On March 4, 1974, at Big Sandy, Texas, evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong met with approximately 70 ministers of the Worldwide Church of God. It was during this meeting that Garner Ted admitted:
“A man in the ministry committed adultery… I talked to him in great sympathy… and he was totally repentant… I know of about five or six or eight or ten who have committed adultery and who upon repentance have been allowed back. You want some leveling done here today? I am not the first case!” (Big Sandy ministerial meeting, March 4, 1974, tape 5, side 1, ref. #082).
Later in that same meeting (tape 5, side 2, ref. #052), a WCG minister, Robert McKibben, respectfully asked Garner Ted the following questions:
MC KIBBEN: “Well, let me ask you Mr. Armstrong point blank. Have there been young girls that you have…”
GARNER TED: [Interrupting] “Absolutely not!”
MC KIBBEN: “When I say young girls, I’m talking about college students.”
GARNER TED: “No!”
MC KIBBEN: “Employees?”
GARNER TED: “No, no one else of any size, shape, race, color, creed, religion, or age!”
MC KIBBEN: “So you’re saying, then, that you have not committed adultery?”
GARNER TED: “That’s right. I have been accused of things like that behind my back that have come to me from other sources that are just incredulous….”
MC KIBBEN: “Well, the information that I had was that you had committed adultery.”
GARNER TED: “Way back before I was out, but in a completely different way than you think, or anybody else thinks… I was beside myself. I had already in my own mind convinced myself I wasn’t even bound to my wife Shirley. I was in my mind divorcing her. I left with a trailer full of clothing and a stupid little girl….”
During the Big Sandy meeting, Ted attempted to create the impression that if it could be interpreted that he had committed adultery, it had only happened once with “a stupid little girl” when he was in a disturbed frame of mind. This, of course, was outright deception. The following interview, in conjunction with the articles “Garner Ted Armstrong-Son of the Legend” and “The Profligate Son,” proves conclusively that Ted, indeed, committed adultery, and that it was not just once with just one silly little girl.
“In Bed with Garner Ted” is an interview with one of the women who had an affair with Garner Ted Armstrong. Her story is not the only one told to us, but is probably the most graphic in detailing Ted’s techniques of seduction. She and her husband consented to relate the story with the hope that it might help people to realize the kind of man Garner Ted Armstrong is. Her identity has been withheld to preserve the integrity and harmony enjoyed by her family.
AMBASSADOR REPORT: How did you first personally come into contact with Ted Armstrong?
RESPONDENT: I was told by the student body president that I had to see Garner Ted Armstrong. It was almost as if the student body president had a list of certain girls who wouldn’t be allowed to be baptized without counseling with Garner Ted. He didn’t tell me why, just that I had to see Ted first. So I made the appointment and went into his office. I remember him sitting there looking among the papers. He didn’t even look up, as if to say, “I know who you are. You’re nothing.” I just stood there waiting and finally he said, “Oh, yes, there you are,” so he started telling me, “I hear you want to be baptized,” and I said, “Yes.” From that point forward, I didn’t say anything. He started telling me how I was one of those vain freshman girls and how I probably had everything I wanted and he knew that I had been “Miss This” and “Miss That” in high school and things weren’t that way at Ambassador College. We all had to repent of our past lives and humble ourselves. Otherwise, if we hadn’t repented, they [the ministry] wouldn’t baptize us at all.
He said I had a horrible walk-that I probably had seen some movie star walk that way and so I had spent a lot of time working on it… and I had to stop that. By this time, I think I started crying, and it gradually got worse. I wasn’t crying out loud, just sobbing, and then at the end, he said, “Is there anything you want to say?” But I couldn’t say anything because I was too scared and upset and really disgusted with myself because I believed him-I believed everything he said. So, I just shook my head “No,” and he said, “Well, when you feel like you have repented and you feel like counseling about these problems or faults, then you can call for another appointment.”
REPORT: After your baptism into the Worldwide Church of God what was your next encounter with Ted?
