AR9 June 1, 1979
This issue of Ambassador Report is our May-June issue. Our financial situation made it impossible to send out a March-April Report but this issue should cover the most pertinent developments of the last few months. To all of you who have written us, we'd like to express our thanks for your support and encouragement. We are sorry that we are not able to write all of you personally, but our limited resources make that impossible. We hope you will understand.
In our last newsletter we reported that Judge Title of the Los Angeles Superior Court had reinstated a receiver over the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) and its affiliated corporations. We also reported that Judge Title allowed the WCG to post a $1 million bond in lieu of the receiver for the duration of the time the church appealed his decision.
Rather than use corporate funds to post the bond, Stanley Rader appealed to WCG members to pledge their individual resources as sureties for the bond. In response to urgent telephone calls, members converged on the church's Pasadena headquarters to sign affidavits attesting to their individual net worth and guaranteeing that they would come up with the amount of their pledge, as Rader put it, "should they ever be called upon."
Judge Title ruled that he would allow individual sureties to be pledged, but if that were the option the church chose, the sureties would have to total $2 million. This did not deter the dedicated followers. Not only did heads of households sign, but also spouses and children. Each member was asked to pledge $3,000 -- although smaller pledges were allowed. In fact many pledged considerably more. One family pledged $9,000, another $69,000. Assets pledged included savings accounts, checking accounts, jewelry, automobiles, acreage, and houses. Ironically, Rader did not put up any of his own property as surety. He said that certain state laws prohibited him from doing so.
On March 16, over objections by the state attorney general's office, Judge Title accepted the individual sureties, and the receivership was stayed pending appeals. Since then the California Supreme Court has denied two petitions by the church that sought to overturn Judge Title's decision to reinstate the receiver. The WCG is now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. If and when the court will rule on the case is anyone's guess.
In the meantime, the state attorney general has intensified the charges against the church in amendments to the original suit brought against the church. One of the added charges is that funds were transferred from the church's nonprofit corporate entities to profit-making entities owned or controlled by church officials. This should not be difficult to prove. For instance, the December 19, 1978, Pastor's Report carried an article by Stan Rader and Ralph Helge admitting this very thing:
"These are the facts: Ted Armstrong, when he was serving in the office of Executive Vice President of the Church and President of the College, was the direct overseer of God's money. He authorized a member of his staff, Mr. Raymond L. Wright, to misuse monies that the faithful members of God's family had contributed. And, so none of you will doubt, we have that written authorization in our possession.
"Ted Armstrong authorized Mr. Wright to pay secretly, out of Church funds, God's money to a private corporation owned by Mr. Wright and Robert Kuhn in Texas. Ted Armstrong's act of authorizing such payment of Church funds laid the foundation and permitted a greater misuse of God's tithe money in subsequent months.
"In spite of the clandestine procedures involved, the scheme was uncovered during an audit by Mr. Jack Kessler, and others on the internal auditing staff.
"But there is good news in the final analysis. The experience has served to prove the effectiveness of God's auditing procedures...."
Then in a related matter, the January 8, 1979, issue of the Pastor's Report (p. 26) contained this information from Stan Rader:
"Ted Armstrong was less than candid when he revealed details about his own salary to the press. To set the record straight, in 1977, his earnings as reflected by his W-2 forms issued by the Church and the College were $174,645.78. As of January 1, 1978 his base salary was $150,000 per annum. (In addition to his use of three homes - in Big Sandy, Pasadena, and Tahoe - plus the cost of $750,000 per annum for use of the Falcon Fanjet and an unlimited expense account for him and his associates.)
"Several other members of his staff or very directly under his supervision were also very highly paid. Robert Kuhn was paid in 1977, $1of,969.22 and in 1978 $83,702.36. Ray Wright was paid in 1977, $1of,969.22 and in 1978 $122,728.8l...."
One can only wonder where Rader was when all of this was occurring. The attorney general's investigators are undoubtedly wondering the same thing.
Rader Meets His Match: Mike Wallace
After he disposed of Garner Ted in 1978, Stan Rader began swaggering around like he owned the world. After all, he was the right-hand man of "God's Apostle." Even the court action brought by the California attorney general's office did little to stem Rader's arrogance. When he heard Mike Wallace of the top-rated "60 Minutes" CBS TV program was hot on his trail, that should have sobered him up a little. But it had the opposite effect. Rader, viewing himself as righteous David - the defender of the faith - was determined to "slay" the Philistine giant Mike Wallace, who represented the "big bad press" that always supposedly distorted facts about the church.
Upon meeting Mike Wallace, Rader turned on his charm. and gave him the royal treatment, determined to "use" Wallace to tell the church's (i.e., Rader's) side of the story on national television. At this time evangelist Raymond McNair was recommending "60 Minutes" to his students as one of the top programs on TV - a first-class news documentary. Meanwhile, word was circulating, that Rader was even hoping to turn The Plain Truth into a news magazine TV format similar to "60 Minutes" and that Rader hoped to lure Mike Wallace onto his staff to host the program.
Finally after Rader's long courtship, Wallace popped the long-awaited question, asking Rader if he would consent to an on-camera interview to tell his side of the story. Sensing imminent victory, Rader graciously agreed. At last, Rader evidently thought, he could put to rest all the rumors and charges against him and the church. Meanwhile, though, Wallace's professional staff did their homework. They conducted an extensive fact-finding hunt, interviewing everybody who had any relevant material on Rader and the WCG. Soon they had compiled briefcases full of vital information plus over 90 hours of film footage. Wallace digested the key information and proceeded into battle with Rader before the TV cameras. Rader seemed surprised at Wallace's preparation and tried to act undaunted, but he begrudgingly gave ground before Wallace's onslaught.
After Wallace pulled everything out of Rader that he wanted, he pulled the plug on Rader. Here's what happened in the final minutes of the interview:
Wallace told Rader: "Just a little while ago you were the bete noire [a person strongly detested] of Herbert Armstrong. Did you know that?" Rader: "I?" Wallace: "Yes." Rader: "When was this?" Wallace: "Oh, early January." Rader's reply: "No." Wallace: "Don't you believe it?" Rader: "Positive" Then Wallace offered to quote Herbert saying that Rader was trying to put himself into the leader's shoes. Rader replied in disbelief that he didn't think Herbert ever said that.
Next Wallace read a portion of a letter Herbert was drafting to send to Stan Rader. Rader still didn't believe Wallace could possibly possess such a letter from Herbert. Now Wallace played his trump card by offering to play a tape of Herbert reading the letter. (The tape recording Wallace played was a portion of two telephone conversations with Herbert that a source had recorded surreptitiously before "60 Minutes" began their investigation of Rader and the WCG.) In the letter Herbert asked Rader to step down from any church posts that might put him in line as successor to Armstrong. As Wallace played the tape, beads of sweat were visible on Rader's forehead. He tried to appear calm but looked slightly shaken. He was doing a slow burn. Finally Rader exploded, his voice cracking: "Now I say you've acquired this by illegal means. I intend to have my attorneys today not only sue you if you use this.... Mike, look, I think you'd better scrap everything because you're on my list. Okay? You're never going to live it down, Mike, I guarantee it.... you're contemptible.... I'd like you to get out of here, immediately! Then Rader stormed out of the roon and went down to a press conference where he acted like a raving maniac, accusing the press of distorting the true facts.
The "60 Minutes" program about Rader and the WCG aired on April 15, 1979 - Easter Sunday. Rader had originally hoped to use the program to resurrect his and the church's badly tarnished image, but it turned out to be his crucifixion. As the segment of the program about Rader drew to a close, Wallace remarked that Rader is "currently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division of Internal Revenue for alleged tax evasion."
