AR27 April, 1984
Editor's Note: Many readers have wondered if we stopped publishing because our regularly scheduled January issue never appeared. Unfortunately, due to illness on the staff and scheduling problems we were unable to put out an issue for the first quarter. Please be assured that we will not discontinue operations without notifying you. Nor do we ever take any subscribers off our mailing list without first sending a renewal letter.
One other thought: We hope this issue will not prove offensive to any readers. Some of the language of the lawyers quoted is, at times, unpleasant, as are many of the details we have uncovered about Herbert Armstrong's private life. As much as we would prefer the truth to be otherwise, we feel it best that the facts be presented without alteration. However, if you prefer not to read of lawyers reviling each other or of Herbert Armstrong's private life, then we would suggest you skip over the first few pages.
The Insanity Continues
On April 16, 1982, through his lawyers, Herbert W. Armstrong, the 91-year-old founder of the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College, filed for divorce against Ramona, his 45-year-old wife.
Since then the legal maneuverings by both sides have been extensive and continuous. Numerous trial dates have been set, only to be later postponed. At present, the proceeding is scheduled to begin April 25, with the judge having set aside five full weeks for the Armstrong divorce trial.
The legal expenses incurred so far by Armstrong's organization are, of course, astronomical. Estimates of just how much the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) has spent on the suit range from a conservative one million dollars to well over five million. Ramona has stated that she would have once seriously considered an out-of-court settlement for half that amount. No wonder many members of the Tucson bar and judiciary are beginning to raise eyebrows at what is transpiring.
To fully appreciate how completely ludicrous, how totally insane, this whole divorce case really is, one has but to read the court record. The editor of this publication has read over 3,000 pages of court documents filed in the case in just the three months following our last issue.
It takes little imagination to visualize the incredible waste of court time (and taxpayers' money) being caused by this ongoing Armstrong spectacle. Judge William Sherrill, who has now replaced the retired Judge Hooker, was undoubtedly thinking of this when, on November 9, he issued the following order:
This action was filed over one year ago and there are now 28 or 29 file folders containing pleadings, motions and exhibits to said pleadings or motions. Some files contain only one or two motions.
On November 7th and 8th, 1983, attorneys for petitioner filed two motions. These two motions, with attached exhibits, are a stack of paper 3/4ths of an inch thick. Respondent, on November 8, 1983, filed a reply to a motion of petitioner, the reply was 3/8ths of an inch thick.
THE COURT FINDS the above is typical and is a waste of space, is redundant and contrary to the concept that pleadings (Rule 3 of ARCP) shall be simple, concise and direct and that motions (Rule IV, Uniform Rules of Practice) "...shall be accompanied by a memorandum indicating as a minimum the precise legal points, statutes and authorities relied upon, citing the specific portions or pages thereof...."
If either counsel expects the Court to fully read each and every page of each and every motion and exhibit, they are misguided.
The Court believes that if counsel are unable to write a motion and argument in ten (10) pages or less, including exhibits, they have failed to analyze the problem or failed to take sufficient time to write it out concisely. These failures should not burden the Court.
While those companies that sell copy machines, papers, and supplies might well applaud counsel in this case, the Court does not.
IT IS ORDERED that no motion, brief or reply exceeding ten (10) pages, including exhibits and attachments, will be set for hearing or considered by the Court unless special permission has first been granted.
The Armstrong divorce trial has been delayed not just because of the excessive paperwork and verbosity. Herbert Armstrong (HWA), who initiated the suit in the first place, and his lawyers have used just about every trick in the book in attempting to withhold information. Here is one example taken from but one HWA deposition, in which Deckter, Ramona's lawyer, is asking about and showing copies of certain extremely large checks - up to $50,000 - made out to and endorsed by HWA:
MR. DECKTER: This is the production of your account, Mr. Armstrong.
THE WITNESS (HWA): I don't see any such thing there. It makes no difference.
Q Sir, I am going to ask you to take a look -
A I don't - I never saw them. I never handled them. I never - my signature is not on any of them. It never came to my attention. It's the first time I've seen it.
Q Isn't it true, sir, that you wrote out personal checks on this account that were converted into cashier's checks on each and every one of these checks?
MR. BROWNE (HWA's lawyer): I don't understand the question. It's vague and ambiguous.
THE WITNESS: As far as I understand the question, I don't remember anything of the kind at all.
MR. BROWNE: All right.
MR. DECKTER: You wrote out numerous checks -
A I won't say that it's true. And I don't know that it was at all.
Q You have to let me ask my question, sir. Isn't it true, sir, that you wrote out numerous checks out of that account, endorsed numerous checks from that account, at least a dozen or so of them as reflected in the exhibits before you?
A I do not believe so.
Q Converted to cashier's checks?
A No, I do not believe so. I do not remember that....
It is amazing how HWA's memory has gone blank at key moments. Here are more examples:
©1984 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.
MR. DECKTER: Didn't you cause an additional $10,000 to be forwarded to your brother after he lost or misplaced the first $10,000 that you had sent to him?
MR. BROWNE: I am going to object.
THE WITNESS: I never heard of anything like that in my life.
MR. BROWNE: I object.
THE WITNESS: It's all news to me. I don't know anything about that.
MR. BROWNE: I object to the question as being constitutionally impermissible as previously defined, not relevant and not material. Any payments that are made by the church are not going to be inquired into -
THE WITNESS: That's right.
MR. BROWNE: - in this proceeding. If you want to ask whether Mr. Armstrong personally sent some of his own money to anyone, that we would allow you to go into. But not church finances. So please don't answer any questions, Mr. Armstrong, in that area.
MR. DECKTER: Did you cause $10,000 to be sent to your brother for a down payment on his house?
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question. It's been asked and answered and answered.
MR. DECKTER: Do you not have information, sir, that that $10,000 was then taken by your brother's wife and she absconded with it?
MR. BROWNE: Objection.
MR. DECKTER: Well, do you know whether or not his wife absconded with it?
A I do not, no.
Q And that after you received that information that you caused an additional $10,000 to be sent to him for the purchase of a home?
A I have no recollection of such thing whatsoever. I don't know.
Q Are you saying it is untrue or you have no current recollection, sir?
MR. BROWNE: He's answered.
THE WITNESS: I answered you.
MR. DECKTER: Are you saying, sir -
A I said, I do not remember and I don't know.
Q Do you recall telling Mr. David Robinson in May of 1974, at Big Sandy, that you had been having a romance with Amy, a church employee, that you believed to be approximately 25 years old at that time?
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question as being irrelevant and immaterial, instruct the witness not to answer it. What's the relevancy, counsel?
Q (By Mr. Deckter) Do you accept that instruction?
A On the advice of my counsel I won't answer. Some of these things I would like to answer, but I know your legal, well, methods. And I think you know my opinion of them. I don't approve of such methods at all .... there was no romantic relationship whatsoever, but there was sort of a grandfather and granddaughter affection, nothing more, and nothing more ever happened.
MR. DECKTER: That is not the question that was submitted to the witness.
MR. BROWNE: I will object to the question, that it's irrelevant and immaterial.
THE WITNESS: The whole question is designed to put me in a wrong light, and it is not true.
MR. BROWNE: State your question, Mr. Deckter. Go on, what's the question?
THE WITNESS: The whole thing is an attempt to defame me.
MR. BROWNE: I understand that.
THE WITNESS: And defame my character, and it is not true. There was never anything in any manner, shape or form wrong. The relationship with this Amy Bowman. I had even forgotten her name.
MR. BROWNE: All right.
Q (By Mr. Deckter) The question is, sir, isn't it true that in May of '74, at Big Sandy, you had a conversation with Mr. David Robinson and during the course of that conversation you discussed your romance and romantic relationship with Amy Bowman, a person who you believed to be 25 years old at that time?
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question, that it's irrelevant and immaterial. But you may answer it. Did you tell that to Mr. Robinson?
THE WITNESS: I don't remember the conversation at all, but there never was any romantic relationship with Amy Bowman.
HWA may not remember the conversation, but David Robinson certainly does. A detailed account appears on page 67 of his book. As for Ms. Bowman, she has stated that HWA tried to fondle her breasts, but that she objected. Soon afterward she was transferred from being one of his secretaries to a position in the editorial department. The above objections by Armstrong's lawyer Browne were not isolated occurrences. During the HWA depositions Browne again and again and again instructed his client not to answer questions put to him. Note this exchange:
Q Who is Lucy Martin?
A Lucy Martin is the former head of the department of music of Ambassador College.
Q Was she a church member?
Q What was her salary while working for Ambassador College?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to as being constitutionally impermissible as previously defined, irrelevant, immaterial and I would instruct you not to answer that question, Mr. Armstrong. It's a matter of privacy.
THE WITNESS: On my attorney's advice I will not answer.
MR. DECKTER: Did she receive bonuses?
MR. BROWNE: Same objection, same instruction.
MR. DECKTER: Did she receive gifts?
MR. BROWNE: Same objections. From whom are you asking about gifts now? Are you talking about the church or from Mr. Armstrong?
MR. DECKTER: Presentation of furniture and other remunerations.
MR. BROWNE: Counsel, will you get the question on the record?
MR. DECKTER: That's the question.
MR. BROWNE: By from whom?
MR. DECKTER: From Ambassador College and/or Worldwide or whoever her employer was that had previously provided her with use of furniture.
MR. BROWNE: All right. To that question I will object as being constitutionally impermissible and irrelevant and immaterial and instruct the witness not to answer.
MR. DECKTER: Will you answer the question, sir?
