Saturday, January 7, 2017

Evaluating the rumors about Herbert W. Armstrong and incest





When individuals research the history of the Worldwide Church of God, they generally turn to the Internet.  The Internet allows the efficient gathering of facts, truths and insights.  The Internet can also be a rich source of rumors, lies, and innuendo.  For most WCG issues, separating the facts from the fiction is fairly straight forward.  There is typically enough documented data for individuals to make informed decisions without buying into lies or unsubstantiated rumors.   

When it comes to evaluating the allegations of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) committing incest, however, the situation is more challenging.  The act is repulsive, the implications are significant, the burden of proof is high, and yet the documentation is somewhat sparse and hotly contested.  His critics tend to dogmatically claim HWA committed incest and offer this as proof that HWA was not a man led by God.  Some ministers have acknowledged that HWA did commit incest but they tend to downplay the significance of it.  Other strident HWA supporters have dogmatically claimed that the allegations are false and these individuals typically attack the integrity and motives of the accusers. 

Is it possible to sort through all of the contradictory claims on this topic?  This document was prepared to summarize my own efforts to do so.  It was compiled from information that is available on the internet.  I’ve also included additional material regarding my discussions with some of the ministers who had been at the Pasadena Headquarters just before and after the accusations were made public around 1980.       

PART 1 – SUPPORT FOR THE ALLEGATIONS BEING FALSE

A number of individuals have indicated that the charges against HWA are false, unfounded and evil spirited.  Common positions include:

1.     LACK OF EVIDENCE - the evidence presented by his accusers would not stand up in court.  An example of such a position is discussed in further detail below.

2.     INCONCEIVABLE - it is inconceivable for a man of integrity, a man of God, to have done such a thing.  This type of defense is also addressed below. 

 

“Not guilty” due to lack of evidence.  Bob Thiel is an individual who finds HWA not guilty of incest due to there being insufficient evidence to prove the incest had taken place.  His full, in-depth explanation can be found at the following link:

http://www.cogwriter.com/news/cog-news/herbert-w-armstrong-incest-not-guilty/

 

Bob reported that he personally investigated the issue.  He claimed that not only could the accusations not be proven, but some aspects were actually disprovable.  He concluded that the accusers had merely perpetuated the charade with no direct information and that HWA would be found not guilty in any real court of law. 

In essence, Bob believes that all accusations about HWA and his daughter stem from the charges first aired in David Robinson's 1980 book, Armstrong’s Tangled Web.

A significant point Bob made included that Art Mokarow would not stand by previous comments about personally hearing HWA's alleged confession in the "Lochner tapes"

Note that in Bob’s investigation, he did not discuss the allegations with several individuals who had reported learning about the incest directly from Armstrong family members. 

 “Not guilty” because it is inconceivable.  It makes no sense that God would have imparted spiritual knowledge to an individual who, at the same time, was violating his own daughter.   This is the position many take, including the individual behind the "HWA Library" site and Frank Nelte.  In response to questions I raised, they both argued along the lines of:  God only works through men of integrity.  God obviously worked through HWA.  Therefore, HWA is a man of integrity and these claims must be false.

Although many strongly believe this to be the case, circular reasoning proves nothing.

PART 2 – SUPPORT FOR THE ACCUASTIONS BEING TRUE (GENERAL)

Lack of Denials

It would have been reassuring to find clear denials of the incest at the time these claims had been put into print in books (e.g., Armstrong's Tangled Web) or when they appeared in newspapers (during HWA's divorce trial and when the church divided in 1995).  However, the allegations were never denied publically by HWA, by his family members, or by the WCG. 

Is the lack of denials proof that the incest occurred?  No.

"David Defense"

Some HWA supporters have acknowledged (without getting into the specific 'proofs') that he had committed incest with his daughter but then have offered excuses such as the "David defense" to minimize the transgression and to imply that it had no impact on his role.  Such statements are telling but they neither prove nor excuse the alleged incest.

Are non-specific acknowledgements of incest proofs that the incest had occurred?  No.

PART 3 – SUPPORT FOR THE ACCUASTIONS BEING TRUE (SPECIFIC)

1.     Nov. 19, 1979 Letter from David Robinson.  David Robinson, a former WCG evangelist, wrote a letter to HWA that alluded to the incest and other sexual issues and requested that HWA resign for the good of the church.
While some have attacked David Robinson's integrity, others have defended him.  This is not surprising.  This is often the case when individuals speak out about controversial topics and every individual could be praised or criticized depending on what attributes or actions a supporter or enemy would choose to focus on.  

2.     HERBERT ARMSTRONG'S TANGLED WEB by David Robinson, 1980

David Robinson wrote from firsthand knowledge of the WCG and with deep disappointment.  He came to agree with Solomon who advised against putting their trust in men. Chapter XX of the book covered
HWA and the incest story.   An excerpt is provided below and the entire book is available in PDF form at the following link accessed from "The Painful Truth"  website:

"Incest is a terrible and unnatural crime, an extreme perversity. That is why I was shocked beyond measure to hear that Herbert Armstrong was himself, guilty of this vile sin. I learned of this in the summer of 1979 from members of his own family. The story, sordid beyond imagination, was told in awful detail.
One family source was Garner Ted Armstrong. Last summer, as HWA attacked his own son in such savage fury, his son was in the depths of despair. His emotional mix included anger and deep hurt. In such a state he told family secrets that otherwise would have been locked within him forever. He said he had learned in 1971 of his father's incredible conduct during the '30's and '40s. The story came directly to him in lurid detail, but he kept it sealed in his own consciousness for all those years. But, in the spring of 1978 while in his father's house for the last time, his father had threatened to "destroy him." Ted, in response, replied, "Dad, I will destroy you. I know about you and -----." (He was speaking of the younger of his two sisters.)"
...None who have objectively heard the incest story in its awful detail doubt it. This is a vital chapter left out of HWA's autobiography. This sin occurred over a long span of years, a decade after his ordination to the ministry, according to his own family members. No wonder he was not receptive to David Antion's "qualifications for the ministry" paper back in 1974."
Such matters should not normally be mentioned, but this is by no means a normal case. The welfare of thousands is at stake, and thousands who look to HWA, idolizing him as if he were God himself, must come to understand how dangerous such a view is. Thousands around the world have been hurt by blindly following this man. Now people must be given enough information to make an intelligent decision on whether this is the man who is going to lead them to safety during the "crisis at the close," or whether he is just going to continue taking their money and calling them "dumb sheep"!
"...The way a man talks in private is the way he is. His public utterances alone aren't enough to judge a man's character—his trustworthiness. It is especially necessary to know what kind of man you follow when he promises to lead you in the kingdom of God."
 Although this book may not have been the most well written account of the church, much of the material was consistent with other sources and confirmed through my personal discussions with ministers who had been at headquarters during this period. 
Is the incest claim credible?  Since Mr. Robinson stated that he had learned about the incest directly from several family members (although he named only GTA), this leaves us with just a few choices:
·       Mr. Robinson was lying.
·       GTA (and others) had lied to Mr. Robinson
·       Mr. Robinson had told the truth
No matter how disgruntled an individual had become about WCG in 1980, it is difficult to imagine that they would be willing to make such a claim if they knew it were to be false.  WCG was very well-funded and litigious and it would have put an individual at great financial risk to make such a claim in print.  Mr. Robinson went ahead and made the claim and also explained why he did so.
Although Herbert Armstrong never sued David Robinson for publishing his book, two of his employees (Henry Cornwall and Sherwin McMichael) did sue Mr. Robinson.  The suit was settled with WCG having to pay Mr. Robinson $25,000.


3.     December 1, 1980 Ambassador Report
The incest story was also mentioned in Ambassador Report #14, December 1, 1980 ("HWA incest allegations not denied").
Many AR readers who have read David Robinson's book Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web have written to us expressing absolute shock at some of the allegations it contains. Especially disturbing to many are the allegations contained in chapter 20 entitled "Incest."

We sincerely wish that we could report uncovering evidence to negate Mr. Robinson's charges, but unfortunately that is not the case. Herbert Armstrong has not issued any statement discounting the charges, nor has Stan Rader. Dorothy Mattson, Herbert Armstrong's daughter, has not come forward to deny the allegations. And Garner Ted Armstrong has also refused to deny the charges. The Toronto Star, Sept. 20 (p. F4) wrote:

"Contacted by phone in Tyler, Texas, where he heads his own new church, the Church of God International, Garner Ted Armstrong said he had 'no comment' regarding allegations of his father's incest ...."
All Ambassador Reports are available at:

4.     December 30, 1981 letter from Jack Kessler to the Board of WCG
Jack Kessler was WCG's CPA who worked directly with HWA and Rader and his letter detailing a number of corporate irregularities contained the following references to the charge of incest:
“The human condition is such that it would shock probably only just a few to learn of the moral depravity that is reported commonly among you. Although others, such as Dave Robinson* and Floyd Lochner, apparently thought it might work to their advantage to report Mr. Armstrong's admission (which he's made to several) that he had engaged repeatedly in incestuous intercourse with his daughter during the first 10 years of his ministry, as well as more recent, self-confessed sexual perversity..."