Following the interview, Rader and the church objected to Wallace using what they called "illegal tapes." The following week, "60 Minutes" dropped another bombshell as Morley Safer read letters commenting on the previous week's program. He quoted a letter from a WCG member objecting to the "illegal tapes," then said: "While we were playing those tapes for Mr. Rader, he was taping us with a mike under Mike's chair. He didn't know that we knew, but now he does. We've got the tapes!" (So does Ambassador Report.)
In an April 16 letter to brethren and coworkers, Herbert complained bitterly that "60 Minutes" had "used only a small portion of that interview on the air - just the portions they felt would make the church of the living God look bad." Then, Herbert claimed, "I do reproduce for you here the beginning of the taped interview, and I have left off when the conversation got into private personalities. Following is the real essence of the television interview between Stanly R. Rader and Mike Wallace...." But what Herbert wrote was not the "real essence" of the interview, but carefully edited excerpts from the first 20 minutes of the three-hour interview. So Herbert was doing the kind of deceitful editing he accused "60 Minutes" of doing.
The full three-hour tape of the interview is a shocking revelation about the inner workings of the WCG. When the Hawaiian WCG members heard a copy of the tape, over 90% quit the church in disgust. We hear that many more members worldwide left the church upon hearing copies of the tape - and remember, the tape being circulated came from Rader's "secret" tape recording, not from CBS.
During this crisis in the WCG, Rader's attempts at generating favorable publicity have all fallen flat on their face. Now Rader is even having difficulty coaxing newspersons to attend his often-called news conferences. One news-service official told the Report: "Rader's trying to use us to arouse public opinion in his favor. He wants his case to be tried in the papers instead of the courts. We're just not interested in giving him free publicity. Besides, he's been downright nasty to the press."
Politicians too seem reluctant to come to Rader's assistance. A recent telegram from Rader to California's Governor Jerry Brown asking for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the state attorney general brought no response. What prompted the telegram was the fact that during depositional interrogation Rader "discovered that the attorney general has in his files voluminous, stolen documents containing detailed accountings of all church activities for the past 27 years." But Governor Brown did not provide Rader the relief he sought. In fact, Brown has apparently ignored the whole thing.
Birds of a Feather...
Rader's attempts to woo the public, though mostly futile, have resulted in at least one odd alliance. HWA has for years branded all churches other than his own as being "Satan's churches." However, Stanley Rader, along with Ralph Helge, recently appeared on the "Festival of Faith," a controversial religious television program hosted by media-minister Gene Scott. (In Los Angeles, "Festival of Faith" is televised almost around the clock an Scott's own station, KHOF, channel 30.) Scott, a former financial consultant to Oral Roberts, is himself under investigation by both tile state attorney general and the FCC over financial dealings. Rader, of course, had nothing but kind words for Scott as both pledged their mutual support in fighting the attorney general.
It is interesting that a frequent guest on Scott's program is his own legal advisor, the prominent lawyer, Edward L. Masry, who also is now under investigation by the attorney general in connection with another religious organization he represents, Morningland Church of Long Beach, California. In that investigation, the attorney general has alleged that Masry was involved in what, in effect, is described as a $10,000 bribe from Morningland to former Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally to set up a legislative subcommittee to investigate the "harassment" of Morningland and the now infamous People's Temple.
Incidentally - for those unfamiliar with Morningland - this group, which has thousands of followers, was originally begun by a man named Donato, the late self-styled "Christ avatar for the Aquarian Age." His original name was Daniel Mario Sperato, and before getting into commercial religion he worked as an art and crafts director for the North Branch Boys Club of Long Beach. He died in 1976 of a heart attack; yet his followers insist that he "returned to his rightful throne beside our Holy Father." Sri Patricia, who was one of the nine women "gopis" Donato appointed before his death, is now the directress of Morningland. She teaches that Donato is now hovering 25 miles above the earth "in a spaceship."
In describing Morningland's doctrines, Los Angeles Times reporter Russell Chandler wrote, "Morningland concepts are amalgamated by vocabulary from Eastern religions, Scientology, popular metaphysics, 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars.'" Morningland also has some remarkable similarities to the Worldwide Church of God. One is a large number of excommunicated members who claim that they have been "ripped off." Some disillusioned members have called for an investigation of the church, claiming its leaders practice mind control, break up marriages, and lure children away from home. Some deaths have been attributed to the church's belief in faith healing. Not unlike Rader and Herbert W. Armstrong, lawyer Masry and leader Sri Patricia claim the charges against their church are nothing more than accusations "trumpted up" by disgruntled dissidents.
Whatever the case, in a recent raid on Masry's office, state investigators discovered that Masry had a dossier on California's current Lieutenant Governor, Mike Curb, a close friend of Ronald Reagan and formerly a producer for such prominent entertainers as Debbie Boone and the Osmonds. The dossier's potential significance was noted by many reporters. A front-page article on this matter in the Pasadena Star-News carried this headline: "New Expose Threatens Curb's Political Future." The whole Morningland-Masry-Scott matter is raising a lot of eyebrows in California. One cannot but wonder why Rader has allowed himself to become an ally of their camp. It is especially remarkable considering it was the attorney general's investigation of Scott's activities that prompted certain individuals (including us) to ask the attorney general to investigate the Worldwide Church of God in 1978.
Want Your Tithes Returned?
We recently received a letter from an elderly couple who wrote, "During the ten years we were members of the WCG we sent in $36,000 in tithes and offerings. We sure would be happy if we could recover any of that money." The letter is typical of many we have received. A lot of people feel they were "ripped off" by Armstrong and company. A few, who have now come to realize the disparity between their own sacrificing and the regal lifestyle of Herbert Armstrong, have thought that perhaps a sincere letter to the church, telling of their own needs and of their disillusionment would somehow result in their contributions being returned. Here is an excerpt from a Ralph Helge reply to one such letter:
"Now, with regard to the return of contributions, the law does not permit or require a charitable, nonprofit organization to return donations. Any such law or policy would clearly render the benevolent operation of charitable institutions impossible.
"The organization, as a nonprofit corporation, receives and holds all contributions in public trust to be disbursed only in accordance with and furtherance of its corporate purposes. It, therefore, cannot give funds away in violation of this trust. Further, any contributions which you have made have already been expended in furtherance of the corporate purposes, and they cannot now justifiably give you monies which others have donated for a different purpose....
"We are sorry to know that you are undergoing such bad physical problems at the present time and can only sympathize with you and pray that God's Kingdom will soon come so that we may all be relieved of those fleshly weaknesses that plague even the strongest of men."
You will notice that in his answer Ralph Helge uses the exact contention the state attorney general has used as a basis for the investigation of the church. In regards to that investigation Helge has repeatedly asserted the exact opposite of what be wrote in the above letter, namely, that monies donated to the WCG are not "held in public trust."
Planning to Sue?
It is exactly this type of two-faced arrogance that has led many to believe that the only way to get justice is through legal action. Increasingly, we are being asked by former WCG members whether or not we think they should sue the Worldwide Church of God. Their general argument, paraphrased, goes something like this: "When we were in the church, we received letters from Herbert asking for money. We were told that the church was in dire need. Now we find out it really wasn't. We were led to believe that the leaders of the church were sacrificing just as we were for 'the work.' Now we are reading in the newspapers that they didn't. We were told that Mr. Armstrong was an foreign trips trying to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom. Now we are finding out he was not so much as even mentioning the name of Jesus on these trips. When GTA was put out of the church, we were told that the rumors of misconduct on his part were not true. He only 'needed a rest.' Now we find out that that too was a lie. Had we been told the truth, we would never have given that money. We were lied to, defrauded, and robbed!"
There are also those who feel they were irreparably damaged when certain WCG ministers coerced them into leaving a mate because of the church's now admittedly erroneous divorce and remarriage (D and R) doctrine. Others saw mates, children, or parents suffer and, die after they were coerced into denying a sick loved-one medical attention because of the "healing doctrine" (also now admittedly erroneous). Still others are irrate because they were unjustly disfellowshipped. After being "marked" and ostracized from friends, they have discovered that this was-all done in contradiction to the procedures as outlined in the church's own Articles of Incorporation.
