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AR14 Dec. 1, 1980
Most of you will have already heard that with just a few days to go before Herbert Armstrong's scheduled deposition, the attorney general of California dropped his lawsuit against the Worldwide Church of God. Some readers have written us that their local newspapers covered this story only briefly, so here is a recap of what happened:
RADER OUTMANEUVERS CALIFORNIA
In our last newsletter we wrote how the so-called Petris bill (SB1493) - intended to limit the state attorney general's power in investigations of religious corporations had been passed by the California legislature and had gone to Governor Brown's desk for signing. Based on comments from sources in the attorney general's office, we were confident the bill would not have any effect on the state's lawsuit against Rader and company.
We were wrong. And so were many legal experts in California - including many of the legislators who helped pass the bill and who had stated it would not effect pending cases. Even after the Petris bill passed, a number of prominent attorneys expressed the opinion that the Petris law was probably unconstitutional anyway because (1) it takes away certain powers granted the state attorney general by the state's constitution, and (2) it grants religious nonprofit corporations special privileges not granted nonprofit organizations in general, thereby violating the principle of church-state separation. The majority of the attorney general's deputies were themselves confident the suit would continue on to a successful conclusion, especially considering the large amount of work that had already been done on the case.
Nevertheless, on Oct. 14, California Attorney General George Deukmejian announced that he was dropping his case against the Worldwide Church of God's leadership. Ironically, Deukmejian's announcement came just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court once again refused to hear arguments by the WCG's lawyers that state prosecutors acted unconstitutionally in their seizure of church records.
That afternoon, a jubilant Stanley Rader, returning to the Los Angeles area after a trip to northern California, was met at the airport by a throng of wildly cheering followers who were ecstatic over the news. The next day, at a press conference, Rader stated, "Mr. Armstrong and I and the church as a whole feel that in the state legislature and in the governor's office we have been vindicated legally and morally." Rader actually heaped praise on Deukmejian for "moral courage" and for being "a man of his word." He also praised the state legislature, which he described as the guardian of the public against excesses of the judiciary.
It is interesting that just a few days before, Rader had stated to the Pasadena Star-News:
"If the attorney general were an honorable man, it [the lawsuit] would come to an end. But the attorney general is not an honorable man. He is not bound by the constitution. So I don't think he will drop the case. He hasn't proved to me that he can deal with the truth" (Oct. 2, 1980).
But Deukmejian did drop the case and with that Rader's tune has changed. Since then, the WCG has run full-page ads in California newspapers praising Deukmejian as "a roan of his word."
WHY THE CASE WAS DROPPED
When Deukmejian announced on Oct. 14 that the state's suit against Worldwide was being dropped, the reason given was that the Petris law has curtailed his power to the point that the suit could never be brought to a successful end. Under the law, he said, the attorney general will be able to prosecute for fraud only. He cannot recover money improperly received or misapplied by church officials. He felt that the case against the WCG's leadership could not be completed before June 1 when the Petris law officially goes into effect. Thus continuing the suit would only mean wasting money on a suit that would have to be discontinued on that date.
Deukmejian's explanation seems logical enough, but many have not taken it at face value. One theory is that state officials feared another Jonestown tragedy if the suit continued. With so much talk in the WCG about fleeing to Petra, such a theory makes at least a little sense.
Some have seen international conspiracy overtones to Deukmejian's decision. Of course, anything is possible, but we have not seen any real evidence to support this theory.
Another theory - one widely held by numerous individuals knowledgeable of California politics - is that because Deukmejian hopes to run for governor of California in 1982, he could not politically afford a continuance of the constant media bombardment he has received from Rader in the last two years. That onslaught of negative publicity has included almost weekly full-page ads in the state's biggest newspapers attacking Deukmejian personally as a persecutor of religion. Had the state's lawsuit continued, very likely the ads would have continued also - and probably with increased regularity and harshness as 1982 approached. Keep in mind that Deukmejian not only dropped the suit against the WCG but investigations of eleven other groups including Eugene Scott's Faith Center and the Synanon Foundation. Remember, too, that the Petris bill had been supported by many of the largest religious organizations in the state. Deukmejian was perhaps passing the buck a little, but he still showed some awareness of public opinion when he said on Oct. 14: "7b pursue these cases would be contrary to the most recent expression of public policy by the legislature and the governor."
Then there are those who believe the Petris bill gave Deukmejian a convenient excuse to bow out of some cases he never relished in the first place. After all, he really inherited the WCG case from his predecessor, state attorney general Evelle Younger. And being a conservative Republican, one would suspect his political philosophy might include minimal involvement of government in the affairs of all organizations, especially religious ones.
Considering the many crime problems in California today and the state's current budget limitations, one could put forth numerous arguments why the state should not waste its limited time and resources trying to straighten out an organization such as the WCG. Nevertheless, there are many who have been very disappointed by the Deukmejian decision. Many newspaper and electronic media editorials have lambasted both the Petris law and Deukmejian's decision. And already there are a significant number of prominent citizens calling for a revision of the Petris law and the resumption of the lawsuits and investigations dropped by Deukmejian.
Mr. John Tuit, one of the originators of the WCG lawsuit, is very disappointed, but not surprised, that the suit was dropped. In an interview with the Pasadena Star-News (Oct. 16, 1980), Mr. Tuit said of the investigation:
"A lot of good has come from this. It brought the entire operation of the church into the open. The conduct of the leadership was so contrary to the teachings of the church. They have now put out their most detailed financial statement ever. Salaries are now open.... It lets members decide if they want their leaders to make $300,000 a year, which was not the case before.... Spiritually, the church remains a colossal fraud. And that is an area the attorney general never had any authority to deal with and wouldn't anyway....
"I share the same concerns of others that the ultimate effect of the Petris bill will make California a haven for all kinds of charlatans to use religion as a cover for financial rip-off schemes. And if there is a backlash to that, I would feel that a backlash could be truly repressive to religions."
Tuit is not the only one who feels the Petris bill will have disastrous consequences. Tony Cimarusti, an assistant to Deukmejian, said: "Our feeling is that it (the Petris bill) will leave people unprotected from any religious organization which may wish to rip off the people. We have opposed it on those grounds in the public interest."
Hillel Chodos, who served as a member of the State Commission on Judicial Performance, said: "The bill-would permit anyone to just call himself a religious corporation, and in effect, whatever financial transactions he had with that corporation and donations would be exempt from investigation or supervision by anyone. I think that is bad for religion and bad for the public.... For mainline churches to think they can take billions from the public and not account for it is really offensive" (Pasadena StarNews, Sept. 28, 1980).
The Petris law sharply limits the California attorney general's authority to investigate religious organizations. The new law takes away the attorney general's right to investigate tax-exempt religious organizations for misuse of funds or internal civil fraud. His office will now only be able to prosecute tax-exempt religious organizations charged with criminal violations. Under the Petris law the attorney general could investigate a church that solicits money from the public for one purpose and uses it for something else. But no suits would be allowed for investigating improper uses of internal church finds, either for personal benefit or for activities not related to church functions. (One immediately senses the gargantuan semantical problems inherent in this ill-conceived law.) Only members of the governing body of a church can now bring legal action for internal civil fraud. In hierarchical churches, such as the Catholic church, the Mormon church, Synanon, and the Worldwide Church of God, members would not have standing to sue for misuse of money by church directors. Such suits, however, could be filed by congregational churches whose members have voting rights within their church. Deukmejian's chief legislative lobbyist, Rod Blonien, says that as a result "suits against hierarchical churches for wrongfully diverting church funds would be virtually impossible, since directors are unlikely to sue themselves" (Pasadena Star-News, Sept. 20, 1980).
So is this the end of the WCG's legal battles? Stanley Rader says no. He says he plans too continue his nationwide advertising campaign and to settle a few scores. Using biblical text to justify retribution and claiming he wanted vindication, not vengeance, Rader said lawsuits will be launched against some. They will include Judge Jerry Pacht, who Rader says accused him "of having found Jesus Christ, money, and salvation at the same time." Hillel Chodos still faces a continuing lawsuit by Rader, who charges him with personal slander. And although the WCG plans to drop its $1 billion lawsuit against the State of California, it is still refusing to comply with a court decision to pay the fees charged by the court appointed receiver.
