December 31, 1981
"DO YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE A WHORE?"
Well, he's at it again. Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) , the apostle of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) and president of Ambassador College, has announced that he is again changing his church's doctrine on makeup. Yes, the WCG's doctrine on makeup has been reversed back to what it was a decade ago. (Then HWA taught that a woman who wore makeup looked "like a painted artificial prostitute" to God - Truth About Makeup, p. 43.) The wearing of makeup is once again a sin. Not surprisingly, after changing the doctrine, HWA confided to one associate that, while he couldn't prove everything in black and white, he had the mind of God and the makeup change was in the best interests of the church.
Page one of the Nov. 16, 1981, issue of The Worldwide News carried this headline: "How subtly Satan used MAKEUP to start the Church off the track. " In that article HWA claims that the church has been led astray by Satan influencing the women of his church. Writes HWA:
"...But how did the people of the living God get off the track? How did the whole world first get off the track?
"Was mother Eve, the very first woman - a direct creation of God - insincerely evil? Did she have evil motives and intentions?
"No, Eve was DECEIVED!" (Emphasis his.)
But, according to HWA, the women in the WCG were not the only ones deceived. Certain "intellectuals" had also been led astray. Among those castigated by HWA for being "intellectual" were Wayne Cole and, unfathomably, Garner Ted Armstrong (don't laugh!) Writes HWA:
"In my absence [late 1974] my brief statement appeared with my signature under it. What I never knew until now was that, after my signature, Wayne Cole, then director of Pastoral Administration, added a few pages giving the new liberal watered-down reasoning, changing the truth of God.
"Satan masterminded this in such a manner that it all appeared under my signature, as if I fully approved all that followed my signature - when in fact I never saw it until the day before yesterday. It was subtly handled and kept from me.
"I did not, and never would have approved of what Mr. Cole, without my knowledge, published under my signature."
Not surprisingly, Wayne Cole has adamantly denied these allegations. We think Cole is telling the truth. It is pretty difficult to believe that HWA was ignorant of the church's doctrinal change on makeup back in the '70s. After all, his own wife, Ramona, has regularly worn makeup since her marriage to HWA in 1977. Didn't he ever notice? Dick Lloyd, a reporter for the Pasadena Star-News, noticed. In an early 1979 article he even commented about her painted toes when reporting how, on a visit to Tucson, she had greeted him, none to cordially at HWA's door. It has even been reported by a ministerial source that one former HWA aide - a male-also occasionally enjoyed wearing red nail polish. It stretches our imagination to the limit to believe that in 1974 HWA was incapable of comprehending what he was reading when he approved the new makeup doctrine - especially since he claims God's constant guidance. Of course, if God deserts him off and on and allows Satan to set church doctrine on occasion - as HWA seems to be asking us to believe - then how do we know whether God or Satan is behind this latest doctrinal change?
The conclusion of HWA's lengthy Worldwide News article contains the following statements:
"My mother and grandmothers did not wear makeup - nor did your greatgrandmothers of the same era. How did it get into our mid-and-latter-20th century society? FROM PROSTITUTES!
"They argue it was done anciently in the world. But that was not God's world. Our women have COPIED THE PROSTITUTES!...
"Satan used human reason and makeup and WOMEN to start the ball of liberalism away from God and toward sin to rolling in the Church beginning October, 1974.... Christ is [now] getting us back on the track!"
While Herbert's decision on makeup is being obeyed by many WCG members, it is not a universally popular one. Some top ministers, including Roderick Meredith, have commented that it is a big mistake. Meredith was so perturbed over the change that he went to see Evangelist Tkach, urging that he and the Council of Elders confront HWA over the matter. Realizing the folly of questioning HWA, Tkach replied that he would not be party to such a suicidal maneuver. Rebuking Meredith he said bluntly, "Haven't you learned anything from your exile to Hawaii, Rod?" (Rod was given a six-month "leave of absence" in Hawaii in late 1979 for thinking independently.)
Evangelist Raymond McNair was also unhappy over the ruling, as was his wife, who reportedly wears rather heavy makeup. In fact, we hear that none of the present evangelists are thrilled with the new makeup doctrine. One high-ranking evangelist's wife refused to attend the Rose Parade Queen's breakfast rather than be seen at a public function without her makeup on.
One pastor's wife defiantly wore makeup to Sabbath services the week after HWA's new edict became "God's law" once again. She was immediately reported, and her husband was called on the carpet. The following week she appeared in church without a trace of makeup, but she was seen wearing it downtown during the week. And her's is not an isolated case. We hear a number of ministers' wives and many members view the makeup doctrine as a ruling made by a senile old fuddy-duddy, and they still wear it everywhere but to church and church functions. In fact, ministers are already beginning to interpret away HWA's makeup ruling by saying, "HWA meant to wear it a little lighter," or "he means don't wear it to church."
Some have speculated that HWA knows Ramona will not obey his makeup, edict and that the makeup change was only instituted to create a reason to divorce Ramona, who is still living in Tucson, we hear.
While there are undoubtedly a few other WCG clergy who enthusiastically support the new ruling, its chief supporter has been Bob Fahey, until recently HWA's executive assistant. His unwavering loyalty to HWA did not go unnoticed by the apostle. On Oct. 24, he was ordained a evangelist, and HWA reportedly said that upon his death no one could possibly be as qualified to properly lead the church as Bob Fahey . The statement did not thrill Rod Meredith's supporters. Since then, however, Fahey has fallen from grace. In a power struggle, he was removed from the executive assistant position and will now be merely assisting minister Frank McCrady in the New York area. He has also been demoted to "preaching elder" rank. (Oh how the mighty art fallen!)
While the question of makeup may be considered inconsequential to most normal people, it is no small matter to HWA. In his Nov. 16, 1981, article he stated:
"But by this maneuver of Satan, the people of God's church started off the track.... For watering down of God's truth on healing, the Sabbath, many more vital doctrines followed in its wake."
Ironically, this is exactly the kind of thing that was claimed by men such as Raymond Cole and Paul Royer when they left Armstrong's church in the mid-'70s to form their own churches. Now that HWA has echoed their views - namely, that the WCG's (so-called) God-given truths have been watered down by the "liberals" - will he invite them back into the fold? Not likely.
Said one long-time Armstrong observer, "For the last few months the matter of Herbert's incest sins were becoming a major topic of discussion in church circles. By changing the makeup doctrine, Herbert has made the church feel very guilty, thus getting their minds off his own very sinful past. Politically speaking, the doctrinal change was a brilliant move."