It's clear to us that many have been treated unjustly and severely wronged. But we have been very reluctant to advise people to seek a solution in the courts. There are a number of reasons for this. One is the exorbitant costs involved. Not only can good lawyers be very expensive, but a court fight can last years, and the cost in terms of time, energy, and aggrevation can easily be so high as to make a victory almost worthless.
A second reason is that the WCG, with its legal staff and financial resources, can put up a formidable opposition. One has only to read our last two newsletters to see this clearly. Whereas a typical plaintiff may have to struggle to raise $5,000 or $10,000 for a lawyer's initial retainer fee, the WCG, in many cases, would not think twice about spending $100,000 in legal fees to keep a key witness such as Herbert W. Armstrong or Rader from testifying.
A third reason we have been reluctant to suggest litigation is that, in spite of the fact that people have been wronged, it is one thing to have been victimized and another thing entirely to be able to prove it in court. Then there are other problems, such as the statute of limitations, First Amendment protection for churches, and the possibility of unprovable perjury by fanatic Armstrong loyalists.
Nevertheless, we do know of people who have sued the WCG over various matters and have gotten out-of-court settlements. It should also be pointed out that with all the legal activity currently surrounding the WCG, a great deal of information is being made public (via court testimony and depositions) that until now would have been virtually inaccessible to the average anti-WCG litigant.
If you are one of those who feels compelled to wage a legal battle, may we suggest that you (1) prepare properly by reading a few books on the subject of litigation and our legal system in general, (2) choose a lawyer carefully by shopping around, and (3) contact us about your plans. We've had some experience in this area, and we may be able to provide you with information of value. However, please don't ask us to tell you whether to sue or not. We cannot make your decisions for you.
We've mentioned in the past that same individuals have contemplated initiating class-action lawsuits against the WCG and its leaders. We know, for instance, of two separate class-action suits that have been prepared. However, they have not been filed, and we have been unable to learn what will become of them. Perhaps their future hinges upon the results of the state's current civil suit. Some of you have written us asking that we notify you should these develop. We would, of course, be happy to, if not personally, then at least through our publication. But this would really be unnecessary because if you should happen to be in that class on whose behalf a class-action suit is initiated, the law requires that you be notified.
At one time we ourselves hoped that a way could be found for those who bad been victimized by the church to somehow be at least partially compensated. In fact, we've toyed with the idea of initiating legal action ourselves and have discussed the idea of compensation with a number of prominent attorneys. However, we've come to see that this is an unreasonable goal for two reasons: (1) The costs involved would be astronomical. As it is, the Report operates on. a shoe-string budget, and we have no intention of going on a major fund-raising campaign. Nor do we believe our readers could even supply the funds. Most have already been financially bled white by the Armstrong cult. (2) Considering the incredibly large number of Armstrong victims in existence and the decreasing size of WCG assets, even a total victory in the courts might prove, from a dollar and cents point of view, very hollow indeed.
However, there is one other possibility of which all of you should be aware. The current lawsuit against the WCG has as one of its objectives the reorganization of the boards of trustees of the WCG, Ambassador College, and AICF. The state has clearly stated that it wants to bar Rader, Ralph Helge, and many if not all of the current board members from serving again because of the abuse of these offices.
How, then, would the new trustees be chosen? We haven't heard anything definitive on this from the attorney general. However, Rader asserts that the state wants to initiate democratic procedures in the selection of board members. If this is the case (and we have no reason to doubt it), then an amazing situation could easily develop. Because so many individuals have been disfellowshipped through improper procedures during the last five years and because so many WCG members on the WCG's computer list are in reality not loyal to the church's current hierarchy, it could easily turn out that a majority of those voting in such an election could elect trustees who could either dismantle the "Armstrong empire" or redirect the use of its assets toward purposes in keeping with the desires and needs of those who contributed financially to its formation. We're not "holding our breath," but the possibility does exist that in the event new trustees are elected something may be able to be done for the many victims of Armstrongism.
The Bagley Trial Finally Ends
One year ago Ambassador Report carried a story about Gary Bagley, a WCG member who was arrested and charged with attempted extortion after picketing Ambassador College. After more than a year of delays, Bagley's trial took place in March, and a jury of 10 women and 2 men rendered a guilty verdict. Sentencing was set for April 15. In a report to the court, Bagley's parole officer, citing Bagley's cooperation, general character, and lack of a criminal record, recommended in lieu of incarceration that he merely be fined $350 for his indiscretion. Concerned that Bagley might continue harassing the church, Judge Daniel Fletcher instead gave him a suspended sentence for his misdemeanor and warned that the suspension would be removed if he continued to harass church leaders. Judge Fletcher admonished the defendant that if he has grievances against the church, the proper recourse would be to pursue a remedy through a civil suit and not through other means. After the proceeding Bagley told the press that he was thankful that he would not have to spend time in the county jail but was still convinced that he was really innocent. Nevertheless, he said he had no intention of disobeying the court's order.
Thus culminated one of the oddest trials ever to involve the WCG. Ambassador Report covered the proceedings in their entirety. Our limited space does not permit us to relay to you all that occurred. (The transcript of the trial alone could fill a very large book.) But we still do want to share with you a number of observations we made in regard to this case.
The first point of interest is that in the fourteen months preceding the trial Bagley's attorney Richard Andrews subpoenaed Herbert Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong, Stanley Rader, Roderick Meredith, David Antion, Albert Portune, and Dibar Apartian. Andrews wanted their testimony to prove the extent to which information about Garner Ted Armstrong's private life was known (a major point of contention in Bagley's defense). Not one of these men ever testified. Meredith, Antion, and Apartian were excused from having to testify when Helge submitted statements from then saying they knew nothing that might have relevance to the case. Garner Ted's attorneys argued successfully in a Texas court and prevented his being required to testify in California. Similarly, Herbert Armstrong and Stan Rader, claiming Arizona residency, were successful in Arizona courts. Albert Portune, on more than one occasion, told Andrews he would testify, but on the morning the trial began, Portune was represented by Ambassador College attorneys who were able to successfully block his subpoena.
The second area of particular interest surrounds the main piece of evidence submitted by the prosecution, a tape recording of a phone conversation between Bagley and the church's lawyer Ralph Helge. In the conversation Bagley told Helge of how the church had ruined his life. He talked of the six years he was forced to live alone because he was a "D and R" case. He told Helge he wanted "restitution" for the damage done to his life. The remuneration that he felt to be adequate was "not a million dollars" but $30,000 for each of the 6 years the church said he had to remain unmarried.
One remarkable thing about this tape is the fact that it was recorded with Bagley's permission. Helge actually asked him if he could tape the whole thing, and Bagley not only cheerfully consented but cooperated in a microphone test - strange conduct for someone supposedly trying to make an extortion attempt. Even more remarkable is the fact that at no time during the conversation did lawyer Helge protest in any way whatsoever that what Bagley was suggesting might be illegal or even unethical. In fact, the impression one gets very distinctly is that Helge just wanted to get the facts straight and was going to discuss it all with Garner Ted Armstrong. Ironically, according to his own testimony, Helge never discussed this matter with Garner Ted, only with Stanley Rader and Robert Kuhn.
In his talk with Helge, Bagley told the lawyer that if the church would not be willing to make the restitution he was asking for, he would make public certain information he had regarding Garner Ted Armstrong. After the conversation, Bagley heard nothing from Helge or Garner Ted Armstrong and did not pursue the matter for six weeks. But then, in mid-December 1977 a frustrated and irrate Gary Bagley appeared in front of Ambassador College with a sign which stated "Garner Ted Armstrong is an adulterer...." Four days later, shortly before the taping of a "Gene Kelley Special" in the "House for God," Bagley was arrested by two undercover Pasadena police officers who claimed they were working for Helge. (A tape of this conversation was also played in court.)