A I will not answer then.
Here are a few more excerpts from the HWA depositions:
Q Who is Velma Van der Veer?
A Van der Veer, she is the former head of the Home Ec. Department of Ambassador College.
Q What was her salary?
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question. Are you asking what was her salary paid by Ambassador?
MR. DECKTER: Sure.
MR. BROWNE: All right, object to the question as being irrelevant, immaterial and constitutionally impermissible and I instruct you not to answer.
THE WITNESS: I will not answer.
Q (By Mr. Deckter) Was Ms. Van der Veer also given a lifetime contract?
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question. You're asking about a lifetime contract from the church or the college?
MR. DECKTER: Yes.
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question as being constitutionally impermissible, irrelevant, immaterial and instruct you not to answer.... Let's take a five-minute break. We've been going at this for more than an hour and a half...
Q Mr. Armstrong, what has been the source of support of Beverly Lucille Mattson since 1975 or 1976? I'm sorry, Beverly Lucille Gott [HWA's elder daughter].
A I think she's on retirement by contract made out by Stanley R. Rader.
Q Contract. Does she have a contract of employment with Worldwide or Ambassador or one of the various entities?
A I think so.
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question as constitutionally impermissible and not relevant or material. But you may answer the question.
THE WITNESS: I think so, yes....
Q Isn't it true, sir, you got her a lifetime contract?
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question as being vague and ambiguous, constitutionally....
Q How many church loans to members of your family have you caused to be made, sir?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to as being irrelevant, immaterial, constitutionally impermissible and instruct the witness not to answer.
THE WITNESS: On the advice of my attorney, I refuse to answer.
MR. DECKTER: How many loans to relatives by the church have you caused to be forgiven?
MR. BROWNE: Object to the question as being constitutionally impermissible as previously defined and irrelevant and immaterial and instruct the witness not to answer....
Q Do you recall, sir, is that correct, the residence on Como Drive was Mr. Rader's residence and was furnished with, quote, church furniture prior to your stay this time?
MR. BROWNE: Object to as being immaterial and irrelevant and constitutionally impermissible since it deals with Mr. Rader's relationship with the church and has no bearing here and I instruct you not to answer.
THE WITNESS: All right. I will not answer then.
MR. DECKTER: Isn't it true, sir, that you caused a gift to be made of all the furniture in the Como residence to Mr. Rader upon his retirement or resignation from Worldwide?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to....
THE WITNESS: No, on my attorney's advice I refuse to answer....
MR. DECKTER: How many employees of the Worldwide Church of God have you caused a gift of furniture to be made to?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to as being constitutionally impermissible, irrelevant, immaterial and instruct the witness not to answer. And, again, the constitutional and impermissibility as previously defined -
THE WITNESS: On the advice of my attorney I refuse to answer....
Q Sir, are you familiar with a corporation named Southwest Business Systems?
A Named what?
MR. BROWNE: Southwest Business Systems.
THE WITNESS: I believe that is used for the mail processing office here.
MR. DECKTER: Sir, when you talk about mail processing, does that include money or checks?
MR. BROWNE: Objection, what is the relevancy of that?
MR. DECKTER: We have the account at Valley National Bank and I want to know if that office was used at all with those funds. That's one of the areas that I would like to inquire into.
MR. BROWNE: I don't understand, the office used for those funds? I don't know what you mean.
MR. DECKTER: That's what I will find out. I mean there are checks sent to someplace, maybe Pasadena, then physically brought to Tucson. Then Tucson does some sort of division of those checks and funds.
MR. BROWNE: Objected to as being constitutionally impermissible, irrelevant and immaterial. If you know, you can answer. I don't know if you know that.
THE WITNESS: What is the question again?
MR. BROWNE: The question is also vague and ambiguous.
THE WITNESS: The mail processing department includes many things.
MR. DECKTER: Okay. As far as Southwest Business Systems in Tucson, it is a mail processing -
A That is a part of it. That's a division of it, yes. It's all under Mr. Rice.
Q Okay. Are you saying when that's a division of it, are you saying that it does include the handling of cash and/or checks here in Tucson?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to as constitutionally impermissible, vague and ambiguous, irrelevant and immaterial.
THE WITNESS: I don't see the connection. I don't know why I should answer.
MR. BROWNE: I will instruct you not to answer. There's no materiality there....
Q (By Mr. Deckter) Sir, have you authorized the transfer of cash from any country in the world to Switzerland, cash? These are not checks or anything. Letter transfers of funds, or anything like that?
MR. BROWNE: You may answer only insofar as it pertains to you personally, and not as pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God.
THE WITNESS: Personally, I have not, no.
Q (By Mr. Deckter) And as pastor general
A Not to my knowledge, ever.
Q And as pastor general?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to as being constitutionally impermissible, irrelevant, and immaterial, vague and ambiguous, and instruct you not to answer.
Q (By Mr. Deckter) Do you accept the instruction, sir?
A I do. I don't remember of any such thing anyway.
Q Sir, are you familiar with the corporation incorporated in the State of Colorado by the name of Herbert W. Armstrong, the Apostle of the Church of God and His Successors, a corporation sole?
A There were a number of these corporations in different states, filed by my attorneys.
Q Do you know if you sit as an officer or director of that corporation?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to as being constitutionally impermissible.
THE WITNESS: I refuse to answer that.
Hour after hour, Browne objected to question after question put to HWA. Here are a few more of the questions that Herbert, on his lawyer's advice, refused to answer:
Q Is that your testimony, that everything you do in your life ultimately has a purpose to further the church?
Q Isn't it true, sir, that that's the basis for your testimony when you say that money was used for the church in that you are asserting that everything you do and that everything that is spent is spent on behalf of the church?
Q Sir, was there a change in the rules of divorce in 1976, with regard to - or before - with regard to a divorce between two persons who were both members of the church at the time of the requested divorce?
Q Sir, have you caused a sum of $350,000 to be paid to the University of Southern California?
And HWA refused to answer dozens more! At no time did Herbert clarify adequately his financial relationship to his many church corporations, give a reason for large financial payments and gifts to numerous women and relatives, dispel the persistent rumors of Swiss bank accounts, or counter Ramona's key arguments about the WCG being a cover for HWA's personal financial schemes. The questions left unanswered may very well reveal more about the true HWA than those he answered. And yet counsel Allan Browne persisted in advising his client to be silent on a vast array of pertinent subjects.
Browne's objections became so predictable that even HWA fell victim to their almost hypnotic cadence:
Q Isn't it true, sir, that her only purpose of attendance with you in '75 and '76 was solely as a result of your personal and romantic relationship with Ramona?
MR. BROWNE: Objection to the question. It's vague. It's ambiguous. It's irrelevant, immaterial and constitutionally impermissible; it's argumentative as well.
MR. DECKTER: Go ahead.
MR. BROWNE: Can you answer the question?
THE WITNESS: No, I refuse to answer on my attorney's advice.
MR. DECKTER: Your attorney did not instruct you not to answer it.
MR. BROWNE: I will instruct him not to answer.
The incessant objections also proved a bit too much for Ramona's attorney, Louis Deckter, who on at least one occasion could not contain his frustration with Browne.
MR. DECKTER: Did you cause Garner Ted to be terminated from any position with any of the Worldwide corporations?
MR. BROWNE: Would you repeat that question, please?
MR. BROWNE: Same instruction, same objection as to the previous question.
THE WITNESS: Yeah, I think that would be entirely an ecclesiastical matter, yes. I refuse to answer.
MR. DECKTER: Did you allow or permit Garner Ted to take with him the furniture from his church residence in quotes at the time of his termination?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to unless you lay a foundation as to what furniture.
MR. DECKTER: You're fucking nuts. How can I lay a foundation?
MR. BROWNE: What did you call him?
MR. DECKTER: How can I lay a foundation?
There were some questions even Allan Browne could not find an objection to, but even in those cases Ramona's lawyers had to pry the truth out of HWA. Notice this excerpt:
Q Tell me about your formal education, sir.
A Well, when I was 18 years old I found a book in the public library titled Choosing a Vocation.
Q I think we are getting off the track, sir.
Q Excuse me, I want to know about your formal education, sir. Did you attend high school.
Q Did you graduate from high school?
A No, I did not.
Q What year did you terminate high school?
A After three years.
Q Did you even obtain a GED, a general equivalency diploma?
A No. I have honorary PhD's, however.
Q Have you ever attended an accredited college or university?
A No, I have not
Q Have you obtained -
A As a student I have not. I have -
Q I don't mean have you visited at one or maybe having spoke at a school or something like that.
A I just recently spoke before top people in the law school of the University of Southern California.
Q Yes, sir.
A In the presence of the president of the university.
Q What I am asking, though, is if you attended as a student.
Q Or have received any degrees for work actually performed there?
A I have received an education but not that type.
Ramona's Deposition Gets Nasty
One of the more interesting documents we have come across is the transcript of a Ramona Armstrong deposition that was supposed to be dealing with her ability to pay legal fees. Present were Jack Ettinger, one of her divorce lawyers; Alex Baynes, her lawyer in the pending criminal case (see our last newsletter); David Wolfe, one of HWA's lawyers; and, of course, Allan Browne. We quote from midway into a dispute between Browne and Ettinger:
MR. BROWNE: I think he can answer my questions without -
MR. ETTINGER: You said I am - on the record. I am not talking to her off the report. I'm not off the record. Everything I have said is for the record.
MR. BROWNE: As of this moment you are not but there were periods of time -
MR. ETTINGER: No, there were no periods. Only in your mind there were periods of time, Allan.
