Friday, April 24, 2015

Armstrong Family Members Share Life Under Herbert Armstrong's Reign

By Larry Gott
In 1967 my grandmother Loma D. Armstrong died from  simple intestinal blockage from taking Saritan laxative without enough water. She could have been made well the very next day by the simplest of medical procedures.  My grandfather refused medical help and simply anointed her with oil and prayed over her (probably to die), but would let no doctor near her. Finally the last time I saw her, laying in her death bed to say goodbye with my Mom the day before she died. Her belly so swollen she looked as if she were nine months pregnant. The next day her internal organs ruptured spreading peritonitis through her system and she of course died~~~  However,  when my uncle Dick (Richard Armstrong) was in a car crash, my grandfather told the hospital to fly in the best doctors in the country and to please do all they could to keep his son alive!!! He also almost killed my eldest brother Larry when he was only three. Larry came down with Rheumatic fever. Again my grandfather simply anointed him with oil and said a lame prayer and put him a fast for three weeks which damn near killed him, and did permanently stunt his growth .. Finally my Mother had the good sense to disobey her fathers orders and fed him saving his life... So many of these stories I remember as a kid.

When my Mother had the strength to tell him she would not pull all of us kids out of public school when he started Imperial to be indoctrinated by him and his ideas, he disfellowshiped her (You all know what that means) and told her that "He and God would take one of her children away from her in death"... You can imagine what effect that had on her. Still believing he had the power he professed, it nearly drove her mad. Every time we got sick she would be terror stricken. Or  if she heard a siren in town and one of us was not home, she would get in the car and go find us thinking it had to be an ambulance taking one of us to the hospital or morgue. HWA was an evil megalomaniac plain and simple!!!  I feel sorry for anyone who still believes his bullshit that he was "The Prophet" he proclaimed to be!!!!                                           
P.S. The story about him raping my aunt Dottie (Dorothy Mattson) for years is absolutely true!!!! The only part of that article that was wrong was that it was the mid 1960's not 50's when Vern found out and quit his job as business manager, and only after my aunt convinced him not to kill the s.o.b.!!!
By Tedd Armstrong

I will second that!! I'm the youngest brother of Larry Gott, (I use my Mom's maiden name professionally) and I have had so many requests to come here and set the record straight that I'm finally here to do so.  I was about twelve years old, and It was in our dinning room in the home where I grew up in Pasadena where my aunt Dottie (Dorothy Mattson) told my uncle Vern about her being molested and raped by her father. It was all she could do to stop Vern from rushing over to my grandfathers house and killing him! Instead he quit his job  the next day as business manager for the church. It was mid 60's not 50's when he quit, as was reported... But it did happen! My grandfather was a sick SOB megalomaniac and was a cruel and vicious excuse for a human being!  Trust me, if there is a Heaven and Hell, he is not in Heaven!!!! I should write a book~~~

My Mother started to write her biography in the 1980's, but bringing back all the painful memories of her childhood all the way up to her being thrown out of the church was too painful and she never finished it. If you know half of the twisted things about my grandfather you would all shit yourselves! I just wish you could all find some kind of closure and move on and forget he ruined so many lives! His DNA does NOT rear it's ugly head in any of us!

Fortunately for me and my siblings, my Mother had the good sense to NOT pull us out of public school and put us into Imperial when my grandfather first stated  grades 1 through 12 and "Demanded" she put us into Imperial... She told him flat out that she would NOT let him indoctrinate her kids and that IF we wanted to join the church as adults, that was up to us. Of course none of us ever did!!! And that was the second and final time he "Disfellowshipped her. The first time was when she refused to obey the no makeup rule. He got up in front of the entire church and called my Mother a "Harlot" for refusing to obey his new order not to wear makeup. That "Doctrine" btw, was my grandmothers idea. She didn't like my grandfather being around young coeds, so she was determined to make them as plain and dowdy as possible!

My grandfather only believed in money and power and did not care who he destroyed getting it! At least my uncle Ted (G.T.A.) believed what he preached, although did not always practice it, unfortunately for my sweet aunt Shirley RIP, who just recently passed away. Anyway, I wish you all peace and sincerely hope you all can find some closure and put the "Teachings" of H.W.A. behind you! You will all be better off!!!

Larry Gott's story is here:  Larry - Worldwide Church of God

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.

Larry has had his own YouTube channel for a number of years where he discusses his views on religion and other topics. Deborah Armstrong, Herbert’s niece and the daughter of Dwight Armstrong, who was also raised in the church, is interviewed on Podcast 5.


Byker Bob said...

