We sort of wonder that if we were smart, would Herbert Armstrong die?
This is the very reason we need to publish this very important news
flash: Herbert Armstrong is dead. No, really — he’s dead. Actually,
Herbert Armstrong has been dead a long time now, something on the order
of 27 years now — well over two decades, going on three.
It’s sort of like, you know, Herbert
Armstrong is on an extended vacation, maybe in Argentina, along with
Hitler, and he’ll return any day now and revitalize the nanocults he
managed to manufacture as they split off, divided and multiplied all at
the same time. Nevertheless, people seem to think he’s still alive. The
United Church of God, an International Association has a picture of him
and Loma up in their Head Office. Maybe she’s still alive too. We wonder
what she thinks of Ramona and the $5 million divorce we all paid for.
It’s sort like that Frankenstein Movie thing where Igor says, “He’s
Alive!”. What does that make him now? 120 years old? Didn’t Moses make
it to 120?
Any day now, Herbert Armstrong will back
— alive, vibrant, vital (revived) — in full color and full of vim,
vigor and vinegar (make that Dom Perignon). We expect to see him stagger
up to the lectern, plowed, 5 sheets to the wind, with a cup of coffee
in his hand and a donut on the Day of Atonement, and boom out, “Follow
me, I will lead you into the Kingdom!”. He will personally supervise the
archeological dig to unearth David’s throne so Christ can return. He
will take us all to the Place of Safety and teach us there for three and
one half years during the Great Tribulation, just as Revelation tells
us. You know the Scripture! “And Herbert Armstrong will take God’s
People into the Place of Safety, where they will be taught by That
Apostle for a time, times and half a time until the Seventh Trumpet
Sounds and the Lamb returns!” Blow the dust off your Bible! It’s there.
Somewhere. In the inspired margins. Next to some passages you’ve highlighted with coloredpencils.
joecamel seems to be continuing the fine Armstrong tradition of just making stuff up. On the other hand, we don’t:
Herbert Armstrong is dead.
This is a real shocker!
It’s been kept a secret all these years
through the Great Conspiracy, started by Joseph Tkach, Senior and
perpetuated by his son. They even sold off the Ambassador College
properties to keep the secret alive. The grave of Herbert Armstrong is
full of dumbells from the weight room of the Pasadena YMCA.
But, nevertheless, and we know this will
stretch your incredulity: Herbert Armstrong is dead. Really, really
dead. Doornail. Kaput. Bones and dust. And his grave is with us unto
this day. There’s a death certificate. People attended the funeral.
Herbert Armstrong is like, dead, man.
This is not the only epiphany we have for you.
Howard Clark suffered a spinal injury in
the Korean War which left him paralyzed. His legs withered and he had
to use a wheelchair. He had married the nurse who had taken care of him
after his injury in the War. He had come to Ambassador College and
attended as a student apparently from 1959 to 1963.
It was a year before this time that
Richard David Armstrong anointed Howard Clark. Now it was the case that
his legs had atrophied to the extent that it was just not possible for
him to walk, but after the anointing by Richard David Armstrong, he
began to strengthen and began walking shortly thereafter. Thus, Richard
David Armstrong had achieved a certain amount of credibility in 1958 as a
minister and son of Herbert Armstrong.
Shortly after this anointing, Richard
David Armstrong suffered an automobile accident, July 23rd, 1958. It was
just a week later that he died on July 30, 1958. The account of the
incident is recounted at The Exit and Support Network.
Here is the account from Herbert Armstrong about his son in Volume II of his Autobiography:
During the early part of summer, 1958, Mrs. Armstrong and I
had driven once more back up to Oregon, for a period of fasting and
rest on one of the Oregon beaches. Dick was left in command at
headquarters. In more ways than one he showed excellent executive
ability and good judgment. We returned to Pasadena after two or three
weeks. It was along about this time that two significant events —
occurrences that would seem incredible to many — directly involved Dick.