To many observers the makeup change suggests that the WCG will be in for more doctrinal changes in the near future. Perhaps HWA will change his Pentecost and divorce doctrines back to his pre-1974 teachings too, making the liberals the scapegoat again. It will be interesting to see just how far back in time HWA will lead his followers.
GETTING THE BEST IN MEDICAL HELP
In our last newsletter we pointed out how HWA has lately been warning his followers against relying on physicians in times of illness. You'll recall we quoted the Oct.-Nov. issue of the Good News in which HWA wrote how going to doctors was analogous to "going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron." Shortly after our newsletter was mailed, one of our readers sent us a clipping from the September 1981 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. In that magazine's "Medical Mailbox" column (p. 123) there appeared a photograph of HWA wearing a hospital robe and talking to actor Hugh O'Brien and Dr. Kenneth Cooper. The photo was taken at Dr. Cooper's Aerobics Center medical clinic, in Dallas where HWA and O'Brien were undergoing testing. (Dr. Cooper is the physician who developed the aerobics system of physical fitness. He is also the medical consultant to, and frequent guest on, the "700 Club" religious TV program.)
Armstrong officials report that HWA is continuing to take drugs regularly. He depends on drugs to put him to sleep and drugs to wake him up. He has confided to several that he feels a little guilty consuming all these drugs in view of his teachings on divine healing, but he justifies it by saying some unnamed "they" make him take the drugs. Interestingly, one of his nurses (a church member) was replaced for trying to keep certain drugs from him. Insiders claim she was substituting sugar pills or placebos for aspirin and other pills he was constantly gulping. But HWA insisted on getting the "real thing."
Besides consulting with Dr. Cooper, other medical experts HWA has been seeing recently include a leading Pasadena podiatrist. When it comes to his personal medical problems, HWA gets the very best advice possible. It's good to see that at least one individual in the WCG has the good sense not to take too seriously HWA's proscription against seeking medical advice. But it is sad to see him reject the sound advice of those professionals, especially when their advice is in line with Biblical injunctions for moderation.
HIDE THOSE BOOKS!
The real direction the WCG is now taking is appallingly evident in a memo recently sent to "All Ambassador College Faculty Members" by Raymond F. McNair. Evangelist McNair, now apparently the college's official book censor and grand inquisitor wrote:
"Recently, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong directed that certain books which had previously been stocked by the Paper Egret [the Ambassador College bookstore] be removed and no longer sold at the college bookstore.
"Pursuant to Mr. Armstrong's directive, Messrs. LaRavia, Tkach and I checked over the books at the Paper Egret to remove any books which we felt should no longer be sold in accordance with Mr. Armstrong's instructions. Accordingly, we are having those books related to psychology, including all self-help books, removed. And we are also removing all books which are heavily tainted with this world's theology. Also, those books which have to do with marriage and the family, husband-and-wife-relations books, childrearing books, etc. will no longer be on the book shelves at the Paper Egret.
"The college bookstore will, however, continue to sell several different translations of the Bible, concordances, dictionaries, history books, etc. And the Paper Egret will, of course, continue to sell various supplies - notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, etc.
"If any faculty member feels he or she needs to recommend a particular book for reading by the students (a book not carried by the Paper Egret) then he or she should first request that such a book be made available at the college bookstore. But how should you go about requesting that the Paper Egret stock such a book?
"Just type up and send to my office a written request, stating 1) the name of the books, 2) describe what the book is all about - i.e. what it contains that makes it desirable, 3) and mention how many such books you would like the Paper Egret to make available to the students. Such requests should be checked through my office before being passed on to the Paper Egret for procurement. They will not be displayed on the shelves in the college bookstore, but will only be made available to students upon request.
"If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact me and I shall be happy to further clarify."
THE CULT OF ARMSTRONG?
Is the 'Worldwide Church of God a cult? That is a question we hear quite often. And frankly, it's one we don't have too much trouble answering. First of all, what is a "cult "? For many years, most dictionaries generally defined "cult" as "an organized system of religion." In actual use, however, this term had a somewhat negative connotation. For instance, in history books we would often read of the "cult of Apollo" or the "cult of Diana." Rarely would the word "cult" ever be used when referring to Christianity in general or its denominations.
During the last ten years, and especially since the Jonestown tragedy, the use of the word "cult" has become more frequent. At the same time, the term has become both more pejorative and more clearly defined in its modern usage.
As we pointed out in our very first publication, Ambassador Review (June 1976, p. 36), a "cult" - as the word is now often used - has at least four major characteristics:
1. It encourages isolation - both intellectual and social.
2. It encourages non-thinking.
3. It encourages absolute obedience to a leader who either claims to be God or a representative of God.
4. it encourages excessive giving of, not only money and possessions, but also time, energy and other human resources.
With the above four-point definition, readers will perhaps see why we view the WCG as a "cult." But the WCG is not alone in possessing these characteristics. In fact, the number of religious organizations having these characteristics is clearly on the increase. And the havoc being wrecked in the lives of millions is being documented increasingly by psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and other professionals now very concerned about the problem.
Two such professionals are Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman, researchers specializing in the study of mind control and the cults. You may recall that they are the authors of the cult expose book Snapping. Since the publication of that book, their research has continued. Some of the results of that research have now appeared in a remarkable article in the January 1982 issue of Science Digest magazine.
Their article is entitled "Information. Disease: Have Cults Created a New Mental Illness?" This article is highly recommended for anyone who has left the WCG and suffers from any type of emotional problem. (Check your library for a copy. If it doesn't have that publication, you may try writing to Science Digest, 224 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.)
Conway and Siegelman surveyed 400 former cult members from 48 different cults. They "found that nearly one in five experienced some lasting health problem and two-thirds experienced long-term emotional difficulties." Those mental and emotional effects include "floating" in and out of altered states, nightmares, amnesia, hallucinations, delusions, violent outbursts and suicidal tendencies. In some cases, former cult members even feared they had lost the ability to think!
The authors make a number of remarkable observations. For instance:
"...our research showed what appeared to be a direct relationship between the number of hours spent per week in cult ritual and indoctrination and the number of long-term effects. In addition, we found a similar correlation between hours per week spent in ritual and indoctrination and the reported length of rehabilitation time. Put simply: our findings appear to confirm that the psychological trauma cults inflict upon their members is directly related to the amount of time spent in indoctrination and mind-control rituals" (p. 90).
"For most people, the term cult conjures up images of arcane, secretive societies whose members hold bizarre beliefs and swear allegiance to a living guru or self-proclaimed messiah. We found something like this to be the case in most of the major cults. But we were surprised to find that the majority of cult groups, including many we had never heard of before, were fundamentalist Christian sects apparently employing sophisticated mind-control techniques. Thirty of the 48 cults we surveyed emerged out of this traditional branch of Christianity.... They also rated higher than all cults except Scientology in combined long-term effects and average rehabilitation time (19 months) " (p. 92).
