens of phone calls, plus E-mails through late February 2003), the accusations are not provable and aspects of the accusations are indeed disprovable.

COMMENT: And if “certain alleged audiotapes” did indeed turn up, would Bob Thiel then accept the testimony of Armstrong’s immorality? Or would he resort to the tactic commonly used against Robinson, by assassinating the character and motivations of the one who recorded the tapes? Of course, he could always fall back on “doubting” the “authenticity” of the tapes themselves.

Thiel continued:

Perhaps I should mention that since one aspect of these accusations is common attributed to a comment supposedly made by HWA's son Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA), I called Garner Ted Armstrong's office on Dec.12 to inquire about this particular accusation. I was not able to speak with GTA directly, but an employee of the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association discussed it with him and got back with me. Through his spokesman, GTA declined to comment except to pass on the message that ";everything you really need to know about my father is contained within the autobiography."

COMMENT: First of all, we have Bob Thiel telling us about a spokesman for GTA who allegedly told him GTA allegedly told the spokesman, thus demonstrating he applies a far less stringent standard towards evidence he presents to others than towards evidence others must present to him.

Once again a family member, according to the third-hand evidence Thiel has presented, declined an opportunity to defend Armstrong’s honor and forcefully deny the testimony of his gross sexual impropriety.

Which of you, readers of Missing Dimension, would hesitate to forcefully defend YOUR father from accusations you knew to be false?

Thiel concluded with:

In his Tangled Web book, the late D. Robinson wrote that "like the Wizard of Oz, Herbert Armstrong is operating on image. When his hand is called, there is no substance there. Like the Wizard, he is just a lot of bluster."

Based on my experience in trying to track down credible sources for this accusation, all I find--including a whole chapter in Robinson's book--is "just a lot of bluster."

COMMENT: Of course David Robinson is not alive to defend himself personally against Thiel’s closing accusation, so maybe it should have been removed from any “family publication.”

Ron Brendel

23 Mar. More accusations to consider: Here are two more accusations for Bob Thiel to address.

1) Herbert Armstrong had a double standard of church government. For example, he taught that hierarchal church government is the prophesied image of the beast, but then instituted one of his own. The usual explanation for this is that Herbert Armstrong was an uninformed "babe in Christ" when he wrote on the subject in 1939, so he shouldn't be held to what he first taught. But that explanation doesn't hold water, because he sent out literature saying the same thing until the end of his life (for proof see And if HWA did ever change his mind regarding the image of the beast, can Bob Thiel prove it? Can he show an alternate explanation from HWA's writings?

2) Herbert Armstrong's administration was not consistent in its teaching regarding tithing. It correctly taught that in the Bible the tithes commanded (not those voluntarily given) were on agricultural products only (for proof of this in the Bible see But it then claimed that we must now tithe our monetary income because we live in an industrial society, not an agrarian society. Of course, we do still have an agrarian component in our society, and those in the Bible did have an industrial component (and monetary system) in their society, so this standard explanation is specious reasoning. But supposing it were true (as many will continue to do), the issue is then raised of the lack of consistency in applying this reasoning. If it were true that the agricultural laws of the Bible must now also apply to industry, then the commanded land sabbaths (Exo. 23:10-11), gleanings for the poor (Lev. 19:9-10), and free lunches (Deu. 23:24-25) must also be converted into monetary equivalents. Can Bob Thiel explain why Herbert Armstrong's administration did not do this?

Karen Ray

23 Mar. Self-Image and Denial: I just would like to say that perhaps Dr. Thiel as well as others in the Armstrongite camp are probably in denial because it is very hard on the self-image when one's supposed religious foundational 'roots' are suddenly exposed and torn up. I was the same way until I began to realize... that HWA was not stupid as some would like to believe (i.e. he never let religion get in the way of business and his religion was his business). He let the individual get caught up in the charisma and the euphoria of the belief system of the WCG before he revealed to them the harder things... the deeper into Armstrongism one got the harder to admit the obvious flaws...

Myra McQueen

21 Mar. Latest Journal Out: The Feb 28 issue of The Journal is now available, and includes a pollyannaish article by Dr. Bob Thiel which attempts to "candidly" deal with "15 accusations" leveled against cult founder Herbert W. Armstrong (Dr. Thiel is neither a theologian nor a medical practitioner in the accepted sense, according to our sources, but a licensed naturopath.)

Thiel even cites The Missing Dimension in his attempt to rescue the late Apostle from the clutches of his accusers. It is certainly true that there has been an exchange of email between Thiel and MD's webmaster, who went out of his way to provide Thiel with some material at his (Thiel's) request. However at no time did the good doctor reveal that he was researching for an article. Somewhat surprising too is Thiel's curt dismissal of John Tuit's book, The Truth Shall Make You Free, considering the only passages we're aware of that Thiel has read are those MD supplied him with. Nor had Thiel read, last we heard, the full text of David Robinson's Tangled Web.

Thiel's "accusations" (with his evaluation and our comments) follow.

1. "W" wasn't really HWA's middle initial. True (Thiel). Oh for heaven's sake Bob, are you serious about making this an accusation! (MD).

2. HWA drank to excess. Untrue, sort of. (Thiel). Can we all say "alcoholic" together? Common knowledge within (and in some cases outside) the church. (MD).

3. HWA was addicted to cocaine. Untrue (Thiel). No published sources we're aware of have leveled this charge against HWA. Perhaps Bob is just tossing in a "straw man" to get our scoffing reflexes activated.

4. HWA was guilty of gross sexual impropriety. Untrue (Thiel). Journal editor Dixon Cartwright didn't let Bob spell out the details, but most readers are fully aware of the alleged nature of HWA's relationship with his daughter Dorothy. MD is aware of further charges (some of them published in David Robinson's book) but without the same weight of evidence.

5. HWA had improper relations with female AC students. Untrue (Thiel). The reference here is to the Suzanne and Wiley Black testimonies (both were early AC students and Mr. Black went on to teach at Imperial Schools in Big Sandy). Suzanne Black's sworn statement is believable, but further corroboration is probably needed.

6. HWA had a temper. True (Thiel). Are we being serious here? This isn't an "accusation", it's a statement of fact.  

7. HWA uttered false prophecies. Well, not really (Thiel). AAAARRRRGGGHHHH! Nothing is easier to demonstrate. 

8. There is no number 8. Thiel goes straight on to 9. Maybe it's a special naturopathic numbering thing...

9. HWA made false predictions to maximize WCG's income. Untrue (Thiel). True, obvious and easily documented. (MD).

10. HWA was in it for the money. Untrue (Thiel). Not provable but you certainly have to wonder! (MD).

11. HWA wasted money visiting world dignitaries. Untrue (Thiel). Do the words Steuben Crystal mean anything here? And by "dignitaries" are we referring to despots and dictators like Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos? Waste is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. With that proviso - True (MD).

12. HWA was never properly credentialed as a minister. Untrue (Thiel). Read Ron Brendel's article (MD).

13. HWA was a plagiarist. Um, well, kind of, but understandable. (Thiel). True - and as guilty as sin! (MD).

14. HWA's 18 Truths aren't original. True but not relevant (Thiel). True and highly relevant (MD).

15. HWA claimed to receive divine revelations. Untrue (Thiel). Certainly he claimed direction and authority in a special way, otherwise all that stuff about "God's Apostle" wouldn't have meant much. But hardly "accusation" material. 

And if Bob is short of something for the mysteriously missing number 8, we'd certainly be happy to offer a few helpful possibilities he seems to have overlooked!

21 Mar. The 2T Struggle: I can certainly relate to the person who talked about having to use second tithe for much needed clothing items, as well as getting one's car usable for the next year!  Growing up in WCG in the 70's and 80's we weren't poor, but being a one income family with certain obligations, tithing was a real struggle for my parents at times.  I think most of our church clothes came out of second tithe (spring and fall).  We always drove to the feast, so the car was taken care of as needed.  After I got married, but before we had kids, money was really tight at times (especially during third tithe years).  ALL our church clothes, and several of our casual clothes came out of second tithe, as there was no way we could've had a clothing budget!  We also had enough second tithe to buy feast gifts for others, AND have a pretty good feast on top of that!  We treated others as the occasions would come up.  Sometimes our holy day offerings were almost totally second tithe. We (I, as I am the bookkeeper in our family) did not send in excess ST, as we had heard how it was wasted.  There were times we were grateful to have ST to use, but really, if we hadn't been in the WCG cult, that money would've been put to much better use for our family, rather than being wasted on church attire and eating out every day (which one gets sick of!)


21 Mar. Grand Junction Abideth: I received a registration form for the Feast of  Tabernacles from the "Christian Church of God" in Grand Junction, Colorado via snail mail. They're evidently alive and well and are now independent from the WCG and are planning another Feast. Email contact can be made through if anyone is interested.

Maria Stahl

21 Mar. Reading between the lines: I found [Kroll's] response to be very disappointing, to say the least... What is wrong with these people that makes them so unable to answer even the simplest of questions in a way that pretty much everyone else on the planet except for marketing droids or politicians would consider "straight"?

Reading between the lines, I would venture a guess that the answer, when corrected for WCG double-speak, was as follows:

"I apologize for the delay in responding.  To answer your first question, yes, we are legally a corporation sole, but because we are a religious entity, we choose not to consider ourselves one, rather we would prefer to be known as a
"non-profit religious entity".  It's really none of your business who is in charge and who owns all of our assets.  Regarding your second question, we'll make the changes when we're good and ready, and not before, and by the way, it's none of your business."

I was born and raised in the WCG.  I gave them the best years of my life. It is this supreme sacrifice that I was forced into making that I thought at least gave me cause to demand accountability from these people.  But demanding accountability from them is like demanding an intelligent and well thought out decision from a rat.  It's just not in their nature.

I'm tired of cutting them slack.  No more.  They do not deserve kid gloves simply because they are a religious organization.

If they want to "reconcile" with me, I demand the following.

* dissolve the corporation of the WCG and do not resurrect it in any way, shape or form.  Do not dissolve it because you've ran out of money...

* take the current funds in the WCG except for a small stipend to the lay-employees to help them find a new job, and give it to charity.  Every last dime.  Give it to a charity that is Christian or non Christian, I don't care, but it must be one that is working to improve things for the betterment of humanity.

* the current leaders of the WCG must openly and loudly proclaim that the teachings of HWA were damaging, wrong, and hurtful, that they were wrong in allowing the works to fall into the hands of PCG, and that they will be destroying whatever works they may still have the rights to.  Also, they must fund, out of their own pockets, a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to be assigned the copyrights to those works and aggressively sue anyone who reproduces them.

* the current leaders of WCG must, without regard to personal safety or legal challenges - produce a full, complete, and detailed accounting of the things that they or their predecessors have hidden or attempted to hide.  The time for lies and deceit is over.  They must also make this report available free on the internet and either claim no copyright to it, or release it under a license that will allow, irrevocably, publication by anyone.

* the current leaders of WCG must not profit ever again off of the WCG or its remnants.  If they want to make a living, they can make it honestly, like the rest of us have to.

* the current leaders of WCG must find a reputable psychologist, with no ties whatsoever, past or present, to the WCG or any other evangelical society, and undergo weekly psychotherapy sessions for a period of no less than one year.  As what happens between a psychologist and his/her patient is a matter of the most extreme privacy, I will only ask that they represent that they are cooperating.

* the current leaders of the WCG must not shy away from anything leveled at them.  They must recognize publicly their part in the web of lies, deceit, and corruption that was spun.

If they do all of these things, and demonstrate their sincerity, then perhaps I will be willing to think of them as a higher form of life than pond scum.  Until then, however, I wash my hands of them.  And I invite, no I strongly encourage, anyone here who agrees with this to write and say so.  It's time to show these creeps that we are more than just the odd isolated person with a bone to pick.


MD: Uh, Russell, I hate to break this to you, but based on your list of demands I think you've as much chance of getting Joe to reconcile with you as Saddam Hussein has of being given a standing ovation after being invited to address the US congress.

20 Mar. Two Sixty Four Dollar Questions - the Response: Back on March 11 we published a letter sent by a reader to Paul Kroll of the WCG's personal correspondence department. Two questions were posed:

"the WCG is... not a corporation sole."
Paul Kroll

1) Is WCG still a corporation sole?

2) Is WCG in the process of implementing term limits, (4 years) for the pastor general?

The brave questioner was rewarded with the following response dated March 18.

I apologize for the delay in responding.  To answer your first question, the WCG is a "non-profit religious corporation," not a corporation sole.  Of course, the church could operate as a corporation sole, as this is a legitimate form of governance under California law.  Regarding your second question, the Worldwide Church of God is still moving forward on changes to governance and will do so on the timetable it deems appropriate.
Paul Kroll
Personal Correspondence

Shock horror! What exactly does it mean that WCG is a "non-profit religious corporation"?  Since when?  Who is deemed to hold membership in the corporation?  Is a "non-profit religious corporation" required to publish audited financial accounts?  Is the WCG living up to its responsibilities under California legislation?