I admire these guys for coming forward with this, but unfortunately the people who really need to hear it and believe it won't. No matter. They'll hear it again from Someone they cannot disbelieve.


Anonymous said...

HWA was a despicable person. How can anyone who knows the truth about HWA still hold on to what he taught. This man put together a religion he on-doubt knew was fake. HWA was a con man.

I wonder how many ministers of the splinters know HWA was a fake but still preach his B.S. just to stay employed.

Anonymous said...

Why did they wait so long? How about a book co-authored by the two of them. Find a ghostwriter and sit down with him. What was the WCG really like, behind the screen?

Anonymous said...

I was thinking if Vern had killed his father-in-law, how this would have affected WCG and it's history and many of our histories. Something like "cult leader murdered by son-in-law" . Well I don't wish this trauma on any family.

Anonymous said...

despite the evil of mr. armstrong, it was the doctrine of the bible that he taught that allowed my father to, as a single black father, raise several daughters and a son and insulate us from the scourges of teenage pregnancy, yet incarceration of yet another young black male, etc.,

so there is some distinctive advantage in the following Doctrine of the Word of God despite the the end time scoffing...

Anonymous said...

And I know so many people that totally idolize HWA and think he was an apostle

Anonymous said...

Thank you Larry Gott's brother for sharing this, as painful as this must have been for you and your other family members all these years. Scroller

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Thank you Larry and Tedd for speaking out and giving us The Plain Truth - a testimony of understanding!

Regrettably, I have to agree with Byker Bob.

More personally, I can't begin to tell you how Armstrongism adversely affected me - even years after I left the cult. I was estranged from my mother for many years who died in the idiot Meredith's LCG cult in 2009.

Fortunately, I found myself in Corporate Fortune 100 Finance and in investment Real Estate which replaced the void in my life created by leaving the WCG in 1976.

Brainwashed to believe that I wash "the weak of the world", a base thing, I later discovered that I wasn't. Unfortunately, my prime years were wasted single and alone because I was so messed up from Armstrongism and considered myself weird and different. At age 38, I started dating someone (yes, you read that right - age 38). Our relationship only lasted 3 years but produced a wonderful daughter. The lingering affects of Armstrongism helped end the relationship. Things like feeling uncomfortable with celebrating Christmas, Birthdays, etc.

Lastly, I NEVER dreamed as a teenager growing up in the 1960s/1970s WCG that someday - in this present world and in this present age - I would be nearly 60 years old. The wonderful world of tomorrow what will it be like never came! It was all a fake!

Thank you again to Larry and Tedd for speaking out!


Sane Con said...

The Empire is falling and I thank Larry and Tedd (and Deb) doing their best of putting the nails in the coffin.

Byker Bob said...

It's too bad WCG didn't take the same route as the Hillsong organization over in Australia. Frank Houston, the founder, was deposed and retired by his son Brian specifically because of incidents of child molestation. Whatever we all think of Hillsong, at least in this case, to their credit, they came clean. The key difference with WCG would appear to be that GTA was hardly an example of moral purity himself. Somehow, the lid was kept on HWA's secret, but even if some had known about it, the board of directors were directors in title only.

Herbie's good luck became our very bad luck. That is vexing!


Anonymous said...

I find his comment about GTA interesting, that he truly believed what he was preaching, in spite of his own behavior. I wonder if HWA believed any of it, or only the parts that he believed glorified himself.

Retired Prof said...

When I left Ambassador College and later stopped attending services, I assumed that both HWA and GTA were sincere. Deluded, but sincere in their delusion.

Many years later, out of curiosity, I searched on line and discovered Ambassador Reports over at the Painful Truth. That and other sources convinced me that the whole COG was a scam, and I naturally assumed that both father and son were in on it.

So it's weird to learn that Garner Ted might have been sincere after all, just like Roderick C., only with a different set of character flaws.

Anonymous said...

It truly doesn't matter if all the splinters fall apart. The main thing is that the aging ministry were supported throughout their careers with perks, allowances, salary and retirement plans, and they can just go off into their merry retirement years, living off the money they conned us into giving.

Anonymous said...

I still think that HWA believed it in the beginning, and his wife appears to have believed it even more. Humans have an amazing ability to be in denial about their actions, and then there is the example of King David which HWA was very fond of bringing up(a man after Gods own heart).

The New Testament is even worse in reassuring the sinner that God still loves him -- the thief on the cross only had to repent hours before his death. The whole message of Christianity is that God will save us all no matter how evil we have been, if we repent. The Catholics are the masters of this concept. In all these religions the leaders are often those with the worst behavior which they attempt to conceal, and they rail against and punish their membership who stray from the straight and narrow path which they themselves do not travel on.

