R 20 June 30, 1982
NO FOOL LIKE AN OLD FOOL
It's been over two months since newspapers around the country reported that Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) has filed for divorce. Many of you have seen those reports, but for the benefit of those who haven't, here is a brief outline of those happenings.
On April 17 in the "Public Records" section of The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), there appeared, in very small print, this brief announcement under "Petitions for marriage dissolution: ARMSTRONG, Herbert W. and Ramona."
The WCG's members at first were not told a thing about it. But a news reporter in Tucson saw the announcement and before long the story was making headlines. It wasn't until after the newspapers carried the story that the WCG admitted anything to the church membership. Nevertheless, the May issue of The Plain Truth should have tipped them off as to what was coming. That issue contained an article by HWA entitled "GOD HATES DIVORCE Yet He Divorced His Own Wife! WHY?" It contained this interesting statement (p. 4):
"But even where only one partner is at fault, it can put both through this tragic wringer of human anguish. I quote a specific case history in point.
"It's a case of an aged personage who loved a beautiful young woman and proposed marriage. He offered her a considerably increased life-style and many advantages - even to make her the FIRST LADY of all the earth - for this personage was GOD. And all the earth was his!"
The article goes on to quote numerous Old Testament scriptures on how the nation of Israel disobeyed God, committed adultery, and how God divorced her. It is interesting that in this article HWA used many of the arguments that had been used by the critics of his divorce/remarriage doctrine in the sixties and early seventies - arguments that HWA rejected at that time.
Many reporters and WCG observers have been quick to see the irony in his filing for divorce. HWA had, for decades, showed no mercy to those living in unhappy marriages. Divorce was strictly forbidden by the WCG - even to the extent that many members previously divorced and remarried were required by the WCG to dissolve their present marriages. But by the mid-seventies, HWA, a widower, was lonely. He began dating Ramona Martin, who became a frequent member of the Armstrong entourage. Eyewitness members of Armstrong's jet-set evangelistic team have reported that the Herbert-Ramona relationship then was anything but platonic. Herbert wanted to get married, but Ramona was a divorcee with a son by her previous marriage, her "ex" was still alive and evangelist Rod Meredith had once ruled that she could not remarry because of those circumstances.
What to do? What to do?
In 1976, a year or more after the Ramona-Herbert trysts began, Herbert Armstrong decreed that God had shown him "new doctrinal truth." From henceforth the WCG would accept "new converts in whatever marital state they enter the Church.... A previously divorced person who has entered fellowship is free to remarry within the church" (Los Angeles Times, 4/22/82, p. 12, part II). Then about a year after this change, HWA married Ramona. Although he had (for over two years) advised his father against the marriage, Garner Ted Armstrong himself performed the marriage ceremony. But GTA has never been able to fully accept his father's new wife. In fact, some of those sympathetic to Ramona feel he played a part in sabotaging the marriage. Ever since he became convinced that his father wanted to marry Ramona, Garner Ted had been relentless in behind-her-back attacks on her reputation. Many ministers were more than a little embarrassed at Ted's snide remarks - many of which dealt with extremely intimate details of a sexual nature. Many openly wondered how Ted could possibly have come into such information and what his true motivations were in divulging what he did.
Those close to Ted, however, feel his distrust of Ramona was quite justfied. Many observers are convinced she was more loyal to Stan Rader than to HWA. And as we reported in a previous issue, it was a secret tape recording of a Stan Rader-Ramona conversation taped by the Dean brothers that was responsible for the sacking of Stan Rader. Insiders claim that it was also that tape recording that was responsible for the Herbert-Ramona marriage going sour.
Whatever the full story (which we'll probably never hear), with the newspapers beating HWA to the punch, he was finally forced to admit the divorce petition in a letter to his co-workers. Buried in a co-worker letter (dated April 21, 1982) dealing mainly with nuclear war, Herbert informed his followers:
"It has been determined by events, facts and fruits that I am not spiritually bound by God and only by man's law of this world.
"Circumstances now render it ill-advised that I condone the continuation of the legal marriage, both from the Church point of view and of my own....
"God HATES divorce. So do I. I have gone to every effort to prevent this...
"This determination SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A PRECEDENT TO ENCOURAGE OR JUSTIFY OTHER DIVORCES IN THE CHURCH." [Emphasis his.]
The press (Los Angeles Times, April 22; the Pasadena Star-News, April 22 and April 28; the Globe, June 1, etc.) has been quick to point out the dichotomies in HWA's statements. When one considers the statements HWA has made over the years, it's difficult not to be a bit cynical. In a letter to the "brethren of God's Church," April 18, 1977, HWA wrote about Ramona:
"And God now has graciously provided the wife to be constantly at my side - a woman truly led by God's Holy Spirit. We have given the matter much time, to be sure it has grown into true love and like-minded rapport, as well as definitely sure it is God's will."
In the July 1977 Plain Truth HWA wrote about Ramona:
"And I shall never be able to thank God enough for selecting her and sending her to me and causing the very real and deep love that has grown in each of us for the other. God knew the help I needed by my side to accomplish His Work for the remainder of my life - for both of our lives...."
No wonder that when the press first found out about the divorce, church spokesmen had very little to say to them except that HWA's reasons for the divorce were "very biblical." But while the church's ministers were stymied for a logical comment and while HWA danced through the Old Testament prophets trying to justify his divorce, it was humorous to read Dick Lloyd's April 28 article in the Pasadena Star-News. In it he quoted I Cor. 7:10-16, which states that "the husband should not divorce his wife." One would think most WCG members would begin to question who is "witnessing" to whom. Not so. While a few wondered at HWA's divorce action, the vast majority of WCG members seem to see no problem with it at all. As long-time member Wayne Pyle told the Star-News: "There is no question in our mind that Mr. Armstrong is the apostle of Jesus Christ . He is our leader." (Editor: For more HWA divorce information see "Late New" at the end of this issue.)
HERBERT ARMSTRONG HONORED
We found this paragraph in the April 12, 1982, issue of The Worldwide News in an article entitled "HWA meets officials in Europe, Middle East- (p. 1):
"Sabbath morning, April 3, Mr. Armstrong was visited by His Beatitude Deodoros, the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. The patriarch conferred one of the oldest orders in the world on the pastor general, who was the 131st recipient in the 1,546 years [sic] of the order. It was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine I in A.D. 336."
No further details were given.
The June 7, 1982, Worldwide News reported (p. 1) that HWA attended the May 22 Vladimir Horowitz piano recital in London. While there, HWA was to introduced to Prince Charles. They spoke for only one minute, but afterward HWA was reintroduced to the Prince of Wales, and they chatted for a bit longer. The Worldwide News says that the second introduction was initiated by two men: Klaus Moser, chairman of the Royal Opera House, and "Jacob Rothschild, a prominent member of the Rothschild family in England. The same article (paragraph one) stated that HWA will be meeting with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. That meeting is tentatively scheduled for mid-summer.
While HWA was able to meet with many highly influential leaders on his recent trip to Europe and the Middle East, he was disappointed that Jordan's King Hussein cancelled out on a previously hoped-for meeting. We understand the king cancelled the meeting shortly after receiving in the mail a copy of David Robinson's book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web.
RALPH HELGE REBUKES JACK KESSLER
In our last issue we ran a substantial portion of a letter written by Jack Kessler to the WCG's council of elders. Since the publication of Kessler's letter, the WCG has responded, in a limited way, to some of Kessler's accusations. We have been disappointed that the WCG has not been able to offer denials to the more serious accusations made by Kessler. But we are not surprised to discover there were evidently some facts omitted by Kessler in his letter. The WCG's side of the story has been put forth by Mr. Ralph Helge in the April 1-2 issue of The Worldwide News (page 3). Mr. Helge, for many years one of HWA's most devoted followers, has finally had that loyalty recognized and has, since Stan Rader's removal, taken over as chief legal counsel for HWA. We have no reason to believe he fabricated these statements he has made on behalf of the church. In all fairness to the WCG, we think it's important to also present their side in the Kessler dispute. Here is a key excerpt from Mr. Helge's article:
The very day that another person's resignation was demanded, [we assume Rader is meant here] that other person unilaterally signed a contract with the accounting firm of Kessler & Kessler, one Kessler of which was the author of the "leaked" letter. The other Kessler is his wife.
The contract provided that Mr. Kessler was to serve as a consultant in the furnishing of advice in the area of accounting with the Church, for a period of rive years, at the tune of $12,500 per month. An additional sum was to be paid should the demands of the Church upon his unique expertise become too taxing.
Apparently it was felt that the auditing and accounting services of Arthur Andersen, one of the world's largest accounting firms, was either not capable of handling the task, or it was necessary to have Mr. Kessler's continued involvement for other reasons.
The contract was immediately delivered to the Accounting Department with instructions to commence issuing checks to the Kessler firm. Two such checks were issued. Once the Church investigation uncovered the Kessler contract, the checks were ordered stopped. Mr. Kessler was advised that the Church did not consider the contract binding upon it and refused to honor the same.
The newspaper reports that Mr. Kessler does not know why he was excommunicated and suggested it might be because of his "friendship with Mr. [Stanley R.] Rader" or because of his "unwillingness to lie about Stanley Rader." Mr. Kessler omits his accusing the Church of "treachery" because it refused to honor the five-year contract.
It appears now that the decision not to honor his contract was not only legally and financially sound but providential. For now we must ask the question, if the Church had honored it, would some other person be accusing the Church today of "bribery" to prevent the leaking of accusations in the "leaked" letter?
Further, it seems appropriate to comment here that the Church did not and does not have to request lies from anyone. The Church does not need to deal in lies. The Church is only interested in attempting to document the actual facts so as to defend itself from the false accusations of its accusers.
One of the first areas of inquiry with Arthur Andersen was to seek their advice as to the appropriateness of financial expenditures between the Church and the Ambassador Foundation. The commencement of the inquiry must have touched a nerve because promptly a fiery telex was received from Mr. Kessler.
As of March 1, 1982, he certainly felt there was no basis for the "leaked" letter accusations because he stated:
"The question was asked whether they thought there was any impropriety in the Church's giving funding to the foundation in order for the foundation to carry on its activities... to me it's embarrassing for Church officials to wonder aloud whether we're committing some major fraud of this nature. There was no need to ask Arthur Andersen what they thought since they have just given us completely unqualified opinions two years in a row."