As for the second question, the Kroll response seems a convoluted way of saying "Nope! And don't hold your breath."

The same writer also dared to ask for a copy of WCG's last audited accounts. We hope to bring you a report on that whole, long, sad story in a few days time.

20 Mar. Second Tithe: In regard to the author of the two articles on MOA's mention of JT Sr. order that second tithe be used only for temporal things like booze, I wonder how many people were in the same boat as my family.  Because of the severe financial burden three tithes (and even two) placed on us, we used our second tithe to buy things like underwear, winter coats, and tires for the car.  As soon as the first holy day was over, we headed to the mall with our [list] of what each one of us needed to make it through the upcoming year. 

19 Mar. Exit and Support offline: The ESN site has been down for a day or so. A query to the webmaster reveals that the problem lies with the web server, and the site will be back before too much longer. 

19 Mar. Last Straw: I have not attended WCG for a year now, but still considered myself a member of sorts, I even defended them on occasion on your site and others. But, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing left [worth] defending, more so after the PCG vs WCG on MOA (amazing the culture of acronyms and abbreviations that HWA spawned).
I have many friends in the different groups, folks who are decent people and really are not evil or out to deceive others. These people I have time for. I do not have time, however, for the ministers and blokes in charge, as I believe that any man who studies the bible as much as they do (and believe me, they do, how else do they keep abreast of explaining awkward scripture that dethrones HWA and his doctrine) know that they are teaching a false doctrine.
I now want nothing to do with WCG as the sale of MOA to PCG stands for everything that they say they don't! One interesting thing I have noticed about the different splinter groups (I have attended some of them now and again) is that they are honest about what they believe. They keep the Sabbath and the annual Holy days, and they say so and do it.
WCG on the other hand, seems to be in this limbo where they say it's not needed, but a visit to their site shows all the feast days (With a disclaimer of it not being needed).
If it's not needed, why keep them? The excuse is often tradition, which to me means; " ...Preach the Gospel, but for those that don't like it too much, we'll keep the Holy Days, just to keep them in the Church ..."
I now attend a Methodist Church... I am glad that the postings on this site seem to come from many who have managed to get themselves out of the bondage of HWA, but have not become super-bitter about it.
Keep up the good work guys.

18 Mar. Plain Truth about MOA, Part II: The letter published a couple of days ago drew positive feedback from several readers.

I really appreciated the insights provided by the anonymous author of  "The Plain Truth about MOA".  The article had an aura of truth about it, because the author seemed not to have bias, or any particular agenda.  Having read and re-read the account, I find it impossible to even tell of what group, if any, the author is a member.  Truth is so important, and yet in so many cases, nearly impossible to obtain.   The writer seemed concerned that the article had become too long, but left me thirsting for more insights and information.  Do you think you could possibly twist his/her arm for more contributions in the future?

Bob Evans

The production of Herb's books is truly the Mystery of the Ages, and I found the insight from the unnamed writer who'd worked in the Editorial dept fascinating. One of the most interesting things you've published thus far. Whoever he/she is, I for one would LOVE to read more.

Gary Scott

I do have to say after reading his letter that he is right on the money!  Pretty good observations!

Dateline Pasadena

The good news is that the writer, who prefers to remain anonymous, has provided a follow-up piece. There may be some surprises in what follows!  

When HWA completed "Mystery of the Ages," many will recall that he began drawing on the analogy of perhaps being a "personal stenographer" who was directly guided by a Higher Power in preparing the assembled works.  In reality, as seen in the previous account of the production of "Mystery of the Ages," several people (including women, which would have raised an eyebrow or two in the then male-dominated organizational culture of the WCG) worked on the content of the book.  If the analogy was true, then perhaps one could safely assume that there were several such "stenographers."

In fact, if this was your typical commercially-produced book, the authorship would have been more correctly (and honestly) titled "The Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, edited by Herman L. Hoeh (with new material by the original author)," or "Herbert W. Armstrong with Herman L. Hoeh."

The title would equally apply to the post-production of several Armstrong works after HWA's death, in particular the re-publishing of Armstrong's Autobiography (and the new volume II, compiled again from Armstrong's previous writings).  Hoeh was intensely involved in the editing of these two volumes, omitting whole sections from previous editions.  A child of the Depression, HWA evidently rarely threw anything away, as following his death, reams of unpublished photos, documents and other historical materials were found in his home and office--forming the basis for the highly edited re-production of the "tribute" Autobiography volumes.

(On an aside note, Stanley Rader didn't write "Against the Gates of Hell" either.  The bulk of the work was prepared by a freelance writer based in New York, whose name is lost to history, known only to the unfortunate people who worked in the General Ledger department of the Church's Accounting Department. Dave Hunsberger in the Church's Personal Correspondence Department was largely responsible for the semi-humorous vignettes about the California Attorney General and the court-appointed receivers that appear in Rader's "book").

But here was (in HWA parlance) the "staggering" bit. Shortly after HWA taped his famous presentation of the book in the Recital Hall on campus, word began trickling back to Editorial that Armstrong in fact was "unhappy" and "dissatisfied" (words attributed to HWA by evangelists and senior WCG administrators, not mine) with "Mystery of the Ages."  We were told in Editorial that HWA often expressed the hope that he would live long enough to rewrite the whole book. While HWA believed it was his Magnum Opus from the perspective of an edited collection of his writings, he wanted to write a fresh new work and considered "Mystery of the Ages" to be, at best, incomplete. That is a true fact that anyone should consider when considering the possibility of using "Mystery of the Ages" as an infallible commentary by which to understand the Bible.

Toward the end of his life, HWA was increasingly isolated in his campus home as his life began to fail. Because he was easily tired (from progressive anemia and other physical conditions), outside contact became more and more limited.  Visitors (apart from HWA's doctor and a number of nurses) were limited to senior WCG figures, including Tkach, Helge, Hulme (who had recently risen to power on the coat tails of summarily disposed Robert Fahey) and a number of others.  Aaron Dean was the figure most often present, and it is a tribute to him and Michelle Dean that they were able to hold their marriage together during the horribly tumultuous years of "evangelist" Stan Rader and the events leading up to HWA's death.

To that end, the claims by Tkach of a so-called "death bed conversion" of HWA to more mainstream Protestant beliefs remains preposterous rubbish.  Further, the Tkach claim that HWA was "remorseful" that he had not "corrected" doctrinal errors is equally absurd.  Even a casual observer could ascertain that HWA and Tkach Sr. shared at least one common trait:  they both on occasion would dramatically exaggerate the facts at hand (E.g., HWA's claim that he had pioneered market research and Tkach's military record, both proven

If anything at the end, HWA was consumed with sustaining the WCG belief system that he had established.  Tkach was viewed internally and by HWA as a "strong man" who would accomplish this.  Again, one can only admire the honor of Aaron Dean for respecting his mentor's wishes and supporting his successor, even when his successor's public comments never rang true.

Proof of this can be found in the messy dismissal of Brian Knowles as managing editor of The Plain Truth a few years earlier.  In the days before he was terminated, Knowles--who was beloved by HWA--sent to Tucson a new manuscript of the booklet "What is faith?"  HWA would on occasion secretly fly into the Burbank airport, where he maintained a private office to meet with lawyers and Church officials during the Receivership and conduct the affairs of the Church. But HWA spent the bulk of his time at his home office in Tucson, Arizona carefully observed by Rader aides (HWA's office was alleged to be bugged by Rader aides).

The Knowles manuscript reflected more of the present 2003 WCG teaching on "saved by grace, not works" than what was general Church doctrine in the late 1970s. HWA was horrified, and evidently felt that this manuscript was more evidence that the WCG was out of control doctrinally.  As Knowles was highly regarded by HWA, Armstrong attempted to edit Knowles' document to bring it back into more traditional "works" teaching.  As the edits in the manuscript progressed, it was obvious that HWA was growing angry with the content as his comments grew more and more strident. Finally, about half-way through the Knowles manuscript, HWA evidently gave up.  Shortly thereafter, Knowles was sacked and replaced by Dexter Faulkner (whose continued Church employment was earlier "saved" by Roger Lippross, who offered Dexter a job in Publishing after the Church closed its Plain Truth office in Washington, D.C., where Dexter was previously stationed).  For HWA to go through this exhaustive editing process and then a few years later supposedly lament that he didn't "correct" errors (when he possessed the perfect opportunity to do so with the Knowles manuscript) defies any semblance of logic.

The "secret" SRI research:  one other little-known fact to Church members is the fact that the Church commissioned the prestigious Stanford Research Institute (SRI) (see to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Church's then-present media structure and member attitudes in the mid-to-late 1970s.  As HWA and Rader traveled the globe, GTA's role increasingly emerged as that of a chief operating officer (COO) for WCG.  As long-time members may recall, following the first major split earlier within WCG, the financial health of the Church was at best dubious.  In what would later be repeated in the mid-1990s, the Church implemented cost-cutting measures across the board.  The Plain Truth magazine became a tabloid, which proved disastrous, as it lost its credibility and could not compete with its commercial competition (this is referred to as "brand-bruising").  In an attempt to recover, the Church was forced to go back to a four-color magazine format.  Unfortunately, organizational consensus was established to ask non-members to pay or give a donation for the magazine, which had previously established a "brand" of being free (ad promotions in the 1980s would later strongly reinforce this--"Money can't buy this magazine, but we'll give it to you FREE.").

The letter under GTA's signature requesting a subscription price was a catastrophe of biblical proportions.  Entire demographic sections of long-time Plain Truth subscribers disappeared virtually overnight, and the PT subscriber base plummeted.  The PT circulation department hastily bought ENTIRE LISTS from commercial list managers and simply began sending free PT subscriptions (without them asking for the publication) with the sole purpose of shoring up the numbers to save face.

About this time, GTA--in his COO capacity in the absence of his father and Rader--evidently teamed up with Ray Wright, then Church treasurer.  They, or Church representatives, contracted with SRI to conduct this massive audit.  What SRI found in its initial research was damning toward the Church administrative policies promulgated and supported by the Rader axis. SRI conducted focus groups with then-members of WCG, and out from under the direct supervision of a WCG minister, their comments were essentially universally hostile toward then-current policies (including the fact that the Church had discontinued publication of The Good News and semi-merged its content into The Plain Truth).  Perhaps most important, the independent report found that Church members were directly very dis-trustful of Rader and largely objected to his influence on HWA.

The SRI report also found extreme political infighting among the Television, Publishing, Editorial and Mail Processing departments, which was at best inefficient, a waste of resources and costly in terms of duplication (all of these departments then possessed autonomous control and separate budgets--any commercial operation following this business model would have likely gone bankrupt).  The report recommended that all media entities be consolidated, which ironically did not occur until Tkach brought then-Las Vegas pastor Bernie Schnippert (a long time confidant) to Pasadena to ultimately assume this role.

The SRI research was due to be completed in late Spring, 1978.  Unfortunately, GTA was sacked and disfellowshipped before it was completed, and the SRI project limped to a close.  Rader was furious when he learned of the research (apparently because of the damning nature against his policies) and ordered all existing copies of the expensive SRI research to be gathered up and destroyed, never to see the light of day again.  With the abrupt departure of COO GTA, Ray Wright found himself in scalding hot corporate water, and spent some time in organizational limbo until Ellis LaRavia appointed him to be a kind of "super head" of Publishing over the incumbent Roger Lippross.

The practice of purchasing lists for subscription promotion of The Plain Truth continued (which actually is a common practice in commercial magazine advertising) and increased dramatically after Rader was forced out (and that is an entirely different story, involving an "emergency" flight of Tkach, LaRavia and other senior Church officials to Hawaii, where en route to the Philippines, HWA had uncovered what he regarded as a "palace revolt" by Rader). Using these lists, Plain Truth subscriptions soared, regularly adding (and replacing) multiple millions of subscribers, particularly in the United States.

Again, my honest hope is that people who regard HWA's late 20th century organizational model (such as embraced by Flurry and Hulme) as the "one" model to emulate will carefully consider the above facts before following suit.

18 Mar.Caveat Emptor? I have a question for Maria Stahl's "no big deal" Caveat Emptor ("let the buyer beware") reasoning.  How about some "let the seller be responsible" reasoning?

For instance: Would she sell her left-over "junk" drugs, having given up a lifetime of drug addiction? Would she sell left-over pornography, if she were to have had such "junk" in her possession?

