AR6 September/October 1978
The one-time euphoric mood that used to permeate the Pasadena campus of Ambassador College has turned to one of pessimism and gloom. Ministers and campus personnel are increasingly wondering: What will become of the Worldwide Church of God-and its millions of dollars of assets-when Herbert Armstrong meets his Maker? Will Stan Rader become the church's new Messiah and Ramona (Herbert's wife) the church's new Queen Mother? Will Rader and the church board call Al Portune Sr. back into service, or will a fanatical right-wing coalition of evangelists wrest control of the church and take it back to the way it was in the fifties? These questions are increasingly being asked by worried members and curious outsiders. Even the prestigious Time magazine, in a June 19, 1978, article, asked: "Who will eventually succeed the aged and ailing Apostle Herbert?" Then Time replied: "Recent convert Rader appears all-powerful, but he is not a minister and has numerous enemies." Other media sources are all but declaring Stan Rader the heir apparent.
"Ex-Jewish Convert May Inherit Church's Wealth"
The above headline, although no revelation to AR readers, is shocking in that it appeared as a front-page headline along with Stanley Rader's 6" x 6" picture in the October 12, 1978, evening edition of the Pasadena Star-News, as well as nationwide in other Knight-Ridder newspapers. Here are some perceptive statements from that article:
"Four months after the ouster of TV evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong, the troubled Worldwide Church of God has a new crown prince-a formerly Jewish lawyer-accountant who could inherit the rich religious empire of Armstrong's father. Stanley Rader, smooth-talking adviser to ailing 86-year-old church patriarch Herbert Armstrong, has emerged as victor in an apparent power struggle that pitted father against son, with Rader in the middle.... Rader compares the father-son schism of Herbert and Garner Ted to the biblical story of David and Absalom: 'The son wanted to destroy everything the father had built Where Ted made his crucial mistake,' he says, 'was he tried to run me down in the eyes of his father and that tipped his hand.'"
One of Rader's most shocking comments was the following remark:
"'Mr. Armstrong has said publicly very often that I am a son in whom he is well-pleased.... The only other one he ever said that about was Ted Armstrong.'"
The article concludes with the following comments:
"'Mr. Rader is very clearly the victor in what was a power struggle,' Garner Ted says. 'He moved into my office, into my desk; his secretary sits where mine sat.' On Rader's desk is a portrait of the grandfatherly Herbert Armstrong with the inscription: 'I was shooting the moon on you.'"
Herbert Lashes Out at His Son "With Love"
Herbert has launched another bitter tirade against his wayward son Garner Ted, all the while claiming he loves Ted "as David loved Absalom" (co-worker letter, September 25, 1978, p. 4). He accuses Ted of being "on a campaign of vilification against his father, and worse, against God's church.... to destroy his father and God's church and craftily win over the people's tithes to him!" He rambles on, stating, "My son is now holding 'Personal Appearance' meetings in strategic centers where he hopes to attract God's people, not the world.... He is no longer a man whose word may be believed...."
Rader told the Tucson Citizen (August 22, 1978) that if Ted "were interested in doing the work of God, he would never have been put out of the church." Ted retorted: "I'm doing the very same thing that paid Stan Rader's salary for more than 20 years. He [Rader] is welcome to his opinions, but what he said and the other charges he's brought against me are befuddling, bamboozling, and utterly impossible."
Later Ted admitted that former friends of his in the ministry were suspicious of Rader and that Rader's relationship with Herbert "got so close that the older Armstrong wanted to make Rader a minister the very same day he was baptized into the church. That was absolutely unheard of."
Note: At this point in the article appeared two photographs of the Armstrong and Rader homes. Unfortunately, we had only a photocopy of this issue of AR to work with. The photographs in the photocopy were of such poor quality that they were unusable. If you have an original of this issue and can loan it to us, or if you can scan the photographs and send them to us in digitized form, please contact us at youngambassado firstname.lastname@example.org -The Archivist
Tucson-area desert hideouts of Herbert Armstrong (left) and Stan Rader (right).
Indeed Rader and Herbert have been constant companions the last few years. Both men are residents of Tucson, Arizona. Herbert lives in a $160,000-plus home at 7845 Calle de la Escarpa on Tucson's far northeast side, while Rader resides at 8101 North Como in the Tucson National Estates on the city's northwest side. Rader has functioned lately as Herbert's mouthpiece, as Herbert seems afraid to meet with the press. When a reporter and a photographer from the Tucson Citizen called on Herbert, "they were greeted by an entourage of aides, including his chauffeur and dog trainer, who shield the elderly church leader.... Moments later the assistant, who turned out to be Rader, opened the door and said it was 'impossible for virtually anyone outside the church's upper echelons to talk to Armstrong'" (Tucson Citizen, August 22, 1978, p. 1).
