AR28 July 1984
"God's Apostle" Gets a Divorce
For over two years Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA), the 91-year-old, self-proclaimed Apostle of the Worldwide Church of God and President of Ambassador College, battled in the courts to divorce Ramona, his 45-year-old wife. On May 11 he got his wish. In Tucson, Arizona, Judge William Sherrill approved an out-of-court settlement reached by the parties, thereby dissolving the Apostle's seven-year marriage. Through the settlement HWA was able to escape what would have been a lengthy and highly publicized divorce trial.
The trial had been scheduled to begin on April 25. During the month preceding that date there was a flurry of pre-trial motions and depositions. In their pursuit of legal business, WCG lawyers even ignored WCG holy days in scheduling their activities. For instance Ramona found herself at a court hearing on April 23, the last day of Unleavened Bread. The presence of WCG lawyer Ralph Helge was presumably excused by an "ox in the ditch."
As before, a review of the statements made at various depositions reveals a great deal about the true nature of the Armstrong organization. An excellent example of this is the deposition of Virginia Kineston. Ms. Kineston, an intelligent, articulate woman of somewhat dominating personality, was, for a number of years, an executive secretary to church attorney Stanley Rader. Her power in the organization was considerable - especially during the State of California vs. Worldwide Church lawsuit. With HWA in Tucson and Rader occupied with the lawsuit, Kineston found herself taking on so many top administrative and executive functions that she earned a reputation as the WCG's real boss. In fact, the WCG ministry's unhappiness over this state of affairs was a major factor in Rader's downfall. While Rader, according to some, seemed to enjoy having the WCG's macho ministers subservient to his secretary, the ministers by and large were not amused and made their feelings known to HWA. Whatever the case, for a time Ms. Kineston wielded considerable authority over the church. Oddly enough, however, Kineston admitted during her deposition that she was not a WCG member, having left the church in 1975.
Ms. Kineston readily acknowledged, based on personal observation, that church funds had regularly gone for gifts for HWA, Rader and their friends and relatives. The WCG's accounting methods - incredibly lax by normal accounting standards - were explained in considerable detail by Ms. Kineston. She further corroborated that the church's jet had often been used for personal and frivolous purposes. For instance she testified:
"The G-II was used to take food and club soda to Tucson because Rona Martin, the housekeeper, didn't believe anyone sold club soda except Jurgenson's [a Los Angeles gourmet food store]."
We will not bore readers with further details of her testimony as we have covered these matters in previous issues. However, one comment she made deserves repetition. When asked what her opinion of Herbert Armstrong was, she stated she hated and despised him. When asked why, she replied:
"Well, it gets into the core of his personality. I think the man is a liar, a thief, and a pervert, and I have absolutely no use for him."
This, from a lady who has observed his conduct over many years. Had the Armstrong case actually gone to trial, statements such as the above would certainly have made their way into the newspapers.
It's no wonder then that as the trial drew near, the WCG's lawyers grew increasingly concerned over the impending wave of publicity. Herbert's lawyers even went so far as to ask Judge Sherrill for a protective order that would have effectively barred the press from obtaining key records in the case. Shofar editor Robert C. Williams, authors David Robinson and John Tuit, and Ambassador Report editor John Trechak all wrote letters to Judge Sherrill objecting to the issuance of any such order. Judge Sherrill refused to grant the protective order.
On April 25, as the Tucson news media waited, Ramona Armstrong arrived at the Tucson court building. Accompanying Ramona were an Iroquois medicine man and two Indian associates who gave Ramona a good-luck amulet. (Ramona's father was a registered member of the Cherokee nation, making Ramona part American Indian. This is just one fact among many that Herbert insisted she keep secret from the WCG membership because HWA's marriage to her would be viewed as an interracial marriage, and church policy forbade such marriages.) Later, the medicine man went before the TV cameras to ask all Indians watching to pray that their "sister" receive a fair settlement.
Inside the court building Judge Sherrill was informed that both sides had reached a tentative agreement in principle. Judge Sherrill then recessed the proceedings for a day in order to give the lawyers a chance to draw up a written tentative agreement.
According to The Arizona Republic (April 26, page B 1), that afternoon Herbert held a three-minute news conference "in the garage of a Tucson area residence." He told reporters, "I am very pleased that this matter has come to a mutually satisfactory agreement.... There will be no trial."
The following afternoon, after a whole day of legal wrangling, the attorneys for both parties presented Judge Sherrill with a tentative agreement for a divorce settlement. With an oxygen tank kept nearby, Herbert Armstrong was assisted to the witness stand after signing the agreement. Without looking at his estranged wife, Herbert answered a few routine questions put to him by lawyer Allan Browne. Judge Sherrill then scheduled a May 10 hearing at which the agreement was to be fully ratified.
But when May 10 arrived, Judge Sherrill discovered that there was still no final agreement. The hitch was that the criminal charges against Ramona for allegedly stealing gold flatware from the church had not yet been dropped. The dropping of the criminal charges had been a key point in the tentative agreement.
Judge Sherrill, noticeably angry over the new snafu, ordered that the trial would begin Friday. He ruled that the testimony could include details of the church's finances. But he agreed to limit testimony on Herbert's sexual conduct. According to The Los Angeles Times (May 12, Part 1, p. 14):
©1984 Ambassador Report. Published quarterly, as finances allow, as a Christian service.
John Trechak, Editor& Publisher Mary E. Jones, Associate Editor
Founding Publishers: Robert Gerringer, Bill Hughes, Mary E. Jones, John Trechak, Len Zola, and Margaret Zola.
"In the divorce proceedings, Armstrong's lawyers had sought to limit evidence of a sexual nature, but his wife's attorneys said it was crucial because the church leader alleged that Mrs. Armstrong had breached an agreement of love and fidelity. Lawrence Deckter, Mrs. Armstrong's lawyer, said the testimony would explain an 'understanding' the couple reached about Armstrong's 'prior incestuous conduct with his daughter for many years.'"
Herbert was quickly summoned back to Tucson as attorneys for both sides attempted to solve the settlement problem. The attorneys asked Superior Court Judge Richard Hannah to persuade Deputy County Attorney Kenneth Peasley to at least agree to a plea bargain. But Hannah told the lawyers they had no role in the criminal case and that the deadline for a plea bargain had passed anyway. But Alex Gaynes, Ramona's lawyer in the criminal case, remained optimistic. By Friday, May 11, the problem was solved. Peasley agreed to dismiss the criminal action on condition that Browne provide an affidavit stating that "a trial would be stressful to Mr. Armstrong and might be very injurious to his health," that restitution has been made for the missing gold flatware, and that the victim "has no desire to prosecute in the matter because of restitution." So the last hitch in the agreement was overcome.
On Friday, May 11, the lawyers for both parties informed Judge Sherrill that they had a completed agreement. Judge Sherrill then dissolved the seven-year-old marriage. Ramona had her maiden name, Martin, restored by the court to celebrate the end of her marriage. Herbert flew back to Pasadena. And Allan Browne, displaying an ignorance of not only scripture, but his client's teachings as well, sounded ever more like Stanley Rader when he told the press, "Mr. Armstrong will now return to doing what he does best, and that is proclaiming the gospel to members of his church."
How much did Ramona get? No one is saying. Part of the very detailed settlement is that no one disclose it's terms. Some newspaper accounts pointed out that Ramona had sought to be awarded "the couple's former house in Tucson, half of a $5 million bank account, $150,000 a year in spousal maintenance and other assets." But later:
"The Tucson Citizen reported that the settlement provided for Ramona Armstrong to receive a total of $300,000, of which $150,000 was to go to her attorneys. The newspaper said her legal bill is at least $350,000. In addition, it said, she will receive the couple's luxury Tucson home - but be responsible for a monthly $785 payment on its estimated $90,000 mortgage - and two cars, in addition to personal belongings, jewels and furs" (Arizona Republic, May 12, 1984).
Friends close to Ramona have hinted that she got nowhere near what she hoped for. It is also clear to us that whatever she did get was not in a lump sum. Undoubtedly the settlement provides that she be paid in installments and that such payments will cease if she discloses any details of the agreement or certain facts pertaining to her marriage to Herbert. Since her divorce, Ramona has declined interviews with the press and has refused to answer all questions put to her by Ambassador Report.
How were HWA's lawyers able to get Ramona to forgo a trial and instead agree to such a small settlement? It appears there were a number of factors. First of all, it is important to realize that the WCG's financial resources make it able to "pay up front" for dozens of high-powered lawyers and to indulge in large scale "paper wars." Ramona's lawyers were not only working on contingency, but were so swamped with paper work by the opposition they were unable to do business as usual. The situation drained them financially. The strategy used by the WCG lawyers was effective too in inflicting great physical stress on the opposition. Ramona's divorce laywers, Jack Ettinger and Larry Deckter, both have serious personal health problems that were greatly exacerbated by the stress of the case.
Attorney Jack Warner, who represented Ramona in her California suit against the WCG (an action separate from the divorce) ran up a legal bill of over $335,000. As Warner did not become a party to the out-of-court settlement and since Ramona lacked the resources to even make payments on the bill, the amount remains outstanding. The "paper war" in the California case was intense, and when Warner's health began to fail, he asked the court to release him from his responsibilities. When Warner left the case, Ramona was unable to find any lawyer willing to take up that battle. With no lawyer willing to fight on, Ramona's California lawsuit was as good as lost. Thus, even if she could have won the divorce, losses from the California case could have eaten up whatever she won in the divorce suit.