Or how about books on witchcraft, as I read on JLF about one former Wiccan who, upon becoming a Christian burned ALL her books knowing the content was harmful to others and did not want to be responsible for allowing her "junk" to be sold or given away to others. 'Nuff said. :)

Cheryl Allworth

18 Mar.The view from Manhattan: I read Michael G. Jones' letter with great interest. Mr. Jones is undoubtedly sincere. The ministerial accountability he is talking about is something that has been discussed since Joe Jr. became Pastor General: local autonomy, local control of funds, greater participation by lay members, etc., etc. When I finally left the WCG in 1998, nothing had changed, but the gentlemen in charge were still talking about empowering lay members and using their spiritual gifts. Alas, the only gifts from the lay members that the hierarchy used were their monetary ones.

I don't know how the Akron, Ohio advisory council was put together, but the formation of the Manhattan, New York advisory council in 1996 or 1997 was a joke. Our pastor actually held an election, and asked each member of the congregation to vote for five people. Either the election was fixed or the members of the congregation were well indoctrinated, because the only people elected were deacons, deaconesses or local church elders. In other words, the advisory council would have been no different had the pastor appointed all of the members... I can just imagine what the meetings were like. The pastor would say "This is what I have in mind for this spring, blah, blah, blah, etc." The advisory council members would respond breathlessly, "What a great idea! You are so wise! We are so blessed that Mr. B******* is our pastor."

Not too long afterward, I discussed this with the pastor, and asked him why he bothered to have have us vote when it was his intention to appoint the same people to the council that he appointed to everything else. He insisted that the election was genuine, and the people in the council were the ones who received the most votes. I didn't argue the point, but told him that if that was the case, there was no point in having a separate "advisory council" since he met with the same people in the monthly DELS (Deacon and Elders Lecture Series) meetings. I suggested that the next time there was an election he should limit the number of ordained people on the council and make sure lay members were represented because if he wanted input from the members, he needed to meet with the members, not the same people he already met with on a regular basis.

I still question his assertion that the election was fair, and the council members were not his choices. The farcical nature of the advisory council was demonstrated in short order. A financial statement was posted to the church bulletin board showing the receipts and disbursements from the local church activity fund. There was a footnote stating that the advisory council approved the expenditure of $3,000 to purchase a used photocopier for the church office. No vote tally was given, but I'm sure the council was unanimous in their approval.

I wasn't around for the next election. For reasons I won't go into here, I left the Worldwide Church of God a few months later. (No, the banana-republic-style election of the advisory council was not the reason.) Does the Manhattan congregation now have a real advisory council where the lay membership is represented, where real input is given and seriously considered, and where the wishes of the members are actually implemented? Or is it just a rubber stamp, approving the pastor's every wish on a routine basis? I doubt it's the former. One of the benefits of a "presbyterian style" church structure is that if the members don't like what the leadership is doing, they have to go elsewhere. And elsewhere they have gone, as tens of thousands departed the WCG for more pleasant environments. They have expressed their dissatisfaction by voting with their wallets, and the current leadership of the WCG is too myopic to make the connection. All they can do is spin tales of woe about the shrinking budget, and blame the members who don't love God and have stopped tithing (the members who love God still tithe - as Joe Tkach, Jr. once wrote, "And I know that doesn't offend you, because you know it's true").


Does archaeology confirm or refute the Bible's accuracy as history?

Read the March 2002 Harper's article by Daniel Lazare

16 Mar. The Plain Truth about MOA: The bit about Aaron Dean "cobbling together large chunks" of "Mystery of the Ages" isn't true.  The production of "Mystery of the Ages" was similar to the production cycle for "The Incredible Human Potential."  Editorial Services would assemble articles and copy that HWA had previously written. HWA would then write new introductory copy and edit what he had previously written (E.g., those who still have a copy--I don't--of "The Incredible Human Potential" will see that a least one entire previous HWA booklet was incorporated into the text as a chapter.)

If anything, "Mystery of the Ages" probably would be better titled: "Herbert Armstrong's Greatest Hits" with new material that he dictated or typed that incorporated his favorite metaphorical themes of the two trees and "give and get."  In his last several months, HWA's eyesight had all but failed and he was literally unable to read much of anything, even with the aid of powerful magnifying lenses.  Edited copy on a chapter by chapter basis would go from Editorial Services either up to HWA's 4th floor office where Aaron Dean would collect it and take it to HWA's home, or it would go directly to HWA's home on the Pasadena campus, where he spent most of his last days.  Aaron had the thankless and seemingly endless task of reading and re-reading the copy aloud to HWA, who would make verbal (oral) edits and then send the copy back to Editorial. HWA evidently sensed that he was in his last days, as he was consumed by the project. When the copy came back to Editorial, certain senior editors immediately proofread the text and usually Herman Hoeh would go over it and make his own edits. The copy would then be whisked over to Publishing to be set in proofs.  When the proofs returned, the cycle would start over again.  Many of us in Editorial felt sorry for Aaron, as he had just been fitted for corrective braces and the endless reading aloud caused much laceration and oral discomfort.  But it was obvious that HWA was dying, given--among other bits--that his bone marrow was failing to produce enough red blood cells to sustain life. So there was a real sense of urgency to complete the project.

HWA truly considered "Mystery of the Ages" to be his Magnum Opus (at least in as far as his collected writings went).  Apart from the content, HWA did display for his age a remarkable degree of clarity and focus in assembling what obviously was his "final word."

As a side note, it was always interesting to me personally that one of the first things Tkach's aides did after HWA's death was remove HWA's famous extra-large type electric typewriter from HWA's old office (now Tkach's, later to be complete with a hanging poster of an electric execution chair with the phrase: "Regular or extra crispy?"--which produced many a "forced laugh" from visiting ministers).  The typewriter, famous for many HWA writings (including the 1979 "Plain Truth Editorial Policy"--of which I still have a copy), was heaved into a back room at HWA's mansion along with any world leader photo that was autographed to HWA personally.  Never quite figured that one out.  If the typewriter had been available at the Church's fire sale auction, I would have bought it.

The people I initially felt the most sorry for in the "Mystery of the Ages" saga were the book stores at the various Feast sites after "Mystery of the Ages" was first published.  About this time Joe Sr. had Editorial publish a diatribe from one of his favorite ministerial Nazi's denouncing people who bought "permanent" gifts or items with second tithe (actually, Tkach sent over a sermon tape of this drivel to Editorial and told Dexter Faulkner to have someone whip it into an article) because everything one bought with second tithe was supposed to be "temporary"--like massive quantities of booze.  Prior to that, I used to buy several books during the Feast--something I truly enjoyed.  But no more after the 2T nonsense was published.

During the 1970s "Human Potential" years, the Rader/Kuhn axis formed another Church-related (and funded) publishing corporation:  Everest House. Ironically, the first book published by Everest House involved demons and sorcery.  That venture failed miserably, and caused an uproar in Publishing Services, as the Everest House books were typeset, film-stripped and produced by Church employees (who were usually members).  Ministers had to be called in to counsel the typesetters, as they were having to typeset profanity from Everest House authors, including the "f" word in various verbal settings and of course, passages where God's name was taken in vain in a particularly vulgar manner.  All of this was done on then-state-of-the-art typesetting computers in a special temperature-controlled environment paid for by Church members' tithes and offerings (sigh).  After Rader was ousted (at least from public view if not from the Church's payroll), Everest House ceased soliciting manuscripts and most of the EH titles were pulled.  But the legal shell of Everest House remained.

Anyway (as this probably grows too long), Church administrators had seen how Dankenbring's books sold briskly at the larger Feast sites.  Dankenbring or some third party would secure distribution opportunities in Target, K-Mart and other department stores.  There, at the point of purchase (usually the check-out line), large quantities of the doltish Dankenbring prophetic bovine "scholarship" would be served up for impulse buying.  If a Church member walked up with an extra $20 in his pocket after buying cereal to eat in his hotel room with his three kids, he might buy a Dankenbring book because they weren't (rightly) available through the Church.

Someone in Publishing subsequently came up with the "great idea" that if the Church used Everest House as a "perceived legitimate third party" to produce/sell HWA's popular books, they might become best sellers--but most of all, they would ostensibly "reach a whole new audience."  So all of HWA's major works (including a highly edited version of "The Missing Dimension in Sex") were converted to Everest House titles and made available for sale.  (Incidentally, some internally argued that the Everest House conversion of HWA titles was a "jobs program" to keep otherwise idle Publishing employees on the Church's payroll).

This nonsense attained its climax with "Mystery of the Ages."  HWA deemed this book so important that Church officials authorized the development of the largest and most complex single national advertising campaign ever attempted by the Church.  The attention to this campaign spawned an ugly turf battle between Editorial Services and Publishing Services, as each claimed to possess superior advertising experience for developing, executing and placing the campaign for "Mystery of the Ages."  Publishing Services ultimately won that battle, except for a particularly hard-fought internal struggle over the creative design for the cover of "Mystery of the Ages."

As the campaign began to unfold in the summer prior to the release of "Mystery of the Ages," Publishing Services sought literary reviews of the book.  This proved to be a mixed bag (duh), but surprisingly, there were some lukewarm reviews.  These lukewarm reviews were of course trumpeted internally by Publishing war horses as "proof" their campaign strategies were on target.

Meanwhile, book stores at major American Feast sites began to take notice.  Businesses in Feast areas were not stupid.  Church members and families pumped extra millions in local economies during the Feast, and members of the Feast Department were pursued off-season with "freebies" trying to lure the Feast to major urban areas, despite the cult status.  Knowing this and seeing the massive ad campaign, book stores ordered thousands of extra copies of "Mystery of the Ages" for sale to Church members during the Feast of Tabernacles. Many area book stores even made special window displays of "Mystery of the Ages" to attract Church members.

Unfortunately, no one told the book store managers that Church members were going to receive FREE copies of "Mystery of the Ages" at their Feast sites, so there was no need to buy additional copies (they could request additional free copies from the Church once they returned from the Feast).  Consequently, local books stores were left holding thousands of copies of "Mystery of the Ages."  At the end of the Feast, I noticed one store was trying to sell "Mystery of the Ages" at 25% of its listed cost.  Feeling guilty, I bought six copies.

Finally, I have to laugh every time I read that GTA claims that he "wrote" his father's book.  After the debacle of "The Wonderful World Tomorrow" (which was another crammed together mess of previous HWA and GTA writings and clumsy edits), where GTA's name was simply dropped from the co-authorship of the book and re-published, Editorial Services embarked on its own little version of the "Documentary Hypothesis."  All existing Church literature was examined to remove any known traces back to GTA in a quintessential expression of Orwellian 1984-style editing.  (GTA didn't officially make it back in any Church publications--except for the Pastor General's Report--until the publication of "This is the Worldwide Church of God" in the late 1980s and then only under major protest internally).  Maybe Editorial missed a few passages, but so much effort went into erasing GTA from the Borg-like collective memory of the Church that it remains laughable that he could make any such claim today apart from "The Wonderful World Tomorrow" (now, of course, out of print).

Well, there's much more about "Mystery of the Ages," but this is already far too long.

(name provided)

MD: Thank you for this detailed account, which casts light on several dark corners of WCG history. I'm sure there are many readers who would love you to continue with "the rest of the story."  Thanks again.

16 Mar. Caveat emptor: Come on, people. Why all the outrage? When my house gets too full of junk, I have a garage sale. Other people buy my junk and take it home to clutter up their homes. No big deal. Caveat emptor.

Maria Stahl

16 Mar. The Twilight Zone: I have to agree wholeheartedly with Russell's assessment of the WCG's motives regarding selling HWA's writings to Flurry.

What I think is missing from the analysis of this whole mess is that the WCG has boxed themselves into a corner.  If they admit that HWA was a false prophet and heretic, they will lose half their membership.  If they admitted he really was a false prophet, the only honorable thing to do would be to dissolve the church.  Since they are unwilling to do either, they exist in a theological twilight zone claiming that (as one current member told me) "God must have had a reason to allow HWA to be wrong, and for us to suffer in the church". 

Life in this twilight zone allows for selling the copyright to MOA and all the other horrid drivel penned by their great founder.  The fact that this stuff has been rejected by them as theologically and doctrinally unsound is no matter so long as someone is willing to pay for it. 

Allowing others to read this drivel reminds me of a personal dilemma we faced when we had a chimney fire and had to buy a new wood stove--what to do with the old one.  We finally had it hauled away as we decided that if it was safe enough to use in our house, neither was it safe for anyone else's.  It's too bad the WCG doesn't value the souls of the the unsaved as much as they value what GF will pay to control that trash.

16 Mar. Ralph is really a very nice name: Hi Gavin, re:- 15 Mar. Plenty to Ralph about ("Just in case you didn't know, "ralph" is a slang term in the U.S. for the word "vomit", and I use it all the time!") My comment - "Only in the USA". I am so glad to live in Oz. If ever that person talks to me they are invited to address me as 'Mister'! 