The entire letter available at:
This letter was credible in a number of areas.  Was it true regarding the incest allegation?  In addition to mentioning Mr. Robinson as a source, Mr. Kessler also brought up Mr. Floyd Lochner.  Floyd Lochner had allegedly taped HWA, hoping to get a denial regarding the incest allegation on record, but instead, HWA had confessed to the incest.
This evidence would be incontrovertible.  But many ask, “Where is the tape?”  Who had heard it personally?  If someone claimed too, are they credible?
Art Mokarow is one individual who has publically stated that he had personally heard this tape.
5.     April 1984 Ambassador Report #27 "HWA confesses to incest".
This issue provided additional material beyond what David Robinson had mentioned and named others that were aware that the incest had taken place.  This was because Dorothy had told friends about the incest and that others had confirmed with HWA after reading David Robinson’s book.
Some excerpts:
The Armstrong organization, through surrogates, attempted to use the courts to block distribution of the Robinson book, but failed miserably (Ambassador Report, Sept. 1980). It is most remarkable, however, that in attempting to stop distribution of the Robinson book, never once was it asserted that the incest allegation was untrue. Nor did Dorothy Mattson, HWA's younger daughter, ever come forth to deny the incest story (and she has repeatedly refused to respond to queries from the Report regarding the matter). In spite of all this, it seems there are still some who prefer to believe that the incest story was fabricated. Let us briefly review the facts.
In 1971 Garner Ted Armstrong paid a visit to his younger sister Dorothy. He had long been suspicious of the kind of relationship his father and sister maintained during his youth. They chatted over a few drinks and then Ted told her bluntly of his suspicions. She did more than admit the allegations. With candor she related detail after shocking detail.
For a number of years GTA kept the information to himself. But Dorothy did not. She divulged the same information to many others including David Antion (GTA's brother-in-law) and Lois Chapman (who had been married to the late Richard Armstrong, Ted's older brother).
And…
“The last meeting between GTA and his father in 1978 was not the only time HWA confessed to the incest allegation. In 1980 Henry Cornwall, then an aide to HWA, read the Robinson book soon after it appeared and asked HWA directly if the chapter on incest was accurate. HWA told him it was. He then instructed Cornwall that his wife Ramona was not to see the book or learn of the incest story. Unfortunately for Herbert, Ramona already had a copy of the book and was in the next room listening to the Cornwall-HWA discussion. Shortly thereafter, she too confronted HWA about the incest allegation. And once again, Herbert admitted it was true, but begged and pleaded with Ramona not to let this fact get in the way of their marriage. The cause of the problem, he said, had been Loma, his first wife.”
6.     Lakeland Ledger May 12, 1984 newspaper article about HWA’s divorce with Ramona mentions an “understanding” the couple reached about Armstrong’s “prior incestuous conduct with his daughter for many years.”
The reference within this article was quite significant to me.  This is not the type of comment a newspaper would make carelessly.  If the lawyer had spoken in error, it would be logical to expect that HWA's attorneys would have corrected the record. 
7.     April 19, 1993 Letter by Mark Thorton
Dear friends in the Worldwide Church of God,
In late November of 1992 I read an incredible account of Herbert Armstrong carrying on an incestuous relationship with his youngest daughter Dorothy from 1933 to 1943, the year she married Verne Mattson. Later, in January I read another account of it in a book by former WCG minister David Robinson. It was Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web published in 1980. At the time I discounted the story as fiction. But over the succeeding months leading up to last April 12 I'd learned of many other serious moral sins in the man's life. They were widely reported on by many former ministers who knew him.
But I still doubted the incest allegations -- that is until Mr. Gary Antion confirmed that they were entirely true when I talked with him after his sermon on the last day of Unleavened Bread, April 12. I'd asked him if he'd read David Robinson's book. He said he had. I told him that I'd read in another publication that Dorothy Mattson told his brother David Antion (a former WCG evangelist) all about the incest. (They were and are in-laws.) He nodded. I asked him if David ever said anything to him about it. "Yes," he said.
"What did he say?" I responded.
"He told me the story was true," he calmly said. "But before you get all upset and say how could he have done such a horrible thing, we should remember that we don't know what went on in his mind. We don't know if he repented or not. Maybe he repented in 1980 after David Robinson's book came out."
He went on to say that God gave king David time to repent and that if Mr. Armstrong repented, that he'll be in God's kingdom and if not, he won't be there. He also said he'd known about the whole thing in 1978. I asked if his brother David knew about this before he left the church in 1974 or after. He said David knew before. Antion was casual and relaxed with his words and never hesitated with any of the information.
He said that this should show us not to look to a man for our salvation which he said the church had done in the past. Finally, he asked me why I'm here; meaning the church. I said because I believe what the church believes, for the most part. He smiled, nodded and encouraged me not to let the matter bother me.
But as you can see, it does bother me a great deal. HWA claimed that God used him to raise up the Philadelphia era of His true Church beginning in 1933. I don't think so. In addition to raping his young daughter for many years, the "apostle" was widely known to have habitual sexual sins throughout his life including fornication, adultery, and masturbation. He frequently lied, misused church money, and had a serious drinking problem. And despite his appearing public image, Joe Tkach is not much of an improvement.
So there you have it. I've sung my swan song, thus ending nine years as a loyal WCG member.
By Mark Thornton (Wisconson)
April 19, 1993 (snail-mailed to 35-40 others, including ESN)

This letter is available at the following site:
8.     1997 letter from GTA in response to an inquiry about the incest

The Church of God International
Post Office Box 2530,
Tyler, Texas, 75710
Garner Ted Armstrong, Founder

July 28,1997
Dear Mr. (Name Withheld by Request),
I'm sorry, but I really have no comment about the very lengthy letter from Jack Kessler. The entire situation is completely moot at this time, of course. My father died at age 93 1/2 back in 1986, eleven years ago, and I certainly have no desire to resurrect a lot of ancient ghouls from their graves and engage in a lot of criticism involving the actions of individuals in that organization decades ago.
Nothing my father did, negative or positive, matters to my personal salvation, or to yours.
For the last twenty years, I have continued to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God as a witness and a warning to the world, and I have never engaged in the kind of spiritual "grave robbing" that exhumes ancient sins of fifty or sixty years ago, and attempts to defile and defame the memory of individuals who themselves are long since dead.
Sorry if this proves disappointing to you, but I simply have no further comment.
Sincerely,
Garner Ted Armstrong

This letter is available at:  http://hwarmstrong.com/garner-ted-armstrong-incest.htm

This letter comes across more as "I do not want to talk about it" than as an "It did not happen" response.  This letter proved nothing but it also did not contradict earlier statements made by GTA to others which acknowledged HWA had committed incest.
9.     Dec. 4, 1997 article in the Los Angeles New Times.



 
The article continues…
The thing that drove Carrozo and others to leave, however, was the leader's double standard regarding his own edicts. In accord with Armstrong teaching, church members could visit doctors to obtain a diagnosis, but not (except in a few special cases) receive treatment. "As a pastor in the field, I had seen people die [for lack of medical attention]," Carrozo recalls. "And yet, as I came to find out, whenever he [HWA] became ill, he would slip away to a doctor for treatment." But such matters paled compared to another secret.
 According to former church officials, and the founder's own grandson, Richard David Armstrong II, Herbert's younger daughter, Dorothy, began to tell family and friends during the '70s that, years earlier, her father had molested her. John Tuit, an ex-church member living in North Carolina, recalls Garner Ted Armstrong telling him of his sister's startling revelation and that Herbert had not denied it when his son confronted him.
 The allegation surfaced publicly in a book written by David Robinson, a former Worldwide minister in Oklahoma. The church tried unsuccessfully to suppress it. Robinson recounted a bizarre late-night conversation with the then-widowed Herbert during a church festival in the Poconos. Armstrong, who had been drinking, was alleged to have confessed to Robinson that he had molested his daughter between 1933 and 1943. Then, to the astonishment of the younger minister, Armstrong was said to have produced a small black book in which he had carefully documented the many times he had masturbated, a practice he had frequently railed against from the pulpit. "It was a shattering experience for my dad," says Mark Robinson, a Dallas-area businessman, whose father died in 1995. "Until then, he had no reason to doubt Mr. Armstrong's spirituality."
 The issue arose again in 1984, during divorce proceedings between Armstrong and his second wife, Ramona Martin, a former switchboard operator 46 years his junior. The breakup, after seven years of marriage, was nasty. Armstrong, playing hardball, had accused her of stealing church property and was pressing criminal charges while refusing to bend to Ramona's demands for a large settlement, including a large amount of cash and the couple's sprawling ranch-style home in Tucson, Arizona. Until, that is, shortly before a court hearing at which her lawyers had threatened to introduce a purported "understanding" between Herbert and his wife regarding the alleged incest. The divorce was quickly settled to Ramona's satisfaction, and the criminal charges were dropped.
 Although damaging, the fallout from such disclosures didn't debilitate Worldwide for as long as Herbert was alive. The amicable and grandfatherly Armstrong continued to enjoy the adoration of rank-and-file members. Among those who heard about his shortcomings, many chose not to believe. "You blocked those kinds of things from your mind," recalls Joyce Renehan, who grew up in the church. (She and her husband, Bruce, left in the early '90s). "You might see a newspaper headline, but you were told not to read that stuff or Satan would get you and you'd be out of the church, and then where would you be?"
Looking back, it is amazing how ill-informed we church members were and/or how willing we were to avoid unpleasant facts stated by “outsiders”.
10.  1999 Letter from Bruce Renehan
Bruce Renehan had interviewed some members of the Church of God 7th Day who had reported that they were aware of the incest.
"I'm not exactly sure what constitutes proof to everyone. Before I began to author my book, my wife and I visited the Church of God, Seventh Day, both in Bakersfield and in Fresno. That is the church that Herbert Armstrong started attending in 1927. I first heard of the incest from some of their members, two of whom--Israel Hager and John Keiss--had known Armstrong in the 20s and 30s. Keiss, who was Armstrong's closest friend in the COG7 had actually discussed the incest with Dorothy Armstrong who confessed to him. Not wanting to believe hearsay from just one group, I placed a call to a friend of mine (Bob Mizell) in Pasadena. Bob was a very close friend to Joe Tkach Senior and, if anyone would know if the stories were true or not, he certainly would. Bob told me openly that both he and Joe Tkach had known about Armstrong's incest with his daughter and then he quickly brought up the David was a man after God's heart" ploy. "
The full letter is available at:
In the letter, Bruce Renehan comes across as sincere, specific, and credible.   
11.  Statement by Keith Hunt
"Oh indeed, the WCG was going to SUE Ambassador Report a NUMBER of times over the next years, especially over HWA having an affair with one of his daughters way back when, that came to light [and for those who still say it was all slander and lies; I personally heard GTA say he confronted his dad on the matter and HWA admitted it was so, saying, I was not always close to God"].  What was the reply from Ambassador Report to the WCG stating they were going to sue them, it was "Come on do so, will be happy to see you in court."  The WCG NEVER did sue Ambassador Report!!"
Keith’s comments about the incest allegation may be found at:
A direct confirmation from GTA is significant.