When asked why Herbert remains so inaccessible, Rader declared, "His relationship with the church is identical to that of the pope's to worldwide Catholicism." Of course, Rader neglected to mention that the pope isn't afraid to meet with the press and does so often.
Rader later went on to tell the reporter that Ted "was secularizing the broadcasts." Yet a minute later Rader, referring to Quest/78, conceded that the WCG publishes "the finest secular magazine in the country, though we might be interested in selling it because many members don't feel it's related to what we're doing." What does Rader mean "might be interested in selling it"? Has he forgotten that Herbert declared: "I have given the direct order to Mr. Rader to sell or dispose of the magazine Quest/78 as soon as possible" (member letter, June 28, 1978, p. 7)?
Herbert too has charged bitterly that Garner Ted had secularized the church's radio and TV programs (Pastor's Report, July 31, 1978). This accusation was the biggest joke we've ever been asked to swallow. Anybody who has sat through Herbert's long-winded sermons in the late sixties and early seventies knows it was he who secularized both the broadcast and The Plain Truth-all because he felt nonreligious people wouldn't go for a religious format. Evangelist Raymond F. McNair's notes from the 1966 ministerial conference (January 9-19) show positively that, way before Ted came into dominance in his dad's church, Herbert approved secularizing not only the church's radio broadcast but also had the word "Bible" removed from the heading on every page of the "Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course." Note how McNair recorded Herbert's comments:
Mr. Armstrong mentioned the big problem we have with the broadcast--tailoring it to suit the right audience. We could not get on some of the big U.S. stations if we are "religious." Now the format of the broadcast includes (1) world news, (2) human interest stories about human problems, (3) Bible significance and connection between these, especially relative to Bible prophecy. The average person doesn't have an interest in spiritual things and will not listen to a radio talk which is "religious."
Mr. Armstrong said he thought it would be better not to put the word "Bible" on the correspondence course. He also stated that it would be good to use the name of "Ambassador College" (instead of Radio Church of God) in Germany and Switzerland.
It should also be noted that Herbert's testimonial dinners in Southeast Asia are almost totally secular, devoid of any mention of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Jesus' blood, his resurrection, and the need for men to repent of their sins and obey God. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying, "Every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but who ever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33, RSV). Could it be that all along Herbert has been ashamed to mention his professed Lord and Master Jesus Christ before kings and presidents? Does Herbert really value the friendship of world leaders more than the approval of God (see James 4:4)?
A Rising Star Named Garner Ted
While Herbert's church is decreasing in power and wealth, Garner Ted has astounded everyone with his rapid rise to public prominence once again. The October 7, 1978, Los Angeles Times announced that he is now broadcasting on eight stations and is forming congregations in Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Ted even has a surprising amount of secret support on AC's campus. In the past weeks his followers have dropped hundreds of leaflets around campus giving his new address.
We are also pleased to report that Ted has announced a "full financial disclosure" policy for his new church. He said church organizations must follow the highest code of business ethics and also demand responsible directorships. He asserted that his church's board of directors will include lay members not employed by his church. In addition his church will have an annual outside audit by persons NOT connected with or employed by his church to avoid conflict of interest-something his dad's church has long been criticized for.
From the looks of it, Ted-now that he is out from under the heavy heel of his dad-is pursuing a much more open-minded course and is a lot less pharisaical than his dad. If he can learn to work with others and delegate authority-things his dad never did well-his star could rise higher than his dad's ever rose. Already Ted is saying that-he hopes to bring $10 million to Tyler, Texas-his headquarters-within a year. WCG ministers McDowell and Dart joined him, as did Al Portune Jr. If Ted's income continues to rise and the WCG's income continues its downward slide, look for several dozen WCG ministers to abandon ship and try to ingratiate themselves with Garner Ted.
A Tale of Two Tabernacles
This year's "Feast of the Jews" had a decidedly bipartisan spirit. As Herbert "Stronger-Than-Ever" Armstrong "visited" most of his festival sites via videotape recordings, Garner Ted Armstrong held services in his palm booths on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
At St. Petersburg, Florida (one of the three sites Herbert did visit personally), he gave a rather brief sermon after being helped by others to his easy chair on the stage. Most of his speech was a sarcastic harangue about Ted: "I hear Garner Ted is having himself a little feast up at Jekyll Island. Around 17 people! Ha! Ha!" Actually Herbert's remarks were made either in ignorance or in jealousy since Ted actually had 520 paying customers at his beach party. (Herbert drew nowhere near that many people at his first feast site at Belknap Springs a few decades ago.) In addition Ted outclassed his dad in per capita "take" at the offering tables. On the first offering, Ted's total collection was $12,000 or $23 per person average.