It is surprising he now chooses to ignore the exonerating effect of Arthur Andersen's two years of "unqualified opinions."
The Church's investigation also uncovered a matter that caused it grave concern. It uncovered the existence of two corporations in Nevada that had ostensible legal authority to appoint a successor to Mr. Armstrong in the event of his inability to govern the Church.
Neither Mr. Armstrong, nor the ministers whom he looked to for aid in spiritually guiding the Church, nor I, who served as house counsel for the Church for years, had any knowledge of these two corporations. There has been absolutely no satisfactory documented legal evidence that any of such persons would have had any legal control whatsoever of these corporations.
Mr. Kessler was one of the attorneys who created these corporations and who was named as a director of one of them. The other directors were people in his office who were not members of the Church. Only after the many demand letters by the Church upon Mr. Kessler or his associates, attempting to effectuate the immediate dissolution of these corporations, and only after many dilatory responses, and only after the preparation of the pleadings by the Church of a lawsuit to force their dissolution, were documents received from Mr. Kessler's office that permitted the dissolution of the two corporations without the need of filing a lawsuit.
Demands were then made to commence recovering of all corporate moneys, records and property from Mr. Kessler and some of the former officials and employees. An accounting was requested from Mr. Kessler for Church moneys that were in his possession.
In due time a statement was received from one of Mr. Kessler's firms, which sought to account for $150,000 of the funds that had come into his possession on behalf of the Church. After deducting expenditures on behalf of the Church, including a claim for attorney's fees in the sum of $28,562.50, he conceded there was $13.82 due the Church.
It was necessary that another demand go out to him asking for a breakdown of the services justifying said fee.
A demand was also made that the thousands of dollars of law books the Church had purchased and that were in the library in the Century City office should be returned to the Church.
Mr. Kessler responded, castigating Mr. Armstrong for even suggesting that they should be returned. He contended that a former official of the Church had a right to have the books remain there, under his contract, so he could furnish advice if and when he was called upon to do so.
The Church considers this as a totally untenable excuse. As of this date the books have still not been returned.
A demand for an accounting was also made against the assistant of one of the persons whose resignation was demanded. The demand was for an accounting for expense money during a trip overseas. It was in the approximate sum of $43,000.
Response then came from the assistant that if he was not reinstated to the Church, reinstated to the position previously
held by him, given full back salary, an apology made by Church officials, etc., etc., that he would disclose a rumor of a confidential nature.
Upon refusal to be intimidated, a second demand for an accounting was sent. A letter was then received from Mr. Kessler saying that he was representing the assistant. He then demanded after serving as auditor of the Church's books for eight years, the right to look at the Church's books. He claimed the assistant could easily account for the money, but as of this date no accounting has been seen, much less return of any of the moneys....
Is it possible that some of the motives behind the "leaked" letter are to engender such harassment that former dismissed personnel would be, along with Mr. Kessler, drafted back into the ranks of the Church with its financial blessings?
Could it be possible that a motive would be to create an ostensible furor of problems? A furor so great it would prove beyond a doubt that the Church could only have achieved its present position of power and prestige due to the acumen of some of the formerly discharged persons?...
Still the Same Ol' GTA
Tune in to one of Garner Ted Armstrong's telecasts and you'll agree he's changed very little in the last few years. Perhaps that is one reason why so many of those who followed Ted out of the WCG no longer are willing to be his "dumb sheep." GTA's Church of God, International, is having significant defections to the Church of God (7th Day), the Biblical Church of God, and other Sabbatarian churches.
In a recent letter to his followers Ted dropped the price of his book Peter's Story from $14.45 to $9.95. He claimed this was being done because of a lack of storage space at the CGI's large new corporate headquarters building in Tyler. The fact is Ted is stuck with too many unsold and unsellable copies of his book. Peter's Story is admittedly a novel. Ted's fans, it seems, are more interested in learning about the Bible than in reading fiction - even if authored by the former religion superstar.
Ever since we've known GTA, we've been amazed at his knack for alienating people. Here are two letters we received from readers who've left the GTA church, along with correspondence they received from GTA himself. We think you'll find them enlightening:
"Dear Ambassador Report:
"I recently left Garner Ted's CGI organization. Around that time I sent Ted a letter explaining why I was leaving - Ted's public drunkenness and enjoying a huge salary while people were sacrificing time and money for his support. After writing that letter I left and shortly after joined the 7th-Day Church of God.
"Well, imagine my surprise when I got a letter from Ted threatening me with legal action. I don't know why he feels so endangered by what I said. I guess he wanted to scare me into submission. But everything I told him can be found in the Tuit and Robinson hooks and in the personal testimonies of former WCG and CGI members. I don't know why he threatened me unless he's just blowing off hot air.
"I read in Hinson's Broadway to Armageddon Armstrong expose that Ted and his dad would send out threatening letters to intimidate people who were fighting them over health care for children of church members (when one mate wasn't a member and another was, etc.). This letter proves that Ted is following in his father's footsteps. Like father, like son.
...People should know how vicious this man can he. We should know the truth about our so-called religious leaders so we may support men who are truthful and sincere. "
(Reply from GTA.)
"Your letter sickened me and, humanly, I must admit it also made me quite angry.
"However, upon reflection, I feel I should he sad, rather than angered, for you are only hurting yourself and your wife by avidly devouring, and then swallowing wholesale, false rumors.
"I honestly do not remember exactly what the question was on the talk show to which you referred in St Louis - but I do specifically remember the exact nature of all of the 'difficulties' back in 1971-72. l also still have in my possession the original articles that appeared in Time magazine, the letters from my father, and between my father and myself. Never did one word pass between us, nor were any such 'confessions' made either privatly, before the church, or before the public media back about 11 or 12 years ago.
"You seem to feel that it is incumbent upon a man of God to go about through his life continually telling people how 'guilty' he is for alleged 'sins' in the past. If this is your criterion - I hope you find some human being, somewhere, whom you can follow in good conscience.
"Your information on my salary is absolutely wrong! I take no salary from the Evangelistic Association. Your salary figures are more than $10,000 higher than my annual salary! I make no apology. for my present salary, which is still less than I was promised by Stanley Rader to 'keep my mouth shut' if I would merely receive their $50,000 salary per year, say nothing to the press, or the church. My father's current salary is $563,000 per year, by the way.
"Whoever said I was seen 'staggering out of a bar' in Tyler is an unregenerate, unmitigated, deliberate liar! I would be exceedingly happy to call such a person so to his face, or, if you would care to identify the individual, and I can determine that such a statement was made in the presence of at least two persons, I will instruct my attorneys both in California and here in Tyler to institute proceedings against such an individual, or individuals, immediately.
"The allegation that 'drugs were sold' in the place is utterly ridiculous. If you, as a so-called Christian (and your letter your conclusions, your willingness to listen to rumor, swallow them wholesale and then attack someone as a result are anything hut Christian), were to avoid all places where 'drugs are sold' you would never again he able to frequent any restaurants that had bars or lounges in connection, hotels, bus stations, department stores, cafeterias, or public street corners!
"I presume you buy your groceries in a modem grocery store or supermarket What horrible connections I could make about your character by starting rumors about the fact that you and your wife trade for your groceries where 'pornography is sold'! (How scandalous!)
'Frankly, Mr. - - - - -- I do not want your support.
"You do not judge me - but Almighty God IS JUDGING YOU! He is judging you every day, and He certainly judges your spirit and your attitude for willingly swallowing malicious and slanderous gossip, assuming it is true, and then deliberately attacking someone without even identifying your source!
"The only 'support' I wish is from those individuals who voluntarily have submitted their lives to Almighty God, who know that in Jesus Christ is complete and total forgiveness for all sins, past and present who are concerned about doing the work of God and utterly abhor the malicious milieu of gossip, slander false accusation posturings, vicious rumor, character assassination and evil surmisings that is the stock in trade of those individuals who give their minds over to demonic influences and satanic attitudes.
"If you intend spreading these malicious rumors any further, and I hear that you have said so orally or in writing, please regard this letter as putting you on notice that you are responsible for every word you say about the character of another individual Please do not feel you am somehow immune, for you are not."
-Garner Ted Armrstrong
Another reader wrote us:
"After receiving back copies of the Report I thought that a letter I wrote to GTA back in May 1981, and his answer to me might be of interest to your readers.... I think you will quickly see the techniques he uses to put the guilt on the other person instead of himself. I wrote that letter at the urging of our local CGI minister. Obviously he had heard that GTA was trying to get back into the WCG, too. Ironically, I had been praying fervently for God to show me the real GTA, what he was really like. I got my answer! It didn't seem to matter to him that I was trying to support the gospel on a bring-home pay of $543.00 a month [needed] to support my ill hushand and myself. He just felt sorry for himself because he couldn't get along on $42,500 [a year] Incidentally, the $47,000 that I mentioned in my letter came from my minister. He had told me that because of others asking him about the $60,000 that you had written in the Report. He had asked GTA himself how much his salary was, and that is what GTA told him. I think GTA got a lot of flack about the raise and backed down on it. In no way do I think he will tell the truth about it. His attitude toward the peons that support him comes out plainly in his letter. Consequently, we no longer support him or his work."
(Following is a letter to GTA from the above.)
"Recently a lot has been in the papers and other publications concerning your return to Worldwide. I have also met some WCG members at the grocery store, and they seem to think you are secretly negotiating with your father to return to their group. I realize you have denied that such is true, but you have denied things before which later turned out to be true.
"In view of that, I would like to say if you do return it will he proof that you were never sincere in saying that you established CGI because you wanted to get the gospel out to the world but in fact you did it for the glory and the power of being before the public again. What will they offer you that will cause you to swallow your pride and crawl back? Your own TV broadcasts, a huge salary again or your own plane? How long are your going to be a yo-yo on HWA's string? You ought to let them join us/you instead. Personally, I think it would be a very dumb thing to return.
"My feelings, and the feelings of the brethren that I have heard, are that you will have to go back alone. We did not follow you out and we will not follow you back. We don't have to have an Armstrong lead us! As I remember none of the apostles were called Armstrong.