RESPONDENT: I really had very rare contact with him. I baby-sat once [for him] when I was a junior or senior. Then he drove me home, but that was about it, other than just seeing him in church and saying a few words here and there.
REPORT: During that period of time did he ever indicate to you that you were in any way special to him?
RESPONDENT: No, not during college.
REPORT: What about later on?
RESPONDENT: Let’s see. It was pretty soon after graduation…. After graduation, I went to work full time at the Letter Answering Dept., and I was working as a typist with the stenorette machine answering letters…. We were all under Dr. Zimmerman at the time.
One day Dr. Zimmerman called me in and said that Garner Ted wanted to know if I wanted to be transferred to Imperial [Schools]. I could tell that he [Dr. Zimmerman] really didn’t want me to go. I said that if that’s where I was needed most, I would be happy to go, although I was happy there. He said, “Well, just say the word, and you can stay.” I didn’t feel like I should stay. I really, you know, felt like I might be doing more there (at the WCG’s Imperial Schools), so anyway, I was transferred.
A few months later, I noticed that every time Ted would call, I felt that he was very businesslike, and I would get his call right through to whomever it was he was wanting to talk to. But then time went by and he would spend a little more time just passing the time of day and teasing me about Texas or saying something…the way Texans talk.
At the school banquet at the end of the year, I started getting the feeling that he was sort of singling me out. I thought this over in my mind. One night in particular, I was going along with another couple of teachers and his [Ted’s] wife and everyone was having a real great time. We were telling a lot of jokes. Everyone was real happy, and I felt that Ted kept looking at me. I thought maybe he wondered if I was happy or not because all the ministers were sort of concerned about the other girls who were single. Each minister sort of had his own little pet girl. And I wasn’t anyone’s pet, I felt, at the time.
But anyway, after the banquet, we were going to the car and Ted asked this teacher that I was with if he and his wife were going right home or if they were going somewhere, and he said, “No, they didn’t have any plans,” so Ted said, “Why don’t you come on out with us to this restaurant.” I never even heard him say so, but I got the feeling that Ted definitely wanted me to come, so the teacher said, “Yes, how about going over there with the other group?” I said okay.
We were sitting around sort of a round bar, and I was sitting by (names deleted) on the one side. There were some more teachers, the Lochners, and Ted and Shirley [Garner Ted’s wife] on the other side.
I think in all these little get-togethers, Ted was always, naturally, the leader. He would do all the singing, and we would sort of chime in with him.
At that stage that was the first time it really hit me that there was definitely something there. I don’t remember him looking at anyone else, and he was always saying, “Would you like another drink?” and sort of looking out for me. So after going home that night, I was still wondering, and I thought it was really funny that he was looking at me, because he had everything, and it’s just really fun for him, but it wasn’t too much fun for me thinking, “Is he serious or not?”
Every Friday afternoon there would be basketball. All the girls would go out, and sometimes they would be cheerleading. Since I was Dr. Lochner’s secretary, I kept the score book and the clock and everything. And every time Ted would do something like make a goal or whatever, you could tell he just really wanted everyone to know. The girls would always let him know they thought he was really great, and he would come over and say, “How did I do?” I would tell him how many points he made, and he would say, “Wow, I’m getting better, aren’t I?” or “I played a lousy game today,” or whatever. So you know everyone never disagreed or said, “You are a lousy player,” or “What are you doing out there?” No one would consider saying that.
He never really got that good, but you began to look at him more like a human. It’s like someone who is a friend. I think that is sort of how it (our relationship) started. He was a friend, and if you needed something, you felt a little more apt to go to him and he would listen to you instead of looking down on you and your problem.
After the game, they would have me go and get beer, and they would have the beer afterward or go over to the office and have the beer. Occasionally he would say, “Boy, I wish I had a secretary like you,” and I thought, “Well, I’d love to be [your secretary], you know, get a better job, or be moved up,” but I never did say anything.