One, the birth of a baby. It was a most serious breech birth. The
situation was becoming desperate, and since Dick was the ranking
minister then at headquarters, he was called in on the emergency. He
drove immediately to the home where the baby was being delivered. The
doctor and the nurse were near exhaustion — perhaps more of hope than
physical — and the mother near physical exhaustion. Of course all Dick
could do was pray but pray he did, and in faith. He kept reassuring the
others but the situation was fast becoming hopeless. Finally the doctor
gave up hope, said there was nothing he could do, unless to take the
baby by cesarean section, which the family refused to allow.
The doctor went home. The husband and the wife were counseled by Dick
not to become frantic or to lose hope but to rely on God. Dick refused
to lose faith. He continued to pray. And finally his faith was rewarded.
The fetus turned over in the womb. The doctor was called back, and the
baby was born in a normal manner. The other incident, more amazing,
involved a war veteran. He was paralyzed in his back, in his legs and
both arms — helpless. He had to be moved in a wheelchair. The military
hospitals had done everything for him that medical science could do. It
was an incurable case. He was confined to helplessness for life, and put
on a life pension for special financial support. This man called for
Dick to pray for him and ask God to perform a miracle, that he might be
restored to a life of usefulness. This was one of Dick’s last acts. He
did go to this man, and following the New Testament instruction in James
5:14-15, anointed him with oil, and laid hands on him as he prayed,
asking the Eternal Creator to do what man was unable to do, and had
pronounced impossible to be done. This man, a former Yale football
player, was healed, and quickly restored to the full use of arms and
legs and his whole body. He entered Ambassador College, and soon was
climbing up and down ladders painting buildings.
Baptizing Tour It was shortly after this incident that Dick was off,
with an assistant, on a baptizing tour up the Pacific coast. A number of
people had sent in written requests for counsel with a minister, and
for baptism. At the time I was using, for
an office, a very small room in what we called “the penthouse” atop the
library building. The room was so small that I was having to use a small
woman’s boudoir table for a desk — an ordinary business desk was too
large for the room. I shall never forget, of course, how Dick came
briskly running up the stairs to say good-bye. “Well Dad,” he
said with cheerful enthusiasm, “I’m off on this trip.” A few days later
his companion, Mr. Alton Billingsley, called me on the telephone.
Strikes “Mr. Armstrong,” he said in a voice that signaled even before
his words that something was very wrong, “We’ve had a terrible accident,
and Dick is in very critical condition.” Quickly I asked for all of the
facts. The accident had occurred a short distance north of San Luis
Obispo, which is about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on
the Coast Highway. It had been a head-on collision. Both our men had
been thrown completely out of the car. The right third of our car had
been virtually sliced clear off. Dick had been sitting in the right
front seat — often called “the death seat” — and had he not quickly
moved to the left he would have been killed instantly. As I learned
later, they were driving north on the Coast Highway 101, after having
baptized a man that morning. As Mr. Billingsley was driving, Dick had
opened his briefcase and was checking his list of people to visit
planning their next few stops. They had been on a dual highway — one way
traffic only on each side of a divided highway, with a short space in
between. The divided highway had ended but somehow neither of them had
noticed it. A half block or so to their left was another paved road
running parallel to theirs, which Mr. Billingsley noticed, supposing it
to be the other two lanes of the divided highway. Assuming that they
were still on the divided highway with only one-way traffic on their two
lanes, they were driving on the left lane to pass another car.
Suddenly, from over a slight hilltop, came another car in their lane
heading directly toward them. At this precise second they were almost
past the car on their right — but not far enough to turn right in front
of it in order to miss the oncoming car in their lane. There was no time
for that, anyway. Dick shouted, “Turn left! Turn left!” Mr. Billingsley
had only a fraction of a second to turn partly to the left. There was
not enough time to turn out of the way of the oncoming car. Two cars,
for example, speeding toward one another at fifty miles an hour or more,
seeing each other about 150 feet away, will crash into each other in
less than one second! The oncoming car hit them head-on, its right side
striking our men’s car slightly to the right of center, and Dick’s car
crashed the oncoming car into the third car that our men were then
passing. It was a three-car crash! But I didn’t wait for all these details then. I got the essential details, and I was off in a flash for San Luis Obispo. Dick had been unconscious, and taken in an ambulance to a hospital in San Luis Obispo. I had our switchboard telephone operator call our college physician, Dr. Ralph E. Merrill, asking him
to be ready as I would be driving past his office in Glendale,
on the way to San Luis Obispo. I asked Mr. Norman Smith, our radio
studio manager, to go with me. Dr. Merrill was ready as we drove past. I drove as fast as I dared, consistent with safety. Right
then I was terribly aware of the DANGER of highway driving, and
although I wanted to make the fastest time possible, caution and care in
driving came first. It was a strenuous drive of approximately
200 miles. Arriving at the hospital, we found that Dick had been
transferred to another hospital — there were two hospitals in this
little city. We found him now conscious, but in very critical condition.