Ralph Ford

16 Mar. Steve sings soulfully: As Billy Joel sang, "I might be wrong, I might be right, I might be crazy", well... maybe the first two, but not the last! LOL! The consanguinity thing is a little more complicated historically that Nigel Scott-Williams and I thought. Nigel is correct that most countries (including the USA) influenced by the teachings of the Roman civil law and the Catholic Church, forbade first-cousin marriages, but not second cousin marriages. However, at times, even second or third cousin marriages have been frowned upon by the churches and secular authorities. For an interesting article on this subject... go to So, I sheepishly think I may be wrong on this subject, but I wish to throw out a question that I hope someone (including myself) can answer. If Herb and Loma were second cousins, why did he lie in the Autobiography about his true blood relationship to Loma, if the laws in Iowa and Illinois allowed for second cousin marriages? What was he trying to hide?

Steve Dalton 

16 Mar. Palace Revolution: In attempting to find out what really happened to the missing (but much sought after) documents of the so called '79 'Palace Revolution'... the State of California could not find many legal documents accounting for church expenditures and when they raided the business office only one small shredder was found. I also found a faded type-written letter from a GII co-pilot claiming... that he witnessed documents being loaded in an unmarked vehicle late one night just prior to the raid... 

Just curious if you might have anything as to whether this was how the documents disappeared?? 

Myra McQueen

15 Mar. A Question of Accountability: I am the Outreach Ministry Director for our congregation, Grace Community Fellowship located in Akron, Ohio.  For the past several days I have arduously reviewed your site, and the many articles published about our history, and the splinter groups. You're articles have been fair, straightforward, and a painful reminder about the shackles of legalism. However, I take issue with your assertion that the current Worldwide Church Of God is not a "healthy fellowship", because it continues to embrace the "old governmental structure".  In our local fellowship our pastor is absolutely accountable to the advisory board (composed of members of our congregation) who meet once a month to discuss administrative issues.  Furthermore, he is accountable to our Regional Director.  In addition to this Pasadena is in the process of implementing changes that would limit the office of Pastor General to a 4-year term, and make the local congregations self-sustaining.  Thank You for your attention to this matter.  If you are ever in the Akron/Canton area I invite you to worship with us. 

Michael G. Jones

MD: Thank you for your letter. Apologies for the delay in posting it to AW, I wanted to get some feedback from a cross section of former members before composing a reply. I privately emailed a compilation of these to you yesterday. 

The issue which you've identified is accountability. By definition it is not possible to be accountable to an "advisory board" whose members have no real power. 

Accountability flows in three directions. (1) Upward accountability. WCG has always had this kind of accountability as it is an instrument of control that meshes well with a hierarchical structure. Ultimately everyone is responsible to Joe. (2) Sideways accountability. This means we are accountable to our peers. Many professional groups work this way. (3) Downward accountability. This means that your pastor - and you as Outreach Ministry Director - would also be accountable to the congregation you serve. In practical terms this means that some kind of structure would need to exist; an annual general meeting, for example, where office holders are elected, the books are opened up and the pastor must give "an accounting" for his stewardship - usually in the form of a written report which would be discussed, and then a vote taken to accept. On a denominational level it would mean a governance structure (a General Conference for example) which congregational representatives would attend, mandated by those who chose them.

WCG has no downward accountability. Zero. Zilch. Members even have to pass through an inquisitorial process (including having their status as "members in good standing" checked) before being able to get the barest look at the accounts, as has been the sad experience of one member in recent days. Ask Joe who he's accountable to and he says "Christ"!  And if, as you suggest, Joe introduces a four year term (finally) for the office he holds, you'd still have to ask how a new Pastor General would be selected. (Gavin) 

15 Mar. Bobby Fischer Request: I'm a journalist researching a book on the former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer. This project started out as a Bobby Fischer profile that was published in the Dec. 2002 issue of the Atlantic Monthly... It has been well-received and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. I'm hoping that the book will eventually become known as the definitive Bobby Fischer biography. Naturally, I mentioned the Worldwide Church of God in the Atlantic Monthly article. During the course of my research I studies some of the documents posted at The Painful Truth website. I was fascinated by the relationship between HWA and Mr. Fischer. I was amazed at the influence HWA and the WCG exercised over Fischer during his so-called "Wilderness Years" in Pasadena. It's a fascinating story. And according to the scathing Ambassador Report interview conducted with Fischer, it was a most regrettable experience for the former World Chess Champion. Could you put me in touch with some sources that might shed more light on Mr. Fischer's experience with the WCG? Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Rene Chun

MD: We'll pass on the writer's email address to anyone who can help.

15 Mar. Did Whistler Write MOA? I once read MOA in my naiveté and it is just an old man attempting to polish his ego. Actually - if Whistler is who I think he is - he was the original author. GTA of course claims to be the original author of this 'Mystery Rag'  But I don't blame Whistler for not necessarily claiming it. He must have authored it while he was maybe 3 sheets in the wind and just wanted to get rid of a little hot air. 

All in all -I think it is just another of the true "Golden Calf's" attempts at plagerism and may have had more ghosts than a haunted house

Myra McQueen

MD: I think you can be fairly confident that The Whistler isn't who you suspect him to be. From what we've heard Aaron Dean, now a minister in UCG, was responsible for cobbling together large chunks of MOA. 

15 Mar. Plenty to Ralph about: As a play on words, instead of "Ralph Speaketh", you might want to say, "Plenty to ralph about."  Just in case you didn't know, "ralph" is a slang term in the U.S. for the word "vomit", and I use it all the time! :)

MD: That's a new one to me. I'm sure there'll be lots of readers who agree the sentiments.

15 Mar. Ethics unfitting for fungus: Ralph's answer confirmed everything that I said in that open letter I wrote. The WCG was only thinking about money.  They are not at all concerned about the repercussions of what they did - they made the best business decision.

To call them slime-balls would be insulting to fungus everywhere.


14 Mar. Ralph speaketh: Ralph Helge explains WCG's sale of HWA texts to a cult widely regarded as abusive and exploitative in the latest Pastors Report. It is scheduled to appear in the next WN.

We are pleased to announce that the Worldwide Church of God (the “Church”) has reached a successful conclusion in its pending lawsuit against the Philadelphia Church of God (“PCG”) through a mutual settlement.

As most of you will recall, the PCG copied and published the Mystery of the Ages, which was owned by the Church. As a consequence it was necessary for the Church to file a lawsuit in order to protect its assets, although it had no pleasure in doing so. PCG reacted by filing a counterclaim in which they requested permission to print and distribute other works. It is not our intention to go through all the details of the lawsuit at this time. The reason being, the entire lawsuit has been settled and we hope that it will bring an end to recriminations and that the peace of Jesus Christ will prevail.

In brief then, the court entered an injunction against PCG prohibiting it from making any additional copies, or further distribution, of the Mystery of the Ages. The matter had reached the point where it was pending hearing on the amount of damages and other issues. In accordance with the settlement, all claims are settled, the injunction will be vacated and the entire lawsuit dismissed.

During the litigation, the Church decided that it would be financially prudent to publish for historical purposes some of the literary works written by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and sell them. Sixteen such pieces of literature were printed and published (all containing a preface explaining that the material contains doctrinal errors), with three more in the printing process.

During the last year or so, PCG made different offers to license or purchase some or all of the literary works in question, and thereby settle the litigation. As the Church did not consider that the amounts offered were sufficient, the offers were rejected. But then PCG made a substantial offer of three million dollars to purchase 19 of the literary works written by Mr. Armstrong, and settle the litigation.

The Church board of directors and some of its officials met to consider this offer. It was concluded that the Church would never be able to make this amount in royalties by publishing and selling the individual works, the settlement would result in the receipt of substantial assured revenue for use in proclaiming the gospel and would circumvent further intensive, costly litigation and years of court proceedings as the matter wound its way through the appellate process. Another consideration was the widespread availability of the works on the Internet from numerous sources, making it increasingly costly and difficult to thoroughly defend these particular copyrights and prevent distribution of unauthorized copies.

As a consequence, the Church concluded that prudent business practice demanded that it accept this opportunity as being in its best interest. Therefore, a settlement agreement has been signed and, as of the date of this writing, the matter is pending the opening of escrow.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your prayers in this matter, and God’s blessing on the Church for the favorable outcome.

Oh, so that's the fool, er, full story. Thanks Ralph. That certainly addresses the moral and ethical issues doesn't it. 

14 Mar. WCG waiting on the bucks: The following item by Bill Stough appears on the Journal site.

The Journal has learned that the parties in a prolonged legal battle over who has the right to publish books and booklets written by Herbert W. Armstrong have settled their disagreement out of court.

Parties to the suit are the Worldwide Church of God, Pasadena, Calif. (founded by Mr. Armstrong, who died in 1986), and the Philadelphia Church of God, Edmond, Okla. (founded by Gerald Flurry in the 1990s).

The suit--brought by the WCG against the PCG because the Oklahoma group was publishing and distributing copies (for free) of Mr. Armstrong's "Mystery of the Ages" and other printed materials without WCG authorization--had dragged on for years.

In copies the PCG was distributing of "Mystery of the Ages," the church had allegedly changed the copyright imprint in the front of the book from "Worldwide Church of God" to "Herbert W. Armstrong."

The WCG sued. The PCG countersued.

The Journal spoke with the WCG's legal department March 11. Earl Reese of that department mentioned the amount of the settlement but asked The Journal not to publish it until the "WCG has the money in hand."

Mr. Reese said he expected the deal to be done in less than two weeks from that date.

Watch this space for further developments and a detailed article in the March 31 print version of The Journal.

14 Mar. Nobody tells us nuthin'!  As usual for WCG, no one in Pasadena was told about the WCG selling the rights of Herbie's books.  Most learned today about it from the internet.  You would think that an organization that claims to teach the truth of God's word now, would not be selling something that is considered heretical.  The Gospel is about redeeming a deceived and hurting world, not in promoting Armstrong's false doctrines.  Is 2 million dollars worth the numerous lives that will be lost to the legalistic crap of Armstrongism?  God will surely hold the WCG accountable for promoting heresy in order to gain more money. Dateline Pasadena.

14 Mar. And the big winners are... The following chart, which we've slightly adapted, was posted to the JLF discussion board today. It sums one person's analysis of the gains and losses to various interest groups after 6 years worth of squabbling over Mystery of the Ages and other Herbert Armstrong material. Is this an accurate reflection of what has actually transpired? We look forward to Bill Stough's Journal article to help put more pieces of the jigsaw in place.

  Loses  Gains 
PCG  $5 Million
6 Years in Court
Paper "Losses" in Court 
19 Copyright Ownership 
WCG  est. $2 Million
6 Years in Court
19 Copyright Ownership 
Paper "Victories" in Court 
WCG Lawyers  6 Years in Court  est. $2 Million in Fees
Paper "Victories" in Court 

14 Mar. UCG website gets facelift: The United Church of God has redesigned its website. Very cool guys. Now if only you could do something about the content...

And speaking of which, these comments from a posting on the Ekklesia list run by Bill Ferguson:

A [South African] WCG minister has resigned - after 8 years of preaching, teaching, the "new covenant" - and joined UCG. Another [person] with similar history, has also made the move.  Their move was precipitated by the policy decision that churches in South Africa should meet on Sundays, not Saturdays. There's an exception to this in Cape Town (which has no paid ministry), where one of its congregations refused to shift to Sunday.

14 Mar. Pots and Kettles: Now, now!  We shouldn't miss the implications of the [Trumpet] article just because we may not like the PCG.

Please relish the Incredible Potential for amusement as the pot calls the kettle black--with quite accurate assessments about how the scoundrels at the WCG plied their usual deceptions, duplicity, and dogged determined dastardly deceit.

It does appear to be a case of a David winning over a Goliath with no stone left unhurled.

Give credit where credit is due, in this case $2 million.

One wonders at the losers, though.

That would be all the rest of us.

Douglas Becker

14 Mar. Bashing the Golden Calf: Obviously Steve Dalton has difficulty understanding Nathaniel Taylor's definition of "first cousins, those with four degrees of separation..." Taylor's definition is correct: first cousins are separated by four degrees,  so the law does not address second, third or fourth cousins. Mr. Dalton should learn a bit about how the degrees are counted, before embarrassing himself with a letter, which, by its end, was totally pointless. More and more I come to think: if only the desire for accuracy would exceed the desire to bash Herbert Armstrong... but then your whole site would have to shut down!

Nigel Scott-Williams

MD: Ouch!  Steve is responsible for his own letter, but bashing Herb? Well, we do admit it takes more than a few hefty swings of the sledgehammer to knock Armstrong's gilt silver idol off its pedestal: the thing is welded as well as bolted. But hey, wait a minute Nigel, aren't you the same guy who sent in two suggestions for renaming the Pelley church just a few days ago? Seems you've got one standard for Herb and another altogether for poor old Den.

13 Mar. PCG TRUMPETS "VICTORY": (Special Correspondent) 

"Miracle Victory!" 