While their article does not mention the WCG by name, Conway and Siegelman, in a recent visit with Report publishers Len and Margaret Zola, agreed that the WCG does indeed have most, if not all, the earmarks of being a "cult."
A RECOMMENDED SERIES OF ARTICLES
During the last few years, Ambassador Report has recommended a number of books and articles on the subject of Armstrongism and cults in general. We have done so because we believe they can be of real help to not only those in the WCG, but those who have left and desire a better understanding of cult phenomena and perhaps themselves. One reader recently sent us photocopies of a seven-part series of articles entitled "Cults and Cultism," which appeared earlier this year in an Oregon newspaper. The series was written by Dan'l C. Markham, a former pastor and newspaper editor who is currently a counselor for Spiritual Counterfeits Project in Berkeley, California, a Christian ministry dedicated to aiding those affected by cults.
We wish to bring this series of articles to your attention because, quite frankly, it is one of the very finest that we have ever seen on the subject. There are a number of reasons for this assessment. Markham is, first of all, not simply a well-read and experienced expert on the subject, but one who has the courage to speak out bluntly on the truly sinister nature of cults. Yet he shows a great deal of compassion for those victimized by cults. He writes:
"We must never forget that while a cult may appear to be an evil, elitist, separatist, intolerant and abusive entity, that very entity is made of real people such as ourselves who have genuine needs and sincere reasons for belonging. They often have high ideals and admirable goals. Such people must be approached and treated with wisdom and truth, but also with sensitivity, compassion and understanding.
"Our goal as Christians, parents, ministers, educators, professional people, friends and relatives, should not only be to expose cults, but to help eliminate the root causes.
"You see, we can repeat one of man's greatest failures by just pointing the finger and saying 'that's bad,' never thinking we (each of us) might personally be responsible in some way. You may be surprised to find in the following dissertations that our own philosophies, religious beliefs and attitudes or lack of them may contribute to the environment that creates cults."
In part four, Markham writes about the telltale signs of a cult:
"...a cult is any group with an elitist and unique cause and view of itself and others, who to promote their sole cause consciously and unconsciously abuse God-given personal rights and freedoms. Abuse is the key determing factor, which can mean theological, spiritual, physiological and social abuses....
"There are numerous sociological indicators and patterns, which identify a group as being potentially cultic. A knowledge of a few of these indicators will assist in uncovering such a group:
"1. Leaders who claim a special, exclusive ministry, revelation or position of authority from God.
"2. A belief that the group is the only true church, or maintains a critical stance regarding established Christianity while consistently praising and exalting its own leaders and ministry.
"3. Use of intimidation by warning that members who leave the group will go to hell or suffer some other calamity.
"4. The requirement that members give substantial portions of their income to the group or leaders.
"5. Emphasis on loyalty to the church resulting in almost total absorption of one's life into its activities.
"6. The ministries of the group and individual members are inseparable from the ministry of the leaders.
"7. Control by the leadership of the private lives of group members.
"8. The discouraging of dissent and any questioning of the leader's teachings or directives. Criticism, even if constructive, is redefined as rebellion. Emphasis on authority, obedience and submission is vigilantly maintained.
"9. Demonstrations of loyalty to the leader and to the group are expected.
"10. Attempts to leave the group or reveal embarrassing facts about the group are met with threats. Refugees of the group are faced with confrontations by cult adherents who encourage or coerce them back into the group's control."
Does any of this sound familiar? If you've been in the WCG, it will. But remarkably, Markham did not write this with the WCG specifically in mind. The fact is, most cults are very similar in the psychologically manipulative techniques their leaders employ.
In Part V the author discusses the abuses inflicted on the cult member:
"The effects of cults on the individual can be devastating - psychologically, socially, and even physically. In briefly reviewing some of the commonly agreed upon cultic indicators (abuses), perhaps we can begin to grasp at least in a basic way the wounds inflicted on the individual by a cult:
"1. Loss of individuality - a groupiness mentality.
"2. Abuse of intimacy: relationships with friends, relatives, between parents and children, and even spouses, are broken or seriously hindered.
"3. Abuse of money: heavy and even threatening demands with peer group pressure drain off large portions of one's income, causing financial neglect of self and family.
"4. Isolating people with a 'we versus them' mentality. Often relatives, the world, established Christianity, governments, secular education and the press become evil enemies.
"5. Abuse of time and energy: the cult soon controls and uses a majority or nearly all of one's time and energy, resulting in a constant state of exhaustion.
"6. Breaking of the will so adherents unquestionably submit to the demands and control of the group's leadership.
"This repugnant list of destructive abuses could go on and on. The results, i.e., personality changes, loss of identity, paranoia, and social disorientation, are too numerous for a complete list."
While many WCG members would undoubtedly assert that the above does not pertain to their church, literally thousands of letters received by Ambassador Report in the last five years indicate that these are exactly the kinds of fruit the WCG has produced in the lives of many thousands of members. But these effects are not always perceived immediately. In fact, some ex-members report that it was only four, five, or more years after leaving Worldwide that they came to fully appreciate how devastating the church had been to their lives.
We regret that we are not able to reprint the entirety of Dan'l Markham's "Cults and Cultisms" series because it is absolutely filled with remarkable insights into the cult phenomenon. The seven-part series is a bit lengthy for our small newsletter, and our finances don't allow us to extend this issue to that degree. We have, however contacted author Markham, and he has agreed to send photocopies of the series to those requesting it. His purpose is not to make a profit in this (nor do we get a "cut" on
this or any other literature we recommend), but to cover his copying, postage, and handling expenses, he asks that requests be accompanied by $2.50 for each copy desired. His address is: Dan'l C. Markham, P.O. Box 339, Ocean Park, Washington 98640. If you are looking for greater understanding about the nature of cults, why people join them, or their effects, then you will find this series of articles invaluable. We cannot recommend it too highly.
HOW TO HELP WCG FRIENDS AND RELATIVES
We regularly receive letters from concerned readers asking for advice on how to get a friend or loved one out of the WCG. Unfortunately, we are rarely able to provide fool-proof answers for this type of situation.
First of all, we have learned from experience that simply exposing a member to the facts will not necessarily help. For instance, with each Ambassador Report mailing we try to send out as many issues as financially possible to current WCG ministers and members whose addresses are given to us by friends. In response, we always receive a few letters of thanks for the free issues and a few letters asking for more information. Over the years, quite a few have been greatly helped this way. But sadly, the majority in this category never respond. Or if they do, it is often by mailing back ripped up issues along with angry letters denouncing our "Satanic" lies. (They "know" these are lies because their minister has told them so.) Many readers have experienced similar responses when confronting WCG member-friends, or relatives with a Report, a copy of the Tuit book, or other literature.