MR. BROWNE: No.
MR. ETTINGER: Go ahead, tell him.
MR. BROWNE: No, I think that is not true.
MR. ETTINGER: You have just got to fight over nothing.
MR. BROWNE: I don't want to attack you.
MR. ETTINGER: Yes, you do. Go ahead. Next.
MR. BROWNE: Keep your voice down and we will get along better.
MR. ETTINGER: Look, I will start smoking you out of this room if you want to play like that. I am courteous to you. I don't smoke in the room with you. I don't know what else you want. As usual you want everything your way.
Go ahead, answer.
MR. BROWNE: Please.
THE WITNESS: Excuse me, what was the question again?
MR. BROWNE: Who are these friends you are living with?
A Cliff and Maria McKinney....
[Editor. Here we delete five pages of rambling questions about her previous traveling agendas and further arguing between lawyers.]
Q Did you drive in from Las Vegas for this deposition?
Q Flew in?
Q How did you arrive?
A I drove, but I didn't drive in from Las Vegas.
Q Where did you drive from?
A Originally Las Vegas. But I drove in from Phoenix and I spent the night in Phoenix.
Q And who drove the Mercedes and who drove the Oldsmobile?
MR. GAYNES: Don't answer it.
MR. ETTINGER: It's obvious we are going to have to seek a protective order and he's not going into the issues. He just wants to harass you like he always does.
THE WITNESS: I know.
MR. ETTINGER: It's on the record. So he won't get down to the issue of your ability or any funds that you may have in order to pay attorneys' fees. He just wants to harass you.
Let the record so show. Go on with your questions.
MR. BROWNE: Counsel, I'm not going to argue with you because I don't want to waste valuable time.
MR. ETTINGER: You always waste valuable time.
MR. BROWNE: Counsel, don't interrupt me. Let me finish. I let you make your claims. Let me state mine and we will get on with it.
MR. ETTINGER: She answered the question.
MR. BROWNE: I am not attempting to harass the witness.
MR. ETTINGER: You are.
MR. BROWNE: Don't argue with me. Let me just get it for the record.
MR. ETTINGER: The questioning itself will determine whether it's harassment, not what I say or what you say. So why don't we get on with the damn questions.
MR. BROWNE: The harassment is your interruption. That's continuous.
MR. ETTINGER: No, my things are not continuous. It's your questions that require interruption because you won't get down to the issue of her ability to pay and what she's using the money for.
MR. BROWNE: What you are trying to do is interrupt my flow of questioning.
MR. ETTINGER: No, I'm not trying to interrupt anything.
MR. BROWNE: And try and knock my questioning off balance.
MR. ETTINGER: It's impossible to do that because you are going to go on more tediously for days and hours no matter what anybody does or says to you. Okay. Go ahead...
Q Now, after March 1983 when you and Jeff and Mr. Wally McKinney left your sister, where did you go from there?
MR. GAYNES: Let me tell you how I feel about that. I am representing her in a criminal case and I'm not really in this divorce case. But what I came here for was because there's been a request for attorneys' fees. She's receiving $1,800 a month I understand from Mr. Armstrong on a Court order. She's asking $300,000 in attorneys' fees. If she paid away $1,800 a month, every single penny of it, in attorneys' fees it wouldn't matter because it would take her one thousand 66 months or a total of 88 years to be able to pay that amount of attorneys' fees. You are now asking questions about driving, about incidental expenditures and it's my suspicion that you are trying to get far more than just asking her questions about what her present income is and ability to pay. And because she has a Fifth Amendment right, I am asking her not to answer any more of those questions.
MR. BROWNE: Fifth Amendment right?
MR. GAYNES: Right. What you are doing is you are going into things that the county attorney is going into and looking at. They are continuing to investigate her. You are trying to find out where she's going, where she's been, who she's been with, which is part of their ongoing investigation and I'm not going to let her jeopardize herself like that unless you specifically are asking her about things that directly have to do with how in heaven's name she's going to pay $300,000 in attorneys' fees and whether or not that $300,000 in attorneys' fees is reasonable.
MR. BROWNE: You are instructing her not to answer that question?
MR. GAYNES: The last question you asked concerning who is living where, where she went, what car, who she was with, anything that has to do with things that are not directly in relevance to the issue of how she's going to pay $300,000 of attorneys' fees and whether those attorneys' fees are reasonable, I cannot let her answer it because you are getting into things that are afield with obvious attempts to aid the prosecuter.
MR. BROWNE: We have reason to believe that she has enormous funds of money available for the payment of attorneys' fees as well as support and I am intending to ask her where she's living so that I can find out how much she's paying and where she's getting the money to pay for it. Now, the question of where she's going is simply foundational to find out where she went after that so I can find out where she lived, who paid the rent and where she's got the money for it. And this is a series of questions dealing with her lifestyle. And it also goes to the issue of credibility in this case. So those are the points I have asked.
MR. GAYNES: If your claim is that she has enormous funds, which she has denied in previous depositions, she has stated for the record it has not changed and if you are asking for enormous funds of money available elsewhere, then all you are trying to do is aid the prosecutor. I am going to tell her not to answer anything else....
MR. ETTINGER: Ask her questions. Don't ask me any more questions. If you are going to play games with me -
MR. BROWNE: I am not playing games.
MR. ETTINGER: I said get off the record and I will tell you what I told David. It's not part of the report on my - I am not being deposed. You want to depose me don't you? I'm not going to be deposed. You asked me a question and I am telling you. Typical Hollywood, Beverly Hills shit you are pulling. Ask her the questions. Don't ask me any questions anymore. Just like - why have you needed my records today? I'm not being deposed. She doesn't know what is on my records. All she knows is what she knows. That's why I don't trust you or anybody in Beverly Hills.
MR. WOLFE: What day would you like to be deposed?
MR. ETTINGER: You name it and notice me and we will get it set, David.
MR. WOLFE: All right.
MR. ETTINGER: Because you can't do anything with you people off the record and I know [what] I've heard took place and I know you don't tell me the truth when I ask you a question. You want it on the record. Fine.
MR. BROWNE: Mr. Ettinger -
MR. ETTINGER: Ask. Will you get on with her deposition. I am so tired of listening to you Beverly Hills lawyers who are - and I am so tired of it and you want proposals and nothing ever comes back. I'm not proposing anything. We are going all the way through with the press. They are going to be at the trial. They are going to be here about the motions being taken I think by your Church. They are going to hear everything and that's - I think that's the way it should be no matter what the cause is. I think that's the way it has to be handled. Otherwise this case is never going to be settled because you like to play games in Hollywood. You like professional games in Hollywood. You don't want to settle anything. You want to try this, milk the Church. I guess you've spent a half a million dollars... to lawyers in this divorce case and you will milk the Church until they cannot stand it any longer.
MR. BROWNE: We had a settlement made.
MR. ETTINGER: You had no settlement. We have never had a settlement, Mr. Browne. You people are low.
MR. BROWNE: Lower your voice.
MR. ETTINGER: I am not going to lower my voice. You have a cigarette.
MR. BROWNE: Okay. Continue yelling.
MR. ETTINGER: You know you are going to milk the Church just like they milked the public. Wait until I get on the trial and the press is there. They will have a ball with this goddamn Church. And I want you to - and this is all part of the record. They are going to have a ball. Right. They are going to have a ball with the Church because they do know they are not honest with the public.
MR. BROWNE: Why aren't we honest with the public?
MR. ETTINGER: Browne, ask this lady questions. You know why. You've been there, Counsel, for many years.
MR. BROWNE: Are you telling me that I am acting dishonestly?
MR. ETTINGER: I never said that at all about you.
MR. BROWNE: Okay.
MR. ETTINGER: You are not the Church are you unless you tell me you are. Don't ask me any more questions because they upset me. I have a very low threshold for you Beverly Hills lawyers. Go ahead with your questions of Mrs. Armstrong....
Q Have you had any conversations with Mr. Gaynes about how he would be compensated for appearing here today in this divorce action?
MR. ETTINGER: Do not answer that question on the grounds that I instruct you, that it is typical Beverly Hills tactics to ask you these questions when Mr. Gaynes came here today and told you he is not here representing her in the divorce action. He is here to protect her rights in a criminal action that is pending that was instituted by the Worldwide Church of God [and] I wonder how many criminals are in that church myself. So, besides that, do not answer the question.
MR. BROWNE: I just want to indicate that my silence is only because I will not give Mr. Ettinger the satisfaction of being provoked into acting like a child. He is using very unprofessional language and I will not respond to it.
MR. ETTINGER: I am using the proper response to the type of questions you are asking. And, you know, you can ask that question properly without getting involved in the criminal action which we are not here on today.
MR. BROWNE: I refuse to get involved in an insulting match because I don't want to drop down to your level.
MR. ETTINGER: That's fine. I wouldn't want to drop down to your level.
MR. BROWNE: You will not provoke me. So you can say anything you want. You can call me a thief. You can call me anything you want.
MR. ETTINGER: I haven't called you a thief.
MR. BROWNE: Anything you want, anything you want.
MR. ETTINGER: I say your tactics are not, do not behoove the type of deposition we are taking on the question of attorneys' fees.
MR. BROWNE: Anything you say will not provoke me.
MR. ETTINGER: Fine.
MR. BROWNE: So you can get red in the face and raise your voice.
MR. ETTINGER: I love it. I'm having a great time here.
MR. BROWNE: All right. That's fine.
