October 22, 1981
This third quarter Ambassador Report was to have come out in late September. But as in the past, we have simply been unable to get our newsletter out on time. Nevertheless, at Ambassador College a great deal has been happening which, we believe, you'll want to know about. Here's the latest.
GTA STRIKES OUT
In our last newsletter we mentioned how Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) was attempting to have Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA) brought back into the WCG fold. Just as we were going to press with that issue of the Report, the Worldwide News (July 13, 1981) was being distributed to WCG members. It contained a remarkably uncharacteristic article by Herbert Armstrong entitled "I Confess Wrong - Can You?"
In that article HWA actually admitted making numerous errors regarding the disfellowshipping of his son Garner Ted in 1978. Wrote HWA:
"When I find I have sinned, I confess that to God, not to people. But when there comes to my attention an unintended error - a mistake - which has involved people, then I must admit that error and correct it before the people involved.
"That has happened in the case of my disfellowshipment letter to my son, Garner Ted Armstrong."
That article, plus numerous pro-Ted comments by HWA in sermons, left GTA confident of a triumphant return to the WCG in the near future. Ted actually began telling friends that he would be back in the WCG within a few weeks. And Stan Rader - to the shock of many WCG members - even commented on one radio talk show that HWA and GTA were already in contact with each other. Other sources have also confirmed this.
Their contact even involved a top-secret letter sent this summer by GTA to his father who was temporarily staying at Orr, Minnesota. The letter contained statements which were to have been used by HWA to convince the WCG membership that Ted had indeed repented (again). One of those quotable quotes said in effect, "If I had it all to do over again, Dad, I wouldn't have left."
But the reconciliation was still not to be. For although HWA. was making it quite clear that he wanted Ted back, those around HWA made it quite clear they did not.
While in times past HWA could simply express his will and have total agreement from his subordinates, this is apparently no longer the case - at least in regard to the GTA matter. HWA has been surprised to discover that, his desires notwithstanding, no one else in the church's hierarchy wants to see Ted return. No one!
Of the men now on the "Advisory Council of Elders" as of the Aug. 10 Worldwide News (twelve: Dibar Apartian, Dean Blackwell, Robert Fahey, Ellis LaRavia, Raymond McNair, Leroy Neff, Joe Tkach, Herman Hoeh, Roderick Meredith, Norman Smith, Harold Jackson, and Leon Walker, plus Ralph Helge, legal advisor), there is not one really in favor of seeing Ted return. In fact, with the exception of HWA, we have not been able to find even one minister in the entire WCG who is all that interested in having Ted return. A number, have even indicated that they would resign from the ministry should Ted be reinstated.
Perhaps had Ted been more discreet in his approach to the situation, his return could have been implemented. But he seems to have played into the hands of his opponents. For one thing, before a reconciliation to HWA was even made official, Ted was telling some how he was going to fire and retire a number of "enemies" upon his return. The "hit list" included numerous GTA critics such as Roderick Meredith and Gerald Waterhouse and even some old friends such as Leslie McCullough. Then, Ted also commented to a few that on his return he - and not his father- would be in charge of things.
Those statements found their way back to the Council of Elders who were only too happy to relay them to HWA. HWA, in turn, has again changed his mind about Ted and is saying it is obvious now that his son has not yet really repented.
A recent meeting in Big Sandy between HWA and Ted's son Mark yielded no positive results, and now both HWA and GTA are saying a reconciliation is not possible. As HWA gets older, the Council of Elders will continue to grow in influence. Should HWA die or become incapacitated, it is legally empowered to choose his successor. In all likelihood that will be Roderick C. Meredith.
GTA STARTS NEW BUSINESS
With hope for a reconciliation with his father fading, Garner Ted Armstrong is faced with the challenge of trying to develop his organization during a tine when inflation and recession fears are causing many nonprofit organizations real financial headaches. It is therefore not surprising that GTA is putting greater emphasis on mandatory tithing - especially since many of his members have done Bible research and concluded that Christians are not required by God to tithe. For instance, the July issue of The International News contained a huge article by Ted Armstrong on the subject of tithing. Here's one quote (p. 11, emphasis theirs):
"The... Church of God reconfirms and reemphasizes its adherence to the basic principle of tithing as established and exemplified in God's Word. The Church teaches the giving of tithes because it is the law of God. Consequently, the withholding of one's tithes, which violates that law, IS A SIN."
But tithe payments are not GTA's only revenue source. We noticed, for instance, that the same issue of The International News had an advertisement offering video cassette tapes of GTA programs for $25 each and an eight-part audio cassette album for "the low price of $29.95." The ad was placed by The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, which readers will recall is separately incorporated from the Church of God, International.
Then on page 5 of the same publication there appeared an almost full-page ad announcing "Peter's Story," a novel by Garner Ted Armstrong. You can order that one for $12.95 plus $1.50 postage.
The ad said: "Peter's Story is a novelization of the big fisherman's tempestuous years with Jesus, faithful to the original text, yet with sufficient additional material that it should be viewed more as a novel than a history. "
The ad for the book was placed by Emerald Enterprises, Tyler, Texas. According to the fictitious names records of the Smith County courthouse in Texas, Emerald Enterprises is owned by Garner Ted Armstrong.
HWA STILL GOING STRONG
While GTA struggles to keep his organization afloat by selling novels and video tapes of himself, his father continues to amaze both his followers and his critics by being incredibly active at age 89. Recent issues of The Worldwide News show Herbert jetting with his entourage (usually includes his nurse Ruth Nestor and his executive assistant Bob Fahey) to speak before large congregations in Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, and all across the U.S.
Some have wondered if HWA does not perhaps view the current string of speaking engagements as a kind of farewell tour. During his commencement address to the graduating seniors in Pasadena this year, he actually commented that it might be his last commencement address. Others feel the effort is being made in order to hold together a church that has been badly hurt by the infighting of the last decade.
While HWA does continue to amaze just about everyone, we have noticed that he is not changing his "winning game" marketing methods. Recent co-worker letters sound almost like reruns of those from 20 years ago. (Sometimes they are.) Notice, for instance, this excerpt from his July 14 co-worker letter (emphasis his):
"As of the first of this month the income financially for the Work in the U.S. was up some 22 percent - growing once again, after a 12-year drop, toward a 30 percent increase. But in the last 30 days - since we entered the summer months - there has been a significant DROP. Now the month to date shows an increase of only 13.5 percent, and the past five or six weeks has brought the year-to-date increase down to 18.7 percent. THAT IS ALARMING!
"We have been adding very powerful and leading TV stations, and plan to add more. BUT UNLESS OUR BRETHREN WILL SACRIFICE FURTHER, THAT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE. We were, 30 days ago, in the best financial condition ever in the Work. Right now as I write, the situation is ALARMING! I have to ask you to PRAY earnestly, and to sacrifice for the most important operation and activity on earth!"