His right arm was broken at the elbow; his pelvis had been broken
badly, and they had him in traction. His jaw had been broken in three or
four places; X-rays showed that his heart had been knocked over to the
right — to the middle or slightly right of the middle of his chest; his
left lung had been collapsed. Mr. Billingsley had been examined, and
released — not sufficiently injured to remain in the hospital. Dick
wanted to rely on God for healing, without medical aid. The doctors
asked for a conference with me and Dr. Merrill. They explained that Dick
was already in their care and to protect their reputation and that of
the hospital, they had to administer medical aid or else have him moved,
in which case he probably would die before we could get him home. Dr.
Merrill, who himself had been healed by direct prayer, and understood
both sides of this problem, advised us against moving him in his very
critical condition. The hospital doctors agreed to give him the very
minimum of medical aid consistent with their own and the hospital’s
protection. I learned later, however, that in practice that meant giving him everything “medicine” knew how to give.
It was a very difficult decision to make — but with so many bones
broken it certainly seemed that we would be directly causing his death
to move him out of the traction and other trappings and contraptions
that they had him in. Then followed one of the most tense, strenuous week’s vigil of my life.
I telephoned my wife, and she with Lois, Dick’s wife, and their two and
one half month old son came to San Luis Obispo on the train. Of course
Mr. Smith and I had anointed and prayed for Dick
immediately. It was a week of almost constant prayer. Registered nurses
were required to be in constant attendance around the clock. We had one
“R.N.” as they are called in hospitals, at the college and another had
applied for entrance to Ambassador College that autumn. By telephone, I arranged for these two to come immediately
to the hospital, and the hospital supplied the third nurse. We
preferred to have our own nurses at his side so far as possible. It was
too agonizing a week to go into in detail. Dr. Merrill had to return to
Glendale, but the rest of us remained in the hotel in San Luis Obispo,
to be in as constant attendance as possible. The accident occurred on
July 23, 1958. By evening of July 29, a very serious decision had to be
made. Dick’s kidneys were not functioning enough to keep him alive much
longer. The doctors at San Luis Obispo had called specialists from UCLA
Medical Center to come up for consultation. They told me that it would
be necessary to attempt to remove Dick to the medical center in Westwood
(Los Angeles) where they could use an artificial kidney to stimulate
normal action by his own kidneys. By carrying him suspended in traction
on the special kind of pallet “bed” that he was strapped on, driving
slowly in an ambulance through the night, they felt that they could
successfully move him to the Los Angeles medical center. Our two nurses
and one or more of their doctors went along in the ambulance. Also, Mr.
Norman Smith, who had remained the week with me, went along with them.
We tried to get a little sleep through part of that night, rising and
leaving about 5 a.m. for Los Angeles. We felt we should arrive not too
much later than the ambulance, since it was to drive very slowly. During
the week, Dick had had various ones of us read the Bible to him. In
spite of the pain, and the terrible condition, he kept in good spirits.
Once, in prayer, he began thanking God for the many, many blessings that
had been lavished on him. The nurse in attendance said that this
continued a long time — he had so very MANY things to be thankful for. I had typed out a number of biblical PROMISES that God had made for us, from various parts of the Bible, for our nurses to read to Dick in the ambulance when he was awake. As
we approached the Los Angeles area on the morning of June 30, strange
premonitions seemed to come into my mind. I didn’t tell the others. I
didn’t want to cause them any concern, worry, or lack of faith. This I
had to fight out within my own mind, by prayer and mental concentration.