12.  WCG ministerial confirmations (various dates):
·      Many have reported that David Antion (GTA’s brother-in-law) has acknowledged that the incest occurred (apparently to all that are willing to ask).  
·      Art Mokarow had confirmed that HWA committed incest while in a public setting.   
·      Other COG ministers have acknowledged the rumor to be true when asked by members, including Gary Antion and at least one of the current UCG Council members (2016).

13.  2014 Interview of HWA’s niece Deborah
In a radio interview, Deborah related that the family had kept quiet about Dorothy to protect her.  Deborah’s mother had told her it was true.  She was also was told by her grandson.  Interestingly, Deborah noted that the only thing HWA had given her was a hand signed copy of his “Missing Dimension in Sex” book.

Start at minute 50:00. 

This admission by family members is significant and consistent.  It is difficult to imagine that Deborah would have been deceived about this or benefit from lying about it.

14.  2014 Interview of HWA’s grandson Larry Gott
In a radio interview, Larry Gott said that the incest was an accepted as fact within the family and that it had started when Dorothy was 14 or 15.    When asked, what kind of character was HWA, he said, “He was tyrannical… He was a person who craved and used authority over other people.  That was sort of the essence of him.    Nobody was really close to him – ever – including his wife.  He was an authoritarian and I would tell people that he was not completely honest with everybody about himself.”

Start at minute 1:01:20.

15.  Statement by Verne Mattson (Dorothy's husband)
A December 2015 letter to Exit Support Network related how one man's father had contacted Mr. Mattson to discuss the incest allegation and how that Verne had confirmed it. 
This letter may have been factual but was unsigned. 
16.  Supplemental material related to above references
“Inconceivable” is how many feel about the allegation that HWA had committed incest during the beginning period of his ministry and this was also my own response upon first hearing about it from a WCG minister in 1995.  At the time, it seemed too convenient for the pro-Tkach people to bring this ugly rumor up just as individuals were deciding whether they should stay in WCG or leave.   If true, why had it not been a problem all along?   I gave the allegation no serious consideration for the next 15 years.
While researching the history of the church during the UCG/COGWA split, the allegations came up again and again.  It was unpleasant and again tempting to ignore but after confirming most of the allegations about financial impropriety in Ambassador Report and other books, and  after reading mention of the incest in the Nov. 12, 1984 Lakeland Ledger newspaper article about HWA’s divorce, it made sense to consider the incest allegations more seriously. 
There was substantial ‘proof’ available on the internet but it required one to believe that the referenced individuals had really known and said what was being alleged.  Could these individuals just have been repeating an unfounded rumor as Bob Thiel had concluded, or was the rumor actually true?  I wanted to speak to somebody in person to remove the shadow of doubt.  In the end, it was possible to discuss the allegations with several individuals mentioned above:
1)    Al Corrozzo (July 2014 discussion at the UCG Doheny Beach activity).  Mr. Carrozzo confirmed that that he did author, and stood behind, what one could find credited to him on the Internet (e.g., “Al Carrozzo’s Resignation Letter to Ministry” and “The Profligate Son” post in Ambassador Report).  When asked about the incest allegation, he answered without pause, “Yes, that rumor is also true.”  He explained that he knew for certain because his good friend Art Mokarow had heard HWA confess on Floyd Lochner’s tape.
2)    Art Mokarow  (Dec. 2014 phone conversation).  After learning that, when asked in a public setting, Art Mokarow had confirmed the incest had occurred; I called Mr. Mokarow to determine if this report had been true and, if so, how had he known for certain.  Art said that he knew for certain that HWA was guilty of incest because he had heard his taped confession that had been recorded by his friend Floyd Lochner (confirming what Al had told me earlier that year).
3)    Keith Hunt (by phone in April 2015 phone conversation).  Mr. Hunt confirmed that he had personally heard about HWA’s incest directly from GTA.
4)    Art Mokarow (May 14th, 2016 phone conversation).  I re-read Bob Thiel's "proof that the incest had not occurred" in 2016.  The statement about Art Mokarow backing away from his claim bothered me.  I again contacted Mr. Mokarow on May 14th, 2016.  Art did not back away from his statement at all.  Yes, he had heard the tape himself.  He also had heard Mr. Armstrong confess the incest directly to him to some of the other leading ministers.  This had occurred close to the time when David Robinson's allegations had surfaced and were being circulated.  Apparently HWA had wanted to address the issue and move past it.  Essentially, he had said, "Yes the incest had occurred, I had not always been close to God, but I've repented and now I need to know who is going to continue to support me at this time?"  Some ministers stayed, Art Mokarow moved on. 
I believe this is likely why other ministers had felt comfortable in acknowledging the incest allegation to have been factual when asked by church members.
5)    David Antion (Dec. 2016 discussion after services in his Altadena congregation).   Mr. Antion confirmed much of what had been stated in AR#27, what Mr. Kessler had mentioned, and what had been documented elsewhere on various websites.  It was true that Mr. Armstrong had committed incest; that the abuse had begun around 1933, that the abuse led to incest and had continued into the early 1940’s; that Dorothy had confessed to family members, friends and specifically to David Antion (in 1979/80 when the charges became public); and that GTA had told other ministers.
All of the individuals above were found to be credible and their individual stories were consistent when evaluated as a whole.  These individuals were sincere and candid and spoke without bitterness.   Although most of the initial confirmations occurred close to the timing of the release of David Robinson’s book, these confirmations did not stem merely from David Robinson’s allegations as had been concluded by others.  It is logical that once the incest became public knowledge, many would have sought confirmation from member of HWA's family and that some of his family members would again discuss something that had been left unsaid for years.

Summary

Although a lot of information has been presented but it can be easily summarized:

·      Dorothy had spoken about the incest to family and some of her friends long ago

·      Dorothy had also confessed to John Keiss of the Church of God 7th Day

·      GTA had learned about the incest from Dorothy in 1971

·      Keith Hunt had heard about it directly from GTA in the early 1970’s

·      Mr. Robinson heard about it from GTA other family members in 1979

·      HWA confessed to Art Mokarow and other top ministers (and Dorothy had spoken with David Antion about the incest) in 1979/80 just before the release of Mr. Robinson’s book

·      Mr. Robinson published Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web in 1980

·      Floyd Lochner recorded HWA after he heard the allegation

·      Art Mokarow had heard HWA confess the incest on the Lochner tape

·      Al Corrozo confirmed that Art Mokarow had heard the tape

·      Jack Kessler had heard the rumors, and learned about the Lochner tape, in 1980 and then had asked HWA directly about the rumors and HWA admitted to the incest

·      Ramona's lawyers mentioned HWA’s incest in the divorce trial in 1981

·      GTA did not refute the allegation when asked in writing in 1997

·      HWA's niece Deborah had learned about the incest from her mother long ago and recently confirmed this during a 2014 radio interview  

·      HWA's grandson Larry Gott stated that the incest was an accepted fact within the family and did so during a 2014 radio interview


Conclusion:  Was there a big conspiracy to denigrate HWA’s character or were the allegations factual?  Simpler explanations are generally better than more complex ones.  After looking into this topic in greater detail, it became clear that the allegations were factual.  I found no reason to fault the credibility of Al Corrozo, Art Mokarow, Jack Kessler, Keith Hunt, Deborah, David Antion and Larry Gott on this subject.


