AR 21 September 30, 1982
Herbert and Ramona Battle It Out
In our last newsletter, we reported that Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA), president of Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), had filed for dissolution of his marriage. That divorce action against his wife Ramona is rapidly becoming one of Tucson, Arizona's biggest lawsuits as both sides engage in a mammoth paper war. Allegations continue to pour out from both sides, with Ramona refusing to answer many questions and Herbert's lawyers claiming he is too senile and sick to appear in Arizona to answer questions. But by brandishing copies of WCG publications showing HWA's recent worldwide travels and lengthy speeches, Ramona's attorneys (she is represented by the firm of Ettinger and Deckter, not by Stanley Rader, as some are alleging) were able to convince Judge Lillian Fisher that HWA is indeed well enough to appear. He has been ordered to give a deposition even if a physician's presence is needed, and a hearing to set a trial date is scheduled for Nov. 8.
In the meantime, in a separate action, WCG attorneys have filed a suit against Ramona in the U.S. district court in Tucson (Pasadena Star-News, Sept. 3, 1982). They allege she has over $400,000 worth of church property in her possession that she refuses to return. The property, they claim, is owned by the church and was intended solely to furnish HWA's Tucson residence. (Another one of those little special benefits HWA gives himself above salary.) Church attorneys freely admit the furnishings in question are not those of HWA's Pasadena residence (it is separately furnished, also by the church), nor does the property include the Tucson home itself or personal items such as over $490,000 worth of jewelry HWA has admitted he's given her.
Now, just as we go to press, we have learned that Ramona has retaliated by filing a countersuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against HWA, plus church lawyer Ralph Helge and Armstrong aides Ellis LaRavia, Joe Tkach, Aaron Dean, Kevin Dean, Leroy Neff, Larry Neff, Robert Seelig, and several Armstrong religious corporations. Ramona has charged the defendants with breach of a marriage-employment contract, fraud, and loss of a guaranteed $50,000 annual income and survivor's benefits. Besides restitution, she is asking $6 million in punitive damages. HWA was served the papers on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). That day, before his Pasadena congregation, he declared that "God's church" is now facing one of its greatest crises ever.
Ramona's countersuit makes interesting reading. For instance, she alleges that HWA and other defendants asked her to become HWA's secretary and traveling companion in 1974. (Some readers may recall that on page 96 of William Hinson's 1977 book, Broadway to Armageddon, ex-WCG official Al Carrozzo was quoted as saying: "Yes, it is true that Herbert Armstrong got a girl pregnant. She was sent to Arizona in a type of exile. This is the same woman Herbert Armstrong was going to marry.") Shortly after becoming his traveling companion, Ramona claims, HWA and other defendants asked her to marry HWA as part of a plan to bolster HWA's image. She refused on the grounds of their great age difference - he was about 83 and she about 35. But, she says, the defendants "persisted in their efforts which they fortified with inducements of purported lifetime financial and other benefits if she would relent."
In her countersuit Ramona alleges that HWA has created the numerous religious organizations he heads as shields for his personal assets. She alleges that those corporations are "alter egos of Armstrong" and that he has full personal control of them and uses them to hide his assets from the public and from her. She further alleges that the eight individual co-defendants listed have conspired in a power struggle to gain control of those assets when Armstrong dies, and in doing so have deprived her of her contractual benefits. She says they were able to do this by "deceitfully persuading" HWA that others - including herself, HWA's son Ted, and lawyer Stan Rader - were planning to "seize power" from him. But the sweeping allegations found in her suit and the claim that HWA had once agreed to leave her his "entire estate" upon his death have led some church members to fear that perhaps Ramona and certain associates are indeed trying to seize control of major portions of the WCG's assets.
And then there are those church members who naively wonder why Herbert and Ramona do not simply get together and apply the marriage-saving advice found in "When the Kissing Begins to Stop...", an article in the Sept.-Oct. issue of Armstrong's own Plain Truth magazine. Oh well.
