Al Carrozzo’s Resignation Letter to the Ministry

 Some people stand up for their moral convictions, others not so…

February 8, 1974

Dear Fellow Ministers:

I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of rumors about me. The rumor patrol is usually very effective but not always true. I want to try to set the record straight. You have always been taught to “get all the facts” so please read every word of this letter. You owe it to your people!

Why would a guy who was so dedicated to the work, even to a fault, resign as a minister of the Church and as a Faculty Member of Ambassador College? There is a real reason why I resigned.

Before I get into that and make it plain. I want to give you a little background. I feel it will help you understand and help you JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT!

In 1961 1 sold my plumbing business and came to Ambassador College to study for the ministry. I’ve never been sorry about that. I was a gung-ho super zealot individual. I worked hard, became a Local Elder, Preaching Elder and then a pastor. I took over the H.Q. Counseling and Guidance office, became H.Q. District Superintendent, and later Regional Director over the western half of the U.S. ministry.

I profoundly believed in Church Government and practiced it. I felt Herbert W. Armstrong was Gods true Apostle and the human head of Gods Church. I submitted to his and all other authority over me.

A favorite comment I repeatedly made in class and elsewhere was, “If Herbert W. Armstrong told me to go over to China and dig a hole I would go without question… And if, upon my return Herbert W. Armstrong told me to go back and cover it up I would go without question.”

I meant it! But that is no longer true, WHAT HAPPENED?

It didn’t happen all at once. It began back in 1965. . It was at that time, during the “Billy Glover affair”, that I learned about “Ted’s problem. ” It was quite disillusioning but I went on as usual. However it came up again in 1967. This time I was really disturbed but at the Fall festival I talked to Ted and was convinced it should be forgotten.

In July or August 1971 one of the Evangelists (not Rod Meredith) told me something had come up that could destroy the work. Ted was “in the bonds of Satan.” Most of you know what was happening. I won’t go into all the unsavory details. The end result of the details is Ted was disfellowshipped on January 30, 1972. Upon ‘returning home from a Laker Basketball Game he was confronted by Herbert W. Armstrong and most of the H. Q. Evangelists. It was an emotion packed, traumatic, gut wrenching ordeal.

By this time I began to be more disillusioned. But when I saw Herbert W. Armstrong’s reaction to “Ted’s problem” (I could explain) I became completely

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disillusioned. It was at this time I began to get comments from church members everywhere. The C&G office was a kind of repository for all kinds of garbage. I began to get concerned. I went to Mr. Portune, told him I could write a report. Ho encouraged me to write it. I did and he immediately had me take it to Herbert W. Armstrong after orientation in 1972. AJP DLA RCM and I went to HWA’s office where he read every word of the report.

The report covered many and varied questions the people were asking. Questions about The Work, End of the World, Credibility, GTA, Affluence, the H.Q. Elite, Power Politics, Questions About Stanley Radar, Lack of Biblical Knowledge, Failure to Grow in Grace and Knowledge and much more.

After reading a portion of the section headed “Credibility” Herbert W. Armstrong looked me right in the eye and said, “some one is stirring up these people.” He repeated that statement several times during that meeting. I felt then I would be blamed for what the report contained. (That feeling proved to be true). I didn’t care, I wanted to let HWA know what was going on. I felt it was the most loyal act I could perform.

I gave a follow up sermon the next Sabbath in the “Imperial Church” explaining that something would be done about the peoples frustrations. 1 told them Herbert W. Armstrong was now informed and some kind of action would be taken.

I got many thank you letters from the people. Later I began to get reports, papers, etc. from lay members on doctrinal questions. The question of Divorce and Remarriage came up via a paper written by a member named Bob Sarrett. When I first saw his paper I wouldn’t even look at it. I threw it on the table and forgot it. I dismissed it as coming from a man with an axe to grind. However I went back later and read it with an open mind. It was good, not 100%–but it made some sense.

I later got a book by Guy Duty on the subject of D&R and it too was quite revealing. I talked to others, later a doctrinal committee was formed, we discussed D&R. Papers were written, progress was being made.

It became apparent the committee was divided – Gunar Friebergs – Lester Grabbee – Lawson Briggs – Earnest Martin – Robert Kuhn – Olin Degge – myself and others on the side of reform or revision. Rod Meredith, Clint Zimmerman, Will Berg, Leroy Neff were the hard liners.

We all agreed no one would go to Herbert W. Armstrong alone. All the committee was to -go to him as a unit. We took a virtual blood oath because we knew he was disturbed about it.

Clint Zimmerman broke the trust, went to HWA alone – and the committee was cancelled – you know the rest of the story. The end result was the new booklet on “Marriage and Divorce”. I feel that booklet is the worst piece of literature ever published by A.C.