A second, related, factor is that Worldwide's lawyers were not only able, but were also clearly planning to delay for many years the payment of any monies won in the divorce by continuous appeals. Ramona's legal bills would have mounted, but she would have been unable to touch a penny of what she would have won.
A third factor was the impending criminal case. While it is unlikely that she or her son Richard would ever have had to serve prison time, the possibility of being found guilty in that case was a real fear.
A fourth factor was that had the divorce trial actually gotten started, HWA and his myrmidons would have probably "stonewalled." This had already occurred during HWA's depositions, in which he refused to answer hundreds of important questions because of vague "constitutional protections." The inability to get straight answers left Ramona so frustrated that on April 23 she went personally to HWA's Pasadena home, barged in, and confronted him over what was transpiring. HWA unabashedly told her that when the trial started he would absolutely deny all of her allegations. He said that he would say that he never recalled admitting to incest or any other sexual deviation. Nor did he recall ever promising to remain married to her for life.
The realities of the situation were such that Ramona felt forced to settle out of court. After two full years of legal warfare, she longed for a normal life. Friends say that, although she has been left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid legal bills, she has found great comfort in the loyalty of her friend Wally McKinney. Ramona met McKinney, an articulate, suave Tucson businessman, some years ago at a time when she was so despondent over her marriage to Herbert that she was actually contemplating suicide. McKinney helped her through the crisis and has remained a devoted friend ever since. They intend to marry in the near future.
Armstrong Divorce Documents
One more comment about the divorce case. Thanks to Herbert Armstrong filing for divorce (we often wonder who should be given credit for putting this idea in his head), an absolutely vast amount of sworn testimony about the WCG, HWA, etc. is now available to lawyers and accredited news reporters in need of this information. The county court in Tucson has a microfilm department that makes court records available at relatively little cost (compared to usually expensive photocopies). The complete case is on 102 Microfiche plates with over 100 pages of legal documents on each plate. The court charges 50 cents per plate. The case number for the Armstrong divorce is: D0040771. Lawyers and news organization researchers in need of these official court records should write (on letterhead) to: Clerk of the Superior Court, 111 West Congress, Tucson, Arizona 85701 (Attention: Correspondence, R. Gerald, Microx Department).
McNair Trial Begins
Herbert Armstrong's divorce problems may be over, but the WCG's legal problems haven't gone away. As of this writing, the Leona McNair vs. Worldwide libel and slander trial is under way. In the suit filed in 1979 Leona McNair claims that certain WCG leaders, including her ex-husband evangelist Raymond McNair, conspired to defame her and that Raymond's brother-in-law, evangelist Roderick Meredith, did so in both spoken and written statements made in 1979.
In 1976 Raymond McNair became the first WCG minister ever to divorce his wife. There were three children by the marriage and Raymond has since remarried. In the statements made by Meredith in 1979, the evangelist accused Mrs. McNair of being responsible for the breakup of the marriage. The case (number NEC 27381) should provide further insights into the WCG's divorce doctrine, which changed abruptly around 1975, just in time for HWA to marry a divorcee and for Raymond McNair to pull off the first ministerial divorce. Leona McNair's attorney, Antony Stuart (of the Los Angeles lawfirm of Greene, O'Riely, Agnew and Broillett) says he expects the trial to last about a month.
Legal Solutions - Without Lawsuits
Anyone who has followed the WCG's activities for the last five years knows it would be quite difficult to find a more litigious or lawsuit-prone organization anywhere. With the possible exception of the U.S. federal government, no one loves to spend money on lawyers more than Herbert Armstrong and his myrmidons. Our sources indicate Herbert's church probably spent about as much on lawyers over the last several years as it spent for the poor, widows, and orphans.
That is why we were so amused (not shocked, not disgusted, just amused) to read recently in the Los Angeles Times (San Gabriel section) that the WCG is funding an organization called the Community Dispute Resolution Center. For a fee of only $5, individuals having a dispute with someone can come to the Center and explain their problems. The Center then attempts to persuade the other party to come in. Through fact finding, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, the Center attempts to solve the dispute quickly, without litigation. The Center's services are available to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, income, or place of residence. A number of prominent Pasadena-area lawyers and judges serve on its board of directors. The WCG currently provides the Center with $65,000 to $70,000 per year, with that figure likely to rise to $150,000 per year in the future.
We think the concept behind the Center is a good one. But we ask: Why doesn't the WCG simply use the Center, or something like it, to solve its own legal disputes - instead of spending millions on lawyers every time it has a legal problem?
Religion and the Courts
In virtually every lawsuit the WCG has ever been involved in, it has invoked First Amendment privileges regarding its practices and its refusals to answer certain questions. Lawyers representing the Armstrong corporations give the distinct impression that because the Armstrong corporations are in the religion business they are exempt from some of the legal responsibilities placed on other individuals and businesses. The attitude is not unique to the Armstrong organizations, but is found in many organizations involved in religious activities.
More and more, however, U.S. courts are ruling that those religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution are not limitless. A number of recent court decisions should give WCG ministers something to think about.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 15 a jury awarded a $390,000 judgment against a church whose ministers denounced a woman for the "sin of fornication." The church's ministers had followed the teaching of their denomination, the Church of Christ, that sinners be exposed from the pulpit and be denied fellowship with the church's membership. Said one Church of Christ minister after the jury's decision, "That probably will teach us all a lesson.... There may have been a more diplomatic way of going about it" (Pasadena Star-News, March 18, 1984, p. A5).
The April 16, 1984 issue of Time magazine, in an article (p. 42) which mentioned the Worldwide Church of God by name, covered a subject that every WCG parent would do well to ponder very carefully. The subject was how the legal system is responding to cases of parents denying their children medical help because of religious beliefs. According to Time, "State courts have routinely intervened against the antimedicine doctrines of some religious groups in ordering treatment for the children of church members when death is imminent. Now states are beginning to bring charges of neglect or abuse against parents who endanger their children's lives by adhering to religious teachings." In one case quoted by Time, a religious couple was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of their 16-year-old son, who died after days of agony from an untreated ruptured appendix.
On June 22 in Vermont 130 armed state troopers and social workers went to 20 homes of members of a religious cult. With search warrants they gained entry to the houses and then led away 112 children for a day of medical observation. The families - members of the Church of Island Pond - had long been accused of severely beating their children. The group's founder, ex-carnival barker Elbert Eugene Spriggs, teaches that children should be disciplined regularly with wooden rods. One church leader, Charles Eddie Wiseman, faces charges that he beat one 13-year-old members for seven hours. The Los Angeles Times (July 10, 1984, p. 10) quoted Wiseman as saying, "Even little babies have a fallen nature... and need to be disciplined. We are going to raise a lost generation of children... unless they are properly disciplined and properly spanked.... I have no question you can crush the will and spirit of a child."
The sect, which has many doctrinal similarities to the WCG, has an intense dislike for the press and feels it is being "persecuted." The June 22 raid may have been unusual, but it was not unique. In Michigan in 1983 state officials took 66 children away from their parents who were members of the House of Judah cult. One mother in that cult was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 12-year-old son.
Another legal decision that should be making WCG officials nervous is the June 28 California Appeals Court ruling that ministers can be sued for "clergy malpractice." The important decision came in regard to a 1980 lawsuit filed by Maria and Walter J. Nally of Tujunga, California. The suit alleges that their son's 1980 suicide came about after counseling with Rev. John F. MacArthur, Jr., pastor of a Sun Valley church. Both the pastor and the church are named as defendants. In making the precedent-setting decision Justice Vincent S. Dalsimer wrote:
"...The free exercise clause of the First Amendment does not license intentional infliction of emotional distress in the name of religion and cannot shield defendants from liability for wrongful death caused by such conduct."
From the facts presented, Judge Dalsimer wrote that it could be inferred that the defendants:
"Recklessly caused such persons extreme emotional distress through their counseling methods if those persons did not measure up to the pastor's religious ideals."
We Beg Your Pardon
Ambassador Report always takes great care that the information presented is accurate. Nevertheless, in our last issue there was one minor inaccuracy that we wish to correct. HWA's Romania and London trips did not take place in 1978 as reported on p. 7. Those trips took place around 1976, a few months before his marriage to Ramona. Knowledgeable sources say that the physical problem we described was, according to HWA's own admission, due to his many years of excessive alcohol consumption.
We also neglected to mention an important point in the incest story. HWA was able to exert great coercion over his daughter, not just because he was her father or physically stronger, but because he repeatedly claimed "God gave you to me."
Child Abuse in the News
Incest is not a pretty subject. Unfortunately, because the problem is so widespread, in recent months it has been in the news more than ever. We do not want to cover the problem in detail in this issue. However, in recent months we have been absolutely appalled to learn of a number of cases of incest in the WCG where for some reason the ministry, though informed of the problem, seemed to turn a deaf ear. It is difficult to believe that the church's ministry does not understand what a terrible crime this really is! They should read Leviticus 18:6-18; 20:11-21.
In the May 1984 issue of Psychology Today there appeared an excellent article by Elizabeth Stark entitled "The Unspeakable Family Secret: Fear and shame have forced almost 15 million victims of incest to suffer in silence." The article contained these insightful statements (p. 42):
"Father-daughter incest, which accounts for 75 percent of the reported cases, is generally considered to be the most harmful. The betrayal of a child by someone she should be able to unconditionally trust and depend on almost always leads to serious emotional problems: low self-esteem, guilt, isolation, mistrust of men, problems with intimacy, sexual precociousness, drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, even suicide. 'There is no way that a parent can have sex with a child and not exploit them,' Giarretto [Henry Giarretto, psychologist and founder of the Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Program in Santa Clara, Calif.] says....