"I also heard that you had given yourself another raise (the Board may have voted for it but you accepted it didn't you?). $47,000 is a very good salary for two people, since your sons are also on the payroll and you can't count them as dependents. If this were a profit-making business, I would say you deserved that much, but since it comes firm monies donated for the preaching of the gospel, I think there ought to he a limit set for salaries of the ministry. Salaries ought not to he tied to increase in income to the Church. It isn't fair to raise your salaries when the income goes up while writing letters to the members telling them that the income is low. Why should I sacrifice and do without to bring up the income of the church when you turn around and take it out again by increasing your salaries? I might as well keep it for myself! We are not sending in our tithes and offerings so you can increase your salaries. One of the most effective ministers you have is not even on salary and yet his area is increasing greatly. We want the increase in income to go toward preaching the Gospel, not for higher salaries.
"I am afraid for you, Garner Ted that you are truly your father's son. You accuse us of not being removed far enough from the WCG, when it is you who has not gotten away from that type of thinking. We are not trying to build another Worldwide, or an empire for the ministry. We just want to fulfill our commission of getting the Gospel out to the world. We will do that whether you stay or leave. God is not dependent on you for that.
"On the broadcasts you spend too much time on mundane subjects that have nothing to do with the Gospel. There's too much politics. Look how much time you devoted to 'gun control,' and how little of the time on the Bible, Those comments are for news commentators, not for a minister on paid-for broadcasts. I agree with what you said, but it should not have been on the broadcasts. We've got too many politicians and news commentators already. The people who like to hear your comments on controversial subjects are not the type to become a member of the church.
"I know you hate to get this type of letter, but as long as you are a minister and in the public eye, you are going to have to get used to it. You are in the same position as any other public figure. You can't have the privacy a regular citizen has. As long as you are getting donations from the public, what you do is their business, especially as a minister. You can't have your cake and eat it too, as the saying goes. As long as I am a member of God's Church, I'm going to be a 'thorn in your side' so you might as well learn to love me. Remember, 'the wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy.'"
(Reply from GTA.)
"Dear Ms. - - - -,
"Your quotation about 'the wounds of a friend' I take very seriously. I hope you are ready to be severely wounded.
"Your first paragraph largely began by calling me a liar. I find the entire tone of your letter to be completely unchristian, and a clear violation of the principles of Jesus Christ in the sermon on the mount - smashing to bits the principles found in I Corinthians 13 where love 'believes the best.'
"Your comments concerning crawling back and having 'my own plane' are almost beneath contempt and not worthy of comment. Your comment concerning none of the apostles called 'Armstrong' is completely uncalled for, and unnecessary. I have never called myself an apostle, am utterly unable to do a thing about my name, and hereby tell you that I will not commit suicide in order to give you a moment of satisfaction.
"I don't care whether you have heard about my giving myself 'another raise' or not - what you heard is clearly wrong. All of the rest of the statements concerning your sacrificing and the redundant comments about tithes and offerings are utterly ludicrous in the light of the fact that I have not had a raise in more than two years. If and when I receive one, it will be without apology to you or others like you. Your comments on the broadcasts are rejected. For you to take issue with my comments concerning gun control in the wake of an attempted assassination of the President of the United States are trite, small-minded and utterly beside the point. Jesus Christ of Nazareth would have been criticized very severely by yourself for daring to speak about such mundane things as the weather, quaint stories, parables and analogies, accidents, or simple human affairs.
"I disagree with you entirely that I am a 'public figure.' I am not elected by the public, nor am I paid by the public. I can and will have the same privacy you have, and I insist upon it. Your comment that 'as long as you are getting donations from the public, what you do is their business' is utterly superfluous. Very few 'in the public' send money to this work. Largely, we are supported by the tithes and offerings of those who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and believe that we are preaching the gospel as effectively as possible. If you do not believe that, I would strongly suggest you do whatever you intend doing about it, but do not delude yourself for one moment that you have cast yourself in the role of some perpetual 'thorn in my side' who may freely attack malign, condemn, persecute and criticize.
"You simply do not know what you are talking about. Your letter shows not one iota of true humility, brought about by constant closeness to God and continual prayer. Rather it shows carnal-minded leapings to conclusions, quickness to condemn eagerness to criticize, and a sardonic attitude of contemptuousness toward me personally, [that] one would expect to find among feminists, or emanating from the likes of Madeline Murray O'Hare. May the Eternal God clean up and straighten out your mind. It is people like you who make me wrestle and agonize within myself and in prayer with God over why I am doing what I am doing - why I didn't take the offer made to me of a salary which today would have been $300,000, instead of earning a salary of $42,500 (that's right!) which is still several thousand dollars less than Stanley Rader promised me merely to keep my mouth shut. Believe me, if the majority of the members and supporters of the Church of God, International felt as you do, it would be taken by myself as the clearest indication that I should have done just that.
"Inflation robs my wife and me just as it robs you. I have had only one 'cost of living increase' in the nearly three years of doing this new beginning in God's work. As a practical matter of fact, I have never had a 'raise,' since the increase did not even keep me even with inflation for that one year. Presumably, you would demand that I have a small or moderate salary, and that that salary is not increased for the next ten, fifteen or twenty years, meaning that my personal living standard that of my wife would go in an ever downward spiral until we were living at the poverty level.
"I know you would violently disagree with the sacred word of the Eternal God who says very clearly that those who labor in the word are worthy of double remuneration! But that is your problem between yourself and God, not my problem."
Garner Ted Armstrong
One can't really quibble with GTA's argument about inflation. But with regard to his remark about deserving "double remuneration," one must ask, "Double what remuneration?" Two times the minimum wage? Two times a corporation president's salary? Paul didn't say, but in his day it probably meant an extra pair of sandals and an extra basket of food a week. Actually the term "double remuneration" is GTA's own pet translation of I Tim. 5:17. The Englishman's Greek New Testament, the translators of the KJV, the RSV, the NASB, and Beck's version say an elder should be considered worthy of "double honor." Moffatt's version says "worthy of ample remuneration," while Williams' version says "elders who do their duties well should be considered as deserving twice the salary they get." However, to avoid the charge of profiting from the church, the apostle Paul labored as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3) so he would not be "chargeable" to his congregation (I Thes. 2:9; 1 Cor. 9:11-12). But be that as it may, we frankly have no gripes about GTA's salary. What we do find remarkable, however, is GTA's contemptuous attitude toward his followers.
When dealing with any statement made by Garner Ted Armstrong, we have found from experience that one has to be not only aware of his proclivities for exaggeration and intimidation but also aware of his frequent distortion of facts. For instance, take the $300,000-offer story. We've heard it before, and we don't believe a word of it. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the broadcasting industry knows that you couldn't find one broadcasting executive anywhere who, in his right mind, would offer GTA that kind of money for any extended period of time. GTA likes to fantasize he's another Dan Rather, Johnny Carson, or Paul Harvey, but deep down he also knows that any job in the secular media would deprive him of his fans - his badly needed vanity fix. Take away the Armstrong junkees from GTA and he becomes an empty shell, as pathetic as any burned-out, aging rock star or over-the-hill nightclub comic. Recall GTA's embarrassing 1976 performance on "Hee Haw" (hee haw, hee haw)?
Another example of his dishonesty: While it is evident that GTA is not a "public official" (and let us be thankful for that), he is very clearly a "public figure." What other conclusion could one come to about an individual who buys time on radio and television nationally to talk, as though an authority, on every conceivable area of human life?
Paul P. Ashley in Say It Safely, a law book dealing with libel and privacy laws, wrote (p. 83):
"A well-known college football coach accused of bribery and a retired army general who had taken prominent controversial positions regarding segregation were each found by the Supreme Court to be public figures. Other persons held to come within the rule included nonincumbent candidates for public office, a captain in a sheriff's office, the chairman of a political party, a judicial candidate, a labor leader, and a Nobel prize winner. By engaging in public discussion of controversial matters, these individuals all became 'public figures' and their ability to recover damages in a defamation action was limited by the Times rule...."
It is not difficult to understand why the courts have ruled as they have on defining what a "public figure" is. After all, those with access to the media (politicians, talk show hosts, news commentators, sports stars, TV preachers, etc.) exercise great power to influence people and have much opportunity to defend themselves against their critics (just one reason why so many privacy rulings do not apply to them). Many also have great power to raise money from the public. The law recognizes their position is different from that of the average private citizen. If Ted wanted all the privacy privileges that go with being a private citizen, he should have taken himself off radio and television.
As for GTA's claim that his contributions are not part of "the public," where does he think his contributors come from? The moon? Perhaps his nonsensical assertion is nothing more than a Freudein slip revealing an attitude. After all, "dumb sheep" aren't really fully human, are they?
As for GTA's suicide comment, neither the lady in question nor anyone else we know of has suggested he take any such action. Yet the idea of suicide has crept into GTA's correspondence and sermons more and more for at least 12 years now, and once, more than 10 years ago, he wrote a "suicide note," of which we have a copy. GTA's followers would do well to ask themselves, "What kind of man is this that we follow?"
And incidentally, Ted is still quietly trying to reestablish himself with the WCG. Just a few weeks ago, in an attempt at ingratiating himself with his father, he sent HWA a package. Tyler insiders say it contained documents that put Stan Rader in a negative light. The peace offering, however, seems to have had little effect on HWA, who still wants Ted's will broken completely before he is allowed back into the WCG's hierarchy.
Something You Can Do
We frequently receive letters from readers asking what they can do to help make the real story known about Herbert Armstrong and his organization. Frankly, we don't try to encourage people to spend excessive time or money fighting Armstrongism. Nevertheless, a little concern for others and a little effort - when intelligently directed - often goes a long way toward waking up those mesmerized by the mirage on the Armstrong desert. In our letters section this month, as in the past there are some excellent suggestions along this line. But here is a suggestion we think is particularly worthwhile.
Dave Robinson, the author of Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, recently called us with an offer concerning his book. The Robinson book is one of the most shocking, eye-opening exposes ever done on Herbert Armstrong. It is well documented with first person, eyewitness accounts. The book currently sells for $10 each when ordered directly from John Hadden publishers. But Robinson says he would like to get copies into the hands of many more people. He, therefore, is making this offer:
If readers will send him $1.50 per copy ordered (i.e., $3 for two copies), to cover postage and handling, he will send up to two copies of his book to each public or institutional library of your choice Of course, when ordering be sure to include the correct name(s) and address(es) of the libraries you wish to receive the books.
We think this is an excellent way to help others get the whole story on HWA - and at very little cost. The address to write to is: John Hadden Publishers, P.O. Box 35982, Tulsa, OK 74135.
"Plain Truth" - or Just "Plain Trash"?
