Monday, February 10, 2014

Larry Gott, HWA's Grandson Talks About Being Related to HWA and the Incest Controversy


From the Secular Safe House blog by Troy Fitzgerald

Larry is the grandson of Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder of the cult/church, the Worldwide Church of God. He is the eldest child of Herbert’s eldest daughter, Beverly. He attended church until his parents were disfellowshipped when he was 13. He attended the church’s Ambassador College when he was 29 even though he was still not a member of the church.

Larry shares what it was like growing up as the grandson of the cult founder, including what his grandfather compelled his parents to do when he became ill at the age of 3 — force him to go without food for 12 days.

He discusses what lead to his parents being disfellowshipped from the church by his grandfather and how that impacted his family. He shares about his mom’s return to the employ of the church as Herbert’s social secretary though she did not return to the church or attend services; Larry’s enrollment in the church’s college, Ambassador, when he was 29 even though not a member of the church (something that was almost unheard of in the church); his world travels with his grandfather on the church’s private jet; and the evolution of his views about religion.

Finally, Larry discusses his view and the family’s views about the allegations that his grandfather, Herbert, committed incest with his youngest daughter, Dorothy (Larry’s aunt) and his general views about the personality and character of his grandfather and whether he was qualified — according to his own Biblical teachings — to be considered “God’s apostle on earth” or even a minister of Jesus Christ.

Listen to Larry Gott's interesting story here.
NOTE: The audio quality of this podcast is less than ideal due to technical issues that could not be overcome at the time. With some volume adjustments along the way, it is still audible and worth listening to, especially if you have any association with the WCG.

Larry also has a personal YouTube channel where he talks about life, losing religion and politics.  It can be found here.


Head Usher said...

Interviews don't always produce nice summary soundbites, but in this case, it did. As a public service, I post the following transcription which I made of Larry's answer to Troy's question about Herbert's character:

"He was a person who craved and used authority over other people. That was sort of the essence of him. No one was close to him ever, not even his wife. He was an authoritarian. And I would tell people that he was not completely honest with everybody about himself because he expected people to hew to a line that he couldn't follow himself, including the divorce thing, and of course the incest. That did happen ... And then he didn't even bother to deny it. He said, 'Well, my people won't believe it anyway.' He was so smug about it. One time I was going to, there was an open house, over at Jet Propulsion Lab and I was being taken over there by David Antion who was Shirley Armstrong's sister's husband, and there was a couple who were not in the church, from back east, and they knew that I was Herbert Armstrong's grandson. And they just asked me, 'Well, is Herbert Armstrong the wonderful, caring, loving, kind, gentle, Christian kind of man that he seems to be?' And my answer was a single word, 'No' ... It was embarrassing, but I just had to tell her the truth. No, he wasn't as he appeared at all. And so if people are basing their beliefs and their desire to be in that church upon the character of its founder, they're making a mistake."

Herbert claimed to be the one and only representative of a heavenly Jesus Christ on earth. He claimed that he was an end-time "Elijah." A long-missing link between heaven and earth. He claimed that his church was the one troo church. He claimed that his (heretical) ministry was the one troo "work" of the christian god. And he said all these things upon his own authority. He asked people to place their trust in him first, and having committed to that, then, secondly, in his interpretation of the christian bible and his interpretation of its god. And by preaching over radio and television, exhorting people to believe his message, he also promoted the impression that he was a paragon of virtue, not a compulsive liar, a pedophile, and in churchy lingo, a totally "unconverted" person.

The bible doesn't mention Herbert Armstrong. It nowhere prophesies Herbert Armstrong's (insignificant) arrival upon the world scene. No supernatural beings came down from heaven above and vouched for Herbert Armstrong. If we made the mistake of being members of his church, it's because we first made the mistake of accepting that anyone who so boldly and unwaveringly claimed to be all that he claimed he was could not display so much confidence unless it were true, and decided to misplace our trust in him on that basis. It's good to remember that the "con" in "con artist" is short for "confidence." Many thanks to Larry Gott for making it undeniably clear, in a way only someone in his position can, that it is impossible for any of Herbert's grandiose claims about himself to have been anything but the calculated deceptions of a man with an amazing talent for confidence.

Anonymous said...

I wish theyd transcribe these things.

DennisCDiehl said...

Many of the same things will be said and can be said for the splinter "leaders." The self serving ego tends to rise to the top at the expense of others. There must be a blindspot to this in humans when the Bible is invoked. Perhaps it is the same trait that propelled "Bible Figures" to their real or imagined heights of authority.