"Incest happens at all economic levels, in families that appear completely normal to outsiders. They are often socially isolated, and what little outside social life exists is controlled by the father, usually a strong, patriarchal figure. The wife tends to be financially and emotionally dependent on her husband and often has less education.
"Ninety percent of incestuous fathers suffer from some type of mental disturbance, according to a recent study done by Karen Kirkland and Chris Bauer...."
Another magazine that covered the subject of incest recently was Newsweek (May 14, 1984). That issue contained this remarkable statement (p. 32):
"In a 1981 study, Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Dr. Judith Herman concluded that the most striking similarities among incestuous families were the father's tendency to tyrannize and the mother's fear of questioning his absolute authority...."
Unfortunately, the description given by Dr. Herman not only fits that of the Armstrong family over the years, but it also accurately describes the kind of family organization Herbert has tried to inspire in his followers.
If any of our readers suspect there is an incest problem in their own family, we suggest that your local WCG minister be avoided, as in most cases he will not be qualified to handle this serious problem. A good place to start is to read the two articles quoted above. Then seek assistance from competent, trained professionals - those who recognize incest as the terrible sin it really is and who have the training to properly deal with it.
WCG News in Brief
Recent WCG publications reveal that the WCG's quest for image continues unabated. The July-August issue of The Plain Truth featured the Olympic Games. Page one showed HWA shaking hands with U.S. high-jumper Dwight Stones. The magazine's center spread of photos showed Olympic athletes training at Ambassador College under the watchful eye of AC instructor Harry Sneider, now a U.S. Olympic team coach. Nowhere mentioned is the fact that the modem Olympic games have their origin with the ancient Greeks whose Olympics were held in honor of their gods. Author John Tuit pointed out to us, "It's interesting that the church is told Easter and Christmas should not be kept because of their pagan origins, but the pagan- religion origin of the Olympics doesn't seem to deter Herbert Armstrong from getting involved. The double standard is very obvious."
Double standards and all, however, HWA continues to accumulate the worldly accolades he's always desired. The June 18 issue of The Worldwide News showed HWA chatting with Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone, the July 2 issue showed him with Austrian President Rudolf Kirchschlaeger, and the June 4 issue showed HWA at the White House with Mrs. Reagan and a Chinese children's choir called "The Young Ambassadors."
How HWA gets to be photographed with the world's rich and famous is no secret. In his March 21 letter to his church, HWA wrote (emphasis his):
"We are comparatively small in membership, compared to large traditional churches, yet a VERY GREAT AND REAL P O W E R in the world!... It is only by God's tithing system that we can be such a tremendous power in the world.... The need for TITHE and OFFERING laborers was never greater."
Evaluation of Church Financial Picture
Throughout the fifties and sixties the WCG's membership shot up rapidly, while its income grew at roughly 25 percent per year. Since the mid-1970s, the church's income and membership growth have been relatively flat, with its income not even keeping up with inflation. The church's worldwide audited financial report, compiled by the prestigious accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Co., revealed that church membership for both 1982 and 1983 remained at about 75,000 (The Worldwide News, June 4, 1984, pp. 5-7; June 27, 1983, pp. 5-7), which is only 7 percent or 5,000 members higher than reported in 1979. This low growth doesn't look quite so bad when compared to the decline in membership among the mainline U.S. churches since 1973: United Methodist Church - down 8 percent; Presbyterian Church - down 15 percent; Lutheran Church - down 3 percent; Episcopal Church - down 4 percent. However, when compared to the Seventh-day Adventists with 623,563 members (up 34 percent since 1973), the Mormons with 3,593,000 members (up 40 percent since 1973), or the Assemblies of God with 1,879,182 members (up 71 percent since 1973), the WCG seems to be doing poorly (U. S. News & World Report, April 30, 1984, p. 82).
The recent Arthur Andersen audit reported that the Armstrong organization worldwide had a total of $132,182,000 in support and revenue in 1983, up 9.3 percent over the 1982 figure, whereas total expenses rose 9.0 percent to $126,489,000. The financial statements and accompanying notes showed that the organization owned aircraft worth $9.6 million and library books worth $1.2 million. It had travel and related expenses of $3.7 million, professional and performing artist fees of $5 million, and some mysteriously unnamed "Other" expenses of $8.3 million.
While showing two years of comparative financial details and being as complete and well-written as most corporate financial reports, the report still deliberately omitted categories of interest, such as the church expense for executive compensation and legal fees. The report does mention that the church gives out interest-free loans to members - which we learned in the divorce-trial depositions often go to key executives - and that the church-college provides $560,000 in benefits to certain select former employees, though the organizations lack formal retirement plans for their employees.
But just how accurate and useful are corporate financial reports issued by the major U.S. CPA firms? We discussed this subject with an accounting professor of a major Southern California university and with a former auditor of Arthur Andersen & Co. and found the following: While an audited financial statement from a CPA firm can give the general public confidence that the financial statements of a firm are done according to generally accepted accounting principles, this doesn't mean that if several CPA firms were given the same set of corporate books they would arrive at the same bottom-line figures. In fact, their results in certain areas might vary as much as plus or minus 30 percent. This doesn't mean anyone is actually "cheating," but CPAs can make use of a wide range of estimates, inventory costing methods, depreciation methods, tax credits, etc., as well as deciding which of various categories and formats to present to the public - all of which can cause great variability among financial reports. Also, never forget that an "independent" CPA firm is hired by the organization whose books it is auditing and it maintains a confidentiality similar to an attorney-client relationship. If that CPA firm insists on presenting the financial data in such a way that is not deemed in the best interests of the organization that hired it, the CPA firm will be replaced with a more cooperative CPA firm. So while all CPA firms are "independent" of the firms they audit, they aren't nearly as independent from them as, say, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is - the difference being that a business can't fire the IRS if it disagrees with its findings.
Furthermore, just because a firm such as Arthur Andersen & Co. audits a church's books, that doesn't mean that it has given its moral approval for the way the church spends its money. It is Arthur Andersen's job to account for the church's expenses and make sure they are presented according to generally accepted accounting principles, but it is not Arthur Andersen's job to comment or rule on whether the church should pay money to HWA's relatives and women friends, whether the church ought to hire lawyers and spend millions of dollars fighting members and ex- members, whether "hush money" should be paid to disfellowshipped ex-ministers under the guise of retirement benefits, whether HWA should have an expense account and what he should use it for, etc. These issues are outside the realm of an audit.
We hope this explanation of the significance and limitations of audited financial statements will aid WCG members and the general public in understanding just what an audited financial report can and can't be relied on for.
A financial report is not the best place to determine whether the WCG is spending its funds for its stated purpose or for practices that would be frowned on by most members if they knew what was occurring. A person trying to decide whether or not to tithe to the WCG based on the church's spending habits will have to rely on his own observations and the news media to determine the propriety of the church's expenditures, because neither the church nor Arthur Andersen is going to come out and say HWA spent x number of dollars at a sex rejuvenation clinic in Romania or that he spent $5 million on lawyers to divorce his wife, etc.
We feel it's the responsibility of every Christian to do all in his power to make sure his church is spending his money the way Christ would want it spent. If his church is not doing so, he or she should demand to know why and cease giving immediately.
Dwight Armstrong III
Dwight Armstrong, the younger brother of Herbert Armstrong and for years the WCG's only officially recognized hymn composer, was listed in our 1976 and 1977 issues as among those who were no longer actively supporting the Worldwide Church. That assessment was an accurate one, having been based on frank discussions between Dwight and Ambassador Report editor John Trechak in 1974. It appears, however, that in later years Dwight reestablished his relationship with Herbert. In his April 1 letter to his church HWA wrote:
"I recently visited my brother, Dwight, who composed all of the music in our Church hymnals except for three or four songs we felt worthy of being included. He has devoted the last 35 years of his life to composing the music of these hymns for us....
"I found him in the last stages of cancer in the bone structure, going through the marrow of the bones. He is a little discouraged, not realizing what a real success his life has been, and with the mortgage on his home still not paid off as he faces the end of his life. He is not expected to live much longer.... He will be 80, if he survives until September 15....
"We have had no experience or precedent to know how one with such musical talent should be compensated for his years of faithful labor, but because of IRS restrictions over us by the government, and the fact he is my brother, I feel he has never been properly rewarded for his efforts. However, if some of you brethren do feel you would like him to know how much his beautiful music has meant to your Christian life, and would care to just write him a few words of appreciation, I know that would brighten the few remaining days he probably has in his life.
"Write to his local pastor, Richard Parker, 5540 34th St., Loop NE, Tacoma, WA 98422."
The comments by HWA have caused many to wonder. Of course everyone is saddened to hear of Dwight's illness. But why the obvious suggestion to send money to the ailing hymnist? The church has supported him comfortably for many years, and besides, his brother Herbert probably makes at least $300,000 per year and could afford to help Dwight himself. If he is dying from cancer (and we don't question that he is), why would Dwight be worrying about an unpaid mortgage? Does he plan to take the home with him? And why the odd comment about no precedent for compensating a composer? Thousands of composers get paid regularly for their work. Why not just pay Dwight as other composers are paid? And what are those mysterious "IRS restrictions"?
Knowlegeable sources inform us that HWA has had serious difficulties with the IRS in recent years (remember: the IRS does not make such matters public) and that he has gotten a bit paranoid over his financial affairs. Others, however, note the date of the letter and speculate that it was just one insensitive April Fool's joke on the WCG membership.
