The Worldwide Church of God's
Extravagant Waste of Money,
Pastor General Expenses
Inside Info from the
Worldwide Church of God Accounting Department,
Info provided by John O., former minister.
Please remember, that these were 1970's figures. I got $12K in 1972, and that was good. I got $16k in 1974 and that was good. In 1976, I got $20k and I was manager of two departments of an audio corporation, and that was good. It's not how much we earned in the 1970's, but please note as to WHERE these Worldwide Church of God expenses went. This was supposed to be "God's Work?" The figures mean little in today's market. Anyhow, "60 Minutes" thought it was enough to challenge Rader about, and this latter entity could NOT answer.
( Just for comparison of what the value of this money that was being squandered was worth, I made $15,300 in 1976 at a fairly decent middle class job (before taxes and tithes and generous offerings, so you can cut that total by more than half. So, I was living on less than $7,000 that year.
Now, you current members of these "Churches of God", do you ever wonder why you can't get an accounting of EXACTLY how your donations to "God" are spent? Would many people have continued to give their hard-earned money to be wasted as Herbert W. Armstrong and his partners in crime did, if they had known The Painful Truth? Is it any wonder that there were so many "crises" in "God's work" where we would have to SACRIFICE more for the WORK? Where the PROBLEM was US because our HEARTS were not fully in the work?
Talk about Wolves! Yikes! And we were accused of not being good stewards if we couldn't figure out how we could make it through a three tithe year.
That money would have gotten to God faster if we had flushed it down the toilet because the sewer is on a higher level than these lowlifes lived on. May these bastards everlastingly roast in hell. Editor)
This information was sent to me in 1979, and sent to many others as well, so I'm just forwarding them. This info is not new. Actually the listings for those expenses came from INSIDE the accounting department from one data manager (as I understand it) at the time.
ALL, repeat, ALL pastors of churches were sent and received copies of these wild expenses, and apparently copies were duplicated and sent to us by the Tuit camp who sued the College. So it's impossible for any Worldwide Church of God pastor to say: "I didn't know." Of course they did. How could anyone deny those figures? So, any and all pastors who got these pages and ignored them are fully responsible for having digested what's in them. Naturally, the upper cultmasters knew.
It may be of interest to note that during the "60 Minutes" interview, Mike Wallace had this stack of expense sheets on the floor next to him. Rader became more and more nervous as Mike kept pulling up new sheets and asking "What about this expense . . . this one . . . and this one?" It was a funny thing, but not even Stan Rader denied the validity of those expenses. He simply tried to justify them.
I once had the full three hours taped interview, and on it, Mike actually quoted some of the figures on those pages you now have. In the final editing for TV, the interview was cut to about twenty minutes.
Unfortunately, I don't have those two tapes anymore, but I'm sure AR does. No wonder you're pissed. We all were, but many of those who knew of this extravagance just ignored it, as well as those who were most loyal to their paychecks. The rest of us departed the cult.
Like I once heard Denny Luker say as he tried to whitewash this topic: "If there's a problem here, then Christ will work it out." Yeeeeeeeaaaaaah . . . right!!!!
I almost forgot to mention that the receiver in 1979 had all these figures given to him by the ex-AC people, and such, they are also kept in the official records of the State of California.
That's why Dukemejin went after the weakest (and undoubtedly stupidest) cult, as told to Dana by Norm Gard. This list of blatant, arrogant extravagances was the most obvious for any prosecutor to pursue. Actually, I thought most had already seen this stuff years ago. Apparently not.
With Worldwide Church of God, there's always a story, and I remember another true one. It's been soooooooo long, but things come back from time to time. This one was told to me directly by an ex so-called "evangelist." There were two of us listeners who were there to bear witness to this tale.
The ex-evangelist remembers in the early 1970's when Stan Rader had still not still come on board as business manager for Worldwide Church of God. The current manager had (on HWA's orders) ordered a new executive, office desk for the apostle to be installed in the Admin. Bldg. Apparently it was inlaid with gold, made of the finest wood, everything executive and uppity (all that stuff), and that was when gold was only $35 a Troy Ounce. Remember, God loves quality.