On the trivial side, Ted's devotees had a new songbook to sing from. Ted is using a collection of what he himself had called in past times "old, blasphemous Protestant hymns." But in classical, pharisaical form, he ordered his congregation to pen out all offensive words, such as "cross."
Income Up in WCG?
In a September 25, 1978, letter to members and co-workers, Herbert Armstrong declared emphatically: "The income is UP!... The business office announced Tuesday the Church owes less than any time in many years." Herbert, however, neglected to mention the liquidation of some major property assets. As usual, he neglected to state whether the income was up for one week, one quarter, or one year. Garner Ted, on the other hand, indicated to a reporter from the Tucson Citizen that income for the WCG "was down 17 to 20 percent and attendance also was down" (August 22, 1978).
But what is the income really like? In a September 25, 1978, Good News,"Treasurer's Report" Stan Rader revealed in a statement of income and expenditures that the church took in $67,161,300 in 1977, but spent $1,259,200 (or 1.87%) more than they received as revenue. That's bad enough! But what was really disturbing was that Rader's report was merely "excerpted from the [WCG's] financial statements, which are prepared in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles and fairly represent the results of operations for the calendar year ending December 31, 1977." We would like to ask: Why didn't the WCG just print the approved income statement and balance sheet in the first place? What does the church have to hide? We hear that the "excerpted" revenue and expense categories printed in the Good News were altered somewhat and "simplified" from the church's audited financial statements. We feel that any organization in the business of preaching ethics and morals to others ought to set the highest possible standard for its own conduct-especially when that organization has come under repeated fire for alleged financial improprieties. The WCC often quotes the scripture: "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (I Thes. 5:22, KJV). If the church leaders sincerely wish to practice what they preach, the only course of action for them to pursue is to print an uncensored, unedited balance sheet and income statement right away.
Rader's report is so deficient, however, that it offers no indication that about $2.4 million is spent yearly on mortgage payments for the auditorium. There is no category listing expenditures for the AICF, though $3.4 million was spent for Quest/78 magazine. (Sources indicate that direct AICF-Quest expenses came to over $6 million in 1977 alone and that when overhead and indirect expenses are counted, the total rises to between $8 million and $9 million.)
Another indication that the church's income is plummeting is found in the June 19, 1978, Good News. On page 3 the church admits it has lost 10,000 members from 1972 through 1977 with an accompanying estimated donation loss of $22 million. Knowledgeable sources stated unequivocally that both figures are on the low side, claiming the church has lost closer to 15,000 members and $45 million in donations. With Garner Ted's new church busy grabbing up WCG members and with Herbert's totally ineffective radio and TV programs, it is expected that the WCG's income situation will continue to worsen in the immediate future-even though the selling off of church assets may keep the income artificially high for awhile.
Bricket Wood Campus Sold for Almost Nothing
Since the closing of Ambassador College's campus in Bricket Wood, England, WCG officials have been desperately trying to sell that facility to shore up the organization's wobbly financial status. Rumors were that they had courted offers from Arab oil sheiks to Great Britain's Football (soccer) Association. Now, finally, the campus has been sold-for a pittance of what it was actually worth.
The Hertfordshire Advertiser, a local St. Albans-Bricket Wood paper, reported the sale on September 29, 1978. Speaking of the campus, it reported: "It has been bought by the Central Electricity Generating Board for use as a... college for a figure close to the 2-million-pound [about $4 million] asking price.... The board has bought the whole of the college, which covers about 130,000 square feet, together with the sports and recreational facilities, 50 acres of grounds, and an adjoining 140-acre farm." In a Daily Mail article, appearing September 28, 1978, British writer Peter Cliff adds that the campus deal also included an "Olympic-size swimming pool; a running track; tennis and squash courts; a gymnasium that converts into a lecture theatre... and ten cotages."
