A collection of Facts, Opinions and Comments from survivors of Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong,  The Worldwide Church of God and its Daughters.
Updated 05/15/07 01:37 PM PDT

The painful truth about Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Arrmstrong and the Worldwide Church of God

Articles Pertaining To Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted Armstrong and The Worldwide Church of God

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Rose Parade 1960

By Retired Prof

The most memorable time I had in my year at Ambassador College took place in the hours
surrounding midnight on New Year’s Day 1960.

As you know, Pasadena is home to the January 1st Rose Bowl Game and the Rose Parade that
leads up to it. Those bleachers you see on TV along the parade route are set up by
entrepreneurs who make a bundle selling tickets. Actually, the entrepreneurs don’t set them
up themselves; they hire laborers, and in those days some of the laborers were Ambassador
men. Other male students got jobs taking tickets and ushering ticket-holders to their seats.

By late afternoon or early evening on New Year’s Eve, things would start to get wild in
Pasadena. Bleachers were still noisily under construction. People who wanted to watch the
parade without laying out money for tickets would bring lawn chairs and sleeping bags and
camp out at good viewing spots along the route. Then revelers getting ready to welcome the
new year would start milling noisily up and down the sidewalks around them. Then more
campers would show up, and more revelers. And so on.

Word got around campus that normal curfews were suspended on New Year’s Eve, to accommodate guys working through the night. Fred Kellers and I realized this state of affairs presented a rare opportunity. Unlike Halloween, Christmas, and Easter, New Year’s was a secular celebration, so Armstrong’s prohibitions against observing pagan holidays did not apply. We had free rein to go out and revel just the way “people of the world” did. Hoo Ha!

We invited two coeds to celebrate with us, and they gleefully accepted. I withhold their
names. Fred is now a respected minister in UCG, and revealing his name won’t hurt because
his reputation is secure. In fact, I would be surprised if he doesn’t tell this story
himself. Maybe the women do too, but maybe not. In any case, if their grandchildren are
going to find out that their grandmothers had an exuberant (but rest assured, entirely
innocent) night out before the 1960 Rose Parade, they won’t learn it from me.

So when the big night came, Fred and I showed up at their dormitory about 10:30 or 11:00 and
the women signed the register in the lobby as required, telling who was in the party, what
time we were leaving, and when we expected to return. We strolled downtown gawking at people setting up their lawn chairs and unrolling their sleeping bags. We compared this urban
version of camping to trips of our own to rural campsites and lonely caves. We traded happy,
raucus greetings with other revelers. We blew on a dented bugle I had bought for five
dollars at the Salvation Army store. We tried to improvise tunes without much success, and
finally just blew loud notes and took satisfaction in the observation that our bugle was one
of the best noisemakers on the street. If we had been of age, we would have visited bars,
but we weren’t, so we didn’t. We made do by going to a beatnik coffee house and drinking
espresso. Perhaps we heard part of a poetry reading there, but perhaps not; I could be
confusing this coffee house with another where I celebrated a year or two later.

My date was pretty and clever and charming. Naturally, I was romantically attracted to her,
but, as everybody knows, the college had strict religious prohibitions against underclassmen
forming romantic alliances or showing any physical affection—no holding hands, no walking
arm-in-arm, no hugging—and we four followed those prohibitions religiously. So of course we
skipped the traditional New Year’s kiss. I like to think that at midnight my date eyed with
envy those around us performing this ritual. I know I did.

After a few more wry observations about people camping out and a few more blasts on the
bugle, we returned to campus—quietly—and the women signed back in to their dorm. Fred and I went to ours, and I set my alarm because I had a job as usher that started early the next

Though groggy from lack of sleep, I carried off my duties fairly well. I had a good spot
beside the bleachers for viewing the parade. The floats were garishly impressive, and people
oohed and aahed. Along with everyone else, I waved at Vice President Richard Nixon as he
rode by. This official revelry was okay; I enjoyed it in a bleary way. But it couldn’t touch
the rowdy exuberance of the night before.