New Lyrics for Hymnal?
While Dwight Armstrong has for years been the only one officially commissioned to write hymns for the WCG, there are others, apparently, who would like a chance at contributing to the WCG hymnal. Karen Griffin of Pasadena, California, told us, "When you consider the new doctrines in the church, it would be appropriate to update some of the hymns to reflect the church's new teachings and attitudes." She has already redone a number of WCG hymns. One that we found particularly entertaining was her rewording of "It Is Well With My Soul." Here is her new version:
It Is Well With My Soul
Yea, Her-bert, my preach-er, di-rect-eth my way,
And all of my life doth con-trol.
What-ev-er my lot, Herb hath taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul... (Chorus)
My life and my will did I give--with-out tho't,
My wealth, not in part, but the whole.
I've giv'n to the Work, and I bear it no more.
Yea, tis so, I have sold Herb my soul... (Chorus)
Though no more Ra-mo-na, though tri-als ga-lore,
Let this blest as-sur-ance con-trol.
Though Herb has me tith-ing my to-tal es-tate,
He hath said this is good for my soul... (Chorus)
And Oh! haste the day when the gun lap shall be run.
The church off to Pe-tra will go.
Then Her-bert shall flee. Oh! I hope he takes me!
So I say it is well with my soul ... (Chorus)
- Karen Griffin
Incidentally, Karen and her husband, author Des Griffin, distribute a wide selection of books dealing with political conspiracies, cults, the WCG, etc. Those interested in obtaining a catalog of their offerings should write to: Emissary Publications, P.O. Box 642, South Pasadena, CA 91030.
GTA - Problems and Insights
We continue to receive letters from members of Garner Ted Armstrong's Church of God, International (CGI). Quite a few have written us saying CGI represents a vast improvement over the WCG in terms of more humane organization and more reasonable doctrinal positions. Nevertheless, it appears that GTA's past sins continue to haunt him. In a March 5 letter to his readers GTA wrote:
"As you know, we had hoped we were going to be admitted on one of the major 'religious' networks a few months ago. They turned thumbs down on my program!"
GTA's past is something many refuse to forget. But his father's past has caused some to turn their backs on all organized religion. In a May 3 letter to his readers GTA writes of those who
"...became so hurt and angered - so 'turned off'at their physical leaders that they simply gave up.... They do not make these accusations at Almighty God, or Jesus Christ! Rather they make the accusations at their former human leadership! If you have had such thoughts, then I want to highly recommend to you a taped sermon by Mr. Ronald L. Dart entitled 'Beyond Disillusionment!' I am offering it now because it was one of the most widely acclaimed sermons Mr. Dart has given in the past several years!"
Some of our readers who've heard the tape say it is worth a listen (the address, for those who are interested, is: P.O. Box 2530, Tyler, Texas 75710).
The same May 3 letter by GTA also offers the public a booklet that sets forth the "over-all parameters" of CGI's doctrines. We haven't seen the booklet and suspect we would not agree with all of CGI's doctrines. However, we can only commend GTA for putting his church's teachings "up front." That is something the WCG still refuses to do. Finally, in regard to GTA, we point out with some pleasure how he increasingly is speaking out on the problems in the WCG. In a May 23 letter to his "fellow laborers" Ted quoted a letter he received from an unnamed WCG member. We reprint the entire letter here because it offers a remarkable insight into the present-day WCG:
"Dear Mr. Armstrong, I have received several pieces of your literature and your newspaper 'The International News' the past few months. I want you to know that they are literally a lifesaver.
"I am a member of WCG and have been for nearly nine years. I just can't believe what is going on in the church now. It scares me to death and makes me sick. (I am especially afraid for the women.)
"I have heard and put up with (out of extreme intimidation and fear tactics from ministers) a lot of strange happenings in 'God's church' the past four to five years. I've suspected there's 'something rotten in Denmark,' but stuck my head in the sand out of fear of losing my eternal life.
"I feel so depressed and hopeless I don't know what to do - and see others the same way - plus animosity being aroused between husbands and wives (paranoia), then I ask myself: 'If this is God's church, why is everyone so paranoid, fearful, afraid to talk to their ministers?'
"The past two to three years I have dreaded going to church and have been trying to psyche myself into a 'positive attitude' - but the fear tactics, etc., get worse every week and now I hate going to church, I tremble with fear through every sermon. We're told that practically none of us will make it into the kingdom, etc.
"For example, this past Sabbath, our minister told us there were a lot of LIARS in the congregation, HYPOCRITES, etc. Then, of course, as usual, he started in on women - made a nasty remark about our 'gossipy natures,' told us we were defying God if we had any of that 'colored dirt' [makeup] (powder) in our house ('God has spoken on this issue. How long will you defy God?!'), made fun of some of the older women because they had put a rinse on their hair to take away the ugly yellow color (I wonder who he thinks they're trying to seduce?), etc.
"Then he tore into the men for not keeping us under submission. Called them wimps, etc., if they 'allowed' their wives to watch soap operas (I hate soap operas, but that's my concern, not his or my husband's if I wanted to watch them - which I don't!). Told them they should check their wives' things for makeup, powder, nail polish, etc. - and 'in effect' (he didn't say this, but insinuated it) - either throw out the wife or the powder!
"He praised certain women in the congregation for 'reporting' (Heil Minister!) to him that certain other women were still wearing makeup to work, etc.
"He ranted and raved at everyone for wasting his time for wanting counseling for stupid things. (He's a very sarcastic man.) I know that many times people have counseled [with] him for something they thought was in a private conversation - expecting him to be discreet, etc., when lo and behold the very next Sabbath he would be in the pulpit mimicking them and making fun of their 'problem.' He wasn't concerned about their problem or them - just outraged that they had the problem and 'bothered' him with it. (He's a frustrated comedian and will do anything for a laugh - even at the expense of someone already hurting.)
"There are some things I would like to counsel with him about (especially about most of us losing eternal life), but wouldn't dare. He gets mad if we don't understand. I just don't understand the man's attitude. He seems to like ridiculing us and putting us down and exercising his 'authority' - especially women.
"I have come to see that many people are staying in the church out of pure fear (including me - it could mean a divorce from my member husband). They are told that if they talk to any 'ex-members,' read any of your literature or anything against HWA - even if it's the truth, it will 'pollute' our minds and we will lose eternal life. Mr. Waterhouse (I'm sure you already know) does nothing but travel all over the world and preach HWA - there's no way to 'make it' unless you go through HWA. If you even 'question' anything he says, you are being REBELLIOUS against 'God's anointed' and you will be cast into the lake of fire! (I heard one minister say he doubted if we would make it into the kingdom if we read Time magazine - because they're 'anti God's apostle'!)
"Any piece of your literature or anyone's not flattering to HWA is to be burned or turned in to the minister. We are not to read it or we will be put out of the church by God Himself. God will not TOLERATE blasphemy against 'His' apostle.
"I wanted to find out where you were for years, read your literature, etc., but was scared to death to even think it. (I'm still scared - not very brave. Is God going to 'get me' for writing to you? I don't know.) Things are getting so paranoid at church, though, I don't know what else to do. Besides, I'm a woman and I'm not going to make it anyway. Right?!
"I just wish there was some way you could reach the rest of WCG members - they've been told CGI is to be avoided like the plague or God will 'get' them." (signed) "Beaten Down"
The Paranoid Prophet of the Song
In previous issues we mentioned how former WCG minister Cecil Battles had formed a church called "the Song" and how his followers had quit their jobs to wait for UFOs (or more accurately, "fiery chariots") to take them away. One of our readers who had joined "the Song" was fortunate enough to escape its influence. He (or she) has written us this update on the CBC (Cecil Battles' Church):
"Cecil Battles seems to have become paranoid. He rants and raves! He demands complete and total obedience as though he were God. His sermons are hours long. The group sings literally for hours - sometimes half the WCG song book at one time. You know, of course, that they have all quit their jobs. One of the latest is that they are to stay close to home, as God may soon speak to them and tell them the chariots are coming.
"They mail out copies of his 'prayers' and their 'prayers' must be patterned after Cecil's 'words.' He tolerates no questions, no opinions (except his own, of course, as they are 'God's') and no discussions....
"Cecil does not converse as a normal person with others. If you do not 'parrot' his 'words' back to him, he walks away. He has no patience with normal conversation, only 'the words' as the group calls them.
"He has set so many dates for the coming of 'God's chariots' that any normal thinking person would wake up and 'smell the smoke.' But his followers just lap up each excuse like honey. (It's their fault anyway; they are not 'pure' yet.) I have seen them sit in front of him with adoration on their faces. He says his last 'failure' datewise was predicted in scripture! Where?
"It seemed to us like 'something' is guiding him! He uses no notes, flips from one end of the Bible to the other with amazing memory. Says he does no preparation; only speaks what is given him when he starts to preach, and speak he does, for hours, with no notes; most sentences have no end, no punctuation. They seem to mesmerize his people. You would have to see it. It is unbelievable....
"They will do anything he says. Fast days and days, sing for days at a time, quit jobs, quit sex, not marry, cut off family and friends, take children out of school, pack up and move to Oregon if he said to, no TV, no pleasure, no eating out, do away with all pictures of pigs, frogs, mice, etc., no medicine, no doctors. All they do is listen to his tapes over and over. This is not exaggerated.... He teaches them to hate us who have left the group and not to think much more of anyone else outside the group. They who once were ostracized by the WCG are now treating others even worse.