Further details were disclosed in the Hertfordshire Advertiser: The Board intends to use the college "for management training courses lasting between three days and three weeks to teach new techniques to all levels of management.... The Board intends to sell the farm at some time in the future. It expects to move in about a year's time after existing dormitories have been converted into study bedrooms for about 130 people." The Board also hopes to be able to share the college's sports facilities with the local community. A spokesman for the Board said: "We think we have got good value for [our] money because it would have cost us substantially more for a purpose-built establishment." The (London) Daily Mail, with a circulation of 1.8 million, had this to say:
"Ambitious young executives will soon be learning how to run power stations in the delightful rural surroundings of the former stately home at Bricket Wood.... And after stressful days they will presumably be able to relax in saunas, jog a mile or two and work off managerial paunches on the full-size football pitch.
"The place was wanted as a training college because the Board's present one at Buston, Derbyshire, is considered too cramped. It's also inconvenient for London. The premises in Hertfordshire are not yet ready. Thousands of pounds will be spent converting dormitory accommodations into individual bedrooms. But that is no problem to an industry which showed a record 298 million pound profit over the past year....
"Ambassador College, as it now is, started life early this century as the country residence of East Indian merchant, Sir David Yule, a former director of the Midland Bank. In the Sixties it was sold to an obscure religious sect."
To many former Bricket Wood students, it sounds as if the WCG gave the campus and its property away for less than half of what it must have actually been worth. But at least now the grounds and facilities will be put to a more productive use. Remember how Herbert used to rejoicingly shout that "the sun has SET on the British Empire"? How justly ironic it is that, as the sun sets on Herbert's little empire, the British have taken over one of his last major overseas outposts.
"Satan" Given "God's College" in Texas
Accountant-lawyer Stanley Rader announced on Halloween (October 31) that a cruel "trick'' was going to be played on long-time supporters of the WCG. He gave a special "treat'' to what WCG members would consider to be one of Satan's churches when he announced that the church's largest piece of property-the Big Sandy campus-was being sold to F. William Menge of Lynchberg, Virginia, who is buying the property for the James Robison Evangelistic Association (Pasadena Star-News, November 3, 1978, p. 15). Rader claims the 1,600-acre wooded preserve in east Texas will be liquidated for a price of slightly more than $10 million. This sale will serve to fill the WCG's depleted coffers and help alleviate a chronic cash-flow problem. But now that the Big Sandy campus has been sold, the church will have one less large asset to sell next time a financial crisis hits the church-and with Herbert running the church and stepping out blindly on faith, the church has a crisis about every three months. (Of course Rader has assured everyone that there is no financial crisis. And once the church pockets the $10 million, he will be right-at least for three or four months.)
WCG in Turmoil in Australia
There are signs that the WCG is in deep trouble in Australia, and a storm may be brewing on the horizon. A former deacon of 19 years said that the three Melbourne churches had lost between 40 and 50 members in the last few months, as well as one minister, three deacons, and one deaconness. When asked why he had left, the deacon commented that, during an overseas trip, he had learned about corruption and mismanagement at the top in the WCG. He explained: "The statements of Jesus Christ that you would know false prophets by their fruits and that you do not gather good fruit off a corrupt tree are completely ignored by the Worldwide Church of God members. The fruits of the organization have only recently been revealed to many of us. So much that has happened has been carefully covered up and hidden from us in Australia" (New Life, August 17, 1978, p. 6).
New Life also reported on Garner Ted's departure from the WCG and discussed the 1977 edition of Ambassador Report. The writer described it as "a scathing attack on the Armstrong organization," "one of the most vicious attacks ever made on a religious cult," and "an almost unbelievable journalistic tirade."
Another Australian source writes that people in the Australian churches are "unsettled" and "tithing contributions have decreased." He reveals that "ministers are not happy with the current situation" and that he thinks "things will continue to deteriorate." He tells us that the Associates Exposing Pseudo Religious Cults recently demonstrated at one of the Plain Truth lectures, and the demonstration was shown on the TV news. In fact the WCG has been featured in a negative light twice on TV in Victoria in the last few months. Ex-WCG members are circulating a small newsletter in Australia. (Their address is P.O. Box 193, Caulfield East 3145.)
We would like to urge all of our readers, especially in countries outside tile U.S., to send us news clippings about the WCG in their areas. In this way we can keep our 8,000 readers worldwide better informed about happenings in the WCG.
Spying Continues at AC
Academic eavesdropping is once again in vogue at Ambassador College. In the article "Spying in the Name of God" (Ambassador Report, 1977) we reported that Chancellor Herbert Armstrong had an electronic eavesdropping device in his fourth-floor office that enabled him to listen in secretlyon most class lectures at Ambassador College. After we exposed this crude invasion of privacy, several disturbed faculty members disconnected the listening devices found in the ceilings of the classrooms. But now, with Herbert back on the campus scene, he has seen to it that the spy devices are in good working order, according to faculty sources.
