Herbie's Secret Sins,
Hearsay vs Proof
By Bruce Renehan
Dear Mr. Renehan,
Would you please send me The Two Ways Of Herbert W. Armstrong. Also is there anyway I can get proof on the incest?
Did he actually confess it during his divorce from Ramona I believe it but it would be easier to prove it with documented proof.
Such as a signed confession statement or something. If a person could prove it to others you might take away their god.
I'm not exactly sure what constitutes proof to everyone. Before I began to author my book, my wife and I visited the Church of God, Seventh Day, both in Bakersfield and in Fresno. That is the church that Herbert Armstrong started attending in 1927. I first heard of the incest from some of their members, two of whom--Israel Hager and John Keiss--had known Armstrong in the 20s and 30s. Keiss, who was Armstrong's closest friend in the COG7 had actually discussed the incest with Dorothy Armstrong who confessed to him. Not wanting to believe hearsay from just one group, I placed a call to a friend of mine (Bob Mizell) in Pasadena. Bob was a very close friend to Joe Tkach Senior and, if anyone would know if the stories were true or not, he certainly would. Bob told me openly that both he and Joe Tkach had known about Armstrong's incest with his daughter and then he quickly brought up the David was a man after God's heart" ploy.
Among the many people I interviewed in researching my book, I had the opportunity to talk to David Robinson for about 2 hours on the phone. If you read Robinson's book, Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web, you'll see that Robinson confronted Herbert about the incest before Stanley Rader and Henry Cornwall, another church attorney, in his Tucson home. Robinson had received a phone call late one night from a tearful Garner Ted Armstrong who had had an argument with his dad, stating, "Dad, I could destroy you with what I know about Dorothy. Dad, you fucked my sister!" Herbert immediately disfellowshiped his son for the last time. Robinson told me that Herbert Armstrong admitted he had committed the incest. I said to Robinson, "Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that Armstrong didn't try to deny it? That's hard for me to believe." David Robinson answered me, "You don't understand the way Herbert Armstrong thought. He said, 'Alexander the Great and many Roman emperors committed incest. They were great men and I am a great man also'." Then Robinson reminded me of a bizarre story in Armstrong's autobiography where he had left his son Richard alone at a railway station to find his own way from Oregon to Los Angeles. In the book Armstrong praised himself for teaching leadership to the young boy. In reality, Loma had suspected that Armstrong was innappropriate with her daughter Dorothy. Armstrong was leaving on a long journey by train and was only taking Dorothy with him. Loma insisted that Richard go too. Thus, Armstrong abandoned his son at the train station and proceeded on with just Dorothy. Robinson had talked to Dorothy and she confessed everything to him. Robinson had been an old family friend since the early 50s and had even known Herbert's mother who would occasionally come to church services at the old Shakespeare Club. After the Tucson confrontation, Armstrong disfellowshiped Robinson. When learning about Robinson's book, Armstrong commanded his staff to keep the book away from Ramona. Robinson chuckled, "She got a copy from her sister before Herbert was able to get one for himself."
Ted Armstrong told sordid details given to him by his sister to many fellow ministers (some of whom left Worldwide with him to start COG International).
After hearing these stories, my wife was still not satisfied and tried to find Dorothy's phone number in Bend, Oregon. She was unable to get the number. She did phone an ex-Headquarters-minister, Ledru Woodbury, who was living in Colorado. My wife had been a close friend to the Woodbury family when she lived in Pasadena. Ledru bore no malice toward Armstrong after all these years. He had moved on with his life. He did say that when he had learned first hand about Dorothy, he was angry also.
John Trechak, published court statements in his Ambassador Report during Armstrong's divorce from Ramona. Among those statements, still available from Trechak, Armstrong is cross-examined about the incest. When backed into a corner by attorneys, Armstrong stated, "There have been many times in my life when I have not been very close to God." excusing himself from raping his daughter for a 10 year period. I'm sure that the court documents would still be accessible.
P.O. Box 60068
Pasadena, CA 91116
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 10:38 AM
Dear Mr. Renehan,
I am sorry to bother you again but I have to ask you. Does Bob Mizell still work out in Pasadena? If I wrote to him do you think he would tell me the truth?
If I wrote to Pasadena to Joe Tkach Jr. do you think he would tell me the truth? Do you think he knows the true answer? How would I be able to write to people such as Israel Hager and John Keiss are they still even alive? If Loma really suspected it how could she stay with him a seeker of religious truth?
That one I don't get at all. If this is true I really think it should come out. If people like Rod Meredith know the truth about him and really want to be like him self glorified I think they need to go some where and get a catscan and get their head examined.
Thank you for letting me get that of my chest. If he really did this he needs to be exposed it should not remain hidden.
I haven't spoken to Bob Mizell in about 5 years. I'm not sure where he is living anymore. I've been out of the Worldwide Church of God for about eight or nine years now.
I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joe Jr. knows all about Armstrong's escapades. I can tell you also that if you wrote to Joe Tkach, jr. he would most likely ignore your letter. It's easier to go into the back door to get information. I used to know one of Joe Tkach's personal assistants but I think that he went into the Global Church a few years ago.
As far as the men in the Church of God, 7th Day, you could write to their headquarters in Colorado. You can find that address in my bibliography in my book Daughter of Babylon posted in its entirety on Ed 's "Painful Truth" website.
When I talked to Keiss and Hager they were in their 90's. I was really lucky to find some of my contacts still living. As you may know, David Robinson is dead now.