"Apostle Kinky" Meets Maggie
In our last issue we reported that Herbert Armstrong was to meet this summer with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ("Maggie" to some in the British press). A number of our readers attempted to inform the British government of the possible embarrassing consequences of such a meeting, but to no avail.
After the meeting had already transpired, one British embassy official in Washington candidly told author John Tuit (The Truth Shall Make You Free): "We were well-paid for the meeting." Margaret Robinson, the wife of author David Robinson (Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web), sent letters and printed material about HWA to members of the British press. A few articles on HWA subsequently appeared in British publications. The News of the World (4 million circulation) ran the articles we have reproduced on page two of this newsletter. We think you will find them of interest.
News of the World, August 1, 1982
(Photo caption) ARMSTRONG AND CHARLES: "The Prince Probably didn't know him."
KINKY CHURCHMAN FOOLS CHARLES
And his cheque bought meeting with Maggie
SPECIAL INQUIRY by ANDREW DRUMMOND
A BIZARRE church leader with a sordid past of sexual and financial scandal has duped both Prince Charles and Mrs Thatcher.
He bought himself an introduction to Charles by giving a huge cash gift to the Royal Opera House - one of the Prince's favourite causes.
And on the strength of the #106,000 cheque, he was invited to 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister.
But the sleazy activities of 89-year-old Herbert Armstrong, head of the Worldwide Church of God, should shock security chiefs.
Armstrong once angered the Queen by involving her in a hoax to attract publicity.
And before the Royal introduction at an opera benefit concert in London's Festival Hall, Armstrong told his followers Charles was "the wicked Prince who will become the principal cause of the destruction of Britain."
But afterwards he was happy to splash their minute-long chat all over his church's newspaper to convince his sect of his influence in top international circles.
Like the photographs he has had taken of encounters with King Hussein of Jordan, President Marcos of the Philippines and Egypt's President Mubarak. Armstrong, who controls hiss church's income of over #50 million a year, has been accused of taking millions for himself.
He has a private let nicknamed The Flying Whorehouse and is said to take part in various perversions.
His meeting with Mrs. Thatcher went ahead despite warnings to British Government officials from U.S.-based former members of the church.
As he flew home to his headquarters in Pasadena, California, former sect members lashed the decision to let him into No. 10.
"We were numb with disbelief" said David Robinson, of Tulsa. Oklahoma, who once held a post in the church.
"Armstrong virtually bought himself audiences with the British Prime Minister and the heir to the throne.
Another ex-member, John Tuit, who has written a book about Armstrong, said: "He's a fraud. I contacted the British embassy in Washington to warn them.
"He has stolen funds meant for the propagation of the Gospel.
He buys air time on radio stations throughout the U.S and brings in a fortune from donations. This meeting with Margaret Thatcher is going to send his donations through the roof."
And Professor Joseph Hopkins, of Westminster College, Pennsylvania, who has studied the church's affairs said: "I'm surprised Mrs Thatcher fell for him. He's nothing more than a conman."
A Downing. Street spokesman insisted: "The audience with the Prime Minister lasted only a few minutes. It wouldn't have been granted if he hadn't been a benefactor."
And a Buckingham Palace spokesman added: "Prince Charles met a number of people at the Royal Opera benefit concert at the Festival Hall. He probably wouldn't have known who Mr. Armstrong was."
The money Armstrong gave to help the Opera House came from his followers, who have to pay a tenth of their salaries into the church.
In Britain alone, the organisation pulled in more than #1= million last year from donations and legacies.
Of that #1,150,000 went out again in operating costs, according to figures lodged with the Charities Commission.
American lawyer Jack Kessler, who audited the church's books, claimed he knew of " a catalogue of abuses" of funds.
These included Armstrong flying to Rumania for sex therapy lessons and taking his jet to London to buy a sex toy.
News of the World, August 8, 1982
Anguish of brother in kinky man's sect
A FORMER member of a bizarre religious cult has told how his brother committed suicide after joining the Worldwide Church of God.
Michael Keane blew his brains out with a shotgun just months after being baptised by the American-based sect.
"He was under tremendous pressure from the church," said 32-year-old Brian Keane, of Watford, Herts.