STANLEY RADER UPDATE
The July 20 Los Angeles Herald Examiner contained this item in Jeff Silverman's page 2 column:
"RADER OF THE LOST INFLUENCE. Things are moving along quite cozily between state Attorney General George Deukmejian and Stanley Rader. (You know Stan. He's the Worldwide Church of God's Herbert Armstrong's right hand. He's also suing all the folks behind "Raiders of the Lost Ark" for zillions.) Well. Though Stanley's officially stepped down from his church honchoship, he just told KMPC's Mr. Tough Guy Chuck Ashman he still carries home $300,000 a year as 1) exec veep of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation and 2) personal adviser to The House of Herb. And that's not even The Fun Part. This is: Two years ago, Deukemjian and Rader were hooked in the throes of legal woes over the alleged misappropriation of $70 million of church funds for personal use. The suit disappeared when a new state law prohibiting the attorney general from suing church leaders was passed. Now brace. Rader told Ashman he'll back The Duke's Republican bid for the governorship with Major Funds. Says Rader, 'Deukmejian's a man of integrity and common sense. He dropped the lawsuit against us.' Oh."
Stanley Rader has riot just "stepped dam from his church honchoship." He's been pushed off. Herbert Armstrong has been privately bragging to associates that Stanley has been "effectively contained." On Sept. 15, the Pasadena Star-News reported:
"Stanley R. Rader ... has been removed from ministerial functions in the Pasadena-based Worldwide Church of God, and no longer represents the church in any official function.... If he is no longer a minister, Rader said he has not been informed. In any case, the position was one of rank only, he said, and did not entail his performing ministerial functions. 'Not to my knowledge am I no longer a minister,' Rader said. 'I have been advised that I am not an evangelist, which is a matter of rank rather than function.'"
Whatever way Rader wants to describe it, he is no longer ordained. Rader does continue to receive a salary of about $200,000 per year (plus perqs) from the church. Supposedly this is for his "consulting" services. However, Ellis LaRavia, who has taken over many of Rader's AICF duties, told the Star-News that Rader does very little consulting. "It is very insignificant at this point," said LaRavia. Also, the termination point of Rader's contract has been cut back to 1987. It originally extended to the year 2003.
Rader has not been officially disfellowshipped, but some insiders are saying there has been a "de facto" disfellowshipping. Herbert Armstrong has been telling ministers that Rader is not really converted and that they should not have dealings with him. Not only that, virtually all of Stan's closest associates in the church have been disfellowshipped. That includes Henry Cornwall, Jack Bicket, Joe Kotora, John Kineston, and Jack Kessler.
None of those disfellowshipped seem very pleased by the action. And in fact, like thousands of others improperly and unfairly put out of the church in the last decade, they too may have good reason to believe they are being railroaded. Lawyer/CPA Jack Kessler and accountant Henry Cornwall have been particularly upset by their banishment and have indicated they don't intend to take the abuse lying down. We would not be surprised to see Stanley Rader come to their legal assistance.
The Sept. 15 Star-News article had this interesting conclusion:
"Rader said there is no truth to claims that he was removed because he had proposed that Armstrong, now 89-years-old, be placed in an institution. Rader said, however, that he had advised Armstrong to change his operations to prevent anyone from placing the church under a conservatorship because of his condition.
"A new state law, Rader said, strengthened the ability of members of the board of directors, or even relatives, to put Armstrong's operations under conservatorship. 'They all might have standing over his person,' Rader said.
"Armstrong refused his advice, Rader said. Armstrong has moved from his Tucson home to one in Pasadena. His wife Ramona remains in Tucson."
RADER TO CLEAN UP HOLLYWOOD?
While Stanley Rader does have his critics and there are perhaps a number of somewhat negative observations that can be made about him, there is one positive comment about Stanley that can be made without fear of contradiction - he never ceases to entertain.
Take, for instance, the Aug. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. For those readers who are not familiar with it, The Hollywood Reporter is a slick daily trade publication, serving the needs of the Hollywood movie industry. Like Daily Variety, its readers are mostly film distributors, movie producers, directors and actors.
A typical issue has articles dealing with ticket sales figures on new hit movies, costs of movies now in production, and Hollywood gossip columns. A large percentage of its advertising is placed by talent agencies trying to get parts for new talent. For instance, a typical ad will feature a picture of a sexy starlet with her name and the name of her agent. But in the Aug. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter something new was seen. That issue had a full-page ad containing a photo of Stanley Rader at a microphone. The accompanying text simply read "Stanley R. Rader of The Ark of the Covenant."
No wonder some readers were shocked. What did it mean? Was Stanley trying to get a movie role? Was he trying to convert Hollywood? Was he claiming to be Yahveh? We still don't know, but we'll be the first to admit it - Stanley is entertaining.
Another example: On Aug. 13 Stan appeared on NBC's "Tommorrw" show with Tom Snyder (the show that GTA cancelled out on). It was another remarkable performance for Stan Rader. Here are a few excerpts from the interview which followed a puppet show act:
RADER: [talking about Robert Kuhn and himself] In 1968 we began to dig in Jerusalem and from that time forward, Kuhn and I knew that eventually there would be a very good chance that we would discover the Ark of the Covenant. And by 1976, he decided that it might be a good idea to anticipate that by writing a screenplay or a screen treatment. I encouraged him to do so. We were very, very close....
SNYDER: Who is Stanley Rader? Is he a man who is concerned about ecumenism and the preachings of the Lord? At one time you were described as the heir apparent to Herbert Armstrong of the Worldwide Church of God. Now Stanley Rader is involved in a lawsuit involving a major motion picture which has grossed over $100 million so far. Who is Stanley Rader? Is he jumping from one thing to another, trying to attach his name to get great controversy and possibly achieve a profit for himself? Is he a man who is avenging the word of God? Who is Stanley Rader?
RADER: Very, very good question.
SNYDER: It's an excellent question, believe me.
RADER: And I was afraid you were going to ask me that.
RADER: Uh, basically, I'm the same person I was when we met three years ago.
SNYDER: Well that could go either way you know.
RADER: I'm a member of the church. I'm a minister.... [Snyder, appearing somewhat suspicious, then questioned Rader on his "motivation in life." Rader talked of starting a nonprofit organization to restore the image of the Ark, supposedly cheapened by movie producer Lucas and company. But when pressed further by Snyder, Rader admitted he did want to make money from the lawsuit.)
SNYDER: Are you more interested in seeing legal and moral justice done or making some money on this? I have problems finding your motivations Stanley - only because of the past.
RADER: Well, one's motivations can always be mixed. I naturally want to recover what's ours. I also would like to see that the industry in Hollywood is cleaned up. There's a lot going on in Hollywood that you know and I know goes on, that I am now in a position - because of the lawsuit - to focus on. And if I can protect other writers who have been in essence ripped-off by the system, I will have accomplished something. I won't change the whole system any more than Ralph Nader, when he took on General Motors, was able to change everything in the automobile industry, but we all know that it's different today than it was then...."
The discussion continued on in a similar fashion until Snyder had to break for a commerical. He tried to make a few transitional comments but became tougue-tied as the words just wouldn't come out right. Chuckling, he turned to Rader and said: "You nuke me crazy Stanley."
