Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mark Armstrong Speaks About His Mother's Last Days

To all concerned,
I am sorry to report that my sweet Mother, Shirley Ann Armstrong died peacefully at 3:17 am this morning. The news apparently flew throughout the internet almost immediately, but I wanted to add some context to this terribly sad event.

Most of Mom’s immediate family was able to be at her side before the end came, and for that we are all very thankful.
The days leading up to October 16th were some of the best she’d had in months. I was able to talk to her at least three times by phone while traveling, passing along the great news that Michael and Melody are expecting. She said, “Tell them congratulations for me.” She also spoke lucidly with them and with Sonja by phone, exchanging information about each other’s circumstances as you’d expect.. Wednesday the 15th was a particularly good day for Mom. She was up for breakfast, lunch and dinner, feeding herself and expressing her gratitude to my brother David who was staying with her.
Mom never used a wheelchair or was confined to her bed. She got where she was going, on one of our arms, on her own two feet right up to the last day. Though she really never felt good or energetic for at least the last two years, she was never in any agonizing pain, and for that we are eternally grateful.
When I got word, pre-dawn in Lake Tahoe that Mom was in the midst of a life-ending emergency, I was able to secure an early morning flight and arrive at her side by about 8:30 pm last night. Matthew and his sons Andrew and Hunter had arrived and visited with her earlier. She was only in a semi-conscious state, but I’m sure she was aware of my presence and hope that was a comfort. She held on until my Son, Michael and his wife, Melody along with her only granddaughter, Sonja and her husband, Matt arrived shortly after 1:00 am. We all had the opportunity to speak and be close with her until her breathing became labored.
I was able to reach beneath the covers, take her hand in mine and say a prayer thanking God for her, for all she’s done for all of us and all she’s meant to so many; for the fine example of sterling character that defined her whole life; for being the rock and the glue that has held the Hammer and the Armstrong families together; and asked God to take good care of her. After saying “Amen” she yawned once or twice, and breathed no more.
She’s safe in God’s Hands, she didn’t suffer terribly as many do. Her time had come, as it must have been God’s will. Surely it is a time of great sadness and we’re all missing her already. But we also have a tremendous amount for which to be thankful and can rejoice in the life we were blessed to share with her. We loved her dearly, as did everyone who crossed her path. She took care of us, kept us all in line, and we’re going to try to stay that way. She was a wonderful wife and an inspiration to my Dad, Garner Ted Armstrong, and crucial to the Evangelistic Association and the ICG.
Heartfelt thanks to everyone for the prayers and well-wishes. We believe they were answered, according to His will. The funeral will be held at Croley Funeral Home at 401 N. Center, Gladewater, TX on Wednesday, October 21 with the time yet to be established.
Mark Armstrong


Anonymous said...

Shirley was just like the Kennedy wives. They put up with their husbands philandering ways because power, prestige and respect for sticking by their man was more important than their self respect or worth. Money talks, and in Armstrongism Shirley needed to be taken care of after GTA's unexpected death. That's why Ted's face is still the face of ICG and GTA EA. Mark has no drawing power like his dad or uncle

Anonymous said...

@4:44, I think you make some wild assumptions. It's possible "Kennedy wives" knew the score before they got married, who knows. Ideas of self respect and worth aren't universal, especially for women of several decades ago.

I have no idea for sure, but Shirley Armstrong probably wasn't hurting when GTA died. Her family was known for being reasonably well off, and I think GTA's income was historically very good. There may have been a desire to keep the gravy train running, but I don't know that she needed to be taken care of.

Corky said...

Well, we have one consolation, these perfect people who lord over everyone else do eventually kick the bucket like everyone else.

OTOH, my mother, who devoted her everything to this bunch and even died because of their doctrines, never even got so much as an honorable mention in the church obits. Well, F**k 'em and good riddance. I hope Flurry and Merideth and the rest of 'em soon follow.

Byker Bob said...

There was a big difference in the church leading up to 1972-75, and apparently what came shortly thereafter. It's like the prophecy failure, the doctrinal revolts, and the very shocking (at the time) scandals spoiled the innocence in much the same ways that the Kennedy and King assassinations and The Viet Nam war and hippies spoiled the innocence of America. Don't get me wrong, the child abuse, avoidance of doctors, breakups of families where there had been previous divorce, and racist attitudes caused by British Israelism were always present in the church, but there was definitely a kind of Camelot atmosphere about the church and the campus, and the ministers and their wives and families were almost automatically respected. Much was swept under the rug, as there was unity in the effort to preserve the illusion.

