Saturday, July 1, 2017

Why Did The Race Admission Polices at Ambassador College Change So Rapidly In 1970?

The following is from the Ambassador College Pasadena Alumni site and is reposted here with Greg Doudna's permission.  It deals with the sudden change in the Ambassador College policy on admitting African Americans to the Pasadena campus.

Greg Dounda is the author of the fascinating book, Showdown at Big Sandy: Youthful Creativity Confronts Bureaucratic Inertia at an Unconventional Bible College in East Texas

Gavin Rumney had an excellent review of the book here.   Gavin writes:  

Well, I didn't, and I'm indebted to Greg for plugging a number of gaps from the WCG's past. More specifically, the way the world looked from Big Sandy in the Seventies.

The WCG can probably be grateful that Greg wised up and found better things to do, for it's just plain scary to imagine what he would have got up to if he'd stayed and risen through the ranks. Just reading through his doctrinal papers from that time – positions he has long since moved beyond – indicate that this guy would have raised more than a little hell along the way.

The subtitle says it all: “Youthful Creativity Confronts Bureaucratic Inertia...” Doudna provides insight on a number of characters from the times: Dean of Students Ronald Kelly, for example, who is described as a hard working “company man”... one of many “yellow pencils” cut from the same mold... [who] did not try to disguise his lack of interest in things intellectual.

There are also anecdotes involving Herman Hoeh, Kenneth Herrmann, GTA, Charles Dorothy and other characters. The chapters on tithing and creationism are excellent, the treatment of healing and medicine is downright sobering, and the discussion of the old God Family doctrine is simply fascinating. (Let's all not tell Bob Thiel about that chapter, as he'd probably misunderstand it and gloat insufferably.) 

Race admissions policies at AC--why changed?
One of the dark sides of WCG/AC was race: at beautiful, oasis-like AC, foretaste of the world tomorrow, prior to [1970] 1971 , unmarried African-American church members were by policy not admitted as students to any of the AC campuses, excluded on the basis of the color of their skin, on ideological grounds citing the Bible. This changed in [1970] 1971 (single black students began to be admitted).
Why did that change in [1970] 1971?
Here is the true story on that--a story so little known among us that even Ambassador Report and Trechak missed this one ... a story I too missed in "Showdown" because I also did not then know ... a story of AC history that to my knowledge to the present day remains unpublished in print. (Therefore it is necessary for this post to be longer than normal, to tell this information.)
A first mystery is that although the change in AC admissions policies in 1971 was open and well-known, there was no official explanation from headquarters as to why. They just did it, without saying why. Why the lack of explanation? 
A second mystery was that the change was not done at all AC campuses, only the two US-based ones. Bricket Wood AC continued exclusion of unmarried black applicants from being students until that campus's closure in 1974. Whatever the reason for the 1971 change at Pasadena and Big Sandy, why did it not extend to UK's AC?
Those taking care of legal affairs for HWA and AC at headquarters would have known, even if most at the student level and the church membership did not. It was because the US govt was threatening to remove tax exemptions for charitable institution status from church-related educational institutions which were practicing racial discrimination. This story is told (without mention of AC) in Randall Balmer, "The Real Origins of the Religious Right" (Politico May 27, 2014), here.
Bob Jones University of North Carolina had similar policies to AC: segregation was divinely ordained, interracial marriage was sin, blacks excluded from admissions. "The IRS had sent its first letter to Bob Jones University in November 1970 to ascertain whether or not it discriminated on the basis of race. The school responded defiantly: it did not admit African Americans." Note the timing: November 1970. Spring 1971: admissions offices for AC Pasadena and AC Big Sandy for the first time, and coordinated, admit single black men and women students for the 1971-1972 academic year. AC Bricket Wood, safely beyond the evil clutches of the IRS, unchanged.
Bob Jones University resisted the intrusion of a godless federal government interfering with their God-given right to be racist on biblical grounds. All across America, evangelical churches rallied to defend Bob Jones University. The IRS pulled Bob Jones U's tax exemption, costing BJU millions. Still BJU did not cave. BJU appealed all the way to the Supreme Court where they lost there, going down fighting, cause celebre for the newly-organized evangelical right across America.
Unlike Bob Jones University, WCG headquarters in Pasadena, which would have received the same IRS inquiry at the same time as and in practically the identical situation as Bob Jones University on this issue, did cave and got in compliance. This is why the timing, and why this true reason was never told to the membership. It never was about growing in the truth of God or acknowledging and repenting of harm done to the souls of God's creation by racism. It was about the legal threat, and a choice at some level in the upper echelons of headquarters (however it was explained to HWA), a cost-benefit financial calculation, to obey the mandate of a godless state demanding an end to racism, over the law of "God", quote unquote, understood to divinely ordain exclusion of unmarried blacks out of a deep, primal fear in some quarters at headquarters that such would inevitably lead to the existential horrors of interracial dating and marriage, aka contamination of the white race.
In 2000 Bob Jones III, president of Bob Jones University, explained on the Larry King show that the policy against interracial dating had ended the very day of that interview, never had been a big deal to anyone, and had been misrepresented in the press. Read that amazing interview here (so many parallels to AC):
Certainly one of the admirable features of the GCI transformation, other issues aside, was coming to terms directly with and repudiation of this past history of racism at AC. Perhaps one day the vision of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech will come true worldwide in reality: a world in which all people of all colors are part of our common human family.
The Chicago Southside congregation recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.  The Chicago church was predominantly African American and this is the video referred to in the rest of Greg's post below.