A Letter From Germany
Editor: We received the following letter from a German student some time ago. While it is a bit lengthy we feel it does offer some remarkable insights into both the WCG and current European conditions.
I am a student at a German university studying American literature. Over the years I have become acquainted with the publications of the Worldwide Church of God by reading my parents' issues of Klar und Wahr and the older Die Reine Wahrheit. But it was not until I started reading the English Plain Truth that I discovered how cynically racist and bigoted Mr. Armstrong and his main mouthpiece on Germany, Mr. Gene Hogberg, are. When I met with long-time friends in the German branch of the WCG, I was given some older editions of Ambassador Report and found that many of its revelations paralleled my own thinking. After intense discussions with my friends, I decided to write to you and express my views on the WCG and its "prophecies" on Germany.
It is a clever act of deception when Mr. Armstrong tells the American and English readers of the Plain Truth (PT) how prone to aggression the Germans are supposed to be, while carefully deleting the same ideas from Klar und Wahr. For example, much to my astonishment, I learned from an English-language WCG booklet (never printed in German) that I descended from the ancient Assyrians of 2,500 years ago. Mr. Armstrong shows great scholarship here. Considering that 100 generations have since come and gone and Europe has been a melting pot of many migrating peoples and tribes, could all that have happened without racial intermingling? Then I was horrified to learn that we Germans (West and/or East?) are supposed to attack and conquer the U.K. and the U.S. and that we are "known" for our bestiality, ruthlessness and cruelty. Finally, I was told that I am a member of the coming "Beast power" of the Apocalypse to be guided by the Pope. This is especially remarkable in light of the fact that we had Martin Luther and the Reformation here. So before we Germans militarize and unite Europe to attack everyone in sight, let me comment on prophets Armstrong and Hogberg.
I have met Mr. Hogberg personally and hence have a good idea how he arrives at his ghastly nonsense. He obtains his information by staying mostly at expensive hotels where he converses with fellow Americans, English-speaking Germans, or one of his PT cohorts. Mr. Hogberg's knowledge of German goes no further than the crude construction of a phrase. He knows practically no German history or German political philosophy, nor does he have a sense of understanding of the German national psychology. Furthermore, he has no journalistic connections or accreditation. In order to be credible, any journalist or scholar has to have contacts at our major newspapers, universities, or at the Allersbach Insititut f|r Demoskopie that gauges public opinion. But Mr. Hogberg gains his impressions on a typical wine-and-dine-trip through the country. His surface impressions, which he palms off as "prophetic insights" in the pages of the PT, could be offered by any tourist travelling through our country.
Like Mr. Hogberg, Mr. Armstrong has a warped view of Germany. He evidently lifted many of his ideas on Germany from vicious anti-German propaganda dating back to World War I. Mr. Armstrong was by no means the only one inspired by this trash. For example, some American presidents can be shown to have been attracted by Armstrong- type anti-Germanism. For instance, in one book by Louis Nizer, What to Do With Germany? (Chicago, 1941), the reader is presented with these "revelations" on Germany:
"Was Nazism a coincidence or the fulfillment of age-old German dreams, philosophically and systematically inculcated into German consciousness for centuries? [p. 17]... the evil conduct of... Nazi leaders fits well into the characteristic pattern of bestiality [p. 18]... Those who appeal to this basest instinct of the German people are instantly assured the most devoted following [p. 29].... theirs is a German conspiracy against world peace [p. 30].... The war lust of the German people is composed not only of a philosophy for conquest, but of a race theory to justify it" (p. 39).
Anyone who has even casually browsed through the WCG literature against Germany will notice startling similarities. Mr. Armstrong adopted these ideas, probably more consciously than unconsciously, and sold them as prophecy. Naturally, the pseudoscientific character of his writings would appeal to his simpleminded fellow "prophets" and followers. Anything that reeks of conspiracy, of quick and easy answers to complex political or social problems, appeals to these "illiterates."
Nizer could have been used as a source for the "prophecies" on Germany that Mr. Armstrong states in his book The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy. Again notice Nizer's thoughts:
"For example, in 1900, the book Grossdeutschland und Mitteleuropa um das Jahr 1950 [author unknown] foresaw the triumphant day [der Tag] as falling in 1950: 'All Germans have united, Holland enters the German union; in Belgium, the Flemings grow in power and because the French element causes increasing trouble, Germany is obliged to intervene.... Maybe the French will fight, in which case all Belgium will be annexed and incorporated in the German World Empire... (p. 47).
"In Germania Triumphans (Berlin, 1895) he [author unknown] writes: '...the United States, declining to give way, the German, Italian, and French navies mobilize and set sail for America. The American navy is destroyed. On land, the German armies made short work of the American mercenaries. Under the brilliant leadership of the German Leader, the Germans were everywhere victorious.... The British navy was destroyed. Invaded, the English offered but a half-hearted resistance. The German and Italian soldiers seized London. England and America were defeated'" (pp. 47-48).
More remarkable than the similarities of Nizer's scenario to that outlined in Mr. Armstrong's booklets is the fact that Franklin D. Roosevelt had Nizer's book distributed among his Cabinet. Eisenhower bought 100,000 copies and sent them to his officers, who had to write reaction papers on it before they occupied Germany in 1945 (Current Biography 1955, p. 450).
Nizer's book is one of a long line of anti-German writings, such as Germany Must Perish (1941), Germany Is Our Problem (1945), or No More Germanies, No More German Wars (1944). Toward the end of the war, and for many years afterward, a flood of books on the revival of Nazi-Germany were printed. Again, scores of volumes on that topic were produced, such as Germany Will Try Again (1944); The Hidden Enemy: The German Threat to Post-War Peace (1949); The Nazis Go Underground (1944), and many more.
From this it becomes evident that Mr. Armstrong's prophecies about Germany and the Nazis rising again was nurtured by a popular vein of journalistic sentiments. Mr. Hogberg simply copied Mr. Armstrong's views and took the rubbish for divine truth. I would go so far as to state that Mr. Hogberg may yet use Nizer's quotes and attempt to sell them to his PT audience as "newly discovered truth," regardless of the fact that these writings are known and hopelessly absurb.
All told, Mr. Armstrong put out articles and pamphlets that reflected the racist and political ideas of British-Israelism, that the Anglo-Saxons were destined to a racial and political supremacy in the world. There is no doubt that this view of Anglo-Saxon imperialism is the centerpiece of Mr. Hogberg's world view. It helps very little in the exchange of ideas between Germans and Americans. Mr. Armstrong is not building bridges between nations; he is tearing existing ones down. Many bad feelings are created by this ill-conceived, base, and ludicrous evangelism.
But Germans also do a disservice to their culture when they participate in the production of the PT propaganda on the staff of Klar und Wahr and the American PT. It is that kind of attitude of mindless loyalty that resulted in the Hitler mess. Germans tolerating the published Armstrong nonsense judge themselves since they know what they are doing to their own country under the disguise of "preaching the gospel."
I reject the false PT allegations against Germany, the illconceived, misconstrued, deliberately twisted, fabricated, racially colored statements and articles by Mr. Armstrong and his "prophets." It is not knowledge that inspires their utterances. Rather, it is a premeditated scheme to financially bind the Armstrong church members to a fear and punishment image the "aggressor" Germany. While the church can boast that it has the "truth" on Germany, as the potential Beast power, the members will gladly donate money. In this way, they provide themselves with the illusion of knowing the future, while in the meantime Mr. Armstrong receives a steady lucrative income.
The WCG propaganda that identifies Germany with the devil, evil, or sin has long passed the stages of openminded discussion and has reached the level of theological dogma. Once such propaganda reaches into the grey realms of human emotion, where concepts such as "sin" or "evil" are formed, a conscious, rational dissection of the various themes ("evil Germany") is for the Armstrong follower no longer possible.
Regarding "evil" Germany, it is still a far safer place than the United States, whose crime, immorality (even an apostle's divorce is possible), and intellectual decay is well represented in the Armstrong church.
Mr. Armstrong also claims that anti-Americanism in Germany will lead to a revival of militarism. This is laughable. Actually today in my country anti-Americanism means anti-militarism. The current German desire to engage in a military adventure is about as real as Mr. Armstrong's desire to live according to what he preaches. We perceive America as a source of conflict, and we worry that our country may be drawn into a war between the Russians and the Americans, which is the last thing we want because it could destroy us who are caught in the middle. More troops and missiles mean more of a chance that we will be in a war contrary to our wishes. In addition, 95 percent of our college graduates refuse to do military service. These absent young people would be the leaders in the present, and any future, German army.
The anti-Americanism among the young is paralleled by a trend toward neutrality and reduced military commitment among the intellectual elite. That is evident in their writings, and it involves Strauss, who insists on honoring treaties with the U.S. and the Russians. This same Strauss also wants a veto power over use of American nuclear weapons, even though Mr. Hogberg depicts him as the possible European strongman.
Mr. Hogberg and the PT also hardly ever mention the fact that West Germany has a constitution, the Basic Law, that permits only specific powers to be in the hands of the parties, the Chancellor, the states, or the armed forces. Contrary to the Armstrong church, we do have a system of checks and balances. It is impossible that anyone German, the good Strauss as the prime example, will hold power in the absolute way of an Armstrong. There is no other item that so renders the Armstrong statements void as the fact that the Germans have a constitutional system guaranteeing basic individual and collective rights. In all the Armstrong publications that I have seen, there is only scant or incidental reference to the German Basic Law. If Mr. Hogberg wishes to ignore the realities of our constitutional law, then he is only showing that he never departed from his starting point, the war propaganda, that advocated that Germans were incapable of having a rule of law. Again Mr. Hogberg demonstrates his dreadfully inadequate knowledge of the post-war situation in Germany.