MR. ETTINGER: You better-.... finish the questions so the Court can make one ruling.
MR. BROWNE: I cannot go forward under the restrictions that you've placed upon me.
MR. ETTINGER: I haven't placed any restrictions upon you. The Court ordered you to go into the issue. The Court has ordered you to go into the issue of the temporary attorneys' fees, period. You have attempted to go into many issues, including pending criminal charges which you have instigated through your church, other types of matters.
MR. BROWNE: Counsel, I'm not going to sit here and have you make all sorts of misstatements.
MR. ETTINGER: I am not making misstatements.
MR. BROWNE: They are misstatements, purposely calculated to provoke me.
MR. ETTINGER: No, you cannot be provoked. How can you be provoked?
MR. BROWNE: I refuse to listen to it. The deposition is adjourned until another date.
You may have noticed that in the above Browne is claiming Ramona "has enormous funds of money available." Then not long afterwards Browne claimed in a legal document:
Mr. Armstrong does not have the personal financial capability to comply with the September 16, 1983 Order of this Court, the Honorable Robert J. Hooker, requiring that Mr. Armstrong "pay to respondent's attorneys forthwith $100,000.00 as and for temporary attorneys' fees."
It will be very difficult to find a more preposterous pair of statements anywhere.
The Armstrong divorce trial has been postponed repeatedly, but it is only a matter of time before the entire mess becomes very public. Going through the court records, one finds an amazing number of remarkable statements. One document filed recently by Ramona's lawyer states:
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG comes to this Court seeking equitable relief with unclean hands and while he is in pari delicto in that he has failed to maintain and keep the property in proper repair as required, he has failed to pay the court ordered interim attorneys' fees award, he has refused to allow RAMONA ARMSTRONG access to the house without great difficulty, and he has allowed his guards to hassle his wife when she wanted to use her house, all contrary to the spirit and letter of this court's Order of November 5, 1982.
Then, there is a mysterious sealed document dated Dec. 14, 1983 (and from Ettinger and Deckter) with this warning on the outside:
THIS ENVELOPE IS NOT TO BE OPENED NOR THE CONTENTS DISCLOSED WITHOUT COURT ORDER.
Here's another oddity. HWA's lawyers entered into the court record a 12/17/81 correspondence by HWA to Ramona. Here is a key quote (emphasis his):
I wrote you that Satan desires to destroy you, next to me. But GOD ALMIGHTY has called you to be His number one woman on earth - the FIRST LADY of His Church, and all the Church, ministers, laymen, men and women, SINCERELY WANT you to be their FIRST LADY - simply by being one of them, and being my wife. That is a RESPONSIBILITY you simply don't dare reject or neglect.
Another unusual document submitted by HWA's lawyers is a copy of a March 1, 1981 Agreement between HWA and the WCG that ostensibly cancelled HWA's previous contract with the WCG. The agreement seems to paint Stanley R. Radar as some sort of culprit behind the previous contract. But a careful scrutiny of the new agreement reveals this key sentence:
NOW THEREFORE, FOR A GOOD AND VALUABLE CONSIDERATION IT IS HEREBY AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
What that "good and valuable consideration" consists of is not stated. Is it $1 million a year? $2 million? $20 million in a Swiss bank account? We don't know - yet.
We do believe, however, that so much information may eventually emerge from the HWA divorce trial that it could fill a very large book. And apparently it will. Lawyer Ettinger, who is fighting tooth and nail to get HWA to pay him the legal fees ordered by the court, has had to turn to other means to get paid for his services. He has informed HWA's lawyers that he now has a contract with Doubleday to write a book on the WCG and the upcoming trial.
How Not to Have a Happy Marriage
Should the Armstrong case ever go to trial, the lawyers for Herbert will undoubtedly attempt to portray their client as a dedicated man of God and their opposition's client as a "fallen woman." Herbert's lawyers have introduced into the court record various private correspondences between Ramona and a friend, Wally McKinney (no relation to Jack McKinney, an aide to WCG lawyer Helge).
Included among those correspondences (and bear in mind, not only have HWA's lawyers not yet established their authenticity, but Judge Sherrill has indicated he will not allow them to be introduced as evidence at the trial) are a Christmas card from Ramona to Wally, a novelty card from Wally to Ramona (with the punch line "...it makes me feel horney!"), and a number of affectionate short letters from Ramona to Wally written while, it is claimed, she was abroad on tour with HWA.
Assuming the letters are authentic, they raise an interesting question. How did HWA's lawyers gain possession of them? With over $5,000 per month being spent by HWA on Pinkerton agents, one might suppose super-sleuthing was responsible. However, a careful look at the "evidence" leads us to suspect that that may not have been the case. For if one thing comes through in the letters, their postmarks, return addresses, etc., it is that no great effort, if any, was expended to conceal the Ramona-Wally friendship from HWA! And herein lies a remarkable insight into the true nature of "the Apostle."
Longtime readers of Ambassador Report know how Herbert's intimate relationship with Ramona predated their marriage by a number of years. In recent months Ramona has admitted to friends that she and Herbert maintained a sexual relationship for three full years prior to their marriage. At some point along the way Ramona had some misgivings and so asked Herbert what he would do if he discovered some man in the church was involved in a nonmarital sexual relationship with one of the church women. He answered that he would immediately disfellowship them both. "But," questioned Ramona, "isn't what we are doing also wrong?" To her surprise Herbert said, "No." When she asked why, Herbert explained, "Because I am an Apostle!"
We can only speculate on how fast her disillusionment with HWA progressed. Those who have read Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web by David Robinson (still in print and available for $10.00 postpaid from John Hadden Publishers, Box 35982, Tulsa, OK 74135) are aware of HWA's lifelong preoccupation with masturbation and his keeping of a log book in which he has recorded the dates of these episodes. Enough WCG ministers became aware of this oddity that the little book became widely known in the ministry as HWA's "flog log." Not only did HWA discuss this activity with male friends, but while "courting" Ramona he actually told her this lifelong habit was the reason it would be necessary for her to submit to his sexual advances. In other words, if she didn't give in, he would have to again "flog away."
Not only that, he went on to explain to her the details of this personal passion. He told her Brylcream, the once-popular American hair dressing, was his favorite body lubricant. "Because," he explained, "it most closely approximates the fluids of the female vagina."
Ramona was undoubtedly more than a little surprised by HWA's revelations, especially since he had condemned masturbation as a terrible sin in his widely circulated sex manual. Nevertheless in 1977 Ramona and her spiritual leader were finally married. For a time, it seems, there was marital bliss. But in 1978 HWA suffered a massive heart attack, and it was after that experience that HWA, unhappy with his increasing inability to perform sexually, decided to fly to Romania where, at a famous "youth clinic," he received "shots" (presumably hormone injections) intended to rejuvenate his sagging sex life.
According to Dr. Floyd Lochner, who was HWA's personal trainer and present on the trip (as was Henry Cornwall, who served as an interpreter), HWA proved an uncooperative patient at the clinic and the results were not satisfactory.
HWA then heard of a sex clinic in London, England, and after a considerable effort on Lochner's part, was able to gain admittance. There Herbert was fitted with a ring-like device which HWA's former accountant Jack Kessler has described as "a specially made prosthetic dildo (which he carries in a Hermes pouch)."
Unfortunately for Herbert, this device also did not prove satisfactory. He then began to discuss the possibility of a prosthetic implant. Developed by Dr. F. Brantley Scott at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, this contraption consists of a fluid resevoir placed in the lower abdomen, two inflatable cylinders placed in the penis, and a pump which is placed in the scrotum. HWA, however, never got around to having the implant.
One former Armstrong secretary has stated, "It would be very difficult to imagine any man more obsessed with his own penis than Mr. Armstrong." Nevertheless, it appears that HWA's lifelong fear of surgery prevailed and after much anguish he decided to instead resign himself to what he felt would be a sexually inadequate future. According to certain sources close to the Armstrongs, it was at that juncture that HWA made what can only be described as a very "man-of-the-world" proposition. He told Ramona that because of their great difference in age and because of his sexual dysfunction, he knew she would enjoy dating other men. This, he said, he would allow her to do, but on one condition - that she be "discreet." In other words, it would be okay as long as the church members did not find out about it! One can only speculate as to what Ramona's feelings were at that point. After all, such arrangements were not even hinted at in Herbert's two booklets on Christian marriage or in his book The Missing Dimension in Sex. Nevertheless, it would not be long before Ramona would receive even bigger surprises from "God's Holy Apostle."
HWA Confesses to Incest!
Many readers will recall that when David Robinson's book appeared in 1980 it contained numerous allegations shocking to even some of HWA's longtime critics. No accusation was more startling than that found in the book's last chapter. There Robinson charged that HWA had maintained an intimate sexual relationship with the younger of his two daughters for a period of approximately one decade beginning in the early 1930s.
The Armstrong organization, through surrogates, attempted to use the courts to block distribution of the Robinson book, but failed miserably (Ambassador Report, Sept. 1980). It is most remarkable, however, that in attempting to stop distribution of the Robinson book, never once was it asserted that the incest allegation was untrue. Nor did Dorothy Mattson, HWA's younger daughter, ever come forth to deny the incest story (and she has repeatedly refused to respond to queries from the Report regarding the matter). In spite of all this, it seems there are still some who prefer to believe that the incest story was fabricated. Let us briefly review the facts.
In 1971 Garner Ted Armstrong paid a visit to his younger sister Dorothy. He had long been suspicious of the kind of relationship his father and sister maintained during his youth. They chatted over a few drinks and then Ted told her bluntly of his suspicions. She did more than admit the allegations. With candor she related detail after shocking detail.