Another reason why we are usually unable to help "get someone out" is that we really do believe people have a right to believe what they want. You can show a WCG member a copy of the Report or a copy of the Robinson book or some other Armstrong expose, but if they choose not to consider the information, that is their privilege. The situation will not be improved by being condemning, unfriendly, or obnoxious. (And let's face it, most of the people in the WCG are very fine, sincere people.)
We recently received a letter from former WCG member Christine Lieber of Geneva, Switzerland. It contains some excellent advice for anyone with friends or relatives in the Armstrong church. Here are her suggestions on the subject:
"My husband Martin came out of the WCG months before I did, so I've been on both sides of the issue. From my experience IN when he was OUT, I can say:
"1. You cannot force anyone to see something they don't want to see. If they don't respond after your first burst of information on the sins, the wrong doctrines, and swill, then the more you pound the tighter they cling to the church. For four months Martin pounded me with information about Pentecost, tithing, and GTA's sins (he didn't know of Herbert's at the time). I told him he could blow my brains out before I would be disloyal to the church. So don't try to force them. In one sense it is cruel. For the poor brainwashed zombie that you are trying to help is not in control of his mind, and he thinks he is doing God a service by worshipping Herbert and obeying the church. Leave them alone until they are ready.
"2. Relax and be nice to them. They will come around when the time is right. You cannot force a mind. My attitude changed completely once Martin began to be kind and speak to me again. As long as he was angry, however justified, I had my 'proof' he was in a bad spirit and that he had a bad attitude. He certainly could not be telling me the truth. Don't give Armstrong's words fuel by your actions.
"3. It is difficult if not impossible to get WCG members to read material from those the church labels as 'Satanic.' Challenge the person to take a subject, go through the Bible, and write out every verse. Taking them in context and taking all of them, they can easily see the truth on almost any subject for themselves, which is an exciting experience. For some reason I had a tiny question on whether the church could be wrong on the [meaning of the] gospel. I took the word and wrote out all the scriptures in the Bible. When I finished this task, I was out of the concentration camp. I never went back to a service. But it is essential that it is done alone with the Bible, not the PT, 40 booklets, or 20 sermon notes. It is so easy to understand the Bible, if you go to it alone. In fact, when you do this you realize what an idiot you had to make yourself to even believe what Herbert said about the Bible."
As we all know, in the communist world history is rewritten every few years. As regimes pass from the scene, statues of displaced leaders (Stalin is a good example) are removed from public view, squares and buildings bearing their names are renamed, and references to their accomplishments are deleted from textbooks. In the free world - where even disgraced leaders such as Richard Nixon still command frequent media attention - such make-believe interpretations of historical fact are viewed with more than a little ridicule. That is why we find it so amusing that the WCG has adopted an approach identical to that of the communist world - at least as regards recent church history and Stanley Rader.
The WCG won a minor legal victory in mid-December when the Second District Court of Appeals of California denied attorney Hillel Chodos (remember him?) the $100,000 he was demanding from the WCG corporation as legal fees for suing its leaders. The decision was not surprising considering Chodos never really won his case against the WCG.
What was surprising, however (but then again, maybe not), was the way the WCG reported this victory. On page 4 of the Dec. 14 Worldwide News, there appeared a short article by evangelist Ellis LaRavia, the WCG's press secretary, reporting the church's legal victory. On the same page there also appeared another article reporting the victory. That article was by Ralph Helge. He wrote: "As counsel for the Worldwide Church Of God, we are extremely pleased to advise you of a recent decision that pertains to the case. . . . " Then Helge, in commenting on the church's more than two-year legal battle with the state, went on to thank and praise (in this order) 1. Herbert W. Armstrong, 2. God, and 3. "the principal associate counsel" Allan Browne of Ervin, Cohen & Jessup; Ellis Horvitz of Horvitz & Greines; and Laurence Tribe, professor of law, Harvard University. Helge made no mention whatever of his former law partner and mentor Stanley Rader. Neither did LaRavia in his article. Neither did any church spokesman in comments to the press. Yet a mere 10 months ago Herbert Armstrong praised Stanley as the "mastermind" behind the WCG's victory over the California attorney general. Apparently, in the minds of Helge, LaRavia and certain other top WCG leaders, Stanley Rader has simply ceased to exist.
THE MENGE MYSTERY
Penthouse magazine is not the kind of magazine to which we would normally refer readers, but an Ambassador Report subscriber recently brought to our attention a Penthouse article which we found extremely revealing. The thoroughly researched, lengthy article appeared in the November 1981 issue of that publication (p. 63) and was written by L. J. Davis and Ernest Volkman. While the article was ostensibly about religion superstar Jerry Falwell, it really dealt more thoroughly with the affairs of F. William Menge.
Menge was described by Penthouse as a "confidence man and convicted tax evader, sometime associate of known drug smugglers. A former Falwell ministry board member and adviser." But Falwell was not Menge's only preacher contact. Among his other religious contacts were evangelist James Robison, Pat Robertson of the "700 Club," and TV evangelist Kenneth Copeland. Other contacts included Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and top officials in Israel. But what we find most intriguing about Menge is his near acquisition of Ambassador College, Big Sandy, Texas. Here is what Penthouse wrote (p. 186) about that episode:
"Menge and [Menge associate, TV stuntman Jerry] Spicer - who had formed his own Lynchburg company, Exodus Tours - traveled to Israel. Just what happened there is a little confusing. According to an account provided for Penthouse by Spicer, Menge made contact with two Israeli gangsters who had connections with the Miami mob, but Spicer does not say what the nature of the contact was, only that he 'exposed' it.
"As usual, Menge was thinking big. He opened negotiations with El Al Airlines to move thousands of Christian tourists. He negotiated with others to purchase planes, perhaps even a small airline. It had the earmarks of turning into Menge's biggest scam yet, but there are indications that it was much worse and much stranger than that. 'It all comes around now to what all these airplanes were really going to be used for,' Spicer told Penthouse. Spicer is very cautious when speaking on the subject, but he will add one thing more. 'With the airstrip,' he says, 'Christian City would be a multibillion-dollar deal.'