I had been out of college 2 years at this time. He called late in the afternoon when I was usually through for the day. Normally everyone went home early on Friday, but that particular Friday, a lot of parents came in. I had a lot of people and students to take care of, and I was really busy and he wanted to talk. It was very rare of him to try to keep me on the line because there were phones all over the office where you can push a button and hear what was going on. But he never really talked that long. This day I could tell he wanted to talk, and I said, “I really can’t because I’ve got a lot of people here.” He said, “Okay, I’ll call back in a few minutes. Maybe everything will be cleared up because I want to talk to you about something.”
I always had the guilt feeling of what have I done, you know, I’m really going to be corrected! So he called back, and I was still busy, but he said, “Go in the back room” because he was familiar with the whole building. “Go in the back room and we can talk back there,” he said. All the teachers had gone home. There wasn’t anyone around who might listen in, but I am not sure if he knew that or not, but he might have guessed it.
So I went back, and I was all set for something really bad, and then he said, “I just want to talk awhile and see what you think of me as a man, as a person, and how I”-I think he said-“how I compare with the other men” because he asked me who I felt was really the type of man I knew there that I really respected. I said, “Well, I really respect Mr. Lochner. I really think he has a lot of character, he is fair, and I haven’t seen anything wrong with him, as far as his doing anything wrong. I also think a lot of Mike…. I mentioned those two to him as the two all-around men who I could respect. Then he was sort of silent, just kind of waiting, and I said, “You know, I think that you are probably better than they are because you have so much going for you, ability”-but I don’t remember if that is exactly what I said. But he replied, “Oh, you do?” just like he was waiting for that. And then he said, “You know, that really makes me feel good. I don’t know if you should tell me that or not because it really does something to me.” I said, “Well, you asked me so I told you,” and he said, “Well, that is what I wanted to hear.” I said, “Well, I guess I’d better get back. There are still a lot of people here.”
I felt that is what he wanted me to say. That was the end of it so I went back up front. That was Friday. When I was told this, it made me feel like everything was tying together…. I was sure that he was interested in me as a person because my sister and I had invited [names deleted] over for dinner that night and… [one of them] mentioned how when Ted had driven by while going home that he was wondering how far I had to walk, indicating he was concerned about me. I thought if he is telling other people about me or mentioning me to someone else in his family, that must really mean something-but it really doesn’t mean a thing, looking back on it.
On Sunday, I went to the office. I went to the office almost every Sunday, I believe, just to do this and that because my desk was usually a mess. It’s such a mad house during the week. I straightened it up or graded papers or something like that. My girlfriend would usually go with me, but this weekend, she was out of town visiting her parents because she was a teacher. And so this Sunday I was grading papers, and there were a few teachers there-a few of the men. We would usually have coffee or tea with each other, and they would be going back and forth from the classroom on their various projects. I remember hearing the phone ringing. I answered it and it was Garner Ted. He said, “You’re working today, huh?” I said, “Well, not really. There are a few things I need to get done that I can’t do during the week.” And he said, “You shouldn’t be working today.” And I said, “Well, I usually do on Sunday.”
Later, he called again, but this time he said, “How would you like to come up for a drink?” I said, “Oh, I don’t think I should.” And he said, “Well, it will probably do you good. There is nothing wrong with it. Just come on up.” Ted said it like it was ridiculous to think anything otherwise, like it was maybe an invitation that wouldn’t be extended again. Possibly that is what he wanted to convey. I don’t know for sure, but I decided it wouldn’t hurt anything; so I went up. I didn’t feel comfortable….
But I went up and I remember I was sort of shaky because I thought anytime you do something extracurricular with a married man, even letting him take you to the store, there is always that something that might go wrong, you know. There might be something there that would come up, and you would have to decide if you want to go right or left. And I think I knew then, down deep, although I couldn’t really say it at the time, but I must have because… I have always been the type that would feel rather guilty when doing something that was wrong, even before [becoming a member of the] Worldwide [Church of God]. I think I was that type…. I went in and I was surprised-very surprised at the way he was dressed, because I had never seen him dress sloppy my whole life except one time when I was a freshman…. I had never seen him anything but neat before except one time years ago. And I got the feeling that he didn’t care so much how he looked, and that it smelled… like he had been drinking. I don’t know how heavily, but I know definitely that his breath was very alcoholic. His breath was sort of a mixture with I don’t know what else. I don’t think it was cigarette smoke, but it was almost like it was, that and alcohol….