Note: At this point in the article appeared three photographs of the listening equipment in Herbert Armstrong's office. Unfortunately, we had only a photocopy of this issue of AR to work with. The photographs in the photocopy were of such poor quality that they were unusable. If you have an original of this issue and can loan it to us, or if you can scan the photographs and send them to us in digitized form, please contact us at youngambassador @ altavista.com -The Archivist
An enterprising employee, however, has managed to do a little counter-espionage of his own by snapping three pictures of the spy device in Herbert's office with the lion himself present. As you can see from the first photo, there are two phone-like pieces of equipment directly behind Herbert's desk on the left side of the picture. As the photographer moves
in closer, we can distinguish that one of the devices is a telephone and the other resembles a phone but isn't. A third photo zooms in even closer to the push-button listening device and gives us a peek at the classroom numbers on each of the buttons. The S numbers are rooms in the Science Hall (Academic Center), the F numbers are rooms in the Fine Arts Hall, and the A numbers are rooms in Ambassador Hall. In the last few years, the numbers on the classroom doors have been altered so that they no longer coincide with the numbers on Herbert's listening device, but that won't prevent Herbert's itching ears from hearing anything that transpires in the classrooms. In fact, with this device, he should even be able to overhear the innocent church mice chattering about church gossip.
The Case of the Poisoned Library
As we reported in our last newsletter, AC's main library building has been a health hazard ever since termite exterminators used the pesticide lindane there in April. The building was finally closed because the library employees refused to work in its poisoned atmosphere, but it was reopened in mid-August. On September 5, however, it was again closed because the staff once again became too sick to work in its environment. (Even the wife of evangelist Rod Meredith complained that she had experienced difficulty breathing along with burning eyes after about ten minutes in the building.)
In desperation the library staff moved the card catalog out of the contaminated building to the Library Annex, but in a short time the employees began to feel ill just working around the card catalog, so the catalog, like "an accursed thing," was quickly returned to the morgue-like main building.
Ambassador College officials, becoming alarmed over the situation (after six months), have finally hired Dr. Mark L. Carlson of the Department of Community and Environmental Medicine of the University of California (Irvine) to examine the library employees affected by the lindane. This move may have been precipitated by our last newsletter and the death of Allen Manteufel (43), a WCG elder. It was widely rumored that Manteufel had spent many hours studying in the library during the last few months and had been affected by the lindane. The Good News reported that he "complained of an inability to breathe"-a symptom experienced by many of the library employees-and was rushed to a hospital "where he went into shock with a collapsed kidney and liver" (September 25, 1978, p. 16). However, to date there has been NO medical evidence that his death was caused by lindane poisoning. Nevertheless, we urge all affected library personnel to seek the proper medical attention now before another tragedy occurs.
News You Might Have Missed
It seems that the Rader gang has played what can only be termed a cruel practical joke on Garner Ted by legally reserving the name "The Church of God, International" in 48 states. (GTA already had reserved the name in Texas and California.) Garner Ted is contemplating filing a complaint against Rader, Helge, et al., in Georgia on the alleged grounds that Herbert's signature was forged on the document reserving the "International Church" name. Ted feels it was a feminine hand that signed for Herbert. In addition, Rader and Helge have sent a letter threatening possible litigation to a Los Angeles radio station for allowing Ted's new programs to be broadcast. This cheap-bluff technique is a favorite ploy of a law firm of the caliber of Rader, Helge, et al. Nevertheless, Ted has asked in a letter to his brethren to "please pray that God will keep these doors open before me, and let the programs go out, that Satan will not 'get an advantage of us,' or hinder us in any way!" Now that we know Satan is working for-and against both sides, everyone can breathe easier.
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As WCG income continues to drop and as defections increase, morale is worsening at headquarters. A guarded source reports that at a recent dinner attended by the Robert Kuhn's, David Jon Hill's, Wayne Cole's, and David Antion's, the main topic of conversation was "what happens when this thing folds up?"
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Herbert Armstrong is constantly crowing about the archaeological "dig" "the Work" is sponsoring in Jerusalem. In a May 21, 1978, co-worker letter, Herbert declared that "the AICF... is preparing the very SITE of the THRONE on which Christ will sit at His coming." It would really be tragic, Herbert would have his gullible supporters believe, if Christ didn't have the AICF frantically helping him locate and tidy up the site of his throne. As the Apostle tells it, the archaeological community of Israel is beside itself with gratitude for Ambassador's invaluable contribution to Middle Eastern archaeology.