A few days later, Fred came up to me and said, “We’ve been called in to the dean’s office.
He told me, ‘I want you to get [Retired Prof].’ And I thought, ‘Hey, this is going to be
fun.’ And then he said, ‘Also find [one of the women].’ And I thought, ‘Whoa, this is not
going to be fun after all.’ Then when he mentioned [the other], I knew it was going to be

We were going to suffer what we dreaded most. We were about to be counseled by a minister.

The dean (I’m sorry, I forget his name) started by noting the sign-out and sign-in times
recorded in the ledger and asking us to give an account of what we had done in between. We
told him the story I just told you, except more accurately because our memories were fresh.
He wanted to know what in the world led us to think we could just leave campus at that time
of night, and we said we thought women’s curfews were suspended. He asked where we got that idea, and we said it was just in the air; it seemed like everyone thought so. He said most
emphatically that the curfew had not been suspended. He questioned us closely about who
specifically had said it was, but none of us could remember any names. He reminded us the
curfew was in place for a good reason: it was dangerous for women, even escorted women, to
be out walking the streets of Pasadena in the middle of the night. We pointed out that on
New Year’s Eve there were crowds of people all around, and he countered that some of the
people in those crowds could have been thieves and rapists. We admitted he was right.

Up to this point the counseling session was no different from what students who had
similarly transgressed might have experienced at any other college in 1960. Just about all
of them followed a policy of in loco parentis, “in place of a parent,” and accordingly just
about all of them had dormitory curfews, at least for women. No doubt other deans in other
offices all over the country were at the same moment sounding just as fatherly, showing the
same sternness tempered with solicitude. But then this one asked the crucial question, the
one that laid our values on the line: “Why did you attend Ambassador College? What did you
come here to learn?”

He addressed the question to Fred first. I don’t remember Fred’s exact words, but they were
something to the effect that he wanted to find out god’s plan for his life and learn how to
follow it. I began scrambling mentally to find an answer of my own to the same question. The
answer Fred had given wouldn’t do because it wasn’t true for me. I wasn’t trying to learn
god’s plan for my life because I doubted that he had actually worked one out. I wasn’t sure
god even existed. These were doubts I absolutely could not afford to reveal—not even to my
friends, much less the dean.

The dean asked one of the women why she had enrolled at Ambassador, and she said to find out god’s plan for her life and learn how to follow it.

Stricken with panic, all I could think of to say was “To learn how to have fun,” but I
couldn’t afford to say that either. It would sound frivolous to the dean and, more
important, it would not truly reflect my attitude; it sounded frivolous to me too.

The dean asked the other woman why she had enrolled at Ambassador, and she said to find out
god’s plan for her life and learn how to follow it.

I thought, “Oh boy, I’m next. What am I going to tell him?” It would have been interesting
to find out, but I never did, because the dean, perceiving that everyone was just parroting
Fred’s answer, simply dropped the subject. I think my ideas were forming up to become some
statement like, “To learn how to truly enjoy life,” or “To find out how to get as much
enjoyment out of life as possible.” It would have been clever to adopt the style of Ernest
Hemingway and say, “To live fully and deeply and truly,” but I was thinking way too slow for
that. Looking back from the vantage point reached via a long career teaching rhetoric, I see
that probably the best answer in that context would have been, “So that I might have life,
and have it more abundantly.” That would have been honest, and it would have struck the
right chord with the dean.

The dean gave us a final admonition to be careful, follow the rules, and remember why we had
come to Ambassador. Then he let us go. All in all, dreading the counseling session had been
a lot worse than the session itself.

Two years later, at a different college, my British poetry class read A. E. Housman. One of
his best-known poems made an elegant statement of the values I had strained to formulate but
was not required to express, that day in the dean’s office in Pasadena. Housman’s poem has
guided me ever since. Here it is, as found at http://www.bartleby.com/103/33.html.

Loveliest of Trees
A. E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.








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