ROBINSON SUIT SETTLED
Since the appearance of David Robinson's book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web ($10, from John Haddem Publishers, P.O. Box 35982, Tulsa, OK 74135), many of you have written to us about how shocking it was to discover what Herbert Armstrong's private life is really like. As many of you are aware, Herbert Armstrong never sued David Robinson over the book, nor did any other Armstrong family members sue. However, as we reported in past newsletters, Robinson was burdened by a noisome suit brought, with Armstrong's approval, by two Armstrong employees, Henry Cornwall and Sherwin McMichael (both now disfellowshipped).
Now we are very pleased to announce that that legal battle has finally cone to a close. Here is Mr. Robinson's letter to us explaining what happened:
"For those interested in our problem with Herbert Armstrong here in Tulsa I am pleased to report that Worldwide got out its checkbook about a month ago and settled. And yes, in court the plaintiffs finally had to admit the church was behind the suit! Their check was for $25,000. One would have to conclude that God was not with them here in Tulsa. He did not want them trampling all over the truth and the basic rights of others in order to cover their sins, which are as scarlet! What Herbert Armstrong did in secret was shouted from the housetops. Also, I am sure, based on what is now happening, that there will be much, much more. The stench is so great that there simply has to be another, and much bigger, explosion.
"I would also like to say that those who helped us with our legal expenses really saved the day and enabled us to continue until Herbert Armstrong had enough. Almost $8,000 came in from several hundred very helpful people, for which we are very thankful. When these two sums were combined, the total just barely paid our legal expenses. Good lawyers come high, but poor lawyers come even higher. I had both.
"Approximately 6,000 copies of Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web have gone out to interested people, and when the income and expenses are tallied too they just about balance out. (Many copies were sold wholesale to stores, and several hundred were sent free in special cases.) So, while the operation didn't end up costing us anything except much time and effort, it didn't make us anything either. Not that we expected it to. But copies were sent to governments, ambassadors, and influential people all over the world. Hundreds of libraries now stock this vital book. We took the time and money to fully inform the media powers that be, both by letter and by phone. They now know. Of course, the Ambassador Report has done so much for so many years to furnish the necessary, the very necessary, information to those who should know. I myself am really a late comer onto the field, but because of this effort, the world now knows the real Herbert Armstrong, and he can no longer hide behind his false image.
"The truth is that this man is so profligate, so practiced a liar, so evil that he can only be a direct servant of Satan the devil. He operates in the name of God to serve his own wicked self, just as he took his own teenage daughter and abused her for 10 years, in the name of God! Many of his ministers know this and privately say so. He has brought great shame on the name of God and on true religion."
JOHN TUIT CONTINUES CRUSADE
With WCG members soon to converge on the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts for the Feast of Tabernacles, WOCB radio personality Dave Damkoehler invited WCG minister Jim Franks to appear on his radio talk show. Franks accepted, but when he was told that author John Tuit would also appear, he cancelled out saying, "I won't even be in the same room with Tuit!"
Damkoehler then called WCG headquarters in Pasadena asking if they could provide a replacement for Franks or even an on-the-air telephone caller to respond to Tuit's radio comments. The WCG declined the offer.
On Oct. 12, Tuit showed up at the station only to discover that Damkoehler had fielded five hours worth of phone calls from local businessmen trying to get the station to cancel the Tuit interview. It seem that minister Franks had gone to certain leaders of the local business community and threatened to keep the WCG out of the Cape Cod area the following year if WOCB gave Tuit any air time.
Damkoehler politely ignored the advice given by the callers and went ahead with the Tuit interview. Afterward, Tuit went over to the auditorium where the WCG was making ready for the upcoming Feast services and left a copy of his book for Franks. It was inscribed, "To Jim Franks - who should not have feared to meet me face to face."
It is no secret that Tuit has been critical of many of the organizational and business practices of the WCG. But ironically, Tuit does believe in many of the fundamental doctrines of the WCG. A glowing review in the Sept. 1981 issue of The Bible Advocate made mention of this very fact. Yet while Tuit feels a strong affinity for both the WCG's doctrines and its people, its ministry will simply not give him the time of day. Nor will they tolerate members who read his book. Yet some are reading it.
John Tuit called us recently and said he is continuing to actively promote his Armstrong expose The Truth shall Make You Free ($8 per copy from The Truth Foundation, 11 Laurel Court, Freehold, NJ 07728). His promotional efforts include mailing out flyers to thousands of WCG members describing his book's contents in detail.
Mr. Tuit told us that he is getting a fairly good response from flyers mailed to church members. If you have friends in the WCG that you would like to help, here is an excellent opportunity. Simply type or print clearly their names and addresses on a piece of paper and mail your list to John Tuit at the above address. He said he will mail every individual a flyer as soon as possible.
Over the years we have heard of hundreds of families broken up due to the erroneous teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong. Then some years ago when the WCG finally changed its so-called "divorce and remarriage" doctrine, we assumed the WCG ministry would stop meddling in marriages and discontinue the practice of encouraging some individuals to leave their spouses. Unfortunately, we were mistaken.
During the last few months we have discovered that some WCG ministers are indeed at it again. Now, however, a previous marriage is not the excuse used for breaking up homes. Lack of faith in Herbert Armstrong seem to be the grounds some ministers are using to justify the encouragement of divorce. The following letter is typical:
"My story is as sad as any you might have heard of. My wife of 20 years has divorced me because I am not a WCG member and do not think the world will end in 1982 or 1989. A member since 1965, she had said she would give it [the WCG] up if the world did not end by 1973, as was so widely indicated back in those days. But of course when 1974 rolled around HWA said: 'I never said that.' You know the story better than I.
"My problem is I have daughters (18, 16 and 11) and a 13-year-old son who believe in the WCG and HWA simply because I allowed their mother to take them with her to church. As you also know, they simply will not read Robinson's or Tuit's books or your AR because they are forbidden to do so. I am searching for some soft-sell information that will plant the seed of desire to search for the truth. So if you know of anything and have the time to do so, please inform me of it.
"I have hopes of someday getting my wife back and pray that she might one day see the truth too. HWA can't live forever, and maybe if GTA does come back, he'll get things back on his liberal track and off HWA's new tightening-up policy. May the true God in heaven watch over us and guide us. I need some help so please do help if you can. Keep the Report coming, even if you must shorten the pages."
While all WCG ministers are not guilty in this regard, there are clearly a number of them around the U.S. who, in their zeal to serve Herbert Armstrong, have adopted policies that even Herbert himself might not condone. This has happened because Herbert - distrusting those around him - is attempting to administer the field ministry without the aid of the kind of administrative hierarchy the church has had in times past.
HWA's current church management theory is that all ministers should be responsible directly to him, without the benefit of intermediaries (not unlike the New Testament doctrine of no intermediaries between the spirit-led Christian and Christ - I Tim. 2:5). But while this new concept of human government espoused by HWA (and contrary to the general idea found in Ex. 18:13-26) sounds good to some, from a human organizational point of view it has been a dismal failure.
Some WCG ministers are now saying that, while the past administrations of Rod Meredith, Wayne Cole, and David Antion may have had their shortcomings, there was at least a national church policy on most administrative problems and a proper chain of administrative authority to turn to to resolve questions of policy.
Now, however, there is not even that. At age 89, HWA is obviously not capable of handling even a handful of the many problems besetting the field ministry. With no adequate organizational structure or written policy to turn to for guidance, many ministers are simply "doing their own thing."