Even in Mark 3, which was later edited out of the Gospels, we find Jesus family, including mom, who in Mark's version, knew no amazing birth story about her son, came to get him "because he was insane." Families may spot what followers simply filter out because of the biblical claims and perspectives they claim to have and interest others who cannot disconnect the man from his Biblical views that interest them.

I am going to guess that Dave Pack, who worships, quotes and mimmicks HWA will go this same route as time passes. Maybe not, but he stands at great risk burying his own self, whoever that is, and wearing the HWA mask.

We all wear masks and ministers, who absolutely must not be, think or act like a normal human being, wear them well. It's an unfair position a man finds himself in as most members seem to expect too much from the minister that they themselves have no intention of being. When they screw up, it's a crucifiction. When the member does, they know all the "you must forgive" scriptures and expect them to be applied.

Being a minister is a weird and unnatural experience in my own view and experience. Those that don't recognize the pitfalls end up weird and unnatural in their thinking and expectations at times.

DennisCDiehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

An exact quote from the interview, at 1:02:55:

"We all knew it happened. Nobody spoke about it because of Dottie, we didn’t want to disturb or upset her. None of it was her fault. She was 14 or 15 when it began, so she was not capable of consent in the first place, so what it was, was basically rape. It went on for quite a while. Yes, he did commit incest with his younger daughter."

Direct from HWA's grandson. Let the deniers refute that.

Britain W. Stevenson said...

Well I am thoroughly convinced HWA was just a total asshole as are all the rest of the ministers and regional directors...and let's not forget "That Prophet" not "The Prophet" but "That Prophet". Yea HWA had sex with his child/daughter Dorothy and USED his YOUNG daughter Beverly to run around with him all over the world...yes he wanted someone younger to attract someone else younger. THEN when he found someone younger, (he could actually marry)...Ramona, he dumped his daughter Beverly. But that was short-lived because Ramona found out about HWA's incest secret which I'm sure made her want to puke, so HWA ACCUSED Ramona of stealing some silver,(LOL),as a way to get back at her. He was just a narcissistic,tyrannical,old pervert using the Bible as a front to feed his big fat ego!
I remember another narcissistic, tyrannical, pervert my first day at PCG services back in 2004...BRIAN DAVIS. I was whisked to a motel room where I was interrogated by that jerk and at one point he told me, "And if I ever tell you to wear your skirt up to here", (as he brushed his right hand across his upper thigh)...and I drew a blank after that because I couldn't believe he was saying this,with that stupid smirking grin on his face, and cocking his head left to right the whole time.
Yea, they all learned from THE GREAT HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG

Head Usher said...

Thanks, Anon. My transcription begins at about the 1:07 mark. Yeah, let the deniers refute Larry.

Where in the bible does it say, "Unless thou followest the rantings of a pedophile, ye shall have no part with me. And Peter said unto Him, Not a pedophile only my Lord, but a theif, a liar, and a false prophet also. And Thomas piped up and said, Now, wait just a minute, I thought there were only two witnesses, not four. But Jesus said unto them, Behold, I show you a mystery: all these shall be in one man, and he shall turn the hearts of the children away from their fathers."

Thousands of people still hang on his every recorded word, still desperately believing, I guess, that this guy had a red telephone to heaven, and he knew the secrets to accessing god? Say what? No matter how you slice it, a waste of time at best.

Notice, this is not the sort of thread where the party faithful shows up and tells us how we should be trembling in our boots to dare talk bad about the old pervert and his minions, because their god is gonna be mad at us. Next time they show up, we should just post a link to here.

Byker Bob said...

By comparison, Roman Polanski was virtually exiled from the USA for pedophilia. School teachers have lost their careers because they initiated inappropriate relationships with minor students. John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas will forever be ill thought of for his incestuous relationship with his daughter Mackenzie. Roman Catholic priests have quickly become non-persons when their illicit relationships are revealed.
In the examples cited above, you just don't have people denying what has happened, or rushing to these peoples' defense!

People who are loyal to the so-called 18 restored truths wouldn't believe that HWA committed incest even if they saw home movies of it. Remember, the incest happened during the time span when the 18 restored truths were supposedly being revealed. This is another area, just as with British Israelism, where if members were to acknowledge the truth, the whole damnable belief system would go down in flames. So, instead, they gather at the river----the biggest one in Egypt. (de Nile)


Joe Moeller said...

I find it amazing that people will take an edited, highlighted film, radio or television performance and then ascribe this as the reality of the person.

HWA presented a certain "face" in media. He did not fellowship with people, and stayed in an Ivory Castle bubble.

The "real man" was actually a mystery to most of us, and was carefully guarded. Even most of the ministry had no access to the man.