In our last newsletter we mentioned the likelihood of the so-called Richardson bill (SB1632) becoming law. That law would have prohibited state tax officials from stripping a church of its tax-exempt status for being involved in political activities. Surprisingly, that bill was vetoed by Governor Brown. Does that mean that the WCG might find itself losing its nonprofit corporate status? Not likely. Legal experts say the state has no desire to tangle with the WCG in the near future if it can help it.
What about criminal charges? For two years, the air has been thick with rumors of supposedly soon-to-come indictments against WCG leaders. Here again, nothing is likely to occur. The amount of material collected by the attorney general's office is massive. Yet, the deputies of the Attorney General have stated privately they have no confidence whatsoever that they would get a conviction against Rader, HWA, or anyone else in the WCG for anything because to do so they must prove criminal intent, and that is difficult to do.
What all this means is this: With the exception of a few lawsuits, the WCG's leadership is now free and clear of any major legal problems. You might remember how just a few weeks ago Rader publicly promised Deukmejian that if the state's suit was dropped, he would resign from his executive position with the WCG and from the ministry and go into private (legal) practice. So will Rader now resign his position as promised? That question was put to him at a news conference. Rader's reply: "As soon as all the dust has settled, I would like to return to a more private life.... And when my reputation is returned to me. [But] that could take years" (Star-News, Oct. 16, 1980).
$1,000,000 OFFERING TO EGYPT
Within days of the attorney general's Oct. 14 announcement, Herbert Armstrong and Stanley Rader were in the Middle East for meetings with Prime Minister Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. During the discussions with Sadat, Herbert Armstrong pledged to contribute $1 million of church funds to the nation of Egypt. The Pasadena Star-News wrote on Nov. 14:
"Herbert W. Armstrong, pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God in Pasadena, and his chief deputy Stanley R. Rader Tuesday pledged $1 million to President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and presented the president with an initial $100,000 contribution.
"The million-dollar pledge was made during a televised conference between Armstrong, Rader and Sadat at the Giza Residential [sic] Palace this week. Their talk concerned Middle East problems and will be aired around the United States in a special televised program at a later date.
"During the discussion, Armstrong was invited by Sadat to join with him in the Mt. Sinai World Peace Project. Armstrong and Rader held an audience with Prime Minister Begin of Israel the preceding day."
The Los Angeles Times reported (Nov. 22, 1980) that the $1 million would go toward the construction of a $60 million "tri-faith religious complex" consisting of a church, mosque, and synagogue.
One WCG member commented, "I thought the Bible tells us to come out of Egypt, not to go back to Egypt with offerings!" Nevertheless, the vast majority of WCG members are apparently genuinely pleased with this church announcement, even though using church funds to build a religious complex seems contrary to long-standing church policy and practice of not supporting or dealing with other religious groups, which have been branded as "false churches" and "of the devil."
THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS-ONE CHEER FOR RADER
The annual financial report for the WCG, AC, and the AICF is now public record, and the 8-page report (done by the reputable accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Co.) is top quality and very professionally presented. We must admit we were pleasantly surprised that Treasurer Stan Rader printed the whole report with all the footnotes - just as large U.S. corporations are required to do by law. We want to commend and congratulate him for doing so. For years we have urged the WCG to reveal its financial reports in a professional format without editing, combining, and/or deleting huge portions, and we finally got our wish. We are happy to see the WCG and Stan Rader in the forefront of U.S. churches in revealing their financial inner workings publicly. (We have long advocated that all churches claiming to represent God should be more than happy to publish their audited financial statements because (1) they claim to be godly and hence should have nothing to hide, and (2) they solicit contributions from the public and hence should be publicly accountable.)
We have long felt the WCG should regularly produce an accurate report of its current finances. Once this is done, it becomes each member's responsibility to decide whether or not he or she wishes to continue supporting it. But if no financial reports are available, the member is severely hampered in making this key decision.
Now for a few comments on the 1978-79 financial statements. In 1979 total current assets rose 27.3%, while current liabilities increased by only 15.2%. The current portion of long-term debt fell by 13.4%. The chief reason for these favorable percentages was that 1979 revenue (receipts) exceeded expenses by $674,000, or by 1%. (In 1978 expenses outpaced revenues by a whopping $4.9 million, or 7.8%.)
Quest magazine and Everest House Publishers, however, continue to be a drain on church revenues. Though Quest/Everest House took in 32% more revenue ($5.1 million in 1979 vs. $3.9 million in 1978), they spent 21% more money ($9.4 million in 1979 vs. $7.8 million in 1978) for a deficit of $4.3 million. ("Management and general" expenses aren't included in this category, or the deficit would be even larger.) Furthermore, revenue from performing arts rose 44% ($607,000 to $875,000), but expenses for performing arts also rose from $1.6 million to $1.72 million (up 8%), which means the church is now spending almost twice as much money for the performing arts as the arts are producing in revenue. But management costs for the AICF declined 42% ($1.24 million to $0.72 million), showing that a genuine attempt is being made to cut soaring AICF costs.
The AICF's costs, however, have been out of control since its inception in 1975. What is significant is that the AICF gave a total of $1,093,000 in "grants and charitable support" for the years of 1978-79. In view of the fact that the New Testament church was commanded to help the poor and needy, it seems noble of the AICF to give over $1 million to charity. But when you examine the financial data behind this $1 million charitable "gift," a far different picture emerges and you realize the WCG is playing tricks with figures. Here's what's actually happening:
In 1978-79, according to the "Annual Financial Report," the AICF, the church's charity arm, spent $23.6 million for Quest, Everest House, the performing arts, "grants and charitable support," and "management and general," but these activities produced only $10.7 million in revenues. To cover this massive cost overrun, the church had to give the AICF a cash infusion of $12.2 million from money already donated as charity to the church in the first place. So when all was said and done, it cost the church almost $12 million in charity funds to enable the AICF to donate $1 million to charity. That would be like spending $12 million at the race track betting on horses and coming home with $1 million left out of the $12 million and exclaiming, "Hey, everybody, look: I won $1 million at the track:" (By contrast, the Los Angeles March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation spent just $16.3% of its revenue in fiscal 1979-80 for expenses, with 83.7% of the honey raised going to the people in need.)
Some wonder why the church doesn't just shut down the AICF and give the $12 million directly to charity. But, of course, we realize that the church puts a higher value on the prestige and publicity generated by the AICF and Quest than it puts on charitable donations.
There are some interesting tidbits buried in the extensive footnotes that should be noticed: Note 4b states that "85 percent of all contributions to the Church were received by the Corporations Sole." Note 5a reveals that equipment, furnishings, and art items worth $329,000 are "maintained in both owned and non-owned private homes (principally Mr. Armstrong's)." Note 5a also mentions that the prospective buyer of the Big Sandy, Texas, campus was unable to come up with the funds to complete the transaction, and so the WCG kept the $500,000 security deposit posted by the buyer. If the WCG had not counted the $500,000 as revenue in 1979, its revenue would have been that much lower.
Note 8 made this comment on the State of California's lawsuit against the WCG: "In the opinion of special counsel, the likelihood of the relief sought by the State of California being granted and sustained on appeal in a final judgment and having a material adverse effect upon the operations of the Church, College, and Foundation is remote." Note 8a points out that the organization has "been named as defendants in various other lawsuits, some of which involve claims for substantial damages," but "in the opinion of management and in-house counsel, such lawsuits are either without merit or the liability for any recovery in excess of insurance coverage is remote." Note 8b declares that Herbert Armstrong's salary over the next 7 years was raised from $200,000/yr. to $258,000/yr., a 29% raise. In addition to this salary, he receives "a parsonage allowance, the use of an automobile, the payment of corporate expenses incurred, and certain lifetime survivor benefits." It is stated that in addition to his $200,000 salary in 1978 and 1979, he received $106,000 and $179,000. Rader, we discover, was given an extra $162,000 above his $200,000 1979 salary, and he obtained a $20,000 raise for the next 7 years to $220,000/yr.
Footnote 10 reveals that the church has no pension plan but is presently providing benefits "on a discretionary, case-by-case basis" to "selected former employees at a cost of $309,000 and $294,000 for the years ended December 31, 1979 and 1978." We would hope the church would change this arbitrary and discriminatory payment system into a fair and legitimate pension system that serves all its employees' needs.