For a number of years GTA kept the information to himself. But Dorothy did not. She divulged the same information to many others including David Antion (GTA's brother-in-law) and Lois Chapman (who had been married to the late Richard Armstrong, Ted's older brother).
Dorothy's story as related to Ted and others was that Herbert had begun fondling and heavy petting her in 1933 when she was thirteen years old - around the same time that HWA now claims God was using him to found the modem era of the only true church. But he did not begin to go "all the way" with her until three years later. One day Dorothy returned home from a date with a young bank teller to inform her father that she had just been "half-raped." To her surprise, Herbert was actually "elated" over the news. Herbert decided it was time to show her how it was really done. From then on Herbert went "all the way." The year was 1936; Dorothy was 16 years old. Strangely, Dorothy has claimed that Herbert later went on to become a good friend of the bank teller.
The incestuous relationship went on for years, but it was apparently not mutually enjoyable. Dorothy has related to friends how on one occasion in a hotel room she so strongly protested Herbert's abuse that the manager knocked on the door and asked what the reason was for all the noise. Herbert was quick to inform him that his "young bride" was a bit uncooperative due to inexperience. Satisfied with the alibi the manager left. Dorothy has claimed that Herbert then overpowered her, and after tying her to the bed and gagging her, proceeded to rape her. It's a pity Herbert neglected to include this incident in his book God Speaks Out on the New Morality.
During those years, besides taking her on supposedly church or ministry-related business trips, it was not uncommon for Herbert to take Dorothy out dancing on Friday nights. On one such occasion she asked him if he ever worried that one of his church members would see them. He told her no, because, in effect, they were too stupid to be out dancing on Friday night and that he had them well-trained (in keeping the Friday sunset to Saturday sunset Sabbath).
These incidents were but a part of the awful truth Dorothy related to Garner Ted and others. In spite of church upheavals, arguments with his father, personal emotional problems and considerable notority about his own sins, Ted said nothing about his father's shameful past. Not until 1978.
That year, during a heated argument between GTA and his father, HWA threatened to "destroy" Ted through making public certain information about his personal life. But Ted responded in kind saying he could destroy HWA with the information he had. Ted charged his father in no uncertain terms, yelling: "You fucked my sister!" Herbert, shocked at Ted's knowledge of the incestuous relationship, could only reply, "Well there have been times in my life when I have gotten far away from God." The conversation - overheard by GTA associate Benny Sharp - was the last face to face meeting between the two men. And Ted has since related how the hateful look he saw in his father's eye made him suspect they would never see each other again.
As was covered in great detail in our 1977 issue, during the early '70s Garner Ted Armstrong became highly infatuated with an Ambassador College coed. The resulting affair caused great confusion in the higher echelons of the WCG. Former WCG evangelist David Antion recalls how, at the time, he discussed the problem with HWA. Antion was for years perplexed by the almost Freudian analysis offered. HWA told Antion that Ted was simply fantasizing the younger woman as being his own daughter. The statement made no sense to Antion until years later. (As an aside, it is interesting how Ramona has claimed that HWA has been, over the years, very jealous of GTA's supposed sexual prowess.)
The last meeting between GTA and his father in 1978 was not the only time HWA confessed to the incest allegation. In 1980 Henry Cornwall, then an aide to HWA, read the Robinson book soon after it appeared and asked HWA directly if the chapter on incest was accurate. HWA told him it was. He then instructed Cornwall that his wife Ramona was not to see the book or learn of the incest story. Unfortunately for Herbert, Ramona already had a copy of the book and was in the next room listening to the Cornwall-HWA discussion. Shortly thereafter, she too confronted HWA about the incest allegation. And once again, Herbert admitted it was true, but begged and pleaded with Ramona not to let this fact get in the way of their marriage. The cause of the problem, he said, had been Loma, his first wife. Considering the perversity of Herbert's past, is it any wonder Ramona's love would begin to wane?
One can only speculate on how much Herbert's first wife Loma knew of what had transpired for ten years between her husband and her younger daughter. but some individuals who were then close to the Armstrong family did notice that toward the end of her life Loma was not on good speaking terms with Dorothy and that during the last year or so of her life she appeared to have lost almost all will to live. She died in 1967 after an illness that many say could have been cured by medical science, had she availed herself of that help. It is interesting to note also that HWA's great preoccupation with world touring began right around that time.
Ramona has reported to friends how the Robinson allegations preoccupied HWA's mind for a considerable period. She has also reported seeing a typed statement intended for Dorothy's signature. It stated that she (Dorothy) had never had a sexual relationship with her father. The document was, and we'd be willing to bet still is, unsigned. Dorothy undoubtedly knows that to sign such a statement would prove financially costly, removing any leverage she still possesses over her father. (On a recent trip to Big Sandy, Texas, HWA was quoted as saying his daughters show him very little affection and care only for his money.)
Dorothy has stated that her sexual relationship with her father continued into the early forties. In 1943 Herbert officiated at the ceremony in which Dorothy was married to Vern Mattson, who soon afterward was to serve overseas in the U.S. Marines. We have no information that the incestuous relationship continued beyond that point. However, Dorothy has related to friends how, around the time of her engagement, Herbert told her that her marriage need not put an end to their own special relationship.
Shortly after Vern's discharge from the military, Herbert was able to provide him with employment within his growing organization. Although Dorothy drifted away from her father's church by around 1951, Vern continued his association. He was the organization's business manager before the Albert Portune era.
What caused him to leave the Armstrong corporation? Was it then that he discovered the awful truth about his wife and father-in-law? The following quote taken from the transcript of one HWA deposition provides a clue (Ramona's lawyer is asking about Dorothy's house being sold to the WCG):
Q Did she sell it to the church?
MR. BROWNE: Objected to as being irrelevant and immaterial and constitutionally impermissible. Transactions between third parties and the church are none of anyone's business in this particular case and instruct you not to answer.
THE WITNESS: I refuse to answer.
MR. DECKTER: Okay. Where did you provide her with living accommodations?
A I provided her with living accommodations ever since, on and off ever since - Now, wait a minute until I think of the year. Let's see, I don't know. Began back in the 1950s, ever since Vern Mattson resigned from being business manager of the church.
Before leaving the subject, one other desposition excerpt is worth quoting. Ramona's lawyer was asking HWA some background questions concerning his health.
Q And do you suffer from any other diseases or chronic problems other than what we've discussed?
A Not that I know of.... I have had difficulty sleeping for the last, oh, let me see, ever since 1933.
That was the year HWA began abusing his own daughter. Is it any wonder he hasn't slept well since?
The Worldwide Church of God - aptly called the Armstrong Adoration Society (A.A.S.) by some - is not only still dedicated to maintaining its idol's lifestyle, but is embellishing it even further. The customized Gulfstream II (G-II) that Herbert jets around in is apparently not swank enough for the super jet-setter. The Gulfstrearn Aerospace Corporation has developed a new jet, the G-III, which sells for about $13.5 million (The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 20,1983, p. 17). The Gulfstream Corporation, which is taking orders for the new jet, loaned one to Herbert for his recent trip to New Zealand - just so he could get the feel of the new model.
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HWA's Plain Truth magazine, which recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, now has a circulation of over 6.6 million. The church's theological publication, The Good News, is up to over 207,000 copies (186,000 go to non-WCG members, according to the Dec. 5, 1983 Worldwide News). The Nov. 21, 1983 issue of the Worldwide News reported that the WCG will have a fall feast site in the city of Nanjing in communist China.
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The WCG is again getting some new doctrines from its leader. In his booklet Your Awesome Future - How Religion Deceives You, HWA writes (p. 27): "These scriptures indicate we shall impart life to billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this earth." The WCG ministry is also now teaching that its members and their children constitute the 144,000 of the book of Revelation.
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In the WCG, some things never change. Notice these two HWA co-worker letter quotes. First, from his Oct 18, 1983 letter.
"I am writing from London. Have had meetings with important key leaders here and in Europe, and obtained confidential information of crucial world events soon to occur. I feel God will move swiftly soon to make a short work preparatory to Christ's coming. It won't be long now!"
Then in his Dec. 18, 1983 letter (emphasis his):
"Brethren and co-workers, these are the most momentous days of earth's history. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS FROM NOW ON! Our ALL should be dedicated to GOD'S USE, to warn as many millions as we may.
"I was interrupted in the midst of writing this letter, by our treasurer, Mr. Leroy Neff. Income has suddenly dropped down during the past six weeks - people apparently are spending money on Xmas gifts.... Need I say to you God's Work NEEDS YOUR PRAYERS? - and a GREAT SUDDEN SACRIFICE IN FINANCIAL OFFERINGS?..."
GTA Burns Bridges
Since the day Garner Ted Armstrong was booted out of the WCG in 1978, there has been speculation - often well- founded - that it was just a matter of time before he would return. In recent months, however, it has become quite evident that no such reconciliation will occur. GTA's Nov. 21, 1983 letter to his followers was his strongest statement ever against his father's organization. Here are a few key excerpts:
"Many have been spreading the rumor that 'Ted will be going back into the Worldwide Church of God one of these days.' (I was executive vice-president of the Worldwide Church of God, and its chief spokesman on 'The World Tomorrow' radio and television programs for over twenty years.)
"Continually, we hear of such rumors; perhaps you are one of those who has believed that I will be 'going back' into the other church one of these days.