That should have sent me running, but anyway, he was sitting behind the desk, and he had a real sort of far-away gaze in his eyes. He didn’t look alert like he usually did. When I came in, he just looked at me for awhile, and then he pulled out the drawer and started getting out two glasses and a bottle of something.
At that time, I never drank anything but beer. Beer was even new for me when I came into the Worldwide Church. And I said I didn’t care for anything. It was really awkward, really, because I didn’t want to drink and so he didn’t say anything. There was no light conversation like there had been over the phone all those other times and he wasn’t bubbly, but he came around the desk and… he came over and put his arms around me. I was sort of by the door frame, and he sort of held me there, not forcefully, but just, anyway, then he started kissing me and that’s when I got this breath. He hadn’t shaved, I guess, since the day before Church, the previous day which was Saturday, and his beard was scratchy. My mind couldn’t focus on a thing, and I thought, “Let me out of here.” It was like he was a little bit drunk or something. Cause if he had been drinking it was probably that, and yet, I was sort of in a “trance” because of the newness or whatever. He stayed there five or ten minutes. Then he maneuvered me over to the couch (I wouldn’t say pushed, but encouraged me) and then he kept on kissing me, but I wasn’t ready to give in to him, so I pushed him off and went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror at myself.
I remember looking and sort of getting second thoughts and naturally, he was… so he got the glasses of whatever it was and brought one. At that time, I guess I felt the need of it because I took a swallow of it, and it was very strong. Then he stood behind me and I think he was trying to reassure me and possibly trying to influence me not to turn away. All this time, there wasn’t much conversation. It was mainly, I guess, two minds, one mind against the other. So I kept thinking. I was trying to get something going conversational-wise, and I said, “Oh, you’d better get going to the basketball game. The men are already down on the court,” because they were warming up when I came by. And he said, “Oh, that’s right,” and that did get his mind back on a talking plane. Then he said, “I guess I’d better change and go down pretty soon, and I guess I’d better shave.”… Anyway, then he followed me out to the elevator with more kissing. I got in and went down to the office and around to the basketball court, not on the court itself, but on the bench, away from the court, and just sat there and watched the men.
All this time, I was trying to think. Yet my mind wouldn’t cooperate, and I couldn’t get myself really on a path. I wanted to follow a definite path because I knew that there was a right way to go and a wrong way. And I remember thinking-wanting God to lead me-and yet I knew there was no way He was going to come down and do it for me.
So I went back to my car and back to the apartment and sat there and thought. Then I was in a “trance,” and there were many things I should have been doing, but I didn’t. I just sat there for a long time until the phone rang and it was him.
It was about four in the afternoon…. He mentioned, “I guess you are surprised that I know your phone number.” I said, “No, I’m not really.” Then he said, “What are you doing?” and he was much more like he had been previously on the phone. It was like he was over whatever he was going through there in the office. He was very personable over the phone. He mentioned that he would really like to see me and talk to me and that he guessed he couldn’t.
I said, “Well, my girlfriend is out of town.” Then I thought, “Well, there goes my out. I told him she’s gone.” He said, “Oh, well maybe I could come over.” I was going to be there and, like I said, like a fool, I told him the address and everything and how I was upstairs and made it very easy for him.
He said he would probably be there that night around 7:30 or 8 he thought. Eight o’clock came and he didn’t show up, so I really thought he wasn’t coming. Then he called and said he was in a restaurant, the service was very slow, and he would be late in getting there but for me to go down to the corner and get a beer and do something until he could get there.