-Kevin



85 comments:

Black Ops Mikey said...

And we fully expect The Journal to run this article in its entirety in the very next issue. Gee, that would be in March or so, just before the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread.

This would lead all the Armstrongists, especially the leaders, into a deeper repentance, appropriate to the season....

Anonymous said...

No, this is not an evaluation of the "rumors" of HWA's incest; it's a compendium of exact, condemning evidence.

Too many diverse people, over decades, have known of and expressed Armstrong's vile sexual sins. Not merely a handful of isolated, incidental accounts.

When I was in WCG, when the subject so infrequently arose, it was excused with the explanation that God often chose men of powerful sexual “appetites,” such as David, who committed adultery and murder as a result.

How convenient. We were to regard Armstrong as a contemporary David.

That, he was not. David repented of his sexual sin and never repeated it. Armstrong committed his sins against his own daughter for up to ten years.

Byker Bob said...

A silver bullet to Armstrongism would be some sort of information or event, that, the moment it became available, everyone who had ever been involved with Armstrongism in its entire history would realize that it was totally bogus to the extent of having no alternative but to leave.

This is a great article, an awesome compilation of information, and with some additional personal touches added by Kevin that were previously unavailable.

Is it the silver bullet which could lead to the final demise of Armstrongism? No. And not through any inherent faults of its own. The problem is not with the material within the article, but with what happens in readers' minds as they attempt to process it, and to find personal applications and implications within their own lives.

We are dealing with people who have been persuaded to accept that the founder of their religion is no different from the leaders of the New Testament, that he is the great restorer of truths last taught 2,000 years ago, that listening to him is like listening to Jesus Himself, that he was sent to mankind to preside over the end times, and as the gatekeeper for the place of safety, and to the kingdom. This goes way beyond servant leadership, and assumes power and status far above Billy Graham's pay grade, or even the stature of the Pope or any other modern teachers of Christianity. It is a marked departure from the ways in which ministers and leaders have traditionally been regarded or esteemed by their followers. If we were looking for a parallel, HWA was regarded in WCG and the splinters with every bit the intensity that Mohammed or the Imans are accorded by Muslims.

For most such people, there can be no silver bullet. They will go to their graves believing that any wrong doing by their "apostle" whom they imagine will be the first raised from the dead, is simply impossible, fiction concocted by Satan, and totally irrelevant to their journey. For them, believing such evil of HWA would be akin to believing that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had some sort of secret tryst.

Now, if your could find a silver bullet appropriate to that level of programming, you'd really have something. By making him superhuman, elevating him into the spiritual realm, in their minds, his followers ("oh, but I don't follow a man!") have placed him above all or this, and immune to even armor piercing silver bullets.

BB

Gerald Bronkar said...

Wow!! Or as Kool and the Gang might say, "Get Down On It".

This is difficult to refute or ignore, but sadly many will never be swayed from their blind faith.

Thanks Kevin, good report.

This site is a source of valuable information, revealing the greed and dishonesty of religious leaders. They love feeling superior, being worshiped, and using your money to live the good life.

The Painful Truth said...

Anyone who has a financial stake in the armstrong franchise must insist to the point of outright lying that the allegations are not true. Its like pizza hut saying their pizzas are made with dog shit. Who would buy into that?

For Bob Thiel or Billingsley, they rely heavily on the fallacy of HWA. Its a living for one and a way of life for the other. Take your pick as to the reason people deny the incest and you will learn a great deal about them. Take a look at those such as myself who insist that the incest issue is true. The proof is in the testimony of two or three witnesses in the bible. In a court of law here in the USA the proof would have lead to HWA's conviction. So what's the big issue? Credibility and money. The driving forces of maintaining HWA's tarnished credentials.

At some point the Journal needs to seriously investigate this subject. Even if it costs them their readership. Moral integrity is not something we can skimp on.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the many people harmed by the 1975 prediction. So when I went to God in prayer with a suspicious regarding the date, He answered my prayer. The suspicion was that the 1975 prediction was a attempt by HWA to manipulate and coerce God into returning early in order to cover up the failure of communism at that time. The holy spirit confirmed my suspicion.
Hence Herbie tried to use God as a instrument to destroy billions of people in order to protect a false ideology. If this doesn't qualify for monster status, then tell me what does.
True. I cannot prove this allegation. I don't even ask anyone to believe me. What I do ask is that Christians check with God themselves. I know that there are Christians whose prayers God answers.
By comparison, Herbies incest is insignificant.

NO2HWA said...

I don't know what is going on with the formatting. Google Blogger seems to have having issues. Or perhaps it is Satan attacking this great work. Who knows...

Anonymous said...

incest, racism, child and spousal abuse are as american as, well you know what i am saying...

indeed, if hwa was guilty of such a thing as incest (he certainly was a bigot, as were most white americans of his generation), he should have repented, and if he repented Christ has Forgiven cuz there is no sin that Christ cannot Forgive except for the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit that Forgives...

Byker Bob said...

Thing is, we were once told that cover-ups were part of what "the world" does. The implication was that in "God's Church", wrong things are not done because the ministry is guided by a double portion of the Holy Spirit. About the time that it came from the other side of their mouths that there had been a massive cover-up of Garner Ted's sins, that line of thinking should have gone completely out the window.

BB

Anonymous said...

Since when has Bob Thiel had any moral integrity? He has lied about his "double blessing" his dreams, etc. He self appointed himself. God is not a part of the picture. Everything about the man is a lie.

Anonymous said...

Lets see how Bob Thiel lies about this again.

Black Ops Mikey said...

I have had this discussion with a loyal brain dead Armstrongist. She took it in stride, believed that he committed incest and went right on, as Byker Bob said, that she doesn't follow men -- and believes that he led us to the truth. This is compartmentalization to the extreme -- and that IS the problem. Forget cognitive dissonance: What really happens is most people have these little compartments where they store things in their brain and one thing just doesn't 'leak' into another compartment (that was how the Titanic was SUPPOSED to work!).

For those of us rare folks who CANNOT compartmentalize, this is glaring and CANNOT be ignored. Neither compartmentalization, nor cognitive dissonance can occur. It's like those people who have a fourth cone in their eye for yellow -- and research discloses that the color yellow irritates them. Same thing here.

As for the David defense, there's another little problem: Qualifications for the New Testament ministry are different from the Old Testament hero leaders. Those O.T. leaders could get away with murder. The ministry simply cannot be excused. In fact...

I worked along side a man who was president of his 700 member Lutheran church. There was a youth minister who committed adultery on his wife. The Senior Pastor gave a carefully worded Scriptural sermon explaining to the congregation who a minister, even one as popular as the youth minister, could not be allowed to continue as a minister in that capacity. The youth minister 'lost his job' and was NOT allowed to be not just a youth minister, but a minister of any kind. What Herbert Armstrong was much much worse, and as pointed out in David Robinson's book, if Herbert Armstrong was caught and convicted in the State of Texas at the time, he would have gotten the death penalty and been executed. As it was, if he had been convicted and sent to prison, he probably would not have lasted very long because of prison justice. Sure, the prison convicts are mostly very bad people, but even among them, this is so bad a crime among them that they will kill off the perpetrators.

That the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia membership routinely accepts this is a sign that they are corrupted beyond redemption with a seared conscience that doesn't equal that of convicted felons. This is a terrible indictment against them.

Furthermore, the CGI who had Garner Ted Armstrong over them as their leader are in almost as bad a state as those who accept Herbert Armstrong's incest: Their leader was shown trying to commit adultery on international television. In the aftermath, they weren't quite sure how to take it and were most perplexed.

Look folks, it's simple. Why don't you just follow I Corinthians 5? You know, in area, we had a stalker in the WCG / UCG stalking a woman for 7 years -- and she was married. The Council of Elders refused to do anything to help the victim and actually galvanized the membership against her and her husband and at the hearing in front of the judge, two deacons, two elders and a deaconess helped and supported the stalker against the victim. The judge had none of it and issued a restraining order, but you have to ask WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE???!!!

What is wrong is that Herbert Armstrong was not converted and not fit for the ministry and should have been booted out. But you know, the CoG7D ministry knew about him and THEY DID NOTHING. The CoG7D really doesn't have any complaint coming.

It should be clear that NOTHING Herbert Armstrong taught is valid. Forget the Feasts, forget British Israelism, forget his false prophecies which will NEVER happen. If there is a Devil, he was certainly of Satan and none of you Armstrongists today should be following one thing he said. If you believe you are Christians, you should very well seek out those who have a valid ministry and stop wasting your time on an unconvicted felon.

Hoss said...

While I don't remember when I became aware of the incest issue, I recall the morning when I read Bob Thiel's "Not Guilty" post. There was flack from other blogs about his reaction to GTA's indirect way of saying "none of your business". And at the time, Bob was just an ordinary LCG member.

It seems the question is with some, how would Bob have reacted if GTA had confirmed the accusation?