AC and race
Thank you very much Ken (4904). Based on the "Chicago South Side Congregation Documentary" the start of admissions of African American unmarried students began at AC Pasadena in 1970-1971, a year earlier than I had thought. But it was caused by the IRS ruling of 1970 removing tax-exempt status from church-related schools which had racist admissions policies.
At 12:56f in the documentary Ron Washington recalls, "In 1970, the summer, late July, I was at work in Albany, and I got a phone call from Mr. Jackson, and he said 'Ron,' he said, 'they've just opened Ambassador College for African Americans, single.' He said, 'I'd like to have you apply...'"
Note the timing: only ca. 4-5 weeks before the beginning of that academic year! A decision was suddenly made at headquarters--for the first time ever in the church's history--to allow unmarried African Americans to AC Pasadena to apply for an academic year just about to begin. And phone calls were being made to get some African Americans in, fast. In the documentary Willard High, part of the same entering freshman class as Ron Washington according to the 1971 Envoy, recounts that five unmarried African-American men and five African-American women were admitted that year (1970-71). 
Why the last-minute timing and the rush? Had years of pangs of conscience reached a tipping point in humble, spirit-led deliberations at headquarters, and after heartfelt prayer the headquarters ministry had come to see that a shameful policy should be ended, because it was the right thing to do? 
No, it was the godless IRS ruling. Note the timing: "in July 1970, the I.R.S. concluded that it could 'no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status to private schools which practice racial discrimination'" (
Evidently, AC officialdom at Pasadena did not wait for the IRS to come calling directly before reacting with a hurried attempt to get in compliance at the last minute at Pasadena. The next year, 1971-72, the same policy was up and running at Big Sandy in a more orderly and timely manner. At Bricket Wood I continue to believe it is accurate that unmarried African-Americans/Africans were refused admission throughout the entire history of that campus from start to finish in 1974, notwithstanding 4902. I checked the 1969 Envoy and I see no black faces in the 1968-69 senior class or in any other class at Bricket Wood. I do see a senior woman that year identified as from India who looks Indian, Grace Clements. So technically Bricket Wood was not 100% white. But in the old South African tripartite division of white, colored, and black, Ms. Clements would not be regarded as black, simply because she was not white. 
Until ca. 2005, all those years, I had just assumed that the racist admissions policy at AC had ended because church officials had come to see that it was wrong and ended it for that reason. I did not realize all those years, until I accidentally read about the Bob Jones University case, that the true reason was far less noble: it was the IRS ruling. I did not even realize until ca. 2005 that the changes in the US Ambassador campus policies never even happened at Bricket Wood. What does it feel like to be excluded, not included? Here is an email exchange of ca. 2005 with fellow student Murdock Gibbs (today a GCI elder) that brought this home to me:
Me: When I looked at the Envoy for 1974 a few months back I was surprised to notice 100% white faces in all four classes of Bricket Wood shown (unlike Pasadena and Big Sandy). How come I didn't remember that? Or did I know it and forget it? Did you know that?

MG: Because you're white. And it really wasn't an issue that affected you. If you saw a Bricket Wood photo of only women, you probably would have questioned what was going on--you being a male, this would directly affect you and your perceptions. I guarantee you, every time a black WCG family or person looks at a photo of AC--paging through the Envoy or some other idyllic portrayal of life at AC, we're thinking, "Where are the black people?"
The "Chicago South Side Congregation Documentary" (25 mins.) is really worth viewing.  


Byker Bob said...