"However, my father has made it plain to his closest aides and most trusted friends that THIS IS IMPOSSEBLE! Why, then, do thousands of members of the Worldwide Church continue to believe 'Ted is coming back' when HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG DOES NOT BELIEVE IT?
"Actually, my father has made such an occurrence impossible as he continues to WIDEN and WIDEN great DIFFERENCES - continues to DEPART farther and farther from the body of truth he had taught for the previous forty years!...
"Now, I realize there are great departures being made in doctrine by the parent organization, and that more and more significant differences are being erected all the time....
"I have known, from my early twenties, that Almighty God caused my birth by a miracle. My father and mother told me so dozens of times; my father has explained how, following special prayer, God gave me my voice and speech by a miracle.
"For these past twenty-eight years, since Jesus Christ placed me in His ministry, I have known Almighty God intended me to fulfill my life's calling - that of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God TO THE WORLD!...
"But I cannot agree with the Catholic doctrine of 'the primacy of Peter!' I cannot agree that leaders in the church can avail themselves of professional medical attention and deny it to the laymembers! I cannot agree with the brutalization and exploitation of the women of God's church! I cannot agree that the church should be kept on tenterhooks, expecting to 'flee' at any moment when the major prophecies of Christ had not yet been fulfilled! I cannot agree that the 144,000 represents the CHURCH!
"I cannot agree that I should preach before Gentile leaders in the name of 'Allah,' or tell them about a 'strong hand from someplace'!..."
Waiting for UFO's
Last Oct. 24 Garner Ted Armstrong sent out to his followers a letter containing this somewhat amusing story:
Recently, in a small community just to the north of us, we learned of one of the most bizarre incidents involving these false predictions of which we have heard in a long time. A would-be prophet has a number of gullible followers believing that between a set date and this Christmas  they will be "taken up" by "UFO's"! The UFO's are, allegedly the "ships of Tarshish" mentioned in the Bible. The scenario, according to this would-be seer, is that they will be taken up to a space platform to undergo a process of "purification" and then on up to heaven, to return at some time later and rule the world!
All of this would he hilariously funny and merely another example of ludicrous buffoonery were it not for the fact that it has seriously affected the lives of a number, including at least one multimillionaire who has allegedly divested himself of all of his properties and wealth (for the "spiritual leader" of the group has apparently urged such) and is confidently waiting to be met by a UFO!
The millionaire Ted was referring to is former WCG writer Jerry Gentry and the head of the religious group, former WCG minister Cecil Battles. It appears Battles has gained something of a devoted following for his work which he refers to as the "Song in the Night." Believing the UFOs would arrive around Christmas time to take them away, many quit their jobs and decided to refrain from sex (with their mates) as a means of spiritual preparation.
Of course, nothing happened at Christmas time, so the date for the UFOs to arrive was pushed forward to January. When January didn't pan out, the date was pushed forward a few more months. Battles' followers use the WCG hymn book at song services and have added Purim to their list of must-keep days. Members of "The Song" - many of them former WCG members - send their tithes to Battles. Ironically, Battles claims he tithes to Herbert Armstrong, whom he refers to as "the good man of the house" of Matthew 24:43 who suffered his house to be broken up.
Some people never learn.
Alexander Does Prison Time
It is rare that the AR publishes a detailed account of the recent life of a former WCG member, but we think recounting some of the events of Gary Alexander's life after leaving the WCG will prove not only interesting but instructive to our readers. Gary entered Ambassador College in Pasadena in 1963, where he distinguished himself as a student. After graduation he began writing for The Plain Truth and quickly rose to a position of responsibility. He began questioning the church's doctrines in the early seventies, becoming known to close friends as a "liberal."
In Feb. 1976 he left the church and took a job at the University of Southern California (USC) Computing Center as a documentation analyst. His first step out of the church seemed well-executed compared to most WCG employees who got themselves fired before they contemplated getting another job. But after working 3 years at USC and after having received a 10 percent pay raise, he quit to work "for far less money and far fewer benefits at the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International [FGBMFI]," he explained in his newsletter AMEN. Why? "I did it for reasons of conscience because I thought the Charismatic renewal, represented by FGBMFI, was the fullness of the Gospel.... Dumb? Yes! I quickly found out that the politics and hypocrisy of the Full Gospel people exceeded that of Ambassador College, and I begged my associates at USC to take me back, which they did, at lower pay."
Just when it seemed that Gary had "seen the light," he got side-tracked again. Tom Williams - former WCG pastor, insurance salesman, diet-plan (Slender Now) salesman, and now president of Liberty Ministries International (LMI) - contacted him from Virginia and asked him to get involved with LMI, which for $3,000 would ordain you, help you set up your own church, and help you obtain the many tax exemptions available to ordained ministers. Lured by high wages, financial and tax advantages, and what he thought was an opportunity to express himself religiously without control by others, he jumped at the chance in Sept. 1979. (See AR, 3/24/80, p. 6).
Gary wrote: "My work for LMI included: (1) two Liberty Line magazines, (2) an unpublished book manuscript, America's First Freedom: The Religious Roots of Our Republic, and (3) much of the Minister's Manual, the portions dealing with scriptures and philosophy. In addition, I contributed to the promotional brochures, but most of that material was written by Tom and Linda Williams or Bill Morris." Soon, however, disillusionment with LMI set in due to hypocritical conduct by LMI members and their use of church funds, so he left LMI, but he still wasn't paying all his taxes. He claims that even after leaving LMI in late 1980, he was "still under the charismatic influence of Tom Williams until spring 1981," at which time he "sought independent tax counsel" and found he'd "misunderstood the tax codes."
Unfortunately, all this knowledge came too late for Gary because he was accused of income tax fraud (a felony). In late 1981 he testified before a grand jury, paid back taxes with penalties and interest, and agreed to testify against Tom Williams' alleged key co-conspirators. As Gary wrote, "It was that or face 10 years in jail... I was able to plea-bargain down to a misdemeanor... This is a slap on the wrist compared to Tom and Linda Williams, who face 137 years (each) and $407,000 in fines if convicted on all 64 counts they face."
According to the Richmond News Leader (12/8/83), federal tax authorities filed charges against Gary Alexander, former WCG minister Douglas B. Taylor of Florence, Kentucky, and Tom Boody of Howell, N.J. for "allegedly conspiring with others to defraud the federal government of taxes." Gary pleaded guilty in Federal court in Dec. 1983 and luckily was sentenced to only 30 days in a Louisiana prison. He has served his sentence, has been released and has resumed his job as managing editor of Wealth magazine, a new publication advocating buying hard assets and put out by right-wing goldbug James Blanchard III.
Those who know Gary know he's talented, hardworking, and creative. Our readers may be wondering at this point how such an analytical and gifted writer could be so easily sucked into what Gary admitted was a taxdodge scam. In one of his AMEN newsletters he wrote: "I've always been intelligent, but I've never been smart. My IQ has been tested three times at above 150, but a high IQ is much like being 7-feet tall. It's an accident of birth... and it can easily be a bigger liability than an asset." So Gary had a high IQ but fell for a tax-dodge scam. How? Why? Perhaps because he thought with his heart, not his head. Perhaps because tax exemptions and big money were more enticing than common sense. But probably because he was too trusting. He commented about Tom Williams, the person who talked him into the home-ministry scheme: "Tom Williams became my 'mentor' at college, and he has always been able to manipulate my weaker personality by his dominant leadership. He helped me in practical matters, such as dating and social life, while I helped him with his schoolwork.... Tom called me ... promoting the concept of LMI. He flew me back to Richmond June 10 and made me a vague offer to work for him at 'double the take-home pay,' without spelling out any details. He told me that he had discovered methods for reducing taxable income to zero."
Perhaps one of the main reasons both Williams and Alexander got in trouble with the home-ministries scheme was that neither of them had had any formal education in the technical fields of tax accounting, law, or finance. If they had, possibly they would have saved both themselves and their investors - who by the way each paid $3,000 for their advice - a lot of worry, tax penalties, and wasted time.
Gary's prison experience was insightfully detailed in a recent issue of his newsletter AMEN (Alexander's Monthly Economic Newsletter). For further information write: AMEN, P.O. Box 1727, Metairie, Louisiana 70001.
Ambassador Alumni News
"The Reunion," a British group made up of former WCG members, reported in their last newsletter that they will be having another get-together on May 19. Those considering attending or those who may like copies of their excellent newsletter should write to: Mr. P. Griffiths (secretary), 190 Tythebarn Lane, Whitlocks End, Shirley, Solihull, W. Midlands, England.
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Former Plain Truth managing editor Brian. Knowles recently married the former Lorraine Rapp and has become the managing editor of World Insight, the publication founded by Ken Storey. Their address is: P.O. Box 35, Pasadena, CA 91102.
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Former WCG evangelist Charles Hunting is now with Albustan United Enterprises Company, Ltd., in Saudi Arabia. He travels extensively evaluating projects in international property development.
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I have been out of Worldwide since 1972, but still enjoy following WCG events. However, there is life after Worldwide! It's possible to incorporate the experience positively and go on just as you have done and are helping others to do. I am studying to be a chiropractor and enjoy life a lot these days.
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As some of you may have already heard, Howard Clark, the former WCG minister and Ambassador College instructor, suffered a massive heart attack in January. After six weeks in intensive care, he is now slowly improving. Doctors have speculated that the problem had its origin in the stress Clark experienced years ago while in the WCG.