And by the way, Bob's frequently posted photo of HWA - I told him directly and on blogs what a bad choice it was, from a promotional point of view. The feature of the photo is HWA's Sacred Treasure honor from Emperor Hirohito. It's an award from an unprosecuted war criminal, featuring pagan symbolism. It definitely would not endear any Chinese or Koreans to the CCOG...

Martha said...

A wise acquaintance of mine recently pointed out the following to me on this topic:

It it not appropriate to hold HWA and David to the same standard for sexual indiscretion. Regardless of the difference in the distastefulness of the indiscretions, there is a larger issue that makes them apples and oranges.

David was a national leader, not a spiritual leader. Nathan the priest was the spiritual leader at the time of David's sin. David's brand of sin should be nearly inexcusable in a national leader, yet God did not remove David from his office as He did Saul. It's my understanding that the Bible is not clear on how to handle the sins of national leaders.

But the Bible seems to speak very clearly as to what we should expect from our SPIRITUAL leaders, and HWA was clearly a spiritual leader. The so-called "David defense" mixes apples and oranges.

My church recently called home, and to some extent, publicly disgraced a church-planting overseas missionary it had sent out a few years ago. Apparently, he committed adultery while serving in his position, which was financially supported by the church. Not only did they force him to resign, but they made his very honest resignation letter available upon request to its membership - his home congregation.

Now, some people have questioned whether this was appropriate, given that the couple has children and also parents and siblings in the congregation. They were discreet in their public statement but the resignation letter pulled no punches. I'm mixed but I can see the wisdom in holding spiritual leaders publicly accountable for their sins.

It's refreshing to see a church that holds leaders accountable to New Testament standards of conduct and uphold exhortations not to give enemies reason to slander Christ. Truth be told, I can much easier get behind a church that takes a tough stance like this rather than uses the failings of an Israelite king to downplay reasonably founded incest claims against the man who was its founder, spiritual leader and architect of its theology - based on claims that Jesus directly taught him during the period HWA was alleged to be committing incest.

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2014/11/herbert-w-armstrong-why-he-still-matters.html

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2014/11/herbert-w-armstrongs-doctrines-and-fruit.html

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2014/11/herbert-w-armstrong-and-todays-churches.html

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

My complements to Kevin. A job well done. This is the best organization of information on this subject matter ever written to date to date. If it were used in a civil trial where the standard is lower, the preponderance of evidence Kevin presents renders HWA liable and responsible for committing incest. If it were used in a criminal trial where the standards are higher with “beyond a shadow of doubt”, I also think there is enough evidence presented to convict HWA of incest with a guilty verdict.

I have another source to add to this summary of evidence – if you can find it. While employed by the Church of God, International (CGI) – a WCG splinter he founded when he was ousted from the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in 1978, Garner Ted Armstrong wrote many booklets in which CGI held the copyright. This was before GTA created “The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association”. I guess Garner Ted created the Association after being ousted from CGI for his sexual sins because he got tired of writing material for the incorporated Church organizations (WCG, CGI) only to be ousted and the intellectual written material which he authored benefiting Churches he either helped build or founded lost to him for his use. Consider the many booklets and articles he authored in WCG. By the time the grossly misnamed “Intercontinental Church of God” was founded by him, he created the Association to place the intellectual rights into the Association in case he ever got ousted again. Though I digress here, Garner Ted wrote a booklet in the CGI that related the history of the Church of God, International. It may even be titled that. I once had the booklet. In that booklet, Garner Ted Armstrong confirms that he confronted his father about “F$%king Dorothy”. GTA communicated to HWA that “he could destroy him”. GTA also said upon uttering those words, that he knew it was over with his father, and the two never reconciled or spoke to one another again.

If anyone has the Church of God, International booklet I am referring to, perhaps they can forward to Kevin to complete the case of Incest against Herbert W. Armstrong.

Richard
Lake of Fire Church of God

Anonymous said...

How ironic that David Robinson's grandson, John Robinson, was stripped of his eldership last year by Rod Meredith, a man who, based on eyewitness testimony over the years, has unresolved issues around homosexuality and pornography. Did David's grandson John know too much?

RSK said...

To my knowledge, I never heard about HWA and incest during the period I was in WCG (birth to 15 years old). Seems almost odd now that I didn't hear it as a rumor when I was a teenager, because you know teenage boys really love their toilet humor, and they love irreverence. But then again, I only knew about Ramona from flipping the pages of Against the Gates of Hell and seeing her picture.
I found out about it years later via a book.

Hoss said...

Martha re: "David defense"

Despite what HWA and RCM may have said, no one is above the law.

And as in the case of the woman caught in adultery in John 8, there were no legal eyewitnesses to David and Bathsheba's affair. And Uriah's murder may have been considered a poor tactical decision on David's part.

The closest thing to an eyewitness to HWA's deed was the hotel manager who is said to have investigated the noise Dorothy was making. He could have investigated HWA's claim that the noise was due to an inexperienced young bride.

Byker Bob said...

There are probably some readers out there who feel that dissidents go way too far in critiquing or bashing HWA. Some have even attributed what they view as this "extremeness" to Satan, attempting to destroy "God's work". They've expressed that that is the real reason HWA garners reactions similar to those expressed regarding Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, or Jim Jones. They think it is totally disproportionate.

But they are wrong. What they are seeing is "Newton's equal and opposite reaction." Church lore, the ministers, and HWA himself have gone to such an extreme in creating in HWA a quasi-Biblical figure that the equal and opposite reaction becomes an extreme which you would never see in discussions of nearly any other religious figures. So, drink lots of water, folks. Truly, that is the only remaining teaching of HWA's that has any value. (Hat tip to Ian Boyne for the reminder)

BB

Anonymous said...

So, drink lots of water, folks. Truly, that is the only remaining teaching of HWA's that has any value.

A good and vigorous towel-rubdown after your daily shower. That's another of HWA's teachings that has great value.

Martha said...

Oh, no, Hoss, I didn't mean that David was above the law. Clearly the repercussions from that affair created lasting problems in his life. Some even posit that Ahithophel, David's brilliant, early military advisor, may have been Bathsheba's grandfather (2 Samuel 23:34 lists Ahithophel as Eliam's father. Bathsheba's father also was named Eliam and lived in that general time period). Ahithophel turned against David during Absalom's revolt and is credited with much of his success, according to my understanding.

As I've always heard it told, the "David defense" is this: David was a man after God's own heart, a man whom God chose to lead Israel and never deposed like He did Saul. A man who will rule in the Kingdom and from whose family sprang the Savior. Yet he committed adultery with Bathsheba, murdered her husband and married her while Uriah's body was barely cold.

So if God used and will use a man like David so mightily, why would we think God wouldn't use a man like HWA? Granted, he generally displayed terrible fruit, broke up marriages and even compared some of his followers to human waste. And even if he did commit a horrible sexual sin, if God used David, He could use HWA to restore truth and establish His church. Mentions of how God used people like Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus usually soon follow.

Now that's a ringing endorsement for you.

Black Ops Mikey said...

My urologist told me I was overhydrated. It turns out that Americans have been convinced to drink far more water than they really should. It's not good for you.

So again, Herbert Armstrong's advice is wrong.

Ed said...

I tend to believe that HWA was guilty of incest. However even if he wasn't he was a disgusting person because of all the lives he destroyed. What perplexes me is that there are thousands of Armstrongites that still hold on to his religion. How could God have revealed his "truths" through such a disgusting person?

Byker Bob said...

Sad, isn't it Douglas? Can't find a single damned thing, even when we try to give him the benefit of doubt. So, aside from learning not to be conned, there was nothing of value. Except perhaps the laughter shared with a man in an island-nation thousands of miles away.

BB

Anonymous said...

King David over all had a good character. Herbie overall had a bad character. I call HWA, Herbert Balaam Armstrong. Like Balaam, he was right about some things.

Michael said...

BlackOpsMikey wrote:
"My urologist told me I was overhydrated. It turns out that Americans have been convinced to drink far more water than they really should. It's not good for you."

Indeed, the latest word from the medical community for optimal hydration is surprisingly simple: "Drink when you're thirsty".

Kind of like what every animal in the world does naturally.

Hoss said...

Another point on the "David defense": from what we were told, David and Bathsheba had a one-time fling and they were a bit careless, whereas HWA carried on his little family affair for years.

When I wanted to reconcile HWA being used as "restorer of lost truths" with his way of life, I used his story of the poor woman praying for bread. Some boys overheard her, and tossed a loaf of bread in the window. When the woman gave thanks, the boys told her they gave her the bread. Her remark was "God gave the bread, but had the Devil deliver it." I no longer consider HWA as having been used to restore truths...

Anonymous said...

I've been watching protestant televangelists, listening to their radio programmes and reading their literature. What strikes me is the similarity to the church Herbie established. They share the same major distortions such as a taboo on self love, rights, assertiveness, productivity and justice. Herbie obviously looked to these protestant churches rather than the bible as his reference. It's distortions such as teaching blind robotic obedience to ministers, rather than assertiveness, that is most damning. Incest, disgusting as it is, didn't harm others. His monster lies did.

The Painful Truth said...

January 8, 2017 at 2:54 AM writes:


"Incest, disgusting as it is, didn't harm others. His monster lies did."

