the painful truth about the worldwide church of god
Near Death Experience

By JohnO

A "Near Death Experience," or NDE, has been a phenomena that parapsychologists have studied for more than a hundred years.   Sometimes when a patient dies on the operating table, or has a heart attack, and if and when they recover, many have related strange happenings during the time that they were technically "dead."

While I'm not advocating a solid belief in the subject, it's interesting to note the huge amount of literature available.   For a more complete listing, please check out "Near Death Experiences" on the net, or link to, for a mess of stuff from doctors, Christians, atheists, and people present and past.  Regular and metaphysical book stores, usually have an abundance of material on the subject.  But, let the reader beware.  While many serious scientists, psychologists, and doctors have reason to see validity in what their patients saw during death, there are also tons of quacks, idiots, and fiction accounts from people who want to capitalize on the subject.

They're has been all sorts of criticism of this NDE experience over the years, but no real conclusions.  So many - as always - dismiss the subject because they personally cannot see its validity.  A favorite criticism of NDE's is that a patient is so drugged up during an operation, or they suffer from oxygen starvation in the brain, and thus start to hallucinate.  Critics then say a patient only "dreamed" of a soul separation and that, in fact, they were never really dead.

But, Bruce Greyson M.D., a psychiatrist from the University of Virginia (among many others), takes another approach.  Having made an extensive study on the subject, he finally narrowed his field of research (after flushing out the kooks) to 134 people who had reported NDE's.  He's convinced that an NDE is not induced by drugs or lack of oxygen.  In fact, he says that drugs (anesthetic or otherwise) would only confuse the brain into a stupor about the incident, and any oxygen starvation would distort the happening. 

Since sincere people have been so clear and consistent on the subject of departing the body, the answer had to lie elsewhere.  Dr. Greyson found that people who had NDE's had no problems with disassociation.  Such people had an acceptance of what could and might happen after death, and after having an NDE, this feeling of disassociation would thus be amplified.

For the most part, such viable patients always reported a similar scenario.  When the heart stopped and the brain died, they felt more alive than ever.  They all felt they were released from the body, felt relief from pain, and a freedom and joy they never had while occupying their physical selves.  Many say they saw their bodies below them, and a bright tunnel ahead.  There have been many famous, reliable people who've reported this happening.  Traveling down this bright tunnel, some see benevolent figures that envelope them with love, guidance, and reassurance.  If they remember making it to the end of this tunnel, they may see departed relatives, friends, and meet with those who provide help during this time of transition.  In any case, each returning individual reports the incredible waves of love energy, their total freedom, the expanse of their consciousness, and for the most part, they're angry for having to return to their physical bodies.  The only reasons for these particular people returning,  have been that they were given a choice to do some "unfinished" business, within our earthly dimension, and decided to do so.  But these reasons have always turned out to be altruistic, and never reasons to hurt or dominate others.

However, not all who have had NDE's have reported happy times on the other side.  It appears that if the dying soul is hated filled, selfish, and a dictator of mankind, the experience might be less pleasant.  Although such returning ones have said their "trip" was scary, their return made them see a new lease on life, and sometimes, they've changed their lives to ones of kindness, love and peace to all.

But, in most of the cases, where the person was just one of the normal folks, the experience was reported as totally illuminating.  It appears that one's approach to life might be a governing factor in the experience.  If one of the average people returns, they invariably do so with much more love to all, and many times, they now possess gifts that were never manifested before  . . . like healing characteristics, psychic abilities, anticipation of problems in helping people avoid accidents, and a genuine concern for both the Earth and its inhabitants.

One major factor they've ALL reported without question, and that is they did not fear death anymore, because they all now knew that there was no death.  They apparently changed dimensions and frequencies, but passed from this earthly dimension, liberated, without pain or worry, and ready for the eternity beyond.  This subject was addressed in both IMMORTALITY and DEATH.

While all this may appear to be a long preamble, it's necessary to know because of the story  that follows.   How does all this apply to Herbie?

Back in 1978 (the actual date escapes me), but Herbie was then married to his last legal flame, Ramona.  They lived in Tucson.  One night, in the throws of wild, connubial bliss, an approximately 86 years old Herbert overextended himself with passion.  He reportedly succumbed to a heart attack, collapsed, and dropped dead on top of his wife while they were still "connected." 

According to all the reports (medical and personal accounts) at the time, Herbert was actually dead for several or more seconds.   Ramona was quick to act and with help that they had in the house, Apostle Herbert was revived.  But the experience took its toll.  It was definitely reported that his heart had indeed stopped.  GTA was called, and later reported that although the paramedics had stabilized HWA, Ramona considered it best if Herbert were taken to hospital for recovery.

Garner Ted Armstrong reported that his father feebly begged his son not to let Ramona (or Stan Rader) do that, as Herbert was wondering what might happen at the hospital, if he were removed from the security of his well protected home.  Garner Ted Armstrong agreed, and as the 2IC at the time, he ordered the necessary hospital equipment to be brought into the house for his father's recovery.  Did someone forget anointing here?