Just as Bob Thiel is paranoid today about being shut down or persecuted by the Federal Government, the archetype which he closely parrots was very much in play back in the early '70s. Rod Meredith and others were mentioning in sermons and at Bible Study that the church and college could be in big trouble if the Feds ever came into possession of some of the founding documents for Ambassador College and Imperial Schools, because these docs did in fact refer to, and incorporate the churches beliefs regarding separation of the races into the admission policies. They were enforced even on the ministers' children, and on employees of the college.

Tax exempt status was a very powerful tool for compliancy amongst institutions that were not public, and were not receiving tax subsidies from the government. The millions of dollars involved make tax exemption into a defacto subsidy, which could be potentially devastating if removed. At the time all of this was unfolding on the AC Pasadena campus, the Pasadena School District was under court supervised desegregation orders, and was regularly in the news. Students were being bussed from John Muir High School to Pasadena High, and Blair High to achieve the racial mix required by the court, and it was monitored by Judge Manuel Real. There were many community meetings as this was implemented, and eventually, church parents had to deal with it as Imperial Schools closed its doors. It was all part of a huge nationwide trend.

I worked in a department at the college where we were blessed to have many African American colleagues. For the first time, I became aware of many of the concerns which were unique to the Black members of the church. Most of us who grew up in the church knew what it was like to be part of a religious minority. Certainly what we learned through that experience should have made us empathetic to all other minority groups, and I believe that many of the members did, and were. The problem is that the ministers who developed and enforced the church's racist policies were isolated in their own little ivory towers, and did not experience the effects those policies had on their spiritual charges, the sheep whom they were supposedly lovingly guiding. Thank God for the "godless" Feds!


Anonymous said...

like i have posted in the past: meatheaded behavior of Church hierarchy is nothing new: from the time apostle Peter allowed the contaminate of bigotry against fellow Christians to raise its ugly head (Galatians 2:12) such sentiments persist, and frankly has stunted the growth of the Church...

the culture of "we art holier than thou" has always been a problem among the peoples armstrong has defined as israelitish, and despite numerous Scriptures that show Gods displeasure about their view of what He has Created, they are at most lukewarm in their repentance and compliance...

Psalm 119:11 said...

WCG/GCI has always been a "white" church.

RSK said...


nck said...

Well yes.
It is a recorded fact that the "radio church of god" had to produce "congregations" for tax reasons in the early fifties in order to comply. It was a radio ministry/movement turning into a church organization due to tax regulations. HWA had orignially no inention in starting a "church" but be an announcer supported by a virtual "eclessia".

The assesment in the posting is correct in the sense that AC was not racist in the sense that "blacks" were not allowed an education. Married couples were allowed. It was entirely due to the racist teaching that there would not be enough SINGLE people of color to date with.

Today we consider that racist. But was quite mainstream at the time among the conservative crowd. re Archie Bunker


Redfox712 said...

Wow. What a great post. I am convinced that Dounda must be correct on this matter after reading this post. I have never heard anyone mention this before.

What a shocking thing to see that even as late as 1970 the "leaders" of WCG still thought it there was nothing wrong with racially excluding single African Americans from going to Ambassador College and only changing the policy (and only in the US) after seeing that the IRS might tax them if that racist policy continued.

Redfox712 said...

On another matter I was amused to see that the latest issue of LCG's recruitment magazine, Tomorrow's World, appears to have fallen by a wide margin.

Here are the circulation figures for LCG's recruitment magazine.

July-August 2017: 282,000.

May-June 2017: 355,000.

March-April 2017: 417,000.

January-February 2017: 412,000.

November-December 2016: 423,000.

September-October 2016: 415,000.

July-August 2016: 509,000.

May-June 2016: 513,000.

March-April 2016: 539,000.

January-February 2016: 527,000.

November-December 2015: 514,000.

September-October 2015: 510,000.

July-August 2015: 505,000.

May-June 2015: 497,000.

March-April 2015: 487,000.

January-February 2015: 492,000.

November-December 2014: 472,000.

September-October 2014: 458,000.

July-August 2014: 457,000.

LCG's recruitment magazine did not reveal its circulation figure before the July-August 2014 issue.

Anonymous said...

The Armstrong COGs are inherently racist. Always have been and still are. As a member for almost 2 decades I can tell you 1st hand that the members don't "think" they are racist. They are blind to their subtle stereotyping and white superiority for which Rod Meredith was king.

Many LCG ministers are totally against inter-racial marriage and use their belief that whites and blacks are so "different" that ultimately it will cause problems should there be a marriage.