In the months that followed, Bagley refused all plea-bargaining offers from the district attorney's office, saying, "I'm innocent and I want this to go to court!"
During the trial Bagley was questioned as to why he hadn't sued the church rather than demand "restitution" as he did. Bagley explained that the church taught that it was wrong to go to "heathen courts" over a matter involving a fellow Christian.
(Apparently, in 1977 he still considered the leaders of the WCG to be Christians.) He cited Matt. 18:15-17 as the reason he had contacted Helge and later the church members via his sign. (Some years ago when one ex-WCG member sued the church for damages, Helge testified in that civil case that the ex-member should not be entitled to damages because he had not conformed to the church's doctrine of asking for a "hearing" but instead went to the world's courts.)
At the Bagley trial, when questioned about the church's doctrine in this area, Helge testified that if Bagley wanted a "hearing" on the matter, he should not have or gone about it the way that he did (of course, Helge neglected to tell this to Bagley
during their phone conversation). According to Helge, all a member has to do, if he's been wronged, is to ask a minister for a hearing. Only a few days after Helge gave this testimony Bagley attempted once more to put the church to the test. Just prior to a sabbath service, Bagley approached the presiding minister at the WCG's Pasadena headquarters church. He told the minister he wanted a hearing. Not only was his request denied, he was told he could not attend the services and was ordered to leave the property. Then according to eyewitnesses, Bagley got down on his knees and pleaded with the minister to grant him a hearing. To this, the minister responded, "You could stand on your head and we wouldn't give you a hearing"' So much for Helge's claim.
Ambassador Report asked Bagley's attorney what he felt about the trial and the jury is decision. Andrews told us, "I know the jury voted in accordance with their conscience. But this case was a highly complex one involving very unusual circumstances. I think they missed something. I'm personally convinced that Mr. Bagley never intended to do anything illegal. If that were the case, why did he let Helge tape record his conversation asking for restitution?"
"The average juror or man on the street has little idea of what brainwashing can do to a person. Since getting involved with this case, I've been amazed at how much people can suffer at the hands of supposedly religious people. In Gary's case there were 6 years of living in celibacy, poverty, and mental anguish. When he finally realized how he had been used by these men who he thought were God's representatives, it was shattering! He wanted things straightened out. He may not have gone about it the best way - that's not surprising considering the mental state he was in - but he was trying to get justice, not commit a crime. I'm really disappointed the jury couldn't see that. Perhaps a different jury from a different community would have voted differently.
"Of course, we're going to appeal. It'll probably take a year or so, but I think that verdict is going to be thrown out."
And what does Bagley feel now? He told the Report, "I really had hoped that the church leaders would see the damage that they've done to my life and grant me a proper hearing and restitution.... I still believe in God, but I sure don't have much confidence anymore in organized religion."
There is one more observation that needs to be made. Before Bagley's sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Aaron Stovitz angrily asserted that Bagley had indeed carried out his threat to expose the Worldwide Church of God and Garner Ted Armstrong's sins by means of the trial itself. Keeping in mind that it was Stovitz who brought the charges against Bagley (at Helge's initiation), and obviously not the defendant. himself, it is ironic that the trial did bring out an incredible amount of testimony about the WCG and its leaders. Among those who testified about the church were Bob Gerringer of Ambassador Report and Ernest L. Martin, director of the Foundation for Biblical Research, who testified as to the cult-like character of the WCG.
The court also heard sworn testimony from Jim Morrison and former WCG-minister Al Carrozzo. Both detailed the extent of Garner Ted Armstrong's promiscuity while a minister in the Worldwide Church of God. Much of their testimony was reported in detail by the press. There is, of course, no need to go into all of this again, but we should point out that the testimony given under oath by Mssrs. Morrison and Carrozzo did totally corroborate the information regarding Garner Ted Armstrong which was published in our 1977 Ambassador Report.
On the Air With GTA
A number of our readers have written asking our opinion of Garner Ted Armstrong's new religious organization. Perhaps the following will give some idea of how we feel.
On November 28, 1978, Garner Ted Armstrong was interviewed via telephone on Roy Foxe's hour-long radio talk program, which is aired aver station KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When the program went on the air, Mr. Foxe informed Ted that he was sharing the microphone (also via telephone) with Len Zola and Bob Gerringer of Ambassador Report. Garner Ted - much happier and more relaxed since leaving the war-torn environment of Ambassador College - seemed unperturbed.
The interview was rather lengthy, but some comments are worth printing. Below are same of the more choice remarks. (Because Ted spoke about 75% of the time, more space has been devoted to his comments than to those of Ambassador Report publishers Zola and Gerringer.)
FOXE: Ted, you once before left or were thrown out of the Worldwide Church of God, and you came back to the fold. Do you envision a time that that might conceivably happen again?
TED: Not unless Stanley Rader were to utterly resign and my father, himself, were perhaps to think of following suit, and I could have a great big huge broom and a great big hose under a hundred pounds pressure and sweep and clean the whole mess out from top to bottom.
FOXE: There had been talk, as with the Jim Jones cult, of the Worldwide Church moving to another place, and Worldwide Church members at times when they were parting would say, "See you in Petra."
TED: Yes, this was prior to 1972. 1 began fighting against that as early as 1966. And I still have the tape and the sermon notes of my preaching against the idea and then being bitterly rebuked by my father that same afternoon....
FOXE: I heard you preached against your father's high standard of living, yet you have lived a pretty nice lifestyle yourself.
TED: Two of my personal friends have said my smoking heel prints are clearly visible up and down the mall where I have been dragged unwillingly into one monstrous financial misdecision after another.... I always had a sense of apprehension beginning clear back in the 1950s that the opulence and the extravagance would someday come home to roost. And I feel that it has. I feel that it was all through the 1970s. And that is why I myself have said so often that the people of the church should not be asked to sacrifice unless the leaders are themselves willing to sacrifice.... In the last two and a half years, I struggled very hard to try to prevent my father's marriage to a woman several years younger than my own wife. And I just felt that the church could not stand any more of this type of thing. I felt that it exposed a very human, let's say fleshly, Herbert W. Armstrong that I felt really should not be done.... My ouster finally did occur in about late May of this year. And frankly now that I'm all away on the other side of the tunnel and kind of looking back, it is really a whole lot happier world out here .... I've got to keep doing what I'm doing. Now so far God has blessed it.... My father just recently turned his back on 48 years of teaching and turned completely around and even used the Catholic word the "primacy of Peter," and in his desire to take the complete, sole, total authority for binding and loosing all doctrines, he has thrown to the winds 48 years of understanding to the contrary. I'm afraid I cannot go along with that.
FOXE: Would you like to make a comment on either Len Zola or Bob Gerringer before I bring them on the air?
TED: I don't believe I know the former one. I'm sure I must have met him. Bob, I've not known well, but I've known and I knew his grandparents .... I did finally see an Ambassador Report - the last one, I believe [Ted is referring to the Sept.-Oct. 1978 newsletter], which I found to be quite interesting. And there were quite a number of things, a couple of few little minor things - errors - that I wish I could have corrected, but nevertheless Ambassador Report was quite intriguing, quite interesting. The first one that I'd seen.