Surprisingly, however, The Jerusalem Post (August 29, 1978) doesn't even mention Herbert's "great" contribution. The Post explains that "the excavation is sponsored by the Hebrew University, the Israel Exploration Society and the Jerusalem Foundation, and is being financed primarily by a group of South Africans headed by Mendel Kaplan."
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In Herbert's latest brethren letter (September 25, 1978) he manages to surpass his previous antics. (Remember his fantasy about Queen Elizabeth?) He now claims that he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his accomplishments in furthering world peace-even though his organization has been torn by bitter dissent and strife for years and even though he is at war with his son Ted. Unfortunately Begin and Sadat edged out Herbert in the final balloting. Undaunted by this setback, Herbert is now proclaiming on the inside cover of his new book, The Incredible Human Potential, that this volume of old, rehashed Plain Truth articles is "the most important book since the Bible!" He claims "the greatest superlatives could not do justice to its magnificent message." Will anybody dispute Herbert's claim on next year's Nobel Prize for Literature? Well, Herbert admits with a sigh in his letter that it is impossible for a "man of God" to win the Nobel Prize.
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We were recently privileged to read one of the finest essays ever written about Herbert Armstrong. It is entitled "The Requirements for Being an Apostle of Jesus Christ." It is by Dr. Ernest L. Martin, the former Dean of the School of Theology of Ambassador College. A free copy of this essay may be obtained by writing to:
Dr. Ernest Martin, Director
Foundation for Biblical Research
P.O. Box 928
Pasadena, California 91102
Phone: (213) 793-1144
Under the auspices of the Foundation, Dr. Martin has published a large number of excellent theological booklets (and lectures on cassette tape) dealing with the many fallacies of Armstrongism. We recommend them highly. Many of our readers write to us with questions of a purely theological nature. Though we'd like to help, we personally feel that we are unqualified to answer many of these technical questions about the Bible. We strongly recommend that you contact those who are qualified in that area. Dr. Martin is one such individual. We hope our readers will avail themselves of the Foundation's excellent services.
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Just as we go to press we've learned that Stan Rader's protege, Ray Wright, has been removed as the WCG's head of finance because of alleged improprieties. We plan to investigate the matter and report on it further in a future newsletter.
Ambassador Report Popular on Campus
Herbert loves to bray incessantly about how effective and interesting his writing is, but he holds other journalists' writing in utter contempt: "When they write, nobody pays any attention to what they write" (Pastor's Report, September 18, 1978). Well lately people have eagerly been lining up to read a certain newsletter in departments all over campus. This newsletter, however, isn't Herbert's-but Ambassador Report. Several of our on-campus supporters spread a few newsletters around campus, and employees were fighting over the few available letters just to get a peek, all the while pretending to disapprove of our letter's revelations. We are tickled that campus employees recognize the informative writing present in our letter, so unlike the long-winded, repetitive diatribes replete with typographical diarrhea that characterize Herbert's constipated and uninformed writings.
One employee commented that our newsletter was like a light shining in darkness. Another shook his head in disbelief, wondering how we seemed to have our finger on the pulse of church and campus activities and how we seemed to know so much "inside" information. Still another felt we were guilty of "twisting the truth accurately." (We wonder how one could twist anything and still do it accurately?) People on campus aren't the only ones reading our newsletters. Here are a few of the comments from our readers worldwide: (Our readers' names are not divulged, in respect for their privacy, unless they specifically authorize the use of their names.)
It was very nice to heat from you again so soon. So much better than waiting for the annual Report.
The "newsletter format'' is great. You needn't be apologetic about it. It's doing what you want it to do-getting the facts out-and getting them out to the people you're trying to help and who need this information now, at a crucial time in their lives.
We waited many months for the first issue of the Report's predecessor, Ambassador Review, at a time when we were filled with fear and guilt over our disenchantment with God's "true church'' and its "anointed" hierarchy. We hope you will continue to publish the newsletter. There is a real need for it.
I received your updated newsletter and was simply overwhelmed by its contents. If only I could get others to listen with an open mind and get them to see that the "Armstrong cult" is nothing but an organization that's out to rip them off- how much better off they would be, especially financially but also mentally.
A lady I know gave the local library in Gladewater, Texas, a copy of your 1977 Ambassador Report, and the librarian had so many calls for it that she ordered another copy from you. The librarian had the copies out where people could see them, and it got back to the Armstrong outfit. Two big shots from the WCG came down there and demanded that the librarian get rid of those magazines immediately. She said, "Well, this is still supposed to be a free country where we still have freedom of speech and religion, and I'm not going to dispose of them." So they left very upset.