CHURCH'S FINANCIAL POWER ERODING
Even though the church's finances in 1979 ended up in the black for the first time in three years, the church's yearly income is still not keeping pace with the inflation rate. This means that its real purchasing power is slowly eroding, and with a slow loss of purchasing pacer comes a corresponding loss of ability to influence the public and market its product (the Armstrong religion). The graph below illustrates the ruinous effect of inflation on the WCG. Notice that in 1972, the WCG took in $54.3 million.
This became $56.0 million in 1973, $67.2 million in 1977, $63.5 million in 1978, and $66.4 million in 1979 - see solid line on graph (data for 1974, 1975, and 1976 was never made public by the WCG). The dotted line shows how much revenue the WCG would have taken in if its income in 1972 had grown at the same rate as the rate of inflation. The dashed lines indicate church expenses, which in 1977 and 1978 were in excess of revenues. So the graph makes it plain that, even though the WCG had a 1% increase in revenue over 1978, it must obtain a far greater percentage increase in revenue than 1% if it is to keep up with inflation. As the graph shows, had the WCG's revenues been keeping pace with inflation since 1972, they would have been $98.6 million in 1979 instead of only $66.4 million.
One reason the WCG's revenues are not growing at a faster rate is found in Note 2 of the Annual Financial Report. It states that the number of co-workers (nonmembers who contribute at least twice during a six-month period) supporting the WCG declined from 36,000 in 1978 to 30,000 in 1979, a 16.7% drop, and that donors (other nonmember contributors) declined from 90,000 in 1978 to 60,000 in 1979, a 33.3% drop. These figures indicate that the WCG's future growth will be severely hampered unless this trend is reversed because new tithe-paying members are usually drawn from the available pool of donors and co-workers, and this pool is rapidly declining.
MEASLES OUTBREAK CAUSED BY WCG MEMBERS
In late August, newspapers around the country carried the following Associated Press report:
N.Y. County Measles Outbreak Tied to Religious Sect Members
"ATLANTA- A measles outbreak in Erie County, N.Y., last spring and summer was caused mainly by members of a religious sect who were not vaccinated, public health authorities said Friday.
"The national Center for Disease Control said 39 of 112 patients who were stricken with the disease from March through June were members of the group.
"Dr. Richard Judelsohn, communicable disease control officer for Erie County, said in a telephone interview at Buffalo that the 39 were members of the Worldwide Church of God in West Seneca, a Buffalo suburb."
Of course, as long-time AR readers know, Herbert Armstrong and his entourage have gotten vaccinated whenever foreign travel laws required them to do so, even though members were, for years, admonished to avoid vaccinations because the practice was Satanic and because the vaccines were nothing but "monkey pus" and "other filth" (The Good News, Oct. 1959, p. 6).
WCG HIRES THIEF?
The St. Petersburg Times reported on September 6:
Jones Finds A New Job
"Former Dade County School Supt. Johnny Jones, fired after his conviction on grand theft charges in the so-called gold plumbing caper, has found a new job. Jones agreed Thursday to run a Liberty City community center operated by the Congress of Racial Equality. The center, offering legal aid and other community assistance, will be started with a $100,000 grant from the conservative, predominantly white Worldwide Church of God. Jones was convicted of using school funds to outfit a vacation home with nearly $9,000 in luxury plumbing, some gold-plated. Jones said he views the new job as an opportunity to bring about social change by encouraging blacks and Haitians to help themselves."
FARMER STILL BATTLES TO KEEP FARM
You may recall how in our Nov. 19, 1979, newsletter we included a news item about Wisconsin farmer George McElroy's court fight to keep the WCG from taking his farm. A jury voted in his favor.
But Mr. McElroy, 66, wrote to us recently that, as could be expected, the WCG is appealing that decision and is still fighting hard to obtain full possession of his land.
FBI FINALLY CAPTURES ARMSTRONG FOLLOWER FRANKLIN
As many of you will have noticed from reading your local papers, on Oct. 28, after an extensive nationwide manhunt, the FBI finally captured Joseph Paul Franklin-the man sought for the attempted murder of civil riots activist Vernon Jordan and for the alleged murder of eight black men and two white women.
What many may not have realized is that Franklin is an Armstrong follower. The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 7 (Part I, page 5):
"The man sought in the sniper slayings of eight black men and two white women had fantasies about being a motorcycle gang member, crying spells and headaches and physically abused her during a brief marriage, his former wife told the Times Monday.
"Bobbie Louise, now 29, asked that her last name not be used. She said that Joseph Paul Franklin - then James Clayton Vaughan Jr. - sometimes stood rigidly before a mirror, giving a 'Heil, Hitler' salute and posing in boots, blue jeans and denim vest with a swastika insigne, a heavy chain fastened to his belt.
"...an aunt in Mobile had told the Times in an interview that Franklin said he had become a follower of evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong in 1969, one year after Bobbie and her husband were divorced.
"'That just goes to show you how easily led he was,' Bobbie said. 'He never talked about religion around me. A church was the last thing I would have expected him to join. But now it looks like he was anxious to belong to anything.'"
AMBASSADOR AUDITORIUM PRESENTS...
The Ambassador Auditorium is a beautiful building, and some of the performances that take place there are undoubtedly of the finest quality. But sometimes even music critics wonder at some of the goings on there. For instance here is an excerpt from a Los Angeles Times (Oct. 19, 1980) review of a Martha Graham Dancers performance at Ambassador Auditorium (otherwise known as the "House for God"):
"The novelty of the evening took the quasi-deja-vu form of 'Judith,' a recent reworking of a solo first devised by Graham in 1950 (to music of William Schuman) and revised in 1962 (score then by Mordecai Seter). The current incarnation, much expanded, utilizes the familiar erotic-symbolic-primal sculptures of Isamu Noguchi, the gently otherworldly music of Edgar Varese ('Integrales,' 'Offrandes,' 'Octandre') and some dazzling cloaks and body drapes by the ubiquitous Halston.
"It also employs Peggy Lyman in a torturous, often successful Graham imitation as the biblical heroine who first seduces, then destroys the Assyrian warrior Holofernes. There is much artful crouching and contorting and jumping here, most of it symmetrical and meticulously ordered and theatrically mechancial. Lyman broods and stalks imposingly. Wingerd provides a nice naked (well, nearly naked) heroic foil. Judith Garay is raped picturesquely by the intruding warriors. (All this in the cultural home of the Worldwide Church of God!) [The preceding sentence with exclamation point is the reviewer's, not ours.]
"Still, one watches the elaborate play and interplay, the cerebral-sexual competition, the angular athletics, and one thinks ...."
INCEST ALLEGATIONS NOT DENIED
Many AR readers who have read David Robinson's book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web have written to us expressing absolute shock at some of the allegations it contains. Especially disturbing to many are the allegations contained in chapter 20 entitled "Incest."
We sincerely wish that we could report uncovering evidence to negate Mr. Robinson's charges, but unfortunately that is not the case. Herbert Armstrong has not issued any statement discounting the charges, nor has Stan Rader. Dorothy Mattson, Herbert Armstrong's daughter, has not come forward to deny the allegations. And Garner Ted Armstrong has also refused to deny the charges. The Toronto Star, Sept. 20 (p. F4) wrote:
"Contacted by phone in Tyler, Texas, where he heads his own new church, the Church of God International, Garner Ted Armstrong said he had 'no comment' regarding allegations of his father's incest ...."
Since the publication of David Robinson's book, a number of WCG ministers have privately commented that under certain "special circumstances" incest should not be considered a factor in determining a man's qualifications for certain ministerial offices. We find this difficult to fathom but, of course, we are not theologians. Nevertheless, since the publication of Robinson's book, one AR reader thoroughly researched the subject of father-daughter incest and discovered - not surprisingly - that the vast majority of psychiatrists and psychologists today still believe that incest is a sexual aberration with serious psychological consequences for all concerned.
One journal article on the subject was particularly enlightening. Titled "Sexual Abuse of Children: A Clinical Spectrum," the paper appeared in the April 1978 American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. The authors, Roland Summit, M.D., and JoAnn Kryso, M.S.W., begin by writing:
"This paper suggests that incest has been underestimated as a significant determinant of emotional disturbance, and that misuse of sexuality between parents and children can have detrimental consequences that parallel those resulting from other forms of child abuse. The spectrum of parent-child sexuality is classified into ten categories as a guide to the diagnosis, management, and prognosis of sexually abusive behavior."