"Spicer is talking about Ambassador College in Big Sandy, Tex., a campus and 5,200-foot airstrip that Menge was negotiating to purchase from the Worldwide Church of God for $10.6 million. It was Menge's plan to build a Christian city there - first, it was rumored, for Jerry Falwell, then for James Robison, and finally for the fundamentalist Brother Lester Roloff, who gave Menge $500,000 that he never saw again. (On the other hand, Roloff is reported to have raised $6 million during his unsuccessful campaign to buy the campus. If so, he is hardly in a position to kick.)
"In the end, with his empire collapsing, Menge couldn't swing the deal, and it fell through, but it is not without its features of interest. Menge first stirred serious law enforcement interest when vans were used to transport marijuana and his known associates turned out to be more than a little crooked. Menge made contact with criminals in Israel, and he allegedly had other contacts in Colombia, prime source of much of the world's cannabis. He was trying to buy some airplanes, and Spicer hints that they were not for the tour business. (Recently published reports have indicated that the mob is moving a portion of its marijuana and brown Mexican heroin operations from Florida to Texas. Big Sandy is midway between Dallas, a lucrative market, and Baton Rouge, a big mob town in a big mob state. In the back of Menge's mind was undoubtedly some use of the 5,200-foot airstrip at Ambassador College. A Christian City would be a splendid, perhaps impenetrable, cover for a major smuggling venture. Although nothing can be stated with any certainty, Spicer is entirely correct when he says that it could be a multi-billion-dollar deal.)"
As bizarre as it may at first sound, Penthouse's speculation on Menge's plans for the Big Sandy campus are well-founded. Recent newspaper articles have also alleged that Tyler, Texas (right near Big Sandy), has within the last few years become a major drug smuggling center. Some experts say that because of Tyler's proximity to the bayous of Louisiana, Tyler could soon become almost as important in drug smuggling operations as Miami and Tucson are at the present time.
The Penthouse story raises a number of interesting questions that could be put to Menge. Unfortunately, Menge can no longer answer those questions, for on Sept. 6, 1980, he was killed in a macabre accident. According to the Penthouse article:
"At about 1:30 p.m. that day, Menge decided to mow a field of grass adjacent to his bankrupt estate in Forest, Va., a suburb of Lynchburg. The reason, it is said, was that he planned to take his children to a picnic there, although people in Lynchburg remember that his children did not appear to have been home. Further, it was snake-and-chigger season in Virginia, and Menge possessed a perfectly adequate swimming pool and picnic area much closer to his house.
"His blood was later found to contain an alcoholic content of .02 percent, not unusual in itself except that Menge was not a drinking man and was not in the habit of keeping alcohol around the house.
"The instrument he chose for the task was a rotary mower called a bush hog. A wicked piece of machinery, it is towed along behind the tractor and is powered by its drive shaft. As Menge drove around the field, according to the official report, one or more of the wheels of the tractor and a blade of the bush hog are supposed to have struck some old utility poles concealed in the grass, causing Menge to bounce into the air. As he did so, the spring that supported the tractor seat is supposed to have fallen out. Menge is then supposed to have fallen back onto the springless seat and tumbled over backward without getting his feet tangled in the pedals or steering wheel, which he is also supposed to have stopped holding. Menge is then supposed to have fallen to the earth, where the bush hog ran over him, severing his left hand and right forearm, shattering and virtually severing his right leg, and fracturing his skull.
"People fall under bush hogs with depressing frequency - like many farm implements, they are not things to fool around with - but Menge's death is an unquiet one. When the tractor was found, stalled in the field, it was in high gear. A tractor in high gear will not cut a field very well, and there are many fields a tractor in high gear cannot cut at all.
"This is not to say that Menge was murdered, but there are enough unanswered questions and curious circumstances to render the official version of his death very nearly inoperable. For reasons that have never been explained, two FBI agents briefly investigated the Menge death, although there was no discernible federal jurisdiction. The FBI refuses to discuss why the agents were there."
The unwitnessed accident occurred just days after Menge was quoted as saying that he was going to "tell all" and that people were "going to go to jail." It has not been proven what he meant by those statements.
Nor has it been determined whatever became of all the money he swindled. At his death Menge was supposedly broke, but Penthouse asserts that during the last few years of his life he swindled over $9 million. Included among the many individuals, banks, ministers, and churches he conned is at least one Armstrong follower. According to the June 23, 1981, issue of The Record (of Hackensack, New Jersey): "Buck Hammer, Herbert Armstrong's son-in-law, says he's out $20,000 after investing in an invention Menge was promoting that would recycle garbage into mulch."
One person who Menge was not able to con, however, was Stan Rader. You will recall (Ambassador Report, March 1979, p. 13) that when Menge tried to purchase the Big Sandy campus in 1978-79, he lost his $500,000 deposit when he was unable to come up with the balance on the deal. As the $500,000 was contractually nonrefundable, the WCG (or persons associated with it) made an easy half-million while Menge's associate, Brother Lester Roloff, took the loss.
The Penthouse article ended with this interesting observation:
"Among others, his funeral was attended by Jerry Falwell and Mrs. Falwell. However, Falwell did not deliver a eulogy. That task was reserved for the Revered James Robison, the same Texas evangelist whom Menge had called before his death. He did not mention what, if anything, Menge had told him."
IS HERBERT ARMSTRONG BEING USED?
Is Herbert Armstrong being used? Is he a tool in the hands of some group of internationally influential kingmakers? Is he unknowingly fulfilling a major role in some grand international conspiracy? Is he in effect being manipulated by some group of communists, Zionists, international bankers, the Trilateral Commission, the Mafia, the Catholic church, the Masons, and/or the Illuminati?
To the sophisticated reader, such questions may seem a bit over dramatic, perhaps lending an air of cosmic importance to the Armstrong church that it does not deserve. Yet, those are exactly the kinds of questions being asked increasingly by both WCG members and long-time WCG observers. Many of those asking such questions have been particularly suspicious of Stanley Rader, considering him to be some sort of an agent that infiltrated the WCG.
Some have even drawn a comparison between Stanley and Dr. Alberto Rivera of "The Crusaders." For those unfamiliar with them, "The Crusaders" are a comicbook series published by Christian fundamentalist J. T. Chick (P. O. Box 662, Chino, CA 91710). The most controversial of the series are "Alberto" and "Double Cross, " two issues which claim to be "based on a true story. " The hero of these two issues is Alberto Rivera, a Spaniard now in the U.S., who claim to have been a member of the Jesuit order of the Catholic church before he "surrendered his life to Jesus Christ." He claims that the Jesuits trained and sent him to Latin America where he infiltrated numerous Christian groups known for their anti-Catholic teachings. He claims he was but one of many such infiltrators the Jesuits have used and still use to bring about the moral decay and theological disintegration of numerous Christian churches around the world.