Rumors started to fly. The rumors were all across the campus. HWA had a new desk. $6,000 for the desk many said, and Herbert eventually heard the rumors. Naturally, there was an apostolic eruption, and Herbert threw his predictable temper tantrum witnessed by those present. With the snitching presence of a minion in his office who had reported the rumor, and also witnessed by the presence of the evangelist and business manager, Herbert screamed and slammed down his fist on his new desk: "Six thousand dollars?" he yelled. "It's a lie, a filthy lie, it's a filthy rotten lie, and all who say that, are lying. Tell them that this vicious rumor is all lies." That's quotable from the "evangelist."
When the evangelist and manager left his office after Herbert's tantrum, they both walked the corridor down and away from the wrath of the temperamental and angry apostle. The evangelist turned to the manager and asked: "Did that desk really cost $6,000?"
"No," the manager replied, "it was $8,000." The walk, I understand, was continued in silence.
Remember this was the early seventies. Add THAT to your list of extravagance.
While these Worldwide Church of God expenses show only a snippet of what really happened in those years, one can only wonder what TOTALLY went on in that time and thereafter. This information, plus any further comments and details, are as accurate as I now have and understand them to be. But this is only the tip of the antics that were kept well hidden from the brethren. I might mention that this is ONLY a part of the huge expenses that were splurged by the apostolic Herbert and his loyalists. In fact, this is all we now have, unless others have more to add. We know there is plenty more, but we have no access to it.
For years later, as told to me by one contributor (and I remember a couple of issues in the GN) there was a pie chart, or equivalent, that was printed regarding the supposed expenses of the tithepayers' money. The biggest chunk of that money, as I remember, always went to "Overseas Work." Now, since the overseas work was minimal and the "conversion" results marginal by anyone's reckoning, where did all that money go? Or into whose account/s?
All of these listed expenses do NOT take into account any of the extra spending done by "God's Apostle." The figures that we have are only a small part of the picture. These are the only expenses that were actually "gotten out," by a shocked employee. Let's ask ourselves: What about all the G-II and G-III expenses? Do people know that a Grumman Gulfstream G-III costs around $15-20 million? On top of that, you must add the Certificate of Airworthiness (I don't have the actual figure, but it's many thousands), the hanger/parking space for the aircraft, the cost of TWO fully licensed pilots of ATP (Airline Transport Pilot - and these guys come at $250K+ a year . . . plus one for standby), and the cost of lubrication, and maintenance, and humungous cost of aviation kerosene for those two super Rolls Royce engines. They were gas guzzlers. Even if you never flew the aircraft, the static expenses would be well over $1 million a year - after paying the full purchase price. It's admittedly a great aircraft, and the tops in corporate jets (aside from possibly the Lockheed) but only a rich corporation could afford such a cost, upkeep, and minimal expenses. So, again, where was all that money going?
Now, why the overseas work? HWA's banquets (per the expense sheets) were paid for by the tithepayers. Herbert often crowed, that in these banquets: "Everyone spoke well of me." I'd like to remind dead Herbert that Jesus once said: "Woe be unto you when all men speak well of you, for so did they to their fathers, the FALSE prophets."
His famous Philippine crusade with Marcos' mother was a disaster. Colin Adair wrote Les Mac from there (in 1978 I believe, and I saw the letter), telling Mac that Herbert's reporting to the brethren was totally wrong. There wasn't 20,000 plus people at each meeting. In fact, Herbie was lucky if he got 2,500 for the whole three nights of the crusade. Another lie. And we all believed the "gospel" was now going to the Philippines. No one in Manila, it seems, was interested in this angry, little apostle from America who gave millions to Ferdinand Marcos and his special interests . . . for which Herbert was rewarded with permission to give his public crusades, and the all-too-well-known purchased (and honorary) Doctorate of Philosophy into the University of Manila. With the corrupt dictator, Marcos, you paid and you were rewarded. So, the tithepayers have a right to ask: "Where did all that tithe money go?"
This, of course, is not intended to substitute for any of the additional listed expenses (above) or of the other money wastage. It's only in addition TO. For example . . .
Herbert had many trips to Europe and other places. He liked the health spas. Romania seemed to be one of his favorites. Some of these "spas" specialize in sex rejuvenation therapy. I do believe AR has an article on Herbert's standard penis regeneration, but the concept of an implant scared him. Who paid for all this?