The paper goes on to medically categorize ten types of incest. Two types are of particular significance:
"7. Imperious Incest
"This category represents a fusion of elements from the ideological, rustic, and misogynous categories. These men set themselves up as emperors in their household domain. They plan out an incredible caricature of the male chauvinist role, requiring wife and daughters to perform acts of sexual fealty. One man, who initiated three daughters into his service, even constructed a throne for himself. The domestic grandiosity seems to compensate for an otherwise mediocre achievement level; such men tend to be displaced from rustic backgrounds, with poor education and few job skills. They may be highly religious, expressing rigid, fundamentalist Christian doctrines and quoting Scriptures to justify their domestic role.
"One such man entered into a sexual relationship with his nine-year-old daughter while functioning as a fundamentalist minister. The mother, an extremely passive woman who made no decisions for herself, refused to intervene, despite repeated entreaties from the girl and an older sister..." (pp. 245-46).
"10. Perverse Incest
"This last category is called 'perverse' or 'pornographic' in the absence of any better superlatives to describe kinky, unfettered lechery. These cases become more bizarre, more frankly erotic, more flagrantly manipulative and destructive than those in earlier categories....
"This group is called pornographic because of an apparent need to go beyond limits of socially acceptable sexual practice to explore whatever is most forbidden, with incest representing the ultimate taboo. Furthermore, the participants may want to record their achievements and to see themselves putting the fantasies into action; diaries, secret confessions, and Polaroid photographs seem to heighten their excitement. We are not suggesting that outside pornography creates the abuses, but rather that the abusers seem caught up in creating their own pornography" (p. 247).
Our AR reader summed up the findings of her research on incest (done as part of a university degree program) with the following statement:
"Each father-daughter incestuous relationship appears to be caused by its own unique mixture of variables determined by the father role and/or mother role and/or daughter role. In general this incest is a symptom of family dysfunction. Yet no matter what the role of the mother or daughter, the father is the one who finally chooses the erotic daughter relationship. He sets the sexual limits and chooses whether to cross over the barrier and comment incest."
HERBERT ARMSTRONG DEMONS?
One of our readers recently showed us a copy of a book entitled Demolishing the Hosts of Hell. Its author is Win Worley, pastor of the Hegewisch Baptist Church of Highland, Indiana. Pastor Worley is a fundamentalist Baptist preacher who takes very literally the Bible's statements on demons. Further, he is looked to by many fundamentalist Christians as a leading exorcist, who claims to have exorcised demons from hundreds of tormented individuals.
We at the Report are not theologians nor have any of us had any experience in the area of demonology. So we do not wish to pass any kind of judgment on Pastor Worley's ministry. However, we did find one section of his book particularly interesting. On page 51 the author writes:
"I will list below some of the demons who have named themselves in the deliverance ministry. It is a frustrating job to attempt to classify the spirits and I was forced to make rather arbitrary placements.
"The names listed were actually given by the demons at the time of deliverances. As strange as they may sound, they are the culprits and describe their work. Perhaps the list will help the reader appreciate more fully the thoroughness with which Satan has infiltrated every area of our personalities, our lives and even our thought life."
The author then goes on to list hundreds of names he claims were given by demons in identifying themselves as he cast them out. Among the names listed - "Herbert Armstrong" (p. 54) .
We're frankly not sure of what significance (if any) this is, but we did find it amusing. For those who might wish to follow up on this, Pastor Worley's books are published by Hegewisch Baptist Church, P.O. Box 626, Lansing, Illinois 60438.
IS HERBERT ARMSTRONG IN PROPHECY?
Is Herbert Armstrong actually mentioned in biblical prophecy? We don't think so. In fact, none of the Report's publishers have in recent years believed Herbert Armstrong to be anything but a crafty religious huckster.
Our readers, however, do not all hold that opinion. For instance one reader writes:
"In a lot of ways I think you guys at Ambassador Report are doing a good job, but in one way you're missing the boat on a really big stony. That is, Herbert Armstrong as prophet. No I don't think he is of God, but I'm convinced he is a prophet - an important one.
"You'll probably think I'm nuts, but a careful study of prophecy has convinced me that HWA or his successor may very well be the False Prophet of Revelation. Here's why:
"The idea - preached by numerous Protestant denominations for years - that a United States of Europe is the Beast of Revelation is ridiculous. The Beast of Revelation is clearly a world-ruling empire, ruled from Jerusalem by a false Messiah. That's why the Bible talks of an Antichrist. 'Anti' doesn't just mean 'against.' It also means 'in front of' or 'in place of.' Check your concordances and Bibte dictionaries.
"Now ask yourself, how will the Antichrist pull off his deception? Sure, he may do miracles and be a great leader. But don't forget there are millions of Christians in the world who know about prophecy (at least a little). And there are probably hundreds of millions of copies of the Bibte in existence. The Antichrist with have to be far more clever than Herbert Armstrong claims he will be in at least two major areas.
"First of all, he could not possibly be as openly pagan as HWA paints him. After all, who would he fool? Half the world knows that the Messiah will enforce the weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days. Indeed, even scholars who are not Christians or Jews know this is what the Bible teaches. The Antichrist would logically go along with much of this in order to carry out his deception. Any leader who would try to set up the kind of pagan-Gentile kingdom HWA claims he will set up will not be believed. Even with supernatural powers he would not be believed. For evidence of this considers the movies Omen, Damien: Omen II, and The Final Conflict (to be released next year) . Obviously, even the 'worldly' indivduals who make such movies would not be deceived by HWA's Antichrist. These movie makers are convinced that supernatural power do not of themselves prove a man is of God.
"Secondly, it's important to remember that the world right now is looking on prophecy to be fulfilled. It's no longer the uncouth subject it once was. Even among 'jet-setters,' Hollywood types, and politicians prophecy is discussed. Now ask yourself - how could the Antichrist fool the entire world into thinking he was the returned Messiah unless there was first a phony Beast? Everyone knows the Beast will reign before the Messiah returns. Obviously for the Antichrist to pull off his charade he (on his spokesman-the False Prophet) will have to be able to point to something and say that was the Beast.
"Now that brings us to HWA. Yes, there very possibly will be a ten-nation United States of Europe. Maybe the Pope will have a part in it. So what? That still won't be the Beast of Revelation! Some will teach it is, however, and that will be significant. Now who has done more to popularize the false notion that the Beast is going to be a Holy Roman Empire or a United States of Europe? Sure, there's Hal Lindsey whose Late Great Planet Earth also has pushed this notion, but not the way HWA has. Nor has Lindsey had the contacts with world leaders that Herbert Armstrong has....
"If you want to understand this subject better, you should read Ernest Martin's October 1980 Commentator. In it he wrote an excellent article called 'The Antichrist in Prophecy.' I don't agree with Martin on a lot of things, but when I read this article on prophecy, I had to agree with him on this subject."
Editor: We called Dr. Martin and asked him if he believed that Herbert Armstrong is the False Prophet of Revelation. He told us he did not and for a number of reasons. First, he feels HWA is too old. He will not likely still be around to see that prophecy fulfilled. Second, Martin does not believe that the Jews could be led to believe that HWA is the endtime Elijah. (Martin feels that the Israelis will be deceived into mistaking the False Prophet of Revelation for the endtime Elijah.) Nevertheless, Martin does feel that several important parallels do exist between Armstrongism and the work of the False Prophet.
Will a successor to Herbert Armstrong have a part to play in the coming great apostasy? Martin refuses to make any predictions on this. But there are those who strongly suspect this will be the case. Of course, while we do not have a crystal ball that would reveal what future role Herbert may play as a prophet, we have documented the fact that almost 100% of his prophecies, dating back to 1934, have failed. But he keeps trying to make something come to pass, in spite of his miserable record. The Aug. 25, 1980, Worldwide News (p. 1) quoted Herbert telling children at the church's Summer Educational Program: "Perhaps it [the Kingdom of God] will begin in about three to five years from now or less. Because we're very, very close to it right now." (The phrase in brackets "the Kingdom of God" was part of the Worldwide News quote and is not our comment.)
HERBERT ARMSTRONG AND SIMON MAGUS
Not many believe that Herbert Armstrong is the False Prophet mentioned by John in Revelation. But more and more former WCG members, and even some current embers, seem to have reached the conclusion that Herbert Armstrong is, and has been for some time, the central problem of the WCG. For instance, one paper (anonymous) being circulated in church circles equates Herbert Armstrong with Simon Magus. While this paper does not necessarily represent the views of all the publishers of the Report, and although it is somewhat theological, it does contain some points of interest. It is reproduced on pp. 11-12 of this newsletter.