I am very grateful and appreciate very much what your staff has been doing to expose this Worldwide Church of God, Armstrong. His boat here is now beginning to shake and rock. Someday we hope it will sink.
I have just been disfellowshipped and marked last month, only a week ahead of GTA's excommunication. I was able to save my best friend from the bondage of Armstrongism through your publication. The local Pastor did his best in a three-hour marathon ''dialogue'' with my friend on doctrinal issues, to no avail. He simply lost too more sheep in his flock (my friend and his wife). Soon there will be more. Let's keep up the good work.
I am just one of the many confused members of the WCG. If you dare ask a question of the minister, you get one of three basic answers: (1) You were never really converted, (2) You are rebellious, (3) An implied: You are too dumb to understand. I know this because I "did dare" and did get treated this way; I did not get an answer to my question.
I received your publication, Ambassador Report, only three days ago through a now disfellowshipped member. I feel I cannot resist writing and letting you know how much light it has thrown on me. I have been a member of the WCG for seven years, and I reluctantly admit to being conned. For four of those seven years I lived in poverty because 20% of my gross pay went in the usual tithes. During those years I had three children and a wife to support. I worked nine hours per week overtime, neglecting my family life as a result. After I had paid rent and necessary bills, my wife fed us on $8 per week. I ran up bills to clothe us. These bills could not be paid because of tithing, and I almost finished up in court for nonpayment. My wife who is also a member is not a demanding woman and never complained. The pressure went on and on until I stopped three years ago. I have not tithed since then. In that three years I have provided adequately for my family and built a home, and all this time my wife thought I had been tithing until I told her yesterday. I have lived a tie feeling guilty all these years. What a fool I was. I have worshipped HWA and GTA for 12 years, but now I have awakened to their deception.
Your type of expose of the facts was very necessary to shock most of us into facing facts and quitting. But when we quit, along with the blessed relief, there was also a great vacuum. You realized this in your first edition and printed places to contact people still interested in church. The biggest tragedy of the Armstrong mess is when people quit them, they blame God for it all and no longer want anything to do with Him. Maybe you could also mention to upset people who don't know where to turn that there are two excellent Bible cassette programs they can join. These people will send a catalog of speakers on hundreds of subjects, and you can study in your own home to get your mind straight before you "try" another church. We were brainwashed into believing that all other churches are wrong and are Satan's churches and maybe some are afraid to try them.
They have tapes such as: "The Marks of a Cult" (#581-BRE), "Armstrongism-Worldwide Church of God" (#906-MAW). These are very revealing.
Tapes are offered free by these two companies: Faith Bible Media, Inc., P.O. Box 140, Sterling, VA 22170 and Bible Believers Cassettes Inc., 130 North Spring Street, Springdale, AK 72764.
Besides Ambassador Report, are there any other writings on the Armstrong cult that you could recommend?
Editor: Yes. One book we highly regard is Armstrongism: Religion or Ripoff by Marion J. McNair. This well-documented 339-page book sells for $7.95 hardbound and $4.95 softbound. Copies may be obtained by writing to Marion J. McNair, P.O. Box 398, Mt. Dora, Florida 32757.
A friend of mine read a published letter by a pro-GTA "Committee of Twelve" group which contained some startling information on Stanley Rader's personal activities. Do you know where I can get a copy?
Editor: We understand it is being distributed by GTA supporter Larry Gilbert Johnson, 108 East Fox Street, Beebe, Arkansas 72012.
On September 30, 1978 I went to a meeting in Hackensack, New Jersey, where GTA spoke to about 60 to 80 people. He spoke for about two hours, then had a question and answer session.
One question he was asked was: "What is your salary going to be in your new church?" He said, "$28,500" and made a comment about Ramona Martin being paid $36,000 per year.
He also mentioned that "it was costing $11 million to finance the ministry yearly," when he was in the WCG and that it is now costing "$14 million,'' which he claims "blows his mind."
He was asked a question concerning Stan Rader. Ted claims that when HWA was about to "baptize" Stan, HWA wanted to put him into the ministry. Ted said, "I was against this because he couldn't speak" and a few other reasons. He also said that he had sent a letter to that effect to HWA but that it never got to him. Instead Ted claim Rader got hold of the letter and never said anything to GTA at HWA about it but kept it to himself.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Are you all of a sudden so perfect you can try to discredit Mr. Armstrong and GTA? So you feel they've sinned. That's not for you to decide-or for that matter any of us. God says, "Judge no man." In other words keep you views to yourself-we weren't born yesterday.