Bullshit. The child suffers not only physical pain but psychological pain that will follow them to their dying day.

Anonymous said...

Hi all. This is king David. I've been temporarily resurrected so that I can address this issue on Banned. Thank you Hoss for your kind words, telling the readers that it was a one-time fling with Bathsheba. But we both know that I was a pathological fornicator, having had 300 mistresses (the ones with whips were a challenge). Since lust is never satisfied, I ended up shagging Bathsheba as well. Another consequence of being a shaggaholic, is that my son Solomon followed my example, ending up with 1000 mistresses (he must have had a strong back). As the saying goes in American politics, 'if a man can't be faithful to his wife, how can he be faithful to the constitution.' Meaning, Solomon having 1000 mistresses, destroyed his ability to be faithful to Gods way. So the wisest man ever (next to Christ), ended up losing his eternal life. God also took the kingdom (except one tribe) from him.
All because I couldn't keep it in my pants.
I gotta go, farewell everyone.

Connie Schmidt said...

There is more evidence for HWAs incest, than there is for British Israelism.

Anonymous said...

No atheists were hurt concerning the HWA revelations.

Jim Baldwin

Anonymous said...

7.00 AM
Perhaps I could have been more clear. But why did I use the word disgusting unless incest injured its victim. My point is that Herbs incest did not directly harm church members, whereas his lies did. And these lies did many times more harm than the crime of incest. Many lives have been irreparably damaged. This site would not exist otherwise.

Pam said...

To Richard of the "Lake of Fire Church of God" ...

I WISH your memory of GTA being open about his confrontation with Herbert about the incest in one of his writings for the CGI was correct! But no, I think you are conflating it with another narrative from some other narrator. Perhaps the material in Ambassador Report
#27? (see link below) Or maybe from several sources, including the account of that fateful meeting in the Tangled Web book? I've seen several versions over the years by various authors. And yes, I remember the article GTA wrote early on about how he ended up starting the CGI.

I was with the CGI from its first year, and my husband was ordained in the org in 1980 and pastored a congregation there until we wised up and left in 1988. I had every piece of literature they ever published up until we left, every letter GTA ever sent out, audio and/or video tapes of every sermon and bible study given by him and others in Tyler, and so on. I would definitely remember if he had actually put the incest allegation in his own description of that confrontation incident! I knew about the incident myself from the Tangled Web book that I purchased shortly after it was published in 1980.

In reality, Ted never officially wrote or spoke publicly of the incest, even though he did say very strong negative things about his dad in his earliest period of the CGI. By the end of his life, he totally quit saying negative things at all, and "bragged" about being the son of Herbert Armstrong, using it as part of his "resume'" in public relations materials sent out by his Intercontinental COG!

Here's the link to the relevant portion of the Ambassador Report # 27 story from the Painful Truth website. This is the version that mentions that GTA associate Benny Sharp is the one who was out in the hallway and heard the confrontation between the two Armstrongs. It also is the one that included the salacious detail about Herbert tying Dorothy up in a motel one time.

Painful Truth "Herbert Confesses" material

The confrontation is described, in less detail, on page 266 of Tangled Web. (I have several hardcopies of that book, and a PDF file of the whole thing.)

Byker Bob said...

8:16, what are you talking about? Those incest sins killed Jesus Christ!

BB

nck said...

"Bullshit. The child suffers not only physical pain but psychological pain that will follow them to their dying day."

And it apparantly brings them a lifelong income, houses paid for, audiences and entertainment with world leaders, a job for future husbands and a free education for their children.........

nck

Anonymous said...

Many Ambassador Senior men attended the grouped Dinners hosted by Herbert Armstrong at his home. At these dinners a number of the men would hear Herbert complain about his poor sex life in marriage...disgracing his deceased wife, his marriage and quite frankly raising the question "What was he trying to justify"? Normal men don't complain about their married sex lives to total strangers...! Something was seriously wrong here!

Anonymous said...

At the Herbert-Armstrong.org website is a 35-page paper refuting the allegations against Herbert Armstrong and the incest accusations. Well worth the read. Look for the link titled "HWA: Herbert W Armstrong Did NOT Commit Incest!"

Byker Bob said...

I like to look for parallels and trends within the movement. Anyone who visits Mike's Ron Weinland False Prophet blog has seen posts from any number of former members of PKG stating that their eyes were opened, and they left PKG following their reading of the official court transcripts from Weinland's tax evasion trial.

So, what comparisons and conclusions might we draw?

First, Ron Weinland, though his church members call him an apostle, was not the originator of the movement. Based strictly on numbers, he is a minor bit player, a descendant and aspiring heir to the movement. Still, once his "mistake" was documented by the judicial system, that was sufficient to cause an unknown minority percentage of his members to leave. We must also note that Weinland didn't just have 1972-75 on the negative side of his ledger, he had set multiple dates which failed, yet continues to this day to revise and to set new dates.

I believe that in terms of damage control, Stan Rader, Ralph Helge, and Alan Brown always used brilliant strategy in steering HWA through the court systems. Through their various ploys, they never allowed the incest to become proven in court. Even though much church money may have ultimately gone to Ramona, the option of deniability of the incest was carefully preserved, at least to the extent that WCG and the then future splinter group members would find credible.

Still, this, in tandem with doctrinal, prophetic, ethical, and fiduciary matters has caused significant numbers of members to leave the Armstrong churches over the decades. Normally, we don't pay much attention to those who actually have left. We tend to focus on those who are still "at risk" because they have not, and we wonder and speculate the whys.

At this point in time, most likely the splinter members would be affected to a greater extent by the current events in their own remnant groups, and would be making their cost-benefit analyses based primarily on those conditions. So long as they see the benefits outweighing the costs or negatives, they are somewhat immunized to certain trunks of the tree, such as the incest, British Israelism, prophecy failure, and New Covenant vs Old Covenant issues. Continuing our hypothetical gun analogy, the silver bullet, if it could be found, would not be as effective as a scatter gun in resolving the Armstrong problem.

BB

Jack said...

Well, that makes 3 or more witnesses to incest.
It was incest that the Canaanites were famous for. We know what God wanted done with them.
As for Garner ted saying it was of no more consequence: This is what another liar and sexual deviant would say of course. His own butt was on the line. But God would not and did not use a sex pervert as any kind of apostle, let alone a minister who must be above reproach as per the New Testament guide lines. The incest totally disqualified Herbert Armstrong as any kind of minister at all. This then disqualifies all he taught since you cannot eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and one does not get good fruit off a bad tree.
The religious legacy of Armstrong is completely bogus on that alone not to mention that his doctrines can be refuted by anyone who is willing to read scripture without twisting them as the WCG does. (This is translated wrong, comma in wrong pace, this doesn't really mean what it says, etc.)

Anonymous said...

What was seriously wrong here was that many of us actually followed this weirdo and believed his convoluted doctrinal theology.
We read and proved the booklets but not the bible. We really never gave our former churches a chance to prove their points to us at all. We were rebels looking for a cause and the church provided it.
We were "different", better than the rest of the world. We had secret knowledge (Gnosticism) woo hoo!
We gave HWA the power and the money to fool and lead astray so many.
We did not believe the plain truth of Jesus Christ: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead you WILL BE SAVED".
Too easy we wanted to work for our salvation so we could say, look what I've done!

I am done with the so-called churches of God and their half truths, lies, leaving out whole paragraphs from the church fathers to prove silly conjectures.
Done, done, done.

Pam said...

OK... HERE is a story I have NEVER read before! The author of this claims his own father--a former WCG member and then a PCG member... CALLED VERN MATTSON on the phone in 2010 after Dorothy died, and asked him pointblank about the matter... and got an answer. A detailed answer. I have no reason to doubt this author's veracity. Excerpt from the Exit and Support Network website story below the link. See the whole letter at the link for more details.


Shocking Words That Herbert Armstrong Told His Daughter Dorothy

Excerpt:

Vern Mattson said, over the years, with all that's out there now, on these computers, David Robinson's book, and plenty others written by his top ministers; he said, you got the Ambassador Report, full of documented facts and dates, exposing all the lies, mishandling of money, the incest with his own daughter. When I found out what he had done to my wife when she was just a young girl, you see we raised a daughter too, this was his own daughter, scaring and hurting her like that, over and over again, I was going to kill him!

I won't forget her words, years ago, when she asked me, how could a great and loving God go against Himself like that, by calling a man to raise up His "one and only true Church," a man that would hurt his own daughter like that?

To all the fathers out there who have a daughter, your little girl, how would you answer that?

I can tell you how Herbert Armstrong answered that, because of the last thing Vern Mattson told my dad on the phone that day, something he said, he has never forgotten.

His wife, Dottie [Dorothy], told him of an incident that had happened back in the late `30s or so, that he could never ever repeat, but what he could say, was that she was pleading with her father one night, she wanted it to stop. (Herbert Armstrong had her in a hotel room, and her voice was overheard by others, and a person who worked there came knocking on their door, wondering if anything was wrong?) His reply, his answer--the man we so strongly believed in--his answer when my wife, his daughter, his little girl, cried out to him, was:

"God gave you to me and it is my job to teach you. This will help you to be a better wife someday."