There are a few more items that refute the Armstrong rubbish on my country. They concern the rules of neo-Nazis. The West German government (not to mention East Berlin) has systematically and unflinchingly suppressed any such revival of neo-Nazi parties. For example, the Socialist Reichs Party was declared unconstitutional already in 1949. The German Reichs Party, along with the German Communist Party, met a similar fate. In 1953, the German Free Corps was banned, and the Ludendorf- Circle was handed over to the courts in 1961.
Certainly, there are ideological supporters of Hitler in my country and yours today, just as there are Armstrong followers, even after all the real revelations about him in Ambassador Report. Furthermore, don't forget, the Nazis are legal in the United States, but not in my country. Hitler freaks have no constitutional protection in West Germany, in contrast to American Nazis in the United States who enjoy such constitutional privileges. Hitlerites also have no political clout to make themselves heard in West Germany. All that appears in support of, or like a revival of, Nazism is swiftly prosecuted here.
Finally, our armed forces are strictly limited in their activities by the Basic Law, the NATO treaties, and the occupational statute ending the military occupation in 1955. Our Bundeswehr is not even permitted to have a clearly identified picture of an enemy, a fact that is probably beyond Mr. Hogberg's horizon to comprehend.
I ask, are these the marks of a nation that according to Mr. Armstrong and his chief parrot Mr. Hogberg will militarize Europe and attack the United States? Do the "prophecies" by Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Hogberg ever relate to such empirical reality as outlined above? Only ignorant dimwits could accept their pseudeo-prophetic sayings without linking them to any historical and political reality. The foregoing facts fly in the face of Mr. Hogberg's "analysis" of my country. He never has understood, nor apparently will he ever understand, what makes Germany work. He simply has no educational and intellectual background to do so. Mr. Hogberg's and Mr. Armstrong's "prophecies" or "analyses" of my country are just borrowed opinions, and these opinions are impressionistic, ill-conceived, shallow, and inconclusive.
The writings of these people who turn out such plain trash resemble more the deranged concoctions that spring from the broodings and contortions of uneducated, neurotic, and psychotic brains. Nonetheless, these great "revealers of truth" are still desperately trying to build a prophetic monument unto themselves by trying to tell their readers of events in the future, as in the case of Germany as the "Beast power." But they have only adopted this "knowledge" from the popular press, and using the Germans as a scapegoat is nothing but propaganda, as I have shown in this letter. It is then not likely that Mr. Armstrong or Mr. Hogberg will succeed in going down in history as prophets.
What is certain, however, is the fact that their utterances have no relevance. We can all rest easier because we do not have to be concerned about some simpletons who advertise themselves as revealers of divine truth on Germany - "truth" obtained in propagandistic publications. Such people are not prophets, but charlatans.
- AR reader in Germany
Faulhaber: Germany in Prophecy
One of our Canadian readers, A. Marvin Faulhaber, has sent us copies of two books he has written that may be of interest to some of our readers. One is entitled Germany in Prophecy. This work goes into "where Herbie went wrong" on prophecy. The second book is a 61-page reference book titled The How Much Do You Love Your Child? Resource Book for Parents. This book provides a wide variety of suggestions on child rearing as well as numerous addresses where one may obtain information valuable to parents. The books sell for $10 each. Postage is $1 for North America, $3 elsewhere.
Mr. Faulhaber has also written that he hopes to produce a directory of WCG "splinter groups" and establish some type of "recovery network" of individuals and groups who were once affiliated with Worldwide but who would now like to assist in "deprogramming" current WCG members through counseling and friendship. The "recovery network" would also aid former WCG members in overcoming "the personality disorders caused by the hard sell and pressure tactics of the WCG," according to Faulhaber.
Those interested in any of the above should write to: A. Marvin Faulhaber, P. O. Box 3223, Mission, B. C., Canada.
Badillo Expands Services
In our last issue we reported on Tony Badillo's excellent book on tithing. Since then, Mr. Badillo has expanded his ministry to include an interesting newsletter called Newsgrams. We particularly enjoyed its cartoons about HWA. Also worth mentioning are a number of articles by Badillo "exposing HWA's nonsense." They are listed on page 7 of his May newsletter. Those interested in obtaining Newsgrams should write to: Church of God Within, P.O. Box 11074, Dallas, TX 75223.
Richard Marson's New Report
Some years ago, former WCG member Richard Marson wrote a book entitled the Marson Report Concerning Herbert W. Armstrong. Marson has now issued an updated version of that book. The new title is American and British Israelism Debunked. The price is $5.95. Marson also publishes other religion-related material including Reality Report, a newsletter published every other month except July. The newsletter, which has an $18 per year subscription price, is "dedicated to halting religious abuse through education." For more information write: Reality Report, 2442 Northwest Market Street, Suite 193, Seattle, WA 98107.
Richard C. Nickels: Giving and Sharing
Richard C. Nickels recently sent us the following announcement:
"Giving and Sharing is an international nonprofit mail-order religious bookstore. It began in 1978 partly as a protest against religious organizations who 'preach for hire.' We distribute Bibles and religious books and articles on a donation basis.
"Many former Worldwide Church of God members have enjoyed reading two of our books: (1) A History of the Seventh Day Church of God (397 pages, $8 suggested donation), which reveals the origins of the church Herbert Armstrong became a part of; (2) The Remnant of Israel (32 pages, $1 suggested donation), which traces the history of G. G. Rupert (1847-1922) and shows the amazing doctrinal similarities between this minister and Herbert Armstrong.
"Whether you are interested in Church of God history or just want to obtain good religious reading material without high cost, you are encouraged to write for a free catalog and details to: Giving and Sharing, 1606 Taylor, Sheridan, WY 82801."
Brenda Denzler Update
It's been some time since we reported that Brenda Denzler of Kansas was working on a book composed of the stories of many who had joined and later left the WCG. Many have wondered what became of her project. Here's what Brenda recently wrote us:
"I returned full time to college last fall and have done very well. Besides taking a full academic load, I have been working part-time and am also a full-time parent. So as you can see, there's never a dull moment. That is why the book project is not as far along as it might otherwise be.... This summer I will have about 8 weeks with no classes, only work. During that time, I hope to be able to jell the material that I have been sent. Some of it is truly excellent! Writing [about the experiences people have shared] itself becomes hard for me, as I tend to experience rises in blood pressure, lumps in throat, clenched fists, teary eyes, etc."
We know the feeling Brenda, but if you can finish your book, it will be of help to many. Those who may wish to write down their WCG experiences and send them to Ms. Denzler should write to: Brenda Denzler, 917 S. Walnut, Newton, KS 67114.
Robert Williams: The Shofar
The Shofar newsletter, put out by Robert C. Williams, has a new address. It is: P.O. Box 7399, Phoenix, AZ 85011. Mr. Williams has been extremely cooperative with the Report over the last few years, and we wish to publicly express our thanks to him for his kind help in covering the Armstrong divorce case in Tucson.
By the way, in his May 1984 issue of The Shofar, Williams correctly pointed out that Ambassador Report does not attack the theology of the WCG. While it is true that we have, over the years, pointed out a number of anomalies within the WCG's dogma structure, we really have not made it a goal to "attack" the center core doctrines taught by HWA. We hope readers realize, however, that we do not mean to imply HWA's teachings are without flaw! It is beyond our means to turn the AR into a true theological journal. Nevertheless, it should be obvious by all the addresses for religious groups and publications run in the Report that we encourage our readers to very carefully reexamine the teachings of HWA. Those who do will be in for quite a few surprises.
All too often we hear of AR readers who say: "OK, so you proved that the church's leadership is guilty of hypocrisy, adultery, perversions, incest, perjury, idolatry, embezzlement, drunkenness, fraud, lying, stealing, vanity, intimidation, spying, and a few other things. So what? We're still in God's church because we have God's truth." To such individuals we can only say a la Joan Rivers, "Oh grow up!" Does a good tree produce evil fruit?
Other Literature of Interest
"When Does a Minister Become Disqualified From the Ministry?" by Keith Hunt: This 7-page paper is available for free by writing: Keith Hunt, P.O. Box 964, Oshawa, Ontario L1H 7N1, Canada.
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"Herbert W. Armstrong: He May Not Be Insane, But He Sure Is Crazy" by Emmett Hoctor: This 3-page paper is available for $1 by writing to the author at 16403 Main Street, La Platte, NE 68123.
In this paper long-time anti-WCG activist Emmett Hoctor forcefully puts forward the theory that HWA is a classic-case psychopath. Hoctor's theory is based on chapter 7:6 of Dr. Eric Berne's book A Layman's Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis, published in paperback by Ballantine Books ($3 from Ballantine Mail Sales, Dept. LG, 201 E. 50th Street, New York, NY 10022).
Also available from Hoctor is a 10-page paper entitled "Ten Years After Armstrongism: A Philosophy Not for Everyone." In this paper, available for $2, Hoctor details his exodus out of, not only the WCG, but out of all Christianity and tells why he has now embraced the teachings of Frederick Nietzsche and Allan Watts.