In some cases the results of that independence have not been all that bad, but in a number of situations, especially where the local yokel is willing even to break up homes in an effort to assert his own will, the results have been disastrous.
We regularly receive letters from individuals asking for advice on how to save a marriage being interferred with by the WCG. Unfortunately, while we want to help and while we do want to do all we can to assist, we are not experts in solving this kind of problem. We are not professional marriage counselors. Who then should such individuals turn to?
First of all, of course, there a professional marriage counselors that may be of assistance. Your phone book probably lists a few. Then, if a minister is indeed guilty of breaking up the home, there may be grounds for an alienation of affection lawsuit, and the services of a good lawyer may prove necessary. Again, check your phone book.
But while both of these may prove of some use, there may still be a major problem in getting proper advice. Unless they have had extensive dealings with the WCG in the past, many professionals will not be able to give the kind of advice that will bring satisfactory results in reasonable time.
With that in mind, it might be wise for those in this predicament to contact some of the WCG ministers that have resigned in the last few years. Their knowledge of church doctrine, church policies, and personalities may prove invaluable. We've heard of a number of individuals who were able to save their marriages through the help given by such men as Al Carrozzo, (P.O. Box 129, Vacaville, CA 95688), Howard Clark (Rt. 1, Box 230B, Oroville, CA 95965), and David Robinson (see p. 5).
Another former WCG minister who ray be able to help is David Antion. Mr. Antion is related by marriage to the Armstrong family and was formerly a top WCG official, so he knows both the church's doctrines and its personalities. He also has an
(accredited) master's degree in marriage counseling, is close to obtaining his doctorate in educational psychology from USC, and is licensed by the state of California as a marriage counselor. He can be contacted by writing to: David Antion, 311 Waverly Dr., Pasadena, CA 91105.
CALL THAT A SURVEY?
The form letter from Ambassador College's David Albert began nicely enough:
"We would like to know more about you and your fellow Ambassador College graduates! For sometime now the faculty and administration have wanted more information about Ambassador College graduates, such as how they fare in world vocations and careers after graduation. What are they doing for a living? What are they earning? And what are they doing in their local congregations by way of service to the Church?
"The enclosed, strictly anonymous, one-page questionnaire has been carefully designed to give us the answers to those questions - and to be as simple and easy for you to fill out as possible. And, the answers to those questions will help us to build an even better Ambassador College for the future."
The accompanying small questionnaire asked the usual demographic-type questions regarding age, sex, marital status, education level, occupation, yearly income, etc. The survey then went on to ask a number of questions designed to rate various Ambassador College factors - academic experience, vocational training, etc. - with regard to their value to the individual after graduation.
While the survey questions could have been improved a bit, overall we thought the idea of doing such a survey was very commendable. After all, what better way to improve Ambassador College than to ask its graduates to give their reflections and suggestions? A very meritorious idea indeed, we thought. Until, that is, we discovered the survey was not sent to all Ambassador College graduates, but only to those still in the good graces of Herbert W. Armstrong!
For instance, not one of the publishers of Ambassador Report received the survey questionnaire. Not that that matters, because our opinions are made quite available in our newsletters, which we know, for a fact, are read by virtually every Ambassador College administrator, WCG evangelist, and Plain Truth editor. But scores of other alumni say they too did not receive the survey questionnaire.
Now we ask: Is this any way to conduct an objective poll? What if president Ronald Reagan were to conduct a survey of Americans to ascertain his degree of support in the United States, but in doing so excluded all Democrats from the survey? Would that be fair? Would that be intelligent? Or would his results be highly biased?
Dave Albert's own letter says:
"To be most effective and accurate, we need a very high percentage of responses to this survey, so please do give us your responses as soon as possible."
We'd like to ask Dave Albert: Did you really want to see an "effective and accurate" survey? Or, come June are Plain Truth readers going to be treated again to the annual Ambassador College recruitment article, this time complete with the results from the latest "scientific survey" of satisfied Ambassador College graduates?
If that will be the case, we hope you'll pardon our skepticism when we read that 97 percent of all AC graduates praise their AC degrees, 98 percent are thrilled with their career opportunities, 99 percent are experiencing "real abundant living," and only one alumni married couple ever got divorced ("because they didn't follow Mr. Armstrong's advice - but soon they way be reconciled anyway").
HWA ON EDUCATION
Every so often we come across a statement in WCG literature that clearly reflects that organization's nature. On page one of the Aug. 10, 1981, issue of The Worldwide News, we came across an article by Robert E. Fahey concerning Herbert Armstrong's recent trip to Britain. In describing HWA's address to a group of high-school-aged youngsters at the church's SEP summer camp, Fahey wrote:
"He said he could not recommend the universities of this world. The main thing wrong in the world today is education. The institutions of higher learning are teaching people the wrong way.
"He said man needs three kinds of knowledge; how to deal with things, how to deal with people and how to relate to God. The schools can teach how to deal with things - that is fine. But universities attempt to teach how to deal with people - psychology is an example. But they know nothing of the spirit in man and how attitudes are formed. Therefore their knowledge is wrong.
"He added that we had men who have finished Ambassador, understood God's Word, and then went to these outside universities. And they have gone off - possibly for all eternity. He said he could not recommend law, medicine, and the social sciences."
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Robert Shnayerson, never a WCG it member, but formerly the editor of Quest magazine, is now the editor and publisher of a new magazine called Technology, "The Magazine of Applied Science." Subscription information can be had by writing to: Technology, 2200 Central Avenue, Boulder, CO 80301.
Jim Doak, former WCG minister, recently wrote that he and his wife are now living in Tulsa and doing well. One business venture he is involved in is marketing Pro-Vita Corp. nutritional products. He mentioned that, for a $5 processing fee, he will send an application form and a packet of information to anyone interested in starting a nutrition products distribution business. His address is: J & B Christian Enterprises, P.O.Box 9737, Tulsa, OK 74107.
Jack Martin, formerly an Ambassador College and AICF executive, is now the president and publisher of Texas Business magazine, a leading business journal based in Dallas. Jack was recently surprised by a phone call from WCG evangelist Frank Brown, the minister who had disfellowshipped him from the WCG. Ironically, though Jack had not heard from him for some tine, Evangelist Brown wanted to know if Jack might have a job opening in the near future.
Harry Eisenberg - one-time PT and GN writer, author of several TV scripts for the Garner Ted Armstrong program, and the person who did the shocking biblical research in 1973 that disproved the WCG's tithing doctrine, causing repercussions throughout the church - spent two weeks in the Pasadena area in August. Now residing near Bethlehem, Israel, he flew out to Los Angeles to discuss with Twentieth-Century Fox executives a film script he had recently written and submitted to them. In Israel now Harry is testing his entrepreneurial abilities by setting up his own business while doing free-lance writing. While engaged in these activities, he was one of a nunber of Israelis who founded Atzma'ut, a new political movement for an economically independent Israel. The movement feels Israel should institute a "free enterprise system with goverment restrictions reduced to a minimum. " Atzma'ut also calls for Israel to adopt a "bill of rights... to guarantee and protect the rights and freedom of the individual form arbitrary government action."