Those who still idealize HWA, are worshipping a manufactured media image, not a real person. Even that image is faulty and flawed at that.

The equivalent of this would be to pretend that the real William Shatner, really is the person that you see on Star Trek in the persona of Captain Kirk.

Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no real Captain Kirk, and there is no real Apostle, Pastor General, Elijah, Two Witness Herbert Armstrong either.

Find Christ as an individual. His "TV Station" is a little harder to find than HWAs was. It is not flesh and blood, and this God "does not need a spaceship, or even a jet" , using Star Trek parlance.

When you grow up, you no longer worship movie stars, athletes, politicians or self proclaimed "Apostles". Maturity demands self actualization.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

The largest number of people who could be "disappointed" due to their worship of HWA will be found in the largest of the WCG's splinter groups - The United Church of God.

But few of them will ever be disappointed, since they still worship him and probably always will.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the book "The Psychopath Inside" by James Fallon. Very interesting book about some of the latest brain research. It makes me wonder if HWA was a psychopath. The author found out that he himself was a psychopath despite being highly successful and happily married.

The sad thing is that it is determined by the genes and a true psychopath is often unaware, although he knows he is different. Like a man blind from birth the person knows something is missing but doesn't really understand what it is.

Larry's comments about HWA being cold and no one being really close to him makes me wonder.

Most psychopaths are men because it is carried on the X chromosone, so although women can also be psychos it is unusual.

Anonymous said...

Where in the bible does it say, "Unless thou followest the rantings of a pedophile, ye shall have no part with me.

Well, the entire underlying premise of Christianity is that God found a 13-year-old girl (Mary) who was already betrothed to another man (Joseph), and then impregnated her with His child.

For that matter, today in the ACOGs, how would the ministry treat a girl who got pregnant before marriage, and who said the man to whom she was engaged wasn't the father?

If you look at the Bible objectively, it teaches some pretty screwed-up values. When God Himself is a pedophile and rapist, is it any wonder that some human pedophile-rapists decide they want a piece of that action?

Head Usher said...

LOL. Okay, you convinced me. Good point, Anon.

Mark Wolfe said...

Very interesting and insightful interview.

It is a bit of a paradox that human beings do crave to understand how we came to be and the reason for that being, but, must follow a man to act upon what we have chosen to believe.

It is other fallible human beings which convince us that it is they that are speaking on behalf of the deity that created us, and, therefore, is the mouthpiece that we need to listen and act in accordance to.

What happens when that man is sinful----even more so than some of his followers? Do we give up our beliefs that we had previously proven? Or do we just accept the fact that this person may have been a charlatan and sold us a bill of false goods? If so, than what do we believe to satisfy that natural cravings? Or do we become "dead" inside?

All very tough questions that this interview inspired.

Troy Fitzgerald said...

Thanks for the positive comments on the interview. I'm glad listeners appreciate what Larry shared as much as I did. He was very gracious.

I felt horrible about the technical issues we were having, but his Skype and internet connection wasn't cooperating, and I didn't want to delay or reschedule the interview again as it took a while to make it happen.

My two cents on whether HWA was a psychopath... I don't know how he could have NOT been. I think you would have to be mentally ill to do the damage he did and have the massive lack of empathy and lust for power and control that he did IMHO.

I hope anyone connected to the COGs will listen to his and Deborah's interview (Herbert's niece - Episode 5) and then decide how credible the allegations are and do further research. I do believe he was a hypocrite of massive proportions and had no business calling himself an apostle or a "minister of Jesus Christ" according to the standards he himself required of others ministers. Not to mention the plagiarism, corrupt use of funds, failed prophecies and ALL the rest.

I appreciated reading everyone's interesting comments and insights. If any of you would be interested in doing an interview, let me know. :)

Britain W. Stevenson said...{%221398177263776596%22%3A10150149392038234}&action_type_map={%221398177263776596%22%3A%22og.likes%22}&action_ref_map=[]

This is a link to an article today for the sentencing of Keith Brown, father of "The Five Browns" whom Gerald Flurry >That Prophet< let perform in >God's House< AKA "Armstrong Auditorium". Interesting that Gerald Flurry wouldn't even allow his own members,(whom helped pay for GF's great concert hall),with small children, even SIT in >God's House<.
And about Gerald Flurry and >God's House<...If make-up is so evil...why would >That Prophet<,allow the women performers to perform WEARING MAKE-UP?? All the church member women had to come into >God's House< at performances, not wearing make-up.
Gerald Flurry bends the rules just like the father he worships... Herbert W. Armstrong.

Britain W. Stevenson said...

Sorry. This is the link. Of course some people will not think anything wrong with this.