"He was having problems trying to follow the strict rules."
Mr Keane claimed another cult disciple killed herself and three others made tragic suicide bids.
"One tried to do it by cutting off his manhood." he said.
" Luckily he was saved - but he has since left the sect."
Last week we disclosed that sect chief Herbert Armstrong, 89, had "bought" introductions to Prince Charles and Premier Margaret Thatcher by making a #106,000 gift to the Royal Opera House.
Mr Keane, a member of the church for 13 years, claimed Armstrong was a dictator to the followers.
"He told members they would die in the Biblical Lake of Fire if they divorced, married anyone with an age difference of more than four years, received medication or gave their children birthday presents," he added.
A doctor has revealed that another woman member of the sect died of heart failure because she obeyed the cult's ban on medical care.
Yet Armstrong was receiving expensive treatment for the same condition.
Dr Gordon Muir now practising in the U.S., said: "Eventually I tried a last minute effort to save her. But it was too late.
"I was incensed to discover later Mr Armstrong was being treated with the same drugs."
Plain Truth Expands, Church Grows
Many of the world's largest-circulation newspapers and magazines have done devastating exposes on HWA and his corporations, but that doesn't seem to faze his followers. The WCG's own newspaper, The Worldwide News, announced in its Sept 13 issue that the church's evangelistic magazine The Plain Truth now has a circulation of 5,130,000 (of that total 2,117,172 were newsstand copies).
With The Plain Truth's circulation growing so rapidly, it comes as no surprise that the WCG's membership is also growing. Writing in the August 6,1982 issue of Christianity Today, Joseph Hopkins reports that WCG membership is growing at the rate of 1,000 new members a year. In the last two-and-a-half years, ninety-five new congregations have been added, with total WCG membership now at 70,680. Non-member contributors number 144,000, with a claimed 100,000 "new people" writing in per month.
The same article reports that the rival Church of God, International (founded by HWA's son Garner Ted Armstrong) is shrinking in both membership and income. HWA has been telling associates he wants GTA to return to the WCG, and that with so many defectors from Ted's organization, he is confident it is only a matter of time before Ted "comes to his senses" and returns.
©1982 Ambassador Report. Published quarterly, as finances allow.
John Trechak, Editor
Mary E. Jones, Associate Editor
Connie Gerringer, Circulation Manager
Founding Publishers: Robert Gerringer, Bill Hughes, Mary E. Jones, John Trechak, Len Zola, and Margaret Zola.
HWA's July 16 letter to WCG members and co-workers contained this comment (emphasis his):
"Incidentally, I know many of you seem to have your hearts set on going very soon to Petra as 'the place of safety' during the soon-coming Great Tribulation. Well, GET YOUR MINDS OFF PETRA. Brethren, I HAVE NEVER said that Petra definitely is the place of protection where God will take us. I HOPE IT IS NOT! One reason it could be the place is that it is a place NOBODY ELSE WOULD WANT TO GO. It would be the most UNpleasant, UNcomfortable, miserable place you could go! There is nothing to be desired there. But, just in case, God HAS miraculously given me very gracious favor in the eyes of King Hussein and also his brother, the Crown Prince. They are very friendly to me personally. And through the Ambassador Foundation, I am keeping up a very close assistance and cooperation with a Jordan school for retarded children, a project carried on by Princess Sarvath, wife of the Crown Prince - even to the extent of planning to send some trained Ambassador College personnel to be stationed there to help train teachers for this school, and otherwise help expand its operations. It is a very worthy cause, and the King and the people of Jordan do appreciate what we are doing to cooperate with them in this."
In the last few years HWA has gotten the WCG involved in projects in Egypt, Iraq, and now Jordan. Yet it is quite clear that, in terms of the Jew-Arab conflict, the Armstrong organization remains decidedly pro-Israeli in outlook.