The Chick comics make colorful reading and many of the facts presented are accurate. However, much of the most controversial elements of the stories are not easily verifiable, and recent articles in the Los Angeles Times (Jan. 26, 1981; Oct. 27, 1981) have raised some serious questions about the reliability of the information found in the Chick series. Numerous Christian bookstores have refused to carry them, and the Canadian government has attempted to stifle their distribution in Canada. Nevertheless, some WCG and former WCG members continue to see amazing parallels between Stan Rader and the Alberto of preconversion days. Some insist that Stan Rader has been used to lead an unsuspecting HWA into spiritual Egypt.
In all honesty, we at the Report - although respecting many of those putting forth these ideas - are not convinced of their theory for two reasons: (1) We don't believe HWA has been an innocent duped into anything and (2) We have seen absolutely no hard evidence of Stanley being a part of any international conspiracy activities whatsoever. We don't think Rader has been anything other than a very sharp CPA/lawyer earning a good salary for performing exactly the services his client asked for.
But that does not mean that we are convinced HWA is not being used by others. He very well may be. And he may not even realize it. No matter. There is an unconscious side to all of us. Very few, if any of us, are fully aware of all of our own motivations at any one time. HWA is no exception.
We were recently sent a cassette tape of a sermon by Bryce Clark of The Church Of God, The Eternal (P.O. Box 775, Eugene, OR 97401). Entitled "Babylon," this sermon, more than any other source - printed or taped - seems to sum up the suspicions and fears of those who believe HWA has been led into fulfilling a very sinister function in world affairs.
While we are not members of Clark's denomination and do not necessarily agree with all his conclusions, we do feel he has made a number of very cogent observations. For instance, he very correctly points out that while HWA does canvass the earth talking about a coming world government, by failing to mention Jesus Christ and omitting to specify what he means in any detail, he really does become guilty of preaching "another gospel." For when he merely uses such ambiguous phrases as "a strong hand from someplace," he really conveys different things to different people. To a communist such a phrase could easily mean a world revolt by the proletariat. To an international financier it may mean the world's top bankers working together toward the goal of a one-world currency system. To certain Zionists, it may imply the domination of Palestine by the armies of the state of Israel - believed by some to be the fulfillment of the prophesied Messiah (viewed merely as metaphor). To a religious Iranian, such a phrase would probably be interpreted as the advancement of the reign of the Ayatollah Khomeini. One can also see how such a phrase as "the principle of give and get" could just as easily have any number of interpretations. For instance, to a Communist it could possibly mean the obliteration of all property rights.
Whatever it is world leaders believe HWA is saying, it should be apparent to all that most - whether communist, Zionist, Moslem, Protestant, or Catholic - like what he is saying.
The Dec. 14 issue of the Worldwide News reported:
"During a 16-day trip to Europe and the Middle East, Pastor General Herbert W. Armstrong met with such dignitaries as Israeli President Yitzhak Navon, Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jihan Sadat (widow of slain Egyptian President Anwar Sadat), Abdel Kader Hatem, director of the National Councils in Egypt, King Leopold III, former king of Belgium, and Franz Josef Strauss, head of West Germany's Christian Democratic Union."
In the photos accompanying the article there was no sight of former traveling companion Stan Rader. He was not on the trip. (One source told us that Osamu Gotoh is once again HWA's advance man for these junkets.) During HWA's talk with Franz Josef Strauss, the German politician mentioned a recent meeting with Soviet Premier Brezhnev. HWA asked Strauss what he thought of a meeting between Brezhnev and himself . Strauss did not feel such a meeting would be advisable.
Finally, in his Nov. 27 letter to Plain Truth subscribers we found this little tidbit:
"A week ago yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 19, 1 had a personal meeting with President Yitzhak Navon of Israel in Jerusalem, and the night before I was guest of honor at a banquet hosted by Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. Present also were former Mayor John Lindsay of New York City, and Jacob Rothschild of London."
One can only ask: What is it that HWA is giving in return for such honors?
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Even though his lawsuit with Worldwide is now over, we haven't heard the last from author David Robinson. The Tulsa World (Oct. 23, 1981) reported that he is now writing a novel based on his experiences in the Worldwide Church of God. Robinson told us that the novel form will allow him to indulge in a bit of speculation on HWA and his associates - something which would have been inappropriate in his nonfiction Tangled Web book.
John Portune, former WCG pastor, college instructor, and writer, is now part owner of an electronics manufacturing business in Pasadena. His firm manufactures microcomputer-based industrial controls.
Enrique Ruiz, former head of the Mexican office of the WCG, has remarried and is residing in Pasadena. His new wife was known as Draga during her previous career as a nightclub entertainer in Mexico. We hear Enrique is now working in the jewelry business.
NEW GROUPS AND GROUPS NEW TO US
Spiritual Counterfeits Project
P.O. Box 2418
Berkeley, CA 94702
This is an evangelical Christian organization specializing in helping those involved with cults. They offer a free introductory packet of information and a catalog listing studies they have published on various cult groups.
Truth Fellowship, Inc.
P.O. Box 138
Clifton Park, NY 12065
Through this organization, ex-WCG and ex-CGI minister David Bierer offers a monthly newsletter and cassette tapes on biblical subjects.
America's Promise Radio
Lord's Covenant Church, Inc.
P.O. Box 5334
Phoenix, AZ 85010
This organization distributes books, pamphlets, and a 40-minute movie propounding the Anglo-Israel theory.
Truth Line, TSL Publishing House
P.O. Box 18122, Cleveland Hts., OH 44118
This organization wrote us:
"Because of the arrogant and racist atmosphere present in the WCG, a few members decided to find out the source of these terrible attitudes increasing in 'God's Church.' They were led to do research on Anglo or British-Israelism and their findings were shocking.
"After discovering the real origins and many errors of British-Israelism they published their findings in an 18-page newsletter entitled Truth Line. "Because of the distribution of the Truth Line, these people were 'marked' and ridiculed for publicly disagreeing with Herbert W. Armstrong regardless of the truth of the articles.
"You can learn for yourself the startling origins and errors of British-Israelism (the belief that only the white peoples of the United States, Britain, and certain parts of Europe are the 'ten lost tribes of Israel') by ordering your free copy of the Truth Line."
This group is considering the idea of putting out a newsletter as a means of communication between the many small Sabbatarian groups now in existence. They are also considering the possibility of organizing a Feast of Tabernacles in the Pennsylvania area in 1982.
The Mount Zion Reporter
P.O. Box 10184
Jerusalem 91101 Israel
This monthly news and evangelistic magazine was founded many years ago by Sabbatarians A. N. and Effie Dugger. It is still published regularly. (A. N. Dugger and HWA were associates in the 1930s.)