NEW GROUPS AND GROUPS NEW TO US
It's too bad religious organizations in general aren't completely open with their financial expenditures. Wycliffe Translators (translate the Bible into small, tribal languages) recently published their expenditures, showing a full 80 percent went to the targeted work of translation and publishing. Interestingly, the founder insists on a democratic organization at meetings and in administration. He mostly sits and listens. (By the way, "governments" is the seventh-listed gift of the Holy Spirit noted by Paul; if he listed the gifts in order of importance, government is not the most important thing on God's mind, as Mr. Armstrong has claimed; at least within the church.)
AR Reader, Oregon
Editor: The address for the nondenominational Wycliffe Bible Translators is Huntington Beach, CA 92648.
Seventh Day Singles Association
8460 Marsh Road
Algonac, MI 48001
Robert E. Erickson Ministries
7882 16th Street, #A
Westminster, CA 92683
General Council of the Churches
of God, 7th Day
302 E. Gruber Ave.
Meridian, Idaho 83642
The British Israel World Federation
2nd Floor, Toga House
117 York Street
Sydney, Australia 2000
P.O. Box 228
Waynesville, NC 28786
The Catholic Church of God
"Teaching New Testament Judaism"
810 E. Walnut
Pasadena, CA 91101
Rt 1, Box 424
Henryetta, OK 74437
The Christian Church of God
1008 W. 7th Street
Amarillo, TX 79101
All friends in Britain are welcome to read current and past issues of Ambassador Report and other literature relating to recent incredible events in the Worldwide Church and at Ambassador College. Please contact: R.M. Kachere, 50 Rosemary Ave., London, England N.3.
I can always count on your report to bring moments of hilarity into my otherwise dull and monotonous life. Where else could I read about the formation of yet another church of God? What next? The Apocalyptic Last-Chance-Ever Universal Free Life Unified Church of God in Mission, Kansas, perhaps? Believing, of course, in all tenets of the WCG, but without guidance from the Great Helmsman, HWA, now in discredit.
And then there is the question of GTA's income. Is it the $42,000 of record (with perqs) or the whispered $60,000? And would the extra $18,000 grant him a greater, or lesser, amount of "the spirit?'' The extra $78,000 would of course flow from GTA's humble flock.
To top it off, there's a further discussion of musical taste in the WCG, past and present. Come on folks, it's only logical that GTA would disdain Bach and Debussy. What else can he expected from someone the highlight of whose musical life was to croon (if that is the proper word) on the "Hee Haw" television show?
And finally, Gerald Waterhouse. Can he still be sputtering forth on the significance of the name "Armstrong, " the great city of Petra, and the numbers 7, 21, 19 and 666? I'll bet the members still bring air cushions to his sermons, or if they forget, will make sure they do for the next sermon.
Editor: Concerning Waterhouse, yes, he's still at it. And your cushion suggestion is a very good one. Some of Gerald's most recent sermons have clocked in at 4=-hours duration. A popular theme espoused by him these days is that GTA is still Joshua in prophecy but that he can't return to the WCG yet for "he is still wearing filthy garments."
Thanks so much for the last Report. Our minister at Worldwide is now making Rader the fall guy for all church ills. He says it takes years to prove one's conversion and HWA knew all along Stan was never converted, but HWA did it [baptized him] for the church's sake.
After reading the Report we asked him questions he couldn't answer. He just got mad and said we were in a bad attitude. There are still people in Worldwide who think Rader is a "good" guy. We went along with GTA for a while but found him up to old tricks. After 20 years in WCG, we're sticking around to see what happens next, so please don't use my name in your publication. If it wasn't for the AR we wouldn't know anything. Thanks for taking a stand for the truth. By the way, HWA at an Ozark ministerial meeting said he never knew a converted Jew.
Editor. Does that also include Jesus Christ?
Your latest issue mentioned Larry Johnson and the congregation of Yah. Since I have been in contact with them since late 1977, I thought you would be interested in knowing that they are still intact in Phoenix, AZ. They are just barely hanging on but are continuing their research in various doctrinal and biblical areas. I have tried to assist them in their research by sending various newspapers, books, special reports and publications, etc. There are only the four adults and the children.
I have enclosed the last newsletter (#25) for your information. You haven't heard from them for two reasons; lack of money and the poor health of Mr. Johnson. I personally am not aware of any bizarre rituals practiced by them, though I am a fair distance from their location. I would be interested in any information you have about them. The reports of violence were explained in newsletter #23 as being caused by the KKK and witchcraft groups being near their location.
As far as I know, the police in Arkansas have realized who was really behind it. I can find only one newsletter (# 23) described as a "War Bulletin, " That was based on the lot or plummet which has since proved to be not 100 percent accurate yet. That newsletter did say "if" the lot is true then Mr. Johnson, as a witness, would have started his mission Sept. 23, 1979. The enclosed newsletter #25 should give you a good idea of what he has been doing and his plans for the future. I think you will find several areas where you will agree with him. Take special note of the addresses at the end. Your comments ahout Mr. Johnson were all very negative, which is not surprising since I don't believe you have ever tried to get Mr. Johnson's viewpoints. In the interest of fairness, would you take this into consideration.
Editor: Thank you for telling us about Mr. Johnson's latest activities. It is appreciated. However, based on what we've read in some of his mailouts, what we have been told by some who've left his group and especially what we have observed in face-to-face encounters with "Witness" Johnson, we stand by what we've written.
You seem to feel that our use of the word "bizarre" is inappropriate. Yet look carefully at the contents of the newsletter you sent us (published 8/11/80) by Johnson's Congregation of Yah - now apparently named L.I.B.R.A. or the Laodicean Biblical Research Association. On page two we found the following:
"We raise guinea pigs, and several of them represent people or groups that we and Yahveh have dealt with over the last several years. What happens to these guinea pigs individually we feel indicates prophetically the fate of the individual or group they represent. Go ahead and laugh; you would no doubt have laughed at Isaiah lying naked on his side building toy dirt forts and calling them the siege of Jerusalem. At any rate, we took three adult males representing Tom Drake-Kuhn, Nagele-Rader and Andy Korsun-the WCG ministry to try and sell them when we went down to Beebe or Little Rock recently. The temperature was about 109 degrees and even though the Blazer was air- conditioned (rather poorly), the Drake guinea pig dropped dead of heat prostration before an hour was up. As I held the dead guinea pig I was shocked to see the other two were also in bad shape. We watched in helpless horror as the Rader pig went through convulsion after convulsion before dying. We finally arrived at my mother's house and managed to keep the third animal alive. However, this animal, representing the WCG ministry, had weakened its heart and died the next day from the shock of the ordeal. Like I said, if I'm not a real prophet...."
Maybe we should not refer to this type of practice as "bizarre," because it is really not all that unique. In fact, according to many anthropologists this type of divination has been practiced by thousands of witch doctors and medicine men in primitive tribes around the globe for thousands of years. Sir James Frazer labeled this type of sorcery Homoeopathic Magic. A very thorough explanation of it (and the falacious reasoning upon which it is based) can be found in chapter three of his classic work, The Golden Bough.