Rod Meredith referred to the children of inter-racial marriages as "blobs with no real identity" to a crowd of over 250 people in Charlotte just a few years ago (lest you think it happened back in the 1950's). I have also heard him say that God gives everyone special strengths/talents. For example, "African-Americans are good at sports, women are good at cooking and caring for children", etc.

The ACOG British Israelism theory is also completely racist and most members swallow it hook, line and sinker.

I sat there listening to Rod Meredith and other LCG ministers spewing what sounded like hate with sadness and a heavy heart but knew that if I said anything I would no longer be under the radar and would likely become a Bob League/ Rod McNair target and I didn't want to put my family in that position.

Can you imagine a God that would have His white skinned children rise before his brown skinned children? I can't. It's sad that so many in the ACOG can.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused, was it overall a good thing that black people gained entrance into the cult? Was it good for them, despite the negative aspects of WCG in general? I guess the people in the video consider it a good thing.

As an analogy, if a snake handling church didn't allow black people in, would it be overall best to reform their policy and let them in despite the risk of getting bit?

Connie Schmidt said...

An also little known story is how Stan Rader went to Washington DC in 1957 to save the WCGs tax exemption status. The World Tomorrow was often a very political radio broadcast, and the IRS took this as a violation of the 1954 Johnson Amendment of churches being able to use tax exempt money for political involvement.

Rader resolved the issue with the IRS, but with a secret give back. Church members would be instructed to NOT VOTE in elections, and there would also be ran every year an article in the PT or GN that it is a Chrisitian's duty to pay all taxes due.

The not voting doctrine served HWA well for internal church structure and control as well, by (in effect) squelching any idea of input, democracy, or collective thinking in the WCG , and in creating the castrated "TOP DOWN" governmental structure that entrenched itself in the church.

Connie Schmidt said...


LCG (love them or not) is being smart in reducing its expensive hard copy circulation. Paper magazines and newspapers are obsolete, and information delivered via the web is the way to go for the future.

Same goes for paid Television. Web is the destiny for almost everything.

nck said...

Well Connie,

Excellent again.
As I mentioned. The other give back/requirement was the immediate raising of local church congregations, since there was the suspicion this was not a church at all but rather a political movement. Local churches were immediately raised starting in Texas etc etc.

In the rest of the world it never presented itself as a "church" but rather "a college".
Only in the Anglo Saxon world it was a church and changed the epitath in "worldwide" as the American empire succeeded the British Emoire in Africa and South East Asia.

But its message was essentially political serving the American elite Rockefeller idea of a global American Empire under the cloak of the United Nations, internationalist and agressive (in its fight against communism)


Near_Earth_Object said...

"... their God-given right to be racist on biblical grounds."

This statement needs to be unpacked. The Bible is not inherently a racist document. The Bob Jones people, the Armstrongists and others of that ilk may interpret it to be so. That is their idiosyncratic interpretation that originates in their trove of personal and secular beliefs. They mapped their personal racism onto the Bible.

The bible is, rather, a document of election. The Jews were elect and, hence, mankind is divided into two groups based on spiritual and not biological principles:
Jews and Gentiles. This is a leitmotif in the bible up to the time that Paul proclaims this partitioning between Jew and Gentile to no longer be in effect.

How racial differences are dealt with is a matter of pragmatism in human culture, ethics, social viewpoint and maturity. It lies outside the pale of biblical revelation. How racial differences are treated is a criterion on which people will be judged like the handling of property and sexual relations and other forms of human activity. It has to do with the treatment of other human beings who bear the image of God. This is a litmus test that many right-wing religious organizations fail dramatically. The Southern Baptist Church of Greater Appalachia is a notable failure in this along with the WCG.

In other words, for a Black person to marry a White person is not a religious issue that must be addressed by Church Administration but must be decided pragmatically. But people always want to believe that their personal opinions are held also by God.

I have written about this many times before so I will try to be mercifully brief. The bible nowhere says that the Canaanites are of a different race than the Jews. Herman Hoeh said that. He derived this from what Armstrongists would call pagan churchianity. The erroneous idea is that the races of the world all derive from Shem, Ham and Japheth and that the events of early Genesis are not local but global. Genetics provides scientific evidence that this interpretation of reality is profoundly flawed.

Against the backdrop of Genetics, Adam was a Neolithic farmer who had to have been haplogroup J and gave rise to a group of clans (erroneously called "The Table of Nations" by the King James people)who were also haplogroup J. Not surprisingly, some geneticists supported by the National Geographic Society discovered that the ancient Phoenicians and their Canaanites predecessors were haplogroup J just like the Jews and most other Middle Eastern peoples. Canaanites were racially indistinguishable from Jews - the art of the day supports this. They were not Blacks and biblical condemnation of them was not based on race but on religion. Phoenicians are identified by the National Geographic researchers with the modern day Lebanese. Adam and all his descendants were haplogroup J. And there is much more to this account.