Michael said...

Anon wrote:
" Hi all. This is king David. I've been temporarily resurrected so that I can address this issue on Banned. Thank you Hoss for your kind words, telling the readers that it was a one-time fling with Bathsheba. But we both know that I was a pathological fornicator, having had 300 mistresses (the ones with whips were a challenge). Since lust is never satisfied, I ended up shagging Bathsheba as well."

It's comments like these that make Banned all the more worth reading :-)

Anonymous said...

The sin of David was not Bathsheva but Uriah.

All soldiers wives in Israel given a "Get" before battle. A retroactive divorce in case husband goes MIA and to prevent her being "chained" to him forever until he is found or comes home.
Therefore Uriah and Bathsheva were divorced while he fought. The sin was in David using that excuse to take another man's woman and then sending him into a suicide battle to die. It was dirty dealing and a shirking of responsibility as David knew it would mar his reputation for although it was not considered the letter of adultery it was pushing awfully close to it.

As for mistreses. they were concubines or sex slaves. God never intended for men to do such garbage but knew they would in a fallen world which God left pretty much to its own devices. He did therefore enact laws of protection for these women.
Did they work? Somewhat. Again it depended on the character of the man.
David had nothing to fear from mistresses with whips but they had a lot to fear from David's whips. They were subject to severe punishments.

The upshot is that the world outside of Eden is a nasty, dangerous place just as God warned.
The bible chronicles just how bad it can get.

Barbara said...

Sorry but imagining HWA, pudgy, dough belly that he was, having sex with anyone is just gag worthy.
Nothing and I mean nothing more disgusting than a doughy beer belly coming at you in sex.
Ugh. vomit.. gag.

Hoss said...

Mikey wrote: Americans have been convinced to drink far more water than they really should

Bob Thiel tends to hydrate a lot during his sermons. But it's only my assumption that he's drinking water. Anyway, it's another conspicuous distraction.

Byker Bob said...

In many cases, Barbara, older guys that haven't kept up on their physical fitness routines end up like Tony Soprano----taken advantage of by Russian ladies looking for a meal ticket. By the time HWA got around to working out with Dr. Lochner, he was pretty much beyond hope or repair.

BB

Connie Schmidt said...

Someone posted a link above of a site that supposedly exonerates HWA

http://herbert-armstrong.org/Miscellaneous/Herbert%20W.%20Armstrong%20Did%20NOT%20Commit%20Incest.pdf

It dismisses everyone as being "hearsay" and that no family members had come forward directly. It was dated 2013.

Since that time, two intimate Armstrong family members have been recorded and heard on the internet that the incest accusation was COMMON KNOWLEDGE within the Armstrong family. What other proof is needed?

Armstrong didn't just molest his daughter with his selfish carnal desires, all of us were molested by his sociopathic decrees and demands in the church. The man was an abject FAILURE in every sense of the word.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Somewhat better formatting at http://ambassador.report/Incest/">http://ambassador.report/Incest/.

Black Ops Mikey said...

And... secularsafehouse.org doesn't exist so the links in this posting go nowhere.

There is a https://www.facebook.com/SecularSafeHouse -- but nothing that speaks to this particular issue.

Here is a link to Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web if anyone is interested.

Anonymous said...

So Ladies and Gentlemen, WHY WAS HE NOT IN PRISON, when there is these great evidence that he committed:

- STATUTORY RAPE - SEX WITH A MINOR - COMMITTING INCEST WITH AN UNDERAGE -

or has he bought the law? No, this is not about HWA, it is never about him, it is about disproving the bible and that it is all a LIE. That is the OBJECTVE.

Question is, who's objective?

RSK said...

Bahahahahaha! Thank you Barbara, now I can't unsee that.

RSK said...

No witnesses at the time of the alleged crime were willing to turn him in, duh. What kind of dumb question was that? Go to the foot of the class.

The rest of your silly hyperbole about this somehow being about "disproving the bible", I don't know about.

Anonymous said...

and if the whole thing is true, how does it negate God's commandments?

do anyone think they will get a pass because HWA did a terrible thing?

nck said...

RSK

I said about the same thing at 9:22.
Not only did they not turn him in they lived well of it and the children got a free education too. (for what it's worth but that is another discussion)

If we are prepared to trash the man on the "evidence" presented than we might aswell trash the family members who received benefits after "the fact" aswell. Or.......it just might not have happened or not in the way presented.

Well I know women were a different breed at that time. Hell, Jennifer Aniston today, is the same age Ethel Merman started Archie Bunker.


nck

Byker Bob said...

Note: "God's Commandments" is ACOG code for the Old Covenant, unexpanded sabbath.

Also, 11:19 obviously still equates HWA and Armstrongism with the Bible. Actually, there's something much better for us than the HWAcaca. HWA did a terrible thing because he wasn't what he said he was. Good fruit can't come from a bad tree. He was b-b-b-b-bad to the bone, and it was all a scam.

BB

nck said...

I mean JA is older than Caroll O C. when she debuted in All in the Family.

Different times I guess.

nck

Anonymous said...


RSK,"No witnesses at the time of the alleged crime were willing to turn him in" do you think these kind of accusations, sensitive criminal acts, highly publicized will not reach the ears of the law? Oh, a RAVEN CAME TODAY. It does not need Lochner Tapes and embittered ambitious ministers to get HWA to suffer in PRISON if that satisfies you all. What about the receivership? The law was in the hots for HWA, SEX WITH A MINOR would be enough to eliminate him. Sorry, but I refuse to be a dimwit.

Martha said...

No, it's not "all about disproving the Bible".

It's about freeing people from the spiritual cage in which they have been trapped when they bought HWA's hodge-podge, fear-based theology. (2 Timothy 1:7)

It's about proving that his interpretation of the Bible was shallow, ignorant and was intended to cow his followers into submission, or else. (Ephesians 4:18).

It's about demonstrating that there is no evidence that HWA ever spoke for God, and therefore you have no reason to fear him or those whom he groomed to take his place. (Deuteronomy 18:22)

Believe it or not, I accept the Bible. I study the Bible regularly, much more frequently and more deeply than I ever did when I was in the COGs. You can read what I and others like me, have learned at http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/. We feel called to share and explain exactly BECAUSE we reject his teachings but still accept the Bible. It's why many have contributed to this blog over the years.

I don't think the Bible is a lie. I just don't accept the shallow, ignorant interpretation of a man who showed no evidence that God worked through him. By their fruits you shall know them. If the fruit of this man resembled the fruit of the Spirit in any way, gave any evidence of his conversion, we would not be having such a lengthy discussion on this topic.

Martha said...

Don't believe that the COGs lock you in spiritual bondage and, eventual isolation? This sad comment on another post here at Banned demonstrates my point exactly. This demonstrates the end result of a sincere, conservative following of HWA's theology:

"I was disfellowshipped from LCG for silly reasons. I used to help take care of a widow who remains in LCG. She was a daily part of my life for years. We were like family.

After I was disfellowshipped she sent a letter stating that she loved me and was sad that she would "no longer be able to spend time" with me.

I couldn't believe it.

I ran into her about 18 months later at the grocery store and she cried. She shared how much she loves and misses me but said that she can't risk continuing our friendship because she's old and it would be too hard to make a new life if Rod Meredith ever found out that she was fellowshipping with me.

So, because of Rod Meredith, this elderly widow has no one to shovel her driveway, get her oil changed, change her air filters, take her to the Feast, take care of her, etc.

Because of Rod Meredith, the next time I see this lady, whom I love dearly, she will be lying in a coffin.

Rod Meredith is a destroyer of lives and families.
Rod Meredith is the OPPOSITE OF LOVE. "

Also this:
http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-letter-kills-pcg-claims-another-life.html


Also, let it be known that, while I attended the COGs for decades, I attended an LCG service exactly once and have no bone to pick, personally speaking, with them.

Martha said...

NCK, I guess plastic surgery and salons have come a long way since then. On the other hand, I suspect JA is a long way from being typecast for roles like Edith Bunker.

Then again, there's something to be said for good genes. Consider Sophia Loren or Hellen Mirren. Maybe JA won the genetic lottery as well.

Either way, the rest of us ladies are in trouble.

Byker Bob said...

At least logic and analytical thinking is prevailing amongst those who believe the incest did take place. Nobody has claimed that God confirmed the incest in their prayers, or that they had a vision of HWA and Dorothy in a hotel room.

BB

Martha said...

Except for Connie, of course. :)

RSK said...

Considering that the alleged crime occurred in the early part of the century, but the first publishings about it came decades later, yes. And the receivership preceded Armstrong's divorce trial from which the first highly publicized evidence comes from. Since the alleged victim opted not to seek charges, that robs "the law" of much of its key evidence in prosecuting a crime that was decades prior at that point. So yes, I suspect you are a dimwit.

RSK said...

I have little opinion on it. For whatever reason, Dorothy opted not to take her alleged story to the authorities (I can speculate as to why, but ultimately it is just guesswork). Which means either it didn't happen at all and all the circumstantial commentary is incorrect, or it did and she had her own reasons for keeping quiet, yet the secret got out anyway.