WHERE THEY NOW
Evangelist Les McCullough, who at one time held the position of vice-chancellor of Ambassador College in Big Sandy, head of the church's International Division, and head of the Canadian churches, has now been sent to pastor the Cincinnati, Ohio East church. (The WCG has four churches in Cincinnati, and he is over only one of them.) One minister remarked, "Giving up his expense accounts and going to pastor the Cincinnati church after being one of the most powerful men in the church is like being exiled to Siberia. Come to think about it, I don't believe he has ever had to pastor a church before either."
Evangelist Dean Wilson, formerly head of the Canadian and Australian churches, recently met a similar fate. While he was visiting Pasadena from Australia, evidently an elder or elders from Australia called Evangelist Tkach at WCG headquarters and informed Tkach that Wilson was allegedly not supporting Stan Rader and was not cracking down on "liberals" in Australia. Wilson was informed in writing that he had 24 hours to leave Pasadena. He was also told he had been transferred to the Portland, Oregon, church and to leave the keys to his Australian house at headquarters. He was informed that his belongings would be packed and sent to him but that he was not to set foot into Australia. Wilson obeyed!
Herbert W. Armstrong -
20th-Century Apostle or 20th-Century Simon Magus?
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, the "apostle" of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), has often criticized the Christian churches of today (all churches other than his own) as being "pagan." Over the years he has given numerous sermons and authored many articles pointing out parallels between various Christian traditions and ancient pagan practices.
Ironically, however, a careful scrutiny of the WCG reveals amazing paralels between the Armstrong church and paganism - some far more damning than those pointed out by Mr. Herbert Armstrong of other churches.
The most serious of these parallels concerns the WCG's system of organization - the pyramid or hierarchical form of government. For although this system of government was used by ancient Israel (remember God, himself, was manifestly at the top of that hierarchy initiated to bring order to an unconverted and rebellious nation), this type of government was clearly condemned by Jesus as an unacceptable method of organizing his church (Luke 22:25-26). And no wonder. One has only to study the histories of ancient civilizations to see that this Babylonish form of government was the governmental system of the ancient pagan world.
What obviously makes this system so anathema to true Christianity is that it is by its very nature a type of idolatry. For it puts a man in place of God. Men begin to look to the human head instead of to God. Recall that Peter insisted a Christian "ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29) .But carnal men tend to grant loyalty to the human leader and follow his teachings, even when those teachings contradict God's Word. This is the very essence of what the Bible refers to as "Babylon." Yet not only has Mr. Armstrong adopted this pagan concept, he has taken it about as far as did the rulers of the ancient pagan world.
In the Worldwide Church of God's ministerial bulletin of 12/3/74, p. 631, Mr. Herbert Armstrong stated, concerning the church's false doctrines of divorce and remarriage, makeup, and Pentecost, that Christ (through Mr. Armstrong) "has bound in heaven what His Church, even in unrealized error, has bound in earth." It is difficult to believe that the God who wants to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (Malachi 4:6) supported Mr. Armstrong as he needlessly destroyed thousands of families for 40 years through an admittedly erroneous (according to Mr. Armstrong) divorce doctrine. The apostle Paul says Christians should be followers of him only as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11 :1). Yet the pagan rulers of Satan's Babylonish system have always proclaimed in so many words: "Follow me even as God follows me and legally binds what I say!"
Even Mr. Armstrong at one time acknowledged that the Babylonish form of church government is wrong Notice what he wrote about church organization in the April 1939 Good News (pp. 6-7 ):
How, then, did ORGANIZATION, and the idea of CHURCH GOVERNMENT get into the Church? It came out of BABYLON! Spiritual BABYLON - that is, ROME!... Those who are IN, and MEMBERS of such an organized church government . . . are IN BABYLON, and actually worshippers of THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST! And God is calling us, HIS people OUT of BABYLON today, before it is too latebefore the PLAGUES fall!...
Jesus never set up an organization, nor did He establish any church GOVERNMENT. He did not RE-ORGANIZE the Church!... The object of the Church is not to build up an organization, or a movement....
Our heavenly Father never planted any super-organization, or established any church GOVERNMENT, or set men IN AUTHORITY over either spiritual or financial affairs, in the New Testament Church....
What has split and divided up the saints in the Church of God? Nothing but ORGANIZATION - which has led to politics, ministers lusting for rule and for power....
God's Word commands us to COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, and be separate. God's last warning is, "COME OUT OF BABYLON!!"
But now Mr. Armstrong is holding back and suppressing this plain truth ( Rom. 1:18 ). This amazing 1939 article has even been removed from the Ambassador College library lest students or members learn these shocking facts!
II Cor. 4:4 tells us that this world's god is the devil. How does the devil rule his domain? Is it not through this very Babylonish system? Is it not through causing people to give over their minds to rulers who are, in turn, inspired and led by Satan?
The despots of the ancient world demanded total obedience and loyalty from their subjects, and in time demanded total worship. History suggests that Nimrod, the founder of Babylon (Gen. 10:8-10), was deified on his death thus establishing the foundation of the Babylonish religions of the whole of the ancient pagan world. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, putting himself in place of God, was guilty of this. Alexander the Great was declared a god. Many of the emperors of ancient Rome declared themselves gods.
Now what do we see happening in the WCG? Mr. Herbert Armstrong has gone from being one of the ministers of the "true church" to being an apostle to being the only apostle of the twentieth century. In The Plain Truth he proclaimed that his writings on the purpose of life were the most important writings since the holy Bible. Recently, some Worldwide ministers, ignoring the third commandment and New Testament teaching (Heb. 3:1), have begun referring to Mr. Armstrong as the Holy Apostle, thus giving to him a title that now properly belongs only to Jesus Christ. These ministers have apparently forgotten that to call any mortal man "holy" is actually blasphemy!
How long will it be before Mr. Herbert Armstrong is openly declared a god or something similar? Will he be deified on his death? Will his writings be all but made holy scripture by his successor? Only time will tell. But now Mr. Herbert Armstrong is telling friends that he has already been resurrected! (See Chapter 19 of David Robinson's book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.) The followers of Nimrod claimed this very thing of their dead hero. Thus was born the myth that became the foundation of the leading religions of the ancient world.
But even without the outright deification of Mr. Herbert Armstrong, actual idolatry has already taken hold in the WCG. Already WCG members "worship" Mr. Herbert Armstrong by putting his commands above those of God and his Word. Although they seem blinded to their own sycophantic behavior, it is, nevertheless, worship of a man and therefore idolatry!
Mr. Herbert Armstrong has always been quick to condemn other churches as being pagan. But they have not been alone in his condemnation. The Masons and their ceremonies have also been the target of his theological attacks. Until the late sixties, when it was mysteriously withdrawn from circulation, the Armstrong church published a booklet entitled The Truth About Masonry, which condemned Masonry's ceremonies as being clearly of pagan origin and Satanic. And over the
years many WCG ministers have pointed out the mystic pagan foundations of modern Masonry. Yet here again, a careful study of Armstrongism today reveals amazing parallels with the symbology of Masonry and paganism. For instance, some have pointed out these similarities between the $24 million "House for God" ( Ambassador Auditorium) and Masonry/paganism:
- The auditorium seats are arranged so WCG members, like the wicked men of Ezek. 8:16, face due east when they worship, not west as did the righteous worshippers at God's Temple and its predecessor the Tabernacle.
- Architecturally the auditorium is really similar to a large black box (God's Temple wasn't black) with a white top, as is the Islamic Kaaba. (For an explanation of the significance of this, see Freemasonry - An Interpretation by Martin L. Wagner.)
- The auditorium's 7 steps leading up to the stage and the wording of the auditorium's dedication plaque are two auditorium features that have Masonic counterparts.
It is significant that the ancient pagan religions all had lavishly adorned houses of worship, while 40 years of New Testament history shows that Christians never built houses of worship. Indeed Stephen at his martyrdom was quoted as saying: "The Most High dwells not in temples made with hands" (Acts 7:48 ). And every beginning theology student should know why - because God dwells in each Christian, who is likened to a holy temple (I Cor. 3:16). Those who pour millions of dollars into luxuriously furnished, gold-gilded houses of worship (like the pagans) instead of using the money to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ are following pure paganism - not the Christianity of the New Testament.