Herman Hoeh, a few years before he passed away, claimed in correspondence to me that there was never, ever a religious foundation to the WCG belief in racial segregation. He claimed that it was entirely a matter of the WCG following the norms of American Society at the time. Like the kid who steals from the cookie jar and then says "well, everybody's doing it." Hoeh's argument was, of course, facile. Why he claimed this is yet a mystery. Especially since the flawed religious foundation of WCG racism is easily to be found in WCG documents, literature, much eyewitness testimony - such as G. Doudna's astute research has revealed.

Continued ...

Near_Earth_Object said...

Continued ...

Garner Ted Armstrong, in a correspondence to me, traced the racism in the WCG to British-Isrealism. In the letter he did not deny racism, notice, but simply acknowledged it as fact implicitly by tracing its origin.

When I showed up on the AC BS campus in the early Seventies, I was told by a former AC Pasadena student that Gentiles (including Blacks)were not admitted to AC because the Gentile mind could not comprehend the Godly education taught there. It was "Israelites" only. Gentiles were like Tolkien's Orcs - without human hearts. This was an earlier stage of racism that rejected not only Blacks but anyone who could be thought of as a Gentile by the standards of British Israelism. This appeals profoundly to the people of Greater Appalachia who have a secular history of racism and the enslavement of Blacks. (The people of Great Appalachia also dislike Jews but that loose end was taken care of some years later on the AC BS campus with the promulgation of the idea that the people we call Jews are really Gentiles.) I believe it appeals to them to this day and to their representatives in the WCG. The Confederate South, to the dismay of every reasonable mind and to the joy of the bigoted, rose again at AC BS.

After this background, my observation is that it is remarkable how adept the WCG was at dissimulation when there was a threat from the IRS. This is a sign not of spirituality but of cynical expediency. The artful dodger pirouettes again.

Byker Bob said...

The point is that it should be left up to the people of color themselves to decide where they would like to go, and where they would prefer not to go. It is morally and ethically reprehensible to preach that you are the only true church, and the only path to salvation, only to exclude select individuals based on their genetic makeup, or to force them to endure treatment as second class as a proviso to their membership.

Remember, British Israelism was actually extrapolated over the Millennium, too. Anyone with any readily noticeable "negroid" physical characteristics was supposedly going to be sent to "their own homeland". (a WCG euphemism if there ever was one). The ministers did not come right out and use the "N" word, or use blatant phrases like "send them back to Africa", but the sanitized verbiage in the church literature, official policies, and sermons managed to promote the same racism spouted by the KKK and other similar organizations.

I really get sick of hearing the lame excuse that "God's Church" was a product of the times, and was simply mirroring what was going on in the surrounding society of the day. If an organization were "God's Church", what would be taught there would be truly transcendent, impacting the surrounding culture in a Christlike fashion, with the best and greatest information available. There are many ways in which we really sucked as a church, and this is one of the very worst ways.


Anonymous said...

Desegregation helped create the religious right. Even today, the Trump administration claims millions of illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote.
I.E. not white voters.

The Real Origins of the Religious Right

They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation...

The IRS was not placated. On January 19, 1976, after years of warnings—integrate or pay taxes—the agency rescinded the school’s tax exemption.

For many evangelical leaders, who had been following the issue since Green v. Connally, Bob Jones University was the final straw. As Elmer L. Rumminger, longtime administrator at Bob Jones University, told me in an interview, the IRS actions against his school “alerted the Christian school community about what could happen with government interference” in the affairs of evangelical institutions. “That was really the major issue that got us all involved.”

Weyrich saw that he had the beginnings of a conservative political movement, which is why, several years into President Jimmy Carter’s term, he and other leaders of the nascent religious right blamed the Democratic president for the IRS actions against segregated schools—even though the policy was mandated by Nixon, and Bob Jones University had lost its tax exemption a year and a day before Carter was inaugurated as president. Falwell, Weyrich and others were undeterred by the niceties of facts. In their determination to elect a conservative, they would do anything to deny a Democrat, even a fellow evangelical like Carter, another term in the White House.

But Falwell and Weyrich, having tapped into the ire of evangelical leaders, were also savvy enough to recognize that organizing grassroots evangelicals to defend racial discrimination would be a challenge. It had worked to rally the leaders, but they needed a different issue if they wanted to mobilize evangelical voters on a large scale...

nck said...