It's up on their site -- see for Gerald Flurry's triumphant proclamation, and for the full back story (PCG version), written with great enthusiasm by Stephen Flurry, with frequent references to "my dad". A couple of interesting quotes, which reveal a greal deal: 

"Mr. Armstrong’s writings are the foundation of all that we believe. We teach his messages to our people quite diligently. However, we have been unable to teach them to the world. These works have been blotted out by the WCG. We could not offer them to a deceived humanity—until now! And we believe that God commands us to proclaim Mr. Armstrong’s works to the world as a witness (Matt. 24:14; Rev. 10:11)."

HWA's writings and works -- not the Bible? 

"[WCG's] own pastor general—who happens to wield absolute power in the church" -- interesting that Stephen Flurry thinks this of Joe Jnr, without applying it to his own dad! 

" Due to the "additional benefit" of the WCG's "good faith" e-publishing offer, we could now direct prospective members, who might know nothing about Herbert Armstrong, to download a copy of Mystery of the Ages (at a substantial cost) with a 1,500-word preface denouncing the author as an uneducated hack who taught heretical doctrines and wielded dictatorial control over the Worldwide Church of God. We failed to see how this would truly benefit the spiritual needs of our church." 

Love it! A subtle use of ironic humor (or "subtile", as HWA spells it throughout MOA, which I'm currently rereading, just to see why it's "the most important book since the Bible". Haven't found the answer yet...)  Aristophanes

"That Prophet"?

13 Mar. Did WCG Win? (Part 2): The following advice from journalist Bill Stough:

Please check the Journal web site in the next few days regarding the settlement between PCG and WCG.  I will have a post there, and a detailed article in the Mar. 31 issue of the Journal.  That issue however may come out late.  We do already know the amounts of the settlement.  It is "considerable".

Bill is the writer who broke the story about the proposed sale of copyright to Flurry in the previous edition of The Journal.

This post appeared today on the PCG Yahoo board: I was just informed... that the PCG case has been "won". This fellow was so very happy that it cost "almost nothing" - $3M+ only - compared to the US$8M which the WCG was initially 'asking' 

13 Mar. Open Letter to WCG: The following Open Letter was sent to Joe Tkach (with copies to WCG "personal correspondent" Paul Kroll, MD and the Painful Truth site.) 

To whom it may concern:

My name is Russell, I was raised in the Worldwide Church of God from the time of my birth in 1975.  After a great deal of effort I was able to extricate myself from its clutches.  And I am still to this day feeling the effects of my involvement in that organization, to the point of having recurrent panic attacks and having to talk to a psychologist once a week.

Around 1995 or so, Joseph Tkach Sr. led his organization on what was billed as a significant change - converting from old-style Armstrongism to Protestant-style Evangelical Christianity.  This change was widely lauded as a sea-change, unparalleled in the history of Christianity.  And, make no mistake, the changes as expressed were indeed significant.  At the time, I was in full support of the changes in the organization, and I concede that they are certainly a vast improvement over the organization as it used to be, as represented in the writings of Herbert Armstrong.

It was my understanding that the WCG has renounced these views and now considers them to be, if not heretical, then everything short of heretical. This I agree with.  Although I am not a Christian, I believe that the teachings of Herbert Armstrong have caused untold damage to millions of families, adults, and children.  It is not possible to overestimate or overstate this damage.

I have been outspoken in my doubts as to the veracity and sincerity of these changes ever since I have left the organization, but I have always had underneath a glimmer of hope in your collective humanity to "do the right thing", as it were.  That is, until this week, when I learned that you have sold the rights to some of Herbert Armstrong's works to what is arguably one of the most extreme and dangerous of the Armstrongite cults - the Philadelphia Church of God.

I have sat by in bewildered bemusement at most of the harebrained things that you have pulled over the past 8 years or so.  When you decided to become a real estate broker/developer, I sat back and laughed.  Mostly I just felt sad for you.  In fact, I have been trying my hardest to figure out whether most of your actions are due to malice or just plain stupidity and ignorance. Until this week.  Now I am furious.

I believe I speak for the hundreds of thousands of people who have been collectively harmed by the lecherous man that was Herbert Armstrong, when I say:

How DARE you!

Are all of the changes that you have professed to make all for naught?  Does the sincerity of the changes that you purport to have made stop at the hope of getting a few dollars?  Is money that important to you, that you would sell away the lives of thousands of people that will undoubtedly get sucked into the twisted world of the Armstrongite cult?  Would you sell your very "souls" if the opportunity were to present itself?  Or have you already?!

If you had been truly interested in doing right by all the people who have been harmed by your organization in the past, and if you had been truly interested in the well being of your members and in the "spiritual health" of those who have been affected by you, you would have burned those works a long time ago.  And more so, you would have not sold them to anyone else at *any* price, no matter whether or not the legal costs would have bankrupted your organization.  You would have fought this fight until it could not have been fought any more.  But at any cost, you would not have allowed these works to fall into the hands of an organization such as the PCG.

Not only have you enabled the PCG to begin using the works of Armstrong again in order to suck even more people into that mindset which you have supposedly renounced, you have lent credence to the "prophesying" of that false prophet, Gerald Flurry, who had in the past prophesied to his "sheep" that he would eventually gain the copyrights to these works.  You have lent that man credibility, which is inexcusable.  It makes me sick to my stomach to think of the crowing and gloating that will be coming out of the nether regions of Oklahoma, and it makes me even more sick to my stomach to think of the fact that it is your ultimate betrayal - those people who have put themselves on a pedestal as shining examples of "Christian stewardship" - that has allowed it to happen.

I had hoped that someday you would show a glimmer of humanity and finally do the right thing.  I no longer hold out any hope of that happening.  In this action, you have removed the thin shroud of the changes that you have purported to make, and revealed yourselves to be the worst sort of people imaginable.  I hope you are happy with yourselves.  The potentially lethal damage that your actions have inflicted on all of these poor people is on your head now.  If there is a god, may he have mercy on your souls.  You are going to need it.


13 Mar. GTA potboiler released: Back in the final days of Garner Ted Armstrong's tenure as the WCG dauphin, the charismatic media evangelist released The Real Jesus (published 1977 by Sheed Andrews & McMeel of Kansas City for the princely sum of $8.95), a book which attempted to set the record straight about the "stranger from Galilee." It must count as one of the most unintentionally hilarious "life of Jesus" studies ever released, with a rambling series of howlers and groaners cobbled together in a way that would make even the dullest first year theology student crack up. In an eerily appropriate move, one of the three endorsements printed on the books' dust jacket came from Penthouse magazine! The intention was to release a follow up volume, Peter's Story, the following year. But 1978 held unpleasant surprises for Ted and he soon found there were other things to worry about.

But never fear, Peter's Story is now available. And while it seems there isn't a commercial publisher who'd touch it, GTA has had it released through his own Evangelistic Association. 300 pages long, it's apparently free for the asking, and is, unlike The Real Jesus, "a novelization." If you enjoy naive, poorly researched, third-rate historical novels you'll love it!

13 Mar. Motto suggestions: I haven't come up with any snappy names for Pelly's congregation, but since they will need new letterhead, a new motto might be in order.  How about:

"We can't prove (fill in the blank), but neither can you disprove it from the Bible".  I mention this as Paul Kroll told me this when I wrote asking about one of their articles, and the circular reasoning it contained.

Another inoffensive motto might be "Not dogmatic in our beliefs."  Again, Paul Kroll used this argument as in justifying why [they] are unsure about certain doctrines.  I think it's more of a ploy not to offend people and hold on to as much of HWA's teachings as possible.

I'm sure their attempt to come up with some obscure name with the word Hope in it is an attempt to lure the unsuspecting into thinking they are just another non-denominational church, rather than a cult.

13 Mar. Humble Servant of Christ: How ironic that retired WCG ministers who were paid $60,000 - about triple the income of the average member -  are now relying on tithe payers for a hand out.  After making so much money for so long, why couldn't they save for their own retirement?  According to Joe's own figures, WCG pension payments to formerly over paid ministers now amount to $4 million a year, or 20% of the WCG's income !  Is it any wonder that Joe's WCG is experiencing its biggest 'tithe strike' ever?

I can't figure it out : why should a minister who Joe thought was once worth $60,000 a year be now paid $17,500 ?   And if Joe thinks they can live comfortably on $17,500, then why does he, the "humble servant of Christ", feel he needs $100,000 plus expensive benefits and perks to "survive" ? 

12 Mar. Did WCG Win? Details of the out of court settlement between the Worldwide Church of God and the Flurry cult are still sparse. We understand however that PCG does now own copyright to Mystery of the Ages along with 18 further works by Herbert W. Armstrong. PCG is expected to post details on its website in a day or so.

There have also been suggestions that WCG offered to sell Flurry the copyright before the current round of legal maneuvering began, and that PCG turned it down flat at that time. 

12 Mar. Germany, Britain, Loma & Herb: The nonsense in one of the latest e-mails to you about Israel (England) and Germany (Assyria) continuing an age-old war from Biblical times (Assyria vs. Israel) constrains me to e-mail you... There has never been an age-old feud between these two countries. Any reading of the history of both countries shows that they got along just fine until 1914. The Anglo-Saxon tribes that gave England its name came from Germany. The Hanover dynasty and the Saxe-Coberg-Gotha dynasty (now called Winsdor) that succeeded it were from Germany. When Queen Victoria's daughter gave birth to the boy who would become Kaiser Wilhelm II, there was public rejoicing in England. Yet, about 50 years later, they were fighting WW I. Why? Ancient enmity or something else? It was competition in the world markets for manufactured goods that caused the British Empire and the German Empire to become foes. The British felt threatened by Germany's horning in on their markets and the German's resented the British trying to keep them out. This and other factors led to WW I. I suspect the Assyrian-German connection was 'discovered' around the time German-English relationships soured to justify hatred of Germany.

The revelation that Herbert and Loma Armstrong are actually 2nd cousins, and not 3rd cousins, as it has been commonly reported, cast new light on Herb's duplicity and perversity. Most laws in all American states, in the early 1900's, forbade marriages where the consanguinity of blood was too close. This simply means that you didn't marry someone who was a close relative from a common ancestor. Leviticus 18 and Roman Civil Law (which was adopted by the early Church) are the basis for most laws on consanguinity in our western cultures. The law forbade close cousins from marrying. How close? According to "Canon Law and Consanguinity" by Nathaniel L. Taylor "Marriages of first cousins, those between people related within four degrees, were forbidden..."  This meant you were not even allowed to marry a fourth cousin, let alone a second or third one. Such a marriage would have been considered a nullity by both the churches and the state in the early 1900's. The couple could face jail time or heavy fines. And any children born of such a union could suffer health problems caused by the inheritance of recessive genes from both parents.

Herbert and Loma's marriage was a sham from the start. In order to get a marriage license, both of them would have had to lie to the clerk at the courthouse about their blood relationship. Then they would have had to lie to the minister who married them, for no minister, priest, or rabbi back then would have wanted to risk his calling over something like this. Herbert's marriage was  just another way for him to flaunt the moral standards that he upheld publicly, but violated in private.

Steve Dalton

12 Mar. A Black Sardinian Perspective? Just a quick note to let everybody know that it's darn near impossible with all the finger pointing and name calling to be able to tell which churches are Philadelphian and which are Laodecean. So, I've taken the easy way out and gone Sardis! (just kidding!) Seriously, HWA always admonished us to strive to become spiritual Jews, but I personally thought it would be more fun and edifying to become a spiritual Negro! Joking, again, in an admiring way. Now to the serious topic: choosing a new name for Dennis Pelley's congregation. Several came to mind, ranging from the cynical, such as "New Hope Real Estate Development Company", to the slightly tongue in cheek, "Our Lady of Infinite Sincerity". We could take a cue from recording artist Prince, and call it "The Church Formerly Known as Worldwide". Finally there would be the outright derisive "Toys R Us"! Dennis, if you tune into this site as I imagine you do, this is all in good sport. Because you apparently came along after my time, I never met you. Of course, if you adapted the "Universal Ambassador College Personality" preparatory to entering the field ministry, perhaps I actually do know you all too well!

Yours in good humor,
Bob Evans

12 Mar. CHUMP: I think  the most suitable name for Pasadena WCG would be:

Congregation (of) Hope Under Mr. Pelley.

That way those who attend could use the initials when evangelizing. "Hello, I'm a C.H.U.M.P. Would you like to be one too?"

Jonathan Higbed

12 Mar. Letter policy clarification: When MD was launched nearly two years ago, there were only a few correspondents who were willing to put their names to published emails. As the site has become more established, a greater openness has developed, and named letters are becoming much more common. However we still understand that some people may not be comfortable with their names appearing. A problem arises when it isn't clear whether a writer wishes to remain anonymous or not.