Anonymous said...

I too found the comment interesting that GTA believed his message even though his behavior did not match up. This is believable, and on a deeper and more malevolent level is believable also with HWA as well (although it is informative that the Gott grandsons question that).

The movie "The Man Who Would be King" is one portrayal of this phenomenon; Sinclair Lewis's "Elmer Gantry" is another--of the curious mixture of delusion, rationalization, part-belief, part-conscious con. It is found elsewhere in the worlds of sales, public relations, court intellectuals, talk radio, and political campaigns--the well-known phenomenon that the most effective persuaders are those who find ways to believe their words and thereby sell others more convincingly (more effective and feasible than maintaining a knowing 100% con sustained over time--it can be internally known to be 75% or 90% con, but justified by an internal rationale that one is "really" doing good for these people in the long run for reasons xyz--"look at all the good we are doing instead of just focusing on the bad", etc.). To some extent we all rationalize within our own worlds of experience--some more self-reflectively than others--but as with some celebrities and HWA this can take gargoylian forms when cut loose from restraints of lack of means and obscurity.

A fellow student at Big Sandy, Peter Leschak, used to quote these wise words from Kahlil Gibran: "there are among the people murderers who have never murdered; thieves who have never stolen" (the point being the variable of opportunity).

But not everyone among the people is an abuser of power over others who has never had the opportunity to act that out. What must be rejected is the Christian-Calvinist-Luther-Barthian etc. programming that "all" humans are inherently wicked--are born sinful and evil and rotten--and that nothing can be done about it by human means for that is our nature. That is a pernicious philosophy. Despite HWA's overt opposition to conventional Christianity, Armstrongism is a variant expression of this pernicious philosophy, and the fruits of this philosophy are not good. Again, thank you to both Gott grandsons for telling a piece of the truth from a standpoint many others could not otherwise know. Scroller

Anonymous said...

"No matter. They'll hear it again from Someone they cannot disbelieve."

Rush Limbaugh?

Anonymous said...

The one and only true god doesn't always back up scumbags who preach in his name, but when he does, he makes sure to back them up even when they're wrong!

Bonafide apostles of the one and only true god don't always sexually molest their children, but when they do, they make sure to do it for 5-10 years!

Troy Fitzgerald said...

In response to a comment above, and for anyone thinking former WCG pastors are living the high life on retirement, my father was a pastor for 35 years, gave his life to the church. He has no retirement and works at WalMar as a greeter. That's how he'll be spending his retirement years -- in near poverty. He regrets the past and acknowledges the church was a cult. He got sucked in at 19 when he was recruited to attend Ambassador before even attending church once. But he is paying the price for giving his life to a cult. I expect every minister connected with the WCG is struggling, unless they manage to transition to a related career, which hasn't been easy for some. I don't expect anyone to have sympathy, but just want to record to reflect at least one minister is not enjoying his retirement, because there was none. Christ was returning any day, so what was the point of saving for retirement?

Anonymous said...

Some compare HWA to David. David repented. HWA wanted to continue screwing his daughter even after she was married. How disgusting!
No repentence there!

RSK said...

That's correct. WCG did not have a pension plan for decades.

Anonymous said...

WCG didn't need a pension plan though did it? Because no one was going to reach old age, right. How could they have possibly had a pension plan when that was actually believed? Also all the ministers were young back then (hard to believe), but generally young people do not give a lot of thought to pensions and retirement. It always seems a bit sad to me when 20 and 30 year olds are thinking of their pensions.

Even when it became obvious that a pension might be needed, why would they need it? They had been following Gods health laws I presume, not smoking, not going to doctors who poison you with pharmaceuticals because they are drug pushers etc.etc. No one would get cancer either because they had alkaline diets and didn't poison gods temple with bad food and pork and cigarettes.

Human beings generally don't want to think about ill health and old age when they are young and healthy. WCG ministers weren't the only ones without a pension. So welcome to the real world, at least we live in a western country with some kind of universal pension/social security even if it isn't worthy of a minister. And I have to admire the minister who became a Walmart greeter, I shall have to remember to smile more when they greet me. You don't see too many seated Walmart greeters, so I presume they are in reasonably good health to do all that standing.

BWC said...

The gott bros. Could write a book about it all. It surely would be thick with shocking details, BUT it wouldn't' be in the regular HWA library of deception (concerning HWA). How many witnesses do we need, to get throgh to some??

Colin Bruce Milne said...

You should know that Gott is German for God-guess what Gott is an atheist everyone irony of ironies.Myself and others have done of the Herbert W Armstrong related family tree on the genealogy site.