Wow 12:03

Since colored couples studied at AC. Along the children of Asian elites, japanese secretaries of state to be a children of singapores key leaders. Are you proving AC was not part of the christian right but rather part of the globalist wilsonian faction of the us establishment?


Byker Bob said...

The religious right, as does any broadbased movement, had multiple factors birthing it. Some have attempted to reduce it to a singular seminal event, as did Randall Balmer, who is widely regarded as being the first to attribute it all to racism. In an educated society labeling something as racist is considered the kiss of death (as well it should be if that description is accurate!) The truth is, the religious right was an inclusive umbrella-movement, not a one trick pony.

There may well have been a handful of racists attracted to the religious right. Racists, after all, are not a monolithic group either. However, the Moral Majority attempted a more comprehensive solution to what they saw as a departure towards secular humanism, and away from traditional values, and they worked to reverse and repudiate the attitudes and values advanced by the hippie youth movement (sex and drugs and rock n roll), the women's equality movement, and the gay pride movement. When Jimmy Carter was elected as President, it appeared that the battle for the soul of the USA had been lost. Jerry Fallwell, through Liberty University (fully accredited) began graduating thousands of young people into fields and professions deemed influential, such as the legal profession, field of education, and journalism, in a calculated attempt to reverse the trends of the day. By the time Ronald Reagan was elected, the religious right was a very powerful group with which to be reckoned, and fully embraced by the Republican Party. It was in full bloom by the time of Reagan's reelection, and that of Bush I.

The story of race relations (correcting one of what Dr. Condoleeza Rice termed as one of the USA's major "birth defects") is the story of societal evolution. But, the ACOGs do not believe in evolution, they only believe in degeneration. Unfortunately, evolution has many more miles to travel before the problem is completely resolved. And, it will never be resolved by Herbert W. Armstrong's "god" reimposing segregation upon humanity. According to his misguided precepts, you'd have to start with Manasseh and Ephraim's mommy, who could well have been a Nubian Egyptian. The Bible just doesn't specify.


Anonymous said...

12.03 PM
The term 'religious right' doesn't do justice to American Christianity. A list of traits would be more accurate. If you look long and hard, you find a mixture of left and right wing beliefs. For instance, most xCOGs are for strong national defence (stand up to international bullies) but teach members to be passive in their personal lives, especially in their dealings with ministers.
They hide it with bible window dressing, but American Christianity is a house divided in their beliefs.

Wes White said...

Great article about racism at AC in the 70s. But don't forget what happened after the Feds had forced the college to do the right thing on race.

After GTA's ouster, the Pasadena campus was closed. It was slowly resurrected -- at first as kind of a divinity school. Raymond F. NcNair was its new deputy chancellor. I was hired as his administrative assistant within days of his being put in charge.

One of his top priorities seemed to be the reintroduction and enforcement of the no-interracial-dating policy. We used to wince when RFM's student Forum speeches included his infamous "dog and cattle stories" where he explained how you wouldn't want to mix your Holsteins with your Longhorns in the same way you don't want to mix black people with white people.

I remember one black employee of the college. His name was Ray Willingham. He was dating a white student. RFM would call him into his office and merciless berate him -- trying to convince him to break up with this girl. Willingham never caved. So RFM had him first fired. Then he had him disfellowshipped.

I still ask God to forgive me for being the one who delivered the disfellowshipment letter to Willingham at his home. I wish Willingham were still alive so i could apologize to him. But i understand he has passed away.

Redfox712 said...

Connie Schmidt,

Thank you for your comment and insight. I certainly have no way to know to how LCG's 1% view this matter. You may well be right that this is some sort of strategic realignment of their strategy to get more converts.

DennisCDiehl said...

Having lived 20 years within a couple blocks of Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC, known a number of students had students and faculty as clients, I can say it was Ambassador College on steroids. Billy Graham went to BJU and was rejected by them when he suggested going to all the world as he did. I suspect Bob Jones the first was somewhat jealous of Billy's success. The "Left Behind Series" is a product of BJU graduates.

They had all the drama of the Armstrongs and HWA and Bob Jones the First were contemporaries and well aware of each other I believe. Every day when I drove by there were former students, members and faculty walking out front protesting one thing or another.

When I questioned one student on the origins of humans vs the Genesis account, the student just said, "I just believe what they tell me."