What about the reported (even, I believe earlier by AR) payroll costs given to HWA's illegitimates?
What about all the trips to the campuses that were not covered by the above costs? What about the wild partying bills? Who paid for all the chauffeuring, catering, exotic food, alcohol input and the cleanup with all the muck and debris left over? Those involved have told us that the apostle - naturally - always flew with a loyal entourage, serviced willingly by stewardesses, while the privileged were soaked in the most expensive 80 proof plus. Thankfully, the pilots simply flew for a living. One ex co-pilot, or First Officer, told a friend of mine that they all referred to Herbie's G-II as: "The Flying Whorehouse." So where did all the tithepayer's money go?
Since there were about sixteen "evangelists" in those days, what were their expense breakdowns? The IRS would undoubtedly be interested, including the reported insider trading in gold, the borrowed money from tithe accounts, and the profits later harnessed in off-shore banks. Many of these guys only paid a token "rent" on their lavish homes, only to be reimbursed with later bonuses. What about their "fact finding" tours that were all touring and little-or-no facts? What about the nights spent in "Geisha" houses? These were not real Geisha places but "substitutes." What about the nights spent by GTA and company in India when Abraham George was removed from his position because of what he saw? Who paid for the evangelistic crusade in Japan when some of those people set up a more pharisaical (still kicking) evangelist with an all night stint, according to a report from one ex-member - as told to him by a TOP current Worldwide Church of God leader. Who paid for all this?
This also doesn't account for the sale of properties in the Pocono's, the Ozarks, Wisconsin Dells, Estes Park- CO, the South American interests, etc., etc., and etc. Can anyone enlighten us all as to where all that money went? We're listening.
We've all seen the list of , and since this was only some of what we can now see, what was further happening behind the scenes? What facts are being hidden as to the past improprieties? What other expenditures were (and are) being held from the tithe paying brethren? Granted, this may be all past tense, but since thousands of us gave millions into a worthless cult, then we'd like an honest accounting, and from the IRS.
Ed, you once commented on the site, that basically if HWA fell into ignominy (and obviously he has), then so do his followers - and so do all the cults that have sprang from him. This is true, so we all might ask, what are the new cultmasters spending their tithepayers' money on? Can the apple fall far from the tree? These new tares have pinned their loyalty and reputations on the misconduct and their corrupted theology on the spiritual stench of dead Herbert, and if his image falls, theirs does too. "A bad tree CANNOT bring forth good fruit."
So, how does this avalanche of new cults justify themselves? "By their fruits you shall know them," and have any of these cultmasters offered to open their books and make a public accounting to their brethren and to the IRS? This would be the test Lemme suggest something to everyone. They WON'T do it. It would completely expose them. And the brethren would be shocked. Please, if anyone disagrees, PROVE this wrong.
Many religious cults today always tell the followers that they have one or two - well paid - accounting firms that audit them in order to find that they are always: "In compliance with the IRS and Federal laws." On the surface, that may sound great, but these accounting companies are always paid by the cults that actually employ them. So, what sort of check is this? So these companies, loyal to their salary expenses, will chant the compliance to the Feds (and suggest modifications to the cult ), submit their "correct" accounting sheets, and parrot the tune of IRS compliance, when in fact, there is much hidden. 1979 proved that.
The answer? Let the IRS actually do the auditing, and let it all be made public. Why not? What's to hide? If there's nothing to hide . . . then open the books.
You know, it's really too bad that we don't have one the of the former top Worldwide Church of God leaders come forward and admit what was happening. Many now have their own tax-exempt cults. Granted, it would be big admission on their part that they KNEW what was happening, but - at least - their courage would get them forgiveness from most quarters. Folks are honestly willing to forgive any person who says: "I goofed, and I ignored the obvious. I was wrong. Sorry." But people will not forgive where there is no repentance, and the current cultmasters in the Worldwide Church of God+ cults, obviously ignored the reported problems with no investigation, and now they continue their way as if nothing had happened. Like cowards, they justify what happened, and pretend not to see it even though decent people are still being ripped-off. If these leaders would ever chose to come forward, they could not only confirm this misconduct, but they could let us all in on the whole "plain truth." Pandora's secrets would be out.
And this is only the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg.
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