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The Religious Empire, by Dr. Martin A. Larson and Rev. C. Stanley Lowell: This book came out in 1976, but is still very valuable to those desiring to understand the relationship between church and state in the United States. The book lists for $10, but can be obtained for $6 if ordered directly from: Dr. Martin A. Larson, P.O. Box 15059, Phoenix, AZ 85060. Of particular interest to us was the authors' description of "corporation sole" (p. 25), since Herbert Armstrong now runs the WCG through a corporation sole:
"In nearly half of the states, what is known as a Corporation Sole is a legal entity, which, though never mentioned in the Internal Revenue Code, is a reality of great importance. As such, a bishop, acting as if he were the embodiment of his corporation - and even the pastor of a parish church - is permitted to hold in his own name unlimited assets in the form of real estate, cash, stocks, bonds, mortgages, etc. A special feature of this arrangement is that, since each successor to the office is invested automatically with all those riches, no deeds or other instruments are necessary to effect a transfer of ownership.
"What the bishop does with this property, especially the revenue, no one except himself is in a position to know. He is not required to make any report to the priests under him, to the laymen in his diocese, to his fellow-bishops, or to any legal authority. If he actually owns all these worldly goods, he may be a billionaire; if he does not, it must be substantively owned by a superior such as the Vatican or the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The laymen who have contributed everything have neither any ownership in, nor control over, this vast accumulation of material wealth."
Help For The Blind
Have you had any requests on behalf of the blind or sight-impaired for Ambassador Report on tape? If no such service exists and the number of requests is not too great, I would be willing to put Ambassador Report on cassette and distribute copies to those in need on an "at cost" basis.
-Dennis R. Sivert
P.O. Box 51
Ft. Branch, IN 47648
Editor: We are not financially able to provide a cassette program for the blind. However, those in need of such help should contact Mr. Sivert to see if something can be worked out.
A Letter From Gary Alexander
I received your highly informative April edition today, and I thank you for making a fair and unbiased report on my recent 30-day prison sentence. The author captured a very important lesson from all this: the importance of thinking for oneself and doing independent homework before running after another "cause. " His reference to my current employer, Jim Blanchard, as a "right-wing gold bug " was an implication that I may be making the same mistake again. I don't think so, but I'll let that pass.
The major point which I would like to make, and I feel your author missed, is that Liberty Ministries (LMI) was practicing on a small-potatoes, amateurish level what Herbert W. Armstrong has practiced on a massive level for more than 50 years: indulging private tastes under the mask of church funds. In fact, your April edition gave 6 pages of court testimony, partly to that effect, that Herbert wrote $50,000 checks "to himself. " That's basically what some of the LMI people did, only with $500 instead. We were taught to write checks to cash and call them "church expenses" on the memo portion of the check. You have proven that Herbert Armstrong did the same thing, but in the millions. How else can you account for his lifestyle on a $200,000 salary?
There are many sub-points to make from this experience. Herbert has not served one hour in prison, and probably never will. Doug Taylor [former WCG minister] and I each served 30 days of a one-year sentence, with 3-years probation. We were amateurish, could not afford Herbert's "fancy Beverly Hills lawyers" (to use Mr Ettinger's colorful terms) to cover our tracks, and did not have the "appearance of religion" - you know, fleecing the public, begging for money, preaching hell-fire to believers while living a heavenly lifestyle, misquoting scriptures. We only held on to our own money (not begging for money of the 'poor sheep')... illegally to be sure, but still more ethical than taking other people's money.
Note from my enclosed April edition of "AMEN" (not a religious newsletter, folks, but an acronym for Alexander's Monthly Economic Newsletter) that I have assembled my pre-prison and post-prison diary into a 50-page single-spaced document which is available for the cost of duplication and postage (I'm a non-profit and non-prophet organization), at $6, from Box 1727, Metairie, LA 70001. I believe the prison experience was the most memorable event of my life, even eclipsing "The Ambassador Experience" we all shared. (Heck, I'll send the diary for free to any of my old college friends.)
In it, I make some discoveries about myself which are at odds with your author's analysis, i.e., I don't regret the crime I committed, don't regret falling under the influence of powerful "mentors" like the Armstrongs or the Williamses, cherishing greatly the lessons which could only be learned through the crucible of those precise experiences. Libertarianism teaches "buyer beware" on the economic and social level and I believe it applies to the philosophical and religious level too. I can't blame HWA or TKW for misleading me, when I was the "buyer" of their package of lies. Ambassador Report is a much-needed "consumer's advocate" for past, present, and future sheep, but I hope you don't believe the "truth shall set them free," when so few of us were really interested in the truth about The Truth while we were in it. And, for me anyway, it took a few more aborted Crusades before I outgrew the need for a Big Daddy to dispense truth.
John Tuit, author of The Truth Shall Make You Free, has sold his New Jersey manufacturing firm and has purchased a sawmill in the Catskill Mountains of New York. He told us he and his family are very happy in their new rural environment. His new address is: John Tuit, 17 W. End. Ave., Stamford, NY 12167.
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Roy G. Stout, a student at AC Pasadena during 1967-1969, is now an attorney specializing in immigration. His office address is: Roy G. Stout, 311 South Spring Street, Penthouse Suite, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
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Eugene I. Smyda, formerly the Plain Truth's chief photographer, retired two years ago and is now living in Panama City, Florida, where he once had a studio and camera-repair business. He is again a member of the Florida State Pistol Team and attended the National Matches the past two years. He was with the team when they won the Nationals in 1965, the same year he entered the WCG. While Mr. Smyda is glad to be out of the WCG, he is saddened that his ex-wife and four children are still members and will not communicate with him.
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Andrew Voth, AC Pasadena class of 1970 and former instructor at Ambassador and Imperial Schools, is now Cultural Arts Supervisor for the city of Oxnard, California. He wrote us: "My fourteen years at AC serve me well in the political spectrum of municipal and county government - the advanced guerrilla techniques learned there catch opponents every time! At least one can reason with them in a logical manner - unlike attempting to communicate with someone such as, say, Raymond McSnare - or whateverhisnamewas."
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Gary Murphy, AC Pasadena class of 1973 and former instructor at Imperial Schools, is now principal of Inspiration Addition School in Miami, Arizona, where he lives with his wife Norma and two sons. On May 11 Gary graduated from Arizona State University with a doctorate in education. (The editor of this newsletter, however, best remembers Gary as a great canoe partner on a Minnesota wilderness fishing trip we took in 1972.)
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Kathy Kruger, AC Pasadena 1970, and Pat Boehnhard, AC Pasadena 1971, wrote us a few weeks ago. Kathy moved to Minneapolis in 1974 with her two daughters, Shawna and Bethany, studied art for a time, completed a degree in Human Services, and now earns a living doing technical drawings. Pat was planning to do graduate work in women's studies until the university she applied to decided to check AC's credentials. She went to cheffing school instead and now manages the kitchen of "the biggest, richest, smartest, and most-spoiled sorority at the University of Minnesota." Pat and Kathy said they'd love to hear from old friends. They can be reached by writing to: 3844 Blaisdell S., Minneapolis, MN 55409.
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Bill Moore, AC Bricket Wood class of 1969, wrote us the following:
"I wish you would mention in the AR that 'Innovative Living,' which I wrote to you about a couple of years ago, is a potential TV series, not a church. I keep getting letters from people asking if we keep the Sabbath, holy days, etc. I am not in the religion business....
"My family and I are getting along fine. We finally - after four years - feel free of the mental shackles of the WCG. My family is well adjusted, the kids are doing wonderful in school, and we feel a real part of the community. I have numerous business and personal contacts throughout Omaha. I was even able to coproduce and host this past winter a 12-episode TV series on personal money management called "The Subject Is Money" and cable-cast to over 79,000 households in the Omaha area. A pilot children's television series which I created and co-wrote with a writer from Hollywood has been shot, and the producer will be talking to the networks about it next month. (Keep your fingers crossed, but don't hold your breath - right?) Disney and Nicklelodeon have already called back to say they want to see the half-hour pilot. So, things are really looking up for us out here in far away Omaha."
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The Reunion, the British group of ex-Worldwiders that meets semiannually, is planning their next get-together for Sept. 22. Those interested in participating or those interested in obtaining their highly informative newsletter should write to: Mr. P. Griffiths, 190 Tythe Barn Lane, Whitlocks End, Shirley, Solihull, W. Midlands, England.
Just got your April edition and thought that at long last I would sit down and write the letter I've been meaning to write for the last few years. I graduated from AC in 1973, after serving as Portfolio editor and Plain Truth staff writer. I basically grew up in WCG, a more-or-less typical "Church kid. "I'm not too sure what's typical about that kind of upbringing, but that's another story.
I first became disillusioned with Worldwide when I sat in the Auditorium as a student in January 1972 and listened to various ministers including HWA lie about their promises of the end of the work/world in '72. (It only took me another 7 years to split. I'm a slow learner.) I left Pasadena for a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D. C., in July 1973. In October 1973 Chris Heap and I were married in Pasadena. We now have two daughters, Erin (4) and Heather (8 mo.).
In 1976 we moved to Portland, Oregon, where I went to work as a public information officer with the U.S. Forest Service. In 1979 we were expelled from WCG by the infamous Dan Fricke over a dispute involving his right to determine who could sit at our dinner table. YOU coordinators aren't supposed to backtalk pastors, but, what the heck, I always was a slow learner. I have to say, throwing us out was the biggest and possibly only favor WCG ever did for us. But we should be grateful for the good, no matter where it's found.
In 1980 we moved to Durango, Colorado, where I took my present job as public information officer for the San Juan National Forest. Life (and success) is not only possible, but much sweeter, after WCG.