Graduates were encouraged to get into local Greenville government as well as police departments. One Sheriff deputy I did some teaching with was one of the strangest human beings I had ever met on topics I will refrain from. They loved law and being the ones to enforce it it always seemed to me.

You could get kicked out of BJU faster than you could imagine for things you couldn't imagine. They also have a fairly large gay community among students no different in proportion than any other place. Their art, drama and music programs attract and one gay client told me "it is the perfect place to hide because they think my compliance to not dating girls is being a good student."

The standard joke in Greenville was that we had two Universities. Furman University, known as FU and BJ. One of the Bob Jones sons , they all were called Bob Jones in succession, left the family, came out as gay and went to work in Washington.

Bob Jones Senior told students, when alive, that it would be over his dead body when kissing would be allowed on campus between students. Of course, he was buried on campus and know where they go to kiss.

DennisCDiehl said...

Four of five of these kids got expelled. The fifth was faculty child and got to stay.
The shocked student that came in turned them in. lol

Boys will be boys

"The World's Most Unusual University"

RSK said...

By the time I came along, this was in the past, and I didnt learn its full scope until much later.
I did know racism in the WCG well, as bugeyed as they got when we "black brethren" got out of what they saw as our "place". Some overt, conscious racists, many more unconscious, unaware ones.

the Ocelot said...

I noticed thatWGN is not running World Tomorrow or Key of David broadcasts anymore. I guess informercials about Lifelock or baldness are more important

Anonymous said...

The story wasn't completely unknown. I heard that accepting single black students was done to preserve tax-exempt status, in late 1975 or early 1976, from someone who had been a Pasadena student in 1969-1973. (No, it wasn't Joe Junior.) What I didn't know was how recent it had been; I found that out in this post.

I'm surprised that John Trechak didn't know. He was around during that time, wasn't he? I suspect he did know but never got around to publishing it. Or maybe the story would not have been as shocking then as it is now, forty years later.

nck said...

I believe some mistakenly believe that Pasadena was forced by the IRS to change its policy and through sheer luck managed to maintain the rules in England.

It is my opinion that most of the elitism and racism creeped into the church through its worldwide expansion especially its exposure to the anglo saxon world, re former british empire.

As has been shown often on "banned" originally hwa was quite "democratic" or "american" about issues like "church government". Reasoning in a way that would be incomprenhenisble in the "old country" and its established churches.

Also HWA mingled freely among the students and members before the church was exposed to british elitism and fantasies about superiority of their race.

Only in the United States could a church like rcg emerge and flourish in the way it did. Rigourous governmental controls and ancient traditions were smashed by the swagger of the american churches. This newness must have been a major distraction from the rusty european ways.


Anonymous said...

nck, You are wrong about the British, well I am one, so I feel my opinion is valid. England was ruled by the class system which was way stronger than race, so that a person of color from one of the colonies who came from a well-to-do and well educated family was viewed as higher status than the regular mass of working class in Britain. The English elite were hated universally by the English lower classes, they were a lazy bunch who equated success with endless leisure broken up with hunting and gossipy social lives, and the occasional production of satirical writing. They sent their rebel sons to the colonies just to get rid of them and keep the status quo.

Generally the new world was populated with the British lower classes and the criminal and troublesome sons of the degenerate elite. The funny thing is that when America became prosperous many Americans aspired to become English gentlemen, when the English themselves had a hard time not doing what the French did to their aristocracy.
HWA was a good example of one who wanted to be an aristocrat when really everyone admires the American self-made man way more.

So please don't tar the English with the same brush as elitist, superior etc. Never heard of 'the working class hero'?

Byker Bob said...

Gee, nck! How refreshing! Most people blame "the South" and "rednecks" for the racism that crept into the WCG. But, as you've observed before, there was racism in the Pacific Northwest (KKK chapters) and many white militia types have moved to places like Idaho and Montana. I really don't think that anyone has the corner on racism. But, blaming it on that haven for jazz musicians, England, following World War II? That's a new slant!

Actually, HWA's own autobiography tells the tale. It's been decades since I've read it, but as a young man, a supervisor at a mill or lumber place, HWA pulled a gun on a brother named Hub Evans, and he launched into some demeaning descriptives of people of color as he related this personal experience narrative. Racial prejudice was a long term character defect for HWA. He created his church in his own image. That's why they call it a personality cult.


nck said...


Yes. This subject cannot be covered in a few blog postings.

It deals with "social stratification", based on "birth", "merit", "wealth" etc.

There are experiences and individual theories often related on this blog and there is institutional racism and corporate culture.