We had been members of this cult for 10 years and are out about three years now. We were warned about the consequences of leaving - that everything goes downhill when you leave the WCG- but since then my husband has received a promotion at work, we have a nice checking account, our home is paid off, we have a brand new car paid off and numerous other items of furniture that we needed or wanted ("material things").
We are more content now that we are not ruled by man, but God himself. Religion truly is slavery. We also had a reunion, much needed, with his brother - a much needed trip which we could not afford while in the WCG.
One matter saddens me deeply. I often read success stories of individuals who have broken free from the WCG and then found themselves able to employ their creative abilities in rebuilding their lives. You continue to cite cases where this is true. However I wonder if it occurs to you that there may be numerous ex-WCG converts whose experience in the church was such that they are scarred for life, and this in ways which prevent them from finding the success that others have found. I would not like you to think that I regret reading success stories, out of an envious heart or other such negative attitude. It is simply that when an experience such as WCG succeeds in scarring a person, particularly one with various abilities, life becomes very trying and frustrating.
I am one such individual I cannot pursue my career... owing to a continued deep depression, now 11 years since I broke free from the WCG. And on the domestic level, I have, for the same reason, failed in two marriages and find it hard to relate to anyone.
I'm sure I'm not unique in this respect. As for the success stories, I am happy to learn that God is blessing such people so abundantly, but please remember the people who have suffered gross mental and emotional damage as a result of being in "God's only true church."
Editor. Yes, we really do enjoy running comments from readers who are doing well and are happy. But we are not trying to leave the impression that simply leaving the WCG solves all problems. Just as joining the Armstrong church is no panacea, neither is leaving it a panacea.
We have observed over the years that most people who leave Worldwide do go through a period of adjustment. While for some that adjustment is brief and relatively painless, for others it can be long and extremely difficult. We've noticed that most people, after being out for a few years, finally settle down psychologically. Many report that once they "got their head together" they felt at peace with God, with society and with themselves. Most have then been able to concentrate on career, family and other worthwhile pursuits with satisfying results.
Nevertheless, as your letter indicates, some never seem to fully recover from their contact with Armstrongism. Our files are filled with hundreds of letters from individuals who've paid very dearly for the "Ambassador experience." Yet, without belittling the extent of those tragedies, let us recognize the fact that we do live in a world of incredible fear, ignorance, superstition and suffering - especiallly suffering. And when we compare our experience with those of the rest of mankind, we should realize that for all the craziness of Armstrongism and seeming futility of the "Ambassador experience," our experience in many ways is not all that unique. Is not this world filled with tragedy, disappointment, misdirection and deception?
Yet there are those who survive - not just in the flesh, but in spirit. The whys and hows of this subject are very complex. Indeed, does this theme not make up a great portion of the world's greatest literature? And are not these matters the subject of great debates in theology, philosophy and psychology?
A quick browse through most any bookstore will reveal an absolutely incredible number of books coming out constantly that deal with achieving sound mental health, success and happiness. From time to time we have recommended a few that we have found helpful. Of course, we do not presume (as some organizations do) to have all the answers to everyone's problems. But let us mention one article we came across that we suspect may be particularly helpful. It is entitled "The Search for Happiness" and can be obtained free (as are all their very worthwhile newsletters) by writing: The Royal Bank of Canada, Monthly Letter, P.O. Box 6001, Station A, Montreal, P.Q. H3C 3A9 Canada.
I would definitely like to continue receiving your Report which is very informative and well written. It's nice to know what's really going on in that church. The tithes are really making it rough.
Editor. If tithing is really beginning to hurt, may we suggest that you read "The Tithing Fallacy" by Ernest Martin. Thousands have benefited from getting this booklet, and for anyone who has been a part of the WCG it should be "must reading." A free copy can be ordered from the Foundation for Biblical Research, P.O. Box 928, Pasadena, CA 91102.
Our personal heartbreak right now is our 24-year-old son who is still in WCG and will not call or come over since that last front page article by HWA on not fellowshipping. It wasn't so bad until that article and now we can't see and enjoy our grandchildren (one is a new baby girl). I have to really work at it to keep from becoming very bitter against that bitter, egotistical old man (HWA). How blind we were for 20 years!
Editor: HWA constantly emphasizes the importance of keeping the Ten Commandments, especially the sabbath command. But the one right after that says, "Honor your father and your mother." This seems to be a forgotten commmandment in the WCG. Your son should read Mark 7:6-13 (that is, if the WCG will let him).
And I mean that very sincerely, you are friends to a lot of people. My life has been so much happier since I've been released from slavery. I do wish I had more to donate to the good cause. My children are still in the WCG and won't listen to anything. I must remember I was also as blind. My son has completely disowned me and my daughter is not as warm as she used to be.
They claim to obey the 10 commandments, but my son has turned against me because I tried to tell him what I had learned. I was about 66 or 67 when I left the WCG and he doesn't know or care if I have enough to live on. But is this Christianity? Not in my book, nor God's. Fortunately, I can still work and have a job with a senior citizen center which I love.
The activities and self-promotion of Herbert W. Armstrong seems to parallel those of Oral Roberts as reported by Jerry Sholes in Give Me That Prime Time Religion. In reading that book, one would think, in most instances, that only the names have been changed. The motives, the ego drives, the ego trips, personal vanity, drive for individual wealth, unreliability in accounting for tithes and offerings, lack of love or concern for church members and most employees of the church or its subsidiaries, remains the same.
It is an insult to the founder of Christianity that these activities are called Christian.
-Mel J. Bradley
Thanks be to God for allowing your efforts to continue during these past years. You are performing a yeoman-like service in keeping your readers informed.
I was disfellowshipped from the WCG on 7/14/81. This was after being thoroughly "brainwashed" as far as biblical matters are concerned. I never have surrendered the portion of my mind that deals with Godly logic, reasoning and common sense. I was "brainwashed" because I was a biblical illiterate and fell under the sway of Armstrongism. But now, God has allowed me to read and understand the Bible for myself as I continue to grow.
Being able to read and understand that "book of books" is the basic reason for my disfellowshipment. The WCG, however, will say I was disfellowshipped because of my failure to recognize "church government."
I attended my first WCG service on 7/19/69 and was baptized by that church on 9/14/69. Through the years l have contributed about $25,000 in tithes and offerings to them. I also have contributed a plethora of questions addressed to the WCG. I have received very few if any answers to the more important of those questions.
I am so sorry I didn't know the "plain truth" about tithing before I contributed so much money to Mr. Armstrong's organization. However I feel as though I have had a 12 year education concerning the religion of men. That education is invaluable to me now. Tithing was one of the latest points I learned the truth about. I stopped tithing almost a year-and-a-half before being disfellowshipped.
I hope what I am about to write will be of some interest to you. I have rock solid proof that the WCG is still observing Pentecost on the wrong day. Part of that proof is in the form of a hand-written letter mailed to me from Mr. Herman L. Hoeh. Mr. Hoeh made the "mistake" of answering some of my questions truthfully and in writing. I don't believe N. T. Gentile Christians have to observe those Holy Days. I am not dealing with the question of whether they should or should not at this time. Only with the question of which is the correct day to observe Pentecost on, if one observes it.