Ultimately, if the incest story makes COGlodytes defensive just in the hearing, then I question why they have such an attachment to the man. He had enough holes in his interpretations and teachings to reject him before one ever heard of any incest. The fact that he may have been a completely disgusting individual behind closed doors is just secondary confirmation, if anything.

nck said...

"He had enough holes in his interpretations and teachings to reject him before one ever heard of any incest."

Clearly the subject under discussion is not how people act or get entangled in a web by not being in posession of all relevant data.

As a matter of fact data is becoming an asset class in its own. I am not to criticize the yak herder in his current understanding of the world as I profit from data sources that cost more per month then he makes in his lifetime. In the same manner I am not to criticize my kin who made their decisions on the understanding education and data that seemed to be available for them at the time.


There is no need for attachment to the man. Since basic decency and culture demands a defense lawyer, even if he is guilty. So for lack of qualified presence I will fill that role this second.

Now y'all place great trust in "circumstantial evidence" in this particular case. I will not trash the character of some of the claimants since this is not a real trial.

But as I said. If it were common knowledge for the Armstrong cousins and nieces that this unfortunate event had occurred, I wonder why they accepted the free education and other perks I am personally aware of.

To me it looks like "hindsight guessing" by some family members who at some later point in life felt they had something against the man. But in my opinion 18 years old is old enough to have an opinion on the heinousness of such deed if it ever occurred. But they did not act on it at the time unless that knowledge came only available at a later date after all the "apostate" ministers did their gossiping work.

And I will not go into some of the crazy theories of some of the (orginal) accusers that do not speak well for their mental stability.

(Just being the lawyer here.)



nck

Byker Bob said...

Nck, there were a number of trashy, "entitled" members of the Armstrong family amongst the benign or good ones. There is even testimony in the archives of the email to the editor section at Painful Truth from women whose virginity was taken when they were young girls at SEP, based on intimidation of who someone's father was. Seriously bad gene pool amongst the ruling family. Takers in a culture which taught the way of "give".

BB

Martha said...

Oops, I meant Connie wasn't among us ladies who hadn't won the genetic lottery, not what BB said, that Connie claimed incest had been confirmed in her prayers.

RSK said...

As for the herbert-armstrong.org article, I read it some time ago. It spends about three pages pointing out the obvious second- and third-hand nature of the evidence (duh!). Then veers off into silly finger-shaking, with bible and Mein Kampf quotes at the ready.

Again, do you need the incest story to reject HWA? I don't think so.

Black Ops Mikey said...

No, all we need is the fact that Herbert Armstrong permitted his son free reign to commit heinous acts until the embarrassment became public: It's all public image and perception.

This is common in corporations: The CEO can commit adultery as long as it is discreet.

However, if, as it happened at Weyerhaeuser Containerboard Packaging, the executive secretary of the executive vice president over a business actually takes said secretary with him AND allows her to forge his signature on overtime slips for hours she did not work, then... well... the new vice president is likely to be named while he's on a trip for the business in China for the company. It's not that he's committed the adultery, it's that he's become too public with it.

So when GTA was too obvious with his drinking, gambling, date rape of AC coeds that people like Ken Wesby and the other ministers rebelled, well, it's time to dump the loser.

But if you think about it, what is the difference between Eli and Samuel?

I don't know, but, you know, like Eli, Herbert Armstrong should have been removed if for no other reason than he let his son run rampant.

And for you arm chair lawyers out there, often times circumstantial evidence is more than sufficient for conviction. For example, in Panama, there is no RADAR or troopers measuring your speed on the highway from one side to the other. What they do is put a time stamp on a ticket as you enter the highway and check it when you arrive at the other side. At that point, they use science to figure out if you were speeding and are ticketed accordingly if you were.

Now just because we didn't have witnesses to the fact that Israelites absolutely did NOT migrate to Britain, doesn't mean that the circumstantial DNA science doesn't absolutely, positively, unequivocally prove that the broad vast majority of people in the United States and the British Commonwealth are not descended from lost tribes of Israel, because it does prove it and debunks British Israelism once and for all, in spite of all the efforts of the moron emeritus proponents may attempt. It's science. There are certain things in science you can always count on. And you scoundrels attempting to claim epigenetics says otherwise, your day is coming.

Be warned.

Repent now.

Anonymous said...

For NCK, and the others who cannot understand why someone would not have reported incest if it had occurred, do a little reading on the topic. Very few victims of incest report this crime to the police, even today. Much less so decades ago. This is a vastly under-reported crime. This is no reason to discount the evidence unless one is merely looking for an excuse.

It also does not help to attack those that have stated what they know. Contact a few of them (while they are still here with us) and determine for yourself in they are credible. That is better than making a number of careless assumptions in order to uphold the myth of HWA.

nck said...

It's ok Martha,

We are trained to take "here a little and there a little" after all.

nck

nck said...

11:49

I urge you not to make careless assumptions about me.

I was not speaking about the victim. I was speaking about why Debbie (and the other nice one (not gta sons) would have accepted a free education IF the sad occurence would have been common knowledge in the family. 18 years old would have been old enough to refuse any gestures from hwa IF the alleged occurence would have been common knowledge.

She certainly got a dose of Russian propaganda while working in the Soviet Union on behalf of the foundation. And she has not recovered since.

nck

RSK said...

My own grandmother was (according to her) thrown permanently out of her home as a teenager for confiding in her mother regarding her father's sexual abuse of her. Why didn't she report it? Well, I don't actually know for a fact that she didn't, but even if the local gendarmes of the time had believed her, she still would need to produce evidence, and... yeah. Too long ago, I don't know the specifics. But yes, those sort of crimes do go underreported.

Anonymous said...

Straining gnats, capitalizing on trivial things, endless whispherings, fables that none of you here can actually prove. And so what if HWA is an incest, it is never about him, not about you people either, not about me. But I plead for those whose conscience are weak. Don't swallow camels it's unclean:)

Byker Bob said...

Even today, abuse is handled by different people in different ways. There is still a great deal of stigma and labeling attached to it. There would be some who wear their survival as a sort of badge, while others worry about being defined or limited as a person as someone who had been abused. Surely, people are entitled to privacy if that's the way they choose to handle such a thing. It often forces a person's hand when they are a public figure, or a public figure's codependent. Being too harsh with Dorothy for not coming forward, just because that's what we would have preferred for her to do, would be akin to placing undue blame on the victim. It's thinking too much about what we suffered, and not enough about her pain.

BB

Anonymous said...

BB writes 'Nobody has claimed that God confirmed the incest in their prayers.'
Ha ha ha. BB is such a funny man. Ha ha ha ha.

Anonymous said...

You never get it RSK, there are people who are not attached to the man. LET THAT SINK a little. That's what makes us different, you think its about HWA, it is not!

RSK said...

Uh huh. So why're you so defensive about him? LET THAT SINK a little.

RSK said...

I asked the holy spirit for the winning powerball number and he just gave me a bible verse about someone girding up their loins.

Anonymous said...

BlackOps said, "..there is no RADAR or troopers measuring your speed on the highway from one side to the other. What they do is put a time stamp on a ticket as you enter the highway and check it when you arrive at the other side. At that point, they use science to figure out if you were speeding and are ticketed accordingly if you were."

Good to know! Someday, when I get my Ferrari I can skirt the law. After I get my first time-stamp, I'll pull off to a rest area and have lunch. Then back to the autobahn. Perish the thought, I could even get a ticket for going too slow!

just satire,
DBP

Anonymous said...

Because he should be rotting in prison until the age of 93, right? and nobody, not a law enforcer or an embittered minister who didn't reach the ranks got enough SOLID EVIDENCE and pack him to prison. He is a sex maniac, molested a MINOR, his own daughter according to your own mind, but he was FREE, writing books in a very old age? while we on the other hand, spends time griping in this blogpost. I am here not for myself but for others whose conscience are weak - wicked grin - tata RSK....

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that this really didn't become known until 28 years after the fact. There is also a statute of limitations. Even so, it becomes a he said/she said without DNA evidence. At that point it is a 50 yo daughter and an 80+ year old man.


People spend ill-gotten money all the time particularly if they are spending it on a perceived good (college education). That isn't surprising. I guess I'm just saying not having served time in jail is not any kind of evidence of innocence with the facts above.

I'm a sabbath and holy day observer, but I also recognize the many failings in the WCG under Armstrong and after.


RSK said...

Allegedly, yes. Plenty of criminals have evaded the law, especially when the crime isn't reported. Did you have a point somewhere in there?

nck said...

12:06

Good for you to also see the failings of the system.

The point is. They are not facts. At least not in the legal sense.
The wider families behavior in that 28 year period (and longer) is not consistent with the claimed "common knowledge" within the family. (unless the wider family is morally corrupt and I don't know them that way on the contrary) So the "knowledge" in my opinion is "inserted" on a later date. By the Robinson book perhaps? Then we have circular reasoning.

Most commenters are not knowledgeable in legal matters at all.

For instance the persons using the word minor. Men, the legal age for marrying in the state of Georgia at the time was 14 years old I believe and spanking your spouse was considered normal behavior in the USA.

Just a legal opinion as a civic courtesy to the defendant not a moral judgement.

nck