ZOLA: I'd like to explain who we are. Ambassador Report is a group that we formed about 2= years ago. About 15 people who had been students, graduates of Ambassador College, and also employees in sensitive areas - saw an incredible amount of corruption.... Garner Ted Armstrong, who claims now that he also saw that corruption for years, did nothing about it.... What we did upon seeing a lot of these things and finally realizing that we'd been conned was to form a group and publish what we had. It was not a matter of a bitter diatribe.... It was just a matter of throwing out the information so that people could make their own decisions after they had received the whole story.... If anything could categorize Garner Ted's previous statements, it would be that he has an incredible sense of a chameleon syndrome. He can change his comments to fit any environment he happens to be in at that particular moment. He made comments about us - the fact that he had only seen our magazine recently and that there were a few minor mistakes. We've got a Pastor's Report letter that he sent out to the ministry when he was, indeed, on top where he called our entire magazine "essentially untrue," whatever that means.... It is just interesting how there's just a few "minor mistakes" now, but yet while we were approaching him, he would not even listen to us, would not even accept an invitation. We sent him a formal letter to get together. He just said that if he would have had a chance, he could have corrected a few mistakes.... Well, we gave him so much opportunity, and he totally neglected us.
FOXE: Garner Ted, what about the discrepancy that is being suggested here?
TED: I really, honestly, and this is honestly true, don't remember that, but if I said it, I must have said it, and I'm sure that the content of it was described to me very likely by either Robert Kuhn or someone else. And that's perhaps unfortunate. What I alluded to just now my wife showed me a few days ago.... The most important thing in there [the newsletter] that I thought was a very great contribution... was [the discussion of] a great discrepancy between what my father is saying now concerning my alleged secularization of the Work and his own rather lengthy explanations about him desiring that I speak in more secular tones.... I didn't in all honesty read the first several copies of Ambassador Report. I didn't do so because I had been told that it was quite an attack on myself, and I just frankly am so sickened by that type of thing that it would have bothered my sleep. It would have tortured my thoughts. I simply did not want to subject myself to it.... Now I do understand... that there has been an embezzlement of $200,000 plus [from the Worldwide Church of God].... But how can I prove anything one way or the other if the organization itself will not charge this man with what did occur. I do not really honestly believe that my father is anything other than a very sincere man, but a man who has been very human, for he has made many mistakes - whose appetites most especially with regard for opulence, for finery, for the gilded edge, and so on led him into making, what I feel, are very serious mistakes.... When my father made me the executive vice-president of the church in 1973, I said in a very emotion-laden talk before him... that I had not only seen the infamous report ["Employee Frustrations at Headquarters"] that was presented to him by... Mr. Al Carrozzo, but I said, "Dad I want you to know what you're getting." I said, "If you are going to appoint me as the executive vice-president I want you to know that I happen to agree with every word that is in that report."
FOXE: What do you think is the possibility that Garner Ted is laying it on the line and the new leaf is a trustworthy one?
BOB: One has to just sit and wait and see whether or not Garner Ted will follow through. We appreciate his new policy of openness with his church.... A lot of comparisons have been made to Jonestown and the problems there.... there was an incredible discrepancy between the lifestyles of the people leading Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God and the lifestyles that were preached and taught to the individual. The same is true for the People's Temple members. I'm not saying that their lifestyles were the same, but there was a discrepancy. That is why Ambassador Report had to come out. I know that we printed some things that were sensitive to Ted, himself, and to many others. These were not meant as personal attacks, but they were the only way that the lay members and the little people could find out really how the top people lived.
Herbert's Broadcasts Ineffective
While Garner Ted's church is apparently growing by leaps and bounds, the WCG is experiencing a constant hemorrhage of members and ministers. WCG ministers are engaged in a mad scramble to enter the "noncareer ministry" - which means they can receive thousands of dollars in severance pay, remain in the good graces of the church, and begin seeking employment other than the WCG ministry. A number of ministers view the present WCG management structure as "intolerable" and "a reign of terror." Church attendance was down 3,000 at the feast of unleavened bread. Another disturbing fact facing the church is that Herbert's new radio programs are pulling in little mail and seem totally ineffective. Reliable sources indicate that the cost of getting new responses from listeners to Herbert's program has risen to several hundred dollars per response. When Garner Ted did the broadcast, stations were dropped when it cost more than $30 per new response. The situation has prompted Ed Libov and Associates to drop "The World Tomorrow," and thus Worldwide Advertising is again the agency buying air time for the church.
We have learned that Ted is being besieged by requests from radio stations to give them his religious program. It seems they want Ted's program as a substitute for Herbert's insipid broadcast which is hurting station ratings.
Armstrong's daughter challenges Stanley Rader
Last night I heard the newscast on TV with shocked disbelief. To think that Stan Rader could ask people to turn their homes over to the church! First it's give UP some pay checks and now it's give, their homes.!
I would like to challenge Stan to be the first one to dip into that sacrificial pot - then if he has to forfeit on the bond his house can go too!
Stan Rader owns three houses and a stable of horses. (Stan-Wal Ranch in Tucson, Arizona). Most of the people he is asking to sacrifice either rent or live from paycheck to paycheck, meanwhile trying to pay three tithes and eke out an existance to be able to own one house! How many drive a Mazzaratti plus a Mercedes Benz sport model and a limo? I think it's high time the sacrifice came frorn the top - and I am referring to Stan Rader.
Why is Stan so dead set against the audit of the books by the state? Eventually they are going to do it anyway and, if there is nothing to hide, why all this grandstanding? Every delay, every time he goes to court for an appeal it costs the church more money. (Nearly one half million dollars for just two months' fees to attorney Brown).
Dorothy Armstrong Mattson, the author of this letter is one is one of Herbert Armstrong's two daughters. In addition to the better known son, Garner Ted Armstrong, there was one other son, Richard, also a minister, who died in an auto accident at the age of 29 in 1958.
Now we have this latest grandstand play - the bond! And if and when the terms are broken and it is forfeit?
Can't anyone who is unafraid to speak out see what is happening? The church is being drained totally and not too slowly - but surely going toward bankruptcy and for what purpose?
If in January, when the receivership was ordered, the books had been opened, the audit might have been nearly over by now. All the costs of the many appeals, the loss of credibility and the damage to reputation could have been avoided. The attorney general at no time tried to tell anyone what to preach - they only wanted to see the books.
Why so seared? If there are things in the records that show misappropriation of monies sent in, then it should be known and dealt with accordingly.
Instead, the lifetime work of my father, that beautiful campus, even my father's credibility is fast disappearing.
The notoriety makes me ashamed.
Dad is no longer a young man - he is over there in Tucson in such seclusion he only gets the slant of news that is handed him by the advisor he trusts. Any other person who tries to give a whole picture is branded as a conspirator who is trying to do him harm. It hurts us, his real family, but what can we do? We can't protect him for if we try we will be labeled as "conspirators."
It will be a year next month since I've been able to have contact with Dad - yet when I last saw him everything was fine between us. Now I hear that Dad has been told that I am against him, that I hate him!
I've sent messages by Wayne Cole (before he was axed), Rod Meredith, and Myrtle Horn. I've worried and stewed about Dad's welfare and health. There was a time late last summer and autumn that I even wondered if he were dead and we weren't being told. I couldn't reach him. I couldn't get his phone number and some of those writings, so scathing, that were being sent out did not have his inimitable style.
I was brought up to believe that God is Love. For the past nine months every publication I have seen has been a searing, scathing denouncement of either my brother or of the courts. What has this to do with preaching the Gospel?
Dad is not here. He doesn't know all sides of the picture. Are you people who claim to be such dedicated church members going to stand by and do nothing till the whole life work of the man you all claim to love goes down in bitter gall?
Are you going to stand by and even see his memory ruined with all this needless notoriety?
If there is nothing to hide why spend all your life savings "protesting too much?"
I know that you live in fear of losing your jobs if you stand up and be counted, but if you don't how long do you think your jobs will last? You can't be paid by a bankrupt corporation!
While all you thinking members cower in fear of your jobs, the church is being bled white by mounting court costs that were needless in the first place and now some of you blissful martyrs will no doubt give up your homes, not one of you sit-ins stop to ask, "Why only the rank-and-file are asked to sacrifice?"
The day the campus has to be sold to pay for a continuing notorious and needless squabble and you are all homeless and jobless and the life work of the man you all love is gone, perhaps in hindsight and sorrow you will look back and the light will dawn at last.