In the weeks and months that followed, Herbert recovered.  But we must ask the inevitable question, when Herbert was clinically dead, where did he go?  While most clinically dead people return to their bodies, and after recovery, they all have a sense of peace and love, Apostle Herbert's outcome was quite different.  After his personal recovery, Herbert W. Armstrong was crazier than ever.

There can be no doubt that Herbert's spirit was low, and by his fruits, he functioned more on the "dark side" aspect than one with giving, kind, warm, and loving energy.  Since his spirit was quite obvious, then his frequency (or vibes) functioned on a lower level than the average member.  Since compatible frequencies tend to always "tune into" each other, then what frequency did Herbert W. Armstrong tune into, if his spirit or personal energy, actually departed his body for that time?

Let the fruits of what followed speak for themselves.  Because this is where the real fun started.  After his recovery, Herbert W. Armstrong started examining the Worldwide Church of God work more, and saw that Garner Ted Armstrong and others had made some changes.  Herbert exploded.  The Doctrinal book that outlined the Worldwide Church of God teachings was under attack and pulled, Garner Ted Armstrong was disfellowshipped, Bob Kuhn and others were fired, and the AC campus started to revert again to the police state it had once been under the Meredith regime.  The witch hunts were about to begin.

But, this was just the beginning of the madness.  The members were deluged with an avalanche of propaganda about the Church "had gone off the track."  While no one was aware that anything of any consequence had happened, the members were told that "secretly, the spirit of intellectualism" had crept in.  Members looked at each other and said: "Huh?"  Suddenly, there was this "massive conspiracy exposed against God and His Apostle," and the hirelings were all, in essence, told to pass on this information.  Sniff out the bad guys, and report them.  Herbert W. Armstrong actually said - in writing - that if your minister has any doubts, then you can "report" him too.

As if all this insanity wasn't bad enough, Herbert had more to come.  "God showed me that He had to bring me back from the dead," he wrote, yelled and preached, "because I had to finish this greeeeeeaaaaaaat work."  And, by now, people of like minds all over the country were in communication with each other.  Did this guy flip out?  Where did Herbert really go when he was dead?

All this craziness continued to mount with Herbert claiming to have all knowledge revealed to him by God Himself, claiming to have died, and then been urgently restored to life to "save" the work of Worldwide Church of God.  God, it appeared, had really screwed up in letting Herbert die from a sex-attack.  While many ministers believed this guy was going through a bad bout of senility, the upper hirelings were steadfastly loyal.  This in fact, was the prefect opportunity to promote loyalty to the "anointed" Apostle of great spiritual achievements, and a chance to ask for more money to "get the Church back on the track."

Many ministers from all over were openly saying:  "If the Church is now on the right track, then the engine must be facing the wrong direction."  Meanwhile, Gerald Waterhouse took off (as usual) on another of his swaggering evangelisms to spread the "good news" that a once dead Apostle was alive again.   Herbert W. Armstrong had now been resurrected.  "He is risen."

This psychotic behaviour culminated in January 1979 when the RECEIVERSHIP took place, and things really exploded in Pasadena.  The floodgates of verbal vomit were then truly unleashed.  Both the ministry and brethren were totally inundated and bashed with Worldwide Church of God propaganda.  "Mr. Armstrong is back and again in charge."  Oh yeah?  Then how come he stayed cowering in Tucson?

The whole hireling ministry were sent statements of "loyalty" to sign, we were all asked to voluntarily to give extra from our personal paychecks to help fight the "Demonic State and the evil Receiver."  At this stage, many of us said we were finished.  We'd had it.  But in February 1979, we went to the general meeting of the ministers in Tucson to see if something could be done.  It was useless.  The inmates had already taken over the asylum.

If all this wasn't so pathetic, it would make a hilarious movie script.  And the sad part about it, is that so many non-thinking members went along with it all.    "It's all lies," they were yelling.  "It's all a pack of lies."  They had gone fanatical.  Common sense, logic, and reason were totally non-existent. 

From these fruits, it seems obvious that wherever Herbert was during his NDE tenure, or if whatever energy of demented spirit he might have gleaned, it had to be one of  almost total darkness.  We may never know in our lives, if he was sucked into some ugly vortex of lower energy akin to his own dark spirit.  Personally, I don't give a hoot where he is right now.  Very few people do.  However, if he is now existing where I think he just might be, he might finally be able to get to say "Hi" to Adolph.

Wanna chat?  The email address is


Related Article of Interest


If you have anything you would like to
submit to this site, or any comments,
email me at:
send me email

Back to "Painful Truth" menu


The content of this site, including but not limited to the text and images herein and their arrangement, are copyright 1997-2003 by The Painful Truth. All rights reserved.

Do not duplicate, copy or redistribute in any form without prior written consent.