From some time before being disfellowshipped, I sent Ministerial Services a variety of documentation proving a point about the subject of Pentecost. Neither Sunday nor Monday is the correct day. I proved that point to those ministers at Ministerial Services. Mr. Hoeh was finally goaded into answering me in writing. His letter admitted those findings on Pentecost were correct. However, he advised me to observe it on the same day as the WCG does, even though he knew they were wrong. He also wrote that I could observe Pentecost on the correct day privately at home if I chose to do so.
With a minimal of research anyone with some degree of common sense can prove the truth about Pentecost. I believe if the WCG members were told the truth about Pentecost some of them would accept that truth.
Pentecost is only the tip of the iceberg. The WCG is wrong on dozens of issues. Before being disfellowshipped, I asked my local minister, Mr. Abner Washington, to give me the opportunity to prove some of those issues to the WCG ministry. Mr. Washington stated to me that "we can't have that." He then disfellowshipped me.
Mr. Washington, exemplifying the fear and paranoia the church has exhibited over the issue of Pentecost then made a strange move. What was that strange move? Why, he also disfellowshirped my 18-year-old daughter Angela. I say he "disfellowshipped her" advisedly, because while she did attend services, she has never been a baptized member of the WCG. It's hard to fathom how Mr Washington could "disfellowship" someone who is not a member of the church. Her crime? She is "guilty" of also knowing the truth about Pentecost. Her "disfellowshipment" was clearly an attempt to keep a lid on any mentioning of Pentecost by her to WCG members.
To the more adventurous WCG members who are not afraid of being disfellowshipped, I suggest this: Ask Ministerial Services what relationship does Pentecost have to Sivan 6 or Shavuot or Shabuoth? To the more timid and docile WCG members I write this: Please don't let your ministers know you have so much as even heard the words Sivan 6. Why? Because you might be disfellowshipped as I was. On second thought being disfellowshipped from the WCG is a blessing in disguise.
The hierarchy of AC and the WCG enjoys a vast representation both through their own publications and also through the media. AR offers a vehicle to us whereby an alternate point of view may he expressed. Please put me on your mailing list. I think AR richly deserves our support, in whatever form, in its spartan efforts to bring about necessary changes. Please continue to expose both AC and also the WCG's own "Apostle," the "Apostle" Herpe. Whoops!!! Please pardon my faux pas. That is, please expose the WCG's own "Apostle," the "Apostle" Herbie.
-Warren L. Bailey
P.O. Box 78641
Los Angeles, CA 90016
I'm sick and tired of you people constantly harping on Stanley Rader. I think he has not only been a great help to Mr. Armstrong, but has done all of us a world of good. We need him! And I think he would make a tremendous head of the Church if God chooses to take Mr. Armstrong before the end of the age. Who else would be as qualified?
I'm glad you mentioned his illness, because for some reason not too many people knew about it. Id like to send Mr. Rader a get-well card but I don't want any of his enemies in the Church to get it. Do you have his address?
Editor: It's 360 Waverly, Pasadena, CA 91105.
I left the WCG in Sept 1979. went to the CGI Feast in San Antonio, Texas, got really excited about the "new beginning" and sadly watched it all deteriorate into another Armstrong re-run with a new name. I want nothing to do with the Armstrongs now, but I want to keep abreast of current events because I still have some family members in the cult. I am thinking of conducting public meetings in various churches in my local area to educate people about cults and how to avoid them. If you have any advice on this activity, I would appreciate it very much.
Editor: Contact The Citizens Freedom Foundation, P.O. Box 7000-89, Redondo Beach, CA 90277 (213-540-2642). They might be able to offer a suggestion or two.
Actually I could not see how it could be possible for HWA and GTA to ever get together again as your report stated would happen. They and their separate groups have done so much to destroy each other I thought it would be the height of folly and foolishness due to the further division it would cause, but now I suspect it may be just what will happen. It appears obvious that God Almighty is quite displeased with this church and may allow or cause just those things that will bring further division and disintegration. Whereas, the WCG has always discouraged people from reasoning (though God stated in Isaiah 7:78, "Come let us reason together), it would appear God is taking their reason from them. I'm more and more sure now that they will continue to make all the wrong decisions.
I like to hear of what minister has been fired, resigned and where they are as I know a lot of them.
However, when I read that you said Garner Ted was making $60,000 a year I didn't believe that one bit. I feel you are misinformed on this matter as I know they don't have too much money to carry the work and Ted has had to do without an awful lot. Anyone with any sense at all should know that if he had that much money he would have a nice big beautiful car instead of owning a stupid little Toyota. I don't make much money a year and I have a much better car than that. I happen to own a Dodge Aspen which I would like to see Ted have. Whoever gave you that information is lying that is for sure.
The rumours go around also that he is going hack with his Dad which is not one bit true. It must he very embarrassing to him that his Dad has become so corrupt (thanks to Rader). They taught us and taught us well, however that sort of thing happened way back in Bible days when men got corrupt and God rejected them.
Please try and get the true facts from the right source before printing it as it does cause a lot of trouble and some people are stupid enough to swallow all they hear.
Editor: During the Carter Administration, a number of the President's top advisors drove Pintos. California Governor Jerry Brown's official car is a light blue Plymouth Satellite. And, according to the Los Angeles Times ("View," July 28, 1981), Queen Elizabeth, when not being chauffeured to official functions, often drives a "little green Vauxhall station wagon."
As for Garner Ted's alleged poverty, this writer recalls seeing a beautifully maintained classic Model A Ford (ever price one?) on a Pasadena street a couple of years ago with the license plate prominently displaying the letters "GTA." We pulled along side and asked the driver if he had purchased the car from Garner Ted Armstrong. "Oh no," he said, "it's still his. I'm just taking care of it till he moves back to Pasadena." This occurred the same week that Ted was sending out letters telling of his sacrifices on behalf of his new church. At the time, you may recall, he even claimed some of his checks were bouncing.
After nearly 20 years in the WCG and being out now for about 2= years, I simply can't understand how I ever got involved with the Armstrong characters. We need to pray for them both. They need all the help they can get.
Thank you has to be the first thing I say to you. I was a WCG dupe and had given 16 years of my life, plus some $26,000 to cult leader Armstrong.
It was because of your efforts, plus those of Dr. Martin, Marion McNair, Dave Robinson, John Tuit and a few others that now I am beginning to get my mind straghtened out. I really don't believe I will ever be the same, nor will any of those who have been smitten by that dreaded mind-bending organization.
But now I feel that your efforts provide a desperately needed service to help its in the deprogramming process.
Thank you so much for the latest report. I am still right in the middle of this WCG and GTA situation. Being in my ripe old age with children and grandchildren and many friends so deeply involved, all I can do is thank God that he gives me spirit and a sound and inquisitive mind to help me keep my sanity and control my tongue, so they won't have me committed to keep me from upsetting the apple cart.
I have a host of friends that are of the same mind, so we manage to have fellowship and help one another. Also tapes and literature from ministers we can learn from and grow in grace and knowledge to full maturity as real Christians help.
You have been a real help to a great number of us here in this area. Keep it up if possible. Maybe soon something will happen to free all those caught up in this web.
Mere words cannot express my gratitude for your courageous publications. Just why I waited until recent months to write for your reports cannot be explained, except that we were always encouraged in WCG services to stay away from anyone else's publications and/or broadcasts and taped messages.
Your magazine Ambassador Report (1977) deserves some kind of journalistic and/or editorial reward for form and content. "If I were a rich man," to quote a Broadway tune, this magazine would be placed in the hands of every member or prospective member of the WCG.
I stopped attending the... congregation on Jan. 12, when the local pastor resigned to (get ready for this) further his education. He was replaced by a dingaling of his equal... My financial support to the WCG was discontinued approximately two years prior to the time I discontinued attending meetings, but I kept going and knowing all the time that something deeply disturbing inside was wrong and that the flock was being fleeced. The local yokel kept speaking on every subject except the problems in Pasadena.
Many of the lay-members would become irate if anyone was ever critical of the great HiaWathA. A close friend of mine has reached such deep lows of mental anguish over the diabolical mess that he is surely alienating his family and facing financial disaster and a possible jail sentence for some of his actions as a result of being unable to accept the status quo as rotten, and continually attending WCG services.
May I, here and now, propose an "Armstrong Anonymous" organization and at the same time be the first of its possible thousands of members. The only criteria for membership into my AA will he to simply stand stand in front of another human being, in whom you have been self-righteous before, and say: "I was wrong about the Armstrongs." If no one is handily available, a good hand mirror will do. No fees or meetings ever.
Many good people are continuing to follow the Armstrongs because their stubborn pride will not allow them to withdraw, and
like me, they have been so dogmatic toward friends and relatives about their religious beliefs, now it seems impossible to drop out. My uncle told me as much as 20 years ago that anyone who followed an organizational dictator was courting disaster.
I followed the WCG broadcast and studied AC material for 10 years before I ever counseled with a minister. After baptism and entrance into the WCG, I was constantly suspicious of church affairs in Pasadena and elsewhere. There was something about the Armstrongs that just never seemed to be right, and it always irritated me when the minister talked more about the Armstrongs than God in almost any given sermon.
I too have suffered much despair, personal loss, financial strains, and alienation from my husband as a result of his becoming an
ardent WCG co-worker and member. After a year of struggling with trying to expose this devious cult by all the means that I knew how (counseling at Christian Research Institute, psychiatric evaluations, several talks and discussions with my family aware of the nature of this group, and emotional appeals of trying to keep family together), I have almost given up on our young marriage of only four years now. I was forced to file for divorce a year ago as my husband was more intent on tithing 20 percent of his salary than making the house payments and everyday bills. Being the mother of a young two-year-old and pregnant with the second child to whom no savings were being planned, I left to the protection and support of my loving family
who felt appalled at my husbands new-found beliefs which condemn our entire family's long-held Christian ideals... so after seeing the WCG's beliefs and practices, a united, solid, and secure family life was no longer possible.
Anyhow, I still have not signed final papers on the divorce as I wish a final attempt at rescuing this poor, misguided, and confused husband of mine. I have read much on deprogrammings, voluntary and forced, and I feet a confrontation with the real truth given by former Armstrong followers can retrieve ----'s heart back to family where it belongs, not to a cult leader who merely is taking advantage of his misunderstandings and weaknesses. If you know of anyone brave and loving enough to aid me in helping my husband see his grave error, please tell me.
I wish to express my thanks and appreciation for the service you perform. I only wish you could publish the AR more often. Physically, I am handicapped and financially I am poor, but thanks to God and people like you that truly care, I have been spiritually blessed!
Thanks for your efforts. After more than three years, my wife (a WCG member) finally read a copy for herself. Persistence has paid off! One can easily predict a massive fragmentation of WCG that will far exceed anything in the past. Your efforts and many others will help thousands cope with the trauma.
ON THE TRACK AND OFF HIS NOODLE
We were absolutely appalled by what we have just read in the latest (Oct.-Nov. 1981) issue of The Good News. In an article by Herbert Armstrong, titled "Are We Back on the Track?- When We Lack Faith?", HWA laments the fact that youngsters at the church's summer educational camp "habitually demand [sic] a doctor for every little thing. It seems they have been taught at home to rely on doctors rather than God.... I was shocked."
HWA insists emphatically that "drugs can't heal and always have side effects, which are often harmful." He asks if some of the church brethren aren't "going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron," for healing, piously pointing out that King Ahaziah of Israel was allowed by God to die because Ahaziah showed a lack of faith by consulting with Baal-zebub instead of God. In conclusion he asks if "some of you brethren rear your children relying on Baal-zebub in the form of the doctors of our day?"
This article would be hilariously comical if it were not for its very serious implications. Here we have "God's Apostle," considered by the church as spiritually closer to God than any mortal, telling parents that they lack faith if they allow their children to seek medical assistance when injured or ill. Yet HWA himself relies almost exclusively on doctors, drugs, and medicines to cure his infirmities and has done so habitually for, at least, the last several years. He has allowed himself to be literally pumped full of drugs to prolong his life. On Jan. 11, 1979, a newspaper cameraman photographed HWA leaving a Tucson medical clinic where he was receiving medical assistance. At his Tucson home he had a licensed medic living day and night with him.
In November of 1978, Garner Ted Armstrong personally told AR publishers Bob Gerringer and Len Zola that after his father's heart attack, HWA's Tucson home had been turned into a "virtual intensive care unit." Ted also described how he had witnessed his father taking numerous drugs. According to GTA, the number was absolutely astonishing. They were not health-food-type supplements either but "hard-core pharmaceuticals," the type "produced from petrochemicals." And even today, HWA relies on medication and travels with a professional nurse (Worldwide News, Aug. 10, 1981).
It is absolutely the height of hypocrisy for HWA to tell people they lack faith in God if they consult a doctor while he himself is availing himself of their services. (HWA even allowed Evangelist Rod Meredith, HWA's probably successor, to have what was termed "repair surgery" on his eye in the late '60s.) It is indeed lamentable that HWA is "shocked" at children seeking a doctor's advice but thinks nothing of doing the very thing he condemns. No wonder members are consulting doctors: HWA's actions speak louder than words!
With the Feast of Tabernacles about to begin, we purposely held up this already overdue issue in case the feast brought any major announcements. Although it had been rumored for weeks that there were major announcements to be made, there were none made worth mentioning. Feast-goers report that HWA remained in Pasadena, and sermons, as a whole, were very lackluster. One individual commented to us, "It was the most boring feast ever."
Nevertheless, one item of interest: "The place of safety" doctrinal theory (the WCG's answer to the rapture, but with the emphasis on saving the physical, of course) is again making the rounds in church circles. In fact, some WCG ministers are teaching that the end is just about here. While hedging their bet somewhat by saying it might be in 1989, they are claiming it will very likely be in 1982. HWA, however, is apparently having second thoughts about Petra being the place of safety. We'll try to have more on this next time. Our limited funds won't allow this newsletter to get any longer.
Our warmest thanks to all of you who am helping to make Ambassador Report possible.
Ambassador Report is published quarterly as finances allow. Publishers are: Robert Gerringer, Bill Hughes, Mary E. Jones, John Trechak, Leonard Zola and Margaret Zola.
Editor: John Trechak.
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