This is the most ridiculous and needless thing I can think of. Why don't you say, "Forget the bond. Open the books." Demand the books to be opened. You are a church. If you are without spot or blemish what are you afraid of?
Please wake up before its too late. I am so weary of seeing our family name being dragged through a fiasco, I just had to say something. If you really love my father put a stop to this three-ring circus.
I am not a church member, as you all no doubt know, but the church, through my family, has always been a large part of my life and I am a most ashamed and concerned daughter who must finally speak out in horror and shock at this latest fiasco.
The above letter appeared in the Pasadena Star-News, March 18. Those of you who haven't yet seen it will find it very revealing. We certainly did. Since its publication, Garner Ted Armstrong has stated that he too is unable to reach his father, even by phone. This, combined with the fact that Herbert W. Armstrong's recent articles appear to be ghost-written, has led many to speculate as to Herbert Armstrong's true circumstances and health, both physical and mental.
Has Anybody Seen Herman Hoeh Lately?
Church oracle. Prophet. Pseudohistorian. Evangelist. Instructor. Nutritionist. Book collector. Editor. Counselor. Politician. Propagandist. Could this describe anyone but the one and only Herman L. Hoeh? The most gifted and versatile of the ministers, Herman was considered a dynamo of energy for 20 years. During his tenure he served as managing editor of The Plain Truth, senior editor of The Good News, dean of faculty, college instructor, vice-president of academic affairs, coordinator of the correspondence course, writer, archaeologist, minister, etc. When the church needed "proof" for some new teaching, Herman found it buried in some obscure scripture or in an ancient German chronicle. When Herbert needed historical and biblical support for a Monday Pentecost, Herman dug it up and then eloquently defended it dam to his last drop of blood, accusing supporters of a Sunday Pentecost of being tools of the devil. But when the word was circulated that Herbert might accept a Sunday Pentecost, chameleon Herman appeared almost instantly with detailed and convincing pro-Sunday arguments. In fact, he was one of the ones who recommended that the facts be presented to Herbert as "previously undiscovered new truth." It would have been suicidal to have told Herbert what he told several friends - that he had originally felt that Pentecost was on Sunday in the early 1950s. He also dared not explain to Herbert that the "newly revealed" facts had been available in other theological works all along and that Herbert bad simply ignored then or never looked for them. (Actually for 13 years the church had Dr. Ernest L. Martin's lengthy paper proving Pentecost was on Sunday, but the leading ministers chose to ignore his facts at Hoeh's urging.)
But of late, Herman seems to have all but disappeared from the scene - even though the "right wing" is back in power. Why? It appears Herman made a rare political error. He chose to give a long sermon on March 11, 1978, in support of a new study paper which had been authored mainly by Lester Grabbe and Dr. Robert Kuhn. Their paper proved convincingly that Herbert was wrong concerning the date the Jews kept the passover. He made another blunder by calling this new finding "a revelation that God has given," while admitting it had been kept from Herbert because he had a weak heart. He also remarked that he felt Herbert would now function mainly as "a father figure." Unfortunately for Herman, a tape of this sermon was leaked back to Herbert. To say Herbert became furious as a wounded grizzly bear would be a gross understatement. Sources say Herbert wanted to fire Herman an the spot but was persuaded not to. Nevertheless, Herman has not been chosen to fill any key faculty or administrative position since Garner Ted was kicked out. This has left Herman with little more to do than preach a weekly sermon and play with his photo collection. Hoeh had "doctored" one thing too many.
For years Hoeh had had a knack for altering the right thing at the right time. He received his doctorate from AC after compiling a mishmash of chronologies and king lists into a compendium of world history. Students were awed by his convoluted wording and circular reasoning, never suspecting that he was quoting sources out of context and altering the authors' intended meaning. Each of his yearly revisions was proclaimed as "new truth," even though they contradicted the previous year's "new truth."
But Herman was apparently dissatisfied with altering mere historical facts and tried his hand at "doctoring" information of a more challenging nature. On September 17, 1965, while Dean of Faculty, Herman sent a note on his official stationery to a clerk in the Registrar's Office asking that his academic record be amended. He wrote:
"Please register me for the following:
Jan. 1963 5of Hist. of Ed.: Cath. Philosophy
507 Hist. of Ed.: Early Jewish School
508 Hist. of Ed.: Philosophy and the N.T.
799 Dissertation Research
Add to Fall 1962 606 Seminar in Hist. of Ed. 2 and cut back
604 Sam. Ed. Cl. from 3 to 2 units in the business office."
In conclusion he said that this would give him extra units which would look good. Needless to say, these courses were not taught at Ambassador in 1963. On this same note, Mrs ------ wrote, "entered 9-20-65" and "OK, will go thru next week" and signed her initials. Of course, nobody cared one way or the other. Most Ambassador College courses were worthless everywhere else but Ambassador College anyway, since AC was unaccredited. So Hoeh had nothing to gain.
In 1974, when it came time to defend the church's erroneous tithing doctrine, Hoeh's "doctoring" services were once again in great demand. We have in our possession an inch-thick folder filled with tithing papers submitted by various church ministers. These papers were sent out to the whole church ministry under the title "Study Paper on Tithing" (September 24, 1974) - but not before Hoeh had made the papers palatable to the church leadership. To one paper he added a lengthy conclusion that differed significantly from the author's original conclusion. He rewrote another paper, radically altered the conclusions of several others, and added numerous paragraphs of propaganda to the remaining ones. After altering the final paragraph of one of the papers, he caused the concluding sentence to read: "Never has there been such a restoration of truth since biblical times" (p. 63). Restoration?? Truth?? "Distortion" would have been a better choice of words!
The World's Most Expensive Haircut
The Worldwide Church has had one desperate financial crisis after another for the last ten years, the chief reason being Herbert Armstrong's profligate spending habits. Herbert has long been an advocate of short, well-groomed hair for church males, and he always keeps his snow-white hair looking immaculate. But what most members are unaware of is that he may be receiving the world's most expensive haircut. It has come to light that Herbert has often had Ambassador College's barber fly to Tucson, Arizona from Pasadena - just to cut his hair. (It costs $130 to fly his barber round trip from Los Angeles via Continental Airlines - assuming the barber flies coach and not first class.)
We learned that on one occasion Herbert ordered his barber to fly all the way to Tucson on Friday, but at the last minute he had to cancel his haircut. So what did he do? He had the barber spend the weekend in Tucson - at the church's expense until Herbert was free. That haircut alone must have cost the church a minimum of $200, not to mention the fact that the barber had to cancel all his appointments at Ambassador College while waiting for Herbert. No wonder some students on campus are letting their hair grow longer than ever before.
Letters From Our Readers
Editor: We frequently receive criticism from readers who feel that by mentioning certain authors, churches, or organizations we are somehow giving our endorsement to everything they do. In the past we have commented favorably on the books of such authors as Joseph Hopkins, Marion McNair and Ernest L. Martin. The reason for this is that not only have these men put out intelligent, well-researched material, but as far as we know they haven't started cults, used psychological coercion to get contributions, interfered in the lives of their readers, or been theologically dogmatic. We also know that their efforts have helped many people to live better lives.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of everyone whose name and address has appeared in Ambassador Report. For instance, in one of our issues, we gave the address of one individual who was making a certain item available to the public. Since then we received a number of complaints from readers saying that they have discovered that this individual claims to be one of the two witnesses of Revelation, practices polygamy, and has incorporated sex rituals into the religion he practices with his closest followers.
Obviously, we don't advocate this type of behavior, nor do we believe that this kook is one of the two witnesses. However, we do feel that much of what he has published is of real "value" because it shows quite clearly just how wacky some people can get with religion. So please remember that even though we may not say so each time, we are not advocating that our readers believe everything put out by every group we mention in our newsletters. If there is one thing the "Ambassador experience" should have taught all of us, it is the importance of discernment. With that in mind, we have a number of really interesting letters we want to share with you. As before, for privacy reasons, names of correspondents are not listed unless they have given us specific permission to do so.