In the August 30 issue of The Worldwide News (p. 3), Ambassador College news bureau chief Gene Hogberg lamented the U.S. press's supposedly anti-Israeli coverage of Israel's recent invasion of Lebanon and the latest breakdown in U.S.-Israeli relations. Perhaps his lament results from reality again having a way of going contrary to Herbert Armstrong's prophecies. In the end time (this is the end time, Herbert declares), HWA's prophecies call for the U.S. and Britain (Manasseh and Ephraim to HWA) to be allied with Israel (Judah), not allied with the rest of the world against the Jewish state.
In that article/commentary, after a quote from the Economist (which quoted Deuteronomy "Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them"), Hogberg writes:
"Finish the job
"Yes, the 'Christian' Western world, largely ignoring the history, examples and admonitions of the Old Testament, influenced by the teachings of the great false church and infected with worldly humanistic concepts, cannot fathom the depth of the no-compromise struggle that the state of Israel is engaged in with a foe that vows to fight on despite its setback in Lebanon."
The mid-September massacre of hundreds of unarmed men, women and children in Israeli-occupied Beirut by right-wing militiamen (like Hogberg, also professing "Christians") should give encouragement to Hogberg. After all, there are still plenty of people in the world who think just like he does, and if given half a chance would like nothing better than to "finish the job."
One final comment on Hogberg. Remember Herbert Armstrong's ill-fated prophecies about the Falkland Islands (see our June 30, 1982, issue, p. 9) and Hogberg's recent Plain Truth statement that Britain was "heading into the time of Jacob's trouble"? Well, in another flip flop, Hogberg writes (WN, July 5, p. 2): "One day the British will discover that God quite possibly gave them this victory [in the Falkland war], because he has a work to do in modem day Ephraim [Britain]...."
What Happened to Stan Rader?
We continue to receive requests for information about Stan Rader, whose reputation among many WCG members seems to remain untarnished. Very briefly, from knowledgeable sources we have learned that Rader is living in semiretirement in Pasadena. He has no executive or administrative responsibilities for the WCG, Ambassador College, or the AICF. He is now classified as a "nonactive" member ("he doesn't attend"). In our March 31,1981, issue we reported how Herbert Armstrong had given Rader a net $250,000 bonus for special services to the church. The Aug. 6, 1982 issue of Christianity Today reported that that bonus was actually $750,000 before taxes, and that Rader continues to receive a salary of over $200,000 per year. While Herbert Armstrong currently avails himself of Rader's services little (if at all), Rader receives his salary in return for his remaining a "consultant" to HWA. Said one friend, "These days Mr. Rader is playing a lot of tennis."
AICF Rolls On
While Stan Rader relaxes in the California sun, enjoying the good life, the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF), which he started, continues under the direction of Ellis LaRavia, formerly head of the gardeners at Ambassador College. The AICF has announced its talent lineup for the 1982-83 concert season. The new schedule includes appearances by some of the world's greatest orchestras, ballet troupes, and opera companies. Roger Wagner, James Galway, Andres Segovia, Janet Baker, Leontyne Price, and Andre Watts are just a few of the famous artists scheduled. Among the "pop" artists who will appear in "God's House" are Victor Borge, Marcel Marceau, Peter Nero, Henry Mancini, Benny Goodman, the Vienna Choir Boys, and the Newport Jazz Festival All-Stars.
Steve Allen on Cults
In past issues we have recommended a number of books on the subject of cults, mind control, and deprogramming. We have now come across another book that we believe could be of real help to many. It is by writer-entertainer Steve Allen and is entitled Beloved Son ($12.95 hardback, published by Bobbs-Merrill).
Mr. Allen's son Brian is a leading member of a religious communal group called Love Israel. In Beloved Son Mr. Allen details Brian's involvement with that cult and the ongoing father-son relationship he has maintained. It is a well-written, often entertaining, thought-provoking account of a very personal part of the entertainer's life.
There are excellent analyses of a number of major theological-philosophical problems, as well as chapters devoted to some of the more colorful of today's religious movements. Most significant, however, the author clearly shows the importance of keeping lines of communication open when a loved one joins a cult. We highly recommend this book to anyone who has had a friend or relative join the WCG or any other difficult-to-understand religious movement.