For almost five decades The Plain Truth (PT) magazine has been under Herbert Armstrong's direction. During that time, the magazine has switched from a preachy, flee-from-the-wrath-soon-to-come format to a quasi-secular, right-wing fundamentalist news commentary format with articles having heavy moralizing overtones.
But throughout all the decades one PT subject has gone essentially unaltered: Herbert's prophesied chain of events to occur before Christ's second coming. All his prophecies hinge on a new Roman Empire arising, consisting of ten nations, headed by an Italian or German nazi-fascist leader, and dominated by the Catholic church.
For 50 years his readers have waited expectantly for his awesome prophecies to come to pass, and for 50 years they have waited in vain. President Reagan is begging the American public to allow at least 2 years for his economic policies to begin working, while in contrast, Herbert has had half a century and is still telling his followers to wait longer. You can therefore imagine our surprise when we read the following in the Feb. 1982 PT:
"Since 1934... The Plain Truth, under the editorship of Herbert W. Armstrong, has announced in advance many of the major developments of our time - years in advance of their actual fulfillment. Our guide has been the pages of Bible prophecy" (p. 26).
Keith Stump, the author of that preposterous statement, apparently has overlooked these incredible prophecies made by Herbert in the PT:
- Soon after 1936 will come the heavenly signs and the day of the Lord (June-July '34, p. 5).
- The Great Tribulation started in 1929 (June-July '34, p. 4).
- Mussolini is the beast (Feb. '38, p. 3).
- France and Germany will soon form a new alliance to guarantee peace in Europe (Mar. '38, p. 6).
- Mussolini's armies will enter into Palestine and capture half of Jerusalem (Mar. '38, p. 8).
- Mussolini will emerge as the # 1 leader over Hilter (Jan. '39, p. 4).
- War leading to Christ's return may start in six weeks (Aug. '39, p. 6).
- The U.S. and Britain will soon be invaded and conquered (Nov.-Dec. '40, p. 7).
- Hitler will be the victor in the Russian invasion (Sept.-Oct. '41, p. 7).
- Plagues are coming in about 2 years. "Rabid foxes, squirrels, muskrats will attack our children" (Apr. '56, p. 22).
Imagine our amusement when we discovered that old-timer Rod Meredith had also recently insisted that Herbert's prophecies were accurate and that "throughout the war [World War II], one voice made sense out of it all.... Herbert W. Armstrong" (PT, Dec. 1980, p. 28). From the above excerpts of Herbert's prophecies, could any rational person claim Herbert's predictions "made sense"? But Meredith continues:
"Mr. Armstrong's message is unique. No one else has been used of God to unveil and preach these prophecies to the world in the way Herbert Armstrong has.... But he and he alone - backed up by this worldwide Work that God has used him to establish - has made plain the specific big events involving Britain, the United States, Western Europe, the Middle East... ."
As shown above, Herbert's predictions and great insight have been plain all right - plain garbage! But Meredith keeps right on writing without even flinching, referring to Herbert as an "obviously dedicated and balanced man of God." But if Herbert was indeed a man of God, why did God pull the plug on him, so to speak, and allow all of his major prophecies to fail? In other words, can a good tree - symbolizing a true prophet in Christ's analogy - bear "evil" fruit (Matt 7:15-23)?
Meredith proceeds to point out several examples where Herbert supposedly made accurate predictions over the last 50 years. Let's look at a few of Meredith's examples. First he says Herbert correctly foretold that Russia and China would not conquer the U.S., nor would "the Arab nations either." The Arab nations? What? They can't even defeat little Israel. But let's be honest and give credit where credit is due. Herbert is right so far. Of course Meredith conveniently forgot to remind his readers that Herbert had said in the PT that a 10-nation European power bloc under Hitler-Mussolini would conquer and destroy Britain and America in the early 1940s (Nov.-Dec. '40, pp. 2, 7; Sept.- Oct. '41, p. 7; Mar-Apr. '42, p. 11; etc.). Having already said it would be a European power bloc, obviously he couldn't turn around and say Russia and China would attack Britain and the U.S. So though (at least so far) Russia and China haven't attacked the U.S., his major prophecy about the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon people has simply failed to occur.
According to Meredith and Stump, Herbert has more successful prophecies to crow about. They say Herbert foretold that "the German nation would emerge, phoenix-like, from the ashes of defeat to become a major economic - and ultimately military - power in the Western world.... Post-war history has shown who was right!"
It wasn't Herbert!
Of course there are now two German nations, and only West Germany is a major world economic power. But neither one of them could be considered a major military power in the same league with the US., U.S.S.R., Britain, China, or France because neither Germany possesses any nuclear capability. (WCG writers always seem to overlook these "minor" points.) Even though the West German economic miracle is well-known, it was easily foreseen due to the traditional German characteristics of diligent work and a strong will to survive and due to the generous help the Germans received under the Marshall Plan. Stump and Meredith never bother to tell their readers this, nor do they mention the rest of Herbert's prophecy about the Germans. Not only did everything he said about Germany from 1934 through 1944 fail miserably, but his post-war predictions about a revived nazi-fascist Germany leading a 10-nation European power bloc that would attack and destroy Britain and the U.S. "as early as the spring of 1972" also utterly failed to materialize (PT, Oct.'58, p. 4; Feb.'62, pp. 5,7; Sept.'64, p. 20; May' 65, p. 45; June' 67, p. 2; etc.). So we see that the central core of his prediction failed even though West Germany did rise to economic prominence.
But when you get right down to it, it should have been obvious that this would happen. Why? All the major world powers except for the U.S. had been ravaged by World War II. Beginning in 1945, they all began rebuilding at the same time. Which nations would you have logically picked to become economic giants? Chile? El Salvador? Cuba? Greece? Turkey? Burma? Egypt? Poland? Liberia? Of course not. If you had much of a background in history and economics, you'd have picked France, Britain, Germany, the U.S.S.R., Japan, perhaps China, Canada, or Switzerland. So it didn't necessitate any great surprising revelation from God to cause Herbert to make a general statement that Germany would be a future major economic power. After all, Germany had a highly sophisticated intelligentsia, advanced technological and economic know-how, and a skilled labor force imbued with the Protestant work ethic - not to mention a favorable climate, access to the sea, a strategic location, and adequate natural resources.
Let's look at another HWA prophecy. Stump reports that Herbert wrote that the U.N. "never will be able to give the world any permanent world peace." How much of a "divine revelation" would it have taken to come to that conclusion? Since history shows that war is one of the commonest human experiences, even without Herbert's divine crystal ball it would have been only logical that the U.N. would fail to bring permanent world peace. In fact, that was what many U.N. critics predicted. By the Korean war, it should have been obvious to all.
The PT has, "virtually from its inception, alerted its readers to the growing importance of the Middle East, the focal point of Bible prophecy," writes Stump. The PT has been correct about this broad trend - and so have most other Christian religions that bothered to talk about prophecy. But when Herbert got into specifies about the Mideast, he prognosticated that Mussolini would capture Egypt, conquer one half of Jerusalem and fight Christ at his second coming (Jan. '39, p. 4). He said Turkey would help cause Britain's defeat in World War II but that God would cause Turkey to be wiped out (Nov.-Dec. '40, p. 2,7). In the June '67 PT (P. 2) he claimed "there will very soon be a Temple in Jerusalem...." Not one of these events occurred!
Further, Herbert didn't foresee the infighting between the Shiite and Sunni Moslems. He never predicted the present-day role of Syria, the Palestine Liberation Organization, or Libya's Qadhafi. He didn't forecast Saudi Arabia's oil wealth and worldwide influence, the role of OPEC, or Sadat's unprecedented trip to Jerusalem. So we see Herbert actually missed all the significant Mideast events and was wrong on all the major trends he claimed to foresee. So what if he "alerted" his readers to watch the Mideast?
Next Stump declares that the PT has long warned there would "eventually come a time of increasing upset weather patterns, drought of unprecedented magnitude, floods, earthquakes, and famines." What he neglects to remind his readers is that for decades the PT has spotlighted major worldwide weather calamities to prove God was unleashing his wrath against a sinful world. But the fact that the PT can point to a major weather calamity ever so often proves nothing of the kind. We challenge Stump to show us a single year since Adam and Eve when there were not several major hurricanes, droughts, famines, floods, or earthquakes somewhere in the world. The PT's shocking "Prophetic revelations" are akin to predicting that the sun will rise and set once a day and then claiming great insight for having said so.
Every year the U.S. has dozens of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and areas affected by drought. But for years the PT writers have appeared to be ignorant of this and have tried to prove the end of the world was near by focusing on several major weather upsets that hit the U.S. The PT gave full-color coverage to - get this now - a tornado in Jonesboro, Arkansas (July '68), hurricane Beulah (Nov. '67), floods in the norhtern U.S. (June '69), hurricane Camille (Oct. '69), etc. The PT would have its audience believe that these were specific weather upsets sent by God to punish Americans for their sins, but in reality major weather upsets have been occurring regularly in the U.S. and the rest of the whole world throughout recorded history.
But again Stump neglected to mention (poor research or deliberate distortion?) that Herbert's weather predictions always said that major upsets would lead to "a revolution in the weather - leading to unprecedented famine by around 1970-72" (Feb. '62, pp. 5, 7). So when Stump implies Herbert's weather predictions have been fulfilled simply by the occurrence of bad hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, or floods, he is quoting Herbert's errant prophecies out of context. All one has to do is look at what those prophecies actually stated, and you will see they clearly have failed.
We could add several more examples of these distortions of fact that attempt to prove Herbert right, but we have shown beyond any reasonable doubt that when it comes to understanding the big events and main trends in world events, Herbert has missed the boat every time. Even major news analysts - without any alleged guidance from God - have hit the mark more often than Herbert. Yet the further off Herbert's predictions are, the more loudly the PT writers boast about his alleged successes.
Dishonesty and half-truths have no place in journalism, much less in a Christian-professing magazine purporting to be published by God's true church. Yet these characteristics have been trademarks of The Plain Truth for almost 50 years.