Rader Must Certainly Know
Stan Rader must be a fairly competent lawyer. As such, he must certainly know that accepting a tax-exempt status from the government automatically invites the government to become a financial partner of the church and specifically carries a financial disclosure responsibility. He shouldn't need the Supreme Court to tell him this. All he has to do is refuse tax-exempt status. Otherwise, all he has to do is show where the money is going.
I don't know if this advice came from Armstrong, himself, or from the local minister, but...
Each member has been advised to mite multiple letters (if possible about 25 each) and mail them to their senators and representatives, using different names on each letter. I don't know if they were to forge real names or use fictitious ones. I understand this is what the Jones cult members were told to do, also. Anyway, the purpose of the letters is to try to stop the government from investigating the church, claiming the Worldwide Church of God is a GOOD church and is being "persecuted." The members are doing this all right. My grandson told me, yesterday, that his mother and another member had two typewriters, and were both very busy writing these letters. He didn't know about the use of real names, but they were using different names. I understood him to say they planned to mail these letters from different localities.
...with inflation, we're really feeling the pinch because of the church rakeoff now. It was a nuisance before, but now it makes the difference between eating and not eating at the end of the month. The kids complain outright that they're hungry, but TRY to sway a true fanatic!
-WIFE OF A WCG MEMBER
Thank you! If only I had read the Ambassador Report when it first came out, I would have been a little richer and a whole lot wiser. Now with all the rumblings coming from Pasadena, it's like watching the Titanic sink.... This is amazing. I think this would make a great book and a fascinating movie if anyone would put forth the effort.
I just checked with the Secretary of State of Georgia, Corp. Dept., and found that "Pope Herbert'' qualified in Georgia, November 30, 1978, as a Utah corporation d/b/a Church of God, International, Inc. with legal offices at 11768 Hogan Road, Sandy, Utah 84070. Herbert W. Armstrong, 300 West Green St., Pasadena, CA is listed as the President. Are you aware of this? In effect, he now heads up two different Church organizations. Certified copies of Georgia Incorporation are available at $4.00 from the Secretary of State, 225 Peachtree St., Suite 600, Corporation Dept., Atlanta, GA 30303, Attn.: Carol Fuller.
Are you acquainted with the "I.D.E.A.L. Society" (Individually Designed Ethically Aware Lifestytes) of P.O. Box 38191, Houston, Texas 77088? It appears they think Rader and Herbert W. Armstrong are tied up with the CIA. Do you have any knowledge of possible substantiation for their accusations?
Editor: We have absolutely no evidence that Herbert Armstrong or Stanley Rader are involved in any CIA activities. Nor do we have any hard evidence that either is a member of any secret society or conspiratorial organization. However, there are many who feel otherwise.
I go to services in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin a.m. Church. Last month we were told we would have slides and a sermon on the early covenant of the Bible. We had a Mark Kaplan (a former student studying to be a rabbi, who ended up at Ambassador College) narrating about the Jews . The slides were on a reel which consisted of maps of Jewish treks, homelands, dress, etc. The second reel was mostly pictures of early Jews, Karl Marx, Trotsky, Disraeli, Einstein, the [Jerusalem] dig, the new park [in Jerusalem], the wailing wall, etc.
After this junk was shown, I noticed my heart was pounding. I was scared then, and the fear hasn't left me. I'm sorry I didn't write to you immediatety, as the facts would be clearer.... I haven't been able to get that sabbath out of my mind. Were we being brainwashed in case of Armstrong's demise and a Rader takeover? I wish I had the answer.
Having had many years of "experience" in the Worldwide Church of God - from the time when it was a "respected" organization to the present time when its credibility has all but vanished - I have frequently pondered the causes for the effects we see in the church today. Recently I read a fascinating book titled Fourth Reich of the Rich by Des Griffin who, I understand, is a member of the WCG. In this book the author reveals and historically documents the existence of a top secret organization known as the Illuminati. Their declared objectives include the discrediting and then the destruction of Christianity. Their ultimate goat is the establishment of a One-World Government.
According to evidence taken from the archives of the British Museum in London and presented in chapter eleven of Fourth Reich, the Illuminati infiltrates churches and other groups with "agentur" or "special advisors" and, over a period of time, destroys their effectiveness. In light of the staggering changes that have taken place in the WCG in recent years it may be a valid question to ask: "Has the Worldwide church of God been taken over by an agent of the Luciferian Illuminati?''
Copies of this thought-provoking, and educational book may be purchased for $5.00 plus 70" postage from Emissary Publications, P.O. Box 642, South Pasadena, CA 91030.
-TIM SARGEANT, OREGON
Years ago when Herbert Armstrong began raising money for his "House of God," contributors were given the impression that there were certain parallels between it and the Temple of Solomon (its interior color scheme, its use of gold, marble, and other expensive materials, etc.). We were, however, not told that the auditorium would in fact, have much in common with masonry and paganism. For instance, like the wicked men of Ezek. 8:16, WCG members at headquarters face east when they worship, not west as did the righteous worshippers at the Temple and its predecessor the Tabernacle!
Did you ever notice that, architecturally, the auditorium is really a large black box with a white top as is the Islamic Kaaba? The auditorium's seven steps to the stage and the dedication at its entrance ("to the Great God") are only two of many Masonic counterparts which have astounded those familiar with Masonry. It is interesting that years ago the WCG published a booklet exposing Masonry and its occult symbolism. But the booklet is no longer available from the church! I am presently working an a research paper entitled "Armstrongism: A Prolegomena to Masonic and Pagan Parallels." It will be compteted shortly.
Ambassador Report Brings Results
All of your efforts are truly bringing results! Had the reports come sooner, my family could have been saved. Happy to say, my ex-wife is now an ex-member after reading your reports. (Heaven only knows I tried.)
Nine years ago, when I was starting to give tithes to Ambassador College, my parents tried very hard to change my mind and have me join some other religion instead of the Worldwide Church of God. They told me that the Armstrongs were taking money from all the poor people and living like kings. It is strange how all that heat had helped me stay in the church.
Since that time I had given up a good-paying job, gone on welfare, refused other good-paying jobs because of the holy days, and avoided family celebrations because they were "pagan." In return, what I received were "brothers and sisters" I didn't care for, sermons and lectures that I've heard over and over again, and reading how happy Mr. Armstrong was visiting all the brethren in his jet.
I stopped tithing this summer when I realized that I wasn't receiving the blessings of Malachi 2:10. Also, I really wouldn't want to help someone live the kind of life I went through. And learning that Herbert W. Armstrong takes a $200,000 salary from the church was the last straw.
A friend told me that the church has a policy in which any member who reads Ambassador Report is automatically excommunicated. I told my mother this, and she said, "Send for the magazine right away!"
We were in that organization 18 years. We never knew what it was to have a joint of meat, or plenty of good food, or enjoyment. My wife worked until she was 67 years of age, to enable us to keep up with the tithes. It is a great relief to be free of this burden.
Received my copy of Ambassador Report several days ago. It was difficult to lay down until I had finished it from cover to cover. I felt at one time the WCG was the true church. Although not participating for some 4 to 5 years now, I still had a nagging feeling that maybe I was turning my back on God's one true church. Now that feeling is gone. It is such a relief to have my suspicions confirmed overwhelmingly with facts.
We Get "Hate Mail'' Too!
A friend of mine gave me a copy of the garbage Report it is the Devil's work and anyone that has a right mind will think so. I don't know why God hasn't stopped you guys long ago but we will just wait and see. Your garbage is a direct persecution against God, and you will be called to Judgment.