I was willing to overlook some nightmarish affairs – but when it comes to the Word of God – His truth – Doctrine – I CANNOT COMPROMISE!

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I began to look into other doctrines – others were doing the same. Herbert W. Armstrong got on the defense, lashed out at the congregations.

He gave a series of sermons on D&R. He said if we didn’t agree – get out. When I read the booklet, Marriage and Divorce, I couldn’t take it any more and called Robert Kuhn – asked to see Ted and resigned as a minister and faculty member. Word got out and people began to ask my why I resigned.

I told them!

Ted called me in on November 27 asked me to come back but he wanted me to keep quiet about these things. (He made many other comments in our several meetings which I don’t care to repeat.)

I told Ted I would cool it for a time till I made a decision. I explained to Ted I had no personal hang-ups about him – and I don’t; I really like the guy, his personality, charisma, flair, talent. I must say Ted personally has been very fair with me with one exception.

I’ll explain.

It was at this time that John Mitchell “did his thing” — later Tom Fish. I called them both. I wanted to find out what they did and why.

Ted found out about my phone calls and reacted. He had Al Portune and Dave Antion put me out of the church on Tuesday, December 4, 1973 at 2 P.M. in Dave’s office.

Why?

Because I had called John & Tom. Seven other ministers had called John also but it didn’t seem to make any difference.

On December 8 Ted announced I was to be disfellowshipped and marked. He implied I went to see John and was in some kind of collusion with him. He made people believe he tried to plead with me to not do it but I wouldn’t listen. I was apparently in the bonds of Satan. He was very convincing.

I got a tape of the sermon he gave and frankly he almost convinced me.

I did go see John Mitchell but it was AFTER I was disfellowshipped. I saw him once, talked about doctrine and I haven’t seen him since.

After I was disfellowshipped I bought a plumbing truck, tools and equipment and started in the plumbing business.

However people kept coming to me about “Ted’s problem” and doctrinal questions on D&R, Pentecost, tithing, church eras, commission, Law & Grace, etc.

One Sabbath so many by the house, I didn’t have room for them so I hired a room at the Y.M.C.A. and diverted the people from my

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house to the “Y”. Fifty people showed up. They wanted to continue the meetings, as many as 80 have attended and we are growing.

Fellas there are many more details I could give you but it isn’t necessary at this time.

I’m writing this letter because I wanted you to know my side. I love ALL you guys very much. I know I’ve made some mistakes in dealing with some of you in the past because of the system not because of whats in my heart.

I know a few have somewhat against me. I don’t know what or why. I hear Fred Coulter is one, perhaps one or two others – what ever it is, I’m sorry fellas. Forgive me and be my brothers. I want to be yours.

If any of you want to know more details or if you have any questions please write or call any time.

My P. 0. Box is 64Z, Pasadena Ca. 91101 Or call (213) 792-0158 or (213) .795-4557

With Christian love your brother,

Al Corrozzo


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2 Replies to “Al Carrozzo’s Resignation Letter to the Ministry”

  1. The interesting fact in all of this is that reformers such as Al Carrozzo really didn’t have any lasting effect on the Armstrong movement at large, save to provide advance indication that the parent organization was vulnerable and possibly subject to crumble. None of the 1974 reformers really attracted significant followings or built lasting, sizable organizations. That did not come into play until the Tkach corrections, when “leaders” claiming to be preservationists carved up the movement into the now shrinking and graying splinter groups which we see today.

    Al Carrozzo exposed secret evils. Dr. Ernest Martin demonstrated that the Armstrong doctrines were poorly researched, and were in most cases terminally flawed. Others voted with their feet, and some wrote about it extensively. When the lawsuit and receivership came into play, the mothership managed to shake it off, and recover, even reaching new plateaus until the death of HWA.

    It is very difficult to kill or stamp out a philosophy, even an ascetic, apocalyptic, toxic one. Armstrongism, a fringe group, did spawn conversation and topical debate amongst the mainstream, but rather than having any long-term rejuvenating effect on Christianity, we unfortunately seem to find ourselves firmly esconced in the post-Christian era. If Armstrongism had an influence on those inclined towards prophecy, “prophets” from the mainstream have accumulated a failure rate which rivals that of HWA, and if Armstrongism influenced mainstream acceptance of tithing, even worse abuses and more materialism amongst the mainstream ministry have been the result.

    I hate to say it, but the whole experience resembles the lyrics of an old Phil Ochs song. “I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends.” And, of course, as in the events which inspired that song, the events which we all experienced through Armstrongism were devastating to us, a small circle of friends. Does anybody else really care? Are there people out there who are actually listening to us and heeding the greater lesson? One certainly hopes that that is the case!

    BB

  2. Time will stamp out the failed armstrong movement. It cannot survive in its current form and the idea of reforming it is a loser.

    Sorry Ian.

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