This shows how people will do things. I didn’t want a beer. I didn’t want to walk down there. It was a very muggy night. It was foggy and misty and, in fact, I think I took an umbrella and a raincoat. It was rather wet, not the type of night you want to be walking alone…. But that late at night, I walked down to the corner and bought a beer or two, and I don’t think I even drank one, but anyway, I had been back to the apartment about only 30 minutes when he came.
Over the phone he was very warm, but these two times I was with him the conversation wasn’t what you would call normal. I can’t remember saying, “Well, you are finally here.” I’m not the type to say that anyway, but I can’t remember him saying anything like “Well, I am finally here” either.
It was almost like in one swoop, one entrance, one motion that he was over with his arms around me and unzipping my dress. It all seems very cold and hard-hearted now to think about it, like he was thinking, “Well, we only have so much time. I have to get in and get out.”
But anyway, I was still under his spell so I know he put his arms around me, and he kissed me a few times, but it was while he was unzipping my dress. Then he turned me around, oh, I don’t know, but anyway, we went into the bedroom.
It was a very small apartment but the bedroom was fairly good size. Anyway, we headed toward… my girlfriend’s bed. We sat down there and he started taking my dress off. When he got my dress off, I said, “This is my girlfriend’s bed, and that is my bed over there.” And it was really like the conversation was almost stifled. He started undressing, and I finished undressing myself. He started it and I finished it.
Then he… pulled out-I guess there are a lot of words for it-a prophylactic, and I said, “Oh, no, I don’t want you to use that.” And he said, “It is the safest. It is the only thing that really works. It is the only way.” And I said, “Yes, but I would like to have a baby.” He said, “Oh, no! You think you do, but you really don’t. It would be much worse for you to have a baby than not to.”
I thought at the time this was goofing my life up so much I couldn’t recover later. It was almost as if everyone would know what I had done, because I knew what I was doing, and what I would have done after it was over. And I guess I would be living my life alone and it would be so much better to have a baby even if it was better to not have anything. And yet, he was definitely not going to let me do that, so I gave up and so…. And at various times, he would say, “Delicious, delicious! ” and I thought at the time, “Well, I guess it is good that he feels that way even though…. You know it’s funny. A woman needs so much more than that, and you would have thought he would have known. Oh, at that point, after intercourse, he went right to the bathroom to clean up and wash it down and all. He was in there several minutes, and I just felt drained…. so I didn’t even dress, but he came right back into the bedroom…. He knew exactly what he was going to do and that was getting dressed to prepare to leave.
REPORT: Did Garner Ted say he loved you or express any affection?
RESPONDENT: No, in fact he dressed, he was completely dressed, and I thought, “Well, I guess I ought to get my clothes back on.” Then after he got through putting on his tie and everything, he sat on my roommate’s bed. I was still sitting on my bed, and I thought, “Now is when we can have our little conference.”
Then he said, “Now the first thing I want to say is that I don’t ever want you to tell your father about this.” I said, “Well, I don’t plan to.” I wouldn’t have told him in a million years. I mean now I might if he were still alive…. The first thing that he wanted to really get my promise on was that I would not ever tell my father. That’s why I think it’s possible maybe at this stage he had had dealings with fathers and he knew his biggest problem might be with the father of an unmarried girl. And then after this, he said, “You know, I can’t leave my boys,” so evidently he had already thought that I was thinking that maybe he thought my next statement was going to be “Can we leave,” you know, “Can you leave your family and come with me?” which I hadn’t even bothered to consider. And I said, “Well, I’m not even thinking of such a thing.”