The worshippers of Mr. Herbert Armstrong may reason that these similarities - if they are even aware of them - have no relevance to the modern world. Or they may argue that these parallels are just coincidences. But the question that should be asked is: "Who inspired these pagan parallels?" God? No, obviously not, for Malachi 3:6 quotes God saying, "I change not!" Perhaps the answer is in Ephesians 6:12, where the Bible warns us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world - against wicked spirits in high places.
There are signs associated with God's church (Mk. 16:17-18; John 13:35), and there are signs associated with the god of this world. We must be able to discern the difference. We are told by scripture to test the spirits to determine which are which (I John 4:1), because "many false prophets are gone out into the world." This is not always an easy matter. Matthew 24:24 tells us that in the end time only the very elect will be able to withstand the strong deceptions of false prophets. Many sincere and dedicated people will be deceived - even many who call Jesus "Lord" (Matt. 7:2123 ).
This should not surprise us. What is happening to the Worldwide Church of God is not very different from something that occurred in the early New Testament church. In Acts 8 we read of a religious leader known as Simon Magus. From what the Bible tells us and from what we can discover from historical records, an absolutely remarkable portrait emerges of this individual Notice these main points:
(1) His followers were absolutely convinced he was doing the work of God (Acts 8:10). And thus Simon's followers were undoubtedly convinced they too were doing "God's Work."
(2) He did great works (Acts 8:10).
(3) He claimed great authority (Acts 8:9). Some historians say he claimed to be an apostle.
(4) His apostasy lasted a long time (Acts 8:11).
(5) He "bewitched" the people. Today we might use the word "hypnotized" or say "he was able to sway them easily" (Acts 8:9). He evidently was a dynamic leader, and very likely a thoroughly convincing speaker who gave no inkling of insincerity.
(6) He had been baptized properly by a leading evangelist of the true church (Acts 8:13).
(7) He was a Samaritan (Acts 8:5,9). Samaritans were Gentiles who lived in the area of Palestine. They claimed to be "God's people"; they used the Old Testament scriptures and kept many of its laws.
(8) He was preoccupied with money, and this preoccupation even extended to the spiritual area (Acts 8:20).
(9) He was "in the bond of iniquity" ("bound with his own sin" - Phillips) (Acts 8:23).
(10) He was well-acquainted with scripture and in contact with God's true church. In fact, according to Clementine Homilies, he had been a disciple of John the Baptist. (See Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1973, article "Simon Magus.")
(11) He traveled extensively and went to world capitals. "At a later time Simon seems to have journeyed to Rome in the company of a Tyrian (of Tyre, a Gentile city, recall Ezek. 28) ex-prostitute named Helen, who he claimed was his First Thought through whom he himself created the universe . . ." (Ibid). Obviously, he began to experience delusions of grandeur.
(12) ". . . later Christian writers such as Justin, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Epiphanaeus treat him as the originator of Gnosticism" (Ibid). Gnosticism is considered by many scholars as the first major heresy of the early New Testament church.
(13) Some scholars believe that it was the activities of Simon that precipitated the terrible persecution of Christians by Nero.
(14) According to one legend, Simon died while trying to fake a crucifixion and resurrection of himself. He seems to have begun to believe he was a god.
In past years Simon Magus was often the subject of sermons and articles by leading WCG ministers. Mr. Herbert Armstrong claimed Simon's Samaritan religion had its origins in Babylon and that Simon was possessed of the devil, who used him to found a major worldwide apostasy. Today, however, Mr. Herbert Armstrong no longer seems very interested in preaching on that subject in much detail. Perhaps it is because so many strong parallels exist between Simon Magus and Mr. Herbert Armstrong. For instance, ex-WCG minister Richard Forkun has written, "The WCG is a modern version of the Gnosticism of the first and second centuries A.D. The Gnostics put knowledge above faith. Their concepts of God, man, salvation, etc. were incredibly contrived similarly the WCG." In studying the Bible's account of Simon Magus, let us recall that it has relevance for us today. What is recorded about this man is in the Bible for a purpose (I Cor. 10-11).
Like many pagan potentates, Mr. Armstrong has long been waited on by servants and lives in expensive homes studded with expensive artwork and finery - all while many of his loyal subjects barely make ends meet after paying all their tithes and offerings to him. When his church was provided millions of dollars in the late sixties and early seventies that could have been used to persuade the Western world to turn back to its God, Mr. Armstrong wasted the money on concerts, jet planes, paintings, jewelry, banquets, lavish gifts to pagan despots, and expensive homes staffed with servants. Paul worked with his own hands as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3) to avoid the claim that he was living off Christ's money, lest he offend someone weak in the faith (I Cor. 9:11-12,18). The apostles, instead of flattering the Roman leaders and giving banquets in their honor (I Thes. 2:4-6), told them of Jesus' crucifixion, death, and resurrection (Acts 5:27-32; Acts 24-28, etc.).
Mr. Herbert Armstrong, far from being a holy apostle, is following the way of Simon Magus, who preached a different gospel than the "gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:7). Mr. Armstrong, like Simon Magus, is ashamed of bluntly telling world leaders that they ought to discard their pagan religious superstitions, repent of their sins, and accept Jesus as their Lord and Master. According to his son Garner Ted Armstrong, Mr. Herbert Armstrong's "gospel-preaching" tours are nothing more than expensive autograph-hunting binges and picture-taking ceremonies with the rulers of this world's Babylonish system.
And while Mr. Herbert Armstrong's life has become one giant ego trip, what has become of the church? Doctrines come and go like the wind. Scandal after scandal is revealed. Former ministers level accusations of the most serious sort, charging bizarre sex acts, incest, adultery, and other unspeakable perversions. Church funds are used to publish occult literature under the Everest House name, homosexuals perform in "God's House," etc. Why? Is it because we are seeing Romans 1:21-28 being fulfilled before our very eyes?
And what of the many dedicated, Bible-believing individuals who have been thrust out of the church in the last few years? Is this a reenactment of what happened in the early New Testament Church (III John 9-10 ) where false apostles loved to have preeminence among the brethren and cast out of the church those who were loyal to God?
It should be obvious to all true Christians that the Worldwide Church of God has become a part of "Babylon." To his children still in "Babylon" God declares (Rev. 18:4) : "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
Will you obey God's clear command? The choice is up to you!
Sherwin McMichael, the church's star witness at the recent hearings over Dave Robinson's book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, was pastoring the Washington, D.C. church. Recently he reported 70 to 80 "demon cases" in his church area and called headquarters for help. Reportedly, several headquarters ministers scurried back to Washington, D.C., to try to determine why McMichael's area was being overrun with demons. Now as we go to press we hear that Sherwin (who has long alleged that Stan Rader has a demon) has been dismissed and accused of being demon possessed. We have no way of knowing whether any of these allegations are true and have always felt that Mr. McMichael was simply a typical WCG minister.
Dr. Robert Kuhn has moved to New York City where he works in his dad's garment business. Ben Chapman is working for the Kuhn business setting up computer services and systems organization at a high salary. Lois Chapman, a daughter-in-law of Herbert Armstrong, has a computer services business. Word has it she's doing very well and is driving a Cadillac El Dorado.
Dave Antion is still in Pasadena pursuing his doctorate in educational psychology at USC and doing some marriage counseling. Word has it that Antion preaches at the Church of God, International at Arcadia where he volunteers his preaching services, as he is not on Garner Ted Armstrong's payroll. Les Stocker is employed as director of development for the Braille Institute in Los Angeles. Bob Oberlander also works at the Braille Institute as director of educational services for the blind. Evidently neither Stocker nor Oberlander attend the WCG at present. Ed Smith is out of the ministry in Cincinnati but still attends services. Paul Flatt works for a Denver corporation in Orlando, Florida. Dennis and Jack Pyle have received awards as outstanding insurance salesmen and are not part of the WCG anymore. Dale Hampton is vice-president of Hamma Oil in Oklahoma City. Ray Kosanke, formerly a Plain Truth correspondent in Brussels, Belgium, has landed a top job with Atlantic Richfield.