Another problem with the PT that we feel impelled to speak out against is the way the PT writers select certain events that seem to support their doomsday predictions and then play them up big. But when it becomes obvious that a selected event is not leading to a fulfillment of their prophecy, they omit any further mention of it so as not to shake the confidence of their tithepayers. For instance, the PT writers kept hinting that Hitler was still alive, in hiding, and might come back to lead a re-nazified German nation once again (Apr.'65, p. 7; May'65, p. 5). They kept pointing out how the Nazis went underground after World War II and were poised for a comeback soon (Mar.'62, p. 22; June '66, p. 17, etc.). Starting with the June 1966 issue and continuing through the Sept 1969 issue, the PT ran at least 7 articles about the NPD (a small German political party), hinting strongly that its success was evidence of soon-to-be-revived naziism in Germany that would once again take over Germany and destroy the U.S. and Britain. Today these isues are dead issues in the PT. Even Ambassador College news bureau researcher Werner Jebens, a German himself and an expert on naziism, thinks the church's Germany prophecies are total bunk, and he has said so to a number of people. But do you see any apologies in the PT for defaming the German people? No. In fact, HWA still teaches that Germany will destroy the U.S. and Britain in the near future. But where is the evidence?
Ambassador Report publishers Len and Margaret Zola recently returned from a business trip to Europe during which they spent considerable time in West Germany. They report: "During our stay in Germany we saw really no evidence of any kind of militaristic anti-American trends. Of course there are those who would like to see Germany become a nuclear-free zone. And many are concerned about the threat of nuclear war in Europe. But many more an staunchly pro-American. The reason is simple. U.S. presence in Germany saves that nation a great deal of money in defense expenditures and protects it from attack by the U.S.S.R. We were in Bonn, D|sseldorf, Cologne, at the University of Heidelburg, and in Bavaria. Whether talking to businessmen, professional people, students, blue-collar workers, or soldiers there was no doubt in our minds that the American presence in Germany is not only tolerated but welcomed. As for any neo-Nazi movement or massive arms buildup for an attack on the US., as HWA teaches-the idea is preposterous."
But Stump's defense of Herbert's amazing prophetic insight continues. For years the PT proclaimed that a "United Europe," consisting of a 10-nation alliance, "would yet coalesce into a single unified power." Since 1957, when the Common Market was formed, the PT proclaimed this would be the likely start of the alliance of the 10 kings of Revelation that would destroy the British and American nations by 1972 (Oct '58, p. 4; Feb. '67, p. 47, etc.). Now there are 10 Economic Community (EC) nations, but they are far from politically united, they have not destroyed the U.S., the pope is not guiding these 10 nations, and - note this - the EC ediface of unity is showing major cracks, something we bet you won't read big headlines about in the PT.
Don Cook, writing from Brussels, Belgium, for the L.A. Times, in an article titled "On 25th Birthday, EEC Finds Little to Celebrate," reports that "the European Economic Community has reached the 25th anniversary of its founding treaty beset by deadlocks, difficulties and a growing sense of political and economic atrophy - a time of hand-wringing, not bell-ringing." His gloomy assessment of the situation speaks of the EEC "being mired in the quicksands of national positions and problems that seem to make decisions impossible." He reminds his readers that Gaston Thorn, president of the EEC commission, has warned that the leaders cannot go on much longer failing to match deeds with words without sliding into "irreversible decline" toward economic protectionism and independent national policies.
If anyone doubts that The Plain Truth did indeed publish the nonsensical predictions we have quoted throughout this article, please do not write to us for copies of the originals. (We are not in the business of distributing Herbert Armstrong's literature.) Instead, write to The Plain Truth or to the Ambassador College library, asking for copies of the issues or photocopies of the articles referred to. After all, if The Plain Truth has really been as accurate as Keith Stump and Roderick Meredith claim, they should welcome your request.
Of course many who were around the WCG for the last two or three decades need no such proof. Even Garner Ted Armstrong - who, incidentally, still clings expectantly to some of his father's ill-conceived prophecies - has been forced to admit many of his father's predictions have not panned out. Here is what GTA wrote in The International News, April 1982:
"For more than 27 years, I have been shouting a warning to the nations of the world that a coming United States of Europe, led by a powerful, rearmed GERMANY is going to shock the people of the United States and the rest of the world!
"In hundreds of radio broadcasts, dozens of telecasts, many, many articles and booklets, I have continued to hammer away on the same theme.
"Two decades ago I thought the reunification of Germany, the dissolution of NATO, a rapid return to despotism and militarism in the European nations and a deep economic sickness striking the United States were much nearer than they really were.
"By 1966 I was trying to warn the peoples of God's church NOT to believe in '19-year time cycles,' and loudly proclaimed, during a Holy Day service in Bricket Wood, England, that God was perfectly able to protect His church wherever they were, rather than spiriting them away to some desert wilderness.
"From 1966 onward, I kept warning the church repeatedly NOT to 'depend on 1972.'
"The fateful month of January, 1972, came and went with absolutely nothing happening!"
But prophetic debacles are not something merely in The Plain Truth's past. In the June-July 1982 PT, there appeared this analysis of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands (p. 43):
"With the forcible takeover of the Falklands [by Argentina] we may be witnessing a key turning point in the fortunes of the descendants of Joseph [Britain, to HWA] in relation to the opposing powers! We are heading into the 'time of Jacob's trouble' (Jer. 30:7)."
In a P.S. to his April 21, 1982, letter to his followers, HWA wrote (and emphasis is his):
"DON'T BE SURPRISED IF THE BRITISH FLEET IS DESTROYED IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS! Gibraltar will come next, and already is in danger."
How do HWA and the PT get away, year after year, with such inane predictions, shoddy reporting, and total distortion of the facts? One reason is that many people are too lazy to check up on Herbert's 50-year record. Another answer is found in a Hitlerian principle Herbert has obviously adopted: If you tell a big enough lie often enough, some people will believe it. And so we expect that the PT will continue touting Herbert's prophetic nonsense, and its gullible readers will continue to feel superbly educated and informed for having drunk deeply of his amazing revelations.
Herbert claim to seek for enlightenment and wisdom - plain truth. But he made up his mind 50 years ago on what the Bible prophecies meant, and he refuses to reconsider his original premises, no matter how ridiculous they are shown to be. Indeed philosopher/writer Elbert Hubbard, whom Herbert used to read regularly (see Herbert's autobiography, pp. 86-89,1973 edition), tells both Herbert and the PT what their problem really is: "The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge."
As for those who read the so-called Plain Truth, the Bible gives this advice (Deut. 18:22 RSV): "When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him."
Basil Wolverton's Creativity Honored
Fans of Plain Truth illustrator Basil Wolverton will be pleased to know that the June 1982 issue of Epic Illustrated ("The Marvel Magazine of Fantasy & Science-Fiction") contained an excellent article on the late artist's life and work. Accompanying the biographical article by Ron Goulart were numerous Wolverton illustrations from "Spacehawk," "Planet of Terror," "Gateway to Horror," "They Crawl by Night," "The Eye of Doom," "The End of the World," "The Brain-Bats of Venus," and other comics Mr. Wolverton created. We even noticed one end-of-the-world illustration copyrighted "Ambassador Press." The issue can be ordered from Marvel Comics, 387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016. The price is $2.50.
You Need More Money?
Ambassador College employees in Pasadena were recently astonished by the latest crackdown on their privacy. College official Ellis LaRavia sent a memo to all Pasadena faculty members and employees demanding complete information on any "outside employment" they may have. The first question stated: "Please indicate if you ever do any work (for which you are compensated in any way) other than for the Church, College, or Foundation." The memo then required the recipients to give full details as to number of hours per month, regularity of work, name of employer, etc. Another question was: "Briefly state the reasons why you must do outside work (e.g., Do you need more money, and if so, why?)."
New Groups and Groups New to Us
"In Fairview Oklahoma, four Sabbath-keeping groups met together each Sabbath during April 1982. These four groups - Church of God, International; Church of God -7th Day (Denver); Biblical Church of God; and Believer's Faith Fellowship - have ignored differences and are promoting unity, harmony, and love between the brethren. A minister from one of the groups speaks each week so all can take turns. Meetings have been so successful that these combined meetings will continue indefinitely. Members are enthusiastic and are learning more of God's way of life from each other. Brethren say it is more of an incentive to attend each week on a regular basis and enjoy the new closeness we are all experiencing with one another...."
The Church of God Evangelistic Assn.
P.O. Box 722
Anadarko, OK 73005
P.O. Box 1311
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Verdict is a theological journal. We wish to draw your attention to their June 1981 issue (Vol. 4, No. 4) subtitled "Sabbatarianism Re-Examined." Anyone interested in the subject of Sabbath keeping will find this an interesting, if not highly valuable, publication, The bibliography alone is very enlightening. The cost of this 70-page issue is $1.00.
American Bible Society
New York, NY 10023
Those interested in the Bible, but not in denominations, may find this organization of interest. They offer a catalog of Bibles and Bible literature for sale.
Co-Publisher Gerringer Runs for Congress
Bob Gerringer, a co-publisher of Ambassador Report, is a candidate for the United States House of Representatives from California's 22nd Congressional District. Bob - who is a data processing manager for a large retailing chain and is married with two children - will be on the November ballot in the Pasadena-area district as a Libertarian.
The Libertarian Party (L.P.) is America's third largest, and its presidential candidate Ed Clark was on the ballot in every state and the District of Columbia in 1980. This had never before been achieved by a third party candidate. Although 2 or 3 percent of the vote is the most Bob can realistically hope for, his reasons for running are three-fold: (1) to help get voters used to seeing Libertarians on the ballot alongside the two major parties; (2) to create a greater awareness of, and hopefully acceptance for, Libertarian principles in his district through speaking engagements and media coverage; and (3) to provide a real alternative for voters since he believes the two major U.S. political parties are virtually the same. The L.P. advocates that government get out of peoples' private, personal, and economic lives. Bob proposes extensive cutbacks in government spending and a $600 billion federal budget, which is almost $300 billion less than that just passed by Congress. Interestingly, Bob's brother Steve is the L.P. Congressional candidate from central California.
Of course, Ambassador Report is no more inclined to endorse a political persuasion than a religious one. However, for those who might like to have more information about the Libertarian Party, send $1.00 to: Gerringer for Congress, 1468 Coolidge Ave., Pasadena, CA 91104. Tax deductible contributions to Bob's campaign are, of course, also accepted. (But please do not send L.P. mail to the Ambassador Report address.)
Finally, Bob says repealment of the 16th Amendment (income tax) will be a major issue in his campaign. "My feelings regarding income tax and the United States government are similar to my feelings regarding tithing and the Worldwide Church of God."