Your Ambassador Garbage Report will never destroy God's true church. I did not read all the dirty work in the report. What I did read made me sick. It's all a bunch of lies! If you want to cause so much trouble why don't you go to Iran or Russia and see how long you would last. May God have mercy on you, the Ambassador Report garbage editors.
Just had the profound revulsion of opening my mailbox and discovering your "literature." I just can't imagine the emptiness one's life mush consist of such that dwelling on evil, negativism and the carrion of life situations, like so many vultures, is the one object of their efforts. If you're going to send this trash out - at least print it on toilet paper so I can get some use from it.
Because of our association with the WCG, we are about $50,000 poorer. I guess that's just a drop in a bucket to Stan Rader, who can write himself out a bonus check for $35,000, or to Herbert W. Armstrong; but it is still a lot of money to us. I know people in the WCG who gave up decent homes and moved into cheap places in order to be faithful in paying third tithes. Many gave up life insurance policies, did without dental work didn't buy glasses that were needed., and many other things. And the children suffered the Most.
Thanks to your staff for sending me the Ambassador Report last. year. We are now much better off. We didn't know how unhappy our family was while we were in the church. Financial blessings never came to us for being faithful in tithing. It seemed that the more we grossed, the less we had left. And always it was our children that had to do without something, so that we could afford the extra expenses incurred so that we could attend services (50 miles one way) or additional activities, Bible study, etc.
I also remember attending the funeral of a beautiful little girl that died because her mother was "faithful." The little girl had a bad cold that went into pneumonia. The family was very poor and didn't have much heat in the house, but the minister never went to see her so he didn't know what the conditions of the family were. The minister sent anointed cloths to the child. After several weeks when the child was much worse, the minister's wife told the mother that she would be allowed to take the child to a hospital to be placed under an oxygen tent but that she couldn't have penicillin. When the child was nearly dead, the father (who was not in the church) and mother wrapped her up and started for the hospital. When they arrived, the mother told the doctor that she thought it was too late. It was, and the doctor was kind enough to write it up as if she died just as she arrived at the hospital. Then the mother kept from showing any sadness at all because she believed that it was God's plan to keep the child from suffering later on. I never could buy that idea.
Was Not Allowed to Join
Thank you so much for the wonderful newsletter. I just passed my 82nd birthday, and that newsletter was a wonderful gift. As with all your reports, this will be shared with many of my friends, former members of the WCG.
Before my wife passed away she was a member of the Armstrong organization for 8 years . I became a member four years later. They would not accept me as I was a Star Route mail carrier and naturally Saturday was my heaviest mail day, and I was under contract. Of course, I wanted to join, so after four years I was given an OK by the Post Office department that I could transfer my contract to my daughter-in-law, and they would release me from the contract. I had two routes that paid exceptionably well, and all the time my wife was a member I paid them my tithes, but for the over three years she was in, I was not allowed to attend any services. After my route would be completed on Saturday, I would drive to the church to pick my wife up, but had to wait outside. Finally they did let me come in near the end of the service and attend their functions and dances. I remember one time I attended one of their dinners, and I was quite ill. My wife asked the elder if they would pray for me. They refused because I was not a member. She finally talked to the minister and pleaded with him to anoint me. after some time he finally told the elder to pray for me. To think I had to give up a good contract to join that church!
Father Was Right, Afterall
My husband isn't fond of a lot of reading, so I decided to read the Ambassador Report cover to cover, plus the three newsletters you sent. I just finished everything, which took about 4 to 5 days. I have been in the WCG for 19 years since I was 10 years old. My husband has been in since 1965, and last sabbath was our last!...
If my father knew what's happened in our family in the last couple of months, he'd turn over in his grave. He died a year ago last March, and we actually began seeing things were amiss in the WCG at that time. Our eyes eventually got wide open in June of this (past) year.
My family (dad, mom, me, and two younger brothers ) came into the church in 1959. After 15 months, my dad (who I see now was 19 years ahead of us) could see something was wrong and got out. He was what you'd call "hostile," but for good reason. I well remember the time he had to wait in line to ask the minister after church if it was okay for our cow to be vaccinated. He also knew the tithing thing was all haywire and the no-doctors policy was not right.
As a result of his "attitude," my parents had to separate and a few years later divorced. My father's life was ruined. He had lived through the depression, had no father as a boy, and had lived in orphanages because his mother had to find work. He had had a hard life. At age 32, he married a lovely woman who fulfilled all his needs to be loved. They had a good marriage. He idolized us kids and gave us the love he never got as a boy. He was "the best" daddy. We were a very happy family.
But from about 1960 on, it was hell. Our lives were drastically changed, and my daddy (whom I loved dearly), got the worst deal of us all. His lovely family was split and never was the same again. All his dreams were shattered. He and my mom had only been married 14 years (the happiest years of his entire life), and his family was his life. He took to the bottle and was an extreme alcoholic when he died last year.
It rips me apart to think of the agony that man went through for 17 long years and then to die as he did. He taught me more in dying than ever before, regrettably. But we learned so much after he died about what his side of the story was. As kids, we were led to think of him as the "bad guy." How I wish he were alive today so I could talk to him. I know he would rejoice that his wife (my mom) has quit and my two brothers and us as well.
Thank you so much for sending me that Ambassador Report of January 21st. I wish to let you know that the report of last June been making the rounds for months now and has opened the eyes of many in this vicinity and has prevented some 15 people from joining the WCG and has resulted in 14 others leaving the church.
Since Armstrong is also active in this country [Germany], and practically no news coverage like in your country is available on this subject here, I have so far devoted two issues of a small information paper I am circulating to this very subject, mainly
translating from your articles.
GLATZER WEG 3
Bless you for encouraging photocopying of your newsletter! It shows you aren't in this to make money. I hope you survive, and I thank you for putting me on the mailing list.
Editor: We've heard of many individuals and groups who have taken on the burden of copying and distributing our newsletters, For instance, there is a very dedicated group in Australia that has been distributing the Report and other anticult literature extensively in that country. We're very happy that they can do this as the high postage rates to Australia make it very difficult for us to effectively cover that part of the world. For those "down under" who may be interested, their addresses are: P.O. Box 193, East Caulfield, Vic. 3145, and the Association Exposing Pseudo-Religious Cults, P.O. Box 430, Mt. Waverly, Vic., Australia. The following is a comment from one of the fine individuals in the Australian group:
I ask, why do members of the WCG think that a few ex-members are prepared to do this, at cost to themselves?... If we were working in Satan's interests, wouldn't we be happier to leave our money in our pockets and leave the members of the WCG believing anything they are told? We would go our own way without any thought or concern for the members of the WCG. But no! We know the suffering, lost jobs, financial struggles, anxieties, double standards, isolation from family, and have learnt the spiritual deceit that makes all the former of no value to either us, our children, or in the eyes of Christ. Personally we feel that the biggest stumbling block for the members is to admit they have been deceived and that those who have left, whom they disfellowshipped at a man's command, whom they called ''led astray'' by Satan's influence, etc., were right after all and proved themselves to be discerners of the truth and stronger in character. After all, it does take character to leave the WCG because you know members will no longer associate with you and there will be a lot of "character assassination" behind your back. You know you'll need to find a whole new life and that relatives that you isolated yourself from, by way of false religious teachings and values, won't be so quick, in all probability, to welcome you into their fold. And I've heard members say they felt physically exhausted and even sick in the stomach when the where horrible truth came to them. However, all have claimed a feeling of exaltation and well-being once the truth is faced and accepted.
In closing, we would like to express our appreciation to all of you for your continued interest in our newsletter. Your letters of encouragement have really been our inspiration in keeping the Report alive. To all of you, our sincere thanks.
Ambassador Report is published bimonthly as finances allow. Publisher-Editors are: Robert Gerringer, Bill Hughes, Mary E. Jones, John Trechak, Leonard Zola, and Margaret Zola.
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