In a surprise move, Stan Watts left the ministry and moved up to Canada to work with his father-in-law. Art Mokarow is now in business for himself, attempting to market a TV program on various issues, mainly marriage and family services. Elbert Atlas has left the ministry and is working for Occidental Life Insurance Co. in Los Angeles. John Reedy, a son-in-law of Dave Robinson, left the ministry and has established a growing landscaping business in Tyler, Texas. Bobby Boyce, a former minister, is in the contracting business in Longview, Texas, with his brothers. Wayne Cole works as a publisher's representative, lives in Tyler, Texas, and is not affiliated with any church at present.
Jim Lacour is doing well in real estate in the Pasadena area. Dorothy Lacour is working at USC in the administration for continuing education. Dr. Mike Germano just obtained his J.D. degree and is now an attorney at law. He is also in the administration of West Coast University in Orange County. Jo Ann Dorothy is now Dr. Dorothy as she received her degree in chiropractic. Jan Freibergs is working in holistic health care in Pasadena, while Gunar Freibergs works for the Los Angeles City College system as a professor of history.
Former editor and minister Brian Knowles worked for the GTA church for a couple of weeks but now is doing freelance writing and editing for several corporations in the LA area. Carole Ritter now works as a writer for ARCO (Atlantic Richfield). Lawson Briggs, former WCG writer-editor, is working for an engineering firm in Alhambra and doing cost engineering. Jim Lea, former Plain Truth editor, received his master's in Business Administration and is presently working for Business Week magazine. Bob Ginskey, former WCG writer-editor, is selling real estate in northern California and is quite successful we hear. Ron Beideck, former assistant managing editor of The Plain Truth, is working for a computer typesetting firm in LA. George Warner is a manager in the Personnel Dept. at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena.
A reader recently wrote:
"Some years ago, when minister Al Carrozzo 'blew the whistle' on Garner Ted Armstrong and left the WCG, some WCG ministers said that God had put Carrozzo under a curse. They intimated he would soon wind up in poverty and his family would desert him. They said he already had cancer.
"Some curse! I recently heard that Carrozzo's family is together, healthy and happy, his business is thriving, he is a prominent and influential member of his community, he is completely healed of cancer, and to top it off, he is now a bona fide millionaire. Is this all true?"
Editor: We understand it is.
We at Ambassador Report are pleased to hear of the above success stories and wish all of these people well, regardless of whether or not they are associated with the WCG. We would hope that the Worldwide Church would also one day acknowledge the success stories of all its former employees who helped build the church and Ambassador College, rather than trying to downplay their successes and pretending as though they have ceased to exist.
NEW GROUPS (& GROUPS NEW TO US)
Since our last issue, we have received a number of complaints from readers who feel we should not mention certain groups or individuals in our newsletters. For instance we received a few letters condemning us for mentioning Sabbath-keeping churches. We received a few condemning us for mentioning Dr. Martin's Foundation for Biblical Research. One writer was displeased because in mentioning Mr. Plache's ministry he was convinced we were advocating Sunday keeping.
Frankly, we are not really followers of any of the groups we have ever mentioned. If we were, we'd be members or working for them. But that does not mean that we can't learn from these various organizations. Obviously there are certain groups we feel closer to. But we've tried hard to at least mention every group that's appeared on the scene with ties to Worldwide. We do this for a number of reasons: (1) It helps readers to renew old friendships or make new ones. (2) It gives readers the opportunity to "compare notes." Virtually every group publishes literature of some type. People with philosophical or theological interests can compare various points of view. (3) It helps us all to see more clearly where the WCG and the Church of God movement (if that's the right word) are headed. But, again, mentioning anyone does not mean we endorse everything they do or teach. In fact, sometimes just the opposite is the case.
So with that in mind, here are some organizations we've recently been made aware of. We're sorry we can't devote more space to each one.
The United Church of God
4500 Warwick Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64111
This group sent us a press release, dated Sept. 8, 1980. We found this statement interesting:
"After years of membership with Herbert W. Armstrong and the troubled Worldwide Church of God (Pasadena, California), and then recently after disappointment with Garner Ted Armstrong and the Church of God, International (Tyler, TX), former members of both organizations officially independently incorporated in Kansas City as the United Church of God....
"Pastor Richard Prince (816-233-8628, Rt. 2, Box 43A, Wathena, KS 66090) serves not only United, but also an identical group in St. Joseph, Missouri, which has incorporated as the St. Joseph Church of God.
"Becoming independently incorporated appears to [be] becoming a national trend among former Worldwide Church of God members. Cities in which independent congregations have also surfaced include Portland, OR; Monterey, CA; Tulsa, OK; Longview, TX; and, St. Louis, MO."
Our readers should not confuse the Kansas City-based United Church of God with the United Church of God in Lake Winola, Pennsylvania, pastored by Richard Wiedenheft. Wiedenheft's church (P.O. Box 45, Lake Winola, PA 18625) publishes Focus on Truth and has an extensive sermon cassette library available.
Servants of Messiah
P.O. Box 779
Sampan, CM 96950 U.S.A.
Publishes: A theological newsletter called Age-Ending.
Church of God (Seventh Day)
(John M. Ouvrier, Pastor)
P.O. Box 100
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
Church of God (Seventh Day)
P.O. Box 170
Seven Hills, N.S.W. 2147
Rising Star Publications
(Tony and Bertha Badillo)
Dallas, Texas 75223
Found: The Laodicean Church Today?
(free periodical edited by
ex-WCG member Bill Bunks)
2650 West, 3360 South
West Valley, UT 84119
Yahweh the Almighty Covenant
One of Israel
P.O. Box 228
Waynesville, NC 28786
Alexander's Monthly Economic Newsletter
Gary Alexander, Editor
Mechanicsville, Virginia 23111
Assemblies of the Called Out Ones of
231 Cedar Street
Jackson, TN 38301
P.O. Box 12092
Austin, TX 78711
(A free quarterly newsletter published
by the Assemblies of Yahshua. Their
fall issue contained an article by Charles
Dodge entitled "True History of the World-
wide Church of God.")
"I am a former members of the Worldwide Church of God. I, like many others, was hurt and discouraged when I discovered the truth about the Armstrongs. But I continued my search and effort to do God's will.... I have discovered a church that I have really benefited from and I would like to share it with others. The Christadelphians...."
Rt. 2, Box 19
Quinton, VA 2 3141
"We do not belong to or attend any of the split-off groups and don't intend to. We agree partially with Dr. Martin, mostly with regard to personal salvation and freedom in Christ. But there are still many of us who feel God's laws are good. But we feel WCG is dead wrong in its interpretation of those laws. We have found the Identity ministry to be the link in putting God's laws in their proper perspective with regard to the individual and with regard to their application to civil government. The result is the freedom Dr. Martin teaches for the individual, but not to be left out is the perfect harmony of God's laws for the nation. [Emphasis theirs.]
"For those out there who are caught in the middle of Dr. Martin's teachings and yet still believe God's laws are righteous, and yet feel WCG is wrong, please write to some of our Identity friends for some real comforting and informative answers. They were the solution for answering many of our questions.
"There are several Identity pastors I could give the addresses of, but to conserve on space for the AR, I'll give you the one we heard first and really related to the best:
P.O. Box 5334
Phoenix, AZ 85010"
"We'd like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your fine work. It has been very helpful to us and so many others.
"Most ex-cultists go through a deprogramming very much like a junkie on a de-tox program. Many WCG people need this, and you've been the closest thing to that.. So please don't be so quick to disband your work - it may be needed long after the collapse or Petra or whatever.
"I was associated with the WCG since 1959, baptized in 1971, enlightened in 1974, and disfellowshipped recently for conducting home Bible studies without pontiffic approval. We've since incorporated our own church, the Abunda Life Church of God. We conduct home Bible studies the first and third Saturday of each month and will be putting out a newsletter soon called "The Abunda Life." Most of those who attend are patients of my naturopathy practice and other ex-church members, but some ex-WCG members do attend and it is growing in a spirit and numbers.
"This is the route I suggested to the Associated Church some years ago, that it not base the church on a group of malcontents, but rather start over. Then if those who were turned off want to attend, great! At least they'll have people to fellowship [with] besides other malcontents."
Dr. Robert H. Sorge, N.D.