"Some of my friends and I are trying to show the evils of Herbert W. Armstrong and his church's teachings. We have two tapes which we offer for $3 each or both for $5. We are sorry we have to charge for them, but we are unable to send them free as we are retired and living on pensions. Tape #1: Herbert W. Armstrong and His Teachings by Elder William Davey Bence, D.D. and Tape #2: The Worldwide Church of God by Deacon Gary Clem (also The Most Asked Questions About the Churches of Mt. Armstrong)."
Dr. William Davey Bence
1500 South Fern St., Apt. #528
Arlington, VA 22202
"I have been receiving the AR through indirect channels for quite some time. I would like you now to add my name to your official mailing list.
"You have listed many spin-off organizations in your publication; however, I think that you have overlooked a more intelligent, positive answer in line with the 20th century. I refer to the philosophy of Humanism.
"I draw your attention to the article, 'Humanism - Antidote for the Cults,' in the November, 1980, issue of The Churchman. I, too, like the author 'launched myself out on a journey of discovery.... Humanism, for me, became a "healing balm" or an antidote for the psychic damage done by the cult experience.'
"Your readers may write to the following publications and organizations:
American Humanist Association
7 Harwood Drive
Amherst, NY 14226
Fellowship of Religious Humanists
Yellow Springs, OH 45387
The American Ethical Union
2 West 64th Street
New York, NY 10023
1074 23rd Ave. North
St. Petersburg, FL 33704
"I will continue to enjoy your publication, but I will probably be more busy trying to change the world to a more humanistic, livable place than to worry much about these creeps and their twisted theology and world view.
"'Humanism is a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity in this natural world and according to the methods of reason and democracy (Corliss Lamont).' I am pleased to report that ethical actions can have other bases than belief in the supernatural retribution of an avenging god.
"By the way, I am forming a Humanist Club on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles. Your views on the damaging effects of cults on mind and personality would be welcome as a program topic."
Larry A. Taylor
2364 Lomeli Lane
La Verne, CA 91750
Editor: The Churchman article "Humanism - Antidote for the Cults," referred to above, was written by Brian Knowles, formerly the managing editor of The Plain Truth. We, frankly, found the article very simulating reading and would have liked to have reproduced it in the Report. When contacted, however, Knowles told us that in the two years since he wrote the piece, his views have changed somewhat and today he would write a little differently on the subject. We have therefore agreed not to republish the article even though we did find it most interesting.
"Since leaving WCG, we have learned of many different groups and beliefs, some we liked and some not. There is a man in Los Angeles who has a simple workable solution whereby you can get your head back on straight after a trauma such as we experienced in WCG. And not only that, but in any stressful situation where emotional reactions lead to depression and disillusionment. For a free information packet write: Foundation of Human Understanding, P.O. Box 34036, Los Angeles, CA 90034."
AR Reader, Missouri
While we are enthusiastic about some publications and organizations mentioned in the Report, we do list numerous groups with which we have very little, if any, philosophical agreement. We do so because we believe our readers want to know about more than just our personal views. We're convinced this is a healthy approach. After all, we can all learn from others - even from those with whom we disagree. So if some group is listed in our newsletter which you feel isn't all it should be, please remember: Simply being listed or quoted does not constitute any type of blanket endorsement.
Please extend my thanks to the many people who sent me names and addresses [of WCG members]. I can't thank some of them directly, as several lists were sent anonymously. It will be a few more weeks before I will complete all mailing of flyers to the several hundred names which I received.
11 Laurel Court, Freehold, NJ 07728
Thanks again for another report. I think there is a similarity in what we feel when we get the Report as to what alcoholics feel when they go to AA. A bond exists between those who have all gone through the same thing. It would be interesting to see a list of all ministers and elders who have left or were put out. Here in the Kelowna church in the last year or so two ministers are out: Dan Banham and Vern Erickson. In the neighboring church in Penticton a few years ago Des Burke left and is now a minister in Ted's church, and of course we have heard of others in Canada that we know have left. It might be interesting news for people who are still in the church and have no idea that these ministers are out. One member in this area said, "Why are the members not even told what's going on?" Thanks again.
I would like to point out an error in your latest Ambassador Report in an item referring to Frank Brown. Although I was not the source of your information (I wonder who was), I feel sure the blame for this error will be laid at my door. You have apparently written that Frank Brown called up Jack Martin (whose disfellowshipment and marking he had formerly announced) to see about a job. This is not true. He called Jack on the phone - much to Jack's amazement - but made no reference to a job. He did say they might get together the next time he was in that area. None of us know precisely why this call was made. I have suggested to Jack and several others that maybe it was an attempt to lay the groundwork for a future job possibility. That's all that can be said.
My purpose in bringing the call to the attention of some people was to use it as an example of the hypocrisy of a typical evangelist. Somehow the story has gotten to you in an embellished fashion. I hope you will correct it.
Of further interest regarding this incident are two fanciful explanations for this call given me by [WCG minister] Paul Suckling: 1. that Jack requested the call to be made (not true), 2. that it was an attempt to see about some sort of reconciliation to the WCG (not even discussed). In any event, an error has been made and I am sure you would wish to correct it.
-Dr. Gordon Muir, New Jersey
Editor: Thank you for setting us straight on this matter.
Regarding a letter in the March 1981 copy of Ambassador Report, there was a statement that Basil Wolverton was once involved with the Riker cult. Not true. I recently spoke to Honor, and she said she checked all of Basil's early correspondence (he kept everything) and there was nothing in his files. Pictures are sometimes used without the artist's approval.
Editor: We have looked into this matter and have verified that Paul Kagan's book New World Utopias does indeed state that Basil Wolverton illustrated some of Riker's literature. The Kagan book also does show one piece of Riker literature containing an illustration undoubtedly done by Basil Wolverton.
Nevertheless, your point is well taken. Considering "Father" Riker's notorious reputation, it is quite possible the illustrations were used without the artist's permission. Thank you for taking the time to point this out.. And please pass on our best regards to Mrs. Wolverton and her family.
One thing I'd like to ask you about is if you have any names and addresses of women whose husbands are members of the WCG (and the wife is not) that you would be allowed to give out. My husband is involved with the group, and I would love to talk with someone else in my position and find out how they cope with all there strange beliefs in their home. There's no one here in Birmingham (or at least I don't know of an one). Some of your printed letters indicated other women in my situation. As they say, "Misery loves company."
Editor: Unless a subscriber gives us permission to pass on his or her name and address, it is our policy not to give out that information. However, if a reader would like to have their name and address passed on to someone, such as the above individual, we would be happy to forward that information.
