Sunday, May 15, 2016

"We Found A Gold Mine"

Guest column:

For years, like many others, I had concluded that Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had done well under Loma D. Armstrong's influence but then, after she died, HWA went off track.  This made sense as this period after Loma dies is when he began to purchase the real expensive planes and spend much of his time traveling in luxury.

However, after reading more of HWA's earlier writings and by re-visiting his autobiography, it became clear that the duplicity went much further back in time and that Loma was in on it too (at least passively). It was clear that even as early as 1947, that both of the Armstrong's were enjoying life at a standard of living far above the average church member.  Few members could have afforded a 7 bedroom, 4,169 sq-ft home on 0.4 acres adjacent to Cal Tech, nor could they have afforded a 6-week first class luxury tour of Europe.  Most still can't 
After realizing how HWA lived while simultaneously claiming one financial crisis after another (even while the income was growing at around 30% per year), comments that I had previously discounted about HWA being largely motivated by money began to make perfect sense. 

One example:

"Honey, I know how we're going to get rich"
Gene Scarbrough, who was an elder in YEHOVAH's Church for over forty years, was ordained in 1967, and came out to Pasadena, California, in that year to serve full-time in the ministry. He told me that years ago his daughter Peggy, spent some time visiting with Mrs. Loma D. Armstrong, who took a liking to her. While they were together one time, Mrs. Armstrong reminisced about how the Work and Church began. While reflecting on how the ministry of her husband Herbert and his eldest son, Richard David Armstrong, originally got started, Mrs. Armstrong told Peggy, "They got into it for the money!"

This type of candid statement would not be surprising if heard from the lips of an enemy of the Church. But, coming straight from the lips of Mrs. Loma D. Armstrong, it packs a wallop!

Another friend corroborates the above story in part. According to his information, Garner Ted Armstrong once told a teacher in the church at Big Sandy and a personal friend that when his father was in the aluminum siding business back in Oregon, he got a call from far away to make a bid on a job. Herbert jacked up the price because he didn't want the job, the location was so distant. To his surprise, the customer said, "When can you get started?" It turns out the customer was the minister of a Seventh Day Adventist Church, and had plenty of money from tithes and offerings. According to Ted Armstrong, upon returning home that evening, Herbert -- who all his life wanted to be considered successful in business and make lots of money -- told his wife, "Honey, I now know how we're going to get rich!"

The above comments may be found at the Hope of Israel site:

And just yesterday (5/14/16), from Art Mokarow...

"We found a gold mine!"
While speaking with Mr.Mokarow about how my views regarding HWA had changed after examining his earlier writings, and how I began to question if he had ever been sincere, Art shared the following, "Before GTA was even preaching, HWA had told Loma that 'We found a gold mine!'"


DennisCDiehl said...

I drove by the homes on Klikitat st here in Portland where HWA as a "failed business man" lived in 1927 and where Richard was born and they are very nice, large n put one in mind of homes around the .

DennisCDiehl said...

....AC campus

Byker Bob said...

If one reads the memoir of Al Portune, one will learn that before he took over the business office, business practices at the church and college were atrocious. Pay checks were not a regular occurrence. Checks for such things as radio time were often written for which there were no funds to cover, and then they'd sweat the offerings over the next few days while nervously waiting for the checks to clear. This was one of the areas which AJP cleaned up.

It strikes me as being ironic that Art Mokarrow advertises in The Journal, still preaching some form of modified Armstrongism. Apparently, with his history recollections, he is a bit more honest and forthcoming than about 98% of the ministers still marketing Armstrongism.


James said...


The link you posted goes to your water company.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't surprise me a bit. We were so deceived back there in the the fifties and after that we really thought the Armstrong's shared in the hard times. Nope. They had groceries delivered on account at top stores, and the best of everything. Harvey's Bristol Cream was delivered by the case, and their clothes were always top quality. While students scraped by and gathered weeds for "greens," Herb and Loma dined very well. But, putting those stories out there brought in the offerings.

NO2HWA said...

The link is from the author of the article. Once he contacts me I will change it.

Anonymous said...

The church was also a 'gold mine' for many members. Because of a shortage of women, many woman were constantly dated, who in the real world, would rarely, if ever be asked out. The church was also a gold mine for emotional abusive members that exploited the fact that their victims were in a closed system. Meaning, their victims couldn't flee, and they were often protected my the gangster ministers. These are the same people that endlessly sing praise to Herbie, and fantasize about Herbie being number three in the kingdom. They also fantasize about repeating Israel in the book of Samuel, by asking/demanding that God give them a king called HWA, making him the de facto number one in the universe. Why else do these churches endlessly talk up Herbie? Number one in the universe, a gold mine indeed.

Monnie said...

Great point about the single women in WCG. Most church areas had many more single men than women, so even the least attractive women usually were in high demand. One of the worst features of Armstrongism was and still is its insistence on not dating or marrying outside the church, a teaching emphasized by labeling outside women as "strange flesh" and citing Solomon with his 1,000 wives & concubines who "took his heart away from the Lord", and Paul's admonition to "not be unequally yoked together". Many dysfunctional church marriages occurred as a result of this practice of marrying within the flock, because many or most of those unions coupled two people who had nothing in common but the church.

Anonymous said...

So true, Monnie. At 25 and desperate to be married before I could be sent out into "the field," I rashly and ruthlessly got myself into a marriage which ended in divorce 17 years later. I know of several other disastrous unions that should never have taken place. Many of the most successful and happy marriages had taken place before people had been deceived into dedicating their lives to that big scam.

Anonymous said...

He also lived at 839 E. 75th St. N., Portland later.
Google maps shows the house.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Monnie said, "One of the worst features of Armstrongism was and still is its insistence on not dating or marrying outside the church,..."

MY COMMENT - Sadly, that was a HUGE factor in my life even after I left the Cult at age 20. It took me years to deprogram myself. I didn't date because of what Monnie said. I also felt too weird and different to be date-able or desired by anyone outside the Church. So I spent most of my adult life single and alone. I started dating at age 38. Since age 20, I have lived 40 years outside the Church. Of the 40 years, I have been partnered in relationships only 9 years.


Monnie said...

I made the same mistake. I wasn't in the ministry, but had reached an age where I figured I'd better find a woman "in the church" if I ever expected to have a family. Plus I was in Denny Luker's congregation in Seattle, and he was strongly encouraging singles to marry. I know some of those worked out, just as many of the AC marriages did. I'm also certain that some who stayed together are not happy and perhaps never were happy. Yet another disastrous consequence of participating in the Great Armstrong Scam!

Monnie said...

Anonymous, the second semester of each year I attended AC Pasadena featured the same mad rush as seniors who expected to be "sent into the field" rooted around through the eligible coeds. Of course, the visionary ones had long since made their selections and so avoided the last-minute rush when pickins were slim. I thought at the time that was a very arbitrary, contrived, & decidedly unromantic method of coupling. Like most, I guess I assumed that Herbert's god was guiding the process.

Monnie said...

Richard, while you may be somewhat of an outlier insofar as the length of time without a romantic life is concerned, I can assure you that there have been thousands of folks, myself included, who felt completely estranged from the society at large and the opposite sex even many years after departing from the Cult. This phenomenon was one of the reasons I cited in my personal decision to reject Armstrongism after 35 years of association with the madness.