The Naturopath Clinic
2 Worthington Avenue
Spring Lake, NJ 07762
GARNER TED'S WOES
Garner Ted Armstrong is finding out that running his own church is not as simple as it might have appeared. His Church of God, International (CGI) took off like a rocket when it was founded in mid 1978, but of late the rapid growth in Ted's church has fizzled out. One indicator of CGI's stagnation has been the attendance at his Feast of Tabernacles. In 1978, 500 attended. Attendance shot up to 2,300 in 1979, but fell back sharply to 1,400 in 1980. Ted is having growing pains for several reasons: (1) Many of his members, having left the WCG, are exercising their mental muscles more frequently than they did in Worldwide. (2) Many of Ted's members have read and agreed with Dr. Ernest Martin's tithing booklet and have stopped sending Ted their tithes. (3) A number of churches in the Church of God, International decided Ted wasn't giving them enough local autonomy, so they incorporated separately, keeping most of their members' donations in the local area. It is obvious that unless Ted can attract less independently minded members or come up with a more effective way to market his brand of Armstrongism, he will find achieving any real long-term growth very difficult.
Another reason for GTA's problems is David Robinson's book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web. Though mainly about Herbert Armstrong, Robinson's book does reveal much about Garner Ted that many of his followers have, until recently, failed to acknowledge. The Robinson book was a big factor in the defection of several of Ted's members, including Dave Sandland, GTA's representative in Australia. Mr. Sandland wrote to CGI members in Australia:
"Due to a number of reasons, most of which are private, I will no longer - at least not at the moment - be handling any CGI mail through here in Sydney. I therefore suggest you write direct to Tyler, Texas (Box 2525) with literature requests, questions or comments.
"I certainly continue to support the CGI in any Christian endeavour they undertake - just as I support any Church in similar endeavours. But I feel the need for separation from all the problems of the past - problems sickeningly outlined in David Robinson's shattering book The Tangled Web....
"I personally intend on giving whatever service I can to the Church of God, 7th Day - especially the group operating out of Adelaide."
Incidentally, former GTA sidekick Jim Thornhill has been terminated from the WCG but has not been hired by the GTA organization. Instead, he has teamed up with Dr. Lochner and Lochner's son-in-law, Dave Harris, who are involved in a business scheme dealing with the retrieval and sale of precious metals.
JOHN TUIT BOOK
John Tuit was one of the former members of the WCG who was instrumental in bringing about the State of California's lawsuit against the WCG's leadership. Readers who would like to know more about what led up to that legal battle will find his new book very informative. It's titled The Truth Shall Make You Free. It is published by The Truth Foundation, 11 Laurel Court, Freehold Township, New Jersey 07728. Copies are $8 each, including postage ($10 for overseas orders). The book is in the press now and is due for release by the end of December.
We have glanced through an advance copy of the book and found sections quite interesting. The chapters dealing with the actual lawsuit are the most informative, giving an insight into how the suit actually began and much of the intrigue of those days. Tuit relates a number of incidents that show the psychological makeup of men such as Robert Kuhn, Ray Wright, Jack Martin, and others. The chapter on Dr. Lochner and his tapes will prove interesting to all who've wondered why Lochner hasn't made "the Lochner tapes" public. Not surprisingly, there are new allegations of sexual misconduct and perversion. We also found most interesting the fact, as related by Robert Kuhn, that one of Stan Rader's daughters was a White House staff member during the Nixon administration.
The book progresses to a chapter on "Satan's Master Conspiracy," in which the author implies that the current leadership of the WCG is part of an important international conspiracy. Although we find this idea very widespread today, we wish more evidence was presented to adequately prove this theory.
Mr. Tuit does not hide the fact that he does agree on many doctrinal issues with Herbert Armstrong (sabbath, holy days, etc.). And not all of the book is new material. About one-third or more contains material well covered in previous issues of Ambassador Report and other publications. Nevertheless, readers who want to know more about the California versus WCG lawsuit and the intrigue that surrounded it will find this an informative book.
RELIGION MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH
Some time back we mentioned a book we believe could be of help to many of our readers - Religion May Be Hazardous to Your Health by Eli S. Chesen, M.D. This book is a psychiatric guide to the uses and abuses of religion. We've strongly recommended it in the past because, from the letters we receive, it's obvious many people are suffering psychological problems due to their involvement with various religious groups.
Unfortunately, in mentioning the book we incorrectly stated it was out of print: One reader wrote to us that it is not out of print but can be obtained by writing to the publisher - Macmillan Publishing Co., Riverside, New Jersey 08075. The paperback (#08443) sells for $1.50, but we assume there is a postage fee (75"?) added to that.
Another book many readers may find useful is Snapping by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman. John Clark, associate clinical professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, wrote: "Snapping is by far the best and most scientific treatment of the cult problem yet published. For the scientist, politician, clergy or parent, it is valuable and wonderfully readable."
We've heard this book mentioned quite a bit during the last two years, but it was only after quite a few of our readers recommended it to us that we went out and got a copy. We found it very informative and recommend it strongly to anyone with friends or relatives in any cult. The book deals with cult-induced personality change and the methods used by cult leaders to control the minds of their followers. In the U.S. the paperback sells for $4.95 and is available at most large bookstores. It is published by Dell Publishing Co., 1 Dag Hanmarskjold Plaza, New York, NY 10017.
DOING RESEARCH ON THE WCG?
As many longtime Herbert Armstrong followers are aware, as recently as eight years ago it was quite difficult to obtain accurate and unbiased information about Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God. Except for official church publications, there just wasn't much information available on Armstrongism. But beginning in the midseventies that started to change. With more and more media attention on the WCG, both the quantity and quality of information available have improved.
Now virtually anyone who wants the facts on the WCG can get them - if he or she puts out the effort. Representatives of numerous public, university, and seminary libraries have written us, telling of the collections of Armstrong-related literature they have assembled. (For instance Iowa Linda University in Riverside, California, has an extensive collection.)
A number of religious reference works also now include information on Armstrongism. One excellent source is The Encyclopedia of American Religions by J. Gordon Melton (McGrath Publishing Co., Wilmington, North Carolina). It contains excellent material on "Churches Which Began With William Miller Sabbath-Keeping Churches," "The Church of God Movement," and "The Sacred Name Movement." Although it contains some slight inaccuracies, we have found this a fascinating work and recommend it to anyone doing research on Armstrongism, its historical roots, and related church movements. Many Armstrong followers will find that the information it contains will give them a new perspective as to their church's place among American religions.
AN IMPORTANT BIBLIOGRAPHY
In the last few years so much has been written about Herbert Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, Stanley Rader, their churches, etc., that it is no small task to locate pertinent information when doing a research paper, article, or whatever on these subjects. That is why we are pleased to announce an extensive bibliography soon to be published by Mr. John Nugent of Laguna Beach, CA (no relation to the Tim Nugent of our 1975 Ambassador Review). Mr. Nugent has never been a Worldwide member, but has followed the church's activities for some time. Two years ago he begin compiling a list of reference sources about the WCG as part of a research project for a comparative religion class at California State University, Fullerton. But from that point the project has mushroomed into becoming a major publication.
His bibliography is titled: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Guide to Information on Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. It will be published by February 1981 and will cover well over 250 pages of indexed (but not annotated) articles, books, reports, newsletters, legal documents, advertisements, book reviews, resignation letters, correspondences, and research papers on Armstrongism. It will also contain a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of groups that have broken from the WCG. The cost per copy is $20 including postage. The author has asked us to point out that he is not publishing this as a way to make a living. The $20 will just cover publishing and postage costs.
The average reader of Ambassador Report will probably not have any need of such a reference work, as during our publication's existence we have been pretty thorough in mentioning all the major articles and books that have appeared on Armstrongism as well as the names and addresses of all the breakaway groups that have emerged. However, we have seen portions of the bibliography, and we strongly recommend it to all those doing any kind of serious research on the WCG or related organizations.
Incidentally, Mr. Nugent did mention to us that he is trying to be as thorough as possible in compiling this bibliography. If anyone has a church group or publication they would like to see included in the bibliography, he would appreciate a letter giving details so he can include that information in his publication. But please do so immediately as he is getting close to his press deadline.
The address to write to for ordering copies or for giving information is: John Nugent, 2855 Rounsevel Terrace, Laguna Beach, CA 92651, phone: 714-494-9396.
Well, that's all we have room for (and all we can afford to publish) this issue. Our thanks to all who contributed recently to the Report making this issue possible.
Ambassador Report is published quarterly as finances allow. Publishers are: Robert Gerringer, Bill Hughes, Mary E. Jones, John Trechak, Leonard Zola and Margaret Zola. Editor: John Trechak.
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