This brief travelogue is presented in the hope that any of our friends might get in touch with us if they live in or pass through this area. My basic philosophy now is that "Religion is slavery: Christianity is freedom." Chris is active in Foursquare Gospel Church, a moderately charismatic and highly Christian group that others might want to investigate if they are seeking a group of believers without conditions.
Please print our name and address - we'd love to see some of our old friends.
-Dennis (& Chris) Neill
2935 W. Third Ave.
Durango, CO 81301
Ambassador Report has really helped me and so many others to recognize that it is HWA and his gang that are "nuts" - not us.
I was recently forced out of the WCG after 12 years of loyalty and service, some in ministerial capacities. In my final discussion with the local pastor I asked him, "If you tell me white is black and black is white, do I have to believe it in order to stay in this church?" He replied without hesitation, "Yes!" He also accused me of disbelieving that the WCG was the only Work of God on earth today. I confessed to that accusation and then handed him my letter of resignation.
I hope all of us who have had the WCG experience can overlook the bitter parts and treasure the good times and friendships we have enjoyed. There has been good in many cases. But the utopian Wonderful World Tomorrow will never exist inside the decadent and deceptive organizations of the world today.
-Steve Ross (class of '76), Oregon
Starting at about 17= I was an Armstrong slave for over 11 long years. I am now in psychotherapy partly as a result of the cult's influence. I had some personal problems before, but Armstrong's group only made them a good deal worse.
I came out of it in 1968, but only because I was not happy and I did not come across a single happy person at any time. The minister was cold and uncaring and was always bawling someone out from the pulpit, so you know the place was full of tattletales. It got so I was afraid to go to church at all for fear I would say or do the wrong thing. I also got fed up with being bugged all the time by the crises.
I understand you have another issue out updating Herbert's long saga of empty visions and ghastly revelations, plus the latest on his divorce. Imagine an Apostle getting a divorce. I wouldn't know an Apostle if I saw him on the street, but it should be interesting reading about one getting divorced. I would be much pleased if you could send me a copy.
How great it feels to no longer be a slave to this unbelievable farce. It is probably one of the worse predicaments that could befall a human being. The hapless victim is cleverly inducted into something that has nothing to do with how things really are. He becomes a member with the status of something like a mindless worker bee. Before long the member cannot distinguish friend from foe, something intelligent from something stupid - and indeed will do the silliest of things on command from the manipulator. The member will fanatically adhere to the charlatan and his lie. A fact means nothing to a member victim because he has lost his imagination and logic.
I can say these things because I was a former member, which gives me some experience along with many years observation of other victims.
Although I can't give out any names, there's at least one farmer in this area who is having a dickens of a time getting back the farm which he signed over the "them." At that time, they were prophesying an end to all things and advised people to sign over property, etc. to the church. Too bad people didn't have the sense to know that if "the end" was at hand, why should "they" want all that property?
I am a widow on social security in low-cost housing, but I gave my life and blood and heart and tears to that organization - unbelievable! What's left of my life is nothing but sorrow, and nothing will ever be the same.
I am a victim of systemic lupus, which I had for several years while in the Worldwide Church. It was not diagnosed until a serious attack hit me, and I could not get up from my bed. I went through a terrible trauma in the Worldwide Church, as I was torn between the need for medical attention and the fear of losing my salvation if I obtained it. As a result of Mr. Armstrong's false teaching forbidding members to obtain help from doctors, hospitals, or medications many died. I am now suffering from crippled hands, joints fused in toes, 40 percent kidney function, a heart murmur, heart-valve damage, an ulcer, and numerous other effects caused by the lupus. Many of these problems could have been avoided if I had sought medical assistance at the onset of the illness.
I left the Worldwide Church around 1972 as a direct result of the trauma I was put through in the aftermath of a hospitalization which was brought about when my fellow office workers became concerned when I called in that I was ill and after three weeks heard nothing more from me. They found me in a coma and rushed me to the hospital when the systemic lupus was diagnosed.
The life expectancy of this illness at that time was eight years. The doctors who handled my case at the hospital told my office worker friends that it would be a miracle if I lived through the coming weekend. My blood count had dropped so low that they could not find a pulse, so they ordered blood transfusions immediately: but my veins had begun collapsing, and they could not find one to take the blood. I remember waking up and seeing the doctor and two nurses over me very much concerned about the situation. The doctor found a place in my leg and the vein held up and it was very close, but blood started flowing through my body again in a surge of warmth I shall never forget. It was life coming into me. I found out later that some of my office worker friends had donated the blood that kept me alive! But believe it or not, I still clung to the idea these were Satan's agents, although my "faith" in Armstrong's teachings had almost cost me my life.
In the meantime my fellow workers had told the doctor that I belonged to a church where they didn't go to the doctor for treatment, take medicine, etc. and that's why they found me near death. Do you know that so-called agent of Satan really cared whether I lived or died! He took time out of his busy schedule to come into my room when I had gained some strength to tell me he thought he knew why I was near death. He talked to me about my beliefs and told me he believed in God too: but that God did not intend for me to lie down on a bed, receive no care, and just quietly die to please him. He said God loved and cared about people, and he did not want to see me stay in a church listening to teachings that would "kill me." At first I rejected what he said, thinking he was an instrument of Satan trying to cause me to question Mr. Armstrong and the church doctrine. I was so brainwashed!
It has since been revealed that Mr. Armstrong himself has been seen seeing doctors for his heart condition. He went to a clinic in [Tucson] for [treatments] and a picture was taken of him while leaving said clinic, which I have seen. He takes medication regularly and has had nurses and doctors in attendance at his home after his heart attack.
Well, I began to think about what the doctor had said to me and what my fellow office workers had done for me. I realized those people and my doctor really cared about what happened to me. Over the prior two years I had experienced much sickness and didn't know what was wrong with me and was afraid to go to a doctor for fear of losing my salvation. I was anointed numerous times by the ministers, but only grew worse. I was told by them that I must be sinning or I must be in a bad attitude. My fellow church members would ask me how I was and I was told not to lie by all the sermons I had heard, so I would say I was weak and tired and did not feel well. Several ladies were quick to tell me it was all in my head and that people did not want to hear about all my problems and that I should say I feel fine. In fact, many of those ladies - when I returned to church after being in the hospital near death - came up to me and began to berate me for having blood transfusions. They didn't even care that I had gone through the near-death trauma as well as mental and spiritual anguish, and God had granted me life. I began to balance out the attitudes of my fellow office workers and the doctor. The office workers, I found out later, had given
the blood that revived me. Do you know what I found? The love of God! That love was in the doctor and the fellow office workers, but it was not to be found in the Worldwide Church. God had at last freed me from the bondage of that cult.
May God have mercy on those poor deceived people still in that organization! They do not know what manner of man they are serving. He has proven himself over and over to be liar, a false prophet, a hypocrite and an instrument of Satan used to deceive and destroy trusting people who were not well-grounded in the scriptures.
I shudder to think what it is going to do mentally and emotionally to my husband when this [church] falls. He is so dedicated and so sold that at this point he would die for HWA! The WCG members have sold their souls to the devil - at times I feel like this after 32 years married to a man who needs this. Ask any ex-member, any outside spouse, any parent with a child involved, and their "gut" feelings will all he the same: "pure helplessness" to the situation. We want to do something, but what? We want to tell others, but when we do it sounds so bizzarre that they look at you like you are going off the deep end. And then we hear this statement "He is such a good nice person; let him alone, he's not hurting anything or anyone." That statement makes me "throw up." I agree he is a good and nice person, or I would not have married him. But not hurting anyone or anything? Wrong!
It does hurt families, spouses, friends, relationships, etc. It separates and isolates in all of the above areas. It does hurt at birthdays, Christmas, and even on weekends. Friends become church members only, all saying the same phrases, using the same choice words, and having the same thought patterns. It's like associating with robots. When I drop my husband off for church service on Saturdays, the men all seem to be cut out of the same mold: dark suit, white shirt, tie, and vest, and hanging from their right hand is the same design of briefcase. Young men, old men, all the same. HWA sure has found a way with people. Before my hushand joined the cult, he was very casual and relaxed in everything he did. Now it's not "Hi," it's "Good evening!" All actions and conversation are very formal. The looks are the same, but the precious personality and fun-loving fellow are gone.
Editor: Many people who have seen the sci-fi movie "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (both 1956 and 1978 versions) have commented on how that movie seems to symbolically portray the very thing you've mentioned - the loss of personality and free agency in individuals who join the WCG and certain other movements. Unfortunately, just like the movie's characters whose minds were taken over by the "pods," once an individual gets "locked into" the Armstrong ideology, there is very little that can be done to help them escape.
Nevertheless, the situation is not hopeless. In recent months we have been amazed at how many long-time WCG members have written to us asking for issues of the Report. It seems that HWA's divorce and the WCG's attempt at covering up the details have made many question their church's teachings and leadership.
Your ministry is one of warning and crying aloud about the evils of the WCG. We will soon make an effect on people. So hang in there.
Please don't quit your efforts until HWA is in hell (the grave). Your work is most important in the religious community of the U.S., and more. You have dogged the trail of the biggest cultist in the world, and you have done it with style and grace.
We are doing all we can to help those in need of the truth about Herbert Armstrong and his movement. If you feel we are performing a worthwhile service, please make an effort to support Ambassador Report. We don't ask our readers to send us their tithes and offerings or to "sacrifice for the Work." But, the fact is, if we are to continue helping those hurt by Armstrongism, we need your help.
Our warmest thanks to those of you who really do care.
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