HWA. Yes, as a 25? year old paymaster at the mill he dealt with the uneducated (offspring) of slaves who still suffered the consequences. His experiences with the uneducated did not favor his impression of their ability to act independently. He blamed it on education though not some dna defect.

In Marseille he regrets not being able to see the Harlem Globetrotters who he had seen many times before and enjoyed their performance.

Pacific Northwest. (Bordering on Vancouver?) Interesting to see the history of the dissimenation of ideas. For the Southerners the biblical promised land for the tribes was "Northwest" as it says in the bible.

Anyway, in the 1950"s Armstrongism was a breath of fresh air coming along/as a side effect of the democratizing/americanization of the world through the expanding american empire and the collapse of the european colonial system.

In 1947 when HWA tries to establish Ambassador College in Italy OR Switzerland he still travels around as the naive, idealistic, "odd american". Gathering input from and more contacts "out" of the church than "in" the church, democratic and cosmopolitan priding himself in his English heritage as one of the first American families.

With the expansion of the church in size but also internationally to Bricket Wood. The British class system creeps in its institution and habits become institutionalized.

One day, travelling to the SEP camp, I fled the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace because of heavy rain. I found shelter in one of the adjacent buildings. Looking at the sign I found myself in the "British Israel World Federation" building or something.
It was through this coincidence that I realized HWA had not expounded his theory on sole American ideas on tribal migration.


nck said...

As an aside.

The colonial system instituted many odd instances of racism.
for instance
-colored people from the former colonial areas were/are very much aware "who" is whiter and blacker amongst themselves and maintain those differences amongst themselves. This is a residu of the former system on identity and privilege.
-in the nineties we all witnessed the "racial" tensions between the hutu and tutsi in central africa. In fact they had come to see themselves as racial tribes due to former colonial favoritism by the former rulers toward one of the groups.

Now. BB's remark on the reception on jazz in a rapidly changing society is very interesting. This was exactly NOT the constituency of the first rcg/wcg members in Britain and oversees.

I think it is possible to make a case that the first people attracted to the "universal" message of wcg and the rising American Empire were exactly the servants of the former empire in collapse. Establishing or mentally transplanting a new "earth encompassing "kingdom of god" of peace and prosperity.

Members joining in the seventies and eighties would follow in the already established mores of the former and perhaps influencing with their own contemporary fantasies on "whole foods" which was an extremely popular topic in the seventies.

On a completely different note. Now in 2017. We see the culmination, acceptance and implementation of a lot of the ideals from the fifties up to seventies in larger society. Although they are called hipster or millenial values now.
Club of Rome is not so different from the current "Global Warming" movement.
And the PT was adressing these issues way before the current implementation of globalisation.


Byker Bob said...

No, nck! In the 1950s, Armstrongism was most definitely NOT a breath of fresh air! It was BAD halitosis! The worst! They took away anything about life that could possibly be pleasurable and attempted to substitute instead their little supposedly elite group living under threat of the absolute worst prophecies in the entire history of the world. We had no way of knowing at the time that they would end up being false prophecies, or that although initially cracked, we'd actually be able to recover and to live out some rather full lives. Still, a substantial number of us sincerely wish that Armstrongism had never, ever happened.


nck said...

"In the 1950s, Armstrongism was most definitely NOT a breath of fresh air! "

Why then did the WTM draw millions of listeners and did all of the mainstream churches in the Western World loose members?

It was new, refreshing, american (thus authoritative for a destructed world), attractive in its offering of a new home to the disenfranchised english speaking servants of the disappearing empires of the day.

Your analysis is "after the event".


Anonymous said...

You are addressing the outer face of the Herb abusive cult. By contrast, BB is discussing the inner face of the cult, which is what that cult really was and still is.

nck said...


I think the difference is more if people were into the "church" thing OR "the Work" which according to HWA was THE very raison de etre of the church.

I have no scolarly opinion on that dogma. Just relating my experience as others are describing their "church" experience, which at least according to the posters on this blog was not satisfactory.

Unfortunately it could never be a satisfactory experience without the works. Mushrooms would have done that job.


Byker Bob said...

Bottom line? I'm just ecstatic that the "millions" referred to by nck never took the final dastardly step that my parents did in the '50s. Basically, the parents I knew died at that time. And life as I had known it ceased to exist until the sun began to peek out from behind the clouds in 1975, when we first knew that it was all shit. After that, there were probably about ten years of rehabillitation, followed by a fairly good life.


nck said...


That is the bottom line.
The realization of being at the steering wheel yourself. Being abused by your employer, spouse, whatever denomination, multinational selling you sugar or political party.