Cults in the News and in the Movies
Religious cults are more and more coming under the scrutiny of the government and the press. Reverend Sun Myung Moon, head of the Unification Church, was recently convicted in New York of tax fraud. And cults in general are getting so much attention that, according to Stanley Cath, professor of psychiatry at Tufts University, cults are more and more "'going underground' - trying to get out of the limelight and establish a formal organization" (U.S. News & World Report, July 5, 1982).
There is now even a feature film devoted to the cult phenomenon. It is entitled "Split Image." Directed by Ted Kotcheff, with an excellent cast, stairrng Michael O'Keefe, Karen Allen, Brian Dennehy, and Peter Fonda, the script by Scott Spencer deals with a young man's cult programming and eventual deprogramming. Some Ambassador College alumni who have seen it say it has some significant parallels to their own experiences with Armstrongism.
Musical Chairs Anyone?
Herbert Armstrong continues his practice of keeping subordinates off balance by playing executive musical chairs. The deputy chancellor of Ambassador's Big Sandy campus, Leon Walker, has been replaced by Leslie McCullough, one-time Big Sandy deputy chancellor and, of late, pastor of the WCG's Cincinnati congregations. Walker, who will now devote more time to the church's Spanish-language work, ostensibly asked for the demotion for health reasons (The Worldwide News, August 16).
Other recent Armstrong reassignments include Big Sandy dean of faculty Donald Ward and evangelist Ron Kelly, both shuffled to teaching jobs in Pasadena. Dr. Ward's position will now be filled by San Francisco minister Larry Salyer. Evangelist Burk McNair has been transferred out of Houston to pastor the Big Sandy and Tyler congregations. Long-time Big Sandy campus employee Buck Hammer has been retired, apparently for being a Hammer. (He is the brother-in-law of Garner Ted Armstrong and David Antion, both of whom left the WCG.) And Ambassador journalism instructor John Robinson has been terminated for being the son of anti-WCG author David Robinson. John is now teaching journalism at a state college in Tyler, Texas.
The July 5 issue of The Worldwide News announced that the liquidation of Quest/81 magazine has finally been completed. The publication of that magazine was finally terminated and its subscription liabilities met by subscription transfers to other magazines.
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According to Joseph Hopkins, writing in the August 6 issue of Christianity Today, the men on HWA's council of elders each receive yearly salaries of between $60,000 and $100,000 per year. That figure is exclusive of numerous special financial benefits they also receive.
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The mid-October issue (#62) of Cornerstone magazine will contain an article on the WCG written by Eric Pement. Mr. Pement told us that Ambassador Report readers, who would like a free copy of that issue, may obtain one by writing to: Cornerstone, 4707 N. Malden, Chicago, IL 60640.
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As we predicted in our March 30 newsletter, Jack Kessler's threats against the WCG's leadership have come to nothing. No legal action has yet been initiated by Kessler, nor have his allegations resulted in any new governmental investigations of his former employers.
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Herbert Armstrong is learning that it is one thing to declare a new doctrine and quite another for it to be accepted by the women in the WCG. Some Pasadena members complain that there is wholesale disobedience to HWA's no makeup decree, with "painted-up wives of many top ministers leading the pack."
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Evangelist Roderick Meredith, often named as a likely successor to Herbert Armstrong, appears to have again fallen out of favor with the head of his church. Friends say Armstrong has become aware of Meredith's recent disenchantment with his worldly life-style and personal morals. Not surprisingly, HWA has not granted Meredith the position of authority some church members feel he deserves.
Instead, HWA has delegated more and more responsibility to evangelist Ellis LaRavia, who is now being referred to as a possible successor to HWA. LaRavia has expanded his influence by controlling the physical plant at Pasadena, by controlling all of AICF, by becoming the church's spokesman (official press secretary), and by having certain employees loyal to him installed in key positions at Big Sandy. LaRavia travels regularly with HWA, thus increasing his visibility. Said one insider, "Ellis seems to think he can run the organization better than Mr. Armstrong. He should definitely be watched."