In spite of his physical difficulties and mounting medical bills, Clark's well-known wit remains intact. Over the phone he quipped: "When old Herbert had his heart attack a few years ago, they had to massage his heart at one point to get him revived. Not long afterward he started claiming to friends that he had been 'resurrected!' Well, I'm one up on him. When my heart stopped, they needed to use the paddles to get it started again. If I was still in Worldwide, Herbert would probably take me on tour as another resurrection case."
Howard asked us to thank the many friends who sent him get-well cards. Any who wish to drop him a note may write to him at: 3998 Yellow Wood Rd., Oroville, CA 95965.
Buchner Updates Bibliography
John Buchner of Australia has informed us that his Armstrongism Bibliography is now in its second printing and has been expanded. Copies are available for a contribution of $10 each (postage included). Those who ordered the original version and wish to obtain the new section may obtain the supplement for $4.
Buchner is also preparing a new study on the WCG which he recently wrote us about:
A thesis (and subsequent hook) is being prepared that researches the link between the Worldwide Church's media propaganda and its membership. This study will he both scholarly and fair. It is necessary to send questionnaires to former members. The greater number of responses, the more reliable will he the results of the study. The respondent's name will not be recorded. Interested people are urged to forward their names and addresses as soon as possible to John Buchner, P. O. Box 170, Gordon N. S. W. 2072, Australia.
Literature of Interest
Tithing (God's Command or Man's Demand - Which?) by Tony Badillo, Xavier Publications, 3122 Jerome, Dallas, TX 75223. 102 pages, spiral bound. $8.50 plus $1.00 postage. Texas residents add 5% sales tax.
In the last few years a number of excellent papers have been written showing the many flaws in Herbert Armstrong's tithing doctrine. Mr. Badillo's study, however, is the most thorough one that we know of available in print. It is filled with many insights into the subject, giving even those not too well versed in the Bible an understanding of the whole tithing subject. This study may prove of particular value to relatives of those under the Armstrong tithing program.
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"Three Open Letters to Herbert W. Armstrong"
by Maurice Johnson
Available from: Sound Words, Box 4202 1, Los Angeles, CA 90042.
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The New Testament Church of God and It's Organization by Keith Hunt, a minister of the Biblical Church of God (Canada). Available for $5.00 by writing the author at: Box 964, Oshawa, Ontario, L1H 7N1, Canada.
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Some time ago Garner Ted Armstrong appeared on the John Ankerberg TV show in Chattanooga. John Buchner tells us transcripts of the entire five segments are available for $6.00 by writing: John Ankerberg, P.O. Box 8977, Chattanooga, TN 37411.
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I draw your attention to the character of "Henry Armitage" in the novel, Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
Henry Armitage is obviously modeled on Herbert Armstrong.
-Larry Taylor, California
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Shortly after my husband and I left HWA's organization we bought a book called 30 Years a Watch Tower Slave by William J. Schnell. The inner workings of the Jehovah's Witness group is much like HWA's. Good reading for anyone interested in their group.
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Author John Tuit (The Truth Shall Make You Free) has informed us that he can supply copies of Herbert and Ramona Armstrong's 1980 Arizona state and federal income tax forms. Interested individuals should send $1.00 per copy (to cover photocopying and postage) to The Truth Foundation, 11 Laurel Court, Freehold Township, New Jersey 07728.
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A few weeks ago we received a flyer from Mr. D. C. Hall of the True Didache ["doctrine"] of the Worldwide Church of God, an organization in Oroville, California. Mr. Hall will soon publish a book titled God's Scenario. According to Mr. Hall, "The Bible maintains all religions are false and deceptive. This includes every known sect on earth." Topics to be covered in his book include: "why church doctrines are meaningless; why the breasts of the male show a primordial androgynous creation, proving man originally created bisexual; why and how all mankind to be saved," etc.
The publication order price is $7.95 plus $2.00 postage and handling per copy. For more details write to: Mr. D. C. Hall, P.O. Box 2077, Oroville, CA 95965.
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One of our readers, Mr. Leon J. Lyell of Australia, recently sent us a copy of an article he had published in Signs of the Times, a Seventh-Day Adventist magazine. It is entitled "The Seventh-Day Men." Mr. Lyell wrote us:
The article is based on studies I made while still in the WCG. While I am now not in that Church, nor any other, I still have an interest in religious history and am following up the themes outlined in that article. It is surprising to discover that there is a wealth of information about Sabbath keepers in seventeenth-century England which has not been sifted through by the normal historians and which has been "misused" as it were by the Sabbath-keeping churches.
Many Sabbath-keeping churches would have us believe that all through history there has been "One Truth Church, " by which they mean one organization, which held the same doctrines as "our denomination " - whichever one that may be. The truth is quite different and much more interesting and instructive.
If after reading the article you feel it may be worth the consideration of AR readers, I would he happy to send them a copy. I would be grateful if any interested persons would include $7.00 to cover postage and copying.
In addition I am considering starting a newsletter that would concern itself with "Sabbath history" and be mainly concerned with uncovering those Sabbath-keeping groups and individuals pre-William Miller. Ultimately, if the idea takes off, I would hope it could cover the period from A.D. 31 to the present.
The contents of the magazine/newsletter would he historically accurate (rather than denominationally oriented) articles and reproductions of books and pamphlets written by long-forgotten Sabbath keepers.
At this stage I would simply like to see if there is sufficient interest to make the venture worthwhile.
-Leon J. Lyell
35 Scott Grove
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The other day I had occasion to come upon this item in Books in Print, 1983-84 edition: Herbert Armstrong and His WCG: An Exposure and an Indictment by John Bowden, 64 pages, 1982, paperback, $3.00. Write: American Atheist, Box 2117, Austin, TX 78768-2117.
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Important! We remind our readers that the various groups and literature mentioned in the Report are presented for informational purposes only. Their mention in this newsletter should not necessarily be construed as any kind of endorsement of all the views they espouse.
I am writing to inquire just what has happened in the WCG divorce case.... The ministers here have announced from the pulpit on two or three occasions that HWA and the church were awarded everything he had asked for and the matter had been settled very satisfactorily for the church as well. When some of the members asked questions for further information, they were told it was none of their business.
These ministers are still preaching Petra and the goat dens, urging all to be preparing to leave at once on HWA's call. He has ordered a new plane to be built to his specifications and to be delivered in April, so they say, to help carry those deemed worthy.
I'm motivated to write you at last - hoping you're still publishing - after hearing a rumor through current church members that certain members are being or have been chosen to flee with HWA in the spring, around Passover, to Jerusalem for awhile, then to another place in the Middle East for some time, and finally to Petra. During this period of time, these members have been told, via letters from certain ministers who have not been named, that HWA will he both deaf and blind. However, he will be one of the witnesses - as will GTA. GTA is supposed to be aware of this plan and is in on it, but he hasn't officially been reunited with his father or the WCG (and won't until later). These members (and I assume others) have already sold
their property and relocated to a temporary home in anticipation of the planned flight. They have been told that not all members will be chosen to flee, and those chosen ones may invite those close to them to go with them even though they (the invitees) are nonmembers. They must only agree to obey church rules. These members have received no letters from HWA - only from ministers.
My husband and I are quite concerned about this development since we both have several family members who are still loyal to HWA and the church.
Editor. These wacky rumors about Petra persist and persist. The part about GTA is obviously not true. What the origin of this nonsense is we're not sure, but with WCG evangelist Gerald Waterhouse still loose, any kind of WCG hallucination is possible.
I was visiting with the only remaining WCG member that I know of in this immediate area last fall. He was very concerned that he might lose his farm soon because of his financial situation. He has to pay $20,000 a year in interest expense right off the top before he can do anything else. He had to put in a walk-around irrigation system three years ago when an estate was settled. The first year he had what would he a good dry-land crop (the irrigation system was installed too late in the season to start out as an irrigated crop at the beginning) but not very good for irrigated. The second year a heavy hail storm ruined his crop. It stopped just before it got to my crops. This year it was drought and bugs that couldn't be killed that severely damaged his crop. It would seem that tithing to HWA doesn't help him much.
In my own case I have noticed that I'm doing far better financially than when I was tithing to HWA If this had happened when I was tithing to him, I would have thought I was being blessed for tithing. I don't know what the future holds, but I can't help but think that, with the conditions that have been extant in this country the last few years, I would be in lots worse shape financially now if I had continued tithing to HWA. This same thing seems to he true of other former members that I have talked to.
On December 1982 I requested an AR and sent a $5 cash donation to cover cost. Not long after that I began to receive money out of the blue (various unexpected sources) - about $700 plus. What I am trying to say is that in all the years I paid tithes to HWA (six years), nothing out of the ordinary ever came my way. It was quite the opposite. My life became a tragedy. You would not believe the disasters that came on me. I am grateful I did not make much more than about $16,000 per year during my HWA experience. I also would like to state that I am a single person in my late 30s. At the time I did not have any bad habits to speak of. I lived with relatives and my expenses were minimal. I often found it hard to believe how a man with a family could pay three tithes to the WCG and get by. Prior to the WCG I was able to save money and had that to fall back on. But then later, after paying my gross tithe, sometimes I could just barely make it to work.
Thank you for your literature. I have been out of the WCG four years due to my own observations, mostly to do with doctrine. However, I was also appalled at the fear which grippped the members - the way that even fairly well-educated people were afraid to act upon their own initiative, even in small matters to do with everyday living.
This fear I believe is partly brought about by the persistent instilling of unbiblical attitudes towards the Devil. I remember Francis Bergen's sermon "The Roaring Lion" (around 1975) assuring everyone of the necessity to "stay with the herd - the church - keep within the security and protection of the church."