While having a look at the most recent issue of Ambassador Report I've received so far I was very pleased to see that a reader has written in, mentioning something about Dr. Robert Sumner's exhaustive book on the Worldwide Church of God entitled, Armstrongism: The Worldwide Church of God Examined in the Searching Light of Scripture. I, for one, would like to go on record as highly recommending that aforementioned book to anyone who is still a WCG member, their friends and relatives, and anyone interested in reading what may very well come to be viewed as the definitive book on Armstrongism, its weird tenets, and the baneful influence it exerts on its members.
Dr. Sumner's book deals with pre-1973 WCG doctrines and practices, and it first appeared in 1974. While there have been quite a few minor (and a few major) changes within the WCG since 1973, the book itself is, basically speaking, amazingly accurate in its description of the history, tenets, and practices of the WCG, and I wouldn't hesitate one moment in recommending it. However, the address your reader gave you is no longer valid. Copies of Sumner's book ($7.95 plus 15 percent for postage and handling) may be gotten through: Sword of the Lord Publishers P.O. Box 1099, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.
Would you believe yet another book exposing Herbert's error? Probably no book will excel Paul's book to the Galatians. But I have just completed Martin Luther's "Commentary on Galatians " and find it well worthwhile for you to list it for your readership. It probably can be purchased in most religious bookstores. Also, I have just received my copy of Armstrong's Church of God by Salem Kirban. Out of print till just recently, it has been updated to Oct. 1981. This 55-page book may be obtained for $4.95 plus postage and shipping ($1.50) by writing to Salem Kirban, Kent Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006. He has also written other books on other cults of interest.
I have a friend who has been mailing me copies of Ambassador Report since I came out of the WCG about three years ago. It has been of much assistance in helping me overcome the trauma which most go through. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I left because there were so many holes in their doctrines, which did not match biblical scripture. When I approached a minister with a question, I never got an answer. They always fell back on the "old saw" that HWA is the Apostle, and like the Pope, infallible. Having come out of the Catholic Church back in the '50s, I wasn't buying infallibility.
The frightening part is that I probably would have still been a member if they had not made me a deacon. As a deacon, I started giving sermonettes, and shortly thereafter split sermons. (I think I was being groomed to be a local elder.) The awesome responsability of giving sermons led me to intense Bible study. It was then that I stopped studying to the foregone conclusions that their Bible lessons and sermons led one to. I began having doubts about tithing, church eras, 19-year time cycles, setting dates, etc. I could not get Nelson Haas minister in Flint, Michigan) to sit down with me and review scripture that seemed to go counter to the organization. He kept feeding me principles such as HWA being God's Apostle. After working myself into stomach ulcers, I finally decided that it was time to get out.
For a long time I prayed about being "in a bad attitude" and all the other garbage that puts one on a guilt trip. Dr. Martin's literature helped, and others who had left shortly after I did were of much assistance. I keep telling myself that I no longer have any ties to the organization, but like many others, for 14 years the church was the most important thing in my life. I made, what I thought, were friends. I miss some of them very much, even though they think they serve God by cutting me off.
I'm finally completely deprogrammed, and am enjoying physical and mental health, and studying with an open mind. It's wonderful! I really don't know why I'm still interested in what's going on in that "snake-pit," but put me on your mailing list.
Oh, how good it is to be able to sit back and laugh at the comic opera of Armstrong and company. Thanks for bringing us such amusing entertainment. I am, of course, being a little tongue-in-cheek about the contents of the latest AR. Amidst all the politics, two-facedness, intrigues, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, unscholarliness, distortions, and narrow-mindedness that are characteristic of the WCG mentality are a whole lot of sincere, but sadly naive, people, many of whom I count as friends, though they must surely feel my wife, my family and I are doomed "possibly for all eternity." The tragedy of the WCG is that so many fine people have permitted themselves to believe that an organization like the WCG reflects "true Christianity." I am constantly struck by the astounding parallels between the attitude of the New Testament Pharisees and the more militant members of the WCG. Isn't it amazing we could read about those people, of ages long ago and never (unless we make that fateful step of questioning "Headquarters") see ourselves?
Anyway, now that Judy and I have gone through our "year of adjustment" I feel ready to let people know what's become of us. if you think your readership would be interested here's where we are now.
Judy and I graduated from AC (England) in 1970, 1969 respectively. (Judy a the sister of WCG minister Roger Foster.) I was a ministerial assistant in Harrisburg, PA, then a minister in Bluefield, W. Va. from 1972-1977. A minister in Champaign, IL from 1978-1980. I finally resigned for theological and professional reasons and moved to Omaha, NE (my hometown). I currently run my own commercial window cleaning and maintenance business. Since leaving the WCG, I've lost 15 pounds and feel great. I also have a hobby that I've turned into a business called Aviation Oils, whereby I do oil paintings of private airplanes. I'm also involved in several solar energy projects and am a member of Nebraska Solar Energy Society. We are not presently affiliated with any church - for obvious reasons.
I'd like to see a list and, if possible, brief resumes similar to the above for any of the rest of the fellows who have quit. In the meantime, keep up the good work. We all really appreciate it.
P.O. Box 14414,
Omaha NB 68124
Editor: During the last three months we have received quite a few letters from subscribers telling us of their experiences in the WCG. Most, if not all, were very interesting accounts that we would have liked to have published in the Letters section. Our apologies to those whose letters we have had to omit for lack of space. We, nevertheless, did enjoy reading them and hope readers will continue to share experiences with us and keep us informed of WCG-related events in their local areas.
Just as we are about to take this issue to press, we have learned of a number of interesting developments. Ambassador College is rife with rumors that Ramona Armstrong is about to sue, or has already sued, Herbert Armstrong for divorce. (We would like to get a statement from Ramona on this, but as yet we have been unable to reach her.)
HWA is again experiencing attacks of angina pectoris and is taking nitroglycerin pills, a commonly prescribed medication for that condition. Garner Ted, apparently concerned about his father's health, has once more written to him. But HWA, refusing to correspond directly with his son, has merely responded by a communication to Ted's wife. What was conveyed is not known.
In the meantime, the WCG's council of elders has become more riddled with internal bickering than ever before, as a number of former church employees are threatening to make public new allegations of serious misconduct by members of that board. In fact, we have learned that at least two former HWA associates are now writing books about the church's hierarchy. Those authors are claiming their revelations will shock even the publishers of Ambassador Report. (Not likely.)
We will try to find out what we can and report on these stories in our next issue. Until then, our thanks to all of you who are helping to make Ambassador Report 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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