If an email is received which is signed at the bottom it will, if published, usually appear under that name unless there is a note attached which asks for anonymity. When signing a letter, writers have a variety of options from full name to initials, and everything in between (e.g. Bart Simpson, B. Simpson, Bart S., BS ...) If the email is unsigned at the bottom it will, if published, usually appear anonymously, unless the writer has already expressed their willingness to have their name attached. 

MD often receives mail that is "not for publication." This is always respected. Just be sure to clearly state that the content is private.

11 Mar. Here ya go Den! There were a lot of excellent suggestions for WCG Pasadena Pastor Dennis Pelley as he casts about for a new name for the flock he shepherds. In fact they still seem to be coming in. Here's what we have so far.

I was a member of the WWCG from 1974 to 1997. Took me 23 years to get my head out of my ass. How about "Hope This one Works...WWCG" or "The Hopeful Tithers of the WWCG"
Maybe they could call themselves "Hope They Never Find Out what We're Up To...WWCG" or "Hope They Don't Take This Christmas BS too Seriously and Slack off On Tithes...WWCG"
Wayne Broadway

Ah yes, good ol' Den! He displays the classic wcg smug pastor's pride, haughtiness, "ride-em-rough-and-ride-em-fast" approach"... "You can have any color you want, as long as it's my choice and as long as it's black!" Just look at what he gives his lowly unimaginative dumb sheep to choose from: "New Hope Christian Church, New Hope Christian Fellowship, Hope Christian Church, Hope Christian Fellowship, Community of Hope Fellowship, Family of Hope Church, Hope Family Church " Wow Den!  I do seem to get the sneaky suspicion you want the word "Hope" to be in there somewhere! It don't seem like you want any other 'original' names suggested at all. You're obviously hoping for "Hope"! And I bet you've primed all your cronies to vote for the "Hope" name! 

I hope your members wise up... and leave for a healthy church not affiliated with wcg at all. That's my "Hope"!

How about "The Open Hand of Christian Friendship (to All Except Those Who Voluntarily Keep Passover In Their Own Homes) Church (a congregation of the newly enlightened Worldwide Church of God)"? 

Francis Penkava

The Deceived Elect, a Congregation of the Worldwise Church of Fraud.

Your website material never ceases to crack me up!!  Everyday there is something hilarious!  Thanks for making my day.... Anyway, regarding "helpful" suggestions for renaming Dennis Pelley's congregation, I'm thinking they are sort of like a "tribe" and they could call themselves, "New Hopi Indian-giver Church".


New Hope Christian Wannabe Church, Hopeless Wonderment Prime-Time Players Church, The "Let's Make Room for Jesus" in Spite of Our Own Agenda Church, Community of the "I Can't Find My Way Out of a Wet Paper Bag" Church of Hopeful Misfits, Church for Dummies Community of Hope...

And then they could always use Den's name in their title:

The Good Ship Pelley Felley-ship Church, Den's Gins and Dragons Fellowship

Have got lots more ideas swimming around in my head, but that's it for now.  Have a great day!!!


I've got a name for the Pasadena congregation: Chameleon Community Church. It's motto; An ever changing church, with ever growing financial needs!

Steve Dalton

Dennis Pelley should name his congregation "Below the Belt Ministries."

"Our Lady of Perpetual Decline", or "Whichever Day Adventist"

"The Rope -A- Dope Fellowship" ... a congregation of the Worldwide Church of God 

Bill Lussenheide

How about:

Pellycan Church of God, Pelly-Melly Church of God, Clueless Community Church

John B

(John had a whole swag more, but these are most of the printable ones!)

It's not too late to add your suggestions to the list as long as they're received this week.

11 Mar. Widows mites fuelled GII: I have to respond to Joe's suggestion that HWA actually was careful in spending big bucks on luxury (called 'quality') items. Number one - things were cheaper back then. But I am sure that many 'widows mites' were used on those GII flights with other jet-setters while at the same time those same poor widows (who did not have access to third tithe money) were continuing to slave over ironing boards and volunteer work in local WCG congregations so that HWA could keep ready cash and continue to build his ego at their expense -as well as the expense of others who were contributing so much to the WCG that they did not even have sufficient protein in their diets because many reportedly could not afford to buy meat!

I... came across in AW 35 the article with the COG Eternal website concerning the D&R revised doctrine of the '70s... Raymond [Cole] was somewhat bothered by the fact that while we were waiting on an old man to come up with a booklet about "God's Will" concerning the new revised D&R  if there was a problem with making a decision about a couple seeking baptism and the ministers were just not quite sure what to do about it, Raymond stated in my hearing, "We just flipped a coin." 

Myra McQueen

11 Mar. Two Sixty Four Dollar Questions: After reading the MD article this morning, I sent Mr. Kroll the following;

Mr. Kroll,
Joe said in 1997,
"Our denominational governance is yet another major change we are in the process of making. The hierarchy of church structure is being modified to feature a board vested with authority both to appoint and to remove the president/pastor general. We also plan to limit the length of the pastor general's term to a specified number of years. Until now, the office of pastor general has been a lifetime appointment made by the previous pastor general." Joseph Tkach. Transformed by Truth.

1) Is WCG still a corporation sole?

2) Is WCG in the process of implementing term limits, (4 years) for the pastor general?


MD: We'll await Paul's response with great interest.

11 Mar. Current Term Limit for Pastor General: WCG Pastors General are already term limited. They may serve no more than one lifetime per person. [MD comment: ROTFLMAO!]

Church of God ministers are already suffering shame (though not for His Name's sake). The problem is that they are too full of themselves to realize it.

Last, but not least, it will be interesting to see whether Gerald Flurry's Philthydelphia Church of God will present the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong unedited, or if he will change them to conform to the new truths revealed to him since his departure from the Worldwide Church of God. Dave Pack intended to publish all of Herbert's writings, but changed his mind when he saw the inconsistencies over the years. Herbert changed doctrines when they became inconvenient (he changed the divorce and remarriage doctrine when he wanted to marry a divorcee 50 years his junior, he changed the make-up ban when she wanted to wear make-up, he re-instated the ban to induce her to sue for divorce when the marriage went sour). The publication of Herbert's complete oeuvre will also fully document Herbert's failures as a prophet, especially his prediction that Germany would defeat the Allies during the Second World War, and his prophecy that the world would end in 1972. Will Gerry expose Herbert, warts and all, or will he sanitize the record and cover up the embarrassing parts?


11 Mar. CSA Award: With support for 'Corporation Sole' Pope Joseph Tkach's WCG down to around 10,000 U.S. contributors, we see propaganda taking on an ever larger role.  I refer to the latest carefully calibrated publicity release in the WN regarding the "Christian Stewardship Association" (CSA) award.

Tkach's loyal check writing followers may buy into this "award" but I don't buy it for a second.  What is the "CSA" anyway?  Like the WCG, their web address ends in "org", so they claim to be a "non-profit organization". Has the WCG's "non-profit" status prevented its leaders from accumulating great wealth?  Not on your life! ...

11 Mar. Suggestion: I have a suggestion. Could you take a page and create a list based upon the original "Ambassador Exodus" page with http links to show where these people are now. Not just an email link but also a link to show where they are. Email would be good as well. It is obvious that a few key people must know more about the subject that I am researching but I am getting little in the way of first hand reliable feedback. By the way, do you know where I can obtain Plain Truth WT Radio Log copies for the years 1960-65? I am also looking for a cheap edition of the 1964 Envoy.

MD: Responses to Unfortunately there are too few hours in the day to do the MD site justice as it is. Like everyone else else I have to earn a crust as well. If you or someone else wants to create an html file such as you describe I'd look at linking to it.

11 Mar. Burning MOA: I hope that news about the WCG and PCG is not correct.  I fear, however, that it is.

This should be just another proof that the WCG is only concerned about themselves and is NOT concerned about the well being of either their "flock" or the rest of humanity.  They should have burned that stuff.

I wish I could say that I was disappointed, but I've come to expect this behavior from an organization as systemically corrupt as the WCG has turned out to be.


11 Mar. Crank Yank: Hey, Gavin! Elmer has to be yankin' your crank!  Nobody is that illiterate...  Elmer sounds exactly like that white woman who was raised by the Indians on "Dances With Wolves".  Remember how she talked?  He had to be doing that on purpose.  I got to admit, it was funny as hell.

Elmer, me hat's off to ye, mon!  Kip oop de gud werk!

John B

MD: Oh yeah, Elmer is "known to us". And yes, he is one very funny dude.

09 Mar. Unspeakable Betrayal: The PCG was expected today (Saturday US time) to announce that its court case with WCG has been settled. They will pay WCG an undisclosed, but relatively modest, amount of money. In return WCG will turn over all copyrights of Herbert Armstrong material to PCG. PCG has basically won what they wanted.

09 Mar. Hope Springs Eternal: From WCG's Pasadena church website.

Name that congregation! Read the article then send MD your suggestions. 

What’s In a Name? Recently we decided on a congregational mission of being “A Family of Hope for All People.” Soon we will relocate to a new community and some members have suggested this would be a good time to add a local name, which will show citizens what our congregation is like and what we could offer in their community.

Right now our name is the Pasadena congregation of the Worldwide Church of God. “The Pasadena congregation” does not reveal who we are or identify our mission, but only where we are. This name would also need to change whenever we relocate to a new community – The Eagle Rock congregation, the Altadena congregation, etc. Our denominational name – Worldwide Church of God - is fine. We are a Christian church who worships God and we have many congregations around the world. But should we have an additional name, especially now that we have moved off campus, which would help make us more attractive and inviting to the local neighborhood?

For example, our host church here is Baptist and belongs to the American Baptist denomination, but they add the name “Friendship” to reflect more who they are and what they are striving to be in Pasadena. Over 100 of our WCG congregations in the U.S. have already seen the need to do this and added a local name.

We appreciate and will continue to use our denominational name – whatever name we choose would be followed by: “…a congregation of the Worldwide Church of God.” We could add a local name in a year or two, but it may be more practical to do it at the time of our relocation, on June 1. I would appreciate your input on this and welcome any suggestions you may have for a mission-specific local name. Here are a few suggested local names for you to think about:

New Hope Christian Church, New Hope Christian Fellowship, Hope Christian Church, Hope Christian Fellowship, Community of Hope Fellowship, Family of Hope Church, Hope Family Church

Any name would be followed by: a congregation of the Worldwide Church of God.

This is illustrative of the incredible deep level thinking that Pastor Dennis Pelley engages in. Losing members? Let's change the worship day! Is there a lack of credibility? Paste on a new label!

Not that we'd want to sound negative, far from it. In fact we'd like to make a couple of suggestions for Den to consider. How 'bout Hopelessly Confused Family Fellowship? Or Not a Hope in Hades Community Church? No? Umm... Hopelessly Hierarchical Collapsing Cult... There's a host of possibilities.

Let's throw this one open. Email in your helpful suggestion for a brand new name for Den's congregation. We'll publish them next week.

09 Mar. Books Tightly Shut: This brief comment from the JLF board: 

I noticed Ron Kelly in the latest Financial report [March WN] AGAIN did not let the church know how much money they were losing. I wonder how long they can keep that up before members start questioning WCG's financial stability?

Members questioning? Members? QUESTIONING? Oh surely you jest!

09 Mar. Pastoral Porkies or Plain Truth? I had a conversation with a WCG minister today (whom I do not wish to and will not name), in which he made some assertions that contradict what I understand to be the case.  I believe that if these assertions are false he has also been misinformed, and I wanted to verify them, preferably from someone who is in the know. He asserted that:

1) The WCG is no longer a corporation sole.

It was my understanding that this is not the case - that it is something that has been "in the works" (read: paid lip service to) for quite a long time (on the order of several years) but has not yet to come to fruition, and

2) The WCG has or is in the process of implementing term limits for the pastor general.

It would be nice and I hope this is the case but it's the first I've heard of it. Would someone in the know kindly comment on whether these assertions are correct or not?


MD: In another email today (which hasn't been added to AW yet as it requires a bit of thought before replying) an individual who serves in a WCG congregation (not a pastor) claimed that "Pasadena is in the process of implementing changes that would limit the office of Pastor General to a 4-year term", so perhaps something is in the wind. I guess the dumb sheep will be the last to know whatever transpires. Anyone able to confirm or deny? Of course you could always try asking Paul Kroll, LOL.

09 Mar. A.S.S. & UCG: Just perused the minutes of the latest UCG meeting placed on your recent issue of AW and had to LOL as I cannot see in any of these elitist white male HWA wannabes an Ebedmelech (meaning 'servant of the king') who is willing to get their hands a little dirty rescuing Jeremiah and the 'little flock' from the miry dungeons of the WCG (past or present) - i.e. Jer.38 - nor do I see a leadership willing to celebrate over their sufferings for the sake of that 'little flock' as Christ and the apostles did (i.e. Acts 5:41- "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name").