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Garner Ted Armstrong's Church of God, International (P.O. Box 2525, Tyler, TX 75710) recently published a new booklet by Ronald Dart entitled The Christian Woman. It contains an excellent rebuttal to Herbert Armstrong's latest anti-makeup doctrine. The booklet's cover photo is of the late Loma D. Armstrong.
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Hillel Chodos, one of the key lawyers for the California attorney general in the state's 1979 lawsuit against the WCG, was again in the headlines recently. He has been representing the wealthy Bloomingdale family in the lawsuit filed against it by Vicki Morgan, mistress (at $18,000 per month) to the late Alfred Bloomingdale, one of Ronald Reagan's advisors and, according to Morgan, a sex pervert who enjoyed beating women.
Laurence H. Tribe, the famous lawyer who represented the WCG before the U.S. Supreme Court during the California vs. WCG suit, has also been in the news. He has been representing Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean cult leader whose followers believe he is the Messiah.
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While teaching at Ambassador College and writing for WCG publications, Lester Grabbe was not only able to earn an accredited doctorate in theology, but had many articles published in respected (non-WCG) theological journals. In spite of this, he was terminated from his Ambassador College positions, apparently for being viewed as "too intellectual," and a potential "liberal." Since then he has been added to the faculty of the University of Hull in England, where he will lecture on the Old Testament. Tragically, Ambassador College students have again been denied a qualified and respected professor because of internal politics.
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Former WCG ministers Ben Chapman and David Antion have resigned from the doctrinal committee of the Church of God, International because of busy schedules. Antion, besides doing marriage counseling, pastoring a congregation, and working on a Ph.D. in educational psychology, is continuing with a lawsuit against the WCG. His wife, Molly, has a successful beauty consulting business, while their son, Steven, has returned to UCLA after a year of study in England. Steven is a pre-law history major.
Antion's Arcadia, California, congregation recently sponsored a successful series of lectures for the general public on the subject of "coping with single life." Antion has also authored two successful cassette tape programs entitled "Communication: Key to Sexual Fulfillment in Marriage," and "I'm an OK Person." Those who would like information on these excellent programs may write to: Dave Antion, 311 Waverly Drive, Pasadena, CA 91105.
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Former WCG minister Bill Moore (see the letter section of our Dec. 31, 1981 issue), through his company "Windward Productions" and in association with United Cable Television in the Omaha, Nebraska area, is producing a weekly television program called "Innovative Living." Bill wrote us saying he'd like to hear from AR readers who have an interest in "alternate energy, which includes everything from aquaculture to zonolite, and especially electric cars, earth homes, homesteading, solar greenhouses, alcohol fuels, solar collectors, etc." He says he would appreciate news clippings, articles, publications, as well as names, addresses, and phone numbers of people involved in such projects. Bill's address is: "Innovative Living," P.O. Box 14414, Omaha, NE 68124.
I am compiling a catalogue of ex-WCG members' names, phone numbers, and addresses for the purpose of providing a pen-friends/fellowship bureau. We, all of us, at times think: "I wonder what ever happened to old so-and-so." Now is your opportunity to find out! Would readers of the AR, here in Great Britain, please send a stamped self- ddressed envelope, together with any personal information they care to send me and the dates they were interred in the WCG, etc.? The catalogue will be sent out in approximately one to two months (depending upon the response). So write soon. (Replies from those now in U. S.A., Australia, New Zealand. etc. are welcome, too.) Write to: Peter Griffiths. 6 Congmore Road, Shirley, Solihull. B90 3DY England. Telephone. 021-779-2723 or 021-745-6613.