You asked about Loma Armstrong staying with her husband after discovering that her husband was incestuous. Good question. Robinson told me that Loma and Herbert were very distant from each other and that there was some rumor that she had cut off relations with him causing Herbert further sexual frustration. Of course, many women remained married to their husbands after finding out about incest. I know this because I have a degree in psychology and have studied this issue. Battered women also remain in their marriages for years and years and are often murdered by their abusers before they leave.
Meredith is more like Armstrong than any other past member of the Worldwide Church of God. Some people are hard to figure out in this world. Psychologists and psychiatrists classify people by personality type. When I studied abnormal psychology at Cal State, I learned that cult leaders are often diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There are several personality disorders. People who exhibit personality disorder traits often exhibit a complete loss of human compassion, the inability to relate with others, and exceptional skills at manipulation. In many prisons there are people who are pathological with personality disorders like Antisocial Personality Disorder. Many of these prisoners have manipulated for themselves everything from cable television to love affairs with women outside.
Date: Sunday, February 28, 1999
Dear Mr. Renehan,
So you have put my letters on the Painful Truth site. Don't worry I won't sue you. You can also put this on the Painful Truth Site.
If Herbert and Loma had a problem in bed I would guess the problem was with him not her. I know she came from the age where many women thought sex even in marriage was sinful. But had she had a very kind and loving husband who was patient with her she maybe she would have viewed sex differently.
Any man who would have sex with his own daughter has to have a problem. He may have behaved as if he was entitled to it and not viewed it as an act of love. (How else could he have justified taking his own daughter to bed?) Do you Remember in the book The Missing Dimension in Sex how it was stated that a wife should not refuse her husband and don't use the headache excuse? (He didn't say what to do if a person really had a headache.) I don't have the book anymore so I don't actually remember how the wording went.
If Herbert had really found God and really loved Loma as he said he did, wouldn't a choice have been that they both pray about the problem before God? I would have thought this would be one of the most important truths he would have looked for in his early conversion and prayed and fasted about since sex was so important to him.
If Herbert raped his daughter it had nothing to do with how frigid Loma was in bed it was not her fault no matter how frigid she was. (Actually she was probably frigid because of how he was in bed)
My husband and I have two beautiful daughters I could totally cut him off from all sex between us and he would never ever do something like that to one of our daughters or any young girl. Loma may have had a minor problem but Herbert apparently had a major one.
I passed your e-mail on to Ed at the Painful Truth Site just for him to see what comments are made on my site. He asked if he could reprint the letters and I said it would be okay. Did he put your last name? Do you want to have your name removed? To many, the incest issue seems to be the most startling issue of all. For me it was the dishonesty in their research and their plagiarism that made me lose faith in the organization.
I agree with what you wrote. Armstrong had a strong sense of entitlement. This may come as a shock but Robinson claimed that Herbert took liberties with Ramona before their marriage and excused it by stating that he had special entitlements since he was an apostle.
That notion that some women are "frigid" is an old fashioned one. The sexual history of women is an interesting one. In the Victorian era, a woman could only do one of three things with her life. She could be an "old maid" and stay at home with her parents, she could marry and bear children for her husband, or she could be a prostitute. Many Victorian men felt entitled to visit brothels because it was felt that men had a greater need for sex. It was also widely believed that good girls did not enjoy sex. Part of the early feminist movement had to deal with this inequity and false belief. One of the very leaders of the feminist movement actually funded the research for a birth control pill. The pill wasn't marketable to the public until the early 60s and many social changes seemed to have sprung from the fact that women could have sex without the worry of pregnancy. One of those consequences was the free love movement among hippies in the late 60s. Attitudes changed about sex from then on and the modern plague of AIDS is also a result of the invention of the pill and the relaxed feelings about sex among the younger generation.
Most of the pedophiles I have dealt with, have been young offenders in the juvenile probation system. They tend to lack a lot of insight into the harm they do their victims and oftentimes are the victims of sexual abuse at an early age themselves. They rarely admit their crimes and often are very cunning, charming, and charismatic.
Men who have sex with their daughters are not much different from men who have sex with children. Studies have shown that sexual deviance of this type has more to do with the man's need for power and domination than for sexual pleasure. Most pedophiles are arrested developmentally and were themselves the victims of sexual abuse in childhood. One pedophile told me once, "I have no understanding of what love is. Those people I trusted most for security; my mother, my father, and my grandparents started having sex with me before I got out of diapers." Many attempts have been made to help pedophiles but no effective treatment has been found to date (this includes frontal lobotomies).
Herbert did not have a corner on sexual deviance in the Worldwide Church of God. I know of a deacon and a pastor who both had sex with several children and the details were reported to headquarters. What do you think happened? Absolutely nothing! I found out later that religious leaders are very frequently sexual deviants. Jim Bakker and a fellow evangelist raped and sodomized a young church assistant, Jessica Hahn, and another televangelist (Jerry Lee Lewis's cousin) decided to persecute them until he was discovered to be visiting prostitutes also. These guys have a pathological need to dominate and victimize. Those who work in the mental health system know that it is very common for children, the mentally retarded, the disabled, and the elderly to be sexually abused (often by family members) simply because they cannot defend themselves and are usually too afraid to report the abuse or feel that it is their fault.
If you hear of a child who is sexually abused you can contact Child Protective Services with no fear of prosecution. If you hear of a dependent adult or an elderly person being abused you can contact Elder Abuse Services. This is a hidden yet pervasive problem in our society. It is more common than many suspect. Statistics indicate that as many as 60% of females in our society will be the victims of sexual assault before age eighteen.
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