I can remember [one minister] saying to some of us in BS that he prayed that God would not let him suffer. This is an epidemic among Armstrongite ministers (past & present) known as Avoidance of Suffering Syndrome (A.S.S.). How can they then claim to follow a suffering Savior??

 Myra McQueen

09 Mar. What's Elmer been swigging? i agree width the guy who writ you bout hatin on mr armstrongs for his silver bukets. besid, mr armstrong woodn be able to aford them cause he didnt hav a celery of his own and had to liv of whit the church cood give him. gods church bought'em for his use durin his Apostlein time on earth. so he was really a poor apostle. we wil always have hungry widers and orpeans, but we only had mr armstrong for a little seazn (thats a bible sayin), so what is wrong width letin him use fansy stuff for kingin and qeenin people? nuthin.

elmer swiggs

MD: I hear The Good News recently lost an experienced copy editor. Elmer, you should consider applying!

09 Mar. Liberated Liberal: Thought you might enjoy the link... As you say, my recommendation of the site should not necessarily be taken as a blanket endorsement of everything presented there. My thoughts on the scientific theory in question are still evolving. True, I don't believe the poetry of Genesis 1-2 is historical, scientific fact (nor do I believe it was intended to be). On the other hand, I do not casually swallow the usual overstated and misrepresented facts presented by fundamentalist evolutionary apologists.

Being a liberal is liberating.

Ron Brendel

MD: The note at the bottom of the page was enlightening. "Email: Now removed. In 5 years and about 100,000 hits, no-one (professors included) has ever come up with anything other than minor errors (now fixed) on this site. The case rests. I see nothing further to discuss." Imagine all the money that could be saved if universities followed suit.

As Mr. Swiggins (see above) might say: gimme one of them evil-ooshunry ape-ologists any day.

08 Mar. UCG-speak: Concerning your article on LifeNets:  A couple of months after my family and I started attending UCG, Victor Kubik was the guest speaker. Instead of a sermon, we received a 90 minute infomercial on LifeNets. We were told that there were plenty of government funds for such an effort and that Church funds would not be used.  A few months later, UCG's financial report showed a substantial donation to LifeNets.  I have no problem with trying to help others, but I do not like deception.

This appears to be a major thread in UCG leadership.  Just like the changes in teaching that the COE declares are not changes.  This continues with the COE reports just posted: alternate teachings that they claim do not change former COG teachings.  I thought I knew what alternate meant, but I guess UCG has their own dictionary.  Do you know where I can obtain a copy, so I can better understand their rhetoric?

Keep up the good work.

08 Mar. A Big Mike Morrison Fan writes in: God on Holiday [AW Mar.7]... and the previous note reminded me too much of some of that gobble de gook by [Michael Morrison] from his article "The Role of the Decalogue in Christian Ethics". I quote:

“Jesus also said that true morality went beyond the wording of the Decalogue (Matt 5:21-28).27 The Decalogue, when isolated from its historical context in Exodus (as it often is in Christian moralizing), easily becomes a mere list of rules, a legalism. Further evidence that the Sabbath law is ceremonial rather than moral: It is patterned after what God did only once, not on his eternal nature. God does not live by a six-one cycle of activity and rest, nor do the angels. The Sabbath command says that behavior that is good one day is forbidden the next, merely because it is a different day of the week. But God’s morality does not change with the rotation of the earth.”  

My response to a friend who gave me this article to read was as follows:- evidence???? What gobble-de-gook reasoning is that? Of course God does not live by a six-one cycle of activity and rest. God does not inhabit time and space, does not become faint or weary. The Sabbath was not made for the angels, not for Satan, nor the aardvark nor the zebra. The Sabbath was made for man and when God walked the earth as the man-Jesus Christ-he set us a perfect example of Sabbath keeping. Who is prepared to accept all of His examples? I am! For that is what I am - a man! A man with potential! Nothing more and nothing less! Really Morrison, you make my eyes tired and my ears hurt! 

Ralph Ford

08 Mar. Thrifty Herb: I think if you search some of the web, these are the same buckets which one was referred to on the web by a former top minister.  At the time he was surprised that HWA spent $1000 US on the silver bucket. Interesting, now one is worth more than $20k.  HWA bought all of this stuff you are showing at estimated prices for a fraction of what they go for today and what they were worth then. 

Joe Slevin

MD: I'll believe you when I see his receipts!

07 Mar. Good Works and UCG: These notes from the UCG's Council of Elders minutes (March 2, 3)

Mr. Holladay began the first open session of the day by summarizing previous Council discussions regarding the relationship between LifeNets and the United Church of God. The purpose today was to determine the best way to answer remaining questions.

At Mr. Holladay’s request, Victor Kubik briefly reviewed some LifeNets’ work, which includes projects in Latin America, Africa, the Philippines and other places. Mr. Kubik emphasized that UCG members are the beneficiaries of about 80 percent of LifeNets’ efforts.

Mr. Holladay suggested that the best way to clarify the relationship is to emphasize that LifeNets is a separate organization with no official connection to United. Mr. Kilough commented that LifeNets has a strong history of doing good works, which our members can be encouraged to support while also being reminded not to neglect our responsibility to support the Church’s efforts through its emergency assistance fund.

At the conclusion of the discussion, the Council unanimously adopted the following resolution:

That the president and Ministerial Services coordinate with Victor Kubik any pastoral issues as an administrative function, and that the president craft an article for The United News and that the Council craft a letter to the Church explaining our Christian obligation for good works in general and LifeNets in particular.

What seems interesting is that Kubik's LifeNets, which promotes itself as an aid agency with an inclusive service focus, seems to specifically target UCG aligned "beneficiaries."  Considering the extensive PR which Kubik has conducted in the wider Indiana community, we wonder how many of those who've endorsed LifeNets realize just how narrow its focus is. "No official connection" rings a bit hollow in the circumstances.

07 Mar. Herb springs a leak: What a versatile thing a bucket is! A bad caviar experience can send anyone racing to the bathroom at high speed. And even an apostle can get caught short after the third bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream. So much easier to have a handy but discrete strategy in place to save embarrasment. We suppose that there will be those who will criticize God's End Time Elijah for his foresight in getting a couple of pails to put in the broom closet for those "whoops!" emergencies that try us all from time to time. Frankly, we can't see their point. And consider this: Herb, always with an eye for delicacy in social situations, could simply say to his VIP guests as they turned green and gurgled after sampling one of Ramona's hors d'oeuvres, "would you care to inspect the silver ice buckets?" Tact and diplomacy were always Herb's forte, as befitted a man of simple tastes and disdain for conspicuous consumption.

Yes, these are the Apostolic wine coolers. Or some of them (you can, after all, never have too many wine coolers.) These ones were made by Paul Storr in London back in 1798, and graced one of the Pastor General's humble abodes. We don't know whose ice they're cooling at the moment, but can reveal that they shelled out $48,300 for the privilege.

07  Mar. CBCG Revamp: Fred Coulter's Christian Biblical Church of God website has had a recent revamp. While it's arguably an improvement, nervous individuals needn't be too concerned about getting over-stimulated by the changed format.

07 Mar. Germany in Prophecy - "Warum"? There have been a number of responses to the question about why Herb identified Germany as prophecy's bad-boy, the evil Assyria. 

"You can read copies of the Plain Truth from 1938 to 1960 on <>.
They are PDF files and take a while to download. I seem to remember Herbie talking about the Germans (Assyrians) back in the 50's."

"Wasn't it because HWA claimed that the modern day Germans were descendants of the Assyrians? By brilliant logic he then was able to claim that in Bible prophecy whenever the Assyrians are mentioned taking Ephraimites captive that that was evidence of the Germans invading the UK. What a genius that man was... NOT"

"Links to Germany in Prophecy. by Herman L.Hoeh (Plain Truth)
Can read the entire articles online.
Part 1 Dec.1962 <>
Part 2 Jan. 1963 <>" 

Perhaps the fullest explanation was this one:

In another British Israel publication entitled "Digest of the Divine Law," by Howard Rand LL.B, Destiny Publishers, Merrimac, Massachusetts, 1943, p. 169, Dr. Rand writes, "We have a modern instance of Divine protection afforded His people when the Assyrian (Germany), flushed with victory, failed to follow up her advantage over Great Britain and instead turned upon her partner in trade, invading Russia rather than attempting the invasion of the British Isles."  Perhaps this is the source of the identity that was researched and published by Dr. Hoeh in WCG magazines over the years.

The book is still available and is a respectable commentary on the "Law of God," written by an attorney, and quite worth reading.  As for the Assyrian identity, they have to be somewhere, don't they?  I know that some are in Iran, and others are in Los Angeles, according to a recent LA Times article.  Apparently they're scattered all over the globe just like Israelites.  Why shouldn't they be in Germany, and even dominant there?  Makes good sense to me.  If it looks like and quacks like a duck....  They were a threat to Israel in their heyday, which probably explains why Jonah was reluctant to prophesy to them.  He wanted no part of strengthening the nation that would eventually crush Israel.

The ancient city of Trier in Germany has a tradition that they were founded by Ninus, whose name identifies Nineveh, the Assyrian capital built by Asshur (Gn. 10).  Do you really think it too far-fetched to believe that Israelites and Assyrians should still be up to their time-honored games of one-upmanship?  Their confrontations have been happening from Abraham's time forward; and since the lives of the patriarchs foreshadow the lives of their offspring, it stands to reason that Israelites and Assyrians would be getting it on, periodically, so long as their national characters remain the same.

There's no doubt that RCG and WCG bathwater was grubby; but the baby was ok -- for those who could discern the important differences between baby and bathwater.

Take care.

John D. Schroeder

Thanks John. The Assyrian thing seems to be deeply rooted in British Israelism. As for the stuff about some kind of national character that follows the gene pool through long generations, yes, I really do "think it too far-fetched to believe that Israelites and Assyrians should still be up to their time-honored games of one-upmanship." But to each his own. (Gavin)

07 Mar. Mega yuppie slum: Is it because money comes too easy to WCG executives that they engage high risk real estate ventures ? Don't they know that the United States is on the verge of a debt implosion and state & municipal governments are broke ? It should come as no surprise, therefore, to hear that the city of Pasadena  is now imposing a huge "Parks Fee" tax slug on Bernie & Joe's controversial mega yuppie slum. This should be enough to kill the project. Boy, were Legacy Partners ever wise when they backed away from this madness ! For more analysis on this see: Joe Millionaire: Naive Real Estate Gambler over at the Painful Truth.

07 Mar.  God on holiday: [Re. God's Day Off, Mar. 6] It is good that there is someone that knows how the laws of physics and life are sustained, and  this is one reason why God and Christ cannot take a day off. I don't know why I am surprised by the sheer stupidity of such a comment. Perhaps this person, whom apparently is a  Christian, should read Genesis 2:2: And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.

Jim Butler

06 Mar. Spanky Who Art Thou? Being a fairly new reader of your web page, could you explain who you refer to as "Spanky " and why he has that nickname.  Thank you.

MD: "Spanky" is our respectful and affectionate term for former WCG evangelist and current LCG Presiding Evangelist Roderick C. Meredith. Why? Check out the MD LCG page.

06 Mar. God's Day Off? Unfortunately the Armstrongites... like the Pharisees never understood that Christ was not keeping a day either - as He is our 'Rest' under the New Covenant (which is Spiritually administered). According to His response in John 5:17 to the accusation that He was not keeping the Sabbath according to tradition, He said, "My Father works and I work." Do we really think that the Sustainer of all the laws of physics and life can take a day off?? Well - if He did entropy would set in and nothing would survive that.

06 Mar. Useless stuff? I love your sense of humor!  When you have all the Herbie "useless stuff" photos done, can you put them on a "useless stuff" page to read all at once?  It's kinda sickening reading what I and thousands others paid for, but reading your snide comments soften the blow a bit!  :~)  I would love to print this out (and refer website) to certain people who still have their heads stuck in the sand about Herbie!

06 Mar. Another Plug: Thanks for giving a mention... Orlin Grabbe presented perhaps the most interesting questions in his article "Memories of Pasadena", but although we have written to him for source material, we have not received a response. We are looking for documented information that will substantiate claims (for instance by Orlin) that the CIA and Kissinger were following HWA and his activities with involved interest. While on this subject, HWA stated that his radio broadcasts were handled by two brothers at an advertising agency: one worked on Billy Graham's account and the other one represented HWA. This led to insider speculation after HWA said the other agent told him that Graham's wife was listening to the WT radio program, that Mrs. Graham might become a member. The question is - what was the name of the advertising agency and who were the two brothers (they may have been a London firm.) Also, back to square one: does anyone have any first hand knowledge of links between HWA and any official US governmental entity such as the CIA, or person of influence such as Henry Kissinger, and if so, what? Can you give this another plug, please?