I sometimes wish Ambassador Report would he a bit more discriminating as to which religious groups it mentions. I was disappointed to see your uncritical review of one particular publication which, quite frankly, contains much theological error right out of Herbert Armstrong's teachings. If you had read it carefully, you would have discovered that, like Armstrong, its author is convinced Europe will he the "Beast" of Revelation and that the symbolic "woman " of Revelation is the Catholic church. That author is not alone in this error, as most fundamentalist Protestant denominations seem to believe this too. Many groups point to the seven mountains mentioned in Rev. 17:9 as proof that Revelation is talking about Rome because that city was founded on, or among, seven hills. What is often overlooked, however, is that many other cities are associated with seven hills. Among those are Athens, Istanbul, Jerusalem, and even Cincinnati, Ohio! In the days of Martin Luther, Catholic theologian Peter Bungus wrote a 700- page hook "proving" that the 666 of Revelation was equal to the name Martin Luther. Luther, in turn, interpreted 666 as a forecast of the duration of the Papal regime and rejoiced in his erroneous assumption that it was soon to end. Erroneous theories, such as these, have multiplied ever since.
But what does the Bible really say? Rev. 17:18 identifies the symbolic woman as "a great city." Which one? Not Rome, but Jerusalem! Compare Rev. 14:8 with Rev. 11:8, and see Daniel 11:45. It makes it very clear.
Let me also draw your attention to the August 23 issue of U.S. News & World Report. That respected magazine reported that the Italian government is investigating the Vatican's financial dealings (there is no Petris law in Italy), the Italian government is considering major changes in the 1929 treaty on Italian-Vatican relations, and the Vatican has a $29 million deficit (one publication said it is near bankruptcy). Then there is the growing chism between Catholic conservatives and liberals, which many experts believe will destroy what's left of that church. U.S. News even mentioned that 1,800 Vatican employees are seeking larger pay hikes and are threatening to strike.
I think you owe it to your readers to bring out these facts. Instead of mentioning so many groups which are following in Herbie's footsteps, I wish you'd mention the Foundation for Biblical Research (P. O. Box 928, Pasadena. CA 91102). Their newsletter for September had an excellent article entitled 'The Counterfeit Ten Nations." Those who are keeping their eyes on Europe, Rome, and the Pope might he surprised at how much they could learn from it.
Editor. We have mentioned the FBR in the past, and we have found many of their articles absolutely first-rate. For instance, Ken Fischer's article "My Quest for the Truth," and Ernest Martin's article "Which is the Best Christian Denomination?" in the August Commentator were two of the most thought-provoking we've read in a long time.
Nevertheless, we do think our policy of mentioning many groups is a wise one. While many of our readers are interested in theological matters, Ambassador Report is not a theological journal. Nor do we consider ourselves theologians. That being the case, we feel it best that readers should have access to many points of view, and not just those of one religious group or those of just the publishers of the Report. After all, "he who states his case first seems right; until the other comes and examines him
(Prov. 18:17, RSV).
Herbert Armstrong continues to preach that if you send him your tithes God will bless you. Yet until you come out of his organization, you may not realize that these blessings have not materialized as he promised. On the other hand, I know many who have left the WCG that have been financially blessed. In my own case, my income has nearly doubled since leaving. I am currently involved in the distribution of health and physical fitness products, and I am looking for people that can help me expand my business nationally (no monetary investment required). If any of your readers are interested they can write to me for information. My address is: Health & Wealth Associates, P. O. Box 3789, Greensburg. PA 75607.
After reading the last issue of Ambassador Report, I thought you might be interested in this example of Mr. Armstrong not always telling "the plain truth." I am referring to Herbert's claim in his booklet United States & Britain in Prophecy that there is a notice beside the Coronation Stone in Westminster Abbey which labels it "Jacob's Pillar Stone." I was suspicious about this claim as one would think such important evidence would not be illegible.
About 10 years ago now I wrote to Westminster Abbey to inquire if such a notice existed. I am enclosing a copy of the reply from the Keeper of Muniments. I sent a copy of this letter to Ambassador College and asked them to please explain. Ten years later I am still waiting for a reply. I have noticed that the lie is still being perpetuated in the new edition.
Editor. The following is the letter referred to above.
Thank you for your letter of 24th July about the Coronation Stone.
There certainly is not at present any notice describing the Stone as "Jacob's Pillar-Stone," nor can I find anyone here who can recall that there ever was such a notice. I have had several letters recently asking just the same question, and I am rather curious to know what has prompted it.