John Tuit Starts Newsletter
John Tuit, author of the Armstrong expose The Truth Shall Make You Free, is still actively distributing his book, but is concerned now with much more than just the Armstrong church. He reports that the Catholic church is currently involved in a project he believes has the potential for great evil and may have prophetic significance. Whether or not one agrees with Mr. Tuit's prophetic outlook or speculations, it is difficult not to find the subject of his research very interesting. Here is an excerpt from an article which appeared in the Asbury Park Press (New Jersey) March 12, 1982. The article was titled "Computer used to promote peace," and was written by Rose Ananthanayagam.
"SPRING LAKE - A clergyman has a plan to harness the information-gathering powers of the computer to promote world peace. Brother Austin David Carroll, a member of the Christian Brothers, plans to program a computer with 'simulation models' of how political leaders and groups think. The model will be based on information provided by international authorities in politics and the professions.
"Carroll hopes to refine the computer to the point where it will be used as a tool in mediating international or internal disputes, before they turn into wars. Like King Solomon, who asked God for wisdom over all other gifts, Carroll has faith in the power of 'good information' to lead enemies to peace. And the Roman Catholic Church has faith in Carroll's ideas.
"CARDINAL TERENCE Cooke of New York has appointed Carroll as head of the Pope John Paul II Center for Prayer and Study for Peace, St Clair and Ocean avenues.
"The computer at the center would eliminate the need for shuttle diplomacy by nirnble-tongued negotiators by revealing, at the push of a button, the outcome of positions taken by opposing parties.
"It would do so by three-way satellite and television hookups with the Spring Lake center, replacing the bargaining table and touchy confrontations. Carroll believes that disputing parties of whatever ideology would negotiate better with the help of this impartial information.
"The center itself was formed only recently. Cardinal Cooke finally gave Carroll the go-ahead for the prograrm last September after a continuing correspondence between the two that began in 1972.
"CARDINAL COOKE announced the formation of the center at a Feb. 10 United Nations concert at St Patrick's Cathedral in New York. Carroll is currently trying to decide which brand of microcomputer to order. The machines will have stand-alone capabilities, but will also be adaptable to hookups with the New York archdiocese's computer in Yonkers, as well as with leading publications and the Library of Congress, he said.
"Carroll hopes to employ what the business world calls 'the Delphi technique, with his consultants....
"And visiting consultants will be able to take terminal hookups back with them, so they can continuously update and fine-tune Carroll's 'simulation models' in light of political developments abroad, Carroll said.
"ALL INFORMATION would be quantified for processing and storage in the computer. The master computer would be housed in the basement of the white stucco mansion, once considered for use by President Nixon as the summer White House. The house is now owned by the Military Vicarate, of which Cardinal Cooke is head.
"As the centers title indicates, prayer is also part of the strategy for world peace. The Rev. Joseph Ariano, a formerly U.S. Air Force chaplain who served in Vietnam, wants to establish an international, non-denominational prayer network. The goal would be to have a prayer service for peace celebrated somewhere in the world every hour....
"First of all Carroll plans to involve the 'one percent of people who determine peace' in the world. He notes how other approaches, such as the peace centers, have had no access to real power. The center's board of advisers will include politically influential people from many countries and ideologies. Nearly all those people he has approached are enthusiastic about the idea, he said.
"CARROLL DECLINED to name any names, saying that it would put pressure on those still undecided. However, Cardinal Cooke will release a list of the 19 to 25 advisers in a few months, he said.
"Another strength of the center would be both its Catholicity and its catholicity (universality). The Roman Catholic Church, as an internationally prevalent faith, would be especially suited to administer the computer as an impartial third-party...."
Tuit believes that this project is not getting adequate media attention. (And we have not seen the story covered by any major news organization.) He is therefore putting out a newsletter on the subject called the Truth Alert. It will be published on an irregular basis, with the first issue to be mailed out very shortly The free newsletter will be sent automatically to all those who have ordered a copy of his book. Anyone else who wishes a free copy can simply write to: The Truth Foundation, 11 Laurel Court, Freehold Township, NJ 07728.
Did you ever get the feeling that many of those hooked on the WCG (and on some of the other cults) are where they are simply because they don't think. If you have, then you have become aware of a phenomenon many psychologists refer to, quite appropriately, as "mindlessness."
Psychologist and researcher Ellen J. Langer in Psychology Today (April 1982, "Automated Lives," p. 60) wrote:
"In an extensive series of continuing experiments, my colleagues and I have found that mindlessness occurs in many more situations and is much more pervasive in our lives than people realize. Indeed, it may be a fundamental aspect of human behavior. We have found that mindlessness can be self-damaging, especially in new situations to which people apply information they unknowingly had accepted in an unthinking way."
A recent ad for Fortune magazine showed a well-dressed business executive behind his desk. All was very proper, except his head was replaced by that of a woolly sheep. The caption read, "If you stick with the herd, you could end up as a lamb chop." Something to think about.
In the newsletter you mentioned HWA's impending divorce, perhaps because his wife took to wearing lipstick! In his latest Plain Truth or Good News (I am not sure which, as I quickly read and disposed of them), HWA headlined an article to the effect that "God Hates Divorce Yet He Divorced His Own Wife"! Well, this was a shockeroo to me. As I contemplated the psychological "brainwashing" behind it, I proceeded to read the article. HWA started out by comparing an "aged personage" with a "beautiful woman," and in the early paragraphs one wonders, "Oh. is HWA going to come out with a reason for a personal divorce?" Instead, the paragraphs rambled on and on with ample references to every nook and cranny of the Bible showing how God Himself (the "aged personage) had to divorce a recalcitrant Israel!
Initially I thought to myself, "How insane to even print such a ridiculous article. It is an obviously self-serving article, implying that if God could get divorced - well, there is a great apostle we know about who also must get divorced. Nothing wrong about that then. What trickery, what sham!! It sickens me to think about the docile deceived, blindly believing minds that will accept this article as a bona fide reason for HWA's divorce. (After all they can blow the dust off their Bibles and open their eyes and grasp the truth from the biblical quotations that are alluded to and know that HWA's action is the correct one.)
I would appreciate it if one of the Ambassador Report editors could critique some of the material in HWA's article and point out the fallacious, twisted references which HWA presents. I have ascertained that when HWA refers to God as an "aged personage" the notion is false! From my knowledge of God, He is timeless - He is not bound by time, so how can He be called an "aged personage"? Am I right or wrong?
Editor: An even cursory study of HWA's writings and public statements reveals that he often confuses personal opinions with divine edict (i.e., "I have the mind of God!"). In his book Ego and Archetype, psychologist Edward Edinger explains that this is a common symptom of mental illness. It is also a characteristic that has been found in many of the world's most notorious pathological criminals, sex offenders, cult leaders, and political dictators.
Of course, don't so many of us wish we could be refunded the tithes and offerings given in sincerity to the Church of Armstrong that could now he used to rebuild shattered lives and help support such worthwhile functions as your newsletter and some grroups listed in it.
My "brainwashing" in the "true church" began over 20 years ago while I was still in my early teens. My most formative years were dedicated and wasted to "God's Self-Appointed Apostle, " as we were programmed to expect to go to Petra in 1972. Back then, we were admonished to ignore such mundane things as higher education (I was an honor graduate from school but was advised not to bother going to a university, except to apply for Ambassador College), [to ignore] establishing long-term credit or obtaining insurance, and urged to forget about marriage if the girl wasn't in the church, even if she did really love me, etc.
Such things as strict obedience to God's ministers and the giving of tithes (always before taxes) and offerings were always expounded. Sometimes the ministers would reveal "new sins" on such weighty matters as chewing bubble gum, drinking coffee, listening to Beatle records, wearing fleur-de-lis and hearts, kissing one's fiancee for longer than four seconds once a day, growing beards, as well as the old stand-bys of telling us that segregation was "God's way " and going to other churches or listening to other religious points of view were tantamount to abominations that could cost us salvation.
And "God's Church" was always facing a financial crisis.
In some ways, after years, I am still recovering from the almost total mind control the WCG tried to indoctrinate me with. I can only look back at a lost youth and young adulthood wasted financially and emotionally on a false prophet and hypocrite as well.
I can recall a special person I could have shared a lifetime with, and all was destroyed mostly through WCG influence. I remember people who died because they refused medical help out of fear. (It seems to me that would make the Armstrongs at least indirectly responsible for the deaths of some people who could have been saved - isn't that called "manslaughter" in some places?)
It's still taken me years to try to fully recover from the brainwashing techniques, the fear and paranoia, the isolation and
confusion that was instilled in me at such an impressionable age. A friend of mine that went in to the WCG in the '60s has been in mental institutions because of her experience. Sometimes I wonder if my mother's untimely death at age 47 may not have been partly caused by the aggrevations the WCG helped to produce in my family (my mother wasn't in the church). At the time I wouldn't listen to anyone's logic that wasn't church sanctioned.
I could go on and on, but I know you see similar stories in the hundreds of letters you must receive. And I'm still sure there is a loving Creator who knows all this and will lead us to his real truth in his own way and time.
We recently had a minister from Michigan visit our church area. He spoke on the matter of sins unrepented of - specifically smoking. He said he began to realize that he had been lax in not "helping" people overcome that sin, or else in telling them that if they couldn't overcome it, they could leave the church. When I read the letter from the woman who tried to take her life because the minister said he would kick her out of the church if she didn't quit smoking, I wonder if she was one of the ones he was "helping"? I thank God that my sins do not smell or have such obvious outward signs, or I would have been out long ago for sins I have trouble overcoming! More to the point, I thank God that he is not like that minister!...
We feel like the man whose letter closely followed this woman's. We can reach more people if we attend WCG services than if we don't, that is, if and when people ever seem to need reaching. We like to believe, and indeed do believe, that we are becoming more adept at handling this two-edged sword called the Word of God. Due to its sharpness, one must be careful how one waves it around people like those in the WCG. The objective is to help people open up to the world of thinking - not to cut their heads off.