The "truth" is supposed to be freely given. "Freely you have been given." Why are you charging for the  Ambassador Report?
Editor: Because, unlike the garbage put out by Apostle Armstrong, Ambassador Report is worth something! Even if your interpretation of Matthew 10:8 were correct-and it isn't-it would still not apply to our endeavor, as our purpose is journalistic, not evangelistic.
However, if you still believe your interpretation of Matthew 10:8 is correct, we suggest you write to Herbert Armstrong and ask him why his new book, The Incredible Human Potential (being published by Everest House), is to be sold in bookstores for $8.95.
As for "Judging": If you are referring to Matthew 7:1, read on to verse 2. We consider it perfectly fair for others to judge us by our own criteria. We don't fear that. Maybe you also ought to read Matthew 7:15-23 about how to determine if a person is a false prophet. Matthew says, "You will know them by their fruits." We ask you: How can a church member determine who is of God and who isn't unless he first looks at the fruits and then makes a "judgment"? Ambassador Report is simply showing the world the bitter fruits of Armstrongism. We also believe, as did the apostle Paul (Eph. 5:11, RSV), that false apostles, like roaches, are best controlled by exposure to glaring light.
Concerning your last letter, I culled some interesting statements regarding "secularization" of The Plain Truth from WCG letters and publications.
"This new policy was inaugurated in July 1968. At that time, we changed the editorial format of The Plain Truth. It became secular in appearance and language.'' -HWA, co-worker letter, March 27, 1970.
"The Plain Truth is a secular, not a religious publication." -HWA, co-worker letter, November 19, 1969.
"I am deeply sad to say the same spirit of carnal secular intellectualism that infiltrated God's college has also infiltrated his magazine." -HWA, Good News, September 11, 1978.
"God has brought me back from death because his Plain Truth had gone secular- God had been virtually booted out the window." -HWA, Good News, September 11, 1978.
It should be obvious who is really responsible for "secularizing" The Plain Truth when it's expedient and then de-"secularizing" it again.
I went for two days to the recent Feast of Tabernacles. There was a film about the AICF with a Mr. C. W. Cole in it. Those people were taking photographs of HWA every time his picture appeared. They are worshipping a god-yes their god HWA.
I did not request your newsletter It came to me unsolicited. It is obscene! Do not send me anymore letters! Furthermore do not send any more at any future date! Take me off your mailing list permanently! Note your records accordingly, because if you ever send any more literature I will report you to the United States Postal authorities since there are anti-obscenity laws that do protect me from receiving, obscene literature!
Editor: Our records show that our last newsletter was sent to you at the request of a concerned friend of yours. We, of course, will comply with your request but question your use of the word "obscene." We make every effort to use good taste in what we publish. Unfortunately because the actions of those we report on are often obscene, maintenance of tasteful style does become a real challenge. However, we are amazed that as a WCG supporter you would be so concerned about obscenity. Note the following letter:
You neglected to mention in the Report about that abominable Quest/78 printing an insane piece of "intellectual" fiction about some "Inventor" who fornicated with a female swine, had a hippie mistress then midwife the delivery of his "son," plus many other disgusting things, and ended up with God being dead and his eyeballs decaying in his rotting corpse. This, plus the Vince Lombardi article with its gratuitous use of blasphemy and obscenities, was strange indeed for a "quality'' magazine published by "God's only true church"! I was later solicited for renewal of a cancelled subscription with promises of articles by ... and ... one a female pornographer and the other a homosexual!
At present I am going through an evaluation process. With all the trying circumstances over the last few months one's head is left spinning. I was wondering if you would be able to send me a copy of....
Hopefully Herbie's Great Pasadena Money Machine will eventually disintegrate, thus freeing many people from their financial, spiritual, and physical slavery to it and him. Please continue your valuable contribution to sanity.
Your letter gave me great hope and kept me from losing my mind, and it helped my husband too.
The above comment came from a mother whose children turned their back on her in their "dedication" to Herbert Armstrong. Unfortunately it's a situation even some of us have been guilty of creating when we were in the brainwashed state due to Herbert's teachings. How identical this case is to that mentioned by Jesus in Mark 7:7-13!
It is most rewarding for us to know that our efforts are encouraging and helping so many victims of the Armstrong fraud. We thank all who are helping to make our publication possible.
Ambassador Report is published bimonthly as finances allow.
Robert Gerringer, Bill Hughes, Mary E. Jones, John Trechak, Leonard Zola, and Margaret Zola.
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