The Stone has been examined by a succession of geologists and all agree that it is a sandstone. Professor A. C. Ramsay writing in 1865 (Stanley's Memorials of Westminster Abbey, 2nd edn., p. 566) states that "the rocks round Bethel... according to all credible reports... are formed of strata of limestone."
Professor C. F. Davidson, of H. M. Geological Survey, at the time of George VI's Coronation, contributed an article on the Stone to Crown and Empire (Times Publishing Company, 1937). pp. 126-7. In it he stated that from the chemical composition of samples of the Stone, as compared with other rocks, "the Coronation Stone is seen to agree most closely in lithology with sandstones of Lower Old Red Sandstone age from Scotland. These rocks are well developed in the neighbourhood of Perth and Dundee, and there are several natural exposures close to Scone itself. Specimens obtained from these areas frequently carry pebbles of porphyrite or andesite, some of which are petrographically identical with the one from the Coronation Stone. One or two similar pebbles, about the size of a pea, may be seen in the stone at Westminster... The whole balance of evidence, therefore, is in favour of the stone having been quarried somewhere in the east of Perthshire or in southern Angus, probably not far from the ancient seat of the Pictish monarchy at Scone.
-N. H. MacMichael
Keeper of the Muniments
In answer to the letter sent in on GTA and his continual drunkenness, I do not agree with that writer, as in the first place, when does Ted have time to drink with all he has to do? I don't know how he has time to drink even a little, as he has so much reading to do, and writing booklets plus getting sermons ready.
If he was getting drunk so much, his brain certainly would not function as well as it does. He is so brilliant and needs a sharp mind in order to he able to do all the things he does. He is constantly on the go. His sermons are priceless. I get them all the time. He has a lot of vital knowledge stored up in his head that amazes me. I only wish I had the memory he has.
Secondly, I am sure Ron Dart and others would not stay with him if he was always getting drunk. I don't blame Ted one bit for being angry about this. I have a friend that drinks quite a bit when we go out with him, and. he has been accused of getting drunk also, but never has (even though he can drink a lot more than Ted, I am sure). However, one has only to have a couple of drinks and others accuse him of drinking too much, which is none of their business. I know if anyone lied about me I also would be very angry and tempted to put my fist down their throat, but I wouldn't of course.
It would be nice if people would put their noses into their Bible instead of continually finding fault with others and trying to stir up trouble. Some day God will do all the judging, not us. Even though there is a lot of corruption in the WCG, there are a lot of good Christians there and I visit a few of them from time to time. Some people really have an ax to grind. If one can repent we should forgive him as Christ does.
Please tell me how I can receive copies of the Ambassador Report at my home. I am coming out of the WCG, because I don't feel there is very much love in an organization that has so much "get" in it. I was a baptized member for 10 years, and during that time I have gradually seen one thing after another that just doesn't seem to be the way Christ would have His church conducted. So much confusion!
Please continue sending me the Report. I'm a 30-year member of the WCG clan, but thank God and Jesus Christ I finally have found my way out by much study, prayers, and your help. So please don't let me down. I still want to keep up with Satan's tricks.
-Big Sandy. Texas
Keep your presses going. We "poor, dumb sheep" are gaining much knowledge and find it most comforting to read we aren't alone in getting our brains unscrambled. I've been out of the WCG since '78, but I am finding it a very slow process in undoing the WCG's brainwashing. But God is so real, so close, so patient, and so loving, and I am so free! May God continue to open the eyes of others still in slavery. Thanks for your help.
Editor: Many are finding that HWA was correct in one important teaching. It often does take as much time and effort to undo miseducation as it takes to gain true education.
Our apologies for the shortness of this newsletter. Frankly, our last three issues were not only longer than our finances allowed, but in our zeal to help current WCG members, we printed and distributed more free copies than we should have. At the same time, contributions to the Report have fallen off. (Many have written to us telling how they would like to help, but cannot because of unemployment and other problems.)
We will try to bring our next newsletter back up to size. In the meantime, our special thanks to those who did remember us this quarter. Without your help, even this short issue would not have been possible.
With warmest regards,
John Trechak, Editor
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