The WCG recently "screwed" three sets of friends of ours - all loyal members of the church. One couple was told that the reason they weren't prospering was because they weren't tithing on the money they borrowed from the bank to live on (they are farmers). The husband of another couple - a young couple with two small boys - got polio and is now a quadriplegic. People in the church told them it happened because they didn't have faith in God, hut vaccinated their children. Almost no one in the church helped them either with morale or financially, but the "worldly" people he had worked with raised $6,000 for them and did babysitting, gardening, and canning for them while they were in the hospital for over 5 months. Not only that but when the funds started running out and they applied for third tithe assistance from the WCG, they were told they couldn't have any because he had not worked for "the Work." The third couple was a D&R [divorce & remarriage] case, where his ex-wife had custody of their girl. She remarried and now wants him to relinquish parental rights to the child, so her new husband can adopt her. The mother's minister threatened to kick the old hushand out of the church if he didn't do as the minister told him, which was to give up his rights. The other minister in the area backed up the first joker with these sage words, "Moses made a lot of unpopular decisions in his day, too." I guess we can he thankful that we have not yet run afoul of the system, but I doubt it would hurt us as much as it has these other people, because we know what the system really is like, and they didn't.
Oh, a thought on the whole issue of whether the church will ever get the word to flee to Petra. You say that you think not, because then Herbert's financial base will be desolate. You are thereby counting on Herbert's main and lifelong concern being financial. It may be that Herbert will at some point believe it necessary to flee to Petra, simply because he views himself as some sort of semi-divine personage. It would he a matter of credibility - perhaps akin to megalomania. In short it comes down to a question of whether his self-concept is financial or prophetic. If he sees himself as a great prophet of God, then he may feel he has to try to pull off the great escape. Is he first greedy and second paranoid? Or is he first and foremost paranoid and second greedy?
Gee, if my minister could see this now! Ah, well. We take our chances with the truth, don't we?
I've lost so many friends through religion - not only due to the WCG, but other religions down through the years. My husband is 82. I'm 78. The years we wasted and the money we have poured down the drain! Now we are not able to do much of anything. We are not able to help others as we wish.
We are just finding our way out of the Armstrong church. After serving it for 18 years, we are ready to retire with no money. ------- has given us all the old Reports from you, and I must say we never got the truth told to us in church.
Did any of you happen (by chance) to see Herbert on his TV program when he "interviewed" Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak? I accidentally did! I was appalled at how very embarrassed Mubarak appeared to be. All Herbert did was say in a rambling way: We want peace, you want peace, the world wants peace, ad nauseam. All Mubarak did was to shake his head in agreement as this treacherous a old Armstong handed him the check! Well rehearsed! Herbert told Mubarak that this $100,000 check was to be followed by another $100,000 each year for a total of 10 years! That this would add up to $1,000,000! This figure was repeated several times and old HWA even had the audacity to say "from me to you for peace." What a witness. A personal gift from one leader to another, or so it was made to appear. No mention of the many people who are actually going hungry to give their money to God. What a pitiful travesty. Isn't this the perfect picture of a religious cult in action? Then, Herbert asked Mubarak for a good picture to feature on "our" umpteen worldwide magazines dedicated to peace. Then some more ramblings about the way the world uses "get" when old Armstrong believes so strongly that the right way is "give"! And this very procedure goes on, no doubt for every interview he gets! Oh, oh, I shouldn't use that word - that's the way of the evil world!
-Former WCG member from the Southeast
I support the Church of God, International, and I know you have nothing good to say about GTA. I think he is doing the best he can with all the flak he's getting, being unfortunate enough to inherit many of his father's bad traits. I am sure he repented fully for whatever he did previous to 1975. God called me through his and his father's writings and broadcasts, and since his father fumed against him for no reason, rejecting a true minister of God, I left the WCG. Since there is no other that is proclaiming the true gospel in an effective way, I stick with GTA. His radio and TV voice is unique. (I had in former years rejected all other denominations.)
I want to keep getting your Report because I want to find out immediately if and when they (the WCG) are leaving the country. We have a life estate which they get upon our death. In the meantime, we get the interest. So in order to prevent them from drawing the principal from the bank to take with them, I want to get a court order to prevent it You probably don't have time, but if you hear they are leaving, a collect call to me would he appreciated.
Editor: Don't let them take away what's yours. You should consider seeing a lawyer. Other people have used the courts to turn around life estate assignments so that the WCG can't inherit what they gained through religious coercion.
My estranged husband has been a member of the WCG for ten years. He is eagerly working out his divorce plans as I simply can't afford to divorce him. The cheating of the ministers on the top has definitely filtered down to the lay members, as he plays around at the Feast of Tabernacles. In fact I'm not invited to his yearly vacations, as it cramps his style. He even invited our teenage daughter on one of his dates with a married California woman whose husband isn't in the church.
With the "love of God" flowing from him, he tried to run over me twice with his one-ton truck a few weeks ago and has described in detail his desire to push me off a 200-foot cliff nearby and how he would enjoy it We won't be married much longer.
Since David Robinson's book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web appeared, there has been much discussion in the church about the allegation that Mr. Herbert Armstrong committed incest with his daughter Dorothy. According to Garner Ted Armstrong, when he discovered in 1980 that David Robinson's book was to include the chapter on incest he called his younger sister Dorothy and told her about it. According to Garner Ted, the very first thing she said was, "Does Robinson's book mention Carole Ann?" That was the name of the child she had that died many years ago. I have been told by those in the church at the time that that poor infant had made medical history by being born with internal organs outside of her body. Though she survived infancy due to much assistance from modern medical science, she suffered from a heart condition and died at the age of 17. Mr. Herbert Armstrong at the time expressed great sorrow and referred to her as "his favorite" from the pulpit. Just the other day I ran across a picture of Carole Ann in the Nov. 1966 Plain Truth (p. 42). She bore a striking resemblance to Mr. Herbert Armstrong.
When I look closely at the Armstrong family history - Ted's incredible philandering, his wife's attempted suicide in the early 70s, Ted's two deaf-and-dumb sons, at least one of Ted's children being stillborn, Mr. Herbert Armstrong's incest the needless death of his first wife Loma from fasting, the untimely death of his eldest son Richard in an auto accident, his pending divorce from Ramona, his separation from his daughters in the sixties and seventies, his alienation from his brother Dwight his present hostility toward his son Garner Ted, and abandonment by many of his long-time friends - I can't help but suspect that this family is a family under a gigantic curse from God. I couldn't help but recall that in Exodus 20:5 God says He will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. I was intrigued by this often overlooked statement and did some further research. This statement was mentioned once again in Numbers 14:18, but God says He will remove the curse from the son in Ezekiel 18:19- 24, providing the son begin to do that which is lawful and right and keep all My statutes and turn from his sins. What is so sad is that so often innocent children suffer from the sins and perversions of their parents. But the beautiful thing is that Jesus will forgive those who turn from their wicked ways.
King David had to learn this the hard way. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged to have her hushand slain (II Samuel 11 & 12). David repented bitterly, but God said that the sword would never depart from his house because of this grevious sin, and the child born of his adultery died. God took his wives and gave them to David's neighbors because, as God says, "Thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun" (II Sam. 12.12).
I would like to ask you two questions: Was Dorothy's child (Carole Ann) actually Mr. Armstrong's (as a father)? The reason I ask this is that in the Nov. '66 PT Mr. Armstrong wrote. "A chain of providential circumstances climaxed in her birth." Later he called her "my little princess." Some of Garner Ted's recent private comments have made me wonder. And have you ever tried to get Dorothy's side of the incest story?
Editor. The answer to question one is: We don't know. But we are told the tragic birth occurred some time after her marriage to Vern Mattson, to whom she is still married. The answer to the second question is: We have tried more than once, but our letters have gone unanswered. Our offer to her, nevertheless, remains the same: We will publish any statement she wishes to make.
Sometime in the future (in a few months) we ("we" includes wife) hope to publish a tithing paper that will disagree with everybody about tithing! Who's "everybody"? Armstrong, Dart, Martin, Southern Baptists, Adventists, Methodists, etc., etc. - everybody who tithes and everybody who doesn't tithe! No that's weird (Or is it spelled wierd?) Isn't it? Well, strange anyway. Would you settle for unusual?
Really, we believe our book will be the most comprehensive book ever written on tithing "since the Bible" (as HWA might write), and it will be entitled Tithing: God's Command or Man's Demand -Which?
Dallas, TX 75223
You want people out of the cults? You talk as though the only cult was the billion-dollar rebellion from the Church of God, 7th Day by the petty pope of Pasadena. During the second century in Rome all religions were cults except the one supported by the government. The Church of Christ is a cult to me. The Methodists too started as a cult. Constantine forced the Druid religion on the Romans with another name, so Europe is enslaved with it to this day. To he free of cults people must learn the reliability of the geological timetable that man has been on earth one or two million years, and that the Bible shows itself unreliable. Then the dependent mind may go for Pyramidology as an ex-WCG, ex-Yahwehist has.
There is something beyond understanding about the human mind. This writer threw out copies of 144 Self- Contradictions of the Bible in 1963 and now wishes to have a copy. During 12 years with it I never studied it enough not to be hooked by Herbie. Four years ago Ted's behavior caused a study of Yahwehism. Then Health Research Books started a more basic search for knowledge.
Editor: Health Research Books (Box 70, Mokelumne Hill, CA 95245) has a huge catalog of rare, strange, and out-of-print books on not only health subjects but on religion and philosophy. Some of the titles are: The Bible Is an Irish Book, The Unknown Life of Christ, Was Jesus Influenced by Buddhism?, The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors (Christianity Before Christ), etc. Many of the titles are fascinating, and probably many of the books contain valuable information. However, even though we are not theologians or historians, a quick perusal of a few of the books offered convinces us that at least some of them should be considered highly suspect as to accuracy.
My wife and I came out of the WCG about 1978 and are concerned about the many past acquaintances left behind. So we would be glad to correspond or fellowship with any who should feel the need. We do occasionally fellowship with the Church of God at Kingsport (about 25 people), most of them ex-WCG members. It's so good to be around sympathetic people who suffered with us.
-James R. Grubb
Rt 1 Box 31
Crockett VA 24323
For all of you out there who have been lying awake nights asking yourself the question, "What ever happened to Clyde Walters, and is there life after Ambassador College?" and for all the rest who are asking, "Who is this guy?" Here's the answer.
As we all remember, Clyde graduated from Ambassador at Pasadena in 1971. He then worked in AC data processing for two years. Then came the Big Layoff. Clyde remained unemployed for over a year, and then worked at Fedco in Pasadena for two years. Then he became a mailman, and is presently working on the Great American Screenplay in his spare time.