Finally, it seemed that I had won a victory over these premonitions and
I had gotten my mind again into a state of FAITH. We drove into
the UCLA Medical Center parking lot. We left the others in the car while
Lois and I went to see Dick or to get a report on his condition. As we
approached the entrance, Mr. Smith and our two nurses approached us,
with the news that just before they could get the artificial kidney
connected, Dick had died. There were present some of the most famous
surgeons and specialists in the nation. They cut Dick open near the
heart and tried to massage his heart back into action — they tried
frantically everything that such specialists know, but to no avail.
Dick’s body was then sent to a mortuary in Pasadena. It hit Lois as if
she had been shot. I grabbed her, steadied her. “Steady, Lois,” I said
as calmly as I could. “Remember you have another very precious little
life to nurse and keep alive, now. You must keep calm so that your milk
will not be disturbed.” Lois responded bravely, like a “trouper.” Then
we discussed how to break the news to Mrs. Armstrong. We tried to break
it gently so it wouldn’t come as too much of a shock. We tried to keep
normal composure. “They’ve taken Dick back to Pasadena,” I said, trying
to be casual as if everything was OK. But no one ever could mislead my
wife. She almost fainted — for she knew that we were only trying to ease
the blow. But, she always was a real “trouper” too, and she quickly
recovered without going to pieces — though naturally wounded to the very
depths. . . .
IT was an agonizing week for Lois, his mother and me.
No one, of course, but a mother, can describe or fully appreciate a
mother’s love for her son. But fathers love their sons, too. And my
affection for Richard David had been greatly deepened by the special
circumstances under which he had been born.
Time of Trial It is, of course, natural for every father to want a son.
When our first child was a girl I was not disappointed. Few fathers
would be. Nor was I disappointed when our second child was another
daughter. But when the ranking most famous obstetrical specialist
in the world, in a Chicago hospital pulling my wife through a
near-fatal mid-pregnancy toxemia eclampsia, with 30 percent albumin in
the urine, warned us gravely that she could never undergo another
pregnancy without fatal results to her and the child, I was disappointed beyond words to describe. I had to resign myself to a sonless life.
And this medical pronouncement was confirmed by two other doctors. We
didn’t know, then. And I’m not sure these doctors knew, the real REASON.
Apparently not too much was understood, at that time, by the medical
profession about this negative-positive RH blood-factor condition. But
my wife and I were opposites in that regard. I had been forced to resign myself to a future without possibility of ever having a son.
Then, eight years later, in Portland, Oregon, Mrs. Armstrong had been —
as recounted earlier — suddenly, completely healed of several serious
complications by a positive miracle resulting from believing prayer. We
knew then, by faith, that whatever had been the disturbing factor to
render another pregnancy fatal, had been removed by this healing. I
knew then that God would give me a son. And ever since I felt that the
day Richard David was born was the happiest day of my life. I was
perfectly satisfied, then. God had blessed me with a son. He had been
conceived less than a year after my conversion. But the great God had
plans I did not know. I was perfectly satisfied with the one son. We did not plan to have another.
A year and four months later, Garner Ted was born — and I then felt
doubly blessed — with TWO sons. But when God took from me — or allowed
to be taken — my firstborn son, on July 30, 1958 — less than three
months before his thirtieth birthday — well, it seemed that I could have
some little understanding of how Abraham must have felt when he
expected to have to give up his son Isaac — or even God the Father of
all, in giving His Son Jesus Christ for ME as well as for the world.
Dick’s death occurred early Wednesday morning, July 30, 1958. The
accident had occurred the preceding Wednesday morning. The funeral was
set for Friday, August 1. The day in between, Thursday July 31, Mrs.
Armstrong and I shared a very sorrowful 41st wedding anniversary. On
Wednesday we conferred with Messrs. Roderick Meredith, Herman Hoeh and
Norman Smith regarding funeral arrangements.
unanimously that it was my duty to officiate at the funeral, which we
planned for a simple graveside service only. Through the day I drove in
my car to inspect cemeteries — which I had not had occasion to do before
in Pasadena. I do not now remember whether Mrs. Armstrong and Lois went
along. Necessary arrangements were completed. Lois accompanied us to
the mortuary to select the casket — selecting one in the type of wood
Lois said was Dick’s favorite. To say that my comparatively brief graveside sermon was an ordeal would be a gross understatement.