MD: According to the name in the email, this message came from Herbert Armstrong! However we suspect that the pseudonymous author is John England (assuming that's not pseudonymous too!)  Any information can be sent to John (or Herb?) at

06 Mar. Painful Loss: Are you able to access the [Painful Truth] website?  If so, what URL are you using?  If not, do you have any clue what has happened to it or to its keeper Ed?

MD: The URL is and the site is back online.

06 Mar. Germany in Prophecy: From whom did Herbert get his ideas on the German people and the idea that she would reemerge as a super power?  I know where he got his ideas on British Israelism but not on Germany.

MD: Any thoughts?

05 Mar. Post-Jewell UCG: The following report appeared on

Events seem more settling now that Mr. Jewell has resigned from church membership. The last remnants of Mr. Jewell's influence has been removed from the Council. In the end, justice prevailed. Reports that some members in the Preston church, are taking that age old typical WCG Christian attitude of not speaking to Mr. and Mrs. Fenney. Another interesting report was that Mr. Jewell, wrote to the Times newspaper, not confirmed, as he is causing waves over the use of the title, World Tomorrow. In addition, rumors spread like wild fire, from sources saying that Mr. Jewell, refused to hand over the keys of the head office in the United Kingdom. Eventually the keys were all handed over which made the mailing of literature late. In the end it all worked out.

Despite some suggestions to the contrary, it appears Jewell's removal has not precipitated a sympathy walkout or schism in the British sect. According to one member: From what I have heard personally, most are very relieved that Mr.
Jewel is gone... The only downside to all this, is that it took a while for the entire process to be completed.

05 Mar. Is God Looking for You? Here's a link to a Spanky-friendly site: Apparently the work of David Carter of Kelowna, BC, Canada, an enthusiastic LCG member.

05 Mar. Lassoed by Sabbatarianism: "Yes, I know!  This topic has almost been beaten to death over the years.  It’s been turned every which way but loose, it would seem!  But I think most of us would have to admit that understanding the new covenant Sabbath is vital to ones continuing spiritual health, as it is the “gateway” doctrine that most of those who became addicted to Armstongism in years past were originally lassoed in on." That's how the Whistler introduces his latest column, now uploaded to MD.

05 Mar. Ministerial Apartheid: I read the column "Phoney F.O.T" with amusement. Mainly because of its description of Ministerial apartheid. Where the lay members were confined to the economy class. Business class and First-class were reserved for Ministers, and particularly obsequious deacons.

I attended Brickett Wood from 1968 - 72. I remember Colin Sutcliffe intoning that "cattle in biblical times were different from our current breeds". And despite the fact that I came from a cattle farm, I believed him. What was his evidence? The fact that nowadays the hind-quarters are the best meat cuts. The fore-quarters are used for stewing and barbecuing. But in biblical times, when a sacrifice was afterwards eaten, the Israelite and his family got the hind-quarters, whilst the Priests got the fore-quarters  Uh-oh! This means that :- (1) the Ministers (whoops .... Priests) DIDN'T get the best part, or (2) that in 2000 years cattle have evolved to be totally different. Faced with those alternatives, the WCG Church Minister and AC Lecturer could only go with one conclusion .... the  evolution option.

Two years ago I visited a leading Bible College in Melbourne (Australia). What a shock! What a contrast! The College Faculty actually ate lunch in the same dining-room as the students. And ate the same food. No separate Faculty dining-room. No Faculty gourmet food. No Faculty silverware. No Faculty wine with every meal.

30 years ago I would have thought this Ungodly. Thankfully I can now discern which is the ungodly model.

Jonathan Higbed

05 Mar. Censorship by shame: The Webster-challenged writer of the "Expounding haltered" email is using one of the favorite approaches of fundamentalist "Christians" -- attempting censorship by shame. And almost always, while trying to shame others into silence by questioning their Christianity, these "do-gooders" are busy attempting to cover up the shameful -- and sham-full -- lives of their own "Christian" leaders or themselves.

Reminds me of the racist hypocrites here in Georgia, USA, who opposed changing the Confederate-stained flag for years using the tact that "there are more important things for the legislature to focus on," who then, when the legislature did change the flag suddenly made it THE most important issue of the last campaign.

Fundamentalism stops a thinking mind.

Ron Brendel

MD: And then there were these two examples in today's email, both from the same person. "Why do you put such trashy falsehood on-line. You should be ashamed" (there's that "shame" word), and "Prove yourself. Anyone can make up BS."  How do you respond to someone who is in denial to this extent?

05 Mar. Apologetic Lash-Up: Fundamentalist Christians like those in the Worldwide Church of God seem to exist in a bizarre nether world of denial. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of apologetics - especially for the tenet of biblical inerrancy. Where else could you find a cast of characters like Kent Hovind and Ken Ham ('creation-scientists' who are not scientists) and Lee Strobel (defending the historicity of Christ though he is not an historian or a scholar). 

This brings us to the recent WCG youth weekend which was themed "The Case for Christ" after Strobel's popular apologetic lash-up.  Although this event was originally billed as being inspired by Strobel's book, fortunately no mention of Strobel was made in the recent WN report of the event.  Instead, the teens participated in a number of manipulative dramas such as described here: "The next morning, the second drama, titled "The Case for Christ", brought a list of witnesses from history.... Witnesses included the testimonies of Abraham, Moses, a spokesman for the prophets...."

I see...Quoting the Bible to prove the Bible -- the fallacy of circular reasoning ! How about that for academic objectivity !  Should we expect any better from a cult that SOLD its University (at a loss- ) to raise funds for maintaining $60,000 ministerial salaries and six-figure executive salaries ??

02 Mar. PMGobbledy-gook-ecy: Regarding the WCG's possible sale of HWA copyright ownership to the PCG, Dateline Pasadena wrote, "Can you imagine the gloating Flurry is going to do now! God forbid if this draws more members into his cult! God will certainly hold Tkach and WCG accountable for THAT travesty!" Unfortunately, it might also further legitimize Flurry as a "prophet." Ironically enough, I found this in my personal journal... earlier:

Sunday 11 March 2001: Flurry's personal this month is revealing as well, for it shows how he is moving closer and closer to David Koresh-type leadership. He is, in a word, beginning to prophesy outright. Writing about the Supreme Court appeal of the Mystery of the Ages case, he says, "I prophesy to you that, one way or the other, God will provide a way for us to mail that book again" (1). I would dearly love to see what happens five years hence if this indeed does not happen. (I'd earlier put this journal entry in my journal section of my website.)

Sadly, his "prophecy" appears to be coming true. Should that happen, I don't think he will be, as DP suggested, merely gloating. It will be seen as further proof of his claim to be "That Prophet." However, I also don't think that this will lead to significant numbers of people running to the PCG. More likely, it will simply tighten Flurry's control over his sheep.

And speaking of that favorite Dave Pack metaphor, I'm also looking forward to seeing how Pack might react to this. He has criticized the PCG for a number of reasons (surprise, surprise). Of course, top on his list is the simple fact that it's a non-RCG COG, and therefore an open target. But that aside, he has other issues with the PCG, such as Flurry's claim to be "That Prophet," and the cult's spending so much money fighting this copyright case instead of going out to the world. Wouldn't he be absolutely green with envy if the PCG, with that "false prophet" as pilot, got to use Armstrong's materials? The end-time Elijah's writings under the control of someone who preaches "gobbledy-gook-ecy," as Pack refers to all non-RCG prophetic interpretation? Perish the thought.

On the other hand, he might not be so envious. After all, it was because of the copyright problems that Pack had to "write" so many books. How it must stroke is ego to have his name plastered on so many publications.

Also, as Pack himself pointed out, he's been able to turn this into a recruiting device. In "Rewriting Mr. Armstrong's Booklets: A Personal Insight", he writes that it was probably part of God's plan for helping the RCG grow, because "many people who are part of other groups, will see that we are willing to do what their group is not!"

Not only that, but it helped reinforce the heretical ideas of Armstrongism: "many brethren, who would never reread copies of the originals, might be inspired to reexamine these truths, in the newer booklets. They could not any longer easily dismiss them by saying, 'I know what is in this booklet. I have already read it.'"

He hits on this again later: "Now let's talk about you! It probably only takes 30-60 minutes, more or less, for most of you to read each of these booklets. If our staff can spend many hours researching, writing, editing, proofreading, formatting, printing and, finally, mailing them to you, certainly you brethren can find the time to carefully read these booklets-as you did when you were first learning the truth. The value for you will also be immeasurable. (Editor's Note: As a courtesy to new RCG members, all current booklets and reprints are automatically sent to them.)" Nice, heavy-handed application of guilt there.

Lastly... "I find it difficult to select the right words, even here in this article, to portray why I count this one of the great privileges (if not the greatest) of my entire life. It is the furthest thing from a burden to me that I can imagine. Please don't ever feel that this task is a burden to me!" Yes, yes, Mr. Pack. We all know how hard you're working and what few returns you get for all your efforts: power, control, prestige (though only among a few hundred people at most). It's good to know that Dave doesn't consider this a burden, for we wouldn't want a pastor to feel burdened.

In the end, I'm not sure whom I'd rather see in control of Armstrong's works. There are no good choices, are there?

Gary Scott

02 Mar. PM Expounding haltered? Does the Christian Faith that you practice teach the haltered that you expound toward others?

MD: A pinch of cynicism, a sprinkle of irony, a dash of sarcasm. Guilty. A predilection for black humor? Sometimes. But hatred (which I'm assuming is what you meant to say)? I don't think so. But it seems subtlety escapes you as much as the mysteries of proof reading. 

02 Mar. The Provident Apostle: It pays to have a few candles stashed away if you live in a third-world area (like Bangladesh or Pasadena) due to the frequent power cuts. Herbert W. Armstrong believed in doing just that. The provident apostle was always ready with a box of candles and some matches, after all you never knew when the West German "Assyrians" might invade Los Angeles unexpectedly. But there was a problem: where to plonk the candles so that they'd give off maximum light but wouldn't topple over and set fire to the antique sofas and wall hangings.

A cost effective solution using God's tithe money was needed. And here it is. Or rather, here they are. These rather ugly Regency Silver-Gilt Four-Light Candelabra were made in London in 1812. "Each on lion's jamb supports with bacchic (!) masks between..."

Bacchic masks? 

And what would you expect to pay for the pair? $1,000? $5,000? $10,000? Save your breath.

$20,000? How 'bout $50,000?


$100,000? Maybe as an opening bid.

$200,000? You're getting warm.

The two sold for a total of $250,500 (TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED greenbacks.) Hopefully the auctioneers threw in a few K-Mart wax candles and a box of matches for that price.

02 Mar. Kissin' cousins: The following was posted on JLF yesterday in response to a query from a Canadian researcher on the Armstrong family history:

I am distantly related to both Herbert and Loma Armstrong through the Wright Family. My ancestors were Quakers. In my research I have found no family genealogy of the Armstrongs. I did get information from Betty Dillon, an Armstrong relative. I am not sure she is still living. I also got information from a genealogist at the Swarthmore College Library...

I do recall discovering that Herbert and Loma were actually second cousins. The myth in the WWCG is that they were third cousins... I have even heard the "third cousin" idea preached from the pulpit -- someone like Gerald Waterhouse -- I can't remember. Supposedly a doctor told Herbert that "third cousins were no cousins at all." All I can say is that sometimes people get confused over what a second, third or fourth cousin is.

02 Mar. A Seamus collection: If you enjoy Seamus' verse you can read more here. We'll let you know whenever the page gets updated.

02 Mar. Another 40K: For the second month in a row MD logged in excess of 40,000 page views. With only 28 days in February this was unexpected, and brings the total number of page views to just over half a million since May 2001. 

02 Mar. Gerry's Gun Lap: My question about the Fuller estate case is this: How does THE End-Time Prophet of a dynamic sect, hurriedly trying to preach the gospel around the world as fast as it can, have time during this LAST LAP OF THE RACE to oversee the estate of a man in another country which he probably never met? 

While we're at it: does PCG only have Church-wide weekend fasts for court cases in which it has a financial stake? When has it had one for sick, ailing members -- or for spiritual direction?  Either "Prophet" Flurry is trying to show he's as humble as Elijah and Elisha with widows -- or he DOES need that money. 

Richard Burkard

MD: Check out Richard's website:

01 Mar. A Farewell to FOT: An AOL forum post mentions that no WCG festival sites in the US during 2003 will match up with the traditional Feast of Tabernacles dates. "... only the Caribbean cruise covers the entire time of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles this year." A JLF correspondent wryly comments: So much for Grand Junction, Colorado.

01 Mar. Painful Truth Back Shortly: According to a note from Bill Ferguson, Ed Mentell's Painful Truth site should be back online soon. Apparently the domain name expired.

email MD: email Dateline Pasadena: 


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