"Wow, what a lucky guy! But wait, that doesn't answer all our questions, such as: (1) Is he still as crazy as ever, (2) Did the jerk ever get married, (3) What about the Church, (4) Does he eat pork chops, (5) Does he have sideburns, (6) Does he watch TV on Saturdays, (7) Is he a Libertarian or a Communist, (8) And what about Amway?"
OK, OK! There's more. The answers to your questions are: (1) self-evident (2) almost-once, (3) separated, (4) to date, 3 pork chops, (5) none, (6) too busy working, (7) Middle of the Road-Easy Listening, (8) been a member since 1976, but nonpredatory.
Seriously, though, I'll get to the real reason why I'm writing. For me the Ambassador experience was overall very pleasant. The people that I met there, went to school with, and lived with in the dorms made it so. I stiff hold fond memories of the friendships formed there. The people were great but as time was to tell, the leadership was wrong. Contrary to what we had always been told, when the leaders were shown that they were in error, they refused to admit their mistakes and change. All those wasted years being blind and following the blind!
In the life after Ambassador it was extremely hard for me to face up to the fact that I had been so sure of something and someone and had been so wrong. I guess I tried to punish myself for being so gullible, for I became very sarcastic and more and more dependent on alcohol. Maybe I thought it was an impossible task to wade through all the tradition that surrounds Christianity, while staying out of the clutches of the religious conmen, to finally get to the answers of the basic questions of life.I was sick to death of being conned!
I can still remember sitting and drinking a six-pack by myself and thinking if I could only meet one real Christian before I die. I was so turned off! I was tired of the regular channels and all the lies. I was looking for life's answers at the bottom of a bottle- but I always came up empty. It still seems a miracle to me that I could ever quit drinking.
Fortunately in my sober moments I was reading voraciously. I think I've read some of every philosophy, discipline, religion, and sect that's been published, and oh yes, that includes every offshoot that came out of Worldwide It was all so empty and so depressing.
Only one of my many investigations panned out and that's the one I want to tell you about. The Concordant Publishing Concern of Saugus, California, was the only source claiming to be seeking the truth from the Bible that didn't get off into organization-worship, or man-following, or tithing, or law-keeping, or tradition, or positive thinking philosophy, or humanism, or fairy tales. Most of the Christian religions claim to he based on the Bible, as we all too well know, but the publications of Concordant are the only ones I've found that meet the test. By the way, in the '30s Concordant published an article titled "Refuse the Refuse" which is the best proof of the errors in British-Israelism that I've ever seen.
I found out about Concordant through Ambassador Report. Thanks! I'm glad I took the time to investigate.
I've read most of the publications listed in the Concordant catalog, and I've found them all exceptional. The book The Problem of Evil and the booklet "The Place of Humanity in God's Purpose" are good places to start.
But whether you contact Concordant or not keep searching in some positive way. It's worth the effort (Matt. 7:7). Shalom,
Editor. The folks at Concordant told us that they have quite a few former WCG members on their mailing list. And they do offer a free introductory packet of information, which is quite interesting. Their address is: Concordant Publishing Concern, 15570 W. Knochaven Dr., Canyon Country, CA 91351.
I am a recovering alcoholic The attitudes of the WCG ministers forced me to be dishonest with myself and others about my hidden problem. After all, weren't we supposed to be perfect? WCG thinking was an enormous hindrance to seeking help, especially since it would have to come from outside the church - unthinkable. People with emotional problems can, and do, easily get caught up with alcohol. I can give this advise to those who feel trapped by a drinking problem:
1) Recognize the problem exists and he honest with yourself.
2) Chuck the moral intimidation and condemnation felt in the WCG.
3) Seek help through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and, if necessary, a treatment facility.
If you don't know where to get started, look in the phone book under AA's listing. Too frightened? We all were, but sobriety is worth it.
Editor. Alcohol abuse is not a problem unique to the WCG, nor does the WCG really condone it (for instance, the May 1982, issue of The Plain Truth devoted considerable space to the subject, and some of the articles were really excellent). Nevertheless, a number of WCG doctrines, the conduct of some top ministers, and the general cult environment of the WCG pushes many into alcohol addiction of one type or another. The problem is common to many current and former WCG members.
If you are one of those with an alcohol problem, you may wish to contact one of the many alcohol abuse organizations listed in your phone book. Not only are there private organizations such as AA offering help, but many city and county governments have free, medically sound, assistance programs. If you yourself do not have a problem, but have friends or relatives who have an alcohol problem, you may wish to contact Al-Anon Family Groups (P.O. Box 182, Madison Square Station, New York, NY 10159). They have a number of excellent pamphlets on the subject and a national advisory program for friends and relatives of alcoholics.
I presented a large supermarket with a copy of Ambassador Report and they immediately removed their free display rack for The Plain Truth. Hopefully, other ex-church members will come forward with ideas to get the attention of the Armstrong cult and bring them to their senses.
Received your March 31 Report which was very informative. The letter from an AR reader in Nebraska confirmed my suspicions on the WCG's modus operandi for Plain Truth distribution and placing HWA's books in local libraries around the world. WCG members are supplying the addresses of all public waiting-room-type establishments in their local areas for free PT subscriptions to those establishments and are placing HWA's books in local libraries.
As I read this letter, the puzzle came together. Over a period of the last several months I have noticed the PT in the barber shop, dentist's office, hospital lobby, courthouse lobby, doctor's office, and library. This struck me as odd since my ex-wife was the only WCG member in our small town. Now I understand why my wife was copying addresses from the local Chamber of Commerce directory. Inquiries at the barbershop, dentist office and library indicate that the PT "just started coming in the mail."
AR readers can really do service to the world by pointing out to establishments getting the PT exactly what it represents and encourage them to request the subscription be stopped.
One of the letters you printed last issue mentioned how Plain Truth magazines were being foisted off on the public in Nebraska via the Omaha library. Here in Texas, it's much worse! You see PT magazines everywhere. In dentist waiting rooms, barber shops, and in self-serve news racks on the street and at airports. It's very depressing. At first I tried talking to those allowing the displays, racks, or free issues. But then I got a better idea.
Now if I see a PT rack, I simply "borrow" a bunch (after all, they are offered fire to the public). But I don't discard them. I take them home and in very small but legible print I write within the issue something like: "For the plain truth about The Plain Truth and Herbert Armstrong write to Ambassador Report P.O. Box 4068, Pasadena, CA 91106. Send $5.00 and ask for a couple of sample copies. It will open your eyes!" I write something like that in each issue, but on a different page in each. I don't want the WCG to be able to find my special issues too easily. I then take the magazines and put them back in the street racks or whatever. Sometimes I forget to mention the $5.00. I hope you don't mind.
Editor No we don't mind at all. In fact we send out hundreds of free copies of the AR with each printing. Thanks for telling us of your hobby. It explains some of the strange mail we've been getting.
A friend recently gave us a copy of the December 31 Ambassador Report. Naturally, while a minister of the WCG, I always considered AR a scandalous rag. Since resigning from employment with WCG in June 1979, however, my perspective has changed considerably. I would like to have you send "the rag" on a regular basis. I fully understand why you fellows and gals began this endeavor and feel a good deal like you seem to in wanting to make amends for having encouraged and perhaps entrenched a few souls in the HWA cult. It is gratifying to see that so many have been able to find their way out of the religious maze that HWA has erected. Our hope is that many more will he able to escape as well.
Attorneys for Ramona Armstrong have filed a response to HWA's April 16 petition for dissolution of marriage. The papers filed in Pima County Superior Court (Arizona) contain a number of points of interest. We quote:
"As to the allegations contained in Paragraph 6 of the Petition [by HWA], Respondent [Ramona] specifically alleges that the Respondent believes that the marriage is not irretrievably broken and that there is a reasonable probability of reconciliation.
"As and for her separate and affirmative defense, Respondent [Ramona] alleges that she is morally and personally opposed to divorce or dissolution in any form; that these moral beliefs were commonly held by both parties prior to the marriage with the Petitioner [HWA]. Further that Petitioner and Respondent discussed and agreed between themselves that they would not thereafter petition for dissolution.
"As and for her further allegation, Respondent alleges that she is without sufficient funds to support herself and to employ counsel in the prosecution of this litigation, and that the Petitioner is physically and economically capable and earns more than sufficient income with which to pay for Respondent's temporary spousal maintenance, attorney's fees and costs and expenses of this litigation."
In her counterpetition, Ramona alleges that Herbert "has refused to cohabit with" her and "has refused to converse on a personal or direct basis." She alleges that she was employed by the WCG from 1962 onward, but that HWA was responsible for her termination in December 1981. She. claims HWA:
"...has effectively terminated her employability and restrained and prohibited future earning capacity with her employer Worldwide Church of God and others by virtue of his acts.
"That Petitioner has denied and prohibited Respondent from claiming or collecting any unemployment benefits under the laws of any State, and from claiming or collection of any termination benefits, pension or retirement benefits, as a result of her termination.
"That as a result of the acts and instructions of Petitioner from corporations, organizations and businesses that he has absolute control over and the resultant termination of employment of the Petitioner in December 1981, Respondent has no income since that time and is unable to support herself; that as a result thereof, it is necessary that Petitioner pay temporary spousal maintenance for purposes of preservation of assets, payment of living expenses and bills, etc. in a sum of not less than $8,000.00 per month."
In a "Stipulation and Order" by the court, filed June 24, Ramona was granted $1,800 per month "for partial temporary spousal maintenance," in addition to (maximum) payments of:
$785.00 per month for house payments
$200.00 per month for residence upkeep
$250.00 per month for yard work
$166.67 per month for house insurance and taxes
$450.00 per month for water, electricity, and gas
$75.00 per month for telephone
$20.00 per month for garbage pickup
$589.00 per month for leasing a Mercedes SL 450 automobile
$200.00 per month for auto insurance on the Mercedes
$25.00 per month for license plates for the Mercedes
$90.00 per month for the boarding of three horses
$125.00 per month for insurance on selected items of jewelry (she had requested $889.25 per month or $10,671 per year "Insurance on Jewelry and Furs.")
$8.00 per month for storage of jewelry and furs
$300. 00 per month for travel and entertainment expenses
$10,000.00 for attorney's fees
No wonder HWA has told friends he fears his divorce may cost him everything he owns.
We'll have more news for you in our next issue. Until then, our best wishes and thanks to all of you who are supporting our efforts.
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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