I had learned, many years before, in conducting many funerals, to steel
my nerves and remain calm, with controlled emotions. But speaking at
Dick’s funeral was altogether different. I
found myself speaking in a louder, more concentrated voice than usual
in a supreme effort to prevent emotional loss of control. I remember
quoting a portion of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, regarding the duty of
those of us remaining to carry on the great work to which God had
called us. My first impulse was to remain away from the Saturday
afternoon college church service. I didn’t want to see anybody.
Nor did Mrs. Armstrong. But
then I realized it was my duty to attend. I thought of entering at the
last moment, and sitting in the front row before any could speak to me
or offer condolences. But then I realized that some of the students had
erroneously assumed that ministers were under such divine protection
that no such tragedy could occur to one of them. Dick’s accident and death might shatter this faith.
I knew I had to bring a message that would bolster and strengthen, not
destroy, faith. These experiences were perhaps the most severe test I
had ever been called on to experience. But of course I knew where to go for strength, wisdom, and help.
We Travel to
Springfield Lois’ parents had come for the funeral. She and they
planned for them to stay on a while with her, in the home she and Dick
had purchased new just over a year before. Lois felt that perhaps, with
her parents in the house, she might adjust to remaining there without
Dick. I had assisted Dick and Lois with the down payment for the purchase of the property,
and it probably was still less than half paid off. But Dick had been
thoughtful in providing insurance which paid off the property in full.
He also had provided insurance for Lois. And there was an additional
$15,000 due Lois from group insurance carried by the College. However,
the few days of attempts at adjusting to living in the house without
Dick had convinced Lois, by that weekend, that she could not live there
alone. Mrs. Armstrong, Lois and I planned a trip to get away from the trauma-shock we had undergone.I had learned that nothing is so quieting and relaxing to distraught nerves as a long trip on a train.
So we planned a trip to Springfield, Missouri, to meet Ted and be with
him for the final service of his evangelistic campaign. The death of
Dick had caught Ted in a campaign he could not leave at the time. We
left almost immediately, taking either the Chief, or the Super-Chief of
the Santa Fe Railroad as far as Kansas City, changing there for a train
to Springfield. Little Dicky — Richard David II — was carried in a sort
of crib basket. It did Ted and his wife a great deal of good to have us
with them in Springfield. He, too, had undergone a most severe ordeal.
After a few days there, we journeyed on down to the location in Texas
that later became the third campus of Ambassador College. We were then
building there, of comparatively inexpensive all-steel construction,
what we believed to be the largest “church auditorium” in Texas, as a
tabernacle for an annual 8-day festival or convention — seating 8,000.
After a day or two there, we journeyed on back to Pasadena. Soon we were
engrossed in the many responsibilities of carrying on the work to which
the living Christ had called us. We had, shortly before this, acquired
the mansion of Mediterranean architectural design located between
Mayfair (girls’ student residence), and Ambassador Hall. We had done a
certain amount of remodelling to convert this property into another
girls’ residence on campus — renamed Terrace Villa. Since Lois felt she
could not endure living alone in the home she had shared for a year with
Dick, we converted one wing of the ground floor of Terrace Villa into
an apartment for her and little Dicky. This proved to be the best
solution possible for Lois. She was on campus, where there was much
activity. Many other girls were under the same roof, though she had the
privacy of her own apartment. Also, she was abundantly supplied with
“baby-sitters” whenever needed. Frequently, from that time, during the
next few years, we all dreamed occasionally about Dick. It often seemed, in my dreams, as if he had come back from the dead and was living again — as indeed he shall — and in the not too distant future.
If you are suspicious that Herbert
Armstrong made this look and sound better than it was, with him as
narcissistic hero at the center of it all, you are most wise.
My friend, who had been in Pasadena at the time, related to me last year what happened.
Alton Billingsly had been driving on the
freeway with Richard David Armstrong as passenger. It was four lane
divided highway, but work crews had diverted traffic so that it was
two-way on a highway with only two lanes. Billingsly thought that he was
still on the full freeway and drove in the left lane. When the car got
to the top of the hill, it hit an automobile coming the opposite
direction head-on. Richard David Armstrong was very seriously injured,
but could have been saved if he had medical attention.