This kind of teaching plus the continual thundering about "the god of this world" brainwashes people to believe that Satan is more powerful than Christ, with the only protection being the WCG.
Again, when teaching about the mind, the will of God, and/or obedience, the whole thing would be injected with the insinuation that one could never trust one's own mind - one's own God-given common sense. They encouraged everyone to put their trust in the ministers and HWA instead of trusting in Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
WCG minds are closed against the fact that the gospel is much more than announcing the return of Christ (which Armstrong only usually brings up when demanding more money).
Indeed HWA seemed to me to be more concerned - even obsessed - with the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent than he ever was with the gospel. And this is craftily engineered to equate with any disobedience towards himself or his organization.
I'm a student at Kent State University in Ohio and am concerned about the WCG influence on our campus. On January 31, 1984, the WCG is sending Mr. Bill Jahns to talk to students.
Editor: Considering that on your campus there is a WCG organization called "Readers of the Plain Truth, Kent Student Organization" you should be concerned.
For many years we were another example of the "doing what we were told" bunch. This blindness on our part caused my husband to quit a good job (it was in a defense part of Tenn. Eastman) and give up a good salary, a good bonus every year, all life insurance policies, hospitalization (full coverage), etc. You know the story. This was at an age too late to build up any place else. So now we are living on social security alone. Fortunately, we own our home. When we finally realized that no man can save us and refused to "bow the knee to HWA" we were disfellowshipped and marked. The only reason we were given was that we had to be totally obedient to Herbert. Neither God's nor Christ's name was mentioned. We quit "cold turkey" before we were disfellowshipped. Thankfully, we realized it was to God that we owed our allegiance.
After viewing the movie ''Return of the Jedi" I was struck by the similarities between Herbert Armstrong and the evil Jabba the Hut. Jabba, whose huge jowls shook like jello with every evil laugh, even had a sail barge (flying whorehouse?) complete with dancing women. The only thing lacking from Jabba's lair was a piece of Steuben crystal (are you listening Herbert?).
I did not decide [to leave the WCG] on the spur of the moment. But it all jelled one Sabbath when a so-called minister stood up and said, "On the night much to he remembered you will he meeting in the brethren's homes. We don't want anyone teaching or talking about God's work or the Bible because there wouldn't he a qualified minister there."
And my brain said, 'WHAT?! That is it I have had it. What kind of brainless idiots does he think he is talking to?" And I left that day - I never said a word to anyone - and have never returned and I never will.
That remark was the summation of all I had read and heard. The proverbial last shoe was dropped.
I have not had one person other than the local minister after three weeks call to inquire why I left. They are flat-out scared to ask or they might leave themselves. I find it very sad and very disappointing.
Every time I sit down to read the AR I find myself fascinated reading about what's happened to people who left Worldwide. Some seem to have really gotten it all together and are the model of success, but a surprising number seem to he repeating the same mistakes they made when they joined Worldwide. By that I mean that they are looking for simple solutions to life's major problems and they seem to latch on to anyone with a glib argument without first spending the time to read widely in religion, psychology, philosophy, etc. If those people had done their homework properly in the first place, they would never have joined Worldwide. Yet, after making that mistake once, many invariably end up putting total faith and a lot of money into some new organization headed by an ex-Worldwide minister who, the day before he left the WCG, was teaching total error, but now is a fountain of wisdom and inspiration. It makes no sense. I'm not saying an ex-Worldwider shouldn't seek to join other groups - just that he should sample several, read widely, and be extremely slow to commit his hard-earned money to any group. Otherwise, he may end up once again penniless and bitterly disillusioned.
This is my first correspondence with your organization. I have been a member of the Worldwide Church of God for the past eight years now, and as you probably know, what I'm doing is taboo as far as the church is concerned.
As a prospective member, I was encouraged to prove, to my own satisfaction, the truth of the Bible, but as a member I am told not to lean to my own understanding but to follow without question the dictates of Herbert W. Armstrong. The hierarchy does not permit a free discussion of biblical ideas openly among its members. This disturbs me. I feel I've been manipulated, and I sense more and more an atmosphere of fear and intimidation directed at the ranks by the church leaders. Things are happening in this church that the members are simply not privy to. That's why I've written to you. I'd like to have some answers.
In the April 1983 issue you have listed in the "Executive Exodus updated" the name of Peter Whitting. I rang Peter to inform him of this and he said he would not be contacting you himself in order to deny the allegation. In fact Peter is a minister in a church in Victoria, so would you please set the matter right in your next edition.
Peter was among those suspended out here in 1980 during the big upheaval that took place around July and was reduced in rank as it were to co-pastoring a church. Later, however, he was restored to his full status. Even though I am no longer a member, I hold him in very high regard. The church would he a happier place if there were more like him.
Editor It was not an "allegation." However, we want to be accurate. If Whitting is not ashamed to be called an HWA rep, we'll be only too happy to warn the public.
Concerning what happens to former WCG members. I am a Sunday school teacher (adult class) in the First United Methodist Church. My wife sings in the choir. She was a WCG member for over 20 years. We are both former AC students. We both visited the minister [of our current church] and explained that we had no desire to become members and that we would understand completely if he wanted us to discontinue our active role in church activities. He responded that he was very happy to have the contributions we make of attendance and participation. The people are wonderful and we find the experience very helpful. Most importantly we feel free to worship and believe as we see fit and to openly disagree. The Methodist Book of Discipline strongly encourages everyone to continually pursue a deeper understanding of and a personal relationship to God.
The point is, there are many fine, respectable, organizations already in existence where people can contribute to the welfare of others and also worship God in a very personal way.
After reading much literature, we still appreciate the job you are doing and highly respect the material published by Ernest Martin, that is more because of the attitude in which it is presented, rather than because of the positions taken.
WCG members have a valuable experience to share with others when they leave the WCG. By all means they should actively seek out existing churches where they can contribute to the spiritual well-being of the community in which they live.
-Louis and Sandy Gaskins
My interest in the WCG is for my younger brother who has been involved with them since he was 13 years old. He has given them everything he has ever made as far as money and has been convined that he is not able to own anything. He is now 31 years old and lives with Dad and Mom.
At the present time I wish to be taken off your mailing list. My circumstances are such that I am no longer a member of the WCG, hut my husband is. And of course he is very upset if I receive outside literature. I am trying to hold my marriage together and feel for the time being it is best to stop the literature.
Thank you for your time and information through the Report. I hope I can receive the AR again in the future. I can only pray and hope God will open my husband's eyes to what the truth really is.
It appears to me that the young have the most to lose when HWA "gets" them. Not only are they financially crippled, but they are socially crippled, sexually denied, and curtailed from any healthy meaningful interaction with the opposite sex. What a crime and what a tragedy.
Please keep the Report coming. We try to get some passed around but the people [in the church] were warned not to read anything. They are told they are welcoming Satan into their home.
I would love for you to do some checking on all the beatings and paddlings the young ones got. I agree with Jack Martin: The child-rearing booklet was a disaster. I did not have any little ones, but I saw beautiful little children ruined. Those little fellows go to school and order their little school friends around and they get into trouble. They are bossy like their parents.
Editor: According to Armstrong family member David Antion, now a Ph.D. in educational psychology, Herbert was treated very harshly and beaten frequently during childhood. This mistreatment very likely was a major formative factor in his own development.
Thanks for the AR. It is a link to life. It must be hard to continually publish, but believe me it is needed. We believed,
and we believed so hard. It isn't easy to put it behind us and forget. I know of no one who doesn't continue to think and remember it all. We were a family - brothers and sisters and who can put one's family out of mind. Never! I'm always wondering where this person is or how that one is doing. More than 10 years have passed since I left and I've had many heartaches in that time. Still I wonder and think. It is such a shame it couldn't have been as we thought.
When something is wrong, you let it go. You put it behind you. Yet, it will be a part of us until we pass on.
I still want to know what is happening to my beloved brothers and sisters. Ambassador Report is that link with that life. Keep it alive.
The Denver minister has repeatedly told the members here that the second tithe is God's money and cannot be spent for anything but travel to and from the Feasts and housing and meals. All that remains must be sent to Pasadena. If anyone fails to do so, they are under God's curse. No one should use it as an additional contribution or to help some other person to attend. But my Bible says it is for my use for anything my heart desires.
Keep up your good work as many of us rely on you for true reporting on what this cult is doing to its members. Many are as sold as the Jim Jones gang and would drink poison if HWA said to drink it. This minister claims all your reports are lies and not to believe anything they may hear.
My wife, who was disfellowshipped November 1982 after 22 years as a WCG member, now wishes I had sent for your AR from its inception. Our own 27-year-old son and my wife's brother [top WCG official] are still in the WCG. It's disgusting how they either ignore or talk down to my wife. They brag about their refusal to watch, read, or listen to any point of view other than Armstrong's as force-fed by his Gestapo ministers. They revel in their ignorance.
When my wife first began to listen to Armstrong in 1957 and began receiving his literature, I spotted him for a greedy charlatan so, from the sidelines as an "unconverted" mate with my "worthless" opinions, I watched the flipflops, destroyed families, and confused youth parade by over the years. My wife and I are so relieved she's free of that Satanic bondage. And, yes, she is still a faithful Christian.
You are continuing to do fantastic work in exposing the Armstrong hoax and other cultists. Please don't stop now. AR is a ministry of its own and has, without a doubt prevented many people from knowing the pain we have experienced as members of WCG (now ex-members).
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Our thanks to all who continue to support our efforts.
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