Compared to the shenanigans, the new amplified conspiracy theories, the title taking, and the extreme authoritarianism prevalent in the splinters and amongst some if the wannabes today, the Armstrongs were relatively balanced, especially prior to Loma's passing. Mark has actually gone on record and commented about the lack of balance in the splinters, but it is not as if people like Apostle Dave Pack, or that Prophet Gerald Flurry would take constructive criticism from Mark, even if it rang true.

We know now, having witnessed forty years of additional history, that the Gamaliel syndrome has kicked in. There have also been exhaustive doctrinal papers produced, with the subject matter allowed to follow the evidentiary trail, rather than being eisegesis, pretty much killing the central doctrines, or "restored truths" in ACOG parlance.

There was definitely a lot of bad back in the day, but the utopian illusion at least acted as a partial counterbalance, and the examples we thought the ministerial families were setting was part of that all. If you read a lot of the materials at the various sites, there isn't a heck of a lot of bad said about ministers' wives. They seem to have been involved in simply raising their families.


Anonymous said...

henis sorry to report that she died peacefully?! What did he hope for instead, armegetton and world war 3?, fleeing to a place of safety? That she would be around to serve him as he ruled in the millennium? What a stupid thing to say. Theses guys say a bunch of stupid things, they are really ignorant men who are dillusional racists and produce no go thing but live off of other people's money, like parasites. I agree, f-ck em.

old EXPCG hag said...

It's good to hear that family seemed to have a wonderful life unlike many others that were destroyed for listening to unrighteous dictators with no wisdom or love for their fellow man.

So is she in heaven or hell now??...or just asleep waiting the resurrection to again have uncaring assholes from the PCG and other splinters ruling over her??? HA!

Anyone heard from Jesus lately?

old EXPCG hag said...

Here's a scary thought...wake up and see Brian Davis' face staring back at you. I think I'd ask God if I could go to the lake of fire now.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Does anyone else find the Armstrong headstone autographs weird? Garner Ted's autographed headstone is the same signature as if it were found on a WCG co-worker letter. I'm just saying its weird!


Allen C. Dexter said...

"If you read a lot of the materials at the various sites, there isn't a heck of a lot of bad said about ministers' wives. They seem to have been involved in simply raising their families."

With good reason. Most of them were very sincere women in a woman-demeaning theological system. I knew Shirley, not well, but she was a very sweet person from all I know about her. I can only imagine what she went through trying to adjust to and live with GTAs philandering.

Anonymous said...

I agree Richard! Very strange. As if that officiousness, that "brand iconography" could somehow follow them into a nonexistant afterlife, as though they were some sort of pharaoh or something, and needed those signatures in order to hold onto their "status" in the hereafter.

I'm just glad their god isn't real and therefore they've got no "government" for creeps like these men to be ensconced in so as to continue to lord it over everyone some more.

Though I bear no ill will against Shirley, as I never knew her, and I've no evidence she was anything more than a victim like the rest of us, As far as Richard, Herbert, and Garner Ted are concerned, good riddance. They should have all been passengers in Mr. Billingsley's car!

Anonymous said...

On the surface, this seems like a tough call...but not really.

Garner Ted Armstrong was a horribly duplicitous and deceitful individual who, because his enablers looked the other way time and time again, repeatedly perpetrated his harmful and predatory behavior on people.

Nice person or not, Shirley Armstrong had numerous opportunities to kick the scoundrel out on his lying ass and stop him in his tracks. Dozens of women? Scores? Hundreds? Are you kidding me? She could have publicly declared that he was a liar and a cheat, totally unqualified for ministry, and warned people not to follow him or listen to him ever again. She never did. And so he kept on practicing his abominable behavior.

Had she moved on, her life would not have been over. She was in her early 40s when her husband was finally booted from the WCG. She was attractive and well-connected and would have had plenty of life ahead of her. That she stayed with Ted implies that she believed his fantasy bullshit that he was somehow special and had a special calling from God. Either that, or she chose to ride the gravy train wherever it led.

So ease up on the "poor, sweet Shirley" rhetoric. These people all knew what they were doing, all along. Shirley Armstrong was, in fact, GTA's most prominent enabler. She made a choice to stay with him and remain quiet about his antics. And a lot more people than her were hurt because of it.

The passing of anyone is a sad thing. But it's even sadder that the one person closest to GTA never stopped him. So much would have been different if she had.