I really expected him to mention not to go to his father and not go to his wife or not to go to some person, but no other person was even brought into the picture, just my dad, and that he [Ted] couldn’t leave his boys…. [Later] he said, “Now it’s sort of scary-this other minister was shot just a few days or weeks ago because he was in a motel room with a girl who wasn’t his wife.” I said, “Yeah, it is.”…
Well, that was the only conversation. I think he felt he got his point across and got my promise not to tell my father…. I did say something. He probably knew I had one request. The only thing I said was, “Can we go somewhere together and have a drink or something?” In other words, it seemed so abrupt for him to leave. I wanted him to stay, I guess, because it would make me feel better-cleaner or something, I don’t know, and he said, “Oh, no, there are so many people who know us… that I just couldn’t take a chance.” I don’t know if he said “I’d better be going” or what, but we had gone to the living room, I remember, and when he got ready to go, I know I must have been looking very downcast because that is what I was feeling, and he just reached over and got hold of my hand and sort of shook it like “everything is going to be okay.” Then he went out the door… and he flew.
The next few days were some of the most miserable of my whole life. I felt so alone. I thought that at least he would call me and encourage me not to go to pieces and tell me to get my life back together even though we had made a mistake. I just expected that sort of thing, but he didn’t call and I didn’t call anybody.
I feel pretty positive it was on a Wednesday that I decided to stay after school and write a letter. I wrote a long letter. I guess it was very emotional, and I went over to his car… and just dropped it in on the front seat and went on home.
The next morning about ten he called and said, “Why did you do such a stupid thing to write that letter?”
I said, “To me it wasn’t stupid!” He said, “I want to see you right away. Come on up to my office.” And I said, “Oh, okay.” I was feeling a little bit on the belligerent side toward him by this time because I felt if he didn’t care about me then I really shouldn’t care about him. Yet I was sort of warning him, if I remember correctly, in that letter that if I didn’t hear from him, I was going to have to talk to somebody. When I came up to his office, I don’t remember having to wait. I just walked on in and said, “Hi” and went on by. At first he was very, very disgusted with me-oh, very, and sort of treated me as if I had done a very foolish thing.
He said, “It was very dangerous and foolish for you to leave that letter there because Al Portune could have walked by and seen the letter, and he reads my mail and he feels free to read things.” Anyway, [he said it as if]…one of the most horrible things that could happen to him would be for Al Portune to read that and find out what had been going on. So I said, “Okay, I won’t write any more letters, but I just felt like I had to talk to someone, and I still feel that way.” He said, “Well, you can talk to me anytime. I am right here. I want you to call me, but don’t talk to anyone else, just call me.”
And there was still kind of a disgusted tone in his voice. I didn’t argue or say anything, just sort of waited, and then he looked at me and said, “You know, I really have wondered if you aren’t demon possessed.” And I said, “Well, I can assure you, I am not!” I knew I wasn’t and I think he could see I wasn’t even going to budge. I wasn’t going to doubt myself along that line, and he said, “No, I guess you are not.”
And then, looking back, this was his next approach and the one that worked. He said, “You know, after reading that letter, I drove down to the Rose Bowl and read every word and tore it up into little tiny pieces so that no one could ever put it together again, and my boys were all in the back seat.” It was like I was really dragging them down too, because I wrote the letter and Ted had to go through all that with them. He continued, “You know, after reading that letter, in one way it did me good because it really hit me what I had done-and I went into my bathroom and I got on my hands and knees and repented. I even vomited, I was so sick of myself.”… He kept saying he was sick of himself that he could do such a thing.
And I thought, “Well, that’s great, because I ought to repent too of doing it and, hopefully, I won’t ever do that again.” That really got through to me because I really believed him then and that that was the course to take too…. I felt that Ted was being truthful. [I thought] he had really repented and if God forgave him, who was I, and I knew that I needed forgiveness too. I guess that’s one thing that everybody feels. You know what you have done in the past, and you know how it feels in your heart when you can forgive. Well, he-was so convincing….
That was pretty much the end of that interview, and he just encouraged me if I had anything on my mind or a problem to call him, which I never did because I was just used to him calling me, not me calling him. I didn’t like to go through secretaries and that kind of stuff. I don’t think he ever gave me a private number, no he never did. So I was on my own again….
I said, “No, I don’t think so. I’d better not do anything like that.” He just looked like “I guess you don’t want to do something like that,” so I just turned around and left the office. I didn’t stay around any longer….