Now the way Herbert Armstrong tells the
story is that Richard David Armstrong himself refused medical treatment
because of the Radio Church of God beliefs. That is not the case. First,
Alton Billingsly had told the paramedics that Richard could not have
the treatment that would save his life because of church beliefs, and
then Herbert Armstrong told the doctor the same thing. Herbert Armstrong
made the ultimate decision. (This should be familiar to those who know
the details behind the death of Loma Armstrong.)
There is also one other thing my friend told me that generally isn’t known.
Remember that my friend had been in
Pasadena at the time. He was also in the home of Richard David Armstrong
from time to time and knew him well.
prior to this accident leading to the death of an untreated Richard
David Armstrong, he had warned his father, Herbert Armstrong concerning
his corruption. Richard David Armstrong warned Herbert Armstrong to
Now normally, this probably would not
have fazed Herbert Armstrong in the slightest, but with the background
of two perceived healings through Richard David Armstrong, such a
warning would be problematic: Richard David Armstrong was well known,
highly regarded, much loved and had credibility. He could have done real
damage to his father.
Fate intervened, or rather, a careless driver did.
Now it is true that often we do not
necessarily know our own motivations, particularly when self-interest is
involved. No one could actually prove that Herbert Armstrong denied
medical treatment to his own son to save his own worthless skin. It will
remain a question. We do know that from that point, Herbert Armstrong
“took off” and became much more corrupt, not just with lies and false
prophecies but with his penchant for immorality and alcoholic behaviors:
He was a very selfish man, totally narcissistic.
Sam Vaknin, self-acknowledged narcissist and perceived authority on narcissism, in his book, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited
told us all that the prognosis for recovery is “poor and alarming”. He
points out that narcissists are so self-absorbed that the whole universe
is about them and there isn’t much hope to change from that
perspective. There is no empathy for others: They are mere ciphers to be
manipulated in ways that are advantageous to the narcissist.
If you will note from the Autobiography,
Herbert Armstrong is more concerned about how he feels and what he’s
going to do, more than he cares for others.
That was the last I
saw of Jeff. Later that afternoon, we all arrived at a mandatory
assembly in the gym, where it was announced that Jeff S. had committed
suicide earlier that day by jumping off the Arroyo bridge — evidently
just minutes after I had last seen him. The announcement was made — but
it is what followed that was most troubling and revealing. The person
doing the announcing of the suicide, who was a college administrator,
took great pains to make sure everyone in attendance understood that
Jeff’s parents did not blame the college, and that no one at the college
was at fault. Then, after this terrible announcement and explanation,
which took maybe 5 minutes, HWA
got up front. Without the slightest acknowledgement of this terrible
event, and without breaking stride, he launched into a tirade against
all of those ministers who would dare question his authority. To HWA it
was like a bake sale had been announced for the coming weekend. I will never forget the appalling atmosphere in that gym that day — students were crying because of Jeff S., and then HWA launches into his usual fit of anger.
As Cynthia G. commented on the post, RIP Dennis Jeffery Stephenson.
You may want to review the components of narcissism as given in our article,
So here we are: Joecamel says, HWA lives on inspite of your stupidity.
That is certainly the hope of those who want the return of Herbert
Armstrong’s narcissism and all that it brings with it. Such people
should have learned from his “descendants” of the various splinter
nanocults of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong that it is not really
desirable to have such people in charge. Robert Thiel is a good example
of a bad example of what can happen when they have an entitlement
thinking they are a prophet of God. People who encounter narcissists are
totally drained mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and
financially with absolutely no return on investment or positive results
at all. Ronald Weinland is one of those who have drained his PKG members
and is leaving them as he goes off to prison, without one shred of care
about any of them. They were stupid dupes who gave him, his wife, his
son and his daughter what he wanted and, in some cases, bankrupted them
for his own selfish interests invested in a nice home, gold, jewelry,
BMWs, travel, luxury accommodations, while spewing garbage being lapped
up by his followers who are suffering personal loss as a result.
HWA lives on inspite of your stupidity.
Let’s hope not.
Herbert Armstrong is dead.
His legacy is not.
And Sam Vaknin, as a qualified expert on the subject, has a recommendation for those who encounter narcissists: